« AnteriorContinua »
resolution to execute the massacre was not postponed till ten in the evening, but adopted many hours before; 2. That the time employed in preparations was not four hours only, but the rest of the day, the evening, and a good part of the night; 3. That instead of passing two hours at an open balcony, gazing at the stars, the Queen and her sons had two hours sleep before break of day, when they went to the balcony to enjoy the commencement of the massacre. Dr Lingard is pleased to make the party, that repaired to the balcony, consist of the King, his mother and brothers. His brothers were the Dukes of Anjou and Alençon. The narrative of the former mentions no brother of the King present but himself; and, with respect to the Duke of Alençon, we have his own authority for saying, that, ignorant of what was going on, he passed a sleepless night during the massacre, terrified at the stir and tumult he heard in the streets, but not knowing what it was all about. *
If Dr Lingard should appeal to the Memoirs of Queen Margaret in justification of the hour he has fixed for the final resolution to perpetrate the massacre, we reply, why take the hour from Margaret, and reject the other parts of her story? Why, following in other particulars the narrative of her brother, engraft on it a date inconsistent with the other circumstances he relates ? Of the two accounts, there can be no doubt which is the best entitled to credit. Margaret was po party to the plot; and to the last moment before its execution, she remained in ignorance of what was in contemplation. What she learned subsequently of the preparations for the massacre, was from the report of others; and what she relates of it in her Memoirs, was written many years after it happened. The Duke of Anjou, on the contrary, dictated his discourse within two years of the event, while the occurrences were still fresh in his memory. He was one of the contrivers of the bloody tragedy, and privy to all the consultations that led to it. How far his evidence is to be trusted, in extenuation of his own guilt, and that of his accomplices, may indeed be a matter of doubt; but there can be no question that his account is to be preferred to that of his sister; who is only a hearsay witness, and had her information from persons equally implicated with him in the guilt of the transaction.
The narrative of Henry, according to Dr Lingard, is the • work, not of one who seeks to excuse, but who fairly accuses himself.' That he frankly, and without disguise, acknow
# Castelnau, ii. 357.
ledges his own and his mother's guilt, in hiring an assassin to murder the Admiral, on a bare suspicion that he had prejudiced the King against them, is most true; that he owns, what could not be denied, that he had a principal share in advising and planning the massacre, is most certain : But that he expresses contrition for his crime, or seems at all conscious of the enormity of his wickedness, is no where to be seen in his narrative. After relating his unsuccessful attempt on the Admiral's life, he proceeds to say, Ce beau coup failli, et de si près, nous fit
ma mere et moi.' Ca. veyrac, aware that this expression might appear inconsistent with the remorse which it was his object to attribute to the Duke of Anjou in this communication, has taken advantage of some MSS. where the word beau is left out, to omit that epithet in his abridgment of the narrative; and that omission has probably misled Dr Lingard. De Thou, who had better means than either of judging the character of Henry, says, that he not only made no secret of his participation in the St Bartholomew, but reckoned it among the glorious acts of his life • Nam is se ejus auctorem perhibebat, idque in gloriæ pone* bat.'t
According to the hypothesis of Caveyrac and Dr Lingard, the planners of the massacre intended only the death of Coligny and other chiefs, the indiscriminate slaughter of the Hugo. nots that followed being the work of an unlicensed mob. "In support of this opinion, Dr Lingard mentions a proclamation of the King on the evening of the massacre, ordering every man to return to his house, and to abstain from deeds of vio
lence, under the penalty of death ; ' and quotes from La Popelinière the following passage-à diverses fois le roy itera
vers le soir les premieres defences à tout homme sous peine • de la vie, &c.'I The fate of this quotation has been singular. La Popelinière tells us, that remonstrances having been made to the King on the danger of giving too much license to the rabble, he, vers le soir de Dimanche, fit faire deffenses à son
de trompe qu'autres que ceux de la garde et les officiers de la ville, ne prinsent les armes ni prisonniers, sur la vie. Ains, que tous à l'avenir fussent mis ez mains de la justice, et qu'ils se retirassent en leurs maisons clauses.' This proclamation, La Popelinière adds, was not without effect, and gave some persons an opportunity to escape from Paris; but for those who staid in the town, there was still danger-aux poursuivis
+ Thuan. iii. 316, folio 1733. I Lingard vi,ii. 519, and note referring to La Popelinière, ii. 67. “'le peuple ne paroissoit rien quicter de sa fureur; encor qu'à “diverses fois le roy iterast ces premieres deffenses à tout hom-' ''me, sous peine de la vie, de prendre armes ny prisonniers sans
son congé. Si bien que le presque dernier jour de la semaine fut peu moins remarqué de meurtres particuliers qu'avoient été les autres.' * Caveyrac, in quoting the first part of this passage, has omitted the words we have printed in italics, (qu'atre); + and by this fraud on his readers, has converted into an absolute prohibition of further cruelty, what was merely intended to restrain the disorderly excesses of the rabble, and to give regularity to the future pursuit against the Hugonots. Dr Lingard, improving on his master, has crowded into a single evening the proclamations of many days; and both have concealed the important fact, that notwithstanding these proclamations, the massacre went on, with little abatement, to the end of the week. The words cited by Dr Lingard from La Popelinière are not to be found in that author as they stand in Dr Lingard's quotation. The words vers le soir' are from one passage, and the rest of the sentence fronı another. Nor is the • &c.' in Dr Lingard's citation unworthy of notice. We may judge of what is hid under it, from the proclamation of the 26th of August, two days after the commencement of the massacre, which enjoins, on pain of death, qu'aucun ne fut si • hardi de tuer ame vivante, de piller ou tourmenter aucun, ' fors' ceux qui seront ordonnés pour ce faire.'
