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10 The Crisis Generation in Civil War, 1562-1582.
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Decompression and Reconciliation, 1563-1566

Eighteen years after its beginning, the Council of Trent was about to wind up, with deadlock on two fronts. On the one hand, the papal legates were trying to achieve enactment of a "reformation of princes" before the council adjourned, in revenge for the leadership of secular rulers in the drive toward church reform. This "reformation" would remove from the secular authorities any jurisdiction over heresy and social matters like marriage, and administrative matters like nomination to benefices, and criminal jurisdic-


tion over the clergy even in cases of murder and would place these matters under the exclusive jurisdiction of clerical administrators and courts. Predictably, representatives of all the secular rulers resisted the proposals, the French most sharply and vociferously. We recall that there had been a brief Gallican "crisis" over the mere convocation of the second session, in 1551-52, and that in fact no French delegates had taken part. Ten years later the problem was exacerbated by the insertion of a hotly contested unorthodox religious policy of the French crown. Another deadlock, unabashedly political, was a resurgence of the long-standing rivalry between the French and the Spaniards over precedence.[55]

The third session of the Council of Trent opened on January 18, 1562 (the day after the Edict of January was announced by L'Hôpital). Two of the three ambassadors Catherine sent to the council were robins , Arnauld Du Ferrier, conseiller in the Paris Parlement, and Guy Pybrac Du Faur, a member of the king's council and of a family prominent in the Toulouse robe, both known for liberal religious views. The third was Louis de Saint-Gelais, sieur de Lansac. They presented their credentials on May 26, that is, coincident with the violent aftermath of the registration in Paris of the Edict of January, leading up to the imposition of the confession of faith. In Trent little was happening. The strategy of the French clerical delegation—more than sixty bishops led by the cardinal de Lorraine—was to follow the lead of the imperial delegation, since the pope was more inclined to listen to the Germans and Lorraine's views and those of the emperor (temporarily) coincided on the most pressing changes to be made: marriage of the clergy, communion in both kinds for the laity, and a limited use of the vernacular. Repeated delays and procedural disputes blocked action, however, to the annoyance of the secular rulers, who kept sending protests by special messengers. No sessions at all were held between September 1562 and July 1563.

During that interval in France, we have seen that the first civil war was brought to an end by the Pacification of Amboise, with a great deal of effort on Catherine's part. Exploiting this unaccustomed advantage, after Dreux she had sent a list of thirty-four articles, described as "disciplinary," to be presented to the council, urging their adoption. In addition to the three major points already mentioned, the list included such reforms of the epis-


copate as abolition of resignatio in favorem (no. 22), and of benefices without mandatory duties (no. 24), and a general rubric (no. 29) of "abuses" and "superstitions" to be eliminated, which included indulgences, images, pilgrimages, and reverence of saints and relics. The signatures of the Conseil du Roi on these demands, as the opposition called them, imply approval, but it is hard to imagine the constable, for instance, associating himself with the language and embracing the ideas of the heretics he hated and feared. The document's tone suggests that it was formulated by L'Hôpital and/or Monluc; the conservatives of the Conseil du Roi probably signed under the influence of Lorraine. There was a suggestion that annates would be restored to the papacy as a quid pro quo for acceptance of the crown's articles, but the papal claim to plenitudo potestatis that contradicted Gallican traditional belief in the superiority of bishops-in-council was firmly repudiated.[56]

By the end of summer, in the weeks of the Parisian struggle against the announcement of Charles's majority in Rouen, the cardinal de Lorraine, who had shifted away from sponsorship of the reform toward cooperation with the pope, left Trent for Rome. The assassination of his brother, Catherine's accommodation of the Huguenots, and papal flattery are among the factors that may have persuaded him, either that religious compromise could not work in France or that the continuation of his own power depended on orthodox alignment.

