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ous of Henry's necessities, Elizabeth sent him immediately a present of twenty two thousand pounds, in order to prevent the desertion of his Swiss and German auxiliaries; and embarked, with all expedition, a reinforcement of four thousand men under the command of lord Willoughby, an officer of abilities. Meanwhile the king of France had been so fortunate as to secure Dieppe and Caen, and to repulse the duke of Mayenne, who had attacked him under the cannon of the Arques, where he lay entrenched. On the arrival of the English forces, he marched immediately towards Paris, to the great consternation of the inhabitants, and had almost taken the city by storm; but the duke of Mayenne entering it soon after with his army, Henry judged it prudent to retire.
The king's forces were still much inferior to those of the League; but what was wanting in numbers was made up in valour. He attacked the duke of Mayenne at Ivri, and gained a complete victory over him, though sup- A. D. 1590. ported by a select body of Spanish troops, de
tached from the Netherlands. Henry's behaviour on this. occasion was truly heroic. "My lads," said he to his soldiers, "if you should lose sight of your colours, rally "towards this," pointing to a large white plume which he wore in his hat:" you will always find it in the road to ho66 nour. God is with us!" added he, emphatically, drawing. his sword, and rushing into the thickest of the enemy; but when he perceived their ranks broken, and great hovock committed in the pursuit, his natural humanity and attachment to his countrymen returned, and led him to cry, "Spare my French subjects?!" forgetting that they were his enemies.
2. Davila, lib. xi. The same great historian tells us, that a youth whe carried the royal white coronet, and a page who wore a large whit e plume, like that of the king, being slain, the ranks began to give way; some fall. ing to the right, some to the left; till they recognized Henry, by his plume and his horse, fighting desperately, with his sword in his hand, in the first line, and returned to the charge shutting themselves close together, like a wedge. Id. ibid.
Soon after this victory died the cardinal of Bourbon, and the king invested Paris. That city contained two hundred and twenty thousand souls, animated by religious enthusiasm, and Henry's army did not amount to fifteen thousand men; yet he might, certainly have reduced it by famine, if not by other means, had not his paternal tenderness for his people, perhaps ill-timed, made him forget the duty of a soldier, and relax the rigour of war. He left a free passage to the old men, women and children; he permitted the peasants and even his own men, to carry provisions secretly to the besieged. "I would rather never possess Paris," said he, when blamed for his indulgence," than acquire it "by the destruction of its citizens3." He feared no reproach. so much as that of his own heart.
Meantime the duke of Parma, by order of the king of Spain, left the Low Countries, where he was hard pressed by prince Maurice, and hastened to the relief of Paris. On his approach Henry raised the siege, and offered him battle; but that consummate general having performed the important service for which he was detached, prudently declined the combat. And so great was his skill in the art of war, that he retired in the face of the enemy, without affording them an opportunity of attacking him, or so much as putting his army into disorder! and reached his government, where his presence was much wanted, without sustaining any loss in those long marches. The States, however, were gainers by this expedition: prince Maurice had made rapid progress during the absence of the duke.
After the retreat of the Spaniards, Henry made several fresh attempts upon Paris, which was his grand object; but the vigilance of the citizens, particularly of the faction of Sixteen, by which it was governed, defeated all his designs; and new dangers poured in upon him from every side. When the duke of Parma retired, he left eight thousand men with
3. P. Daniel, tom. ix. Thuan. lib. xcix.
the duke of Mayenne, for the support of the League; and pope Gregory XIV. at the request of the king of Spain, not only declared Henry a relapsed heretic, and ordered all the catholics to abandon him, under pain of excommunication, but sent his nephew with troops and money to join the duke of Savoy, who was already in possession of Provence, and had entered Dauphine. About the same time the young duke of Guise made his escape from the castle of Tours, where he had been confined since the assassination of his father. All that the king said, when informed of these dangers was, "The more enemies we have, the more care we “must take, and the more honour there will be in beating "them1."
