Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

XII.

BOOK the accession of that important ally, as a matter certain

and decided. The account of this was quickly carried 15570 to Philip; and Cosmo, who foresaw how much it would

alarm him, had dispatched his nephew Ludovico de Toledo into the Netherlands, that he might be at hand to observe and take advantage of his consternation before tlie first impression which it made should, in any degree, abate. Cosmo was extremely fortunate in the choice of the instrument whom he employed. Toledo waited with patience, until he discovered with certainty that Philip had received such intelligence oï his uncle's negociations at Rome as must have alled his suspicious mind with fear and jealousy, and then craving an audience, he required payment of the money which had been borrowed by the emperor, in the most carest and peremptory terms. In urging that point, he arifully threw out several dark hints and ambiguous declaration, concerning the extremities to which Cosmo might be driven by a refusel of this just demand, as well as by other grierances of which he had

good reason to complain. Their suc- Philip, astonished at an address in such a strain from

a prince so far nis inferior as the duke of Tuscany, and comparing what he now heard wiil the information which heliad received from Italy, immediately concluded that Cosmo had veatured to assume this bold and unusual tone on the prospect of his union with France. In order to prevent the pope' ard Henry from acquiring an ally, who, by his abilities, as well as the situation of his dominions, would have edded both reputation and strength to their confederacy, he offered to grant Ccsino the investiture of Siena, if he would conscat to accept of it, as an equivalent for the suins due to him, and engage to furnish a body of troops towards the defence of Philip's territories in Italy, against any power who should attack them. As soon as Cosmo had brought Philip to make this concession, which was the object of all his artifices and intrigues, he did not protract the negociation by any unnecessary delay, or any excess of refinement, but

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

closed eagerly with the proposal, and Philip, in spite of. BO

XII.. the remonstrances of his ablest counsellors, signed a treaty

1557 with him to that effect a.

As no prince was ever more tenacious of his rights than Philip, or less willing to relinquish any territory which he possessed, by what tenure soever he held it, these unusual concessions to the dukes of Parma and Tuscany, by which he wantonly gave up countries, in acquiring or defending which his father had employed many years, and wasted much blood ard treasure, cannot be accounted for from any motive but his superstitious desire of extricating himself out of the war which he had been forced to wage agcinst the pope. By these treaties, however, the balance of power among the Italian states was poised with greater equality, and rendered less variasłe than it had been since it received the first violent shock from the invasion of Charles VIII. of France. From this period Italy ceased to be the great theatre on which the monarchs of Spain France and Germany contended for power or for fame. Their dissensions and hostilities, though as frequent and violent as ever, being excited by new objects, stained other regions of Europe with blood, and rendered them miserable, in their turn, by the devastations of war.

The duke of Guise left Rome on the same day that his Sept. 20 adversary the duke of Alva made his humiliating sub-The duke

of Guire's mission to the pope. He was received in France as the reception guardian angel of the kingdom. His late ill success in in France. Italy seemed to be forgotten, while his former services, particularly his defence of Metz, were recounted with extraordinary praise; and he was welcomed in every city through which he passed, as the restorer of public se. curity, who, after having set bounds by his conduct and valour to the victorious arms of Charles V. returned now, at the call of his country, to check the formidable progress of Philip's power. The reception which he met.

9 Thuan. lib. xviii, 624. Herrera, i, 863, 275, Pallav. lib. xiii,.

XII.

Takes he

BOOK with from Henry was no less cordial and honourabler

New titles were invented, and new dignities created, in 1557.

order to distinguish him. He was appointed lieutenantgeneral in chief both within and without the kingdom, with a jurisdiction almost unlimited, and hardly inferior to that which was possessed by the king himself. Thus, through the singular felicity which attended the princes of Lorrain, the miscarriage of their own schemes contributed to aggrandize them. The calamities of his country and the ill conduct of his rival the constable exalted the duke of Guise to a heigt of dignity and power, which he could not have expected to attain by the most fortunate and most complete success of his own ambitious projects.