At this point the papal legates in Trent advanced the "reformation of princes," complete with a proviso for excommunication of rulers who transgressed the restrictions, and Du Ferrier made an impassioned Gallican protest. He claimed that all the points in this reformation of princes had the sole object of abolishing the ancient liberties of the Gallican church and of diminishing the majesty and authority of the Most Christian kings, and he insisted that in France ecclesiastics could not be judged outside the kingdom. The kings, who were the founders and patrons of most of the churches had the right to use the revenues of the church in cases of necessity, and none of these Gallican practices were contrary to the dogma of the Catholic church, or to the ancient decrees of popes and councils. Whoever dared to violate the privileges of the king and the Gallican church would be resisted by the crown, the laws and the French church itself. The oration ended in an expression of astonishment that the church fathers should presume to excommunicate princes, who were established by God, to whom obedience and respect were required, even when they did wrong.[57]


The ultramontane assault on the Gallican liberties was not confined to generalities. Pius IV had recently presumed to deprive six French bishops of their sees and issued a summons to Jeanne d'Albret, the Calvinist queen of Navarre, to appear before the Inquisition; the summons declared her deposed and her kingdom forfeit.[58] Catherine's special representative in this case, Henri de Clutin, sieur d'Oysel, currently French ambassador to the papacy, stated in no uncertain terms that the pope "had no jurisdiction whatever over kings and queens" and that the queen of Navarre held the major part of her lands from the crown of France, which alone could legislate for or dispose of them. The king threatened dire reprisals against any French prelates who cooperated in the attack on Jeanne and especially denounced the intention, rumored, to declare her marriage with Antoine de Bourbon invalid (which would make Henri de Navarre a bastard and annul his status as first prince of the blood). Charles IX demanded again that the council enact the articles sent many months earlier and instructed the French delegation to leave Trent forthwith if it were not done. Indeed, they never attended the council again and shortly withdrew to Venice.

The Trent decrees, a package whose contents violated the laws, customs, and traditions that constituted the Gallican liberties, were never accepted, en bloc, in France, although some particulars were duplicated or echoed in royal edicts. The first of many tests occurred in a meeting of the Conseil du Roi, attended also by the présidents of the Parlement, in February 1564. The cardinal de Lorraine urged the reception of the Trent decrees, and the chancellor was among the most outspoken opponents. Lorraine, who had signed, as head of the French clerical delegation, on the last day of the council, was anxious for ratification by the crown. When the chancellor categorically refused, the cardinal's anger exploded. "Throw away the mask," he shouted, "we cannot tell what your religion is, or rather, we know all too well: it is to do as much harm as you possibly can to me and to my family!" and he launched on a long list of favors L'Hôpital owed to the Guises, charging him repeatedly with ingratitude. L'Hôpital was not intimidated: "Your Illustrious Lordship should know who trampled the Edict of January under foot at Vassy and set off the troubles. . . . As for services kindly rendered to me, I shall always be ready to acknowledge them


on my own account, but I will never pay them off at the expense of the king's honor and [my] usefulness [to him]!"[59]

The significance of this heated exchange to both camps is reflected in the fact that Bèze reported it to Bullinger, with glee, while Santa Croce reported it to the pope, in the tone of "I-told-you-so." In the opinion of de Caprariis, "The chancellor found precious allies in Parlement on the common ground of opposition to the Council of Trent. . . . The Gallican issue was stronger than any other consideration in parlementaire thought. Defense of the Gallican church, of the royal prerogative, and of Parlement's own privileges were joined into one common cause." The Parlement of Paris remained the guardian of the Gallican liberties and the bastion of resistance to the Trent decrees in perpetuity, and the first fruit of that resistance was rapprochement with L'Hôpital, although this did not erase the reciprocal distrust and antagonism on other issues between the court and its ex-member become their superior.[60]

In addition to the revival of Gallican sentiment, the recall of Perrenot de Chantonnay as Spanish ambassador contributed to the détente. Since 1559 he had been a close observer of every action and nuance of opinion at the French royal court—historians have benefited from his insight and detailed reports to his master. His hostility to the crown's policy of coexistence of the two sects reflected his belief in greater influence of the Huguenots over Catherine and L'Hôpital than they in fact had. Catherine was increasingly frustrated by his stubborn refusal to listen to her justifications, to the point that his usefulness was really at an end. Philip removed him in January 1564, coincident with the royal court's move to Fontainebleau (the first step in an absence from the capital that would last more than two years) and replaced him with Don Francis Alava, Spanish ambassador to the duchy of Savoy, who had been in France for two years already, at Chantonnay's right hand. By comparison with his predecessor, Alava's manner was less abrasive, his mind more flexible and his understanding of France more subtle, but the policy he pursued was unchanged, as Philip's instructions make clear.

