HENRY IV OF FRANCE.
By STANLEY LEATIIES, M.A., formerly Fellow and Lecturer
in History of Trinity College.
Henry of Bourbon's position after the death of Henry III. . 657
Force of the monarchical tradition . 658
Gallican sentiment and national feeling . 659
Conversion of Henry IV, 1593 . 660
Royalist reaction. Truce of 1593. Satyre Ménippée . 661
Recovery of Paris, 1594 . 662
Progress of Henry IV's cause. Reconstruction . 663
The Croquants. The Jesuits . 664
The King's opponents bought over . 665
War declared against Spain . 666
Recovery of Burgundy. Clement VIII, Henry IV and Spain. . 667
Absolution of Henry, 1595. Decrees of Folembray . 668
Losses on the northern frontier. Cambray . 669
Siege of La Fere. Henry's allies . 670
Assembly of Notables, 1596 . 671
Loss of Amiens . 672
Its recovery . 673
Peace of Vervins, 1598 . 674
Henry IV in Britanny. Edict of Nantes . 675
War with Savoy, and settlement, 1601 . 677
Henry's divorce, and marriage with Maria de' Medici. Political designs of Henry IV . 678
Conspiracy of Biron . 679
Auvergne and Bouillon . 680
Protestant disaffection. Assembly of Châtelhérault . 681
Expulsion of the Moriscos from Spain . 682
Hostility between France and Spain. Henry's negotiations with Italian powers . 683
The Grisons. Henry and the United Provinces . 684
Defensive alliance with the Provinces, 1608 . 685
Truce between the Provinces and Spain. Death of Duke John William of Jülich-Cleves-Berg, 1609. Savoy resolves to break with Spain . 686
Henry and the German Protestant Union. . 687
Henry resolves on intervention in the Jülich question . 688
The Princess of Condé. Henry's uncertainties. His preparation for war . 689
Assassination of Henry IV, 1610 . 690
His qualities and achievements . 691
His personal character. His religious policy . 692
His economic policy . 693
Industry and commerce . 694
His system of absolute government 695
HENRY IV OF FRANCE.
UPON the death of Henry of Valois, Henry of Bourbon succeeded to a dubious heritage and a distracted kingdom. His ancestral right to the temporal throne was clear ; but, before a Calvinist could be accepted as Most Christian King and eldest son of the Church, a new definition of Church and Christian would be required. As a party leader he inherited all the difficulties which beset Henry III as well as those of his own position. His opponents commanded the sympathy of the great majority in France. The organisation of their League was effective and all-pervading. The great towns, with few exceptions, were on their side. The family interest of Guise, though it alarmed and alienated a considerable part of the French nobility, had grown by fifty years of active political work to rival the monarchy itself. The Parlements, which during the-troubles had arrogated to themselves an extensive political control, had! been captured by the League, and the royalist minorities had been compelled to secede. The Sorbonne contributed the prestige of theological authority to combat the claims of a heretic-a heretic relapsed. The lower clergy threw their considerable influence and damaging activity on the same side. The most experienced administrators added the weight of their support ; and the rank and file of office-holders shared the views of the majority. Outside the kingdom, the Pope might be expected to give moral if not material assistance. The Leaguers were secure of aid from the most powerful European monarch, and had recognised claims upon his treasury. Among Henry's possible allies, Elizabeth was cautious and chary, the United Provinces were embarrassed and exhausted, the German Princes disorganised, divided, and for the most part poor. The King of Spain had all his resources at his own command, and it was not his habit to let expenditure wait upon revenue.
But chance had granted one signal opportunity to Henry. In the camps at Meudon and Saint-Cloud were assembled all that was left of the faithful royalist nobility, all that royal promises and prestige had availed to collect of foreign assistance, and all that the name of Henry
The victories of Arques and Ivry were extorted from fortune by the valour and resource and energy of Henry IV. They gave time for certain favourable influences to sway the balance. The strong royalist feeling, which still prevailed among the French nobility, was fostered and strengthened by Henry's personal exploits. The Wars of Religion and the disgraces and disorders and incompetence of the Valois government had indeed done much to break down the tradition which the Capet dynasty had painfully and slowly built up during six centuries. The example of resistance to the royal authority had been set by the Protestants; but the formation and development of the League had called forth opinions destructive to the monarchy more abundantly, if anything, upon the Catholic side. The deposition of an unworthy King, the elective character of the monarchy, the control of the King by the Estates, the duty of resistance to tyranny, the justification, in certain circumstances, of tyrannicide, the doctrine of a contract between King and people that might be voided by non-fulfilment of implicit conditions or abrogated by the people's act, the need of constitutional checks and balances-all these were topics which lent themselves more easily to the champions of the League than to the Protestants, who were themselves in a minority. Again, the League, with its democratic organisation in the great cities where so much of its power lay, brought the practice of popular control and popular government into the political arena ; while the Calvinists, in spite of the democratic aspect of their consistories and synods, were really more conservative both in theory and in practice than the extremists of the League, and were ready to rally to a monarchy that offered them tolerable prospects of efficient protection. Moreover, the subversive doctrines which inspired the abundant political literature of the time appealed rather to the bourgeois than to the nobles, who were in fact disgusted and alarmed at the license of the citizens ; and such views found little sympathy among the higher ranks of the clergy. Everywhere attachment to the King, though dormant, only awaited a favourable occasion to reassert its power. Thus the monarchical tradition, though shaken by the years of disorder, still retained its vitality, and came to the support of a King who showed himself worthy of royalist devotion. The nobility, although their military service was interrupted and precarious, fought brilliantly and successfully on Henry's side.
Again, the Gallican sentiment, chartered but not created by the Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges, and encouraged in a less attractive form by the Concordat of Francis I, was a force that had hitherto exercised little influence in the struggle; but the situation was such that a conflict between national and ultramontane could hardly be avoided. A cardinal point in the Gallican creed was that the Pope could exercise no temporal authority in France ; and papal excommunication, papal deposition of a heretic King, were probable if not inevitable, and carried vital consequences in the temporal sphere. The Parlements were the home of Gallicanism, and, if any question arose of the Papacy dictating the choice or the exclusion of a King, were likely to rise in opposition. Moreover, since the Concordat of Francis I, the King had controlled all the higher patronage of the Church ; and the prelates, through dependence on the royal favour, had become a royalist body. Very few Bishops ever joined the League; and at the crucial time of his conversion episcopal aid and countenance proved of incalculable value to Henry. So long as Sixtus lived, his cautious policy avoided anything resembling a rupture. But the violent policy of Gregory XIV, which appeared to be dictated by Spanish proclivities, tended to enlist all Gallican sympathies on the royalist side. His monitorials of March 1, 1591, by which Henry was excommunicated and declared incapable of reigning, were rejected, not only by the dissident Parlements of Chalons and Tours, but by a weighty assembly of prelates at Chartres (September 21, 1591).
Finally, there was in France a strong national feeling which contributed not a little to the ultimate result. The League, although in alliance with Spain, and in receipt of Spanish subsidies, had before Ivry not shown itself decisively anti-national. The Guises were regarded by many as foreigners, in spite of their long settlement in France ; and the intention of Henry of Guise may have been to substitute himself for Henry of Valois. But such designs, if they existed, were prudently masked. In reliance upon foreign aid up to the battle of Ivry there was not much to choose between the two sides. Both sides employed foreign contingents, and relied on foreign subsidies. But after that battle it became more and more apparent that the cause of the League depended upon the armed and official intervention of Spain. The blockade of Paris must have ended in the surrender of the capital but for the march of the Duke of Parma ; and similar action frustrated the siege of Rouen. In the sittings of the Estates of 1593 the designs of Spain were clearly exposed. Encouraged by the overtures of the "Seize,'" the King of Spain put forward the claims of his daughter to the throne of France. But the Estates, purely partisan as were the interests represented among them, would not tolerate the proposal in any form. The hopes that Mayenne or the young Duke of Guise may have entertained were defeated in part by the division of the family interest ; but the Salic Law proved the final and insuperable bar to all the candidates.
The Parlement declared the Salic Law fundamental, and vital to the interests of the nation. The Estates followed their lead. Had the Cardinal of Bourbon, only one degree further removed from the direct succession than Henry himself, lived to secure the adhesion of the national party, the result might have been different. But, as it was, the dreams of League theory, that a system of election might be substituted for the rules of succession under which France had grown to be a nation, were conclusively relegated to the limbo of the impracticable. For the second time in history the Salic Law, for all its frame of legal pedantry, proved itself the safeguard of French national existence, the formula of French independence.
Again, the support of Spain, which kept Henry at a standstill for more than two years after the battle of Ivry, brought about by an inevitable chain of causation the solution of another problem. Both before and after his accession Henry had professed his willingness to be instructed, and had held out hopes that instruction might lead to conversion. There are some reasons for believing that on the vital question of the Real Presence his personal leanings were towards the Catholic position. At Saint-Cloud he had opposed to demands for immediate conversion considerations of honour. He could not, as King of France, abandon his religious profession in response to force. The successes of Arques and Ivry seemed to have indefinitely postponed the prospect of his change of faith. Had he been successful before Rouen and Paris, no conversion might have ensued. But in 1593 four years' experience seemed to show that the choice lay between indefinite prolongation of civil war and fulfilment of his pledge. In what proportions ambition, true patriotism, and genuine conviction contributed to Henry's decision no man can say. But his subsequent history shows him a true friend, not only to religious toleration, but also to the religion which he adopted. Motives of patriotism were fully sufficient to justify some sacrifice of personal predilection. The reunion of France under a Protestant King had been proved to be impossible. It had been proved that no King other than Henry could hope to satisfy the national desire for a natural King. The conversion of Henry was thus the only hope of France.
