But if the King of Navarre expected to make any deep impression upon the
subjects of Philip through the friendly reception which he thus
solicited by the most craven abasement, his arrival at St. Germain-en-Laye
speedily undeceived him. Francis, instead of meeting him on his approach, in accordance with the customary rules of royal courtesy, and entertaining him
graciously as they rode side by side to the palace, was purposely taken in an
opposite direction on a hunting excursion. Humiliated by this neglect, the
adherents of Navarre were still more annoyed when they found that no chamber had been set apart in the castle for the first prince of the blood, to whom
immemorial usage conceded the apartments next to those of the reigning monarch. But neither these insults, nor the contemptuous treatment he received at the
hands of the courtiers, by whom he was compelled to make every advance,
were sufficient to arouse the prince to any noble resolution.4 To
regain the kingdom of which, by his marriage with
1 Throkmorton to the queen, Aug. 15, 1559, Forbes, i. 202.
2 "Qu'il n'est point petit compagnon en France."
3 Instruction of Montluc to La Tour, already cited, Mém. De Guise, 450.
4 Antoine did, indeed, continue his protestations of his
firm intention "not to fail to do the best he could to advance God's
true religion and cause." He made secret appointments with the English
ambassador, at one time about eleven o'clock at night, near the abbey of
St. Denis, at another time in disguise in the cloisters of the Augustinian friars, and had much
to say about his satisfaction "that he had so good a colleague" as Elizabeth "in so good a
cause." But the diplomatic correspondence does not show a single step which Navarre ever
ventured to take in behalf of that "good cause." See Throkmorton's
faithful attendants remonstrate with him, and portray the path of honor
as that of ultimate success and safety. Disgusted at his unmanly
weakness, they returned crestfallen to their homes, or threw up his
service for that of noblemen who, if ancient enemies, could at least
prove themselves valuable and trustworthy patrons. The partisans of the
Reformation, after waiting fruitlessly to hear a single word uttered in
behalf of the churches, now everywhere rapidly multiplying, but still
subjected to bitter persecution, disappointed, but full of faith in God,
renounced their trust in princes, and awaited a deliverance, in Heaven's
own time, from a higher source. Theodore Beza cited Navarre's shameful
fall as a new and signal illustration of our Lord's own words: "A rich
man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven!"1 Meets fresh indignities. Philip offers Catharine assistance.
Antoine's appeals to Philip II.
But the abasement of this irresolute prince was not yet complete.
Submitting to the open contempt in which he was held, he not only took
part in the solemn ceremony of the new king's anointing at Rheims,2
where his inferiors were preferred to
1 "Navarrus ad quem jure ipso et more majorum hactenus
inviolata pertinebat regni administratio, quamvis a plerisque Ecclesiis
salutatus et rogatus ne tam præclaram et divinitus oblatam occasionem
negligeret, quamvis summo et aperto ludibrio a Guisianis exceptus, tamen
omnibus annuit et suo exemplo confirmavit Christi dictum; Difficile est
divitem ingredi in regnum cœlorum." Beza to Bullinger, Sept. 12,
1559, apud Baum, ii., App., 1, 2; La Place, 27; La Planche, 213-216;
De Thou, ii. 686, 687.
2 Held Sept. 18th. See a description in Forbes, State
Papers, i. 232. Navarre, as one of the six temporal peers, represented
the Duke of Burgundy; Guise represented the Duke of Normandy; Nevers,
the Duke of Guyenne, etc.
