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Soon after this event Fontainebleau was in activity. The alliance with the house of Tuscany was concluded; Henry became the husband of Marie de Medici, who, on the 21st of September, 1601, presented him with a dauphin. The king was delighted, placed his own sword in the infant's hand, and exclaimed, "Ma vie ! rejoice! Heaven has granted our wish we have a handsome son."
So of the three Henries, this brave Bernese was the most blessed: a child was given him to sit on his throne.
France attained a degree of prosperity hitherto unknown. Sully, who was eminently aristocratic-so much so that he had vehemently opposed
the introduction of those manufactures which enriched the civic class at the expense of the landholders-had been, however, overruled by his sovereign in this, and founded the silk manufacture of the kingdom, as well as that of tapestry. Small mirrors, in the Venetian style, commenced to be manufactured. Industry began to contribute to the revenues of France. Literature and art added to its grandeur. The king housed in the gallery of the Louvre artists of every description; de Thou and Jeannin, d'Ossat and Duperron formed part of his council; Pithou wrote the "Treatise on the liberties of the Gallican Church;" Jerôme Bignon commenced his great works on jurisprudence; Arnaud and Etienne Pasquier were the glory of the bar; Regnier wrote his satires, which still
retain a place in the standard literature of his country. Henry IV., loved the luxury of palaces and gardens, executed great works at Fontainebleau, the Louvre, the Tuileries, and Monceaux; he constructed the château of Saint Germain, now destroyed, the Place Royale, and the Place Dauphine; he finished the Pont Neuf, the Hotel de Ville; and, notwith
standing all the expenditure entailed thereby, collected a numerous and disciplined army, paid with regularity, and accumulated thirty-five millions of specie in the cellars of the Bastile.
In collecting and disciplining an immense army, Henry foresaw that the liberal tendencies of the age, the intolerance of Spain, and the cupidity of Austria, would and must produce a universal war. Henry contemplated a grand scheme which war only could realize-a scheme which should
entirely reorganize the States of Europe and establish on a constitutional basis the right of people and princes.
Henry had understood the necessity of sowing, by long and peaceful works at home, the seeds of his future triumph, and of securing numerous allies abroad. Already, on signing the peace with Spain, it was for war that he had prepared. He mediated between the Pope and the Venetians, whom Spain had succeeded in embroiling, and reconciled them; every year he furnished subsidies and ammunitions to the Dutch; and in 1608 entered into a defensive league with them, forcing the Spaniards to treat with the United Provinces as with a free country. There had long been a good understanding between him and Queen Elizabeth of England, and when, in April, 1603, he heard of her death, he was deeply afflicted. It was, indeed, an irretrievable loss to him. Henry did not, however, lose courage. Numerous States successively entered into his alliance. He was soon enabled to calculate on the Prince of Orange, on Sweden and Denmark, on nearly all the Protestant princes of Germany, on the numerous reformers of Bohemia, of Hungary, and the Arch-duchy of Austria, on the Duke of Savoy, on the Pope, and finally, on James I., the new King of England.
But the great project of Henry was never to be realized. were abroad that with the great forces he had assembled he proposed his own aggrandizement only, and the extension of his own territories. Added to this, there was the suspicion that he was about to forsake the Catholic faith and resume his forsaken Protestantism. This suspicion was fatal to him.
A mad young friar of the name of Francis Ravaillac resolved on his death. The third Henry was to die as his namesakes-he died by the hand of an assassin.
Before joining the army Henry determined on appointing his queen Regent in his absence; and her coronation, a ceremony which had not yet taken place, was thought to be requisite. For his own part the Bernese cared nothing for State ceremony-the golden orb and sceptre, the jewelled crown, were to him no more than baubles, but to Marie de Medici they were most precious. She delighted in the pomp and pageantry of palaces, and insisted on her coronation being conducted with the utmost splendour. Henry was annoyed, and fretted. He frequently said he should never see Paris alive, and longed to contradict his own presentiment. The coronation took place. Even the heart of Marie de Medici must have been
satisfied with the splendour of the ceremonial. Henry presented her with the golden orb the emblem of sovereignty-the child Louis standing between them. Rubens painted the picture, and it is one of his noblest works. On the day after the coronation, May 14, 1610, Henry manifested great despondency. He wished to see Sully, who was then ill at the
Arsenal; so the royal carriage was ordered, and, accompanied by seven of his suite, the king left the palace.
In the narrow street, Rue de la Ferronnerie, the carriage was delayed by two loaded carts. It was the moment chosen by Ravaillac for the crime he meditated. Springing forward he leaned full into the carriage
and stabbed the king with a poniard, first in the stomach and then in the heart.
They were the last words of Henry of Navarre. He fell back a corpse. "To paint the rage and despair of the people," says a modern writer, "would be impossible. The once-detested Henry had won every heart, and the general grief for him partook of the character of madness. Tears were the least tokens of sorrow; many died on learning the catastrophe, amongst others the brave de Vic, the comrade of Henry. The lifeless body was borne to the Louvre, whilst Ravaillac, who made no attempt to escape, was taken, brandishing his dagger, and only preserved by the guards from being instantly torn in pieces. He had been a monk, strongly imbued with the king-killing principles that the Jesuits had broached. His crime had long been meditated by him, but no proof exists that he had been instigated either by Spain or by any knot of malcontent courtiers. Suspicion, indeed, has scattered its stain on all with an unsparing hand. Epernon, the queen, Concini, and many others were accused as being privy to the deed; and the record of Ravaillac's trial having been destroyed, whilst these personages possessed the chief influence, gives some colour to the charge. Ravaillac was torn limb from limb, and was astonished to hear the lamentations of the people for their father, and their eagerness to offer their horses for the punishment of the regicide."