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should be called immediately an assembly of the three estates, to sit at Paris, where all this should be confirmed, and to hinder for the future, that the minions, who would dispose of all things at their pleasure, should not abuse their favour; that there should be established an unchangeable form of government, which it should not be in the power of the king to alter.
It is most evident, that demands so unreasonable, so arrogant, and so offensive, tended to put the government, and the power of it, into the duke's hands, who, being master of the armies, the offices, and the governments of the most principal provinces, in his own person, by his relations, his creatures, and the estates, where he doubted not of carrying all before him, especially at Paris, would be the absolute disposer of affairs; insomuch that there would be nothing wanting to him but the crown itself, to which it is very probable that at this time he pretended, in case he should survive the king, to the exclusion of the Bourbons, whom he would have declared incapable of succeeding to it.
For which reason, the queen, seeing that he would recede from no part of these articles, and beginning to fear that he would go farther than she desired, counselled the king to get out of Paris with all speed, while it was yet in his power so to do. And though some of his chief officers, as amongst others the Chancellor de Chiverny, and the Sieurs of Villeroy and Villequier, who were of opinion that more would be gained by the negotiation, and who foresaw that the Huguenots and the Duke of Espernon, whom they had no great cause to love, would make their advantage of this retreat so unworthy of a king, endeavoured to dissuade him from it, yet a thousand false advertisements, which came every moment, that they were going to invest the Louvre, and his accustomed fear, together with the diffidence he had of the Duke of Guise, whom he considered at that time as his greatest enemy, caused him at the last to resolve on his departure.
Accordingly, about noon the next day, while the queen-mother went to the duke with propositions only to amuse him, the king making show to take a turn or two in the Thuilleries, put on boots in the stables, and getting on horseback, attended by fifteen or sixteen gentlemen, and by ten or twelve lacqueys, having caused notice to be given to his guards to follow him, went out by the Pont Neuf, riding always on full gallop, for fear of being pursued by the Parisians, till, having gained the ascent above Challiot, he stopped his horse to look back on Paris. It is said, that then reproaching that great city, which he had always honoured and enriched by
his royal presence, and upbraiding its ingratitude, he swore he would not return into it but through a breach, and that he would lay it so low, that it should never more be in a condition of lifting up itself against the king. After this he went to lodge that night at Trappes, and the next morning arrived at Chartres; where his officers, those of his council, and the courtiers, came up to him, one after another, in great disorder; some on foot, others on horseback without boots, several on their mules, and in their robes, every man making his escape as he was best able, and in a great hurry, for fear of being stopped; in short, all of them in a condition not unlike the servants of David, at his departure from Jerusalem, travelling in a miserable equipage after their distressed master, when he fled before the rebel Absalom.
The Duke of Guise, who, on the one side, had been unwilling to push things to an extremity, to the end he might make his treaty with the king, and that it might not be said he was not at liberty; and, on the other side, not believing that he would have gone away in that manner, as if he fled from his subjects, who, stopping short of the Louvre by fifty paces, seemed unwilling to pursue their advantage any farther, was much surprised at this retreat, which broke the measures he had taken: but as he was endued with an admirable presence of mind, and that he could at a moment's warning accommodate his resolutions to any accident, how unexpected or troublesome soever, he immediately applied himself to put Paris in a condition of fearing nothing, to quiet all things there, and restore them to their former tranquillity, and withal to give notice to the whole kingdom how matters had passed at the barricades, as much to his own advantage as possibly he could.
