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Lorrain, were detected in a plan of revolt for taking the infant king out of the hands of the Guises, and for expelling that foreign family from the administration of France; which their opponents punished as a conspiracy to establish Calvinism on the ruins of the catholic religion, and to substitute for monarchy a republican confederacy like that of the Helvetic body. Hence arose the executions, or, as the sufferers with reason called it, the massacre of Amboise; one of those daring and atrocious measures from which sanguine hopes are entertained by furious partisans, but of which the sequel is generally most crowded with difficulties, and the event often most disastrous.

The revenge of the victors was peculiarly barbarous. A few strokes of the description of it will suffice to characterise the opening of these unhappy wars. Orders were issued to put to death every man taken on the high roads in arms. As few then journeyed without arms, most of the travelling traders were robbed and murdered. Of those who were hurried through some forms of trial, some were hanged by night to the pinnacles of the castle; others, bound hand and foot, were thrown into the river, which as it passed the town seemed to be swelled by blood. The roads, says the historian, struck the eye with horror by the forest of gibbets through which they appeared to pass. Villemongey, a protestant, as he was about to die, dipping his hands in the blood of his friends who perished before him, lifted them up to heaven, and exclaimed, – "This, O God! is the innocent blood of thy martyrs for which thou wilt visit their destroyers."* It is a terrible feature of savage manners, that the ladies of the court carried on their accustomed gaieties amidst these scenes of horror.

Some time afterwards the slaughter of Vassy, one of the accidental meetings of parties resolved on each other's destruction, foreboded more surely the approach of civil


Guise, on his march at the head of a great armed retinue, had stopped at Vassy, a small town on the * Thuan. i. 830, &c.

borders of Champagne, where a considerable congregation of the reformers were assembled for the purpose of worship. The insolent and bigoted followers of the prince appear to have taken fire at the Calvinistic worship. An armed scuffle ensued, which terminated in a cruel slaughter of the undisciplined and ill-armed huguenots; and which all French protestants, with an exaggeration inevitable in a moment of such violence, considered as an assault on their worship, and a foretaste of the doom which awaited themselves.

In the summer of 1562 the first civil war burst forth. The protestants were most formidable in the opulent and maritime province of Normandy, where the new opinions had struck a deep root. As a revolt against a regent, though directed against the royal authority, could hardly be aimed at the royal person, it became easy to represent this war, in which both parties called themselves royalists, as a contest between the prince of Condé and the duke of Guise. Hence arose the plausibility of Elizabeth's interference in support of her fellow religionists. * By this treaty, which professed to be for the defence of the faithful subjects of the king of France against the Guisian faction, Havre was surrendered to Elizabeth, who was to garrison it with 3000 men, and to supply 3000 more for the defence of Rouen and Dieppe. The war was short. It was closed, in March, 1563, by a convention at Amboise, which left the huguenot party in a worse condition than that in which they had been under the former edicts.

The English were expelled from Havre in autumn, 1563, by the protestants to whose aid they had come; and a definitive treaty of peace was concluded, at Troyes, in April, 1569, between Elizabeth and Charles IX.t, in which the negotiators on the part of England, sir Thomas Smith and sir Nicholas Throgmorton, de

*Traité entre Eliz. Reine d'Angleterre, le Prince de Condé, et la Ligue des Réformés, Septembre 20. 1562. 'Hampton Court. Dum. Corps Diplom. v. + Dumont, v. 1. 126.


serve a higher rank than history has allotted to them among the statesmen of that extraordinary age.

The most memorable event which occurred during these hostilities was the assassination of the duc de Guise; a hero and a renowned captain; who seems to have been sincere in his religion, and whose sense of public duty was not entirely swallowed up by faction and ambition. The maxims of tyrannicide began to steal into the minds of both parties. Poltrot, a protestant, put Guise to death, at the siege of Orleans ; probably actuated more by a fanatical hatred of the oppressor of his faith, than yielding to the supposed suggestions of the admiral Coligny, as catholic writers are prone to believe. In a case where escape was nearly impossible, it is not easy to conceive how such a deed could be proposed; and if there were any human virtues which could resist the violent passions of civil dissensions, the accounts of Coligny, transmitted to us by those who were not his friends, might authorise us to conclude that he could not be the man. "He was," says Brantôme, " prudent, deliberate, addicted to mature counsels, brave, weighing every circumstance, and loving honour and virtue above all things besides."*

