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The same pretext drew thither Henry Prince of Bearn, and his uncle the Prince of Condé. The celebrated Admiral Coligni was invited by the King, with a promise of being declared General in a war against Spain; and the other chiefs of the Hugonots,* depending upon a recent pacification, accom
• French Protestants, so called (according to some writers) from Hugo Aubriot, Treasurer of the Finances to Charles V. of France, mayor of Paris, and founder of the Bastile in 1369. He subsequently incurred the imputation of heresy, and was sentenced to be confined within two walls, whence he was released by the Maillotins, a band of insurgents in 1381. Others, however, as the name originated at Tours, refer it to one Hugon, Count of that city, whose temper was so cruel, that he was supposed even after his death to walk about in the night-time, beating all he met; and this etymology derives some plausibility from the circumstance, that near one of the gates of Tours, now called Fourgon (qu. feu Hugon) were subterraneous vaults, in which the first French Protestants used to assemble. Cæsaroduni Hugo rex celebratur, qui noctu pomaria civitatis obequitare, et obvios homines pulsare ac rapere dicitur. Ab eo Hugonoti' appellati, qui ad ea loca ad conciones audiendas ac preces faciendas itidem noctu (quia interdiu non licebat) agminatim in occulto conveniebant. (Thuan. Hist. XXIV. ad. Ann. 1560.) It was then too, it appears, the practice to impute political motives to some, who assumed only the character of religious dissent; nam alios ad religionem tantùm respicere: alios religionis quidem causam obtendere, sed reip. statum præcipuè spectare. (Id. ib. XXV.) A third class trace it to a remoter source, and contend that it was bestowed upon the Reformed, because they supported the descendents of Hugh Capet; whereas the Leaguers were solicitous to give the crown to the house of Guise, as descended from Charles the Great. Lastly, it is derived from an incorrect pronunciation of the German word Eidgnossen, Confederates,' a name originally applied to the Genevese allies of the Swiss Cantons, in their patriotic struggles against Charles III. Duke of Savoy.
Their persecutions have been numerous and severe. They obtained indeed a brief remission of their sufferings, in 1576,
panied him. The Queen of Navarre was taken off by poison. Coligni was shot at, as he was going home at noon, but he was only wounded. And in the evening the Duke of Guise communicating the King's secret intentions to Charron, Intendant of Paris, the Roman Catholic citizens were directed, as soon as they should hear an alarm struck on the bell of the palace-clock, to place lights in their windows by way of distinction, and afterward to slaughter the Hugonots indiscriminately, without regard to sex or age.
At midnight Guise, accompanied by the Duke of Aumale Grand Prior of France, a number of officers, and three hundred chosen soldiers, broke open the gates of the Admiral's house. The wounded Coligni was despatched, and his body thrown into the street. His domestics were assassinated without mercy; and the alarm being sounded, a general massacre ensued. Two thousand persons were put to the sword before morning, and a great number in the course of the ensuing day. At the same time, by orders from the court, the Hugonots in all the capital cities throughout France shared the same fate with the exception of two or three garrisontowns, whose governors refused to execute the bloody mandate, saying, the King must have been out of his senses when it was issued. The mangled corpse of the Admiral, after having been insulted by the bigoted populace, was hung upon the gibbet of Montfaucon; and the young King of Navarre, the
from Henry III.; and, in 1598, Henry IV. extended to them protection by the Edict of Nantes: but this was revoked by Louis XIV. in 1685.
Prince of Bearn, and the Prince of Condé, were assured by Charles and his savage mother, that if they did not embrace the Popish religion, they should not live three days.' By fair promises, however, they gained time, and at last made their
According to Camden, it was intended to have involved England in the fate of this evil day; for Leicester and Burghley had been invited to the nuptials, and were to have been cut off, as active supporters of the Protestant interest. The truth of this statement is attested by the subsequent demand of the French embassador, that all the French who had taken refuge in England on hearing of the massacre, should be delivered up as rebellious subjects; a demand which Elizabeth however with equal resolution and humanity peremptorily refused.*
At Rome and in Spain this Massacre, which no liberal Catholic of the present age mentions without detestation, was the subject of public rejoicings. At Rome in particular, as we are told by Thuanus, Decretum fuit, ut rectè Pontifex cum Cardinalibus ad B. Marci concederet, et D. O. M. pró tanto beneficio sedi Romanæ, orbique Christiano collato gratias ritu solemni ageret; item ut die Lunæ proximâ sacrum solemne in Minerva æde celebretur, eique Pontifex et Cardinales intersint: inde Jubilæum toto Christiano orbe publicetur. Ejus causæ expressæ sunt, ut agerentur Deo gratiæ ob deletos in Gallia veritatis et ecclesiæ hostes, ob victoriam de Turcis reportatam, &c. &c.!! (Hist. L. III.) Well indeed might the historian exclaim, from Statius,
Excidat illa dies avo, nec postera credent
Sæcula! nos certè taceamus, et obruta multâ
Nocte tegi nostræ pateamur crimina gentis!
