HISTORY OF FRANCE
BY M. GUIZOT
XXVIII. FRANCIS I. AND CHARLES V. 9
XXIX. FRANCIS I. AND THE RENAISSANCE. 137
XXX. FRANCIS I. AND THE REFORMATION. 179
XXXI. HENRY II. (1547-1559.) 230
XXXII. FRANCIS II. JULY 10, 1559—DECEMBER 5, 1560 269
XXXIII. CHARLES IX. AND THE RELIGIOUS WARS. (1560-1574.) 296
XXXIV. HENRY III. AND THE RELIGIOUS WARS. (1574-1589.) 388
LIST OF STEEL ENGRAVINGS:
THE CASTLE OF CHAIIIBORD. FRONTISPIECE.
FRANCIS I 137
GALLERY HENRY II 230
DIANA DE POITIERS 243
MARY STUART 270
HENRY OF LORRAINE (DUKE OF GUISE) 332
LIST OF WOOD-CUT ILLUSTRATIONS:
Cardinal Ximenes 14
All Night a-horseback 19
Bayard Knighting Francis I 19
Leo X. 21
Anthony Duprat 24
Charles V. 39
Francis I. surprises Henry VIII 44
The Field of the Cloth of Gold 45
The Constable de Bourbon 53
The Death of Bayard 76
Capture of Francis I. 91
Louise of Savoy and Marguerite de Valois 102
Francis I. 115
The Duke of Orleans and Charles V 128
Claude de Lorraine, Duke of Guise 130
St. Thomas Aquinas and Abelard 140
Clement Marot 162
Francis I. waits for Robert Estienne 168
The First Protestants 178
William Farel 181
The Castle of Pau 183
Burning of Reformers at Meaux 188
Berquin released by John de la Barre 198
Heretic Iconoclasts 201
Massacre of the Vaudians 218
Henry II. 235
Anne de Montmorency 235
Guise at Metz 244
Francis II. and Mary Stuart love making. 251
Catherine de' Medici (in her young days) 255
Joust between Henri II. and Count de Montgomery 268
Archers of the Body-guard 268
Francis II. 269
Death of La Renaudie 283
After-dinner Diversions 284
Mary Stuart 284
Louis de Bourbon, Prince of Condo 285
Coligny at the Death-bed of Francis II. 295
Francis de Lorraine, Duke of Aumale and of Guise 302
Massacre of Protestants 305
The Duke of Guise waylaid 315
Conde at the Ford 328
Parley before the Battle of Moncontour 337
Admiral Gaspard de Coligny 346
Charles IX. and Catherine de' Medici 354
Henry de Guise and the Corpse of Coligny 369
The Queen of Navarre and the Huguenot 372
Chancellor Michael de l'Hospital 376
The St. Bartholomew 383
Henry III. 388
Indolence of Henry III. 390
Henry le Balafre 400
The Castle of Blois 428
Henry III. and the Murder of Guise 437
Henry of Navarre and the Scotch Guard 448
A POPULAR HISTORY OF FRANCE FROM THE EARLIEST TIMES.
CHAPTER XXVIII.——FRANCIS I. AND CHARLES V.
The closer the study and the wider the contemplation a Frenchman bestows upon his country's history, the deeper will be his feelings of patriotic pride, dashed with a tinge of sadness. France, in respect of her national unity, is the most ancient amongst the states of Christian Europe. During her long existence she has passed through very different regimens, the chaos of barbarism, the feudal system, absolute monarchy, constitutional monarchy, and republicanism. Under all these regimens she has had no lack of greatness and glory, material power and intellectual lustre, moral virtues and the charms of social life. Her barbarism had its Charlemagne; her feudal system St. Louis, Joan of Arc, and Bayard; her absolute monarchy Henry IV. and Louis XIV. Of our own times we say nothing. France has shone in war and in peace, through the sword and through the intellect: she has by turns conquered and beguiled, enlightened and troubled Europe; she has always offered to the foreigner a spectacle or an abode full of the curious and the attractive, of noble pleasures and of mundane amusements. And still, after so many centuries of such a grand and brilliant career, France has not yet attained the end to which she ever aspired, to which all civilized communities aspire, and that is, order in the midst of movement, security and liberty united and lasting. She has had shortcomings which have prevented her from reaping the full advantage of her merits; she has committed faults which have involved her in reverses. Two things, essential to political prosperity amongst communities of men, have hitherto been to seek in her; predominance of public spirit over the spirit of caste or of profession, and moderation and fixity in respect of national ambition both at home and abroad. France has been a victim to the personal passions of her chiefs and to her own reckless changeability.
We are entering upon the history of a period and a reign during which this intermixture of merits and demerits, of virtues and vices, of progress and backsliding, was powerfully and attractively exhibited amongst the French. Francis I., his government and his times commence the era of modern France, and bring clearly to view the causes of her greatnesses and her weaknesses.
Francis I. had received from God all the gifts that can adorn a man: he was handsome and tall and strong; his armor, preserved in the Louvre, is that of a man six feet high; his eyes were brilliant and soft, his smile was gracious, his manners were winning. From his very childhood he showed that he had wits, enterprise, skill, and boldness. He was but seven years old when, "on the day of the conversion of St. Paul, January 25, 1501, about two P. M., my king, my lord, my Caesar, and my son, was run away with, near Amboise, by a hackney which had been given him by Marshal de Gye; and so great was the danger that those who were present thought it was all over; howbeit God, the protector of widowed women and the defender of orphans, foreseeing things to come, was pleased not to forsake me, knowing that, if accident had so suddenly deprived me of my love, I should have been too utter a wretch." Such is the account given of this little incident by his mother, Louise of Savoy, who was at that time habitually kept, by Anne of Brittany's jealousy, at a distance from Paris and the court. [Journal de Louise de Savoie in the Petitot collection of Memoires sur l'Histoire de France, Series I. t. xvi. p. 390.] Some years later the young prince, who had become an ardent huntsman, took the fancy into his head one day to let loose in the courtyard of the castle of Amboise a wild boar which he had just caught in the forest. The animal came to a door, burst it open with a blow of his snout, and walked up into the apartments. Those who were there took to their heels; but Francis went after the boar, came up with him, killed him with a swordthrust, and sent him rolling down the staircase into the courtyard. When, in 1513, Louis XII. sent for the young Duke of Angouleme and bade him go and defend Picardy against the English, Francis had scarcely done anything beyond so employing his natural gifts as to delight the little court of which he was the centre; an estimable trait, but very insufficient for the government of a people.
When, two years afterwards, on the 1st of January, 1515, he ascended the throne before he had attained his one and twentieth year, it was a brilliant and brave but spoiled child that became king. He had been under the governance of Artus Gouffier, Sire de Boisy, a nobleman of Poitou, who had exerted himself to make his royal pupil a loyal knight, well trained in the moral code and all the graces of knighthood, but without drawing his attention to more serious studies or preparing him for the task of government. The young Francis d'Angouleme lived and was moulded under the influence of two women, his mother, Louise of Savoy, and his eldest sister, Marguerite, who both of them loved and adored him with passionate idolatry. It has just been shown in what terms Louise of Savoy, in her daily collection of private memoranda, used to speak to herself of her son, "My king, my lord, my Caesar, and my son!" She was proud, ambitious, audacious, or pliant at need, able and steadfast in mind, violent and dissolute in her habits, greedy of pleasure and of money as well as of power, so that she gave her son neither moral principles nor a moral example: for him the supreme kingship, for herself the rank, influence, and wealth of a queen-mother, and, for both, greatness that might subserve the gratification of their passions—this was all her dream and all her aim as a mother. Of quite another sort were the character and sentiments of Marguerite de Valois. She was born on the 11th of April, 1492, and was, therefore, only two years older than her brother Francis; but her more delicate nature was sooner and more richly cultivated and developed. She was brought up with strictness by a most excellent and most venerable dame, in whom all the virtues, at rivalry one with another, existed together. [Madame de Chatillon, whose deceased husband had been governor to King Charles VIII.] As she was discovered to have rare intellectual gifts and a very keen relish for learning, she was provided with every kind of preceptors, who made her proficient in profane letters, as they were then called. Marguerite learned Latin, Greek, philosophy, and especially theology. "At fifteen years of age," says a contemporary, "the spirit of God began to manifest itself in her eyes, in her face, in her walk, in her speech, and. generally in all her actions." "She had a heart," says Brantome, "mighty devoted to God, and she loved mightily to compose spiritual songs. . . . She also devoted herself to letters in her young days, and continued them as long as she lived, loving and conversing with, in the time of her greatness, the most learned folks of her brother's kingdom, who honored her so that they called her their Maecenas." Learning, however, was far from absorbing the whole of this young soul. "She," says a contemporary, "had an agreeable voice of touching tone, which roused the tender inclinations that there are in the heart." Tenderness, a passionate tenderness, very early assumed the chief place in Marguerite's soul, and the first object of it was her brother Francis. When mother, son, and sister were spoken of, they were called a Trinity, and to this Marguerite herself bore witness when she said, with charming modesty,—
"Such boon is mine, to feel the amity That God hath putten in our trinity, Wherein to make a third, I, all unfitted To be that number's shadow, am admitted."
Marguerite it was for whom this close communion of three persons had the most dolorous consequences: we shall fall in with her more than once in the course of this history; but, whether or no, she was assuredly the best of this princely trio, and Francis I. was the most spoiled by it. There is nothing more demoralizing than to be an idol.
