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The ecclesiastical and political history of the popes of Rome during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (Volume 2) online

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* Edict concerning the reformation in Göckingk, " ^'ollkom-
mene Emigrationsgeschichte von denen aus dem Erzbisthum
Salzburg vertriebenen Lutheranern," i. p. 88.


the excise and customs, advanced the duty on salt
from the mines of Hallein and Schellenberg, con-
verted the aids given for the support of the Turkish
war into a regular land-tax, and introduced duties
on wines, and a property-tax and legacy-duty. He
showed not the smallest respect for ancient and
established rights and franchises. The dean of the
diocese killed himself, it was said, in a paroxysm
of grief at the destruction of the rights of the chap-
ter. The aim of all the orders given by the arch-
bishop concerning the preparation of salt and
the whole business of mining, was to break down
the independence of the works, and to subject them
entirely to tbe control of his own council. We find
no similar example of a regular fiscal system in this
century throughout Germany. The young arch-
bishop had brought with him across the Alps the
ideas current in an Italian principality, where the art
of raising money was esteemed the highest talent of
a statesman. He had taken Sixtus V. as his model,
and aspired, like him, to have in his hands an obe-
dient, thoroughly catholic, tributary state. He was
therefore delighted at the expatriation of the citi-
zens of Salzburg, whom he looked upon as rebels.
He caused their deserted houses to be pulled down,
and erected in their room palaces in the Roman

Above all things he loved pomp. He never re-

* Zauner's Chronicle of Salzburg, Part VII., is here our most
important source of information. This part of the chronicle
was itself constructed upon a contemporary biography of the


fused any foreigner who chose to enter his service,
knightly pay and entertainment, and he once ap-
peared at the diet with a retinue of four hundred
men. In the year 1588 he was only twenty-nine
years of age, full of courage, and covetous of
honour ; and visions of the highest ecclesiastical
dignities already floated before his eyes.

The same process which was going on in the spi-
ritual and temporal principalities was repeated in
the towns, wherever circumstances rendered it pos-
sible. The lutheran burghers of Gmiinden bitterly
complained that they were exckided from the list
of members of the city council. In Biberach, the
council which had been appointed on occasion of
the interim by the commissary of the emperor
Charles V. still existed ; the whole town was Pro-
testant, the members of the council alone were
cathohc, and studiously excluded every protest-
ant*. To what oppressive measures were the pro-
testants in Cologne and Aix-la-Chapelle subject !
The council of Cologne declared that they had pro-
mised the emperor and the elector to tolerate no
religion save the catholic ; they punished even the
listening to a protestant sermon with fine and
imprisonment f. The catholics also gained the

* Lehmann de pace religionis, ii. p. 268, 480.
t Lehmann, 436, 270.

§ IX.] IN GERMANY. 141

ascendency in Augsburg ; the introduction of the
new calendar gave rise to dissensions, and in the
year 1586, the protestant superintendent, then
eleven ministers at once, and lastly a number of the
most obstinate citizens, were driven out. Similar
causes were followed by scenes of the same kind in
Ratisbon in the year 1587. The towns began to
lay claim to the right of reforming their religious
institutions ; and even individual counts and nobles
and knights of the empire, who had been converted
by some Jesuit, asserted a similar claim, and under-
took the resuscitation of Catholicism within their
small territories.

The reaction was boundless. The torrent of
protestantism was now driven back with a force
equal to that with which it had overflowed the
land. Preaching and teaching did something, but
far more was eifected by ordinances, commands,
and open force. As formerly the Italian protest-
ants had crossed the Alps, and sought refuge in
Switzerland and Germany ; so German exiles in still
more numerous bodies now fled from oppression in
the western and southern provinces to the north
and east of Germany. In like manner the Bel-
gians sought an asylum in Holland. Catholicism
marched with victorious strides from land to land.

