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
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