The first acts of his government were sensible and of good omen. He confirmed or renewed the treaties or truces which Louis XII., at the close of his reign, had concluded with the Venetians, the Swiss, the pope, the King of England, the Archduke Charles, and the Emperor Maximilian, in order to restore peace to his kingdom. At home Francis I. maintained at his council the principal and most tried servants of his predecessor, amongst others the finance-minister, Florimond Robertet; and he raised to four the number of the marshals of France, in order to confer that dignity on Bayard's valiant friend, James of Chabannes, Lord of La Palice, who even under Louis XII. had been entitled by the Spaniards "the great marshal of France." At the same time he exalted to the highest offices in the state two new men, Charles, Duke of Bourbon, who was still a mere youth, but already a warrior of renown, and Anthony Duprat, the able premier president of the Parliament of Paris; the former he made constable, and the latter chancellor of France. His mother, Louise of Savoy, was not unconcerned, it is said, in both promotions; she was supposed to feel for the young constable something more than friendship, and she regarded the veteran magistrate, not without reason, as the man most calculated to unreservedly subserve the interests of the kingly power and her own.
These measures, together with the language and the behavior of Francis I., and the care he took to conciliate all who approached him, made a favorable impression on France and on Europe. In Italy, especially, princes as well as people, and Pope Leo X. before all, flattered themselves, or were pleased to appear as if they flattered themselves, that war would not come near them again, and that the young king had his heart set only on making Burgundy secure against sudden and outrageous attacks from the Swiss. The aged King of Spain, Ferdinand the Catholic, adopting the views of his able minister, Cardinal Ximenes, alone showed distrust and anxiety. "Go not to sleep," said he to his former allies; "a single instant is enough to bring the French in the wake of their master whithersoever he pleases to lead them; is it merely to defend Burgundy that the King of France is adding fifteen hundred lances to his men-at-arms, and that a huge train of artillery is defiling into Lyonness, and little by little approaching the mountains?"
Ferdinand urged the pope, the Emperor Maximilian, the Swiss, and Maximilian Sforza, Duke of Milan, to form a league for the defence of Italy; but Leo X. persisted in his desire of remaining or appearing neutral, as the common father of the faithful. Meanwhile the French ambassador at Rome, William Bude, "a man," says Guicciardini, "of probably unique erudition amongst the men of our day," and, besides, a man of keen and sagacious intellect, was unfolding the secret working of Italian diplomacy, and sending to Paris demands for his recall, saying, "Withdraw me from this court full of falsehoods; this is a residence too much out of my element." The answer was, that he should have patience, and still negotiate; for France, meeting ruse by ruse, was willing to be considered hoodwinked, whilst the eyes of the pope, diverted by a hollow negotiation, were prevented from seeing the peril which was gathering round the Italian league and its declared or secret champions. [Gaillard, Histoire de Francois 1er, t. i. p. 208.]
Neither the king nor the pope had for long to take the trouble of practising mutual deception. It was announced at Rome that Francis I., having arrived at Lyons in July, 1515, had just committed to his mother, Louise, the regency of the kingdom, and was pushing forward towards the Alps an army of sixty thousand men and a powerful artillery. He had won over to his service Octavian Fregoso, Doge of Genoa; and Barthelemy d'Alviano, the veteran general of his allies the Venetians, was encamped with his troops within hail of Verona, ready to support the French in the struggle he foresaw. Francis I., on his side, was informed that twenty thousand Swiss, commanded by the Roman, Prosper Colonna, were guarding the passes of the Alps in order to shut him out from Milaness. At the same time he received the news that the Cardinal of Sion, his most zealous enemy in connection with the Roman Church, was devotedly employing, with the secret support of the Emperor Maximilian, his influence and his preaching for the purpose of raising in Switzerland a second army of from twenty to five and twenty thousand men, to be launched against him, if necessary, in Italy. A Spanish and Roman army, under the orders of Don Raymond of Cardone, rested motionless at some distance from the Po, waiting for events and for orders prescribing the part they were to take. It was clear that Francis I., though he had been but six months king, was resolved and impatient to resume in Italy, and first of all in Milaness, the war of invasion and conquest which had been engaged in by Charles VIII. and Louis XII.; and the league of all the states of Italy save Venice and Genoa, with the pope for their half-hearted patron, and the Swiss for their fighting men, were collecting their forces to repel the invader.
It was the month of August; the snow was diminishing and melting away among the Alps; and the king, with the main body of the army, joined at Embrun the Constable de Bourbon, who commanded the advance-guard. But the two passes of Mount Cenis and Mount Ginevra were strongly guarded by the Swiss, and others were sought for a little more to the south. A shepherd, a chamois-hunter, pointed out one whereby, he said, the mountains might be crossed, and a descent made upon the plains of the marquisate of Saluzzo. The young constable went in person to examine the spots pointed out by the shepherd; and, the statement having been verified, it did not seem impossible to get the whole army over, even the heavy artillery; and they essayed this unknown road. At several points, abysses had to be filled up, temporary bridges built, and enormous rocks pierced; the men-at-arms marched on foot, with great difficulty dragging their horses; with still greater difficulty the infantry hauled the cannon over holes incompletely stopped and fragments of yawning rock. Captains and soldiers set to work together; no labor seems too hard to eager hope; and in five days the mountain was overcome, and the army caught sight of the plain where the enemy might be encountered. A small body of four hundred men-at-arms, led by Marshal de Chabannes, were the first to descend into it; and among them was Bayard. "Marshal," said he to Chabannes, "we are told that over the Po yonder is Sir Prosper Colonna, with two thousand horse, in a town called Villafranca, apprehending nought and thinking of nought but gaudies. We must wake up his wits a little, and this moment get into the saddle with all our troops, that he be not warned by any." "Sir Bayard," said the marshal, "it is right well said; but how shall we cross the River Po, which is so impetuous and broad?" "Sir," said Bayard, "here is my Lord de Morette's brother, who knows the ford; he shall cross first, and I after him." So they mounted their horses, crossed the Po, and "were soon there, where Sir Prosper Colonna was at table and was dining, as likewise were all his folk." Bayard, who marched first, found the archers on guard in front of the Italian leader's quarters. "Yield you and utter no sound," cried he, "else you are dead men." Some set about defending themselves; the rest ran to warn Colonna, saying, "Up, sir; for, here are the French in a great troop already at this door." "Lads," said Colonna to them, "keep this door a little till we get some armor on to defend ourselves." But whilst the fight was going on at the door Bayard had the windows scaled, and, entering first, cried out, "Where are you, Sir Prosper? Yield you; else you are a dead man." "Sir Frenchman, who is your captain?" asked Colonna. "I am, sir." "Your name, captain?" "Sir, I am one Bayard of France, and here are the Lord of La Palice, and the Lords d'Aubigny and d'Himbercourt, the flower of the captains of France." Colonna surrendered, cursing Fortune, "the mother of all sorrow and affliction, who had taken away his wits, and because he had not been warned of their coming, for he would at least have made his capture a dear one;" and he added, "It seems a thing divinely done; four noble knights at once, with their comrades at their backs, to take one Roman noble!"
Francis I. and the main body of his army had also arrived at the eastern foot of the Alps, and were advancing into the plains of the country of Saluzzo and Piedmont. The Swiss, dumbfounded at so unexpected an apparition, fell back to Novara, the scene of that victory which two years previously had made them so proud. A rumor spread that negotiation was possible, and that the question of Milaness might be settled without fighting. The majority of the French captains repudiated the idea, but the king entertained it. His first impulses were sympathetic and generous. "I would not purchase," said he to Marshal de Lautrec, "with the blood of my subjects, or even with that of my enemies, what I can pay for with money." Parleys were commenced; and an agreement was hit upon with conditions on which the Swiss would withdraw from Italy and resume alliance with the French. A sum of seven hundred thousand crowns, it was said, was the chief condition; and the king and the captains of his army gave all they had, even to their plate, for the first instalment which Lautrec was ordered to convey to Bufalora, where the Swiss were to receive it. But it was suddenly announced that the second army of twenty thousand Swiss, which the Cardinal of Sion had succeeded in raising, had entered Italy by the valley of the Ticino. They formed a junction with their countrymen; the cardinal recommenced his zealous preaching against the French; the newcomers rejected the stipulated arrangements; and, confident in their united strength, all the Swiss made common accord. Lautrec, warned in time, took with all speed his way back to the French army, carrying away with him the money he had been charged to pay over; the Venetian general, D'Alviano, went to the French camp to concert with the king measures for the movements of his troops; and on both sides nothing was thought of but the delivery of a battle.
On the 13th of September, 1515, about midday, the Constable de Bourbon gave notice to the king, encamped at Melegnano (a town about three leagues from Milan), that the Swiss, sallying in large masses from Milan, at the noisy summons of the bull of Uri and the cow of Unterwalden, were advancing to attack. "The king, who was purposing to sit down to supper, left it on the spot, and went off straight towards the enemy, who were already engaged in skirmishing, which lasted a long while before they were at the great game. The king had great numbers of lanzknechts, the which would fain have done a bold deed in crossing a ditch to go after the Swiss; but these latter let seven or eight ranks cross, and then thrust you them back in such sort that all that had crossed got hurled into the ditch. The said lanzknechts were mighty frightened; and but for the aid of a troop of men-at-arms, amongst the which was the good knight Bayard, who bore down right through the Swiss, there had been a sad disaster there, for it was now night, and night knows no shame. A band of Swiss came passing in front of the king, who charged them gallantly. There was heavy fighting there and much danger to the king's person, for his great buffe [the top of the visor of his helmet] was pierced, so as to let in daylight, by the thrust of a pike. It was now so late that they could not see one another; and the Swiss were, for this evening, forced to retire on the one side, and the French on the other. They lodged as they could; but well I trow that none did rest at ease. The King of France put as good a face on matters as the least of all his soldiers did, for he remained all night a-horseback like the rest (according to other accounts he had a little sleep, lying on a gun-carriage).