But Henry's conversion, though indispensable, was not in itself sufficient to produce a settlement. Doubts still existed of his sincerity. The absolution granted to him by the French prelates was only provisional ; and absolution by the Pope was necessary to complete his reconciliation with the Church. Clement VIII, though his attitude was encouraging, was determined that the King should knock at the door more than once before he was admitted to the Church. Meanwhile France had to live ; and daily life gave daily opportunities for the application of minor sanatives. The military situation remained unchanged. Henry's authority extended little further than the area dominated by
In long years of warfare men had almost ceased to desire peace; some, like Biron, were inclined to prolong the war in order that they themselves might be indispensable; others, like the Seize, feared that peace would bring retribution ; it was first of all necessary that men should be brought to desire security and repose. For this purpose Henry succeeded in negotiating a truce, which was concluded on July 31, 1593, for three months, and afterwards prolonged till the end of December. During this interval the League began to dissolve. Individuals opened negotiations with the King, and some minor surrenders actually took place. Lyons rose against Nemours (September 18) and threw him into prison. One vein of contemporary thought is represented by the Satyre Ménippée, part of which circulated in this year, and which in the following was published in its complete form. Though a partisan production, its exposition of the selfish aims of prominent Leaguers carried conviction ; the line adopted hit the temper of the time ; and the opinion began to spread that the League was now only perpetuated for personal and political objects. Meanwhile the King made known his desire for peace; and, when hostilities were renewed with the new year, it was felt that the fault lay elsewhere, with Spain, with the Seize, and with Mayenne. Before the truce was ended, Villeroy, the most experienced administrator on the side of the Leaguers, had
With the new year similar occurrences became more frequent. Aix and its Parlement, hostile to Épernon, submitted to the King and carried with them part of Provence. A fresh revolution took place in Lyons, and the city accepted terms in February. The condition that the exercise of no religion other than the Catholic should be permitted in the city showed how far the King was prepared to go. What better terms could any Catholic city desire ? Villeroy and his son finally came over, and brought with them the town of Pontoise ; and d'Estourmel began to negotiate for the surrender of Peronne, Roye, Montdidier, frontier towns of Picardy, which was completed in April. La Chastre brought Orleans to the royal obedience ; Bourges and the remainder of Berry and the Orléanais soon followed the example. The royal prestige was considerably enhanced by Henry's coronation with all due forms at Chartres (February 27, 1594). Rheims was still in the possession of the League, and precedents existed for this alternative place of consecration ; while the chrism employed was drawn from the Sainte-ampoule of St Martin, scarcely less holy than that of St Rémi.
But Paris was not to be regained at the price of a mass. The new positions acquired by the King enabled him to establish an effective blockade; and the city soon began to feel the pinch of hunger once more. The Politique party began to raise its head; Mayenne began to feel insecure; he was forced to abandon himself more and more to the Seize, and to rely upon Spanish troops. The Governor, Belin, was deposed, and Cossé-Brissac set up in his place. The Parlement began to lean to reconciliation, and its meetings were prohibited. But agitation and conspiracy continued, and on March 6 Mayenne left the town. Freed from his supervision, the King's friends moved forward more boldly; Cossé-Brissac was gained and succeeded in hoodwinking the Spaniards. On the morning of March 22 the King entered his city and occupied it almost without resistance. The Spanish garrisons were cut off from each other and were fain to accept the conditions offered, that they should depart with bag and baggage. Great skill was shown in all the arrangements ; but matters could not have passed off so quietly had not a considerable revulsion of feeling taken place. Even in the disorderly and enthusiastic quarter of the University no serious opposition was met, though the regular force by which the King was supported on his entry did not exceed the numbers of the Spanish garrison. A universal amnesty was granted, even to the leaders of the Seize, though it afterwards became necessary to banish some hundred and twenty of the most irreconcilable Leaguers.
On the reoccupation of the capital it became possible to begin the work of reconstruction. During the months of April and May the sovereign Courts, the Parkment, the Chambre des Comptes, the Cour
Elsewhere the King began to enter into his heritage. In Normandy Villars, the Governor of Rouen, who had successfully resisted the King in arms, now consented to treat, and agreed on March 27 to hand over Rouen, Havre, Harfleur, and the other places under his control. The entire province shortly passed into the King's hands; and the dissentient Parlement of Caen united with that of Rouen. In Picardy Abbeville and Montreuil made their submission. Many smaller places in the centre and south-west came over before the end of May. But military successes were needed to expedite the process of reduction. The King moved against Laon, and, after a siege, forced it to capitulate on July 22. This important evidence of material strength hastened events. Amiens, Dourlens, Beauvais, Noyon, were surrendered to persuasion or force, and thus the reconquest of Picardy was nearly completed, and the northeastern frontier of France was protected ; though in compensation the King of Spain succeeded in attracting the League captains, de Rosne and the Duke of Aumale, to his service, and in placing a strong Spanish garrison in La Fere. Poitiers, and almost all the principal places which remained to the League in Poitou, Anjou, and Maine, were recovered. Most significant of all, the family of Guise began to treat. Elbeuf asked and received the government of Poitiers, which he had previously held for the League. The young Duke of Guise surrendered Champagne, and accepted in its place the government of Provence, which it was understood he would have to recover by arms from Epernon. The Duke of Lorraine himself made a treaty with Henry and left the coalition. Even in Mayenne's particular stronghold of Burgundy a movement for peace and submission began, and several towns made separate terms with the King. Only in Britanny the Duke of Mercoeur still held up the banner of rebellion, assisted by Spanish reinforcements, but opposed with some success by the royal forces and an English auxiliary contingent.
But the break-down of authority in France had left the peasants without protection. The troops of both parties, ill-paid and ill-disciplined, had lived upon the country ; and the local lords, to meet their expenses in the war, had often resorted to illegal exactions. Many castles were little better than caves of brigands. The peasants were
Towards the end of 1594 an enthusiast, Jean Chastel, a pupil of the Jesuits, made an attempt upon the King's life, and succeeded in wounding him, though not dangerously. This incident brought to a head an agitation which had long been growing against the Jesuit Order. It was the popular belief that the Jesuits taught the lawfulness of tyrannicide to the pupils in their schools and colleges ; the University was jealous of their influence; it was asserted that the Society took its instructions from the King of Spain ; the parish clergy added their complaints ; and already in April, 159é, a movement had been set on foot for their expulsion. The attempt on the King's life renewed the attack; enquiries and searches were made, and evidence was found tending to incriminate to some extent three Jesuit fathers. The Parlement of Paris took up the matter, and passed a decision to exclude the Order from their jurisdiction. The Parlements of Rouen and Dijon followed the lead; but in the jurisdictions of Toulouse and Bordeaux no action was taken. These events tended to some extent to damage Henry in the eyes of the Catholics and of the Pope, and to delay the date of Henry's final absolution.
While on the one hand the King found it impossible to maintain friendly relations with every section of the Catholic clergy, on the other hand it was equally difficult to satisfy his Calvinist friends. The declaration of Saint-Cloud had promised to reserve to Catholics for a period of six months all offices which might become vacant, and to confer upon Catholics exclusively the government of all towns that might be recovered from the League. Policy required that until his position was secure Henry should show, if anything, a preference for the Catholics. The Catholics were the prodigal son, the Protestants learnt the feelings of the elder brother. Devoted servants, such as Rosny and La Force, saw their claims to recognition indefinitely postponed. The declaration of Saint-Cloud promised to the Calvinists private liberty of conscience, the public exercise of their worship in the places which they actually held, in one town of each bailliage and sénéchaussée, in the army, and wherever the King might be. In 1591, in response to pressure from
Amid all these difficulties Henry steered his course with unfailing accuracy of judgment, undaunted courage, inexhaustible geniality and buoyancy of spirits. By the end of 1594 he had recovered the greater part of his kingdom. The means adopted show his practical sagacity and disregard of conventional reasoning. He did not hesitate to pay the price which his opponents asked ; and the price demanded was proportionate to his needs. Paris was bought comparatively cheap for 1,695,400 livres. Rouen, and the other places which Villars surrendered, cost 3,477,800 livres ; the Duke of Guise received 8,888,830 for himself and his immediate subordinates ; the Duke of Lorraine a similar sum. La Chastre had 898,900 livres, Villeroy 476,594. These figures do not include the value of the offices and dignities which were conferred upon the principal persons, for which indeed for the most part they rendered an equivalent in honourable service. When Rosny hesitated to accept Villars1 terms, the King told him not to look too closely at the figures. We shall pay these men, he said, with the revenues which they bring to us; and to recover the places by force would cost us more in money alone, to say nothing of time and men. The sums asked may appear exorbitant ; but it must be pointed out that all the leaders had drawn heavily upon their private fortunes, and had incurred enormous debts to defray their expenses in the field. With practical common sense the King stood neither upon honour nor upon precedent. He paid what was asked, often with a jest, and got full value for his money. First and last, he disbursed to the leaders of the League more than thirty-two millions of livres,-far more, that is, than a year's revenue of France at this time. But by so doing he antedated perhaps by many years the time when he should enter into the full receipt of his income ; and in addition he saved his subjects from all the waste of war, and secured further the profits of peace. That rebellion should be recompensed seemed to many a dangerous example. But the King saw that the needs and the circumstances were exceptional ; and he did not intend that they should recur.
