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A Popular History of France From The Earliest Times by Francois Pierre Guillaume Guizot

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Parliament was unfavorable to him; he demanded of him a written
engagement to remain always faithful to him and to join him in Italy as
soon as his illness would allow him; and, on taking leave of him, left
with him one of his own gentlemen, Peter de Brentonniere, Lord of Warthy,
with orders to report to the king as to his health. In this officer
Bourbon saw nothing more or less than a spy, and in the king's promises
nothing but vain words dependent as they were upon the issue of a lawsuit
which still remained an incubus upon him. He had no answer for words but
words; he undertook the engagements demanded of him by the king without
considering them binding; and he remained ill at Moulins, waiting till
events should summon him to take action with his foreign allies.

This state of things lasted far nearly three weeks. The king remained
stationary at Lyons waiting for the constable to join him; and the
constable, saying he was ready to set out and going so far as to actually
begin his march, was doing his three leagues a day by litter, being
always worse one day than he was the day before. Peter de Warthy, the
officer whom the king had left with him, kept going and coming from Lyons
to Moulins and from Moulins to Lyons, conveying to the constable the
king's complaints and to the king the constable's excuses, without
bringing the constable to decide upon joining the king at Lyons and
accompanying him into Italy, or the king upon setting out for Italy
without the constable. "I would give a hundred thousand crowns," the
king sent word to Bourbon, "to be in Lombardy." "The king will do well,"
answered Bourbon, "to get there as soon as possible, for despatch is
needful beyond everything." When Warthy insisted strongly, the constable
had him called up to his bedside; and "I feel myself," said he, "the
most unlucky man in the world not to be able to serve the king; but if I
were to be obstinate, the doctors who are attending me would not answer
for my life, and I am even worse than the doctors think. I shall never
be in a condition to do the king service any more. I am going back to my
native air, and, if I recover a day's health, I will go to the king."
"The king will be terribly put out," said Warthy; and he returned to
Lyons to report these remarks of the real or pretended invalid. While he
was away, the constable received from England and Spain news which made
him enter actively upon his preparations; he heard at the same time that
the king was having troops marched towards Bourbonness so as to lay
violent hands on him if he did not obey; he, therefore, decided to go and
place himself in security in his strong castle of Chantelle, where he
could await the movements of his allies; he mounted his horse, did six
leagues at one stretch, and did not draw bridle until he had entered
Chantelle. Warthy speedily came and rejoined him. He found the
constable sitting on his bed, dressed like an invalid and with his head
enveloped in a night-cap. "M. de Warthy," said Bourbon, "you bring your
spurs pretty close after mine." "My lord," was the reply, "you have
better ones than I thought." "Think you," said Bourbon, "that I did not
well, having but a finger's breadth of life, to put it as far out of the
way as I could to avoid the king's fury?" "The king," said Warthy, "was
never furious towards any man; far less would he be so in your case."
"Nay, nay," rejoined the constable, "I know that the grand master and
Marshal de Chabannes set out from Lyons with the archers of the guard and
four or five thousand lanzknechts to seize me; and that is what made me
come to this house whilst biding my time until the king shall be pleased
to hear me." He demanded that the troops sent against him should be
ordered to halt till the morrow, promising not to stir from Chantelle
without a vindication of himself. "Whither would you go, my lord?" said
Warthy: "if you wished to leave the kingdom, you could not; the king has
provided against that everywhere."

"Nay," said Bourbon, "I have no wish to leave the kingdom; I have
friends and servants there." Warthy went away from Chantelle in company
with the Bishop of Autun, Chiverny, who was one of the constable's most
trusted friends, and who was bearer to the king of a letter which ran
thus: "Provided it please the king to restore to him his possessions, my
lord of Bourbon promises to serve him well and heartily, in all places
and at all times at which it shall seem good to him. In witness whereof,
he has signed these presents, and begs the king to be pleased to pardon
those towards whom he is ill disposed on account of this business.
CHARLES." In writing this letter the constable had no other object than
to gain a little time, for, on bidding good by to the Bishop of Autun,
he said to him, "Farewell, my dear bishop; I am off to Carlat, and from
Carlat I shall slip away with five or six horses on my road to Spain."
On the next day but one, indeed, the 8th of September, 1523, whilst the
Bishop of Autun was kept prisoner by the troops sent forward to
Chantelle, the constable sallied from it about one in the morning, taking
with him five-and-twenty or thirty thousand crowns of gold sewn up in
from twelve to fifteen jackets, each of which was intrusted to a man in
his train. For a month he wandered about Bourbonness, Auvergne,
Burgundy, Beaujolais, Vienness, Languedoc, and Dauphiny, incessantly
changing his road, his comrades, his costume, and his asylum,
occasionally falling in with soldiers of the king who were repairing to
Italy, and seeking for some place whence he might safely concert with and
act with his allies. At last, in the beginning of October, he arrived at
Saint-Claude, in Franche-Comte, imperial territory, and on the 9th of
October he made his entry into Besancon, where there came to join him
some of his partisans who from necessity or accident had got separated
from him, without his having been able anywhere in his progress to excite
any popular movement, form any collection of troops, or intrench himself
strongly in his own states. To judge from appearances, he was now but a
fugitive conspirator, without domains and without an army.

Such, however, were his fame and importance as a great lord and great
warrior, that Francis I., as soon as he knew him to be beyond his reach
and in a fair way to co-operate actively with his enemies, put off his
departure for Italy, and "offered the redoubtable fugitive immediate
restitution of his possessions, reimbursement from the royal treasury of
what was due to him, renewal of his pensions and security that they would
be paid him with punctuality." Bourbon refused everything. "It is too
late," he replied. Francis I.'s envoy then asked him to give up the
sword of constable and the collar of the order of St. Michael. "You
will tell the king," rejoined Bourbon, "that he took from me the sword
of constable on the day that he took from me the command of the
advance-guard to give it to M. d'Alencon. As for the collar of his
order, you will find it at Chantelle under the pillow of my bed."
Francis I., in order to win back Bourbon, had recourse to his sister, the
Duchess of Lorraine [Renee de Bourbon, who had married, in 1515, Antony,
called the Good, Duke of Lorraine, son of Duke Rend II. and his second
wife, Philippine of Gueldres]: but she was not more successful. After
sounding him, she wrote to Francis I. that the duke her brother "was
determined to go through with his enterprise, and that he proposed to
draw off towards Flanders by way of Lorraine with eighteen hundred horse
and ten thousand foot, and form a junction with the King of England."
[M. Mignet, _Etude sur le Connetable de Bourbon, in the Revue des Deux
Mondes_ of January 15, 1854, and March 15 and April 1, 1858.]

Under such grave and urgent circumstances, Francis I. behaved on the one
hand with more prudence and efficiency than he had yet displayed, and on
the other with his usual levity and indulgence towards his favorites.
Abandoning his expedition in person into Italy, he first concerned
himself for that internal security of his kingdom, which was threatened
on the east and north by the Imperialists and the English, and on the
south by the Spaniards, all united in considerable force and already in
motion. Francis opposed to them in the east and north the young Count
Claude of Guise, the first celebrity amongst his celebrated race, the
veteran Louis de La Tremoille, the most tried of all his warriors, and
the Duke of Vendome, head of the younger branch of the House of Bourbon.
Into the south he sent Marshal de Lautrec, who was more brave than
successful, but of proved fidelity. All these captains acquitted
themselves honorably. Claude of Guise defeated a body of twelve thousand
lanzknechts who had already penetrated into Champagne; he hurled them
back into Lorraine, and dispersed them beneath the walls of the little
town of Neufchateau, where the princesses and ladies of Lorraine, showing
themselves at the windows, looked on and applauded their discomfiture.
La Tremoille's only forces were very inferior to the thirty-five thousand
Imperialists or English who had entered Picardy; but he managed to make
of his small garrisons such prompt and skilful use that the invaders were
unable to get hold of a single place, and advanced somewhat heedlessly to
the very banks of the Oise, whence the alarm spread rapidly to Paris.
The Duke of Vendome, whom the king at once despatched thither with a
small body of men-at-arms, marched night and day to the assistance of the
Parisians, harangued the Parliament and Hotel de Ville vehemently on the
conspiracy of the Constable de Bourbon, and succeeded so well in
reassuring them that companies of the city militia eagerly joined his
troops, and the foreigners, in dread of finding themselves hemmed in,
judged it prudent to fall back, leaving Picardy in a state of equal
irritation and devastation. In the south, Lautrec, after having made
head for three days and three nights against the attacks of a Spanish
army which had crossed the Pyrenees under the orders of the Constable of
Castille, forced it to raise the siege and beat a retreat. Everywhere,
in the provinces as well as at the court, the feudal nobility, chieftains
and simple gentlemen, remained faithful to the king; the magistrates and
the people supported the military; it was the whole nation that rose
against the great lord, who, for his own purposes, was making alliance
with foreigners against the king and the country.

In respect of Italy, Francis I. was less wise and less successful. Not
only did he persist in the stereotyped madness of the conquest of
Milaness and the kingdom of Naples, but abandoning for the moment the
prosecution of it in person, he intrusted it to his favorite, Admiral
Bonnivet, a brave soldier, alternately rash and backward, presumptuous
and irresolute, who had already lost credit by the mistakes he had
committed and the reverses he had experienced in that arena. At the very
juncture when Francis I. confided this difficult charge to Bonnivet, the
Constable de Bourbon, having at last got out of France, crossed Germany,
repaired to Italy, and halted at Mantua, Piacenza, and Genoa; and, whilst
waiting for a reply from Charles V., whom he had informed of his arrival,
he associated with the leaders of the imperial armies, lived amongst the
troops, inoculated them with his own ardor as well as warlike views, and
by his natural superiority regained, amongst the European coalition, the
consideration and authority which had been somewhat diminished by his
ill-success in his own country and his flight from it. Charles V. was
some time about sending an answer; for, in his eyes also, Bourbon had
fallen somewhat. "Was it prudent," says the historian of Bourbon
himself, "to trust a prince who, though born near the throne, had
betrayed his own blood and forsworn his own country? Charles V. might no
doubt have insured his fidelity, had he given him in marriage Eleanor of
Austria, who was already affianced to him; but he could not make up his
mind to unite the destiny of a princess, his own sister, with that of a
prince whose position was equally pitiable and criminal. At last,
however, he decided to name him his lieutenant-general in Italy; but he
surrounded him with so many colleagues and so much surveillance that he
had nothing to fear from his remorse and repentance." [_Histoire de la
Maison de Bourbon,_ t. ii. p. 531.] Bourbon, however, though thus placed
in a position of perplexity and difficulty, was none the less an
adversary with whom Bonnivet was not in a condition to cope.

It was not long before this was proved by facts. The campaign of 1524 in
Italy, brilliant as was its beginning, what with the number and the fine
appearance of the troops under Bonnivet's orders, was, as it went on,
nothing but a series of hesitations, contradictory movements, blunders,
and checks, which the army itself set down to its general's account.
Bonnivet, during his investment of Milan, had posted Bayard with a small
corps in the village of Rebec. "The good knight, who was never wont to
murmur at any commission given him, said, 'Sir Admiral, you would send me
to a village hard by the enemy, the which is without any fortress, and
would need four times so many men as I have, for to be in safety and to
hold it.' 'Sir Bayard,' said the admiral, 'go in peace; on my faith I
promise you that within three days I will send you plenty of men with you
for to hold Rebec, since I well know that it is not to be held with so
few men; but never you mind; there shall not a mouse get out of Milan
without you have notice of it.' And so much did he say of one sort and
another that the good knight, with great disgust, went away with the men
told off to him to his post in Rebec. He wrote many times to the admiral
that he was in very dangerous plight, and that, if he would have them
hold out long, he should send him aid; but he got no answer. The enemies
who were inside Milan were warned that the good knight was in Rebec with
very little company; so they decided on a night to go and surprise and
defeat him. And the good knight, who was ever on his guard, set nearly
every night half his men to watch and to listen, and himself passed two
or three nights at it, in such sort that he fell ill, as much from
melancholy as from cold, and far more than he let it appear; howbeit he
was forced to keep his room that day. When it came on towards night, he
ordered some captains who were with him to go on the watch. They went,
or made show of going; but, because it rained a little, back went all
those who were on the watch, save three or four poor archers, the which,
when the Spaniards approached within bow-shot of the village, made no
resistance, but took to flight, shouting, 'Alarm alarm!' The good
knight, who in such jeopardy never slept but with his clothes on, rose at
once, had the bridle put on a charger that was already saddled, and went
off with five or six men-at-arms of his, straight to the barrier whither
incontinently came up Captain Lorges and a certain number of his foot,
who bore themselves mighty well. The uproar was great and the alarm was
hot. Then said the good knight to Captain Lorges, 'Lorges, my friend,
this is an unequal sort of game; if they pass this barrier we are cooked.
I pray you, retire your men, keep the best order you can, and march
straight to the camp at Abbiate-Grasso; I, with the horse I have, will
remain in the rear. We must leave our baggage to the enemy; there is no
help for it. Save we the lives if possible.' . . . The enemy sought
on all sides for the good knight, but he had already arrived at
Abbiate-Grasso, where he had some unpleasant words with the admiral;
howbeit, I will not make any mention of them; but if they had both lived
longer than they did live, they would probably have gone a little
farther. The good knight was like to die of grief at the mishap that
had befallen him, even though it was not his fault; but in war there is
hap and mishap more than in all other things." [_Histoire du bon
Chevalier sans Peur et sans Reproche,_ t. ii. pp. 120-123. _Les Gestes
et la Vie du Chevalier Bayard,_ by Champier, pp. 171-174.]