To this effect he possessed himself of the strongest places in the city, of the Temple, of the Palace, of the town-house, of the two Chastelets, of the gates, where he set guards, of the arsenal, and of the Bastile, which was surrendered to him too easily by the governor Testu; the government of which he gave to Bussy Le Clerc, the most audacious of the sixteen. He obliged the magistrates to proceed in the courts of judicature as formerly; he made a new provost of merchants, and sheriffs, a lieutenant civil, colonels, and captains of the several wards, all devoted to the League, in the room of those whom he suspected: he retook, without much trouble, all the places both above and below on the river, that the passages for provisions might be free: he wrote at last to the king, to the towns, and to his particular friends,
and drew up manifests (or declarations) in a style which had nothing in it but what was great and generous; while he endeavoured to justify his proceedings, and at the same time to preserve the respect which was owing to the king; protesting always, that he was most ready to pay him an entire obedience, and that he proposed nothing to himself, but that provision should be made for the safety of religion, and of good Catholics, which were designed to be oppressed through the pernicious counsels of such as held intelligence with heretics, and projected nothing but the ruin of religion and the
These letters, together with those which the Parisians wrote to the other towns, exhorting all men to combine with them for their common preservation in the Catholic faith, and those of the king, which on the contrary, were written in too soft a style, and where there appeared more of fear and of excuse than of resentment and just complaint for so sacrilegious an attempt, had this effect, that the greatest part of the people, far from being scandalized at the barricades, approved them, loudly praising the conduct of the Duke of Guise, whom they believed to be full of zeal for the Catholic faith, for the good of the kingdom, and for the service of the king. And as he desired nothing so much as to confirm them in that opinion, he was willing that the body of the city should send their deputies to the king, humbly to beseech his majesty that he would forget what was passed, and return to his good town of Paris, where his most loyal subjects were ready to give him all the highest demonstrations of their obedience and devotion to his service.
He permitted that even processions should be made in the habit of penitents, to desire of God that he would please to mollify the king's heart; and this was performed with so much ardour, that there was one which went from Paris as far as Chartres, in a most extraordinary equipage, under the conduct of the famous friar Ange. This honest father was Henry de Joyeuse, Count of Bouchage, and brother to the late duke. He had given up himself to be a capuchin about a year before this time; having such strong impressions made upon him by the death and good example of his wife, Catharine de Nogaret, sister to the Duke of Espernon, that he was inflamed with a desire of repentance; insomuch, that neither the tears of his brother, nor the entreaties and favours of the king, who loved him exceedingly, nor the ardent solicitations of all the court, were able to remove him from the resolution he had taken of leading so austere a life. This noble friar, having put a
crown of thorns upon his head, and carrying an overgrown cross upon his shoulders, followed by his fraternity, and by a great number of penitents, and others who represented in their habits the several persons of the Passion, led on that procession, singing psalms and litanies. The march of these penitents was so well man. aged, that they entered the great chucrh of Chartres just as the king was there at vespers. As they entered, they began to sing the Miserere in a very doleful tone; and at the same time, two swinging friars, armed with disciplines, laid lustily on poor friar Ange, whose back was naked. The application was not hard to make, nor very advantageous to the Parisians; for the charitable creature seemed evidently to desire the king, that he would please to pardon them, as Jesus Christ was willing to forgive the Jews for those horrible outrages which they had committed against him.
A spectacle so surprising produced different effects in the minds of the standers-by; according to the variety of their tempers, some of them were melted into compassion, others were moved to laughter, and some even to indignation; and more than all the rest, the Marshal de Biron, who, having no manner of relish for this sort of devotion, and fearing, besides, that some dangerous Leaguers might have crowded in amongst them, with intention to preach the people into a mutiny, counselled the king to clap them up in prison every mother's son. But that good prince, who, notwithstanding all his faults, had a stock of piety at the bottom, and much respect for all things that related to religion, rejected wholly this advice. He listened to them much more favourably than he had heard all the harangues of the former deputies; and promised to grant them the pardon they desired for the town which he had so much favoured, on condition they would return to their obedience. And truly, it is exceeding probable, that he had so done from that very time, if they had not afterwards given him fresh provocations, by proposing the terms on which they insisted for the peace which they desired.