Not less extensive were the concessions which Henry was forced to allow to the towns. Meaux was exempted from taille for nine years. Orleans was to have no royal garrison or castle ; Rouen no garrison, impost, or taUle for six years; to Troyes arrears of taxation for three years were remitted; Sens, Amiens, and Lyons, were to receive no garrison. But one danger the King avoided. He created no great hereditary governments. Such conditions were pressed upon him with dangerous pertinacity in 1592, when fortune had long been adverse, They were urged not only from the Catholic but also from the Protestant side. He rejected them consistently, and thus saved the unity of France and excluded the restoration of feudalism. Of money he was lavish, though he can hardly have known whence he was to procure it. But every form of permanent heritable authority he disallowed.
By one means and another, at the end of 1594« Henry might consider that he had established his position as King of France. He proceeded to emphasise this fact in the eyes of Europe by declaring war upon the King of Spain. Ever since his accession he had in fact been at war with Philip. But he had hitherto been fighting rather as a party-chief than as King. He now showed that as King he was not afraid to enter the lists with the most powerful of European monarchs. Nor was he without allies. The United Provinces, though unable to spare from their own needs any considerable assistance, by their own war continued to lighten the pressure upon France. Elizabeth, with whom he had informally concluded in 1593 an alliance of offence and defence, occasionally furnished small sums of money, or a few thousand troops. The Princes of Germany advanced loans, and allowed recruiting; and their assistance was not without importance. The Grand Duke of Tuscany also granted loans. It was hoped that the Swiss would join in the conquest of Franche-Comté, in consideration of a share in the territory acquired. This province had hitherto been guaranteed from attack by Swiss protection.
The King of France, then, determined to take the offensive. His plans were laid for a simultaneous invasion of Artois, Luxemburg, and Franche-Comté, while Montmorency, recently elevated to the dignity of Constable, was to defend the frontiers of Dauphiné and the Lyonnais. A fifth army was to attack Mayenne at his Burgundian base. The opening of the campaign found Spain unprepared. Raids were made on Artois, Luxemburg, Franche-Comté. But before long the invaders were rolled back. Elizabeth withdrew her troops from Britanny ; and provision had to be made for the defence of this province against Mercoeur and the Spaniards. A force of Dutch auxiliaries which had been serving in Luxemburg was recalled. The Duke of Nemours was threatening Lyons ; and Montmorency called for additional aid. But Henry decided to make his first effort in Burgundy.
The Estates of this province had already urged upon Mayenne their desire for peace ; and successes in this quarter might mean the recovery
In allowing a reasonable time to elapse before Henry's conversion was accepted as genuine, Clement was acting in conformity with the circumstances of the case. Political exigencies may have not only suggested the delay but prescribed the moment for removing the bar. All the influence of Spain was exercised in opposition to Henry ; and Spanish ambassadors allowed themselves a singular freedom of language in dealing with independent Popes. So long as Henry's fortunes were uncertain the threats of Spain required consideration. In the autumn of 1595 Henry appeared to have gained the upper hand of his enemies in France, and to be holding his own in opposition to Spain. He was on friendly terms with the Grand Duke of Tuscany; and the Venetians from the first had shown him conspicuous favour. These facts may, indeed they must, have suggested to Clement that the period of penance and probation had been sufficiently prolonged; and the southward advance of Henry with his successful army was another element affecting the calculation. After the most serious deliberation in private and among the
While this important negotiation was drawing to its close, the King was moving south to Lyons, where the Duke of Nemours had recently died. He made his solemn entry into the city on September 4, and the places occupied by the late Duke were rapidly reduced. The new Duke began to treat, and his submission was solemnly ratified early in the new year. The Duke of Joyeuse, who had hitherto maintained his power in western Languedoc in the interests of the League, had been weakened by many defections, and notably by the secession of the majority of the Parlement of Toulouse. While he was attempting to coerce the Parlement, Narbonne and Carcassonne revolted; the bases of his strength were crumbling under him ; and he also made his peace before the end of the year. Preliminary terms were accepted by Mayenne on September %3 ; the government of the île de France was conceded to his son ; three strong places, Soissons, Châlon, and Seurre, were allotted to him for his security ; and he was allowed to treat in the quality of chief of his party. His monetary compensation exceeded three and a half million livres. But the price was not excessive ; for Mayenne abode loyally by his compact, and proved a faithful and valuable servant to his King.
The decrees of Folembray (January 31, 1596), which covered the cases of Mayenne, Nemours, and Joyeuse, marked a further stage in the general restoration. Shortly afterwards (February 17) the young Duke of Guise entered Marseilles, by agreement with some of the principal inhabitants, just in time to defeat a plan of Philip to seize this important harbour. The galleys of Doria were already in the port. Since the previous November Guise had taken seriously in hand the reconquest of his province ; and, in spite of an alliance which he concluded with Spain, Épernon had seen the area of his authority steadily diminishing. On March 24 he made his agreement with the King ; and the reduction of the south-east was completed. Other and less conspicuous surrenders had meanwhile taken place elsewhere ; and even the Duke of Mercoeur in Britanny had concluded a truce.
But these important advantages were not to be attained without a considerable display of military force, which was sorely needed elsewhere; and the time spent by Henry in Burgundy and at Lyons, although most profitably employed, coincided with a critical period of the northern campaign. The Spanish army, commanded by Fuentes, after failing to seize the castle of Ham, which had been held by the Duke of Aumale for the League but now fell into the hands of the King's troops, proceeded to besiege Dourlens. The command of the French forces was divided between Bouillon, Saint-Paul, and Villars, with the results that might have been expected. The plan adopted for the relief of Dourlens led to a general engagement ; and Villars, in covering the retreat, was defeated, captured, and put to death (July 2e). The losses of the French were estimated at 3000. But Nevers had meanwhile come up with the troops under his command, and the towns on the Somme were put in a state of defence. Fuentes turned aside and laid siege to Cambray (August 11, 1595). At this moment Henry had to choose between his expedition to Lyons and a northward march to take command in Picardy. Results seem to prove that his decision was wise. But a heavy price was paid for the pacification of the south-east ; and the funds disbursed by agreement to the Leaguers reduced the royal treasury to complete destitution.
The position of Cambray was peculiar. The Duke of Anjou had seized this independent bishopric on his way to the Low Countries in the year 1581 ; and in the opening year of Henry's reign it was held by the Sieur de Balagny for the League. Balagny, first among the leaders of the League, had made his terms with the King of France. The Governor of Cambray now acknowledged the royal authority ; the city was held in the King's name, and had been prepared for defence with royal assistance and by royal advice. The force, which now beleaguered the city, was contributed and equipped by the Spanish Netherlands, whose territory was flanked and threatened by this hostile fortress. De Vie was sent by Henry to take charge of the defence. After vainly endeavouring to collect an army for its relief he threw himself into the town with a small force (September 2). His arrival imparted fresh vigour to the garrison, and gave Henry time to complete his work at Lyons, and to issue orders for the assembling of a relieving army. But, while the King was still on his way, having left Lyons on September 25, the inhabitants of Cambray, with whom Balagny had always been unpopular, taking offence at the issue of a copper token currency to defray the expenses of the garrison, rose against their governor, seized a gate, and on October 2 delivered the city to the Spaniards. The citadel remained; but for want of provisions that also was surrendered on October 9. Spanish rule was established, and the authority of the Archbishop reduced to insignificance.
