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BO O K burg, at the head of a considerable body of Germans which XI.
he had levied, together with all the troops which he had 1552.
drawn out of Italy and Spain. To these he added several battalions, which having been in the pay of the confederates, entered into his service when dismissed by them; and he prevailed likewise on some Princes of the Empire to join him with their vassals. In order to conceal the destination of this formidable army, and to guard against alarming the French King, so as to put him on preparing for the defence of his late conquests, he gave out that he was to march forthwith into Hungary, in order to second Maurice in his operations against the Infidels. When he began to advance towards the Rhine, and could no longer employ that pretext, he tried a new artifice, and spread a report, that he took this route in order to chastise Albert of Brandenburg, whose cruel exactions in that part of the Empire called loudly for his interposition to check them.
But the French having grown acquainted, at last, with cautions of
arts by which they had been so often deceived, viewed all the French for the de- Charles's motions with distrust. Henry immediately discernfence of
ed the true object of his vast preparations, and resolved to Metz.
defend the important conquests which he had gained with vigour equal to that with which they were about to be attacked. As he foresaw that the whole weight of the war would be turned against Metz, by whose fate that of Toul and
Verdun would be determined, he nominated Francis of LorThe Duke rain, Duke of Guise, to take the command in that city of Guise
during the siege, the issue of which would equally affect the appointed governor honour and interest of his country. His choice could not
have fallen upon any person more worthy of that trust.
of the town.
the French nobility in that age, which considered it as the BOOK
XI. greatest reproach to remain inactive, when there was any opportunity of signalising their courage, prompted great numbers to follow a leader who was the darling as well as the pattern of every one that courted military fame. Seve. ral Princes of the blood, many noblemen of the highest rank, and all the young officers who could obtain the King's permission, entered Metz as volunteers. By their presence they added spirit to the garrison, and enabled the Duke of Guise to employ, on every emergency, persons eager to distinguish themselves, and fit to conduct any service.
But with whatever alacrity the Duke of Guise undertook Prepares the defence of Metz, he found every thing, upon his arrival for a vigorthere, in such a situation, as might have induced any person fence. of less intrepid courage to despair of defending it with success. The city was of great extent, with large suburbs; the walls were in many places feeble and without ramparts ; the ditch narrow; and the old towers, which projected instead of bastions, were at too great distance from each other to de fend the space between them. For all these defects he en. deavoured to provide the best remedy which the time would permit. He ordered the suburbs, without sparing the monasteries or churches, not even that of St. Arnulph, in which several Kings of France had been buried, to be levelled with the ground; but in order to guard against the imputation of impiety, to which such a violation of so many sacred edifices, as well as of the ashes of the dead, might expose him, he executed this with much religious ceremony. Having ordered all the holy vestments and utensils, together with the bones of the Kings, and other persons deposited in these churches, to be removed, they were carried in solemn procession to a church within the walls, he himself walking before them bare-headed, with a torch in his hand. He then pulled down such houses as stood near the walls, cleared and enlarged the ditch, repaired the ruinous fortifications, and erected new ones. As it was necessary that all these works should be finished with the utmost expedition, he laboured at them with his own hands: the officers and volunteers imi. stated his example, and the soldiers submitted with cheer
BO O K fulness to the most severe and fatiguing service, when they XI.
saw that their superiors did not decline to bear a part in ito
At the same time he compelled all useless persons to leave 1552.
the place; he filled the magazines with provisions and military stores; he burnt the mills, and destroyed the corn and forage for several miles round the town.
Such were his popular talents, as well as his arts of acquiring an ascendant over the minds of men, that the citizens seconded him with no less ardour than the soldiers; and every other passion being swallowed up in the zeal to repulse the enemy, with which he inspired them, they beheld the ruin of their esa tates, together with the havoc which he made among their public and private buildings, without any emotion of resentment.
Charles advances towards Metz.
MEANTIME the Emperor, having collected all his forces, continued his march towards Metz. As he passed through the cities on the Rhine, he saw the dismal effects of that licentious and wasteful war which Albert had carried on in these parts. Upon his approach, that Prince, though at the head of twenty thousand men, withdrew into Lorrain, as if he had intended to join the French King, whose arms he had quartered with his own in all his standards and ensigns: Albert was not in a condition to cope with the Imperial troops a, which amounted at least to sixty thousand men, forming one of the most numerous and best appointed armies which had been brought into the field during that age, in
any of the wars among Christian Princes.
