History of the Rise of the Huguenots Volume II Part 46

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Not content with the public admission of his responsibility for the ma.s.sacre which he had made before the parliament, Charles with his court partic.i.p.ated two days later (Thursday, the twenty-eighth of August) in the celebration of a jubilee, and walked in a procession through the streets of Paris; at successive "stations" rendering thanks to Heaven, with fair show of devotion, for the preservation of his own life, and the lives of his brothers and of _the King of Navarre_. It would have served greatly to give a color of plausibility to the report of the conspiracy of the Huguenots, could Navarre and Conde have been prevailed upon to appear in the king's company on this occasion. But it must be mentioned to their honor, that they were proof against the persuasions as well as the threats of Charles.[1071] The same day a royal declaration was published, reiterating the allegations made in the Palais de Justice, but protesting that the king was determined to maintain his edict of pacification. As, however, the Protestants were forbidden for the present from holding any public or private a.s.semblies for wors.h.i.+p, it must be admitted that they were not far wrong in regarding the declaration as only another part of the trap cunningly devised for their destruction.[1072]

[Sidenote: Forced conversion of Navarre and Conde.]

Although the conversion of the young King of Navarre and his cousin, the Prince of Conde, did not occur until some weeks later, it may be appropriately mentioned here. No means were left untried to gain them over to the Roman Catholic religion. The sophistries of monks were supplemented by the more dangerous persuasions of a renegade Protestant minister, Hugues Sureau du Rosier, formerly one of the pastors of the church of Orleans.[1073] Whatever excuse his arguments may have furnished by covering their renunciation of their faith with the decent cloak of conviction, _fear_ was certainly the chief instrument in effecting the desired change in the Huguenot princes. There is no room for doubt that the character of Charles underwent a marked change, as we shall see later, from the time that he consented to the ma.s.sacre. He became more sullen, more violent, more impatient of contradiction or opposition. It is not at all unlikely that a mind never fully under control of reason, and now a.s.suredly thrown from its poise by a desperation engendered of remorse for the fearful crime he had reluctantly approved, at times formed the resolution to kill the obstinate King of Navarre and his cousin. On one occasion Charles is said to have been deterred by the supplications of his young wife from going in person to destroy them.[1074] At length, when the alternative of death or the Bastile was the only one presented, the courage of the Bourbons began to falter. Navarre was the first to yield, and his sister, the excellent Catharine de Bourbon, followed his example.

On the thirteenth of September the amba.s.sador Walsingham wrote: "They prepare Bastile for some persons of quality. It is thought that it is for the Prince of Conde and his brethren."[1075] But three days later (the sixteenth of September) he wrote again: "On Sunday last, which was the fourteenth of this month, the young Princess of Conde was constrained to go to ma.s.s, being threatened otherwise to go to prison, and so consequently to be made away. The Prince of Conde hath also yielded to hear ma.s.s upon Sunday next, being otherwise threatened to go to the Bastile, where he is not like long to serve."[1076] Such conversions did not promise to prove very sincere. They were accepted, however, by the king and his mother; although both Navarre and Conde were detained at court rather as prisoners than as free princes. Pope Gregory the Thirteenth received the submission of both cousins to the authority of the See of Rome, recognized the validity of their marriages, and formally admitted them to his favor, by a special bull of the twenty-seventh of October, 1572.[1077] In return for these concessions Henry of Navarre repealed the ordinances which his mother had made for the government of Bearn, and re-established the Roman Catholic wors.h.i.+p.[1078]


[925] Memoires de Marguerite de Valois, 25, 26.

[926] No dispensation was ever granted until _after_ the marriage, and after Henry of Navarre's simulated conversion to Roman Catholicism. Then, of course, there was no need of further hesitation, and the doc.u.ment was granted, of which a copy is printed in Doc.u.ments historiques inedits, i.

713-715. The bull is dated Oct. 27, 1572. There is, then, no necessity for Mr. Henry White's uncertainty (Ma.s.sacre of St. Bartholomew, 370): "The new pope, Gregory XIII., appears to have been more compliant, or the letter stating that a dispensation was on the road must have been a forgery."

[927] De Thou, iv. (liv. lii.), 569; Lo stratagema di Carlo IX. re di Francia, contro gli Ugonotti, rebelli di Dio e suoi; descritto dal signor Camillo Capilupi, e mandato di Roma al signor Alfonzo Capilupi. Ce stratageme est cy apres mis en Francois avec un avertiss.e.m.e.nt au lecteur.

