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

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It was not only from considerations of external policy, and in order to
conciliate to himself Emperor Maximilian and King Ferdinand, that Louis
XII. had allowed himself to proceed to concessions so plainly contrary to
the greatest interests of France: he had yielded also to domestic
influences. The queen his wife, Anne of Brittany, detested Louise of
Savoy, widow of Charles d'Orleans, Count of Angouleme, and mother of
Francis d'Angouleme, heir presumptive to the throne, since Louis XII.
had no son. Anne could not bear the idea that her daughter, Princess
Claude, should marry the son of her personal enemy; and, being more
Breton than French, say her contemporaries, she, in order to avoid this
disagreeableness, had used with the king all her influence, which was
great, in favor of the Austrian marriage, caring little, and, perhaps,
even desiring, that Brittany should be again severed from France. Louis,
in the midst of the reverses of his diplomacy, had thus to suffer from
the hatreds of his wife, the observations of his advisers, and the
reproaches of his conscience as a king. He fell so ill that he was
supposed to be past recovery. "It were to do what would be incredible,"
says his contemporary, John de St. Gelais, "to write or tell of the
lamentations made throughout the whole realm of France, by reason of the
sorrow felt by all for the illness of their good king. There were to be
seen night and day, at Blois, at Amboise, at Tours, and everywhere else,
men and women going all bare throughout the churches and to the holy
places, in order to obtain from divine mercy grace of health and
convalescence for one whom there was as great fear of losing as if he had
been the father of each." Louis was touched by this popular sympathy;
and his wisest councillors, Cardinal d'Amboise the first of all, took
advantage thereof to appeal to his conscience in respect of the
engagements which "through weakness he had undertaken contrary to the
interests of the realm and the coronation-promises." Queen Anne herself,
not without a struggle, however, at last gave up her opposition to this
patriotic recoil; and on the 10th of May, 1505, Louis XII. put in his
will a clause to the effect that his daughter, Princess Claude, should be
married, so soon as she was old enough, to the heir to the throne,
Francis, Count of Angouleme. Only it was agreed, in order to avoid
diplomatic embarrassments, that this arrangement should be kept secret
till further notice. [The will itself of Louis XII. has been inserted in
the _Recueil des Ordonnances des Bois des France,_ t. xxi. p. 323, dated
30th of May, 1505.]

When Louis had recovered, discreet measures were taken for arousing the
feeling of the country as well as the king's conscience as to this great
question. In the course of the year 1505 there took place throughout the
whole kingdom, amongst the nobility and in the principal towns,
assemblies at which means were proposed for preventing this evil.
Unpleasant consequences might have been apprehended from these meetings,
in the case of a prince less beloved by his subjects than the king was;
but nothing further was decided thereby than that a representation should
with submission be made to him of the dangers likely to result from this
treaty, that he should be entreated to prevent them by breaking it, and
that a proposal should be made to him to assemble the estates to
deliberate upon a subject so important. [_Histoire de France,_ by Le
Pere Daniel, t. viii. p. 427, edit. of 1755.] The states-general were
accordingly convoked and met at Tours on the 10th of May, 1506; and on
the 14th of May Louis XII. opened them in person at Plessis-les-Tours,
seated in a great hall, in the royal seat, between Cardinal d'Amboise and
Duke Francis of Valois, and surrounded by many archbishops and all the
princes of the blood and other lords and barons of the said realm in
great number, and he gave the order for admitting the deputies of the
estates of the realm.

[Illustration: STATES GENERAL AT TOURS----329]

"Far from setting forth the grievances of the nation, as the spokesman of
the estates had always done, Thomas Bricot, canon of Notre-Dame de Paris,
delivered an address enumerating, in simple and touching terms, the
benefits conferred by Louis XII., and describing to him the nation's
gratitude. To him they owed peace and the tranquillity of the realm,
complete respect for private property, release from a quarter of the
talliages, reform in the administration of justice, and the appointment
of enlightened and incorruptible judges. For these causes, the speaker
added, and for others which it would take too long to recount, he was
destined to be known as Louis XII., father of the people.

"At these last words loud cheers rang out; emotion was general, and
reached the king himself, who shed tears at hearing the title which
posterity and history were forever to attach to his name.

"Then, the deputies having dropped on their knees, the speaker resumed
his speech, saying that they were come to prefer a request for the
general good of the realm, the king's subjects entreating him to be
pleased to give his only daughter in marriage to my lord Francis, here
present, who is every whit French.

"When this declaration was ended, the king called Cardinal d'Amboise and
the chancellor, with whom he conferred for some time; and then the
chancellor, turning to the deputies, made answer that the king had given
due ear and heed to their request and representation, . . . that if he
had done well, he desired to do still better; and that, as to the request
touching the marriage, he had never heard talk of it; but that as to that
matter, he would communicate with the princes of the blood, so as to have
their opinion.

"The day after this session the king received an embassy which could not
but crown his joy: the estates of the duchy of Burgundy, more interested
than any other province in the rupture of the (Austrian) marriage, had
sent deputies to join their most urgent prayers to the entreaties of the
estates of France.

"On Monday, May 18, the king assembled about him his chief councillors,
to learn if the demand of the estates was profitable and reasonable for
him and his kingdom. 'Thereon,' continues the report, 'the first to
deliver an opinion was my lord the Bishop of Paris; after him the premier
president of the parliament of Paris and of that of Bordeaux.' Their
speeches produced such effect that, 'quite with one voice and one
mind, those present agreed that the request of the estates was sound,
just, and reasonable, and with one consent entreated the king to agree to
the said marriage.'

"The most enlightened councillors and the princes of the blood found
themselves in agreement with the commons. There was no ambiguity about
the reply. On the Tuesday, May 19, the king held a session in state for
the purpose of announcing to the estates that their wishes should be
fully gratified, and that the betrothal of his daughter to the heir to
the throne should take place next day but one, May 21, in order that the
deputies might report the news of it to their constituents.

"After that the estates had returned thanks, the chancellor gave notice
that, as municipal affairs imperatively demanded the return of the
deputies, the king gave them leave to go, retaining only one burgess from
each town, to inform him of their wants and 'their business, if such
there be in any case, wherein the king will give them good and short

"The session was brought to a close by the festivities of the betrothal,
and by the oath taken by the deputies, who, before their departure, swore
to bring about with all their might, even to the risk of body and goods,
the marriage which had just been decided upon by the common advice of all
those who represented France.'" [_Histoire des Etats Generaux_ from 1355
to 1614, by George Picot, t. i. pp. 352-354].

Francis d'Angouleme was at that time eleven years old, and Claude of
France was nearly seven.

Whatever displeasure must have been caused to the Emperor of Germany and
to the King of Spain by this resolution on the part of France and her
king, it did not show itself, either in acts of hostility or even in
complaints of a more or less threatening kind. Italy remained for some
years longer the sole theatre of rivalry and strife between these three
great powers; and, during this strife, the utter diversity of the
combinations, whether in the way of alliance or of rupture, bore witness
to the extreme changeability of the interests, passions, and designs of
the actors. From 1506 to 1515, between Louis XII.'s will and his death,
we find in the history of his career in Italy five coalitions, and as
many great battles, of a profoundly contradictory character. In 1508,
Pope Julius II., Louis XII., Emperor Maximilian, and Ferdinand the
Catholic, King of Spain, form together against the Venetians the League
of Cambrai. In 1510, Julius II., Ferdinand, the Venetians, and the Swiss
make a coalition against Louis XII. In 1512, this coalition, decomposed
for a while, re-unites, under the name of the League of the Holy Union,
between the pope, the Venetians, the Swiss, and the Kings of Arragon and
Naples against Louis XII., minus the Emperor Maximilian, and plus Henry
VIII., King of England. On the 14th of May, 1509, Louis XII., in the
name of the League of Cambrai, gains the battle of Agnadello against the
Venetians. On the 11th of April, 1512, it is against Pope Julius II.,
Ferdinand the Catholic, and the Venetians that he gains the battle of
Ravenna. On the 14th of March, 1513, he is in alliance with the
Venetians, and it is against the Swiss that he loses the battle of
Novara. In 1510, 1511, and 1512, in the course of all these incessant
changes of political allies and adversaries, three councils met at Tours,
at Pisa, and at St. John Lateran with views still more discordant and
irreconcilable than those of all these laic coalitions. We merely point
out here the principal traits of the nascent sixteenth century; we have
no intention of tracing with a certain amount of detail any incidents but
those that refer to Louis XII. and to France, to their procedure and
their fortunes.

Jealousy, ambition, secret resentment, and the prospect of despoiling
them caused the formation of the League of Cambrai against the Venetians.
Their far-reaching greatness on the seas, their steady progress on land,
their riches, their cool assumption of independence towards the papacy,
their renown for ability, and their profoundly selfish, but singularly
prosperous policy, had excited in Italy, and even beyond the Alps, that
feeling of envy and ill-will which is caused amongst men, whether kings
or people, by the spectacle of strange, brilliant, and unexpected good
fortune, though it be the fruits of rare merit. As the Venetians were as
much dreaded as they were little beloved, great care was taken to conceal
from them the projects that were being formed against them. According to
their historian, Cardinal Bembo, they owed to chance the first notice
they had. It happened one day that a Piedmontese at Milan, in presence
of the Resident of Venice, allowed to escape from his lips the words,
"I should have the pleasure, then, of seeing the crime punished of those
who put to death the most illustrious man of my country." He alluded to
Carmagnola, a celebrated Piedmontese condottiere, who had been accused of
treason and beheaded at Venice on the 3d of May, 1432. The Venetian
ambassador at Louis XII.'s court, suspecting what had taken place at
Cambrai, tried to dissuade the king. "Sir," said he, "it were folly to
attack them of Venice; their wisdom renders them invincible." "I believe
they are prudent and wise," answered Louis, "but all the wrong way of the
hair (inopportunely); if it must come to war, I will bring upon them so
many fools, that your wiseacres will not have leisure to teach them
reason, for my fools hit all round without looking where." When the
league was decisively formed, Louis sent to Venice a herald to officially
proclaim war. After having replied to the grievances alleged in support
of that proclamation, "We should never have believed," said the Doge
Loredano, "that so great a prince would have given ear to the envenomed
words of a pope whom he ought to know better, and to the insinuations of
another priest whom we forbear to mention (Cardinal d'Amboise). In order
to please them, he declares himself the foe of a republic which has
rendered him great services. We will try to defend ourselves, and to
prove to him that he has not kept faith with us. God shall judge betwixt
us. Father herald, and you, trumpeter, ye have heard what we had to say
to you; report it to your master. Away!" Independently of their natural
haughtiness, the Venetians were puffed up with the advantages they had
obtained in a separate campaign against the Emperor Maximilian, and
flattered themselves that they would manage to conquer, one after the
other, or to split up, or to tire out, their enemies; and they prepared
energetically for war. Louis XII., on his side, got together an army
with a strength of twenty-three hundred lances (about thirteen thousand
mounted troops), ten to twelve thousand French foot, and six or eight
thousand Swiss. He sent for Chevalier Bayard, already famous, though
still quite a youth. "Bayard," said he, "you know that I am about to
cross the mountains, for to bring to reason the Venetians, who by great
wrong withhold from me the countship of Cremona and other districts.
I give to you from this present time the company of Captain Chatelard,
who they tell me is dead, whereat I am distressed; but I desire that in
this enterprise you have under your charge men afoot; your lieutenant-
captain, Pierrepont [Pierre de Pont d'Albi, a Savoyard gentle-man, and
Bayard's nephew], who is a very good man, shall lead your men-at-arms."
"Sir," answered Bayard, "I will do what pleaseth you; but how many men
afoot will you be pleased to hand over to me to lead?" "A thousand,"
said the king: "there is no man that hath more." "Sir," replied Bayard,
"it is a many for my poor wits; I do entreat you to be content that I
have five hundred; and I pledge you my faith, sir, that I will take pains
to choose such as shall do you service; meseems that for one man it is a
very heavy charge, if he would fain do his duty therewith." "Good!" said
the king: "go, then, quickly into Dauphiny, and take heed that you be in
my duchy of Milan by the end of March." Bayard forthwith set out to
raise and choose his foot; a proof of the growing importance of infantry,
and of the care taken by Louis XII. to have it commanded by men of war of
experience and popularity.

