The future Henry III, recently elected King of Poland, prepares his journey to his new kingdom. Conscious of his rank, he wishes to surround himself with great and noble lords, including the Count of Abain, Montaigne’s old friend, devout Catholic, diplomat and man of war.

Henri III duc d'Anjou roi de Pologne


Henri III (1551-1589), King of France, then King of Poland. Signed letter “Vostre bon amy Henri “, Paris, 7 August 1573, to [Louis de Chasteigner de La Roche-Posay], Mons[ieur] d’Abin, gentilhomme de la chambre du Roy, monseigneur et fr[ere] “. 1 page in-folio, address on the back.

Then Duke of Anjou, the future Henry III had just been elected King of Poland by the Diet on 11 May 1573. Preparing for his trip, he appealed to Louis de Chasteigner, Earl of Abain, devout Catholic, experienced and cultured political end, which is more formidable man of war who had all the confidence of Charles IX and his mother Catherine de Medici.

Henri III duc d'Anjou roi de Pologne

He is about to leave ” pour aller au Royaume de Polloigne, il est requis &  necessaire que je sois accompaigné en ce voiaige de gens de vertu et quallité & mesmement de mes amys et serviteurs, tant pour la grandeur de la maison dont je suis sorty, le lien que je vays tenir en ung royaume estranger et aussy pour l’honneur que jay davoir comandé en ce royaume soubs le nom du Roy monseigneur &  frere depuis quelque temps “; he asked the Count of Abain to accompany him on this occasion.

Henri III alors roi de Pologne

He reminds him how generous he has been to his friends and will be generous again for those who will make him happy : ” je me suis efforcé de faire ce que j’ay peu, et sellon le temps, pour ceulz qui m’ont requis de quelque chose juste et raisonnable. D’aultres, je les ay pourveuz en ma maison et mis en mon estat, de sorte qu’il y en a bien peu que par honneur ne me doivent fere ce plaisir et service de m’aconpaigner en une telle occasion, et de me faire congnoistre le service qu’ilz desirent me fere, lesquelz je recongnoistray en tous les lieudits ou il y aura moien de gratiffication à l’endroict de ceulz qui se seront monstrez telz que je desire en cest endroict. “

Henri III alors roi de Pologne.

Undoubtedly d’Abain will join him, and he waits for him in Paris or Chalons in Champagne from 20 septembre. ” Vous advisant que vous ne me scauriez faire congnoistre la devotion que vous avez a me faire ung bon service qui a ce coup m’asseurait, vous n’y vouldrez faillir, que me gardera de vous en fere plus longue lettre. Henri won’t leave until December… to get back as soon as possible and in secret on 18 next June, at the death of his brother, to his accession to the throne of France.

Henri III. alors roi de Pologne. Signature autographe

Louis Chasteigner de la Roche-Posay (1535-1595), Baron de Malval, Lord of Abain or Abin, friend of Montaigne whom he received in Rome and who quotes him in his Journal de voyage en Italie as “nice man studieus and strong long-handed friend”. (Œuvres complètes, Bibl. of the Pléiade, . 1962, p. 1206). He studied under Adrien de Tournébur, Jean Dorat, poet and king’s teacher, and Scaliger. After diplomatic missions in Italy and Malta, he joined the party of arms under the title of Lord of Abain. He was in 1567 at the Battle of Saint-Denis, Jarnac and Moncontour in 1569, to the battle of the Roche Abeille, at the siege of la Rochelle 1573 and in several places held by the Huguenots. Charles IX granted him the office of ordinary gentleman of his House. Considered a man of trust by Catherine de Medici, he will accompany the Duke of Anjou to Poland ; passing through Germany, he will be a member of Parliament to the Archbishops of Trier and Poland and the Electors of the Empire. After the death of Charles IX, Henry III will send him to Rome to Pope Gregory XIII, where he will reside as ambassador for five years. When he was returned, he will be sent to visit the provinces of the kingdom as a member of the Council of State and created Knight of the Order of the Saint-Esprit, and will receive the necklace from the King’s hands, in the Augustins in Paris, in 1583. He served gloriously throughout Henry III’s war against the Leaguers. After the death of this prince, he recognized for his legitimate King Henry IV, who had given him the Government of the High and Lower March, and whom he will also serve with zeal. He died in Moulins, , 60 ., on 29 septembre 1595, on his return from Burgundy, where he had accompanied Henry IV who had fought the battle of Fontaine-Française in June. He always loved the study of letters, science and scientists ; for the education of his children, ,kept for thirty years Joseph Scaliger who wrote the epitaph on his tomb.

Henri III. Lettre au comte d'Abain.

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