possessor of a copy of a virulent pamphlet against the cardinal,
entitled Le Tigre (see the note at the end of this chapter); and
Négociations sous François II., 456, for a letter from court ordering
search to be made for the author and publisher of the "Complaincte des
fidèles de France contre leurs adversaires les papistes." "En ung lundy après
Pasques, 15^e du moys, fut affiché devant S. Hilaire un papier estant imprimé
d'autre impression de Paris, et y avoit à l'intitulation Les Estats opprimez
par la tyrannie de MM. de Guise au roy salut." Journal de Jehan de la Fosse,
37. The piece referred to is inserted in the Mémoires de Condé, i. 405-410.
3 La Planche, 299-302. The remonstrance, signed
Theophilus, which they addressed her, insisted on the ill-success of
the persecutions to which for forty years they had been subjected; for
one killed, two hundred had joined their assemblies; for ten thousand
open adherents, the Reformation had one hundred thousand secret
upholders. The Edict of Forgiveness answered no good purpose: "c'estoit
bien peu d'oster pour un instant la douleur d'une maladie, si quant et
quant la cause et la racine n'en estoit ostée."
de la Planche (the eminent historian, whose profoundly philosophical
and exact chronicle of this short reign leaves us only disappointed
that he confined his masterly investigations to so limited a field)
respecting the grounds of the existing dissatisfaction,1 and despatched
Coligny to Normandy for the purpose of finding a cure for the evil.
Edict of Romorantin, May, 1560. No abatement of rigor.
The Guises, on the other hand, resolved to meet the difficulties of
their situation with boldness. The opposition, so far as it was
religious, must be repressed by legislation strictly enforced.
Accordingly, in the month of May, 1560, an edict was published known as
the Edict of Romorantin, from the place where the court was
sojourning, but remarkable for nothing save the misapprehensions that
have been entertained respecting its origin and object.2 It restored
1 La Place, 41-45; La Planche, 316, 317; Mém. de Castelnau, l. ii., c. 7; De Thou, ii., liv. xxv.
788-791. I confess, however, that the careful perusal of La Planche's bold speech has nearly
convinced me that the ascription of the anonymous "Hist. de l'estat de Fr. sous François II."
to his pen is erroneous. I shall not insist upon the fact that the description of La Planche as
"homme politique plustost que religieux" is inappropriate to the author of this history. But I
can scarcely conceive of La Planche correcting errors in his own speech, and not only
expressing an utter dissent from the account which he himself gave the queen of the motives
that led La Renaudie to engage in the enterprise that had for its object the overthrow of the
Guises, but even accusing himself of falling into a grave mistake with regard to the
importance of the differences of creed between the Protestants and the
Roman Church: "s'abusant en ce qu'il meit en avant des différends de la
religion." La Planche had suggested a conference of
theologians--ostensibly to make a faithful translation of the Bible, in
reality to compare differences--and had expressed the opinion that there
would be found less discord than there appeared to be. The condemnation of this
view certainly does not mark a man of political rather than religious tendencies!
I fear that we must look elsewhere for the author of this excellent history.
2 It has been ascribed to the virtuous and tolerant Chancellor L'Hospital, who, it
is said, drew it up in order to defeat the project of the Guises to introduce the
Spanish Inquisition. (La Planche, 305; cf. also De Thou, ii. 781.) But the edict
was published before the appointment of L'Hospital, and while Morvilliers,
a creature of the Guises, provisionally held the seals after Chancellor Olivier's death;
and the spiritual jurisdiction it established differed little in principle from an
inquisition. In fact, three of the French prelates, the Cardinals of Lorraine, Bourbon,
and Châtillon, had, as we have seen, been constituted a board of inquisitors of the faith;
and, soon after the publication of the Edict of Romorantin, the Cardinal of
Tournon was set over them as inquisitor-general. The subject has been
well discussed by Soldan, Geschichte des Prot. in Frankreich, i.
338-342. The Duc d'Aumale, in his usually accurate Histoire des Princes
de Condé (i. 113), repeats the blunder of La Planche and De Thou.
exclusive jurisdiction in matters of simple heresy to the
clergy, excluding the civil courts from all participation, save to
execute the sentence of the ecclesiastical judge. But it neither
lightened nor aggravated the penalties affixed by previous laws. Death
was still to be the fate of the convicted heretic, to whom it mattered
little whether he were tried by a secular or by a spiritual tribunal,
except that the forms of law were more likely to be observed by the
former than by the latter. A section directed against the "assemblies"
in which, under color of religion, arms were carried and the public
peace threatened, declared those who took part in them to be rebels
liable to the penalties of treason.1
Death of Chancellor Olivier.
