History of the rise of the huguenots



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and an amicable conference.

Then turning to the queen mother, Beza reminded her that he and his

companions were there, not only for the purpose of submitting a

confession of their faith, but to serve God, Charles, and herself, by

laboring in all possible ways to appease the troubles that had arisen in

connection with religion. To dismiss them without giving them an

opportunity for an amicable conference would not be the means of

allaying the prevailing disturbances; and those who proposed to do so

knew it well. Were the handful of Protestants at Poissy the only persons

concerned, there might, in the world's eye, be little likelihood that

danger would result from treating them as their enemies desired. But it

might please her Majesty to consider that they were here in behalf of a

million persons in this realm, in Switzerland, Poland, Germany, England,

and Scotland, who watched the proceedings of the colloquy, and who would

be astonished to hear, as they would hear, that, instead of such a

conference as had been promised, the ministers had received the tenth

part of an article, and had been told: "Sign this; otherwise we will

proceed no farther." What would be gained if the Protestants did sign

it; for, did the prelates agree in the Augsburg Confession? If there was

a real desire to confer, let persons be appointed who were willing to

meet the Protestants, and let them examine together the Holy Scriptures

and the old Fathers of the Christian Church, with the books before them,

and let secretaries write out the results of the discussion in an

authentic form. Then it would be

known that the ministers had not come to sow troubles, but to promote accord.1
Lorraine's anger.

The prelates were much excited when Beza concluded. His reference to

episcopal elections stung them to the quick. Lorraine angrily accused

him of insulting not only the sacerdotal, but the royal authority,

since it was Francis the First that had taken away the election of the

priesthood from the people.2 Beza, replying, said that this very

act was an evidence of the radical disturbance of the ancient order,

when avarice, ambition, and unworthy rivalry between monks and canons

rendered such a change necessary. Pressed again to sign the article

submitted two days before, Beza persisted that it was unjust to endeavor

to compel the Protestants to subscribe to that to which the prelates

refused their own indorsement.3


Peter Martyr and Lainez the Jesuit.

The discussion was next carried on between the doctors of the Sorbonne

and Beza and Martyr. The latter spoke in Italian,4 and won

universal applause; but he was rudely interrupted by the Cardinal of

Lorraine, who said that he did not want to hear a foreign language. A

little later, a Spaniard, Lainez, the second general of the rising order

of Jesus, who had just reached Paris in the train of the Cardinal Legate

of Ferrara, begged permission to speak. Leave was




1 Beza's address is inserted in La Place, 193-196; Hist.

ecclés. des égl. réf., i. 371, etc. See also De Thou, iii. (liv.

xxviii.), 74; letters of Beza to Calvin, and N. des Gallars to the

Bishop of London, ubi supra; Jean de Serres, i. 327, etc.



2 La Place, De Thou, letters of Beza, and des Gallars,

etc., ubi supra. "Comme si les feu rois François le grand, Henry le

débonnaire, François dernier décédé, et Charles à present règnant (et

faisoit sonner ces mots autant qu'il pouvoit) avoient été tyrans et

simoniacles." Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., i. 375.

3 La Place, Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., etc., ubi supra. Letter of Beza to the Elector Palatine,
Oct. 3d, Baum, ii., App., 88, 89.

4 Because he was not sufficiently familiar with French,

according to La Place, 197 (ne sçachant parler françois); and in order

to make himself better understood by the queen "ut a regina intelligi

posset," than he would have been had he spoken in Latin. Letter of Beza,

Baum, ii., App., 79. "D'Espense," says La Place ubi supra, "lors donna

ceste louange audict Martyr, qu'il n'y avoit eu homme de ce temps qui si

amplement et avec telle érudition eust escript du faict du sacrement que luy."

granted him, and he indulged in an address much more remarkable for its coarse


invective than for its weight of argument.1 Not content with dissuading his
hearers from listening to the Protestant ministers as persons already

sufficiently convicted of error, he called them apes and foxes,2

and advised that they be sent to Trent, where the Pope had convoked a

free council to which they might have free access. He condemned the

French for holding a separate council, and reprobated the discussion of

topics of such importance as those now under consideration in the

presence of women, and of men trained to war. After these gentle hints

respecting the qualifications of the queen and his noble auditors to act

as judges, he approached the all-absorbing question of the real

presence--a feeble part of his speech in which we may be excused from

following him. The remainder of the day was spent in warm debate, which

continued until the approach of night. Just as all were rising and about

to leave, however, the queen called to her Beza and the Cardinal of

Lorraine, and adjured them in God's name to strive for the establishment

of peace. A knot of friends gathered around each; the conference was

renewed amid much confusion and noise; but the darkness soon

necessitated an adjournment.3
Close of the Colloquy of Poissy.

