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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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governed by arrests and executions; he razed to the
ground the houses of the convicted, and confiscated
their property ; he pursued political, conjointly with
religious aims. The ancient power of the assembly
of estates was reduced to nothing ; Spanish troops
overran the country, and a citadel w^as erected in

* Cavalli, 3rd July, 1568, gives this letter also in the extract.
It is, if possible, still more remarkable than the former one.
" Capito qui I'avviso della giustitia fatta in Fiandra contra di
quelli poveri signori prigioni, intorno alia quale scrive il d, d'Al-
va, che habendo facolta di S. M. di far tal esecutione o sopras-
tare secondo che havesse riputato piü espediente del suo servitio,
che pert) vedendo li popoli un poco alterati et insuperbiti per la
morte d' Arenberg e rotta di quelli Spagnoli, havea giudicato
tempo opportuno e necessario per tal effetto per dimostrar di
non temer di loro in conto alcuno, e poner con questo terrore a
molti levandoli la speranza di tumultuar per la loro liberatione, e
fuggir di cascar nell' errore nel quale incorse I'imperatore Carlo,
il qual per tener vivo Saxonia e Langravio diede occasione di
nova congiura, per la quale S. M, fu cacciata con poca dignitä
della Germania e quasi dell' irapero."



§ v.] NETHERLANDS AND FRANCE. 63

the most important mercantile city. Alva insisted
with determined obstinacy upon the payment of the
most odious taxes, and people in Spain wondered
— for even from thence he drew large sums — what
he did with all the money. It is however perfectly
true that the country was submissive, that no mal-
contents bestirred themselves, that every trace of
protestantism disappeared, and the refugees in the
neighbouring countries remained quiet. " Monsig-
nore," said a private secretary of Philip II. during
these events to the papal nuncio, "are you now
satisfied with the proceedings of the king?" "Quite
satisfied," answered the nuncio with a smile. Alva
himself thought he had executed a master-stroke of
policy, and looked with contempt upon the French
rulers, who had never been able to command obe-
dience in their own land.



In France, after the rapid strides which protest-
antism had made, a strong reaction took place in
the year 1562, especially in the capital.

The circumstance which had doubtless been the
most injurious to protestantism in France was, that
it had been so closely implicated with the court
faction. For some time the whole people seemed
to lean towards the protestant confession ; but when
its adherents took up arms and committed acts of
violence inevitably leading to war, public opinion
turned against them.

What sort of religion is this? men asked: Where
has Christ commanded a man to rob his neighbour,
and to shed his blood ? But it was especially at



64 DISTURBANCES IN THE [bOOK V.

the time when Paris was put in a state of defence
against the attack of Conde, that all the public bo-
dies assumed an anti-protestant complexion. The
whole population of the city capable of bearing
arms was organized by military officers, who, above
all things, were required to be catholics. The mem-
bers of the university, of the parliament, and even
the numerous class of lawyers, were all compelled
to sign a confession of pure catholic faith.

Favoured by this state of the public mind, the
Jesuits obtained firm footing in France. Their be-
ginning was small indeed, for they were forced to
be content with colleges w^hich w^ere thrown open
for their reception by a few ecclesiastics, their de-
voted partisans, in Billon and Tournon, places re-
mote from the metropolis, and where nothing im-
portant was likely to be accomplished.

In the large towns, and especially in Paris, they
at first experienced the most stubborn opposition.
The Sorbonne, the parliament, the archbishop, who
all thought their privileges invaded, were against
them. But as they gradually acquired the support of
the most zealous catholics, and more particularly of
the court, and w^re urgently recommended by them
for their exemplary lives and their pure faith, which
had caused many wanderers to return to the true
way, and east and west to acknowledge the pres-
ence of the Lord ; as also public opinion had un-
dergone the change we have just described*, they

* In a manuscript in the Berlin Library, MSS. Gall., n. 75,
we find the following document amongst others : " Deliberations
et consultations au parlement de Paris touchant I'establissement
des Jesuites en France;" in which are especially contained the