On the morrow at daybreak the Swiss were for beginning again, and they came straight towards the French artillery, from which they had a good peppering. Howbeit, never did men fight better, and the affair lasted three or four good hours. At last they were broken and beaten, and there were left on the field ten or twelve thousand of them. The remainder, in pretty good order along a high road, withdrew to Milan, whither they were pursued sword-in-hand." [Histoire du bon Chevalier sans Peur et sans Reproehe, t. ii. pp. 99-102.]
The very day after the battle Francis I. wrote to his mother the regent a long account, alternately ingenuous and eloquent, in which the details are set forth with all the complacency of a brave young man who is speaking of the first great affair in which he has been engaged and in which he did himself honor. The victory of Melegnano was the most brilliant day in the annals of this reign. Old Marshal Trivulzio, who had taken part in seventeen battles, said that this was a strife of giants, beside which all the rest were but child's play. On the very battle-field, "before making and creating knights of those who had done him good service, Francis I. was pleased to have himself made knight by the hand of Bayard. 'Sir,' said Bayard, 'the king of so noble a realm, he who has been crowned, consecrated and anointed with oil sent down from heaven, he who is the eldest son of the church, is knight over all other knights.' 'Bayard, my friend,' said the king, 'make haste; we must have no laws or canons quoted here; do my bidding.' 'Assuredly, sir,' said Bayard, 'I will do it, since it is your pleasure;' and, taking his sword, 'Avail it as much,' said he, 'as if I were Roland or Oliver, Godfrey or his brother Baldwin; please God, sir, that in war you may never take flight!' and, holding up his sword in the air, he cried, 'Assuredly, my good sword, thou shalt be well guarded as a relic and honored above all others for having this day conferred upon so handsome and puissant a king the order of chivalry; and never will I wear thee more if it be not against Turks, Moors, and Saracens!' Whereupon he gave two bounds and thrust his sword into the sheath." [Les testes et la Vie du Chevalier Bayard, by Champier, in the Archives curieuses de l'Histoire de France, Series I. t. ii. p. 160.]
The effect of the victory of Melegnano was great, in Italy primarily, but also throughout Europe. It was, at the commencement of a new reign and under the impulse communicated by a young king, an event which seemed to be decisive and likely to remain so for a long while. Of all the sovereigns engaged in the Italian league against Francis I., he who was most anxious to appear temperate and almost neutral, namely, Leo X., was precisely he who was most surprised and most troubled by it. When he knew that a battle was on the eve of being fought between the French and the Swiss, he could not conceal his anxiety and his desire that the Swiss might be victorious. The Venetian ambassador at Rome, Marino Giorgi, whose feelings were quite the other way, took, in his diplomatic capacity, a malicious pleasure in disquieting him. "Holy father," said he, "the Most Christian King is there in person with the most warlike and best appointed of armies; the Swiss are afoot and ill armed, and I am doubtful of their gaining the day." "But the Swiss are valiant soldiers, are they not?" said the pope. "Were it not better, holy father," rejoined the ambassador, "that they should show their valor against the infidel?" When the news of the battle arrived, the ambassador, in grand array, repaired to the pope's; and the people who saw him passing by in such state said, "The news is certainly true." On reaching the pope's apartment the ambassador met the chamberlain, who told him that the holy father was still asleep. "Wake him," said he; but the other refused. "Do as I tell you," insisted the ambassador. The chamberlain went in; and the pope, only half dressed, soon sallied from his room. "Holy father," said the Venetian, "your Holiness yesterday gave me some bad news which was false; to-day I have to give you some good news which is true: the Swiss are beaten." The pope read the letters brought by the ambassador, and some other letters also. "What will come of it for us and for you?" asked the pope. "For us," was the answer, "nothing but good, since we are with the Most Christian king; and your Holiness will not have aught of evil to suffer." "Sir Ambassador," rejoined the pope, "we will see what the Most Christian king will do; we will place ourselves in his hands, demanding mercy of him." "Holy father, your Holiness will not come to the least harm, any more than the holy See: is not the Most Christian king the church's own son?" And in the account given of this interview to the Senate of Venice the ambassador added, "The holy father is a good sort of man, a man of great liberality and of a happy disposition; but he would not like the idea of having to give himself much trouble."
Leo X. made up his mind without much trouble to accept accomplished facts. When he had been elected pope, he had said to his brother, Julian de' Medici, "Enjoy we the papacy, since God hath given it us" [Godiamoci il papato, poiche Dio ci l' ha dato]. He appeared to have no further thought than how to pluck from the event the advantages he could discover in it. His allies all set him an example of resignation. On the 15th of September, the day after the battle, the Swiss took the road back to their mountains. Francis I. entered Milan in triumph. Maximilian Sforza took refuge in the castle, and twenty days afterwards, on the 4th of October, surrendered, consenting to retire to France with a pension of thirty thousand crowns, and the promise of being recommended for a cardinal's hat, and almost consoled for his downfall "by the pleasure of being delivered from the insolence of the Swiss, the exactions of the Emperor Maximilian, and the rascalities of the Spaniards." Fifteen years afterwards, in June, 1530, he died in oblivion at Paris. Francis I. regained possession of all Milaness, adding thereto, with the pope's consent, the duchies of Parma and Piacenza, which had been detached from it in 1512. Two treaties, one of November 7, 1515, and the other of November 29, 1516, re-established not only peace, but perpetual alliance, between the King of France and the thirteen Swiss cantons, with stipulated conditions in detail. Whilst these negotiations were in progress, Francis I. and Leo X., by a treaty published at Viterbo on the 13th of October, proclaimed their hearty reconciliation. The pope guaranteed to Francis I. the duchy of Milan, restored to him those of Parma and Piacenza, and recalled his troops which were still serving against the Venetians; being careful, however, to cover his concessions by means of forms and pretexts which gave them the character of a necessity submitted to rather than that of an independent and definite engagement. Francis I., on his side, guaranteed to the pope all the possessions of the church, renounced the patronage of the petty princes of the ecclesiastical estate, and promised to uphold the family of the Medici in the position it had held at Florence since, with the King of Spain's aid, in 1512, it had recovered the dominion there at the expense of the party of republicans and friends of France.
The King of France and the pope had to discuss together questions far more important on both sides than those which had just been thus settled by their accredited agents. When they signed the treaty of Viterbo, it was agreed that the two sovereigns should have a personal interview, at which they should come to an arrangement upon points of which they had as yet said nothing. Rome seemed the place most naturally adapted for this interview; but the pope did not wish that Francis I. should go and display his triumph there. Besides, he foresaw that the king would speak to him about the kingdom of Naples, the conquest of which was evidently premeditated by the king; and when Francis I., having arrived at Rome, had already done half the journey, Leo X. feared that it would be more difficult to divert him. He resolved to make to the king a show of deference to conceal his own disquietude; and offered to go and meet him at Bologna, the town in the Roman States which was nearest to Milaness. Francis accepted the offer. The pope arrived at Bologna on the 8th of December, 1515, and the king the next day. After the public ceremonies, at which the king showed eagerness to tender to the pope acts of homage which the pope was equally eager to curtail without repelling them, the two sovereigns conversed about the two questions which were uppermost in their minds. Francis did not attempt to hide his design of reconquering the kingdom of Naples, which Ferdinand the Catholic had wrongfully usurped, and he demanded the pope's countenance. The pope did not care to refuse, but he pointed out to the king that everything foretold the very near death of King Ferdinand; and "Your majesty," said he, "will then have a natural opportunity for claiming your rights; and as for me, free, as I shall then be, from my engagements with the King of Arragon in respect of the crown of Naples, I shall find it easier to respond to your majesty's wish." The pope merely wanted to gain time. Francis, setting aside for the moment the kingdom of Naples, spoke of Charles VII.'s Pragmatic Sanction, and the necessity of putting an end to the difficulties which had arisen on this subject between the court of Rome and the Kings of France, his predecessors. "As to that," said the pope, "I could not grant what your predecessors demanded; but be not uneasy; I have a compensation to propose to you which will prove to you how dear your interests are to me." The two sovereigns had, without doubt, already come to an understanding on this point, when, after a three days' interview with Leo X., Francis I. returned to Milan, leaving at Bologna, for the purpose of treating in detail the affair of the Pragmatic Sanction, his chancellor, Duprat, who had accompanied him during all this campaign as his adviser and negotiator.
In him the king had, under the name and guise of premier magistrate of the realm, a servant whose bold and complacent abilities he was not slow to recognize and to put in use. Being irritated "for that many, not having the privilege of sportsmen, do take beasts, both red and black, as hares, pheasants, partridges, and other game, thus frustrating us of our diversion and pastime that we take in the chase," Francis I. issued, in March, 1516, an ordinance which decreed against poachers the most severe penalties, and even death, and which "granted to all princes, lords, and gentlemen possessing forests or warrens in the realm, the right of upholding therein by equally severe punishments the exclusive privileges of their preserves." The Parliament made remonstrances against such excessive rigor, and refused to register the ordinance. The chancellor, Duprat, insisted, and even threatened. "To the king alone," said he, "belongs the right of regulating the administration of his state obey, or the king will see in you only rebels, whom he will know how to chastise." For a year the Parliament held out; but the chancellor persisted more obstinately in having his way, and, on the 11th of February, 1517, the ordinance was registered under a formal order from the king, to which the name was given of "letters of command."
