Online Biblical studies Rise of the Hugenots 27

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The most annoying of the anonymous pamphlets against the Guises was a letter bearing the significant direction: Au Tigre de la France. Under this bloodthirsty designation every one knew that the Cardinal of Lorraine alone[Pg 445] could be meant, and the style of the production showed that a master-hand in literature had been concerned in the composition. The Guises were furious, but it was impossible to discover the author or publisher of the libel. Both succeeded admirably in preserving their incognito. Yet, as victims were wanted to appease the anger of the ruling family, two unhappy men expiated by their death a crime of which they were confessedly innocent. The incident, which comes down to us attested not only by the best of contemporary historians, but by the records of the courts, recently brought to light, may serve to illustrate the prevalent corruption of the judges and the occasional whimsical application of the so-called justice wherein they were given to indulging. 

Diligent search on the part of the friends of the Guises led to the detection of only a single copy of the "Tigre," and this was found in the house of one Martin Lhomme, or Lhommet, a printer by trade, and miserably poor. There was no evidence at all that he had had any part in printing or publishing it. None the less did the judges of parliament, and particularly M. Du Lyon, to whom the case was specially confided, prosecute the trial with relentless ardor. On the 15th of July, the unfortunate Lhomme, after having been subjected to torture to extract information respecting his supposed accomplices, was publicly hung on a gibbet on the Place Maubert, in Paris. The well-informed Regnier de La Planche (p. 313) is our authority for the statement that Du Lyon having, at a supper, a few days later, been called to account for the iniquity of his decision, made no attempt to defend it, but exclaimed: "Que voulez-vous? We had to satisfy Monsieur le Cardinal with something, since we had failed to catch the author; for otherwise he would never have given us any peace (il ne nous eust jamais donné relasche)." Still more unreasonable was the infliction of the death-penalty upon Robert Dehors, a merchant of Rouen, who had chanced to ride into Paris just as Lhomme was being led to execution. Booted as he still was, he became a witness of the brutality with which the crowd followed the poor printer, and seemed disposed to snatch him from the executioner's hands in order to tear him in pieces. 

Indignant at this violation of decency, Dehors had the imprudence to remonstrate with those about him, dissuading them from imbruing their hands in the blood of a wretched man, when their desire was so soon to be accomplished by the minister of the law. The Rouen merchant little understood the ferocity of the Parisian populace. The mob instantly turned their fury upon him, and but for the intervention of the royal archers he would have met on the spot the fate from which he had sought to rescue another to whose person and offence he was an utter stranger. As it was, he escaped instant death only to become a victim to the perverse ingenuity of the same judges, and be hung on the same Place Maubert, "for the sedition and popular commotion caused by him, at the time of the execution of Martin Lhomme, by means of scandalous expressions and blasphemies uttered and pronounced by the said Dehors against the honor of God and of the glorious Virgin Mary, wherewith the said prisoner induced the people to sedition and public scandals." (See Registres du parlement, July 13, 15, and 19, 1560, reprinted by Read in "Le Tigre.")bible society, bible society, bible society,

It is not, perhaps, very much to be wondered at that a pamphlet so dan[Pg 446]gerous to have in one's possession should have so thoroughly disappeared that a few years since not a copy was known to be in existence. It doubtless fared with the "Tigre" much as it did with another outspoken libel—"Taxe des parties casuelles de la boutique du Pape"—published a few years later, of which Lestoile (Read, p. 21) tells us that he was for a long time unsuccessful in the search for a copy, to replace that which, to use his own words, "I burned at the St. Bartholomew, fearing that it might burn me!"

By a happy accident, M. Louis Paris, in 1834, discovered a solitary copy that had apparently been saved from destruction by being buried in some provincial library. The discovery, however, was of little avail to the literary world, as the pamphlet was eagerly bought by the famous collector Brunet, only to find a place in his jealously guarded cases, where, after a fashion only too common in these days, a few privileged persons were permitted to inspect it under glass, but not a soul was allowed to copy it. 

Fortunately, after M. Brunet's death, the city of Paris succeeded in purchasing the seven printed leaves, of which the precious book was composed, for 1,400 francs! Even then the singular fortunes of the book did not end. Placed in the Hôtel-de-Ville, this insignificant pamphlet, almost alone of all the untold wealth of antiquarian lore in the library, escaped the flames kindled by the insane Commune. M. Charles Read, the librarian, had taken it to his own house for the purpose of copying it and giving it to the world. This design has now been happily executed, in an exquisite edition (Paris, 1875), containing not only the text, illustrated by copious notes, but a photographic fac-simile. M. Read has also appended a poem entitled "Le Tigre, Satire sur les Gestes Mémorables des Guisards (1561), "for the recovery of which we are indebted to M. Charles Nodier. 

Although some have imagined this to be the original "Tigre" which cost the lives of Lhomme and Dehors, it needs only a very superficial comparison of the two to convince us that the poem is only an elaboration, not indeed without merit, of the more nervous prose epistle. The author of the latter was without doubt the distinguished François Hotman. This point has now been established beyond controversy. As early as in 1562 the Guises had discovered this; for a treatise published that year in Paris (Religionis et Regis adversus exitiosas Calvini, Bezæ, et Ottomani conjuratorum factiones defensio) uses the expressions: "Hic te, Ottomane, excutere incipio. Scis enim ex cujus officina Tigris prodiit, liber certe tigride parente, id est homine barbaro, impuro, impio, ingrato, malevolo, maledico dignissimus. Tu te istius libelli auctorem ... audes venditare?" While an expression in a letter written by John Sturm, Rector of the University of Strasbourg, July, 1562, to Hotman himself (Tygris, immanis illa bellua quam tu hic contra Cardinalis existimationem divulgari curasti), not only confirms the statement of the hostile Parisian pamphleteer, but indicates Strasbourg as the place of publication (Read, pp. 132-139).

