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A Popular History of France Vol 5
by Guizot, Francois Pierre Guillaume

During the months, weeks, nay, it might be said, days immediately mediately following Henry IV.'s abjuration, a great number of notable persons and important towns, and almost whole provinces, submitted to the Catholic king. Henry was reaping the fruits of his decision; France was flocking to him. But the general sentiments of a people are far from satisfying and subduing the selfish passions of the parties which have taken form and root in its midst. Religious and political peace responded to and sufficed for the desires of the great majority of Frenchmen, Catholic and Protestant; but it did not at all content the fanatics, Leaguer or Huguenot. The former wanted the complete extirpation of heretics; the latter the complete downfall of Catholicism. Neither these nor those were yet educated up to the higher principle of religious peace, distinction between the civil and the intellectual order, freedom of thought and of faith guaranteed by political liberty. Even at the present day, the community of France, nation and government, all the while that they proclaim this great and salutary truth, do not altogether understand and admit its full bearing. The sixteenth century was completely ignorant of it; Leaguers and Huguenots were equally convinced that they possessed, in the matter of religion, the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and that they were in their right to propagate its empire at any price. Thence arose, in respect of religious peace, and of Henry IV., who naturally desired it as the requirement and the wish of France, a great governmental difficulty.

It is honorable to human nature that it never submits freely and sincerely to anything but what it considers not only useful, but essentially true and just; its passions bow to principles only; wherever the higher principle is wanting, there also is wanting the force that compels respect from passion. Now the fanatics, Leaguer and Huguenot, had a fixed principle; with the former, it was the religious sovereignty of the pope, as representative and depositary of the unity of the Christian church; with the others, it was the negation of this sovereignty and the revindication of the free regimen of the primitive Christian church. To these fixed and peremptory principles the government of Henry IV. had nothing similar to oppose; it spoke in the name of social interests, of the public peace, and of mutual toleration; all excellent reasons, but with merits consisting in their practical soundness, not in their logical connection with the superior principle to which the sixteenth century had not yet attained. It was all very well for Henry IV. to maintain the cause and to have the support of the great majority in France; but outside of this majority he was incessantly encountering and incessantly having to put down or to humor two parties, or rather factions, full of discontent and as irreconcilable with him as among themselves, for it was not peace and tolerance that they demanded of him, but victory and supremacy in the name of absolute right.

This, then, was the scene; on one side a great majority of Catholics and Protestants favorable for different practical reasons to Henry IV. turned Catholic king; on the other, two minorities, one of stubborn Catholics of the League, the other of Protestants anxious for their creed and their liberty; both discontented and distrustful. Such, after Henry IV.'s abjuration, was the striking feature in the condition of France and in the situation of her king. This triple fact was constantly present to the mind of Henry IV., and ruled his conduct during all his reign; all the acts of his government are proof of that.

His first embarrassments arose from the faction of Catholics to the backbone. After his abjuration just as much as at his accession, the League continued to exist and to act against him. The legate, Gaetani, maintained that the bishops of France had no right, without the pope's approval, to give an excommunicated prince absolution; he opposed the three months' truce concluded by Mayenne, and threatened to take his departure for Rome. Mayenne, to appease him and detain him, renewed the alliance between the League and Spain, prevailed upon the princes and marshals to renew also the oath of union, caused the states-general of the League to vote the adoption of the Council of Trent, and, on proroguing them, August 8, 1593, received from them a promise to return at the expiration of the truce. For the members of that assembly it was not a burdensome engagement; independently of the compensation they had from their provinces, which was ten livres (thirty-six francs, sixty centimes) a day during each session, they received from the King of Spain a regular retainer, which raised it, for the five months from June to October, to seventy-two thousand one hundred and forty-four francs, which they divided between themselves. "It was presumed," said Jehan l'Huillier, provost of tradesmen, to one of his colleagues who was pressing him to claim this payment from the ambassador of Spain, "that the money came from M. de Mayenne, not from foreigners;" but honest people, such as Du Vair and Thielement, did not content themselves with this presumption, and sent to the Hotel-Dieu, for maintenance of the poor, the share which was remitted to them. [Poirson, Histoire du Regne de Henry IV., t. i. p. 463. Picot, Histoire des Etats generaux, t. iii. p. 249.]

The states-general of the League did not appear again; their prorogation was their death. The year 1594, which came after them, was for Henry IV. a year of home conquests, some pacific and due to the spontaneous movement of the inhabitants, others obtained after resistance and purchased with gold. The town of Lyons set the example of the first. A rumor spread that the Spaniards were preparing an expedition against it; some burgesses met to consult, and sent a private message to Alphonse d'Ornano, who was conducting the war for the king in Dauphiny, pressing him to move forward, on a day appointed, to the faubourg de la Guillotiere. A small force sent by Ornano arrived, accordingly, on the 7th of February, about daybreak, at the foot of the bridge over the Rhone, in the faubourg, and, after a stubborn resistance, dislodged the outpost on duty there. At sound of the fighting, excitement broke out in the town; and barricades were thrown up, amidst shouts of "Hurrah for French liberty!" without any mention of the king's name. The archbishop, Peter d'Espignac, a stanch Leaguer, tried to intimidate the burgesses, or at any rate to allay the excitement. As he made no impression, he retired into his palace. The people arrested the sheriffs and seized the arsenal. The king's name resounded everywhere. "The noise of the cheering was such," says De Thou, "that there was no hearing the sound of the bells. Everybody assumed the white scarf with so much zeal that by evening there was not a scrap of white silk left at the tradesmen's. Tables were laid in the streets; the king's arms were put up on the gates and in the public thoroughfares." Ornano marched in over the barricades; royalist sheriffs were substituted for the Leaguer sheriffs, and hastened to take the oath of allegiance to the king, who had nothing to do but thank the Lyonnese for having been the first to come over to him without constraint or any exigency, and who confirmed by an edict all their municipal liberties. At the very moment when the Lyonnese were thus springing to the side of their king, there set out from Lyons the first assassin who raised a hand against Henry IV., Peter Parriere, a poor boatman of the Loire, whom an unhappy passion for a girl in the household of Marguerite de Valois and the preachings of fanatics had urged on to this hateful design. Assassin we have called him, although there was not on his part so much as an attempt at assassination; but he had, by his own admission, projected and made preparations for the crime, to the extent of talking it over with accomplices and sharpening the knife he had purchased for its accomplishment. Having been arrested at Melun and taken to Paris, he was sentenced to capital punishment, and to all the tortures that ingenuity could add to it. He owned to everything, whilst cursing those who had assured him that "if he died in the enterprise, his soul, uplifted by angels, would float away to the bosom of God, where he would enjoy eternal bliss." Moved by his torments and his repentance, the judge who presided at his execution took upon himself to shorten it by having him strangled. The judge was reported to the king for this indulgence. Henry praised him for it, adding that he would have pardoned the criminal if he had been brought before him. Thus commenced, at the opening of his reign, the series of attempts to which he was destined to succumb, after seventeen years of good, able, generous, and mild government.

In Normandy, at Rouen, the royalist success was neither so easy nor so disinterested as it had been at Lyons. Andrew de Brancas, Lord of Villars, an able man and valiant soldier, was its governor; he had served the League with zeal and determination; nevertheless, "from the month of August, 1593, immediately after the king's conversion, he had shown a disposition to become his servant, and to incline thereto all those whom he had in his power." [Histoire du Parlement de Normandi, by M. Floquet, t. iii. pp. 611-617.] Henry IV. commissioned Rosny to negotiate with him; and Rosny went into Normandy, to Louviers first and then to Rouen itself. The negotiation seemed to be progressing favorably, but a distrustful whim in regard to Villars, and the lofty pretensions he put forward, made Rosny hang back for a while, and tell the whole story to the king, at the same time asking for his instructions. Henry replied,—

"My friend, you are an ass to employ so much delay and import so many difficulties and manoeuvres into a business the conclusion of which is of so great importance to me for the establishment of my authority and the relief of my people. Do you no longer remember the counsels you have so many times given to me, whilst setting before me as an example that given by a certain Duke of Milan to King Louis XI., at the time of the war called that of the Common Weal? It was to split up by considerations of private interest all those who were leagued against him on general pretexts. That is what I desire to attempt now, far preferring that it should cost twice as much to treat separately with each individual as it would to arrive at the same results by means of a general treaty concluded with a single leader, who, in that way, would be enabled to keep up still an organized party within my dominions. You know plenty of folks who wanted to persuade me to that. Wherefore, do not any longer waste your time in doing either so much of the respectful towards those whom you wot of, and whom we will find other means of contenting, or of the economical by sticking at money. We will pay everything with the very things given up to us, the which, if they had to be taken by force, would cost us ten times as much. Seeing, then, that I put entire trust in you and love you as a good servant, do not hesitate any longer to make absolute and bold use of your power, which I further authorize by this letter, so far as there may be further need for it, and settle as soon as possible with M. de Villars. But secure matters so well that there may be no possibility of a slip, and send me news thereof promptly, for I shall be in constant doubt and impatience until I receive it. And then, when I am peaceably king, we will employ the excellent manoeuvres of which you have said so much to me; and you may rest assured that I will spare no travail and fear no peril in order to raise my glory and my kingdom to the height of splendor. Adieu, my friend. Senlis, this 18th day of March, 1594."

Amongst the pretensions made by Villars there was one which could not be satisfied without the consent of a man still more considerable than he, and one with whom Henry IV. was obliged to settle—Biron. Villars had received from Mayenne the title and office of admiral of France, and he wished, at any price, to retain them on passing over to the king's service. Now Henry IV. had already given this office to Biron, who had no idea of allowing himself to be stripped of it. It was all very fine to offer him in exchange the baton of a marshal of France, but he would not be satisfied with it. "It was necessary," says M. Floquet [Histoire du Parlement de Normandie, t. iii. pp. 613-616], "for the king's sister (Princess Catherine) to intervene. At last, a promise of one hundred and twenty thousand crowns won Biron over, though against the grain." But he wanted solid securities. Attention was then turned to the Parliament of Caen, always so ready to do anything and sacrifice anything. Saldaigne d'Incarville, comptroller-general of finance, having been despatched to Caen, went straight to the palace and reported to the Parliament the proposals and conditions of Villers and Biron. "The king," said he, "not having been able to bring Rouen to reason by process of arms, and being impatient to put some end to these miseries, wishes now to try gentle processes, and treat with those whom he has not yet been able to subdue; but co-operation on the part of the sovereign bodies of the provinces is necessary." "To that which is for the good of our service is added your private interest," wrote Henry IV. to the Parliament of Caen; and his messenger D'Incarville added, "I have left matters at Rouen so arranged as to make me hope that before a fortnight is over you will be free to return thither and enter your homes once more." At the first mention of peace and the prospect of a reconciliation between the royalist Parliament of Caen and the leaguer Parliament of Rouen, the Parliament, the exchequer-chamber, and the court of taxation, agreed to a fresh sacrifice and a last effort. The four presidents of the Parliament lost no time in signing together, and each for all, an engagement to guarantee the hundred and twenty thousand crowns promised to Biron. . . . The members of the body bound themselves all together to guarantee the four presidents, in their turn, in respect of the engagement they were contracting, and a letter was addressed on the spot to Henry IV., "to thank the monarch for his good will and affection, and the honor he was doing the members of his Parliament of Normandy, by making them participators in the means and overtures adopted for arriving at the reduction of the town of Rouen." [M. Floquet, Histoire du Parlement de Normandi, t. iii. pp. 613-616.]

Here is the information afforded, as regards the capitulation of Villars to Henry IV., by the statement drawn up by Sully himself, of "the amount of all debts on account of all the treaties made for the reduction of districts, towns, places, and persons to obedience unto the king, in order to the pacification of the realm."

"To M. Villars, for himself, his brother, Chevalier d'Oise, the towns of Rouen and Havre and other places, as well as for compensation which had to be made to MM. de Montpensier, Marshal de Biron, Chancellor de Chiverny, and other persons included in his treaty . . . three millions four hundred and forty-seven thousand eight hundred livres." [Poirson, Histoire du Regne de Henry IV., t. i. p. 667.]

These details have been entered into without hesitation because it is important to clearly understand by what means, by what assiduous efforts, and at what price Henry IV. managed to win back pacifically many provinces of his kingdom, rally to his government many leaders of note, and finally to confer upon France that territorial and political unity which she lacked under the feudal regimen, and which, in the sixteenth century, the religious wars all but put it beyond her power to acquire. To the two instances just cited of royalist reconciliation—Lyons and the spontaneous example set by her population, and Rouen and the dearly purchased capitulation of her governor Villars—must be added a third, of a different sort. Nicholas de Neufville, Lord of Villeroi, after having served Charles IX. and Henry III., had become, through attachment to the Catholic cause, a member of the League, and one of the Duke of Mayenne's confidants. When Henry IV. was King of France, and Catholic king, Villeroi tried to serve his cause with Mayenne, and induce Mayenne to be reconciled with him. Meeting with no success, he made up his mind to separate from the League, and go over to the king's service. He could do so without treachery or shame; even as a Leaguer and a servant of Mayenne's he had always been opposed to Spain, and devoted to a French, but, at the same time, a faithfully Catholic policy. He imported into the service of Henry IV. the same sentiments and the same bearing; he was still a zealous Catholic, and a partisan, for king and country's sake, of alliance with Catholic powers. He was a man of wits, experience, and resource, who knew Europe well and had some influence at the court of Rome. Henry IV. saw at once the advantage to be gained from him, and, in spite of the Protestants' complaints, and his sister Princess Catherine's prayers, made him, on the 25th of September, 1594, secretary of state for foreign affairs. This acquisition did not cost him so dear as that of Villars: still we read in the statement of sums paid by Henry IV. for this sort of conquest, "Furthermore, to M. de Villeroi, for himself, his son, the town of Pontoise, and other individuals, according to their treaty, four hundred and seventy-six thousand five hundred and ninety-four livres." It is quite true that this statement was drawn up by Sully, the unwavering supporter of Protestant alliances in Europe, and, as such, Villeroi's opponent in the council of Henry IV.; but the other contemporary documents confirm Sully's assertion. Villeroi was a faithful servant to Henry, who well repaid him by stanchness in supporting him against the repeated attacks of violent Reformers. In 1594, when he became minister of foreign affairs, the following verse was in vogue at the Louvre:—
	   "The king could never beat the League;
	   'Twas Villeroi who did the thing;
	   So well he managed his intrigue,
	   That now the League hath got the king."
It is quite certain, however, that Henry IV. was never of the opinion expressed in that verse; for, ten years later, in 1604, Villeroi having found himself much compromised by the treachery of a chief clerk in his department, who had given up to the Spanish government some important despatches, the king, though very vexed at this mishap, "the consequences of which rankled in his heart far more than he allowed to appear openly, nevertheless continued to look most kindly on Villeroi, taking the trouble to call upon him, to console and comfort him under this annoyance, and not showing him a suspicion of mistrust because of what had happened, any more than formerly; nay, even less." [Journal de L'Estoile, t. iii. pp. 85-441.] Never had prince a better or nobler way of employing confidence in his proceedings with his servants, old or new, at the same time that he made clear-sighted and proper distinctions between them.

Henry IV., with his mind full of his new character as a Catholic king, perceived the necessity of getting the pope to confirm the absolution which had been given him, at the time of his conversion, by the French bishops. It was the condition of his credit amongst the numerous Catholic population who were inclined to rally to him, but required to know that he was at peace with the head of their church. He began by sending to Rome non-official agents, instructed to quietly sound the pope, amongst others Arnold d'Ossat, a learned professor in the University of Paris, who became, at a later period, the celebrated cardinal and diplomat of that name. Clement VIII. [Hippolytus Aldobrandini] was a clever man, moderate and prudent to the verge of timidity, and, one who was disinclined to take decisive steps as to difficult questions or positions until after they had been decided by events. He refused to have any communication with him whom he still called the Prince of Bearn, and only received the agents of Henry IV. privately in his closet. But whilst he was personally severe and exacting in his behavior to then, he had a hint given them by one of his confidants not to allow themselves to be rebuffed by any obstacle, for the pope would, sooner or later, welcome back the lost child who returned to him. At this report, and by the advice of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Ferdinand de' Medici, Henry IV. determined to send a solemn embassy to Rome, and to put it under the charge of a prince of Italian origin, Peter di Gonzaga, Duke of Nevers. But either through the pope's stubborn resolve or the ambassador's somewhat impatient temper, devoted as he was, however, to the Holy See, the embassy had no success. The Duke of Nevers could not obtain an official reception as ambassador of the King of France. It was in vain that he had five confidential audiences of the pope; in vain that he represented energetically to him all the progress Henry IV. had already made, all the chances he had of definitive success, all the perils to which the papacy exposed itself by rejecting his advances; Clement VIII. persisted in his determination. Philip II. and Mayenne still reigned in his ideas, and he dismissed the Duke of Nevers on the 13th of January, 1594, declaring once more that he refused to the Navarrese absolution at the inner bar of conscience, absolution at the outer bar, and confirmation in his kingship.

Henry IV. did not put himself out, did not give himself the pleasure of testifying to Rome his discontent; he saw that he had not as yet sufficiently succeeded—sufficiently vanquished his enemies, or won to himself his kingdom with sufficient completeness and definitiveness—to make the pope feel bound to recognize and sanction his triumph. He set himself once more to work to grow still greater in France, and force the gates of Rome without its being possible to reproach him with violence or ill temper.

He had been absolved and crowned at St. Denis by the bishops of France; he had not been anointed at Rheims, according to the religious traditions of the French monarchy. At Rheims he could not be; for it was still in the power of the League. Researches were made, to discover whether the ceremony of anointment might take place elsewhere; numerous instances were found, and in the case of famous kings: Pepin the Short had been anointed first of all at Mayence, Charlemagne and Louis the Debonnair at Rome, Charles the Bald at Mayence, several emperors at Aix-la-Chapelle and at Cologne. The question of the holy phial (ampoule) was also discussed; and it was proved that on several occasions other oils, held to be of miraculous origin, had been employed instead. These difficulties thus removed, the anointment of Henry IV. took place at Chartres on the 27th of February, 1594; the Bishop of Chartres, Nicholas de Thou, officiated, and drew up a detailed account of all the ceremonies and all the rejoicings; thirteen medals, each weighing fifteen gold crowns, were struck, according to custom; they bore the king's image, and for legend, Invia virtuti nulla est via (To manly worth no road is inaccessible). Henry IV., on his knees before the grand altar, took the usual oath, the form of which was presented to him by Chancellor de Chiverny. With the exception of local accessories, which were acknowledged to be impossible and unnecessary, there was nothing wanting to this religious hallowing of his kingship.

