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rously repaid the obligation in the portrait they handed down to posterity, we should be apt to inquire if he possessed aught but the appearance of those virtues which gained him the title of a great king.

The Reformation gave him pleasure, as an engine with which to fight the monks, whom he regarded with supreme contempt; but its austere maxims were repulsive to a prince who had filled his court with favourites. The priests, too, constantly represented the disciples of the new religion to him as enemies to all social order whatever. The historian Seckendorff quotes a letter, written from the court of France in 1530, in which they are accused of desiring the overthrow of princes, the perfect equality of rights, and even the abrogation of marriage, and a community of goods. These calumnies struck Francis I. forcibly, and Brantôme reports that he said, 'These novelties tend to nothing less than the overthrow of all monarchy, human and divine.'

This explains why, at certain moments of his reign, although not naturally cruel, he showed himself so implacable towards the Reformed. He fancied he was acting as became a statesman, and strove to drown in waves of blood the ill-omened phantoms with which the Catholic clergy had peopled his imagination.

Otherwise, it was an interesting spectacle which the struggle between Margaret of Valois and her brother presented, as to the line of conduct that was to be observed with regard to the Reformed. At one time, the Christian woman has the advantage; then Francis I. opposes the Sorbonne, promises to take the part of the Lutherans as far as he can, and even beyond what he can; he is prepared to grant them what was called the mass with seven points, or the suppression of the seven abuses complained of in the worship of the Romish Church. Then anon, the Catholic prince or the politician seems to triumph; Margaret of Valois bows before the hasty temper of her brother, shrouds herself in docility and reserve, goes so far as to resume the observance of certain popish practices, and so completely veils her faith, that it is still a matter of debate whether she died in the ancient communion or the new.'-vol. i. pp. 23-25.

Henry II., the son and successor of Francis, married, as we have seen, Catherine de Médicis; and if the policy of Francis had a taint of the Italy of that day upon it, the policy of the French court through the next four reigns had a much deeper taint of that nature in it, and largely through the influence of that wicked woman. Catherine and the Guises were the chief agents in the crimes which have cast so dark a shadow over this period of French history. Dissoluteness in every form, and deeds of almost incredible perfidy and cruelty, characterized a court whose great watchwords were derived from religion, and whose pretended solicitude was to uphold a pure faith, and to suppress



religious error. The following is Dr. Félice's account of these people.

'If history is to be to us more than a matter of curiosity, it will be right to inform the reader what were the religious ideas and morals of a court in which such fanatical intolerance reigned.

'After mass they usually met at the houses of the astrologers, to compound philtres and poisons. All the magic arts, and witchcraft of every kind, imported by Catherine de Médicis from Italy, were in high repute. In their closets, the courtiers kept little waxen images, which they pierced through the heart, uttering at the same time some cabalistic words, to procure, as they believed, the death of their enemies.

'The ceremonies of religion contributed to excite the vilest and most sanguinary passions. The sermons of the League priests were like torches, which set the kingdom in a blaze. The processions were calculated to stimulate the ferocity of the mob, and frequently presented impious and revolting spectacles. At Chartres, after the Day of the Barricades, a capuchin, in the presence of Henry III., represented the Saviour ascending Mount Calvary. The monk had drops of blood painted on his person, apparently trickling from his crown of thorns; he seemed with difficulty to drag his cross of painted card-board, and fell down at intervals beneath his load, uttering piercing cries. At Paris, after the assassination of the Duke of Guise, men, women, and even young girls, formed nocturnal processions, dressed only in their night-clothes, or with sheets wrapped round their persons; amid the sacred hymns and chants, they gave themselves up to saturnalia worthy of paganism in its worst days.

'The soldiers of the League, who wore armour blessed by the priests, committed the most infamous deeds on the very steps of the altars. We cannot describe here the atrocities perpetrated in the churches of Saint-Symphorien, of Arquenay, and many others besides.

'What a miserable laughing-stock was this religion of the king, the clergy, the people, and the soldiers!

