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Henry of Lorraine

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HENRY OF LORRAINE, 3rd duke of Guise (1550-1588), born on Dec. 31, 155o, was 13 years old at the time of his father's death, and grew up under the domination of a passionate desire for revenge. Catherine de' Medici refused to take steps against Coligny, who was formally accused by the duchess of Guise and her brothers-in-law of having incited the murder. In 1566 she insisted on a formal reconciliation at Moulins between the Guises and Coligny, at which, however, none of the sons of the murdered man was present. Henry and his brothers were, however, com pelled in 1572 to sign an ambiguous assent to this agreement. Guise's widow married James of Savoy, duke of Nemours, and the young duke at 16 went to fight against the Turks in Hungary. On the fresh outbreak of civil war in 1567 he returned to France and served under his uncle Aumale. In the autumn of 1568 he received a considerable command, and speedily came into rivalry with Henry of Valois, duke of Anjou. He had not inherited his father's generalship, and his rashness and headstrong valour more than once brought disaster on his troops, but the showy quality of his fighting brought him great popularity in the army. In the defence of Poitiers in 1569 with his brother. the duke of Mayenne, he showed more solid abilities as a soldier. On the conclusion of peace in 15 7o he returned to court, where he made no secret of his attachment to Margaret of Valois. His pretensions were violently resented by her brothers, who threatened his life, and he saved himself by a precipitate marriage with Catherine of Cleves (daughter of Francis of Cleves, duke of Nevers, and Margaret of Bourbon), the widow of a Huguenot nobleman, Antoine de Crog, prince of Porcien. Presently he ended his disgrace by an apparent reconciliation with Henry of Valois and an alliance with Catherine de' Medici. He was an accomplice in the first attack on Coligny's life, and when permission for the massacre of Saint Bartholomew had been extorted from Charles IX. he roused Paris against the Huguenots, and satisfied his personal vengeance by superintending the murder of Coligny.

Henry was now the acknowledged chief of the Catholic party, and the power of his family was further increased by the marriage of Henry III. with Louise of Vaudemont, who belonged to the elder branch of the house of Lorraine. In a fight at Dor mans (Oct. 10, 1575), the only Catholic victory in a disastrous campaign, Guise received a face wound which won for him his father's name of Balafre and helped to secure the passionate attachment of the Parisians. He refused to acquiesce in the treaty of Beaulieu (May 5, 1576), and with the support of the Jesuits proceeded to form a "holy league" for the defence of the Roman Catholic Church. The terms of enrolment enjoined offensive action against all who refused to join. This association had been preceded by various provincial leagues among the Catholics, notably one at Peronne. Conde had been imposed on this town as governor by the terms of the peace, and the local nobility banded together to resist him. This, like the Holy League itself, was political as well as religious in its aims, and was partly inspired by revolt against the royal authority. In the direction of the League Guise was hampered by Philip of Spain, who subsidized the movement, while he also had to sub mit to the dictation of the Parisian democracy. Ulterior ambi tions were freely ascribed to him. It was asserted that papers seized from his envoy to Rome, Jean David, revealed a definite design of substituting the Lorraines, who represented themselves as the successors of Charlemagne, for the Valois; but these papers were probably a Huguenot forgery. Henry III. eventually placed himself at the head of the League, and resumed the war against the Huguenots; but on the conclusion of peace (Sept. 15 7 7) he seized the opportunity of disbanding the Catholic associations. The king's jealousy of Guise increased with the duke's popularity, but he did not venture on an open attack, nor did he dare to avenge the murder by Guise's partisans of one of his personal favourites, Saint-Megrin, who had been set on by the court to compromise the reputation of the duchess of Guise. This incident supplied Alexandre Dumas pere with the subject of his Henri III. et sa tour (1829).

Henry of Lorraine

Meanwhile the duke had entered on an equivocal alliance with Don John of Austria. He was also in constant correspondence with Mary of Lorraine, and meditated a descent on Scotland in support of the Catholic cause. But the great riches of the Guises were being rapidly dissipated, and in 1578 the duke be came a pensioner of Philip II. When in 1584 the death of the duke of Anjou made Henry of Navarre the next heir to the throne, the prospect of a Huguenot dynasty roused the Catholics to forget their differences, and led to the formation of a new league of the Catholic nobles. At the end of the same year Guise and his brother, the duke of Mayenne, with the assent of other Catholic nobles, signed a treaty at Joinville with Philip II., fixing the succession to the crown on Charles, cardinal of Bourbon, to the exclusion of the Protestant princes of his house. In March 1585 the chiefs of the League issued the Declaration of Peronne, exposing their grievances against the Government and announcing their intention to restore the dignity of religion by force of arms. On the refusal of Henry III. to accept Spanish help against his Huguenot subjects, war broke out. The chief cities of France declared for the League, and Guise, who had recruited his forces in Germany and Switzerland, took up his headquarters at Chalons, while Mayenne occupied Dijon, and his relatives, the dukes of Elbeuf, Aumale and Mercoeur, roused Normandy and Brittany. Henry III. accepted, or feigned to accept, the terms imposed by the Guises at Nemours (July 7, 1585). The edicts in favour of the Huguenots were immediately revoked.

Guise added to his reputation as the Catholic champion by defeating the German auxiliaries of the Huguenots at Vimory (Oct. 1587) and Auneau (Nov. 1587). The protestations of loyalty to Henry III. which had marked the earlier manifestoes of the League were modified. Obedience to the king was now stated to depend on his giving proof of Catholic zeal and showing no favour to heresy. In April 1588 Guise arrived in Paris, where he put himself at the head of the Parisian mob, and on May 12, known as the Day of the Barricades, he actually had the crown within his grasp. He refused to treat with Catherine de' Medici, who was prepared to make peace at any cost, but restrained the populace from revolution and permitted Henry to escape from Paris. Henry came to terms with the League in May, and made Guise lieutenant-general of the royal armies. The estates-general, which were assembled at Blois, were devoted to the Guise interest, and alarmed the king by giving voice to the political as well as the religious aspirations of the League. Guise remained at the court of Blois after receiving repeated warnings that Henry meditated treason. On Dec. 25 he was summoned to the king's chamber during a sitting of the royal council, and was murdered by assassins carefully posted by Henry III. himself. The cardinal of Lorraine was murdered in prison on the next day. The history of the Guises thenceforward centres in the duke of Mayenne (q.v.).

By his wife, Catherine of Cleves, the third duke had 14 chil dren: among them Charles, 4th duke of Guise (1571-1640) ; Claude, duke of Chevreuse (1578-1657), whose wife, Marie de Rohan, duchess of Chevreuse, became famous for her intrigues; Louis (1585-1621), 3rd cardinal of Guise, archbishop of Reims, remembered for his liaison with Charlotte des Essarts, mistress of Henry IV.

guise, duke, league, catholic, guises, catherine and huguenots