THE WARS OF RELIGION IN FRANCE.
By A. J. BUTLER, M.A., formerly Fellow of Trinity College ; Professor of Italian Language and Literature in University College, London.
Massacre of Vassy, 1562 . 1
The First War . 2
English intervention. Capture of Rouen . 3
Huguenot attempt on Paris . 4
Battle of Dreux. Murder of Henry Duke of Guise, 1563 . 5
Peace of Amboise. Havre recaptured . 6
Meeting of Bayoune, 1564 . 7
The Politiques. L'Hôpital. Ordinances of Moulins . 8
The Second War. Battle of Saint-Denis, 1567 . 9
Peace of Longjumeau . 10
The Third War . 11
Battle of Jarnac. Death of Condé, 1569 . 12
Battle of Moncontour . 13
Peace of Saint-Germain, 1570 . 14
Marriage negotiations . 15
Proposed action in the Netherlands . 16
Defensive alliance with England. Capture of Mons . 17
Marriage of Henry of Navarre . 18
Massacre of St Bartholomew, 1572 . 19
The Fourth War . 20
Henry of Anjou King of Poland. Peace of La Rochelle, 1573. 21
The Fifth War . 22
Plot of Vincemies . 23
Death of Charles IX, 1574 . 24
Return of King Henry . 25
His coronation . 26
Escape of Monsieur . 27
Fight of Dormans and Truce of Marigny . 28
Invasion of German troops . 29
Peace of Monsieur, 1676. Beginnings of the League . 30
Meeting of the Estates General at Blois. The Sixth War . 31
Peace of Bergerac, 1578 . 32
The Seventh War . 33
Peace of Fleix, 1580 . 34
Opposition hetween Henry of Guise and Henry of Navarre . 35
Death of Anjou . 36
Alliance between the League and Spain . 37
Position of Henry III . 38
He capitulates to the League. Treaty of Nemours, 1585 . 39
The Eighth War (the War of the three Henrys). Bull of Sixtus V against Navarre and Condé . 40
Conference of Saint-Bris . - 41
"The Sixteen" at Paris . 42
The Duke of Guise in Paris . 43
The Barricades . 44
Murder of Guise, 1588. Death of Catharine de' Medici, 1589. 45
Alliance of Henry III and Navarre against the League . 46
Murder of Henry 111, 1589 . 47
Battle of Arques. Battle of Ivry, 1590. English reinforcements. 48
Siege of Paris. Paris relieved hy Parma . 49
Siege of Rouen. Death of La Noue . 50
Siege of Rouen raised. Death of Parma . 51
Absolution of Henry IV, 1093 . 52
THE WARS OF RELIGION IN FRANCE.
SMALL as was the measure of toleration accorded to the Protestants by the Edict of January, it was too large for the zealots of the opposite party. Throughout the winter attacks upon Huguenot congregations had been taking place all over the country ; but the chief impression was made by an incident which occurred on Sunday, March 1, 1562. The Duke of Guise, who was staying at his house of Joinville (in the modern Department of the Haute-Marne), went that day to dine at the little town of Vassy, attended after the fashion of the times by a large band of armed retainers. At Vassy they found a Huguenot service going on, and some of the Duke's followers attempting to push their way into the barn where it was being held were met with shouts of " Papists ! idolaters ! " Stones began to fly ; and the Duke was himself struck. His enraged attendants fired upon the crowd, with the result that out of six or seven hundred worshippers sixty were killed and many wounded.
The exasperation of the Protestants throughout France was great, nor was it abated by the line of apology which the opposite party adopted. Comparisons of the Duke to Moses and Jehu were not soothing to people who had been attacked when only exercising their legal right. Another slaughter of Huguenots at Sens, where the Cardinal of Guise was Archbishop, added fuel to the fire, and by April war was seen to be inevitable.
The first object of either party was to secure the presence of the King in its midst. Catharine, who wished to maintain her neutral position as long as possible, had withdrawn with him to Fontainebleau, after sending orders, which were not obeyed, to the Duke of Guise not to bring an armed force to Paris. He had entered the capital on March 20, and Condé, at the Queen-Mother's desire, had immediately left it ; retiring first to Meaux, then to la Ferté-sous-Jouarre. Then the King of Navarre, at the bidding of the Triumvirate, by whom he was now entirely ruled, had induced Catharine, partly by persuasion, partly by menaces, to consent to her own and the King's return to Paris ; a decision which, it is said, cost tears both to the child and to his mother.
Early in June an interview took place between Condé and the Queen-Mother at Talsy, near Orleans. The Prince held to his conditions, which Catharine made another effort to induce the Guises to accept, but in vain ; though the King of Navarre, if he had had any real power, would have been ready enough to close with them. The month was spent in parleying, while " two armies were helping the inhabitants of the district to get in their crops." Finally, the King of Navarre met Condé at Beaugency, where the Prince offered to place himself in the King's hands if his terms were accepted, as a hostage for their loyal observance by his party. The Queen-Mother at once declared it impossible for two religions to exist side by side in France. The Catholics were clearly the stronger party ; the Edict of January must go. Condé then made a last offer. If the Edict were allowed to stand, he and the other leaders, as soon as the Guises had left the Court, would quit France altogether and remain abroad until they should be recalled. Somewhat to their surprise, Catharine closed with this proposal. The Catholic chiefs, with the exception of the King of Navarre, were ordered to leave the camp, handing over their forces to him ; while Condé was called upon to fulfil his part of the contract. He went so far as to meet Catharine again at Talsy : but some intercepted letters, whether genuine or forged, fell into Huguenot hands, in which the King of Navarre was directed by the Lorraine party to seize his brother's person. Hereupon the Admiral and the other Huguenot chiefs intervened, and practicaDy bore their leader back to their camp (June 27).
The war now began in earnest. The Parlement of Paris declared the Huguenots rebels, and a few executions followed. The Huguenots,
The English intervention had little result. The Royalist commanders strained every nerve to get possession of Rouen before d'Andelot, who with a strong force of hired troops was on his way from Germany, could arrive. Montgomery, who was in command, refused all terms ; and on October 26, three days before the landing of the Earl of Warwick, Guise delivered his final assault, and after a short resistance the garrison were overpowered. In spite of strenuous efforts on the part of the Royalist commanders the usual sack followed, Catholics and Protestants being impartially pillaged and slaughtered. Montgomery escaped by boat, but three or four of the leaders were hanged. On December 17 the King of Navarre succumbed to a wound, received in the trenches, leaving, as head of the House of Bourbon and not very remote in the succession to the throne, his son, a boy of nine, brought up in the Protestant religion by a severely Protestant mother.
A desultory warfare was meanwhile going on in the south-east. At Orange the Catholics massacred the Huguenots; and the reprisals exacted by the Baron des Adrets fixed an indelible stain on his name. Chalon and Macon were retaken, but Lyons remained in the Huguenots' hands. Joyeuse, the King's lieutenant-general in Languedoc, laid siege to Montpellier, but a reverse sustained by the Catholics near Nîmes compelled him to withdraw. In spite of their enormous inferiority in numbers the Protestants were enabled by the ability of their leaders and
Early in November, d'Andelot, having managed to elude the vigilance of the Duke of Nevers and Marshal Saint-André, who were looking out for him in Champagne, brought his Germans, 9000 in number, safely to Montargis, where he was joined by his brother the Admiral and Condé. Leaving d'Andelot in command at Orleans, the others made a bold dash for Paris, hoping to seize the capital by a coup-de-main before the bulk of the Royalist army could get back from Normandy. They reached Arcueil without opposition on November 23 ; but found Guise and Saint-André already there, and the city prepared for defence. An assault was repulsed ; but when Condé challenged the King's forces to a pitched battle, the Queen-Mother, partly no doubt in order to give time for the arrival of reinforcements from the South, made overtures for peace. The Constable, the Duke of Montmorency, actually went into the Huguenot camp as a hostage while the Admiral was in Paris, and the negotiations continued for some days. No result was reached ; and on December 10 Condé withdrew his forces in the direction of Chartres. The royal army followed, marching on a nearly parallel line to Etampes, thus threatening Orleans. The Huguenot chiefs were a little perplexed, and various moves were suggested. Condé, with whom valour was apt to be the better part of discretion, was for doubling back with all speed to Paris and seizing it before the other side could come up. The more wary Admiral pointed out that, even if they got into Paris, with the King's army between them and Orleans, not only would that city be easily retaken, but they would be cut off from their main source of provisions. The reiters, too, as usual wanted their pay; and the money was in English hands at Havre. A march into Normandy would enable them to join hands with the English ; and, since the enemy would be compelled to follow, Orleans would no longer be in danger. This counsel prevailed, and the Huguenots, who for three days had been making futile attempts to take the little town of Saint-Arnoul, proceeded in the direction of Dreux, a fortified town close to the frontier of Normandy, of which a detachment from their army had been sent to make sure. This operation, however, did not succeed, and only dislocated the formation of their forces.
The Huguenots reached the river Eure first and crossed it (as it would seem) on the morning of December 19, the Admiral's division leading.. The Catholics arrived later in the day, and, remaining unobserved in consequence of the bad scouting of Condé's division, succeeded during the night in crossing about two miles higher up and placing themselves by a flank march between their opponents and the town of Dreux. This movement brought Saint-André, who commanded the advance-guard (the Duke of Guise choosing to serve that day as a simple captain) on the left wing of the royal army, opposite to Condé and somewhat outflanking him ;
Throughout January, 1563, Guise was engaged with preparations for the siege of Orleans. On February 5 he encamped before the town on its northern side. The Admiral who had thrown himself into the town, saw the imprudence of locking up his whole army in one place, and soon left the defence of it to d'Andelot, making his way into Normandy. He did not succeed in getting into touch with the English, already closely invested by the Rhinegrave, though Throgmorton contrived to reach him with a supply of English money. Indeed, his operations were confined to the left side of the Seine ; but he took Caen and some smaller towns.
On February 18 an event happened which changed the whole position of affairs. The Duke of Guise, after effecting a lodgment in one of the suburbs of Orleans and planting guns on some islands, had made his arrangements for a night-attack, and was riding to his quarters, when he was shot in the back by Jean Poltrot de Mere, a kinsman of La Renaudie the conspirator of Amboise, and a fanatical Huguenot, who had attached himself to the royal army for the easier execution of his purpose. Both the Admiral and the theologian Beza were accused of having prompted the crime ; but beyond Poltrot's own statement under torture no evidence of their complicity was ever produced. Of the Triumvirate two were now dead, the third was a prisoner ; while the Huguenots also had temporarily lost one of their chiefs. The Cardinal of Lorraine was at Trent ; the Admiral, who might perhaps have been glad to push the advantage his party seemed for the moment to hold, was ten days' march away. The opportunity was excellent for conciliation. The Queen-Mother, the Constable, Condé and d'Andelot met in Orleans, and by March 7 had agreed on terms, which were published in the form of an Edict on the 18th, at Amboise, where the Court then was. They were somewhat less favourable to the Huguenots than those of January, 1562,
The Queen-Mother's next move was to consolidate the peace between the two parties by uniting them in a common task. English troops were still established on French soil, and all Frenchmen must combine to dislodge them. Marshal de Brissac was sent into Normandy at once ; the Court following shortly after, with the Constable, his sons Marshal Montmorency and Damville, Condé, and other captains. The Admiral was thought better away. Warwick had taken steps to strengthen his position ; but his army was being rapidly thinned by disease. Nor was it possible any longer to maintain the pretext that it had been sent solely to aid in delivering the King from coercion by a faction. The French nobles, most of whom had friends among Warwick's officers, had no desire to exact hard terms of capitulation. On July 28 Warwick, who was that day wounded, agreed to surrender; and on the 31st the French were put into possession of the town. The capitulation had hardly been signed when an English fleet with reinforcements came in sight ; but the only work it found was to carry home the remains of the garrison. The relations between France and England remained for some time rather strained ; but a settlement was reached in a peace made at Troyes on the 13th of the following April. It was contended on the French side that Elizabeth's action in occupying Havre had cancelled the clause in the treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis which entitled her to claim 500,000 crowns if Calais were not restored within eight years. She finally agreed to abandon the claim and release the four gentlemen detained as sureties for the sum. As a token of amity Lord Hunsdon was sent to invest the French King with the Garter.
