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Memoirs of Marguerite de Valois, Complete by Marguerite de Valois, Queen of Navarre

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to history as that great monarch and emperor, Charles V.

The rivalry between the Princes could not cease there. Charles, as
representative of the House of Burgundy, claimed all that had been lost
when Charles the Bold fell; and in 1521 the war broke out between him and
Francois, the first of a series of struggles between the two rivals.
While the King wasted the resources of his country on these wars, his
proud and unwise mother, Louise of Savoy, guided by Antoine du Prat,
ruled, to the sorrow of all, at home. The war brought no glory with it:
on the Flemish frontier a place or two was taken; in Biscay Fontarabia
fell before the arms of France; in Italy Francois had to meet a new
league of Pope and Emperor, and his troops were swept completely out of
the Milanese. In the midst of all came the defection of that great
prince, the Constable de Bourbon, head of the younger branch of the
Bourbon House, the most powerful feudal lord in France. Louise of Savoy
had enraged and offended him, or he her; the King slighted him, and in
1523 the Constable made a secret treaty with Charles V. and Henry VIII.,
and, taking flight into Italy, joined the Spaniards under Lannoy. The
French, who had again invaded the Milanese, were again driven out in
1524; on the other hand, the incursions of the imperialists into Picardy,
Provence, and the southeast were all complete failures. Encouraged by
the repulse of Bourbon from Marseilles, Francois I. once more crossed the
Alps, and overran a great part of the valley of the Po; at the siege of
Pavia he was attacked by Pescara and Bourbon, utterly defeated and taken
prisoner (24th February, 1525); the broken remnants of the French were
swept out of Italy at once, and Francois I. was carried into Spain, a
captive at Madrid. His mother, best in adversity, behaved with high
pride and spirit; she overawed disaffection, made preparations for
resistance, looked out for friends on every side. Had Francois been in
truth a hero, he might, even as a prisoner, have held his own; but he was
unable to bear the monotony of confinement, and longed for the pleasures
of France. On this mean nature Charles V. easily worked, and made the
captive monarch sign the Treaty of Madrid (January 14, 1526), a compact
which Francois meant to break as soon as he could, for he knew neither
heroism nor good faith. The treaty stipulated that Francois should give
up the duchy of Burgundy to Charles, and marry Eleanor of Portugal,
Charles's sister; that Francois should also abandon his claims on
Flanders, Milan, and Naples, and should place two sons in the Emperor's
hands as hostages. Following the precedent of Louis XI. in the case of
Normandy, he summoned an assembly of nobles and the Parliament of Paris
to Cognac, where they declared the cession of Burgundy to be impossible.
He refused to return to Spain, and made alliances wherever he could, with
the Pope, with Venice, Milan, and England. The next year saw the ruin of
this league in the discomfiture of Clement VII., and the sack of Rome by
the German mercenaries under Bourbon, who was killed in the assault. The
war went on till 1529, when Francois, having lost two armies in it, and
gained nothing but loss and harm, was willing for peace; Charles V.,
alarmed at the progress of the Turks, was not less willing; and in
August, 1529, the famous Treaty, of Cambrai, "the Ladies' Peace," was
agreed to by Margaret of Austria and Louise of Savoy. Though Charles V.
gave up all claim on the duchy of Burgundy, he had secured to himself
Flanders and Artois, and had entirely cleared French influences out of
Italy, which now became firmly fixed under the imperial hand, as a
connecting link between his Spanish and German possessions. Francois
lost ground and credit by these successive treaties, conceived in bad
faith, and not honestly carried out.

No sooner had the Treaty of Cambrai been effectual in bringing his sons
back to France, than Francois began to look out for new pretexts and
means for war. Affairs were not unpromising. His mother's death in 1531
left him in possession of a huge fortune, which she had wrung from
defenceless France; the powers which were jealous of Austria, the Turk,
the English King, the members of the Smalkald league, all looked to
Francois as their leader; Clement VII., though his misfortunes had thrown
him into the Emperor's hands, was not unwilling to treat with France; and
in 1533 by the compact of Marseilles the Pope broke up the friendship
between Francois and Henry VIII., while he married his niece Catherine
de' Medici to Henri, the second son of Francois. This compact was a real
disaster to France; the promised dowry of Catherine--certain Italian
cities--was never paid, and the death of Clement VII. in 1534 made the
political alliance with the papacy a failure. The influence of Catherine
affected and corrupted French history for half a century. Preparations
for war went on; Francois made a new scheme for a national army, though
in practice he preferred the tyrant's arm, the foreign mercenary. From
his day till the Revolution the French army was largely composed of
bodies of men tempted out of other countries, chiefly from Switzerland or

