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

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changed the venue in Berquin's case so as to decide it himself at his
grand council; in consequence of which the prisoner would have to be
handed over, not to the bishop, but to the king. The chamber
remonstrated; Berquin was no longer their prisoner; the matter had been
decided; it was the bishop to whom application must be made. But these
remonstrances had been foreseen; the captain had verbal instructions to
carry off Louis de Berquin by force in case of a refusal to give him up.
The chamber decided upon handing over the bishop's prisoner to the king,
contenting themselves with causing the seized books and manuscripts to be
burned that very day in the space in front of Notre Dame. It was whilst
repairing to the scene of war in Italy, and when he was just entering
Melun, where he merely passed through, that the king had given this
unexpected order, on the very day, August 5, on which the Parliament
pronounced the decree which sent Berquin to appear before the Bishop of
Paris. There is no clear trace of the vigilant protect, or who had so
closely watched the proceedings against Berquin, and so opportunely
appealed for the king's interference. In any incident of this sort there
is a temptation to presume that the influence was that of Princess
Marguerite; but it is not certain that she was at this time anywhere near
the king; perhaps John du Bellay, Bishop of Bayonne, acted for her.
Francis I. was, moreover, disposed to extend protection, of his own
accord, to gentlemen and scholars against furious theologians, when the
latter were not too formidable for him. However that may be, Berquin, on
becoming the king's prisoner, was summoned before the chancellor, Duprat,
who, politely reproaching him with having disquieted the church, confined
himself to requesting that he would testify some regret for it. Berquin
submitted with a good grace, and, being immediately set at liberty, left
Paris and repaired to his estate in Picardy.

Whilst he there resumed his life of peaceful study, the Parliament
continued to maintain in principle and openly proclaim its right of
repression against heretics. On the 12th of August, 1523, it caused
notice to be given, by sound of trumpet, throughout the whole of Paris,
that clergy and laymen were to deposit in the keeping of the Palace all
Luther's books that they possessed. Laymen who did not comply with this
order would have their property confiscated; clergymen would be deprived
of their temporalities and banished. Toleration, in a case of suspected
heresy, was an act of the king's which itself required toleration;
proceedings against heresy remained the law of the land, constantly
hanging over every head.

Eighteen months later, in May, 1525, there seemed to be no further
thought about Berquin; but the battle of Pavia was lost; Francis I. was a
prisoner at Madrid; Louise of Savoy and the chancellor, Duprat, wielded
the power. The question of heretics again came to the front. "The queen
must be told," said Peter Lizet, king's advocate, "as St. Gregory told
Brunehaut, Queen of the Franks, that the best way of driving away the
enemies of the kingdom is to drive away from it the enemies of God and
His spouse, the Church." On the 10th of April, 1525, on occasion of
giving the regent some counsel as to her government, the Parliament
strongly recommended her to take proceedings against the heretics. "The
court," they said to her, "has before now passed several provisional
decrees against the guilty, which have not been executed because of the
evil disposition of the times and the hinderances effected by the
delinquents, who have found means of suspending and delaying the
judgments given against them, as well by transference of the venue to the
grand council as by seizure and removal of certain of them, prisoners at
the time, whom they have had withdrawn from their prisons by exercise of
sovereign and absolute power, which has given the rest occasion and
boldness to follow the evil doctrine." It was impossible to reproach the
king more broadly with having set Berquin at liberty. The Parliament
further advised the regent to ask the pope to send over to France
pontifical delegates invested with his own powers to watch and to try in
his name "even archbishops, bishops, and abbots, who by their deeds,
writings, or discourses, should render themselves suspected of a leaning
towards heresy." Louise of Savoy, without any appearance of being hurt
by the attack made by the Parliament on the acts of the king her son,
eagerly followed the advice given her; and on the 20th of May, 1525,
Clement VII., in his turn, eagerly appointed four delegates commissioned
to try all those suspected of heresy, who, in case of condemnation, were
to be left to the secular arm. On the very day on which the pope
appointed his delegates, the faculty of theology at Paris passed censure
upon divers writings of Erasmus, translated and spread abroad in France
by Berquin; and on the 8th of January, 1526, the Bishop of Amiens
demanded of the Parliament authority "to order the body to be seized of
Louis de Berquin, who resided in his diocese and was scandalizing it by
his behavior." The Parliament authorized his arrest; and, on the 24th of
January, Berquin was once more a prisoner in the Conciergerie, at the
same time that orders were given to seize all his books and papers,
whether at his own house or at that of his friend the Lord of Rambure at
Abbeville. The great trial of Berquin for heresy was recommenced, and in
it the great name of Erasmus was compromised.

When the question was thus solemnly reopened, Berquin's defenders were
much excited. Defenders, we have said; but, in truth, history names but
one, the Princess Marguerite, who alone showed any activity, and alone
did anything to the purpose. She wrote at once to the king, who was
still at Madrid "My desire to obey your commands was sufficiently strong
without having it redoubled by the charity you have been pleased to show
to poor Berquin according to your promise; I feel sure that He for whom I
believe him to have suffered will approve of the mercy which, for His
honor, you have had upon His servant and yours." Francis I. had, in
fact, written to suspend until his return the proceedings against
Berquin, as well as those against Lefevre, Roussel, and all the other
doctors suspected of heresy. The regent transmitted the king's orders to
the pope's delegates, who presented themselves on the 20th of February
before the Parliament to ask its advice. "The king is as badly advised
as he himself is good," said the dean of the faculty of theology. The
Parliament answered that "for a simple letter missive" it could not
adjourn; it must have a letter patent; and it went on with the trial.
Berquin presented several demands for delay, evidently in order to wait
for the king's return and personal intervention. The court refused them;
and, on the 5th of March, 1526, the judgment was read to him in his
prison at the Conciergerie. It was to the effect that his books should
be again burned before his eyes, that he should declare his approval of
so just a sentence, and that he should earn the compassion of the church
by not refusing her any satisfaction she might demand; else he should
himself go to the stake.

Whilst Berquin's trial was thus coming to an end, Francis I. was entering
France once more in freedom, crying, "So I am king again!" During the
latter days of March, amongst the numerous personages who came to
congratulate him was John de Selve, premier president of the Parliament
of Paris. The king gave him a very cold reception. "My lords," wrote
the premier president to his court, "I heard, through M. de Selve, my
nephew, about some displeasure that was felt as regards our body, and I
also perceived it myself. I have already begun to speak of it to Madame
[the king's mother]. I will do, as I am bound to, my duty towards the
court, with God's help." On the 1st of April the king, who intended to
return by none but slow stages to Paris, wrote from Mont-de-Marsan, to
the judges holding his court of Parliament at Paris:--

"We have presently been notified how that, notwithstanding that, through
our dear and much-loved lady and mother, regent in France during our
absence, it was written unto you and ordered that you would be pleased
not to proceed in any way whatever with the matter of Sieur Berquin,
lately detained a prisoner, until we should have been enabled to return
to this our kingdom, you have, nevertheless, at the request and pursuance
of his ill-wishers, so far proceeded with his business that you have come
to a definitive judgment on it. Whereat we cannot be too much astounded.
. . . For this cause we do will and command and enjoin upon you . .
that you are not to proceed to execution of the said judgment, which, as
the report is, you have pronounced against the said Berquin, but shall
put him, himself and the depositions and the proceedings in his said
trial, in such safe keeping that you may be able to answer to us for
them. . . . And take care that you make no default therein, for we do
warn you that, if default there be, we shall look to such of you as shall
seem good to us to answer to us for it."

Here was not only a letter patent, but a letter minatory. As to the
execution of their judgment, the Parliament obeyed the king's injunction,
maintaining, however, the principle as well as the legality of Berquin's
sentence, and declaring that they awaited the king's orders to execute
it. "According to the teaching of the two Testaments," they said, "God
ever rageth, in His just wrath, against the nations who fail to enforce
respect for the laws prescribed by Himself. It is important, moreover,
to hasten the event in order as soon as possible to satisfy,
independently of God, the people who murmur and whose impatience is
becoming verily troublesome." Francis I. did not reply. He would not
have dared, even in thought, to attack the question of principle as to
the chastisement of heresy, and he was afraid of weakening his own
Authority too much if he humiliated his Parliament too much; it was
sufficient for him that he might consider Berquin's life to be safe.
Kings are protectors who are easily satisfied when their protection, to
be worth anything, might entail upon them the necessity of an energetic
struggle and of self-compromise. "Trust not in princes nor their
children," said Lord Strafford, after the Psalmist [_Nolite confidere
principibus et filiis eorum, quia non est sales in illis,_ Ps. cxlvi.],
when, in the seventeenth century, he found that Charles I. was abandoning
him to the English Parliament and the executioner. Louis de Berquin
might have felt similar distrust as to Francis I., but his nature was
confident and hopeful; when he knew of the king's letter to the
Parliament, he considered himself safe, and he testified as much to
Erasmus in a long letter, in which he told him the story of his trial,
and alluded to "the fresh outbreak of anger on the part of those hornets
who accuse me of heresy," said he, "simply because I have translated into
the vulgar tongue some of your little works, wherein they pretend that
they have discovered the most monstrous pieces of impiety." He
transmitted to Erasmus a list of the paragraphs which the pope's
delegates had condemned, pressing him to reply, "as you well know how.
The king esteems you much, and will esteem you still more when
you have heaped confusion on this brood of benighted theologians whose
ineptitude is no excuse for their violence." By a strange coincidence,
Berquin's most determined foe, Noel Beda, provost of the Sorbonne, sent
at the same time to Erasmus a copy of more than two hundred propositions
which had been extracted from his works, and against which he, Beda, also
came forward as accuser. Erasmus was a prudent man, and did not seek
strife; but when he was personally and offensively attacked by enemies
against whom he was conscious of his strength, he exhibited it proudly
and ably; and he replied to Beda by denouncing him, on the 6th of June,
to the Parliament of Paris itself, as an impudent and ignorant
calumniator. His letter, read at the session of Parliament on the 5th of
July, 1526, was there listened to with profound deference, and produced a
sensation which did not remain without effect; in vain did Beda persist
in accusing Erasmus of heresy and in maintaining that he was of the
brotherhood of Luther; Parliament considered him in the wrong,
provisionally prohibited the booksellers from vending his libels against
Erasmus, and required previous authorization to be obtained for all books
destined for the press by the rectors of the Sorbonne.

The success of Erasmus was also a success for Berquin; but he was still
in prison, ill and maltreated. The king wrote on the 11th of July to
Parliament to demand that he should enjoy at least all the liberties that
the prison would admit of, that he should no longer be detained in an
unhealthy cell, and that he should be placed in that building of the
Conciergerie where the court-yard was. "That," was the answer, "would be
a bad precedent; they never put in the court-yard convicts who had
incurred the penalty of death." An offer was made to Berquin of the
chamber reserved for the greatest personages, for princes of the blood,
and of permission to walk in the court-yard for two hours a day, one in
the morning and the other in the evening, in the absence of the other
prisoners. Neither the king nor Berquin was inclined to be content with
these concessions. The king in his irritation sent from Beaugency, on
the 5th of October, two archers of his guard with a letter to this
effect: "It is marvellously strange that what we ordered has not yet been
done. We do command and most expressly enjoin upon you, this once for
all, that you are incontinently to put and deliver the said Berquin into
the hands of the said Texier and Charles do Broc, whom we have ordered to
conduct him to our castle of the Louvre." The court still objected; a
prisoner favored by so high a personage, it was said, would soon be out
of such a prison. The objection resulted in a formal refusal to obey.
The provost of Paris, John de la Barre, the king's premier gentleman, was
requested to repair to the palace and pay Berquin a visit, to ascertain
from himself what could be done for him. Berquin, for all that appears,
asked for nothing but liberty to read and write. "It is not possible,"
was the reply; "such liberty is never granted to those who are condemned
to death." As a great favor, Berquin was offered a copy of the Letters
of St. Jerome and some volumes of history; and the provost had orders not
to omit that fact in his report: "The king must be fully assured that the
court do all they can to please him."

[Illustration: Berquin released by John de la Barre----198]

But it was to no purpose. On the 19th of November, 1526, the provost of
Paris returned to the palace with a letter from the king, formally
commanding him to remove Berquin and transfer him to the Louvre. The
court again protested that they would not deliver over the said Berquin
to the said provost; but, they said, "seeing what the times are, the said
provost will be able to find free access to the Conciergerie, for to do
there what he hath a mind to." The same day, about six in the evening,
John de la Barre repaired to the Conciergerie, and removed from it Louis
de Berquin, whom he handed over to the captain of the guard and four
archers, who took him away to the Louvre. Two months afterwards, in
January, 1527, Princess Marguerite married Henry d'Albret, King of
Navarre, and about the same time, though it is difficult to discover the
exact day, Louis de Berquin issued forth a free man from the Louvre, and
the new queen, on taking him at once into her service, wrote to the
Constable Anne de Montmorency, whom the king had charged with the duty of
getting Berquin set at liberty, "I thank you for the pleasure you have
done me in the matter of poor Berquin, whom I esteem as much as if he
were myself; and so you may say that you have delivered me from prison,
since I consider in that light the pleasure done to me."

