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FrancisII. concealed under pretence of having fome Law-
As foon as the Confederates were affembled in that City, la Renaudie went to vifit them one after another, and pumped them by the means of la Garaye, to know if they were still of the fame Mind; then he affembled them in a convenient Place, where, after the Invocation of the Name of God, he expofed to them in a fet Speech the State of the Kingdom, not only as to Religion, but likewife and especially as to the Civil Government, which was in the hands of Foreigners, who, of their own Authority had ufurp ed that Office, without being called to it, according to the antient Laws and Customs of the Realm; he fhewed forth the danger which might befall by that, and which was near at hand, the great Changes and Alterations which these new Governors had made in every thing.
Then having faid many things tending to refolve their scruples about the Lawfulness of that Enterprize, and afferted in the strongest words the Duty and Allegiance of the Subjects to their Sovereign, he told them, that it was not against, the King, but against Traytors, Enemies to the King and the Country, who ufed tyrannically the Power and Authority they had ufurped; he protefted folemnly, that nothing fhould be undertook against the King's facred Perfon and Majefty, or the Queen-Mother, nor any of the Royal Family; but only to reftore their Majefty and Dignity, the Liberty of their Country, the Authority of the Laws, and to deliver them from the Violence and Tyranny of Foreigners. When he had ended his Speech, he afked the Affembly if they understood and approved of what he had
faid? To which they all unanimously gave their Francis[[.
Then they drew up a Form of Proteft, by Pius IV. which they thought to fecure themselves (b); the Deeds, and Proofs of the Charges laid upon the Guises, likewife the Civilians and Divines Opinions who had been confulted, were exhibited. After that, they took into their confideration, the means and time of the Execution, the Number of Men, the Captains to lead the Troops of each Province, and the Council for the Chief or his Lieutenant; and they agreed, that it should not be lawful for any one to fwerve from any thing which had been agreed upon, except as to the manner, and time, which fhould be left to the difcretion of those who should have the charge and management of it.
As to the means, they agreed that a great Number of Men without Arms fhould go before with a Petition to the King, humbly requiring the free Exercise of their Religion; mean while fome Troops of Horse should approach near Blois, where the King was, and having been admitted into the Town by the Intelligence they had in it, they should prefent a new Petition against the Guifes; and in cafe they fhould refufe to depart from Court, or to give an account of their Adminiftration, they fhould be affaulted Sword in hand; and then the Prince of Condé, who defired that his Name fhould be kept concealed till that time, would fhew himself as their Chief. They appointed the 10th of March for the day of Execution.
(b) Each of them took an Oath, to undertake nothing against the King's Royal Majefty, the Princes of the Blood, or the Laws of the Kingdom; this was the firft Article of their Covenant.
Pope Pius IV.
But before they departed from Nantz they divided amongst themselves the Provinces, from whence they were to draw their affiftance. James de la Motte Baron of Caftelnau-Chaloffe had for his share, Gafcony; Captain Mazeres, Bearn; du Mefnil, Perigort and Limofin; Mirabeau, Xaintonge; Coccaville, Picardy; Chateauneuf, Provence; Maligny, Brie and Champaign; la Chefnaye, Anjou and Maine; Sante Marie, Normandy; Montejan, Britany; Brefay, Poitou. M. de Beze adds to thefe, de Chiray for Chaftelleraud, and the adjacent Places.
It was alfo agreed, that there fhould be in all the chief Cities of the Kingdom, fome Gentlemen to hinder the People from any unfeasonable Commotions, and that the Guifes fhould receive any affiftance from their Adherents.
These things being agreed upon, they departed, and every one went to his home with the fame Secrecy as he came, to get every thing ready for execution. La Renaudie went to give an account to the Prince of what had been tranfacted and agreed upon, from thence he proceeded to England to defire the affiftance of Queen Elizabeth; being come back, he went throughout all the Provinces of France, to fee that every thing should be ready for the execution, and made fuch diligence, that nothing was wanting on his part.
But as he came to Paris to vifit M. de ChanThe Plot dieu Minister of that Place, and to acquaint him difcovered with the Refolutions taken at Nantz, he went to by d'Avenelles.
lodge at M. d'Avenelles an Attorney, and being
tice of it to the Guifes; fo he went to M. de FrancisII. Vouzé, who had the direction of the Cardinal's 1560. Pope moft fecret Affairs, and to Milet Secretary to the Pius IV. Duke of Guife, and told them all that he knew of the Plot; at firft they could not believe him, but as every day Advices came from foreign Countries to the Guifes, that fome Plot was hatching against them, which if not immediately prevented, would foon prove their utter ruin; Vouzé thought that they ought not to neglect d'Avenelle's Information; therefore Milet, taking long with him this Attorney, went poft to the Duke of Guife, who was already fet out from Blois with the King, to go to Amboife, whofe Castle was strong, and the Place itself being of a fmall extent, required a leffer Garrison; which fudden change of place was a great difappointment to the Confederates. As d'Ave elles had charged a Nobleman who had a Brother at Court, by the means of this, they were more particularly acquainted with the Circumftances of the Plot, which ferved very much to feparate and intercept the Confederates. D'Avenelles was fent under Cuftody to Amboife, to the end, that if his Information was falfe, they might know from himself the reafon of that Calumny; and if true, he might be an Evidence against the Accomplices. The Court was in a strange perplexity, knowing not what would become of the Plot. Then the Guifes ordered the Marfhal de Mont
morency to fend to Amboife under a ftrong Guard, Robert Stuart, Anfelme de Soucelles, and the Bailiff of St. Aignan, who were kept Prisoners in the Caftle of Vincennes, because they were fufpected of being concerned in the Plot; which Order was executed. Then, as Admiral de Coligny, and his Brother, were also fufpected; the Guifes dreading them becaufe of their Riches
FrancisII. and Credit, but much more, because of their Virtue 1560. and Courage, advised the Queen-Mother to fend Pope Pius IV. for them, under pretence of ftanding in need of their Counfels in fuch an extremity. They came immediately with the Cardinal their Brother, and being admitted to a private Audience of the Queen-Mother, the Admiral inveighed much, in prefence of the Chancellor, against the new and violent Administration of the Government; and faid, that it was the reafon of the difcontent of fo many People; which, nevertheless, it was not impoffible to bring back to their former Obedience, if the Punishments which fo many poor Wretches were expofed to every day all over the Kingdom, were fuperfeded, and Liberty of Confcience granted, till the points controverted in Religion fhould be explained by the decifion of a free General Council. The Chancellor, who was a Man defirous of a Reformation in the Church, and averfe to the Severity of the Punishments inflicted for Religion's fake, informed the Guifes of this Opinion of the Admiral; and said, that it would be an excellent way to pacify the People, if they gave out an Edict, by which all paft Faults fhould be forgiven, and Liberty of Confcience granted, till the decifion of a free General Council.
The Guifes approved of that Opinion, and an Edict was accordingly drawn, out of which, nevertheless, they excepted the Minifters; thofe, who under pretence of Religion, had confpired against the King, his Mother, his Brethren, and the rest of the Princes and Minifters of State; thofe, who had rescued Prisoners out of the Serjeants hands; and those who had intercepted the King's Letters or Briefs, and detained his Meffengers. That Edict was fent to the Parliament; and as it came from the Guifes, the Attorney