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A Popular History of France From The Earliest Times
The Wars In Italy. - Louis XII. 1498-1515.
by Guizot, M.

On ascending the throne Louis XII. reduced the public taxes and confirmed in their posts his predecessor's chief advisers, using to Louis de la Tremoille, who had been one of his most energetic foes, that celebrated expression, "The King of France avenges not the wrongs of the Duke of Orleans." At the same time, on the day of his coronation at Rheims [May 27, 1492], he assumed, besides his title of King of France, the titles of King of Naples and of Jerusalem and Duke of Milan. This was as much as to say that he would pursue a pacific and conservative policy at home and a warlike and adventurous policy abroad. And, indeed, his government did present these two phases, so different and inharmonious. By his policy at home Louis XII. deserved and obtained the name of Father of the People; by his enterprises and wars abroad he involved France still more deeply than Charles VIII. had in that mad course of distant, reckless, and incoherent conquests for which his successor, Francis I., was destined to pay by capture at Pavia and by the lamentable treaty of Madrid, in 1526, as the price of his release. Let us follow these two portions of Louis XII.'s reign, each separately, without mixing up one with the other by reason of identity of dates. We shall thus get at a better understanding and better appreciation of their character and their results.

Outside of France, Milaness [the Milanese district] was Louis XII.'s first thought, at his accession, and the first object of his desire. He looked upon it as his patrimony. His grandmother, Valentine Visconti, widow of that Duke of Orleans who had been assassinated at Paris in 1407 by order of John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy, had been the last to inherit the duchy of Milan, which the Sforzas, in 1450, had seized. When Charles VIII. invaded Italy in 1494, "Now is the time," said Louis, "to enforce the rights of Valentine Visconti, my grandmother, to Milaness." And he, in fact, asserted them openly, and proclaimed his intention of vindicating them so soon as he found the moment propitious. When he became king, his chance of success was great. The Duke of Milan, Ludovic, the Moor, had by his sagacity and fertile mind, by his taste for arts and sciences and the intelligent patronage he bestowed upon them, by his ability in speaking, and by his facile character, obtained in Italy a position far beyond his real power. Leonardo da Vinci, one of the most eminent amongst the noble geniuses of the age, lived on intimate terms with him; but Ludovic was, nevertheless, a turbulent rascal and a greedy tyrant, of whom those who did not profit by his vices or the enjoyments of his court were desirous of being relieved. He had, moreover, embroiled himself with his neighbors the Venetians, who were watching for an opportunity of aggrandizing themselves at his expense. As early as the 20th of April, 1498, a fortnight after his accession, Louis XII. addressed to the Venetians a letter "most gracious," says the contemporary chronicler Marino Sanuto, "and testifying great good-will;" and the special courier who brought it declared that the king had written to nobody in Italy except the pope, the Venetians, and the Florentines. The Venetians did not care to neglect such an opening; and they at once sent three ambassadors to Louis XII. Louis heard the news thereof with marked satisfaction. "I have never seen Zorzi," said he, "but I know him well; as for Loredano, I like him much; he has been at this court before, some time ago." He gave them a reception on the 12th of August, at Etampes, "not in a palace," says one of the senate's private correspondents, "but at the Fountain inn. You will tell me that so great a king ought not to put up at an inn; but I shall answer you that in this district of Etampes the best houses are as yet the inns. There is certainly a royal castle, in the which lives the queen, the wife of the deceased king; nevertheless his Majesty was pleased to give audience in this hostelry, all covered expressly with cloth of Alexandrine velvet, with lilies of gold at the spot where the king was placed. As soon as the speech was ended, his Majesty rose up and gave quite a brotherly welcome to the brilliant ambassadors. The king has a very good countenance, a smiling countenance; he is forty years of age, and appears very active in make. To-day, Monday, August 13, the ambassadors were received at a private audience."

A treaty concluded on the 9th of February, 1499, and published as signed at Blois no earlier than the 15th of April following, was the result of this negotiation. It provided for an alliance between the King of France and the Venetian government, for the purpose of making war in common upon the Duke of Milan, Ludovic Sforza, on and against every one, save the lord pope of Rome, and for the purpose of insuring to the Most Christian king restoration to the possession of the said duchy of Milan as his rightful and olden patrimony. And on account of the charges and expenses which would be incurred by the Venetian government whilst rendering assistance to the Most Christian king in the aforesaid war, the Most Christian king bound himself to approve and consent that the city of Cremona and certain forts or territories adjacent, specially indicated, should belong in freehold and perpetuity to the Venetian government. The treaty, at the same time, regulated the number of troops and the military details of the war on behalf of the two contracting powers, and it provided for divers political incidents which might be entailed, and to which the alliance thus concluded should or should not be applicable according to the special stipulations which were drawn up with a view to those very incidents.

In the month of August, 1499, the French army, with a strength of from twenty to five and twenty thousand men, of whom five thousand were Swiss, invaded Milaness. Duke Ludovic Sforza opposed to it a force pretty nearly equal in number, but far less full of confidence and of far less valor. In less than three weeks the duchy was conquered; in only two cases was any assault necessary; all the other places were given up by traitors or surrendered without a show of resistance. The Venetians had the same success on the eastern frontier of the duchy. Milan and Cremona alone remained to be occupied. Ludovic Sforza "appeared before his troops and his people like the very spirit of lethargy," says a contemporary unpublished chronicle, "with his head bent down to the earth, and for a long while he remained thus pensive and without a single word to say. Howbeit he was not so discomfited but that on that very same day he could get his luggage packed, his transport-train under orders, his horses shod, his ducats, with which he had more than thirty mules laden, put by, and, in short, everything in readiness to decamp next morning as early as possible." Just as he left Milan, he said to the Venetian ambassadors, "You have brought the King of France to dinner with me; I warn you that he will come to supper with you."

"Unless necessity constrain him thereto," says Machiavelli [treatise Du Prince, ch. xxi.], "a prince ought never to form alliance with one stronger than himself in order to attack others, for, the most powerful being victor, thou remainest, thyself, at his discretion, and princes ought to avoid, as much as ever they can, being at another's discretion. The Venetians allied themselves with France against the Duke of Milan; and yet they might have avoided this alliance, which entailed their ruin." For all his great and profound intellect, Machiavelli was wrong about this event and the actors in it. The Venetians did not deserve his censure. By allying themselves, in 1499, with Louis XII. against the Duke of Milan, they did not fall into Louis's hands, for, between 1499 and 1515, and many times over, they sided alternately with and against him, always preserving their independence and displaying it as suited them at the moment. And these vicissitudes in their policy did not bring about their ruin, for at the death of Louis XII. their power and importance in Southern Europe had not declined. It was Louis XII. who deserved Machiavelli's strictures for having engaged, by means of diplomatic alliances of the most contradictory kind, at one time with the Venetians' support, and at another against them, in a policy of distant and incoherent conquests, without any connection with the national interests of France, and, in the long run, without any success.

Louis was at Lyons when he heard of his army's victory in Milaness and of Ludovic Sforza's flight. He was eager to go and take possession of his conquest, and, on the 6th of October, 1499, he made his triumphal entry into Milan amidst cries of "Hurrah! for France." He reduced the heavy imposts established by the Sforzas, revoked the vexatious game-laws, instituted at Milan a court of justice analogous to the French parliaments, loaded with favors the scholars and artists who were the honor of Lombardy, and recrossed the Alps at the end of some weeks, leaving as governor of Milaness John James Trivulzio, the valiant Condottiere, who, four years before, had quitted the service of Ferdinand II., King of Naples, for that of Charles VIII. Unfortunately Trivulzio was himself a Milanese and of the faction of the Guelphs. He had the passions of a partisan and the habits of a man of war; and he soon became as tyrannical and as much detested in Milaness as Ludovic the Moor had but lately been. A plot was formed in favor of the fallen tyrant, who was in Germany expecting it, and was recruiting, during expectancy, amongst the Germans and Swiss in order to take advantage of it. On the 25th of January, 1500, the insurrection broke out; and two months later Ludovic Sforza had once more become master of Milaness, where the French possessed nothing but the castle of Milan. In one of the fights brought about by this sudden revolution the young Chevalier Bayard, carried away by the impetuosity of his age and courage, pursued right into Milan the foes he was driving before him, without noticing that his French comrades had left him; and he was taken prisoner in front of the very palace in which were the quarters of Ludovic Sforza. The incident created some noise around the palace; Ludovic asked what it meant, and was informed that a brave and bold gentleman, younger than any of the others, had entered Milan pell-mell with the combatants he was pursuing, and had been taken prisoner by John Bernardino Casaccio, one of the leaders of the insurrection. Ludovic ordered him to be brought up, which was done, though not without some disquietude on the part of Bayard's captor, "a courteous gentleman, who feared that Lord Ludovico might do him some displeasure." He resolved himself to be his conductor, after having dressed him in one of his own robes and made him look like a gentleman. "Marvelling to see Bayard so young, 'Come hither, my gentleman,' said Ludovico: 'who brought you into the city?' 'By my faith, my lord,' answered Bayard, who was not a whit abashed, 'I never imagined I was entering all alone, and thought surely I was being followed of my comrades, who knew more about war than I, for if they had done as I did they would, like me, be prisoners. Howbeit, after my mishap, I laud the fortune which caused me to fall into the hands of so valiant and discreet a knight as he who has me in holding.' 'By your faith,' asked Ludovico, 'of how many is the army of the King of France?' 'On my soul, my lord,' answered Bayard, 'so far as I can hear, there are fourteen or fifteen hundred men-at-arms and sixteen or eighteen thousand foot; but they are all picked men, who are resolved to busy themselves so well this bout that they will assure the state of Milan to the king our master; and meseems, my lord, that you would surely be in as great safety in Germany as you are here, for your folks are not the sort to fight us.' With such assurance spoke the good knight that Lord Ludovico took pleasure there-in, though his say was enough to astound him. 'On my faith, my gentleman,' said he, as it were in raillery, 'I have a good mind that the King of France's army and mine should come together, in order that by battle it may be known to whom of right belongs this heritage, for I see no other way to it.' 'By my sacred oath, my lord,' said the good knight, 'I would that it might be to-morrow, provided that I were out of captivity.' 'Verily, that shall not stand in your way,' said Ludovico, 'for I will let you go forth, and that presently. Moreover, ask of me what you will, and I will give it you.' The good knight, who, on bended knee, thanked Lord Ludovico for the offers he made him, as there was good reason he should, then said to him, 'My lord, I ask of you nothing save only that you may be pleased to extend your courtesy so far as to get me back my horse and my arms that I brought into this city, and so send me away to my garrison, which is twenty miles hence; you would do me a very great kindness, for which I shall all my life feel bounden to you; and, barring my duty to the king my master and saving my honor, I would show my gratitude for it in whatsoever it might please you to command me.' 'In good faith,' said Lord Ludovico, 'you shall have presently that which you do ask for.' And then he said to the Lord John Bernardino, 'At once, Sir Captain, let his horse be found, his arms and all that is his.' 'My lord,' answered the captain, 'it is right easy to find, it is all at my quarters.' He sent forthwith two or three servants, who brought the arms and led up the horse of the good young knight; and Lord Ludovico had him armed before his eyes. When he was accoutred, the young knight leaped upon his horse without putting foot to stirrup; then he asked for a lance, which was handed to him, and, raising his eyes, he said to Lord Ludovico, 'My lord, I thank you for the courtesy you have done me; please God to pay it back to you.' He was in a fine large court-yard; then he began to set spurs to his horse, the which gave four or five jumps, so gayly that it could not be better done; then the young knight gave him a little run, in the which he broke the lance against the ground into five or six pieces; whereat Lord Ludovico was not over pleased, and said out loud, 'If all the men-at-arms of France were like him yonder, I should have a bad chance.' Nevertheless he had a trumpeter told off to conduct him to his garrison." [Histoire du bon Chevalier sans Peur et sans Reproche, t. i. pp. 212-216.]

For Ludovic the Moor's chance to be bad it was not necessary that the men-at-arms of France should all be like Chevalier Bayard. Louis XII., so soon as he heard of the Milanese insurrection, sent into Italy Louis de la Tremoille, the best of his captains, and the Cardinal d'Amboise, his privy councillor and his friend, the former to command the royal troops, French and Swiss, and the latter "for to treat about the reconciliation of the rebel towns, and to deal with everything as if it were the king in his own person." The campaign did not last long. The Swiss who had been recruited by Ludovic and those who were in Louis XII.'s service had no mind to fight one another; and the former capitulated, surrendered the strong place of Novara, and promised to evacuate the country on condition of a safe-conduct for themselves and their booty. Ludovic, in extreme anxiety for his own safety, was on the point of giving himself up to the French; but, whether by his own free will or by the advice of the Swiss who were but lately in his pay, and who were now withdrawing; he concealed himself amongst them, putting on a disguise, "with his hair turned up under a coif, a collaret round his neck, a doublet of crimson satin, scarlet hose, and a halberd in his fist;" but, whether it were that he was betrayed or that he was recognized, he, on the 10th of April, 1500, fell into the hands of the French, and was conducted to the quarters of La Tremoille, who said no more than, "Welcome, lord." Next day, April 11, Louis XII. received near Lyons the news of this capture, "whereat he was right joyous, and had bonfires lighted, together with devotional processions, giving thanks to the Prince of princes for the happy victory he had, by the divine aid, obtained over his enemies." Ludovic was taken to Lyons. "At the entrance into the city a great number of gentlemen from the king's household were present to meet him; and the provost of the household conducted him all along the high street to the castle of Pierre-Encise, where he was lodged and placed in security." There he passed a fortnight. Louis refused to see him, but had him "questioned as to several matters by the lords of his grand council; and, granted that he had committed nought but follies, still he spoke right wisely." He was conducted from Pierre-Encise to the castle of Loches in Touraine, where he was at first kept in very strict captivity, "without books, paper, or ink," but it was afterwards less severe. "He plays at tennis and at cards," says a despatch of the Venetian ambassador, Dominic of Treviso, "and he is fatter than ever." [La Diplomatic Venitienne, by M. Armand Baschet (1862), p. 363.] He died in his prison at the end of eight years, having to the very last great confidence in the future of his name, for he wrote, they say, on the wall of his prison these words: "Services rendered me will count for an heritage." And "thus was the duchy of Milan, within seven months and a half, twice conquered by the French," says John d'Auton in his Claronique, "and for the nonce was ended the war in Lombardy, and the authors thereof were captives and exiles."