The situation of the French army before Milan was now becoming more and
more, not insecure only, but critical. Bonnivet considered it his duty
to abandon it and fall back towards Piedmont, where he reckoned upon
finding a corps of five thousand Swiss who were coming to support their
compatriots engaged in the service of France. Near Romagnano, on the
banks of the Sesia, the retreat was hotly pressed by the imperial army,
the command of which had been ultimately given by Charles V. to the
Constable de Bourbon, with whom were associated the Viceroy of Naples,
Charles de Lannoy, and Ferdinand d'Avalos, Marquis of Pescara, the most
able amongst the Neapolitan officers. On the 30th of April, 1524, some
disorder took place in the retreat of the French; and Bonnivet, being
severely wounded, had to give up the command to the Count of St. Pol and
to Chevalier Bayard. Bayard, last as well as first in the fight,
according to his custom, charged at the head of some men-at-arms upon the
Imperialists, who were pressing the French too closely, when he was
himself struck by a shot from an arquebuse, which shattered his reins.
"Jesus, my God," he cried, "I am dead!" He then took his sword by the
handle, and kissed the cross-hilt of it as the sign of the cross, saying
aloud as he did so, "Have pity on me, O God, according to Thy great
mercy" (Miserere mei, Deus, secundum magnam misericordiam tuam);
thereupon he became incontinently quite pale, and all but fell; but he
still had heart enough to grasp the pommel of the saddle, and remained in
that condition until a young gentleman, his own house-steward, helped him
to dismount and set him down under a tree, with his face to the enemy.
The poor gentleman burst into tears, seeing his good master so mortally
hurt that remedy there was none; but the good knight consoled him gently,
saying, "Jacques, my friend, leave off thy mourning; it is God's will to
take me out of this world; by His grace I have lived long therein, and
have received therein blessings and honors more than my due. All the
regret I feel at dying is that I have not done my duty so well as I
ought. I pray you, Jacques, my friend, let them not take me up from this
spot, for, when I move, I feel all the pains that one can feel, short of
death, which will seize me soon." The Constable de Bourbon, being
informed of his wound, came to him, saying, "Bayard, my friend, I am sore
distressed at your mishap; there is nothing for it but patience; give not
way to melancholy; I will send in quest of the best surgeons in this
country, and, by God's help, you will soon be healed." "My lord,"
answered Bayard, "there is no pity for me; I die having done my duty; but
I have pity for you, to see you serving against your king, your country,
and your oath." Bourbon withdrew without a word. The Marquis of Pescara
came passing by. "Would to God, gentle Sir Bayard," said he, "that it
had cost me a quart of my blood, without meeting my death, that I had
been doomed not to taste meat for two years, and that I held you safe and
sound my prisoner, for by the treatment I showed you, you should have
understanding of how much I esteemed the high prowess that was in you."
He ordered his people to rig up a tent over Bayard, and to forbid any
noise near him, so that he might die in peace. Bayard's own gentlemen
would not, at any price, leave him. "I do beseech you," he said to them,
"to get you gone; else you might fall into the enemy's hands, and that
would profit me nothing, for all is over with me. To God I commend ye,
my good friends; and I recommend to you my poor soul; and salute, I pray
you, the king our master, and tell him that I am distressed at being no
longer able to do him service, for I had good will thereto. And to my
lords the princes of France, and all my lords my comrades, and generally
to all gentlemen of the most honored realm of France when ye see them."

[Illustration: The Death of Bayard----76]

"He lived for two or three hours yet. There was brought to him a priest,
to whom he confessed, and then he yielded up his soul to God; whereat all
the enemy had mourning incredible. Five days after his death, on the 5th
of May, 1524, Beaurain wrote to Charles V., 'Sir, albeit Sir Bayard was
your enemy's servant, yet was it pity of his death, for 'twas a gentle
knight, well beloved of every one, and one that lived as good a life as
ever any man of his condition. And in truth he fully showed it by his
end, for it was the most beautiful that I ever heard tell of.' By the
chiefs of the Spanish army certain gentlemen were commissioned to bear
him to the church, where solemn service was done for him during two days.
Then, by his own servitors was he carried into Dauphiny, and, on passing
through the territory of the Duke of Savoy, where the body was rested, he
did it as many honors as if it had been his own brother's. When the news
of his death was known in Dauphiny, I trow that never for a thousand
years died there gentleman of the country mourned in such sort. He was
borne from church to church, at first near Grenoble, where all my lords
of the parliament court of Dauphiny, my lords of the Exchequer, pretty
well all the nobles of the country and the greater part of all the
burgesses, townsfolk, and villagers came half a league to meet the body:
then into the church of Notre-Dame, in the aforesaid Grenoble, where a
solemn service was done for him; then to a house of _Minimes,_ which had
been founded aforetime by his good uncle the bishop of Grenoble, Laurens
Alment; and there he was honorably interred. Then every one withdrew to
his own house; but for a month there was a stop put to festivals dances,
banquets, and all other pastimes. 'Las! they had good reason; for
greater loss could not have come upon the country." [_Histoire du bon
Chevalier sans Peur et sans Reproche,_ t. ii. pp. 125-132.]

It is a duty and an honor for history to give to such lives and such
deaths, as remarkable for modesty as for manly worth, the full place
which they ought to occupy in the memory of mankind.

The French army continued its retreat under the orders of the Count of
St. Pol, and re-entered France by way of Suza and Briancon. It was
Francis I.'s third time of losing Milaness. Charles V., enchanted at the
news, wrote on the 24th of May to Henry VIII., "I keep you advertised of
the good opportunity it has pleased God to offer us of giving a full
account of our common enemy. I pray you to carry into effect on your
side that which you and I have for a long while desired, wherein I for my
part will exert myself with all my might." Bourbon proposed to the two
sovereigns a plan well calculated to allure them. He made them an offer
to enter France by way of Provence with his victorious army, to
concentrate there all the re-enforcements promised him, to advance up the
Rhone, making himself master as he went of the only two strong places,
Monaco and Marseilles, he would have to encounter, to march on Lyons from
the side on which that city was defenceless, and be in four months at
Paris, whether or no he had a great battle to deliver on the march. "If
the king wishes to enter France without delay," said he to Henry VIII.'s
ambassador, "I give his Grace leave to pluck out my two-eyes if I am not
master of Paris before All Saints. Paris taken, all the kingdom of
France is in my power. Paris in France is like Milan in Lombardy; if
Milan is taken, the duchy is lost; in the same way, Paris taken, the
whole of France is lost." By this plan Bourbon calculated on arriving
victorious at the centre of France, in his own domains, and there
obtaining, from both nobles and people, the co-operation that had failed
him at the outset of his enterprise. The two sovereigns were eager to
close with the proposal of the Frenchman, who was for thus handing over
to them his country; a new treaty was concluded between them on the 25th
of May, 1524, regulating the conditions and means of carrying out this
grand campaign; and it was further agreed that Provence and Dauphiny
should be added to the constable's old possessions, and should form a
state, which Charles V. promised to raise to a kingdom. There was yet a
difficulty looming ahead. Bourbon still hesitated to formally
acknowledge Henry VIII. as King of France, and promise him allegiance.
But at last his resistance was overcome. At the moment of crossing the
frontier into France, and after having taken the communion, he said to
the English ambassador, Sir Richard Pace, in the presence of four of his
gentlemen, "I promise you, on my faith, to place the crown, with the help
of my friends, on the head of our common master." But, employing a ruse
of the old feudal times, the last gasp of a troubled conscience, Bourbon,
whilst promising allegiance to Henry VIII., persisted in refusing to do
him homage. Sir Richard Pace none the less regarded the question as
decided; and, whilst urging Cardinal Wolsey to act swiftly and resolutely
in the interests of their master, he added, "If you do not pay regard to
these matters, I shall set down to your Grace's account the loss of the
crown of France."

Bourbon entered Provence on the 7th of July, 1524, with an army of
eighteen thousand men, which was to be joined before long by six or seven
thousand more. He had no difficulty in occupying Antibes, Frejus,
Draguignan, Brignoles, and even Aix; and he already began to assume the
title of Count of Provence, whilst preparing for a rapid march along by
the Rhone and a rush upon Lyons, the chief aim of the campaign; but the
Spanish generals whom Charles V. had associated with him, and amongst
others the most eminent of them, the Marquis of Pescara, peremptorily
insisted that, according to their master's order, he should besiege and
take Marseilles. Charles V. cared more for the coasts of the
Mediterranean than for those of the Channel; he flattered himself that he
would make of Marseilles a southern Calais, which should connect Germany
with Spain, and secure their communications, political and commercial.
Bourbon objected and resisted; it was the abandonment of his general plan
for this war and a painful proof how powerless he was against the wishes
of the two sovereigns, of whom he was only the tool, although they called
him their ally. Being forced to yield, he began the siege of Marseilles
on the 19th of August. The place, though but slightly fortified and ill
supplied, made an energetic resistance; the name and the presence of
Bourbon at the head of the besiegers excited patriotism; the burgesses
turned soldiers; the cannon of the besiegers laid open their walls, but
they threw up a second line, an earthen rampart, called the ladies'
rampart, because all the women in the city had worked at it. The siege
was protracted; the re-enforcements expected by Bourbon did not arrive; a
shot from Marseilles penetrated into Pescara's tent, and killed his
almoner and two of his gentlemen. Bourbon rushed up. "Don't you see?"
said Pescara to him, ironically, "here are the keys sent to you by the
timid consuls of Marseilles." Bourbon resolved to attempt an assault;
the lanzknechts and the Italians refused; Bourbon asked Pescara for his
Spaniards, but Pescara would only consent on condition that the breach
was reconnoitered afresh. Seven soldiers were told off for this duty;
four were killed and the other three returned wounded, reporting that
between the open breach and the intrenchment extended a large ditch
filled with fireworks and defended by several batteries. The assembled
general officers looked at one another in silence. "Well, gentlemen,"
said Pescara, "you see that the folks of Marseilles keep a table well
spread for our reception; if you like to go and sup in paradise, you are
your own masters so far; as for me, who have no desire to go thither just
yet, I am off. But believe me," he added seriously, "we had best return
to Milaness; we have left that country without a soldier; we might
possibly find our return cut off." Whereupon Pescara got up and went
out; and the majority of the officers followed him. Bourbon remained
almost alone, divided between anger and shame. Almost as he quitted this
scene he heard that Francis I. was advancing towards Provence with an
army. The king had suddenly decided to go to the succor of Marseilles,
which was making so good a defence. Nothing could be a bitterer pill for
Bourbon than to retire before Francis I., whom he had but lately promised
to dethrone; but his position condemned him to suffer everything, without
allowing him the least hesitation; and on the 28th of September, 1524, he
raised the siege of Marseilles and resumed the road to Italy, harassed
even beyond Toulon by the French advance-guard, eager in its pursuit of
the traitor even more than of the enemy.

In the course of this year, 1524, whilst Bourbon was wandering as a
fugitive, trying to escape from his country, then returning to it, after
a few months, as a conqueror, and then leaving it again at the end of a
few weeks of prospective triumph, pursued by the king he had betrayed,
his case and that of his accomplices had been inquired into and disposed
of by the Parliament of Paris, dispassionately and almost coldly,
probably because of the small esteem in which the magistrates held the
court of Francis I., and of the wrong which they found had been done to
the constable. The Parliament was not excited by a feeling of any great
danger to the king and the country; it was clear that, at the core, the
conspiracy and rebellion were very circumscribed and impotent; and the
accusations brought by the court party or their servants against the
conspirators were laughable from their very outrageousness and
unlikelihood; according to them, the accomplices of the constable meant
not only to dethrone, and, if need were, kill the king, but "to make pies
of the children of France." Parliament saw no occasion to proceed
against more than a half score of persons in confinement, and, except
nineteen defaulters who were condemned to death together with
confiscation of their property, only one capital sentence was pronounced,
against John of Poitiers, Lord of Saint-Vallier, the same who had exerted
himself to divert the constable from his plot, but who had nevertheless
not refrained from joining it, and was the most guilty of all the
accomplices in consequence of the confidential post he occupied near the
king's person. The decree was not executed, however; Saint-Vallier
received his reprieve on the scaffold itself. Francis I. was neither
rancorous nor cruel; and the entreaties, or, according to some
evil-speakers of the day, the kind favors, of the Lady de Brew,
Saint-Vallier's daughter and subsequently the celebrated Diana of
Poitiers, obtained from the king her father's life.

Francis I., greatly vexed, it is said, at the lenity of the Parliament of
Paris, summoned commissions chosen amongst the Parliaments of Rouen,
Dijon, Toulouse, and Bordeaux, and made them reconsider the case. The
provincial Parliaments decided as that of Paris had. The procedure
against the principal culprit was several times suspended and resumed
according to the course of events, and the decree was not pronounced so
long as the Duke of Bourbon lived. It was abroad and in his alliance
with foreign sovereigns that all his importance lay.

After Bourbon's precipitate retreat, the position of Francis I. was a
good one. He had triumphed over conspiracy and invasion; the conspiracy
had not been catching, and the invasion had failed on all the frontiers.
If the king, in security within his kingdom, had confined himself to it,
whilst applying himself to the task of governing it well, he would have
obtained all the strength he required to make himself feared and deferred
to abroad. For a while he seemed to have entertained this design: on the
25th of September, 1523, he published an important ordinance for the
repression of disorderliness and outrages on the part of the soldiery in
France itself; and, on the 28th of December following, a regulation as to
the administration of finances established a control over the various
exchequer-officers, and announced the king's intention of putting some
limits to his personal expenses, "not including, however," said he, "the
ordinary run of our little necessities and pleasures." This singular
reservation was the faithful exponent of his character; he was licentious
at home and adventurous abroad, being swayed by his coarse passions and
his warlike fancies. Even far away from Paris, in the heart of the
provinces, the king's irregularities were known and dreaded. In 1524,
some few weeks after the death [at Blois, July 20, 1524] of his wife,
Queen Claude, daughter of Louis XII., a virtuous and modest princess more
regretted by the people than by her husband, Francis made his entry into
Manosque, in Provence. The burgesses had the keys of their town
presented to him by the most beautiful creature they could find within
their walls; it was the daughter of Antony Voland, one of themselves.
The virtuous young girl was so frightened at the king's glances and the
signs he made to his gentry, evidently alluding to her, that, on
returning home, she got some burning sulphur and placed herself for a
long while under the influence of its vapor, in order to destroy the
beauty which made her run the risk of being only too pleasing to the
king. Francis, who was no great or able captain, could not resist the
temptations of war any more than those of the flesh. When Bourbon and
the imperial army had evacuated Provence, the king loudly proclaimed his
purpose of pursuing them into Italy, and of once more going forth to the
conquest of Milaness, and perhaps also of the kingdom of Naples, that
incurable craze of French kings in the sixteenth century. In vain did
his most experienced warriors, La Tremoille and Chabannes, exert
themselves to divert him from such a campaign, for which he was not
prepared; in vain did his mother herself write to him, begging him to
wait and see her, for that she had important matters to impart to him.
He answered by sending her the ordinance which conferred upon her the
regency during his absence; and, at the end of October, 1524, he had
crossed the Alps, anxious to go and risk in Milaness the stake he had
just won in Provence against Charles V.

