❧ A letter written by the King of Nauarr, to the three estates of Fraunce: Containing a most liuely description of the discommodities and dangers of ciuill warre: and a very forcible perswa­sion to obedience, vnitie, and peace.

Together with a breefe declaration vpon the matters happened in Fraunce sithence the 23. day of December. 1588.

Translated out of French, by G. R.

AT LONDON Printed by Thomas Purfoote, and are to be sould at his shop ouer against S. Sepulchres Church with­out Newgate. 1589.

¶ A Letter written by the King of Nauarr to the three estates of France, containing a decla­ration of the said King, vpon the matters happened in France sithens the 23. of December 1588.

MY Lords and Maisters, vvhen I call to mind that this foure yeares space I haue bene the argument of the tragoedies of France, the com­mon talke of my neighbours, the subiect of ciuile arms, & by reason of these arms, of a world of mise­ries: when I doe consider that vp­on a casualtie to come, separated as far from the thoughts of Frenchmen as from my desire, some men haue caused this realme to feele the presence of infinite calamities, and that vpon the vaine & imaginarie feare of my succession to this estate, they haue framed and in a maner erected an vsurpation: when with these eies, which God hath principally giuen me to haue them alwaies open for the good of my countrie, beholding these continuall mis­chiefs, I am constrained to see my countrie on fire, hir prin­cipall pillers burnt, hir best townes consumed to ashes, and that in steed of bringing water to quench these flames, to endeuour to saue that which yet remaineth sound (as I de­sire, and willingly would haue done, in such sort that it might neuer burst foorth againe) they do enforce me, in spight of my teeth, to cast my selfe into the fire, and to make my de­fence [Page] almost as odious as the violences which those men vse that persecute me: either I should bee of all sencelesle men the most voide of sence that euer was, or else it must needs bee, that vpon consideration of the publike estate my soule bee tormented a thousand times a daye with vexations and greefes, such as no hell is able to affourd the like: especially feeing I knowe that of all these misfortunes the malitious make me the authour, the ignorant the cause, and I my selfe (though I may be very well forborne and pardoned in this case) do terme my selfe the occasion. But as touching my particular estate, since it is my hap to be born in such an age) when I lay before mee that which God hath done for mee in the beginning, middle, and continuance of these last trou­bles: howe many witnesses he hath affourded me of the iu­stice of my cause and mine innocencie, not onely in Fraunce, but also in forreigne nations, not within the hearts of my friends, but euen within the mouthes of those which are none of my wel-willers: not within the opinion of vulgare conceits, but (God knoweth) within the soule and consci­ence of my king: how by many effects hee hath caused it to appeare that he hath care of me, hauing miraculously defen­ded, saued, & assured me from the forces against which there was no likelihood that I should be able to make head: surely if I were of an other spirit than I am, I should haue as much reason to please my selfe with the particular of my cōdition, as the publike is greeuous vnto me: My lords and maisters, I cannot do it, I will neuer account basely of my countrie, I wil alwaies prefer the welfare thereof before mine owne: and they shall alwaies see that my mishaps, my hinderances, and mine afflictions, shall runne before those of my countrie. But neuerthelesse I cannot conceale the contentment which I receaue, in that by all the occasions which haue beene offered, I haue caused it to bee made manifest both by my actions, by my words, and by my writings, howe it greeues mee at the very heart to see the miseries wherein we go a­bout to imbarque our selues: were it not that the examples [Page 3] passed did make vs somewhat more circumspect for that which is to come. This you know to be true, and I beleeue there is no man at this present so passionate, which can de­nie me this witnesse which comforts me not a little, beeing fully persuaded, that beside the vprightnesse of my cause, no­thing hath more asswaged the wrath of God towardes mee, nothing hath mooued him more to defend mee, than this. But if it had pleased God to haue put into the hearts of the King my souereign, and of you my Lords, that I might haue beene called to the assemblie, which some of your deputies held at Bloyes (as truely me seemeth I ought to haue beene) and that I had beene permitted freely to haue propounded that which I take to be for the profit of this estate, I had cau­sed it plainely to appeare, how I had not the desire only in my heart, the words in my mouth, but the effects and deeds readie in my handes, how I seeke no starting holes to shroud my selfe in, nor propositions coloured with faire words, to the which by no meanes I meane to tye my selfe. And to the contrary, that I haue a good resolution, and earnest af­fection to the greatnesse of the King and realme, as much as may be, yea though it were with the losse of mine owne, and that when all the rest shall bee disposed, hee shall not neede to treat nor to capitulate with me: my conscience assuring mee that nothing hath euer made mee to stand a­loofe, but the consideration of him, and regard of mine ho­nour. But seeing this is not doone which might very well haue beene performed (and that France may count it for one of hir ouersights, that shee harh had no better physi­tions than those which delighte to continue hir sicknesse) I meane to giue you to vnderstande by this discourse, both that which I thinke to bee my dutie, as also that which I esteeme necessary for the seruice of God, and the King my liege, and for the good of this realme: to the ende that all the subiects of this crowne may be instructed there­in, and that all men may know for my discharge my intent and innocencie.

