History of the rise of the huguenots

Download 3.7 Mb.
Date conversion28.01.2017
Size3.7 Mb.
1   ...   29   30   31   32   33   34   35   36   ...   61

Constancy of most of the prisoners.

The constancy of the victims, by disconcerting the plans of their

enemies, doubtless contributed much to the temporary lull. No one

attracted in this respect greater attention than the most illustrious

person among the prisoners--the daughter of the Seigneur de Rambouillet

and wife of De Rentigny, standard-bearer of the Duke of Guise--who

resolutely rejected the pardon, based on a renunciation of her faith,

which her father and husband brought her from the king, and urged her

with tears to accept.1 Others, who, on account of their youth, were

expected to be but poor advocates of their doctrinal views, proved more

than a match for their examiners. The course was finally adopted of

distributing the prisoners, about one hundred in number, in various

monastic establishments, whose inmates might win them back to the Roman

Catholic Church, whether by argument or by harsher means. The judges

could thus rid themselves of the irksome task of lighting new fires, and

the energies of the religious orders were put to some account. But the

result hardly met the expectations formed. If a few Protestants obtained

their liberty, and incurred the censures of their brethren, by unworthy

confessions of principle,2 many more were allowed to escape by the

monks, who soon had reason to desire "that their cloisters might be

purged of such pests, through fear lest the contagion should spread

farther," and found it "burdensome to support without compensation so

large a number of needy persons."3
Controversial pamphlets.

While the Protestants were thus demonstrating, by the fortitude with

which they encountered severe suffering and even death, the sincerity of

their convictions and the purity of their lives, their enemies were

unremitting in exertions to aggravate the odium in which they were held

by the people. An inquisitor and doctor of the Sorbonne, the notorious

De Mouchy, or Demochares, as he called himself, wrote a pamphlet to

prove them heretics by the decisions of the doctors.

1 Beza, letter of Nov. 24, 1557, ubi supra. See a letter of Calvin to this noblewoman
(Dec. 8, 1557), Lettres franç. (Bonnet), ii. 159.

2 Hist. ecclés., i. 84.]

3 Calvin to Bullinger, Bonnet (Eng. tr.), iii. 411; Baum, i. 317, 318.

A bishop found the signs of the true church in the bells at the sound of

which the Catholics assembled, and marks of Antichrist in the pistols and

arquebuses whose discharge was said to be the signal for the gathering of the

heretics. A third controversialist went so far as to accuse the Protestants not only
of impurity, but of denying the divinity of Christ, the immortality of the soul,
the resurrection of the body, and even the existence of God.1
Capture of Calais, January, 1558.

Meanwhile, public affairs assumed a more encouraging aspect. Francis of

Guise, recalled from Italy, where his ill-success had been the salvation

of the poor Waldenses in their Alpine valleys,2 had assumed command

of a large force, consisting partly of the troops he had taken to Italy,

partly of noblemen and gentlemen that flocked to his standard in answer

to the king's summons for the defence of the French capital. With this

army he succeeded in capturing, in the beginning of January, 1558, the

city of Calais, for two hundred years an English possession.3 The

achievement was not a difficult one. The fortifications had been

suffered to go to ruin, and the small garrison was utterly insufficient

to resist the force unexpectedly sent against it.4 But the success

raised still higher the pride of the Guises.
Registry of the inquisition edict.

Antoine of Navarre, Condé, and other princes favor the Reformation.

The auspicious moment was seized by the Cardinal of Lorraine to induce

Henry, on the ninth of January, to hold in parliament a lit de

justice, and compel the court to register in his presence the obnoxious

edict of the previous year, establishing the inquisition.5 But the

engine which had been esteemed both by Pope and king the only

1 Histoire ecclésiastique des églises réformées, i. 78.

2 Cf. the anonymous letter to Henry the Second, inserted in

La Place, Commentaires de l'estat de la religion et république (éd.

Panthéon Littéraire), p. 5; and in Crespin (see Galerie chrétienne, ii. 246).

