Ekaterina Medici’s justification

Ekaterina reached the power not at once. During lifetime of the husband Henry II she was forced to bear humiliations, observing as by him his haughty favourite Diane de Poitier who in addition was more senior than the king for 20 years twirls.

— What do you read, the madam? — Diana asked somehow Ekaterina.

— I read history of France — the Italian unperturbably answered,

— also found out that at all times whores managed affairs of kings. At government of the sons, one behind another, Ekaterina managed to break this “custom”. She refused also unilateral orientation to forces of Counter-Reformation to which Henry II followed (not without the same Diane de Poitier’s influence). France could expect intervention from Spain directed against Huguenots at any time, saved from her actually only derivation of forces of Madrid on other purposes. Making aggressive plans behind a mask of care of interests of religion, Philip II quite often sought to give them and visibility of defense against approach of Protestantism. The wife of the Spanish king Elizabeth, Ekaterina Medici’s daughter, in July, 1561, at the very beginning of civil wars, wrote mother that nobody any more her husband is anxious with threat for Catholic belief in France as “Flanders and Spain are nearby”. Ekaterina’s attempts to reach the agreement with Huguenots caused open and sharp intervention from Philipp. “Let know to the queen — he — wrote the Spanish ambassador in France that, following this course, her son will lose the kingdom and will lose obedience from the vassals”. The papal Nuncio wrote about Ekaterina Medici: “The queen does not believe in God” 4. Most of contemporaries were inclined to absolutize value of religious disputes. Ekaterina Medici, on the contrary, attached so not enough significance to disputes of churches per se, so got used to consider them as something not really important in comparison with the facing material interests and political contradictions that sometimes belittled relative value of a religious factor. Therefore even after at the third session of the Tridentsky cathedral the Catholic doctrines which are accurately separating the Roman church from any form of Protestantism were formulated, the queen made impracticable plans of restoration of religious unity on the basis of reconciliation of two religions. In practice real alternative was — as it was talked of France, but not of Europe in general — the statement of toleration or destruction of one of the fighting parties. Supported the first decision which was very favorable to interests of a crown so-called (since 1563) party of “politicians”. She resolutely rejected also old idea that the power is based on religious tradition, and new idea about an origin of the power from the public contract. “Politicians” adhered to idea of the divine power of the monarch which one is only capable to defend unity, stability and sovereignty of the state, to provide implementation of laws and maintenance of an order. For “politicians” of a problem of religion were of secondary importance, and they were ready to go to the statement of toleration if it in the state interests. It is easy to notice that the theory of divine character of the power of the monarch had in compositions of representatives of this party absolutely other public sense, than that which it got in the 17th and 18th centuries subsequently. For the period of civil wars in France views of “politicians” were justification of protection of national statehood against applicants for the European hegemony, against the leading forces of Catholic Counter-Reformation. Not without reason such position caused the suspicions which turned then into open hatred from militant Catholics. Theoretical views of “politicians” were expressed in speeches and Michel Lopi-tal’s letters, in Jean Boden’s treatises and a number of prominent lawyers. To their party, though it is not consecutive, also the queen-mother adjoined. Michel Lopital, from 1560 to 1568 the holding post of the chancellor of France, the follower of views of Erasmus and so resolute supporter of the termination of religious wars that the party Gizov doubted even his commitment to Catholic belief became the recognized leader of the party of “politicians”. He was supported by the people who left school of humanity, the certain influential representatives of Huguenots and Catholics considering that interests of the country should be put over interests of religion and that they imperiously demand the known degree of toleration. Ekaterina Medici approving Lopital’s activity after his resignation came nearer, departed from the course recommended to them. Participation of France in the century conflict turned an inevitable religious and dynastic form of internal political fight into a serious obstacle for preservation of the reached national association and the most independent existence of the country. In France other powers at once tried to use internal