[Illustration: Battle of Agnadello----334]

On the 14th of May, 1509, the French army and the Venetian army, of
nearly equal strength, encountered near the village of Agnadello, in the
province of Lodi, on the banks of the Adda. Louis XII. commanded his in
person, with Louis de la Tremoille and James Trivulzio for his principal
lieutenants; the Venetians were under the orders of two generals, the
Count of Petigliano and Barthelemy d'Alviano, both members of the Roman
family of the Orsini, but not on good terms with one another. The French
had to cross the Adda to reach the enemy, who kept in his camp.
Trivulzio, seeing that the Venetians did not dispute their passage, cried
out to the king, "To-day, sir, the victory is ours!" The French advance-
guard engaged with the troops of Alviano. When apprised of this fight,
Louis, to whom word was at this same time brought that the enemy was
already occupying the point towards which he was moving with the main
body of the army, said briskly, "Forward, all the same; we will halt upon
their bellies." The action became general and hot. The king, sword in
hand, hurried from one corps to another, under fire from the Venetian
artillery, which struck several men near him. He was urged to place
himself under cover a little, so as to give his orders thence; but, "It
is no odds," said he; "they who are afraid have only to put themselves
behind me." A body of Gascons showed signs of wavering: "Lads," shouted
La Tremoille, "the king sees you." They dashed forward; and the
Venetians were broken, in spite of the brave resistance of Alviano, who
was taken and brought, all covered with blood, and with one eye out, into
the presence of the king. Louis said to him, courteously, "You shall
have fair treatment and fair captivity; have fair patience." "So I
will," answered the condottiere; "if I had won the battle, I had been the
most victorious man in the world; and, though I have lost it, still have
I the great honor of having had against me a King of France in person."
Louis, who had often heard talk of the warrior's intrepid presence of
mind, had a fancy for putting it to further proof, and, all the time
chatting with him, gave secret orders to have the alarm sounded not far
from them. "What is this, pray, Sir Barthelemy?" asked the king: "your
folks are very difficult to please; is it that they want to begin
again?" "Sir," said Alviano, "if there is fighting still, it must be
that the French are fighting one another; as for my folks, I assure you,
on my life, they will not pay you a visit this fortnight." The Venetian
army, in fact, withdrew with a precipitation which resembled a rout: for,
to rally it, its general, the Count of Petigliano, appointed for its
gathering-point the ground beneath the walls of Brescia, forty miles from
the field of battle. "Few men-at-arms," says Guicciardini, "were slain
in this affair; the great loss fell upon the Venetians' infantry, which
lost, according to some, eight thousand men; others say that the number
of dead on both sides did not amount to more than six thousand." The
territorial results of the victory were greater than the numerical losses
of the armies. Within a fortnight, the towns of Caravaggio, Bergamo,
Brescia, Crema, Cremona, and Pizzighitone surrendered to the French.
Peschiera alone, a strong fortress at the southern extremity of the Lake
of Garda, resisted, and was carried by assault. "It was a bad thing for
those within," says the Loyal Serviteur of Bayard; "for all, or nearly
all, perished there; amongst the which was the governor of the Signory
and his son, who were willing to pay good and heavy ransom; but that
served them not at all, for on one tree were both of them hanged, which
to me did seem great cruelty; a very lusty gentleman, called the
Lorrainer, had their parole, and he had big words about it with the grand
master, lieutenant-general of the king; but he got no good thereby." The
_Memoires of Robert de la Marck,_ lord of Fleuranges, and a warrior of
the day, confirm, as to this sad incident, the story of the Loyal
Serviteur of Bayard: "When the French volunteers," says he, "entered by
the breach into the castle of Peschiera, they cut to pieces all those who
were therein, and there were left only the captain, the proveditore, and
the podesta, the which stowed themselves away in a tower, surrendered to
the good pleasure of the king, and, being brought before him, offered him
for ransom a hundred thousand ducats; but the king swore, 'If ever I eat
or drink till they be hanged and strangled! 'Nor even for all the prayer
they could make could the grand master Chaumont, and even his uncle,
Cardinal d'Amboise, find any help for it, but the king would have them
hanged that very hour." Some chroniclers attribute this violence on
Louis XII.'s part to a "low and coarse" reply returned by those in
command at Peschiera to the summons to surrender. Guicciardini, whilst
also recording the fact, explains it otherwise than by a fit of anger on
Louis's part: "The king," he says, "was led to such cruelty in order
that, dismayed at such punishment, those who were still holding out in
the fortress of Cremona might not defend themselves to the last
extremity." [_Guicciardini, Istoria d'Italia,_ liv. viii. t. i. p.
521.] So that the Italian historian is less severe on this act of cruelty
than the French knight is.

Louis XII.'s victory at Agnadello had for him consequences very different
from what he had no doubt expected. "The king," says Guicciardini,
"departed from Italy, carrying away with him to France great glory by
reason of so complete and so rapidly won a victory over the Venetians;
nevertheless, as in the case of things obtained after hope long deferred
men scarcely ever feel such joy and happiness as they had at first
imagined they would, the king took not back with him either greater peace
of mind or greater security in respect of his affairs." The beaten
Venetians accepted their defeat with such a mixture of humility and
dignity as soon changed their position in Italy. They began by providing
all that was necessary for the defence of Venice herself; foreigners, but
only idle foreigners, were expelled; those who had any business which
secured them means of existence received orders to continue their labors.
Mills were built, cisterns were dug, corn was gathered in, the condition
of the canals was examined, bars were removed, the citizens were armed;
the law which did not allow vessels laden with provisions to touch at
Venice was repealed, and rewards were decreed to officers who had done
their duty. Having taken all this care for their own homes and their
fatherland on the sea, the Venetian senate passed a decree by which the
republic, releasing from their oath of fidelity the subjects it could not
defend, authorized its continental provinces to treat with the enemy with
a view to their own interests, and ordered its commandants to evacuate
such places as they still held. Nearly all such submitted without a
struggle to the victor of Agnadello and his allies of Cambrai; but at
Treviso, when Emperor Maximilian's commissioner presented himself in
order to take possession of it, a shoemaker named Caligaro went running
through the streets, shouting, "Hurrah! for St. Mark."

The people rose, pillaged the houses of those who had summoned the
foreigner, and declared that it would not separate its lot from that of
the republic. So Treviso remained Venetian. Two other small towns,
Marano and Osopo, followed her example; and for several months this was
all that the Venetians preserved of their continental possessions. But
at the commencement of July, 1509, they heard that the important town of
Padua, which had fallen to the share of Emperor Maximilian, was uttering
passionate murmurs against its new master, and wished for nothing better
than to come back beneath the old sway; and, in spite of the opposition
shown by the doge, Loredano, the Venetians resolved to attempt the
venture. During the night between the 16th and 17th of July, a small
detachment, well armed and well led, arrived beneath the walls of Padua,
which was rather carelessly guarded. In the morning, as soon as the gate
was opened, a string of large wagons presented themselves for admittance.
Behind one of these, and partially concealed by its bulk, advanced six
Venetian men-at-arms, each carrying on his crupper a foot-soldier armed
with an arquebuse; they fired on the guard; each killed his man; the
Austrian garrison hurried up and fought bravely; but other Venetian
troops arrived, and the garrison was beaten and surrendered. Padua
became Venetian again. "This surprisal," says M. Darn, "caused
inexpressible joy in Venice; after so many disasters there was seen a
gleans of hope." The Venetians hastened to provision Padua well and to
put it in a state of defence; and they at the same time published a
decree promising such subjects of the republic as should come back to its
sway complete indemnity for the losses they might have suffered during
the war. It blazed forth again immediately, but at first between the
Venetians and the Emperor Maximilian almost alone by himself. Louis
XII., in a hurry to get back to France, contented himself with leaving in
Lombardy a body of troops under the orders of James de Chabannes, Sire de
la Palisse, with orders "to take five hundred of the lustiest men-at-arms
and go into the service of the emperor, who was to make a descent upon
the district of Padua." Maximilian did not make his descent until two
months after that the Venetians had retaken Padua and provisioned it
well; and it was only on the 15th of September that he sat down before
the place. All the allies of the League of Cambrai held themselves bound
to furnish him with their contingent. On sallying from Milan for this
campaign, La Palisse "fell in with the good knight Bayard, to whom he
said, 'My comrade, my friend, would you not like us to be comrades
together?' Bayard, who asked nothing better, answered him graciously
that he was at his service to be disposed of at his pleasure;" and from
the 15th to the 20th of September, Maximilian got together before Padua
an army with a strength, it is said, of about fifty thousand men,
men-at-arms or infantry, Germans, Spaniards, French, and Italians, sent
by the pope and by the Duke of Ferrara, or recruited from all parts of

At the first rumor of such a force there was great emotion in Venice, but
an emotion tempered by bravery and intelligence. The doge, Leonardo
Loredano, the same who had but lately opposed the surprisal of Padua,
rose up and delivered in the senate a long speech, of which only the
essential and characteristic points can be quoted here:--

"Everybody knows, excellent gentlemen of the senate," said he, "that on
the preservation of Padua depends all hope, not only of recovering our
empire, but of maintaining our own liberty. It must be confessed that,
great and wonderful as they have been, the preparations made and the
supplies provided hitherto are not sufficient either for the security of
that town or for the dignity of our republic. Our ancient renown forbids
us to leave the public safety, the lives and honor of our wives and our
children, entirely to the tillers of our fields and to mercenary
soldiers, without rushing ourselves to shelter them behind our own
breasts and defend them with our own arms. For so great and so glorious
a fatherland, which has for so many years been the bulwark of the faith
and the glory of the Christian republic, will the personal service of its
citizens and its sons be ever to seek? To save it who would refuse to
risk his own life and that of his children? If the defence of Padua is
the pledge for the salvation of Venice, who would hesitate to go and
defend it? And, though the forces already there were sufficient, is not
our honor also concerned therein? The fortune of our city so willed it
that in the space of a few days our empire slipped from our hands; the
opportunity has come back to us of recovering what we have lost; by
spontaneously facing the changes and chances of fate, we shall prove that
our disasters have not been our fault or our shame, but one of those
fatal storms which no wisdom and no firmness of man can resist. If it
were permitted us all in one mass to set out for Padua, if we might,
without neglecting the defence of our own homes and our urgent public
affairs, leave our city for some days deserted, I would not await your
deliberation; I would be the first on the road to Padua; for how could I
better expend the last days of my old age than in going to be present at
and take part in such a victory? But Venice may not be deserted by her
public bodies, which protect and defend Padua by their forethought and
their orders just as others do by their arms; and a useless mob of
graybeards would be a burden much more than a reenforcement there. Nor
do I ask that Venice be drained of all her youth; but I advise, I exhort,
that we choose two hundred young gentlemen, from the chiefest of our
families, and that they all, with such friends and following as their
means will permit them to get together, go forth to Padua to do all that
shall be necessary for her defence. My two sons, with many a comrade.
will be the first to carry out what I, their father and your chief, am
the first to propose. Thus Padua will be placed in security; and when
the mercenary soldiers who are there see how prompt are our youth to
guard the gates and everywhere face the battle, they will be moved
thereby to zeal and alacrity incalculable; and not only will Padua thus
be defended and saved, but all nations will see that we, we too, as our
fathers were, are men enough to defend at the peril of our lives the
freedom and th safety of the noblest country in the world."

