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PREVIOUS to entering into any
a reform of the evils of which they cussion upon the merits of Raynou- complained, and the many oppressions ard's Tragedy, it may be necessary and abuses of the Catholic church. to give some account of the events The impolitic and severe persecution which led to the singular catastrophe of Francis First and his son Henry,
which it celebrates, and the character and the indecent method of confiscai of those persons who were any way tion adopted by the latter sovereign,
connected with, or opposed against, of granting the estates of the proscrithe hero of France at that period. In bed to Madame de Valentinois, his order to this, we have chosen to com- mistress, had given, independent of press the historical notice which Ray- any other consideration, an appearance
nouard himself has prefixed to his of truth and justice to their complaints ? work, as it contains more original mat- and their cause. The outcry was too
ter than any other book with which loud to be stifled, and Catherine de we are acquainted upon the subject. Medicis
, who hated equally the ReWithout going back to the genealogies formed and the Guises, was yet comof the House of Guise for the history pelled to choose a champion in the of their gradual ascent to dignity and person of the Duke, to oppose the power, we find them, under the reigns storm which was rapidly gathering of the Valois Princes, possessed of al- around, and threatening the royal au, most all those offices under the crown, thority—The marriage of her son with which comprised high rank and sub- the niece of the Duke, (the unfortustantial authority; they had discover- nate Mary Stuart,) strengthened her ed the secret of making themselves determination, and her union with the useful to weak princes, in times of dif- house of Guise became immediately ficulty and trouble ; and Francis the the signal of revolt, as the nobles of Second acknowledged the obligation, the reformed party quitted the court, by permitting them, under his feeble and prepared to oppose its measures. government, to unite in their own per- Francis of Guise did not disappoint sons, the highest civil, military, and the hope entertained of his courage and ecclesiastical authorities; for while the talents by his sovereign and Catherine; Cardinal of Lorraine was giving law to the battle on the plains of Dreax, which the King and the Parliament, his bro- witnessed the defeat of the Reformed, ther, the Duke of Guise, at the head and the captivity of the Prince of of armies, was asserting the dignity of Condé, revived the spirits of the court, France upon his frontiers, and driving and prepared it to anticipate new trithe English back to the seas, after umphs, in the expected subjugation of wringing from their powerful grasp, Orleans. Francis of Guise, attended the last of those ancient possessions, by his son, the Prince de Joinville, which the chivalry of departed Hen- seated himself before the walls of the ries and Edwards had won for their city, from which he was destined never country, and which she had considered to depart with life. The sword of the as consecrated to her glory.
assassin Poltrot arrested his brilliant It was at this period, when Francis career, and public fanaticism, leagued Duke of Guise was honoured by the with private revenge, (for reluctantly applause of the people and the grati. we are compelled to admit the impliz tude of his king, that the Calvinists of cation of Coligny,) effected the des France began to form a more power- struction of a gigantic power, which ful political body. Their party, had was rapidly rising above all cotempobeen greatly increased by the accession raries, and throwing a shadow even of Anthony, King of Navarre, the
Prince upon the throne itself. In his dying of Condé, Admiral Coligny, and many moments, he bestowed forgiveness upothers of high influence and great on hismurderer, and gave such lessons of political ability; and thus strength- humanity and moderation to his son, ened, they were encouraged to demand as to leave posterity doubtful whether
such sentiments sprung only from the preserve the affrighted Calvinists, and Horror of his sudden and premature issuage the brutal fury of the people. death, or from a conviction of their Certain it is, that neither the Duke trutlı, purchased by the experience of nor Cardinal of Guise were present at his anxious and stormy life.
the council where this conspiracy was However this may be, his son and suc- planned, and that thecowardlyCharles, cessor, Henry Duke of Guise, chose ra- after throwing all the odium of the act ther to remember the deeds of his fa- upon the Guises, boldly acquitted them, ther's life, than the words of his death bytaking it upon himself, when he disa bed; his hatred of the Calvinists was covered that he might do so with imaugmented by his loss; and, with histwo punity. brothers, Charles, Duke of Mayentz, The death of Charles the Ninthand Louis, Cardinal of Guise, soon the accession of the fugitive King of shewed himself ready to second the Poland to the throne of France, and hatred of Catherine, and the resent- the formation of another party, which ment of Charles the Ninth, against had joined the Huguenots against the the Reformed, by publicly swearing * court, headed by the Duke of Alençon, never to know repose till he had aven- were sufficient motives for Catherine, ged the cowardly murder of his father ever faithful to her system of holding upon his assassins.
