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Title: The life and letters of Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq, Vol. II (of 2)

Author: Ogier Ghislain de Busbecq
        Francis Henry Blackburne Daniell
        Charles Thornton Forster

Release Date: November 30, 2016 [EBook #53630]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


Produced by Turgut Dincer and the Online Distributed
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Late Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge: Vicar of Hinxton



Late Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge: Barrister-at-Law

Πολλῶν ἀνθρώπων ἴδεν ἄστεα καὶ νόον ἔγνω







Letters from France to Maximilian—I.-XXXVII.3
Letters from France to Rodolph—I.-LVIII.141



Book I.



In illustrating Busbecq’s letters from France reference is frequently made to contemporary writers, and it may be useful to the reader to have some idea of their different characters, and positions, and of the historical value of their statements.

(1). J. A. de Thou, the historian, son of Christopher de Thou, President of the Parliament of Paris. Jurist and statesman. Busbecq’s intimate friend and warm admirer. Quoted as Thuanus. Edition, Geneva, 1620, &c.

(2). Pierre de l’Estoile. Audiencier de la Chancellerie de Paris. A quiet man, who took no part in politics. He kept a diary which is generally known as Journal de Henri III. and >Henri IV., but is really his own private diary during the reigns of those monarchs. Quoted as De l’Estoile. Edition, Paris, 1875, &c.

(3). Pierre de Bourdeille, Abbé and Seigneur of Brantôme. Soldier and courtier. Gentleman of the Chamber to Charles IX. and Henri III. His ideas are those of the French Court of that period, and consequently his standard of morality is very low. He was a friend of Alençon, du Guast, Bussy, de Viteaux, La Noue, &c., and a great admirer of Marguerite, to whom he dedicated several of his works. Having been disabled by a fall from his horse, he devoted his last years to writing memoirs of the celebrated men and women he had known, a treatise on duelling, &c. Quoted as Brantôme. Edition, Paris, 1822.

(4). Marguerite de Valois, wife of Henry of Navarre, sister of Charles IX., Henri III., and Alençon, wrote an autobiography which she addressed to Brantôme. Quoted as Mémoires de Marguerite. Edition, Paris, 1842.

(5). Theodore Agrippa d’Aubigné. Friend and adherent of Henry of Navarre. He wrote a Histoire universelle and Mémoires. Quoted as Aubigné, Histoire. Edition S. Jean d’Angely, 1616, &c. The Mémoires are quoted from the Panthéon Littéraire. Paris, 1836.

(6). Louis Gonzaga, Duc de Nevers. Soldier and statesman. The compilation known as his Memoirs is quoted as Mémoires de Nevers. Edition, Paris, 1665.

(7). Venetian ambassadors:—John Michel, sent in 1575 to congratulate Henri III. on his coronation and marriage. Jerome Lippomano, ambassador in 1577-1579. Their reports are contained in Collection de Documents inédits sur l’Histoire de France, Première Série, Relations des Ambassadeurs Vénitiens. Quoted as Ambassadeurs Vénitiens.

(8). Guillaume and Michel Le Riche. Avocats du Roi at Saint-Maixent in Poitou. Their Journal is quoted as Le Riche. Edition, Saint-Maixent, 1846.

(9). Famianus Strada. A Jesuit priest who wrote the history of the wars in the Netherlands. Motley has drawn largely from his work. Quoted as Strada. Edition, Rome, 1648.



Yesterday, August 21, I arrived at Speyer. I stayed a day at Salzburg and another at Augsburg, on account of my health. For at my third stage from Vienna an attack of hæmorrhage came on, unaccompanied, however, by pain, or any great derangement of the system. The physicians I consulted at Salzburg and Augsburg told me that, if I neglected it, the consequences might be serious, and ordered me to rest for some days. For my own part, till now I saw no reason for interrupting my journey for any length of time, but, as I observe that this trouble, whatever it may be, is aggravated by heat and motion, I intend to stay here over to-morrow, for fear of more haste perhaps proving to be worse speed. In order to save time, I have abandoned my project of passing through the Netherlands, and intend to go directly to Metz by easy stages, as my health will not admit of rapid travelling. As to the King of France, I can learn nothing here; no one knows where he is, but he is said to be going straight to Rheims, which lies, I imagine, on my road, and I hope to get there before him.

When I passed through Munich, the Duchess, the sister of your Majesty,1 who had lately returned from a visit, sent to me, and made particular inquiries about the health of your Majesty, of the Empress, and your children. She also gave me messages for the Queen 4of France, and sent letters to Augsburg next day for me to take to her.

I was speaking to someone to-day who had come but lately from the Prince of Orange, and he said that negotiations2 for peace had been opened with him through St. Aldegonde, who was a prisoner in the hands of the Royalists. He represented the Prince as strongly inclined for peace, but said that the cities, which had called him in, were no less strongly opposed to it, and would rather suffer the worst extremity than trust themselves to the Spaniards, or send Orange away. The same person told me that Leyden was starving, and must soon surrender.3 The Prince, he said, was not to blame for it, but the inhabitants, who, having been repeatedly warned to lay in stores in time, had obstinately neglected to do so. He also informed me that the Spanish fleet, if it was really coming, was to sail round Scotland, and that Orange had set up false beacons and lights on the coast to draw it among the shoals and sandbanks.

Perhaps the information I have sent your Majesty is not of much importance, still I feel sure that it will at least do no harm, and that with your accustomed graciousness you will not take my sending it amiss. I pray God to preserve your Majesty, and remain, &c.

Speyer,4 August 22, 1574.5



On September 2 I arrived at Meaux, fourteen6 miles from Paris. My journey was delayed by want of post-horses, for, as the King had just gone to Lyons, they had almost all been transferred to that road from their proper stations, and so for two days and nights I sailed down the Marne, but, as it winds very much before its confluence with the Seine, near Paris, I had to change my mode of travelling, and return to land. As no horses or carriages were to be had, I sent people to Paris to get some, and also to look for lodgings against our arrival. When the Queen, your Majesty’s daughter, knew of this, she sent two of her own carriages, which brought me and my suite to Paris on the 4th.

On that day the Queen7 wished me to rest, and did not send for me till the next day. I found her in excellent health, but her face was melancholy, and still showed traces of her recent loss. As I was going through the points mentioned in my instructions, she spoke gratefully of your Majesty’s thinking of her and sending to console and visit her in her bereavement. She was not surprised, she added, at the deep regret 6expressed by your Majesty, for, indeed, her late Consort had always felt the warmest affection for you, and had always been most anxious to meet your wishes. She then made very minute inquiries about your Majesty’s health. But, when I said that she must wait patiently till your Majesty should be able to decide, according to the turn events might take, whether she was to leave or stay, she gently replied, that all she asked was to be allowed to do that which was most useful and pleasing to her father. Our conversation then ended, and I received permission to retire.

The next day the Queen again ordered me to be summoned, and during the interview I contrived to introduce the question of her marriage to the new King (Henry III.) by alluding to the reports now current; many people set her down as his future bride, I remarked, and if the union were to take place, it would, in my opinion, harmonise with your Majesty’s views and policy. Her reply was such as to make it perfectly plain the suggestion was by no means to her liking; and yet I could see that she did not intend to be obstinate; she will, I am sure, place herself in her father’s hands, and further his interests and wishes by every means in her power.8


I also touched on the Constantinople matter, as your Majesty directed. She promised to bear it in mind when the Queen Mother returned. I will then make it my business to remind her of it.

I went to her a third time to ask that, as your Majesty’s principal reason for sending me here was that I might look after her interests, she would kindly give orders to the maréchaux de logis to provide me with proper quarters in the neighbourhood, and she at once complied with my request.

As to other matters, there is no news of any importance. The King is expected to arrive at Lyons today, where the Queen Mother, Alençon, and Vendôme9 8have been for some time awaiting him. Disturbances are still going on in Poitou and the neighbouring provinces. The King, they say, is preparing to exert his influence, and, if need be, to put them down with a strong hand. He has hired 5,000 Swiss, besides reiters from Germany, and some thousands of Italian musketeers.

With regard to our business, not much, I see, can be done here while the King is away, and so, if I was not afraid I might transgress the rules of etiquette, I should like to run home for a few days. But I cannot make up my mind, as I hardly know what people here might think; otherwise I see no objection, as I had your Majesty’s permission.

Montmorency and Cossé10 are still confined in the Bastille, and both are so strictly guarded by the people,11 9that passers-by cannot so much as bow to them without danger.

Yesterday there arrived here Master John Koch, whose misfortune has been a great grief to me. Today I took the letters he brought to the Queen, and she immediately answered them.

Paris, September 10, 1574.


A few days ago I sent such news as I had by way of Brussels; I now write, more because I have a convenient opportunity of forwarding a letter, than because I have anything particular to tell.

The King arrived at Lyons on the 6th. His army is besieging the town of Nove,12 twelve miles from Lyons, which they think will not be hard to take, as it is commanded on every side by the adjoining hills. Still, they are not quite confident, as they know how obstinate the King’s opponents have hitherto been in defending the places they have occupied. Montpensier13 10is besieging the town of Fontenay; a capitulation, they say, was agreed on, but his men refused to accept it, preferring to risk their lives in storming the place, rather than forego their plunder, so the result is still uncertain. Great is the strength of despair, and however things may turn out, their spoils, I warrant, will be blood-stained.

They say that the King, before he reached Lyons, asked his Council’s advice, as to whether he should send back the Italian troops he had brought with him as a body guard, and that Pibrac,14 whom your Majesty saw at Vienna, was for dismissing them. This gave offence to the Queen Mother, and on his arrival at Lyons she ordered him to return to Paris, and resume his duties as Advocate of the Kingdom. The Queen 11Mother, people think, is in favour of war, because she hopes thereby to retain her power.

Damville,15 they say, received an unfavourable answer from the King, and consequently remained at Turin; he has now, I hear, been summoned by the King; a suspicious circumstance, as many think. It will be two months, it is supposed, before the King gets away from his affairs at Lyons, and in the meantime business here makes little progress. I expect the King and the Queen Mother will give your Majesty an account of what is passing in France. At any rate I feel justified in saying that everybody is anxiously looking for a marriage between the King and your Majesty’s daughter—it is the general topic of conversation.

The Comte de Bailen, after being kept for a long time in Gascony by the dangers of the road, has at last started for Lyons.

Paris, September 17, 1574.


I have despatched two letters to your Majesty since I arrived here, one I sent by way of Brussels, the other, dated the 17th, was given to a servant of the Duke of Bavaria, who was travelling this way from Spain. 12Now I have a convenient opportunity of sending despatches by the hands of Master John Koch.

The King has determined to continue the war rather than suffer two religions in his kingdom, or allow the rebels to remain in possession of the towns they have seized; while they declare that they will hold them to the death, having no hope of safety left save in their walls and their despair. Thus the King is again getting entangled in difficulties, from which he will not easily free himself, and which he might perhaps have avoided.

Fontenay, the town about which I wrote lately, fell at the third assault. There was great slaughter both of besiegers and besieged. People think Lusignan will be attacked next. It is a fortress of considerable strength, five miles from Poitiers, and being built on a rock is not easily accessible.16 The siege of Lusignan will give Mont13pensier’s army occupation for some time, and though less important places like these may be easily recovered by the King, at any rate the reduction of Montauban, Nismes, Rochelle, and other towns, which still hold out, will prove a more difficult task. But who can say what may happen in the meanwhile? Time brings about many a surprise, and the result may turn out far other than what it is expected to be. The King thinks differently; under his mother’s influence, as it is supposed, he is entering on the war with a light heart. Within the last few days an Edict17 was published, by which all who had fled the country are invited to return home within six months, under promise of an amnesty; if they do not avail themselves of this act of indemnity within that time, they are to be considered outlaws and public enemies. This proclamation, it is feared, will be the signal for those who distrust the King’s word to take the field—it is the trumpet calling them to battle. To people’s astonishment some noble families, as, for instance, those of Rambouillet and d’Estrées,18 have been ordered to leave the Court and retire to their homes.

At his parting from the Duke of Savoy, the King is said to have made him a present of two towns which are still held by his garrisons—namely, Savigliano and Pignerolo, if I remember the names rightly. This arrangement, however, has been interfered with by 14the Duke’s wife having died, unfortunately for him, before it was completed, an event which may possibly make the King change his intentions.19

I am far from satisfied with the state of the business which is the principal object of my mission—namely, the settlement of the Queen’s dower. The King’s return, I suspect, is further off than people think, and meanwhile nothing can be done here. The Queen is thus left in a state of uncertainty; she knows not what is to happen, or what her position is to be, and therefore she naturally feels by no means comfortable. Some people think the King will go down to Avignon, to be nearer the seat of the war which is imminent; and, if so, it is supposed he will not be in Paris for full six months from this. If this be true, though sufficient provision has been made for her in the meantime, still perhaps it is hardly creditable that a lady, who is now practically your Majesty’s ward, should be left dependent on another’s beck and call, and sit quietly waiting till it pleases him to ask her to become once more a wife. Such a position is, in my humble opinion, a highly improper one; nor do I believe that in any other case the relatives of a widowed queen ever waited so long before taking steps to protect her interests. I trust your Majesty will consider what is to be done. Shall I go to the King—which 15will involve some expense—or shall I write to him, or shall I wait here for his return, whenever that may be?

If I may give my opinion, I think the King is likely to have more trouble than he expects. For, taking even the most favourable supposition, and assuming that he reduces a great part of the rebels to submission, I consider that he cannot possibly complete his task during the present winter, and that many of them will hold out still. What then will be the King’s position? His forces will be no longer what they were at the beginning of the campaign; war, privation, and winter will have thinned their ranks. On the other hand, we must be prepared to see the exiled nobles now in Germany come to the succour of their friends with such troops as they can raise. All France will then be in a blaze once more; the issue of the contest it is impossible to foretell, for who can say how many secret allies the rebels can reckon on? Those who are thoroughly estranged from the King are not a few.

This forecast of future probabilities is derived in great measure from a conversation I had, when I was passing through Kaiserslautern, with an intimate friend of the Palatine and Casimir.20 The exiles I speak of 16have been prevented from invading the country chiefly by two motives: in the first place, they had some hopes that the King would be more indulgent to their party, and wished to give him a trial; secondly, among their chiefs are two sons of the Constable,21 and they saw that if they stirred it would be the signal for the execution of their imprisoned brother, Montmorency; the Queen Mother has openly threatened and declared as much. Perhaps, too, they are influenced by the consideration that it would be very bad policy to choose 17the moment when the King’s forces are at their best for attacking him, instead of biding their time.

To turn to another subject. A few days ago a gentleman, who is one of the King’s councillors, came to see me, and gave me a book to send to your Majesty, to whom it is dedicated by the author. It is the work of François de Foix, Bishop of Aire, and Privy Councillor to the King. He is an old man of the highest rank, and is a great scholar. He is also a near relative of your Majesty, for his father, he states in his letter, was brother of your Majesty’s grandmother on the mother’s side.22 His elder brother, the Comte de 18Candale, is dead. He left a son, who was killed by a musket-shot in the head,23 while fighting under Damville, who was then engaged in some service for the King. He left only two daughters, the eldest of whom succeeded to the family property, and is being brought up in the house of her maternal grandmother, the widow of the Constable, their father having married one of the Constable’s daughters. To return to the Bishop. He is a man of the greatest learning, especially in mathematics, and is regarded by the professors of that science here as one of their most distinguished men. He has translated Hermes Trismegistus24—a writer of such antiquity that some people make him out to be a contemporary of Moses himself—from Greek into Latin, and this is the work that is now on its way to your Majesty. He has also translated him into French, and has dedicated the translation to the Queen Mother. He has written, besides, five books of commentaries on the same author in French, which those who have seen it assert to be a noble work; and this has been published under the patronage of the Queen, your Majesty’s daughter. I humbly hope your Majesty, when answering my letter, will condescend 19to acknowledge the arrival of the book, and gratify the good old man by thanking him for the compliment. I will take care to show the passage to his friends, who brought me the book.

As to the Queen’s condition, I have nothing to write which your Majesty will not hear from her own letters. One matter, I think, I should not omit to mention. Everything here is exceedingly dear, especially the necessaries of life, such as bread, wine, fire-wood, and lodgings. With these high prices, I do not see how I am to keep within the salary allowed by your Majesty. However, I will do the best I can for this half year, and after that I trust your Majesty will kindly see that I am properly provided for.

To conclude. As I perceive there is no immediate prospect of the King’s arrival, and I can leave Paris for some days without any inconvenience to the Queen, I have determined, with her approval, to avail myself of your Majesty’s kind permission, and to make the journey home, which I have so long intended, to arrange my private affairs. I think of remaining in the Netherlands till your Majesty’s gracious reply to this letter arrives at Brussels, which I consider your Majesty will find to be the most convenient route for sending an answer. I have nothing more to add except my earnest prayer that God may long preserve your Majesty to us and to Christendom.

Paris, September 28, 1574.

Montmorency is still detained in the same prison; Cossé, on account of his illness, is allowed a more convenient lodging, but is guarded there with the utmost strictness.

I am not sure if it is worth adding a postscript to say that, if your Majesty should think fit to send me20 to the King, any despatches to the Duke of Savoy could be conveyed at the same time without any additional trouble or expense, for Turin is not very far from Lyons, and is nearer still to Avignon—if I mistake not.


I have but lately sent all the news I had by the hands of Master John Koch. Since then nothing has happened worth notice, except that letters from Lyons have reached Paris, saying that the question of the Queen’s dower has been discussed at Court, and that the Duchy of Berry has been assigned to her on account thereof. The annual income, however, of this Duchy, derived from real estate, does not come up to the amount of her dower; whence the rest is to be provided we do not know, but it certainly ought to be charged on lands in the neighbourhood. The Queen herself has not heard a word on the subject, though the King has written several times to her, and the Queen Mother still more frequently. The report I mention about the dower prevents my starting for the Netherlands, as I had intended, for I am afraid of perhaps being wanted here.

As to the King’s return, nothing is yet known for certain: some think it is not near, and that he intends going further away; others regard his movements as a trick to induce the gentlemen of the Court to start for the camp, under the notion that the King will shortly follow. I can make no positive assertion either way; I have not been long in France and am at a distance from the scene of action; hitherto I have been unable to do more than chronicle rumours and people’s21 opinions. Your Majesty must excuse it, therefore, if I am occasionally wrong in my facts or mistaken in my predictions.

One part of the Royal army is besieging Poussin,25 a castle fortified by the Huguenots, on the bank of the Rhone, a little below Vienne, I believe, and not many miles from Lyons. The rest of it is with Montpensier, besieging Lusignan, which is garrisoned, they say, by about 600 soldiers and 200 gentlemen. La Noue,26 the head of the rebels, is said to be at Rochelle with such a following, that they think he will be master of the town. As to Damville, some people have a story that, when he found the King intended to arrest him 22and put him to death, he crossed by sea from Savoy to Montpellier, a city in his government, and that he has induced it with some of the neighbouring towns to revolt. Of this, however, there is nothing known for certain, and I suspect it is somebody’s invention.

Paris, October, 1574.


I lately despatched a letter to your Majesty by a running footman, whom I sent to Brussels to bring back the answer I am expecting from your Majesty. Since then nothing new has occurred except that the Queen was threatened with an attack. The symptoms were sickness, accompanied by general inflammation and irritation of the skin, while at night she suffered from thirst. Physicians were called in, and they declared it to be a case of bile in the blood; they said that there was danger of fever if remedies were not promptly employed. Accordingly, they treated her with purgatives and bleeding; since then there has been a change for the better, and the physicians now have great hopes that the attack has been taken in time, and this is also my view. The Queen herself is in good spirits, and considers herself as well as before the illness. Still I should not like to leave your Majesty in ignorance of what has happened.

A few days ago the Comte de Bailen arrived from Lyons to offer the Queen the condolences of the King of Spain; he had already expressed his master’s regret to the King and Queen Mother at Lyons. He was kept a long time at Bordeaux by the dangers of the road, and he incurred serious risks on his way round by23 Lyons, as parties were watching at various places on his route with intent to waylay him. He is now hesitating as to what road he shall choose for his return, and seems to think the safety of his route a more important consideration than its length. He has, moreover, a wish to visit the Netherlands and other countries.

To-day I was informed that Pibrac is coming here from Lyons; from him I shall be able to learn how matters stand there. He is also bringing, they say, the King’s instructions to me with reference to the dower. Your Majesty shall be duly informed of whatever I hear.

Poussin, which was being besieged, has fallen into the King’s hands; the defenders, according to some accounts, sallied out by night and escaped from the town.27 Damville’s conduct excites suspicion; two Vicomtes are said to have come to him at Montpellier to concert plans for war. One of them, I think, is the Vicomte de Montbrun; the other’s name I have not heard. Damville is also believed to have tried to take Avignon by surprise; people think that he will raise the standard of a fresh insurrection, and thus exasperate the King, who is at present inclined towards justice and mercy, as your Majesty will see from the Edict28 I enclose. There seems, therefore, to be no prospect that France will see any termination of the woes with which she is afflicted. One civil war begets another, until there is no end.

About the King’s coming there are vague reports, which change every day. I cannot be sure of anything 24till I have an interview with Pibrac, and, as soon as I have seen him, I will lose no time in making my report to your Majesty.

Paris, October 31, 1574.


In my last letter to your Majesty I gave an account of the Queen’s health; and how her physicians hoped to keep off a fever by timely remedies. Unhappily, a few days later, though the Queen had felt no inconvenience in the mean time, there was a return of the complaint, and it was found necessary to repeat the medicines and to bleed her again. The blood that was taken was very corrupt, so much so that her physicians became anxious, feeling sure that her illness would be serious, and possibly dangerous. They called in some of the first physicians in Paris, and held a consultation. The attack, however, never became dangerous, and on the fifth day there was a decided improvement, and on the seventh, which was Sunday, the fever had quite subsided. Her physicians are not yet altogether free from anxiety, as there is still some derangement of the system, which they are endeavouring to remove; the Queen, however, now the fever has left her, is not in the least nervous about herself. Thanks to God’s mercy, she is in a fair way towards recovery.

There is another matter, as to which it is essential to have explicit instructions from your Majesty. From the beginning of next January the Queen, they say, will have her dower assigned to her, and instead of living as hitherto at the expense of the State, she will25 have to maintain herself on her own resources and out of the revenues of her dower. Consequently there are several points that present themselves for your Majesty’s consideration. In the first place, your Majesty will have to indicate the source from which the Queen is to get money for her maintenance till her own revenues begin to come in; secondly, your Majesty will have to decide whether she is to remain here for the winter, so as to have milder weather for her journey, or to return immediately. If the last course is preferred, your Majesty will have to settle all the questions relating to her route, the expense to be incurred, the suite that is to attend her, the road she is to take, and her ultimate destination. If, on the other hand, there is not time to make all these arrangements, and it should be therefore decided that she shall stay some months longer in France, still a decision must be come to as to whether she is to remain in Paris, or retire to the place assigned her as dower. For there can be no question that she will live at much less expense in her own house, if I may call it so, than here in Paris, where everything is excessively dear. There is a château in the Duchy of Berry which would just suit her, called Remorantin; the Queen Mother herself is said to have sometimes thought of retiring thither. Apart from any questions of economy, a residence in the country would be more in keeping with her position as a widow. Assuming this to be settled, your Majesty’s opinion will be required as to all the arrangements of her new establishment, and the gentlemen and ladies who are to constitute her household. Nothing can be determined till I receive your Majesty’s instructions.

I mentioned in my former letter that the Duchy of Berry is to be assigned to the Queen, and I have now26 written that after the first of January she is to live at her own charges. Both these statements are founded only upon current report and require confirmation, for neither the Queen, nor the Comte de Fiesco,29 nor I have received any official notice on the subject. However, the fact is in itself so probable and the rumour has become so general, that neither the Comte nor myself have any doubt of its truth. I heard from one of Pibrac’s relatives in Lyons that he would shortly be here to discuss the whole question with me on behalf of the King. However, he has not arrived yet, though he is expected every day. I shall lose no time in informing your Majesty of the result of our interview. In the meantime I have thought it better to send this letter without waiting for his arrival.

The report, which was at first very general, of the King’s intending to marry your daughter, is now universally discredited. Some people, whose opinion is worth having, ascribe the cause to the Sorbonne or College of Divines in Paris. When King Henry VIII. of England began to question the validity of his mar27riage with his deceased brother’s widow, and wanted to have it declared null, these divines were consulted as to the lawfulness of the marriage. At the instigation of King Francis I., who wished to gratify the King of England, knowing that the dissolution of the marriage would dissolve the alliance between the Emperor Charles and Henry, they pronounced the marriage unlawful and incestuous, in opposition to all the other divines and jurists before whom the case had been laid.30 This decision being so contrary to the general opinion, King Francis thought it sufficient to forward it to England, and wished it to be suppressed as far as possible in France. But the King of England, being anxious to support his case, had the decision printed, and published far and wide. This precedent is supposed to be a great stumbling-block to the King, and to make him have scruples of the lawfulness of a marriage with his brother’s widow, as he would thereby seem to question the authority of his ancestor’s decision.

This is one version of the story; whether it be the true one, or simply an excuse, I cannot tell for certain. I fully expect that when I have had a talk with Pibrac I shall be able to make out more of this matter, or at any rate to form a tolerably good guess; for even if he says nothing I shall be able from his very silence 28to draw my own conclusions as to the King’s wishes and intentions.

It is considered certain that the King will go down to Avignon. His object, I imagine, is to be nearer the scene of action, where his presence is required. Meanwhile the siege of Lusignan continues. As to other matters, I cannot venture to make any positive assertion. The Comte de Bailen will, I understand, leave this to-morrow on his way back to Spain. He intends going to Nantes, a seaport in Brittany, and thence taking ship for Bilbao or St. Sebastian. He has chosen this as being by far the shortest route as well as the safest.

I most humbly entreat your Majesty for an early answer to this letter, for, until we have your instructions, we cannot bring this business to a conclusion with credit to your Majesty. I would suggest sending the answer to Leonhard de Taxis31 at Brussels, who has promised to use all speed in forwarding your Majesty’s letters to Paris.

Paris, November 9, 1574.

I told your Majesty that we were expecting Pibrac in Paris. Well, he has arrived, and as we were old friends, having made each other’s acquaintance when the King of France was staying at Vienna, I went and called on him. He returned my visit. I took the first opportunity which offered itself in the course of our conversation of introducing the Queen’s business, and expressed my surprise at the delay in the assign29ment of the dower. He replied that affairs of this kind could not be arranged in a hurry, and that matters would be set right if I went to the King myself.


I have little to add to what I told your Majesty in my last two letters of the Queen’s health. She is still confined to her bed by the orders of her physicians, but she looks well, and is in excellent spirits. There is no need for me to say more, as she is writing to your Majesty herself.

Pibrac arrived three days ago. I lost no time in calling upon him, to ascertain whether he had any instructions with regard to the Queen’s dower. He avoided the subject, and talked of Poland, and a message the King had received from a Diet held at Warsaw, begging him to return forthwith. He told me that the Turkish Ambassador had been present at the meeting of the Diet, and informed the Poles that the Sultan would make it a casus belli if they elected a Muscovite or one of your Majesty’s sons to the vacant throne: they must appoint one of their own countrymen, two of whom he specified as proper candidates. It was supposed, however, that it was at the instigation of these two gentlemen that the embassy had been sent. Pibrac then observed that there was one of your Majesty’s subjects who was looking out for the throne.

I remarked that an absent king was not likely to keep his crown long. He agreed, and was of opinion that the Poles would soon be engaged in fighting with each other.

The conversation flagged, and as he made no allu30sion to the subject in which I was interested, I introduced it myself. I told him that there was a rumour that the Queen’s dower had been assigned. He informed me that the report was correct, and represented the settlement which had been made as most advantageous to the Queen. He said that he understood your Majesty intended arranging a marriage for the Queen with the King of Portugal. I replied that I knew nothing of the matter beyond the fact that the King of Portugal had been most anxious to obtain her hand before her marriage. At present, I added, he was too much engaged with his expedition against Fez.32

It appears from my conversation with Pibrac that the Queen will not receive her dower till January, and I am anxious to know what arrangement your Majesty proposes for providing her with funds in the meantime.33

November 13, 1574.



On Saturday last I despatched a letter to your Majesty by a gentleman who paid a visit to the Queen on behalf of the King and Queen Mother, as he told me that on his return to Lyons the Seneschal of that city would be sent to your Majesty. The Queen also wrote a letter, which I enclosed. I wrote in such a hurry that I am afraid my letter is hardly as clear as it should be; I trust your Majesty will, with your usual kindness, pardon its shortcomings.

The purport of my letter was that the Queen was convalescent, and that her dower was to commence on the 1st of January. She will then begin life afresh, and her residence and the arrangements of her establishment will depend upon your Majesty’s pleasure. I humbly trust that your Majesty will make such provision as the case requires.

I understand that in similar cases the widows of French Kings have been sent home with a French retinue at the charge of the royal treasury; but I see that the Queen’s officials are anxious as to the source from which funds are to be provided until her revenues shall begin to accrue, for her debts are already large, and will be still greater by January 1. At that date she will not owe less than 50,000 francs. The King ought to pay the money, but I am afraid he will not do so punctually, and in that case her creditors are likely to become troublesome. I am also anxious as to her income, for I fear that, whatever reductions are made in her household, she will have difficulty in meeting her expenses if she remains in France.

As to other matters, there is not much for me to32 say, except that the King’s affairs are far from prosperous. The besieged garrison of Lusignan has made a successful sally, and Montpensier has lost so many men that he is compelled to raise the siege. Some companies also of the Comte de Retz’s forces, with a detachment of cavalry, have likewise, they say, been cut to pieces by Damville’s troops. Damville is believed to be full of confidence, and busy in making preparations for defence. He holds a commission as Condé’s lieutenant. There are fears that Condé himself will take the field, and that troops will be raised in Germany. In confirmation of this, we hear that the people of Rochelle have sold a large quantity of salt to German traders, whose ships are lying in their harbour, and that the proceeds are to be placed to the credit of Condé in Germany, for the purpose of hiring soldiers. If this be true, it is very serious news for France.

As to the King’s views with regard to marriage, I cannot speak with any certainty. Some think that he has set his heart on Monsieur de Vaudemont’s daughter, who is a very handsome girl. Besides, the King is devoted to the House and party of Lorraine, and most anxious for its advancement.

However, if he marries her he will cause tongues to wag, and give offence to those who from interest or jealousy are opposed to the party of Lorraine. Amongst these must be numbered Vendôme, Condé, and possibly Alençon himself, who will suspect—not without reason perhaps—that this marriage is only the thin end of the wedge.

Paris, November 16, 1574.



I received your Majesty’s two letters dated October 31, and also my instructions, on November 23. I was at Paris when they arrived, having abandoned my visit to the Netherlands for reasons with which your Majesty is already acquainted.

I informed the Queen of your Majesty’s wishes, and at the same time delivered the letter. I took the opportunity of ascertaining her views as to the desirability of my visiting the King in accordance with your Majesty’s instructions. She thought it advisable, on the grounds mentioned by your Majesty. I asked her to think the matter over, and when I had an interview with her the next day she was still of the same opinion.

Also I asked her whether the King (Charles IX.) had made a will before he died? She replied in the negative, telling me that he had only given verbal instructions on certain points; she was quite sure he had made no will. I believe the Queen is right, for so far I have not heard from anyone of his leaving a will. I will, however, make further inquiries.

A few days after I had written my last letter to your Majesty, the Bishop of Paris,34 who is the Queen’s Chancellor, paid me a visit, and we were shortly afterwards joined by the Comte de Fiesco and Monsieur de France, the Queen’s first steward. We discussed the question of the dower; the last two gentlemen expressed their doubts as to the possibility of getting the pension of 20,000 francs usually granted to Queens Dowager charged on a good security, quoting the case 34of the Queen of Scots, whose pension was settled in such a way as to be absolutely worthless.

It would be of the greatest advantage to the Queen, your Majesty’s daughter, if she could have the command of 10,000 or 12,000 thalers to meet her expenses until the revenues of her dower shall begin to accrue. I think we could manage without money in hard cash, if a credit could be opened at Lyons or Antwerp, so that we might be able to draw on our agents. My duty to your Majesty and the Queen, my mistress, renders it incumbent on me to make this suggestion, but I shall gladly acquiesce in your Majesty’s decision, whatever it may be.

Your Majesty mentions ‘credentials.’ I have not received them, and I think they would be of some service to me; for if anyone should challenge my right to act as the Queen’s representative, I have no authority to produce except my letter of instructions, and I should not care to have its entire contents made public.

Paris, November 30, 1574.


I set out on the journey which I had undertaken at the desire of your Majesty, and arrived at Lyons December 12. There I waited a couple of days for the purpose of making inquiries as to the remainder of my route, and obtaining what was needful for the road.

I felt it my duty to have an interview with the Spanish Ambassador and ascertain from him how matters were going on. His Excellency had been ordered to remain at Lyons with the other ambassadors, and35 there await the King’s arrival; but he had a still more imperative reason for remaining—to wit, the gout!

He advised me most kindly with regard to my journey, telling me much of the dangers to be encountered, both on the river route and that by land, and recommending me strongly not to go to Avignon. I think he would have persuaded me, had I not sent for some boatmen who had lately made the voyage; from them I ascertained that matters were not nearly so bad as the Ambassador had represented; there was a risk, but no certainty, of our being attacked. Accordingly, not wishing to waste my time at Lyons, where no intelligence was to be obtained of the movements of the King—nor, indeed, any news at all—and thus displease both your Majesty and the Queen, I determined at all hazards to continue my journey.

Accordingly I embarked at Lyons on the 15th, and reached Avignon on the 17th.35 By God’s mercy, I encountered no difficulty or danger on the way, and found the road far safer and pleasanter than I had been led to expect. Not that it was altogether safe, for at Valence Bishop Montluc,36 (the chief negotiator in 36the Polish business), when he came on board to pay his respects, advised me to take with me six musketeers, as people had been stopped in the neighbourhood, and some had been killed. I followed his advice.

I had an audience of the King on the 19th of the same month, and was received most kindly. On my delivering your Majesty’s message and letter, together with that of the Empress, he answered in very handsome terms, that for your Majesty’s sake he would do all that lay in his power for the Queen, and spoke at great length of the attentions and kind services he had received at your hands. The Queen Mother (Catherine de Medici), to whose presence I was admitted a few days later, held similar language; she had been suffering from constant sickness, which prevented her giving me an earlier interview. I ascertained later that the King had sent letters to the Queen at Paris touching the dower, and that, contrary to the usual custom, they had been registered by the Parliament of Paris before being presented to the Queen. I called on his Majesty and made some objections to his proposal. The King said he must refer the matter to his council, and also wait for an answer from the Queen’s advisers. He spoke of your Majesty’s kindness at great length, and specially of the assurances he had lately received, through Vulcob,37 that he would have your Majesty’s support if he cared to keep his kingdom of Poland.


In the course of our conversation I discovered that the King would do whatever the Queen Mother wished, so I determined to approach her again and ask for her services on behalf of the Queen. She professed the utmost willingness and said, she would do her best for the Queen, who had been an excellent daughter to her.

A few days later, de Morvilliers,38 the Bishop of Orleans, and the Bishop of Limoges called on me and we had a long discussion with regard to the dower. I must not forget to mention that, when the King told me that your Majesty had offered to assist him in keeping his kingdom of Poland, I was much surprised, but 38made no reply, as I thought it might possibly be a trap. I wonder also that nothing has been said as to the non-payment of the marriage portion39; I am afraid they are keeping this argument in reserve.

I must not forget to inform your Majesty that, in the course of my interview with the Queen Mother, she told me she felt assured of the kindly feeling which your Majesty entertained for her, because your Majesty had continually advised her against war, whereas those who wished her ill had given the opposite counsel. She had followed your Majesty’s advice, she said, for a long time, and thereby exposed herself to severe criticism from not a few.

Lyons, January 24, 1575.


To-day the King set out from Lyons on his way to Rheims, where he is to be crowned—as he told me himself—on the 13th.

I will not weary your Majesty with a full description of the state of France, but content myself with a sketch.

Ever since the commencement of the civil wars which are distracting the country, there has been a terrible change for the worse. So complete is the alteration, that those who knew France before would 39not recognise her again. Everywhere are to be seen shattered buildings, fallen churches, and towns in ruins; while the traveller gazes horror-stricken on spots which have but lately been the scenes of murderous deeds and inhuman cruelties. The fields are left untilled: the farmer’s stock and tools have been carried off by the soldier as his booty, he is plundered alike by Frenchman and by foreigner. Commerce is crippled; the towns lately thronged with merchants and customers are now mourning their desolation in the midst of closed shops and silent manufactories. Meanwhile, the inhabitants, ground down by ceaseless exactions, are crying out at the immense sums which are being squandered for nought, or applied to purposes for which they were never intended. They demand a reckoning in tones which breathe a spirit of rebellion. Men of experience, members of the oldest families in France, are in many cases regarded with suspicion, and either not allowed to come to Court, or left to vegetate at home. Besides the two parties into which Frenchmen are divided by their religious differences, there are also feuds and quarrels which affect every grade of society.

In the first place, the feeling against the Italians who are in the French service is very strong; the high promotion they have received and the important duties with which they have been intrusted, arouse the jealousy of men who consider them ignorant of French business, and hold that they have neither merit, services, nor birth to justify their appointment. Birague, as Chancellor, holds one of the highest offices in the kingdom; Comte de Retz40 is a Maréchal; Strozzi is 40in command of the infantry of France; Guadagni is Seneschal of Lyons; and in the same way other Italians occupy most important posts, while Frenchmen murmur.

Again, Italians farm nearly all the taxes, and exact their dues so rigidly as to drive the natives, who are unaccustomed to such extortion, to the very verge of rebellion; there will be another Saint Bartholomew41 if they do not take care, and they will be the victims.

The feuds which separate the leading families of France are more bitter than those described in ancient tragedy; this is the state of feeling which exists between the Houses of Guise, Vendôme and Bourbon, not to mention that of Montmorency, which, through its alliances and connections, has a considerable party of its own.

The Bourbons are the strongest; the Guises have most influence at Court, but this is an advantage which they may lose any day by the death of the King, and then their fall is inevitable.

By his nearest relations the King is feared rather 41than loved, for, knowing the designs they entertained before the death of his brother (Charles IX.), they have no confidence in his mercy and forgiveness, though he professes to have pardoned them, and think that his vengeance is only deferred for a time. On the other hand, the King must see clearly from the flight of Condé what the feelings of his own family are towards him.

The district in which the rebellion on religious grounds has struck its deepest roots begins at Rochelle and reaches to the Rhone, comprising the whole of Guienne and Languedoc: it includes Saintonge, Poitou, the Limousin, Perigord, Gascony, the country round Narbonne, &c., &c. Nor is this all; across the Rhone, in Dauphiny itself, Montbrun has seized places, as, for instance, Livron, which is now besieged by the Royalists.

In making the statement that the rebels are powerful in Languedoc and Guienne, I must not be understood to say that the principal cities of those provinces do not obey the King; my meaning is that the insurgents occupy posts of vantage throughout the country, which enable them to render both life and property insecure; there is no peace or quiet for those who are loyal to the King. To drive them from their fortresses would be a most difficult task, for they have formidable positions and strong fortifications, garrisoned by veteran soldiers, who have made up their minds to die rather than trust the King’s word. Such, undoubtedly, is their determination, for though peace, which is the only cure for these ills, has lately been freely mentioned, and certain men were at Avignon from Condé and his party, still, up to the present moment, no arrangement has been concluded. True, the King is ready to pledge his word that, if his towns are restored to him, no one42 shall be troubled on account of his religion; but the memory of Saint Bartholomew42 is a fatal obstacle: they will place no confidence in his promise, and believe that it is only a stratagem to destroy the survivors of that night.

Such acts of treachery, it would seem, never answer in the long run, whatever the advantage at the time may be!

Some people have a notion that the idea of peace is not seriously entertained, but is simply a manœuvre to break up the confederacy by making overtures to some of its members.

Ambassadors, it is true, have been sent lately to Rochelle, but in the meantime both parties are busy fighting: the King is pressing on the sieges of Livron and Lusignan, while the rebels are using every means in their power to harass and perplex him. After the King’s departure from Avignon, they took possession of Aigues-Mortes,43 where they found a store of cannon, which will be of great service to them. One fort, however, still remains in the hands of the Royalists, and the Duc de Uzes, who commands for the King, does not despair of retaking the town under cover of its fire.

It is not that I should regard the situation as hope43less, if there were a prospect of matters taking a turn for the better, but, bad as is the present state of things, it is nothing compared to what we may expect any day to see.

Having given my ideas as to the state of the country, I will now give my opinion of the King. Of his character your Majesty has had opportunities of judging; he is naturally well disposed, and in the hands of good advisers and councillors of sound judgment might turn out a pattern sovereign. But his companions are wild young men, the tone of French society is licentious, and he listens to selfish intriguers who are seeking their own advantage; under such circumstances, who can say that he will not go astray? Both he and his brother (Alençon) are of a weakly constitution and not likely to be long-lived.

The ambassadors who came from Poland have been ordered to remain at Lyons, and there await the King’s arrival; it is supposed that his Majesty will not care much for the despatches which they bring, as they are couched in rough, not to say threatening, language. It seems that the King has thoughts of keeping Poland, for, though he is still a bachelor, he has announced his intention of bestowing it on one of his future children, and with this view is negotiating for an alliance with the King of Sweden’s daughter; for my own part, however, I am inclined to suspect that this is a mere feint. First among the aspirants to the Crown of Poland stands the Duke of Ferrara, but in France the idea is that the Transylvanian44 is the candidate most popular with the Poles. The King is dissatisfied with the Duke of Savoy’s conduct with regard 44to Damville, and it is supposed that, if what is past could be recalled, he would not be so liberal with his towns.45

It seems that the siege of Livron will be a long business; for, though the wall has been battered with cannon, and there is as wide a breach as the besiegers could desire for them to mount to the attack, two assaults have already been repulsed with heavy loss. There are several reasons to account for these failures: in the first place, the attacking column has to climb up hill through the rubbish and débris, which crumble away under their feet; secondly, fresh intrenchments have been made within the circuit of the walls, and the besieged are so confident of holding the town that they may almost be said to laugh at the efforts of their enemies.46 I saw this with my own eyes when I passed Livron on my way back from Avignon. Thirdly, when they come to close quarters, not only do they meet with a most stubborn resistance from the men, but many of them are also wounded by the women, who rain stones upon them from the roofs and ramparts. I saw six ensigns on the walls of the town, whence it is assumed that there are 400 soldiers in the garrison; they have muskets, but no cannon. His son-in-law, who was in command of the town, having been killed by a cannon-ball, Montbrun, the night before I arrived, sent four more gentlemen into the place with a party of soldiers; it is said that they passed through the outposts of the German horse commanded by Count Nogarola.

Your Majesty no doubt received intelligence long 45ago of the death of the Cardinal of Lorraine.47 He died of fever, after an illness of eighteen days. The attack was brought on, people think, by his walking in a procession of Flagellants, at night. The Queen Mother has been poorly from the same cause, and her daughter (Marguerite), wife of Vendôme (Henry of Navarre), had a troublesome cold, which lasted several days.

There are four societies of Flagellants at Avignon; the Cardinal enrolled himself in one of them, and advised the King to do the same; his Majesty’s example was followed by the whole of the nobility. On one occasion, when they were walking in procession with these societies at night, which is the usual time for such ceremonies, there was a very cold wind, and this is supposed to have been the cause of the Cardinal’s illness and death, for two or three days afterwards he fell sick.

He was a great man, and took a prominent part in the government of the country. In him we have lost a profound scholar, an eloquent speaker, an experienced statesman. He was ever anxious to advance the in46terests of his party and his family, and I am by no means sure that the State did not sometimes suffer in consequence. The King visited him during his illness, and would have gone to him oftener if he had not been afraid of infection. He has felt his death deeply. When the body was being removed from Avignon, on its way to Rheims, the King and four Cardinals accompanied it to the gates of the city. They were attended by all the nobles of the Court, with the King’s brother and the King of Navarre (as they style him here) at their head. These last, I imagine, were by no means sorry to do this honour, not to the Cardinal, but to his corpse! He died at night, and the Queen Mother was so upset by his death that the next day she fancied she saw him bidding her farewell, and could hear him saying ‘Adieu, madame; adieu, madame.’ She tried to point him out to those who were with her.48

Whilst I was writing, news came that Lusignan had surrendered to Montpensier. The garrison are to be allowed to retire to Bouteville and Pons with their arms and property. I hear also that the siege of Livron has been raised; the attacking force is broken up; the 47men being quartered in the neighbouring villages, from which they are to watch the town and see that no provisions are brought in. They will have a hard task, methinks, to keep up so strict a blockade, as not to be sometimes given the slip.

Lyons, January 24, 1575.


[The whole of this letter is occupied with business connected with the dower. It is dated Paris, February 9, 1575.]


I received your Majesty’s letter of December 31 on February 5, in which your Majesty graciously acquaints me with the information touching the dower given by the Seneschal of Lyons. On this head I wrote at such length in my former letter that there is no need for me to recur to the subject again. Your Majesty next informs me that the Seneschal of Lyons said that the Queen would be treated in the same manner as during her husband’s lifetime, a statement which, I think, must be considered one of mere politeness—in short, a French compliment!

With regard to your Majesty’s questions as to the manner in which the Queen will return, I understand that the King will see that she is escorted to Vienna, or whatever her destination may be, by gentlemen of high rank and a distinguished retinue, following in48 this respect the precedent of the Queen of Scots, whom his predecessor (Charles IX.) sent to Scotland at his own charges. The only expense that will fall on your Majesty will be the presents that must be made to those who accompany her, and the cost of their journey when they return.

Before leaving, I asked what your Majesty’s wishes were with regard to the cipher I was to use. I was desired to draw up a code on my way, and forward it to your Majesty. I drew up a code at Speyer, and put it in a letter, of which I now enclose a copy. If the letter arrived, I presume that the cipher arrived too; in the other case, they will both have been lost together. I send another code, which seems to me less difficult. I am surprised that your Majesty has not received the letter I wrote at the end of November, before setting out for Avignon. Some of your Majesty’s despatches to me are also missing—viz. those dated December 11 and 16.

As to the state of France, matters are at a deadlock. They would fain be at peace, for war means ruin, and the very sinews of war are failing; but still they insist on the restoration of the King’s towns as a matter in which his honour is concerned. On the other hand, the insurgents do not care for any peace which does not furnish guarantees for their safety. As to confidence, which is the very bond of human society, they have lost it altogether, and will trust nought save walls and fortifications.

Such a difference of views it is not easy to reconcile. I think that anyone who offered to act as mediator would be welcomed by the King, as he would then be able to patch up a peace by pledging some one else’s word. His own is absolutely worthless. But who would care to pledge himself, when there are a49 hundred ways in which his guarantee may be set at nought?

Some, however, wish that a league could be made against the Turk, and Condé sent to Hungary, with large forces both of foot and horse, by way of pumping out the water from which, according to their idea, France is foundering.

But it is an idle scheme, for the object of the rebels in making war is to protect their altars and firesides, their children and their wives; and I fail to understand by what argument they can be induced to abandon all they hold dear, and allow themselves to be sent to Hungary. This also is the opinion expressed to me lately by Bellièvre,49 who was the late King’s ambassador in Poland. Your Majesty saw him when the King came to Vienna. He is a man who carries great weight. He assured me in the most solemn manner that the King, at his suggestion, had written during his stay at Mantua, and again from France, to his ambassador at Constantinople, ordering him to support your Majesty’s interests, and that if he had done otherwise he had distinctly disobeyed the orders of his master.50


The advice that your Majesty gave the King51—viz. that he should avoid war—is frequently mentioned both by the Catholics and their enemies. They say the King is sorry he did not adopt it, and preferred to enter his kingdom with the gates of Janus wide open, instead of closing them. Accordingly, Pibrac, who was the only man for taking your Majesty’s advice, and stood alone as the advocate of peace, though at first evil spoken of, is now praised by all. The whole blame with regard to the war is laid on the Cardinal and the Queen Mother, the first of whom allowed his animosity to carry him too far, while the other was afraid that, if peace were declared, she would be reduced to the level of a subject and find her reign at an end.

I have now only to inform your Majesty of that of which your Majesty must be already aware—viz. that my funds are completely exhausted by my long and expensive journey to Avignon, and that I have been obliged to incur some debts. I therefore humbly petition for the payment of my half-year’s salary to Jerome de Cocq, who will arrange for its being remitted to me here, in case your Majesty shall consider it advisable to retain my services for the Queen.

Paris, February 9, 1575.

I trust your Majesty will not take it amiss that I have been occasionally addressed as ambassador in France; for, in spite of my protestations, I cannot prevent their sometimes giving me this title. It mat51ters the less because it is quite clear that I am not your Majesty’s ambassador.

The Queen has just sent for me, to say that there is a general report, which she hears on all sides, that the King is on the point of marrying the daughter of Vaudemont of Lorraine, and that the ceremony will be celebrated next Monday, at Rheims. She does not know how she ought to treat her with regard to precedence, when she comes to Paris. I trust your Majesty will deign to advise us on this matter. Possibly your Majesty may think it advisable for the Queen to leave Paris and go somewhere else—for instance, to her daughter at Amboise, or to any other place your Majesty may prefer.

I think I told your Majesty of this love-affair of the King’s—in my letter dated November 16, if I remember rightly. It is quite certain that this engagement, which was a secret to all but a very few, and might almost deserve the epithet of clandestine, will cause a bitter feeling throughout France. Vendôme’s sister,52 who is now of marriageable years, is intended for Alençon, so that he will ally himself with the Bourbons, while the King will be connected with the Guises. As to the policy of these marriages I am doubtful and fear that they will only add to the miseries of France.

I now implore your Majesty to send back the bearer of this letter as soon as possible with full instructions on all points.

The future Queen is, if I am not mistaken, the daughter of a sister of Count Egmont.

The Queen has sent for me again, and shown me a letter from the Queen Mother, informing her of the 52approaching marriage of her son the King, and telling her that the wedding is to take place next Tuesday; she requests her to send nearly all her attendants to wait on the new Queen.53 Accordingly, many of her people have left, in order to oblige the King; a few have refused to change their mistress at such short notice. Among these last are the Comte de Fiesco and his wife. I should be glad if your Majesty would notice their loyal conduct in your next letter.

I trust your Majesty will seriously consider what ought to be done; we must have a clear and distinct answer.

Whither is the Queen, your Majesty’s daughter, to go? It is impossible for her to remain in France without seriously compromising her position, for here all will attach themselves to the new Queen, and, as usual, worship the rising sun! It is a common saying that if one loses one’s position in life, life is not worth the having. I will not say more, as I rely on your Majesty’s discretion, and affection for your most loving and obedient daughter.

In the first place, we must have either cash or credit, and for that reason I am going to the Netherlands. As soon as the messenger shall have returned to Brussels, I shall be in a position to draw the money from whatever house your Majesty may please to appoint, and return with it to the Queen.

By this means I trust we shall be able to get away from Paris before the King returns, or at any rate leave soon after his arrival, and thus save our eyes and ears 53from a great deal of vexation; for when changes of this kind take place there is much that is unpleasant.

The same day.

As to the dower question, of which I wrote from Lyons, the Queen’s advisers at Paris think that it will be impossible to obtain a settlement on Crown lands for the whole of the 60,000 francs per annum due to the Queen. They say this was not done for the Queen of Scots, though France was then much more prosperous, and her uncle, the Cardinal,54 was absolute master of the realm.

Paris, February 9, 1575.


I have now been four days in Brussels waiting for your Majesty’s orders; I am sure your Majesty will see how important it is that I should have them as soon as possible. When I get them I shall return to the Queen with all speed.

Her position I explained clearly in my last letter. I have heard some remarks which make me uneasy; people warn me that the French are most liberal in their promises, but very niggardly in their performances, and think the Queen will have great difficulty in obtaining her revenues, and not receive more than half the nominal amount. They quote the case of Queen Leonora.55


I must say I am anxious, but I trust things will not prove quite so bad.

With the end of this month the quarter will expire during which the King is to defray the Queen’s expenses, and she will then be left to her own resources. I fail to see how funds are to be provided, unless your Majesty will supply them. For, even assuming that we should demean ourselves so far as to go begging to the King, we should expose ourselves to be taunted with holding out on the question of the dower as an excuse for dipping our fingers into the King’s purse. The only available remedy is for your Majesty to place 8,000 or 9,000 crowns to our account, and this I trust will be done. As to the rest, I find that some people here talk of the Queen for the governorship of the Netherlands. I should prefer seeing the appointment offered to one of your Majesty’s sons; still, on the supposition that there should be an obstacle in the way of such an arrangement—as is by no means impossible—or in case of the Archduke’s receiving a more tempting offer elsewhere, people have much to say as to the advantage which the public would reap from the Queen’s acceptance of the post.

Within the last few days, negotiations for peace have been opened at Breda,56 where both parties are represented by delegates. God grant they be successful, as many hope and everyone wishes; wise men, however, shake their heads, for it is certain that the religious difficulty will prove a most serious obstacle on account of the great number of Hollanders and Zealanders who have publicly renounced the Catholic religion. I fail to see how they can be induced to sell their property and go into exile, especially as they are for the most part sailors and fishermen, and the loss of 55their trade would mean to them absolute starvation. The King, on the other hand, is determined to allow none but Catholics to remain in his dominions. Most people despair of a solution.

After writing my last letter I had some conversation with a gentleman as to the Queen’s return; he told me that he knew for certain that the Cardinal of Este57 had long ago applied for the honour of escorting the Queen to her destination. The Cardinal holds a great deal of rich preferment: they say his income amounts to 100,000 crowns.

There is now, therefore, no doubt on this score: the King will take care that the Queen is sent to your Majesty with every mark of honour.

Brussels, March 7, 1575.


I returned to Paris March 21, where I found the Queen in excellent health, and delighted at the prospect of a speedy return to her august parents.

I delivered your Majesty’s letter to the King, and laid before him your Majesty’s request that the Queen might have what was due to her under the marriage settlements. He, as usual, gave me a kind answer, and said he would take the opinion of his council. The Queen Mother has also kindly offered her services on our behalf. Still, we want deeds and not words!


It is quite clear that very little, if any, addition will be made to the 32,000 francs already secured on Crown lands. The property, even in the most prosperous days, never produced 60,000 francs.

You ask whether your Majesty’s granddaughter will be permitted to accompany her mother to Austria. I am not sanguine, as I know of no precedent of the kind in the history of France. The end of it will be that, when they have exhausted their other pleas as to the length of the journey, the delicacy of the child, and her tender years, they will fall back on the argument that it is contrary to all the precedents of France, and I hardly see how we can meet it. If, however, your Majesty should decide on making a further attempt, I would recommend letters being sent to the King and Queen Mother, and I myself will leave no stone unturned to forward the arrangement; but I should advise your Majesty simply to ask to see the child, and, if this is granted, the situation will be reversed, and her return to France will depend on your Majesty’s pleasure.58

As to affairs in this country, they were so bad that I thought it impossible for them to grow worse; nevertheless they are rapidly growing worse. Damville, with his friends, is carrying war through Languedoc 57and Guienne, and gentlemen are daily flocking to his standard.

Words cannot describe how unpopular the King and Queen have become throughout France. So gloomy is the prospect, that careful, respectable men, I see, are thinking of leaving the country and emigrating to some distant land. Nevertheless, peace negotiations are still going on, for delegates from the rebel party are in Paris, and more are expected. They demand, I hear, first, liberty of conscience; and, secondly, the convening of the States General with a view to reforming public abuses.59 This last demand is supposed to be aimed at the Queen Mother and certain Italians of rank who occupy high offices. But, though everything is in a bad way, the financial situation is worst of all. It fairly passes belief. The King borrows what he can here and there from those who have, or are thought to have, money; but even then he cannot get enough. It was determined to send a large sum of money with the ambassadors who are going to Poland—200,000 crowns, people say—but I do not believe such a sum can be raised; they will have to be content with much less.

The new Queen has been troubled with constant sickness for several days, and some fancy she is with child. She is no favourite with the Queen Mother, who takes little pains to conceal her prejudice.


The Queen, your daughter, has made up her mind to visit Amboise60 after Easter, for the purpose of taking farewell of her child. She is afraid to let her travel, on account of her delicacy. She will be away for a month or thereabouts.

I hope your Majesty will condescend to grant the request which I have already preferred, and order my half-year’s salary to be paid to Don Rodolph Khuen,61 Master of Horse to your Majesty, in order that I may pay off my creditors, and have something in hand.

Paris, April 1, 1575.


Finding that Count Nogarola was on the point of returning to Vienna, I felt I must send a letter to your Majesty, although the Queen’s business is still on hand, and I am expecting every day to have it settled. I shall reserve my account of this matter, and send it by Peter the courier. Peter arrived here on the 15th of last month, and gave me a letter from your Majesty. On learning your Majesty’s instructions, I demanded an audience of the King, but he was so much engaged in the negotiations for peace that he was unable to see 59me, and referred me to the Queen Mother and the young Queen. By the King’s orders, I went first to the Queen Mother. On my laying before her your Majesty’s request, and delivering your letter, she, as usual, spoke of the great regard she entertained towards your Majesty, mentioning the deep obligation under which she had been laid by your Majesty’s attentions to her son the King. She inquired after your Majesty’s health, asked where your Majesty was, and whether you would shortly pay a visit to Frankfort. I made suitable answers, and then began to ask for her support in the Queen’s business.

Whilst we were thus engaged, the young Queen (Louise de Vaudemont) entered the room, and I took the opportunity of offering her your Majesty’s congratulations (on her marriage). She sent her most humble thanks to your Majesty, and made offer of her services to the Queen with many expressions of regard.

