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man of great authority and known prudence, to tell the duke from him, that, in the present juncture of affairs, and just apprehension which he had that his coming would produce great troubles in Paris, he thought good he should not come till he received new orders from him, for otherwise he would render himself guilty of all those disorders which might thence ensue.
To this the duke, who was never to be beaten off from any resolution which he had once taken, answered calmly, but in doubtful terms, that he was ready to obey the king; that he had never intended to go to Paris, but in the condition of a private man, and without a train; that he desired to justify himself from those aspersions with which he knew his enemies had basely charged him in his absence; that he had reason to believe there was a design on foot to oppress the good Catholics, whose protector he had declared himself; and that he humbly besought his majesty to give him some security against so just an apprehension. Bellievre, who well knew that the king would stick at no manner of verbal satisfaction, in case that would prove sufficient to break his journey, promised he should have all the security he could possibly desire. In effect, the king was fully resolved to have given him all manner of assurances; but, as ill luck would have it, this was not done at the same time it was determined; insomuch that, without more delay, he got on horseback, and, crossing the country out of the common roads, that he might avoid the messengers which he knew would be sent with new orders to him, entered Paris on Monday the 9th of May, with eight more in his company, just about noon, by the gate of St.
It may be said in one sort of meaning, that this day was the most unfortunate, and yet the most glorious, of all his life. For whether it were that the people, who were made to believe by the sixteen that the city was to be sacked, were advertised by them of his arrival, or that the report was spread at an instant, when he was first seen to approach the Fauxbourg, it is most certain that he had no sooner passed it, but the whole town running together from all parts of it, crowded up the street, and all the rest through which he passed; the windows were filled, and even the tiles of the houses; the air echoed with a thousand sorts of acclamations, and the loud cries of Vive Guise! were repeated with far higher peals than had been formerly of Vive le Roy! for those loyal shouts were grown out of date, and the League in a manner had abolished them. There was a kind of madness in this transport, or rather in this furious torrent of their
joy, which was so extravagant, that it passed even to idolatry. They haled and tore each other to get nearest to this prince; those who were borne off by the throng to a farther distance, stretched out their arms to him, with their hands clasped over their heads; they thought themselves happy, who could crowd so near as to touch any part of his cloak or boots. Some there were amongst them who kneeled to him, when he was passing by; and others who, when they could not reach him with their hands, endeavoured to touch him with their chaplets, which they kissed when they had received that honour, as the custom is in adoration at the shrines of saints. A thousand praises were given him, and a thousand blessings. He was called aloud the pillar of the church, the prop of faith, the protector of the Catholics, the saviour of Paris; and from all the windows there fell upon him a shower of flowers and of greens, with redoubled acclamations of Vive Guise!
To conclude, no imaginable demonstrations and testimonies of love, honour, and veneration, but were shown to the height at this tumultuous entry, by that sudden overflow of joy, and that wonderful dilatation of hearts and affections. which was to him a sort of triumph, more pleasing than any of the Cæsars'. Accordingly he enjoyed the full gust of it, with all the satisfaction of extreme pleasure; passing on horseback very leisurely through that infinite press of people, bare-headed, beholding them with a smiling countenance, and with that courteous and engaging air, which was so natural to him; saluting on the right and on the left, bowing to those below in the streets, and to those above in the windows, not neglecting the very meanest, holding out his hand to the nearest, and casting his obliging glances on the more remote, he passed in this manner to the queen-mother's palace, near St. Eustache, where he alighted, and from thence to the Louvre, following her on foot, who had taken her chair to conduct him to the king, and was witness to those incredible transports of public joy, and acclamations of that innumerable herd of people, which beat her ears incessantly with the name of Guise, bellowed from more than a hundred thousand mouths.
