Guise, House of

Guise, House Of, the name of a branch of the ducal family of Lorraine, which, during the reign of Francis I, established itself in France, where it was conspicuous in its hostility to the Protestant cause, and played a leading part in the religious wars of the 16th century. The three following members of this family were the most prominent for their abilities, and for bigoted and unscrupulous antagonism to the Reformed party, viz.

I. CHARLES, cardinal of Guise, better known as cardinal of Lorraine, was born at Joinville Feb. 17, 1524, and died Dec. 26,1574. He was made archbishop of Rheims in 1538, created a cardinal in 1547, and was employed on several important embassies. In 1558, at an interview with the cardinal Granville at Peronne, he laid the foundations of the alliance between the Guises and Spain, which continued through, and exerted an important influence on, the civil wars in France. He was present at the Council of Trent (1562), where at first he favored the demand for reform and the superiority of councils to the pope, but was too ambitious to adhere to such principles throughout. Under Francis II he was made, or, rather, made himself, the administrator of the finances. His character is thus portrayed by De Felice (p. 71): "The cardinal Charles de Lorraine, archbishop of Rheims, and the possessor, in ecclesiastical benefices, of a revenue of three hundred thousand crowns (many rations of our present money), had some learning, affable manners, great facility of speech, and much dexterity in the management of men and affairs, a deep policy, and a vast ambition. He aspired to nothing less than the crown of France for his brother, and to the tiara for himself. So Plus V, somewhat anxious concerning the part he was playing in the Church, habitually called him the pope on the other side of the mountains. For the rest, he was a priest without settled convictions, and half preached the Confession of Augsburg to please my good masters the Germans, as says Bran-tome; he was decried for his evil habits, which he did not even care to hide, and raised the hooting of the populace on quitting the dwelling of a courtesan; lastly, he was as pusillanimous in the face of danger as he was arrogant in prosperity." He was, however, a protector of letters, and Rheims owes to him its university. He left some letters and sermons.

II. FRANCOIS OF LORRAINE, brother of the preceding, and second duke of Guise, was born Feb. 17,1519, at the castle of Bar, and died Feb. 24, 1563, of wounds inflicted by an assassin named Poltrot de Mere He served with marked distinction and success in the army, and gained a European reputation as a general. His good fortune and abilities were seconded by the potent influence of his niece, Mary Stuart, the wife of the weak Francis II, in whose reign Guise rose to the height of power in the state, and became the head of the Romanist party. He was able to foil the powerful combination (known in history as the conspiracy of Amboise) formed by the malcontent nobles and the Protestants to hurl him and his brother, the cardinal of Lorraine, from power. The death of Francis II compelled him to yield for a time to the opposition which his foreign origin, his rapacity, cruelty, and ambition had aroused against him, and he left the court. Soon, however, he formed a league with Montmorenci and St. Andre to control the government and oppose the Protestants, and having been invited to return to Paris by the king of Navarre (Antoine de Bourbon) then lieutenant general of the kingdom, and who had been won over to the Roman Catholic side, Guise was on his way to the capital, when, on Sunday, March 1, 1562, a bloody butchery of Huguenots, peaceably assembled for worship, was perpetrated by his followers, if not with his approbation, at least with his knowledge and sufferance. This atrocious act, called the Massacre of Vassy (q.v.), was the signal for the long and desolating religious wars between the Protestants and Romanists of France. At the head of the Catholics Guise retook Rouen, gained a victory at Dreux (though he lost his colleagues, Montmorenci by capture and St. Andre by death), and was besieging, with the prospect of speedy capture, the Protestant stronghold of Orleans, when he was assassinated.

He left a sort of diary, which may be found in Michaud and Poujoulat's Nouvelle Collection de Memoires pour servir l'histoire de France (Paris, 1839, 4to, 1st series, 4:1-539).

III. HENRY OF LORRAINE, son of the preceding and third duke of Guise, was born Dec. 31, 1550, and assassinated Dec. 23,1588, by the orders of Henry III of France, against whose authority and throne he was treasonably plotting. Inheriting his father's valor, ability, and hatred of the Reformation, a hatred intensified by the false charge that the Protestant chief, Coligni, was the instigator of his father's murder, he fought the Huguenots at Jarnac and Moncontour, and in the same year (1569) forced Coligni to raise the siege of Poitiers. He was an ardent abettor of and active participant in the "Massacre of St. Bartholomew'' (q.v.), and gave expression to the spirit of a base revenge by kicking the dead body of the venerable Coligni, which had been thrown by his orders into the court- yard, where he was awaiting the consummation of the murder of this most prominent victim of that sad day. In 1575 he received, in an encounter with the Calvinists, a face-wound, which gave him the name of Balafre (the scarred), an epithet also applied for a like reason to his father. In 1576 he was active in the formation of the famous Romanist league, called the "Holy Union," for the suppression of Protestantism, and "was, until his death, the head and soul of it." Supported by the pope and Philip II of Spain, he, after the death of the duke of Anjou in 1584, secretly aspired to the throne of France, and sought to excite the nation against its king, Henry III, and the heir apparent, Henry of Navarre. Though forbidden by royal order to enter Paris, Guise made a triumphal entry into, and, during the popular rebellion known as "the day of barricades," was virtually master of the capital, and, had his courage equalled his ambition, might have been proclaimed king. In the same year he attended a meeting of the States General at Blois, where he demanded the appointment of high constable and general in chief of the kingdom. Henry, satisfied that his own life and throne were endangered by Guise's ambition, caused him and his brother, cardinal de Guise, to be slain by his guards. — -Hoefer, Novelle Biog. Generale, 22:776-9, and 784-6; De Felice, History of the Protestants of France (London, !853, 12mo); Wright, History of France, i, 680-718; Sismondi, Histoire des Francois (see Index); Rose, New Genesis Biog. Dict. 8:155, 156; Ranke, History of the Papacy (see Index); New Amer. Cyclopadia, 8:563, 564; English Cyclopaedia, s.v.; Chambers, Cyclop. s.v. (J. W. M.)

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