After this the Queens gave me leave to go, and two days later I had an interview with the King. When I had laid before him your Majesty’s message, he replied that he on his part would always be glad to be informed of your Majesty’s views. He had married, he said, in order to promote the interests of his subjects and gratify their wishes. One of his inducements, he added, for allying himself with the House of Lorraine was its connection with your Majesty.62 For the rest, he placed his services heartily at your Majesty’s disposal, and concluded by asking me to let him know when I intended sending back the courier, as he wished him to take his answer to your Majesty’s letter. When I mentioned the Queen’s business, he begged me to have patience a little longer, till the negotiations which were now going on should be concluded. He would 60then place the matter in the hands of his Council, and would himself do everything in his power for the Queen.

The peace negotiations which the King alluded to have occupied his attention for some time past, and I hardly yet know what the result will be.

Everyone is anxious for peace, specially the King, but the terms offered by the insurgents are very hard, as your Majesty will see from the paper I enclose.

The extravagant nature of their demands will, in my opinion, make it difficult for the King to grant them. The delegates will shortly be sent back to their friends with the King’s answer, and are to return with their reply on St. John’s Day (June 24). Meanwhile there seems to be a good prospect of peace; everyone is anxious for it, and so everyone assumes that it is certain.

Well, I am afraid it will be easier to make peace than to keep it, and also I am apprehensive that peace for the French means trouble for their neighbours, for nothing would so calm the atmosphere in another quarter (the Netherlands) as a tremendous storm in France.

Frenchmen cannot keep quiet, and many years of war have made them more restless than ever; consequently it is a matter of the first importance to France that her adventurous spirits should find a field of action elsewhere instead of fastening on her own vitals.

Peace has been concluded between the King and the Queen of England, on the same terms as before.

The Ambassador who returned from England brings back a story of a joke the English Queen (Elizabeth) made at his first audience.

She at once asked whether the King was married. He replied in the affirmative, and began telling her61 who the new Queen was. Her Majesty broke in—‘Yes, exactly; that was the first clause in the Cardinal’s will. Dear me, what an unlucky woman I am! What is to be my fate? I had counted on marrying the Cardinal, and now I have only one hope left—perhaps the Pope will consent to take me as his wife!’

About the 17th of last month the King’s ambassadors, Bellegarde63 and Pibrac, set out from Paris; the former was to go by way of Venice, and your friend through Germany and Bohemia—at least he told me so.

There are, I believe, financial reasons for Bellegarde’s détour, as they have promised to send 200,000 crowns to Poland, and it would be easier to draw blood from a stone than to make up such a sum just now in France. They are said to be sending to the Pope at Rome, the Duke of Savoy at Turin, and also to the Venetians, to raise funds; they are supposed to be thinking of selling the marquisate of Saluzzo for 400,000 crowns, or at any rate, pawning it; but I suspect they will get more in the way of promises than in the way of cash, and will carry into Poland plenty of golden words, but very few golden coins. I think also 62that the Ambassadors are intentionally lingering on the road, in order that the Diet may be opened before they come. They will thus be able to gain some idea of how matters are likely to go; and, if they find that their case is hopeless, they will not have the disgrace of being defeated through their own shortcomings, or lack of funds. Again, if the prospect seems hopeful, and the Diet waits for them, they will be able to employ the interval in sending agents before them to prepare the way, and despatching letters full of fine promises, which, with such aid as the lapse of time will afford, may be expected so to soothe people’s minds as to render the avoiding of the threatened Diet and election (of a new King for Poland) a matter of no great difficulty. I give this as my own explanation.

As I was penning these lines, news came that Pibrac had been waylaid in the territory of Montbéliard,64 which belongs to the Duke of Würtemberg, by some French exiles. They killed two of his party, and took prisoner the Ambassador himself. The governor of Montbéliard came to the rescue, the neighbourhood was roused, and Pibrac thus regained his 63liberty; but he was in great danger, and lost his plate and his money—some 7,000 or 8,000 crowns in all. The King was greatly disturbed at the news, but when he heard that Pibrac had escaped to Montbéliard, he gave him supplies of money and a fresh equipment, telling him to go to Soleure, in Switzerland, and there obtain what was needful. This shows that the King has by no means given up his hopes of Poland.

If I mistake not, I have before this mentioned to your Majesty that agents had been sent to Sweden to procure a picture of the King of Sweden’s daughter.65 The picture has now come. Strange to say, it greatly resembles the new Queen in height, complexion, and features; the resemblance is increased by her having been taken in a French dress.

I must not forget to add that a number of ambassadors have come from Switzerland to take part in the negotiations for peace as mediators.

It is supposed that Vaudemont, the King’s father-in-law, will also offer his services as peacemaker. He is expected here in the course of a few days with the Duke of Lorraine. The reason of his coming, however, is not connected with the negotiations for 64peace, but with a wedding, the Marquis of Nomeny, Vaudemont’s son, being about to marry the wealthy daughter of Sebastian de Luxembourg, the Vicomte de Martigues.66

May it please your Majesty, Ilsing67 has just sent word that of the 8,000 crowns required for the Queen’s service he has not been able to raise one farthing at Augsburg by pledging his own credit or that of the Ballers, and that he has therefore written to your Majesty to inquire whether there is any merchant about the Court who would, on their security, place that amount to the Queen’s credit at Lyons. I am expecting an answer from your Majesty on this matter.

The Queen is naturally and justifiably anxious to see her daughter before leaving France. She has been ready to go to her since Easter, but has been stopped by want of funds, and will be kept waiting still longer unless they are provided, so that I am beginning to fear that she will have to leave without seeing her child, to her great sorrow. But this is not the only point to be considered, for the Queen may have many other calls upon her purse, so that it is of the greatest importance that she should be supplied with money, if she is to maintain her position, live in comfort, and 65take advantage of such openings as may occur. I hope it will not be long before I have more certain tidings to give your Majesty with regard to the dower, and I will then write at length by Peter the courier.

Paris, May 15, 1575.

I heard to-day that some one said he would lend the Queen 10,000 crowns, to be recouped out of her revenues. If this be so, and the money can be obtained at a reasonable interest, I think the Queen will accept his offer, since our business may any day take such a turn as to render the possession of money indispensable, if we are not to be exposed to delay and loss. For instance, it is essential to have a valuation made of the revenues of the places offered to the Queen, in order to make sure that they are not passed off for more than they are worth. Now, this valuation will cost not less than 300 or 400 crowns, and so without this sum we cannot conclude the negotiations. Again, I have had notice that the King refuses to provide for the Queen’s expenses after the Feast of St. John (June 24), and wishes her to live at her own charges from her own revenues, and I am afraid of their pressing the matter in such a manner as to render refusal impossible. For we must admit that the King, when surrounded with difficulties himself, has done his utmost for the Queen. It is now more than ten months since the salaries of the Queen’s household have been paid, and her people have received only paper cheques, or drafts. How many of these are ever likely to be paid, God only knows! The Queen’s servants are so utterly destitute of money that they have often had to undergo a hardship quite without precedent. On some days there were not funds in the palace to provide the table of the nobles and courtiers, and those66 who did not care to fast had to procure their own dinner.

Those who understand the arrangements of the Queen’s household declare that it would be to the advantage of the Queen and her household for her to live at her own charges, instead of being hampered with the present arrangement. Bellegarde, the other royal ambassador, who was to go through Italy, is said to have fallen sick.


[A business letter with reference to the dower, and therefore omitted. It is dated June 1575.]


[Another business letter. It is dated June 1575. To it is attached the following postscript.]

News has lately come to Paris that Mademoiselle de Bourbon,68 daughter of the Duke of Montpensier, who ran away from the nunnery of which she was abbess, and took refuge in Germany, has married the Prince of Orange; the report finds credit everywhere.



I sent quite lately, by Peter the courier, such statements as seemed necessary, and I think my despatches must have already reached your Majesty.

I now write by order of the Queen.

To-day she summoned me into her presence and told me she was quite certain from the present aspect of affairs, and specially from the greater severity with which Montmorency was guarded, and the circumstance that the King was levying troops, that there was every prospect of war, and of all the confusion that must necessarily follow in its train.

She instructed me to write to your Majesty, and urge this additional reason for expediting her journey home. She says she has borne her position patiently as long as she could, but she foresees that it will soon become intolerable. I told the Queen that I would humbly obey her orders, although I felt sure that your Majesty, after reading my last despatches, would do all that was possible towards forwarding her return, and that on this account my letter would be unnecessary.

Having informed your Majesty of my conversation with the Queen, I consider I have executed her commands, and do not think any petition or prayer necessary on my part, in order to induce your Majesty to accede to the natural desire of your most loving daughter.

If we can trust the news we hear, war is already at our gates, and a war which holds out no prospect of relief, but, on the contrary, will aggravate the misfortunes and miseries of France; this is saying a great deal, for the country is already in so bad a state that to make it worse seemed a downright impossibility.


But if the report be true that Condé and the other exiles will bring strong forces to the support of their friends, there are no bounds to the mischief that will ensue; in that case the existence of the present régime will hang on a thread, and be in the utmost danger; for then the contest will be, not as to whose opinion shall have weight in council, or who shall stand first in honour and rank, or who shall administer the affairs of the kingdom, but simply who shall wear the crown.

If the King should gain the day, it is easy to see that he will stand upon his rights, and punish the rebels as traitors; while, if the other party should prove victorious, they will bring the King to trial for his tyrannical conduct. He must expect no mercy or forgiveness; he has often tried issues with them, and still oftener broken his word, until at last none will believe it. It is to be feared also that the flames of civil war are likely to spread over a wider area than existing appearances would seem to indicate; for there are many who smother their grievances at present, though they are disgusted with the treatment they have themselves received and the miserable condition of the country, and these, it is to be apprehended, will flock to Condé’s standard. The voice of the country is undoubtedly on his side, as all are dissatisfied with the manner in which the government is at present conducted.

The case of Montmorency, to which I have alluded, stands thus. His prospects (of regaining his liberty) appeared to be good, and he was being treated with much more indulgence than before, when tidings came of his brother, Damville69; then all of a sudden there 69was a complete change, and the prison rules were made much stricter: by the King’s orders all his servants were removed, and, though seriously ill, he was not allowed to keep so much as his physician or his cook, new servants being appointed by the King. This alteration in his treatment has caused the greatest alarm to his mother and other relatives, for they think that this is a first step towards taking him off by poison.

The King is so sure of Damville’s being dead that he has already given away every one of his offices and commands. He is supposed to have died of the plague fever on the last day of last month.

His friends refuse to regard him as dead and console themselves with a vague hope that he is still alive.

I trust that no delay or difficulty will arise with regard to the Queen’s journey; still, if it had not been finally settled otherwise, I am not sure that the route by the Netherlands would not be the most convenient. 70In any case, that road will always be open to her, should the others be blocked. But your Majesty will decide what is best.

The Portuguese ambassador has arrived and called yesterday on the Queen. The King was indisposed, but is now better.

Paris, June 13, 1575.70


The Duke of Lorraine and Vaudemont are, they say, expected here in the course of two or three days.

The tedious and difficult negotiations about peace have kept Paris in suspense for a long time. The following appears to be the result: the deputies from the insurgents have not been able to carry all their points, and the King, on his part, has not succeeded in inducing them to accept his terms. They have therefore agreed upon a compromise, the clauses of which are to be referred to Condé, Damville, and the confederate towns: should they accept them, peace will be declared; in the other case, war will be resumed. But it will be much easier to declare war than to carry it on, as France is terribly reduced, and the King himself is in the greatest straits for want of money.

The religious question, which in the Netherlands is the only obstacle to peace, has not been considered here as a matter of paramount importance, and the King has made no difficulty about granting liberty of conscience; there were other points which were more difficult for him to digest—to wit, that the rebels should have possession of two cities in each province, in addition to those which they now hold, as places of refuge 71in time of trouble. They demand also that members of their party should be admitted into the Parliaments, and that the King should pay the wages of the German reiters who have taken service with them; and, again, that the States-General be convened. If this last should be granted, the Queen Mother will be in great danger of losing her authority. There are some other points, which your Majesty will learn from the enclosed paper.

Never did France so hunger after peace; never was the country so unanimous in desiring it. On other occasions it has been sometimes the Order of the Clergy and sometimes the Order of the People, which has been averse to a pacification; now all exclaim with one voice that war means ruin. But the peace, I suspect, will not last long,71 since it has been obtained by compulsion, and granted by necessity.

Moreover, I have observed that the authority of the Crown has marvellously declined; men have shaken off their respect for the King’s name, and are like horses who have got rid of their traces and fairly bolted. The revolutionary spirit is rampant; some people are extremely unpopular; feuds among the chiefs run high—these feuds are of old standing and cemented with the blood of slaughtered kinsmen; to settle and arrange such differences would require much trouble, ample time, and infinite tact. I see that some people in a high position think that it would be to the advan72tage of France if certain illustrious gentlemen were to quit the country, and all the nobles who wish for war were to find a field abroad, thereby relieving their country of anxiety and trouble. From all this we may safely conclude that quiet in France (if quiet be possible!) means a great disturbance in the atmosphere elsewhere. On this ground some—not without reason, perhaps—remember with regret, how useful Milan72 was as a training-school for the education of young French soldiers, and also as a means of letting out, without injury to the rest of the body, that bad blood of which France has such store.

The nation desires Condé to be appointed to lead a force into the Netherlands to the assistance of Orange, for it is thought that it will be no small gain to France if he is sent beyond the borders. Condé is himself possessed of considerable resources, and will be well supported by his party, who wish to see him famous and great; they will the more readily fall in with this plan because it will remove him from the scene of danger and place him where he will be safe under the shadow of that great Prince (Orange).

Meanwhile the Royalists will rejoice at this opportunity of delivering France from a troublesome and restless crew, and congratulate themselves that the quarrel is to be fought out in the Netherlands instead of France.

I must explain that nothing is so hateful to your French gentleman as quiet and repose. He would rather be rolling the stone of Sisyphus than keep still; 73he is for ever hunting after an enterprise; he would fain do something great; if that something be honourable, all the better, but if there be difficulty on that score, he is not particular; so long as it affords a field for the display of courage and skill, and is thought dashing, the question whether it is right or wrong is absolutely immaterial. These are the ideas which nature has planted in him, and example confirmed, while long years of lawlessness and licence have made their practice a habit.

Hugo de Blot, the Netherlander, is anxious to enter your Majesty’s service; as no better post is to be had, he has applied for the comparatively humble position of librarian. He has asked me to recommend him.

I am fully aware how little weight my word can be expected to carry, feeling as I do that I have need to be recommended myself instead of recommending others; still I trust your Majesty will not be offended at my mentioning the subject. I know De Blot to be both a good scholar and an honest man; there are, however, two people who will be able to give most positive testimony as to his character—Bishop Listhius73 and Lazarus Schwendi,74 for they both selected him to 74take care of their boys—he was their tutor for several years in Italy—and if they judged him fit to take care of their boys (liberos) I conclude he is quite fit to take care of your Majesty’s books (libros).

I do not wish to press the matter further. I have now given my testimony on behalf of an excellent gentleman, and at the same time I feel I have done my duty to your Majesty in introducing to your notice a man who will fill the post admirably. Your Majesty will now come to a decision as to the appointment, and of the wisdom of that decision, whatever it may be, I entertain not the slightest doubt.75

The Spanish Ambassador told me that the Duke of Medina de Rio Sicco is coming hither from his Sovereign to congratulate the King of France on his marriage. An ambassador is also coming from Portugal on the same errand: I believe he has been six months on the road, although he arrived a few days ago at Nantes, a town in Brittany.

The King is suffering from influenza, but is not supposed to be in any danger. There was a report quite lately that the Duke of Savoy had taken Savona, but it is not believed to be true. As to Jorneton, of whom your Majesty writes in the letter dated May 2, your Majesty’s orders shall be obeyed.

Madame de Montmorency, formerly wife of the Con75stable of France, who was then in such high estate, is now in great misery and affliction on account of her sons; she has earnestly besought the Queen to procure letters from your Majesty to the King of France, asking him to release her son, the Maréchal de Montmorency, from his long imprisonment. The Queen has given me instructions to write to your Majesty about this business. I should have had some hesitation in complying with her wishes, if any ground still existed for the dreadful suspicions which were at first entertained with regard to his case; but facts have now transpired which tend to show that these suspicions rested on little or no foundation, and people are beginning to take a juster view; indeed, the Queen Mother could not be kept from visiting Montmorency, and chatted with him for some time. Under these circumstances, I feel that I cannot do wrong in obeying the Queen’s orders, and that your Majesty might write to the King on the subject of Montmorency’s release in perfect confidence that such a suggestion will not be taken amiss in any quarter. Undoubtedly this great and honoured lady (Madame de Montmorency) has shown the utmost kindness and attention to the Queen during the whole of her residence in France; she has never failed to support her in every way, and on her assistance, advice, and loyalty the Queen has been always able to reckon; such services may well claim your Majesty’s kind consideration, and this is a good opportunity of manifesting your gratitude.

By adopting the course which I venture to suggest, your Majesty will not only gratify the Queen, but will also lay the whole House of Montmorency—which now, indeed, is brought low, but must one day rise again—under an obligation so great that it can never be forgotten.

Paris, June 7, 1575.



Not long ago I called upon the King of Portugal’s Ambassador, and a few days later he returned my call. I had a conversation with him which is perhaps of no great importance, but it is as well that your Majesty should hear of it.

He spoke of the Queen in the highest terms, and then let fall some words of regret at the bereavement she had undergone. Her husband, he remarked, had died in the flower of life, and she was very young to be a widow. On my replying that it was God’s will, and we must accept His decrees without murmuring, the Ambassador interrupted me with a remark that the Queen would have great difficulty in finding a second husband of such rank as would justify her in marrying him, seeing that her first husband had been a very great and powerful King.

Hereon I remarked that it was by no means an unusual thing for the queens of great kings, on the death of their husbands, to marry potentates of inferior rank, and sometimes to take even dukes as their husbands. I was able to quote, as an instance, Mary, the sister of Henry VIII., King of England, who on the death of her first husband, Louis XII., King of France, was, at her brother’s desire, married in England to the Duke of Suffolk. ‘Still,’ said the Ambassador, ‘if I am any judge of looks, she is too proud to marry anyone lower in rank than her first husband.’ Thereon I replied, that I had good reason to know that any idea of a second marriage was most distasteful to the Queen, who cherished in her heart the memory of the husband she had lost, but never could forget. Still, I observed, she was a lady of great judgment and discretion, one77 who would, I was sure, always be willing to take her parents’ advice and submit to their wishes. The Ambassador expressed his appreciation of such discretion, and we proceeded to discuss other topics, coming back at last to the old subject, and talking of the connection between the Houses of Austria and Portugal, which dates from the time of the Emperor Frederic.76 He concluded his remarks by saying that he hoped to see the old alliance renewed by another marriage between the two Houses.

By the way, I must not forget to say that just before this he had been expressing his regret at the Queen’s leaving France, and going so far away.

Whatever may be the meaning of his observations, I see no reason for hiding them from your Majesty.

As to the other matters, Damville,77 who was lately reported as dead, appears to have come to life again; the prayers of his friends have had more weight than those of his enemies; but, after all, it is a very common thing in France for people to accept idle rumours as established facts, without suspending their judgment or giving themselves time to ascertain the truth. It is quite certain that he was very ill, and some declare that his symptoms indicated poison. Montmorency is now more gently dealt with, and receives the same treatment as he did before the rigour of his confinement was increased.

The delegates of the insurgents are expected here in the course of a few days, with the answer of their party as to peace or war. Endless people have endless reasons to give for expecting that the answer will be favourable. For my own part, I should be sorry to 78express an opinion one way or the other; indeed, so many changes take place, and so many rumours are about, that I should not like to pledge myself for anything I had not seen with my own eyes. Meanwhile war is going on, but it does not seem to promise any decisive result calculated to affect the issue of the struggle. Insignificant towns and places are daily lost or recaptured, and the most important news we have had this long while is of a severe defeat the Swiss received the other day in Dauphiny,78 some companies being completely annihilated.

The Queen is quite well, but cannot help fretting at the delay. She longs to return home; she is also yearning to see her daughter; her wish, however, cannot be gratified, as she has not funds for the journey; indeed, she is so poor that meals are no longer served at any table save that at which the Queen herself sits. Rations of bread and wine are issued to the rest of her people, and with this they have to content themselves as best they may.

Paris, July 7, 1575.

If the King of Portugal wishes for the marriage, and your Majesty is disposed to consent, advantage might be taken of the opportunity now afforded of sending the Queen straight from Paris to Portugal without much expense.

I see our friends in France have not yet given up all hope with regard to their claims on Poland, for they are said to be sending thither 200,000 crowns, 79which they have borrowed from the Duke of Savoy. He has received the marquisate of Saluzzo as security for his advances. Pibrac, too, it is supposed, will be able to do some good by visiting the Palatines79 one by one, and making an appeal to them in the King’s name.


It is not long since I gave your Majesty an account of my conversation with the Portuguese Ambassador, to be taken for whatever it might be worth. I have nothing of much importance to add, except that, a few days after the letter was despatched, the Queen was threatened with an illness. Fever was apprehended, and there were some premonitory symptoms, but they passed off without developing into anything serious. Her physicians attributed the illness to grief and trouble of mind. She is much distressed at the long postponement of her visit to Amboise, on which she had set her heart, and also, I imagine, at her detention in France, from which she has long been panting to fly. I hope to find on the arrival of the next courier, that your Majesty has made such arrangements as will relieve the Queen’s anxiety.

As for other news, the condition of things here is unchanged, except that Montbrun is said to have been taken prisoner. After cutting to pieces some companies of Swiss, as I mentioned in a former letter, he shortly afterwards found himself in the presence of a concentration of Royal troops. Charging them with more courage than discretion, he advanced too far, could not cut his way back, and, after receiving several 80wounds, was taken prisoner. This event caused great joy here, as of all the men in arms against the King none was considered more determined than Montbrun. When all the rest of the party were stunned by the slaughter of the King’s enemies on Saint Bartholomew’s day, he came forward as the most valiant champion of the cause; his was the first sword that was unsheathed, and his the example that roused others to action. Some think he will be brought to Paris. If so, his doom, I fear, is sealed; he is too brave to be forgiven; well for him if his wounds prove mortal, so that he may die a soldier’s death. But he is not altogether unavenged, for the Royalists were severely handled in the skirmish in which he was taken prisoner.80

On Tuesday the marriage of the Marquis de Nomeny was celebrated, in the presence of Vaudemont, his father, and the Duke of Lorraine, his kinsman. 81There were amusements of various kinds, and a magnificent entertainment. None of the Princes were at the banquet, not even Alençon, the King’s brother, who came only to the ball, and his sister did not go even to that.81 I must not forget to mention that, when the Guises wished to have the honour of serving the King, the sons of the late Prince de Condé quietly slipped in, and anticipated them. It is not the first prize they have taken from them. It is strange that Frenchmen cannot find a more honourable field for rivalry.

People would fain believe that there are good hopes of the peace negotiations succeeding. The King, however, they say, after Montbrun was taken prisoner, ordered 1,000 fresh cavalry to be raised. Why he has done so, I cannot say, but I am quite certain of one thing, that, if peace is made, it will not be because he wishes for it, but because he cannot help himself.

Paris, July 16, 1575.


A gentleman lately returned from Poland has assured the King (and, for the matter of that, people here are not scrupulous as to what they assert) that he had induced the Poles to agree to accept a Viceroy during the King’s absence. Pibrac’s letters, however, told a different story; he says there are two policies by which the crown of Poland may be kept: if the King will go 82there himself, there is a certainty of success; and if he will send 200,000 crowns, there is a chance of it. The last plan will probably be tried.

The Portuguese Ambassador has taken a house, and is expected to remain here for some time. One of his suite has been sent to the King of Portugal, and is likely to return shortly with an answer. Some people fancy that his mission concerns your Majesty’s daughter.

It is now nearly six weeks since the courier left, and our friends here keep asking when he will return, as they want to finish the business and relieve themselves of the burden of maintaining the Queen. There is a notion that it will be to her advantage if her affairs are placed under the protection of a Prince or some prominent man; the Duc de Nevers82 is mentioned for the office, which he would readily, I fancy, volunteer to take. But a serious drawback to such an arrangement is that it would probably excite the Queen Mother’s jealousy; she would not like the notion of the Queen being placed under the guardianship of anyone but herself. I think, therefore, that any application to the Duke should be made privately; a secret understanding would be best, but as to its remaining secret, I am doubtful. The Comte de Retz, one of the Marshals of France, has been most kind in labouring to promote 83the Queen’s interests; he has called on me at my lodgings about her business.

As regards myself, your Majesty will be graciously pleased to come to some decision. For my own part, I think the best course your Majesty can adopt will be to consider me a useless old soldier who has earned his discharge, and to treat me accordingly. Still, I am inclined to think it would not be amiss for some one to remain here for a time. For the people who managed the property of former Queens tell me that many things happened after their departure which required the presence of a good man of business on the spot; while Queen Leonora83 was three years out of France before the final settlement of her affairs, which was impeded by various obstacles, could be satisfactorily effected. I trust, of course, we shall profit by the experience of other Queens, and so take measures to meet many difficulties beforehand. Still, when you have a shifty and tricky nation to deal with, it is impossible to foresee every contingency, and emergencies may often occur requiring the intervention of a faithful servant. The Queen will have worthy gentlemen in France, namely, her Chancellor, her Councillors, her Secretaries, her Procureurs, and her Advocates, all of whom are zealous for her interests, and to their discretion much, I think, may be safely trusted.

At my request on a former occasion, your Majesty sent me credentials, which were dated, I believe, in February; I have not presented them yet, because I thought it would be for the Queen’s interest if I said I had no power to settle anything finally, for under these circumstances they would be more careful as to what they offered, as they could easily understand it would be useless to expect your Majesty to accept anything 84that was not fair. I should now be glad to have a fresh copy of those credentials, as they may prove necessary.

I wrote from Lyons asking your Majesty to send some watches as presents for friends who have ere now done us good service, and whose assistance we may need again. I feel I should be wanting in my duty to your Majesty, if I did not renew my request. One might as well try to make bricks without straw as to conduct affairs of this kind without presents.

We had some hopes of obtaining 10,000 crowns in Paris, but were disappointed; there is nothing coming in from our friends here, so we are often at a loss for want of funds. I therefore implore your Majesty to give this matter your serious consideration, for we have no hope of bringing back any sum worth mentioning—indeed, I doubt if we shall have enough for the journey.

I spoke to the King and the Queen Mother, and they assured me that they would see the Queen was escorted to the German frontier in the most honourable manner. Your Majesty, in return, will be graciously pleased to inform us at the earliest moment to what place you wish the Queen to be escorted by her French suite, where I trust such preparations will be made as will show the French escort that your Majesty is not indifferent to that which concerns the Queen’s honour. It will be well, too, that the noble ladies and maidens attending her from motives of duty or affection should feel that they have been well treated, for they are sure on their return to talk about their reception. The Queen has been long intending to go to Amboise; she is naturally anxious to see her daughter before leaving France, but her wish is still unaccomplished, owing to her want of funds. When this difficulty is removed85 she will start on her journey. I think she will be away twenty-four or twenty-five days.

On the 23rd of last month a courier arrived with despatches from your Majesty, from which I learnt your Majesty’s views as to the course to be pursued with regard to the two proposals made by the King. By the Queen’s desire the matter was considered by her Council. Her wisest advisers thought we ought to accept that proposal which offered the best security, and at the same time tended most to her honour, following herein the principle adopted by steady fathers of families, who make it a rule to prefer good security to high interest. For, after all, the proposal we have rejected would inevitably have left a large portion of the Queen’s income subject to various contingencies and dependent on another’s pleasure. True, it would have been illegal to wrong the Queen, but, in the present state of France, people think more of what they must do than of what they ought to do. The Bishop of Paris, indeed, continued of the same opinion, but his opposition appeared to proceed more from prejudice than reason.

When this was settled, I went to the King and Queen, and having saluted them in the name of your Majesty, whose letter I presented, I said that your Majesty had hoped that the marriage contracts would have been adhered to and fully carried out, but that, as you understood from Monsieur de Vulcob,84 who was at your Court, as well as from my despatches, in what trouble and difficulty France was involved, you did not wish to press the point, and had frankly accepted the King’s proposals, in the hope that he would perform his promises in a liberal spirit, so as to compensate the Queen in some measure for the rights she had 86abandoned. I said, further, that it was by your Majesty’s advice that the Queen had chosen the proposal which offered the larger settlement on Crown lands, as being the nearest to the tenor of the marriage contract. Both replied in the most gracious terms. Among other remarks the King made in speaking of his goodwill to your Majesty, he declared that he knew your Majesty’s fatherly affection for him from your having, when he was at Vienna, given him such excellent advice, telling him to prefer mercy to severity, and to choose peace rather than war. With these views, he said, he quite coincided, but remarked that Kings were not always allowed to have their own way. As to the Queen’s departure, he said, he owed so much to your Majesty, and France so much to the Queen, that it was alike his duty and his pleasure to do everything he could for her. If needful, he would provide for her escort, not merely as far as Nancy, but whithersoever your Majesty might wish. As, however, your Majesty had chosen Nancy, he would take care that she should be escorted thither in the most honourable manner at the date appointed.

As for Montmorency, the King replied that he had offered to stand his trial and prove his innocence; that he might be able to do so was his earnest hope and wish. But if, unhappily, Montmorency should be found guilty, he would be compelled to act solely with a view to the interests of his realm, and he thought your Majesty in his position would do the same. Otherwise, he would most gladly do whatever he could to oblige your Majesty.

I concluded by asking that arbitrators might be appointed, according to precedent, to make a valuation of the Crown lands in the provinces which he was assigning to the Queen. He agreed to do so, but87 asked me, as he was ignorant of such business, either to put my request in writing or to see the Chancellor and Councillors about it. And so I left the King.

I was much gratified during my interview with the Chancellor at the warm terms in which he spoke of your Majesty’s kindness to him when he went to Vienna, and the great affection he professed for the Queen. However, he appeared much surprised at our decision with regard to the two proposals. De Morvilliers also expressed astonishment, which has made me feel rather suspicious of the whole business, as I think there is something in the proposal we have accepted by which we shall lose and the King gain; for hitherto I have found them anything but generous, refusing to make the smallest concession to the Queen, or the smallest sacrifice on behalf of the King.

As to the state of the kingdom, there is but little difference since I wrote last. The King has just now assembled a body, which I can only describe as a shadow of the States-General. He nominated six persons from each province and city, choosing those on whose support he thought he could best reckon, the clergy, the noblesse, and the people being each represented by two members. He laid before these mock States-General the miseries of the country, and the emptiness of the treasury, and then proceeded to ask for a subsidy. After the Orders of the clergy and the noblesse had given fairly satisfactory answers, the representatives of the popular Order said ‘that they would inform their friends of the King’s request, and would bring back whatever answer the community at large might decide to give. They could not do more, as they had not been summoned to deliberate, but simply to learn the wishes of the King.’ As the latter was much dissatisfied with such a reply, they were at last88 induced to agree that every man should pay to the King the price of one day’s food, and it is supposed that in so great a country as France this will produce a very considerable sum. They made this promise, however, only conditionally, and subject to its ratification by their fellows. All who spoke endeavoured to impress upon the King that, if he did not conclude peace, ruin was inevitable.

As regards the prospect of peace, matters are so complicated and uncertain that it is difficult to judge. There are strong reasons for desiring it: the country is in a most miserable state, the war is most unpopular, money is scarce, revolution is raising her head; but again there are difficulties in the way: the terms offered are hard, there are old grudges on either side, the King’s word commands no confidence, the party in power has lost its authority, and royalty its prestige. Which way the scale will turn it is not easy to tell. Meanwhile there is no break in the war; they are fighting more fiercely than ever. The King has lately ordered his troops to burn all the crops in Languedoc within their reach, causing thereby as much loss to the loyalists as to his enemies. There is also a report that the King has raised new levies of cavalry, and that Condé is coming with an army. Some of his party tried a few days ago to surprise certain towns, among which were Poitiers, Compiègne, Amiens, and Besançon. From these attempts it is thought in Paris that peace is probable. As it was agreed that each party should retain what they actually held at the termination of the war, this condition is supposed to be the motive for these attempts. Further, however much inclined for peace the King and Condé may be, still people think that neither will treat except sword in hand. As to the credit to be attached to89 these reports, I am by no means certain, but I think I can answer for one thing, that, if they make peace between themselves, they will attack their neighbours, in order to give an outlet to all those uneasy spirits who if left at home would be a danger to the State. Genoa seems convenient for this purpose, and perhaps the Netherlands also; at any rate, one hears already of speeches made by certain Princes, who say that, if the King gives permission, they will go to the assistance of Genoa with 1,500 gentlemen. The journeys of the Fregosi85 and the Biragues to and from Italy, and the unusually frequent conferences between the Papal Legate and the King, make many people suspect that something is brewing. Of the rebel delegates who were expected with an answer about peace, some have come back already, and the others are said to be on the road, and are expected shortly—among them Beauvois de la Nocle,86 who is sent back by Condé. If this be so, the issue of the negotiations will ere long be known for certain.

As for the affairs of the Netherlands, I do not doubt your Majesty is fully informed of everything. They do not, therefore, properly come within my pro90vince; still there will be no harm in sending the following particulars. After the taking of Buren87 the persons appointed by the two parties separated without effecting anything or even concluding an armistice. The Royalists hope to finish the war by force of arms, and are therefore prosecuting it vigorously by land; they are also fitting out a fleet once more. Their chances of speedy success will be considerably increased by their obtaining a supply of small galleys, which are independent of winds and tides. By means of such boats Mondragon88 has ferried his troops over to some islands, and intends to occupy others as opportunities occur, his design being thus to cut off Zealand from Holland, and prevent them from helping each other. However successful the Royalists may be, it will be a long business, and who can tell what may happen in the interval to create fresh difficulties for them? Of this much there is no doubt: Orange has openly declared that, if he finds himself beaten, he will, as a last resource, enter into negotiations with England or France or some other power, and place a foreign Sovereign in possession.89 In spite of this clear declaration of his intentions, there are people who are 91so confident in the present state of affairs that they take no thought for the future. Three days ago, they say, a gentleman came to Paris from the Governor of the Netherlands to ask the Duke of Lorraine’s permission for the passage through his territories of some thousands of Spaniards and Italians, whom the King of Spain, it appears, is sending to the Netherlands. If this be so, there are misfortunes yet in store for that unhappy country.

The King, whose natural melancholy is increased by the troubles of the times, in order to divert his thoughts has instituted a club, the members of which take turns to invite him and the whole Court. At these entertainments there is much merry-making and dancing. The people grumble at these festivities; they think it wrong for the King to give himself up to revels, when the distress of the country is so great and so wide-spread, as if the miseries of France concerned him not, or there was nothing more he could do to alleviate them.

The day after your Majesty’s letter was presented to the King, Vaudemont paid a long visit to Montmorency; on leaving, he said that he had little doubt of his innocence, and would not hesitate, if bail were wanted, to be his surety. He afterwards repeated to several gentlemen his conversation with Montmorency. The latter had professed to him his entire innocence. There is no need to trouble your Majesty with an account of what passed.

There is a report current that the municipality of Paris was ready, out of love to the Queen, to defray the yearly expenses of herself and her household, if she would remain here. The proposal, they say, was not actually made, because they were afraid that, if the Queen refused, the King on hearing of it would92 lay claim to the money and employ it for his own private purposes. Whether this story is founded on fact or not, there is no doubt that people are constantly saying that it will be a bad day for France when the Queen goes away.90

The King’s desire to retain the Crown of Poland will probably be a powerful motive for making peace, as his advisers consider his chances are hopeless if civil war continues in France. The Poles, they say, will never believe that anything is to be got out of people who have their hands so full at home; but if peace is made, they may be convinced that the money will be forthcoming, and that the King will some day return to Poland.

Your Frenchman will gratify his own desires regardless of the ruin and destruction he causes to others; all with whom the French have been concerned have been brought to ruin, or at any rate to the brink of it, and this, I fear, will be the fate of Poland and Genoa.

Paris, July, 1575.


No provision has as yet been made for the money required for the Queen’s service, in spite of my reiterated requests; not only were the former letters of no avail, but the orders of your Majesty’s Chamber, which were lately sent to Augsburg, have proved equally inefficacious. Accordingly, we have been fooled not twice, as the proverb says, but three or four times. Meanwhile the Queen requires ready money for many pur93poses, and we can think of no plan for defraying our necessary expenses without money, or for procuring it without damaging our character; consequently we are in great difficulties. I send your Majesty a list of ladies to whom special presents ought to be made at the Queen’s departure; they must be given, or she will be thought to have behaved unhandsomely. The list is long, and the expense will consequently be considerable. Again, as the Queen is not likely, when she leaves the country, to have a farthing remaining out of her French allowances, funds will be required for the expenses of her journey from Nancy to Ratisbon, which must be paid in ready money. It is hardly necessary for me to point out how closely the matter concerns the honour both of your Majesty and the Queen. As to the watches, about which I have received no answer, I again most humbly entreat your Majesty to send them. If we are left without the means of acknowledging the kindnesses we have received, your Majesty will hereafter find people disobliging when their assistance is needed. Matters occur every day in which the help of faithful friends is indispensable, and there can be no doubt that these little presents are of great use in securing such services. I feel so certain that I am right, that I venture once more to entreat your Majesty to send me three or four watches of the most elegant workmanship.

As regards your Majesty’s desire that I should remain in Paris, it is my duty to obey, though I feel myself almost too old for the work. I wish, however, to acquaint your Majesty with the fact that my expenses, including those of the five journeys I have made in the course of the last twelvemonth or so, will far exceed my ordinary salary. I received from Monsieur de Morvilliers 500 crowns on condition that94 they should be repaid to Monsieur de Vulcob at Vienna. I most humbly beseech your Majesty to give the necessary orders accordingly, and to charge the money to the account of my yearly salary.

The Queen, it appears, has still chances left her, and your Majesty will probably have plenty of aspirants to her hand, from whom you may choose a new son-in-law! Duke Eric of Brunswick91 has sent a gentleman hither with credentials, Doctor Joachim Gotzen, to offer the Queen a share in his bed and board. He likewise offers his portion of the Duchy of Brunswick, such as it is, and 100,000 crowns which he has in France, and undertakes that, if he dies without children, his dominions and the rest of his property shall go to the House of Austria. As the Doctor hinted and suggested instead of using plain language, the Queen could only make a guess at what he meant. When he pressed for an answer, she referred him to me. Accordingly he repeated his story to me, and asked me to get the Queen to give him an answer in person. I told him that her husband’s death had been a great shock, and that any suggestion of a second marriage, whoever the person might be, was most distasteful to her. An answer from herself was 95therefore out of the question. I added, that the Duke could write, if he pleased, to your Majesty, whose ward she had again become by her husband’s death, and that he would get an answer from you. I treated him throughout the conversation with all possible courtesy, and contrived to satisfy him with this reply, which he took back to his master. He only asked me that the matter might not go further; I promised it should remain a secret, and I also undertook at his request, should I ever fall in with the Duke, to bear witness to the care and loyalty with which he had discharged his commission. The letter was written from Aachen, and bore the following address, in the Duke’s own handwriting, as I think, ‘De V. R. Magd muy fiel y leal servidor hasta à la muerte, qui sus reales manos besa mas de cien mil vezes, El Duque Erico de Brunswicque y Lunenburg.’

If matters go on as they have begun, the Palace will be as full of dissension as the rest of France. Every day the discords between the Princes increase, even between those who ought to be most closely united by the ties of blood and kindred. Alençon cannot keep quiet: he is on the watch for an opportunity to upset the Government, and will probably end by attempting some notable coup d’état. Some suspect him of even aspiring to the throne. It is all the Queen Mother can do to keep him from throwing off his allegiance. Not that she wishes to humiliate him, for she is very fond of him, and anxious to advance his interests in every way. Possibly in this she has an eye to her own advantage, in order to gain Alençon’s protection against his brother’s power, in case her influence over the King should ever diminish. There is also no love lost between Alençon and the Duke of Guise. The former is supposed to have some secret96 understanding with the Huguenots, and people think that he was privy to the attempts recently made on a number of towns, in which some of his friends lost their lives. His confidant in all his designs is his sister, who is on bad terms with the King and the new Queen. For the matter of that, she does not stand well with her husband, the Duc de Vendôme; there are strange stories about her.

Paris, July, 1575.


On the 18th of this month the Queen started for Amboise. On her departure from Paris the King accompanied her to the gates of the city, and his brother, Vendôme, and Guise somewhat further, while the Duke of Lorraine with the Cardinal of Este, the Duc de Mayenne, the Duc d’Aumale, and the Marquis de Nomeny escorted her to the village92 where she dined. As I was sitting at table there with the Duke of Lorraine and the Cardinal of Este, each of them spoke much of their affection for your Majesty and the great honour that had been done them in being chosen, the one to escort the Queen on her journey, and the other to receive her as his guest. The Duke of Lorraine told me that in three or four days he was returning home to make the necessary preparations for the Queen’s arrival; he is also afraid of disturbances arising in his absence, there being a very general report in Paris that 2,000 German reiters are coming, who are to make their way in light marching order through Burgundy and Switzerland to join Damville, 97and that more will shortly follow, as 8,000 have been hired. This is the topic of general conversation, and the military preparations which the King has been making show that he regards the news as well-founded.

On the 24th of the same month we arrived at Amboise, where I saw your Majesty’s grand-daughter. The child is not yet quite three years old, is by no means bad looking, though more like her father than her mother, and is of a very merry disposition.93

The Queen intends to start for Nancy as soon as possible after her return to Paris, which she hopes will be about September 8. If it lay with me to decide, I should prefer her not remaining more than eight or ten days in Paris. Unfortunately this is not the case, 98so I can only do all in my power to hasten her departure.

Amboise, August 25, 1575.


As regards the affairs of this kingdom, I have not much to tell. The report that the German reiters are coming has made the Royalists rush to arms; hopes of peace, however, are not altogether abandoned. They seem to think they will make peace on more favourable terms if they are ready for war. The King, passing over his brother, who, according to precedent, was entitled to that office, has appointed Guise his Lieutenant and Commander-in-chief. He is now raising troops in the district of Langres. It is supposed, however, that they are neither very numerous nor trustworthy, and that there are many among them who would rather be vanquished than victorious. Although the war is only just beginning, money is already lacking to carry it on, and the King has had recourse to a forced loan from the Princes of his Court and the leading men of the kingdom. The Chancellor contributed 4,000 francs; Lansac, de Morvilliers, and several others, 3,000 a-piece; while the Constable—that is, the Duchess Dowager of Montmorency—was assessed at 6,000 francs, which are equivalent to 2,000 crowns. The sums so raised are said to amount to 100,000 crowns. Such are the straits to which France is reduced.

Attempts, they say, have been made by the rebels on several towns—Tours, Chartres, and many others—in which free use was made of Alençon’s name.99 Though matters have gone so far, commissioners from the rebels for the conclusion of peace are still expected in Paris. Besme, the German—who was the actual murderer of Admiral Coligny—on his way back from Spain, fell into the hands of the enemy, and is in great danger, but Guise leaves no stone unturned in order to liberate him.94 Montbrun’s wounds were such that recovery was impossible, but, anxious that he should not die, save by the hands of the executioner, they caused him to be beheaded at Grenoble. As the English Ambassador95 was suspected of having secret 100dealings with Alençon and others, the King has requested all the Ambassadors to quit their houses in the faubourgs and come into the city, where it will be easier to protect them; this, at least, is the reason assigned. The new Queen has had an attack of jaundice, but has been steadily improving for the last few days. As for other news, desperate atrocities are every day committed in Paris; murder and lust run riot together. Even into the King’s own ante-chamber they carry their brawls and quarrels, and come to blows when they are all but in his presence. No notice is taken of these outrages, and apparently they are not regarded as offences against the King.

I had got to this point in my letter a few days after the courier’s arrival in Paris, and hoped to send him back without delay, when news of great importance reached me, of which your Majesty must be informed. Alençon, the King’s brother, who is eager to upset the Government, and has long been on bad terms with his brother, has fled from Paris. Having arranged his plans some time before, he pretended on the evening of September 15 to be going to certain ladies, whom he had made a habit of visiting in order to throw the King off his guard. He drove there in a carriage with only two companions, one of whom he sent back to the Palace to see what the King and Queen Mother were doing; with the other he went into the house. But he was no sooner inside than he went out by a back door, got into another carriage, which was waiting for him, and drove off to a trysting-place not far away, where horses and companions were waiting for him.96 Others joined them on the road, so 101that before he reached Dreux, where he arrived in twenty-four hours, travelling without intermission, he had, it is believed, an escort of almost 200 men. Dreux is a county forming part of his appanage, not far from Normandy. He was admitted by the inhabitants, not so much from any affection towards him, as because they were taken by surprise, and not prepared to resist so strong a party.

Meanwhile, the gentleman whom he had sent back to the King returned to the house, and finding him gone brought the news to the King. The latter at first hoped he would return. But when time passed, and he did not appear, suspicion became certainty, and they knew that he had fled. Parties were despatched to bring him back, but all in vain; he had got some hours’ start of his pursuers and had lost no 102time on the road. Moreover, some of the King’s people had a hint that it might be dangerous to pursue the chase too far, for they found on the road the dead body of one of the Royal Guards, whose duty it was to patrol that district. The man had challenged Alençon, and asked who he was, and where he was going. His comrade—for there were two of them—would have shared his fate, but he had the presence of mind, when his horse was killed by a shot, to lie still and pretend to be dead. After this warning the pursuers gave up the chase. It would have been madness for them to continue it, as they knew he was strongly escorted, while they were mere stragglers hurrying along without any attempt at organisation, as naturally is the case in a sudden and extemporised pursuit. Alençon’s flight—or departure, as some may call it—has produced a deep impression on the King and the Queen Mother, as they foresee what a serious addition it will make to the other calamities of France.

The next day the King ordered Nevers to follow his brother with some regiments of cavalry to prevent the towns from revolting, and to protect them against assault. He has fixed his head-quarters at Chartres, probably in order to cut off Alençon from the Loire, and to prevent his penetrating into the country on the other side of that river, where he must retreat if he wishes to join his partisans. A few days afterwards the Queen Mother followed, in the hope of recalling him to his senses before he was utterly perverted by intercourse with rebels; but she was not allowed to see him. Indeed, her coming had the contrary effect, for Alençon, suspecting foul play, and thinking he had evidence of something of the kind, set out for the Loire with his followers by a circuitous route, in order to cross while it was still fordable by reason of the103 drought of last summer, and thus ensure his safety and facilitate his junction with the King’s opponents. Behind him came the Queen and Nevers—his mother and his foe. The latter would have attacked him whenever an opportunity presented itself, as was the case at his passage of the Loire, but was forbidden by the Queen. She was anxious to avoid an engagement as long as possible, for any bloodshed might make war inevitable. At last, after crossing the river, he granted an audience to his mother. She spoke, they say, with great ability, representing to him the disastrous condition of the country, and reminding him that the course he was taking would greatly aggravate existing evils; ‘he, who was the heir presumptive to the crown, ought to be the last man,’ she told him, ‘to split the kingdom in two.’ The result of the interview was that an armistice for a few days was arranged, to give time for the delegates of the different parties to assemble, and for peace negotiations to be opened.

Meanwhile, it was decided that Montmorency should be released from prison, on giving his parole not to leave Paris without the King’s permission. Alençon is also said to have demanded that certain very influential persons should be removed from Court. Among them the Chancellor is included, and some other councillors of the King, who, Alençon thinks, are hostile to himself and his party.

But his chief motive for running away, it is supposed, was a desire to escape from the degrading surveillance under which he was kept; he remembered that when his brother occupied the same position, he possessed unbounded influence and had the revenues of some of the richest provinces to support his rank, while he, on the other hand, was granted but trifling allowances, exercised no influence, and could scarcely104 call himself his own master.97 Charles IX. had appointed the present King his Lieutenant, and had entrusted him with the entire management of the war and with the government of the country; while he had been passed over in favour of Guise. It was not likely that a young Prince, eager for adventure and thirsting for war and glory, would patiently submit to such treatment. Hence he was induced to take this serious step, the consequences of which God only knows. There is an impression that the King had been warned by letters from several people of Alençon’s intentions, and had resolved to place him under closer surveillance, but the Prince escaped the day before the one on which he was to have been arrested.

On the 10th of this month news arrived here of the defeat of the German reiters by Guise. As they were marching into Berry to join Alençon, Guise came upon them at the passage of the Marne and routed the part that had crossed, their commander, Affenstein, being killed, and Monsieur de Clervant98 taken prisoner. Those who had not yet crossed were terrified by the disaster, and began to treat for a surrender. The King was consulted, and decided that their surrender should be accepted, on condition of their not serving against him for a year. They were left in possession of their horses, swords, and cuirasses, and the rest of their accoutrements, having to give up only their standards and fire-arms, and an escort was appointed to conduct them over the frontier. Thoré, the son of the Constable, and many Frenchmen besides, to the number of 200, who were with the 105Germans, crossed the river in the middle of the night, and so escaped safe and sound. The Germans accuse them of deserting them, while they retort on the Germans that, though the safety of the army depended on its speed, they could not be induced to leave their baggage behind to lighten them on their march, and declare that the disaster, in which they lost not only their baggage but everything else, was due to their wilfulness. They say that Guise during his pursuit of the Germans often had the chance of plundering this baggage-train, but that he was deterred by the advice of an experienced general, who said that it would delay their march, and finally compel them to fight at a disadvantage. Be that as it may, the disgrace of these troops is in my opinion greater than their actual loss. Our friends in Paris are much elated at their victory. The fate of the Frenchmen who escaped by their speed is uncertain, for there are plenty to pursue them. Guise, however, himself did not come out of the encounter scot free; he received a serious wound in the jaw from a musket ball, and was at first considered to be in great danger; the King, who loves him very dearly, gave him up for lost, and was much distressed. Now, however, he is expected to recover.

The day before the news of this battle arrived, the King set Montmorency free, and restored him to his former influential position. Accordingly, he is made acquainted with the chief secrets of State, as he used to be, and now, in the absence of Alençon and the rest of the Princes of the Blood, takes precedence next to the King. There is a notion that he, accompanied by Cossé, will shortly join the Queen Mother to act as a mediator. Alençon, people think, will return to-morrow to his mother at Blois to re-open106 negotiations. To me the whole story sounds suspicious, and, granted that he does go back there, I think they will hardly come to terms. But supposing they do, it is to my mind quite certain that war will presently follow, either in the Netherlands or in Italy with Alençon as the nominal or, perhaps, the real commander.

To-day news has arrived here that Thoré and his followers after routing those who barred their passage, have reached the Loire. He has, they say, about 400 horse, among whom are many Germans. Whether he will be able to cross is uncertain, as a strong force has been collected in hopes of crushing him. Two thousand of Alençon’s cavalry with some infantry are reported to be awaiting his arrival on the other side of the Loire.

Paris, October 14, 1575.


On September 12, the day the Queen returned to Paris from Amboise, the courier arrived and delivered to me your Majesty’s letter and instructions. On the following day I asked an audience of the King, but was put off till the next day. After complimenting the King and the Queen Mother in your Majesty’s name, I laid your request before them—namely, that the date appointed for the Queen’s departure should be adhered to. The King answered he would do what he could to meet your Majesty’s views. I replied that it was of great consequence that I should have a definite answer to send to your Majesty, as otherwise the ladies and gentlemen, who were to meet the Queen at Nancy by your Majesty’s orders, might find them107selves in an awkward position. He agreed that the request was reasonable, and promised to lay the matter before the Council, and give me a definite answer on the morrow. So passed away that day and the next, which was the 15th of the month, the day on the evening of which Alençon fled. I received almost the same answer from the Queen Mother, except that she added some further details about the expenses of the journey, saying that the whole sum could not be paid down in specie, but that an appropriation would be made for pressing expenses, while for those that need not be paid on the spot good warrants would be given. The arrangement was not an unreasonable one, and the Queen’s business appeared at that time to be in a fair way, but then came Alençon’s flight, which caused a hitch. For some days the King could not attend to me; at last, on the 19th, in consequence of my pressing applications for such an answer as would relieve your Majesty from uncertainty, I was granted an audience. The King at the beginning of our conversation requested me to inform your Majesty of his unhappy misfortune,—these were the very words he used—saying, he felt confident from the relationship that existed between your Majesty and himself, and from the kindness he had experienced at your hands, that you would sympathise with him. He remembered that your Majesty had on former occasions advised Alençon to keep clear of revolutionary designs. His conduct was the more unjustifiable, he said, as he was not conscious of having done anything on his part to give him a reason for forming these projects or running away. It was by the evil counsels of bad people that he had been seduced from his allegiance, though on his side he had behaved towards him like an affectionate brother. This unexpected event prevented his108 sending back the Queen at the time arranged, and I must see myself the difficulties that surrounded him. What the King said was only too true, and accordingly I answered that I would comply with his request and write as he wished to your Majesty, saying, ‘I felt no doubt that your Majesty, with whom he was connected by so many ties, would give him the warmest sympathy in his troubles, and would gladly afford him any assistance in your power.’ I then used such language as I thought was likely to comfort him. As to the Queen’s departure, I told him that your Majesty was most anxious to have her back, and that your plans did not admit of her prolonged absence, and asked him, if it was impossible for her to leave at once, at any rate to fix the earliest possible date. He said he would consider my request, and promised to send me an answer on the following day together with his letter to your Majesty. At my interview with the Queen Mother almost the same language was used on both sides, except that I added that I thought, if the Queen’s departure were put off much longer, your Majesty would be obliged to consider how to bring her home at your own expense, for you felt that a longer separation was unbearable.

From that time to this I have never ceased pressing the King every day and demanding an answer, but my efforts have been of no avail. The truth is, the King has given his ministers instructions to find the funds necessary for the Queen’s journey, but this is a very difficult matter, and, until he is sure of the money, he cannot positively fix the date at which she is to leave. In the mean time due attention has been paid to all the interests of the Queen. A valuation has been made of the Crown lands, and also of the other property. A contract has been drawn up, and a109 demand has been made that the deficiency in value of the Crown lands assigned should be made good. For the Duchy of Berry with the County of Le Forez, the upper and lower parts of La Marche, and Remorantin did not come to much above 26,000 francs, so that nearly 6,000 were wanting to make up the sum the King had promised. To find them was no easy task, in consequence of the small amount of Crown lands available, and the difficulty was increased by the irregular and unbusinesslike conduct of certain officials of the King, who tried to make out that the said places had been undervalued, and wanted us, in consequence of their own fault, to be content with 26,000 instead of 32,000 francs. At last, after some trouble, it was arranged that two places should be added, to be taken from the Duchy of Bourbon—namely, the towns of Murat and Gannat—and so a total of 32,000 francs in Crown lands was made up, and the remaining sums were secured as in the schedule annexed. All possible care and discretion have been used in making these arrangements.

As regards the Queen’s departure, I should not like to promise myself an answer from the King for many days. The grant of 32,000 crowns is all very well, but there is enormous trouble in getting them paid down in hard cash: 20,000 of them, for which a warrant on Rouen has been given, will begin to come in on November 15, and this sum, I hope, may be relied on. This leaves 12,000 to be provided; it might have taken us a long time to procure this sum, and we might have been obliged in consequence to postpone the Queen’s departure, but fortunately your Majesty’s bounty has made us independent so far; a large sum has been remitted by the Nuremburg merchants, and even if we have no answer from the King,110 I feel confident that the Queen will be able to set out about November 25 or 26. For I think it better to risk our money than to lose our time, lest, in the changes of this mortal life, something should occur to make us regret deeply the loss of the opportunity; though I feel no doubt that the 12,000 crowns decreed by the King can be secured for the Queen even after she has gone. When the day of her departure draws near, the Queen will send a courier of her own to bring your Majesty news of the final arrangements. In order to relieve your Majesty’s anxiety, it has been decided not to detain the present courier any longer; the Queen would have sent him back some days ago if she had not been waiting for the King’s letter to your Majesty; he keeps promising to send it every day, but it does not come.

One point with reference to the Queen’s journey remains for consideration, and that is a serious one. More German reiters are said to be on the point of entering France, and there is danger of the seat of war being transferred to Champagne and the country through which her Majesty is to travel; so that it is doubtful whether the road to Nancy will be safe, or, indeed, if it will be open at all. Of course no one will do any harm to the Queen, but it would be impossible to answer for the safety of her French suite, and it would not perhaps be consistent with the King’s dignity to beg his enemies to grant them a sort of passage on sufferance, and to place at their mercy Frenchmen of the highest position, and ladies of exalted rank, especially as nothing is safe from the lawlessness and insolence of the times. As to these matters, the King can settle nothing at present, as he does not know what may be the state of things six weeks hence; but I see that all the prudent and sensible men of my acquaint111ance entertain serious doubts as to the safety of this route. If it should happen to be closed, I doubt if there is a more convenient way than that through the Netherlands, by Cambrai, Valenciennes, Mons, Namur, and thence either to Coblentz or Trier. Here, again, we are met by a difficulty, for perhaps the Governor of the Low Countries may not care to have such a number of French people travelling through these territories at the present time. This may be obviated by the French suite being sent back from Cambrai or Valenciennes, and by the servants whom your Majesty will send, such as cooks, butlers, waiters, &c., being ready to meet the Queen at either of those places. For she is to take none of her domestic servants beyond Nancy, as your Majesty will have graciously understood from the list of her retinue which was forwarded some time ago. There ought to be some gentlemen at the head of each department; but this whole scheme of going through the Netherlands is full of difficulties, and is much more inconvenient than the other. Still, if we are compelled to take it, we must manage as best we can. I am willing to hope for the best, and that this détour may not be necessary; but if we are disappointed—and disappointments do come—I should wish to be prepared for the worst, and to have some arrangement to fall back upon, instead of having to waste time in making out a new one from beginning to end. I think it prudent, therefore, to have our plans ready in case of need; and in the meantime to sound the Governor’s disposition by letter, so that if we cannot get through by any other road, at any rate this way may be open to us; but the final decision will, of course, rest with your Majesty.