The duke of Guise, eager to perform something suite command able to the high expectations of his countrymen, and of the army.;

that he might justify the extraordinary confidence which the king had reposed in him, ordered all the troops which could be got together to assemble at Compeigne. Though the winter was well advanced, and had set in with extreme severity, he placed himself at their head, and took the field. By Henry's activity, and the zeal of his subjects, so many soldiers had been raised in the kingdom, and such considerable reinforcements had been drawn from Germany and Swisserland as formed an army respectable even in the eyes of a victorious enemy. Philip, alarmed at seeing it put in motion at such an uncommon season, began to tremble for his new conquests, particu. Jarly St Quintin, the fortifications of which were hitherto but imperfectly repaired.

But the duke of Guise meditated a more important enGalais,

& terprise; and after amusing the enemy with threatening January I. successively different towns on the frontiers of Flanders,

he turned suddenly to the left, and invested Calais with his whole army. Calais had been taken by the English under Edward III, and was the fruit of that monarch's glorious victory at Cressy, Being the only place that they retained of their ancient and extensive territories in

He invests

XII.

France, and which opened to them, at all times, an easy to and secure passage into the heart of that kingdom, their keeping possession of it soothed the pride of the one nation as much as it mortified the vanity of the other. Its situation was naturally so strong, and its fortifications deemed so impregnable, that no monarch of France, how adventurous soever, had been bold enough to attack it. Even when the domestic strength of England was broken and exhausted by the blooily wars between the houses of York and Lancaster, and its attention entirely diverted from foreign objects, Calais had remained indisturbed and unthreatened. Mary and her council, composed chiefly of ecclesiastics, unacquainted with military affairs, and whose whole attention was turned towards extirpating heresy out of the kingdom, had not only neglected to take any precautions for the safety of this important place, but seemed to think that the reputation of its strength was alone sufficient for its security. Full of this opinion, they ventured, even after the declaration of war, to continue a practice which the low state of the queen's finances bad introduced in times of peace. As the country adjacent to Calais was overflowed during the winter, and the marshes around it became impaxsable, except bv one avenue, which the forts of St Agatha and Newpham bridge comnianded, it had been the custom of tlie English to dismiss the greater part of the garrison toward's the end of autumn, and to replace it in the spring. In tradevain did Lord Wentwortli, the governor of Caluis, re-firiceless monstrate against this ill-timed parsimony, and represent the possibility of its being attacked suldenly, while be had not troops sufficient to man the works. The privy. council treated these remonstrances with scori), as if ther had flowed from the timidity or the rapaciousness of the governor; and some of them, with that confidence wbich is the companion of ignorance, boasted that they wonde defend Calais with their white rods against any evenin who should approach it during winter". La vain tid?

Contine'i, 295. 101. II.

[ocr errors]

BOOK
XII.

gour.

Philip, who had passed through Calais as he returned

from England to the Netherlands, warn the queen of the 1558

danger to which it was exposed; and acquainting ber with what was necessary for its security, in vain did he offer to reinforce the garrison during winter with a detachment of his own troops. Mary's counsellors, though obsequious to her in all points whierein religion was concerned, distrusted, as much as the rest of their country. men, every proposition that came from her husband; and suspecting this to be an artifice of Philip's, in order to gain the command of the town, they neglected his intelligence, declined his offer, and left Calais with less than a fourth part of the garrison requisite for its de

fence. Guise His knowledge of this encouraged the duke of Guise pushes the siege to venture on an enterprise that surprised his own counwith vie, trymen no less than his enemies. As he knew that its

success depended on conducting his operations with such rapidity as would afford the English no time for throwing relief into the town by sea, and prevent Philip from giving him any interruption by land, he pushed the attack with a degree of vigour little known in carrying on sieges during that age. He drove the English from fort St Agatha at the frrst assault; he obliged them to abandon the fort of Newnham bridge, after defending it only three days; he took the castle which commanded the barbour

by storm; and on the eighth day after he appeared before Takes the Calais, compelled the governor to surrender, as his feeble

garrison, which did not exceed five hundred men, was worn out with the fatigue of sustaining so many attaeks,

and defending such extensive works. and like. The duke of Guise, without allowing the English time reise... to recover from the consternation occasioned by this blow, Guisnes 10 and Hames, immediately invested Guisnes, the garrison of which,

though more numerous, defended itself with less vigour, and after standing one brisk assault, gave up the town. The castle of Hames was abandoned by the troops posted there, without waiting the approach of the enemy.

town,

« ForrigeFortsett »