3 Guise's glory was, according to parliament, in

registering (Feb. 15th) the king's gift to him of the "maison des

marchands" at Calais, "d'avoir expugné une place et conquis un pays que

depuis deux cens ans homme n'avoit non seulement entrepris de faict,

mais ne compris en l'esprit." Reg. of Parliament, apud Mémoires de

Guise, p. 422.

4 De Thou, ii. 549-552; Prescott, Philip the Second, i. 255-257.

5 Hist. ecclés. i. 87, 88.

sure means of repressing heresy, failed of its end. New churches arose; those

that previously existed rapidly grew.1 The Reformation, also, now,

for the first time, was openly avowed by men of the first rank in the

kingdom. Its opponents were filled with dismay upon beholding Antoine de

Bourbon, King of Navarre, his brother Louis, Prince of Condé, and

François d'Andelot, brother of Admiral Coligny, at the head of the

hitherto despised "Lutherans." Antoine de Bourbon-Vendôme was, next to

the reigning monarch and his children, the first prince of the blood.

Since his marriage with Jeanne d'Albret--in consequence of which he

became titular King of Navarre--he had resided for much of the time in

the city of Pan, where his more illustrious son, Henry the Fourth, was

born. Here he had attended the preaching of Protestant ministers. On his

return to court, not long after the capture of Calais, he took the

decided step of frequenting the gatherings of the Parisian Protestants.

Subsequently he rescued a prominent minister--Antoine de Chandieu--from

the Châtelet, in which he was imprisoned, by going in person and

claiming him as a member of his household.2 Well would it have been

for France had the Navarrese king always displayed the same courage.

Condé and D'Andelot were scarcely less valuable accessions to the ranks

of the Protestants.
Embassy from the Protestant Electors of Germany.

Other causes contributed to delay the full execution of the plan of the

Inquisition. A united embassy from the three Protestant Electors of

Germany--the Count Palatine, the Duke of

1 In Normandy the burdens imposed by the war indirectly

favored the growth of Protestantism. "The troubles of religion were

great in this kingdom during the year 1558," writes a quaint local

antiquarian. "The common people was pretty easily seduced. Moreover, the

'imposts' and 'subsidies' were so excessive that, in many villages, no

assessments of 'tailles' were laid; the 'tithes' (on ecclesiastical

property) were so high that the curates and vicars fled away, through

fear of being imprisoned, and divine service ceased to be said in a

large number of parishes adjoining this city of Caen: as in the villages

of Plumetot, Periers, Sequeville, Puto, Soliers, and many others. Seeing

which, some preachers who had come out of Geneva took possession of the

temples and churches." Les Recherches et Antiquitez de la ville de Caen,

par Charles de Bourgueville, sieur du lieu, etc. Caen, 1588. Pt. ii. 162.

2 Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., i. 89.

Saxony, and the Marquis of Brandenburg--and from the Dukes of Deux Ponts

and Wurtemberg, bearing a powerful appeal to Henry in behalf of his
persecuted subjects, arrived in Paris.1 Such noble and influential
petitioners could not be dismissed--especially at a time when their assistance
was indispensable--without a gracious reply;2 and, in order that the

German princes might not have occasion to accuse Henry of too flagrant

bad faith, the persecution was allowed for a short time to abate.
Psalm-singing on the Pré aux Clercs.

An incident of an apparently trivial character, which happened at Paris

not long after, proved very clearly that the severities inflicted on

some of those connected with the meeting in the Rue St. Jacques had

utterly failed of accomplishing their object. On the southern side of

the Seine, opposite the Louvre, there stretched, just outside of the

city walls, a large open space--the public grounds of the university,

known as the Pré aux Clercs.3 This spot was the favorite promenade

of the higher classes of the Parisians. It happened that, on a certain

afternoon in May,4 a few voices in the crowd began to sing one of

the psalms which Clément Marot and Théodore de Bèze had translated into

French. At the sound the walks and games were forsaken. The tune was

quickly caught up, and soon the vast concourse joining in the words,

either through sympathy or through love of novelty, the curious were

attracted from all quarters to listen to so strange an entertainment.