Whilst matters were thus going on in the north of Italy, Louis XII. was preparing for his second great Italian venture, the conquest of the kingdom of Naples, in which his predecessor Charles VIII. had failed. He thought to render the enterprise easier by not bearing the whole burden by himself alone. On the 11th of November, 1500, he concluded at Grenada "with Ferdinand and Isabella, King and Queen of Castile and Arragon," a treaty, by which the Kings of France and Spain divided, by anticipation, between them the kingdom of Naples, which they were making an engagement to conquer together. Terra di Lavoro and the province of the Abruzzi, with the cities of Naples and Gaeta, were to be the share of Louis XII., who would assume the title of King of Naples and of Jerusalem; Calabria and Puglia (Apulia), with the title of duchies, would belong to the King of Spain, to whom Louis XII., in order to obtain this chance of an accessary and precarious kingship, gave up entirely Roussillon and Cerdagne, that French frontier of the Pyrenees which Louis XI. had purchased, a golden bargain, from John II., King of Arragon. In this arrangement there was a blemish and a danger of which the superficial and reckless policy of Louis XII. made no account: he did not here, as he had done for the conquest of Milaness, join himself to an ally of far inferior power to his own, and of ambition confined within far narrower boundaries, as was the case when the Venetians supported him against Ludovie Sforza: he was choosing for his comrade, in a far greater enterprise, his nearest and most powerful rival, and the most dexterous rascal amongst the kings of his day. "The King of France," said Ferdinand one day, "complains that I have deceived him twice; he lies, the drunkard; I have deceived him more than ten times." Whether this barefaced language were or were not really used, it expressed nothing but the truth: mediocre men, who desire to remain pretty nearly honest, have always the worst of it, and are always dupes when they ally themselves with men who are corrupt and at the same time able, indifferent to good and evil, to justice and iniquity. Louis XII., even with the Cardinal d'Amboise to advise him, was neither sufficiently judicious to abstain from madly conceived enterprises, nor sufficiently scrupulous and clear-sighted to unmask and play off every act of perfidy and wickedness: by uniting himself, for the conquest and partition of the kingdom of Naples, with Ferdinand the Catholic, he was bringing upon himself first of all hidden opposition in the very midst of joint action, and afterwards open treason and defection. He forgot, moreover, that Ferdinand had at the head of his armies a tried chieftain, Gonzalvo of Cordova, already known throughout Europe as the great captain, who had won that name in campaigns against the Moors, the Turks, and the Portuguese, and who had the character of being as free from scruple as from fear. Lastly the supporters who, at the very commencement of his enterprises in Italy, had been sought and gained by Louis XII., Pope Alexander VI. and his son Caesar Borgia, were as little to be depended upon in the future as they were compromising at the present by reason of their reputation for unbridled ambition, perfidy, and crime. The King of France, whatever sacrifices he might already have made and might still make in order to insure their co-operation, could no more count upon it than upon the loyalty of the King of Spain in the conquest they were entering upon together.

The outset of the campaign was attended with easy success. The French army, under the command of Stuart d'Aubigny, a valiant Scot, arrived on the 25th of June, 1501, before Rome, and there received a communication in the form of a bull of the pope which removed the crown of Naples from the head of Frederick III., and partitioned that fief of the Holy See between the Kings of France and Spain. Fortified with this authority, the army continued its march, and arrived before Capua on the 6th of July. Gonzalvo of Cordova was already upon Neapolitan territory with a Spanish army, which Ferdinand the Catholic had hastily sent thither at the request of Frederick III. himself, who had counted upon the assistance of his cousin the King of Arragon against the French invasion. Great was his consternation when he heard that the ambassadors of France and Spain had proclaimed at Rome the alliance between their masters. At the first rumor of this news, Gonzalvo of Cordova, whether sincerely or not, treated it as a calumny; but, so soon as its certainty was made public, he accepted it without hesitation, and took, equally with the French, the offensive against the king, already dethroned by the pope, and very near being so by the two sovereigns who had made alliance for the purpose of sharing between them the spoil they should get from him. Capua capitulated, and was nevertheless plundered and laid waste. A French fleet, commanded by Philip de Ravenstein, arrived off Naples when D'Aubigny was already master of it. The unhappy King Frederick took refuge in the island of Ischia; and, unable to bear the idea of seeking an asylum in Spain with his cousin who had betrayed him so shamefully, he begged the French admiral himself to advise him in his adversity. "As enemies that have the advantage should show humanity to the afflicted," Ravenstein sent word to him, "he would willingly advise him as to his affairs; according to his advice, the best thing would be to surrender and place himself in the hands of the King of France, and submit to his good pleasure; he would find him so wise, and so debonnair, and so accommodating, that he would be bound to be content. Better or safer counsel for him he had not to give." After taking some precautions on the score of his eldest son, Prince Ferdinand, whom he left at Tarento, in the kingdom he was about to quit, Frederick III. followed Ravenstein's counsel, sent to ask for "a young gentleman to be his guide to France," put to sea with five hundred men remaining to him, and arrived at Marseilles, whither Louis XII. sent some lords of his court to receive him. Two months afterwards, and not before, he was conducted to the king himself, who was then at Blois. Louis welcomed him with his natural kindness, and secured to him fifty thousand livres a year on the duchy of Anjou, on condition that he never left France. It does not appear that Frederick ever had an idea of doing so, for his name is completely lost to history up to the day of his death, which took place at Tours on the 9th of November, 1504, after three years' oblivion and exile.

On hearing of so prompt a success, Louis XII.'s satisfaction was great. He believed, and many others, no doubt, believed with him, that his conquest of Naples, of that portion at least which was assigned to him by his treaty with the King of Spain, was accomplished. The senate of Venice sent to him, in December, 1501, a solemn embassy to congratulate him. In giving the senate an account of his mission, one of the ambassadors, Dominic of Treviso, drew the following portrait of Louis XII.: "The king is in stature tall and thin, and temperate in eating, taking scarcely anything but boiled beef; he is by nature miserly and retentive; his great pleasure is hawking; from September to April he hawks. The Cardinal of Rouen [George d'Amboise] does everything; nothing, however, with-out the cognizance of the king, who has a far from stable mind, saying yes and no. . . . I am of opinion that their lordships should remove every suspicion from his Majesty's mind, and aim at keeping themselves closely united with him." [Armand Baschet, La Diplomatic, L'enitienne, p. 362.] It was not without ground that the Venetian envoy gave his government this advice. So soon as the treaty of alliance between Louis XII. and the Venetians for the conquest of Milaness had attained its end, the king had more than once felt and testified some displeasure at the demeanor assumed towards him by his former allies. They had shown vexation and disquietude at the extension of French influence in Italy; and they had addressed to Louis certain representations touching the favor enjoyed at his hands by the pope's nephew, Caesar Borgia, to whom he had given the title of Duke of Valentinois on investing him with the countships of Valence and of Die in Dauphiny. Louis, on his side, showed anxiety as to the conduct which would be exhibited towards him by the Venetians if he encountered any embarrassment in his expedition to Naples. Nothing of the kind happened to him during the first month after King Frederick III.'s abandonment of the kingdom of Naples. The French and the Spaniards, D'Aubigny and Gonzalvo of Cordova, at first gave their attention to nothing but establishing themselves firmly, each in the interests of the king his master, in those portions of the kingdom which were to belong to them.

But, before long, disputes arose between the two generals as to the meaning of certain clauses in the treaty of November 11, 1500, and as to the demarcation of the French and the Spanish territories. D'Aubigny fell ill; and Louis XII. sent to Naples, with the title of viceroy, Louis d'Armagnac, Duke of Nemours, a brave warrior, but a negotiator inclined to take umbrage and to give offence. The disputes soon took the form of hostilities. The French essayed to drive the Spaniards from the points they had occupied in the disputed territories; and at first they had the advantage. Gonzalvo of Cordova, from necessity or in prudence, concentrated his forces within Barletta, a little fortress with a little port on the Adriatic; but he there endured, from July, 1502, to April, 1503, a siege which did great honor to the patient firmness of the Spanish troops and the persistent vigor of their captain. Gonzalvo was getting ready to sally from Barletta and take the offensive against the French when he heard that a treaty signed at Lyons on the 5th of April, 1503, between the Kings of Spain and France, made a change in the position, reciprocally, of the two sovereigns, and must suspend the military operations of their generals within the kingdom of Naples. "The French general declared his readiness to obey his king," says Guicciardini; "but the Spanish, whether it were that he felt sure of victory or that he had received private instructions on that point, said that he could not stop the war without express orders from his king." And sallying forthwith from Barletta, he gained, on the 28th of April, 1503, at Cerignola, a small town of Puglia, a signal victory over the French commanded by the Duke of Nemours, who, together with three thousand men of his army, was killed in action. The very day after his success Gonzalvo heard that a Spanish corps, lately disembarked in Calabria, had also beaten, on the 21st of April, at Seminara, a French corps commanded by D'Aubigny. The great captain was as eager to profit by victory as he had been patient in waiting for a chance of it. He marched rapidly on Naples, and entered it on the 14th of May, almost without resistance; and the two forts defending the city, the Castel Nuovo and the Castel dell' Uovo surrendered, one on the 11th of June and the other on the 1st of July. The capital of the kingdom having thus fallen into the hands of the Spaniards, Capua and Aversa followed its example. Gaeta was the only important place which still held out for the French, and contained a garrison capable of defending it; and thither the remnant of the troops beaten at Seminara and at Cerignola had retired. Louis XII. hastened to levy and send to Italy, under the command of Louis de la Tremoille, a fresh army for the purpose of relieving Gaeta and recovering Naples; but at Parma La Tremoille fell ill, "so crushed by his malady and so despairing of life," says his chronicler, John Bouchet, "that the physicians sent word to the king that it was impossible in the way of nature to recover him, and that without the divine assistance he could not get well." The command devolved upon the Marquis of Mantua, who marched on Gaeta. He found Gonzalvo of Cordova posted with his army on the left bank of the Garigliano, either to invest the place or to repulse re-enforcements that might arrive for it. The two armies passed fifty days face to face almost, with the river and its marshes between them, and vainly attempting over and over again to join battle. Some of Gonzalvo's officers advised him to fall back on Capua, so as to withdraw his troops from an unhealthy and difficult position; but "I would rather," said he, "have here, for my grave, six feet of earth by pushing forward, than prolong my life a hundred years by falling back, though it were but a few arms' lengths." The French army was dispersing about in search of shelter and provisions; and the Marquis of Mantua, disgusted with the command, resigned it to the Marquis of Saluzzo, and returned home to his marquisate. Gonzalvo, who was kept well informed of his enemies' condition, threw, on the 27th of December, a bridge over the Garigliano, attacked the French suddenly, and forced them to fall back upon Gaeta, which they did not succeed in entering until they had lost artillery, baggage, and a number of prisoners. "The Spaniards," says John d'Auton, "halted before the place, made as if they would lay siege to it, and so remained for two or three days. The French, who were there in great numbers, had scarcely any provisions, and could not hold out for long; however, they put a good face upon it. The captain, Gonzalvo, sent word to them that if they would surrender their town he would, on his part, restore to them without ransom all prisoners and others of their party; and he had many of them, James de la Palisse, Stuart d'Aubigny, Gaspard de Coligny, Anthony de la Fayette, &c., all captains. The French captains, seeing that fortune was not kind to them, and that they had provisions for a week only, were all for taking this offer. All the prisoners, captains, men-at-arms, and common soldiers were accordingly given up, put to sea, and sailed for Genoa, where they were well received and kindly treated by the Genoese, which did them great good, for they were much in need of it. Nearly all the captains died on their return, some of mourning over their losses, others of melancholy at their misfortune, others for fear of the king's displeasure, and others of sickness and weariness." [Chroniques of John d'Auton, t. iii. pp. 68-70.]

Gaeta fell into the hands of the Spaniards on the 1st of January, 1504. The war was not ended, but the kingdom of Naples was lost to the King of France.

At the news of these reverses the grief and irritation of Louis XII. were extreme. Not only was he losing his Neapolitan conquests, but even his Milaness was also threatened. The ill-will of the Venetians became manifest. They had re-victualled by sea the fortress of Barletta, in which Gonzalvo of Cordova had shut himself up with his troops; "and when the king presented complaints of this succor afforded to his enemies, the senate replied that the matter had taken place without their cognizance, that Venice was a republic of traders, and that private persons might very likely have sold provisions to the Spaniards, with whom Venice was at peace, without there being any ground for concluding from it that she had failed in her engagements towards France. Some time afterwards, four French galleys, chased by a Spanish squadron of superior force, presented themselves before the port of Otranto, which was in the occupation of the Venetians, who pleaded their neutrality as a reason for refusing asylum to the French squadron, which the commander was obliged to set on fire that it might not fall into he enemy's hands." [Histoire de la Republique de L'enise, by Count Daru, t. iii. p. 245.] The determined prosecution of hostilities in the kingdom of Naples by Gonzalvo of Cordova, in spite of the treaty concluded at Lyons on the 5th of April, 1503, between the Kings of France and Spain, was so much the more offensive to Louis XII. in that this treaty was the consequence and the confirmation of an enormous concession which he had, two years previously, made to the King of Spain on consenting to affiance his daughter, Princess Claude of France, two years old, to Ferdinand's grandson, Charles of Austria, who was then only one year old, and who became Charles the Fifth (emperor)! Lastly, about the same time, Pope Alexander VI., who, willy hilly, had rendered Louis XII. so many services, died at Rome on the 12th of August, 1503. Louis had hoped that his favorite minister, Cardinal George d'Amboise, would succeed him, and that hope had a great deal to do with the shocking favor he showed Caesar Borgia, that infamous son of a demoralized father. But the candidature of Cardinal d'Amboise failed; a four weeks' pope, Pius III., succeeded Alexander VI.; and, when the Holy See suddenly became once more vacant, Cardinal d'Amboise failed again; and the new choice was Cardinal Julian della Rovera, Pope Julius II., who soon became the most determined and most dangerous foe of Louis XII., already assailed by so many enemies.

The Venetian, Dominic of Treviso, was quite right; Louis XII. was "of unstable mind, saying yes and no." On such characters discouragement tells rapidly. In order to put off the struggle which had succeeded so ill for him in the kingdom of Naples, Louis concluded, on the 31st of March, 1504, a truce for three years with the King of Spain; and on the 22d of September, in the same year, in order to satisfy his grudge on account of the Venetians' demeanor towards him, he made an alliance against them with Emperor Maximilian I. and Pope Julius II., with the design, all three of them, of wresting certain provinces from them. With those political miscalculations was connected a more personal and more disinterested feeling. Louis repented of having in 1501 affianced his daughter Claude to Prince Charles of Austria, and of the enormous concessions he had made by two treaties, one of April 5, 1503, and the other of September 22, 1504, for the sake of this marriage. He had assigned as dowry to his daughter, first the duchy of Milan, then the kingdom of Naples, then Brittany, and then the duchy of Burgundy and the countship of Blois. The latter of these treaties contained even the following strange clause: "If, by default of the Most Christian king or of the queen his wife, or of the Princess Claude, the aforesaid marriage should not take place, the Most Christian king doth will and consent, from now, that the said duchies of Burgundy and Milan and the countship of Asti, do remain settled upon the said Prince Charles, Duke of Luxembourg, with all the rights therein possessed, or possibly to be possessed, by the Most Christian king." [Corps Diplomatique du Droit des Gens, by J. Dumont, t. iv. part i. p. 57.] It was dismembering France, and at the same time settling on all her frontiers, to east, west, and south-west, as well as to north and south, a power which the approaching union of two crowns, the imperial and the Spanish, on the head of Prince Charles of Austria, rendered so preponderating and so formidable.