[Page 4]First I will represent vnto you mine estate: not for to glo­rifie myselfe (for let me make neuer so great reckoning of my selfe, God may abase me) nor for to tell you that I speake a cock-horsse and at much ease (the same God knoweth, wherein resteth my contentment, wherein I trust, and wher­vpon I principally rely) but to the end I may manifest vnto you two things: the one, The condition of these miserable warres, the aduantage that mine enemies haue had against me, how mightily they haue assailed me, how greatly they haue bene furthered thereby: that at least you may be forced to iudge without passion, that God hath not preserued mee against such huge forces without a miracle: and that this mi­racl [...] should not haue bene, if innocency and good right of iustice had not bene on my side. The other that I may make you iudges, whether that which I now say, I speake of feare, whether I haue occasion to vse flattering words for dread of a more souere chastisement, then that which I haue alreadie felt, whether it be the doubt of mine owne ruine that makes me complaine: or to the contrary whether it bee the true sence and feeling of the miseries of my countrie, the loue of peace, and greatnesse of France, which wresteth from mee this manner of speech. I should play the soldior, if I should tell you in order what armies within these foure yeares haue pursued me, that would cause you to thinke that I went a­bout to recount vnto you my valure; No, that is not my in­tent, I would to God I had neuer bene a captaine, seing that my first training vp in arms must bee learned with so great losse. I should do far better to demaund of you what chiefe­tains are left in France, beside those which haue bene sent a­gainst me. I haue seene in foure yeares ten armies▪ ten lieute­nants of the King, hauing attending them at their heeles the [...] & strength of the goodliest kingdome of all Christen­dome. You take this for no glorie: it is so far from me to go about to withdraw you from this opinion, that my selfe doe tell you that of these ten armies, I haue had to doe in effect but with one, which I haue beaten and discomfited. And in [Page 5] this God did perticularly vse my meanes for their ruine: but in all the other I haue not beene put to any labour at all: they haue beene vtterlye consumed before they haue seene me: and I haue assoone had intelligence of their dispersing, as of their leuying. The Angell the scourge of God hath ta­ken from them the power and meanes to annoy me. It is not to mee to whome the glorye heereof apperteineth: I haue shewed you almost nothing of mine owne: but in effect, you may vnderstand of your deputies, which are in those prouin­ces, where they of the religion haue had some places of re­treate, what successe their exploits haue had. Consider the estate wherein they stood before the warre, and that wherein they are at this houre: and iudge aduisedly, to what end hath serued this foure yeares space the losse of the liues of a milli­on of men, the expences of a mine of golde, the ruine of the people of Fraunce: insomuch as they had made a better market, and more easie to be compassed, if they had attemp­ted the discomfiture of the Ottomanes, or to ioine all the realmes of Christendome to our crowne?