The "Epistre envoyée au Tigre de la France" betrays a writer well versed in classical oratory. Some of the best of modern French critics accord to it the first rank among works of the kind belonging to the sixteenth century. They contrast its sprightliness, its terse, telling phrases with the heavy, dragging constructions that disfigure the prose of contemporary works. Without copy[Pg 447]ing in a servile fashion the Catilinarian speeches of Cicero, the "Tigre" breathes their spirit and lacks none of their force. 

Take, for example, the introductory sentences: "Tigre enragé! Vipère venimeuse! Sépulcre d'abomination! Spectacle de malheur! Jusques à quand sera-ce que tu abuseras de la jeunesse de nostre Roy? Ne mettras-tu jamais fin à ton ambition démesurée, à tes impostures, à tes larcins? Ne vois-tu pas que tout le monde les sçait, les entend, les cognoist? Qui penses-tu qui ignore ton détestable desseing et qui ne lise en ton visage le malheur de tous tes [nos] jours, la ruine de ce Royaume, et la mort de nostre Roy?" Or read the lines in which the writer sums up a portion of the Cardinal's villainy: "Quand je te diray que les fautes des finances de France ne viennent que de tes larcins? Quand je te diray qu'un mari est plus continent avec sa femme que tu n'es avec tes propres parentes? Si je te dis encore que tu t'es emparé du gouvernement de la France, et as dérobé cet honneur aux Princes du sang, pour mettre la couronne de France en ta maison—que pourras-tu répondre? Si tu le confesses, il te faut pendre et estrangler; si tu le nies, je te convaincrai."

A passage of unsurpassed bitterness paints the portrait of the hypocritical churchman: "Tu fais mourir ceux qui conspirent contre toy: et tu vis encore, qui as conspiré contre la couronne de France, contre les biens des veuves et des orphelins, contre le sang des tristes et des innocens! Tu fais profession de prescher de sainteté, toy qui ne connois Dieu que de parole; qui ne tiens la religion chrétienne que comme un masque pour te déguiser; qui fais ordinaire trafic, banque et marchandise d'éveschés et de bénéfices: qui ne vois rien de saint que tu ne souilles, rien de chaste que tu ne violes, rien de bon que tu ne gâtes!... Tu dis que ceux qui reprennent tes vices médisent du Roy, tu veux donc qu'on t'estime Roy? Si Cæsar fut occis pour avoir pretendu le sceptre injustement, doit-on permettre que tu vives, toy qui le demandes injustement?"

With which terribly severe denunciation the reader may compare the statements of a pasquinade, unsurpassed for pungent wit by any composition of the times, written apparently about a year later. Addressing the cardinal, Pasquin expresses his perplexity respecting the place where his Eminence will find an abode. The French dislike him so much, that they will have him neither as master nor as servant; the Italians know his tricks; the Spaniards cannot endure his rage; the Germans abhor incest; the English and Scotch hold him to be a traitor; the Turk and the Sophy are Mohammedans, while the cardinal believes in nothing! Heaven is closed against the unbeliever, the devils would be afraid to have him in hell, and in the ensuing council the Protestants are going to do away with purgatory! "Et tu miser, ubi peribis?" Copy in State Paper Office (1561).

The peroration of "Le Tigre" is worthy of the great Roman orator himself. The circumstance that, on account of the limited number of copies of M. Read's edition, the "Tigre" must necessarily be accessible to very few readers, will be sufficient excuse for here inserting this extended passage, in which, for the sake of clearness, I have followed M. Read's modernized spelling:

"Mais pourquoi dis-je ceci? Afin que tu te corriges? Je connais ta jeu[Pg 448]nesse si envieillie en son obstination, et tes mœurs si dépravées, que le récit de tes vices ne te sçauroit émouvoir. Tu n'es point de ceux-là que la honte de leur vilainie, ni le remords de leurs damnables intentions puisse attirer à aucune résipiscence et amendement. Mais si tu me veux croyre, tu t'en iras cacher en quelque tannière, ou bien en quelque désert, si lointain que l'on n'oye ni vent ni nouvelles de toy! Et par ce moyen tu pourras éviter la pointe de cent mille espées qui t'attendent tous les jours!

"Donc va-t'-en! Descharge-nous de ta tyrannie! Evite la main du bourreau! Qu'attends-tu encore? Ne vois-tu pas la patience des princes du sang royal qui te le permet? Attends-tu le commandement de leur parolle, puisque leur silence t'a déclaré leur volonté? En le souffrant, ils te le commandent; en se taisant, ils te condamnent. Va donc, malheureux, et tu éviteras la punition digne de tes mérites!"

[Pg 449]



The death of Francis saves the Huguenots.
Transfer of power.

If the sudden catastrophe which brought to an end the bloody rule of Henry was naturally interpreted as a marked interposition of Heaven in behalf of the persecuted "Lutherans," it is not surprising that the unexpected death of his eldest son, in the flower of his youth, and after the briefest reign in the royal annals, seemed little short of a miracle. Had Francis lived but a week longer, the ruin of the Huguenots might perhaps have been consummated. Condé would have been executed at the opening of the States General. Navarre and Montmorency, if no worse doom befell them, would have been incarcerated at Loches and Bourges. The Estates, deprived of the presence of these leaders, and overawed by the formidable military preparations of the Guises,[968] would readily have acquiesced in the most extreme measures. Liberty and reform would have found a common grave.[969] But a few hours sufficed to disarrange this programme. The political power was, at one stroke, transferred from the hands of[Pg 450] Francis and Charles of Lorraine to those of Catharine de' Medici and the King of Navarre; and the Protestants of Paris recognized in the event a direct answer to the petitions which they had offered to Almighty God on the recent days of special humiliation and prayer.[970]

Alarm of the Guises.
Funeral obsequies of Francis II.