As regards the money forwarded to the Queen from Nuremberg by your Majesty’s order, I have hitherto112 received no letter from your Majesty; but the agent of the merchants informed me that such and such an amount was to be placed to the Queen’s credit, that the time of payment was the end of October, and that he would meanwhile collect the money; but, if there was any need for it sooner, he would pay down part of it. No doubt we shall soon have despatches from your Majesty, and I shall then understand the bearings of this business more clearly. I have also received no answer as yet to my requests about the watches and my own affairs. As regards the Kinsky question, I will do as your Majesty orders, when Schomberg99 returns from the campaign on which he is now away with Monsieur de Guise; or, if he answers the letter I sent him, I will inform your Majesty of his reply. I have received from de Morvilliers, the Bishop of Orleans ... crown pistoles on account of my yearly salary. I most humbly beg your Majesty graciously to order that amount to be paid to Monsieur de Vulcob in the usual way.

Paris, October 23, 1575.


I sent in my last letters by Peter the courier such news as I had. Since then I received your Majesty’s letter from Prague, dated September 4, which informed me that arrangements had been made with a Nuremberg merchant for remitting the money to the Queen. The bills of exchange will, I trust, shortly arrive. Without this money it is impossible to gua113rantee the Queen’s return; for, though magnificent promises are held out to us, they are not to be relied on in these troublous times, when the country is so ground down with taxation. The 20,000 crowns are thought to be certain; but there will not be much left out of them after paying the wages of the household and making preparations for the journey; 12,000 more are promised, a sum which would be abundantly sufficient if we could reckon on it, but I am afraid the prospect of its being paid is somewhat remote, and to wait for the money would be to subject the Queen to endless trouble and vexation, and perhaps cause injury to her health. For her anxiety to return to your Majesty, and to be quit of the troubles and hurly-burly of France, is unspeakable. I hope, too, your Majesty will remember what a dutiful and obedient daughter she has always been, and will therefore comply with her very reasonable request, and, now that she has been led to count on returning, not let her after all be disappointed. As regards the route she is to take, I hope your Majesty will graciously give the question your serious consideration. For here, indeed, there are continual reports that more German reiters are coming, and, in fact, are actually ready to march; if this be true, there is also fear that the seat of war may be transferred to the countries through which lies the road to Lorraine.

The Countess of Aremberg100 has written from 114Nancy to inform the Queen of her arrival there, and also to inquire what she wishes her to do, and what hope there may be of her soon leaving. She tells her that she has been away for some time, and is much wanted at home, but will postpone everything if she can be of any use. The Queen replied that there was not much hope of her leaving before November 25; she might, therefore, revisit her home in the meantime, provided that she presented herself at Nancy by that day to give the Queen the advantage of her society and company on the journey, according to your Majesty’s desire. To prevent her making any mistake about the day, she would later on send a letter to inform her fully of the intended arrangements. It will, I think, take the Countess six or, at the utmost, seven days to travel from Nancy to her home.

As for other news, the state of affairs here is much the same as it was; what little alteration there has been is for the worse, as Alençon’s last move has made people less hopeful as to peace. Till lately he appeared to approve of Blois as a safe place for holding the negotiations, but he is now said to have changed his mind, and to demand Poitiers, his reason being that none of the King’s opponents will trust themselves at Blois, as it is too near Paris and they are afraid of foul play. There is a notion that his real motive is not peace, but to obtain possession of a strongly fortified town. Time will show. Montmorency, to whom everybody’s thoughts are turned as the best mediator between the opposing parties, set out a few days ago for Alençon’s quarters. When he started from Paris 115he was escorted by a multitude of gentlemen and courtiers. He is indeed a remarkable instance of fortune’s changes, for only recently he was in great danger and so hated and despised by everyone that his strong prison-walls seemed scarcely able to protect him from the violence and insults of the mob and his enemies. His brother, Thoré, with his troops, has got safe to Alençon, after routing at various places those who tried to oppose his march, and taking prisoners some who pursued him too eagerly.

As to your Majesty’s gracious answer about the watches, it is my duty to be most humbly satisfied with whatever meets with your Majesty’s approbation.

Paris, October 23, 1575.

I must also humbly beseech your Majesty to give us betimes any directions about the Queen’s departure and her journey, otherwise we may be greatly inconvenienced by having to alter our plans at the last moment. I shall endeavour to adhere to the arrangements already mentioned, and intend to use my utmost efforts to have the Queen’s preparations for the journey completed by November 25. Accordingly, I mean about November 20 to send your Majesty tidings by a private courier. He will hardly reach your Majesty before the 27th. Again, some time will be required in order to apprise those who are to escort the Queen of your Majesty’s wishes, and to enable them to reach Nancy. I must therefore ask the Queen to postpone her departure to December 1, so as to arrive at Nancy about the 10th or 11th of the same month. I send these details in the hope that your Majesty will be graciously pleased to correct any mistake I may have made.



On the night before November 1, Louis du Guast was murdered in his bed; he was stabbed in several places. The gates of Paris were kept shut all the next day, and search was made for the murderers, but they could not be found. The King’s brother Alençon is supposed to have instigated the murder, or at any rate to have been privy to it, as he hated du Guast as much as the King loved him.101 The cause of their respective 117hatred and affection was but trifling; still, for that very reason it ought, I think, to be mentioned. Some years ago Thoré, the Constable’s son, had been playing tennis with du Guast, and had lost a considerable sum to him; on du Guast’s pressing for payment Thoré kept putting him off and making excuses. Du Guast finally lost his temper, took some horses out of Thoré’s stable, sold them by auction and paid himself out of the proceeds. When this came to Thoré’s knowledge, he was exceedingly annoyed, and quarrelled with du Guast, and ere long they came to blows. The King, who was then Duke of Anjou (for the late King was still alive), being informed of this, and fearing that du 118Guast, who was his servant, would get the worst of it, as Thoré was the more powerful man of the two, turned out with his guards to defend his protégé. At the same time word was brought to Alençon that Thoré was in great danger, as Anjou had come to du Guast’s assistance. Thereupon he immediately brought up his escort to defend his friend Thoré. A disgraceful contest seemed inevitable, but the Swiss behaved with great discretion, and at last they parted without bloodshed.

However, from that day forth the brothers have been at variance, and the King has hated Thoré and the whole house of Montmorency. Du Guast, on the other hand, has always had Alençon for his foe. Moreover, from his reliance on the King’s favour he gave himself the habit of flouting Alençon and speaking of him in disrespectful terms. His impertinence has now cost him dear.

This du Guast had been appointed by the King commander of the ten regiments of Frenchmen which he had established after the model of the Prætorian guard. Among them were many picked privates, serjeants, and captains, who seldom left du Guast’s side, and generally messed at his house at the King’s expense. Such was the splendour and sumptuousness of his table that if any of the Princes, such as the Duke of Guise, or the titular King of Navarre, chose to drop in upon him unexpectedly, they never had any reason to regret it. Du Guast was enabled to live in this magnificent style by the King’s generosity, for it is certain that since he returned from Poland he has paid him more than 50,000 crowns for his expenses. He, on the other hand, thought it a point of honour not to be outdone by the King in generosity, and out of this vast sum laid by nothing for himself, as is sufficiently119 proved by his debts, which amount to 30,000 crowns. The King has taken his murder much to heart, and there is reason to fear it may serve as a torch and make the war between the two brothers blaze up more furiously than ever.

Paris, November, 1575.


On the 24th of last month, Laurence Scuter arrived, and delivered to me your Majesty’s two letters, from one of which I learn that your Majesty is anxious for definite information with regard to the Queen’s departure, while in the other your Majesty graciously advises me of the bill of exchange drawn on Nuremberg.

As to the Queen’s departure, it has till now depended so entirely on other people’s pleasure, and the issue of events on which it was impossible to reckon, that I could not write with any certainty, either in the letter which I sent by Peter the courier, or in that which I despatched a little later by Mola of Augsburg. But now everything is settled, and your Majesty will find in the enclosed paper a full account of the arrangements connected with the Queen’s return.

The only points on which I am still troubled are the weather and the dangers of the road. Her Majesty will, I fear, find it a very bad time of year for travelling, and I am also afraid that our best and shortest route will be rendered impassable by the presence of the new levies of German reiters. I trust I shall soon receive full instructions from your Majesty.

The Queen has decided to send off the messenger120 without further delay, for fear your Majesty should, as on a former occasion, be kept waiting for her answer. She will therefore despatch a second messenger, as soon as the date of her departure is absolutely certain, to bring word to your Majesty and at the same time to give notice to Ilsing,102 in order that he may write to the ladies and gentlemen whom your Majesty has commanded to wait on the Queen. By this arrangement I hope we shall be able to save several days.

I will now give some account of affairs in France. A few days ago Alençon, the King’s brother, took possession of Châtelherault,103 a town near Poitiers, with the free consent of the inhabitants. The Queen Mother is endeavouring to arrange with him for a six months’ truce; but he demands, as a guarantee of his personal safety, the possession of four most important towns—Bourges the capital of Berry, Angers, Angoulesme, and La Charité—and I hardly think the King will consent to such hard terms, as they will be difficult places to retake, supposing the negotiations for peace to prove a failure. It is evident the Queen Mother will do her very utmost to prevent her sons from fighting, but whether she will be able to stop them is more than I can say.

The Duke of Guise has come back from the wars.104 121He arrived at Paris the day before yesterday; crowds went out to meet him, and everyone congratulated him warmly on his success. His wound is not as yet perfectly healed, but it is no longer considered dangerous.

Michel105 has come to Paris as ambassador for the Republic of Venice. Your Majesty must occasionally have seen him, as he was for many years residing at Vienna. The King treats him with the highest distinction, entertaining him splendidly, and causing him to be served as if he were some Royal personage. For his expenses are assigned 800 francs per diem. He has come to congratulate the King on his marriage. He called on me lately, and spoke at great length of the profound respect and regard which he entertained for your Majesty.


I hear that the Pope has offered the King 3000 Swiss to assist him in the war, which is now imminent, against his brother and the Huguenots.

Pibrac’s relations tell me that they have been expecting to hear from him for some time past, and, as he has not written, they think he must be on the road home. In his former letters he had given them to understand with tolerable plainness that he had little or no hope of success, and had therefore resolved to take the very first opportunity of quitting Poland.

He felt sure that, if he remained in the country, some affront would be put on him, not by members of the opposite party, but by his own friends. The latter were not well treated when their influence was used to dissolve the Diet, Pibrac being unable to keep his promises to them on account of the failure of those on whom he relied.

De Morvilliers has ordered 500 crowns to be paid to me; I humbly beseech your Majesty to order that amount to be paid as usual to Monsieur de Vulcob.

Paris, November 9, 1575.


After sending several times to Rouen to demand the money for the Queen’s expenses during her journey, it was only yesterday that news arrived of the payment of the last instalment. With these tidings came also an answer to the Queen from the Queen Mother, expressing her regret at being prevented by business of the greatest importance from going to Paris and bidding the Queen farewell in person before she left. After reading these letters the Queen came to the123 conclusion that she was now at liberty to arrange a day for starting on her journey. December 4 was appointed, with the approval of the King, whom I thought it advisable to consult; in giving his sanction he expressed much sorrow at the Queen’s departure being so near, saying he wished he could have kept her longer in Paris, as he had no doubt that her presence had saved the realm of France from many a misfortune, and was afraid that her departure would be the signal for fresh calamities.

The Queen thought that, as soon as it was definitely settled, she ought to give your Majesty the earliest possible information as to the date of her departure. Hitherto she has been afraid to write positively, on account of the doubts and uncertainties with which we have been surrounded, especially with regard to money, lest some difficulty should arise which would prevent her from keeping her appointment with those who are to meet her at Nancy. Now, however, there is nothing to prevent her leaving on the day appointed, our funds being sufficient for the expenses of the journey as far as Nancy. There is a prospect, if we are willing to wait, of our raising more money, but for this we shall have to give a charge on the Queen’s future income; to the King, moreover, who is in great distress for money, this arrangement would involve serious difficulties, while it would be no great benefit to the Queen, as her departure must in that case certainly be postponed, and it is by no means certain that she would after all obtain the money, so that the funds provided by your Majesty have come in the nick of time to relieve us of our difficulties.

Though matters are thus far arranged, I do not think that the Queen can reach Nancy before December 18 or 19, and I am not at all sure that she will124 not be kept there for several days, if the report be true that preparations are being made for the marriage of the Duke of Lorraine’s sister to the Duke of Brunswick, in which case the ceremony will probably take place about that date.

I have instructed the bearer of this letter to give notice of the date of the Queen’s departure to the Duke of Lorraine at Nancy, the Bishop of Strasburg106 at Saverne in Alsace, and Ilsing at Augsburg.

The Queen sent forward part of her furniture eight days ago, and also four waggons of Orleans wine, which she thought would be beneficial in the present state of your Majesty’s health, in order that, if she should not reach the Danube herself before it was frozen, at any rate her luggage might be able to go by water. With the baggage train were sent some greyhounds, and also a couple of lime-hounds,107 under the charge of a young gentleman and two servants, who accompany them by the orders of the King. This young gentleman is a skilful huntsman, and it is hoped that your Majesty will be diverted at hearing him blow his horn, and cheer on his dogs in the French fashion.

As to John Kinsky’s business, I applied to Schomberg.108 He maintains that he does not owe Kinsky a 125farthing; he admits that he was in his debt at one time, but declares he paid the money over some time ago to certain parties by Kinsky’s directions, and maintains that it is no affair of his if the aforesaid parties have failed to make good the sum which they received. In proof of his assertion he brings forward the fact that the bond he gave to Kinsky has been returned. I asked him whether he could produce a genuine letter from Kinsky directing him to pay the money to the parties he had mentioned. He told me ‘he did not remember: he generally tore up letters of this kind; but still it was possible that he might have it—at any rate, he was quite sure that Kinsky had given him distinct verbal directions to that effect.’ He next proceeded to abuse Kinsky for thus maligning him, and accused him of trying to take away his character, threatening to make him pay for it if he continued to libel him. I asked him to give me in writing the statements he had made, that I might send them to your Majesty. He agreed to do so, but has not kept his promise: I cannot say whether he failed through want of time or want of will, for two days later the King sent him out of Paris, and whither he went I cannot say.

The names of those who are to escort the Queen back I am unable to ascertain, for nearly every day there is a change of circumstances, and a corresponding change is made in the list. However, the appoint126ment of the Cardinal d’Este is certain. Those who are also named are the Duke of Mayenne, the Bishop of Paris, Monsieur de Luxembourg, and some others; but whether they will come with us or not, after all, is, to my mind, by no means certain. As to the ladies whom I mentioned in a former letter, no change has been made; but some think that the Comtesse de Retz will be added to the number.

Pibrac returned from Poland three days ago, after making his way through the Hanse towns and the Netherlands.

The Comtesse d’Aremberg has been given notice of the time when the Queen is to start.

Paris, November 9, 1575.

The Queen Mother has at last succeeded in concluding a truce for six months on the terms of the King’s surrendering to his brother (Alençon) certain cities as a guarantee for his safety, viz., Bourges, Angoulesme, Mézières, Niort, La Charité, and Saumur. At the last two towns there are bridges over the Loire, so that Alençon can march, when it pleases him, either into Burgundy or into Brittany; Niort opens communication for him with Rochelle, while Angoulesme connects him with the insurgent forces, and is moreover strongly fortified, as also is Bourges, the chief town of Berry. But he has not obtained possession of more than two of these places, viz., Niort and Saumur, the other towns are up in arms and will not consent to the transfer, from a fear that the most frightful calamities are in store for them if Alençon should become their master, especially in the event of the peace negotiations proving a failure. Accordingly, they are preparing to do battle, and are supposed to127 have entered into alliance with other towns, Orleans to wit and Moulins.

The Queen Mother is said to be thinking of visiting them in the hope that her presence will recall them to their obedience. Whether she will succeed or not I cannot say.

Meanwhile the truce is publicly proclaimed in Paris; but, nevertheless, on the other side, German reiters are said to have crossed the Rhine, and to be marching into the interior, and this makes many people think that no reliance can be placed on the truce. The King, indeed, has also undertaken to pay Casimir and the soldiers under his command 500,000 francs to go off home without causing further trouble. Not having sufficient funds for this purpose, he has sent jewels of great value to the Duke of Lorraine, who is to retain them as a pledge, and then become security to Casimir for the payment of the money. The Duke, however, has the option of taking some neighbouring town in pawn instead of the jewels. I am afraid it is easier to call in German horse than to send them back; and, even if they leave France, there is fear of their pouring into the Netherlands.

Mézières was appointed as the residence of the Prince of Condé, and the King has also undertaken to pay 2,000 infantry who are to form Alençon’s garrisons in the towns already mentioned. But the chief difficulty that is likely to occur with regard to the truce is Condé’s promise to pay certain sums to the German horse for crossing the Rhine; such at least is the story, and the King, if he wishes for peace, will have to make good the money. However that may be, they say that Condé and Casimir have entered into a covenant to help each other in case of war; and just as Casimir came to the aid of Condé, so hereafter, should need128 require, Condé will lead his party to the assistance of Casimir. If this report is correct, it is a matter deserving serious consideration. In any case, the truce has been made after such a fashion as to render it quite plain that the King consented to it not of his own free will, but by compulsion.

What would it have availed him to nurse his wrath, and make plans for some mighty undertaking, for the accomplishment of which his resources are totally inadequate, when the only result would be to make his weakness plain and risk his crown? Being utterly unprepared, the only other course open to him was to submit to whatever terms his adversaries thought fit to impose, and this latter alternative he chose.


The Queen reached the town of Dormans six days after her departure from Paris, and there she met the courier with your Majesty’s despatches; from which I learnt your Majesty’s pleasure with regard to the arrangements connected with the Queen’s journey, which I will do my utmost to carry out. With reference to your Majesty’s desire that I should attend the Queen to Vienna, and act on the journey as her chief chamberlain, I beg to offer my most humble thanks for the honour thus conferred.

The Queen left Paris on the 5th of this month, amid the tears and regrets of the entire population.109 129Great sorrow was also shown by the upper classes, who are deeply attached to her. On the 19th she reached Nancy. Our journey was not unattended with danger, for parties of German reiters were scouring the country; but our party was not molested in any way. The Duke of Lorraine, with his Court, came as far as the first milestone to meet her, and received her with every mark of honour.

That same evening was celebrated the marriage of Eric, Duke of Brunswick, to Dorothea, sister of Lorraine. The Queen was present at the ceremony, but did not appear at the banquet and other festivities. On the next day Count von Schwartzenberg came to the Queen with a small party of Austrian noblemen.110 Schwendi would have accompanied them if he had not been confined to his house by sickness; however, he has written, promising to meet us on the road if his health permits. On the 22nd, William, Duke of Bavaria, and his wife, arrived. The Bishop of Strasburg has not yet come, and from his letter which Schwendi sent me I am inclined to think that he has been kept at home through fear of the German reiters and Swiss infantry, whose road to Nancy lies through his territory.

Having heard nothing of Madame d’Aremberg’s coming, on the day after our arrival the Queen decided 130to send a courier to her; he found her at home, waiting for the Queen’s summons. This misunderstanding was the result of an unlucky accident. Madame d’Aremberg had written to the Queen at Paris asking for information as to her plans and movements; the Queen sent back the answer by Madame d’Aremberg’s own messenger, who promised to deliver it to his mistress within three days. After all, the Queen’s reply, informing Madame d’Aremberg of the date of her departure from Paris, and telling her what she wanted her to do, was lost, and never reached its destination. This accident caused some delay in the arrival of Madame d’Aremberg, but the Queen’s courier brought back a letter from her, informing her that she would be here to-morrow; she will require one day’s rest, so I think the Queen will fix on Friday, the 30th of this month, for her departure. The Master of the Order of St. John has not come, and, as I understand, is not expected. The whole country side is kept in a state of alarm by wandering parties of horse and foot-soldiers. It was on this account that the Cardinal d’Este had to leave us in the middle of our journey and return to Paris; he received a letter from the King informing him that he had discovered a plot to waylay him on the road. The Bishop of Paris has had a similar scare, and early last night he set off home post haste under the escort of a strong body of dragoons. Some others who are not safe in the neighbourhood of the (German) troops will be compelled to slip off as best they may. The rest, who have no special cause for fear, and are furnished with passports from Casimir, will leave Nancy openly.

Three days ago Casimir sent one of the chief officers of his household, whose name, if I mistake not, is Diest von Sterckenburg, to congratulate the Queen on her ar131rival, and tender his services; he was also instructed to offer some explanations and apologies for the course his master had taken, as your Majesty will learn at greater length from the Queen’s own letter, for Casimir wished her to represent the case herself, in the hope that your Majesty would be induced to take a favourable view of his conduct.

As I write this letter, bands of reiters are to be seen from the ramparts marching past Nancy in the direction of St. Nicolas, on their way to the town of Luneville. The Queen will have to pass through both these places, but the troops will have moved on before our party starts, and the only inconvenience we shall suffer from their presence will be the rise they will cause in the price of provisions; nor is even this slight disadvantage without its compensation, for this movement will leave the road open for Madame d’Aremberg, which she could not hitherto have traversed without danger. As to the destination of these armaments, and what is to be the upshot of it all, it is not easy to say. The King indeed is treating for a truce, and Alençon does not seem unwilling to come to terms, but Condé and Casimir, while quite prepared to conclude a peace, will not hear of a truce; they say that, if they throw away this opportunity, it will not be in their power to reassemble their forces, so that they are in a very different position from the King, who can raise a fresh army whenever he pleases, and therefore finds his advantage in a truce. Casimir also demands a large sum in addition to the 500,000 francs already offered him by the King for the withdrawal of his army, in order to make up the arrears of pay due to his troops for their services in former campaigns when fighting for the insurgents. From this we may conclude that nothing is yet settled.


Pibrac, whose return from Poland I mentioned before, is wont to say, when talking privately, that the only advantage the Poles have gained from their friendship with France is to catch the diseases which are ruining the country—dissension and civil war.

As to other matters, the Queen is in excellent health, and is supported under all the troubles and fatigue which such travelling involves, by one hope alone, to wit, the prospect of shortly being with your Majesties.

The elder Duchess of Lorraine111 manifests the greatest pleasure at the Queen’s arrival, and declares herself amply compensated by this honour, both for the devotion she has ever felt for your Majesty, and also for such services as it has lain in her power to render. She wished me to give this message to your Majesty.

Nancy, December 27, 1575.

Note by Busbecq.—The letter is missing which I wrote in the village of Markirch, informing his Majesty that our contract had been registered by the Parliament of Paris. I also mentioned that ——, a small town in Lorraine of considerable wealth, had been taken and plundered by Condé’s soldiers; lastly I complained that the sums I had obtained from Monsieur de Vulcob had not been repaid to him. This letter was sent in a portmanteau together with a gold chain, which was a present from the King, and as far as I know I have not kept a copy of it.



Yesterday the Queen arrived at Bâle, where we are now staying; to-morrow she will leave it, and in four days we hope to reach Schaffhausen. As to what is to be her next destination, and what road she is to take to get there, those who have charge of these arrangements have not, I see, quite decided, but the question will be considered after we have reached Schaffhausen. I understand that we are not to go through Villingen, and, whatever haste we make, I do not imagine that we can get to Munich before the 27th or 28th of this month. The Bishop of Strasburg will return home to-morrow. I judged it well to write these particulars on the chance of my being able to forward my letter to your Majesty, although I cannot be certain of finding a bearer.

Bâle, January 12, 1576.


The Queen arrived at Augsburg, January 27, and on the same day the courier brought back letters from your Majesty, from which I learnt your Majesty’s gracious pleasure with regard to the Queen’s movements, to wit, that she should come to Vienna by the shortest and most convenient route. I reported this to her Serene Highness, and she, being eager to hasten on and join your Majesty at the earliest moment possible, was in favour of a voyage down the Danube, as this is supposed to be a good time for sailing. I then referred the matter to William, Duke of Bavaria, and Count von Schwartzenberg, and they judged it advis134able to keep the courier until they should have laid all the considerations before the elder Duke of Bavaria, and ascertained his views as to the relative advantages of the water route and that by land. In order to prevent delay, Duke William sent his own courier forward to Munich, that the whole question might be discussed and settled before the arrival of the Queen. Her Highness arrived at Munich January 29. Duke Ferdinand with the Margrave of Baden met her at a considerable distance from the city; they were attended by a large force of cavalry, handsomely equipped, so that the Queen entered Munich in great state. The elder Duke’s health was such as to prevent his going out of doors to receive the Queen; he takes all the expenses of her Highness and her retinue on himself, and will not allow them to be at charges for anything; such a liberal reception makes it incumbent on the Queen not to stay too long. The elder Duke, on being consulted as to the Queen’s route, was in favour of the river, and said he would take boat himself if he wanted to go down to Vienna; his opinion therefore coincided with the Queen’s. She was eager to leave on Friday, February 3, after a visit of four days, but as the Duke pressed her to stay six days she decided not to refuse his earnest request, and so February 6 was appointed for her departure. It will take two days to get to Wasserburg, and then seven more to reach Vienna, so that, unless something unforeseen should occur, I trust the Queen will reach Vienna on the afternoon of February 13. God grant that we may be prospered in our voyage, as we have been on the road; hitherto, in spite of some changes and chances on the way, we have had a good journey, considering the time of the year.

The Queen herself has enjoyed excellent health135 throughout, save that on the day she stopped at Bâle she was troubled with violent sickness; this, however, served to relieve her stomach, and she has since been perfectly well. William, Duke of Bavaria, and his wife treated her with the utmost kindness and consideration, so that she had no need of anyone else. The Bishop of Strasburg remained at Bâle.

The noblemen who came to meet the Queen at Nancy attended her as far as Ulm, where others took their place and have waited on her till now; they will, however, stop here, or at any rate not follow her further than Wasserburg.

Your Majesty being thus informed of the Queen’s route, will now decide as to any further arrangements that may be necessary. Your Majesty, of course, knows best, but still I venture to observe that, as the Queen has settled to go by water, a large body of attendants is in no way necessary.

Munich, January 31, 1576.

The time for our voyage has been lengthened by two days, as your Majesty will see from the enclosed route, so that, I think, the Queen will not be at Vienna before February 15; I have also made out a list, as best I could, of the Queen’s servants and attendants, which I thought would be useful in arranging for their lodgings.


On the 31st of last month I despatched a letter by Gilles, groom of the Queen’s bedchamber, giving your Majesty such particulars as I judged to be necessary; to-day I received your Majesty’s letter of January 31,136 being the same date as that on which I wrote myself; this letter requires no reply, beyond stating that as soon as I received your Majesty’s orders I lost no time in writing to the Governor of Upper Austria, informing him of the date of our departure, and giving him the same route I sent to your Majesty, with a list of the places at which we intended stopping, and the dates on which we were to be expected. He will, therefore, now be in a position to make the necessary arrangements. I have no fresh news to give of the Queen, except that she is looking forward with great longing to the 6th of this month, when she will commence the last stage of her long journey and be hurrying onward to her father’s arms. I asked her if she had any message for your Majesty. ‘Only my best and warmest love,’ was her reply.112

Munich, February, 1575.



Your Majesty’s letter, dated February 4, reached me at the Monastery of Ebersberg on the 7th, just as the Queen was about to enter her carriage on her way to Wasserburg. I lost no time in communicating its contents to the illustrious Duke of Bavaria, and Count von Schwartzenberg, and they promised to reconsider the whole question of the route when they got to Wasserburg. Accordingly, when we arrived, they took counsel with the captain of the boat, but could not prevail on him to alter his opinion. ‘He would do what he could,’ he said, ‘to reach Vienna earlier, but the days were so short, the water was so low, and the mornings were so dark, that it was impossible to promise more.’ However, I am in great hopes that the Queen will be able to reach home one or two days earlier than was arranged.

The reason I did not mention in my former letter that the Duke of Bavaria and his wife were coming, 138was that I assumed that he would obey your Majesty’s commands, as he has always professed to do. But had it been otherwise, and had some alteration been made so as to deviate from your Majesty’s instructions, I should have lost no time in communicating the fact. Under present circumstances, no change having been made, I did not consider it necessary to write on the subject; moreover, I believed the Duke had enclosed a letter to your Majesty in the packet which he gave me to forward to Vienna, containing, I did not doubt, some reference to his coming; lastly, I thought it probable that a maréchal de logis would be sent on in front to inform your Majesty of the number and composition of his household. After all I was mistaken.

In accordance with your Majesty’s instructions I have written to Gienger,113 the Lord-Lieutenant, giving him such information as I was able as to the dates of the Queen’s route, the number of her attendants, &c., &c. I had had a letter from him, asking for this information. So now, I think, everything has been settled.

Wasserburg, February 8, 1576.



Book II.





I had to undertake a second journey to Blois, on behalf of your Imperial Majesty’s sister the Queen of France (Elizabeth), and this has prevented my writing again as soon as usual, for I was hoping from day to day that my business would be settled one way or the other, and I should be free to depart. In this I was disappointed, and being unable to leave unfinished this business, which is of material importance to the Queen, I came at last to the conclusion that I must contrive to despatch a letter from here; and this I am now doing. When I was admitted to the King on the business to which I alluded, I took the opportunity of delivering to him your Imperial Majesty’s despatches; the few words with which I introduced the subject were to the effect, that your Imperial Majesty had heard on good authority that he was a party to his brother’s114 (Alençon’s) expedition into the Netherlands, and that your Imperial Majesty did not believe the statement; but that, if it was true, such interference seriously affected the interests of your Majesty and the Electors of the Empire and could not be tolerated, as he would learn at greater length from your Imperial Majesty’s own letter. To this the King answered that he had no connection with his brother’s proceedings, as might be shown from the fact that the mischief done in the Netherlands was small in comparison to what it would have been if his brother had had his support in his late campaign. His brother, he added, 142was not in the habit of asking or taking his advice; besides, he was now causing more noise than harm; nay, if there was any ground of complaint it affected rather himself and his subjects, who had for months been harassed and plundered by his brother’s soldiers,115 while the farmers of the Netherlands were left unscathed; he would see what your Majesty wrote, and would send a reply.

I refrained from answering at greater length, and in sharper language, out of regard to the Queen’s interest, which does not allow of my lightly incurring the displeasure of the French court. The King’s reply will reach your Majesty at the same time as this letter.

March 25, 1582.116


There is now no doubt of the Prince of Orange being alive and well; but his wife117 has died of an attack of pleurisy. The Prince was at death’s door through the bursting of the maxillary vein; the loss of blood was very great, and there seemed no possibility of stopping 143it, so that his life was despaired of. For thirty-six hours he held the wound together, but fresh relays of attendants were needed from time to time to prop up his elbow with the hand, or otherwise he would have been unequal to the exertion.

The Queen of England is said to have supplied Alençon with a large sum of money, namely, 300,000 crowns. It is also said that a bill has been laid before the States-General proposing, if they accept him as their Sovereign, to grant him one-fifth of their property towards the expenses of the war. If this be carried, it will produce a very considerable sum, sufficient to feed the war for a long time. The Prince of Parma is besieging Oudenarde and battering its walls with cannon; but the garrison are said to have sent word to Alençon that he need fear nothing on their account for the next two months. Meanwhile, by the capture of Alost, which is now in Alençon’s hands, a serious loss has been inflicted on the Prince of Parma, who derived many great advantages from the possession of the town. In it some gallant soldiers were slaughtered, who preferred a glorious death to the dishonour of surrender.

Fifteen hundred German troopers, hired by Alençon, are reported to be not far from Cambrai, with more to follow. They are joined by many Frenchmen, apart from those who are already in the Netherlands, and they are numerous. Apparently it is Alençon’s purpose to make the Prince of Parma abandon the siege of Oudenarde by laying waste Hainault or Artois.

I hear Alençon has also sent emissaries into Italy to hire horsemen as big as the Albanians.118

May 30, 1582.



Sharp fighting is going on. The Prince of Parma, after an unsuccessful assault on Oudenarde, kept up a roar of cannon throughout the following night, and battered the walls without cessation, in order to prevent the townsmen repairing the breaches. This is the last news we have had, but people do not think the town will be easy to storm, now that Alençon’s reinforcements are coming up; they are scarcely two miles from Arras, and if they do no more than burn the ripe crops, it will be a crushing blow to that town, and also to others whose harvests will be destroyed.

April 26, 1582.


News has come that Oudenarde, after having been thrice unsuccessfully assaulted, has surrendered to the Prince of Parma on honourable terms. On the other hand, they say that Bouchain, a small but strongly fortified town in Hainault, near Cambrai, has fallen into Alençon’s hands through the treachery of the commandant appointed by the Prince of Parma.

Alençon proclaims himself a great champion of the Catholics, and in many places has restored their churches to them. Hence some surmise that his reign in those parts will not be a long one, as no dependence can be placed in an alliance between parties of different religious opinions; they think that the enemies of the Catholics wink at these acts of his, on account of the destruction which now threatens, but that, as soon as the danger shall have passed by, changes will imme145diately follow. It will end, they say, in the Prince of Orange carrying off the lion’s share of the spoil by securing to himself the undisturbed possession of Holland and Zealand.

June 12, 1582.


The King has set out for Lyons. The reason of his journey is not certainly known. His anxiety to be blessed with a son and heir, and his devotion to shrines of high repute, render it probable that he has gone to Lyons with the object of visiting on his way the shrine of some saint famous for his miracles, and offering up his vows for the birth of a son. He will be absent on this tour for more than two months. The supreme power has in the meantime been vested in his mother (Catherine de Medici); this will afford her a good opportunity of favouring Alençon, and assisting him with the ample succours placed at her disposal.

July 4, 1582.


There is at last no doubt as to the disastrous defeat of the French at the Azores,119 letters having come from 146Spain confirming the previous account, though differing slightly in some particulars.

Among other details, we learn that Strozzi, and the man they call Don Antonio’s Constable, were taken prisoners, but were so severely wounded that they died soon afterwards. The French declare that poison was poured into their wounds to hasten their death. Forty nobles were beheaded as pirates, because they were unable to show any commission from the King authorising the expedition; for the same reason three hundred common soldiers were hanged. We hear also that the victory was won by the Lisbon fleet alone, the co147operating squadron120 not having come up in time to take part in the action. Report says that they owe this great success to the size of their vessels and the calibre of their guns.121 The French, burning for revenge, are so exasperated that I think it will be a long time before it will be safe for a Spaniard to show himself in France; they will hurry with redoubled zeal into the Netherlands—whether to avenge their countrymen’s fall or share it, God only knows.

At any rate it is quite certain that large numbers of soldiers are everywhere pouring into the Netherlands, and that Alençon will shortly have a very large army. The chiefs are the Prince Dauphin,122 Rochefoucauld, and Laval, the son of d’Andelot.123 What they lack is an old and experienced leader, and people think that this deficiency will be supplied at the right moment. Biron is no doubt the man they mean. I mentioned in a former letter that Alençon had asked for him, and been refused by the King. People think, that when affairs are ripe, he will avail himself of the King’s absence to leave France secretly and join Alençon, by order of the Queen Mother (Catherine de Medici), and moreover that his example will be followed by several regiments of royal cavalry which are quartered on the Netherland frontier; just as lately happened when Alençon was escorted to Cambrai.


The Prince of Parma having drawn up his whole army before the gates of Ghent, there was some desultory fighting between light-armed troops on either side, who skirmished in front of their respective armies, while Alençon looked on from the walls. On both sides men were slain, and the engagement ended without advantage124 to either party. Alençon retired with his people to Antwerp.

The garrison of Lier have commenced a kind of fortification at the monastery of St. Bernard, which will be a thorn in the side of the citizens of Antwerp if they succeed in finishing it. Probably Alençon will employ all his strength to prevent its completion.

From Scotland also we have news of disturbances, that the Regent125 has been put to death, d’Aubigny is besieged, and the young King himself deprived of his liberty, and that all this has been done in the name of the Estates. This news is accompanied by sundry canards, viz. that the King of Spain has promised his second daughter to the young King on condition of his raising war against the Queen of England, and that this has given such deep offence to the Duke of Savoy that he is completely estranged from Philip, and altogether in the French interest, intending to marry the sister of Henry of Navarre.

Your Imperial Majesty will see in the document I enclose evidence touching some plot against Alençon and Orange. I can add nothing to the contents of the document, except that the Salceda126 who is men149tioned in it is a prisoner here. How it will end I cannot guess, but I suspect he is kept till the King returns.

The King has left Lyons to join his wife at Bourbon-les-Bains.

August 15, 1582.


The Prince of Parma has checked the progress of Alençon’s reinforcements by encamping at Arras. They are obliged, therefore, to make a détour to Calais, so as to reach their destination by sea. Alençon has divided the army which he already had in the Netherlands into garrisons for different places. Thus he has quartered some in Brussels, some in Mechlin, some in Vilvorde, and some also in Gelderland and Friesland.

The Spanish Ambassador having sent one of his people with despatches to the Prince of Parma, the man had but just left the first stage, when he fell in with some horsemen, whose names I do not know, and was compelled to surrender his papers. As the man was a Netherlander, he was allowed to escape unharmed. The horsemen told him, with many a threat, that if he had been a Spaniard he would not have got off so easily, but would have paid with his life for the butchery of their kinsmen in the Azores.

September 12, 1582.


The event has justified the conjecture of those who suspected that, when the time was ripe, Marshal Biron150 would find his way to Alençon’s camp. The King made him Governor of the French Netherlands, which they call Picardy, to protect his interests in that quarter, and take such precautions as occasion might require. He also issued instructions to the authorities on that part of the coast to place themselves under Biron’s orders.

Great things were expected of him when he set out, for he is considered the most experienced general in France, having, during his long career, passed through every grade and rank in the French army.

One of Alençon’s corps has joined him in Brabant, the other and stronger corps is with Biron. To these must be added the whole of the royal cavalry, which, as I mentioned in a former letter, has been quartered on the frontiers under pretence of guarding them. He has, nevertheless, asked for more horse, for, while he thinks himself quite a match for the Prince of Parma in infantry, he considers himself very inferior in cavalry. Accordingly, seven or eight squadrons of horse are under orders to join him. Meanwhile, he has garrisoned Peronne and St. Quentin so strongly as to render them safe against any hostile attack. For the Prince of Parma has been threatening in plain terms that, if the French invade any part of his territories, he will immediately march against St. Quentin. This move of his, therefore, is now forestalled. Famine is what the Prince of Parma has most to dread, especially now that he has been cut off from the sea, and supplies are not allowed to cross the French frontier.

There are many symptoms of the King’s becoming more favourable to his brother’s enterprise. Without any notice beforehand, certain commissioners were lately appointed to inspect the ledgers of business men generally, and specially those of the Italians, in order151 to see whether any moneys could be seized on their way to the Prince of Parma. The investigation over, two men were ordered to quit France, Capello of Milan, and Calvi of Genoa, who were both suspected, on very strong evidence, of having helped the King of Spain by forwarding money to the Netherlands. At one man’s house were seized 18,000 Italian gold pieces, which had been deposited with him by a Spaniard. These were confiscated to the crown, as there is an Edict here forbidding people to have money of any coinage save that of France; the only exception being in favour of Spanish money. The coinage of every other country must be brought to the royal Bank, and changed at a heavy discount. The King melts down the gold, and issues new coins bearing his own stamp. Thus, not only have precautions been taken, by the issue of a stringent proclamation, that Alençon’s opponents should get no supplies from France to relieve their famished troops, but it is evident that measures are being set on foot to prevent their henceforth having the means of purchasing provisions. The roads are everywhere blocked to all who still acknowledge the authority of the King of Spain, and so closely are they watched that no one can pass through France without being plundered or taken prisoner; nor can any remonstrance be made on this score, since it is easy to pretend that they are the acts of common highwaymen.

Up to the present date the posts have been permitted to run openly and without interference into Spain; but now a letter-carrier on his way to Spain has not been allowed to have relays of horses, except on condition of his giving security that he carries no despatches but those of merchants. This order has prevented his going forward, and so the man is detained in France.

The disaster which befell their countrymen in the152 Azores has had so little effect on the spirit of the French, that it is intended to fit out a new fleet much bigger than the last, and to place some Prince in command of it. Ships accordingly have been selected, which they are beginning to equip, so as to have them ready against next spring. After all, the future is uncertain; who can tell what may happen in the meantime?

Montpensier,127 father of the Prince Dauphin, has departed this life, at a good old age. I shall, therefore, for the future call his son Montpensier, when I have occasion to mention him; for, in spite of his father’s death, he is carrying out his intention of proceeding to the Netherlands.

The man Salceda,128 whom I mentioned in former 153despatches, has paid a heavy penalty for his crime; what that crime was I do not know, but it must needs have been monstrous to deserve so dreadful a doom. Only one instance of such a punishment is found in the whole history of Rome, viz. when Hostilius inflicted it on Fuffetius. Whether he conspired against the life of Alençon or the King, or both, I am not certain. He was condemned to be torn asunder by four horses. As soon as the horses began to pull, he said he had something more to confess. When his confession had been taken down by a notary, he asked to have his right hand released,129 and when this was done, he wrote something more, or at any rate signed his name.

When his hand had again been fastened to the traces, and the horses, being started in different directions, had made two distinct pulls, and yet failed to pull him in two, he called out to the King, who with his mother and wife was looking on from a window, imploring mercy. Then his neck was broken, his head severed from his shoulders, and his heart torn 154out. The rest of his body was pulled asunder by the horses. His head was sent to Antwerp, with orders to have it stuck on the highest pinnacle in the city. Such was the end of a wretch monstrous alike in his wickedness, and in his audacity.

Here is a specimen. He purchased an estate, and paid for it in bad money which he himself had coined. The vendor discovered the fraud, brought an action for treason against Salceda, and so recovered his house and land. Salceda saved himself by flight from the customary punishment, otherwise he would have been put to death with boiling oil, but nevertheless he took means to have fire set to the aforesaid house at night, and the owner was within an ace of perishing with the building. When the King, who sometimes visited his place of confinement, upbraided him for his cruelty in trying to destroy by such a fearful death the man whom he had already cheated. ‘Well,’ quoth Salceda, ‘when he wanted to have me boiled, was it unreasonable that I should try to have him roasted?’ What a fund of wit the scoundrel must have had, when even at such a time he must crack his jokes!

I am afraid that Count Egmont’s brother is seriously compromised by Salceda’s evidence.130

October 1, 1582.


Biron has halted on the banks of the Somme, and intrenched himself. Some think that he will remain there for a time to observe the development of the Prince of Parma’s plans, and watch the result; for 155they say that the daily losses of the Spanish army from famine and pestilence are very heavy.

The Netherland letter carrier, who, as I mentioned, was detained here, having given security through responsible people, that he was conveying no letters save those of merchants, was allowed to proceed on his way to Spain.

The Spanish Ambassador was deeply annoyed at Salceda’s head being sent to Antwerp with orders from the King that it should be exposed to public gaze on the highest pinnacle in the city, and reminded the King in a solemn protest that he (the French King) had no jurisdiction in Antwerp. The King was taken aback, and had no answer to make except that he had sent the head to his brother to do with it in Antwerp as he would; or, to use the French phrase, ‘Qu’il en fist des petits pastez s’il vouloit.’

They say that Schomberg131 is going to Germany, whether to hire soldiers I cannot say.

A messenger has just come from Languedoc with the news that some Italian nobles, on their way back from Spain, have been captured at sea by Huguenots, and taken to the town of Aigues-Mortes. A brother of the Marquis of Pescara is thought to be among the captives, but nothing is known for certain, as they refuse to give their names. Whoever they may prove to be, if they are men of rank they are not likely to get their liberty until La Noue132 is restored to freedom.


The King is again on a tour, having undertaken a pilgrimage133 to the Blessed Virgin, Our Lady of Joy (they call her Nostre Dame de Liesse), in the part of Champagne adjoining Picardy, in the hope, we may suppose, of gaining joy by the birth of a child.

They say the King has commissioned the Bretons to build fifty galleys. There are also other signs of a fleet being in prospect.

November 25, 1582.


They say that the King has ordered 50,000 gold pieces to be paid monthly towards Alençon’s expenses, and that over and above this regular payment extra money is to be sent from time to time.

No one now has the slightest doubt as to the fact that Montpensier and Biron have joined Alençon, making their way along the sea coast north of Bruges. People think that Alençon will take them both into his service, the former as chief Minister, and the latter as Commander-in-chief, and that the Prince himself will cross over into England, and, after having concerted 157his plans with the Queen, will return to France for an interview with his brother.

To the great content of his people the King is said to be calling to account more vigorously than ever those who are suspected of making away with Church property.

The force Biron has taken with him is not numerous, but it consists of picked troops, the royal cavalry being left to guard the frontiers, and every one having been sent back whose circumstances or disposition appeared unsuited to the strain of a long campaign, or whose licentious habits would render him intolerable to the Netherlanders. He is supposed to have taken with him 1,000 cavalry and 8,000 infantry.

Whatever others may think, I am confident that this French invasion is a very serious matter; the movement will grow and send forth roots which presently it will be very difficult to get rid of. Whether I look at its immediate results or more remote consequences, the prospect is alarming.

Some assert that the troops of the Prince of Parma are suffering from disease and famine, more especially the new Italian levies, who are not yet hardened to the cold of the Netherlands.

Before commencing his march towards Brabant, the Prince of Parma retook Cateau Cambrésis; he is said to be at present closely blockading Diest, which belongs to the Prince of Orange, and unless it is speedily relieved, its fall is certain. People think his next enterprise will be an attack on Brussels.

There are crowds of Swiss ambassadors here, representing nearly all the Cantons; they have come to renew and ratify their treaty with the King of France; there are great rejoicings at their arrival, and every day they are magnificently entertained at State ban158quets, given sometimes by the King, sometimes by the city of Paris, or by the Guises and other Princes of the Court. When these are terminated, and each of the ambassadors has been presented with a weighty chain of gold, they will be allowed to depart.

There is a report that the King and the Duke of Lorraine will arrive here at the same time.

Some Frenchmen have lately returned from the Azores, and report their position there to be perfectly safe; they say there is no want of anything except clothing, supplies of which are now being forwarded as fast as possible. It appears, after Strozzi’s defeat, a large proportion of the French ships and men retreated to the islands. Meanwhile rumours as to the new expedition are as rife as ever.

I must now say a word of what is going on in France; the King has despatched distinguished men134 of high position into all the provinces of the realm, under pretence of correcting any errors and abuses in the administration, and of hearing all complaints; but the real object he has in view is to lay on the people a new and heavy tax. The experiment does not appear to be over successful; as to what will be the issue I could not venture to speak positively, for what the King has so often wished for he has not obtained!135

December 15, 1582.


It is hardly worth telling, but still your Majesty may like to hear of a scene which took place at Antwerp. 159St. Luc was in Alençon’s chamber.136 (If I remember rightly I told your Majesty in a previous letter that, when he fell under the King’s displeasure, he joined Alençon’s party.) Some noble or other said something in his presence that annoyed him, and which he considered to be a personal insult.

Thereon he gave him a blow in the face137 before Alençon’s very eyes. The Prince of Orange, who was present, was indignant at his behaviour, and, giving vent to his wrath, plainly told Alençon that such outrageous conduct ought not to go unpunished, and that the Emperor, Charles the Fifth, had he been alive, 160would not have put up with it, but would have punished the offender most severely, whatever his rank or position might be. He told him that the chambers of Princes ought to be inviolable and sacred ground, in which brawling was not permissible.

On this St. Luc rejoined—I give you almost his very words—‘Marry, is it Charles that you quote to me? Why, if he were still alive, you would ere this have lost your estates and your head.’ With these words he flung out of the chamber, leaving all the company dumbfounded at his outrageous conduct.

December 18, 1582.


The Swiss Ambassadors have left Paris, after receiving each a chain worth 500 gold pieces.138 There were twenty-six to whom this honour was paid. Moreover, the chiefs of the embassy were loaded with special presents of plate, furniture, &c. I append to my letter a copy of the speech in which the King bade them farewell. I was unable to learn the terms on which the treaty was renewed, although I tried my best. It would seem that our friends do not wish them to be published. By these arrangements with the Swiss the King has secured a supply of infantry. Of cavalry he thinks he has abundance in his own realm. The financial question has yet to be solved; his scheme for coining139 money I described in one of my last letters; and, though the plan has not hitherto met with much 161success, the provinces turning a deaf ear to requests of this kind, nevertheless, such efforts are still being made, that I should not like to pledge myself positively as to what will be the result.

Don Antonio has come back to France with a few ships; the reason of his return I have not discovered; possibly he did not think himself safe in the Azores; or it may have been that he considered his presence and influence would be of service in promoting the new expedition. At any rate, he is here, and has been already on several occasions admitted to a private interview with the Queen Mother (Catherine de Medici). A lodging has been given him close to the palace, built by the young Queen, whither she is often wont to retire.

A few days ago this same Don Antonio set out for Dieppe, in order personally to hasten the equipment of the fleet, which in his absence was going on more slackly than he liked. I cannot describe how exasperated all our friends are against the Spaniards, and how eagerly they desire war. A book is said to be in the press, in which the claims of the elder Queen140 (Catherine de 162Medici) to the kingdom of Portugal are set forth at great length.

When the Prince of Orange was dangerously ill of the fever, from which, by the way, he is now reported to be convalescent, prayers for his recovery were offered up, not only throughout the Netherlands, but also in France, by the churches of the Reformed religion, as they call themselves. The Prince of Parma has received the surrender of Diest and several other obscure places. These successes will seriously endanger Brussels, unless the state of affairs should be changed by the arrival of the troops under Biron, who is a redoubtable antagonist; it is said that he is going into the Campine141 to attack certain places, the loss of which will derange Parma’s plans. Alençon has prevailed upon the citizens of Antwerp142 to have lodgings in the city assigned to three hundred French noblemen.

They say that news has come of the death of the Duke of Alva in Spain. The garrison at Cateau Cambrésis, being strong in cavalry, causes great annoyance to the French at Cambrai, and is for ever scouring the surrounding district. The insolence of the French soldiers at Dunkirk provoked the citizens to rise against the garrison; the attempt was put down with great slaughter. Everyone here is talking of the troubles at Cologne;143 after all this smoke, as I may call it, we must expect a fire.


The Duke of Lorraine has arrived here with his two sons; why he came I cannot tell, but it is commonly supposed that his object is to betroth his daughter to the Duke of Savoy, and to demand the hand of the King of Navarre’s sister for his eldest son.

May God Almighty bless and keep your Majesty through the year we have now begun, and for many more. At the same time I venture most humbly to ask for a settlement of the purchase of the Greek books, which has been standing over for so many years.

January 16, 1583.


The weather here is dreadful; for many months southerly winds have prevailed, accompanied by incessant rain and storm; so unseasonable and unhealthy a winter renders it probable that we shall have a sickly summer.

The rivers, overflowing their banks, have spread far and wide over the fields. By reason of the constant floods the arable lands are so wet and spongy that the seed is rotting in the ground, and farmers cherish but little hope of a good harvest. This state of things not only excites apprehensions of a great future rise in the corn markets, but its effects are already felt, the price of wheat having risen fifty per cent. In addition to these misfortunes, ships are constantly being wrecked, almost in sight, on the 164voyage to England or Zealand; in fact, the whole coast line of Aquitaine is said to be piled up with planks, masts, spars, rudders, and other fragments of wreck, which the tempest has washed ashore; so that, if nothing else should betide, the astrologers had good reason for prophesying a powerful combination of the starry influences and a year of terror to mankind.

January 19, 1583.


News has arrived from Brabant by way of England, which has thrown the Queen (Catherine de Medici) and the whole nation into the greatest alarm. The account is vague, but the purport of the tidings is to the effect that a quarrel arose at Antwerp,144 between the French and the citizens, and that the French force was annihilated.

The anxiety was greatly increased by the silence of Alençon; and, when no despatches arrived from him, serious doubts were entertained as to his safety. In this uncertainty several days passed by; at length messengers came pouring in, who told us the particulars of the affair, but still their accounts were defective in several important points, and differed in details.

I will relate what I made out as the nearest approximation to the truth: the points which I do not yet know about, I will fill in afterwards, and also correct any mistakes I may have made. I think I wrote to your Imperial Majesty that Alençon intended to travel to France, by way of England, for the purpose of visiting the King, and, as we may well 165suppose, of discussing with him the affairs and general condition of the Netherlands, and that his intention was to leave Montpensier and Biron as his lieutenants during his absence. But when Alençon applied to Biron to undertake this duty, the marshal was unwilling to accept the command, on the ground that he would have a restless and turbulent race to deal with, and no place to retreat to in case of misfortune. He reminded the Prince that such a large assemblage of French noblemen could not be withheld from committing occasional excesses and provoking the citizens, who would then immediately rise and threaten death to every Frenchman; and he thought the best means of meeting this danger would be for the French to hold some place to which they could retreat for refuge against the violence of the mob. For this purpose the citadel (of Antwerp) was admirably adapted; it needed but a few repairs and a strong garrison; there were now in the city a great many Frenchmen, both gentle and simple, who could easily seize the citadel, nor again would it be difficult to gain possession of one of the city gates, and, his army being so near, to throw into the town as many men as he chose. Further, the inspection of the forces which he (Biron) had brought with him, furnished Alençon with an excellent pretext for going out of the city and not mixing himself up with these irregular proceedings; all that was needed was the approval of Alençon and the nobles of his court.

On hearing Biron’s views, which were so well calculated to please Alençon’s licentious and lawless nobles, the greater part gave their adherence to his plan, whilst a sense of shame induced the more honourable men to agree to it, lest they should be thought cowards for shrinking from so important an enterprise. Alen166çon was the last to yield to the united wishes of his followers.

On the next day he went out to the camp, but as he passed the gate several of his body-guard, desperate fellows who had been selected for this service, halted on the bridge leading across the moat into the open country, instead of following the Prince. The citizens, who were guarding the bridge and the gate, warned the Frenchmen to clear the bridge, either by following their lord, or by returning into the city. The men listened with apparent deference to what was said, but none the less remained on the bridge; then the language of the men of Antwerp grew rougher, and the French retorted in words every whit as bold; so from words they came to blows; the French, who were all musketeers and came prepared for action, easily wounded, killed, or drove away the townsmen, and so took possession of the bridge and gate. They were joined by others, both horse and foot, who had left Alençon’s escort and had halted in the neighbourhood for that purpose; they formed a column, and in one compact mass burst into the town. The uproar alarmed the citizens stationed on the walls; from both sides of the gate they hurried to the fray, and climbing down into the road began to fight with the party who had been left to guard the entrance; the contest ended in the victory of the townsmen, who succeeded in beating their opponents and shutting the gate. They say that presently Alençon rode back and demanded admission, but the cannon’s mouth was the only mouth that answered!

Meantime, the French spread themselves through the city; on every side they could see the townsmen flocking to the fray, but there was no quailing or fear, for they felt certain that their superior skill would167 ensure their victory over a set of untrained civilians. Some made for the citadel, others, without any thought for that which was the real object of the enterprise, began plundering private houses; but it was not long before their ranks were broken by the charge of the men of Antwerp, and, with a few exceptions, they paid with their lives the penalty of their rash attempt.

They say that the Queen Mother, on hearing the news, burst into tears, and cried ‘Alençon, Alençon, would you had died long years ago, rather than so many of our nobles should have perished through you, and such great trouble and distress have been brought upon France! Moreover, you are also endangering the safety of the realm, for you have brought yourself, the heir of the throne, into the most imminent peril, and every effort will be needed if you are to be extricated from your unfortunate position.’

They say that the Duke of Guise has tendered his services to the Queen, promising, if 3,000 French horse are given him, to find Alençon, wherever he may be, and bring him home. Round him accordingly the nobles are gathering, and the clatter of the armourer’s hammer is to be heard in every street. But I do not myself believe that anything will come of it.

This scheme of Biron145 (assuming that it is his scheme) will go far to confirm the judgment of those who maintain that, though an active and experienced commander, he is in all other respects a person of little discernment. Alençon, being shut out of Antwerp, spent the night with his army at the monastery of St. Bernard. There he was joined by the officers of his household. They had remained in their quarters during the disturbance, and, being held guiltless of any 168part in the conspiracy, were sent back to their master by the men of Antwerp. However, Alençon’s first object was to cross the Scheldt before any attempt should be made to obstruct the passage; so all night the Swiss were hard at work building a bridge. As soon as it was finished, he crossed from Brabant into Flanders, and came to Dendermonde, where he is supposed to be still lying. The question now is, what is he to do? Ought he to lead his forces back to France, and abandon all interest in the Netherlands? Or again, ought he to make up his quarrel with the people of Antwerp? Now that there is an end of all confidence between them, I fail to see how this latter alternative is possible; but the French are wonderful fellows when they set their minds on a thing!

These details, which I have picked out of several different versions, I have thought it my duty to place before your Majesty. Time will give us further particulars, and accounts on which we can better rely.

Your Majesty and the Archduke146 Ernest are supposed to have played a part in this drama. This notion was very rife when the news first came, and no particulars had as yet transpired. Some people about the Court, who fancied themselves to be wondrous wise, would have it that the eldest daughter of the King of Spain was betrothed to your Majesty, and the younger to the Archduke Ernest, with all the provinces of the Netherlands as her dowry, and that it was, therefore, of prime importance to your Majesty and the Archduke that the French in Antwerp should be cut to pieces, and Alençon driven from the city; 169that on this account there had been secret negotiations with the townsmen, who had been promised an amnesty for all past offences, on condition of their exterminating the French; and further, that your Majesty and the Archduke had secured the concurrence and assistance of the Prince of Orange; for they argue, the townsmen of Antwerp would never have ventured to go so far had they not been thus aided and abetted.

The Prince of Orange, it appears, had a presentiment of what was coming, and when Alençon desired to have his company to the camp, he steadily refused to go, giving as an excuse the state of his health and the badness of the weather. His presence saved the lives of several Frenchmen, among whom was Fervaques, one of Alençon’s favourite officers. But here in France this gentleman’s life is in danger in quite another way. They declare that the scheme of seizing the citadel was his suggestion, and wish him to be tried and executed. It is thought that a reconciliation between Alençon and the citizens of Antwerp will be brought about by the intervention of the King, who will send men of note to conduct the negotiations; the names of Bellièvre and Pibrac are mentioned as members of the commission. The latter is also marked out as Alençon’s chancellor.

