That the siege of Saint Iohn d'Angelie was the springing a∣gaine of the Protestants.
AS the siege of Poictiers was the beginning of the Protestants mishappes, so was that of S. *Iohn d'Angelie the staie of the Catholikes good fortune. And had they not staied therevp∣pon, but pursued the relikes of the broken ar∣mie, they had brought it to naught, considering the astonishment therof and difficulties falling out. The Princes and Admirall retired with all that they could ga∣ther together ouer the riuer of Charent, & in the meane time tooke order in hast for the keeping of the townes in Poicton, which laie next to the batterie: But fiue of them were at the first abandoned, viz. Parthenay, Nyort, Fontenay, Saint Maixant, and Chatelle∣raud, and the sixt which was Lusignan at the sight of the Canon yeelded. This so puffed vp the hope of the conquerours, that they imagined in short space to get all those Prouinces, except the capi∣tall towne which they tooke to be Rochel. Wherevppon they still marched forward, imagining that all other townes after the exam∣ple of these would haue yeelded. They directed their course toward Saint Page 445Iohn d'Angelie which was not much stronger than Nyort, but being summoned would not yeeld: for the Lorde of Pilles bee∣ing entered thereinto with parte of his regiment was desired to fight.
I haue heard that at that time the chiefe Captaines that accom∣panied Monsieur wer called to know what was to be done. Some * sayd: Sith that all the Princes footmen were cut in peeces, and so they had none but horse & most of them Reisters, who also were discontent and halfe marred for losse of their carriages, their aduice was to pur∣sue them hotlie, so shoulde they come to one of these two points: either quite to ouerthrowe them or else to force them to parley for their re∣turne into Germanie, which might easilie be compassed by giuing them two moneths paie. We also (sayd they) knowe the Admirall to be one of the most politike Captaines in the world, & most skilfull in winding himselfe out of aduersitie if he may haue anie leasure: He will repaire his power, and thereto adioyne more out of Gascogne & Languedock, so as in the spring we shall see him appeare with a newe armie where∣with he will harrie our Princes, molest vs, and burne euen to the gates of Paris. Moreouer the Princes of Nauarre and Condie comming among these conquered people will by their presence by little and little cheere them vp againe, and waken many other flomackes as yet daun∣ted in diuerse places, vnlesse with diligence we take frō them almeanes to preuaile of the time. They concluded that Monsieur with the two thirds of his armie should follow them, for so he might vndoubtedly in short space force the Captaines for their refuge to enter some weake holde, which might finish the warre.
Others being of another opinion, sayd that they now reaped one of the principall fruites of their atchieued victorie, in the conquest of these townes, wherof they had alreadie wonne sixe in ten daies: that now they should set vpon & get the rest considering in what feare they now were, that the Protestants woulde neuer bee quiet so long as they had any places of retreate, which being taken from them they woulde haue no great desire to stirre: that there rested no more but a few townes in Xantoigne & Angonlucis in that quarter which could not aboue two moneths holde out agaynst the force of their victorious ar∣mie and Monsieurs good hap: that afterward Rochel seeing it selfe naked of all couerture would quake. As for the remainder of the con∣quered armie wherwith the Princes and Admirall had saued them selues, the same did flie & would scatter of it selfe howbeit to hasten it thereto they might send after it a thousande horse and two thousande〈1 page missing〉
Page 448 Two leagues within the sea there lie certaine Iles which fauour her: the inhabitants giuen as much to warre as traficke: the ma∣gistrates discreete and all wel affected to the reformed religion: as for the fortifications experience hath taught what they are, & there∣fore I shall not neede to saie anie more of them. Well, I will con∣fesse that Orleance to him that is strong in the field is a place more proper to assayle: but if it be for defence Rochel is farre more pro∣fitable: some there are that note the inhabitaunts of rudenesse, but how euer it be, they be loyall: the same may be spoken of the people of Namure, who are with their rudenesse loyall. And when the im∣perfections of a man or citie are much lesse than the good qualities, they may be borne well enough.
The succour which the Princes had thence in this third warre, doe sufficientlie testifie it to be a good shop and well furnished: nei∣ther * doe I alleadge this to the end great townes should bee puffed vp with pride, but rather to prouoke them to praise God for those plentifull commodities that he hath bestowed vpon them. (For hee that exalteth himselfe shal be brought lowe either earlie or late.) A∣mong all others that they had thence this is to be noted, that she fur∣nished and armed a certaine number of vessels which fetcht them in sundrie rich prizes yeelding great treasure to the generall cause: for albeit they then tooke but the tenth for the admiralty, yet did the profit thereof amount vnto aboue 500000. frankes. Afterward in the next warres which began in the yeere 1574. necessitie con∣strayned them take the fifth, & it was thought that this would haue restrayned sea faring men from seeking their aduentures in such hazard: howbeit this exercise was so pleasant vnto them, that not∣withstanding this excessiue tribute, they could not desist therefro: albeit oftentimes it hapned that in those booties which their talents had griped, the nailes of the land Picoree or prouling gaue terri∣ble pinches whereby we may see what wealth the sea warre dooth minister to anie Countrie.
Now if the land warre be iust, so ought this also to be: howbeit when we come to examine diuerse the perticular actions thereof, * we shall therein finde wonderfull abuses at the least among vs: for most of these aduenturers doe make small difference betweene friends and foes: and many times the poore enemie hath had fa∣uour when the rich friend hath bene robbed and committed to the streames by them that presumed through crueltie to conceale their coueteousnesse. But heauen hauing both eies and mouth seeing Page 449 these secret inhumanities, reuealeth them openly, and with al more iustlie casteth some of the cōmitters therof headlong into the gulfes wherein they had vniustly buried the innocent marchant. But bee this spokē without iniury to those that do behaue themselues law∣fullie in their vocation: for my speech I direct onelie to such as are disordinatlie affected to robbe the whole world. I haue heard of the Spaniards who were at the ouerthrow of the Lord of Strossie that halfe his armie consisted of pirats and rouers, who forsooke him at his most neede, suffering him euen in their view to perish, together with such braue persons as accompanied him to the battaile: also that they meruayled that of fortie saile that went with him there fought not aboue sixe or seauen, but as they commended the valour of these, so did they blame the cowardlinesse of the rest, notwithstan∣ding it redounded to their profit. This teacheth vs that the affecti∣ons to spoile, and the affections to fight do worke contrarie effects. For my part I shall still bewaile this valiant Captaine, my verie good friend, who both in his life and death was an honour to our Fraunce.