For many successive evenings the same performance was repeated. The

numbers increased, it was said, to five or six thousand. Many of the chief
personages of the kingdom were to be seen among those who took part. The

1 The letter, dated March 19th, is reproduced in the

Galerie chrét., abridgment of Crespin, ii. 266-269. Melanchthon wrote,

in the name of the theologians assembled at Worms, an earnest appeal to

the same monarch, on the 1st of Dec, 1557. Opera Mel. (Bretschneider), ix. 383-385.

2 Hist. ecclés., i. 89. Galerie chrétienne, ii. 270.
3 See Dulaure's plan of Paris under Francis I. Hist. de Paris, Atlas.

4 The date is fixed as well by the Reg. of Parliament (cf.

infra), as by a passage in a letter of Calvin to the Marquis of Vico,

of July 19, 1558 (Lettres franç., Bonnet, ii. 212), in which the

psalm-singing is alluded to as having occurred "about two months

ago"--"il y a environ deux moys."

King and Queen of Navarre were particularly noticed because

of the pleasure they manifested. By the inmates of the neighboring

College of the Sorbonne the demonstration was interpreted as an open

avowal of heresy. The use of the French language in devotional singing

was calculated to throw contempt upon the time-honored usage of

performing divine service in the Latin tongue.1 To the king, at this

time absent from the city, the psalm-singing was represented as a

beginning of sedition, which must be suppressed lest it should lead to

the destruction at once of his faith and of his authority. Henry, too

ready a listener to such suggestions, ordered the irregularity to cease;

and the Protestant ministers and elders of Paris, desirous of giving an

example of obedience to the civil power in things indifferent, enjoined

on their members to desist from singing the psalms elsewhere than in

their own homes.2
Conference of Cardinals Lorraine and Granvelle.

The visit of the Dowager Duchess of Lorraine, who was permitted to meet

her son upon the borders of France, afforded a good opportunity for an

informal discussion of the terms of the peace that was to put an end to

a war of which both parties were equally tired. There, in the fortress

of Peronne, the Cardinal of Lorraine held a conference with Antoine

Perrenot, Cardinal of Granvelle; and a friendship was cemented between

the former and the Spanish court

1 De Thou, ii. 578.

2 Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., i. 90. How large a body of

Parisians took part in these demonstrations appears from the Registers

of Parliament. On the 17th of May, 1558, the Bishop of Paris reported to

parliament that he had given orders to find out "les autheurs des

assemblées qui se sont faictes ces jours icy, tant au pré aux Clercs,

que par les rues de cette ville de Paris, et à grandes troupes de

personnes, tant escolliers, gentilshommes, damoiselles que autres

chantans à haute voix chansons et pseaumes de David en François." On

the following day the procureur general was directed to inquire into the

"monopoles, conventicules et assembées illicites, qui se font chacun

jour en divers quartiers et fauxbourgs de cette ville de Paris, tant

d'hommes que de femmes, dont la pluspart sont en armes, et chantent

publiquement à haute voix chansons concernant le faict de la religion,

et tendant à sedition et commotion populaire, et perturbation du repos

et tranquillité publique." Reg. of Parl., apud Félibien, Hist. de

Paris, Preuves, iv. 783. The charge of carrying arms seems to have been

true only so far that the "gentilshommes" wore their swords as usual.

boding no good for the quiet of France or the stability of the throne.

D'Andelot, Coligny's younger brother, denounced.

Little was effected in the direction of peace. But Cardinal Lorraine

received valuable hints touching the best method for humbling the

enemies of his house. Of these no one was more formidable than

D'Andelot, who had distinguished himself greatly in the war on the

Flemish borders. This young nobleman, the Bishop of Arras affirmed, had

been found, during the captivity from which he had recently escaped, to

be infected with the contagion of the "new doctrines." Since his return

to France, he had even ventured to send a heretical volume to console

his brother, the admiral, in prison. The cardinal, jealous of the houses

of Châtillon and Montmorency, promptly reported to the king the story of

D'Andelot's defection from the faith. His brother, the Duke of Guise,

loudly declared that, although he was ready to march to the siege of

Thionville, he could entertain no hope of success if D'Andelot were

suffered to accompany him, in command of the French infantry.1
D'Andelot in Brittany.

