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May 6th

Born: Andrea Massena, French general, 1758, Nice.

Died: Charles, Duo de Bourbon, killed at Rome, 1527; Sir Robert Bruce Cotton, English historical antiquary, 1631, Connington; Cornelius Jansen (Jansenius), Bishop of Ypres, theologian, 1638; Samuel Bochart, French Protestant divine and orientalist, 1667, Caen; Emperor Leopold I, 1705; Andrew Michael Ramsay, author of Travels of Cyrus, 1743, St. Germain-en-Laic.

Feast Day: St. John before the Latin Gate, 95. St. Eadbert, Bishop of Lindisfarne, confessor, about 698. St. John Damascen, 780.

THE CONSTABLE DE BOURBON

During the middle ages nothing inspired greater horror than false oaths and perjury. It was not enough to give up the guilty persons to the authorities who administered justice, but it was generally believed that God did not wait for the last judgment. The hand of the exterminating angel was always stretched out, menacing and implacable, over those who escaped the action of the law, or who placed themselves superior to it. Numbers of popular legends were current which related the awful divine judgments by which the anger of heaven was manifested against the impious. Such was the death of the Constable de Bourbon.

Born in the year 1489, he early displayed, under the careful training of his mother, a superiority to most men in mental and bodily accomplishments. His beauty and strength excited wonder and admiration; whilst his correct understanding made friends of all around him. His first campaign was made in Italy, with Louis the Twelfth, during which the gallant Bayard became his most intimate friend; and being raised by Francis the First to be a Constable of France, he accompanied him also to Italy, and to his talent was due the victory at Marignano. A coldness ensued between the king and his general, owing, it was supposed, to a pique of the queen-mother, who had made advances to Bourbon, which were repulsed. She induced the king to refuse repayment of the money which Bourbon had borrowed to save the Milanese; and afterwards various processes of law were commenced, which, by depriving him of his estates, would have left him penniless.

Provoked by his king's ingratitude, he entered into a secret correspondence with Charles the Fifth, Francis's great rival, and with some difficulty escaped from France, and was immediately appointed lieutenant-general to the emperor, in Italy.

When he had brought back victory under the flag of his new master, relieved Italy from the French rule, and given up the King of France, who was taken prisoner at the disastrous battle of Pavia, to his rival, he did not receive the price he expected for his treason. The emperor refused to give the hand of his sister Eleanor to a traitor, who covered himself in vain with military glory.

The indignant Bourbon returned into the midst of that army of which he was the soul, to hide his shame and rancour. Charles, in the meantime, forgetting the old Spanish bands to whom he owed the conquest of the Milanese, failed to send their pay, and the troops were many months in arrears. At first they supported the privations which their chief shared; but soon murmurs broke out, and menaces of desertion to the enemy were heard. The constable, after having endeavoured to soften their complaints, no longer offered any opposition to the exactions of every kind that they levied on the duchy of Milan. The magistrates and inhabitants entreated him to put an end to this deplorable state of things, and to remove his army, who, according to the expression of the times, 'lived on the poor man.' He appeared to be touched with the unheard-of evils which the army had caused, and solemnly promised that they should cease, provided the city of Milan furnished him with thirty thousand ducats to pay his bands of mercenaries; after which he would lead them out of the territory. Thus ran the oath, the breaking of which was fully believed to be the cause of his death by the superstitious: 'In case the least extortion,' said he, calling heaven to witness his promise, `should be made on the poorest villager or citizen, I pray that, at the next battle or assault in which I shall be engaged, the first cannon-ball which is fired may be at me, and carry away my head.'

The money was paid, but the army remained; robbery, burning, and murder marked the passage of madmen who cared nothing for their captain's oath; the desolation of the country was so great, that some of the inhabitants, ruined, ill-used, and dishonoured, killed themselves with their own hands, praying heaven to avenge them. At length, the constable, who doubtless did not possess sufficient authority to keep his word, marched his army out of a country which could no longer maintain it, to Rome, which he intended to besiege and give up to the soldiers, who demanded money or pillage. A thousand sinister voices repeated in his ear the fatal oath he had so imprudently made.

The presentiment of his death seems to have oppressed him when he encamped on the 5th of May, 1527, before the walls of the Eternal City, where the rumour of his approach had spread the greatest alarm. His soldiers, even, who loved him as a father, and believed themselves invincible under his guidance—wild adventurers, who feared nothing either in this world or the next —shook their heads, and fixed their tearful eyes on the general's tent, where he had shut himself up, ordering that all should be ready for the attack on the following morning. During the night, he neither slept nor lay down, remaining in arms, with his brow resting on his hands.