him, but attended the meetings of the royal council, where
he was little wanted. At one of these sessions a fresh indignity
was put upon him. Alarmed by the rising murmurs against the
illegal rule of the Guises, Catharine had taken the first of a
series of disgraceful steps, by invoking the intervention of a foreign
prince in the affairs of France. She implored her royal son-in-law of
Spain to lend her his support against the King of Navarre and other
princes, who were desirous of "reducing her to the condition of a
chambermaid," and of disturbing an otherwise peaceful country. Philip
replied by an offer of his own assistance and of forty thousand men whom
he professed to hold in readiness for a campaign against the rebels that
meditated the overthrow of the French monarchy. The letter of his
Catholic Majesty was purposely read in full council, in the hearing of
Navarre. But, instead of arousing his indignation, it only excited new
fears for the safety of his wife's dominions, and made him more
submissively kiss the rod of iron with which the Guises ruled him.1
Soon afterward he returned to Béarn, whence he made, before the close of
the year, two ineffectual attempts to move the inflexible determination
of Philip. In October he sent to the court of Spain Pierre, the Bastard
of Navarre, who obtained the promise of an equivalent for Navarre, but
was unable to secure any decided answer to his request for the island of
Sardinia. But when, in December, Antoine despatched a second messenger,
at the suggestion of the Duke of Albuquerque, to solicit permission for
himself and Queen Jeanne to visit the King of Spain and "kiss his
[Philip's] hand," with the view of obtaining such "an indemnity for his
kingdom as some secret injunction of the emperor [Charles the Fifth],
toward the end of his days, or his own conscience" might have suggested,
the unfortunate prince discovered in how base and humiliating a manner
he had been duped. It was not worth his while--such was the rude
reply--for Antoine to expose his wife and himself to the fatigue of so
1 La Planche, 218; De Thou, ii. 688. That the promise of
assistance was only given in order to frighten Navarre was patent to all
who were cognizant of Philip's projected African campaign.
long a journey, since no other answer could be given him than that which
the late treaty of peace. Was it with the expectation of such
rewards that the first prince of the blood had pusillanimously declined
to assert the rights of his rank and family, and to espouse the cause of
The persecution continues.
For persecuted the Protestants continued to be. The death of Henry did
not for an instant interrupt the work of searching for and punishing
reputed heretics. The brief term must be improved, during which the
Spaniards and other strangers who had come to witness the marriage
festivities were still present, to fulfil the promises given to the
Dukes of Alva and Savoy, and demonstrate the catholicity of the Very
Christian King. Three days after the fatal termination of Henry's
wound in the tournament, the English ambassador wrote to his government:
"In the midst of all these great matters and business, they here do not
stay to make persecution and sacrifice of poor souls: for the twelfth of
this present, two men and one woman were executed for religion; and the
thirteenth of the same there was proclamation made by the sound of
trumpet, that all such as should speak either against the church or the
religion now used in France should be brought before the bishops of the
dioceses, and they to do execution upon them." On the fourteenth of
July, only four days after Henry's death, new steps were taken to bring
to trial the five counsellors of parliament arrested on the day of the
famous "Mercuriale." An account of these proceedings, and in particular
of those instituted against Anne du Bourg, will presently be given.
Denunciation and treachery at Paris.
The increase of the Protestants in France during the past few months had
been great. Even in the capital the progress of
1 De Thou (ii. 722, 723) gives an account apparently correct, save in one or two particulars,
of these two missions. The slavish letter of Antoine to D'Audoz or D'Odoux, as De Thou
writes the name of the second messenger, may be read in the Négociations relatives au
règne de François II. (drawn from the papers of the Bishop of Limoges, French ambassador
to Philip, and published by the French government, under the editorial care of M. Paris, 1841),
pp. 164-166. Compare Agrippa d'Aubigné, i. 91.
2 La Planche, 209.
3 Throkmorton to Cecil, July 13, 1559, Forbes, State Papers, i. 161.
the new doctrines could not be hidden; but so carefully had the veil of secrecy
been drawn over the conventicles, that, until a short time before Henry's death,
the names and residences of the Parisian reformers had been almost entirely
unknown to the argus-eyed clergy. But the treachery of one De
Russanges--a goldsmith, who, for appropriating the charitable
contributions of the church, had been deposed from the
eldership--furnished to the enemy a complete list of the ministers,
elders, and other principal men among the Protestants.1 The
information thus obtained was for a time left unimproved, in consequence
of the sudden removal of the king; but the zeal of the chief persecutors
had not cooled down. New and more stringent edicts were published,
consigning to the flames, without form of process, all that made or
attended conventicles. Liberal rewards were offered to stimulate
denunciation. Domiciliary visits were enjoined upon the proper officers.