But one other thing, more important than the anointment at Chartres, was wanting. He did not possess the capital of his kingdom the League were still masters of Paris. Uneasy masters of their situation; but not so uneasy, however, as they ought to have been. The great leaders of the party, the Duke of Mayenne, his mother the Duchess of Nemours, his sister the Duchess of Montpensier, and the Duke of Feria, Spanish ambassador, were within its walls, a prey to alarm and discouragement. "At breakfast," said the Duchess of Montpensier, "they regale us with the surrender of a hamlet, at dinner of a town, at supper of a whole province." The Duchess of Nemours, who desired peace, exerted herself to convince her son of all their danger. "Set your affairs in order," she said;—"if you do not begin to make your arrangements with the king before leaving Paris, you will lose this capital. I know that projects are already afoot for giving it up, and that those who can do it, and in whom you have most confidence, are accomplices and even authors of the plot." Mayenne himself did not hide from his confidants the gravity of the mischief and his own disquietude. "Not a day," he wrote on the 4th of February, 1594, to the Marquis of Montpezat, "but brings some trouble because of the people's yearning for repose, and of the weakness which is apparent on our side. I stem and stop this forment with as much courage as I can; but the present mischief is overwhelming; the King of Navarre will in a few days have an army of twenty thousand men, French as well as foreigners. What will become of us, if we have not wherewithal not only to oppose him, but to make him lose the campaign? I can tell you of a verity that, save for my presence, Paris would have already been lost because of the great factions there are in it, which I take all the pains in the world to disperse and break up, and also because of the small aid, or rather the gainsaying, I meet with from the ministers of the King of Spain." Mayenne tried to restore amongst the Leaguers both zeal and discipline; he convoked on the 2d of March, a meeting of all that remained of the faction of the Sixteen; he calculated upon the presence of some twelve hundred; scarcely three hundred came; he had an harangue delivered to them by the Rev. John Boucher, charged them to be faithful to the old spirit of the League, promised them that he would himself be faithful even to death, and exhorted them to be obedient in everything to Brissac, whom he had just appointed governor of the city, and to the provost of tradesmen. On announcing to them his imminent departure for Soissons, to meet some auxiliary troops which were to be sent to him by the King of Spain, "I leave to you," he said, "what is dearest to me in the world—my wife, my children, my mother, and my sister." But when he did set out, four days afterwards, on the 6th of March, 1594, he took away his wife and his children; his mother had already warned him that Brissac was communicating secretly, by means of his cousin, Sieur de Rochepot, with the royalists, and that the provost of tradesmen, L'Huillier, and three of the four sheriffs were agreed to bring the city back to obedience to the king. When the Sixteen and their adherents saw Mayenne departing with his wife and children, great were their alarm and wrath. A large band, with the incumbent of St. Cosmo (Hamilton) at their head, rushed about the streets in arms, saying, "Look to your city; the policists are brewing a terrible business for it." Others, more violent, cried, "To arms! Down upon the policists! Begin! Let us make an end of it!" The policists, that is, the burgesses inclined to peace, repaired on their side to the provost of tradesmen to ask for his authority to assemble at the Palace or the Hotel de Ville, and to provide for security in case of any public calamity. The provost tried to elude their entreaties by pleading that the Duke of Mayenne would think ill of their assembling. "Then you are not the tradesmen's but M. de Mayenne's provost?" said one of them. "I am no Spaniard," answered the provost; "no more is M. de Mayenne; I am anxious to reconcile you to the Sixteen." "We are honest folks, not branded and defamed like the Sixteen; we will have no reconciliation with the wretches." The Parliament grew excited, and exclaimed against the insolence and the menaces of the Sixteen. "We must give place to these sedition-mongers, or put them down." A decree, published by sound of trumpet on the 14th of March, 1594, throughout the whole city, prohibited the Sixteen and their partisans from assembling on pain of death. That same day, Count de Brissac, governor of Paris, had an interview at the abbey of St. Anthony, with his brother-in-law, Francis d'Epinay, Lord of St. Luc, Henry IV.'s grand-master of the ordnance; they had disputes touching private interests, which they wished, they said, to put right; and on this pretext advocates had appeared at their interview. They spent three hours in personal conference, their minds being directed solely to the means of putting the king into possession of Paris. They separated in apparent dudgeon. Brissac went to call upon the legate Gaetani, and begged him to excuse the error he had committed in communicating with a heretic; his interest in the private affairs in question was too great, he said, for him to neglect it. The legate excused him graciously, whilst praising him for his modest conduct, and related the incident to the Duke of Feria, the Spanish ambassador. "He is a good fellow, M. de Brissac," said the ambassador; "I have always found him so; you have only to employ the Jesuits to make him do all you please. He takes little notice, otherwise, of affairs; one day, when we were holding council in here, whilst we were deliberating, he was amusing himself by catching flies." For four days the population of Paris was occupied with a solemn procession in honor of St. Genevieve, in which the Parliament and all the municipal authorities took part. Brissac had agreed with his brother-in-law D'Epinay that he would let the king in on the 22d of March, and he had arranged, in concert with the provost of tradesmen, two sheriffs, and several district captains, the course of procedure. On the 21st of March, in the evening, some Leaguers paid him a visit, and spoke to him warmly about the rumors current on the subject in the city, calling upon him to look to it. "I have received the same notice," said Brissac, coolly; "and I have given all the necessary orders. Leave me to act, and keep you quiet, so as not to wake up those who will have to be secured. To-morrow morning you will see a fine to-do and the policists much surprised." During all the first part of the night between the 21st and 22d of March, Brissac went his rounds of the city and the guards he had posted, "with an appearance of great care and solicitude." He had some trouble to get rid of certain Spanish officers, "whom the Duke of Feria had sent him to keep him company in his rounds, with orders to throw themselves upon him and kill him at the first suspicious movement; but they saw nothing to confirm their suspicions, and at two A. M., Brissac brought them back much fatigued to the duke's, where he left them." Henry IV., having started on the 21st of March from Senlis, where he had mustered his troops, and arrived about midnight at St. Denis, immediately began his march to Paris. The night was dark and stormy; thunder rumbled; rain fell heavily; the king was a little behind time. At three A. M.. the policists inside Paris had taken arms and repaired to the posts that had been assigned to them. Brissac had placed a guard close to the quarters of the Spanish ambassador, and ordered the men to fire on any who attempted to leave. He had then gone in person, with L'Huillier, the provost of tradesmen, to the New Gate, which he had caused to be unlocked and guarded. Sheriff Langlois had done the same at the gate of St. Denis. On the 22d of March, at four A. M., the king had not yet appeared before the ramparts, nor any one for him. Langlois issued from the gate, went some little distance to look out, and came in again, more and more impatient. At last, between four and five o'clock, a detachment of the royal troops, commanded by Vitry, appeared before the gate of St. Denis, which was instantly opened. Brissac's brother-in-law, St. Luc, arrived about the same time at the New Gate, with a considerable force. The king's troops entered Paris. They occupied the different districts, and met with no show of resistance but at the quay of L'Ecole, where an outpost of lanzknechts tried to stop them; but they were cut in pieces or hurled into the river. Between five and six o'clock Henry IV., at the head of the last division, crossed the drawbridge of the New Gate. Brissac, Provost L'Huillier, the sheriffs, and several companies of burgesses advanced to meet him. The king embraced Brissac, throwing his own white scarf round his neck, and addressing him as "Marshal." "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's," said Brissac, as he called upon the provost of tradesmen to present to the king the keys of the city. "Yes," said L'Huillier, "render them, not sell them." The king went forward with his train, going along Rue St. Honore to the market of the Innocents and the bridge of Notre-Dame; the crowd increased at every step. "Let them come near," said Henry; "they hunger to see a king." At every step, too, at sight of the smallest incident, the character of Henry, his natural thoughtful and lovable kindliness, shone forth. He asked if his entry had met with resistance anywhere; and he was told that about fifty lanzknechts had been killed at the quay of L'Ecole. "I would willingly give fifty thousand crowns," said he, "to be able to say that I took Paris without costing the life of one single man." As he marched along the Rue St. Honore, he saw a soldier taking some bread by force from a baker's; he rushed at him, and would have struck him with his sword. As he passed in front of the Innocents, he saw at a window a man who was looking at him, and pointedly keeping his hat on; the man perceived that the king' observed him, and withdrew, shutting down the window. Henry said, "Let nobody enter this house to vex or molest any one in it." He arrived in front of Notre-Dame, followed by five or six hundred men-at-arms, who trailed their pikes "in token of a victory that was voluntary on the people's part," it was said. There was no uproar, or any hostile movement, save on the left bank of the Seine, in the University quarter, where the Sixteen attempted to assemble their partisans round the gate of St. Jacques; but they were promptly dispersed by the people as well as by the royal troops. On leaving Notre-Dame, Henry repaired to the Louvre, where he installed royalty once more. At ten o'clock he was master of the whole city; the districts of St. Martin, of the Temple, and St. Anthony alone remained still in the power of three thousand Spanish soldiers under the orders of their leaders, the Duke of Feria and Don Diego d'Ibarra. Nothing would have been easier for Henry than to have had them driven out by his own troops and the people of Paris, who wanted to finish the day's work by exterminating the foreigners; but he was too judicious and too far-sighted to embitter the general animosity by pushing his victory beyond what was necessary. He sent word to the Spaniards that they must not move from their quarters and must leave Paris during the day, at the same time promising not to bear arms any more against him, in France. They eagerly accepted these conditions. At three o'clock in the afternoon, ambassador, officers, and soldiers all evacuated Paris, and set out for the Low Countries. The king, posted at a window over the gate of St. Denis, witnessed their departure. They, as they passed, saluted him respectfully; and he returned their salute, saying, "Go, gentlemen, and commend me to your master; but return no more."

After his conversion to Catholicism, the capture of Paris was the most decisive of the issues which made Henry IV. really King of France. The submission of Rouen followed almost immediately upon that of Paris; and the year 1594 brought Henry a series of successes, military and civil, which changed very much to his advantage the position of the kingship as well as the general condition of the kingdom. In Normandy, in Picardy, in Champagne, in Anjou, in Poitou, in Brittany, in Orleanness, in Auvergne, a multitude of important towns, Havre, Honfleur, Abbeville, Amiens, Peronue, Montdidier, Poitiers, Orleans, Rheims, Chateau-Thierry, Beauvais, Sens, Riom, Morlaix, Laval, Laon, returned to the king's authority, some after sieges and others by pacific and personal arrangement, more or less burdensome for the public treasury, but very effective in promoting the unity of the nation and of the monarchy. In the table drawn up by Sully of expenses under that head, he estimated them at thirty-two millions, one hundred and forty-two thousand, nine hundred and eighty-one livres, equivalent at the present day, says M. Poirson, to one hundred and eighteen millions of francs. The rendition of Paris, "on account of M. de Brissac, the city itself and other individuals employed on his treaty," figures in this sum total at one million, six hundred and forty-five thousand, four hundred livres. Territorial acquisitions were not the only political conquests of this epoch; some of the great institutions which had been disjointed by the religious wars, for instance, the Parliaments of Paris and Normandy, recovered their unity and resumed their efficacy to the advantage of order, of the monarchy, and of national independence; their decrees against the League contributed powerfully to its downfall. Henry IV. did his share in other ways besides warfare; he excelled in the art of winning over or embarrassing his vanquished foes. After the submission of Paris, the two princesses of the house of Lorraine who had remained there, the Duchesses of Nemours and of Montpensier, one the mother and the other the sister of the Duke of Mayenne, were preparing to go and render homage to the conqueror; Henry anticipated them, and paid them the first visit. As he was passing through a room where hung a portrait of Henry de Guise, he halted and saluted it very courteously. The Duchess of Montpensier, who had so often execrated him, did not hesitate to express her regret that "her brother Mayenne had not been there to let down for him the drawbridge of the gate by which he had entered Paris." "Ventre-saint-gris," said the king, "he might have made me wait a long while; I should not have arrived so early." He knew that the Duchess of Nemours had desired peace, and when she allowed some signs of vexation to peep out at her not having been able to bring her sons and grandsons to that determination, "Madame," said he, "there is still time if they please." At the close of 1594, he imported disorganization into the household of Lorraine by offering the government of Provence to the young Duke Charles of Guise, son of the Balafre; who eagerly accepted it; and he from that moment paved the way, by the agency of President Jeannin, for his reconciliation with Mayenne, which he brought to accomplishment at the end of 1595.

The close of this happy and glorious year was at hand. On the 27th of September, between six and seven P.M., a deplorable incident occurred, for the second time, to call Henry IV.'s attention to the weak side of his position. He was just back from Picardy, and holding a court-reception at Schomberg House, at the back of the Louvre. John Chastel, a young man of nineteen, son of a cloth-merchant in the city, slipped in among the visitors, managed to approach the king, and dealt him a blow with a knife just as he was stooping to raise and embrace Francis de la Grange, Sieur de Montigny, who was kneeling before him. The blow, aimed at the king's throat, merely slit his upper lip and broke a tooth. "I am wounded!" said the king. John Chastel, having dropped his knife, had remained on the spot, motionless and confused. Montigny, according to some, but, according to others, the Count of Soissons, who happened to be near him, laid hands upon him, saying, "Here is the assassin, either he or I." Henry IV., always prone to pass things over, pooh-poohed the suspicion, and was just giving orders to let the young man go, when the knife, discovered on the ground close to Chastel, became positive evidence. Chastel was questioned, searched, and then handed, over to the grand provost of the household, who had him conveyed to prison at For-l'Eveque. He first of all denied, but afterwards admitted his deed, regretting that he had missed his aim, and saying he was ready to try again for his own salvation's sake and that of religion. He declared that he had been brought up amongst the Jesuits in Rue St. Jacques, and he gave long details as to the education he had received there and the maxims he had heard there. The rumor of his crime and of the revelations he had made spread immediately over Paris and caused passionate excitement. The people filled the churches and rendered thanks to God for having preserved the king. The burgesses took up arms and mustered at their guard-posts. The mob bore down on the college of Jesuits in Rue St. Jacques with threats of violence. The king and the Parliament sent a force thither; Brizard, councillor in the high chamber, captain of the district, had the fathers removed, and put them in security in his own house. The inquiry was prosecuted deliberately and temperately. It brought out that John Chastel had often heard repeated at his college "that it was allowable to kill kings, even the king regnant, when they were not in the church or approved of by the pope." The accused formally maintained this maxim, which was found written out and dilated upon under his own hand in a note-book seized at his father's. "Was it necessary, pray," said Henry IV., laughing, "that the Jesuits should be convicted by my mouth?" John Chastel was sentenced to the most cruel punishment; and he underwent it on the 20th of December, 1594, by torch-light, before the principal entrance of Notre-Dame, without showing any symptom of regret. His mother and his sisters were set at liberty. His father, an old Leaguer, had been cognizant of his project, and had dissuaded him from it, but without doing anything to hinder it; he was banished from the kingdom for nine years, and from Paris forever. His house was razed to the ground; and on the site was set up a pyramid with the decree of the Parliament inscribed upon it.

The proceedings did not stop there. At the beginning of this same year, and on petition from the University of Paris, the Parliament had commenced a general prosecution of the order of Jesuits, its maxims, tendencies, and influence. Formal discussions had taken place; the prosecution and the defence had been conducted with eloquence, and a decree of the court had ordained that judgment should be deferred. Several of the most respected functionaries, notably President Augustin de Thou, had pronounced against this decree, considering the question so grave and so urgent that the Parliament should make it their duty to decide upon the point at issue. When sentence had to be pronounced upon John Chastel, President de Thou took the opportunity of saying, "When I lately gave my opinion in the matter of the University and the Jesuits, I never hoped, at my age and with my infirmities, that I should live long enough to take part in the judgment we are about to pass to-day. It was that which led me, in the indignation caused me by the course at that time adopted, to lay down an opinion to which I to-day recur with much joy. God be praised for having brought about an occasion whereon we have nothing to do but felicitate ourselves for that the enterprise which our foes did meditate against the state and the life of the king hath been without success, and which proves clearly at the same time how much the then opinion of certain honest men was wiser than that of persons who, from a miserable policy, were in favor of deferment!" The court, animated by the same sentiments as President do Thou, "declared the maxims maintained in the Jesuits' name to be rash, seditious, contrary to the word of God, savoring of heresy and condemned by the holy canons; it expressly forbade them to be taught publicly or privately, on pain, in case of contraveners, of being treated as guilty of treason against God and man. It decreed, further, that the priests of the college in Rue St. Jacques, their pupils, and, generally, all members of that society, should leave Paris and all the towns in which they had colleges three days after this decree had been made known to them, and the kingdom within a fortnight, as corrupters of youth, disturbers of the public peace, and enemies of the king and of the state. In default of obedience on their part, their property, real and personal, should be confiscated and employed for pious purposes. The court, besides, prohibited all subjects of the king from sending their children as students to any Jesuits out of the kingdom, on pain of being declared enemies of the state." This decree was issued on the 29th of December, 1594. And as if to leave no doubt about the sense and bearing of this legislation, it was immediately applied in the case of a Jesuit father, John Guignard, a native of Chartres; his papers were examined, and there were found in his handwriting many propositions and provocatives of sedition, such as, "That a great mistake had been made at the St. Bartholomew in not having opened the basilic vein, that is, in not having murdered Henry IV. and the Prince of Conde, who were of the blood royal; 2. That the crown might have been, and ought to have been, transferred to a family other than that of the Bourbons; 3. That the Bearnese, in spite of his pretended conversion, ought to consider himself only too lucky if it were considered sufficient to shave his head and shut him up in a convent to do penance there; that if the crown could not betaken from him without war, then war must be made on him; and that if the state of things did not admit of making war on him, he ought to be got rid of at any price and in any way whatsoever." For having, not published, but thought and with his own hand written out all this, and probably taught it to his pupils, Father Guignard was obliged to retract, and was afterwards hanged in the Place de Greve on the 7th of January, 1595.