It was the last day of the Colloquy of Poissy. If anything more had

until now been needed to demonstrate the futility of all hopes based

upon an open discussion regulated solely by the caprice of the Cardinal

of Lorraine, it was certainly furnished by the experience of the last


1 Although Lainez spoke in Italian (see Baum, ii. 363), it

is needless to say that the Cardinal of Lorraine made no objection to

the use of a language which, it may be added, he understood perfectly.

The reader may see some reason in the summary of Lainez's speech given

in the text, for dissenting from the remark of MM. Oimber et Danjou, iv.

34, note: "Il [Lainez] fit entendre dans le colloque de Poissy, des

paroles de paix et de conciliation."

2 "I said," writes Beza, in giving an account of his brief

reply to Lainez, "that I would concede all the Spaniard's assertions

when he proved them. As to his statement that we were foxes, and

serpents, and apes, we no more believed it than we believed in

transubstantiation." Letter to Calvin, Baum, ii., App., 79.

3 La Place, 198; Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., i. 377-379;

Jean de Serres, i. 335-339; Letter of Beza to Calvin, Sept. 27th, Baum,

ii., App., 79.

session. Catharine, however, was loth to abandon the scheme from which

she had expected such important results to flow. With her usual

incapacity to understand the strength of religious convictions deeply

implanted in the soul, she still hoped to secure, from a private

interview of the more moderate Roman Catholics with a few of the leading

Protestants, a plan of agreement that might serve to unite both

communions. Some of her more conscientious advisers shared in the same

sanguine expectations.
A private conference. The Roman Catholic champions.
The Abbé de Salignac.

Five Roman Catholic ecclesiastics were chosen to confer with as many

Protestant ministers. They were selected as well for learning and

ability as for reputed moderation of sentiment.1 The Bishops

Montluc of Valence, and Du Val of Séez in Normandy, the Abbé's de

Salignac and Bouteiller, and D'Espense, doctor in the Sorbonne, were

probably all believed to be half inclined to fall in with the

reformatory current. Of Montluc and D'Espense, mention has already more

than once been made. Bouteiller, it will be remembered, was the priest

who had officiated in the Cardinal of Châtillon's episcopal palace at

Beauvais, the last Easter preceding, when the communion was administered

under both kinds, "after the fashion of Geneva."2 Salignac was a

timid man, a fair sample of the "Nicodemites," who had proved the bane

of the Reformation in France. For thirty years he had held, and to some

extent--if we may credit his own words--professed the same doctrines as

Calvin, continually exhorting his hearers to turn from an empty, formal

worship, to Christ as the only Saviour. Confessedly he had not rejected

"that false doctrine"--for thus he did not hesitate, in his private

correspondence with a Protestant, to designate the Romish creed--so

openly as the reformers were wont to do; but he claimed to have won the

universal approval of the best men around him by his attacks upon "Babylon," which he had approached sometimes "by mines," sometimes "in open warfare,"


1 "Qui præ ceteris doctrina et ingenio, atque etiam

moderatione præstare existimantur." Letter of N. des Gallars, ubi

supra, 82. "Gens doctes et traictables." Letter of Beza to the Elector

Palatine, ibid., 90.



2 Ante, p. 475.

according to time and circumstances.1 Since no

violent opposition seems ever to have been made, no persecution ever to

have arisen against Salignac, and in view of the fact that the conflict

of the last thirty years had been sufficiently sanguinary and little

calculated to reassure timid combatants, it is highly probable that the

prudent abbé's subterranean operations greatly outnumbered his more

valiant exploits. Well might the reformers, who knew that victory was to

be obtained, not by burrowing under the ground, but by facing the perils

of the battle-field, exclaim:

Non tali auxilio nec defensoribus istis

Tempus eget.