The truth is, it was not intended by these proclamations, imperfectly executed as they were, to protect the Hugonots from further harm, but to restrain the rabble from indiscriminate pillage and massacre. While orders were issued to prevent plunder and unlicensed slaughter, the gates of the town were kept shut, and carefully watched by the King's command, that not a Hugonot might get out ni par compere, ni par commere,' as was said; and directions were given to those in authority to search in every street and in every house for Hugonots, and to commit the men to prison, leaving the women and children in the custody of their Catholic relations; and of those shut up in prison, many were privately murdered in the night, and their bodies thrown into the river. I Mezeray tells us, that after the King's proclamations forbidding all persons but his guards and the officers of the town to go about armed, or arrest prisoners, • les meurtres et les saccage
* La Popelinière, ii. 67.
+ Caveyrac, xxv. I MS. Bibliotheque du Roi, vol. 252. Colbert - Mem. de l'Etat sous Cha. 9. 1. 216. 226.
mens se firent' avec plus d'ordre, mais non avec moins du • cruauté.
The exclamation attributed to Charles by his brother, that since his Council thought it right to kill the Admiral, he was content to have it so, but all the Hugonots of France must perish too, that none might be left to reproach him with the deed - the minute and deliberate orders given by his counsellors to the provost, to the captains of the districts, and to the persons thought to be the most factious in Paris--the arrangements made, though accidentally defeated, for surprising and slaughtering the Hugonots quietly lodged in the Fauxbourg St Germain—the military parade of Montpensier, Tavannes and Nevers through the streets—their assurances to the populace that it was the intention of the King to extirpate all the Hugonots---the cry of • Kill! kill ! bleeding is as wholesome in August as in May'tare inconsistent with the hypothesis of Caveyrac and Lingard, that it was the intention of the planners of the massacre to kill only the Admiral and principal chiefs, and that the general and indiscriminate slaughter of the Hugonots was the work of a bigotted and infuriated mob. That the original projectors • stood aghast at the multitude of the slain,' we do not believe; Charles at least was not of the number, Two days after the St Bartholomew, as he was returning from the Parliament, where he had renewed his prohibition of unlicensed slaughter by the mob, a Hugonot, discovered in the crowd, happened to be murdered so near his person, that, hearing the noise, he asked what was the matter, and being answered, it was only a Hugonot they were killing, he exclaimed, Go on, would to « God he were the last !'I Papire Masson says of him, • Rex
ipse tragediam ex arce lætus animi spectabat.'s That he fired on his subjects, is told by Brantome and confirmed by Voltaire, on the authority of Marshal Tessć, who had heard the story from the page employed to load the fowling-piece he used on the occasion. Several contemporary authors mention it as a report, and add, that the persons on whom he fired, exclaiming, • Tirons, mort Dieu, ils s'enfuyent,' were Hugonots from the Fauxbourg St Germain, roused by the tumult, and hastening to his assistance, believing he had been attacked in his palace by the Guises. || But others, who relate this mistake of
* Mezeray, ii. 1101,
+ Petitot, 508_Brantomc— Matthieu, 315—Mem. de l'Etat, in 206. 212.
| Mem. de l'Etat, i. 229. De Serres, iv. 48. $ Castlenau, iij. 16. || De Serres, iv. 40. Mem. de l'Etat, i. 212.
the Hugonots, which had nearly proved fatal to them, by retarding their flight, are silent on this act of the King. *
That the savage nature of Charles, softened by illness, was assailed before his death with remorse for the cruelties of the St. Bartholomew, may be credited on the respectable authorities that bear testimony of the fact; but during the massacre, and for some time afterwards, all feelings of humanity were suspended in his bosom, by a conflict of passions, in which rage and hatred predominated. While the attendants of the King of Navarre were slaughtered at the gate of the Louvre, he looked from a window on the massacre, feasting his eyes with the spectacle, and exclaiming to the muderers to spare no one. t In the same evening, he sallied out of the palace with his mother and her ladies, and walked through the streets of Paris, stained with blood and carnage, while his fair companions, giggling and whispering, inspected the dead body of Soubise with a minuteness equally revolting to decency and humanity. Though recently in habits of familiar and apparently affectionate intercourse with the Admiral, he went, accompanied by his mother and courtiers, to Montfaucon, to contemplate the dead body of that nobleman suspended from the gallows; and, when one of his cour. tiers, offended by the smell, turned away his head, he exclaimed in the words of Vitellius, Nothing so sweet as the stench of a dead
enemy !'When Briquemaut and Cavagnes were executed, to give a colour to the pretended charges against the Protestants, he hastened from the apartment of his wife, who had been that morning delivered of her first child, to witness the scene from a window in the Hotel de Ville, to which he had the cruelty to drag the young King of Navarre, their friend; and as the night was growing dark, he desired torches to be held near them, ut morientium ora certius videret !' || and what is hardly credible, though related by a contemporary, 'non sans • faire des risées de la contenance de l'un et de l'autre !'I The fury to which he gave way on the St Bartholomew altered his character, but it was to make it more irascible and ferocious. When La Noue returned to Paris after the massacre, his friend, M. de Longueville, cautioned him to be on his guard in what he said to the King, car vous ne parlerez plus au Roi • doux et benin et gracieux que vous avez vu ci-devant, il est tout
*Histoire Secrete de la Bourgogne. Avertissement preliminaire. + De Serres, iv. 38.
| Ib. iv. 43. ♡ Papire Masson. Castlenau, iii. 16.
11 Ib. iii. 16. 9 MSS. Bibl. du Roi, 324. St. Germ. f. 146.