By the death of the King of Navarre, the Prince of Condé had become the senior " Prince of the Blood." As such he had claimed to succeed his brother as lieutenant-general of the realm-an inconvenient claim, which Catharine and L'Hôpital evaded by having the King, though he had not completed his fourteenth year, declared of age and competent to rule. This was done by an Assembly held at Rouen on September 15, 1563. Peace was outwardly established, but the roots of strife were not cut off. Early in 1564- the Cardinal of Lorraine returned from Trent, where the Council had closed in December, 1563. On the 13th of the previous October Paul IV had, at the instigation of the King of Spain, cited the widowed Queen of Navarre to appear and answer to a charge of heresy ; and in default had declared her excommunicated, her fiefs forfeited, and her children illegitimate. The Cardinal came back with feelings of bitter resentment against the Châtillons, whom he persisted in regarding as accessories to his brother's murder.
Moreover, the general effect of the Council was to strengthen the hands of those who were determined to root out Protestantism, and who looked upon the King of Spain as in some sense their temporal head.
It was thought desirable that Charles should make personal acquaintance with his subjects throughout the realm ; and in the early spring of 1664 the Court set out on a prolonged tour of France. The route was laid out so that, without rousing suspicion, conferences might be held with representatives of the Pope, the Duke of Savoy, and the King of Spain, the chief movers in the design of a Catholic League. Troyes was reached by the second week in April, and there the peace with England was concluded. At Nancy it is said that the scheme of the Catholic League was first laid before the young King. At present, however, he and his advisers were not prepared to listen to proposals emanating from Rome; for the Trent decrees had given great offence in France, and had been censured by the Paris Parlement. The King therefore drily replied that the Edict of Orleans was recent, and that he was not yet prepared to quash it. On May 26 he was at Dijon with his mother on their way to Lyons. As the entrance to that part of France where Protestantism was most vigorous, Lyons needed careful treatment. A new governor was appointed, and a large fort was founded in the angle between the Saône and the Rhone. At Roussillon on the Rhone an Edict of partial toleration was issued, calling upon each side to respect the religion of the other; and an interview took place with the Duke of Savoy, at which the subject may have been differently dealt with. At any rate-whether an actual inspection of the relative strength of the two parties had shown the Queen-Mother that "the repose of the realm" could be as easily attained by extirpating the Protestants, whether the Nancy reply was intended from the first as a blind, or whether it was felt that conformity with the Pope's wishes in one point might diminish his insistence as to the Trent decrees-it seems that in conference with the papal officials at Avignon the suppression of Calvinism was spoken of as a practical question.
The Court passed the winter in the south. In the spring progress was resumed through Languedoc, and Bayonne was reached in the beginning of June. The Queen of Spain, with the Duke of Alva in her suite, came to meet her mother and brother. Several weeks were spent in gaieties, with intervals of more serious business. No authentic record has been preserved of what took place, but Protestants both in Prance and elsewhere believed that the policy was then concerted which bore fruit in the "Blood Council" of the Netherlands and the St Bartholomew massacres.
It is about this time that a third party begins to emerge ; that of the so-called "Politiques." The term, originally, as it would seem, implying that those denoted by it acted from motives of policy rather than of principle, came to define the group which, while remaining
The King and his mother returned to the capital towards the end of 1565. Early in the following year a great Assembly was held at Moulins-sur-Allier, which was attended by most of the chief nobles, and by representatives of the provincial Parlements. Ordinances of lasting importance for the legal administration of France were drawn up by the Chancellor and passed by the Assembly. Reconciliations also took place between the widowed Duchess of Guise and Coligny, and between the Cardinal of Lorraine and Montmorency, who had forcibly opposed his entry into Paris; but they were felt to be merely formal, nor did the young Duke of Guise or his uncle, the Duke of Aumale, take part in them. Catharine was probably sincere in wishing to avoid war at this time by any means ; but events were too strong for her.
The Huguenots had been uneasy since the Bayonne Conference, believing that it indicated a desire on the part of the King of Spain to associate the French Court with his crusade against Protestantism. His own affairs in the Netherlands were rapidly coming to a crisis. In October, 1565, he had definitely refused any religious toleration. Throughout 1566 the Low Countries were seething ; and early in 1567 Alva was commissioned to raise an army in Lombardy and Piedmont for the
Partly, however, in order to gain time for reinforcements to arrive, the King and his mother were willing to hear such representations as the Huguenots had to make, and several interviews took place between their leaders and those of the other party ; but with little result. The force in Paris was considerably straitened by the enemy's command of the approaches, especially of the river, the Admiral having, by a bold stroke, seized Charenton. A messenger had been dispatched at the outset to Flanders for succour; but Alva, who probably had no wish to see France quieted too soon, declined to send Spanish troops, offering only landsknechts and local cavalry. Finally, some 1700 horse of good quality under Count Aremberg, reached Poissy on the 9th. Their approach was, however, known, and d'Andelot was detached, with Montgomery, to hold them. The Constable, judging the moment suitable for an attack on the main body, offered battle next day, the 10th. Condé met him in the plain between Aubervilliers and Saint-Ouin. The action was mainly one of cavalry, hard fought but indecisive. The Huguenots were driven back into Saint-Denis, but were able to come out next day and defy the royal forces, who had no inclination to renew the fight. The chief result was the loss of the Constable ; who, fighting in spite of his seventy-five years like an ordinary trooper, was mortally wounded. His office was not filled up ; but the King's brother, Henry Duke of Anjou, a lad of sixteen, was presently appointed lieutenant-general of the kingdom.
The Huguenot army now abandoned its hold on the rivers and moved eastward to meet a force of German mercenaries under the Count Palatine John Casimir. An attempt to bring them to battle near Chalons failed, owing, as some thought, to the reluctance of the politique Marshal Cosse to push them too hard. The junction with John Casimir was effected on January 11 near Pont-a-Mousson. Encouraged by this reinforcement, the Huguenot leaders rejected a proposal for peace on the lines of the Orleans pacification, influenced mainly by their followers' distrust of the Guises. Their forces entered Burgundy, and the royal army marched to Troyes ; both making for Paris, but the Huguenots keeping in view the necessity of relieving Orleans. Meanwhile, Rochelle had opened its gates to the Huguenots, giving them a port, the possibility of a fleet, and a door of communication with their friends in England. The possession of this town, which became the citadel of the Religion, was most important.
In the course of February Condé succeeded in raising the siege of Orleans, and the Huguenot army, resolved to force the fighting which the other side seemed inclined to protract, proceeded to invest Chartres. The King had already sent to the Ernestine Duke John William of Saxony for reiters; and the Duke, who, as a rigid Lutheran, was quite ready to fight his Calvinistic brother-in-law, John Casimir, himself led 5000 horse as far as Rethel in Champagne. Before he arrived there, however, negotiations had begun ; and, much to his annoyance, he was told that his services were not required. In fact, the presence of so many foreigners on French soil had alarmed both sides ; the war was assuming a savage character, particularly in the south; the Huguenots were willing to accept the very favourable terms offered them, containing nearly all they asked; and peace was concluded at Longjumeau on March 23. The Duke of Saxony agreed to withdraw; but John Casimir at first declined ; nor was it till the King undertook to guarantee the pay due to him and his men, that he consented to go.
The Peace of Longjumeau was in the main a confirmation of the edict of March, 1562. No one was really satisfied with it; Alva was both surprised and displeased ; and it was generally felt to be no more than a truce. Fresh causes of quarrel arose at once. The King tried to extract from the Huguenot leaders the repayment of the money advanced by him to Casimir, forbidding them at the same time to levy it from their party ; no one but himself, he said, should tax his people. Rochelle refused to admit a royal garrison, but fortified itself, and began to raise a fleet. The summer was passed in mutual recriminations ; and finally, towards the end of August, a plan was formed of seizing Condé, and if possible, the Admiral also, at Noyers in Burgundy. They got wind of the scheme, it was said, through a hint dropped by Marshal Tavannes, and fled, with only a small escort, through the hiÜ and forest country between the Loire and the Saône. Crossing the former at Roanne, they
The Third War had now begun. This time the Catholics were the attacking party, and hostilities were clearly to be carried on with far more determination than hitherto. An inner council or Cabinet-the term seems to have been then used for the first time-had been formed. The Chancellor L'Hôpital had been included in this; but on the outbreak of war he was dismissed from all his offices and banished from the Court; so the most powerful voice on the side of toleration was silenced. His place as Chancellor was taken by Morvilliers, Bishop of Orleans, a creature of the Guises and a bitter enemy of the Protestants ; and the edicts of toleration were revoked.
Anjou, who was in supreme command of the royal army, did not leave Paris until the beginning of November. About the same time the Duke of Montpensier, at Messignac in Perigord, met a Huguenot contingent coming from Languedoc, and defeated them with heavy loss, including that of their commander Mouvans ; but he was unable to prevent the junction of the greater part with the Admiral and Condé, or to hold the ground himself. On the arrival of Anjou the two armies manoeuvred for some time in close vicinity to one another, but neither side would risk a pitched battle. Finally the weather became very severe, with much sickness in both armies, and both sides went into winter-quarters; the Catholics at Chinon, the Huguenots at Niort, where they received munitions (for which they had to pay) from the Queen of England. During the winter they raided Perigord and Saintonge. At the beginning of March the Catholic army moved south. After securing their right flank by the capture of Ruffec and Molle, and crossing the Charente at some point between the former place and Angoulême, they followed its left bank as far as Châteauneuf, which surrendered at once. The bridge, however, was broken, and the time occupied in its repair was devoted to a reconnaissance, extending as far as Cognac, where the enemy was reported to be in strength. The Huguenot army was presently seen marching in the direction of Jarnac, separated by the river from the Catholics. Their van, under the Admiral, was already at Bassac, higher up the stream. Anjou returned to Châteauneuf, and remained there the next day. By midnight of March 12 the restoration of the bridge was completed and a bridge of boats also thrown across ; and before sunrise on Sunday, the 13th, Tavannes and Biron, who were the real commanders, had brought their army to the other side. They found the enemy in position, and having driven in the outposts came in sight of the left wing in the direction of Jarnac. The Admiral, who was in command, was not anxious to fight until Condé could arrive from
Jarnac ; but the impetuous charge of the Duke of Montpensier left him no time to retire, and in spite of desperate efforts on his own part and that of d'Andelot, La Noue and others in command under him, he was forced back. Condé presently came up, with the bulk of the Huguenot cavalry, and by a furious charge checked the Royalists for a moment; but was himself charged in flank by the renters under Ta vannes and Anjou. The Huguenots were routed ; Condé continuing to fight till he was surrounded and borne down. He had hardly given his sword to his captor, d'Argens, when Montesquieu, captain of Anjou's guard, shot him dead. Among the prisoners were La None and Rosny, father of the future Duke of Sully. But, though defeated, the Huguenots were not discouraged. Their leaders soon reassembled at Cognac, where the Queen of Navarre joined them. Her son, the Duke of Vendôme, then about fifteen years old, was proclaimed head of the party, and the young Prince of Condé associated with him. The command-in-chief of the army was entrusted to the Admiral.
The King and his mother were at this time at Metz, whither they had gone partly for security and partly for greater facility of communication with Alva in the Netherlands and with Margrave Philibert of Baden, from both of whom reinforcements were expected. On the other side it was known that Duke Wolfgang of Zweibrücken (Deux-Ponts) was about to bring a powerful force of German troops to the aid of the Protestants ; and it was all-important to prevent these, if possible, from crossing the Loire. The Dukes of Aumale and Nemours, who commanded in the east, though strengthened by the accession of nearly 5000 men duly sent by Alva, did nothing beyond feebly opposing the passage of the Armancon at Nuits by the German invaders. About May 10 the Germans reached La Charité, which was taken by assault after a short bombardment, thus securing their passage of the Loire. Thence after crossing the Vienne a little above Limoges, they effected a junction with the Admiral's forces at Saint-Yrieix on June 23. The Duke of Zweibrücken had, however, died a few days before ; some thought from over-indulgence in the wines of southern France. He was succeeded in the command by Count Wolrad of Mansfeld. William of Orange, with his brothers Lewis and Henry of Nassau, was in the army. Anjou, who had been engaged in reducing some small places in Saintonge and Perigord, now brought his army to Limoges, where his mother joined him. He soon moved to La Rochelabeille, nearer to the Huguenot position, and a few indecisive skirmishes took place, chiefly notable as having afforded to the young Prince of Navarre his first experience of actual fighting. Before long, however, the wiser heads among the Catholics decided to leave the opposing forces to the disintegrating effects of a summer spent in a half-ravaged country, and withdrew their army to Touraine. The Protestant army, from which Montgomery had been detached for operations in Guienne and Gascony, followed into
Poitou, where they recovered most of the smaller places that had surrendered after Jarnac, raised the siege of Niort, and on July 24 appeared before Poitiers, into which Anjou had but just time to throw a reinforcement under the young Duke of Guise, who now also began his military career. From July 24 till September 8 the siege and the defence were conducted with an equal display of spirit on both sides. Finally, Anjou effected a diversion by threatening Châtelhérault, and the siege of Poitiers was raised, after costing the Huguenots a loss of some 3000 men. On the whole, however, they had rather the best of the campaign of sieges which occupied the summer. Sansac failed to reduce La Charité, while on the other side Montgomery captured Orthez and gained some advantages in Guienne and Gascony. A decree of attainder published at this time against the Admiral and other Protestant chiefs only served to exasperate their followers.
