The politicke and militarie discourses of the Lord de La Nouue VVhereunto are adioyned certaine obseruations of the same author, of things happened during the three late ciuill warres of France. With a true declaration of manie particulars touching the same. All faithfully translated out of the French by E.A.
La Noue, François de, 1531-1591., Aggas, Edward.
Of the causes of the taking of armes in the second trou∣bles. Also how the purposes where vpon the Prote∣stants had built themselues proued vaine.

MAny are the writings that haue beene published in iustification of the leauie of * armes in the yeere 1507. as also o∣thers contrariwise to condemne them, whereof such histories as intreate of things passed haue at large discoursed, to the which all such as gladly woulde exactly search the particularities of all these publike actions are to hae re∣course. For my part I am content briefly vpon this point to touch Page  389 some such as are as true as the same that haue ben published, which I haue learned of those that on the one side had in part the conduct of the affaires. The edict of pacification concluded before Orleance had greatly satisfied almost all France, as well in appearance as in effect, because thereby all miseries ceasing, euerie man inioyed rest with safetie of bodie & libertie of minde. Howbeit the hatred & enuy of some, as also the mistrust of others was not quite extinguished, but lay hidden and vnperceiued. But as time doth commonly bring all things to perfection, so these seeds together with many worse, brought forth such fruit as returned vs into our former discords: the chiefe of the religion who looked to the safetie as well of thēselues as of other made a general collection of all that was wrought & stil practised against them, affirming that vndoubtedly their enemies endeuoured by little and little to vndermine them, & then euen at once to giue them their deaths wound. Of the causes that they al∣leaged some were manifest, and some secret. Concerning the first, they consisted in the razing of sundrie townes, and the building of Citadels in the places were they had their publike exercise: also in murthers in sundrie places cōmitted, & the slaughter of diuerse no∣table Gentlemen, whereof they could haue no iustice. In the ordi∣narie threats that shortly they should not lift their heads so high: & especially in ye comming of Suitzers, albeit the Duke of Alua was already passed into Flanders, vnder a cloked feare of whose passage they were leauied. And for the secret they propounded certaine in∣tercepted letters comming from Rome & Spaine, wherin the pur∣poses that should be put in execution were more plainly discouered: The resolution concluded with the Duke of Alua at Bayon to root out all the Huguenots in France, and the Rogues in Flaunders, whereof they were aduertised by such as were not doubted of. All these things with many more that I omit did greatly waken those that were loth to be taken sleeping: and I remember that the chiefe of the religiō met thrise at Vallery & Chastillon, whether came 10 or 12. of the notablest Gentlemen to determine vpon these present wars, also to seeke some lawfull & honest meanes of safetie among so many terrors without proceeding to the vttermost extremities. Howbeit rather by the counsaile of the L. Admirall than of anie o∣ther, euery one was desired a while to haue patience, for that in so waightie affaires as these, which brought with them many mis∣chiefes, men ought rather to be drawen by necessitie, than to runne headlong vpon will: withal that in short time they should see more. Page  390 But at thirde meeting which was within a moneth, their braines were better heat as well vpon the considerations aforesayde, as tho∣rough new aduices giuen them, namelie one which the Prince and Lord Admirall did affirme to proceede from a Courtier greatly af∣fected to the Protestants, who assured them that there had bene a se∣cret counsayle holden, wherin it was determined to seaze vpon them two, the one to be put to death, the other to be kept prisoner: at the same time to place 2000. Suitzers at Paris, two thousand at Orleance, & the rest to bee sent to Poictiers: Then to disanull the Edict of pacification, and to make an other vtterlie contrarie thereto: and not to doubte thereof. This was easie to be beleeued, and the rather for that al∣readie they see the Zuitzers, who they had beene so ofen promised should bee sent backe, march toward Paris. Wherevpon some more sensitiue and impatient than the rest grewe into these speeches▪ What? shall wee tarrie vntill they come and binde vs hande and foote and so drawe vs vnto their scaffoldes at Paris, there by our shamefull deaths to glutte others crueltie? What aduice shall wee yet expecte? Doe wee not alreadie see the foraine enemie march armed toward vs, and threaten to bee reuenged on vs, as well for so many iniuries done to them at Dreux, as also for those harms which in our defences we haue done to the Catholikes? Haue wee forgotten that aboue three thou∣sand of our religion haue since the peace endured violent deaths, for whome (whatsoeuer our complayntes) wee can haue no redresse but friuolous aunsweres and fraudulent delayes? Yet if it were our Kings will wee shoulde bee thus iniuried and contemned, wee might perad∣uenture the better beare it: But sith wee know that all this is wrought by those who shrouding themselues vnder his name doe purpose to debarre vs all accesse vnto his person, and to alienate his good will from vs, to the ende that beeing destitute of all ayde and supporte we may remayne theyr bonde men, and bee a praie vnto them: shall wee beare such insolencies? Our Fathers did patientlie for the space of fortie yeeres and more suffer, vppon whome they made proofe of all sortes of punishmentes for the name of Iesus, which cause our selues doe also defende. And now that non onelie families and bo∣roughes, but also whole townes haue vnder the authoritie and benefite of two royall edictes manefestly declared theyr fayth, wee shall make our selues vnworthie these two goodlie titles Christian and Gentle∣man, which wee esteeme to bee most honourable ornamentes, if tho∣rough our neglygence and cowardlynesse in loosing our selues▪ wee suf∣fer such a multitude of people to perish. Wherefore we beseech you that Page  391 haue taken vpon you the common defence to enter some speedie resolu∣tion, for the matter will heare no longer delayes. Other assistaunts at this counsayle were moued, not so much at the vehemencie, as truth of this speech.