The task of honest men and of right minds is greater and more difficult in our day than it was in the sixteenth century, for we have to reconcile the laws and the requirements of moral and social order with far broader principles and sentiments, as regards right and liberty, than were those of President Augustin de Thou and the worthy functionaries of his time.

It was one of Henry IV.'s conspicuous qualities that no event, auspicious or inauspicious, affected the correctness of his judgment, and that he was just as much a stranger to illusion or intoxication in the hour of good fortune as to discouragement in the hour of ill. He had sense enough to see, in any case, things as they really were, and to estimate at the proper value the strength they brought or the obstacles they formed to his government. He saw at a glance all the importance there was for him in the submission of Paris, and what change in his conduct was required by that in his position. Certain local successes of the Spaniards at some points in his kingdom, the efforts of Mayenne to resuscitate the dying League, and John Chastel's attempt at assassination did not for a moment interfere with his confidence in his progress, or cause him to hesitate as to the new bearing he had to assume. He wrote on the 17th of December, 1594, to the estates of Artois and Hainault, "I have hitherto lacked neither the courage nor the power to repel the insults offered me, and to send recoiling upon the head of the King of Spain and his subjects the evils of which he was the author. But just as were the grounds I had for declaring war against him, motives more powerful and concerning the interests of all Christendom restrained me. At the present time, when the principal leaders of the factious have returned to their duty and submitted to my laws, Philip still continues his intrigues to foster troubles in the very heart of my kingdom. After maturely reflecting, I have decided that it is time for me to act. Nevertheless, as I cannot forget the friendship my ancestors always felt for your country, I could not but see with pain that, though you have taken no share in Philip's acts of injustice, on you will fall the first blows of a war so terrible, and I thought it my duty to warn you of my purpose before I proceed to execute it. If you can prevail upon the King of Spain to withdraw the army which he is having levied on the frontier, and to give no protection for the future to rebels of my kingdom, I will not declare war against him, provided that I have certain proof of your good intentions, and that you give me reasonable securities for them before the 1st of January in the approaching year." [Lettres missives de Henri IV, p. 280—De Thou, Histoire universelle, t. xii. pp. 328-342.]

These letters, conveyed to Arras by one of the king's trumpeters, received no answer. The estates of Flanders, in assembly at Brussels, somewhat more bold than those of Artois and Hainault, in vain represented to their Spanish governor their plaints and their desires for peace; for two months Henry IV. heard not a word on the subject. Philip II. persisted in his active hostility, and continued to give the King of France no title but that of Prince of Bearn. On the 17th of January, 1595, Henry, in performance of what he had proclaimed, formally declared war against the King of Spain, forbade his subjects to have any commerce with him or his allies, and ordered them to make war on him for the future just as he persisted in making it on France. This able and worthy resolve was not approved of by Rosny, by this time the foremost of Henry's IV.'s councillors, although he had not yet risen in the government, or, probably, in the king's private confidence, to the superior rank that he did attain by the eminence of his services and the courageous sincerity of his devotion. In his OEconomies royales it is to interested influence, on the part of England and Holland, that he attributes this declaration of war against Philip II., "into which," he says, "the king allowed himself to be hurried against his own feelings." It was assuredly in accordance with his own feelings and of his own free will that Henry acted in this important decision; he had a political order of mind greater, more inventive, and more sagacious than Rosny's administrative order of mind, strong common sense and painstaking financial abilities. To spontaneously declare war against Philip after the capitulation of Paris and the conquest of three quarters of France was to proclaim that the League was at death's door, that there was no longer any civil war in France, and that her king had no more now than foreign war to occupy him. To make alliance, in view of that foreign war, with the Protestant sovereigns of England, Holland, and Germany, against the exclusive and absolutist patron of Catholicism, was on the part of a king but lately Protestant, and now become resolutely Catholic, to separate openly politics from religion, and to subserve the temporal interests of the realm of France whilst putting himself into the hands of the spiritual head of the church as regarded matters of faith. Henry IV., moreover, discovered another advantage in this line of conduct; it rendered possible and natural the important act for which he was even then preparing, and which will be spoken of directly, the edict of Nantes in favor of the Protestants, which was the charter of religious tolerance and the securities for it, pending the advent of religious liberty and its rights, that fundamental principle, at this day, of moral and social order in France. Such were Henry IV.'s grand and premonitory instincts when, on the 17th of January, 1595, he officially declared against Philip II. that war which Philip had not for a moment ceased to make on him.

The conflict thus solemnly begun between France and Spain lasted three years and three months, from the 17th of January, 1595, to the 1st of May, 1598, from Henry IV.'s declaration of war to the peace of Vervins, which preceded by only four months and thirteen days the death of Philip II. and the end of the preponderance of Spain in Europe. It is not worth while to follow step by step the course of this monotonous conflict, pregnant with facts which had their importance for contemporaries, but are not worthy of an historical resurrection. Notice will be drawn only to those incidents in which the history of France is concerned, and which give a good idea of Henry IV.'s character, the effectiveness of his government, and the rapid growth of his greatness in Europe, contrasted with his rival's slow decay.

Four months and a half after the declaration of war, and during the campaign begun in Burgundy between the French and the Spaniards, on the 5th of June, 1595, near Fontaine-Francaise, a large burgh a few leagues from Dijon, there took place an encounter which, without ending in a general battle, was an important event, and caused so much sensation that it brought about political results more important than the immediate cause of them. Henry IV. made up his mind to go and reconnoitre in person the approaches of Dijon, towards which the enemy were marching. He advanced, with about a hundred and fifty men-at-arms and as many mounted arquebusiers, close up to the burgh of Saint-Seine; from there he sent the Marquis of Mirebeau with fifty or sixty horse to "go," says Sully, "and take stock of the enemy;" and he put himself on the track of his lieutenant, marching as a simple captain of light-horse, with the purpose of becoming better acquainted with the set of the country, so as to turn it to advantage if the armies had to encounter. But he had not gone more than a league when he saw Mirebeau returning at more than a foot-pace and in some disorder; who informed him "that he had been suddenly charged by as many as three or four hundred horse, who did not give him leisure to extend his view as he could have desired, and that he believed that the whole army of the Constable of Castille was marching in a body to come and quarter themselves in the burgh of Saint-Seine." Marshal de Biron, who joined the king at this moment, offered to go and look at the enemy, and bring back news that could be depended upon; but scarcely had he gone a thousand paces when he descried, on the top of a little valley, some sixty horse halted there as if they were on guard; he charged them, toppled them over, and taking their ground, discovered the whole Spanish army marching in order of battle and driving before them a hundred of the king's horse, who were flying in disorder. Biron halted and showed a firm front to the enemy's approach; but he was himself hard pressed at many points, and was charged with such impetuosity that he was obliged to begin a retreat which changed before long to a sort of flight, with a few sword-cuts about the ears. Thus he arrived within sight of the king, who immediately detached a hundred horse to support Biron and stop the fugitives; but the little re-enforcement met with the same fate as those it went to support; it was overthrown and driven pell-mell right up to the king, who suddenly found himself with seven or eight hundred horse on his hands, without counting the enemy's main army, which could already be discerned in the distance. Far from being dumbfounded, the king, "borrowing," says Sully, "increase of judgment and courage from the greatness of the peril," called all his men about him, formed them into two squadrons of a hundred and fifty men each, gave one to M. de la Tremoille with orders to go and charge the Spanish cavalry on one flank, put himself at the head of the other squadron, and the two charges of the French were "so furious and so determined," says Sully, the king mingling in the thickest of the fight and setting an example to the boldest, "that the Spanish squadrons in dismay tumbled one over another, and retired half-routed to the main body of Mayenne's army; who, seeing a dash made to the king's assistance by some of his bravest officers with seven or eight hundred horse, thought all the royal army was there, and, fearing to attack those gentry of whose determination he had just made proof, he himself gave his troops the order to retreat, Henry going on in pursuit until he had forced them to recross the Sane below Gray, leaving Burgundy at his discretion."

A mere abridgment has been given of the story relating to this brilliant affair as it appears in the OEconomies Royales of Sully [t. ii. pp. 377-387], who was present and hotly engaged in the fight. We will quote word for word, however, the account of Henry IV. himself, who sent a report four days afterwards to his sister Catherine and to the Constable Anne de Montmorency. To the latter he wrote on the 8th of June, 1595, from Dijon, "I was informed that the Constable of Castile, accompanied by the Duke of Mayenne, was crossing the River Sane with his army to come and succor the castle of this town. I took horse the day after, attended by my cousin Marshal de Biron and from seven to eight hundred horse, to go and observe his plans on the spot. Whence it happened that, intending to take the same quarters without having any certain advices about one another, we met sooner than we had hoped, and so closely that my cousin the marshal, who led the first troop, was obliged to charge those who had advanced, and I to support him. But our disadvantage was, that all our troops had not yet arrived and joined me, for I had but from two to three hundred horse, whereas the enemy had all his cavalry on the spot, making over a thousand or twelve hundred drawn up by squadrons and in order of battle. However, my said cousin did not haggle about them; and, seeing that they were worsting him, because the game was too uneven, I determined to make one in it, and joined in it to such a purpose and with such luck, thank God, together with the following I had, that we put them to the rout. But I can assure you that it was not at the first charge, for we made several; and if the rest of my forces had been with me, I should no doubt have defeated all their cavalry, and perhaps their foot who were in order of battle behind the others, having at their head the said Constable of Castile. But our forces were so unequal that I could do no more than put to flight those who would not do battle, after having cut in pieces the rest, as we had done; wherein I can tell you, my dear cousin, that my said cousin Marshal de Biron and I did some good handiwork. He was wounded in the head by a blow from a cutlass in the second charge, for he and I had nothing on but our cuirasses, not having had time to arm ourselves further, so surprised and hurried were we. However, my said cousin did not fail, after his wound, to return again to the charge three or four times, as I too did on my side. Finally we did so well that the field and their dead were left to us to the number of a hundred or six score, and as many prisoners of all ranks. Whereat the said Constable of Castile took such alarm that he at once recrossed the Sane; and I have been told that it was not without reproaching the Duke of Mayenne with having deceived him in not telling him of my arrival in this country."

The day before, June 7, Henry had written to his sister Catherine de Bourbon, "My dear sister, the more I go on, the more do I wonder at the grace shown me by God in the fight of last Monday, wherein I thought to have defeated but twelve hundred horse; but they must be set down at two thousand. The Constable of Castile was there in person with the Duke of Mayenne; and they both of them saw me and recognized me quite well; they sent to demand of me a whole lot of Italian and Spanish captains of theirs, the which were not prisoners. They must be amongst the dead who have been buried, for I requested next day that they should be. Many of our young noblemen, seeing me with them everywhere, were full of fire in this engagement, and showed a great deal of courage; amongst whom I came across Gramont, Termes, Boissy, La Curse, and the Marquis of Mirebeau, who, as luck would have it, found themselves at it without any armor but their neck-pieces and gaillardets (front and back plates), and did marvels. There were others who did not do so well, and many who did very ill. Those who were not there ought to be sorry for it, seeing that I had need of all my good friends, and I saw you very near becoming my heiress." [Lettres missives de Henri IV., t. iv. pp. 363-369; in the Collection des Documents inedits sur l'Histoire de France.]

This fight, so unpremeditated, at Fontaine-Francaise, and the presence of mind, steady quicksightedness, and brilliant dash of Henry IV., led off this long war gloriously. Its details were narrated and sought after minutely; people were especially struck with the sympathetic attention that in the very midst of the strife the king bestowed upon all his companions in arms, either to give them directions or to warn them of danger. "At the hottest of the fight," says the contemporary historian Peter Matthieu, "Henry, seizing Mirebeau by the arm, said, 'Charge yonder!' which he did: and that troop began to thin off and disappear." A moment afterwards, seeing one of the enemy's men-at-arms darting down upon the French, Henry concluded that the attack was intended for Gilbert, de la Cure, a brave and pious Catholic lord, whom he called familiarly Monsieur le Cure, and shouted to him from afar, "Look out, La Curee!" which warned him and saved his life. The roughest warriors were touched by this fraternal solicitude of the king's, and clung to him with passionate devotion.

It was at Rome, and in the case of an ecclesiastical question that Henry IV.'s steady policy, his fame for ability as well as valor, and the glorious affair of Fontaine-Francaise bore their first fruits. Mention has already been made of the formal refusal the king had met with from Pope Clement VIII. in January, 1594, when he had demanded of him, by the embassy extraordinary of the Duke of Nevers, confirmation of the absolution granted him by the French bishops after his conversation at St. Denis and his anointment at Chartres. The pope, in spite of his refusal, had indirectly given the royal agents to understand that they were not to be discouraged; and the ablest of them, Arnold d'Ossat, had remained at Rome to conduct this delicate and dark commission. When Clement VIII. saw Henry IV.'s government growing stronger and more extensive day by day, Paris returned to his power, the League beaten and the Gallican church upheld in its maxims by the French magistracy, fear of schism grew serious at Rome, and the pope had a hint given by Cardinal de Gondi to Henry that, if he were to send fresh ambassadors, they might be favorably listened to. Arnold d'Ossat had acquired veritable weight at the court of Rome, and had paved the way with a great deal of art towards turning to advantage any favorable chances that might offer themselves. Villeroi, having broken with the League, had become Henry IV.'s minister of foreign affairs, and obtained some confidence at Rome in return for the good will he testified towards the papacy. By his councillor's advice, no doubt, the king made no official stir, sent no brilliant embassy; D'Ossat quietly resumed negotiations, and alone conducted them from the end of 1594 to the spring of 1595; and when a new envoy was chosen to bring them to a conclusion, it was not a great lord, but a learned ecclesiastic, Abbot James du Perron, whose ability and devotion Henry IV. had already, at the time of his conversion, experienced, and whom he had lately appointed Bishop of Evreux. Even when Du Perron had been fixed upon to go to Rome and ask for the absolution which Clement VIII. had seven or eight months before refused, he was in no hurry to repair thither, and D'Ossat's letters make it appear that he was expected there with some impatience. He arrived there on the 12th of July, 1595, and, in concert with D'Ossat, he presented to the pope the request of the king, who solicited the papal benediction, absolution from any censure, and complete reconciliation with the Roman church. Clement VIII., on the 2d of August, assembled his consistory, whither went all the cardinals, save two partisans of Spain who excused themselves on the score of health. Parleys took place as to the form of the decree which must precede the absolution. The pope would have liked very much to insert two clauses, one revoking as null and void the absolution already given to the king by the French bishops at the time of his conversion, and the other causing the absolution granted by the pope to be at the same time considered as re-establishing Henry IV. in his rights to the crown, whereof it was contended that he was deprived by the excommunication and censures of Sixtus V. and Gregory XIV., which this absolution was to remove. The two French negotiators rejected these attempts, and steadily maintained the complete independence of the king's temporal sovereignty, as well as the power of intervention of the French episcopate in his absolution. Clement VIII. was a judicious and prudent pope; and he did not persist. The absolution was solemnly pronounced on the 17th of September, 1595, by the pope himself, from a balcony erected in St. Peter's Square, and in presence of the population. The gates of the church were thrown open and a Te Deum was sung. A grand ceremony took place immediately afterwards in the church of St. Louis of the French. Rome was illuminated for three days, and, on the 7th of November following, a pope's messenger left for Paris with the bull of absolution drawn up in the terms agreed upon.

Another reconciliation, of less solemnity, but of great importance, that between the Duke of Mayenne and Henry IV., took place a week after the absolution pronounced by the pope. As soon as the civil war, continued by the remnants of the dying League, was no more than a disgraceful auxiliary to the foreign war between France and Spain, Mayenne was in his soul both grieved and disgusted at it. The affair of Fontaine-Francaise gave him an opportunity of bringing matters to a crisis; he next day broke with the Constable of Castile, Don Ferdinand de Velasco, who declined to follow his advice, and at once entered into secret negotiations with the king. Henry wrote from Lyons to Du Plessis-Mornay, on the 24th of August, 1595, "The Duke of Mayenne has asked me to allow him three months for the purpose of informing the enemy of his determination in order to induce them to join him in recognizing me and serving me. So doing, he has also agreed to bind himself from this present date to recognize me and serve me, whatever his friends may do." On the 23d of September following, Henry IV., still at Lyons, sent to M. de la Chatre:—

"I forward you the articles of a general truce which I have granted to the Duke of Mayenne at his pressing instance, and on the assurance he has given me that he will get it accepted and observed by all those who are still making war within my kingdom, in his name or that of the League." This truce was, in point of fact, concluded by a preliminary treaty signed at Chalons, and by virtue of which Mayenne ordered his lieutenants to give up to the king the citadel of Dijon. The negotiations continued, and, in January, 1596, a royal edict, signed at Folembray, near Laon, regulated, in thirty-one articles and some secret articles, the conditions of peace between the king and Mayenne. The king granted him, himself and his partisans, full and complete amnesty for the past, besides three surety-places for six years, and divers sums, which, may be for payment of his debts, and may be for his future provision, amounted to three million five hundred and eighty thousand livres at that time (twelve million eight hundred and eighty-eight thousand francs of the present day). The Parliament of Paris considered these terms exorbitant, and did not consent to enregister the edict until April 9, 1596, after three letters jussory from the king. Henry IV. nobly expressed, in the preamble of the edict, the motives of policy that led to his generous arrangements; after alluding to his late reconciliation with the pope, "Our work," he said, "would have been imperfect, and peace incomplete, if our most dear and most beloved cousin, the Duke of Mayenne, chief of his party, had not followed the same road, as he resolved to do so soon as he saw that our holy father had approved of our reunion. This hath made us to perceive better than heretofore the aim of his actions, to accept and take in good part all that he hath exhibited against us of the zeal he felt for religion, and to commend the anxiety he hath displayed to preserve the kingdom in, its entirety, whereof he caused not and suffered not the dismemberment when the prosperity of his affairs seemed to give him some means of it; the which he was none the more inclined to do when he became weakened, but preferred to throw himself into our arms rather than betake himself to other remedies, which might have caused the war to last a long while yet, to the great damage of our people. This it is which hath made us desire to recognize his good intent, to love him and treat him for the future as our good relative and faithful subject." [Memoires de la Ligue, t. vi. p. 349.]