Marguerite's sympathetic joy was as natural as touching; she must have
thought Berquin safe; he was free and in the service of one who was
fundamentally a sovereign-prince, though living in France and in
dependence upon the King of France, whose sister he had just married.
In France, Berquin was under the stigma of having been condemned to death
as a heretic, and was confronted by determined enemies. In so perilous a
position his safety depended upon his courting oblivion. But instead of
that, and consulting only the dictates of his generous and blind
confidence in the goodness of his cause, he resolved to assume the
offensive and to cry for justice against his enemies. "Beneath the cloak
of religion," he wrote to Erasmus, "the priests conceal the vilest
passions, the most corrupt morals, and the most scandalous infidelity.
It is necessary to rend the veil which covers them, and boldly bring an
accusation of impiety against the Sorbonne, Rome, and all their
flunkies." Erasmus, justly alarmed, used all his influence to deter him:
but "the more confidence he showed," says he, "the more I feared for him.
I wrote to him frequently, begging him to get quit of the case by some
expedient, or even to withdraw himself on the pretext of a royal
ambassadorship obtained by the influence of his friends. I told him that
the theologians would probably, as time went on, let his affair drop, but
that they would never admit themselves to be guilty of impiety. I told
him to always bear in mind what a hydra was that Beda, and at how many
mouths he belched forth venom. I told him to reflect well that he was
about to commit himself with a foe that was immortal, for a faculty never
dies, and to rest assured that after having brought three monks to bay,
he would have to defend himself against numerous legions, not only
opulent and powerful, but, besides, very dishonest and very experienced
in the practice of every kind of cheatery, who would never rest until
they had effected his ruin, were his cause as just as Christ's. I told
him not to trust too much to the king's protection, the favor of princes
being unstable and their affections easily alienated by the artifices of
informers. . . . And if all this could not move him, I told him not
to involve me in his business, for, with his permission, I was not at all
inclined to get into any tangle with legions of monks and a whole faculty
of theology. But I did not succeed in convincing him; whilst I argued in
so many ways to deter him from his design, I did nothing but excite his

Not only did Berquin turn a deaf ear to the wise counsels of Erasmus, but
his protectress, Marguerite, being moved by his courage, and herself also
as imprudent as she was generous, persuaded herself that he was in the
right, and supported him in his undertaking. She wrote to the king her
brother, "Poor Berquin, who, through your goodness, holds that God has
twice preserved his life, throws himself upon you, having no longer any
one to whom he can have recourse, for to give you to understand his
innocence; and whereas, Monseigneur, I know the esteem in which you hold
him and the desire he hath always had to do you service, I do not fear to
entreat you, by letter instead of speech, to be pleased to have pity on
him. And if it please you to show signs of taking his matter to heart, I
hope that the truth, which he will make to appear, will convict the
forgers of heretics of being slanderers and disobedient towards you
rather than zealots for the faith."

In his complaisance and indifference Francis I. attended to his sister's
wishes, and appeared to support Berquin in his appeal for a fresh and
definite investigation of his case. On the other hand, Parliament, to
whom the matter was referred, showed a disposition to take into account
the king's good will towards Berquin, lately convicted, but now become in
his turn plaintiff and accuser. "We have no wish to dispute your power,"
said the president, Charles de Guillard, to the king at a bed of justice
held on the 24th of July, 1527: "it would be a species of sacrilege, and
we know well that you are above the laws, and that neither laws nor
ordinances can constrain you. Your most humble and most obedient court
is comforted and rejoiced at your presence and advent, just as the
apostles were when they saw their God after the resurrection. We are
assured that your will is to be the peculiar protector and defender of
religion, and not to permit or suffer in your kingdom any errors,
heresies, or false doctrines."

The matter thus reopened pursued its course slowly; twelve judges were
appointed to give a definite decision; and the king himself nominated
six, amongst whom he placed Berquin's friend, William Bude. Various
incidents unconnected with religious disputes supervened. The Queen of
Navarre was brought to bed at Pau, on the 7th of January, 1528, of a
daughter, Jeanne d'Albret, the future mother of Henry IV. The marriage
of Princess Renee of France, daughter of Louis XII., with Duke Hercules
of Ferrara, was concluded, and the preparations for its celebration were
going on at Fontainebleau, when, on Monday, June 1, 1528, the day after
the Feast of Pentecost, "some heretics came by night," says the Journal
d'un Bourgeois de Paris, "to an image of Notre-Dame de Pierre, which is
at a corner of the street behind the church of Petit St. Antoine; to the
which image they gave several blows with their weapons, and cut off her
head and that of her little child, Our Lord. But it was never known who
the image-breakers were.

[Illustration: Heretic Iconoclasts----201]

The king, being then at Paris, and being advertised thereof, was so wroth
and upset that, it is said, he wept right sore. And, incontinently,
during the two days following, he caused it to be proclaimed by sound of
trumpet throughout the cross-roads of the city that if any persons knew
who had done it they should make their report and statement to justice
and to him, and he would give them a thousand crowns of gold.
Nevertheless nothing could be known about it, although the king showed
great diligence in the matter, and had officers commissioned to go from
house to house to make inquiry. . . . On Tuesday and other days
following there were special processions from the parish churches and
other churches of the city, which nearly all of them went to the said
place. . . . And on the day of the Fete-Dieu, which was the 11th day
of the said month of June, the king went in procession, most devoutly,
with the parish of St. Paul and all the clergy, to the spot where was the
said image. He himself carried a lighted waxen taper, bareheaded, with
very great reverence, having with him the band and hautbois with several
clarions and trumpets, which made a glorious show, so melodiously did
they play. And with him were the Cardinal of Lorraine, and several
prelates and great lords, and all the gentlemen, having each a taper of
white wax in their hands, and all his archers had each a waxen taper
alight, and thus they went to the spot where was the said image, with
very great honor and reverence, which was a beautiful sight to see, and
with devotion." [_Journal d'un Bourgeois de Paris,_ pp. 347-351.]

In the sixteenth century men were far from understanding that respect is
due to every religious creed sincerely professed and practised; the
innovators, who broke the images of the Virgin Mary and the Infant Jesus,
did not consider that by thus brutally attacking that which they regarded
as a superstition, they were committing a revolting outrage upon
Christian consciences. Such an incident was too favorable for Berquin's
enemies not to be eagerly turned to profit by them. Although his
prosecution had been resumed, he had hitherto remained at large, and been
treated respectfully; he repaired without any guard over him from the
Louvre to the Palace of Justice. But now he was arrested, and once more
confined in the tower of the Conciergerie. Some books of his, seized
hap-hazard and sent to the syndic Beda, were found covered with notes,
which were immediately pronounced to be heretical. On the 16th of April,
1529, he was brought before the court. "Louis Berquin," said the
president to him, "you are convicted of having belonged to the sect of
Luther, and of having made wicked books against the majesty of God and of
His glorious Mother. In consequence, we do sentence you to make
honorable amends, bareheaded and with a waxen taper alight in your hand,
in the great court of the palace, crying for mercy to God, the king, and
the law, for the offence by you committed. After that, you will be
conducted bareheaded and on foot to the Place de Greve, where your books
will be burned before your eyes. Then you will be taken in front of the
church of Notre-Dame, where you will make honorable amends to God and to
the glorious Virgin His Mother. After which a hole will be pierced in
your tongue, that member wherewith you have sinned. Lastly, you will be
placed in the prison of Monsieur de Paris (the bishop), and will be there
confined between two stone walls for the whole of your life. And we
forbid that there be ever given you book to read or pen and ink to
write." This sentence, which Erasmus called atrocious, appeared to take
Berquin by surprise; for a moment he remained speechless, and then he
said, "I appeal to the king:" whereupon he was taken back to prison. The
sentence was to be carried out the same day about three P. M. A great
crowd of more than twenty thousand persons, says a contemporary
chronicler, rushed to the bridges, the streets, the squares, where this
solemn expiation was to take place. The commissioner of police, the
officer of the Chatelet, the archers, crossbowmen, and arquebusiers of
the city had repaired to the palace to form the escort; but when they
presented themselves at the prison to take Berquin, he told them that he
had appealed to the king, and that he would not go with them. The escort
and the crowd retired disappointed. The president convoked the tribunal
the same evening, and repairing to the prison, he made Berquin sign the
form of his appeal. William Bude hurried to the scene, and vehemently
urged the prisoner to give it up. "A second sentence," said he, "is
ready, and it pronounces death. If you acquiesce in the first, we shall
be able to save you later on. All that is demanded of you is to ask
pardon: and have we not all need of pardon?" It appears that for a moment
Berquin hesitated, and was on the point of consenting; but Bude remained
anxious. "I know him," said he; "his ingenuousness and his confidence in
the goodness of his cause will ruin him." The king was at Blois, and his
sister Marguerite at St. Germain; on the news of this urgent peril she
wrote to her brother, "I for the last time, make you a very humble
request; it is, that you will be pleased to have pity upon poor Berquin,
whom I know to be suffering for nothing but loving the word of God and
obeying yours. You will be pleased, Monseigneur, so to act that it be
not said that separation has made you forget your most humble and most
obedient subject and sister, Marguerite." We can discover no trace of
any reply whatever from Francis I. According to most of the documentary
evidence, uncertainty lasted for three days. Berquin persisted in his
resolution. "No," he to his friend Bude, who again came to the prison,
"I would rather endure death than give my approval, even by silence only
to condemnation of the truth." The president of the court went once more
to pay him a visit, and asked him if he held to his appeal. Berquin
said, "Yes." court revised its original sentence, and for the penalty of
perpetual imprisonment substituted that of the stake. On the 22d of
April, 1529, according to most of the documents, but on the 17th,
according to the _Journal d'un Bourgeois de Paris,_ which the details of
the last days render highly improbable, the officers of Parliament
entered Berquin's gloomy chamber. He rose quietly and went with them;
the procession set out, and at about three arrived at the Place de Greve;
where the stake was ready. "Berquin had a gown of velvet, garments of
satin and damask, and hosen of gold thread," says the Bourgeois de Paris.
"'Alas!' said some as they saw him pass, 'he is of noble lineage, a
mighty great scholar, expert in science and subtile withal, and
nevertheless he hath gone out of his senses.'" We borrow the account of
his actual death from a letter of Erasmus, written on the evidence of an
eye-witness: "Not a symptom of agitation appeared either in his face or
the attitude of his body: he had the bearing of a man who is meditating
in his cabinet on the subject of his studies, or in a temple on the
affairs of heaven. Even when the executioner, in a rough voice,
proclaimed his crime and its penalty, the constant serenity of his
features was not at all altered. When the order was given him to
dismount from the tumbrel, he obeyed cheerfully without hesitating;
nevertheless he had not about him any of that audacity, that arrogance,
which in the case of malefactors is sometimes bred of their natural
savagery; everything about him bore evidence to the tranquillity of a
good conscience. Before he died he made a speech to the people; but
none could hear him, so great was the noise which the soldiers made,
according, it is said, to the orders they had received. When the cord
which bound him to the post suffocated his voice, not a soul in the crowd
ejaculated the name of Jesus, whom it is customary to invoke even in
favor of parricides and the sacrilegious, to such extent was the
multitude excited against him by those folks who are to be found
everywhere, and who can do anything with the feelings of the simple and
ignorant." Theodore de Beze adds that the grand penitentiary of Paris,
Merlin, who was present at the execution, said, as he withdrew from the
still smoking stake, "I never saw any one die more Christianly." The
impressions and expressions of the crowd, as they dispersed, were very
diverse; but the majority cried, "He was a heretic." Others said, "God
is the only just Judge, and happy is the man whom He absolves." Some
said below their breath, "It is only through the cross that Christ will
triumph in the kingdom of the Gauls." A man went up to the Franciscan
monk who had placed himself at Berquin's side in the procession, and had
entreated him without getting from him anything but silence, and asked
him, "Did Berquin say that he had erred?" "Yes, certainly," answered the
monk, "and I doubt not but that his soul hath departed in peace." This
expression was reported to Erasmus; but "I don't believe it," said he;
"it is the story that these fellows are obliged to invent after their
victim's death, to appease the wrath of the people."

We have dwelt in detail upon these two martyrs, Leclerc and Berquin, the
wool-carder and the scholarly gentleman, because they are faithful and
vivid representatives of the two classes amongst which, in the sixteenth
century, the Reformation took root in France. It had a double origin,
morally and socially, one amongst the people and the other amongst the
aristocratic and the learned; it was not national, nor was it embraced by
the government of the country. Persecution was its first and its only
destiny in the reign of Francis I., and it went through the ordeal with
admirable courage and patience; it resisted only in the form of
martyrdom. We will give no more of such painful and hideous pictures; in
connection with this subject, and as regards the latter portion of this
reign, we will dwell upon only those general facts which bear the impress
of public morals and the conduct of the government rather than of the
fortunes and the feelings of individuals. It was after Francis I.'s time
that the Reformation, instead of confining itself to submitting with
dignity to persecution, made a spirited effort to escape from it by
becoming a political party, and taking up, in France, the task of the
opposition--a liberal and an energetic opposition, which claims its
rights and its securities. It then took its place in French history as a
great public power, organized and commanded by great leaders, and no
longer as a multitude of scattered victims falling one after another,
without a struggle, beneath the blows of their persecutors.

The martyrdom of Berquin put a stop to the attempt at quasi-tolerance in
favor of aristocratic and learned Reformers which Francis I. had essayed
to practise; after having twice saved Berquin from a heretic's doom, he
failed to save him ultimately; and, except the horrible details of
barbarity in the execution, the scholarly gentleman received the same
measure as the wool-carder, after having been, like him, true to his
faith and to his dignity as a man and a Christian. Persecution
thenceforward followed its course without the king putting himself to the
trouble of applying the drag for anybody; his sister Marguerite alone
continued to protect, timidly and dejectedly, those of her friends
amongst the reformers whom she could help or to whom she could offer an
asylum in Bearn without embroiling herself with the king, her brother,
and with the Parliaments. We will not attempt to enumerate the
martyrdoms which had to be undergone by the persevering Reformers in
France between 1529 and 1547, from the death of Louis de Berquin to that
of Francis I.; the task would be too long and intermingled with too many
petty questions of dates or proper names; we will confine ourselves to
quoting some local computations and to conning over the great historic
facts which show to what extent the persecution was general and
unrelenting, though it was ineffectual, in the end, to stifle the
Reformation and to prevent the bursting out of those religious wars
which, from the death of Francis I. to the accession of Henry IV.,
smothered France in disaster, blood, and crime.