This generous advice was accepted by the fathers and carried out by the
sons with that earnest, prompt, and effective ardor which accompanies the
resolution of great souls. When the Paduans, before their city was as
yet invested, saw the arrival within their walls of these chosen youths
of the Venetian patriciate, with their numerous troop of friends and
followers, they considered Padua as good as saved; and when the imperial
army, posted before the place, commenced their attacks upon it, they soon
perceived that they had formidable defenders to deal with. "Five hundred
years it was since in prince's camp had ever been seen such wealth as
there was there; and never was a day but there filed off some three or
four hundred lanzknechts who took away to Germany oxen and kine, beds,
corn, silk for sewing, and other articles; in such sort that to the said
country of Padua was damage done to the amount of two millions of crowns
in movables and in houses and palaces burnt and destroyed." For three
days the imperial artillery fired upon the town and made in its walls
three breaches "knocked into one;" and still the defenders kept up their
resistance with the same vigor. "One morning," says the Loyal Serviteur
of Bayard, "the Emperor Maximilian, accompanied by his princes and lords
from Germany, went thither to look; and he marvelled and thought it great
shame to him, with the number of men he had, that he had not sooner
delivered the assault. On returning to his quarters he sent for a French
secretary of his, whom he bade write to the lord of La Palisse a letter,
whereof this was the substance: 'Dear cousin, I have this morning been to
look at the breach, which I find more than practicable for whoever would
do his duty. I have made up my mind to deliver the assault to-day. I
pray you, so soon as my big drum sounds, which will be about midday, that
you do incontinently hold ready all the French gentlemen who are under
your orders at my service, by command of my brother the King of France,
to go to the said assault along with my foot; and I hope that, with God's
help we shall carry it.'

"The lord of La Palisse," continues the chronicler, "thought this a
somewhat strange manner of proceeding; howbeit he hid his thought, and
said to the secretary, 'I am astounded that the emperor did not send for
my comrades and me for to deliberate more fully of this matter; howbeit
you will tell him that I will send to fetch them, and when they are come
I will show them the letter. I do not think there will be many who will
not be obedient to that which the emperor shall be pleased to command.'

"When the French captains had arrived at the quarters of the lord of La
Palisse, he said to them, 'Gentlemen, we must now dine, for I have
somewhat to say to you, and if I were to say it first, peradventure you
would not make good cheer.' During dinner they did nothing but make
sport one of another. After dinner, everybody was sent out of the room,
save the captains, to whom the lord of La Palisse made known the
emperor's letter, which was read twice, for the better understanding of
it. They all looked at one another, laughing, for to see who would speak
first. Then said the lord of Ymbercourt to the lord of La Palisse, 'It
needs not so much thought, my lord; send word to the emperor that we are
all ready; I am even now a-weary of the fields, for the nights are cold;
and then the good wines are beginning to fail us;' whereat every one
burst out a-laughing. All agreed to what was said by the lord of
Ymbercourt. The lord of La Palisse looked at the good knight (Bayard),
and saw that he seemed to be picking his teeth, as if he had not heard
what his comrades had proposed. 'Well, and you,' said he, 'what say you
about it? It is no time for picking one's teeth; we must at once send
speedy reply to the emperor.' Gayly the good knight answered, 'If we
would all take my lord of Ymbercourt's word, we have only to go straight
to the breach. But it is a somewhat sorry pastime for men-at-arms to go
afoot, and I would gladly be excused. Howbeit, since I must give my
opinion, I will. The emperor bids you, in his letter, set all the French
gentlemen afoot for to deliver the assault along with his lanzknechts.
My opinion is, that you, my lord, ought to send back to the emperor a
reply of this sort: that you have had a meeting of your captains, who are
quite determined to do his bidding, according to the charge they have
from the king their master; but that to mix them up with the foot, who
are of small estate, would be to make them of little account; the emperor
has loads of counts, lords, and gentlemen of Germany; let him set them
afoot along with the men-at-arms of France, who will gladly show them the
road; and then his lanzknechts will follow, if they know that it will
pay.' When the good knight had thus spoken, his advice was found
virtuous and reasonable. To the emperor was sent back this answer, which
he thought right honorable. He incontinently had his trumpets sounded
and his drums beaten for to assemble all the princes, and lords, and
captains as well of Germany and Burgundy as of Hainault. Then the
emperor declared to them that he was determined to go, within an hour,
and deliver the assault on the town, whereof he had notified the lords of
France, who were all most desirous of doing their duty therein right
well, and prayed him that along with them might go the gentlemen of
Germany, to whom they would gladly show the road: 'Wherefore, my lords,'
said the emperor, I pray you, as much as ever I can, to be pleased to
accompany them and set yourselves afoot with them; and I hope, with God's
help, that at the first assault we shall be masters of our enemies.'
When the emperor had done speaking, on a sudden there arose among his
Germans a very wondrous and strange uproar, which lasted half an hour
before it was appeased; and then one amongst them, bidden to answer for
all, said that they were not folks to be set afoot or so to go up to a
breach, and that their condition was to fight like gentlemen,
a-horseback. Other answer the emperor could not get; but though it was
not according to his desire, and pleased him not at all, he uttered no
word beyond that he said, 'Good my lords, we must advise, then, how we
shall do for the best.' Then, forthwith he sent for a gentleman of his
who from time to time went backwards and forwards as ambassador to the
French, and said to him, 'Go to the quarters of my cousin, the lord of La
Palisse; commend me to him and to all my lords the French captains you
find with him, and tell them that for to-day the assault will not be
delivered.' I know not," says the chronicler, "how it was nor who gave
the advice; but the night after this speech was spoken the emperor went
off, all in one stretch, more than forty miles from the camp, and from
his new quarters sent word to his people to have the siege raised; which
was done."

So Padua was saved, and Venice once more became a power. Louis XII.,
having returned victorious to France, did not trouble himself much about
the check received in Italy by Emperor Maximilian, for whom he had no
love and but little esteem. Maximilian was personally brave and free
from depravity or premeditated perfidy, but he was coarse, volatile,
inconsistent, and not very able. Louis XII. had amongst his allies of
Cambrai and in Italy a more serious and more skilful foe, who was
preparing for him much greater embarrassments.

Julian Bella Rovera had, before his elevation to the pontifical throne,
but one object, which was, to mount it. When he became pope, he had
three objects: to recover and extend the temporal possessions of the
papacy, to exercise to the full his spiritual power, and to drive the
foreigner from Italy. He was not incapable of doubling and artifice.
In order to rise he had flattered Louis XII. and Cardinal d'Amboise with
the hope that the king's minister would become the head of Christendom.
When once he was himself in possession of this puissant title he showed
himself as he really was; ambitious, audacious, imperious, energetic,
stubborn, and combining the egotism of the absolute sovereign with the
patriotism of an Italian pope. When the League of Cambrai had attained
success through the victory of Louis XII. over the Venetians, Cardinal
d'Amboise, in course of conversation with the two envoys from Florence at
the king's court, let them have an inkling "that he was not without
suspicion of some new design;" and when Louis XII. announced his
approaching departure for France, the two Florentines wrote to their
government that "this departure might have very evil results, for the
power of Emperor Maximilian in Italy, the position of Ferdinand the
Catholic, the despair of the Venetians, and the character and
dissatisfaction of the pope, seemed to foreshadow some fresh
understanding against the Most Christian king." Louis XII. and his
minister were very confident. "Take Spain, the king of the Romans, or
whom you please," said Cardinal d'Amboise to the two Florentines; "there
is none who has observed and kept the alliance more faithfully than the
king has; he has done everything at the moment he promised; he has borne
upon his shoulders the whole weight of this affair; and I tell you," he
added, with a fixed look at those whom he was addressing, "that his army
is a large one, which he will keep up and augment every day." Louis, for
his part, treated the Florentines with great good-will, as friends on
whom he counted and who were concerned in his success. "You have become
the first power in Italy," he said to then one day before a crowd of
people: "how are you addressed just now? Are you Most Serene or Most
Illustrious?" And when he was notified that distinguished Venetians were
going to meet Emperor Maximilian on his arrival in Italy, "No matter,"
said Louis; "let them go whither they will." The Florentines did not the
less nourish their mistrustful presentiments; and one of Louis XII.'s
most intelligent advisers, his finance-minister Florimond Robertet, was
not slow to share them. "The pope," said he to them one day [July 1,
1509], "is behaving very ill towards us; he seeks on every occasion to
sow enmity between the princes, especially between the emperor and the
Most Christian king;" and, some weeks later, whilst speaking of the
money-aids which the new King of England was sending, it was said, to
Emperor Maximilian, he said to the Florentine, Nasi, "It would be a very
serious business, if from all this were to result against us a universal
league, in which the pope, England, and Spain should join."
[_Negotiations Diplomatiques de la France avec la Toscane,_ published by
M. Abel Desjardins, in the _Documents relatifs d l'Histoire de France,_
t. ii. pp. 331, 355, 367, 384, 389, 416.]

Next year (1510) the mistrust of the Florentine envoys was justified.
The Venetians sent a humble address to the pope, ceded to him the places
they but lately possessed in the Romagna, and conjured him to relieve
them from the excommunication he had pronounced against them. Julius
II., after some little waiting, accorded the favor demanded of him.
Louis XII. committed the mistake of embroiling himself with the Swiss by
refusing to add twenty thousand livres to the pay of sixty thousand he
was giving them already, and by styling them "wretched mountain-
shepherds, who presumed to impose upon him a tax he was not disposed to
submit to." The pope conferred the investiture of the kingdom of Naples
upon Ferdinand the Catholic, who at first promised only his neutrality,
but could not fail to be drawn in still farther when war was rekindled in
Italy. In all these negotiations with the Venetians, the Swiss, the
Kings of Spain and England, and the Emperor Maximilian, Julius II. took a
bold initiative. Maximilian alone remained for some time at peace with
the King of France.

In October, 1511, a league was formally concluded between the pope, the
Venetians, the Swiss, and King Ferdinand against Louis XII. A place was
reserved in it for the King of England, Henry VIII., who, on ascending
the throne, had sent word to the King of France that "he desired to abide
in the same friendship that the king his father had kept up," but who, at
the bottom of his heart, burned to resume on the Continent an active and
a prominent part. The coalition thus formed was called the League of
Holy Union. "I," said Louis XII., "am the Saracen against whom this
league is directed."

He had just lost, a few months previously, the intimate and faithful
adviser and friend of his whole life: Cardinal George d'Amboise, seized
at Milan with a fit of the gout, during which Louis tended him with the
assiduity and care of an affectionate brother, died at Lyons on the 25th
of May, 1510, at fifty years of age. He was one not of the greatest, but
of the most honest ministers who ever enjoyed a powerful monarch's
constant favor, and employed it we will not say with complete
disinterestedness, but with a predominant anxiety for the public weal.
In the matter of external policy the influence of Cardinal d'Amboise, was
neither skilfully nor salutarily exercised: he, like his master, indulged
in those views of distant, incoherent, and improvident conquests which
caused the reign of Louis XII. to be wasted in ceaseless wars, with which
the cardinal's desire of becoming pope was not altogether unconnected,
and which, after having resulted in nothing but reverses, were a heavy
heritage for the succeeding reign. But at home, in his relations with
his king and in his civil and religious administration, Cardinal
d'Amboise was an earnest and effective friend of justice, of sound social
order, and of regard for morality in the practice of power. It is said
that, in his latter days, he, virtuously weary of the dignities of this
world, said to the infirmary-brother who was attending him, "Ah! Brother
John, why did I not always remain Brother John!" A pious regret the
sincerity and modesty whereof are rare amongst men of high estate.

