« ElőzőTovább »
He was not the ignorant soldier who could | services secured him rapid promotion. mistake the printed Bible brought to him In 1547 Francis I. died, and was sucat Vassy, as Protestant prejudice has de- ceeded by Henry II. In this same year picted him, but he was well read in the Coligny was made colonel and captainLatin historians, and especially in Taci- general of the French infantry. The tus. Splendid in expenditure, delighting Swiss mercenaries, of whom the force was in display, apparently frank and careless composed, were disorderly in war, and in in speech, mirthful in manner, broad- peace "companies of Arabs and brigands." shouldered, and magnificent in appear- Coligny's first care was to reduce them ance, he was the ideal beau sabreur, the to discipline. The honor of women was very man to become the idol of Paris. guarded by the punishment of hanging. Everything was to be paid for, and soldiers who roved through the country in search of plunder were to be hung. No quarrelling was permitted. A soldier who calumniated another, or gave his comrade the lie, was to make public confession of his fault. No duel could be fought without permission. The execrable blasphemies of the soldiers were to cease. On the third offence the blasphemer's tongue was cut out. Golding,* in his "Lyfe of Jasper Colignie," translated from the Latin of De Serres, describes this military code.
Numerous explanations have been sought for the coolness which gradually sprang up between the two young men. The true explanation lies in their divergent characters and their natural rivalry. In the case of Coligny the exuberant spirits of youth concealed a will and temperament which were not likely to suffer shipwreck from the frivolities of the court. His thoughtful, serious face as it appears in his portrait among the Grands Amiraux of Francè with its square, high forehead, full, firm mouth, clear, melancholy, grey eyes, reveals qualities the very opposite to those of Guise. Proud of his birth, impatient of control, stern and even harsh in the administration of justice, he was a man to be trusted and feared. Reserved in manner, severe in demeanor, slow in the expression of his opinions, inflexible in his judgment of others, pitiless towards himself, he was never a man to be popular. He cared little for worldly pleasures, but he loved power. He was determined to be the first man in France, and at every step Guise crossed his path. Tolerant and enlightened in his views, he was in his ideas a man of the modern world. The hero of duty, intrepid in danger, resourceful in defeat, never elated by success or dispirited by failure, his virtues seemed to be cast in the mould of antiquity.
Ambitious of military glory, Coligny rapidly gained renown as a soldier. He was wounded at Montmédy in 1542, and at the siege of Bains in 1543; he distinguished himself at the capture of Carignan and the battle of Cérisoles (1544); he commanded a galley in the French expedition against the Isle of Wight in 1545; he captured Boulogne from the English in 1549 by means of a fort which was called, after its projector, Fort Châtillon. Such
For wheras erst it was growen intoo a moste wicked custome, that the souldyers myght ronne gadding everywhere under their antsignes, and make havocke and spoyle of all things, Jasper tyed them too streyter orders of warlike disciplyne, therby too restreyne their overlicentiouse dealings, and specially to represse the libertie of their cursed swearing and blasphemie.
Stern as the code was it was enforced with inexorable rigor. Formerly, says Brantôme,† there was nothing but pillage, robbery, plunder, ransoming, murder, quarrels, and ravishing. Now the troops were strictly disciplined, and "the lives of thousands of persons saved."
In 1553 Coligny became admiral of France; in 1555 he was made governor of Picardy; in 1556 he negotiated the Treaty of Vaucelles with Philip of Spain. He was at the height of his fortune. Meanwhile the increasing severity of the persecutions of the Protestants had turned Coligny's thoughts to the pacification of
The Lyfe of the most Godly, Valeant, and Noble
Capteine and Mainteiner of the trew Christain Religion in Fraunce, Jasper Colignie Shatilion, some tyme Greate Admirall of Fraunce. Translated out of Latin by A. Golding. London, 1576. 8vo.