Its progress was in an especial manner encou-
raged and accelerated by the nuncios, who, from
this time forth, began regularly to reside in Ger-

There is still extant a memoir of the nuncio Mi-
nuccio Minucci, dated 1588, which aflbrds an in-


sight into the views generally entertained and acted
upon in his time*. The most especial attention
was paid to education ; and it was earnestly de-
sired that the catholic universities should be bet-
ter appointed for the training of distinguished
teachers. Ingolstadt alone was endowed with the
requisite means, and, as matters now stood, every-
thing rested upon the Jesuit seminaries. Minuccio
Minucci expressed his wish that less attention had
been devoted to producing great scholars and pro-
found theologians, than to forming good and able
preachers. A man of moderate acquirements, who
did not aspire to reach the highest point of learn-
ing or to acquire fame, was perhaps the most effi-
cient and most useful minister of religion. He re-
commended tliese observations to the attention of
those at the head of the establishments for the Ger-
man catholics in Italy. A distinction was origin-
ally made in the Collegium Germanicum, in the
treatment of the youths of the middle classes and
the young nobles ; Minuccio Minucci censures the
departure from this custom. He says that the effect
of the change was not only to disgust the nobles and
to render them averse to go thither, but to excite
in the middle classes an ambition which could not
be satisfied in after-life, and a striving after the
higher appointments in the church, which was de-
trimental to the faithful performance of the duties
of the lower ones. Besides, an endeavour was now

* Discorso del molto illustre e rev'"° mons'"" Minuccio Minucci
sopra il modo di restituire la cattolica religione iu Alemagna,
1588. MS. Barb.

§ IX.] IN GERMANY. 143

made to introduce a third or intermediate class, —
the children of the higher official persons, ^Yho, ac-
cording to the common course of events, would at
some future time have the greatest share in the
administration of their native provinces. Gregory
XIII. had already made arrangements for their re-
ception in Perugia and Bologna. We see that the
distinction of ranks, which is still so strongly marked
in German society, was even then visible.

In this conjuncture, as in all others, the most
important part was played by the nobles, to whom
the maintenance of Catholicism in Germany is
principally ascribed by the nuncio, and no doubt
wdth justice ; for as they had an exclusive right to
the richest benefices and highest dignities of the
church, they defended it as their hereditary pro-
perty, and now opposed the introduction of reli-
gious liberty in the dioceses*, fearing the great
number of protestant princes who would then claim
the right of nomination to all the benefices.

It was therefore the policy of the church to pro-
tect and to conciliate these nobles. Rome did not
dare to vex them with the law against plurality
of benefices ; and indeed the changing from one
residence to another was advantageous, inasmuch

* Particularly in Southern Germany : " L' esempio della sujo-
pressione dell altre (the northern Germans) ha avvertiti i nobili a
metter cura maggiore nella difesa di queste, concorrendo in cio
tanto gli eretici quanto li cattolici, accorti giä, che nell' occupa-
tione delli principi si leva a loro et a' posteri la speranza dell'
utile che cavano dai canonicati e dagli altri beneficii e che pos-
sono pretendere del vescovato mentre a' canonici resti libera


as it served to unite the nobles of the various pro-
vinces for the defence of the church. It was also
necessary to avoid bestowing any ecclesiastical ap-
pointments upon men of the burgher class : a few
learned men were very useful in a cathedral, as was
remarked at Cologne ; but if this system were car-
ried much further, it would cause the ruin of the
German church.

The question now remained, how far it was pos-
sible to bring back to the faith the provinces which
had become completely protestant.

We find from this document that the nuncio was
far from recommending open violence ; the protest-
ant princes appear to him much too powerful to
be attacked ; but he suggests other means which
might gradually lead to the accomplishment of the
object in view.

Above all things, he considers it essential to
maintain a good understanding between the catholic
powers, especially between Bavaria and Austria.
The treaty of Landsberg still existed ; this he thinks
should be renewed and extended ; and Philip of
Spain might be included among the parties to it.

Might it not also be possible to win back some
of the protestant princes ? — It had long been
thought that the elector Augustus of Saxony be-
trayed a leaning towards Catholicism, and attempts
upon him had occasionally been made, chiefly
through the interposition of Bavaria ; not only,
however, had the greatest caution always been
necessary, but as the wife of the elector, Anne of
Denmark, adhered strictly to the lutheran faith,

§ IX.] IN GERMANY. 145

they had always been unsuccessful. Anne died in
the year 1 585 ; her death was not only a day of
deliverance to the oppressed calvinists, but the
removal of an obstacle between the catholics and
their prince. It appeared as if Bavaria, which had
hitherto always been in opposition, determined to
take some steps for the propagation of Catholicism ;
and pope Sixtus held himself prepared to send ab-
solution to the elector*. Meanwhile Augustus died