In the mean time, the king, who had heard, with infinite rage, of this sudden arrival of the duke, was shut up in his closet, where he was in consultation on that prince's life or death, who had been so blindly rash as to precipitate himself, in his single person, into inevitable danger, from whence only his good fortune (of which he was not master) could deliver him, Some
there were, and amongst others the Abbot d'Elbene, and Colonel Alphonso d'Ornano, with the most resolute of those Gascons whom the Duke of Espernon had placed amongst the five-andforty, to be always near the king's person, who counselled that irresolute and wavering prince to despatch him on the spot, having so fair a pretence, and the means so ready in his hand, to punish a rebellious subject; who, in opposition to his express orders, had audaciously presumed to come to Paris, as it were on purpose to let him know that he was absolute master of it.The rest, more moderate, and amongst them the Chancellor de Chiverny, and the Sieurs de Bellievre de la Guiche, and de Villequier, governor of Paris, dissuaded him from that attempt, laying before him, besides the dangerous consequences which this terrible action might produce in such a juncture, that it always concerned him, both for his reputation, and for the maintenance of the most inviolable laws of natural equity, before he passed to extremities, to hear a man who came to put himself so freely into the hands of his king, and to be answerable for all that was alleged against him
While these things were in debating, and the king in suspense betwixt his anger and his fear, uncertain which way to resolve, the duke (who had passed through the French guards commanded by Grillon, who loved him not, and through the Swissers, which stood ranked on both sides of the great staircase, and afterwards had traversed the hall and the antichamber filled with people, who made no very ceremonious returns to his salutations and civilities, entered into the presence-chamber, disguising a sudden fright which seized him, intrepid as he was, with the best face he could set upon the matter, which yet he could not act so well, but that it was easy to discern, through that affectation of bravery, that he could have been well contented to have been in some other place, and not to have engaged himself so far, especially when a certain princess whispered him in the ear to have a care of himself, and that his life and death were under consideration in the closet. Yet immediately after, as his courage was usually raised at the sight of the greatest dangers, he resumed his wonted boldness, and was not able to hinder himself, perhaps by a sudden motion purely natural, and arising from the magnanimity of his heart, from laying his hand on the pommel of his sword, without his own perceiving it, and from stepping hastily two or three paces forward, with a haughty walk, as if he were putting himself into a posture of selling his life as dear as he was able to his enemies. But the king at that instant coming out VOL. II.-20
of the closet with Bellievre, he changed posture suddenly, made a low reverence, and threw himself almost at his feet; protesting to him, that not believing his presence ought to be displeasing to him, he was come to bring him his head, and fully to justify his carriage against the calumnies of his enemies; and withal to assure his majesty, that he had not a more faithful servant than himself. But the king demanding, in a grave and serious tone of voice, who had bid him come, and if he had not received an express prohibition from him? the business was then brought to a scanning, and some little contest there was betwixt him and Bellievre, the last maintaining that he had delivered him the king's commands, and the former, instead of answer, asking him if he had not engaged himself to return, with all possible speed, to Soissons, which he had not done, and protesting that he had never received those letters which Bellievre justified he had written to him.
Then the queen, who, though she seemed to be in much affliction for the duke's arrival, yet held a private correspondence with him, broke off the discourse, and, taking aside the king, her son, she managed his mind so dexterously, that, whether she made him apprehend a general revolt of Paris, which she had seen so openly to own the Duke of Guise, or whether he himself were mollified by the submissive humble way of speaking which that prince had used, he contented himself for that time to tell him, that his innocence, which he was so desirous to prove, would be more manifest if his presence should cause no stirs in Paris; and thereupon he sat down to table, remitting till the afternoon what he had farther to say to him, and appointing the queen's garden for the place. Then the duke bowing very low, retired, without being accompanied by any of the king's servants, but as well attended by all the town, to the Hotel de Guise, as he had been from the gate of St. Denis to the Louvre.
When he had made reflection on the danger into which he had so rashly thrown himself, and which now appeared more formidable, by considering it with cooler thoughts, than he could possibly in that agitation of spirits, and that anxiety wherein he was in spite of all his courwhen he found himself so far engaged; he resolved he would never hazard his life in that sort again, and took such order concerning it, that from the next day, and so onward, he had in his palace four hundred gentlemen, who, assembling there from all parts of Paris, according to his orders, never afterwards abandoned him. Neither would he adventure to go that afternoon to the queen's garden but well accompa
nied by the bravest of his officers, amongst whom Captain St. Paul, seeing that after his master was entered, he who kept the door was going to shut it on him, thrust him back roughly, and entered by force, followed by his companions, protesting and swearing, that if the game was there to be played, he was resolved to have his stake in it.