It is impossible but that these things should mooue you, and that you should note heereby that this is an extraordi­narie worke and effect. Moreouer I say this vnto you, that as this ought wholy to cause you to lift your eyes and hands to heauen, acknowledging that if you fight against God, you fight in vaine: in like sorte ought I to powre foorth my prai­ers before him, that hee will keepe mee from being puft vp with these prosperities, and to attribute the glory heereof to him alone: being most assured, that if I do otherwise, he will turne his louing countenance from me, and will in two mo­neths giue more aduantage to my enemies against me, then I haue in foure yeare found fauour at his hands.

I hope by his grace not to behaue my selfe otherwise then dutifullye. And therefore my meaning is that this discourse shall proclaime throughout all the world in my name: That today I am as ready to request of the King my Lorde, peace, the quiet of his realme, and mine owne rest, as euer I was [Page 6] heeretofore. I had at the beginning of these warres, regard of my conscience and honour, which I alwaies haue, & yet doe beseech his Maiestie to leane to me intier. The wars haue di­minished nothing therefrom, neither haue they added any thing, that may make me vnwilling to giue care to a motion of peace I do therefore most humbly beseech it. and as tou­ching you my lords & maisters, I thinke if you had loued the king, if you had loued his estate, if you had diserned these euils and their remedies, you should haue cōmaunded your deputies which were at this assemblie to haue begun & fini­shed their conclusions for the obtaining thereof. I intreate & admonish you to further it as much as you may.

I know very well that in their pamphlets they haue inser­ted this generall maxime, That there ought to be but one re­ligion in one realme, and that the foundation of an estate is pietie which cannot be in that place, where God is diuersly and by consequence badly serued I affirme it is so: I see ma­ny people complaine thereof, few that will seeke to redresse it. But I haue alwaies submitted my selfe to reason, and yet do offer, that if they will trie the vsuall and accustomed waye in these cases, and if there be any extraordinarie waies that they will labour to searche them out: both I and all they of the re­ligion will alwaies conforme our selues to that which a free generall counsell shall determine; this is the true way, this is the only way, which hath in all ages beene put in practise by this way we will suffer, and with pacience endure to be con­demned. But to beleeue that by dinte of sword this may be obteined of vs: I thinke (before God) that it is a thing alto­gither impossible, and in trueth the successe and euent dooth shew no lesse.

It were but superfluous to discourse at large of this matter, being already sufficiently argued and disputed. They haue often summoned me to change my religion: but after what manner? with the dagger at my throne. If I had had no re­spect vnto my conscience, yet the regarde of mine honour would haue withheld mee from consenting in that sort. Was [Page 7] there euer any of that opinion, that a man might kil a Turke, a naturall Pagan, kill him (I say) for his religion, before hee hath assared to conuert him? yet I suppose that my greatest enemies, doe not thinke mee to be more estranged from the feare and knowledge of GOD, then a Turke, and notwith­standing they are more cruell against mee, then against this infidell.

What would the most affectionate vnto the Catholike re­ligion report of me, if hauing liued this thirty yeare after one sort, they should suddenly see me change my religiō, in hope of a kingdome? What would they report of mee, that haue seene and tried my courage, if shamfully I should abandon for feare, the manner wherein I haue serued God from the very day of my natiuitie? These be reasons which touch the honour of this world. But to come to the maine point; What conscience hauing beene nourished, instructed, and trained vp in a profession of faithe, would vnaduisedly without anye speech or reasoning thereof, in a moment betake himselfe to the contrary side? No (my lords and masters) that shall ne­uer be the king of Nauarr, were there thirtie kingdomes to be gained thereby: so farre is it from him to goe against his conscience for the hope of one alone. Teach me better, I am not selfe wild; take some course to instruct me, you shall pro­fit thereby at length; for if you shewe mee anye other trueth, then that which I now beleeue, I will submit my selfe, and doo more then that; for I am sure there is not any one of my partie, which will not likewise yeeld himselfe together with me. You shall make a goodly gaine to GOD, and notable conquest of consciences, in vanquishing mee alone. But to feede vs with wordes without reason, and to goe about to induce vs to bee perswaded by the onelye countenance of some; iudge (my Lordes and Maisters) if this bee reaso­nable.

