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new levy on the merchants, artisans, labourers, and country-people, will never do; it is by them that the king and all of us are supported, and it is enough that they provide for a master, without having to maintain his cousins and his friends.'
By methods like these, the efficacy of which did not suffer much from one or two more questionable measures which the false political economy of Sully's time did not permit him to see the folly of—by methods like these, persevered in for a number of years, prosperity was restored to France. “Both foreign and domestic payments were regularly made,' says Sully, without any hardship to the people, though the king still continued to lay out very large sums in rebuilding, furnishing, and adorning his palaces; repairing the old fortifications, and raising new ones; and erecting many other public works.' The following account of the mode by which Henry digested and arranged the huge mass of miscellaneous business which occupied him, will give an idea of the extent and variety of his schemes for the improvement of France, as well as of the zeal with which he prosecuted them.
When Sully became his minister, he made him procure "a great desk or cabinet, contrived full of drawers and holes, each with a lock and key, and all lined with crimson satin.' In this cabinet were to be deposited all kinds of views, memorials, charts, and papers having'any relation, either near or distant, to the revenue, to war, to artillery, to the navy, to commerce, to diplomacy, to money, to mines, to the church ;' in short, to any department of state affairs. A separate compartment in the great cabinet was to be allotted to each subject; and the arrangement was to be such, that all the contents of a compartment could be seen at a single glance. In the finance compartment 'was a collection of regulations, memorials of operations, accounts of changes made or to be made, of sums to be received or paid ; a quantity almost incalculable of views, memoirs, abstracts, and summaries more or less compendious. In the military compartment, 'besides the accounts, lists, and memoirs, which were to shew the present state of the forces, there were all the regulations and papers of state, books treating of the arrangement of armies, plans, charts, geographical and hydrographical, both of France and of different parts of the world.' (An extension of this military compartment, to contain articles too bulky to be placed in the cabinet, suggested the idea of a museum of models of whatever was most curious in machinery relating to war, arts, trades, and all sorts of occupations--a silent school, in which all who aspired to perfection in such occupations might improve themselves without trouble.') Among the papers in the ecclesiastical compartment, the most curious were a list of all the benefices in the kingdom, with the qualifications which they required; and a view of all the ecclesiastical orders, secular and regular, from the highest prelate to the lowest clergyman, with the distinction of natives and foreigners, of both
religions. This work was to be imitated in another relating to the temporal order, in which the king was to see, to a single man, the number of gentlemen throughout the kingdom, divided into classes, and specified according to the differences of title and estate.' A large part of the cabinet was set aside expressly to contain projects and schemes of all sorts. In the schemes for the discipline of the army, methods were laid down suitable not only for times of war, but also for times of peace, and calculated to preserve the persons of the trader, manufacturer, shepherd, and husbandman from the violence of the soldiers. These four professions, by which the state may truly be said to be supported, were to be completely secured, by another regulation, from all the outrages of the nobility. The general scope of the propositions with regard to the clergy, was to
engage all of them to make such use as the canons require of revenues which, properly speaking, are not their own; to forbid them to hold joint livings of the yearly value of six hundred livres, or to hold any single one producing more than ten thousand livres ; and, upon the whole, to acquit themselves worthily of their employments, and to consider it as their first duty to set a good example."
We need not proceed further in the detail of Henry's plans of internal reform. Suffice it to say, that although the actual execution fell far short of the grandeur of the intentions, partly because they may have been too sanguine, partly because their author was cut off in the midst of his labours, yet the reforms which he effected in the condition of France were such as to entitle him to the fond veneration with which Frenchmen have ever regarded him.
The grandest of Henry's schemes was his proposal to unite all the states of Europe into one vast Christian republic. The following is an outline of this extraordinary scheme.