It was not only from considerations of external policy, and in order to conciliate to himself Emperor Maximilian and King Ferdinand, that Louis XII. had allowed himself to proceed to concessions so plainly contrary to the greatest interests of France: he had yielded also to domestic influences. The queen his wife, Anne of Brittany, detested Louise of Savoy, widow of Charles d'Orleans, Count of Angouleme, and mother of Francis d'Angouleme, heir presumptive to the throne, since Louis XII. had no son. Anne could not bear the idea that her daughter, Princess Claude, should marry the son of her personal enemy; and, being more Breton than French, say her contemporaries, she, in order to avoid this disagreeableness, had used with the king all her influence, which was great, in favor of the Austrian marriage, caring little, and, perhaps, even desiring, that Brittany should be again severed from France. Louis, in the midst of the reverses of his diplomacy, had thus to suffer from the hatreds of his wife, the observations of his advisers, and the reproaches of his conscience as a king. He fell so ill that he was supposed to be past recovery. "It were to do what would be incredible," says his contemporary, John de St. Gelais, "to write or tell of the lamentations made throughout the whole realm of France, by reason of the sorrow felt by all for the illness of their good king. There were to be seen night and day, at Blois, at Amboise, at Tours, and everywhere else, men and women going all bare throughout the churches and to the holy places, in order to obtain from divine mercy grace of health and convalescence for one whom there was as great fear of losing as if he had been the father of each." Louis was touched by this popular sympathy; and his wisest councillors, Cardinal d'Amboise the first of all, took advantage thereof to appeal to his conscience in respect of the engagements which "through weakness he had undertaken contrary to the interests of the realm and the coronation-promises." Queen Anne herself, not without a struggle, however, at last gave up her opposition to this patriotic recoil; and on the 10th of May, 1505, Louis XII. put in his will a clause to the effect that his daughter, Princess Claude, should be married, so soon as she was old enough, to the heir to the throne, Francis, Count of Angouleme. Only it was agreed, in order to avoid diplomatic embarrassments, that this arrangement should be kept secret till further notice. [The will itself of Louis XII. has been inserted in the Recueil des Ordonnances des Bois des France, t. xxi. p. 323, dated 30th of May, 1505.]

When Louis had recovered, discreet measures were taken for arousing the feeling of the country as well as the king's conscience as to this great question. In the course of the year 1505 there took place throughout the whole kingdom, amongst the nobility and in the principal towns, assemblies at which means were proposed for preventing this evil. Unpleasant consequences might have been apprehended from these meetings, in the case of a prince less beloved by his subjects than the king was; but nothing further was decided thereby than that a representation should with submission be made to him of the dangers likely to result from this treaty, that he should be entreated to prevent them by breaking it, and that a proposal should be made to him to assemble the estates to deliberate upon a subject so important. [Histoire de France, by Le Pere Daniel, t. viii. p. 427, edit. of 1755.] The states-general were accordingly convoked and met at Tours on the 10th of May, 1506; and on the 14th of May Louis XII. opened them in person at Plessis-les-Tours, seated in a great hall, in the royal seat, between Cardinal d'Amboise and Duke Francis of Valois, and surrounded by many archbishops and all the princes of the blood and other lords and barons of the said realm in great number, and he gave the order for admitting the deputies of the estates of the realm.

"Far from setting forth the grievances of the nation, as the spokesman of the estates had always done, Thomas Bricot, canon of Notre-Dame de Paris, delivered an address enumerating, in simple and touching terms, the benefits conferred by Louis XII., and describing to him the nation's gratitude. To him they owed peace and the tranquillity of the realm, complete respect for private property, release from a quarter of the talliages, reform in the administration of justice, and the appointment of enlightened and incorruptible judges. For these causes, the speaker added, and for others which it would take too long to recount, he was destined to be known as Louis XII., father of the people.

"At these last words loud cheers rang out; emotion was general, and reached the king himself, who shed tears at hearing the title which posterity and history were forever to attach to his name.

"Then, the deputies having dropped on their knees, the speaker resumed his speech, saying that they were come to prefer a request for the general good of the realm, the king's subjects entreating him to be pleased to give his only daughter in marriage to my lord Francis, here present, who is every whit French.

"When this declaration was ended, the king called Cardinal d'Amboise and the chancellor, with whom he conferred for some time; and then the chancellor, turning to the deputies, made answer that the king had given due ear and heed to their request and representation, . . . that if he had done well, he desired to do still better; and that, as to the request touching the marriage, he had never heard talk of it; but that as to that matter, he would communicate with the princes of the blood, so as to have their opinion.

"The day after this session the king received an embassy which could not but crown his joy: the estates of the duchy of Burgundy, more interested than any other province in the rupture of the (Austrian) marriage, had sent deputies to join their most urgent prayers to the entreaties of the estates of France.

"On Monday, May 18, the king assembled about him his chief councillors, to learn if the demand of the estates was profitable and reasonable for him and his kingdom. 'Thereon,' continues the report, 'the first to deliver an opinion was my lord the Bishop of Paris; after him the premier president of the parliament of Paris and of that of Bordeaux.' Their speeches produced such effect that, 'quite with one voice and one mind, those present agreed that the request of the estates was sound, just, and reasonable, and with one consent entreated the king to agree to the said marriage.'

"The most enlightened councillors and the princes of the blood found themselves in agreement with the commons. There was no ambiguity about the reply. On the Tuesday, May 19, the king held a session in state for the purpose of announcing to the estates that their wishes should be fully gratified, and that the betrothal of his daughter to the heir to the throne should take place next day but one, May 21, in order that the deputies might report the news of it to their constituents.

"After that the estates had returned thanks, the chancellor gave notice that, as municipal affairs imperatively demanded the return of the deputies, the king gave them leave to go, retaining only one burgess from each town, to inform him of their wants and 'their business, if such there be in any case, wherein the king will give them good and short despatch.'

"The session was brought to a close by the festivities of the betrothal, and by the oath taken by the deputies, who, before their departure, swore to bring about with all their might, even to the risk of body and goods, the marriage which had just been decided upon by the common advice of all those who represented France.'" [Histoire des Etats Generaux from 1355 to 1614, by George Picot, t. i. pp. 352-354].

Francis d'Angouleme was at that time eleven years old, and Claude of France was nearly seven.

Whatever displeasure must have been caused to the Emperor of Germany and to the King of Spain by this resolution on the part of France and her king, it did not show itself, either in acts of hostility or even in complaints of a more or less threatening kind. Italy remained for some years longer the sole theatre of rivalry and strife between these three great powers; and, during this strife, the utter diversity of the combinations, whether in the way of alliance or of rupture, bore witness to the extreme changeability of the interests, passions, and designs of the actors. From 1506 to 1515, between Louis XII.'s will and his death, we find in the history of his career in Italy five coalitions, and as many great battles, of a profoundly contradictory character. In 1508, Pope Julius II., Louis XII., Emperor Maximilian, and Ferdinand the Catholic, King of Spain, form together against the Venetians the League of Cambrai. In 1510, Julius II., Ferdinand, the Venetians, and the Swiss make a coalition against Louis XII. In 1512, this coalition, decomposed for a while, re-unites, under the name of the League of the Holy Union, between the pope, the Venetians, the Swiss, and the Kings of Arragon and Naples against Louis XII., minus the Emperor Maximilian, and plus Henry VIII., King of England. On the 14th of May, 1509, Louis XII., in the name of the League of Cambrai, gains the battle of Agnadello against the Venetians. On the 11th of April, 1512, it is against Pope Julius II., Ferdinand the Catholic, and the Venetians that he gains the battle of Ravenna. On the 14th of March, 1513, he is in alliance with the Venetians, and it is against the Swiss that he loses the battle of Novara. In 1510, 1511, and 1512, in the course of all these incessant changes of political allies and adversaries, three councils met at Tours, at Pisa, and at St. John Lateran with views still more discordant and irreconcilable than those of all these laic coalitions. We merely point out here the principal traits of the nascent sixteenth century; we have no intention of tracing with a certain amount of detail any incidents but those that refer to Louis XII. and to France, to their procedure and their fortunes.

Jealousy, ambition, secret resentment, and the prospect of despoiling them caused the formation of the League of Cambrai against the Venetians. Their far-reaching greatness on the seas, their steady progress on land, their riches, their cool assumption of independence towards the papacy, their renown for ability, and their profoundly selfish, but singularly prosperous policy, had excited in Italy, and even beyond the Alps, that feeling of envy and ill-will which is caused amongst men, whether kings or people, by the spectacle of strange, brilliant, and unexpected good fortune, though it be the fruits of rare merit. As the Venetians were as much dreaded as they were little beloved, great care was taken to conceal from them the projects that were being formed against them. According to their historian, Cardinal Bembo, they owed to chance the first notice they had. It happened one day that a Piedmontese at Milan, in presence of the Resident of Venice, allowed to escape from his lips the words, "I should have the pleasure, then, of seeing the crime punished of those who put to death the most illustrious man of my country." He alluded to Carmagnola, a celebrated Piedmontese condottiere, who had been accused of treason and beheaded at Venice on the 3d of May, 1432. The Venetian ambassador at Louis XII.'s court, suspecting what had taken place at Cambrai, tried to dissuade the king. "Sir," said he, "it were folly to attack them of Venice; their wisdom renders them invincible." "I believe they are prudent and wise," answered Louis, "but all the wrong way of the hair (inopportunely); if it must come to war, I will bring upon them so many fools, that your wiseacres will not have leisure to teach them reason, for my fools hit all round without looking where." When the league was decisively formed, Louis sent to Venice a herald to officially proclaim war. After having replied to the grievances alleged in support of that proclamation, "We should never have believed," said the Doge Loredano, "that so great a prince would have given ear to the envenomed words of a pope whom he ought to know better, and to the insinuations of another priest whom we forbear to mention (Cardinal d'Amboise). In order to please them, he declares himself the foe of a republic which has rendered him great services. We will try to defend ourselves, and to prove to him that he has not kept faith with us. God shall judge betwixt us. Father herald, and you, trumpeter, ye have heard what we had to say to you; report it to your master. Away!" Independently of their natural haughtiness, the Venetians were puffed up with the advantages they had obtained in a separate campaign against the Emperor Maximilian, and flattered themselves that they would manage to conquer, one after the other, or to split up, or to tire out, their enemies; and they prepared energetically for war. Louis XII., on his side, got together an army with a strength of twenty-three hundred lances (about thirteen thousand mounted troops), ten to twelve thousand French foot, and six or eight thousand Swiss. He sent for Chevalier Bayard, already famous, though still quite a youth. "Bayard," said he, "you know that I am about to cross the mountains, for to bring to reason the Venetians, who by great wrong withhold from me the countship of Cremona and other districts. I give to you from this present time the company of Captain Chatelard, who they tell me is dead, whereat I am distressed; but I desire that in this enterprise you have under your charge men afoot; your lieutenant- captain, Pierrepont [Pierre de Pont d'Albi, a Savoyard gentle-man, and Bayard's nephew], who is a very good man, shall lead your men-at-arms." "Sir," answered Bayard, "I will do what pleaseth you; but how many men afoot will you be pleased to hand over to me to lead?" "A thousand," said the king: "there is no man that hath more." "Sir," replied Bayard, "it is a many for my poor wits; I do entreat you to be content that I have five hundred; and I pledge you my faith, sir, that I will take pains to choose such as shall do you service; meseems that for one man it is a very heavy charge, if he would fain do his duty therewith." "Good!" said the king: "go, then, quickly into Dauphiny, and take heed that you be in my duchy of Milan by the end of March." Bayard forthwith set out to raise and choose his foot; a proof of the growing importance of infantry, and of the care taken by Louis XII. to have it commanded by men of war of experience and popularity.

On the 14th of May, 1509, the French army and the Venetian army, of nearly equal strength, encountered near the village of Agnadello, in the province of Lodi, on the banks of the Adda. Louis XII. commanded his in person, with Louis de la Tremoille and James Trivulzio for his principal lieutenants; the Venetians were under the orders of two generals, the Count of Petigliano and Barthelemy d'Alviano, both members of the Roman family of the Orsini, but not on good terms with one another. The French had to cross the Adda to reach the enemy, who kept in his camp. Trivulzio, seeing that the Venetians did not dispute their passage, cried out to the king, "To-day, sir, the victory is ours!" The French advance- guard engaged with the troops of Alviano. When apprised of this fight, Louis, to whom word was at this same time brought that the enemy was already occupying the point towards which he was moving with the main body of the army, said briskly, "Forward, all the same; we will halt upon their bellies." The action became general and hot. The king, sword in hand, hurried from one corps to another, under fire from the Venetian artillery, which struck several men near him. He was urged to place himself under cover a little, so as to give his orders thence; but, "It is no odds," said he; "they who are afraid have only to put themselves behind me." A body of Gascons showed signs of wavering: "Lads," shouted La Tremoille, "the king sees you." They dashed forward; and the Venetians were broken, in spite of the brave resistance of Alviano, who was taken and brought, all covered with blood, and with one eye out, into the presence of the king. Louis said to him, courteously, "You shall have fair treatment and fair captivity; have fair patience." "So I will," answered the condottiere; "if I had won the battle, I had been the most victorious man in the world; and, though I have lost it, still have I the great honor of having had against me a King of France in person." Louis, who had often heard talk of the warrior's intrepid presence of mind, had a fancy for putting it to further proof, and, all the time chatting with him, gave secret orders to have the alarm sounded not far from them. "What is this, pray, Sir Barthelemy?" asked the king: "your folks are very difficult to please; is it that they want to begin again?" "Sir," said Alviano, "if there is fighting still, it must be that the French are fighting one another; as for my folks, I assure you, on my life, they will not pay you a visit this fortnight." The Venetian army, in fact, withdrew with a precipitation which resembled a rout: for, to rally it, its general, the Count of Petigliano, appointed for its gathering-point the ground beneath the walls of Brescia, forty miles from the field of battle. "Few men-at-arms," says Guicciardini, "were slain in this affair; the great loss fell upon the Venetians' infantry, which lost, according to some, eight thousand men; others say that the number of dead on both sides did not amount to more than six thousand." The territorial results of the victory were greater than the numerical losses of the armies. Within a fortnight, the towns of Caravaggio, Bergamo, Brescia, Crema, Cremona, and Pizzighitone surrendered to the French. Peschiera alone, a strong fortress at the southern extremity of the Lake of Garda, resisted, and was carried by assault. "It was a bad thing for those within," says the Loyal Serviteur of Bayard; "for all, or nearly all, perished there; amongst the which was the governor of the Signory and his son, who were willing to pay good and heavy ransom; but that served them not at all, for on one tree were both of them hanged, which to me did seem great cruelty; a very lusty gentleman, called the Lorrainer, had their parole, and he had big words about it with the grand master, lieutenant-general of the king; but he got no good thereby." The Memoires of Robert de la Marck, lord of Fleuranges, and a warrior of the day, confirm, as to this sad incident, the story of the Loyal Serviteur of Bayard: "When the French volunteers," says he, "entered by the breach into the castle of Peschiera, they cut to pieces all those who were therein, and there were left only the captain, the proveditore, and the podesta, the which stowed themselves away in a tower, surrendered to the good pleasure of the king, and, being brought before him, offered him for ransom a hundred thousand ducats; but the king swore, 'If ever I eat or drink till they be hanged and strangled! 'Nor even for all the prayer they could make could the grand master Chaumont, and even his uncle, Cardinal d'Amboise, find any help for it, but the king would have them hanged that very hour." Some chroniclers attribute this violence on Louis XII.'s part to a "low and coarse" reply returned by those in command at Peschiera to the summons to surrender. Guicciardini, whilst also recording the fact, explains it otherwise than by a fit of anger on Louis's part: "The king," he says, "was led to such cruelty in order that, dismayed at such punishment, those who were still holding out in the fortress of Cremona might not defend themselves to the last extremity." [Guicciardini, Istoria d'Italia, liv. viii. t. i. p. 521.] So that the Italian historian is less severe on this act of cruelty than the French knight is.