To a profound and just appreciation of men's conduct Henry IV. knew how to add a winning grace and the surprising charm of a familiar manner. After having signed the edict of Folembray, he had gone to rest a while at Monceaux. Mayenne went to visit him there on the 31st of January, 1596. There is nothing to be added to or taken from the account given by Sully of their interview. "The king, stepping forward to meet Mayenne, embraced him thrice, assuring him that he was welcome, and that he embraced him as cordially as if there had never been anything between them. M. de Mayenne put one knee on the ground, embraced the king's thigh, and assured him that he was his very humble servant and subject, saying that he considered himself greatly bounden to him, as well for having with so much, of gentleness, kindness, and special largesses restored him to his duty, as for having delivered him from Spanish arrogance and Italian crafts and wiles. Then the king, having raised him up and embraced him once more, told him that he had no doubt at all of his honor and word, for a man of worth and of good courage held nothing so dear as the observance thereof. Thereupon he took him by the hand and began to walk him about at a very great pace, showing him the alleys and telling all his plans and the beauties and conveniences of this mansion. M. de Mayenne, who was incommoded by a sciatica, followed as best he could, but some way behind, dragging his limbs after him very heavily. Which the king observing, and that he was mighty red, heated, and was puffing with thickness of breath, he turned to Rosny, whom he held, with the other hand, and said in his ear, 'If I walk this fat carcass here about much longer, then am I avenged without much difficulty for all the evils he hath done us, for he is a dead man.' And thereupon pulling up, the king said to him, 'Tell the truth, cousin, I go a little too fast for you; and I have worked you too hard.' 'By my faith, sir,' said M. de Mayenne, slapping his hand upon his stomach, 'it is true; I swear to you that I am so tired and out of breath that I can no more. If you had continued walking me about so fast, for honor and courtesy did not permit me to say to you, "Hold! enough!" and still less to leave you, I believe that you would have killed me without a thought of it.' Then the king embraced him, clapped him on the shoulder, and said with a laughing face, open glance, and holding out his hand, 'Come, take that, cousin, for, by God, this is all the injury and displeasure you shall ever have from me; of that I give you my honor and word with all my heart, the which I never did and never will violate.' 'By God, sir,' answered M. de Mayenne, kissing the king's hand and doing what he could to put one knee upon the ground, 'I believe it and all other generous things that may be expected from the best and bravest prince of our age. And you said it, too, in so frank a spirit and with so kindly a grace that my feelings and my obligations are half as deep again. However, I swear to you over again, sir, by the living God, on my faith, my honor, and my salvation, that I will be to you, all my life long, loyal subject and faithful servant; I will never fail you nor desert you; I will have while I live no desires or designs of importance which are not suggested by your Majesty himself; nor will I ever be cognizant of them in the case of others, though they were my own children, without expressly opposing them and giving you notice of them at once.' 'There, there, cousin,' rejoined the king, 'I quite believe it; and that you may be able to love me and serve me long, go rest you, refresh you, and drink a draught at the castle. I have in my cellars some Arbois wine, of which I will send you two bottles, for well I know that you do not dislike it. And here is Rosny, whom I will lend you to accompany you, to do the honors of the house and to conduct you to your chamber: he is one of my oldest servants, and one of those who have been most rejoiced to see that you would love me and serve me cordially.'" [OEconomies royales, t. iii. pp. 7-10.]

Mayenne was as good as his word. After the edict of Folembray, he lived fourteen years at the court of Henry IV., whom he survived only about sixteen months [for he died on the 4th of October, 1611, and Henry IV. was assassinated by Ravaillac on the 13th of May, 1610], and during all that time he was loyal and faithful to him, never giving him any but good counsels and sometimes rendering him useful services. A rare example of a party-chief completely awakened and tamed by experience: it made him disgusted with fanaticism, faction, civil war, and complicity with the foreigner. He was the least brilliant but the most sensible, the most honest, and the most French of the Guises. Henry IV., when seriously ill at Fontainebleau in 1608, recommended him to Queen Mary de' Medici as one of the men whom it was most important to call to the councils of state; and, at the approach of death, Mayenne, weary and weak in the lap of repose, could conscientiously address those who were around him in such grand and Christian language as this: "It is no new thing to know that I must die; for twelve years past my lingering and painful life has been for the most part an apprenticeship thereto. My sufferings have so dulled the sting of death that I rather count upon it than dread it; happy to have had so long a delay to teach me to make a good end, and to rid me of the things which formerly kept me from that knowledge. Happy to meet my end amongst mine own people and to terminate by a peaceful death the sufferings and miseries of my life. I formerly sought death amidst arms; but I am better pleased, for my soul's salvation, to meet it and embrace it on my bed than if I had encountered it in battle, for the sake of the glory of the world."

Let, us return to Henry IV. Since his declaration of war against Philip II. he had gained much ground. He had fought gloriously, in his own person, and beaten the Spaniards at Fontaine-Francaise. He had obtained from Pope Clement VIII. the complete and solemn absolution which had been refused to him the year before. Mayenne had submitted to him, and that submission had been death to the League. Some military reverses were intermingled with these political successes. Between the 25th of June, 1595, and the 10th of March, 1597, the Spanish armies took, in Picardy and Artois, Le Catelet, Doullens, Cambrai, Ardres, Ham, Guines and two towns of more importance, Calais, still the object of English ambition and of offers on the part of Queen Elizabeth to any one who could hand it over to her, and Amiens, one of the keys to France on the frontier of the north. These checks were not without compensation. Henry invested and took the strong place of La Fere; and he retook Amiens after a six months' struggle. A Spanish plot for getting possession of Marseilles failed; the young Duke of Guise, whom Henry had made governor of Provence, entered the city amidst shouts of Hurrah for the king! "Now I am king!" cried Henry, on receiving the news, so generally was Marseilles even then regarded as the queen of the Mediterranean. The Duke of Epernon, who had attempted to make of Provence an independent principality for himself, was obliged to leave it and treat with the king, ever ready to grant easy terms to those who could give up to him or sell him any portion of his kingdom. France was thus being rapidly reconstituted. "Since the month of January, 1596, Burgundy, parts of Forez, Auvergne, and Velay, the whole of Provence, half Languedoc, and the last town of Poitou had been brought back to their allegiance to the king. French territory and national unity had nothing more to wait for, to complete their re-establishment, than a portion of Brittany and four towns of Picardy still occupied by the Spaniards." [Poirson, Histoire du Regne de Henri IV., t. ii. p. 159.]

But these results were only obtained at enormous expense and by means of pecuniary sacrifices, loans, imposts, obligations of every sort, which left the king in inextricable embarrassment, and France in a condition of exhaustion still further aggravated by the deplorable administration of the public finances. On the 15th of April, 1596, Henry IV. wrote from Amiens to Rosny, "My friend, you know as well as any of my servants what troubles, labors, and fatigues I have had to go through to secure my life and my dignity against so many sorts of enemies and perils. Nevertheless I swear to you that all these traverses have not caused me so much affliction and bitterness of spirit as the sorrow and annoyance I now feel at finding thyself in continual controversies with those most in authority of my servants, officers, and councillors of state, when I would fain set about restoring this kingdom to its highest splendor, and relieving my poor people, whom I love as my dear children (God having at present granted me no others), from so many talliages, subsidies, vexations, and oppressions whereof they daily make complaints to me. . . . Having written to them who are of my council of finance how that I had a design of extreme importance in hand for which I had need of a fund of eight hundred thousand crowns, and therefore I begged and conjured them, by their loyalty and sincere affection towards me and France, to labor diligently for the certain raising of that sum, all their answers, after several delays, excuses, and reasons whereof one destroyed another, had finally no other conclusion than representations of difficulties and impossibilities. Nay, they feared not to send me word that so far from being able to furnish me with so notable a sum, they found great trouble in raising the funds to keep my household going. . . . I am resolved to know truly whether the necessities which are overwhelming me proceed from the malice, bad management, or ignorance of those whom I employ, or, good sooth, from the diminution of my revenues and the poverty of my people. And to that end, I mean to convoke the three orders of my kingdom, for to have of them some advice and aid, and meanwhile to establish among those people some loyal servant of mine, whom I will put in authority little by little, in order that he may inform me of what passes in my council, and enlighten me as to that which I desire to know. I have, as I have already told you, cast my eyes upon you to serve me in this commission, not doubting at all that I shall receive contentment and advantage from your administration. And I wish to tell you the state to which I am reduced, which is such that I am very near the enemy, and have not, as you may say, a horse to fight on or a whole suit of harness to my back. My shirts are all torn, my doublets out at elbows; my cupboard is often bare, and for the last two days I have been dining and supping with one and another; my purveyors say they have no more means of supplying my table, especially as for more than six months they have had no money. Judge whether I deserve to be so treated, and fail not to come. I have on my mind, besides, two or three other matters of consequence on which I wish to employ you the moment you arrive. Do not speak of all this to anybody whatsoever, not even to your wife. Adieu, my friend, whom well I love."

Henry IV. accomplished all that, when he wrote to Rosny, he had showed himself resolved to undertake. External circumstances became favorable to him. Since his conversion to Catholicism, England and her queen, Elizabeth, had been colder in the cause of the French alliance. When, after his declaration of war against Philip II., Henry demanded in London the support on which he had believed that he might rely, Elizabeth answered by demanding in her turn the cession of Calais as the price of her services. Quite determined not to give up Calais to England, Henry, without complaining of the demand, let the negotiation drag, confining himself to saying that he was looking for friends, not for masters. When in April, 1596, it was known in London that Calais had been taken by the Spaniards, Elizabeth sent word to Henry, then at Boulogne, that she would send him prompt assistance if he promised, when Calais was recovered from the Spaniards, to place it in the hands of the English. "If I must be despoiled," answered Henry, "I would rather it should be by my enemies than by my friends. In the former case it will be a reverse of fortune, in the latter I might be accused of poltroonery." Elizabeth assured the French ambassador, Harlay de Sancy, "that it had never been her intention to keep Calais, but simply to take care that, in any case, this important place should not remain in the hands of the common enemy whilst the king was engaged in other enterprises; anyhow," she added, "she had ordered the Earl of Essex, admiral of the English fleet raised against Spain, to arm promptly in order to go to the king's assistance." There was anxiety at that time in England about the immense preparations being made by Philip for the invasion he proposed to attempt against England, and for the putting to sea of his fleet, the Grand Armada. In conversation with the high treasurer, Lord Burleigh, Elizabeth's chief minister, Sancy found him even colder than his queen; Burleigh laid great stress upon all that the queen had already done for France, and on the one million five hundred thousand gold crowns she had lent to the king. "It would be more becoming," he said, "in the king's envoys to thank the queen for the aid she had already furnished than to ask for more; by dint of drawing water the well had gone dry; the queen could offer the king only three thousand men, on condition that they were raised at his own expense." "If the king," replied Sancy, "must expect neither alliance nor effectual aid on your part, he will be much obliged to the queen to let him know what course she takes, because he, on his side, will take that which will be most expedient for his affairs." Some of the king's councillors regarded it as possible that he should make peace with the King of Spain, and did not refrain from letting as much be understood. Negotiations in London seemed to be broken off; the French ambassadors had taken leave of Elizabeth. The news that came from Spain altered the tone of the English government; threats of Spanish invasion became day by day more distinct and the Grand Armada more dreaded. Elizabeth sent word to the ambassadors of France by some of her confidants, amongst others Sir Robert Cecil, son of the high treasurer, that she was willing to give them a last audience before their departure. The result of this audience was the conclusion of a treaty of alliance offensive and defensive between France and England against the King of Spain, with a mutual promise not to make, one without the other, either peace or truce, with precise stipulations as to the number and pay of the troops which the Queen of England should put in the field for the service of the King of France, and, further, with a proviso establishing freedom of trade between the two states. The treaty was drawn up in London on the 24th of May, 1596, ratified at Rouen by Henry IV. on the 19th of October following, and on the 31st of October the States-General of Holland acceded to it, whilst regulating, accordingly, the extent of their engagements.

Easy as to the part to be played by his allies in the war with Spain, Henry IV. set to work upon the internal reforms and measures of which he strongly felt the necessity. They were of two kinds; one administrative and financial, the other political and religious; he wished at one and the same time to consolidate the material forces of his government and to give his Protestant subjects, lately his own brethren, the legal liberty and security which they needed for their creed's sake, and to which they had a right.

He began, about the middle of October, 1596, by bringing Rosny into the council of finance, saying to him, "You promise me, you know, to be a good manager, and that you and I shall lop arms and legs from Madame Grivelee, as you have so often told me could be done." Madame Grivelee (Mrs. Pickings) was, in the language of the day, she who presided over illicit gains made in the administration of the public finances. Rosny at once undertook to accomplish that which he had promised the king. He made, in person, a minute examination of four receiver-generals' offices, in order, with that to guide him, to get a correct idea of the amount derived from imposts and the royal revenues, and of what became of this amount in its passage from collection to employment for the defrayal of the expenses of the state. "When he went on his inspection, the treasurers of France, receivers, accountants, comptrollers, either absented themselves or refused to produce him any register; he suspended some, frightened others, surmounted the obstacles of every kind that were put in his way, and he proved, from the principal items of receipt and expenditure at these four general offices, so much and such fraudulence that he collected five hundred thousand crowns (one million five hundred thousand livres of those times, and about five million four hundred and ninety thousand francs of the present date), had these sums placed in seventy carts, and drove them to Rouen, where the king was and where the Assembly of Notables had just met."

It was not the states-general properly so called that Henry IV. had convoked; he had considered that his authority was still too feebly constituted, and even too much disputed in a portion of the kingdom, to allow him to put it to such a test; and honest and sensible patriots had been of the same opinion D'Aubigne himself, the most independent and fault-finding spirit amongst his contemporaries, expressly says, "The troubles which were not yet extinguished in France did not admit of a larger convocation; the hearts of the people were not yet subdued and kneaded to obedience, as appeared from the excitement which supervened." [Histoire universelle, t. iii. p. 526.] Besides, Henry himself acknowledged, in the circular which he published on the 25th of July, 1596, at this juncture, the superior agency of the states-general. "We would gladly have brought them together in full assembly," he said, "if the armed efforts of our enemies allowed of any longer delay in finding a remedy for the plague which is racking us so violently; our intent is, pending the coming of the said states, to put a stop to all these disorders in the best and quickest way possible." "The king, moreover," says Sully, "had no idea of imitating the kings his predecessors in predilection for, and appointment of, certain deputies for whom he had a particular fancy; but he referred the nomination thereof to them of the church, of the noblesse, and of the people; and when they were assembled, he prescribed to them no rules, forms, or limits, but left them complete freedom of their opinions, utterances, suffrages, and deliberations." [OEconomies royales, t. iii. p. 29.] The notables met at Rouen to the number of eighty, nine of the clergy, nineteen of the noblesse, fifty-two of the third estate. The king opened the assembly on the 4th of November, 1596, with these words, full of dignity, and powerful in their vivid simplicity: "If I desired to win the title of orator, I would have learned by rote some fine, long speech, and would deliver it to you with proper gravity. But, gentlemen, my desire prompts me towards two more glorious titles, the names of deliverer and restorer of this kingdom. In order to attain whereto I have gathered you together. You know to your cost, as I to mine, that when it pleased God to call me to this crown, I found France not only all but ruined, but almost entirely lost to Frenchmen. By the divine favor, by the prayers and the good counsels of my servants who are not in the profession of arms, by the sword of my brave and generous noblesse, from whom I single out not the princes, upon the honor of a gentleman, as the holders of our proudest title, and by my own pains and labors, I have preserved her from perdition. Let us now preserve her from ruin. Share, my dear subjects, in this second triumph as you did in the first. I have not summoned you, like my predecessors, to get your approbation of their own wills. I have had you assembled in order to receive your counsels, put faith in them, follow them, in short, place myself under guardianship in your hands; a desire but little congenial to kings, graybeards, and conquerors. But the violent love I feel towards my subjects, and the extreme desire I have to add those two proud titles to that of king, make everything easy and honorable to me."

L'Estoile relates that the king's favorite, Gabrielle d'Estrees, was at the session behind some tapestry, and that, Henry IV. having asked what she thought of his speech, she answered, "I never heard better spoken; only I was astonished that you spoke of placing yourself under guardianship." "Ventre saint-gris," replied the king, "that is true; but I mean with my sword by my side." [Journal de Pierre l'Estoile, t. iii. p. 185.]

The assembly of notables sat from November 4, 1596, to January 29, 1597, without introducing into the financial regimen any really effective reforms; the rating board (conseil de raison), the institution of which they had demanded of the king, in connection with the fixing of imposts and employment of public revenues, was tried without success, and was not long before, of its own accord, resigning its power into the king's hands; but the mere convocation of this assembly was a striking instance of the homage paid by Henry IV. to that fundamental maxim of free government, which, as early as under Louis XI., Philip de Commynes expressed in these terms: "There is no king or lord on earth who hath power, over and above his own property, to put a single penny on his subjects without grant and consent of those who have to pay, unless by tyranny and violence." The ideas expressed and the counsels given by the assembly of notables were not, however, without good effect upon the general administration of the state; but the principal and most salutary result of its presence and influence was the personal authority which Sully drew from it, and of which he did not hesitate to make full use. Having become superintendent-general of finance and grand master of the ordnance, he exerted all his power to put in practice, as regarded the financial department, a system of receipts and expenses, and as regarded materials for the service of war, the reforms and maxims of economy, accountability, and supervision, which were suggested to him by his great good sense, and in which Henry IV. supported him with the spirit of one who well appreciated the strength they conferred upon his government, civil and military.

