Изображения страниц

pardon for all the French that had borne arms against him. • When this sacrifice is not extorted by necessity, but, on the

contrary, made at a time when vengeance has full liberty to satiate itself, it is not one of the least marks of a truly royal difpofition.?",

The remainder of this book is taken up with relations of other military affairs, and the surrender of a great number of other cities and towns, after the example of Paris.

In the seventh book we have an account of several military expeditions, in different parts of the kingdom, betwixt the King's party, and that of the League, which soon after received a fatal blow, by the defertion of the Duke of Guise, who took the most early opportunity of making his peace, at a time when things seemed to be taking a great turn in favour of the King. This reconciliation was chiefly effected by means of the Dutchess Dowager of Guise, the King's Cousingerman, and Mademoiselle de Guise, her Daughter. The character which Sully gives of the Dutchess is very amiable, and therefore we think a fight of it cannot be disagreeable to our Readers. It here follows:

• In any other age, which had not like this, lost every distinction between virtue and vice, this woman would have • been the ornament of her sex, for the qualities of her heart 6 and mind. Her whole conduct was regulated by a native • rectitude of soul; fo that it was easy to see, that she had not even the idea of evil, either to act, or advise it; and at

the same time of so sweet a disposition, that she was never « subjected to the smallest emotion of hatred, malignity, envy,

or even ill-humour. No woman ever poflefied so many graces of conversation, or added to a wit so subtle and refined, a fimplicity so artless and agreeable. tees were full of salt and sprightlinels; and the pleasing, as

well as greater qualities, so happily blended in her compoofition, that she was at once tender and lively, tranquil and

gav.'-Wholly subdued by the instances of these two ladies, the King consented to appoint three agents, to treat with three others on the part of the Duke of Guise. However, it seems nothing could be brought to bear, till the King had revoked his firit commission, and appointed our Memorialist to aćt alone, instead of the former three, · Then, indeed, we find that the business went readily forward; and no sooner was the treaty concluded and signed, than the Dutchess and Mademoiselle de Guise, asked his Majesty's permission for the Duke to come himself and aflure him of his obedience. In co: sequence of that permission, he came and threw himself

Her repar

H 3

6 at

• at the King's feet, with so many marks of a sincere repen<tance, that the King, who penetrated into his inmost loul, ' instead of reproaches, or a filence, which, on such occa“fions, is more terrible than the feverest reproaches, made 6 use of all his endeavours to re-allure him: he embraced " him three several times, honoured him with the name of

Nephew, treated him with the greatest tenderness and freedom, and, without affecting either to avoid or recal what,

had passed, mentioned the decealed Duke of Guise with " honour. A friend who endeavours to reconcile himself to « his friend, after a flight quarrel, could not have behaved s otherwise; and all those that were witnesses of this recep« tion, could never sufficiently admire a King, who, with sa

many qualities to in pire fcar, employed only those that

created love.—The Duke of Guile, absolutely gained by ç this discourse, replied to the King, that he would neglect

nothing to render himself worthy of the honour his Majesty did the memory of his father, and the sentiments he was pleased to entertain of himself: and from that time he took such care to convince him, that his respect and fidelity to

him would continue inviolable, that the King, forgetting call which any other in his situation would have apprehendFed, from the raising again a family that had made Kings

tremble, lived with him familiarly, and admitted him with “the other courtiers into all his parties of pleasure: for such “ was the character of Henry, that that exterior gravity

which the royal dignity makes it necefiary to assume, never (hindered himn from religning himtelf up to pleasures, which

an equality of conditions spreads over fociety. The truly $ great man knows how to be, by turns, and as occasions ' require, whatever he ought to be, master, or equal; king,

or citizen: it is no diminution of his greatness, to unbend himself in private, provided that he shews himself in his

public character, capable of performing all the duties of his E high station: the courtier will never forget that he is with « his matter.

Notwithstanding the King's reconciliation to the church of Rome, yet we find another attempt, from that quarter, made upon his life. Sully's account of it is as follows

« On the 26th of December, (1;94] the King being then at Paris, in his apartments in the Louvre, where he gave ( audience to Meff. de Ragny and de Montigny, who entered

with a great number of other persons; at the very moment when he stooped to embrace one of them, he received a


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

wound in the face with a knife, which the murderer let fall as he was endeavouring to escape through the croud. I was

present, and approached in an agony of grief, seeing the • King all covered with blood, and fearing, with reason, that

the Itroke was mortal.-The King removed our apprehen' sions by a composed and agreeable behaviour ; and we per<ceived immediately, that his lip only was wounded ; the

ftroke having been aimed too high, the force of it was stopt by a tooth, which it broke. The parricide was discovered,

without any difficulty, tho' he had mixed amor:g the crowd. • He was a scholar, named John Chatel; and readily an< swered, when he was interrogated, that he came from the ' college of the Jesuits, accusing those Fathers with being the

authors of his crime. The King, who heard him, said, 6 with a gaiety which, on such an occafion, few persons could

have been capable of, that he had heard from the mouths of many persons, that the society never loved him, and he was now convinced of it by his own. Chatel was delivered up

to justice; and the prosecutions against the Jesuits, which • had been suspended, were now refumed more vigorously

than before, and terminated by the banishment of the whole

order from the kingdom.'-However, before the end of the year, we find them re-established in the kingdom, at the instance of the Pope; who infifted upon that, and some other points, before he would grant Henry the absolution he had fo long folicited at his hands.