[Illustration: Cardinal d'Amboise----347]

"At last, then, I am the only pope!" cried Julius II., when he heard that
Cardinal d'Amboise was dead. But his joy was misplaced: the cardinal's
death was a great loss to him; between the king and the pope the cardinal
had been an intelligent mediator, who understood the two positions and
the two characters, and who, though most faithful and devoted to the
king, had nevertheless a place in his heart for the papacy also, and
labored earnestly on every occasion to bring about between the two rivals
a policy of moderation and peace. "One thing you may be certain of,"
said Louis's finance-minister Robertet to the ambassador from Florence,
"that the king's character is not an easy one to deal with; he is not
readily brought round to what is not his own opinion, which is not always
a correct one; he is irritated against the pope; and the cardinal, to
whom that causes great displeasure, does not always succeed, in spite of
all influence, in getting him to do as he would like. If our Lord God
were to remove the cardinal, either by death or in any other manner, from
public life, there would arise in this court and in the fashion of
conducting affairs such confusion that nothing equal to it would ever
have been seen in our day." [_Negociations Diplomatiques de la France
avec la Toscane,_ t. ii. pp. 428 and 460.] And the confusion did, in
fact, arise; and war was rekindled, or, to speak more correctly, resumed
its course after the cardinal's death. Julius II. plunged into it in
person, moving to every point where it was going on, living in the midst
of camps, himself in military costume, besieging towns, having his guns
pointed and assaults delivered under his own eyes. Men expressed
astonishment, not unmixed with admiration, at the indomitable energy of
this soldier-pope at seventy years of age. It was said that he had cast
into the Tiber the keys of St. Peter to gird on the sword of St. Paul.
His answer to everything was, "The barbarians must be driven from Italy."
Louis XII. became more and more irritated and undecided. "To reassure
his people," says Bossuet (to which we may add, 'and to reassure
himself'), "he assembled at Tours (in September, 1510), the prelates of
his kingdom, to consult them as to what he could do at so disagreeable a
crisis without wounding his conscience. Thereupon it was said that the
pope, being unjustly the aggressor, and having even violated an agreement
made with the king, ought to be treated as an enemy, and that the king
might not only defend himself, but might even attack him without fear of
excommunication. Not considering this quite strong enough yet, Louis
resolved to assemble a council against the pope. The general council was
the desire of the whole church since the election of Martin V. at the
council of Constance (November 11, 1417); for, though that council had
done great good by putting an end to the schism which had lasted for
forty years, it had not accomplished what it had projected, which was a
reformation of the Church in its head and in its members; but, for the
doing of so holy a work, it had ordained, on separating, that there
should be held a fresh council. . . . This one was opened at Pisa
(November 1, 1511) with but little solemnity by the proxies of the
cardinals who had caused its convocation. The pope had deposed them, and
had placed under interdict the town of Pisa, where the council was to be
held, and even Florence, because the Florentines had granted Pisa for the
assemblage. Thereupon the religious brotherhoods were unwilling to put
in an appearance at the opening of the council, and the priests of the
Church refused the necessary paraphernalia. The people rose, and the
cardinals, having arrived, did not consider their position safe; insomuch
that after the first session they removed the council to Milan, where
they met with no better reception. Gaston de Foix, nephew of Louis XII.,
who had just appointed him governor of Milaness, could certainly force
the clergy to proceed and the people to be quiet, but he could not force
them to have for the council the respect due to so great a name; there
were not seen at it, according to usage, the legates of the Holy See;
there were scarcely fifteen or sixteen French prelates there; the Emperor
Maximilian had either not influence enough or no inclination to send to
it a single one from Germany; and, in a word, there was not to be seen in
this assembly anything that savored of the majesty of a general council,
and it was understood to be held for political purposes." [Bossuet,
_Abrege de l'Histoire de France pour l'Education du dauphin_; _OEuvres
completes_ (1828), t. xvii. pp. 541, 545.] Bossuet had good grounds
for speaking so. Louis XII. himself said, in 1511, to the ambassador of
Spain, that "this pretended council was only a scarecrow which he had no
idea of employing save for the purpose of bringing the pope to reason."
Amidst these vain attempts at ecclesiastical influence the war was
continued with passionateness on the part of Julius II., with hesitation
on the part of Louis XII., and with some disquietude on the part of the
French commanders, although with their wonted bravery and loyalty.
Chaumont d'Amboise, the cardinal's nephew, held the command-in-chief in
the king's army. He fell ill: the pope had excommunicated him; and
Chaumont sent to beg him, with instance, to give him absolution, which
did not arrive until he was on his death-bed. "This is the worst," says
Bossuet, "of wars against the Church; they cause scruples not only in
weak minds, but even, at certain moments, in the very strongest."
Alphonso d' Este, Duke of Ferrara, was almost the only great Italian lord
who remained faithful to France. Julius II., who was besieging Ferrara,
tried to win over the duke, who rejected all his offers, and, instead,
won over the negotiator, who offered his services to poison the pope.
Bayard, when informed of this proposal, indignantly declared that he
would go and have the traitor hanged, and warning sent to the pope.
"Why," said the duke, "he would have been very glad to do as much for you
and me." "That is no odds to me," said the knight; "he is God's
lieutenant on earth, and, as for having him put to death in such sort, I
will never consent to it." The duke shrugged his shoulders, and spitting
on the ground, said, 'Od's body, Sir Bayard, I would like to get rid of
all my enemies in that way; but, since you do not think it well, the
matter shall stand over; whereof, unless God apply a remedy, both you and
I will repent us." Assuredly Bayard did not repent of his honest
indignation; but, finding about the same time (January, 1511) an
opportunity of surprising and carrying off the pope, he did not care to
miss it; he placed himself in ambush before day-break, with a hundred
picked men-at-arms, close to a village from which the pope was to issue.
"The pope, who was pretty early, mounted his litter, so soon as he saw
the dawn, and the clerics and officers of all kinds went before without a
thought of anything. When the good knight heard them he sallied forth
from his ambush, and went charging down upon the rustics, who, sore
dismayed, turned back again, pricking along with loosened rein and
shouting, Alarm! alarm! But all that would have been of no use but for
an accident very lucky for the holy father, and very unfortunate for the
good knight. When the pope had mounted his litter, he was not a stone's
throw gone when there fell from heaven the most sharp and violent shower
that had been seen for a hundred years. 'Holy father,' said the Cardinal
of Pavia to the pope, 'it is not possible to go along this country so
long as this lasts; meseems you must turn back again; 'to which the pope
agreed; but, just as he was arriving at St. Felix, and was barely
entering within the castle, he heard the shouts of the fugitives whom the
good knight was pursuing as hard as he could spur; whereupon he had such
a fright, that, suddenly and without help, he leaped out of his litter,
and himself did aid in hauling up the bridge; which was doing like a man
of wits, for had he waited until one could say a _Pater noster,_ he had
been snapped up. Who was right down grieved, that was the good knight;
never man turned back so melancholic as he was to have missed so fair a
take; and the pope, from the good fright he had gotten, shook like a
palsy the live-long day." [_Histoire du ben Chevalier Ballard,_ t. i.
pp. 346-349.]

[Illustration: Chaumont d'Amboise----350]

From 1510 to 1512 the war in Italy was thus proceeding, but with no great
results, when Gaston de Foix, Duke of Nemours, came to take the command
of the French army. He was scarcely twenty-three, and had hitherto only
served under Trivulzio and La Palisse; but he had already a character for
bravery and intelligence in war. Louis XII. loved this son of his
sister, Mary of Orleans, and gladly elevated him to the highest rank.
Gaston, from the very first, justified this favor. Instead of seeking
for glory in the field only, he began by shutting himself up in Milan,
which the Swiss were besieging. They made him an offer to take the road
back to Switzerland, if he would give them a month's pay; the sum was
discussed; Gaston considered that they asked too much for their
withdrawal; the Swiss broke off the negotiation; but "to the great
astonishment of everybody," says Guicciardini, "they raised the siege and
returned to their own country." The pope was besieging Bologna; Gaston
arrived there suddenly with a body of troops whom he had marched out at
night through a tempest of wind and snow; and he was safe inside the
place whilst the besiegers were still ignorant of his movement. The
siege of Bologna was raised. Gaston left it immediately to march on
Brescia, which the Venetians had taken possession of for the Holy League.
He retook the town by a vigorous assault, gave it up to pillage, punished
with death Count Louis Avogaro and his two sons, who had excited the
inhabitants against France, and gave a beating to the Venetian army
before its walls. All these successes had been gained in a fortnight.
"According to universal opinion," says Guicciardini, "Italy for several
centuries had seen nothing like these military operations."

We are not proof against the pleasure of giving a place in this history
to a deed of virtue and chivalrous kindness on Bayard's part, the story
of which has been told and retold many times in various works. It is
honorable to human kind, and especially to the middle ages, that such men
and such deeds are met with here and there, amidst the violence of war
and the general barbarity of manners.

Bayard had been grievously wounded at the assault of Brescia; so
grievously that he said to his neighbor, the lord of Molart, "'Comrade,
march your men forward; the town is ours; as for me, I cannot pull on
farther, for I am a dead man.' When the town was taken, two of his
archers bare him to a house, the most conspicuous they saw thereabouts.
It was the abode of a very rich gentleman; but he had fled away to a
monastery, and his wife had remained at the abode under the care of Our
Lord, together with two fair daughters she had, the which were hidden in
a granary beneath some hay. When there came a knocking at her door, she
saw the good knight who was being brought in thus wounded, the which had
the door shut incontinently, and set at the entrance the two archers, to
the which he said, 'Take heed for your lives, that none enter herein
unless it be any of my own folk; I am certified that, when it is known to
be my quarters, none will try to force a way in; and if, by your aiding
me, I be the cause that ye lose a chance of gaining somewhat, never ye
mind; ye shall lose nought thereby.'

"The archers did as they were bid, and he was borne into a mighty fine
chamber, into the which the lady of the house herself conducted him; and,
throwing herself upon her knees before him, she spoke after this fashion,
being interpreted, 'Noble sir, I present unto you this house, and all
that is therein, for well I know it is yours by right of war; but may it
be your pleasure to spare me my honor and life, and those of two young
daughters that I and my husband have, who are ready for marriage.' The
good knight, who never thought wickedness, replied to her, 'Madam, I know
not whether I can escape from the wound that I have; but, so long as I
live, you and your daughters shall be done no displeasure, any more than
to my own person. Only keep them in your chambers; let them not be seen;
and I assure you that there is no man in the house who would take upon
himself to enter any place against your will.'

"When the good lady heard him so virtuously speak, she was all assured.
Afterwards, he prayed her to give instructions to some good surgeon, who
might quickly come to tend him; which she did, and herself went in quest
of him with one of the archers. He, having arrived, did probe the good
knight's wound, which was great and deep; howbeit he certified him that
there was no danger of death. At the second dressing came to see him the
Duke of Nemours' surgeon, called Master Claude, the which did
thenceforward have the healing of him; and right well he did his devoir,
in such sort that in less than a month he was ready to mount a-horseback.
The good knight, when he was dressed, asked his hostess where her husband
was; and the good lady, all in tears, said to him, 'By my faith, my lord,
I know not whether he be dead or alive; but I have a shrewd idea that, if
he be living, he will be in a large monastery, where be hath large
acquaintance.' 'Lady,' said the good knight, 'have him fetched; and I
will send in quest of him in such sort that he shall have no harm.' She
set herself to inquire where he was, and found him; then were sent in
quest of him the good knight's steward and two archers, who brought him
away in safety; and on his arrival he had joyous cheer (reception) from
his guest, the good knight, the which did tell him not to be melancholic,
and that there was quartered upon him none but friends. . . . For
about a month or five weeks was the good knight ill of his wound, without
leaving his couch. One day he was minded to get up, and he walked across
his chamber, not being sure whether he could keep his legs; somewhat weak
he found himself; but the great heart he had gave him not leisure to
think long thereon. He sent to fetch the surgeon who had the healing of
him, and said to him, 'My friend, tell me, I pray you, if there be any
danger in setting me on the march; me-seems that I am well, or all but
so; and I give you my faith that, in my judgment, the biding will
henceforth harm me more than mend me, for I do marvellously fret.' The
good knight's servitors had already told the surgeon the great desire he
had to be at the battle, for every day he had news from the camp of the
French, how that they were getting nigh the Spaniards, and there were
hopes from day to day of the battle, which would, to his great sorrow,
have been delivered without him. Having knowledge whereof, and also
knowing his complexion, the surgeon said, in his own language, 'My lord,
your wound is not yet closed up; howbeit, inside it is quite healed.
Your barber shall see to dressing you this once more; and provided that
every day, morning and evening, he put on a little piece of lint and a
plaister for which I will deliver to him the ointment, it will not
increase your hurt; and there is no danger, for the worst of the wound is
a-top, and will not touch the saddle of your horse.' Whoso had given him
ten thousand crowns, the good knight had not been so glad. He determined
to set out in two days, commanding his people to put in order all his