§ v.] NETHERLANDS AND FRANCE. G5

prevailed over all opposition, and obtained in 1 564
the privilege of instructing youth. Lyons had al-
ready opened her gates to them. Whether it was
owing to their good fortune or to their merits, at this
moment they produced from among their ranks se-
veral men of striking talent. In opposition to the
huguenot preachers, they put forward Edmond Au-
gier, who was born in France, but educated under
Ignatius Loyola at Rome, and of whom the pro-
testants themselves are said to have admitted, that
had he not been clothed in catholic vestments,
there never could have existed a more eloquent
orator. By his preaching and writings he produced
an extraordinary impression. The huguenots were
completely worsted, especially in Lyons ; their
preachers were driven away, their churches de-
stroyed, and their books burned. On the other
hand, a magnificent college was erected for the Je-
suits" in 1567. They possessed likewise an eminent
professor, Maldonat, whose exposition of the Bible
drew the youth in crowds and riveted their atten-
tion. From these principal cities they traversed
the country in all directions, fixed themselves at
Thoulouse and Bourdeaux, and wherever they ap-
peared the number of catholic communicants in-
creased. The catechism of Augier obtained univer-
sal approbation ; in less than eight years thirty-
eight thousand copies were sold in Paris alone*.

messages from the court to the parliament ia favour of the Je-
suits: "infracta et ferocia pectora," it says, "gladio fidei acuto
penetrarunt."

* We meet with these notices in Orlandinua and his conti-
VOL. II. F



66 DISTURBANCES IN THE [bOOK V.

It is indeed possible that this revived popularity
of catholic ideas, which chiefly prevailed in the me-
tropolis, had its influence upon the court ; at all
events the court received the support of public opi-
nion, when in 1568, after long hesitation, it once
more declared itself decidedly catholic.

The principal cause of this was, that Catherine
of Medici felt that her power was more secure since
her son had attained his majority, and there was no
further necessity for keeping terms as before with
the huguenot nobles. The example of Alva showed
how much was to be effected by a steadfast will ;
the pope also, who incessantly exhorted the court
not to suffer the insolence of the rebels to increase,
nor to use any longer forbearance with them, at
length accompanied his warnings with the permis-
sion to alienate church property, which brought
a million and a half of livres to the treasury*.
Catherine of Medici, following the example set a
year before by the Governess of the Netherlands,
imposed on the French nobility an oath, by which
they bound themselves to renounce every engage-
ment they had contracted w^ithout the previous
knowledge of the kingf . She insisted on the dis-
missal of all magistrates who were suspected of
holding the new opinions, and she declared to Phi-
lip II. in September 1563, that she would tolerate
no religion but the catholic.

nuers, pars i. lib. vi. n. 30. ii. iv. 84. iii. iii. 1G9. and further,
Juvencius, v. 24, 769, gives an account of the life of Augier.

* Catena, Vita di Pio V., p. 79.

t y. the oath in Serranus, Commentarii de Statu Religionis
in Regno Galliie, iii. 153.



$ v.] NETHERLANDS AND FRANCE. 67

This was a determination which could not be
carried into execution in France without an appeal
to arms.

Accordingly war immediately broke out, and was
undertaken with the most extraordinary zeal by the
catholic party. The king of Spain sent, by request
of the pope, veteran troops under experienced
leaders to the assistance of the French. Pius V.
collected contributions in the states of the church,
and subsidies from the Italian princes ; even the
holy father himself sent, as his contingent, a small
army across the Alps, to whom he gave the cruel
instructions to slay every huguenot who should fall
into their hands, and give no quarter.

The huguenots also collected their forces ; they
too were inspired by religious fervour, and in the
papal soldiers beheld the army of Antichrist ad-
vancing against them. They too gave no quarter,
nor were they less provided with foreign aid than
their adversaries ; nevertheless they were com-
pletely routed at Moncontour.

With what joy did Pius V. place the standards
taken from the huguenots in the churches of St.
Peter and St. John Lateran ! He conceived the
most daring hopes : it was under these circum-
stances that he uttered sentence of excommunica-
tion against queen Elizabeth, and he even some-
times flattered himself with the thoughts of heading
in person an expedition against England.

But these extravagant hopes were never ful-
filled.

