Leopold von Ranke.

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

. (page 2 of 39)
Online LibraryLeopold von RankeThe ecclesiastical and political history of the popes of Rome during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (Volume 2) → online text (page 2 of 39)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


almost without a single exception, the men under
forty ; for although many of them still go to
mass, it is only for appearance sake, and through
fear ; when they are certain of escaping observ-
ation they avoid the mass and the churches." When
Micheli went to Geneva he found that immediately
after the death of Francis II. fifty preachers had
gone from thence to different towns in France ;
he was astonished at the consideration in which



$ I.] IN THE YEAR 1563. 17

Calvin was held, and at the sums of money he re-
ceived for the assistance of the thousands who had
taken refuge at Geneva*. He thought it indispen-
sably necessary, in order to avoid shedding torrents
of blood, to grant freedom of religion, at least ad. in-
terim, as he expresses it, to the French protestants.
And in fact his report was soon followed by the
edict of January 1562, which granted a legal and
recognised existence to protestantism in France,
and which is the basis of the privileges it has from
that time enjoyed in France.

These general changes in Germany, France, and
England, necessarily produced an effect on the
Netherlands also. The influence of Germany was
first predominant. Among the various motives
which determined Charles V. to undertake the
Smalcaldic war, one of the most cogent was, that
the sympathy excited by the German protestants in
the Netherlands daily increased the difficulty of go-
verning that province, which formed so important a
part of his dominions. In subduing the German
princes he at the same time prevented a revolt of

* Micheli, Relatione delle cose di Francia I'anno 1561 : " Da-
poi che fuconosciuto che col mettere in prigione e col castigare
e con r abbrucciare non solo non si emendavano, ma si disordina-
vano piii, fu deliberato che non si procedesse piu contra alcuno,
eccetto che contra quelli che andavano predicando, seducendo e
facendo publicamente le congregationi e le assemblee, e gli altri
si lassassero vivere : onde ne furono liberati e cavati di prigione
di Parigi e di tutte le altre terre del regno un grandissimo numero,
che rimasero poi nel regno praticando liberamente e parlando con
ogn' uno, e gloriandosi che aveano guadagnato la lite contra i
Papisti, cosi chiamavano e chiamano li loro adversarii."
VOL. II. C



18 STATE OF PROTESTANTISM [bOOK V.

his Netherlanders ='^. Yet all his laws, severely as
they were executed (it has been calculated that up to
the year 15G0, thirty thousand protestants were put
to death), were unavailing to arrest the progress of
the new opinions. The only consequence was, that
these gradually inclined more to the French cal-
vinist doctrines than to the German lutheran ones.
In the year 15G1 a formal confession was subscribed
in that country, churches were established on the
model of that of Geneva, and the protestants, by
uniting themselves with the local authorities and
their supporters, acquired a political basis which
seemed to promise them security and success for
the future.

Under these circumstances the earlier oppositions
to the church of Rome acquired fresh force. In
the year 15G2 the Moravian brethren were formal-
ly acknowledged by Maximilian II., and took ad-
vantage of this favourable event to choose a large
number of new pastors in their synods, to the num-
ber, it is reckoned, of a hundred and eighty-eightf .
In 1561 the duke of Savoy found himself constrain-
ed to grant new privileges even to the poor commu-
nities of Waldenses in the mountains}. The Pro-
testant spirit had extended its vivifying power to
the most distant and obscure corners of Europe.
What an immense empire had it conquered in the

* This view, taken by the then Florentine resident at the im-
perial court, appears to me to rest on good grounds.

-j- Regenvolscii Ecclesise Slavonicre, i. p. 63.

X Leger, iia his Histoire des Eglises "\''audoises, ii. p. 38, gives
the treaty.



^ I.] IX THE YEAR 1563. 19

space of forty years ! — an empire reaching from
Iceland to the Pyrenees, from Finland to the sum-
mit of the Italian Alps ! Opinions analogous to
protestantism, as we have already observed, even
found their way across those mountains, and were
diifused over the whole territory of the Latin church.
The new faith had been adopted by the great major-
ity of the higher classes and of those who took an
active part in public life; whole nations were enthu-
siastically devoted to it, and it had entirely altered
the constitution of states*. This is the more re-
markable, since its doctrines were by no means a
mere negation or renunciation of popery, but on the
contrary were in the highest degree positive, and
contained a renovation of those christian feelings
and principles which guide and govern human life,
even to the deepest and most secret recesses of the
soul^