The chief command, under the Emperor, was committed to the Duke of Alva, assisted by the Marquis de Marignano, together with the most experienced of the Italian and Spanish generals. As it was now towards the end of October, these intelligent officers represented the great danger of beginning, at such an advanced season, a siege which could not fail to prove very tedious. But Charles adhered to his own opinion with his usual obstinacy, and being confident that he had made such preparations, and taken such
Invests the town.
c Thuan. xi.. 387.
d Natal. Comitis, Hist. 127..
precautions as would insure success, he ordered the city to B O OK be invested. As soon as the Duke of Alva appeared, a large body of the French sallied out and attacked his van-guard
1552. with great vigour, put it in confusion, and killel or took pri- Oct. 19. soners a considerable number of men. By this early specimen which they gave of the conduct of their officers, as well as the valour of their troops, they showed the Imperialists what an enemy they had to encounter, and how dear every advantage must cost them. The place, however, was completely invested, the trenches were opened, and the other works begun.
The attention both of the besiegers and besieged was Both parturned for some time towards Albert of Brandenburg, and ties endeathey strove with emulation which should gain that Prince, gain Albert who still hovered in the neighbourhood, fluctuating in all of Bran
denburg the uncertainty of irresolution, natural to a man, who, being swayed by no principle, was allured different ways by contrary views of interest. The French tempted him with of fers extremely beneficial; the Imperialists scrupled at no promise which they thought might allure him. After much hesitation he was gained by the Emperor, from whom he expected to receive advantages which were both more immediate and more permanent. As the French King, who began to suspect his intentions, had appointed a body of troops under the Duke of Aumale, brother to the Duke of Guise, to watch his motions, Albert fell upon them unexpectedly with such vigour that he routed them entirely, kil- Nov. 4. led many of the officers, wounded Aumale himself, and took him prisoner. Immediately after this victory, he marched in triumph to Metz, and joined his army to that of the Emperor. Charles, in reward for this service, and the great accession of strength which he brought him, granted Albert a formal pardon of all past offences, and confirmed him in the possession of the territories which he had violently usurped during the war.
The Duke of Guise, though deeply affected with his bro- The galther's misfortune, did not remit, in any degree, the vigour viour of
e Sleid. 575. Thuan. lib. xi. 389. 392.
BOOK with which he defended the town. He harassed the be XI.
siegers by frequent sallies, in which his officers were so ea. 1552.
ger to distinguish themselves, that his authority being hardly the Duke sufficient to restrain the impetuosity of their courage, he of Guise and his
was obliged at different times to shut the gates, and to congarrison. ceal the keys, in order to prevent the Princes of the blood,
and noblemen of the first rank, from exposing themselves to danger in every sally. He repaired in the night what the enemy's artillery had beat down during the day, or erected behind the ruined works new fortifications of almost equal strength. The Imperialists, on their part, pushed on the attack with great spirit, and carried forward, at once, approaches against different parts of the town. But the art of attacking fortified places was not then arrived at that degree of perfection to which it was carried towards the close of the sixteenth century, during the long war in the Netherlands. The besiegers, after the unwearied labour of many weeks, found that they had made but little progress; and although their batteries had made breaches in different places, they saw, to their astonishment, works suddenly appear, in demolishing which their fatigues and dangers would be renewed. The Emperor, enraged at the obstinate resistance which his army met with, left Thionville, where he had been confined by a violent fit of the gout, and though
still so infirm that he was obliged to be carried in a litter, Nov. 26. he repaired to the camp; that, by his presence, he might
animate the soldiers, and urge on the attack with greater spirit. Upon his arrival, new batteries were erected, and new efforts were made with redoubled ardour.
But, by this time, winter had set in with great rigour; tress of the the camp was alternately deluged with rain, or covered with army. snow; at the same time provisions were become extremely
scarce, as a body of French cavalry which hovered in the neighbourhood, often interrupted the convoys, or rendered their arrival difficult and uncertain. Diseases began to spread among the soldiers, especially among the Italians and Spaniards, unaccustomed to such inclement weather; great numbers were disabled from serving, and many died. At length, such breaches were made as seemed practicable, and