'Morals were at an equally low level. The Cardinal of Lorraine, and most of the prelates, outraged all the rules of decorum. The Duke of Guise had returned from a night of debauchery when he was assassinated. Margaret of Valois, the Princess de Condè, the Duchesses of Nemours, Guise, Montpensier, and Nevers, led a life of impurity. Two of these ladies, after their lovers had been beheaded, had their heads brought to them, which they kissed, and then embalmed and kept as relics. The manner in which the Duchess of Montpensier, sister to Henry of Guise, preserved the arm of Jacques Clément, is well known.

Everywhere there was a disgusting combination of blood and superstition. The great lords retained assassins and duellists in their pay, who fought with and killed each other for pastime, without remorse or pity, being pitted against each other daily, two and two, four and four, and even by the hundred: it was as easy at that time

to get the address of an assassin or a poisoner, as it is now-a-days to obtain that of an innkeeper.

To complete the picture, we will merely add, that the regicide, Jacques Clément, was canonized in all the pulpits as the blessed son of St. Dominic, the holy martyr of Jesus Christ. His portrait was set upon the altars with these words: St. James Clément, pray for us. When his mother came to Paris, the monks applied to her the words of the Gospel: Blessed is the womb which bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked!' And Pope Sixtus V., to complete the infamy, declared in full consistory, that the martyrdom of Jacques Clément was comparable, in its bearings on the salvation of the world, with the incarnation and resurrection of Jesus Christ.'—vol. i. pp. 258 -260.

The Guises, even more than Catherine, contributed to depress and frustrate the Protestant cause in France. The father of this family entered France in the time of Louis XII. with his staff in his hand, and attended by one servant. But Francis I. saw occasion before his death to put his son upon his guard against the wiles and ambition of that house. That house, however, was not to be kept down. The grandson of Francis I., as Francis II. married a niece of the Guises. From that time the ambition of the two brothers-Francis, Duke of Guise, and the Cardinal of Lorraine, knew scarcely any limit. The former was a man possessing many popular qualities, and had done France some service as a soldier. Of religion he knew next to nothing, and it was viewed by him accordingly, in common with everything else, simply as means that might conduce to his authority and power. He could be generous when not opposed, but became passionate and cruel when his schemes were thwarted. While the duke could bring the military resources of France to the service of the crown, the cardinal would work the confessional in its favour. But, though a man of more culture and capacity than his brother, the cardinal was as licentious in his manners as the duke; was more covetous, more cruel; and while without his courage, shared to the full in his ambition, dreaming at times of nothing less than the triple crown itself.

Distinct from, and we may say opposed to, the family of the Guises, was that of the Bourbons. The princes of this family were, in a remote degree, princes of the blood, though persons of only moderate fortune. The distinguished men of this house were Louis, Prince of Condé, and the prince who became Henry IV. Of these persons, and of the relation of their house to the history of the Reformed faith in France, Dr. Félice thus writes:

'Antoine de Bourbon, the head of his family, had married Jeanne d'Albret, who brought him the title of King of Navarre, without, however, conferring the kingdom on him. An irresolute and indolent



prince, naturally timid, but occasionally displaying courage, he hovered between the two doctrines: at one time, having the Reformed faith preached in Béarn, Saintonge, and Poitou, and going to sing psalms in the Pré-aux-clercs, in 1558, notwithstanding the outcries of the Sorbonne; at another, returning to the Catholic faith, and persecuting the Faithful. The first and last words of his whole life was the passionate wish to recover either Navarre or some equivalent dominion. He died without accomplishing this object, and this long dream answered no end but to cause him to be abandoned and laughed at by everybody.

His brother, Louis, Prince of Condé, had a more penetrating genius and a more manly character. Witty, having a great flow of animal spirits, sometimes frivolous, but intrepid in the highest degree, and adored by the soldiery, he valiantly defended the cause of the Reformed, without ever inspiring them with full confidence in himself. Instructed in the new ideas by his wife and mother-in-law, he exhibited more ambition than piety, and the irregularity of his morals always threw a doubt over the sincerity of his faith.