Conference at St. Germain. A discussion of words.

Theodore Beza, Peter Martyr, Angustin Marlorat, Jean de L'Espine, and

Nicholas des Gallars, were appointed to represent the Protestants, and

it was arranged that secretaries should be present at the conferences to

note the progress made toward unity. The ten theologians met in the

apartments of the King of Navarre, at St. Germain. Their conclusions

were to be submitted to the Protestant ministers and delegates present

at the court, and at the same time carried to Poissy for ratification by

the still assembled prelates. Both parties were in earnest in seeking for common
ground on which they might stand. Compelled by the instructions the bishops
had received, to commence with the knotty question of the


1 "Fateor equidem (nec causa est cur id negem) falsam

istam doctrinam, non tam fortasse aperte, quam ipsi facere soletis,

confutasse: Babylonem tamen cum cuniculis, tum aperto etiam marte, ut

res et tempus ferebat, ita semper oppugnavi, ut noster iste in eo genere

conatus optimo cuique semper probaretur." Letter of Salignac to Calvin,

Calvini Opera, ix. 163, 164. Calvin (probably, as Prof. Baum remarks, at

Beza's suggestion) wrote to Salignac, about a month after the

termination of the Colloquy of Poissy, a respectful but extremely frank

letter, in which he urged him to espouse with decision the cause he

secretly advocated. He reminded him that it was no mean honor to have

been among the first fruits of the revival of truth in France. He urged

him to put an end to his inordinate hesitation, by the consideration of

the number of those who were still vacillating, but who would forthwith

imitate his example if he forsook the enemy's camp for the fold of

Christ. Letter of Calvin to Salignac, Nov. 19, 1561, Calvini Opera, ix.

163; Calvin's Letters (Bonnet), iv. 239-241. Salignac's reply, from which the extract


given above is taken, is characteristic of the man--less conscious of his weakness than
Gérard Roussel, but equally faint-hearted. See also Baum, ii. 387, 388.

eucharist instead of adopting the more natural order of

the articles of the confession of faith, the Romish party inquired

whether, abandoning discussion for the time, both sides might not agree

on the formula which had been drawn up and approved by four of their

number on the twenty-fifth of September, or on some similarly moderate

statement. The question, so far as the formula they referred to was

concerned, was promptly answered by Peter Martyr. The Zurich reformer,

somewhat apprehensive, as he had lately shown, lest his colleagues

should, in their eagerness for accord, make something approaching a

sacrifice of doctrine, greatly to their surprise drew from his pocket a

paper which he proceeded to read: "I reply, for my part, that the body

of Christ is truly and substantially nowhere else than in heaven. I do

not, however, deny that Christ's true body and his true blood, which

were given on the cross for the salvation of men, are by faith and

spiritually received by the believing in the Holy Supper."1 A

friendly but laborious discussion, not of ideas nor of doctrines, but of

words, ensued. At length a statement was drawn up sufficiently comprehensive, yet sufficiently general to admit of being approved in good conscience by the


entire number of theologians.2 But the prelates of Poissy promptly rejecting the
article, the next day it was necessary to renew the deliberation. A second form of agreement was drafted,3 which the Roman


1 See Prof. Baum's graphic account, ii. 390-392. The next day Martyr wrote out and presented
a fuller statement of his belief, which is inserted among the documents of Baum, ii., App., 84, 85.

2 "En tant que la foy rend les choses promises présentes, et que la foy prent véritablement le corps
et le sang de nostre Seigneur Jésus-Christ, par la vertu du Sainct-Esprit; en cest esgard nous

confessons la présence du corps et du sang d'iceluy en la saincte cène, en laquelle il nous


présente, donne et exhibe véritablement la substance de son corps et sang, par l'opération de son
Sainct-Esprit; y recevons et mangeons spirituellement et par foy," etc. Mém. de Condé, i. 55; La

Place, 199; Jean de Serres, i. 340. Letter of Des Gallars, Baum, ii., App., 83.