At daybreak the trumpet sounded the assault: the constable, without saying a word, seized a ladder, and rushing before the boldest, himself planted it against the wall. At the same moment, an artillery-man (some say the famous sculptor, Benevenuto Cellini), who had recognised him from the battlements of the Castle of Saint-Angelo, directed his piece so skilfully that the ball carried away the head of Bourbon, who was just crying, 'The city is taken.' Rome was indeed taken, and given up to all the horrors of pillage, but at least the perjurer had received his punishment.

CORNELIUS JANSEN

The world knows more about the Jansenists than about Jansen, for greater have been the disciples than the master. Cornelius Jansen was born, in 1585, at Acquoi, near Leerdam, in Holland. He was educated for the priesthood, and whilst acting as Professor of the Holy Scriptures at Louvain, he published a treatise, entitled Mars Gallicus, denouncing France for heresy on account of the alliances she was forming with Protestant states for the purpose of breaking the power of Spain. In acknowledgment of this service he was made Bishop of Ypres in 1635, but enjoyed his dignity for only three years, being cut off by the plague on the 6th of May, 1638, at the age of 53.

If matters had rested here, Jansen would have been forgotten, wrapt in the odour of sanctity; but for twenty years he had been engaged on a great theological work, in the preparation of which he had read over ten times the whole writings of St. Augustine, collating them with the Fathers, and had studied thirty times every passage in which Augustine had referred to the Pelagian controversy. Two years after his death, his executors published the results of his persevering labours as Augustinus Cornelii Jansenii, and great was the amazement and horror of orthodox readers. Whilst holding firmly and faithfully to the ecclesiastical order of Rome, it turned out that Jansen had been doctrinally neither more nor less than a Calvinist. Louvain was thrown into a ferment, and attempts were made to suppress the work.

The agitation spread to Paris. The inmates of the convent of Port Royal valiantly defended Jansen's positions, which the Jesuits as vigorously attacked. An abstract of Jansen's opinions was drawn up and laid before the pope, who, on 31st of May, 1653, pronounced them heretical. The Jansenists, who now numbered in their ranks men like Pascal and Nicole, admitted the justice of the papal decision, but evaded its force by saying the pope had rightly condemned the doctrines included in the abstract, but that these doctrines were not to be found in Jansen. Again the Jesuits appealed to Rome, and the pope gratified them in asserting that the opinions condemned in the abstract were to be found in Jansen. Thereupon Louis XIV expelled the Jansenists from Port Royal as heretics, and the Jesuits were triumphant. The controversy did not end here, but lingered on for years, absorbing other questions in its course. So late as 1713, Clement XI issued his famous bull ‘Unigenitus,' in which he condemned 101 propositions of a book by Father Quesnel, for its revival of the heresy of Jansen.

THE LAST OF THE ALCHEMISTS 

On the 6th of May 1782, a remarkable series of experiments was commenced, in his private laboratory at Guildford, by James Price, a distinguished amateur chemist, and Fellow of the Royal Society. Mr. Price, during the preceding year, imagined he had succeeded in compounding a powder, capable, under certain circumstances, of converting mercury and other inferior metals into gold and silver. He hesitated before making public this extraordinary discovery; but having communicated it to a few friends, and the matter becoming a subject of doubtful discussion among chemists, he determined to put it beyond cavil, by conducting a series of experiments in presence of a select assemblage of men of rank, science, and public character.

The experiments, seven in number, commenced, as already observed, on the 6th of May, and ended on the twenty-fifth of the same month. They were witnessed by peers, baronets, clergymen, lawyers, and chemists, and in all of them gold and silver, in greater or less quantities, were apparently produced from mercury: to use the language of the alchemists, mercury was transmuted into gold and silver. Some of the gold thus produced was presented to the reigning monarch, George III, who received it with gracious condescension. The University of Oxford, where Price had been a fellow-commoner of Oriel College, bestowed on him the degree of M.D.; and his work, containing an account of the experiments, ran through two editions in the course of a few months.

