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10 The Crisis Generation in Civil War, 1562-1582.
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The First Civil War and the Pacification of Amboise, 1562-1563

For more than three centuries, the civil wars in France were most often explained by confessional rivalry, hence the familiar title, "Wars of Religion." Beginning with contemporaries, historians often carried on the war with pens where other weapons left off: Catholics saw Protestantism as a rebellion against the one true faith and the natural secular order it sanctioned, and Protestants regarded the Roman church and its supporting governments as oppressors of the true faith and obstructors of progress. From time to time a few more sophisticated interpreters understood the dynastic and political motives underlying the confessional alignment of rival noble leaders; among the most astute, unequaled until our own time, were Parisian magistrate historians, especially Étienne Pasquier and Jacques-Auguste de Thou.

The first major revisionist of the twentieth century was Lucien Romier, for whom the political and dynastic rivalry of the dominant noble families was the "cause," and their vassals, clients, retainers, and other traditional dependents became their political and military followers. The end of the wars with the Hapsburgs, after sixty years, leaving all ranks of the fighting class at home, idle and incapable of retooling, provided the occasion for the ongoing rivalries to assume more explicit and aggressive form. The contending sects furnished ideologies; those who stood to gain most by change (the Bourbons and the Châtillons) chose the newer Protestant option, and those who assumed the defense of the traditional establishment (the Guises) in the process turned it into the French Counter-Reformation.

Every subsequent interpreter has had to address Romier's thesis, which


has been refined and modified in various respects. His neglect of economic and social factors has been remedied, so that rivalry of the noble factions, by itself, now seems incomplete and oversimplified. In the most comprehensive analysis of sixteenth-century France as a "society in crisis," J. H. M. Salmon says, "The preconditions of civil conflict were contained in the coincidence of religious passion, financial crisis, and factional division. The immediate precipitant . . . was an unexpected vacuum at the center of power"—the death of Henri II. The fact that his young successor was married to their niece enabled the Guises to take control of the government, "and their enemies within the aristocracy began to marshal the forces of opposition."[1]

In recent decades historians have also revised our view of the power structure of early modern France in itself, that is, without reference to either religion or war. Through the work of J. Russell Major and Robert R. Harding among others, the previously accepted concepts of royal centralization and aristocratic weakness and decline have both been considerably qualified. A new analysis that penetrates further into the internal dynamics of the nobility than any previous work revises even the modified "clientage" model. On this level, the "Wars of Religion" become merely one particular phase of "the centuries-old competition for status and power" that always characterized noble behavior, from the most modest to les grands , who showed continued vitality, more autonomy, and less rigidly hierarchical dependence on the state than is generally assumed.

Kristen Neuschel, in her analysis of nobles in Picardy who followed Condé (or did not ) has discerned a pattern of violence made up of local conflicts and individual strategies, in contrast to the conventional model that focuses on a small minority of prominent nobles. The pattern reveals that even quite minor nobles acted independently within certain limits: "The behavior of . . . the 'followers' towards Condé as well as that of Condé towards his 'followers' indicates that [the prince] . . . was by no means the only focal point of these nobles' lives." Neuschel suggests that fighting represented no single purpose, because there was no single war. Defense of honor was often the goal of noble participants, as well as concrete material or strategic gains. The line between warring activity and seemingly peaceful activity was extremely thin. Physical violence and symbolic violence offered different means of defending a noble's interests. As she documents local patterns of ordinary violence, Neuschel adds a new level to interpretation of the wars.[2]


Members of Parlement were not unaware that the ambitions and rivalries of les grands figured in the menace to the constitutional equilibrium they considered normal and wished to defend. Like Romier, they believed that the crown was at the root of the problem, but where he, with the hindsight of four hundred years, identified the cause as royal weakness and the consequent vulnerability of the queen mother's government to the pressure of rival noble factions under their rival religious banners, the sixteenth-century parlementaires placed the blame squarely on her religious policy. Their "thesis" was embodied in the phrase un roi, une foi . Catherine's advocacy of limited toleration they saw as sanctioning "two religions" and destroying the historic linkage of "the Holy Land, the Chosen People, and the Most Christian King," through the Roman Catholic Church. Before the era of the Counter-Reformation and the emergence of the League, the Guise party and the Huguenots appeared not as two "rival factions" but rather as "defenders of the faith" on the one hand, and victims of false propaganda, originating outside France, on the other. The acknowledged abuses of the church were considered responsible for the receptivity to heresy. Moreover, the association of the Bourbons with the Huguenots was confusing, weakening Parlement's traditional loyalty to princes of the blood as the natural advisers of the king. The ondoyance of Antoine de Bourbon blurred the distinctions even more. His death made nine-year-old Henri de Bourbon king of Navarre and first prince of the blood and brought Antoine's brother Louis de Bourbon, prince of Condé, to the fore.

