Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

and as the accomplishment of these depended on their uncle's life, whose advanced age did not admit of losing , a moment unnecessarily in negociations, instead of treat- l555' ing at second-hand with the French ambassador at Rome, they prevailed on the pope to dispach a person of confidence directly to the court of France, with such overtures on his part as they hoped would not be rejected. He proposed an alliance, offensive and defensive, between Henry and the pope ; that they should attack the duchy of Tuscany and the kingdom of Naples with their united forces; and if their arms should prove successful, that the ancient republican form of government should be re-established in the former, and the investiture of the latter should be granted to one of the French king's sons, after reserving a certain territory which should be annexed to the patrimony of the church, together with an independent and princely establishment for each of the pope's nephews.

The king, allured by these specious projects, gave a constable most favourable audience to the envoy. But when the^TMyTM£ matter was proposed in council, the constable Montmo- po«o the rency, whose natural caution and aversion to daring en-l,.^the terprises increased with age and experience, remonstrated P°P*' with great vehemence against the alliance. He put Hem in mind how fatal to France every expedition into Ita had been during three successive reigns; and if such an enterprise had proved too great for the nation even when its strength and finances were entire, there was no reason to hope for success if it should be attempted now, when both were exhausted by extraordinary efforts, during wars which had lasted, with little interruption, almost half a century. He represented the manifest imprudence of entering into engagements with a pope of fourscore; as any system which rested on no better foundation than his life must be extremely precarious; and upon the event of his death, which could not be distant, the face of things, together with the inclination of the Italian states, must instantly change, and the whole weight of the waT"be left: ,

the king alone. To these consideratibns/ijQiliijc* t- * *'

[graphic]

BOOK the near prospect which they now had of a final accom'■-tmntlat.inn with the emperor, who, having taken the resolution of retiring from the world, wished to transmit his kingdoms in peace to his son; and he concluded with representing the absolute certainty of drawing the arms of England upon France, if it should appear that the reestablishment of tranquillity in Europe was prevented by the ambition of its monarch. The Juke These arguments, weighty in themselves, and urged "ivounlt ^ 3 m'n'ster 01 great authority, would probably have determined the king to decline any connection with the pope; hut the duke of Guise, and his brother the cardinal of Lorratn, who delighted no less in bold and dangerous undertakings than Montmorency shunned them, declared warmly for an alliance with the pope. The cardinal expected to be entrusted with the conduct of the ncgociations in the court of Rome to which this alliance would give rise; the duke hoped to obtain the command of the army which would be appointed to invade Naples; and considering themselves as already in these stations, vast projects opened to their aspiring and unbounded ambition. Their credit, together with the influence of the king's mistress, the famous Diana of Poitiers, who was at that time entirely devoted to the interest of the family of Guise, more than counterbalanced all Montmorency's prudent remonstrances, and prevailed on an inconsiderate prince to listen to the overtures of the pope's envoy. Cardinal of The cardinal of Lorrain, as he had expected, was imMHtTone- mediately sent to Rome, with full powers to conclude the gocijtf treaty, and to concert measures for carrying it into exepopc.' * cution. Before he could reach that city, the pope, either from reflecting on the danger and uncertain issue of all military operations, or through the address of the imperial ambassador, who had been at great pains to sooth him, had not only begun to lose much of the ardour with which he had commenced the negociation with France, but even discovered great unwillingness to continue it. In order to rouse him from this fit of despondency, and to rekindle

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

liis former rage, Iiis nephews had recourse to the arts • which they had already practised with so much success. , They alarmed him witli new representations of the emperor's hostile intentions, with fresh accounts which they had received of .threats uttered against him by the imperial ministers, r.nd with new discoveries which they pretended to have made of conspiracies formed, and just ready to take effect against his life.

