Of the Prince of Condies promise somewhat rashlie made to the Queene mother that hee would depart the Realme of France, and why it was not perfor∣med.
AFter the ariuall of a great number of the ordi∣narie * bandes and parte of the olde infanterie at Paris, the King of Nauarre, the Constable and the Duke of Guize, who contemned the Protestants as rebelles, thought themselues strong inough to make them afrayde, and in battayle araie marched towarde Chasteau∣dun. The Prince vnderstanding heereof craued the aduice of such Captaines as accompanied him, what were to bee done: who all with one consent declared, that sith they had hetherto as well in deedes as wordes set so good a face on the matter, if nowe they shoulde at the beginning of the warre suffer themselues to bee shutte vp and besieged in a Towne, it would bee some testimonie of cowardlynesse, and greatly disgrace the Protestants affayres Page 358 as well with foraine nations as with such of the Frenchmen as tooke: heir partes: withall considering that their power alreadie grew well toward sixe thousand footmen and two thousand horse, also that by the report of the spies the enimies were not yet aboue foure thousand footmen and three thousand speares: to whom not∣withstanding they were not so well armed, they were no whit infe∣riour in courage: that nothing ought therefore to let them from taking the field with all speed, and fighting with the enimie, if oc∣casion might so serue: for they could neuer haue them at a better ad∣uantage, considering how theyr power would from time to time in∣crease.
Upon this resolution ehey encamped a league and a halfe from *Orleance, whether the Queene sent new Embassadours to enter parley: for both sides did greatly feare the vniuersall desolations ensuing of warre, if once it were begun. At the two first meetings they argued sufficiently, though to small resolution: onely it was a∣greed, that the Catholike and leagued Lordes and Princes should depart each to his owne home, and then would the Prince of Con∣die obey whatsoeuer the king should command for the wealth of the Realme. Soone after they marched to Chasteaudun and no far∣ther, which the Protestants presumed to bee but a dissimulation. Some will saie, that in the sayd parlies the Prince of Conde ha∣zarded himselfe into ouer great peril: but he was still stronger than the enimie, and his men too warie to be deceiued, albeit in one point they ouershoot thēselues vpon simplicitie: which was in deliuering to ye king of Nauarre when he came to ye parley the towne of Bois∣gencie (which was nothing worth) for his fafety, but was neuer re∣stored them again: this did greatly chafe them, as perceiuing that thence forth they must talke with the bridle in hand. Now as daily there came some from the Queene to the Prince of Conde, to per∣swade him to peace, which hee seemed greatly to desire, among the rest was imploied the Bishop of Valence, a man in learning and e∣loquence most excellent, when he lyst to shew forth eyther the one or the other. Hee with his fayre speech so qualyfied the Prince, that he increased his desire of a good accord: and finally told him that in as much as many reproched him to be the author of the war, it were his part to make euident his iustificatiō by al good offers & braue ef∣fects: also yt if at the next enteruiew he wold tel ye Queene yt rather than to sée ye real me hazarded to fire & sword, he wold be cōtent with his friends to depart the same, shee could haue nothing to answere, Page 359 much lesse his enimies who had promised to returne to their habita∣tions▪ likewise that of this motion might ensue some good resolu∣tion that should stay all wepons, which being laid downe, all things might after ward be easily reestablished. This sayd he departed, lea∣uing in the Prince (who was loth to be constrained to fight agaynst his owne nation) & certaine impression to followe this counsayle, which he imparted to some that were desirous of peace, & therefore gainsayd it not.
It was agreed that two dayes after he should meete the Queene* a league and a halfe thence, so to proue if any thing might be deter∣mined, which he did. There after many speeches the said Prince did in the end make her the offer aforesaid, namely to depart the realme, so to testifie his zeale to the quiet thereof: which she tooke holde of before the word was out of his mouth, telling him that that in deed was the true meanes to preuent all mischiefes feared, for the which all France should be bound vnto him: also that the King comming to his maioritie would bring all into good order, wherby euery man should haue cause to be content. Nowe although the Prince was a man that would not be easily danted, neyther wanted his tongue, yet was he at this time astonished, as not thinking to haue bene ta∣ken so short: & because it waxed late, she tolde him that in the mor∣ning she would send to knowe what conditions hee would demand. Thus she departed in good hope, and the Prince returned to his campe laughing (but betweene his teeth) with the chiefe of his Gentlemen which had heard all his talke. Some scratching their heads where they itched not: others shaking them: some were pen∣siue, and the younger sort gybed oue at another, each one deuising with what occupation he should be forced to get his liuing iu a forein land. At night they determined the next morning to call all the Captaines together to haue their aduice in so waightie a mat∣ter.