In the reign of Francis I., from 1524 to 1547, eighty-one death-sentences
for heresy were executed. At Paris only, from the 10th of November to
the 2d of May, a space of some six months, one hundred and two sentences
to death by fire for heresy were pronounced; twenty-seven were executed;
two did not take place, because those who ought to have undergone them
denounced other Reformers to save themselves; and seventy-three succeeded
in escaping by flight. The _Journal d'un Bourgeois de Paris_ (pp. 444-
450) does not mention sentences to lesser penalties. In a provincial
town, whose history one of its most distinguished inhabitants, M.
Boutiot, has lately written from authentic documents and local
traditions, at Troyes in fact, in 1542 and 1546, two burgesses, one a
clerk and the other a publisher, were sentenced to the stake and executed
for the crime of heresy: "on an appeal being made by the publisher, Mace
Moreau, the Parliament of Paris confirmed the sentence pronounced by the
bailiff's court," and he underwent his punishment on the Place St. Pierre
with the greatest courage. The decree of the Parliament contains the
most rigorous enactments against books in the French language treating of
religious matters; and it enjoins upon all citizens the duty of
denouncing those who, publicly or not, make profession of the new
doctrine. "The Lutheran propaganda," say the documents, "is in great
force throughout the diocese; it exercises influence not only on the
class of artisans, but also amongst the burgesses. Doubt has made its
way into many honest souls. The Reformation has reached so far even
where the schism is not complete. Catholic priests profess some of the
new doctrines, at the same time that they remain attached to their
offices. Many bishops declare themselves partisans of the reformist
doctrines. The Protestant worship, however, is not yet openly conducted.
The mass of the clergy do not like to abandon the past; they cling to
their old traditions, and, if they have renounced certain abuses, they
yield only on a few points of little importance. The new ideas are
spreading, even in the country. . . . Statues representing the Virgin
and the saints are often broken, and these deeds are imputed to those who
have adopted the doctrines of Luther and of Calvin. A Notre-Dame de
Pitie, situated at the Hotel-Dieule-Comte, was found with its head
broken. This event excites to madness the Catholic population. The
persecutions continue." Many people emigrated for fear of the stake.
"From August, 1552, to the 6th of January, 1555," says the chronicler,
"Troyes loses in consequence of exile, probably voluntary, a certain
number of its best inhabitants," and he names thirteen families with the
style and title of "nobleman." He adds, "There is scarcely a month in
the year when there are not burned two or three heretics at Paris, Meaux,
and Troyes, and sometimes more than a dozen." Troyes contained, at that
time, says M. Boutiot, eighteen thousand two hundred and eighty-five
inhabitants, counting five persons to a household. [Histoire de la Ville
de Troyes, t. iii. pp. 381, 387, 398, 415, 431.] Many other provincial
towns offered the same spectacle.

During the long truce which succeeded the peace of Cambrai, from 1532 to
1536, it might have been thought for a while that the persecution in
France was going to be somewhat abated. Policy obliged Francis I. to
seek the support of the Protestants of Germany against Charles V.; he was
incessantly fluctuating between that policy and a strictly Catholic and
papal policy; by marrying his son Henry, on the 28th of October, 1533,
to Catherine de' Medici, niece of Pope Clement VII., he seemed to have
decided upon the latter course; but he had afterwards made a movement in
the contrary direction; Clement VII. had died on the 26th of September,
1524; Paul III. had succeeded him; and Francis I. again turned towards
the Protestants of Germany; he entered into relations with the most
moderate amongst their theologians, with Melancthon, Bucer, and Sturm;
there was some talk of conciliation, of a re-establishment of peace and
harmony in the church; nor did the king confine himself to speaking by
the mouth of diplomatists; he himself wrote to Melancthon, on the 23d of
June, 1535, "It is some time now since I heard from William du Bellay, my
chamberlain and councillor, of the zeal with which you are exerting
yourself to appease the altercations to which Christian doctrine has
given rise. I now hear that you are very much disposed to come to us for
to confer with some of our most distinguished doctors as to the means of
re-establishing in the church that sublime harmony which is the chief of
all my desires. Come, then, either in an official capacity or in your
own private character; you will be most welcome to me, and you shall in
either case have proof of the interest I feel in the glory of your own
Germany and in the peace of the world." Melancthon had, indeed, shown an
inclination to repair to Paris; he had written, on the 9th of May, 1535,
to his friend Sturm, "I will not let myself be stopped by domestic ties
or by fear of danger. There is no human greatness before which I do not
prefer Christ's glory. One thought alone gives me pause: I doubt my
ability to do any good; I fear it is impossible to obtain from the king
that which I regard as necessary for the Lord's glory and for the peace
of France. You know that kingdom. Pronounce your judgment. If you
think that I shall do well to undertake the journey, I am off."

Melancthon had good reason to doubt whether success, such as he deemed
necessary, were possible. Whilst Francis I. was making all these
advances to the Protestants of Germany, he was continuing to proceed
against their brother Christians in France more bitterly and more
flagrantly than ever. Two recent events had very much envenomed party
feeling between the French Catholics and Reformers, and the king had been
very much compromised in this fresh crisis of the struggle. In 1534 the
lawless insurrection of Anabaptists and peasants, which had so violently
agitated Germany in 1525, began again; the insurgents seized the town of
Munster, in Westphalia, and there renewed their attempt to found the
kingdom of Israel, with community of property and polygamy. As in 1525,
they were promptly crushed by the German princes, Catholic and
Protestant, of the neighborhood; but their rising had created some
reverberation in France, and the Reformers had been suspected of an
inclination to take part in it. "It is said," wrote the Chancellor de
Granvelle, in January, 1535, to the ambassador of France at the court of
Charles V., "that the number of the strayed from the faith in France, and
the danger of utter confusion, are very great; the enterprise of the said
strayed, about which you write to me, to set fire to the churches and
pillage the Louvre, proves that they were in great force. Please God the
king may be able to apply a remedy!" [_Papiers d'Etat du Cardinal de
Granvelle,_ t. ii. p. 283.] The accusation was devoid of all foundation;
but nothing is absurd in the eyes of party hatred and suspicion, and an
incident, almost contemporaneous with the fresh insurrection of the
Anabaptists, occurred to increase the king's wrath, as well as the
people's, against the Reformers, and to rekindle the flames of
persecution. On the 24th of October, 1534, placards against the mass,
transubstantiation, and the regimen as well as the faith of the Catholic
church, were posted up during the night in the thoroughfares of Paris,
and at Blois on the very chamberdoor of Francis I., whose first glance,
when he got up in the morning, they caught. They had been printed at
Neufchatel, in Switzerland, where the influence of the refugee William
Farel was strong, and their coarse violence of expression could not fail
to excite the indignation of even the most indifferent Catholics. In
their fanatical blindness factions say only what satisfies their own
passions, without considering moral propriety or the effect which will be
produced by their words upon the feelings of their adversaries, who also
have creeds and passions. Francis I., equally shocked and irritated,
determined to give the Catholic faith striking satisfaction, and
Protestant audacity a bloody lesson. On the 21st of January, 1535, a
solemn procession issued from the church of St. Germain l'Auxerrois.
John du Bellay, Bishop of Paris, held in his hands the holy sacrament,
surrounded by the three sons of France and the Duke de Vendome, who were
the dais-bearers; and the king walked behind, with a taper in his hand,
between the Cardinals of Bourbon and Lorraine. At each halting-place he
handed his taper to the Cardinal of Lorraine, folded his hands, and
humbly prostrating himself, implored divine mercy for his people. After
the procession was over, the king, who had remained to dine with John du
Bellay, assembled in the great hall of the palace the heads of all the
companies, and taking his place on a sort of throne which had been
prepared for him, said, "Whatever progress may have already been made by
the pest, the remedy is still easy if each of you, devoured by the same
zeal as I, will forget the claims of flesh and blood to remember only
that he is a Christian, and will denounce without pity all those whom he
knows to be partisans or favorers of heresy. As for me, if my arm were
gangrened, I would have it cut off though it were my right arm, and if my
sons who hear me were such wretches as to fall into such execrable and
accursed opinions, I would be willing to give them up to make a sacrifice
of them to God." On the 29th of January there was published an edict
which sentenced concealers of heretics, "Lutheran or other," to the same
penalties as the said heretics, unless they denounced their guests to
justice; and a quarter of the property to be confiscated was secured to
the denouncers. Fifteen days previously Francis I. had signed a decree
still stranger for a king who was a protector of letters; he ordered the
abolition of printing, that means of propagating heresies, and "forbade
the printing of any book on pain of the halter." Six weeks later,
however, on the 26th of February, he became ashamed of such an act, and
suspended its execution indefinitely. Punishments in abundance preceded
and accompanied the edicts; from the 10th of November, 1534, to the 3d of
May, 1535, twenty-four heretics were burned alive in Paris, without
counting many who were sentenced to less cruel penalties. The procedure
had been made more rapid; the police commissioner of the Chatelet dealt
with cases summarily, and the Parliament confirmed. The victims had at
first been strangled before they were burned; they were now burned alive,
after the fashion of the Spanish Inquisition. The convicts were
suspended by iron chains to beams which alternately "hoisted" and
"lowered" them over the flames until the executioner cut the cord to let
the sufferer fall. The evidence was burned together with the convicts;
it was undesirable that the Reformers should be able to make a certified
collection of their martyrs' acts and deeds.

After a detailed and almost complacent enumeration of all these
executions, we find in the _Journal d'un Bourgeois de Paris_ this
paragraph: "The rumor was, in June, 1535, that Pope Paul III., being
advertised of the execrable and horrible justice which the king was doing
upon the Lutherans in his kingdom, did send word to the King of France
that he was advertised of it, and that he was quite willing to suppose
that he did it in good part, as he still made use of the beautiful title
he had to be called the Most Christian king; nevertheless, God the
Creator, when he was in this world, made more use of mercy than of
rigorous justice, which should never be used rigorously; and that it was
a cruel death to burn a man alive because he might have to some extent
renounced the faith and the law. Wherefore the pope did pray and request
the king, by his letters, to be pleased to mitigate the fury and rigor of
his justice by granting grace and pardon. The king, wishing to follow
the pope's wishes, according as he had sent him word by his letters
patent, sent word to the court of Parliament not to proceed any more with
such rigor as they had shown heretofore. For this cause were there no
more rigorous proceedings on the part of justice." [_Journal d'un
Bourgeois de Paris,_ p. 456.]

Search has been made to discover whether the assertion of the Bourgeois
de Paris has any foundation, whether Pope Paul III. really did write in
June, 1535, the letter attributed to him, and whether its effect was,
that the king wrote to Parliament not to proceed against the Reformers
"with such rigor." No proof has, however, been obtained as to the
authenticity of the pope's letter, and in any case it was not very
effectual, for the same _Bourgeois de Paris_ reports, that in September,
1535, three months after that, according to him, it was written: Two
fellows, makers of silk ribbons and tissues, were burned all alive, one
in the Place Maubert and the other in St. John's cemetery, as Lutherans,
which they were. They had handed over to their host at Paris some
Lutheran books to take care of, saying, 'Keep this book for us while we
go into the city, and show it to nobody.' When they were gone, this host
was not able to refrain from showing this book to a certain priest, the
which, after having looked at it, said incontinently, 'This is a very
wicked book, and proscribed.' Then the said host went to the
commissioner of police to reveal that he had such and such a book of such
an one, the which sent forth with to the house of the said host to take
and carry off the said two fellows to the Chatelet. Being questioned,
they confessed the state of the case. Whereupon, by sentence of the said
commissioner, confirmed by decree, "they made honorable amends in front of
the church of Notre-Dame de Paris, had their tongues cut out, and were
burned all alive and with unshaken obstinacy." Proceedings and
executions, then, did not cease, even in the case of the most humble
class of Reformers, and at the very moment when Francis I. was exerting
himself to win over the Protestants of Germany with the cry of
conciliation and re-establishment of harmony in the church. Melancthon,
Bucer, and Luther himself had allowed themselves to be tempted by the
prospect; but the German politicians, princes, and counsellors were more
clear-sighted. "We at Augsburg," wrote Sailer, deputy from that city,
"know the King of France well; he cares very little for religion, or even
for morality. He plays the hypocrite with the pope, and gives the
Germans the smooth side of his tongue, thinking of nothing but how to
cheat them of the hopes he gives them. His only aim is to crush the
emperor." The attempt of Francis I. thus failed, first in Germany, and
then at Paris also, where the Sorbonne was not disposed, any more than
the German politicians were, to listen to any talk about a specious
conciliation; and the persecution resumed its course in France, paving
the way for civil war.

