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came to understand the falsehood of their religion pretendedly reformed.
This action so infinitely nettled his former brotherhood of ministers, that they grew outrageous against him. They ran down his reputation with full cry, and endeavoured to blacken it with a thousand horrible calumnies, with which they stuffed their libels; and, amongst others, that which they have inserted into the memoirs of the League, with the greatest villany imaginable, taking no notice of the solid and convincing answers he made them. Which proceeding of theirs is sufficient to discover the falsity of all they have written to defame him, according to the libelling genius of presbytery.
For, of all heretics, none have been more cruel, or more foul-mouthed, than the Calvinists; none have revenged themselves of their pretended enemies more barbarously, either by open arms, or private mischiefs, when the er was in their hands; or more impudently with their pens, and by their libels, when they had no other way to show their malice; murdering their reputations with all sorts of injuries and impostures, who have once declared themselves against their party.
In effect, what have they not said to defame the memory of Monsieur de Sponde, lieutenantgeneral in Rochelle; of Salette, counsellor to the king of Navarre; of Morlas, counsellor of state and superintendent of the magazines of France; as also of Du Fay, Clairville, Rohan, and a hundred others of their most celebrated ministers, who, after having been esteemed amongst them for good men, and looked on as the leaders of their consistory, are, by a strange sort of metamorphosis, become, on the sudden, profligate wretches, and the most infamous of mankind, only for renouncing Calvinism? By how many forgeries and calumnies have they endeavoured to ruin the repute of all such Catholics as have the most vigorously opposed their heresy, history will furnish us with abundant proofs; and we have but too many in the fragments which Monsieur le Laboreur has given us of their insolent satires, where they spare not the most inviolable and sacred things on earth, not even their anointed sovereigns.
For which reason, that writer, in a certain chapter of his book, wherein he mentions but a small parcel of those libels, after he has said, "that the most venomous satirists, and the greatest libertines, were those of the Huguenot party," adds these memorable words: "I should have been ashamed to have read all those libels, for the blasphemies and impieties with which they are filled, if that very consideration had not been aiding to confirm me in the belief, that
there was more wickedness, than either error or blindness, in their doctrine; and that their morals were even more corrupt than their opinions."
He assures us in another place, that these new evangelists have made entire volumes of railing, of which he has seen above forty manuscripts; and that there needed no other arguments to decide the difference betwixt the two religions, and to elude the fair pretences of these reforming innovators.
So that all they have scribbled, with so much (I will not say violence, but) madness, against the Sieur Cayet, immediately upon his conversion, cannot do him the least manner of prejudice, no more than their ridiculous prediction, wherein they foretold, that it would not be long before he would be neither Huguenot nor Catholic, but that he would set up a third party betwixt the two religions. For he ever continued to live so well amongst the Catholics, that, after he had given on all occasions large proofs, both of his virtue and of his faith, he was thought worthy to receive the order of priesthood, and the degree of doctor in divinity, and was reader and professor royal of the oriental tongues.
Now seeing, in the year 1605, ten years after his conversion, he had published his "Septennary Chronology," of the peace which was made at Vervins in the year 1598; some of the greatest lords at court, who understood his merit, and had seen him with the king, (by whom he had the honour to be well known, and much esteemed,) obliged him to add to the history of the peace, that of the war, which that great prince made during nine years after his coming to the crown, till the peace of Vervins; which he performed in the three tomes of his "Nine Years' Chronology," printed at Paris in the year 1608; in which, before he proceeds to the reign of Henry the Fourth, he makes an abridgment of the most considerable passages in the League, to the death of Henry the Third. And it is partly from this author, and partly from such others as were eye-witnesses of what they wrote, whether in printed books, or particular memoirs, that I have drawn those things which are related by me in this history. I am not therefore myself the witness, nor as an historian do I take upon me to decide the merit of these actions, whether they are blamable or praiseworthy; I am only the relater of them; and since, in that quality, I pretend not to be believed on my own bare word, and that I quote my authors, who are my warrantees, as I have done in all my histories, I believe myself to stand exempted from any just reproaches, which can be fastened on me for my writing.