fight. Originally England … The diplomat and the intelligence agent sir Nicholas Trokmorton — the supporter of resolute fight against Elizabeth’s opponents — in May, 1559 was appointed the constant ambassador to Paris. Just at this time the Kato-Kambreziysky peace which finished long war between Valois and Gabsburgami was made. There was a threat of creation of the coalition of the most powerful Catholic powers, especially serious that the relative Gizov Maria Stewart who became the wife of the French king Francis II (1559 — 1560) had to occupy the Scottish throne and had the dynastic rights for the English throne. France really sent in January, 1560 a military squadron to Scotland for the help to a regentsha of Maria Giz (mother Maria Stewart) in fight against supporters of the Reformation. The storm disseminated this squadron, having relieved Elizabeth of danger, perhaps, not smaller, than the campaign of Invincible armada which took place in 30 years against England. Incitement of religious conflicts between Catholics and Protestants in France was retaliation of the English confidential diplomacy and investigation. To open collision went, of course, and without the British intrigues there, but N. Trokmorton one of the first saw opportunities which it opened for England. He wrote that at skillful maintaining the queen Elizabeth put “will be able to become the arbitrator and the governor of the Christian world”. In 1562 in Havre the English troops for support of Huguenots in the begun war landed. However the British help was late and was insufficient to prevent failure of Huguenot party fem this first stage of the civil wars which dragged on with breaks for three and a half decades. In July, 1563 Protestant Havre capitulated, the English diplomacy had to conclude hastily the agreement with the French yard (i.e. actually with Ekaterina Medici). In return, it was also extremely important to Philip II not to allow agreements between the French Catholics and Huguenots which would allow to turn energy of the noble outlaws which were engaged after the world in Kato-Kambrezi in internal conflicts on new war against the Spanish army in the Netherlands. At the beginning of civil wars, in 1562, Charles IX himself called the Spanish troops on help to suppress national performances in the south of France, but next year hurried to refuse this dangerous help. … On August 24, 1572 the Massacre of St. Bartholomew — beating in Paris of hundreds and thousands of Huguenots — everyone: men, women, ancient old men and babies on hands at their mothers. Attributed to Ekaterina Medici saying: “To be with them cruel — it is human, and to be merciful — cruelly”. The Spanish ambassador with pleasure informed Philip II: “When I write it, they kill all, they tear off from them clothes, drag on streets, plunder their houses, without giving mercy even to children. Yes the Lord who turned the French princes on the way of service to its business will be blessed! Yes it will inspire them hearts on continuation of what they began!” And the father Grigory XIII, having received news of the Massacre of St. Bartholomew, exclaimed that it is more pleasant to it, than 50 victories at Lepanto8. Bloody night blew the mind of contemporaries and descendants. (Partly therefore beatings of Catholics by Protestants to the Massacre of St. Bartholomew were seldom mentioned, for example — in Nym in Day of Saint Mikhail in 1569 — so-called “mishelyada”.) “For 400 years Ekaterina Medici, this black star in a sky, disturbs and bewitches us … Because of its acts and traits of character decked by the imagination of many generations she figures prominently in our mythology” — one of her latest biographers writes. Hatred to Ekaterina of her contemporaries Protestants was brightly expressed in a lampoon “The surprising narration about life, actions and bad acts of the queen Ekaterina Medici” which author wrote: “The foreigner feeding hostility and rage for everyone … The offspring of the merchant sort which towered thanks to usury, brought up in commitment to godlessness”. And further the full set of charges followed: the poisoner, the murderer of thousands of Huguenots standing among with the most bloody queens of all times. Relay of these charges from pamphleteers of the 16th century was accepted by the educators of the XVIII century convicting religious intolerance; in the next century — Protestant and liberal historians, authors of adventure novels, and then already, presently — the western cinema and television which informed hundreds of millions of audience of all register of crimes of the queen. The massacre of St. Bartholomew was drawn in chilling details by many writers among whom and Prosper Merimee from him “Charles IX’s Chronicle”, ьи the remarkable story-teller Alexandre Dumas with his well-known trilogy “Queen Margot”, “Countess Monso-ro” and “Forty five”. The organizer of the Massacre of St. Bartholomew — Ekaterina Medici — those who are familiar with it on works