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3001c their general, whose imprudence every soldier now per1 'j^eeived, struck them with general consternation. They
feat of the French.
'Si J* began insensibly to quicken their pace, and those in the rear pressed so violently on such as were before them, that in a short time their march resembled a flight ratber than a retreat. Egmont, observing their confusion, charged them with the greatest fury, and in a moment all their men at arms, the pride and strength of the French troops in that age, gave way and fled with precipitaTn'xl Sr. tion. The infantry, however, whom the constable, by his presence and authority, kept to their colours, still continued to retreat in good order, until the enemy brought some pieces of cannon to bear upon their centre, which threw them into such confusion, that the Flemish cavalry, renewing their attack, brokejn, and the rout became universal. About four thousand of the French fell in the field, and among these the duke of Anguien, a prince of the blood, together with six hundred gentlemen. The constable, as soon as be perceived the fortune of the day to be irretrievable, rushed into the thickest of the enemy, with a resolution not to survive the calamity which his ill conduct had brought upon his country; but having received a dangerous wound, and being wasted with the loss of blood, he was surrounded by some Flemish officers, to whom he was known, who protected him from the violence of the soldiers, and obliged him to surrender. Besides the constable, the dukes of Montpensier and Longueville, the marechal St Andre, many officers of distinction, three hundred gentlemen, and near four thousand private soldiers, were taken prisoners. All the coJours belonging to the infantry, all the ammunition, and all the cannon, two pieces excepted, fell into the enemy's hands. The victorious army did not lose above fourscore menk.
The 6r»t This battle, no less fatal to France than the ancient eflecuof victories of Cressy and Agincourt, gained by the English on the same frontier, bore a near resemblance to those du
'• Thuan. 650. Harei Anna]. Brabant, ii, 692. Herrcra, 991.
asfrous events, in the suddenness of the rout; in the ill a°®K
conduct of the commander in chief; in the number ofi
persons of note slain or taken ; and in the small loss sus- ,ss'' tained by the enemy. It filled Fiance with equal consternation. Many inhabitants of Paris, with the same precipitancy and trepidation as if the enemy had been already at their gates, quitted the city, and retired into the interior provinces. The king, by his presence and exhortations, endeavoured to console and to animate such as remained; and applying himself with the greatest diligence to repair the ruinous fortifications of the city, prepared to defend it against the attack which he instantly expected. But, happily for France, Philip's caution, together with the intrepid firmness of the admiral de Coligny, not only saved the, capital from the danger to which it was exposed, but gained the nation a short interval, during which the people recovered from the terror and dejection occasioned by a blow no less severe than unexpected, and Henry had leisure to take measures for the public security, with the spirit which became the sovereign of a powerful and martial people.
Philip, immediately after the battle, visited the camp pni|;p re. at St Quintin, where he was received with all the exult- p"»t°h» ation of military triumph; and such were his transportsa"n>' of joy, on account of an event which threw so much lustre on the beginning of his reign, that they softened his severe and haughty temper into an unusual flow of courtesy. When the duke of Savoy approached, and was kneeling to kiss his hands, he caught him in his arms, and embracing him with warmth, « it becomes me,1 says he, 'rather to kiss your hands, which have gained me such a glorious and almost bloodless victory.'
As soon asthe rejoicings and congratulations on Philip's Hh deliarrival were over, a council of war'was held, in order to beration» « i t • A • t > concerning
determine how they might improve their victory to the the pr<«e.