But to let this passe; if you simplie desire my welfare, I thanke you, if you doe not long for my conuersion, for feare least one daye I shoulde by violence constrayne you [Page 8] to alter your religion: you do me wrong to iudge so, seing I haue alwaies misliked such kinde of proceedings: the ma­ner of my liuing and behauiour, both with my freends and with mine enemies, at home and in the field, may giue suffi­cient proofe of my disposicion: the townes where I nowe am, and which of late I wonne, can beare me record thereof. Neither is it likely that a handfull of people of my religion, can enforse an infinite number of catholikes to that passe, whereto this infinite number hath not beene able to reduce this handfull. And if I haue with so small forces fought and susteined this quarrell so long time: what may they then do who with such and so great meanes may oppose themselues most forciblie against my constraint, consisting of so small ability? It were no wisedōe for me to take that course. That matter is not at this time in question: I am not as yet in de­gree, (God be thanked) to doo you either good or euill, nei­ther shall I euer (if hee please) bee brought to that tryall, nor you to that hazard. Wee haue all one King, who no doubt will leaue good order for the succession, whensoeuer the ex­tremitie of age shall end his dayes. In the meane season let vs not trouble our selues so much with a thing so long to come, that wee forget the present estate wherein consisteth our speciall welfare.

God hath caused this day the depth of their designements and endeuours which troubled this estate, to be discouered: hee hath also laid open my intents. None of you, none of Fraunce is ignorant heereof. Is it not a miserable thing that there is not one from the least to the greatest in this realme, who seeth not this mischeife, who exclaimeth not against these broiles, who termeth them not the continuall and mor­tall feuer of this estate, and yet none openeth his mouth to find remedy therefore: That in all this assemblie of Bloyes, none dare pronounce this sacred word, Peace, that worde, in whose effect consisteth the good of this realme? Beleeue me (my Lords and maisters) this wonderfull securitie, and fatall amasednesse, is one of the greatest presages and forewar­nings [Page 9] that God hath sent a declining estate vnto this relme.

Our estate is extreame sicke, euerye one seeth it: by all signes and apparances it is iudged, that the cause of this euill is the ciuill warre; a malady almost incurable, of which no estate did euer yet recouer: or if it hath beene releeued, if this appoplexie hath not spred ouer all, it hath at least beene con­uerted into a palsey, to the ytter spoile of halfe of the bodye. What remedy then? no other then peace: which affourdeth comfort to the heart of this realme: which by orderly dyet expelleth the rebellious and noysome humors, purgeth cor­ruptions, and replenisheth the body with pure blood, good humoures, and sound mindes, which in summe, causeth it to flourish and liue. This is the operation which peace wor­keth, which ought to be craued at Gods hands for the onely remedy, for the onely meanes of health: who so seeketh o­ther waies in steed of curing will poison this realme.

I then coniure you all by this writing, aswell Catholikes seruitors of the King my Lorde, as those which are not so: I appeale vnto you as Frenchmen, I summon you to take pit­tie of this estate: to take pittie of your selues, whose steps are vndermined in such sorte, that if you doo not looke to your selues betimes, ruine and destruction will ouertake you: to take pittie of me, whom you constraine perforce to beholde, to suffer, and to doo those things, which were it not in the middest of these armes, I had rather dye a thousand deaths then to behold, suffer, or doo. I coniure you to disperse and abandon all at once, the miserable humors and effects of vi­olence and warres, which doe rente and dismember this renouned estate, which doe withdrawe vs, some by force, others ouerwillingly from the obedience of our King: which causes vs to imbrue our selues with the blood one of ano­ther: & which hath already so often made vs the laughing­stocke of strangers, and in the end will make vs to bee theyr conquest. I coniure you (I say) to acquite vs of all these bit­ter greeuances, to restore to vs the pleasant calme of peace and vnitie, to incertaine againe obedient and orderly minds, [Page 10] and to possesse your selues with the spirit of concord: where­by the smallest estates haue become mightie Empires, and ours hath along time flourished the most renowned king­dome of all Christendome.