The royal army in its retreat from Châtelhérault was closely followed by the Admiral, who in vain sought to bring it to battle. After a day or two the respective forces drew off, Anjou going to Chinon, while the Admiral led his troops first to Faie-la-Vineuse, and then further to Moncontour. The Catholic army, numbering about 22,000, of whom just one-third were French, now thoroughly rested and reorganised, followed in about a week's time ; and by October 1 the two forces were in position on either side of the little river Dive. Anjou's main object was to prevent the Huguenots from again moving south into Poitou, and effecting their junction with Montgomery. Moving to the left, he crossed the Dive near its source, and in the afternoon of October 3 found the opposing force drawn up in the level ground between it and the Thouet. Neither side had any advantage of position, and the battle resolved itself into a series of furious charges on the part of the royal troops, and of hand-to-hand encounters. The Admiral exchanged pistol-shots with the Rhinegrave, receiving a wound in the jaw, but mortally wounding his adversary. The Margrave of Baden also fell. Finally a charge of the Swiss upon the Huguenots1 landsknechts, who were butchered almost to a man, decided the day. The reiters under Count Lewis of Nassau and Count Wolrad of Mansfeld drew off in good order, but 3000 French surrendered, and the artillery and baggage fell into the victors' hands. La Noue, with his usual ill-luck, was again taken prisoner, but was soon exchanged, and took the command at Rochelle.
Though Moncontour was the most crushing defeat the Huguenots had yet sustained, they were not prepared to surrender. In the course of November de Losses was sent to Rochelle to treat with the Queen of Navarre on the terms that full liberty of worship should be allowed to the Protestants, provided it were not exercised publicly. " If a peace be made on those terms," she replied, " the names of Jeanne and Henry will not be found attached to it." Nor, indeed, were their losses so heavy as might be inferred from the number of the slain. The French
Thus, when the Admiral, a few days after the battle, rallied his party at Niort, he had little difficulty in persuading them, after leaving garrisons in Rochelle, Saint-Jean-d'Angely, and Angoulême, to abandon Poitou and the adjacent districts to the King's forces, and to march eastwards. Mouy was left with a small garrison in Niort, which held out for a short time against the Duke of Anjou ; but on the treacherous murder of its commander by Maurevel, it opened its gates, and its example was followed by the other towns of Poitou and Saintonge, with the exception of those named above. Their loss was balanced by the capture of Nîmes, which took place about this time. Anjou next proceeded to besiege Saint-Jean-d'Angely, which after a gallant defence of forty-six days capitulated towards the end of the year. After this the Court retired to Angers, and the army was disbanded.
The desultory fighting which went on during the early part of 1570 was, on the whole, favourable to the Huguenots. La Noue, sallying out of Rochelle, recaptured several towns, including Niort and Saintes. Meanwhile the Admiral and the young Princes had, after a raid into Dauphiné, recrossed the Rhone, and were by the end of May at Saint-Etienne. Thither Marshal Biron and the Sieur de Malassise were sent .to negotiate ; but as the condition which prohibited public worship was still insisted on, no agreement was reached, and the Huguenot army, on June 25, reached Arnay-le-Duc in Burgundy, where they found Marshal Cosse (Anjou being absent through illness) waiting to offer battle. A smart though indecisive skirmish ensued ; but after this both armies drew off, the Admiral to Autun, Cosse-alarmed for the safety of Paris, and, as a politique, unwilling to push matters to extremity-towards Sens. Negotiations were then resumed, and on August 8 peace was signed at Saint-Germain-eu-Laye, on terms if anything more favourable than the Protestants had hitherto obtained.
It is possible that at the moment neither Charles IX nor his mother had any purpose in view beyond the restoration of peace to the country. There is no reason to suppose that either of them had any special antipathy to Protestantism. Religion was not a dominating influence with Catharine; while the two persons whom Charles probably loved best in the world, his foster-mother and his mistress, Marie Touchet, were Huguenots. Piety was not a marked characteristic of the French upper classes ; nor, except possibly among a section of the clergy, was there any enthusiasm in the country at large for the See of Rome. On the other hand, in view of the growing danger of foreign intervention, it
Foix remained in England till September, when, failing the marriage, he suggested a treaty of defensive alliance between France and England. This was favourably received ; and in December the accomplished Secretary, Sir Thomas Smith, went over to negotiate it. But he found the Guises making every effort to prevent an English alliance, and Scottish agents earnestly soliciting aid in the interest of their Queen. On the other hand Smith had a valuable ally in Coligny, who had been at length induced to come to Blois, and whose presence at Court was connected with another intrigue, destined to have serious consequences. Count Lewis of Nassau, who had served in the Huguenot ranks during the last war, had at the conclusion of peace remained at Rochelle, occupied in organising the privateers sent from the Low Countries to prey upon Spanish commerce in the Bay of Biscay, and to hinder communication by sea between Spain and their own ports. In the spring of 1571 there arrived at Rochelle a Genoese adventurer named Fregoso, in the service of the Grand Duke of Tuscany ; by whom he alleged that he had been sent to the Elector Palatine, and then into France in order to secure eventual support against Spain. He came apparently as an avowed messenger from the Huguenot agents in Paris to the Admiral, and at the same time with some kind of business on the Queen-Mother's account -or so it was believed by suspicious Huguenots.
Fregoso had speech of Count Lewis, and returned to lay before the King and his mother certain proposals which rendered a personal interview with the Count desirable. The idea of an invasion of the Low Countries had for some time been growing in certain quarters. Even before the conclusion of peace, Alava, the Spanish ambassador, had warned Alva as to these rumours. On April 5 Walsingham wrote to Burghley referring in guarded terms, and unofficially, to the same subject, urging English cooperation, and pointing out its importance in connection with the scheme of marriage. The upshot was that on July 14 Count Lewis met the King at Lumigny in a house belonging to Madame de Mouy, widow of the Huguenot leader, and shortly to be married to La Noue, who was present himself, with Montmorency, his brother-in-law Teligny, and others of the anti-Spanish party. The Count's plan was to rid the Netherlands of Spanish rule in the following manner. Flanders and Artois, ancient fiefs of the French Crown, were to revert to it ; Brabant, Guelders, and Luxemburg in like manner to be restored to the Empire ; while England was to have Zealand. Other arrangements would presumably be made as to Holland and the smaller States. Strozzi was to occupy the King of Spain by a raid on his coasts.
Early in August Lewis saw Walsingham in Paris, reported the conference, and advocated the plan. The ambassador answered diplomatically, but wrote to Leicester in terms that showed his strong approval of both the scheme and its propounder.
On September 12 the last step, as it appeared, was taken towards the complete reconciliation between the King and his late rebels. The Admiral was at last persuaded by Marshal Cosse to come from Rochelle to the Court at Blois. Charles addressed him as "Mon père" and deferred to his judgment in everything, including the Netherlands enterprise. For the time the Guise influence seemed to be utterly annihilated ; and the " amity " with England and the preparations for open hostility to Spain progressed steadily through the winter. In the course of the autumn Ala va shook the dust of France off his feet and retired to Brussels ; and the Spanish ambassador in England was desired to withdraw. At an interview in January, 1572, Smith and Walsingham spoke with much freedom to the King, pointing out that there was a Spanish party in England as well as in France. If they should take advantage of the delay to cause the treaty to be broken off, it might be hard to set it on foot again. " Break off," said he ; "I had rather die. I will satisfy the Queen my good sister, though you be never so stiff.'"
Meanwhile the marriage negotiations were not forgotten. It was clear by the end of 1571 that Anjou must be given up ; but Catharine was ready with a substitute in the person of his younger brother Alençon. In March we find her pressing for an answer as to whether the Queen could "fancy" him. The ambassadors also had an interview with the Queen of Navarre, who had followed Coligny to the Court, touching her son's marriage, and gave her as a kind of precedent a copy of the marriage-contract between Edward VI and the French princess who ultimately married Philip II. But again the difference of religion stood in the way.
Finally, in April a defensive alliance, which was as far as Elizabeth would go, was concluded between the two Crowns. Although it only pledged each party to come to the other's aid in the event of invasion, Charles felt sufficiently secure to allow the expedition to the Netherlands to go forward. About May 17, accordingly, Count Lewis left Paris, and on the 23rd was in possession of Mons. La Noue, following close in his wake, seized Valenciennes with a small force on the 29th. He was well received, but while he was engaged in reducing the citadel a message from the Count summoned him to Mons, and the Spaniards recaptured Valenciennes at once. Alva marched on Mons, and laid siege to it. Sieges in those days proceeded slowly, and Lewis had time to send for reinforcements. Unfortunately he selected for the purpose an incompetent officer, Jean de Hangest, Sieur de Genlis, whom Coligny had once had occasion to reprimand in the field.
On June 9 the Queen of Navarre, who had come to Paris in order
During this same month Montmorency went to England to carry out the final formalities in regard to the treaty, the former envoy, Foix, accompanying him. He was received with extreme friendliness, and took the opportunity of urging Alençon's suit with the Queen. The Earl of Lincoln went from England on a similar errand; and with him Philip Sidney. Coligny succeeded in raising a force for the relief of Mons. Alva was however kept duly informed of his movements, whether by the members of the King's Council who disapproved of the enterprise, or, according to one report, by Anthony Standen, an English refugee, said to be the paramour of Barbara Blomberg, mother of Don John of Austria. In any case, Genlis was on July 17 surprised at Quievrain, two leagues from Mons, by Alva's son, Don Frederick of Toledo, his force was cut to pieces, and himself wounded and captured. A hundred of his men succeeded in reaching Mons, which was closely invested. The reverse was a serious blow to Catharine's plan of operations, for she was not herself prepared for open war with Spain. It was said that compromising documents had been found on Genlis, proving the King's complicity in the raid. Catharine was however a woman of resource. The enterprise had been undertaken largely with a view, if one may so say, to keeping the Admiral quiet. This method had failed ; it was time to try another. She was certain of an ally ; for in spite of a formal reconciliation which had recently at the King's instance taken place between Coligny and the young Duke of Guise, the Duke and his mother at any rate had no idea of forgoing the vengeance to which they conceived themselves entitled. There is little reason to suppose that Catharine bore the Admiral any special resentment, or was jealous of his influence over her son ; nor would she have let her personal ' likes and dislikes, if she had such, interfere with the aim of her policy, directed wholly, so far as one can perceive, to keeping France tranquil, and the House of Valois secure on its throne. At this moment there was every prospect that the dynasty would be continued to another generation.
The marriage of Henry, now by his mother's death, King of Navarre, to Margaret took place on August 18. The next few days were devoted to festivities. On Friday the 22nd, in the forenoon, the Admiral was, with a few friends, leaving the Louvre after an audience. As he walked along he read a letter. Before he reached his lodging, a shot was fired from a window of a house recognised as that of a retainer of the Guises. The ball carried away a finger of one hand
Paris was full of Huguenot gentlemen who had come to celebrate the wedding. All that day and the next, consternation prevailed among them. Many meetings were held, but no definite plan of action was decided on. The Court was hardly less frightened. The deed had exasperated the Huguenots without depriving them of their head ; all the fair words of the last two years had been thrown away, and the hostility of Spain and the Pope incurred for nothing. On the 23rd Catharine held a council, at which were present, so far as can be ascertained, her son Anjou, Marshal Tavannes, Nemours (Guise's stepfather), Nevers, Birago (now Chancellor), and Gondi, Count (afterwards Duke and Marshal) de Retz. It was afterwards noticed that out of the seven, four were Italians and one a Savoyard. Even Tavannes' family probably belonged to the Jura, which then was far from France.