Extraordinary powers were given to the "lieutenant-criminel" and a few
of the counsellors of the Châtelet, known to be inimical to the "new
doctrines," to act during the recess of parliament. It was even ordained
by letters-patent of the king, that the very houses in which unlawful
assemblages had taken place by night and the Lord's Supper had been
profanely administered contrary to the rites of the Roman Catholic
Church, should be razed to the ground, and never rebuilt, as a memorial
for all time.2 The church followed the example of the civil power.
The parishes resounded with excommunications of all that failed to
reveal the heretical sentiments of their acquaintance, and with
exhortations to watchfulness.3 Parliament itself had lent its
authority to the inquisitorial work, by enjoining upon owners or
occupants of houses in the city or suburbs "to make diligent inquiry as
to the good and Christian
1 La Planche, 221; Beza to Bullinger, Sept. 12, 1559, Baum, ii., App., 3.
2 La Planche, 221; Mém. de Castelnau (Eng. tr. of 1724, p.
23), bk. i. c. 5; Declarations of Sept. 4th and Nov. 14, 1559, in the
month, while on their way to execution at Meaux. Forbes, State Papers, i. 211, 212.
men, women, and children of all ranks. The thoroughfares were clogged
by wagons laden with furniture and other spoils. The street-corners were
filled with plunder offered for sale. Never before, even when the inhabitants
had fled panic-stricken from Paris in time of war, had the price of such
commodities been so low. Numbers of little children, roaming the streets
and ready to die of hunger, formed a pitiful accompaniment to the scene.
But the tender mercies of the populace were cruel, and few dared to give
a "Lutheran" shelter through fear of incurring extreme danger. The most
incredible tales of midnight orgies were studiously circulated among the
simple-minded people, and served to inflame yet more the lust of cruelty
The Protestants appeal to the queen mother. She gives them encouragement.
In this emergency the Protestants had recourse to the queen mother.
Afraid to trust herself entirely to the Guises, the crafty Italian had,
from the very commencement of the reign, sought to leave open a retreat
in case a change should become necessary. And, in truth, jealousy of the
cardinal and his brother, who seemed disposed to keep all the power in
their own hands, while giving Catharine only a semblance of authority,
was combined in her mind with hatred of Mary of Scots, their niece,2
whose influence was as powerful with her son and as adverse to herself
as that of Diana of Poitiers had been with her husband. Scarcely had the
reformers perceived, by the zeal with which Du Bourg's trial was
pressed, that the death of Henry had not bettered their condition, when
they implored the Prince of Condé, his mother-in-law, Madame de Roye,
and Admiral Coligny, to intercede in their behalf with Catharine. At the
suggestion of the latter, they even addressed her a letter, in which
they informed her of the great hopes they had in the preceding reign
founded upon her kind and gentle
1 La Planche, 221, 223; Hist. ecclés., i. 144--147, where
692; Félibien, Hist. de Paris, ii. 1069; Mém. de Castelnau, liv. i., c. 4.
2 "La royne Catherine de Medicis, florentine, nation
desireuse de nouvelleté ... haissoit, comme belle mere, la Royne sa
fille, qui l'esloignoit des affaires et portoit l'amitié du Roy son fils
a MM. de Guise, lesquels ne luy deportoient du gouvernement qu'en ce
qu'ils cognoissoient qu'elle ne pouvoit nuire, luy donnant credit en
apparence sans effect," Mém. de Tavannes, ii. 260.
disposition, and the prayers they had offered to God that she might
prove a second Esther. They entreated her to prevent the new
reign from being defiled with innocent blood, and to avert the
anger of Heaven, which could only be appeased by putting an
end to persecution. The crafty queen, desirous of retaining an influence
that might one day be of great service, and solicitous, at any rate, of
obtaining their confidence, at first assumed an offended tone. "With
what am I menaced?" she said. "For what greater evil could God do me
than He has done, removing him whom I loved and prized the most?" But
presently becoming more gracious, she promised the noble suppliants to
cause the persecution to cease, if the Protestants would intermit their
conventicles and live quietly and without scandal.1 A private letter
of remonstrance, written by a gentleman formerly in the service of Queen
Margaret of Navarre, is said to have had some weight in extorting this
pledge. He reminded her that her present evil advisers were the same
persons who had, in the first years of her married life, been advocates