"The lady with whom he lodged, who held herself all the while his
prisoner, together with her husband and her children, had many
imaginings. Thinking to herself that, if her guest were minded to treat
with rigor herself and her husband, he might get out of them ten or
twelve thousand crowns, for they had two thousand a year, she made up her
mind to make him some worthy present; and she had found him so good a
man, and of so gentle a heart, that, to her thinking, he would be
graciously content. On the morning of the day whereon the good knight
was to dislodge after dinner, his hostess, with one of her servitors
carrying a little box made of steel, entered his chamber, where she found
that he was resting in a chair, after having walked about a great deal,
so as continually, little by little, to try his leg. She threw herself
upon both knees; but incontinently he raised her up, and would never
suffer her to speak a word, until she was first seated beside him. She
began her speech in this manner: 'My lord, the grace which God did me, at
the taking of this town, in directing you to this our house, was not less
than the saving to me of my husband's life, and my own, and my two
daughters', together with their honor, which they ought to hold dearer
still. And more, from the time that you arrived here, there hath not
been done to me, or to the least of my people, a single insult, but all
courtesy; and there hath not been taken by your folks of the goods they
found here the value of a farthing without paying for it. My lord, I am
well aware that my husband, and I, and my children, and all of this
household are your prisoners, for to do with and dispose of at your good
pleasure, as well as the goods that are herein; but, knowing the
nobleness of your heart, I am come for to entreat you right humbly that
it may please you to have pity upon us, extending your wonted generosity.
Here is a little present we make you; you will be pleased to take it in
good part.' Then she took the box which the servitor was holding, and
opened it before the good knight, who saw it full of beautiful ducats.
The gentle lord, who never in his life made any case of money, burst out
laughing, and said, 'Madam, how many ducats are there in this box?' The
poor soul was afraid that he was angry at seeing so few, and said to him,
'My lord, there are but two thousand five hundred ducats; but, if you are
not content, we will find a larger sum.' Then said he, 'By my faith,
madam, though you should give me a hundred thousand crowns, you would not
do so well towards me as you have done by the good cheer I have had here,
and the kind tendance you have given me; in whatsoever place I may happen
to be, you will have, so long as God shall grant me life, a gentleman at
your bidding. As for your ducats, I will none of them; and yet I thank
you; take them back; all my life I have always loved people much better
than crowns. And think not in any wise that I do not go away as well
pleased with you as if this town were at your disposal, and you had given
it to me.'

"The good lady was much astounded at finding herself put off. 'My lord,'
said she, 'I should feel myself forever the most wretched creature in the
world, if you did not take away with you so small a present as I make
you, which is nothing in comparison with the courtesy you have shown me
heretofore, and still show me now by your great kindness.' When the
knight saw her so firm, he said to her, 'Well, then, madam, I will take
it for love of you; but go and fetch me your two daughters, for I would
fain bid them farewell.' The poor soul, who thought herself in paradise,
now that her present was at last accepted, went to fetch her daughters,
the which were very fair, good, and well educated, and had afforded the
good knight much pastime during his illness, for right well could they
sing and play on the lute and spinet, and right well work with the
needle. They were brought before the good knight, who, whilst they were
attiring themselves, had caused the ducats to be placed in three lots,
two of a thousand each, and the other of five hundred. They, having
arrived, would have fallen on their knees, but were incontinently raised
up, and the elder of the two began to say, 'My lord, these two poor
girls, to whom you have done so much honor as to guard them, are come to
take leave of you, humbly thanking your lordship for the favor they have
received, for which, having nothing else in their power, they will be
for-ever bound to pray God for you.' The good knight, half-weeping to
see so much sweetness and humility in those two fair girls, made answer,
'Dear demoisels, you have done what I ought to do; that is, thank you for
the good company you have made me, and for which I feel myself much
beholden and bounden. You know that fighting men are not likely to be
laden with pretty things for to present to ladies; and for my part, I am
sore displeased that I am in no wise well provided for making you such
present as I am bound to make. Here is your lady-mother, who has given
me two thousand five hundred ducats, which you see on this table; of them
I give to each of you a thousand towards your marriage; and for my
recompense, you shall, an if it please you, pray God for me.' He put the
ducats into their aprons, whether they would or not; and then, turning to
his hostess, he said to her, "Madam, I will take these five hundred
ducats for mine own profit, to distribute them amongst the poor
sisterhoods which have been plundered; and to you I commit the charge of
them, for you, better than any other, will understand where there is need
thereof, and thereupon I take my leave of you." Then he touched them all
upon the hand, after the Italian manner, and they fell upon their knees,
weeping so bitterly that it seemed as if they were to be led out to their
deaths. Afterwards, they withdrew to their chambers, and it was time for
dinner. After dinner, there was little sitting ere the good knight
called for the horses; for much he longed to be in the company so yearned
for by him, having fine fear lest the battle should be delivered before
he was there. As he was coming out of his chamber to mount a-horseback,
the two fair daughters of the house came down and made him, each of them,
a present which they had worked during his illness; one was two pretty
and delicate bracelets, made of beautiful tresses of gold and silver
thread, so neatly that it was a marvel; the other was a purse of crimson
satin, worked right cunningly. Greatly did he thank them, saying that
the present came from hand so fair, that he valued it at ten thousand
crowns; and, in order to do them the more honor, he had the bracelets put
upon his arms, and he put the purse in his sleeve, assuring them that, so
long as they lasted, he would wear them for love of the givers."

[Illustration: Bayard's Farewell----358]

Bayard had good reason for being in such a hurry to rejoin his
comrades-in-arms, and not miss the battle he foresaw. All were as full
of it as he was. After the capture of Brescia, Gaston de Foix passed
seven or eight days more there, whilst Bayard was confined by his wound
to his bed. "The prince went, once at least, every day to see the good
knight, the which he comforted as best he might, and often said to him,
'Hey! Sir Bayard, my friend, think about getting cured, for well I know
that we shall have to give the Spaniards battle between this and a month;
and, if so it should be, I had rather have lost all I am worth than not
have you there, so great confidence have I in you.' 'Believe me, my
lord,' answered Bayard, 'that if so it is that there is to be a battle, I
would, as well for the service of the king my master as for love of you
and for mine own honor, which is before everything, rather have myself
carried thither in a litter than not be there at all.' The Duke of
Nemours made him a load of presents according to his power, and one day
sent him five hundred crowns, the which the good knight gave to the two
archers who had staid with him when he was wounded."

Louis XII. was as impatient to have the battle delivered as Bayard was to
be in it. He wrote, time after time, to his nephew Gaston that the
moment was critical, that Emperor Maximilian harbored a design of
recalling the five thousand lanzknechts he had sent as auxiliaries to the
French army, and that they must be made use of whilst they were still to
be had; that, on the other hand, Henry VIII., King of England, was
preparing for an invasion of France, and so was Ferdinand, King of Spain,
in the south: a victory in the field was indispensable to baffle all
these hostile plans. It was Louis XII.'s mania to direct, from Paris or
from Lyons, the war which he was making at a distance, and to regulate
its movements as well as its expenses. The Florentine ambassador,
Pandolfini, was struck with the perilousness of this mania; and Cardinal
d'Amboise was no longer by to oppose it. Gaston de Foix asked for
nothing better than to act with vigor. He set out to march on Ravenna,
in hopes that by laying siege to this important place he would force a
battle upon the Spanish army, which sought to avoid it. There was a
current rumor in Italy that this army, much reduced in numbers and cooled
in ardor, would not hold its own against the French if it encountered
them. Some weeks previously, after the siege of Bologna had been raised_
by the Spaniards, there were distributed about at Rome little bits of
paper having on them, "If anybody knows where the Spanish army happens to
be, let him inform the sacristan of peace; he shall receive as reward a
lump of cheese." Gaston de Foix arrived on the 8th of April, 1512,
before Ravenna. He there learned that, on the 9th of March, the
ambassador of France had been sent away from London by Henry VIII.
Another hint came to him from his own camp. A German captain, named
Jacob, went and told Chevalier Bayard, with whom he had contracted a
friendship, "that the emperor had sent orders to the captain of the
lanzknechts that they were to withdraw incontinently on seeing his
letter, and that they were not to fight the Spaniards: 'As for me,' said
he, 'I have taken oath to the King of France, and I have his pay; if I
were to die a hundred thousand deaths, I would not do this wickedness of
not fighting; but there must be haste.' The good knight, who well knew
the gentle heart of Captain Jacob, commended him marvellously, and said
to him, by the mouth of his interpreter, 'My dear comrade and friend,
never did your heart imagine wickedness. Here is my lord of Nemours, who
has ordered to his quarters all the captains, to hold a council; go we
thither, you and I, and we will show him privately what you have told
me.' 'It is well thought on,' said Captain Jacob: 'go we thither.' So
they went thither. There were dissensions at the council: some said that
they had three or four rivers to cross; that everybody was against them,
the pope, the King of Spain, the Venetians, and the Swiss; that the
emperor was anything but certain, and that the best thing would be to
temporize: others said that there was nothing for it but to fight or die
of hunger like good-for-noughts and cowards. The good Duke of Nemours,
who had already spoken with the good knight and with Captain Jacob,
desired to have the opinion of the former, the which said, 'My lord, the
longer we sojourn, the more miserable too will become our plight, for our
men have no victual, and our horses must needs live on what the willows
shoot forth at the present time. Besides, you know that the king our
master is writing to you every day to give battle, and that in your hands
rests, not only the safety of his duchy of Milan, but also all his
dominion of France, seeing the enemies he has to-day. 'Wherefore, as for
me, I am of opinion that we ought to give battle, and proceed to it
discreetly, for we have to do with cunning folks and good fighters. That
there is peril in it is true; but one thing gives me comfort: the
Spaniards for a year past have, in this Romagna, been always living like
fish in the water, and are fat and full-fed; our men have had and still
have great lack of victual, whereby they will have longer breath, and we
have no need of ought else, for whoso fights the longest, to him will
remain the 'field.'" The leaders of note in the army sided with the good
knight, "and notice thereof was at once given to all the captains of
horse and foot."