* The loss was thus looked upon In Rome itself. Tiepolo,
Relatione di Pio IV. e V. : "Parlando solamente di quelli (po-
poli) d' Europa che non solo obedivano lui (al papa) ma ancora
segui^Tino in tutto i riti e le consuetudini della cliiesa romana,
celebrando ancora li otficii nella lingua latina : si sa che 1' In-
ghilterra, la Scotia, la Dania, la Norvegia, la Suetia e fined"*
tutti i paesi settentrionali si sono alienati da lei : la Germania ö
quasi tutta perduta, la Bohemia e la Polonia si trovano in gran
parte infette, li paesi bassi della Fiandra sono cosi corrotti che
per rimedio che vi si sforzi dar loro il Duca d'Alva difficil"^ ritor-
neranno alia prima sanita, e finalmente la Francia per rispetto di
questi mal humeri e tutta ripiena di confusioni ; in modo che non
pare che sia restato altro di sano e di sicuro al pontefice che la
Spagna e 1' Italia con alcune poche isole, e con quel paese che e
dalla Ser'* V" in Dalmatia et in Grecia posseduto."



20 RESOURCES OF THE PAPACY [bOOK V.



§ 2. RESOURCES POSSESSED BY THE PAPACY FOR
ACTIVE CONTEST.

For a long time the papacy and Catholicism had
maintained an attitude defensive, it is true, against
the encroachments of protestantism, hut yet passive,
and had heen obliged to endure them as they best
might.

Now however things assumed a new aspect .

We have already contemplated that inward deve-
lopment by which the catholic church began the
W'Ork of self-restoration.

We may affirm generally, that she was once more
inspired with a fresh and living energy; that she re-
generated her creed in accordance with the spirit of
the age, and originated a reform which on the whole
satisfied its demands. She did not allow the reli-
gious tendencies then existing in the south of Eu-
rope to grow into hostility ; on the contrary she in-
corporated them with her own, and gained the ab-
solute direction of them. This was the process by
Avhich she renewed her strength and repaired her
disasters.

Hitherto protestantism alone had filled the thea-
tre of the world with those brilliant results which
carried away the minds of men; but another spirit,
which, if contemplated from the elevated region of
enlarged and dispassionate thought, is perhaps
equally deserving of veneration, though in direct
opposition to that which had actuated the first re-
formers, now entered the lists, equally skilled to



§ II.] FOR ACTIVE CONTEST. 21

engage the hearts of men on its side and to rouse
them to activity.

The restored catholic system first gained posses-
sion of the two southern peninsulas. This could not
be effected without the exercise of extraordinary
severity : the renovated inquisition of Rome came
to the support of that of Spain, and every effort of
protestantism was forcibly crushed. At the same
time all those tendencies of thought and feeling
which renewed Catholicism most especially address-
ed and most strongly captivated, w^ere peculiarly
powerful in those countries. There too the princes
allied themselves to the interests of the church.

It was of the utmost importance that Philip IL,
the most powerful of them all, was so firm in his
attachment to the papacy. With all the pride of a
Spaniard, by whom unblemished Catholicism was
esteemed the mark of a purer blood and a more no-
ble descent, he rejected every adverse opinion. It
was not how^ever a mere personal feeling which in-
fluenced his political conduct. The kingly dignity
in Spain had from time immemorial been tinged
with a spiritual colour, w^hich had been heightened
by Isabella's institutions. The royal power was
strengthened in every province by the addition of
spiritual authority ; nor indeed could the kingdom
have been governed without the aid of the inqui-
sition. In his American possessions too the king
appeared preeminently in the light of a propagator
of the christian and catholic faith: this was the
common bond that united all his dominions in obe-
dience to him ; he could not have given it up with-



22 RESOURCES OF THE PAPACY [bOOK V.

out imminent danger. Tlie increase of the Hu-
guenots in the south of France caused the greatest
alarm in Spain. The inquisition thought itself
bound to he doubly watchful. " I assure your high-
ness," writes the Venetian ambassador to his sove-
reign on the 25th August, 1562, " that no great re-
ligious excitement is to be desired for this country :
there are many here who long for a change of re-
ligion*." The pope's nuncio thought the issue of the
council then assembled was no less important to the
royal than to the papal power. "For," says he,
" the obedience paid to the king, nay his whole
government, depends on the inquisition; were that to
lose its authority, seditions would instantly arise."
The power which this prince possessed in the
Netherlands was alone sufficient to give to the
southern system an immediate influence over the
rest of Europe. But besides that, all was far from
being lost in other nations. The emperor, the kings
of France and Poland, and the duke of Bavaria still
adhered to the catholic church. There were still
many spiritual princes whose frozen zeal could be
revived, and in many places protestantism had not
yet penetrated the mass of the population. The
greater part of the peasantry in France and even
in Hungary! and Poland were still catholic: Paris,

