Biography of Coligny


GASPARD DE COLIGNY, a French admiral and general of eminence, was born at Chattillon-Sur-Loring, February 16th, 1517. Introduced at court, he served under Francis I in Italy, where he evinced great bravery.

Under Henry II he was made an infantry colonel, and in 1552 admiral of France. On the death of Henry II, Coligny, who had previously adopted the reformed faith, became with the Prince of Conde, one of the great leaders of the Huguenots. In this capacity he was remarkable for his prudence and his bravery. He had the intelligence to plan, as well as the daring to execute, and above all, a heart that was not to be cast down by disasters. At the battles of Dreux and Jarnac, in the former of which Conde was taken prisoner, and in the latter killed, Coligny's skill saved the remains of the Protestant army. When peace was concluded in 1570, Coligny went to court, and was apparently well received by the King (Charles IX); but the enmity of the Guises, by whom Coligny was unjustly accused of murdering the Duke of Guise at the siege of Orleans, was stirred up against him, and an attempt was made by one of their menials to assassinate him on the street, on August 22nd, 1572. This attempt at individual murder was but a preliminary to the general massacre of the Huguenots which took place two days afterwards, and in which Coligny was basely slaughtered, his body being afterwards exposed to the vile outrages of the mob.