The battle took place on the next day but one, April 11. "The gentle
Duke of Nemours set out pretty early from his quarters, armed at all
points. As he went forth he looked at the sun, already risen, which was
mighty red. 'Look, my lords, how red the sun is,' said he to the company
about him. There was there a gentleman whom he loved exceedingly, a
right gentle comrade, whose name was Haubourdin, the which replied, 'Know
you, pray, what that means, my lord? To-day will die some prince or
great captain: it must needs be you or the Spanish viceroy.' The Duke of
Nemours burst out a-laughing at this speech, and went on as far as the
bridge to finish the passing-in-review of his army, which was showing
marvellous diligence." As he was conversing with Bayard, who had come in
search of him, they noticed not far from them a troop of twenty or thirty
Spanish gentlemen, all mounted, amongst whom was Captain Pedro de Paz,
leader of all their jennettiers [light cavalry, mounted on Spanish horses
called jennets]. "The good knight advanced twenty or thirty paces and
saluted them, saying, 'Gentlemen, you are diverting your-selves, as we
are, whilst waiting for the regular game to begin; I pray you let there
be no firing of arquebuses on your side, and there shall be no firing at
you on ours.'" The courtesy was reciprocated. "Sir Bayard," asked Don
Pedro de Paz, who is yon lord in such goodly array, and to whom your
folks show so much honor?" "It is our chief, the Duke of Nemours,"
answered Bayard; "nephew of our prince, and brother of your queen."
[Germaine de Foix, Gaston de Foix's sister, had married, as his second
wife, Ferdinand the Catholic.] Hardly had he finished speaking, when
Captain Pedro de Paz and all those who were with him dismounted and
addressed the noble prince in these words: "Sir, save the honor and
service due to the king our master, we declare to you that we are, and
wish forever to remain, your servants." The Duke of Nemours thanked them
gallantly for their gallant homage, and, after a short, chivalrous
exchange of conversation, they went, respectively, to their own posts.
The artillery began by causing great havoc on both sides. "'Od's body,"
said a Spanish captain shut up in a fort which the French were attacking,
and which he had been charged to defend, "we are being killed here by
bolts that fall from heaven; go we and fight with men;" and he sallied
from the fort with all his people, to go and take part in the general
battle. "Since God created heaven and earth," says the Loyal Serviteur
of Bayard, "was never seen a more cruel and rough assault than that which
French and Spaniards made upon one another, and for more than a long half
hour lasted this fight. They rested before one another's eyes to recover
their breath; then they let down their vizors and so began all over
again, shouting, France! and Spain! the most imperiously in the world.
At last the Spaniards were utterly broken, and constrained to abandon
their camp, whereon, and between two ditches, died three or four hundred
men-at-arms. Every one would fain have set out in pursuit; but the good
knight said to the Duke of Nemours, who was all covered with blood and
brains from one of his men-at-arms, that had been carried off by a
cannon-ball, 'My lord, are you wounded?' 'No,' said the duke, 'but I
have wounded a many others.' 'Now, God be praised!' said Bayard; 'you
have gained the battle, and abide this day the most honored prince in the
world; but push not farther forward; reassemble your men-at-arms in this
spot; let none set on to pillage yet, for it is not time; Captain Louis
d'Ars and I are off after these fugitives that they may not retire behind
their foot; but stir not, for any man living, from here, unless Captain
Louis d'Ars or I come hither to fetch you.' "The Duke of Nemours
promised; but whilst he was biding on his ground, awaiting Bayard's
return, he said to the Baron du Chimay,--"an honest gentleman who had
knowledge," says Fleuranges, "of things to come, and who, before the
battle, had announced to Gaston that he would gain it, but he would be in
danger of being left there if God did not do him grace,--Well, Sir
Dotard, am I left there, as you said? Here I am still.' 'Sir, it is not
all over yet,' answered Chimay; whereupon there arrived an archer, who
came and said to the duke, 'My lord, yonder be two thousand Spaniards,
who are going off all orderly along the causeway.' 'Certes,' said
Gaston, 'I cannot suffer that; whoso loves me, follow me.' And resuming
his arms he pushed forward. 'Wait for your men,' said Sire de Lautrec to
him; but Gaston took no heed, and followed by only twenty or thirty
men-at-arms, he threw himself upon those retreating troops." He was
immediately surrounded, thrown from his horse, and defending himself all
the while, "like Roland at Roncesvalles," say the chroniclers, he fell
pierced with wounds. "Do not kill him," shouted Lautrec; "it is the
brother of your queen." Lautrec himself was so severely handled and
wounded that he was thought to be dead. Gaston really was, though the
news spread but slowly. Bayard, returning with his comrades from
pursuing the fugitives, met on his road the Spanish force that Gaston had
so rashly attacked, and that continued to retire in good order. Bayard
was all but charging them, when a Spanish captain came out of the ranks
and said to him, in his own language, "What would you do, sir? You are
not powerful enough to beat us; you have won the battle; let the honor
thereof suffice you, and let us go with our lives, for by God's will are
we escaped." Bayard felt that the Spaniard spoke truly; he had but a
handful of men with him, and his own horse could not carry him any
longer: the Spaniards opened their ranks, and he passed through the
middle of them and let them go. "'Las!" says his Loyal Serviteur, "he
knew not that the good Duke of Nemours was dead, or that those yonder
were they who had slain him; he had died ten thousand deaths but he would
have avenged him, if he had known it."

When the fatal news was known, the consternation and grief were profound.
At the age of twenty-three Gaston de Foix had in less than six months won
the confidence and affection of the army, of the king, and of France. It
was one of those sudden and undisputed reputations which seem to mark out
men for the highest destinies. "I would fain," said Louis XIL, when he
heard of his death, "have no longer an inch of land in Italy, and be able
at that price to bring back to life my nephew Gaston and all the gallants
who perished with him. God keep us from often gaining such victories!"
"In the battle of Ravenna," says Guicciardini, "fell at least ten
thousand men, a third of them French, and two thirds their enemies; but
in respect of chosen men and men of renown the loss of the victors was by
much the greater, and the loss of Gaston de Foix alone surpassed all the
others put together; with him went all the vigor and furious onset of the
French army." La Palisse, a warrior valiant and honored, assumed the
command of this victorious army; but under pressure of repeated attacks
from the Spaniards, the Venetians, and the Swiss, he gave up first the
Romagna, then Milanes, withdrew from place to place, and ended by falling
back on Piedmont. Julius II. won back all he had won and lost.
Maximilian Sforza, son of Ludovic the Moor, after twelve years of exile
in Germany, returned to Milan to resume possession of his father's duchy.
By the end of June, 1512, less than three months after the victory of
Ravenna, the domination of the French had disappeared from Italy.

[Illustration: Gaston de Foix----364]

Louis XII. had, indeed, something else to do besides crossing the Alps to
go to the protection of such precarious conquests. Into France itself
war was about to make its way; it was his own kingdom and his own country
that he had to defend. In vain, after the death of Isabella of Castile,
had he married his niece, Germaine de Foix, to Ferdinand the Catholic,
whilst giving up to him all pretensions to the kingdom of Naples. In
1512 Ferdinand invaded Navarre, took possession of the Spanish portion of
that little kingdom, and thence threatened Gascony. Henry VIII., King of
England, sent him a fleet, which did not withdraw until after it had
appeared before Bayonne and thrown the south-west of France into a state
of alarm. In the north, Henry VIII. continued his preparations for an
expedition into France, obtained from his Parliament subsidies for that
purpose, and concerted plans with Emperor Maximilian, who renounced his
doubtful neutrality and engaged himself at last in the Holy League.
Louis XII. had in Germany an enemy as zealous almost as Julius II. was in
Italy: Maximilian's daughter, Princess Marguerite of Austria, had never
forgiven France or its king, whether he were called Charles VIII. or
Louis XII., the treatment she had received from that court, when, after
having been kept there and brought up for eight years to become Queen of
France, she had been sent away and handed back to her father, to make way
for Anne of Brittany. She was ruler of the Low Countries, active, able,
full of passion, and in continual correspondence with her father, the
emperor, over whom she exercised a great deal of influence. [This
correspondence was published in 1839, by the _Societe de l'Histoire de
France_ (2 vols. 8vo.), from the originals, which exist in the archives
of Lille.] The Swiss, on their side, continuing to smart under the
contemptuous language which Louis had imprudently applied to them, became
more and more pronounced against him, rudely dismissed Louis de la
Tremoille, who attempted to negotiate with them, re-established
Maximilian Sforza in the duchy of Milan, and haughtily styled themselves
"vanquishers of kings and defenders of the holy Roman Church." And the
Roman Church made a good defender of herself. Julius II. had convoked at
Rome, at St. John Lateran, a council, which met on the 3d of May, 1512,
and in presence of which the council of Pisa and Milan, after an attempt
at removing to Lyons, vanished away like a phantom. Everywhere things
were turning out according to the wishes and for the profit of the pope;
and France and her king were reduced to defending themselves on their own
soil against a coalition of all their great neighbors.

"Man proposes and God disposes." Not a step can be made in history
without meeting with some corroboration of that modest, pious, grand
truth. On the 21st of February, 1513, ten months since Gaston de Foix,
the victor of Ravenna, had perished in the hour of his victory, Pope
Julius II. died at Rome at the very moment when he seemed invited to
enjoy all the triumph of his policy. He died without bluster and without
disquietude, disavowing nought of his past life, and relinquishing none
of his designs as to the future. He had been impassioned and skilful in
the employment of moral force, whereby alone he could become master of
material forces; a rare order of genius, and one which never lacks
grandeur, even when the man who possesses it abuses it. His constant
thought was how he might free Italy from the barbarians; and he liked to
hear himself called by the name of liberator, which was commonly given
him. One day the outspoken Cardinal Grimani said to him that,
nevertheless, the kingdom of Naples, one of the greatest and richest
portions of Italy, was still under the foreign yoke; whereupon Julius
II., brandishing the staff on which he was leaning, said, wrathfully,
"Assuredly, if Heaven had not otherwise ordained, the Neapolitans too
would have shaken off the yoke which lies heavy on them." Guicciardini
has summed up, with equal justice and sound judgment, the principal
traits of his character: "He was a prince," says the historian, "of
incalculable courage and firmness; full of boundless imaginings which
would have brought him headlong to ruin if the respect borne to the
Church, the dissensions of princes and the conditions of the times, far
more than his own moderation and prudence, had not supported him; he
would have been worthy of higher glory had he been a laic prince, or had
it been in order to elevate the Church in spiritual rank and by processes
of peace that he put in practice the diligence and zeal he displayed for
the purpose of augmenting his temporal greatness by the arts of war.
Nevertheless he has left, above all his predecessors, a memory full of
fame and honor, especially amongst those men who can no longer call
things by their right names or appreciate them at their true value, and
who think that it is the duty of the sovereign-pontiffs to extend, by
means of arms and the blood of Christians, the power of the Holy See
rather than to wear themselves out in setting good examples of a
Christian's life and in reforming manners and customs pernicious to the
salvation of souls--that aim of aims for which they assert that Christ
has appointed them His vicars on earth."

The death of Julius II. seemed to Louis XII. a favorable opportunity for
once more setting foot in Italy, and recovering at least that which he
regarded as his hereditary right, the duchy of Milan. He commissioned
Louis de la Tremoille to go and renew the conquest; and, whilst thus
reopening the Italian war, he commenced negotiations with certain of the
coalitionists of the Holy League, in the hope of causing division amongst
them, or even of attracting some one of them to himself. He knew that
the Venetians were dissatisfied and disquieted about their allies,
especially Emperor Maximilian, the new Duke of Milan Maximilian Sforza,
and the Swiss. He had little difficulty in coming to an understanding
with the Venetian senate; and, on the 14th of May, 1513, a treaty of
alliance, offensive and defensive, was signed at Blois between the King
of France and the republic of Venice. Louis hoped also to find at Rome
in the new pope, Leo X. [Cardinal John de' Medici, elected pope March
11, 1513], favorable inclinations; but they were at first very
ambiguously and reservedly manifested. As a Florentine, Leo X. had a
leaning towards France; but as pope, he was not disposed to relinquish or
disavow the policy of Julius II. as to the independence of Italy in
respect of any foreign sovereign, and as to the extension of the power of
the Holy See; and he wanted time to make up his mind to infuse into his
relations with Louis XII. good-will instead of his predecessor's
impassioned hostility. Louis had not, and could not have, any confidence
in Ferdinand the Catholic; but he knew him to be as prudent as he was
rascally, and he concluded with him at Orthez, on the 1st of April, 1513,
a year's truce, which Ferdinand took great care not to make known to his
allies, Henry VIII., King of England, and the Emperor Maximilian, the
former of whom was very hot-tempered, and the latter very deeply
involved, through his daughter Marguerite of Austria, in the warlike
league against France. "Madam" [the name given to Marguerite as ruler of
the Low Countries], wrote the Florentine minister to Lorenzo de' Medici,
"asks for nought but war against the Most Christian king; she thinks of
nought but keeping up and fanning the kindled fire, and she has all the
game in her hands, for the King of England and the emperor have full
confidence in her, and she does with them just as she pleases." This was
all that was gained during the year of Julius II.'s death by Louis XII.'s
attempts to break up or weaken the coalition against France; and these
feeble diplomatic advantages were soon nullified by the unsuccess of the
French expedition in Milaness. Louis de la Tremoille had once more
entered it with a strong army; but he was on bad terms with his principal
lieutenant, John James Trivulzio, over whom he had not the authority
wielded by the young and brilliant Gaston de Foix; the French were close
to Novara, the siege of which they were about to commence; they heard
that a body of Swiss was advancing to enter the place; La Tremoille
shifted his position to oppose them, and on the 5th of June, 1513, he
told all his captains in the evening that "they might go to their
sleeping-quarters and make good cheer, for the Swiss were not yet ready
to fight, not having all their men assembled;" but early next morning the
Swiss attacked the French camp. "La Tremoille had hardly time to rise,
and, with half his armor on, mount his horse; the Swiss outposts and
those of the French were already at work pell-mell over against his
quarters." The battle was hot and bravely contested on both sides; but
the Swiss by a vigorous effort got possession of the French artillery,
and turned it against the infantry of the lanzknechts, which was driven
in and broken. The French army abandoned the siege of Novara, and put
itself in retreat, first of all on Verceil, a town of Piedmont, and then
on France itself. "And I do assure you," says Fleuranges, an eye-witness
and partaker in the battle, "that there was great need of it; of the
men-at-arms there were but few lost, or of the French foot; which turned
out a marvellous good thing for the king and the kingdom, for they found
him very much embroiled with the English and other nations." War
between, France and England had recommenced at sea in 1512: two
squadrons, one French, of twenty sail, and the other English, of more
than forty, met on the 10th of August somewhere off the island of Ushant;
a brave Breton, Admiral Herve Primoguet, aboard of "the great ship of the
Queen of France," named the Cordeliere, commanded the French squadron,
and Sir Thomas Knyvet, a young sailor "of more bravery than experience,"
according to the historians of his own country, commanded, on board of a
vessel named the Regent, the English squadron. The two admirals' vessels
engaged in a deadly duel; but the French admiral, finding himself
surrounded by superior forces, threw his grappling-irons on to the
English vessel, and, rather than surrender, set fire to the two admirals'
ships, which blew up at the same time, together with their crews of two
thousand men.