It now happened, as had often been the case,

F 2



68 DISTURBANCES IN THE [bOOK V.

that a change of opuiion manifested itself in the
French court, which, though originating in trifling
circumstances of a personal nature, brought about
a complete revolution in the most important affairs.
The king grudged his brother, the duke of Anjou,
who had led the troops at Moncontour, the honour
of conquering the huguenots and quieting the king-
dom. This feeling was exasperated by those around
him, who in like manner were jealous of the house-
hold of the duke of Anjou, and feared that power
would go hand in hand with glory. Not only were
the advantages already gained languidly followed
up, but in a short time another and a more mode-
rate party, which pursued a policy directly contrary
to that of the high catholic party headed by Anjou,
appeared at court, made peace with the huguenots,
and invited their leaders to the palace. In 1569,
the French, in league with Spain and the pope, had
attempted to hurl Elizabeth of England from her
throne; in the summer of 1572, they entered into
a league with this very queen to wrest the Nether-
lands from Spain.

The change, however, was too sudden ; the mea-
sures were taken wdth too little deliberation for it
to be lasting. The most violent explosion of public
opinion followed, and matters again took their
former course.

It is indeed certain, that Catherine of Medici,
while she entered with zeal and cordiality into the
policy and plans of the dominant party, which fa-
voured her views, at least in so far as they appeared
calculated to advance her youngest son, Alencon, to



§ v.] NETHERLANDS AND FRANCE. 69

the throne of England, yet had everything in pre-
paration to carry into execution a contrary stroke
of pohcy. She used every art to draw the hugue-
nots to Paris ; numerous as they were, they here
found themselves surrounded and held in check by
a far larger population, which was in a state of
military organization and fanatical excitement.
She had previously given the pope tolerably clear
intimations what her intentions were ; but had she
still hesitated, the circumstances which occurred at
this moment must have decided her line of conduct
at once. The huguenots won over the king, and
appeared to supplant her influence over him. This
personal danger put an end to all delay ; with that
resistless and magical power which she possessed
over her children, she reawakened all the slum-
bering fanaticism of her son ; it cost her but one
word to rouse the populace to arms, and that word
she spoke ; every individual huguenot of note was
delivered over to the vengeance of his personal
enemy. Catherine had said she only wished for
the death of six men, and the charge of their death
alone would she take upon her conscience. The
number of the victims was fifty thousand*.

The French thus outdid all that the Spaniards
had perpetrated in the Netherlands. What the lat-
ter accomplished by degrees, by a calculating policy,
and according to forms of law, the former carried
into execution in the heat of passion, with the abs-

* For brevity's sake I here refer the reader to my disquisition
on the Massacre of St. Bartholomew, ia the Histor. Polit. Zeit-
schrift, ii. iii.



70 DISTURBANCES IN FRANCE. [bOOK V.

ence of all formalities, and by the aid of a popu-
lace drunk with fanaticism. The result appeared
the same ; there remained not a single leader under
whose banner the scattered huguenots could rally ;
many fled, numbers surrendered themselves ; mass
was again attended in various places, and the Pro-
testant preachers were silenced. Philip II. saw with
pleasure his example imitated and surpassed, and
offered to Charles IX., who had now, for the first
time, earned his title of the most christian king,
military aid for the completion of his undertaking.
Gregory XIII. celebrated this great event by a so-
lemn procession to San Luigi. The Venetians,
who appeared to have no special interests at stake,
expressed in their official despatches to their mi-
nister, their satisfaction at this " mark of God's
favour."

But can crimes of so bloody a dye be crowned
with lasting success ? Are they not at variance
with the deeper mysteries of human events, and
with those inviolable laws of nature, which, even
when not understood, are in constant though si-
lent operation ? Men may blind themselves for a
time, but they cannot shake that order of the moral
world which regulates the very principles of their
being, with a necessity not less inexorable than that
which guides the stars in their courses.



^ VI.] RESISTANCE OF THE PROTESTANTS. 71



§ 6. RESISTANCE OF THE PROTESTANTS IN THE
NETHERLANDS, FRANCE^ AND GERMANY.

Macchiavel advises his prince to execute in rapid
succession whatever cruel measures he thinks ne-
cessary ; but when those are accomplished, gradu-
ally to adopt a more merciful system.

It almost seemed as if the Spaniards endeavoured
to follow this counsel to the letter in the Nether-
lands. They appeared at length to think that a
sufficient amount of property had been confiscated,
a sufficient number of lives sacrificed ; in short, that
the period for mercy was arrived. In the year
1572, the Venetian minister in Madrid states his
conviction that the prince of Orange would obtain
his pardon if he would ask for it. The king re-
ceived with great kindness the deputies of the Ne-
therlands, who came to petition for the remission
of the impost of the tenth penny, and even went so
far as to thank them for their trouble.