Condé had been a troubling figure in Parlement's eyes since 1560. Historians are still uncertain about the extent of his involvement in the Conspiracy of Amboise, but the accusation by the Guise party that he had been its silent chief, blackened his image sufficiently to make even royalist Catholics uncomfortable, especially after his arrest for treason in November of the same year. The three magistrates appointed to the commission that tried him (Christophe de Thou, Jacques Viole, and Bartholomé Faye) would show themselves to be among the leading moderates in the debates on religious policy in 1561 and 1562, and while there is no explicit record of their sentiments at the time of the trial, when Chancellor L'Hôpital adjourned the proceedings after the death of François II, on December 5, five days before Condé was scheduled for execution, he admitted that opinion among the commissioners had been divided. It would have been very difficult for any of these three to support a death sentence against a prince of the blood,


especially one imposed by the Guise party. The prince had challenged the competence of the commission and demanded a hearing by the full court. It occurred in the following year and he was cleared, but Condé never forgave those who had lined up against him and launched récusations against them in 1562.[3]

If the condemnation of Condé was a manifestation of Guise power, his release and rehabilitation were among the important signs that the Guises had fallen. The queen mother was now at center stage. She and L'Hôpital could push more openly and vigorously the policy by which they hoped to reduce the tensions that had been mounting since the death of Henri II. Each measure they adopted toward that end, from the Edict of July 1561 through the Colloquy of Poissy to the Edict of January 1562, not only failed but boomeranged, by further polarizing public opinion. To the extent that the government's modified policy removed handicaps for the Huguenots, it encouraged them to make further demands and thus exacerbated Catholics' fears, so that in the weeks surrounding the Edict of January violence and hysteria reached a new high.

In the late winter and spring of 1562 the political and military force of each of the two noble factions offset the other. The tumultuous reception given to the duc de Guise testified to the intensity of Parisian partiality toward him, but Condé was also in the capital, with armed troops terrorizing the populace and displaying arrogance in his own behavior. When président René Baillet was delegated by Parlement to request Condé to stop Protestant preaching in a fief whose seigneur was opposed—in conformity with the edict—the prince replied truculently that regardless of what the court ruled, if the king wished them to preach there, they would do so. That was on March 19. During the following days, Holy Week, there were many clashes between armed supporters of the two sides, and the atmosphere was described as that of a town "in the front lines." Parlement supported the request of the Church to forbid Calvinist preaching, and Condé left Paris on March 23. Yet Huguenots were still boldly mocking Catholic rituals on Good Friday, March 27, and most of the rumors raging through the capital predicted an attack by Condé, because the seven hundred cavalry reported in Chaillot were allegedly his retainers.[4]


The relative distribution of power among factions in Parlement presents a very different configuration. The right-wing ultras were confidently on the offensive. Présidents Le Maistre and Saint-André and procureur général Bourdin were routinely described as attached to and in consultation with the Triumvirs, Constable Montmorency, the duc de Guise, and Marshal Saint-André. The moderate (and silent) majority was immobilized by distrust of both Catherine and Condé, fearful of an outbreak of civil war and reluctant to follow the ultras to an extreme position. There were no parlementaire spokesmen corresponding to the Huguenot nobles. Persons even suspected of an inclination toward leniency were increasingly exposed to danger. Parisians were decking themselves out in red and yellow ribbons—colors of the house of Guise—and "were saying aloud that the Queen should be sent back to Italy, that they would have no king who was not Catholic, and that God had given them one, le grand roi de Guise. " The papal nuncio Santa Croce remarked at the end of April, "no Huguenot speaks out now, and those [persons] who never passed the doors of a church now make ostentatious gestures [to prove] how devout they are." Catherine was backtracking: Paris had been declared exempt from the edict (denying Parisian Protestants their rights under its terms), the Triumvirs were loudly threatening to exterminate them, and in a few weeks, Antoine de Bourbon would physically expel them.[5]

The moment was fast approaching when parlementaires who were not ultras (and not inclined to martyrdom) would find that their options lay between flight and remaining as inconspicuous as possible. The "natural order" and "constitutional equilibrium" in which they believed were badly shaken and there was nothing they could do about it. Civil war could only make matters even worse. One of the tragic ironies of the century lies in the fact that Parlement's distrust of Catherine and obsessive insistence on une foi prevented members from realizing that their only chance to avoid the worst outcome lay in rallying to her support.