The last and most atrocious act of persecution in the reign of Francis I.
was directed not against isolated individuals, but against a whole
population, harried, despoiled, and banished or exterminated on account
of heresy. About the year 1525 small churches of Reformers began to
assume organization between the Alps and the Jura. Something was there
said about Christians who belonged to the Reformation without having ever
been reformed. It was said that, in certain valleys of the Piedmontese
Alps and Dauphiny and in certain quarters of Provence, there were to be
found believers who for several centuries had recognized no authority
save that of the Holy Scriptures. Some called them Vaudians
(Waldensians), others poor of Lyons, others Lutherans. The rumor of the
Reformation was heard in their valleys, and created a lively emotion
amongst them. One of them determined to go and see what this reformation
was; and he returned to his valleys with good news and with pious books.
Regular relations were from that time established between the Reformers
of Switzerland, France, and Germany, and the Christian shepherds of these
mountains. Visits were exchanged Farel and Saunier went amongst the
Vaudians and conversed with them about their common faith, common in
spite of certain differences. Rustic conferences, composed of the
principal landholders, barbas or pastors, and simple members of the
faithful, met more than once in the open air under the pines of their
mountains. The Vaudians of Provence had been settled there since the end
of the thirteenth century; and in the course of the fourteenth other
Vaudians from Dauphiny, and even from Calabria, had come thither to join
them. "Their barbas," says a contemporary monk [_Histoire des Guerres
excitees dans le Comtat venaissin par les Calvinistes du seizieme siecle,
par le pere Justin, capucin_], "used to preside at their exercises of
religion, which were performed in secret. As they were observed to be
quiet and circumspect, as they faithfully paid taxes, tithe, and
seigniorial dues, and as they were besides very laborious, they were not
troubled on the score of their habits and doctrines." Their new friends
from Switzerland and Germany reproached them with concealment of their
faith and worship. As soon as they had overtly separated from the Roman
church, persecution began; Francis I. checked its first excesses, but it
soon began again; the episcopal prisons were filled with Vaudians, who
bristled at the summons to abjure; and on the 29th of March, 1535,
thirteen of them were sentenced to be burned alive. Pope Paul III.
complained to Francis I. of their obstinacy; the king wrote about it to
the Parliament of Aix; the Parliament ordered the lords of the lands
occupied by the Vaudians to force their vassals to abjure or leave the
country. When cited to appear before the court of Aix to explain the
grounds of their refusal, several declined. The court sentenced them, in
default, to be burned alive. Their friends took up arms and went to
deliver the prisoners. Merindol was understood to be the principal
retreat of the sectaries; by decree of November 18, 1540, the Parliament
ordered that "the houses should be demolished and razed to the ground,
the cellars filled up, the woods cut down, the trees of the gardens torn
up, and that the lands of those who had lived in Merindol should not be
able to be farmed out to anybody whatever of their family or name." In
the region of Parliament itself complaints were raised against such
hardships; the premier president, Barthelemy Chassaneuz, was touched, and
adjourned the execution of the decree. The king commissioned William du
Bellay to examine into the facts; the report of Du Bellay was favorable
to the Vaudians, as honest, laborious, and charitable farmers,
discharging all the duties of civil life; but, at the same time, he
acknowledged that they did not conform to the laws of the church, that
they did not recognize the pope or the bishops, that they prayed in the
vulgar tongue, and that they were in the habit of choosing certain
persons from amongst themselves to be their pastors. On this report,
Francis I., by a declaration of February 18, 1541, pardoned the Vaudians
for all that had been irregular in their conduct, on condition that
within the space of three months they should abjure their errors; and he
ordered the Parliament to send to Aix deputies from their towns, burghs,
and villages, to make abjuration in the name of all, at the same time
authorizing the Parliament to punish, according to the ordinances, those
who should refuse to obey, and to make use, if need were, of the services
of the soldiery. Thus persecuted and condemned for their mere faith,
undemonstrative as it was, the Vaudians confined themselves to asking
that it might be examined and its errors pointed out. Those of Merindol
and those of Cabriere in the countship of Venasque drew up their
profession of faith and sent it to the king and to two bishops of the
province, Cardinal Sadolet, Bishop of Carpentras, and John Durandi,
Bishop of Cavaillon, whose equity and moderation inspired them with some
confidence. Cardinal Sadolet did not belie their expectation; he
received them with kindness, discussed with them their profession of
faith, pointed out to them divers articles which might be remodelled
without disavowing the basis of their creed, and assured them that it
would always be against his sentiments to have them treated as enemies.
"I am astonished," he wrote to the pope, "that these folks should be
persecuted when the Jews are spared." The Bishop of Cavaillon testified
towards them a favor less unalloyed: "I was quite sure," said he, "that
there was not so much mischief amongst you as was supposed; however, to
calm men's minds, it is necessary that you should submit to a certain
appearance of abjuration." "But what would you have us abjure, if we are
already within the truth?" "It is but a simple formality that I demand
of you; I do not require in your case notary or signature; if you are
unwilling to assent to this abjuration, none can argue you into it." "We
are plain men, monseigneur; we are unwilling to do anything to which we
cannot assent;" and they persisted in their refusal to abjure. Cardinal
Sadolet was summoned to Rome, and the premier president Chassaneuz died
suddenly. His successor, John de Maynier, Baron of Oppede, was a violent
man, passionately bigoted, and moreover, it is said, a personal enemy of
the Vaudians of Cabrieres, on which his estates bordered; he recommenced
against them a persecution which was at first covert; they had found
protectors in Switzerland and in Germany; at the instance of Calvin, the
Swiss Protestant cantons and the German princes assembled at Smalkalden
wrote to Francis I. in their favor; it was to his interest to humor the
Protestants of Germany, and that fact turned out to the advantage of the
Vaudians of Provence; on the 14th of June, 1544, he issued an edict
which, suspending the proceedings commenced against them, restored to
them their privileges, and ordered such of them as were prisoners to be
set at large; "and as the attorney-general of Provence," it goes on to
say, "is related to the Archbishop of Aix, their sworn enemy, there will
be sent in his place a counsellor of the court for to inform me of their
innocence." But some months later the peace of Crespy was made; and
Francis I. felt no longer the same solicitude about humoring the
Protestants of Switzerland and Germany. Baron d'Oppede zealously resumed
his work against the Vaudians; he accused them of intriguing; with
foreign Reformers, and of designing to raise fifteen thousand men to
surprise Marseilles and form Provence into a republic. On the 1st of
January, 1545, Francis I. signed, without reading it they say, the
revocation of his edict of 1544, and ordered execution of the decree
issued by the Parliament of Aix, dated November 18, 1540, on the subject
of the Vaudians, "notwithstanding all letters of grace posterior to that
epoch, and ordered the governor of the province to give, for that
purpose, the assistance of the strong hand to justice." The duty of
assisting justice was assigned to Baron d'Oppede; and from the 7th to the
25th of April, 1545, two columns of troops, under the orders,
respectively, of Oppede himself and Baron de la Garde, ravaged with fire
and sword the three districts of Merindol, Cabrieres, and La Coste, which
were peopled chiefly by Vaudians.

[Illustration: Massacre of the Vaudians----218]

We shrink from describing in detail all the horrors committed against a
population without any means of self-defence by troops giving free rein
to their brutal passions and gratifying the hateful passions of their
leaders. In the end three small towns and twenty-two villages were
completely sacked; seven hundred and sixty-three houses, eighty-nine
cattle-sheds, and thirty-one barns burned; three thousand persons
massacred; two hundred and fifty-five executed subsequently to the
massacre, after a mockery of trial; six or seven hundred sent to the
galleys; many children sold for slaves; and the victors, on retiring,
left behind them a double ordinance, from the Parliament of Aix and the
vice-legate of Avignon, dated the 24th of April, 1545, forbidding "that
any one, on pain of death, should dare to give asylum, aid, or succor, or
furnish money or victuals, to any Vaudian or heretic."

It is said that Francis I., when near his end, repented of this odious
extermination of a small population, which, with his usual fickleness and
carelessness, he had at one time protected, and at another abandoned to
its enemies. Amongst his last words to his son Henry II. was an
exhortation to cause an inquiry to be made into the iniquities committed
by the Parliament of Aix in this instance. It will be seen, at the
opening of Henry II.'s reign, what was the result of this exhortation of
his father's.

Calvin was lately mentioned as having pleaded the cause of the Vaudians,
in 1544, amongst the Protestants of Switzerland and Germany. It was from
Geneva, where he had lived and been the dominant spirit for many years,
that the French Reformer had exercised such influence over the chiefs of
the German Reformation in favor of that small population whose creed and
morals had anticipated by several centuries the Reformation in the
sixteenth century. He was born, in 1509 at Noyon in Picardy, was brought
up in the bosom of the Catholic church, and held a cure in 1527 at
Pont-l'Eveque, where he preached several times, "joyous and almost
proud," as he said himself, "that a single dissertation had brought me
a cure." In 1534, study, meditation on the Gospels, discussion of the
religious and moral questions raised on every side, and the free
atmosphere of the new spirit that was abroad, changed his convictions and
his resolves; he abandoned the career of the law as well as that of the
established church, resigned his cure at Pont-l'Eveque, and devoted
himself entirely to the work of the nascent and much opposed Reformation.
Having a mind that was judicious and free from illusion in the very heat
of passion, he soon saw to what an extent the success of the Reformation
in France was difficult and problematical; in 1535, impressed by the
obstacles it met with even more than by the dangers it evoked, he
resolved to leave his country and go else whither in search of security,
liberty, and the possibility of defending a cause which became the dearer
to him in proportion as it was the more persecuted. He had too much
sagacity not to perceive that he was rapidly exhausting his various
places of asylum: Queen Marguerite of Navarre was unwilling to try too
far the temper of the king her brother; Canon Louis du Tillet was a
little fearful lest his splendid library should be somewhat endangered
through the use made of it by his guest, who went about, arguing or
preaching, in the vicinity of Angouleme; the queen's almoner, Gerard
Roussel, considered that Calvin was going too far, and grew apprehensive
lest, if the Reformation should completely succeed, it might suppress the
bishopric of Oleron which he desired, and which, indeed, he at a later
period obtained. Lefevre of Etaples, who was the most of all in sympathy
with Calvin, was seventy-nine years old, and had made up his mind to pass
his last days in peace. Calvin quitted Angouleme and Nerac, and went to
pass some time at Poitiers, where the friends of the Reformation,
assembling round him and hanging upon his words, for the first time
celebrated the Lord's Supper in a grotto close to the town, which still
goes by the name of Calvin's Grotto. Being soon obliged to leave
Poitiers, Calvin went to Orleans, then secretly to Paris, then to Noyon
to see his family once more, and set out at last for Strasbourg, already
one of the strongholds of the Reformation, where he had friends, amongst
others the learned Bucer, with whom he had kept up a constant
correspondence. He arrived there at the beginning of the year 1535; but
it was not at Strasbourg that he took up his quarters; he preferred Bale,
where also there was a reunion of men of letters, scholars, and
celebrated printers, Erasmus, Simon Grynee (Grymeus), and the Frobens,
and where Calvin calculated upon finding the leisure and aid he required
for executing the great work he had been for some time contemplating--his
_Institution de la Religion chretienne_ (Christian Institutes). This
would not be the place, and we have no intention, to sum up the religious
doctrines of that book; we might challenge many of them as contrary to
the true meaning and moral tendency of Christianity; but we desire to set
in a clear light their distinctive and original characteristics, which
are those of Calvin himself in the midst of his age. These
characteristics are revealed in the preface and even in the dedication of
the book. It is to Francis I., the persecutor of the French Reformers,
during one of the most cruel stages of the persecution, and at the very
moment when he had just left his own country in order that he may live in
security and speak with freedom, that Calvin dedicates his work. "Do not
imagine," he says to the king, "that I am attempting here my own special
defence in order to obtain permission to return to the country of my
birth, from which, although I feel for it such human affection as is my
bounden duty, yet, as things are now, I do not suffer any great anguish
at being cut off. But I am taking up the cause of all the faithful, and
even that of Christ, which is in these days so mangled and down-trodden
in your kingdom that it seems to be in a desperate plight. And this has
no doubt come to pass rather through the tyranny of certain Pharisees
than of your own will." Calvin was at the same time the boldest and the
least revolutionary amongst the innovators of the sixteenth century; bold
as a Christian thinker, but full of deference and consideration towards
authority, even when he was flagrantly withdrawing himself from it. The
idea of his book was at first exclusively religious, and intended for the
bulk of the French Reformers; but at the moment when Calvin is about to
publish it, prudence and policy recur to his mind, and it is to the King
of France that he addresses himself; it is the authority of the royal
persecutor that he invokes; it is the reason of Francis I. that he
attempts to convince. He acts like a respectful and faithful subject,
as well as an independent and innovating Christian.

[Illustration: Calvin----222]

After having wandered for some time longer in Switzerland, Germany, and
Italy, Calvin in 1536 arrived at Geneva. It was at this time a small
independent republic, which had bravely emancipated itself from the
domination of the Dukes of Savoy, and in which the Reformation had
acquired strength, but it had not yet got rid of that lawless and
precarious condition which is the first phase presented by revolutionary
innovations after victory; neither the political nor the religious
community at Geneva had yet received any organization which could be
called regular or regarded as definitive; the two communities had not yet
understood and regulated their reciprocal positions and the terms on
which they were to live together. All was ferment and haze in this
little nascent state, as regarded the mental as well as the actual
condition, when Calvin arrived there; his name was already almost famous
there; he had given proofs of devotion to the cause of the Reformation;
his book on the _Institution de la Religion chretienne_ had just
appeared; a great instinct for organization was strikingly evinced in it,
at the same time that the dedication to Francis I. testified to a serious
regard for the principle of authority and for its rights, as well as the
part it ought to perform in human communities. Calvin had many friends
in Switzerland, and they urged him to settle at once at Geneva, and to
labor at establishing there Christian order in the Reformed church
simultaneously with its independence and its religious liberties in its
relations with the civil estate. At first Calvin hesitated and resisted;
he was one of those who take strict account, beforehand, of the
difficulties to be encountered and the trials to be undergone in any
enterprise for the success of which they are most desirous, and who
inwardly shudder at the prospect of such a burden. But the Christian's
duty, the Reformer's zeal, the lively apprehension of the perils which
were being incurred by the cause of the Reformation, and the nobly
ambitious hope of delivering it,--these sentiments united prevailed over
the first misgivings of that great and mighty soul, and Calvin devoted
himself in Geneva to a work which, from 1536 to 1564, in a course of
violent struggles and painful vicissitudes, was to absorb and rapidly
consume his whole life.