But as there are alwayes some full of consideration, the same did replie that they perceiued the eminent daunger, howbe∣it that the safegard was from them hidden. For if we will (sayd they) flie to complaintes & supplications, it is most euident that the same do rather prouoke those to whome they be exhibited, than procure anie re∣medie. If likewise we take armes with how many reproches, slanders, & curses shall we bee ouerwhelmed by those who imputing vnto vs the blame of the miseries ensuing, when they cannot discharge their rage vppon vs, will ease their choller vppon our poore families dispear∣sed in diuerse places? howbeit in as much as among many mischiefes we must alwayes choose the least, it seemeth there is lesse inconuenience in suffering the first violences of our enemies, than in beginning with thē & so become guiltie of a publike & general cōmotion. Then spake the Lord of Andelot and sayd: Your opinion my maisters that spake last is grounded vpon some discretion and apparant equitie: But the prin∣cipall phisicall drugges, meete to purge this exceeding humour which now aboundeth in the vniuersall bodie of Fraunce, namely Fortitude and Magnanimitie doe therein want. I woulde therefore weete of you, if you carrie vntill wee bee banished into forraine Countries, lie bound in prisons, lurke in forrests, ouerrunne by the people, contemned by the souldiours, and condemned by the authoritie of the mightiest, (all which we are not farre fro) what will all our passed patience and humilitie stand vs in stead? What profite can wee reape in our inno∣cencie? To whome shal we complayne? Or who wil vouchsafe to heare vs? It is time to see that wee be no longer deceiued, and to haue re∣course to our defence which is as iust as necessarie, neither to care though they tearme vs the authours of the warre: for themselues are they that in so many sortes haue infringed the publike agreementes and couenants, and that haue brought euen into our bowels sixe thousande forraine souldiers, who in effect haue already proclaimed it against vs, so as if we giue them such aduantage as to strike vs first, our mischiefe will be past remedy.