The more sanguine and less scientific of the community saw in this work the approach of an era of prosperity for England such as the world had never previously witnessed. Who could doubt it? Had not the king honoured, and Oxford rewarded, the fortunate discoverer? Some, on the other hand, asserted that Price was merely a clever juggler; while others attempted to show in what manner he had deceived himself. On some points, however, there could be no difference of opinion. Unlike many professors of alchemy, Price was not a needy, nameless adventurer, but a man of wealth, family, and corresponding position in society. As a scientific man, he had already distinguished himself in chemistry, the study of which he pursued from a pure love of science; and in private life his amiability of character had insured many worthy and influential friends.

In the fierce paper conflict that ensued on the publication of the experiments, the Royal Society felt bound to interfere; and, accordingly, called upon Price, as a fellow of the society, to prove, to the satisfaction of his brother fellows, the truth of his alleged transmutations, by repeating his experiments in their presence. From this point Price seems to have lost confidence, and decided symptoms of equivocation and evasion appear in his conduct. He declined to repeat his experiments, on the grounds that the process of preparing the powder of projection was difficult, tedious, and injurious to health. Moreover, that the result of the experiments, though most valuable as a scientific fact, was not of the profitable character he at first believed and the public still supposed; the cost of making gold in this manner being equal to, in some instances more than, the value of the gold obtained; so much so, indeed, that, by one experiment, it cost about seventeen pounds sterling to make only one ounce of gold, which, in itself, was not of the value of four pounds.

These excuses were taken for what they were worth; Sir Joseph Banks, the president of the society, reminding Price that not only his own honour, but the honour of the first scientific body in the world, was implicated in the affair. Price replied that the experiments had already been conducted in the presence of honourable and competent witnesses, and no advantage whatever could be gained by repeating them—`for, as the spectators of a fact must always be less numerous than those who hear it related, so the majority must at last believe, if they believe at all, on the credit of attestation.' Further, he adduced his case as an example of the evil treatment that has ever been the reward of great discoverers; and concluded by asserting that his wealth, position in society, and reputation as a scientific chemist, ought, in unenvious and unprejudiced minds, to free him from the slightest suspicion of deceit. To Price's friends this line of conduct was painfully distressing. Yielding at last to their urgent entreaties, he consented to make some more powder of projection, and satisfy the Royal Society. For this purpose, as he stated, he left London, in January 1783, for his laboratory at Guildford, faithfully promising to return in a month, and confound, as well as convince, all his opponents.

Arriving at Guildford, Price shut himself up in his laboratory, where he made it his first employment to distil a quantity of laurel-water, the quickest and deadliest poison then known. He next wrote his will, commencing thus—'Believing that I am on the point of departing from this world.' After these ominous preliminaries, he commenced the preparation of his promised powder of projection.

One, two, three—six months passed, but nothing being heard of Price, even his most attached friends reluctantly confessed he had deceived them, when, to the surprise of every one, he reappeared in London, and formally invited as many members of the Royal Society as could make it convenient to attend, to meet him in his laboratory at Guild-ford on the 3rd of August. Although, scarcely a year previous, the first men in England were contending for the honour of witnessing the great chemist's marvellous experiments, such was the change in public estimation caused by his equivocal conduct, that, on the appointed day, three members only of the Royal Society arrived at the laboratory, in acceptance of his invitation. Price received them with cordiality, though he seemed to feel acutely the want of confidence implied by their being so few.

Stepping to one side for a moment, he hastily swallowed the contents of a flask of laurel-water. The visitors seeing a sudden change in his appearance, though then ignorant of the cause, called for medical assistance; but in a few moments the unfortunate man was dead. Many and various were the speculations hazarded on this strange affair. It is most probable that Price had in the first instance deceived himself, and then, by a natural sequence, attempted either wilfully or in ignorance to deceive others, and, subsequently discovering his error, had not the moral courage to confess openly and boldly that he had been mistaken.