For the Duke of Guise, to whom all these fair appearances were very serviceable, and could be no ways prejudicial, and who always pursued his designs in a direct line, knew so well to manage the disposition of the queenmother, who had seemed at first to be much startled at his demands, that he recalled her with much dexterity into his interests, by working on these two passions which were rooted in her soul. She desired to raise to the throne, after the death of the king her son, her grand
son Henry de Lorrain, Marquis du Pont; and believed that the Duke of Guise would contribute to it all that was in his power. But as cunning as she was, she saw not into the bottom of that prince, who fed her only with vain hopes of that succession for another, to which he personally aspired. She infinitely hated the Duke of Espernon; and believing he was the man who, having possessed himself of the king's soul, had rendered her suspected to him, longed to turn him out of court; promising herself, by that means, to be re-established in the management of affairs, from which the favourites had removed her. And the Duke of Guise, who had as little kindness as herself for the Duke of Espernon, concurred in the same design, with at least as much earnestness, but for a much different end, for he desired to be absolute himself. In this manner, this subtle prince, always dissembling, and artificially hiding the true motives by which he acted, drew the queen at last to consent to all that he desired; and, above all, to give her allowance, that a request should be presented to the king, in the name of the cardinals, the princes, the peers of France, the lords, the deputies of Paris, and the other towns, and of all the Catholics united for the defence of the Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman religion.
This request, which, in the manner of its expressions, was couched in most respectful terms, contained, notwithstanding, in the bottom of it, certain propositions, at least as hard as the Articles of Nancy; and even as those which, not long before, were proposed to the queen by the Duke of Guise. For after a protestation in the beginning of it, that in whatsoever had passed till that present time, there had been nothing done, but by a pure zeal for God's honour, and for the preservation of his church, they demand of the king, that he would make war with the Huguenots, and that he would conclude no peace till all heresies were rooted out: That it would please him to use the service of the Duke of Guise in so just and holy an undertaking: That he would drive out of the court, and despoil of all their offices, all those who held a secret correspondence with the Huguenots, and principally the Duke of Espernon, and his brother La Valette; against whom there are recited, in that request, all imaginable crimes that could be thought most capable of rendering them odious and insupportable to the whole kingdom: That he would deliver the nation from the just apprehensions it had, of falling one day under the power and dominion of her etics: And (that there might be given to the city of Paris a full assurance henceforth to enjoy a perfect tranquillity without fear of op
pression,) he would not only please to confirm the new provosts and sheriffs, but that also the said city may have full and entire liberty for the future, to make choice of such as shall succeed in those places, and in those of city colonels and captains.
This request was extremely displeasing to the king, who saw but too clearly, that their intention was to give the law to him hereafter, whom they had first so haughtily affronted. He therefore caused it to be examined in his council, where there was but small agreement, because the members of it were divided in their interests. There were but two methods to be taken on that subject; either for the king to join with the League against the Huguenots, as the request demanded, or to make war against the League with all his power, in conjunction with the Huguenots; for unless he espoused one of those interests, it was impossible for him to succeed. Those of the council who loved not the Duke of Espernon, who were many, and who feared that the acting of the king's forces, in combination with the Huguenots, would prove of great prejudice to his reputation, and of greater to religion, were for the former proposition and counsel, that all differences should be accommodated in the best manner they could with the Duke of Guise,-which was also the desire of the queen-mother; but the rest, who, for the most part, consisted of those persons whose disgrace and banishment was demanded in the request, insisted strongly on the second, and gave their voice for a war to be made against the duke to the uttermost; fortifying their opinion by the number of forces which the king might raise promiscuously, both from Catholics and Protestants, because this was not a war of religion, but that the sovereign only armed himself to quell and chastise his rebellious subjects.
It would be a matter of much difficulty to tell precisely what was the true resolution which the king took betwixt the extremes of these different counsels; but it may be told for a certain truth, that having a long time deliberated, and that much more in his own breast than with his council, he seemed length, all on a sudden, to pitch upon the first; whether it were, that being, as he was, a good Catholic, and hating the Huguenots, he could not yet come to a resolution of uniting himself to them; or were it, that he thought not himself at that time strong enough, even with the king of Navarre's assistance, to destroy the League, which was grown more powerful than ever since the barricades, and headed by a man so able, so bold, and so successful, as the Duke of Guise; or
lastly, as many have believed, that being strongly persuaded he should never be in safety, nor be master in his kingdom, while that prince, whom he hated mortally, was living, he took up, from that very moment, a resolution within himself to despatch him out of the world and that he might draw him into the net which he was spreading for him, was willing to grant in a manner whatsoever he desired, as if it were done in contemplation of a peace.