of liberal and Protestant historians of the last century or rather according to Dumas’s novels imagine nearly professional poisoner. However, Balzac did not share this point of view. In one of the of “philosophical etudes” — “About Ekaterina Medici” — he noticed that the florentiyka after death of the husband Henry II did not poison even him the favourite which was object of long hatred of the queen though quite was able to do it. Modern western researchers are inclined to reconsider traditionally severe verdict and even reproach the predecessors with distribution of “a black legend” of the queen-mother. “Let’s specify — writes, for example, F. Erlanzhe — that the florentiyka so known sodeyanny it crimes such, did not make any concerning which history would have the evidence and could therefore to recognize for the fact””. (We will add, however, that in general it is hard to prove such crimes, especially after four centuries!) As one of Ekaterina Medici’s crimes considered poisoning of the queen Navarrskaya of Zhanna D’Albre who died in Paris on June 9, 1572. This charge which repeated for centuries now is supported by nobody. The queen Navarrskaya was suffering from tuberculosis. Opening found abscess of the right lung, a brain tumor. Idea of Ekaterina Medici as to the poisoner in 1901 was convincingly disproved by doctor Nass. Since then stories about florentinka poisons refer most of serious historians to imaginations of romantic literature. “If Ekaterina did not bear responsibility for the Massacre of St. Bartholomew, would be not too paradoxical to claim that she was quite attractive historical character” — one of her biographers wrote. But whether the Massacre of St. Bartholomew of.1572 g the plot which is carefully prepared in advance was on August 24 or turned out to be consequence of the decision made slightly hours prior to slaughter? Ekaterina Medici and her son Charles IX preferred the first of these versions. It does not mean that it corresponded to truth, just the queen-mother and the king at first after the Massacre of St. Bartholomew short-sightedly believed that the gap with Huguenot party is final. And, making the decision to approach Catholic camp, Louvre considered convenient to interpret the actions as dictated first of all by interests of a religious order. And it was favorable to Catholic Counter-Reformation to agree with such treatment of events of ominous night. The cardinal Lotaringsky, the duke’s brother Giza, organized the edition in Rome of the book of certain Kapilupi “Military cunning of Charles IX” — the fictional story about policy of the French government urged to prove that murders in the Massacre of St. Bartholomew were in advance conceived and prepared action. The cardinal correctly counted that such version of events will complicate to the government conducting new negotiations with heretics. However Giza miscalculated if believed that obstacles such will be insuperable. Rapprochement with Spain was only one of uncountable zigzags in policy of the French yard, and sharp deterioration in the relations with Protestant powers, first of all with England, was obviously not equitable to its interests. Besides the Huguenot party in France was not broken at all and need of achievement with it new temporary compromises began to appear. Soon after the Massacre of St. Bartholomew Ekaterina Medici came into contacts with heads of Huguenots again. Therefore in the fall of 1572 the French yard tried to offer a new explanation of the Massacre of St. Bartholomew:; it appeared now as the response to the “Protestant plot” headed by the admiral Kolinyi who, as we know, was killed at the very beginning of a cruel slaughter. Huguenots, according to this version, were punished not for their belief, and for high treason. It is necessary to notice that on the eve of the Massacre of St. Bartholomew Ekaterina Medici had among Huguenots of the secret agent — Sierra de Bouchavan who represented from himself the Protestant and enjoyed Kolinyi’s confidence. De Bouchavan told Ekaterina Medici that the admiral brought together heads of Huguenot party and discussed with them a previously developed plan of capture of Paris, occupation of Louvre and arrest of the king. Revolution was allegedly supposed to be made on August 26. So at least de Bouchavan reported, or, more precisely, the essence of his reports was so stated later. Ekaterina Medici assured that for prevention of plot she had to decide on elimination of several leaders of Huguenots — all some to five or even three people, including Kolinyi. (Some Catholic historians also until now repeat these assurances.) However, the version about Huguenot plot from the very beginning did not cause trust, and statements about in advance planned plot of Catholics, on the contrary, were widely adopted in a historiography: many historians of the last century adhered to such position, in particular. In favor of this point of view the events similar to the Massacre of