Louis XII.'s victory at Agnadello had for him consequences very different from what he had no doubt expected. "The king," says Guicciardini, "departed from Italy, carrying away with him to France great glory by reason of so complete and so rapidly won a victory over the Venetians; nevertheless, as in the case of things obtained after hope long deferred men scarcely ever feel such joy and happiness as they had at first imagined they would, the king took not back with him either greater peace of mind or greater security in respect of his affairs." The beaten Venetians accepted their defeat with such a mixture of humility and dignity as soon changed their position in Italy. They began by providing all that was necessary for the defence of Venice herself; foreigners, but only idle foreigners, were expelled; those who had any business which secured them means of existence received orders to continue their labors. Mills were built, cisterns were dug, corn was gathered in, the condition of the canals was examined, bars were removed, the citizens were armed; the law which did not allow vessels laden with provisions to touch at Venice was repealed, and rewards were decreed to officers who had done their duty. Having taken all this care for their own homes and their fatherland on the sea, the Venetian senate passed a decree by which the republic, releasing from their oath of fidelity the subjects it could not defend, authorized its continental provinces to treat with the enemy with a view to their own interests, and ordered its commandants to evacuate such places as they still held. Nearly all such submitted without a struggle to the victor of Agnadello and his allies of Cambrai; but at Treviso, when Emperor Maximilian's commissioner presented himself in order to take possession of it, a shoemaker named Caligaro went running through the streets, shouting, "Hurrah! for St. Mark."

The people rose, pillaged the houses of those who had summoned the foreigner, and declared that it would not separate its lot from that of the republic. So Treviso remained Venetian. Two other small towns, Marano and Osopo, followed her example; and for several months this was all that the Venetians preserved of their continental possessions. But at the commencement of July, 1509, they heard that the important town of Padua, which had fallen to the share of Emperor Maximilian, was uttering passionate murmurs against its new master, and wished for nothing better than to come back beneath the old sway; and, in spite of the opposition shown by the doge, Loredano, the Venetians resolved to attempt the venture. During the night between the 16th and 17th of July, a small detachment, well armed and well led, arrived beneath the walls of Padua, which was rather carelessly guarded. In the morning, as soon as the gate was opened, a string of large wagons presented themselves for admittance. Behind one of these, and partially concealed by its bulk, advanced six Venetian men-at-arms, each carrying on his crupper a foot-soldier armed with an arquebuse; they fired on the guard; each killed his man; the Austrian garrison hurried up and fought bravely; but other Venetian troops arrived, and the garrison was beaten and surrendered. Padua became Venetian again. "This surprisal," says M. Darn, "caused inexpressible joy in Venice; after so many disasters there was seen a gleans of hope." The Venetians hastened to provision Padua well and to put it in a state of defence; and they at the same time published a decree promising such subjects of the republic as should come back to its sway complete indemnity for the losses they might have suffered during the war. It blazed forth again immediately, but at first between the Venetians and the Emperor Maximilian almost alone by himself. Louis XII., in a hurry to get back to France, contented himself with leaving in Lombardy a body of troops under the orders of James de Chabannes, Sire de la Palisse, with orders "to take five hundred of the lustiest men-at-arms and go into the service of the emperor, who was to make a descent upon the district of Padua." Maximilian did not make his descent until two months after that the Venetians had retaken Padua and provisioned it well; and it was only on the 15th of September that he sat down before the place. All the allies of the League of Cambrai held themselves bound to furnish him with their contingent. On sallying from Milan for this campaign, La Palisse "fell in with the good knight Bayard, to whom he said, 'My comrade, my friend, would you not like us to be comrades together?' Bayard, who asked nothing better, answered him graciously that he was at his service to be disposed of at his pleasure;" and from the 15th to the 20th of September, Maximilian got together before Padua an army with a strength, it is said, of about fifty thousand men, men-at-arms or infantry, Germans, Spaniards, French, and Italians, sent by the pope and by the Duke of Ferrara, or recruited from all parts of Italy.

At the first rumor of such a force there was great emotion in Venice, but an emotion tempered by bravery and intelligence. The doge, Leonardo Loredano, the same who had but lately opposed the surprisal of Padua, rose up and delivered in the senate a long speech, of which only the essential and characteristic points can be quoted here:—

"Everybody knows, excellent gentlemen of the senate," said he, "that on the preservation of Padua depends all hope, not only of recovering our empire, but of maintaining our own liberty. It must be confessed that, great and wonderful as they have been, the preparations made and the supplies provided hitherto are not sufficient either for the security of that town or for the dignity of our republic. Our ancient renown forbids us to leave the public safety, the lives and honor of our wives and our children, entirely to the tillers of our fields and to mercenary soldiers, without rushing ourselves to shelter them behind our own breasts and defend them with our own arms. For so great and so glorious a fatherland, which has for so many years been the bulwark of the faith and the glory of the Christian republic, will the personal service of its citizens and its sons be ever to seek? To save it who would refuse to risk his own life and that of his children? If the defence of Padua is the pledge for the salvation of Venice, who would hesitate to go and defend it? And, though the forces already there were sufficient, is not our honor also concerned therein? The fortune of our city so willed it that in the space of a few days our empire slipped from our hands; the opportunity has come back to us of recovering what we have lost; by spontaneously facing the changes and chances of fate, we shall prove that our disasters have not been our fault or our shame, but one of those fatal storms which no wisdom and no firmness of man can resist. If it were permitted us all in one mass to set out for Padua, if we might, without neglecting the defence of our own homes and our urgent public affairs, leave our city for some days deserted, I would not await your deliberation; I would be the first on the road to Padua; for how could I better expend the last days of my old age than in going to be present at and take part in such a victory? But Venice may not be deserted by her public bodies, which protect and defend Padua by their forethought and their orders just as others do by their arms; and a useless mob of graybeards would be a burden much more than a reenforcement there. Nor do I ask that Venice be drained of all her youth; but I advise, I exhort, that we choose two hundred young gentlemen, from the chiefest of our families, and that they all, with such friends and following as their means will permit them to get together, go forth to Padua to do all that shall be necessary for her defence. My two sons, with many a comrade. will be the first to carry out what I, their father and your chief, am the first to propose. Thus Padua will be placed in security; and when the mercenary soldiers who are there see how prompt are our youth to guard the gates and everywhere face the battle, they will be moved thereby to zeal and alacrity incalculable; and not only will Padua thus be defended and saved, but all nations will see that we, we too, as our fathers were, are men enough to defend at the peril of our lives the freedom and th safety of the noblest country in the world."

This generous advice was accepted by the fathers and carried out by the sons with that earnest, prompt, and effective ardor which accompanies the resolution of great souls. When the Paduans, before their city was as yet invested, saw the arrival within their walls of these chosen youths of the Venetian patriciate, with their numerous troop of friends and followers, they considered Padua as good as saved; and when the imperial army, posted before the place, commenced their attacks upon it, they soon perceived that they had formidable defenders to deal with. "Five hundred years it was since in prince's camp had ever been seen such wealth as there was there; and never was a day but there filed off some three or four hundred lanzknechts who took away to Germany oxen and kine, beds, corn, silk for sewing, and other articles; in such sort that to the said country of Padua was damage done to the amount of two millions of crowns in movables and in houses and palaces burnt and destroyed." For three days the imperial artillery fired upon the town and made in its walls three breaches "knocked into one;" and still the defenders kept up their resistance with the same vigor. "One morning," says the Loyal Serviteur of Bayard, "the Emperor Maximilian, accompanied by his princes and lords from Germany, went thither to look; and he marvelled and thought it great shame to him, with the number of men he had, that he had not sooner delivered the assault. On returning to his quarters he sent for a French secretary of his, whom he bade write to the lord of La Palisse a letter, whereof this was the substance: 'Dear cousin, I have this morning been to look at the breach, which I find more than practicable for whoever would do his duty. I have made up my mind to deliver the assault to-day. I pray you, so soon as my big drum sounds, which will be about midday, that you do incontinently hold ready all the French gentlemen who are under your orders at my service, by command of my brother the King of France, to go to the said assault along with my foot; and I hope that, with God's help we shall carry it.'

"The lord of La Palisse," continues the chronicler, "thought this a somewhat strange manner of proceeding; howbeit he hid his thought, and said to the secretary, 'I am astounded that the emperor did not send for my comrades and me for to deliberate more fully of this matter; howbeit you will tell him that I will send to fetch them, and when they are come I will show them the letter. I do not think there will be many who will not be obedient to that which the emperor shall be pleased to command.'

"When the French captains had arrived at the quarters of the lord of La Palisse, he said to them, 'Gentlemen, we must now dine, for I have somewhat to say to you, and if I were to say it first, peradventure you would not make good cheer.' During dinner they did nothing but make sport one of another. After dinner, everybody was sent out of the room, save the captains, to whom the lord of La Palisse made known the emperor's letter, which was read twice, for the better understanding of it. They all looked at one another, laughing, for to see who would speak first. Then said the lord of Ymbercourt to the lord of La Palisse, 'It needs not so much thought, my lord; send word to the emperor that we are all ready; I am even now a-weary of the fields, for the nights are cold; and then the good wines are beginning to fail us;' whereat every one burst out a-laughing. All agreed to what was said by the lord of Ymbercourt. The lord of La Palisse looked at the good knight (Bayard), and saw that he seemed to be picking his teeth, as if he had not heard what his comrades had proposed. 'Well, and you,' said he, 'what say you about it? It is no time for picking one's teeth; we must at once send speedy reply to the emperor.' Gayly the good knight answered, 'If we would all take my lord of Ymbercourt's word, we have only to go straight to the breach. But it is a somewhat sorry pastime for men-at-arms to go afoot, and I would gladly be excused. Howbeit, since I must give my opinion, I will. The emperor bids you, in his letter, set all the French gentlemen afoot for to deliver the assault along with his lanzknechts. My opinion is, that you, my lord, ought to send back to the emperor a reply of this sort: that you have had a meeting of your captains, who are quite determined to do his bidding, according to the charge they have from the king their master; but that to mix them up with the foot, who are of small estate, would be to make them of little account; the emperor has loads of counts, lords, and gentlemen of Germany; let him set them afoot along with the men-at-arms of France, who will gladly show them the road; and then his lanzknechts will follow, if they know that it will pay.' When the good knight had thus spoken, his advice was found virtuous and reasonable. To the emperor was sent back this answer, which he thought right honorable. He incontinently had his trumpets sounded and his drums beaten for to assemble all the princes, and lords, and captains as well of Germany and Burgundy as of Hainault. Then the emperor declared to them that he was determined to go, within an hour, and deliver the assault on the town, whereof he had notified the lords of France, who were all most desirous of doing their duty therein right well, and prayed him that along with them might go the gentlemen of Germany, to whom they would gladly show the road: 'Wherefore, my lords,' said the emperor, I pray you, as much as ever I can, to be pleased to accompany them and set yourselves afoot with them; and I hope, with God's help, that at the first assault we shall be masters of our enemies.' When the emperor had done speaking, on a sudden there arose among his Germans a very wondrous and strange uproar, which lasted half an hour before it was appeased; and then one amongst them, bidden to answer for all, said that they were not folks to be set afoot or so to go up to a breach, and that their condition was to fight like gentlemen, a-horseback. Other answer the emperor could not get; but though it was not according to his desire, and pleased him not at all, he uttered no word beyond that he said, 'Good my lords, we must advise, then, how we shall do for the best.' Then, forthwith he sent for a gentleman of his who from time to time went backwards and forwards as ambassador to the French, and said to him, 'Go to the quarters of my cousin, the lord of La Palisse; commend me to him and to all my lords the French captains you find with him, and tell them that for to-day the assault will not be delivered.' I know not," says the chronicler, "how it was nor who gave the advice; but the night after this speech was spoken the emperor went off, all in one stretch, more than forty miles from the camp, and from his new quarters sent word to his people to have the siege raised; which was done."

So Padua was saved, and Venice once more became a power. Louis XII., having returned victorious to France, did not trouble himself much about the check received in Italy by Emperor Maximilian, for whom he had no love and but little esteem. Maximilian was personally brave and free from depravity or premeditated perfidy, but he was coarse, volatile, inconsistent, and not very able. Louis XII. had amongst his allies of Cambrai and in Italy a more serious and more skilful foe, who was preparing for him much greater embarrassments.

Julian Bella Rovera had, before his elevation to the pontifical throne, but one object, which was, to mount it. When he became pope, he had three objects: to recover and extend the temporal possessions of the papacy, to exercise to the full his spiritual power, and to drive the foreigner from Italy. He was not incapable of doubling and artifice. In order to rise he had flattered Louis XII. and Cardinal d'Amboise with the hope that the king's minister would become the head of Christendom. When once he was himself in possession of this puissant title he showed himself as he really was; ambitious, audacious, imperious, energetic, stubborn, and combining the egotism of the absolute sovereign with the patriotism of an Italian pope. When the League of Cambrai had attained success through the victory of Louis XII. over the Venetians, Cardinal d'Amboise, in course of conversation with the two envoys from Florence at the king's court, let them have an inkling "that he was not without suspicion of some new design;" and when Louis XII. announced his approaching departure for France, the two Florentines wrote to their government that "this departure might have very evil results, for the power of Emperor Maximilian in Italy, the position of Ferdinand the Catholic, the despair of the Venetians, and the character and dissatisfaction of the pope, seemed to foreshadow some fresh understanding against the Most Christian king." Louis XII. and his minister were very confident. "Take Spain, the king of the Romans, or whom you please," said Cardinal d'Amboise to the two Florentines; "there is none who has observed and kept the alliance more faithfully than the king has; he has done everything at the moment he promised; he has borne upon his shoulders the whole weight of this affair; and I tell you," he added, with a fixed look at those whom he was addressing, "that his army is a large one, which he will keep up and augment every day." Louis, for his part, treated the Florentines with great good-will, as friends on whom he counted and who were concerned in his success. "You have become the first power in Italy," he said to then one day before a crowd of people: "how are you addressed just now? Are you Most Serene or Most Illustrious?" And when he was notified that distinguished Venetians were going to meet Emperor Maximilian on his arrival in Italy, "No matter," said Louis; "let them go whither they will." The Florentines did not the less nourish their mistrustful presentiments; and one of Louis XII.'s most intelligent advisers, his finance-minister Florimond Robertet, was not slow to share them. "The pope," said he to them one day [July 1, 1509], "is behaving very ill towards us; he seeks on every occasion to sow enmity between the princes, especially between the emperor and the Most Christian king;" and, some weeks later, whilst speaking of the money-aids which the new King of England was sending, it was said, to Emperor Maximilian, he said to the Florentine, Nasi, "It would be a very serious business, if from all this were to result against us a universal league, in which the pope, England, and Spain should join." [Negotiations Diplomatiques de la France avec la Toscane, published by M. Abel Desjardins, in the Documents relatifs d l'Histoire de France, t. ii. pp. 331, 355, 367, 384, 389, 416.]

