Page:EB1911 - Volume 10.djvu/850

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upon her by the harsh conditions of the treaty of Madrid—otherwise little respected—and later by those of Cambrai (1529); but it was not till later, too late indeed, that it was defined and became a national policy.

After having, despite so many reverses and mistakes, saved Burgundy, though not Artois nor Flanders, and joined to the crown lands the domains of the constable de Bourbon who had gone over to Charles V., Francis I. should Further prosecution of romantic expeditions. have had enough of defending other people’s independence as well as his own, and should have thought more of his interests in the north and east than of Milan. Yet between 1531 and 1547 he manifested the same regrets and the same invincible ambition for that land of Italy which Charles V., on his side, regarded as the basis of his strength. Their antagonism, therefore, remained unabated, as also the contradiction of an official agreement with Charles V., combined with secret intrigues with his enemies. Anne de Montmorency, now head of the government in place of the headstrong chancellor Duprat, for four years upheld a policy of reconciliation and of almost friendly agreement between the two monarchs (1531-1535). The death of Francis I.’s mother, Louise of Savoy (who had been partly instrumental in arranging the peace of Cambrai), the replacement of Montmorency by the bellicose Chabot, and the advent to power of a Burgundian, Granvella, as Charles V.’s prime minister, put an end to this double-faced policy, which attacked the Calvinists of France while supporting the Lutherans of Germany; made advances to Clement VII. while pretending to maintain the alliance with Henry VIII. (just then consummating the Anglican schism); and sought an alliance with Charles V. without renouncing the possession of Italy. The death of the duke of Milan provoked a third general war (1536-1538); The truce at Nice. but after the conquest of Savoy and Piedmont and a fruitless invasion of Provence by Charles V., it resulted in another truce, concluded at Nice, in the interview at Aigues-mortes, and in the old contradictory policy of the treaty of Cambrai. This was confirmed by Charles V.’s triumphal journey through France (1539).

Rivalry between Madame d’Etampes, the imperious mistress of the aged Francis I., and Diane de Poitiers, whose ascendancy over the dauphin was complete, now brought court intrigues and constant changes in those who held Fourth outbreak of war. office, to complicate still further this wearisome policy of ephemeral “combinazioni” with English, Germans, Italians and Turks, which urgent need of money always brought to naught. The disillusionment of Francis I., who had hitherto hoped that Charles V. would be generous enough to give Milan back to him, and then the assassination of Rincon, his ambassador at Constantinople, led to a fourth war (1544-1546), in the course of which the king of England went over to the side of Charles V.

Unable in the days of his youth to make Italy French, when age began to come upon him, Francis tried to make France Italian. In his château at Blois he drank greedily of the cup of Renaissance art; but he found the Royal absolutism under Francis I. exciting draughts of diplomacy which he imbibed from Machiavelli’s Prince even more intoxicating, and he headed the ship of state straight for the rock of absolutism. He had been the first king “du bon plaisir” (“of his own good pleasure”)—a “Caesar,” as his mother Louise of Savoy proudly hailed him in 1515—and to a man of his gallant and hot-headed temperament love and war were schools little calculated to teach moderation in government. Italy not only gave him a taste for art and letters, but furnished him with an arsenal of despotic maxims. Yet his true masters were the jurists of the southern universities, passionately addicted to centralization and autocracy, men like Duprat and Poyet, who revived the persistent tradition of Philip the Fair’s legists. Grouped together on the council of affairs, they managed to control the policy of the common council, with its too mixed and too independent membership. They successfully strove to separate “the grandeur and superexcellence of the king” from the rest of the nation; to isolate the nobility amid the seductions of a court lavish in promises of favour and high office; and to win over the bourgeoisie by the buying and selling and afterwards by the hereditary transmission of offices. Thanks to their action, feudalism was attacked in its landed interest in the person of the constable de Bourbon; feudalism in its financial aspect by the execution of superintendent Semblançay and the special privileges of towns and provinces by administrative centralization. The bureaucracy became a refuge for the nobles, and above all for the bourgeois, whose fixed incomes were lowered by the influx of precious metals from the New World, while the wages of artisans rose. All those time-worn medieval institutions which no longer allowed free scope to private or public life were demolished by the legists in favour of the monarchy.

Their master-stroke was the Concordat of 1516, which meant an immense stride in the path towards absolutism. While Germany and England, where ultramontane doctrines had been allowed to creep in, were seeking a remedy The concordat of 1516. against the economic exactions of the papacy in a reform of dogma or in schism, France had supposed herself to have found this in the Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges. But to the royal jurists the right of the churches and abbeys to make appointments to all vacant benefices was a guarantee of liberties valuable to the clergy, but detestable to themselves because the clergy thus retained the great part of public wealth and authority. By giving the king the ecclesiastical patronage they not only made a docile instrument of him, but endowed him with a mine of wealth, even more productive than the sale of offices, and a power of favouring and rewarding that transformed a needy and ill-obeyed king into an absolute monarch. To the pope they offered a mess of pottage in the shape of annates and the right of canonical institution, in order to induce him to sell the Church of France to the king. By this royal reform they completely isolated the monarchy, in the presumptuous pride of omnipotence, upon the ruins of the Church and the aristocracy, despite both the university and the parlement of Paris.

Thus is explained Francis I.’s preoccupation with Italian adventures in the latter part of his reign, and also the inordinate squandering of money, the autos-da-fé in the provinces and in Paris, the harsh repression of reform and free thought, and the sale of justice; while the nation became impoverished and the state was at the mercy of the caprices of royal mistresses—all of which was to become more and more pronounced during the twelve years of Henry II.’s government.

Henry II. shone but with a reflected light—in his private life reflected from his old mistress, Diane de Poitiers, and in his Henry II. (1547-1559). political action reflected from the views of Montmorency or the Guises. He only showed his own personality in an egoism more narrow-minded, in hatred yet bitterer than his father’s; or in a haughty and jealous insistence upon an absolute authority which he never had the wit to maintain.

The struggle with Charles V. was at first delayed by differences with England. The treaty of Ardres had left two bones of contention: the cession of Boulogne to England and the exclusion of the Scotch from the terms of Henry II. and Charles V. peace. At last the regent, the duke of Somerset, endeavoured to arrange a marriage between Edward VI., then a minor, and Mary Stuart, who had been offered in marriage to the dauphin Francis by her mother, Marie of Lorraine, a Guise who had married the king of Scotland. The transference of Mary Stuart to France, and the treaty of 1550 which restored Boulogne to France for a sum of 400,000 crowns, suspended the state of war; and then Henry II.’s opposition to the imperial policy of Charles V. showed itself everywhere: in Savoy and Piedmont, occupied by the French and claimed by Philibert Emmanuel, Charles V.’s ally; in Navarre, unlawfully conquered by Ferdinand the Catholic and claimed by the family of Albret; in Italy, where, aided and abetted by Pope Paul III., Henry II. was trying to regain support; and, finally, in Germany, where after the victory of Charles V. at Mühlberg (1547) the Protestant princes called Henry II. to their aid, offering to