To compensate for these losses the King now undertook the siege of
At this moment there was danger that the King might be left to carry on his work alone. The Dutch were inclined for peace, if peace could be obtained ; and their foreign policy was dictated by Elizabeth. To Henry's urgent demands for assistance during the siege of La Fere, and while the fate of Calais hung in the balance, Elizabeth had returned no response. Until the fall of Calais she had hoped to obtain this place as an equivalent for her aid. After its fall she still hoped to obtain it from the King of Spain by exchange for Flushing and Brill, which she held as security for her loans to the Dutch. Boulogne was now to be the price of her assistance ; and Henry could hardly afford to pay this price. But a fresh embassy, despatched in April, aided by reports of fresh designs on the part of Philip upon England, obtained more favourable terms. On May 26, 1596, an offensive and defensive league was concluded between England and France; and the adhesion of the United Provinces, though not immediately notified, was in principle settled. In order to secure this support, Henry was obliged to tie his hands and to promise that he would not make peace without the consent of his allies. But the proposition as to Boulogne was dropped, and the
The autumn of 1596 saw no important operations on the northern frontiers. A French attempt to surprise Arras failed, and raids into Artois did not affect the main issue. On the other hand this autumn saw the beginning of financial reform, and of Rosny's activity in the Council of Finance ; and the necessary foundations for the campaign of the following year were laid. The assembly of Notables, which Henry summoned for October, 1596, was intended to suggest and authorise new taxation, and to assist in the reorganisation. Its members were drawn from the clergy, the nobility, the sovereign Courts, the municipal magistrates, and the financial officers of the Crown. Their deliberations threw light upon the financial position, but their suggestions did little to improve it. They discovered that the royal revenues amounted to 23 millions of livres, of which sixteen millions were appropriated to first charges, leaving only seven millions for war, the royal household, fortifications, roads, and public works. They agreed that the revenue ought to be raised to thirty millions, and for this purpose they proposed the pancarte or sou pour livre-a tax of five per cent, on all goods introduced for sale into towns and fairs, excepting corn. They reckoned that this tax would bring in five millions, while minor reforms would supply the other two. In operation this tax produced little more than a million and proved highly unpopular. The picturesque story told by Sully of the establishment of a Council of Reason, and of his own wise advice, whereby the Council was utilised and circumvented and eventually suppressed, appears to be without historical foundation-an invention intended to exalt the author's own importance.
In the early months of 1597, while Henry's ambassadors, Bongars and Ancel, were urging in vain the Princes of Germany to combine in a final and joint attack upon the King of Spain, Clement was working for peace. But Henry, anxious as he was to secure for his exhausted kingdom an interval of repose and recuperation, could not consent to any peace or truce which involved the retention by the Spaniards of the captured places on his northern frontier. To this list Amiens was added on March 11, 1597. When this town made its terms with the King, it was stipulated that no royal garrison should be quartered in its precincts. Nevertheless, relying on the strength of the fortifications, and on the loyalty of the inhabitants, the King had selected Amiens as the depot for the war material collected in view of the coming campaign. The commander of Dourlens, learning of this great accumulation of valuable stores, and also that the civic guard, although duly watchful during the hours of night, relaxed its vigilance by day, planned an attack for the early hours of morning, and effected his entry into the town. Resistance
The King determined that his first object must be the recovery of Amiens. Expedients were immediately devised for the collection of funds-a forced loan, a sale of new offices, an increase in the gabelle of salt. Lesdiguières was despatched to take charge of Dauphiné. Aid was sent to the King's lieutenants in Britanny. The garrisons of Picardy were strengthened, and a small force was at once collected to begin the blockade. Measures were taken for the manufacture of a new siege-train, and the necessary ammunition. The Constable was left in Paris to see to the execution of these orders; on March 12 the King left the capital. Marshal de Biron had already been despatched to make preparations for the blockade.
The King began by visiting his garrisons, where he found the troops ready to disband for lack of pay. Promises, and urgent messages for the supply of funds, enabled him to meet this danger, and to put the fortresses in a state of defence. Before the month of March was out Biron was established at Longpré beyond the Somme to close the approaches from Flanders. Corbie and Pecquigny were strongly occupied. To divert attention attacks were made upon Arras and Dourlens, of which much cannot have been expected. On April 5 the King himself designed and ordered the siege works necessary to cut off all access from the north. He then returned to Paris to induce the Parlement to register the Edicts framed in view of the extraordinary financial exigencies. " I come to demand alms," he said, " for those whom I have left on the frontier of Picardy." But a lit dejustke was needed, and was held on May 21. With the Parlement of Rouen he had similar difficulties. To them he wrote, "I think rather of the danger of an invasion, than of the formalities of laws and ordinances. There is nothing irremediable except the loss of the State." The Parlement held out for two months, and then registered the Edicts. The emergency was indeed dangerous ; the King's prestige was shaken ; seditious attempts were made to seize Poitiers, Rouen, Rheims, Saint-Quentin ; and Archduke Albert had hopes of securing Metz. The Vicomte de Tavannes was arrested ; and exceptional measures had to be taken to restrain the Comte d'Auvergne from open rebellion.
Meanwhile, in spite of the bankruptcy which had been forced upon Philip in the autumn of 1596, the Archduke Albert was collecting an army of 28,000 men to relieve Amiens. Elizabeth was entreated to make a diversion by attacking Calais ; but she confined her aid to 2000 men for six months. The Dutch sent their stipulated contingent of 4000 men, but refused to initiate offensive operations on their own part. But to propositions of peace from Spain the King replied, " I will speak of it further when I have recovered Amiens, Calais, and Ardres.w Infantry was raised in the various provinces; the nobility were called
On June 7 Henry reappeared in the camp of Amiens. The army of investment was not yet much larger than 6000 foot, with a small force of cavalry. Nevertheless Biron had done wonders. The work of circum-vallation to the north was nearly completed. The forces were soon raised to 12,000 foot and 3000 horse ; and before the siege was ended there were 30,000 men about the town. The line of the Somme was now strengthened at every possible point of crossing to prevent relief from reaching the city by a circuit from the south. On July 17 a dangerous sortie was made, but was eventually beaten back. Forty-five cannon were now battering the walls. Saint-Luc showed conspicuous ability in the command of the artillery ; and his death on September 5 was a great loss. Early in September the Archduke Albert left Douay with a relieving army of 18,000 men, and 3000 horse, 7000 being left to guard his communications. The proposal to cross the Somme below Corbie was thought too dangerous ; and a more direct advance upon the besiegers was substituted. On the 15th the Spanish army appeared upon the banks of the Somme, about six miles below Amiens. The enemy, while detaching a small force to attempt the passage of the Somme, advanced to Longpré, which had been fortified by the advice of the-Duke of Mayenne. On the approach of the main army he sent forward trustworthy supports to strengthen this position ; an attack upon it was repulsed ; and the attempt to cross the Somme was frustrated by Henry's dispositions, the troops which reached the southern bank being driven back with serious losses. On the 16th the Archduke retired in good order, Henry having decided not to risk a general engagement. On September 25 Amiens capitulated. After this the town was held by a royal garrison.
This success opened to Henry the prospect of an honourable peace. Philip II knew that his days were numbered ; he was anxious to leave to his son a peaceful succession; he desired to make provision for his daughter, the Infanta Isabel Clara Eugenia ; it was clear that nothing worth the sacrifices involved could be gained by prolonging the war with France ; and he still cherished hopes of recovering the United Provinces. His ally, the Duke of Savoy, had been hard pressed in the south. Lesdiguières had invaded his territory, and occupied the whole territory of the Maurienne. The forces of Savoy had been defeated in several engagements. Prince Maurice had taken advantage of the expedition of Archduke Albert to carry his arms far and wide into Gelders, Over-yssel, Frisia, and even into Westphalia, and the Electorate of Cologne. The expedition which left Ferrol in October for Britanny and Cornwall
His chief difficulty was with his allies. So recently as 1596 he had concluded an offensive and defensive alliance with England and the Dutch, and had promised not to make peace without their consent. In order to give some colour to his defection, he pressed upon the Estates General in November the necessity of more ample and vigorous assistance in a joint and general war for the conquest of the Spanish Netherlands. To Elizabeth de Maisse was sent to make similar representations. But it would have been difficult to satisfy Henry. He was bent upon peace on the condition of recovering his lost towns. These diplomatic demonstrations were only intended to prepare his allies, and to give some excuse for his desertion of them. The state of his kingdom required peace ; and herein lay his real justification. The cool reception given by Elizabeth to his proposals was natural enough in the circumstances, and could not be considered to relieve him of his obligations.
On January 12 Henry authorised his representatives to negotiate with the Archduke at Vervins for a peace. The chief difficulty was the condition on which the King thought it necessary to insist: that England and the United Provinces should be admitted to the peace if they desired. When this had been surmounted, the Peace of Vervins was concluded (May 2, 1598). The Treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis was put in force again. Henry recovered all his conquered places in Picardy, as well as the fort of Blavet in Britanny. The Duke of Savoy was included in the treaty ; and the question of Saluzzo, which he had seized from Prance towards the end of the reign of Henry III, was to be decided by papal arbitration. The Swiss were comprised in the agreement, with their allies-a term which by implication covered Geneva. Neither Elizabeth nor the United Provinces elected to join in the treaty ; but Henry continued his unofficial assistance to the Dutch, first by repaying gradually the sums which they had advanced to him, and afterwards by subsidies, which ultimately amounted to two million livres a year. About the same time the Grand Duke of Tuscany was persuaded to give up the Château dlf and other places commanding Marseilles, which he held as security for his loan of 3,600,000 livres.
Meanwhile the King had completed his preparations for the armed reduction of Britanny. His intervention on this side of France was the more necessary since Protestants, headed by the Duke of Bouillon and La Trémouille, and leagued with the Duke of Montpensier, and the Comte de Soissons, had long been threatening trouble in Poitou, Limousin, Berry, Auvergne, and neighbouring provinces. The disturbed condition of these provinces, where League captains still retained some centres for their depredations, was the excuse ; but ambition working on religious disaffection for political ends inspired the movement.