His relations with the Protestants gave him embarrassments to surmount and reforms to accomplish of quite a different sort, and more difficult still. At his accession, their satisfaction had not been untinged by disquietude; they foresaw the sacrifices the king would be obliged to make to his new and powerful friends the Catholics. His conversion to Catholicism threw into more or less open opposition the most zealous and some of the ambitious members of his late church. It was not long before their feelings burst forth in reproaches, alarms, and attacks. In 1597, a pamphlet, entitled The Plaints of the Reformed Churches of France [Memoires de la Ligue, t. vi. pp. 428-486], was published and spread prodigiously. "None can take it ill," said the anonymous author, "that we who make profession of the Reformed religion should come forward to get a hearing for our plaints touching so many deeds of outrage, violence, and injustice which are daily done to us, and done not here or there, but in all places of the realm; done at a time, under a reign in which they seemed less likely, and which ought to have given us better hopes. . . . We, sir, are neither Spaniards nor Leaguers; we have had such happiness as to see you, almost born and cradled, at any rate brought up, amongst us; we have employed our properties, our lives, in order to prevent the effects of ill will on the part of those who, from your cradle, sought your ruin; we have, with you and under your wise and valiant leadership, made the chiefest efforts for the preservation of the crown, which, thank God, is now upon your head. . . . We do beseech you, sir, to give us permission to have the particulars of our grievances heard both by your Majesty and all your French, for we do make plaint of all the French. Not that in so great and populous a kingdom we should imagine that there are not still to be found some whose hearts bleed to see indignities so inhuman; but of what avail to us is all they may have in them of what is good, humane, and French? A part of them are so soft, so timorous, that they would not so much as dare to show a symptom of not liking that which displeases them; and if, when they see us so maltreated, they do summon up sufficient boldness to look another way, and think that they have done but their duty, still do they tremble with fear of being taken for favorers of heretics."

The writer then enters upon an exposition of all the persecutions, all the acts of injustice, all the evils of every kind that the reformers have to suffer. He lays the blame of them, as he has just said, upon the whole French community, the noblesse, the commons, the magistracy, as well as the Catholic priests and monks; he enumerates a multitude of special facts in support of his plaints. "Good God!" he cries, "that there should be no class, no estate in France, from which we can hope for any relief! None from which we may not fear lest ruin come upon us!" And he ends by saying, "Stem, then, sir, with your good will and your authority, the tide of our troubles. Direct your counsels towards giving us some security. Accustom your kingdom to at least endure us, if it will not love us. We demand of your Majesty an edict which may give us enjoyment of that which is common to all your subjects, that is to say, of far less than you have granted to your enemies, your rebels of the League."

We will not stop to inquire whether the matters stated in these plaints are authentic or disputable, accurate or exaggerated; it is probable that they contain a great deal of truth, and that, even under Henry IV., the Protestants had many sufferings to endure and disregarded rights to recover. The mistake they made and the injustice they showed consisted in not taking into, account all the good that Henry IV. had done them and was daily doing them, and in calling upon him, at a moment's notice, to secure to them by an edict all the good that it was not in his power to do them. We purpose just to give a brief summary of the ameliorations introduced into their position under him, even before the edict of Nantes, and to transfer the responsibility for all they still lacked to the cause indicated by themselves in their plaints, when they take to task all the French on the Catholic side, who, in the sixteenth century, disregarded in France the rights of creed and of religious life, just as the Protestants themselves disregarded them in England so far as the Catholics were concerned.

One fact immediately deserves to be pointed out; and that is the number and the practical character of meetings officially held at this period by the Protestants: an indisputable proof of the liberty they enjoyed. These meetings were of two sorts; one, the synods, were for the purpose of regulating their faith, their worship, their purely religious affairs. Between 1594 and 1609, under the sway of Henry IV., Catholic king, seven national synods of the Protestant church in France held their sessions in seven different towns, and discussed with perfect freedom such questions of religious doctrine and discipline as were interesting to them. At the same epoch, between 1593 and 1608, the French Protestants met at eleven assemblies, specially summoned to deliberate, not in these cases upon questions of faith and religious discipline, but upon their temporal and political interests, upon their relations towards the state, and upon the conduct they were to adopt under the circumstances of their times. The principle to which minds, and even matters, to a certain extent, have now attained, the deep-seated separation between the civil and the religious life, and their mutual independence, this higher principle was unknown to the sixteenth century; the believer and the citizen were then but one, and the efforts of laws and governments were directed towards bringing the whole nation entire into the same state of unity. And as they did not succeed therein, their attempts produced strife instead of unity, war instead of peace. When the French Protestants of the sixteenth century met in the assemblies which they themselves called political, they acted as one nation confronting another nation, and labored to form a state within state. We will borrow from the intelligent and learned Histoire d'Henri IV., by M. Poirson, (t. ii. pp. 497-500), a picture of one of those assemblies and its work. "After the king's abjuration, and at the end of the year 1593, the French Huguenots renewed at Mantes their old union, and swore to live and die united in their profession of faith. Henry was in hopes that they would stop short at a religious demonstration; but they made it a starting-point for a new political and military organization on behalf of the Calvinistic party. They took advantage of a general permission granted them by Henry, and met, not in synod, but in general assembly, at the town of Sainte Foy, in the month of June, 1594. Thereupon they divided all France into nine great provinces or circles, composed each of several governments or provinces of the realm. Each circle had a separate council, composed of from five to seven members, and commissioned to fix and apportion the separate imposts, to keep up a standing army, to collect the supplies necessary for the maintenance and defence of the party. The Calvinistic republic had its general assemblies, composed of nine deputies or representatives from each of the nine circles. These assemblies were invested with authority to order, on the general account, all that the juncture required, that is to say, with a legislative power distinct from that of the crown and nation. . . . If the king ceased to pay the sums necessary to keep up the garrisons in the towns left to the Reformers, the governors were to seize the talliages in the hands of the king's receivers, and apply the money to the payment of the garrisons. And in case the central power should attempt to repress these violent procedures, or to substitute as commandant in those places a Catholic for a Protestant, all the Calvinists of the locality and the neighboring districts were to unite and rise in order to give the assistance of the strong hand to the Protestant governors so attacked. Independently of the ordinary imposts, a special impost was laid on the Calvinists, and gave their leaders the disposal of a yearly sum of one hundred and twenty thousand livres (four hundred and forty thousand francs of the present day). The Calvinistic party had thus a territorial area, an administration, finances, a legislative power and an executive power independent of those of the country; or, in other words, the means of taking resolutions contrary to those of the mass of the nation, and of upholding them by revolt. All they wanted was a Huguenot stadtholder to oppose to the King of France, and they were looking out for one."

Henry IV. did not delude himself as to the tendency of such organization amongst those of his late party. "He rebuffed very sternly (and wisely)," says L'Estoile, "those who spoke to him of it. 'As for a protector,' he told them, 'he would have them to understand that there was no other protector in France but himself for one side or the other; the first man who should be so daring as to assume the title would do so at the risk of his life; he might be quite certain of that.'" Had Henry IV. been permitted to read the secrets of a not so very distant future, he might have told the Huguenots of his day that the time was not so far off when their pretension to political organization and to the formation of a state within the state, would compromise their religious liberty and furnish the absolute government of Louis XIV. with excuses for abolishing the protective edict which Henry IV.'s sympathy was on the point of granting them, and which, so far as its purely religious provisions went, was duly respected by the sagacity of Cardinal Richelieu.

After his conversion to Catholicism, and during the whole of his reign, it was one of Henry IV.'s constant anxieties to show himself well-disposed towards his old friends, and to do for them all he could do without compromising the public peace in France, or abdicating in his own person the authority he needed to maintain order and peace. Some of the edicts published by his predecessors during the intervals of civil war, notably the edict of Poitiers issued by Henry III., had granted the Protestants free exercise of their worship in the castles of the Calvinistic lords who had jurisdiction, to the number of thirty-five hundred, and in the faubourgs of one town or borough of each bailiwick of the realm, except the bailiwick of Paris. Further, the holding of properties and heritages, union by marriage with Catholics, and the admission of Protestants to the employments, offices, and dignities of the realm, were recognized by this edict. These rights, in black and white, had often been violated by the different authorities, or suspended during the wars; Henry IV. maintained them or put them in force again, and supported the application of them or decreed the extension of them. It was calculated that there were in France eight hundred towns and three hundred bailiwicks or seneschalties; the treaties concluded with the League had expressly prohibited the exercise of Protestant worship in forty towns and seventeen bailiwicks; Henry IV. tolerated it everywhere else. The prohibition was strict as regarded Paris and ten leagues round; but, as early as 1594, three months after his entry into Paris, Henry aided the Reformers in the unostentatious celebration of their own form in the Faubourg St. Germain; and he authorized the use of it at court for religious ceremonies, especially for marriages. Three successive edicts, two issued at Mantes in 1591 and 1593, and the third at St. Germain in 1597, confirmed and developed these signs of progress in the path of religious liberty.

The Parliaments had in general refused to enregister these decrees a fact which gave them an incomplete and provisional character; but equitable and persistent measures on the king's part prevailed upon the Parliament of Paris to enregister the edict of St. Germain; and the Parliament of Dijon and nearly all the other Parliaments of the kingdom followed this example. One of the principal provisions of this last edict declared Protestants competent to fill all the offices and dignities of the kingdom. It had many times been inserted in preceding edicts, but always rejected by the Parliaments or formally revoked. Henry IV. brought it into force and credit by putting it extensively in practice, without entering upon discussion of it and without adding any comment upon it. In 1590 he had given Palleseuil the government of Neuchatel in Normandy; he had introduced Hurault Dufay, Du Plessis-Mornay and Rosny into the council of state; in 1594 he had appointed the last a member of the council of finance; Soffray de Colignon, La Force, Lesdiguieres, and Sancy were summoned to the most important functions; Turenne, in 1594, was raised to the dignity of marshal of France; and in 1595 La Tremoille was made duke and peer. They were all Protestants. Their number and their rank put the matter beyond all dispute; it was a natural consequence of the social condition of France; it became an habitual practice with the government.

Nevertheless the complaints and requirements of the malcontent Protestants continued, and became day by day more vehement; in 1596 and 1597 the assemblies of Saumur, Loudun, and Vendome became their organs of expression; and messengers were sent with them to the camp before La Fere, which Henry IV. was at that time besieging. He deferred his reply. Two of the principal Protestant leaders, the Dukes of Bouillon and La Tremoille, suddenly took extreme measures; they left the king and his army, carrying off their troops with them, one to Auvergne and the other to Poitou. The deputies from the assembly of Loudun started back again at the same time, as if for the purpose of giving the word to arm in their provinces. Du Plessis-Mornay and his wife, the most zealous of the Protestants who were faithful at the same time to their cause and to the king, bear witness to this threatening crisis. "The deputies," says Madame du Mornay in her Memoires, "returned each to his own province, with the intention of taking the cure of their evils into their own hands, whence would infallibly have ensued trouble enough to complete the ruin of this state had not the king, by the management of M. du Plessis, been warned of this imminent danger, and by him persuaded to send off and treat in good earnest with the said assembly." "These gentry, rebuffed at court," says Du Plessis-Mornay himself in a letter to the Duke of Bouillon, "have resolved to take the cure into their own hands; to that end they have been authorized, and by actions which do not seem to lead them directly thither they will find that they have passed the Rubicon right merrily." It was as it were a new and a Protestant League just coming to a head. Henry IV. was at that time engaged in the most important negotiation of his reign. After a long and difficult siege he had just retaken. Amiens. He thought it a favorable moment at which to treat for peace with Spain, and put an end to an onerous war which he had been for so long sustaining. He informed the Queen of England of his intention, "begging her, if the position of her affairs did not permit her to take part in the treaty he was meditating with Spain, to let him know clearly what he must do to preserve amity and good understanding between the two crowns, for he would always prefer an ally like her to reconciled foes such as the Spaniards." He addressed the same notification to the Dutch government. Elizabeth on one hand and the states-general on the other tried to dissuade him from peace with Spain, and to get him actively re-engaged in the strife from which they were not disposed to emerge. He persisted in his purpose whilst setting before them his reasons for it, and binding himself to second faithfully their efforts by all pacific means. A congress was opened in January, 1598, at Vervins in Picardy, through the mediation of Pope Clement VIII., anxious to become the pacificator of Catholic Europe. The French plenipotentiaries, Pomponne de Bellievre and Brulart de Silleri, had instructions to obtain the restoration to the king of all towns and places taken by the Spaniards from France since the treaty of peace of Cateau-Cambresis, and to have the Queen of England and the United Provinces, if they testified a desire for it, included in the treaty, or, at any rate, to secure for them a truce. After three months' conferences the treaty of peace was concluded at Vervins on the 2d of May, 1598, the principal condition being, that King Philip II. should restore to France the towns of Calais, Ardres, Doullens, Le Catelet, and Blavet; that he should re-enter upon possession of the countship of Charolais; and that, if either of the two sovereigns had any claims to make against one of the states their allies in this treaty, "he should prosecute them only by way of law, before competent judges, and not by force, in any manner whatever." The Queen of England took no decisive resolution. When once the treaty was concluded, Henry IV., on signing it, said to the Duke of Epernon, "With this stroke of my pen I have just done more exploits than I should have done in a long while with the best swords in my kingdom."

A month before the conclusion of the treaty of peace at Vervins with Philip II., Henry IV. had signed and published at Paris on the 13th of April, 1598, the edict of Nantes, his treaty of peace with the Protestant malcontents. This treaty, drawn up in ninety-two open and fifty-six secret articles, was a code of old and new laws regulating the civil and religious position of Protestants in France, the conditions and guarantees of their worship, their liberties, and their special obligations in their relations whether with the crown or with their Catholic fellow-countrymen. By this code Henry IV. added a great deal to the rights of the Protestants and to the duties of the state towards them. Their worship was authorized not only in the castles of the lords high-justiciary, who numbered thirty-five hundred, but also in the castles of simple noblemen who enjoyed no high-justiciary rights, provided that the number of those present did not exceed thirty. Two towns or two boroughs, instead of one, had the same religious rights in each bailiwick or seneschalty of the kingdom. The state was charged with the duty of providing for the salaries of the Protestant ministers and rectors in their colleges or schools, and an annual sum of one hundred and sixty-five thousand livres of those times (four hundred and ninety-five thousand francs of the present day) was allowed for that purpose. Donations and legacies to be so applied were authorized. The children of Protestants were admitted into the universities, colleges, schools, and hospitals, without distinction between them and Catholics. There was great difficulty in securing for them, in all the Parliaments of the kingdom, impartial justice; and a special chamber, called the edict-chamber, was instituted for the trial of all causes in which they were interested. Catholic judges could not sit in this chamber unless with their consent and on their presentation. In the Parliaments of Bordeaux, Toulouse, and Grenoble, the edict-chamber was composed of two presidents, one a Catholic and the other a Reformer, and of twelve councillors, of whom six were Reformers. The Parliaments had hitherto refused to admit Reformers into their midst; in the end the Parliament of Paris admitted six, one into the edict-chamber and five into the appeal-chamber (enquetes). The edict of Nantes retained, at first for eight years and then for four more, in the hands of the Protestants the towns which war or treaties had put in their possession, and which numbered, it is said, two hundred. The king was bound to bear the burden of keeping up their fortifications and paying their garrisons; and Henry IV. devoted to that object five hundred and forty thousand livres of those times, or about two million francs of our day. When the edict thus regulating the position and rights of Protestants was published, it was no longer on their part, but on that of the Catholics, that lively protests were raised. Many Catholics violently opposed the execution of the new law; they got up processions at Tours to excite the populace against the edict, and at Le Mans to induce the Parliament of Normandy to reject it. The Parliament of Paris put in the way of its registration retardations which seemed to forebode a refusal. Henry summoned to the Louvre deputies from all the chambers. "What I have done," he said to them, "is for the good of peace. I have made it abroad; I wish to make it at home. Necessity forced me to this decree. They who would prevent it from passing would have war. You see me in my closet. I speak to you, not in royal robe, or with sword and cape, as my predecessors did, nor as a prince receiving an embassy, but as a father of a family in his doublet conversing familiarly with his children. It is said that I am minded to favor them of the religion; there is a mind to entertain some mistrust of me. . . . I know that cabals have been got up in the Parliament, that seditious preachers have been set on. . . . The preachers utter words by way of doctrine for to build up rather than pull down sedition. That is the road formerly, taken to the making of barricades, and to proceeding by degrees to the parricide of the late king. I will cut the roots of all these factions; I will make short work of those who foment them. I have scaled the walls of cities; you may be sure I shall scale barricades. You must consider that what I am doing is for a good purpose, and let my past behavior go bail for it."

Parliaments and Protestants, all saw that they had to do not only with a strong-willed king, but with a judicious and clearsighted man, a true French patriot, who was sincerely concerned for the public interest, and who had won his spurs in the art of governing parties by making for each its own place in the state. It was scarcely five years ago that the king who was now publishing the edict of Nantes had become a Catholic; the Parliaments enregistered the decree. The Protestant malcontents resigned themselves to the necessity of being content with it. Whatever their imperfections and the objections that might be raised to them, the peace of Vervins and the edict of Narrtes were, amidst the obstacles and perils encountered at every step by the government of Henry IV., the two most timely and most beneficial acts in the world for France.

Four months after the conclusion of the treaty of Vervins, on the 13th of September, 1598, Philip II. died at the Escurial, "prison, cloister, and tomb all in one," as M. Rosseau St. Hilaire very well remarks [Histoire d'Espagne, t. x. pp. 335-363], situated eight leagues from Madrid. Philip was so ill, and so cruelly racked by gout and fever, that it was doubted whether he could be removed thither; "but a collection of relics, amassed by his orders in Germany, had just arrived at the Escurial, and the festival of consecration was to take place within a few days. 'I desire that I be borne alive thither where my tomb already is,' said Philip." He was laid in a litter borne by men who walked at a snail's pace, in order to avoid all shaking. Forced to halt every instant, he took six days to do the eight leagues which separated him from his last resting-place. There he died in atrocious agonies, and after a very painful operation, endured with unalterable courage and calmness; he had ordered to be placed in front of his bed the bier in which his body was to lie and the crucifix which his father, Charles V., at his death in the monastery of Yuste, had held in his hand. During a reign of forty-two years Philip II. was, systematically and at any price, on the score of what he regarded as the divine right of the Catholic church and of his own kingship, the patron of absolute power in Europe. Earnest and sincere in his faith, licentious without open scandal in his private life, unscrupulous and pitiless in the service of the religious and political cause he had embraced, he was capable of any lie, one might almost say of any crime, without having his conscience troubled by it. A wicked man and a frightful example of what a naturally cold and hard spirit may become when it is a prey to all the temptations of despotism and to two sole passions, egotism and fanaticism.

