Parthenay, Jean De

Parthenay, Jean de

lord of Soubise, a heroic leader among the Protestants of France, was descended from an ancient Romish family of his name, and was born about 1512. He chose the profession of arms, and having distinguished himself in it, was appointed to command Henry II's troops in Italy about 1550. Before he left Italy he imbibed the sentiments of the Reformed religion at the court of Ferrara, under the auspices of Renee. After his return to France lord Soubise applied himself with extraordinary zeal to propagate his principles in the town and neighborhood of Soubise, and he succeeded so well that in a little time the mass was forsaken all about the place by a great part of the people. He also held frequent conferences with Catharine de Medicis, queen-mother of Henry III, who became in her heart his proselyte, though she had not courage enough to declare it openly; and the duchess of Montpensier, who was always present at these 'conferences, was so much wrought upon by Soubise's discourse that she desired on her death-bed to have the sacrament administered to her according to the Calvinistical form. The queen-mother, when she came to be regent of the kingdom during the infancy of Charles IX, appointed Parthenay gentleman of the chamber to the young monarch in 1561; and he was likewise created a knight of the order of the Holy Ghost. The same year the prince of Condd, the head of the Huguenot party, was also set at liberty: and in the very beginning of the religious war that prince, pooling, on the, large, city of Lyons which had declared for the Protestant cause, as not in safe hands under the baron D'Adret, appointed Soubise to that important command in 1562; and he answered fully all the expectations which the prince had conceived of him. He performed a hundred bold actions there, and resolutely kept the city, defending it effectually against all difficulties both from force and artifice. The duke of Nevers besieged it to no purpose, and the queen-mother attempted in vain to overreach him by negotiations. He persevered in maintaining and promoting the Protestant cause with unabated ardor till his death in 1566, when he was about fifty-four. His wife, Antoinette Bouchard, eldest daughter of the house of Aubeterre, is also noted as a most devoted advocate of the Protestant cause.

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