GUISE

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GUISE ; the name of a celebrated noble family in France, a branch of the house of Lorraine. Claude de Guise, fifth son of Rene, duke of Lorraine, born in 1496, established himself in France, and married Antoinette de Bourbon in 1513. His valor, his enterprising spirit, and his other noble qualities, obtained for him great consideration, and enabled him to become the founder of one of the first houses, in France. In 1527, for the sake of doing him honor, his county of Guise was changed to a duchy, and made a peerage. At his death, in 1550, he left six sous and five daughters, of whom the eldest married James V, king of Scot land. The splendor of the house was principally supported by the eldest son, Guise (Francis, duke of Lorraine), bom in 1519, and called Le Balafre (the scarred), from a wound which he received m 1545, at the siege of Boulogne, and which left a permanent scar on his face. tie showed distinguished courage, in 1553, at Metz, which he defended with success against Charles V, although the emperor had sworn that he would rather perish than retreat without having effected his object. In the battle of Renti, Aug. 13, 1554, he displayed remarkable intrepidity. He also fought with success in Flanders and in Italy, and was named lieutenantgeneral of all the royal troops. The star of France began again to shine as soon as he was placed at the head of the army. In eight days, Calais was taken, with the territory belonging to it, in the middle of winter. Thus the English lost the city without recovery, after having held it 210 o years. He afterwards conquered Thionville from the Spaniards, and proved that the good or ill fortune of whole states often depends on a single man. Under Henry II, whose sister he had married, and still more under Francis II, he was the virtual ruler of France. The conspiracy of Amboise, which the Protestants had entered into for his destruction, produced an entirely opposite effect. The parliament gave him the title of savior of his country. After the death of Francis II, his power began to decline. Then grew up the factions of Conde and Guise. On the side of the latter stood the constable of Montmorency and marshal de St. Andre ; on the side of the former were the Protestants and Coligny. The duke of Guise, a zealous Catholic, and an enemy to the Protestants, determined to pursue them sword in hand. After having passed the borders of Champagne, at Bassi, March 1, 1562, he found the Calvinists singing the psalms of Marot in a barn. His party insulted them; they came to blows, and nearly 60 of these unhappy people were killed, and 200 wounded. This unexpected event lighted the flame of civil war throughout the kingdom. The duke of Guise took Rouen and Bourges, and won the battle of Dreux, Dec. 19, 1562. On the evening after this victory, he remained, with entire confidence, m the same tent with his prisoner, the prince of Conde, shared his bed with him, and slept quietly by the side of his rival, whom he regarded as a relation and a friend. At that time, the duke of GuiseĀ¦ was at the height of his fortune. He was preparing for the siege of Orleans, 'the central point of the Protestant party, when he was killed by a pistol shot fired by Poltrot de Mercy, a Huguenot nobleman, Feb. 24, 1563.