The result of their deliberations was soon seen. In the early morning of the next day, August 24, the feast of St Bartholomew, the church bells rang. At the signal, armed bands, directed by the Guises, the Duke of Angoulême, bastard brother to the King, and other Catholic lords, left the Louvre and went into the streets of Paris. The municipal authorities had received warning of what was on foot; and the Paris mob, which needed as little encouragement to massacre Huguenots then as in later times it needed to murder priests, was ready to take its part. A party, led by the Duke of Guise in person, proceeded to the Admiral's house. A few armed men, headed by one Janovitch, a Bohemian (hence generally known as Besme), entered the room where the wounded man was lying, and after running him through with a pike, threw him out of the window into the courtyard where Guise was waiting. His body was brutally mutilated and treated with every indignity, being finally hung by the heels to the public gibbet at Montf'aucon. During the remainder of that day and into the next the slaughter went on. The Huguenot nobles who were in the Louvre were brought into the court and killed. The King of Navarre and the Prince of Condé were spared, but presently compelled to profess themselves Catholics. Montgomery, the Vidame of Chartres, and other Huguenots, who were lodged on the south side of the river, got the alarm in time to fly. They were pursued by the Dukes of Guise and Aumale for nearly twenty miles, but effected their escape. It was doubtless owing to their being thus occupied that the Guises, as several historians of the Massacre
How far the Massacre was premeditated has been a subject of discussion ever since. The Spanish ambassador Çuniga wrote that, except as concerned the Admiral, it was done on a sudden impulse. La Mothe-Fénelon was instructed to tell a similar story in England ; and to Walsingham, Catharine insisted on the alleged Huguenot plots ; to which the Privy Council reasonably replied that it would have been easy for the King to seize the persons suspected and have them regularly tried. Walsingham on his own account mentioned the fact that Montgomery, whom Catharine indicated as a chief object of suspicion, had been with him on the night following the attack on the Admiral, and had spoken gratefully of the King's expressed intention to enquire into and punish the crime. Protestants, not in France only, believed that the scheme had been forming in Catharine's mind since the conference at Bayonne in 1565. Cardinal Michael Bonetti, Pius V's nephew and confidant, had in the early part of the year been sent on a mission first into Spain and thence into France. He was at the Court for some weeks in February ; and, though little is known of what then passed, it seems at least possible that some plan of the kind was discussed. The promptitude, again, with which many of the great towns followed the example of Paris points, in those days of slow communication, to a scheme of at any rate more than a few hours' conception.
The news was variously received throughout Europe. Gregory XIII is said to have expressed dismay, but a Te Deum was sung in Rome. Philip II laughed, for almost the only time on record. Alva observed that in Coligny "France had lost a great captain, and Spain a great foe." The Emperor disapproved without reserve, as did most of the Princes of the Empire ; and the Duke of Anjou on his way to take the Crown of Poland in the following year, had to listen to some home-truths. In spite of the indignation that was felt by several of her ministers, and in England at large, Elizabeth was quite ready, after some decorous expressions of surprise and regret, to accept explanations, and allow the alliance to stand, and the marriage negotiations to go on.
Left without leaders-for besides those that had been slain, La Noue was shut up in Mons, and Montgomery had escaped to Jersey-the Huguenots throughout the country had to take what steps they could for local defence. Rochelle closed its gates first against Strozzi, then against Biron, sent as governor ; Nîmes and Montauban resisted the entry of Joyeuse, left in charge during the absence in Paris of the governor, Marshal Damville; while Sancerre on the Loire served as a refuge to the Protestants of the centre; their usual stronghold, La Charité, having been promptly seized by order of the Duke of Nevers.
The operations for the reduction of these and the other towns held by the Protestants form the Fourth War. Of these Rochelle was by far the most important; and to its recovery the most energetic measures were addressed. At first Charles decided to try the effect of negotiation. He sent for La Noue, who since the capture of Mons in September had remained in Alva's camp, and induced him, somewhat against his will, to act as his envoy to the citizens. Biron, who had as yet done little beyond observing the town, in the hope that terms might be arrived at without the use of force, gave facilities for communication ; and on November 19 some deputies from within met La Noue at a place outside the walls. The Rochellois were however in no mood for listening to any terms, and returned, remarking that they had supposed they were going to meet La Noue. The envoy, they admitted, was very like him, but they could not believe it was he. He then persuaded Biron to allow him to enter the town, in order to attempt a direct appeal. There, however, he had no more success, and finally was induced to take the command while continuing to negotiate with Biron, and to do all in his power to bring the citizens to a peaceful mind. In February the Duke of Anjou took command of the royal army, and the siege was more vigorously pressed. The Rochellois held out, vainly expecting succours from England, though Montgomery, with a fleet mainly equipped there, succeeded in landing stores. Unfortunately some jealousy (not unusual between Normans and Bretons) estranged him from La Noue, and the two chiefs did not cooperate. On the contrary, almost immediately after Montgomery's appearance, La Noue, finding that his mission as peacemaker only exposed him to insults, and on one occasion to blows, from some of the more hot-headed ministers, left the town and went into the camp of the besiegers, where he remained, taking no part in the operations. In June the election of Anjou to the vacant throne of Poland put an end to the siege and the war ; and the Edict of Rochelle, issued in July, granted fair terms, though less generous than those of some past edicts, to the Huguenots.
Peace was not however to last long. One result of the Massacre had been to bring the Politiques more openly into line with the Huguenots. Different motives doubtless actuated the leaders ; and it is difficult to suppose that the adhesion of the Duke of Alençon, who saw in his brother's absence his own opportunity, can have been due to any but the most purely selfish. But the main influence which consolidated the party and led them to seek common action with the Huguenots was unquestionably dislike of the methods adopted by the Queen-Mother and the "Italians," and a keen perception of the helpless state to which France was being reduced by the depopulation and impoverishment inseparable from protracted civil war. It is worth noting that not only the Chancellor L'Hôpital, "who had the ßeur de lys in his heart," but (after the death of Tavannes on his way to Rochelle) all
At the conclusion of peace the Princes returned to Paris, where the preparations for Anjou's departure to his new kingdom were being made. In October the Court started. Charles, whose health was beginning to fail, did not go beyond Vitry, where a long stay was made-Henry, who was not ignorant of his younger brother's ambitions and had no desire to be out of the way when the French Crown should become vacant, delaying his journey until the King grew angry, and threatened to deport him forcibly. Hereupon Catharine and Henry started, taking with them Alençon, and leaving Navarre with the King. On the frontier of the Palatinate they were met by the Elector's youngest son, Christopher, and Count Lewis of Nassau. Catharine's mind was again turning in the direction of intervention, this time less ostentatious, in the Netherlands. She also wished to guard against the danger of another invasion of France by reiters, such as John Casimir would be only too ready to conduct. Carefully as Alençon was watched by his mother, he managed at parting to exchange a word or two with Lewis, when promises of mutual assistance passed. The Queen-Mother rejoined the King at Rheims, and on the road thence to Paris, Navarre and Alençon received a secret message from Lewis, urging them to escape and join him. The Queen of Navarre, getting wind of the plan, informed her mother; and the two Princes were more closely watched than ever. Charles, who had intended to summon a meeting of the Estates to Compiègne, abandoned his intention, and went to Saint-Germain.
Intrigues of every kind went on during the first weeks of 1574. Guise and Montmorency had met as friends ; but Catharine contrived to set them at odds again by devising, perhaps in concert with the Cardinal of Lorraine, a story that Montmorency, one of the least rancorous of men, had directed a member of his household to assassinate Guise ; upon which Montmorency retired to Chantilly. Alençon wanted the office of lieutenant-general, vacated by Anjou ; which the King refused to give him. Meanwhile Thoré and Turenne, with the assent of La Noue, had been arranging for a general rising, to take place on Shrove-Tuesday, February 23. As part of the scheme, Alençon and Navarre were to be got away from the Court. Thus began the Fifth War.
The first part of the plan was punctually executed. Throwing out
The Queen-Mother lost no time in meeting this new storm. Within a few days three armies were in readiness. One, under the Duke of Montpensier, was to check La Noue in the West ; another, under his eldest son, to pacify Dauphiné, always a dangerous quarter from its proximity to Savoy; while the third, under Matignon, was destined for Normandy, where Montgomery, who had landed on March 11, was overrunning the Côtentin. Languedoc was more perplexing. Damville, who governed there with almost viceregal authority, was inclined, like the rest of his House, to the Politique side ; it was almost as dangerous to let him alone as to interfere with him. Meanwhile he was left to pacify his province as he best could. The war was most vigorously conducted in Normandy. On May 25, Montgomery, after a heroic defence against vastly superior numbers, was captured in Domfront. He surrendered under a promise of personal safety, but Catharine, vindictive for once in her life, insisted on his execution.
At Vincennes a fresh plot for the escape of the Princes was brewing. Many persons were involved in it, and all kinds of wild designs were imputed to them, though, as a matter of fact, its objects seem to have been much the same as those of the former one. This time the chief organiser was La Molle, in company with a Count Annibale Coconato, a Piedmontese adventurer of the worst type, who had for some time, it would seem, been acting as a Spanish spy about the French Court. The
To Damville Catharine was less conciliatory. Immediately after Charles' death she had sent again to him confirming the order for his arrest, of which he appears now to have heard for the first time, and ordering him to give up his government to the Admiral de Villars, and the command of his troops to the Prince Dauphin. For himself, he was advised to go to Savoy, and await the arrival of the King. His answer was to summon the Estates of Languedoc to Montpellier (Toulouse, the capital, .being bitterly hostile to him), to extend the truce for his own government to the end of the year, and to receive a deputation from the assembly at Millau, where Condé had just been declared the head of the party. For the next three years or so Damville worked entirely with the Huguenots, though never like his two younger brothers quitting the Roman Church.
On receiving the news of his brother's death, Henry made all haste to leave Poland. Evading the Polish nobles by a nocturnal flight he rode hard with a few followers to the Silesian frontier. The route by which he had left France was now barred to him, with Condé and Mem active in western Germany and the Duke of Bouillon at Sedan in full sympathy with the Huguenots. Accordingly he passed through Vienna, Venice, and Ferrara to Turin, whither he summoned Damville to confer with him. Though their meeting was friendly, and the cause of the Protestants was pleaded by the King's aunt, the Duchess of Savoy, no important concessions could be obtained from him. On September 5 he entered his own kingdom at Pont-Beauvoisin, where he was met by Navarre and Alençon. The Queen-Mother had remained at Bourgoin, on the road from Lyons, and on the next day they all entered that city together. The Duke of Savoy had escorted Henry thus far, and before he returned had obtained the retrocession of Pignerol and other fortresses now in French keeping. On September 18 the Duchess died. On All Saints' Day the King, his brother, and Navarre received the Communion together at Lyons, proceeding afterwards to Avignon, where they took part in a procession of Flagellants. The Duchess of Savoy's death was soon followed by those of the Cardinal of Lorraine, and, on the opposite side, of the Duke of Bouillon.
In the west, after the cessation of the armistice, Montpensier captured Fontenay and Lusignan, and pressed Rochelle hard during the winter. But the chief centre of activity was in the south. On November 3 Damville issued a manifesto calling not only for religious toleration, but for a general administrative reform, coupled with the usual demand for the expulsion of foreigners (among whom the Guises were indicated) from office. For the settlement of religion a Council was to be called, while the States-General should be convened to deal with the political
That reign opened unpropitiously. Damville, left with none to oppose him save the Duke of Uzès, himself a Protestant, though a personal enemy of the Marshal, took towns almost as he pleased. The King's disposition seemed to be entirely changed. Instead of the reputed victor of Jarnac and Moncontour, the hardy campaigner, the ruthless accomplice in massacre, men saw an effeminate youth, devoted at best to religious exercises, leaving business mostly to his mother, and languidly submitting to the influence of a gang of worthless young courtiers. Yet, though enervated in mind and body by self-indulgence, he was not devoid of shrewdness. Throughout his reign, though perfectly aware of the aid which, at all events during the first years of it, Elizabeth was giving to his rebels, he maintained the alliance with England. One of his first acts was to take steps for the continuance of the " league " of 1572 with that country ; and, in spite of some opposition on the English side due to the offence caused by the Massacre, it was duly ratified on April 30, 1575. At this very time Wilkes was on a mission to the Elector Palatine, with the view of suggesting to him the importance of assisting the Huguenots. If he would find the men, Elizabeth would guarantee 50,000 crowns towards the expenses. From certain expressions in Wilkes' instructions she seems to have hoped that such a show of force would bring the King to terms ; in which case there need be no actual breach of her treaty. The Palatine replied that 50,000 crowns would not go far. He asked for 150,000 ; and undertook not to conclude peace till Calais should be restored to the Queen. She did not provide the whole sum asked for, but in the course of the summer a considerable force of reiters was levied, and entered France later in the year under Thoré and John Casimir.
