That the Protestants, but for the late accident at Vassie, had bene preuented in the beginning of the first Ciuill warre.
FRance, notwithstanding the agreeing vpon and concluding of the Edict of Ia∣nuary* in the presence of the King, by the aduice of a very notable assembly of the wisest politicks of the Realme, who thereby entended to prouide some reme∣die against the diuers and vniuersall cō∣motions thereof, and to conforme it to the cōmon lawes, was not yet brought into tranquilitie: as well by reason the Protestants were so earnest to establish and confirme themselues in that libertie which they had obteyned, as also through the generall feare of the Catholickes, who could not endure such a noueltie. Some of the Princes and Lordes that held this parte being greatly agrieued at the sight of such encrease, did make a secret League to suppresse it. And whiles some of them were on their way to Paris, where they purposed to ioyne to their generall bodie fell out the disorder at Va•si•, where many being at the sermon were murdered, which deede being by other Historiographers alreadie described, I will meddle no far∣ther with. For my entent is only to note not so much ye grief that it bred to the Protestants, as the instruction, which they tooke toge∣ther with the fruite that vnto them did redound thereof. The Lord Page 347Prince of Condé was at Paris about the establishing of the pub∣licke exercise according to the Kings Edict, when this newes was brought him: which made him to growe into consultation with the wise•t Lordes and Gentlemen of his companie, who iudged this small storme to bee an assured forewarning of a greater, and there∣fore wished to looke farther then to things present. Immediatly he gaue notice to some of the chiefest in the Court of that that had happened, who therof tooke an alarum and counsailed him to seeke some preseruatiues and remedies for himselfe and the estate. He also warned all the French Churches to looke to themselues: of whom the most parte imagining to haue alreadie obteyned some assured rest, were more ententiue to the building of Churches, then to thinke vppon Militarie prouision for their owne defence. This bruite did wonderfully waken the gentlemen Protestants abroade in the Prouinces, and made them readie to prouide horse and armour, waiting what would bée done at the Court and how Paris would take it.
Shortly after there ariued the Lord of Guize, the Constable,* and the Marshall of S. Andrews, also the King of Nauarre whom they had drawne to their League, who forced the Prince of Cou∣dé to retire into the towne of Meaux with a good traine of No∣bilitie and Gentrie. Being come thether, with all speede he sent word to the Lord of Andelot and the Admirall, that not want of courage but of strength had driuen him to forsake Paris, wishing them with all diligence to march toward him. For Casar had not only passed Rubicon, but was euen seased of Rome, and his flagges be∣gan to waue abroade in the fieldes. Which presently they did with all their friends and furniture, howbeit not yet manifesting their armes as the League had done. There staied they fiue or sixe daies as well to deliberate of their affayres, as because of administring the supper, which was to be celebrated at Easter. The Lord Ad∣mirall, no nouice in matters of estate, foreseeing that the game waxed warme, shewed that it was requisite either in all diligence to strengthen themselues with men, either els to take them to their heeles: yea that he was afrayed they had alreadie stayed very long. But whiles they stoode vpon those poynts, many gentlemen came in from all parts vnlooked and vnsent for: so as in foure daies they were abont fiue hundred. This refeshing caused them to resolue vpon their departure, and that for two purposes. The one to trye whether they might winne the Court, and so enstall themselues a∣bout Page 348 the King and Queene, or, not able so to doe, to s••se vpon Orleans, there to forme a maine head, if they chaunced to bee dri∣uen to come to handie blowes. Hauing therefore in sixe daies ga∣thered a greater troope then they looked to haue gotten in a whole moneth, they tooke their way toward S. Claud, where their troope was refreshed with three hundred good horse, where also they were aduertised that the Lord of Guize and his assotiates had seased of the Court, which diligence falling out well for them, brake the Prince of Condees first purpose, who ment to haue done the same and so to haue authorised his doings vnder the Kings fauour for the preseruation of himselfe and the rest of the Protestants. From S. Claud they marched toward Chastres and Angeruile, and by the way met fiue or sixe troopes of gentrie. This bred some asto∣nishment to the contrary parte, when they began to consider the sudden encrease of our bodie, which consisted not of lesse then a thousand gentlemen, who made 1500. good horse better armed with courage then Corcelets. Then drew they toward Orleance, which was taken in such maner as the Historiographers doe set it doune. This we must note, that if the Prince of Condé had at that time had but a small power, he had bene oppressed or besieged: but when they perceiued him to bee so mightie as to keepe the fielde in subiection, also that he spake as boldly to his aduersaries as coldly to his King, they were not very earnest vpon him, whereby he had oportunitie to preuaile in sundrie attempts. This profite did he reape of being strong in the beginning.
Some men haue imagined either that these things were long * before premeditated, or els to haue so happely fallen out through the dillgence of the Captaines: But I, as one that was present and made curious search into the causes, dare affirme the contrary. True it is that most of the Nobilitie, hearing of the slaughter at Vassie, partly of a voluntarie good will, and partly for feare, de∣termined to drawe toward Paris, imagining (as it were at aduen∣ture) that their protectors might stand in some néed of them. Thus did the most renowmed depart out of their countries with some tenne, some twentie or thirtie of their friends, secretly armed, and lodging in Hosteries or Uillages, where they payd truely for eue∣rie thing, vntill they met both with the bodie and cause together. Many of them haue assured me that this only reason moued them: and I haue heard my Lords the Prince and Admirall many times confesse, that had not this benefit happened, they had bene in daun∣ger Page 349 to haue taken a bad course.
Hereby it appeareth what fruite is sometimes gotten of hurt∣full things, which at the first blush appearing ruinous, doe neuer∣thelesse * after the euent giue vs to weere that they bree our good in∣structions. Men may also learne, yea euen the best Captaines, not to attribute too much to their owne wisedome in the conduct of af∣faires either publique or priuate: For ableit it be a most necessarie instruction, yet sometimes it is as it were vayled, so as among ma∣ny waies and proceedings they can hardly tell which is the best to leane vnto in such vnlooked for stormes and troubles. And this fal∣leth out to the ende to humble them, and to make them from else where to seeke the cause of good successe. Silla, with whom no man now liuing dare compare for militarie knowledge, gaue out that himselfe through the benefite of fortune had bene saued and exal∣ted. And yet are there some at this day that will say that the for∣tune of the auncient heathen (which was vayne) and the order that God taketh in the conduct of inferiour matters (which is assured) are but cloakes where-vnder men doe shroude their ignorance: al∣so that man himselfe, according as he guideth his doings either well or ill, breedeth his owne mishap or felicitie, albeit sundrie ex∣periences be therto repugnant. They ought therfore to purge their mindes of such opinions, and to perswade them selues that notwithstanding man imagineth and purposeth, yet is it God that giueth accom∣plishment to his enterprises.