Early in April she had entered into negotiations with Condé, who had established headquarters in Orléans, using numerous envoys (in the words of one historian), "men of the robe, men of the sword, men of the church,


men who were tolerant or indifferent, [anyone] devoted to the cause of peace." Catherine's own efforts in the cause were unflagging. Throughout the twenty-seven years between the outbreak of civil war and her death in January 1589, she never stopped trying to prevent war, refusing to recognize it by continuing negotiations long after others gave up, and missing no opportunity to bring representatives of opposing sides to parley. It is true that she was willing to use anyone capable of acting as an intermediary, but the circumstances noted had greatly reduced the number of gens de robe available to her in the spring of 1562. Most helpful were members of the royal council. Her most persuasive agent was Jean de Monluc, bishop of Valence, whose political and religious opinions seem to have been close to her own, but even he failed to persuade the prince to lay down his arms.[6] Parlementaires she might have called on (and would in later situations), de Thou for example, were already known to be unacceptable to Condé. Like the earlier measures, Catherine's efforts to come to terms with Condé only increased the opposition of the Catholic ultras and the fears of the populace. In early April the municipal leaders requested Antoine de Bourbon, as lieutenant général, to increase the security guard of Paris "fearing that the Huguenots were preparing a surprise"; a month later the Bureau de Ville would be organizing militia in each quarter of the city.[7]

On several occasions in the early months of the war there were direct communications between Condé and the Parlement of Paris. In each case the prince took the initiative, or rather, the offensive. His first manifesto, addressed to all royal officers and courts, called on them to assist the prince of the blood and his "associates" in defending the king and the constitution against those who, "full of blood and threats, have reduced their Majesties to captivity in their persons and in their wills." Chief clerk Jean Du Tillet recounts what happened in the court when this first declaration was received. He was instructed by Catherine and Antoine to prepare a reply, but it was not to be sent until it had been cleared by the Conseil du Roi because


a "matter of state was involved, and not justice." When Du Tillet showed a rough draft to présidents Saint-André, Baillet, and de Thou, they expressed the opinion that it should be en quelques termes et endroitz adoulcye . But the first draft was chosen by the crown, and the court was told to have it delivered posthaste by special courier. Presumably there was another draft, but it has not been discovered. The modern reader may well wonder what those three could have agreed upon, a triumvirate like that formed by Pompey and Caesar: Saint-André one of the ultra leaders, de Thou the leader of the moderates, and Baillet, acceptable to both as a link. To know the respects in which the second draft was plus adoulcye by comparison with the first would be especially useful.[8]

Jean Acarie, an usher in Parlement, was assigned to deliver the reply and to render a detailed account of his mission. Dated April 28, it claims to give every particular of his journey and to name every person encountered but does not include any mention of individual parlementaires.[9] During his two-day trip, the Paris Parlement received a second declaration from Condé, with a covering letter addressed to members (April 27), by which Condé disingenuously "assumed" that the court had also asked "the other party" to lay down arms and demanded the withdrawal of the Triumvirs from the royal court, claiming that the prince and his associates would then do likewise. This document was taken to the king by another triumvirate, led by the relatively uncontroversial Baillet, flanked by Louis Gayant of the ultras, and Guillaume Viole (bishop of Paris and eldest clerical councillor) of the moderates, who were told to hand it over to Du Tillet to be kept under lock and key. Parlement did not reply.[10]