Although I haue a thousand and a thousand occasions, particularlye to complaine of those of the house of Guise, of them (say I) for my kindred, and kindred so neere, that beside those of my name, I haue none neerer. And although that in generall, Fraunce hath more occasion then I: yet God know­eth what a greefe it was to me, to see them take that course which my heart alwaies gaue mee, would neuer sorte vnto their honour. God is my witnesse I tooke them to bee com­modious and profitable for the Kings seruice: and (I may say) auadeable also for my selfe, seeing they had the honor to be of my kindred, & that my degree was aboue & before theirs. I was alwaies, and should haue beene verye glad to haue scene them imploy those meanes that God and nature had affourded them, for the good and faithfull seruice of them, whom they ought dutifully to haue serued: in steede whereof, when their wicked counsels did enforse them to a contrary kind of dealing, there were in the worlde (though not my selfe) that did laugh at their misfortune, and woulde haue bin ful wel apaid to haue scen the displeasure, declara­tions, & armes of the king my Lord conuerted against them.

Let vs not waxe proud, neither the one side nor the other: as for my part although I haue receiued more fauour of God in this warre, then in all the former: and that whereas the o­ther two factions (what hard hap is it that I am forced to terme them so?) haue we akened themselues: mine in ap­parance is strengthened: yet I know very well that present­lye, and as often as I shall set aside my dutie: God will leaue to blesse me any longer: and I should wholye neglect it, if without reason; and of a iolitie of heart, I should oppose my selfe against my king, and trouble the quiet of his countrie.

As touching them, who during these foure last yeares haue loued armes better then peace: who haue first renued the [Page 11] warre in this estate, & haue erected the third faction, vnwor­thie the fidelitie of Fraunce and (to go a little further) vnwor­thie the loialtie of their Grandfathers. Seeing God hath shewed them by his iudgements, that their dealings are not agreeable to his will: seeing naythelesse that he hath tou­ched the heart of our King, to receaue thē to his accustomed mildnesse and clemencie (as himselfe hath declared) let them yet at the last hould themselues contented & quiet. We haue all of vs offered and indured harmes inough, we haue bin this foure yeare togither continually besotted, outragious, & al­most starkemad. Is not this enough, trow you? hath not God sufficiently beaten and corrected vs, both the one part & the other, to cause vs to awake from our carelesse securitie, to make vs wise in the end, and to suppresse our furies?

But if after this it be lawfull that as a most humble & loiall subiect of the King my Lord, I may giue some good aduise to those which may counsell him▪ who hath euer heard it spoken, that that state can endure, where there are two facti­ons within it, alwaies vp in armes, and readye the one to as­saile the other? what shall then become of ours, where there are three? how may a man perswade the king to raise ciuill warre, and that against two parties all at one instant? There is no president, no historie▪ no reason that can assure him a good issue▪ and euent heereof. It behoueth him therefore to make a peace, and that a generall peace withall his subiects, as well of the one side as of the other, as well of the one as of the other religiō ▪ or at least that he reconcile, & reunite those vnto him which are least estranged from his obedience. And to that purpose let euery man iudge of mine intent: behold how I intreate for a cōmon good: how I do not labour to ani­mate the King against his subiects, which haue beene of this goodly league▪ and yet you may know (my Lords) that if I would vndertake to do it & [...] his necessitie to afford him my seruice (as I wil do▪ if he cōmmaund me thereto) in outward ap­parance I am like to crosse many of their designements and easily to curbe and keepe them short in their enterprises.