Recognizing the predicament of Spanish diplomacy created by Chantonnay's antagonism of Catherine, the king of Spain tells his new ambassador to start his tour of duty by explaining that Chantonnay had been recalled


so as to replace him with somebody in whom she could have "entire confidence." The substance of his mission is to warn her repeatedly that she, Charles IX, and the kingdom of France are in grave danger from evil men who "wish to change the crown." After his predecessor's departure, in order to underline the alleged change in policy, the new ambassador should flatter her, while at the same time keeping her in perpetual fear , and "penetrate French designs" in Germany, England, Flanders, and Italy. Alluding to Catherine's preoccupation with the proposed meeting with her daughter Élisabeth, Philip says he needs proof that what the queen mother wishes to discuss can only be done in a face-to-face meeting. The greetings for Alava to convey from his master to the duchess de Guise are accompanied by warm praise of the late duke, and those to the constable contain a barbed reference to the Châtillons. "I am constantly astonished that the dangers threatening religion in France come from your close relatives."[61]

While the court was at Fontainebleau, the ambassadors of the chief Catholic powers laid siege to the king collectively, proposing a "summit meeting" of Catholic rulers at some convenient place, like Nancy (Lorraine), where they could hear the Trent decrees read and discuss at leisure their relation to "the poisons spread about by the sectarians, which have undermined divine law and disturbed the peace." Catherine was not displeased with this idea as long as she did not have to implement it. The king gave a vaguely assenting response, as the queen mother plunged the court into a series of pre-Lenten bails, jousts, and other entertainments on a lavish scale.[62]

These distractions served as a screen for consultations on the Trent decrees and related issues of religious and foreign policy, for which some leading members of Parlement were invited to join the Conseil Privé. Five were well known: présidents de Thou, Séguier, and Harlay, avocat général Du Mesnil, and procureur général Bourdin. The premier président and ranking gens du roi would be summoned ex officio to such a consultation. There was also a new président, Bernard Prévost, and an undistinguished assistant to Du Mesnil, Edmond Boucherat, who is dismissed as sans valeur by Loisel.[63] (This opinion may have stemmed from Boucherat's close identification with the Guises.)

Catherine attempted to reassure Santa Croce about parlementaire par-


ticipation, promising to see to it "that they walked the straight and narrow," but their initial reaction was that it would endanger the peace to accept the Trent decrees until the crown had the situation more firmly in hand and the Protestants were no longer to be feared. The deliberations continued for three weeks, in deep secrecy, and the ultimate parlementaire arguments went beyond passing political considerations to constitutional issues. De Caprariis says:

Other enemies of the council might grow feeble or disappear, but the Gallican spirit, on the contrary, increased in strength as the struggle continued. From this time on the Trent decrees would regularly come up against it without ever being able to prevail. Without exaggeration it can be said that these Fontainebleau consultations mark an essential date in the history of the French church; they set the stage whereon, for more than a century, two irreconcilable movements would clash, religious nationalism, determined to conserve even the [Gallican] abuses, and Roman centralization, the instrument of a more monolithic and purified Catholicism.[64]

Du Mesnil's Advertissement sur le faict du Concile de Trente sums up the deliberations and arguments, some general, others relevant only to particular articles. The historic propositions of Gallicanism provide a preamble: first, the French church is subject only to God's law and the decrees of the earliest councils, and second, a corollary, it is not subject to any rulings of modern popes and councils, except as the king may choose to apply them, a condition that has traditionally been accepted by popes. The defense of this autonomy, Du Mesnil continued, "was never more important than now," with a young, inexperienced king on the throne and the threat of a renewal of civil war. The determining role of the immediate circumstances is clearly spelled out:

[Everyone knows with what urgency and difficulty] the Edict of Pacification was achieved last year, and the evils, calamities, and desolation that constrain the consciences of the king's subjects and violations of his edicts had brought on the kingdom, which were remedied by the sole means of that Edict. . . . Approval of the said council cannot be given without the alteration, or rather the revocation of the said Edict . . . [because] the permission the king accorded his subjects to live in liberty of conscience, would come to an end, and the troubles would start up again. . . . Whoever advocates any means of disturbing the public tranquillity of this kingdom, especially now,


when hearts and wills are just beginning to be reconciled, not only is not to be held a good and loyal subject, he is not to be tolerated at all (souffert ).[65]

Before its decrees can be considered, he went on, the council's procedural defects alone would invalidate them a priori: it was a continuation of earlier Trent sessions, and not the new council required for a fresh start; it contradicted earlier councils and frustrated its own raison d'être by increasing papal power instead of restraining it. The council's connivance in Spanish usurpation of precedence (over the French) was another procedural fault.

