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trigues and artifices, and find out the most secret motives, by which the heads of that conspiracy have acted, to which the magnificent title of the Holy Union has been given with so much injustice; and, in consequence of this, to make an exact description of the principal actions, and the greatest and most signal events, which decided the fortune of the League; and this, in short, is the model of

my work.

As for the end which I proposed to myself, in conceiving it, I may boldly say, that it was to give a plain understanding to all such as shall read this history, that all sorts of associations which are formed against lawful sovereigns, particularly when the conspirators endeavour to disguise them under the specious pretence of religion and piety, as did the Huguenots and Leaguers, are at all times most criminal in the sight of God, and most commonly of unhappy and fatal consequence to those, who are either the authors or accomplices of the crime.






If I intended to follow the example of Livy,.the prince of Latin historians, who never suffers a prodigy to escape him, and describes it perhaps with as much superstition as exactness, I should here make long narrations how the sun was obscured on the sudden, without the interposition of any cloud appearing in the sky, with a flaming sword shooting out from the centre of the body; palpable darkness, like that of the Egyptians at noon-day; extraordinary tempests, earthquakes, fiery phantasms in the air, and an hundred other prodigies, which are said to have been produced and seen in this unhappy year of one thousand five hundred and eighty-eight, and which were fancied to be so many ominous presages of those horrible disorders that ensued in it.

But because I am not of the opinion, that much credit ought to be given to those sorts of signs, which are commonly the effects of natural causes, though very often unknown to us; nor to the predictions of astrologers, some of which verily believed they had found in the stars, that this year should be the conclusion of the world, I will only say, that the most sure presage of so many misfortunes then impending, was the minds of men too much exasperated on both sides, to live in peace with each other; and not rather to be searching out for means of making sure of those whom they suspected, and disposing of them according to their jealousies.

In order to this, the Duke of Guise, after he had made an end of ruining the county of Montbelliard, took his way to Nancy, whither he had invited all the princes of his house to assemble in the month of January, there to take their resolutions, in reference to the present condition of affairs; and of that happy success which they had in the war against the Reyters. Some of them there were, as it is reported, so swollen with that victory, and so blinded with their prosperity, that they proposed, in this conference, the most dangerous and most violent expedients; to which the Duke of Lorraine, a moderate and wary prince, would by no means listen. Howsoever it were, (for I find nothing to confirm these relations, not even in the memoirs of their greatest enemies, who have written most exactly of that assembly,) it is most undoubted, that if they proceeded not so far as to those terrible extremities, yet what was then concluded, passed in the world for a most unjust and unlawful undertaking, and was condemned by all those who were not blindly devoted to the League.

It was, that a request should be presented to the king, containing articles, which, under the ordinary pretence of their desire to preserve in France the Catholic religion, tended manifestly to despoil him of his authority and power, and to invest the heads of the League in both. For those scandalous articles bore this substance in them, that, for the service of God, and the maintenance and security of religion, the king should not only be most humbly petitioned, but also summoned, to establish the Holy Inquisition in his realm; to cause the council of Trent to be there published, suspending nevertheless that article which revokes the exemption pretended by some chapters and abbeys against the bishops; to continue the war against the Huguenots, and to cause the goods both of them and of their associates to be sold, with which to defray the charges of that war, and to pay the debts in which the heads of the League had been constrained to involve themselves for the prosecution of it; to refuse quarter to all prisoners who should be taken in that war, unless upon condition of paying the full value of their goods, and giving caution of living afterwards like good Catholics.

Behold here a most specious appearance of zeal for religion; but, in the next place, observe the venom which lies hidden under all these fair pretences : That the king shall unite himself more cordially, and more openly than before, to this holy League; thereby to keep exactly all its laws, to which men are obliged by this the most solemn and most inviolable of all oaths : That, besides the forces which he shall be obliged to set on foot to wage that war against the Huguenots, he shall maintain an army on the frontiers of Lorraine, to oppose the German Protestants, if they should determine once again to enter France: That, besides those places which the Leaguers already held for their security, there should be delivered to them other towns of more importance, which should be specified to him, where they might establish for governors those of their heads which they shall name, with power of introducing such garrisons, and making such fortifications, as they shall think fit, at the charges of the provinces in which they are situate: And, in conclusion, to secure them, that they shall be no more hindered, as till this present they have always been, in the executing of those things which have been promised them for the safety of religion, his Majesty shall displace from his council, and from the court, and shall deprive of their governments and offices, those who shall be named to him, as patrons of heretics, and enemies to religion and the state.

These were those extravagant demands which began to open the eyes of many good Catholics, who had suffered themselves to be innocently seduced by the appearances of true zeal, which being little illuminated, was not "according to knowledge, as the apostle speaks. For they now more clearly saw into some of those articles; that the League to engage the Pope and the king of Spain in their interests, would be content to abandon those privileges and liberties, which our ancestors have always maintained with so much vigour and resolution; and to subject to the yoke of a Spanish inquisition, the French, who have never been able to undergo it. And in others of them, that they designed to bereave the king of all the solid and essential parts of royalty, to leave him only the shadow and appearance of it, and afterwards to dispose even of his person, as the heads of their party should think fit.

And accordingly when the request was presented to the king on the part of the associated princes, and the cardinal of Bourbon, whose simplicity and whose name they abused, and made it a cloak to their ambition, he conceived an extreme indigna

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