In March arrived deputies from the various Huguenot centres with proposals for peace. The principal points required were, as usual, the observance of the Edict of January, with the addition-which henceforth
The English ambassador's reports during the summer describe a state of complete disorganisation throughout the country. Paris was full of brawls and murders ; no money could be got for State purposes ; desultory fighting went on in the provinces. The capture and execution of Montbrun in July did nothing to loosen the grip of the Huguenots on Dauphiné; La Noue failed in an attempt on Niort, but captured Benon, a stronghold commanding the route by which supplies reached Rochelle from Poitou, and extended a hand to Turenne ; the whole of Périgord was reported to be in arms. The King began to suspect a fresh attempt of his brother to escape, this time with the connivance of their mother, who seems to have been pleading the cause of her youngest son. If the brothers were to become hopelessly estranged, the game would be wholly in the hands of the Guises ; and this she was determined to prevent. Nor did she wish to see the dormant negotiations for his marriage with the Queen of England and with them the English alliance altogether fall through.
Matters were brought to a head by the escape of Monsieur on the night of September 15. Guitry and other gentlemen joined him; and by the time he reached Dreux he had a following of three- or four-hundred.
Consternation reigned in the Court ; the Queen-Mother started to try persuasion ; but before she reached Dreux the fugitive had issued a proclamation announcing the loyalty of his intentions and his desire for nothing but the reform of abuses, and was on his way to join La Noue and Turenne in the West. Immediately on the arrival of the news at Strassburg, Condé, though mistrustful of Anjou as an ally, ordered Thoré and Clervant to start at once with such force as he had. Guise, who was watching the passes of the Vosges, but owing to the disaffection of Champagne, with an inadequate force, fell back before him, keeping on the right flank of the invaders. On October 9 both armies were about sixty miles from Paris, Guise at Fismes, Thoré at la Fere-en-Tardenois. Thence Thoré turned south to cross the Seine, but by this time the King had succeeded in sending considerable reinforcements under Biron and Retz ; and Guise with a force double that of the invaders drove them back to the Marne at Dormans. After a sharp fight, in which Guise himself received a severe wound in the face, of which he bore the scar to his dying day, the reiters were routed. Clervant was taken prisoner, but Thoré with some 1200 horsemen made his way to the Seine, which he crossed at Nogent, and after cutting up a force under Martinengo at Montargis joined Monsieur at Vatan, having effected his main object in drawing the royal force eastward.
Meanwhile the Queen-Mother, more vexed, as reported, than she had ever been in her life, continued her pursuit of her son ; and on September 30, being at Chambord, he came to meet her in the neighbourhood of Blois. His conduct during this period was regarded as discreet, and Catharine was willing to agree to his terms. The first of these was the release of Montmorency ; and on October 3 he and Cosse were allowed to go to their own houses on parole, which was presently exchanged for complete freedom. Their services were at once required to conduct the negotiations with Monsieur. Dale considered that the situation was not unlike that of the Wars of the Bien public, but with the difference that there was now no Louis XI alive. Monsieur continued his retreat to Chatillon-sur-Indre, whence he returned as far as Loches for another meeting with his mother. No conclusion was arrived at, and he went further into Poitou, while she repaired to a house of the Duke of Montpensier's at Champigny. On November 8 a truce, to last till about Christmas, was agreed to at Marigny. Certain towns were to be granted to Monsieur, and a large contribution was to be made towards the pay of Conde's reiters. Montpensier, Montmorency, and Cosse were appointed to execute the terms, which were ratified at Champigny on the 21st. Anjou at once notified the Queen of England, somewhat apologetically. At the same time he expressed to Walsingham a hope, which the King in a subsequent dispatch endorsed, for a successful issue to the marriage negotiation.
From truce to peace was however yet a long way. The Queen-
Mother might " labour for it tooth and nail," but Condé was no party to the arrangement, and had no confidence in the King's good faith. Nor was it easy to persuade the reiters to forgo the facilities for a profitable campaign offered by the defenceless state of France. The Huguenots thought that the presence of their chief with a powerful army would be a better guarantee than any number of towns in the hands of Monsieur. On the other hand, the Pope was not expected to approve ; while the Guises and the Italians were against any sort of peace. Then the people of Paris, though desirous of peace, objected to being taxed for the benefit of the reiters ; and some of the towns assigned to Monsieur demurred strongly to being thus disposed of. When the year ended no one had much hope.
About the beginning of January, 1576, Condé, Méru, and John Casimir entered France near Sedan. They marched rapidly through Champagne, Burgundy, and the Bourbonnais, Mayenne helplessly watching them ; they reached Vichy about the beginning of February. The King and his mother, who returned to Paris on January 25, fortified the capital as best they could and sent to Germany for troops. Anjou, who was lying in the Limousin, began to move eastward on learning that Condé had reached the centre of France. On March 11 the two forces joined at Villefranche (Allier).
The beginning of February was marked by another incident, which, though it created some perturbation, did not at once affect the course of events. On February 3 the King of Navarre, under pretext of a sporting expedition, escaped from the Court with a few friends, and riding hard reached Alençon in time to attend the Protestant service on Sunday the 5th. A few days later, at Tours, he publicly abjured Catholicism. No attempt was made to bring him back ; on the contrary, his sister was allowed to join him, with anyone else who cared to do so; and his personal property was sent after him. Contrary to the general expectation, and indeed to an intention expressed by himself, he did not join Condé and Anjou, but remained in Poitou. He sent, however, his own demands, to be forwarded with those of the confederates, including a request to the King to aid him in recovering from Spain the part of his kingdom annexed by Ferdinand the Catholic.
The armies, numbering some 30,000 men, lay at Moulins till the end of March. John Casimir, who never in his life trusted Frenchmen, least of all French Catholics, took up his quarters in a house at La Guerche, belonging to the Duke of Nevers, with his army between the Allier and the Loire, and set to work to throw a bridge over the river below that point. From Moulins a memorial in ninety-three articles was sent in which the demands of the Huguenots and their Politique allies were embodied. They comprised the usual requests for freedom of religion, subject however to the prohibition of any but the two at present professed ; for indemnity on account of acts committed in the war ; for
The Queen of England was in communication with both John Casimir and Anjou, and in April sent over Randolph to watch the course of events, especially to find out whether the King had any designs on Holland and Zealand. Montmorency, much broken in health from his imprisonment, went to Moulins; and the Queen-Mother hovered between that place and Paris, finally establishing herself near Sens. The Huguenots continued to levy contributions on Berry and the Nivernais, and some of Conde's horsemen pushed nearly to Montereau. The King was ready enough to grant peace, which was delayed mainly by Casimir's suspicions. Finally, terms were agreed to on Easter Eve, April 21, and ratified by the Edict of Beaulieu on May 6. They were the best on the whole that the Protestants had hitherto obtained. The exercise of their religion was allowed everywhere, save within two leagues of Paris ; in no case were private houses to be searched ; chambres mi-parties were to be set up ; amnesty was carried back as far as the negotiations for the surrender of Havre in 1562 ; eight towns of refuge were granted. Certain other concessions, sworn to by the King, were not included in the Edict ; of these the most important were the grant of La Charité to Monsieur and that of Péronne to Condé. The peace was known as " the Peace of Monsieur." Casimir obtained promises of lands and a pension from the King, the town of Château-Thierry from Monsieur, various honours and dignities, and pay for his men. The summer was, however, far advanced before they were got out of France ; and a longer time elapsed before they saw their pay.
It became at once apparent that the peace was not destined to last. The Guises refused from the first to be parties to it. The Edict was not published in any Parlement save that of Paris; and at Paris and elsewhere the clergy preached a " boycott " against the Huguenots. Persuasion and intimidation were alike resorted to. At Rouen the archbishop, Cardinal de Bourbon, with the most benevolent intentions, entered a Protestant place of worship, and mounting the pulpit began to address an exhortation to those present, only to see the congregation disperse in some panic. Guise hanged two Protestant captains serving under him. Near Bordeaux Protestants were massacred. Picardy entirely refused to receive Condé ; and Humières, the Governor of Peronne, who had a private quarrel with the Montmorencys, founded a league of the province for his exclusion, which being adopted as a precedent by other provinces, rapidly developed into the formidable organisation
The States General had been convoked to Blois, and held their first meeting on December 6. The elections had been looked after by the Guises; and the deputies for the nobility and the third Estate were almost exclusively such as were opposed to the Edict. The cahiers or memorials sent up by the provincial Estates were without exception adverse to toleration. The fears of Du Plessis seemed likely to be better justified than the more sanguine anticipations of La Noue, who had spent the autumn in efforts to maintain the good understanding between the King, Monsieur, and the Huguenot chiefs. His head was still full of a scheme of intervention in the Netherlands ; to which Monsieur, it was thought with the King's assent, was again turning his thoughts.
On Sunday, October 7, Dale had presented his successor, Sir Amyas Poulet, to the King and Queen-Mother. Both ambassadors received assurances that the ill-treatment of Protestants in Paris should be checked, accompanied by friendly phrases as to the " amity " between the countries. Yet the pendulum was undoubtedly beginning to swing towards Spain. In the latter part of October Don John of Austria, passing incognito through France to take up the government of the Netherlands, had seen the Queen-Mother at Chenonceau and Guise at Joinville. About the same time La Noue had found it expedient to quit the Court, his views in regard to the Low Countries having brought him into disfavour. Approach to Spain necessarily involved coolness towards England ; and while in May, 1576, immediately after the peace, Dale had reported that "her Majesty's friends are much increased in countenance and force," just a year later Poulet writes, " England never had fewer friends at the French Court than at this present."
The Estates declared almost unanimously in favour of one religion only; and on January 1, 1577, the King announced in their assembly that the edict had been extorted from him by force, and that he did not intend to keep it. The Huguenots at once prepared for war, which indeed had been already begun with the capture by de Luynes of
Pont-Saint-Esprit on the Rhone, whence Thoré had to fly precipitately. Their position was far less favourable than it had been nine months before. Monsieur, whose fidelity to his late allies had long been suspected, had on January 30, in the assembly of nobles at Blois, in company with the Guises and Nevers (who had lately spoken of him as " hated by one side and not trusted by the other "), signed a formal promise to aid the King. He carried it out by leading an army to besiege La Charité, which had refused to admit him. It capitulated in May ; but this did not prevent a general slaughter. Thence Monsieur proceeded to Issoire, the capture of which was attended with even greater cruelty.
The chief operations of the Sixth War, however, took place in the west. The Duke of Mayenne was in command of the King's forces here, Guise being as usual sent to Champagne. Mayenne took Tonnay-Charente and Marans in May, and proceeded to lay siege to Brouage, a town commanding the entrance to the harbour of Rochelle, which La Noue had fortified and Condé garrisoned. The siege was not conducted with much energy, and it was not till August that the place surrendered on terms which in this instance were duly kept. Rochelle was at the same time rather loosely invested by a fleet under the younger Lansac, whose main exploit, performed after peace was concluded, was to capture some English merchantmen, no doubt bringing supplies to the town-an act construed in England as the sign of a hostile combination between France and Spain. In the south the Huguenots had lost their ally, Damville, who after at first proposing a scheme for calling in the Turk to make a diversion on the coast, subsequently quarrelled with the Protestants, and in May declared for the King. His brothers, Méru and Thoré, however, were staunch to the cause. Elizabeth, who all the summer was in constant communication with Casimir, was at last persuaded to send a sum of £20,000 to enable him to levy a fresh force for the aid of the Huguenots. In spite of Poulet's diplomatic evasions and denials, the Queen-Mother was aware of what was going on, and knew that Navarre had no funds to levy mercenaries for his own defence. To this more than to anything was due the prompt opening of negotiations after the capture of Brouage.