While the Emperor strove to appease the Protestant Princes of Germany by
the Peace of Kadan (1534), Francois strengthened himself with a definite
alliance with Soliman; and when, on the death of Francesco Sforza, Duke
of Milan, who left no heirs, Charles seized the duchy as its overlord,
Francois, after some bootless negotiation, declared war on his great
rival (1536). His usual fortunes prevailed so long as he was the
attacking party: his forces were soon swept out of Piedmont, and the
Emperor carried the war over the frontier into Provence. That also
failed, and Charles was fain to withdraw after great losses into Italy.
The defence of Provence--a defence which took the form of a ruthless
destruction of all its resources--had been entrusted to Anne de
Montmorency, who henceforward became Constable of France, and exerted
great influence over Francois I. Though these two campaigns, the French
in Italy and the imperialist in Provence, had equally failed in 1536,
peace did not follow till 1538, when, after the terrible defeat of
Ferdinand of Austria by the Turks, Charles was anxious to have free hand
in Germany. Under the mediation of Paul III. the agreement of Nice was
come to, which included a ten years' truce and the abandonment by
Francois of all his foreign allies and aims. He seemed a while to have
fallen completely under the influence of the sagacious Emperor. He gave
way entirely to the Church party of the time, a party headed by gloomy
Henri, now Dauphin, who never lost the impress of his Spanish captivity,
and by the Constable Anne de Montmorency; for a time the artistic or
Renaissance party, represented by Anne, Duchesse d'Etampes, and Catherine
de' Medici, fell into disfavour. The Emperor even ventured to pass
through France, on his way from Spain to the Netherlands. All this
friendship, however, fell to dust, when it was found that Charles refused
to invest the Duc d'Orleans, the second son of Francois, with the duchy
of Milan, and when the Emperor's second expedition against the sea-power
of the Turks had proved a complete failure, and Charles had returned to
Spain with loss of all his fleet and army. Then Francois hesitated no
longer, and declared war against him (1541). The shock the Emperor had
suffered inspirited all his foes; the Sultan and the Protestant German
Princes were all eager for war; the influence of Anne de Montmorency had
to give way before that of the House of Guise, that frontier family, half
French, half German, which was destined to play a large part in the
troubled history of the coming half-century. Claude, Duc de Guise, a
veteran of the earliest days of Francois, was vehemently opposed to
Charles and the Austro-Spanish power, and ruled in the King's councils.
This last war was as mischievous as its predecessors no great battles
were fought; in the frontier affairs the combatants were about equally
fortunate; the battle of Cerisolles, won by the French under Enghien
(1544), was the only considerable success they had, and even that was
almost barren of results, for the danger to Northern France was imminent;
there a combined invasion had been planned and partly executed by Charles
and Henry VIII., and the country, almost undefended, was at their mercy.
The two monarchs, however, distrusted one another; and Charles V.,
anxious about Germany, sent to Francois proposals for peace from Crespy
Couvrant, near Laon, where he had halted his army; Francois, almost in
despair, gladly made terms with him. The King gave up his claims on
Flanders and Artois, the Emperor his on the duchy of Burgundy; the King
abandoned his old Neapolitan ambition, and Charles promised one of the
Princesses of the House of Austria, with Milan as her dower, to the Duc
d'Orleans, second son of Francois. The Duke dying next year, this
portion of the agreement was not carried out. The Peace of Crespy, which
ended the wars between the two great rivals, was signed in autumn, 1544,
and, like the wars which led to it, was indecisive and lame.

Charles learnt that with all his great power he could not strike a fatal
blow at France; France ought to have learnt that she was very weak for
foreign conquest, and that her true business was to consolidate and
develop her power at home. Henry VIII. deemed himself wronged by this
independent action on the part of Charles, who also had his grievances
with the English monarch; he stood out till 1546, and then made peace
with Francois, with the aim of forming a fresh combination against
Charles. In the midst of new projects and much activity, the marrer of
man's plots came on the scene, and carried off in the same year, 1547,
the English King and Francois I., leaving Charles V. undisputed arbiter
of the affairs of Europe. In this same year he also crushed the
Protestant Princes at the battle of Muhlberg.

In the reign of Francois I. the Court looked not unkindly on the
Reformers, more particularly in the earlier years.

Henri II., who succeeded in 1547, "had all the faults of his father, with
a weaker mind;" and as strength of mind was not one of the
characteristics of Francois I., we may imagine how little firmness there
was in the gloomy King who now reigned. Party spirit ruled at Court.
Henri II., with his ancient mistress, Diane de Poitiers, were at the head
of one party, that of the strict Catholics, and were supported by old
Anne de Montmorency, most unlucky of soldiers, most fanatical of
Catholics, and by the Guises, who chafed a good deal under the stern rule
of the Constable. This party had almost extinguished its antagonists; in
the struggle of the mistresses, the pious and learned Anne d'Etampes had
to give place to imperious Diane, Catherine, the Queen, was content to
bide her time, watching with Italian coolness the game as it went on; of
no account beside her rival, and yet quite sure to have her day, and
ready to play parties against one another. Meanwhile, she brought to her
royal husband ten sickly children, most of whom died young, and three
wore the crown. Of the many bad things she did for France, that was
perhaps among the worst.

On the accession of Henri II. the duchy of Brittany finally lost even
nominal independence; he next got the hand of Mary, Queen of Scots, then
but five years old, for the Dauphin Francois; she was carried over to
France; and being by birth half a Guise, by education and interests of
her married life she became entirely French. It was a great triumph for
Henri, for the Protector Somerset had laid his plans to secure her for
young Edward VI.; it was even more a triumph for the Guises, who saw
opened out a broad and clear field for their ambition.

At first Henri II. showed no desire for war, and seemed to shrink from
rivalry or collision with Charles V. He would not listen to Paul III.,
who, in his anxiety after the fall of the Protestant power in Germany in
1547, urged him to resist the Emperor's triumphant advance; he seemed to
show a dread of war, even among his neighbours. After he had won his
advantage over Edward VI., he escaped the war which seemed almost
inevitable, recovered Boulogne from the English by a money payment, and
smoothed the way for peace between England and Scotland. He took much
interest in the religious question, and treated the Calvinists with great
severity; he was also occupied by troubles in the south and west of
France. Meanwhile, a new Pope, Julius III., was the weak dependent of
the Emperor, and there seemed to be no head left for any movement against
the universal domination of Charles V. His career from 1547 to 1552 was,
to all appearance, a triumphal march of unbroken success. Yet Germany
was far from acquiescence; the Princes were still discontented and
watchful; even Ferdinand of Austria, his brother, was offended by the
Emperor's anxiety to secure everything, even the imperial crown for his
son Philip; Maurice of Saxony, that great problem of the age, was
preparing for a second treachery, or, it may be, for a patriotic effort.
These German malcontents now appealed to Henri for aid; and at last Henri
seemed inclined to come. He had lately made alliance with England, and
in 1552 formed a league at Chambord with the German Princes; the old
connection with the Turk was also talked of. The Germans agreed to
allow' him to hold (as imperial vicar, not as King of France) the "three
bishoprics," Metz, Verdun, and Toul; he also assumed a protectorate over
the spiritual princes, those great bishops and electors of the Rhine,
whose stake in the Empire was so important. The general lines of French
foreign politics are all here clearly marked; in this Henri II. is the
forerunner of Henri IV. and of Louis XIV.; the imperial politics of
Napoleon start from much the same lines; the proclamations of Napoleon
III. before the Franco-German war seemed like thin echoes of the same.