There is no doubt from the record that the parlementaires, even the ultras, were in no position to act on their own. The Triumvirs held the reins and in early May they struck back. Unwilling to dignify Condé's claims by addressing him directly, they replied obliquely by a "request" to the crown, to declare that no "diversity of religion would be tolerated, and to require of all royal officers that they make a confession of Catholic faith, on pain of being deprived of office." All armed forces except those of the crown under Antoine's command were to be disbanded. If these conditions were met, they professed themselves willing "to depart, not just from [the royal]


court, but to the ends of the earth." Condé prepared a long manifesto in response to the Triumvirs (but addressed to the crown) and sent a copy with still another letter to Parlement on May 20. He described himself as "so scandalized and offended by their calumny" that he would rather have replied with arms, but instead he had sent the "most modest reply possible." He was sending a copy to the Parlement, "as those from whom I would hide nothing," to be carefully preserved, so that the magistrates could testify to his loyalty when Charles IX came of age. When Du Tillet took his letter to the royal court, currently at Vincennes, Catherine and the Triumvirs did not receive him in person but sent a message that Parlement was neither to accept nor to read such missives in the future; on the contrary, they were to be burned unopened.[11] With this background, Condé's récusations against prominent parlementaires in July should not come as a surprise. The list contains many examples of guilt by association. Premier président Le Maistre's greatest offense is that "he drew up the plan to make war on the king's true loyal subjects," but he is identified as owing his position to the favor of the duchess of Valentinois (Diane de Poitiers). None of the présidents is exempt. Saint-André is denounced as the creature of Marshal Saint-André, Dormy is associated with Le Maistre as well as with Diane and the Guises. De Thou, a client of the cardinal of Lorraine, in addition to having sat on the commission that condemned Condé, is accused of stirring up rebellion in the municipal leadership of Paris. It may be significant that the two best known moderate présidents, Séguier and Harlay, are tainted only by association with Montmorency.

The previous careers of conseillers Gayant, Bonete, and Anjorrant would be sufficient to explain Condé's hostility, but Gayant's abstention from the vote that cleared the prince was his ultimate offense. Bonete is accused as a Guise client, along with several others, including avocat du roi Du Mesnil and procureur du roi Bourdin. Anjorrant was among those associated with—really led by—Saint-André. Relatives of Le Maistre, Saint-André, and de Thou on the court were accused as such, and the latter's close associates Viole and Faye, along with Le Maistre's brother-in-law Jean-Baptiste Sapin, were individually named. A very few conseillers are listed for specific offenses against Condé: Eustache de Chambon for having said in public that the prince and his followers should be exterminated, Jean de Thérouenne for abuses of his position as judge of heretics in Orléans.


Bracketed with parlementaires were members of the clergy who held benefices from members of the Guise faction, accused of having raised 200,000 écus to repay a papal loan "for the advancement of this damned conspiracy."[12]

In the interval between the decision to burn any further messages from Condé and his July récusations , pressures on the Parlement had been stepped up from the other side. Antoine's order that Protestants leave Paris or be prosecuted for treason was issued on May 26; on the 29th premier président Le Maistre warned members of the court "fraternally," that if those with unorthodox views did not withdraw, "one could not easily keep the populace from attacking them." This was followed on June 1 by the first of a series of house-to-house searches for heretics, called by reporters for the Guise party la chasse aux Huguenots . On June 5 the anonymous attack on the orthodoxy of présidents Séguier and Harlay was found on the premises of the Palais de Justice, and although the charges were dismissed as "scandalous calumny" the next day, we have noted that Le Maistre felt it necessary to take measures that would reassure the city that the faith was not in danger from heresy in Parlement. A fresh surge of anti-Huguenot hysteria was sweeping the city and everyone feared the worst.[13]

June 9 brought the non-ultra Catholic magistrates to their Rubicon: if they did not make profession of Catholic orthodoxy, those who were already suspects would confirm this attribution and those who might formerly have escaped suspicion could hope to do so no longer. Thirty-one members, almost one-quarter of the court, absented themselves from the session rather than take the oath.[14]

For the Parisian in the street, the climactic point of this drama-packed season was the St-Médard procession on June 14. Public opinion had not cooled on this subject in the six months since the tumulte ; only a month earlier the unfortunate Sergeant Nez d'Argent had been hanged for the crime of protecting the Huguenots and blaming the Catholics for the incident. Parlementaire participation and abstention symbolized the court's


predicament: while the Host was flanked by the six ranking members, only 86 of the 143 parlementaires attended.[15]

If moderates had expected the St-Médard procession to serve as a catharsis for anti-Huguenot hostility, they were disappointed. Intensity was maintained throughout the summer; book burnings did not diminish, murders increased, and all other corps were obliged to make a similar profession of faith. As noted above, Nicolas Luillier, lieutenant criminel, who had protected a suspect, was obliged to take refuge in the Palais de Justice and to lock the doors for several hours, because "the people were demanding permission to kill Huguenots without a trial." The city was simultaneously hit by the plague, a spell of bad weather, and shortages—thus suffering, as the Journal de 1562 notes, from God's three scourges, plague, famine, and civil war. In late August Catherine and Parlement were unable to prevent Gabaston (commander of the municipal guard at the time of the tumult of St-Médard) from suffering the same fate as Nez d'Argent, "because the people were so aroused that if he had been released, it was feared that they would do violence to the court of Parlement itself." Members of the highest court in France could now be hunted down as outlaws with no legal recourse.[16]