At the commencement of the war for the conquest of Milaness there was a want of money, and Francis I. hesitated to so soon impose new taxes. Duprat gave a scandalous extension to a practice which had been for a long while in use, but had always been reprobated and sometimes formally prohibited, namely, the sale of public appointments or offices: not only did he create a multitude of financial and administrative offices, the sale of which brought considerable sums into the treasury, but he introduced the abuse into the very heart of the judicial body; the tribunals were encumbered by newly-created magistrates. The estates of Languedoc complained in vain. The Parliament of Paris was in its turn attacked. In 1521, three councillors, recently nominated, were convicted of having paid, one three thousand eight hundred livres, and the two others six thousand livres. The Parliament refused to admit them. Duprat protested. The necessities of the state, he said, made borrowing obligatory; and the king was free to prefer in his selections those of his subjects who showed most zeal for his service. Parliament persisted in its refusal. Duprat resolved to strike a great blow. An edict of January 31, 1522, created within the Parliament a fourth chamber, composed of eighteen councillors and two presidents, all of fresh, and, no doubt, venal appointment, though the edict dared not avow as much. Two great personages, the Archbishop of Aix and Marshal de Montmorenci, were charged to present the edict to Parliament and require its registration. The Parliament demanded time for deliberation. It kept an absolute silence for six weeks, and at last presented an address to the queen-mother, trying to make her comprehend the harm such acts did to the importance of the magistracy and to her son's government. Louise appeared touched by these representations, and promised to represent their full weight to the king, "if the Parliament will consent to point out to me of itself any other means of readily raising the sum of one hundred and twenty thousand livres, which the king absolutely cannot do without." The struggle was prolonged until the Parliament declared "that it could not, without offending God and betraying its own conscience, proceed to the registration; but that if it were the king's pleasure to be obeyed at any price, he had only to depute his chancellor or some other great personage, in whose presence and on whose requirement the registration should take place." Chancellor Duprat did not care to undertake this commission in person. Count de St. Pol, governor of Paris, was charged with it, and the court caused to be written at the bottom of the letters of command, "Read and published in presence of Count de St. Pol, specially deputed for this purpose, who ordered viva voce, in the king's name, that they be executed."
Thus began to be implanted in that which should be the most respected and the most independent amongst the functions of government, namely, the administration of justice, not only the practice, but the fundamental maxim, of absolute government. "I am going to the court, and I will speak the truth; after which the king will have to be obeyed," was said in the middle of the seventeenth century by the premier president Mold to Cardinal de Retz. Chancellor Duprat, if we are not mistaken, was, in the sixteenth century, the first chief of the French magistracy to make use of language despotic not only in fact, but also in principle. President Mole was but the head of a body invested, so far as the king was concerned, with the right of remonstrance and resistance; when once that right was exercised, he might, without servility, give himself up to resignation. Chancellor Duprat was the delegate, the organ, the representative of the king; it was in the name of the king himself that he affirmed the absolute power of the kingship and the absolute duty of submission. Francis I. could not have committed the negotiation with Leo X. in respect of Charles VII.'s Pragmatic Sanction to a man with more inclination and better adapted for the work to be accomplished.
The Pragmatic Sanction had three principal objects:—
1. To uphold the liberties and the influence of the faithful in the government of the church, by sanctioning their right to elect ministers of the Christian faith, especially parish priests and bishops;
2. To guarantee the liberties and rights of the church herself in her relations with her head, the pope, by proclaiming the necessity for the regular intervention of councils and their superiority in regard to the pope;
3. To prevent or reform abuses in the relations of the papacy with the state and church of France in the matter of ecclesiastical tribute, especially as to the receipt by the pope, under the name of annates, of the first year's revenue of the different ecclesiastical offices and benefices.
In the fifteenth century it was the general opinion in France, in state and in church, that there was in these dispositions nothing more than the primitive and traditional liberties and rights of the Christian church. There was no thought of imposing upon the papacy any new regimen, but only of defending the old and legitimate regimen, recognized and upheld by St. Louis in the thirteenth century as well as by Charles VII. in the fifteenth.
The popes, nevertheless, had all of them protested since the days of Charles VII. against the Pragmatic Sanction as an attack upon their rights, and had demanded its abolition. In 1461, Louis XI., as has already been shown, had yielded for a moment to the demand of Pope Pius II., whose countenance he desired to gain, and had abrogated the Pragmatic; but, not having obtained what he wanted thereby, and having met with strong opposition in the Parliament of Paris to his concession, he had let it drop without formally retracting it, and, instead of engaging in a conflict with Parliament upon the point, he thought it no bad plan for the magistracy to uphold in principle and enforce in fact the regulations of the Pragmatic Sanction. This important edict, then, was still vigorous in 1515, when Francis I., after his victory at Melegnano and his reconciliation with the pope, left Chancellor Duprat at Bologna to pursue the negotiation reopened on that subject. The compensation, of which Leo X., on redemanding the abolition of the Pragmatic Sanction, had given a peep to Francis I., could not fail to have charms for a prince so little scrupulous, and for his still less scrupulous chancellor. The pope proposed that the Pragmatic, once for all abolished, should be replaced by a Concordat between the two sovereigns, and that this Concordat, whilst putting a stop to the election of the clergy by the faithful, should transfer to the king the right of nomination to bishoprics and other great ecclesiastical offices and benefices, reserving to the pope the right of presentation of prelates nominated by the king. This, considering the condition of society and government in the sixteenth century, in the absence of political and religious liberty, was to take away from the church her own existence, and divide her between two masters, without giving her, as regarded either of them, any other guarantee of independence than the mere chance of their dissensions and quarrels.
Egotism, even in kings, has often narrow and short-sighted views. It was calculated that there were in France at this period ten archbishoprics, eighty-three bishoprics, and five hundred and twenty-seven abbeys. Francis I. and his chancellor saw in the proposed Concordat nothing but the great increment of influence it secured to them, by making all the dignitaries of the church suppliants at first and then clients of the kingship. After some difficulties as to points of detail, the Concordat was concluded and signed on the 18th of August, 1516. Five months afterwards, on the 5th of February, 1517, the king repaired in person to Parliament, to which he had summoned many prelates and doctors of the University. The chancellor explained the points of the Concordat, and recapitulated all the facts which, according to him, had made it necessary. The king ordered its registration, "for the good of his kingdom and for quittance of the promise he had given the pope." Parliament on one side, and the prelates and doctors of the University on the other, deliberated upon this demand. Their first answer was that, as the matter concerned the interest of the whole Gallican church, they could not themselves decide about it, and that the church, assembled in national council, alone had the right of pronouncing judgment. "Oho! so you cannot," said the king; "I will soon let you see that you can, or I will send you all to Rome to give the pope your reasons." To the question of conscience the Parliament found thenceforth added the question of dignity. The magistrates raised difficulties in point of form, and asked for time to discuss the matter fundamentally; and deputies went to carry their request to the king. He admitted the propriety of delay, but with this comment: "I know that there are in my Parliament good sort of men, wise men; but I also know that there are turbulent and rash fools; I have my eye upon them; and I am informed of the language they dare to hold about my conduct. I am king as my predecessors were; and I mean to be obeyed as they were. You are constantly vaporing to me about Louis XII. and his love of justice; know ye that justice is as dear to me as it was to him; but that king, just as he was, often drove out from the kingdom rebels, though they were members of Parliament; do not force me to imitate him in his severity." Parliament entered upon a fundamental examination of the question; their deliberations lasted from the 13th to the 24th of July, 1517; and the conclusion they came to was, that Parliament could not and ought not to register the Concordat; that, if the king persisted in his intention of making it a law of the realm, he must employ the same means as Charles VII. had employed for establishing the Pragmatic Sanction, and that, therefore, he must summon a general council. On the 14th of January, 1518, two councillors arrived at Amboise, bringing to the king the representations of the Parliament. When their arrival was announced to the king, "Before I receive them," said he, "I will drag them about at my heels as long as they have made me wait." He received them, however, and handed their representations over to the chancellor, bidding him reply to them. Duprat made a learned and specious reply, but one which left intact the question of right, and, at bottom, merely defended the Concordat on the ground of the king's good pleasure and requirements of policy. On the last day of February, 1518, the king gave audience to the deputies, and handed them the chancellor's reply. They asked to examine it. "You shall not examine it," said the king; "this would degenerate into an endless process. A hundred of your heads, in Parliament, have been seven months and more painfully getting up these representations, which my chancellor has blown to the winds in a few days. There is but one king in France; I have done all I could to restore peace to my kingdom; and I will not allow nullification here of that which I brought about with so much difficulty in Italy. My Parliament would set up for a Venetian Senate; let it confine its meddling to the cause of justice, which is worse administered than it has been for a hundred years; I ought, perhaps, to drag it about at my heels, like the Grand Council, and watch more closely over its conduct." The two deputies made an attempt to prolong their stay at Amboise: but, "If before six to-morrow morning," said the king, "they be not gone, I will send some archers to take them and cast them into a dungeon for six months; and woe to whoever dares to speak to me for them!"