After the death of Philip II. and during the first years of the reign of his son Philip III., war continued between Spain on one side, and England, the United Provinces, and the German Protestants on the other, but languidly and without any results to signify. Henry IV. held aloof from the strife, all the while permitting his Huguenot subjects to take part in it freely and at their own risks. On the 3d of April, 1603, a second great royal personage, Queen Elizabeth, disappeared from the scene. She had been, as regards the Protestantism of Europe, what Philip II. had been, as regards Catholicism, a powerful and able patron; but, what Philip II. did from fanatical conviction, Elizabeth did from patriotic feeling; she had small faith in Calvinistic doctrines, and no liking for Puritanic sects; the Catholic church, the power of the pope excepted, was more to her mind than the Anglican church, and her private preferences differed greatly from her public practices. Besides, she combined with the exigencies of a king's position the instincts of a woman; she had the vanities rather than the weaknesses of one; she would fain have inspired and responded to the passions natural to one; but policy always had the dominion over her sentiments without extinguishing them, and the proud sovereign sent to the block the overweening and almost rebel subject whom she afterwards grievously regretted. These inconsistent resolutions and emotions caused Elizabeth's life to be one of agitation, though without warmth, and devoid of serenity as of sweetness. And so, when she grew old, she was disgusted with it and weary of it; she took no pleasure any more in thing or person; she could no longer bear herself, either in her court or in her bed or elsewhere; she decked herself out to lie stretched upon cushions and there remain motionless, casting about her vague glances which seemed to seek after that for which she did not ask. She ended by repelling her physicians and even refusing nourishment. When her ministers saw her thus, almost insensible and dying, they were emboldened to remind her of what she had said to them one day at White-Hall, "My throne must be a king's throne." At this reminder she seemed to rouse herself, and repeated the same words, adding, "I will not have a rascal (vaurien) to succeed me." Sir Robert Cecil asked her what she meant by that expression. "I tell you that I must have a king to succeed me; who can that be but my cousin of Scotland?" After having indicated the King of Scotland, James Stuart, son of the fair rival whom she had sent to the block, Elizabeth remained speechless. The Archbishop of Canterbury commenced praying, breaking off at intervals; twice the queen signed to him to go on. Her advisers returned in the evening, and begged her to indicate to them by signs if she were still of the same mind; she raised her arms and crossed them above her head. Then she seemed to fall into a dreamy state. At three o'clock, during the night, she quietly passed away. Some few hours afterwards, her counsellors in assembly resolved to proclaim James Stuart, King of Scotland, King of England, as the nearest of kin to the late queen, and indicated by her on her death-bed.

At the beginning of the seventeenth century Henry IV. was the only one remaining of the three great sovereigns who, during the sixteenth, had disputed, as regarded religion and politics, the preponderance in Europe. He had succeeded in all his kingly enterprises; he had become a Catholic in France without ceasing to be the prop of the Protestants in Europe; he had made peace with Spain without embroiling himself with England, Holland, and Lutheran Germany. He had shot up, as regarded ability and influence, in the eyes of all Europe. It was just then that he gave the strongest proof of his great judgment and political sagacity; he was not intoxicated with success; he did not abuse his power; he did not aspire to distant conquests or brilliant achievements; he concerned himself chiefly with the establishment of public order in his kingdom and with his people's prosperity. His well-known saying, "I want all my peasantry to have a fowl in the pot every Sunday," was a desire worthy of Louis XII. Henry IV. had a sympathetic nature; his grandeur did not lead him to forget the nameless multitudes whose fate depended upon his government.

He had, besides, the rich, productive, varied, inquiring mind of one who took an interest not only in the welfare of the French peasantry, but in the progress of the whole French community, progress agricultural, industrial, commercial, scientific, and literary. The conversation of an independent thinker like Montaigne had, at the least, as much attraction for him as that of his comrades in arms. Long before Henry IV. was King of France, on the 19th of December, 1584, Montaigne, wrote, "The King of Navarre came to see me at Montaigne where he had never been before, and was there two days, attended by my people without any of his own officers; he permitted neither tasting (essai) nor state-banquet (couvert), and slept in my bed." On the 24th of October, 1587, after winning the battle of Contras, Henry stopped to dine at Montaigne's house, though its possessor had remained faithful to Henry III., whose troops had just lost the battle; and on the 18th of January, 1590, when the King of Navarre, now become King of France, besieged and took the town of Lisieux, Montaigne wrote to him, "All the time through, sir, I have observed in you this same fortune that is now yours; and you may remember that even when I had to make confession thereof to my parish-priest I did not omit to regard your successes with a kindly eye. Now, with more reason and freedom, I hug them to my heart. Yonder they do you service by effects; but they do you no less service here by reputation. The report goes as far as the shot. We could not derive from the justice of your cause arguments so powerful in sustaining or reducing your subjects as we do from the news of the prosperity of your enterprises."

Abroad the policy of Henry IV. was as judicious and far sighted as it was just and sympathetic at home. There has been much writing and dissertation about what has been called his grand design. This name has been given to a plan for the religious and political organization of Christendom, consisting in the division of Europe amongst three religions, the Catholic, the Calvinistic, and the Lutheran, and into fifteen states, great and small, monarchical or republican, with equal rights, alone recognized as members of the Christian confederation, regulating in concert their common affairs, and pacifically making up their differences, whilst all the while preserving their national existence. This plan is lengthily and approvingly set forth, several times over, in the OEconomies royales, which Sully's secretaries wrote at his suggestion, and probably sometimes at his dictation. Henry IV. was a prince as expansive in ideas as he was inventive, who was a master of the art of pleasing, and himself took great pleasure in the freedom and unconstraint of conversation. No doubt the notions of the grand design often came into his head, and he often talked about them to Sully, his confidant in what he thought as well as in what he did. Sully, for his part was a methodical spirit, a regular downright putter in practice, evidently struck and charmed by the richness and grandeur of the prospects placed before his eyes by his king, and feeling pleasure in shedding light upon them whilst giving them a more positive and more complete shape than belonged to their first and original appearance. And thus came down to us the grand design, which, so far as Henry IV. was concerned, was never a definite project. His true external policy was much more real and practical. He had seen and experienced the evils of religious hatred and persecution. He had been a great sufferer from the supremacy of the house of Austria in Europe, and he had for a long while opposed it. When he became the most puissant and most regarded of European kings, he set his heart very strongly on two things—toleration for the three religions which had succeeded in establishing themselves in Europe and showing themselves capable of contending one against another, and the abasement of the house of Austria, which, even after the death of Charles V. and of Philip II., remained the real and the formidable rival of France. The external policy of Henry from the treaty of Vervins to his death, was religious peace in Europe and the alliance of Catholic France with Protestant England and Germany against Spain and Austria. He showed constant respect and deference towards the papacy, a power highly regarded in both the rival camps, though much fallen from the substantial importance it had possessed in Europe during the middle ages. French policy striving against Spanish policy, such was the true and the only serious characteristic of the grand design.

Four men, very unequal in influence as well as merit, Sully, Villeroi, Du Plessis-Mornay, and D'Aubigne, did Henry IV. effective service, by very different processes and in very different degrees, towards establishing and rendering successful this internal and external policy. Three were Protestants; Villeroi alone was a Catholic. Sully is beyond comparison with the other three. He is the only one whom Henry IV. called my friend; the only one who had participated in all the life and all the government of Henry IV., his evil as well as his exalted fortunes, his most painful embarrassments at home as well as his greatest political acts; the only one whose name has remained inseparably connected with that of a master whom he served without servility as well as without any attempt to domineer. There is no idea of entering here upon his personal history; we would only indicate his place in that of his king. Maximilian de Bethune-Rosny, born in 1559, and six years younger than Henry of Navarre, was barely seventeen when in 1576 he attended Henry on his flight from the court of France to go and recover in Navarre his independence of position and character. Rosny was content at first to serve him as a volunteer, "in order," he said, "to learn the profession of arms from its first rudiments." He speedily did himself honor in several actions. In 1580 the King of Navarre took him as chamberlain and counsellor. On becoming King of France, Henry IV., in 1594, made him secretary of state; in 1596, put him on the council of finance; in 1597, appointed him grand surveyor of France, and, in 1599, superintendent-general of finance and master of the ordnance. In 1602 he was made Marquis de Rosny and councillor of honor in the Parliament; then governor of the Bastille, superintendent of fortifications, and surveyor of Paris; in 1603, governor of Poitou. Lastly, in 1606, his estate of Sully-sur-Loire was raised to a duchy-peerage, and he was living under this name, which has become his historical name, when, in 1610, the assassination of Henry IV. sent into retirement, for thirty-one years, the confidant of all his thoughts and the principal minister of a reign which, independently of the sums usefully expended for the service of the state and the advancement of public prosperity, had extinguished, according to the most trustworthy evidence, two hundred and thirty-five millions of debts, and which left in the coffers of the state, in ready money or in safe securities, forty-three million, one hundred and thirty-eight thousand, four hundred and ninety livres.

Nicholas de Neufville, Lord of Villeroi, who was born in 1543, and whose grandfather had been secretary of state under Francis I., was, whilst Henry III. was still reigning, member of a small secret council at which all questions relating to Protestants were treated of. Though a strict Catholic, and convinced that the King of France ought to be openly in the ranks of the Catholics, and to govern with their support, he sometimes gave Henry III. some free-spoken and wise counsels. When he saw him spending his time with the brotherhoods of penitents whose head he had declared himself, "Sir," said he, "debts and obligations are considered according to dates, and therefore old debts ought to be paid before new ones. You were King of France before you were head of the brotherhoods; your conscience binds you to render to the kingship that which you owe it rather than to the fraternity that which you have promised it. You can excuse yourself from one, but not from the other. You only wear the sackcloth when you please, but you have the crown always on your head." When the wars of religion broke out, when the League took form and Henry de Guise had been assassinated at Blois, Villeroi, naturally a Leaguer and a moderate Leaguer, became the immediate adviser of the Duke of Mayenne. After Henry III.'s death, as soon as he heard that Henry IV. promised to have himself instructed in the Catholic religion, he announced his intention of recognizing him if he held to this engagement; and he held to his own, for he was during five years the intermediary between Henry IV. and Mayenne, incessantly laboring to reconcile them, and to prevent the estates of the League from giving the crown of France to a Spanish princess. Villeroi was a Leaguer of the patriotically French type. And so Henry IV., as soon as he was firm upon his throne, summoned him to his councils, and confided to him the direction of foreign affairs. The late Leaguer sat beside Sully, and exerted himself to give the prevalence, in Henry IV.'s external policy, to Catholic maxims and alliances, whilst Sully, remaining firmly Protestant in the service of his king turned Catholic, continued to be in foreign matters the champion of Protestant policy and alliances. There was thus seen, during the sixteenth century, in the French monarchy, a phenomenon which was to repeat itself during the eighteenth in the republic of the United States of America, when, in 1789, its president, Washington, summoned to his cabinet Hamilton and Jefferson together, one the stanchest of the aristocratic federalists and the other the warm defender of democratic principles and tendencies. Washington, in his lofty and calm impartiality, considered that, to govern the nascent republic, he had need of both; and he found a way, in fact, to make both of service to him. Henry IV. had perceived himself to be in an analogous position with France and Europe divided between Catholics and Protestants, whom he aspired to pacificate.

He likewise succeeded. An incomplete success, however, as generally. happens when the point attained is an adjournment of knotty questions which war has vainly attempted to cut, and the course of ideas and events has not yet had time to unravel.

Henry IV. made so great a case of Villeroi's co-operation and influence, that, without loving him as he loved Sully, he upheld him and kept him as secretary of state for foreign affairs to the end of his reign. He precisely defined his peculiar merit when he said, "Princes have servants of all values and all sorts; some do their own business before that of their master; others do their master's and do not forget their own; but Villeroi believes that his master's business is his own, and he bestows thereon the same zeal that another does in pushing his own suit or laboring at his own vine." Though short and frigidly written, the Memoires of Villeroi give, in fact, the idea of a man absorbed in his commission and regarding it as his own business as well as that of his king and country.

Philip du Plessis-Mornay occupied a smaller place than Sully and Villeroi in the government of Henry IV.; but he held and deserves to keep a great one in the history of his times. He was the most eminent and also the most moderate of the men of profound piety and conviction of whom the Reformation had made a complete conquest, soul and body, and who placed their public fidelity to their religious creed above every other interest and every other affair in this world. He openly blamed and bitterly deplored Henry IV.'s conversion to Catholicism, but he did not ignore the weighty motives for it; his disapproval and his vexation did not make him forget the great qualities of his king or the services he was rendering France, or his own duty and his earlier feelings towards him. This unbending Protestant, who had contributed as much as anybody to put Henry IV. on the throne, who had been admitted further than anybody, except Sully, to his intimacy, who ever regretted that his king had abandoned his faith, who braved all perils and all disgraces to keep and maintain his own, this Mornay, malcontent, saddened, all but banished from court, assailed by his friends' irritation and touched by their sufferings, never took part against the king whom he blamed, and of whom he thought he had to complain, in any faction or any intrigue; on the contrary, he remained unshakably faithful to him, incessantly striving to maintain or re-establish in the Protestant church in France some little order and peace, and between the Protestants and Henry IV. some little mutual confidence and friendliness. Mornay had made up his mind to serve forever a king who had saved his country. He remained steadfast and active in his creed, but without falling beneath the yoke of any narrow-minded idea, preserving his patriotic good sense in the midst of his fervent piety, and bearing with sorrowful constancy his friends' bursts of anger and his king's exhibitions of ingratitude. Between 1597 and 1605 three incidents supervened which put to the proof Henry IV.'s feelings towards his old and faithful servant. In October, 1597, Mornay, still governor of Saumur, had gone to Angers to concert plans with Marshal de Brissac for an expedition which, by order of the king, they were to make into Brittany against the Duke of Mercoeur, not yet reduced to submission. As he was passing along the street with only three or four of his men, he was unexpectedly attacked by one Sieur de Saint-Phal, who, after calling upon him to give some explanation as to a disagreement that had taken place between them five months before, brutally struck him a blow on the head with a stick, knocked him down, immediately mounted a horse that was held all ready on the spot, and fled in haste, leaving Mornay in the hands of ten or a dozen accomplices, who dealt him several sword-thrusts as he was rising to defend himself, and who, in their turn, fled. Some passers-by hurried up; Mornay's wounds were found to be slight; but the affair, which nobody hesitated to call murder, made a great noise; there was general indignation; the king was at once informed of it; and whilst the question was being discussed at Saumur whether Mornay ought to seek reparation by way of arms or by that of law, Henry IV. wrote to him in his own hand on the 8th of November, 1597:—

"M. du Plessis: I am extremely displeased at the outrage you have met with, wherein I participate both as king and as your friend. As the former I will do you justice and myself too. If I bore only the second title, you have none whose sword would be more ready to leap from its scabbard than mine, or who would put his life at your service more cheerfully than I. Take this for granted, that, in effect, I will render you the offices of king, master, and friend. And on this truthful assurance, I conclude, praying God to have you in His holy keeping."

Saint-Phal remained for a long while concealed in the very district, amongst his relatives; but on the 12th of January, 1599, he was arrested and put in the Bastille; and, according to the desire of Mornay himself, the king decided that he should be brought before him, unarmed, should place one knee on the ground, should ask his pardon, and then, assuming his arms, should accordingly receive that pardon, first of all from Mornay, whom the king had not permitted to exact in another way the reparation due to him, and afterwards from the mouth of the king himself, together with a severe admonition to take heed to himself for the future. The affair having thus terminated, there was no more heard of Saint-Phal, and Mornay returned to Saumur with a striking mark of the king's sympathy, who, in his own words, had felt pleasure "in avenging him as king and as friend."

The second incident was of more political consequence, and neither the king nor Mornay conducted themselves with sufficient discretion and dignity. In July, 1598, Mornay published a treatise on the institution of the eucharist in the Christian church, how and by what degrees the mass was introduced in its place. It was not only an attack upon the fundamental dogma and cult of the Catholic church; the pope was expressly styled Antichrist in it. Clement VIII. wrote several times about it to Henry IV., complaining that a man of such high standing in the government and in the king's regard should treat so insultingly a sovereign in alliance with the king, and head of the church to which the king belonged. The pope's complaint came opportunely. Henry IV. was at this time desirous of obtaining from the court of Rome annulment of his marriage with Marguerite de Valois, that he might be enabled to contract another; he did not as yet say with whom. Mornay's book was vigorously attacked, not only in point of doctrine, but in point of fact; he was charged with having built his foundation upon a large number of misquotations; and the Bishop of Evreux, M. du Perron, a great friend of the king's, whom he had always supported and served, said that he was prepared to point out as such nearly five hundred. The dispute grew warm between the two theologians; Mornay demanded leave to prove the falsehood of the accusation; the bishop accepted the challenge. For all his defence of his book and his erudition, Mornay did not show any great hurry to enter upon the contest; and, on the other hand, the bishop reduced the number of the quotations against which he objected. The sum total of the quotations found fault with was fixed at sixty. A conference was summoned to look into them, and six commissioners, three Catholic and three Protestant, were appointed to give judgment; De Thou and Pithou amongst the former, Dufresne la Canaye and Casaubon amongst the latter. Erudition was worthily represented there, and there was every probability of justice. The conference met on the 4th of May, 1600, at Fontainebleau, in presence of the king and many great lords, magistrates, ecclesiastics, and distinguished spectators.