Navarre, whose heart was never in the war, had begun to treat in June, almost before Conde's envoys to the Queen of England and Casimir had even left Rochelle. On September 15 the Treaty was concluded at Bergerac ; the terms being slightly less favourable to the Huguenots than those of the previous year, but forming on the whole a satisfactory modus vivendi, which sufficed to preserve at least official peace, with one trifling interval, for the next eight years. The relations with England also improved. The Queen had indeed to arrest some French ships in English ports in order to secure the release of those taken by Lansac ; but neither side had any desire, in spite of Poulet's inveterate suspicion
As usual, the Peace of Bergerac was followed by complaints that its terms were not being properly carried out, and by sporadic outbreaks of actual hostilities. To put a stop to these, in August, 1578, Catharine, accompanied by several of the principal Councillors, and by the Queen of Navarre, who had not seen her husband since his departure from the Court, started on a prolonged tour through the south. During the winter conferences were held at Nérac, at which the two parties met for the first time as almost equal Powers ; and in February articles explaining and confirming the provisions of the last Edict were drawn up and agreed to by both sides. The Catholics were however far from being content. At a Council in January, 1580, we find the Catholic clergy, Cardinal Birago and the Bishops of Lyons and Valence, strongly in favour of renewing the war. The laymen were opposed ; and when Malassise suggested that it might be necessary to provide funds from vacant benefices and tithes, the Bishop of Lyons indignantly denounced the proposal as " an heretical opinion." In spite of the lack of funds war broke out in the spring. It began with the seizure by Navarre of Cahors, a town which formed part of his wife's dowry, but which he had never been allowed to occupy. Its capture was a remarkable feat of arms, involving several days' street-fighting. Biron was sent into Guienne, but the King had no wish to crush Navarre and leave the Guises predominant. The remainder of the war in the south is a record of desultory skirmishing and attempts on insignificant fortresses. In the north the only operation of any importance was the siege of La Fere in Picardy. Condé, chafing at his continued exclusion from the government of his province, had taken possession of the town. He afterwards went to seek help in England ; but Elizabeth had other plans in hand. The town stood a short and not very vigorous siege, finally capitulating
So early as 1577 overtures from the Netherlands had been made to Anjou ; and in the summer of that year his sister the Queen of Navarre, under the pretext of a visit to Spa, had passed through Artois and Hainault, and had exercised her fascinations on some of the nobles of those provinces, with a view to securing their interest in his behalf. By the middle of 1578 his plans were generally known, and generally disapproved ; sincerely by the King of Spain and the Pope, ostensibly by the French King and his mother. In England a notion prevailed that the League had a hand in it ; and Edward Stafford was sent to France to dissuade the government from furthering the scheme ; shortly afterwards Cobham and Walsingham, who were about to go on an errand of mediation to the Low Countries, were instructed to do what they could to hinder the reception of Anjou. Before they started, however, this part of their instructions was cancelled. The Queen had another scheme in her head, which without directly thwarting Monsieur's plans would enable her in a great measure to regulate his movements. Stafford brought back a letter from the Queen-Mother, accepting in very cordial terms a suggestion that the suspended marriage negotiations should be renewed. Envoys from the suitor himself quickly followed; he paid more than one visit in person to England, and in 1581 a commission composed of many of the most notable persons in France went over to arrange the terms. It is difficult to suppose that Elizabeth ever seriously intended to marry a dissolute and ill-conditioned youth who might, so far as age went, have been her son ; but she kept him dangling for many years, until his plans for sovereignty in the Low Countries were obviously doomed to failure, and all danger of the alternative marriage with an Infanta of Spain was at an end. His doings in the Low Countries hardly concern the progress of the religious conflict in France, except in so far as they served to draw off a large part of the fighting power of the Huguenots, and kept ill-feeling alive between France and Spain.
The political history of the years following the Peace of Fleix is of extreme complexity, but shows the growth of a pronounced hostility between France and Spain. Anjou's enterprise, and, in a less degree, the coquetting of the Queen-Mother with Don Antonio, the claimant for the throne of Portugal against Philip, had led to considerable animosity on the part of the latter towards the French Court. In February, 1582, we even find Cardinal Granvelle, who three months before had seemed in favour of the marriage of Anjou with the Infanta, hinting at the possibility of an alliance with England to chastise France. Overtures were more than once made to the King of Navarre ; and on one occasion at least reported by him to Catharine. He was himself by no means in entire harmony with the extreme section of his own party,
Among the negotiations and combinations, actual or attempted, of these years of intrigue, there was one antagonism which nothing could reconcile. However the sides might at any moment be made up, Henry of Navarre and Henry of Guise were always opposed to one another. There was no personal antipathy between the two, such as seems to have existed between Guise and the King-indeed they had been friends in their younger days-nor was the antagonism based, it may safely be said, on any fervour of religious conviction on either side. Yet these two were instinctively felt to be the natural leaders of the contending causes ; and neither, it was thought, deemed himself secure so long as the other lived. As soon as Anjou's death had simplified the issues, and the head of the Huguenot party had become the next in succession to the throne, the first object of the Leaguers was, as will be seen, to legalise their position by securing, not, indeed, after the fashion of the earlier Huguenots, the person, but at least the adhesion of the King ; and to Guise was entrusted the management of the operation.
In November, 1582, we find Navarre reminding the King of his former offers to assist in annoying the King of Spain ; curiously enough, at the very same moment Henry was being urged by the papal Nuncio not to forget his amity with that Power. Anjou's treacherous attempt, two months later, to seize and sack Antwerp, though baffled by the promptitude of the citizens, while it terminated his chances of success in those parts, still further embittered the relations between France and Spain ; for, in spite of protestations, Philip was well enough aware of Henry's complicity in his brother's adventure. It was doubtless as a result of this fresh aggravation that the overtures already mentioned
During this time the Guises and Navarre had been watching the course of affairs and endeavouring to adapt their policy to its various turns. When it became clear that Anjou would neither succeed in the Low Countries, nor marry the Queen of England, little time was lost in reviving the relations with natural allies which his enterprises had somewhat interrupted. In June, 1583, Ségur-Pardailhan was sent by Navarre on a mission, first to England, then to the Prince of Orange, and later to the German Princes. The Guises on their side, while actively intriguing with Spain, and forming plans for an invasion of England, were careful to keep in touch with the French Court. In the summer of 1583 we hear of an ingenious suggestion on the part of Guise and Mayenne that the former should take charge of an army, to be levied by the Queen-Mother, on the frontier of Flanders, while the latter should find the money for a fleet and effect a diversion by sea in favour of Don Antonio.
Catharine was, however, too doubtful as to the ultimate destination of these forces to accede to the proposal at that time. Guise remained about the Court, scheming in silence. " The Duke of Guise," wrote the English ambassador, " saith little, and then he commonly thinketh the most." He had secured the friendship of Joyeuse, the rival in the King's favour of Epernon. These two young noblemen, both of whom had recently received dukedoms, may be called the last, as they were the most able of the long succession of mignons who exercised so disastrous an influence over Henry III. Joyeuse was of the two most in favour with the Queen-Mother. It was thought (to quote the English ambassador again) that she and the Duke of Guise "would be glad to hoist the other out."
The condition of the country during these years offers a picture of demoralisation hardly to be matched in the records of any period. Peace nominally existed between the two factions, but acts of private war were continually taking place. Indeed for some time after the
Treaty of Fleix Mayenne was carrying on avowed hostilities in Dauphiné. The Catholics seized Périgueux in the summer of 1581 ; in 1583 there were risings in Languedoc. Duels and assassinations were matters of daily occurrence. The profligacy of the upper classes, as attested by unprejudiced witnesses, was appalling ; nor was there much to choose in this respect between Catholics and Huguenots, though of the few serious-minded men who have left any record the majority are perhaps to be found among either the Protestants or the Politiques. Offices of every sort were freely bought and sold; indeed they were hardly to be obtained without payment, and justice suffered accordingly. The King, who, though himself one of the worst offenders, was in his better moments neither stupid nor callous, saw and deplored the disorder into which his realm had fallen, and made spasmodic efforts for reform. But the life he led was not of a kind to brace his will, while his own whims and the luxury of his favourites demanded never-ending supplies of money. The sale of offices went on, necessaries of life were subject to heavy and arbitrary taxation, public debts were unpaid. Swiss envoys, sent to demand the pay long overdue to their countrymen who had served in the royal armies, were told that the King had no money, though a million had just been spent on the celebration of Joyeuse's marriage with a sister of the Queen.
Anjou's death, followed a few weeks later by the assassination of the Prince of Orange, cleared the situation materially. No life, except that of the childless Henry III, now stood between Navarre and the Crown of France. The death of William left him without question the most prominent champion of Protestantism on the Continent, while it removed the leading advocate of French intervention in the Netherlands. At the same time the conjunction of events forced Elizabeth's hand. The fiction of amity with her " good brother " the King of Spain was worn very thin ; while with the life of her suitor her great asset in negotiating a French alliance had disappeared. She made one more effort, sending an embassy in February, 1585, to invest Henry III with the Garter, at the time when a deputation from the Netherlands was in Paris with a last appeal to him to assume the sovereignty. For a moment the King seemed inclined to respond favourably, and returned a spirited answer to Spanish threats. But the activity of the League left him no choice, and the offer was declined. Before the end of the year Leicester, with an English force, had landed in the Low Countries.
Before these events, however, a definite alliance had been formed between the chiefs of the League and the King of Spain. On January 2, 1585, a treaty had been signed at Joinville, by which the succession to the Crown was vested in the Cardinal of Bourbon, to the exclusion of Navarre and Condé, his elder brothers' sons; Philip promised a monthly subsidy of 50,000 crowns to the funds of the party ; and neither ally was to treat independently with the King of France.
Thus the League assumed the position of a sovereign Power, while the opposing forces were once more clearly divided, and in alliance with Spain confronted the Huguenots, supported by such aid as England could overtly or covertly afford them. The struggle, though localised for the moment, really embraced a good deal more than French interests. As the King of Navarre's secretary wrote to Walsingham, " France is the stage on which is being played a strange tragedy in which all Christendom has a share. Many persons will come on, if not in the earlier acts, at any rate in the later."
One important question still remained unsolved : which side would the King of France himself take ? Henry's personal and political preferences drew him, and in a less degree his mother (who seems to have had some scheme for the devolution of the Crown to the children of one of her daughters, either of Spain or of Lorraine), towards Navarre and the English alliance. Yet he was, after all, " the eldest son of the Church," and as such could hardly join openly with those whom the Church regarded as her deadly foes.
At this juncture an event took place which at first seemed likely to prove of considerable advantage to the League. In April, 1585, Gregory XIII died, and was succeeded by Cardinal di Montalto, who owed his promotion to Pius V. He took the name of Sixtus V. Gregory had resisted the pressure of the Leaguers to give a formal sanction to their proceedings, and would go no further than a vaguely expressed verbal approval. " Neither bull nor brief will the League get from me," he is reported to have said not long before his death, " until I can see further into its game." Sixtus was at first in doubt. Much as he disapproved of heresy, he was little better disposed towards rebellion ; and, though he had no great esteem for Henry III, he, like most Italians, had no desire to see the power of Spain increased. Finally, however, he yielded so far to the persuasions of the Duke of Nevers, as to send a brief to the Cardinal of Bourbon. As yet he would not issue the desired bull, nor proceed to the excommunication and deposition of Navarre.
Henry III himself, throughout the latter part of 1584 and the beginning of the following year, was struggling as best he could against the toils that were closing round him. As soon as it became clear that his brother's life was drawing to a close, he had sent Épernon to Gascony to try if Navarre might by any means be induced to cut the ground from under the feet of the League by returning to the Church. There were divided counsels at the Béarnese Court ; but in the end Mornay and the stricter party prevailed. Navarre offered the King all the aid in his power against the disturbers of the realm, but declined either to change his creed or to come to Court. He was under no illusion as to his own position, and was taking his own precautions.
Towards the end of March, 1585, the King published an edict forbidding all armed assemblies ; which was in a few days followed by a
On July 19 effect was given to the Treaty of Nemours by an edict, revoking all that had preceded, and reducing the Protestants to the position of a proscribed and outlawed sect. The King did not disguise the fact that he had yielded only to superior force. His hatred of the Guises was only stimulated by his enforced surrender. To the Cardinal of Bourbon he said, " I signed the former edicts against my conscience, but with a good will ; this one is in conformity with my conscience, but against my will." He left the palace of the Parlement with a gloomy countenance, returning no man's salutation.
Even the most experienced of the King's councillors now inclined to war ; but first one more appeal was made to Navarre. Three days after the publication of the edict, Bishop Lenoncourt and Secretary Brulart went on this rather hopeless errand. The King's idea, however, was to gain time by any means, in the hope that either the resources of the League might be exhausted, or that their high-handed proceedings might show the real value of their affectation of concern for the people's welfare. Navarre himself had recently issued a skilfully worded remonstrance, contrasting the conduct of the House of Bourbon with that of the half-foreign Lorrainers, reasserting his loyalty and his willingness to be instructed in religion, and ending characteristically enough with a personal challenge to Guise. On receiving news of the edict he issued a further protest, putting his case with irresistible force.
