At this period Louis XIII, still a mere youth, and utterly inexperienced in those great questions of public policy which determine the prosperity or the peril of a nation, resolved upon a measure which Henri IV himself had not ventured to undertake. The Roman Catholic religion had been abolished in Bearn by Jeanne d’Albret, his grandmother, and the property of that church seized in virtue of an Act passed at the assembly of the States; and now, on the demand of his clergy, he determined to issue a decree ordaining the restitution of all the ecclesiastical property, and the re-establishment of the Roman faith. This was, of course, resisted by the Protestants, as well as the annexation of the principality of Bearn to the Crown of France; but the advisers of the young King considered the opportunity to be a favourable one for effecting both measures; and they easily persuaded him to persevere in his purpose. The edict was consequently published; and its effects were destined to be painfully felt by the reformed party throughout the remainder of his reign.
The people, on their side, had not forgotten the promises which they had received of a reform in the government, and De Luynes still continued to give them hopes of their accomplishment; but as no measures to that effect were taken, they, at this period, demanded a new assembly of the States-General. They were, however, induced to modify this demand; and a meeting of the Notables was finally conceded, which was to take place at Rouen on the 24th of November, in the presence of the sovereign. This assembly was accordingly held, but thanks to the influence of De Luynes produced none of the results which had been anticipated.
A few days before the departure of Marie de Medicis from Paris the King of Spain declared war against the Duke of Savoy, who immediately appealed to France for aid, which was in the first instance refused; but, on the representations of the Marechal de Lesdiguieres, it was finally accorded, and troops were raised which proceeded to Piedmont under the command of that general.
Such was the general aspect of the Court and kingdom of France at the close of the year 1617; of which we have considered it necessary to sketch the principal features, in order to remind the reader of the exact position of the country at the period of the Queen-mother’s exile. Henceforward we shall principally confine ourselves to following her in her banishment.
 The Comte de Fiesque was the equerry of Anne of Austria.
 Le Vassor, vol. i. pp. 643, 644. Pontchartrain, Mem. p. 223.
 Sismondi, vol. xxii. pp. 396, 397. Richelieu, Mem. book viii. pp. 420-428. Rohan, Mem. p. 144. Le Vassor, vol. i. pp. 647-649. Mezeray, vol. xi. p. 139. Richelieu, Hist, de la Mere et du Fils vol. i. pp. 200-202.