Arriving speedily in front of Milan, he there found the imperial army
which had retired before him; there was a fight in one of the outskirts;
but Bourbon recognized the impossibility of maintaining a siege in a town
of which the fortifications were in ruins, and with disheartened troops.
On the line of march which they had pursued, from Lodi to Milan, there
was nothing to be seen but cuirasses, arquebuses tossed hither and
thither, dead horses, and men dying of fatigue and scarcely able to drag
themselves along. Bourbon evacuated Milan, and, taking a resolution as
bold as it was singular, abruptly abandoned, so far as he was personally
concerned, that defeated and disorganized army, to go and seek for and
reorganize another at a distance. Being informed that Charles III., Duke
of Savoy, hitherto favorable to France, was secretly inclining towards
the emperor, he went to Turin, made a great impression by his confidence
and his grand spirit in the midst of misfortune upon both the duke and
his wife, Beatrix of Portugal, and obtained from them not only a
flattering reception, but a secret gift of their money and their jewelry;
and, equipped with these resources, he passed into Germany to recruit
soldiers there. The lanzknechts, who had formerly served under him in
France, rushed to him in shoals; he had received from nature the gifts
most calculated to gain the hearts of campaigners: kind, accessible,
affable and even familiar with the common soldier, he entered into the
details of his wants and alleviated them. His famous bravery, his
frankness, and his generosity gained over those adventurers who were
weary of remaining idle; their affection consoled Bourbon and stood him
in stead of all: his army became his family and his camp his country.
Proscribed and condemned in France, without any position secured to him
in the dominions of Charles V., envied and crossed by that prince's
generals, he had found full need of all the strong tempering of his
character and of his warlike genius to keep him from giving way under so
many trials. He was beginning to feel himself near recovery: he had an
army, an army of his own; he had chosen for it men inured to labor and
fatigue, accustomed to strict discipline; and thereto he added five
hundred horsemen from Franche-Comte for whose devotion and courage he
could answer: and he gave the second command in this army to George of
Freundsberg, an old captain of lanzknechts and commandant of the
emperor's guard, the same who, three years before, on seeing Luther
boldly enter Worms, said to him, with a slap on the shoulder, "Little
monk, this is a daring step thou art going to take! Nor I, nor any
captain of us, ever did the like. If thy cause is good, and if thou have
faith in thy cause, forward! little monk, in God's name forward!" With
such comrades about him, Bourbon re-entered Milaness at the head of
twelve or thirteen thousand fighting men, three months after having left
it, alone and moneyless. His rivals about the person of Charles V.,
Lannoy, Viceroy of Naples, and the Marquis of Pescara, could not help
admiring him, and he regained in the imperial camp an ascendency which
had but lately been very much shaken.

He found the fresh campaign begun in earnest. Francis I.'s veteran
generals, Marshals La Tremoille and Chabannes, had advised him to pursue
without pause the beaten and disorganized imperial army, which was in
such plight that there was placarded on the statue of Pasquin at Rome,
"Lost--an army--in the mountains of Genoa; if anybody knows what has
become of it, let him come forward and say: he shall be well rewarded."
If the King of France, it was said, drove back northward and forced into
the Venetian dominions the remnants of this army, the Spaniards would not
be able to hold their own in Milaness, and would have to retire within
the kingdom of Naples. But Admiral Bonnivet, "whose counsel the king
made use of more than of any other," says Du Bellay, pressed Francis I.
to make himself master, before everything, of the principal strong places
in Lombardy, especially of Pavia, the second city in the duchy of Milan.
Francis followed this counsel, and on the 26th of August, 1524, twenty
days after setting out from Aix in Provence, he appeared with his army in
front of Pavia. On learning this resolution, Pescara joyously exclaimed,
"We were vanquished; a little while and we shall be vanquishers." Pavia
had for governor a Spanish veteran, Antony de Leyva, who had
distinguished himself at the battle of Ravenna, in 1512, by his vigilance
and indomitable tenacity: and he held out for nearly four months, first
against assaults, and then against investment by the French army.
Francis I. and his generals occasionally proceeded during this siege to
severities condemned by the laws and usages of war. A small Spanish
garrison had obstinately defended a tower situated at the entrance of a
stone bridge which led from an island on the Ticino into Pavia. Marshal
de Montmorency at last carried the tower, and had all the defenders
hanged "for having dared," he said, "to offer resistance to an army of
the king's in such a pigeon-hole." Antony de Leyva had the bridge
forthwith broken down, and De Montmorency was stopped on the borders of
the Ticino. In spite of the losses of its garrison in assaults and
sorties, and in spite of the sufferings of the inhabitants from famine
and from lack of resources of all sorts, Pavia continued to hold out.
There was a want of wood as well as of bread; and they knocked the houses
to pieces for fuel. Antony de Leyva caused to be melted down the vessels
of the churches and the silvern chandeliers of the university, and even a
magnificent chain of gold which he habitually wore round his neck. He
feared he would have to give in at last, for want of victuals and
ammunition, when, towards the end of January, 1525, he saw appearing, on
the northern side, the flags of the imperial army: it was Bourbon,
Lannoy, and Pescara, who were coming up with twenty thousand foot, seven
hundred men-at-arms, a troop of Spanish arquebusiers, and several pieces
of cannon. Bourbon, whilst on the march, had written, on the 5th of
January, to Henry VIII., and, after telling him what he meant to do, had
added, "I know through one of my servants that the French have said that
I retired from Provence shamefully. I remained there a space of three
months and eight days, waiting for battle. I hope to give the world to
know that I have no fear of King Francis, for, please God, we shall place
ourselves so close together that we shall have great trouble to get
disentangled without battle, and I shall so do that neither he nor they
who have held such talk about me shall say that I was afraid of being
there." The situation was from that moment changed. The French army
found themselves squeezed between the fortress which would not surrender
and the imperial army which was coming to relieve it. Things, however,
remained stationary for three weeks. Francis I. intrenched himself
strongly in his camp, which the Imperialists could not attack without
great risk of unsuccess. "Pavia is doomed to fall," wrote Francis to his
mother the regent on the 3d of February, "if they do not reenforce it
somehow; and they are beating about to make it hold on to the last gasp,
which, I think, will not be long now, for it is more than a month since
those inside have had no wine to drink and neither meat nor cheese to
eat; they are short of powder even." Antony de Leyva gave notice to the
Imperialists that the town was not in a condition for further resistance.
On the other hand, if the imperial army put off fighting, they could not
help breaking up; they had exhausted their victuals, and the leaders
their money; they were keeping the field without receiving pay, and were
subsisting, so to speak, without resources. The prudent Marquis of
Pescara himself was for bringing on a battle, which was indispensable.
"A hundred years in the field," said he, in the words of an old Italian
proverb, "are better than one day of fighting, for one may lose in a
doubtful melley what one was certain of winning by skilful manoeuvres;
but when one can no longer keep the field, one must risk a battle, so as
not to give the enemy the victory without a fight." The same question
was being discussed in the French camp. The veteran captains, La
Tremoille and Chabannes, were of opinion that by remaining in the strong
position in which they were encamped they would conquer without fighting.
Bonnivet and De Montmorency were of the contrary opinion. "We French,"
said Bonnivet, "have not been wont to make war by means of military
artifices, but handsomely and openly, especially when we have at our head
a valiant king, who is enough to make the veriest dastards fight. Our
kings bring victory with them, as our little king Charles VIII. did at
the Taro, our king Louis XII. at Agnadello, and our king who is here
present at Melegnano." Francis I. was not the man to hold out against
such sentiments and such precedents; and he decided to accept battle as
soon as it should be offered him. The imperial leaders, at a council
held on the 23d of February, determined to offer it next day. Bourbon
vigorously supported the opinion of Pescara.

Antony de Leyva was notified the same evening of their decision, and was
invited to make, as soon as he heard two cannon-shots, a sortie which
would place the French army between two fires. Pescara, according to his
custom, mustered the Spaniards; and, "My lads," said he, "fortune has
brought you to such extremity that on the soil of Italy you have for your
own only that which is under your feet. All the emperor's might could
not procure for you to-morrow morning one morsel of bread. We know not
where to get it, save in the Frenchman's camp, which is before your eyes.
There they have abundance of everything, bread, meat, trout and carp from
the Lake of Garda. And so, my lads, if you are set upon having anything
to eat tomorrow, march we down on the Frenchmen's camp." Freundsberg
spoke in the same style to the German lanzknechts. And both were
responded to with cheers. Eloquence is mighty powerful when it speaks in
the name of necessity.

The two armies were of pretty equal strength: they had each from twenty
to five and twenty thousand infantry, French, Germans, Spaniards,
lanzknechts, and Swiss. Francis I. had the advantage in artillery and in
heavy cavalry, called at that time the gendarmerie, that is to say, the
corps of men-at-arms in heavy armor with their servants; but his troops
were inferior in effectives to the Imperialists, and Charles V.'s two
generals, Bourbon and Pescara, were, as men of war, far superior to
Francis I. and his favorite Bonnivet. In the night between the 23d and
24th of February they opened a breach of forty or fifty fathoms in the
wall around the park of Mirabello, where the French camp was situated; a
corps immediately passed through it, marching on Pavia to re-enforce the
garrison, and the main body of the imperial army entered the park to
offer the French battle on that ground. The king at once set his army in
motion; and his well-posted artillery mowed down the corps of Germans and
Spaniards who had entered the park. "You could see nothing," says a
witness of the battle, "but heads and arms flying about." The action
seemed to be going ill for the Imperialists; Pescara urged the Duke of
Bourbon and Lannoy, the Viceroy of Naples, to make haste and come up;
Lannoy made the sign of the cross, and said to his men, "There is no hope
but in God; follow me and do every one as I do." Francis I., on his
side, advanced with the pick of his men-at-arms, burst on the
advance-guard of the enemy, broke it, killed with his own hand the
Marquis of Civita-San-Angelo, and dispersed the various corps he found in
his way. In the confidence of his joy he thought the victory decided,
and, turning to Marshal de Foix, who was with him, "M. de Lescun," said
he, "now am I fain to call myself Duke of Milan." But Bourbon and
Pescara were not the men to accept a defeat so soon; they united all
their forces, and resumed the offensive at all points; the French
batteries, masked by an ill-considered movement on the part of their own
troops, who threw themselves between them and the enemy, lost all
serviceability; and Pescara launched upon the French gendarmerie fifteen
hundred Basque arquebusiers, whom he had exercised and drilled to
penetrate into the midst of the horses, shoot both horses and riders, and
fall back rapidly after having discharged their pieces. Being attacked
by the German lanzknechts of Bourbon and Freundsberg, the Swiss in the
French service did not maintain their renown, and began to give way. "My
God, what is all this!" cried Francis I., seeing them waver, and he
dashed towards them to lead them back into action; but neither his
efforts, nor those of John of Diesbach and the Lord of Fleuranges, who
were their commanders, were attended with success. The king was only
the more eager for the fray; and, rallying around him all those of his
men-at-arms who would neither recoil nor surrender, he charged the
Imperialists furiously, throwing himself into the thickest of the melley,
and seeking in excess of peril some chance of victory; but Pescara,
though wounded in three places, was none the less stubbornly fighting on,
and Antony de Leyva, governor of Pavia, came with the greater part of the
garrison to his aid. At this very moment Francis I. heard that the
first prince of the blood, his brother-in-law the Duke of Alencon, who
commanded the rear-guard, had precipitately left the field of battle.
The oldest and most glorious warriors of France, La Tremoille, Marshal de
Chabannes, Marshal de Foix, the grand equerry San Severino, the Duke of
Suffolk, Francis of Lorraine, Chaumont, Bussy d'Amboise, and Francis de
Duras fell, here and there, mortally wounded. At this sight Admiral
Bonnivet in despair exclaimed, "I can never survive this fearful havoc;"
and raising the visor of his helmet, he rushed to meet the shots which
were aimed at him, and in his turn fell beside his comrades in arms.
Bourbon had expressly charged his men to search everywhere in the melley
for the admiral, and bring him in a prisoner. When, as he passed along
that part of the battle-field, he recognized the corpse, "Ah! wretch," he
cried, as he moved away, "it is thou who hast caused the ruin of France
and of me!" Amidst these dead and dying, Francis still fought on;
wounded as he was in the face, the arms, and the legs, he struck right
and left with his huge sword, and cut down the nearest of his assailants;
but his horse, mortally wounded, dragged him down as it fell; he was up
again in an instant, and, standing beside his horse, he laid low two more
Spaniards who were pressing him closely; the ruck of the soldiers crowded
about him; they did not know him, but his stature, his strength, his
bravery, his coat of mail studded with golden lilies, and his helmet
overshadowed by a thick plume of feathers pointed him out to all as the
finest capture to make; his danger was increasing every minute, when one
of Bourbon's most intimate confidants, the Lord of Pomperant, who, in
1523, had accompanied the constable in his flight through France, came up
at this critical moment, recognized the king, and, beating off the
soldiers with his sword, ranged himself at the king's side, represented
to-him the necessity of yielding, and pressed him to surrender to the
Duke of Bourbon, who was not far off. "No," said the king, "rather die
than pledge my faith to a traitor where is the Viceroy of Naples?" It
took some time to find Lannoy; but at last he arrived and put one knee on
the ground before Francis I., who handed his sword to him. Lannoy took
it with marks of the most profound respect, and immediately gave him
another. The battle was over, and Francis I. was Charles V.'s prisoner.

[Illustration: Capture of Francis I.----91]

He had shown himself an imprudent and unskilful general, but at the same
time a hero. His conquerors, both officers and privates, could not help,
whilst they secured his person, showing their admiration for him. When
he sat down to table, after having had his wounds, which were slight,
attended to, Bourbon approached him respectfully and presented him with a
dinner-napkin; and the king took it without embarrassment and with frigid
and curt politeness. He next day granted him an interview, at which an
accommodation took place with due formalities on both sides, but nothing
more. All the king's regard was for the Marquis of Pescara, who came to
see him in a simple suit of black, in order, as it were, to share his
distress. "He was a perfect gentleman," said Francis I., "both in peace
and in war." He heaped upon him marks of esteem and almost of
confidence. "How do you think," he asked, "the emperor will behave to
me?" "I think," replied Pescara, "I can answer for the emperor's
moderation; I am sure that he will make a generous use of his victory.
If, however, he were capable of forgetting what is due to your rank, your
merits, and your misfortunes, I would never cease to remind him of it,
and I would lose what little claim upon him my services may have given
me, or you should be satisfied with his behavior." The king embraced him
warmly. He asked to be excused from entering Pavia, that he might not be
a gazing-stock in a town that he had so nearly taken. He was,
accordingly, conducted to Pizzighittone, a little fortress between Milan
and Cremona. He wrote thence two letters, one to his mother the regent
and the other to Charles V., which are here given word for word, because
they so well depict his character and the state of his mind in his hour
of calamity:--

1. "To the Regent of France: Madame, that you may know how stands
the rest of my misfortune: there is nothing in the world left to me
but honor and my life, which is safe. And in order that, in your
adversity, this news might bring you some little comfort, I prayed
for permission to write you this letter, which was readily granted
me; entreating you, in the exercise of your accustomed prudence, to
be pleased not to do anything rash, for I have hope, after all, that
God will not forsake me. Commending to you my children your
grandchildren, and entreating you to give the bearer a free passage,
going and returning, to Spain, for he is going to the emperor to
learn how it is his pleasure that I should be treated."

2. "To the Emperor Charles V.: If liberty had been sooner granted
me by my cousin the viceroy, I should not have delayed so long to do
my duty towards you, according as the time and the circumstances in
which I am placed require; having no other comfort under my
misfortune than a reliance on your goodness, which, if it so please,
shall employ the results of victory with honorableness towards me;
having steadfast hope that your virtue would not willingly constrain
me to anything that was not honorable; entreating you to consult
your own heart as to what you shall be pleased to do with me;
feeling sure that the will of a prince such as you are cannot be
coupled with aught but honor and magnanimity. Wherefore, if it
please you to have so much honorable pity as to answer for the
safety which a captive King of France deserves to find, whom there
is a desire to render friendly and not desperate, you may be sure of
obtaining an acquisition instead of a useless prisoner, and of
making a King of France your slave forever."

The former of these two letters has had its native hue somewhat altered
in the majority of histories, in which it has been compressed into those
eloquent words, "All is lost save honor." The second needs no comment to
make apparent what it lacks of kingly pride and personal dignity.
Beneath the warrior's heroism there was in the qualities of Francis I.
more of what is outwardly brilliant and winning than of real strength and
solidity.

But the warrior's heroism, in conjunction with what is outwardly
brilliant and winning in the man, exercises a great influence over
people. The Viceroy of Naples perceived and grew anxious at the
popularity of which Francis I. was the object at Pizzighittone. The
lanzknechts took an open interest in him and his fortunes; the Italians
fixed their eyes on him; and Bourbon, being reconciled to him, might
meditate carrying him off. Lannoy resolved to send him to Naples, where
there would be more certainty of guarding him securely. Francis made no
objection to this design. On the 12th of May, 1525, he wrote to his
mother, "Madame, the bearer has assured me that he will bring you this
letter safely; and, as I have but little time, I will tell you nothing
more than I shall be off to Naples on Monday--, and so keep a lookout at
sea, for we shall have only fourteen galleys to take us and eighteen
hundred Spaniards to man them; but those will be all their arquebusiers.
Above all, haste: for, if that is made, I am in hopes that you may soon
see your most humble and most obedient son." There was no opportunity
for even attempting to carry off the king as he went by sea to Naples;
instead of taking him to Naples, Lannoy transported him straight to
Spain, with the full assent of the king and the regent themselves, for it
was in French galleys manned by Spanish troops that the voyage was made.
Instead of awaiting the result of such doubtful chances of deliverance as
might occur in Italy, Francis I., his mother, and his sister Margaret,
entertained the idea that what was of the utmost importance for him was
to confer and treat in person with Charles V., which could not be done
save in Spain itself. In vain did Bourbon and Pescara, whose whole
influence and ambitious hopes lay in Italy, and who, on that stage,
regarded Francis I. as their own prisoner rather than Charles V.'s, exert
themselves to combat this proposal; the Viceroy of Naples, in concert, no
doubt, with Charles V. himself as well as with Francis I. and his
mother, took no heed of their opposition; and Francis I., disembarking at
the end of June at Barcelona first and then at Valentia, sent, on the 2d
of July, to Charles V. the Duke de Montmorency, with orders to say that
he had desired to approach the emperor, "not only to obtain peace and
deliverance in his own person, but also to establish and confirm Italy in
the state and fact of devotion to the emperor, before that the potentates
and lords of Italy should have leisure to rally together in opposition."
The regent, his mother, and his sister Margaret congratulated him
heartily on his arrival in Spain, and Charles V. himself wrote to him,
"It was a pleasure to me to hear of your arrival over here, because that,
just now, it will be the cause of a happy general peace for the great
good of Christendom, which is what I most desire."

It is difficult to understand how Francis I. and Charles V. could rely
upon personal interviews and negotiations for putting an end to their
contentions and establishing a general peace. Each knew the other's
pretensions, and they knew how little disposed they were, either of them,
to abandon them. On the 28th of March, 1525, a month after the battle of
Pavia, Charles V. had given his ambassadors instructions as to treating
for the ransom and liberation of the King of France. His chief
requirements were, that Francis I. should renounce all attempts at
conquest in Italy, that he should give up the suzerainty of the
countships of Flanders and Artois, that he should surrender to Charles V.
the duchy of Burgundy with all its dependencies, as derived from Mary of
Burgundy, daughter of the last duke, Charles the Rash; that the Duke of
Bourbon should be reinstated in possession of all his domains, with the
addition thereto of Provence and Dauphiny, which should form an
independent state; and, lastly, that France should pay England all the
sums of money which Austria owed her. Francis I., on hearing, at
Pizzighittone, these proposals read out, suddenly drew his sword as if to
stab himself, saying, "It were better for a king to end thus." His
custodian, Alancon, seized his arm, whilst recalling him to his senses.
Francis recovered calmness, but without changing his resolution; he would
rather, he said, bury himself in a prison forever than subscribe to
conditions destructive of his kingdom, and such as the States General of
France would never accept. When Francis I. was removed to Spain he had
made only secondary concessions as to these requirements of Charles V.,
and Charles V. had not abandoned any one of his original requirements.
Marshal de Montmorency, when sent by the king to the emperor on the 2d of
July, 1525, did not enter at all into the actual kernel of the
negotiation; after some conventional protestations of a pacific kind, he
confined himself to demanding "a safe conduct for Madame Marguerite of
France, the king's only sister, Duchess of Alencon and Berry, who would
bring with her such and so full powers of treating for peace, the
liberation of the king, and friendly alliance to secure the said peace,
that the emperor would clearly see that the king's intentions were pure
and genuine, and that he would be glad to conclude and decide in a month
what might otherwise drag on for a long while to the great detriment of
their subjects." The marshal was at the same time to propose the
conclusion of a truce during the course of the negotiations.

Amongst the letters at that time addressed to Francis I., a prisoner of
war, is the following, dated March, 1525, when he was still in Italy:--

"My lord, the joy we are still feeling at the kind letters which you
were pleased to write yesterday to me and to your mother, makes us
so happy with the assurance of your health, on which our life
depends, that it seems to me that we ought to think of nothing but
of praising God and desiring a continuance of your good news, which
is the best meat we can have to live on. And inasmuch as the
Creator bath given us grace that our trinity should be always
united, the other two do entreat you that this letter, presented to
you, who are the third, may be accepted with the same affection with
which it is cordially offered you by your most humble and most
obedient servants, your mother and sister--
LOUISE, MARGUERITE."

This close and tender union of the three continued through all
separations and all trials; the confidence of the captive king was
responsive to the devotion of his mother the regent and of his sister who
had become his negotiatrix. When the news came of the king's captivity,
the regency threatened for a moment to become difficult and stormy; all
the ambition and the hatred that lay dormant in the court awoke; an
attempt was made to excite in the Duke of Vendome, the head of the
younger branch of the House of Bourbon, a desire to take the regent's
place; the Parliament of Paris attacked the chancellor, Duprat, whom they
hated--not without a cause; but the Duke of Vendome was proof against the
attempts which were made upon him, and frankly supported the regent,
who made him the chief of her council; and the regent supported the
chancellor. She displayed, in these court-contentions, an ability
partaking both of firmness and pliancy. The difficulties of foreign
policy found her equally active and prudent. The greatest peril which
France could at that time incur arose from the maintenance of the union
between the King of England and Charles V. At the first news of the
battle of Pavia, Henry VIII. dreamed for a moment of the partition of
France between Charles and himself, with the crown of France for his own
share; demonstrations of joy took place at the court of London; and
attempts were made to levy, without the concurrence of Parliament,
imposts capable of sufficing for such an enterprise. But the English
nation felt no inclination to put up with this burden and the king's
arbitrary power in order to begin over again the Hundred Years' War.
The primate, Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote to Cardinal Wolsey,
"It is reported to me that when the people had orders to make bonfires
for the capture of the King of France, many folks said that it was more
reason for weeping than for rejoicing. Others openly expressed their
desire that the King of France might be set at liberty, that a happy
peace might be concluded, and that the king might not attempt to conquer
France again, a conquest more burdensome than profitable, and more
difficult to keep than to make." Wolsey himself was cooled towards
Charles V., who, instead of writing to him as of old, and signing with
his own hand, "your son and cousin," now merely put his name, Charles.
The regent, Louise of Savoy, profited ably by these feelings and
circumstances in England; a negotiation was opened between the two
courts; Henry VIII. gained by it two millions of crowns payable by annual
instalments of fifty thousand crowns each, and Wolsey received a pension
of a hundred thousand crowns. At first a truce for four months, and then
an alliance, offensive and defensive, were concluded on the 30th of
August, 1525, between France and England; and the regent, Louise of
Savoy, had no longer to trouble herself about anything except the
captivity of the king her son and the departure of her daughter Margaret
to go and negotiate for the liberation of the prisoner.

The negotiation had been commenced, as early as the 20th of July, at
Toledo, between the ambassadors of Francis I. and the advisers of Charles
V., but without any symptom of progress. Francis I., since his arrival
in Spain, had been taken from strong castle to strong castle, and then
removed to Madrid, everywhere strictly guarded, and leading a sad life,
without Charles V.'s coming to visit him or appointing him any
meeting-place. In vain did the emperor's confessor, the Bishop of Osma,
advise him to treat Francis I. generously, and so lay upon him either the
obligation of thankfulness or the burden of ingratitude; the majority of
his servants gave him contrary counsel. "I know not what you mean to
do," wrote his brother, the Archduke Ferdinand; "but, if I were wise
enough to know how to give you good counsel, it seems to me that such an
opportunity should not be lost, but that you should follow up your good
fortune and act in such wise that neither the King of France nor his
successors should have power hereafter to do harm to you or yours."
That, too, was Charles V.'s own way of thinking; but, slow and patient
as he was by nature, he relied upon the discomforts and the wearisomeness
of prolonged captivity and indecision for tiring out Francis I. and
overcoming his resistance to the harsh conditions he would impose upon
him. The regent, Louise, made him an offer to go herself and treat with
him, at Perpignan, for the king's liberation; but he did not accept that
overture. The Duke of Alencon, son-in-law of Louise, had died at Lyons,
unable to survive the shame of his flight at the battle of Pavia; and the
regent hinted that her daughter Marguerite, three months a widow, "would
be happy if she could be agreeable to his Imperial Majesty," but Charles
let the hint drop without a reply. However, at the end of August, 1525,
he heard that Francis I. was ill: "from great melancholy he had fallen
into a violent fever." The population of Madrid was in commotion;
Francis I. had become popular there; many people went to pray for him in
the churches; the doctors told the emperor that there was fear for the
invalid's life, and that he alone could alleviate the malady by
administering some hope. Charles V. at once granted the safe-conduct
which had been demanded of him for Marguerite of France, and on the 18th
of September he himself went to Madrid to pay a visit to the captive.
Francis, on seeing him enter the chamber, said, "So your Majesty has come
to see your prisoner die?" "You are not my prisoner," answered Charles,
"but my brother and my friend: I have no other purpose than to give you
your liberty and every satisfaction you can desire." Next day Marguerite
arrived; her mother, the regent, had accompanied her as far as
Pont-Saint-Esprit; she had embarked, on the 27th of August, at
Aigues-Mortes, and, disembarking at Barcelona, had gone to Madrid by
litter; in order to somewhat assuage her impatience she had given
expression to it in the following tender stanzas:

"For the bliss that awaits me so strong
Is my yearning that yearning is pain;
One hour is a hundred years long;
My litter, it bears me in vain;
It moves not, or seems to recede;
Such speed would I make if I might:
O, the road, it is weary indeed,
Where lies--at the end--my delight!