The altered posture of affairs was equally patent to the princes of late complete masters of the destinies of the country. In the first moments of their excessive terror, they are said to have shut themselves up in their palaces, and to have declined to leave this refuge until assured that no immediate violence was contemplated.[971] Even after the immediate danger had passed, however, they were too shrewd to pay to the remains of their nephew the tokens of respect exacted of the constable in behalf of Henry's corpse,[972] preferring to provide for their own safety and future influence by being present at the meeting of the States. The paltry convoy of Francis from Orleans to the royal vaults of St. Denis presented so unfavorable a contrast to the pompous ceremonial of his father's interment, that it was wittily said, "that the mortal enemy of the Huguenots had not been able to escape being himself buried like a Huguenot."[973] A bitter taunt aimed at the unfaithfulness and ingratitude of the Guises fell under their own eyes. A slip of paper was found pinned to the velvet funereal pall, on which were written—with allusion to that famous chamberlain of Charles the Seventh, who, seeing his master's body abandoned by the courtiers that had flocked to do obeisance to his son and successor, himself buried it with great pomp and at his own expense—the words: "Where is Messire Tanneguy du Chastel? But he was a Frenchman!"[974][Pg 451]

Navarre's opportunity.
His contemptible character.
Adroitness and success of Catharine.

Never had prince of the blood a finer opportunity for maintaining the right, while asserting his own just claims, than fell to the lot of Antoine of Navarre. The sceptre had passed from the grasp of a youth of uncertain majority to that of a boy who was incontestably a minor. Charles, the second son of Henry the Second, who now succeeded his older brother, was only ten years of age. It was beyond dispute that the regency belonged to Antoine as the first prince of the blood. Every sentiment of self-respect dictated that he should assume the high rank to which his birth entitled him,[975] and that, while exercising the power with which it was associated, in restraining or punishing the common enemies both of the public liberties and of the family of the Bourbons, he should protect the Huguenots, who looked up to him as their natural defender. 

But the King of Navarre had, unfortunately, entered into the humiliating compact with the queen mother, to which reference was made in the last chapter. From this agreement he now showed no disposition to withdraw. The utopian vision of a kingdom of Navarre, once more restored to its former dimensions, still flitted before his eyes, and he preferred the absolute sovereignty of this contracted territory to the influential but dangerous regency which his friends urged him to seize. Besides, he was sluggish, changeable, and altogether untrustworthy. "He is an exceedingly weak person"—suggetto debolissimo—said Suriano. "As to his judgment, I shall not stop to say that he wears rings on his fingers and pendants in his ears like a woman, although he has a gray beard and bears the burden of many years; and that in great matters he listens to the counsels of flatterers and vain men, of whom he has a thousand about him."[976] Liberal in promises, and exhibiting occasional sparks of courage, the fire of Antoine's resolution soon died out, and he earned the reputation of being no more[Pg 452] formidable than the most treacherous of advocates. Sensual indulgence had sapped the very foundations of his character.[977] 

It is true that his friends, forgetting the disappointment engendered by his recent displays of timidity, reminded him again of the engagements into which he had entered, to interfere in defence of the oppressed, of his glorious opportunity, and of his accountability before the Divine Tribunal.[978] But their appeals accomplished little. Catharine was able to boast, in a letter to the French Ambassador at Madrid, just a fortnight after the death of Francis, that "she had great reason to be pleased" with Navarre's conduct, for "he had placed himself altogether in her hands, and had despoiled himself of all power and authority." "I dispose of him," she said, "just as I please."[979] And to her daughter, Queen Isabella of Spain, she wrote by the same courier: "He is so obedient; he has no authority save that which I permit him to exercise."[980] The apprehensions felt by Philip the Second regarding the exaltation of a heretic, in the person of his hated neighbor of Na[Pg 453]varre, to the first place in the vicinage of the French throne, might well be quieted after such reassuring intelligence.

Financial embarrassment.
The religions situation.
Catharine's neutrality.

Yet the position of Catharine, it must be admitted, was by no means an easy one. The ablest statesman might have shrunk from coping with the financial difficulties that beset her. The crown was almost hopelessly involved. Henry the Second had in the course of a dozen years accumulated, by prodigal gifts and by needless wars, a debt—enormous for that age—of forty-two millions of francs, besides alienating the crown lands and raising by taxation a larger sum of money than had been collected in eighty years previous.[981] The Venetian Michele summed up the perplexities of the political situation under two questions: How to relieve the people, now thoroughly exhausted;[982] and, how to rescue the crown from its poverty. But, in reality, the financial embarrassment was the least of the difficulties of the position Catharine had assumed. The kingdom was rent with dissensions. Two religions were struggling—the one for exclusive supremacy, the other at least for toleration and recognition. Catharine had no strong religious convictions to actuate her in deciding which of the two she should embrace. 

Two powerful political parties were contending for the ascendency—that of the princes of the blood and of constitutional usage, and that of an ambitious family newly introduced into the kingdom, but a family which had succeeded in attaching to itself most, if not all, of the favorites of preceding kings. Catharine's ambition, in the absence of any convictions of right, regarded the success of either as detrimental to her own authority. She had, therefore, resolved to play off the one against the other, in the hope of being able, through their mutual antagonism, to become the mistress of both. Under the reign of Francis the Second she had gained some notion of the humiliation to which the Guises, in their moment of fancied[Pg 454] security, would willingly have reduced her. Yet, after all, the illegal usurpation of the Guises, who might, from their past experience, be more tolerant of her ambitious designs, was less formidable to her than the claims of the Bourbon princes, based as were these claims upon ancestral usage and right, and equally fatal to her pretensions and to those of their rivals. It was a situation of appalling difficulty for a woman sustained in her course by no lofty consciousness of integrity and devotion to duty—for a woman who was by nature timid, and by education inclined to resort for guidance to judicial astrology or magic rather than to religion.[983]

Opening of the States General, Dec. 13, 1560.

