Preferred Citation: Roelker, Nancy Lyman. One King, One Faith: The Parlement of Paris and the Religious Reformations of the Sixteenth Century. Berkeley:  University of California Press,  c1996.

13 Terrorism and Reaction, August 1589 to December 1591; 1592

The Tide Turns, 1592

Other items of unfinished business in 1592 include the problems of Mayenne, who continued his politique de bascule in several vain efforts to persuade the Third Party to advance him as their candidate, in attempts to manipulate the Bureau de Ville which were only partially successful, and in further disciplinary moves against the radicals. Some of these had come out of hiding in the year intervening between the duke's punishment of the November 1591 murders and the opening of the Estates of the League in January 1593.

The Sixteen's hopes of rekindling their cause were soon dashed, however, as the public response to every sign of such a revival was decidedly negative. On the contrary, factors strongly favoring the politiques had emerged. One of these was the economic plight of the city, cut off from trade with the provinces—or foreign markets—by encircling royal armies. Demands for trade were made almost daily, in manifestos and public meetings. By July, it had become the latest theme of the curés:

Friday, July 3, 1592, the people of Paris were forbidden to go to St-Denis, to trade or for any other reason, on pain of imprisonment. An injunction was also issued for all those of the opposite party to leave the city within twenty-four hours or be declared prisoners of war. All passports were re-

[29] . Maugis, Parlement de Paris , 2:80.


voked, which was a measure to raise money by the renewal of them, as was evident the next day, when one got a renewal by paying.

Sunday, July 5, the curé of St-André cried out loudly in his sermon against the peace that was being drawn up, supposedly. . . . He also said that those who were with the Béarnais were all damned, no matter how much they protested that they were Catholic; he also said that the politiques , of which Paris was full . . . were a hundred times worse than the Béarnais. . . .

The curé of St-Jacques . . . "excommunicated" all those who talked of peace, or thought trade should be resumed [with the royalist towns]. . . .

Rose, Ceuilly, Martin, Guarinus, Feuardant, and all the others preached in the same way, saying that they were of the opinion, if the Holy Father approved, of receiving the Béarnais in the Church as a Capuchin but not as a king. They attacked those who favored trade between Paris and St-Denis . . . claimed that there were more than 3,000 politiques who plotted under cover of trade. They complained that those who should have controlled these things did nothing about it. This caused M. de Belin [governor of Paris] to have a general check made at all the gates the next day . . . but no one was found who was not armed with a passport and safe-conduct, nor was anyone discovered who declared himself a politique (Brunet 5:172-174; Roelker 218-219).

Trade requires communications, and they depend on suspension of hostilities, so efforts to procure a truce proliferated and gathered support. Yet for trade to be continuous and businessmen to have confidence, a few days of truce do not suffice. Nevertheless many Parisians, even if disillusioned with the League, resisted making permanent peace with "the heretic"—denounced as sin in ever more lurid terms by the clergy—and the diehards would not hear of it. Economic hardship and the need for a resumption of commerce thus motivated Parisians increasingly to favor negotiations for peace, trade and a stepped-up campaign for the king's conversion; these were nicknamed Semonneux , the "inviters." The movement burgeoned in October 1592. After commenting on the phenomenon itself, L'Estoile recounts an experience of his own that dramatizes the situation of politiques who had remained in ligueur Paris as well as illustrating the economic motivations of the Semonneux :

Friday, the 23d, I returned . . . from St-Denis, where I did more business in one afternoon than I did on my last trip in seventeen days, because I was able, under the name of Bellemanière, to get hold of part of my revenues from Orléans. This was because M. du Four, governor of Gergeau, who can do anything, promised to back me against those who treat me as a ligueur there—as here I am treated as a politique —a fine way to get things done! (Brunet 5:182-183; Roelker 220).


Four days later, however, the Chambre des Comptes as a body strengthened the movement enormously:

Tuesday, October 27, in spite of the presence of the duke of Mayenne, the Chambre des Comptes voted unanimously for peace, and to send to the king the invitation to become Catholic. Président d'Ormesson . . . took news of this to the duke, and, as all but four had agreed [L'Huillier, Hotman, Dalesseau, and Acarie],[30] he begged him to consider it . . . in view of the necessity of the people . . . and the fact that peace was the only remedy. He spoke as the representative of the company (Brunet 5:183; Roelker 220).

The curés did not diminish their onslaught:

Sunday, November 1, our Master Boucher excommunicated the Semonneux of his parish and forbade them the Mass. . . .

The next day he said that there were asses who were of a mind to send to the Béarnais and accept him if he were a Catholic. . . . As for him, he thought that it would be all right for the Béarnais to conquer the Kingdom of Heaven, because he couldn't deceive anybody there, but the kingdom of France, no, he could deceive too many.

[When] the king . . . was told that some wanted to send from Paris to ask him to become a Catholic. "Catholic!" he said, "I'll be Catholic before the men of Paris are good men, tell them so for me in no uncertain terms" (Brunet 5:186-187; Roelker 221).

The radicals hoped to rouse the menu peuple against the Semonneux and revive the spirit of the Barricades, and just before Christmas there were rumors that the throats of the "inviters" of the heretic would be cut. Mayenne's feeble hold on the situation was eroding visibly from day to day; he had been obliged to drop his Fabian policy and set a date for the meeting of the Estates (for January 1593). At one point he said, at a session of the Bureau de Ville,

"You have asked for the resumption of trade, you shall have it, and for a session of the Estates, which will remedy your necessity and establish order," then, turning to La Chapelle-Marteau, he asked, "What more do the people want?" "Monsieur," [the latter] replied, "They want a king, and will have one" (Brunet 5:190; Roelker 222).

Henri IV, for his part, was preparing to meet them halfway. This involved sounding out leading Catholic prelates, who either had already defected

[30] . Prominent ligueurs , the only ones left in the Chambre des Comptes. The major guilds of the city had already joined the Semonneux .


from the League or were known to be wavering, to recruit them to help in two necessary steps: he must accept instruction before he could announce a conversion, and he must procure the cooperation—in the form of absolution—from the pope.

As the year ended, all these important matters hung in the balance, in L'Estoile's words. "In this year 1592, these things tried the patience of the poor people of Paris and concerned them, in hopes that some of them might cure their troubles: peace, commerce, the trip to Rome, the conversion of the king, the Estates, and the election of a Catholic king" (Brunet 5:200; Roelker 223).


13 Terrorism and Reaction, August 1589 to December 1591; 1592

Preferred Citation: Roelker, Nancy Lyman. One King, One Faith: The Parlement of Paris and the Religious Reformations of the Sixteenth Century. Berkeley:  University of California Press,  c1996.