Early in 1552 Maurice of Saxony struck his great blow at his master in
the Tyrol, destroying in an instant all the Emperor's plans for the
suppression of Lutheran opinions, and the reunion of Germany in a
Catholic empire; and while Charles V. fled for his life, Henri II. with
a splendid army crossed the frontiers of Lorraine. Anne de Montmorency,
whose opposition to the war had been overborne by the Guises, who warmly
desired to see a French predominance in Lorraine, was sent forward to
reduce Metz, and quickly got that important city into his hands; Toul and
Verdun soon opened their gates, and were secured in reality, if not in
name, to France. Eager to undertake a protectorate of the Rhine, Henri
II. tried also to lay hands on Strasburg; the citizens, however,
resisted, and he had to withdraw; the same fate befell his troops in an
attempt on Spires. Still, Metz and the line of the Vosges mountains
formed a splendid acquisition for France. The French army, leaving
strong garrisons in Lorraine, withdrew through Luxemburg and the northern
frontier; its remaining exploits were few and mean, for the one gleam of
good fortune enjoyed by Anne de Montmorency, who was unwise and arrogant,
and a most inefficient commander, soon deserted him. Charles V., as soon
as he could gather forces, laid siege to Metz, but, after nearly three
months of late autumnal operations, was fain to break up and withdraw,
baffled and with loss of half his army, across the Rhine. Though some
success attended his arms on the northern frontier, it was of no
permanent value; the loss of Metz, and the failure in the attempt to take
it, proved to the worn-out Emperor that the day of his power and
opportunity was past. The conclusions of the Diet of Augsburg in 1555
settled for half a century the struggle between Lutheran and Catholic,
but settled it in a way not at all to his mind; for it was the safeguard
of princely interests against his plans for an imperial unity. Weary of
the losing strife, yearning for ease, ordered by his physicians to
withdraw from active life, Charles in the course of 1555 and 1556
resigned all his great lordships and titles, leaving Philip his son to
succeed him in Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain, and his brother
Ferdinand of Austria to wear in his stead the imperial diadem. These
great changes sundered awhile the interests of Austria from those of

Henri endeavoured to take advantage of the check in the fortunes of his
antagonists; he sent Anne de Montmorency to support Gaspard de Coligny,
the Admiral of France, in Picardy, and in harmony with Paul IV.,
instructed Francois, Duc de Guise, to enter Italy to oppose the Duke of
Alva. As of old, the French arms at first carried all before them, and
Guise, deeming himself heir to the crown of Naples (for he was the eldest
great-grandson of Rene II., titular King of Naples), pushed eagerly
forward as far as the Abruzzi. There he was met and outgeneraled by
Alva, who drove him back to Rome, whence he was now recalled by urgent
summons to France; for the great disaster of St. Quentin had laid Paris
itself open to the assault of an enterprising enemy. With the departure
of Guise from Italy the age of the Italian expeditions comes to an end.
On the northern side of the realm things had gone just as badly.
Philibert of Savoy, commanding for Philip with Spanish and English
troops, marched into France as far as to the Somme, and laid siege to St.
Quentin, which was bravely defended by Amiral de Coligny. Anne de
Montmorency, coming up to relieve the place, managed his movements so
clumsily that he was caught by Count Egmont and the Flemish horse, and,
with incredibly small loss to the conquerors, was utterly routed (1557).
Montmorency himself and a crowd of nobles and soldiers were taken; the
slaughter was great. Coligny made a gallant and tenacious stand in the
town itself, but at last was overwhelmed, and the place fell. Terrible
as these mishaps were to France, Philip II. was not of a temper to push
an advantage vigorously; and while his army lingered, Francois de Guise
came swiftly back from Italy; and instead of wasting strength in a
doubtful attack on the allies in Picardy, by a sudden stroke of genius he
assaulted and took Calais (January, 1558), and swept the English finally
off the soil of France. This unexpected and brilliant blow cheered and
solaced the afflicted country, while it finally secured the ascendency of
the House of Guise. The Duke's brother, the Cardinal de Lorraine,
carried all before him in the King's councils; the Dauphin, betrothed
long before, was now married to Mary of Scots; a secret treaty bound the
young Queen to bring her kingdom over with her; it was thought that
France with Scotland would be at least a match for England joined with
Spain. In the same year, 1558, the French advance along the coast, after
they had taken Dunkirk and Nieuport, was finally checked by the brilliant
genius of Count Egmont, who defeated them at Gravelinea. All now began
to wish for peace, especially Montmorency, weary of being a prisoner, and
anxious to get back to Court, that he might check the fortunes of the
Guises; Philip desired it that he might have free hand against heresy.
And so, at Cateau-Cambresis, a peace was made in April, 1559, by which
France retained the three bishoprics and Calais, surrendering Thionville,
Montmedy, and one or two other frontier towns, while she recovered Ham
and St. Quentin; the House of Savoy was reinstated by Philip, as a reward
to Philibert for his services, and formed a solid barrier for a time
between France and Italy; cross-marriages between Spain, France, and
Savoy were arranged;--and finally, the treaty contained secret articles
by which the Guises for France and Granvella for the Netherlands agreed
to crush heresy with a strong hand. As a sequel to this peace, Henri II.
held a great tournament at Paris, at which he was accidentally slain by a
Scottish knight in the lists.

The Guises now shot up into abounded power. On the Guise side the
Cardinal de Lorraine was the cleverest man, the true head, while
Francois, the Duke, was the arm; he showed leanings towards the
Lutherans. On the other side, the head was the dull and obstinate Anne
de Montmorency, the Constable, an unwavering Catholic, supported by the
three Coligny brothers, who all were or became Huguenots. The
Queen-mother Catherine fluctuated uneasily between the parties, and
though Catholic herself, or rather not a Protestant, did not hesitate to
befriend the Huguenots, if the political arena seemed to need their
gallant swords. Their noblest leader was Coligny, the admiral; their
recognised head was Antoine, King of Navarre, a man as foolish as
fearless. He was heir presumptive to the throne after the Valois boys,
and claimed to have charge of the young King. Though the Guises had the
lead at first, the Huguenots seemed, from their strong aristocratic
connections, to have the fairer prospects before them.