1574. Orig. ed., p. 22.

[928] Memoires de l'estat de France sous Charles IX. (Cimber et Danjou, vii. 78.)

[929] "Avec certain formulaire que les uns et les autres n'improuvoyent point." Mem. de l'estat, _ubi supra_, vii. 79.

[930] As De Thou here speaks as an eye-witness of the marriage, I follow his description very closely. Histoire univ., iv. (liv. lii.) 469, 470.

Agrippa d'Aubigne was not in Paris (Memoires, edit. Pantheon, p. 478), and his account is meagre and deficient in originality. Hist. univ., ii. 12 (liv. i., c. 3). It is quite in keeping with the brave Gascon's character, that, having come to Paris some days before, in order to obtain a commission to command a company of soldiers which he had raised for the war in Flanders, he had been obliged to leave almost instantly upon his arrival, because he had acted as the second of a friend in a duel, and wounded in the face an archer who endeavored to arrest him. Tavannes makes Coligny suggest the removal of the ensigns taken from the Protestants as "marques de troubles," and playfully claim for himself the 50,000 crowns promised to any one who should bring the admiral's head. Memoires, ed.

Pet.i.tot, iii. 293.

[931] Memoires de l'etat, _ubi supra_, pp. 79, 80; De Thou, _ubi supra_. I have not deemed it out of place to describe some of the diversions with which the French court occupied itself on the eve of the ma.s.sacre. The connection between reckless merriment and cold-blooded cruelty is often startlingly close. Besides this, the finances of the country were so hopelessly involved, as the consequence of the late civil wars, that this lavish expenditure was particularly ill-timed. If old Gaspard de Tavannes was as blunt as his son represents him to have been, he gave Charles some good, but, like most good, unheeded advice. "Sire," said he, a propos of the extravagance of the court at Guise's marriage in 1570, "you should make a feast, and instead of the singers who are brought in artificial clouds, you should bring those who would tell you this truth: 'You are dolts! You spend your money in festivals, in pomps and masks, and do not pay your men-at-arms nor your soldiers; foreigners will beat you!'"

Memoires, ed. Pet.i.tot, iii. 183.

[932] I had translated this letter from the copy given by the Memoires de l'estat de France (_apud_ Archives curieuses, vii. 80, 81), which agrees substantially with, and was probably derived from, the version given in Hotman's Gasparis Colinii Vita (1575), 106, 107. On comparing it, however, with the transcript of the original autograph in the remarkable collection of the late Col. Henri Tronchin, given by M. Jules Bonnet in the Bulletin de la Soc. de l'hist. du prot. francais, i. (1853), 369, I discover extraordinary discrepancies, and find that, in addition to a different phraseology in every sentence, one clause is inserted by Hotman of which there is not a trace in the Tronchin MS. I refer to the words: "Soyez a.s.seuree de ma part que, parmi ces festins et pa.s.se-temps, _je ne donneray fascherie a personne_"--which would, of course, point to the prevailing fears of a collision between the admiral and the young Duke of Guise, or his retainers, whose hatred of Coligny was so well known that Charles IX.

had issued a special injunction to the parties to keep the peace. The letter contains at the commencement of the postscript a playful allusion to the hope of his wife soon to be a mother.

[933] Mem. de l'estat, _ubi supra_, 88, 89; De Thou, iv. (liv. lii.) 570.

The mechanical part of these exhibitions was well executed. In the "_enfer_" there were "un grand nombre de diables et petis diabloteaux faisans infinies singeries et tintamarres avec une grande roue tournant dedans ledit enfer, toute environnee de clochettes." The singer, etienne le Roy, was again the "deus ex machina," coming from heaven and returning thither, in the character of Mercury mounted upon a gigantic bird. The final explosion inspired so much consternation among the spectators, that it effectually cleared the hall.

[934] They were married at Blandy, a castle belonging to the Marquise de Rothelin, near Melun, where its ruins are still to be seen (Saint-Fargeau, Dict. des communes de France, s. v.), about a week before the marriage of Navarre, August 10, 1572. Tocsain contre les ma.s.sacreurs (Arch. curieuses, vii. 42). Marie of Cleves was a daughter of the Duke of Nevers, and sister of Catharine of Cleves, Prince Porcien's widow, whom Henry of Guise had married in Sept., 1570. Journal de Jehan de la Fosse, 146.