He had determined to recall Alva, and send a
milder viceroy. But it was now too late ; the re-
bellion broke out at the very conclusion of the
treaty between the French and English which pre-
ceded the massacre of St. Bartholomew. Alva had
imagined the contest was over, whereas it now in
fact first began. The enemy was beaten by Alva
whenever he met them in the open field ; but in the
towns of Holland and of Zealand, where the reh-



72 RESISTANCE OF PROTESTANTS IN THE [bOOK V.

gious excitement had been the most profound, and
protestantism had acquired a thorough and active
organization, he encountered a resistance which he
could not overcome.

In Haarlem, when all the provisions, and even the
grass which grew in the streets, were exhausted, the
inhabitants determined to cut their way through the
besiegers with their wives and children. The want
of unity in the garrison at length compelled them
to surrender, but they had succeeded in proving
that resistance to the Spaniards was possible.

In Alkmar, the inhabitants declared themselves
for the prince of Orange at the very moment the
enemy appeared before their gates. Their defence
was as heroical as their determination ; not a man
deserted his post, however grievously wounded,
and before these walls the Spaniards received their
first check. The country breathed again, and new
courage inspired the people. The inhabitants of
Leyden declared that sooner than surrender they
would devour their left arms, that they might retain
strength to defend themselves with their right ; nor
were the means they adopted for their defence less
daring and desperate than their words. They called
to their aid the billows of the Northern ocean.
Their sufferings had reached their height, when
they cut the dams which had hitherto protected
them from its incursions, and a driving north-west
wind having set in just at this moment, the whole
country was soon several feet under water.

The French protestants had again taken heart.
As soon as they perceived that their government,



§ VI.] NETHERLANDS, FRANCE, AND GERMANY. 73

notwithstanding the ferocity it had recently dis-
played, hesitated, delayed, and resorted to contra-
dictory measures, they took up arms, and war broke
out afresh. Sancerre and Rochelle rivalled Leyden
and Alkmar in the gallantry of their defence. The
voice of the preachers of the Gospel of peace was
raised to call men to arms ; women vied with men
in courage and fortitude ; it was the heroic age of
the protestantism of the west.

The deeds of cruelty committed or countenanced
by the most powerful sovereigns provoked a resist-
ance which displayed itself in various nameless
points, — a resistance which no force could put
down, and which had its hidden origin in the
depths of religious conviction.

But we cannot here follow out the progress and
vicissitudes of the war in France or the Nether-
lands ; these details would carry us too far from
the main point of our subject, and are to be found
in many other authors ; it is sufficient for our pur-
pose to state that the protestants held their ground.

In 1573 and the following years, the government
of France was already frequently compelled to come
to terms with the huguenots, and to renew conces-
sions formerly granted them.

In the year 1 576 the power of the government in
the Netherlands had utterly fallen.

Whilst the Spanish troops were in a state of com-
plete insubordination from want of pay, all the pro-
vinces had united against them ; those which had
previously remained loyal, witli those in revolt ;
those in which Catholicism predominated, with those



74 RESISTANCE OF PROTESTANTS IN THE [bOOK V.

wholly Protestant. The states-general took the
reins of government into their own hands, named
captains-general, stadtholders, and magistrates, and
garrisoned the fortified towns with their own
troops*.

The treaty of Ghent was signed, by which the
provinces bound themselves to drive out the Spa-
niards, and keep them out of the country. The
king sent his brother, who might be called a Ne-
therlander, to govern them according to the laws
and usages of Charles V. But Don John was not
even acknowledged until he had promised to fulfil
the chief conditions which were required of him ;
he was forced to recognise the treaty of Ghent,
and to dismiss his Spanish troops ; and scarcely did
he make the slightest movement to shake ofi the
restraints by w^iich he was bound, when all parties
rose up against him, declared him an enemy to his
country, and the leaders of the provinces invited
another prince of his family to govern in his stead.