3 "Nous confessons que Jésus-Christ en sa céne nous présente, donne et exhibe véritablement
la substance de son corps et de son sang par l'opération du Sainct-Esprist; et que nous recevons
et mangeons spirituellement et par foy ce propre corps, qui est mort pour

nous, pour estre os de ses os, et chair de sa chair, à fin d'en estre

vivifié, et percevoir tout ce qui est requis à nostre salut. Et pour ce

que la foy appuyée sur la parolle de Dieu fait et rend présentes les

choses prises, et que par ceste foy nous prenons vrayement et de faict

le vray et naturel corps et sang de nostre Seigneur par la vertu du

Sainct-Esprit, en cest esgard nous confessons la présence du corps et sang d'iceluy
en sa saincte cène." La Place, 199; J. de Serres, i. 341. Letter of des Gallars, ubi
supra, 83, 84; Languet, Epist. secr., ii. 148; Mém. de Condé, i. 55.

Catholic deputies felt confident would meet with the approval of those who had sent them.



Premature delight of the queen mother. The article rejected by the prelates.

Their demand.

Although the article itself was to be kept secret until submitted to the

prelates, the tidings that a harmonious result had been reached rapidly

flew through the court and was carried to Catharine herself. Beza and

Montluc were summoned into her presence. In the excess of her joy at the

prospect of the peaceful solution of a difficult problem, and of an

issue of the colloquy which would greatly conduce to her glory and the

firmer establishment of her rule, Catharine even cordially embraced the

reformer, and bade him go on in the good way he and his companions had

entered. Beza, not blind to the difficulties that still beset their

path, replied that their highest desires were for truth and peace, but

that a good beginning only had been made.1 The Cardinal of

Lorraine, after reading the article, expressed the belief that the

prelates of Poissy would be pleased,2 and for his own part seemed

to regard the Protestants as having surrendered the entire ground of

controversy to the Roman Catholics.3 But both queen and cardinal

were soon undeceived. The assembled prelates rejected the modified

article with scorn, treating with insult the deputies that brought it,

as having betrayed their cause and played into the hands of the

reformers.4 Under these circumstances a continuation of the

conference would have


1 Letter of Beza, Oct. 3d and 4th, Baum, ii., App., 93;

Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., i. 382.



2 "Peutêtre qu'il pensait dire vrai," shrewdly observes

the author of the Hist. des églises réformées (i. 382), "n'ayant jamais

le loisir telles gens de bien penser, s'ils croient ou non, ni à ce

qu'ils pensent croire."



3 Letter of N. des Gallars, ubi supra, 84: "Quum hanc

formam legisset Cardinalis, mire approbavit, ac lætatus est quasi ad

ejus castra transissemus."

4 "Intelligimus etiam ipsos a suis objurgari quasi

sentiant nobiscum aut colludant." Letter of N. des Gallars, Oct. 6th,

ubi supra. See also letter of Beza, Oct. 3d, Baum, ii., App., 94.

been absurd. The Roman Catholic deputies, despairing of any


good fruits from their efforts at conciliation, never returned;
and the last vestige of the colloquy, on which such brilliant

anticipations had been based, vanished into thin air.1 The prelates

themselves continued to sit for a few days. A committee of three bishops

and sundry doctors of the Sorbonne, to whom the article agreed upon by

the Roman Catholic and Huguenot delegates was submitted for examination,

pronounced it (on the sixth of October) to be incomplete, dangerous, and

heretical. Three days later the prelates published a formal condemnation

of it, offered a definition which they declared to be orthodox, and

called upon the king to require Beza and his companions either to sign

this new formula, or to consult the public peace by leaving France

altogether. A long series of canons, in which the question of church

discipline was touched lightly, and that of doctrine not at all--the

paltry result of more than two months of sufficiently animated,2 if

not very harmonious discussion--was at the same time given to the world.3




1 The most extended and accurate view of the Colloquy of

Poissy is afforded by Prof. Baum, who has consecrated to it two hundred

and fifty pages of the second volume of his masterly biography of Beza

(pp. 168-419). The correspondence of Beza and others that were present

at the colloquy, collected by Prof. Baum in the supplementary volume of

documents (published in 1852), and the detailed accounts of the Histoire

ecclés. des égl. réf, of La Place (Commentaires de l'estat de la rel. et

république, which here terminate), and of Jean de Serres, who, in this

part of his history, does little more than translate La Place, are the

most important sources of authentic information. Castelnau's account of

the colloquy (1. iii., c. 4) is remarkably incorrect. He makes the ten

delegates confer together for three months, without agreeing on a

single point, and finally separate on the 25th of November. Davila is

brief and unsatisfactory (pp. 50, 51).]



