Quotations from Montaigne's Essaysselected and translated by Anthony Weirwith glosses and comments.
Montaigne seems to be saying that he would like to have a hand in running things, but not to assume a post of real responsibility. In the event, as a Catholic man of honour respected by the Protestants he was actually invited to Paris by the Protestant King Henri IV to help negotiate a lasting peace between the Catholics and the Protestants. He declined, having earlier, at the instigation of Cathérine de Médicis (daughter of Lorenzo the Magnificent of Florence), travelled to Paris and other parts of France on a useless mission - to reconcile the Valois and Catholic king Henri III with his likely successor, the Bourbon and Protestant king of Navarre. This was in order to squeeze out the Duc de Guise, leader of the 'Catholic League', who hoped to seize the throne from the weak third and last son of Cathérine de Médicis to be king of France.Despite the defeat of the Duc de Guise by Henri of Navarre (who turned Catholic in order to ensure peace in the land), the vicious war of religion erupted again after his death, until Louis XIV revoked Henri IV's Edict of Nantes (which gave Protestants basic civil and religious rights) and went on to crush the 'heretics'. Mostly in the textile trades (like the Cathars before them in more or less the same areas) they fled to the Low Countries, England, Scotland, and the North of Ireland.