On which subject I think it may be truly said, that if instead of examining matters of fact, and
inquiring whether they are truly or falsely represented, that consideration be laid aside, and the question taken up, whether such or such actions were good or bad, and matter of right pleaded, whether they deserve to be condemned or praised; it would be but loss of time in unprofitable discourses, in which an historian is no way concerned. For in conclusion, he is only answerable for such things as he reports, on the credit of those from whom he had them; taking from each of them some particulars, of which the rest are silent, and compiling out of all of them a new body of history, which is of a quite different mould and fashion from any of the authors who have written before him.
And it is this in which consists a great part of the delicacy and beauty of these kinds of works, and which produces this effect; that, keeping always in the most exact limits of truth, yet an author may lawfully pretend to the glory of the invention; having the satisfaction of setting forth a new history, though, writing only the passages of a former age, he can relate almost nothing but what has been written formerly, either in printed books or manuscripts; which, though kept up in private, and little known, are, notwithstanding, not the work of him who writes the history.
As to what remains, none ought to wonder that I make but one single volume on this subject, though the matter of it is of vast extent. I take not upon me to tell all that has been done, on occasion of the League, in all the provinces, nor to describe all the sieges; the taking and surprising of so many places which were sometimes for the king, and at other times for the League;
I confine my undertaking within the compass of what is most essential in the particular history of the League, and have only applied myself to the discovery of its true origin, to unriddle its intrigues 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 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 consequences to those who are either the authors or accomplices of the crime,
THE HISTORY OF THE LEAGUE.
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, firy phantasms in the air, and a 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 indignation against it, which immediately appeared in his eyes and countenance. Yet he thought it necessary at that time to dissemble, not finding himself then in a condition of returning such an answer to it, as was becoming a king justly provoked against his subjects, who stood on terms with him like lords and masters. For which reason, and withal to gain farther time, he contented himself to say, that he would
examine those articles in his council, in order to his answer; which should be in such sort, that all good Catholics should have reason to be satisfied.
But in the mean time, the Duke of Guise, who took not fair words for payment, well understanding the king's design, and resolving not to give the Duke of Espernon the leisure to conjure down that tempest which was raised against him, and to infuse in his master those vigorous resolutions which were necessary for him to take, pressed the king continually to give a precise answer to every particular in those articles. For he doubted not, that, in case it proved favourable, he should engross all power to himself; and if it were otherwise, that it would be thought the king resolved to maintain the Huguenots, and that by consequence the Catholics would enter into a war against him.
On which considerations, being then retired into his government of Champaigne, to which place he went after the conference at Nancy, he plied the king incessantly with messages sent by gentlemen, one after another, to urge him to a speedy and punctual answer. And this he did with the more eagerness and importunity, because, on the one side, he found himself more powerful than ever, having a great part of the gentry, and almost all the people, and especially the Parisians, for him; and, on the other side, he observed the party of the Huguenots to be very low, and infinitely weakened, by the defeat of their great German succours, and by their late loss of the Prince of Conde, a person of all others the most strictly tied to their religion, and on whom they more relied than any man, not excepting the King of Navarre himself.
He deceased on the 5th of March, at St. Jean de Angely, of an exceeding violent distemper, with which he was suddenly seized one evening after supper, and which carried him off in two days' time. The sixteen, with infamous baseness, made a great rejoicing for it; and their preachers failed not to roar out in their sermons, that it was the effect of the excommunication with which he had been thunderstruck by Pope Sixtus. But besides that the King of Navarre, who had been struck in the same manner by the bull, had his health never the worse for it, the king, to whom that poor creature the Cardinal of Bourbon had been telling the same story, and making wonderful exclamations in relating it, answered him with a smile, that it might very well be the occasion of his death, but withal there was something else which helped him on his journey. And truly the matter was put beyond all doubt, after the attestation of four physicians, and of two master chirurgeons, who
deposed upon their oaths, that they had manifestly seen, in almost all the parts of his body, all the most evident signs and effects of a caustic poison, burning and ulcerating. A most execrable action, which could not be too rigorously punished; and yet the laws inflicted what was possible on the person of one of his domestic servants, who was drawn in pieces by four horses in the place of St. Jean de Angely.