A brief delay in the opening of the sessions of the States General was necessitated by the sudden change in the administration. At length, on the thirteenth of December, the pompous ceremonial took place in the city of Orleans. It was graced by the presence of the boy-king, Charles the Ninth, and of his mother, his brother, the future Henry the Third, and his sister Margaret. The King of Navarre, the aged Renée of Ferrara, and other members of the royal house, also figured here with all that was most distinguished among the nobility of the realm.

Address of Chancellor De l'Hospital.
Co-existence of two religions impossible.

To the chancellor was, as usual, entrusted the honorable and[Pg 455] responsible duty of laying before the representatives of the three orders the reasons of their present convocation. This office he discharged in a long and learned harangue. If the hearers were treated without stint to that profusion of ancient learning, upon which the orators of the age seem to have rested a great part of their claim to patient attention, they also listened to much that was of more immediate concern to them, respecting the origin of the States General, and the occasions for which they had from time to time been summoned by former kings. 

L'Hospital announced that the special object of the present meeting was to devise the means of allaying the seditions which had arisen in consequence of religious differences. "These," said L'Hospital, "are the causes of the most serious dissensions. It is folly to hope for peace, rest, and friendship between persons of opposite creeds. A Frenchman and an Englishman holding a common faith will entertain stronger affection for each other than two citizens of the same city who disagree about their theological tenets."[984] So powerful was still the prejudice of the age with one who was among the first to catch a glimpse of the true principles of religious toleration! That two discordant religions should permanently co-exist in a state, he agreed with most of his contemporaries in regarding as utterly impossible. For how could the adherents of the papacy and the disciples of the new faith conceal their differences under the cloak of a common charity and mutual forbearance?[985][Pg 456]

Names of factions must be abolished.

Yet the dawn of more enlightened principles could be detected in a subsequent part of the chancellor's speech. After prescribing a universal council—that panacea which all the state doctors of the day offered for the cure of the ills of the body politic—he advocated the employment, meantime, of persuasion instead of force, of gentleness rather than rigor, of charity and good works, as more effective than the most trenchant of material weapons. And, while he recommended his hearers to pray for the conversion of the erring, he exclaimed: "Let us remove those diabolical words, names of parties, factions, and seditions—'Lutherans,' 'Huguenots,' and 'Papists'—and let us retain only the name of 'Christians.'"[986] In concluding his address, he did not forget to dwell upon the lamentable condition of the royal finances, thrown into almost inextricable confusion by twelve or thirteen years of continuous war and the expenses attending three magnificent weddings. He begged the estates, while they exposed their grievances, not to fail to provide the king with means for meeting his obligations.[987][Pg 457]

Effrontery of Cardinal Lorraine.
De Rochefort orator for the noblesse.
L'Ange for the tiers état.

It now devolved upon the deputies to prepare a statement of their grievances, and for this purpose the "noblesse" retired to the Dominican, the clergy to the Franciscan, and the "tiers" to the Carmelite convents.[988] The Cardinal of Lorraine had had the effrontery to solicit, through his creatures, the honor of representing the three orders collectively; but the proposition had been rejected with undissembled derision. Loud voices were heard from among the deputies of the people, crying, "We do not choose to select him to speak for us of whom we intend to offer our complaints!"[989] 

Three orators were deputed to speak for the three orders.[990] The Sieur de Rochefort, in behalf of the nobles, declared their approval of the government of Catharine, but insisted at some length upon the necessity of conciliating their good will by a studious regard for their privileges. He likened the king to the sun and the "noblesse" to the moon. Any conflict between the two would produce an eclipse that would darken the entire earth. He denounced the chicanery of the ecclesiastical courts and the non-residence of the priests;[991] and he closed by presenting a petition, which was read[Pg 458] aloud by one of the secretaries of state, demanding the grant of churches for the use of those nobles who preferred the purer worship.[992] The Bordalese lawyer, Jean L'Ange, in the name of the people, dwelt chiefly on the three capital vices of the clergy—ignorance, avarice, and luxury,[993] and portrayed very effectively the general disorders, the intolerable tyranny of the Guises, the exhausted state of the public treasury, and the means of restoring the Church to purity of faith and regularity of discipline.

Arrogant speech of Quintin for the clergy.
Presumption in favor of the Catholic Church.

But it was the clerical delegate, Jean Quintin, that attracted most attention. Standing between the other two orators, he delivered a speech of great length and insufferable arrogance. He admitted that the clergy might need reformation; but the Church with its hierarchy must not be touched—that was the body of Christ. Charles must defend the Church against heresy—against that Gospel falsely and maliciously so called, which consisted in profaning churches, in breaking the sacred images, in the marriage of priests and nuns. He must not suffer the Reformation to affect the articles of faith, the sacraments, traditions, ordinances, or ceremonial. Should any one venture to resuscitate heresies long dead and buried, he begged the king to declare him a champion of heresy and to proceed against him. He insisted on the presumption in favor of the Catholic Church, and demanded the unconditional submission of its opponents. "They must believe us, without waiting for a council; not we them." He was warm in his praise of the Emperors Theodosius II. and Valentinian III., who confiscated the goods of heretics, banished them, and deprived them of the right of conveying or receiving property by will. He raised his voice par[Pg 459]ticularly in behalf of Burgundy and of his own diocese of Autun, whose inhabitants "were well-nigh drowned by the much too frequent inundations of pestilent books from the infected lagoons of Geneva."[994]

Temporal interests.
Sad straits of the clergy.
A word for the down-trodden people.

