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Charles did intend to have instituted an order of knighthood, under the title of Knights of the Royal Oak, selected from those families which had particularly befriended him in this time of need. But it was afterwards well judged, that it would tend to perpetuate national discords, better allowed to descend to the • tomb of the Capulets.” The following doggrel was written on a piece of the Royal oak, sent to a gentleman as a tobacco-stopper :" I send you, Sir, this poor
remain of wood,
Jane Lane, afterwards Lady Fisher, a woman of uncommon sense and spirit, subsequently aided the escape of the royal fugitive, who, disguised in her father's livery, rode before her on horseback, from Bentley Hall in Staffordshire, to Mr. Norton's near Bristol. After several hair-breadth escapes, he ultimately embarked at Brighthelmston, and safely landed at Havre. Charles, evidently, knew how to play his part, and exhibited, on various occasions of detection and suspicion, great presence of mind and address. In the autobiography of Major Bernardi, we are informed, that after the king'arrived at Sir George Norton's house, near Bristol, he went into the kitchen, by the advice of his supposed mistress, the better to conceal himself: and that, as he was “standing by the fire side, near the jack, the cook desired him to wind it up; and he fumbling until the spit stood still, the maid struck him, and called him a black block head; asked where the devil he had lived, that he had not learnt to wind up a jack? The king modestly answered her, with a blush, that he was a poor tradesman's son, and had not been long in his lady's service."
Art. IV.-1. Ambassade du Marechal de Bassompierre en Suisse,
l'an 1625. Cologne, chez Pierre du Marteau. 1688.
2. Memoirs of the Embassy of the Marshal de Bassompierre, to
the Court of England in 1626; translated, with Notes. London. John Murray, Albemarle Street, 1818.
We must redeem the promise given in our last number, of 'bringing to a close the splendid and beautiful career of Marshal de Bassompierre.
It is difficult to account for the extreme barrenness of these latter volumes, when we reflect on the character, reputation, and history of their author. His education was, as we have seen, remarkably complete and elaborate for that age, or, indeed, forany that has succeeded it, considering that he belonged to a class in which the means of predominating over the wills of men are so amply afforded by the hereditary advantages of birth and fortune, that the members of it are dispensed from the labour of acquiring that sort of superiority, by which alone those who possess no other influence can hope to guide the will by convincing the reason. His natural endowments seem to have been above the common order ;-his good sense is conspicuous in the general conduct of the important affairs, civil and military, entrusted to him ; his wit was as celebrated as his valour; and, perhaps, no man was ever in possession of such rich and varied materials for a brilliant and comprehensive picture of European manners and politics, in the age in which he lived. That age, too, was one of the most interesting with which modern history presents us.
Gothic institutions were every where tottering, if not overthrown. The pretensions of the church to sovereignty over the reason, and of monarchs to absolute power over the persons and properties, of men, were canvassed, or openly disputed. England, the foremost in this race of mental activity, had shaken off the yoke of foreign and ecclesiastical tyranny, and was agitated, from her heart to her farthest extremities, by that awful spirit of determined resistance to arbitrary power which was soon to burst forth against the monarch who was deaf to the mutterings of that portentous storm, which, though rolled back again for a time, at length gathered all its strength, and utterly overwhelmed
Literature and the arts had made vast strides. England, when Bassompierre visited it, was still radiant with the glory of the statesmen, philosophers, and poets of the Elizabethan age. ' France had been, and still was, the scene of the fiercest struggles, religious and political; and her court teemed with men and women, whose names cannot be pronounced without interest and curiosity. Italy had not yet fallen from the pre-eminence she had so long maintained over the rest of Europe, as the seat of politeness, arts, and letters. Thither the young nobles of France and England resorted, as the school of manners and accomplishments. Urban VIII.
finds, compensation for the inequality of its lot, by exerting an irregular and uncertain, but tyrannous sway over the great, the wise, and the brave. Louis was as cold as his father was inflammable; nor is it easy to account for the subjection in which he passed his whole life.
“ While the king, stretched on a miserable bed, was consulting with us about the passage, a violent alarm was spread throughout the camp that the enemy was upon us, and, in an instant, fifty people rushed into the king's room, crying out that the enemy was coming. I was quite sure that this was impossible, for it was high tide, and they could not pass. Instead, therefore, of taking the alarm, I wished to see how the king would behave, in order that I might know how to proportion the suggestions I might have to make to him to the firmness or the agitation I remarked in his deportment. This young prince, who was lying down, on hearing the rumour, sat up on the bed, and, with a countenance more animated than usual, said, 'Gentlemen, the alarm is without, and not in my chamber, as you see; it is there you must go :' and, at the same time, he said to me, Go, as quickly as you can, to the bridge of Avrouet, and send me intelligence directly. You, Zamet, go and find the Prince (de Condé); Monsieur de Praslin and Narillac will stay with me; I shall arm myself, and put myself at the head of my guards? I was delighted to see the courage and judgment of a man of his age so mature and perfect. It was, as I supposed, a false alarm, arising from a very slight accident.”
Another proof of the same calmness and presence of mind occurs within a few pages.