The offensive decrees were those that set aside the rights of secular authorities, especially but not exclusively in France, in matters ranging from denial of the need for secular assent to ordinations and nominations to church offices, to regulation of marriage, and the universities. All these matters were henceforth to be controlled by the clergy. The jurisdiction of lay courts was specifically to be eliminated, as was the accountability of the clergy to lay justice under any circumstances. The application of these decrees to France would indeed have destroyed Gallican liberties, mutilated the constitution, and subjected the king and the law to the papacy and its agents. It was to be expected that resistance by Parisian magistrates would be virtually unanimous.

De Caprariis says that Du Mesnil's Advertissement reflects the entire range of parlementaire opinion "from Séguier to de Thou and from Harlay to Bourdin." Séguier seems to have objected only to some of the decrees—he and Harlay were usually in accord—while de Thou rejected them all. Bourdin threatened to resign his office rather than accept publication. Not satisfied with Du Mesnil's synthesis, the procureur général drew up his own objections, which include more than sixty of the Trent articles.[66]

The avocat général and the procureur général spoke for the Parlement of Paris, but a third expression of the Gallican position, Charles Du Moulin's Conseil sur le faicte du Concile de Trente has been more influential in posterity. Du Moulin's standing as philosopher-legist-historian, author of major treatises, would certainly explain his enjoying greater prestige than gens du roi temporarily in office, but the depth and originality of his arguments are also much greater. The leading authority on feudal law, and a master of canon and customary law, Du Moulin's learning had earned him the soubriquet "prince of legists." Among his impressive earlier works,


Les Commentaires analytiques tant sur l'édit des petites dates et abus de la cour de Rome es bénéfices ecclésiastiques, que sur un ancien arrest de la souveraine cour du Parlement de Paris was the most substantial legacy of the Gallican crisis of 1551. It is a sharp exposure of fraudulent claims and practices in the Roman church, especially by the popes, and a brilliant critique of ecclesiastical history across the centuries. Du Moulin's interest in comparative law and history have earned him a place among the pioneers of sociology, yet he was no ivory-tower theorist, or antiquarian. Years of practice at the Châtelet and numerous associations with members of Parlement—de Thou was a close friend—informed his interest in current affairs and public policy. Donald Kelley says his attitude was "utilitarian and often a bit vulgar for humanist taste."[67]

Throughout a bizarre personal career—his religious beliefs swung from Calvinism to Lutheranism and then to Catholicism, and his geographical displacements were equally wide-ranging—he remained "the arch-Gallican" who assembled the most comprehensive and at the same time "one of the most radical interpretations of royal Gallicanism and of national monarchy in modern times." He carried it so far that Kelley calls him plus Gallican que le roi .[68] One may add, et que le Parlement de Paris —an even more extraordinary feat, never again equaled. Precisely because Du Moulin's formulation was original (and more logical) than traditional versions, the parlementaires were uneasy with him as an ally. His religious and other gyrations could not have inspired confidence in the moderate conservative mainstream, whose ideals and models lay safely in the past.

The thrust of Du Moulin's book is twofold: first, the refutation of papal supremacy and of the "Romanist" interpretation of history with which it is linked (dominant in the first half of the century), and then the substitution of a Gallican interpretation, according to which the key figure in the "translation of empire" was Charlemagne. The Frankish kings were founders of the French church, along with the other major institutions. "Du Moulin's program rested upon a threefold ideal, the unity and self-sufficiency of French law, the French monarchy and the Gallican church," un roi, une loi ,


une foi , all embodied in Charlemagne. Kelley adds, "If Charlemagne had not existed the Gallicans would have had to invent him."[69]

Du Moulin's Conseil would take its place among the foundation-stones of Gallicanism in the coming years, but in 1564 Parlement censored it and its author. Parlementaire concern had not yet swung definitively away from the threat of heresy, and the full menace of the Counter-Reformation had not yet been felt. It seems significant that premier président de Thou was among the first to advocate a new line. "The Parlement was not yet possessed by the anti-papal ardor of the coming years . . . not all the conseillers shared the opinions of their premier président . . . the court judged that [Du Moulin] had gone too far, especially in touching on matters of doctrine."[70]

At the conclusion of the consultations of Fontainebleau, Catherine announced that a decision on the Trent decrees would be made in the middle of May. Not long afterwards she set out, with the king and the royal court, on an extended tour of the kingdom, designed to rally the support of all regions and classes to the young king. The circumstances were propitious: Charles IX was ruling in his own name; the Pacification was holding up well in general, although there were some pockets of endemic resistance and occasional flare-ups elsewhere; the leaders of the rival factions had withdrawn to their estates; while the Trent question was in abeyance, pressure from the Catholic rulers diminished; France had recovered Le Havre and relations with England were the best in memory (the Treaty of Troyes with England was signed in April 1564).