* DispaccioSoranzoPerpignan, 28Maggio: "Essendo in qucsta
provincia (Spagna) molti Ugonotti quasi non osano mostrarsi per
la severissima dimostratione che qui fanno contra. Dubitano che
non si mettano insicme, essendone molti per tutta la Spagna."

t If it were not, in this case, ignorance,, as Lazarus Schwendi
asserts: "Eu Ungarie tout est confusion et misere: ils sont de



§ II.] FOR ACTIVE CONTEST. 23

which even at that period exercised great influence
over the other towns of France, had not been infected
with the spirit of innovation. A large proportion
of both nobles and commoners in England, and the
whole of the ancient indigenous population of Ire-
land, adhered to the catholic faith. In the Tyro-
lese and Swiss Alps protestantism had found no
acceptance, neither had it made any considerable
progress among the Bavarian peasantry. At all
events Canisius compares the Tyrolese and Bava-
rians to the two tribes of Israel " who alone re-
mained faithful to the Lord."

It is a subject deserving of a minute inquiry, on
what internal causes was founded this pertinacious
constancy, this immoveable attachment to tradition,
among populations so various and dissimilar. In
the Netherlands, the Walloon provinces exhibited
the-same phsenomenon.

And now the papacy resumed a station in which
it could once more win over all these inclinations
and bind them indissolubly to itself. Although
greatly changed, it possessed the immeasurable ad-
vantage of having on its side all the external asso-
ciations of the past, and the habit of obedience. In
the council, which they had brought to a happy
conclusion, the popes had even succeeded in in-
creasing their authority, which it had been the ob-
ject of that assembly to diminish, and in strength-
ening their influence over the national churches.

la plus parte Huguenots, mais avec une extreme ignorance du
peuple." (SchAvendi au Prince d'Orange, Archives de la Maison
d'Orange-Nassau, i. p. 288.)



24 RESOURCES OF THE PAPACY. [bOOK V.

They now also renounced that worldly policy by
which they had formerly thrown Italy, and indeed
the whole of Europe, into confusion. They allied
themselves, with entire confidence and without any
reservations, to Spain, and fully returned her devo-
tion to the church of Rome. Their Italian princi-
pality, their extended territory, were exceedingly
favourable to the success of their ecclesiastical
undertakings. The surplus of its revenues for
some time greatly assisted the universal catholic
church.

Thus strong in themselves, thus strengthened by
their powerful adherents and by the idea of which
they were living representatives, the popes quitted
the defensive position with which they had been
hitherto forced to content themselves, for attack ; —
an attack the progress and consequences of which
it is the main object of this work to consider.

A boundless theatre opens to our view ; the ac-
tion begins in many different places at once, and our
attention is solicited to the most opposite and dis-
similar parts of the world.

Religious activity is intimately connected with
the current of political opinions : combinations
arise embracing the whole world, and causing the
success or the failure of enterprises. We shall keep
the great changes in political affairs the more stea-
dily in view, since they often exactly coincide with
the results of the religious warfare.

We must not however confine ourselves to gene-
ralities. Even the conquests of the sword cannot
be achieved without some native sympathies in the



§ III.] FIRST JESUITS' COLLEGES. 25

conquered in favour of the victors ; how much less
those of opinion ! We must fathom to the very-
bottom the interests of the several countries, in or-
der to understand the internal movements which
facilitated the projects of Rome.

Such is the abundance and the variety of events
and of modes of existence comprised within the pe-
riod now to be considered, that we have almost to
fear the impossibility of embracing the whole at one
glance. It exhibits a state of civilization which
rests on homogeneous foundations, and occasionally
contracts into great crises, but which presents an
infinite variety of plipenomena.

We shall begin with Germany, the country where
the papacy experienced its first severe reverses, and
the arena on which the conflict of the two princi-
ples was fought out with the greatest pertinacity and
acrimony.

Above all, the society of the Jesuits, combining
worldly wisdom with religious zeal, and deeply im-
bued with the spirit of modern Catholicism, did good
service to the church of Rome. Our first consi-
derations shall be directed to the influences of this
remarkable association.