The principle of local and federal government was
victorious over that of monarchy, and the Spanish
was superseded by domestic rule. This necessarily
brouglit in its train other consequences. The
northern provinces, which had first declared war, and
had thus led the way to the accomplishment of so
mighty a change, at once acquired a natural ascend-
ency in the conduct of the war and the govern-
ment ; hence followed the propagation of the re-

* This turn of affairs is rendered particularly intelligible in
Tassis, iii. 15 — 19.



§ VI.] NETHERLANDS, FRANCE, AND GERMANY. 75

formed religion throughout the United Provinces.
Protestantism found its way into Mechlin, Bruges,
and Ypres ; in Antwerp the churches were divided
between the two confessions, and the catholics were
sometimes forced to content themselves with the
choirs of those churches of which they had so lately
had exclusive possession. In Ghent the protestant
tendency was blended with civil troubles, and gained
complete ascendency. Full security had been given
by the treaty of Ghent for the maintenance of the
catholic church in its ancient condition ; but now
the states-general put forth an edict, which guaran-
teed equal freedom to the exercise of both religions.
Everywhere, even in those provinces which were
mainly catholic, protestant opinions were actively
promulgated, and appearances would have justified
the expectation that protestantism would eventually
obtain a complete and universal victory.

What a position was that now occupied by the
prince of Orange ! But lately an exile and anxious
only for pardon, and now in possession of a firmly-
established power in the northern provinces; Ru-
wart of Brabant, and all-powerful in the assembly
of the States ; recognised by a great and successful
religious and political party as their head and
leader ; and in strict alliance with the protestants
of Europe, more especially with those of Germany,
whose friendship, as neighbours, was of the most
importance to him.



76 RESISTANCE OF PROTESTANTS IN THE [bOOK V.

In Germany, likewise, the aggressions of the ca-
tholics were met by the protestants with a resistance
which seemed to promise great results. We per-
ceive it in the general transactions of the Germanic
body, in the meetings of the electoral princes, and
at the imperial diet ; though here, agreeably to the
nature of the German mode of transacting business,
it led to no positive results. The resistance broke
forth with the greatest activity where the attacks
had chiefly been made, — in the several territories
and districts. The contest was now principally
carried on, as we have seen, in the ecclesiastical
principalities; there scarcely existed one where the
prince had not made an attempt again to render the
catholic the dominant party. Protestantism, which
also felt its own strength, strove with not less energy
and foresight to bring the spiritual principalities
over to its side.

In the year 1577, Gebhard Truchsess was cre-
ated archbishop of Cologne, chiefly through the
personal interest which count Nuenar exercised
over the chapter ; and this powerful protestant well
knew the character of the man he had recommended.
In truth, the acquaintance of Gebhard with Agnes
von Mansfeld, to which his conversion has been
attributed, was not wanting to give him an anti-ca-
tholic feeling. Even at his solemn entrance into
Cologne, when the clergy met him in procession, he
did not alight from his horse, according to ancient
custom, to kiss the cross ; he appeared in the
church in military uniform, nor did he choose to
ofl[iciate at high mass ; from the very beginning he



§ VI.] NETHERLANDS, FRANCE, AND GERMANY. 77

attached himself to the party of the prince of Orange,
and his principal councillors were calvinists* . As he
did not hesitate to mortgage land for the purpose of
raising troops ; as he endeavoured to gain over the
nobles, and favoured that party among the guilds
of Cologne who began to oppose the practices of
the catholic church, he betrayed the design which
he afterwards more openly manifested, the conver-
sion of an ecclesiastical into a temporal electorate.
Gebhard Truchsess still outwardly conformed,
occasionally at least, to the catholic rite ; but the
neighbouring sees in Westphalia and Lower Saxony
fell, as we have already seen, completely into Pro-
testant hands. The elevation of duke Henry of
Saxe-Lauenburg was of peculiar importance. While
yet very young, and a good lutheran, he had been
nominated to the bishopric of Bremen, then to that
of Osnabrück, and in 1577 to the bishopric of Pa-
derbornf . Even in Münster he had a large party
on his side, consisting of all the younger members
of the chapter ; and his further elevation was only
hindered by the immediate interference of Gregory
XIII. (who declared a resignation already made,
invalid,) and by the resolute opposition of the high
catholic party. They were, however, not able to
place another bishop in that see.

It is evident what an impulse must have been
given to protestant opinions in Rhenish Westphalia



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