"I gaze all around me all day
For some one with tidings to bring,
Not ceasing--ne'er doubt me--to pray
Unto God for the health of my king
I gaze; and when none is descried,
Then I weep; and, what else? if you ask,
To my paper my grief I confide
This, this is my sorrowful task.

"O, welcome be he who at length
Shall tap at my door and shall cry,
'The king to new health and new strength
Is returning; the king will not die!'
Then she, who were now better dead,
Will run, the news-bearer to see,
And kiss him for what he hath said,
That her brother from danger is free."

Francis was not "free from danger" when his sister arrived; she took her
post at his side; on the 25th of September a serious crisis came on; and
he remained for some time "without speaking, or hearing, or seeing."
Marguerite had an altar set up in her chamber; and all the French, of the
household, great lords and domestics, knelt beside the sick man's sister,
and received the communion from the, hands of the Archbishop of Embrun,
who, drawing near the bed, entreated the king to turn his eyes to the
holy sacrament. Francis came out of his lethargy, and asked to
communicate likewise, saying, "God will cure me, soul and body." He
became convalescent, and on the 20th of October he was sufficiently
recovered for Marguerite to leave Madrid, and go and resume negotiations
at Toledo, whither Charles V. had returned.

The day but one after her arrival she wrote to the king, "The emperor
gave me courteous and kind reception, and, after coming to meet me at the
entrance of this house, he used very kind and courteous language to me.
He desired that he and I should be alone in the same room, and one of my
women to keep the door. This evening I will send you word of what has
been done; entreating you, my lord, to put on before Sieur Alancon (the
king's custodian) an air of weakness and weariness, for your debility
will strengthen me and will hasten my despatch, which seems to me slower
than I can tell you; as well for the sake of seeing you liberated, which
you will be by God's help, as of returning and trying whether your dear
hand can be of any use to you." Marguerite was impressed by the
good-will she discovered at the court of Toledo in respect of the King of
France, his liberation, and the establishment of peace; she received from
the people in the streets, as well as from the great lords in their
houses, the most significant proofs of favor. Charles V. took umbrage at
it, and had the Duke of Infantado, amongst others, informed that, if he
wished to please the emperor, neither he nor his sons must speak to
Madame d'Alencon. "But," said she, "I am not tabooed to the ladies, to
whom I will speak double." She contracted a real intimacy with even the
sister of Charles V., Eleanor, widow of the King of Portugal, whom
Charles had promised to the Duke of Bourbon, and between whom and her
brother, King Francis, Marguerite set brewing a marriage, which was not
long deferred. But, in spite of her successes at the court, and even in
the family of the emperor, Marguerite had no illusions touching the small
chance of bringing her grand object of negotiation to a happy issue.
"Every one tells me," she wrote, "that he loves the king; but there is
small experience of it. . . . If I had to do with good sort of
people, who understand what honor is, I would not care; but the contrary
is the case." She did not lose courage, however: "she spoke to the
emperor so bravely and courteously," says Brantome, "that he was quite
astounded, and she said still worse to those of his council, at which
she had audience; there she had full triumph of her good speaking and
haranguing, with an easy grace in which she was not deficient; and she
did so well with her fine speaking that she made herself rather agreeable
than hateful or tiresome, that her reasons were found good and pertinent,
and that she remained in high esteem with the emperor, his council, and
his court."

But neither good and pertinent reasons, nor the charm of eloquence in the
mouth of a pleasing and able woman, are sufficient to make head against
the passions and interests of the actors who are at a given moment in
possession of the political arena; it needs time, a great deal of time,
before the unjust or unreasonable requirements and determinations of a
people, a generation, and the chief of a state become acknowledged as
such and abandoned. At the negotiations entered upon, in 1525, between
Francis I. and Charles V., Francis I. was prompt in making large and
unpalatable concessions: he renounced his pretensions, so far as Italy
was concerned, to the duchy of Milan, to Genoa, and to the kingdom of
Naples; his suzerainty over the countships of Flanders and Artois, and
possession of Hesdin and Tournay; he consented to reinstate Duke Charles
of Bourbon in all his hereditary property and rights, and to pay three
millions of crowns in gold for his own ransom; but he refused to cede
Provence and Dauphiny to the Duke of Bourbon as an independent state,
and to hand over the duchy of Burgundy to Charles V., as heir of his
grandmother, Mary of Burgundy, only daughter of Charles the Rash.
Charles V., after somewhat lukewarmly persisting, gave up the demand he
had made on behalf of the Duke of Bourbon, for having Provence and
Dauphiny erected into an independent state; but he insisted absolutely,
on his own behalf, in his claim to the duchy of Burgundy as a right and a
condition, sine qua non, of peace. The question at the bottom of the
negotiations between the two sovereigns lay thus: the acquisition of
Burgundy was for Charles V. the crowning-point of his victory and of his
predominance in Europe; the giving up of Burgundy was for Francis I. a
lasting proof of his defeat and a dismemberment of his kingdom: one would
not let his prisoner go at any price but this, the other would not
purchase at this price even his liberty and his restoration to his
friends. In this extremity Francis I. took an honorable and noble
resolution; in October, 1525, he wrote to Charles V., "Sir, my brother,
I have heard from the Archbishop of Embrun and my premier-president at
Paris of the decision you have expressed to them as to my liberation, and
I am sorry that what you demand of me is not in my power. But feeling
that you could not take a better way of telling me that you mean to keep
me prisoner forever than by demanding of me what is impossible on my
part, I have made up my mind to put up with imprisonment, being sure that
God, who knows that I have not deserved a long one, being a prisoner of
fair war, will give me strength to bear it patiently. And I can only
regret that your courteous words, which you were pleased to address to me
in my illness, should have come to nothing." [_Documents inedits sur
l'Histoire de France. Captivite du roi Francois I._, p. 384.]

The resolution announced in this letter led before long to the official
act which was certain to be the consequence of it. In November, 1525, by
formal letters patent, Francis I., abdicating the kingship which he could
not exercise, ordered that his eldest son, the dauphin Francis, then
eight years old, should be declared, crowned, anointed, and consecrated
Most Christian King of France, and that his grandmother, Louise of Savoy,
Duchess of Angouleme, or, in default of her, his aunt Marguerite, Duchess
of Alencon, should be regent of the kingdom: "If it should please God
that we should recover our personal liberty, and be able to proceed to
the government and conduct of our kingdom, in that case our most dear and
most beloved son shall quit and give up to us the name and place of king,
all things re-becoming just as they were before our capture and
captivity." The letters patent ordered the regent "to get together a
number of good and notable personages from the three estates in all the
districts, countries, and good towns of France, to whom, either in a body
or separately, one after another, she should communicate the said will of
the king, as above, in order to have their opinion, counsel, and
consent." Thus, during the real king's very captivity, and so, long as
it lasted, France was again about to have a king whom the States General
of France would be called upon to support with their counsels and
adhesion.

[Illustration: Louise of Savoy and Marguerite de Valois----102]

This resolution was taken and these letters patent prepared just at the
expiry of the safe-conduct granted to the Princess Marguerite, and,
consequently, just when she would have to return to France. Charles V.
was somewhat troubled at the very different position in which he was
about to find himself, when he would have to treat no longer at Madrid
with a captive king, but at Paris with a young king out of his power and
with his own people about him. Marguerite fully perceived his
embarrassment. From Toledo, where she was, she wrote to her brother,
"After having been four days without seeing the emperor, when I went to
take leave I found him so gracious that I think he is very much afraid of
my going; those gentry yonder are in a great fix, and, if you will be
pleased to hold firm, I can see them coming round to your wishes. But
they would very much like to keep me here doing nothing, in order to
promote their own affairs, as you will be pleased to understand."
Charles V., in fact, signified to the king his desire that the
negotiations should be proceeded with at Madrid or Toledo, never ceasing
to make protestations of his pacific intentions. Francis I. replied
that, for his part, "he would not lay any countermand on the duchess,
that he would willingly hear what the emperor's ambassadors had to say,
but that, if they did not come to any conclusion as to a peace and his
own liberation, he would not keep his own ambassadors any longer, and
would send them away." Marguerite set out at the end of November; she at
first travelled slowly, waiting for good news to reach her and stop her
on the road; but, suddenly, she received notice from Madrid to quicken
her steps; according to some historians, it was the Duke of Bourbon who,
either under the influence of an old flame or in order to do a service to
the king he had betrayed, sent word to the princess that Charles V.,
uneasy about what she was taking with her to France, had an idea of
having her arrested the moment her safe-conduct had expired. According
to a more probable version, it was Francis I. himself who, learning that
three days after Marguerite's departure Charles V. had received a copy of
the royal act of abdication, at once informed his sister, begging her to
make all haste. And she did so to such purpose that, "making four days'
journey in one," she arrived at Salces, in the Eastern Pyrenees, an hour
before the expiry of her safe-conduct. She no doubt took to her mother,
the regent, the details of the king's resolutions and instructions; but
the act itself containing them, the letters patent of Francis I., had not
been intrusted to her; it was Marshal de Montmorency who, at the end of
December, 15225, was the first bearer of them to France.

Did Francis I. flatter himself that his order to have his son the dauphin
declared and crowned king, and the departure of his sister Marguerite,
who was going, if not to carry the actual text of the resolution, at any
rate to announce it to the regent and to France, would embarrass Charles
V. so far as to make him relax in his pretensions to the duchy of
Burgundy and its dependencies? There is nothing to show that he was
allured by such a hope; any how, if it may have for a moment arisen in
his mind, it soon vanished. Charles V. insisted peremptorily upon his
requirements; and Francis I. at once gave up his attitude of firmness,
and granted, instead, the concession demanded of him, that is, the
relinquishment of Burgundy and its dependencies to Charles V., "to hold
and enjoy with every right of supremacy until it hath been judged,
decided, and determined, by arbiters elected on the emperor's part and
our own, to whom the said duchy, countships, and other territories
belong. . . . And for guarantee of this concession, the dauphin, the
king's eldest son, and his second son, Henry, Duke of Orleans, or other
great personages, to the number of twelve, should be sent to him and
remain in his keeping as hostages." The regent, Louise, was not without
a hand in this determination of the king; her maternal affection took
alarm at the idea of her son's being for an indefinite period a prisoner
in the hands of his enemy. Besides, in that case, war seemed to her
inevitable; and she dreaded the responsibility which would be thrown upon
her. Charles V., on his side, was essentially a prudent man; he disliked
remaining, unless it were absolutely necessary, for a long while in a
difficult position. His chancellor, Gattinera, refused to seal a treaty
extorted by force and violated, in advance, by lack of good faith.
"Bring the King of France so low," he said, "that he can do you no harm,
or treat him so well that he can wish you no harm, or keep him a
prisoner: the worst thing you can do is to let him go half satisfied."
Charles V. persisted in his pacific resolution. There is no knowing
whether he was tempted to believe in the reality of Francis I.'s
concession, and to regard the guarantees as seriously meant; but it is
evident that Francis I. himself considered them a mere sham; for four
months previously, on the 22d of August, 1525, at the negotiations
entered into on this subject, he had taken care to deposit in the hands
of his negotiators a nullifying protest "against all pacts, conventions,
renunciations, quittances, revocations, derogations, and oaths that he
might have to make contrary to his honor and the good of his crown, to
the profit of the said emperor or any other whosoever." And on the 13th
of January, 1526, four weeks after having given his ambassadors orders
to sign the treaty of Madrid containing the relinquishment of Burgundy
and its dependencies, the very evening before the day on which that
treaty was signed, Francis I. renewed, at Madrid itself, and again placed
in the hands of his ambassadors, his protest of the 22d of August
preceding against this act, declaring "that it was through force and
constraint, confinement and length of imprisonment, that he had signed
it, and that all that was contained in it was and should remain null and
of no effect." We may not have unlimited belief in the scrupulosity of
modern diplomats; but assuredly they would consider such a policy so
fundamentally worthless that they would be ashamed to practise it. We
may not hold sheer force in honor; but open force is better than
mendacious weakness, and less debasing for a government as well as for a
people.

"As soon as the treaty of Madrid was signed, the emperor came to Madrid to
see the king; then they went, both in one litter, to see Queen Eleanor,
the emperor's sister and the king of Portugal's widow, whom, by the said
treaty, the king was to espouse before he left Spain, which he did."
[_Memoires de Martin Du Bellay,_ t. ii. p. 15.] After which Francis was
escorted by Lannoy to Fontarabia, whilst, on the other hand, the regent
Louise, and the king's two sons who were to go as hostages to Spain, were
on their way to Bayonne. A large bark was anchored in the middle of the
Bidassoa, the boundary of the two kingdoms, between Irun and Andaye.
Lannoy put the king on board, and received in exchange, from the hands of
Marshal Lautrec, the little princes Francis and Henry. The king gave his
children his blessing, and reached the French side whilst they were being
removed to the Spanish; and as soon as he set foot on shore, he leaped
upon a fine Turkish horse, exclaiming, as he started at a gallop for
Bayonne, where his mother and his sister awaited him, "So now I am king
again!"

On becoming king again, he fell under the dominion of three personal
sentiments, which exercised a decisive influence upon his conduct, and,
consequently, upon the destiny of France joy at his liberation, a
thirsting for revenge, we will not say for vengeance, to be wreaked on
Charles V., and the burden of the engagement he had contracted at Madrid
in order to recover his liberty, alternately swayed him. From Bayonne he
repaired to Bordeaux, where he reassembled his court, and thence to
Cognac, in Saintonge, where he passed nearly three months, almost
entirely abandoning himself to field-sports, galas, diversions, and
pleasures of every kind, as if to indemnify himself for the wearisomeness
and gloom in which he had lived at Madrid. "Age subdues the blood,
adversity the mind, risks the nerve, and the despairing monarch has no
hope but in pleasures," says Tavannes in his Memoires: "such was Francis
I., smitten of women both in body and mind. It is the little circle of
Madame d'Etampes that governs." One of the regent's maids of honor, Anne
d'Heilly, whom Frances I. made Duchess of Etampes, took the place of the
Countess of Chateaubriant as his favorite. With strange indelicacy
Francis demanded back from Madame de Chateaubriant the beautiful jewels
of gold which he had given her, and which bore tender mottoes of his
sister Marguerite's composition. The countess took time enough to have
the jewels melted down, and said to the king's envoy, "Take that to the
king, and tell him that, as he has been pleased to recall what he gave
me, I send it back to him in metal. As for the mottoes, I cannot suffer
any one but myself to enjoy them, dispose of them, and have the pleasure
of them." The king sent back the metal to Madame de Chateaubriant; it
was the mottoes that he wished to see again, but he did not get them.