In February, 1598, the King set out from Paris. On his way he passed through Anjou and Touraine and used the opportunity to extinguish remaining sparks of disorder due to the League, and to overawe the leaders of Protestant disaffection. For ten years the province of Britanny had been the arena not only of faction and party strife, but also of foreign armies, English and Spanish. Now that the King had been converted and received by the Pope, the peace party was strong among the Bretons, as was proved by spontaneous demonstrations in Dinan, St Malo, and Morlaix. But Mercoeur still held the strong city of Nantes, inaccessible at certain seasons ; and his strength was not contemptible. Besides 5000 Spaniards at Blavet, he had 2000 men under his own command. Twelve places acknowledged him in Britanny and Poitou, each of which was said to be strong enough to stand a siege. The reasons therefore, which induced Henry to compromise with Villars, Mayenne, Epernon, and others, existed here in greater force; and Mercoeur made a very profitable bargain. The Duke and his followers received a complete amnesty and more than four million livres in return for the surrender of the province, the cities, and the castles ; and it was agreed that Mercoeur's daughter should be married to the natural son of Henry and Gabrielle d'Estrées, César, afterwards Duke of Vendôme. On the conclusion of this treaty at Ponts de Ce (March 20) the submission of the whole north-western district, and the extirpation of the last centres of disorder, speedily followed ; and the evacuation of Blavet by the Spaniards after the Treaty of Vervins completed the reunion of France under one King.
Henry moved on to Nantes, and held an assembly of the Estates of the province of Britanny. All the irregular imposts of the unquiet time were abolished, and arrears of taxes remitted. In return for these benefits the Estates granted a special vote of 800,000 livres for the coming year. At Nantes the moment seemed to have come to settle the status of the Protestants on a more satisfactory if not on a permanent basis. The famous Edict signed in April, 1598, consolidated the privileges which the Calvinists already possessed by the various declarations and edicts previously passed: the Declaration of Saint-Cloud (1589), the Edict of Mantes (1591), the Articles of Mantes (1593), and the Edict of St Germain (1594).
Although the registration of the Edict of Mantes and of the Edict of St Germain had been delayed, it had been finally accorded. Complete liberty of conscience and of secret worship, local rights of public worship in 200 Protestant towns and some 3000 castles of Protestant seigneurs hauts justiciers, and in one city of each bailliage and sénéchaussée of the kingdom, free access to all public offices-these rights the Calvinists already possessed, except in Provence and in the bailliages of Rouen, Amiens, and Paris. At the assembly of Sainte-Foy (1594) they had claimed far more. They had planned the division of the kingdom into
The object of the Edict, which bears the stamp of a temporary measure, was to extend religious liberty so far as was consistent with the temper of the time and with special conditions made with rebellious towns and districts, and to limit political independence so far as was compatible with the not unnatural fears and suspicions of the Protestants, who still remembered the day of St Bartholomew and the ascendancy of the Guises. Liberty of public worship was extended to two places in every bailliage or sénéchaussée ; a limited number of seigneurs not hauts justiciers were allowed to establish public worship in their castles ; and in all places where it already existed it was authorised. The King assigned a sum of money for Protestant schools and colleges, and authorised gifts and bequests for this purpose. Full civil rights and full civil protection were granted to all Protestants, and special Chambers (Chambres de FÉdit) were established in the Parlements to try cases in which Protestants were interested. In Paris this Chamber was composed of specially selected Catholics with one Protestant Councillor ; in Bordeaux, Toulouse, Grenoble, one half of the members were to be Protestant. The admissibility of Protestants to all public offices was confirmed and even the Parlement of Paris admitted six Protestant councillors.
The political privileges granted were of a liberal, even of a dangerous character. The Calvinists were allowed to hold both religious synods and political assemblies on obtaining royal permission ; this condition was at first omitted in the case of the synods, but was later seen to be necessary. They retained the complete control of the 200 cities which they still held, including such powerful strongholds as La Rochelle, Montpellier, and Montauban. The King agreed to supply funds for the maintenance of the garrisons and the fortifications, hoping, it may be, in this manner to retain a hold upon them. The possession of these cities and towns was at first only guaranteed until 1607, but it was prolonged until 1612. If, as may be surmised, Henry looked forward to a time when this provisional guarantee should no longer be thought requisite, that hope, like many others, remained unfulfilled at his death. After considerable opposition on the part of the Parlements the Edict was finally registered in 1599, at Paris ; and the other Parlements sooner or later accepted it with some restrictions.
The Edict, according to modern ideas, grants more and less than was desirable. Religious liberty was incomplete, while local political liberty was excessive and dangerous. The reasons for both defects are too obvious to require explanation ; and, in spite of them all, the registration
The controversy with the Duke of Savoy concerning the marquisate of Saluzzo was left by the Peace of Vervins to the arbitration of the Pope. The Treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis assigned the disputed territory to France, so that the arbitration seemed to be an easy matter. But the Pope soon found that the parties were irreconcilable ; and in 1599 he renounced his ungrateful task. Direct negotiation proved equally fruitless. It was plain that the Duke of Savoy relied upon arms to maintain his claim. Fuentes, the Spanish Governor of Milan, encouraged him to hope for Spanish aid ; and it is probable that he relied upon the help of friends in France. Henry offered to exchange Saluzzo for Bresse and certain neighbouring territories. Abundant time was given for the consideration of this offer ; but the Duke continued to temporise ; and at length in August, 1600, the King decided to resort to arms.
Rosny, who was now not only Surintendant of Finance, but also Grand Master of the Artillery, had raised the funds and constructed the finest siege-train that had hitherto been seen. An army under Biron was directed to invade Bresse, another under Lesdiguières to invade Savoy. On the same day, August 13, the towns of Bourg in Bresse and Montmélian in Savoy were taken by assault ; and Chambéry opened its gates. In spite of understandings between Biron and the Duke of Savoy, and secret information supplied by the latter, the campaign resembled a military promenade. Castles reputed impregnable melted like wax under the fire of the new and powerful artillery. The King, after seeing that all was going well in Savoy, joined the army of Bresse ; and under his eye any traitorous dispositions on the part of Biron were left little chance. The fall of the citadel of Montmélian (November 16) completed the military occupation of Savoy and Bresse, with the exception of the citadel of Bourg. The fort of Sainte-Catherine, a constant menace to Geneva, was destroyed. On January 17, 1601, the Duke of Savoy was obliged to come to terms, and ceded in return for Saluzzo the lands of Bresse, Bugey, Gex, and Valromey, in lieu of an indemnity. The King rounded off' his territory in France, and seemed to renounce the Italian ambitions of his predecessors.
The career of Henry IV is an unfinished career. The Peace of Vervins marks the end of the first period. By 1598 internal peace had been established ; and external peace until 1610 was only disturbed by the brief war with Savoy. The second period was a period of peace, but of peace as a preparation for war. The third period had just begun when the assassin's dagger cut short the execution of that policy which, after all apocryphal details have been struck out, may still deserve to be termed his " Great Design." The exact nature of the King's plans cannot now be ascertained. Of the fantastic and discredited imaginations of Sully little use can be made, and that only with the greatest caution. More may be learnt from the confidential correspondence of the King, if care be taken to distinguish between schemes entertained for a moment and indications of settled and continuous policy. But the safest guide to the ultimate aims of Henry is the study of his action as a whole from the Peace of Vervins to the outbreak of the Cleves-Jiilich War. Reserve, restraint, economy, organisation, silent and steadfast advance, the gradual addition of alliance to alliance, indicate that the purpose was so great as to require the employment of all available resources. The establishment of universal toleration may have been subsidiary to the main design ; but religion was consistently postponed to politics ; the real end was the political hegemony of Europe, which could only be obtained at the expense of the House of Habsburg as a whole. For a time antagonism appears to be mainly directed against Spain ; but, as the combinations widen and mature, the Austrian House is seen to be also included ; and against Austria in fact the first blow was actually directed.
Some years were needed for the settlement of unsolved domestic problems. The final dissolution of the League, the peace with Spain, and the Edict of Nantes, did not free the realm of France from elements of disquiet, disunion, and intrigue ; and the play of these forces was seldom unaffected by external influences. The conspiracies of the years
The old Marshal de Biron had been one of the first to adopt the cause of Henry after his accession. He had demanded a substantial price for his adhesion ; but, having received it, he did good work. His conduct on one or two occasions, notably at the siege of Rouen, gave cause for suspicion that he was prolonging the war in order to enhance the value of his own services. Such suspicions are, however, easier to conceive than to confirm ; and he had given his life for the King. After his death his son stood high in Henry's favour: he was a dashing soldier ; and at Amiens he had shown himself before the King's arrival a good commander. After the King joined the besieging army, Biron's jealousy, vanity, and uncertain temper, impaired his usefulness ; he was already in communication with the Archduke ; later, it is said, he confessed that he purposely left the important position of Longpré undefended, in order that the Archduke might throw succour into the city, and that the King might thus still be dependent upon himself. This omission was retrieved by Mayenne's foresight ; and the purpose of the conspirator was defeated. The King loaded Biron with favours ; he was made a Marshal, a Duke, and Governor of Burgundy. But his ambition does not seem to have been satisfied. During the war with Savoy he was in communication with Charles Emmanuel and with Fuentes ; and several acts of treachery are laid to his charge. The Duke of Savoy had promised him his daughter in marriage ; and this alliance, suspicious in itself, was rendered more suspicious by concealment. In 1601 he made a partial confession to the King, who freely pardoned him. But it seems that he nevertheless continued his secret intrigues.
