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Clement, Jacques

CLEMENT, JACQUES (1567-1589), murderer of the French king Henry III., was born at Sorbon in the Ardennes, and became a Dominican friar. Civil war was raging in France, and Clément became an ardent partisan of the League; his mind appears to have become unhinged by religious fanaticism, and he talked of exterminating the heretics, and formed a plan to kill Henry III. His project was encouraged by some of the heads of the League; he was assured of temporal rewards if he succeeded, and of eternal bliss if he failed. Having obtained letters for the king, he left Paris on the 31st of July 1589, and reached St Cloud, the headquarters of Henry, who was besieging Paris. On the following day he was admitted to the royal presence, and presenting his letters he told the king that he had an important and confidential message to deliver. The attendants then withdrew, and while Henry was reading the letters Clément mortally wounded him with a dagger which had been concealed beneath his cloak. The assassin was at once killed by the attendants who rushed in, and Henry died early on the following day. Clément's body was afterwards quartered and burned. This deed, however, was viewed with far different feelings in Paris and by the partisans of the League, the murderer being regarded as a martyr and extolled by Pope Sixtus V., while even his canonization was discussed.

See E. Lavisse, Histoire de France, tome vi. (Paris, 1904).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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