Note by A Milnes to As A Playwright a chapter of The Life Of Dryden

This League was the one formed in 1576 to oppose Henry III and the Huguenots. At its head was the Duke of Guise, by whose suggestion it had been first formed in Picardy. The basis of religion gave it the greatest part of its strength; and the Parisians, who had been deeply concerned in the Massacre of St. Bartholomew, were among its most ardent supporters. Each province was to raise 2000 foot and 400 horse, to be used against the Huguenots. The League slumbered after the Peace of Bergerac, 1577, till the death of the Duke of Anjou left the king of Navarre heir presumptive of Henry III. There was then a concordat signed between Queen Elizabeth, Henry of Navarre, the Prince of Conde, John Casimir, the Swiss, and the Rochellois, to maintain the Edicts of Pacification, by which favourable terms had been granted to the Huguenots, and to summon Henry III to respect them. The League now sprang up again, and from this time onwards France was the scene of a kind of triangular duel, the League, the Court, and the Huguenots fighting against each other. The Duke of Guise, as head of the Leaguers, was assassinated by order of Henry III on Christmas Day, 1588. In 1589 the two kings, Henry III and Henry of Navarre, united against the League, and were successful until the assassination of Henry III in August 1589. Henry of Navarre now tried to win over the soldiers of the united armies, but they declared they would rather submit to the League than have a Huguenot king. In spite of the brilliant victory of Ivry in 1590 the League and the Catholics refused to submit unless the king would become a Catholic. In 1593 he consented to do this, and thus the League was defeated in its main purposes against the Huguenots by its proximate success in converting Henry of Navarre.

There were several Covenants famous in Scottish history. In 1581 James VI, finding Scotland threatened by a confederacy of Catholic noblemen and by Spanish intrigues, called upon his subjects to enter into a Covenant pledging themselves to renounce the papal doctrines and to defend the Scottish Church. In 1638, when Charles I was endeavouring to force the Scots to submit to his ecclesiastical policy, another Covenant was drawn up which is known as 'The Scottish National Covenant.' This was generally taken throughout Scotland, and those taking it were termed 'Covenanters .' In 1643, after the beginning of the Civil War, the parliamentary leaders sought to gain the assistanceof the Scots against the King. A revised Covenant, known as ' The Solemn League and Covenant ,' was now drawn up, pledging the two nations to assist each other in the defence of their religion and liberties. It also pledged them to the reformation of religion in England ' according to the Word of God and the example of the best reformed churches ,' and to endeavour to establish uniformity of worship and creed in England, Scotland, and Ireland. This Covenant was accepted by the English Parliament on September 25, 1643, and imposed by it on the nation. This third Covenant is the one referred to by Dryden.

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