Struck with the deplorable condition of Europe, divided into a number of nations, all selfishly occupied with their own interests, and incessantly carrying on wars with each other for the slightest reasons and the meanest purposes, thus retarding the progress of general civilisation, Henry's design was to procure the erection of one immense European commonwealth, to consist of fifteen states, some of which, according to circumstances, were to be monarchical, and others republican. The size of the different states was to be rendered as uniform as possible, and each was to send representatives to a general congress. While the local affairs of each state were to be administered by its own government, all questions of intercommunication, commerce, and mutual wrong were to be referred to the central representative body. So far, Henry's plan was little else than a foreshadowing, on a grander scale, of the constitution which now binds the various free and independent states of North America in a harmonious union. What follows is interestingly characteristic of the barbarous policy of the period. To put down all quarrels about religion, Henry proposed that in every state where circumstances had conclusively established one form of faith as the national one, that form and no other should be tolerated. In Roman Catholic countries, there were to be none but Catholics ; in Protestant countries, none but Protestants. The minority, however, were not to be exterminated, but only sent out of the country into a state where their form of religion was generally professed. Finally, all pagans and Mohammedans were to be driven out of Europe into Asia.
To carry this vast project into execution, Henry of course proposed to employ force. The force necessary was to be contributed by the various states, and to amount to 270,000 infantry, 50,000 cavalry, 200 cannon, and 120 ships of war, manned and equipped. It was about the year 1601 that the scheme assumed a distinct shape in Henry's mind; and the first person to whom he communicated it was Sully; and even from him he had concealed it long, from feelings of shame, lest it should seem ridiculous. Sully paid no attention to it at first, treating the idea of a system by which all Europe might be regulated and governed as one great family' as a mere conversational flourish. The king dropped the subject at that time; but, renewing it shortly after, Sully perceived that he was in earnest. Conceiving the scheme to be chimerical, he stated as strongly as possible the objections to it, but was surprised to hear them all discussed and answered by the king in a manner which shewed that he had anticipated them. The result was, that, after studying the subject in all its bearings, Sully became convinced that the scheme was no mere confused aspiration, but a solid and feasible project; for that, “however disproportionate the means might appear to the effect, a course of years, during which everything should as much as possible be made subservient to the great object in view, would surmount many difficulties. The first step was to secure the co-operation of one or two of the most powerful princes of Europe ; the agreement of one or two such would be equivalent almost to success. The sovereigns whose co-operation Henry principally desired were those of England, Sweden, and Denmark; it does not appear, however, that he ever broached the subject distinctly, except to Elizabeth of England and her successor James. From the latter, to whom the scheme was expounded by Sully in a personal interview in 1603, he exacted an oath that he would not divulge it. After hearing the scheme described, James protested that he would not for any consideration have remained ignorant of it, and was eager to proceed immediately to put it into execution. It was proposed to break the matter by degrees to the rest of Europe, as opinion ripened, and the progress of affairs rendered the favourable reception of the scheme more likely; and as a specific course of action, leading directly to the point aimed at, the powers of Europe were in the meantime to be cunningly inveigled into a conjunct war upon Austria. The House of Austria once humbled, and its territories dismembered, the plan might be safely published to the world, and little would remain to be done. It is almost needless pronouncing any opinion on this design of Henry IV. It was the dream of a great, benevolently disposed, but ill-instructed mind. The mutual jealousies and respective selfishnesses of the existing states were far too uncompromising to admit of so easy a mode of union. Even in the present advanced age, the project would be hopeless ; certainly any proposal to render religious belief uniform by compulsion, would be as mad as it would be useless. And yet the idea of a European international confederacy to settle differences, is one of the things that we can venture to say is not altogether chimerical, and may at some future period of greater enlightenment be carried into effect. Perfect freedom in commercial and personal intercourse among nations seems to all appearance to be the means, under Providence, by which this great object is to be satisfactorily accomplished.