Elizabeth, who had withdrawn her troops, on the first prosperous appearance of Henry's affairs, now saw the necessity of again interposing. She sent him three thousand A. D, 1591. men, under Sir John Norris, who had commanded with reputation in the Low Countries; and afterwards four thousand, under the earl of Essex, a young nobleman, who by many exterior accomplishments, and much real merit, was daily rising into favour; and seemed to occupy that place in her affections, which Leicester, now deceased, had so long enjoyed. With these supplies, joined to an army of thirty-five thousand men, Henry entered Normandy, according to his agreement with Elizabeth, and formed the siege of Rouen. The place made an obstinate resistance; but as the army of the League was unable to keep the field, it must soon have been obliged to surrender, if an unexpected event had not procured it relief. The duke of Parma, by order of Philip, again left his government; and advancing to Rouen with rapid marches, a second time robbed Henry of his prey, by obliging him to raise the siege.
The gallant monarch, burning with revenge, again boldly offered his antagonist battle; again pursued him; and the
Id. ibid. Davila, lib xi.
duke, by a wonderful piece of generalship, and in spite of the greatest obstacles, a second time made good his retreat to the Netherlands5.
Henry was in some measure consoled for this disappointment, by hearing that Lesdiguieres had recovered Provence, chased the duke of Savoy over the mountains, and made incursions even to the gates of Turin; that the viscount de Turenne had vanquished and Slain the mareschal of Lorrain, while Thammes had defeated the duke de Joyeuse, who commanded for the League in Languedoc, and killed two thousand men that la Valette, the new governor of Provence, had retaken Antibes, and the Spaniards been baffled in an attempt upon Bayone".
A. D. 1592
Meanwhile all things were hastening to a crisis between the parties. The faction of Sixteen, which was entirely in the interest of Spain, its principal members being pensioners of Philip, had hanged the first president of the parliamet of Paris, and two of the judges, for not condemning to death a man obnoxious to the junto, but against whom no crime was found. The duke of Mayenne, on the other hand, afraid of being crushed by that faction, had caused four of the Sixteen to be executed in the same manner. The duke of Parma, on the part of Philip, pressed the duke of Mayenne to call an assembly of the states, in order to deliberate on the election of a king; and the catholics of Henry's party gave him clearly to understand, that they expected he would now declare himself on the article of religion.
The king and the duke of Mayenne were equally sensible of the necessity of complying with these demands, though alike disagreeable to each. The states were convoked; and the duke of Parma, under pretence of supporting their resolutions, was ready to enter France with a powerful army, in order to forward the views of Philip. But the death of that great general at Arras, where he was assembling his forces,
5 Davila, lib, xii. xiii,
Thuanus, lib, ciii.
6. Id. ibid. freed
freed the duke of Mayenne from a dangerous rival, Henry from a formidable enemy, and perhaps France from becoming a province of Spain.
The States, however, or more properly the heads of A. D. 1593. the catholic faction, met according to the edict, JAN. 26. at Paris; and the pope's legate there proposed, that they should bind themselves by an oath never to be reconciled to the king of Navarre, even though he should embrace the catholic faith. This motion was opposed by the duke of Mayenne and the majority of the assembly, but supported by the Spanish faction; and as there was yet no appearance of Henry's changing his religion, the duke of Feria, Philip's ambassador, after attempting to gain the duke of Mayenne, by offering him the sovereignty of Burgundy, together with a vast sum of money boldly proposed, That the states should chuse the infanta Eugenia queen as the nearest relation of Henry III. and the archduke, Albert, to whom her father was inclined to give her in marriage, king in her right. The most zealous of the Sixteen revolted against this proposal; declaring, that they could never think of admitting at once of two foreign sovereigns. The duke of Feria changed his ground. He proposed the infanta, on condition that she should espouse a prince of France, including the house of Lorrain, the nomination to be left to his catholic majesty ; and, at length, he fixed on the young duke of Guise. Had the last proposal been made first, it is possible that Philip might have carried his point; but now the duke of Mayenne unwilling to become dependant on his nephew, pretended to dispute the ambassador's power: and the parliament of Paris, as supposed through his influence, published a decree declaring such a treaty contrary to the Salic law, which being a fundamental principle of the government, could on no account whatsoever be set aside?,
While these disputes were agitated at Paris, Henry was pushing his military operations; but he was become sensi
7. Davila, lib. xiii, P. Henault, tom. ii.