† Hommes Illustres et Grands Capitaines Français: M. de Châtillon.
religious dissensions. In the New World | God, which are always good, and holy, and
it was possible to found a colonial empire, strike a blow at the exclusive dominion of Spain, and secure liberty of conscience for the Protestants. As Coligny anticipated Cromwell in his discipline of an army, so also he preceded the Pilgrim Fathers in his scheme of colonization. But his plan was to be a national movement, supported and encouraged by the king. To this purpose he adhered with his usual tenacity. He recurred to it again in 1560, 1564, and 1570.* In 1555 the first colonizing expedition for the sake of religious liberty sailed from Havre. It reached Rio de Janeiro, and occupied a small island, which Villegagnon the commander, called Coligny. But the enterprise failed. The emigrants quarrelled among themselves; many of them returned sooner than endure the Genevan rule; those who remained were massacred.
reasonable, and which do nothing without just
Coligny returned to Paris, to find Guise entirely possessed of Henry's confidence, the Spanish influence supreme, the papal power strictly allied with France, the Catholic reaction in progress, the Inquisition introduced, the government bent upon the extermination of heresy. It did not make his loss of influence less hard to bear, that he himself was the author of the plans by which Guise had taken Calals. He withdrew to Châtillon-sur-Loing, where he made a public profession of the Calvinist opinions in 1560. In his retirement he busied himself with rebuilding and restoring the castle.† Châtillon, near Nogent-sur-Vermisson, in the department This abortive expedition was Coligny's of Loiret, is a small, quiet town which has first failure. Its equipment marks the grown up under the shadow of the resihighest point of his career. Hence- dence of its feudal lords. Thrice burned forward his life was full of disaster, and to the ground, there are few remains of The choir of the his star was eclipsed by that of Guise. ancient buildings. In 1557 the Treaty of Vaucelles was church dates from the time of Coligny, as treacherously broken. War was renewed also do the edifices known as Pot au Lait, with Spain, and Picardy bore the brunt of l'Enfer, le Purgatoire, and le Paradis. the attack. St. Quentin was besieged. The bastions and walls with which he It was without walls, provisions, or sol- surrounded the castle may still be traced. diers. If the town fell, the road lay open The gardens, with the three terraces to the Spaniards. Coligny threw himself placed the one above the other, remain into it with a handful of men. Two at- much as he left them. But the southern tempts to relieve it failed. For twenty- wing of the castle, which he built in the seven days he held out, and every hour Renaissance style, containing a gallery of that was gained gave the French time to pictures by Primaticcio and his pupils, collect their troops. Finally the town was bas-reliefs, and caryatides carved by Jean carried by assault. As with his brother Goujon, and frescoes for which Giulio Andelot, imprisonment proved the reli- Romano supplied the designs, is degious turning-point of his life. When the stroyed. Coligny at least did not suffer peace of Cateau-Cambrésis (signed April, his religion to blind him to the beauties 1559) was negotiated, he returned to Paris of art. a Protestant. He has himself described the siege of St. Quentin in a document composed in his prison at Sluys. He concludes his account of the capture of
the town with these words:
As the policy of the court grew more definitely hostile towards the Protestants, their attitude towards the civil power underwent a complete change. They began to look to the sword for the righteous defence of the Gospel. They learned to use the watchword "Venger Dieu." They prepared for union among their scattered Congregations by convening their first synod at Paris in 1559. The delegates assembled at the risk of their lives, and the result of their deliberations at this and subsequent meetings was the Confession of Faith, which they presented two years • Brantôme, Grands Capitaines, etc.: M. de Guise. t Becquerel, Souvenirs Historiques sur l'Amira Coligny. Paris, 1876. 8vo.