Thirty years of desolate civil strife are before us, and we must set it
all down briefly and drily. The prelude to the troubles was played by
the Huguenots, who in 1560, guided by La Renaudie, a Perigord gentleman,
formed a plot to carry off the young King; for Francois II. had already
treated them with considerable severity, and had dismissed from his
councils both the princes of the blood royal and the Constable de
Montmorency. The plot failed miserably and La Renaudie lost his life; it
only secured more firmly the authority of the Guises. As a counterpoise
to their influence, the Queen-mother now conferred the vacant
chancellorship on one of the wisest men France has ever seen, her Lord
Bacon, Michel de L'Hopital, a man of the utmost prudence and moderation,
who, had the times been better, might have won constitutional liberties
for his country, and appeased her civil strife. As it was, he saved her
from the Inquisition; his hand drew the edicts which aimed at enforcing
toleration on France; he guided the assembly of notables which gathered
at Fontainebleau, and induced them to attempt a compromise which moderate
Catholics and Calvinists might accept, and which might lessen the power
of the Guises. This assembly was followed by a meeting of the States
General at Orleans, at which the Prince de Conde and the King of Navarre
were seized by the Guises on a charge of having had to do with La
Renaudie's plot. It would have gone hard with them had not the sickly
King at this very time fallen ill and died (1560).

This was a grievous blow to the Guises. Now, as in a moment, all was
shattered; Catherine de Medici rose at once to the command of affairs;
the new King, Charles IX., was only, ten years old, and her position as
Regent was assured. The Guises would gladly have ruled with her, but she
had no fancy for that; she and Chancellor de L'Hopital were not likely to
ally themselves with all that was severe and repressive. It must not be
forgotten that the best part of her policy was inspired by the Chancellor
de L'Hopital.

Now it was that Mary Stuart, the Queen-dowager, was compelled to leave
France for Scotland; her departure clearly marks the fall of the Guises;
and it also showed Philip of Spain that it was no longer necessary for
him to refuse aid and counsel to the Guises; their claims were no longer
formidable to him on the larger sphere of European politics; no longer
could Mary Stuart dream of wearing the triple crown of Scotland, France,
and England.

The tolerant language of L'Hopital at the States General of Orleans in
1561 satisfied neither side. The Huguenots were restless; the Bourbon
Princes tried to crush the Guises, in return for their own imprisonment
the year before; the Constable was offended by the encouragement shown to
the Huguenots; it was plain that new changes impended. Montmorency began
them by going over to the Guises; and the fatal triumvirate of Francois,
Duc de Guise, Montmorency, and St. Andre the marshal, was formed. We
find the King of Spain forthwith entering the field of French intrigues
and politics, as the support and stay of this triumvirate. Parties take
a simpler format once, one party of Catholics and another of Huguenots,
with the Queen-mother and the moderates left powerless between them.
These last, guided still by L'Hopital, once more convoked the States
General at Pontoise: the nobles and the Third Estate seemed to side
completely with the Queen and the moderates; a controversy between
Huguenots and Jesuits at Poissy only added to the discontent of the
Catholics, who were now joined by foolish Antoine, King of Navarre. The
edict of January, 1562, is the most remarkable of the attempts made by
the Queen-mother to satisfy the Huguenots; but party-passion was already
too strong for it to succeed; civil war had become inevitable.

The period may be divided into four parts: (1) the wars before the
establishment of the League (1562-1570); (2) the period of the St.
Bartholomew (1570-1573); (3) the struggle of the new Politique party
against the Leaguers (1573-1559); (4) the efforts of Henri IV. to crush
the League and reduce the country to peace (1589-1595). The period can
also be divided by that series of agreements, or peaces, which break it
up into eight wars:

1. The war of 1562, on the skirts of which Philip of Spain interfered on
one side, and Queen Elizabeth with the Calvinistic German Princes on the
other, showed at once that the Huguenots were by far the weaker party.
The English troops at Havre enabled them at first to command the lower
Seine up to Rouen; but the other party, after a long siege which cost
poor Antoine of Navarre his life, took that place, and relieved Paris of
anxiety. The Huguenots had also spread far and wide over the south and
west, occupying Orleans; the bridge of Orleans was their point of
junction between Poitou and Germany. While the strength of the Catholics
lay to the east, in Picardy, and at Paris, the Huguenot power was mostly
concentrated in the south and west of France. Conde, who commanded at
Orleans, supported by German allies, made an attempt on Paris, but
finding the capital too strong for him, turned to the west, intending to
join the English troops from Havre. Montmorency, however, caught him at
Dreux; and in the battle that ensued, the Marshal of France, Saint-Andre,
perished; Conde was captured by the Catholics, Montmorency by the
Huguenots. Coligny, the admiral, drew off his defeated troops with great
skill, and fell back to beyond the Loire; the Duc de Guise remained as
sole head of the Catholics. Pushing on his advantage, the Duke
immediately laid siege to Orleans, and there he fell by the hand of a
Huguenot assassin. Both parties had suffered so much that the
Queen-mother thought she might interpose with terms of peace; the Edict
of Amboise (March, 1563) closed the war, allowing the Calvinists freedom
of worship in the towns they held, and some other scanty privileges. A
three years' quiet followed, though all men suspected their neighbours,
and the high Catholic party tried hard to make Catherine sacrifice
L'Hopital and take sharp measures with the Huguenots. They on their side
were restless and suspicious, and it was felt that another war could not
be far off. Intrigues were incessant, all men thinking to make their
profit out of the weakness of France. The struggle between Calvinists
and Catholics in the Netherlands roused much feeling, though Catherine
refused to favour either party. She collected an army of her own; it was
rumoured that she intended to take the Huguenots by surprise and
annihilate them. In autumn, 1567, their patience gave way, and they
raised the standard of revolt, in harmony with the heroic Netherlanders.
Conde and the Chatillons beleaguered Paris from the north, and fought the
battle of St. Denis, in which the old Constable, Anne de Montmorency, was
killed. The Huguenots, however, were defeated and forced to withdraw,
Conde marching eastward to join the German troops now coming up to his
aid. No more serious fighting followed; the Peace of Longjumeau (March,
1568), closed the second war, leaving matters much as they were. The
aristocratic resistance against the Catholic sovereigns, against what is
often called the "Catholic Reaction," had proved itself hollow; in
Germany and the Netherlands, as well as in France, the Protestant cause
seemed to fail; it was not until the religious question became mixed up
with questions as to political rights and freedom, as in the Low
Countries, that a new spirit of hope began to spring up.