The sympathy of the younger Châtillon was daily becoming more openly

avowed. On a recent visit to Brittany (April, 1558), he had taken with

him Fleury and Loiseleur, Protestant ministers. For the first time, the

westernmost province of France heard the doctrines preached a generation

before in Meaux. The crowd of provincial nobles, flocking to pay their

respects to D'Andelot and his wife, Claude de Rieux, heiress of vast

estates in this region, were both surprised and gratified at enjoying

the opportunity of listening to preachers whose voice had penetrated to

almost every nook of France save this. So palpable were the effects,

that D'Andelot's brief tour in Brittany furnished additional grounds for

Henry's suspicions respecting the young nobleman's soundness in the faith.2

1 La Place, Commentaires de l'estat, etc., p. 9; De Thou, ii. 563.

2 Hist. ecclés. de Bretagne depuis la réformation jusqu'à

l'édit de Nantes, par Philippe Le Noir, Sieur de Crevain. Published from

the MS. in the library of Rennes, by B. Vaurigaud, Nantes, 1851, 2-17.

D'Andelot summoned to appear before the king. His manly defence.

D'Andelot was summoned to appear before the king and clear himself of

the charges preferred against him. Henry is said, indeed, to have sent

previously D'Andelot's brother, the Cardinal of Châtillon, and his

cousin, Marshal Montmorency, the constable's eldest son, to urge him to

make a submissive and satisfactory explanation. But their exertions were

futile. Henry began the conversation by reminding D'Andelot of the great

intimacy he had always allowed him and the love he bore him. He told him

that he had expected of him anything rather than a revolt from the

religion of his prince and an adherence to new doctrines. And he

announced as the principal points in his conduct which he condemned,

that he had allowed the "Lutheran" views to be preached on his estates,

that he had frequented the Pré aux Clercs, that he absented himself

from the mass, and that he had sent "books from Geneva" to his brother,

the admiral, in his captivity. D'Andelot replied with frankness and

intrepidity. He professed gratitude for the many favors he had received

from the monarch, a gratitude he had never tired of making known by

perilling life and property in that prince's cause. But the doctrine he

had caused to be preached was good and holy, and such as his forefathers

had held. He denied having been at the Pré aux Clercs, but avowed his

entire approval of the service of praise in which the multitude had

there engaged. As for his absence from the mass, he thanked God for

removing the veil of ignorance that once covered his eyes, and declared

that, with the Almighty's favor, he would never again be present at its

celebration. In fine, he begged Henry to regard his life and property as

being entirely at the royal disposition, but to leave him a free

conscience. The Cardinal of Lorraine, who alone of the courtiers was

present, here interposed to warn the speaker of the bad way into which

he had entered; but D'Andelot replied by appealing to the prelate's own

conscience in testimony of the truth of the doctrines he had once

favored, but now, from ambitious motives, persecuted.
Henry orders him to be imprisoned. Embarrassment of the court.

Greatly displeased with so frank an avowal of sentiments that would have

cost one less nobly connected his life, Henry

now pointed to the collar of the "Order of St. Michael" around D'Andelot's

neck, and exclaimed: "I did not give you this order to be so employed; for
you swore to attend mass and to follow my religion." "I knew not what it is to
be a Christian," responded D'Andelot; "nor, had God then touched my heart as

He now has, should I have accepted it on such a condition."1 Unable

any longer to endure the boldness of D'Andelot--who richly deserved the

title he popularly bore, the fearless knight2--Henry angrily commanded him to

leave his presence. The young man was arrested and taken by the archers of the
guard to Meaux, whence he was subsequently removed to Melun.3 The position of the court was, however, an embarrassing one. Henry manifested no desire to retain long as a prisoner, much less to bring to the estrapade, the nephew of the

constable, and a warrior who had himself held the honorable post of

Colonel-General of the French infantry, and was second to none in

reputation for valor and skill. The most trifling concession would be

sufficient to secure the scion of the powerful families of Châtillon and

Montmorency. Even this concession, however, could not for a considerable

time be gained. D'Andelot resisted every temptation, and his

correspondence breathed the most uncompromising determination.

D'Andelot's constancy. His temporary weakness.