In the midst of this tirade against the inroads of Calvinism, the prudent doctor of canon law did not, however, altogether lose sight of the temporal concerns of the priesthood. He proffered an urgent request for the restoration of canonical elections, laying the growth of heresy altogether to the account of the abrogation of the Pragmatic Sanction by the Concordat in 1517. The sanction being re-established, "the detestable and damnable sects, the execrable and accursed heresies of to-day" would incontinently flee from the church. If he painted the portrait of the prelate elected by the suffrages of his diocese in somewhat too nattering colors, he certainly gave a vivid picture of the sad straits to which the clergy were reduced by the imposition of the repeated tithes on their revenues, now become customary. Masses were unsaid, churches had been stripped of their ornaments. Missals and chalices even had, in some places, been sold at auction to meet the exorbitant demands of royal officers. It was to be feared that, if Christian kings continued to lay sacerdotal possessions under contribution, the Queen of the South would rise up in judgment with this generation, and would condemn it. Lest, however, this commination should not prove terrible enough, the examples of Belshazzar and others were judiciously subjoined. 

On the other hand, Charles was urged to acquire a glory superior to that of Charlemagne, and to earn the surname of Clerophilus, or Maximus, by freeing the clergy of its burdens. By a very remarkable condescension, after this lofty flight of eloquence, the clerical advocate deigned to utter a short sentence or two in the interest of the "noblesse," and even of the poor, down-trodden people—begging the king to lighten the burdens[Pg 460] which that so good, so obedient people had long borne patiently, and not to suffer this third foot of the throne to be crushed or broken.[995] When the crown had returned to this course of just action, the Church would pray very devoutly in its behalf, the nobility fight valiantly, the people obey humbly. It would be paradise begun on earth.[996]

The clergy alone makes no progress.

Thus spoke the chosen delegates of the three orders when summoned into the royal presence for the first time after the lapse of seventy-seven years. The nobility and clergy vied with each other in extolling their own order; the people made little pretension, but had a large budget of grievances demanding redress. Nearly forty years had the Reformation been gaining ground surely and steadily. It had found, at last, recognition more or less explicit in the noblesse and the "tiers état." But the clergy had made no progress, had learned nothing. The speech of Quintin, their chosen representative, on this critical occasion, was long and tiresome; but, instead of convincing, it only excited shame and disgust.[997]

Indeed, an allusion of his to the favorers of heresy daring to present petitions in behalf of the Huguenots, who demanded places in which to worship God, was taken by Admiral Coligny as a personal insult to himself, for which Quintin was compelled to make a public apology.[998]

Coligny presents a Huguenot petition.

The incredible supineness of Antoine of Navarre prevented the States from demanding with much decision that the regency[Pg 461] should be entrusted in the hands of him to whom it belonged of right. For how could enthusiasm be manifested in a matter regarding which the person chiefly interested showed such utter indifference? But the religious demands of the Huguenots were made distinctly known. As expressed in a petition presented in their name to the queen mother by the Admiral's hands, these demands were comprehended under three heads: the convocation of a free universal council, which should decide definitely respecting the religious questions in dispute; the immediate liberation of all prisoners whose only crime was of a religious character—even if disguised under the false accusation of sedition; and liberty of assembling for the purpose of listening to the preaching of God's word, and for the administration of the sacraments, under such conditions as the royal council might deem necessary for the prevention of disorder.[999] So gracious was Catharine's answer, so brilliant were the signs of promise, that there were those who hoped soon to behold in France a king "very Christian" in fact no less than in name.[1000]

The estates prorogued.
Meanwhile prosecutions for religion to cease.

It was, however, no easy matter to grant these reasonable requests. The Roman Catholic party resisted, with all the energy of desperation, the concession of any places for worship according to the reformed faith. Catharine was loth to take the decided step of disregarding their remonstrances. It seemed more convenient to avail herself of the representations of the majority of the delegates of the "tiers état," who regarded it as necessary to apply for new powers from their constituents, in consequence of the death of the monarch who had summoned them. The estates were accordingly prorogued to meet again at Pontoise on the first of May.[1001] The[Pg 462] matter of the "temples" was adjourned until that time. Meanwhile, in order to conciliate the Huguenots, orders were issued that all prosecutions for religious offences should surcease, and that the prisoners should at once be liberated, with the injunction to live in a Catholic fashion for the future.[1002] 

This concession, poor as it was, met with opposition on the part of the Parisian parliament, and was only registered—after more than a month's refusal—because of the king's express desire.[1003] But it was far from satisfying the Protestants; for, in answer to their very first demand, they were referred to the Council of Trent, which the pontiff had recently ordered to reassemble at the coming Easter. Such a convocation—neither convened in a place of safe access, nor consisting of the proper persons to represent Christendom, nor under free conditions[1004]—could not be recognized by the Huguenots of France as a competent tribunal to act in the final adjudication of their cause. They must refuse to appear either at Trent or at the assembly of French prelates, to be held as a preliminary to their proceeding to the universal council, in accordance with the resolutions of the notables at Fontainebleau.[1005]

Return of the fugitives.

Yet, as contrasted with the earlier legislation, the provisional[Pg 463] dispositions of the royal letter were highly encouraging. They permitted a large number of persons incarcerated for religion's sake to issue from prison. The exiles, it was said, returned tenfold as numerous as they left the country. Great was the indignation of their adversaries when all these, with numbers recruited from the ranks of the reformers in England, Flanders, Switzerland, and even from Lucca, Florence and Venice, began to preach with the utmost boldness. They might be accused of gross ignorance, and of uttering a thousand stupid remarks, but one thing could not be denied—every preacher had a crowd to hear him.[1006]

Charles writes to stop ministers from Geneva.
Reply of the Genevese.