Small speech was there afterwarde, other than an approba∣tion * to take force in hande, so to preuent the imminent destructi∣tion. Howbeit if there were any difficulties in the rosolution heere∣of, so was there no lesse in learning howe to proceede in this newe Page  392 approch. Some wished the Captaines to seaze vpon Orleance, & confederate towne, and then to certefie their maiesties that percei∣uing the approch of ye Suitzers, they were thether withdrewen with theyr friends for their safeties: also that by returuing them home, they would likewise depart euerie man to his owne house. Hereto it was aunswered, that these men had forgotten how that at Orle∣ance there was a great gate fortefied and kept by a sufficient num∣ber of Catholikes, whereby they might alwayes let in men of warre into the towne: also that nowe it was time to defend them∣selues with yron and steele, and not with wordes or writing. O∣thers thought it good abroade in the Prouinces to seaze vppon as many townes as they might, and then to stand vpon the defensiue, whose aduice was not admitted neyther, because that: (as it was sayde) in the first troubles of a hundred that the Protestants helde, within eight moneths they had not twelue lefte, for want of power to succour them. Finally, they concluded to take armes, & in the be∣ginning of this warre to obserue foure things. First to seaze vpon fewe townes, but the same to bee of importaunce: Secondlie, to frame a Iustie armie: Thirdlie, to cut in peeces the Suitzers, vnder whose fauour the Catholikes would alwayes bee the maisters of the field: Lastlie, to indeauour to banish the Cardinall of Loraine from the Court, as him whome many did imagine to bee a conti∣nua salliciour of the King to root out the Protestants. Great diffi∣culties were there propounded concerning the two last pointes. For, sayde some, the Cardinall and the Suitzers did continuallie march with the Kings person, so as assayling the one, and endea∣uouring to terrefie the other, euerie man woulde affirme their enterprise to be directlie agaynst the royall maiestie and no other: but they were decided by this aunswere: That the euent shoulde discouer their intentes, euen as they gaue testimonie of King Charles the seauenth, who beeing but Dolphine tooke armes, but neyther against his Father nor the Realme. Moreouer, that it was well knowen that the French in bodie had neuer attempted against their Princes person: Finallie, that if this theyr first successe fell out fauourable, it might cutte off the course of a long and ruinous warre, in that they shoulde haue opportunitie to open vnto the King the truth of matters, which yet was concealed from him, whereof might ensue a newe confirmation of the ediots, namelie, when they that purposed to preuent shoulde finde themselues pre∣uented.

Page  393 This was the resolution taken among those men that were then present, who albeit they were indued with great knowledge, expe∣rience, valour, and discretion, yet al that they had so diligentlie fore∣cast and examined, when it came to effecte, was wonderfull wide from their expectation, & other things almost vnthought of, as ac∣coūted eyther to sure or difficult, redoūded to their greatest benefit. Whereof it followeth that wee may heereby perceiue that good successe doth not alwayes followe good deliberatious. Howbeit all this haue I not heere spoken to the ende to controll those that I haue named, of whose vertue I haue euermore greatly admired, neither to cause men in their affaires to neglect discretion or dili∣gence, but onelie to aduertise them that the accomplishment of a∣nie our workes consisteth not in the purposes of man, but in Gods disposition.

Now let vs marke the successe of these enterprises. For the first * points which concerned the townes it was determined to surprise onelie three, viz. Lions, Tholouse, and Troy, and that for the com∣moditie in diuerse respects ensuing of the same. But the purposes of those that vndertooke the charge of seazing vpon them fell out to be in vaine. Concerning strength of the field, the Protestants were in the beginning stronger than the Catholikes, but within a mo∣neth and a halfe after the taking of armes the Catholikes were the mightier, whereby they forced them to haue recourse to straungers whom they had called to their succour. The execution of the Suit∣zers had as bad successe, as well for that this purpose was discoue∣red, as through want of power. Now rested no more but the fourth point, which beeing of smallest importaunce was brought to passe, and that was the parting of the Cardinall of Loraine from the Court, who notwithstanding was of as greate authoritie there as before time. But thereof grew another inconuenience to the Pro∣testantes. Which was, that they stirred vp the Kings hatred and indignation agaynst them, in that by theyr occasion hee was forced with feare and speed to retyre to Paris, so as euer after he bare them a grudge. This had beene but an vnhappie beginning of the warre vnto them if other effectes had not recompensed the first defaultes: which neuerthelesse happened rather by the motions of diuerse particular Gentlemen, together with the disposition of sundrie the inhabitants of townes, than through anie the great deli∣berations afore mēcioned, wherof ensued the seazure of sundry both good & had, of which the neerest were Orleāce, Auxerre & Soissōs.Page  394 True it is that secretly they were warned to shirre vpon one prefix∣ed daie, albeit there was no great account made of other than the afore rehearsed.