The New International Encyclopædia/Biron, Charles de Gontault, Duke de

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BIRON, Charles de Gontault, Duke de (1562-1602). A French soldier, son of Armand, under whose command he served with distinction in the campaigns against the League, acquiring renown and the surname of ‘Fulmen Galliæ,’ or ‘Thunderbolt of France.’ He was made admiral of France by Henry IV. in 1592, and marshal in 1594; became governor of Burgundy in 1595, and was created duke and peer of France in 1598. He was a man of great intrepidity, but was fickle and treacherous. He was sent to England in 1601 to announce the marriage of Henry with Maria de' Medici, but about the same time he was condemned by the Parliament for treasonable negotiations with Spain and Savoy, aiming at the overthrow of the Bourbon dynasty, the dismemberment of the kingdom into provincial States, and his own elevation to the sovereignty of Burgundy. Induced to come to Paris, he was apprehended and beheaded in the Bastille.