* As early as 1574, Gregory XIII. encouraged duke Albert V.,
" ut dum elector Saxoniee Calvinistarum sectam ex imperii sui
finibus exturbare conabatur, vellet serraones cum principe illo
aliquando habitos de religione catholica in Saxonia introducenda
renovare." He was of opinion that it would be right to send an
agent thither; the duke was entirely against this ; the thing would
then get to the privy-council of the elector, " ad consiliarios et
familiäres, a quibus quid exspectandum aliud quam quod totam
rem pervertat ?" He continues : " Arte hie opus esse judicatur,
quo tanquam aliud agens errantem pie circumveniat. — Uxor, quo
ex— sexu impotentiori concitatior est, eo importuniora sufFundet
consilia, si resciscat banc apud maritum rem agi." Legationes
Paparum ad Duces Bavarise. MS. in the Library at Munich.
Minucci relates that the first overtures were made as late as
the times of Pius V. The whole passage is remarkable. " Con
duca Augusto di Sassonia giä morto tratto sin a tempi della s. m.
di Papa Pio V. il duca Alberto di Baviera, che vive in cielo, e
ridusse la pratica tanto inanzi che si prometteva sicura riu-
scita : ma piacque a Dio benedetto di chiamarlo, nh d'opera di
tanta importanza fu chi parlasse o pensasse, se non ch' a tempi
di Gregorio di gl. mem. il padre Possevino s'ingegno di fabricare
sopra quel fundamenti : et in fine nel presents felicissimo ponti-
ficato di Sisto, sendo morta la moglie d'esso duca Augusto, fu
chi ricordo I'occasione esser opportuna per trattare di nuovo la
conversione di quel principe : ma la providentia divina non li
diede tempo di poter aspettare la benedittione che S. Beat"^
pur per mezzo del S"" duca Gulielmo di Baviera s'apparecchiava
di mandarli sin a casa sua." We see how early this course was

VOL. II. li


before anything was effected. But the catholic
party soon directed their attention to other princes :
to Louis count palatine of Neuburg, in whom they
thought they remarked a coldness to all interests
hostile to Catholicism, and a peculiar forbearance
towards all catholic priests who accidentally ap-
proached his territories ; and to William IV. of
Hesse, who was learned, pacific, and had occasion-
ally accepted the dedication of catholic writings.
Neither did they lose sight of members of the higher
nobility of northern Germany, and among others
they conceived some hope of Heinrich Ranzau.

But if the results of these schemes were too re-
mote to be reckoned upon, there were other pro-
jects, the success of which depended more upon
their own determination and will.

The majority of the assessors of the Kammerge-
richt (so at least the nuncio asserts) were still in-
clined to protestantism. They were still men of
that earlier epoch, when, in most countries, even
those which adhered to Catholicism, secret or pro-
' fessed protestants sat in the prince's councils. The
nuncio considered this state of things as tending to
reduce the catholics to despair, and urgently en-
treated that some remedy should be applied. It
appeared to him an easy matter to compel all the
actual assessors in catholic provinces to make a pro-
fession of faith, and all those about to be appointed,
to take an oath either not to change their religion, or
to give up their places. The catholics, it was assert-
ed, had a right to the supremacy in this tribunal.
Minucci did not yet quite give up the hope of


regaining jDOssession of the lost bishopricks without
having recourse to violence, if existing rights were
asserted with pertinacity. All connexion between
them and Rome had not as yet been broken off, nor
was the ancient right of the curia to nominate to the
benefices which fell vacant in the reserved months,
absolutely denied ; even the protestant bishops be-
lieved that their nominations stood in need of the
pope's confirmation, and w^e find that Henry of
Saxe-Lauenburg, whom w^e recently mentioned, still
maintained an agent at Rome to procure this for
him. The papal see had not hitherto been able to
take advantage of this still lingering deference to its
authority, in consequence of the practice resorted
to by the emperors, of supplying the want of the
papal confirmations by dispensations of their own ;
and the nominations to benefices which were re-
ceived from Rome either came too late, or had
some error of form ; so that the chapter always had
legal freedom of choice. Minucci insisted that the
emperor should grant no more dispensations, and,
from the opinions which then prevailed at court,
he succeeded. Duke William of Bavaria had already
proposed to delegate the nomination to livings either
to the nuncio or to some trustworthy bishop in Ger-
many. It was Minucci's opinion that a special da-
taria for Germany should be established at Rome ;
where a list of the qualified catholic nobles should
be kept, wdiich could be constantly rectified by the
nuncio or the Jesuits, and, according to the standard
thus aflforded, the vacancies could be filled without



delay. No chapter would dare to reject the Roman
candidates thus regularly nominated, and the con-
sideration and influence which the curia would thus
acquire would be incalculable.