the balance between parties, to offer But it was neither the wish nor the terms of friendship and alliance to the intention of the politic Catherine to Guises, and these, on their part, were elevate this young Prince to the over- gladly accepted. War was declared grown power of his father-- he had al- against the Reformed, and the King, ready too plainly manifested what he idle, weak, and plunged in dissolute was likely to become, and the anecdote pleasures, was content to resign his sceprelatedt by Margaret of Valois, of the tre to their discretion, and occupied spirit of his youth, was corroborated himself with the most absurd practices by his subsequent conduct as a man; of superstitious devotion. A ball one day the child who chose always to be the was followed by a religious procession master of his playmates-the youth on the next, in which the King marchwho so proudly exhibited his aspi- ed with uncovered head, bare feet, a ring device of “Rient de petit," and crucifix in one hand, and a scourge in the man who was capable of form- the other in these gracious absurdiing and conducting such an asso- ties he was encouraged by the Guises, ciation as the League, was too well who applauded that
edifying example, known to Medicis to be trusted, and from which the reflecting part of his his timely retreat into Hungary alone subjects shrunk in horror, and more preserved him from the consequences loudly called for a correction of those of his presumption.
abuses which they now saw supported Although the plot of the Reformed and encouraged by the power and the to seize the king's person, and in his precedent of the monarch. name destroy his party, and disperse Melancholy as this speetacle was for his friends, again made the House of France, it was rendered still more so, Guise necessary to the throne, yet by a farther proof which the king gave proof is still wanting of any share be- of the deplorable weakness of his chaing taken by that illustrious family in racter. A pain in the ear, which had the horrible celebration of St Bartho- for some time distressed him, was conlomew, that detestable conspiracy of a strued into the effect of poison, which king against his subjects. Many ac- he persisted to believe had been adquit them of the charge, and even ministered to him by his brother, the their enemies admit, that when their Duke of Alençon. Confident in the undying hate and desire of revenge justice of his accusation, he summonwas appeased by the death of Coligny, ed Henry of Navarre to his presence, they used their utmost endeavours to and by the most artful representations
+ Margaret of Valois' Memoirs. She relates her objection to him as a child, on account of his imperious disposition.
#Spirit of the League.-Manuscripts of Augustus 'Coneń...-La Popiliniere, Book
of his proximity to the crown, on the though in secret, removal of the sole barrier before it, cient project of fox instigated him to the murder of the League, to oppose the as. Duke. But it was no easy task to shake Reformed. This scheme ha the honesty of the good Bearnois. been planned in the lifetime of my Henry III. found it impossible, and ther, but abandoned upon his murder, he was compelled to leave the care of as his son was too young to fill the arhis malady and the cure of his revenge duous office of chief. At twenty-five, equally to the healing or the avenging he realized these projects. Under the hand of time.
mask of gaiety and indifference to pubThe credit and reputation of the lic business, he arranged this powerDuke of Guise rose higher for the con- ful association, which consisted of all the trast afforded by the vices and follies Catholic nobles and princes of France, of the monarch. At the coronation, he and many of those of other counhad the boldness to declare his resolu- tries; and was encouraged by the hightion of stabbing the Duke of Mon- est promises of service and protection pensier, even at the foot of the altar, from Philip II. of Spain. Continual if he persisted in his intention of tam success crowned the views of the Duke king precedence of him at that cere of Guise; by his ingenuity in turning mony. The King was compelled to the elections in favour of the Catholic submit to the imperious demands of deputies, he had defeated the objects Guise; and the marriage of the Prince which had induced the reformed to soon after with a Princess of the House demand the convocation of Blois, and of Lorraine, was still more gratifying this success, together with the apto his pride, and a stronger confirma- plause which followed it, and the de. tion of his authority. He trusted, voted attachment of the League to his through the ascendancy of his kins- person, persuaded the Duke, that nowoman, to govern, in the King's name, thing was farther worthy his enterwith the plenitude of regal authority; prize except the crown itself; and to nor could he have failed to accomplish the securing this desired and coveted this object, had not the Queen-Mo- object, was exerted all the energy of ther, the far-sighted Catherine, divi- his powerful mind, and all the courage ned his intentions, and used her ute of his vehementspirit. His friends have most ability to traverse and defeat his denied that such was his intention, projects.