Thus it was that alchemy, among scientific men at least, in England, came to an end with the last act of a tragedy; while in Germany, contrary to what might have been expected, it disappeared amidst the hilarious laughter of a comedy. Contemporary with Price, there lived, at the University of Halle, a grave and learned professor of theology named Semler. In his youth, the professor had frequently heard a friend of his father, a crack-witted enthusiast, rejoicing in the appellation of Taubenschus, recount the dazzling marvels of the philosopher's stone. These youthful impressions were never completely obliterated from the mind of the theologian, who used to relieve his severer labours by performing a few chemical experiments in a small private laboratory. But an astute Jew coming to Halle, and informing Semler that he had picked up some wonderful alchemical secrets in Barbary, so completely cheated the simple professor, that he abandoned chemistry, as he then thought, for ever. But, long after, when Semler was well advanced in years, a Baron Hirschen discovered one of those universal medicines, which, like the tar-water, brandy-and-salt, and other nostrums of our own country, occasionally appear, create a furor, and then sink into oblivion. Semler tried some of this Salt of Life, as it was termed; and fancying it benefited his health, German professor-like, sat down and wrote three ponderous treatises on its astonishing virtues, greatly to the disgust of Hirschen, who felt that the theologian was rather ploughing with his heifer, as one might say but in time he had his revenge.

While studying and developing the virtues of the Salt of Life, Semler could not fail to remember the ancient notion of the alchemists, that the philosopher's stone, when discovered, would also be a panacea. Here, thought he, is a universal medicine, powerful enough to change all diseases into pure and perfect health; why then, he continued, may it not be able to change an imperfect metal into pure and perfect gold? So he determined to fit up his laboratory once more, merely to try a few experiments; and in the meantime he placed an earthen jar, containing a solution of the Salt of Life in pure water, near a stove, to see how it would be affected by a moderate heat. On examining this jar a few days afterwards, to Semler's surprise he found it contained some thin scales of a yellowish metal, which, being tested, unmistakably proved to be pure gold. Here was a discovery!—gold, real, glittering gold, made without trouble or transmutation, furnace or crucible! Proving that the dreams of the alchemists regarding transmutation were as absurd as they were proved fallacious; that gold, in accordance with Hermes Trismegistus, could be generated, but not transmuted. Semler's former experience, however, rendered him cautious; he repeated the experiment several times with the same success, till he became perfectly convinced. As conscientious as cautious, the professor considered that the benefits of this great discovery did not belong to him; Hirschen was the discoverer of the Salt of Life, and to him rightfully belonged all the advantages that might accrue from it. So Semler wrote to Hirschen a very minute account of his wonderful discovery; but such is the ingratitude of mankind, that the latter sent back a very contemptuous letter in reply, advising Semler to attend to his chair of theology, and not meddle with matters that he could not comprehend.

Thus repulsed, Semler thought it his duty to publish the matter to the world, which he accordingly did. All Germany was astounded. Salt of Life came into universal demand, and there were few houses in which a jar of it might not be seen near the stove; but fewer still were the houses in which it produced gold—only one, in fact, and that we need not say was Semler's.

The professor, in a lengthy memoir, attempted to explain how it was that his mixture produced gold, while that of others did not. It was owing, he considered, to a perfect regularity of temperature, which was necessary, by fecundating the salt, to produce the gold. But Klaproth, the most eminent chemist of the day, having analyzed the Salt of Life, found it to be a mixture of Glauber's salts and sulphate of magnesia, and utterly incapable of producing gold under any circumstances whatever. Semler then sent Klaproth some of his Salt of Life in powder, as well as in solution, and in both of these the chemist found gold, but not in combination with the other ingredients, as it could be removed from them by the mere process of washing. There could be only one conclusion on the matter; but Semler's known probity, and the absurdity of even the most ignorant person attempting a deception so easily discovered, rendered it very mysterious. As Semler was a theologian, and Klaproth a man of science, suspected of being imbued with the French philosophy, the common-sense view of the question was ignored, and the bitter controversy that ensued turned principally on the veracity of the respective leaders, whether the theologian was more worthy of belief than the chemist, or the contrary. And so hard did theology press upon science, that Klaproth condescended to analyze some of Semler's solution, in presence of the ministers of the king, and other distinguished persons, in Berlin.

The result was more surprising than before. In this public analysis Klaproth found a metal not gold, but a kind of brass called tombac; the substance we term 'Dutch metal.' This new discovery created shouts of laughter; but the government interfering, instituted a legal inquiry, and the police soon solved the mystery. Semler had a faithfully-attached old servant, who, for the simple purpose of gratifying his beloved master, used to slily slip small pieces of gold leaf into the professor's chemical mixtures. Having once commenced this course, the servant had to keep it up, as he well knew the disappointment at not finding gold would be much greater than in the first instance. But the old servant, being a pensioner, had to muster at head-quarters once a year. So, when the time came for him to depart, he entrusted the secret to his wife, giving her money to purchase the gold leaf as it might be required. But this woman, having a partiality for brandy, thought it a sin to waste so much money in gold leaf, and so bought Dutch metal instead, expending the balance on her favourite beverage. Semler fairly enough confessed his error when the laughable discovery was made, and no pretensions of that kind were ever again listened to in the German States.