On returning to Paris the deputies were beginning to give their fellows an account of how harsh a reception they met with, when Louis de la Tremoille, the most respected amongst the chiefs of the army, entered the hall. He came by order of the king to affirm to the Parliament that to dismiss the Concordat was to renew the war, and that it must obey on the instant or profess open rebellion. Parliament upheld its decision of July 24, 1517, against the Concordat, at the same time begging La Tremoille to write to the king to persuade him, if he insisted upon registration, to send some person of note or to commission La Tremoille himself to be present at the act, and to see indorsed upon the Concordat, "Read, published, and registered at the king's most express command several times repeated, in presence of . . . , specially deputed by him for that purpose." Tremoille hesitated to write, and exhibited the letters whereby the king urged him to execute the strict orders laid upon him. "What are those orders, then?" asked the premier president. "That is the king's secret," answered La Tremoille: "I may not reveal it; all that I can tell you is, that I should never have peace of mind if you forced me to carry them out." The Parliament in its excitement begged La Tremoille to withdraw, and sent for him back almost immediately. "Choose," said the premier president to him, "between Saturday or Monday next to be present at the registration." La Tremoille chose Monday, wishing to allow himself time for an answer even yet from the king. But no new instructions came to him; and on the 22d of March, 1518, Parliament proceeded to registration of the Concordat, with the forms and reservations which they had announced, and which were evidence of compulsion. The other Parliaments of France followed with more or less zeal, according to their own particular dispositions, the example shown by that of Paris. The University was heartily disposed to push resistance farther than had been done by Parliament: its rector caused to be placarded on the 27th of March, 1518, in the streets of Paris, an order forbidding all printers and booksellers to print the Concordat on pain of losing their connection with the University. The king commanded informations to be filed against the authors and placarders of the order, and, on the 27th of April, sent to the Parliament an edict, which forbade the University to meddle in any matter of public police, or to hold any assembly touching such matters, under pain, as to the whole body, of having its privileges revoked, and, as to individuals, of banishment and confiscation. The king's party demanded of Parliament registration of this edict. Parliament confined itself to writing to the king, agreeing that the University had no right to meddle in affairs of government, but adding that there were strong reasons, of which it would give an account whenever the king should please to order, why it, the Parliament, should refuse registration of the edict. It does not appear that the king ever asked for such account, or that his wrath against the University was more obstinately manifested. The Concordat was registered, and Francis I., after having achieved an official victory over the magistrates, had small stomach for pursuing extreme measures against the men of letters.
We have seen that in the course of the fifteenth century, there were made in France two able and patriotic attempts; the Pragmatic Sanction, in 1458, under Charles VII., and the States General of 1484, under Charles VIII. We do not care to discuss here all the dispositions of those acts; some of them were, indeed, questionable; but they both of them, one in respect of the church and the other of the state, aimed at causing France to make a great stride towards a national, free and legalized regimen, to which French feudal society had never known how or been willing to adjust itself. These two attempts failed. It would be unjust to lay the blame on the contemporary governments. Charles VII. was in earnest about the Pragmatic Sanction which he submitted to the deliberations and votes of a national council; and Louis XI., after having for a while given it up to the pope, retraced his steps and left it in force. As to the States General of 1484, neither the regent, Anne de Beaujeu, nor Charles VIII., offered the slightest hinderance to their deliberations and their votes; and if Louis XII. did not convoke the States afresh, he constantly strove in the government of his kingdom to render them homage and give them satisfaction. We may feel convinced that, considering the social and intellectual condition of France at this time, these two patriotic attempts were premature; but a good policy, being premature, is not on that account alone condemned to failure; what it wants is time to get itself comprehended, appreciated, and practised gradually and consistently. If the successors of Louis XII. had acted in the same spirit and with the same view as their predecessor, France would probably have made progress in this salutary path. But exactly the contrary took place. Instead of continuing a more and more free and legal regimen, Francis I. and his chancellor, Duprat, loudly proclaimed and practised the maxims of absolute power; in the church, the Pragmatic Sanction was abolished; and in the state, Francis I., during a reign of thirty-two years, did not once convoke the States General, and labored only to set up the sovereign right of his own sole will. The church was despoiled of her electoral autonomy; and the magistracy, treated with haughty and silly impertinence, was vanquished and humiliated in the exercise of its right of remonstrance. The Concordat of 1516 was not the only, but it was the gravest pact of alliance concluded between the papacy and the French kingship for the promotion mutually of absolute power.
Whilst this question formed the subject of disputes in France between the great public authorities, there was springing up, outside of France, between the great European powers another not more grave in regard to a distant future, but more threatening in regard to the present peace of nations. King Ferdinand the Catholic had died on the 23d of January, 1516; and his grandson and successor, Archduke Charles, anxious to go and take possession of the throne of Spain, had hastily concluded with Francis I., on the 13th of August, 1516, at Noyon, a treaty intended to settle differences between the two crowns as to the kingdoms of Naples and Navarre. The French and Spanish plenipotentiaries, Sires de Boisy and de Chievres, were still holding meetings at Montpellier, trying to come to an understanding about the execution of this treaty, when the death of Emperor Maximilian at Wels, in Austria, on the 12th of January, 1519, occurred to add the vacant throne of a great power to the two second-rate thrones already in dispute between two powerful princes. Three claimants, Charles of Austria, who was the new King of Spain, Francis I., and Henry VIII., King of England, aspired to this splendid heritage. In 1517, Maximilian himself, in one of his fits of temper and impecuniosity, had offered to abdicate and give up the imperial dignity to Henry VIII. for a good round sum; but the King of England's envoy, Dr. Cuthbert Tunstall, a stanch and clearsighted servant, who had been sent to Germany to deal with this singular proposal, opened his master's eyes to its hollowness and falsehood, and Henry VIII. held himself aloof. Francis I. remained the only rival of Charles of Austria; Maximilian labored eagerly to pave the way for his grandson's success; and at his death the struggle between the two claimants had already become so keen that Francis I., on hearing the news, exclaimed, "I will spend three millions to be elected emperor, and I swear that, three years after the election, I will be either at Constantinople or dead."
The Turks, who had been since 1453 settled at Constantinople, were the terror of Christian Europe; and Germany especially had need of a puissant and valiant defender against them. Francis I. calculated that the Christians of Germany and Hungary would see in him, the King of France and the victor of Melegnano, their most imposing and most effectual champion.
Having a superficial mind and being full of vain confidence, Francis I. was mistaken about the forces and chances on his side, as well as about the real and natural interests of France, and also his own. There was no call for him to compromise himself in this electoral struggle of kings, and in a distant war against triumphant Islamry. He miscalculated the strong position and personal valor of the rival with whom he would have to measure swords. Charles of Austria was but nineteen, and Francis I. was twenty-three, when they entered, as antagonists, into the arena of European politics. Charles had as yet gained no battle and won no renown; while Francis I. was already a victorious king and a famous knight. But the young archduke's able governor, William de Croy, Lord of Chievres, "had early trained him," says M. Mignet, "to the understanding and management of his various interests; from the time that he was fifteen, Charles presided every day at his council; there he himself read out the contents of despatches which were delivered to him the moment they arrived, were it even in the dead of night; his council had become his school, and business served him for books. . . . Being naturally endowed with superior parts, a penetrating intellect and rare firmness of character, he schooled himself to look Fortune in the face without being intoxicated by her smiles or troubled at her frowns, to be astonished by nothing that happened, and to make up his mind in any danger. He had even now the will of an emperor and an overawing manner. 'His dignity and loftiness of soul are such,' says a contemporary writer, 'that he seems to hold the universe under his feet.'" Charles's position in Germany was as strong as the man himself; he was a German, a duke of Austria, of the imperial line, as natural a successor of his grandfather Maximilian at Frankfort as of his grandfather Ferdinand at Madrid. Such was the adversary, with such advantages of nationality and of person, against whom Francis I., without any political necessity, and for the sole purpose of indulging an ambitious vision and his own kingly self-esteem, was about to engage in a struggle which was to entail a heavy burden on his whole life, and bring him not in triumph to Constantinople, but in captivity to Madrid.