DEATH OF HENRY IV.—HIS CHARACTER. The history of Henry IV. during the twelve years in which he was maturing the scheme which we have just described, contains few incidents deserving special notice. In the year 1600 he was divorced from his wife Margaret, and contracted a second marriage with Mary de' Medici, daughter of the late Grand-duke of Tuscany, by whom he had a son (Louis XIII.), who succeeded him on the throne.
In the year 1610, Henry was full of enthusiasm regarding his great political scheme, the time for developing which had now, he thought, almost arrived. Extensive military preparations were in progress, which Sully imagined had reference to it. In the midst of these, however, Henry was cut off by the hand of an assassin. The occasion selected for striking the blow was the coronation of the queen--a ceremony which had been long delayed, but which was at length fixed for the 13th of May 1610. The king, according to Sully, had a presentiment that the ceremony would be fatal to him, founded on an astrological prediction that he should die in a coach during some great festivity. He often exclaimed: O that detestable coronation; it will be the cause of my death,' and even endeavoured to obtain the queen's consent to have it postponed. The queen, however, refused, saying it was very hard that she should be the only queen of France who had never been crowned. The ceremony was therefore performed on the day appointed: the festivities were to last for several days. Next day, the 14th of May 1610, the king set out from the Louvre about four o'clock in the afternoon, to visit Sully, who was lying at the arsenal indisposed. He was seated in the back part of the coach, and, as the day was fine, the curtains were drawn up, that he might see the preparations making in the city for the queen's public entry, which was to take place on the 16th. The Duke of Epernon sat on his right; the Duke of Montbazon and the Marquis de la Force on his left; and there were several other gentlemen in other parts of the coach. He was attended by a smaller body of guards than usual. When the coach was turning out of the Rue St Honoré into the Rue Ferronnerie, the entrance to which was very narrow, owing to a number of small shops being erected against the wall of the churchyard of St Innocent, it was stopped by two carts, one loaded with wine, the other with hay, which were blocking up the street. While the coach stopped, the attendants, with the exception of two, went on before; one of these two advanced to clear the way, the other stooped to fasten his garter. At that instant a wild-faced red-haired man in a cloak, who had followed the coach from the Louvre, approached the side where the king sat, as if endeavouring to push his way, like other passengers, between the coach and the shops. Suddenly putting one foot on a spoke of the wheel, he drew a knife, and struck the king, who was reading a letter, between the second and third rib, a little above the heart. 'I am wounded,' cried the king as the assassin, perceiving that the stroke had not been effectual, repeated it. The second blow went directly to the heart; the blood gushed from the wound and from his mouth, and death was almost instantaneous. A third blow which the assassin aimed at his victim was received by the Duke of Epernon in the sleeve.
The assassin's name was Francis Ravaillac, a native of Angoumois, who had been a solicitor in the courts of law. Whether the crime was prompted solely by his own imagination, or whether he was the instrument of any deep-laid conspiracy, was never clearly ascertained, though the latter was the general supposition. His punishment was that accorded by the savage spirit of the times to regicides. After undergoing the most horrible tortures, during which he confessed nothing of importance, he was taken in a tumbril to the Place de Grève on the 27th of May, and there, in the terms of his sentence, the flesh was torn with red-hot pincers from his breasts, arms, thighs, and the calves of his legs ; his right hand, holding the knife with which he committed the crime, was scorched and burned with flaming brimstone ; on the places where the flesh had been torn by the pincers, were poured melted lead, boiling oil, scalding pitch with wax and brimstone melted together; after which he was torn in pieces by four horses, and his limbs burned to ashes. The performance of that part of his sentence which consisted in his being torn by the horses occupied an hour, and was only ended by the mob rushing up and cutting the body with knives.
Henry IV. was of middling stature, well formed, and of a strong constitution. The surgeons who examined his body believed that he might have lived, in the natural course of things, for thirty years longer. His forehead was broad, his eyes quick and animated, his nose aquiline, his complexion ruddy, and his expression sweet and majestic. His hair, which was short, thick, and of a light-brown