« ElőzőTovább »
Queen-mother, and overset all her plans. * The victories of Jarnac and Montcontour, which were really owing to the military talents of Tavannes, had thrown a false glare around the Duke of Anjou, and made him at once the idol of the Catholics, and the terror and aversion of the Protestants; and these prepossessions the young Prince had studiously encouraged, by affecting an inordinate zeal and devotion to the Catholic Church, and an equal contempt and detestation of the Hugonots. Charles, finding his brother the favourite hero of his Catholic subjects, became less disinclined to the Hugonots, dismissed from his memory their former transgressions, and sought, in their confidence and attachment, a counterpoise to the favour enjoyed by his brother among the Catholics. The war in Flanders, which he had probably at first employed as a bait to entice the Admiral to Court, when narrowly examined and recommended by the arguments and eloquence of Coligny, flattered the passion he was willing to indulge for military glory, and opened prospects to his ambition of extending and enlarging his dominions. He was besides pleased, or affected to be pleased, with the conversation of some of the Hugonot chiefs, and expressed his admiration of the military talents of others. How far these sentiments were genuine, or to what extent they were feigned, it is impossible to decide. Coligny trusted to their influence, and fell a sacrifice to his credulity. He did not calculate enough on the levity and instability of Charles, nor take sufficiently into account his habitual deference and submission to his mother. He forgot how easy it was to rekindle in a proud and ferocious character like the King's, his ancient hatred and projects of vengeance against the Hugonots; and how difficult to penetrate the secret workings of a mind habituated to perfidy and dissimulation from his childhood. To the remonstrances of his friends he replied, that he put his trust in the word of his Sovereign, and that he would rather perish, and be dragged in a hurdle along the streets of Paris, than involve his country again in civil war. Nor did even the attempt on his life divert him from this forbearance and moderation. So far from devising plans for fresh wars and disturbances, as alleged by his enemies, he directed letters to be written on the 23d to his adherents throughout France, informing them that his wounds were not mortal, urging them to remain quiet, and assuring them that the King would do him justice. †
* Tavannes, 358, 359, 377.-Brantome, apud Castelnau, iii. 2.— La Laboureur, apud Castelnau, iii. 32.-Deserres, iv. 6, 7.
Deserres, iv. 32.
To the last moment his confidence in the King was unabated. When the tumult at the gate of his hotel, on the morning of the St Bartholomew, awoke his attendants, he desired them to be tranquil, as it was only a popular commotion excited by the Guises, which the guards would reduce to order. *
By this supposition, of some change or vacillation in Charles before the massacre, we are enabled to reconcile the accounts of Margaret, and of the Duke of Anjou, with the incontestable proofs of a premeditated plot to entrap and destroy the Hugonots. Both these personages concur in saying, that, at the last moment, the King was brought with difficulty to consent to the murder of the Admiral; and as their accounts were drawn up without communication, their agreement on that point is a confirmation of its truth. Margaret was not intrusted with the plot, and was left in ignorance of the intended massacre till it had actually commenced. She relates, that on the eve of the St Bartholomew, as she was about to retire to her husband's apartment, her sister of Lorraine, who was in the secret, burst into tears on taking leave of her for the night, for which she was sternly reprimanded by their mother, who ordered her to be silent, and to let her sister go. Margaret's story of the reasons that led to the massacre, is not therefore to be depended on, supposing her disposed to tell the truth; but when she assures us, that her brother Charles himself informed her, that he had been with difficulty persuaded to the murder of the Admiral, and of some other Hugonots to whom he was personally attached, we see no reason to doubt the truth or accuracy of what she relates. +
Her brother the Duke of Anjou was privy to the whole design; and therefore his account, where it tends to extenuate the guilt of the conspirators, is to be received with caution, as the evidence of an accomplice interested to throw a gloss over the transaction. As the Pere Griffet remarks of him, and of other projectors of the massacre, Plus ils en 'avoient de connaissance, moins on doit ajouter foi à leur temoignage, puisqu'ils n'en etoient si bien instruits, que parcequ'ils en etoient coupables.' But to do Henry justice, he neither affirms nor denies the existence of a premeditated plot to exterminate the Hugonots. His discourse, though containing a circumstantial narrative of what passed during the few days that preceded the massacre, is completely silent about
+ Mem. de Marguerite, 69–75. Ed. of 1715.
the previous plans and intentions of the Court. He tells us, that his mother and himself had been long jealous of the ascendancy which the Admiral had been acquiring over the King, and suspicious that he rendered them ill offices with that Prince. He describes a scene with his brother which corroborated these suspicions, and coolly relates, that on that slender foundation they resolved to assassinate the Admiral. The first attempt, he says, was made without the knowledge of the King; and when first informed of it, he describes Charles, believing it to have been perpetrated by the Guises, as inflamed and transported with fury at so daring an insult on his authority, committed in the very precincts of the palace; but, when informed of the truth, and urged by a variety of arguments from his Catholic counsellors, as consenting at last to the murder of the Admiral, and adding with an oath, that all the other Hugonots must perish with him. Many of the details in the narrative of the Duke of Anjou are inconsistent with those given by Margaret. Which we are to believe, it is immaterial to decide. There is nothing in either inconsistent with the belief of a long premeditated plot, which encountered a slight and temporary opposition from the irresolution of the King, at the moment it was ready for execution.
