« AnteriorContinuar »
breake out into factions, the safest, because they are both ready and united.
The particulars of their strength are, first their townes of surety, two of which command the river of Loyre.
Secondly, their scituation, the greatest part of them lying neere together, as Poictou, Zanningtonge, high Gascoigne, Languedoc, and Daulphin, neere the sea, so consequently fit to receive succours from abroad, and remote from Paris, so that the qualitie of an armie is much wasted before it can approach them.
The third, is the sufficiency of their present Governours, Bulloigne and Desdeguiers, and other second commanders. And for the Princes of the blood, whom the rest may, in shew, without emulation obey, when they come once to open action, those which want a party will quickly sceke them.
The last, is the ayde they are sure of froin forraine Princes : for whosoever are friends to France in generall, are more particularly their friends.
And besides, the Protestant partie being growne stronger of late, as the Low-Countries, and more united, as England and Scotland, part of that strength reflects upon them; and even the King of Spaine himselfe, which is enemie to France in generall, would rather give them succour, then see them utterly extirpated : and yet no forraine Prince
can ever make further use of them, then to disturbe France, not to invadle it himselfe. For as soone as they get an elict with better con litions, they turne head against him that now succoured them, as they did against iis, at Nero-haven.
Concerning the proportion of their number, they are not above the seventeene or cighteenth part of the people, but of the gentlemen there are 6000. of the religion; but since the peace they have increased in people, as principally in Paris, Normunily, and Daulphin, but lost in the gentrie, which losse commeth to pisse, by reason that the King when he findes any gent. that will but hearken, tempts him with preferment, and those he findes utterly obstinate, suppresseth: and by such meanes hee hath done them more harme in peace, then both his predecessors in warre. For in all their assemblies hee corrupts some of their ministers to betray their counsell in hand ; and of the 100 and 6000. crowns a yeare, which he paies the Protestants to entertaine their ministers, and pay their garrisons, hee hath gotten the bestowing of 16000. of them upon what gentleman of the religion he pleaseth, when by that mcanes he molerates, if not gaines : and besides, they were wont to impose upon him their two deputies which are to stay at court, but now he makes then propose sixe, out of which he chuseth the two, and by that obligeth those ; and yet notwithstanding all this, in some occasions hee makes good use of them too. For as towards England he placeth none in any place of strength but firme Catholikes; so towards Spaine and Saway he often gives charge to Protestants, as to la Force in Bearne, Desceguiers and Boisse in Bresse.
Concerning the King himselfe, hee is a person wonderfull both in war and peace : for his acts in Warre, hee hath manumized France from the Spaniard, and subdued the league, being the most dangerous plot that hath hin layd, weakening it by armes, but utterly dissolving it by wit, that is, by letting the Duke of Guise out of prison, and capitulating with the heads of it every one apart, by which meanes hee hath yet left a continual hatred among them, because every one sought, by preventing other, to make his conditions the better; so that now there remaines little connexion of it amongst the gentrie, onely there continues some dregges still among the priests, and consequently the people, especially when they are angred with the increase and prosperitie of the Protestants.
For his acts of peace, hee hath enriched France with a greater proportion of wooll, and silke, erected goodly buildings, cut passages betwixt river and river, and is about to due the same betwixt sea and sea, redeemed much of the mortgaged demaynes of the crowne, better husbanded the money, which
was wont to bee drunke uppe two parts of it in the otheers hands, got aforeland in trcasure, armes and munition, increased the infantric, and supprest the unproportionable cavalry, and left nothing undone but the building of a navic.
And all this may bee attributed to hiinselfe onely, because in a monarchy, officers are accordingly active or carelesse, as the Prince is able to juilge and distinguish of their labours, and withall to participate of them soinewhat himselfe.
Sure it is that the peace of France, and somewhat that of Christendonie it selfe, is secured by this Princes life: for all titles and discontents, all factions of religion there suppresse themselves till his death; but what will ensue after ; what the rest of the house of Bourbon will enterprise upon the Kings children, what the house of Guise upon the house of Bourbon, what the league, what the Protestants, what the Kings of Spain, and England, if they see a breach marle by civill dissention, I chuse rather to expect then conjecture, because God hath so many wayes to turne aside from humaine fore-sight, as hee gave us a testimony upon the death of our late Queene.
The countrey of France, considering the quantitie, is the fairest and richest of all Christendome, and containes in it most of the countries adjoyning. For Picardir, Normandie, and Brctaigne, resemble England ; Lunguedoc, Spaine, Province, Italie, and the rest is France.
Besides, all the rivers that passe through it, end in it. It abounds with corne, wine, and salt, and hath a competency of silke; but is defective in wooll, leather, mettals, and horses; and hath but few very good havens, especially on the north side.
Concerning the people; their children at first sight seeme men, and their men children; but who 80, in negotiating, presumes upon appearance, shall bee deceived: compassionate towards their owne nation and countrey ; loving to the Prince, and so they may have liberty in ceremony, and free accesse to him, they will be the better content that hee shall be absolute in matter of substance; impatient of peace any longer then whiles they are in recovering the ruines of warre; the presentnesse of danger inflames their courage, but any expectation makes it languish; for the most, they are all imagination, and no judgment, but those that prove solid, excell; their gentleinen are all good outward men, good courtiers, good souldiers, and knowing enough in men and businesse, but meerly ignorant in matters of letters, because at fifteene they quit bookes, and begin to live in the world, when indeed a mediocritie betwixt their forme of cducation and ours would doe better then either. No men stand more punctually upon their honours in matter of valour, and which is strange, in nothing else; for otherwise in their conversation, the custome and shifting and overspeaking, hath quite overcome the shame of it.