From that time forth a principle, we should rather say a passion, held
sway in Calvin's heart, and was his guiding star in the permanent
organization of the church which he founded, as well as in his personal
conduct during his life. That principle is the profound distinction
between the religious and the civil community. Distinction we say, and
by no means separation; Calvin, on the contrary, desired alliance between
the two communities and the two powers, but each to be independent in its
own domain, combining their action, showing mutual respect and lending
mutual support. To this alliance he looked for the reformation and moral
discipline of the members of the church placed under the authority of its
own special religious officers and upheld by the indirect influence of
the civil power.

In this principle and this fundamental labor of Calvin's there were two
new and bold reforms attempted in the very heart of the great Reformation
in Europe, and over and above the work of its first promoters. Henry
VIII., on removing the church of England from the domination of the
papacy, had proclaimed himself its head, and the church of England had
accepted this royal supremacy. Zwingle, when he provoked in German
Switzerland the rupture with the church of Rome, had approved of the
arrangement that the sovereign authority in matters of religion should
pass into the hands of the civil powers. Luther himself, at the same
time that he reserved to the new German church a certain measure of
spontaneity and liberty, had placed it under the protection and
preponderance of laic sovereigns. In this great question as to the
relations between church and state Calvin desired and did more than his
predecessors; even before he played any considerable part in the European
Reformation, as soon as he heard of Henry VIII.'s religious supremacy in
England, he had strongly declared against such a regimen; with an
equitable spirit rare in his day, and in spite of his contest with the
church of Rome, he was struck with the strength and dignity conferred
upon that church by its having an existence distinct from the civil
community, and by the independence of its head. When he himself became a
great Reformer, he did not wish the Reformed church to lose this grand
characteristic; whilst proclaiming it evangelical, he demanded for it in
matters of faith and discipline the independence and special authority
which had been possessed by the primitive church; and in spite of the
resistance often shown to him by the civil magistrates, in spite of the
concessions he was sometimes obliged to make to them, he firmly
maintained this principle, and he secured to the Reformed church
of Geneva, in purely religious questions and affairs, the right of
self-government, according to the faith and the law as they stand
written in the Holy Books.

He at the same time put in force in this church a second principle of no
less importance. In the course of ages, and by a series of successive
modifications, some natural and others factitious and illegitimate, the
Christian church had become, so to speak, cut in two, into the
ecclesiastical community and the religious community, the clergy and the
worshippers. In the Catholic church the power was entirely in the hands
of the clergy; the ecclesiastical body completely governed the religious
body; and, whilst the latter was advancing more and more in laic ideas
and sentiments, the former remained even more and more distinct and
sovereign. The German and English Reformations had already modified this
state of things, and given to the lay community a certain portion of
influence in religious questions and affairs. Calvin provided for the
matter in a still more direct and effectual fashion, not only as regarded
affairs in general, but even the choice of pastors; he gave admission to
laymen, in larger number too than that of the ecclesiastics, into the
consistories and synods, the governing authorities in the Reformed
church. He thus did away with the separation between the clergy and the
worshippers; he called upon them to deliberate and act together; and he
secured to the religious community, in its entirety, their share of
authority in the affairs and fortunes of the church.

Thus began at Geneva, under the inspiration and through the influence of
Calvin, that ecclesiastical organization which, developing, completing,
and modifying itself according to the requirements of places and times,
became, under the name of Presbyterian regimen, the regimen of the
Reformed churches in France, French Switzerland, Holland, Scotland, and
amongst a considerable portion of the Protestant population in England
and in the United States of America--a regimen evangelical in origin and
character, republican in some of its maxims and institutions, but no
stranger to the principle of authority, one which admitted of discipline
and was calculated for duration, and which has kept for three centuries,
amongst the most civilized people, a large measure of Christian faith,
ecclesiastical order, and civil liberty. It was a French refugee who
instituted, in a foreign city, this regimen, and left it as a legacy to
the French Reformation and to the numerous Christian communities who were
eager to adopt it. It is on this ground that Calvin takes a place in the
history of France, and has a fair right to be counted amongst the eminent
men who have carried to a distance the influence, the language, and the
fame of the country in the bosom of which it was not permitted them to
live and labor. In 1547, when the death of Francis I. was at hand, that
ecclesiastical organization of Protestantism which Calvin had instituted
at Geneva was not even begun in France. The French Protestants were as
yet but isolated and scattered individuals, without any bond of generally
accepted and practised faith or discipline, and without any eminent and
recognized heads. The Reformation pursued its course; but a Reformed
church did not exist. And this confused mass of Reformers and Reformed
had to face an old, a powerful, and a strongly constituted church, which
looked upon the innovators as rebels over whom it had every right as much
as against them it had every arm. In each of the two camps prevailed
errors of enormous magnitude, and fruitful of fatal consequences;
Catholics and Protestants both believed themselves to be in exclusive
possession of the truth, of all religious truth, and to have the right of
imposing it by force upon their adversaries the moment they had the
power. Both were strangers to any respect for human conscience, human
thought, and human liberty. Those who had clamored for this on their own
account when they were weak had no regard for it in respect of others
when they felt themselves to be strong. On the side of the Protestants
the ferment was at full heat, but as yet vague and unsettled; on the part
of the Catholics the persecution was unscrupulous and unlimited. Such was
the position and such the state of feeling in which Francis I., at his
death on the 31st of March, 1547, left the two parties that had already
been at grips during his reign. He had not succeeded either in
reconciling them or in securing the triumph of that which had his favor
and the defeat of that which he would have liked to vanquish. That was,
in nearly all that he undertook, his fate; he lacked the spirit of
sequence and steady persistence, and his merits as well as his defects
almost equally urged him on to rashly attempt that which he only
incompletely executed. He was neither prudent nor persevering, and he
may be almost said to have laid himself out to please everybody rather
than to succeed in one and the same great purpose. A short time before
his death a Venetian ambassador who had resided a long while at his
court, Marino Cavalli, drew up and forwarded to the Senate of Venice a
portrait of him so observantly sketched and so full of truth that it must
be placed here side by side with the more exacting and more severe
judgment already pronounced here touching this brilliant but by no means
far-sighted or effective king.

"The king is now fifty years of age; his aspect is in every respect
kingly, insomuch that, without ever having seen his face or his portrait,
any one, on merely looking at him, would say at once: 'That is the king.'
All his movements are so noble and majestic that no prince could equal
them. His constitution is robust, in spite of the excessive fatigue he
has constantly undergone and still undergoes in so many expeditions and
travels. He eats and drinks a great deal, sleeps still better, and, what
is more, dreams of nothing but leading a jolly life. He is rather fond
of being an exquisite in his dress, which is slashed and laced, and rich
with jewelry and precious stones; even his doublets are daintily worked
and of golden tissue; his shirt is very fine, and it shows through an
opening in the doublet, according to the fashion of France. This
delicate and dainty way of living contributes to his health. In
proportion as the king bears bodily fatigue well, and endures it without
bending beneath the burden, in the same proportion do mental cares weigh
heavily upon him, and he shifts them almost entirely on to Cardinal de
Tournon and Admiral Annebault. He takes no resolve, he makes no reply,
without having had their advice; and if ever, which is very rare, an
answer happens to be given or a concession made without having received
the approval of these two advisers, he revokes it or modifies it. But in
what concerns the great affairs of state, peace or war, his Majesty,
docile as he is in everything else, will have the rest obedient to his
wishes. In that case there is nobody at court, whatever authority he may
possess, who dare gainsay his Majesty. This prince has a very sound
judgment and a great deal of information; there is no sort of thing, or
study or art, about which he cannot converse very much to the point. It
is true that, when people see how, in spite of his knowledge and his fine
talk, all his warlike enterprises have turned out ill, they say that all
his wisdom lies on his lips, and not in his mind. But I think that the
calamities of this king come from lack of men capable of properly
carrying out his designs. As for him, he will never have anything to do
with the execution, or even with the superintendence of it in any way; it
seems to him quite enough to know his own part, which is to command and
to supply plans. Accordingly, that which might be wished for in him is
a little more care and patience, not by any means more experience and
knowledge. His Majesty readily pardons offences; and he becomes heartily
reconciled with those whom he has offended." [_Relations des
Ambassadeurs venitiens sur les Affaires de France au seizieme siecle, in
the Documents inedits sur l'Histoire de France,_ translated by M.
Tommaseo, t. i. pp. 279-283.]

It is said that at the close of his reign Francis I., in spite of all the
resources of his mind and all his easy-going qualities, was much
depressed, and that he died in sadness and disquietude as to the future.
One may be inclined to think that, in his egotism, he was more sad on his
own account than disquieted on that of his successors and of France.
However that may be, he was assuredly far from foreseeing the terrible
civil war which began after him, and the crimes, as well as disasters,
which it caused. None of his more intimate circle was any longer in a
position to excite his solicitude: his mother, Louise of Savoy, had died
sixteen years before him (September 22, 1531); his most able and most
wicked adviser, Chancellor Duprat, twelve years (July 29, 1535). His
sister Marguerite survived him two years (she died December 21, 1549,)
"disgusted with everything," say the historians, and "weary of life,"
said she herself:--

"No father now have I, no mother,
Sister or brother.
On God alone I now rely,
Who ruleth over earth and sky.
O world, I say good by to you;
To relatives and friendly ties,
To honors and to wealth, adieu;
I hold them all for enemies."

And yet Marguerite was loath to leave life. She had always been troubled
at the idea of death; when she was spoken to about eternal life, she
would shake her head sometimes, saying, "All that is true; but we remain
a mighty long while dead underground before arriving there." When she
was told that her end was near, she "considered that a very bitter word,"
saying that "she was not so old but that she might still live some
years." She had been the most generous, the most affectionate, and the
most lovable person in a family and a court which were both corrupt, and
of which she only too often acquiesced in the weaknesses and even vices,
though she always fought against their injustice and their cruelty. She
had the honor of being the grandmother of Henry IV.

CHAPTER XXXI.----HENRY II. (1547-1559.)

[Illustration: GALLERY HENRY II----230]

Henry II. had all the defects, and, with the exception of personal
bravery, not one amongst the brilliant and amiable qualities of the king
his father. Like Francis I., he was rash and reckless in his resolves
and enterprises, but without having the promptness, the fertility, and
the suppleness of mind which Francis I. displayed in getting out of the
awkward positions in which he had placed himself, and in stalling off or
mitigating the consequences of them. Henry was as cold and ungenial as
Francis had been gracious and able to please: and whilst Francis I., even
if he were a bad master to himself, was at any rate his own master, Henry
II. submitted without resistance, and probably without knowing it, to the
influence of the favorite who reigned in his house as well as in his
court, and of the advisers who were predominant in his government. Two
facts will suffice to set in a clear light, at the commencement of the
new reign, this regrettable analogy in the defects, and this profound
diversity in the mind, character, and conduct of the two kings.

Towards the close of 1542, a grievous aggravation of the tax upon salt,
called Babel, caused a violent insurrection in the town of Rochelle,
which was exempted, it was said, by its traditional privileges from that
impost. Not only was payment refused, but the commissioners were
maltreated and driven away. Francis I. considered the matter grave
enough to require his presence for its repression. He repaired to
Rochelle with a numerous body of lanzknechts. The terrified population
appeared to have determined upon submission, and, having assembled in a
mass at the town-hall, there awaited anxiously the king's arrival. On
the 1st of January, 1543, Francis I. entered the town in state,
surrounded by his escort. The people's advocate fell on his knees, and
appealed to the king's clemency in dealing with a revolt of which every
one repented. The king, who was seated on a wooden boarding, rose up.
"Speak we no more of revolt," said he; "I desire neither to destroy your
persons nor to seize your goods, as was lately done by the Emperor
Charles to the Ghentese, whereby his hands are stained with blood; I long
more for the hearts of my subjects than for their lives and their riches.
I will never at any time of my life think again of your offence, and I
pardon you without excepting a single thing. I desire that the keys of
your city and your arms be given back to you, and that you be completely
reinstated in your liberties and your privileges." The cheers of the
people responded to these words of the king. "I think I have won your
hearts," said the king on retiring; "and I assure you, on the honor of a
gentleman, that you have mine. I desire that you ring your bells, for
you are pardoned." The Rochellese were let off for a fine of two hundred
thousand francs, which the king gave to his keeper of the seals, Francis
de Montholon, whom he wished to compensate for his good service. The
keeper of the seals in his turn made a present of them to the town of
Rochelle to found a hospital. But the ordinances as to the salt-tax were
maintained in principle, and their extension led, some years afterwards,
to a rising of a more serious character, and very differently repressed.