Spreto certæ necis metu conveniunt (De Thou, liv. xxii.).
lating, and suspicious of the Constable Montmorency, was incapable of decisive action. Louis, Prince de Condé, born in 1530, was of a very different character. Popular, brave, fond of pleasure, chivalrously courageous, excelling in all bodily exercises, loving other people's wives as much as his own,† he had nothing Puritan in his nature. Slight in stature and roundanecdote-mongers have maintained, hump-backed - he disputed with François de Guise the favor of the Parisians, who sang of him
later to Charles IX., and a compact and ernment had accumulated. serried organization based on the repre- tants, the nobility, the princes of the sentative system. Numerous, enthusias- blood, even the queen mother, had their tic, well-organized, and rapidly increasing grievances. Though nominally in retirein numbers, the Huguenots only required ment at Châtillon, Coligny was in close leaders to make them a formidable body. touch with the leaders of his party. Near At this crisis the ascendency of the Guises to Châtillon lay Tanlay, the home of Anand the Spanish policy of the court threw delot, and Noyers, the residence of Condé. into their arms the Bourbons and a large The two Bourbon princes, Condé, and the number of the malcontent nobility. Be- elder brother, Antoine, Duc de Vendôme, tween the Cardinal of Lorraine, the "Ti- who by his marriage with Jeanne d'Albret ger of France," as Hotman calls Charles was king of Navarre, were the nominal de Guise, and Antoine Perrenot, better leaders of the Huguenot party. As known as the Cardinal Granvelle and the princes of the blood royal they had claims subtlest diplomatist_of_the_day, a close to the administration of the realm during alliance had been formed. French policy, the minority of the king. Both as Proteshitherto opposed to the aggrandizement tants and princes of the blood they had of Spain, became Spanish. It was from everything to fear from the ascendency of the Escurial that the Guises drew their the Guises. But Antoine, weak, vacilmysterious strength. Granvella painted the insidious progress of heresy, the dangers with which it threatened the monarchy, the advantage of uniting France with Spain as a bulwark against Protestantism. A tempting prospect was opened to the Guises. They could pose as defenders of the faith, as Catholic champions, and by such titles jealousy of their extraction or their influence would be ap-shouldered peased. They would rise above court intrigues; they would cease to depend on royal favoritism. Their allies would be the Catholic sovereigns of Europe, their followers every faithful son of the Church. Resistance to their power would be identified with heresy. So the subtle poison worked in the minds of the Guises. What their ultimate object may have been is uncertain. Perhaps they foresaw that in the sickly children of Catherine de Médicis the race of Valois would become extinct, and hoped that as champions of the Church they might seize the throne. With the death of Henry II. (1559) and the accession of Francis II. their influence was unbounded. Mary Stuart, their niece, was queen of France, and Francis, a boy of sixteen, weak in mind and body, was a puppet in their hands. They usurped the position which legitimately belonged to the princes of the blood. They alone were responsible for the acts done in the royal name. To them was entrusted the civil, military, and financial administration of the country. Under their auspices the persecution grew hotter, and aimed at higher game. Anne Dubourg was rested, imprisoned, and executed as a heretic. Andelot, the brother of Coligny, only saved himself from a similar fate by a timely conformity.
A mass of disaffection towards the gov.
Ce petit homme tant jolly
He was attracted to the Huguenot faith by the influence of his wife, the granddaughter of Louise de Montmorency, the mother of Coligny. Ambitious rather than religious, he threw in his lot with the Reformers from disgust at the ascendency of the Guises. He was the Rupert of their cause, as Coligny was their Washington. His charge was irresistible, but he was rather a dashing cavalry officer than a general.
Between the extreme sections of the
malcontents Coligny held the balance. There were Huguenots of religion, asking the end of persecution, and Huguenots of state, who demanded the dismissal of the Guises. On the one side were the Reformers, who, stimulated by the example of their co-religionists in other countries, were eager to conquer liberty of religion
et XVIIe Siècles, par M. le duc d'Aumale, tome i. Histoire des Princes de Condé pendant les XVIe Paris, 1863
† Brantôme says that Condé was "aussy mondain qu'un autre, et aymoit autant la femme d'autruy que la sienne."