The sight of heroism and death has a powerful effect upon men, and
sometimes suspends their quarrels. The English squadron went out again
to sea, and the French went back to Brest. Next year the struggle
recommenced, but on land, and with nothing so striking. An English army
started from Calais, and went and blockaded, on the 17th of June, 1513,
the fortress of Therouanne in Artois. It was a fortnight afterwards
before Henry VIII. himself quitted Calais, where festivities and
tournaments had detained him too long for what he had in hand, and set
out on the march with twelve thousand foot to go and join his army before
Therouanne. He met on his road, near Thournehem, a body of twelve
hundred French men-at-arms with their followers a-horseback, and in the
midst of them Bayard. Sire de Piennes, governor of Picardy, was in
command of them. "My lord," said Bayard to him, "let us charge them: no
harm can come of it to us, or very little; if, at the first charge, we
make an opening in them, they are broken; if they repulse us, we shall
still get away; they are on foot and we a-horseback;" and "nearly all the
French were of this opinion," continues the chronicler; but Sire de
Piennes said, Gentlemen, I have orders, on my life, from the king our
master, to risk nothing, but only hold his country. Do as you please;
for my part I shall not consent thereto.' Thus was this matter stayed;
and the King of England passed with his band under the noses of the
French." Henry VIII. arrived quietly with his army before Therouanne,
the garrison of which defended itself valiantly, though short of
provisions. Louis XII. sent orders to Sire de Piennes to revictual
Therouanne "at any price." The French men-at-arms, to the number of
fourteen hundred lances, at whose head marched La Palisse, Bayard, the
Duke de Longueville, grandson of the great Dunois, and Sire de Piennes
himself, set out on the 16th of August to go and make, from the direction
of Guinegate, a sham attack upon the English camp, whilst eight hundred
Albanian light cavalry were to burst, from another direction, upon the
enemies' lines, cut their way through at a gallop, penetrate to the very
fosses of the fortress, and throw into them munitions of war and of the
stomach, hung to their horses' necks. The Albanians carried out their
orders successfully. The French men-at-arms, after having skirmished for
some time with the cavalry of Henry VIII. and Maximilian, began to fall
back a little carelessly and in some disorder towards their own camp,
when they perceived two large masses of infantry and artillery, English
and German, preparing to cut off their retreat. Surprise led to
confusion; the confusion took the form of panic; the French men-at-arms
broke into a gallop, and, dispersing in all directions, thought of
nothing but regaining the main body and the camp at Blangy. This sudden
rout of so many gallants received the sorry name of the affair of spurs,
for spurs did more service than the sword. Many a chosen captain, the
Duke de Longueville, Sire de la Palisse, and Bayard, whilst trying to
rally the fugitives, were taken by the enemy. Emperor Maximilian, who
had arrived at the English camp three or four days before the affair, was
of opinion that the allies should march straight upon the French camp, to
take advantage of the panic and disorder; but "Henry VIII. and his lords
did not agree with him." They contented themselves with pressing on the
siege of Therouanne, which capitulated on the 22d of August, for want of
provisions. The garrison was allowed to go free, the men-at-arms with
lance on thigh and the foot with pike on shoulder, with their harness and
all that they could carry." But, in spite of an article in the
capitulation, the town was completely dismantled and burnt; and, by the
advice of Emperor Maximilian, Henry VIII. made all haste to go and lay
siege to Tournai, a French fortress between Flanders and Hainault, the
capture of which was of great importance to the Low Countries and to
Marguerite of Austria, their ruler.

On hearing these sad tidings, Louis XII., though suffering from an attack
of gout, had himself moved in a litter from Paris to Amiens, and ordered
Prince Francis of Angouleme, heir to the throne, to go and take command
of the army, march it back to the defensive line of the Somme, and send a
garrison to Tournai. It was one of that town's privileges to have no
garrison; and the inhabitants were unwilling to admit one, saying that
Tournai never had turned and never would turn tail; and, if the English
came, they would find some one to talk to them." "Howbeit," says
Fleuranges, "not a single captain was there, nor, likewise, the said lord
duke, but understood well how it was with people besieged, as indeed came
to pass, for at the end of three days, during which the people of Tournai
were besieged, they treated for appointment (terms) with the King of
England." Other bad news came to Amiens. The Swiss, puffed up with
their victory at Novara and egged on by Emperor Maximilian, had to the
number of thirty thousand entered Burgundy, and on the 7th of September
laid siege to Dijon, which was rather badly fortified. La Tremoille,
governor of Burgundy, shut himself up in the place and bravely repulsed a
first assault, but "sent post-haste to warn the king to send him aid;
whereto the king made no reply beyond that he could not send him aid, and
that La Tremoille should do the best he could for the advantage and
service of the kingdom." La Tremoille applied to the Swiss for a
safe-conduct, and "without arms and scantily attended" he went to them to
try whether "in consideration of a certain sum of money for the expenses
of their army they could be packed off to their own country without doing
further displeasure or damage." He found them proud and arrogant of
heart, for they styled themselves chastisers of princes," and all he
could obtain from them was "that the king should give up the duchy of
Milan and all the castles appertaining thereto, that he should restore to
the pope all the towns, castles, lands, and lordships which belonged to
him, and that he should pay the Swiss four hundred thousand crowns, to
wit, two hundred thousand down and two hundred thousand at Martinmas in
the following winter." [_Corps Diplomatique du Droit des Gens,_ by
Dumont, t. vi. part 1, p. 175.] As brave in undertaking a heavy
responsibility as he was in delivering a battle, La Tremoille did not
hesitate to sign, on the 13th of September, this harsh treaty; and, as he
had not two hundred thousand crowns down to give the Swiss, he prevailed
upon them to be content with receiving twenty thousand at once, and he
left with them as hostage, in pledge of his promise, his nephew Rend
d'Anjou, lord of Mezieres, "one of the boldest and discreetest knights in
France." But for this honorable defeat, the veteran warrior thought the
kingdom of France had been then undone; for, assailed at all its
extremities, with its neighbors for its foes, it could not, without great
risk of final ruin, have borne the burden and defended itself through so
many battles. La Tremoille sent one of the gentlemen of his house, the
chevalier Reginald de Moussy, to the king, to give an account of what he
had done, and of his motives. Some gentlemen about the persons of the
king and the queen had implanted some seeds of murmuring and evil
thinking in the mind of the queen, and through her in that of the king,
who readily gave ear to her words because good and discreet was she. The
said Reginald de Moussy, having warning of the fact, and without
borrowing aid of a soul (for bold man was he by reason of his virtues),
entered the king's chamber, and, falling on one knee, announced,
according to order, the service which his master had done, and without
which the kingdom of France was in danger of ruin, whereof he set forth
the reasons. The whole was said in presence of them who had brought the
king to that evil way of thinking, and who knew not what to reply to the
king when he said to them, 'By the faith of my body, I think and do know
by experience that my cousin the lord of La Tremoille is the most
faithful and loyal servant that I have in my kingdom, and the one to whom
I am most bounden to the best of his abilities. Go, Reginald, and tell
him that I will do all that he has promised; and if he has done well, let
him do better.' The queen heard of this kind answer made by the king,
and was not pleased at it; but afterwards, the truth being known, she
judged contrariwise to what she, through false report, had imagined and
thought." [_Memoires de la Tremoille,_ in the Petitot collection,
t. xiv. pp. 476-492.]

Word was brought at the same time to Amiens that Tournai, invested on the
15th of September by the English, had capitulated, that Henry VIII. had
entered it on the 21st, and that he had immediately treated it as a
conquest of which he was taking possession, for he had confirmed it in
all its privileges except that of having no garrison.

Such was the situation in which France, after a reign of fifteen years
and in spite of so many brave and devoted servants, had been placed by
Louis XII.'s foreign policy. Had he managed the home affairs of his
kingdom as badly and with as little success as he had matters abroad, is
it necessary to say what would have been his people's feelings towards
him, and what name he would have left in history? Happily for France and
for the memory of Louis XII., his home-government was more sensible, more
clear-sighted, more able, more moral, and more productive of good results
than his foreign policy was.

When we consider this reign from this new point of view, we are at
once struck by two facts: 1st, the great number of legislative and
administrative acts that we meet with bearing upon the general interests
of the country, interests political, judicial, financial, and commercial;
the _Recueil des Ordonnances des Rois de France_ contains forty-three
important acts of this sort owing their origin to Louis XII.; it was
clearly a government full of watchfulness, activity, and attention to
good order and the public weal; 2d, the profound remembrance remaining in
succeeding ages of this reign and its deserts--a remembrance which was
manifested, in 1560, amongst the states-general of Orleans, in 1576 and
1588 amongst the states of Blois, in 1593 amongst the states of the
League, and even down to 1614 amongst the states of Paris. During more
than a hundred years France called to mind, and took pleasure in calling
to mind, the administration of Louis XII. as the type of a wise,
intelligent, and effective regimen. Confidence may be felt in a people's
memory when it inspires them for so long afterwards with sentiment of
justice and gratitude.

If from the simple table of the acts of Louis XII.'s home-government we
pass to an examination of their practical results it is plain that they
were good and salutary. A contemporary historian, earnest and truthful
though panegyrical, Claude do Seyssel, describes in the following terms
the state of France at that time: "It is," says he, "a patent fact that
the revenue of benefices, lands, and lordships has generally much
increased. And in like manner the proceeds of gabels, turnpikes, law-
fees and other revenues have been augmented very greatly. The traffic,
too, in merchandise, whether by sea or land, has multiplied exceedingly.
For, by the blessing of peace, all folks (except the nobles, and even
them I do not except altogether) engage in merchandise. For one trader
that was in Louis XI.'s time to be found rich and portly at Paris, Rouen,
Lyons, and other good towns of the kingdom, there are to be found in this
reign more than fifty; and there are in the small towns greater number
than the great and principal cities were wont to have. So much so that
scarcely a house is made on any street without having a shop for
merchandise or for mechanical art. And less difficulty is now made about
going to Rome, Naples London, and elsewhere over-sea than was made
formally about going to Lyons or to Geneva. So much so that there are
some who have gone by sea to seek, and have found, new homes. The renown
and authority of the king now reigning are so great that his subjects are
honored and upheld in every country, as well at sea as on land."

Foreigners were not less impressed than the French themselves with this
advance in order, activity, and prosperity amongst the French community.
Machiavelli admits it, and with the melancholy of an Italian politician
acting in the midst of rivalries amongst the Italian republics, he
attributes it above all to French unity, superior to that of any other
state in Europe.