St. Bartholomew in a number of big cities which happened perhaps, even testify before the message about the Parisian murders could reach them. Nevertheless and this version did not sustain critical check. The analysis of the remained documents, memoirs of contemporaries for which there was no need to hide the truth allow to come only to one conclusion: the decision on beating of Huguenots was made in the few hours — or at least days — till midnight on August 24. Thus, “the terrifying murders of the Massacre of St. Bartholomew were rather a result of the amplifying pressure and own fears of Ekaterina, than treachery with in advance considered intention from her party”. Can seem that this conclusion excludes the Massacre of St. Bartholomew from a number of the events which were directly following from the century conflict turns it only into one, though the most bloody, an episode of long civil wars in France. But such conclusion would be wrong. Let organizers of Varfolomeevsky urine consciously were also not guided by the purposes of one of parties of the conflict, an opportunity to lift the population of the capital (and other cities) would never arise out of that social and psychological climate which was created by century collisions and was supported by a militant wing of Catholic clergy, including, of course, Jesuits. In essence, the dispute between Ekaterina Medici and the admiral Kolinyi which led to the Massacre of St. Bartholomew went at all not about whether to maintain the peace made between Catholics and Protestants, and even not about on what conditions to keep it (in it they agreed) — was talked of opportunities of its consolidation. Ekaterina’s plan was in that, having achieved reconciliation of parties to bring France out of the century conflict for the sake of interests of the state and — that it was far more important from the point of view of the queen-mother — Valois’s house. On the contrary, the admiral Kolinyi considered that the inner world guaranteeing interests of Huguenots will get durability only if France is involved in war with the main power of Catholic laгеря — in other words if France wages war outside the century conflict, but objectively to promote at the same time progress of Protestant camp. In essence, the plan of Kolinyi consisted in return to position which was held by France to (and — as we will be convinced below — after) of civil wars. This plan provided the union with England, Tuscany, Venice, the German principalities and even with the Roman throne against Philipp. But the plan was unreal at least because the father and Venice entered along with Spain into the Sacred league created for fight against Turkey and which achieved a victory at Lepanto on October 7, 1571 England which was afraid of a gain French of Flanders took conciliatory steps concerning Spain. The German Protestant princes did not show too desire to be got involved in fight. Thus, France was threatened by prospect to be at war in private with the powerful power of Philip II. Besides the Catholic camp made efforts not to allow the open conflict between Paris and Madrid. The papal Nuncio in France Salviati, the queen-mother’s relative especially cared for it. Philipp also maneuvered, without stinting friendly gestures. Under the influence of Kolinyi — though in Royal council it one stood up for war — Charles IX allowed to send 5-thousand group of the French Protestants under team of the count de Janlis to the Netherlands to the aid of Mons besieged by Spaniards. Troops of the duke Alba crushed Janlis’s group. Along with it Alba managed to use as much as possible fears which inspired in the English yard the French plans of a gain of Youzhny of the Netherlands. Queen Elizabeth let know to Alba that she, despite the allied relations of that time with Paris, is not going to promote similar plans in any way. The duke hurried to bring the English demarche to the attention of Ekaterina Medici. In a sense double game of the English diplomacy was one of the reasons of the Massacre of St. Bartholomew. Ekaterina considered that she does not have choice between a consent to obviously hopeless war and elimination of Kolinyi who got the increasing influence on Charles IX and undermined thereby positions of the queen-mother ruling the country on behalf of the weak-willed and hysterical son. Approving murder of Kolinyi, the florentiyka, apparently, counted that Huguenots will not be in debt that it at once will manage to get rid of heads of both conflicting parties, and, having strengthened the crown position as arbitrator between them, She will manage to prevent renewal of religious conflicts. For this reason the queen-mother along with preparations for murder of the admiral forced preparation of a wedding of the daughter Margarita with other head of Huguenots — Heinrich Navarrsky. The main events in Margarita Valois’s life were directly connected with the century conflict. Intention to marry her to the heretic Heinrich Navarrsky could