Next year (1510) the mistrust of the Florentine envoys was justified. The Venetians sent a humble address to the pope, ceded to him the places they but lately possessed in the Romagna, and conjured him to relieve them from the excommunication he had pronounced against them. Julius II., after some little waiting, accorded the favor demanded of him. Louis XII. committed the mistake of embroiling himself with the Swiss by refusing to add twenty thousand livres to the pay of sixty thousand he was giving them already, and by styling them "wretched mountain- shepherds, who presumed to impose upon him a tax he was not disposed to submit to." The pope conferred the investiture of the kingdom of Naples upon Ferdinand the Catholic, who at first promised only his neutrality, but could not fail to be drawn in still farther when war was rekindled in Italy. In all these negotiations with the Venetians, the Swiss, the Kings of Spain and England, and the Emperor Maximilian, Julius II. took a bold initiative. Maximilian alone remained for some time at peace with the King of France.

In October, 1511, a league was formally concluded between the pope, the Venetians, the Swiss, and King Ferdinand against Louis XII. A place was reserved in it for the King of England, Henry VIII., who, on ascending the throne, had sent word to the King of France that "he desired to abide in the same friendship that the king his father had kept up," but who, at the bottom of his heart, burned to resume on the Continent an active and a prominent part. The coalition thus formed was called the League of Holy Union. "I," said Louis XII., "am the Saracen against whom this league is directed."

He had just lost, a few months previously, the intimate and faithful adviser and friend of his whole life: Cardinal George d'Amboise, seized at Milan with a fit of the gout, during which Louis tended him with the assiduity and care of an affectionate brother, died at Lyons on the 25th of May, 1510, at fifty years of age. He was one not of the greatest, but of the most honest ministers who ever enjoyed a powerful monarch's constant favor, and employed it we will not say with complete disinterestedness, but with a predominant anxiety for the public weal. In the matter of external policy the influence of Cardinal d'Amboise, was neither skilfully nor salutarily exercised: he, like his master, indulged in those views of distant, incoherent, and improvident conquests which caused the reign of Louis XII. to be wasted in ceaseless wars, with which the cardinal's desire of becoming pope was not altogether unconnected, and which, after having resulted in nothing but reverses, were a heavy heritage for the succeeding reign. But at home, in his relations with his king and in his civil and religious administration, Cardinal d'Amboise was an earnest and effective friend of justice, of sound social order, and of regard for morality in the practice of power. It is said that, in his latter days, he, virtuously weary of the dignities of this world, said to the infirmary-brother who was attending him, "Ah! Brother John, why did I not always remain Brother John!" A pious regret the sincerity and modesty whereof are rare amongst men of high estate.

"At last, then, I am the only pope!" cried Julius II., when he heard that Cardinal d'Amboise was dead. But his joy was misplaced: the cardinal's death was a great loss to him; between the king and the pope the cardinal had been an intelligent mediator, who understood the two positions and the two characters, and who, though most faithful and devoted to the king, had nevertheless a place in his heart for the papacy also, and labored earnestly on every occasion to bring about between the two rivals a policy of moderation and peace. "One thing you may be certain of," said Louis's finance-minister Robertet to the ambassador from Florence, "that the king's character is not an easy one to deal with; he is not readily brought round to what is not his own opinion, which is not always a correct one; he is irritated against the pope; and the cardinal, to whom that causes great displeasure, does not always succeed, in spite of all influence, in getting him to do as he would like. If our Lord God were to remove the cardinal, either by death or in any other manner, from public life, there would arise in this court and in the fashion of conducting affairs such confusion that nothing equal to it would ever have been seen in our day." [Negociations Diplomatiques de la France avec la Toscane, t. ii. pp. 428 and 460.] And the confusion did, in fact, arise; and war was rekindled, or, to speak more correctly, resumed its course after the cardinal's death. Julius II. plunged into it in person, moving to every point where it was going on, living in the midst of camps, himself in military costume, besieging towns, having his guns pointed and assaults delivered under his own eyes. Men expressed astonishment, not unmixed with admiration, at the indomitable energy of this soldier-pope at seventy years of age. It was said that he had cast into the Tiber the keys of St. Peter to gird on the sword of St. Paul. His answer to everything was, "The barbarians must be driven from Italy." Louis XII. became more and more irritated and undecided. "To reassure his people," says Bossuet (to which we may add, 'and to reassure himself'), "he assembled at Tours (in September, 1510), the prelates of his kingdom, to consult them as to what he could do at so disagreeable a crisis without wounding his conscience. Thereupon it was said that the pope, being unjustly the aggressor, and having even violated an agreement made with the king, ought to be treated as an enemy, and that the king might not only defend himself, but might even attack him without fear of excommunication. Not considering this quite strong enough yet, Louis resolved to assemble a council against the pope. The general council was the desire of the whole church since the election of Martin V. at the council of Constance (November 11, 1417); for, though that council had done great good by putting an end to the schism which had lasted for forty years, it had not accomplished what it had projected, which was a reformation of the Church in its head and in its members; but, for the doing of so holy a work, it had ordained, on separating, that there should be held a fresh council. . . . This one was opened at Pisa (November 1, 1511) with but little solemnity by the proxies of the cardinals who had caused its convocation. The pope had deposed them, and had placed under interdict the town of Pisa, where the council was to be held, and even Florence, because the Florentines had granted Pisa for the assemblage. Thereupon the religious brotherhoods were unwilling to put in an appearance at the opening of the council, and the priests of the Church refused the necessary paraphernalia. The people rose, and the cardinals, having arrived, did not consider their position safe; insomuch that after the first session they removed the council to Milan, where they met with no better reception. Gaston de Foix, nephew of Louis XII., who had just appointed him governor of Milaness, could certainly force the clergy to proceed and the people to be quiet, but he could not force them to have for the council the respect due to so great a name; there were not seen at it, according to usage, the legates of the Holy See; there were scarcely fifteen or sixteen French prelates there; the Emperor Maximilian had either not influence enough or no inclination to send to it a single one from Germany; and, in a word, there was not to be seen in this assembly anything that savored of the majesty of a general council, and it was understood to be held for political purposes." [Bossuet, Abrege de l'Histoire de France pour l'Education du dauphin; OEuvres completes (1828), t. xvii. pp. 541, 545.] Bossuet had good grounds for speaking so. Louis XII. himself said, in 1511, to the ambassador of Spain, that "this pretended council was only a scarecrow which he had no idea of employing save for the purpose of bringing the pope to reason." Amidst these vain attempts at ecclesiastical influence the war was continued with passionateness on the part of Julius II., with hesitation on the part of Louis XII., and with some disquietude on the part of the French commanders, although with their wonted bravery and loyalty. Chaumont d'Amboise, the cardinal's nephew, held the command-in-chief in the king's army. He fell ill: the pope had excommunicated him; and Chaumont sent to beg him, with instance, to give him absolution, which did not arrive until he was on his death-bed. "This is the worst," says Bossuet, "of wars against the Church; they cause scruples not only in weak minds, but even, at certain moments, in the very strongest." Alphonso d' Este, Duke of Ferrara, was almost the only great Italian lord who remained faithful to France. Julius II., who was besieging Ferrara, tried to win over the duke, who rejected all his offers, and, instead, won over the negotiator, who offered his services to poison the pope. Bayard, when informed of this proposal, indignantly declared that he would go and have the traitor hanged, and warning sent to the pope. "Why," said the duke, "he would have been very glad to do as much for you and me." "That is no odds to me," said the knight; "he is God's lieutenant on earth, and, as for having him put to death in such sort, I will never consent to it." The duke shrugged his shoulders, and spitting on the ground, said, 'Od's body, Sir Bayard, I would like to get rid of all my enemies in that way; but, since you do not think it well, the matter shall stand over; whereof, unless God apply a remedy, both you and I will repent us." Assuredly Bayard did not repent of his honest indignation; but, finding about the same time (January, 1511) an opportunity of surprising and carrying off the pope, he did not care to miss it; he placed himself in ambush before day-break, with a hundred picked men-at-arms, close to a village from which the pope was to issue. "The pope, who was pretty early, mounted his litter, so soon as he saw the dawn, and the clerics and officers of all kinds went before without a thought of anything. When the good knight heard them he sallied forth from his ambush, and went charging down upon the rustics, who, sore dismayed, turned back again, pricking along with loosened rein and shouting, Alarm! alarm! But all that would have been of no use but for an accident very lucky for the holy father, and very unfortunate for the good knight. When the pope had mounted his litter, he was not a stone's throw gone when there fell from heaven the most sharp and violent shower that had been seen for a hundred years. 'Holy father,' said the Cardinal of Pavia to the pope, 'it is not possible to go along this country so long as this lasts; meseems you must turn back again; 'to which the pope agreed; but, just as he was arriving at St. Felix, and was barely entering within the castle, he heard the shouts of the fugitives whom the good knight was pursuing as hard as he could spur; whereupon he had such a fright, that, suddenly and without help, he leaped out of his litter, and himself did aid in hauling up the bridge; which was doing like a man of wits, for had he waited until one could say a Pater noster, he had been snapped up. Who was right down grieved, that was the good knight; never man turned back so melancholic as he was to have missed so fair a take; and the pope, from the good fright he had gotten, shook like a palsy the live-long day." [Histoire du ben Chevalier Ballard, t. i. pp. 346-349.]

From 1510 to 1512 the war in Italy was thus proceeding, but with no great results, when Gaston de Foix, Duke of Nemours, came to take the command of the French army. He was scarcely twenty-three, and had hitherto only served under Trivulzio and La Palisse; but he had already a character for bravery and intelligence in war. Louis XII. loved this son of his sister, Mary of Orleans, and gladly elevated him to the highest rank. Gaston, from the very first, justified this favor. Instead of seeking for glory in the field only, he began by shutting himself up in Milan, which the Swiss were besieging. They made him an offer to take the road back to Switzerland, if he would give them a month's pay; the sum was discussed; Gaston considered that they asked too much for their withdrawal; the Swiss broke off the negotiation; but "to the great astonishment of everybody," says Guicciardini, "they raised the siege and returned to their own country." The pope was besieging Bologna; Gaston arrived there suddenly with a body of troops whom he had marched out at night through a tempest of wind and snow; and he was safe inside the place whilst the besiegers were still ignorant of his movement. The siege of Bologna was raised. Gaston left it immediately to march on Brescia, which the Venetians had taken possession of for the Holy League. He retook the town by a vigorous assault, gave it up to pillage, punished with death Count Louis Avogaro and his two sons, who had excited the inhabitants against France, and gave a beating to the Venetian army before its walls. All these successes had been gained in a fortnight. "According to universal opinion," says Guicciardini, "Italy for several centuries had seen nothing like these military operations."

We are not proof against the pleasure of giving a place in this history to a deed of virtue and chivalrous kindness on Bayard's part, the story of which has been told and retold many times in various works. It is honorable to human kind, and especially to the middle ages, that such men and such deeds are met with here and there, amidst the violence of war and the general barbarity of manners.

Bayard had been grievously wounded at the assault of Brescia; so grievously that he said to his neighbor, the lord of Molart, "'Comrade, march your men forward; the town is ours; as for me, I cannot pull on farther, for I am a dead man.' When the town was taken, two of his archers bare him to a house, the most conspicuous they saw thereabouts. It was the abode of a very rich gentleman; but he had fled away to a monastery, and his wife had remained at the abode under the care of Our Lord, together with two fair daughters she had, the which were hidden in a granary beneath some hay. When there came a knocking at her door, she saw the good knight who was being brought in thus wounded, the which had the door shut incontinently, and set at the entrance the two archers, to the which he said, 'Take heed for your lives, that none enter herein unless it be any of my own folk; I am certified that, when it is known to be my quarters, none will try to force a way in; and if, by your aiding me, I be the cause that ye lose a chance of gaining somewhat, never ye mind; ye shall lose nought thereby.'

"The archers did as they were bid, and he was borne into a mighty fine chamber, into the which the lady of the house herself conducted him; and, throwing herself upon her knees before him, she spoke after this fashion, being interpreted, 'Noble sir, I present unto you this house, and all that is therein, for well I know it is yours by right of war; but may it be your pleasure to spare me my honor and life, and those of two young daughters that I and my husband have, who are ready for marriage.' The good knight, who never thought wickedness, replied to her, 'Madam, I know not whether I can escape from the wound that I have; but, so long as I live, you and your daughters shall be done no displeasure, any more than to my own person. Only keep them in your chambers; let them not be seen; and I assure you that there is no man in the house who would take upon himself to enter any place against your will.'

"When the good lady heard him so virtuously speak, she was all assured. Afterwards, he prayed her to give instructions to some good surgeon, who might quickly come to tend him; which she did, and herself went in quest of him with one of the archers. He, having arrived, did probe the good knight's wound, which was great and deep; howbeit he certified him that there was no danger of death. At the second dressing came to see him the Duke of Nemours' surgeon, called Master Claude, the which did thenceforward have the healing of him; and right well he did his devoir, in such sort that in less than a month he was ready to mount a-horseback. The good knight, when he was dressed, asked his hostess where her husband was; and the good lady, all in tears, said to him, 'By my faith, my lord, I know not whether he be dead or alive; but I have a shrewd idea that, if he be living, he will be in a large monastery, where be hath large acquaintance.' 'Lady,' said the good knight, 'have him fetched; and I will send in quest of him in such sort that he shall have no harm.' She set herself to inquire where he was, and found him; then were sent in quest of him the good knight's steward and two archers, who brought him away in safety; and on his arrival he had joyous cheer (reception) from his guest, the good knight, the which did tell him not to be melancholic, and that there was quartered upon him none but friends. . . . For about a month or five weeks was the good knight ill of his wound, without leaving his couch. One day he was minded to get up, and he walked across his chamber, not being sure whether he could keep his legs; somewhat weak he found himself; but the great heart he had gave him not leisure to think long thereon. He sent to fetch the surgeon who had the healing of him, and said to him, 'My friend, tell me, I pray you, if there be any danger in setting me on the march; me-seems that I am well, or all but so; and I give you my faith that, in my judgment, the biding will henceforth harm me more than mend me, for I do marvellously fret.' The good knight's servitors had already told the surgeon the great desire he had to be at the battle, for every day he had news from the camp of the French, how that they were getting nigh the Spaniards, and there were hopes from day to day of the battle, which would, to his great sorrow, have been delivered without him. Having knowledge whereof, and also knowing his complexion, the surgeon said, in his own language, 'My lord, your wound is not yet closed up; howbeit, inside it is quite healed. Your barber shall see to dressing you this once more; and provided that every day, morning and evening, he put on a little piece of lint and a plaister for which I will deliver to him the ointment, it will not increase your hurt; and there is no danger, for the worst of the wound is a-top, and will not touch the saddle of your horse.' Whoso had given him ten thousand crowns, the good knight had not been so glad. He determined to set out in two days, commanding his people to put in order all his gear.