The most important stop on the tour de France was to be Catherine's meeting with her daughter Élisabeth, queen of Spain, and, she hoped, with Philip as well. The queen mother's agenda included both family matters (marriage) and affairs of state (religion). After many delays it finally took place at Bayonne in July 1565, sixteen months into the tour. Catherine expected much from this encounter, which drew the attention of every ambassador and agent in Europe and played an important role in creating the twin myths of Catherine as "the wicked Italian queen" and the Massacre of St. Bartholomew as premeditated event.[71]

The papal nuncio was convinced that the entire tour was just another manifestation of Catherine's preferred policy of delay and avoidance of


facing up to the problems of concessions to heresy, on the one hand, and ratification of the Trent decrees, on the other. In fact, the queen mother never committed herself to an impossible situation if she could postpone doing so. Optimism went hand in hand with procrastination. She always thought that time was on her side and that circumstances could eventually be manipulated in the desired direction. Catherine has often—falsely—been accused of Machiavellian ruthlessness, but she was certainly one who believed with the Florentine secretary that virtù was the only weapon against fortuna .

In the early months of the tour Santa Croce expressed a degree of admiration for Catherine's policy of poco a poco , and confidence that it would succeed. In a letter of June 21, 1564, to Cardinal Borromeo, he says, "The Queen Mother is working it out so that, little by little, without saying no, she is bringing about observance of the [Trent] decrees. This is a better method than to attempt to make changes now, so as not to give the Huguenots any pretext to rebel anew." He ends the letter by relaying a message the Catholic leaders at court have asked him to pass on to the pope: tutto passera bene .[72]

Catherine's actions in recent days seemed to support the nuncio's optimism. Arriving in Lyon on June 12, 1564, she immediately banned all preaching, on pain of death for those attending as well as the preachers. Santa Croce also intervened personally in the situation, meeting with Pierre Viret, the leading reformer in the south.[73] He claimed that Viret had agreed to abandon Protestant beliefs if he could be convinced that they were mistaken, and the nuncio had arranged for a disputation between Viret and a leading Jesuit, Antonio Possevino. Catherine's optimism in Lyon was even greater, as Santa Croce realized, "she already sees Viret converted and persuading the entire city to return to the church!" His own hopes seemed on the point of fulfillment in 1565, at Bayonne, where he believed he had extracted a promise from Catherine to publish the Trent decrees "as soon as certain practical details could be taken care of." Victor Martin weighs the question of her sincerity. The probability is that she was delaying, as usual, and that in her relief and satisfaction after the meeting with Élisabeth she was in a euphoric mood: "She held forth at length on the great blessings


God had showered upon her . . . protesting that for nothing in the world would she abandon the religion in which she had been raised, and would defend it as long as she lived."[74]

We will never know whether or not Martin's speculation is correct that "one of the few chances for Catholic reform to penetrate France by the official entrance" was lost in the following weeks, when Santa Croce was replaced as nuncio and Plus IV died. There could be no follow-up to all Santa Croce's hard work, because the new pope and the new nuncio adopted a very different approach. Contrary to the gestures toward the Catholic camp Catherine had made in the months leading up to Bayonne, she swung to the other side immediately thereafter, allowing the princely Huguenot leaders to rejoin the court, and to hold Calvinist services in their private apartments, supposedly for their own household only, behind closed doors. She also insisted on holding another public ceremonial "reconciliation of the factions," but with no more success than formerly. Sir Thomas Smith reported to William Cecil on December 10, 1565, "The Huguenots look that the Edict of Pacification will forthwith be broken, and they to have no other remedy but to take to their weapons. The Papists also look for no less than that the King and Queen should openly declare that they would have but one [Catholic] religion in France."[75]