by force of arms and the aid of foreigners. | moment of its triumph, by the death of On the other side stood the nobles, who Francis II. on December 5, 1560. clamored for the restoration of the princes The accession of Charles IX., at the of the blood. No notion of treason crossed age of nine, promised brighter prospects their minds. France during the wars of for the Huguenots. The Guises were no religion resembled England during the longer the king's uncles. L'Hôpital's inwars of the Roses. Subject to the crown fluence was thrown into the scale of tolonly in name, the nobility hoped to use eration. The constable Montmorency the Protestant cause as a means of recov- returned to court. The king of Navarre ering their feudal independence. At a was appointed lieutenant-governor of the council held at Vendôme the malcontents realm. The Guises retired in disgust to considered whether they should take up the provinces. The Cardinal de Châtilarms against the Guises as usurpers, lon, though married, celebrated mass in foreigners, and tyrants." Coligny re- the Cathedral of Beauvais. Montluc* strained the eagerness of his party. At preached a sermon before the king in this, and at the subsequent meeting of La which he expounded the Genevan creed. Ferté-sur-Marne, he argued against war. The key to this change lies in the posi Nothing was lost by waiting. The Re- tion and the character of Catharine de formed religion was spreading fast. The Médicis. The ruling passion of the king was young, and he might eventually queen mother was the love of power, or, side with them. Without foreign assist- as the Venetian ambassador calls it, "il ance they could not cope with the Guises. affetto di signoreggiare." Without affecColigny's advice prevailed. Some at tions, scruples, or principles, without a least of those whom he addressed were single virtue except conjugal fidelity, privy to the conspiracy of Amboise, to without one noble feeling, yet with infinite seize or kill the Guises, to secure the patience and suppleness, she schemed inperson of the king, to hand over the gov- cessantly to preserve her own ascendency. ernment to the Bourbons, who would con- Unable to raise the royal power above vene the States-General. Was Coligny. contending parties, she gave her hand the "Capitaine Muet" who stood behind first to one, then to the other, using them La Renaudie? Was the secretary of La against each other, alternately courting Renaudie speaking the truth, or saving and betraying first the Catholics and then himself from torture, when he declared the Huguenots. At this moment not only that both Condé and Coligny were privy to had she most to fear from the ambition of the plot? It is impossible to decide with the Guises, but it was doubtful whether certainty; but the discovery of the plot Rome or Geneva was to dominate France. was followed by a massacre of the Hugue- It was only when the Catholic reaction nots. At Amboise alone twelve hundred had set in after 1563, and the first war had were executed. Public justice was made revealed the numerical insignificance of the instrument of private vengeance. the Huguenots, that Catharine definitely Alarm at the boldness of the plot, and took the side of the Catholics. Even horror at its terrible punishment, strength- then she was prepared to be neutral. The ened the hands of the moderate party, who extraordinary influence which Coligny demanded a general amnesty. At Fon- gained in 1570 was the real cause of his tainebleau it was resolved to summon the attempted murder and the massacre of States-General at Orleans and suspend St. Bartholomew. Catharine's first plan the punishment of heretics. This resolu- was to create a moderate party which tion was a triumph for the moderate party might check the power of the Guises, and and a defeat for the Guises. But the con- either hold the balance between contendvention of the States-General at Orleans ing parties, or effect a compromise which afforded the latter an opportunity which would satisfy both. Herself a Gallio in they hastened to use. They crowded the matters of religion, she believed that it city with troops. The Spaniards were was possible to establish a moderate platready to give assistance on the frontiers. form to which both Huguenots and CathThe Protestants were unprepared. A olics could adhere. She laid the outline royal ordinance was drafted for publica of her scheme before Pius IV. The tion, confiscating the property of the Cal-basis of her "interim" was the reform of vinists and banishing them from the clerical discipline, the abolition of imagekingdom. Coligny and the Cardinal de worship, the communion in both kinds, Châtillon were in the hands of the Guises. Condé was arrested and condemned to death. The coup d'état was ruined, at the
* Le Laboureur, Additions aux Mémoires de Castelnau, tome. i., liv. ii. t De Thou, liv. xxviii
Before him hovered that im. age of his country with which the Roman poet confronted Cæsar on the banks of the Rubicon. "Ingens visa duci patriæ trepidantis imago." One night he lay sleepless in his bed, pondering upon the miseries of the Protestants and the horrors of war, debating within his stern, upright spirit the legality of armed resistance to authority. It was at the entreaty of his wife, Catharine de Laval, that he eventually joined Condé. To her arguments he replied:
the use of the vulgar tongue in common | civil war.