§3. THE FIRST JESUITS' COLLEGES IN GERMANY.

At the diet of Augsburg, in the year 1550, Fer-
dinand I. was accompanied by his confessor, bishop



26 FIRST JESUITS' COLLEGES [bOOK V.

Urban of Laibach. Urban was one of tbe few pre-
lates whose opinions had remained unshaken. At
home lie often ascended the pulpit to exhort the
people, in their own provincial dialect, to be con-
stant to the faith of their fathers ; he preached to
them of the one fold under the one shepherd*. At
this time the Jesuit Le Jay was also at Augsburg,
and excited great attention by his conversions.
Bishop Urban made his acquaintance, and from
him first heard of the colleges which the Jesuits
had founded in several universities. In order to
rescue catholic theology from the neglect into
which it had fallen in Germany, he advised his
master to establish a similar college at Vienna.
Ferdinand eagerly embraced the project ; and, in
the letter he addressed on the subject to Ignatius
Loyola, he expresses his conviction, that the only
means of propping the declining cause of Catholi-
cism in Germany was, to give the rising generation
learned and pious catholic teachers f. The arrange-
ments were quickly made. In the year 1551 thir-
teen Jesuits, among whom was Le Jay himself, ar-
rived at Vienna, where Ferdinand instantly granted
them a dwelling, chapel, and pension, and shortly
after incorporated them with the university, and
assigned them the superintendence of it.

They soon after rose into consideration at Co-
logne, where they had already dwelt for two years,

* Valvassor, Ehre des Herzogthums Krain, vol. ii, b. vii.
p. 433.

t Printed in Socher, Historia Provincise Austrise Societatis
JeBu, i. 21.



§ III.] IN GERMANY. 27

but had been so far from making any progress, that
they had even been forced to live separate ; nor
was it till the year 1556, that the endowed school,
established under a protestant regent, gave them the
means of acquiring a more secure footing. For as
there was a party in the city which was most deeply
interested in keeping the university catholic, the
partisans of the Jesuits at length prevailed on the
citizens to confide the direction of the establishment
to that order. Their great advocates were, the prior
of the Carthusians, the provincial of the carmelites,
and, above all, Dr. Johann Gropper, who occasional-
ly gave a feast to which he invited the most influ-
ential burghers, in order that, after the good old Ger-
man fashion, he might further the interests he had
most at heart over a glass of wine. Fortunately for
the Jesuits one of their order was a native of Cologne,
Johann Rhetius, a man of patrician family, to whom
the endowed school could be more particularly en-
trusted. This could not however be done without
very considerable restrictions ; the Jesuits were
expressly forbidden to introduce into the school
those monastic rules of Ufe which were in force in
their colleges*.

At this same period they also gained a firm foot-
ing in Ingolstadt. Their former attempts had been
frustrated chiefly by the resistance of the younger
members of the university, who would not suffer
any privileged school to interfere with the private
instruction they gave. In the year 1556, however,

* Sacchinus, Hist. Soc. Jesu, pars ii. lib. i. n. 103.



28 FIRST JESUITS* COLLEGES [bOOK V.

after the duke, as we have ah'eady related, had
been obHged to make important concessions in fa-
vour of the protestants, his counsellors, who were
zealous catholics, deemed it a matter of urgent ne-
cessity to have recourse to some vigorous measures
for the support of the ancient faith. The princi-
pal movers were the chancellor Wiguleus Hund, a
man who displayed as much zeal in the support of
the church as in the study of her ancient history
and constitution, and the duke's private secretary,
Heinrich Schwigger. By their instrumentality the
Jesuits were recalled, and eighteen of them entered
Ingolstadt on the day of St. Wilibald, 7tli of July,
1556. They chose that day because St. Wilibald
was said to be the first bishop of the diocese.
They still had to encounter great difficulties in the
town and in the university, but they gradually over-
came all opposition by the assistance of the same
patronage to which they owed their establishment.

From these three metropolitan settlements the
Jesuits now spread in all directions.

From Vienna they immediately extended over
the whole of the Austrian dominions. In 1556
Ferdinand I. removed some of them to Prague, and
founded a school there, intended principally for the
young nobility. To this he sent his own pages, and
the order found support and encouragement from
the catholic portion of the Bohemian nobility, espe-
cially from the famiUes of Rosenberg and Lobko-
witz. One of the most considerable men in Hun-
gary at that time was Nicolaus Olahus, archbishop of
Gran, of Wallachian extraction, as his name denotes.