"The lady with whom he lodged, who held herself all the while his prisoner, together with her husband and her children, had many imaginings. Thinking to herself that, if her guest were minded to treat with rigor herself and her husband, he might get out of them ten or twelve thousand crowns, for they had two thousand a year, she made up her mind to make him some worthy present; and she had found him so good a man, and of so gentle a heart, that, to her thinking, he would be graciously content. On the morning of the day whereon the good knight was to dislodge after dinner, his hostess, with one of her servitors carrying a little box made of steel, entered his chamber, where she found that he was resting in a chair, after having walked about a great deal, so as continually, little by little, to try his leg. She threw herself upon both knees; but incontinently he raised her up, and would never suffer her to speak a word, until she was first seated beside him. She began her speech in this manner: 'My lord, the grace which God did me, at the taking of this town, in directing you to this our house, was not less than the saving to me of my husband's life, and my own, and my two daughters', together with their honor, which they ought to hold dearer still. And more, from the time that you arrived here, there hath not been done to me, or to the least of my people, a single insult, but all courtesy; and there hath not been taken by your folks of the goods they found here the value of a farthing without paying for it. My lord, I am well aware that my husband, and I, and my children, and all of this household are your prisoners, for to do with and dispose of at your good pleasure, as well as the goods that are herein; but, knowing the nobleness of your heart, I am come for to entreat you right humbly that it may please you to have pity upon us, extending your wonted generosity. Here is a little present we make you; you will be pleased to take it in good part.' Then she took the box which the servitor was holding, and opened it before the good knight, who saw it full of beautiful ducats. The gentle lord, who never in his life made any case of money, burst out laughing, and said, 'Madam, how many ducats are there in this box?' The poor soul was afraid that he was angry at seeing so few, and said to him, 'My lord, there are but two thousand five hundred ducats; but, if you are not content, we will find a larger sum.' Then said he, 'By my faith, madam, though you should give me a hundred thousand crowns, you would not do so well towards me as you have done by the good cheer I have had here, and the kind tendance you have given me; in whatsoever place I may happen to be, you will have, so long as God shall grant me life, a gentleman at your bidding. As for your ducats, I will none of them; and yet I thank you; take them back; all my life I have always loved people much better than crowns. And think not in any wise that I do not go away as well pleased with you as if this town were at your disposal, and you had given it to me.'

"The good lady was much astounded at finding herself put off. 'My lord,' said she, 'I should feel myself forever the most wretched creature in the world, if you did not take away with you so small a present as I make you, which is nothing in comparison with the courtesy you have shown me heretofore, and still show me now by your great kindness.' When the knight saw her so firm, he said to her, 'Well, then, madam, I will take it for love of you; but go and fetch me your two daughters, for I would fain bid them farewell.' The poor soul, who thought herself in paradise, now that her present was at last accepted, went to fetch her daughters, the which were very fair, good, and well educated, and had afforded the good knight much pastime during his illness, for right well could they sing and play on the lute and spinet, and right well work with the needle. They were brought before the good knight, who, whilst they were attiring themselves, had caused the ducats to be placed in three lots, two of a thousand each, and the other of five hundred. They, having arrived, would have fallen on their knees, but were incontinently raised up, and the elder of the two began to say, 'My lord, these two poor girls, to whom you have done so much honor as to guard them, are come to take leave of you, humbly thanking your lordship for the favor they have received, for which, having nothing else in their power, they will be for-ever bound to pray God for you.' The good knight, half-weeping to see so much sweetness and humility in those two fair girls, made answer, 'Dear demoisels, you have done what I ought to do; that is, thank you for the good company you have made me, and for which I feel myself much beholden and bounden. You know that fighting men are not likely to be laden with pretty things for to present to ladies; and for my part, I am sore displeased that I am in no wise well provided for making you such present as I am bound to make. Here is your lady-mother, who has given me two thousand five hundred ducats, which you see on this table; of them I give to each of you a thousand towards your marriage; and for my recompense, you shall, an if it please you, pray God for me.' He put the ducats into their aprons, whether they would or not; and then, turning to his hostess, he said to her, "Madam, I will take these five hundred ducats for mine own profit, to distribute them amongst the poor sisterhoods which have been plundered; and to you I commit the charge of them, for you, better than any other, will understand where there is need thereof, and thereupon I take my leave of you." Then he touched them all upon the hand, after the Italian manner, and they fell upon their knees, weeping so bitterly that it seemed as if they were to be led out to their deaths. Afterwards, they withdrew to their chambers, and it was time for dinner. After dinner, there was little sitting ere the good knight called for the horses; for much he longed to be in the company so yearned for by him, having fine fear lest the battle should be delivered before he was there. As he was coming out of his chamber to mount a-horseback, the two fair daughters of the house came down and made him, each of them, a present which they had worked during his illness; one was two pretty and delicate bracelets, made of beautiful tresses of gold and silver thread, so neatly that it was a marvel; the other was a purse of crimson satin, worked right cunningly. Greatly did he thank them, saying that the present came from hand so fair, that he valued it at ten thousand crowns; and, in order to do them the more honor, he had the bracelets put upon his arms, and he put the purse in his sleeve, assuring them that, so long as they lasted, he would wear them for love of the givers."

Bayard had good reason for being in such a hurry to rejoin his comrades-in-arms, and not miss the battle he foresaw. All were as full of it as he was. After the capture of Brescia, Gaston de Foix passed seven or eight days more there, whilst Bayard was confined by his wound to his bed. "The prince went, once at least, every day to see the good knight, the which he comforted as best he might, and often said to him, 'Hey! Sir Bayard, my friend, think about getting cured, for well I know that we shall have to give the Spaniards battle between this and a month; and, if so it should be, I had rather have lost all I am worth than not have you there, so great confidence have I in you.' 'Believe me, my lord,' answered Bayard, 'that if so it is that there is to be a battle, I would, as well for the service of the king my master as for love of you and for mine own honor, which is before everything, rather have myself carried thither in a litter than not be there at all.' The Duke of Nemours made him a load of presents according to his power, and one day sent him five hundred crowns, the which the good knight gave to the two archers who had staid with him when he was wounded."

Louis XII. was as impatient to have the battle delivered as Bayard was to be in it. He wrote, time after time, to his nephew Gaston that the moment was critical, that Emperor Maximilian harbored a design of recalling the five thousand lanzknechts he had sent as auxiliaries to the French army, and that they must be made use of whilst they were still to be had; that, on the other hand, Henry VIII., King of England, was preparing for an invasion of France, and so was Ferdinand, King of Spain, in the south: a victory in the field was indispensable to baffle all these hostile plans. It was Louis XII.'s mania to direct, from Paris or from Lyons, the war which he was making at a distance, and to regulate its movements as well as its expenses. The Florentine ambassador, Pandolfini, was struck with the perilousness of this mania; and Cardinal d'Amboise was no longer by to oppose it. Gaston de Foix asked for nothing better than to act with vigor. He set out to march on Ravenna, in hopes that by laying siege to this important place he would force a battle upon the Spanish army, which sought to avoid it. There was a current rumor in Italy that this army, much reduced in numbers and cooled in ardor, would not hold its own against the French if it encountered them. Some weeks previously, after the siege of Bologna had been raised by the Spaniards, there were distributed about at Rome little bits of paper having on them, "If anybody knows where the Spanish army happens to be, let him inform the sacristan of peace; he shall receive as reward a lump of cheese." Gaston de Foix arrived on the 8th of April, 1512, before Ravenna. He there learned that, on the 9th of March, the ambassador of France had been sent away from London by Henry VIII. Another hint came to him from his own camp. A German captain, named Jacob, went and told Chevalier Bayard, with whom he had contracted a friendship, "that the emperor had sent orders to the captain of the lanzknechts that they were to withdraw incontinently on seeing his letter, and that they were not to fight the Spaniards: 'As for me,' said he, 'I have taken oath to the King of France, and I have his pay; if I were to die a hundred thousand deaths, I would not do this wickedness of not fighting; but there must be haste.' The good knight, who well knew the gentle heart of Captain Jacob, commended him marvellously, and said to him, by the mouth of his interpreter, 'My dear comrade and friend, never did your heart imagine wickedness. Here is my lord of Nemours, who has ordered to his quarters all the captains, to hold a council; go we thither, you and I, and we will show him privately what you have told me.' 'It is well thought on,' said Captain Jacob: 'go we thither.' So they went thither. There were dissensions at the council: some said that they had three or four rivers to cross; that everybody was against them, the pope, the King of Spain, the Venetians, and the Swiss; that the emperor was anything but certain, and that the best thing would be to temporize: others said that there was nothing for it but to fight or die of hunger like good-for-noughts and cowards. The good Duke of Nemours, who had already spoken with the good knight and with Captain Jacob, desired to have the opinion of the former, the which said, 'My lord, the longer we sojourn, the more miserable too will become our plight, for our men have no victual, and our horses must needs live on what the willows shoot forth at the present time. Besides, you know that the king our master is writing to you every day to give battle, and that in your hands rests, not only the safety of his duchy of Milan, but also all his dominion of France, seeing the enemies he has to-day. 'Wherefore, as for me, I am of opinion that we ought to give battle, and proceed to it discreetly, for we have to do with cunning folks and good fighters. That there is peril in it is true; but one thing gives me comfort: the Spaniards for a year past have, in this Romagna, been always living like fish in the water, and are fat and full-fed; our men have had and still have great lack of victual, whereby they will have longer breath, and we have no need of ought else, for whoso fights the longest, to him will remain the 'field.'" The leaders of note in the army sided with the good knight, "and notice thereof was at once given to all the captains of horse and foot."

The battle took place on the next day but one, April 11. "The gentle Duke of Nemours set out pretty early from his quarters, armed at all points. As he went forth he looked at the sun, already risen, which was mighty red. 'Look, my lords, how red the sun is,' said he to the company about him. There was there a gentleman whom he loved exceedingly, a right gentle comrade, whose name was Haubourdin, the which replied, 'Know you, pray, what that means, my lord? To-day will die some prince or great captain: it must needs be you or the Spanish viceroy.' The Duke of Nemours burst out a-laughing at this speech, and went on as far as the bridge to finish the passing-in-review of his army, which was showing marvellous diligence." As he was conversing with Bayard, who had come in search of him, they noticed not far from them a troop of twenty or thirty Spanish gentlemen, all mounted, amongst whom was Captain Pedro de Paz, leader of all their jennettiers [light cavalry, mounted on Spanish horses called jennets]. "The good knight advanced twenty or thirty paces and saluted them, saying, 'Gentlemen, you are diverting your-selves, as we are, whilst waiting for the regular game to begin; I pray you let there be no firing of arquebuses on your side, and there shall be no firing at you on ours.'" The courtesy was reciprocated. "Sir Bayard," asked Don Pedro de Paz, who is yon lord in such goodly array, and to whom your folks show so much honor?" "It is our chief, the Duke of Nemours," answered Bayard; "nephew of our prince, and brother of your queen." [Germaine de Foix, Gaston de Foix's sister, had married, as his second wife, Ferdinand the Catholic.] Hardly had he finished speaking, when Captain Pedro de Paz and all those who were with him dismounted and addressed the noble prince in these words: "Sir, save the honor and service due to the king our master, we declare to you that we are, and wish forever to remain, your servants." The Duke of Nemours thanked them gallantly for their gallant homage, and, after a short, chivalrous exchange of conversation, they went, respectively, to their own posts. The artillery began by causing great havoc on both sides. "'Od's body," said a Spanish captain shut up in a fort which the French were attacking, and which he had been charged to defend, "we are being killed here by bolts that fall from heaven; go we and fight with men;" and he sallied from the fort with all his people, to go and take part in the general battle. "Since God created heaven and earth," says the Loyal Serviteur of Bayard, "was never seen a more cruel and rough assault than that which French and Spaniards made upon one another, and for more than a long half hour lasted this fight. They rested before one another's eyes to recover their breath; then they let down their vizors and so began all over again, shouting, France! and Spain! the most imperiously in the world. At last the Spaniards were utterly broken, and constrained to abandon their camp, whereon, and between two ditches, died three or four hundred men-at-arms. Every one would fain have set out in pursuit; but the good knight said to the Duke of Nemours, who was all covered with blood and brains from one of his men-at-arms, that had been carried off by a cannon-ball, 'My lord, are you wounded?' 'No,' said the duke, 'but I have wounded a many others.' 'Now, God be praised!' said Bayard; 'you have gained the battle, and abide this day the most honored prince in the world; but push not farther forward; reassemble your men-at-arms in this spot; let none set on to pillage yet, for it is not time; Captain Louis d'Ars and I are off after these fugitives that they may not retire behind their foot; but stir not, for any man living, from here, unless Captain Louis d'Ars or I come hither to fetch you.' "The Duke of Nemours promised; but whilst he was biding on his ground, awaiting Bayard's return, he said to the Baron du Chimay,—"an honest gentleman who had knowledge," says Fleuranges, "of things to come, and who, before the battle, had announced to Gaston that he would gain it, but he would be in danger of being left there if God did not do him grace,—Well, Sir Dotard, am I left there, as you said? Here I am still.' 'Sir, it is not all over yet,' answered Chimay; whereupon there arrived an archer, who came and said to the duke, 'My lord, yonder be two thousand Spaniards, who are going off all orderly along the causeway.' 'Certes,' said Gaston, 'I cannot suffer that; whoso loves me, follow me.' And resuming his arms he pushed forward. 'Wait for your men,' said Sire de Lautrec to him; but Gaston took no heed, and followed by only twenty or thirty men-at-arms, he threw himself upon those retreating troops." He was immediately surrounded, thrown from his horse, and defending himself all the while, "like Roland at Roncesvalles," say the chroniclers, he fell pierced with wounds. "Do not kill him," shouted Lautrec; "it is the brother of your queen." Lautrec himself was so severely handled and wounded that he was thought to be dead. Gaston really was, though the news spread but slowly. Bayard, returning with his comrades from pursuing the fugitives, met on his road the Spanish force that Gaston had so rashly attacked, and that continued to retire in good order. Bayard was all but charging them, when a Spanish captain came out of the ranks and said to him, in his own language, "What would you do, sir? You are not powerful enough to beat us; you have won the battle; let the honor thereof suffice you, and let us go with our lives, for by God's will are we escaped." Bayard felt that the Spaniard spoke truly; he had but a handful of men with him, and his own horse could not carry him any longer: the Spaniards opened their ranks, and he passed through the middle of them and let them go. "'Las!" says his Loyal Serviteur, "he knew not that the good Duke of Nemours was dead, or that those yonder were they who had slain him; he had died ten thousand deaths but he would have avenged him, if he had known it."

When the fatal news was known, the consternation and grief were profound. At the age of twenty-three Gaston de Foix had in less than six months won the confidence and affection of the army, of the king, and of France. It was one of those sudden and undisputed reputations which seem to mark out men for the highest destinies. "I would fain," said Louis XIL, when he heard of his death, "have no longer an inch of land in Italy, and be able at that price to bring back to life my nephew Gaston and all the gallants who perished with him. God keep us from often gaining such victories!" "In the battle of Ravenna," says Guicciardini, "fell at least ten thousand men, a third of them French, and two thirds their enemies; but in respect of chosen men and men of renown the loss of the victors was by much the greater, and the loss of Gaston de Foix alone surpassed all the others put together; with him went all the vigor and furious onset of the French army." La Palisse, a warrior valiant and honored, assumed the command of this victorious army; but under pressure of repeated attacks from the Spaniards, the Venetians, and the Swiss, he gave up first the Romagna, then Milanes, withdrew from place to place, and ended by falling back on Piedmont. Julius II. won back all he had won and lost. Maximilian Sforza, son of Ludovic the Moor, after twelve years of exile in Germany, returned to Milan to resume possession of his father's duchy. By the end of June, 1512, less than three months after the victory of Ravenna, the domination of the French had disappeared from Italy.