The scope of his designs was wide and vague. There can be no doubt that he was in communication with the Duke of Savoy, with the Viceroy of Milan, and with the King of Spain ; and that he approached all who were supposed to be malcontent-the Duke of Bouillon, the Comte d'Auvergne, La Trémouille, the Comte de Soissons, the Duke of Montpensier, the Duke of Epernon-and endeavoured to organise a rising, which, if successful, would have led to the dismemberment of France in the interests of private ambition, Protestant particularism, and Catholic exclusiveness. To reconcile these diverse interests would have been difficult, if not impossible ; even at the outset this difficulty became apparent. The King's prestige was growing day by day; and the
The King knew all, or nearly all ; but he was still anxious to save the Marshal, whom he seems to have dearly loved. A confession and complete submission would have saved him, but no confession or submission was forthcoming. The Marshal was too proud or too suspicious. He protested his complete ignorance of any criminal intention other than those which he had previously admitted. There was no other way. Biron and Auvergne were arrested. Biron was sent to trial before the Parlement. The verbal pardon which he pleaded had no legal validity ; it was more than doubtful whether the pardon covered all his offences up to its date ; it could not cover subsequent proceedings. Among the documents put into court and acknowledged by the accused was a memorial of some length and considerable detail, supplying full information about the King's army to the Duke of Savoy. This and other autograph documents supplied by La Fin made the case clear, even without his verbal testimony ; and justice took its course. On July 31 the Marshal suffered the death penalty. There is much that is doubtful, much that is unintelligible, in the case of Biron ; but it can hardly be doubted that he was guilty, and that the King did his utmost to save him. After four months of imprisonment Auvergne made a full confession, and received his pardon. Many details were ascertained after Biron's death.
Auvergne may have owed his safety to his half-sister, Henriette d'Entragues, Marquise de Verneuil, the King's mistress. But the family deserved little consideration. The promise of marriage, mentioned above, was the excuse for their discontent. It not only gave plausible ground for a grievance, it opened the way for vague claims to the succession on behalf of Henriette's children. In 1604 the King demanded and obtained its restitution ; a little later all the intrigues which the family had been carrying on with Spain and with Bouillon became
The disaffection of the Protestants throughout these years gave strength to every hostile manœuvre. It must be remembered that the Edict of Nantes, favourable as it was in many respects to the Protestants, did not put the two religions on a complete equality. While the exercise of the Catholic religion was introduced everywhere, even into Beam, the Protestant worship was confined to a limited number of places. Complete freedom of speech could not be allowed to the Calvinists. The public identification of the Pope with Antichrist could not be permitted in a Catholic country. Such latitude could not be allowed even to Duplessis-Mornay. But, when the King protested, he had some difficulty in preventing the Protestants from adopting this identification as a substantive part of their confession. In 1603 the King thought it desirable to conciliate the Jesuits, and allowed them to return to certain specified places in those parts of his kingdom from which they had been excluded since 1595. This act was ill-received, not only by the Protestants, but also by the Gallican Parlement of Paris, and was only registered after the vigorous intervention of the King (1604). In face of this apparent evidence of unfavourable intention the Protestants held the more firmly to their privilege of political assemblage which the King rightly felt to be dangerous. This conflict of purpose came to a head at the Assembly of Châtelhérault in 1605, for which the King reluctantly gave his permission, on condition that his commissary was to attend the proceedings.
Rosny was nominated as commissary ; and the proceedings of the Assembly at first took a menacing direction. On July 26 the deputies
While Henry had ambitious subjects who were unsatisfied with the highest position attainable by them under the monarchy, and had to reckon with an organised Protestant community whose latent discontent might at any time lead to civil war, Spain had also a subject population whose grievances gave opportunity for external intrigue. The Moriscos, on whom the prosperity of Valencia and Granada chiefly rested, and who were powerful even in Aragon, had for more than a century suffered the most galling forms of religious, political, and national oppression. No means had been spared to stamp out their religion, their customs, their speech. The Moriscos rendered outward obedience to force, but inwardly they clung the more obstinately to their religion and their nationality. Their industry supported agriculture, the arts, commerce, and banking, in the provinces where they were settled. They were in relation with the Berbers of Africa, and with the Turks. In 1602 they opened negotiations with Henry, who saw an opportunity to retaliate for Spanish intrigues among his own subjects. A general Moorish rising was planned to which Henry was to contribute arms and leaders. But the moment was not propitious for decisive action on the part of France. The negotiations were allowed to drag on until 1605, when everything became known. The Spaniards had agents in France, by whom the most secret designs of the French Court were divulged. L'Hoste, the confidential secretary of Villeroy, was in their pay, and was discovered in 1605. Thus the Moorish conspiracy came to light ; and the negotiations only gave an excuse for the final expulsion of the Moriscos in 1609, which proved indeed almost as disastrous for Spain as a successful Moorish rising could have been. The only evidence that Henry could then give of his friendly disposition towards this unhappy people was to receive with kindness the fugitives who were driven across his boundaries, and to supply them with means of transport to the country of their choice.
Thus the Peace of Vervins, though it brought to an end open hostilities between France and Spain, did not, indeed could not, terminate mutual animosity and rivalry between the two Powers, the one still struggling to maintain a precarious hegemony, the other justly aspiring
In the secret duel between the two Powers the advantage at first lay with the Spaniards. It was hope of Spanish support that drove Savoy into war with France. Similar expectations inspired the attack made by Savoy on Geneva in 1602. The failure of that attack, and the dissatisfaction of Charles Emmanuel with the material advantages gained by his close alliance with Spain, gradually alienated Savoy from the Spanish, and urged her to court the French connexion. From 1603 onwards negotiations between Charles Emmanuel and France were in constant progress. In return for his alliance, which opened the road to Italy, the Duke hoped to secure the restoration of the lands ceded by the Peace of Lyons, and in addition the right to conquer Geneva. Henry was determined to bring him over to his side without paying any such price ; and by patience he eventually succeeded. The renewal of friendly relations with Savoy showed that the King was once more turning his eyes towards Italy ; and in fact Henry began gradually to form connexions with Italian Powers. The Grand Duke of Tuscany, alienated from Spain by the fortification of Ponte Longone in Elba, drew closer for a time the ties of friendship that from the first he had maintained with Henry. Modena and Mantua showed cautious leanings in the same direction. In the dispute between Venice and the Pope concerning the Venetian jurisdiction over the clergy, the relation of the religious Orders to the State authority, the taxation of the clergy, and similar questions, both Powers put out their utmost diplomatic resources ; and Spain made
The renewed interest of France in Italy was also seen in the affair of the, Grisons. In 1602 the Spaniards had succeeded in preventing the Gray Leagues from renewing their alliance with France. But, undeterred by this defeat, Henry aspired not only to friendship with the Leagues, but to predominant influence with them as controlling the Valtelline, and therewith the communications between Milan and the Spanish and Austrian dominions north of the Alps. In 1603 he succeeded in concluding an alliance between the Grisons and Venice. The Grisons were peculiarly susceptible to Spanish influence, because their country depended for its supplies upon the duchy of Milan. The alliance with Venice opened for them an alternative source of supply; and the Spanish Governor of Milan found that neither the exclusion of the Grisons from the Milanese markets, nor the erection of fortresses on the Grisons' frontier, availed any longer to bend the mountaineers to his will. The Leagues wavered, and negotiated ; and for years the conflict continued. Finally, in 1607, French influence won the day ; the Franco-Venetian alliance was confirmed ; and for the time the Valtelline was closed to Spanish ambition.
Henry's antagonism to Spain was to be seen not only in the diplomatic field. Though in 1602 he declined an offensive and defensive alliance with England and the United Provinces, he encouraged the latter with large subsidies of money, and- allowed French regiments to serve in the Low Countries. He rejected all proposals made by Clement VIII for an alliance between France and Spain. Although at one time he seemed inclined to listen to suggestions of a marriage between the little Dauphin and the Infanta Anna, his real wishes in the matter were never seriously tested, and the overtures were soon abandoned. Nor was he disposed to make a distinction between the Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg and the Spanish branch. Though his direct interests came less frequently into collision with the Austrians, his animus was clearly shown by his refusal in 1602 to aid the Austrians against the Turks. He maintained in fact the policy, inherited from Francis I, of friendship with the Turks ; whom he encouraged by all the means in his power to war against the Austrian monarchy, and against Spain in the Mediterranean.