but were history silent, abundant proof But defeat was not always to be the might be discovered in the work of an destiny of Guise. Called to the head of advocate called David, a friend of the the army by the revolt of the Duke of League, from whose manuscript we Alençon, and the invasion of the Ger- present our readers with the following man Protestants, (marching to the as- extract:* sistance of their brethren in France,) he gained immortal glory at Chateau Memorial the Means which the Thiery, where he met and defeated Duke of Guise must employ in order the rebels ; receiving in the contest a to ascend the Throne of France. wound, which, carrying off a part of “ And, in order to effect this, sermons his cheek and left ear, stamped upon should be preached in all the Catholic him an indelible scar, in which he ever towns, to stir up the people, to prégloried, and which procured for him vent the preachings of the abominable the cognomen of Balafré, or the sect from being established, according Slashed; but his exultation was damp- to the permission contained in their ed by the peace which the Queen-Mo- edict. ther found it necessary to make with "The King should be counselled not the malcontents, and which assured to object to any disturbances which to them the free exercise of the reli- may be raised, but to leave all the gion which they had chosen. It was charge (of quelling them) to the Duke entirely against his views; and, in or- de Guise, &c. &c. der to balance the power thus gained “The said Sieur de Guise should give by the opposite party, he immediately, order that all the curates of towns and
* Mannscript de Bethune-King's Library.
villages should send in lists of the high price for the gratification itaffordmen in their parishes capable of bear- ed him. A new edict having left the reing arms, &c. &c.
formed in the peaceable practice of their The Queen-Mother must recall her religion, and the King and his favourmisled son, whom she will easily ites to the enjoyment of their usual persuade to return to the King, and amusements, some violent disputes accompany him to the convocation at among the courtiers, (the unhappy reBlois. She must also strive to draw sult of liberty and leisure in ungovernover the King of Navarre and Prince ed spirits,) were extinguished in the of Condé, by proving to them, that if blood of three of the particular friends they do not present themselves before of the King. Vengeance was muttered the States, they will be declared rebels against D'Entragues, the conqueror of and traitors ; and, in order to take Caylus, by the royal party, in case of from them all excuse of doubt or fear, the demise of the wounded favourite ; the Duke of Guise, and his brothers, but it was a vengeance which was shall absent themselves froin court as confined to threatenings only, for the malcontent.
Duke of Guise protected D’Entragues; “To destroy the ordinarysuccession, and upon the dreaded death of Caylus, as settled by Hugh Capet, the cap- the offender remained in perfect safety, tains of the provinces shall assemble for it was remembered that the Duke in the field with their forces, and each had defended his conduct, and declared in his own distri fall upon the he- that his sword, which, as he observed, retics, their friends, and adherents, cut deeply, should avenge any wrong and put them all to the sword. offered to the person of his friend,
“ Finally, by the advice and permis- The King was obliged to chew this. sion of his holiness, he shall shut up bitter cud in silence; but it was not the King and Queen in a monastery, long ere a delicious tribute to his haas Pepin his ancestor had confined tred of Guise was presented by the unChilderic."
thinking vanity of St Megrin, another
of his worthless favourites, who boastIt is a singular proof of the careless- ed of his intimacy with the Duchess ness of the King, that the first intima- of Guise, and made, by desire of the tion he received of the association of King, his successes so public, that the the Holy League, was from a memo- report at length reached the ear of the rial transmitted to him by his am- family, whose vengeance (though the bassador at Madrid, and his conduct, Duke himself appeared to disbelieve in consequence, sufficiently marks the and disdain) was only satisfied by the timidity and negligence of his charac- life of the unhappy offender. The conter. He declared himself chief of the duct of Guise upon this trying occaparty, and thus bound himself to ful- sion, both towards St Megrin and his fil their views, without foreseeing, that Duchess, are strong proofs of the firm. while he possessed the empty name of ness and prudence of his character ; leader, the Duke of Guise alone would but it is too generally known to redispose of the resources, zeal, and quire a repetition here. energy of the Leaguers. This painful While the King was occupied with truth was soon made apparent to the religious processions and mourning King, who, too weak and too listless ceremonies over his slaughtered fato attempt at lessening the power vourites, the Leaguers busied them, which he dreaded, submitted in silence selves in forging a title for their idol to the wrong which he could not re- to the crown, which gave him a more medy; and, while brooding over his legitimate claim than that even of the meditated revenge, indulged his ha- reigning family. They found out and tred, by seizing every possible occa- asserted, that the family of Lorraine, sion of humiliating and nortifying the was descended from Charles, the last high spirit of his too' populár rival. of the Carlovingian race, from whose An opportunity unfortunately offered brow the strong hand of Hugh Gapety itself too soon, as, though the King did had rent the diadem of the Lilies. It not neglect it, he was doomed to pay a was the first time any posterity of thing
unquab.azanovo leutas The Duke of Alençon.
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