[Page 7]I appeale at this time to all thereof of our estates, who haue remained behoulders of our follies, I appeale to our nobilitie, to our cleargie, to our townes, to our people, these be they to whom I speake, that they will consider what will become of Fraunce, if we runne on headlong as we haue be­gun: what countenance this estate will cary, if this mischiefe continue: what the nobilitie shall doo, if our gouernment be altered, as it will bee vndoubtedlye (being already in a fayre waye towards it) if the townes for feare of the partakers a­gainst them, shall be constrained to settle and fortifie them­selues within their gates, not to suffer any man to command ouer them, and to cantoune themselues after the manner of the Zwit [...]. I assure my selfe, there is none of that minde as yet: but the warre in processe of time may force them to it. And to my great greefe, I see alredy such beginnings spring­ing amongst them, which out wardly make semblance of so sweete and pleasant shewe, that the best and most loyall burgesses of the world will easily suffer themselues to be car­ryed away there withall.

What shall become of the townes, when vnder a vaine likelyhood of libertie they haue turned topsie turuie the or­der of their worthie estate? when they shall haue the nobili­tie theye enemies; the countrey rounde about repining at them, and desirous againe and againe, to sacke and spoyle them, imagining that within their cofers and shops, they haue treasure and richesse without content or nomber?

What shall the principall inhabitants doo, which holde the offices of the Monarchie, of the Exchequer, of iustice, of ciuill policie, or of armes? Let euery one recount in the mid­dest of their domesticall fortune, that the assurance of theyr estate is cleane gone, if the monarchy be ouerthrowne. Who shall allow them the free excercise and trade of Merchan­dize? Who shall warrant them possessions in the field? who shall▪ suppose the authoritie of their iustice? what de­crees shall they establish? who shall commaund ouer theyr armies? to be breefe, what shall be theen order▪ euen mise­rable [Page] abuses. This [...] may indure for a moneth or two in the same sort, as it is said that the seuer nourisheth the sicke bodye▪ but to thinke that vpon the foundations of wrathe & vengeance, an assured intelligence, and durable forme of go­uernment may be established: that can neuer be. It hath ne­uer beene either seene or read, that an estate hath bin chan­ged, without the ruine of hir townes, which are alwaies the principall props and pillers thereof.

And thou people, when the nobilitie and townes shall be deuided, what rest shalt thou enioye? people, the garner and storehouse of a realme: the fertile fields of this estate, whose trauaile nourisheth Princes, whose sweate dooth water them, whose occupations doo maintaine them, whose in­dustrie doth affourde them delicacies for reare bankets: to whom shalt thou haue recourse, when the nobilitie shall op­presse thee: when the townes shall exact and leuie contri­butions of thee? For the King? he shall not be able to com­maund ouer the one or the other side: for the officers of his Iustice? where shall they bee found? for his Lieutenants? What power shall they retaine? for the Mayor of a towne? what authoritie shall hee haue ouer the nobilitie? for the chiefe of the nobilitie? what order will there bee amongst them? lamentable confusion, disorder, and misery ouer all, And thus behold the effects of warre.

It proceeds not of forgetfulnesse, that I speake nothing of the clergie. Neither would I speake of them at all, misdoubt­ing that they will not take it in good parte, because they e­steeme me their enemie more then I am; but that in truthe I haue more cause to find my selfe agreeued with their order, then with both the other orders of Fraunce. I way it not: there be some good men amongst them. As touching their pro­fession and religion, in some things I am contrary to them: in nothing their enemie: in other things we are of one minde, saue where they concerne the conseruation of the priui­ledges of the Church of Fraunce against the Pope. Howso­euer it be, though I were so highlye in their bookes that they [Page 14] would affourd mee all the commendations in the worlde▪ yet would I tread▪ their praises vnder my feete at this pro­sent, being carryed by a more vehement consideration, to wit, of the seruice I owe to my King, and dutie to this estate▪ In the meane season, what hope they? to make warre, and paye their tenthes in those countries where they haue the greatest credit, (for as for those places where my authoritie stretches, I possesse in a manner all they ought to haue, ney­ther may I remedie it, but in processe of time) all the country being ouergrowne with dissention, howe shall they come by any thing?