It is hardly necessary to say that in the most important part of Henry's foreign policy during these years, the hardly disguised support which he gave to the United Provinces, his action was not disinterested. Apart
The negotiations dragged on ; and side issues arose. Henry pursued for some time with zeal the scheme of a marriage between Philip's second son, Carlos, and his own daughter, Christine; the united and independent Netherlands were to be their marriage portion on the death of Albert and his consort. But this scheme was little likely to commend itself to Spain, against whom it was in fact directed. The Spaniards required as a condition previous to the consideration of any marriage proposals that Henry should abandon the cause of the Provinces. Thus, after delaying for some months the conclusion of a lasting truce, these negotiations broke down. On the vital points of the negotiations Henry consulted his own interests. The Indian trade did not concern him. The freedom demanded for Catholic worship in the Provinces was a delicate point ; and he steered as well as he could between his duty to the Catholic religion and his desire not to offend the susceptibilities of the Dutch. He opposed all proposals for a rectification of boundaries, wishing to perpetuate difficult relations between the two Netherland States. At first his preference was for a peace as against a prolonged truce; but, when the conditions demanded on either side appeared irreconcilable, it was Jeannin who induced the States General to put
Before the old controversy was extinguished by the conclusion of the twelve years' truce (April 9, 1609), material for a new one was provided. On March 25, Duke John William of Julich-Cleves-Berg had died without issue. Henry had already taken measures to build up a league under the leadership of France in view of a great European struggle. At the beginning of 1608 his long and patient pressure upon Charles Emmanuel of Savoy led at length to unmistakable proof that the Duke had determined to break conclusively with Spain. The leader of the •Spanish party in Savoy, d'Albigny, was arrested and put to death in prison. This decisive indication of a change in policy was followed by the marriage of two Princesses of Savoy, linking their House in the most public manner with two of the more independent States of Italy, Modena and Mantua. That Charles had influence at Rome had been proved by the recent nomination of his son Maurice as Cardinal ; and the tendency of these events was the more marked, inasmuch as both the marriage alliances and the elevation of Maurice had been strenuously opposed by Spain. But the negotiations of Henry for a Spanish marriage during the year 1608, his suspicions of Charles Emmanuel, and the demands still put forward by the Duke for a cession of territory, retarded the rapprochement between Savoy and France. When the attempts to secure peace for the Netherlands appeared to have failed, Henry turned with proposals for an offensive and defensive alliance to Savoy and Venice; when the outlook improved, these proposals were withdrawn. The Duke meanwhile was becoming more and more estranged from Spain. He had endeavoured to use the advances of France to extort better terms from Philip. Then, when his expectations were disappointed, he let his irritation be seen, until the Spaniards were persuaded of his confirmed
Henry's interest in Germany had always been subordinate to more immediate objects. He had endeavoured to win the Protestant Princes for the aid of the United Provinces. He had occupied himself occasionally with the question of the Imperial succession ; when there was fear that the Spanish King might wish to secure it for himself, he had expressed his intention in such an event of presenting himself as a candidate (1600). He had attempted (in 1602 and 1605) to induce the Duke of Bavaria to come forward. He had consulted with his German friends as to the choice to be made among Habsburg claimants. Albert of the Netherlands, Ferdinand of Styria, were at all hazards to be opposed. Matthias or Maximilian of Tyrol were regarded as preferable. But no selection of a successor actually took place ; and all these questions remained in the sphere of diplomacy. More important was Henry's scheme for a union of the Protestant German Powers, to which he should stand in the relation of ally and protector. From 1599 onwards we find him urging the conclusion of such a union ; but the German Princes were suspicious ; they were alienated by the King's delay in paying the debts he had contracted ; they sympathised with Bouillon ; and hence they refused to contract any French alliance. In 1607, however, the scheme began to gain ground, and in 1608 a part of Henry's scheme was fulfilled by the formation of the Evangelical Union. The keen interest taken by Henry in these negotiations proves that his policy was directed not only against Spain, but also against the Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg. Rudolf was then tottering on his throne ; and the disunion in the House of Austria increased Henry's advantage.
The question of the Jülich-Cleves inheritance had long occupied the minds of European statesmen, and especially of Henry IV. The matter concerned him nearly. If the territories in question were added to the Habsburg dominions the pressure of this House upon his eastern frontier would be redoubled ; the United Provinces would be threatened; and the might of uncompromising Catholicism, to which Henry, whatever his religious profession, was always by temperament and policy opposed, would be dangerously increased. So early as 1599 Bongars, the French ambassador, called the attention of the Elector Palatine to the question. In 1602 Henry warned the Landgrave of Hesse-Cassel, and put forward his proposal for a friendly arrangement between the three Protestant claimants, Brandenburg, Neuburg, and Zweibrücken, intended to avoid
However, Henry's policy-to exclude at all hazards the Habsburgs and to secure the Provinces for Protestant rulers-was at first so far successful that Brandenburg and Neuburg agreed (June 10, 1609) to occupy and govern the duchies in common ; the aid of the Union was secured for them ; and Henry threw all the weight of his influence on the side of the two Princes. He would have been satisfied to secure the peaceful possession of the disputed duchies for Protestants, but he let it be known that he would meet force with force. The occasion for this did not seem far distant when the Emperor charged with the execution of his sequestration order the Archduke Leopold, Bishop of Passau and Strassburg, a zealous Catholic and a member of the Habsburg House. On July 23 Leopold obtained possession of the fortress of Jiilich from the commandant, who was in Spanish pay. The Habsburg designs being thus revealed, Henry saw hopes of uniting Europe against the rival House. To this he addressed himself, with no fixed intention at the first, as it would seem, of making the present his occasion for the great effort which he long had had in mind.
Preparations were, however, made for immediate intervention if necessary. The Dutch were called upon to send the French regiments serving in their pay to the frontier of the disputed duchies. France began to arm. But it was not Henry's intention to challenge the Habsburgs single-handed. He set himself first to detach from them possible allies. The Elector of Saxony, who was himself a claimant, required the most careful handling. The Pope, at the outset, was eager to see a new district won for the Catholics ; but he was persuaded that the Habsburgs as usual were using religion as a cloak for political schemes, and his neutrality was for the time at least secured. Attempts were made to excite the jealousy of the Princes of the newly formed Catholic League and to win in particular the Duke of Bavaria. On the other side the unqualified and substantial support of the Evangelical Union might be hoped ; but even here difficulties arose. The German Princes were suspicious of Henry's intentions. Even the Princes who had occupied the disputed duchies showed no steadfast determination to-provide the necessary means for a campaign. The alliance with Savoy was now a certainty ; but the crafty Duke spun out the negotiations in the hope of extracting some concession. Attempts to win Venice failed,
Though Henry had good reason for regarding the Julich-Cleves complication as a likely opportunity for uniting Europe against the Habsburg House, by the autumn of 1609 he must have perceived that his more sanguine expectations were far from fulfilment. There are indications that his desire for war had begun to cool, when the flight of the Prince of Condé to the Spanish Netherlands to protect his wife from the King's pursuit (November 29), and the protection and assistance which Condé received from Archduke Albert, introduced a new and irrational element into the situation. The diplomatic history of the next few months is filled with demands for the surrender of Condé and the restoration of the lady, pressed upon Archduke Albert, the Court of Spain, and afterwards on Milan, whither Condé had removed. The incident was exploited to the utmost by Spain in order to discredit the King. The conflict of interests rendered a collision probable in connexion with Jülich-Cleves; the form which the collision took was in partial accord with the great scheme which Henry no doubt cherished ; but we are forced to recognise that at this time the King's judgment was obscured and his movements were deflected by a disastrous passion. Thus, when he advanced to the execution of his life's design, the ground had been insufficiently prepared by diplomacy ; and a part of the results of eleven years' watching, waiting, and scheming was sacrificed.
Fevered and irresolute, Henry still pressed forward. The agreement for a marriage of the Princess Elizabeth of France with the eldest son of the Duke of Savoy was signed on December 28, 1609. In February arrangements were made for a joint invasion of Milan, the King providing 12,000 foot, and 2000 horse, the Duke supplying half that number, and receiving twenty pieces of ordnance. The results of the congress of the Union at Schwäbisch-Hall were disappointing. Boissise, the French envoy, did not even venture to mention to the delegates his master's ulterior aims-the exclusion of the Habsburgs from the Imperial succession, and the conquest of the Spanish Netherlands. The King was obliged to be content with a contingent of 8000 foot and 2000 horse, half
On the other hand his opponents had not been idle. The army in the Netherlands had been brought up to more than 20,000 men. The Milanese was held by not less than 30,000 ; and contingents were expected from Sicily and Naples which would raise the total to 40,000. The semi-dependent Princes were called upon for money or men. Troops were raised in Spain. In May 25,000 were ready, and more were being collected. The Emperor gave orders to raise men for Archduke Leopold. The Catholic League was also arming. The Duke of Savoy, Henry's only noteworthy ally, made it felt that he knew his own value. In the durable offensive and defensive alliance concluded at Brosolo (April 25, 1610), the forces to be provided for the Italian expedition were increased to 31,600 ; all conquests in Milan were to go to the Duke ; and only trifling compensations were accorded to the King. On the other hand Archduke Albert showed the keenest desire for peace, and granted leave for the King's army to pass through Luxemburg on their way to Jiilich.