2 From what Martyr wrote to the magistrates of Zurich

(Oct. 17th) respecting the conduct of the bishops in connection with the

subscription to the canons, it would appear that the close of the

prelatic assembly did not disgrace the amenities of the debates at its

commencement (see ante, p. 499): "Accidit mira Dei providentia, ut

repente inter episcopos, qui erant Poysiaci, tam grave dissidium ortum

fuerit, ut fere ad manus venerint, imo, ut homines fide digni affirmant

res ut pugnis et unguibus est acta." Baum, ii., App., 107. See also

the extract from Martyr's letter of the same date to Bullinger, cited by

Prof. Baum, ii. 401, note.]



3 Histoire ecclés., i. 383-405. See Baum, ii. 399-401.]


Catharine's financial success.

From a political point of view, the assembly of the prelates at Poissy

had not been unprofitable to the government. Alarmed by the radical

projects of the wholesale confiscation of ecclesiastical property which

had found no little favor with the other orders at Pontoise, equally

alarmed by the possibility of being compelled to enter into a full and

fair discussion with the champions of the Protestant doctrines, the

wealthy dignitaries of the Gallican Church brought themselves, not

without a severe struggle, to purchase exemption from these perils by a

pecuniary concession which delighted the perplexed financiers of France.

They pledged themselves to pay, by semi-annual instalments, the entire

sum needed for the redemption of the royal domain which had been

alienated to satisfy the public creditors.1 But in return they

demanded important equivalents. The first item was that the severe

"Edict of July" should be made perpetual and irrevocable. This request

Catharine and the council denied. To declare that odious law, which it

had never been possible to carry into execution in several provinces of

France, a part of the fundamental constitution, would be a gratuitous

insult to the Huguenots, and would precipitate the country instantly

into the abyss upon the verge of which it was already hanging.


Order for the restitution of the churches.

The other demands of the bishops it seemed more practicable to


grant. They required that Charles should by solemn edict order the

instantaneous restitution of the churches seized by




1 The vote was, according to Beza's letter of Oct. 21st,

sixteen millions of francs with interest within six years (Baum, ii.,

App. 109); according to the Journal of Bruslart, Mém. de Condé, i. 53,

within twelve years. Prof. Soldan, Geschichte des Prot. in Frankreich,

i. 512, 513, gives the details of the famous "Contract of Poissy." It

must be admitted that both nobles and people were ready enough with

plans for paying off the national indebtedness out of the property of

the Church. These generous economists found that, according to the

ancient customs, one-third of the ecclesiastical revenues ought to be

employed for the support of the clergy, one-third to be given to the

poor, and the remaining third expended in keeping the sacred edifices in

repair. They proposed, therefore, to relieve the clergy of the latter

two-thirds of their possessions, and apply them to the extinction of the

royal debt, assuming that the nation would maintain the churches in

better condition, and feed the poor more effectively than had ever been

done hitherto! Languet, Letter of Aug. 17th, Epist. secr., ii. 136.

the Huguenots. In spite of the earnest protest of Beza,1 the government
(on the eighteenth of October) complied with the request.2 Within

twenty-four hours after the receipt of this edict, all persons who had

taken possession of churches were commanded, on penalty of death as

rebels and felons, to vacate them, restoring whatever valuables they had

removed, and replacing the images and crosses they had destroyed. At the

same time the prohibition of the use of insulting language and acts was

renewed, and both parties were bidden to place their arms in the hands

of the local magistrates.3 Thus, to use Beza's language, was Christ

betrayed, but at a much dearer price than that for which he was,

centuries ago, sold by Judas--for sixteen millions of francs instead of

the thirty pieces of silver.4 Having, by extorting the Edict of

Restitution, succeeded in paving the way for renewed commotions, soon to

culminate in open and widespread war, the prelates adjourned, with

mingled satisfaction and disgust, toward the end of October, 1561.5

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