In 1548, hardly a year after the accession of Henry II., and in the midst
of the rejoicings he had gone to be present at in the north of Italy, he
received news at Turin to the effect that in Guienne, Angoumois, and
Saintonge a violent and pretty general insurrection had broken out
against the salt-tax, which Francis I., shortly before his death, had made
heavier in these provinces. The local authorities in vain attempted to
repress the rising; the insurgent peasants scoured the country in strong
bodies, giving free rein not only to their desires, but also to their
revengeful feelings; the most atrocious excesses of which a mob is
capable were committed; the director-general of the gabel was massacred
cruelly; and two of his officers, at Angouleme, were strapped down stark
naked on a table, beaten to death, and had their bodies cast into the
river with the insulting remark, "Go, wicked gabellers, and salt the fish
of the Charente." The King of Navarre's lieutenant, being appealed to
for aid, summoned, but to no purpose, the Parliament of Bordeaux; he was
forced to take refuge in Chateau-Trompette, and was massacred by the
populace whilst he was trying to get out; the president of the
Parliament, a most worthy magistrate, and very much beloved, it is said,
by the people, only saved his own life by taking the oath prescribed by
the insurgents. "This news," says Vieilleville, in his contemporary
_Memoires,_ "grievously afflicted the king; and the Constable de
Montmorency represented to him that it was not the first time that these
people had been capricious, rebellious, and mutinous; for that in the
reign of his lord and father, the late king, the Rochellese and
surrounding districts had forgotten themselves in like manner. They
ought to be exterminated, and, in case of need, be replaced by a new
colony, that they might never return. The said sir constable offered to
take the matter in hand, and with ten companies of the old hands whom he
would raise in Piedmont, and as many lanzknechts, a thousand men-at-arms
all told, he promised to exact a full account, and satisfy his Majesty."

Montmorency was as good as his word. When he arrived with his troops in
Guienne, the people of Bordeaux, in a fit of terror, sent to Langon a
large boat, most magnificently fitted up, in which were chambers and
saloons emblazoned with the arms of the said sir constable, with three or
four deputies to present it to him, and beg him to embark upon it, and
drop down to their city. He repulsed them indignantly. "Away, away,"
said he, "with your boat and your keys; I will have nought to do with
them; I have others here with me which will make me other kind of opening
than yours. I will have you all hanged; I will teach you to rebel
against your king and murder his governor and his lieutenant." And he
did, in fact, enter Bordeaux on the 9th of October, 1548, by a breach
which he had opened in the walls, and, after having traversed the city
between two lines of soldiers and with his guns bearing on the suspected
points, he ordered the inhabitants to bring all their arms to the
citadel. Executions followed immediately after this moral as well as
material victory. "More than a hundred and forty persons were put to
death by various kinds of punishments," says Vieilleville; "and, by a
most equitable sentence, when the executioner had in his hands the three
insurgents who had beaten to death and thrown into the river the two
collectors of the Babel at Angouleme, he cast them all three into a fire
which was ready at the spot, and said to them aloud, in conformity with
the judgment against them, 'Go, rabid hounds, and grill the fish of the
Charente, which ye salted with the bodies of the officers of your king
and sovereign lord.' As to civil death (loss of civil rights)," adds
Vieilleville, "nearly all the inhabitants made honorable amends in open
street, on their knees, before the said my lords at the window, crying
mercy and asking pardon; and more than a hundred, because of their youth,
were simply whipped. Astounding fines and interdictions were laid as
well upon the body composing the court of Parliament as upon the
town-council and on a great number of private individuals. The very
bells were not exempt from experiencing the wrath and vengeance of the
prince, for not a single one remained throughout the whole city or in the
open country--to say nothing of the clocks, which were not spared either
--which was not broken up and confiscated to the king's service for his

The insurrection at Bordeaux against the gabel in 1548 was certainly more
serious than that of Rochelle in 1542; but it is also quite certain that
Francis I. would not have set about repressing it as Henry II. did; he
would have appeared there himself and risked his own person instead of
leaving the matter to the harshest of his lieutenants, and he would have
more skilfully intermingled generosity with force, and kind words with
acts of severity. And that is one of the secrets of governing. In 1549,
scarcely a year after the revolt at Bordeaux, Henry II., then at Amiens,
granted to deputies from Poitou, Rochelle, the district of Aunis,
Limousin, Perigord, and Saintonge, almost complete abolition of the Babel
in Guienne, which paid the king, by way of compensation, two hundred
thousand crowns of gold for the expenses of war or the redemption of
certain alienated domains. We may admit that on the day after the revolt
the arbitrary and bloody proceedings of the Constable de Montmorency must
have produced upon the insurgents of Bordeaux the effect of a salutary
fright; but we may doubt whether so cruel a repression was absolutely
indispensable in 1548, when in 1549 the concession demanded in the former
year was to be recognized as necessary.

According to De Thou and the majority of historians, it was on the
occasion of the insurrection in Guienne against the Babel that Stephen
de la Boetie, the young and intimate friend of Montaigne, wrote his
celebrated _Discours de la Servitude voluntaire, ou le Contre-un,_ an
eloquent declamation against monarchy. But the testimony of Montaigne
himself upsets the theory of this coincidence; written in his own hand
upon a manuscript, partly autograph, of the treatise by De la Boetie, is
a statement that it was the work "of a lad of sixteen." La Boetie was
born at Sarlat on the 1st of November, 1530, and was, therefore, sixteen
in 1546, two years before the insurrection at Bordeaux. The _Contre-un,_
besides, is a work of pure theory and general philosophy, containing no
allusion at all to the events of the day, to the sedition in Guienne no
more than to any other. This little work owed to Montaigne's
affectionate regard for its author a great portion of its celebrity.
Published for the first time, in 1578, in the _Memoires de l'Etat de
France,_ after having up to that time run its course without any author's
name, any title, or any date, it was soon afterwards so completely
forgotten that when, in the middle of the seventeenth century, Cardinal
de Richelieu for the first time heard it mentioned, and "sent one of his
gentlemen over the whole street of Saint-Jacques to inquire for _la
Servitude volontaire,_ all the publishers said, 'We don't know what it
is.' The son of one of them recollected something about it, and said to
the cardinal's gentleman, 'Sir, there is a book-fancier who has what you
seek, but with no covers to it, and he wants five pistoles for it.'
'Very well,' said the gentleman;" and the Cardinal do Richelieu paid
fifty francs for the pleasure of reading the little political pamphlet by
"a lad of sixteen," which probably made very little impression upon him,
but which, thanks to the elegance and vivacity of its style, and the
affectionate admiration of the greatest independent thinker of the
sixteenth century, has found a place in the history of French literature.
[_Memoires de Tallemant des Reaux,_ t. i. p. 395.]

[Illustration: Anne de Montmorency----235]

History must do justice even to the men whose brutal violence she
stigmatizes and reproves. In the case of Anne do Montmorency it often
took the form of threats intended to save him from the necessity of acts.
When he came upon a scene of any great confusion and disorder, "Go hang
me such an one," he would say; "tie yon fellow to that tree; despatch
this fellow with pikes and arquebuses, this very minute, right before my
eyes; cut me in pieces all those rascals who chose to hold such a
clock-case as this against the king; burn me yonder village; light me up
a blaze everywhere, for a quarter of a mile all round." The same man
paid the greatest attention to the discipline and good condition of his
troops, in order to save the populations from their requisitions and
excesses. "On the 20th of November, 1549, he obtained and published at
Paris," says De Thou, "a proclamation from the king doubling the pay of
the men-at-arms, arquebusiers and light-horse, and forbidding them at the
same time, on pain of death, to take anything without paying for it. A
bad habit had introduced itself amongst the troops, whether they were
going on service or returning, whether they were in the field or in
winter quarters, of keeping themselves at the expense of those amongst
whom they lived. Thence proceeded an infinity of irregularities and
losses in the towns and in the country, wherein the people had to suffer
at the hands of an insolent soldiery the same vexatious as if it had been
an enemy's country. Not only was a stop put to such excesses, but care
was further taken that the people should not be oppressed under pretext
of recruitments which had to be carried out." [_Histoire de J. A. de
Thou,_ t. i. p. 367.] A nephew of the Constable de Montmorency, a young
man of twenty-three, who at a later period became Admiral de Coligny, was
ordered to see to the execution of these protective measures, and he drew
up, between 1550 and 1552, at first for his own regiment of foot, and
afterwards as colonel-general of this army, rules of military discipline
which remained for a long while in force.

There was war in the atmosphere. The king and his advisers, the court
and the people, had their minds almost equally full of it, some in sheer
dread, and others with an eye to preparation. The reign of Francis I.
had ended mournfully; the peace of Crespy had hurt the feelings both of
royalty and of the nation; Henry, now king, had, as dauphin, felt called
upon to disavow it. It had left England in possession of Calais and
Boulogne, and confirmed the dominion or ascendency of Charles V. in
Germany, Italy, and Spain, on all the French frontiers. How was the
struggle to be recommenced? What course must be adopted to sustain it
successfully? To fall back upon, there were the seven provincial
legions, which had been formed by Francis I. for Normandy, Picardy,
Burgundy, Dauphiny, and Provence united, Languedoc, Guienne, and
Brittany; but they were not like permanent troops, drilled and always
ready; they were recruited by voluntary enlistment; they generally
remained at their own homes, receiving compensation at review time and
high pay in time of war. The Constable de Montmorency had no confidence
in these legions; he spoke of them contemptuously, and would much rather
have increased the number of the foreign corps, regularly paid and kept
up, Swiss or lanzknechts. Two systems of policy and warfare, moreover,
divided the king's council into two: Montmorency, now old and worn out in
body and mind (he was born in 1492, and so was sixty in 1552), was for a
purely defensive attitude, no adventures or battles to be sought, but
victuals and all sorts of supplies to be destroyed in the provinces which
might be invaded by the enemy, so that instead of winning victories there
he might not even be able to live there. In 1536 this system had been
found successful by the constable in causing the failure of Charles V.'s
invasion of Provence; but in 1550 a new generation had come into the
world, the court, and the army; it comprised young men full of ardor and
already distinguished for their capacity and valor; Francis de Lorraine,
Duke of Guise (born at the castle of Bar, February 17, 1519), was
thirty-one; his brother, Charles de Guise, Cardinal of Lorraine, was only
six-and-twenty (he was born at Joinville, February 17, 1524); Francis de
Scepeaux (born at Durdtal, Anjou, in 1510), who afterwards became Marshal
de Vieilleville, was at this time nearly forty; but he had contributed in
1541 to the victory of Ceresole, and Francis I. had made so much of it
that he had said, on presenting him to his son Henry, "He is no older
than you, and see what he has done already; if the wars do not swallow
him up, you will some day make him constable or marshal of France."
Gaspard de Coligny (born at Chatillon-sur-Loing, February 16, 1517) was
thirty-three; and his brother, Francis d'Andelot (born at Chatillon, in
1521), twenty-nine. These men, warriors and politicians at one and the
same time, in a high social position and in the flower of their age,
could not reconcile themselves to the Constable de Montmorency's system,
defensive solely and prudential to the verge of inertness; they thought
that, in order to repair the reverses of France and for the sake of their
own fame, there was something else to be done, and they impatiently
awaited the opportunity.

[Illustration: Henry II.----235]

It was not long coming. At the close of 1551, a deputation of the
Protestant princes of Germany came to Fontainebleau to ask for the king's
support against the aggressive and persecuting despotism of Charles V.
The Count of Nassau made a speech "very long," says Vieilleville in his
_Memoires,_ "at the same time that it was in very elegant language,
whereby all the presence received very great contentment." Next day the
king put the demand before his council for consideration, and expressed
at the very outset his own opinion that "in the present state of affairs,
he ought not to take up any enterprise, but leave his subjects of all
conditions to rest; for generally," said he, "all have suffered and do
suffer when armies pass and repass so often through my kingdom, which
cannot be done without pitiable oppression and trampling-down of the poor
people." The constable, "without respect of persons," says Vieilleville,
"following his custom of not giving way to anybody, forthwith began to
speak, saying that the king, who asked counsel of them, had very plainly
given it them himself and made them very clearly to understand his own
idea, which ought to be followed point by point without any gainsaying,
he having said nothing but what was most equitable and well known to the
company." Nearly all the members of the council gave in their adhesion,
without comment, to the opinion of the king and the constable. "But when
it came to the turn of M. de Vieilleville, who had adopted the language
of the Count of Nassau," he unhesitatingly expressed a contrary opinion,
unfolding all the reasons which the king had for being distrustful of the
emperor and for not letting this chance of enfeebling him slip by. "May
it please your Majesty," said he, "to remember his late passage through
France, to obtain which the emperor submitted to carteblanche;
nevertheless, when he was well out of the kingdom, he laughed at all his
promises, and, when he found himself inside Cambrai, he said to the
Prince of Infantado, 'Let not the King of France, if he be wise, put
himself at my mercy, as I have been at his, for I swear by the living God
that he shall not be quit for Burgundy and Champagne; but I would also
insist upon Picardy and the key of the road to the Bastille of Paris,
unless he were minded to lose his life or be confined in perpetual
imprisonment until the whole of my wish were accomplished.' Since thus
it is, sir, and the emperor makes war upon you covertly, it must be made
upon him overtly, without concealing one's game or dissimulating at all.
No excuses must be allowed on the score of neediness, for France is
inexhaustible, if only by voluntary loans raised on the most comfortable
classes of the realm. As for me, I consider myself one of the poorest of
the company, or at any rate one of the least comfortable; but yet I have
some fifteen thousand francs' worth of plate, dinner and dessert, white
and red [silver and gold], which I hereby offer to place in the hands of
whomsoever you shall appoint, in order to contribute to the expenses of
so laudable an enterprise as this. Putting off, moreover, for the
present the communication to you of a certain secret matter which one of
the chiefs of this embassy hath told me; and I am certain that when you
have discovered it, you will employ all your might and means to carry out
that which I propose to you."