In a long and admirable letter to Henry, it is true, he humbly asked

pardon for the offence his words had given. And he begged the king to

believe that, "save in the matter of obedience to God and of

conscience," he would ever faithfully expose life and means to fulfil

the royal commands. But he also reiterated his inability to attend the

mass, and plainly denounced as blasphemy the approval of any other

sacrifice than that made upon the Cross.4 To the ministers of

1 Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., i. 91.

2 Ib., ubi supra.

3 De Thou, ii. 566, 567; Hist. ecclés., ubi supra; La Place, Commentaires
de l'estat, pp. 9, 10; Calvin, Lettres franç. (July 19th), ii. 212, 213.

4 The closing words of this letter, written probably in

May, 1558, and published for the first time in the Bull. de la Soc. de

l'hist. du prot. fr. (1854), iii. 243-245, from the MS. belonging to the

late Col. Henri Tronchin, are so brave and so loyal, that the reader

will readily excuse their insertion: "Et ce que je vous demande, Sire,

n'est point, grâces à Dieu, pour crainte de la mort, et moins encore

pour désir que j'aye de recouvrer ma liberté, car je n'ay rien si cher

que je n'abandonne fort voluntiers pour le salut de mon âme et la gloire

de mon Dieu. Mais, toutefois, la perplexité où je suis de vous vouloir

Paris he wrote, expressing a resolution equally strong; and the letters of the

latter, as well as of the great Genevese reformer, were well calculated

to sustain his courage. But D'Andelot was not proof against the

sophistries of Ruzé, a doctor of the Sorbonne and confessor of the king.

Moved by the entreaties of his wife,1 of his uncle the constable,

and of his brother the Cardinal of Châtillon, he was induced, after two

months of imprisonment, to consent to be present, but without taking any

part, at a celebration of the mass. By the same priest D'Andelot sent a

submissive message to the king, to which the bearer, we have reason to

believe, attributed a meaning quite different from that which D'Andelot

had intended to convey. The noble prisoner was at once released; but the

voice of conscience, uniting with that of his faithful friends, soon led him to
repent bitterly of his temporary, but scandalous weakness. From this time
forward he resumes the character of the intrepid defender of the Protestant
doctrines--a character of which he never again divests himself.2
satisfaire et rendre le service que je vous doibs, et ne le pouvoir

faire en cela avec seureté de ma conscience, me travaille et serre le

cueur tellement que pour m'en délivrer j'ay esté contrainct de vous

faire ceste très humble requeste."

1 Cf. Calvin's letter to the Marq. of Vico, July 19, 1558.

Bonnet, Lettres franç., ii. 213, 214: "Sa femme luy monstrant son ventre

pour l'esmouvoir à compassion du fruict qu'elle portoit."

2 Among the many important services which the French

Protestant Historical Society has rendered, the rescue from oblivion of

the interesting correspondence relating to D'Andelot's imprisonment

merits to be reckoned by no means the least (Bulletin, iii. 238-255).

Even the graphic narrative of the Histoire ecclésiastique fails to give

the vivid impression conveyed by a perusal of these eight documents

emanating from the pens of D'Andelot, Macar (one of the pastors at

Paris), and Calvin. The dates of these letters, in connection with a

statement in the Hist. ecclés., fix the imprisonment of D'Andelot as

lasting from May to July, 1558. A month later Calvin wrote to Garnier:

"D'Andelot, the nephew of the constable, has basely deceived our

expectations. After having given proofs of invincible constancy, in a

moment of weakness he consented to go to mass, if the king absolutely

insisted on his doing so. He declared publicly, indeed, that he thus

acted against his inclinations; he has nevertheless exposed the gospel

to great disgrace. He now implores our forgiveness for this offence....

This, at least, is praiseworthy in him, that he avoids the court, and

openly declares that he had never abandoned his principles." Letter of

Aug. 29th, Bonnet, Eng. tr., iii. 460; see also Ath. Coquerel, Précis de

l'histoire de l'égl. réf. de Paris, Pièces historiques, pp.

xxii.-lxxvi.; twenty-one letters of Macar belonging to 1558. If the

reformers condemned D'Andelot's concession, Paul the Fourth, on the

1   ...   29   30   31   32   33   34   35   36   ...   61

The database is protected by copyright ©ininet.org 2016
send message

    Main page