Mornay began by owning that "out of four thousand quotations made by him it was unlikely that some would not be found wherein he might have erred, as he was human, but he was quite sure that it was never in bad faith." He then said that, being pressed for time, he had not yet been able to collate more than nineteen out of the sixty quotations specially attacked. Of these nineteen nine only were examined at this first conference, and nearly all were found to be incorrect. Next day, Mornay was taken "with a violent seizure and repeated attacks of vomiting, which M. de la Riviere, the king's premier physician, came and deposed to." The conference was broken off, and not resumed afterwards. The king congratulated himself beyond measure at the result, and even on the part which he had taken. "Tell the truth," said he to the Bishop of Evreux, "the good right had good need of aid;" and he wrote, on the 6th of May to the Duke of Epernon, "The diocese of Evreux has beaten that of Saumur. The bearer was present, and will tell you that I did wonders. Assuredly it is one of the greatest hits for the church of God that have been made for some time." He evidently had it very much at heart that the pope should be well informed of what had taken place, and feel obliged to him for it. "Haven't you wits to see that the king, in order to gratify the pope, has been pleased to sacrifice my father's honor at his feet?" said young Philip de Mornay to some courtiers who were speaking to him about this sad affair. This language was reported to the king, who showed himself much hurt by it. "He is a young man beside himself with grief," they said, "and it is his own father's case." "Young he is not," replied the king; "he is forty years old, twenty in age and twenty from his father's teaching." The king's own circle and his most distinguished servants gladly joined in his self-congratulation. "Well," he said to Sully, "what think you of your pope?" "I think, sir," answered Sully, "that he is more pope than you suppose; cannot you see that he gives a red hat to M. d'Evreux? Really, I never saw a man so dumbfounded, or one who defended himself so ill. If our religion had no better foundation than his crosswise legs and arms (Mornay habitually kept them so), I would abandon it rather to-day than to-morrow." [OEconomies royales, t. iii. p. 346.]

Sully desired nothing better than to find Mornay at fault, and to see the king fully convinced of it. Jealousy is nowhere more wide-awake and more implacable than at courts. However, amongst the grandees present at the conference of Fontainebleau there were some who did not share the general impression. "I saw there," said the Duke of Mayenne as he went away from it, "only a very old and very faithful servant very badly paid for so many services;" and, in spite of the king's letter, the Duke of Epernon sent word to Mornay that he still took him for a gentleman of honor, and still remained his friend. Henry IV. himself, with his delicate and ready tact, was not slow to perceive that he had gone too far and had behaved badly. Being informed that Mornay was in deep suffering, he sent to him M. de Lomenie, his cabinet-secretary, to fully assure him that the king would ever be his good master and friend. "As for master," said Mornay, "I am only too sensible of it; as for friend, he belongs not to me: I have known men to make attempts upon the king's life, honor, and state, nay, upon his very bed; against them, the whole of them, he never displayed so much severity as against me alone, who have done him service all my life." And he set out on his way back to Saumur without seeing the king again.

He returned thither with all he had dearest in the world, his wife, Charlotte Arbaleste de la Borde, his worthy partner in all his trials— trials of prosperity as well as adversity. She has full right to a few lines in this History, for it was she who preserved to us, in her Memoires, the picture, so salutary to contemplate, of the life and character of Mornay, in the midst of his friends' outbursts of passion and his adversaries' brutal exhibitions of hatred. As intelligent as she was devoted, she gave him aid in his theological studies and labors as well as in the confronting of public events. "During this expedition to Fontainebleau, I had remained," she says, "at Paris, in extreme apprehension, recently recovered from a severe illness, harassed by the deadlock in our domestic affairs. And, as for all that, I felt it not in comparison with the inevitable mishap of this expedition. I had found for M. du Plessis all the books of which he might possibly have need, hunted up, with great diligence considering the short time, in the libraries of all our friends, and I got them into his hands, but somewhat late in the day, because it was too late in the day when he gave me the commission." The private correspondence of these two noble persons is a fine example of conjugal and Christian union, virtue, and affection. In 1605, their only son, Philip de Mornay, a very distinguished young man, then twenty-six years of age, obtained Henry IV.'s authority to go and serve in the army of the Prince of Orange, Maurice of Nassau, at deadly war with Spain. He was killed in it on the 23d of October, at the assault upon the town of Gueldres. On receiving news of his death, "I have now no son," said his father; "therefore I have now no wife." His sorrowful prediction was no delusion; six mouths after her son's death Madame de Mornay succumbed, unable any longer to bear the burden she was supporting without a murmur. Her Memoires concludes with this expression: "It is but reasonable that this my book should end with him, as it was only undertaken to describe to him our pilgrimage in this life. And, since it hath pleased God, he hath sooner gone through, and more easily ended his own. Wherefore, indeed, if I feared not to cause affliction to M. du Plessis, who, the more mine grows upon me, makes me the more clearly perceive his affection, it would vex me extremely to survive him."

On learning by letter from Prince Maurice that the young man was dead, Henry IV. said, with emotion, to those present, "I have lost the fairest hope of a gentleman in my kingdom. I am grieved for the father. I must send and comfort him. No father but he could have such a loss." "He despatched on the instant," says Madame de Mornay herself, "Sieur Bruneau, one of his secretaries, with very gracious letters to comfort us; with orders, nevertheless, not to present himself unless he were sure that we already knew of it otherwise, not wishing to be the first to tell us such sad news." [Memoires, t. ii. p. 107.] This touching evidence of a king's sympathy for a father's grief effaced, no doubt, to some extent in Mornay's mind his reminiscences of the conference at Fontainebleau; one thing is quite certain, that he continued to render Henry IV., in the synods and political assemblies of the Protestants, his usual good offices for the maintenance or re-establishment of peace and good understanding between the Catholic king and his malcontent former friends.

A third Protestant, Theodore Agrippa d'Aubigne, grandfather of Madame de Maintenon, has been reckoned here amongst not the councillors, certainly, but the familiar and still celebrated servants of Henry IV. He held no great post, and had no great influence with the king; he was, on every occasion, a valiant soldier, a zealous Protestant, an indefatigable lover and seeker of adventure, sometimes an independent thinker, frequently an eloquent and bold speaker, always a very sprightly companion. Henry IV. at one time employed him, at another held aloof from him, or forgot him, or considered him a mischief-maker, a faction-monger who must be put in the Bastille, and against whom, if it seemed good, there would be enough to put him on his trial. Madame de Chatillon, who took an interest in D'Aubigne, warned him of the danger, and urged him to depart that very evening. "I will think about it, madame," said he; "I will implore God's assistance, and I will see what I have to do." . . . "The inspiration that came to me," says he, "was to go next morning very early to see his Majesty, and, after having briefly set before him my past services, to ask him for a pension, which up to that time I had not felt inclined to do. The king, surprised, and at the same time well pleased to observe a something mercenary behind all my proud spirit, embraced me, and granted on the spot what I asked of him." The next day D'Aubigne went to the Arsenal; Sully invited him to dinner, and took him to see the Bastille, assuring him that there was no longer any danger for him, but only since the last twenty-four hours. [La France Protestante, by MM. Haag, t. i. p. 170.] If D'Aubigne had not been a writer, he would be completely forgotten by this time, like so many other intriguing and turbulent adventurers, who make a great deal of fuss themselves, and try to bring everything about them into a fuss as long as they live, and who die without leaving any trace of their career. But D'Aubigne wrote a great deal both in prose and in verse; he wrote the Histoire universelle of his times, personal Memoires, tales, tragedies, and theological and satirical essays; and he wrote with sagacious, penetrating, unpremeditated wit, rare vigor, and original and almost profound talent for discerning and depicting situations and characters. It is the writer which has caused the man to live, and has assigned him a place in French literature even more than in French history. We purpose to quote two fragments of his, which will make us properly understand and appreciate both the writer and the man. During the civil war, in the reign of Henry III., D'Aubigne had made himself master of the Island of Oleron, had fortified it, and considered himself insufficiently rewarded by the King of Navarre, to whom he had meant to render, and had, in fact, rendered service. After the battle of Coutras, in 1587, he was sleeping with a comrade named Jacques de Caumont la Force, in the wardrobe of the chamber in which the King of Navarre slept. "La Force," said D'Aubigne to his bed-fellow, "our master is a regular miser, and the most ungrateful mortal on the face of the earth." "What dost say, D'Aubigne?" asked La Force, half asleep. "He says," repeated the King of Navarre, who had heard all, "that I am a regular miser, and the most ungrateful mortal on the face of the earth." D'Aubigne, somewhat disconcerted, was mum. "But," he adds, "when daylight appeared, this prince, who liked neither rewarding nor punishing, did not for all that look any the more black at me, or give me a quarter-crown more." Thirty years later, in 1617, after the collapse of the League and after the reign of Henry IV., D'Aubigne, wishing to describe the two leaders of the two great parties, sums them up in these terms: "The Duke of Mayenne had such probity as is human, a good nature and a liberality which made him most pleasant to those about him; his was a judicious mind, which made good use of experience, took the measure of everything by the card; a courage rather steady than dashing; take him for all in all, he might be called an excellent captain. King Henry IV. had all this, save the liberality; but to make up for that item, his rank caused expectations as to the future to blossom, which made the hardships of the present go down. He had, amongst his points of superiority to the Duke of Mayenne, a marvellous gift of promptitude and vivacity, and far beyond the average. We have seen him, a thousand times in his life, make pat replies without hearing the purport of a request, and forestall questions without committing himself. The Duke of Mayenne was incommoded by his great bodily bulk, which could not support the burden either of arms or of fatigue duty. The other, having worked all his men to a stand-still, would send for hounds and horses for to begin a hunt; and when his horses could go no farther, he would run down the game afoot. The former communicated his heaviness and his maladies to his army, undertaking no enterprise that he could not support in person; the other communicated his own liveliness to those about him, and his captains imitated him from complaisance and from emulation."

These politicians, these Christians, these warriors had, in 1600, a grave question to solve for Henry IV., and grave counsel to give him. He was anxious to separate from his wife, Marguerite de Valois, who had, in fact, been separated from him for the last fifteen years, was leading a very irregular life, and had not brought him any children. But, in order to obtain from the pope annulment of the marriage, it was first necessary that Marguerite should consent to it, and at no price would she consent so long as the king's favorite continued to be Gabrielle d'Estrees, whom she detested, and by whom Henry already had several children. The question arose in 1598, in connection with a son lately born to Gabrielle, who was constantly spreading reports that she would be the king's wife. To give consistency to this report she took it into her head to have her son presented at baptism as a child of France, and an order was brought to Sully "to pay what was right to the heralds, trumpeters, and hautbois players who had performed at the baptism of Alexander, Monsieur, child of France." After looking at the order, Sully detained it, and had another made out, which made no mention of Alexander. The men complained, saying, "Sir, the sum we ought to have for our attendance at the baptism of children of France has for a long while been fixed." "Away, away!" said Sully, in a rage; "I'll do nothing of the sort; there are no children of France." And he told the king about it, who said, "There's malice in that, but I will certainly stop it; tear up that order." And turning to some of his courtiers, "See the tricks that people play, and the traps they lay for those who serve me well and after my own heart. An order hath been sent to M. de Rosny, with the design of offending me if he honored it, or of offending the Duchess of Beaufort if he repudiated it. I will see to it. Go to her, my friend," he said to Rosny; "tell her what has taken place; satisfy her in so far as you can. If that is not sufficient, I will speak like the master, and not like the man." Sully went to the cloister of St. Germain, where the Duchess of Beaufort was lodged, and told her that he came by the king's command to inform her of what was going on. "I am aware of all," said Gabrielle, "and do not care to know any more; I am not made as the king is, whom you persuade that black is white." "Ho! ho! madame," replied Sully, "since you take it in that way, I kiss your hands, and shall not fail to do my duty for all your furies." He returned to the Louvre and told the king. "Here, come with me," said Henry; "I will let you see that women have not possession of me, as certain malignant spirits spread about that they have." He got into Sully's carriage, went with him to the Duchess of Beaufort's, and, taking her by the hand, said, "Now, madame, let us go into your room, and let nobody else enter except you, and Rosny, and me. I want to speak to you both, and teach you to be good friends together." Then, having shut the door quite close, and holding Gabrielle with one hand and Rosny with the other, he said, "Good God! madame, what is the meaning of this? So you would vex me for sheer wantonness of heart in order to try my patience? By God, I swear to you that, if you continue these fashions of going on, you will find yourself very much out in your expectations. I see quite well that you have been put up to all this pleasantry in order to make me dismiss a servant whom I cannot do without, and who has always served me loyally for five and twenty years. By God, I will do nothing of the kind, and I declare to you that if I were reduced to such a necessity as to choose between losing one or the other, I could better do without ten mistresses like you than one servant like him."

Gabrielle stormed, was disconsolate, wept, threw herself at the king's feet, and, "seeing him more strong-minded than had been supposed by those who had counselled her to this escapade, began to calm herself," says Sully, "and everything was set right again on every side."

But Sully was not at the end of his embarrassments or of the sometimes feeble and sometimes sturdy fancies of his king. On the 10th of April, 1599, Gabrielle d'Estrees died so suddenly that, according to the bias of the times, when, in the highest ranks, crimes were so common that they were always considered possible and almost probable, she was at first supposed to have been poisoned; but there seemed to be no likelihood of this. The consent of Marguerite de Valois to the annulment of her marriage was obtained; and negotiations were opened at Rome by Arnold d'Ossat, who was made a cardinal, and by Brulart de Sillery, ambassador ad hoc. But a new difficulty supervened; not for the negotiators, who knew, or appeared to know, nothing about it, but for Sully. In three or four weeks after the death of Gabrielle d'Estrees Henry IV. was paying court to a new favorite. One morning, at Fontainebleau, just as he was going out hunting, he took Sully by the hand, led him into the first gallery, gave him a paper, and, turning the other way as if he were ashamed to see it read by Sully, "Read that," said he, "and then tell me your opinion of it." Sully found that it was a promise of marriage given to Mdlle. Henriette d'Entraigues, daughter of Francis de Balzac, Lord of Entraigues, and Marie Touchet, favorite of Charles IX. Sully went up to the king, holding in his hand the paper folded up.

"What do you think of it?" said the king. "Now, now, speak freely; your silence offends me far more than your most adverse expressions could. I misdoubt me much that you will not give me your approval, if it were only for the hundred thousand crowns that I made you hand over with so much regret; I promise you not to be vexed at anything you can possibly say to me." "You mean it, sir, and you promise not to be angry with me, whatever I may say or do?" "Yes, yes; I promise all you desire, since for anything you say it will be all the same, neither more nor less." Thereupon, taking that written promise as if he would have given it back to the king, Sully, instead of that, tore it in two, saying, a "There, sir, as you wish to know, is what I think about such a promise." "Ha! morbleu, what are you at? Are you mad?" "It is true, sir; I am a madman and fool; and I wish I were so much thereof as to be the only one in France." "Very well, very well: I understand you," said the king, "and will say no more, in order to keep my word to you; but give me back that paper." "Sir," replied Sully, "I have no doubt your Majesty is aware that you are destroying all the preparatives for your dismarriage, for, this promise once divulged,—and it is demanded of you for no other purpose,—never will the queen, your wife, do the things necessary to make your dismarriage valid, nor indeed will the pope bestow upon it his Apostolic blessing; that I know of my own knowledge."

The king made no answer, went out of the gallery, entered his closet, asked for pen and ink, remained there a quarter of an hour, wrote out a second paper like that which had just been torn up, mounted his horse without saying a word to Sully whom he met, went hunting, and, during the day, deposited the new promise of marriage with Henriette d'Entraigues, who kept it or had it kept in perfect secrecy till the 2d of July, the time at which her father, the Count of Entiaigues, gave her up to, the king in consideration of twenty thousand crowns cash.

In the teeth of all these incidents, known or voluntarily ignored, the negotiations for the annulment of the marriage of Henry IV. and Marguerite de Valois were proceeded with at Rome by consent of the two parties. Clement VIII. had pronounced on the 17th of December, 1599, and transmitted to Paris by Cardinal de Joyeuse the decree of annulment. On the 6th of January, 1600, Henry IV. gave his ambassador, Brulart de Sillery, powers to conclude at Florence his marriage with Mary de' Medici, daughter of Francis I. de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, and Joan, Archduchess of Austria and niece of the Grand Duke Ferdinand I. de' Medici, who had often rendered Henry IV. pecuniary services dearly paid for. As early as the year 1592 there had been something said about this project of alliance; it was resumed and carried out on the 5th of October, 1600, at Florence with lavish magnificence. Mary embarked at Leghorn on the 17th with a fleet of seventeen galleys; that of which she was aboard, the General, was all covered over with jewels, inside and out; she arrived at Marseilles on the 3d of November, and at Lyons on the 2d of December, where she waited till the 9th for the king, who was detained by the war with Savoy. He entered her chamber in the middle of the night, booted and armed, and next day, in the cathedral-church of St. John, re-celebrated his marriage, more rich in wealth than it was destined to be in happiness. Mary de' Medici was beautiful in 1592, when she had first been talked about, and her portrait at that time had charmed the king; but in 1600 she was twenty-seven, tall, fat, with round, staring eyes and a forbidding air, and ill dressed. She knew hardly a word of French; and Henriette d'Entraigues, whom the king had made Marquise do Verneuil, could not help exclaiming when she saw her, "So that is the fat bankeress from Florence!"

Henry IV. seemed to have attained in his public and in his domestic life the pinnacle of earthly fortune and ambition. He was, at one and the same time, Catholic king and the head of the Protestant polity in Europe, accepted by the Catholics as the best, the only possible, king for them in France. He was at peace with all Europe, except one petty prince, the Duke of Savoy, Charles Emmanuel I., from whom he demanded back the marquisate of Saluzzo, or a territorial compensation in France itself on the French side of the Alps. After a short campaign, and thanks to Rosny's ordnance, he obtained what he desired, and by a treaty of January 17, 1601, he added to French territory La Bresse, Le Bugey, the district of Gex, and the citadel of Bourg, which still held out after the capture of the town. He was more and more dear to France, to which he had restored peace at home as well as abroad, and industrial, commercial, financial, monumental, and scientific prosperity, until lately unknown. Sully covered the country with roads, bridges, canals, buildings, and works of public utility. The moment the king, after the annulment of his marriage with Marguerite de Valois, saw his new wife, Mary de' Medici, at Lyons, she had disgusted him, and she disgusted him more every day by her cantankerous and headstrong temper; but on the 27th of September, 1601, she brought him a son, who was to be Louis XIII. Henry used to go for distraction from his wife's temper to his favorite, Henriette d'Entraigues, who knew how to please him at the same time that she was haughty and exacting towards him. He set less store upon the peace of his household than upon that of his kingdom; he had established his favorite at the Louvre itself, close beside his wife; and, his new marriage once contracted, he considered his domestic life settled, as well as his political position.