The king asked Vieilleville what this secret matter was which he was
keeping back. "If it please your Majesty to withdraw apart, I will tell
it you," said Vieilleville. All the council rose; and Vieilleville,
approaching his Majesty, who called the constable only to his side, said,
"Sir, you are well aware how the emperor got himself possessed of the
imperial cities of Cambrai, Utrecht, and Liege, which he has incorporated
with his own countship of Flanders, to the great detriment of the whole
of Germany. The electoral princes of the holy empire have discovered
that he has a project in his mind of doing just the same with the
imperial cities of Metz, Strasbourg, Toul, Verdun, and such other towns
on the Rhine as he shall be able to get hold of. They have secretly
adopted the idea of throwing themselves upon your resources, without
which they cannot stop this detestable design, which would be the total
ruin of the empire and a manifest loss to your kingdom. Wherefore, take
possession of the said towns, since opportunity offers, which will be
about forty leagues of country gained without the loss of a single man,
and an impregnable rampart for Champagne and Picardy; and, besides, a
fine and perfectly open road into the heart of the duchy of Luxembourg
and the districts below it as far as Brussels."

However pacific the king's first words had been, and whatever was the
influence of the constable, the proposal of Vieilleville had a great
effect upon the council. The king showed great readiness to adopt it.
"I think," said he to the constable, "that I was inspired of God when I
created Vieilleville of my council to-day." "I only gave the opinion I
did," replied Montmorency, "in order to support the king's sentiments;
let your Majesty give what orders you please." The king loudly
proclaimed his resolve. "Then let every one," he said, "be ready at an
early date, with equipment according to his ability and means, to follow
me; hoping, with God's help, that all will go well for the discomfiture
of so pernicious a foe of my kingdom and nation, and one who revels and
delights in tormenting all manner of folks, without regard for any."
There was a general enthusiasm; the place of meeting for the army was
appointed at Chalons-sur-Marne, March 10, 1552; more than a thousand
gentlemen flocked thither as volunteers; peasants and mechanics from
Champagne and Picardy joined them; the war was popular. "The majority of
the soldiers," says Rabutin, a contemporary chronicler, "were young men
whose brains were on fire." Francis de Guise and Gaspard de Coligny were
their chief leaders. The king entered Lorraine from Champagne by
Joinville, the ordinary residence of the Dukes of Guise. He carried
Pont-a-Mousson; Toul opened its gates to him on the 13th of April; he
occupied Nancy on the 14th, and on the 18th he entered Metz, not without
some hesitation amongst a portion of the inhabitants and the necessity of
a certain show of military force on the part of the leaders of the royal
army. The king would have given the command of this important place to
Vieilleville, but he refused it, saying, "I humbly thank your Majesty,
but I do not think that you should establish in Metz any governor in your
own name, but leave that duty to the mayor and sheriffs of the city,
under whose orders the eight captains of the old train-bands who will
remain there with their companies will be." "How say you!" said the
king: "can I leave a foreign lieutenant in a foreign country whose oath
of fidelity I have only had within the last four-and-twenty hours, and
with all the difficulties and disputes in the world to meet too?" "Sir,"
rejoined Vieilleville, "to fear that this master sheriff, whose name is
Tallanges, might possibly do you a bad turn, is to wrongly estimate his
own competence, who never put his nose anywhere but into a bar-parlor to
drink himself drunk; and it is also to show distrust of the excellent
means you have for preventing all the ruses and artifices that might be
invented to throw your service into confusion." The king acquiesced, but
not without anxiety, in Vieilleville's refusal, and, leaving at Metz as
governor a relative of the constable's, whom the latter warmly
recommended to him, he set out on the 22d of April, 1552, with all his
household, to go and attempt in Alsace the same process that he had
already carried out in Lorraine. "But when we had entered upon the
territory of Germany," says Vieilleville, "our Frenchmen at once showed
their insolence in their very first quarters, which so alarmed all the
rest that we never found from that moment a single man to speak to, and,
as long as the expedition lasted, there never appeared a soul with his
provisions to sell on the road; whereby the army suffered infinite
privations. This misfortune began with us at the approach to Saverne
(Zabern), the episcopal residence of Strasbourg." When the king arrived
before Strasbourg he found the gates closed, and the only offer to open
them was on the condition that he should enter alone with forty persons
for his whole suite. The constable, having taken a rash fit, was of
opinion that he should enter even on this condition. This advice was
considered by his Majesty to be very sound, as well as by the princes and
lords who were about him, according to the natural tendency of the
Frenchman, who is always for seconding and applauding what is said by the
great. But Vieilleville, on being summoned to the king's quarters,
opposed it strongly. "Sir," said he, "break this purpose, for in
carrying it out you are in danger of incurring some very evil and very
shameful fate; and, should that happen, what will become of your army
which will be left without head, prince, or captain, and in a strange
country, wherein we are already looked upon with ill will because of our
insolence and indiscretions? As for me, I am off again to my quarters to
quaff and laugh with my two hundred men-at-arms, in readiness to march
when your standard is a-field, but not thither." Nothing has a greater
effect upon weak and undecided minds than the firm language of men
resolved to do as they say. The king gave up the idea of entering
Strasbourg, and retired well pleased nevertheless, for he was in
possession of Metz, Toul, Verdun, and Pont-a-Mousson, the keys for France
into Germany, and at the head of an army under young commanders who were
enterprising without being blindly rash.

Charles V. also had to know what necessity was, and to submit to it,
without renouncing the totality of his designs. On the 2d of August,
1552, he signed at Passau, with the Protestant princes, the celebrated
treaty known under the name of "treaty of public peace," which referred
the great questions of German pacification to a general diet to be
assembled in six months, and declared that, pending definitive
conciliation, the two religions should be on an equal footing in the
empire, that is, that the princes and free towns should have the supreme
regulation of religious matters amongst themselves. Charles V. thus
recovered full liberty of action in his relations with France, and could
no longer think of anything but how to recover the important towns he had
lost in Lorraine. Henry II., on the other hand, who was asked by his
Protestant allies on what conditions he would accept the peace of Passau,
replied that at no price would he dispossess himself of the
Three-Bishoprics of Lorraine, and that he would for his part continue the
contest he had undertaken for the liberation of Germany. The siege of
Metz then became the great question of the day: Charles V. made all his
preparations to conduct it on an immense scale, and Henry II.
immediately ordered Francis de Guise to go and defend his new conquest at
all hazards.

[Illustration: DIANA DE POITIERS----243]

Ambition which is really great accepts with joy great perils fraught with
great opportunities. Guise wrote to Henry II.'s favorite, Diana de
Poitiers, Duchess of Valentinois, to thank her for having helped to
obtain for him this favor, which was about to bring him "to the emperor's
very beard." He set out at once, first of all to Toul, where the plague
prevailed, and where he wished to hurry on the repair of the ramparts.
Money was wanting to pay the working-corps; and he himself advanced the
necessary sum. On arriving at Metz on the 17th of August, 1552, he found
there only twelve companies of infantry, new levies; and every evening he
drilled them himself in front of his quarters. A host of volunteers,
great lords, simple gentlemen, and rich and brave burgesses, soon came to
him, "eager to aid him in repelling the greatest and most powerful effort
ever made by the emperor against their country and their king." This
concourse of warriors, the majority of them well known and several of
them distinguished, redoubled the confidence and ardor of the rank and
file in the army. We find under the title of _Chanson faite en 1552 par
un souldar etant en Metz en garnison_ this couplet:--

"My Lord of Guise is here at home,
With many a noble at his side,
With the two children of Vendome,
With bold Nemours, in all his pride,
And Strozzi too, a warrior tried,
Who ceases not, by night or day,
Around the city-walls to stride,
And strengthen Metz in every way."

[Peter Strozzi, "the man in all the world," says Brantome, "who
could best arrange and order battles and battalions, and could
best post them to his advantage."]

To put into condition the tottering fortifications of Metz, and to have
the place well supplied, was the first task undertaken by its
indefatigable governor; he never ceased to meet the calls upon him either
in person or in purse; he was seen directing the workmen, taking his
meals with them, and setting them a good example by carrying the hod for
several hours. He frequently went out on horseback to reconnoitre the
country, visit the points of approach and lodgment that the enemy might
make use of around the town, and take measures of precaution at the
places whereby they might do harm as well as at those where it would be
not only advantageous for the French to make sallies or to set
ambuscades, but also to secure a retreat. Charles V., naturally slow as
he was in his operations no less than in his resolves, gave the activity
of Guise time to bear fruit. "I mean to batter the town of Metz in such
style as to knock it about the ears of M. de Guise," said he at the end
of August, 1552, "and I make small account of the other places that the
king may have beyond that."

[Illustration: Guise at Metz----244]

On the 15th of September following, Charles was still fifteen leagues
from Metz, on the territory of Deux-Ponts, and it was only on the 19th
of October that the Duke of Alba, his captain-general, arrived with
twenty-four thousand men, the advance-guard, within a league of the
place which, it it is said, was to be ultimately besieged by one hundred
thousand foot, twenty-three thousand horse, one hundred and twenty
pieces of artillery, and seven thousand pioneers. "After one and the
first encounter," says a journal of the siege, "the enemy held our
soldiers in good repute, not having seen them, for any sort of danger,
advance or retreat, save as men of war and of assured courage; which was
an advantage, for M. de Guise knew well that at the commencement of a
war it was requisite that a leader should try, as much as ever he could,
to win." It was only on the 20th of November that Charles V., ill of
gout at Thionville, and unable to stand on his legs, perceived the
necessity of being present in person at the siege, and appeared before
Metz on an Arab horse, with his face pale and worn, his eyes sunk in his
head, and his beard white. At sight of him there was a most tremendous
salute of arquebuses and artillery, the noise of which brought the whole
town to arms. The emperor, whilst waiting to establish himself at the
castle of La Horgne, took up his quarters near the Duke of Alba, in a
little wooden house built out of the ruins of the Abbey of
Saint-Clement: "a beautiful palace," said he, "when the keys of Metz are
brought to me there." From the 20th to the 26th the attack was
continued with redoubled vigor; fourteen thousand cannon-shots were
fired, it is said, in a single day Guise had remarked that the enemy
seemed preparing to direct the principal assault against a point so
strong that nobody had thought of pulling down the houses in its
vicinity. This oversight was immediately repaired, and a stout wall,
the height of a man, made out of the ruins. "If they send us peas," said
Guise, "we will give them back beans" ("we will give them at least as
good as they bring "). On the 26th of November the old wall was
battered by a formidable artillery; and, breached in three places, it
crumbled down on the 28th into the ditch, "at the same time making it
difficult to climb for to come to the assault." The assailants uttered
shouts of joy; but, when the cloud of dust had cleared off, they saw a
fresh rampart eight feet in height above the breach, "and they
experienced as much and even more disgust than they had felt pleasure at
seeing the wall tumble." The besieged heaped mockery and insult upon
them; but Guise "imperatively put a stop to the disturbance, fearing, it
is said, lest some traitor should take advantage of it to give the
assailants some advice, and the soldiers then conceived the idea of
sticking upon the points of their pikes live cats, the cries of which
seemed to show derision of the enemy."

The siege went on for a month longer without making any more impression;
and the imperial troops kicked against any fresh assaults. "I was wont
once upon a time to be followed to battle," Charles V. would say, "but I
see that I have no longer men about me; I must bid farewell to the
empire, and go and shut myself up in some monastery; before three years
are over I shall turn Cordelier." Whilst Metz was still holding out, the
fortress of Toul was summoned by the Imperialists to open its gates; but
the commandant replied, "When the town of Metz has been taken, when I
have had the honor of being besieged in due form by the emperor, and when
I have made as long a defence as the Duke of Guise has, such a summons
may be addressed to me, and I will consider what I am to do." On the
26th of December, 1552, the sixty-fifth day since the arrival of the
imperial army and the forty-fifth since the batteries had opened fire,
Charles V. resolved to raise the siege. "I see very well," said he,
"that fortune resembles women; she prefers a young king to an old
emperor." His army filed off by night, in silence, leaving behind its
munitions and its tents just as they stood, "driven away, almost, by the
chastisement of Heaven," says the contemporary chronicler Rabutin, "with
but two shots by way of signal." The ditty of the soldier just quoted
ends thus:--

"At last, so stout was her defence,
From Metz they moved their guns away;
And, with the laugh at their expense,
A-tramping went their whole array.
And at their tail the noble Lord
Of Guise sent forth a goodly throng
Of cavalry, with lance and sword,
To teach them how to tramp along."

Guise was far from expecting so sudden and decisive a result. "Sing me
no more flattering strains in your letters about the emperor's
dislodgment hence," he wrote on the 24th of December to his brother the
Cardinal of Lorraine; "take it for certain that unless we be very much
mistaken in him, he will not, as long as he has life, brook the shame of
departing hence until he has seen it all out."

Irritated, and, perhaps, still more shocked, at so heavy a blow to his
power and his renown, Charles V. looked everywhere for a chance of taking
his revenge. He flattered himself that he had found it in Therouanne,
a fortress of importance at that time between Flanders and Artois, which
had always been a dependency of the kingdom of France, and served as a
rampart against the repeated incursions of the English, the masters of
Calais. Charles knew that it was ill supplied with troops and munitions
of war; and the court of Henry II., intoxicated with the deliverance of
Metz, spoke disdainfully of the emperor, and paid no heed to anything but
balls, festivities, and tournaments in honor of the marriage between
Diana d'Angouleme, the king's natural daughter, and Horatio Farnese, Duke
of Castro. All on a sudden it was announced that the troops of Charles
V. were besieging Therouanne. The news was at first treated lightly; it
was thought sufficient to send to Therouanne some re-enforcements under
the orders of Francis de Montmorency, nephew of the constable; but the
attack was repulsed with spirit by the besiegers, and brave as was the
resistance offered by the besieged, who sustained for ten hours a
sanguinary assault, on the 20th of June, 1553, Francis de Montmorency saw
the impossibility of holding out longer, and, on the advice of all his
officers, offered to surrender the place; but he forgot to stipulate in
the first place for a truce; the Germans entered the town, thrown open
without terms of capitulation; it was given up as prey to an army itself
a prey to all the passions of soldiers as well as to their master's
vengeful feelings, and Therouanne, handed over for devastation, was for a
whole month diligently demolished and razed to the ground. When Charles
V., at Brussels, received news of the capture, "bonfires were lighted
throughout Flanders; bells were rung, cannon were fired." It was but a
poor revenge for so great a sovereign after the reverse he had just met
with at Metz; but the fall of Therouanne was a grievous incident for
France. Francis I. was in the habit of saying that Therouanne in
Flanders and Acqs (now Dax) on the frontier of Guienne were, to him, like
two pillows on which he could rest tranquilly. [_Histoire universelle,_
t. ii. p. 352.]