Deeply involved as they were in religious and political issues, the Paris magistrates had little contact with the military events of the First Civil War. One episode, however, affected them directly, the death of one of their own members at the hands of Condé. During Parlement's summer recess Jean-Baptiste Sapin was captured and hanged in Orléans, together with one of his traveling companions. When we recall that Sapin had been singled out by name in Condé's récusations , it seems a simple act of vengeance. Huguenots rationalized it as justifiable "execution" for Sapin's participation in the court's proceedings that had violated the legal rights of Huguenots and usurped royal authority, but to his fellow parlementaires it was murder, committed by outlaws against the king's justice. The shocking news was announced at the opening of the new parlementaire season, November 12, 1562, by procureur général Bourdin, who urged the court to erect a memorial tablet to Sapin and the king to reserve his office for a member of his family. Two days later a requiem mass in his memory was held at Notre-


Dame, with Bourdin pronouncing the eulogy.[17] Most of the fighting was far away, much of it in the Midi, and the main military engagement was the siege of Rouen. Nevertheless, the one real battle, at Dreux (also the final and decisive event of the First Civil War) took place virtually at the gates of the capital, and parlementaires shared with other inhabitants the fear, uncertainty, and other shifting emotions as rumors of a Condé victory on December 20 struck terror in Parisian hearts, only to be followed by relief and exuberant rejoicing the next day—despite the death of Marshal Saint-André and the capture of the constable.

One other event that occurred during the ensuing negotiations for peace (which lasted until mid-March) was of capital importance. François, duc de Guise, the charismatic Catholic commander, was assassinated on February 24, 1563.[18] The immediate consequences, though less momentous than those of the long-range, significantly affected the Parlement. The elimination of all three Triumvirs obliged Catherine to press for peace and make some concessions to Condé, which infuriated public opinion and hardened opposition to the queen's policy. During the final days of the peace parley, the assassin was executed and two funeral services were held for the martyred duke, the first at the Sainte-Chapelle in the Palais de Justice, on March 9, subsidized and heavily attended by the Parlement. A solemn high requiem mass was held at Notre-Dame on March 20, the day the Pacification of Amboise, ending the First Civil War, was signed.[19]

The mourning of the Parisian crowds matched in hysterical intensity the welcome they had given Guise just a year before, and the position of those suspected of dissent grew still more precarious. As early as January, the Bureau de Ville had been demanding that no compromise be made on religious uniformity and Parlement rejected the proposal of amnesty for the defeated rebels. A number of absent Parisians, even including some parlementaires, were hanged in effigy, reported the Venetian ambassador


Marc'Antonio Barbaro, and the harassment of suspects did not abate. Parisians had been aware of Catherine's contrary intentions for some time, but popular anger had escalated since the victory at Dreux and the assassination of the duke was an event that Parisians expected would stiffen royal resistance to Condé's demands. The public failed to realize that the crown's financial and military weakness canceled out its presumed advantages. The queen mother was held to be in collusion with the enemy, a slander made credible by the role played in the peace parleys by Éléonore de Roye, princesse de Condé.[20] Negotiations had begun on November 28, some weeks before the battle of Dreux, while the Huguenot army was encamped near the city. Achille de Harlay, later premier président and the model parfait magistrat of the mainstream, while also suspect to the ultras, took part in the peace negotiations of December 1562-March 1563.[21]