During the court's absence from Paris, the frictions between the crown and the Parlement that had been constant since the late 1550s lessened and there was a truce between the factions within the court while the Pacification held and the Trent decision was suspended. But both tensions surfaced again—briefly—when the Parlement was presented with the Ordinances of Moulins in 1566. These were the embodiment of L'Hôpital's "reformation of justice," and they brought about still another round of confrontation between the chancellor and the Parlement. The ordinances of Moulins were a comprehensive package embodying reforms demanded for decades; procedures were streamlined, appellate jurisdictions redefined, superfluous courts eliminated; abuses such as pluralism and nepotism were forbidden and the qualifications and examinations for judicial office stiffened. Prosecution of the powerful was facilitated and the administration of the poor laws revised. Many of these reforms were recognized as essential by the ranking jurists, but the magistracy as a whole resisted them because of L'Hôpital's determination to restrict, if not to abolish, venality.[76]


Although each clash was provoked by a specific disagreement, they should be seen collectively as links of a single chain, beginning with the inauguration of the policy of coexistence of Protestantism and Catholicism in the spring of 1560. There were differences on two planes, political and constitutional, organically connected, but the spotlight focused first on one and then on the other. In the early clashes, prior to the Pacification of Amboise, the political conflict was uppermost. The Edicts of Romorantin (1560), of July (1561), and especially the Edict of January 1562, and the chancellor's speeches in presenting them to Parlement, reflect certain political realities on which that policy was based.

The total failure of persecution and the danger of civil war lay behind the decision—or at least the attempt—to separate the maintenance of civil peace and order from religion: "It is not a question de constituenda religione, sed de constituenda republica , and many can be cives qui non erunt Christiani . . . even the excommunicate does not cease to be a citizen. . . . Persons of diverse opinions can live together in peace" (June 1561). This, of course, meant the abandonment of une foi: "Those who advise the king to choose one side or the other [in religion] might as well advise him to take arms against some members [of the body politic]. . . . He who is even-handed (égal ) between the two parties is he who follows the right path" (September 1561). It became evident that under the regime of L'Hôpital not only would prosecution cease, but diversité de religion would be authorized. The chancellor also showed an awareness of the value of the Huguenots to France lacking in most of those who refused to contemplate toleration—notably Louis XIV a century later—when he drew attention to the influential persons associated with the reformed and their wealth, "their departure from the kingdom would be a loss one can hardly estimate, if only because of the goods they would take with them."[77]

L'Hôpital hoped to enlist the cooperation of the Parlement. In Salmon's opinion, since L'Hôpital viewed government as the granting of justice, he envisaged the supremacy of the gens du roi and a partnership between those who served in the council and those who sat on the benches of the sovereign courts. But he was never able to allay the antipathy of the latter.

The constitutional issues underlying these differences on policy that had


come to the surface in the 1563 crisis over Charles IX's majorité with particular force, remained there. The position of the crown was that the king, as the sole legislator, could call on any individual or body at his pleasure, whenever, wherever, and for whatever purpose. L'Hôpital's orderly mind assigned particular kinds of advice to each of the important bodies: the royal council normally advised the king in matters of state; the Estates reported the sentiments of his subjects to the king and communicated his policies to them in return. A meeting of the Estates was an occasion where, by hearing grievances and granting redress, "the crown dispensed justice corporatively. The Parlement, on the other hand, was the instrument through which the king granted justice to individual subjects." It might also be consulted when the king so chose, but only when, as, if and to the extent that he chose, and if it remonstrated, the outcome was still in his hands. When L'Hôpital presented the majority edict to the Parlement of Rouen he said, "Matters of state in no way belong to [your] jurisdiction . . . you are judges of the meadow and the field, but not of life and customs and not of religion. " It was the sovereign's sphere to establish the general laws, the judge's to apply them in particular cases. The Parisian parlementaires, we know, believed the court to be pars corporis principis , and that no royal legislative act had the force of law unless approved and registered by the Parlement of Paris. Accordingly, when their remonstrances were repeatedly ignored, the parlementaires would finally register the offending edict with the phrase de expresso mandato regis and enter their protests in the secret register.[78]

The leading (twentieth-century) authorities on French constitutionalism are in accord on L'Hôpital's moderate position, between the traditional and the new, more absolutist extremes. "He understood the king's prerogative as unlimited only in his power to do right. Like Seyssel, he envisaged government as necessarily restrained by justice, and he saw justice as inseparably attached to the crown," says Salmon. Since this is so, "in case of any particular sovereign's act of in justice, refusal [by the court] far from being imputed to disobedience and injustice, is one of the greatest and most notable services, one can render . . . for the king's real will is never to harm his people, but rather to procure all possible good." Differences between the chancellor and the court derived from their conflicting interpretations of the common heritage; L'Hôpital thought of the court—and all other bod-


ies—as subordinate to the crown, while the parlementaires clung to the claim of equality.[79]