Before the death of Maximilian, and when neither party had done more than foresee the struggle and get ready for it, Francis I. was for some time able to hope for some success. Seven German princes, three ecclesiastical and four laic, the Archbishops of Mayence, Cologne, and Troves, and the Duke of Saxony, the Margrave of Brandenburg, the Count Palatine of the Rhine, and the King of Bohemia, had the sole power of electing the emperor. Four of them, the Archbishops of Troves and of Cologne, the Count Palatine of the Rhine and the Margrave of Brandenburg, had favorably received the overtures of Francis I., and had promised him their suffrages. His devoted servant, Robert de la Marck, Lord of Fleuranges, had brought to him at Amboise a German gentleman from the Palatinate, Franz von Sickingen, "of very petty family, but a very gentle companion," says Fleuranges, "the most beautiful talker that I think I ever saw in my life, and in so much that there was no gentleman in Germany, prince or man of war, who would not have been glad to do him pleasure." Francis I. had received him with very chivalrous grace, and had given him a pension of three thousand livres and handsome presents for his comrades in adventure; and Sickingen was so charmed that he said to Fleuranges on leaving Amboise, "The king did not open his heart to me on the subject of the empire; however, I know all about it, and I beg you to tell him that I will do his service and keep the oath I gave him." A more important personage than Sickingen, Leo X., would have been very glad to have for emperor in Germany neither the King of France nor the King of Spain, both of them being far too powerful in Europe and far too emulous in Italy not to be dangerous enemies or inconvenient allies for him; and he tried to dissuade Francis I. from making any claim to the empire, and to induce him to employ his influence in bringing about the election of a second-rate German prince, Frederick the Wise, Duke of Saxony, who was justly popular in Germany, and who would never be in a condition to do France any harm. It was judicious advice and a policy good for France as well as for Europe in general; but Francis I., infatuated by his desire and his hope, did not relish it at all; and Leo X., being obliged to choose between the two great claimants, declared for Francis I., without any pleasure or confidence, but also without any great perplexity, for he had but little faith in the success which he made a show of desiring. Francis, deceived by these appearances and promises, on the part both of ecclesiastics and laics, held language breathing a gallant and almost careless confidence. "We are not enemies, your master and I," he said to the ambassadors of Spain; "we are two lovers courting the same mistress: whichever of the two she may prefer, the other will have to submit, and harbor no resentment." But when, shortly after Maximilian's death, the struggle became closer and the issue nearer, the inequality between the forces and chances of the two rivals became quite manifest, and Francis I. could no longer affect the same serenity. He had intrusted the management of his affairs in Germany to a favorite comrade of his early youth, Admiral de Bonnivet, a soldier and a courtier, witty, rash, sumptuous, eager to display his master's power and magnificence. Charles of Austria's agents, and at their head his aunt Margaret, who had the government of the Low Countries in his absence, were experienced, deliberate, discreet, more eager to succeed in their purpose than to make a brilliant appearance, and resolved to do quietly whatever was necessary for success. And to do so they were before long as fully authorized as they were resolved. They discovered that Francis I. had given Bonnivet four hundred thousand crowns in gold that he might endeavor to bribe the electors; it was, according to report, double the sum Charles of Austria had promised for the same object; and his agents sent him information of it, and received this answer: "We are wholly determined to spare nothing and to stake all for all upon it, as the matter we most desire and have most at heart in this world. . . . The election must be secured, whatever it may cost me." The question before the seven elective princes who were to dispose of the empire was thenceforth merely which of the two claimants would be the higher and the safer bidder. Francis I. engaged in a tussle of wealth and liberality with Charles of Austria. One of his agents wrote to him, "All will go well if we can fill the maw of the Margrave Joachim of Brandenburg; he and his brother the elector from Mayence fall every day into deeper depths of avarice; we must hasten to satisfy them with speed, speed, speed." Francis I. replied, "I will have Marquis Joachim gorged at any price;" and he accordingly made over to him in ready money and bills of short dates all that was asked for by the margrave, who on the 8th of April, 1519, gave a written undertaking to support the candidature "of the most invincible and Most Christian prince, Francis, by the grace of God King of the French, Duke of Milan, and Lord of Genoa, who, what with his vigorous age, his ability, his justice, his military experience, the brilliant fortune of his arms, and all other qualities required for war and the management of the commonwealth, surpasses, in the judgment of every one, all other Christian princes." But Charles of Austria did not consider himself beaten because two of the seven electors displayed avarice and venality. His aunt Margaret and his principal agent in Germany, the Chamberlain Armerstoff, resumed financial negotiations with the Archbishop of Mayence, for his brother the margrave as well as for himself, and the archbishop, without any formal engagement, accepted the Austrian over-bid. "I am ashamed at his shamelessness," wrote Armerstorff to Charles. Alternate and antagonistic bargaining went on thus for more than two months. The Archbishop of Cologne, Hermann von Wied, kept wavering between the two claimants; but he was careful to tell John d'Albret, Francis I.'s agent, that "he sincerely hoped that his Majesty would follow the doctrine of God, who gave as much to those who went to work in His vineyard towards the middle of the day as to those who had been at it all the morning." Duke Frederick of Saxony was the only one of the seven electors who absolutely refused to make any promise, as well as to accept any offer, and preserved his independence, as well as his dignity. The rumor of all these traffickings and these uncertainties rekindled in Henry VIII., King of England, a fancy for placing himself once more in the ranks; but his agent, Richard Pace, found the negotiations too far advanced and the prices too high for him to back up this vain whim of his master's; and Henry VIII. abandoned it. The diet had been convoked for the 17th of June at Frankfort. The day was drawing near; and which of the two parties had the majority was still regarded as, uncertain. Franz von Sickingen appeared in the outskirts of Frankfort with more than twenty thousand men of the German army, "whereat marvellously astonished," says Fleuranges, "were they who wished well to the King of France and very mightily rejoiced they who wished well to the Catholic king." The gentleman-adventurer had not been less accessible than the prince-electors to bribery. The diet opened on the 18th of June. The Archbishop of Mayence made a great speech in favor of Charles of Austria; and the Archbishop of Troves spoke in favor of Francis I., to whom he had remained faithful. Rival intrigues were kept up; Sickingen and his troops were a clog upon deliberation; the electors were embarrassed and weary of their dissensions; and the Archbishop of Troves proposed by way of compromise the election of the Duke of Saxony, Frederick the Wise, who, at this crisis so shameful for his peers, had just given fresh proofs of his sound judgment, his honesty, and his patriotic independence. But Frederick declined the honor it was intended to do him, and which he considered beyond his powers to support; and he voted for Archduke Charles, "a real German prince," said he, "the choice of whom seemed to him most natural in point of right and most suitable in point of fact under the present circumstances of Europe." The six other electors gave in to his opinion, and that same day, June 18, 1519, unanimously elected the King of Spain, Charles, King of the Romans and Emperor of Germany, with the title of Charles V.
Whatever pains were taken by Francis I. to keep up a good appearance after this heavy reverse, his mortification was profound, and he thought of nothing but getting his revenge. He flattered himself he would find something of the sort in a solemn interview and an appearance of alliance with Henry VIII., King of England, who had, like himself, just undergone in the election to the empire a less flagrant but an analogous reverse. It had already, in the previous year and on the occasion of a treaty concluded between the two kings for the restitution of Tournai to France, been settled that they should meet before long in token of reconciliation. Allusion had even been made, at that period, to a much more important restitution, of Calais in fact, for which Francis I., at what price we know not, had obtained the advocacy of Cardinal Wolsey, who was then all-powerful with Henry VIII. "Of what use to Us," Wolsey had said, "is this town of Calais, where in time of peace as well as of war we have to keep up such numerous garrisons, which costs us so much money, and which so often forces us to measures contrary to the real interests of England?" But this idea was vehemently scouted by the English, and the coming interview between the two kings remained the sole accessory of the treaty of 1518. After Charles V.'s election to the empire, Francis I. was eager to claim this interview, which was sure to cause in Europe the impression of a close understanding between the two kings before the very eyes of their common rival. A convention, signed on the 26th of March, 1520, regulated its details. It was stipulated that the two kings should meet in Picardy between Guines, an English possession in the neighborhood of Calais, and Ardres, which belonged to France. But, so soon as Charles V., at that time in Spain, was informed of this design, he used all his efforts to make it abortive. Henry, however, stood firm; not that he had resolved to knit himself closely with Francis I. against the new emperor, whom, a few months previously, he had shown alacrity in felicitating upon his accession to the empire, but he was unwilling to fail in his promise to the King of France, and he liked to assume in respect of the two rivals the part of an arbiter equally courted by both. Charles V., still actively working against the interview, entered into secret negotiation with Cardinal Wolsey to obtain for himself also an interview with Henry VIII., which would destroy the effect of that in course of arrangement between the Kings of France and England. In writing to Wolsey he called him his "very dear friend," and guaranteed him a pension of seven thousand ducats, secured upon two Spanish bishoprics; and on the 26th of May, 1520, Henry VIII. received at Canterbury, as he was passing by on his way to embark at Dover for the interview in France, the as it were unexpected information that Charles V. had just arrived with his fleet at the port of Hythe. The king immediately sent Wolsey to meet the emperor, who disembarked at Dover, whither Henry went to visit him; and the two sovereigns repaired together to Canterbury, where they went in state to the cathedral, "resplendent," says Erasmus, "with all the precious gifts it had received for so many centuries, especially with the most precious of all, the chest containing the remains of Thomas a-Becket, so magnificent that gold was the least of its ornaments." There they passed three days, treating of their affairs in the midst of galas, during which Charles V. completely won over Wolsey by promising to help him to become pope. On the 31st of May, 1520, Charles, quite easy about the interview in France, embarked at Sandwich for his Flemish possessions, and Henry VIII. made sail for Calais, his point of departure to the place agreed upon for Francis to meet him, and where they had made up their minds, both of them, to display all the splendors of their two courts.
