Conde, Louis De Bourbon
CONDE, LOUIS DE BOURBON, Prince of (1530-1569), fifth son of Charles de Bourbon, duke of Vendôme, younger brother of Antoine, king of Navarre (1518-1562), was the first of the famous house of Condé (see above). After his father's death in 1537 Louis was educated in the principles of the reformed religion. Brave though deformed, gay but extremely poor for his rank, Condé was led by his ambition to a military career. He fought with distinction in Piedmont under Marshal de Brissac; in 1552 he forced his way with reinforcements into Metz, then besieged by Charles V.; he led several brilliant sorties from that town; and in 1554 commanded the light cavalry on the Meuse against Charles. In 1557 he was present at the battle of St Quentin, and did further good service at the head of the light horse. But the descendants of the constable de Bourbon were still looked upon with suspicion in the French court, and Condé's services were ignored. The court designed to reduce his narrow means still further by despatching him upon a costly mission to Philip II. of Spain. His personal griefs thus combined with his religious views to force upon him a rôle of political opposition. He was concerned in the conspiracy of Amboise, which aimed at forcing from the king the recognition of the reformed religion. He was consequently condemned to death, and was only saved by the decease of Francis II. At the accession of the boy-king Charles IX., the policy of the court was changed, and Condé received from Catherine de' Medici the government of Picardy. But the struggle between the Catholics and the Huguenots soon began once more, and henceforward the career of Condé is the story of the wars of religion (see France: History). He was the military as well as the political chief of the Huguenot party, and displayed the highest generalship on many occasions, and notably at the battle of St Denis. At the battle of Jarnac, with only 400 horsemen, Condé rashly charged the whole Catholic army. Worn out with fighting, he at last gave up his sword, and a Catholic officer named Montesquiou treacherously shot him through the head on the 13th of March 1569.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)