The Peace of Longjumeau gave no security to the Huguenot nobles; they
felt that the assassin might catch them any day. An attempt to seize
Condo and Coligny failed, and served only to irritate their party;
Cardinal Chatillon escaped to England; Jeanne of Navarre and her young
son Henri took refuge at La Rochelle; L'Hopital was dismissed the Court.
The Queen-mother seemed to have thrown off her cloak of moderation, and
to be ready to relieve herself of the Huguenots by any means, fair or
foul. War accordingly could not fail to break out again before the end
of the year. Conde had never been so strong; with his friends in England
and the Low Countries, and the enthusiastic support of a great party of
nobles and religious adherents at home, his hopes rose; he even talked of
deposing the Valois and reigning in their stead. He lost his life,
however, early in 1569, at the battle of Jarnac. Coligny once more with
difficulty, as at Dreux, saved the broken remnants of the defeated
Huguenots. Conde's death, regarded at the time by the Huguenots as an
irreparable calamity, proved in the end to be no serious loss; for it
made room for the true head of the party, Henri of Navarre. No sooner
had Jeanne of Navarre heard of the mishap of Jarnac than she came into
the Huguenot camp and presented to the soldiers her young son Henri and
the young Prince de Conde, a mere child. Her gallant bearing and the
true soldier-spirit of Coligny, who shone most brightly in adversity,
restored their temper; they even won some small advantages. Before long,
however, the Duc d'Anjou, the King's youngest brother, caught and
punished them severely at Moncontour. Both parties thenceforward wore
themselves out with desultory warfare. In August, 1570, the Peace of St.
Germain-en-Laye closed the third war and ended the first period.

2. It was the most favourable Peace the Huguenots had won as yet; it
secured them, besides previous rights, four strongholds. The Catholics
were dissatisfied; they could not sympathise with the Queen-mother in her
alarm at the growing strength of Philip II., head of the Catholics in
Europe; they dreaded the existence and growing influence of a party now
beginning to receive a definite name, and honourable nickname, the
Politiques. These were that large body of French gentlemen who loved the
honour of their country rather than their religious party, and who,
though Catholics, were yet moderate and tolerant. A pair of marriages
now proposed by the Court amazed them still more. It was suggested that
the Duc d'Anjou should marry Queen Elizabeth of England, and Henri of
Navarre, Marguerite de Valois, the King's sister. Charles II. hoped thus
to be rid of his brother, whom he disliked, and to win powerful support
against Spain, by the one match, and by the other to bring the civil wars
to a close. The sketch of a far-reaching resistance to Philip II. was
drawn out; so convinced of his good faith was the prudent and sagacious
William of Orange, that, on the strength of these plans, he refused good
terms now offered him by Spain. The Duc d'Alencon, the remaining son of
Catherine, the brother who did not come to the throne, was deeply
interested in the plans for a war in the Netherlands; Anjou, who had
withdrawn from the scheme of marriage with Queen Elizabeth, was at this
moment a candidate for the throne of Poland; while negotiations
respecting it were going on, Marguerite de Valois was married to Henri of
Navarre, the worst of wives [?? D.W.] to a husband none too good.
Coligny, who had strongly opposed the candidature of Anjou for the throne
of Poland, was set on by an assassin, employed by the Queen-mother and
her favourite son, and badly wounded; the Huguenots were in utmost alarm,
filling the air with cries and menaces. Charles showed great concern for
his friend's recovery, and threatened vengeance on the assassins. What
was his astonishment to learn that those assassins were his mother and
brother! Catherine worked on his fears, and the plot for the great
massacre was combined in an instant. The very next day after the King's
consent was wrung from him, 24th August, 1572, the massacre of St.
Bartholomew's day took place. The murder of Coligny was completed; his
son-in-law Teligny perished; all the chief Huguenots were slain; the
slaughter spread to country towns; the Church and the civil power were at
one, and the victims, taken at unawares, could make no resistance. The
two Bourbons, Henri and the Prince de Conde, were spared; they bought
their lives by a sudden conversion to Catholicism. The chief guilt of
this great crime lies with Catherine de' Medici; for, though it is
certain that she did not plan it long before, assassination was a
recognised part of her way of dealing with Huguenots.

A short war followed, a revolt of the southern cities rather than a war.
They made tenacious and heroic resistance; a large part of the royal
forces sympathised rather with them than with the League; and in July,
1573, the Edict of Boulogne granted them even more than they, had been
promised by the Peace of St. Germain.

3. We have reached the period of the "Wan of the League," as the four
later civil wars are often called. The last of the four is alone of any
real importance.

Just as the Peace of La Rochelle was concluded, the Duc d'Anjou, having
been elected King of Poland, left France; it was not long before troubles
began again. The Duc d'Alencon was vexed by his mother's neglect; as
heir presumptive to the crown he thought he deserved better treatment,
and sought to give himself consideration by drawing towards the middle
party; Catherine seemed to be intriguing for the ruin of that
party--nothing was safe while she was moving. The King had never held up
his head since the St. Bartholomew; it was seen that he now was dying,
and the Queen-mother took the opportunity of laying hands on the middle
party. She arrested Alencon, Montmorency, and Henri of Navarre, together
with some lesser chiefs; in the midst of it all Charles IX. died (1574),
in misery, leaving the ill-omened crown to Henri of Anjou, King of
Poland, his next brother, his mother's favourite, the worst of a bad
breed. At the same time the fifth civil war broke out, interesting
chiefly because it was during its continuance that the famous League was
actually formed.