But the time for paper warfare or peaceful negotiation had gone by. An army under Mayenne, with Matignon as second in command, speedily set forth for Guyenne ; Biron was to command in Saintonge, Joyeuse in Gascony, while Epernon received the government of Provence. In this way the King could to some extent control the operations of the League in the south. Languedoc was left in the hands of Montmorency, who was too strong to be meddled with ; though some friendly letters addressed to him about this time by Sixtus seem to show that efforts were being made to win him over. Guise took charge of the east, Mercœur of Britanny and Poitou, Elbeuf of Normandy, Aumale of Picardy. The " War of the Three Henrys " had begun.
The news of the Treaty of Nemours decided the Pope to take a step to which in spite of Spanish urgency he had hitherto hesitated to commit himself. On September 9 a Bull was launched declaring Navarre and Condé incapable of succeeding to the Crown of France, depriving them of their estates, and absolving their vassals from allegiance. The effect of this manifesto was not wholly that intended. It was generally regarded as an unprecedented interference with French rights and customs ; the Parlement refused to publish it, and addressed a protest on the subject to the King. Navarre himself appealed from it to the Peers of France, giving the lie direct to " Monsieur Sixtus, self-styled Pope, saving his Holiness," and hoping to visit on him and his successors the insult done to the King of France and all the Parlements
The winter of 1585-6 was occupied by Mayenne and Matignon with small captures. Navarre wisely confined himself to guerilla warfare, relieving places that were hard pressed, cutting off the enemy's stragglers, intercepting his supplies, and generally baffling the slow Mayenne by the rapidity of his movements. In the spring Biron arrived in Poitou with the intention of undertaking the siege of Marans, a place commanding the approaches to Rochelle on the north much as Brouage did on the south. Navarre at once hastened to Marans, and fortified it so effectually that when Biron appeared before it in June a short skirmish (in which he himself was wounded) showed him that the place could only be taken by regular siege. Meanwhile the negotiations of Ségur, who was now aided by Clervant, and backed by a promise of money from the Queen of England, had been so far successful that a powerful German force was set on foot.
At this juncture the Queen-Mother undertook the last, and not the least courageous, of her many journeys in the interests of peace. The King, still fretting under the yoke of the League, had invited Navarre to send some confidential person to the Court with whom he might discuss possible means of reconciliation. Rosny, afterwards known as the Duke of Sully, was chosen for this purpose. He had several interviews with the King and his mother, and found that the main obstacle was still religion. The envoy argued that by changing his creed Navarre would bring only himself to the King's side, whereas, if this point could be waived, the whole forces of the Huguenots would be at the King's disposal, and with such levies as he could make in the Catholic States of Germany and Switzerland, would be amply sufficient to suppress the League. An influential deputation of German Princes and nobles,
Rumour had not exaggerated the threatening position of affairs in the capital. A revolutionary government had been secretly formed, called " the Sixteen," as representing the sixteen Sections of Paris. The leaders at first were mostly lawyers ; Etienne de Neuilly, President of the Cour des Aides, who had attained that office by arranging for the murder of his predecessor on St Bartholomew's Day ; his son-in-law, Michel Marteau de la Chapelle, a Master in the Chambre des Comptes ; Jean (known as Bussi) le Clerc, a proctor in thé Parlement ; and Charles Hotman, collector to the Archbishop of Paris, brother to a more famous man, the eminent Protestant publicist. This body was in constant communication with the Spanish ambassador Mendoza, and took its orders from the Duke of Guise. One of their schemes was the seizure of Boulogne, with a view to facilitating the operations of the fleet which the King of Spain was fitting out for the invasion of England. This would have the further advantage of affording an easier entrance for a Spanish army into France than was offered by the route through Guyenne. Plans were also formed for the seizure of the King's person. Fortunately there was a traitor in their camp, in the person of one Nicholas Poulain, a superior police official, whom they proposed to use as an instrument of their schemes. This man, while ostensibly acceding to their requirements, contrived to keep the Chancellor Chiverny and the King regularly informed of all that went on ; and the plots were for the present frustrated. The advance of the German army held Guise occupied in Champagne ; and the King himself presently marched with a force under his own command to take part in repelling them.
Marans fell in February, 1587; but Navarre lost no time in providing for the safety of the Huguenots' vital point in the west. Pushing boldly
One week later the Germans under the command of Fabian von Dohna, who, having been headed off from the Loire by the King's army, had made their way as far as Vimory near Montargis, were badly shaken by a spirited night attack delivered by the Duke of Guise. They pushed on, however, as far as Auneau near Chartres, where Guise again fell upon them and routed them utterly ; though the French contingent, under Châtillon, Coligny's eldest son, fought its way back to Languedoc.
The King returned to Paris for Christmas, 1587; while Guise, having pursued the remains of the German army as far as Montbéliard, retired to Nancy. Here future plans were discussed; the immediate upshot being that in February, 1588, the heads of the League, emboldened by Guise's recent exploits, presented a memorial to the King, insolently demanding that he should purge his Court and Council of all persons obnoxious to themselves, publish the decrees of Trent, and confiscate the estates of all Huguenots. Henry, as usual, temporised ; but events were moving rapidly in Paris. The Sixteen were entirely under Guise's orders, given through his agent Mayneville. Nothing except Poulain's timely informations frustrated the continual plots against the King's life or liberty. Epernon, who had succeeded Joyeuse in the government of Normandy, secured most of that province, with the goodwill of the Huguenots. Less success attended Secretary Villeroy's half-hearted attempts to detach Orleans and its governor Entragues from the League. The King summoned 4000 Swiss first to Lagny, then into the suburbs of the capital ; and the Parisians in alarm sent to the Duke of Guise, imploring his presence. At Soissons he was met by Bellièvre, bearing the King's command not to enter the city-a command which Guise, it was believed with the connivance of the Queen-Mother, chose to disregard. On May 9 he entered Paris amid the applause of the citizens, and proceeded to her house. She at once sent word to the King, who was much agitated, but rejected the proposal of some of those present that the Duke should be put to death on his entry into the Louvre. Presently, Guise himself arrived, accompanying the Queen-Mother. Henry received him with words of reprimand, but allowed him
Immediately on receiving news of the doings at Paris, Elizabeth had sent Thomas Bodley on a confidential errand with condolences and offers of assistance. Henry III replied gratefully, but said that many of his own subjects had offered their services, and that he had no doubt of being able with his own forces to chastise his enemies. The world should see that he would not, as Stafford reported, " put up unavenged with so manifest indignities." As a matter of fact, the value of English aid was just then uncertain. The Armada was ready to sail ; and for the moment Henry was once more inclined to seek an escape from his difficulties in an understanding with Spain. The Legate Morosini, with the full approval of the Pope and the cooperation of Mendoza, suggested an alliance between the two great Catholic Powers. Philip was
On October 16 the King opened the session of the Estates with a speech betraying clearly enough his animosity towards the faction which for the moment was his master, and which held a vast preponderance in the assembly he was addressing. The speakers for the Three Estates, the Archbishop of Bourges, the Baron de Senece, and La Chapelle-Marteau were all ardent Leaguers. The sessions of the Estates continued for the next two months, Guise taking steps for the confirmation of his appointment as lieutenant-general, which would give him supreme command of the forces, and the King revolving in his mind the scheme on which he had been bent since his humiliation in Paris. The Duke of Nevers, who was in command against the Huguenots in the west, was not a keen partisan of the League, and made no effort to press Navarre hard, or to weaken forces of which the King might yet have need. Soon after the destruction of the Spanish Armada informal communications seem to have passed between the Kings of France and Navarre through Epernon, who had retired to Angoulême. Finally Henry III deemed himself strong enough to act. Early in the morning of December 23 he sent for Guise and the Cardinal. The Duke went alone into the King's antechamber, where his body-guard were posted. He had hardly entered the room when he was stabbed and, unable to draw his sword, fell pierced with many wounds almost on the threshold of the royal closet. He wanted a few days of completing his thirty-eighth year. The Cardinal was arrested at the same time, and put to death the next day. The bodies of the two brothers were burnt, and their ashes thrown into the Loire, lest any relics of them should be preserved. The Cardinal of Bourbon, and the young Prince of Joinville (now become Duke of Guise), were arrested ; together with the Archbishop of Lyons, La Chapelle-Marteau, and other prominent Leaguers.
Another, if less direct, victim of these fatal days was the Queen-Mother. She had been ailing for some time, and had already taken to her bed when her son in person brought her the news. According to one version he said, " Now I am King of France ; I have killed the King of Paris." " God grant it may be so, my son," was the answer ; "but have you made sure of the other towns?" On January 5, 1589, she passed away. She had been an indefatigable worker in the cause of peace in her adopted country. She had, however, had to contend with causes of strife that reached deeper than she could fathom. The result was that, though virtuous herself, she assented to and utilised the profligacy of perhaps the most profligate Court in history, and, with no natural tendency to cruelty, has come down to posterity as the main author of a most justly execrated massacre.
The news of Guise's death was brought to Paris by a special messenger from Mendoza, and reached the city on Christmas Eve. The fury of the Parisians was unbounded. The Duke of Aumale was appointed governor, and proceeded to plunder the houses of any citizens who were suspected of favouring the King. The royal arms were torn down, and the insulting anagram of " VUain Her odes " (Henri de Valois) was freely bandied about. Preachers fulminated from all the pulpits, finally working up feeling to such a pitch that the Sorbonne pronounced that the King had forfeited all claim to the Crown, and that it was the duty of subjects to cast off their allegiance. The warning of the dying Queen-Mother was quickly justified ; for, with the exception of Bordeaux, which Matignon saved, Caen, Blois, Tours, Saumur, and one or two more along the Loire, every town of importance in the country gave its adhesion to the League. An attempt to seize Mayenne at Lyons had failed, and the Duke presently came to Paris, entering the city with a powerful force on February 15. He was declared lieutenant-general of the kingdom, and took the chief command of the League.
The King had lost no time in communicating his action, through Saint-Goard, Marquis Pisani, his ambassador, to the Pope. Sixtus took the death of Guise easily enough; but the execution and arrest of Cardinals was a more serious matter. Henry sent Claude d'Angennes, Bishop of Le Mans, to ask for absolution ; the heads of the League sent an envoy urging its refusal. Olivarez, the Spanish ambassador, added his persuasions ; and Sixtus withheld absolution till the Archbishop of Lyons and the Cardinal of Bourbon should be released. About the same time Mendoza left the Court, and at Paris acted henceforth in full accord with, and indeed as an intimate adviser of, the League.
Henry was now forced to adopt the only course that promised him even personal safety. Negotiations were opened with Navarre, and on April 3 a truce was concluded, on the terms that Catholics should not be molested by the Huguenots, and that Navarre should bring his forces to the King's aid, receiving Saumur as a cautionary town, and to secure him a passage across the Loire. The matter was not arranged without some difficulty. Henry stood in fear of the papal censure that hung over his head; while many of Navarre's advisers dreaded some treachery. At length the advice of the King's half-sister, Diana of Angoulême, the widow of the late Marshal Francis de Montmorency, overcame his fears ; while on the other side Duplessis-Mornay was actively encouraging Navarre to accept the King's overtures. Events, too, were pressing. Navarre was advancing by the usual road through Poitou ; he had taken Niort and Châtelhérault, and made a dash to clear the League out of Argenton. On the other side Mayenne was marching from Paris and had reached and occupied Vendôme. The Legate Morosini was made the bearer of some despairing proposals to Mayenne, which were rejected ; and he also left the Court. On April 28 the treaty with Navarre was
Sixtus now launched his thunderbolt. On May 24 a " monitory " was posted up at Rome directing the King under pain of excommunication to release the prelates within ten days, and himself to appear personally or by proxy within sixty days before the tribunal of Peter. The effect was twofold. The Duke of Nevers and some of the more moderate Leaguers, resenting the interference in the domestic affairs of France, came over to the Royalist side; but the bulk of the party was stimulated and the exasperation reached a greater height than ever.
On July 29 the royal army, reinforced by some 14,000 Swiss and Germans, forced the bridge of Saint-Cloud, and proceeded to invest Paris on the south and west. An assault was planned for August 2. On the previous day, however, a Jacobin friar named Jacques Clément having obtained admission to the house in which the King of France was lodging at Saint-Cloud, sought an interview with him under pretext of presenting a letter, and while the King was reading it stabbed him in the lower part of the body. The wound was not at first considered dangerous, but unfavourable symptoms set in, and Henry expired in the early hours of August 2, 1589, after recognising Navarre as his heir, and calling upon all present to acknowledge him. According to one version he also counselled Navarre himself to become a Catholic, as the only means of securing the throne ; but it seems doubtful whether Navarre was present at the final scene.