But these artifices, having been formerly tried, would Pa"''""

'b - ragci! at

not have operated a second time with the same force, nor,he prohave made the impression which they wished, if Paul had ""'•rR!",f

I J' the niet ol

not been excited by an offence of that kind which he was Augsburg; least able to bear. He received advice of the recess of the diet of Augsburg, and of the toleration which was thereby granted to the Protestants; and this threw him at once into such transports of passion against (he emperor and king of the Romans, as carried him headlong into all the violent measures of his nephews. Full of high ideas with respect to the papal prerogative, and animated with the fiercest zeal against heresy, he considered the liberty of deciding concerning religious matters, which had been assumed by an assembly composed chiefly of laymen, as a presumptuous and unpardonable encroachment on that jurisdiction which belonged to him alone; and regarded the indulgence which bad been given to the Protestants as an impious act of that power which the diet had usurped. He complained loudly of both to the imperial embassador. He insisted that the recess of the diet should immediately be declared illegal and void. He threatened the emperor and king of the Romans, in case they should either refuse or delay to gratify him in this particular, with the severest effects of his vengeance. He talked in a tone of authority and command which might have suited a pontiff of the twelfth century, when a papal decree was sufficient to have shaken, or to have overturned, the throne of the greatest monarch in Europe, but which was altogether improper in that age, especially when addressed to the minister of a prince who had so often made pontiffs, more formidable

BK than Paul, feel the weight of his power. The ambassa— dor, however, heard all his extravagant propositions and

menaces witli much patience, and endeavoured to sooth him, by putting him in mind of the extreme distress to which the emperor had been reduced at Inspruck, of the engagements which he had come under to the Protestants in order to extricate himself, of the necessity of fulfilling these, and of accommodating his conduct to the situation of his affairs. But weighty as these considerations were, they made no impression on the mind of the haughty and bigoted pontiff, who instantly replied, that he would absolve him by his apostolic authority from those impious engagements, and even commanded him not to perform them; that in carrying on the cause of God and of the church, no regard ought to be had to the maxims of worldly prudence and policy; and that the ill success of the emperor's schemes in Germany might justly be deemed a mark of the divine displeasure against him, on account of his having paid little attention to the former, while he regulated his conduct entirely by the latter. Having said this, he turned from the ambassador abruptly, without waiting for a reply, and nas- His nephews took care to applaud and cherish these PfTMteedby sentiments, and easily wrought up his arrogant mind, phewa. fraught with all the monkish ideas concerning the extent of the papal supremacy, to such a pitch of resentment against the house of Austria, and to such an high opinion of his own power, that he talked continually of his being the successor of those who had deposed kings and emperors; that he was exalted as head over them all, and Dec. 15. would trample such as opposed him under his feet. In a'treMy" *n's disposition the cardinal of Lorrain found the pope, with and easily persuaded him to sign a treaty, which had for France. 0Dject tne rujn 0f a prince against whom he was so highly exasperated. The stipulations in the treaty were much the same as had been proposed by the pope's envoy at Paris; and it was agreed to keep the whole transac

[graphic]

tions secret until their united force should be ready to B<K take the field *. ' ' , .

During the negociation of this treaty at Rome and Pa-xhe"cmprris, an event liappened which seemed to render the fearsror rcy>\m

. . , . . . . , - . .to resign

that had given rise to it vain, ana the operations which his herewere to foliovv upon it unnecessary. This was the em-,!i!"r ^

_r' minions.

peror's resignation of his hereditary dominions to his son Philip, together with bis resolution to withdraw entirely from any concern in business, or the affairs of this world, in order that he might spend the remainder of his days in retirement and solitude. Though it requires neither deep reflection,jnor extraordinary discernment, to discover that the state of royalty is not exempt from cares and disappointment; though most of those who are exalted to a throne, find solicitude, and satiety, and disgust, to be their perpetual attendants in that envied pre-eminence; yet to descend voluntarily from the supreme to a subordinate station, and to relinquish the possession of power, in order to attain the enjoyment of happiness, seems to be an effort too great for the human mind. Several instances, indeed, occur in history, of monarchs who have quitted a throne, and have ended their days in retirement; but they were either weak princes, who took this resolution rashly, and repented of it as soon as it was taken, or unfortunate princes, from whose hands some stronger rival had wrested their sceptre, and compelled them to descend with reluctance into a private station. Dioclesian is, perhaps, the only prince capable of holding the reins of government, who ever resigned them from deliberate choice, and who continued during many years to enjoy the tranquillity of retirement without fetching one penitent sigh, or casting back one look of desire towards the power or dignity which he had abandoned.

No wonder, then, that Charles's resignation should fill The T ... . . tivetof.

all Europe with astonishment, and give rise, both among thi» r«ig

his contemporaries, and among the historians of that pe-nitlon'

■ Pallav. Jib. xiii, p. 163. F. Paul, 365. Tbuan. lib. xi. 685, lib. xii, £40. Mem. da Ribier, ii, 609, &c.

« ForrigeFortsett »