Henri III., when he heard of his brother's death, was only too eager to
slip away like a culprit from Poland, though he showed no alacrity in
returning to France, and dallied with the pleasures of Italy for months.
An attempt to draw him over to the side of the Politiques failed
completely; he attached himself on the contrary to the Guises, and
plunged into the grossest dissipation, while he posed himself before men
as a good and zealous Catholic. The Politiques and Huguenots therefore
made a compact in 1575, at Milhaud on the Tarn, and chose the Prince de
Conde as their head; Henri of Navarre escaped from Paris, threw off his
forced Catholicism, and joined them. Against them the strict Catholics
seemed powerless; the Queen-mother closed this war with the Peace of
Chastenoy (May, 1576), with terms unusually favourable for both
Politiques and Huguenots: for the latter, free worship throughout France,
except at Paris; for the chiefs of the former, great governments, for
Alencon a large central district, for Conde, Picardy, for Henri of
Navarre, Guienne.

To resist all this the high Catholic party framed the League they had
long been meditating; it is said that the Cardinal de Lorraine had
sketched it years before, at the time of the later sittings of the
Council of Trent. Lesser compacts had already been made from time to
time; now it was proposed to form one great League, towards which all
should gravitate. The head of the League was Henri, Duc de Guise the
second, "Balafre," who had won that title in fighting against the German
reiters the year before, when they entered France under Condo. He
certainly hoped at this time to succeed to the throne of France, either
by deposing the corrupt and feeble Henri III., "as Pippin dealt with
Hilderik," or by seizing the throne, when the King's debaucheries should
have brought him to the grave. The Catholics of the more advanced type,
and specially the Jesuits, now in the first flush of credit and success,
supported him warmly. The headquarters of the movement were in Picardy;
its first object, opposition to the establishment of Conde as governor of
that province. The League was also very popular with the common folk,
especially in the towns of the north. It soon found that Paris was its
natural centre; thence it spread swiftly across the whole natural France;
it was warmly supported by Philip of Spain. The States General, convoked
at Blois in 1576, could bring no rest to France; opinion was just as much
divided there as in the country; and the year 1577 saw another petty war,
counted as the sixth, which was closed by the Peace of Bergerac, another
ineffectual truce which settled nothing. It was a peace made with the
Politiques and Huguenots by the Court; it is significant of the new state
of affairs that the League openly refused to be bound by it, and
continued a harassing, objectless warfare. The Duc d'Anjou (he had taken
that title on his brother Henri's accession to the throne) in 1578
deserted the Court party, towards which his mother had drawn him, and
made friends with the Calvinists in the Netherlands. The southern
provinces named him "Defender of their liberties;" they had hopes he
might wed Elizabeth of England; they quite mistook their man. In 1579
"the Gallants' War" broke out; the Leaguers had it all their own way; but
Henri III., not too friendly to them, and urged by his brother Anjou, to
whom had been offered sovereignty over the seven united provinces in
1580, offered the insurgents easy terms, and the Treaty of Fleix closed
the seventh war. Anjou in the Netherlands could but show his weakness;
nothing went well with him; and at last, having utterly wearied out his
friends, he fled, after the failure of his attempt to secure Antwerp,
into France. There he fell ill of consumption and died in 1584.

This changed at once the complexion of the succession question. Hitherto,
though no children seemed likely to be born to him, Henri III. was young
and might live long, and his brother was there as his heir. Now, Henri
III. was the last Prince of the Valois, and Henri of Navarre in
hereditary succession was heir presumptive to the throne, unless the
Salic law were to be set aside. The fourth son of Saint Louis, Robert,
Comte de Clermont, who married Beatrix, heiress of Bourbon, was the
founder of the House of Bourbon. Of this family the two elder branches
had died out: John, who had been a central figure in the War of the
Public Weal, in 1488; Peter, husband of Anne of France, in 1503; neither
of them leaving heirs male. Of the younger branch Francois died in 1525,
and the famous Constable de Bourbon in 1527. This left as the only
representatives of the family, the Comtes de La Marche; of these the
elder had died out in 1438, and the junior alone survived in the Comtes
de Vendome. The head of this branch, Charles, was made Duc de Vendome by
Francois I. in 1515; he was father of Antoine, Duc de Vendome, who, by
marrying the heroic Jeanne d'Albret, became King of Navarre, and of
Louis, who founded the House of Conde; lastly, Antoine was the father of
Henri IV. He was, therefore, a very distant cousin to Henri III; the
Houses of Capet, of Alencon, of Orleans, of Angouleme, of Maine, and of
Burgundy, as well as the elder Bourbons, had to fall extinct before Henri
of Navarre could become heir to the crown. All this, however, had now
happened; and the Huguenots greatly rejoiced in the prospect of a
Calvinist King. The Politique party showed no ill-will towards him; both
they and the Court party declared that if he would become once more a
Catholic they would rally to him; the Guises and the League were
naturally all the more firmly set against him; and Henri of Navarre saw
that he could not as yet safely endanger his influence with the
Huguenots, while his conversion would not disarm the hostility of the
League. They had before, this put forward as heir to the throne Henri's
uncle, the wretched old Cardinal de Bourbon, who had all the faults and
none of the good qualities of his brother Antoine. Under cover of his
name the Duc de Guise hoped to secure the succession for himself; he also
sold himself and his party to Philip of Spain, who was now in fullest
expectation of a final triumph over his foes. He had assassinated
William the Silent; any day Elizabeth or Henri of Navarre might be found
murdered; the domination of Spain over Europe seemed almost secured. The
pact of Joinville, signed between Philip, Guise, and Mayenne, gives us
the measure of the aims of the high Catholic party. Paris warmly sided
with them; the new development of the League, the "Sixteen of Paris," one
representative for each of the districts of the capital, formed a
vigorous organisation and called for the King's deposition; they invited
Henri, Duc de Guise, to Paris. Soon after this Henri III. humbled
himself, and signed the Treaty of Nemours (1585) with the Leaguers. He
hereby became nominal head of the League and its real slave.

The eighth war, the "War of the Three Henries," that is, of Henri III.
and Henri de Guise against Henri of Navarre, now broke out. The Pope
made his voice heard; Sixtus excommunicated the Bourbons, Henri and
Conde, and blessed the Leaguers.