Everything was ready. In May the King was in Paris making his last dispositions before he joined his army at Chalons. The Queen, Maria de'Medici, was appointed as Regent with a council of fifteen advisers. She was crowned at Saint-Denis on May 13. On May 19 the King was to leave for the front. On the 14th, as the King was driving in company with the Duke of Épernon through the Rue de la Ferronnerie, a block in the traffic brought his carriage to a foot's pace. A man, who had followed the King from the Louvre, seized the moment to spring forward, and to strike him two blows in rapid succession in the left side with a knife. His death followed instantly.
No trustworthy evidence has ever been brought forward to connect the act of François Ravaillac with any conspiracy. Under torture he steadfastly maintained that he had no abettors or accomplices. He was moved, as it appears, by religious frenzy, and the desire to strike down the treacherous Catholic who was taking up arms in the Protestant cause. He believed that his act would be welcome to the people of France. The execration with which it was received throughout the
The universal and heartfelt grief of his subjects was due to Henry's achievements, no less than to his personal qualities. He had raised France from her nadir almost to her zenith. He had found her distracted, impoverished, desolated, impotent. He left her united, prosperous, peaceful, flourishing, powerful. He had surmounted difficulties that seemed insurmountable ; he had used the favour of fortune to the best advantage. His death arrived too soon for the completion of his ulterior schemes ; it may also have saved him from his greatest blunder. In forcing on the general war on the occasion of the Jiilich-Cleves dispute he had been moved by passion rather than policy. His successors had still time to minimise and localise the danger. Had Henry lived, he would no doubt have succeeded in extricating himself from the difficulties incurred by his rashness ; but it is probable that he would have consumed to little purpose a great part of the resources patiently accumulated in the course of many years.
His highest qualities lay perhaps in the diplomatic sphere. In his relations with the League these were well displayed. His victory over the rebels was due rather to tact and timely concessions than to force of arms. In dealing with the French Protestants even greater tact and skill were required. After the peace he showed the same qualities, making the power of France felt in every important question, never wasting his strength, never losing a chance. In Villeroy, the ideal State Secretary, and in Jeannin, the skilled negotiator, he had able coadjutors who proved his wisdom in the choice of men : but he was always his own Foreign Minister. As a diplomatist he was keen, quickwitted, versatile, prompt, patient. He was, on the other hand, perhaps too sanguine. He relied too much on the wisdom of his associates. He assumed they would put aside petty advantages, ignorant fears, and purblind doubts, and see their true interests clearly. His scheme for a great European coalition could only have succeeded, if several years of successful war had brought the falterers one by one into his camp. Policy dictated his opposition to the Habsburgs; he trusted that religion would bring him allies, and that fear of oppression or absorption would drive the weak to seek his protection ; he found that the Protestants never trusted him and were jealous of each other, while the weak looked for safety in inaction.
As a soldier he was vigorous, rapid, intrepid, and clear-sighted. He never had an opportunity of showing the highest qualities of a strategist. But he did well whatever he had to do ; and in his clear perception of the value of artillery he was in advance of his time. In his recognition also of the close relation between finance and successful warfare he showed himself a statesman. The commissariat and transport of his
In temperament he was cheerful, genial, buoyant, kindly ; in manner free from all affectation and pride ; in intercourse with all classes of his subjects affable and sympathetic, eager to learn at first hand all the circumstances of their fortune and life ; in relation to his subordinates, faithful, free from caprice, willing to listen, but determined to be obeyed; in speech and writing, ready, pointed, apt, and natural. On the faults of his private life it is not necessary to dwell ; few men have shown in their personal conduct less dignity, self-respect, and self-control ; and the effects of his weakness did not concern himself alone. His infatuation for Gabrielle d'Estrées delayed the marriage which he owed to France; his relations with Henriette d'Entragues led to a dangerous conspiracy, which he hardly allowed to interrupt his intimacy ; his passion for the Princess of Condé led to an inopportune war. But on the whole his conduct as a ruler was less affected by such influences than has often been the case.
Religion with him was consistently subordinated to policy. He must have the credit of having been the first to perceive the merits of toleration as a political expedient. He saw in it the means by which unity and peace could be secured for his country. The religion he adopted was the religion of his people ; he maintained it in accordance with the wish of the majority ; for the minority he secured such freedom of conscience and worship as opinion would allow, and such political guarantees as the times required. He sought allies for the most part, though not exclusively, among the Protestant Powers, because his enemies were Catholic ; but no act or word of his ever tended to embitter religious animosity. Religious forces he used to serve'his political ends ; but the line of action which he pursued, if successful, would in time have emancipated Europe from the devastating furies of religious dissension.
His religious policy was wise and enlightened ; unfortunately he did
In 1598 order had been generally restored. The salutary ordinance of that year prohibiting the bearing of arms on the public highroads was firmly enforced and accomplished its end. But the effects of nearly forty years of civil war and misgovernment were still everywhere apparent. Industry and commerce were at a standstill ; agriculture was crippled; the finances were in disorder; the taxable capacity of the people was at its minimum; the public debt was equivalent to a burden of 850,000,000 livres; the royal domains were pledged; provinces and revenues had been alienated to foreign Princes or great men in return for loans or in defrayment of obligations. By the close of the reign the debt had been reduced to 224 millions ; the provinces and revenues, whose profits had been allowed to pass out of the King's control, were recovered; domains had been regained to the value of 40 millions; rent charges had been redeemed to the value of 25 millions. On the other hand the illicit robbery of officials had been repressed ; the illegal exactions of governors of provinces had ceased ; twenty millions of arrears of taille had been remitted (1598); the taille had been reduced by nearly two millions a year (from sixteen millions to fourteen) ; and a treasure of forty-one millions had been built up. In consequence of better administration, better bargains with tax-farmers and contractors, and the redemption of domains and other sources of revenue, the revenue from sources other than taxation had increased from some three millions a year to thirteen, and the total income of the State from 23,000,000 livres, at which it was estimated by the Notables (1597), to 39,000,000, the estimate for 1609. This sum must be multiplied by about eight, in order to give its equivalent in modern currency. Sully deserves in great measure the credit for this improvement ; but the directing intelligence was that of Henry.
Meanwhile, the active mind of the King was constantly considering means for the material development of his kingdom. Care was taken for the sanitation of Paris and other large towns, and for the endowment
While all means were adopted to improve the revenue and to increase public and individual wealth, the closest economy was exercised in expenditure. During the years of peace the standing army was reduced to the minimum. Henry relied on finding levies of experienced soldiers at need; and this proved to be the case in 1606, and again in 1609. Full provision of arms and ammunition and ordnance was constantly kept in store ; here again Sully did good work ; but the expenditure on personnel was rigorously kept down. In consequence the budget for 1609 showed a clear balance of 18,000,000 livres, available for the extinction of debt, or for the provision of a war-chest. A weak side of this economy was the reluctance to pay just debts. This lost for the King the friendship of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, and did much to alienate the German Princes.
Constitutional changes were rare throughout the reign. Perhaps the most important was the concentration of the financial authority in the hand of one man (1599), in place of the cumbrous and inefficient Council of Finance. The pancarte, established in 1597 on the advice of the Notables, had to be abolished in 1602. In general, the benefits of
Henry's administration were attained through the better handling of the existing machinery. But the Paulette deserves mention. Since Louis XII and Francis I the sale of offices, originated as a financial device, had become a settled practice. In 1604 the King, on the advice of a certain Faulet, determined to convert the judicial offices of the kingdom into recognised heritable property. Judges, in consideration of the annual payment of one-sixtieth of the sum paid on the last occasion when the office was sold, were confirmed in the ownership of their posts, receiving liberty to sell them, or leave them to their heirs, or bequeath them, subject to the sole provision that the new holder should prove himself qualified. The measure was in part financial, in part it was expected to create a caste of magistrates, proud of their independence and of their traditions. As compared with the abuse of public sale, the new system was perhaps an improvement; but that abuse could have been at any time abolished ; the new one created vested and heritable rights, which only a revolution could destroy. The independence of the magistrates might easily make them a danger to the State in times of sedition or discontent.
In general, it may be said that Henry adopted the system of absolute government as he received it from Louis XI and Francis I. The change was due to improved administration, and to a better choice of men. The system suited the King with his impatience of routine methods and circumlocution ; the King suited the system, for his energy was weighted with caution, his thoughts were for the State rather than for himself, his ambition never degenerated into megalomania, and his love of pleasure was controlled by a sense of public duty. Thus in this reign we see French absolutism at its best. The King's will is law, but his will is beneficent ; and the instruments of his power respond to the impulse from above. A new page has been turned ; few can desire to return to the traditions of the League or of Henry III ; thus the public machine is not clogged with precedents, or complicated by time-honoured routine The nation feels the need of a ruler, and surrenders itself willingly into his hand ; the ruler is worthy of the nation's confidence. In Henry the nation's genius seems to be embodied; gaiety, wit, intrepidity, lucidity, industry, and common-sense, are his most distinguishing attributes, and fit him to be the King of a people in whom those qualities are prominently displayed. In the person of a King the French nation more than others finds its completion, its central point of life ; in Louis XIV the nation felt its majesty, its strength, its glory, its pomp, borne as on a banner before the eyes of Europe; but in Henry IV its vital characteristics of intellect and disposition were expressed and realised as in no other of the long Capetian succession.