This meeting has remained celebrated in history far more for its royal pomp, and for the personal incidents which were connected with it, than for its political results. It was called The Field of Cloth of Gold; and the courtiers who attended the two sovereigns felt bound to almost rival them in sumptuousness, "insomuch," says the contemporary Martin du Bellay, "that many bore thither their mills, their forests, and their meadows on their backs." Henry VIII. had employed eleven hundred workmen, the most skilful of Flanders and Holland, in building a quadrangular palace of wood, one hundred and twenty-eight feet long every way; on one side of the entrance-gate was a fountain, covered with gilding, and surmounted by a statue of Bacchus, round which there flowed through subterranean pipes all sorts of wines, and which bore in letters of gold the inscription, "Make good cheer, who will;" and on the other side a column, supported by four lions, was surmounted by a statue of Cupid armed with bow and arrows. Opposite the palace was erected a huge figure of a savage wearing the arms of his race, with this inscription, chosen by Henry VIII.: "He whom I back wins." The frontage was covered outside with canvas painted to represent freestone; and the inside was hung with rich tapestries. Francis I., emulous of equalling his royal neighbor in magnificence, had ordered to be erected close to Ardres an immense tent, upheld in the middle by a colossal pole firmly fixed in the ground and with pegs and cordage all around it. Outside, the tent, in the shape of a dome, was covered with cloth of gold; and, inside, it represented a sphere with a ground of blue velvet and studded with stars, like the firmament. At each angle of the large tent there was a small one equally richly decorated. But before the two sovereigns exchanged visits, in the midst of all these magnificent preparations, there arose a violent hurricane, which tore up the pegs and split the cordage of the French tent, scattered them over the ground, and forced Francis I. to take up his quarters in an old castle near Ardres. When the two kings' two chief councillors, Cardinal Wolsey on one side and Admiral Bonnivet on the other, had regulated the formalities, on the 7th of June, 1520, Francis I. and Henry VIII. set out on their way, at the same hour and the same pace, for their meeting in the valley of Ardres, where a tent had been prepared for them. As they drew near, some slight anxiety was manifested by the escort of the King of England, amongst whom a belief prevailed that that of the King of France was more numerous; but it was soon perceived to be nothing of the sort. The two kings, mounted upon fine horses and superbly dressed, advanced towards one another; and Henry VIII.'s horse stumbled, which his servants did not like. The two kings saluted each other with easy grace, exchanged embraces without getting off their horses, dismounted, and proceeded arm-in-arm to the tent where Wolsey and De Bonnivet were awaiting them. "My dear brother and cousin," immediately said Francis with his easy grace, "I am come a long way, and not without trouble, to see you in person. I hope that you hold me for such as I am, ready to give you aid with the kingdoms and lordships that are in my power." Henry, with a somewhat cold reserve, replied, "It is not your kingdoms or your divers possessions that I regard, but the soundness and loyal observance of the promises set down in the treaties between you and me. My eyes never beheld a prince who could be dearer to my heart, and I have crossed the seas at the extreme boundary of my kingdom to come and see you." The two kings entered the tent and signed a treaty whereby the Dauphin of France was to marry Princess Mary, only daughter at that time of Henry VIII., to whom Francis I. undertook to pay annually a sum of one hundred thousand livres [two million eight hundred thousand francs, or one hundred and twelve thousand pounds in the money of our day], until the marriage was celebrated, which would not be for some time yet, as the English princess was only four years old. The two kings took wine together, according to custom, and reciprocally presented the members of their courts. "King Francis," says Henry VIII.'s favorite chronicler, Edward Hall, who was there, "is an amiable prince, proud in bearing and gay in manner, with a brown complexion, large eyes, long nose, thick lips, broad chest and shoulders, short legs, and big feet." Titian's portrait gives a loftier and more agreeable idea of Francis I.
When the two kings proceeded to sign, in their tent, the treaty they had just concluded, "the King of England," according to Fleuranges' Memoires, "himself took up the articles and began to read them. When he had read those relating to the King of France, who was to have the priority, and came to speak of himself, he got as far as, 'I, Henry, King' . . . (he would have said of France and England), but he left out the title as far as France was concerned, and said to King Francis, 'I will not put it in as you are here, for I should lie;' and he said only, 'I Henry, King of England.'" But, as M. Mignet very properly says, "if he omitted the title in his reading, he left it in the treaty itself, and, shortly afterwards, was ambitious to render it a reality, when he invaded France and wished to reign over it."
After the diplomatic stipulations were concluded, the royal meeting was prolonged for sixteen days, which were employed in tourneys, jousts, and all manner of festivals. The personal communication of the two kings was regulated with all the precautions of official mistrust and restraint; and when the King of England went to Ardres to see the Queen of France, the King of France had to go to Guines to see the Queen of England, for the two kings were hostages for one another. "The King of France, who was not a suspicious man," says Fleuranges, "was mighty vexed at there being so little confidence in one another. He got up one morning very early, which is not his habit, took two gentlemen and a page, the first three he could find, mounted his horse, and went to visit the King of England at the castle of Guines. When he came on to the castle-bridge, all the English were mighty astonished. As he rode amongst them, the king gayly called upon them to surrender to him, and asked them the way to the chamber of the king his brother, the which was pointed out to him by the governor of Guines, who said to him, 'Sir, he is not awake.' But King Francis passed on all the same, went up to the said chamber, knocked at the door, awoke the King of England, and walked in.
Never was man more dumbfounded than King Henry, who said to King Francis, 'Brother, you have done me a better turn than ever man did to another, and you show me the great trust I ought to have in you. I yield myself your prisoner from this moment, and I proffer you my parole.' He undid from his neck a collar worth fifteen thousand angels, and begged the King of France to take it and wear it that very day for his prisoner's sake. And, lo, the king, who wished to do him the same turn, had brought with him a bracelet which was worth more than thirty thousand angels, and begged him to wear it for his sake, which thing he did, and the King of France put what had been given him on his neck. Thereupon the King of England was minded to get up, and the King of France said that he should have no other chamber-attendant but himself, and he warmed his shirt and handed it to him when he was up. The King of France made up his mind to go back, notwithstanding that the King of England would have kept him to dinner; but, inasmuch as there was to be jousting after dinner, he mounted his horse and went back to Ardres. He met a many good folk who were coming to meet him, amongst the rest l'Aventureux [a name given to Fleuranges himself], who said to him, 'My dear master, you are mad to have done what you have done; I am very glad to see you back here, and devil take him who counselled you.' Whereupon the king said that never a soul had counselled him, and that he knew well that there was not a soul in his kingdom who would have so counselled him; and then he began to tell what he had done at the said Guines, and so returned, conversing, to Ardres, for it was not far."
"Then began the jousts, which lasted a week, and were wondrous fine, both a-foot and a-horseback. After all these pastimes the King of France and the King of England retired to a pavilion, where they drank together. And there the King of England took the King of France by the collar, and said to him, 'Brother, I should like to wrestle with you,' and gave him a feint or two; and the King of France, who is a mighty good wrestler, gave him a turn and threw him on the ground. And the King of England would have had yet another trial; but all that was broken off, and it was time to go to supper. After this they had yet three or four jousts and banquets, and then they took leave of one another [on the 24th of June, 1520], with the greatest possible peace between the princes and princesses. That done, the King of England returned to Guines, and the King of France to France; and it was not without giving great gifts at parting, one to another." [Memoires de Fleuranges, pp. 349-363.]
Having left the Field of Cloth of Gold for Amboise, his favorite residence, Francis I. discovered that Henry VIII., instead of returning direct to England, had gone, on the 10th of July, to Gravelines, in Flanders, to pay a visit to Charles V., who had afterwards accompanied him to Calais. The two sovereigns had spent three days there, and Charles V., on separating from the King of England, had commissioned him to regulate, as arbiter, all difficulties that might arise between himself and the King of France. Assuredly nothing was less calculated to inspire Francis I. with confidence in the results of his meeting with Henry VIII. and of their mutual courtesies. Though he desired to avoid the appearance of taking the initiative in war, he sought every occasion and pretext for recommencing it; and it was not long before he found them in the Low Countries, in Navarre, and in Italy. A trial was made of Henry VIII.'s mediation and of a conference at Calais; and a discussion was raised touching the legitimate nature of the protection afforded by the two rival sovereigns to their petty allies. But the real fact was, that Francis I. had a reverse to make up for and a passion to gratify; and the struggle recommenced in April, 1521, in the Low Countries. Charles V., when he heard that the French had crossed his frontier, exclaimed, "God be praised that I am not the first to commence the war, and that the King of France is pleased to make me greater than I am, for, in a little while, either I shall be a very poor emperor or he will be a poor King of France." The campaign opened in the north, to the advantage of France, by the capture of Hesdin; Admiral Bonnivet, who had the command on the frontier of Spain, reduced some small forts of Biscay and the fortress of Fontarabia; and Marshal de Lautrec, governor of Milaness, had orders to set out at once to go and defend it against the Spaniards and Imperialists, who were concentrating for its invasion.
Lautrec was but little adapted for this important commission. He had been made governor of Milaness in August, 1516, to replace the Constable de Bourbon, whose recall to France the queen-mother, Louise of Savoy, had desired and stimulated. Lautrec had succeeded ill in his government. He was active and brave, but he was harsh, haughty, jealous, imperious, and grasping; and he had embroiled himself with most of the Milanese lords, amongst others with the veteran J. J. Trivulzio, who, under Charles VIII. and Louis XII., had done France such great service in Italy. Trivulzio, offensively treated at Milan, and subjected to accusations at Paris, went, at eighty-two years of age, to France to justify himself before the king; but Francis I. gave him a cold reception, barely spoke to him, and declined his explanations. One day, at Arpajon, Trivulzio heard that the king was to pass on horseback through the town; and, being unable to walk, had himself carried, ill as he was, in his chair to the middle of the street. The king passed with averted head, and without replying to Trivulzio, who cried, "Sir, ah! sir, just one moment's audience!" Trivulzio, on reaching home, took to his bed, and died there a month afterwards, on the 5th of December, 1518, having himself dictated this epitaph, which was inscribed on his tomb, at Milan, "J. J. Trivulzio, son of Anthony: he who never rested, rests. Hush!" [J. J. Trivultius, Antonii filius, qui nunquam quievit, quiescit. Tace!]