Whatsoever were his true motive, (for I desire not that random guesses should be taken for truths,) it is certain, that though the king was highly exasperated against the League, yet he answered their request with much gentleness and moderation. assuring them that he would assemble the three estates at Blois, in the month of September, there to advise of the means to give them satisfaction, and to deliver them from the jealousy they had of falling one day under the dominion of a Huguenot prince; that for what related to the Duke of Espernon, he would do them justice, like an equitable king, and would make it manifest that he preferred the public welfare before the consideration of any private person.
Accordingly, in the first place, that duke was despoiled of his government of Normandy, commanded to depart from court, and retire himself to Angouleme. Not long time afterwards, the king concluded a treaty with the lords of the League, to whom, besides the places which they had already in possession, the towns of Montreuil, Orleans, and Bourges, were given for six years. A publication of the Council of Trent was promised, with provision against that part of it which was contrary to the liberties of the Gallican church. There was given to the Duke of Guise, instead of the title of constable, that of head of the French gendarmerie, which signifies the same thing. Two armies were promised to be raised against the Huguenots; one in Dauphine, under the command of the Duke of Mayenne; and the other in Saintonge and Poitou, which should be commanded by a general of the king's own choice: For the new constable, under another name, would not be so far from court, lest his absence from thence might be of ill consequence to his party. In conclusion, the king caused to be published the famous edict of July, which he commanded to be called the Edict of the Reunion, where he did more in favour of the League than the League itself desired from him.
For, after having declared in that edict, that he would have all his subjects united to himself; that, in like manner as their souls are redeemed with the same price, by the blood of our
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, so also they and their posterity should be one body with him, he swears, that he will employ all his forces, without sparing his proper life, to exterminate from his realm all heresies condemned by councils, and principally by that of Trent, without ever making any peace or truce with heretics, or any edict in their favour. He wills, that all princes, lords, gentlemen, and inhabitants of towns, and, generally, all his subjects, as well ecclesiastical as secular, should take the same oath That farther, they should swear and promise, for the time present, and for ever, after it shall have pleased God to dispose of his life, without having given him issue male, not to receive for king, any prince whatsoever who shall be a heretic, or a promoter of heresy. He declares rebels, and guilty of high treason, and to have forfeited all privileges which have formerly been granted to them, all persons and all towns which shall refuse to take this oath, and sign this union. He promises never to bestow any military employment, but on such as shall make a signal profession of the Roman Catholic religion; and prohibits, in express terms, that any man whosoever shall be admitted to the exercise of any office of judicature, or any employment belonging to the treasury, whose profession of the Roman Catholic religion appears not under the attestation of the bishop, or his substitutes, or at least of the curates or their vicars, together with the deposition of ten witnesses, all qualified and unsuspected persons. He also swears to hold for his good and loyal subjects, and to protect and defend, as well those who have always followed the League, as those others who have formerly united and associated themselves against the heretics; and that at this present he unites them to himself, to the end they may all act together in order to one common end: And that he holds for null, and as never done, that which seems to have been done against him, as well in the town of Paris as elsewhere; particularly since the twelfth of May to the day of the publication of this edict; without future molestation, or bringing into trouble any person whomsoever, for any thing relating to the premises. But he also wills, that all his subjects, of what quality soever, swear, that they will and do renounce all leagues and confederations, as well without as within the realm, which are contrary to this union, on pain of being punished as infringers of their oath, and guilty of high treason.
