Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Charles de Valois, Duke of Angouleme

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Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition, Volume II  (1878) 
Charles de Valois, Duke of Angouleme

ANGOULEME, Charles de Valois, Duke of, the natural son of Charles IX. of France and Marie Touchet, was born 28th April 1573, at the castle of Fayet in Dauphine. His father, dying in the following year, com mended him to the care and favour of his brother and suc cessor, Henri III., who faithfully fulfilled the charge. His mother married Franois de Balzac, marquis d Entragues, and one of her daughters, Henriette, marchioness of Verneuil, afterwards became the mistress of Henri IV. Charles of Valois was carefully educated, and was destined for the order of Malta. At the early age of sixteen he attained one of the highest dignities of the order, being made grand prior of France. Shortly after he came into possession of large estates left by Catherine de Medicis, from one of which he took his title of count of Auvergne. In 1591 he obtained a dispensation from the vows of the order of Malta, and married Charlotte, daughter of Henri, marshal d Amville, afterwards duke of Montmorenci. In 1589 Henri III. was assassinated, but on his death-bed he com mended Charles to the good-will of his successor Henri IV. By that monarch he was made colonel of horse, and in that capacity served in the campaigns during the early part of the reign. But the connection between the king and the marchioness of Verneuil appears to have been very displeasing to Auvergne, and in 1601 he engaged in the conspiracy formed by the dukes of Savoy, Biron, and Bouillon, one of the objects of which was to force Henri to repudiate his wife and marry the marchioness. The conspiracy was discovered ; Biron and Auvergne were arrested, and Biron was executed. Auvergne after a few months imprisonment was released, chiefly through the in fluence of his half-sister, his aunt, the duchess d Angouleme, and his father-in-law. He then entered into fresh intrigues with the court of Spain, acting in concert with the mar chioness of Verneuil and her father d Entragues. In 1604 d Entragues and he were arrested and condemned to death; at the same time the marchioness was condemned to per petual imprisonment in a convent. She easily obtained pardon, and the sentence of death against the other two was commuted into perpetual imprisonment. Auvergne remained in the Bastile for eleven years from 1605 to 1616. In 1606 a decree of Parliament, obtained by Marguerite de Valois, deprived him of nearly all his possessions, in cluding Auvergne, though he still retained the title. In 1616 he was released, was restored to his rank of colonel- general of horse, and despatched against one of the disaf fected nobles, the duke of Longueville, who had taken Peronne. Next year he commanded the forces collected in the Isle de France, and obtained some successes. In 1619 he received by bequest, ratified in 1620 by royal grant, the duchy of Angouleme. Soon after he was engaged on an important embassy to Germany, the result of which was the treaty of Ulm, signed July 1620. In 1627 he commanded the large forces assembled at the siege of La Ptochelle ; and some years after, in 1635, during the Thirty Years War, he was general of the French army in Lorraine. In 1636 he was made lieutenant-general of the army. He appears to have retired from public life shortly after the death of Richelieu in 1643. His first wife died in 1636, and in 1644 he married Francoise de Nargonne, daughter of Charles, baron of Mareuil. She had no children, and survived her husband many years. Angouleme himself died in 1650, in his seventy-sixth year. By his first wife he had three children : Henri, who became insane ; Louis Emmanuel, who succeeded his father as due d Angouleme; and Francois, who died 1622.

The duke was the author of the following works : (1.) Memoires, from Uie Assatsination of Henri III. to the Battle of Arqiies, published at Paris by Boneau, and reprinted by Buchon in his Choix de Chroniqucs, 1836, and by Fetitot in his Mtmoires, 1st series, vol. xliv. ; (2.) Lcs Harangues, prononc^s en AssciribUc de MM. Us Princes Protestants d Allcmagne, par Monseigneur le due d Angouleme, 1620 ; (3.) A translation of a Spanish work by Diego de Torres. To him has also been ascribed the work, La gentrale ct fidele Relation de tout ce qui s cst pass/ en I Isle de Re, cnvoyee par le Roi a la Royne sa mere, Paris, 1627.