At last it was absolutely necessary to pass from pleasure to business.
The envoys of Charles V., with Lannoy, the Viceroy of Naples, at their
head, went to Cognac to demand execution of the treaty of Madrid.
Francis waited, ere he gave them an answer, for the arrival of the
delegates from the estates of Burgundy, whom he had summoned to have
their opinion as to the cession of the duchy. These delegates, meeting
at Cognac in June, 1527, formally repudiated the cession, being opposed,
they said, to the laws of the kingdom, to the rights of the king, who
could not by his sole authority alienate any portion of his dominions,
and to his coronation-oath, which superseded his oaths made at Madrid.
Francis invited the envoys of Charles V. to a solemn meeting of his court
and council present at Cognac, at which the delegates from Burgundy
repeated their protest. Whilst availing himself of this declaration as
an insurmountable obstacle to the complete execution of the treaty of
Madrid, Francis offered to give two million crowns for the redemption of
Burgundy, and to observe the other arrangements of the treaty, including
the relinquishment of Italy and his marriage with the sister of Charles
V. Charles formally rejected this proposal. "The King of France," he
said, "promised and swore, on the faith of an honest king and prince,
that, if he did not carry out the said restitution of Burgundy, he would
incontinently come and surrender himself prisoner to H. M. the emperor,
wherever he might be, to undergo imprisonment in the place where the said
lord the emperor might be pleased to order him, up to and until the time
when this present treaty should be completely fulfilled and accomplished.
Let the King of France keep his oath." [_Traite de Madrid,_ 14th of
January, 1526: art. vi.]

However determined he was, at bottom, to elude the strict execution of
the treaty of Madrid, Francis was anxious to rebut the charge of perjury
by shifting the responsibility on to the shoulders of the people
themselves and their representatives. He did not like to summon the
states-general of the kingdom, and recognize their right as well as their
power; but, after the meeting at Cognac, he went to Paris, and, on the
12th of December, 1527, the Parliament met in state with the adjunct of
the princes of the blood, a great number of cardinals, bishops, noblemen,
deputies from the Parliaments of Toulouse, Bordeaux, Rouen, Dijon,
Grenoble, and Aix, and the municipal body of Paris. In presence of this
assembly the king went over the history of his reign, his expeditions in
Italy, his alternate successes and reverses, and his captivity. "If my
subjects have suffered," he said, "I have suffered with them." He then
caused to be read the letters patent whereby he had abdicated and
transferred the crown to his son the dauphin, devoting himself to
captivity forever. He explained the present condition of the finances,
and what he could furnish for the ransom of his sons detained as
hostages; and he ended by offering to return as a prisoner to Spain if no
other way could be found out of a difficult position, for he acknowledged
having given his word, adding, however, that he had thought it pledged
him to nothing, since it had not been given freely.

This last argument was of no value morally or diplomatically; but in his
bearing and his language Francis I. displayed grandeur and emotion. The
assembly also showed emotion; they were four days deliberating; with some
slight diversity of form the various bodies present came to the same
conclusion; and, on the 16th of December, 1527, the Parliament decided
that the king was not bound either to return to Spain or to execute, as
to that matter, the treaty of Madrid, and that he might with full
sanction and justice levy on his subjects two millions of crowns for the
ransom of his sons and the other requirements of the state.

Before inviting such manifestations Francis I. had taken measures to
prevent them from being in vain. Since the battle of Pavia and his
captivity at Madrid the condition and disposition of Europe, and
especially of Italy, had changed. From 1513 to 1523, three popes, Leo
X., Adrian VI., and Clement VII. had occupied the Holy See. Adrian VI.
alone embraced the cause of Charles V., whose preceptor he had been; but
he reigned only one year, eight months, and five days; and even during
that short time he made only a timid use of his power on his patron's
behalf. His successor, Clement VII., was a Florentine and a Medici, and,
consequently, but little inclined to favor the emperor's policy. The
success of Charles V. at Pavia and the captivity of Francis I. inspired
the pope and all Italy with great dread of the imperial pretensions and
predominance. A league was formed between Rome, Florence, Venice, and
Milan for the maintenance of Italian independence; and, as the pope was
at its head, it was called the Holy League. Secret messages and
communications were interchanged between these Italian states, the regent
Louise of Savoy at Paris, and King Henry VIII. in London, to win them
over to this coalition, not less important, it was urged, for the
security of Europe than of Italy. The regent of France and the King of
England received these overtures favorably; promises were made on either
side and a commencement was even made of preparations, which were hastily
disavowed both at Paris and in London, when Charles V. testified some
surprise at them. But when Francis I. was restored to freedom and
returned to his kingdom, fully determined in his own mind not to execute
the treaty of Madrid, the negotiations with Italy became more full of
meaning and reality. As early as the 22d of May, 1526, whilst he was
still deliberating with his court and Parliament as to how he should
behave towards Charles V. touching the treaty of Madrid, Francis I.
entered into the Holy League with the pope, the Venetians, and the Duke
of Milan for the independence of Italy; and on the 8th of August
following Francis I. and Henry VIII. undertook, by a special treaty, to
give no assistance one against the other to Charles V., and Henry VIII.
promised to exert all his efforts to get Francis I.'s two sons, left as
hostages in Spain, set at liberty. Thus the war between Francis I. and
Charles V., after fifteen months' suspension, resumed its course.

It lasted three years in Italy, from 1526 to 1529, without interruption,
but also without result; it was one of those wars which are prolonged
from a difficulty of living in peace rather than from any serious
intention, on either side, of pursuing a clear and definite object.
Bourbon and Lannoy commanded the imperial armies, Lautrec the French
army. Only two events, one for its singularity and the other for its
tragic importance, deserve to have the memory of them perpetuated in
history.

After the battle of Pavia and whilst Francis I. was a captive in Spain,
Bourbon, who had hitherto remained in Italy, arrived at Madrid on the
13th of November, 1525, almost at the same time at which Marguerite de
Valois was leaving it for France. Charles V. received the hero of Pavia
with the strongest marks of consideration and favor; and the Spanish army
were enthusiastic in their attachment to him. Amongst the great Spanish
lords there were several who despised him as a traitor to his king and
country. Charles V. asked the Marquis de Villena to give him quarters in
his palace. "I can refuse the king nothing," said the marquis; "but as
soon as the traitor is out of the house, I will fire it with my own hand;
no man of honor could live in it any more." Holding this great and at
the same time doubtful position, Bourbon remained in Spain up to the
moment when the war was renewed between Francis I. and Charles V. The
latter could not at that time dispense with his services in Italy for the
only soldier who could have taken his place there, the Marquis of
Pescara, had died at Milan on the 30th of November, 1525, aged
thirty-six. Charles V. at once sent Bourbon to take the command of the
imperial armies in Italy. On arriving at Milan in July, 1527, Bourbon
found not only that town, but all the emperor's party in Italy, in such a
state of disorder, alarm, and exhaustion as to render them incapable of
any great effort. In view of this general disturbance, Bourbon, who was
as ambitious as able, and had become the chief of the great adventurers
of his day, conceived the most audacious hopes. Charles V. had promised
him the duchy of Milan; why should he not have the kingdom of Naples
also, and make himself independent of Charles V.? He had immense
influence over his Spanish army; and he had recruited it in Germany with
from fourteen to fifteen thousand lanzknechts, the greater part of them
Lutherans, and right glad to serve Charles V., then at war with the pope.
Their commander, Freundsberg, a friend of Bourbon's, had got made a
handsome gold chain, "expressly," he said, "to hang and strangle the pope
with his own hand, because 'honor to whom honor is due;' and since the
pope called himself premier in Christendom, he must be deferred to
somewhat more than others." [Brantome, t. i. p. 354.] On the 30th of
January, 1527, at Piacenza, Bourbon, late Constable of France, put
himself at the head of this ruck of bold and greedy adventurers. "I am
now," said he to them, "nothing but a poor gentleman, who hasn't a penny
to call his own any more than you have; but, if you will have a little
patience, I will make you all rich or die in the attempt;" and, so
saying, he distributed amongst them all he had left of money, rings, and
jewels, keeping for himself nothing but his clothes and a jacket of
silver tissue to put on over his armor. "We will follow you everywhere,
to the devil himself!" shouted the soldiers; "no more of Julius Caesar,
Hannibal, and Scipio! Hurrah! for the fame of Bourbon!" Bourbon led
this multitude through Italy, halting before most of the towns, Bologna
and Florence even, which he felt a momentary inclination to attack, but,
after all, continuing his march until, having arrived in sight of Rome on
the 5th of March, 1527, in the evening, he had pitched his camp, visited
his guards, and ordered the assault for the morrow. "The great chances
of our destiny," said he to his troops, "have brought us hither to the
place where we desired to be, after traversing so many bad roads, in
midwinter, with snows and frosts so great, with rain, and mud, and
encounters of the enemy, in hunger and thirst, and without a halfpenny.
Now is the time to show courage, manliness, and the strength of your
bodies. If this bout you are victorious, you will be rich lords and
mighty well off; if not, you will be quite the contrary. Yonder is the
city whereof, in time past, a wise astrologer prophesied concerning me,
telling me that I should die there; but I swear to you that I care but
little for dying there, if, when I die, my corpse be left with endless
glory and renown throughout the world." Afterwards he gave the word for
retiring, some to rest, and some on guard, and for every one to be ready
to assault on the morrow early. . . . "After that the stars became
obscured by the greater resplendency of the sun and the flashing arms of
the soldiers who were preparing for the assault, Bourbon, clad all in
white that he might be better known and seen (which was not the sign of a
coward), and armor in hand, marched in front close up to the wall, and,
when he had mounted two rungs of his ladder, just as he had said the
night before, so did it happen to him, that envious, or, to more properly
speak, traitorous Fortune would have an arquebuse-shot to hit him full in
the left side and wound him mortally. And albeit she took from him his
being and his life, yet could she not in one single respect take away his
magnanimity and his vigor so long as his body had sense, as he well
showed out of his own mouth, for, having fallen when he was hit, he told
certain of his most faithful friends who were nigh him, and especially
the Gascon captain, Jonas, to cover him with a cloak and take him away,
that his death might not give occasion to the others to leave an
enterprise so well begun. . . . Just then, as M. de Bourbon had
recommended,--to cover and hide his body,--so did his men; in such sort
that the escalade and assault went on so furiously that the town, after a
little resistance, was carried; and the soldiers, having by this time got
wind of his death, fought the more furiously that it might be avenged,
the which it certainly was right well, for they set up a shout of, 'Slay,
slay! blood, blood! Bourbon, Bourbon!'" [Brantome, t. i. pp. 262-269.]

The celebrated artist-in-gold, Benvenuto Cellini, says, in his Life
written by himself, that it was he who, from the top of the wall of the
Campo Santo at Rome, aiming his arquebuse at the midst of a group of
besiegers, amongst whom he saw one man mounted higher than the rest, hit
him, and that he then saw an extraordinary commotion around this man, who
was Bourbon, as he found out afterwards. [_Vita di Benvenuto Cellini,_
ch. xvii. pp. 157-159.] "I have heard say at Rome," says Brantome on
the contrary, "that it was held that he who fired that wretched
arquebuse-shot was a priest." [Brantome, t. ii. p. 268.]

Whatever hand it was that shot down Bourbon, Rome, after his death, was
plundered, devastated and ravaged by a brutal, greedy, licentious, and
fanatical soldiery. Europe was moved at the story of the sack of Rome
and the position of the pope, who had taken refuge in the castle of St.
Angelo. Francis I. and Henry VIII. renewed their alliance; and a French
army under the command of Lautrec advanced into Italy. Charles V.,
fearing lest it should make a rapid march to Rome and get possession of
the pope whilst delivering him from captivity, entered into negotiations
with him; and, in consideration of certain concessions to the emperor,
it was arranged that the pope should be set at liberty without delay.
Clement VII. was so anxious to get out of his position, lately so
perilous and even now so precarious, that he slank out of the castle of
St. Angelo in the disguise of a tradesman the very night before the day
fixed by the emperor for his liberation; and he retired to Orvieto, on
the territory occupied by the French army. During this confusion of
things in Italy, Charles V. gave orders for arresting in Spain the
ambassadors of Francis I. and of Henry VIII., who were in alliance
against him, and who, on their side, sent him two heralds-at-arms to
declare war against him. Charles V. received them in open audience at
Burgos, on the 22d of January, 1528. "I am very much astonished," said
he to the French envoy, "to find the King of France declaring against me
a war which he has been carrying on for seven years; he is not in a
position to address to me such a declaration; he is my prisoner. Why has
he taken no notice of what I said to his ambassador immediately after his
refusal to execute the treaty of Madrid?" Charles V. now repeated, in
the very terms addressed to the French ambassador, the communication to
which he alluded: "The king your master acted like a Bastard and a
scoundrel in not keeping his word that he gave me touching the treaty of
Madrid; if he likes to say to the contrary, I will maintain it against
him with my body to his." When these words were reported to Francis I.,
he summoned, on the 27th of March, 1528, the princes of the blood, the
cardinals, the prelates, the grandees of the kingdom, and the ministers
from foreign courts, and, after having given a vivid account of his
relations with Charles V., "I am not the prisoner of Charles," he said:
"I have not given him my word; we have never met with arms in our hands."
He then handed his herald, Guyenne, a cartel written with his own hand,
and ending with these words addressed to Charles V.: "We give you to
understand that, if you have intended or do intend to charge us with
anything that a gentleman loving his honor ought not to do, we say that
you have lied in your throat, and that, as often as you say so, you will
lie. Wherefore for the future write us nothing at all; but appoint us
the time and place of meeting, and we will bring our sword for you to
cross; protesting that the shame of any delay in fighting shall be yours,
seeing that, when it comes to an encounter, there is an end of all
writing." Charles V. did not receive Francis I.'s challenge till the 8th
of June; when he, in his turn, consulted the grandees of his kingdom,
amongst others the Duke of Infantado, one of the most considerable in
rank and character, who answered him in writing: "The jurisdiction of
arms extends exclusively to obscure and foggy matters in which the
ordinary rules of justice are at a discount; but, when one can appeal to
oaths and authentic acts, I do not think that it is allowable to come to
blows before having previously tried the ordinary ways of justice. . .
It seems to me that this law of honor applies to princes, however great
they may be, as well as to knights. It would be truly strange, my lord,
that a debt so serious, so universally recognized, as that contracted by
the King of France, should be discharged by means of a personal
challenge." Charles V. thereupon sent off his herald, Burgundy, with
orders to carry to Francis I. "an appointment for a place of meeting
between Fontarabia and Andaye, in such a spot as by common consent should
be considered most safe and most convenient by gentlemen chosen on each
side;" and this offer was accompanied by a long reply which the herald
was at the same time to deliver to the King of France, whilst calling on
him to declare his intention within forty days after the delivery of that
letter, dated the 24th of June, "in default whereof," said Charles, "the
delay in fighting will be yours."