So far from blaming the men of Antwerp, the French are actually beginning to praise them for their kind feeling and politic behaviour, for it appears that, after the excitement had abated, they showed every possible attention to their prisoners, and to those of the Frenchmen who had remained in their quarters.

February 5, 1583.



I felt confident, when I despatched my last letter to your Majesty, that it would not be long before I should have further news of a more trustworthy description from Antwerp. After all, I am disappointed; though several days have elapsed, there has been no fresh arrival from the Netherlands of anyone able, or at any rate willing, to tell us the truth of what happened. The few who have come were all sent by Alençon to the King, to repeat a set story which was put into their mouths, and hide the blackness of Alençon’s case under a cloud of specious words. There is no letter-carrier or merchant from Antwerp; indeed, the wardens of the marches put a complete stop to the travelling of Frenchmen to Antwerp, and of Antwerp people to France. Of late, however, the restrictions have been removed, and the merchandise, on which an embargo had been laid, having been released by both sides, the old rules, regulating the commercial intercourse between the two countries, are once more in force. But, in spite of this change, scarce anyone will run the risk of so hazardous a journey. One letter-carrier, it is true, has come by way of England, but he has brought no fresh tidings, except that the number of slain and captured is greater than was at first reported; in other respects his news differs little from the account given in my last letter.

Alençon’s friends, and those who are anxious to save his reputation, say that, though he is a mild and gracious Prince, yet, being no longer able to stomach the pretensions of the Prince of Orange and the independent ways of the men of Antwerp, so distasteful to a Frenchman, he endeavoured to take possession of171 the city, as the best means of freeing himself from his intolerable position, not having any idea that the enterprise would be either difficult or attended with much loss of life; but expecting that, after a few citizens had been killed at the first entry of the troops, the remainder would be so terrified as to abandon all thought of defence, and, laying down their arms, would submit to any conditions he might think fit to impose, provided that their lives were spared, so that he would have an excellent opportunity of binding down the city of Antwerp to his own terms. But he was utterly mistaken in his calculations, for he did not find the hearts of the citizens so tame, or their arms so weak, as Frenchmen would have them to be.

Some people put a totally different construction on the whole affair; but this is Alençon’s explanation. As to what really took place, it seems needless to write more, for your Majesty is no doubt in possession of all the facts, since there has been far freer communication with Germany than with France. In case, however, anything should be lacking, I enclose three documents. (1) The statement of the citizens of Antwerp, published in their own language. (2) A paper which is attributed to Bodin,147 author of the treatise De la République, published a few years ago. The letter is written in French. (3) A paper which is the production of some unknown person, but it is plain that he is a Frenchman, and his account is evidently untrustworthy.

Mirambeau, the brother of Lausac, was first de172spatched to Alençon by the King, and later on Bellièvre. The issue is still uncertain. Some think Alençon and the States will come to terms, while others are positive they will not. As to my own opinion, I have determined to reserve my judgment till time shall bring more certain news.

In the meanwhile several of the King’s commissioners, who were sent round to collect money, have returned. They report that nothing is to be obtained without the risk of an insurrection, and that all reply that if the King is straitened in any way, they know their duty: but in their opinion, his only object in asking for money is to lavish it on his young favourites; they consider such grants unreasonable, and will have nothing to say to them.

I am not surprised, for a gentleman in the royal treasury, on whose word I can rely, told me that since his return from Poland the King has squandered six million crowns in presents and other useless expenses. The King having been disappointed of these supplies, people think he will deprive the Queens Dowager of a large part of their property, to satisfy the claims of his young favourites. Your Imperial Majesty’s sister will be one of the sufferers, as, in violation of the marriage treaty, she has long ago been placed on the same footing as the other Queens Dowager.148

We have in France, as Governor of Brittany, a brother of the Queen Consort, son of Vaudemont; his title is the Duke of Mercœur.149 News was brought during his absence from home that he had died of the plague. Two men immediately asked for his post, Nevers150 and the Duke of Epernon, who stands well 173nigh first among the King’s favourites. Nevers’ application was refused, and the other appointed Governor of Brittany, conditionally on the office being vacant.

Though the appointment came to nothing, since news shortly arrived of the Duke of Mercœur’s recovery, yet Nevers was so indignant that he then and there gave orders to his retainers to prepare to leave the Court, and two days later retired home, after first upbraiding the King for his ingratitude.

The King’s conduct in this matter is being unfavourably criticised by many, and especially by the aristocracy.

March 20, 1583.


We have still no news from Antwerp of Alençon. Most people agree with Mirambeau in thinking that there is little hope of a friendly arrangement, the demands of the States being exorbitant; they ask for the restoration of Dunkirk and Cambrai, and henceforth refuse to permit any one, who is not a Netherlander born, to hold place in the suite or service of Alençon.

The King is moving infantry and cavalry to the frontier, so as to have them ready should need arise. I doubt whether even with this help Alençon’s journey is likely to be very rapid, as the district through which his road lies is deep in mud at this season.

Meantime the men of Antwerp are said to be exacting money from their prisoners, and demanding ransom for having spared their lives. Whether it be so or not, the breach between them and Alençon seems to be complete, so that they will hardly readmit him into the town.


Bellièvre stops behind with the hopeless task of trying to arrange matters; there is an idea that, by his oratorical powers and diplomatic skill, the wrath of the Netherlanders may be appeased, and the way paved to an agreement. But it is with the men of Antwerp as it was with Alençon; success was too much for his ill-regulated mind, and has proved his ruin; even so some great disaster will overtake the citizens, if they wax thus presumptuous on the strength of this unexpected victory.

April 12, 1583.


This very day it is still uncertain as to what will be the issue of the affair at Antwerp. Though there are the plainest signs of the deepest exasperation on both sides, there are some who think an arrangement possible; they admit that no real peace or friendship can hereafter exist, now that confidence has received so rude a shock, with the Netherlanders estranged from Alençon by the recollection of his dishonourable conduct, and Alençon burning to avenge the heavy punishment he has received; but still hold that it is to the interest of both parties that some sort of reconciliation should be patched up, and the former alliance be preserved, or at least the appearance of it. To what other quarter, they ask, can the Netherlanders look for assistance against the powerful foes who surround them, or what other help have they than their French allies? Or again, what could be more disastrous to Alençon’s reputation, than thus to withdraw from Brabant with the disgrace of having lost by his folly the provinces which had so unexpectedly fallen into his175 hands, and to have his shame blazed abroad throughout the world, which is watching the result of his enterprise? When a man has damaged his reputation, oftentimes, if he is only patient, an opportunity will come, which will enable him to restore it. But if, in spite of these considerations, Alençon must leave the Netherlands at an early date, still, if an interval is allowed to elapse, he will be able to avail himself of those numerous excuses for departure which may arise,—or, at the worst, can be invented,—and thus diminish materially the disgrace of his failure. Accordingly they hold an arrangement to be possible on the basis of a general amnesty. But this appears to me to be easier said than done! Brussels, according to their programme, is to be assigned to Alençon as a residence, and there also the Estates of the Netherlands are to meet; a few towns in the neighbourhood are likewise to be given him, that he may feel more secure. Brussels to be guarded by 1,500 Swiss and 500 French troops. Orange to be appointed Alençon’s Lieutenant, or Imperial Vicar. The prisoners at Antwerp to be discharged conditionally on remuneration being given to their hosts who rescued them from the violence of the people. In all other matters the late treaty to stand good.

In this arrangement the case of Fervaques is the chief difficulty. The citizens of Antwerp hold him to be the instigator and ringleader of this atrocious plot, and demand his execution.

Biron, by the way, has written a letter to the Queen Mother, in which he completely clears himself of all blame. He says he came too late to take any part in the discussion, the matter was already decided, and his share in the business consisted simply in yielding to Alençon’s wishes and executing his pleasure.


Some talk of a reconciliation on the terms which I have given; but what will happen it is impossible to say. It is well known that the other day, when Orange went into the town hall of Antwerp to make a speech in favour of reconciliation, a mob assembled in the market place, shouting and threatening to throw anyone out of the window who ventured to propose the readmission of the French. Orange, they say, was so alarmed by this demonstration that he spent the night in the town hall. Though a considerable space of time has elapsed, scarce a single Antwerp man has crossed the French frontier, although the road is open, and this, to my mind, is the surest proof that the prospects of a reconciliation are dubious; so long as there is a doubt as to the renewal of the alliance and arrangement of terms, none of them care to risk their lives by entering France.

So much for this subject.

Men, on whose authority I can rely, tell me that the King is pressing the Duke of Lorraine to betroth his daughter, who is now grown up and a great heiress, to the Duke of Epernon, but that Lorraine, who loathes the idea of such a mésalliance, is doing his utmost to avoid giving his consent to so unsuitable a match, taking refuge in a proposition that, if the King will bring about a marriage between his son, the Prince of Lorraine, and the sister of the King of Navarre, he in return will gladly comply with his request. This last is a young lady who, if her brother, as is not unlikely, should die childless, has very great prospects indeed. For the King of Navarre’s wife has not yet presented him with a child, and she is young enough to make it probable that she will be the survivor. The family feuds, however, which have been handed down from father to son, between the Bourbons and the Guises177 and House of Lorraine, render Navarre’s consent to the match highly improbable. The Duke of Lorraine sees clearly that Navarre inherited these feuds when he inherited the Crown, so he protects himself behind this entrenchment; whether it will be strong enough for his purposes time will show.

I must now give a description of Epernon. By the King’s favour he has been created duke; five years ago, before he became intimate with the King, he was a poor unknown man, who passed by the name of La Valette; at the outside his income did not exceed 400 crowns; his father was a gallant soldier, but his grandfather was a scrivener or notary. Now this upstart is a duke, and, what is more, a wealthy duke, for he can always dip his fingers into the royal treasury. But his present position is nothing to what he has in prospect; he aspires to one of the great dignities of the realm, and a governorship of the first rank, such as that of Brittany, touching which I wrote the other day. If, in addition to this promotion, he should obtain a wife so nearly connected with the King that no other Frenchman, however high his rank, would venture to aspire to her hand, he will be one of the most marvellously successful men that ever lived; and yet neither in birth nor deserts has he aught to boast of; in the King’s opinion no doubt he is a man of great promise, but no one else thinks so; whether it be envy, or his own fault, that causes him to be thus esteemed, I cannot say, but almost every one detests him on account of his exclusive and supercilious manners, and there is no one so hated by the Princes of France.

His colleague, if I may so term him, who, however, takes precedence of him, is the Duke (formerly Count) of Joyeuse, husband of the Queen’s178 sister; this last, however, has the advantages given by ancient and illustrious descent, amiable disposition, and natural talent; the other day he was made Admiral of France, now he has been appointed Governor of the whole of Normandy; in order to give him this command, three noblemen of the highest rank, who shared the province amongst them, had to be turned out. These two young fellows are the men in whose friendship the King considers himself blessed, and envies not the success of Alexander the Great! This infatuation of the King’s awakes the indignation and despair of France. The men who formerly held the highest positions next to the throne fly from the Court to avoid the painful sight; the rest are dumbfoundered at the King’s caprices.

This is the reason the King is always in difficulties, always poor, never able to reward or honour a good servant; his wealth is being piled on these young fellows, and they are being fashioned out of nothing into pillars of the State, so that they may occupy the greatest places in France. Amongst those who are greatly offended is Alençon; he is intensely indignant at being assisted with so niggardly a hand in an enterprise which he considers of the first importance, and complains that the King thinks more of his favourites than of his brother.151

As I shall often have occasion to allude to these gentlemen, I have described them at some length, so that, when they are referred to, your Majesty may have some idea of them.

Don Antonio is still at Rouen and Dieppe, busily engaged in the equipment of his fleet, or fleetlet, if I may so term it, for it falls far short of what was talked 179of, and will carry scarce 500 soldiers to reinforce his troops in the Azores.

Great supplies will be collected of such things as are needed in those localities.

May 2, 1583.


Messengers have lately come from Alençon with the news that the negotiations for a reconciliation promise well; in confirmation of this, they produced the terms of an arrangement, which I now enclose. Alençon refuses Brussels and prefers Dunkirk152 as his permanent residence. When he gets there, people think he will cross over to France, press his grievances upon the King, and ask him why he is more anxious for the aggrandisement of certain young fellows than for the prosecution of a most important enterprise.

Orange has invited from France Teligny’s widow, daughter of Coligny, some time Admiral of France, with the view of making her his wife; he is also giving the hand of his daughter, the Comte de Buren’s grandchild,153 to Laval, son of d’Andelot, brother of the aforesaid Coligny; they say that Laval will be Governor of Antwerp.

The King is instituting a new order of Flagellants, or Penitents.154 It is talked of everywhere in Paris, 180and all the more because lately when a celebrated preacher,155 though a most orthodox Catholic, attacked the order from the pulpit in a sermon full of sarcasm, the King ordered him to leave the city.

Touching the Flagellants there is a merry story to be told. The footmen of the nobles, of whom we have crowds at Paris, out of sheer wantonness, were mimicking in the palace itself certain rites of the brotherhood;156 the King ordered some eighty of them to be carried off into the kitchen, and there flogged to their hearts’ content, so their representation of the Flagellants and Penitents was turned from a sham into a reality!

May 20, 1583.


The reports of fresh disturbances, which I mentioned lately, are gaining ground, and worst of all, there is no certainty as to whether Alençon is concerned in them or not.

In consequence of these rumours his mother (Catherine de Medici) has been for some time intend181ing to visit him at Calais, but he has been detained at Dunkirk by sickness; he is supposed to be suffering from the French disease, and has placed himself in the hands of his physicians and surgeons. As soon as he recovers, people think he will cross over to Calais; but there is no telling, for some maintain that he will go to Normandy, and others that he will take ship for Brittany. If war ensues the King will be in great straits, since neither financially, nor in any other way, is he prepared to meet it.

Bellièvre has returned from Antwerp; he tells us that concessions have been made on both sides, and all obstacles to a satisfactory understanding removed.

One of the points arranged was the release of the prisoners, amongst whom was Fervaques; on this gentleman’s rejoining Alençon the latter presented him with an abbacy157 worth 6,000 crowns per annum, in acknowledgment no doubt of his brilliant conception and its admirable execution! When this was told to the Queen Mother (Catherine de Medici) she lost all patience, and called Alençon a fool and madman, repeating her words again and again.

A letter of Biron’s has been discovered in Alençon’s cabinet at Antwerp, written the day before the disastrous attempt of the French, in which he does his utmost to induce Alençon to abandon his foolish scheme. This discovery has made Biron extremely popular at Antwerp; in fact he stands first in favour of the citizens, and this is the man on whose head not long ago rested most of the odium!

Pibrac, who lately joined Alençon, has been despatched by him to Antwerp as his representative with the States; he is an ambassador who will, I fancy, cause more mischief than several thousand 182soldiers. Endhoven, a little town of Brabant, has capitulated to the King (of Spain) in spite of de Bonnivet’s defence. On the other hand, Biron has retaken some small forts. They say that the Prince of Parma is making preparations for the siege of Alost, thus threatening Brussels.

June 1, 1583.


The King’s inordinate devotion to religious observances is the subject of general remark; some declare that he will end by changing his crown for a cowl. The Queen Mother, they say, disgusted with the way he neglects his duties as Sovereign, roundly rebuked one Edmund,158 a Jesuit, who is the King’s chief adviser, for having well nigh turned her son from a king into a monk, to the great detriment of the realm.

Meanwhile serious disturbances are taking place in Aquitaine and Languedoc. In consequence of these movements the King has despatched Monsieur du Ferrier, whom he employed for a long time as his ambassador at Venice, to the King of Navarre. He is an old man and reputed wise.

The Queen Mother would have rushed to meet Alençon at Calais, if he had not written to stop her, warning her that a visit from her would wake the suspicions of the States of the Netherlands, and so damage his prospects. This is the excuse he gives, but most people think his letter was written to suit the views of the gentlemen responsible for the catastrophe at Antwerp, who are afraid of meeting with hard 183language and reproaches from the Queen, and haply also of being dismissed from their places.

Don Antonio was here the other day with the Queen, having run away from Dieppe and Rouen on account of the plague. He has now left for a village in the neighbourhood called Ruel, where he is living in a pleasant house lent him by Alençon. His household consists of some sixty people, who consume daily a quarter of an ox, two sheep, one calf, and 150 loaves.

It is now quite certain that Orange openly assumes the position of Count of Holland. Flushing,159 a city of Zealand, he bought with his own money; so that he commands the communications of those provinces with the sea. Thus amid the downfall and ruin of others Orange has secured a success.

The King is preparing for a journey to Mézières, with the intention of going on to a château called Foullenbraye, where he will stay to drink the Spa waters for the benefit of his health. During his absence the government is placed in the hands of the Queen Mother and the Privy Council. It is thought he will be away the whole summer. His days, I fear, are numbered.

After several feints, by which he kept every one in suspense as to where he would next strike, Parma has settled down to the siege of Cambrai. It will be a tedious affair, and success is by no means certain, still the capture of the town would go far towards deciding the struggle. He is said, moreover, to have recovered the town of Diest. Brussels, too, seems inclined to go over.

People are again beginning to be afraid of the plague. There are serious signs of its presence in Paris, and also in several other French towns.

June 25, 1583.



The Queen Mother has been with the King. After her interview she flew off to Boulogne-sur-Mer to meet Alençon, with Marshal de Retz in attendance on her. Alençon himself is levying fresh soldiers with the purpose, I suppose, of sending them to the relief of Cambrai.

The States and Biron have received a severe check at Steenbergen,160 losing a great many men. Biron was wounded, and had difficulty in protecting himself behind the walls of Steenbergen.

The Governor of Namur has been sent by Parma to the King. A messenger also came from Casimir to ask a free passage through France; he is sending him to the Queen of England about the Cologne business. The Pope, through his nuncio, is urging the King to accept the decrees of the Council of Trent, and to publish them throughout the kingdom. I do not think his representations will have much effect, not because the King is a supporter of the privileges of the Gallican Church, but because there is a suspicion that the real object is the introduction of the Inquisition into France. Fresh disturbances would be the certain consequence of so unpopular a measure.

For these reasons people say the King, though personally disposed to accede to the demands of the Pope, will not grant them, being determined, as far as in him lies, to avoid all risk of rebellion and civil war.

The King was desirous of placing the Duke of Epernon in command of Metz, but the present governor is an obstacle. He refuses to transfer his command to any one until he shall have received the reward due 185 to him for long service in the army and years of honest work. In my opinion the King has another reason for prolonging his stay in those parts. Cologne is not far distant, and he may be thinking of making his own advantage out of the disturbances.

Then, after conducting his wife to Bourbon-les-Bains, he will make a détour to Lyons, not returning to Paris till the end of the summer.

The Duke of Joyeuse is expected back. He crossed the mountains into Italy with a brilliant train on a pilgrimage to the shrine of the Holy Virgin of Loreto, in fulfilment of a vow he had undertaken when his wife was ill.

On his way he visited Rome to do reverence to the Pope, and possibly also to give him a private message161 from the King.

The men of Antwerp have lost a great deal of their old confidence and love for Orange, who seems only to care for making his kingdom of Holland secure, and does not pay sufficient attention to the safety of the other provinces. From Brussels also there is news of some disturbance, touching which I am expecting a report from a trusty correspondent.

Meanwhile I pray God to grant good health to your Imperial Majesty, whose most humble servant I remain.

July 3, 1583.


As the Queen Mother was hastening through Picardy to Boulogne, Alençon met her at La Fère. He did 186not leave Dunkirk an hour too soon. No sooner had he gone than Parma’s army sat down before it, and the siege was so skilfully conducted that the garrison were compelled to surrender;162 they were, however, able to obtain honourable terms. With Dunkirk Alençon has lost all footing in the Netherlands except Cambrai, and even that is hard pressed and in great want of provisions, by reason of the garrisons and outposts which encompass it on every side. However, Alençon, with a relieving army, is not far off, and stores of wine and corn, collected in Picardy, have been laid up at St. Quentin to supply the famished town. As to what the end of it will be, no one knows.

The ambassadors, who were expected from Antwerp for the ratification of the terms of reconciliation, did not arrive, in consequence of which Alençon returned to France in high dudgeon with the States of the Netherlands. Biron is said to be at Antwerp, with one word and one word only in his mouth, which he is ever repeating, and that word is ‘money;’ no one listens to him, for there seems no possibility of extracting a penny from the townspeople without running the risk of an outbreak; in good sooth, the funds which the citizens supplied have so often been wasted that they are sick of the business.

On the other hand, Orange does what he can to awake the zeal of Antwerp, but, since Alençon’s disastrous attempt, his influence has fallen low, and there is a suspicion abroad that he is more anxious for his own personal advantage than for the welfare of his country. Some say he has crossed over to Zealand, to make all safe in that quarter, and transact some pressing business.

The fall of Dunkirk has been followed by the 187surrender of Nieuport, St. Winoc, and other neighbouring towns, so that they are in hopes of taking Bruges and Ypres. Thus affairs in the Netherlands are mending;163 and possibly a little skilful management would induce the people to come to terms. I was expecting a man from Brabant, who would have given me accurate information on all these points, but I am afraid his return will be delayed by the capture of Dunkirk, which has greatly added to the difficulties of a sea passage.

There was in Paris a royal messenger, famous for his skill in conveying to their destination the orders and despatches of his master; nor was there any one in whose loyalty and discretion the King placed greater confidence. His Majesty had ordered him to cross the Alps with an autograph letter, filling two sheets, to the Duke of Joyeuse. He had not gone far before he fell in with four horsemen, who were dogging his path; they stabbed him in several places, and carried off the King’s letter; by this means, it is supposed, several important secrets have been discovered by the opponents of the Court. Whether it was for this reason or not I cannot say, but the King immediately hurried back to Paris, instead of accompanying his wife to Bourbon-les-bains, as he had intended. However, in a few days he will join her at the baths, going on to Lyons, but what he intends to do when he gets there is a secret to most people.

For myself, I am inclined to think that he wishes to see whether his presence on the spot will enable him to turn Montmorency164 out of the government of 188Languedoc, and place the Duke of Joyeuse, or one of his other minions, in possession.

I am not, I say, certain that he will give it to the Duke of Joyeuse, since a most handsome provision has been made for him in the governorship of Normandy, which was refused to Alençon himself. But perhaps ere long we shall learn the truth.

Every one in Paris is talking of the news that Don Antonio’s new fleet has reached the Azores in safety. The commander is Monsieur de Chattes, a knight of Malta, and also a relation of the Duke of Joyeuse, Admiral of France.

Some time ago one St. Hilaire entered your Majesty’s service as a gentleman cadet. I understand he is now serving in Hungary. This young gentleman’s eldest brother is dead, and, if I mistake not, he stands next in succession to the estate; there are several brothers, and, if he is not present when the property is divided, there is danger of his not getting his proper share; as the loss to him might be considerable, his friends have come to the conclusion that he ought to be summoned home, and have requested me to write to your Majesty, and ask for an honourable discharge, which request I hereby comply with. It will be a good occasion for your Imperial Majesty to exercise your kindness by graciously giving him leave of absence for the transaction of private business.

The plague is breaking out afresh in several places, the wind being unusually steady, and never shifting, unless it be from south to west.

As to the Greek books, I most humbly repeat my request that your Majesty would keep the matter in mind.

There was lately in Paris a gentleman of good family, who was a notorious duellist. His name was the189 Baron de Viteaux,165 and he had attained some celebrity by the bold and successful way in which he had killed sundry gentlemen with whom he had differences. The son of one of his victims was anxious to avenge his father’s death; he had also another motive, for having lately been discovered in a plot against the Baron’s life,166 he knew that unless he killed him his doom was sealed. Accordingly he determined to take a decided course; so last Sunday he invited the Baron to measure swords with him in a field near Paris; the arrangement was that they should have in attendance only one servant apiece, and a gentleman of rank, the common friend of both parties, to act as umpire and marshal of the lists; the duel to be with sword and dagger, no other weapon being allowed, and only to be terminated when one of the combatants should have fallen. The Baron accepted the challenge; as 190soon as they met he ran his opponent through the arm and stretched him on the ground; not liking to strike him when he was down, he told him to get up. This act of kindness cost him dear, for his opponent, in no way daunted by his wound, but burning to avenge his fall, with one vigorous and skilful thrust, ran the Baron through the heart; then, as he lay dying on the ground, he stabbed him again and again, and thus rewarded his folly in sparing an antagonist whose arm still held a sword. Though scarcely twenty-one, the young man had for years been devoting himself to the art of fencing, with a view to this meeting. Thus died the famous Baron, who was looked on here as a second Mars, and is thought to have frightened the King167 more than once. His end was like that of Montal168 191and Bussy,169 both of whom died as they deserved to die. ‘Aspiciunt oculis superi mortalia justis.’ The victor is not yet out of danger. He received two wounds, one, as I mentioned, in his arm, and the other in his thigh. Even if he recovers, another duel awaits him, as he will be challenged by a relation of the late Baron, who is well qualified to avenge his death.

I thought there was no harm in giving your Majesty a full account of this affair, though it has but little connection with my business.

Paris, August 10, 1583.



However famous Africa may have been of old for tales and wonders, it must yield the palm to modern France.

Scarcely had our ears recovered from the flood of gossip aroused by the death of the Baron, which I have already described, when there crops up another scandal, calculated to produce quite as much astonishment and conversation. The King, publicly before a large audience, gave a severe lecture170 to his sister the Queen of Navarre, reproving her for her disreputable and immoral courses; he gave her the exact dates at which she had taken on each new lover; he reproached her with having had a son of whom her husband was not the father; in each instance his dates and particulars were so accurate, that one would have thought he had been an eyewitness. The Queen (Marguerite de Valois) was overwhelmed, being ashamed to confess, and at the same time unable to refute, the charges brought against her. The King concluded his lecture by ordering her to leave Paris forthwith, and no longer pollute the city with her presence.

In obedience to this command, the Queen of Navarre packed in haste, and left Paris on the following day; no one paid her the attention of escorting her from the city, and she had not even a complete train of servants. Her destination is supposed to be Vendôme, one of her husband’s towns. Two ladies of rank,171 who 193are at the head of her household, were arrested on the road, brought back to Paris, and placed under guard.

Nor was the King satisfied with the punishment he had inflicted, but must needs write a letter to the King of Navarre with a full account of his wife’s delinquencies. People say that, if her husband accepts this statement, and refuses to receive her, it is the intention of the King to immure his sister in some lonely fortress, where she can injure no one by her immorality and intrigues. Nor need this excite surprise, for there is some fear that, if she should return to her husband, and make herself out innocent to him, she will be the source of much disturbance and disquiet to the realm; of will and malice for such work she has good store, and of ability there is enough and to spare.

Immediately after the interview between the King and his sister, a gentleman, named de Chanvallon,172 fled to Germany; for a long time he had stood high in Alençon’s favour; but when it was discovered that he had sent news from Antwerp to the French Court, touching matters which Alençon wished to be suppressed, he fell out of favour with the Prince, and was ordered to leave his presence. He returned to Paris and took refuge with the Queen of Navarre, to the great annoyance of Alençon, who is now completely estranged from him, if one may believe what one hears.

De Chanvallon is a young man whose claims to noble birth are doubtful; he has, however, the advantage of pleasing manners, and is a handsome young fellow; he holds a high place among the admirers of the Queen of Navarre. They say the Queen Mother also is greatly incensed with her daughter for her in194discretions. How that may be I cannot tell; but at any rate the Queen of Navarre has, as I told your Majesty, left Paris, declaring again and again that ‘she and the Queen of Scots are the most unhappy beings in the world; a little drop of poison would give her relief, if anyone would help her to it, but she has neither friend nor foe to do her this service.’

This story, which is now current in France, is perhaps hardly deserving of your Majesty’s attention, or a fit subject for a confidential despatch; but I was induced to give these details by the circumstance that I had an opportunity of sending a letter, and the business of the Queen made it necessary that I should write to her. So, having little else in the way of news, I have filled my letter to your Majesty with this gossip.

The Queen Mother has returned to Alençon at La Fère. The King himself has set out for Lyons, his chief object being, as he professes, to meet his dear Duke of Joyeuse, on his return from Italy.

There is a report that Alençon will marry his niece, the daughter of his sister and the Duke of Lorraine, and that the sister of the King of Navarre is intended for the Duke of Savoy. Strange reports, methinks, and not worthy of much credit as yet.

The Prince of Parma’s victorious career in Flanders has been stopped at Ostend; the town was reinforced by the Prince of Orange, and refused to surrender. Ypres is lost; Dixmude is said to be hard pressed, for the people of Bruges were obliged to call in the garrison of Menin for the further protection of the town. Menin was evacuated, and left to be plundered and sacked.

August 27, 1583.



At last the gentleman whom I expected from the Netherlands, as I have already told your Majesty, has returned. The only news he brings is that the Netherlanders are acting in the maddest way, the citizens quarrelling, the towns disagreeing, there is no steady policy, and a reckless spirit prevails. However, in one point they all agree, to wit, their detestation of the French; who since the outrage at Antwerp have become positively hateful to the Netherlanders, a sentiment which they on their part warmly reciprocate. It is on account of this feeling, he says, that Biron has returned with his forces to France. When he was embarking, there were not enough transports for the conveyance of the troop horses, so the men piled straw round a number of them, and burnt them; others they stabbed or hamstrung, so as to render them useless. Everywhere Netherlanders are being stopped on the road and plundered by the French, who tell them that they are returning the favours they have received in the Low Countries. All this plainly shows how untrustworthy is a league between ill-assorted allies, however much it be varnished over with a pretence of friendship, and how quickly ancient national feuds break out afresh.

They say that Puygalliard, commander of the royal cavalry in Picardy, is acting governor at Cambrai for the King of France, Alençon having handed over the city to his brother, and Biron is on his way to join him.

Apparently Alençon’s plan is to throw a strong garrison into Cambrai, and retake some places in the196 neighbourhood, while harassing the cities of Hainault and Artois, and thus proving to the men of Brabant and the rest of the Netherlanders, who, as he is aware, hate him cordially, how much protection he could have afforded, and how much he would have done if they had continued to cultivate his friendship.

This is supposed to be his only chance of reinstating himself in their good graces. Towards carrying out this scheme he has received material assistance, it is said, from the King, who has appointed him his Lieutenant; but his powers are so far limited, that he cannot levy money or draw on the royal treasury at his own discretion. Still his success is in no way assured, for the French are so unpopular in the Netherlands, that the Prince of Orange himself is roundly abused for supporting their interests; he does not carry anything like the weight he once possessed; his influence has declined even among the Hollanders and Zealanders, who were supposed to be on the point of making him their Count and Sovereign; now, however, he is compelled to listen to language from them which is not merely blunt, but actually rude and insulting. Some go so far as to insinuate that he was privy to Alençon’s schemes, when he made his disastrous attempt on Antwerp.

He is consequently living in retirement at Flushing, in a position hardly above that of a private gentleman. Occupied solely with sundry family affairs, he is quietly waiting till the storm of unpopularity shall have spent itself, for well he knows how changeable the masses are, and that neither their favour nor disfavour is likely to last long.

The following piece of news I give, but do not vouch for, though the report is generally current. Those who do not like it explain it away. All France197 rings with the story of another defeat at the Azores;173 the fleet, they say, is lost; the French cut to pieces; the Portuguese condemned to the galley and the oar; the commander of the expedition a prisoner. If this be true, and it does not seem improbable, France will have paid dearly for her hospitalities to the Portuguese.

Among other instructions given by the King to the Duke of Joyeuse, when setting out for Italy, was one of special importance; he was to obtain the Pope’s permission for the sale of ecclesiastical property to the value of some hundred thousands of crowns; it is now 198reported that the Duke’s attempt to obtain the Papal sanction was a complete failure. So the King’s hopes in this quarter were frustrated, and the Duke has not been more successful than the great men whom the King lately sent round France to obtain supplies. The first debates on the King’s return will be, I imagine, on the best method of scraping up money! With the lower orders in this country distress has gone so far that they are like to hang themselves from sheer despair, consequently they take these frequent and heavy demands upon their pockets in very bad part.

September 15, 1583.

The aged Bishop of Rimini, the Apostolic Nuncio, has died here of fever. He was a man of kindly feeling and high character.

September 20, 1583.


I have not much to report. Alençon is at Cambrai, in great want of many things, especially money, which in his case is all important. His captains attempted to surprise Le Quesnoy, a strongly fortified town in Hainault, and were repulsed with great slaughter.

St. Aldegonde, and a gentleman named Junius, who acted as secretary to the late Count Palatine,174 are said to have come to Cambrai as ambassadors from the States, to treat with Alençon for a reconciliation; but treat or reconcile as they please, it is plain they will not be supported by public sentiment, for the Netherlanders loathe the very name of Frenchman.


Ypres is still blockaded by the enemy’s works, though there is a story that the besiegers have suffered some loss at the hands of the garrison of Bruges.

The plague, which is now raging at Paris with extraordinary violence, will, I think, cause the King to defer his return. People expect that Alençon will meet him here.

A new religious fashion175 is in vogue among the French. The townsmen and peasants of some place, of all ages and all ranks, quit their homes in a body, and make a pilgrimage of two or three days to some famous shrine. The pilgrims are generally clothed in white linen robes, and carry crosses in their hands. Some people think that this movement had its origin in supernatural warnings, which frightened the people, and led them to take this means of appeasing the Deity, and saving themselves; others think that it is 200to gratify the King that these pilgrimages are undertaken, and that their object is to ask God to grant him children.

October 6, 1585.


I have received a letter from the Counsellors of your Imperial Majesty’s chamber, in which they state that the books which I presented to the library some seven years ago, during the lifetime of the Emperor Maximilian, of blessed memory, have been valued at one thousand florins; if your Imperial Majesty regards this sum in the light of a present in return for my present of books, I shall consider it most handsome, and humbly offer my best thanks to your Majesty for the same; but if it is a matter of business and strict account—if this sum, I say, is to be reckoned as the ascertained value of all those precious volumes, the antiquity of which renders them so important an acquisition to the Imperial Library—I must confess that such a price in no way represents their value. The precious character of the books and the high regard I have ever felt for them176 render it incumbent on me to make this protest. As far as I am personally concerned, I am ready to acquiesce in your Majesty’s decision, whatever it may be.

October 9, 1583.



The King has at last returned. On account of the plague it was determined that he should not enter Paris. It was arranged, as the most convenient plan, that he should stay at Saint-Germain en Laye. On his arrival, his first care was to summon the gentlemen who, as I told your Majesty in a former letter, were sent round the provinces and cities of France to collect money. They are all men of high standing.177 The King will now receive an account of the steps they took and the reply they got. Their report must needs be that all made answer with one accord, their burden was already so heavy, that if they were to bear it any longer, it must be lightened rather than increased by the addition of a fresh tax.

This will compel the King to consult these gentlemen as to the best means of raising funds, for, one way or another, money must be had. As to what course they will recommend there is no certainty; but some people are disposed to think that the honour of replenishing the treasury will be assigned to the Church. The King, it seems, desired the Duke of Joyeuse to open negotiations with the Pope for obtaining his sanction to a fresh sale of ecclesiastical property to the value of several hundred thousand crowns; but for some reason or other nothing came of it.

These conferences at Saint-Germain would have been brought to a conclusion had not Alençon made a détour to Château Thierry, some 26 miles178 from Paris, 202on his way from Cambrai to his own town of Angers, where he intends spending the winter; his mother has gone to visit him, hoping to bring him to the court, in order that he may be present at the above-mentioned conferences; but whether he will be persuaded is still uncertain, for he persists in his complaint that he has not been properly supported in the great work he has undertaken, and that the King has had more regard for the interests of utter strangers than for those of his own brother.

As to other matters, Cambrai is neither safe against attack nor adequately provisioned. Biron tried to storm Cateau Cambrésis, but, unluckily for him, the Prince of Parma came to the rescue; the French army was in great danger, and had to beat a hurried retreat; Biron, however, managed to save his cannon.

The rebel States of the Netherlands, having met at Middelburg179 to transact federal business, the party of the Prince of Orange urged strongly the advisability of a reconciliation with Alençon; they were, however, repeatedly told by other members of the meeting that the late disastrous affair (at Antwerp) had shown them how impossible it was to trust the word of Frenchmen. There were some who wished for the King of Denmark, while several mentioned Casimir, who had the support of the Queen of England; but the assembly broke up without arriving at any decision.

October 29, 1583.


Alençon has retraced his steps to Laon, whither the Queen Mother has gone to visit him. Of the reason 203of this step I am not sure, but probably his object is to be near Cambrai. It is well known that great disturbances lately took place there; certain of the citizens conspired with officers commanding posts in the neighbourhood, and either took the town or were within an ace of taking it. The French, however, still hold the citadel.

November 2, 1583.


The Queen Mother has returned from her visit to Alençon. All her trouble has been to no purpose, for he could not be induced to accompany her to Court.180 The King’s distress at his absence is not overwhelming!

The Queen of Navarre has joined her husband; he received her courteously, but she will live apart from him until the truth be ascertained concerning the immoralities of which she is charged. It is on this business that Bellièvre has been sent to the King of Navarre. He is to make a recantation on the King’s behalf, and reconcile husband and wife.

They say the King has been brought to task for allowing himself, in a fit of passion, to blast the reputation of a member of his own family, and is now sorry 204for what he has done.181 He tries to clear himself by saying that in a rash moment he believed what certain people told him. The King of Navarre demands that, if his wife be guilty, she should receive the punishment she deserves; but that, if she has been falsely accused, and is innocent, her calumniators should pay the penalty. It is well known that the King was provoked into this by the murder of the messenger182 he sent to the Duke of Joyeuse, of which I informed your Majesty in a former letter, for he suspected that his sister had been privy to the assassination. Those who are acquainted with the character of the lady say that, unless they are greatly mistaken, she will one day signally avenge the insult she has received.

The story of a disturbance at Cambrai, which I mentioned at the end of my last letter, arose from the Seigneur de Goigny, commandant of a neighbouring place for the King (of Spain), being seen in the city. It was assumed that he could not be staying in Cambrai without the consent of the townsmen. The assumption was ill-grounded, as the event proved, for he had come to Cambrai to have an interview with Alençon, whom he has followed to France; for aught I know, he is still at his quarters.

The reason of his visit was the hope that had been thrown out of some arrangement for recovering Cambrai, a large sum of money having been promised to Alençon on behalf of the King of Spain.

The ruined and impoverished condition of the nobles in Alençon’s train renders it by no means im205probable that this scheme may come to something, as it would provide the means to save them from starvation and destitution; but in the Royal Court, and throughout France, the negotiation is held to be most discreditable, and is regarded as a striking proof of the fickleness of the French.

A report is current that the King has written a letter to his brother cautioning him. An arrangement for the exchange of prisoners furnishes the pretext under which this negotiation is being conducted.

In spite of all this, some are inclined to think that the States of Brabant are getting ready a fresh embassy, which will shortly be sent to arrange the terms of a reconciliation with Alençon. It would appear that they have been driven to this course by the successes of the Prince of Parma, who has seized nearly all the country save Ghent and Antwerp. The Netherlanders, however, have opened the dykes with the double object of protecting themselves, and making Parma’s conquests of no avail to him. It is supposed that their next step will be to send a fresh embassy, since they are determined to suffer the worst that may befall, rather than submit once more to the authority of Spain. However this may be, there is news that the Zealanders and Hollanders will shortly appoint Orange as their Count.

De Puygaillard has left Cambrai; de Balagny183 is in 206command of the citadel and garrison, and he is not the sort of man to surrender the town to anyone, even though Alençon himself should give the order. The latter has changed his plans; it is thought he will not go, as formerly reported, to Angers for the winter, but will stop in his present quarters at Château Thierry. He has returned from the Netherlands with such discredit that he is only thinking of where he may best hide his dishonoured head. Meanwhile the King is holding his assemblies, which will continue sitting for at least two months; not only will the financial question be considered, but also a general reform of all abuses; it is the purpose of the King, in conformity with his present strict religious views, to correct all vices and faults in the administration of his realm and thus promote the welfare of his people; it is probable, however, that the upshot of these changes will be to make the King’s interest the paramount consideration. For instance, the Crown claims the right of conferring Church patronage, and in consequence you may see children, military men,184 and women holding bishopricks and abbacies; well, first there was a debate as to the advisability of replacing matters on their old footing, and making these appointments elective, but a resolution was passed that, inasmuch as the old purity in voting had passed away, and all principle had been lost, there appeared no reason for depriving the Crown of the valuable right it had acquired, and that the matter had better be left on its present footing, with the understanding that the King, when exercising his patronage, should have regard to the character and qualifications of the candidates. In many other cases there will be a similar result—that is, projects will be ushered in with fine phrases as to 207the interests of the people and the mitigation of their burdens, and then in the end the interests of the Crown will carry the day. The King indeed takes care that the law he enacted with regard to dress should be strictly observed; it had not been in force many days when it met with the usual fate of such edicts, and was disregarded by the Parisians, whereon his Majesty sent the Provost of the Court into the city with orders to throw into jail all persons whom he might find transgressing the law. There were several arrests both of men and women, and a great commotion was the consequence, amounting almost to an insurrection. ‘Were they to be arrested by the Provost as if they were highwaymen or burglars? They had their own judges and magistrates to punish offending citizens. If the Provost185 continued to interfere it should cost him his life.’ It seemed likely that the people would be as good as their word, so the magistrates of the city came to the King and informed him of what was going on; at first he took them roundly to task for their laches in allowing these salutary laws to fall into abeyance, telling them that it was through their negligence he had been driven to other means of enforcing them; he then hurried to Paris, went straight to the prison and set free all who had been arrested on this charge, paying out of his own purse the jailor’s dues 208for each prisoner. Since then the law has been more strictly enforced.

Cardinal de Birague186 is dead, at the age, if I mistake not, of more than eighty years; the Court followed its usual fashion, and gave a magnificent funeral at death to one whom it loved not during his life. He held the title of Chancellor of France, but the duties of his office were discharged by a deputy; he was a man who loved fair dealing, and consequently a good friend and supporter of the Queen Dowager of France, your Imperial Majesty’s sister; his successor187 is his exact opposite in character, disposition, and intentions.

Orange is scheming to recover Zutphen, a city of Gueldres, which has been taken by the Spaniards. The Count of Gueldres is suspected of having a secret understanding with Parma; there is a report that he has been 209sent as a prisoner to Zealand with his children. At Ghent also a conspiracy188 of some nobles against the city authorities has been detected through Imbize, who for a long time was an exile in the Palatinate; this discovery has placed them all in imminent danger; among the number is Ryhove, who was ambassador at Constantinople.

However the others may fare, Champagny, who was the prime mover and soul of the plot, can hardly hope to save his head.

December 4, 1583.


Nothing of importance, as far as I know, has happened since I last wrote, unless it be that some men were caught at Alençon’s quarters, with arms in their hands, under suspicious circumstances; it was thought that they were waiting to assassinate some one. Alençon was strongly impressed with the idea that they were cut-throats hired to murder him. At last, after a careful investigation, it was discovered that it was not his life they designed to take, but Fervaques’; moreover, it was ascertained that the man who set them on was at open feud with the latter, on account of some injury he had received at his hands.

The Queen Mother has again set out on a visit to 210Alençon. She has several objects in going, but the chief one is to remove whatever suspicions he may still entertain. People say Alençon is also about to receive ambassadors from nearly all the rebel States of the Netherlands, with the exception of Flanders, which has not yet been induced to sanction his recall. For the aforesaid ambassadors, whose arrival is expected, eighteen gold chains are being worked up at Alençon’s quarters. The Hollanders, however, are supposed to have already sworn allegiance to Orange, or to be on the point of so doing, with the reservation that the supreme sovereignty be vested in Alençon. Whatever else Orange may lose, he will always retain his power of perpetuating disturbances and revolutions. His chief assistant and adviser, St. Aldegonde, has been made burgomaster of Antwerp. For many years past I have been unable to see any prospect of a peaceful settlement for the Netherlands. Parma has, it is true, done much, but I doubt whether there is not quite as much more to be done.

We have news of disturbances in Gascony and Aquitaine; in both of these provinces places have been seized, and attempts are being made to recover them by force of arms.

That the year on which we have just entered and many, many coming years may bring prosperity to your Imperial Majesty is the hope and prayer of your most humble servant.

January 9, 1584.


The King is bent on a plan for reforming his life, and devoting himself more exclusively to religion. It was supposed that he would spend the Carnival at Paris;211 he used to say that not to be at Paris at that season was as bad as being in Poland, for he should miss all the fun and pleasure of the capital, and last, but not least, the society of certain ladies whom he had been accustomed to meet on that occasion.189

In his present humour he does not care to leave Saint-Germain, where he lives like a hermit. Meanwhile the assembly, which was convened for the purpose of reforming the people and remedying abuses in the government, is still sitting. Every day it passes a number of wholesome measures, of which I shall now proceed to give your Majesty an example. There is no greater burden laid on the realm of France than the multiplication of official posts, which the King creates to the benefit of his own pocket and the impoverishment of his people; these are now, to a great extent, abolished. For instance, the King had as many as 150 chamberlains, all of whom are now dismissed, with the exception of sixteen, or, according to another version, twenty-four. The same course, it is supposed, will be followed in all similar cases, to the great advantage and relief of the nation, on whose shoulders the entire burden of supporting these sinecures used to rest.

This reform, however, will draw complaints from individuals who have purchased such offices with hard cash out of their own pockets. Their claims, it is true, will be commuted, but they will suffer great inconvenience and loss by the change.

Meantime there is a vague idea that France is on 212the eve of a fresh civil war, and there are people who assert that Navarre has sent to Germany to hire reiters. Whether that be so or not, at any rate the King is raising troops.

It is supposed that the Queen of Navarre will shortly be reconciled to her husband, if indeed the reconciliation has not already taken place, through the mediation of one Pernantius of Lorraine, a notable champion of Protestantism. The Netherland ambassadors are now with Alençon, waiting for fuller instructions from the States. Alençon is urging his claim to be appointed Lieutenant-General of the kingdom, with the same powers as the present Sovereign held during the reign of his brother Charles, which were very extensive; but the King objects, and it seems hardly likely that they will come to terms. This difference, it is feared, will, in the event of war, be the source of yet more serious quarrels.

Every day men190 are coming over from England to France who have been concerned in the great conspiracy against the life of the Queen (Elizabeth). The Earl of Norfolk191 has been arrested in England for his part in the plot, and everyone expects that he will lose his head, but the Earl of Arundel’s case is not regarded as equally desperate, as the Queen seems more inclined to show him mercy. Even the Queen of Scots, who is accused of having been privy to all their designs, is considered to be in great danger. The Ambassador192 of the King of Spain, they say, was the prime mover in the conspiracy, and on this account 213has been ordered to leave England. There is an idea that he will pass through France on his way to Spain.

February 12, 1584.

The King has returned from Saint-Germain to Paris, on account of the illness of the Queen Mother. She had an attack of fever, which lasted longer than was expected.

February 15, 1584.


Alençon has paid a visit to his sick mother, staying with her some days before he showed himself to the King. At last, by her advice, as I suppose, he approached193 the King in a most respectful and submissive manner, insomuch that for some time he kept his knee well nigh touching the ground. When raised by the King, he commenced his address by imploring forgiveness for any offences he might have committed against him.

The King replied there was no need of pardon; he was quite aware that in certain points he did not agree with his brother, but for his own part he was prepared to submit such questions to the arbitration of their mother, and would abide by her decision.

People say that Alençon was advised to make sure of Joyeuse and Epernon, through whose eyes the King sees everything, if he wanted his brother to help his party, and interfere in the affairs of the Netherlands. The King could be led to anything, if they chose to exert their influence. This advice he seems inclined to adopt.


The ambassadors of Brabant and Flanders have now arrived; people say that they have offered Alençon the right of placing garrisons in any of their cities with the exception of two, viz., Antwerp and Ghent. They have also been to Paris to plead their cause before the King.

Alençon, after spending a few days with the King, returned to his old quarters at Château Thierry, with the intention of coming again to Paris before Easter.

When he left the whole court escorted him out; there was a great fuss, and none so forward as Joyeuse and Epernon, on whom he bestowed every mark of favour at parting.

The King, it seems, is about to take Cambrai under his protection, and will send some troops thither, which, however, are nominally to be Alençon’s.

Everyone is talking of the campaign against Damville, whose present title is the Duke of Montmorency.194 He is Governor of Languedoc, and appointments of this kind are held for life, and not for a term of years, the holder not being superseded unless he has become a rebel or been convicted of high treason. The King is determined to bestow the governorship of the province on the father of Joyeuse, but Montmorency, it seems, does not intend surrendering his post as long as there is life in his body. The King has caused Montmorency to be tried before his Parliament, and pronounced contumacious and rebellious. This campaign, people say, will be taken in hand after Easter. Alençon is to act as the King’s Lieutenant in proof of his submission to the royal authority. The result is anxiously expected.

Montmorency has great resources in Languedoc, and is supported by a united and numerous party. 215Many will suspect that his downfall will pave the way to their destruction.

A few days ago the King was within an ace of committing an act in his own council-chamber hardly consistent with the gracious character which befits a Sovereign. Among his councillors was a knight of Malta, the Prior of Champagne,195 a violent and reckless man. The King was speaking earnestly on some important point, and the Prior, who took an opposite view, went so far as to say, ‘If you wished,196 Sire, to speak the truth, you must remember, &c.’ The 216King took his words as a personal insult, and was furious. ‘What?’ cried he; ‘do you think I am telling a lie? Down on your knees at once, and beg my pardon.’ When he had done so, the King forgave him, but at the same time ordered him out of his sight. When the Prior was somewhat slow in obeying, or, it may be, said something in reply, the King again lost his temper, and, drawing his sword, was on the point of running him through, when he was held back by the gentlemen present. The Bishop of Paris197 is still suffering from a wound in the hand, which he received in grasping the naked blade. Thus the King in his council-chamber all but perpetrated a crime little becoming his character as a ‘penitent.’ Several people interceded for the Prior, and the King accordingly pardoned him, but at the same time required him to leave the Court and enter his presence no more—a severe punishment to a man who is court bred, and knows no pleasure elsewhere.

The Ambassador, who is said to have been an accomplice in the English tragedy, Don Bernardino de Mendoza, has arrived at Paris, where he is waiting for an answer from the King of Spain, but on what business I cannot say. Some think he is seeking the post of ambassador at the French court.

March 20, 1584.


Alençon,198 after his return to Château Thierry, fell seriously ill, and his life was in great danger. This gave rise to a story that he had been poisoned. How217ever, he is now said to be better. From his bringing up large quantities of blood, some suspect that his lungs are affected. The Queen Mother, who went to see him, has not yet returned.

March 29, 1584.


When the people from Flanders saw that they made no way with Alençon, and all hope of help from France was at an end, they returned home, reversed their policy, and opened negotiations with Parma.199 Their ambassadors were entertained courteously by the Prince, and received presents from him on leaving, while the envoys whom Parma sent with his reply had like treatment from the town of Ghent.

Very different is the feeling at Antwerp, where the citizens will endure the worst sooner than submit to the old yoke, and have therefore determined to cast in their lot with Zealand and Holland for weal or woe. This new combination will prolong the war, as they are the wealthiest people in the world, are girt with fortifications, and have the keys of the sea in their possession.

The rest of the towns of Brabant are supposed to be on the eve of returning to their allegiance to the King of Spain, in company with Flanders; the men of Antwerp do not object, as they wish to be relieved of the obligation. Bergen, which the Hollanders have taken under their protection, is the only exception. Alençon indeed has something else to think of just now besides the affairs of the Netherlands, aye, and something that touches him more closely, for there is a report that he is in a decline, which has reached the con218sumptive stage. If this be true—and it is generally believed—he cannot be long for this world, and then, however little the House of Valois may like it, the Bourbons will be the heirs presumptive to the Crown—first the Cardinal, and then Navarre. The Queen Mother is staying in the country at some distance from Paris, and the report is that she is ill from grief. The King, it seems, has laid aside the idea of a campaign against Damville,200 of which every one was talking, and has issued a proclamation to the effect that there is nothing he loves so much as peace, no one is to rise in arms, all are to do their best to prevent an outbreak. This Edict is construed by the opposite faction to mean exactly the reverse, and to be proof positive that war is intended; they say this is his usual trick when he means to attack them.

Whether they are right or wrong time will show.

April 10, 1584.


Alençon’s201 life is despaired of. Indeed a day or two ago he was reported as dead, and not only was the date of his decease given, viz., the 25th of this month, but also the hour, viz., 10 P.M. For several hours, it seems, he had lain motionless, so that he was thought to be dead; afterwards he became conscious, and is still alive, if a man can be called alive, whose case is hopeless and whose death is hourly expected. The King’s chief physician has visited him; on his return 219he made the Queen Mother quite hopeful by his report, but privately he told his friends that he did not expect him to last a month. Well, the matter is in God’s hands, and that He will preserve your Majesty, is the prayer of your humble servant.

April 29, 1584.


That Ghent, Bruges, and Ostend have come to terms with Parma is considered certain; they say indeed that service in the cathedral of Ghent is already celebrated after the Roman rite; and this is also the case in three churches in Bruges. In that district Sluys alone stands out, and holds by its treaty with Flushing. The terms of the arrangement will, people think, shortly be made public.

May 3, 1584.


Alençon is still confined to his chamber, or, to speak more correctly, to his bed; no one is allowed to see him save one or two of his adherents, who encourage him to hope that he will recover, but impartial people consider his case desperate; while some think he is already dead, but that his death is kept secret.

The greatest anxiety is felt throughout France, and it is indeed a critical time, for Alençon’s death will be a most serious matter to the kingdom. For some time past the King has been estranged from his wife; people trace this estrangement to the rivalry between the Duke of Mercœur, brother to the Queen, and the Duke of Joyeuse, husband to the Queen’s sister. The latter has been appointed by the King Admiral of France with220 very extensive powers; while the Duke of Mercœur has been made Governor of Brittany. Now the Duke of Mercœur maintains that all appointments within the limits of his province belong to him, and Joyeuse disputes his claim. The King on being informed of this difference spoke sharply to the Duke of Mercœur, and from that time forth his manner to his wife has been less kind, from an idea that the Duke of Mercœur would not be so proud and stubborn, if it were not for his sister’s countenance and support. This has given rise to a notion on the part of some people, that the King is thinking of divorcing his wife, on the plea that she is barren, it being most important, under present circumstances, that children should be born to the King of France.

The Duke of Epernon has been sent into Aquitaine with a numerous and splendid retinue; his mission is a mystery and has furnished much material for conversation and conjecture; only one or two, besides the King, being acquainted with the secret.202 The King also himself, they say, is intending to visit Lyons shortly; no doubt there is some important reason for this visit, but what it may be, there is no one who can explain with such accuracy and clearness as Time!

June 5, 1584.



That Alençon’s case was desperate has been proved by his death. He breathed his last on the tenth of this month, almost at the same hour and minute as his brother Charles some years ago; it is certain that he died of the same complaint, tubercular consumption, as your Imperial Majesty will have already learnt from the King’s own letter.

Some people declare203 his death is a far greater benefit to the world than his birth; they say he had fallen under the influence of worthless satellites, and was incapable of distinguishing between friends and flatterers; he made notoriety his object, but the notoriety he sought might more correctly be described as infamy; he lightly undertook, and yet more lightly abandoned that which he had undertaken. His life was in accordance with his character; fickle, unstable, restless, his one great object was to destroy concord and promote disorder. His mother’s grief for him is genuine, the tears of the rest are constrained tears, I fancy, and their sorrow a sham. A magnificent funeral, people say, is being prepared, but the mourning will not last beyond St. John’s Day, which is now near at hand. The corpse is to come to Paris. The King has put on black; this is unusual, for on former occasions it has been the custom for Kings of France to wear violet when in mourning. Some prognosticate that Alençon’s death will give rise to great changes in France, and I think they are not far wrong, for the 222chief provinces and cities of the kingdom will not be disposed to accept any Sovereign whose religion differs from theirs, neither will they lack leaders when they rise, for the governors of the provinces will come forward, and others to boot.

Some take such a hopeless and gloomy view of the future, that they are already thinking of emigrating. The King indeed is heaping honours on Navarre;204 he has presented him with the duchy of Alençon, and in his letters gives him the title of distinction which is by custom assigned to the heir presumptive to the throne;205 moreover, a way has been discovered of perpetuating the miseries of the Netherlands in spite of Alençon’s removal, for they say he has bequeathed Cambrai206 to his mother; this legacy will probably carry with it all his other acquisitions in the Netherlands, and his interests in that quarter; it is thought that the Queen Mother will make all this bequest over to Navarre. In this way she will be able to carry out all her schemes in the Netherlands, without giving the King of Spain ground for complaint against the King of France. Meanwhile Cambrai is a thorn in the side of Artois and Hainault, for the garrison pursues its forays far and wide, burning and harrying the country.

The town of Bruges has received a garrison of the troops of the King of Spain; Ghent has admitted Orange’s forces, but there was such want of forage that shortly afterwards the cavalry were obliged to leave. People have a notion that the departure of the cavalry may lead the men of Ghent to resume their 223negotiations with Parma; another reason assigned is the alarm inspired by the arrival of the Spanish reinforcements.

June 18, 1584.


On the festival of St. John and the two following days the last rites were paid to Alençon; there was nothing in the ceremonies to call for remark, except that in the funeral speech no mention was made of his connection with the Netherlands, nor were the banners of any of the provinces of the Low Countries introduced into the procession. I have appended to my letter a copy of what is commonly supposed to be Alençon’s will.

To his Majesty’s great delight, the King of Navarre treated the Duke of Epernon, on his arrival, with every mark of consideration and honour; but Navarre’s wife (Marguerite de Valois) refused to admit him to her presence. Epernon is supposed to be going through the province of Narbonne, and so to Lyons, where the King will meet him.