"Madame ! lay your hand upon your breast and search your heart. Can you encounter disaster, shame, the reproaches of a people who judge all things by success? Can you endure treachery, your exile, your nakedness, your hunger, and, what is worse, the hunger of your children, your own death upon the scaffold, and the spectacle of your husband drawn to execution on a hurdle? I give "The three you three weeks to consider. weeks," she said, "are already passed. Lay those who will perish in those three weeks, or not upon your head the guilt of the death of I shall witness against you before the judg ment seat of God."
Her high-spirited counsel turned the scale. Tristis ad mortem, he threw in his lot with Condé, protesting that he took up arms not against the king but against his
Both parties flew to arms. At first Catharine wavered. The Protestants assured her that in every province she would have an army, if she would but trust herself and the king to the princes of the blood. Catharine yielded to the suggestion. She urged Navarre to seize the person of the king at Fontainebleau, "to save the mother, the children, and the king." But while Navarre hesitated, Guise seized the opportunity, and Catharine passed over finally to the side of Lorraine. From Meaux Condé issued his manifesto to the Protestants to arm, and flung out his banner with the inscription "Doux le péril pour Christ et la patrie." His published reasons for declaring war were the delay of the Parliament in registering the Edict of January, the massacre of Vassy, the fear that Guise was plotting the extermination of the Protestants, the disobedience of Guise in going to Paris in defiance of the royal commands, the assumption of royal powers by the council over which Guise presided at Paris. In similar terms the Treaty of Association was drawn up between Condé and his party" to maintain the honor of God, the peace of this Kingdom, and the State and Liberty of the King under the Government of the Queen his Mother." Numerous public documents of the day treat the king as a captive, and it is avowedly on this ground that Elizabeth promised her assistance to the Huguenot cause.
Hitherto Coligny had not declared himself. No man can lightly take the step of
Cf. Declaration Faicte par Monsieur le Prince de Condé pour monstrer les raisons qui l'ont contrainct d'entreprendre la defense de l'autorité du Roy, du Gouvernement de la Royne et du repos de ce Royaume.
Traicté d'Association faicte par Monseigneur le Prince de Condé avec les Princes, Chevaliers de l'Ordre, etc., qui sont entrez, ou entreront cy aprés, en ladicte Association. MDLXII.
The war opened with a brilliant feat of thousand of the Protestant gentry, carried arms. Condé, riding at the head of two Orleans by a cavalry charge. From Blois to Angers the gleam of Huguenot steel flashed along the banks of the Loire; leaped from town to town; it girdled the Half Languedoc sprang to arms. coast. Dauphiné, with the massacre of the Vau dois fresh in her memory, rose. great cities of Guienne and Gascony deClared for the Genevan gown. Both sides ravaged, plundered, and burned. Both employed mercenary Reiters and Landsknechts. Both appealed abroad for assistance.
But the sale of Havre to Elizabeth
by the Calvinist leaders is a lasting disgrace to their cause.* Religious fanaticism might be proof against the charge of treason. Yet many of the political Huguenots deserted the cause as soon as the terms of the treaty of Hampton court transpired.
The Huguenot headquarters lay at Orleans, where Coligny devoted himself to the military and moral discipline of the army. Soon the camp presented an edi
Hist. des Princes de Condé, par M. le duc d'Aumale, i. 161.