A remarkable figure now comes upon the stage of French affairs in the
person of Chancellor Michel de l'Hospital. Chancellor Olivier, who had
merited universal respect while losing office in consequence of his
steadfast resistance to injustice under the previous reign, had
forfeited the esteem of the good by his complaisance when restored to
office by the Guises at the beginning of the present reign. Overcome
with remorse for the cruelties in which he had acquiesced since his
reinstatement, he fell sick shortly after the tumult of Amboise. When
visited during his last illness by the Cardinal of Lorraine, he coldly
turned his back upon him and muttered, "Ah! Cardinal, you have caused us
all to be damned."2 He died not long afterward, and was buried
1 Recueil des anc. lois fr., xiv. 31-33; La Planche, 305,
306; La Place, 46, 47. It is, of course, "an edict holily conceived and
promulgated," in the estimation of Florimond de Ræmond, v. 113. The only
redeeming feature I can find in it is the article by which malicious
informers made themselves liable to all the penalties they had sought to
inflict on others.
2 La Place, 36 (who states that the burning of Du Bourg was
an occasion of deep remorse in Olivier's last hours); La Planche, 266;
J. de Serres, De statu rel. et reip., i., fol. 35; De Thou, ii. (liv.
xxiv.), 775; Hist. du tumulte d'Amboise, ubi supra.
without regret, despised by the patriotic party on account of his
unfaithfulness to early convictions, and hated by the Guises for his
tardy condemnation of their measures.
Chancellor Michel de l'Hospital.
Of L'Hospital, because raised to the vacant charge by the Lorraine
influence, little good was originally expected.1 But the lapse of a
few years revealed the incorruptible integrity of his character and the
sagacity of his plans.2 Elevated to the highest judicial post at a
critical juncture, he accepted a dignity for which he had little
ambition, only that he might the better serve his country. What he could
not remedy he resolved to make as endurable as possible. It was not
within the power of a single virtuous statesman to allay the storm and
quiet the surging waters; but by good-will, perseverance, and nerve, he
might steer the ship of state through many a narrow channel and by many
a hidden rock. An ardent lover and earnest advocate of toleration, he
yet considered it politic to consent to urge the Parliament of Paris, in
the king's name, to register the Edict of Romorantin, in accordance with
which the system of persecution was for a while to be continued. One of
statement of a writer who saw his signature affixed to the secret papers
of the confederates,3 he made no
1 La Planche, 305.
2 If we may credit that professed panegyrist, Scævola de
St. Marthe, L'Hospital was of an august appearance, of a dignified and
tranquil countenance, and, if his intellectual constitution had a philosophic stamp,
his features bore a not less remarkable resemblance to the head of the Stagirite as
delineated on ancient medals. Elogia doctorum in Gallia virorum qui nostra patrumque
memoria floruerunt (Ienæ, 1696), lib. ii., p. 95.
3 This remarkable statement is made by Agrippa d'Aubigné, Mémoires, 478 (Ed.
Panthéon Lit.). He tells us that he had inherited from his father, himself one of the
conspirators, the original papers of the enterprise of Amboise. The suggestion
was made by a confidant, that the possession of the proof of L'Hospital's
complicity would certainly secure him 10,000 crowns, either from the chancellor
or from his enemies; whereupon the youth threw all the papers into the fire lest
he might in an hour of weakness succumb to the temptation. In his Hist. universelle, i. 95,
D'Aubigné makes the same assertion with great positiveness: "L'Hospital, homme de
grand estime, luy succeda, quoyqu'il eust esté des conjurez pour le faict d'Amboise.
Ce que je maintiens contre tout ce qui en a esté escrit, pource que l'original de
l'entreprise fut consigné entre les mains de mon père, où estoit son
seing tout du long entre celuy de Dandelot et d'un Spifame: chose que
j'ai faict voir a plusieurs personnes de marque."
opposition to the article that pronounced the penalties of treason
upon those who assembled in arms to celebrate the rites of religious
worship. Yet he dissembled not from timidity, treachery, or
ambition, but solely that by unremitting labor he might heal the
unhappy dissensions of his country. "Patience, patience, tout ira
bien," were the words he always had in his mouth for encouragement