Marshal de Retz is busy in Picardy strengthening the garrisons of forts and towns, where needful, so that they may be ready in case of attack or sudden emergency. Strong bodies of infantry and cavalry are being stationed in different parts of the country, with the object, as I suppose, of having a relieving army at hand in case Cambrai shall be hard pressed. The Hollanders and Zealanders have raised a fleet to prevent any supplies being introduced into those ports of the Netherlands which are in the occupation of their adversaries, and this will probably cause a rise in the price of corn.

July 10, 1584.



The news has come of Orange’s death; there is no doubt as to the accuracy of the report. He was shot with a pistol.207 The assassin has been taken and tortured, but refused to confess at whose instigation he committed the murder. His only statement consisted of a paper in his own handwriting to the effect that he was prompted to the deed by the desire of delivering the Provinces from so despotic a master.

The ambassadors from the Netherlands have come to Paris, in the hope, I suppose, of inducing the King to give them his support, but his answer was not favourable. They are now importuning the Queen Mother, and if she refuses they will probably apply to the King of Navarre and the Bourbons for assistance.

Fort Lillo, which is one of the outworks of Antwerp, is closely besieged by Parma; three attempts have been made to take it, but in each case the assailants were repulsed with great slaughter.208

The King has set out for Lyons; his chief object, people think, is to supersede the present governor and appoint Epernon, or the Duke of Joyeuse’s father, in his place.209 The King has asked Navarre to come to him, and offered to make him Lieutenant-General of the kingdom.

The party of the Guises are striving to make themselves masters of the State. There is an anxious feel225ing abroad, but why or wherefore no one exactly knows. Time will solve the riddle. It is said that Marshal de Retz has made the people of Cambrai swear allegiance to the Queen Mother.

July 23, 1584.


The Netherland ambassadors are trying hard to induce the King to give them his support. This is the only fact worth recording in my present letter. Their appeal is strongly supported by the Queen Mother, and her influence is said to have had some weight with the King. One of the ambassadors has been sent back to the Netherlands in company with the gentleman210 who was formerly Alençon’s representative at Antwerp.

They are the bearers, people say, of a favourable answer to the States from the King, promising to give them advice, countenance, and reinforcements with a liberal hand. The terms which the States offer in return are extravagant, and almost past belief. The result of the negotiations is awaited with the deepest interest. Some people are sounding the war-note right lustily. What, say they, would the King wait for, or what better opportunity could he find for commencing a struggle which must inevitably come before many years are out? Why does not he take the initiative, when such an opportunity and such advantages are placed within his reach? It is folly to keep longing for that which it is in one’s power to possess. Granted, that the Netherlanders at the bottom of their hearts distrust the French, and will not submit 226to them, still, is it a small advantage to withdraw them from their allegiance to their ancient lord? Let them live in a state of semi-independence, and not as subjects of France, so long as they remain the bitterest foes of Spain. Assuredly the estranging of so many provinces will be a heavy blow to the King of Spain, even if the King of France should not succeed in subjecting them to himself. No sensible man can fail to see that the Spaniards, who are naturally greedy of empire, when they have consolidated their position, will not allow their vast powers to lie dormant, but will endeavour to make themselves masters of the whole of Christendom. But how little remains for them to win, compared with what they have already secured! Henceforth there will be no liberty in Europe, and all other princes and states will be placed in a humiliating position. Everything will depend on the pleasure of the Spaniard—a most miserable and degrading prospect! No time, therefore, must be lost in encountering this attack on the liberties of Europe, before the Spanish power is consolidated. There is no doubt that all kings, princes, and states who have any regard for their own safety and reputation would gladly join their forces and unite in extinguishing a conflagration which is dangerous to everyone.211

My own opinion is that these views are popular, and that they are only waiting for the death of the King of Spain, as the most favourable opportunity for a general movement.

Parma has transferred his camp from Lillo to Dendermonde, after great losses, if we may believe the report. He retains, however, the fort of Calloo, which 227enables him to cause much trouble to the ships as they sail by. They hope to take Dendermonde212 without much difficulty, as the larger part of the garrison has been cut off from the town.

Marshal de Retz is at St. Quentin, and trying hard to induce Balagny,213 the governor of Cambrai, to surrender the town to the King and the King’s nominee. Balagny’s tyrannical conduct has rendered him most unpopular at Cambrai, and there are hopes that some arrangement may be made. Marshal de Retz has proved himself a skilful and sagacious diplomatist in affairs of this kind.

Paris, August 18, 1584.


I have hardly any news, and yet I feel I ought not to allow a longer time to elapse before writing.

The King has returned from Lyons without achieving anything worth notice, as far as I know. He stayed for some time at the castle of le Bois de Vincennes, in the neighbourhood of Paris, where he is building a church, to be held by the order of St. Jerome, for the benefit of himself and his society of Penitents.214 At the same time he is carrying on his campaign against vice by punishing heinous offences, especially those which are connected with malversation of public moneys, 228whether they belong to the privy purse or the exchequer, France being full of offenders of this kind.

In dealing with these matters he does not spare even men of high rank; consequently there is a panic, and people are leaving the country. He will next attack the Parliaments, it is supposed, and require them to give an account of the way they have administered justice, and the sentences they have pronounced, for these courts of justice are, it is considered, full of corruption and in great need of reform. In France the Parliaments have powers almost equal to the King’s; in them justice is sold, or given as a matter of favour.

Though well stricken in years,215 the Cardinal de Bourbon is apparently unwilling to surrender the right of succession to the throne to his nephew Navarre, and therefore inclines to the Guises, whom a numerous party regard as their leaders; nay, a little while ago it was stated that he intended to resign his orders, surrender his Cardinal’s hat, and marry the widow of Montpensier, sister to the Duke of Guise. The report is still current.

Marshal de Retz is still in Picardy, strengthening fortifications and garrisoning posts, for the Queen Mother has, it appears, set her mind on keeping Cambrai, and some of the household troops have been despatched thither with that object. The Queen herself has left Paris for the banks of the Loire, and is going from place to place in the hope of arranging an interview with Navarre, but the probability of his meeting her is not great, as he is afraid of treachery, and will not trust either her or the King. That his wife may meet her mother is not impossible. The King too has set out for the Loire, and will stop some time, should the plague, which keeps him from Paris, allow him to 229remain. At Paris it is still doubtful as to what the King’s destination really is.

Matters in the Netherlands have taken a turn very favourable to the King of Spain. Ghent216 has made its peace with him. If report says true, the terms are as follows: they are to pay him 200,000 crowns, restore the churches, allow two citadels to be built, and give up any six men who may be demanded.

Moreover, the men of Brussels are also talking of surrender. In spite of this Antwerp does not lose heart, nor are the Hollanders and Zealanders abandoning any part of their programme. The Queen Mother’s Ambassador has arrived from the Netherlands, and talks much of the highly favourable terms on which they are willing to conclude a bargain with the King of France. The result is doubtful. Meantime, that God Almighty may preserve your Imperial Majesty is the prayer of your humble servant.

October 4, 1584.


I have allowed an unusually long interval to elapse, partly because I was every day expecting Sancerre to leave, and partly because I had no news worth sending.

The King, who had been dodging the plague from place to place, at last stopped at Blois; the plague,217 230however, gave him notice to quit by carrying off one of the ladies of the Queen’s bedchamber, so after all he has returned to Saint-Germain en Laye, where he intends prosecuting his social and legal reforms. I saw him at Blois, whither I went to express to him and the two Queens, his mother and his wife, the grief and sorrow of the Most Christian Queen, your Majesty’s sister, at the death of Alençon.

There was some talk of disturbances in the south of France, but they seem to have subsided.

Don Bernardino de Mendoza, whom I mentioned as travelling from England to Spain by way of Paris, has returned to these parts. He comes to express his master’s grief at the death of Alençon, and also to supersede Tassis218 as ambassador to France. Tassis has gone to the Netherlands en route for Spain. If laying out large sums be the proof of a good ambassador, Don Bernardino must be the best in the world, for they say he intends spending as much as 16,000 crowns a year. I hope the rest may be in keeping, and that he may prove in every way as good as Tassis.

The Duke of Epernon, who is the King’s second self, is ill with a severe attack of scrofula, a disease which the Kings of France profess to heal by a touch 231of the hand,219 so the King has an admirable opportunity of putting his power to the test! I write this because I have nothing else to say. Everything is at a standstill from the frost, but this pause will probably lead to greater movements in the spring.

December 10, 1584.


Ambassadors have again come from the rebel States of the Netherlands, with very extensive powers, they say, to induce the King to take them under his protection. The result is, to my mind, extremely doubtful. There are men about the King who would fain lead him into war.

Meanwhile Antwerp is said to be strictly blockaded, the navigation of the Scheldt being almost entirely stopped.

December 15, 1584.


A numerous deputation has again come here from the insurgent States of the Netherlands with very full powers and large offers. On condition of the King’s 232receiving them into his protection, they undertake to hand over to him twelve towns in which his authority shall be supreme; they promise to contribute 100,000 crowns a month towards the expenses of the war, one-half to be paid by themselves, and the other by the Queen of England. An English ambassador is expected here, with a large and numerous train, to take part in these negotiations; the ostensible object of the embassy is to convey the Order of the Garter to the King of France. Meantime the Netherland ambassadors have been ordered to stop short at a neighbouring town,220 but for all that they are treating with the King by means of letters and memorials; their expenses are defrayed by the French treasury. They assure the King of an easy success, if he will only cut off the enemy’s supplies by stopping all exports from France. If this is done, they declare that in a year’s time there will not be a single foreign soldier in the Netherlands, for the Spaniards must needs be starved out, their supplies by sea being already cut off; even now, they say, though there is nothing to interrupt their communications with France, provisions in the enemy’s camp are scarce and dear. What the King’s decision will be it is hard to say. If he shall espouse their cause, he will thereby involve himself in a serious war; if he helps rebels against their Sovereign, he supplies the rebels in his own kingdom with an awkward precedent; lastly, he must take up arms for heretics, when he hates and loathes the heretics in his own realm, and endures them only because he cannot help himself. Such a policy would be inconsistent; but, however that may be, he will not, people think, openly espouse the cause of the Netherlanders, the ostensible leadership in the war being assigned to the 233Queen Mother, while the King is to support her with his forces, and countenance the undertaking; but as to who is to have the conduct of the campaign is more than I can make out. The King of Navarre or Condé would, it is true, be well qualified for the post, but neither of them will place himself in the King’s power, as they have not forgotten the wedding and massacre of Saint Bartholomew; notwithstanding, some say that Navarre will give the hand of his sister, who is the sole heir of his kingdom, to Condé, with the view to securing his own safety, as well as the Prince’s, since in that case, if either of them be murdered, there will be a survivor to avenge his death.221 The decision arrived at must be known before long.

The Monsieur de Selles,222 whom your Majesty knew in Spain, has died in his prison in Zealand.

The proclamation touching the reform of abuses, which has been so long under consideration, has at length been published, but save in a few particulars it is not of the description generally expected; I enclose a copy for your Imperial Majesty.

That God may long preserve your Majesty is the prayer of your most humble servant.

January 25, 1585.



The King has granted a private audience to the Netherland ambassadors; I cannot give the terms of their address, but it is easy to guess what they were. As to the King, they say, he replied that he would not fail in his duty as a good neighbour. The ambassadors are fifteen in number, and their retinue comprises some sixty gentlemen; they have been joined by the Prince of Espinoy,223 who, with his brother, the Marquis of Richebourg, was for some time resident at the Court of the late Emperor Maximilian.

It is generally reported that ambassadors, or at any rate despatches, are also coming from the King of Spain, the Pope, and the Duke of Savoy, to remind the King of his engagements and to call on him to fulfil them; but, for my own part, I incline to think that neither letters nor ambassadors from the King of Spain or Duke of Savoy will have much influence; as to how much weight will be attached to the Pope’s remonstrance, I cannot say. The expenses of the Netherland ambassadors are being defrayed by the French treasury. Lastly, the English Ambassador, who was expected, has arrived with a numerous and gallant following. His name is the Earl of Derby224; he is of royal blood the French say, and the English confirm the statement. He was met and escorted into Paris with the utmost pomp; a house next the Palace was appointed for his use, and 200 crowns a day assigned for his expenses. He is the bearer of the 235Order of the Garter from the Queen to the King of France. This is the ostensible object of his mission, but the real and more important reason is supposed to be connected with the affairs of the Netherlands. On the last day of last month the King was invested with the insignia of the Order in the Church of St. Augustine during vespers, in the presence of the whole Chapter of the Knights of the Holy Ghost; all the ambassadors attended the ceremony by invitation; amongst them were the envoys from the Netherlanders, but their coming gave deep offence to the Spanish Ambassador.

To-morrow has been appointed for giving audience to the aforesaid ambassadors, in company with the English Ambassador, but, as to what the issue is likely to be, people differ. There is no doubt that the King is entering into the business without much heart, and is even dissatisfied with certain terms in the proposed arrangements, which do not go so far as he would like; but the Queen Mother, whose hatred to anything Spanish is unbounded, is exerting her influence in the matter. People think that the King will give way to his mother, and take up the cause of the Netherlands, giving them secret support, even if he does not openly adopt their quarrel. If so, war, I am afraid, will be the consequence. The most important part in this adventure, people say, will be assigned to Don Antonio225; by their account, he is to be given the command of the French forces. In a business of this kind we can be certain of the past, but of nothing else!

These are our troubles here; still, mischief is not confined to Paris. A man tried to poison the King of Navarre, but failed in the attempt, either by reason of the strength of the King’s constitution, or the weakness of the poison; the assassin then had recourse 236to open violence and levelled a pistol at the King. He failed again, was arrested, and is being tried in chains.226 The King is greatly distressed at the affair, as indeed he has good reason to be, for his own reputation is seriously affected. He has therefore sent a distinguished judge to be present at the trial and examination of the assassin under torture; he is to bring back a true and accurate report as to whether the fellow was suborned by some one, or acted from motives of personal malice.

March 6, 1585.


Positive news has come from Brabant that Brussels227 has been compelled by famine to surrender to Parma, and Antwerp is hard pressed, being debarred from all use of the Scheldt by the completion of the bridge. These tidings in all probability will rouse up the French Court, and compel them to come to some decision with regard to the Netherlanders, for, unless these last receive some support, their defence must collapse. Indeed, the ambassadors of the rebel States assume an air of despondency, being disappointed at the King’s handing over the responsibility to his mother, instead of declaring war on his own account.

March 7, 1585.



The English Ambassador left on the fourteenth of this month, after a visit of twenty days, during which he was treated with high honours, and received every mark of respect. On leaving he was presented with plate of the value of 4,000 crowns, and the chief gentlemen in his train had also the honour of receiving presents. A little later the Netherland ambassadors took their leave, when each of them was presented with a gold chain of the value of 200 crowns; their visit has produced little or no result; at any rate, if any arrangement has been made, it is a complete secret. The King’s public answer was that he did not intend to break the peace which subsisted between himself and the King of Spain; the Queen Mother said, she was deeply concerned for their preservation, but was prevented by the King’s wishes from giving them assistance. Whether any secret understanding is implied in these ambiguous phrases, I cannot say. The ambassadors have done their utmost to draw the King into open war; this appears also to have been the object of the English Ambassador, but he does not seem to have had much success. Some people think the King has undertaken to give them considerable succours as soon as his present troubles shall have blown over, and meanwhile to furnish them with some little assistance. As regards the troubles of which the King spoke, fresh storms are without doubt brewing in his kingdom. The Guises are levying war; the popular account is that they are angry228 with the King for not recognising their own 238and their family’s services, while a couple of young fellows, distinguished for nothing save impudence and conceit, are loaded with high offices and honours. But this is not all; they wish to have a Catholic successor appointed in case of the King’s death, and they are again putting forward the Holy League and Confederacy against heretics, in which they claim the leadership. The meaning of all this is, that knowing there will be no room for them in France, should Navarre, on the death of the King, ascend the throne, they wish betimes to grapple with this danger, and thus consult their own interests, regardless of the great troubles they must bring on the country. And, to be fair, there is everywhere in France a feeling of great anxiety, as people cannot tell what the position of the Church will be after the King’s death. Many believe that their ancient ritual, services, and sacraments will be profaned and put down by Navarre, and that the Catholics will be in the same position as the Protestants have hitherto been, if indeed they be not in a worse case. These fears give an excellent handle to those who are desirous of a revolution, and men who have been true to the old religion are in a peculiarly good position to take advantage of it. Among these stand the Guises, who are most popular in France, so much so that one may hear them spoken of with greater deference than the King himself. The family of Guise, they say, can trace its descent in an unbroken line from Charlemagne,229 has ever been the bulwark of the Church, ever loyal to King and country, in spite of the neglect with which it has been treated, and the bestowal on others of the honours it has earned, and now is justified in 239unsheathing the sword, exercising the Royal prerogatives, and undertaking the defence of the Church.230

The Cardinal de Bourbon also has deserted his family and takes part with the Guises. The King has warned them by letters and messengers to have a care of whither the road leads on which they are travelling; to which they replied, they had no designs against him, they had never swerved from the paths of loyalty and duty, so that he ought not to believe the calumnies of their enemies.

In spite of these protestations, reports are gaining ground of German reiters being brought to France; they say they are already on the borders of Lorraine, and Guise will shortly have some 20,000 men under arms.

If one inquires whence the money will be forthcoming for the campaign, everybody has an answer ready to the effect that, with the Pope and the King of Spain231 at their back, funds cannot be lacking, and that there is an understanding between them and the Guises is a matter beyond all doubt. Indeed, if one considers who is to profit by these disturbances, it is difficult to fix on any save the Pope and the King of Spain; for the pacification of the latter’s provinces in the Low Countries, and the successful accomplishment of his plans are impossible so long as France is quiet 240and united. The King of Navarre is quite alive to what is going on, and completely on his guard; indeed he also is making ready to defend himself against any murderous attack; he likewise offered the King his services against the enemy. The King tells him not to be uneasy; he is to make no movement, but simply to keep his towns in readiness to repel any sudden assault, and leave the rest to him.

I cannot say how far Navarre believes the King, for some are disposed to suspect him of knowing and approving of all the plans of the Guises; others again hold that, while hitherto he has not been privy to their schemes, he will in no long time adopt their ideas and join their party; not that he loves them, but because he hates Navarre still more, on account of their old quarrels and the difference of their religious views. For my own part, I have no doubt that the King would sooner have anyone than Navarre as successor to his throne, since he can have no confidence that after his accession his policy will not be reversed, the position of his connections and relations be impaired, and his friends cast down from their high estate; lastly, it is most annoying to feel that after one’s death people will be exalted, whom during one’s life one has desired to keep down. However, it is not easy to trace the workings of the heart, and so it is better to suspend our judgment till time makes all things clear.

Not long ago the rumour was very general that a fresh attempt against the life of the Queen of England had been discovered.

The Hollanders and Zealanders are busy preparing a fleet, which is to break through the bridge and relieve Antwerp; should this attempt fail, they intend opening the dykes between Antwerp and Bergen, and241 flooding the country as far as Antwerp, so as to bring their fleet, in spite of the bridge, up to the walls of the town; this plan, however, must cause great suffering throughout the neighbourhood, and proves how obstinate they are; their own account is that they have no other course.

March 26, 1585.


People are becoming seriously alarmed. Suddenly and unexpectedly France finds herself on the brink of a great war; the King himself hardly knew of its approach before it burst upon him. Two months ago the Duke of Bouillon232 wrote cautioning him to be on his guard, as the Guises were preparing for a campaign. People say he is for ever deploring his imprudence in disregarding this warning.

Nominally the chief mover in these disturbances is the Cardinal de Bourbon, but, if I am not very much mistaken, the real leaders are the three brothers—the Dukes of Guise and Mayenne, and the Cardinal de Lorraine, with their cousins the Duke of Aumale and the Marquis of Elbœuf; they have also on their side the Queen’s brother, the Duke of Mercœur, Governor of Brittany; there are besides in the ranks of the insurrection many gentlemen of less mark, with whose names I need not trouble your Majesty.


The reasons of offence are numerous, but the chief one is jealousy. For a long time the Guises have felt bitterly their position at the Court, where they do not hold the influence and station to which they consider themselves entitled.233 Others are loaded with wealth and honours, while they are held of no account, and are left crippled by the debts, which they and their ancestors have saddled themselves with in the service of the State. The King, they complain, has picked out a couple of young fellows on whom he lavishes his affection and caresses, treating them like sons, squandering on them the public revenues, living with them in the closest intimacy, while the Guises are not merely kept at a distance, but are actually insulted by having the doors shut in their faces when they seek to enter into the royal presence.

Besides these causes for complaint, there is a notion, I fancy, which is not altogether groundless, that the sister of Navarre, the heir of his kingdom and extensive possessions, will marry the Duke of Epernon, who is generally supposed to have been appointed by the King Constable of France, and that the King, who is not at present favourably disposed towards Navarre, will be reconciled by this alliance, and support his claims to the succession. In all probability the object of the Guises is to put a stop to this arrangement, which would be most disastrous to their interests, as it is quite clear that, with Navarre or Condé on the throne, their influence in France would be obliterated.

The Cardinal de Bourbon234 assumes the title of successor to the throne, and is indignant at the preference given to the claims of his nephew; he has thrown off 243his Cardinal’s robes and fancies himself so much in a soldier’s coat, that people think he must be childish. He is fully convinced that he owes it to the Apostolic See, to the faith he professes, to his family, and to himself, not to allow a Protestant to ascend the throne on the death of the King. He therefore considers himself the Chief of the League, and demands the first place in it. The Church, the Commonwealth, the convening235 of the Estates, the security of the country, the safety of honest people, the common pleas of all revolutionists, are pressed into their service as a cloak for their designs.

Again, there was a report of a Bull236 coming from the Pope, which might arrive at any moment, pronouncing Navarre and Condé incapable of ascending the throne, as unfit and unworthy. For my own part, I question the policy of such a step, showing as it does the disunion of Christendom at a time when the Turkish victories over the Persians render an invasion more probable than ever; for there is no doubt that the ultimate object of the Turks, in prosecuting their long struggle with the Persians, is to prepare the way for the extinction of Christianity. As soon as they have secured their rear, by destroying or crippling their Asiatic foe, they intend to concentrate their forces for a struggle with us; they will fight with us for exist244ence and empire, and the chances are greatly in their favour.237

But yet the movement I have described is so popular that I cannot tell what the result will be. To the King, indeed, this outbreak is a most untoward and unexpected event, as he has neither forces nor funds wherewith to meet the emergency. There is hardly a Catholic nobleman in France who is not suspected of being concerned in the designs of the Guises, and secretly favouring the movement; almost all the provinces are wavering in their allegiance; of the great cities some are disloyal, while others refuse to receive garrisons from the King. Thus he hardly knows which way to turn, surrounded as he is with open enemies, while his friends are few and weak. Whatever efforts he may make to muster his troops, it will be too late, for he has to deal with an enemy near at hand and well prepared.

The only man I am surprised at is the Duke of Mercœur;238 I cannot understand his taking up arms 245against the King, when he is brother to the Queen, and has lately received great promotion from the King. He has, however, had some provocation, inasmuch as he has been deprived of certain privileges which his predecessors in the government of Brittany enjoyed, these having been transferred to the Duke of Joyeuse as Admiral of France.239

Orleans, the most important town after Paris, has declared for the Guises. Caen, on the coast of Normandy, which is commanded by the strong fortifications of its citadel, is in the hands of the Marquis of Elbœuf; the citadel is held by d’O, who was formerly one of the King’s mignons, but has now attached himself to the party of the Guises. The Duke of Aumale has seized several other places, and the Duke of Joyeuse is on the march to recover them. The younger Lansac, who is also a Guisite, has garrisoned Blaye, near Bordeaux, and will prove a thorn in the side of that town if it remains loyal to the King.240 De Brissac241 holds the citadel of Angers. And thus, through the length and breadth of the country, numbers are revolting and bidding defiance to the King. An attempt has also been made to seize Marseilles, but it proved unsuccessful. These changes in the aspect of affairs have made the Duke of Epernon a little more courteous; he used to be so supercilious that when members of the royal family spoke to him and removed their hats, he kept his on his head; but now he has 246the grace to put his hand to his hat. This has given rise to a popular joke, that Epernon has at last found out where his hat is!

The King has sent deputies all round the country to calm the storm, but they do not bring back any offers of a compromise.

The Queen Mother is still staying with Guise, and is oftentimes obliged to hear him speak of her son in terms of bitter complaint. The Cardinal de Bourbon is also with the Duke of Guise. Previous to his arrival the latter used to protest against any application being made to himself with reference to the rising, declaring that he was not in command, but simply a private gentleman fighting for the Holy League. The Archbishop of Lyons is242 also there, as the King’s representative, with very extensive powers. Unless they come to terms the prospect for France is desperate, and we are therefore anxiously awaiting the Queen’s243 return, which will either mark the happy conclusion of a peace with the party of the Guises or furnish the date for the commencement of a disastrous war. According to some, one of the terms of peace will be the restoration of Cambrai to the King (Philip), which shows how little the Guises care to hide the fact that in taking up arms they are acting in concert with Spain.

The Queen of England, who sees the serious effect of this movement to herself, is, they say, offering the King 6,000 horse, to be hired at her expense, and to consist of Englishmen or Switzers, as the King shall decide. The King of Navarre also offers a strong force of his partisans, fearing, as he well may, that he is the real object of attack.

Without doubt your Imperial Majesty will have 247heard that the Marquis of Richebourg and sundry others were killed at the Antwerp bridge;244 they say that the Seigneur de Billy is also amongst the slain.

I am afraid I shall not be able to send despatches as freely as before, since the roads to Metz and Nancy are occupied by the soldiers of the two contending parties, who examine and tear to pieces all communications; indeed, I have my doubts as to whether this very letter will be able to get through safely.

April 25, 1585.


Guise has taken the town of Verdun,245 slaying several of its defenders. It is believed that Lyons and Nantes have also gone over to the Guises.

There is news from England of a fresh conspiracy. The Earl of Arundel,246 who was concerned in it, has been arrested.

April 28, 1585.


The war is thickening apace, yet nothing has happened deserving special mention. The clergy are said to be furnishing the King with 100,000 crowns a month, on condition of his shortening the term within which, according to his previous decree, the Huguenots must leave the country. He has acceded to this demand, as your Majesty will see by reading the enclosed pro248clamation;247 but even this has failed to convince the people that the King really and honestly shares the views of the League, and has joined the party; for, according to some, it is only a device to extract money, and when he has gained his object he will turn his coat! Time will show.

A small party of Huguenot soldiers, not twenty in number, created a panic by seizing the citadel of Angers;248 the excitement was increased by the news that the Prince of Condé was coming; he had crossed the Loire, they said, and quartered his soldiers in the suburbs. All the troops that could be got together were hurried off to Angers, as well as the Swiss guard, and thither went all the leaders, Joyeuse, Epernon, Mayenne, and Biron.

But Condé, finding himself surrounded by such powerful forces, and seeing that he would not be able to reach the citadel, abandoned his design and retired across the Loire; he then broke up his army, and sought safety in the country occupied by his own garrisons. Meanwhile it was the common talk, and generally believed, that he had been taken prisoner while crossing some river or other, but it soon became clear that the story had no foundation. Shortly after this affair the King recalled his forces, which have suffered severely from the incessant rains and the hardships of an autumn campaign; neither have they altogether escaped the epidemic which is now raging.

The inhabitants of Auxonne, a town in Burgundy, have accused their commander249 of high treason, 249charging him with intending to admit a Spanish garrison into the citadel, and under cover of this assertion they are pulling down a large part of the fortifications.

The men of Lyons levelled their citadel to the ground some time ago, and people say the King has given orders that the citadel of Angers shall be treated in the same way. So there is a great dismantling of fortifications in France, while in other parts new ones are being built.

I shall enclose the Papal Bull250 declaring Navarre and Condé incapable of succeeding to the throne of France. What effect it will have God only knows; for my own part, I am afraid it will be the signal for greater disturbances. Still the King, they say, has confiscated all the property of Navarre on which he could lay his hands, and placed it in the custody of the Cardinal de Vendôme,251 the owner’s cousin.

The Bishop of Paris has gone to Rome, as the King’s Ambassador, to treat for the appropriation of ecclesiastical property to the service of the State, and, no doubt, concerning other matters as well.

Again, a new Ambassador252 of high rank is on his way to Constantinople; his policy, I imagine, will be anything but favourable to the peace of Germany. There is nothing they are so much afraid of here as German reiters, and they have apparently come to the conclusion that the best way of keeping them employed elsewhere is to threaten their country with a Turkish war.

I understand that one packet of the despatches I 250wrote in May is missing. I cannot tell where it was stopped. I sent it by way of Brussels as the safest route. My present letter will also go by the same road, but I shall take further precautions to ensure its safety. I trust that the missing packet will also eventually reach your Majesty.

Paris: November 15, 1585.


Although nothing worth recording has happened since I last wrote, nevertheless I take up my pen because I have a chance of sending a letter, which does not often occur now-a-days.

The Duke of Mayenne’s forces are now in close contact with the enemy, and we shall soon see in what direction he is moving, and his prospects of success in the campaign.

The King has made up his mind not to allow a single Huguenot, or indeed anyone who is not a Catholic, to remain in France; consequently all who do not care to change their religion are leaving the country. A few days ago a petition was presented to the King on behalf of certain women and girls, imploring leave to remain in France under his protection, and promising that they would live in retirement and give offence to no one. The King would not grant their request, but took care that they should not be injured, and sent them to England under his safe conduct.

As to the rest, the King is wrapt up in his new religious services, and lives like a hermit. People are afraid his health will be affected by the austerities he251 practises, or that he will become the victim of some superstitious craze.

The Queen of England is openly taking Holland and Zealand, with certain towns besides, under her protection, and has issued a proclamation to that effect. I cannot say whether she will give much help to places at a distance from the sea, but the maritime position of England renders it probable that the towns on the coast will derive great assistance from her powerful navy.

So, at any rate, the war will be prolonged, with all its sufferings and all its uncertainties, while the blockade by sea will bring the other provinces of the Netherlands into danger of starvation.

December 6, 1585.


There is a report that German cavalry is already on the march for France. The King has despatched the Duke of Epernon to his command at Metz, where there have been great Protestant disturbances.

December 8, 1585.


Navarre, having shaken off the enemy, determined to assault the faubourgs of Paris. I lately hinted at the probability of such a movement. Marching with all his forces on the capital, he stormed and sacked the four faubourgs of the Université,253 each of which is as 252big as a good-sized town. The garrison, which consisted of citizens, was severely handled, as Navarre’s men contrived to slip in between them and the city walls, and thus cut off their retreat. Many of them were taken prisoners, and more of them killed, no quarter being given except to those who could convince their captors that they had the amount of their ransom in hard cash in their houses. The number slain and captured is believed to be at least 2,000. The day after this defeat Mayenne entered the city. Navarre, after halting for a time and offering battle, retreated a few miles from Paris with his booty and prisoners. He next retook Etampes, which the enemy had occupied; although it is an open town, the position is important from its commanding the road to Paris from the principal corn-growing districts. Mayenne, they say, can still muster a considerable force, but, as he has not the means of paying his troops, his presence is more a burden to the Parisians than an advantage. Whatever the enemy has either not found out or not thought worth taking, becomes their booty. Thus the Parisians suffer equally from friend and from foe. No wonder provisions get scarce, and Paris begins to feel the effects of war in all their bitterness. Perhaps winter and the difficulty of finding money will bring the first act of this tragedy to a close, and then each party will endeavour to support their cause by convening the Estates of the Kingdom. The Lorraine party, the 253towns, and the Order of the Clergy will meet at Paris; Navarre and the leading nobles at Tours. He will there, probably, do all he can to have some kind of Coronation service performed, in order to increase his authority, and justify his assumption of the title of ‘Royal Majesty.’ He will not however remain quite idle in the meantime, but will carry on operations in Berry, the Orleanais, Brittany, and elsewhere, as opportunities may occur. At Tours he will be able, should it prove desirable, to treat with the young Duke of Guise, the Cardinal de Bourbon, and the other prisoners,254 with a view to a general pacification. Many are sure that negotiations will be opened, and that steps have already been taken in this direction with some prospects of success. I remain your Imperial Majesty’s most humble servant.

November 13, 1589.255



Navarre has retaken Vendôme by storm. This strong town, which forms part of his hereditary possessions, had been lost by the governor’s treason. The governor, who was a man of noble birth, was captured. In order to mark the heinousness of his offence his throat was cut, while a prior of a Dominican monastery, who had been sent from Paris to preach there, was hanged.256 He next received the surrender of Le Mans, a rich and famous town; such at any rate is the report, but it is not positively confirmed. It is certain that money is being secretly sent to Paris by the King of Spain, but I am afraid not as much as they require. When people have to supply their allies with money they soon get tired! Six loaded waggons are starting from Antwerp for Paris; large supplies of gunpowder are also said to be coming by the same channel.

November 29, 1589.


There is a rumour that Navarre has been crowned at Tours by Cardinal de Lenoncourt, the Archbishop of Rheims,257 four other bishops being present or assisting at the ceremony. Some people add that he attended 255divine service according to the Catholic rite. Others deny this; but admit that, in the speech which he made on the occasion, he declared that as regarded religion he would soon give them such satisfaction that no one would have any just ground for complaint left. They say that he has appointed Montmorency Constable of France; he is expected to come to Tours and do homage to the King on his Coronation. There is no longer any doubt of the capture of the town of Le Mans, nor does the mischief stop there, for some assert, that Chartres, a wealthy and fortified city, has gone over to Navarre. He has for some time been master of the territory of Bourges, and negotiations are now in progress, they say, for the surrender of the town itself. There is the same news about Melun, which lies on the Seine above Paris; the position is important for preventing the introduction of provisions into the capital. Further, some would have it believed that the governor of the port of Havre de Grâce in Normandy is ready to come to terms with Navarre. If even a part, and much more if all, of these rumours be true, it is serious news for the Parisians. They are now busy counting the Spanish money, which, they say, amounts to 300,000 crowns. Still, I cannot see that they have any trustworthy resources to support their resistance, and I am consequently afraid that, when Navarre returns, Paris will fall. According to some he is to be expected shortly, others say not till spring. I have great fears for the town where I am now staying, and am therefore obliged to look out for a new hiding place, as I would fain avoid the horrors which occur when a city is taken by storm. The Marquis of Pont-à-Musson258 has crossed into Flanders, 256intending to return from there either through Brabant or through Hainault and Namur. The Council at Paris, which was called the Council of the Union,259 is said to have been dissolved, and the supreme authority again restored to the Parliament, which issues decrees in the name of Charles X. i.e. the Cardinal de Bourbon. It is to be feared, however, that the Parliament, which was removed to Tours by the late King Henry, is the stronger of the two. The Duke of Parma is said to be suffering from illness. I do not know the exact nature of his complaint, but it is certainly a dangerous one. The troubles of the times will greatly hinder the Queen of France (Elizabeth of Austria, the widow of Charles IX.) from receiving and enjoying her property and rents in this kingdom as usual. At the utmost they will be barely sufficient for half the necessary expenses of the maintenance of herself and her household. I have already ventured, I think, to call your Majesty’s attention to the Queen’s position in this respect, and now that this curtailment of her income is at hand I have judged it to be my duty to repeat the warning. I trust your Majesty will consider how the Queen is to be provided for, until this storm has passed by.

December 14, 1589.



A meeting of the States-General of the kingdom has been summoned at Tours by Navarre to consider the state of the country, and to take measures for punishing the King’s murderers. The 15th of March is the day appointed for their meeting. The Pope’s Legate,260 who has been long expected at Paris, stopped at Dijon on the way. Thither he summoned the people of Langres, and invited them to abandon Navarre and acknowledge Charles X. (the Cardinal de Bourbon) as King. On their refusal, he laid them under an Interdict, and transferred their bishopric to Dijon.261 People think he entered Paris three days ago. There is a report going about here of the arrival of a Turkish fleet, but it is doubtful, and does not rest on any good authority. The Sultan, they say, has written to Navarre, undertaking to supply him with whatever he may want against Spain.262 People are anxiously waiting to see at what point Navarre will make his next attack. He has taken several important cities in Normandy. Some think he intends to besiege Rouen,263 which is already exhausted by the calamities of war. Things, how258ever, are not yet ripe for this, nor has he troops enough for such an undertaking, but for us forces are being raised, and will soon be ready. The result of Mayenne’s enterprises remains to be seen. His plan seems to have been to demolish all the forts of the enemy on the Seine, and so free the navigation of the river from Rouen up to Paris. This he will not find an easy task, especially with Navarre so near at hand. In proof of this the fort of Meulan,264 before which, as I mentioned, he sat down, shows no signs of alarm, and does not seem likely to yield easily to his attacks. The reputation of both generals is at stake; the question being, whether Mayenne shall abandon his enterprise, or Navarre allow his friends to be destroyed before his eyes, or either commander refuse to engage when offered battle by the other.

I hear, to my great astonishment, that the King of Scotland has married the eldest daughter of the King of Denmark, as I thought Navarre’s sister was intended for him. In the Netherlands the Duke of Parma, they say, has taken offence at something or other, and has therefore withdrawn himself from almost all the duties of his position, and avoiding the crowded Court has for some time past allowed himself to nurse his vexation, and that Councillor Richardot has on that account been sent to the King of Spain.

To the other cities that Navarre has taken in a short time, they think Evreux will soon be added. Though it is not a strongly fortified town, it is the seat of a bishopric and a county. It is ten miles from here. He has already occupied the suburbs. Both this town and the whole neighbourhood were greatly terrified at the news, fearing a similar fate, 259but he seems to intend to direct his march against Rouen, for he sent a trumpeter thither to summon them to surrender, and to threaten them with destruction, if they refused. At the crash of so many towns falling all around it, Rouen appears to be horror-struck, and therefore to desire peace at any price. On this Navarre builds his hopes. Meanwhile the siege of the fort of Meulan, of which I spoke, goes on very languidly.265


Mayenne has arrived at Meaux with his army. He is, however, too weak to raise the siege of Paris, or to engage the King with a fair prospect of success. When offered battle he declined it, and withdrew to a safe position. The King thought this an additional reason for pressing the siege. Though he had effected a lodgment in the suburbs, yet the parts of them which were nearest the city were more in the citizens’ power than his own. He therefore resolved to push forward his entrenchments to the walls of the city. This operation was executed in a single night, the breastwork of the besiegers being carried up to the very gates. Thenceforth no one was able to enter or leave Paris without his permission. Meanwhile the famine was growing so sore, that it seemed impossible for them to hold out much longer, and more than 12,000 perished of hunger. The inhabitants, 260however, bore their sufferings patiently, and preferred to hold out to the bitter end rather than abandon the cause for which they were fighting. They were sustained in this resolve by the promises of the Spanish Ambassador and the Papal Legate, who declared that the Duke of Parma himself was on the point of coming with a mighty army to their relief, an assertion which was soon afterwards verified. Parma arrived at last, after negotiations for peace had actually been opened. On the 6th of this month the Cardinal de Gondi and the Archbishop of Lyons, the Primate of Gaul,266 went under a safe-conduct to the King. They failed to come to terms, but the negotiations were adjourned, in the hope that a further interchange of views might lead to peace. Finally, it was agreed that three commissioners on each side should meet at the fortress of Nanteuil267 and the mansion of Schom261berg, nine French miles from Paris.268 The prospects of peace thus appeared to be improving, when letters of Mayenne to his mother and wife were intercepted, in which he exhorted them to hold out a little longer, and told them that he was actually on the march to their relief; there was no fear, he added, that he would demean himself by acknowledging a heretic as his King, or by coming to terms with him. The King showed these letters to the Cardinal and Archbishop, and was on the point of breaking off negotiations, but at their entreaty he finally consented to await the day which had been fixed for the termination of the armistice, namely, the 26th of this month. He did not sacrifice much by this concession, as he had already decided to wait for a picked body of horse and foot, under Nevers and the Vicomte de Turenne, whom he expected in a few days. He only withdrew his cannon from the gates of Paris, and deposited them in St. Denis with his other heavy baggage, that he might have his hands free, if he were obliged to fight or should be summoned elsewhere, it being his usual practice to leave his baggage behind, when he undertakes any operation. Apart from this he made no change, and did not move a single soldier from his position under the ramparts of Paris.

In case of an engagement taking place, the news will in all probability reach your Majesty before my account of it arrives. Therefore, in order that your Majesty may be in a better position to estimate the value of such reports, I feel it my duty to submit for 262your consideration a sketch of both generals, the King and Mayenne, and their several forces. The contest will be one between two famous leaders, in the prime of life and at the height of their renown, one of whom, Mayenne, will give up the command to Parma, and will fight as his subordinate. The King is a thorough soldier, and a general of the greatest experience. When all his forces are concentrated, he will have, it is thought, some 20,000 infantry and 6,000 cavalry. The latter for the most part is composed of gentlemen, well armed and splendidly mounted. Of French infantry people think he will have 13,000, and of Swiss, with whom are a few Germans, 7,000. The élite of his foot consists of a body of four or five thousand Gascon veterans. All his troops, horse and foot alike, are devoted to their King, by whom they are accustomed to be led, and whose presence inspires them with confidence. Moreover, the King has with him veteran generals of great experience, whose advice and assistance are invaluable; namely, Biron, d’Aumont, La Noue, and many others. Round him too have gathered the Princes of the Bourbon blood, with the leading gentlemen from every part of France.

With regard to Parma and Mayenne, in point of generalship there is not much to choose between them, but it must be admitted that the latter is a most unlucky commander, while the former is a favourite of fortune, as is proved by his long list of successes in the Netherlands, and in this respect he may fairly be considered a match for the King. Their united infantry, as report goes, amounts to 17,000, while their cavalry is a little under 5,000 strong. Among their foot the Spaniards and Walloons are considered the best, and these, with the addition of some Italian companies, are not much over 4,000 strong. Next to these263 come the Germans; the French and Lorrainers are the worst.

The King and Parma are now wholly engaged in concocting devices against each other, the object being to inflict the maximum of damage with the minimum of loss to their own troops. To enable his men to resist the charge of the French cavalry, Parma encloses his infantry with a fence formed of ropes of the strongest and thickest description, which are supported by stout stakes at regular intervals. Immediately behind the ropes he posts his musketeers, who can thus fire on the French horse in perfect security. All the musketeers have a store of double bullets fastened together with copper wire, which will be very effective against horses. The cannon also are loaded with chain-shot, and masked batteries are planted in good positions, with troops drawn up in front so as to conceal them from the enemy; at the critical moment they will open fire, and pour a withering volley among the horses of their assailants.

Meanwhile the King is not idle. Every day he takes counsel with his craftiest and wisest captains, to see if they cannot devise a new mode of attack. Some weapon is to be invented or some wonderful manœuvre to be executed, which is to discomfit the enemy.

On each side, therefore, is a distinguished general and a powerful army. The King’s forces are supposed to be somewhat larger than Parma’s, and he has also a decided superiority in the composition of his troops, for, with a few exceptions, they are all men of the same nation and his own subjects, whereas Parma’s forces have been recruited from various nations, and are to a large extent made up of raw levies, on whom not much reliance can be placed. Again, the King has the great264 advantage of fighting on his own ground, that is to say, on ground which he has previously chosen and fortified, while Parma, by the circumstances of his position, is compelled to attack at a disadvantage.

Such are the premises; whether they are sufficient for forming an opinion as to what the result of a battle would be, is more than I can say. They are valuable only in the same sense as the warnings of a sunset are valuable in enabling us to guess what weather we shall have to-morrow. Besides, it is mere guessing, and no more; victory does not depend on scythed chariots, or horses, or on the number of soldiers, or the abundance of munitions, but solely on the will of God.

If I have lingered longer over this subject than has been agreeable, I trust I may be pardoned. That God may long preserve your Majesty is the prayer of your most humble servant.

Mantes, August 27, 1590.269




I.Sketch of Hungarian History267
IV.Original Documents:—
 i.Patent of Legitimation of Ogier Ghiselin292
 ii.Patent of Knighthood of Ogier de Busbecq295
 iii.Purchase Deed of the Seigneurie de Bousbecque300
 iv.Copy of the Sauve-garde303

Pardon of Daniel de Croix for the homicide of Charlot Desrumaulx


Pardon of Jehan Dael for the homicide of Guillibert du Mortier





In order that the reader may be able to appreciate the circumstances under which Busbecq’s Turkish letters were written, and to understand many of the allusions they contain, it is necessary that he should have the power of referring easily to the leading events of Hungarian and Transylvanian history during the reign of Solyman. For Busbecq’s French letters, Motley’s ‘Dutch Republic’ and ‘United Netherlands’ may be consulted, but no such works in English upon Hungarian history exist. The narratives of Robertson and Creasy are meagre in this respect, and contain only scattered and incidental notices of Hungarian events; while Von Hammer, and the Austrian and Turkish histories in Heeren’s Series, valuable as they are, have not been translated into English, and besides are not easily accessible. None of these works give a connected narrative of Hungarian affairs, the notices of which are mixed up with the general Turkish and Austrian history, and have to be picked out from it with much time and trouble. It is hoped that this sketch will to some extent supply the deficiency, and furnish a clue to the intricate maze of Hungarian politics. Some curious facts have been gleaned from Katona’s ‘Critical History of Hungary,’ a rare book, which is mostly composed of original documents, including numerous letters written by Busbecq’s colleague, Verantius, after268 he had returned from his embassy, and long extracts from Busbecq’s own letters.

During the sixteenth century Hungary formed the Debatable Land between Christendom and Islam. The picture which the ‘Lay of the Last Minstrel’ and the ‘Monastery’ give of the condition of the English and Scottish border, will suggest a faint notion of the state of things all along the frontier between the Turkish and the Christian dominions. Upon both sides continual forays were made, villages were plundered and burnt, castles surprised, cattle driven off, and, worst of all, prisoners were carried away into hopeless slavery.270 Every few years these desultory hostilities broke out into open war, and, notwithstanding occasional successes of Ferdinand’s party, the tide of Turkish invasion rose steadily higher and higher. In addition, the unfortunate country was distracted by civil war, waged with varying success between Ferdinand and the House of Zapolya, the rivals for the throne, while the magnates of the kingdom went over from one side to the other, according as they thought they could thereby gain any advantage for themselves.

Solyman, the greatest Sovereign of the House of Othman, was born in 1494, and succeeded his father, Selim I., in September 1520. The first year of his reign was marked by a campaign against Hungary, and the fall of Belgrade,271 the bulwark of that kingdom. Louis, the King of Hungary and Bohemia, was then a minor, and, in the party strife of the different factions of the nobility, the defence of the country was neglected. For several years Solyman’s attention was diverted to other enterprises, of which the most famous 269was the siege and capture of Rhodes in 1522, but in 1526 he again invaded Hungary. On August 29, the anniversary of the capture of Belgrade, he defeated King Louis with great slaughter at Mohacz,272 the King himself perishing in the flight, and then advanced on Buda, which surrendered on September 10. Thence he crossed to Pesth, where he received the Hungarian nobles, and, after promising them to make John Zapolya, Count of Zips and Voivode or Viceroy of Transylvania, King of Hungary, returned laden with booty to Constantinople.

Ferdinand, the brother of Charles V. and his successor as Emperor, and Zapolya were rivals for the crown of St. Stephen. The first relied upon family compacts, and upon his connection by marriage with King Louis.273 Zapolya, on the other hand, was supported by a strong party among the nobles, who disliked Ferdinand as a foreigner. Zapolya’s partisans took the initiative, and convened a diet at Tokay, at which he was elected King, and he was duly crowned at Stuhlweissenburg by the Archbishop of Gran. Mary, however, the widowed Queen, with the Palatine Bathory, assembled another diet at Presburg, which declared Zapolya’s election void on the ground that the diet of Tokay had not been summoned by the Palatine, and elected Ferdinand King, who, after defeating his rival at Tokay in 1527, and near Kaschau in the following year, drove him out of the country. Zapolya then threw himself on Solyman’s protection, offering to hold Hungary and Transylvania as his tributary, and a treaty of alliance was signed between them in 270 February 1528. In the following year Solyman invaded Hungary for the third time, and took Buda on September 9. A few days afterwards Zapolya was again installed on the throne by the first lieutenant of the Aga of the Janissaries, and did homage for his kingdom. Leaving a Turkish governor in Buda, the Sultan then marched on Vienna, and besieged it on the 27th, but was obliged to abandon the siege on October 16, in consequence of the lateness of the season and the gallant resistance of the garrison and inhabitants.274

In the winter of 1530 Ferdinand’s troops besieged Buda unsuccessfully. In the campaign of 1532 Charles V. came with the forces of the Empire to the assistance of his brother, and Styria and Austria were the seat of war. The Sultan was detained for three weeks before the little town of Güns by the gallantry of the commander Jurischitz, who at last surrendered on honourable terms.275 The delay, however, prevented the Sultan from accomplishing anything considerable, though his army ravaged Styria and Austria, and penetrated as far as Gratz and Linz.

In June 1533 peace was concluded between Ferdinand and Solyman on the basis of Ferdinand’s retaining what he actually held in Hungary, the Sultan reserving to himself the ratification of any arrangements that Ferdinand and Zapolya might make between themselves.

For some years afterwards Solyman’s attention was devoted to his wars with Persia, and no invasion of Hungary on a large scale occurred; but, notwithstanding the peace, the Pashas of Bosnia and the adjoining districts continued their inroads. To check these incursions Ferdinand, in 1537, assembled at 271Kaproncza, on the Drave, an army of 16,000 foot and 8,000 horse, under the supreme command of Katzianer. He advanced on Essek, intending to besiege it, but was surrounded by clouds of light cavalry, who cut off his supplies and forced him to retreat. After losing his siege-guns at the passage of the Vouka, he encountered the enemy on December 1, and, after an unsuccessful engagement, fled in the night with some of the other generals. The troops that were left were cut to pieces the next day with their gallant commander, Lodron.276 Katzianer was accused of causing the disaster by his cowardice, and was thrown into prison at Vienna. He escaped by bribing his gaolers, and fled to one of his castles in Croatia, where he entered into negotiations with the Turks, promising to betray the strong fortress of Kosthanitza. However, his treasonable designs were cut short; Count Nicholas Zriny, during an interview with him at one of his castles, treacherously stabbed him, and despatched him with the assistance of his servants. His body was flung from a window into the castle ditch, and his head was sent to Vienna.

In 1538, under the mediation of Charles V., the treaty of Gross Wardein was concluded between Zapolya and Ferdinand. Zapolya was to retain the title of King during his life with Transylvania and the part of Hungary which was then in his actual possession, on his death his male issue was to succeed to Transylvania only, and by the same treaty both parties united in a league for mutual defence against the Turks.

Zapolya had then neither wife nor child; but he immediately afterwards married Isabella, the King of Poland’s daughter, and, dying in July 1540, left by her 272a son—John Sigismund—who was born a fortnight before his father’s death.

Ferdinand then claimed that, according to the terms of the treaty, he should be placed in possession of the whole of Hungary; but Isabella, as guardian of her infant son, and the party opposed to Ferdinand, under the leadership of Martinuzzi, Bishop of Gross Wardein, refused to adhere to the treaty, caused the infant to be crowned, and appealed to the Sultan for protection. Ferdinand then entered the country, and besieged Buda, which was relieved by the Pasha of Belgrade.

Solyman again invaded Hungary in 1541. On August 29 his troops occupied the gates of Buda, and he annexed that city to his dominions, making it the seat of a Pashalic, and placing a strong garrison in it. He declared, however, that he held it merely in trust for John Sigismund during his minority, and in the meantime appointed the latter Sanjak-bey of Transylvania, under the regency of Martinuzzi and Petrovich. The House of Zapolya held, in addition to Transylvania, most of the country to the north as far as the river Theiss.

In 1543 Solyman again invaded Hungary, and took the cities of Gran and Stuhlweissenburg, or Alba Regia, the former being the primatial see of Hungary, and the latter the burial-place of her Kings. At the end of 1544, Jerome Adorno, provost of Erlau, was sent by Ferdinand as internuncio to Solyman, with John Maria Malvezzi, a member of a noble family of Bologna, as secretary; but he died shortly after his arrival at Adrianople, in March 1545. Malvezzi, aided by Nicholas Sicco, who was sent by Ferdinand as a new ambassador, and Veltwick, the ambassador of Charles V., then undertook the management of the negotiations, and concluded in November an armistice for eighteen months273 between Solyman on the one side, and Ferdinand and Charles on the other.277 This was followed, in June 1547, by a peace for five years, in which the Emperor, the Pope, France, and Venice were included, on the basis of uti possidetis, Ferdinand paying the Sultan 30,000 ducats a year, part of which sum was an equivalent for the territories of some of the nobles, who had formerly adhered to the Turkish side, and had afterwards gone over to Ferdinand, and part was termed by him a present, but was more justly considered by the Turks as tribute for the portion of Hungary which still remained in his possession.

The Sultan’s motive for concluding this treaty was his desire to turn his arms against Persia. Elkass Mirza, a brother of Shah Tahmasp, the reigning monarch, had taken refuge at his court in 1547,278 and in 1548 Solyman led his troops into Persia, and obtained considerable successes. In the following year Elkass was captured by his brother in an expedition he had undertaken, and was confined in a fortress for the rest of his life.

In July 1551, at Martinuzzi’s instigation, Isabella ceded Transylvania and the part of Hungary that remained in her hands to Ferdinand, in exchange for the towns of Ratibor and Oppeln in Silesia, and the Austrian troops, under the command of the Spaniard Castaldo, took possession of these territories.279 When Solyman heard this news, he summoned Malvezzi before him, who pledged his life that there was no ground for this report; but, as he could not give satisfactory explanations, and fell back on the insufficiency of his instructions, he was thrown into prison in the Black Tower of the Castle of Anatolia on the 274Bosphorus,280 the Sultan excusing this violation of international law by the argument that an ambassador was a hostage for the good faith of his master, and should suffer for any breach of it. From this incident it appears that the post of ambassador at the Porte was by no means unattended with danger.

Ferdinand rewarded Martinuzzi by procuring for him a Cardinal’s hat, and appointing him Archbishop of Gran. Not content with these dignities, that wily politician made overtures to the Turks, with the object of gaining the sovereignty of Transylvania and Hungary for himself; but he was assassinated by Castaldo’s officers acting under Ferdinand’s orders, or, at any rate, with his connivance, at Alvincz, December 18, 1551.

In 1552 the Turks recommenced their attacks on Hungary, which were attended with almost uniform success. In February they gained a victory at Szegedin; in April, Wessprim was taken by Ali, the Pasha of Buda; and in July Temeswar fell. Its capture was followed by the loss of the rest of the Banat. On August 11, Ali Pasha defeated an army of Ferdinand’s at Fülek, to the north of Buda, Sforzia Pallavicini was taken prisoner, and Sbardellatus Dudich, the Bishop of Waitzen, whom Busbecq calls by mistake the Bishop of Fünfkirchen, was killed.281 Erlau, however, was besieged by Ali unsuccessfully.

In April 1552, Ferdinand wrote to Roostem, the Grand Vizier, asking for Malvezzi’s release, and for a safe conduct for two more envoys. In consequence, Malvezzi was removed to the Seven Towers, and his allowance was increased; but he was still kept in close confinement.

Fortunately for Ferdinand at this critical junc275ture, a Persian invasion and the Sultan’s domestic troubles created a diversion in his favour. In 1553 the Sultan, on account of the mutinous disposition of the army, which had been sent to defend Armenia against the Persians, was obliged to take command of it in person. The most notable event of the campaign was the tragical end of Mustapha, Solyman’s eldest and most promising son. The story of his cruel murder is narrated in pathetic words by our author in his first letter,282 though he is mistaken in placing the scene of it near Amasia, as Eregli, in Karamania, where it really happened, is about 250 miles from that city. To appease the indignation of the soldiery at the death of their favourite, the Grand Vizier Roostem was deposed, and his office conferred on Achmet Pasha. Busbecq, during his visit to Amasia, in 1555, witnessed the conclusion of peace between the Sultan and the Shah.

The Persian war relieved for a time the pressure on Hungary. Solyman granted a six months’ armistice, and Francis Zay and Antony Wranczy or Verantius, then Bishop of Fünfkirchen, and afterwards Bishop of Erlau, were sent as envoys to Constantinople.283 They arrived in August. They were instructed to offer a tribute of 150,000 ducats for Hungary Proper, and 40,000 for Upper Hungary and Transylvania. The Viziers, however, told them that the abandonment of all claims to Transylvania was an indispensable preliminary to opening negotiations. Malvezzi was accordingly released, and sent to Vienna to receive further instructions from Ferdinand; and it was arranged that the peace should be prolonged for five years, and that on account of the loss of territory Ferdinand had sustained in Hungary the annual present or 276tribute should be reduced to 15,000 ducats. The peace was not to be ratified till Malvezzi’s return, but the truce was prolonged in the meanwhile.

In May, 1554, Malvezzi was ordered to return, but he was prevented by illness, and Busbecq was sent in his stead.284 He arrived at Constantinople on January 20, 1555, and proceeded in March, with Verantius and Zay, to the Sultan’s headquarters at Amasia. They brought him a present of gilded cups, and 10,000 ducats as tribute for Transylvania. They complained of the numerous breaches of the armistice on the part of the Turks, but, although they promised 80,000 ducats to the Sultan and large sums to the chief viziers, they could only obtain an extension of the armistice for six months, and a letter from Solyman to Ferdinand, with which Busbecq was sent to Vienna.

