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CHARLES VIII.—X.

After the English had evacuated French territory Charles still had to cope with feudal revolt, and with the hostility of the dauphin, who was in open revolt in 1446, and for the next ten years ruled like an independent sovereign in Dauphiné. He took refuge in 1457 with Charles’s most formidable enemy, Philip of Burgundy. Charles VII. nevertheless found means to prevent Philip from attaining his ambitions in Lorraine and in Germany. But the dauphin succeeded in embarrassing his father’s policy at home and abroad, and had his own party in the court itself. Charles VII. died at Mehun-sur-Yévre on the 22nd of July 1461. He believed that he was poisoned by his son, who cannot, however, be accused of anything more than an eager expectation of his death.

Authorities.—The history of the reign of Charles VII. has been written by two modern historians,—Vallet de Viriville, Histoire de Charles VII . . . et de son époque (Paris, 3 vols., 1862–1865), and G. du Fresne de Beaucourt, Hist, de Charles VII (Paris, 6 vols., 1881–1891). There is abundant contemporary material. The herald, Jacques le Bouvier or Berry (b. 1386), whose Chronicques du feu roi Charles VII was first printed in 1528 as the work of Alain Chartier, was an eye-witness of many of the events he described. His Recouvrement de Normandie, with other material on the same subject, was edited for the “Rolls” series (Chronicles and Memorials) by Joseph Stevenson in 1863. The Histoire de Charles VII by Jean Chartier, historiographer-royal from 1437, was included in the Grandes Chroniques de Saint-Denis, and was first printed under Chartier’s name by Denis Godefroy, together with other contemporary narratives, in 1661. It was re-edited by Vallet de Viriville (Paris, 3 vols., 1858–1859). With these must be considered the Burgundian chroniclers Enguerrand de Monstrelet, whose chronicle (ed. L. Douët d’Arcq; Paris, 6 vols., 1857–1862) covers the years 1400–1444, and Georges Chastellain, the existing fragments of whose chronicle are published in his Œuvres (ed. Kervyn de Lettenhove; Brussels, 8 vols., 1863–1866). For a detailed bibliography and an account of printed and MS. documents see du Fresne de Beaucourt, already cited, also A. Molinier, Manuel de bibliographie historique, iv. 240-306.


CHARLES VIII. (1470–1498), king of France, was the only son of Louis XI. During the whole of his childhood Charles lived far from his father at the château of Amboise, which was throughout his life his favourite residence. On the death of Louis XI in 1483 Charles, a lad of thirteen, was of age, but was absolutely incapable of governing. Until 1492 he abandoned the government to his sister Anne of Beaujeu. In 1491 he married Anne, duchess of Brittany, who was already betrothed to Maximilian of Austria. Urged by his favourite, Étienne de Vesc, he then, at the age of twenty-two, threw off the yoke of the Beaujeus, and at the same time discarded their wise and able policy. But he was a thoroughly worthless man with a weak and ill-balanced intellect. He had a romantic imagination and conceived vast projects. He proposed at first to claim the rights of the house of Anjou, to which Louis XI. had succeeded, on the kingdom of Naples, and to use this as a stepping-stone to the capture of Constantinople from the Turks and his own coronation as emperor of the East. He sacrificed everything to this adventurous policy, signed disastrous treaties to keep his hands free, and set out for Italy in 1494. The ceremonial side of the expedition being in his eyes the most important, he allowed himself to be intoxicated by his easy triumph and duped by the Italians. On the 12th of May 1495 he entered Naples in great pomp, clothed in the imperial insignia. A general coalition was, however, formed against him, and he was forced to return precipitately to France. It cannot be denied that he showed bravery at the battle of Fornovo (the 5th of July 1495). He was preparing a fresh expedition to Italy, when he died on the 8th of April 1498, from the results of an accident, at the château of Amboise.

See Histoire de Charles VIII, roy de France, by G. de Jaligny, André de la Vigne, &c., edited by Godefroy (Paris, 1684); De Cherrier, Histoire de Charles VIII (Paris, 1868); H. Fr. Delaborde, Expédition de Charles VIII en Italie (Paris, 1888). For a complete bibliography see H. Hauser, Les Sources de l’histoire de France, 1494–1610, vol. i. (Paris, 1906); and E. Lavisse, Histoire de France, vol. v. part i., by H. Lemonnier (Paris, 1903).