For the first time there was some real life in one of these civil ware,
for Henri of Navarre rose nobly to the level of his troubles. At first
the balance of successes was somewhat in favour of the Leaguers; the
political atmosphere grew even more threatening, and terrible things,
like lightning flashes, gleamed out now and again. Such, for example,
was the execution of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, in 1586. It was known
that Philip II. was preparing to crush England. Elizabeth did what she
could to support Henri of Navarre; he had the good fortune to win the
battle of Contras, in which the Duc de Joyeuse, one of the favourites of
Henri III., was defeated and killed. The Duc de Guise, on the other
hand, was too strong for the Germans, who had marched into France to join
the Huguenots, and defeated them at Vimroy and Auneau, after which he
marched in triumph to Paris, in spite of the orders and opposition of.
the King, who, finding himself powerless, withdrew to Chartres. Once
more Henri III. was obliged to accept such terms as the Leaguers chose to
impose; and with rage in his heart he signed the "Edict of Union" (1588),
in which he named the Duc de Guise lieutenant-general of the kingdom, and
declared that no heretic could succeed to the throne. Unable to endure
the humiliation, Henri III. that same winter, assassinated the Duc and
the Cardinal de Guise, and seized many leaders of the League, though he
missed the Duc de Mayenne. This scandalous murder of the "King of
Paris," as the capital fondly called the Duke, brought the wretched King
no solace or power. His mother did not live to see the end of her son;
she died in this the darkest period of his career, and must have been
aware that her cunning and her immoral life had brought nothing but
misery to herself and all her race. The power of the League party seemed
as great as ever; the Duc de Mayenne entered Paris, and declared open war
on Henri III., who, after some hesitation, threw himself into the hands
of his cousin Henri of Navarre in the spring of 1589. The old Politique
party now rallied to the King; the Huguenots were stanch for their old
leader; things looked less dark for them since the destruction of the
Spanish Armada in the previous summer. The Swiss, aroused by the threats
of the Duke of Savoy at Geneva, joined the Germans, who once more entered
northeastern France; the leaguers were unable to make head either against
them or against the armies of the two Kings; they fell back on Paris, and
the allies hemmed them in. The defence of the capital was but languid;
the populace missed their idol, the Duc de Guise, and the moderate party,
never extinguished, recovered strength. All looked as if the royalists
would soon reduce the last stronghold of the League, when Henri III. was
suddenly slain by the dagger of a fanatical half-wined priest.

The King had only time to commend Henri of Navarre to his courtiers as
his heir, and to exhort him to become a Catholic, before he closed his
eyes, and ended the long roll of his vices and crimes. And thus in crime
and shame the House of Valois went down. For a few years, the throne
remained practically vacant: the heroism of Henri of Navarre, the loss of
strength in the Catholic powers, the want of a vigorous head to the
League,--these things all sustained the Bourbon in his arduous struggle;
the middle party grew in strength daily, and when once Henri had allowed
himself to be converted, he became the national sovereign, the national
favourite, and the high Catholics fell to the fatal position of an
unpatriotic faction depending on the arm of the foreigner.

4. The civil wars were not over, for the heat of party raged as yet
unslaked; the Politiques could not all at once adopt a Huguenot King, the
League party had pledged itself to resist the heretic, and Henri at first
had little more than the Huguenots at his back. There were also
formidable claimants for the throne. Charles II. Duc de Lorraine, who
had married Claude, younger daughter of Henri IL, and who was therefore
brother-in-law to Henri III., set up a vague claim; the King of Spain,
Philip II., thought that the Salic law had prevailed long enough in
France, and that his own wife, the elder daughter of Henri III. had the
best claim to the throne; the Guises, though their head was gone, still
hoping for the crown, proclaimed their sham-king, the Cardinal de
Bourbon, as Charles X., and intrigued behind the shadow of his name. The
Duc de Mayenne, their present chief, was the most formidable of Henri's
opponents; his party called for a convocation of States General, which
should choose a King to succeed, or to replace, their feeble Charles X.
During this struggle the high Catholic party, inspired by Jesuit advice,
stood forward as the admirers of constitutional principles; they called
on the nation to decide the question as to the succession; their Jesuit
friends wrote books on the sovereignty of the people. They summoned up
troops from every side; the Duc de Lorraine sent his son to resist Henri
and support his own claim; the King of Spain sent a body of men; the
League princes brought what force they could. Henri of Navarre at the
same moment found himself weakened by the silent withdrawal from his camp
of the army of Henri III.; the Politique nobles did not care at first to
throw in their lot with the Huguenot chieftain; they offered to confer on
Henri the post of commander-in-chief, and to reserve the question as to
the succession; they let him know that they recognised his hereditary
rights, and were hindered only by his heretical opinions; if he would but
be converted they were his. Henri temporised; his true strength, for the
time, lay in his Huguenot followers, rugged and faithful fighting men,
whose belief was the motive power of their allegiance and of their
courage. If he joined the Politiques at their price, the price of
declaring himself Catholic, the Huguenots would be offended if not
alienated. So he neither absolutely refused nor said yes; and the chief
Catholic nobles in the main stood aloof, watching the struggle between
Huguenot and Leaguer, as it worked out its course.

Henri, thus weakened, abandoned the siege of Paris, and fell back; with
the bulk of his forces he marched into Normandy, so as to be within reach
of English succour; a considerable army went into Champagne, to be ready
to join any Swiss or German help that might come. These were the great
days in the life of Henri of Navarre. Henri showed himself a hero, who
strove for a great cause--the cause of European freedom--as well as for
his own crown.

The Duc de Mayenne followed the Huguenots down into the west, and found
Henri awaiting him in a strong position at Arques, near Dieppe; here at
bay, the "Bearnais" inflicted a heavy blow on his assailants; Mayenne
fell back into Picardy; the Prince of Lorraine drew off altogether; and
Henri marched triumphantly back to Paris, ravaged the suburbs and then
withdrew to Tours, where he was recognised as King by the Parliament. His
campaign of 1589 had been most successful; he had defeated the League in
a great battle, thanks to his skilful use of his position at Arques, and
the gallantry of his troops, which more than counterbalanced the great
disparity in numbers. He had seen dissension break out among his
enemies; even the Pope, Sixtus, had shown him some favour, and the
Politique nobles were certainly not going against him. Early in 1590
Henri had secured Anjou, Maine, and Normandy, and in March defeated
Mayenne, in a great pitched battle at Ivry, not far from Dreux. The
Leaguers fell back in consternation to Paris. Henri reduced all the
country round the capital, and sat down before it for a stubborn siege.
The Duke of Parma had at that time his hands full in the Low Countries;
young Prince Maurice was beginning to show his great abilities as a
soldier, and had got possession of Breda; all, however, had to be
suspended by the Spaniards on that side, rather than let Henri of Navarre
take Paris. Parma with great skill relieved the capital without striking
a blow, and the campaign of 1590 ended in a failure for Henri. The
success of Parma, however, made Frenchmen feel that Henri's was the
national cause, and that the League flourished only by interference of
the foreigner. Were the King of Navarre but a Catholic, he should be a
King of France of whom they might all be proud. This feeling was
strengthened by the death of the old Cardinal de Bourbon, which reopened
at once the succession question, and compelled Philip of Spain to show
his hand. He now claimed the throne for his daughter Elisabeth, as
eldest daughter of the eldest daughter of Henri II. All the neighbours
of France claimed something; Frenchmen felt that it was either Henri IV.
or dismemberment. The "Bearnais" grew in men's minds to be the champion
of the Salic law, of the hereditary principle of royalty against feudal
weakness, of unity against dismemberment, of the nation against the

The middle party, the Politiques of Europe,--the English, that is, and
the Germans,--sent help to Henri, by means of which he was able to hold
his own in the northwest and southwest throughout 1591. Late in the year
the violence of the Sixteen of Paris drew on them severe punishment from
the Duc de Mayenne; and consequently the Duke ceased to be the recognised
head of the League, which now looked entirely to Philip II. and Parma,
while Paris ceased to be its headquarters; and more moderate counsels
having taken the place of its fierce fanaticism, the capital came under
the authority of the lawyers and citizens, instead of the priesthood and
the bloodthirsty mob. Henri, meanwhile, who was closely beleaguering
Rouen, was again outgeneralled by Parma, and had to raise the siege.
Parma, following him westward, was wounded at Caudebec; and though he
carried his army triumphantly back to the Netherlands, his career was
ended by this trifling wound. He did no more, and died in 1592.

In 1593, Mayenne, having sold his own claims to Philip of Spain, the
opposition to Henri looked more solid and dangerous than ever; he
therefore thought the time was come for the great step which should rally
to him all the moderate Catholics. After a decent period of negotiation
and conferences, he declared himself convinced, and heard mass at St.
Denis. The conversion had immediate effect; it took the heart out of the
opposition; city after city came in; the longing for peace was strong in
every breast, and the conversion seemed to remove the last obstacle. The
Huguenots, little as they liked it, could not oppose the step, and hoped
to profit by their champion's improved position. Their ablest man,
Sully, had even advised Henri to make the plunge. In 1594, Paris opened
her gates to Henri, who had been solemnly crowned, just before, at
Chartres. He was welcomed with immense enthusiasm, and from that day
onwards has ever been the favourite hero of the capital. By 1595 only
one foe remained,--the Spanish Court. The League was now completely
broken up; the Parliament of Paris gladly aided the King to expel the
Jesuits from France. In November, 1595, Henri declared war against
Spain, for anything was better than the existing state of things, in
which Philip's hand secretly supported all opposition: The war in 1596
was far from being successful for Henri; he was comforted, however, by
receiving at last the papal absolution, which swept away the last
scruples of France.

By rewards and kindliness,--for Henri was always willing to give and had
a pleasant word for all, most of the reluctant nobles, headed by the Duc
de Mayenne himself, came in in the course of 1596. Still the war pressed
very heavily, and early in 1597 the capture of Amiens by the Spaniards
alarmed Paris, and roused the King to fresh energies. With help of Sully
(who had not yet received the title by which he is known in history)
Henri recovered Amiens, and checked the Spanish advance. It was noticed
that while the old Leaguers came very heartily to the King's help, the
Huguenots hung back in a discontented and suspicious spirit. After the
fall of Amiens the war languished; the Pope offered to mediate, and Henri
had time to breathe. He felt that his old comrades, the offended
Huguenots, had good cause for complaint; and in April, 1598, he issued
the famous Edict of Nantes, which secured their position for nearly a
century. They got toleration for their opinions; might worship openly in
all places, with the exception of a few towns in which the League had
been strong; were qualified to hold office in financial posts and in the
law; had a Protestant chamber in the Parliaments.

Immediately after the publication of the Edict of Nantes, the Treaty of
Vervins was signed. Though Henri by it broke faith with Queen Elizabeth,
he secured an honourable peace for his country, an undisputed kingship
for himself. It was the last act of Philip II., the confession that his
great schemes were unfulfilled, his policy a failure.


Adversity is solitary, while prosperity dwells in a crowd
Comeliness of his person, which at all times pleads powerfully
Envy and malice are self-deceivers
Everything in the world bore a double aspect
From faith to action the bridge is short
Hearsay liable to be influenced by ignorance or malice
Honours and success are followed by envy
Hopes they (enemies) should hereafter become our friends
I should praise you more had you praised me less
It is the usual frailty of our sex to be fond of flattery
Lovers are not criminal in the estimation of one another
Mistrust is the sure forerunner of hatred
Much is forgiven to a king
Necessity is said to be the mother of invention
Never approached any other man near enough to know a difference
Not to repose too much confidence in our friends
Parliament aided the King to expel the Jesuits from France
Prefer truth to embellishment
Rather out of contempt, and because it was good policy
Situated as I was betwixt fear and hope
The pretended reformed religion
The Massacre of St. Bartholomew's Day
The record of the war is as the smoke of a furnace
There is too much of it for earnest, and not enough for jest
Those who have given offence to hate the offended party
To embellish my story I have neither leisure nor ability
Troubles might not be lasting
Young girls seldom take much notice of children

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