In the morning they entered into counsayle, where the Admirall* propounded, that in as much as this matter concerned all, it was in his opinion, good to impart it vnto al, which was done, and the Co∣lonels and Captaines were sent to demaund the aduice as well of the Gentrie as footemen: But they imediatly aunswered, thatsith France had bredde them, it should also be their scpulture, likewise that so long as anie drop of bloud rested in them, it shoulde bee im∣ployed in defence of their religion. With all they requested the Prince to remember his generall promise that hee would not for∣sake Page 360 them: This being reported to the Counsaile ha•ted the con∣clusion of those that were there to deliberate, who considering of the generall disposition of all, were the rather confirmed in their opini∣ons, which did concurre wt the same▪ neither were there aboue three or foure that vsed anie speech, the matter being so euident: and I do yet in part remem•er the particularities there deducted. The Lord Admirall declared vnto the Prince, that albeit he supposed that the Queene in accepting of his offer meant no harme, as one that desiring to deliuer the state out of miserie means conuenient〈…〉ot that he thought those which had weapon on hand, did circū•ent her to the end to betraie him: that he neither ought, neither could performe that that, was propoūded & himself, had promised, in respect that beforè he stoode bounde in stronger bandes: and besides all this, that if he should now absent himselfe, he should vtterly loose his credit & condemne the cause that he had takē in hand, which besides the equitie therof, being authorised by the Kings edict, ought to bee maintayned euen with ha∣zarde of life. The Lord of Andelots speech was this: My Lord the enimies power lyeth but fiue small leagues hence: if it perceiue•• amōg vs either feare, breaking vp, or other alteràtiō whatsoeuer, it wil with •••ord and speare driue vs euen into the Ocean sea. If you none shoulde forsake vs it will bee sayde that yee doe it for feare, which I knowe neuer▪ harboured in your heart. Wee are your poore seruantes, and you our maister, diuide vs not then, sith wee fight for religion and life: so many parleyes are but snares layde to intrappe vs as appeareth by the effectes else, where: The best waie therefore to come to a spee∣die agreement is, that you will vouchsafe to bring vs within halfe a league of those that, wish vs to departe the Realme: so may wee perad∣uenture within an houre after growe to some good resolution: for wee can neuer bee perfect friendes before wee haue skirmished a little to∣gether.
Then stepped foorth the Lorde of Boucarde, one of the brauest Gentlemen in the Realme, whose head was fraught both with fire and Lead. My Lorde (sayde hee) hee that either giueth ouer or put∣teth of the set looseth it, which is more true in this matter now in hand than in the tenis court: I haue alreadie seene fiftie yeeres, in which time I may haue learned alittle discretion: I would bee loth to walke vp and downe a foraine lande with a tooth picker in my mouth, and in the meane time lett some flattering neighbour bee the maister of my house, & fatten himselfe with my re••newes. God willing for my parte I will die in my Countrie in defence of our alters and hearthes: Page 361 I beseech you therefore my Lorde, and doe wish you not to abandon so many good men that haue chosen you, but to excuse your selfe to the Queene, and imploie vs with speede while we are willing to bite. Lit∣tle more was there spoken, except a generall approbation of all men.
Then the Lord Prince began to speake, and for the iustification of his offer sayd, that he made it, because they went about couertlie to taxe him, with the cause of the warre; as also for that if his absence might breede theyr peace he would thinke himselfe happie, as not re∣specting his owne particular affayres: lyke••se that hee did well per∣ceiue seeing the enemies power so neere, and theyr resolution, that they woulde impute his humilitie to cowardlynesse; whereby it should breed no rest but rather destruction to the cause that hee maintayned: and that in consideration thereof hee was resolued to followe theyr coun∣sayle, and to liue and die with them. Thus sayde, they all shooke handes in confirmation thereof.
At the breaking vp of the Counsaile Theodore Beza with o∣thers of his companions made vnto him a verie wise and pi•hre ex∣hortation to comfort him in his resolution, alleadging vnto him the inconueniences▪ ensuing the departure from the same, and so be∣sought him not to giue ouer the good worke hee had begun, which God, whose honour it concerned, woulde bring to perfection. A∣bout the same time came the Lorde of Frense, Robertet, Serr•∣tarie of the commaundementes, whome the Queene had sent to knowe, vppon what conditions the Lorde Prince woulde departe: Whose •unswere was, That it was a matter of waight, neyther was hee yet resouled thereof, in respect that many murmured thereat: but when it was concluded hee woulde eyther sende or bring the Queene worde himselfe. But Roberter by some particular speeches per∣ceiued that matters were altered, and so returned to the Queene, whome hee certefyed that shee must haue more than paper to thrust him out withall, who afterwarde went her waie.
Heereby may Princes and great Lordes learne in matters of * importance not to binde themselues by promise before they haue throughly consulted thereof with the wise: for albeit their meaning may be good, yet may a man after some forte stumble, because the sodainnesse of the matter may make him neglect diuerse circum∣staunces therein to bee considered▪ Yea, although one shoulde thinke vpon all that were requisite to bee noted, yet may many doe it much beter. The worthinesse also of the matter in hande Page 362 may be such, and the number of confederates so great, that euen the cheefest must haue respect as well to the one as to the other, As likewise they must imagine that they to whome they promise, al∣though thinges vnreasonable, will neuerthelesse vpon want o• per∣formance finde themselues greeued, and complaine thereof.