No such toleration, however, as that now proclaimed was necessary to induce the ministers of the reformed doctrines, who had qualified themselves for their apostolic labors under the teaching of Calvin and Beza, to enter France. The gibbet and the fearful "estrapade" had not deterred them. The prelates, therefore, induced the queen mother to attempt by other means to stem the flood of preachers that poured in from Geneva. On the twenty-third of January, seven or eight days before the adjournment of the States General, a letter was despatched in the name of Charles IX. to the syndics and councils of the city of Geneva. Its tone was earnest and decided. It had appeared—so the king was made to say—from a very careful examination into the sources of the existing divisions, that they were caused by the seditious teachings of preachers mostly sent by the Genevese authorities,[Pg 464] or by their principal ministers, as well as by an infinite number of defamatory pamphlets, which these preachers had disseminated far and wide throughout the kingdom. 

To them were directly traceable the recent commotions. He therefore called on the magistracy to recall these sowers of discord, and threatened in no doubtful terms to take vengeance on the city should the same course be continued after the receipt of the present warning.[1007] Never was accusation more unjust, never was unjust accusation answered more promptly and with truer dignity. On the very day of the receipt of the king's letter (the twenty-eighth of January) the magistrates deliberated with the ministers, and despatched, by the messenger who had brought it, a respectful reply written by Calvin himself. So far, they said, from countenancing any attempts to disturb the quiet of the French monarchy, it would be found that they had passed stringent regulations to prevent the departure of any that might intend to create seditious uprisings. They had themselves sent no preachers into France, nor had their ministers done more than fulfil a clear dictate of piety, in recommending, from time to time, such as they found competent, to labor, wherever they might find it practicable, for the spread of the Gospel, "seeing that it is the sovereign duty of all kings and princes to do homage to Him who has given them rule." As for themselves, they had condemned a resort to arms, and had never counselled the seizure of churches, or other unauthorized acts.[1008][Pg 465]

Condé cleared and reconciled to Guise.

At no time since the death of the late king had the reversal of the sentence against Condé been doubtful. The time had now arrived for his complete restoration to favor. The first step was taken in the privy council, where, on the thirteenth of March, the chancellor declared that he knew of no informations made against him. Whereupon the prince was proclaimed, by the unanimous voice of the council, sufficiently cleared of all the charges raised by his enemies. The Bourbon, who had refused, until his honor should be fully satisfied, to enjoy the liberty which he might easily have obtained, had been invited by Charles to the court, which was sojourning at Fontainebleau, and now resumed his seat in the council.[1009] Just three months later (on Friday, the thirteenth of June) the Parliament of Paris, after a prolonged examination, in which all the forms of law were observed with punctilious exactness, gave its solemn attestation of the innocence of Louis of Condé, of Madame de Roye, his mother-in-law, and of the others who had so narrowly escaped being plunged with him in a common destruction.[1010] 

Such declarations might be supposed to savor indifferently well of hypocrisy. They were, however, outdone in the final scene of this pompous farce, enacted about two months later in one of the halls of the castle of St. Germain. On the twenty-fourth of August a stately assembly gathered in the king's presence. Catharine, the princes of the blood, five cardinals, and a goodly number of dukes and counts, were present; for Louis of Bourbon-Vendôme, Prince of Condé, and Francis of Guise were to be publicly reconciled to each other. Charles first announced the object for which he had summoned this assemblage, and called upon the Duke of Guise to express his sentiments. "Sir," said the latter, addressing Condé, "I neither have, nor would I de[Pg 466]sire to have, advanced anything against your honor; nor have I been the author or the instigator of your imprisonment!" To which Condé replied: "Sir, I hold to be bad and miserable him or those who have been its causes." Nothing abashed, Guise made the rejoinder: "I believe that it is so; that concerns me in no respect." After this gratifying exhibition of convenient memory, if not of Christian forgiveness, the prince and duke, at the king's request, embraced each other; and the auditory, highly edified, broke up.[1011] It was fitting that this hollow reconciliation should take place on the very day upon which, eleven years later, a more treacherous compact was to bear fruit fatal to thousands.

Humiliation of Navarre.
The boldness of the Particular Estates of Paris,
secures Antoine more consideration.

It has been necessary to anticipate the events of subsequent months, in order to give the sequel of the singular procedure. We must now return to the spring of this eventful year. It was not long after the adjournment of the States General before the King of Navarre began to perceive some results of his humiliating agreement with Catharine de' Medici. The Guises were received by her with greater demonstrations of favor than were the princes of the blood. The keys of the castle were even intrusted to the custody of Francis, on the pretext that he was entitled to this privilege as grand master of the palace. In vain did Antoine remonstrate against this insulting preference, and threaten to leave the court if his rival remained. 

Catharine found means to detain Constable Montmorency, who had intended to leave court in company with Navarre, and the latter was compelled to suppress his disgust. But the deliberations of the Particular Estates of Paris, held soon after, had more weight in securing for Navarre a portion of the consideration to which he was entitled. Disregarding[Pg 467] the prohibition to touch upon political matters, they boldly discussed the necessity of an account of the vast sums of money that had passed through the hands of the Guises, and of the restitution of the inordinate gifts which the cardinal and his brother, Diana of Poitiers, the Marshal of St. André, and even the constable, had obtained from the weakness of preceding monarchs. This boldness disturbed Catharine. She employed the constable to mediate for her with Antoine; and soon a new compact was framed, securing to the latter more explicit recognition as lieutenant-general, and a more positive influence in the affairs of state.[1012]

His assurances to the Ambassador of Denmark.

