1902 Encyclopedia > Louis I de Bourbon, Prince de Condé

Louis I de Bourbon, Prince de Condé
French soldier

LOUIS DE BOURBON, PRINCE OF CONDE (1530-1569), fifth son of Charles de Bourbon, duke of Vendôme, younger brother of Anthony, king of Navarre, was the first of the famous House of Condé. Brave though deformed, gay but extremely poor for his rank, Condé was led by his ambition to a military career. He fought with distinction in Piedmont under Marshal de Brissac ; in 1552 he forced his way with reinforcements into Metz, then besieged by Charles V. ; he led several brilliant sorties from that town ; and in 1554 he command-ed the light cavalry on the Meuse against Charles. He then joined the Huguenots, and he was concerned in the conspiracy of Amboise, which aimed at forcing from the king by aid of arms the recognition of the Reformed religion. He was consequently cendemned to death, and was only saved by the decease of Francis II. At the accession of the boy-king, Charles IX., the policy of the court was changed, and Condé received from Catherine de' Medici the government of Picardy But the struggle between the Catholics and the Huguenots soon recommenced ; in 1562, 200 of the latter were massacred at Vassy by Duke Francis of Guise. Upon this Condé retired from Paris, put him-self at the head of 1500 horsemen, and took possession of Orleans. Having raised troops in Germany, and entered into negotiations with Elizabeth of England, he marched on Paris, with 8000 foot and 500 horse. A battle took place at Dreux, in which the leaders on both sides, Condé and Montmorency, were taken prisoners. Condé was liberated by the pacification of Amboise in the next year ( 1563). In 1567 the war broke out again. It was strongly suspected by the Huguenots that Catherine was meditating a great and final blow—the revocation of the Edict of Amboise, the perpetual imprisonment of Condé, and the death of Coligni ; and their suspicions were confirmed by the levy of soldiers, including 6000 Swiss, which she was engaged in making. Coligni determined to oppose her with a still bolder plan. The Huguenots were to rise en masse, crush the Swiss before they could join the main army, and take possession of the young king, his brothers, and Catherine herself. But both the Swiss and the royal family escaped safely to Paris. Paris was blockaded, and an indecisive battle fought at St Denis. During the next year peace was again made, but soon after Catherine attempted to seize both Condé and Coligni. They fled to La Rochelle, and troops were col-lected. At the battle of Jarnac, with only 400 horsemen, and without having made himself sufficiently certain of the support of the infantry, Condé rashly charged the whole Catholic army. Worn out with fighting, he at last gave up his sword, and a Catholic officer named Montesquieu treacherously shot him through the head (15th December 1569).

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