So that if the king had designed to have him murdered in that garden, which I believe not, though some have written it, it is easy to see that the presence of those brave men, who were fully resolved to defend their master, that of the queen, who made the third in this interview, the daring countenance of the duke, who from time to time was casting his eyes towards his sword, and to sum up all, that infinite multitude of Parisians which encompassed the queen's palace, and many of which were got upon the walls, had hindered the execution of such a purpose.
For that which passed betwixt them at this conference, since I find nothing of it in the most exact memoirs of those times, I shall not offer to relate it, as Davila has done by a certain poetical license which he and some other historians have used, to make men think and speak, with out their leave, whatever they please to put into their thoughts and mouths. What I can deliver for undoubted truth is this, that there was nothing concluded at this interview; and that the king, who had resolved beforehand to chastise the most seditious of the sixteen, and to make himself master of Paris, after a long consultation taken by night, with those in whom he most confided, continued firm to the same resolution, and set up his rest to stand by it, in spite of the arrival of the duke.
With this determination, he sent the next morning for the provost of the merchants, and the sheriffs, and commanded them, in company of the lords De Villequier and Francis d'O. to make an exact search for all those strangers who were come to Paris some few days since, with out any urgent occasion to call them thither, and to cause them forthwith to depart the town, without respect of persons. This was a manifest endeavour to weaken the Duke of Guise; to reduce him to those seven or eight gentlemen who attended him into Paris; and consequently to give him occasion of believing, that after they had rid themselves of the others, they would attack him. Perhaps the design was so laid, as some have conjectured with probability enough; but if this were really their intention, there are others who believe, that, according to the advice which was given by the abbot of Elbene, they had done more wisely to have begun with the Duke of Guise, when they had him single, and at
their mercy, cooped up in the Louvre: and they ground this opinion on the meaning of that abbot's words, who quoted the scripture to this purpose, "It is written, I will strike the shepherd, and the flock shall be scattered." However it was intended, the Parisians immediately took the alarm, perceiving clearly that those strangers who were to be sent out of the city, were no others but those very men whom the Duke of Guise had conveyed into the town for their defence, and for his own. Insomuch that when they went about to execute that order, and to search their houses, every one opposed them; and the citizens set themselves with so much obstinacy to conceal their lodgers, that the deputies and commissaries, fearing a general insurrection through all the quarters, durst proceed no farther. And in the mean time, the Duke of Guise, who was the soul that actuated this great body, forbore not going to the Louvre, but well accompanied ; and the very evening before the barricades he presented the napkin to the king.
But, as after the flashes of the lightning, and the rattling of the thunder, comes a furious tempest and lays waste the field; so after those mutual fears and jealousies, those nightly meetings, those murmurs and menaces, and those preparations which were made on both sides with so much tumult, either for assaulting or for defence, they came to the fatal day of the barricadoes, which was followed by that horrible deluge of misfortunes with which all France was overflowed.
For at last the king, more incensed than ever by the resistance which was made to his orders, and fully resolved to make himself be obeyed one way or other, caused the French guards to enter Paris, with some other companies, and the Swissers, which in all made up six thousand men: this was done on Thursday, the twelfth of May, just at day-break; he being present himself to receive them on horseback, at the gate of Saint Honoré. And after having given out his orders to their officers, to post them according to his direction, he enjoined them above all things, to be no ways injurious to the citizens, but only to repress the insolence of such who should go about to hinder the search for strangers: after which himself retiring to the Louvre, the marshals d'Aumont and Biron, who were at the head of the troops, went to post them with beat of drum, in the church-yard of St. Innocent, and the adjoining places, on the Pont Notre Dame, on that of St. Michael, on the Pont au Change, at the town-house, at the Greve, and at the avenues of the place Maubert.