That influence he occasionally seemed anxious to exert in behalf of the reformed faith. He assured Gluck, the Danish ambassador, that, before the expiration of the year, he would cause the Gospel to be preached throughout the entire kingdom. And he displayed some magnanimity when he answered Gluck, who had expressed anxiety that Lutheranism should be substituted for Calvinism in France, that "inasmuch as the two Protestant communions agreed in thirty-eight of the forty articles in which both differed from the Pope, all Protestants ought to make common cause against the oppression of the Roman See; it would afterward be an easy task to arrange their minor differences, and restore the Church to its pristine purity and splendor."[1013]

Intrigue of Artus Désiré.
Curiosity to hear Huguenot preaching and singing.

So wonderful an awakening as that which was now witnessed in almost every part of France could not long continue without arousing violent resistance. The very signs that seemed to indicate the speedy triumph of the Reformation were, indeed, the occasion of the institution of an organized opposition of the most formidable character. Hints of the propriety of calling in foreign assistance had even before this time been audibly whispered. 

The theologians of the Sorbonne, alarmed at the apparent favor displayed for the reformed teachers by the court, had despatched one Artus Désiré with a letter to Philip[Pg 468] the Second, in which they supplicated his intervention in behalf of the Catholic religion, now threatened with ruin. Happily the enterprise was nipped in the bud, and, on the arrest of Artus at Orleans, on his way to Spain, the nefarious conspiracy was fully divulged. The priestly agent, after craven prayers for his life, was immured for a time in a cloister.[1014] Well might the Romish party fear. The curiosity to hear the preaching of the Word of God by men of piety and learning, the desire to hear those grand psalms of Marot solemnly chanted by the chorus of thousands of human voices, had infected every class of society. The records of the chapters of cathedrals, during this period of universal spiritual agitation, are little else, we are told, than a list of cases of ecclesiastical discipline instituted against chaplains, canons, and even higher dignitaries, for having attended the Huguenot services. At Rouen, the chief singer of Notre Dame acknowledged before the united chapter that he had often been present at the "assemblies"—nay, more—"that he had never heard anything there which was not good."[1015]

Constable Montmorency's disgust.

In the court at Fontainebleau the contagion daily spread. Beza, it is true, gave expression to the warning that "not to be a Papist and to be a Christian were different things."[1016] But of external marks of an altered condition of things there was no lack. Little account was taken of the arrival of Lent. Meat was openly sold and eaten.[1017] Huguenot preachers conducted[Pg 469] their services publicly in the apartments of the Prince of Condé and of Admiral Coligny, first outside of the castle, and then within its precincts. Catharine herself, partaking of the general zeal, declared her intention to hear the Bishop of Valence preach before the young king and the court, in the saloon of the castle. Such was the news that irritated and alarmed the aged, but still vigorous Anne of Montmorency. By birth, by tradition, by long association, the constable was a devoted Roman Catholic.

 If any motive were wanting to determine him to cling to the ancient régime, it was afforded by the proposition made in the late Particular Estates of Paris that the favorites of the last two monarchs should be required to disgorge the enormous gifts that had helped to impoverish the nation. This project, for which he held the Huguenots responsible, was repugnant alike to his pride and to his exorbitant avarice. His prejudices were, moreover, skilfully fanned into a flame by interested companions. His wife, Madeleine de Savoie—partly from conviction, partly through jealousy of his children by a former marriage—her brother, the Count of Villars,[1018] and the Marshal of St. André—a crafty, insidious adviser—plied him with plausible arguments. Diana, the Duchess of Valentinois, solicited him by daily messages. How could the first Christian baron abandon the ancient faith? How could the favorite of Henry the Second consent to let his rich acquisitions escape him?[1019]

Marshal Montmorency remonstrates.

On one occasion the constable was himself induced to attend the service in the castle at which Bishop Montluc preached; but he came out highly displeased at the doctrines he had heard,[1020][Pg 470] and more convinced than ever that there was a secret compact between Catharine de' Medici and the King of Navarre to change the religion of the country. The next day a number of high nobles, in part ancient enemies—Montmorency, Guise, Montpensier, St. André—met in the obscure chapel of the "basse-court," where a Dominican monk held forth to the common retainers of the royal court. The constable's eldest son, the upright but sluggish Marshal de Montmorency, himself having a secret leaning for the reformed doctrines, was alarmed by this threatening demonstration, and immediately sought, in a private interview with his father, to deter him from entering the arena as the ally of his former antagonists and the opponent of his own nephews, Coligny and D'Andelot. 

Better, he urged, to be umpire than participant in so ungrateful a contest. The Châtillons, of whom Anne had said that, if they were as good Christians in deed as they were in profession, they would exercise forgiveness toward the Guises, themselves came to see their offended uncle, and protested that they wished the cardinal and his brothers no evil, but desired merely to remove their ability to do them further damage. Neither his son nor his nephews made any impression on the obstinate disposition of the constable. 

He had caught at the bait by which skilful anglers allured him. He fancied himself the chosen champion of the church of his fathers, now assaulted by redoubtable enemies. What a glorious prospect lay before him if he succeeded! What a halo would surround his name, if the splendor of the military achievements of his youth should be thrown into the shade by the superior glory of having, in his old age, rescued the most Christian nation of the world from the inroads of heresy! To every argument he could only be brought to repeat the trite sophism, "that a change of religion could not be effected without a revolution in the state," and that, though he had no fear of being compelled to restore the gifts he had received from the late monarchs, he would not suffer their actions to be questioned or their honor impeached.[1021][Pg 471]

The Triumvirate formed.
A spurious statement.