[935] It is astonis.h.i.+ng to see what considerable distances the Protestants were obliged to go in order to enjoy any religious privileges, and what fatigue they willingly underwent in order to avail themselves of them. In 1563, immediately after the close of the first civil war, instead of being a.s.signed a place for wors.h.i.+p in the suburbs, according to the terms of the edict, the Protestants of Troyes were told to go to Ceant-en-Othe--full _eight leagues_, or about _twenty-four miles_; nor could they obtain justice by any remonstrances with the court! As they went to Ceant, in spite of its inconvenient distance, and of the death of several children taken thither to be baptized, the Romanists, in 1570, actually proposed to remove the Protestant _preche_ still farther off, to Villenauxe, _thirteen leagues from Troyes!_ Happily, after a while, they availed themselves of the hospitality of a feudal lord nearer by. Recordon, Le protestantisme en Champagne (MSS. of N. Pithou), 136, etc., 149, 163.

[936] Ibid., pp. 168, 169. The Roman Catholics of Troyes sent, about the middle of August, two deputies to get the Protestant place of wors.h.i.+p removed from Isle-au-Mont, who were present at the ma.s.sacre.

[937] Baschet, La diplomatie venitienne, p. 540.

[938] This confession exists in ma.n.u.script in the National Library of Paris (Fonds de Bouhier, 59), under the heading: "Discours du Roy Henry troisiesme a un personnage d'honneur et de qualite estant pres de sa majeste, sur les causes et motifs de la St. Barthelemy." It is printed in an appendix to the Memoires de Villeroy (Pet.i.tot ed., xliv. 496-510). Its authenticity is vouched for by Matthieu, the historiographer of Louis XIII., and is corroborated by its remarkable agreement with what we can learn from other sources. Cf., especially, Soldan, Frankreich und die Bartholomausnacht, 224-226. Some suppose that M. de Souvre, and not Miron, was the person with whom the conversation at Cracow was held. Martin, Hist. de France, x. 315.

[939] Discours du Roy Henry III., Mem. de Villeroy, 499, 500.

[940] See J. Bonnet, Vie d'Olympia Morata (Paris, 1850), 20, etc.

[941] Discours du Roy Henry III., ibid., p. 501. The nuncio, Salviati, informs us that young Guise urged his mother herself to kill Coligny.

[942] The article on the ma.s.sacre in the North British Review for October, 1869--an article to which I shall have occasion more than once to refer--brings forward a number of pa.s.sages in the diplomatic correspondence, especially of the minor Italian states, pointing in this direction. They can all, I am convinced, be satisfactorily explained, without admitting the conclusion, to which the writer evidently leans, of a _distinct_, though not a _long_ premeditation.

[943] "Mad. la Regente venuta in differenza di lui, risolvendosi pochi giorni prima, gli la fece tirare, e senza saputa del Re, ma con partic.i.p.atione di M. di Angiu, di Mad. de Nemours, e di M. di Guisa suo figlio; e se moriva subito non si ammazzava altri," etc. Salviati, desp.

of Sept. 22, 1572, _apud_ Mackintosh, Hist. of England, vol. iii., Appendix K. It will be remembered that these despatches were given to Sir James Mackintosh by M. de Chateaubriand, who had obtained them from the Vatican. I need not say how much more trustworthy are the secret despatches of one so well informed as the nuncio, than the sensational "Stratagema" of Capilupi, which pretends (ed. of 1574, p. 26) that _Charles_ placed Maurevel in the house from which he shot at Coligny, on discovering that the admiral had formed the plan of firing Paris the next night. To believe these champions of orthodoxy, the Huguenots were born with a special pa.s.sion for incendiary exploits. It does not seem to strike them that burning and pillaging Paris would not be likely to appear to Coligny a probable means of furthering the war in Flanders. Besides, what need is there of any such Huguenot plot, even according to Capilupi's own view, since he carries back the premeditation of the ma.s.sacre on the part of Charles at least four years?

[944] Le Reveille-Matin des Francois, etc., Archives curieuses, vii. 173; Eusebii Philadelphi Dialogi (1574), i. 33. It has been customary to interpret this language and similar expressions as covertly referring to the ma.s.sacre which was then four days off. But this seems absurd.

Certainly, if Charles was privy to the plan for Coligny's murder, he must have expected him to be killed on Friday--that is, within less than two days. If so, what peculiar significance in the _four_ days? For, if a general ma.s.sacre had been at first contemplated, no interval of two days would have been allowed. Everybody must have known that if the arquebuse shot had done its work, and Coligny had been killed on the spot, every Huguenot would have been far from the walls of Paris long before Sunday.

As it was, it was only the admiral's confidence, and the impossibility of moving him with safety, that detained them.