Despite his moralizing tone, with overtones of condescension toward the court (his biographers speak of "disdain") and his frequently doctrinaire mode of expression, there was a considerable element of realism in L'Hôpital's thought, the key to which was his acceptance of change. He was given to metaphors of adaptability: "the law should fit the times as the shoe the foot," and "as a mariner changes the set of the sails according to the wind," and, "the wise man knows when to yield to necessity." On the political plane this flexibility enabled L'Hôpital to separate out the religious issue in order to concentrate on law and order in a kingdom whose inhabitants differed in belief. It permitted the maintenance of une loi —though flexible—while it necessitated the abandonment of une foi . Because of stubborn resistance, especially by the Parlement of Paris, it also entailed increasing the power of un roi . L'Hôpital's policy could only be imposed from above. The result was paternalist tilting toward absolutism, but less so than earlier thinkers like Grassaille or Rebuffi, and further still from the position soon to be taken by Bodin. Salmon's overall assessment is that L'Hôpital "was a singular blend of the idealist and the practical reformer, the learned jurist and the statesman who knew how to compromise, and how to insinuate his ideas into the minds of others without dictating them. . . . He believed in the authority of tradition, but he was not afraid to espouse radical innovation when he thought it necessary."[80]

L'Hôpital's personal religious stance certainly compounded his difficulties with Parlement. He disapproved of "forcing consciences" and specifically opposed the profession of faith. He considered it inappropriate for the state to arbitrate religious questions, which was the task of church councils. The substance of his belief seems to have resembled Erasmus's "philosophy of Christ" rather than official Roman doctrine, resembling the liberal Catholic parlementaires Du Faur, Paul de Foix, and Du Ferrier, who were, we recall, suspects. L'Hôpital was a central figure in the humanist-literary-philosophical Parisian elite, most of whom were his associates and corre-


spondents and not a few of whom dedicated works to him, including Bodin (the Methodus ) and Hotman (Anti-Tribonian ).

The similarity of L'Hôpital's liberal religious views to those of alleged Huguenots afforded no protection to the latter during the chancellor's difficult final years, 1567-68. Moreover, the specific attempts of Marshal François de Montmorency, eldest son of the constable and governor of Paris, to mitigate persecution only exacerbated the antagonism of the populace toward him. His request for garrisons to enforce royal orders and still more his lecturing municipal officers and captains of militia on their disobedience, aroused the fury of a city jealous of its prerogatives. Indictments of prisoners in the Conciergerie registers reveal a tendency to insurrection under the influence of the municipal militia. One captain dared to threaten the governor: "when the captain of a ship neglects his duty, the subordinate officers should take command." Increasingly severe measures were often described as instigated à la clameur du peuple and would "explode in [the Massacre of] St. Bartholomew."[81]

Analysis of the register of prisoners reveals that underlying the charge of heresy the authorities had a political agenda: to impede Condé's recruitment (his call to arms in the Second War, September 1567, had considerable success with the rationale that the king had been "taken prisoner" by the Catholic faction), and perhaps more significantly, to cut off the financial support for the Huguenot cause of an internationale de marchands that included rich Protestants in the Low Countries. The most important Frenchmen in the group were the brothers Gastine.[82]

Boucher's breakdown of the verdicts in the sample shows twenty-four prisoners sentenced to die, eighteen condemned to the galleys, fourteen to fines, ranging from 2 to 200 livres , two to whippings, and twenty-four turned over to the Châtelet. Others were released, sometimes with conditions—to obey the laws, to leave the city, or to put up money subject to forfeiture if they violated the conditions. A number of prominent men among those receiving harsh sentences included André Guillart, premier président of the Breton Parlement and a member of the Conseil Privé, and Jean Bodin. Guillart was released two days after his arrest, Bodin not until eighteen months later. In Guillart's case Boucher speculates that Catherine


de Médicis intervened—"she made use of men with a foot in each camp"—and we know that she called on him subsequently. Boucher interprets the fate of such notables thus: "The arrest of such men reflects the Catholic militancy of Paris, their prompt release [reflects] the crown's desire in the search for peace to find a political compromise across ideological divisions.[83]

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