In the altered circumstances after Dreux peace talks were resumed, with great urgency. The English ambassador Nicholas Throckmorton wrote to Queen Elizabeth on January 6, 1563, that Catherine de Médicis had moved to Chartres, and that "some judge peace to be more forward than it appears because the chief présidents and other councillors from the Parlement have gone to Chartres at the Queen's command, to yield to such articles as hitherto they and the Parisians have refused." We wonder who the other councillors were and regret the silence of the sources. André Guillart, sieur du Mortier, who was employed as envoy by Catherine a few weeks later on a sensitive mission, would not have been a logical choice for this mission since he was suspect himself. René Baillet might qualify, or de Thou's close associates Viole and Faye. (Recall that in December 1562, at the critical juncture de Thou became premier président, replacing Le Maistre, a tremendous stroke of luck for Catherine and for the cause of peace.) Yet the atmosphere in the capital had not moderated to match the drive toward compromise. A dispatch of the English agent Smith, who had remained in the city when Throckmorton went to Chartres, reports, on January 14, "all here is ruled by the house of Guise, to whose order the King and Queen have submitted." A few days later he refers to the dilemma of Marshal Montmorency, "as much [as] he might safely do, he favors those of the religion, which [is] the opinion the Papists and the Parisians have of him,


so he is not so beloved by them." On February 4 Smith gives details of Parisian atrocities against Huguenots in a letter to William Cecil, and he was himself a victim (though not a fatality) the next day.[22]

Some articles of the Pacification of Amboise met Condé's demands just enough to enrage the ultras without providing safeguards for the Huguenots. For instance, injuries and offenses on both sides were to be wiped out, on pain of death for violation, but no oath to observe the edict was required of royal or municipal officers, and the ultras held that it was not necessary to keep faith with heretics. Condé's specific request that all cases involving religion or the execution of the edict be assigned to the Grand Conseil was ignored; the regular course of justice was to be followed. This meant the parlements, of which the prince had said, at an early stage of the negotiations, that "the lives of the reformed would be no safer than if they were handed over to their worst enemies." Propertied Parisian Huguenots were allowed to reclaim their property but not to worship as they wished, even in their own houses, unlike haut justiciers elsewhere in the kingdom. Offices and titles were supposed to be restored to ex-rebels, but there was an outcry that the king should permit at court no person who did not profess the Catholic faith. If Protestant nobles, like the Châtillons, were thus imperiled, dissident parlementaires stood no chance of getting their rights. In the words of the Spanish ambassador, Chantonnay, the Parisian public was enragé .[23]

It was hardly surprising that the Parlement should drag its heels in these circumstances. Premier président de Thou tried to reassure Catherine. The letters patent ordering registration "will be published and registered without restrictions or modifications, but to allay the suspicions some have against Parlement, which will not like [the edict] and who will use it to cause more trouble, we shall delay until it pleases the king to send two princes of the blood to supervise it." He then requested that the duc de Montpensier and cardinal de Bourbon be assigned this duty.[24] When the edict was finally registered, (after a long wrangle to be discussed shortly) only the first and last phrases were read out by Du Tillet, Parlement "fearing a commotion if the full text were announced," as one observer put it.[25] Santa Croce was assured by the ultra leaders that the peace would not last, its


purpose being to gain time. Catherine herself excused it as an instance of reculer pour mieux sauter . As so often, the Venetian assessment seems to reveal the real situation. Barbaro wrote to the Senate on March 23.

I have been told by a principal member of Parlement that the king had no further means to carry on the war. The city must either accept the peace or defend itself. The Parlement is much disturbed, and knowing that both parties are equally dangerous to the state , does not know what resolution to take, but [the Parlement spokesman added] if we bring this public war to a conclusion, we are preparing a private one on a much larger scale in every city and house in the kingdom .[26]

This statement is a valuable revelation of the ambivalence of Parisian parlementaire opinion: on the one hand the threat of the Catholic party is recognized, but on the other, the determination to continue the fight against any degree of toleration of dissent is forcefully expressed.

Fewer nuances are found in robe opinion in the provinces, not surprisingly. In the major parlements, except Rouen's, dissenters or doubters of the Catholic line were few. The Toulouse court had a well-earned reputation for harshness. The capitouls (of the municipal leadership), on the contrary, had been for the most part won over to the reform, and the antagonism produced four tumultuous and bloody days (May 1562), in which one of the most distinguished jurists, Jean de Coras, who happened also to be one of the rare Protestants, was among the victims. In Bordeaux also, the Parlement was strongly anti-Huguenot, although both the city and the court were less ultra than in Toulouse. The Catholics in these two cities often expressed the feeling of being under siege because the smaller cities and towns of Languedoc and Guyenne constituted the heartland of the reform.[27]