best advantage. The duke of Savoy, seconded by se-^''"^^ veral of the ablest officers formed under Charles V., insisted that they should immediately relinquish the siege
Bxi?K °^ ^' Quintin, the reduction of which was now an obsject below their attention, and advance directly towards Paris; that as there were neither troops to oppose, nor any town of strength to retard their inarch, they might reach that capital while under the full impression of the astonishment and terror occasioned by the rout of the army, and take possession of it without resistance. But Philip, less adventurous or more prudent than his generals, preferred a moderate but certain advantage, to an enterprise of greater splendour, but of more doubtful success. He represented to the council the infinite resources of a kingdom so powerful as France; the great number, as well as martial spirit, of its nobles; their attachment to their sovereign; the manifold advantages with which they could carry on war in their own territories, and the unavoidable destruction which must be the consequence of their penetrating too rashly into the enemy's country, before they had secured such a communication with their own as might render a retreat safe, if, upon any disastrous event, that measure should become necessary. On all these accounts, he advised the continuance of the siege; and his generals acquiesced the more readily in his opinion, as they made no doubt of being masters of the town in a few days, a loss of time of so little consequence in the execution of their plan, that they might easily repair it by their subsequent activity1. St. qniiKin The weakness of the fortifications, and the small Huiiii!yfC\dmiril'uer of the garrison, which could no longer hope either Colignjr; for reinforcement or relief, seemed to authorize this calculation of Philip's generals. But, in making it, they did not attend sufficiently to the character of Admiral de Coligny, who commanded in the town. A courage undismayed, and tranquil amidst the greatest dangers, an invention fruitful in resources, a genius which roused and seemed to acquire new force upon every disaster, a talent of governing the minds of men, together with' a capacity of maintaining his ascendant over them, even under cir
'li'.-lcar. Comment.!!-, dc Re'o. (Jallir. 901. ctlmstances tlie most adverse and distressful, were qualities which Coligny possessed in a degree superior to any -——r» general of that age. These qualities were peculiarly *is7' adapted to the station in which he was now placed; and as he knew the infinite importance to his country of every hour which he could gain at this juncture, he exerted himself to the utmost in contriving how to protract the fc siege, and to detain the enemy from attempting any enterprise more dangerous to France. Such were the per- which it severance and skill with which he conducted the defence, and such the fortitude, as well as patience, with which he animated the garrison, that though the Spaniards, the Flemings, and the English, carried on the attack with all the ardour which national emulation inspires, he held out the town seventeen days. He was taken prisoner at last, Augu« on the breach, overpowered by the superior number of the enemy.
Henry availed himself, with the utmost activity, ofHenry'» the interval which the admiral's well-timed obstinacy had [„) the d<afforded him. He appointed officers to collect the scat-fc.nc-,of hi*
i • ri i. > kingdom.
tered remains of the constable s army; he issued orders for levying soldiers in every part of the kingdom; he commanded the ban and arriere ban of the frontier provinces instantly to take the field, and to join the duke of Nevers at Laon in Picardy; he recalled the greater part of the veteran troops which served under the marechal Brissae in Piedmont; he sent courier after courier to the duke of Guise, requiring him, together with all his army, to return instantly for the defence of their country; he dispatched one envoy to the grand signior, to solicit the assistance of his fleet, and the loan of a sum of money; he sent another into Scotland, to incite the Scots to invade the north of England, that, by drawing Mary's attention to that quarter, he might prevent her from reinforcing her troops which served under Philip. These efforts of the king were warmly seconded by the zeal of his subjects. The city of Paris granted him a free gift of three hundred thousand livres. The other great towns voi.. *n S jr
Book imitated the liberality of the capital, and contributed m
—iVi .proportion. Several noblemen of distinction engaged, at
iss?- their own expence, to garrison-and defend the towns which lay most exposed to the enemy. Nor was the general concern for the public confined to corporate bodies alone, or to those in the higher sphere of life, but, diffusing itself among persons of every rank, each individual S' c metl disposed to art with as much vigour as if the Iionou." of the king ami I he safety of the state had depended solely on his single efforts"1. The vitto- Philip, who was no stranger either to the prudent "^yiuUn measures taken by the French monarch for the security prV.ucr;vc 0f ||jg dominions, or to the spirit with which his subjects iwf£i>lccn-PreParea' to defend themselves, perceived, when it was too pxyuuKt* |a;e) t|iaf i„, |ia(] jost an opportunity which could never be recalled, and that it was now vain to think of penetrating into the heart of France. He abandoned, therefore, witiiout much reluctance, a scheme which was too bold and hazardous to be perfectly agreeable to his cautious temper, and employed his army, during the remainder of the campr.'gn, in the sieges of Ham and Catelet. Of these he soo:; became master; and the reduction of two such petty towns, together with the acquisition of St Quintin, were all the advantages which he derived from one of the most decisive victories gained in that century. Philip himself, however, continued in high exultation on account of his success; and as all his passions were tinged with superstition, he, in memory of the battle of St Quintin, which had been fought on the day consecrated to St Laurence, vowed to build a church, a monastery, aud n palace, in honour of that saint and martyr Before iht expiration of the year, he laid the foundation ol an edifice, in which all these were united, at ihe P.scurial In the neighbourhood ot Madrid; and the S8tue principle which derated the vow, directed the building; for she plan of the work was so formed as to resemble u gridiron, which, according to the legendary
■ item, dc Ribicr, ii, 701, 703.