[Illustration: Francis I.----115]

On arriving at the frontier of France the Spanish herald demanded a
safe-conduct. He was made to wait seven weeks, from the 30th of June to
the 19th of August, without the king's cognizance, it is said. At last,
on the 19th of September, 1528, Burgundy entered Paris, and was
conducted to the palace. Francis I. received him in the midst of his
court; and, as soon as he observed the entrance of the herald, who made
obeisance preliminary to addressing him, "Herald," cried the king, "all
thy letters declare that thou bringest appointment of time and place;
dost thou bring it?" "Sir," answered the Spaniard, "permit me to do my
office, and say what the emperor has charged me to say." "Nay, I will
not listen to thee," said Francis, "if thou do not first give me a
patent signed by thy master, containing an appointment of time and
place." "Sir, I have orders to read you the cartel, and give it you
afterwards." "How, pray!" cried the king, rising up angrily: "doth thy
master pretend to introduce new fashions in my kingdom, and give me laws
in my own court?" Burgundy, without being put out, began again: "Sir,
. . . " "Nay," said Francis, "I will not suffer him to speak to me
before he has given me appointment of time and place. Give it me, or
return as thou hast come." "Sir, I cannot, without your permission, do
my office; if you will not deign to grant it to me, let me have your
refusal handed me, and your ratification I of my safe-conduct for my
return." "I am quite willing," said the king; "let him have it!"
Burgundy set off again for Madrid, and the incident was differently
reported by the two courts; but there was no further question of a duel
between the two kings.

One would not think of attempting to decide, touching this question of
single combat, how far sincerity was on the side of Francis or of
Charles. No doubt they were both brave; the former with more brilliancy
than his rival, the latter, at need, with quite as much firmness. But in
sending challenges one to the other, as they did on this occasion, they
were obeying a dying-out code, and rather attempting to keep up
chivalrous appearances than to put seriously in practice the precedents
of their ancestors. It was no longer a time when the fate of a people
could be placed in the hands of a few valiant warriors, such as the three
Horatii and the three Curiatii, or the thirty Bretons and thirty English.
The era of great nations and great contests was beginning, and one is
inclined to believe that Francis I. and Charles V. were themselves aware
that their mutual challenges would not come to any personal encounter.
The war which continued between them in Italy was not much more serious
or decisive; both sides were weary of it, and neither one nor the other
of the two sovereigns espied any great chances of success. The French
army was wasting itself, in the kingdom of Naples, upon petty,
inconclusive engagements; its commander, Lautrec, died of the plague on
the 15th of August, 1528; a desire for peace became day by day stronger;
it was made, first of all, at Barcelona, on the 20th of June, 1529,
between Charles V. and Pope Clement VII.; and then a conference was
opened at Cambrai for the purpose of bringing it about between Charles V.
and Francis I. likewise. Two women, Francis I.'s mother and Charles V.'s
aunt, Louise of Savoy and Margaret of Austria, had the real negotiation
of it; they had both of them acquired the good sense and the moderation
which come from experience of affairs and from difficulties in life; they
did not seek to give one another mutual surprises and to play-off one
another reciprocally; they resided in two contiguous houses, between
which they had caused a communication to be made on the inside, and they
conducted the negotiation with so much discretion, that the petty Italian
princes who were interested in it did not know the results of it until
peace was concluded on the 5th of August, 1529. Francis I. yielded on
all the Italian and Flemish questions; and Charles V. gave up Burgundy,
and restored to liberty the King of France's two sons, prisoners at
Madrid, in consideration of a ransom put at two millions of crowns and of
having the marriage completed between his sister Eleanor and Francis I.
King Henry VIII. complained that not much account had been made of him,
either during the negotiations or in the treaty; but his discontent was
short-lived, and he none the less came to the assistance of Francis I.
in the money-questions to which the treaty gave rise. Of the Italian
states, Venice was most sacrificed in this accommodation between the
kings. "The city of Cambrai," said the doge, Andrew Gritti, "is the
purgatory of the Venetians; it is the place where emperors and kings of
France make the Republic expiate the sin of having ever entered into
alliance with them." Francis went to Bordeaux to meet his sons and his
new wife. At Bordeaux, Cognac, Amboise, Blois, and Paris, galas, both at
court and amongst the people, succeeded one another for six months; and
Europe might consider itself at peace.

The peace of Cambrai was called the ladies' peace, in honor of the two
princesses who had negotiated it. Though morally different and of very
unequal worth, they both had minds of a rare order, and trained to
recognize political necessities, and not to attempt any but possible
successes. They did not long survive their work: Margaret of Austria
died on the 1st of December, 1530, and Louise of Savoy on the 22d of
September, 1531. All the great political actors seemed hurrying away
from the stage, as if the drama were approaching its end. Pope Clement
VII. died on the 26th of September, 1534. He was a man of sense and
moderation; he tried to restore to Italy her independence, but he forgot
that a moderate policy is, above all, that which requires most energy and
perseverance. These two qualities he lacked totally; he oscillated from
one camp to the other without ever having any real influence anywhere. A
little before his death he made France a fatal present; for, on the 28th
of October, 1533, he married his niece Catherine de' Medici to Francis
I.'s second son, Prince Henry of Valois, who by the death of his elder
brother, the Dauphin Francis, soon afterwards became heir to the throne.
The chancellor, Anthony Duprat, too, the most considerable up to that
time amongst the advisers of Francis I., died on the 9th of July, 1535.
According to some historians, when he heard, in the preceding year, of
Pope Clement VII.'s death, he had conceived a hope, being already
Archbishop of Sens, and a cardinal, of succeeding him; and he spoke to
the king about it. "Such an election would cost too dear," said Francis
I.; "the appetite of cardinals is insatiable; I could not satisfy it."
"Sir," replied Duprat, "France will not have to bear the expense; I will
provide for it; there are four hundred thousand crowns ready for that
purpose." "Where did you get all that money, pray?" asked Francis,
turning his back upon him; and next day he caused a seizure to be made
of a portion of the chancellor-cardinal's property. "This, then,"
exclaimed Duprat, "is the king's gratitude towards the minister who has
served him body and soul!" "What has the cardinal to complain of?" said
the king: "I am only doing to him what he has so often advised me to do
to others." [_Trois Magestrats Francais du Seizieme Siecle,_ by Edouard
Faye de Brys, 1844, pp. 77-79.] The last of the chancellor's
biographers, the Marquis Duprat, one of his descendants, has disputed
this story. [_Vie d'Antoine Duprat,_ 1857, p. 364.] However that may
be, it is certain that Chancellor Duprat, at his death, left a very large
fortune, which the king caused to be seized, and which he partly
appropriated. We read in the contemporary _Journal d'un Bourgeois de
Paris_ [published by Ludovic Lalanne, 1854, p. 460], "When the chancellor
was at the point of death, the king sent M. de Bryon, Admiral of France,
who had orders to have everything seized and all his property placed in
the king's hands. . . . They found in his place at Nantouillet eight
hundred thousand crowns, and all his gold and silver plate . . . and
in his Hercules-house, close to the Augustins', at Paris, where he used
to stay during his life-time, the sum of three hundred thousand livres,
which were in coffers bound with iron, and which were carried off by the
king for and to his own profit." In the civil as well as in the military
class, for his government as well as for his armies, Francis I. had, at
this time, to look out for new servants.

He did not find such as have deserved a place in history. After the
deaths of Louise of Savoy, of Chancellor Duprat, of La Tremoille, of La
Palice, and of all the great warriors who fell at the battle of Pavia, it
was still one more friend of Francis I.'s boyhood, Anne de Montmorency,
who remained, in council as well as army, the most considerable and the
most devoted amongst his servants. In those days of war and discord,
fraught with violence, there was no man who was more personally rough and
violent than Montmorency. From 1521 to 1541, as often as circumstances
became pressing, he showed himself ready for anything and capable of
anything in defence of the crown and the re-establishment of order. "Go
hang me such a one," he would say, according to Brantome. "Tie you
fellow to this tree; give yonder one the pike or arquebuse, and all
before my eyes; cut me in pieces all those rascals who chose to hold such
a clock-case as this against the king; burn me this village; set me
everything a-blaze, for a quarter of a league all round." In 1548,
a violent outbreak took place at Bordeaux on account of the gabel or
salt-tax; and the king's lieutenant was massacred in it. Anne de
Montmorency, whom the king had made constable in 1538, the fifth of his
family invested with that dignity, repaired thither at once. "Aware of
his coming," says Brantome, "MM. de Bordeaux went two days' journey to
meet him and carry him the keys of their city: 'Away, away,' said he,
'with your keys; I will have nothing to do with them; I have others which
I am bringing with me, and which will make other sort of opening than
yours (meaning his cannon); I will have you all hanged; I will teach you
to rebel against your king, and kill his governor and lieutenant.' Which
he did not fail to do," adds Brantome, "and inflicted exemplary
punishment, but not so severe assuredly as the case required." The
narrator, it will be seen, was not more merciful than the constable.
Nor was the constable less stern or less thorough in battles than in
outbreaks. In 1562, at the battle of Dreux, he was aged and so ill that
none expected to see him on horseback. "But in the morning," says
Brantome, "knowing that the enemy was getting ready, he, brimful of
courage, gets out of bed, mounts his horse, and appears at the moment the
march began; whereof I do remember me, for I saw him and heard him, when
M. de Guise came forward to meet him to give him good day, and ask how he
was. He, fully armed, save only his head, answered him, 'Right well,
sir: this is the real medicine that hath cured me for the battle which is
toward and a-preparing for the honor of God and our king.'" In spite of
this indomitable aptness for rendering the king everywhere the most
difficult, nay, the most pitiless services, the Constable de Montmorency
none the less incurred, in 1541, the disfavor of Francis I.; private
dissensions in the royal family, the intrigues of rivals at court, and
the enmity of the king's mistress, the Duchess of Etampes, effaced the
remembrance of all he had done and might still do. He did accept his
disgrace; he retired first to Chantilly, and then to Ecouen; and there he
waited for the dauphin, when he became King Henry II., to recall him to
his side and restore to him the power which Francis I., on his very
death-bed, had dissuaded his son from giving back. The ungratefulnesses
of kings are sometimes as capricious as their favors.

The ladies' peace, concluded at Cambrai in 1529, lasted up to 1536;
incessantly troubled, however, by far from pacific symptoms, proceedings,
and preparations. In October, 1532, Francis I. had, at Calais, an
interview with Henry VIII., at which they contracted a private alliance,
and undertook "to raise between them an army of eighty thousand men to
resist the Turk, as true zealots for the good of Christendom." The
Turks, in fact, under their great sultan, Soliman II., were constantly
threatening and invading Eastern Europe. Charles V., as Emperor of
Germany, was far more exposed to their attacks and far more seriously
disquieted by them than Francis I. and Henry VIII. were; but the peril
that hung over him in the East urged him on at the same time to a further
development of ambition and strength; in order to defend Eastern Europe
against the Turks he required to be dominant in Western Europe; and in
that very part of Europe a large portion of the population were disposed
to wish for his success, for they required it for their own security.
"To read all that was spread abroad hither and thither," says William du
Bellay, "it seemed that the said lord the emperor was born into this
world to have fortune at his beck and call." Two brothers, Mussulman
pirates, known under the name of Barbarossa, had become masters, one of
Algiers and the other of Tunis, and were destroying, in the
Mediterranean, the commerce and navigation of Christian states. It was
Charles V. who tackled them. In 1535 he took Tunis, set at liberty
twenty thousand Christian slaves, and remained master of the regency.
At the news of this expedition, Francis I., who, in concert with Henry
VIII., was but lately levying an army to "offer resistance," he said, "to
the Turk," entered into negotiations with Soliman II., and concluded a
friendly treaty with him against what was called the common enemy.
Francis had been for some time preparing to resume his projects of
conquest in Italy; he had effected an interview at Marseilles, in
October, 1533, with Pope Clement VII., who was almost at the point of
death, and it was there that the marriage of Prince Henry of France with
Catherine de' Medici was settled. Astonishment was expressed that the
pope's niece had but a very moderate dowry. "You don't see, then," said
Clement VII.'s ambassador, "that she brings France three jewels of great
price, Genoa, Milan, and Naples?" When this language was reported at the
court of Charles V., it caused great irritation there. In 1536 all
these combustibles of war exploded; in the month of February, a French
army entered Piedmont, and occupied Turin; and, in the month of July,
Charles V. in person entered Provence at the head of fifty thousand men.
Anne de Montmorency having received orders to defend southern France,
began by laying it waste in order that the enemy might not be able to
live in it; officers had orders to go everywhere and "break up the
bake-houses and mills, burn the wheat and forage, pierce the wine-casks,
and ruin the wells by throwing the wheat into them to spoil the water."
In certain places the inhabitants resisted the soldiers charged with this
duty; elsewhere, from patriotism, they themselves set fire to their
corn-ricks and pierced their casks. Montmorency made up his mind to
defend, on the whole coast of Provence, only Marseilles and Arles; he
pulled down the ramparts of the other towns, which were left exposed to
the enemy. For two months Charles V. prosecuted this campaign without a
fight, marching through the whole of Provence an army which fatigue,
shortness of provisions, sickness, and ambuscades were decimating
ingloriously. At last he decided upon retreating. "From Aix to Frejus,
where the emperor at his arrival had pitched his camp, all the roads were
strewn with the sick and the dead pell-mell, with harness, lances, pikes,
arquebuses, and other armor of men and horses gathered in a heap. I say
what I saw," adds Martin du Bellay, "considering the toil I had with my
company in this pursuit." At the village of Mery, near Frejus, some
peasants had shut themselves up in a tower situated on the line of march;
Charles V. ordered one of his captains to carry it by assault; from his
splendid uniform the peasants, it is said, took this officer for the
emperor himself, and directed their fire upon him; the officer, mortally
wounded, was removed to Nice, where he died at the end of a few days. It
was Garcilaso de la Vega, the prince of Spanish poesy, the Spanish
Petrarch, according to his fellow-countrymen. The tower was taken, and
Charles V. avenged his poet's death by hanging twenty-five of these
patriot-peasants, being all that survived of the fifty who had maintained
the defence.