Louis XII. had, indeed, something else to do besides crossing the Alps to go to the protection of such precarious conquests. Into France itself war was about to make its way; it was his own kingdom and his own country that he had to defend. In vain, after the death of Isabella of Castile, had he married his niece, Germaine de Foix, to Ferdinand the Catholic, whilst giving up to him all pretensions to the kingdom of Naples. In 1512 Ferdinand invaded Navarre, took possession of the Spanish portion of that little kingdom, and thence threatened Gascony. Henry VIII., King of England, sent him a fleet, which did not withdraw until after it had appeared before Bayonne and thrown the south-west of France into a state of alarm. In the north, Henry VIII. continued his preparations for an expedition into France, obtained from his Parliament subsidies for that purpose, and concerted plans with Emperor Maximilian, who renounced his doubtful neutrality and engaged himself at last in the Holy League. Louis XII. had in Germany an enemy as zealous almost as Julius II. was in Italy: Maximilian's daughter, Princess Marguerite of Austria, had never forgiven France or its king, whether he were called Charles VIII. or Louis XII., the treatment she had received from that court, when, after having been kept there and brought up for eight years to become Queen of France, she had been sent away and handed back to her father, to make way for Anne of Brittany. She was ruler of the Low Countries, active, able, full of passion, and in continual correspondence with her father, the emperor, over whom she exercised a great deal of influence. [This correspondence was published in 1839, by the Societe de l'Histoire de France (2 vols. 8vo.), from the originals, which exist in the archives of Lille.] The Swiss, on their side, continuing to smart under the contemptuous language which Louis had imprudently applied to them, became more and more pronounced against him, rudely dismissed Louis de la Tremoille, who attempted to negotiate with them, re-established Maximilian Sforza in the duchy of Milan, and haughtily styled themselves "vanquishers of kings and defenders of the holy Roman Church." And the Roman Church made a good defender of herself. Julius II. had convoked at Rome, at St. John Lateran, a council, which met on the 3d of May, 1512, and in presence of which the council of Pisa and Milan, after an attempt at removing to Lyons, vanished away like a phantom. Everywhere things were turning out according to the wishes and for the profit of the pope; and France and her king were reduced to defending themselves on their own soil against a coalition of all their great neighbors.

"Man proposes and God disposes." Not a step can be made in history without meeting with some corroboration of that modest, pious, grand truth. On the 21st of February, 1513, ten months since Gaston de Foix, the victor of Ravenna, had perished in the hour of his victory, Pope Julius II. died at Rome at the very moment when he seemed invited to enjoy all the triumph of his policy. He died without bluster and without disquietude, disavowing nought of his past life, and relinquishing none of his designs as to the future. He had been impassioned and skilful in the employment of moral force, whereby alone he could become master of material forces; a rare order of genius, and one which never lacks grandeur, even when the man who possesses it abuses it. His constant thought was how he might free Italy from the barbarians; and he liked to hear himself called by the name of liberator, which was commonly given him. One day the outspoken Cardinal Grimani said to him that, nevertheless, the kingdom of Naples, one of the greatest and richest portions of Italy, was still under the foreign yoke; whereupon Julius II., brandishing the staff on which he was leaning, said, wrathfully, "Assuredly, if Heaven had not otherwise ordained, the Neapolitans too would have shaken off the yoke which lies heavy on them." Guicciardini has summed up, with equal justice and sound judgment, the principal traits of his character: "He was a prince," says the historian, "of incalculable courage and firmness; full of boundless imaginings which would have brought him headlong to ruin if the respect borne to the Church, the dissensions of princes and the conditions of the times, far more than his own moderation and prudence, had not supported him; he would have been worthy of higher glory had he been a laic prince, or had it been in order to elevate the Church in spiritual rank and by processes of peace that he put in practice the diligence and zeal he displayed for the purpose of augmenting his temporal greatness by the arts of war. Nevertheless he has left, above all his predecessors, a memory full of fame and honor, especially amongst those men who can no longer call things by their right names or appreciate them at their true value, and who think that it is the duty of the sovereign-pontiffs to extend, by means of arms and the blood of Christians, the power of the Holy See rather than to wear themselves out in setting good examples of a Christian's life and in reforming manners and customs pernicious to the salvation of souls—that aim of aims for which they assert that Christ has appointed them His vicars on earth."

The death of Julius II. seemed to Louis XII. a favorable opportunity for once more setting foot in Italy, and recovering at least that which he regarded as his hereditary right, the duchy of Milan. He commissioned Louis de la Tremoille to go and renew the conquest; and, whilst thus reopening the Italian war, he commenced negotiations with certain of the coalitionists of the Holy League, in the hope of causing division amongst them, or even of attracting some one of them to himself. He knew that the Venetians were dissatisfied and disquieted about their allies, especially Emperor Maximilian, the new Duke of Milan Maximilian Sforza, and the Swiss. He had little difficulty in coming to an understanding with the Venetian senate; and, on the 14th of May, 1513, a treaty of alliance, offensive and defensive, was signed at Blois between the King of France and the republic of Venice. Louis hoped also to find at Rome in the new pope, Leo X. [Cardinal John de' Medici, elected pope March 11, 1513], favorable inclinations; but they were at first very ambiguously and reservedly manifested. As a Florentine, Leo X. had a leaning towards France; but as pope, he was not disposed to relinquish or disavow the policy of Julius II. as to the independence of Italy in respect of any foreign sovereign, and as to the extension of the power of the Holy See; and he wanted time to make up his mind to infuse into his relations with Louis XII. good-will instead of his predecessor's impassioned hostility. Louis had not, and could not have, any confidence in Ferdinand the Catholic; but he knew him to be as prudent as he was rascally, and he concluded with him at Orthez, on the 1st of April, 1513, a year's truce, which Ferdinand took great care not to make known to his allies, Henry VIII., King of England, and the Emperor Maximilian, the former of whom was very hot-tempered, and the latter very deeply involved, through his daughter Marguerite of Austria, in the warlike league against France. "Madam" [the name given to Marguerite as ruler of the Low Countries], wrote the Florentine minister to Lorenzo de' Medici, "asks for nought but war against the Most Christian king; she thinks of nought but keeping up and fanning the kindled fire, and she has all the game in her hands, for the King of England and the emperor have full confidence in her, and she does with them just as she pleases." This was all that was gained during the year of Julius II.'s death by Louis XII.'s attempts to break up or weaken the coalition against France; and these feeble diplomatic advantages were soon nullified by the unsuccess of the French expedition in Milaness. Louis de la Tremoille had once more entered it with a strong army; but he was on bad terms with his principal lieutenant, John James Trivulzio, over whom he had not the authority wielded by the young and brilliant Gaston de Foix; the French were close to Novara, the siege of which they were about to commence; they heard that a body of Swiss was advancing to enter the place; La Tremoille shifted his position to oppose them, and on the 5th of June, 1513, he told all his captains in the evening that "they might go to their sleeping-quarters and make good cheer, for the Swiss were not yet ready to fight, not having all their men assembled;" but early next morning the Swiss attacked the French camp. "La Tremoille had hardly time to rise, and, with half his armor on, mount his horse; the Swiss outposts and those of the French were already at work pell-mell over against his quarters." The battle was hot and bravely contested on both sides; but the Swiss by a vigorous effort got possession of the French artillery, and turned it against the infantry of the lanzknechts, which was driven in and broken. The French army abandoned the siege of Novara, and put itself in retreat, first of all on Verceil, a town of Piedmont, and then on France itself. "And I do assure you," says Fleuranges, an eye-witness and partaker in the battle, "that there was great need of it; of the men-at-arms there were but few lost, or of the French foot; which turned out a marvellous good thing for the king and the kingdom, for they found him very much embroiled with the English and other nations." War between, France and England had recommenced at sea in 1512: two squadrons, one French, of twenty sail, and the other English, of more than forty, met on the 10th of August somewhere off the island of Ushant; a brave Breton, Admiral Herve Primoguet, aboard of "the great ship of the Queen of France," named the Cordeliere, commanded the French squadron, and Sir Thomas Knyvet, a young sailor "of more bravery than experience," according to the historians of his own country, commanded, on board of a vessel named the Regent, the English squadron. The two admirals' vessels engaged in a deadly duel; but the French admiral, finding himself surrounded by superior forces, threw his grappling-irons on to the English vessel, and, rather than surrender, set fire to the two admirals' ships, which blew up at the same time, together with their crews of two thousand men.

The sight of heroism and death has a powerful effect upon men, and sometimes suspends their quarrels. The English squadron went out again to sea, and the French went back to Brest. Next year the struggle recommenced, but on land, and with nothing so striking. An English army started from Calais, and went and blockaded, on the 17th of June, 1513, the fortress of Therouanne in Artois. It was a fortnight afterwards before Henry VIII. himself quitted Calais, where festivities and tournaments had detained him too long for what he had in hand, and set out on the march with twelve thousand foot to go and join his army before Therouanne. He met on his road, near Thournehem, a body of twelve hundred French men-at-arms with their followers a-horseback, and in the midst of them Bayard. Sire de Piennes, governor of Picardy, was in command of them. "My lord," said Bayard to him, "let us charge them: no harm can come of it to us, or very little; if, at the first charge, we make an opening in them, they are broken; if they repulse us, we shall still get away; they are on foot and we a-horseback;" and "nearly all the French were of this opinion," continues the chronicler; but Sire de Piennes said, Gentlemen, I have orders, on my life, from the king our master, to risk nothing, but only hold his country. Do as you please; for my part I shall not consent thereto.' Thus was this matter stayed; and the King of England passed with his band under the noses of the French." Henry VIII. arrived quietly with his army before Therouanne, the garrison of which defended itself valiantly, though short of provisions. Louis XII. sent orders to Sire de Piennes to revictual Therouanne "at any price." The French men-at-arms, to the number of fourteen hundred lances, at whose head marched La Palisse, Bayard, the Duke de Longueville, grandson of the great Dunois, and Sire de Piennes himself, set out on the 16th of August to go and make, from the direction of Guinegate, a sham attack upon the English camp, whilst eight hundred Albanian light cavalry were to burst, from another direction, upon the enemies' lines, cut their way through at a gallop, penetrate to the very fosses of the fortress, and throw into them munitions of war and of the stomach, hung to their horses' necks. The Albanians carried out their orders successfully. The French men-at-arms, after having skirmished for some time with the cavalry of Henry VIII. and Maximilian, began to fall back a little carelessly and in some disorder towards their own camp, when they perceived two large masses of infantry and artillery, English and German, preparing to cut off their retreat. Surprise led to confusion; the confusion took the form of panic; the French men-at-arms broke into a gallop, and, dispersing in all directions, thought of nothing but regaining the main body and the camp at Blangy. This sudden rout of so many gallants received the sorry name of the affair of spurs, for spurs did more service than the sword. Many a chosen captain, the Duke de Longueville, Sire de la Palisse, and Bayard, whilst trying to rally the fugitives, were taken by the enemy. Emperor Maximilian, who had arrived at the English camp three or four days before the affair, was of opinion that the allies should march straight upon the French camp, to take advantage of the panic and disorder; but "Henry VIII. and his lords did not agree with him." They contented themselves with pressing on the siege of Therouanne, which capitulated on the 22d of August, for want of provisions. The garrison was allowed to go free, the men-at-arms with lance on thigh and the foot with pike on shoulder, with their harness and all that they could carry." But, in spite of an article in the capitulation, the town was completely dismantled and burnt; and, by the advice of Emperor Maximilian, Henry VIII. made all haste to go and lay siege to Tournai, a French fortress between Flanders and Hainault, the capture of which was of great importance to the Low Countries and to Marguerite of Austria, their ruler.

On hearing these sad tidings, Louis XII., though suffering from an attack of gout, had himself moved in a litter from Paris to Amiens, and ordered Prince Francis of Angouleme, heir to the throne, to go and take command of the army, march it back to the defensive line of the Somme, and send a garrison to Tournai. It was one of that town's privileges to have no garrison; and the inhabitants were unwilling to admit one, saying that Tournai never had turned and never would turn tail; and, if the English came, they would find some one to talk to them." "Howbeit," says Fleuranges, "not a single captain was there, nor, likewise, the said lord duke, but understood well how it was with people besieged, as indeed came to pass, for at the end of three days, during which the people of Tournai were besieged, they treated for appointment (terms) with the King of England." Other bad news came to Amiens. The Swiss, puffed up with their victory at Novara and egged on by Emperor Maximilian, had to the number of thirty thousand entered Burgundy, and on the 7th of September laid siege to Dijon, which was rather badly fortified. La Tremoille, governor of Burgundy, shut himself up in the place and bravely repulsed a first assault, but "sent post-haste to warn the king to send him aid; whereto the king made no reply beyond that he could not send him aid, and that La Tremoille should do the best he could for the advantage and service of the kingdom." La Tremoille applied to the Swiss for a safe-conduct, and "without arms and scantily attended" he went to them to try whether "in consideration of a certain sum of money for the expenses of their army they could be packed off to their own country without doing further displeasure or damage." He found them proud and arrogant of heart, for they styled themselves chastisers of princes," and all he could obtain from them was "that the king should give up the duchy of Milan and all the castles appertaining thereto, that he should restore to the pope all the towns, castles, lands, and lordships which belonged to him, and that he should pay the Swiss four hundred thousand crowns, to wit, two hundred thousand down and two hundred thousand at Martinmas in the following winter." [Corps Diplomatique du Droit des Gens, by Dumont, t. vi. part 1, p. 175.] As brave in undertaking a heavy responsibility as he was in delivering a battle, La Tremoille did not hesitate to sign, on the 13th of September, this harsh treaty; and, as he had not two hundred thousand crowns down to give the Swiss, he prevailed upon them to be content with receiving twenty thousand at once, and he left with them as hostage, in pledge of his promise, his nephew Rend d'Anjou, lord of Mezieres, "one of the boldest and discreetest knights in France." But for this honorable defeat, the veteran warrior thought the kingdom of France had been then undone; for, assailed at all its extremities, with its neighbors for its foes, it could not, without great risk of final ruin, have borne the burden and defended itself through so many battles. La Tremoille sent one of the gentlemen of his house, the chevalier Reginald de Moussy, to the king, to give an account of what he had done, and of his motives. Some gentlemen about the persons of the king and the queen had implanted some seeds of murmuring and evil thinking in the mind of the queen, and through her in that of the king, who readily gave ear to her words because good and discreet was she. The said Reginald de Moussy, having warning of the fact, and without borrowing aid of a soul (for bold man was he by reason of his virtues), entered the king's chamber, and, falling on one knee, announced, according to order, the service which his master had done, and without which the kingdom of France was in danger of ruin, whereof he set forth the reasons. The whole was said in presence of them who had brought the king to that evil way of thinking, and who knew not what to reply to the king when he said to them, 'By the faith of my body, I think and do know by experience that my cousin the lord of La Tremoille is the most faithful and loyal servant that I have in my kingdom, and the one to whom I am most bounden to the best of his abilities. Go, Reginald, and tell him that I will do all that he has promised; and if he has done well, let him do better.' The queen heard of this kind answer made by the king, and was not pleased at it; but afterwards, the truth being known, she judged contrariwise to what she, through false report, had imagined and thought." [Memoires de la Tremoille, in the Petitot collection, t. xiv. pp. 476-492.]

Word was brought at the same time to Amiens that Tournai, invested on the 15th of September by the English, had capitulated, that Henry VIII. had entered it on the 21st, and that he had immediately treated it as a conquest of which he was taking possession, for he had confirmed it in all its privileges except that of having no garrison.