On September 28, 1555, Achmet was executed, and Roostem reappointed Grand Vizier.285

Notwithstanding the truce of Amasia, guerilla raids on both sides continued all along the Hungarian frontiers. To check the incursions of the Heydons, Touighoun, the Pasha of Buda,286 attacked and took Babocsa; and Ali, his successor, the victor of Fülek, with the same object, commenced the siege of Szigeth, on May 24, 1556, and assaulted the place a month later, but was repulsed with heavy loss. In the meantime the Palatine Nadasty had besieged Babocsa, and Ali hastened with a detachment to relieve it, but was defeated with great loss on the river Rinya (July 25). Babocsa was then abandoned by the Turks, and fell into the hands of the Hungarians, who burnt it, and blew up the citadel. Ali resumed the siege of 277Szigeth, but was so weakened by his defeat, that he was obliged to raise it, retreating to Buda, where he died soon afterwards.287 The fall of Szigeth was thus postponed for ten years, when it was destined to be associated with the termination of a more glorious career, and the extinction of a more famous name.288

Meanwhile Transylvania had again passed into the possession of Isabella and her son. She had at first gone to the Silesian duchies, which Ferdinand had given in exchange for Transylvania; but she was dissatisfied with them, and returned to her brother’s court in Poland, where she entered into correspondence with her partisans in Transylvania. The current of feeling there ran strongly in her favour. The Spaniard, Castaldo, Ferdinand’s governor, was ignorant of the national laws and usages. His troops were left unpaid, and supported themselves by plundering the country. At last one corps after another mutinied for their pay, and marched out of Transylvania; and Castaldo himself, unable to check the dissolution of his army, withdrew to Vienna. For a time anarchy prevailed in Transylvania; but in June, 1556, the inhabitants resolved to recall Isabella and her son. The envoys found her at Lemberg, and invited her to return. The Voivodes of Moldavia and Wallachia entered Hungary to protect her passage, and on October 22 she and her son entered Klausenburg in triumph.289

Meanwhile Bebek, the representative of Queen Isabella, was using every means in his power to thwart the efforts of Busbecq and his colleagues. The latter returned home in August, 1557. Verantius was rewarded with the bishopric of Erlau. As far back as June, 1555, allusions to the prospect of his appoint278ment may be found, and the see had been kept vacant for him for more than a year before his actual translation in November, 1557. His office was no sinecure. He was perpetually occupied in providing for the defence of his diocese, in writing to the Pasha of Buda to remonstrate against the continual invasions of the neighbouring Sanjak-beys, and in counterworking the intrigues of Zapolya’s party. His remaining time and energies were devoted to attempts to check the spread of Lutheranism in his diocese. It may be remarked here that John Sigismund was much assisted by his patronage of Lutheranism. His court was the refuge of many Lutheran, and even of Socinian, teachers. An anecdote Verantius gives in one of his letters will show what a hold Lutheranism had obtained in parts of Hungary. When a fire, supposed to be the work of an incendiary, broke out in the monastery of Jaszbereny, most of the inhabitants of the town refused to help to extinguish it, declaring that they would rather the Turks had the monastery than the monks. Zay, the other ambassador, was appointed Governor of Kaschau.290

In 1558 the fortress of Tata, near Komorn, eight miles from the right bank of the Danube, was surprised by Hamza, Sanjak-bey of Stuhlweissenburg.

Throughout the negotiations the Sultan insisted on the cession of Szigeth, but was induced in the winter of 1557 to grant a fresh armistice for seven months. In 1559 Ferdinand sent by Albert de Wyss291 four projects for a treaty, the first of which demanded the restoration of Tata and Fülek, but the last omitted these conditions. The last was presented by Busbecq in the camp at Scutari to Solyman, but was not accepted by him; and the Sultan, on his return to Constanti279nople, placed Busbecq in a sort of confinement in his house.

In the beginning of 1559 the health of Queen Isabella began to fail, and Melchior Balassa, a great Transylvanian noble, wrote to Ferdinand proposing, on her death, to place Transylvania in his hands. This letter was intercepted, and sent to Isabella, who, having such a proof of the treachery of one of her most trusted adherents, thought it advisable to open negotiations with Ferdinand herself, and, with the Sultan’s approval, did so through her brother the King of Poland. It was proposed that one of Ferdinand’s daughters should marry John Sigismund, and that the latter should have Transylvania and Lower Hungary (the north-eastern part of Hungary, between Poland and Transylvania), but should abandon the title of King. These negotiations were broken off by her death, which took place at Karlsburg in September, and an attempt in the following year to renew them also came to nothing, as John Sigismund refused to renounce the title of King.

In the winter of 1561 Andrew Bathory persuaded his brother Nicholas and Melchior Balassa to go over to Ferdinand’s side.292 As soon as Ferdinand had recovered the town of Munkats, Balassa was to receive it for his life, with the right of maintaining a certain number of soldiers at Ferdinand’s expense, and, in return, to give up to Ferdinand various towns immediately to the north of Transylvania Proper, which were his possession.

Roostem died in July 1561, and was succeeded by Ali, who proved much more pliant in his negotiations with Busbecq, and the latter at last succeeded in ob280taining a peace for eight years. The principal stipulations of the treaty were as follows:293

1. Ferdinand to pay an annual tribute of 30,000 ducats, and also the arrears due in respect of the last two years.

2. The Sultan engaged not to attack Ferdinand either directly, or by furnishing assistance to John Sigismund. He also undertook that John Sigismund should respect the territories of Ferdinand.

3. Melchior Balassa and Nicholas Bathory, and others in a similar position, who had returned to their allegiance to Ferdinand, to be included in the peace with their property and lordships, and to be the vassals of Ferdinand and John Sigismund conjointly.

4. If any of Ferdinand’s subjects had been expelled from his property by the adherents of John Sigismund, or vice versâ, no suits or proceedings to recover such property to be taken during the peace.

5. If new and otherwise irreconcilable differences should arise between the contracting parties with regard to the limits of their jurisdiction, as a provisional arrangement the de facto subjects of each party at the commencement of the peace to remain so during its continuance, and, in particular, certain villages near the Danube and the fortress of Tata, some of which were in Ferdinand’s and some in the Sultan’s possession, to remain respectively as they were, and those in Ferdinand’s possession not to be molested by the garrison of Tata.

6. Any Turkish nobles who were in the power of any of Ferdinand’s officers, either as fugitives or otherwise, to be released without ransom.


7. Runaway slaves with any property they might have stolen to be mutually restored.

8. Ferdinand’s officers to be allowed to fortify and provision castles, towns, and villages on the borders of Hungary within their own territories.

9. Disputes about boundaries or the like between the subjects of the two parties to be settled by arbitration, and the persons at fault punished as truce-breakers.

10. The treaty to be in force for eight years, and to be binding upon all the officers and subjects on both sides, particularly the Voivodes of Moldavia and Wallachia, and on John Sigismund, and none of Ferdinand’s subjects or their property to be molested or injured in any way. Any property taken contrary to this stipulation to be restored to its owners, and any person taken prisoner to be released uninjured.

11. Ambassadors and envoys to be granted full permission to travel in the Sultan’s dominions, with liberty of ingress and egress to and from his court, and to be supplied with interpreters.

On the arrival of Busbecq at Frankfort with Ibrahim, the first dragoman of the Porte, important differences were found to exist between the Turkish and Latin texts of the treaty. The former only included the barons who had already returned to their allegiance to Ferdinand, and not those who might afterwards do so; it stipulated for the extradition of refugees, as well as that of brigands and rebels, and included the Voivodes of Moldavia and Wallachia. The Emperor demanded that these points should be corrected; but his demands seem to have been ineffectual, and the Turkish incursions on the Hungarian frontier continued.

Ferdinand died on July 25, 1564, and was succeeded as Emperor by his son Maximilian, who had282 been elected King of Hungary and Bohemia in his father’s lifetime. Fighting still went on between him and John Sigismund on the frontiers of Transylvania. Szathmar was taken by the latter, and Tokay294 and Serencs by the former. The Grand Vizier Ali, who was inclined to peace, died in July 1565, and was succeeded by the more warlike Mehemet Sokolli. During 1565, the Sultan was fully occupied with the siege of Malta, but in the beginning of the following year war was declared against Hungary, Albert de Wyss, who had succeeded Busbecq as ambassador, was thrown into prison, and on May 1 Solyman started from Constantinople on his last campaign. His age and infirmities obliged him to quit the saddle for a carriage.

On June 29 he received John Sigismund at Semlin, and intended to march on Erlau, but, hearing that Count Nicholas Zriny, the commander at Szigeth, had surprised and killed the Sanjak-bey of Tirhala, he resolved to make Szigeth the first object of attack. The siege commenced on August 5. Two furious assaults on the 26th and 29th were repulsed with great slaughter. On September 8, Zriny, finding he could hold out no longer, set the fortress on fire, sallied forth, sword in hand, at the head of the garrison, and met a soldier’s death. The Turks poured into the citadel, intent on murder and plunder; but the fire reached the powder-magazine, which blew up, burying in the ruins more than three thousand men. Solyman did not live to witness his triumph. His health had long been failing, and he died on the night of the 5th or 6th of September. His death was concealed by the Grand Vizier for three weeks, to give his successor, Selim, time to reach Constantinople from Kutaiah.


The death of Solyman seems to form a fitting termination to this sketch. With the exception of his successor, Selim, he is the last survivor of the personages who figure prominently in Busbecq’s pages. The Emperor Ferdinand, the Grand Viziers Achmet, Roostem, and Ali, and the unfortunate Bajazet, have passed away. The greater part of Hungary and Transylvania continued subject to the successors of Solyman, either immediately or as a vassal State, till near the close of the following century. In 1683 Vienna was once more besieged by the Turks, under the Grand Vizier Kara Mustapha, but was relieved by John Sobieski. The reaction from this supreme effort was fatal to the Turkish dominion in Hungary. In 1686 Buda was recaptured by Charles of Lorraine, and by the Peace of Carlowitz, concluded in 1698, the whole of Hungary and Transylvania was ceded to the Emperor Leopold.




In describing his first Turkish letter as an ‘iter,’ or itinerary, Busbecq places it under a class of composition of which there are several examples still extant. In Busbecq’s days it was a common practice for scholars to write an account in Latin verse of any journey they might happen to make. These itineraries are generally extremely amusing, the writers being men of keen observation, with a great sense of humour, and condescending to notice those trifles which are passed over by the historian.

As an example, Nathan Chytræus gives an account of his trip to England during the Long Vacation of the University of Paris. He lands at Rye, and, going to an inn, eats his first English dinner, which he hugely enjoys, noticing at the same time the handsome faces and dignified bearing of the waitresses. On his way to London he is struck with the comfortable appearance of the country seats, and specially with the belts of laurel with which they were surrounded. As he passes over London Bridge he is delighted with the handsome shops full of every kind of merchandise which lined its sides. He visits Westminster Abbey, and wonders at not finding the tomb of Dr. Linacre, the celebrated physician, who, though a canon of St. Peter’s, Westminster, was buried at St. Paul’s. He goes eastward, and visits the Tower of London, noticing the menagerie, and specially two lions at the entrance of the Tower. Of the collection of arms he says that285 a visitor would imagine it to be the greatest in the world if he had not seen the Arsenal at Venice. He has a word for Southwark across the river, telling us that it was covered with small houses, and the home of numerous dogs and bears, which were kept for baiting. He visits Hampton Court, Nonsuch Park,295 and Windsor; at the last place Elizabeth was staying, with all her court. The Queen is duly complimented on her learning, but he can spare a couple of lines also for the rabbits which then, as now, were scampering fearlessly about the Park:

Quin et in effossis habitare cuniculus antris
Assuetus prodire solet camposque vagari.

It will be seen that the itinerary of Nathan Chytræus is written very much in Busbecq’s style, while there are other itineraries which require notice as taking us over nearly the same ground as our author.

Among the companions of Veltwick (vol. i. page 79), when he went as Ambassador to Constantinople, was Hugo Favolius, who has left us an account of the expedition in Latin hexameters. Having ingeniously introduced the date 1545 into his verses, he tells us that was the year—

Cum decus imperii Romani, Carolus ingens,
Pertæsus belli tandem, metuensque tumultus
Hellespontiacis qui forte fremebat in oris,
Principiis prudens sic obvius ire parabat.
Ergo a consiliis regi fidissimus unus
Deligitur sermone potens Veldvicius heros,
Quicum partitus curarum ingentia dudum
Pondera tractandas rerum committit habenas;
Atque illum ad celebrem Byzanti destinat urbem,
Præstanti eloquio et placido sermone Tyranni
In melius si forte queat convertere mentem.

After this humiliating confession of the power of the 286Turk, Favolius tells us how they sailed across the Gulf of Venice and landed at Ragusa. After a short rest the party travelled over the mountains to Sophia, and thence to Constantinople. In returning Veltwick made the journey to Vienna by land, taking, no doubt, the same route as was afterwards traversed by Busbecq, while Hugo Favolius and some of the younger members of the party obtained leave to go back to Venice by sea.

It seems strange that in a piece of this kind the writer should so frankly admit the superiority of the Turkish power; it would appear to be but an ill compliment to the sovereigns from whom Favolius must have looked for advancement. In order, however, to gauge the real amount of terror which the Turks inspired it is necessary to take the account of P. Rubigal, the Hungarian, who was attached to an embassy sent shortly after the death of John Zapolya296 by the leading nobles of his party to convey their tribute to Solyman. Rubigal’s itinerary may be considered to furnish us with an idea of the position of a Hungarian in the middle of the sixteenth century. His description is ludicrous, no doubt, but it is no less horrible.

He begins thus:—

Tempore concedens quo rex in fata Joannes
Liquerat Hungaricæ regia sceptra domus,
Inque patris titulos natus successerat infans
Et dubia imperii forma recentis erat,
Turca ferox, Medo qui cinctus acinace gaudet,
Ad proceres regni plurima scripta dedit,
Pannoniæque petens perfricta fronte tributum,
Terruit innumeris tristia corda minis.
Quid facerent? ratio sic temporis ipsa ferebat,
Quamlibet inviti ut pacta tributa darent.
Nec mora, magnatum venerando ex ordine lectos
Verbetium mittunt Essetiumque pium;
Hosque jubent regni Turcis offerre tributa,
Flectere et immitis pectora dura Getæ.


The party started from Szegedin, on the river Theiss, going by boat to Belgrade, and thence by land to Constantinople.

They were entertained at a banquet by Solyman, and were much disgusted at two things: first, he gave them sherbet instead of wine; and secondly, at the conclusion of the banquet he caused the ghastly heads of men who had been recently executed to be set before them. The grim pleasantry could not be misunderstood. The heads, no doubt, were those of Hungarians, whom Solyman was pleased to regard in the light of rebels. Whilst at Constantinople Rubigal had an opportunity of seeing the Turkish fleet, which was then commanded by the famous Barbarossa. The Hungarian was evidently horribly frightened at the formidable preparations of the Turks, for immediately afterwards he gives his readers plainly to understand that his tastes are of a domestic turn, and that he has no hankering after—

the perils which environ
The man who meddles with cold iron.

Oddly enough, however, he gives us an account of two Germans he met with fetters on their legs, who beg him to tell their friends at home that it will be the easiest thing in the world to drive the Turks into the Bosphorus. He gives their message, but cautiously refrains from either endorsing or contradicting their opinion.




The following is a list of the various editions and translations of Busbecq’s works, with which we are acquainted.

In Latin.


1581. Printed by Plantin, at Antwerp. Editio Princeps. It contains only the first Turkish Letter, under the title of Itinera Constantinopolitanum et Amasianum, and the De Acie contra Turcam Instruenda Consilium.

1582. Also printed by Plantin. At the end of the contents of the first edition the second Turkish Letter is added, under the title of Ejusdem Busbequii Secunda in Thraciam Profectio.

1589. Paris. Contains all four Turkish Letters and the De Acie.

1595. Frankfort. The same as the previous one.

1605. Hanau. The same as the last, with the addition of the Speech of Ibrahim to Ferdinand at Frankfort, and the text of the treaty of peace.

1620. Munich. Edited by Sadoler. The same as the last. It contains portraits of Busbecq and Solyman.

1629. Hanau. The same as the edition of 1605.

None of these editions contain any but the Turkish Letters.


1630. Louvain. Edited by Howaert. It contains the letters to Rodolph from France, 1-53 inclusive.

1632. Brussels. Also edited by Howaert. This edition contains the letters to Maximilian from France. Then follow the letters to Rodolph as in the last edition, and at the end come five more letters to Rodolph.

1632 (?). Evidently struck off from the same type as the last. There are, however, a few alterations, and there is no date on the title page.

1633. Leyden. The Elzevir edition. Two editions with slight variations appeared in the same year. They contain the four Turkish Letters, the De Acie, the Speech of Ibrahim, the Treaty, and the Letters to Rodolph, 1-53. At the end of the third Turkish Letter there are variations from all the preceding editions. See vol. i. page 305, note.

1660. Amsterdam. Elzevir. A reprint of the last.

1660. Oxford. The same contents as the Elzevir.

1660. London. The same contents as the Elzevir. There is also an Epitome de Moribus Turcarum, not written by Busbecq, which follows the Treaty.

1689. Leipsic. The same contents as the Elzevir.

1740. Bâle. The same contents and characteristic readings as the Elzevir, except in one passage.

In German.

1596. Frankfort. It contains the four Turkish Letters and the De Acie. The translator was Michael Schweicker, Master of the School at Frankfort.


In English.

1694. London. ‘The Four Epistles of Augerius Gislenius Busbequius, concerning his Embassy into Turkey, with his Advice how to Manage War against the Turks. Done into English.’ It contains a dedication to the Earl of Bolingbroke by Nahum Tate, from which it appears that the translator died before the book was published. The English is racy, but the book is full of mistakes and misprints.

1761. Glasgow. It contains only the Turkish Letters, and is said to be the third edition. It is a reprint of the last with some of the mistakes corrected.

In Bohemian.

1594. Prague. Translated by Leunclavius. It contains the First and Second Letters and the De Acie.

In French.

1649. Paris. A translation by Gaudon.

1718. Amsterdam.

1748. Paris. A translation in three volumes of the Turkish Letters and the Letters to Rodolph, by the Abbé Louis Étienne de Foy, Canon of Meaux.

1836. Paris. A translation of the Letters to Rodolph, 1-53, is contained in ‘Archives Curieuses de l’Histoire de France, Première Série,’ tome 10, by MM. Cimber and Danjou.

In Flemish.

1632. Dordrecht.


In Spanish.

Before 1650. Pampeluna. A translation by Stephanus Lopez de Reta, published by Charles de Lobaien. Viaje de Constantinopla, and also the De Acie.





Patent of Legitimation of Ogier Ghiselin.

Charles, etc., sçavoir faisons à tous présens et advenir nous avoir recue lhumble supplication de Ogier, filz illégitisme de George Ghiselin, escuier, seigneur de Bousbecque, et de Catherine Hespiel jeune fille, lors non mariez, contenant que ledit Ogier de son jeune eaige a esté entretenu aux estudes à Louvain et ailleurs, où il sest conduict et gouverné bien et honnestement comme celluy qui a désir de parvenir à estatz honnourables avec volunté et bonne affection de bien faire vivre et de mourir soubz nous et en nostre obéissance, se nostre plaisir estoit le légittimer et sur le deffaulte de sa nativité luy impartir nostre grace si commil dit, dont il nous a très humblement supplié. Pour ce est-il que ce considéré nous icelluy Ogier suppliant inclinans favorablement à sadite supplication et requeste, avons, de nostre certaine science auctorité et plaine puissance, légittimé et légittimons, et ledit deffault de sa nativité aboly et effacé abolissons et effacons de grâce speciale par ces présentes, luy octroiant et accordant par icelles et de nostre dite grâce quil puist et poira comme personne légittime et habile succéder en tous les biens meubles et immeubles et aultres quelzconques esquelz de droit et selon la coustume et usaige de noz pays et seignouries, il debveroit et pourroit succéder sil estoit né et procrée en léal mariaige et venir aux successions de sesdits père et mère et aultres que luy compétent et compéteront cy aprez, pourveu toutesvoyes que à ce se consentent ses plus prochains parens de lignaige et que aucun droict ne soit desja acquis à aultres et en ce cas qu’il puist avoir et tenir pour luy, ses hoirs et successeurs à tousiours tous les biens que293 lui adviendront et escherront desdites successions et aultrement et qu’il a acquis et acquerra et diceulx biens ordonner et disposer et les laissier ou légater par testament ou aultrement ainsi que bon luy semblera; et qu’il soit doresnavant receu selon sa vocation à tous honneurs, estatz, offices, dignitez et aultres faiz légittimes quelzconques et tenu et réputé doresnavant pour personne légittime, tout ainsi que s’il estoit né en léal mariaige et aussi que après son trespas, ceux de son lignaige procréez ou à procréer en léal mariaige luy puissent succéder par droit d’hoirie en tous sesdits biens, meubles, héritaiges, possessions et aultres choses quelzconques acquises et à acquérir ou à luy venuz et escheuz, ou que luy viendront et escherront cy aprez, tout ainsi et par la forme et manière qu’il eusse fait et peut faire et pourroit se il estoit né et procrée en léal mariaige si aultre chose ne luy répugne que ladite deffaulte de procréation légittime, saulf que à cause de bastardise et illégittimation, nous ou noz successeurs y puissons ou doyons quereller ou demander aulcun droit ou temps advenir, nonobstant quelzconques constitutions, ordonnances, statuz, droiz, coustumes et usaiges à ce contraires, parmy et moyennant toutesvoys que à cause de ceste nostre présente légittimation, ledit suppliant sera tenu payer certaine finance et somme de deniers pour une fois à nostre prouffit, selon la faculté et qualité de ses biens à larbitrage et tauxation de nos amez et féaulx les président et gens de noz comptes à Lille, que commectons à ce. Si donnons en mandement auxdits de nos comptes que ladite finance et somme de deniers par eulx tauxée, arbitrée et par ledit suppliant payée à celluy de noz receveurs qu’il appartiend, lequel sera tenu en faire recepte et rendre compte et reliqua à nostre prouffit avec les aultres deniers de sa recepte. Ils, nostre gouverneur de Lille, les président et gens de nostre conseil en Flandres et tous noz aultres justiciers et officiers quelzconques, présens et advenir, cui ce peult et pourra touchier et regarder leurs lieutenans et chacun deulx en droit soy et si comme à luy appartiend, facent seuffrent et laissent ledit suppliant, ensamble sesdits hoirs, successeurs et ayans cause à tousiours procréer en léal mariaige de nostre présente grace et légittimation, et de tout le contenu en ces dites294 présentes selon et par la manière que dit est, plainement, paisiblement et perpétuellement joyr et user, sans luy faire mectre ou donner, ne souffrir estre faict, mis ou donné ores ne ou tempes advenir, aucun destourbier ou empeschement au contraire en maniere quelconque. Car ainsi nous plaist-il. Et affin que ce soit chose ferme et estable à tousiours, nous avons faict mectre nostre scel à ces présentes, saulf en aultres choses nostre droit et laultruy en toutes. Donné en nostre ville de Gand, ou mois d’Avril apres Pasques, de nostre empire le xxie, et de noz règnes de Castille et aultres le xxve.

Sur le ploy estoit escript par l’empereur et signé du secrétaire, Bourgois, et sur le ploy estoit encoires escript ce que sensuit. Cette chartre est enregistrée en la chambre des comptes de l’empereur, nostre sire a Lille, ou registre des chartres y tenu commenchant en avril xve quarante-neuf, folio iie xvi, et apres que Messrs. les president dicelle chambre ont esté bien et deuement informez des faculté et puissance des biens de l’impetrant, la finance dicelle a par eulx esté tauxée a la somme de neuf vings dix livres de xi gros monnoye de Flandres la livre: ordonnée estre payée es mains de Jehan Hovine, conseiller de l’empereur nostre dit Sire, me en la dite chambre et commis a la recepte de lespargne des pays ortissans en icelle chambre lequel sera tenu en baillier sa lettre et en faire recepte avec les aultres deniers de son entremise. Et au surplus ladite chartre a este expediée en ladite chambre selon sa forme et teneur, le xxiiie jour de novembre xve quarante. Ainsi signe moy present.

A. Gilleman.



Patent of Knighthood of Ogier de Busbecq.

Ferdinandus etc., etc., nobili fideli a nobis delecto Augerio a Busbeck, equiti aurato, Consiliario nostro gratiam nostram Cæsaream et omne bonum.

Cum nihil sit inter mortales sublimius Imperiali Majestate et celsitudine, quam Deus Optimus Maximus cæteris humanis dignitatibus eminere voluit, ut micantissimis radiis suis terrarum orbem et commissum Imperium illustret, par equidem est, ut, quem Deus ad fastigium hoc evexit, is etiam dignitatem et munus sibi demandatum ita administret, ut, quantum fieri potest, in hac vita quam proxime accedat ad exemplum divinæ ejus Majestatis a cujus nutu tota hujus mundi machina dependet, nullisque finibus clementiam et liberalitatem suam teneat circumscriptam, sed in omnes eam exerceat, præcipue, quos summa virtus, prudentia, doctrina, integritas ac rerum usus aliæque ingenii et animi dotes, nec non præclara in Rempublicam Christianam merita præ cæteris claros reddidere, omnem in eo operam et diligentiam adhibendo, necubi virtutem debitis premiis destituisse videatur. Etsi enim virtus se ipsa facile sit contenta neque magnopere indigeat alienæ laudis adminiculo, quam alioquin etiam honos, amplitudo et gloria ut certissima premia sponte plerumque sequuntur, fit tamen, ut si quando illa summorum Imperatorum ac Regum judicio atque decreto comprobetur, multo illustrior et clarior evadat et alios quoque non tam ad admirationem quam ad imitationem et studium accendat.

Qua in re sicuti olim divi prædecessores nostri Romanorum Imperatores ac Reges omnem adhibuere curam, sic nos quoque hunc eorum laudatissimum morem secuti in eandem semper curam et cogitationem incubuimus ut optimorum virorum de nobis atque Republica bene meritorum virtus a296 nobis condignis honoribus cohonestaretur. In quorum sane numero, cum te prefatum Augerium a Busbeck haud postremum locum obtinere compertum habeamus, æquum est profecto, ut in te ipso nostram erga tales homines clementissimam animi propensionem omnibus declaremus, et contestatam reddemus, idque ejuscemodi ornamenti genere, quod virtutibus ac meritis tuis quam maxime respondeat. Tu namque nobili et honesto loco in Belgio natus, ingenii acumen et vim, quod Deus tibi dedit præstantissimum vitæ morumque honestate, probitate ac bonarum literarum studiis, diversitate linguarum multarumque rerum cognitione et aliis plurimis excellentibusque animi dotibus ita excoluisti, ut ad gravissima et maxima quæque Reipublicæ negotia exequenda visus sis aptus esse. Quapropter quum existimaremus te aliquando nobis magno usui futurum haud gravatim te in aulam nostram recepimus, ubi quidem nostræ de te expectationi non modo cumulate satisfecisti, sed eam longe quoque superavisti. Cum enim superioribus annis nobis occurrissent ardua quædam negocia, de quibus a nobis mittendus erat ad Solymannum Turcharum Principem Orator, qui fide, prudentia, rerum usu atque industria præstaret, te ex Anglia revocatum, quo tunc temporis jussu nostro profectus fueras, ad id muneris suscepimus, quo magna tua cum laude et ingenti nostro ac Regnorum Dominiorumque nostrorum imo totius Reipublicæ Christianæ commodo octo annos functus es, confecta ad postremum inter nos et ipsum Turcharum principem octennali pace. In qua legatione quas sustinueris curas, incommoditates, molestias, quos tuleris labores, quæ vitæ pericula subieris, quam etiam ostenderis in rebus agendis ingenii vim, quam fidem, quam solicitudinem, quam solertiam, prudentiam et industriam, quam intrepidi animi constantiam, et qua denique usus sis pietate in redimendis, juvandis et fovendis miseris Christianis, qui Constantinopolim tuo tempore in fœdam captivitatem adducti fuerunt, magno etiam fortunarum tuarum dispendio, nimis longum foret sigillatim recensere. Illud profecto consecutus es, quod non omnibus qui talem provinciam suscipiunt, ne dicamus perpaucis, contingere solet, ut non modo a nobis ac Serenissimis filiis nostris et aliis sacri Romani Imperii Principibus,297 statibus et ordinibus summam gratiam iniveris, verum etiam ipsismet Turcis propter virtutes tuas, quas naturæ instinctu in te prospexere et admirati sunt, valde gratus exstiteris. Quare merito probandum est præclarum de te judicium Serenissimi Principis Domini Maximiliani secundi, Romanorum ac Hungariæ et Bohemiæ, etc., Regis, Archiducis Austriæ, etc., filii nostri charissimi, in eo, quod te dignum et idoneum reputaverit, quem Dapiferis Serenissimorum filiorum suorum Rudolfi et Ernesti, Archiducum Austriæ, charissimorum nepotum nostrorum cum profisciscerentur in Hispaniam præficeret. Quod si ergo olim apud veteres, qui luctu et saltu in Olympiaco stadio celebres athletæ virium suarum specimen aliquod egregium edidissent, divinis propemodum honoribus affici, qui vero in bello vel murum primi ascendissent vel civem morti seduxissent corona vel murali vel civica donari soliti fuerunt, et nostra quoque ætate, qui vel cum hoste singulari certamine congressus victor evasit vel in prelio strenuam præ ceteris operam navavit vel alias rem bellicam caute et recte administravit, auratæ militiæ titulis insignitur, quanto magis tu, Augeri, tali dignitate condecorandus fuisti, cui non cum uno homine nec uno prelio per unum aut alterum mensem res gerenda, sed totos octo annos cum gente Christiano nomini infensissima adeoque cum ejusdem gentis Principe potentissimo ac pluribus victoriis et successibus elato, cumque ipsius præcipuis consiliariis et ministris, callidissimis et versipellibus diesque noctesque acerrime dimicandum fuit, quorum potentiam et nefarios impetus tu, divino adjutus auxilio, tua prudentia, industria ac rerum agendarum dexteritate postpositis quibuslibet periculis infracto animo sustinuisti et a cervicibus Regnorum et Dominiorum nostrorum avertisti. Quæ cum ita se habeant optimo certe consilio factum est quod præfatus Serenissimus Romanorum Rex superiore mense Septembri, quando paterna voluntate nostra Rex Hungariæ renunciatus publicatus ac Regali corona insignitus fuit, te publice in spectantibus et grato applausu probantibus ac suffragantibus prælatis, proceribus, Ordinibus et Statibus ejus Regni nostri, quorum saluti et incolumitati potissimum studueras, ictu ter vibrati ensis benedicti Militem seu Equitem auratum fecerit atque298 creaverit, quia te et eo et alias longe clarioribus ornamentis dignum censemus. Et licet ad perpetuam gloriam tibi sufficere queat publicus ille Serenissimi filii nostri Romanorum Regis actus neque is ulla approbatione Cæsareæ et paternæ auctoritatis nostræ opus habeat, pro nostra tamen in te mirifica benignitate volumus te eam dignitatem ab Imperiali quoque culmine obtinere, quo luculentius sit in omnem posteritatem virtutis tuæ testimonium.

Itaque nos ipsi etiam te antedictum Augerium a Busbeck, Militem sive Equitem auratum fecimus, creavimus, ereximus, ac præsenti nostro Cæsareo edicto ex certa scientia et authoritati nostra Imperiali Militem et Equitem auratum facimus, creamus et erigimus et ad statum militarem assumimus militarisque cinguli et balthei decore, fascibus et titulis atque stemmate militiæ insignimus, accingentes te gladio fortitudinis et omnia ad hunc ordinem pertinentia ornamenta tibi conferentes hoc nostro Imperiali edicto statuentes, ut deinceps ubique locorum et terrarum pro vero Milite et Equite aurato habearis, honoreris et admittaris, possisque et debeas pro suscepto dignitatis equestris ornamento, torquibus, gladiis, calcaribus, vestibus, phaleris, seu equorum ornamentis aureis seu deauratis ac omnibus et singulis privilegiis, honoribus, dignitatibus, præeminentiis, franchisiis, juribus, insignibus, libertatibus, immunitatibus et exemptionibus, prærogativis et gratiis tam realibus quam personalibus sive mixtis et aliis quibuscunque militaribus actibus et officiis uti, frui et gaudere, quibus cæteri Milites et Equites a nobis stricto ense manu et verbo nostro creati ac ejusmodi ornamentis insigniti gaudent et fruuntur et ad ea admitti, ad quæ illi admittuntur, quomodolibet consuetudine vel de jure, absque alicujus contradictione vel impedimento.

Mandantes universis et singulis Principibus tam ecclesiasticis quam secularibus, Archiepiscopis, Episcopis, Prælatis, Ducibus, Marchionibus, Comitibus, Baronibus, Nobilibus, Militibus, Clientibus, Capitaneis, Vicedominis, advocatis, præfectis, procuratoribus, quæstoribus, civium Magistris, Judicibus, Consulibus, armorum Regibus, Heroaldis, Civibus, Communitatibus, et cæteris quibuscunque nostris et Imperii sacri subditis et fidelibus cujuscunque præeminentiæ, digni299tatis, status, gradus, ordinis et conditionis fuerint, ut te præfatum Augerium a Busbeck pro vero milite et equite aurato habeant, teneant et reputent et in hoc militari et Equestri ordine et dignitate et notis ad eum spectantibus prærogativis et libertatibus conservent, quatenus gratiam nostram charam habuerint, ac pœnam quinquaginta Marcharum auri puri pro dimidia fisco seu ærario nostro Imperiali, reliqua vero parte tibi antedicto Augerio a Busbeck vel hæredibus tuis toties quoties contrafactum fuerit, irremissibiliter applicandam maluerint evitare.

Harum testimonio literarum manu nostra subscriptarum et sigilli nostri Cæsarei appensione munitarum.

Datum Viennæ die tertia mensis Aprilis anno Domini millesimo quingentesimo sexagesimo quarto.297



Purchase Deed of the Seigneurie de Bousbecque.

Comparut en sa persone messire Jehan de Thiennes, chevalier, seigneur de Willergy, etc., procureur espécial de Charles de Eydeghem, escuier, seigneur de Weze, &c., souffisament fondé par lettres procuratoires données des advoé, eschevins et conseil de la ville d’Ypre le xvie jour de décembre xveiiiixx sept, desquelles la teneur s’ensuyt.

A tous ceulx, etc., lequel comparant oudit nom et en vertu du pooyr a luy donné par lesdictes lettres recognut avoir vendu bien et léallement à messire Ogier Ghiselin, chevalier, conseillier de l’Empereur, et grand maistre d’hostel de la Royne Elisabet, douagière de Franche quy le cognut avoir acheté, toute la terre et seigneurie de Rume dit de Bousebecque, comprendant la seigneurie temporelle et paroissialle dudit Bousebecque, contenant quinze bonniers demy d’héritaige ou environ séans en la paroisse dudit Bousebecque, chastellenie de Lille, si comme six bonniers ixe ou environ tant pret que labeur, par une partye et par aultre huict bonniers xve de bois en ce comprins et que sont réunis audit fief ung bonnier de pret que feu Collart Lejosne tenoit en fief de ladicte seignourie; item, huict cens quy estoyent tenus de l’allengrie de Le Becque, avecq deux aultres bonniers xe et iie estants présentement à uzance de bois quy estoient tenus en commun contre le seigneur de Péruwez; item, sept quartrons de pret de l’allengrie de la Westlaye et iiiie de terre en la mesme allengrie, auquel fief et seignourie appartient des rentes seignouriales chacun an en l’allengrie de la Plache, en argent iiii l. iii s. et au Noël six chapons et le quart d’un; item en l’allengrie du commun, contre le seigneur de Péruwez, cent sept razières ung havot et ung quart de Karel d’avaine molle quy se prendent sur301 quarante cincq bonniers xvii verges ou environ chergiez du xe denier à la vente, don ou transport, moictié au prouffit dudict Seigneur de Bousebecque allencontre dudit Seigneur de Péruwez; item, en l’allengrie du commun de le Becque, quarante razières ung quareau et demye d’avaine brune, trois havots, trois kareaux de soille, trois chapons et le vie d’ung, et en argent i s. ix d., lesquelles rentes se lieuvent sur xi bonniers ixexi verges; item, en l’allengrie de Péruwez xii razières ii havots trois karelz et demy et xiie d’ung havot et le viie d’un francquart, tierch d’un quareau de bled fourment, trente neuf razières vie et viie d’un havot, les deux tiers et le quart d’un quarel d’avaine blanche, six chapons et en argent sept solz iii deniers, quy se prendent sur xix bonniers xiiiie demy d’héritaige ou environ. Item, en l’allengrie de la Westlaye cinq razierès trois havots ung quart et le quart d’un karel de bled, vingt razières deux havots trois quareaux d’avaine brune, ii kareaux et environ viiie d’un quarel de soille; item, deux chapons, xviiie et lxxiie d’un chapon et en argent cinq gros iii deniers i party quy se ceullent sur quattre bonniers xiiiie cinq verges d’héritaige ou environ, le tout déduction faicte desdictes partyes réunites et rentes qu’elles doibvent, lequel fief et seignourie est tenu du Roy nostre sire de sa salle de Lille en justice viscontière à dix livres de relief à la mort de l’héritier et le xe denier à la vente, don ou transport et sy appartient a icelle ung bailly, lieutenant et sept eschevins avecq plaids généraulx trois fois l’an, plusieurs arrentemens de maisons et héritaiges gisans allentour de la place dudit Bousebecque portant environ cent florins par an pardessus les rentes cy dessus déclarées, les fondz desquelles l’on croyt estre prins du gros dudit fief et seignourie cy-dessus déclaré avecq la place et chimentière. Sy appendent cincq fiefz et hommaiges en tenus, lesquelz sont chergiez de certains reliefz à la mort de l’héritier et du xe denier à la vente, don ou transport, et les aultres héritaiges tenu de ladicte seignourie chergiez de double rente de relief à la mort de l’héritier et du xe denier à la vente, don ou transport, lesquelles rentes dessus déclarées se payent à la priserie du Roy nostre sire de son Espier de Lille quy se faict au terme de sainct Remy, la razière de soille estimée aux deux tiers de302 celle de bled, fourment, l’avaine molle aux deux tiers de la blanche, et la brune au pris moyen d’entre la blanche et la molle. Ladicte vente faicte moïennant six florins de denier à Dieu, et pour le gros et principal dudit marchié la somme de six mil florins carolus de vingt patars pièche, francq argent, à payer cejourd’huy comptant que ledit vendeur a confessé avoir receu en deschargant la loy pour dudit fief, terre et seignourie de Bousebecque, ses appartenances et appendences telles que dessus sans aultrement riens livrer par mesure ainsy que de tout temps l’on en a joy et possessé, joyr et possesser par ledit messire Ogier Ghiselin depuis cedit jourd’huy en tous droix, prouffictz et émolumens le cours de sa vie durant et après son trespas retourner et appartenir audit seigneur de Wize, ses hoirs ou ayans cause et leur demourer héritablement et à tousjours à la charge d’entretenir par ledit seigneur second comparant tels baulz, lesquelz les occuppeurs feront apparoir. Et pareillement debvra ledit Seigneur de Wize, ses hoirs ou ayans cause entretenir les baulz que lors se trouveront faictz par ledit sr Ghiselin, comme à viagier et usufructuaire appartient de faire selon la coustume de la salle de Lille, promectant ledit sr de Willergy en ladicte qualité ladicte vente, entretenir, conduire et garandir envers et contre tous soubz l’obligation des biens du dit Seigneur de Wize et de sesdis hoirs vers tous seigneurs et justices.

Ce fut aussy fait et passé à loy les xviiie et pénultiesme de decembre xve iiiixx sept, pardevant Monsr le bailly de Lille, ès présences de maistres Jehan Denys, Philippes Carle, Noël Waignon, Pierre Hovine, Josse et Simon Vrediére.

Archives départementales du Nord,
ArchiChambre des comptes de Lille.



Copy of the Sauve-garde.

Messire Ogier de Bousbeque, chevalier, seigneur dudit lieu, et jadis ambassadeur en Constantinople de très-hauts, très-puissants et très-excellents princes Ferdinand et Maximilien, empereurs des Romains de louable mémoire; aussi conseiller de l’empereur Rodolphe, second de son nom présentement régnant, conseiller et grand maître d’hostel de la royne Isabelle (Elisabeth), douairière de France, et surintendant les affaires de ladite royne chez le roi très chrestien.

Alexandre, duc de Parme, chevalier de l’ordre, lieutenant, gouverneur et capitaine général,

A tous lieutenants, gouverneurs, chiefs, colonnels, capitaines, conducteurs, fourriers et aultres officiers des gens de guerre du Roy monseigneur, tant du cheval que du pied, de quelque nation qu’ils soient, salut:

Sçavoir vous faisons que, en contemplation des bons et aggréables services que Messire Ogier de Bousbeque, chevalier, seigneur dudit lieu, conseiller de l’empereur et grand maistre d’hostel de la royne Isabelle (Elisabeth) douairière de France a faict à feus de louable mémoire les empereurs Ferdinand et Maximilien (que Dieu fasse paix) tant en qualité d’ambassadeur en Turquie que de gouverneur des archiducs d’Austrice, au temps dudit feu empereur Maximilien, et depuis aussi à l’empereur moderne en diverses charges et qualités, ainsi qu’il faict encore à présent aujourd’hui dame Royne.

Nous avons au nom de Sa Majesté pris et mis, nous par ces présentes prenons et mettons en notre protection et sauvegarde spéciale les maisons, terres et seigneurie dudit Bousbeque, vous mandant partant, et commandant au nom et de la part que dessus, à chacun des bons endroits, soy et304 comme eux appartiendra, bien expressément de ne loger ni permettre que soient logés au village de Bousbeque aucuns gens de guerre sans expresse ordonnance notre ou du mareschal et chef de camp de Sa Majesté.

Et au surplus affranchissons et dégrevons les manants et habitants dudit village avecq leurs familles, leurs meubles, fourrages, advestures et bestial, de toutes foulles, torts, invasions, mengeries et exactions, les laissant de ceste notre présente sauvegarde pleinement et paisiblement jouir et user, sans y aller au contraire ny autrement les molester ni endommager en corps ny en biens en quelque manière que ce fut, sous peine d’encourir l’indignation de Sa Majesté et la notre et être punis comme infracteurs de sauvegarde.

Et afin que personne n’en puisse prétendre cause d’ignorance, nous avons consenti et consentons audit seigneur de Bousbeque que puisse et pourra faire mettre et afficher aux advenues dudit village nos bastons, blasons et pannonceaulx armoyés de nos armes.

Donné au camp devant Berghes sur la Zoom, sous notre nom et cachet secret de Sa Majeste, le 15e jour d’octobre, 1588.

Soubs etait le cachet du Roy, etc.

Colleaction faicte à l’originale, etc.

Archives de Bousbecque E. E. I.



Pardon of Daniel de Croix for the homicide of Charlot Desrumaulx.

Charles par la grâce de Dieu etc. Savoir faisons à tous présens et advenir, Nous avons receu l’umble supplication de Daniel de Croix Escuyer filz de Geraerd Seigneur de Wambrechies, jeusne homme à marier, contenant que ledit suppliant s’est, à certain jour passé, trouvé avecq George Giselin Seigneur de Bouzebecque Jacques de Sauch et autres en la ville de Comines vers le Seigneur de Halewyn. Lesquelz ilz ont servi en leur jonesse. Or est que à certain jour de feste du soir que lors on s’estoit esbatu au chasteau du dit lieu, entre huyt et neuf heures du soir, le dit Seigneur de Hallewyn avec le Seigneur de Croisille se retirèrent au dit chastel pour eulx coucher. Et quant au dit suppliant, George Giselin et Jacques de le Sauch, ilz se retirèrent vers le marchié avec Jehan Homme, Bailli du dit lieu, et les sievoit feu alors vivant Charlot Desrumaulx, joueur du luut, qui démonstroit avoir assez fort beu, et en allant leur chemin, l’un d’entre eulx mist en bouche aux autres d’aller bancquetter à la maison d’ung nommé maistre Franche Barbier demourant auprès dudit marchié, à quoy ilz saccordèrent et allèrent tous ensemble celle part, où ilz furent syevis par le dit Charlot sans y estre appellé. Que lors les dits suppliant et de le Sauch, qui alloient devant vers la dite maison, le dit Suppliant ayant son esprivier sur son poing, prièrent au dit Charlot, obstant qu’il estoit noyseulx après boire, qu’il se retirast et allast couchier, et qu’ilz ne le voloient point avoir, ce qu’il ne voloit faire, mais entra en la dicte maison, parquoy le dit Suppliant le print par le col et le poussa hors de la dite maison à l’ayde du dit Jacques, dont il se courroucha et se mist en tous debvoirs de tyrer son306 baston pour les villonner, mais il fut empesché par le dit Jacques, et soubit survint le dit bailli qui le print au corps, mais finablement soubz promesse qu’il fist de soy partir et aller couchier, le dit bailli à la requeste des assistans le laissa aller, et lui estant hors des mains du dit bailli se tyra d’un lez oudit marchié contre une maison ou sur ung bancq, il mist son luut et desvesty sa robbe tira sa dagge et proféra plusieurs haultaines langaiges sentans menaces disant, ou parolles en substance, qu’il estoit homme pour respondre au plus hardy de eulx tous. Et craindant par le dit Daniel, suppliant le débat appant contre lui bailla son oiseau à son homme, et ainsi qu’il estoit sur le marchié, il veyt ledit deffunct qui continuoit du dit langaiges haultains au deshonneur de lui et des autres. Disant qu’il estoit homme pour le plus hardy, ayant sa dage nue marcha vers lui comme aussi fist le dit deffunct. Que lors le dit Suppliant ayant son sang meslé, et mémoratif que lui qui estoit josne noble homme sievant les armes, se il se retiroit pour ung menestrel de basse condition ce lui seroit à toujours reproché en villonnie entre tous nobles hommes. En ceste chaleur, non puissant de la refrener ayant aussi son baston nud, frappèrent l’un après l’autre aucuns cops et fut attaint par le dit deffunct sur l’espaule, et du cop que icellui suppliant rua, il attaindit ledit deffunct en la mesmelle, dont brief après il termina vie par mort. Pour lequel cas le dit suppliant a esté appellé à noz droiz au siège de notre gouvernance de Lille, en lui donnant tiltre tel qu’il s’enssuit. Daniel de Croix, escuyer, vous estez appellé aux droiz du Roy Catholicque, nostre Seigneur, Archiduc d’Austrice, Duc de Bourgogne, Conte de Flandres, pour et sur ce que en la ville de Comines, avez allé en la maison de maistre France Barbier avec Jaquet de le Sauch à l’intention de bancquetter, là ou vous auroit sievy, sans y estre appellé, feu lors vivant, Charlot Desrumaulx, lequel auroit par vous et le dit de le Sauch esté bouté dehors, pourquoy il s’estoit courrouchié, et de faict auroit en partie desgainié son espée, et ce voyant par Jehan Homme, bailli de la dite ville le auroit prins au corps, et finablement eslargi soubz promesse par lui faicte de aller couchier, et lui venu au bout du marchié, et laissant vous, Daniel, le dit de le307 Sauch avec George Ghiselin, escuyer, Seigneur de Bousebecq et autres, auroit desgaignié sa dite dagge et proféré aucunes parolles deshonnestes, incitant le plus hardy à venir vers luy. Lesquelles parolles vous Daniel seriez marchié vers le dit feu ayant desgaigné vostre rapière, et à l’aborder entre vous et le feu y ont aucuns cops ruez, et entre autres de votre rapière donnast au dit feu ung cop d’estocq au dessus de la mammelle dextre, du quel cop brief aprez le dit feu termina vie par mort sans confession. Qui est cas de souveraineté et privéligié au Roy notre Seigneur, et querra la darraine tierchaine le iiie d’aoust xvexix. Sie est ainsi signé. A Cuvillon.

Obstant lequel cas le dit Suppliant, doubtant rigueur de justice, s’est absenté de notre chastellenie de Lille, et n’y oseroit retourner, hanter ne converser combien qu’il ayt fait pays et satisfaction à partie, se de notre grâce ne lui est, sur ce, impertie. Dont actendu ce que dit est, mesmement les services qu’il nous a faiz en estat d’homme d’armes, soubz la charge et compaignie de notre amé et féal cousin, le Seigneur de Fiennes, aussi que en autres choses, il est bien famé et renommé, il nous a très humblement supplié et requis. Pour ce est-il, que nous les choses dessus dites considérées audit Suppliant inclinans à sa dite requeste, et lui voulans en ceste partie préférer grâce à rigueur de justice, Avons au cas dessus quicté, remis et pardonné, quictons, remectons et pardonnons de grâce espécial par ces présentes, le cas de homicide dessus déclairé, ensemble toute paine et amende corporelle et criminelle en quoy pour raison et à l’occasion dudit cas et les circunstances et deppendances il peult avoir mesprins, offencé et est encouru envers nous et justice. En rappelant et mectant au néant tous appeaulx, deffaulx, contumaces et procédures pour ce contre lui faiz et ensuyz, et l’avons quant à ce remis et restitué, remectons et restituons à ses bonne fame et renommée à nostre dite chastellenie de Lille, et tous noz autres pays et seigneuries, ensemble à ses biens non confisquiez, saucuns en a, tout ainsi qu’il estoit avant l’advenue du cas dessus dit. En imposant sur ce scillence perpétuelle à nostre procureur général et tous noz autres officiers quelzconcques, satisfaction toutesvoyes faicte à partie interressée se faicte n’est et elle y chiet civilement, tant seullement et308 moyennant qu’il l’amendra aussi civillement envers nous selon l’exigence du cas et la faculté de ses biens. Et avec ce, aussi qu’il sera tenu payer et respondre les mises et despens de justice, Pour ce faiz et ensuyz à l’arbitraige et tauxation de nostre Gouverneur de Lille ou son lieutenant que commectons à ce. Si donnons en mandement à notre dit Gouverneur de Lille ou son dit lieutenant que appellez ceulx qui pour ce seront à appeller, il procède bien et deuement à la vérification de ces dites présentes et à l’arbitraige et taxation desdites amende civille et mises de justice, ainsi qu’il appartiendra. Et ce fait et les dites amende civille et mises de justice tauxées et payées ainsi qu’il appartiendra, de laquelle amende cellui de noz recepveurs ou autre notre officier cuy ce regarde sera tenu faire recepte et rendre compte et reliqua à notre prouffit avecq les autres deniers de sa recepte. Il et tous aultres noz officiers quelzconques présens et advenir facent seuffrent et laissent le dit suppliant de noz preséntes grâce, remission et pardon, selon et par la manière que dit est, plainement paisiblement et perpétuellement joyr et user sans lui mectre, faire ou donner ne souffrir estre faict mis ou donné aucun arrest, destourbier ou empeschement au contraire en corps ne en biens en manière quelconque. Ains se son corps ou aucuns de ses biens non confisquiez sont ou estoient pour ce prins saisiz, arrestez ou empeschiez, les mectent ou facent mectre incontinent et sans delay à playne et entière délivrance. Car ainsi nous plaist-il. Et affin que ce soit chose ferme et estable a tousjours nous avons fait mectre nostre scel à ces présentes, saulf en autres choses, notre droit et l’autruy en toutes.

Donné en nostre ville de Malines, ou mois de novembre l’an de grâce mil chincq cens et dix neuf, et de nostre règne le iiiie.

Ainsi signé par le Roy en son conseil.


Chambre des comptes de Lille. Registre des chartes de l’audience B. 1730, fo. 104.



Pardon of Jehan Dael for the homicide of Guillibert du Mortier.

Phelippe, Roy de Castille, d’Arragon, &c., Comte de Flandre, &c., sçavoir faisons à tous présens et à venir. Nous avons receu l’humble supplication et requeste de Jehan Dael, contenant, que le 23e Septembre dernier, ayant esté convocqué au bancquet de nopces de l’enfant de Michel Dael, son frère, en la paroisse de Halluin, y seroit aussy esté appellé Guillibert du Mortier, lequel voiant la table couverte et la pluspart des convives y assisse, seroit ingéré de vouloir faire ung présent à la compaignie avec quelque peu de vau mis sur deux plats dans lesquels il avait enclos deux grenouilles, vulgairement appellées ronnes, lesquelles à l’ouverture d’iceulx plats, ont sauté sur la table et viandes, ce que auroit causé ung tumulte, et qui le tout auroit esté culbuté, ce qui auroit despleu fort audict remonstrant, tant à cause que les viandes estoient partie gastées et contaminées, comme aussy à raison de ce que la perte en resultant estoit assez de consideracion pour son dit frère qui est honneste homme, et bien qui le dit Guillebert debvoit endurer la reprinse de son faict, neanmoings au contre, il auroit injurié du mot ——298 deux de la compagnie, et notamment le dit remontrant, ce quy l’occasionna de luy dire: Quy at il tant à (dire comme cela). A quoy il auroit respondu: Je te —— aussy, advienne. A quoi luy fut reparty par ledit remontrant en ces termes, ou en substance, Je pauleroy bien à toy, ce qu’entendu par le dit Guillebert auroit tiré son coustel et s’approché le remontrant, quy l’obleige de tirer pareillement le sien, et se mectre en deffence, du quel il en auroit donné un coup au dict Guillebert vers le dos, dont 310environ xii jours aprez il seroit allé de vie à trespas, au grand regret dudit remonstrant. C’est à quoy il a prins son recours vers nous, suppliant humblement qu’il nous pleust luy pardonner le dit cas et homicide luy en accordant et faisant depescher nos lettres patentes de remission en forme.

Pour ce est-il que nous, les choses susdites considérées, et sur icelles eu l’advis de noz chers et féaux les lieutenant et autres officiers de nostre gouvernance de Lille, voulans en ceste partie préférer au dit Jehan Dael, suppliant, grâce et miséricorde, ut in forma.

Interrinement de la dite gouvernance de Lille, &c.

Donné en nostre ville de Bruxelles, le 27e de janvier l’an 1643, signé Robiano, de nos regnes xxiieme.

Au bas estoit, pour le Roy en son conseil et ceste visue.

Chambre des comptes de Lille, Registre des chartes de l’audience. B. 1817, fo. 11.


1 Albert III., Duke of Bavaria, married in 1546 Anne, daughter of Ferdinand, and had by her two sons, William, the hereditary Prince, his successor, and Ferdinand.

2 For details of these negotiations, see Motley, Rise of the Dutch Republic Part IV., ch. iii.

3 See Motley, Dutch Republic, Part IV., ch. ii. The siege was eventually raised on October 3rd.

4 In the original the place is given as ‘Augustæ’ = Augsburg; but from the first line of the letter it appears it was written at Speyer. ‘Augustæ’ is probably a mistake caused by ‘Augusti’ following immediately.

5 Nearly twelve years have elapsed since we parted company with Busbecq on his return from Turkey. A sketch of his life during this interval will be found in vol. i. pp. 59-64. We there expressed some doubt as to whether there was any trustworthy authority for his visit to Spain in attendance on the younger Archdukes; we have, however, since obtained evidence of it in the Archduke Albert’s decree, creating the Barony of Bousbecque. In it are recited Busbecq’s services, and amongst them this visit is mentioned. The date of the decree is September 30, 1600, and it states that the visit took place twenty-five years before. This is obviously an error, as we can account for his time from August 1574 to February 1576; in all probability the true date of the visit lies between the years 1570, when Albert and Wenceslaus went to Spain with their sister Anne on her marriage to Philip II., and 1572, when we find Busbecq residing at Vienna. See vol. i. p. 62.

6 That is, about thirty-five English miles. See note, vol. i. p. 80.

7 For an account of this interesting lady, who was at this time barely twenty years of age, see note to Letter XXXVI.

8 After Henry III.’s flight from Poland, he stayed some time at Vienna, where Maximilian, through Pibrac, made overtures to him, offering the hand of his daughter, the widowed Queen. Henry was under such great obligations to Maximilian, that he was disinclined to give a downright refusal. Thuanus, iii. p. 8. The following quotation from an account of Busbecq’s Queen will show what these obligations were. ‘Or, estant veufve, plusieurs personnes d’hommes et dames de la Court, des plus clair voyans que je sçay, eurent opinion que le Roy, à son retour de Pologne, l’espouseroit, encore qu’elle fust sa belle sœur; car il le pouvoit par la dispense du Pape, qui peut beaucoup en telles matieres, et sur tout à l’endroit des grands, à cause du bien public qui en sort. Et y avoit beaucoup de raisons que ce mariage se fist, lesquelles je laisse à deduire aux plus hauts discoureurs, sans que je les allegue. Mais, entre autres, l’une estoit pour recognoistre par ce mariage les obligations grandes que le Roy avoit reçeues de l’Empereur à son retour et depart de Pologne; car il ne faut point douter que, si l’Empereur eust voulu luy donner le moindre obstacle du monde, il n’eust jamais peu partir ny passer ny se conduire seurement en France. Les Polonnois le vouloient retenir s’il ne fust party sans leur dire adieu; car les Allemans le guettoient de toutes parts pour l’attrapper (comme fut ce brave roy Richard d’Angleterre, retournant de la Terre Saincte, ainsi que nous lisons en nos chroniques), et l’eussent tout de mesme arresté prisonnier et faict payer rançon, ou possible pis; car ils luy en vouloient fort, à cause de la feste de la Sainct Barthelemy, au moins les princes protestans.’—Brantôme, v. 298-299.

9 Henry of Navarre is generally spoken of in these letters as the Duke of Vendôme, or at most, the titular King of Navarre. The greater part of the kingdom had been seized by Ferdinand the Catholic in 1515, and has ever since been held by the Kings of Spain. Henry’s power was derived from his position as a great French noble, the first Prince of the blood after the King’s brother, and from his vast possessions in France, and not from the fragment of Navarre from which he derived his title. Subjoined is a short sketch of his family:—

Charles de Bourbon, Duc de Vendôme,
descended from the sixth son of Louis IX.
(Saint Louis)
Anthony, Duc de Vendôme= Jeanne d’Albret,
│    Queen of Navarre

Louis de Bourbon, Prince de Condé, killed at Jarnac, 1569

Charles, Cardinal de Bourbon, set up as King by the League after Henry III.’s death under the title of Charles X.
Henry Duc de Vendôme
afterwards Henry IV.
Catherine =  Henri, Duc de Bar, eldest son of the Duke of Lorraine
Henri, born 1552,
Prince de Condé.
François, Prince de Conti, born 1558. Charles, Cardinal de Bourbon, born 1562. Several other

10 Montmorency, the eldest son of the famous Constable Anne de Montmorency, and himself Duc de Montmorency and Marshal of France. He was born in 1530, and fought at St. Quentin, and at the taking of Calais. He and Cossé were suspected of being implicated in the rising of Shrove-Tuesday, 1574, concerted between Alençon and the Huguenots, and were imprisoned in the Bastille. His wife was a natural daughter of Henry II. by Diane de Poitiers, who had been legitimated. He died without issue in 1579. His four brothers were, Damville, Monsieur de Montbéron, killed at the battle of Dreux in 1562, Monsieur de Méru, and Monsieur de Thoré. See note page 11, and also note page 16.