We see plainly how strongly the minds of men
were imbued with the notion of a complete re-
establishment of the old power. To win over the
nobility, tobring up the higher classes of citizens in
the interest of Rome, to educate the youth in this
spirit, to recover their former influence in the
dioceses, (even those converted to protestantism) to
regain the ascendency in the supreme court of jus-
tice, to convert the powerful princes of the empire,
and to incorporate the predominant catholic power
with the Germanic confederation ; — such w^ere the
mighty and various projects which were to be si-
multaneously attempted. Nor must we imagine
that these recommendations were neglected. Even
at the very moment they were proposed to the au-
thorities in Rome, they were already in course of
execution in Germany.

The activity and good order of the Kammerge-
richt chiefly rested upon the yearly visitations which
were always undertaken by the seven estates of the
empire, according to their rotation at the imperial
diet. The majority had most frequently been ca-
tholic in these visitations ; but, on one occasion,
in the year 1 588, when the protestant archbishop of
Magdeburg formed one of the number, it was pro-
testant. This the catholic party determined not to
permit; and when the elector of Mayence was about


to summon the estates, the emperor arbitrarily com-
manded him to put off the visitation for that year.
But the difficulty did not end with one year. The
order of succession remained unalterable, and the
existence of a protestant archbishop of Magdeburg
was long to be feared ; it was therefore proposed
to defer the visitation indefinitely. The result was,
that no more regular visitations were held, which
caused irreparable injury to this noble institution of
the highest tribunal of the empire*. We soon
meet with complaints that ignorant catholics were
preferred in this court to learned protestants. The
emperor also ceased to grant dispensations. In the
year 1588, Minucci recommended that means should
be taken for the conversion of protestant princes ;
and in the year 1 590, we already find one convert,
Jacob of Baden, who was the first of a long series.


While this great movement agitated Germany
and the Netherlands, it also extended its resistless
force to Franc^e. The affairs of the Netherlands
were henceforward connected most closely with

* Minucci had written particularly upon the Kammergericht.
There are reasons for supposing that his representations brought
about this inhibition. Tiie majority being composed of protest-
ants shocked him : " non vole dir altro I'aver gli eretici I'autorita
maggiore e li piu voti in quel senato che un ridurre i catolici
d'Aleraagna a disperatione."


those of France ; the French protestants often as-
sisted those of the Netherlands, while the Nether-
land catholics not less frequently came to the aid
of the French ; the downfall of protestantism in the
Belgian provinces was a direct loss to the hugue-
nots of France.

But independently of this, the growing tendency
which existed in other countries towards the re-
establishment of Catholicism, daily made corre-
sponding progress in France.

We have already noticed the first appearance of
the Jesuits, and from that time they had continued
to spread. The house of Lorraine showed them
peculiar favour, as may easily be imagined. In the
year 1574, cardinal Guise established an academy
for them at Font-a-Mousson, which was resorted to
by the princes of his house ; while the duke founded
a college at Eu in Normandy, which was also in-
tended for the benefit of English exiles.

They found numerous other patrons ; cardinals,
bishops, abbots, princes, or high civil functionaries
undertook to defray the cost of new establishments ;
in a short time they had settlements in Rouen,
Verdun, Dijon, Bourges, and Nevers ; their mis-
sionaries penetrated into every part of the king-

They found, however, assistants in France whose
aid they had been obliged to dispense with in Ger-

The cardinal of Lorraine had brought with him
from the council of Trent a few capuchin friars,
whom he lodged in his palace at Meudon ; after

^ X.] THE LEAGUE. 151

his death however they quitted France, for the
order was still restricted by its statutes to Italy.
In the year 1573, the general chapter sent a few
members over the Alps to try the ground. As
they were so well received that on their return
they promised " the richest harvest," the pope did
not hesitate to remove that restriction. In the year
1574, the first colony of capuchins, under friar
Pacifico di S. Gervaso, who chose his own com-
panions, took their way over the Alps.