Let them regarde what course our townes, our people▪ our nobilitie do take. Let them consider (who haue or ought▪ to haue godlinesse in great account) if there be any thing so contrary thereto, as vice and disorder: if there be anye thing that brings men so farre out of square, as the licentious liber­tie of ciuill warre. Let them iudge at last, if they, which haue not beene inriched nor increased but by peace, by order, by obedience to our Kinges, and by deuotion, shall not heereaf­ter goe to decay by warre, by confusion, by impietie, and by mutinous disobedience.

Hauing spoken to all men in particular, I will yet saye this in generall. Bee it that God blesse the purposes of our King, and that he reduce all the mutinies of his realme to an end: it were a lamentable case that he should cause all those to be punished which doo deserue it. What? shall hee take reuenge of a great parte of his townes, of a great parte of his subiects? that were to much, that were a mischiefe, that were a madnesse, sent by God into this realme for the punishment of our transgressions. Hee must beare no more displeasure to our people, & to our townes, then to a frantike fellow when hee fighteth, or to a mad man when he runneth about starke naked.

Bee it to the contrarye that those of the league shall strengthen themselues in such sort, that they shall be able to resist him (as surely there is some likelihood, & I feare me that [Page] his pacilence is theyr principall force: if God will he may ex­ercise his iudgements vpon vs, and wee know not whether wee or they shall feele it first.) What will be sayd of French­men?

What shame will it bee to vs, that wee haue chased a­way our Kings? a staine that neuer spotted the garments of our fathers, and the onelye aduantage that we haue of all the subiects of Christendome.

In the meane season is not this a great inconuenience for me that I am constrained to remaine idle? They haue thrust armes into my handes perforce; against whom shall I im­ploye them at this time? against my King? God hath tou­ched his hart, he hath taken vpon him the quarrell in my be­halfe against those of the league. Wherefore should I, which publish and perswade peace in Fraunce, aggreuate the King against them: and by bringing my forces into the field, seeme to endeuour to take awaye from him his gentle forbearance, and from them all hope of reconciliation. Be­holde the straight whereinto I am driuen: for if I continue quiet, eyther they shall make an agreement to my cost (as I haue seene it already twise or thrise to happen) or else they shall so weaken the King, and make themselues so strong▪ that after his ruine, I shall haue no more force or abilitie to impeache mine owne ouerthrow.

My Lordes, and maisters, I speake also to you, whome I know to my vnspeakeable sorrow, not to be composed all of one humor. The declarations of the King my Lord, and e­specially his last, do sufficiently manifest, that there are some of your deputies, and almost the greatest part at the deuotion of other, then of the King.

If you haue neuer so small iudgement, you cannot but beleeue with mee, that I am in great hazarde, that the Kinge is so, that the thirde partye is so, that your selues in generall and each one in particular are so. We are all with­in one house which is now a falling; wee are all within one [Page] ship which is readie to [...] and there is no remedie, that can be imagined but onely peace, let them searche for other as long as they list.

In conclusion then, hauing better (as I may say) and more interest in this then all you, I demaund peace of the king my Lord in the name of all: I demaund it for my selfe, for those of the league, for all Frenchmen, for Fraunce it selfe▪ Who so demaunds it otherwise dooth not well. I protest to yeeld my selfe more tractable then at any time heeretofore. If I haue at any time beene harde to be dealt withall, I will serue at this present for an example to others by obedience, which I will shew to my King. But hauing so often and sundry times pro­tested and vttered that which is my dutie, and that which is for our common profit: I will nowe declare, first to those which are of the King my Soueraigne his side, that if they do not order themselues with me, if they doo not accord to this sacred deliberation, not to make warre against the league, or those of Lorraine, not against Parris, Orleance, or Tholouse: but against those which hinder peace, & the obedience due to this Crowne: that then they alone shall be guiltie of the mischiefes which shall betide the King and this realme: and that I on the contrary shall be blamelesse, hauing discharged my fidelitie to my Prince, whose hurt as much as in me lies, I do and will withstand, yea though himselfe were carelesse thereof.

