1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Bonnivet, Guillaume Gouffier, Seigneur de
BONNIVET, GUILLAUME GOUFFIER, Seigneur de (c. 1488–1525), French soldier, was the younger brother of Artus Gouffier, seigneur de Boisy, tutor of Francis I. of France. Bonnivet was brought up with Francis, and after the young king's accession he became one of the most powerful of the royal favourites. In 1515 he was made admiral of France. In the imperial election of 1519 he superintended the candidature of Francis, and spent vast sums of money in his efforts to secure the votes of the electors, but without success. He was the implacable enemy of the constable de Bourbon and contributed to his downfall. In command of the army of Navarre in 1521, he occupied Fuenterrabia and was probably responsible for its non-restoration and for the consequent renewal of hostilities. He succeeded Marshal Lautrec in 1523 in the command of the army of Italy and entered the Milanese, but was defeated and forced to effect a disastrous retreat, in which the chevalier Bayard perished. He was one of the principal commanders of the army which Francis led into Italy at the end of 1524, and died at the battle of Pavia on the 24th of February 1525. Brantôme says that it was at Bonnivet's suggestion that the battle of Pavia was fought, and that, seeing the disaster he had caused, he courted and found death heroically in the fight. In spite of his failures as a general and diplomatist, his handsome face and brilliant wit enabled him to retain throughout his life the intimacy and confidence of his king. He was a man of licentious life. According to Brantôme he was the successful rival of the king for the favours of Madame de Châteaubriand, and if we may believe him to have been—as is very probable—the hero of the fourth story of the Heptameron, Marguerite d'Angoulême had occasion to resist his importunities.
Nationale, Paris; memoirs of the time; complete works of Brantôme, vol. iii., published by Ludovic Lalanne for the Société de l'Histoire de France (1864 seq.). See also Ernest Lavisse, Histoire de France,vol. v., by H. Lemonnier (1903–1904).