CHARLES IX. (1550–1574), king of France, was the third son of Henry II. and Catherine de’ Medici. At first he bore the title of duke of Orleans. He became king in 1560 by the death of his brother Francis II., but as he was only ten years old the power was in the hands of the queen-mother, Catherine. Charles seems to have been a youth of good parts, lively and agreeable, but he had a weak, passionate and fantastic nature. His education had spoiled him. He was left to his whims—even the strangest—and to his taste for violent exercises; and the excesses to which he gave himself up ruined his health. Proclaimed of age on the 17th of August 1563, he continued to be absorbed in his fantasies and his hunting, and submitted docilely to the authority of his mother. In 1570 he was married to Elizabeth of Austria, daughter of Maximilian II. It was about this time that he dreamed of making a figure in the world. The successes of his brother, the duke of Anjou, at Jarnac and Moncontour had already caused him some jealousy. When Coligny came to court, he received him very warmly, and seemed at first to accept the idea of an intervention in the Netherlands against the Spaniards. For the upshot of this adventure see the article St Bartholomew, Massacre of. Charles was in these circumstances no hypocrite, but weak, hesitating and ill-balanced. Moreover, the terrible events in which he had played a part transformed his character. He became melancholy, severe and taciturn. “It is feared,” said the Venetian ambassador, “that he may become cruel.” Undermined by fever, at the age of twenty he had the appearance of an old man, and night and day he was haunted with nightmares. He died on the 30th of May 1574. By his mistress, Marie Touchet, he had one son, Charles, duke of Angoulême. Charles IX. had a sincere love of letters, himself practised poetry, was the patron of Ronsard and the poets of the Pleiad, and granted privileges to the first academy founded by Antoine de Baïf (afterwards the Académie du Palais). He left a work on hunting, Traité de la chasse royale, which was published in 1625, and reprinted in 1859.

Authorities.—The principal sources are the contemporary memoirs and chronicles of T. A. d’Aubigné, Brantôme, Castelnau, Haton, la Place, Montluc, la Noue, l’Estoile, Ste Foy, de Thou, Tavannes, &c.; the published correspondence of Catherine de’ Medici, Marguerite de Valois, and the Venetian ambassadors; and Calendars of State Papers, &c. See also Abel Desjardins, Charles IX, deux années de règne (Paris, 1873); de la Ferrière, Le XVIe siècle et les Valois (Paris, 1879); H. Mariéjol, La Réforme et la Ligue (Paris, 1904), in vol. v. of the Histoire de France, by E. Lavisse, which contains a bibliography for the reign.


CHARLES X. (1757–1836), king of France from 1824 to 1830, was the fourth child of the dauphin, son of Louis XV. and of Marie Josephe of Saxony, and consequently brother of Louis XVI. He was known before his accession as Charles Philippe, count of Artois. At the age of sixteen he married Marie Thérèse of Savoy, sister-in-law of his brother, the count of Provence (Louis XVIII.). His youth was passed in scandalous dissipation, which drew upon himself and his coterie the detestation of the people of Paris. Although lacking military tastes, he joined the French army at the siege of Gibraltar in 1772, merely for distraction. In a few years he had incurred a debt of 56 million francs, a burden assumed by the impoverished state. Prior to the Revolution he took only a minor part in politics, but when it broke out he soon became, with the queen, the chief of the reactionary party at court. In July 1789 he left France, became leader of the émigrés, and visited several of the courts of Europe in the interest of the royalist cause. After the execution of Louis XVI. he received from his brother, the count of Provence, the title of lieutenant-general of the realm, and, on the death of Louis XVII., that of “Monsieur.” In 1795 he attempted to aid the royalist rising of La Vendée, landing at the island of Yeu. But he refused to advance farther and to put himself resolutely at the head of his party, although warmly acclaimed by it, and courage failing him, he returned to England, settling first in London, then in Holyrood Palace at Edinburgh and afterwards at Hartwell. There he remained until 1813, returning to France in February 1814, and entering Paris in April, in the track of the Allies.

During the reign of his brother, Louis XVIII., he was the leader of the ultra-royalists, the party of extreme reaction. On succeeding to the throne in September 1824 the dignity of his address and his affable condescension won him a passing popularity. But his coronation at Reims, with all the gorgeous