Jean de Monluc

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Relation for the King of his embassy to the Ottoman Empire, by Jean de Montluc, 1545.

Jean de Monluc (died 1579) was a French noble and clergyman, the brother of Blaise de Lasseran-Massencôme, seigneur de Montluc and a member of the Monluc family.

Religious career[edit]

He was bishop of Valence, and bishop of Die. He was sympathetic to the Protestants, attacked the cult of images, and made prayers in French, thereby earning him the opprobrium of Rome.[1] He advocated a reunion of Protestantism and Catholicism through the establishment of a common council.[2]

Jean died in 1579, leaving a natural son, Jean de Monluc (d. 1603), seigneur de Balagny, who was at first a zealous member of the League, but made his submission to Henry IV, and received from him the principality of Cambrai and the baton of a marshal of France.

French diplomat[edit]

Jean distinguished himself in several embassies. In 1545, Jean de Monluc went on an embassy for Francis I of France to the Ottoman Empire in Constantinople, where he joined ambassador Gabriel de Luetz d'Aramon.[3][4][5]

In 1549 Jean went to Ireland to investigate reports that Con O'Neill, O'Doherty, Manus O'Donnell and his son Calvagh might join with France against English rule. France would offer military support and obtain Papal funding. He then went to Scotland and met Mary of Guise at Stirling Castle in January 1550. His colleague Raymond de Beccarie de Pavie, sieur de Fourqueveaux was not impressed by the Irish chiefs.[6]

In 1573, Jean de Monluc was the French envoy in Poland to negotiate the election of Henry of Valois, future Henry III of France, on the Polish throne, in exchange for military support against Russia, diplomatic assistance in dealing with the Ottoman Empire, and financial help.[7]

Mission to Scotland in 1560[edit]

In March 1560, Mary, Queen of Scots and her husband Francis I of France sent Jean to meet the former Regent Arran in Scotland. Arran was the leader of the Protestant Lords of the Congregation who had risen against the Catholic rule of Mary of Guise during the Scottish Reformation. Jean first went to London to meet Elizabeth I of England, then travelled with Henry Killigrew to Berwick upon Tweed on 6 April. They met the Duke of Norfolk who was directing English military operations in Scotland in support of the Protestants. Killigrew wrote a note to William Cecil which mentions that he had deliberately taken the journey north as slowly as possible, riding forty miles in a day rather than sixty. During the ride, Jean told Killigrew that he was offended by Elizabeth's efforts to delay him in London, while her army, enabled by the treaty of Berwick had entered Scotland.

Jean gave Norfolk a letter from Elizabeth with instructions to give him safe conduct to Mary of Guise. Norfolk wrote that this would be difficult, because Arran was in the field, the Dowager was in Edinburgh Castle and the French were in Leith. On the same day Norfolk got news of the battle at Restalrig that commenced the siege of Leith. By 12 April, still in Berwick, Jean told Killigrew that he thought Elizabeth would drive the French from Scotland, and this was the worst of his "imbassagis" and would be his undoing.[8] Eventually, Jean boasted to Killigrew that no man could end the difference by treaty better than he could, and privately told him that he was prepared to make concessions including a French withdrawal from Scotland, excepting the garrisons of Inchkeith and Dunbar Castle.[9] Killigrew went into Scotland alone, and spoke to Mary of Guise and the Scottish Lords, securing a hearing for Jean, so "that the world shall not say but that he was heard."

The Lords of the Congregation allowed Jean to enter Scotland on 20 April. Norfolk gave him an eight-day pass to Haddington and the English camp at Leith (Restalrig Deanery). Grey of Wilton let him see Mary of Guise, but prevented him going into Leith and conferring with the French commanders, Henri Cleutin, de Martiques and Jacques de la Brosse.[10]Amongst the Protestant leaders, he spoke to the Earl of Morton and Mary's half-brother Lord James. Amongst his proposals, he asked that the Lords of the Congregation dissolve their league with England, meaning February's treaty of Berwick. Their response was to renew their alliance in a "bande amongst the nobilitie of Scotland" on 27 April 1560, which declared their religious aims and intent to "take plain part with the Queen of England's army."[11]

He was in Newcastle on 10 June and with another French diplomat, de Randan, had a conference with Cecil, and Dr Nicolas Wotton. With a second commission from Mary and Francis he returned to Scotland in June 1560, and took part in the peace talks which culminated in the Treaty of Edinburgh, which he signed "J. Monlucius episcopus Valentinus" on behalf of France, and resulted in the evacuation of French troops from Scotland. The English diplomat Thomas Randolph reported to Killigrew that his bishop had great honour by English and Scots, and was "royally banqueted and entertained."[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Chadwick 2003, p. 227.
  2. ^ Nugent 1974, p. 18.
  3. ^ Garnier, p.251
  4. ^ Dyer 1861, p. 605.
  5. ^ Rappoport 2003, p. 47.
  6. ^ Lyons, Mary Ann, Franco-Irish Relations 1500–1610, Boydell and Brewer, (2003), 88–90, citing Melville's Memoirs.
  7. ^ Theodore Beza and the quest for peace in France, 1572–1598 by Scott M. Manetsch, p.80
  8. ^ Bain 1898, pp. 350–352.
  9. ^ Bain 1898, p. 360.
  10. ^ Bain 1898, p. 378.
  11. ^ Bain 1898, pp. 382–383.
  12. ^ Bain 1898, pp. 328–463, 801.