Whether the Lord Prince of Condé in the first troubles com∣mitted so great an ouersight as many haue giuen out, in that he seased not vpon the Court or Paris.
I Wil not denie but many skilful persons were * and peraduenture still bee of that opinion, as also my selfe was a while: But after I had throughly wayed and considered what happe∣ned at the beginning of this tragedie, as also what fell out afterward, I was reclaymed to the knowledge of those truer matters which shall appeare in the progresse of my speech. The Lord Prince of Condé seeing how his brother the King of Nauarre was by little and little slipt into a delicious kinde of life, and had suffered himselfe so much to be abused by the vayne and ritch promises and apparant honors of those that skorned him, that he was growne so farre as to giue ouer his partie, whereof ensued a wonderfull quailing to many which both openly and secretly seemed to fauour him, and as great an encouragement to the leagued to withstand him: did not thinke it good to leane to so rotten a foūdation, but ra∣ther to lay a better els where. In as much also as the Court and Paris are the two great lights of France, the one resembling the Sunne, the other the Moone (yet both subiect to ecclipse) he imagi∣ned that hauing some light from the one, he ought to seeke for the light of the other: and therefore endeuoured to plant the preaching of the Gospell in Paris: to the ende the same knowledge which be∣fore was hidden, and lay as it were buryed among the innumera∣ble multitude of people, might bring forth aboundance of fruite, as soone after did it appeare: for sometimes ye might see at the assem∣blies thirtie thousand persons. These goodly beginnings caused those of the Religion to seeke meanes to establish it, wherein ne∣uerthelesse they shewed themselues somewhat negligent. But when the effects of the League brake forth, they euidently percei∣ued that it was meet to do that which through ouer much forflow∣ing, was not now easely to be done: whereabout neuerthelesse they somewhat employed themselues, albeit with very small hope.
Page 351 Hauing more narowlie examined this matter, I finde that as the execution of this purpose to anie profite was in the beginning nothing easie: so in the end it was most difficult. I will first there∣fore spake of Paris, and shewe the lettes therein to be found. Eue∣rie man knoweth it to bee the seate of Iustice, which is of meruay∣lous authoritie, and as the fauour thereof woulde haue stoode the Protestants in great steade, so would the mislyke haue bredde won∣derfull damage. Nowe all the Senate with their whole trayne, except a verie fewe, did alwayes shewe themselues their capitall e∣nimies
The Cleargie of that Citie beeing most mightie and in greate reuerence, were euen madde to see those thinges common which touched them so neere the quicke, and vnder hande wrought a thou, sand practises there agaynst. The bodie of the Townehouse fea∣ring alterations, which they imagined to proceede of diuersitie of religion, endeauoured to bannish and driue it awaie. To the same ende tended the most parte of the Uniuersitie, and in manner all the inferiour and common people, with the fauourers and ser∣uauntes of the Catholike Lordes and Gentlemen. Neyther doe I yet speake of such as might happen to haue recourse to the Citie out of other places, but onelie of those that were then pre∣sent. As for the assured strength that the Protestants made ac∣count of, it consisted of three hundred Gentlemen, and as manie trayned souldiours, foure hundred schollers, and a fewe voluntarie Burgeses of no experience. And what else was all this agaynst in manner an infinite number of people, but a small flie agaynst an Elephant? I thinke that onelie the nouices of the couentes, toge∣ther with the Priestes wenches, comming sodainelie vppon them with fagot stickes in theyr handes, had beene able to haue with∣stoode them: and yet notwithstanding theyr weaknesse, they sette a good face vppon the matter vntill that the open force of the leagued Princes and Lordes did constrayne them to giue e∣uer.
But had they buckeled in the Towne (as considering the secret driftes of theyr enemses, they shoulde soone haue beene forced) coulde the Protestants haue beene able to fight three dayes, as they did at Tholouze? Truelie no, nor three houres as I thinke: neyther had there beene anie waie to maintaine them, but the pre∣sence of the King to fauour his Edict. Some will saie that the Prince of Condie abandoning Paris, committed the lyke errour Page 356 as Pompey: But if they marke it well, they shall finde that Pom∣peyes ouersight was without comparison greater than his: For hee had all Rome at his becke, where the Prince had scarce a hand∣full at Paris.
Before wee applie those auncient examples to the deedes of these dayes, wee must consider of the lykelyhoode betweene them. All the aforesayde difficulties doe perswade mee that the endeauou∣ring to establishe the exercise of religion at Paris, was a haughtie and valiant attempt▪ but without the helpe aforesayde to confirme it, it was vnpossible, as that which hath since fallen out, hath well declared.
Nowe let vs looke into the disposition of the Court. It is wel * inough knowen that at the conference at Poyssy the doctrine of the Gospell was propounded withall libertie, wherevpon many both greate and smal began to haue a tast thereof: But as a fire of straw maketh a greate blaze, and is by and by out againe for want of sub∣staunce: so after that that which they had receiued as a noueltie was a lyttle growen olde in their heartes, theyr affections thereto quayled, and most of them retourned to the former course of the Court, which is more fit to procure mirth and pastime and to breed wealth: yea, euen some Huguenots turnd theyr coates and follow∣ed this path.
The Court wee are in generall to take for the true i∣mage of the Prince: for as hee is, so is his traine. If hee bee wise, so will it bee: but if hee delyght in follie, it will also imitate him. And in case a householder through vse shapeth the manners of his children and familie by the patterne of his owne, what shall a King doe, in whome it lyeth to raise and cast downe? Heerevp∣pon the Courtiers seeing the King, his Brethren and Mother more inclined to Romish religion, also the King of Nauarre re∣uolted, conformed themselues to them, which redounded to the greate disgrace of the Prince of Condie, and those whome hee maintained.
Besides that, if hee had come first, hee coulde not haue soiour∣ned there long without incurring much hatred: for if to a Court you propounde reformation, take awaie vaine pleasures, and en∣tangle it in businesse, it will hate you euen vnto the death. Fi∣nallie, hauing manie enemies therein and more abroade, hee coulde not but haue verie small assuraunce. This maketh mee to thinke that the fouudation of the Court was not of anie more Page 357 certayntie than that of Paris. Howbeeit hee attempted another deuise, (but it was not put in execution) in my opinion of more apparaunce: which was his moouing of the Queene mother, to goe and carrie the King to Orleance: and some writers doe saie that it was motioned to her when shee feared the motions of the league, also that shee hearkened thereto: but all vanished a∣waie in smoake: neuerthelesse I suppose that if the effect heere∣of had ensued, all theyr weapons had beene sheathed vp a∣gayne.
For had the Court beene in place where it coulde not haue beene surprised, in respect of such force as might haue ben brought, and where it shoulde not haue beene forced, for no man durst haue discharged the Canon agaynst the walles that enuironed the King, they might haue parleyed and dealte on horsebacke vn∣till the affayres had beene somewhat reestablished according vn∣to the Edict of pacification: not withstanding euen to imagine that this remedie coulde haue vtterly extinguished the warres, I dare not presume: onelie it had sufficed if it had but delayed them for a while.