The atrocity of the warfare sprung partly from the object of the contending parties, which were so irreconcilable as long as toleration was unknown, that neither could aim at any thing short of the destruction of the other; partly from the circumstance that legal authority was altogether on the side of one faction; in some degree, perhaps, from the proneness of the French nation to enter into the feelings and to catch the passions of their fellows, to which, as they owe many amiable and shining qualities, their urbanity and pleasantry, their quickness and vivacity, their flexibility and good humour, their companionable ease and brilliant enterprise; so, it must be owned, that they also owe a

* Euvres de Brant. viii. 168. The language of Brantôme himself conveys most strongly the estimation in which Coligny was held :-"Un seigneur d'honneur, homme de bien, sage, mûr, avisé, politique, brave, pesant les choses, et aimant l'honneur et la vertu."

more than usual susceptibility of those epidemic passions which often hurry on multitudes to counsels and deeds abhorrent from the ordinary tenor of the temper and conduct of the individuals who compose them. The most powerful agent of all was the peculiar malignity of wars of religion, in which one party must ever regard with the greatest disgust and detestation all that is most dear and venerable in the eyes of their opponents. The protestants regarded as idolatrous the honour paid by their forefathers to the remains and the likenesses of men accounted eminent for piety and virtue. They destroyed these monuments of supposed idolatry with unsparing rage. They profaned them in other modes more insulting and offensive than destruction itself. Nothing could be more natural than the fierce resentment kindled in the breasts of pious catholics by such outrages offered to the objects of their most affectionate veneration. In this and in other cases, shocking indignities and cruel retaliations were most practised by those members of both communions who were most influenced by the religious feelings, which are naturally allied to every kind affection and to every moral principle. The army of the reformed was so powerfully controlled by religion as to exhibit a perfect model of voluntary discipline, of austere morality, and of abstinence from the ordinary vices of soldiers. But the same spirit of religion, inflamed to an intensity necessary, perhaps, to sustain them through wars of extermination, was so distorted by this application, that, instead of inspiring that love of enemies which was its original glory, it refused to include them within the bounds of natural pity, and cast them off as unworthy of the universal offices of humanity. The atrocities perpetrated by the mareschal de Monluc*, coolly, or rather gaily, related by himself, sufficiently characterise the war on the side of the catholics; whose bigotry was lashed into activity by laws which authorised them," at the first sound of the alarm-bell, to fall

* Mémoires de Monluc.

on the huguenots, and destroy them with as little mercy as if they were beasts of prey, or mad dogs." * Des Adrets*, a protestant, rivalled the cruelties of his opponents; directing, among other enormities, a garrison, who had surrendered on terms, to be thrown from the summit of high towers, where they were frequently received on the pikes of his soldiers; on pretence that the like perfidious cruelty had been practised by his opponents on the protestant garrison of Orange: a principle of revenge which would perpetuate every horrible expedient once used in war.† He afterwards became a catholic, but the sense of his desertion subdued his military abilities, though it did not soften his fierceness.

It was not till there was some approach to a general conviction that toleration, if not justifiable on principles of religion, was become at least politically necessary, that a peace between the two factions was possible. But the truce of 1563 continued disturbed by terrific rumours of the designs of the catholic monarchs.

The second civil war lasted during the years 1567 and 1568, and the truce which followed was observed only for six months. In the third civil war the protestant princes of Germany took a share. It is chiefly memorable as that in which Henry, prince of Bearn, signalised his youthful prowess. The prince of Condé was defeated at the head of the huguenot forces, and afterwards put to death in cold blood on the field of battle. Though the huguenots were defeated at the battle of Moncontera, they obtained favourable terms by a treaty concluded in 1570 at St. Germains.

At this point it seems convenient to review the projects discussed at Bayonne, which we have considered only collaterally, as they affect the occurrences in the interior of Britain, and to examine the progress towards their execution in the important points of either exterminating the Calvinists of France and Flanders, or at least placing them at the mercy of their inveterate and irreconcilable oppressors. At this new point of

* Bayle, art. Beaumont des Adrets.

+ Bayle, ubi supra.

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