Francis I., when informed that Trivulzio was near his end, regretted, it is said, his harsh indifference, and sent to express to him his regret; but, "It is too late," answered the dying man. In the king's harshness there was something more than ungrateful forgetfulness of a veteran's ancient services. While Francis was bringing about a renewal of war in Italy, in the Low Countries, and on the frontier of Spain, he was abandoning himself at Paris, Tours, Amboise, and wherever he resided, to all the diversions and all the enticements of the brilliant court which was gathered around him. Extravagance and pleasure were a passion with him. "There has been talk," says Brantome, "of the great outlay, magnificence, sumptuousness and halls of Lucullus; but in nought of that kind did he ever come near our king . . . and what is most rare is, that in a village, in the forest, at the meet, there was the same service as there would have been in Paris. . . . One day, when the king was expecting the Emperor Charles to dinner, word came that he had slipped away, and had gone to give a sudden surprise to the constable, just as he was sitting down to table, and to dine with him and all his comrades comradewise. He found this table as well furnished and supplied, and laden with victuals as well cooked and flavored, as if they had been in Paris or some other good city of France; whereat the emperor was so mightily astonished that he said that there was no such grandeur in the world as that of such a King of France. . . . In respect of ladies, of a surety it must be confessed that before the time of King Francis they set foot in and frequented the court but little and in but small numbers. It is true that Queen Anne (of Brittany) began to make her ladies' court larger than it had been under former queens; and, without her, the king her husband (Louis XII.) would have taken no trouble about it. But Francis I., coming to reign, and considering that the whole grace of the court was the ladies, was pleased to fill it up with them more than had been the ancient custom. Since, in truth, a court without ladies is a garden without any pretty flowers, and more resembles a Satrap's or a Turk's court than that of a great Christian king. . . . As for me, I hold that there was never anything better introduced than the ladies' court. Full often have I seen our kings go to camp, or town, or elsewhither, remain there and divert themselves for some days, and yet take thither no ladies. But we were so bewildered, so lost, so moped, that for the week we spent away from them and their pretty eyes it appeared to us a year; and always a-wishing, 'When shall we be at the court?' Not, full often, calling that the court where the king was, but that where the queen and ladies were." [OEuvres de Brantome, edition of the Societe de l'Histoire de France, t. iii. pp. 120-129.]
Now, when so many fair ladies are met together in a life of sumptuousness and gayety, a king is pretty sure to find favorites, and royal favorites rarely content themselves with pleasing the king; they desire to make their favor serviceable their family and their friends. Francis I. had made choice one, Frances de Foix, countess of Chateaubriant, beautiful ambitious, dexterous, haughty, readily venturing upon rivalry with even the powerful queen-mother. She had three brothers; Lautrec was one of the three, and she supported him in all his pretensions and all his trials of fortune. When he set out to go and take the command in Italy, he found himself at the head of an army numerous indeed, but badly equipped, badly paid, and at grips with Prosper Colonna, the most able amongst the chiefs of the coalition formed at this juncture between Charles V. and Pope Leo X. against the French. Lautrec did not succeed in preventing Milan from falling into the hands of the Imperialists, and, after an uncertain campaign of some months' duration, he lost at La Bicocca, near Monza, on the 27th of April, 1522, a battle, which left in the power of Francis I., in Lombardy, only the citadels of Milan, Cremona, and Novara. At the news of these reverses, Francis I. repaired to Lyons, to consult as to the means of applying a remedy. Lautrec also arrived there. "The king," says Martin du Bellay, "gave him a bad reception, as the man by whose fault he considered he had lost his duchy of Milan, and would not speak to him." Lautrec found an occasion for addressing the king, and complained vehemently of "the black looks he gave him." "And good reason," said the king, "when you have lost me such a heritage as the duchy of Milan." "'Twas not I who lost it," answered Lautrec; "'twas your Majesty yourself: I several times warned you that, if I were not helped with money, there was no means of retaining the men-at-arms, who had served for eighteen months without a penny, and likewise the Swiss, who forced me to fight at a disadvantage, which they would never have done if they had received their pay." "I sent you four hundred thousand crowns when you asked for them." "I received the letters in which your Majesty notified me of this money, but the money never." The king sent at once for the superintendent-general of finance, James de Beaune, Baron of Semblancay, who acknowledged having received orders on the subject from the king, but added that at the very moment when he was about to send this sum to the army, the queen-mother had come and asked him for it, and had received it from him, whereof he was ready to make oath. Francis I. entered his mother's room in a rage, reproaching her with having been the cause of losing him his duchy of Milan. "I should never have believed it of you," he said, "that you would have kept money ordered for the service of my army." The queen-mother, somewhat confused at first, excused herself by saying, that "those were moneys proceeding from the savings which she had made out of her revenues, and had given to the superintendent to take care of." Semblancay stuck to what he had said. The question became a personal one between the queen-mother and the minister; and commissioners were appointed to decide the difference. Chancellor Duprat was the docile servant of Louise of Savoy and the enemy of Semblancay, whose authority in financial matters he envied; and he chose the commissioners from amongst the mushroom councillors he had lately brought into Parliament. The question between the queen-mother and the superintendent led to nothing less than the trial of Semblancay. The trial lasted five years, and, on the 9th of April, 1527, a decree of Parliament condemned Semblancay to the punishment of death and confiscation of all his property; not for the particular matter which had been the origin of the quarrel, but "as attained and convicted of larcenies, falsifications, abuses, malversations, and maladministration of the king's finances, without prejudice as to the debt claimed by the said my lady, the mother of the king." Semblancay, accordingly, was hanged on the gibbet of Montfaucon, on the 12th of August. In spite of certain ambiguities which arose touching some acts of his administration and some details of his trial, public feeling was generally and very strongly in his favor. He was an old and faithful servant of the crown; and Francis I. had for a long time called him "his father." He was evidently the victim of the queen-mother's greed and vengeance. The firmness of his behavior, at the time of his execution, became a popular theme in the verses of Clement Marot:—
When Maillart, officer of hell, escorted To Montfaucon Semblancay, doomed to die, Which, to your thinking, of the twain supported The better havior? I will make reply: Maillart was like the man to death proceeding; And Semblancay so stout an ancient looked, It seemed, forsooth, as if himself were leading Lieutenant Maillard—to the gallows booked!
It is said that, at the very moment of execution, Semblancay, waiting on the scaffold for at least a commutation of the penalty, said, "Had I served God as I have served the king, He would not have made me wait so long." Nearly two centuries later, in 1683, a more celebrated minister than Semblancay, Colbert, in fact, as he was dying tranquilly in his bed, after having for twenty years served Louis XIV., and in that service made the fortune of his family as well as his own, said also, "Had I done for God what I have done for yonder man, I had been twice saved; and now I know not what will become of me." A striking similarity in language and sentiment, in spite of such different ends, between two great councillors of kings, both devoted during their lives to the affairs of the world, and both passing, at their last hour, this severe judgment, as Christians, upon the masters of the world and upon themselves.
About the same time the government of Francis I. was involved, through his mother's evil passions, not in an act more morally shameful, but in an event more politically serious, than the execution of Semblancay. There remained in France one puissant prince, the last of the feudal semi-sovereigns, and the head of that only one of the provincial dynasties sprung from the dynasty of the Capetians which still held its own against the kingly house. There were no more Dukes of Burgundy, Dukes of Anjou, Counts of Provence, and Dukes of Brittany; by good fortune or by dexterous management the French kingship had absorbed all those kindred and rival states. Charles II., Duke of Bourbon, alone was invested with such power and independence as could lead to rivalry. He was in possession of Bourbonness, of Auvergne, of Le Forez, of La Marche, of Beaujolais, and a large number of domains and castles in different parts of France. Throughout all these possessions he levied taxes and troops, convoked the local estates, appointed the officers of justice, and regulated almost the whole social organism. He was born on the 10th of February, 1490, four years before Francis I.; he was the head of the younger branch of the Bourbons-Montpensier; and he had married, in 1515, his cousin, Suzanne of Bourbon, only daughter of Peter II., head of the elder branch, and Anne of France, the able and for a long while puissant daughter of Louis XI. Louis XII. had taken great interest in this marriage, and it had been stipulated in the contract "that the pair should make a mutual and general settlement of all their possessions in favor of the survivor." Thus the young duke, Charles, had united all the possessions of the house of Bourbon; and he held at Moulins a brilliant princely court, of which he was himself the most brilliant ornament. Having been trained from his boyhood in all chivalrous qualities, he was an accomplished knight before becoming a tried warrior; and he no sooner appeared upon the field of battle than he won renown not only as a valiant prince, but as an eminent soldier. In 1509, at the battle of Agnadello, under the eye of Louis XII. himself, he showed that he was a worthy pupil of La Tremoille, of La Palice, and of Bayard; and in 1512, at that of Ravenna, his reputation was already so well established in the army that, when Gaston de Foix was killed, they clamored for Duke Charles of Bourbon, then twenty-two years old, as his successor. Louis XII. gave him full credit for his bravery and his warlike abilities; but the young prince's unexpansive character, haughty independence, and momentary flashes of audacity, caused the veteran king some disquietude. "I wish," said he, "he had a more open, more gay, less taciturn spirit; stagnant water affrights me." In 1516, the year after Louis XII.'s death, Andrew Trevisani, Venetian ambassador at Milan, wrote to the Venetian council, "This Duke of Bourbon handles a sword most gallantly and successfully; he fears God, he is devout, humane, and very generous; he has a revenue of one hundred and twenty thousand crowns, twenty thousand from his mother-in-law, Anne of France, and two thousand a month as constable of France; and, according to what is said by M. de Longueville, governor of Paris, he might dispose of half the king's army for any enterprise he pleased, even if the king did not please."