It appeared immediately by what followed,
that this was in effect to give the signal of a mutiny and general revolt to all Paris. For a rumour being spread, that the king had determined to put to death a great number of the principal of the League, and a list being also forged of their names who were to be executed, and shown openly to the people, the citizens, according to the order of their captains and overseers of their wards, were in a readiness to put themselves into a posture of defence, at the least motion that was made. For which reason, so soon as they heard the drums and fifes, and that they beheld the Swissers and the guards advancing through the street of Saint Honorè, they doubted not but the report which was noised about by the sixteen was true; and further believed, (as they had been also assured,) that the town would be sacked, and exposed to pillage. The alarm therefore was given round the city: they began by shutting up their shops, and the church-doors on that side of the town; they rang the tocsin (or alarm-bell) first in one parish, and then in another; and immediately afterwards through all Paris, as if the whole city had been on fire.
Then the citizens came out in arms, under the overseers of their wards, and their captains, and other officers of the Duke of Guise, who had mingled themselves amongst them, to encourage and to marshal them. The Count of Brissac, who had placed himself at the quarter of the university towards the place Maubert, (where Crucé, one of the most hot-headed of the sixteen, caused the alarm to be sounded,) being himself encompassed with a multitude of students, a rabble of porters, watermen, and handicraftsmen, all armed, who waited only for the signal to assault the Swissers, was the first who gave orders to chain the streets, to unpave them, and erect the barricades, with great logs of timber, and barrels filled with earth and dung, at the avenues of the palace: and this word of barricades, passing in a moment from mouth to mouth, from the university into the city, and from the city into the town, the same was done everywhere, and that with such exceeding haste, that before noon, these barricades, which were continued from street to street, at the distance of thirty paces from each other, well flanked and manned with musketeers, werc advanced within fifty paces of the Louvre; insomuch that the king's soldiers found themselves so encompassed on every side, that they could neither march forward nor retreat, nor make the least motion, without exposing themselves unprofitably to the inevitable danger of the musket-shot, (which the citizens could fire upon them, without missing, from behind their barricades,) or of
being beaten down with a tempest of stones, which came pouring upon their heads from every window.
The marshals d'Aumont and Biron, and Villequier the governor of Paris, gained little by crying out to the citizens, that they intended them no harm, for they were too much enraged to give them the hearing; and were possessed with a belief of what Brissac, Bois Dauphin, and the other creatures of the Duke of Guise had told them; who roared out, on purpose to envenom them against the royalists, that those troops which were entered into Paris were sent for no other end, than to make a general massacre of all good Catholics, who were members of the Holy Union, and to give up to the soldiers their houses, their money, and their wives. Upon this the musket-shot, and the stones from above, were redoubled on those miserable men, and more especially upon the wissers, to whom the citizens were most inexorable.
More than threescore were either slain or dangerously hurt, as well in St. Innocent's church-yard, as below on the place Maubert, without giving quarter, till Brissac (who with his sword in his hand was continually pushing forward the barricades) arriving there, and beholding those poor strangers, who cried out for mercy, with clasped hands, and both knees on the ground, and sometimes making the sign of the cross, in testimony of their being Catholics, stopped the fury of the citizens, and commanding them to cry out Vive Guise! which they did as loud as they could, for safeguard of their lives, he satisfied himself with leading them disarmed and prisoners into the Boucherie of the new market, by the bridge of St. Michael, which he had already mastered.
It cannot be denied, but that this count was he, amongst all the Leaguers, who acted with the most ardour against the royalists on that fatal day; as being infinitely exasperated because the king had refused him the admiralty, and refused it in a manner so disobliging as to say openly, he was a man that was good for nothing either by sea or land, accusing him at the same time, that he had not done his duty in the battle of the Azores, where the navy of Philippo Strozzi was defeated by the.marquis of Santa Cruz, he burned inwardly with desire of revenge. And when he saw the soldiers enclosed on all sides by the barricades, which were of his raising, and the Swissers at his mercy, it is reported that he cried out, as insulting on the king, with a bitter scoff, and magnifying himself at the same time, "At least the king shall understand to-day, that I
have found my element; and though I am good for nothing, either at sea or land, yet I am somebody in the streets.'