Cossé took part in Guise’s famous defence of Metz in 1552, was appointed surintendant des finances in 1563, and Marshal in 1567. He fought at St. Denis and Moncontour, but was defeated by Coligny at Arny-le-Duc in 1570. He died in 1582, aged 70. According to Brantôme (ii. 434), he remarked on his imprisonment: ‘Je ne sçay pas ce que M. de Montmorency peut avoir faict, mais quant à moy, je sçay bien que je n’ay rien faict pour estre prisonnier avec luy, sinon pour luy tenir compagnie quand on le fera mourir, et moy avec luy; que l’on me fera de mesmes que l’on faict bien souvent à de pauvres diables, que l’on pend pour tenir compagnie seulement à leurs compagnons, encor qu’ilz n’ayent rien meffaict.

11Le peuple de la ville, n’agueres partisan de cette famille, les reçeut avec injures et contribua 800 harquebusiers de garde tant que leur prison dura.’—Aubigné, Histoire, vol. ii. bk. ii. ch. vi.

12 By Nove Busbecq probably means the town which d’Aubigné (Histoire, vol. ii. bk. ii. ch. ix.) calls Nonnai, now Annonay, 24 French miles from Lyons. D’Aubigné says the distance is nine leagues, which roughly corresponds with Busbecq’s twelve miles. See note, vol. i. page 80. Annonay was a town in the Vivarais, one of the districts which were the strongholds of the Protestant cause, and was itself a Protestant town. For an account of the sieges it underwent, and of the civil war in the Vivarais, see Poncer, Mémoires sur Annonay. On this occasion the town was summoned on October 22nd, and blockaded till December 8th, so the news in the text was premature. Dr. Dale, the English representative at the French Court, mentions the raising of the siege of ‘Noue,’ in a letter dated December 23rd.—Calendar of State Papers, Foreign Series, 1572-74, p. 583.

13 Louis de Bourbon, Duc de Montpensier, born in 1513, was descended from a branch of the Bourbon-Vendôme family, and on his mother’s side was nephew to the Constable de Bourbon. He served as a volunteer at St. Quentin, where he was made prisoner. He was a bitter enemy to the Huguenots. ‘Quand il prenait les heretiques par composition,’ says Brantôme (iii. 364), ‘il ne la leur tenait nullement, disant qu’à un heretique, on n’estoit nullement obligé de garder sa foy.’ He distinguished himself at Jarnac and Moncontour. He took a prominent part in the Massacre of Saint Bartholomew. From 1574 to 1576 he commanded in Poitou and Saintonge, and died in 1582. By his first wife, Jacqueline de Longwy, who was a Protestant, he had a son and four daughters, one of whom, Charlotte, married the Prince of Orange. See Letter XIX. and note. His son—who, till he succeeded to the title of Montpensier, on his father’s death, was known as the Prince Dauphin d’Auvergne—is frequently mentioned in Busbecq’s letters to Rodolph. Fontenay is a town, nearly due west of Poitiers, and about fifty-five English miles from it.

14 Guy du Faur, Seigneur de Pibrac, was born at Toulouse, in 1529. He became member of the Parliament there, and was one of the French ambassadors at the Council of Trent in 1562. In 1565, at the recommendation of the Chancellor l’Hôpital, he was appointed Avocat-Général to the Parliament of Paris. He accompanied Henry to Poland as Chancellor, and was in great danger during the precipitate flight of the King. After his return to Paris he sold his office of Advocate. He was again despatched to Poland, to persuade the Diet to allow Henry to retain the crown, but his mission proved unsuccessful. He was afterwards Chancellor of the Queen of Navarre, with whom he was supposed to be in love. He went with Alençon to Flanders, as his Chancellor, and died in 1584. He was celebrated for his eloquence.

15 The Comte de Damville was second son of the Constable, and brother to the Duc de Montmorency (see page 8). He was born in 1534, and was made Governor of Languedoc in 1563, which he held for nearly fifty years, almost as an independent sovereign. He was the leader of the moderate Roman Catholic party, known as the Politiques, and after the death of Henry III. adhered to the cause of Henry IV., who on December 8th, 1593, created him Constable. He succeeded to the Dukedom of Montmorency on his brother’s death in 1579. He died in 1614.

16 The Castle of Lusignan was the original seat of the famous family of Lusignan, which gave kings to Jerusalem and Cyprus. In the keep of the château was a fountain, said to be haunted by the fairy Melusine, the ancestress and tutelary genius of the family. According to the legend, the founder of the family first met her by a forest spring. Before she became his wife she exacted a promise from him that he would not attempt to see her on the Saturday in every week, or to find out where she had gone. For a time all went on well, but unfortunately the husband was at last persuaded to peep into the room to which Melusine had retired. To his horror he discovered that on every Saturday half her body was transformed into a serpent. Finding the secret was no longer hers, she thrice flew round the château, and then vanished. She was believed to appear at times on the keep of the château, and whenever she was seen it was said to presage a death, either in the Lusignan family or in the Royal family of France.

Lusignan is situated about fourteen English miles south-west of Poitiers. De l’Estoile, i. 49, gives some details of the siege and capitulation. “Le mardy, 25e janvier, la ville et chasteau de Lusignan furent rendus par les Huguenos à M. de Montpensier, chef de l’armée du Roy en Poictou, soubs condition de vies et bagues sauves, et d’estre conduits seurement à la Rochelle: de quoi furent baillés ostages pour seureté de ladite capitulation, encores que la foy de M. de Montpensier ne peust ni ne deust estre suspecte aux Huguenos, lesquels furent assiégés trois mois et vingt et un jours, durant lesquels furent tirés de sept à huict mil coups de canon.” If Brantôme does not belie Montpensier (see note 2, page 9), the besieged had good reason for the precautions they took.

17 Published September 10th at Lyons.

18 The Seigneur de Rambouillet was sent by the Queen Mother, and the Seigneur d’Estrées by Alençon, to Henry on June 4th, to congratulate him on his accession.—De l’Estoile, i. 5. ‘Rambouillet, that was aforetime captain in one of the guards, and his three brothers, has left the Court, because the King has given away an office, that one of the Rambouillets looked for.’—Calendar of State Papers, Foreign Series, 1572-74, p. 560.

19 These towns had been retained by the French when the rest of the possessions of the Duke of Savoy were restored to him, partly after the treaty of Cateau Cambrésis, in 1559, and partly by Charles IX. in 1562. With the exception of the Marquisate of Saluzzo, they were the last remains of the French conquests beyond the Alps. The Duchess of Savoy was Margaret, daughter of Francis I., and therefore aunt to Henry III. She was born in 1523, married in 1559, at the conclusion of peace, to Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy, and died September 14th, 1574. The indignant protest of the Duc de Nevers against the surrender of these towns may be found in the compilation known as his Mémoires, vol. i. page i.

20 Frederic III. was Elector Palatine from 1559 to 1576. He was the first important German prince who embraced Calvinism, and was the head of that sect in Germany. His Court was the asylum of the French and Flemish exiles. When Henry III. passed through Germany on his way to Poland, he visited Heidelberg at the Palatine’s invitation. He found the gates of the town guarded, the streets lined with soldiers, match in hand, and no one to receive him at the Castle except armed men. Halfway up the stairs he was met by the Rhinegrave, attended by two of the survivors of the Massacre of Saint Bartholomew. The Rhinegrave asked him on the Elector’s behalf to excuse his coming down, on account of indisposition. Henry found him at the entrance of the room supported by a gentleman, in the attitude of a man who finds it a great effort to stand upright. ‘On n’y pouvoit entrer sans jetter la veüe sur un grand Tableau de la mort de l’Admiral, et des principaux Seigneurs tués à Paris. Voyant que le Roi portoit sa veüe de ce costé, il poussa un grand souspir, et dit tout haut, “Ceux qui les ont fait mourir sont bien malheureux, croyez qu’ils estoient gens de bien et grands Capitaines.” Le Roy respondit doucement, “Qu’ils estoient capables de bien faire s’ils eussent voulu.” Ce Prince sentoit un grand contentement en son ame de pouvoir faire esclatter l’excez de sa passion en la presence du Roy, il en fit voir les effets en diverses façons, lui donna à souper, et le servit de poisson, mais il n’eut pour Gentilhomme que ceux qu’on luy dit avoir eschappé le jour de Saint Barthelemy, qu’il appelloit “La boucherie et le massacre de Paris.”’ The next day the Count took more than thirty turns with the King up and down the great hall of the Castle, with a firm step and in perfect health, so as to show that his indisposition of the previous evening had been entirely feigned.—Matthieu, Histoire de France, i. p. 363. The Palatine’s second son, John Casimir, born in 1543, is a prominent figure in the religious wars of the time. He was one of the military adventurers who hoped in the general confusion to win themselves a throne by their sword. He conducted several expeditions to the aid of the French Protestants, and was one of the many princes suggested as a husband for Queen Elizabeth. At her instigation he was given the command of the German army which entered the Netherlands in 1578. For an estimate of his character see Motley, Rise of the Dutch Republic. Part V. ch. v. He died in 1592.

21 The two sons of the Constable were his two youngest sons, de Méru and de Thoré. While the Marshal and Damville, their elder brothers, remained Catholics, they became Protestants. The reason of their flight to Germany was that they had been implicated in the rising of Shrove Tuesday, 1574, and the conspiracy to seize Charles IX. at St. Germain. ‘Les cousins [du Prince de Condé] de Thoré et de Méru se rendent à Geneve, où le Seingneur de Thoré se déclare et fait profession de la Religion et là est arresté et retenu, et son frère de Méru mis hors ladite ville, pour ne vouloir faire semblable profession.’—De l’Estoile, i. 22.

22 François de Foix de Candale, Bishop of Aire, in Gascony, third son of Gaston de Foix, Comte de Candale, Captal de Buch, &c. His father’s sister Anne married Ladislaus, King of Hungary and Bohemia, by whom she had two children—Louis, King of Hungary, killed at Mohacz in 1526, and Anne, who married the Emperor Ferdinand, and was the mother of the Emperor Maximilian. The Bishop was one of the most learned men of his time, especially in mathematics and natural philosophy. Besides the works mentioned in the text, he translated Euclid into Latin. He invented various mathematical instruments, and founded a chair of mathematics in the College of Aquitaine at Bordeaux. He died in 1594, aged eighty-four according to Thuanus, but eighty-one according to his monument. D’Aubigné, in his Mémoires under the year 1580, relates the following anecdote of him and Henry IV. ‘Le roi de Navarre, passant un jour à Cadillac, pria le grand François de Candale, de lui faire voir son excellent cabinet, ce qu’il vouloit bien faire, à condition qu’il n’y entreroit pas d’ignares. “Non, mon oncle,” dit mon maître, “je n’y mènerai personne qui ne soit plus capable de le voir et d’en connoître le prix que moi.” La compagnie s’amusa d’abord à faire lever le poids d’un canon par une petite machine qu’un enfant de six ans tenoit entre ses mains. Comme elle étoit fort attentive à cette operation, je me mis à considérer un marbre noir de sept pieds en quarré, qui servoit de table au bon Seigneur de Candale; et ayant apperçu un crayon, j’écrivis dessus pendant qu’on raisonnait sur la petite machine, ce distique latin:

Non isthæc, princeps, regem tractare doceto,
Sed docta regni pondera ferre manu.

Cela fait, je recouvris le marbre et rejoignis la compagnie, qui étant arrivée à ce marbre, M. de Candale dit à mon maître, “Voici ma table;” et ayant ôté la couverture et vu ce distique, il s’écria, “Ah! il y a ici un homme.” “Comment,” reprit le roi de Navarre, “croyez-vous que les autres soient des bêtes? Je vous prie, mon oncle, de deviner à la mine qui vous jugez capable d’avoir fait ce coup.” Ce qui fournit matière à d’assez plaisans propos.

23 He was killed February, 1573, in an attack on the château of Soumiere, in Languedoc.—Mezeray, Histoire de France, iii. 282.

24 The Egyptian deity Thoth, was identified with the Greek Hermes, and was considered the real author of everything produced or discovered by the human mind. Being thus the source of all human knowledge and thought, he was termed τρὶς μέγιστος, or Thrice Greatest. A variety of works are preserved, of which he is the reputed author. The most probable opinion as to their real origin is that they were forgeries of Neo-Platonists in the third or fourth century of our era. The most important of them is the Ποιμάνδρης, the book translated by the Bishop. It is written in the form of a dialogue, and treats of nature, the creation of the world, the nature and attributes of the deity, the human soul, &c.

25 In the Vivarais. It cut off Lyons from communicating with Marseilles by water. See Mezeray, iii. 360.

26 It is impossible within the compass of a note to give more than the briefest outline of the principal events in the life of this famous Breton chief. He was born in 1531, and became a Protestant in 1558. In 1561 he was one of the French nobles who escorted Marie Stuart to Scotland. Brantôme was another of the suite. In 1570 he was wounded by a musket-shot at the siege of Fontenay; gangrene set in, and it was found necessary to amputate his left arm; Jeanne d’Albret, Queen of Navarre, held the shattered limb during the operation. This arm was replaced by one of iron, whence he obtained the famous sobriquet, by which he is best known, Bras de fer. In 1573 Charles IX. sent him to La Rochelle in the hope he would be able to effect some compromise with the citizens, and he was for some time regarded with suspicion by both sides; but he appears to have always acted an honest and straightforward part in a very delicate position. When he found a reconciliation was impossible, he placed his sword once more at the service of the French Protestants. He fought for the Protestant cause not only in France but also in the Netherlands, was Count Louis of Nassau’s right-hand man at the surprise and subsequent siege of Mons in 1572, and at one time, in 1579, occupied Bousbecque and the places in the neighbourhood, Menin, Comines, Wervicq, &c. He was mortally wounded at the siege of Lamballe, in Brittany, and died on August 4, 1591. Thuanus (v. p. 180) calls him ‘a truly great man, who for bravery, prudence, and military knowledge deserved to be compared with the greatest generals of the time, and for the purity of his life, his moderation, and his justice to be preferred to most of them.’ For a further account of him see Letters to Rodolph, IX. and LIV., note.

27 This report was correct. See Mezeray, iii. 360, where an interesting account is given of the siege.

28 The second Edict, of October 23. The purport of it was, that no person should be troubled on religious grounds.

29 The Comte de Fiesco was chevalier d’honneur to the Queen. The Fieschi were Counts of Lavagna, and one of the four principal families of Genoa. The conspiracy of the Fieschi in 1547 is one of the most famous incidents of Genoese history. The object of the conspirators was to overthrow the power of Andrew Doria, and to detach Genoa from the Imperialists, and bring the republic into close connection with France. The conspiracy miscarried, owing to its leader, Count John Louis Fiesco, falling from the planks by which he was boarding a galley, and being drowned. Owing to the darkness of the night the accident was not discovered till it was too late to assist him. His brothers were executed except Scipio, the youngest, who escaped to France, and is the person mentioned in the text. In 1568 he was Ambassador to the Court of Maximilian. He was afterwards chevalier d’honneur to Louise de Vaudemont, the Queen of Henry III., and one of the original knights of the Order of the Holy Ghost.—Lippomano, Ambassadeurs Vénitiens, ii. 413. He married Alphonsina Strozzi, who is the Countess mentioned by Busbecq. She was originally dame d’honneur to Catherine de Medicis.

30 The Sorbonne was ‘a society or corporation of Doctors of Divinity settled in the University of Paris, and famous all over Europe. It was founded by the French King St. Lewis, and Ralph de Sorbonne, his confessor, a Canon of the Church of Paris, who gave it its name from the village of Sorbonne, near Lyons, which was the place of his nativity.’—World of Words.

Their determination, dated July 2, 1530, is given by Holinshed, Chronicles, iii. 924. It is to the effect that ‘the foresaid marriage with the brother’s wife, departing without children, be so forbidden both by the law of God and of nature, that the Pope hath no power to dispense with such mariages, whether they be contract or to be contract.’ It was read to the House of Commons with the decisions of the other Universities, March 30, 1531.

31 Leonhard or Lamoral von Thurn and Taxis succeeded his father in 1554 as Postmaster-General in the Netherlands, and in 1595 was appointed Postmaster-General of the Holy Roman Empire. He died in 1612, aged upwards of 90. He was brother of J. B. Taxis or Tassis, the well-known Spanish Ambassador. See Letters to Rodolph, XLIII., and note.

32 Sebastian, grandson of Charles V., became King of Portugal in 1557, when he was only three years old. At the time Busbecq wrote he was a gallant young man of twenty, dreaming of great exploits as a Crusader. Four years later he attempted to put his ideas into practice, and invaded Africa with a large force. His army was annihilated in the battle of Alcazar (August 4th, 1578), and the brave young King perished on the field. His romantic end produced a deep impression on his subjects. ‘It may be mentioned,’ says the Times (December 1825), ‘as a singular species of infatuation, that many Portuguese residing in Brazil, as well as in Portugal, still believe in the coming of Sebastian, the romantic king, who was killed about the year 1578, in a pitched battle with the Emperor Muley Moluc. Some of these old visionaries will go out wrapped in their large cloaks, on a windy night, to watch the movements of the heavens, and frequently, if an exhalation is seen flitting in the air, resembling a falling star, they will cry out, “There he comes!”’ For a curious story of a hoax played on one of these fanatics, see Hone’s Everyday Book, vol. ii. page 88.

33 In this and some other letters, passages referring to arrangements connected with the dower have been curtailed or altogether omitted. It is sufficient to state that Elizabeth’s dower had been fixed at 60,000 francs per annum, and that Busbecq’s object was to see that it was properly secured.

34 Pierre de Gondi, see note, page 39.

35 John Evelyn made the same expedition by water from Lyons to Avignon, some seventy years later. A full account of his voyage is given in his Diary (p. 69, Chandos edition). Like Busbecq he stopped at Valence. ‘We then came to Valence, a capital Citty carrying the title of a Dutchey, but the Bishop is now sole lord temporal of it and the country about it. The towne having an University famous for the study of the civil law, is much frequented; but the Churches are none of the fairest, having been greatly defaced in the time of the warrs.’

36 Jean de Montluc, Bishop of Valence, was one of the most successful diplomatists of his day; he had been ambassador at Constantinople in 1537, on which occasion he received the pot of balsam, which he afterwards lost in Ireland (see vol. i. p. 387). Henry III. owed his Polish Crown to his exertions and diplomatic skill. He was father of that bold and unscrupulous adventurer, Balagny.

His career is thus sketched by a contemporary:—

Il avoit esté de sa premiere profession jacobin, et la feue royne de Navarre Margueritte, qui aymoit les gens sçavans et spirituels, le cognoissant tel, le deffrocqua et le mena avec elle à la Court, le fit cognoistre, le poussa, luy ayda, le fit employer en plusieurs ambassades; car je pense qu’il n’y a guieres pays en l’Europe où il n’ayt esté ambassadeur et en negotiation, ou grande ou petite, jusques en Constantinople, qui fut son premier advancement, et à Venize, en Polongne, Angleterre, Escosse et autres lieux. On le tenoit Lutherien au commencement, et puis Calviniste, contre sa profession episcopalle; mais il s’y comporta modestement par bonne mine et beau semblant; la reyne de Navarre le deffrocqua pour l’amour de cela.’—Brantôme, iii. 52.

37 Monsieur de Vulcob, French Ambassador at the Court of Maximilian. See Charrière, Négotiations de la France dans le Levant, iii. 596, note.

38 Jean de Morvilliers was born at Blois in 1506. He was ambassador at Venice from 1546 to 1550, and was rewarded for his services by receiving the Bishopric of Orleans in 1552. After he became bishop, the Chapter of his cathedral, by a statute passed in November 1552, ordered him to shave off his beard. He refused to comply, and the quarrel raged fiercely for four years, till finally in 1556 it was appeased by a letter from the King to the Chapter, in which he declared that he required to send Morvilliers to various countries in which a beard was necessary, and therefore ordered the Chapter to receive him beard and all. He did not, however, take possession of his cathedral till 1559. Francis II. appointed him a Privy Councillor, and in 1561 he took part in the Conference of Poissy, and in the following year attended the Council of Trent, as one of the French representatives. He was afterwards ambassador to the Duke of Savoy, and in 1564 was one of the negotiators of the Treaty of Troyes, between Charles IX. and Queen Elizabeth. In the same year he gave up his Bishopric in favour of his nephew. On the disgrace of the Chancellor l’Hôpital, in 1568, he became Keeper of the Seals, but in 1571 had to resign them to Birague. In de Thou’s opinion (iii. 209), he was honest and prudent, but cautious to the verge of timidity, and therefore always pursued a policy of expediency. He was the head of the party who were in favour of peace but thought no religious reform was required, and who therefore, in order to remain on good terms with the extreme Catholic party headed by the Guises, did not hesitate to evade or violate the pledges given to the Protestants. See Thuanus, iii. 35. De Thou’s estimate of his character is borne out by a State-paper preserved by d’Aubigné (Histoire, vol. ii. bk. i. ch. ii.), written by Morvilliers at the request of Charles IX. in 1572, in opposition to Coligny’s project of war with Spain.

39 Elizabeth’s marriage portion had never been paid, and Busbecq was afraid that this fact might be adduced as a reason for not paying her dower now she was a widow; and also, in case of the failure of Maximilian’s issue male, a claim might be set up on behalf of her daughter, that Elizabeth’s renunciation of her rights of succession was invalid for the same reason. That Busbecq’s fears were not ill-founded is shown by the fact that Louis XIV. argued that his wife’s renunciation of her rights to the Crown of Spain was invalid, as her marriage portion had never been paid.

40 The Comte de Retz was the son of a Florentine banker at Lyons, named Gondi, Seigneur du Péron. His wife entered the service of Catherine de Medici, and took charge of her children in their infancy. She endeared herself to the Queen, who being Regent during the minority of Charles IX. advanced her children to the highest posts: the Comte de Retz became first Gentleman of the Chamber to the King, and a Marshal of France; he acquired enormous wealth. His brother, Pierre de Gondi, was made Bishop of Paris, and afterwards Cardinal; he had other preferments worth 30,000 or 40,000 livres per annum, and property worth 200,000 crowns; while a third brother was Master of the Wardrobe to the King.

41 The following is an extract from a diary kept by a French official during this same year 1575:—‘Le mardi 6e juillet, fust pendu à Paris, et puis mis en quatre quartiers, un capitaine nommé la Vergerie, condamné à mort par Birague, chancelier, et quelques maistres des requestes nommés par la Roine-mère, qui lui firent son procès bien court dedans l’Hostel de ladite Ville de Paris. Toute sa charge estoit que, s’estant trouvé en quelque compagnie, où on parloit de la querelle des escoliers et des Italiens, il avoit dit qu’il faloit se ranger du costé des escoliers et saccager et couper la gorge à tous ces.... Italiens, et à tous ceux qui les portoient et soustenoient, comme estans cause de la ruine de la France: sans avoir autre chose fait ni attenté contre iceux.’—De l’Estoile, i. 69.

42 Maximilian put on record his protest against the Massacre of Saint Bartholomew in a letter to Lazarus Schwendi:—‘Quod attinet ad præclarum illud facinus quod Galli in Amiralio ejusque sociis tyrannicè perpetrarunt, equidem id minimè probare possum, magnoque cum dolore intellexi Generum meum sibi persuaderi passum tam fœdam lanienam. Quanquam scio magis alios imperare quàm ipsum. Attamen hoc ad excusationem facti non sufficit, neque hoc satis est palliando sceleri.’—Maximilian to Laz. Schwendi. Leyden, 1603. 2nd edition.

43 Jean St. Chaumont, being at Nismes with a picked body of soldiers, determined to make an attempt on Aigues-Mortes. Guided by some Protestants who had been driven out of the town, he contrived one night to blow open the gates; his troops rushed in and took possession of the place. The garrison fled to the tower of Constance, which two days later was compelled to surrender. See Thuanus, iii. 83.

44 Stephen Bathory, Voivode of Transylvania. He and Maximilian were eventually both elected in 1576, and civil war was imminent in consequence; but the death of Maximilian a few months later left Bathory in undisputed possession of the Crown.

45 See page 13, and note, page 14.

46 In order to show her contempt for the besieging army, one of the women of Livron brought her distaff to the breach, and sat herself down to spin. See Thuanus, iii. 83.

47 Charles, son of Claude Duke of Guise and Antoinette de Bourbon, born 1524. Archbishop of Rheims 1538. Cardinal 1547. There is little doubt as to the cause of his death being that which is given by Busbecq, though some declared that he was murdered by means of a poisoned torch, and others that he was presented with a poisoned purse. For some time before he had been complaining of severe pain in the head. See Thuanus, iii. 47, 48.

Le dimanche 26e décembre à cinq heures du matin, Charles, cardinal de Lorraine, aagé de cinquante ans, mourust en Avignon d’une fiebvre, symptomée d’un extrême mal de teste provenu du serein d’Avignon, qui est fort dangereux, qui lui avoit offensé le cerveau à la procession des Battus, où il s’estoit trouvé, en grande dévotion, avec le crucefix à la main, les pieds à moictié nuds et la teste peu couverte, qui est le poison qu’on a depuis voulu faire accroire qu’on lui avoit donné.’—De l’Estoile, i. 40. The character the zealous Protestant d’Aubigné gives of the Cardinal (Histoire, vol. ii. bk. ii. ch. xi.) is as follows: ‘esprit sans borne, tres chiche et craintif de sa vie, prodigue de celle d’autrui, pour le seul but qu’il a eu en vivant, assavoir d’eslever sa race à une desmesurée grandeur.

48 Catherine de Medici was supposed to be endowed with second-sight. Her daughter gives several instances in her memoirs.

Mesme la nuict devant la miserable course en lice, elle songea comme elle voyoit le feu Roy mon pere blessé à l’œil, comme il fust.... Elle n’a aussy jamais perdu aucun de ses enfans qu’elle n’aye veu une fort grande flamme, à laquelle soudain elle s’escrioit: “Dieu garde mes enfans!” et incontinent apres, elle entendoit la triste nouvelle qui, par ce feu, lui avoit esté augurée.... Elle s’escrie, continuant ses resveries, comme si elle eust veu donner la bataille de Jarnac: “Voyez-vous comme ils fuient! Mon fils a la victoire. Hé, mon Dieu! relevez mon fils! il est par terre! Voyez, voyez, dans cette haye, le Prince de Condé mort!”’—Mémoires de Marguerite, p. 42-43. The story of the Cardinal’s ghost is given more fully in De l’Estoile’s diary: ‘Puis aiant demandé à boire, comme on lui eust baillé son verre, elle commença tellement à trembler, qu’il lui cuida tumber des mains, et s’escria: “Jésus! voila M. le cardinal de Lorraine que je voy!”’—De l’Estoile, i. 41.

49 Pomponne de Bellièvre, jurist and diplomatist. Born at Lyons in 1529, he was twice Charles IX.’s ambassador to Switzerland, and accompanied Henry III. to Poland. In 1586 he was sent to England to ask for the release of Mary Queen of Scots. In 1599 Henry made him Chancellor, a post which he held till 1604. He died in 1607.

50 The following extract from a letter, dated November 3, 1574, and written by the King to his representative at Constantinople, proves the truth of this statement:—‘Toutesfois je veux vous advertir et luy aussy (the bishop of Acqs, the late Ambassador), s’il est encores par delà, que tout fraîchement j’ay receu et de bon lieu que l’empereur se plaint fort de luy et des offices qu’il a faicts par delà contre ses affaires. Je sçay bien qu’il n’a eu considération qu’à mon service; toutesfois je seray bien aise que durant votre légation vous vous comportiez envers ses ministres le plus amiablement que vous pourrez et leur presterez toute faveur en ce que touchera le particulier d’iceluy Sr empereur où vous verrez que mon service ne sera point engagé, afin qu’il cognoisse que je me ressens du bon recueil et faveur qu’il me fist dernièrement passant par ses terres, et ay en recommandation la légation qui est en nostre royaume.’—Charrière, Négotiations de la France dans le Levant, iii. 578.

51 Maximilian gave this advice to Henry III. when he stopped at Vienna on his way back to France. ‘Cæsarem prudentissimum juxta et optimum principem hoc Regi consilium dedisse memorant, ut pacem primis regni auspiciis et in Galliæ ingressu suis daret.’—Thuanus, iii. 8.

52 Her name was Catherine. She eventually married in 1599 Henry, Duke of Bar, son of Charles, Duke of Lorraine, and died in 1604.

53 This was no kindness to Louise de Vaudemont. Brantôme praises her for her loyalty to her husband: ‘Aussi que dès le beau premier commencement de leur mariage, voire dix jours après, il ne luy donna pas grande occasion de contentement, car il luy osta ses filles de chambre et damoiselles qui avoient tousjours esté avec elle et nourries d’elle estant fille, qu’elle regretta fort.’—Brantôme, v. 334.

54 Charles, Cardinal de Lorraine. See page 45, and note.

55 Queen Leonora, sister of Charles V. and widow of Francis I., one of the Princesses to whom Busbecq’s grandfather, Gilles Ghiselin II., had been premier écuyer trenchant. See vol. i. page 26, note 1.

56 See Motley, Rise of the Dutch Republic, Part IV. chap. iii.

57 Louis d’Este, Cardinal of Ferrara and Archbishop of Auch, was son of Hercules II., Duke of Ferrara, and Renée, daughter of Louis XII. of France. He was born in 1538, made Cardinal in 1561, and died at Rome in 1586. He deserved, says de Thou, to be called the treasure of the poor, the glory of the Sacred College, and the ornament of the Court of Rome.

58 Miss Freer, in her history of Henry III., has charged Busbecq’s Queen with heartlessness. ‘Under these circumstances Elizabeth gladly accepted her father’s invitation to return to Vienna. With all her virtue and simplicity Elizabeth appears not to have possessed much tenderness of character; else, herself feeling so keenly the disadvantages of a residence at Paris, she could not have abandoned her infant daughter to the care of Catherine de Medici; nor even, as far as it can be discovered, made any attempt to convey her to be educated far from the levity of the Court.’—Vol. ii. p. 39. Miss Freer evidently did not know of Busbecq’s letters to Maximilian; she frequently quotes the letters to Rodolph, but does not appear to be aware that they were written by the man whom she describes as ‘Auger de Ghislin, Seigneur de Boësbecq, a German noble resident in France.’

59Le 22e mars les députés de M. le prince de Condé, mareschal Damville et autres associés, tant de l’une que de l’autre religion, selon la permission qu’ils avoient eue du Roy d’envoier vers lui tels personnages qu’ils aviseroient pour l’avancement et conclusion d’une paix générale et asseurée à tout son roiaume, aians, par un commun advis, articulé leurs conditions et icelles dressées en forme de requeste, partirent de Basle le dit 22e mars pour venir trouver Sa Majesté à Paris, où ils arrivèrent le mardi 5e avril.’—De l’Estoile, i. 54. For a full account of these negotiations see Mémoires de Nevers, i. 308.

60 The Queen had so much difficulty in procuring funds that she was obliged to postpone her visit to August. Her child, Princess Marie Elizabeth (god-daughter of Queen Elizabeth of England), was at this time three years old. Amboise, near Blois, was considered particularly healthy, and on that account appointed as the nursery for the royal children. Evelyn speaks of it as a very agreeable village, built of stone and roofed with blue slate; he gives a full description of the castle which was the residence of the young Princess. Diary, p. 63.

61 Don Rodolph Khuen von Belasii, Baron of Neu-Lembach, descended from an ancient Tyrolese family. He was also Privy Councillor to the Emperor.

62 See note, p. 63.

63 Roger de Saint-Lary de Bellegarde attached himself to the Comte de Retz, was introduced by him to Catherine de Medici, and rose as rapidly as his patron. Henry III. on his return from Poland created him a Marshal, and gave him the command of his forces in Dauphiny. His position was, however, undermined by du Guast, and he was despatched to Poland. Regarding this mission as merely a pretext for his banishment, he went no further than Piedmont, entered the Duke of Savoy’s service, and with his assistance took possession of the Marquisate of Saluzzo, the last of the French conquests beyond the Alps, driving out Birague, the Governor. Afterwards the Duke of Savoy, accompanied by the Marshal, had an interview, near Lyons, with the Queen Mother. The sequel may be told in Brantôme’s words. ‘Elle luy fit tout plein de remonstrances. Luy, ores planant, ores connivant, et ores conillant et amusant la Royne de belles paroles, se trouva atteint de maladie par belle poison, de laquelle il mourut.’—Brantôme, iv. 103.

64 About a mile from Montbéliard Pibrac was captured by Brysach and a band of brigands, who assumed the character of Huguenot refugees. The Ambassador was compelled to leave his carriage, and follow his captors into the forest. Meanwhile a hue and cry was raised, and the people turned out to hunt the banditti. Pibrac was now in great danger, as the brigands threatened to kill him if one of their party should be hurt. From noon to midnight he was compelled to accompany Brysach and his band through the recesses of the forest. Fortunately he was able to turn his talents as a diplomatist to good account, and at last persuaded his companions to set him free. See Thuanus, iii. 98. Compare the account of Busbecq’s capture, vol. i. p. 71.

The country of Montbéliard, or Mümpelgard, lay between Franche Comté and Alsace, and belonged to a branch of the House of Würtemberg. It remained in their hands till near the end of the last century. In 1792 the French took possession of it, but it did not become French de jure till 1801, when, with the other German enclaves in Alsace, it was ceded by the treaty of Luneville.

65 So in March 1538 Holbein was despatched to Brussels to take a portrait of Christina, the widowed Duchess of Milan, and daughter of Elizabeth of Denmark, sister of Charles V. (see vol. i. page 26, note 2), for whose hand Henry VIII. had been negotiating. She is reported to have declined his offer, saying, ‘if she had had two heads one should have been at the service of the King of England, but as she had only one, she preferred to keep it on her own shoulders.’ Holbein’s portrait now belongs to the Duke of Norfolk, and was exhibited at the Winter Exhibition of the Royal Academy in 1880. The lady afterwards married Francis Duke of Lorraine, and became the mother of Charles Duke of Lorraine and Dorothea, the wife of Duke Eric of Brunswick. Hence came the connection between the Houses of Austria and Lorraine, alluded to on page 59, Maximilian II. being Christina’s first cousin.

Similarly Holbein, in the following year, was again sent abroad to take a portrait of Anne of Cleves.—Froude, ch. xvii.

66Le dimanche 19e juing arrivèrent à Paris M. le duc de Lorraine et M. de Vaudemont, père de la Roine, pour achever le mariage du Marquis de Nomenie, fils aisné dudit seingneur de Vaudemont aveq la damoiselle de Martigues. En congratulation et resjouissance des venues de ces princes, se firent à la Cour plusieurs jeux, tournois et festins magnifiques, en l’un desquels la Roine-Mère mangea tant qu’elle cuida crever, et fust malade au double de son desvoiement. On disoit que c’estoit d’avoir trop mangé de culs d’artichaux et de crestes et rongnons de coq, dont elle estoit fort friande.’—De l’Estoile, i. 64.

67 The Ilsings or Ilsungs were an ancient Swabian family, several of whom had been burgomasters of Augsburg. The person mentioned in the text was probably George Ilsing von Lichtenberg, Privy Councillor to Charles V., Ferdinand, Maximilian, and Rodolph, and Statthalter in the Duchy of Würtemberg.

68 The Princess Charlotte de Bourbon was compelled to take the vows before she had arrived at the legal age. She became Abbess of Joüarrs; but ran away in 1572, and took refuge with the Elector Palatine. The Prince of Orange saw her at Heidelburg and fell in love with her. St. Aldegonde conducted her to Brill, where the Prince met her. They were married June 12.

69Mareschal d’Amville vint à estre empoisonné de telle façon, que, s’il ne fut esté secouru prestement et par bons remedes, il estoit mort; et de faict les nouvelles en vindrent au Roy qu’il estoit mort de ceste poison. J’estois lors en sa chambre quand ces nouvelles luy furent apportées ... il ne s’en esmeut autrement, et ne monstra le visage plus joyeux ny fasché, sinon qu’il envoya le courrier à la Reyne; et ne laissasmes à causer avec luy. Ce gouvernement de Languedoc fut aussi tost donné à M. de Nevers.... Vindrent apres nouvelles que ledit sieur mareschal n’estoit point mort et tendoit peu à peu à guerison, laquelle tarda beaucoup à luy venir. Plusieurs disoient que s’il fust mort de ceste poison, que M. de Montmorancy fust esté sententié ... mais on craignoit que ledict mareschal, voyant son frere mort, qu’il eust joué à la desesperade, craignant qu’il ne luy en arrivast autant s’il estoit pris, et avoit un tres grand moyen de faire mal avec l’alliance des Huguenots, voire du roy d’Espagne, qu’il eust pris.’—Brantôme, ii. 436-7.

Montmorency’s relations had good reasons for their apprehensions. It was intended to strangle him, and, to cover the murder, Miron, chief physician to the King, was sent to see him, and told to give out that he had apoplectic symptoms. Gilles de Souvré, chief chamberlain to Henry, was selected as his executioner, and to his reluctance to undertake the office the prisoner owed his life. See Thuanus, iii. 105.

Montmorency was conscious of his danger. ‘Tell the Queen,’ said he, ‘that I am well aware of her intentions towards me; there is no need to make so much fuss. She has only to send the Chancellor’s apothecary: I will take whatever he gives me.’ See De l’Estoile, i. 63.

70 The date shows that this letter ought to follow Letter XXI., but we have retained the order of the Latin Edition.

71 The following quotation from Marguerite de Valois’ autobiography shows that Busbecq was right:—‘Nous nous en retournasmes à Paris trouver le Roy, qui nous receust avec beaucoup de contentement d’avoir la paix; mais toutesfois aggreant peu les advantageuses conditions des huguenots, se deliberant bien, soudain qu’il auroit mon frere à la cour, de trouver une invention pour rentrer en la guerre contre lesdits huguenots, pour ne les laisser jouir de ce qu’à regret et par force on leur avoit accordé seulement pour en retirer mon frere (Alençon).’—Mémoires de Marguerite, p. 79.

72J’ay ouy dire à de grands capitaines que si le Piedmont au moins nous fust demeuré ... il eust servy d’escolle tousjours et d’amusement aux gens de guerre françois, et s’y fussent tous arrestez, et ainsy ne se fussent adonnez ny affriandez aux guerres civiles; estant le naturel du François de vacquer tousjours aux œuvres de Mars et d’hayr l’oysiveté, le repos et la paix.’—Brantôme, v. 234.

73 John Listhius, a Hungarian noble, married the sister of Nicolas Olahus, Archbishop of Gran and Primate of Hungary, by whom he had two sons; after her death he took orders, and became Bishop of Wessprim in 1568, and Bishop of Raab in 1572. He died in 1578. He was Privy Councillor to Ferdinand and Maximilian.

74 Lazarus von Schwendi, Seigneur of Hohen-Landsperg in Upper Alsace, was a very remarkable man. He was a friend of Count Egmont, by whose side he fought at the battles of St. Quentin and Gravelines. At Maximilian’s request Philip II. allowed him to take command of his forces in Hungary. He retook Tokay from the Turks in 1565. (Katona, Historia Regum Hungariæ, xxiv. 45; see also Sketch of Hungarian History.) He was also distinguished as a scholar; he wrote a book, De Bello contra Turcas gerendo, and two other treatises. But what marks his position more than anything else is the fact that two of the most important manifestos of that age were addressed to him. (1) Orange’s protest against the administration of Granville. See Motley, Rise of the Dutch Republic, Part II. chap. iv.:—‘This letter, together with one in a similar strain from Egmont, was transmitted by the valiant and highly intellectual soldier to whom they were addressed, to the King of Spain with an entreaty that he would take warning from the bitter truths which they contained.’ (2) Maximilian’s protest against the Massacre of Saint Bartholomew (see note 1, page 42). Schwendi eventually retired to his estates in Alsace, and died at Kirchofen in 1583, aged sixty-two.

75 De Blot obtained the appointment (see Foppens, Bibliotheca Belgica, i. 491).

76 The Emperor Frederic III., the great-grandfather of Charles V. and Ferdinand, married Eleonora, daughter of Edward, King of Portugal, in 1452.

77 See page 68.

78 Montbrun cut to pieces the Swiss troops of de Gordes, who commanded for the King in Dauphiny. After a less decisive engagement the day before, he overtook them on June 13 at the passage of the Drome near Die. Eight hundred Swiss were killed together with their Colonel, and eighteen standards were taken, while the victors only lost six men. See Thuanus, iii. 93.

79 These Palatines were great Polish magnates.

80 Charles du Puy Montbrun, a member of one of the oldest families in Dauphiny, was born about 1530. One of his sisters became a Protestant, and took refuge in Geneva. He pursued her thither, declaring that he would either bring her back a Catholic or kill her; but instead of reclaiming her, he fell under the influence of Beza and became himself a convert. In 1560 he raised a small partisan force, with which he carried on a guerilla war in Dauphiny and the Vivarais. His young wife accompanied him on these expeditions, as the camp was her safest abode. He took an active part in the civil wars, and fought bravely at Jarnac and Moncontour.

The affair mentioned in the text was a mere skirmish. Montbrun was engaged in hot pursuit of the King’s troops, whom he had defeated a few days before (see page 78), when a daring attempt was made by a party of the royal cavalry to seize the bridge of Gervane, and cut off his retreat. Though he had only a small force in hand, he charged the enemy, but finding himself outnumbered was compelled to retreat. His horse fell in trying to leap a ditch, and he was taken prisoner. Busbecq’s account shows that the affair was represented in Paris as a decisive victory. Compare Thuanus, iii. 94, who also states that Montbrun was the first to raise the Huguenot standard after Saint Bartholomew. D’Aubigné (Histoire, vol. ii. bk. ii. ch. ix.) says he will give him no eulogy except the title La Noue conferred upon him—to wit, the Valiant Montbrun.

81 The King, however, was at the entertainment. ‘A ces nopces se trouvèrent le duc de Lorraine et MM. de Guise, avec la pluspart des princes et seingneurs, qui lors estoient à la Cour, et y dansa le Roy tout du long du jour, en grande allégresse.’—De l’Estoile, i. 82.

82 Louis Gonzaga, Duc de Nevers, third son of Frederick II., Duke of Mantua, was born in 1539, and was brought up in France with Henry II.’s children. He had a horse killed under him at St. Quentin, was taken prisoner, and was ransomed for 60,000 crowns. In 1565 he married Henriette de Clèves, the sister of the two last Ducs de Nevers, and of Catherine de Clèves, wife of the Duke of Guise, and was created Duc de Nevers. In 1567 he became Governor of the French possessions in Piedmont, and protested strongly against their cession by Henry III. (Mémoires, i. 1). He was deeply implicated in the Massacre of Saint Bartholomew. A partisan of the Guises at the beginning of the League, he afterwards went over to Henry III. At the death of the latter, he at first assumed an attitude of neutrality between the League and Henry IV., but soon espoused the royal cause. He died in 1595.

83 See note 2, page 53.

84 See note, p. 36.

85 The Fregosi were one of the four great plebeian families of Genoa, and gave many Doges to the Republic. Mario de Birague was sent as ambassador to Genoa in the summer of 1574, and John Galeazzo Fregoso commanded the two galleys of the said ambassador. Both were received with great joy at Genoa, though Fregoso was a banished citizen. Charrière, Négotiations de la France dans le Levant, iii. 609. For a full account of the disturbances at Genoa see Thuanus, iii. 113-128.

86 Beauvoir, or Beauvois, de la Nocle was one of the Huguenot chiefs (among whom were Montgomery and the Vidame de Chartres), who were in the Faubourg St. Germain during the Massacre of Saint Bartholomew, and succeeded in making their escape. He and d’Arènes were the principal spokesmen of the Deputies at Paris. He was one of the French gentlemen who accompanied the army of Casimir which invaded France in 1587 under Dohna. In 1591 Henry IV. sent him as his ambassador to England.

87 Buren, in Gelderland, was taken by the Spanish General Hierges, at the end of June 1575. For details of the siege see Thuanus, iii. 73; Strada, i. 393. The date of the final rupture of the negotiations was July 13, 1575.—Motley, Rise of the Dutch Republic, Part IV. ch. iii.

88 For a sketch of Mondragon’s life and character see Motley, United Netherlands, iii. 342-3. The expedition which Busbecq mentions as contemplated was carried out on September 27. See Motley, Rise of the Dutch Republic, Part IV. ch. iii.

89 ‘At the same time in the assembly of the Confederate States, the question of asking the protection of some powerful neighbouring Sovereign was long and hotly debated, as some were inclined to the Empire, and the Princes and States of the Empire, others to the King of France, and others again to the Queen of England. The side, however, prevailed which was in favour of an English alliance.’—Thuanus, iii. 79. For a full account see Meteren, 153-155.

90 See page 128, and note.

91 Duke Eric of Brunswick succeeded his father the Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, in the principalities of Gottingen and Calenberg. Brought up as a Lutheran, he afterwards became a Roman Catholic. He fought on the Spanish side at St. Quentin, and was subsequently employed in the Netherlands and Portugal. He does not seem to have taken his rejection much to heart, as in the following December he married Dorothea, daughter of Christina, Duchess of Lorraine (see note, page 63), and sister of Charles, the reigning Duke. Busbecq’s Queen honoured the marriage of her rejected suitor with her presence (see page 129). He died at Pavia in 1584. In the opinion of Thuanus (iii. 703), he was ‘terribilis suis, neque tamen re ulla memorabili gesta admodum clarus.’ His widow afterwards married the Marquis de Varembon, the lover of Mademoiselle de Tournon, whose pathetic story is told by her royal mistress. See Mémoires de Marguerite, 110-114.

92 Bourg-la-Reine, near Sceaux.—De l’Estoile, i. 85.

93 Marie Elizabeth (or Isabel) was born October 27, 1572, a few weeks after the massacre of Saint Bartholomew; Queen Elizabeth of England was her godmother. An interesting account of her is given by Brantôme, whose aunt, Madame de Crissé, was her governess. According to him she had a great idea of her own importance: ‘Une fois, elle estant malade, le Roy son oncle (Henry III.) demeura trois jours sans l’aller voir; au troisiesme il y alla. Lors qu’elle le sentit à la porte elle fit semblant de dormir, et se tourna de l’autre costé; et, encore que le Roy l’appellast par trois fois, elle fit de la sourde, jusques à ce que madame de Crissé, ma tante et sa gouvernante, la fit tourner vers le Roy, envers lequel elle fit de la froide, et ne luy dict pas deux mots: et s’en estant departi d’avec elle, sa gouvernante se corrouçant contre elle, luy demanda pourquoy elle avoit faict ce trait et cette mine. Elle respondit: “Hé quoi! ma mere, comment me fust-il esté possible de faire cas de luy, et luy faire bonne chere, que, despuis trois jours que je suis malade, il ne m’a pas veue une fois, non pas seulement envoyé visiter, moy qui suis sa niepce, et fille de son aisné, et qui ne luy fais point de déshonneur.”’—Brantôme, v. 245.

She died before she completed her sixth year. The following touching notice was written at the time of her death:—‘Ce jour (April 2, 1578), mourust en l’Hostel d’Anjou, à Paris, Madame Marie Ysabel de France, fille unique et légitime du feu Roy Charles IXe, aagée de cinq à six ans, qui fust pleurée et regrettée à cause de son gentil esprit et de sa bonté et douceur, qu’elle retenoit de madame Ysabel d’Austriche, fille de l’Empereur Maximilian d’Austriche, sa mère’.—De l’Estoile, i. 239.

94 According to Mezeray, Histoire de France, iii. 380, and Amyraut, Life of La Noue, 166, his real name was Dianovitz, and he was a Bohemian by birth (Bohesme, Boësme, Besme). He is, however, generally called simply Besme. Brantôme, who knew him well, tells us he was a page of the Cardinal de Guise, and married an illegitimate daughter of the Cardinal de Lorraine, a former maid of honour to Elizabeth of France, Queen of Philip II., who gave her a marriage portion. Two years afterwards he was sent to Spain, by Guise, under the pretext of buying horses, but in reality, it was said, to renew the secret alliance which had existed between Philip and the late Cardinal de Lorraine. According to Brantôme, he went ‘tant pour querir son mariage que pour braver et se monstrer en piaffe devant le Roy et les Espagnols, et dire que c’estoit luy qui avoit faict le coup de M. l’Admiral.’ On his return he was taken prisoner between Barbezieux and Chasteauneuf, and brought to the Castle of Bouteville. Being recognised, he offered a large sum for his ransom, and to get Montbrun exchanged against himself. The Guises, too, made great efforts to obtain his release. However, when news came of Montbrun’s execution, the inhabitants of Rochelle, ‘qui le vouloient acheter pour en faire faire justice exemplaire’ (De l’Estoile, i. 83), offered 1,000 crowns for him to Bertoville, the Governor of Bouteville. The latter, for fear of reprisals against the Huguenot prisoners, did not wish to put him to death openly, and, on the other hand, had no intention of letting him go unpunished for the murder of Coligny. He therefore had recourse to the following stratagem. He caused one of his soldiers to enter into communication with Besme, and to agree for a bribe to let him escape. The soldier then reported Besme’s plans to the Governor, who posted an ambush where the fugitive was to pass. He fell into their hands and was killed on the spot. For an account of his murder of Coligny, see Brantôme, iii. 280.

95 The English Ambassador—or more properly Minister—at that time was Dr. Valentine Dale.

96 Compare his sister Marguerite’s account. ‘Le soir venu, peu avant le soupper du Roy, mon frere changeant de manteau, et le mettant autour du nez, sort seulement suivy d’un des siens, qui n’estoit pas recongneu, et s’en va à pied jusques à la porte de Saint-Honnoré, où il trouve Simié (Jean de Seymer, master of Alençon’s Wardrobe) avec le carrosse d’une dame, qu’il avoit emprunté pour cet effect, dans lequel il se mit, et va jusques à quelques maisons à un quart de lieue de Paris, où il trouva des chevaux qui l’attendoient, sur lesquels montant, à quelques lieues de là il trouva deux ou trois cens chevaulx de ses serviteurs qui l’attendoient au rendez-vous qu’il leur avoit donné. L’on ne s’apperçoit point de son partement que sur les neuf heures du soir. Le Roy et la Royne ma mere me demanderent pourquoy il n’avoit point souppé avec eux, et s’il estoit malade. Je leur dis que je ne l’avois point veu depuis l’apres-disnée. Ils envoyerent en sa chambre voir ce qu’il faisoit; ou leur vinst dire qu’il n’y estoit pas. Ils disent qu’on le cherche par toutes les chambres des dames, où il avoit accoustumé d’aller. On cherche par le chasteau, on cherche par la ville; on ne le trouve point. A cette heure l’allarme s’eschauffe; le Roy se met en colere, se courrouce, menace, envoye querir tous les princes et seigneurs de la cour, leur commande de monter à cheval, et le luy ramener vif ou mort. . . . . Plusieurs de ces princes et seigneurs refusent cette commission, remonstrans au Roy de quelle importance elle estoit. . . . Quelques aultres accepterent, et se preparerent pour monter à cheval. Ils ne peurent faire telle diligence qu’ils peussent partir plustost que sur le poinct du jour, qui fut cause qu’ils ne trouverent point mon frere, et furent contraincts de revenir pour n’estre pas en esquipage de guerre.’—Mémoires de Marguerite, p. 64.

97 See note, p. 117.

98 Claude Antoine de Vienne, Baron de Clervant, born at Metz, 1505. He was the chief leader of the Huguenots in the north-east of France.

99 See note 3, p. 124.

100 Marguerite de la Marck, sovereign Countess of Aremberg, in her own right, was widow of Jean de Ligne, the Comte d’Aremberg who died so gallantly at Heiliger-Lee (see Motley, Rise of the Dutch Republic, Part III. ch. ii.) She had already had the honour of escorting Elizabeth, when she came to France as a bride. She visited Marguerite de Valois when she went to Spa in 1577. ‘Plusieurs seigneurs et dames d’Allemaigne y estoient venus pour me voir, et entre aultres madame la comtesse d’Aremberg (qui est celle qui avoit eu l’honneur de conduire la royne Elizabeth à ses nopces à Mezieres, lors qu’elle vint espouser le roy Charles mon frere, et ma sœur aisnée au roy d’Espaigne son mary), femme qui estoit tenue en grande estime de l’imperatrice, de l’empereur, et de tous les princes chrestiens.’—Mémoires de Marguerite, p. 109.

101 Du Guast was one of Henry III.’s favourites, and possessed unbounded influence over his master. On his return from Poland, whither du Guast had accompanied him, Henry gave him the bishoprics of Amiens and Grenoble. The former ‘il vendit à une garse de la Cour la somme de 30,000 francs: aiant vendu auparavant l’évesché de Grenoble 40,000 francs au fils du feu seingneur d’Avanson.’—De l’Estoile, i. 39. The King also gave him 50,000 livres he had raised by a forced loan from the Councillors and Advocates of the Parliament and Châtelet at Paris (De l’Estoile, i. 54). De l’Estoile, i. 92, gives an account of his murder. ‘Il fust tué dans sa maison à Paris, rue Saint-Honoré, et avec lui son valet de chambre et un sien laquais, par certains hommes armés et masqués, qui l’assassinèrent à coups d’espées et de dagues, sans estre congneus ne retenus. Il dit, mourant, que c’estoit le baron de Viteaux, qui estoit à Monsieur, qui l’avoit tué: toutefois cela ne fust point avéré, encores que la présumption en fust grande, et que ce coup avoit esté fait soubs bon adveu et par commandement; d’autant que ce mignon superbe et audacieux, enflé de la faveur de son maistre, avoit bravé Monsieur jusques à estre passé un jour devant lui en la rue Sainct-Antoine, sans le saluer ni faire semblant de le congnoistre, et avoit dit par plusieurs fois qu’il ne recongnoissoit que le Roy, et que quand il lui auroit commandé de tuer son propre frère, qu’il le feroit.De l’Estoile makes the reflection that, as he had shed much innocent blood at the Massacre of Saint Bartholomew, so according to the word of God his own was shed, and that he himself was surprised and killed in his bed in the same manner as he used to boast he then surprised and killed others. Six months before the murder, Brantôme, who was an intimate friend of both parties, had made an attempt to induce du Guast to withdraw his opposition to the pardon which de Viteaux was anxious to obtain for the murder of Millaud. (See page 189 and notes.) He thus concludes his account of the murder: ‘Pour fin, le baron de Viteaux après avoir fait son coup, sort si heureusement du logis, et se retira si bien et sans aucun bruit, qu’on n’en soupçonna celuy qui avoit fait le coup que par conjectures, tant il fut fait secrettement, et ne se put jamais guieres bien prouver; mesmes à moy, qui luy estois amy intime, ne me l’a voulu confesser.’—Brantôme, vi. 93. The Baron de Viteaux was a notorious duellist; his death is described by Busbecq (pages 189, 190). Du Guast was hated by Alençon, and his sister Marguerite. The former’s income depended on the favourite’s pleasure, ‘mon frere n’ayant eu jusques alors son appennage, et s’entretenant seulement de certaines pensions mal assignées, qui venoient seulement quand il plaisoit au Guast’ (Mémoires de Marguerite, p. 63). He had also got Marguerite into scrapes, and was the deadly enemy of her lover, Bussy d’Amboise. All the evidence points strongly to the fact that he was murdered at her instigation. Not only do Thuanus (iii. 108-9) and Mezeray (Histoire de France, iii. 391) give graphic accounts of her visit to de Viteaux at the monastery of the Augustins at Paris, where he had taken sanctuary, and tell how she persuaded him by her caresses to commit the murder, but her friend Brantôme, while he praises her for not oftener availing herself of this means of punishing her enemies, and asserts that she never retaliated on du Guast, makes the following admission (v. 187): ‘Il est vray que lors qu’on l’eut tué, et qu’on luy vint annoncer, elle estant malade’ (she had a bad cold, Mémoires, p. 66), ‘elle dict seulement “Je suis bien marrie que je ne suis bien guerie pour de joye solemniser sa mort.”’ In her Mémoires (p. 79), she alludes to du Guast’s death only incidentally, but at the same time leaves on record unmistakeable evidence of her feelings towards him. ‘Le Guast lors estoit mort, ayant esté tué par un jugement de Dieu, pendant qu’il suoit une diette, comme aussy c’estoit un corps gasté de toutes sortes de villanies, qui fust donné à la pourriture qui des longtemps le possedoit, et son ame aux dæmons, à qui il avoit faict hommage par magie et toutes sortes de meschancetez.

102 See note 2, p. 64.

103 The word in the text is Casteldunum (Châteaudun), but this must be a misprint or mistake, as Châteaudun is on the other side of the Loire, and a long way from Poitiers. From a journal kept by an Avocat of Saint-Maixent in Poitou, we are able to fix Alençon at La Guerche, which is close to Châtelherault, on October 1. Châtelherault is therefore probably the place intended. See Le Riche, p. 238.

104 The Duke of Guise seems hardly to have deserved the credit he acquired at the battle of Château Thierry. With 10,000 infantry and 1,000 heavy cavalry, he attacked Thoré, whose troops did not number more than 2,500; even of these some had been tampered with and went over to the Duke. Neither was the way in which he received the wound which gave him the soubriquet of ‘le Balafré’ much to his credit as a soldier. The struggle had been decided, and he was engaged in hunting down one of the fugitives in a thicket of brambles, when the man turned and shot him in the face. See Thuanus, iii. 105-6.