THE TRIBUTE OF ROSES, A MAY-DAY CUSTOM

In the times of the early kings of France, the parliament, placed between royalty and the church, formed one of the three great powers of the state. The kings felt a real esteem and respect for this judiciary body, and regularly attended its sittings; besides, it was not always stationary in Paris, but made an annual tour, when the princes and princesses of royal blood were accustomed to follow it in its laborious peregrinations, and thus added to the brilliancy and pomp of its meetings.

It was in 1227, during one of these judicial pilgrimages, that the custom called The Tribute of Roses' was founded; one of the most charming of which the parliamentary annals speak. The ceremony was created by a woman and for a woman; by a powerful and illustrious queen, for the wise and lovely daughter of the first president of the parliament of Paris, and possesses at the same time the majesty of all that comes from a throne, and the grace of all that comes from a woman. These, then, were the circumstances, according to ancient chronicles, under which. the ceremony was instituted.

The parliament was convoked at Poitiers to judge of an important matter. The Vidame (or judge of a bishop's temporal jurisdiction) de Bergerac, who had been married three times, had left seven children of each union; and it was necessary to decide if those of the first marriage should take their share of the property in the same proportion as the junior branches, the written law and the customs of the provinces of Guy-mane and Poitou not being agreed upon the point, and the parliament must settle the difference. The young Count Philibert de la Marche had been appointed judge to report the case; but as he was known to be much fonder of pleasure than work, the family counted little upon him; in addition to which the young man, one of the first peers of the court, had formed a warm attachment, and it is well known that love leaves little time for the serious duties of jurisprudence. They were, however, deceived.

On the 6th of May, Queen Blanche de Castille, widow of Louis VIII, and regent of the kingdom, made her entrance into Poitiers, followed by the principal lords of her court, the president and members of parliament. The streets were strewed with flowers, the houses hung with gay flags and cloth of gold, the cries of ‘Vive le Roi,' ‘Vivo la Regente,' ‘Noel, Noel,' mingled with the ringing of bells and the merry chimes of the Hotel de Ville. Mounted on a superb palfrey, the regent had at her right hand her son, twelve years of age, to whom she thus taught the respect which kings owe to justice; precious lessons, which made Louis the Ninth the most just and wise of kings, and gained for him a renown which will never perish. At her left was Thibault, Count of Champagne; then came the Lords of Crecy, of Zaintrailles, of Bourville, and Fecamp; the Earls of Ponthieu, of Toulouse, of Narbonne; the Vidames of Chartres and Abbeville; and a crowd of other gentlemen of renown, covered with their glittering armour. After these chosen warriors, the support and defense of the crown, came the members of parliament, mounted on their more peaceful mules.

At the head of the grave magistrates, every one must have noticed Pierre Dubuisson, the first of a long line of presidents, who, in spite of his eighty years, was fulfilling the serious duties of his appointment. At his side were the Nestors of the French magistracy, Philippe de Moirol, Clement Toutemain, Ange de Saint-Preval, Jacques Saint-Burge, and others who, if younger, were already celebrated for their ripened judgment. This brilliant procession went first to the cathedral, where a solemn mass was sung with due ceremony, in which the prayer was uttered that the Holy Spirit might descend on their proceedings; after which each received the holy communion from the hands of Claude de Blaisemont, Bishop of Poitiers. When this ceremony was ended, the procession again set forth to the house of Maturin de Surlauve, lord high treasurer to the crown.

The queen was anxious that the members, who usually brought their wives and families with them, should find lodgings in her immediate neighbourhood, and had fixed upon the field of roses—which were then in flower, and surrounded the magnificent and luxurious abode prepared for her—as the place for the court of justice to be held in; the first sitting was to take place the following day. The president, Pierre Dubuisson, had then apartments very near to the Regent. A widower for many years past, he had brought with him his daughter Marie, upon whom he lavished all his affections; she was endowed with remarkable beauty, as modest as wise, her wit equalling her elegance, and beloved and respected by the whole court. It was for her that the Count de la Marche felt such a violent passion; in his office as judge and peer of France, he had recourse to the learning of Dubuisson, and thus had often the opportunity of seeing Marie. His sentiments had been long avowed, his title and coronet laid at her feet; but the modest young girl had always replied to these brilliant offers:

'Monseigneur, yours is an ancient race; your ancestors have left you a dozen turreted castles which adorn and defend France; you ought to have a wife worthy of your greatness, and I am only the daughter of a man of science and virtue. Permit me, then, to refuse your homage.'