This edict was verified in parliament the oneand-twentieth of July, and published immediately after; being received with extraordinary transports of joy by the Leaguers, who believed
friendship but the Marshal d'Aumont, the Lord Nicholas d'Angennes de Rambouillet, Colonel Alphonso d'Ornano, and some few others, who were no friends to the Duke of Guise,
that by it they had obtained a clear victory against the king, whom they beheld entirely subjected to the will and good pleasure of their heads. He himself also, as it is reported, with profound dissimulation, endeavoured all he was able to confirm them in that opinion, by making public demonstrations of his joy and satisfaction for the peace. He was very solicitous to cause his edict to be signed by all the princes and lords who were then at court: He proclaimed the convention of the three estates at Blois, which was to be at the beginning of October following: He procured the letters patent for the Duke of Guise's commission of intendant-general over all his armies, with the same power which is annexed to that of constable, to be verified in parliament: He received him at Chartres, with such particular tokens of esteem, affection, and trust, that it was believed the tender friendship which was betwixt them, when the king was then but Duke of Anjou, was once more renewed: He favoured all his creatures, on whom he bestowed considerable employments; and, at last, to satisfy him in that point which of all others was most nice, he caused the Cardinal of Bourbon to be solemnly declared the next of blood to him, by allowing him all the privileges and prerogatives which belong to the heir-presumptive of the crown. After all, as it is almost impossible that a violent passion in the soul, what care soever be taken to conceal it, should not discover itself by its consequences, and by some indications which break out even from the closest men; so this prince, as great a master as he was in the art of dissimulation, could not act his part so well, but that he gave occasion to those who were more clear-sighted to believe, or at leastwise to suspect, that all which at that time was done by him to testify his joy, was only to cover his indignation and his hatred, which urged him incessantly to revenge himself on those from whom he had received such unworthy usage. For, being departed from Chartres, and going thence to Rouen, where he made the edict of reunion, he would never be persuaded to go to Paris at his return, what instance soever the deputies of the parliament, and those of the town, could make to him; always alleging faint excuses, which he grounded only on the preparations which he was to make in order to bis meeting the estates at Blois. He still retained near his person his guard of the five-and forty, which the Duke of Guise had requested him to dismiss. He gave the command of the army designed for Poitou to the Duke of Nevers, whom the Duke of Guise, his brother-in-law, could never endure since his renunciation of the League. He admitted none to his private
In fine, that which made the greatest noise was, that the Chancellor de Chiverny, the Presidents Bellievre and Brulart, and the Sieurs de Villeroy and Pinart, (the two secretaries of state, who had given him advice to accommodate matters with the Duke of Guise,) were absolutely disgraced. The queen-mother, who had managed that accommodation, had little or no part in business, and was wholly excluded from the cabinet council. The seals were given to Francis de Monthelon, a famous advocate, a man of rare integrity, and of inviolable fidelity to the king's service, who raised him to that high employment, without his own seeking, at the recommendation of the Duke of Nevers, who was known to be on very ill terms with the Duke of Guise.
All this was sufficient, without doubt, to alarm that prince, and give him caution to look about him, or at least to suspect the king's intentions towards him; but the flourishing condition wherein he was placed, the applauses which were given him both by the people and by the court itself, which admired both his conduct and his perpetual felicity, and regarded him as arbitrator and master of affairs, and the certain opinion which he had that all things would go for him in the estates, had so far blinded him, that he believed it was not in the power of fortune to do him any prejudice, not so much as to shake him, or to give the smallest stop to the full career of his success. Thus he entered as it were in triumph into Blois at the end of September; and the king came thither about the same time, to order the preparations for the estates. He commanded, that all future proceedings should be as it were sanctified by two solemn and conspicuous acts of piety; which were a most devout and magnificent procession made on the first Sunday of October, the second day of that month, and by a general communion, taken by all the deputies on the Sunday following, the ninth of the same month; on which the king, in token of a perfect reconcilement, received, with the Duke of Guise, the precious body of Jesus Christ from the hands of the Cardinal de Bourbon, in the church of Saint Saviour. After which, all those who were expected being at length arrived, the assembly of the states was opened on Sunday the sixteenth of that month, in the great hall of the castle of Blois.
As it is not my business to say any thing of this assembly, which relates not precisely to the history of the League, I shall not trouble my