On returning from his sorry expedition, Charles V. learned that those of
his lieutenants whom he had charged with the conduct of a similar
invasion in the north of France, in Picardy, had met with no greater
success than he himself in Provence. Queen Mary of Hungary, his sister
and deputy in the government of the Low Countries, advised a local truce;
his other sister, Eleanor, the Queen of France, was of the same opinion;
Francis I. adopted it; and the truce in the north was signed for a period
of three months. Montmorency signed a similar one for Piedmont. It was
agreed that negotiations for a peace should be opened at Locate in
Roussillon, and that, to pursue them, Francis should go and take up his
quarters at Montpellier, and Charles V. at Barcelona. Pope Paul III.
(Alexander Farnese), who, on the 13th of October, 1534, had succeeded
Clement VII., came forward as mediator. He was a man of capacity, who
had the gift of resolutely continuing a moderate course of policy, well
calculated to gain time, but insufficient for the settlement of great and
difficult questions. The two sovereigns refused to see one another
officially; they did not like the idea of discussing together their
mutual pretensions, and they were so different in character that, as
Marguerite de Valois used to say, "to bring them to accord, God would have
had to re-make one in the other's image." They would only consent to
treat by agents; and on the 15th of June, 1538, they signed a truce for
ten years, rather from weariness of a fruitless war than from any real
desire of peace; they, both of them, wanted time to bring them unforeseen
opportunities for getting out of their embarrassments. But for all their
refusal to take part in set negotiations, they were both desirous of
being personally on good terms again, and to converse together without
entering into any engagement. Charles V. being forced by contrary winds
to touch at the Island of Sainte-Marie, made a proposal to Francis I.
for an interview at Aigues Mortes; Francis repaired thither on the 14th
of July, 1538, and went, the very same day, in a small galley, to pay a
visit to the emperor, who stepped eagerly forward, and held out a hand to
him to help him on to the other vessel. Next day, the 15th of July,
Charles V., embarking on board one of the king's frigates, went and
returned the visit at Aigues-Mortes, where Francis, with his whole court,
was awaiting him; after disembarkation at the port they embraced; and
Queen Eleanor, glad to see them together, "embraced them both," says an
eyewitness, "a round the waist." They entered the town amidst the roar
of artillery and the cheers of the multitude, shouting, "Hurrah! for the
emperor and the king!" The dauphin, Henry, and his brother Charles, Duke
of Orleans, arriving boot and spur from Provence, came up at this moment,
shouting likewise, "Hurrah! for the emperor and the king!" "Charles V.
dropped on his knees," says the narrator, and embraced the two young
princes affectionately. They all repaired together to the house prepared
for their reception, and, after dinner, the emperor, being tired, lay
down to rest on a couch. Queen Eleanor, before long, went and tapped at
his door, and sent word to the king that the emperor was awake. Francis,
with the Cardinal de Lorraine and the Constable de Montmorency, soon
arrived. On entering the chamber, he found the emperor still lying down
and chatting with his sister the queen, who was seated beside him on a
chair. At sight of the king Charles V. sprang from the couch and went
towards him without any shoes on. "Well, brother," said the king, "how
do you feel? Have you rested well?" "Yes," said Charles; "I had made
such cheer that I was obliged to sleep it off." "I wish you," said
Francis, "to have the same power in France as you have in Flanders and in
Spain;" whereupon he gave him, as a mark of affection, a diamond valued
at thirty thousand crowns, and having on the ring in which it was set
this inscription: "A token and proof of affection" (Dilectionis testis
et exemplum). Charles put the ring on his finger; and, taking from his
neck the collar of the order (the Golden Fleece) he was wearing, he put
it upon the king's neck. Francis did the converse with his own collar.
Only seven of the attendants remained in the emperor's chamber; and there
the two sovereigns conversed for an hour, after which they moved to the
hall, where a splendid supper awaited them. After supper the queen went
in person to see if the emperor's room was ready; she came back to tell
him when it was, and Charles V. retired. Next morning, July 16, Francis
went to see him again in his room; they heard mass together; Charles
re-embarked the same day for Spain; Francis I. went and slept, on the
17th, at Nimes; and thus ended this friendly meeting, which left, if not
the principal actors, at any rate the people all around, brimful of
satisfaction, and feeling sure that the truce concluded in the previous
month would really at last be peace. The people are easily deceived; and
whenever they are pleased with appearances they readily take them for
realities.

An unexpected event occurred to give this friendly meeting at
Aigues-Mortes a value which otherwise it would probably never have
attained. A year afterwards, in August, 1539, a violent insurrection
burst out at Ghent. The fair deputy of the Low Countries had obtained
from the estates of Flanders a gratuitous grant of twelve hundred
thousand florins for the assistance of her brother the emperor, whom his
unfortunate expedition in Provence had reduced to great straits for want
of money; and the city of Ghent had been taxed, for its share, to the
extent of four hundred thousand florins. The Ghentese pleaded their
privilege of not being liable to be taxed without their own consent. To
their plea Charles V. responded by citing the vote of the estates of
Flanders and giving orders to have it obeyed. The Ghentese drove out the
officers of the emperor, entered upon open rebellion, incited the other
cities of Flanders, Ypres and Bruges amongst the rest, to join them, and,
taking even more decisive action, sent a deputation to Francis I., as
their own lord's suzerain, demanding his support, and offering to make
him master of the Low Countries if he would be pleased to give them
effectual assistance. The temptation was great; but whether it were from
prudence or from feudal loyalty, or in consequence of the meeting at
Aigues-Mortes, and of the prospects set before him by Charles of an
arrangement touching Milaness, Francis rejected the offer of the
Ghentese, and informed Charles V. of it. The emperor determined
resolutely upon the course of going in person and putting down the
Ghentese; but how to get to Ghent? The sea was not safe; the rebels had
made themselves masters of all the ports on their coasts; the passage by
way of Germany was very slow work, and might be difficult by reason of
ill-will on the part of the Protestant states which would have to be
traversed. France was the only direct and quick route. Charles V. sent
to ask Francis I. for a passage, whilst thanking him for the loyalty
with which he had rejected the offers of the Ghentese, and repeating to
him the fair words that had been used as to Milaness. Francis announced
to his council his intention of granting the emperor's request. Some of
his councillors pressed him to annex some conditions, such, at the least,
as a formal and written engagement instead of the vague and verbal
promises at Aigues-Mortes. "No," said the king, with the impulsiveness
of his nature, "when you do a generous thing, you must do it completely
and boldly." On leaving the council he met his court-fool Triboulet,
whom he found writing in his tablets, called Fools' Diary, the name of
Charles V., "A bigger fool than I," said he, "if he comes passing
through France." "What wilt thou say, if I let him pass?" said the king.
"I will rub out his name and put yours in its place." Francis I. was not
content with letting Charles V. pass; he sent his two sons, the dauphin
and the Duke of Orleans, as far as Bayonne to meet him, went in person to
receive him at Chatellerault, and gave him entertainments at Amboise, at
Blois, at Chambord, at Orleans, and Fontainebleau, and lastly at Paris,
which they entered together on the 1st of January, 1540. Orders had been
sent everywhere to receive him "as kings of France are received on their
joyous accession." "The king gave his guest," says Du Bellay, "all the
pleasures that can be invented, as royal hunts, tourneys, skirmishes,
fights a-foot and a-horseback, and in all other sorts of pastimes." Some
petty incidents, of a less reassuring kind, were intermingled with these
entertainments. One day the Duke of Orleans, a young prince full of
reckless gayety, jumped suddenly on to the crupper of the emperor's
horse, and threw his arms round Charles, shouting, "Your Imperial Majesty
is my prisoner." Charles set off at a gallop, without turning his head.

[Illustration: The Duke of Orleans and Charles V.----128]

Another day the king's favorite, the Duchess of Etampes, was present with
the two monarchs. "Brother," said Francis, "you see yonder a fair dame
who is of opinion that I should not let you out of Paris without your
having revoked the treaty of Madrid." "Ah! well," said Charles, "if the
opinion is a good one, it must be followed." Such freedom of thought and
speech is honorable to both sovereigns. Charles V., impressed with the
wealth and cheerful industry that met his eye, said, according to
Brantome, "There is not in the world any greatness such as that of a King
of France." After having passed a week at Paris he started for the Low
Countries, halted at Chantilly, at the Constable de Montmorency's, who,
as well as the king's two sons, the dauphin and the Duke of Orleans, was
in attendance upon him, and did not separate from his escort of French
royalty until he arrived at Valenciennes, the first town in his Flemish
dominions. According to some historians there had been at Chantilly,
amongst the two young princes and their servants, some idea of seizing
the emperor and detaining him until he had consented to the concessions
demanded of him; others merely say that the constable, before leaving
him, was very urgent with him that he should enter into some positive
engagement as to Milaness. "No," said Charles, "I must not bind myself
any more than I have done by my words as long as I am in your power; when
I have chastised my rebellious subjects I will content your king."

He did chastise, severely, his Flemish subjects, but he did not content
the King of France. Francis I. was not willing to positively renounce
his Italian conquests, and Charles V. was not willing to really give them
up to him. Milaness was still, in Italy, the principal object of their
mutual ambition. Navarre, in the south-east of France, and the Low
Countries in the north, gave occasion for incessantly renewed disputes
between them. The two sovereigns sought for combinations which would
allow them to make, one to the other, the desired concessions, whilst
still preserving pretexts for and chances of recovering them. Divers
projects of marriage between their children or near relatives were
advanced with that object, but nothing came of them; and, after two years
and a half of abortive negotiations, another great war, the fourth, broke
out between Francis I. and Charles V., for the same causes and with the
same by-ends as ever. It lasted two years, from 1542 to 1544, with
alternations of success and reverse on either side, and several
diplomatic attempts to embroil in it the different European powers.
Francis I. concluded an alliance in 1543 with Sultan Soliman II., and, in
concert with French vessels, the vessels of the pirate Barbarossa cruised
about and made attacks upon the shores of the Mediterranean. An outcry
was raised against such a scandal as this. "Sir Ambassador," said
Francis I. to Marino Giustiniano, ambassador from Venice, "I cannot deny
that I eagerly desire to see the Turk very powerful and ready for war;
not on his own account, for he is an infidel and all we are Christians,
but in order to cripple the power of the emperor, to force him into great
expense, and to give all other governments security against so great an
enemy." "As for me," says the contemporary Montluc in his Memoires, "if
I could summon all the spirits of hell to break the head of my enemy who
would fain break mine, I would do it with all my heart, God forgive me!"
On the other hand, on the 11th of February, 1543, Charles V. and Henry
VIII., King of England, concluded an alliance against Francis I. and the
Turks. The unsuccess which had attended the grand expedition conducted
by Charles V. personally in 1541, with the view of attacking Barbarossa
and the Mussulmans in Algiers itself, had opened his eyes to all the
difficulty of such enterprises, and he wished to secure the co-operation
of a great maritime power before engaging therein afresh. He at the same
time convoked a German diet at Spires in order to make a strong
demonstration against the alliance between Francis I. and the Turks, and
to claim the support of Germany in the name of Christendom. Ambassadors
from the Duke of Savoy and the King of Denmark appeared in support of the
propositions and demands of Charles V. The diet did not separate until
it had voted twenty-four thousand foot and four thousand horse to be
employed against France, and had forbidden Germans, under severe
penalties, to take service with Francis I. In 1544 the war thus became
almost European, and in the early days of April two armies were
concentrated in Piedmont, near the little town of Ceresole, the Spanish
twenty thousand strong and the French nineteen thousand; the former under
the orders of the Marquis del Guasto, the latter under those of the Count
d'Enghien; both ready to deliver a battle which was, according to one
side, to preserve Europe from the despotic sway of a single master, and,
according to the other, to protect Europe against a fresh invasion of
Mussulmans.

Francis of Bourbon, Count d'Enghien, had received from the king a
prohibition to give battle. He was believed to be weaker than the
Marquis del Guasto, who showed eagerness to deliver it. Convinced that
such a position was as demoralizing as it was disagreeable for him, the
young Count d'Enghien sent a valiant and intelligent gentleman, Blaise de
Montluc, who had already had experience in the great wars of the reign,
to carry his representations to the king. Francis I. summoned the
messenger to a meeting of the council, at which the dauphin, Henry, stood
behind his father's chair. "Montluc," said the king, "I wish you to
return and report my deliberation and the opinion of my council to M.

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