arouse only indignation at such fanatic as Pius V, and without the permission of the father it was impossible to conclude this marriage contradicting church canons. Pius V at the end of 1571 wrote Charles IX: “Our debt rules to agree never to this union which we consider as an insult for the Lord”. It was especially entrusted to general of a Jesuit award to convince Margarita that she endows rescue of soul, agreeing to such marriage. In exchange the Roman throne suggested to marry the princess to the king of Portugal. This plan until recently discussed in Paris was rejected after an event, appear, directly not affecting France — after fight at Lepanto. The great defeat of ottoman fleet which impact on the course • wars at first was even exaggerated induced Ekaterina Medici to look for reconciliations with Huguenots for counteraction to Philip II. A close opportunity the victory of the Spanish king over the risen Netherlands began to seem now. On the eve of the Massacre of St. Bartholomew Karl especially hurried with a wedding of the sister, considering that it, having strengthened an inner world, will give a free hand for war against Spain. Meanwhile the unexpected death of Pius V in May, 1572 did not make changes to a position of Rome — the new father Grigory XIII refused permission to Margarita Valois and Heinrich Navarrsky’s marriage too. Then it was decided to work without Rome, the benefit one of leaders of Huguenots — prince Condé — set an example, having married on August 10 the Catholic Maria Klevskaya without any sanction of the Roman throne. Ekaterina Medici considered too that you should not stop business because of such detail, and ordered to fabricate the letter of the French ambassador in Rome in which it was informed on the forthcoming fast prisylka by the father of the necessary paper. Such trick allowed to finish fluctuations of the cardinal Bourbon who also was a hot supporter of a marriage of the nephew on the sister of the French king. After that already without special work found the priest ready to make a wedding ceremony. The wedding was appointed to August 18. Ekaterina Medici hastily sent on August 14 to Lyon de Mang business governor the order to detain till August 18 of all couriers following from Italy and to Italy. Queen wanted to prevent thus obtaining the letter of Grigory of HSh forbidding marriage and also to prevent the papal Nuncio to report in Paris to the father about the forthcoming wedding. At the reader of the novel Dumas the impression is made that Ekaterina looked for Heinrich Navarrsky’s death, in practice everything was just the opposite. It was shown already in the Massacre of St. Bartholomew. When through hell of this bloody nightmare of leaders of Huguenot party — Heinrich Navarrsky and prince Heinrich de Condé — were brought to Charles IX, for the king the figure of his mother loomed. Swinging a dagger, Karl threateningly growled: “Mass, death or Bastille!” Heinrich Navarrsky in young years proved to be that dexterous politician who in 21 year decided that “Paris stands a mass”. He agreed to pass into Catholicism. Condé refused, the king in violent rage threatened a dagger. His hand was held by Ekaterina. Nearly with plaints she begged the son to stop the punishing right hand. Tears which were shed by the inspirer of massacre were not crocodile tears at all. Heinrich Navarrsky and Heinrich Condé were necessary to it as a counterbalance to the duke Heinrich Giz who, being the head of Catholic party, after extermination of Huguenots became the uncrowned lord of Paris. Karl, as always, conceded to will of mother and Genrikhov ordered to keep both in the strict conclusion in their apartments. The English researcher N. M. Sutherland in the book “Murders during the Massacre of St. Bartholomew and the European Conflict of 1559 — 1579” made the main characters at the same time both the queen-mother, and Co-linyi. The famous English historian A. Rose wrote that Ekaterina really continuously tried to achieve peace, and expressed even the sympathy which is slightly painted by irony to “this so strongly slandered woman. Was misfortune that nobody trusted it. Politik-makiavel-| an iist in good sense of this word, she could not understand why people insisted on burning others or to be burned because of senseless the statement”. Murders in the Massacre of St. Bartholomew Ekaterina Medici tried to solve at once two problems: to finish internal war which served as means of involvement of France in the century conflict and to prevent external war which would also involve the country in this conflict. Ekaterina Medici temporarily managed to achieve the second objectives, but the Huguenot party was not broken, and civil war flared with a new force. Ekaterina wrote Philip II in connection with the Massacre of St. Bartholomew that the measures taken by her son against “Huguenot plot” strengthen “the friendship connecting two crowns”. She started talking even about intention to marry the son Heinrich