[945] Capilupi, Lo stratagema di Carlo IX., 1574. Orig. ed., pp. 24, 25, and the concurrent French version, pp. 42, 43. This version is incorporated _verbatim_ in the Memoires de l'estat de France sous Charles IX. (Archives curieuses), vii. 89, 90. In like manner the "Memoires,"

which are in great part a mere compilation, take page after page from the "Reveille-Matin."

[946] "Ainsi qu'il sortoit presentement du Louvre, pour aller disner en son logis." Charles's letter of the same day to La Mothe Fenelon, Corresp.

dipl., vii. 322.

[947] It is of little moment whether the a.s.sa.s.sin at his window was screened by a lattice, or by a curtain, as De Thou says, or by bundles of straw, as Capilupi states. I prefer the account of the "Reveille-Matin,"

as the author tells us that he was one of the twelve or fifteen gentlemen in Coligny's suite--"entre lesquels j'estoy" (p. 174). So the Latin ed., Euseb. Philad. Dialogi, i. 34.

[948] The Rue de Bethisy was the continuation of the Rue des Fosses Saint Germain l'Auxerrois, through which he was walking when he was shot. In the sixteenth century the street bore the former name, beginning at the Rue de l'Arbre Sec, at the corner of which Coligny appears to have lodged. In later times the name was confined to the part east of Rue de Roule.

Dulaure, Histoire de Paris, iv. 259. The extension of the Rue de Rivoli, under the auspices of Napoleon III., has not only destroyed the house in which Coligny was murdered, but obliterated the Rue de Bethisy itself.

[949] "Qu'il n'aviendroit que ce qu'il plairoit a Dieu." Reveille-Matin, 175; Euseb. Philad. Dialogi (1574), i. 35; Memoires de l'estat, 94.

[950] See _ante_, chapter xvi.

[951] Reveille-Matin, _ubi sup._, 175; and Euseb. Philad. Dialogi. i. 34, 35; Memoires de l'estat, _ubi sup._, 93, etc.; Jean de Serres (1575), iv.

fol. 25; Tocsain contre les Ma.s.sacreurs (orig. ed.), 113, etc.; Registres du Bureau de la ville de Paris (Archives curieuses, vii. 211); despatch of Salviati of Aug. 22. App. F to Mackintosh, Hist. of England, iii. 354; De Thou, iv. (liv. lii.) 574; Jehan de la Fosse, 147, 148; Baschet. La diplomatie venit., 548.

[952] Memoires de l'estat, _ubi sup._, 94; Jean de Serres (1575), iv., fols. 25, 26; Reveille-Matin, 176; Euseb. Philad. Dial., i. 35; De Thou, iv. (liv. lii.) 574.

[953] Tocsain contre les ma.s.sacreurs, Archives cur., vii. 45; Reveille-Matin, 177; Memoires de l'estat, 98.

[954] Gasparis Colinii Vita (1574), 108-110; Memoires de l'estat de Charles IX., _ubi supra_, 94-98. The two accounts are evidently from the same hand.

[955] Memoires de l'estat, _ubi supra_, 98.

[956] Damville, Meru and Th.o.r.e, were sons of the constable. Their eldest brother, Marshal Francis de Montmorency, whose greatest vice was his sluggishness and his devotion to his ease, had left Paris a few days before, on the pretext of going to the chase. His absence at the time of the ma.s.sacre was supposed to have saved not only his life, but that of his brothers. The Guises would gladly have destroyed a family whose influence and superior antiquity had for a generation been obnoxious to their ambitious designs; but it was too hazardous to leave the head of the family to avenge his murdered brothers.

[957] There was no need of going far, Coligny responded, to discover the author. "Qu'on en demande a Monsieur de Guise, il dira qui est celuy qui m'a preste une telle charite; mais Dieu ne me soit jamais en aide si je demande vengeance d'un tel outrage." Mem. de l'estat, _ubi supra_, 104, 105.

[958] Gasparis Colinii Vita, 114-121; Memoires de l'estat, _ubi supra_, 102-106. The two accounts agree almost word for word. There is a briefer narrative in Reveille-Matin, 178, 179; and Euseb. Philad. Dialogi, i. 37.

[959] Discours du roy Henry III., _ubi supra_, 502-505.

[960] Le roi a Mandelot, 22 aout, Correspondance du roi Charles IX. et du sieur de Mandelot (Paris, 1830), 36, 37.

[961] Corresp. dipl. de La Mothe Fenelon, vii. 322, 323.

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