They were all Italians, and naturally attached
themselves in the first instance to their own country-
men. Queen Catherine of Medici received them
with joy, and immediately founded a convent for
them at Paris. In the year 1575 we find them at
Lyons, where, at the recommendation of the queen,
they were assisted by some Italian money-changers.
From these towns they diverged into others : from
Paris to Caen and Rouen ; from Lyons to Marseilles,
where queen Catherine bought them ground for
building; new colonies settled in Thoulouse in the
year 1582, and in Verdun in 1585. They soon
made the most brilliant conversions, such as that
of Henri Joyeuse in 1587, one of the first men of
his time in France*.

But in one sense at least, these religious agita-
tions produced more powerful eflfects in France than
in Germany. The imitations of existing institu-
tions to which they gave rise had an original and
individual character. Jean de la Barriere, who,
in accordance with the peculiar abuses which had

* Boverio, Annali dei frati Capuccini, i. 546.; ii. 45 f.


crept into the church of France, lield in commen-
dam the cistercian abbey of Feuillans near Thou-
louse, at the age of nineteen, was consecrated re-
gular abbot in 1577, and received novices, with
whom he strove not only to revive but to exceed
the austerity of the original institution of Citeaux.
Solitude, silence, and abstinence were carried as
far as human nature would permit. These monks
never left their convent except for the purpose of
preaching in some neighbouring village ; within
the convent walls they wore neither shoes, nor
covering for the head ; they denied themselves
not only meat and wine, but even fish and eggs,
living upon bread and water, with, at times, a few
vegetables*. This rigour did not fail to excite re-
verence and imitation ; and in a short time Don
Jean de la Barriere was invited to the court at
Vincennes. He traversed a large portion of France
with sixty-two companions, without the smallest
relaxation of the devotional exercises or ascetic re-
straints of the convent ; very soon afterwards his
institute was confirmed by the pope, and spread
itself over the country.

It seemed too as if, spite of the irresponsible
nature of their appointments, a new zeal was infused
into the wdiole body of the secular clergy. The
parish priests again devoted themselves most ear-
nestly to the care of souls. In the year 1570 the
bishops required not only the acceptance of the
decrees of the council of Trent, but also the abro-
gation of that very concordat to which they were
* Felibien, Histoire de Paris, vol. ii. p. 1.158.

§ X.] THE LEAGUE. 153

indebted for their own existence ; and they renewed
and increased the rigour of these regulations from
time to time*.

Who can accurately specify all the impelling
causes which communicated to the religious spirit
of the age its peculiar direction ? Thus much is
certain; that as early as the year 1580, the greatest
change was perceptible. A Venetian writer affirms
that the number of protestants was decreased se-
venty per cent., and that the common people had
again become completely catholic. The excitement
of novelty and the energy of impulse were now
once more on the side of Catholicism f.

Under these circumstances, however, it assumed
a new attitude in relation to the kingly power. —
The condition of the court was one abounding in
self-contradictions. It cannot be doubted that
Henry III. was a good catholic ; none had his fa-
vour who did not attend mass, nor did he tolerate
any protestant magistrates in the towns ; but in
spite of this, he went on, now as heretofore, to fill up
the ecclesiastical vacancies in conformity with the
conveniences of court favour, without any reference

* Remontrance de Tassemblee generale du clerge de France,
convoquee en la ville de Melun, faite au roi Henri III. le 3 Juillet,
1579. Recueil des actes du clerge, vol. xiv. Thuanus has also
an extract on this subject.

t Lorenzo Priuli, Relatione di Franza, 5 Giugno, 1582. Do-
vemo maravigliarci, umanamente parlando, che le cose non
siauo in peggiore stato di quello che si trovano : poiche per
gratia di Dio, con tutto il poco pensiero che li e stato messo e
che se li mette, e sminuito il numero degli Ugonotti 70-8^ et e
grande il zelo et il fervor che mostrano cattolici nelle cose della


to worth and talent ; and to grasp and squander the

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