In this manner it was, that the people, making use of their advantage, still pushed their fortune more and more, and seemed to be just upon the point of investing the Louvre; while the Duke of Guise, by whose secret orders all things were regularly managed amidst that horrible confusion, was walking almost unaccompanied in his own house, and coldly answering the queen, and those who came one on the neck of another, with messages to him from the king, entreating him to appease the tumult, that he was not master of those wild beasts which had escaped the toils; and that they were in the wrong to provoke them as they had done.
But at last, when he perceived that all things were absolutely at his command, he went himself from barricade to barricade, with only a riding switch in his hand, forbidding the people, who paid a blind obedience to him, from proceeding any farther; and desiring them to keep themselves only on the defensive. He spoke also very civilly to the French guards, who at that time were wholly in his power, to be disposed of as he thought good, for life or death. Only he complained to their officers, of the violent counsels which his enemies had given the king to oppress his innocence, and that of so many good Catholics, who had united themselves on no other consideration than the defence and support of the ancient religion. After which, he gave orders to Captain St. Paul to reconduct those soldiers to the Louvre; but their arms were first laid down, and their heads bare, in the posture of vanquished men, that he might give that satisfaction to the Parisians, who be held the spectacle with joy, as the most pleasing effect of their present victory. He also caused the Swissers to be returned in the same manner by Brissac, and gave the king to understand, that, provided the Catholic religion were secured and maintained in France, in the condition it ought to be, and that himself and his friends were put in safety from the attempts of their enemies, they would pay him all manner of duty and service, which is owing from good subjects to their lord and sovereign.
This, in my opinion, makes it evident, that the duke had never any intention to seize the person of the king, and to enclose him in a monastery, as that Nicholas Poulain, who gave in so many false informations, and many writers, as well of the one religion as of the other, have endeavoured to make the world believe. For if that had been his purpose, what could have hindered him from causing the Louvre to
be invested; as he might easily have done the same day, by carrying on the barricades close to it, while the tumult was at the height; and for what reason did he return the French guards and Swissers to the king, if his intention had been to have attacked him in the Louvre? This was not his business, nor his present aim, but to defend and protect his Leaguers with a high hand, and to avail himself of so favourable an opportunity, to obtain the thing which he demanded; and which, doubtless, had put him into a condition of mounting the throne after the king's decease, and becoming absolute master of all affairs even during his life.
In effect, the queen having undertaken to make the reconcilement, as believing that thereby she might re-enter into the management of business, from which the favourites had removed her, and having asked him what were his pretensions, he proposed such extravagant terms, and with so much haughtiness and resolvedness, speaking like a conqueror, who took upon him to dispose, at his pleasure, of the vanquished, that, as dexterous as she was in the art of managing men's minds, from the very beginning of the conference she despaired of her success. For, enhancing upon the articles of Nancy, he demanded, that, for the security of the Catholic religion in this realm, the king of Navarre, and all the princes of the house of Bourbon who had followed him in these last wars, should be declared to have forfeited for ever their right of succeeding to the crown: That the duke of Espernon, La Valette his brother, Francis d'O., the marshals of Retz and of Biron, colonel Alphonso d'Ornano, and all others who, like them, were favourers of the Huguenots, or were found to have held any correspondence with them, should be deprived of their governments and offices, and banished from the court, without hope of ever being restored again: That the spoils of all these should be given to the princes of his house, and to those lords who had engaged with him of whom he made a long list: That the king should cashier his guard of five-and-forty, as a thing unknown in the time of his predecessors; protesting that otherwise he could place no manner of confidence in him, nor ever dare to approach his person: That it would please his majesty to declare him his lieutenant-general through all his estates, with the same authority which the late Duke of Guise his father had, under the reign of Francis the Second; by virtue of which he hoped to give him so good an account of the Huguenots, that in a little time there should remain no other but the Catholic religion in all his kingdom. To conclude, That there