§ III.] IN GERMANY. 29

His father Stoia, in a fit of terror for the murder
of a Woiwode of his family, had consecrated him
to the church, and the success of his destination
was complete. Under the last native kings he filled
the important office of private secretary, and he
had subsequently risen still higher in the service of
the Austrian party. At the time of the general de-
cline of Catholicism in Hungary, he .perceived that
the only hope of support for it was from the com-
mon people, who were not entirely alienated. But
here also catholic teachers were wanting ; in order
to form them, he founded a college of Jesuits at
Tyrnau in 1 56 1 , and gave them a pension out of his
own income, to which the emperor Ferdinand added
the grant of an abbey. An assembly of the clergy
of the diocese had just been convoked when the
Jesuits arrived. Their first labours were devoted to
an attempt to reclaim the Hungarian priests and
clergymen from the heterodox opinions to which
they leaned. They were immediately after sum-
moned to Moravia also. William Prussinowski,
bishop of Olmütz, who had become acquainted
with the order when he was studying in Italy, in-
vited them to his diocese : Hurtado Perez, a Spa-
niard, was the first rector in Olmütz. Shortly after
we find them likewise established at Briinn.

From Cologne the society spread over the whole
of the Rhenish provinces. We have already men-
tioned that protestantism had found adherents, and
had occasioned some fermentation in Treves. The
archbishop John von Stein had determined to in-
flict only slight punishments on the recalcitrants.



30 FIRST JESUITS' COLLEGES. [bOOK V.

and to oppose innovation by argument rather than
by force. He summoned the two principals of the
Jesuit college of Cologne to repair to him at Cob-
lentz, and represented to them that he wished to
have some of the members of their body with him,
" in order," as he expresses it, "to lead the flock
entrusted to him in their duty, rather by means of
admonition and friendly instruction, than by arms
or by threats." He then addressed himself to Rome,
and very soon came to an understanding vfiih both.
Six Jesuits were sent to him from Rome ; the rest
came from Cologne. They opened their college
with great solemnity on the 3rd Feb. 1561, and un-
dertook to preach during the approaching season of
Lent^.

Two privy councillors of the elector Daniel of
Mayence, Peter Echter and Simon Bagen, now
thought they perceived that the introduction of the
Jesuits was the only means of restoring the declin-
ing university of Mayence. In spite of the opposi-
tion of the canons and feudal lords, they founded
for the order a college at Mayence and a prepara-
tory school at Aschaftenburg.

The society continued to advance higher up the
Rhine. What they more particularly desired was
an establishment at Spires; partly because the body
of assessors to the Kammergericht included so many
remarkable men over whom it would be of the great-
est importance to obtain influence ; and partly in
order to place themselves in immediate and local

* Browerus, Annales Trevirenses, t. ii, lib. xxi. 106—125.



§ III.] IN GERMANY. 31

opposition to the university of Heidelberg, which at
that time enjoyed the greatest celebrity for its Pro-
testant professors *. The Jesuits gradually gained
a footing at Spires.

Without further delay they also tried their fortune
along the Main. Although Frankfort was wholly
Protestant, they hoped to achieve something there
during the fair. This was not to be done without
danger, and they were forced to change their lodg-
ing every night for fear of being discovered.

At Würzburg they were far safer and more wel-
come f. It seemed as if the exhortation which the
emperor Ferdinand addressed to the bishops at the
diet of 1559, imploring them at last to exert their
strength in the support of the catholic church, had
contributed greatly to tlie brilhant success of the
order in the spiritual principalities. From Würz-
burgjhey spread throughout Franconia.

In the meanwhile the Tyrol had been opened to
them from another point. At the desire of the
emperor's daughters, they settled themselves at In-
spruck, and then at Hall in that neighbourhood.
In Bavaria they continued to make great progress.
At Munich, which they entered in 1559, they were
even better satisfied than at Ingolstadt, and pro-
nounced it to be the Rome of Germany. A large

* e.g. Neuser, in his celebrated letter to the Turkish emperor,
says, that he taught and preached at Heidelberg, " to which place
the most learned men of the whole German nation, now-a-days
resort." (Arnold, Ketzerhist, ii. 1133.)

t Gropp, Wirzburgische Chronik der letzteren Zeiten, vol.i.
p. 237.



32 FIRST JESUITS' COLLEGES [bOOK V.

new colony already arose not far from Ingolstadt.



Online LibraryLeopold von RankeThe ecclesiastical and political history of the popes of Rome during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (Volume 2) → online text (page 2 of 39)