Burgundy was a bastion of conservative Catholic opinion. Perhaps the proximity of Switzerland and the Rhine and Rhône valleys made Burgundians particularly fearful of penetration by "foreign" ideas that threatened traditional habits and beliefs, and influential regional nobles, especially the Saulx-Tavannes, ranked among the leaders of the ultra party. When the deputies of the three estates of le pays et duché de Bourgogne produced remonstrances against the Edict of Amboise, they were embodied in a pamphlet that elaborates the Catholic position in more than fifty pages, drawing extensively on the Bible and the ancient history of the Near East


to make the same few points over and over again: France is a monarchy; a monarchy that permits diversity of religion cannot enjoy internal peace and stability; wise rulers have realized this and have suppressed religious beliefs that differed from their own; where toleration has been tried, the results have been disastrous, as currently in France, with the policies of Catherine de Médicis. Thus far the main argument is a simple statement of un roi, une foi . De Caprariis says, "In this pamphlet are presented, forcefully and in lucid form, all the objections of Catholic parlementaires to the policy of the regent and L'Hôpital." The author was Jean Begat, conseiller in the Dijon Parlement, with a reputation for learning. He makes a further point, new at this time, that would figure frequently in the propaganda of the League, accusing the Huguenots of intending to break up the kingdom into a group of city-states, like Switzerland. The accusation was as ridiculous as it was libelous, considering the passionate royalist nationalism of the French Huguenots in every generation, but it was an effective scare-tactic. In Burgundy at this time also, the first regional confraternity was organized, to wage "implacable war" against heresy. De Thou comments, "The piety of the king of Spain was publicly exalted, even in the pulpits, and unflattering comparisons were made with the royal [French] authority and the very name of Frenchman was made to sound shameful, as if it were the business of the king of Spain to regulate religion in France and to interpret the king's edicts."[28]

By comparison with Parlement's action on the Edict of January 1562, the Edict of Amboise appeared to be registered in Paris with little opposition, but this impression is misleading. It was only a pro forma acceptance. The court was not strong enough to block it and resorted instead to a strategy of sabotaging its implementation. Meanwhile house-to-house searches, book burning, and street violence continued; Huguenots were denied their rights under the edict. Although the tide had begun to turn within the court—with de Thou's assumption of the first presidency—the ultras still had the upper hand, and some parlementaires who had thus far escaped harassment came under fire.

A major contribution of Linda Taber's study of heresy in the Paris Parlement is the discovery of some key documents and the unraveling and interpretation of others. An outstanding example is an anonymous police


report.[29] According to her reconstruction, the genesis of this list was probably a complaint by certain dixaine captains on November 12, 1562, just as the session that had opened with the news of Sapin's murder was about to close. The captains reported that "the people" were outraged by the continued presence in the court of members who "ordinarily" attended the sermons and observed the rituals of the new religion and held assemblies in their houses, with impunity. The complaint was followed by a "request" to the Parlement, to refuse entry to such members, even if they had already made profession of faith (or said they would be willing to do so), to expel members who had approved allowing the Huguenots to have temples or to assemble, under any conditions, and to grant them, the captains, permission to order all such persons to leave Paris. For the Parlement, the timing of the captains' request or report is especially significant for it illuminates the divisions among magistrates as the First Civil War was drawing to a close, as well as revealing the development of those divisions discussed above in chapters 7-9 and foreshadowing many of the complications in the months ahead.

Although the November 12 register does not mention the episode, that of November 27 alludes to it, recording that after lengthy debate it was decided that the captains should investigate and then submit a list of known or suspected heretics. Procedure is not mentioned until the register of January 8, 1563, which instructs the captains to inquire into the orthodoxy of members of all important corps and their families. The Parlement of Paris is named first. Each captain is to solicit assistance from the most prominent inhabitants of his dixaine and to prepare a separate list with their names. Neither list is to be signed.[30] Slight changes in procedure authorized in late January suggest that some difficulties had been encountered, but neither the registers of the court nor those of the Bureau de Ville contain any further mention of this investigation. The Journal de 1562 and other sources refer to the continued pursuit of heretics, however, one claiming that right after the battle of Dreux Parlement had ordered all priests to denounce suspects to their bishops within nine days, on pain of excommunication for failure to comply.[31]

Taber believes that the anonymous police report was the end product of the captains' request. Of the sixty-eight names, thirty-six are those of


conseillers in the Parlement, and fourteen others are wives or other relatives. Her reasoning and conclusions have been very valuable to this study—more than can adequately be acknowledged—and are incorporated into my own conclusions about the spectrum of religious opinion in each generation.

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10 The Crisis Generation in Civil War, 1562-1582.
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