Whilst these events were passing in Lorraine and Flanders, Henry II. and
his advisers were obstinately persisting in the bad policy which had been
clung to by Charles VIII., Louis XII., and Francis I., that, in fact, of
making conquests and holding possessions in Italy. War continued, from
Turin to Naples, between France, the emperor, the pope, and the local
princes, with all sorts of alliances and alternations, but with no
tangible result. Blaise de Montluc defended the fortress of Sienna for
nine months against the Imperialists with an intelligence and a bravery
which earned for him twenty years later the title of Marshal of France.
Charles de Brissac was carrying on the war in Piedmont with such a
combination of valor and generosity that the king sent him as a present
his own sword, writing to him at the same time, "The opinion I have of
your merit has become rooted even amongst foreigners. The emperor says
that he would make himself monarch of the whole world if he had a Brissac
to second his plans." His men, irritated at getting no pay, one day
surrounded Brissac, complaining vehemently. "You will always get bread
by coming to me," said he; and he paid the debt of France by sacrificing
his daughter's dowry and borrowing a heavy sum from the Swiss on the
security of his private fortune. It was by such devotion and such
sacrifices that the French nobility paid for and justified their
preponderance in the state; but they did not manage to succeed in the
conduct of public affairs, and to satisfy the interests of a nation
progressing in activity, riches, independence, and influence. Disquieted
at the smallness of his success in Italy, Henry II. flattered himself
that he would regain his ascendency there by sending thither the Duke of
Guise, the hero of Metz, with an army of about twenty thousand men,
French or Swiss, and a staff of experienced officers; but Guise was not
more successful than his predecessors had been. After several attempts
by arms and negotiation amongst the local sovereigns, he met with a
distinct failure in the kingdom of Naples before the fortress of
Civitella, the siege of which he was forced to raise on the 15th of May,
1557. Wearied out by want of success, sick in the midst of an army of
sick, regretting over "the pleasure of his field-sports at Joinville, and
begging his mother to have just a word or two written to him to console
him," all he sighed for was to get back to France. And it was not long
before the state of affairs recalled him thither. It was now nearly two
years ago that, on the 25th of October, 1555, and the 1st of January,
1556, Charles V. had solemnly abdicated all his dominions, giving over
to his son Philip the kingdom of Spain, with the sovereignty of Burgundy
and the Low Countries, and to his younger brother, Ferdinand, the empire
together with the original heritage of the House of Austria, and retiring
personally to the monastery of Yuste, in Estramadura, there to pass the
last years of his life, distracted with gout, at one time resting from
the world and its turmoil, at another vexing himself about what was doing
there now that he was no longer in it. Before abandoning it for good, he
desired to do his son Philip the service of leaving him, if not in a
state of definite peace, at any rate in a condition of truce with France.
Henry II. also desired rest; and the Constable de Montmorency wished
above everything for the release of his son Francis, who had been a
prisoner since the fall of Thorouanne. A truce for five years was signed
at Vaucelles on the 5th of February, 1556; and Coligny, quite young
still, but already admiral and in high esteem, had the conduct of the
negotiation. He found Charles V. dressed in mourning, seated beside a
little table, in a modest apartment hung with black. When the admiral
handed to the emperor the king's letter, Charles could not himself break
the seal, and the Bishop of Arras drew near to render him that service.
"Gently, my Lord of Arras," said the emperor; "would you rob me of the
duty I am bound to discharge towards the king my brother-in-law? Please
God, none but I shall do it;" and then turning to Coligny, he said, "What
will you say of me, admiral? Am I not a pretty knight to run a course
and break a lance, I who can only with great difficulty open a letter?"
He inquired with an air of interest after Henry II.'s health, and boasted
of belonging himself, also, to the house of France through his
grandmother Mary of Burgundy. "I hold it to be an honor," said he, "to
have issued, on the mother's side, from the stock which wears and upholds
the most famous crown in the world." His son Philip, who was but a
novice in kingly greatness, showed less courtesy and less good taste than
his father; he received the French ambassadors in a room hung with
pictures representing the battle of Pavia. There were some who concluded
from that that the truce would not be of long duration. [_Histoire
d'Espagne,_ by M. Rosseeuw Saint-Hilaire, t. viii. p. 64.]

And it was not long before their prognostication was verified. The
sending of the Duke of Guise into Italy, and the assistance he brought to
Pope Paul IV., then at war with the new King of Spain, Philip II., were
considered as a violation of the truce of Vaucelles. Henry II. had
expected as much, and had ordered Coligny, who was commanding in Picardy
and Flanders, to hold himself in readiness to take the field as soon as
he should be, if not forced, at any rate naturally called upon, by any
unforeseen event. It cost Coligny, who was a man of scrupulous honor, a
great struggle to lightly break a truce he had just signed; nevertheless,
in January, 1557, when he heard that the French were engaged in Italy in
the war between the pope and the Spaniards, he did not consider that he
could possibly remain inactive in Flanders. He took by surprise the town
of Lens, between Lille and Arras. Philip II., on his side, had taken
measures for promptly entering upon the campaign. By his marriage with
Mary Tudor, Queen of England, he had secured for himself a powerful ally
in the north; the English Parliament were but little disposed to
compromise themselves in a war with France; but in March, 1557, Philip
went to London; the queen's influence and the distrust excited in England
by Henry II. prevailed over the pacific desires of the nation; and Mary
sent a simple herald to carry to the King of France at Rheims her
declaration of war. Henry accepted it politely, but resolutely.
"I speak to you in this way," said he to the herald, "because it is a
queen who sends you; had it been a king, I would speak to you in a very
different tone;" and he ordered him to be gone forthwith from the
kingdom. A negotiation was commenced for accomplishing the marriage,
long since agreed upon, between the young Queen of Scotland, Mary Stuart,
and Henry II.'s son, Francis, dauphin of France. Mary, who was born on
the 8th of December, 1542, at Falkland Castle in Scotland, had, since
1548, lived and received her education at the court of France, whither
her mother, Mary of Lorraine, eldest sister of Francis of Guise and
queen-dowager of Scotland, had lost no time in sending her as soon as the
future union between the two children had been agreed upon between the
two courts. The dauphin of France was a year younger than the Scottish
princess; but "from his childhood," says the Venetian Capello, "he has
been very much in love with her Most Serene little Highness the Queen of
Scotland, who is destined for his wife. It sometimes happens that, when
they are exchanging endearments, they like to retire quite apart into a
corner of the rooms, that their little secrets may not be overheard." On
the 19th of April, 1558, the espousals took place in the great hall of
the Louvre, and the marriage was celebrated in the church of Notre-Dame.

[Illustration: Francis II. and Mary Stuart love making----251]

From that time Mary Stuart was styled in France queen-dauphiness, and her
husband, with the authorization of the Scottish commissioners, took the
title of king-dauphin. "Etiquette required at that time that the heir to
the throne should hold his court separately, and not appear at the king's
court save on grand occasions. The young couple resigned themselves
without any difficulty to this exile, and retired to Villers-Cotterets."
[_Histoire de Marie Stuart,_ by Jules Gauthier, t. i. p. 36.]

Whilst preparations were being made at Paris for the rejoicings in honor
of the union of the two royal children, war broke out in Picardy and
Flanders. Philip II. had landed there with an army of forty-seven
thousand men, of whom seven thousand were English. Never did any great
sovereign and great politician provoke and maintain for long such
important wars without conducting them in some other fashion than from
the recesses of his cabinet, and without ever having exposed his own life
on the field of battle. The Spanish army was under the orders of
Emmanuel-Philibert, Duke of Savoy, a young warrior of thirty, who had won
the confidence of Charles V. He led it to the siege of Saint-Quentin,
a place considered as one of the bulwarks of the kingdom. Philip II.
remained at some leagues' distance in the environs. Henry II. was ill
prepared for so serious an attack; his army, which was scarcely twenty
thousand strong, mustered near Laon under the orders of the Duke of
Nevers, governor of Champagne; at the end of July, 1557, it hurried into
Picardy, under the command of the Constable de Montmorency, who was
supported by Admiral de Coligny, his nephew, by the Duke of Enghien, by
the Prince of Condo, and by the Duke of Montpensier, by nearly all the
great lords and valiant warriors of France; they soon saw that Saint-
Quentin was in a deplorable state of defence; the fortifications were old
and badly kept up; soldiers, munitions of war, and victuals were all
equally deficient. Coligny did not hesitate, however he threw himself
into the place on the 2d of August, during the night, with a small corps
of seven hundred men and Saint-Remy, a skilful engineer, who had already
distinguished himself in the defence of Metz; the admiral packed off the
useless mouths, repaired the walls at the points principally threatened,
and reanimated the failing courage of the inhabitants. The constable and
his army came within hail of the place; and D'Andelot, Coligny's brother,
managed with great difficulty to get four hundred and fifty men into it.
On the 10th of August the battle was begun between the two armies. The
constable affected to despise the Duke of Savoy's youth. "I will soon
show him," said he, "a move of an old soldier." The French army, very
inferior in numbers, was for a moment on the point of being surrounded.
The Prince of Conde sent the constable warning. "I was serving in the
field," answered Montmorency, "before the Prince of Conde came into the
world; I have good hopes of still giving him lessons in the art of war
for some years to come." The valor of the constable and his comrades in
arms could not save them from the consequences of their stubborn
recklessness and their numerical inferiority; the battalions of Gascon
infantry closed their ranks, with pikes to the front, and made an heroic
resistance, but all in vain, against repeated charges of the Spanish
cavalry: and the defeat was total. More than three thousand men were
killed; the number of prisoners amounted to double; and the constable,
left upon the field with his thigh shattered by a cannon-ball, fell into
the hands of the Spaniards, as was also the case with the Dukes of
Longueville and Montpensier, La Rochefoucauld, D'Aubigne, &c. . . .
The Duke of Enghien, Viscount de Turenne, and a multitude of others, many
great names amidst a host of obscure, fell in the fight. The Duke of
Nevers and the Prince of Conde, sword in hand, reached La Fere with the
remnants of their army. Coligny remained alone in Saint-Quentin with
those who survived of his little garrison, and a hundred and twenty
arquebusiers whom the Duke of Nevers threw into the place at a loss of
three times as many. Coligny held out for a fortnight longer, behind
walls that were in ruins and were assailed by a victorious army. At
length, on the 27th of August, the enemy entered Saint-Quentin by shoals.
"The admiral, who was still going about the streets with a few men to
make head against them, found himself hemmed in on all sides, and did all
he could to fall into the hands of a Spaniard, preferring rather to await
on the spot the common fate than to incur by flight any shame and
reproach. He who took him prisoner, after having set him to rest a while
at the foot of the ramparts, took him away to their camp, where, as he
entered, he met Captain Alonzo de Cazieres, commandant of the old bands
of Spanish infantry, when up came the Duke of Savoy, who ordered the said
Cazieres to take the admiral to his tent." [_Commentaire de Francois de
Rabutin sur les Guerres entre Henri II., roi de France, et Charles Quint,
empereur,_ t. ii. p. 95, in the _Petitot collection_.] D'Andelot, the
admiral's brother, succeeded in escaping across the marshes. Being thus
master of Saint-Quentin, Philip II., after having attempted to put a stop
to carnage and plunder, expelled from the town, which was half in ashes,
the inhabitants who had survived; and the small adjacent fortresses, Ham
and Catelet, were not long before they surrendered.

Philip, with anxious modesty, sent information of his victory to his
father, Charles, who had been in retirement since February 21, 1556, at
the monastery of Yuste. "As I did not happen to be there myself," he
said at the end of his letter, "about which I am heavy at heart as to
what your Majesty will possibly think, I can only tell you from hearsay
what took place." We have not the reply of Charles V. to his son; but
his close confidant, Quejada, wrote, "The emperor felt at this news one
of the greatest thrills of satisfaction he has ever had; but, to tell you
the truth, I perceive by his manner that he cannot reconcile himself to
the thought that his son was not there; and with good reason." After
that Saint-Quentin had surrendered, the Duke of Savoy wanted to march
forward and strike affrighted France to the very heart; and the aged
emperor was of his mind. "Is the king my son at Paris?" he said, when he
heard of his victory. Philip had thought differently about it instead of
hurling his army on Paris, he had moved it back to Saint-Quentin, and
kept it for the reduction of places in the neighborhood. "The
Spaniards," says Rabutin, "might have accomplished our total
extermination, and taken from us all hope of setting ourselves up again.
. . . But the Supreme Ruler, the God of victories, pulled them up
quite short." An unlooked-for personage, Queen Catherine de' Medici,
then for the first time entered actively upon the scene. We borrow the
very words of the Venetian ambassadors who lived within her sphere. The
first, Lorenzo Contarini, wrote in 1552, "The queen is younger than the

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