And as touching those which still reteine the name and partie of the league, I coniure them as Frenchmen heerevn­to: I would willinglye commaund them, yet as those which haue the honour to be of my kindred; whose Fathers (I am assured) would haue taken such a commaundement for a ve­ry great fauour. But if this be not doone after this sorte, I my selfe (as the cheefe Prince and greatest▪ Magistrate nexte the King in Fraunce) will bring to passe, that they shall haue enough to doo to looke vnto themselues: and rest content with their owne priuate losse for a publike benefit: that they shall tame and bridle their passions, their quarrels, their re­uenge, [Page] and their ambicion, for the good of Fraunce their [...] ­ther for the seruice of their King, and for their owne quiet and ours. Beside this, if they doe otherwise, I hope that God will not altogether abandon the King, that he will not exe­cute his wrath vpon him, nor make him loth to call his ser­uants about him, as my selfe [...] first, who doe desire no other title. And they which shall come for this purpose, shall haue power enough, and assured right for to aide and assist him, to abolish the memorye of these men out of the world, and out of their natiue countrie of Fraunce.

Finallye hauing doone my dutie in this so solemne prote­station, which I haue made, if I perceiue both the one and the other so hardened, or so badlye affected, that none of them are mooued heereby: I will call God to witnesse of my acti­ons passed, and to my ayde for thos;e to come. And you true seruants of my King: you true Frenchmen, worthy of as much honour as I inioye, to bee the cheefe▪ Princes of this realme▪ though all the world had conspired his ruine, I protest before God and men, that to the hazard of a thousand liues, I will assay all alone to vphold it.

I call to my assistance all those which haue this goldy de­sire, of what condition or qualitie▪ soeuer they bee▪ hoping▪ that if God blesse my indeuores so much courage as I shew in interprising heereof, so much fidelitie and constancie shall I haue in atchieuing the end, rendring to my King my obe­dience, to my countrie my deuoire, to my selfe my rest and contentment, togither with the liberty of all good men.

And in the meane while till it shall please God to giue leasure vnto the King my Lord to take order for the affaires of his estate, establishing peace, which is so necessary, I doo affirme (as he that hath the honour to hold the cheefest place of account vnder his obedience) that if I cannot serue him so well in his absence, as to cause his authoritie throughout all his realme to be receaued▪ I wil at least in part bring to passe that in those places where my power and abilitie extendeth, they shall acknowledge it. And for that intent I receaue into [Page] [...] of what qualitie, reli­gion, or condicion that they be, aswell of the nobilitie, of the cleargie▪ of the townes, as of the people, that will linke and vnite themselues to me in this good and honourable resolu­tion: not permitting that their bodies or goods shall be tou­ched in any maner or sorte, otherwise then in time of perfect peace, and when the lawes of the realme haue accustomed to deale with them.

And although that more then any other I greeue to see the difference of religion, & that more then any other I wish it remedied: neuerthelesse, acknowledging that this must come from God alone, (whose succour heerin we must needs attend) and not to enforce it by armes or by violence: I pro­test before God, and in this protestation doo pawne my faith and honour (which by his grace I haue hetherto kept vnde­filed) that in the same maner as I haue not endured, that they should enforce mine owne conscience: in like sorte I will neuer suffer nor permit, that the catholiks shall by constraint be drawne from theirs, nor from the exercise of their religi­on. Declaring further, that in those townes which togither with me shall persist in this minde, and shall subiect them­selues vnder the obedience of the King my Lord, and my au­thoritie▪ I will not indure that anye thing shall be innouated, eyther in the politike estate, or in the church, except in as much as it shal concerne euery mans libertie. Taking againe aswell the persons as the goods of the Catholikes, and espe­cially of the ecclesiasttcall sort vnder my protection & saue­gard. Hauing learned long a goe, that the true and onelye meanes to revnite the people, to reduce them to the seruice of God▪ and to establish pietie in anye estate, are mildnesse, peace▪ and good examples: not warre, nor discord: and that by the disorder of warre, vices and all maner of wickednesse doe grow vp in the world. Giuen at Chattelleraut, the 4. of Marche. 1589.


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