As to the question, to whom reverts the honor of the good government at
home under Louis XII., and of so much progress in the social condition of
France, M. George Picot, in his _Histoire des Etats Generaux_ [t. i. pp.
532-536], attributes it especially to the influence of the states
assembled at Tours, in 1484, at the beginning of the reign of Charles
VIII.: "They employed," he says, "the greatest efforts to reduce the
figure of the impost; they claimed the voting of subsidies, and took care
not to allow them, save by way of gift and grant. They did not hesitate
to revise certain taxes, and when they were engaged upon the subject of
collecting of them, they energetically stood out for the establishment of
a unique, classified body of receivers-royal, and demanded the formation
of all the provinces into districts of estates, voting and apportioning
their imposts every year, as in the cases of Languedoc, Normandy, and
Dauphiny. The dangers of want of discipline in an ill-organized standing
army and the evils caused to agriculture by roving bands drove the states
back to reminiscences of Charles VII.'s armies; and they called for a
mixed organization, in which gratuitous service, commingled in just
proportion with that of paid troops, would prevent absorption of the
national element. To reform the abuses of the law, to suppress
extraordinary commissions, to reduce to a powerful unity, with
parliaments to crown all, that multitude of jurisdictions which were
degenerate and corrupt products of the feudal system in its decay, such
was the constant aim of the states-general of 1484. They saw that a
judicial hierarchy would be vain without fixity of laws; and they
demanded a summarization of customs and a consolidation of ordinances in
a collection placed within reach of all. Lastly they made a claim, which
they were as qualified to make as they were intelligent in making, for
the removal of the commercial barriers which divided the provinces and
prevented the free transport of merchandise. They pointed out the
repairing of the roads and the placing of them in good condition as the
first means of increasing the general prosperity. Not a single branch of
the administration of the kingdom escaped their conscientious scrutiny:
law, finance, and commerce by turns engaged their attention; and in all
these different matters they sought to ameliorate institutions, but never
to usurp power. They did not come forward like the shrievalty of the
University of Paris in 1413, with a new system of administration; the
reign of Louis XI. had left nothing that was important or possible, in
that way, to conceive; there was nothing more to be done than to glean
after him, to relax those appliances of government which he had stretched
at all points, and to demand the accomplishment of such of his projects
as were left in arrear and the cure of the evils he had caused by the
frenzy and the aberrations of his absolute will."

We do not care to question the merits of the states-general of 1484; we
have but lately striven to bring them to light, and we doubt not but that
the enduring influence of their example and their sufferings counted for
much in the progress of good government during the reign of Louis XII.
It is an honor to France to have always resumed and pursued from crisis
to crisis, through a course of many sufferings, mistakes, and tedious
gaps, the work of her political enfranchisement and the foundation of a
regimen of freedom and legality in the midst of the sole monarchy which
so powerfully contributed to her strength and her greatness. The
states-general of 1484, in spite of their rebuffs and long years after
their separation, held an honorable place in the history of this
difficult and tardy work; but Louis XII.'s personal share in the good
home-government of France during his reign was also great and
meritorious. His chief merit, a rare one amongst the powerful of the
earth, especially when there is a question of reforms and of liberty, was
that he understood and entertained the requirements and wishes of his
day; he was a mere young prince of the blood when the states of 1484 were
sitting at Tours; but he did not forget them when he was king, and, far
from repudiating their patriotic and modest work in the cause of reform
and progress, he entered into it sincerely and earnestly with the aid
of Cardinal d'Amboise, his honest, faithful, and ever influential
councillor. The character and natural instincts of Louis XII. inclined
him towards the same views as his intelligence and moderation in politics
suggested. He was kind, sympathetic towards his people, and anxious to
spare them every burden and every suffering that was unnecessary, and to
have justice, real and independent justice, rendered to all. He reduced
the talliages a tenth at first and a third at a later period. He refused
to accept the dues usual on a joyful accession. When the wars in Italy
caused him some extraordinary expense, he disposed of a portion of the
royal possessions, strictly administered as they were, before imposing
fresh burdens upon the people. His court was inexpensive, and he had no
favorites to enrich. His economy became proverbial; it was sometimes
made a reproach to him; and things were carried so far that he was
represented, on the stage of a popular theatre, ill, pale, and surrounded
by doctors, who were holding a consultation as to the nature of his
malady: they at last agreed to give him a potion of gold to take; the
sick man at once sat up, complaining of nothing more than a burning
thirst. When informed of this scandalous piece of buffoonery, Louis
contented himself with saying, "I had rather make courtiers laugh by my
stinginess than my people weep by my extravagance." He was pressed to
punish some insolent comedians; but, "No," said he, "amongst their
ribaldries they may sometimes tell us useful truths let them amuse
themselves, provided that they respect the honor of women." In the
administration of justice he accomplished important reforms, called for
by the states-general of 1484 and promised by Louis XI. and Charles
VIII., but nearly all of them left in suspense. The purchase of offices
was abolished and replaced by a two-fold election; in all grades of the
magistracy, when an office was vacant, the judges were to assemble to
select three persons, from whom the king should be bound to choose. The
irremovability of the magistrates, which had been accepted but often
violated by Louis XI., became under Louis XII. a fundamental rule. It
was forbidden to every one of the king', magistrates, from the premier-
president to the lowest provost to accept any place or pension from any
lord, under pain of suspension from their office or loss of their salary.
The annual Mercurials (Wednesday-meetings) became, in the supreme courts,
a general and standing usage. The expenses of the law were reduced. In
1501, Louis XII. instituted at Aix in Provence a new parliament; in 1499
the court of exchequer a Rouen, hitherto a supreme but movable and
temporary court became a fixed and permanent court, which afterwards
received under Francis I., the title of parliament. Being convinced
before long, by facts themselves, that these reforms were seriously meant
by their author, and were practically effective, the people conceived, in
consequence, towards the king and the magistrates a general sentiment of
gratitude and respect. In 1570 Louis made a journey from Paris to Lyons
by Champaigne and Burgundy; and "wherever he passed," says St. Gelais"
men and women assembled from all parts, and ran after him for three or
four leagues. And when they were able to touch his mule, or his robe, or
anything that was his, they kissed their hands . . . with as great
devotion as they would have shown to a reliquary. And the Burgundians
showed as much enthusiasm as the real old French."

Louis XII.'s private life also contributed to win for him, we will not
say the respect and admiration, but the good will of the public. He was
not, like Louis IX., a model of austerity and sanctity; but after the
licentious court of Charles VII., the coarse habits of Louis XI., and the
easy morals of Charles VIII., the French public was not exacting. Louis
XII. was thrice married. His first wife, Joan, daughter of Louis XI.,
was an excellent and worthy princess, but ugly, ungraceful, and
hump-backed. He had been almost forced to marry her, and he had no child
by her. On ascending the throne, he begged Pope Alexander VI. to annul
his marriage; the negotiation was anything but honorable, either to the
king or to the pope; and the pope granted his bull in consideration of
the favors shown to his unworthy son, Caesar Borgia, by the king. Joan
alone behaved with a virtuous as well as modest pride, and ended her life
in sanctity within a convent at Bourges, being wholly devoted to pious
works, regarded by the people as a saint, spoken of by bold preachers as
a martyr, and "still the true and legitimate Queen of France," and
treated at a distance with profound respect by the king who had put her
away. Louis married, in 1499, his predecessor's widow, Anne, Duchess of
Brittany, twenty-three years of age, short, pretty, a little lame, witty,
able, and firm. It was, on both sides, a marriage of policy, though
romantic tales have been mixed up with it; it was a suitable and
honorable royal arrangement, without any lively affection on one side
or the other, but with mutual esteem and regard. As queen, Anne was
haughty, imperious, sharp-tempered, and too much inclined to mix in
intrigues and negotiations at Rome and Madrid, sometimes without regard
for the king's policy; but she kept up her court with spirit and dignity,
being respected by her ladies, whom she treated well, and favorably
regarded by the public, who were well disposed towards her for having
given Brittany to France. Some courtiers showed their astonishment that
the king should so patiently bear with a character so far from agreeable;
but "one must surely put up with something from a woman," said Louis,
"when she loves her honor and her husband." After a union of fifteen
years, Anne of Brittany died on the 9th of January, 1514, at the castle
of Blois, nearly thirty-seven years old. Louis was then fifty-two. He
seemed very much to regret his wife; but, some few months after her
death, another marriage of policy was put, on his behalf, in course of
negotiation. It was in connection with Princess Mary of England, sister
of Henry VIII., with whom it was very important for Louis XII. and for
France to be once more at peace and on good terms. The Duke de
Longueville, made prisoner by the English at the battle of Guinegate,
had, by his agreeable wit and his easy, chivalrous grace, won Henry
VIII.'s favor in London; and he perceived that that prince, discontented
with his allies, the Emperor of Germany and the King of Spain, was
disposed to make peace with the King of France. A few months, probably
only a few weeks, after Anne of Brittany's death, De Longueville, no
doubt with Louis XII.'s privity, suggested to Henry VIII. the idea of a
marriage between his young sister and the King o France. Henry liked to
do sudden and striking things: he gladly seized the opportunity of
avenging himself upon his two allies, who, in fact, had not been very
faithful to him, and he welcomed De Longueville's idea. Mary was
sixteen, pretty, already betrothed to Archduke Charles of Austria, and,
further passionately smitten with Charles Brandon, the favorite of Henry
VIII., who had made him Duke of Suffolk, and, according to English
historians, the handsomest nobleman in England. These two difficulties
were surmounted: Mary herself formally declared her intention of breaking
a promise of marriage which had been made during her minority, and which
Emperor Maximilian had shown himself in no hurry to get fulfilled; and
Louis XII. formally demanded her hand. Three treaties were concluded on
the 7th of August, 1514, between the Kings of France and England, in
order to regulate the conditions of their political and matrimonial
alliance; on the 13th of August, the Duke de Longueville, in his
sovereign's name, espoused the Princess Mary at Greenwich; and she,
escorted to France by brilliant embassy, arrived on the 8th of October at
Abbeville where Louis XII. was awaiting her. Three days afterwards the
marriage was solemnized there in state, and Louis, who had suffered from
gout during the ceremony, carried off his young queen to Paris, after
having had her crowned at St. Denis Mary Tudor had given up the German
prince, who was destined to become Charles V., but not the handsome
English nobleman she loved. The Duke of Suffolk went to France to see
her after her marriage, and in her train she had as maid of honor a young
girl, a beauty as well, who was one day to be Queen of England--Anne

Less than three months after this marriage, on the 1st of January, 1515,
"the death-bell-men were traversing the streets of Paris, ringing their
bells and crying, 'The good King Louis, father of the people, is dead.'"
Louis XII., in fact, had died that very day, at midnight, from an attack
of gout and a rapid decline. "He had no great need to be married, for
many reasons," says the Loyal Serviteur of Bayard, "and he likewise had
no great desire that way; but, because he found himself on every side at
war, which he could not maintain without pressing very hard upon his
people, he behaved like the pelican. After that Queen Mary had made her
entry, which was mighty triumphant, into Paris, and that there had taken
place many jousts and tourneys, which lasted more than six weeks, the
good king, because of his wife, changed all his manner of living: he had
been wont to dine at eight, and he now dined at midday; he had been wont
to go to bed at six in the evening, and he often now went to bed at
midnight. He fell ill at the end of December, from the which illness
nought could save him. He was, whilst he lived, a good prince, wise and
virtuous, who maintained his people in peace, without pressing hard upon
them in any way, save by constraint. He had in his time much of good and
of evil, whereby he got ample knowledge of the world. He obtained many
victories over his enemies; but towards the end of his days Fortune gave
him a little turn of her frowning face. He was borne to his grave at St.
Denis amongst his good predecessors, with great weeping and wailing, and
to the great regret of his subjects."

"He was a gentle prince," says Robert de la Marck, lord of Fleuranges,
"both in war and otherwise, and in all matters wherein he was required to
take part. It was pity when this malady of gout attacked him, for he was
not an old man."

To the last of his days Louis XII. was animated by earnest sympathy and
active solicitude for his people. It cost him a great deal to make with
the King of England the treaties of August 7, 1514, to cede Tournai to the
English, and to agree to the payment to them of a hundred thousand crowns a
year for ten years. He did it to restore peace to France, attacked on
her own soil, and feeling her prosperity threatened. For the same reason
he negotiated with Pope Leo X., Emperor Maximilian, and Ferdinand the
Catholic, and he had very nearly attained the same end by entering once
more upon pacific relations with them, when death came and struck him
down at the age of fifty-three. He died sorrowing over the concessions
he had made from a patriotic sense of duty as much as from necessity, and
full of disquietude about the future. He felt a sincere affection for
Francis de Valois, Count of Angouleme, his son-law and successor; the
marriage between his daughter Claude and that prince had been the chief
and most difficult affair connected with his domestic life; and it was
only after the death of the queen, Anne of Brittany, that he had it
proclaimed and celebrated. The bravery, the brilliant parts, the amiable
character, and the easy grace of Francis I. delighted him, but he dreaded
his presumptuous inexperience, his reckless levity, and his ruinous
extravagance; and in his anxiety as a king and father he said, "We are
laboring in vain; this big boy will spoil everything for us."


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