As to the rest, he was a prince, who, except ing only his obstinate adhering to a religion in which he was born, and whose falsehood he might have known in time, if he had not been too much prepossessed, had, at the age of five-andthirty years, at which he died, all the perfections which can meet together in one man, to render him one of the greatest and most accomplished persons in the world; if at least there might not possibly be discerned in his carriage and customs some of those little failings, from which the most wise are not exempted, and which may easily be pardoned, without lessening the esteem which we have for them. And if fortune, which is not always propitious to merit, was not favourable to him on some occasions, wherein he had need of her assistance, yet in this she was his friend, that she gave him the greater opportunity of showing his invincible courage in his adversities, in which he raised himself infinitely above her, by the vigour and greatness of his soul.
Accordingly, the death of this great prince was lamented, not only by those of his own party, who loved him passionately, but also by the Catholics, and even by the Duke of Guise himself; who, head as he was of an infamous and wicked faction, which he made subservient to his ends, had of his own stock, and the excellency of his nature, which was infinitely noble, all the generosity which is requisite to love and respect virtue, even in the person of his greatest and most formidable enemy.
All which notwithstanding, he was content to make what advantage he could of so lamentable an accident, towards the compassing of his designs: And as he observed, not only by this, but by a multitude of concomitant accidents and misfortunes, that the Huguenot party decreased in strength and reputation, and his own grew more bold and undertaking, he set himself more vigorously to push his fortune, and to demand an entire satisfaction to all the articles of his request: which had so puffed up the spirits of the sixteen, that they forgot all manner of moderation, and grew daily more and more insupportable. It happened also at the same time, that the king received several advertisements of the resolution which had been taken in their council to seize his person, and to enclose him in a monastery.
And the same lieutenant of the provostship of the Isle of Paris, Nicholas Poulain, who had formerly discovered the like conspiracy, to which belief was not given, told him so many particular circumstances in relation to this, that though he was very diffident of that double-dealing man, whose integrity he much suspected, yet his evidence concurring with the extreme insolence of the sixteen, which rendered his report more credible, could not but leave a strong impression on his soul; insomuch, that at last following the counsel of those who had so long advised him to employ his power and justice against those mutineers, he took up a resolution, once for all, to take that thorn out of his side, to reduce Paris into that state of submission and obedience which belongs to subjects; and to extinguish the faction of the sixteen, by the exemplary chastisement of the most seditious amongst them.
The preparations which of necessity he was to make to secure the success of this undertaking; the three thousand Swissers, whom he caused to be quartered at Lagny; the companies of guards which were reinforced; the troops which were sent him from the Duke of Espernon, who was gone into his government of Normandy: and all the passages of the river, both above Paris and below it, being possessed by him, were so many alarms to those mutineers, who, believing themselves already lost, implored the assistance of the Duke of Guise. That prince, who had advanced from Rheims as far as Soissons, in favour of the Duke of Aumale, his cousin, who met with trouble and resistance in his government of Picardy, satisfied himself at first with sending them some of his most experienced captains, to regulate and manage their militia in case of need. But some few days after, finding himself still pressed more eagerly by the solicitations of those people, who were now driven to despair, and believing this foundation of the League, on which he had built his hopes, being once shaken, he himself must perish under its ruins, (for that being destroyed, the next design was certainly to fall on him, who was the head and protector of it ;) he gave immediate notice to his friends and creatures to get into Paris, one after another, at several gates, and ordered some to assure the sixteen in his name, that he would suddenly be there in person, to live and die with them.
The king, who was advertised of this resolution, and who was under great apprehensions of his coming, lest his presence might hinder the execution of his enterprise, and arm with a word speaking that great city, which was entirely at his devotion, sent the President de Bellievre, a