1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Fénelon, Bertrand de Salignac

FÉNELON, BERTRAND DE SALIGNAC, seigneur de la Mothe (1523–1589), French diplomatist, came of an old family of Périgord. After serving in the army he was sent ambassador to England in 1568. At the request of Charles IX. he endeavoured to excuse to Elizabeth the massacre of St. Bartholomew as a necessity caused by a plot which had been laid against the life of the king of France. For some time after the death of Charles IX. Fénelon was continued in his office, but he was recalled in 1575 when Catherine de’ Medici wished to bring about a marriage between Elizabeth and the duke of Alençon, and thought that another ambassador would have a better chance of success in the negotiation. In 1582 Fénelon was charged with a new mission to England, then to Scotland, and returned to France in 1583. He opposed the Protestants until the end of the reign of Henry III., but espoused the cause of Henry IV. He died in 1589. His nephew in the sixth degree was the celebrated archbishop of Cambrai.

Fénelon is the author of a number of writings, among which those of general importance are Mémoires touchant l’Angleterre et la Suisse, ou Sommaire de la négociation faite en Angleterre, l’an 1571 (containing a number of the letters of Charles and his mother, relating to Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary and the Bartholomew massacre), published in the Mémoires of Castelnau (Paris, 1659); Négociations de la Mothe Fénelon et de Michel, sieur de Mauvissière, en Angleterre; and Dépêches de M. de la Mothe Fénelon, Instructions au sieur de la Mauvissière, both contained in the edition of Castelnau’s Mémoires, published at Brussels in 1731. The correspondence of Fénelon was published at Paris in 1838–1841, in 7 vols. 8vo.

See “Lettres de Catherine de’ Médicis,” edited by Hector de la Ferrière (1880 seq.) in the Collection de documents inédits sur l’histoire de France.