He was mistaken on both points; he was not at the end of either his political dangers or his amorous fancies. Since 1595, his principal companion in arms, or rather his camp-favorite, Charles de Gontaut, Baron de Biron, whom he had made admiral, duke, and marshal of France, was, all the while continuing to serve him in the field, becoming day by day a determined conspirator against him. He had begun by being a reckless gamester; and in that way he lost fifteen hundred thousand crowns, about six millions (of francs) of our day. "I don't know," said he, "whether I shall die on the scaffold or not; but I will never come to the poorhouse." He added, "When peace is concluded, the king's love-affairs, the scarcity of his largesses, and the discontent of many will lead to plenty of splits, more than are necessary to embroil the most peaceful kingdoms in the world. And, should that fail, we shall find in religion more than we want to put the most lukewarm Huguenots in a passion and the most penitent Leaguers in a fury." Henry IV. regarded Biron with tender affection. "I never loved anybody as I loved him," he used to say; "I would have trusted my son and my kingdom to him. He has done me good service; but he cannot say that I did not save his life three times. I pulled him out of the enemy's hands at Fontaine-Francaise so wounded and so dazed with blows, that, as I had acted soldier in saving him, I also acted marshal as regarded the retreat." Biron nevertheless prosecuted his ambitious designs; the independent sovereignty of Burgundy was what he aspired to, and any alliance, any plot, was welcome as a stepping-stone. "Caesar or nothing," he would say. "I will not die without seeing my head on a quarter-crown piece." He entered into flagrant conspiracy with the King of Spain, with the Duke of Savoy, with the French malcontents, the Duke of Bouillon, and the Count of Auvergne. Henry IV. knew it, and made every effort to appear ignorant of it, to win Biron back to him; he paid his debts; he sent him on an embassy he tempted him to confessions which should entitle him to a full pardon. "Let him weep," he would say, "and I will weep with him; let him remember what he owes me, and I will not forget what I owe him. I were loath that Marshal de Biron should be the first example of my just severity, and that my reign, which has hitherto been calm and serene, should be charged all at once with thunder and lightning." He employed Rosily to bring Biron to confess. "My friend," said he, "here is an unhappy man, the marshal. It is a serious case. I am anxious to spare him. I cannot bring myself to harm a man who has courage, who has served me so long and been so familiar with me. My fear is that, though I spare him, he will not spare me or my children, or my kingdom. He would never confess anything to me; he behaves to me like a man who has some mischief in his heart. I beg you to see him. If he is open with you, assure him that he may come to me and I will forgive him with all my heart." Rosny tried and failed. "It is not I who want to destroy this man," said the king; "it is he who wants to destroy himself. I will myself tell him that, if he lets himself be brought to justice, he has no mercy whatever to expect from me." He saw Biron at Fontainebleau, received him after dinner, spoke to him with his usual familiarity, and pointing to his own equestrian statue in marble which was on the mantelpiece, said, "What would the King cf Spain say if he saw me like that, eh?" "He would not be much afraid of you," answered Biron. Henry gave him a stern look. The marshal tried to take back his words: "I mean, sir, if he were to see you in that statue yonder, and not in your own person." The retreat was not successful; the shot had taken effect; Henry left the room, went back into his closet, and gave orders to his captain of the guard to arrest him. Then he returned to the room and said, "Marshal, reflect upon what I have said to you." Biron preserved a frigid silence. "Adieu, Baron de Biron!" said the king, thus by a single word annulling all his dignities, and sending him before his proper judges to answer for his treasons. On the 18th of June, 1602, he brought the marshal before the court of Parliament. The inquiry lasted three weeks. Biron was unanimously condemned to death by a hundred and twenty-seven judges "for conspiracies against the king's person, attempts upon his kingdom, and treasons and treaties with the enemies of the kingdom." The king gave to this sentence all the alleviations compatible with public interests. He allowed Biron to make his will, remitted the confiscation of his property, and ordered that the execution should take place at the Bastille, in the presence of certain functionaries, and not on the Place de Greve and before the mob. When Biron found himself convicted and sentenced, he burst into a fury, loaded his judges with insults, and roared out that "if he were driven to despair and frenzy, he would strangle half of those present and force the other half to kill him." The executioner was obliged to strike him unawares. Those present withdrew dumbfounded at the crime, the prisoner's rage, the execution, and the scene.

When the question of conspiracies and conspirators—with Spain against France and her king had thus been publicly raised and decided, it entailed another: had the Spanish monks, the Jesuits, to call them by their own name, taken part therein? Should proceedings accordingly be taken against them? They were no longer in France; they had been banished on the 29th of December, 1594, by a solemn decree of Parliament, after John Chatel's attempt. They were demanding their return. The pope was demanding it for them. "If at other times," they said, "the society had shown hostility to France and her king, it was because, though well received everywhere else, especially in the dominions of the King of Spain, they had met in France with nothing but persecutions and insults. If Henry would be pleased to testify good will towards them, he would soon find them devoted to his person and his throne." The question was debated at the king's council, and especially between Henry IV. and Sully when they were together.

Sully did not like the return of the Jesuits. "They are away," said he; "let them remain so. If they return, it will be all very fine for them to wish, and all very fine for them to act; their presence, their discourse, their influence, involuntary though it be, will be opposed to you, will heat your enemies, will irritate your friends; hatred and mistrust will go on increasing." The king was of a different opinion. "Of necessity," he said to Sully, "I must now do one of two things: admit the Jesuits purely and simply, relieve them from the defamation and insults with which they have been blasted, and put to the proof all their fine sentiments and excellent promises, or use against them all severities that can be imagined to keep them from ever coming near me and my dominions. In which latter case, there is no doubt it would be enough to reduce them to utter despair, and to thoughts of attempting my life; which would render me miserable or listless, living constantly in suspicion of being poisoned or assassinated, for these gentry have communications and correspondence everywhere, and great dexterity in disposing men's minds as it seems good to them. It were better for me to be dead, being therein of Caesar's opinion that the pleasantest death is that which is least foreseen and apprehended." The king then called to remembrance the eight projected or attempted assassinations which, since the failure of John Chatel, from 1596 to 1603, had been, and clearly established to have been, directed against him. Upon this, Sully at once went over to the king's opinion. In September, 1603, letters for the restoration of the Jesuits were issued and referred to the Parliament of Paris. They there met, on the 24th of December, with strong opposition and remonstrances that have remained celebrated, the mouthpiece being the premier president Achille de Harlay, the same who had courageously withstood the Duke of Guise. He conjured the king to withdraw his letters patent, and to leave intact the decree which had banished the Jesuits. This was not, he said, the feeling of the Parliament of Paris only, but also of the Parliaments of Normandy and Burgundy; that is, of two thirds of the magistrates throughout the kingdom. Henry was touched and staggered. He thanked the Parliament most affectionately; but, "We must not reproach the, Jesuits for the League," said he; "it was the fault of the times. Leave me to deal with this business. I have managed others far more difficult." The Parliament obeyed, though with regret, and on the 2d of January, 1604, the king's letters patent were enregistered.

This was not the only business that Henry had at heart; he had another of another sort, and, for him, more difficult to manage. In February, 1609, he saw, for the first time, at the court of France, Charlotte Marguerite, third daughter of the Constable de Montmorency, only sixteen years old. "There was at that time," say all contemporaries, "nothing so beautiful under heaven, or more graceful, or more perfect." Before presenting her at court, her father had promised her to Francis de Bassompierre, descended from a branch of the house of Cloves, thirty years old, and already famous for his wit, his magnificence, and his gallantry. He was one of the principal gentlemen of the chamber to the king. Henry IV. sent for him one morning, made him kneel on a hassock in front of his bed, and said that, obtaining no sleep, he had been thinking of him the night before, and of getting him married. "As for me," says Bassompierre, "who was thinking of nothing so little as of what he wanted to say to me, I answered that, if it were not for the constable's gout, it would have already been done. 'No,' said he to me, 'I thought of getting you married to Mlle. d'Aumale, and, in consequence of that marriage, of renewing the Duchy of Aumale in your person.' I asked him if he wanted me to have two wives. Then he said to me with a deep sigh, 'Bassompierre, I will speak to thee as a friend. I have become not only enamoured, but mad, beside myself, about Mlle. de Montmorency. If thou wed her and she love thee, I shall hate thee; if she loved me, thou wouldst hate me. It is better that this should not be the cause of destroying our good understanding, for I love thee affectionately and sincerely. I am resolved to marry her to my nephew the Prince of Conde, and keep her near my family. That shall be the consolation and the support of the old age which is coming upon me. I shall give my nephew, who is young and loves hunting ten thousand times better than women, a hundred thousand francs a year to pass his time, and I want no other favor from her but her affection, without looking for anything more."

Thoroughly astounded and put out as he was, Bassompierre reflected that it was, so far as he was concerned, "an amour modified by marriage," and that it would be better to give way to the king with a good grace: and, "I withdraw, sir," he said, on very good terms as regarded Mdlle. de Montmorency as well as himself. The king embraced him, wept, promised to love him dearly, saw him again in the evening in company with Mdlle. de Montmorency, who knew nothing, and conversed a long while with the young princess. When she retired, perceiving that Bassompierre was watching her, she shrugged her shoulders, as if to hint to him what the king had said to her. "I lie not," says Bassompierre: "that single action pierced me to the heart; I spent two days in tormenting myself like one possessed, without sleeping, drinking, or eating." Two or three days afterwards the Prince of Conde, announced that he intended to marry Mdlle. de Montmorency. The court and the city talked of nothing but this romance and the betrothal which immediately followed.

Henry IV. was fifty-six. He had been given to gallantry all his life; and he had never been faithful or exacting in his attachments. He was not one of those on whom ridicule fastens as fair prey; but he was so under the dominion of his new passion that the young Princess of Conde, who had at first exclaimed, "Jesus, my God, he is mad!" began to fancy to herself that she would be queen before long. Mary de Medici became jealous and uneasy. She determined to take her precautions, and demanded to be crowned before the king set out on the campaign which, it was said, he was about to commence against Austria in accordance with his grand design and in concert with the Protestant princes of Germany, his allies. The Prince of Conde had a fit of jealousy; he carried off his wife first into Picardy; and then to Brussels, where he left her. Henry IV., in respect, first, of going to see her, then of getting her to come back, then of threatening to go after her out of France, took some wild and puerile steps, which, being coincident with his warlike announcements and preparations, caused some strange language to be used, and were injurious to his personal weight as well as to his government's character for steadiness. Sully grew impatient and uneasy. Mary de' Medici was insisting strongly upon being crowned. The prospect of this coronation was displeasing to Henry IV., and he did not conceal it. "Hey! my friend," he said to Sully: "I know not what is the meaning of it, but my heart tells me that some misfortune will happen to me." He was sitting on a low chair which had been made for him by Sully's orders at the Arsenal, thinking and beating his fingers on his spectacle-case; then all on a sudden he jumped up, and slapping his hands upon his thighs, "By God," he said, "I shall die in this city, and shall never go out of it. They will kill me; I see quite well that they have no other remedy in their dangers but my death. Ah! accursed coronation! Thou wilt be the cause of my death." "Jesus! Sir," cried Sully, "what fancy of yours is this? If it continue, I am of opinion that you should break off this anointment and coronation, and expedition and war; if you please to give me orders, it shall soon be done." "Yes, break off the coronation," said the king: "let me hear no more about it; I shall have my mind at rest from divers fancies which certain warnings have put into it. To bide nothing from you, I have been told that I was to be killed at the first grand ceremony I should undertake, and that I should die in a carriage." "You never told me that, sir; and so have I often been astounded to see you cry out when in a carriage, as if you had dreaded this petty peril, after having so many times seen you amidst cannon-balls, musketry, lance-thrusts, pike-thrusts, and sword-thrusts; without being a bit afraid. Since your mind is so exercised thereby, if I were you, I would go away to-morrow, let the coronation take place without you, or put it off to another time, and not enter Paris for a long while, or in a carriage. If you please, I will send word to Notre-Dame and St. Denis to stop everything and to withdraw the workmen." "I am very much inclined," said the king; "but what will my wife say? For she hath gotten this coronation marvellously into her head." "She may say what she likes; but I cannot think that, when she knows your opinion about it, she will persist any longer."

Whatever Sully might say, Mary de' Medici "took infinite offence at the king for his alarms: the matter was disputed for three days, with high words on all sides, and at last the laborers were sent back to work again."

Henry, in spite of his presentiments, made no change in his plans; he did not go away; he did not defer the queen's coronation; on the contrary, he had it proclaimed on the 12th of May, 1610, that she would be crowned next day, the 13th, at St. Denis, and that on Sunday, the 16th, she would make her entry into Paris. On Friday, the 14th, he had an idea of going to the Arsenal to see Sully, who was ill; we have the account of this visit and of the king's assassination given by Malherbe, at that time attached to the service of Henry IV., in a letter written on the 19th of May, from the reports of eye-witnesses, and it is here reproduced, word for word.

"The king set out soon after dinner to go to the Arsenal. He deliberated a long while whether he should go out, and several times said to the queen, 'My dear, shall I go or not?' He even went out two or three times, and then all on a sudden returned, and said to the queen, 'My dear, shall I really go?' and again he had doubts about going or remaining. At last he made up his mind to go, and, having kissed the queen several times, bade her adieu. Amongst other things that were remarked he said to her, 'I shall only go there and back; I shall be here again almost directly.' When he got to the bottom of the steps, where his carriage was waiting for him, M. de Praslin, his captain of the guard, would have attended him, but said to him, 'Get you gone; I want nobody; go about your business.'

"Thus having about him only a few gentlemen and some footmen, he got into his carriage, took his place on the back seat at the left hand side, and made M. d'Epernon sit at the right. Next to him, by the door, were M. de Montbazon and M. de la Force; and by the door on M. d'Epernon's side were Marshal de Lavardin and M. de Cresqui; on the front seat the Marquis of Mirabeau and the first equerry. When he came to the Croix-du-Tiroir he was asked whither it was his pleasure to go; he gave orders to go towards St. Innocent. On arriving at Rue de la Ferronnerie, which is at the end of that of St. Honors on the way to that of St. Denis, opposite the Salamandre he met a cart, which obliged the king's carriage to go nearer to the ironmongers' shops which are on the St. Innocent side, and even to proceed somewhat more slowly, without stopping, however, though somebody, who was in a hurry to get the gossip printed, has written to that effect. Here it was that an abominable assassin, who had posted himself against the nearest shop, which is that with the Coeur couronng perce d'une fleche, darted upon the king, and dealt him, one after the other, two blows with a knife in the left side; one, catching him between the armpit and the nipple, went upwards without doing more than graze; the other catches him between the fifth and sixth ribs, and, taking a downward direction, cuts a large artery of those called venous. The king, by mishap, and as if to further tempt this monster, had his left hand on the shoulder of M. de Montbazon, and with the other was leaning on M. d'Epernon, to whom he was speaking. He uttered a low cry and made a few movements. M. de Montbazon having asked, 'What is the matter, sir?' he answered, 'It is nothing,' twice; but the second time so low that there was no making sure. These are the only words he spoke after he was wounded.

"In a moment the carriage turned towards the Louvre. When he was at the steps where he had got into the carriage, which are those of the queen's room, some wine was given him. Of course some one had already run forward to bear the news. Sieur de Cerisy, lieutenant of M. de Praslin's company, having raised his head, he made a few movements with his eyes, then closed them immediately, without opening them again any more. He was carried up stairs by M. de Montbazon and Count de Curzon en Quercy, and laid on the bed in his closet, and at two o'clock carried to the bed in his chamber, where he was all the next day and Sunday. Somebody went and gave him holy water. I tell you nothing about the queen's tears; all that must be imagined. As for the people of Paris, I think they never wept so much as on this occasion."

The grief was deep and general, at the court as well as amongst the people, in the provinces as well as at Paris; and with the grief were mingled surprise and alarm, and an idea, also, that the king had died unhappy and uneasy. On the 14th of May, in the morning, before starting upon his visit to the Arsenal, he had gone to hear mass at the Feuillants' [order of St. Bernard]; and on his return he said to the Duke of Guise and to Bassompierre, who were in attendance, "You do not understand me now, you and the rest; but I shall die one of these days, and, when you have lost me, you will know my worth and the difference there is between me and other kings." "My God, sir," said Bassompierre, "will you never cease vexing us by telling us that you will soon die? You will live, please God, some good, long years. You are only in the flower of your age, in perfect bodily health and strength, full of honor more than any mortal man, in the most flourishing kingdom in the world, loved and adored by your subjects, with fine houses, fine women, fine children who are growing up." Henry sighed as he said, "My friend, all that must be left."

These are the last words that are to be found of his in contemporary accounts; a few hours afterwards he was smitten to death in his carriage, brought back to the Louvre, laid out on his bed; one of his councillors of state, M. de Vie, seated on the same bed, had put to his mouth his cross of the order, and directed his thoughts to God; Milon, his chief physician, was at the bedside, weeping: his surgeons wanted to dress his wounds; a sigh died away on his lips, and "It is all over," said the physician; "he is gone." Guise and Bassompierre went out to look after what was passing out of doors; they met "M. de Sully with some forty horse, who, when he came up to us, said to us in tearful wise, 'Gentlemen, if the service ye vowed to the king is impressed upon your souls as deeply as it ought to be with all good Frenchmen, swear all of ye this moment to keep towards the king his son and successor the same allegiance that ye showed him, and to spend your lives and your blood in avenging his death?' 'Sir,' said Bassompierre, 'it is for us to cause this oath to be taken by others; we have no need to be exhorted thereto;' Sully turned his eyes upon him, he adds, and then went and shut himself up in the Bastille, sending out to 'seize and carry off all the bread that could be found in the market and at the bakers'. He also despatched a message in haste to M. de Rohan, his son-in-law, bidding him face about with six thousand Swiss, whose colonel-general he was, and march on Paris." Henry IV. being dead, it was for France and for the kingship that Sully felt alarm and was taking his precautions.


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