Le mardi 11e octobre, le seingneur de Fervacques arriva á Paris, et apporta nouvelles au Roy de deux mille, que Reistres, que François, conduits par M. de Thoré, desfaits par le duc de Guise, près Fismes, en passant la rivière de Marne au-dessus de Dormans. Dont le Roy fait chanter le Te Deum solennel. Ceste desfaite estoit avenue le jour de devant 10e octobre, entre Dameri et Dormans, dont le bruit fust plus grand que l’effait; car il n’y mourust point cinquante hommes de part et d’autre, et après que deux ou trois cornettes de Reistres, prattiquées par argent, eurent fait semblant de se rendre à la merci du duc de Guise, le seingneur de Thoré passa sain et sauf à Nogent-sur-Seine avec mil ou douze cens chevaux, et s’alla rendre à M. le Duc (d’Alençon) à Vatan. Le duc de Guise, en ceste rencontre, par un simple soldat à pied qu’il attaqua, fut grièvement blessé d’une harquebuzade, qui lui emporta une grande partie de la joue et de l’aureille gauche.’—De l’Estoile, i. 91.

105 Giovanni Michel, the Venetian Ambassador, paid his respects to Busbecq’s Queen, and has left an interesting notice of her appearance in her white widow’s dress. ‘I was most cordially received by the Queen, the wife of the late King, and daughter of the Emperor. She knew me at once, and appeared delighted to see me. She looked very well in her widow’s dress.’—Ambassadeurs Vénitiens, ii. 220.

106 John von Manderschiet Blankenheim, Bishop of Strasburg, 1572-92. The town of Saverne was an appanage of the Bishopric, and here in later times the Bishops of Strasburg had a magnificent château.

107 ‘Limer, or Lime-hound, the same as Bloud-hound, a great dog to hunt the wild boar.’—World of Words.

108 Gaspard de Schomberg, Comte de Nanteuil, was descended from a German family of Meissen, but educated at Angers, in France. In 1562 he fought in defence of the last-named town on the Protestant side. He afterwards entered the royal service and fought for the king at Moncontour. He was next employed on a mission to the German Princes to induce them to form a league against Spain. He accompanied Henry III. to Poland, as his Seneschal. He was one of those who persuaded Henry IV. to go to Mass, and took a prominent part in the negotiations for peace between him and his rebellious subjects. He was on several occasions employed as the agent of the French Government for raising German troops. When Busbecq saw him he had just come to Paris with Bassompierre and Count Mansfeldt to conclude a bargain with the King for a levy of 8,000 mercenaries.

The Kinskys were an ancient Bohemian family. Perhaps, in the course of his negotiations for hiring German troops, Schomberg had some dealings with Maximilian’s protégé.

109 This was no exaggeration, as the following extract from the Diary of a contemporary will show: ‘Le lundi 5e décembre, la Roine veufve, madame Ysabel d’Austriche, partist de Paris, pour s’en retourner à Vienne, chés son père et sa mère: et lui bailla le Roy messieurs de Luxembourg, comte de Rais, et l’évesque de Paris, pour l’accompagner: qui la rendirent entre les mains des députés par l’Empereur son père, pour la recevoir à Nanci en Lorraine. Elle fut fort aimée et honorée par les François tant qu’elle demeura en France, nommément par le peuple de Paris, lequel, plorant et gémissant à son départ, disoit qu’elle emportoit avec elle le bonheur de la France.’—De l’Estoile, i. 95.

Miss Freer (Henry III., vol. ii. p. 40), says ‘the Queen quitted Paris during the first week of August, 1575.’ She was led into this error by the description given by Godefroy (Le Cérémonial François, i. 927) of Elizabeth’s entrance into Orleans on August 21, and has confounded her journey to Amboise (see p. 96), with her return to Germany.

110 I.e., Hither Austria. The possessions of the House of Hapsburg in Swabia and Alsace.

111 This is the lady who refused to marry Henry VIII. because she had only one head! See note p. 63.

112 The incidental touches, in which Busbecq makes us acquainted with the character of his mistress, require some little additions in order to place before the reader an adequate idea of this good and interesting lady. She was born June 5, 1554, and was consequently a baby of a few months old when Busbecq started for the East. She was married to Charles IX. of France, Nov. 26, 1570, when she was but sixteen. In her new sphere she quickly won the respect and love of all who knew her. Two years after her marriage, and just before the birth of her daughter, came the Massacre of Saint Bartholomew. During that awful night she was quietly sleeping, unaware of the horrors that were passing around her. Next morning she heard the news, ‘Hélas, dit-elle soudain, le Roy mon mary, le sçait-il?—Ouy, madame, repondit-on: c’est luy mesme qui le fait faire.—O mon Dieu! s’escria-t-elle, qu’est cecy? et quels conseillers sont ceux-là qui luy ont donné tel advis? Mon Dieu, je te supplie et te requiers de luy vouloir pardonner; car, si tu n’en as pitié, j’ay grande peur que cette offense ne luy soit pas pardonnée.’—Brantôme, v. 297.

During her husband’s last illness it was noticed that when she came to see him she did not take a seat by his pillow, but chose the position from which she could best gaze at the loved features; she did not speak, no sound passed her lips, but ever and anon she raised her handkerchief to her face, and wiped away the silent tears; even the hardened courtiers were touched by this picture of agony suppressed. After her husband’s death it was observed by one of the women of her bedchamber that she constantly took the little silver candlestick, which served as a night-light, inside the curtains of her bed, and as soon as she thought her attendants were asleep, she knelt up to read and pray. It is interesting to find that during her widowhood she became a diligent reader of the Bible. After her return to Vienna she founded the Nunnery of Santa Clara, where she resided till the time of her death, which took place January 22, 1592, in the 38th year of her age. See vol. i. p. 70.

One story yet remains to be told. She had known Marguerite de Valois in the pride of her beauty; towards the end of her days she heard of her as an outcast from her family, poor and desolate. If her own relations deserted her, her sister-in-law was not forgetful of the poor fallen woman. She not only sent her kind messages, but most generously bestowed on her one half of her French revenues. It seems strange that so warm and loving a nature should ever have been accused of heartlessness (see note, p. 56). In spite of the silence and reserve which marked her character she was, beyond all doubt, a most affectionate daughter, a thoughtful mother, and a devoted wife.

113 Cosmo Gienger, a distinguished soldier, who fought against the Turks. He was at this time vice-dominus of Austria. He died in 1592, aged 77.

114 See Motley, Rise of the Dutch Republic, Part V. ch. v.

115 For the outrages committed by Alençon’s troops in French territory see De l’Estoile, ii. 13-14.

116 Just six years have elapsed since Busbecq conducted his Royal mistress to Vienna. The reason suggested (vol. i. p. 67) may perhaps partly account for this gap in the correspondence. Meanwhile he had been engaged in watching the Queen’s interests in France, and no doubt also in enforcing the admirable rule of which he was probably the suggester. The Queen had the right of appointing certain officers and judges in the towns and districts from which her revenues were derived. Such posts were commonly bought and sold, but Elizabeth gave strict directions that no such traffic should be allowed with regard to the appointments of which she had the patronage. See Thuanus, iii. 87.

117 Charlotte de Bourbon, Princess of Orange, died May 5, 1582. For this letter see Motley, Rise of the Dutch Republic, Part VI. ch. v. See also p. 66.

118 A great many Albanians (Epirotes) were serving in the Spanish cavalry, see Strada, and also Motley, United Netherlands, ii. 47-51, and iii. 108, where a gigantic Albanian is mentioned.

119 In 1578 Sebastian, the boy King of Portugal (see p. 30, note), was killed in battle against the Moors on the field of Alcazar. By his death the crown devolved on his uncle Henry, the Cardinal, who, though nearly seventy years old, at first thought of marrying; this project was stopped by Philip of Spain; he then appointed a council of regency to arrange the succession. The two most prominent candidates were Philip of Spain, who had the best right by blood, but who was most unpopular in Portugal, and Don Antonio, Prior of Crato, the illegitimate son of Luis, Duke of Beja, brother of the reigning King. Don Antonio received the support of the representatives of the people, but, on the death of Henry in 1580, he was quickly driven out of Portugal by Alva, and took refuge alternately in France and England, where he received countenance and support from Henry III. and Elizabeth. The French expedition to the Azores is frequently mentioned in Busbecq’s letters. The importance of these islands consisted in their affording a station for ships coming home either from America or India. We learn from a contemporary historian (Histoire de Portugal, 1610), that Catherine de Medici had agreed with Antonio to accept Brazil in settlement of her claims on the Portuguese throne (see note, page 161), hence the interest which she took in this expedition, at the head of which she placed her gallant cousin Philip Strozzi, with de Brissac, son of the Maréchal de Brissac, as his lieutenant. They were attacked off St. Michael’s by a greatly superior force of Spanish ships under Santa Cruz; de Brissac cut his way through and escaped, Don Antonio contrived to be absent, and Strozzi and Don Antonio’s Constable, the Count of Vimioso, were wounded and captured. The latter, being a relation of Santa Cruz, was kindly treated, but died two days later of his wounds. Strozzi, according to some accounts, was treated with great barbarity; at any rate he was thrown overboard by the orders of the Spanish Admiral. His gallant end, and the cruelty of his captors, excited a strong feeling in France, which found expression in epigrams, of which the following is a specimen.

Qui a l’or et l’argent du ciel pour couverture
Et du grand Océan le saphir pour tombeau,
Embaumé d’un renom et los illustre et beau,
Marrannes, n’a besoin de vostre sepulture.’—De l’Estoile, ii. 79.

An old historian speaks of these epigrams as ‘tumbeaux cizelez de la plume,’ and of this specimen as one to which none but a Spaniard could object.

120 The Andalusian fleet under Martinez de Recalde, one of the chiefs of the Spanish Armada.

121 It is interesting to find Raleigh criticising Strozzi’s tactics in fighting at close quarters with the huge galleons of Spain. It would appear that the engagement supplied a warning to the captains who five years later baffled the Armada. See Historie of the World, p. 791.

122 Prince Dauphin of Auvergne, son of Louis de Bourbon, Duc de Montpensier and Dauphin d’Auvergne. He distinguished himself at Jarnac, Moncontour, and Ivry. Died in 1592.

123 The brother of Admiral Coligny. His son succeeded to the County of Laval in right of his mother, Claude de Rieux.

124 See Motley, Rise of the Dutch Republic, Part VI. chap. vi. According to Motley, Parma received a severe check. Froude tells us that Norris and the English repulsed the Spanish forces after the States’ troops had fled. History of England, chap. lxvi.

125 The Earl of Morton, late Regent of Scotland, was executed on a charge of being an accomplice in the murder of Darnley. His ruin was brought about by Comte d’Aubigny, then Earl and afterwards Duke of Lennox. See Froude, History of England, chap. lxiii.

126 See Motley, Rise of the Dutch Republic, Part VI. chap. vi.

127 See note 2, page 9.

128 The case of Salceda was one which greatly exercised the mind of de Thou, the historian, who ascribes the death of his father Christopher de Thou to vexation at finding his advice neglected when the ruffian was brought to trial. Salceda had been condemned to death by the Parliament of Rouen, for forging money. The Guises, who had need of his services, obtained his pardon, or to speak more correctly perhaps, a suspension of his sentence, for his pardon was not registered by the Parliament of Rouen, though granted by the King. His mission, according to Motley, was to poison Alençon and Orange, but according to Salceda’s own confession he was to join Alençon with some troops, gain his confidence, and get himself appointed to the command of Dunkirk or some other strong place, which he was to betray to the Guises. These last were then to rise and compel the King to place them at the head of his army which they intended to lead against Alençon and Orange. On being arrested Salceda made various confessions implicating the Guises and other leading men in France. Christopher de Thou, President of the Parliament of Paris, one of those before whom he was tried, was convinced that there was a great deal of truth in Salceda’s statements, and was most anxious that his life should be spared with a view to bringing others to justice, but too many great people were interested in stopping the mouth of their unfortunate tool, and he was therefore executed. It is probable that the story of an attempt to poison Alençon and Orange was a mere veil to cover the grounds on which he was executed. The fact that a distinguished Netherlander, Lamoral Egmont, cousin of the French Queen, and son of the famous general, was concerned in Salceda’s plot, seems to point to the accuracy of de Thou’s version. It is evident that Busbecq thought there was something more in the matter than appeared on the surface. Compare Thuanus, iii. 565-566, and especially the account in his life. De vita suâ, 27-31. Miss Freer gives a very full and interesting account of Salceda’s conspiracy; see Henry III. vol. ii. pp. 304-319.

129 The following note was made by one who was in all probability an eye-witness: ‘Quand Tanchou, lieutenant de robbe courte, présent à l’exécution avec ses archers, vinst dire au Roy que sur le bas eschaffaut, sur lequel estoit son corps quand il fust tiré, il s’estoit fait deslier les deux mains pour signer sa dernière confession, qui estoit qu’il n’estoit rien de toutes les charges qu’il avoit mises sus aux plus grands de ce roiaume, le Roy s’escria: “O le meschant homme! voire le plus meschant dont j’aye onques ouï parler!” Ce disoit le Roy, pource qu’à la dernière question qui luy avoit esté baillée (où le Roy avoit assisté caché derrière une tapisserie), il lui avoit ouï jurer et affermer, au milieu des tortures, que tout ce qu’il avoit dit contre eux estoit vrai (comme beaucoup l’ont creu et le croient encores aujourdhui, veu les tragœdies qui se sont jouées en France par les accusés.)’—De l’Estoile, ii. 75.

130 See note 2, p. 152.

131 See note 3, p. 124.

132 La Noue. The famous Bras de fer. See note 2, p. 21. For an interesting account of his captivity, see Motley, Rise of the Dutch Republic, Part VI. chap. iv. Parma was offered Count Egmont and de Selles (see Letter XLV.), in exchange for La Noue; his answer was that he would not give a lion for two sheep. Philip expressed his willingness to restore his illustrious captive to liberty if he would consent to have his eyes put out. Busbecq must have felt some little grudge against this gallant soldier, for three years before, 1579, he had stormed Comines and established himself in the castle of the Halluins. Bousbecque was also occupied by his troops. See Dalle, Histoire de Bousbecque, p. 247.

133 The following is an account of one of the royal pilgrimages: ‘L’onziesme jour d’avril, qui estoit le lendemain de Pasques, le Roy avec la Roine son espouse partirent de Paris à pied et allèrent à Chartres, et de Chartres à Cleri, faire leurs prières et offrandes à la Belle Dame révérée solemneilement ès églises desdits lieux, à ce que, par son intercession, il pleust à Dieu leur donner la masle lignée que tant ils désiroient. D’où ils furent de retour à Paris, le 24e dudit mois, tous deux bien las et aians les plantes des pieds bien ampoullés d’avoir fait tant de chemin à pied.’—De l’Estoile, ii. 121.

134 See Letter XXVII. and note.

135 I.e., a son and heir.

136 St. Luc had been one of the ‘mignons’ of Henry III. An amusing story is told of his fall from favour. The King had procured him a bride in the daughter of Maréchal de Brissac; when they were married she objected to her husband’s taking part in the dissipations of the Court. St. Luc, anxious to remain in the Court circle, and at the same time desirous of gratifying his wife, determined to frighten Henry into reforming his ways. Accordingly he had a secret passage cut through the panels of the King’s bedchamber, and one night presented himself dressed up in the character of an angel. With a piece of brass piping he imitated the scene of Belshazzar’s feast, and threatened the King with a most horrible fate if he did not reform his ways. The King was completely taken in and thoroughly frightened. For sometime afterwards, whenever it thundered, the King imagined it to be the sign of his approaching doom, and took refuge under the beds, and in the cellars of the palace. Unfortunately for St. Luc he could not keep the joke to himself; at last the King heard of it, his fears were relieved, and his favourite was dismissed.

137Il arriva de mesme à M. de Sainct-Luc à Anvers, dans la chambre de M. d’Alençon, luy estant en son cabinet; mais le prince d’Orange en vit le jeu en sortant, qui fut contre le sieur de Gauville, où il y eut quelques coups, dont le prince d’Orange s’en estonna, et dit que telles choses ne furent jamais veues ny faites en la chambre, ny salle, ny logis de l’Empereur son maistre; autrement il eust mal basté pour les délinquants.’—Brantôme, vi. 136.

Il arriva de mesmes à M. de Sainct-Luc, brave et vaillant seigneur certes. Ayant esté deffié et appellé par M. de Gauville, dont j’ay parlé cy-devant, estans tous deux à Anvers au service de Monsieur, ainsi qu’il alloit resolu au combat, et qu’il vouloit sortir hors la ville, fut arresté par La Vergne, capitaine de la garde françoise de Monsieur.’—Brantôme, vi. 182.

138 Busbecq too received a gold chain from the King, which he afterwards lost. See p. 132.

139 See p. 158. The phrase ‘coining money’ is a joke.

140 Catherine de Medici’s claim was through her mother, a lady of the House of Auvergne and Boulogne; in order to establish it she had to go back more than 300 years to the first marriage of Alphonso III. to the widow of a Count of Boulogne. Catherine alleged there were children of this marriage from one of whom she was descended. Some have thought that her only object was to show that she came of royal and ancient descent; this may have been the motive in part, but there can be no doubt that she hoped to exchange her visionary claim for some substantial advantage; thus, as has been already stated, she was willing to sell her pretensions to Don Antonio for Brazil. (See note p. 146). She was eager also to get an offer from Philip in satisfaction of her claims. ‘Je ne diray jamais ce que je demande, au contraire, attendrai ses offres qu’il fault qui soient raisonnables, puis qu’il est saisy et occupateur de ce que je pretendz m’appartenir.’—Lettre de la Reine Mère à Longlée, January 16, 1585, quoted by Motley, United Netherlands, i. 104. Henry threatened to retaliate by accepting the sovereignty of the Netherlands, if Philip did not compromise the matter. Catherine de Medici’s pretensions to the Crown of Portugal were an important factor in the politics of the time. See Histoire de Portugal, 1610, and Motley, United Netherlands, i. 101-105.

141 ‘The largest unbroken plain in Belgium is called Campine, and comprises the north-east portion of Antwerp, and north-west of Limburg.’ Mac Culloch, Geographical Dictionary.

142 One of the steps in Alençon’s scheme for the seizure of Antwerp not noticed by Motley.

143 These troubles were occasioned by Gebhard Truchsess von Waldburg, Archbishop of Cologne, having fallen in love with Agnes Mansfeld. He married her and became a Protestant, but tried notwithstanding to keep his see and electorate. See Motley, Rise of the Dutch Republic, Part VI. ch. vi., and United Netherlands, i. 31, 32, and elsewhere. For a full account, see Thuanus, iii. 582-8.

144 See Motley, Rise of the Dutch Republic, Part VI. ch. vi.

145 Busbecq hesitates to accept what is now known to have been Alençon’s version of the affair.

146 It seems probable that Busbecq’s diplomacy was directed towards securing the governorship of the Netherlands to a member of the Austrian house. Hence his dislike of French interference. (Letters I. and X.) Ernest did ultimately become Governor of the Netherlands in 1594.

147 Jean Bodin was Alençon’s chancellor, and acted as his adviser during the Prince’s stay in England and the Netherlands. After Alençon’s death he settled down at Laon where he used his influence in favour of the League; after a time he changed his views, and induced the citizens to declare in favour of Henry IV. He was the author of a treatise On the Republic in six books, and other works.

148 Catherine de Medici and Mary Queen of Scots; the latter, before her execution, disposed of money due to her from the King of France. See Froude, History of England, chap. lxix.

149 See Letter XLIX, note.

150 See note, p. 82.

151 See De l’Estoile, ii. 29.

152 We see from this notice of Busbecq’s that Alençon intended making Dunkirk the seat of his Government. It is not referred to by Motley, but Ranke regards it as a most important piece of information. See Civil Wars and Monarchy in France, chap. xx.

153 Daughter of William by his first marriage. Her brother Philip William had been carried off into Spain by Philip II.’s orders. She eventually married Count Hohenlo.

154 This order was called the Penitents of the Annunciation, because it was first instituted at that festival. The members of the fraternity used on certain occasions to go in procession from church to church, walking two and two, and wearing sacks of different colours, the knights of the King blue, the knights of St. Michael black, and the rest white. They were distinguished from similar associations, which were numerous at that time, by having their faces covered with a mask, and a large whip hanging from their girdles. The cross was generally carried by the Cardinal de Guise, who had as his acolytes the Chancellor and the Keeper of the Seals (i.e. Birague and Cheverny.)

155 Maurice Poncet. The King and his courtiers had gone in procession on a wet day. Poncet, in allusion to their dress, quoted a French proverb as to the folly of trying to keep off rain with wet sackcloth. He was rewarded for his temerity by imprisonment in the monastery of St. Peter at Melun. See Thuanus, iii. 627.

156Le 29e mars, le Roy fist fouetter, au Louvre, jusques à six vingts, que pages, que laquais, qui en la Salle Basse du Louvre avoient contrefait la procession des Penitents, aians mis leurs mouschoirs devant leurs visages, avec des trous à l’endroit des yeux.’—De l’Estoile., ii. 112.

157 See Letter XXIX.

158 Edmund Auger, the King’s confessor. He was not favourably disposed towards the League, and on this account was recalled by his superiors. See Thuanus, iii. 626. De l’Estoile, who detested him, declares that he was originally a juggler, ‘basteleur.’

159 See Motley, United Netherlands, i. 342.

160 See Strada, ii. 261-2.

161 For his real object, see Thuanus, iii. 630-631. He tried to obtain the Pope’s approval of a scheme for attacking Montmorency, Governor of Languedoc, and met with a refusal and rebuke. See Letter XXXII.

162 See Strada, ii. 264.

163 Busbecq was evidently on the watch for some turn in the affairs of the Netherlands which might tend to the advantage of the House of Austria. He did not care for decisive Spanish successes. See Letter XLI.

164 See Letter XXI., note.

165 De Viteaux was the murderer of du Guast, see page 116. The duel is described by Brantôme at great length; he had an account of it from Seigneur Jacques Ferron, who had acted as fencing-master to young Millaud, de Viteaux’s antagonist. Ferron climbed up a tall walnut tree in order to get a good view of the contest. Brantôme was a great admirer of de Viteaux. ‘Ainsi mourut ce brave baron, le parangon de France, qu’on nommoit tel, à bien venger ses querelles par grandes et determinées resolutions. Il n’estoit pas seulement estimé en France, mais en Italie, Espaigne, Allemaigne, en Pouloigne et Angleterre; et desiroient fort les estrangers venant en France le voir; car je l’ay veu, tant sa renommée volloit. Il estoit fort petit de corps, mais fort grand de courage. Ses ennemis disoient qu’il ne tuoit pas bien ses gens que par advantages et supercheries. Certes, je tiens de grands capitaines, et mesmes d’italiens, qui sont estez d’autresfois les premiers vengeurs du monde, in ogni modo, disoient-ils, qui ont tenu ceste maxime, qu’une supercherie ne se devoit payer que par semblable monnoye, et n’y alloit point là de deshonneur.’—Brantôme, vi. 89.

166Le mercredi 15e febvrier, le baron de Viteaux, revenant sur le soir du Louvre, fut chargé, en la rue Saint-Germain, près le fort l’Evesque, par dix ou douze hommes de cheval, bien montés et armés à l’avantage. Et mist ledit Viteaux brusquement la main à l’espée, et, vaillamment se défendant, se retira enfin sain et sauf.... On eust cette opinion que ceste charge avoit esté faicte par le jeune Millaud, désirant venger la mort de son père.’—De l’Estoile, ii. 105.

167 Brantôme gives a long list of de Viteaux’s achievements. He adds—‘S’il eust vescu, il en vouloit tuer encores deux que je sçay bien, qui, je croy, ne regrettérent guieres sa mort ... et possible s’il eust eschappé de ce combat, il fust tumbé en une embuscade qu’on luy avoit préparée, comme j’ay sceu despuis: car il commençoit à estre plus craint qu’aymé de quelques très-grands et très-grandes: si que ce trait du meurtre de M. du Guast fut estimé de grande résolution et asseurance.’—Brantôme, vi. 86-95.

168 In the early part of 1575 Montal, the governor of Lower Auvergne, was killed in a defile by the cavaliers of Magdelene de Senetaire, the widow of Guy de Saint-Exupery, Seigneur de Miraumont. ‘Cette Amazone, l’une des merveilles de son siécle pour la beauté, mais encore plus pour le courage et pour la vertu, avoit toûjours auprés d’elle soixante jeunes Gentils-hommes en bon équipage, qui s’efforçant tous à l’envy de meriter l’honneur de son estime, faisoient voir dans leur petite troupe l’échantillon de cette verité autrefois énoncée par un Ancien, Qu’une armée composée d’Amans seroit invincible.’—Mezeray, iii. 375.

The Latin is Montenellus, and we have identified him with Montal on the authority of de Foy; his case, however, hardly furnishes a parallel to the death of de Viteaux, and possibly Louvier de Montrevel (or Maurevert) is intended, who was killed about this time by the son of a man he had assassinated. This atrocious scoundrel had been like Besme (see p. 99) a page in the household of Guise, had murdered the governor of the pages and deserted. In spite of his crime he was readmitted to his old position, and undertook to murder Coligny. With this object he deserted to the Huguenots, and was most kindly received by Moüy, governor of Niort, who shared with him his bed, his board, and his purse. Unable to find an opportunity of assassinating the Admiral, Montrevel murdered his benefactor in the most dastardly manner. Mezeray draws a parallel between him and de Viteaux, who had at least the redeeming quality of courage. See Mezeray, iii. 224 and 555.

169 Bussy d’Amboise was a notorious duellist. On one occasion, for instance, a gentleman named Saint-Phal was looking at a piece of embroidery, and made the innocent remark that a certain letter worked on it was X; Bussy, in order to provoke a quarrel, insisted that it was Y. The upshot of the dispute was a duel with six champions on either side; at the first meeting Bussy was slightly wounded, on which Saint-Phal withdrew from the combat. Bussy endeavoured to arrange another meeting, but was prevented by the King.

His end was as follows. The King obtained some letters of Bussy’s boasting of an intrigue with a married lady, and showed them to her husband, the Count of Monsoreau. The latter carried off his wife to a lonely castle and compelled her to write a letter to Bussy, inviting him to visit her. He fell into the trap, and was murdered by a band of assassins as soon as he entered the castle. No one regretted him, not even Alençon, to whom he had attached himself.—Ambassadeurs Vénetiens, ii. 453.

Bussy’s sister Renée afterwards married Balagny (see Letter XXIX.) on condition that he would avenge her brother, a promise he never fulfilled. She is the heroine of Cambrai described by Motley, United Netherlands, iii. 350, 351.

170 For the real reason of this outburst, see Letters XXII. XXIX. The King suspected her of causing his despatches to be intercepted and his messenger murdered. Whether Margaret was guilty of this murder or not, she was capable of such acts. See note, p. 116.

171 ‘La dame de Duras et la damoiselle de Bethune.’—De l’Estoile, ii. 130.

172 Jacques de Harlay, Seigneur de Chanvallon, was the reputed father of Marguerite’s son.

173 One of the chief objects of the first expedition of Santa Cruz to the Azores (see Letter VI.) was to provide for the safety of the fleet which was expected from India. Telles Silva, having secured Goa and the other Portuguese possessions in India for Spain, despatched a messenger, Jerome Lima, to Philip by an overland route, viâ Ormuz, Bagdad, Aleppo, Jerusalem, and Tripoli, to inform him of his plans. Matters appear to have been well timed by the Spaniards, for shortly after the defeat of Strozzi the Indian fleet hove in sight, and Santa Cruz, after throwing a garrison into St. Michael, escorted the convoy to Lisbon. Don Antonio was thus left master of the other islands, but, as has already been seen, he quickly decamped, leaving Emmanuel Silva in command. The following year the French sent their second expedition, consisting of 600 men under de Chattes, Knight of Malta; on reaching Terceira this gallant officer strongly urged the Portuguese commander to concentrate his troops in some strong place, as he saw no hope of preventing the Spaniards, who were shortly expected, from disembarking. Silva refused to take his advice; Santa Cruz succeeded in landing, and after a sharp engagement the French, who were deserted by their Portuguese allies, were driven into the interior.

De Chattes asked Silva to join him, suggesting that with their united forces they would be able to offer a better resistance or secure better terms. Silva returned a most insolent answer, telling him to join the Spaniards, and boasting that he and his Portuguese were a match for them both, meanwhile he sent to Santa Cruz, offering to surrender and betray his French allies. This proposition the Spanish admiral forwarded to de Chattes by a man who had served with the latter at Malta. De Chattes no longer hesitated to accept the liberal terms offered by Santa Cruz, and surrendered with 400 men, on condition of their keeping their side arms, and being sent back to France. Silva was quickly hunted down, tortured, and executed. The French who had been taken prisoners before the surrender of the main body were sent to the galleys. See Thuanus, iii. 637-642.

174 The father of Casimir. See note, page 15.

175Le 10e septembre, vindrent à Paris, en forme de procession, huict ou neuf cens, qu’hommes, que femmes, que garsons, que filles, vestus de toile blanche, aveq mantelets aussi de toile sur leurs espaules, portans chapeaux ou de feutre gris chamarrés de bandes de toile, ou tous couvers de toile sur leurs testes, et en leurs mains les uns des cierges et chandelles de cire ardens, les autres des croix de bois, et marchoient deux à deux, chantans en la forme des pénitens ou pélerins allans en pélerinage. Ils estoient habitans des villages de S. Jean des deux Gemeaux et d’Ussy, en Brie, près la Ferté Gaucher. Et estoient conduis par les deux gentilshommes des deux villages susdits, vestus de mesme parure, qui les suivoient à cheval, et leurs damoiselles aussi vestues de mesmes, dedans ung coche. Le peuple de Paris accourut à grande foule pour les voir venans faire leurs prières et offrandes en la grande église de Paris, esmeu de pitié et commisération, leur voiant faire tels pénitenciaux et dévocieux voyages pieds nuds, et en longueur et rigueurs des chemins. Ils disoient avoir esté meus à faire ces pénitences et pélerinages pour quelque feux apparans en l’air et autres signes, comme prodiges veus au ciel et en la terre, mesmes vers les quartiers des Ardennes, d’où estoient venus les premiers tels pélerins et pénitens, jusques au nombre de 10 ou 12 mille, à Nostre-Dame de Reims et de Liesse, pour mesme occasion.’—De l’Estoile, ii. 134.

176 Busbecq regarded his books as personal friends; see the end of the 2nd Turkish letter (vol. i. p. 191). He will not have them slighted! De Foy omits this letter from his translation on the ground that it has no historic interest. His real reason is evidently his inability to reconcile its statements with his own notes on Letter XII., in which he explains Busbecq’s appeal for a settlement as to the Greek manuscripts, by supposing that they had been stopped at the Venetian custom-house. For an account of these books see vol. i. p. 417.

177 Their names are given, Thuanus, iii. 633. The King selected three Archbishops, each of whom was accompanied by a distinguished layman.

178 Twenty-six of Busbecq’s miles (see vol. i. p. 82 note) are equivalent to about sixty English miles, which is the distance of Château Thierry from Paris.

179 See Motley, Rise of the Dutch Republic, P. VI. ch. vi.

180 To those who know the history of the times, it will not be surprising that Alençon did not care to come to court. Henry III. allowed and encouraged his favourites to treat his brother in the most insolent manner, mimicking him to his face, and pointing at him. The following is the description of their behaviour at St. Luc’s wedding:—‘Le duc d’Anjou (Alençon) ne voulut point assister à la cérémonie; cependant, par complaisance pour la reine-mère, il se présenta le soir au bal, et eut tout lieu de s’en repentir.... Chacun le montroit au doigt; on le regardoit en ricanant: on se parloit de lui à l’oreille, assez haut cependant pour qu’il entendît que sa taille, son air, sa démarche étoient la matière des plaisanteries.’—Anquetil, viii. 77.

181 The King had on a former occasion acted with great precipitation with regard to Alençon, entering his room at night, searching his bed for papers, and insisting on seeing a note which his brother with clasped hands implored him not to open. It turned out to be a billet-doux!—See Mémoires de Marguerite, 136-7.

182 See Letter XXII.

183 Busbecq’s opinion was amply confirmed by Balagny’s subsequent career. He established himself at Cambrai as an independent Prince.—See United Netherlands, i. 8, 100; and iii. 347-350. See also p. 227. Balagny was the son of Busbecq’s friend Jean de Montluc, Bishop of Valence (see p. 35, note 2), who considered himself married to his mother. ‘Je croy qu’il ne prit point l’ordre de Prestrise, mais il se donna la licence d’avoir une femme, dont vint Jean de Montluc-Balagny; car ayant fort pratiqué les Docteurs des nouvelles opinions, il estoit dans ce mauvais sentiment que le Celibat n’estoit pas une qualité necessaire aux Ecclesiastiques.’—Mezeray, iii. 450.

184 As for instance du Guast, Fervaques, and Brantôme.

185Le dimanche 13e de novembre, le Prévost de l’Hostel et ses archers prirent prisonnières 50 ou 60, que damoiselles, que bourgeoises, contrevenant en habits et bagues à l’édit de la réformation des habits, sept ou huit mois auparavant publié, et les constituèrent prisonnières au fort l’Evesque et autres prisons fermées, où elles couchèrent, quelque remonstrance et offre de les cautionner et paier les amandes encourues que peussent faire les parens et amis: qui fut une rigœur extraordinaire et excessive, veu que par l’édit il n’y gissoit qu’une amande pécuniaire. Mais il y avoit en ce fait un tacit commandement et consentement du Roy, qui ferma la bouche aux plaintes qu’on en vouloit faire.’—De l’Estoile, ii. 139.

186 Cardinal de Birague’s unpopularity with the Court may be partly accounted for by a very amusing story told by Thuanus. As Chancellor of France he was commanded by the King to make a speech before the Parliament asking for the confirmation of some financial measures which his Majesty had sent to them. Henry was present with all his courtiers. Whether Birague intended the sarcasm or not it is impossible to say; but to the great amusement of the ready-witted Frenchmen he said, looking round on the royal favourites, ‘Really the causes of the King’s poverty and want of money are so obvious that everyone can see them.’ He repeated the phrase again and again, amid roars of laughter. See Thuanus, iii. 626. Compare also pp. 177, 178.

The following is the opinion of his fellow officials:—‘Ce chancelier estoit Italien de nation et de religion, bien entendu aux affaires d’Estat, fort peu en la justice; de sçavoir, n’en avoit point à revendre, mais seulement pour sa provision, encores bien petitement. Au reste, libéral, voluptueux, homme du temps, serviteur absolu des volontés du Roy, aiant dit souvent qu’il n’estoit pas Chancelier de France, mais Chancelier du Roy de France, ce que son successeur a sceu encores mieux prattiquer que lui. Car il mourust pauvre pour un homme qui avoit longtemps servi les Roys de France, n’estant aucunement ambitieux, et meilleur pour ses amis et serviteurs que pour soi-mesmes. Il disoit, peu auparavant son décès, qu’il mouroit cardinal sans tiltre, prebstre sans bénéfice, et chancelier sans seaux.’—De l’Estoile, ii. 140.

187 Philippe Hurault, Comte de Cheverny.

188 See Motley, Rise of the Dutch Republic, Part VI., chap. vi. It is interesting to compare the dates as given by Motley with Busbecq’s letter. The latter throws a fresh light on the character of the ‘roaring demagogue’ Imbize. It appears from Thuanus (iii. 646) that Imbize, to gain the favour of the people, immediately on becoming Senator, threw into prison certain citizens, whom he accused of intriguing with the Spaniards, and having betrayed the Pays de Waes to them. The trick succeeded; Imbize won the confidence of the people, and, having attained his object, yielded to Champagny’s entreaties and released the prisoners.

189 The following is a description of Henry III. at the Carnival of 1577:—‘Il faisoit jouxtes, tournois, ballets et force masquarades, où il se trouvoit ordinairement habillé en femme, ouvroit son pourpoint et descouvroit sa gorge, y portant un collier de perles et trois collets de toile, deux à fraize et un renversé, ainsi que lors les portoient les dames de sa Cour.’—De l’Estoile, i. 180.

190 When Throgmorton was known to have confessed, ‘there was a flight of Catholics over the Channel thick as autumn swallows.’—Froude, chap. lxv.

191 The Earl of Northumberland—a mistake of Busbecq’s.

192 See Froude, chap. lxv.

193 Thuanus, iii. 679.

194 See p. 11, and note, p. 185.

195 Michel de Seure, Grand Prior of Champagne, a great favourite with Catherine de Medici. The following scene is described as occurring after Alençon’s sudden arrest and liberation in 1578: ‘Laquelle estant finie de cette façon, le chevalier de Seure, que la Royne ma mere avoit baillé à mon frere pour coucher en sa chambre, et qu’elle prenoit plaisir d’ouyr quelquesfois causer, pour estre d’humeur libre, et qui disoit de bonne grace ce qu’il vouloit, tenant un peu de l’humeur d’un philosophe cynique, se trouvant devant elle, elle luy demande: “Et bien, monsieur de Seure, que dictes vous de tout cecy?” “C’est trop peu,” dict-il, “pour faire à bon escient, et trop pour se jouer.” Et se tournant vers moy, sans qu’elle le peust entendre, me dit: “Je ne croy pas que ce soit icy le dernier acte de ce jeu; nostre homme (voulant parler de mon frere) me tromperoit bien, s’il en demeuroit là!”’—Mémoires de Marguerite, p. 148.

196Le 6e jour de mars, le Roy estant au Conseil, en son chasteau du Louvre, entra en grande colère contre le chevalier de Seure, grand-prieur de Champaigne, jusques à lui donner des coups de poing et de pied, pource que (comme il est haut à la main et furieux en sa colère) il avoit dit à Milon, seingneur de Videville, premier intendant des finances, qu’il estoit un larron et assassin du peuple de France, d’ailleurs par trop affligé, l’aiant chargé de huit millions d’escus, sous couleur de paier les debtes du Roy, qu’il disoit monter à ladite somme, combien qu’elles ne montassent qu’à cinq millions, et par ce moien surchargeoit furtivement le pauvre peuple de trois millions. Et au Roy, survenant sur ces propos, osa encores dire: “Sire, vous savez bien ce qui en est;” et lui aiant respondu le Roy qu’il ne s’en souvenoit point, fust d’abondant si temeraire que de répliquer hautement et superbement: “Si vous voulez mettre la main sur la conscience, Sire, vous savez ce qui en est.” Ce que le Roy (ne prenant pas d’ailleurs plaisir a ouïr de tels propos) print pour une forme de démenti, et par une promte colère mist la main sur ledit chevalier, l’excédant, ainsi que dit est.’—De l’Estoile, ii. 149. Michel de Seure was one of the commissioners mentioned pp. 198, 201. See Thuanus, iii. 633.

197 Pierre de Gondi. See note, p. 40.

198 See Froude, chap. lxvi.

199 Strada, ii. 281.

200 See Letter XXXII.

201Sur la fin de ce mois (May), la Roine-mère s’en alla à Monsseaux et de là à Chasteau-Thierri, voir M. le Duc son fils, grièvement malade. Elle en revinst le premier juing, et fist apporter par eau les plus précieux meubles de son dit fils, abandonné des médecins et de tout humain secours.’—De l’Estoile, ii. 154.

202 The secret is told us by a contemporary:—‘Le 16e jour de may, le duc Desparnon partist de Paris par mandement et commission du Roy, pour aller en Gascongne trouver le Roy de Navarre, lui porter lettres et créance de la part de Sa Majesté, par lesquelles elle l’ammonestoit, enhortoit et prioit, pource que la vie du duc Dalençon, son frère, estoit déplorée et n’en attendoit-on de jour à autre que nouvelles de sa mort, de venir à la Cour près d’elle et d’aller à la Messe, parce qu’il le vouloit faire recongnoistre son vrai héritier et successeur de sa couronne, lui donner grade et dignité près de sa personne, tels que méritoient les qualités de beau-frère et légitime successeur de ladite couronne de France, et recevoir de lui tous les honneurs, avantages et bons traitemens que telles qualités et la bonne amitié qu’il lui portoit pouvoient requerir.’—De l’Estoile, ii. 153.

203 This is evidently Busbecq’s verdict, which he cautiously assigns to others. Compare Motley’s sketch of Alençon, Rise of the Dutch Republic, Part V. chap. v. Henry IV. expressed his opinion of Alençon as follows:—‘Un cœur double, un esprit malin, et tourné comme son corps mal bâti.’

204 Navarre’s title to the succession was recognised in his marriage contract with Marguerite.—See Thuanus, iv. 3.

205 I.e. Monsieur. ‘A nul appartient d’estre appellé en France simplement Monsieur, que le premier prince du sang ampres le Roy.’—Brantôme, iii. 83.

206 Compare Thuanus, iii. 680.

207 See Motley, Rise of the Dutch Republic, Part VI. chap. vii.

208 See Strada, ii. 306, 307. Motley, United Netherlands, i. 156.

209Le 25e juillet, le Roy, après avoir fait quelque séjour à Vincennes, pour y establir ses Hiéronimites, retourna à Fontainebleau, et de là prist le chemin de Lyon; où estant arrivé, osta le gouvernement de la ville au seingneur de Mandelot, et le bailla au seingneur du Bouchage, frère du duc de Joieuse.’—De l’Estoile, ii. 164.

210 Des Pruneaux. See Motley, United Netherlands, i. 58 seq.

211 See Motley, United Netherlands, i. 31, where this passage is quoted as Busbecq’s own opinion. Such, no doubt, it is, but, with his usual caution, he puts it in the mouth of others.

212 A full account of Parma’s operations at Dendermonde is to be found Strada, ii. 308-11. Busbecq’s brother-in-law, Jacques de Yedeghem, had been captain, governor and high bailiff of Dendermonde (Tenremonde) during 1566 and 1567. He kept the town quiet during those troublous times, and gained the approval of the Governor-general of the Netherlands.—Dalle, Histoire de Bousbecque, p. 50.

213 See Letter XXIX.

214 See Letter XVIII., and note 3, p. 224.

215 See Motley, United Netherlands, i. 113, and note p. 7.

216 See Motley, United Netherlands, i. 21-23. Strada, ii. 317.

217Le 19e octobre, le Roy, de Blois, et les Roines, de Chenonceau, partirent en grand haste, pource que deux ou trois damoiselles de la Roine se trouvèrent frappées de peste; dont l’une, nommée Monmorin, en mourut. Et se trouvant Ruscellaï à Fontainebleau, au disner du Roy, et s’estant meu propos de ceste peste, et de la peur que le Roy et les Roines en avoient eue et avoient encores, il osa dire au Roy “que Sa Majesté ne devoit point craindre ceste maladie, pource que la Cour estoit une plus forte peste, sur laquelle l’autre ne pouvoit mordre.”’—De l’Estoile, ii. 172.

218 Jean Baptiste Tassis (or Taxis) was one of Philip’s most able diplomatists. He was the son of Jean Baptiste de Tassis, who in 1545 was appointed Postmaster General throughout Germany and the Netherlands by Charles V., and whose uncle Francis had in 1516 established a riding post between Brussels and Vienna by order of the Emperor Maximilian. To his family, as Strada points out, the world is indebted for the first regular system of posting in modern times—even down to 1866 the Princes of Thurn and Taxis managed the posts of Würtemberg, Nassau, Hesse, the Hanse towns, and some other German principalities. This is the point of James I.’s complaint that ‘Spain sent him a postilion-ambassador.’ Motley seems to explain the remark by stating that Tassis was chief courier to Philip. It is hardly probable that a great ambassador would be employed in such an office. See also note, p. 28.

219 The Kings of England claimed the same power. ‘The days on which this miracle was to be wrought were fixed at sittings of the Privy Council, and were solemnly notified by the clergy in all the parish churches of the realm. When the appointed time came, several divines in full canonicals stood round the canopy of state. The surgeon of the royal household introduced the sick. A passage from the sixteenth chapter of the Gospel of Saint Mark was read. When the words, “They shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover,” had been pronounced, there was a pause, and one of the sick was brought up to the King. His Majesty stroked the ulcers and swellings, and hung round the patient’s neck a white riband to which was fastened a gold coin.’—Macaulay, History of England, chap. xiv.

220 Senlis.—Thuanus, iii. 714.

221 The practical advantages of this plan are illustrated by the cases of Montmorency and Damville. See pp. 68, 69, 77.

222 See Motley, Rise of the Dutch Republic, Part VI. chap, iv., and Letter IX, note. He was a member of the house of St. Aldegonde, Seneschal to the King of Spain, and Lieutenant of the Royal bodyguard of Archers. He had been sent by Philip in 1578 to Don John of Austria and the States-General to negotiate peace.—Tassis, Mémoires.

223 See Motley, United Netherlands, i. 95, note.

224 Busbecq calls this nobleman de Herbei. This was the regular French spelling of the name. Noailles, the French ambassador to Queen Mary, always uses it. See Motley, United Netherlands, i. 98, and Froude, chap. lxvii.

225 See Motley, United Netherlands, i. 67.

226 His name was Ferrand. He was secretary to the King of Navarre, and asserted that he had made the attempt at the instigation of his Queen (Marguerite).—De l’Estoile, ii. 181.

227 See Motley, United Netherlands, i. 139.

228 See Ranke, History of Civil Wars and Monarchy in France, chap xxi.

229 See Ranke, History of Civil Wars and Monarchy in France, chap. xxi.

230Ligue sainte, dy-je, pourpensée et inventée par défunct Charles, Cardinal de Lorraine, voiant la lignée de Valois proche de son période, et l’occasion se présenter, sous ce beau masque et saint prétexte de religion, d’exterminer les premiers de la Maison de Bourbon et les plus proches de la Couronne, pour faire ouverte profession de ladite Religion Prétendue Réformée, et par ce moien empiéter la couronne de France, qu’ils disoient avoir esté ravie à Lotaire, dernier Roy de France de la race de Charlemagne, et à ses enfants, leurs prédécesseurs, par Hugues Capet, qui n’y pouvoit prétendre aucun droit que par la violente et injuste usurpation, par le moien de laquelle il s’en estoit emparé.’—De l’Estoile, ii. 184.

231 This surmise was perfectly correct. See Motley, United Netherlands, i. 111.

232 William Robert de la Marck, Duke of Bouillon and Prince of Sedan from 1574 to 1588. A Huguenot like his father. ‘Le Roy, adverti de tous ces remuemens de divers seingneurs et endroits de son roiaume, et mesmes par le duc de Bouillon, qui lui donna advis de la grande levée de gens de guerre que sous main faisoit le duc de Guise, pendant qu’il s’amusoit à baller et masquer, fist responce qu’il ne le croioit ni ne craingnoit.’—De l’Estoile, ii. 185.

233 See Ranke, Civil Wars and Monarchy in France, chap. xxi.

234 See Motley, United Netherlands, i. 117.

235 They asked that the Estates should meet once every three years.—Ranke, Civil Wars and Monarchy in France, chap. xxi.

236 Sixtus V. was elected Pope the day before this letter was written. Gregory XIII., who died on April 10, though he was reported to have approved of the Catholic Princes taking up arms in defence of their religion (see Sismondi, xx. 150), yet refused to issue any Bull in their favour. ‘Ce Pape n’avoit jamais adhéré à la levée des armes de la Ligue, et peu de jours avant sa mort, avoit dit au cardinal d’Est, que la Ligue n’auroit ni Bulle, ni Bref, ni Lettres de lui, jusques à ce qu’il vid plus clair en leurs brouilleries.’—De l’Estoile, ii. 190. The statement in the text must therefore be a canard started by the Leaguers.

237 Compare vol. i. 219, 220. For the war between Turkey and Persia, see Creasy, History of the Ottoman Turks, chap, xii, and Von Hammer, bks. xxxviii. and xl. Peace was concluded in 1590, Persia ceding Tabriz, Shirwan, and Georgia.

238 Philippe Emmanuel, Marquis de Nomeny, son of Nicolas Comte de Vaudemont and Duc de Mercœur, married Marie, daughter and heiress of Sebastian de Luxembourg, Vicomte de Martigues and Duc de Penthièvre. (See page 80.) He succeeded his father as Duc de Mercœur in 1577, and was appointed Governor of Brittany in 1582. During the civil wars after Henry III.’s death, he aspired to make himself independent. With this view he negotiated with Philip II., and introduced Spanish troops into Brittany. He maintained his position till 1598, when he was obliged to surrender to Henry IV. He then entered the service of the Emperor Rodolph, and fought in Hungary against the Turks. He died at Nuremberg on his way home in 1602. His only daughter and heiress was married to Cæsar, Duc de Vendôme, Henry IV.’s son by Gabrielle d’Estrées. In a caricature described by de l’Estoile (ii. 230) representing the chiefs of the League, the motto given to the Duc de Mercœur is ‘Symbolum ingratitudinis.’

239 See Letter XXXVII.

240 For Lansac’s piracies, see De l’Estoile, ii. 361.

241 Charles de Cossé-Brissac, nephew of Maréchal Cossé (p. 8). He acted as Strozzi’s lieutenant (see note p 146). Froude in his account of the French expedition to the Azores calls him ‘the Huguenot de Brissac,’ whereas he was one of the chiefs of the League. For his attempted seizure of Angers, see Mezeray, iii. 769, 770. He was appointed Governor of Paris by Mayenne at the request of the Spanish Ambassadors in 1594. Mezeray, iii. 1101-2.

242 See note 1, p. 260.

243 See Ranke, Civil Wars and Monarchy in France, chap. xxii.

244 The Marquis of Richebourg and the Seigneur de Billy, a distinguished Portuguese officer, were both killed. See Motley, United Netherlands, i. 191-196.

245 See Thuanus, iv. 10.

246 See Froude, chap. lxvii.

247 The grant was made by the deputies of the Clergy assembled at the Abbey of Saint-Germain des Prés, on October 2, and on the 16th, a second Edict against the Huguenots was published ordering them to conform or leave the kingdom within fifteen days.—De l’Estoile, ii. 213.

248 See Thuanus, iv. 50 seq.

249 The Seigneur de Tavannes, appointed Governor by the League. See De l’Estoile, ii. 216.

250 Dated August 28, 1585. Published in Paris towards the end of September.—De l’Estoile, ii. 210. See Motley, United Netherlands, i. 132.

251 Brother of the Prince de Condé. After his uncle’s death he assumed the title of Cardinal de Bourbon, see note, page 7.

252 M. Savary de Lancosme, nephew of M. de Villequier, one of the King’s favourites.

253Paris est divisé comme en trois villes par la riviere de Seine qui passe au milieu.... L’autre partie, qui est à gauche de ladicte riviere, est nommée l’Université.’—Palma Cayet, Histoire de la Ligue, i. 251. The four faubourgs were those of St. Germain, St. Jacques, St. Marceau, and St. Victor.

The famous La Noue on this occasion attempted to enter Paris by wading along the side of the Seine immediately under the Tour de Nesle, so as to land on the Quai des Augustins. Unfortunately, he rashly led the way himself, and keeping too close to the foot of the tower, where the water happened to be deepest, suddenly got out of his depth, and was nearly drowned. The enterprise consequently proved a failure.

254 The Cardinal de Bourbon, Henry IV.’s uncle, the Prince de Joinville, son and successor to Henry, Duke of Guise, and the Duc d’Elbœuf had been arrested by Henry III.’s orders, on December 23, 1588, the day of Guise’s assassination. Others, who had been arrested at the same time, had been executed, had escaped, or had been released, but these three still remained in close custody. The Cardinal was confined at Fontenay, and the two Dukes at Tours.

255 Between this letter and the last intervenes a period of nearly four years. See vol. i. p. 69. From the purchase-deed of the Seigneury of Bousbecque and Parma’s Sauve-garde (see Appendix), we know that Busbecq continued to reside in France as the agent of Elizabeth. This letter was written three months after the assassination of Henry III. After that event Navarre had been obliged to retreat to Normandy pursued by the Duke of Mayenne. The latter, however, after his attack on Henry at Arques had failed, retired to Amiens and left the way open for his enemy to make a dash on Paris.

256 The governor was de Maillé-Brezé, Seigneur de Benehart; and the monk was a cordelier named Robert Chessé or Jessé. Thuanus (v. 32) gives an account of their execution. The monk died like a brave man, the governor like a coward.

257 Philippe de Lenoncourt, Bishop of Châlons-sur-Marne, and afterwards of Auxerre, Cardinal of San Onofrio. It is a disputed point whether he ever actually became Archbishop of Rheims. See Gallia Christiana, ix. 156.

258 Henry, eldest son and successor of Charles, Duke of Lorraine. He sometimes bears the title of Duke of Bar. He married in 1599 Catherine, Henry IV.’s sister (see note, page 51). After her death he married Margaret de Gonzaga, daughter of the Duke of Mantua. He died in 1624. He had taken part in Mayenne’s autumn campaign against Henry, and was now on his way home from Amiens, where he had been detained some time by illness.

259Mayenne exposa la nécessité d’établir un conseil général de l’union, dont l’autorité seroit reconnue par toute la France. Des désignations pour ce conseil suprême étoient déjà faites par le conseil particulier de la ville. Il en donna le rôle; on y trouvoit trois évêques, de Meaux, de Senlis et d’Agen, six curés de Paris, sept gentilshommes, vingt deux bourgeois de Paris; ce qui, avec lui-même pour président et un secrétaire, formoit quarante membres.’—Sismondi, xx. 472.

260 He was Cardinal Caietano, brother of the Duke of Sermoneta. He arrived in Paris on January 5.

261 The people of Dijon eleven years before had been desirous of having a separate bishopric, but were prevented by the opposition of the Bishop and Chapter of Langres, in which diocese Dijon was situated.—Gallia Christiana, iv. 637.

262 These reports were not unfounded. Sultan Amurath had in fact written to Navarre promising protection against Spain, and offering to send a fleet of 200 sail to Aigues-Mortes.—Collection des Documents Inédits sur l’Histoire de France, Lettres Missives de Henri IV., iii. 364. Part of the letter is quoted by Motley, United Netherlands, iii. 48.

263 The citadel of Rouen was actually betrayed to the Royalists on February 19, but was recovered by Aumale four days afterwards.

264 The siege began on January 9, and was raised in the middle of February. Aubigné, Histoire, vol. iii. bk. iii. ch. iv; Thuanus, v. 41-3.

265 This letter is not dated, but from the mention of the Legate’s arrival and the siege of Meulan, it appears to have been written towards the end of the first half of January 1590. Busbecq was probably then at Mantes, the place from which the next letter was written. Mantes is about twenty-five English miles from Evreux, which corresponds roughly with ten of Busbecq’s miles. See vol. i. page 82, note.

266 Pierre d’Espinac was born in 1540, and became Archbishop of Lyons in 1574. He was Speaker, or Prolocutor, of the States-General held at Blois in 1576. Catherine de Medici, when the Leaguers first took up arms, sent him to negotiate with them (see p. 246.) However, he went over to that party, and was thenceforth one of the strongest partisans of the League. According to his own account, he was forced to take this step by the insults he received from Epernon, the King’s favourite; his enemies, on the other hand, asserted that his motive was the hope of gaining a Cardinal’s hat. After the assassination of Guise, at Blois, in December 1588, the Archbishop was one of those arrested, and he shared the prison of the Cardinal, the brother of the murdered duke. Each expected to meet the same fate, and each confessed to the other, and received absolution at his hands. The Cardinal was put to death the following day without trial, but the Archbishop’s life was spared. On his trial he refused to answer when interrogated by the judges, on the ground that, as Archbishop and Primate, he was subject only to the jurisdiction of the Pope, or of delegates appointed by him. He was then imprisoned at Amboise. On his release he again joined the League, and was Mayenne’s strongest partisan. He died in 1599, refusing to the last to acknowledge Henry IV.—Thuanus, v. 855.

267 Nanteuil-le-Haudoin, 49 kilometres, or about 31 English miles, from Paris. Busbecq’s ‘French miles’ must therefore be leagues. The château had been purchased by Schomberg from the Guises in 1578, and he derived from it his title of Comte de Nanteuil.

268 The appointment of these commissioners, and the seizure of Mayenne’s letters, are mentioned by Busbecq, and, as far as we have been able to discover, by Busbecq alone. These facts are not noticed by Sismondi. As has been already remarked (vol. i. page 64, note), these letters have apparently entirely escaped the notice of historians.

269 Little more than two years intervened between the date of this letter and the writer’s death. See vol. i. pp. 70, 71.

270 See for example vol. i. p. 162, pp. 239-241, and p. 351.

271 See vol. i. p. 94.

272 See vol. i. pp. 94, 167, 407.

273 Ferdinand and Louis had married each other’s sisters. Mary, the wife of the latter, was afterwards Regent of the Netherlands for her brother Charles V. See Motley, Rise of the Dutch Republic, Part I. chap. i.

274 See vol. i. p. 410.

275 See vol. i. p. 409.

276 See vol. i. p. 166.

277 See vol. i. pp. 78, 79.

278 See vol. i. p. 301.

279 See vol. i. pp. 79, 176.

280 See vol. i. p. 80.

281 See vol. i. p. 236.

282 See vol. i. pp. 111-118.

283 See vol. i. p. 80.

284 See vol. i. p. 81.

285 See vol. i. p. 190.

286 See vol. i. p. 85.

287 See vol. i. pp. 237-239.

288 See p. 282.

289 See vol. i. p. 236.

290 See vol. i. p. 348, note.

291 See vol. i. p. 297.

292 See vol. i. p. 386.

293 This summary of the treaty is taken from a Latin version of the Turkish original made by John Spiegel, Ferdinand’s first interpreter, which is usually printed with Busbecq’s letters.

294 See note 2, p. 73.

295 Nonsuch Park, at Cheam, was a favourite residence of Queen Elizabeth.

296 See pp. 271-2.

297 The original of this patent of Knighthood is preserved in the Imperial Archives at Vienna.

298 The blank supplies the place of a foul epithet.




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