Such was the situation in which France, after a reign of fifteen years and in spite of so many brave and devoted servants, had been placed by Louis XII.'s foreign policy. Had he managed the home affairs of his kingdom as badly and with as little success as he had matters abroad, is it necessary to say what would have been his people's feelings towards him, and what name he would have left in history? Happily for France and for the memory of Louis XII., his home-government was more sensible, more clear-sighted, more able, more moral, and more productive of good results than his foreign policy was.

When we consider this reign from this new point of view, we are at once struck by two facts: 1st, the great number of legislative and administrative acts that we meet with bearing upon the general interests of the country, interests political, judicial, financial, and commercial; the Recueil des Ordonnances des Rois de France contains forty-three important acts of this sort owing their origin to Louis XII.; it was clearly a government full of watchfulness, activity, and attention to good order and the public weal; 2d, the profound remembrance remaining in succeeding ages of this reign and its deserts—a remembrance which was manifested, in 1560, amongst the states-general of Orleans, in 1576 and 1588 amongst the states of Blois, in 1593 amongst the states of the League, and even down to 1614 amongst the states of Paris. During more than a hundred years France called to mind, and took pleasure in calling to mind, the administration of Louis XII. as the type of a wise, intelligent, and effective regimen. Confidence may be felt in a people's memory when it inspires them for so long afterwards with sentiment of justice and gratitude.

If from the simple table of the acts of Louis XII.'s home-government we pass to an examination of their practical results it is plain that they were good and salutary. A contemporary historian, earnest and truthful though panegyrical, Claude do Seyssel, describes in the following terms the state of France at that time: "It is," says he, "a patent fact that the revenue of benefices, lands, and lordships has generally much increased. And in like manner the proceeds of gabels, turnpikes, law- fees and other revenues have been augmented very greatly. The traffic, too, in merchandise, whether by sea or land, has multiplied exceedingly. For, by the blessing of peace, all folks (except the nobles, and even them I do not except altogether) engage in merchandise. For one trader that was in Louis XI.'s time to be found rich and portly at Paris, Rouen, Lyons, and other good towns of the kingdom, there are to be found in this reign more than fifty; and there are in the small towns greater number than the great and principal cities were wont to have. So much so that scarcely a house is made on any street without having a shop for merchandise or for mechanical art. And less difficulty is now made about going to Rome, Naples London, and elsewhere over-sea than was made formally about going to Lyons or to Geneva. So much so that there are some who have gone by sea to seek, and have found, new homes. The renown and authority of the king now reigning are so great that his subjects are honored and upheld in every country, as well at sea as on land."

Foreigners were not less impressed than the French themselves with this advance in order, activity, and prosperity amongst the French community. Machiavelli admits it, and with the melancholy of an Italian politician acting in the midst of rivalries amongst the Italian republics, he attributes it above all to French unity, superior to that of any other state in Europe.

As to the question, to whom reverts the honor of the good government at home under Louis XII., and of so much progress in the social condition of France, M. George Picot, in his Histoire des Etats Generaux [t. i. pp. 532-536], attributes it especially to the influence of the states assembled at Tours, in 1484, at the beginning of the reign of Charles VIII.: "They employed," he says, "the greatest efforts to reduce the figure of the impost; they claimed the voting of subsidies, and took care not to allow them, save by way of gift and grant. They did not hesitate to revise certain taxes, and when they were engaged upon the subject of collecting of them, they energetically stood out for the establishment of a unique, classified body of receivers-royal, and demanded the formation of all the provinces into districts of estates, voting and apportioning their imposts every year, as in the cases of Languedoc, Normandy, and Dauphiny. The dangers of want of discipline in an ill-organized standing army and the evils caused to agriculture by roving bands drove the states back to reminiscences of Charles VII.'s armies; and they called for a mixed organization, in which gratuitous service, commingled in just proportion with that of paid troops, would prevent absorption of the national element. To reform the abuses of the law, to suppress extraordinary commissions, to reduce to a powerful unity, with parliaments to crown all, that multitude of jurisdictions which were degenerate and corrupt products of the feudal system in its decay, such was the constant aim of the states-general of 1484. They saw that a judicial hierarchy would be vain without fixity of laws; and they demanded a summarization of customs and a consolidation of ordinances in a collection placed within reach of all. Lastly they made a claim, which they were as qualified to make as they were intelligent in making, for the removal of the commercial barriers which divided the provinces and prevented the free transport of merchandise. They pointed out the repairing of the roads and the placing of them in good condition as the first means of increasing the general prosperity. Not a single branch of the administration of the kingdom escaped their conscientious scrutiny: law, finance, and commerce by turns engaged their attention; and in all these different matters they sought to ameliorate institutions, but never to usurp power. They did not come forward like the shrievalty of the University of Paris in 1413, with a new system of administration; the reign of Louis XI. had left nothing that was important or possible, in that way, to conceive; there was nothing more to be done than to glean after him, to relax those appliances of government which he had stretched at all points, and to demand the accomplishment of such of his projects as were left in arrear and the cure of the evils he had caused by the frenzy and the aberrations of his absolute will."

We do not care to question the merits of the states-general of 1484; we have but lately striven to bring them to light, and we doubt not but that the enduring influence of their example and their sufferings counted for much in the progress of good government during the reign of Louis XII. It is an honor to France to have always resumed and pursued from crisis to crisis, through a course of many sufferings, mistakes, and tedious gaps, the work of her political enfranchisement and the foundation of a regimen of freedom and legality in the midst of the sole monarchy which so powerfully contributed to her strength and her greatness. The states-general of 1484, in spite of their rebuffs and long years after their separation, held an honorable place in the history of this difficult and tardy work; but Louis XII.'s personal share in the good home-government of France during his reign was also great and meritorious. His chief merit, a rare one amongst the powerful of the earth, especially when there is a question of reforms and of liberty, was that he understood and entertained the requirements and wishes of his day; he was a mere young prince of the blood when the states of 1484 were sitting at Tours; but he did not forget them when he was king, and, far from repudiating their patriotic and modest work in the cause of reform and progress, he entered into it sincerely and earnestly with the aid of Cardinal d'Amboise, his honest, faithful, and ever influential councillor. The character and natural instincts of Louis XII. inclined him towards the same views as his intelligence and moderation in politics suggested. He was kind, sympathetic towards his people, and anxious to spare them every burden and every suffering that was unnecessary, and to have justice, real and independent justice, rendered to all. He reduced the talliages a tenth at first and a third at a later period. He refused to accept the dues usual on a joyful accession. When the wars in Italy caused him some extraordinary expense, he disposed of a portion of the royal possessions, strictly administered as they were, before imposing fresh burdens upon the people. His court was inexpensive, and he had no favorites to enrich. His economy became proverbial; it was sometimes made a reproach to him; and things were carried so far that he was represented, on the stage of a popular theatre, ill, pale, and surrounded by doctors, who were holding a consultation as to the nature of his malady: they at last agreed to give him a potion of gold to take; the sick man at once sat up, complaining of nothing more than a burning thirst. When informed of this scandalous piece of buffoonery, Louis contented himself with saying, "I had rather make courtiers laugh by my stinginess than my people weep by my extravagance." He was pressed to punish some insolent comedians; but, "No," said he, "amongst their ribaldries they may sometimes tell us useful truths let them amuse themselves, provided that they respect the honor of women." In the administration of justice he accomplished important reforms, called for by the states-general of 1484 and promised by Louis XI. and Charles VIII., but nearly all of them left in suspense. The purchase of offices was abolished and replaced by a two-fold election; in all grades of the magistracy, when an office was vacant, the judges were to assemble to select three persons, from whom the king should be bound to choose. The irremovability of the magistrates, which had been accepted but often violated by Louis XI., became under Louis XII. a fundamental rule. It was forbidden to every one of the king', magistrates, from the premier- president to the lowest provost to accept any place or pension from any lord, under pain of suspension from their office or loss of their salary. The annual Mercurials (Wednesday-meetings) became, in the supreme courts, a general and standing usage. The expenses of the law were reduced. In 1501, Louis XII. instituted at Aix in Provence a new parliament; in 1499 the court of exchequer a Rouen, hitherto a supreme but movable and temporary court became a fixed and permanent court, which afterwards received under Francis I., the title of parliament. Being convinced before long, by facts themselves, that these reforms were seriously meant by their author, and were practically effective, the people conceived, in consequence, towards the king and the magistrates a general sentiment of gratitude and respect. In 1570 Louis made a journey from Paris to Lyons by Champaigne and Burgundy; and "wherever he passed," says St. Gelais" men and women assembled from all parts, and ran after him for three or four leagues. And when they were able to touch his mule, or his robe, or anything that was his, they kissed their hands . . . with as great devotion as they would have shown to a reliquary. And the Burgundians showed as much enthusiasm as the real old French."

Louis XII.'s private life also contributed to win for him, we will not say the respect and admiration, but the good will of the public. He was not, like Louis IX., a model of austerity and sanctity; but after the licentious court of Charles VII., the coarse habits of Louis XI., and the easy morals of Charles VIII., the French public was not exacting. Louis XII. was thrice married. His first wife, Joan, daughter of Louis XI., was an excellent and worthy princess, but ugly, ungraceful, and hump-backed. He had been almost forced to marry her, and he had no child by her. On ascending the throne, he begged Pope Alexander VI. to annul his marriage; the negotiation was anything but honorable, either to the king or to the pope; and the pope granted his bull in consideration of the favors shown to his unworthy son, Caesar Borgia, by the king. Joan alone behaved with a virtuous as well as modest pride, and ended her life in sanctity within a convent at Bourges, being wholly devoted to pious works, regarded by the people as a saint, spoken of by bold preachers as a martyr, and "still the true and legitimate Queen of France," and treated at a distance with profound respect by the king who had put her away. Louis married, in 1499, his predecessor's widow, Anne, Duchess of Brittany, twenty-three years of age, short, pretty, a little lame, witty, able, and firm. It was, on both sides, a marriage of policy, though romantic tales have been mixed up with it; it was a suitable and honorable royal arrangement, without any lively affection on one side or the other, but with mutual esteem and regard. As queen, Anne was haughty, imperious, sharp-tempered, and too much inclined to mix in intrigues and negotiations at Rome and Madrid, sometimes without regard for the king's policy; but she kept up her court with spirit and dignity, being respected by her ladies, whom she treated well, and favorably regarded by the public, who were well disposed towards her for having given Brittany to France. Some courtiers showed their astonishment that the king should so patiently bear with a character so far from agreeable; but "one must surely put up with something from a woman," said Louis, "when she loves her honor and her husband." After a union of fifteen years, Anne of Brittany died on the 9th of January, 1514, at the castle of Blois, nearly thirty-seven years old. Louis was then fifty-two. He seemed very much to regret his wife; but, some few months after her death, another marriage of policy was put, on his behalf, in course of negotiation. It was in connection with Princess Mary of England, sister of Henry VIII., with whom it was very important for Louis XII. and for France to be once more at peace and on good terms. The Duke de Longueville, made prisoner by the English at the battle of Guinegate, had, by his agreeable wit and his easy, chivalrous grace, won Henry VIII.'s favor in London; and he perceived that that prince, discontented with his allies, the Emperor of Germany and the King of Spain, was disposed to make peace with the King of France. A few months, probably only a few weeks, after Anne of Brittany's death, De Longueville, no doubt with Louis XII.'s privity, suggested to Henry VIII. the idea of a marriage between his young sister and the King o France. Henry liked to do sudden and striking things: he gladly seized the opportunity of avenging himself upon his two allies, who, in fact, had not been very faithful to him, and he welcomed De Longueville's idea. Mary was sixteen, pretty, already betrothed to Archduke Charles of Austria, and, further passionately smitten with Charles Brandon, the favorite of Henry VIII., who had made him Duke of Suffolk, and, according to English historians, the handsomest nobleman in England. These two difficulties were surmounted: Mary herself formally declared her intention of breaking a promise of marriage which had been made during her minority, and which Emperor Maximilian had shown himself in no hurry to get fulfilled; and Louis XII. formally demanded her hand. Three treaties were concluded on the 7th of August, 1514, between the Kings of France and England, in order to regulate the conditions of their political and matrimonial alliance; on the 13th of August, the Duke de Longueville, in his sovereign's name, espoused the Princess Mary at Greenwich; and she, escorted to France by brilliant embassy, arrived on the 8th of October at Abbeville where Louis XII. was awaiting her. Three days afterwards the marriage was solemnized there in state, and Louis, who had suffered from gout during the ceremony, carried off his young queen to Paris, after having had her crowned at St. Denis Mary Tudor had given up the German prince, who was destined to become Charles V., but not the handsome English nobleman she loved. The Duke of Suffolk went to France to see her after her marriage, and in her train she had as maid of honor a young girl, a beauty as well, who was one day to be Queen of England—Anne Boleyn.

Less than three months after this marriage, on the 1st of January, 1515, "the death-bell-men were traversing the streets of Paris, ringing their bells and crying, 'The good King Louis, father of the people, is dead.'" Louis XII., in fact, had died that very day, at midnight, from an attack of gout and a rapid decline. "He had no great need to be married, for many reasons," says the Loyal Serviteur of Bayard, "and he likewise had no great desire that way; but, because he found himself on every side at war, which he could not maintain without pressing very hard upon his people, he behaved like the pelican. After that Queen Mary had made her entry, which was mighty triumphant, into Paris, and that there had taken place many jousts and tourneys, which lasted more than six weeks, the good king, because of his wife, changed all his manner of living: he had been wont to dine at eight, and he now dined at midday; he had been wont to go to bed at six in the evening, and he often now went to bed at midnight. He fell ill at the end of December, from the which illness nought could save him. He was, whilst he lived, a good prince, wise and virtuous, who maintained his people in peace, without pressing hard upon them in any way, save by constraint. He had in his time much of good and of evil, whereby he got ample knowledge of the world. He obtained many victories over his enemies; but towards the end of his days Fortune gave him a little turn of her frowning face. He was borne to his grave at St. Denis amongst his good predecessors, with great weeping and wailing, and to the great regret of his subjects."

"He was a gentle prince," says Robert de la Marck, lord of Fleuranges, "both in war and otherwise, and in all matters wherein he was required to take part. It was pity when this malady of gout attacked him, for he was not an old man."

To the last of his days Louis XII. was animated by earnest sympathy and active solicitude for his people. It cost him a great deal to make with the King of England the treaties of August 7, 1514, to cede Tournai to the English, and to agree to the payment to them of a hundred thousand crowns a year for ten years. He did it to restore peace to France, attacked on her own soil, and feeling her prosperity threatened. For the same reason he negotiated with Pope Leo X., Emperor Maximilian, and Ferdinand the Catholic, and he had very nearly attained the same end by entering once more upon pacific relations with them, when death came and struck him down at the age of fifty-three. He died sorrowing over the concessions he had made from a patriotic sense of duty as much as from necessity, and full of disquietude about the future. He felt a sincere affection for Francis de Valois, Count of Angouleme, his son-law and successor; the marriage between his daughter Claude and that prince had been the chief and most difficult affair connected with his domestic life; and it was only after the death of the queen, Anne of Brittany, that he had it proclaimed and celebrated. The bravery, the brilliant parts, the amiable character, and the easy grace of Francis I. delighted him, but he dreaded his presumptuous inexperience, his reckless levity, and his ruinous extravagance; and in his anxiety as a king and father he said, "We are laboring in vain; this big boy will spoil everything for us."


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