On Easter day (the sixth of April), the finishing stroke was given to the new compact between the leaders of the anti-reformed party. Anne de Montmorency and François de Guise partook side by side of the sacrament in the chapel of Fontainebleau, and that evening Guise, Joinville, and St. André were invited guests at the table of the constable.[1022] To the union now distinctly formed, its opponents, in allusion to the number of the foremost members and to their proscriptive designs, soon applied the name of "Triumvirate"—the designation by which it has ever since been known. What the details of these designs were is not altogether certain. If the document that has come down to us, purporting to be an authoritative statement emanating from the original parties to the scheme, could be depended on as genuine, it would disclose to us an atrocious plot, not only against the Huguenots of France, but for the extirpation of Protestantism throughout the world. 

The sanguinary project was to be executed under the superintendence of his Catholic Majesty of Spain. The King of Navarre, the support of heresy in France, was first to be seduced by promises or terrified by threats. Should neither course prove successful, Philip was to raise an army in the most secret manner before winter. Should Antoine yield at once, he was to be expelled from the kingdom, with his wife and children. Should he attempt resistance, the Duke of Guise would declare himself the head of the Catholics, and, between him and Philip, the heretical King of Navarre would speedily be crushed. Then were all that had ever professed the re[Pg 472]formed faith to be slain. Not one was to be spared. The entire race of the Bourbons was to be exterminated, lest an avenger or a resuscitator of Protestantism should arise from its descendants. The emperor and the Catholic princes of Germany would prevent the Protestants beyond the Rhine from sending succor to their French brethren. The Roman Catholic cantons of Switzerland, with the assistance of the Pope, would engage the Protestant cantons. 

To the Duke of Savoy, supported by Philip and the Italian dukes, was intrusted the welcome task of destroying utterly the nest of heresy—Geneva. Here should the executioner revel in the blood of his victims. Not an inhabitant was to escape. All, without respect to age or sex, were to be slain with the sword or drowned in the lake, as an evidence that divine retribution had compensated for the delay by the severity of the punishment, causing the children to bear, as an example memorable to all time, the penalty of the wickedness of their fathers. The fruits of the French confiscations would be applied as a loan to the expenses of the crusade in Germany, where the united forces of France, the emperor, and the Catholic princes would subjugate the followers of Luther, as they had already exterminated the disciples of Calvin.

Such are the reported details of a plan almost too gross for belief. It is true that the existence of similar schemes—less extensive, perhaps, but equally sanguinary, and, in the light of history, not much less absurd—formed by the adherents of the papacy during the sixteenth century, is too well attested to admit of doubt. But the historical difficulties surrounding this document have never yet been satisfactorily explained, and the student of the Huguenot annals must still content himself with regarding it as a summary of reports current within the first two years of the reign of Charles the Ninth, respecting the secret designs of the Triumvirs, rather than as an authorized statement of their intentions.[1023] /hugenots, huguenots, hugenot, huguenot,hugenots, huguenots, hugenot, huguenot,hugenots, huguenots, hugenot, huguenot

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Pilgrim's progress 2

Pilgrim's progress 3

Pilgrim's progress audio

Point of grace

Point of grace 2

Prayer request

Prince caspian



Prophecy 2

Prophecy 3

Prophecy 4

Prophetic interpretation

Prophets and kings book

Quand les bergers se transforment en Bètes

Quo vadis movie

Ramon gonzalez

Ramon gonzalez 2

Rebecca st james

Rebecca st james 2

Rebecca st james 3

Rebecca st james 4

Rebecca st james 5

Recovery from mental illness

Reine margot

Ring of power

Rise of the hugenots book

Rome's chalenge


Salomon movie

Sabbath songs

Samson and delilah

Samson and delilah 2

Sandy patty

Schizofrenia and nutritional therapy



Sex in the Bible


Solomon movie 2

Stephen lewis

Stephen lewis 2

Stephen lewis 3

Stephen lewis 4

Strategic health systems

Stratling proof


Stryper 2

Stryper 3

Stryper 4

Stryper 5

Stryper 6

Steps to Christ book


Switchfoot 2

Tara leigh cobble

The case for the Creator

The chronicles of Narnia movie

The church in the wilderness

The debate

The french revolution history channel

The futur of psychiatry

The great debate

The great debate 2 wilder smith

The great commandment movie

The great controversy book

The health message

The indestructible book

The inquisition files

The inquisition files 2

The life of Jesus

The light of the world

The lost pages of christianity

The money masters

The origin of life

The revolutionary

The sabbath

The sanctuary

The secret of the jesuits

The seventh day

The seventh day 2

The seventh day 3

The seventh day 4

The seventh day 5

The ten commandments movie

The truth about the sabbath

The extreme oath of the jesuits

Theology debates

Thomas movie

Thoughts from the mount of blessing book

Time and creation Wilder smith

Toby mac

Toby mac 2

Toby mac 3

Toby mac 4

Toby mac 5

Tree 63

Twila paris



Visiter le paris protestant

Visiter le paris protestant 2

Visiting paris the bible way

Visiting paris the bible way 2

Voice of prophecy

Voice of prophecy reunion

Walter Veith

Walter veith a woman rides the beast

Walter veith catholic islamic connections

Walter veith final conflict

Walter veith hidden agendas

Walter veith man behind the mask

Walter veith new age agendas

Walter veith origin of variety

Walter veith papacy admits sda truth

Walter veith revolution tyrants

Walter veith strange fire

Walter veith the wine of babylon

Walter veith u.n. and occult agendas

What is creation science?

Who controls the world?

Who has infiltrated the usa?

Why my mother did not become a Jehovah's witness?

Wintley phipps

William miler

World revolution

Yolanda adams

Yolanda adams 2

Your health your choice