Some traits of perfidy exhibited by the King in the interval between the final arrangement and commencement of the tragedy, deserve to be recorded as illustrations of his character.
On the eve of the St Bartholomew, after he had given orders for the massacre next morning, he redoubled his kindness to the King of Navarre, and desired him to introduce some of his best officers into the Louvre, that they might be at hand in case of any disturbance from the Guises. These officers, as we have already related, were next morning disarmed, and butchered in his presence.
On the same evening some Hugonots, alarmed at the military movements in the town, communicated their apprehensions to the Admiral, who, to quiet their minds, sent word of what he had heard to the King, Charles replied, that Coligny and his friends had nothing to fear; that if guards had been stationed in different parts of the city, it was to keep the popu lace in awe,' pacato igitur esset animo, omnia illa ad salutem 6 procurari.'t
Mem. de l'Etat. i. 206-Deserres, iv. 34-Matthieu, 342Thuan. Lib. lii. § 8.
† Veramandus, 37-Deserres, iv. 34—Thuan. Lib. lii. § 3.
On the same evening he received with coldness a formal remonstrance of the Guises, complaining of the injurious calumnies raised against them, protesting their innocence, and demanding permission to leave Paris; and without giving, or affecting to give them satisfaction, he suffered them to quit his presence under his apparent displeasure: And, more effectually still to calm the suspicions of the Hugonots, he permitted the Duke of Anjou and bastard of Angoulême to circulate a report through Paris, that Montmorenci, the friend and cousin of the Admiral, had been sent for, with a military force, to maintain order in the capital. *
On the day before the massacre, he appointed a detachment of his guards for the protection of Coligny, stationed them around his lodgings, and ordered them to permit no Catholic to approach the house; and, on pretence of affording farther security to the Admiral, he directed that all the houses in the neighbourhood should be abandoned by their Catholic tenants, and occupied by Hugonots, who were ordered, by public authority, to repair to that quarter from the different parts of the town where they resided. The guards thus stationed for the protection of Coligny were employed next morning to murder him; and his friends, collected within а small space, were slaughtered without the possibility of concealment or escape. But it is doubtful, or at least we have been unable to satisfy ourselves from the recital of historians, whether these orders were given before or after the final resolution to perpetrate the massacre next morning. It is a suspicious circumstance, however, that the command of the guard was confided to Cosseins, a known and determined enemy of Coligny. †
We cannot conclude with a more just and concise exposition of the result of our inquiry, than in the words of Pere Griffet, so directly at variance with the hypothesis of Dr Lingard Il se peut que les dernieres mesures n'aient été prises que peu de jours avant l'execution. Ce fut alors que l'on determina dans les conseils secrets, le nombre des proscrits, la choix des assassins et le jour de massacre: mais il paroit certain que le ' projet etoit formé dès le tems que l'on fit la paix et la propoposition de marier la sœur de Charles IX. avec le roi de Navarre.'
ART. V. Moeurs Administratives, pour faire suite aux Observations sur les Mours et les Usages Français au Commencement du XIX. Siecle. 2 tomes 12mo. Paris, 1825.
TH HE author of this work published, some time since, a successful jeu-d'-esprit, under the title of L'Art de faire des 'Dettes, '—an art, in which the people of most countries are becoming now as great proficients as their governments. A long experience of the blessings of a National Debt, is sure to bring private debts into fashion; and when a Judge from the Bench-as was the case some time since in England-promulgates the merits and advantages of owing on a grand scale, it is but natural that individuals should try the efficacy of the practice on a small one. I would beseech you,' says Panurge, to leave me some few centuries of Debt, if it were for nothing but the exercise of my mind;'-and English politicians would be, perhaps, equally at a loss for such exercise, if there were, as Panurge expresses it, any parcel abated from off the princi'pal sums they owe. The same great advocate for borrowing and lending adduces another argument in favour of the practice, of which the books of some bankrupts in the late crisis would afford no unapt illustration. Against the opinion of most philosophers, that of nothing ariseth nothing, and without having bottomed on so much as that which is 'called the First Matter, did I out of nothing become such a • maker and creator, that I have created-what? a gay number of fair and jolly creditors. And creditors, I will maintain it, even to the very fire itself, are fair and goodly crea"tures.'
The work before us is more elaborate, and, therefore, less amusing than L'Art de faire des Dettes.' In extending himself beyond the limits of a brochure into two respectable volumes, the author has committed that sort of mistake which success is most apt to generate. Writers are too often tempted thus to outgrow their strength;-the much lauded sonnetteer straggles forthwith into epics, and the epigrammatist, overpaid for his point, becomes voluminous and dull. This work, however, is by no means deficient in liveliness; and the object of the writer being to give an insight into the interior of public offices in France,- to sketch the manners and modes of life of official persons, and throw a light upon all the various wheels, from the Prime Minister down to the Clerk, by which the machine of government in that country is carried on, his book derives an interest, independent of its pleasantry, from the curio