The new King was accepted at once by many of the nobles who were on the spot, including the Marshals Biron and d'Aumont, Bellegarde, d'O, and others, though even of these several urged his instant reconciliation with the Church of Rome. The risk, however, of alienating the Huguenots by a step which would certainly not conciliate the League, now wholly under Spanish influence, was too great; and Henry found it better to temporise, promising in due course to submit to " instruction " and meanwhile to do nothing to disturb the existing privileges enjoyed by Catholics. In spite of this, Epernon and others retired, leaving the army so much depleted that Henry, seeing it useless to make any attempt on Paris after a brief essay at negotiations with Mayenne, withdrew
After breaking up his camp at Saint-Cloud Henry marched with a force of little over 7000 men into Normandy. Tours was chosen as the temporary capital of the Royalist party. Henry's chances seemed for the moment almost hopeless ; and it was important at first to keep within easy reach of succour from England. Also Paris was largely dependent for its food on the district between the rivers Eure and 'Oise. Thus the scene of war was again that in which the earliest operations had been conducted nearly a generation before; and the siege of Rouen by a royal army was to be one of the last, as it had been one of the first events in the long series of campaigns. At present, however, Henry passed on to Dieppe, whither Mayenne, at the head of an army of 30,000 men, followed him. The King prepared to meet him at Arques, where a stubbornly contested battle, in which the royal troops had not the worst, was fought on September 21. An attack three days later by Mayenne on Dieppe itself was foiled; and on the 26th La Noue and Longueville joined the King, and Mayenne drew his forces off. Henry marched to Amiens ; and at the same time came a welcome reinforcement of 4000 English under Lord Willoughby. After returning to Dieppe to meet them, Henry marched on Paris with a force now increased to 23,000, and on November 1 captured the faubourgs of Saint-Jacques and Saint-Germain, while La Noue nearly penetrated into the city itself. On the next day, however, Mayenne, who had been on the eastern frontier, came back to Paris ; and Henry, after vainly challenging him to fight in the open, withdrew to Tours. In December Le Mans, Bayeux, Lisieux, and other towns surrendered to Henry. About the same time the Signiory of Venice decided to recognise him as King of France, and accredited their ambassador to him. By the end of 1589 the King's prospects were far more promising than they had been at his accession. With the exception of the House of Lorraine and their immediate connexions, the higher nobility and the best fighting men had rallied to Henry; and his superiority in the field was speedily shown. Soon after the beginning of 1590 Mayenne, having arranged for reinforcements from Flanders, took Pontoise, and laid siege to Meulan, a small town on the Seine. Henry had set out with the view of taking Honneur, the last stronghold of the League in Lower Normandy, but hastened to the relief of Meulan. On February 25, 1590, Mayenne, disquieted by news from Rouen,left Meulan; and Henry at once laid siege to Dreux, thus placing himself between his enemy and Paris. Mayenne, with a force raised to nearly 25,000 by the addition of Flemings under Count Egmont, and of Germans, turned back to meet him or draw him away from Dreux. Henry, though with a far inferior force, was ready to accept battle, and on March 14 the armies met near Ivry on the Eure. The result was the complete rout of the Leaguers. By the King's order
Frenchmen were spared as much as possible, but there was a terrible slaughter of the foreign auxiliaries, Count Egmont and a " Duke of Brunswick " being among the slain. Mayenne and his cousin Aumale escaped by hard riding. The Royalist loss was not above 500.
The road to Paris was now open; and, had the King chosen, there can be little doubt that the city might have been taken by assault. Henry appears however to have shrunk from exposing his capital to the horrors which this would have entailed. At the same time he rejected very decidedly proposals for an armistice brought by Villeroy and others, and prepared for a siege in due form. On May 7 he proceeded to invest the city on the northern side. Saint-Denis and Vincennes remained in the hands of the League, but all the other neighbouring towns of any consequence on that side of the Seine were reduced. On May 10 the old Cardinal of Bourbon died. He had been brought into the League against his will. Nevertheless his death was a cause of some perplexity to the Leaguers, as depriving them of even the semblance of a legitimate head. An attempt which was presently made by the Cardinal de Vendôme (known henceforth as the young Cardinal of Bourbon), brother to the late Prince of Condé, to form a third party, for the maintenance of the Catholic monarchy without Spanish interference-though countenanced to some extent by Mayenne himself-came to very little.
Paris was in no condition to stand a long blockade. It was estimated that the available provisions would last the population, reckoned at 200,000, for a month. By the end of May famine was imminent. Wheat was selling at 120 crowns the bushel ; and before long horses, dogs, and cats had become recognised articles of diet. Even the grass that grew in the streets was eagerly sought after. Mendoza was openly playing the King of Spain's game, even causing coins with his arms to be struck and distributed among the people. Mayenne, after some difficulty, and at last only by the aid of peremptory orders from Spain, succeeded in persuading Parma to come in person to the relief of the hard-pressed city. On August 30 the Duke reached Meaux. Henry marched to meet him, and vainly tried to draw him to action near Chelles. On September 5, however, Parma issued from his trenches in full order of battle, with his cavalry spread out in front. Behind their screen he with his main body made a clever move to the left, seized the suburb of the town of Lagny lying on the right bank of the Marne, and entrenched himself there. The bridge, which had been broken by the garrison as they withdrew to the town itself, was replaced by a bridge of boats ; and on the following day Parma stormed Lagny under Henry's eyes. Thus astride of the river, he could revictual Paris at his pleasure ; and the King, making a futile attempt at escalade as he passed the city, withdrew to Saint-Denis. Presently he broke up his army, retaining only a flying force, and retired along the valley of the Oise. Parma took Corbeil (which was retaken a few weeks later); but jealousies soon
In the winter of 1590-1 Henry sent Turenne to England and Germany in quest of further aid, returning himself to the neighbourhood of Paris. An attempt by the League to recover Saint-Denis had been repulsed ; there were reports of dissensions within the city, where the relations between Mayenne and the Spanish faction, which controlled the Sixteen, were becoming strained ; the Politiques were gaining courage ; and there seemed a chance of effecting a surprise. But the citizens were on the alert, and the scheme failed. More confidence had, however, been given to the whole party by the death, in August, 1590, of Sixtus V, who had grown more and more estranged from the League, and who (after the brief papacy of Urban VII) was followed by Gregory XIV (Nicolas Sfondrato). This Pope showed himself disposed to carry into effect the promise of material aid which Sixtus, if he ever made it, had successfully evaded. Henry saw that his tactics of isolating the capital promised best. About the middle of February, 1591, he laid siege to Chartres, which surrendered on April 19. At the end of July the Earl of Essex landed at Dieppe, with 4000 men from England. The States of Holland sent a contingent, and about the same time 16,000 troops arrived from Germany. Henry was besieging Noyon in Picardy, which fell on August 19 ; and, being now at the head of an army of 40,000 men, he decided to besiege Rouen, the last important town still held by the League in the North. On November 11 Biron and Essex opened the siege.
In the course of August occurred the death of the veteran La Noue from a wound received in an attack on the petty fortress of Lamballe ; and the escape of the young Duke of Guise from his captivity at Tours. The King found some consolation in the latter event for the loss of his old comrade in arms; it will, he said, "be the ruin of the League," foreseeing that the jealousies certain to spring up between nephew and uncle would open a fresh rift in that faction.
In Paris during this autumn, Mayenne being absent in Champagne, the Sixteen took the law into their own hands. In September a letter to the King of Spain was drawn up, begging him to appoint a sovereign for France, and suggesting for the throne his daughter, whom it was proposed to marry to the young Duke of Guise. They next formed a " secret council " of Ten, to deal with persons suspected of being out of sympathy with the dominant faction ; and on November 16 Barnabe Brisson, the aged President of the Parlement, a man of much account in the late reign, was with two other eminent lawyers arrested and hanged with barely the form of a trial. Mayenne instantly returned, and by administering similar treatment to four of the Sixteen, and issuing a stringent edict, for the time stopped further outrage.
The siege of Rouen went on throughout the winter of 1591-2, the brilliant defence of the governor, Villars, frustrating the no less brilliant gallantry of the King and his officers. Early in January, 1592, Parma again set out to the aid of the League. Henry dashed off with 7000 horse, and came in touch with the invaders on the confines of Picardy. Thence he fell back before them, keeping on their flank, and skirmishing whenever an opportunity offered. At Aumale he narrowly escaped capture, and was wounded for the first and only time. After a brief delay caused by the resistance of Neuchâtel, and the difficulty of advancing through a country denuded of supplies, Parma arrived on February 26 at Bellencombre, where he was met by a messenger from Villars, announcing a successful sortie, and expressing confidence in his own power to raise the siege. Parma therefore contented himself with throwing a few hundred men into the place, retired with Mayenne to Picardy, and besieged Rue near the mouth of the Somme. The King, who had been at Dieppe, returned to Rouen, and prosecuted the siege with such vigour that Villars sent to Mayenne fixing April 20 as the day on which he must capitulate if not relieved. This brought Parma promptly back ; and Henry, whose army had been of late much weakened by illness and secession, had to raise the siege. On the day which Villars had specified as the limit of his resistance, he withdrew to Pont-de-1'Arche, thus placing himself between the enemy and Paris. Parma, desiring to open the river, took Caudebec, receiving a severe wound during the operations. A day or two later, Henry, reinforced by the Duke of Montpensier, who had secured western Normandy by the capture of Avranches, was ready to take the field again. He had quickly detected the blunder made by Parma in allowing himself to be drawn into a narrow triangle, between sea and river, all the naval power being in the hands of his opponents. All that seemed necessary to compel his surrender was to close the landward side ; and this the King proceeded to do. He drove Mayenne and Guise before him to Yvetôt and Fécamp, and after three weeks of hard fighting was preparing to assault Parma's camp between Caudebec and Rouen. The attack was fixed for May 21 ; but when day broke not an enemy was to be seen on the right bank of the river. Parma, who, though the illness caused by his wound had prevented him from directing his army in the field, had lost none of the resource which had made him the first general in Europe, had secretly collected boats and timber at Rouen. Bringing these down on the ebb, he was able during the night to bridge the river ; and his entire force was in safety before the Royalists suspected what was going on. He marched rapidly up the Seine to Saint-Cloud, and passed on to Flanders without entering Paris, but leaving 1500 Walloons to reinforce the garrison. Apart from his wound Parma's health was now breaking down ; and he died before the year was out.
The King's arms continued to prosper, though he had to lament the
Meantime some of the saner and more patriotic men on the side of the League, notably Villeroy, the ex-Secretary of State, and the President Jeannin, who for some time past had been working in the cause of peace, had, soon after the siege of Rouen, renewed communications with Du Plessis-Mornay and others on the King's side; and terms were actually drawn up and proposed on Mayenne's behalf. Hostilities, however, went on throughout the autumn of 1592, fortune generally favouring the royal cause. So long as Parma lived the League was not without hope of aid ; but the news of his death, which reached Paris on December 4, while not wholly displeasing to Mayenne, rendered a change of policy necessary. He called a meeting of the States General, who assembled at Paris in January, 1593. The Spanish party, aided by the Cardinal-Legate, Sega, Bishop of Piacenza, strove hard for the election of the Infanta as Queen. Philip sent the Duke of Feria as his special envoy, and wrote more than once recalling his own services to the Catholic cause in France. Even Mendoza, though blind and ailing, made " a long discourse, crammed with laws, canons, glosses of theologians and casuists." The Estates could not be brought to see the blessings of Spanish rule ; and in April a conference began at Suresnes between their deputies and those of the royal party, the Archbishops of Lyons and Bourges taking the leading parts respectively. An armistice was declared at the same time ; and a guarantee was given by the Catholics on the King's side to their Protestant allies that nothing should be done to prejudice their interests. On May 18 the King himself wrote to the Archbishops expressing his desire to be " instructed." On July 25 he received absolution from the Archbishop of Bourges (Renaud de Beaune, sometime Chancellor to the late Duke of Anjou) and heard mass at Saint-Denis. Henceforward, though hostilities were for some time maintained by the remnant of the League, acting avowedly in the interest of Spain, there was no longer any "War of Religion." Within eighteen months after Henry's " conversion " France and Spain were in open conflict.