Anzhuysky (future king Henry III) to Philipp’s daughter. Having learned about the Massacre of St. Bartholomew, Philipp, accepting the French ambassador, perhaps, for the first time during execution of the state duties “burst out laughing”. He did not hide from the Frenchman of “great pleasure” 24. Whether the consciousness of that how bloody “victory of Catholicism” weakened the international positions of France was partly the cause of such pleasure? Whether the favourite astrologer of Ekaterina Medici Ruggiyeri who noticed to the sovereign that she acted for the benefit of the king of Spain was right? It is characteristic that Habsburg diplomacy and promotion tried to interpret the Massacre of St. Bartholomew so that to discredit the French king and to set by the ears him with Protestant allies in Europe. In Protestant part of Europe the Parisian beating aroused indignation and alarm. Elizabeth I accepted the French ambassador in a black mourning dress, but nevertheless did not express disagreement with the official French version that it was talked only of punishment of conspirators. Soon the English queen even resumed negotiations on plans of the conclusion of her marriage with the younger son of Ekaterina Medici the duke Francois Alansonsqui. Assuring Philip II and the father that the invariable purpose of the French policy – is destruction of heresy, Ekaterina at the same time sent the special ambassador Gasto.n de Chombera to Germany to calm Protestant princes. Shomber explained to them that “made concerning the admiral (Kolinyi. — A bus) and his accomplices it is made not out of hatred to new religion, not for its eradication and as punishment for the rascally plot prepared by them”. The massacre of St. Bartholomew had an echo even in far Russia. A little unexpected “indignation” of the Parisian slaughter which was expressed by Ivan the Terrible in the letter to the emperor Maximilian II should be considered in connection with unfortunate attempt of the tsar to induce not to support Gabsburgov opponents of Russia’ in Livonsky war, promising to oppose in exchange in common the Turkish sultan — the ally of French korolya27. Just at this time death of perfect Turkish army near Astrakhan (1569) and defeat of the Crimean Tatars at Molodyakh (1572) marked the largest defeat of the Turkish-Tatar expansion in Eastern Europe. The Moscow state, seeking to exploit the situation created by an aggravation of the century conflict enough for it unpleasant political establishments of Western Europe showed tolerance in the relation. Ivan IV, however, uttered to Elizabeth I that she, contrary to his expectations — not the autocratic monarchess that as it appears, in the English kingdom besides it “people own and not токмо people, but men trade., and you stay in maidenly to a rank as there is a vulgar maiden” 29. However it is necessary to pay tribute to the tsar: the “adherence to principles” shown by it did not prevent it to seek for maintenance of kind and even allied relations with the state having so “silly and reprehensible” the device in which were allowed not only noblemen (“people”) that else all right, but even “trade men”. The massacre of St. Bartholomew had at all not those consequences on which Ekaterina counted. Till August, 1572 Huguenots carried out distinction between militant Catholics and the lawful royalty, even declared, that they protect interests of a crown from conspirators — Gizov. After a bloody orgy on August 24 and the next days situation abruptly changed. In 1573 the lawyer Huguenot Francois Otman published the treatise “French-Gallia”, acting in it as the supporter of the monarchy at which the power of the king is limited to General states and aristocratic establishments. In the following, 1574 Theodor of Baz published the treatise in which he claimed that as god created the people, and the people — kings, the power of monarchs results from the contract signed by it with his citizens. Non-compliance with its duties by the king, non-execution of a debt is the lawful reason for deposition of such unworthy governor. The subsequent treatises issuing from the pen of Huguenot theorists quite often contained already and justifications of killing of the king-tyrant. The closest associate of Heinrich Navarrsky in 1579 published the treatise “Protection against Tyrants” developing ideas of a shooting gallery-noborchestva30. Soon, as we will be convinced, these ideas were borrowed also by the Catholic camp which adapted them for the purposes. The massacre of St. Bartholomew did not lead to sharp change of the foreign policy conducted by Ekaterina Medici. It is indicative that in negotiations which she in December, 1573 conducted with the German Protestant princes, the queen — if to trust reports of spies of Philip II — agreed to discuss the former project of Kolinyi about implementation of the French invasion in Niderlandy31 who took place in several years.

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