This noble refusal, as often happens, had redoubled the ardour of the young count; hence he learnt with delight the determination of the Regent to accompany the parliament in its journey to Poitiers, and be present at its sittings; hoping that during the journey, while his functions obliged him to remain constantly near the princess, he should see Marie more frequently, as Blanche de Castille was much attached to her, and kept her at her side all the day; but the constraint of the royal presence did not permit him to express all he felt. It, however, made him imprudent; and when night came he ventured into the rose garden under Marie's windows, and to attract her attention, he sung one of Count Thibault de Champagne's romances. At the end of the second verse, Marie's window opened, and she addressed him in these words:

'Are you not ashamed, Monseigneur, to employ the hours of work in vain gallantry? You will be called upon tomorrow to defend before a parliamentary assembly the honour and possessions of orphans, and you are wasting the hours of work in worthless pleasures. Look around you, and see the lights in the windows of the members who are preparing themselves for the important duties which you are called to fill; go and imitate them!'

Feeling the justice of this reproach, the young count felt that the only way of obtaining Marie's hand was to make himself worthy of it; and returning home, he began earnestly to study the cause which he was to plead.

On the morrow's sitting the succession of the Vidame de Bergerac's was the first case called for. The president, certain that the Count de la Marche was not prepared, proposed to pass on to another; but the Regent, who had heard all the previous evening, commanded that the cause should be tried. The count made his deferential bow to her majesty, and proceeded with a clear and luminous statement of the case. He offered conclusions based upon strict legal rules with an eloquence which astonished the wisest magistrates; and, carried away by the talent of the young nobleman, they received and adopted his opinion unanimously.

'Count,' said the Regent, after the sitting, 'you have just given us a marvellous proof of your erudition and eloquence; we thank you for it. But be candid, and tell us who has inspired you so well.'

'The voice of an angel descended from heaven to recall me to my duty,' replied the count.

'I knew it,' said the Regent; 'and I wish to recompense you for having followed the good advice that this angel gave you. Messire Pierre Dubuisson, you are created Chancellor of France; and you, my sweet Marie, shall after tomorrow be saluted by the name of Countess de la Marche. And to perpetuate the remembrance of this day, to remind the young peers of France how they ought, like the Count de la Marche, to turn the most tender feelings to the advantage of justice, I shall expect them each year to give a tribute to my parliament.'

'And what shall the tribute be?' asked the Count de Champagne.

'A tribute of roses,' replied the Regent. `Count do In Marche, you are the first to offer it to the parliament.'

In a moment the rose garden was despoiled of its most beautiful flowers, which the count presented in baskets to the grave members. Since then, every year on the first of May the youngest peer of France offered this tribute, which they called la baillee aux roses. In 1541 it gave rise to a dispute for precedence between the young Duke of Bourbon-Montpensier and the Duke de Nevers, one of whom was a prince of the blood. The claims of the two pretenders being submitted to the parliament, were argued by the two most celebrated lawyers of the period, Francois Marillac and Pierre Seguier. After both sides had been heard, the parliament gave its decree on Friday, the 17th of June 1541: 'that having regard to the rank of prince of the blood joined to his peerage, the court orders that the Duke de Montpensier shall offer the tribute of roses.'

This contest, which had excited in the highest degree both the court and the city, proves the value which the highest noblemen attached to the opportunity of paying respect, by this curious and graceful tribute, to the administrators of justice. But in 1589 the League, no longer considering the parliament as a court of peers, abolished the baillee aux roses, and since then the custom has been forgotten.

Bussy Rabutin relates, that under the reign of Louis XIV the President de Samoiguan proposed its re-establishment; but the Duke de Vivonne, to whom he spoke, replied:

'Monsieur le President, the peers of France, who support above all things the prerogatives of the crown, are not always on a good understanding with the parliament; believe me, it is better that we should both keep within our limits; let us not exhume old customs, which might perhaps become real subjects of dissension.'

These words induced the president to resign his intention; and this charming custom, so graceful in its origin, was for ever abolished.

May 7th

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