“That same evening, I went to visit the king, in his quarter, and he told me, that he would come to our trench, at four the next morning, and desired of me to be ready to receive him. accordingly, accompanied by M. de Espernon and M. de Schomberg. It was the first time he had been in the trenches. He did me the honour to say to me— Bassompierre, I am new; tell me what I must do, not to make mistakes. In this, I found no difficulty; for he was more prodigal of his safety than any of us three should have been, and mounted, two or three times, on the crown of the trench, to reconnoitre from a commanding position ; he staid there so long, that we shuddered at the peril, which he braved with more coolness and intrepidity than an old captain ; while he gave orders for the work of the following night, as if he had been an engineer. On his return, I saw him do what pleased me extremely. After we had got on our horses again, at a certain passage which the enemy knew, they fired a shot, which passed about two feet above the head of the king, who was speaking to M. d'Espernon. I was before him, and turned round, apprehending that it would hit him, and exclaimed, 'My God, sire, that ball was near killing you !' •No, not me,' said he, the Duke d'Espernon;' he neither started nor stooped his head, as most men would have done. Seeing that some who accompanied him rode off, he said, “How! are
you afraid ? Why, they must reload before they can fire again.' I have witnessed mary and various actions of the king, in situations of great peril; and I can affirm, without flattery, that I never saw a man, not to say a king, more cool and undaunted. The late king, his father, who was, as every body knows, celebrated for his valour, did not display equal intrepidity.”
It is not the degree but the kind of courage, which is remarkable at his age. We have, however, another example of equal coolness, in a boy who had not the strong motives to selfpossession furnished by the consciousness of being the object of attention to millions.
“The enemy had constructed a barricade in the foss, on the side of the sea, and a palissade before it, which hindered us from being entirely masters of their foss. I sent my volunteer, a boy of sixteen, lo reconnoitre it. This lad, with some of the camp boys, had last year executed the most hazardous works at the siege of Montauban, which the soldiers would not undertake. He had received several wounds; among others, a musket ball through the body, of which I got him cured. This young rogue undertook a number of the most dangerous works, by the piece; the camp boys worked under him; and they made a great deal of money. He weni to reconnoitre this barricade with the same port and firmness as the best sergeant in the army could have done. After having a musket ball through his breeches, and another through the brim of his hat, he came and made his report, which was extremely judicious."
We shall have frequent occasion to quote incidents illustrative of the distracted and wretched condition of the kingdom, during this reign. The state of tutelage, in which Louis chose to live, was one cause and pretext for continual warfare and destruction. Religion was used to cover the intrigues, or the resentments, of the principal nobles, and to inflame the passions of the miserable and ignorant multitude. How little most of the leaders of either party really cared about it, may be inferred from numerous facts. The sudden conversion of Lesdiguières, one of the most celebrated of the Huguenot chiefs, is a flagrant instance of this. He received the Constable's sword, as the price of his apostacy; the bribe, which, in a succeeding age, was held out, with the same effect, to the great Turenne. Our author suffers this remarkable man, like so many others, to pass over the stage without one characteristic anecdote, or one remark on their characters. Not only does he present us with no portraits; not only do we look in vain for colouring and life; the very outlines are faint and incomplete. The whole career of Lesdiguières' still more extraordinary predecessor, Luines, passed under his immediate observation ; yet there is not a single sentence from which we could discover how
extraordinary that career was, or how matchless the audacity,and how ruinous to France the ascendancy, of that powerful favorite. We might mention many others, but let this suffice. Most of his characters glide in without introduction or explanation; and, without a previous acquaintance with them, they are mere empty names. If, however, we lose all the brilliancy and grace
of pictures, we are, at any rate, secure against any suspicion of decoration; and whatever there is, is important, from its simplicity and evident authenticity.
At the capitulation of Lunel, in the autumn of this year, we see to what the wretched people were exposed, and what, at the best, was the sort of justice which prevailed.
“ There was some degree of order in their marching out of the town, till the baggage came in sight; but, when that appeared, the disbanded soldiers of our army rushed upon it, before it was possible for the Marshal, or for Portes, or Narillac, to prevent them, and stripped the poor soldiers,-inhumanly killing four hundred; and with such impunity, that eight soldiers, of different countries and regiments, presented themselves at the gates of Lunel, with more than twenty prisoners, whom they led tied together. Their swords were covered with the blood of those they had massacred; and they were so loaded with booty that they could hardly walk. Finding the gate of Lunel shut, they called out to the sentinels, to go and tell me to give orders for them to be let in. I went to the gate, in consequence of what I heard, which I found to be true; I let them in, and immediately ordered them to be bound with the same cords with which they had tied their twenty prisoners. After giving these men the plunder of the eight soldiers, whom I immediately, and without any form of trial, ordered to be hanged upon a tree before their eyes, I'sent an escort of my carabineers with them, as far as the road to Cauvisson. The prince thanked me for this, the following day.”
In the autumn of this year, Bassompierre received the dignity of Marshal of France. About the same time, the king raised the siege of Montpellier, and entered the town on condition of confirming the Edict of Nantz, and some other privileges it enjoyed. This partial suspension of hostilities was soon followed by the general peace, concluded by the Duke de Rohan, at Privas.
At the conclusion of this year, the author enters, at some length, into the details of an intrigue against the Marshal de Schomberg, who had recently lost one of his most faithful and powerful friends, the Cardinal de Retz. The heads of this cabal were, M. de Puisieux, one of the men who possessed the greatest influence over the king, and Commartin, who had just been appointed Garde des Sceaux.
“They told the king," says Bassompierre, “that he (Schomberg) was so occupied with his duties as grand master of the artillery, that