See Job iii. 3, &c. and the Life of Sir Philip Sidney, who himself narrowly escaped being involved in the general destruc
In the course of this year, Leicester (it is supposed) privately married Lady Douglas Howard, DowagerBaroness of Sheffield; but though some secret memoirs of this unfortunate lady, whom he refused to own as his wife,* were handed about, the affair never reached the Queen's ear. The wits of the court however, after his marriage with the Countess-Dowager of Essex became public, stiled these two ladies Leicester's two Testaments,' calling the first the Old,' and the latter 'the New Testament. But all the representations made to Elizabeth of his reprehensible conduct had so little effect upon her, that in 1575 she made him a visit at his castle of Kenilworth; † and the festivities upon this occasion were, by their sumptuousness, distinguished among the splendors of her brilliant reign. Here he entertained her, with all imaginable magnificence, for seventeen days.‡
* Unable to make her desist from her pretensions, he endeavoured (says Dugdale) to take her off by poison, and she narrowly escaped death with the loss of her hair and nails. He, subsequently, by his persecutions compelled her to marry another person. He had previously " had the good fortune," says the author of the Secret Memoirs of Robert Dudley' (published, in 1706, with a preface by Dr. Drake) "to have her husband die quickly with an extreme rheum in his head, as it was given out; but, as others say, with an artificial catarrh, that stopped his breath!" But it is a bitter book, and fully makes out it's subject to be (as Mezeray represents him) capable de tous crimes pour satisfaire son ambition et sa paillardie; au reste, adroit et rusé courtisan: in which character, Grotius and Strada nearly agree.
†This (with the manors, and castles, of Denbigh and Chirk) had been granted to his Lordship and his heirs by letters-patent in the fifth year of her reign, and upon the enlarging and adorning of it he had expended not less than 60,000%.
At her first entrance, a floating island was discerned upon a large pool, glittering with torches; on which sat the
Toward the close of the year Devereux, Earl of Essex, was by Leicester's management recalled from Ireland, after having sustained a considerable loss in his private fortunes. But, expressing his resentment with too much eagerness upon the occasion, he was sent back into that kingdom with the unprofitable title of Earl Marshal. He had not been long returned however, before he died of a bloody flux, in the most agonising torments. These circumstances excited a suspicion of poison, which Leicester was reported to have administered through the
lady of the lake, attended by two nymphs, who addressed her Majesty in verse with an historical account of the antiquity and owners of the castle; and the speech was closed with the sound of cornets, and other instruments of loud music. Within the lower court was erected a stately bridge, twenty feet wide, and seventy feet long, over which the Queen was to pass; and on each side stood columns, with presents upon them to her Majesty from the gods. Silvanus offered a cage of wild-fowl, and Pomona divers sorts of fruits; Ceres gave corn, and Bacchus wine; Neptune presented sea-fish, Mars the habiliments of war, and Phoebus all kinds of musical instruments.
During her stay, variety of sports and shows were daily exhibited. In the chace was a savage man with satyrs; there were bear-baitings, fire-works, Italian tumblers, and a country-wake, running at the quintain, and morrice-dancing. And that no sort of diversion might be omitted, the Coventry men came, and acted the ancient play (so long since used in their city) called 'Hocks-Tuesday,' representing the destruction of the Danes in the reign of King Ethelred; which proved so agreeable to her Majesty, that she ordered them a brace of bucks, and five marks in money, to defray the charges of the feast. There were, besides, on the pool, a triton riding on a mermaid eighteen feet long, and Arion upon a dolphin.'
An estimate may be formed of the expense from the quantity of beer drunk upon this occasion, which amounted to three hundred and twenty hogsheads.