'It may be fairly asked if the Bourbons, including even Henry IV., did not do as much damage as service to the French Reformation. They mixed it up with politics, thrust it into the field of battle, dragged it into their private quarrels, and then, when it had won for them the crown, they disowned it.'-vol. i. pp. 82, 83.

Besides Catherine, and the Guises, and the Bourbons, there was a third family which became distinguished among the great actors in the events of those times. We refer to the Chatillons. Three brothers of this family became Protestants. All were able and honourable men, but the most eminent was the famous. Admiral Coligny. The following is Dr. Félice's account of him:

'Born at Châtillon-sur-Loing, in 1516, Coligny was educated by Nicholas Bérault, a very celebrated professor of that day; and he took such delight in his studies, that his friends were obliged to interrupt them, for fear he should be diverted from the profession of arms. At twenty-five he was colonel-general of the French infantry, and by his regulations he introduced a rigid discipline among those bands of mercenaries who till the command was given to him, were more like brigands than soldiers. 'These ordinances,' says Brantôme, 'were the best and wisest ever made in France, and I believe, since they were adopted, the lives of a million of persons have been preserved, besides goods and property in like proportion; for formerly there was nothing but pillage, robbery, brigandage, ransoming, murder, and whoredom, with these troops. Such is the obligation the world owes to this great man.'

'It is not known when Coligny made the first advances towards the new doctrine. In 1555 we see him seconding the enterprise of the Chevalier de Villegagnon, who proposed founding a colony of the French reformed in Brazil. The Admiral, finding in the plan the twofold advantage that it opened a place of retreat for the persecuted,

and enriched his country with a colonial establishment, gave Villegagnon two vessels and a sum of ten thousand livres; but the expedition was not crowned with success.

'Being taken prisoner by the Spaniards after the unfortunate battle of Saint-Quentin, he asked for his Bible and some religious books. He gave himself up entirely to the study of them, and then it was that he seems to have acquired his deep and unshaken convictions as to the principles of the Reformation.

When he had paid his ransom, he retired to his manor of Châtillonsur-Loing; and wishing to devote himself to religious pursuits, with the king's permission he resigned the post of colonel-general of the infantry to his brother, d'Andelot. He gave up the government of Paris and of the Ile de France in favour of his cousin, Marshal de Montmorency, son of the constable; and earnestly besought Henry II. to name his successor to the government of Picardy: Which, at the very time,' says the author of the Mémoires de Coligny, 'gave occasion to many to suspect him of having changed his religion; for it was very true that he plainly showed his mind was far removed from the pursuit of honour and power.'

'Such is the man whom several historians have accused of taking up arms and fomenting revolts, from a spirit of ambition! History written in such a style is one of the greatest disgraces of humanity.

'Coligny was encouraged in his pious resolutions by his wife, Charlotte de Laval, who unceasingly invited him to declare himself openly. 'Then the Admiral, seeing himself so often and so affectionately pressed by her, resolved to speak to her about it once for all, as he did, representing to her at some length that, for many years, he had not seen any one, either in Germany or France, who had openly professed the religion, but found himself overwhelmed with evils and calamities; that, by the edicts of Francis I. and Henry II., rigorously observed by the parliaments, those who were convicted were to be burnt alive, in a slow fire, in a public place, and their estates confiscated to the king; that still, if she possessed such confidence as not to refuse the common lot of those of the religion, he, on his part, would not be wanting in his duty.'

'Charlotte de Laval having replied that such had been the fate of true Christians in all ages, Coligny hesitated no longer; he acknowledged his belief in the presence of those who came to visit him, exhorted his servants to follow his example, gave them the Scriptures to read, selected men of piety as tutors for his children, and made a thorough reformation throughout his household. He began, likewise, to frequent the assemblies, but did not partake of the Lord's Supper, having some doubts on that head. He had discussed the matter with learned ministers, asking for an explanation upon the real presence and other such like subjects, without being able clearly to understand the doctrine.

'One day, happening to be in the assembly at Vatville, as the Supper was about to be celebrated, he rose, and after begging the

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