The eighth book, amongst other things, gives us a large account of Sully's discoveries of abuses committed in the hnances, and of his own regulations therein, which constituted no small part of his great merit, as a minister of state: but for these, and several other matters of equal importance, we must refer to the work itself.'

In the ninth book, we have ar account of the famous Edict of Nantz, by which fatisfaction was given to the discontented Proteftants, and the rights of the two religions were clearly explained, and solidly established.--The peace of Vervins, by which a war with Spain was concluded, of which we have not been able to infert the varicus transactions, finishes this book.

Tho' Sully had all along been endeavouring to put the fie nances into the best itate possible, yet during the continuance of wars, foreign as well as civil, he found it not in his power to do what he wished. As his talents, in this particular point, were certainly of the highest pitch; and what contributed principally to the establishment of his character, as a states


H 4

[ocr errors]

man; we shall be somewhat more at large in our extracts of his sentiments upon this head, from the tenth book; wherein he says

« I had long hoped, that a peace would afford me leisure 6 to examine the finances of the kingdom thoroughly: all that "I had hitherto been able to do, was only to alleviate the • mischief; and far from having been able to dig to the root, « so as to eradicate it at once, the different necessities of the < ftate, which always followed each other so close during the war,

made it be looked on as a great stroke of policy, to $ manage the finances without increasing the confusion. It

is certain, that, upon a closer examination, they seemed ç tainted with an incurable disease, which could not even be

enquired into, without the most unshaken courage, and in<vincible patience: the first glance was able to discover no• thing but an universal loss of credit, the royal treasury in¢ debted several hundred millions, no means of raising more « money, excelsive poverty, and ruin at hand; but this very < state of despair made it necessary not to delay, a single mo« ment, the undertaking this great work, while several op• portunities concurring, Thewed at least a possibility of success. • Every thing was in tranquility; the pay of the troops con< fiderably leftened, the greater part of the military expences & fuppressed, the King's council weary at length of making 4 ulelers endeavours to deprive me of any management of pub(lic affairs, almost all business was transacted by me; these & gentlemen disdained even to come to the assemblies, unless "forced thither by their own interest, or that of their relations < or friends ; in those assemblies nothing was proposed without

my approbation, and nothing executed without my confent ; & the King had no secret he reserved from me, nor any aụ.

thority that he did not occasionally invest me with; all ļ these considerations persuaded me, that if the calamities

caused by so many long and cruel civil wars, were ever to • be repaired, now or never was the time to accomplish it.'

The time being allowed thus proper for the undertaking so great a work, he next draws the portrait of a good minister of the finances, leaving the reader to conclude, that the original, fiom whence the portrait was drawn, was certainly then in being.--Here begins the portrait--of himlelf, we imagine; for few such ministers have appeared, either before, or fiņce that time.

• It would be the shortest way to say, that a man who is

called to the management of public affairs, ought to have 4 no POLIOMS, but that we may not wholly deltroy the netion


6 of such a Being, by reducing him to an impoffible, and

merely ideal existence, it is sufficient to say, that he ought ļ to have such a knowlege of them, as to be able to avoid their

influence: he should be sensible of all the meanness of pride, the folly of ambition, the weakness of hatred, and the baseness

of revenge. As I intend only to make such reflections as s immediately relate to him, I shall not take any notice here of o the great unworthiness of treating people ill, not only by ac' tions, but even words; and of never giving orders to infe

riors, but in the transports of rage, or peevishness of ill-hu• mour, seasoning them with oaths and curses; fince, living

for the public, he ought to appear affable, and be easy of access to all the world, except to those who only come to him with a design to corrupt him; and never to lose fight of this maxim, That a kingdom ought to be regulated by general rules, and that exceptions only occasion discontent and

produce complaints.-A just knowlege of what is due to s rank, and of different degrees of distinction, is so far from

being contrary to this maxim, that it is essentially necessary

to it, as well for observing those rules of behaviour to per< fons of different ranks, which the French politeness has

established, as to cure himself of that error, that his riches, { and the favour of his King, place every other person in a • state of subjection to him. An inclination for the fair sex

is a source of weaknesses and injustice, which will inevitably

carry him beyond the bounds of his duty; a paffion for deep - play, will expose him to temptations a thousand times more s difficult to be overcome by a man who has all the money

of the kingdom passing through his hands; that he efcape this dangerous snare, I am under a necessity of prescribe ing to him, to have no acquaintance either with cards or

dice. A dislike of fatigue proceeds generally from the same « inclinations that lead to voluptuousness, or inspire effemi

nacy. A statesman ought in temperance to seek for a remedy ! against a fondness for fplendor, and the delicacies of the « table, which serve only to enervate both body and mind. A • virtuous man ought to be wholly unacquainted with drun• kennefs; a diligent man ought to be no less ignorant of

what is called high living. As he ought to make his retirement in his cabinet at all times, and all hours, not merely

fupportable, but pleating, he cannot be too careful to pre' vent his mind from running on the delights of bails, maique'rades, and other parties of pleafures; in all thele trifling

amusements there is a namelets enchantment, that intoxicates
the hearts of philosophers and misanthropes themselves,

• The


« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »