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Title: History of the Reformation in Europe in the Time of Calvin, Vol. 4 of 8
Author: Merle d'Aubigné, J. H. (Jean Henri)
Language: English
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History of the Reformation in Europe in the Time of Calvin, Vol. 4 of 8



                      J. H. MERLE D’AUBIGNÉ, D.D.,


 ‘Les choses de petite durée ont coutume de devenir fanées, quand elles
                               ont passé
                              leur temps.

 ‘Au règne de Christ, il n’y a que le nouvel homme qui soit florissant,
                               qui ait de
               la vigueur, et dont il faille faire cas.’


                                VOL. IV.


                               NEW YORK:
                       ROBERT CARTER & BROTHERS,
                           No. 530 BROADWAY.


This volume narrates the events of an important epoch in the Reformation
of England, Switzerland, France, Germany, and Italy. From the first the
author purposed to write a _History of the Reformation in Europe_, which
he indicated in the title of his work. Some persons, misled by the last
words of that title, have supposed that he intended to give a mere
biography of Calvin: such was not his idea. That great divine must have
his place in this history, but, however interesting the life of a man
may be, and especially the life of so great a servant of God, the
history of the work of God in the various parts of Christendom possesses
in our opinion a greater and more permanent interest.

               Deo soli gloria. Omnia hominum idola pereant!

In the year 1853, in the fifth volume of his _History of the Reformation
of the Sixteenth Century_, the author described the commencement of the
reform in England. He now resumes the subject where he had left off,
namely, after the fall and death of Wolsey. The following pages were
written thirteen years ago, immediately subsequent to the publication of
the fifth volume; they have since then been revised and extended.

The most important fact of that epoch in Great Britain is the act by
which the English Church resumed its independence. It was attended by a
peculiar circumstance. When Henry VIII. emancipated his people from the
papal supremacy, he proclaimed himself head of the Church. And hence, of
all Protestant countries, England is the one in which Church and State
are most closely united. The legislators of the Anglican Church
understood afterwards the danger presented by this union, and
consequently declared, in the Thirty-seventh Article (_Of the Civil
Magistrates_), that, ‘where they attributed to the King’s Majesty the
chief government, they gave not to their princes the ministering of
God’s word.’ This did not mean that the king should not preach; such an
idea did not occur to any one; but that the civil power should not take
upon itself to determine the doctrines of the divine Word.

Unhappily this precaution has not proved sufficient. Not long since a
question of doctrine was raised with regard to the _Essays and Reviews_,
and the case having been carried on appeal before the supreme court, the
latter gave its decision with regard to important dogmas. The Privy
Council decided that the denial of the plenary inspiration of Scripture,
of the substitution of Christ for the sinner in the sacrifice of the
cross, and of the irrevocable consequences of the last judgment, was not
contrary to the profession of faith of the Church of England. When they
heard of this judgment, the rationalists triumphed; but an immense
number of protests were made in all parts of Great Britain. While we
feel the greatest respect for the persons and intentions of the members
of the judicial committee of the Privy Council, we venture to ask
whether this judgment be not subversive of the fundamental principles of
the Anglican Church; nay more (though in this we may be wrong), is it
not a violation of the English Constitution, of which the articles of
Religion form part? The fact is the more serious as it was accomplished
notwithstanding the opposition (which certainly deserved to be taken
into consideration) of the two chief spiritual conductors of the
Church—the Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of all England, and the
Archbishop of York, both members of the council. Having to describe in
this volume the historical fact in which the evil originated, the author
is of opinion that he ought to point out respectfully but frankly the
evil itself. He does so with the more freedom because he believes that
he is in harmony on this point with the majority of the bishops, clergy,
and pious laymen of the English Church, for whom he has long felt
sincere respect and affection.

But let us not fear. The ills of the Church must not prevent our
acknowledging that at no time has evangelical Christianity been more
widely extended than in our days. We know that the Christians of Great
Britain will not only hold firm the standard of faith, but will redouble
their efforts to win souls to the Gospel both at home and in the most
distant countries. And if at any time they should be compelled to make a
choice—and either renounce their union with the civil power, or
sacrifice the holy doctrines of the Word of God—there is not (in our
opinion) one evangelical minister or layman in England who would
hesitate a moment on the course he should adopt.

England requires now more than ever to study the Fathers of the
Reformation in their writings, and to be animated by their spirit. There
are men in our days who are led astray by strange imaginations, and who,
unless precautions be taken against their errors, would overturn the
glorious chariot of Christian truth, and plunge it into the abyss of
superstitious Romanism or over the abrupt precipice of incredulity. On
one side, scholastic doctrines (as transubstantiation for instance) are
boldly professed in certain Protestant churches; monastic orders, popish
rites, candles, vestments of the fourteenth century, and all the
mummeries of the Middle Ages are revived. On the other side, a
rationalism, which, though it still keeps within bounds, is not the less
dangerous on that account, is attacking the inspiration of Scripture,
the atonement, and other essential doctrines. May we be permitted to
conjure all who have God’s glory, the safety of the Church, and the
prosperity of their country at heart, to preserve in its integrity the
precious treasure of God’s Word, and to learn from the men of the
Reformation to repel foolish errors and a slavish yoke with one hand,
and with the other the empty theorems of an incredulous philosophy.

I would crave permission to draw attention to a fact of importance. A
former volume has shown that the spiritual reformation of England
proceeded from the Word of God, first read at Oxford and Cambridge, and
then by the people. The only part which the king took in it was an
opposition, which he followed out even to the stake. The present volume
shows that the official reformation, the reform of abuses, proceeded
from the Commons, from the most notable laymen of England. The king took
only a passive part in this work. Thus neither the internal nor the
external reform proceeded from Henry VIII. Of all the acts of the
Reformation only one belongs to him: he broke with the pope. That was a
great benefit, and it is a great honor to the king. But could it have
lasted without the two other reforms? We much doubt it. The Reformation
of England primarily came from God; but if we look at secondary causes,
it proceeded from the people, and not from the sovereign. The noble
vessel of the political constitution, which had remained almost
motionless for centuries, began to advance at the first breath of the
Gospel. Rationalists and papists, notwithstanding all their hopes, will
never deprive Great Britain of the Reformation accomplished by the Word
of God; but if England were to lose the Gospel, she would at the same
time lose her liberty. Coercion under the reign of popery or excesses
under the reign of infidelity, would be equally fatal to it.

A distinguished writer published in 1858 an important work in which he
treated of the history of England from the fall of Wolsey.[1] We have
great pleasure in acknowledging the value of Mr. Froude’s volumes; but
we do not agree with his opinions with respect to the character of Henry
VIII. While we believe that he rendered great services to England as a
king, we are not inclined, so far as his private character is concerned,
to consider him a model prince, and his victims as criminals. We differ
also from the learned historian in certain matters of detail, which have
been partly indicated in our notes. But every one must bear testimony to
the good use Mr. Froude has made of the original documents which he had
before him, and to the talent with which the history is written, and we
could not forbear rejoicing as we noticed the favorable point of view
under which, in this last work of his, he considers the Reformation.

After speaking of England, the author returns to the history of Geneva;
and readers may perhaps complain that he has dwelt longer upon it than
is consistent with a general history of the Reformation. He acknowledges
that there may be some truth in the objection, and accepts his
condemnation in advance. But he might reply that according to the
principles which determine the characteristics of the Beautiful, the
liveliest interest is often excited by what takes place on the narrowest
stage. He might add that the special character of the Genevese Reform,
where political liberty and evangelical faith are seen triumphing
together, is of particular importance to our age. He might say that if
he has spoken too much of Geneva, it is because he knows and loves her;
and that while everybody thinks it natural for a botanist, even when
taking note of the plants of the whole world, to apply himself specially
to a description of such as grow immediately around him; a Genevese
ought to be permitted to make known the flowers which adorn the shores
upon which he dwells, and whose perfume has extended far over the world.

For this part of our work we have continued to consult the most
authentic documents of the sixteenth century, at the head of which are
the Registers of the Council of State of Geneva. Among the new sources
that we have explored we may mention an important manuscript in the
Archives of Berne which was placed at our disposal by M. de Stürler,
Chancellor of State. This folio of four hundred and thirty pages
contains the minutes of the sittings of the Inquisitional Court of
Lyons, assembled to try Baudichon de la Maisonneuve for heresy. To avoid
swelling out this volume, it was necessary to omit many interesting
circumstances contained in that document; we should have curtailed them
even more had we not considered that the facts of that trial did not yet
belong to history, and had remained for more than three centuries hidden
among the state papers of Berne.[2] De la Maisonneuve was the chief
layman of the Genevese Reformation,—_the captain of the Lutherans_, as
he is frequently called by the witnesses in their depositions. The part
he played in the Reformation of Geneva has not been duly appreciated. No
doubt the excess of his qualities, particularly of his energy, sometimes
carried him too far; but his love of truth, indomitable courage, and
indefatigable activity make him one of the most prominent characters of
the Reform. The name of Maisonneuve no longer exists in that city; but a
great number of the most ancient and most respected families descend
from him, either in a direct or collateral line.[3]

Another manuscript has brought to our knowledge the chief mission of the
embassy which solicited Francis I. to set Baudichon de la Maisonneuve at
liberty. The head of that embassy was Rodolph of Diesbach: M. Ferdinand
de Diesbach, of Berne, has had the kindness to place the manuscript
records of his family at our disposal; and the circumstance that we have
learnt from them does not give a very exalted idea of that king’s

The project of Francis I. and of Melancthon described in the portion of
the volume devoted to France and Germany, and the important letters
hitherto unknown in our language, which are given there, appear worthy
of the attention of enlightened and serious minds.

We conclude with Italy. We could have wished to describe in this volume
Calvin’s journey to Ferrara, and even his arrival at Geneva; but the
great space given to other countries did not permit us to carry on the
Genevese Reformation to that period. Two distinguished men, whose
talents and labors we respect, M. Albert Rilliet, of Geneva, and M.
Jules Bonnet, of Paris, have had a discussion about Calvin’s transalpine
expedition. M. Rilliet’s essay (_Deux points obscurs de la vie de
Calvin_) was published as a pamphlet, and M. Bonnet’s answer (_Calvin en
Italie_) appeared in the _Revue Chrétienne_ for 1864, p. 461 sqq., and
in the _Bulletin de la Société de l’Histoire du Protestantisme Français_
for 1864, p. 183 sqq. M. Rilliet denies that Calvin ever visited the
city of Aosta, and M. Bonnet maintains that he did. Data are
unfortunately wanting to decide a small number of secondary points; but
the important fact of Calvin’s journey _through Aosta_, seems beyond a
doubt, and when we come to this epoch in the Reformer’s life, we will
give such proofs—in our opinion incontestable proofs—as ought to
convince every impartial mind.

Before describing Calvin’s residence at Ferrara, the author had to
narrate the movements which had been going on in Italy from the
beginning of the Reformation. Being obliged to limit himself,
considering the extent of his task, he had wished at first to exclude
those countries in which the Reformation was crushed out, as Italy and
Spain. On studying more closely the work there achieved, he could not
make up his mind to pass it over in silence. Among the oldest editions
of the books of that period which he has made use of is a copy of the
works of Aonio Paleario (1552), recently presented by the Marquis Cresi,
of Naples, to the library of the School of Evangelical Theology at
Geneva. This volume wants thirty-two leaves (pp. 311 to 344), and at the
foot of p. 310 is the following manuscript note: _Quæ desunt pagellæ
sublatæ fuerunt de mandato Rev. Vicarii Neap._; ‘the missing pages were
torn out by order of the Reverend Vicar of Naples.’ This was an
annoyance to the author, who wished to read those pages all the more
because the inquisition had cut them out. Happily he found them in a
Dutch edition belonging to Professor André Cherbuliez.

Some persons have thought that political liberty occupied too great a
space in the first volume of this history; we imagined, however, that we
were doing a service to the time in which we live, by showing the
coexistence in Geneva of civil emancipation and evangelical reform. On
the continent, there are men of education and elevated character, but
strangers to the Gospel, who labor under a mistake as to the causes
which separate them from Christianity. In their opinion it arises from
the circumstance that the Church whose head is at Rome is hostile to the
rights of the people. Many of them have said that religion might be
strengthened and perpetuated by uniting with liberty. But is it not
united with liberty in Switzerland, England, and the United States of
America? Why should we not see everywhere, and in France particularly,
as well as in the countries we have just named, religion which respects
the rights of God uniting with policy which respects the rights of the
people? It is not the Encyclic of Pius IX. that the Gospel claims as a
companion, it is liberty. The Gospel has need of liberty, and liberty
has need of the Gospel. The people who have only one or other of these
two essential elements of life are sick; the people who have neither are

‘The greatest imaginable absurdity,’ says one of the eminent
philosophers and noble minds of our epoch, M. Jouffroy, ‘would be the
assertion that this present life is everything, and that there is
nothing after it. I know of no greater in any branch of science.’ Might
there not, however, be another absurdity worthy of being placed by its
side? The same philosopher says that, so far as regards our state after
this life, ‘science and philosophy have not, after two thousand years,
arrived at a single accepted result.’[4] Consequently, by the side of
the absurdity which M. Jouffroy has pointed out, we confidently place
another, as the second of ‘the greatest imaginable absurdities,’ namely,
that which consists in believing, after two thousand years of barren
labors, that there is another way besides Christianity to know and
possess the life invisible and eternal. The essential fact of the
history of religion and the history of the world: _God manifest in the
flesh_, is the ray from heaven which reveals that life to us, and
procures it for us. We know what a wind of incredulity has scattered
over barren sands many noble souls who aspire to something better, and
for whom Christ has opened the gates of eternity; but let us hope that
their fall will be only temporary, and that many, enlightened from on
high, turning their eyes away from the desert which surrounds them, and
lifting them towards heaven, will exclaim: _I will arise and go to my

We must, as Jouffroy says, ‘recommence our investigations;’ but ‘first
of all,’ he adds, ‘we must confess the secret vice which has hitherto
rendered all our exertions powerless.’ That secret vice consists in
considering the question in an intellectual and theoretical point of
view only, while it is absolutely necessary to grapple with it in a
practical way, and to make it an individual fact. The matter under
discussion belongs to the domain of humanity, not of philosophy. It does
not regard the understanding alone, but the conscience, the will, the
heart, and the life. The real vice consists in our not recognizing,
within us, the evil that separates us from God, and, without us, the
Saviour who leads us to Him. The royal road to learn and possess life
invisible and eternal is the knowledge and possession of that Son of
Man, of that Son of God, who said with authority: I AM THE WAY, THE


_May, 1866_.

Footnote 1:

  _History of England from the Fall of Wolsey to the Death of Queen
  Elizabeth_, by J. A. Froude.

Footnote 2:

  M. Gaberel has quoted some passages of this manuscript which concern
  Geneva, in the first volume of his History of the Genevese Church.

Footnote 3:

  M. Charles Eynard, a friend of the author’s, has communicated to him
  some genealogies of the descendants of Baudichon de la Maisonneuve, in
  which, besides a great number of Genevese names, are found those of
  some foreign families,—Constant-Rebecque in Holland; the de Gasparins,
  de Staëls, and other families of note in France, who descend from
  Baudichon de la Maisonneuve through the Neckers.

Footnote 4:

  See the works of M. Jouffroy, and the _Revue des Deux Mondes_ for 15th
  March, 1865.

                     CONTENTS OF THE FOURTH VOLUME.





(AUTUMN 1529.)

Diverse Religious Tendencies—Evangelical Reformation and Legal
Reformation—Creation of a mighty Protestantism—Election of a new
Parliament—Alarm of the Clerical Party—The Three Parties—The Society of
Christian Brethren—General Movement in London—Banquet and Conversations
of Peers and Members of Parliament—Agitation among the People 1



(NOVEMBER 1529.)

Impulse given to Political Liberty by the Reformation—Grievances put
forward by the House of Commons—Exactions, Benefices, Holy-days,
Imprisonments—The House of Commons defend the Evangelicals—Question of
the Bishops—Their Answer—Their Proceedings in the matter of Reform 9



(END OF 1529.)

Abuses pointed out and corrected—The Clergy reform in
self-defence—Fisher accuses the Commons, who complain to the
King—Subterfuge of the Bishops—Rudeness of the Commons—Suppression of
Pluralities and Non-residence—These Reforms insufficient—Joy of the
People, Sorrow of the Clergy 15



(WINTER OF 1530.)

Motives of Henry VIII.—Congress at Bologna—Henry sends an
Embassy—Cranmer added to the Embassy—The Pope’s Embarrassment and
Alarm—Clement grants the Englishmen an Audience—The Pope’s
Foot—Threats—Wiltshire received and checked by Charles—Discontent of the
English—Wiltshire’s Departure—Cranmer remains 20



(WINTER OF 1530.)

Parties at Cambridge—A noisy Assembly—Murmurs against the Evangelicals—A
Meeting declares for the King—Honor paid to Scripture—The King’s severe
letter to Oxford—Opposition of the younger Members of the University—The
King’s Anger—Another royal Mission to Oxford—The University decides for
the Divorce—Evangelical Courage of Chaplain Latimer—The King and the
Chancellor of Cambridge 29




The Sorbonne deliberates on the Divorce—The French Universities sanction
the Divorce—The Italian Universities do likewise—Opinion of
Luther—Cranmer at Rome—The English Nobles write to the Pope—The Pope
proposes that the King should have two Wives—Henry’s Proclamation
against Papal Bulls 38




Latimer tempted by the Court; fortified by Study—Christian
Individuality—Latimer desires to convert the King—Desires for the
Church, Poverty, the Cross, and the Bible—He prays the King to save his
own Soul—Latimer’s Preaching—No Intermingling of the two
Powers—Latimer’s Boldness in the Cause of Morality—Priests denounce him
to the King—Noble Character of the Reformers 45




The Ivy and the Tree, or the Practice of Popery—Vaughan looks for the
invisible Tyndale—Vaughan visited by a Stranger—Interview between
Vaughan and Tyndale in a Field—Tyndale mistrusts the Clergy—The King’s
Indignation—Tyndale is touched by the royal Compassion—The King wishes
to gain Fryth—Faith first, and then the Church—Henry threatens the
Evangelicals with War 52




Supremacy of the Pope injurious to the State—All the Clergy declared
guilty—Challenged to recognize the royal Supremacy—Anguish of the
Clergy—They negotiate and submit—Discussions in the Convocation of
York—Danger of the royal Supremacy 60




The Divorce Question agitates the Country—A Case of Poisoning—Reginald
Pole—Pole’s Discontent—The King’s Favors—Pole’s Frankness and Henry’s
Anger—Bids Henry submit to the Pope—Queen Catherine leaves the Palace 66



(SEPTEMBER 1531 TO 1532.)

Stokesley proposes that the inferior Clergy shall Pay—Riot among the
Priests—The Bishop’s Speech—A Battle—To conciliate the Clergy, Henry
allows them to persecute the Protestants 72




The repentant Bilney preaches in the Fields—His Enemies and his
Friends—Bilney put into Prison, where he meets Petit—Disputation and
Trial—Bilney condemned to die—The parting Visit of his Friends—He is led
out to Punishment—His last Words—His Death—Imprisonment and Martyrdom of
Bayfield—Tewkesbury bound to the Tree of Truth—His Death—Numerous
Martyrs 77



(MARCH TO MAY 1532.)

Character of Thomas Cromwell—Abolition of First-Fruits—The Clergy bend
before the King—Two contradictory Oaths—Priestly Rumors—Sir Thomas More
resigns—The two Evils of a regal Reform 86




The Perils of a prosperous Nation—Lambert and free Inquiry—Luther’s
Principles—Images or the Word of God—Freedom of Preaching—St. Paul burnt
by the Bishop—Latimer disgusted with the Court—More Thieves than
Shepherds—A Don Quixote of Catholicism—Latimer summoned before the
Primate—His Firmness—Attempt to entrap Him—His Refusal to
recant—Excommunicated—Expedient of the Bishops—Latimer saved by his
Conformity with Luther 91




The Franciscans preach against the King—Henry likened to
Ahab—Disturbance in the Chapel—Christian Meetings in London—Bainham
persecuted by More—Summoned to abjure—The fatal Kiss—Bainham’s
Anguish—The Tragedy of Conscience—Bainham visited in his Dungeon—The Bed
of Roses—The Persecutor’s Suicide—Effect of the Martyrdoms—The true
Church of God 103



(FEBRUARY 1532 TO MARCH 1533.)

Who shall be Warham’s Successor?—Cranmer at Nuremberg—Osiander’s
Household—His Error—Cranmer marries—Is recalled to London—Refuses to
return—Follows the Emperor to Italy—Date of Henry’s Marriage with Anne
Boleyn—Cranmer returns to London—Struggle between the King and
Cranmer—The Pope has no Authority in England—Appointment of Bishops
without the Pope—Cranmer protests thrice—All Weakness is a Fault—The
true Doctrine of the Episcopate—The Appeal of the Reformers 112



(NOVEMBER 1532 TO JULY 1553.)

Clement suggests that Henry should have two Wives—His perilous Journey
to Bologna—His Exertions for the Divorce—King’s Marriage with Anne
becomes known—France and England separate—A threatening Brief—The Pope
perplexed—Parliament emancipates England—Cranmer’s Letter to the
King—Modification demanded by the King—Henry expresses himself
clearly—Meeting of the Ecclesiastical Court—Catherine’s Firmness—Her
Marriage annulled—Queen Anne presented to the People—Her Progress
through the City—Feelings of the new Queen—Catherine and Anne—Threats of
the Pope and the King 125



(AUGUST 1532 TO MAY 1533.)

Fryth’s charming Character—He returns to England—Purgatory—Homer saves
Fryth—The eating of Christ—Fryth goes over England—Tyndale’s Letter to
Fryth—More Hunts after Fryth—More’s Ill-temper—More and Fryth—Fryth in
Prison—He writes the _Bulwark_—Rastell converted—Fryth’s Visitors in the
Tower—Fryth and Petit—Cause and Effect 139



(MAY TO JULY 1533.)

Fryth summoned before a Royal Commission—Tyndale’s Letter to
Fryth—Cranmer attempts to save him—Lord Fitzwilliam, Governor of the
Tower—Fryth removed to Lambeth—Attempt at Conciliation—Fryth remains
firm—A Prophecy concerning the Lord’s Supper—The Gentleman and the
Porter desire to save Fryth—Their Plan—Fryth will not be saved—Fryth
before the Episcopal Court—Interrogated on the Real Presence—Cranmer
cannot save him—Fryth’s Condemnation and Execution—Influence of his
Writings 150




Sensation caused by Anne’s Marriage—Henry’s Isolation—The Protestants
reject him—Birth of Elizabeth—A new Star—English Envoys at
Marseilles—Bonner and Gardiner—Prepare for a Declaration of War—The
Pope’s Emotion—Henry appeals to a General Council—The Pope’s
Anger—Francis I. and Clement understand one another—The Pope’s
Answer—Bonner’s Rudeness—Henry’s Proclamation against the Pope—The
dividing Point 163




Henry desires to separate Christendom from Rome—A Buffet to the Pope—The
People, not the King, want the Reformation—The Pope tries to gain
Henry—Cranmer presses forward—The Commons against Papal
Authority—Abolition of Romish Exactions—Parliament declares for the
faith of the Scriptures—Henry condemned at Rome—The Pope’s Disquietude—A
great Dispensation 175





(JULY 1533.)

The Bishop desires to bury _the Sect_—Animated Conversations—Plan to
transfer the Prisoners—Great Animation—German Merchants and
Maisonneuve—He desires to rescue the Prisoners—Constitutional Order
restored—The Bishop wishes to get away—His last Night in Geneva—The
Flight—Deliverance—Joy and Sorrow—A Proverb 184




Arrival of Froment and Alexander—The Charitable Solomon—Order to preach
according to Scripture—Sermons in the Houses and the Streets—The Bishop
forbids the Preaching of the Gospel—Silent Answer—Invitation to a Great
Papist Preacher—Arrival of Furbity—He declaims against the Reading of
the Bible—Janin the Armorer—Reformers insulted; Exultation of the
Priests—Furbity challenges the Lutherans to Discussion—Froment’s
Reply—Tumult—Froment and Alexander banished—De la Maisonneuve departs
for Berne 194




Report that Popery had triumphed—Arrival of Farel—His
Character—Baudichon de la Maisonneuve—Bernese Complaints and Demands—A
Plot breaks out—Armed Meetings of Huguenots for Worship—Christmas and
the New Year—The Dominican’s Farewell—Arming for the Bible—Arrival of
Ambassadors from Berne—Three Reformers in Geneva—Bernese demand a Public
Discussion 206




The Dominican refuses to speak—Liberalism and Inflexibility—The Colloquy
begins—Various Accusations—Were the Bernese pointed at?—The two
Champions—The Pope and the Scriptures—Interpretation of the Councils—The
Priests would be Everything—Farel’s Irony and Vehemence—The Roman
Episcopate—Preaching and Conversation—Stories about Farel—The Landlord
and his Servant—Legends and Rhymes—A Change in Preparation 217




Supreme Interest of History—The Bishop meditates a _Coup d’État_—Meeting
of his Creatures to carry it out—The Sortie from the Palace—Two
Huguenots assassinated—The Defenders of the Middle Ages—Tumult in the
city—Consternation in the Council—Justice, not Rioting—Search at the
Palace—Scenes and Discovery—The Murderers sought in the Cathedral—The
South Tower—The Criminals discovered—Seizure of Documents relating to
the Plot—Condemnation and Fanaticism of the Murderer—He is hanged; his
Brother is saved—The Episcopal Secretary accused—The People elect a
Huguenot Council 229



(FEBRUARY 10 TO MARCH 1, 1534.)

The Dominican before his judges—A staggering Recantation—Dominicans and
Franciscans—Father Coutelier, Superior of the Franciscans, arrives—His
first Sermon—He talks white and black—Has recourse to Flattery—A Baptism
at Maisonneuve’s—Evangelicals ask for a Church—Farel visits the Father
Superior—The Pope, the Beast of the Apocalypse 243



(MARCH 1 TO APRIL 25, 1534.)

Huguenots in the Convent of Rive—Arrival of the Crowd—Farel preaches—Two
opposite Effects—Inspiration of God—Joy of the Evangelicals—Farewell of
the Bernese—Portier’s Execution—The two Preachers—The Friburgers break
the Alliance—Farel’s three Brothers in Prison—The Reformer’s
Anxiety—Human Affections 251



(1530 TO 1534.)

The Reliquary—A _Table d’Hôte_—Who is Petrus?—Struggle with two
Priests from Vienne—They abandon the Field—Maisonneuve must be
burnt—Danger—Arrival of Baudichon and Janin—They are sent to
Prison—Formation of the Court 261




Examination—First Witnesses—Emotion at Geneva—The Merchants protest to
the Consulate—The Bernese—Interrogatory—Open-air Session in Front of the
Palace—The King shall be informed—The Inquisitors desire to convict
Baudichon—Alleged High Treason against Heaven 269



(MAY TO JULY 1534.)

Morality in the Reformation—Apparition of the Virgin—A Savoyard
Procession—A second Procession enters Geneva—Images thrown down—The old
and the new Worship—The first Evangelical Pentecost—A Priest casts off
the old Man—Transformation—A Knight of Rhodes—Street Dances and
Songs—Preaching on the Ramparts 277



(MAY TO JUNE 1534.)

The New Testament in the Prison Garden—Discussion—The Procession and the
Rogations—False Depositions—Janin’s Depression—Search for more
conclusive Evidence—Inquiries of De Simieux at Geneva—-Baudichon’s Pride
before the Court—Put into Solitary Confinement—The Prisoner threatens
his Judges—Heroic Resistance 286



(JULY 1534.)

Severity to Maisonneuve—Coutelier’s Deposition—Maisonneuve accused of
relapsing—The Crime of being a Layman—Lyon and Chambury contend for
him—Final Summons—Sentence of the Court—Condemned to Death—No sword in
Religion—The effectual Remedy 295



(JULY 1534.)

Festival of Corpus Christi—Marriage of an Ex-Priest—Discussion before
the Council—Baptism—The two Powers change Parts—An Attack preparing—A
Hunting Party—A Monk in the Pulpit confesses his Faults—Plan of
Attack—Projects of the Enemy—Arrival of the Savoyards—Warning given by a
Dauphinese—The Canons—Savoyards wait for the Signal—The Torch—Savoyards
retire—The Bishop—The Hunchback—The Conspirators flee—Meditation and
Vigilance—Catholics quit Geneva—Title to Citizenship—Alarm of the
Nuns—Tales about the Reformers 303




The Diesbachs of Berne—Mission of Rodolph of Diesbach to France—a
terrible Necessity—Resolution to destroy the Suburbs—Approaching
Danger—A Refugee from Avignon—Strappado at Peny—Effects produced by the
Order of Demolition—Opposition of Catholics—Maisonneuve is
liberated—Session at the Tour of Perse—The Prisoners restored to their
Families—Letter from Francis I.—Furbity demanded and refused 320




Disorderly Lives of the Monks of St Victor—Ruins and Voices in the
Priory—Lamentations—Ramparts built—Asylums opened for the
Poor—Threats—Famine and a Circle of Iron—Brigandage—No more
Justice—Excommunication—Genevans appeal to the Pope—Firmness for the
Gospel and Liberty—Everything conspires against the City—Energy and
Moderation—Switzerland against Geneva—Confidence in God—Wisdom above
Strength—The Song of Resurrection 332



(END OF 1584 TO AUGUST 1535.)

Minority and Majority—Joy and Fear—Difference between Henry VIII. and
Francis I.—Erasmians and Politicians—The Moderate Evangelicals—Effect of
the Placards—The King tries to excuse himself—Protests of the decided
Protestants—Opinion of the Swiss—All Hope seems lost—A reforming
Pope—Papist Party in France—The Moderate Party—The two Du Bellays—What
is expected of Melancthon—Two Obstacles removed—Efforts of the
Mediators—What they think of Francis I.—An eloquent Appeal—Importance of
France for the Reformation—Melancthon tries to gain the Bishop of
Paris—The Bishop delighted—Francis I. to Melancthon—Is he
sincere?—Martyrdom of Cornon and Brion—Cardinal Du Bellay departs for
Rome—Hope of Reform in Italy—The diplomatic Du Bellay to Melancthon—Two
Natures in France—Fresh Entreaties—The King’s Idea—Applies to the
Sorbonne—Alarm of the Sorbonne—Trick of Cardinal de Tournon—Is a Mixed
Congress possible? 346




Individuality and Catholicity—Events in Germany—Importance of the
Mission to Germany—Melancthon’s Incertitude—Earnestness of the French
Envoy—Opposition of his Family—Melancthon’s Self-examination—Final
Assault—Melancthon consents—His Character—He goes to the
Elector—Solicits Permission—The Elector refuses—Melancthon’s
Sadness—-Luther agrees with him—Intervention with the Elector—Agitation
in Germany—Singular Fears of the Germans—The Elector’s Arguments—The
Elector prevails—Severe Letter to Melancthon—Melancthon’s
Sorrow—Luther’s Apprehensions Keeping aloof from the State—The Elector
to the King—Melancthon to Francis I.—He does not relinquish his
Design—His Ardor—The King resumes his Project—Opposition of the
Catholics—The Elector receives Du Bellay—Du Bellay before the
Assembly—His Speech—Intercession in Behalf of the Evangelicals—The Two
Parties come to an Understanding—The Papacy—Transubstantiation—The
Mass—Images—Free Will—Purgatory—Good Works—Monasteries—Celibacy—The two
Kinds—The Sorbonne and Justification—The Reform of Francis
I.—Intervention in behalf of the Oppressed—Political Alliance—Francis I.
plays two parts—The Communion of Saints 372



(1519 TO 1536.)

Flames in Italy—The Bookseller of Pavia—The Books of the
Reformers—Enthusiasm for Luther—Alarm of the Pope and
Cardinals—Venice—Roselli to Melancthon—Many Springs of living
Water—Curione—His studies and Spiritual Wants—Reads Luther and
Zwingle—Departs for Germany—Is arrested and sent to the Convent of St.
Benignus—The Shrine and the Bible—Curione during the Plague—The
Preachers of Popery—Attack and Defence—Curione sent to Prison—Chained to
the Wall—He recognizes the Room—Seeks a means of Safety—Singular
Expedient—His Escape—He teaches at Pavia—Renée of France—Mecænas and
Dorcas—Resurrection of Christianity—The Duchess’s Guests 406



(1520 TO 1536.)

Character of Occhino—Seeks Salvation in Asceticism—A
Contrast—Scripture—Occhino’s Itinerant Ministrations—Crowded
Congregations—His Preaching—A Child of Florence—Ambitious of
Learning—-Study and Preaching—Aonio Paleario—Leaves Rome for Sienna—Poem
on Immortality—Paleario crosses the Threshold—His Wife and Children—Love
of the Country—His friend Bellantes—Conspiracy against Paleario—Faustus
Bellantes informs him of it—Paleario remains firm—His Wife—The
Reformers—Twelve Accusers—They appear before the Archbishop—Everything
seems against Paleario—His Fears—He appears before the Senate—He defends
himself—The Germans—Plea for the Reformers—Revival of Learning—Jesus
Christ a Stumbling-block—The Martyr’s Words—Paleario’s Wife and
Friends—His Acquittal and Departure—The Evangelicals of Bologna—Their
Address to the Saxon Ambassador—St. Paul explained 428



(1520 TO 1536.)

Alfonso Valdez at Worms—A Dialogue by Valdez—The Chastisement of
God—Approbation and Disapprobation—Mercury and Charon—Satan—Juan Valdez
at Naples—Influence of Juan Valdez—Chiaja and Pausilippo—Conversion of
Peter Martyr—His Method of Preaching—Purgatory—Opposition—Galeazzo
Caraccioli converted—A Letter from Calvin—Illustrious Women at
Chiaja—Ideas there discussed—Occhino preaches at Naples—The
Triumvirs—Charles V. arrives at Naples—Conversation between Giulia
Colonna and Valdez—Perfection—Assurance of Salvation—Humility—The royal
Road—Meditations—Preachers of Fables—Valdez’ good and bad
Qualities—Edict against the Lutherans—Carnesecchi—Secretary to Clement
VII.—Interview with Charles V.—Carnesecchi’s Conversion—Divers
Categories—Flaminio—A poor Student—Values the Treasures of Heaven—The
Guest of Ghiberto and Caraffa—Flaminio’s Faith—Opposes and loves
Carnesecchi—Approximates Catholicism—Oratory of Divine Love—Its
Members—An Evangelical Monk—A Venetian Senator—Contarini’s
Influence—Strange Call—He accepts the Cardinalate—Preserves his
Independence—Contarini’s View—Dawn in Italy—The two Camps—Hopes—The
Times of Rome—Glory to the Martyrs 454

                                BOOK VI.

                               CHAPTER I.
                      THE NATION AND ITS PARTIES.
                             (AUTUMN 1529.)

England, during the period of which we are about to treat, began to
separate from the pope and to reform her Church. In the history of that
country the fall of Wolsey divides the old times from the new.

The level of the laity was gradually rising. A certain instruction was
given to the children of the poor; the universities were frequented by
the upper classes, and the king was probably the most learned prince in
Christendom. At the same time the clerical level was falling. The clergy
had been weakened and corrupted by its triumphs, and the English,
awakening with the age and opening their eyes at last, were disgusted
with the pride, ignorance, and disorders of the priests.

While France, flattered by Rome calling her its eldest daughter, desired
even when reforming her doctrine to preserve union with the papacy; the
Anglo-Saxon race, jealous of their liberties, desired to form a Church
at once national and independent, yet remaining faithful to the
doctrines of Catholicism. Henry VIII. is the personification of that
tendency, which did not disappear with him, and of which it would not be
difficult to discover traces even in later days.

Other elements calculated to produce a better reformation existed at
that time in England. The Holy Scriptures, translated, studied,
circulated, and preached since the fourteenth century by Wickliffe and
his disciples, became in the sixteenth century, by the publication of
Erasmus’s Testament, and the translations of Tyndale and Coverdale, the
powerful instrument of a real evangelical revival, and created the
scriptural reformation.

These early developments did not proceed from Calvin,—he was too young
at that time; but Tyndale, Fryth, Latimer, and the other evangelists of
the reign of Henry VIII., taught by the same Word as the reformer of
Geneva, were his brethren and his precursors. Somewhat later, his books
and his letters to Edward VI., to the regent, to the primate, to Sir W.
Cecil and others, exercised an indisputable influence over the
reformation of England. We find in those letters proofs of the esteem
which the most intelligent persons of the kingdom felt for that simple
and strong man, whom even non-protestant voices in France have declared
to be “the greatest Christian of his age.”[5]

[Sidenote: Reform, Evangelical and Legal.]

A religious reformation may be of two kinds: internal or evangelical,
external or legal. The evangelical reformation began at Oxford and
Cambridge almost at the same time as in Germany. The legal reformation
was making a beginning at Westminster and Whitehall. Students, priests,
and laymen, moved by inspiration from on high, had inaugurated the
first; Henry VIII. and his parliament were about to inaugurate the
second, with hands occasionally somewhat rough. England began with the
spiritual reformation, but the other had its motives too. Those who are
charmed by the reformation of Germany sometimes affect contempt for that
of England. “A king impelled by his passions was its author,” they say.
We have placed the scriptural part of this great transformation in the
first rank; but we confess that for it to lay hold upon the people in
the sixteenth century, it was necessary, as the prophet declared, that
kings should be its nursing-fathers, and queens its nursing-mothers.[6]
If diverse reforms were necessary, if by the side of German cordiality,
Swiss simplicity, and other characteristics, God willed to found a
protestantism possessing a strong hand and an outstretched arm; if a
nation was to exist which with great freedom and power should carry the
Gospel to the ends of the world, special tools were required to form
that robust organization, and the leaders of the people—the commons,
lords, and king—were each to play their part. France had nothing like
this: both princes and parliaments opposed the reform; and thence partly
arises the difference between those two great nations, for France had in
Calvin a mightier reformer than any of those whom England possessed. But
let us not forget that we are speaking of the sixteenth century. Since
then the work has advanced; important changes have been wrought in
Christendom; political society is growing daily more distinct from
religious society, and more independent; and we willingly say with
Pascal, “Glorious is the state of the Church when it is supported by God

Two opposing elements—the reforming liberalism of the people, and the
almost absolute power of the king—combined in England to accomplish the
legal reformation. In that singular island these two rival forces were
often seen acting together; the liberalism of the nation gaining certain
victories, the despotism of the prince gaining others; king and people
agreeing to make mutual concessions. In the midst of these compromises,
the little evangelical flock, which had no voice in such matters,
religiously preserved the treasure entrusted to it: the Word of God,
truth, liberty, and Christian virtue. From all these elements sprang the
Church of England. A strange church some call it. Strange indeed, for
there is none which corresponds so imperfectly in theory with the ideal
of the Church, and, perhaps, none whose members work out with more power
and grandeur the ends for which Christ has formed his kingdom.

[Sidenote: New Parliament Summoned.]

Scarcely had Henry VIII. refused to go to Rome to plead his cause, when
he issued writs for a new parliament (25th September, 1529). Wolsey’s
unpopularity had hitherto prevented its meeting: now the force of
circumstances constrained the king to summon it. When he was on the eve
of separating from the pope, he felt the necessity of leaning on the
people. Liberty is always the gainer where a country performs an act of
independence with regard to Rome. Permission being granted in England
that the Holy Scriptures should regulate matters of religion, it was
natural that permission should also be given to the people and their
representatives to regulate matters of state. The whole kingdom was
astir, and the different parties became more distinct.

The papal party was alarmed. Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, already very
uneasy, became disturbed at seeing laymen called upon to give their
advice on religious matters. Men’s minds were in a ferment in the
bishop’s palace, the rural parsonage, and the monk’s cell. The partisans
of Rome met and consulted about what was to be done, and retired from
their conferences foreseeing and imagining nothing but defeat. Du
Bellay, at that time Bishop of Bayonne, and afterwards of Paris, envoy
from the King of France, and eye-witness of all this agitation, wrote to
Montmorency; “I fancy that in this parliament the priests will have a
terrible fright.”[7] Ambitious ecclesiastics were beginning to
understand that the clerical character, hitherto so favorable to their
advancement in a political career, would now be an obstacle to them.
“Alas!” exclaimed one of them, “we must off with our frocks.”[8]

Such of the clergy, however, as determined to remain faithful to Rome
gradually roused themselves. A prelate put himself at their head.
Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, was learned, intelligent, bold, and
slightly fanatical; but his convictions were sincere, and he was
determined to sacrifice everything for the maintenance of catholicism in
England. Though discontented with the path upon which his august pupil
King Henry had entered, he did not despair of the future, and candidly
applied to the papacy our Saviour’s words,—_The gates of hell shall not
prevail against it_.

A recent act of the king’s increased Fisher’s hopes. Sir Thomas More had
been appointed chancellor. The Bishop of Rochester regretted, indeed,
that the king had not given that office to an ecclesiastic, as was
customary; but he thought to himself that a layman wholly devoted to the
Church, as the new chancellor was, might possibly, in those strange
times, be more useful to it than a priest. With Fisher in the Church,
and More in the State (for Sir Thomas, in spite of his gentle _Utopia_,
was more papistical and more violent than Wolsey), had the papacy
anything to fear? The whole Romish party rallied round these two men,
and with them prepared to fight against the Reformation.

Opposed to this hierarchical party was the political party, in whose
eyes the king’s will was the supreme rule. The Dukes of Norfolk and
Suffolk, president and vice-president of the Council, Sir William
Fitz-William, lord-admiral, and those who agreed with them, were opposed
to the ecclesiastical domination, not from the love of true religion,
but because they believed the prerogatives of the State were endangered
by the ambition of the priests, or else because, seeking honor and power
for themselves, they were impatient at always encountering insatiable
clerks on their path.

Between these two parties a third appeared, on whom the bishops and
nobles looked with disdain, but with whom the victory was to rest at
last. In the towns and villages of England, and especially in London,
were to be found many lowly men, animated with a new life,—poor
artisans, weavers, cobblers, painters, shopkeepers,—who believed in the
Word of God, and had received moral liberty from it. During the day they
toiled at their respective occupations; but at night they stole along
some narrow lane, slipped into a court, and ascended to some upper room
in which other persons had already assembled. There they read the
Scriptures and prayed. At times even during the day, they might be seen
carrying to well-disposed citizens certain books strictly prohibited by
the late cardinal. Organized under the name of “The Society of Christian
Brethren,” they had a central committee in London, and missionaries
everywhere, who distributed the Holy Scriptures and explained their
lessons in simple language. Several priests, both in the city and
country, belonged to their society.

This Christian brotherhood exercised a powerful influence over the
people, and was beginning to substitute the spiritual and life-giving
principles of the Gospel for the legal and theocratic ideas of popery.
These pious men required a moral regeneration in their hearers, and
entreated them to enter, through faith in the Saviour, into an intimate
relation with God, without having recourse to the mediation of the
clergy; and those who listened to them, enraptured at hearing of truth,
grace, morality, liberty, and of the Word of God, took the teachings to
heart. Thus began a new era. It has been asserted that the Reformation
entered England by a back-door. Not so; it was the true door these
missionaries opened, having even prior to the rupture with Rome preached
the doctrine of Christ.[9] Idly do men speak of Henry’s passions, the
intrigues of his courtiers, the parade of his ambassadors, the skill of
his ministers, the complaisance of the clergy, and the vacillations of
parliament. We, too, shall speak of these things; but above them all
there was something else, something better,—the thirst exhibited in this
island for the Word of God, and the internal transformation accomplished
in the convictions of a great number of its inhabitants. This it was
that worked such a powerful revolution in British society.

[Sidenote: Table Talk.]

In the interval between the issuing of the writs and the meeting of
parliament, the most antagonistic opinions came out. Conversation
everywhere turned on present and future events, and there was a general
feeling that the country was on the eve of great changes. The members of
parliament who arrived in London gathered round the same table to
discuss the questions of the day. The great lords gave sumptuous
banquets, at which the guests talked about the abuses of the Church, of
the approaching session of parliament, and of what might result from
it.[10] One would mention some striking instance of the avarice of the
priests; another slyly called to mind the strange privilege which
permitted them to commit, with impunity, certain sins which they
punished severely in others. “There are, even in London, houses of
ill-fame for the use of priests, monks, and canons.[11] And,” added
others, “they would force us to take such men as these for our guides to
heaven.” Du Bellay, the French ambassador, a man of letters, who,
although a bishop, had attached Rabelais to his person in the quality of
secretary, was frequently invited to parties given by the great lords.
He lent an attentive ear, and was astonished at the witty, and often
very biting remarks uttered by the guests against the disorders of the
priests. One day a voice exclaimed,—“Since Wolsey has fallen, we must
forthwith regulate the condition of the Church and of its ministers. We
will seize their property.” Du Bellay, on his return home, did not fail
to communicate these things to Montmorency. “I have no need,” he says,
“to write this strange language in cipher; for the noble lords utter it
at open table. I think they will do something to be talked about.”[12]

The leading members of the Commons held more serious meetings with one
another. They said they had spoken enough, and that now they must act.
They specified the abuses they would claim to have redressed, and
prepared petitions for reform to be presented to the king.

Before long the movement descended from the sphere of the nobility to
that of the people; a sphere always important, and particularly when a
social revolution is in progress. Petty tradesmen and artisans spoke
more energetically than the lords. They did more than speak. The
apparitor of the Bishop of London having entered the shop of a mercer in
the ward of St. Bride, and left a summons on the counter calling upon
him to pay a certain clerical tax, the indignant tradesman took up his
yard-measure, whereupon the officer drew his sword, and then, either
from fear or an evil conscience, ran away. The mercer followed him,
assaulted him in the street, and broke his head. The London shopkeepers
did not yet quite understand the representative system; they used their
staves when they should have waited for the speeches of the members of

The king tolerated this agitation because it forwarded his purposes.
There were advisers who insinuated that it was dangerous to give free
course to the passions of the people, and that the English, combining
great physical strength with a decided character, might go too far in
the way of reform, if their prince gave them the rein. But Henry VIII.,
possessing an energetic will, thought it would be easy for him to check
the popular ebullition whenever he pleased. When Jupiter frowned, all
Olympus trembled.

Footnote 5:

  These letters will be found in Bonnet’s _Lettres Françaises de Calvin_
  i. pp. 261, 305, 332, 345, 374. _Zurich Letters_, ii. pp. 70, 785, &c.

Footnote 6:

  Isaiah xlix. 23.

Footnote 7:

  Le Grand, _Preuves du Divorce_, p. 378.

Footnote 8:

  “Il nous faudra jeter le froc aux orties.”—Ibid.

Footnote 9:

  “Certain preachers who presumed to preach openly or secretly in a
  manner contrary to the catholic faith.”—Foxe, _Acts_, iv. p. 677.

Footnote 10:

  Le Grand, _Preuves du Divorce_, Du Bellay to Montmorency, p. 374.

Footnote 11:

  “Communis pronuba inter presbyteros, fratres, monacos et
  canonicos.”—Hall, _Criminal Causes_, p. 28.

Footnote 12:

  “Je crois qu’ils vont faire de beaux miracles.”—Le Grand, _Preuves_,
  p. 374.

                              CHAPTER II.
                            (NOVEMBER 1529.)

[Sidenote: Opening Of The New Parliament.]

On the morning of the 3d of November, Henry went in his barge to the
palace of Bridewell; and, having put on the magnificent robes employed
on great ceremonies, and followed by the lords of his train, he
proceeded to the Blackfriars church, in which the members of the new
parliament had assembled. After hearing the mass of the Holy Ghost,
king, lords, and commons met in parliament; when, as soon as the king
had taken his seat on the throne, the new chancellor, Sir Thomas More,
explained the reason of their being summoned. Thomas Audley, chancellor
of the Duchy of Lancaster, was appointed speaker of the lower house.

Generally speaking, parliament confined itself to passing the
resolutions of the government. The Great Charter had, indeed, been long
in existence, but, until now, it had been little more than a dead
letter. The Reformation gave it life. “Christ brings us out of bondage
into liberty by means of the Gospel,” said Calvin.[13] This
emancipation, which was essentially spiritual, soon extended to other
spheres, and gave an impulse to liberty throughout all Christendom. Even
in England such an impulse was needed. Under the Plantagenets and the
Tudors the constitutional machine existed, but it worked only as it was
directed by the strong hand of the master. Without the Reformation,
England might have slumbered long.

The impulse given by religious truth to the latent liberties of the
people was felt for the first time in the parliament of 1529. The
representatives shared the lively feelings of their constituents, and
took their seats with the firm resolve to introduce the necessary
reforms in the affairs of both Church and State. Indeed, on the very
first day several members pointed out the abuses of the clerical
domination, and proposed to lay the desires of the people before the

The Commons might of their own accord have applied to the task, and, by
proposing rash changes, have given the Reform a character of violence
that might have worked confusion in the State; but they preferred
petitioning the king to take the necessary measures to carry out the
wishes of the nation; and accordingly a petition, respectfully worded,
but in clear and strong language, was agreed to. The Reformation began
in England, as in Switzerland and Germany, with personal conversions.
The individual was reformed first; but it was necessary for the people
to reform afterwards, and the measures requisite to success could not be
taken, in the sixteenth century, without the participation of the
governing powers. Freely, therefore, and nobly, a whole nation was about
to express to their ruler their grievances and wishes.

[Sidenote: Petition Of The Commons.]

On one of the first days of the session the speaker and certain members,
who had been ordered to accompany him, proceeded to the palace. “Your
highness,” they began, “of late much discord, variance, and debate hath
arisen, and more and more daily is likely to increase and ensue amongst
your subjects, to the great inquietation, vexation, and breach of your
peace, of which the chief causes followingly do ensue.”[14]

This opening could not fail to excite the king’s attention and the
Speaker of the House of Commons began boldly to unroll the long list of
the grievances of England. “First, the prelates of your most excellent
realm, and the clergy of the same, have in their convocations made many
and divers laws without your most royal assent, and without the assent
of any of your lay subjects.

“And also many of your said subjects, and specially those that be of the
poorest sort, be daily called before the said spiritual ordinaries or
their commissaries, on the accusement of light and indiscreet persons,
and be excommunicated and put to excessive and impostable charges.

“The prelates suffer the priests to exact divers sums of money for the
sacraments, and sometimes deny the same without the money be first paid.

“Also the said spiritual ordinaries do daily confer and give sundry
benefices unto certain young folks, calling them their nephews or
kinsfolk, being in their minority and within age, not apt nor able to
serve the cure of any such benefice ... whereby the said ordinaries
accumulate to themselves large sums of money, and the poor silly souls
of your people perish without doctrine or any good teaching.

“Also a great number of holydays be kept throughout this your realm,
upon the which many great, abominable, and execrable vices, idle and
wanton sports be used, which holydays might by your majesty be made
fewer in number.

“And also the said spiritual ordinaries commit divers of your subjects
to ward, before they know either the cause of their imprisonment, or the
name of their accuser.”[15]

Thus far the Commons had confined themselves to questions that had been
discussed more than once; they feared to touch upon the subject of
heresy before the Defender of the Roman Faith. But there were
evangelical men among their number who had been eye-witnesses of the
sufferings of the reformed. At the peril, therefore, of offending the
king, the Speaker boldly took up the defence of the pretended heretics.

“If heresy be ordinarily laid unto the charge of the person accused, the
said ordinaries put to them such subtle interrogatories concerning the
high mysteries of our faith, as are able quickly to trap a simple
unlearned layman. And if any heresy be so confessed in word, yet never
committed in thought or deed, they put the said person to make his
purgation. And if the party so accused deny the accusation, witnesses of
little truth or credence are brought forth for the same, and deliver the
party so accused to secular hands.”

The Speaker was not satisfied with merely pointing out the disease: “We
most humbly beseech your Grace, in whom the only remedy resteth, of your
goodness to consent, so that besides the fervent love your Highness
shall thereby engender in the hearts of all your Commons towards your
Grace, ye shall do the most princely feat, and show the most charitable
precedent that ever did sovereign lord upon his subjects.”

The king listened to the petition with his characteristic dignity, and
also with a certain kindliness. He recognized the just demands in the
petition of the Commons, and saw how far they would support the
religious independence to which he aspired. Still, unwilling to take the
part of heresy, he selected only the most crying abuses, and desired his
faithful Commons to take their correction upon themselves. He then sent
the petition to the bishops, requiring them to answer the charges
brought against them, and added that henceforward his consent would be
necessary to give the force of law to the acts of Convocation.

[Sidenote: Reply Of The Bishops.]

This royal communication was a thunderbolt to the prelates. What! the
bishops, the successors of the apostles, accused by the representatives
of the nation, and requested by the king to justify themselves like
criminals!... Had the Commons of England forgotten what a priest was?
These proud ecclesiastics thought only of the indelible virtues which,
in their view, ordination had conferred upon them, and shut their eyes
to the vices of their fallible human nature. We can understand their
emotion, their embarrassment, and their anger. The Reformation which had
made the tour of the continent was at the gates of England; the king was
knocking at their doors. What was to be done? they could not tell. They
assembled, and read the petition again and again. The Archbishop of
Canterbury, and the Bishops of London, Lincoln, St. Asaph, and Rochester
carped at it and replied to it. They would willingly have thrown it into
the fire,—the best of answers in their opinion; but the king was
waiting, and the Archbishop of Canterbury was commissioned to enlighten

Warham did not belong to the most fanatical party; he was a prudent man,
and the wish for reform had hardly taken shape in England when, being
uneasy and timid, he had hastened to give a certain satisfaction to his
flock by reforming abuses which he had sanctioned for thirty years.[16]
But he was a priest, a Romish priest; he represented an inflexible
hierarchy. Strengthened by the clamors of his colleagues, he resolved to
utter the famous _non possumus_, less powerful, however, in England than
in Rome.

“Sire,” he said, “your Majesty’s Commons reproach us with uncharitable
behavior.... On the contrary, we love them with hearty affection, and
have only exercised the spiritual jurisdiction of the Church upon
persons infected with the pestilent poison of heresy. To have peace with
such had been against the gospel of our Saviour Christ, wherein he
saith, _I came not to send peace, but a sword_.

“Your Grace’s Commons complain that the clergy daily do make laws
repugnant to the statutes of your realm. We take our authority from the
Scriptures of God, and shall always diligently apply to conform our
statutes thereto; and we pray that your Highness will, with the assent
of your people, temper your Grace’s laws accordingly; whereby shall
ensue a most sure and hearty conjunction and agreement.

“They accuse us of committing to prison before conviction such as be
suspected of heresy.... Truth it is that certain apostates, friars,
monks, lewd priests, bankrupt merchants, vagabonds, and idle fellows of
corrupt intent have embraced the abominable opinions lately sprung up in
Germany; and by them some have been seduced in simplicity and ignorance.
Against these, if judgment has been exercised according to the laws of
the Church, we be without blame.

“They complain that two witnesses be admitted, be they never so defamed,
to vex and trouble your subjects to the peril of their lives, shames,
costs, and expenses.... To this we reply, the judge must esteem the
quality of the witness; but in heresy no exception is necessary to be
considered, if their tale be likely. This is the universal law of
Christendom, and hath universally done good.

“They say that we give benefices to our nephews and kinsfolk, being in
young age or infants, and that we take the profit of such benefices for
the time of the minority of our said kinsfolk. If it be done to our own
use and profit, it is not well; but if it be bestowed to the bringing up
and use of the same parties, or applied to the maintenance of God’s
service, we do not see but that it may be allowed.”

As for the irregular lives of the priests, the prelates remarked that
they were condemned by the laws of the Church, and consequently there
was nothing to be said on that point.

Lastly, the bishops seized the opportunity of taking the offensive:—“We
entreat of your Grace to repress heresy. This we beg of you, lowly upon
our knees, so entirely as we can.”[17]

Such was the brief of Roman Catholicism in England. Its defence would
have sufficed to condemn it.

Footnote 13:

  In Johannem, viii. 36.

Footnote 14:

  MS. petition in Record Office: Froude, _History of England_, i. pp.
  208, 214.

Footnote 15:

  Petition of the Commons: Froude’s _England_, i. pp. 208-216.

Footnote 16:

  “Within these ten weeks, I reformed many other things.”—Froude, i.
  233, _Reply of the Bishops_.

Footnote 17:

  _The Answer of the Ordinaries._ Record Office MS. Froude, i. p. 225.

                              CHAPTER III.
                             (END OF 1529.)

[Sidenote: Indignation At The Reply.]

The answer of the bishops was criticised in the royal residence, in the
House of Commons, at the meetings of the burgesses, in the streets of
the capital, and in the provinces, everywhere exciting a lively
indignation. “What!” said they, “the bishops accuse the most pious and
active Christians of England,—men like Bilney, Fryth, Tyndale, and
Latimer,—of that idleness and irregularity of which their monks and
priests are continually showing us examples. To no purpose have the
Commons indisputably proved their grievances, if the bishops reply to
notorious facts by putting forward their scholastic system. We condemn
their practice, and they take shelter behind their theories; as if the
reproach laid against them was not precisely that their lives are in
opposition to their laws. ‘The fault is not in the Church,’ they say.
But it is its ministers that we accuse.”

The indignant parliament boldly took up the axe, attacked the tree, and
cut off the withered and rotten branches. One bill followed another,
irritating the clergy, but filling the people with joy. When the legacy
dues were under discussion, one of the members drew a touching picture
of the avarice and cruelty of the priests. “They have no compassion,” he
said. “The children of the dead should all die of hunger and go begging,
rather than they would of charity give to them the silly cow which the
dead man owed, if he had only one.” There was a movement of indignation
in the house, and they forbade the clergy to take any mortuary fees when
the effects were small.

“And that is not all,” said another. “The clergy monopolize large tracts
of land, and the poor are compelled to pay an extravagant price for
whatever they buy. They are everything in the world but preachers of
God’s Word and shepherds of souls. They buy and sell wool, cloth, and
other merchandise; they keep tanneries and breweries.... How can they
attend to their spiritual duties in the midst of such occupations?”[18]
The clergy were consequently prohibited from holding large estates or
carrying on the business of merchant, tanner, brewer, etc. At the same
time plurality of benefices (some ignorant priests holding as many as
ten or twelve) was forbidden, and residence was enforced. The Commons
further enacted that any one seeking a dispensation for non-residence
(even were the application made to the pope himself) should be liable to
a heavy fine.

The clergy saw at last that they must reform. They forbade priests from
keeping shops and taverns, playing at dice or other games of chance,
passing through towns and villages with hawks and hounds, being present
at unbecoming entertainments, and spending the night in suspected
houses.[19] Convocation proceeded to enact severe penalties against
these disorders, doubling them for adultery, and tripling them for
incest. The laity asked how it was that the Church had waited so long
before coming to this resolution, and whether these scandals had become
criminal only because the Commons condemned them?

[Sidenote: Bishops Accuse The Commons.]

But the bishops who reformed the lower clergy did not intend to resign
their own privileges. One day, when a bill relating to wills was laid
before the upper house, the Archbishop of Canterbury and all the other
prelates frowned, murmured, and looked uneasily around them.[20] They
exclaimed that the Commons were heretics and schismatics, and almost
called them infidels and atheists. In all places good men required that
morality should again be united with religion, and that piety should not
be made to consist merely in certain ceremonies, but in the awakening of
the conscience, a lively faith, and holy conduct. The bishops, not
discerning that God’s work was then being accomplished in the world,
determined to maintain the ancient order of things at all risks.

Their efforts had some chance of success, for the House of Lords was
essentially conservative. The Bishop of Rochester, a sincere but
narrow-minded man, presuming on the respect inspired by his age and
character, boldly came forward as the defender of the Church. “My
lords,” he said, “these bills have no other object than the destruction
of the Church; and, if the Church goes down, all the glory of the
kingdom will fall with it. Remember what happened to the Bohemians. Like
them our Commons cry out,—‘Down with the Church!’ Whence cometh that
cry? Simply from lack of faith.... My lords, save the country, save the

This speech made the Commons very indignant. Some members thought the
bishop denied that they were Christians. They sent thirty of their
leading men to the king. “Sire,” said the Speaker, “it is an attaint
upon the honor of your Majesty to calumniate before the upper house
those whom your subjects have elected. They are accused of lack of
faith, that is to say, they are no better than Turks, Saracens, and
heathens. Be pleased to call before you the bishop who has insulted your

The king made a gracious reply, and immediately sent one of his officers
to invite the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of Rochester, and six
other prelates to appear before him. They came, quite uneasy as to what
the prince might have to say to them. They knew that, like all the
Plantagenets, Henry VIII. would not suffer his clergy to resist him.
Immediately the king informed them of the complaint made by the Commons,
their hearts sank, and they lost courage. They thought only how to
escape the prince’s anger, and the most venerated among them, Fisher,
having recourse to falsehood, asserted that, when speaking about “lack
of faith,” he had not thought of the Commons of England, but of the
Bohemians only. The other prelates confirmed this inadmissible
interpretation. This was a graver fault than the fault itself, and the
unbecoming evasion was a defeat to the clerical party from which they
never recovered. The king allowed the excuse; but he afterwards made the
bishops feel the little esteem he entertained for them. As for the House
of Commons, it loudly expressed the disdain aroused in them by the
bishops’ subterfuge.

One chance of safety still remained to them. Mixed committees of the two
houses examined the resolutions of the Commons. The peers, especially
the ecclesiastical peers, opposed the reform by appealing to usage.
“Usage!” ironically observed a Gray’s-inn lawyer; “the usage hath ever
been of thieves to rob on Shooter’s hill, _ergo_ it is lawful, and ought
to be kept up!” This remark sorely irritated the prelates: “What! our
acts are compared to robberies!” But the lawyer, addressing the
Archbishop of Canterbury, seriously endeavored to prove to him that the
exactions of the clergy, in the matter of probates and mortuaries, were
open robbery. The temporal lords gradually adopted the opinions of the

In the midst of these debates, the king did not lose sight of his own
interests. Six years before, he had raised a loan among his subjects; he
thought parliament ought to relieve him of this debt. This demand was
opposed by the members most devoted to the principle of the Reformation;
John Petit, in particular, the friend of Bilney and Tyndale, said, in
parliament,—“I give the king all I lent him; but I cannot give him what
others have lent him.” Henry was not, however, discouraged, and finally
obtained the act required.

[Sidenote: Pluralism Abolished.]

The king soon showed that he was pleased with the Commons. Two bills met
with a stern opposition from the Lords; they were those abolishing
pluralism and non-residence. These two customs were so convenient and
advantageous that the clergy determined not to give them up. Henry,
seeing that the two houses would never agree, resolved to cut the
difficulty. At his desire eight members from each met one afternoon in
the Star Chamber. There was an animated discussion; but the lay lords,
who were in the conference, taking part with the commons, the bishops
were forced to yield. The two bills passed the Lords the next day, and
received the king’s assent. After this triumph the king adjourned
parliament in the middle of December.

The different reforms that had been carried through were important, but
they were not the Reformation. Many abuses were corrected, but the
doctrines remained unaltered; the power of the clergy was restricted,
but the authority of Christ was not increased; the dry branches of the
tree had been lopped off, but a scion calculated to bear good fruit had
not been grafted on the wild stock. Had matters stopped here, we might
perhaps have obtained a Church with morals less repulsive, but not with
a holy doctrine and a new life. But the Reformation was not contented
with more decorous forms, it required a second creation.

At the same time parliament had taken a great stride towards the
revolution that was to transform the Church. A new power had taken its
place in the world: the laity had triumphed over the clergy. No doubt
there were upright catholics who gave their assent to the laws passed in
1529; but these laws were nevertheless a product of the Reformation.
This it was that had inspired the laity with that new energy, parliament
with that bold action, and given the liberties of the nation that
impulse which they had wanted hitherto. The joy was great throughout the
kingdom; and, while the king removed to Greenwich to keep Christmas
there “with great plenty of viands, and disguisings, and interludes,”
the members of the Commons were welcomed in the towns and villages with
public rejoicings.[21] In the people’s eyes their representatives were
like soldiers who had just gained a brilliant victory. The clergy alone,
in all England, were downcast and exasperated. On returning to their
residences the bishops could not conceal their anguish at the danger of
the Church.[22] The priests, who had been the first victims offered up
on the altar of reform, bent their heads. But if the clergy foresaw days
of mourning, the laity hailed with joy the glorious era of the liberties
of the people, and of the greatness of England. The friends of the
Reformation went farther still; they believed that the Gospel would work
a complete change in the world, and talked, as Tyndale informs us, “as
though the golden age would come again.”[23]

Footnote 18:

  Foxe, _Acts_, iv. p. 611.

Footnote 19:

  “Quod non pernoctent in locis suspectis. Mulierum colloquia suspecta
  nullatenus habeant.”—Wilkins, _Concilia_, iii. pp. 717, 722, &c.

Footnote 20:

  “The Archbishop of Canterbury and all the bishops began to frown and
  grunt.”—Foxe, _Acts_, iv. p. 612.

Footnote 21:

  Foxe, _Acts_, iv. p. 614.

Footnote 22:

  “The great displeasure of spiritual persons.”—Ibid.

Footnote 23:

  Tyndale’s _Works_, i. p. 421.

                              CHAPTER IV.
                           (WINTER OF 1530.)

Before such glorious hopes could be realized, it was necessary to
emancipate Great Britain from the yoke of Romish supremacy. This was the
end to which all generous monks aspired; but would the king assist them?

[Sidenote: Henry’s Motives.]

Henry VIII. united strength of body with strength of will; both were
marked on his manly form. Lively, active, eager, vehement, impatient,
and voluptuous,—whatever he was, he was with his whole soul. He was at
first all heart for the Church of Rome; he went barefoot on pilgrimages,
wrote against Luther, and flattered the pope. But before long he grew
tired of Rome, without desiring the Reformation. Profoundly selfish, he
cared for himself alone. If the papal domination offended him,
evangelical liberty annoyed him. He meant to remain master in his own
house,—the only master, and master of all. Even without the divorce,
Henry would possibly have separated from Rome. Rather than endure any
contradiction, this singular man put to death friends and enemies,
bishops and missionaries, ministers of state, and favorites—even his
wives. Such was the prince whom the Reformation found King of England.

History would be unjust, however, were it to maintain that passion alone
urged him to action. The question of the succession to the throne had
for a century filled the country with confusion and blood. This Henry
could not forget. Would the struggles of the two Roses be renewed after
his death, occasioning, perhaps, the destruction of an ancient monarchy?
If Mary, a princess of delicate health, should die, Scotland, France,
the party of the White Rose, the Duke of Suffolk, whose wife was Henry’s
sister, might drag the kingdom into endless wars. And even if Mary’s
days were prolonged, her title to the crown might be disputed, no female
sovereign having as yet sat upon the throne. Another train of ideas also
occupied the king’s mind. He inquired sincerely whether his marriage
with the widow of his brother was lawful. Even before its consummation,
he had felt doubts about it. But even his defenders, if there are any,
must acknowledge that one circumstance contributed at this time to give
unusual force to these scruples. Passion impelled the king to break a
holy bond; he loved another woman.

Catholic writers imagine that this guilty motive was the only one. It is
a mistake, for the two former indisputably occupied Henry’s mind. As for
parliament and people, the king’s love for Anne Boleyn affected them
very little. It was the reason of state which made them regard the
divorce as just and necessary.[24]

A congress was at that time sitting at Bologna with great pomp.[25] On
the 5th of November, Charles V. having arrived from Spain, had entered
the city, attended by a magnificent suite, and followed by 20,000
soldiers. He was covered with gold, and shone with grace and majesty.
The pope waited for him in front of the church of San Petronio, seated
on a throne, and wearing the triple crown. The emperor, master of Italy,
which his soldiers had reduced to the last desolation,[26] fell
prostrate before the pontiff, but lately his prisoner. The union of
these two monarchs, both enemies of Henry VIII., seemed destined to ruin
the King of England and thwart his great affair.

[Sidenote: Henry’s Embassy To Rome.]

And yet, not long before, an ambassador from Charles V. had been
received at Whitehall: it was Master Eustace Chappuis, who had already
discharged a mission to Geneva.[27] He came to solicit aid against the
Turks. Henry caught at the chance: he imagined the moment to be
favorable, and that he ought to despatch an embassy to the head of the
empire and the head of the Church. He sent for the Earl of Wiltshire,
Anne Boleyn’s father; Edward Lee, afterwards Archbishop of York;
Stokesley, afterwards Bishop of London, and some others. He told them
that the emperor desired his alliance, and commissioned them to proceed
to Italy, and explain to Charles V. the serious motives that induced him
to separate from Catherine. “If he persists in his opposition to the
divorce,” continued Henry, “threaten him, but in covert terms. If the
threats prove useless, tell him plainly that, in accord with my friends,
I will do all I can to restore peace to my troubled conscience.” He
added with more calmness,—“I am resolved to fear God rather than man,
and to place full reliance on comfort from the Saviour.”[28] Was Henry
sincere when he spoke thus? No one can doubt of his sensuality, his
scholastic catholicism, and his cruel violence:—must we also believe in
his hypocrisy? He was no doubt under a delusion, and deceived himself on
the state of his soul.

An important member was added to the deputation. One day when the king
was occupied with this affair, Thomas Cranmer appeared at the door of
his closet with a manuscript in his hand. Cranmer had a fine
understanding, a warm heart, a character perhaps too weak, but extensive
learning. Captivated by the Holy Scriptures, he desired to seek for
truth nowhere else. He had suggested a new point of view to Henry VIII.
“The essential thing,” he said, “is to know what the Word of God teaches
on the matter in question.” “Show me that,” exclaimed the king. Cranmer
brought him his treatise, in which he proved that the Word of God is
above all human jurisdiction, and that it forbids marriage with a
brother’s widow. Henry took the work in his hand, read it again and
again, and praised its excellence. A bright idea occurred to him. “Are
you strong enough to maintain before the Bishop of Rome the propositions
laid down in this treatise?” said the king. Cranmer was timid, but
convinced and devoted. “Yes,” he made answer, “with God’s grace, and if
your Majesty commands it.” “Marry, then,” exclaimed Henry with delight,
“I will send you.”[29] Cranmer departed with the others in January,

[Sidenote: Clement’s Alarm.]

While Henry’s ambassadors were journeying slowly, Charles V., more
exasperated than ever against the divorce, endeavored to gain the pope.
Clement VII., who was a clever man, and possessed a certain kindly
humor, but was at heart cunning, false, and cowardly, amused the
puissant emperor with words. When he learned that the King of England
was sending an embassy to him, he gave way to the keenest sorrow. What
was he to do? which way could he turn? To irritate the emperor was
dangerous; to separate England from Rome would be to endure a great
loss. Caught between Charles V. and Henry VIII., he groaned aloud; he
paced up and down his chamber gesticulating; then suddenly stopping,
sank into a chair and burst into tears. Nothing succeeded with him: it
was, he thought, as if he had been bewitched. What need was there for
the King of England to send him an embassy? Had not Clement told Henry
through the Bishop of Tarbes: “I am content the marriage should take
place, provided it be without my authorization.”[30] It was of no use:
the pope asked him to do without the papacy, and the king would only act
with it. He was more popish than the pope.

To add to his misfortunes, Charles began to press the pontiff more
seriously, and yielding to his importunities, Clement drew up a brief on
the 7th of March, in which he commanded Henry “to receive Catherine with
love, and to treat her in all things with the affection of a
husband.”[31] But the brief was scarcely written when the arrival of the
English embassy was announced. The pope in alarm immediately put the
document back into his portfolio, promising himself that it would be
long before he published it.

As soon as the English envoys had taken up their quarters at Bologna,
the ambassadors of France called to pay their respects. De Gramont,
Bishop of Tarbes, was overflowing with politeness, especially to the
Earl of Wiltshire. “I have shown much honor to M. de Rochford,” he wrote
to his master on the 28th of March. “I went out to meet him. I have
visited him often at his lodging. I have fêted him, and offered him my
solicitations and services, telling him that such were your orders.”[32]
Not thus did Clement VII. act: the arrival of the Earl of Wiltshire and
his colleagues was a cause of alarm to him. Yet he must make up his mind
to receive them: he appointed the day and the hour for the audience.

Henry VIII. desired that his representatives should appear with great
pomp, and accordingly the ambassador and his colleagues went to great
expense with that intent.[33] Wiltshire entered first into the
audience-hall; being father of Anne Boleyn, he had been appointed by the
king as the man in all England most interested in the success of his
plans. But Henry had calculated badly: the personal interest which the
earl felt in the divorce made him odious both to Charles and Clement.
The pope, wearing his pontifical robes, was seated on the throne
surrounded by his cardinals. The ambassadors approached, made the
customary salutations, and stood before him. The pontiff, wishing to
show his kindly feelings towards the envoys of the “_Defender of the
Faith_,” put out his slipper according to custom, presenting it
graciously to the kisses of those proud Englishmen. The revolt was about
to begin. The earl, remaining motionless, refused to kiss his holiness’s
slipper. But that was not all; a fine spaniel, with long silky hair,
which Wiltshire had brought from England, had followed him to the
episcopal palace. When the bishop of Rome put out his foot, the dog did
what other dogs would have done under similar circumstances: he flew at
the foot, and caught the pope by the great toe.[34] Clement hastily drew
it back. The sublime borders on the ridiculous: the ambassadors,
bursting with laughter, raised their arms and hid their faces behind
their long rich sleeves. “That dog was a _protestant_,” said a reverend
father. “Whatever he was,” said an Englishman, “he taught us that a
pope’s foot was more meet to be bitten by dogs than kissed by Christian
men.” The pope, recovering from his emotion, prepared to listen, and the
count, regaining his seriousness, explained to the pontiff that as Holy
Scripture forbade a man to marry his brother’s wife, Henry VIII.
required him to annul as unlawful his union with Catherine of Aragon. As
Clement did not seem convinced, the ambassador skilfully insinuated that
the king might possibly declare himself independent of Rome, and place
the British church under the direction of a patriarch. “The example,”
added the ambassador, “will not fail to be imitated by other kingdoms of

The agitated pope promised not to remove the suit to Rome, provided the
king would give up the idea of reforming England. Then, putting on a
most gracious air, he proposed to introduce the ambassador to Charles V.
This was giving Wiltshire the chance of receiving a harsh rebuff. The
earl saw it; but his duty obliging him to confer with the emperor, he
accepted the offer.

The father of Anne Boleyn proceeded to an audience with the nephew of
Catherine of Aragon. Representatives of two women whose rival causes
agitated Europe, these two men could not meet without a collision. True,
the earl flattered himself that as it was Charles’s interest to detach
Henry from Francis I., that phlegmatic and politic prince would
certainly not sacrifice the gravest interests of his reign for a matter
of sentiment; but he was deceived. The emperor received him with a calm
and reserved air, but unaccompanied by any kindly demonstration. The
ambassador skilfully began with speaking of the Turkish war; then
ingeniously passing to the condition of the kingdom of England, he
pointed out the reasons of state which rendered the divorce necessary.
Here Charles stopped him short: “Sir Count, you are not to be trusted in
this matter; you are a party to it; let your colleagues speak.” The earl
replied with respectful coldness: “Sire, I do not speak here as a
father, but as my master’s servant, and I am commissioned to inform you
that his conscience condemns a union contrary to the law of God.”[36] He
then offered Charles the immediate restitution of Catherine’s dowry. The
emperor coldly replied that he would support his aunt in her rights, and
then abruptly turning his back on the ambassador, refused to hear him
any longer.[37]

Thus did Charles, who had been all his life a crafty politician, place
in this matter the cause of justice above the interests of his ambition.
Perhaps he might lose an important ally; it mattered not; before
everything he would protect a woman unworthily treated. On this occasion
we feel more sympathy for Charles than for Henry. The indignant emperor
hastily quitted Bologna, on the 22d or 24th of February.

The earl hastened to his friend M. de Gramont, and, relating how he had
been treated, proposed that the kings of France and England should unite
in the closest bonds. He added, that Henry could not accept Clement as
his judge, since he had himself declared that he was ignorant of the law
of God.[38] “England,” he said, “will be quiet for three or four months.
Sitting in the ballroom, she will watch the dancers, and will form her
resolution according as they dance well or ill.”[39] A rule of policy
that has often been followed.

[Sidenote: Gramont’s Policy.]

Gramont was prepared to make common cause with Henry against the
emperor; but, like his master, he could not make his mind to do without
the pope. He strove to induce Clement to join the two kings and abandon
Charles; or else—he insinuated in his turn—England would separate from
the Romish Church. This was to incur the risk of losing Western Europe,
and accordingly the pope answered with much concern: “I will do what you
ask.” There was, however, a reserve; namely, that the steps taken
overtly by the pope would absolutely decide nothing.

Clement once more received the ambassador of Henry VIII. The earl
carried with him the book wherein Cranmer proved that the pope cannot
dispense any one from obeying the law of God, and presented it to the
pope. The latter took it and glanced over it, his looks showing that a
prison could not have been more disagreeable to him than this
impertinent volume.[40] The Earl of Wiltshire soon discovered that there
was nothing for him to do in Italy. Charles V., usually so reserved, had
made the bitterest remarks before his departure. His chancellor, with an
air of triumph, enumerated to the English ambassador all the divines of
Italy and France who were opposed to the king’s wishes. The pope seemed
to be a puppet which the emperor moved as he liked, and the cardinals
had but one idea,—that of exalting the Romish power. Wearied and
disgusted, the earl departed for France and England with the greater
portion of his colleagues.

Cranmer was left behind. Having been sent to show Clement that Holy
Scripture is above all Roman pontiffs, and speaks in a language quite
opposed to that of the popes, he had asked more than once for an
audience at which to discharge his mission. The wily pontiff had replied
that he would hear him at Rome, believing he was thus putting him off
until the Greek calends. But Clement was deceived; the English doctor,
determining to do his duty, refused to depart for London with the rest
of the embassy, and repaired to the metropolis of Catholicism.

Footnote 24:

  “All indifferent and discreet persons judged that it was right and
  necessary.”—Hall, _Chronicles of England_, p. 784.

Footnote 25:

  “Congressus iste magna cum pompa fiet.”—_State Papers_, vii. p. 209.
  We must not confound this congress with the one held later in this
  city. See antea, vol. ii. book ii. chap. xxv. xxvi. xxix.

Footnote 26:

  Letter from Sir H. Carew to Henry VIII.: _State Papers_, vii. 225.

Footnote 27:

  Antea, vol. i. ch. ix.

Footnote 28:

  Instruction to Wiltshire: _State Papers_, vii. p. 230.

Footnote 29:

  Foxe, _Acts_, viii. p. 9.

Footnote 30:

  Le Grand, _Preuves_, p. 400.

Footnote 31:

  “Reginam complectendo, affectione maritali tractet in omnibus.”—Le
  Grand, _Preuves_, p. 451.

Footnote 32:

  Ibid. p. 399.

Footnote 33:

  “Esso Conte habi commissione far una grossa spesa.”—_Lettre de Joachim
  de Vaux_, ibid. p. 409.

Footnote 34:

  “The spaniel took fast with his mouth the great toe of the
  pope.”—Foxe, _Acts_, viii. p. 9.

Footnote 35:

  “Che l’altri regni questo imitando.”—Le Grand, _Preuves du Divorce_,
  p. 419.

Footnote 36:

  Le Grand, _Preuves_, pp. 401, 454.

Footnote 37:

  Le Grand, _Preuves_, pp. 401, 454.

Footnote 38:

  “He declared himself ignorant of that law.”—_State Papers_, xii. p.

Footnote 39:

  Le Grand, _Preuves_, pp. 401, 455.

Footnote 40:

  ‘A book as welcome to his Holiness as a prison.’—Fuller, _Church
  History_, p. 182.

                               CHAPTER V.
                           (WINTER OF 1530.)

[Sidenote: Wiltshire’s Departure.]

At the same time that Henry sent ambassadors to Italy to obtain the
pope’s consent, he invited all the universities of Christendom to
declare that the question of divorce was of divine right, and that the
pope had nothing to say about it. It was his opinion that the universal
voice of the Church ought to decide, and not the voice of one man.

First, he attempted to canvass Cambridge, and, as he wanted a skilful
man for that purpose, he applied to Wolsey’s old servant, Stephen
Gardiner, an intelligent, active, wily churchman and a good catholic.
One thing alone was superior to his catholicism,—his desire to win the
king’s favor. He aspired to rise like the cardinal to the summit of
greatness. Henry named the chief almoner, Edward Fox, as his colleague.

Arriving at Cambridge one Saturday about noon, in the latter half of
February, the royal commissioners held a conference in the evening with
the vice-chancellor (Dr. Buckmaster), Dr. Edmunds, and other influential
men who had resolved to go with the court. But these doctors, members of
the political party, soon found themselves checked by an embarrassing
support on which they had not calculated; it was that of the friends of
the Gospel. They had been convinced by the writing which Cranmer had
published on the divorce. Gardiner and the members of the conference,
hearing of the assistance which the evangelicals desired to give them,
were annoyed at first. On the other hand, the champions of the court of
Rome, alarmed at the alliance of the two parties who were opposed to
them, began that very night to visit college after college, leaving no
stone unturned that the peril might be averted. Gardiner, uneasy at
their zeal, wrote to Henry VIII:—‘As we assembled, they assembled; as we
made friends, they made friends.’[41] Dr. Watson, Dr. Tomson, and other
fanatical individuals at one time shouted very loudly, at another spoke
in whispers.[42] They said that Anne Boleyn was a heretic, that her
marriage with Henry would hand England over to Luther; and they related
to those whom they desired to gain—wrote Gardiner to the king—‘many
fables too tedious to repeat to your Grace.’ These ‘fables’ would not
only have bored Henry, but greatly irritated him.

[Sidenote: A Noisy Meeting.]

The vice-chancellor, flattering himself that he had a majority,
notwithstanding these clamors, called a meeting of the doctors,
bachelors of divinity, and masters of arts, for Sunday afternoon. About
two hundred persons assembled, and the three parties were distinctly
marked out. The most numerous and the most excited were those who held
for the pope against the king. The evangelicals were in a minority, but
were quite as decided as their adversaries, and much calmer. The
politicians, uneasy at seeing the friends of Latimer and Cranmer
disposed to vote with them, would have, however, to accept of their
support, if they wished to gain the victory. They resolved to seize the
opportunity offered them. ‘Most learned senators,’ said the
vice-chancellor, ‘I have called you together because the great love
which the king bears you engages me to consult your wisdom.’ Thereupon
Gardiner and Fox handed in the letter which Henry had given them, and
the vice-chancellor read it to the meeting. In it the king set forth his
hopes of seeing the doctors unanimous to do what was agreeable to him.
The deliberations commenced, and the question of a rupture with Rome
soon began to appear distinctly beneath the question of the divorce.
Edmunds spoke for the king, Tomson for the pope. There was an
interchange of antagonistic opinions and a disorder of ideas among many;
the speakers grew warm; one voice drowned another, and the confusion
became extreme.[43]

The vice-chancellor, desirous of putting an end to the clamor, proposed
referring the matter to a committee, whose decision should be regarded
as that of the whole university, which was agreed to. Then, seeing more
clearly that the royal cause could not succeed without the help of the
evangelical party, he proposed some of its leaders—Doctors Salcot, Reps,
Crome, Shaxton, and Latimer—as members of the committee. On hearing
these names, there was an explosion of murmurs in the meeting. Salcot,
Abbot of St. Benet’s, was particularly offensive to the doctors of the
Romish party. ‘We protest,’ they said, ‘against the presence in the
committee of those who have approved of Cranmer’s book, and thus
declared their opinion already.’ ‘When any matter is talked of all over
the kingdom,’ answered Gardiner, ‘there is not a sensible man who does
not tell his friends what he thinks about it.’ The whole afternoon was
spent in lively altercation. The vice-chancellor, wishing to bring it to
an end, said: ‘Gentlemen, it is getting late, and I invite every one to
take his seat, and declare his mind by a secret vote.’[44] It was
useless; no one took his seat; the confusion, reproaches, and
declamations continued. At dark, the vice-chancellor adjourned the
meeting until the next day. The doctors separated in great excitement,
but with different feelings. While the politicians saw nothing else to
discuss but the question of the king’s marriage, the evangelicals and
the papists considered that the real question was this: Which shall rule
in England—the Reformation or Popery?

The next day, the names of the members of the committee having been put
to the vote, the meeting was found to be divided into two equal parties.
In order to obtain a majority Gardiner undertook to get some of his
adversaries out of the way. Going up and down the Senate-house, he began
to whisper in the ears of some of the less decided; and, inspiring them
either with hope or fear, he prevailed upon several to leave the

The grace was then put to the vote a third time and passed. Gardiner
triumphed. Returning to his room, he sent the list to the king. Sixteen
of the committee, indicated by the letter A, were favorable to his
majesty. ‘As for the twelve others,’ he wrote, ‘we hope to win most of
them by _good means_.’ The committee met, and took up the royal demand.
They carefully examined the passages of Holy Scripture, the explanations
of translators, and gave their opinion.[46] Then followed the public
discussion. Gardiner was not without fear; as there might be skilful
assailants and awkward defenders, he looked out for men qualified to
defend the royal cause worthily. It was a remarkable circumstance that,
passing over the traditional doctors, he added to the defence—of which
he and Fox were the leaders—two evangelical doctors, Salcot, Abbot of
St. Benet’s, and Reps. He reserved to his colleague and himself the
political part of the question; but notwithstanding all his catholicism,
he desired that the scriptural reasons should be placed foremost. The
discussion was conducted with great thoroughness,[47] and the victory
remained with the king’s champions.

[Sidenote: Majority For The King.]

On the 9th of March, the doctors, professors, and masters having met
after vespers in the priory hall, the vice-chancellor said: ‘It has
appeared to us as most certain, most in accord with Holy Scripture, and
most conformable to the opinions of commentators, that it is contrary to
divine and natural law for a man to marry the widow of his brother dying
childless.’[48] Thus the Scriptures were really, if not explicitly,
declared by the university of Cambridge to be the supreme and only rule
of Christians, and the contrary decisions of Rome were held to be not
binding. The Word of God was avenged of the long contempt it had
endured, and, after having been put below the pope’s word, was now
restored to its lawful place. In this matter Cambridge was right.

[Sidenote: The King’s Letter To Oxford.]

It was necessary to try Oxford next. Here the opposition was stronger,
and the popish party looked forward to a victory. Longland, Bishop of
Lincoln and chancellor of the university, was commissioned by Henry to
undertake the matter; Doctor Bell, and afterwards Edward Fox, the chief
almoner, being joined with him. The king, uneasy at the results of the
negotiation, and wishing for a favorable decision at any cost, gave
Longland a letter for the university, through every word of which an
undisguised despotism was visible. ‘We will and command you,’ he said,
‘that ye, not leaning to wilful and sinister opinions of your own
several minds, considering that we be your sovereign liege lord, and
totally giving your affections to the true overtures of divine learning
in this behalf, do show and declare your true and just learning in the
said cause.... And we, for your so doing, shall be to you and to our
university there so good and gracious a lord for the same, as ye shall
perceive it well done in your well fortune to come. And in case you do
not uprightly handle yourselves herein, we shall so quickly and sharply
look to your unnatural misdemeanor herein, that it shall not be to your
quietness and ease hereafter.... Accommodate yourselves to the mere
truth; assuring you that those who do shall be esteemed and set forth,
and the contrary neglected and little set by.... We doubt not that your
resolution shall be our high contentation and pleasure.’

This royal missive caused a great commotion in the university. Some
slavishly bent their heads, for the king spoke rod in hand. Others
declared themselves convinced by the political reasons, and said that
Henry must have an heir whose right to the throne could not be disputed.
And, lastly, some were convinced that Holy Scripture was favorable to
the royal cause. All men of age and learning, as well as all who had
either capacity or ambition, declared in favor of the divorce.
Nevertheless a formidable opposition soon showed itself.

The younger members of the Senate were enthusiastic for Catherine, the
Church, and the pope. Their theological education was imperfect; they
could not go to the bottom of the question, but they judged by the
heart. To see a Catholic lady oppressed, to see Rome despised, inflamed
their anger; and, if the elder members maintained that their view was
the more reasonable, the younger ones believed theirs to be the more
noble. Unhappily, when the choice lies between the useful and the
generous, the useful commonly triumphs. Still, the young doctors were
not prepared to yield. They said—and they were not wrong—that religion
and morality ought not to be sacrificed to reasons of state, or to the
passions of princes. And, seeing the spectre of Reform hidden behind
that of the divorce, they regarded themselves as called upon to save the
Church. ‘Alas!’ said the royal delegates, the Bishop of Lincoln and Dr.
Bell, ‘alas! we are in continual perplexity, and we cannot foresee with
any certainty what will be the issue of this business.’[49]

They agreed with the heads of houses that, in order to prepare the
university, three public disputations should be solemnly held in the
divinity schools. By this means they hoped to gain time. ‘Such
disputations,’ they said, ‘are a very honorable means of amusing the
multitude until we are sure of the consent of the majority.’[50] The
discussions took place, and the younger masters, arranging each day what
was to be done or said, gave utterance to all the warmth of their

When the news of these animated discussions reached Henry, his
displeasure broke out, and those immediately around him fanned his
indignation. ‘A great part of the youth of our university,’ said the
king, ‘with contentious and factious manners, daily combine
together.’... The courtiers, instead of moderating, excited his anger.
Every day, they told him, these young men, regardless of their duty
towards their sovereign, and not conforming to the opinions of the most
virtuous and learned men of the university, meet together to deliberate
and oppose his majesty’s views. ‘Hath it ever been seen,’ exclaimed the
king, ‘that such a number of right small learning should stay their
seniors in so weighty a cause?’[51] Henry, in exasperation, wrote to the
heads of the houses: ‘_Non est bonum irritare crabrones_.’ It is not
good to stir a hornet’s nest. This threat excited the younger party
still more: if the term ‘hornet’ amused some, it irritated others. In
hot weather, the hornet (the king) chases the weaker insects; but the
noise he makes in flying forewarns them, and the little ones escape him.
Henry could not hide his vexation; he feared lest the little flies
should prove stronger than the big hornet. He was uneasy in his castle
of Windsor; and the insolent opposition of Oxford pursued him wherever
he turned his steps—on the terrace, in the wide park, and even in the
royal chapel. ‘What!’ he exclaimed, ‘shall this university dare show
itself more unkind and wilful than all other universities, abroad or at
home?’[52] Cambridge had recognized the king’s right, and Oxford

Wishing to end the matter, Henry summoned the High-Almoner Fox to
Windsor, and ordered him to repeat at Oxford the victory he had gained
at Cambridge. He then dictated to his secretary a letter to the
recalcitrants: ‘We cannot a little marvel that you, neither having
respect to our estate,—being your prince and sovereign lord,—nor yet
remembering such benefits as we have always showed unto you, have
hitherto refused the accomplishment of our desire. Permit no longer the
private suffrages of light and wilful heads to prevail over the learned.
By your diligence redeem the errors and delays past.

‘Given under our signet, at our castle of Windsor.’[53]

Fox was entrusted with this letter.

The Lord High-Almoner and the Bishop of Lincoln immediately called
together the younger masters of the university, and declared that a
longer resistance might lead to their ruin. But the youth of Oxford were
not to be overawed by threats of violence. Lincoln had hardly finished
when several masters of arts protested loudly. Some even spoke ‘very
wickedly.’ Not permitting himself to be checked by such rebellion, the
bishop ordered the poll to be taken. Twenty-seven voted for the king,
and twenty-two against. The royal commissioners were not yet satisfied;
they assembled all the faculties, and invited the members to give their
opinion in turn. This intimidated many, and only eight or ten had
courage enough to declare their opposition frankly. The bishop,
encouraged by such a result, ordered that the final vote should be taken
by ballot. Secrecy emboldened many of those who had not dared to speak;
and, while thirty-one voted in favor of the divorce, twenty-five opposed
it. That was of little consequence, as the two prelates had the
majority. They immediately drew up the statute in the name of the
university, and sent it to the king. After which the bishop, proud of
his success, celebrated a solemn mass of the Holy Ghost.[54] The Holy
Ghost had not, however, been much attended to in the business. Some had
obeyed the prince, others the pope; and, if we desire to find those who
obeyed Christ, we must look for them elsewhere.

[Sidenote: Latimer’s Evangelical Courage.]

The university of Cambridge was the first to send in its submission to
Henry. The Sunday before Easter (1530), Vice-Chancellor Buckmaster
arrived at Windsor in the forenoon. The court was at chapel, where
Latimer, recently appointed one of the king’s chaplains, was preaching.
The vice-chancellor came in during the service, and heard part of the
sermon. Latimer was a very different man from Henry’s servile courtiers.
He did not fear even to attack such of his colleagues as did not do
their duty: ‘That is no godly preacher that will hold his peace, and not
strike you with his sword that you smoke again.... Chaplains will not do
their duties, but rather flatter. But what shall follow? Marry, they
shall have God’s curse upon their heads for their labor. The minister
must reprove without fearing any man, even if he be threatened with
death.’[55] Latimer was particularly bold in all that concerned the
errors of Rome which Henry VIII. desired to maintain in the English
Church. ‘Wicked persons (he said),—men who despise God,—call out, “We
are christened, therefore are we saved.” Marry, to be christened and not
obey God’s commandments is to be worse than the Turks! Regeneration
cometh from the Word of God. It is by believing this Word that we are
born again.’[56]

Thus spoke one of the fathers of the British Reformation: such is the
real doctrine of the Church of England; the contrary doctrine is a mere
relic of popery.

As the congregation were leaving the chapel, the vice-chancellor spoke
to the secretary (Cromwell) and the provost, and told them the occasion
of his visit. The king sent a message that he would receive the
deputation after evening service. Desirous of giving a certain
distinction to the decision of the universities, Henry ordered all the
court to assemble in the audience-chamber. The vice-chancellor presented
the letter to the king, who was much pleased with it. ‘Thanks, Mr.
Vice-Chancellor,’ he said; ‘I very much approve the way in which you
have managed this matter. I shall give your university tokens of my
satisfaction.... You heard Mr. Latimer’s sermon,’ he added, which he
greatly praised, and then withdrew. The Duke of Norfolk, going up to the
vice-chancellor, told him that the king desired to see him the following

The next day Dr. Buckmaster, faithful to the appointment, waited all the
morning; but the king had changed his mind, and sent orders to the
deputy from Cambridge that he might depart as soon as he pleased. The
message had scarcely been delivered before the king entered the gallery.
An idea which quite engrossed his mind urged him on; he wanted to speak
with the doctor about the principle put forward by Cranmer. Henry
detained Buckmaster from one o’clock until six, repeating, in every
possible form, ‘Can the pope grant a dispensation when the law of God
hath spoken?’[57] He even displayed much ill-humor before the
vice-chancellor, because this point had not been decided at Cambridge.
At last he quitted the gallery; and, to counterbalance the sharpness of
his reproaches, he spoke very graciously to the doctor, who hurried away
as fast as he could.

Footnote 41:

  Burnet, _Records_, i.

Footnote 42:

  ‘In the ears of them.’—Ibid. p. 39.

Footnote 43:

  ‘Et res erat in multa confusione.’—Burnet, _Records_, i. p. 79,
  Gardiner to the king.

Footnote 44:

  ‘To resort to his seat apart, every man’s mind to be known
  secretly.’—Burnet, _Records_, i. p. 80.

Footnote 45:

  ‘To cause some to depart the house.’—Ibid.

Footnote 46:

  ‘S. Scripturæ locorum conferentes, tum etiam interpretum.’—Burnet,
  _Records_, iii. p. 22.

Footnote 47:

  ‘Publicam disputationem matura deliberatione.’—Ibid.

Footnote 48:

  ‘Scrutatis diligentissime Sacræ Scripturæ locis.’—Burnet, _Records_,
  iii. p. 22.

Footnote 49:

  ‘In doubt always.’—_State Papers_, i. p. 377.

Footnote 50:

  ‘Most convenient way to entertain the multitude.’—Ibid.

Footnote 51:

  Burnet, _Records_, iii. p. 26.

Footnote 52:


Footnote 53:

  Burnet, _Records_, iii. p. 26.

Footnote 54:

  _State Papers_, i. p. 379, and note.

Footnote 55:

  Latimer, _Sermons_ (Parker Soc.), pp. 46, 381.

Footnote 56:

  Ibid. pp. 126, 471.

Footnote 57:

  ‘An papa potest dispensara.’—Burnet, _Records_, iii. p. 24.

                              CHAPTER VI.
                     IN GERMANY BY THE PROTESTANTS.
                      (JANUARY TO SEPTEMBER 1530.)

[Sidenote: Henry Appeals To Foreign Opinion.]

The king did not limit himself to asking the opinions of England; he
appealed to the universal teaching of the Church, represented according
to his views by the universities and not by the pope. The element of
individual conviction, so strongly marked in Tyndale, Fryth, and
Latimer, was wanting in the official reformation that proceeded from the
prince. To know what Scripture said, Henry was about sending delegates
to Paris, Bologna, Padua, and Wittemburg; he would have sent even to the
East, if such a journey had been easy. That false catholicism which
looked for the interpretation of the Bible to churches and declining
schools where traditionalism, ritualism, and hierarchism were magnified,
was a counterfeit popery. Happily the supreme voice of the Word of God
surmounted this fatal tendency in England.

Henry VIII., full of confidence in the friendship of the King of France,
applied first to the university of Paris; but Dr. Pedro Garry, a Spanish
priest, as ignorant as he was fanatical (according to the English
agents),[58] eagerly took up the cause of Catherine of Aragon. Aided by
the impetuous Beda, he obtained an opinion adverse to Henry’s wishes.

When he heard of it, the alarmed prince summoned Du Bellay, the French
ambassador, to the palace, gave him for Francis I. a famous diamond
fleur-de-lis valued at 10,000_l._ sterling, also the acknowledgments for
100,000 livres which Francis owed Henry for war expenses, and added a
gift of 400,000 crowns for the ransom of the king’s sons. Unable to
resist such strong arguments, Francis charged Du Bellay to represent to
the faculty of Paris ‘the great scruples of Henry’s conscience;’[59]
whereupon the Sarbonne deliberated, and several doctors exclaimed that
it would be an attaint upon the pope’s honor to suppose him capable of
refusing consolation to the wounded conscience of a Christian. During
these debates, the secretary took the names, received the votes, and
entered them on the minutes. A fiery papist observing that the majority
would be against the Roman opinion, jumped up, sprang upon the
secretary, snatched the list from his hands, and tore it up. All started
from their seats, and ‘there was great disorder and tumult.’ They all
spoke together, each trying to assert his own opinion; but as no one
could make himself heard amid the general clamor, the doctors hurried
out of the room in a great rage. ‘Beda acted like one possessed,’ wrote
Du Bellay.

Meanwhile the ambassadors of the King of England were walking up and
down an adjoining gallery, waiting for the division. Attracted by the
shouts, they ran forward, and seeing the strange spectacle presented by
the theologians, and ‘hearing the language they used to one another,’
they retired in great irritation. Du Bellay, who had at heart the
alliance of the two countries, conjured Francis I. to put an end to such
‘impertinences.’ The president of the parliament of Paris consequently
ordered Beda to appear before him, and told him that it was not for a
person of his sort to meddle with the affairs of princes, and that if he
did not cease his opposition, he would be punished in a way he would not
soon forget. The Sorbonne profited by the lesson given to the most
influential of its members, and on the 2nd of July declared in favor of
the divorce by a large majority. The universities of Orleans, Angers,
and Bourges had already done so, and that of Toulouse did the same
shortly after.[60] Henry VIII. had France and England with him.

This was not enough: he must have Italy also. He filled that peninsula
with his agents, who had orders to obtain from the bishops and
universities the declaration refused by the pope. A rich and powerful
despot is never in want of devoted men to carry out his designs.

The university of Bologna, in the states of the Church, was, after
Paris, the most important in the Catholic world. A monk was in great
repute there at this time. Noble by birth and an eloquent preacher,
Battista Pallavicini was one of those independent thinkers often met
with in Italy. The English agents applied to him; he declared that he
and his colleagues were ready to prove the unlawfulness of Henry’s
marriage, and when Stokesley spoke of remuneration, they replied, ‘No,
no! what we have received freely, we give freely.’ Henry’s agents could
not contain themselves for joy; the university of the pope declares
against the pope! Those among them who had an inkling for the
Reformation were especially delighted. On the 10th June the eloquent
monk appeared before the ambassadors with the judgment of the faculty,
which surpassed all they had imagined. Henry’s marriage was declared
‘horrible, execrable, detestable, abominable for a Christian and even
for an infidel, forbidden by divine and human law under pain of the
severest punishment.[61]... The holy father, who can do almost
everything,’ innocently continued the university, ‘has not the right to
permit such a union.’ The universities of Padua and Ferrara hastened to
add their votes to those of Bologna, and declared the marriage with a
brother’s widow to be ‘null, detestable, profane, and abominable.’[62]
Henry was conqueror all along the line. He had with him that universal
consent which, according to certain illustrious doctors, is the very
essence of Catholicism. Crooke, one of Henry’s agents, and a
distinguished Greek scholar, who discharged his mission with
indefatigable ardor, exclaimed that ‘the just cause of the king was
approved by all the doctors of Italy.’[63]

[Sidenote: Protestants Condemn The Divorce.]

In the midst of this harmony of catholicity, there was one exception, of
which no one had dreamt. That divorce which, according to the frivolous
language of a certain party, was the cause of the Reformation in
England, found opponents among the fathers and the children of the
Reformation. Henry’s envoys were staggered. ‘My fidelity bindeth me to
advertise your Highness,’ wrote Crooke to the king, ‘that all Lutherans
be utterly against your Highness in this cause, and have letted
[hindered] as much with their wretched poor malice, without reason or
authority, as they could and might, as well here as in Padua and
Ferrara, where be no small companies of them.’[64] The Swiss and German
reformers having been summoned to give an opinion on this point, Luther,
Œcolampadius, Zwingle, Bucer, Grynæus, and even Calvin,[65] all
expressed the same opinion. ‘Certainly,’ said Luther, ‘the king has
sinned by marrying his brother’s wife; that sin belongs to the past; let
repentance, therefore, blot it out, as it must blot out all our past
sins. But the marriage must not be dissolved; such a great sin, which is
future, must not be permitted.[66] There are thousands of marriages in
the world in which sin has a part, and yet we may not dissolve them. _A
man shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh._ This law
is superior to the other, and overrules the lesser one.’ The collective
opinion of the Lutheran doctors was in conformity with the just and
Christian sentiments of Luther.[67] Thus (we repeat) the event which,
according to Catholic writers, was the cause of the religious
transformation of England, was approved by the Romanists and condemned
by the evangelicals. Besides, the latter knew very well that a
Reformation must proceed, not from a divorce or a marriage, not from
diplomatic negotiations or university statutes, but from the power of
the Word of God and the free conviction of Christians.

[Sidenote: English Address To The Pope.]

While these matters were going on, Cranmer was at Rome, asking the pope
for that discussion which the pontiff had promised him at their
conference in Bologna. Clement VII. had never intended to grant it: he
had thought that, once at Rome, it would be easy to elude his promise;
it was that which occupied his attention just now. Among the means which
popes have sometimes employed in their difficulties with kings, one of
the most common was to gain the agents of those princes. It was the
first employed by Clement; he nominated Cranmer grand almoner for all
the states of the King of England, some even say for all the Catholic
world. It was little more than a title, and ‘was only to stay his
stomach for that time, in hope of a more plentiful feast hereafter, if
he had been pleased to take his repast on any popish preferment.’[68]
But Cranmer was influenced by purer motives; and without refusing the
title the pope gave him,—since having the task of winning him to the
king’s side, he would thus have compromised his mission,—he made no
account of it, and showed all the more zeal for the accomplishment of
his charge.

The embassy had not succeeded, and they were getting uneasy about it in
England. Some of the pope’s best friends could not understand his
blindness. The two archbishops, the dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk, the
marquises of Dorset and Exeter, thirteen earls, four bishops,
twenty-five barons, twenty-two abbots, and eleven members of the Lower
House determined to send an address to Clement VII. ‘Most blessed
father,’ they began, ‘the king, who is our head and the life of us all,
has ever stood by the see of Rome amidst the attacks of your many and
powerful enemies, and yet he alone is to reap no benefit from his
labors.... Meanwhile we perceive a flood of miseries impending over the
commonwealth.[69] If your Holiness, who ought to be our father, have
determined to leave us as orphans, we shall seek our remedy
elsewhere.... He that is sick will by any means be rid of his distemper;
and there is hope in the exchange of miseries, when, if we cannot obtain
what is good, we may obtain a lesser evil.... We beseech your Holiness
to consider with yourself; you profess that on earth you are Christ’s
vicar. Endeavor then to show yourself so to be by pronouncing your
sentence to the glory and praise of God.’ Clement gained time: he
remained two months and a half without answering, thinking about the
matter, turning it over and over in his mind. The great difficulty was
to harmonize the will of Henry VIII., who desired another wife, and that
of Charles V., who insisted that he ought to keep the old one.... There
was only one mode of satisfying both these princes at once, and that was
by the king’s having the two wives together. Wolsey had already
entertained this idea. More than two years before the pope had hinted as
much to Da Casale: ‘Let him take another wife,’ he had said, speaking of
Henry.[70] Clement now recurred to it, and having sent privately for Da
Casale, he said to him: ‘This is what we have hit upon: we permit his
Majesty to have two wives.’[71] The infallible pontiff proposed bigamy
to a king. Da Casale was still more astonished than he had been at the
time of Clement’s first communication. ‘Holy father,’ he said to the
pope, ‘I doubt whether such a mode will satisfy his Majesty, for he
desires above all things to have the burden removed from his

This guilty proposal led to nothing; the king, sure of the lords and of
the people, advanced rapidly in the path of independence. The day after
that on which the pope authorized him to take two wives, Henry issued a
bold proclamation, pronouncing against whosoever should ask for or bring
in a papal bull contrary to the royal prerogative ‘imprisonment and
further punishment of their bodies according to his Majesty’s good
pleasure.[73] Clement, becoming alarmed, replied to the address: ‘We
desire as much as you do that the king should have male children; but,
alas! we are not God to give him sons.’[74]

Men were beginning to stifle under these manœuvres and tergiversations
of the papacy; they called for air, and some went so far as to say that
if air was not given them, they must snap their fetters and break open
the doors.

Footnote 58:

  Stokesley to the Earl of Wiltshire, January 16, 1530: _State Papers_,
  vii. p. 227.

Footnote 59:

  Le Grand, _Preuves du Divorce_, p. 459. This letter is from Du Bellay,
  and not from Montmorency, as a distinguished historian has supposed.

Footnote 60:

  The opinions of these universities are given in Burnet’s _Records_, i.
  p. 83.

Footnote 61:

  ‘Tale conjugium horrendum esse, execrabile, detestandum, viroque
  christiano etiam cuilibet infideli prorsus abominabile.’—Rymer,
  _Acta_, vi. p. 155.

Footnote 62:

  Burnet, _Records_, iii. p. 87.

Footnote 63:

  _State Papers_, vii. p. 242.

Footnote 64:

  Burnet, _Records_, i. p. 82.

Footnote 65:

  Calvin’s letter or dissertation (_Calvini Epistolæ_, p. 384)
  harmonizes the apparently contradictory passages of Leviticus and
  Deuteronomy; but I much doubt if it belongs to this period.

Footnote 66:

  ‘Tam grande peccatum futurum permitti non debet.’—Lutheri _Epp._ iv.
  p. 265.

Footnote 67:

  Burnet, _Records_, i. p. 88.

Footnote 68:

  Fuller, _Church History_, p. 182.

Footnote 69:

  ‘Malorum pelagus reipublicæ nostræ imminere cernimus ac certum quoddam
  diluvium comminari.’—Rymer, _Acta_, vi. p. 160.

Footnote 70:

  ‘Rex aliam uxorem ducat.’—Letter of G. Da Casale, Orvieto, January 13,

Footnote 71:

  ‘Ut duas uxores habeat.’—Rome, September 28, 1530. Herbert, p. 330.

Footnote 72:

  ‘An conscientiæ satisfieri posset, quam V. M. imprimis exonerare
  cupit.’—Herbert, p. 330.

Footnote 73:

  Collier, ii. p. 60.

Footnote 74:

  ‘Sed pro Deo non sumus, ut liberos dare possimus.’—Herbert, p. 338.

                              CHAPTER VII.
                           LATIMER AT COURT.
                      (JANUARY TO SEPTEMBER 1530.)

[Sidenote: Proclamation Against Papal Bulls.]

Henry, seeing that he could not obtain what he asked from the pope, drew
nearer the evangelical party in his kingdom. In the ranks of the
Reformation he found intelligent, pious, bold, and eloquent men, who
possessed the confidence of a portion of the people. Why should not the
prince try to conciliate them? They protest against the authority of the
pope: good! he will relieve them from it; but on one condition,
however,—that if they reject the papal jurisdiction they recognize his
own. If Henry’s plan had succeeded, the Church of England would have
been a Cæsareo-papistical Church (as we see elsewhere) planted on
British soil; but it was the Word of God that was destined to replace
the pope in England, and not the king.

The first of the evangelical doctors whom Henry tried to gain was
Latimer. He had placed him, as we have seen, on the list of his
chaplains. ‘Beware of contradicting the king,’ said a courtier to him,
one day, mistrusting his frankness. ‘Speak as he speaks, and instead of
presuming to lead him, strive to follow him.’ ‘Marry, out upon thy
counsel!’ replied Latimer; ‘shall I say as he says? Say what your
conscience bids you.... Still, I know that prudence is necessary.

                Gutta cavat lapidem non vi sed sæpe cadendo.

The drop of rain maketh a hole in the stone, not by violence, but by oft
falling. Likewise a prince must be won by a little and a little.’

This conversation was not useless to the chaplain, who set to work
seriously amid all the tumult of the court. He studied the Holy
Scriptures and the Fathers, and frankly proclaimed the truth from the
pulpit. But he had no private conversation with the king, who filled him
with a certain fear. The thought that he did not speak to Henry about
the state of his soul troubled him. One day, in the month of November,
the chaplain was in his closet, and in the volume of St. Augustine which
lay before him he read these words: ‘He who for fear of any power _hides
the truth_, provokes the wrath of God to come to him, for he fears men
more than God.’ Another day, while studying St. Chrysostom, these words
struck him: ‘he is not only a traitor to the truth who openly for truth
teaches a lie; but he also who _does not freely pronounce and show the
truth_ that he knoweth.’ These two sentences sank deeply into his
heart.[75] ‘They made me sore afraid,’ he continued, ‘troubled and vexed
me grievously in my conscience.’ He resolved to declare what God had
taught him in Scripture. His frankness might cost him his life (lives
were lost easily in Henry’s time); it mattered not. ‘I had rather suffer
extreme punishment,’ he said, ‘than be a traitor unto the truth.’[76]

[Sidenote: Latimer’s Letter To Henry.]

Latimer reflected that the ecclesiastical law, which for ages had been
the very essence of religion, must give way to evangelical faith—that
the form must yield to the life. The members of the Church (calling
themselves regenerate by baptism) used to attend catechism, be
confirmed, join in worship, and take part in the communion without any
real individual transformation; and then finally rest all together in
the churchyard. But the Church, in Latimer’s opinion, ought to begin
with the conversion of its members. Lively stones are needed to build up
the temple of God. Christian individualism, which Rome opposed from her
theocratic point of view, was about to be revived in Christian society.

The noble Latimer formed the resolution to make the king understand that
all real reformation must begin at home. This was no trifling matter.
Henry, who was a man of varied information and lively understanding, but
was also imperious, passionate, fiery, and obstinate, knew no other rule
than the promptings of his strong nature; and although quite prepared to
separate from the pope, he detested all innovations in doctrine. Latimer
did not allow himself to be stopped by such obstacles, and resolved to
attack this difficult position openly.

‘Your Grace,’ he wrote to Henry, ‘I must show forth such things as I
have learned in Scripture, or else deny Jesus Christ. The which denying
ought more to be dreaded than the loss of all temporal goods, honor,
promotion, fame, prison, slander, hurts, banishment, and all manner of
torments and cruelties, yea, and death itself, be it never so shameful
and painful.[77]... There is as great distance between you and me as
between God and man; for you are here to me and to all your subjects in
God’s stead; and so I should quake to speak to your Grace. But as you
are a mortal man having in you the corrupt nature of Adam, so you have
no less need of the merits of Christ’s passion for your salvation than I
and others of your subjects have.’

Latimer feared to see a Church founded under Henry’s patronage, which
would seek after riches, power, and pomp; and he was not mistaken. ‘Our
Saviour’s life was very poor. In how vile and abject a place was the
mother of Jesus Christ brought to bed! And according to this beginning
was the process and end of his life in this world.... But this he did to
show us that his followers and vicars should not regard the treasures of
this world.... Your Grace may see what means and craft the spirituality
imagine to break and withstand the acts which were made in the last
parliament against their superfluities.’

Latimer desired to make the king understand who were the true
Christians. ‘Our Saviour showed his disciples,’ continued he, ‘that they
should be brought before kings. Wherefore take this for a sure
conclusion, that where the Word of God is truly preached there is
persecution, and where quietness and rest in worldly pleasure, there is
not the truth.’

Latimer next proceeded to declare what would give real riches to
England. ‘Your Grace promised by your last proclamation that we should
have the Scripture in English. Let not the wickedness of worldly men
divert you from your goodly purpose and promise. There are prelates who,
under pretence of insurrection and heresy, hinder the Gospel of Christ
from having free course.... They would send a thousand men to hell ere
they send one to God.’[78]

Latimer had reserved for the last the appeal he had determined to make
to his master’s conscience: ‘I pray to God that your Grace may do what
God commandeth, and not what seemeth good in your own sight; that you
may be found one of the members of his Church and a faithful minister of
his gifts, and not,’ he added, showing contempt for a title of which
Henry was very proud, ‘and not a defender of his faith; for he will not
have it defended by man’s power, but by his word only.

‘Wherefore, gracious king, remember yourself. Have pity on your soul,
and think that the day is even at hand when you shall give account of
your office and of the blood that hath been shed with your sword. In the
which day that your Grace may stand steadfastly and not be ashamed, but
be clear and ready in your reckoning, and to have (as they say) your
_quietus est_ sealed with the blood of our Saviour Christ, which only
serveth at that day, is my daily prayer to Him that suffered death for
our sins which also prayeth to His Father for grace for us

Thus wrote the bold chaplain. Such a letter from Latimer to Henry VIII.
deserved to be pointed out. The king does not appear to have been
offended at it. He was an absolute prince, but there was occasionally
some generosity in his character. He therefore continued to extend his
kindness to Latimer, but did not answer his appeal.

[Sidenote: Latimer’s Preaching.]

Latimer preached frequently before the court and in the city. Many noble
lords and old families still clung to the prejudices of the middle ages;
but some had a certain liking for the Reformation, and listened to the
chaplain’s preaching, which was so superior to ordinary sermons. His art
of oratory was summed up in one precept: ‘Christ is the preacher of all
preachers.’[80] ‘Christ,’ he exclaimed, ‘took upon him our sins: not the
work of sin—not to do it—not to commit it, but to purge it; and that way
he was the great sinner of the world.[81]... It is much like as if I
owed another man 20,000_l._, and must pay it out of hand, or else go to
the dungeon of Ludgate; and, when I am going to prison, one of my
friends should come and ask, “Whither goeth this man: I will answer for
him; I will pay all for him.” Such a part played our Saviour Christ with

Preaching before a king, he declared that the authority of Holy
Scripture was above all the powers of the earth. ‘God,’ he said, ‘is
great, eternal, almighty, everlasting; and the Scripture, because of
him, is also great, eternal, most mighty, and holy.... There is no king,
emperor, magistrate, or ruler but is bound to give credence unto this
holy word.’[82] He was cautious not to put the ‘two swords’ into the
same hand. ‘In this world God hath two Swords,’ he said; ‘the temporal
sword resteth in the hands of kings, whereunto all subjects—as well the
clergy as the laity—be subject. The spiritual sword is in the hands of
the ministers and preachers of God’s Word to correct and reprove. Make
not a mingle-mangle of them. To God give thy soul, thy faith; ... to the
king, tribute and reverence.[83] Therefore let the preacher amend with
spiritual sword, fearing no man, though death should ensue.’[84] Such
language astonished the court. ‘Were you at the sermon to day?’ said one
of his hearers to a zealous courtier one day. ‘Yes,’ replied the latter.
‘And how did you like the new chaplain?’ ‘Marry, even as I liked him
always—a seditious fellow.’[85]

[Sidenote: Latimer’s Boldness.]

Latimer did not permit himself to be intimidated. Firm in doctrine, he
was at the same time eminently practical. He was a moralist; and this
may explain how he was able to remain any time at court. Men of the
world, who soon grow impatient when you preach to them of the cross,
repentance, and change of heart, cannot help approving of those who
insist on certain rules of conduct. The king found it convenient to keep
a great number of horses in abbeys founded for the support of the poor.
One day when Latimer was preaching before him, he said,—‘A prince ought
not to prefer his horses above poor men. Abbeys were ordained for the
comfort of the poor, and not for kings’ horses to be kept in them.’[86]

There was a dead silence in the congregation—no one dared turn his eyes
towards Henry—and many showed symptoms of anger. The chaplain had hardly
left the pulpit, when a gentleman of the court, the lord-chamberlain
apparently, went up to him and asked, ‘What hast thou to do with the
king’s horses? They are the maintenances and part of a king’s honor, and
also of his realm; wherefore, in speaking against them, ye are against
the king’s honor.’ ‘To take away the right of the poor,’ answered
Latimer, ‘is against the honor of the king.’ He then added, ‘My lord,
God is the grand-master of the king’s house, and will take account of
every one that beareth rule therein.’[87]

Thus the Reformation undertook to re-establish the rule of conscience
even in the courts of princes. Latimer knowing, like Calvin, that ‘the
ears of the princes of this world are accustomed to be pampered and
flattered,’ armed himself with invincible courage.

The murmurs grew louder. While the old chaplains let things take their
course, the other wanted to restore morality among Christians. The
Reformer was alive to the accusations brought against him, for his was
not a heart of steel. Reproaches and calumnies appeared to him sometimes
like those impetuous winds which force the husbandman to fly hurriedly
for shelter to some covered place. ‘O Lord!’ he exclaimed in his closet,
‘these people pinch me; nay, they have a full bite at me.’[88] He would
have desired to flee away to the wilderness, but he called to mind what
had been done to his Master; ‘I comfort myself,’ he said, ‘that Christ
Himself was noted to be a stirrer up of the people against the emperor.’

The priests, delighted that Latimer censured the king, resolved to take
advantage of it to ruin him. One day, when there was a grand reception,
and the king was surrounded by his councillors and courtiers, a monk
slipped into the midst of the crowd, and, falling on his knees before
the monarch, said, ‘Sire, your new chaplain preaches sedition.’ Henry
turned to Latimer: ‘What say you to that, sir?’ The chaplain bent his
knee before the prince; and, turning to his accusers, said to them,
‘Would you have me preach nothing concerning a king in the king’s
sermon?’ His friends trembled lest he should be arrested. ‘Your Grace,’
he continued, ‘I put myself in your hands: appoint other doctors to
preach in my place before your Majesty. There are many more worthy of
the room than I am. If it be your Grace’s pleasure, I could be content
to be their servant, and bear their books after them.[89] But if your
Grace allow me for a preacher, I would desire you give me leave to
discharge my conscience. Permit me to frame my teaching for my

Henry, who always liked Latimer, took his part, and the chaplain retired
with a low bow. When he left the audience, his friends, who had watched
this scene with the keenest emotion, surrounded him, saying, with tears
in their eyes,[90] ‘We were convinced that you would sleep to-night in
the Tower.’ ‘_The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord_,’ he
answered, calmly.

The evangelical Reformers of England nobly maintained their independence
in the presence of a catholic and despotic king. Firmly convinced, free,
strong men, they yielded neither to the seductions of the court nor to
those of Rome. We shall see still more striking examples of their
decision, bequeathed by them to their successors.

Footnote 75:

  ‘I marked them earnestly in the inward parts of mine heart.’—Latimer,
  _Remains_, p. 298.

Footnote 76:

  Latimer, _Remains_, p. 208.

Footnote 77:

  Latimer, _Works_, ii. p. 298 (Parker Soc.).

Footnote 78:

  Latimer, _Works_, ii. p. 306 (Parker Soc.).

Footnote 79:

  Latimer, _Works_, ii. p. 309 (Parker Soc.).

Footnote 80:

  Ibid. i. p. 155.

Footnote 81:

  Ibid. p. 223.

Footnote 82:

  Latimer, _Works_, i. p. 85 (Parker Soc.).

Footnote 83:

  Ibid. p. 295.

Footnote 84:

  Ibid. p. 86.

Footnote 85:

  Ibid. p. 134.

Footnote 86:

  Ibid. p. 93.

Footnote 87:

  Latimer, _Works_, i. p. 93.

Footnote 88:

  Ibid. p. 134.

Footnote 89:

  Ibid. The preacher, when he left the vestry, was followed to the
  pulpit by an attendant carrying his books.

Footnote 90:

  Latimer, _Works_, i. p. 135.

                             CHAPTER VIII.
                     THE KING SEEKS AFTER TYNDALE.
                         (JANUARY TO MAY 1531.)

[Sidenote: The Oak And The Ivy.]

Henry VIII., finding that he wanted men like Latimer to resist the pope,
sought to win over others of the same stamp. He found one, whose lofty
range he understood immediately. Thomas Cromwell had laid before him a
book, then very eagerly read all over England, namely, the _Practice of
Prelates_. It was found in the houses not only of the citizens of
London, but of the farmers of Essex, Suffolk, and other counties. The
king read it quite as eagerly as his subjects. Nothing interested him
like the history of the slow but formidable progress of the priesthood
and prelacy. One parable in particular struck him, in which the oak
represented royalty, and the ivy the papacy. ‘First, the ivy springeth
out of the earth, and then awhile creepeth along by the ground till it
find a great tree. There it joineth itself beneath alow unto the body of
the tree, and creepeth up a little and a little, fair and softly. And at
the beginning, while it is yet thin and small, that the burden is not
perceived, it seemeth glorious to garnish the tree in the winter, and to
bear off the tempests of the weather. But in the mean season it
thrusteth roots into the bark of the tree to hold fast withal; and
ceaseth not to climb up till it be at the top and above all. And then it
sendeth its branches along by the branches of the tree, and overgroweth
all, and waxeth great, heavy, and thick; and sucketh the moisture so
sore out of the tree and its branches, that it choketh and stifleth
them. And then the foul stinking ivy waxeth mighty in the stump of the
tree, and becometh a seat and a nest for all unclean birds and for blind
owls, which hawk in the dark and dare not come at the light. Even so the
Bishop of Rome at the beginning crope along upon the earth.... He crept
up and fastened his roots in the heart of the emperor, and by subtilty
clamb above the emperor, and subdued him, and made him stoop unto his
feet and kiss them another while. Yea, when he had put the crown on the
emperor’s head, he smote it off with his feet again.’[91]

Henry would willingly have clapped his hand on his sword to demand
satisfaction of the pope for this outrage. The book was by Tyndale.
Laying it down, the king reflected on what he had just read, and thought
to himself that the author had some striking ideas ‘on the accursed
power of the pope,’ and that he was besides gifted with talent and zeal,
and might render excellent service towards abolishing the papacy in

Tyndale, from the time of his conversion at Oxford, set Christ above
everything. He boldly threw off the yoke of human traditions, and would
take no other guide but Scripture only. Full of imagination and
eloquence, active and ready to endure fatigue, he exposed himself to
every danger in the fulfilment of his mission.[92] Henry ordered Stephen
Vaughan, one of his agents, then at Antwerp, to try and find the
Reformer in Brabant, Flanders, on the banks of the Rhine, in Holland,
... wherever he might chance to be; to offer him a safe-conduct under
the sign-manual, to prevail on him to return to England, and to add the
most gracious promises in behalf of his Majesty.[93]

To gain over Tyndale seemed even more important than to have gained
Latimer. Vaughan immediately undertook to seek him in Antwerp, where he
was said to be, but could not find him. ‘He is at Marburg,’ said one;
‘at Frankfort,’ said another; ‘at Hamburg,’ declared a third. Tyndale
was invisible now as before. To make more certain, Vaughan determined to
write three letters directed to those three places, conjuring him to
return to England.[94] ‘I have great hopes,’ said the English agent to
his friends, ‘of having done something that will please his Majesty.’
Tyndale, the most scriptural of English reformers, the most inflexible
in his faith, laboring at the Reformation with the cordial approbation
of the monarch, would truly have been something extraordinary.

Scarcely had the three letters been despatched when Vaughan heard of the
ignominious chastisement inflicted by Sir Thomas More on Tyndale’s
brother.[95] Was it by such indignities that Henry expected to attract
the Reformer? Vaughan, much annoyed, wrote to the king (26th January,
1531) that this event would make Tyndale think they wanted to entrap
him, and he gave up looking after him.

[Sidenote: Vaughan Meets Tyndale.]

Three months later (17th April), as Vaughan was busy copying one of
Tyndale’s manuscripts in order to send it to Henry (it was his answer to
the _Dialogue_ of Sir Thomas More), a man knocked at his door. ‘Some
one, who calls himself a friend of yours, desires very much to speak
with you,’ said the stranger, ‘and begs you to follow me.’—‘Who is this
friend? Where is he?’ asked Vaughan.—‘I do not know him,’ replied the
messenger; ‘but come along, and you will see for yourself.’ Vaughan
doubted whether it was prudent to follow this person to a strange place.
He made up his mind, however, to accompany him. The agent of Henry VIII.
and the messenger threaded the streets of Antwerp, went out of the city,
and at last reached a lonely field, by the side of which the Scheldt
flowed sluggishly through the level country.[96] As he advanced, Vaughan
saw a man of noble bearing, who appeared to be about fifty years of age.
‘Do you not recognize me?’ he asked Vaughan. ‘I cannot call to mind your
features,’ answered the latter. ‘My name is Tyndale,’ said the stranger.
‘Tyndale!’ exclaimed Vaughan, with delight. ‘Tyndale! what a happy

Tyndale, who had heard of Henry’s new plans, had no confidence either in
the prince or in his pretended Reformation. The king’s endless
negotiations with the pope, his worldliness, his amours, his persecution
of evangelical Christians, and especially the ignominious punishment
inflicted on John Tyndale: all these matters disgusted him. However,
having been informed of the nature of Vaughan’s mission, he desired to
turn it to advantage by addressing a few warnings to the prince. ‘I have
written certain books,’ he said, ‘to warn your Majesty of the subtle
demeanor of the clergy of your realm towards your person, in which doing
I showed the heart of a true subject; to the intent that your Grace
might prepare your remedies against their subtle dreams. An exile from
my native country, I suffer hunger, thirst, cold, absence of friends,
everywhere encompassed with great danger, in innumerable hard and sharp
fightings, I do not feel their asperity, by reason that I hope with my
labors to do honor to God, true service to my prince, and pleasure to
his commons.’[97]

‘Cheer up,’ said Vaughan, ‘your exile, poverty, fightings, all are at an
end; you can return to England.’... ‘What matters it,’ said Tyndale, ‘if
my exile finishes, so long as the Bible is banished? Has the king
forgotten that God has commanded His Word to be spread throughout the
world? If it continues to be forbidden to his subjects, very death were
more pleasant to me than life.’[98]

Vaughan did not consider himself worsted. The messenger, who remained at
a distance, and could hear nothing, was astonished at seeing the two men
in that solitary field conversing together so long and with so much
animation. ‘Tell me what guarantees you desire,’ said Vaughan: ‘the king
will grant them you.’ ‘Of course the king would give me a safe-conduct,’
answered Tyndale; ‘but the clergy would persuade him that promises made
to heretics are not binding.’ Night was coming on. Henry’s agent might
have had Tyndale followed and seized.[99] The idea occurred to Vaughan,
but he rejected it. Tyndale began, however, to feel himself ill at
ease.[100] ‘Farewell,’ he said; ‘you shall see me again before long, or
hear news of me.’ He then departed, walking away from Antwerp. Vaughan,
who re-entered the city, was surprised to see Tyndale make for the open
country. He supposed it to be a stratagem, and once more doubted whether
he ought not to have seized the Reformer to please his master. ‘I might
have failed of my purpose,’ he said.[101] Besides it was now too late,
for Tyndale had disappeared.

[Sidenote: The King On Tyndale’s Treatise.]

As soon as Vaughan reached home, he hastened to send to London an
account of this singular conference. Cromwell immediately proceeded to
court, and laid before the king the envoy’s letter and the Reformer’s
book. ‘Good!’ said Henry; ‘as soon as I have leisure, I will read them
both.’[102] He did so, and was exasperated against Tyndale, who refused
his invitation, mistrusted his word, and even dared to give him advice.
The king in his passion tore off the latter part of Vaughan’s letter,
flung it in the fire, and entirely gave up his idea of bringing the
Reformer into England to make use of him against the pope, fearing that
such a torch would set the whole kingdom in a blaze. He thought only how
he could seize him and punish him for his arrogance.

He sent for Cromwell. Before him on the table lay the treatise by
Tyndale, which Vaughan had copied and sent. ‘These pages,’ said Henry to
his minister, while pointing to the manuscript, ‘These pages are the
work of a visionary: they are full of lies, sedition, and calumny.
Vaughan shows too much affection for Tyndale.[103] Let him beware of
inviting him to come into the kingdom. He is a perverse and hardened
character, who cannot be changed. I am too happy that he is out of

Cromwell retired in vexation. He wrote to Vaughan; but the king found
the letter too weak, and Cromwell had to correct it to make it harmonize
with the wrath of the prince.[104] An ambitious man, he bent before the
obstinate will of his master; but the loss of Tyndale seemed
irreparable. Accordingly, while informing Vaughan of the king’s anger,
he added that, if wholesome reflection should bring Tyndale to reason,
the king was ‘_so inclined to mercy, pity, and compassion_’[105] that he
would doubtless see him with pleasure. Vaughan, whose heart Tyndale had
gained, began to hunt after him again, and had a second interview with
him. He gave him Cromwell’s letter to read, and, when the Reformer came
to the words we have just quoted about Henry’s compassion, his eyes
filled with tears.[106] ‘What gracious words!’ he exclaimed. ‘Yes,’ said
Vaughan; ‘they have such sweetness that they would break the hardest
heart in the world.’ Tyndale, deeply moved, tried to find some mode of
fulfilling his duty towards God and towards the king. ‘If his Majesty,’
he said, ‘would condescend to permit the Holy Scriptures to circulate
among the people in all their purity, as they do in the states of the
emperor and in other Christian countries, I would bind myself never to
write again. I would throw myself at his feet, offering my body as a
sacrifice, ready to submit, if necessary, to torture and death.’

But a gulf lay between the monarch and the Reformer. Henry VIII. saw the
seeds of heresy in the Scriptures, and Tyndale rejected every
reformation which they wished to carry out by proscribing the Bible.
‘Heresy springeth not from the Scriptures,’ he said, ‘no more than
darkness from the sun.’[107] Tyndale disappeared again, and the name of
his hiding-place is unknown.

[Sidenote: Henry Fails To Gain Tynsdale.]

The King of England was not discouraged by the check he had received. He
wanted men possessed of talent and zeal—men resolved to attack the pope.
Cambridge had given England a teacher who might be placed beside, and
perhaps even above, Latimer and Tyndale. This was John Fryth. He
thirsted for the truth; he sought God, and was determined to give
himself wholly to Jesus Christ. One day Cromwell said to the king, ‘What
a pity it is, your Highness, that a man so distinguished as Fryth in
letters and sciences should be among the sectarians!’ Like Tyndale, he
had quitted England. Cromwell, with Henry’s consent, wrote to Vaughan:
‘His Majesty strongly desires the reconciliation of Fryth, who (he
firmly believes) is not so far advanced as Tyndale in the evil way.
Always full of mercy, the king is ready to receive him to favor. Try to
attract him charitably, politically.’ Vaughan immediately began his
inquiries,—it was May, 1531,—but the first news he received was that
Fryth, a minister of the Gospel, was just married in Holland. ‘This
marriage,’ he wrote to the king, ‘may by chance hinder my
persuasion.’[108] This was not all: Fryth was boldly printing, at
Amsterdam, Tyndale’s answer to Sir Thomas More. Henry was forced to give
him up, as he had given up his friend. He succeeded with none but
Latimer, and even the chaplain told him many harsh truths. There was a
decided incompatibility between the spiritual reform and the political
reform. The work of God refused to ally itself with the work of the
throne. The Christian faith and the visible Church are two distinct
things. Some (and among them the Reformers) require Christianity—a
living Christianity; others (and it was the case of Henry and his
prelates) look for the Church and its hierarchy, and care little whether
a living faith be found there or not. This is a capital error. Real
religion must exist first; and then this religion must produce a true
religious society. Tyndale, Fryth, and their friends desired to begin
with religion; Henry and his followers with an ecclesiastical society
hostile to faith. The king and the reformers could not, therefore, come
to an understanding. Henry, profoundly hurt by the boldness of those
evangelical men, swore that, as they would not have peace, they should
have war, ... war to the knife.

Footnote 91:

  ‘Dominus autem papa statim percussit cum pede suo coronam imperatoris
  et dejecit eam in terram.’—Tyndale, _Practice of Prelates_, p. 170
  (Parker Soc.).

Footnote 92:

  _History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century_, vol. v.

Footnote 93:

  ‘Upon the promise of your Majesty, be content to repair into
  England.’—Vaughan to Henry VIII. Cotton MSS. Galba, bk. x. fol. 42.
  _Bible Ann._ i. p. 270.

Footnote 94:

  ‘Whatsoever surety he could reasonably desire.’—Vaughan to Cromwell,
  ibid. p. 270.

Footnote 95:

  _History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century_, tom. v. book
  xx. ch. 15.

Footnote 96:

  ‘He brought me without the gates ... into a field.’—Anderson, _Annals
  of the English Bible_, p. 272.

Footnote 97:

  Anderson (Chr.), _Annals of the English Bible_, p. 152.

Footnote 98:


Footnote 99:

  ‘Lest I would have persued him.’—Anderson, p. 152.

Footnote 100:

  ‘Being something fearful.’—_Ibid._

Footnote 101:

  Cotton MSS. Titus, bk. i. fol. 6, 7. Anderson, _Annals_, i. p. 273.

Footnote 102:

  ‘At opportune leasure his Highness would read the content.’—Ibid p.

Footnote 103:

  ‘Ye bear much affection toward the said Tyndale.’—Cotton MSS. Galba,
  bk. x. fol. 388. Anderson, _Annals_, p. 275.

Footnote 104:

  The corrections are still to be seen in the original draft, and are
  indicated in the biographical notice of Tyndale at the beginning of
  his _Practices_ (Parker Society), pp. 46, 47.

Footnote 105:

  _State Papers_, vii. p. 303.

Footnote 106:

  ‘In such wise that water stoode in his eyes.’—_State Papers_, vii. p.

Footnote 107:

  Tyndale, _Exposition_, p. 141.

Footnote 108:

  _State Papers_, vii. p. 302.

                              CHAPTER IX.
                        (JANUARY TO MARCH 1531.)

Henry VIII. desired to introduce great changes into the ecclesiastical
corporation of his kingdom. His royal power had much to bear from the
power of the clergy. It was the same in all Catholic monarchies; but
England had more to complain of than others. Of the three estates,
Clergy, Nobility, and Commons, the first was the most powerful. The
nobility had been weakened by the civil wars; the commons had long been
without authority and energy; the prelates thus occupied the first rank,
so that in 1529 an archbishop and cardinal (Wolsey) was the most
powerful man in England, not even the king excepted. Henry had felt the
yoke, and wished to free himself, not only from the domination of the
pope, but also from the influence of the higher clergy. If he had only
intended to be avenged of the pontiff, it would have been enough to
allow the Reformation to act; when a mighty wind blows from heaven, it
sweeps away all the contrivances of men. But Henry was deficient neither
in prudence nor calculation. He feared lest a diversity of doctrine
should engender disturbances in his kingdom. He wished to free himself
from the pope and the prelates, without throwing himself into the arms
of Tyndale or of Latimer.

[Sidenote: Papal Rule Hurtful To The State.]

Kings and people had observed that the domination of the papacy, and its
authority over the clergy, were an insurmountable obstacle to the
autonomy of the State. As far back as 1268, St. Louis had declared that
France owed allegiance to God alone; and other princes had followed his
example. Henry VIII. determined to do more—to break the chains which
bound the clergy to the Romish throne, and fasten them to the crown. The
power of England, delivered from the papacy, which had been its
cankerworm, would then be developed with freedom and energy, and would
place the country in the foremost rank among nations. The renovating
spirit of the age was favorable to Henry’s plans; without delay he must
put into execution the bold plan which Cromwell had unrolled before his
eyes in Whitehall Park. Henry could think of nothing but getting himself
recognized as head of the Church.

This important revolution could not be accomplished by a simple act of
royal authority—in England particularly, where constitutional principles
already possessed an incontestable influence. It was necessary to
prevail upon the clergy to cross the Rubicon by emancipating themselves
from Rome. But how bring it about? This was the subject of the
meditations of the sagacious Cromwell, who, gradually rising in the
king’s confidence to the place formerly held by Wolsey, made a different
use of it. Urged by ambition, possessing an energetic character, a sound
judgment, unshaken firmness, no obstacle could arrest his activity. He
sought how he could give the king the spiritual sceptre, and this was
the plan on which he fixed. The kings of England had been known
occasionally to revive old laws fallen into desuetude, and visit with
heavy penalties those who had violated them. Cromwell represented to the
king that the statutes made punishable any man who should recognize a
dignity established by the pope in the English Church; that Wolsey, by
exercising the functions of papal legate, had encroached upon the rights
of the Crown and been condemned, which was but justice; while the
members of the clergy—who had recognized the unlawful jurisdiction of
the pretended legate—had thereby become as guilty as he had been. ‘The
statute of _Præmunire_,’ he said, ‘condemns them as well as their
chief.’ Henry, who listened attentively, found the expedient of his
Secretary of State was in conformity with the letter of the law, and
that it put all the clergy in his power. He did not hesitate to give
full power to his ministers. Under such a state of things there was not
one innocent person in England; the two houses of parliament, the privy
council, all the nation must be brought to the bar. Henry, full of
‘condescension,’ was pleased to confine himself to the clergy.

[Sidenote: Embarrassment Of The Clergy.]

The convocation of the province of Canterbury having met on the 7th of
January, 1531, Cromwell entered the hall, and quietly took his seat
among the bishops; then rising, he informed them that their property and
benefices were to be confiscated for the good of his Majesty, because
they had submitted to the unconstitutional power of the cardinal. What
terrible news! It was a thunderbolt to those selfish prelates; they were
amazed. At length some of them plucked up a little courage. ‘The king
himself had sanctioned the authority of the cardinal-legate,’ they said.
‘We merely obeyed his supreme will. Our resistance to his Majesty’s
proclamations would infallibly have ruined us.’—‘That is of no
consequence,’ was the reply; ‘there was the law: you should obey the
constitution of the country even at the peril of your lives.’[109] The
terrified bishops laid at the foot of the throne a magnificent sum, by
which they hoped to redeem their offences and their benefices. But that
was not what Henry desired: he pretended to set little store by their
money. The threat of confiscation must constrain them to pay a ransom of
still greater value. ‘My lords,’ said Cromwell, ‘in a petition that some
of you presented to the pope not long ago, you called the king your
_soul_ and your _head_.[110] Come, then, expressly recognize the
supremacy of the king over the Church,[111] and his majesty, of his
great goodness, will grant you your pardon.’ What a demand! The
distracted clergy assembled, and a deliberation of extreme importance
began. ‘The words in the address to the pope,’ said some, ‘were a mere
form, and had not the meaning ascribed to them.’—‘The king being unable
to untie the Gordian knot at Rome,’ said others, alluding to the
divorce, ‘intends to cut it with his sword.’[112]—‘The secular power,’
exclaimed the most zealous, ‘has no voice in ecclesiastical matters. To
recognize the king as head of the Church would be to overthrow the
catholic faith.... The head of the Church is the pope.’ The debate
lasted three days, and, as Henry’s ministers pointed to the theocratic
government of Israel, a priest exclaimed, ‘We oppose the New Testament
to the Old; according to the gospel, Christ is head of the Church.’ When
this was told the king, he said, ‘Very well, I consent. If you declare
me _head of the Church_ you may add _under God_.’ In this way the papal
claims were compromised all the more. ‘We will expose ourselves to
everything,’ they said, ‘rather than dethrone the Roman pontiff.’

The Bishops of Lincoln and Exeter were deputed to beseech the king to
withdraw his demand: they could not so much as obtain an audience. Henry
had made up his mind: the priests must yield. The only means of their
obtaining pardon (they were told) was by their renouncing the papal
supremacy. The bishops made a fresh attempt to satisfy both the
requirements of the king and those of their own conscience. ‘Shrink
before the clergy and they are lions,’ the courtiers said; ‘withstand
them and they are sheep.’—‘Your fate is in your own hands. If you refuse
the king’s demand, the disgrace of Wolsey may show you what you may
expect.’ Archbishop Warham, president of the Convocation, a prudent man,
far advanced in years, and near his end, tried to hit upon some
compromise. The great movements which agitated the Church all over
Europe disturbed him. He had in times past complained to the king of
Wolsey’s usurpations,[113] and was not far from recognizing the royal
supremacy. He proposed to insert a simple clause in the act conferring
the required jurisdiction on the king, namely, _Quantum per legem
Christi licet_, so far as the law of Christ permits. ‘Mother of God!’
exclaimed the king, who, like his royal brother Francis I., had a habit
of saying irreverent things, ‘you have played me a shrewd turn. I
thought to have made fools of those prelates, and now you have so
ordered the business that they are likely to make a fool of me. Go to
them again, and let me have the business passed without any _quantums_
or _tantums_.... So far as the law of Christ permits! Such a reserve
would make one believe that my authority was disputable.’[114]

[Sidenote: The Clergy Submit.]

Henry’s ministers ventured on this occasion to resist him: they showed
him that this clause would prevent an immediate rupture with Rome, and
it might be repealed hereafter. He yielded at last, and the archbishop
submitted the clause with the amendment to convocation. It was a solemn
moment for England. The bishops were convinced that the king was asking
them to do what was wrong, the end of which would be a rupture with
Rome. In the time of Hildebrand the prelates would have answered No, and
found a sympathetic support in the laity. But things had changed; the
people were beginning to be weary of the long domination of the priests.
The primate, desirous of ending the matter, said to his colleagues: ‘Do
you recognize the king as sole protector of the Church and clergy of
England, and, so far as is allowed by the law of Christ, also as your
supreme head?’ All remained speechless. ‘Will you let me know your
opinions?’ resumed the archbishop. There was a dead silence. ‘Whoever is
silent seems to consent,’ said the primate.—‘Then we are all silent,’
answered one of the members.[115] Were these words inspired by courage
or by cowardice? Were they an assent or a protest? We cannot say. In
this matter we cannot side either with the king or with the priests. The
heart of man easily takes the part of those who are oppressed; but here
the oppressed were also oppressors. Convocation next gave its support to
the opinion of the universities respecting the divorce, and thus Henry
gained his first victory.

Now that the king had the power, the clergy were permitted to give him
their money. They offered a hundred thousand pounds sterling,—an
enormous sum for those times,—nearly equivalent to fifteen times as much
of our money. On the 22d of March, 1531, the courteous archbishop signed
the document which at one stroke deprived the clergy of England of both
riches and honor.[116]

The discussion was still more animated in the Convocation of York. ‘If
you proclaim the king supreme head,’ said Bishop Tonstal, ‘it can only
be in temporal matters.’—‘Indeed!’ retorted Henry’s minister, ‘is an act
of convocation necessary to determine that the king reigns?‘—‘If
spiritual things are meant,’ answered the bishop, ‘I withdraw from
convocation that I may not withdraw from the Church.’[117]

‘My lords,’ said Henry, ‘no one disputes your right to preach and
administer the sacraments.[118] Did not Paul submit to Cæsar’s tribunal,
and our Saviour himself to Pilate’s?’ Henry’s ecclesiastical theories
prevailed also at York. A great revolution was effected in England, and
fresh compromises were to consolidate it.

The king, having obtained what he desired, condescended in his great
mercy to pardon the clergy for their unpardonable offence of having
recognized Wolsey as papal legate. At the request of the commons this
amnesty was extended to all England. The nation, which at first saw
nothing in this affair but an act enfranchising themselves from the
usurped power of the popes, showed their gratitude to Henry; but there
was a reverse to the medal. If the pope was despoiled, the king was
invested. Was not the function ascribed to him contrary to the Gospel?
Would not this act impress upon the Anglican Reformation a territorial
and aristocratic character, which would introduce into the Reformed
Church the world with all its splendor and wealth? If the royal
preëminence endows the Anglican Church with the pomps of worship, of
classical studies, of high dignities, will it not also carry along with
it luxury, sinecures, and worldliness among the prelates? Shall we not
see the royal authority pronounce on questions of dogma, and declare the
most sacred doctrines indifferent? A little later an attempt was made to
limit the power of the king in religious matters. ‘We give not to our
princes the ministry of God’s Word or sacraments,’ says the
thirty-seventh Article of Religion.

Footnote 109:

  ‘They ought to take notice of the constitution at their
  peril.’—Collyers, ii. p. 61. Burnet, p. 108.

Footnote 110:

  ‘Regia majestas nostrum caput atque anima.’—Collyers, _Records_, p. 8,
  30 July, 1530.

Footnote 111:

  ‘Ecclesiæ protector et supremum caput.’—Collyers, ii. p. 62.

Footnote 112:

  ‘Seeing this Gordian knot, to play the noble Alexander.’—Foxe, _Acts_,
  v. p. 55.

Footnote 113:

  Strype’s _Memorials_, i. p. 111.

Footnote 114:

  Tytler, _Life of Henry VIII._, p. 312.

Footnote 115:

  ‘Qui tacet consentire videtur. Itaque tacemus omnes.’—Collyers, p. 63.

Footnote 116:

  The act is given in Wilkins, _Concilia_, iii. p. 742, and Rymer,
  _Fœdera_, vi. p. 163.

Footnote 117:

  ‘Ne ab ecclesia catholica dissentire videar, expresse
  dissentio.’—Wilkins, _Concilia_, iii. p. 745.

Footnote 118:

  Collyers, ii. p. 64.

                               CHAPTER X.
                         (MARCH TO JUNE 1531.)

The king, having obtained so important a concession from the clergy,
turned to his parliament to ask a service of another kind,—one in his
eyes still more urgent.

On the 30th of March, 1531, the session being about to terminate, Sir
Thomas More, the chancellor, went down to the House of Commons, and
submitted to them the decision of the various universities on the king’s
marriage and the power of the pope. The Commons looked at the affair
essentially from a political point of view; they did not understand
that, because the king had lived twenty years with the queen, he ought
not to be separated from her. The documents placed before their eyes
‘made them detest the marriage’ of Henry and Catherine.[119] The
chancellor desired the members to report in their respective counties
and towns that the king had not asked for this divorce of his own will
or pleasure, but ‘only for the discharge of his conscience and surety of
the succession of his crown.’[120] ‘Enlighten the people,’ he said, ‘and
preserve peace in the nation, with the sentiments of loyalty due to the

[Sidenote: Catherine’s Reply.]

The king hastened to use the powers which universities, clergy, and
parliament had placed in his hands. Immediately after the prorogation
certain lords went down to Greenwich and laid before the queen the
decisions which condemned her marriage, and urged her to accept the
arbitration of four bishops and four lay peers. Catherine replied, sadly
but firmly,—‘I pray you tell the king I say I am his lawful wife, and in
that point I will abide until the court of Rome determine to the

The divorce which, notwithstanding Catherine’s refusal, was approaching,
caused great agitation among the people; and the members of parliament
had some trouble to preserve order, as Sir Thomas More had desired them.
Priests proclaimed from their pulpits the downfall of the Church and the
coming of Antichrist; the mendicant friars scattered discontent in every
house which they entered, the most fanatical of them not fearing to
insinuate that the wrath of God would soon hurl the impious prince from
his throne. In towns and villages, in castles and alehouses, men talked
of nothing but the divorce and the primacy claimed by the king. Women
standing at their doors, men gathering round the blacksmith’s forge,
spoke more or less disrespectfully of parliament, the bishops, the
dangers of the Romish Church, and the prospects of the Reformation. If a
few friends met at night around the hearth, they told strange tales to
one another. The king, queen, pope, devil, saints, Cromwell, and the
higher clergy formed the subject of their conversation. The gipsies at
that time strolling through the country added to the confusion.
Sometimes they would appear in the midst of these animated discussions,
and prophesy lamentable events, at times calling up the dead to make
them speak of the future. The terrible calamities they predicted froze
their hearers with affright, and their sinister prophecies were the
cause of disorders and even of crimes. Accordingly an act was passed
pronouncing the penalty of banishment against them.[122]

An unfortunate event tended still more to strike men’s imaginations. It
was reported that the Bishop of Rochester, that prelate so terrible to
the reformers and so good to the poor, had narrowly escaped being
poisoned by his cook. Seventeen persons were taken ill after eating
porridge at the episcopal palace. One of the bishop’s gentlemen died, as
well as a poor woman to whom the remains of the food had been given. It
was maliciously remarked that the bishop was the only one who frankly
opposed the divorce and the royal supremacy. Calumny even aimed at the
throne. When Henry heard of this, he resolved to make short work of all
such nonsense; he ordered the offence to be deemed as high-treason, and
the wretched cook was taken to Smithfield, there to be _boiled to
death_.[123] This was a variation of the penalty pronounced upon the
evangelicals. Such was the cruel justice of the sixteenth century.

[Sidenote: Reginald Pole.]

While the universities, parliament, convocation, and the nation appeared
to support Henry VIII., one voice was raised against the divorce. It was
that of a young man brought up by the king, and that voice moved him
deeply. There still remained in England some scions of the house of
York, and among them a nephew of that unhappy Warwick whom Henry VII.
had cruelly put to death. Warwick had left a sister Margaret, and the
king, desirous of appeasing the remorse he suffered on account of the
tragical end of that prince, ‘the most innocent of men,’[124] had
married her to Sir Richard Pole, a gentleman of her own family. She was
left a widow with two daughters and three sons. The youngest, Reginald,
became a favorite with Henry VIII., who destined him for the
archiepiscopal see of Canterbury. ‘Your kindnesses are such,’ said Pole
to him, ‘that a king could grant no more, even to a son.’[125] But
Reginald, to whom his mother had told the story of the execution of the
unhappy Warwick, had contracted an invincible hatred against the Tudors.
Accordingly, in despite of certain evangelical tendencies, Pole, seeing
Henry separating from the pope, resolved to throw himself into the arms
of the pontiff. Reginald, invested with the Roman purple, rose to be
president of the council and primate of all England under Queen Mary.
Elegant in his manners, with a fine intellect, and sincere in his
religious convictions, he was selfish, irritable, and ambitious. Desires
of elevation and revenge led a noble nature astray. If the branch of
which he was the representative was ever to recover the crown, it could
only be by the help of the Roman pontiffs. Henceforward their cause was
his. Loaded with benefits by Henry VIII., he was incessantly pursued by
the recollection of the rights of Rome and of the White Rose; and he
went so far as to insult before all Europe the prince who had been his
first friend.

At this time Pole was living at a house in the country, which Henry had
given him. One day he received at this charming retreat a communication
from the Duke of Norfolk. ‘The king destines you for the highest honors
of the English Church,’ wrote this nobleman, ‘and offers you at once the
important sees of York and Winchester, left vacant by the death of
Cardinal Wolsey.’ At the same time the duke asked Pole’s opinion about
the divorce. Reginald’s brothers, and particularly Lord Montague,
entreated him to answer as all the catholic world had answered, and not
irritate a prince whose anger would ruin them all. The blood of Warwick
and the king’s revolt against Rome induced Pole to reject with horror
all the honors which Henry offered; and yet that prince was his
benefactor. He fancied he had discovered a middle course which would
permit him to satisfy alike his conscience and his king.

He went to Whitehall, where Henry received him like a friend. Pole
hesitated in distress; he wished to let the king know his thoughts, but
the words would not come to his lips. At last, encouraged by the
prince’s affability, he summoned up his resolution, and, in a voice
trembling with emotion, said: ‘You must not separate from the queen.’
Henry had expected something different. Is it thus that his kindnesses
are repaid? His eyes flashed with anger, and he laid his hand on his
sword. Pole humbled himself. ‘If I possess any knowledge, to whom do I
owe it unless to your Majesty? In listening to me you are listening to
your own pupil.’[126] The king recovered himself, and said,—‘I will
consider your opinion, and send you my answer.’ Pole withdrew. ‘He put
me in such a passion,’ said the king to one of his gentlemen, ‘that I
nearly struck him.... But there is something in the man that wins my

Montague and Reginald’s other brother again conjured him to accept the
high position which the king reserved for him; but his soul revolted at
being subordinate to a Tudor. He therefore wrote a memoir, which he
presented to Henry, and in which he entreated him to submit implicitly
the divorce question to the court of Rome. ‘How could I speak against
your marriage with the queen?’ he said. ‘Should I not accuse your
Majesty of having lived for more than twenty years in an unlawful
union?[127] By the divorce you will array all the powers against
you,—the pope, the emperor; and as for the French ... we can never find
in our hearts to trust them. You are at this moment on the verge of an
abyss.... One step more, and all is over.[128] There is only one way of
safety left your Grace, and that is submission to the pope.’ Henry was
moved. The boldness with which this young nobleman dared accuse him,
irritated his pride; still his friendship prevailed, and he forgave it.
Pole received the permission he had asked to leave England, with the
promise of the continued payment of his pension.

[Sidenote: Catherine Leaves Windsor.]

Reginald Pole was, as it were, the last link that united the royal pair.
Thus far the king had continued to show the queen every respect; their
mutual affection seemed the same, only they occupied separate
rooms.[129] Henry now decided to take an important step. On the 14th of
July a new deputation entered the queen’s apartment, one of whom
informed her that as her marriage with Prince Arthur had been duly
consummated she could not be the wife of her husband’s brother. Then
after reproaching her with having, contrary to the laws of England and
the dignity of the crown, cited his Majesty before the pope’s tribunal,
he desired her to choose for her residence either the castle of Oking or
of Estamsteed, or the monastery of Bisham. Catherine remained calm, and
replied,—‘Wheresoever I retire, nothing can deprive me of the title
which belongs to me. I shall always be his Majesty’s wife.’[130] She
left Windsor the same day, and removed to the More, a splendid mansion
which Wolsey had surrounded with beautiful gardens; then to Estamsteed,
and finally to Ampthill. The king never saw her again; but all the
papists and discontented rallied round her. She entered into
correspondence with the sovereigns of Europe, and became the centre of a
party opposed to the emancipation of England.

Footnote 119:

  Lord Herbert, p. 353.

Footnote 120:

  Hall, _Chron. of England_, p. 780.

Footnote 121:

  Herbert, p. 354.

Footnote 122:

  Bill against conjuration, witchcraft, sorcerers, &c. Henry VIII. cap.

Footnote 123:

  Burnet, i. p. 110.

Footnote 124:

  ‘Omnium innocentissimum.’—Pole, _De Unitate_, p. 57.

Footnote 125:

  ‘Ut nec rex pater principi filio majus dare possit.’—Pole, _De
  Unitate_, p. 85.

Footnote 126:

  ‘Cum me audies, alumnum tuum audies.’—Pole, _De Unitate_, p. 3.

Footnote 127:

  ‘Infra etiam belluarum vitam.’—Ibid. p. 55.

Footnote 128:

  ‘The king standeth even upon the brink of the water; all his honor is

Footnote 129:

  ‘Had he not forborne to come to her bed.’—Lord Herbert, p. 335.

Footnote 130:

  ‘To what place soever she removed, nothing could remove her from being
  the king’s wife.’—Herbert, p. 354.

                              CHAPTER XI.
                       (SEPTEMBER 1531 TO 1532.)

As Henry, by breaking with Catherine, had broken with the pope, he felt
the necessity of uniting more closely with his clergy. Wishing to
proceed to the establishment of his new dignity, he required bishops,
and particularly dexterous bishops. He therefore made Edward Lee,
Archbishop of York, and Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester; and
these two men, devoted to scholastic doctrines, ambitious and servile,
were commissioned to inaugurate the new ecclesiastical monarchy of the
King of England. Although the pope had hastened to send off their bulls,
they declared they held their dignity ‘immediately and only’ of the
king,[131] and began without delay to organize a strange league. If the
king needed the bishops against the pope, the bishops needed the king
against the reformers. It was not long before this alliance received the
baptism of blood.

But before proceeding so far, the prelates deliberated about the means
of raising the 118,000_l._ they had bound themselves to pay the king.
Each wished to make his own share as small as possible, and throw the
largest part of the burden upon his colleagues. The bishops determined
to place it in great measure on the shoulders of the parochial clergy.

Stokesley, Bishop of London, began the battle. An able, greedy, violent
man, and jealous of his prerogatives, he called a meeting of six or
eight priests on whom he believed he could depend, in order to draw up
with their assistance such resolutions as he could afterwards impose
more easily upon their brethren. These picked ecclesiastics were desired
to meet on the 1st of September, 1531, in the chapter-house of St.

The bishop’s plan had got wind, and excited general indignation in the
city. Was it just that the victims should pay the fine? Some of the
laity, delighted at seeing the clergy quarrelling, sought to fan the
flame instead of extinguishing it.

[Sidenote: A Clerical Riot.]

When the 1st of September arrived the bishop entered the chapter-house
with his officers, where the conference with the eight priests was to be
held. Presently an unusual noise was heard round St. Paul’s: not only
the six or eight priests, but six hundred, accompanied by a great number
of citizens and common people, made their appearance. The crowd swayed
to and fro before the cathedral gates, shouting and clamoring to be
admitted into the chapter-house on the same footing as the select few.
What was to be done? The prelate’s councillors advised him to add a few
of the less violent priests to those he had already chosen. Stokesley
adopted their advice, hoping that the gates and bolts would be strong
enough to keep out the rest. Accordingly he drew up a list of new
members, and one of his officers, going out to the angry crowd, read the
names of those whom the bishop had selected. The latter came forward,
not without trouble; but at the same time the excluded priests made a
vigorous attempt to enter. There was a fierce struggle of men pushing
and shouting, but the bishop’s officials having passed in quickly, those
who had been nominated hurriedly closed the doors. So far the victory
seemed to rest with the bishop, and he was about to speak, when the
uproar became deafening. The priests outside, exasperated because their
financial matters were to be settled without them, protested that they
ought to hold their own purse-strings. Laying hands on whatever they
could find, and aided by the laity, they began to batter the door of the
chapter-house. They succeeded: the door gave way, and all, priests and
citizens, rushed in together.[132] The bishop’s officials tried in vain
to stop them; they were roughly pushed aside.[133] Their gowns were
torn, their faces streamed with perspiration, their features were
disfigured, and some even were wounded. The furious priests entered the
room at last, storming and shouting. It was more like a pack of hounds
rushing on a stag than the reverend clergy of the metropolis of England
appearing before their bishop. The prelate, who had tact, showed no
anger, but sought rather to calm the rioters. ‘My brethren,’ he said, ‘I
marvel not a little why ye be so heady. Ye know not what shall be said
to you, therefore I pray you hear me patiently. Ye all know that we be
men frail of condition, and by our lack of wisdom have misdemeaned
ourselves towards the king and fallen in a _præmunire_, by reason
whereof all our lands, goods, and chattels were to him a forfeit, and
our bodies ready to be imprisoned. Yet his Grace of his great clemency
is pleased to pardon us, and to accept of a little instead of the whole
of our benefices—about one hundred thousand pounds, to be paid in five
years. I exhort you to bear your parts towards payment of this sum

This was just what the priests did not want. They thought it strange to
be asked for money for an offence they had not committed. ‘My lord,’
answered one, ‘we have never offended against the _præmumire_, we have
never meddled with cardinal’s faculties.[135] Let the bishops and abbots
pay; they committed the offence, and they have good places.’—‘My lord,’
added another, ‘twenty nobles[136] a year is but a bare living for a
priest, and yet it is all we have. Everything is now so dear that
poverty compels us to say No. Having no need of the king’s pardon we
have no desire to pay.’ These words were drowned in applause. ‘No,’
exclaimed the crowd, which was getting noisy again, ‘we will pay
nothing.’ The bishop’s officers grew angry, and came to high words; the
priests returned abuse for abuse; and the citizens, delighted to see
their ‘masters’ quarrelling, fanned the strife. From words they soon
came to blows. The episcopal ushers, who tried to restore order, were
‘buffeted and stricken,’ and even the bishop’s life was in danger. At
last the meeting broke up in great confusion. Stokesley hastened to
complain to the chancellor, Sir Thomas More, who, being a great friend
of the prelate’s, sent fifteen priests and five laymen to prison. They
deserved it, no doubt; but the bishops, who, to spare their superfluity,
robbed poor curates of their necessaries, were more guilty still.

[Sidenote: The Bishops And Priests.]

Such was the unity that existed between the bishops and the priests of
England at the very time the Reformation was appearing at the doors. The
prelates understood the danger to which they were exposed through that
evangelical doctrine, the source of light and life. They knew that all
their ecclesiastical pretensions would crumble away before the breath of
the divine Word. Accordingly, not content with robbing of their little
substance the poor pastors to whom they should have been as fathers,
they determined to deprive those whom they called _heretics_, not only
of their money, but of their liberty and life. Would Henry permit this?

The king did not wish to withdraw England from the papal jurisdiction
without the assent of the clergy. If he did so of his own authority, the
priests would rise against him and compare him to Luther. There were at
that time three great parties in Christendom: the evangelical, the
catholic, and the popish. Henry purposed to overthrow popery, but
without going so far as evangelism: he desired to remain in catholicism.
One means occurred of satisfying the clergy. Although they were
fanatical partisans of the Church, they had sacrificed the pope; they
now imagined that, by sacrificing a few heretics, they would atone for
their cowardly submission. In a later age Louis XIV. did the same to
make up for errors of another kind. The provincial synod of Canterbury
met and addressed the king: ‘Your Highness one time defended the Church
with your pen, when you were only a member of it; now that you are its
supreme head, your Majesty should crush its enemies, and so shall your
merits exceed all praise.’[137]

In order to prove that he was not another Luther, Henry VIII. consented
to hand over the disciples of that heretic to the priests, and gave them
authority to imprison and burn them, provided they would aid the king to
resume the power usurped by the pope. The bishops immediately began to
hunt down the friends of the Gospel.

A will had given rise to much talk in the county of Gloucester. William
Tracy, a gentleman of irreproachable conduct and ‘full of good works,
equally generous to the clergy and the laity,’[138] had died, praying
God to save his soul through the merits of Jesus Christ, but leaving no
money to the priests for masses. The primate of England had his bones
dug up and burnt. But this was not enough: they must also burn the

Footnote 131:

  ‘Immediately and only upon your grace.’—Juramentum. Rymer, _Acta_, vi.
  p. 169.

Footnote 132:

  ‘The rest forced the door, rushed in, and the bishop’s servants were
  beaten and ill-used.’—Burnet, i. p. 110.

Footnote 133:

  ‘They struck the bishop’s officers over the face.’—Hall, _Chronicles
  of England_, p. 783.

Footnote 134:

  Hall, _Chronicles_.

Footnote 135:

  Ibid. p. 783.

Footnote 136:

  The noble was worth six shillings and eightpence.

Footnote 137:

  ‘Tanta ejus Majestatis merita quod nullis laudibus æquari
  queant.’—_Concilia_, M. Brit. p. 742.

Footnote 138:

  Latimer, _Sermons_, i. p. 46 (Parker Soc.); Tyndale, _Op._ iii. p.

                              CHAPTER XII.
                              THE MARTYRS.

[Sidenote: Proclamation Against Papal Bulls.]

The first blows were aimed at the court-chaplain. The bishops, finding
it dangerous to have such a man near the king, would have liked (Latimer
tells us) to place him on burning coals.[139] But Henry loved him, the
blow failed, and the priests had to turn to those who were not so well
at court. Thomas Bilney, whose conversion had begun the Reformation in
England,[140] had been compelled to do penance at St. Paul’s Cross; but
from that time he became the prey of the direst terror. His backsliding
had manifested the weakness of his faith. Bilney possessed a sincere and
lively piety, but a judgment less sound than many of his friends. He had
not got rid of certain scruples which in Luther and Calvin had yielded
to the supreme authority of God’s Word.[141] In his opinion none but
priests consecrated by bishops had the power to bind and loose.[142]
This mixture of truth and error had caused his fall. Such sincere but
imperfectly enlightened persons are always to be met with—persons who,
agitated by the scruples of their conscience, waver between Rome and the
Word of God.

At last faith gained the upper hand in Bilney. Leaving his Cambridge
friends, he had gone into the Eastern counties to meet his martyrdom.
One day, arriving at a hermitage in the vicinity of Norwich, where a
pious woman dwelt, his words converted her to Christ.[143] He then began
to preach ‘openly in the fields’ to great crowds. His voice was heard in
all the county. Weeping over his former fall, he said: ‘That doctrine
which I once abjured is the truth. Let my example be a lesson to all who
hear me.’

Before long he turned his steps in the direction of London, and,
stopping at Ipswich, was not content to preach the Gospel only, but
violently attacked the errors of Rome before an astonished
audience.[144] Some monks had crept among his hearers, and Bilney,
perceiving them, called out: ‘_The Lamb of God taketh away the sins of
the world._ If the Bishop of Rome dares say that the hood of St. Francis
saves, he blasphemes the blood of the Saviour.’ John Huggen, one of the
monks, immediately made a note of the words. Bilney continued: ‘To
invoke the saints and not Christ, is to put the head under the feet and
the feet above the head.’[145] Richard Seman, the other brother, took
down these words. ‘Men will come after me,’ continued Bilney, ‘who will
teach the same faith, the true gospel of our Saviour, and will
disentangle you from the errors in which deceivers have bound you so
long.’ Brother Julius hastened to write down the bold prediction.

Latimer, surrounded by the favors of the king and the luxury of the
great, watched his friend from afar. He called to mind their walks in
the fields round Cambridge, their serious conversation as they climbed
the hill afterwards called after them the ‘heretic’s hill,’[146] and the
visits they had paid together to the poor and to the prisoners.[147]
Latimer had seen Bilney very recently at Cambridge in fear and anguish,
and had tried in vain to restore him to peace. ‘He now rejoiced that God
had endued him with such strength of faith that he was ready to be burnt
for Christ’s sake.’

[Sidenote: Bilney And Petit In Prison.]

Bilney, drawing still nearer to London, arrived at Greenwich about the
middle of July. He procured some New Testaments, and, hiding them
carefully under his clothes, called upon a humble Christian named
Staple. Taking them ‘out of his sleeves,’ he desired Staple to
distribute them among his friends. Then, as if impelled by a thirst for
martyrdom, he turned again towards Norwich, whose bishop, Richard Nix, a
blind octogenarian, was in the front rank of the persecutors. Arriving
at the solitary place where the pious ‘anachoress’ lived, he left one of
the precious volumes with her. This visit cost Bilney his life. The poor
solitary read the New Testament, and lent it to the people who came to
see her. The bishop, hearing of it, informed Sir Thomas More, who had
Bilney arrested,[148] brought to London, and shut up in the Tower.

Bilney began to breathe again: a load was taken off him; he was about to
suffer the penalty his fall deserved. In the room next his was John
Petit, a member of parliament of some eloquence, who had distributed his
books and his alms in England and beyond the seas. Philips, the
under-gaoler of the Tower, who was a good man, told the two prisoners
that only a wooden partition separated them, which was a source of great
joy to both. He would often remove a panel, and permit them to converse
and take their frugal meals together.[149]

This happiness did not last long. Bilney’s trial was to take place at
Norwich, where he had been captured: the aged Bishop Nix wanted to make
an example in his diocese. A crowd of monks—Augustins, Dominicans,
Franciscans, and Carmelites—visited the prison of the evangelist to
convert him. Dr. Gall, provincial of the Franciscans, having consented
that the prisoner should make use of Scripture,[150] was shaken in his
faith; but, on the other hand, Stokes, an Augustin and a determined
papist, repeated to Bilney: ‘If you die in your opinions, you will be

The trial commenced, and the Ipswich monks gave their evidence. ‘He
said,’ deposed William Cade, ‘that the Jews and Saracens would have been
converted long since, if the idolatry of the Christians had not
disgusted them with Christianity.’—‘I heard him say,’ added Richard
Neale: ‘“down with your gods of gold, silver, and stone.”’—‘He stated,’
resumed Cade, ‘that the priests take away the offerings from the saints,
and hang them about their women’s necks; and then, if the offerings do
not prove fine enough, they are put upon the images again.’[151]

Every one foresaw the end of this piteous trial. One of Bilney’s friends
endeavored to save him. Latimer took the matter into the pulpit, and
conjured the judges to decide according to justice. Although Bilney’s
name was not uttered, they all knew who was meant. The Bishop of London
went and complained to the king that his chaplain had the audacity to
defend the heretic against the bishop and his judges.[152] ‘There is not
a preacher in the world,’ said Latimer, ‘who would not have spoken as I
have done, although Bilney had never existed.’ The chaplain escaped once
more, thanks to the favor he enjoyed with Henry.

Bilney was condemned, and, after being degraded by the priests, was
handed over to the sheriff, who, having great respect for his virtues,
begged pardon for discharging his duty. The prudent bishop wrote to the
chancellor, asking for an order to burn the heretic. ‘Burn him first,’
rudely answered More, ‘and then ask me for a bill of indemnity.’[153]

[Sidenote: Bilney With His Friends.]

A few of Bilney’s friends went to Norwich to bid him farewell: among
them was Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury. It was in the evening, and
Bilney was taking his last meal. On the table stood some frugal fare
(ale brew), and on his countenance beamed the joy that filled his soul.
‘I am surprised,’ said one of his friends, ‘that you can eat so
cheerfully.’—‘I only follow the example of the husbandmen of the
county,’ answered Bilney, ‘who, having a ruinous house to dwell in, yet
bestow cost so long as they may hold it up.’ With these words he rose
from the table, and sat down near his friends, one of whom said to him:
‘To-morrow the fire will make you feel its devouring fierceness, but
God’s Holy Spirit will cool it for your everlasting refreshing.’ Bilney,
appearing to reflect upon what had been said, stretched out his hand
towards the lamp that was burning on the table, and placed his finger in
the flame. ‘What are you doing?’ they exclaimed. ‘Nothing,’ he replied;
‘I am only trying my flesh. To-morrow God’s rods shall burn my whole
body in the fire.’ And, still keeping his finger in the flame, as if he
were making a curious experiment, he continued: ‘I feel that fire by
God’s ordinance is naturally hot; but yet I am persuaded, by God’s Holy
Word and the experience of the martyrs, that when the flames consume me
I shall not feel them. Howsoever, this stubble of my body shall be
wasted by it, a pain for the time is followed by joy unspeakable.’[154]
He then withdrew his finger, the first joint of which was burnt. He
added, ‘_When thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be
burnt._’[155] ‘These words remained imprinted on the hearts of all who
heard them until the day of their death,’ says a chronicler.

Beyond the city gate—that known as the _Bishop’s gate_—was a low valley,
called the _Lollards’ pit_: it was surrounded by rising ground, forming
a sort of amphitheatre. On Saturday, the 19th of August, a body of
javelin-men came to fetch Bilney, who met them at the prison gate. One
of his friends approaching and exhorting him to be firm, Bilney replied:
‘When the sailor goes on board his ship and launches out into the stormy
sea, he is tossed to and fro by the waves; but the hope of reaching a
peaceful haven makes him bear the danger. My voyage is beginning, but
whatever storms I shall feel, my ship will soon reach the port.’[156]

Bilney passed through the streets of Norwich in the midst of a dense
crowd; his demeanor was grave, his features calm. His head had been
shaved, and he wore a layman’s gown. Dr. Warner, one of his friends,
accompanied him; another distributed liberal alms all along the route.
The procession descended into the Lollards’ pit, while the spectators
covered the surrounding hills. On arriving at the place of punishment,
Bilney fell on his knees and prayed, and then rising up, warmly embraced
the stake and kissed it.[157] Turning his eyes towards heaven, he next
repeated the Apostles’ Creed, and when he confessed the incarnation and
crucifixion of the Saviour his emotion was such that even the spectators
were moved. Recovering himself, he took off his gown, and ascended the
pile, reciting the hundred and forty-third psalm. Thrice he repeated the
second verse: ‘_Enter not into judgment with thy servant for in thy
sight shall no man living be justified_.’ And then he added: ‘_I stretch
forth my hands unto thee; my soul thirsteth after thee_.’ Turning
towards the executioner, he said: ‘Are you ready?’—‘Yes,’ was the reply.
Bilney placed himself against the post, and held up the chain which
bound him to it. His friend Warner, with eyes filled with tears, took a
last farewell. Bilney smiled kindly at him and said: ‘Doctor, _pasce
gregem tuum_; feed your flock, that when the Lord cometh he may find you
so doing.’ Several monks who had given evidence against him, perceiving
the emotion of the spectators, began to tremble, and whispered to the
martyr: ‘These people will believe that we are the cause of your death,
and will withhold their alms,’ Upon which Bilney said to them: ‘Good
folks, be not angry against these men for my sake; even should they be
the authors of my death, _it is not they_.’[158] He knew that his death
proceeded from the will of God. The torch was applied to the pile: the
fire smouldered for a few minutes, and then suddenly burning up
fiercely, the martyr was heard to utter the name of Jesus several times.
A strong wind which blew the flames on one side prolonged his agony;
thrice they seemed to retire from him, and thrice they returned, until
at length, the whole pile being kindled, he expired.

[Sidenote: Revolution In Men’s Mind.]

A strange revolution took place in men’s minds after this death: they
praised Bilney, and even his persecutors acknowledged his virtues.
‘Mother of Christ,’ exclaimed the Bishop of Norwich (it was his usual
oath), ‘I fear I have burnt Abel and let Cain go.’ Latimer was
inconsolable; twenty years later he still lamented his friend, and one
day (preaching before Edward VI.) he called to mind that Bilney was
always doing good, even to his enemies, and styled him ‘that blessed
martyr of God.’[159]

One martyrdom was not sufficient for the enemies of the Reformation.
Stokesley, Lee, Gardiner, and other prelates and priests, feeling
themselves guilty towards Rome, which they had sacrificed to their
personal ambition, desired to expiate their faults by sacrificing the
reformers. Seeing at their feet a fatal gulf, dug between them and the
Roman pontiff by their faithlessness, they desired to fill it up with
corpses. The persecution continued.

There was at that time a pious evangelist in the dungeons of the Bishop
of London. He was fastened upright to the wall, with chains round his
neck, waist, and legs. Usually the most guilty prisoners were permitted
to sit down, and even to lie on the floor; but for this man there was no
rest. It was Richard Bayfield, accused of bringing from the continent a
number of New Testaments translated by Tyndale.[160] When one of his
gaolers told him of Bilney’s martyrdom, he exclaimed: ‘And I too, and
hundreds of men with me, will die for the faith he has confessed.’ He
was brought shortly afterwards before the episcopal court. ‘With what
intent,’ asked Stokesley, ‘did you bring into the country the errors of
Luther, Œcolampadius the great heretic, and others of that damnable
sect?’—‘To make the Gospel known,’ answered Bayfield, ‘and to glorify
God before the people.’[161] Accordingly, the bishop, having condemned
and then degraded him, summoned the lord mayor and sheriffs of London,
‘by the bowels of Jesus Christ’ (he had the presumption to say), to do
to Bayfield ‘according to the _laudable custom_ of the famous realm of
England.’[162] ‘O ye priests,’ said the gospeller, as if inspired by the
Spirit of God, ‘is it not enough that your lives are wicked, but you
must prevent the life according to the Gospel from spreading among the
people?’ The bishop took up his crosier and struck Bayfield so violently
on the chest that he fell backwards and fainted.[163] He revived by
degrees, and said, on regaining his consciousness: ‘I thank God that I
am delivered from the wicked church of Antichrist, and am going to be a
member of the true Church which reigns triumphant in heaven.’ He mounted
the pile; the flames touching him only on one side, consumed his left
arm. With his right hand Bayfield separated it from his body, and the
arm fell. Shortly after this he ceased to pray, because he had ceased to

John Tewkesbury, one of the most respected merchants in London, whom the
bishops had put twice to the rack already, and whose limbs they had
broken,[164] felt his courage revived by the martyrdom of his friend.
CHRIST ALONE, he said habitually: these two words were all his theology.
He was arrested, taken to the house of Sir Thomas More at Chelsea, shut
up in the porter’s lodge, his hands, feet, and head being held in the
stocks;[165] but they could not obtain from him the recantation they
desired. The officers took him into the chancellor’s garden, and bound
him so tightly to the _tree of truth_, as the renowned scholar called
it, that the blood started out of his eyes; after which they scourged
him.[166] Tewkesbury remained firm.

On the 16th of December the Bishop of London went to Chelsea and formed
a court. ‘Thou art a heretic,’ said Stokesley, ‘a backslider; thou hast
incurred the great excommunication. We shall deliver thee up to the
secular power.’ He was burnt alive at Smithfield on the 20th of
December, 1531. ‘Now,’ said the fanatical chancellor, ‘now is he
uttering cries in hell!’

[Sidenote: Utopias Of The Bishops.]

Such were at this period the cruel _utopias_ of the bishops and of the
witty Sir Thomas More. Other evangelical Christians were thrown into
prison. In vain did one of them exclaim: ‘the more they persecute this
sect, the more will it increase.’[167] That opinion did not check the
persecution. ‘It is impossible,’ says Foxe (doubtless with some
exaggeration), ‘to name all who were persecuted before the time of Queen
Anne Boleyn. As well try to count the grains of sand on the seashore!’

Thus did the real Reformation show by the blood of its martyrs that it
had nothing to do with the policy, the tyranny, the intrigues, and the
divorce of Henry VIII. If these men of God had not been burnt by that
prince, it might possibly have been imagined that he was the author of
the transformation of England; but the blood of the reformers cried to
heaven that he was its executioner.

Footnote 139:

  ‘Ye would have raked in the coals.’—Latimer, _Works_, i. p. 46 (Parker
  Soc.); Tyndale, _Op._ iii. p. 231.

Footnote 140:

  _History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century_, vol. v. bk.
  xviii. ch. ii. ix. xii.; bk. xix. ch. vii.; bk. xx. ch. xv.

Footnote 141:

  ‘A man of a timorous conscience, and not fully resolved touching that
  matter of the Church.’—Foxe, _Acts_, p. 649.

Footnote 142:

  ‘Soli sacerdotes, ordinati ritè per pontifices, habent claves.’—Ibid.

Footnote 143:

  ‘The anachoress whom he had converted to Christ.’—Foxe, _Acts_, p.

Footnote 144:

  Herbert, p. 357.

Footnote 145:

  ‘Like as if a man should take and strike off the head and set it under
  the foot, and to set the foot above.’—Foxe, _Acts_, iv. p. 649.

Footnote 146:

  Latimer, _Remains_, p. xiii.

Footnote 147:


Footnote 148:

  ‘Fit empoigner.’—Crespin, _Actes des Martyrs_, p. 101.

Footnote 149:

  Strype, p. 313.

Footnote 150:

  ‘As he had planted himself upon the firm rock of God’s Word.’—Foxe,
  _Acts_, iv. p. 643.

Footnote 151:

  Foxe, _Acts_, iv. p. 648.

Footnote 152:

  Latimer, _Works_, ii. p. 330 (Parker Soc.).

Footnote 153:

  Ibid. p. 650.

Footnote 154:

  Latimer, _Works_, ii. p. 650 (Parker Soc.).

Footnote 155:

  Isaiah xliii. 2. In Bilney’s Bible, which is preserved in the library
  of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, this passage (verses 1-3) is
  marked in the margin with a pen.

Footnote 156:

  Latimer, _Works_, ii. p. 654 (Parker Soc.).

Footnote 157:

  Foxe, _Acts_, iv. p. 655, note.

Footnote 158:

  Latimer, _Works_, ii. p. 655 (Parker Soc.).

Footnote 159:

  ‘And toward his enemy so charitable.’—Latimer, _Works_, ii. p. 330.
  (Parker Soc.).

Footnote 160:

  _History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century_, vol. v. bk. xx.
  ch. xv.

Footnote 161:

  ‘To the intent that the Gospel of Christ might be set forward.’—Foxe,
  _Acts_, iv. p. 683.

Footnote 162:

  Ibid. p. 687.

Footnote 163:

  ‘He took his crozier-staff and smote him oh the breast.’—Ibid.

Footnote 164:

  _History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century_, vol. v. bk. xx.
  ch. vii.

Footnote 165:

  Foxe, _Acts_, iv. p. 689.

Footnote 166:

  ‘And also twisted in his brows with small ropes so that the

Footnote 167:

  Cotton MS. Anderson, _Annals of Bible_, i. p. 310. ‘It will cause the
  sect to wax greater, and those errors to be more plenteously sowed in
  the realm, than heretofore.’

                             CHAPTER XIII.
                          (MARCH TO MAY 1532.)

Henry VIII. having permitted the bishops to execute their task of
persecution, proceeded to carry out his own, that of making the papacy
disgorge. Unhappily for the clergy, the king could not attack the pope,
and they entirely escaped the blows. The duel between Henry and Clement
was about to become more violent, and in the space of three months
(March, April, and May) the Romish Church, stripped of important
prerogatives, would learn that, after so many ages of wealth and honor,
the hour of its humiliation had come at last.

Henry was determined, above all things, not to permit his cause to be
tried at Rome. What would be thought if he yielded? ‘Could the pope,’
wrote Henry to his envoys, ‘constrain kings to leave the charge God had
entrusted to them, in order to humble themselves before him? That would
be to tread under foot the glory of our person and the privileges of our
kingdom. If the pope persists, take your leave of the pontiff, and
return to us immediately,’—‘The pope,’ added Norfolk, ‘would do well to
reflect if he intend the continuance of good obedience of England to the
see apostolic.’[168]

Catherine on her part did not remain behind: she wrote a pathetic letter
to the pope, informing him that her husband had banished her from the
palace. Clement, in the depths of his perplexity, behaved, however, very
properly: he called upon the king (25th January) to take back the queen,
and to dismiss Anne Boleyn from court. Henry spiritedly rejected the
pontiff’s demand. ‘Never was a prince treated by a pope as your Holiness
has treated me,’ he said; ‘not painted reason,[169] but the truth alone,
must be our guide.’ The king prepared to begin the emancipation of

[Sidenote: Character Of Cromwell.]

Thomas Cromwell is the representative of the political reform achieved
by that prince. He was one of those powerful natures which God creates
to work important things. His prompt and sure judgment taught him what
it would be possible to do under a Tudor king, and his intrepid energy
put him in a position to accomplish it. He had an instinctive horror of
superstitions and abuses, tracked them to their remotest corner, and
threw them down with a vigorous arm. Every obstacle was scattered under
the wheels of his car. He even defended the evangelicals against their
persecutors, without committing himself, however, and encouraged the
reading of Holy Scripture; but the royal supremacy, of which he was the
originator, was his idol.

The exactions of Rome in England were numerous: the king and Cromwell
were content for the moment to abolish one, the appropriation by the
papacy of the first year’s income of all ecclesiastical benefices.
‘These _annates_,’ said Cromwell, ‘have cost England eight hundred
thousand ducats since the second year of Henry VII.[170] If, in
consequence of the abolition of annates, the pope does not send a bishop
his bull of ordination, the archbishop or two bishops shall ordain him,
as in the old times.’ Accordingly, in March, 1532, the Lower House
agreed to a resolution, which they expressed in these words: _A cest
bille les communes sont assentes_, To this bill the Commons assent.

The bishops were overjoyed: they had to incur great expenses for their
establishment, and the first money arising from their benefice went to
the pope. Their friends used to make them pecuniary advances; but if the
bishop died shortly after his enthronization, these advances were lost.
Some of the bishops, fearing the opposition of the pope, exclaimed:
‘These exactions are contrary to God’s law. St. Paul bids us withdraw
ourselves from all such as walk inordinately. Therefore, if the pope
claims to keep the annates, let it please your Majesty and parliament to
withdraw the obedience of the people from the see of Rome.’[171] The
king was more moderate than the prelates: he said he would wait a year
or two before giving his assent to the bill.

If the bishops refused the pope his ancient revenue, they refused the
king the new authority claimed by the crown, and maintained that no
secular power had any right to meddle with them.[172] Cromwell resisted
them, and determined to carry out the reform of abuses. ‘The clergy,’
said the Commons to the king, ‘make laws in convocation without your
assent and ours which are in opposition to the statutes of the realm,
and then excommunicate those who violate such laws.’[173] A second time
the frightened bishops vainly prayed the king to make his laws harmonize
with theirs. Henry VIII. insisted that the Church should conform to the
State, and not the State to the Church, and he was inexorable. The
bishops knew well that it was their union with powerful pontiffs, always
ready to defend them against kings, which had given them so much
strength in the middle ages, and that now they must yield. They
therefore lowered their flag before the authority which they had
themselves set up. Convocation did, indeed, make a last effort. It
represented that ‘the authority of bishops proceeds immediately from
God, and from no power of any secular prince, as _your Highness hath
shown in your own book most excellently written against Martin Luther_.’
But the king was firm, and made the prelates yield at last.[174] Thus
was a great revolution accomplished: the spiritual power was taken away
from those arrogant priests who had so long usurped the rights of the
members of the Church. It was only justice; but it ought to have been
placed in better hands than those of Henry VIII.

[Sidenote: Contradictory Oaths.]

Cromwell was preparing a fresh blow that would strike the pontiff’s
triple crown. He drew his master’s attention to the oaths which the
bishops took at their consecration, both to the king and to the pope.
Henry first read the oath to the pope. ‘I swear,’ said the bishop, ‘to
defend the papacy of Rome, the regality of St. Peter, against all men.
If I know of any plot against the pope, I will resist it with all my
might, and will give him warning. Heretics, schismatics, and rebels to
our holy father, I shall resist and persecute with all my power.’[175]
On the other hand, the bishops took an oath to the king at the same
time, wherein they renounced every clause or grant which, coming from
the pope, might be in any way detrimental to his Majesty. In one breath
they must obey the pope and disobey him.

Such contradictions could not last: the king wanted the English to be,
not with Rome but with England. Accordingly he sent for the Speaker of
the Commons, and said to him: ‘On examining the matter closely, I find
that the bishops, instead of being wholly my subjects, are only so by
halves. They swear an oath to the pope quite contrary to that they swear
to the crown; so that they are the pope’s subjects rather than
mine.[176] I refer the matter to your care.’ Parliament was prorogued
three days later on account of the plague; but the prelates declared
that they renounced all orders of the pope prejudicial to his Majesty’s

The political party was delighted, the papal party confounded. The
convents reëchoed with rumors, maledictions, and the strangest projects.
The monks, during the visits they made in their daily rounds, raved
against the encroachments made on the power of the pope. When they went
up into the pulpit, they declaimed against the sacrilege of which
Cromwell (they said) was the author and the English people the victims.

To the last the English priests had hoped in Sir Thomas More. That
disciple of Erasmus had acted like his master. After assailing the
Romish superstitions with biting jests, he had turned round, and seeing
the Reformation attack them with weapons still more powerful, he had
fought against the evangelicals with fire. For two years he had filled
the office of lord-chancellor with unequalled activity and integrity.
Convocation having offered him four thousand pounds sterling ‘for the
pains he had taken in God’s quarrel,’[178] he answered: ‘I will receive
no recompense save from God alone;’ and when the priests urged him to
accept the money he said: ‘I would sooner throw it into the Thames.’ He
did not persecute from any mercenary motives; but the more he advanced,
the more bigoted and fanatical he became. Every Sunday he put on a
surplice and sang mass at Chelsea. The Duke of Norfolk surprised him one
day in this equipment. ‘What do I see?’ he exclaimed. ‘My
lord-chancellor acting the parish clerk ... you dishonour your office
and your king.’[179]—‘Not so,’ answered Sir Thomas, seriously, ‘for I am
honoring his master and ours.’

The great question of the bishop’s oath warned him that he could not
serve both the king and the pope. His mind was soon made up. In the
afternoon of the 16th of May he went to Whitehall gardens, where the
king awaited him, and in the presence of the Duke of Norfolk resigned
the seals.[180] On his return home, he cheerfully told his wife and
daughters of his resignation, but they were much disturbed by it. As for
Sir Thomas, delighted at being freed from his charge, he indulged more
than ever in his flagellations, without renouncing his witty
sayings—Erasmus and Loyola combined in one.

Henry gave the seals to Sir Thomas Audley, a man well disposed towards
the Gospel: this was preparing the emancipation of England. Yet the
Reformation was still exposed to great danger.

[Sidenote: Real Founders Of Reform.]

Henry VIII. wished to abolish popery and set catholicism in its
place—maintain the doctrine of Rome, but substitute the authority of the
king for that of the pontiff. He was wrong in keeping the catholic
doctrine; he was wrong in establishing the jurisdiction of the prince in
the church. Evangelical Christians had to contend against these two
evils in England, and to establish the supreme and exclusive sovereignty
of the Word of God. Can we blame them if they have not entirely
succeeded? To attain their object they willingly have poured out their

Footnote 168:

  _State Papers_, vol. vii. p. 349.

Footnote 169:

  Burnet, _Records_, i. p. 100.

Footnote 170:

  This was equivalent to two millions and a half sterling of our money.
  Burnet, _Records_, ii. p. 96. _Statutes of the Realm_, iii. p. 388.

Footnote 171:

  Strype, _Eccl. Memor._ i. pt. ii. p. 158.

Footnote 172:

  ‘There needeth not any temporal power to concur with the
  same.’—Strype, _Eccl. Memor._ i. p. 202.

Footnote 173:

  ‘Declaring the infringers to incur into the terrible sentence of
  excommunication’—Wilkins, _Concilia_, iii. p. 751.

Footnote 174:

  ‘The king made them buckle at last.’—Strype, _Eccles. Memorials_, i.
  p. 204.

Footnote 175:

  ‘Prosequar et impugnabo.’—Burnet, _Reformation_, i. p. 250 (Oxford,

Footnote 176:

  Burnet, _Hist. Reform._ i. p. 249 (Oxford, 1829).

Footnote 177:

  Wilkins, _Concilia_, iii. p. 354.

Footnote 178:

  Thomas More, by his grandson, p. 187.

Footnote 179:

  Ibid. p. 193.

Footnote 180:

  ‘In horto suo.’—Rymer, vi. p. 171.

                              CHAPTER XIV.

There are writers who seriously ascribe the Reformation of England to
the divorce of Henry VIII., and thus silently pass over the Word of God
and the labors of the evangelical men who really founded protestant
Christianity in that country. As well forget that light proceeds from
the sun. But for the faith of such men as Bilney, Latimer, and Tyndale,
the Church of England, with its king, ministers of state, parliament,
bishops, cathedrals, liturgy, hierarchy, and ceremonies, would have been
a gallant bark, well supplied with masts, sails, and rigging, and manned
by able sailors; but acted on by no breath from heaven. The Church would
have stood still. It is in the humble members of the kingdom of God that
its real strength lies. ‘Those whom the Lord has exalted to high
estate,’ says Calvin, ‘most often fall back little by little, or are
ruined at one blow.’ England, with its wealth and grandeur, needed a
counter-poise: the living faith of the poor in spirit. If a people
attain a high degree of material prosperity; if they conquer by their
energy the powers of nature; if they compel industry to lavish its
stores on them; if they cover the seas with their ships, the more
distant countries with their colonies and marts, and fill their
warehouses and their dwellings with the produce of the whole earth, then
great dangers encompass them. Material things threaten to extinguish the
sacred fire in their bosoms; and unless the Holy Ghost raises up a
salutary opposition against such snares, that people, instead of acting
a moralizing and civilizing part, may turn out nothing better than a
huge noisy machine, fitted only to satisfy vulgar appetites. For a
nation to do justice to a high and glorious calling, it must have within
itself the life of faith, holiness of conscience, and the hope of
incorruptible riches. At this time there were men in England in whose
hearts God had kindled a holy flame, and who were to become the most
important instruments of its moral transformation.

[Sidenote: Lambert’s Examination.]

About the end of 1531, a young minister, John Nicholson, surnamed
Lambert, was on board one of the ships that traded between London and
Antwerp. He was chaplain to the English factory at the latter place,
well versed in the writings of Luther and other reformers, intimate with
Tyndale, and had preached the Gospel with power. Being accused of heresy
by a certain Barlow, he was seized, put in irons, and sent to London.
Alone in the ship, he retraced in his memory the principal events of his
life—how he had been converted at Cambridge by Bilney’s ministry; how,
mingling with the crowd around St. Paul’s Cross, he had heard the Bishop
of Rochester preach against the New Testament; and how, terrified by the
impiety of the priests, and burning with desire to gain the knowledge of
God, he had crossed the sea. When he reached England, he was taken to
Lambeth, where he underwent a preliminary examination. He was then taken
to Ottford, where the archbishop had a fine palace, and was left there
for some time in a miserable hole, almost without food. At last he was
brought before the archbishop, and called upon to reply to forty-five
different articles.

Lambert, during his residence on the Continent, had become thoroughly
imbued with the principles of the Reformation. He believed that it was
only by entire freedom of inquiry that men could be convinced of the
truth. But he had not wandered without a compass over the vast ocean of
human opinions: he had taken the Bible in his hand, believing firmly
that every doctrine found therein is true, and everything that
contradicts it is false. On the one hand he saw the ultramontane system
which opposes religious freedom, freedom of the press, and even freedom
of reading; on the other hand protestantism, which declares that every
man ought to be free to examine Scripture and submit to its teachings.

The archbishop, attended by his officers, having taken his seat in the
palace chapel, Lambert was brought in, and the examination began.

‘Have you read Luther’s books?’ asked the prelate.

‘Yes,’ replied Lambert, ‘and I thank God that ever I did so, for by them
hath God shown me, and a vast multitude of others also, such light as
the darkness cannot abide.’ Then testifying to the freedom of inquiry,
he added: ‘Luther desires above all things that his writings and the
writings of all his adversaries may be translated into all languages, to
the intent that all people may see and know what is said on each side,
whereby they may better judge what is the truth. And this is done not
only by hundreds and thousands, but by whole cities and countries, both
high and low. But (he continued) in England our prelates are so drowned
in voluptuous living that they have no leisure to study God’s Scripture;
they abhor it, no less than they abhor death, giving no other reason
than the tyrannical saying of Sardanapalus: _Sic volo, sic jubeo, sit
pro ratione voluntas_, So I will, so do I command, and let my will for
reason stand.’[181]

Lambert, wishing to make these matters intelligible to the people, said:
‘When you desire to buy cloth, you will not be satisfied with seeing one
merchant’s wares, but go from the first to the second, from the second
to the third, to find who has the best cloth. Will you be more remiss
about your soul’s health?... When you go a journey, not knowing
perfectly the way, you will inquire of one man after another; so ought
we likewise to seek about entering the kingdom of heaven. Chrysostom
himself teaches you this.[182]... Read the works not only of Luther, but
also of all others, be they ever so ill or good. No good law forbids it,
but only constitutions pharisaical.’

Warham, who was as much opposed then to the liberty of the press as the
popes are now, could see nothing but a boundless chaos in this freedom
of inquiry. ‘Images are sufficient,’ he said, ‘to keep Christ and His
saints in our remembrance.’ But Lambert exclaimed: ‘What have we to do
with senseless stones or wood carved by the hand of man? That Word which
came from the breast of Christ Himself showeth us perfectly His blessed

Warham having questioned Lambert as to the number of his followers, he
answered: ‘A great multitude through all regions and realms of
Christendom think in like wise as I have showed. I ween the multitude
mounteth nigh unto the one half of Christendom.’[184] Lambert was taken
back to prison; but More having resigned the seals, and Warham dying,
this herald of liberty and truth saw his chains fall off. One day,
however, he was to die by fire, and, forgetting all controversy, to
exclaim in the midst of the flames: ‘Nothing but Jesus Christ.’

[Sidenote: Latimer’s Evangelical Courage.]

There was a minister of the Word in London who exasperated the friends
of Rome more than all the rest; this man was Latimer. The court of Henry
VIII., which was worldly, magnificent, fond of pleasures, intrigue, the
elegances of dress, furniture, banquets, and refinement of language and
manners, was not a favorable field for the Gospel. ‘It is very
difficult,’ said a reformer, ‘that costly trappings, solemn banquets,
the excesses of pride, a flood of pleasure and debauchery should not
bring many evils in their train.’ Thus the priests and courtiers could
not endure Latimer’s sermons. If Lambert was for freedom of inquiry, the
king’s chaplain was for freedom of preaching: his zeal sometimes touched
upon imprudence, and his biting wit, his extreme frankness, did not
spare his superiors. One day, some honest merchants, who hungered and
thirsted for the Word of God, begged him to come and preach in one of
the city churches. Thrice he refused, but yielded to their prayers at
last. The death of Bilney and of the other martyrs had wounded him
deeply. He knew that wild beasts, when they have once tasted blood,
thirst for more, and feared that these murders, these butcheries, would
only make his adversaries fiercer. He determined to lash the persecuting
prelates with his sarcasms. Having entered the pulpit, he preached from
these words in the epistle of the day: _Ye are not under the law, but
under grace_.[185] ‘What!’ he exclaimed, ‘St. Paul teaches Christians
that they are not under the law.... What does he mean?... No more law!
St. Paul invites Christians to break the law. Quick! inform against St.
Paul, seize him and take him before my Lord Bishop of London!... The
good apostle must be condemned to bear a fagot at St. Paul’s Cross. What
a goodly sight to see St. Paul with a fagot on his back, before my lord
in person seated on his episcopal throne!... But no! I am mistaken, his
lordship would not be satisfied with so little ... he would sooner burn

This ironical language was to cost Latimer dear. To no purpose had he
spoken in one of those churches which, being dependencies of a
monastery, were not under episcopal jurisdiction: everybody about him
condemned him and embittered his life. The courtiers talked of his
sermons, shrugged their shoulders, pointed their fingers at him when he
approached them, and turned their backs on him. The favor of the king,
who had perhaps smiled at that burst of pulpit oratory, had some trouble
to protect him. The court became more intolerable to him every day, and
Latimer, withdrawing to his closet, gave vent to many a heavy sigh.
‘What tortures I endure!’ he said; ‘in what a world I live! Hatred ever
at work; factions fighting one against the other; folly and vanity
leading the dance; dissimulation, irreligion, debauchery, all the vices
stalking abroad in open day.... It is too much. If I were able to do
something ... but I have neither the talent nor the industry required to
fight against these monsters.... I am weary of the court.’

[Sidenote: Latimer Quits The Court.]

Latimer had recently been presented to the living of West Kington, in
the diocese of Salisbury. Wishing to uphold the liberty of the Christian
Church, and seeing that it existed no longer in London, he resolved to
try and find it elsewhere. ‘I am leaving,’ he said to one of his
friends: ‘I shall go and live in my parish.’—‘What is that you say?’,
exclaimed the other; ‘Cromwell, who is at the pinnacle of honors, and
has profound designs, intends to do great things for you.... If you
leave the court, you will be forgotten, and your rivals will rise to
your place.’—‘The only fortune I desire,’ said Latimer, ‘is to be
useful.’ He departed, turning his back on the episcopal crosier to which
his friend had alluded.

Latimer began to preach with zeal in Wiltshire, and not only in his own
parish, but in the parishes around him. His diligence was so great, his
preaching so mighty, says Foxe,[187] that his hearers must either
believe the doctrine he preached or rise against it. ‘Whosoever entereth
not into the fold by the door, which is Christ, be he priest, bishop, or
pope, is a robber,’ said he. ‘In the Church there are more thieves than
shepherds, and more goats than sheep.’[188] His hearers were astounded.
One of them (Dr. Sherwood) said to him: ‘What a sermon, or rather what a
satire! If we believe you, all the hemp in England would not be enough
to hang those thieves of bishops, priests, and curates.[189]... It is
all exaggeration, no doubt, but such exaggeration is rash, audacious,
and impious.’ The priests looked about for some valiant champion of
Rome, ready to fight with him the quarrel of the Church.

One day there rode into the village an old doctor, of strange aspect; he
wore no shirt, but was covered with a long gown that reached down to the
horse’s heels, ‘all bedirted like a slobber,’ says a chronicler.[190] He
took no care for the things of the body, in order that people should
believe he was the more given up to the contemplation of the interests
of the soul. He dismounted gravely from his horse, proclaimed his
intention of fasting, and began a series of long prayers. This person,
by name Hubberdin, the Don Quixote of Roman-catholicism, went wandering
all over the kingdom, extolling the pope at the expense of kings and
even of Jesus Christ, and declaiming against Luther, Zwingle, Tyndale,
and Latimer.

On a feast-day Hubberdin put on a clerical gown rather cleaner than the
one he generally wore, and went into the pulpit, where he undertook to
prove that the new doctrine came from the devil—which he demonstrated by
stories, fables, dreams, and amusing dialogues. He danced and hopped and
leaped about, and gesticulated, as if he were a stage-player, and his
sermon a sort of interlude.[191] His hearers were surprised and
diverted; Latimer was disgusted. ‘You lie,’ he said, ‘when you call the
faith of Scripture a new doctrine, unless you mean to say that it makes
new creatures of those who receive it.’

Hubberdin being unable to shut the mouth of the eloquent chaplain with
his mountebank tricks, the bishops and nobility of the neighborhood
resolved to denounce Latimer. A messenger handed him a writ, summoning
him to appear personally before the Bishop of London to answer touching
certain excesses and crimes committed by him.[192] Putting down the
paper which contained this threatening message, Latimer began to
reflect. His position was critical. He was at that time suffering from
the stone, with pains in the head and bowels. It was in the dead of
winter, and moreover he was alone at West Kington, with no friend to
advise him. Being of a generous and daring temperament, he rushed
hastily into the heat of the combat, but was easily dejected. ‘Jesu
mercy! what a world is this,’ he exclaimed, ‘that I shall be put to so
great labor and pains above my power for preaching of a poor simple
sermon! But we must needs suffer, and so enter into the kingdom of

The terrible summons lay on the table. Latimer took it up and read it.
He was no longer the brilliant court-chaplain who charmed fashionable
congregations by his eloquence; he was a poor country minister, forsaken
by all. He was sorrowful. ‘I am surprised,’ he said, ‘that my lord of
London, who has so large a diocese in which he ought to preach the Word
in season and out of season,[194] should have leisure enough to come and
trouble me in my little parish ... wretched me, who am quite a stranger
to him.’ He appealed to his ordinary; but Bishop Stokesley did not
intend to let him go, and being as able as he was violent, he prayed the
archbishop, as primate of all England, to summon Latimer before his
court, and to commission himself (the Bishop of London) to examine him.
The chaplain’s friends were terrified, and entreated him to leave
England; but he began his journey to London.

[Sidenote: Attempt To Entrap Latimer.]

On the 29th of January, 1532, a court composed of bishops and doctors of
the canon law assembled, under the presidency of Primate Warham, in St.
Paul’s Cathedral. Latimer having appeared, the Bishop of London
presented him a paper, and ordered him to sign it. The reformer took the
paper and read it through. There were sixteen articles on belief in
purgatory, the invocation of saints, the merit of pilgrimages, and
lastly on the power of the keys which (said the document) belonged to
the bishops of Rome, ‘even should their lives be wicked,’[195] and other
such topics. Latimer returned the paper to Stokesley, saying: ‘I cannot
sign it.’ Three times in one week he had to appear before his judges,
and each time the same scene was repeated: both sides were inflexible.
The priests then changed their tactics: they began to tease and
embarrass Latimer with innumerable questions. As soon as one had
finished, another began with sophistry and plausibility, and
interminable subterfuges. Latimer tried to make his adversaries keep
within the circle from which they were straying, but they would not hear

One day, as Latimer entered the hall, he noticed a change in the
arrangement of the furniture. There was a chimney, in which there had
been a fire before: on this day there was no fire, and the fireplace was
invisible. Some tapestry hung down over it, and the table round which
the judges sat was in the middle of the room. The accused was seated
between the table and the chimney. ‘Master Latimer,’ said an aged
bishop, whom he believed to be one of his friends, ‘pray speak a little
louder: I am hard of hearing, as you know.’ Latimer, surprised at this
remark, pricked up his ears, and fancied he heard in the fireplace the
noise of a pen upon paper.[196] ‘Ho, ho!’ thought he, ‘they have hidden
some one behind there to take down my answers.’ He replied cautiously to
captious questions, much to the embarrassment of the judges.

Latimer was disgusted, not only with the tricks of his enemies, but
still more with their ‘troublesome unquietness;’[197] because by keeping
him in London they obliged him to neglect his duties, and especially
because they made it a crime to preach the truth. The archbishop,
wishing to gain him over by marks of esteem and affection, invited him
to come and see him; but Latimer declined, being unwilling at any price
to renounce the freedom of the pulpit. The reformers of the sixteenth
century did not contend that all doctrines should be preached from the
same pulpit, but that evangelical truth should be freely preached
everywhere. ‘I have desired and still desire,’ wrote Latimer to the
archbishop, ‘that our people should learn the difference between the
doctrines which God has taught and those which proceed only from
ourselves. Go, said Jesus, and _teach all things_.... What things?...
_all things whatsoever I have commanded you_, and not _whatsoever you
think fit to preach_.[198] Let us all then make an effort to preach with
one voice the things of God. I have sought not my gain, but Christ’s
gain; not my glory, but God’s glory. And so long as I have a breath of
life remaining, I will continue to do so.’[199]

Thus spoke the bold preacher. It is by such unshakable fidelity that
great revolutions are accomplished.

[Sidenote: Latimer Excommunicated.]

As Latimer was deaf to all their persuasion, there was nothing to be
done but to threaten the stake. The charge was transferred to the
Convocation of Canterbury, and on the 15th of March, 1532, he appeared
before that body at Westminster. The fifteen articles were set before
him. ‘Master Latimer,’ said the archbishop,’the synod calls upon you to
sign these articles.’—‘I refuse,’ he answered.—All the bishops pressed
him earnestly. ‘I refuse absolutely,’ he answered a second time. Warham,
the friend of learning, could not make up his mind to condemn one of the
finest geniuses of England. ‘Have pity on yourself,’ he said. ‘A third
and last time we entreat you to sign these articles.’ Although Latimer
knew that a negative would probably consign him to the stake, he still
answered, ‘I refuse absolutely.’[200]

The patience of Convocation was now exhausted. ‘Heretic! obstinate
heretic!’ exclaimed the bishops. ‘We have heard it from his own mouth.
Let him be excommunicated.’ The sentence of excommunication was
pronounced, and Latimer was taken to the Lollards’ Tower.

Great was the agitation both in city and court. The creatures of the
priests were already singing in the streets songs with a burden like

          Wherefore it were pity thou shouldst die for cold.[201]

‘Ah!’ said Latimer in the Martyr’s Tower, ‘if they had asked me to
confess that I have been too prompt to use sarcasm, I should have been
ready to do so, for sin is a heavy load. O God! unto Thee I cry; wash me
in the blood of Jesus Christ.’ He looked for death, knowing well that
few left that tower except for the scaffold. ‘What is to be done?’ said
Warham and the bishops. Many of them would have handed the prisoner over
to the magistrate to do what was customary, but the rule of the papacy
was coming to an end in England, and Latimer was the king’s chaplain.
One dexterous prelate suggested a means of reconciling everything. ‘We
must obtain something from him, be it ever so little, and then report
everywhere that he has recanted.’

Some priests went to see the prisoner: ‘Will you not yield anything?’
they asked.—‘I have been too violent,’ said Latimer, ‘and I humble
myself accordingly.’—‘But will you not recognize the merit of
works?’—‘No!’—‘Prayers to the saints?’—‘No!’—‘Purgatory?’—‘No!’—‘The
power of the keys given to the pope?’—‘No! I tell you.’—A bright idea
occurred to one of the priests. Luther taught that it was not only
permitted, but praiseworthy, to have the crucifix and the images of the
saints, provided that it was merely to remind us of them and not to
invoke them. He had added, that the Reformation ought not to abolish
fast days, but to strive to make them realities.[202] Latimer declared
that he was of the same opinion.

The deputation hastened to carry this news to the bishops. The more
fanatical of them could not make up their minds to be satisfied with so
little. What! no purgatory, no virtue in the mass, no prayers to saints,
no power of the keys, no meritorious works! It was a signal defeat; but
the bishops knew that the king would not suffer the condemnation of his
chaplain. Convocation decided, after a long discussion that if Master
Latimer would sign the two articles, he should be absolved from the
sentence of excommunication. In fact, on the 10th of April the Church
withdrew the condemnation it had already pronounced.[203]

Footnote 181:

  Foxe, _Acts_, v. pp. 184, 185.

Footnote 182:

  Chrysostom, in opere imperfecto.

Footnote 183:

  Foxe, _Acts_, v. p. 203.

Footnote 184:

  Foxe, _Acts_, v. p. 225.

Footnote 185:

  Romans, vi. 14.

Footnote 186:

  Latimer, _Works_, ii. p. 326 (Parker Soc.).

Footnote 187:

  Foxe, _Acts_, vii. p. 454.

Footnote 188:

  ‘Plures longe fures esse quam pastores.’—Foxe, _Acts_, vii. p. 479.

Footnote 189:

  ‘Quibus latronibus suffocandis ne Angliæ totius canavum sufficere
  prædicabas.’—Ibid. p. 478.

Footnote 190:

  Strype, i. p. 245.

Footnote 191:

  Strype, i. p. 245.

Footnote 192:

  ‘Crimina seu excessus graves personaliter responsurus.’—Ibid. p. 455.

Footnote 193:

  ‘Oportet pati et sic intrare.’—Latimer, _Works_, ii. p. 351 (Parker

Footnote 194:

  ‘Tempestive, itempestive, privatim, publice.’—Ibid.

Footnote 195:

  ‘Etiam si male vivant.’—Latimer, _Works_, ii. p. 466 (Parker Soc.);
  and Foxe, _Acts_, vii. p. 456.

Footnote 196:

  ‘I heard a pen walking in the chimney behind the cloth.’—Latimer,
  _Sermons_, i. p. 294.

Footnote 197:

  Foxe, _Acts_, vii. p. 455.

Footnote 198:

  ‘Non dicit omnia quæ vobis ipsis videntur prædicanda.’—Foxe, _Acts_,
  iii. p. 747.

Footnote 199:

  ‘Donec respirare licebit, stare non desinam.’—Ibid.

Footnote 200:

  ‘Tertio requisitus ut subscriberet, recusavit.’—Wilkins, _Concilia_,
  iii. p. 747.

Footnote 201:

  Strype, _Records_, i. p. 180.

Footnote 202:

  Luther, _Wieder die himmlischen Propheten_, and _Explication du 6me
  chapitre de St. Mathieu_.

Footnote 203:

  ‘Fuit absolutus a sententia excommunicationis.’—Wilkins, _Concilia_,
  iii. p. 747.

                              CHAPTER XV.

[Sidenote: Franciscans Preach At Henry.]

The vital principle of the Reformation of Henry VIII. was its opposition
both to Rome and the Gospel. He did not hesitate, like many, between
these two doctrines: he punished alike, by exile or by fire, the
disciples of the Vatican and those of Holy Scripture.

Desiring to show that the resolution he had taken to separate from
Catherine was immutable, the king had lodged Anne Boleyn in the palace
at Greenwich, although the queen was still there, and had given her a
reception room and a royal state. The crowd of courtiers, abandoning the
setting star, turned towards that which was appearing above the horizon.
Henry respected Anne’s person and was eager that all the world should
know that if she was not actually queen she would be so one day. There
was a want of delicacy and principle in the king’s conduct, at which the
catholic party were much irritated, and not without a cause.

The monks of St. Francis who officiated in the royal chapel at Greenwich
took every opportunity of asserting their attachment to Catherine and to
the pope. Anne vainly tried to gain them over by her charms; if she
succeeded with a few, she failed with the greater number. Their
superior, Father Forest, Catherine’s confessor, warmly defended the
rights of that unhappy princess. Preaching at St. Paul’s Cross, he
delivered a sermon in which Henry was violently attacked, although he
was not named. Those who had heard it made a great noise about it, and
Forest was summoned to the court. ‘What will be done to him?’ people
asked; but instead of sending him to prison, as many expected, the king
received him well, spoke with him for half an hour, and ‘sent him a
great piece of beef from his own table.’

On returning to his convent, Forest described with triumph this
flattering reception; but the king did not attain his object. Among
these monks there were men of independent, perhaps of fanatical,
character, whom no favors could gain over.

One of them, by name Peto, until then unknown, but afterwards of great
repute in the catholic world as cardinal legate from the pope in
England,[204] thinking that Forest had not said enough, determined to go
further. Anne Boleyn’s elevation filled him with anger: he longed to
speak out, and as the king and all the court would be present in the
chapel on the 1st of May, he chose for his text the words of the prophet
Elijah to King Ahab: _The dogs shall lick thy blood_.[205] He drew a
portrait of Ahab, described his malice and wickedness, and although he
did not name Henry VIII., certain passages made the hearers feel
uncomfortable. At the peroration, turning towards the king, he said:
‘Now hear, O king, what I have to say unto thee, as of old time Micaiah
spoke to Ahab. This new marriage is unlawful. There are other preachers
who, to become rich abbots or mighty bishops, betray thy soul, thy
honor, and thy posterity. Take heed lest thou, being seduced like Ahab,
find Ahab’s punishment ... who had his blood licked up by the dogs.’

The court was astounded; but the king, whose features were unmoved
during this apostrophe, waited until the end of the service, left the
chapel as if nothing had happened, and allowed Peto to depart for
Canterbury. But Henry could not permit such invectives to pass
unnoticed. A clergyman named Kirwan was commissioned to preach in the
same chapel on the following Sunday. The congregation was still more
numerous than before, and more curious also. Some monks of the order of
Observants, friends of Peto, got into the rood-loft, determined to
defend him. The doctor began his sermon. After establishing the
lawfulness of Henry’s intended marriage, he came to the sermon of the
preceding Sunday and the insults of the preacher. ‘I speak to thee,
Peto,’ he exclaimed, ‘who makest thyself Micaiah; we look for thee, but
thou art not to be found, having fled for fear and shame.’ There was a
noise in the rood-loft, and one of the Observants named Elstow rose and
called out: ‘You know that Father Peto is gone to Canterbury to a
provincial council, but I am here to answer you. And to this combat I
challenge thee, Kirwan, prophet of lies, who for thy own vainglory art
betraying thy king into endless perdition.’

The chapel was instantly one scene of confusion: nothing could be heard.
Then the king rose: his princely stature, his royal air, his majestic
manners overawed the crowd. All were silent, and the agitated
congregation left the chapel respectfully. Peto and his friend were
summoned before the council. ‘You deserve to be sewn in a sack and
thrown into the Thames,’ said one. ‘We fear nothing,’ answered Elstow;
‘the way to heaven is as short by water as by land.’[206]

Henry having thus made war on the partisans of the pope, turned to those
of the Reformation. Like a child, he see-sawed to and fro, first on one
side, then on the other; but his sport was a more terrible one, for
every time he touched the ground the blood spurted forth.

[Sidenote: Christian Meetings In London.]

At that time there were many Christians in England to whom the Roman
worship brought no edification. Having procured Tyndale’s translation of
the Word of God, they felt that they possessed it not only for
themselves but for others. They sought each others company, and met
together to read the Bible and receive spiritual graces from God.
Several Christian assemblies of this kind had been formed in London, in
garrets, in warehouses, schools and shops, and one of them was held in a
warehouse in Bow Lane. Among its frequenters was the son of a
Gloucestershire knight, James Bainham, by name, a man well read in the
classics, and a distinguished lawyer, respected by all for his piety and
works of charity. To give advice freely to widows and orphans, to see
justice done to the oppressed, to aid poor students, protect pious
persons, and visit the prisons, were his daily occupations. ‘He was an
earnest reader of Scripture, and mightily addicted to prayer.’[207] When
he entered the meeting, every one could see that his countenance
expressed a calm joy; but for a month past his Bow Lane friends noticed
him to be agitated and cast down, and heard him sighing heavily. The
cause was this. Sometime before (in 1531), when he was engaged about his
business in the Middle Temple, this ‘model of lawyers’ had been arrested
by order of More, who was still chancellor, and taken like a criminal to
the house of the celebrated humanist at Chelsea. Sir Thomas, quite
distressed at seeing a man so distinguished leave the Church of Rome,
had employed all his eloquence to bring him back; but finding his
efforts useless, he had ordered Bainham to be taken into his garden and
tied to ‘the tree of truth.’ There the chancellor whipped him, or caused
him to be whipped: we adopt the latter version, which is more
probable.[208] Bainham having refused to give the names of the gentlemen
of the Temple tainted with heresy, he was taken to the Tower. ‘Put him
on the rack,’ cried the learned chancellor, now become a fanatical
persecutor. The order was obeyed in his presence. The arms and legs of
the unfortunate protestant were seized by the instrument and pulled in
opposite directions; his limbs were dislocated, and he went lame out of
the torture-chamber.[209]

[Sidenote: Bainham Persecuted.]

Sir Thomas had broken his victim’s limbs, but not his courage; and
accordingly when Bainham was summoned before the Bishop of London, he
went to the palace rejoicing to have to confess his Master once more.
‘Do you believe in purgatory?’ said Stokesley to him sternly. Bainham
answered: ‘_The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin_.’[210]
‘Do you believe that we ought to call upon the saints to pray for us?’
He again answered: ‘_If any man sin, we have an advocate with the
Father—Jesus Christ the righteous_.’[211]

A man who answered only by texts from Scripture was embarrassing. More
and Stokesley made the most alluring promises, and no means were spared
to bend him.[212] Before long they resorted to more serious
representations: ‘The arms of the Church your mother are still open to
you,’ they said; ‘but if you continue stubborn, they will close against
you forever. It is now or never!’ For a whole month the bishop and the
chancellor persevered in their entreaties; Bainham replied: ‘My faith is
that of the holy Church.’ Hearing these words, Foxford, the bishop’s
secretary, took out a paper. ‘Here is the abjuration,’ he said; ‘read it
over.’ Bainham began: ‘I voluntarily, as a true penitent returned from
my heresy, utterly abjure’.... At these words he stopped, and glancing
over what followed, he continued: ‘No, these articles are not heretical,
and I cannot retract them.’ Other springs were now set in motion to
shake Bainham. The prayers of his friends, the threats of his enemies,
especially the thought of his wife, whom he loved, and who would be left
alone in destitution, exposed to the anger of the world: these things
troubled his soul. He lost sight of the narrow path he ought to follow,
and five days later he read his abjuration with a faint voice. But he
had hardly got to the end before he burst into tears, and said,
struggling with his emotion: ‘I reserve the doctrines.’ He consented to
remain in the Roman Church, still preserving his evangelical faith. But
this was not what the bishop and his officers meant. ‘Kiss that book,’
they said to him threateningly. Bainham, like one stunned, kissed the
book; that was the sign; the adjuration was looked upon as complete. He
was condemned to pay a fine of twenty pounds sterling, and to do penance
at St. Paul’s Cross. After that he was set at liberty, on the 17th of

Bainham returned to the midst of his brethren: they looked sorrowfully
at him, but did not reproach him with his fault. That was quite
unnecessary. The worm of remorse was preying on him; he abhorred the
fatal kiss by which he had sealed his fall; his conscience was never
quiet; he could neither eat nor sleep, and trembled at the thought of
death. At one time he would hide his anguish and stifle it within his
breast; at another his grief would break forth, and he would try to
relieve his pain by groans of sorrow. The thought of appearing before
the tribunal of God made him faint. The restoration of conscience to all
its rights was the foremost work of the Reformation. Luther, Calvin, and
an endless number of more obscure reformers had reached the haven of
safety through the midst of such tempests. ‘A tragedy was being acted in
all protestant souls,’ says a writer who does not belong to the
Reformation—the eternal tragedy of conscience.

Bainham felt that the only means of recovering peace was to accuse
himself openly before God and man. Taking Tyndale’s New Testament in his
hand, which was at once his joy and his strength, he went to St.
Austin’s church, sat down quietly in the midst of the congregation, and
then at a certain moment stood up and said: ‘I have denied the
truth.’... He could not continue for his tears.[213] On recovering, he
said: ‘If I were not to return again to the doctrine I have abjured,
this word of Scripture would condemn me both body and soul at the day of
judgment.’ And he lifted up the New Testament before all the
congregation. ‘O my friends,’ he continued, ‘rather die than sin as I
have done. The fires of hell have consumed me, and I would not feel them
again for all the gold and glory of the world.’[214]

Then his enemies seized him again and shut him up in the bishop’s
coal-cellar, where, after putting him in irons, they left him for four
days. He was afterwards taken to the Tower, where he was scourged every
day for a fortnight, and at last condemned as a relapsed heretic.

[Sidenote: Bainham Executed.]

On the eve of the execution four distinguished men, one of whom was
Latimer, were dining together in London. It was commonly reported that
Bainham was to be put to death for saying that Thomas à Becket was a
traitor worthy of hell. ‘Is it worth a man’s while to sacrifice his life
for such a trifle?’ said the four friends. ‘Let us go to Newgate and
save him if possible.’ They were taken along several gloomy passages,
and found themselves at last in the presence of a man, sitting on a
little straw, holding a book in one hand and a candle in the other.[215]
He was reading; it was Bainham. Latimer drew near him: ‘Take care,’ he
said, ‘that no vainglory make you sacrifice your life for motives which
are not worth the cost.’ ‘I am condemned,’ answered Bainham, ‘for
trusting in Scripture and rejecting purgatory, masses, and meritorious
works.’—‘I acknowledge that for such truths a man must be ready to die.’
Bainham was ready; and yet he burst into tears. ‘Why do you weep?’ asked
Latimer. ‘I have a wife,’ answered the prisoner, ‘the best that man ever
had. A widow, destitute of everything and without a supporter, everybody
will point at her and say, That is the heretic’s wife.’[216] Latimer and
his friends tried to console him, and then they departed from the gloomy

The next day (30th of April, 1532) Bainham was taken to the scaffold.
Soldiers on horseback surrounded the pile: Master Pave, the city clerk,
directed the execution. Bainham, after a prayer, rose up, embraced the
stake, and was fastened to it with a chain. ‘Good people,’ he said to
the persons who stood round him, ‘I die for having said it is lawful for
every man and woman to have God’s book. I die for having said that the
true key of heaven is not that of the Bishop of Rome, but the preaching
of the Gospel. I die for having said that there is no other purgatory
than the cross of Christ, with its consequent persecutions and
afflictions.’—‘Thou liest, thou heretic,’ exclaimed Pave; ‘thou hast
denied the blessed sacrament of the altar.’—‘I do not deny the sacrament
of Christ’s body,’ resumed Bainham, ‘but I do deny your idolatry to a
piece of bread.’—‘Light the fire,’ shouted Pave. The executioners set
fire to a train of gunpowder, and as the flame approached him, Bainham
lifted up his eyes towards heaven, and said to the town clerk: ‘God
forgive thee! the Lord forgive Sir Thomas More ... pray for me, all good
people!’ The arms and legs of the martyr were soon consumed, and
thinking only how to glorify his Saviour, he exclaimed: ‘Behold! you
look for miracles, you may see one here; for in this fire I feel no more
pain than if I were on a bed of roses.’[217] The primitive Church hardly
had a more glorious martyr.

Pave had Bainham’s image continually before his eyes, and his last
prayer rang day and night in his heart. In the garret of his house, far
removed from noise, he had fitted up a kind of oratory, where he had
placed a crucifix, before which he used to pray and shed bitter
tears.[218] He abhorred himself: half mad, he suffered indescribable
sorrow, and struggled under great anguish. The dying Bainham had said to
him: ‘May God show thee more mercy than thou hast shown to me!’ But Pave
could not believe in mercy: he saw no other remedy for his despair than
death. About a year after Bainham’s martyrdom, he sent his domestics and
clerks on different errands, keeping only one servant-maid in the house.
As soon as his wife had gone to church, he went out himself, bought a
rope, and hiding it carefully under his gown, went up into the garret.
He stopped before the crucifix, and began to groan and weep. The servant
ran upstairs. ‘Take this rusty sword,’ he said, ‘clean it well, and do
not disturb me.’ She had scarcely left the room when he fastened the
rope to a beam and hanged himself.

The maid, hearing no sound, again grew alarmed, went up to the garret,
and seeing her master hanging, was struck with terror. She ran crying to
the church to fetch her mistress home;[219] but it was too late: the
wretched man could not be recalled to life.

[Sidenote: The True Church Of God.]

If the deaths of the martyrs plunged the wicked into the depths of
despair, it often gave life to earnest souls. The crowd which had
surrounded the scaffold of these men of God dispersed in profound
emotion. Some returned to their fields, others to their shops or
workrooms; but the pale faces of the martyrs followed them, their words
sounded in their souls, their virtues softened many hearts most averse
to the Gospel. ‘Oh! that I were with Bainham!’ exclaimed one.[220] These
people continued for some time to frequent the Romish churches but ere
long their consciences cried aloud to them: ‘It is Christ alone who
saves us;’ and they forsook the rites in which they could find no
consolation. They courted solitude; they procured the writings of
Wickliffe and of Tyndale, and especially the New Testament, which they
read in secret, and if any one came near, hid them hastily under a bed,
at the bottom of a chest, in the hollow of a tree, or even under stones,
until the enemy had retired and they could take the books up again. Then
they whispered about them to their neighbors, and often had the joy of
meeting with men who thought as they did. A surprising change was taking
place. While the priests were loudly chanting in the cathedrals the
praises of the saints, of the Virgin, and of the _Corpus Domini_, the
people were whispering together about the Saviour _meek and lowly in
heart_. All over England was heard a still, small voice such as Elijah
heard, and on hearing it wrapped his face in his mantle and stood silent
and motionless, because the Lord was there. Great changes were about to
take place.

It is not without reason that we describe in some detail in this history
the lives and deaths of these evangelical men. We desire to show that
the Church in England, as in all the world, is not a mere ecclesiastical
hierarchy, in which prelates exercise dominion over the inheritance of
the Lord; nor a confused assemblage of men, whose spirit imagines about
religion all kinds of doctrines contrary to the revelation from heaven,
and whose profession of faith comprehends all the opinions that are
found in the nation, from catholic scholasticism to pantheistic
materialism. The Church of God, raised above the human systems of the
superstitious and the incredulous alike, is the assembly of those who by
a living faith are partakers of the righteousness of Christ and of the
new life of which the Holy Ghost is the creator—of those in whom
selfishness is vanquished, and who give themselves up to the Saviour to
achieve with their brethren the conquest of the world. Such is the true
Church of God; very different, it will be seen, from all those invented
by man.

Footnote 204:

  Tyndale, _Treatises_, p. 38; Strype, _Memorials_, i. 257, iii., bk. i.
  p. 257; bk. ii. pp. 30, 136.

Footnote 205:

  1 Kings xxi. 19.

Footnote 206:

  Tyndale, _Treatises_, p. 38. Stowe, _Annals_, 562.

Footnote 207:

  Foxe _Acts_, iv. p. 697.

Footnote 208:

  Both Strype (_Memorials_, i. p. 35) and Foxe (_Acts_, iv. p. 698) say,
  _and whipped him_; but More denied it.

Footnote 209:

  ‘Sir Thomas More being present himself, till in a manner he had lamed
  him.’—Foxe, _Acts_, iv. p. 698.

Footnote 210:

  1 John i. 7.

Footnote 211:

  Ibid. ii. 1.

Footnote 212:

  Foxe, _Acts_, iv. p. 700.

Footnote 213:

  ‘Stood up there before the people in his pew with weeping
  tears.’—Foxe, _Acts_, iv. p. 702.

Footnote 214:

  ‘He would not feel such a hell again as he did feel.’—Ibid.

Footnote 215:

  Strype, _Annals_, i. p. 372.

Footnote 216:


Footnote 217:

  Foxe, _Acts_, iv. p. 705.

Footnote 218:


Footnote 219:

  Foxe, _Acts_, iv. p. 706.

Footnote 220:

  Ibid. v. p. 32.

                              CHAPTER XVI.
                    THE NEW PRIMATE OF ALL ENGLAND.
                     (FEBRUARY 1532 TO MARCH 1533.)

A man who for more than thirty years had had an important voice in the
management of the ecclesiastical affairs of the kingdom now disappeared
from the scene to give place to the most influential of the reformers of
England. Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury, a learned canonist, a skilful
politician, a dexterous courtier, and the friend of letters, had made it
his special work to exalt the sacerdotal prerogative, and to that end
had had recourse to the surest means, by fighting against the idleness,
ignorance, and corruption of the priests. He had even hoped for a reform
of the clergy, provided it emanated from episcopal authority. But when
he saw another reformation accomplished in the name of God’s Word,
without priests and against the priests, he turned round and began to
persecute the reformers, and to strengthen the papal authority. Alarmed
at the proceedings of the Commons, he sent for three notaries, on the
24th February, 1532, and protested in their presence against every act
of parliament derogatory to the authority of the Roman pontiff.[221]

[Sidenote: Death Of Warham.]

On the 22d August of the same year, just at the very height of the
crisis, ‘the second pope,’ as he was sometimes called, was removed from
his see by death, and the people anxiously wondered who would be
appointed to his vacant place.

The choice was important, for the nomination might be the symbol of what
the Church of England was to be. Would he be a prelate devoted to the
pope, like Fisher; or a catholic favorable to the divorce, like
Gardiner; or a moderate evangelical attached to the king, like Cranmer;
or a decided reformer, like Latimer? At this moment, when a new era was
beginning for Christendom, it was of consequence to know whom England
would take for her guide; whether she would march at the head of
civilization, like Germany, or bring up the rear, like Spain and Italy.
The king did not favor either extreme, and hesitated between the two
other candidates. All things considered, he had no confidence in such
men as Longland and Gardiner, who might promise and not fulfil. He
wanted somebody less political than the one and less fanatical than the
other,—a man separated from the pope on principle, and not merely for

Cranmer, after passing a few months at Rome, had returned to
England.[222] Then, departing again for Germany on a mission from the
king, he had arrived at Nuremburg, probably in the autumn of 1531. He
examined with interest that ancient city,—its beautiful churches, its
monumental fountains, its old and picturesque castle; but there was
something that attracted him more than all these things. Being present
at the celebration of the sacrament, he noticed that while the priest
was muttering the Gospel in Latin at the altar, the deacon went up into
the pulpit, and read it aloud in German.[223] He saw that, although
there was still some appearance of catholicism in Nuremburg, in reality
the Gospel reigned there. One man’s name often came up in the
conversations he had with the principal persons in the city. They spoke
to him of Osiander as of a man of great eloquence.[224] Cranmer followed
the crowd which poured into the church of St. Lawrence, and was struck
with the minister’s talent and piety. He sought his acquaintance, and
the two doctors had many a conversation together, either in Cranmer’s
house or in Osiander’s study; and the German divine, being gained over
to the cause of Henry VIII., published shortly after a book on unlawful

[Sidenote: Osiander’s Error.]

Cranmer, who had an affectionate heart, loved to join the simple meals,
the pious devotions, and the friendly conversations at Osiander’s house:
he was soon almost like a member of the family. But, although his
intimacy with the Nuremburg pastor grew stronger every day, he did not
adopt all his opinions. When Osiander told him that he must substitute
the authority of Holy Scripture for that of Rome, Cranmer gave his full
assent; but the Englishman perceived that the German entertained views
different from Luther’s on the justification of the sinner. ‘What
justifies us,’ he said, ‘is not the imputation of the merits of Christ
by faith, but the inward communication of his righteousness.’ ‘Christ,’
said Cranmer, ‘has paid the price of our redemption by the sacrifice of
his body and the fulfilling of the law; and if we heartily believe in
this work which he has perfected, we are justified. The justified man
must be sanctified, and must work good works; but it is not the works
that justify him.’[225] The conversation of the two friends turned also
upon the Lord’s Supper. Whatever may have been Cranmer’s doctrine
before, he soon came (like Calvin) to place the real presence of Christ
not in the wafer which the priest holds between his fingers, but in the
heart of the believer.[226]

In June, 1532, the protestant and Roman-catholic delegates arrived at
Nuremburg to arrange the religious peace. The celibacy of the clergy
immediately became one of the points discussed. It appeared to the
chiefs of the papacy impossible to concede that article. ‘Rather abolish
the mass entirely,’ exclaimed the Archbishop of Mayence, ‘than permit
the marriage of priests.’ ‘They must come to that at last,’ said Luther;
‘God is overthrowing the mighty from their seat.’[227] Cranmer was of
his opinion. ‘It is better,’ he said, ‘for a minister to have his own
wife than to have other men’s wives, like the priests.’[228] ‘What
services may not a pious wife do for the pastor her husband,’ added
Osiander, ‘among the poor, the women, and the children?’

Cranmer had lost his wife at Cambridge, and his heart yearned for
affection. Osiander’s family presented him a touching picture of
domestic happiness. One of its members was a niece of Osiander’s
wife.[229] Cranmer, charmed with her piety and candor, and hoping to
find in her the virtuous woman who is a crown to her husband, asked her
hand and married her, not heeding the unlawful command of those who
‘forbid to marry.’[230]

Still Cranmer did not forget his mission. The King of England was
desirous of forming an alliance with the German protestants, and his
agent made overtures to the electoral prince of Saxony. ‘First of all,’
answered the pious John Frederick, ‘the two kings (of France and
England) must be in harmony with us as to the articles of faith.’[231]
The alliance failed; but at the same moment, affairs took an unexpected
turn. The emperor, who was marching against Solyman, desired the help of
the King of England, and Granvelle had some talk with Cranmer on the
subject. The latter was procuring carriages, horses, boats, tents, and
other things necessary for his journey, with the intention of rejoining
the emperor at Lintz, when a courier suddenly brought him orders to
return to London.[232] It was very vexatious. Just as he was on the
point of concluding an alliance with the nephew of Queen Catherine, in
which the matter of the divorce would consequently be arranged, Henry’s
envoy had to give up everything. He wondered anxiously what could be the
motive of this sudden and extraordinary recall. The letters of his
friends explained it.

[Sidenote: Cranmer’s Hesitation.]

Warham was dead, and the king thought of Cranmer to succeed him as
Archbishop of Canterbury and primate of all England. The reformer was
greatly moved: ‘Alas,’ he exclaimed, ‘no man has ever desired a
bishopric less than myself.[233] If I accept it, I must resign the
delights of study and the calm sweetness of an obscure condition.’[234]
Knowing Henry’s domineering character and his peculiar religious
principles, Cranmer thought that with him the reformation of England was
impossible. He saw himself exposed to disputes without end: there would
be no more peace for the most peaceable of men. A brilliant career, an
exalted position—he was terrified. ‘My conscience,’ he said, ‘rebels
against this call. Wretch that I am! I see nothing but troubles and
conflicts and insurmountable dangers in my path.’

Upon mature reflection, Cranmer thought he might get out of his
difficulty by gaining time, hoping that the king, who did not like
delays, would doubtless give the see to another.[235] He sent an answer
that important affairs prevented his return to England. Solyman had
retreated before the emperor; the latter had determined to pass through
Italy to Spain, and had appointed a meeting with the pope at Piacenza or
Genoa. Henry’s ambassador thought it his duty to neutralize the fatal
consequences of this interview; and Charles having left Vienna on the
4th of October, Cranmer followed him two days later. The exalted dignity
that awaited him oppressed him like the nightmare. On his road he found
neither inhabitants nor food, and hay was his only bed.[236] Sometimes
he crossed battle-fields covered with the carcasses of Turks and
Christians. A comet appeared in the east foreboding some tragic event.
Many declared they had seen a flaming sword in the heavens. ‘These
strange signs,’ he wrote to Henry,’announce some great mutation.’[237]
Cranmer and his colleagues could not gain the pope to their side.
Several months passed away, during which men’s minds became so excited,
that the cardinals forgot all decorum. ‘Alas!’ says a catholic
historian, ‘all the time this affair continued, they went to the
consistory as if they were going to a play.’[238] Charles V. prevailed
at last.

Then came that famous interview (October 1532) between the kings of
France and England at Calais and Boulogne, which we have described
elsewhere;[239] and the two princes having come to an understanding,
Henry thought seriously of bringing the matter to an end. Did he marry
Anne Boleyn at that time? Everything seems to point in that direction;
and if we are to believe some of the most trustworthy historians, the
marriage took place in the following month of November.[240] Perhaps it
was quite a private wedding, the legal formalities not being completed.
Contemporary testimony is at variance, and the point has not been
cleared up. In any case, Henry determined to wait before making the
marriage public. The conference the pope was about to hold at Bologna
with the ambassador of Francis I.; the probability of an interview
between the king of France and the pontiff at Marseilles, which might
give a new aspect to the great affair; and perhaps the desire to confer
about it with Cranmer, for whom he destined the see of Canterbury—seem
to have induced the prince to defer the ceremony for a few weeks. He
lost no time, however, in summoning the future primate to London.

A report having circulated in Italy, that the king was about to place
Cranmer at the head of the English Church, the imperial court treated
him with unusual consideration. Charles V., his ministers, and the
foreign ambassadors, said openly that such a man richly deserved to hold
a high place in the favor and government of the king his master.[241]
About the middle of November, the emperor gave Cranmer his farewell
audience; and the latter arrived in England not long after. Not wishing
to act in opposition to general usage and clerical opinion, he thought
it more prudent to leave his wife for a time with Osiander. He sent for
her somewhat later, but she was never presented at court. It was not
necessary, and it might only have embarrassed the pious German lady.

[Sidenote: Cranmer And The King.]

As soon as Cranmer reached London, he waited upon the king, being quite
engrossed in thinking of what was about to take place between his
sovereign and himself. Henry went straight to the point: he told him
that he had nominated him Archbishop of Canterbury. Cranmer objected,
but the king would take no refusal. In vain did the divine urge his
reasons: the monarch was firm. It was no slight matter to contend with
Henry VIII. Cranmer was alarmed at the effect produced by his
resistance. ‘Your Highness,’ he said, ‘I most humbly implore your
Grace’s pardon.’[242]

When he left the king, he hurried off to his friends, particularly to
Cromwell. The burden which Henry was laying upon him seemed more
insupportable than ever. Knowing how difficult it is to resist a prince
of despotic character, he foresaw conflicts and perhaps compromises,
which would embitter his life, and he could not make up his mind to
sacrifice his happiness to the imperious will of the monarch. ‘Take
care,’ said his friends, ‘it is as dangerous to refuse a favor from so
absolute a prince as to insult him.’ But Cranmer’s conscience was
concerned in his refusal. ‘I feel something within me,’ he said,[243]
‘which rebels against the supremacy of the pope, and all the
superstitions to which I should have to submit as primate of England.
No, I will not be a bishop!’ He might sacrifice his repose and his
happiness, expose himself to painful struggles; but to recognize the
pope and submit to his jurisdiction was an insurmountable obstacle. His
friends shook their heads. ‘Your _nolo episcopari_,’ they said, ‘will
not hold against our master’s _volo te episcopum esse_.[244] And after
all, what is it? Permitting the king to place you at the summit of
honors and power.... You refuse all that men desire.’ ‘I would sooner
forfeit my life,’ answered Cranmer, ‘than do anything against my
conscience to gratify my ambition.’[245]

Henry vexed at these delays, again summoned Cranmer to the palace, and
bade him speak without fear. ‘If I accept this office,’ replied that
sincere man, ‘I must receive it from the hands of the pope, and this my
conscience will not permit me to do.... Neither the pope nor any other
foreign prince has authority in this realm.’[246] Such a reason as this
had great weight with Henry. He was silent for a little while as if
reflecting,[247] and then said to Cranmer: ‘Can you prove what you have
just said?’ ‘Certainly I can,’ answered the doctor; ‘Holy Scripture and
the Fathers support the supreme authority of kings in their kingdoms,
and thus prove the claims of the pope to be a miserable usurpation.’

Such a statement bound Henry to take another step in his reforms. As he
had not yet thought of establishing bishops and archbishops without the
pope, he sent for some learned lawyers, and asked them how he could
confer the episcopal dignity on Cranmer without wounding the conscience
of the future primate. The lawyers proposed, that as Cranmer refused to
submit to the Roman primacy, some one should be sent to Rome to do in
his stead all that the law required. ‘Let another do it if he likes,’
said Cranmer, ‘but _super animam suam_, at the risk of his soul. As for
me I declare I will not acknowledge the authority of the pope any
further than it agrees with the Word of God; and that I reserve the
right of speaking against him and of attacking his errors.’

The lawyers found bad precedents to justify a bad measure. ‘Archbishop
Warham,’ they said, ‘while preserving the advantages he derived from the
state, protested against everything the state did prejudicial to Rome.
If the deceased archbishop preserved the rights of the papacy, why
should not the new one preserve those of the kingdom?... Besides (they
added) the pope knows very well that when they make oath to him, every
bishop does so _salvo ordine meo_, without prejudice to the rights of
his order.’[248]

It having been conceded that in the act of consecration ‘the rights of
the word of God’ should be reserved, Cranmer consented to become primate
of England. Henry VIII., who was less advanced in practice than in
theory, all the same demanded of Clement VII. the bulls necessary for
the inauguration of the new archbishop. The pontiff only too happy to
have still something to say to England, hastened to dispatch them,
addressing them directly to Cranmer himself. But the latter who would
accept nothing from the pope, sent them to the king, declaring that he
would not receive his appointment from Rome.[249]

[Sidenote: Cranmer’s Protest.]

By accepting the call that was addressed to him, Cranmer meant to break
with the order of the Middle Ages, and re-establish, so far as was in
his power, that of the Gospel. But he would not conceal his intentions:
all must be done in the light of day. On the 30th of March, 1533, he
summoned to the chapter-house of Westminster Watkins, the king’s
prothonotary, with other dignitaries of the Church and State. On
entering, he took up a paper, and read aloud and distinctly: ‘I, Thomas,
Archbishop of Canterbury, protest openly, publicly, and expressly,[250]
that I will not bind myself by oath to anything contrary to the law of
God, the rights of the King of England, and the laws of the realm; and
that I will not be bound in aught that concerns liberty of speech, the
government of the Church of England, and the reformation of all things
that may seem to be necessary to be reformed therein. If my
representative with the pope has taken in my name an oath contrary to my
duty, I declare that he has done so without my knowledge, and that the
said oath shall be null. I desire this protest to be repeated at each
period of the present ceremony.’[251] Then turning to the prothonotary:
‘I beg you to prepare as many copies as may be necessary of this my

Cranmer left the chapter-house and entered the abbey, where the clergy
and a numerous crowd awaited him. He was not satisfied with once
declaring his independence of the papacy; he desired to do it several
times. The greater the antiquity of the Romish power in Britain, the
more he felt the necessity of proclaiming the supremacy of the divine
Word. Having put on his sacerdotal robes, Cranmer stood at the top of
the steps of the high altar, and said, turning towards the assembly: ‘I
declare that I take the oath required of me only under the reserve
contained in the protest I have made this day in the chapter-house.’
Then bending his knees before the altar, he read it a second time in
presence of the bishops, priests, and people;[252] after which the
bishops of Lincoln, Exeter, and St. Asaph consecrated him to the

The archbishop, standing before the altar, prepared to receive the
pallium, but first he had a duty to fulfil: if he sacrificed his repose,
he did not intend to sacrifice his convictions. For the third time he
took up the protest, and again read it[253] before the immense crowd
that filled the cathedral.[254] The accustomed order of the ceremony
having been twice interrupted by an extraordinary declaration, all were
at liberty to praise or blame the action of the prelate as they pleased.
Cranmer having thus thrice published his reserves, read at last the oath
which the Archbishops of Canterbury were accustomed to make to St. Peter
and to the holy apostolic Church of Rome, with the usual protest: _salvo
meo ordine_ (without prejudice to my order).

Cranmer’s triple protest was an act of Christian decision. Some time
afterwards he said: ‘I made that protest in good faith: I always loved
simplicity and hated falseness.’ But it was wrong of him to use after it
the formula ordinarily employed in consecrations. Doubtless it was
nothing more than a form; a form that was imposed by the king, and
Cranmer protested against all the bad it might contain: still ‘it is
necessary to walk consistently in all things,’ as Calvin says;[255] and
we here meet with one of those weaknesses which sometimes appear in the
life of the pious reformer of England. He ought at no price to have made
oath to the pope; that oath was a stain which in some measure tinged the
whole of his episcopate. Yet if we were to condemn him severely, we
should be forgetting that striking truth—_in many things we offend all_.
Cranmer was the first in the breach, and he has claims to the
consideration of those who are comfortably established in a position
gained by him with so much suffering. The energy with which he thrice
proclaimed his independence deserves our admiration. Nevertheless all
weakness is a fault, and when that fault is committed in high station it
may lead to fatal consequences. The sanctity of the oath taken by
churchmen was compromised by Cranmer’s act, and we have seen in later
times other divines secretly communing with Romish doctrines while
appearing to reject popery. There have sometimes been disguised papists
in the protestant Church of England.

[Sidenote: Cranmer’s Labors.]

After the ceremony the new archbishop returned to his place at Lambeth.
From that hour this patron of letters, a scholar himself, a truly pious
man, a distinguished preacher, and of indefatigable industry, never
ceased to labor for the good of the Church. He was able to introduce
Christian faith into many hearts, and sometimes to defend it against the
king’s ill-humor. He constantly endeavored to spread around him
moderation, charity, truth, piety, and peace. When Cranmer became
primate of all England, on the 30th of March, 1533, in that cathedral of
Westminster, the burial-place of kings, the papal order was interred,
and it might be foreseen that the apostolic order would be revived.
England preserved episcopacy because it was the form under which she had
received Christianity in the second century, and because she thought it
necessary for the functions of inspection and government in the Church.
But she rejected that Roman superstition which makes bishops the sole
successors of the apostles, and maintains that they are invested with an
indelible character and a spiritual power which no other minister
possesses.[256] ‘Most assuredly,’ said Cranmer, ‘at the beginning of the
religion of Christ, bishops and presbyters (priests) were not two
things, but one only.’[257] He declared that a bishop was not necessary
to make a pastor; that not only presbyters possessed this right, but
‘_the people also by their election_.’ ‘Before there were Christian
princes, it was the people,’ he said, ‘who generally elected the bishops
and priests.’ Cranmer was not the only man who professed these
principles, which make of the episcopalian and the presbyterian
constitution two varieties, having many things in common. The most
venerable fathers of the Anglican Church—Pilkington, Coverdale,
Whitgift, Fulke, Tyndale, Jewel, Bradford, Becon, and others—have
acknowledged the identity of bishops and presbyters. By the Reformation,
England belongs not to the papistical system of episcopacy, but to the
evangelical system. A public act which would bring back that Church to
her holy origin, would be a source of great prosperity to her.

The great reformers of England did not separate from Rome only, but also
from the semi-catholicism that was intended to be substituted for it. To
them the spirit and the life were in the ministry of the Word of God,
and not in rites and ceremonies. By their noble example they have called
all men of God to follow them.

Footnote 221:

  ‘Protestamur quod nolumus alicui statuto edito in derogationem Romani
  pontificis consentire.’—Wilkins, _Concilia_, iii. p. 746.

Footnote 222:

  There is a letter of his dated from Hampton Court, 12th June, 1531.

Footnote 223:

  Cotton Ms., Vitellius, bk. xxi. p. 54.

Footnote 224:

  ‘Commendatus primoribus civitatis facundia sua.’—Camerarius
  _Melanchthonis Vita_, p. 285.

Footnote 225:

  ‘It excludeth them from the office of justifying.’—_Homily of
  Salvation._ Cranmer, _Works_, ii. p. 129 (Parker Soc.).

Footnote 226:

  ‘Christ is corporally in heaven and spiritually in his lively
  members.’—Cranmer, _On the Lord’s Supper_, p. 33.

Footnote 227:

  Lutheri _Opp._ xxii. p. 1808.

Footnote 228:

  Cranmer, _Works_, p. 219 (Parker Soc.).

Footnote 229:

  ‘Hæc erat neptis uxoris Osiandri.’—Godwin, _Annales Angl._ p. 167.

Footnote 230:

  1 Timothy iv. 3.

Footnote 231:

  Seckendorf, _Hist. Lutheranismi_, 1532.

Footnote 232:

  Cranmer, _Remains_, p. 232.

Footnote 233:

  Cranmer, _Remains_, p. 332.

Footnote 234:

  Foxe, _Acts_, viii. p. 65.

Footnote 235:

  ‘Thinking that he would be forgetful of me in the meantime.’—Cranmer,
  _Remains_, p. 216.

Footnote 236:

  ‘I found in no town, man, woman, nor child, meat, drink, nor
  bedding.’—Cranmer, _Remains_, p. 223.

Footnote 237:

  Ibid, p. 225.

Footnote 238:

  Le Grand, _Histoire du Divorce_, i. p. 229.

Footnote 239:

  _History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century_, tom. ii. bk.
  ii. ch. xxi.

Footnote 240:

  This is the date given by Hall, _Chronicles_, fol. 209; Holinshed,
  _Chronicles_, iii, p. 629; Strype, _Cranmer’s Mem._ p. 16; Collyers,
  ii. p. 71. Others hesitate between November and January (1533);
  Burnet, i. p. 121; Herbert, p. 369; Benger, p. 336, &c.

Footnote 241:

  ‘They judge him a man right worthy to be high in favor and authority
  with his prince.’—_State Papers_ (Henry VIII.) vii. p. 391.

Footnote 242:

  Foxe, _Acts_, viii. p. 66.

Footnote 243:

  ‘Aliquid intus.’

Footnote 244:

  ‘I am unwilling to be made a bishop.’ ‘I desire you to be a
  bishop.’—Fuller, _Eccl. Hist._ bk. v. p. 184.

Footnote 245:

  Foxe, _Acts_, viii. p. 66.

Footnote 246:

  Cranmer, _Remains_, p. 223.

Footnote 247:


Footnote 248:

  Bossuet makes this remark when speaking of Cranmer’s oath.—_Histoire
  des Variations_, liv. vii. p. 11.

Footnote 249:

  ‘Quas bullas obtulit tum regi.’ Lambeth MS. No. 1136.

Footnote 250:

  ‘Palam et publice et expresse protestor.’—Wilkins, _Concilia_, iii. p.

Footnote 251:

  ‘Quas protestationes in omnibus clausulis et sententiis dictorum
  juramentorum repetitas et recitatas volo.’—Wilkins, _Concilia_, iii.
  p. 757.

Footnote 252:

  ‘Eandem sedulam perlegit.’—Lambeth MS. No. 2106.

Footnote 253:

  ‘Qua protestatione per eundem reverendissimum tertio facta.’—Ibid.

Footnote 254:

  ‘In the presence of so much people as the church could hold.’—Card.

Footnote 255:

  ‘Il faut marcher rondement en toutes choses.’

Footnote 256:

  Concilium Tridentinum, Sessio prima.

Footnote 257:

  Resolutions of certain bishops. Burnet, _Records_, bk. iii. art. 21;
  Cranmer, _Remains_, p. 117.

                             CHAPTER XVII.
                     (NOVEMBER 1532 TO JULY 1553.)

Cranmer was on the archiepiscopal throne: if Anne Boleyn were now to
take her seat on the royal throne by the side of Henry, it was the
pope’s opinion that everything would be lost. Clement recurred once more
to his favorite suggestion of bigamy, already advised by him in 1528 and
1530. True, this suggestion could not be acceptable either to Henry or
to Charles V., but that made it all the better in the eyes of the
pontiff: he would then have the appearance of assenting to the king’s
plans without running the least risk of seeing them realized. ‘Rather
than do what his Majesty asks,’ he said to one of the English envoys, ‘I
would prefer granting him the necessary dispensation to have two wives:
that would be a smaller scandal.’[258]

[Sidenote: Tenacity Of The Pope.]

The tenacity with which the pope advised Henry again and again to commit
the crime of bigamy has not prevented the most illustrious advocates of
catholicism from exclaiming that ‘to have two wives at once is a mystery
of iniquity, of which there is no example in Christendom.’[259] A
singular assertion after a cardinal and then a pope had on several
occasions advised what they called ‘a mystery of iniquity.’ Again, for
the third time, the king refused a remedy that was worse than the

The pope wished at any price to prevent Rome from losing England; and
turning to the other side, he resolved to try to gain over Charles V.
and prevail upon him not to oppose the divorce. In order to succeed,
Clement determined to undertake a journey to Bologna in the worst season
of the year. He started on the 18th of November with six cardinals and a
certain number of attendants, and took twenty days to reach that city by
way of Perugia. Most of his officers had done everything to dissuade him
from this painful expedition, but in vain. The rain fell in torrents;
the rivers were swollen and unfordable; the roads muddy and broken up;
the mules sank of fatigue one after another; the couriers who preceded
him solicited the pope to travel on foot: and at last his Holiness’s
favorite mule broke its leg. It mattered not: he must oppose the
Reformation of England: the poor pontiff, already sick, had but this one
idea. But the discomforts of the journey increased; the pope often
arrived at inns where there was no bed, and had to sleep among the
straw.[260] At last he reached Bologna on the 7th of December, but in
such a plight that, notwithstanding his love for ceremonies, he entered
the city furtively.

Another disappointment awaited him. The Cardinal of Ancona died, the
most influential member of the Sacred College, and on whom Clement
relied to gain over the emperor, who greatly respected him. But this did
not cool the pontiff’s zeal: ‘I am thoroughly decided to please the king
in this great matter,’[261] he said to Henry’s envoys, and added: ‘To
have universal concord between all the princes of Christendom, I would
give a joint of my hand.’[262] In fact Clement set to work and went so
far as to tell Charles that, according to the theologians, the pope had
no right to grant a dispensation for a marriage between brother and
sister; but the emperor was immovable. The pope then proposed a truce of
three or four years between Henry, Francis, and Charles, during which he
would convoke a general council, to whom he would remit the whole
affair. Francis informed Henry that all this was nothing but a

[Sidenote: Henry Marries Anne Boleyn.]

The king, convinced that the pope was trifling with him, no longer
hesitated to follow the course which the interests of his people and his
own happiness seemed to point out. He determined that Anne Boleyn should
be his wife and Queen of England also. It was now that, according to the
second hypothesis, the marriage took place. Cranmer states in a letter
written on the 17th of June, 1533, that he did not perform the ceremony,
that he did not hear of it until a fortnight after, and that it was
celebrated ‘much about Saint Paul’s day last[264] (25th of January,
1533). Which date must we accept: this, or the 15th of November, given
by Hall, Hollinshed, Burnet, and others? Cranmer’s language is not
precise enough to settle the question.

Whatever may have been the date of the marriage—November or January—it
became the universal topic of conversation in the beginning of 1533;
people did not speak of it publicly, but in private, some attacking and
others defending it. If the members of the Romish party circulated
ridiculous stories and outrageous calumnies against Anne, the members of
the national party replied that the purity of her life, her moderation,
her chastity, her mildness, her discretion, her noble and exalted
parentage, her pleasing manners, and (they added somewhat later) her
fitness to give a successor to the crown of England, made her worthy of
the royal favor.[265] Men may have gone too far in their reproaches as
well as in their eulogies.

This important step on the part of Henry VIII. was accompanied with an
explosion of murmurs against Clement VII. ‘The pope,’ he said, ‘wanders
from the path of the Redeemer, who was obedient in this world to
princes. What! must a prince submit to the arrogance of a human being
whom God has put under him? Must a king humble himself before that man
above whom he stands by the will of God? No! that would be a perversion
of the order God has established.’ This is what Henry represented to
Francis through Lord Rochford;[266] but the words did not touch the King
of France, for the emperor was just then making several concessions to
him, and the evangelicals of Paris were annoying him. From that hour the
cordial feeling between the two monarchs gradually decreased. England
turned her eyes more and more towards the Gospel, and France towards
Rome. Just at the time when Anne Boleyn was about to reign in the
palaces of Whitehall and Windsor, Catherine de Medicis was entering
those of St. Germain and Fontainebleau. The contrast between the two
nations became daily more distinct and striking: England was advancing
towards liberty, and France towards the dragonnades.

[Sidenote: Brief Of Excommunication.]

The divorce between Rome and Whitehall soon became manifest. A brief of
Clement VII. posted in February on the doors of all the churches in
Flanders, in the states of the king’s enemy, and as near to England as
possible, attracted a great number of readers.[267] ‘What shall we do?’
said the pontiff to Henry. ‘Shall we neglect thy soul’s safety?... We
exhort thee, our son, under pain of excommunication, to restore Queen
Catherine to the royal honors which are due to her, to cohabit with her,
and to cease to associate publicly with Anne; and that within a month
from the day on which this brief shall be presented to thee. Otherwise,
when the said term shall have elapsed, we pronounce thee and the said
Anne to be _ipso facto_ excommunicate, and command all men to shun and
avoid your presence.’[268] It would appear that this document, demanded
by the imperialists, had been posted throughout Flanders without the
pope’s knowledge.[269]

A copy was immediately forwarded to the king by his agents. He was
surprised and agitated, but believed at last that it was forged by his
enemies.[270] How could he imagine that the pope, just at the very time
he was showing the king especial marks of his affection,[271] would
(even conditionally) have anathematized and isolated him in the midst of
his people? Henry sent a copy of the document to Benet, his agent at
Rome, and desired him to ascertain carefully whether it did really
proceed from the pope or not.

Benet presented the document to Clement as a paper forwarded to him by
his friends in Flanders. The latter was ‘ashamed and in great
perplexity,’ wrote the envoy.[272] He then read it again more
attentively, stopped at certain passages, and seemed as if he were
choking. Having come to the end, he expressed his surprise, and
pretended that the copy differed from the original. ‘There is one
mistake in particular which almost chokes the pope every time it is
mentioned,’ wrote Benet to Cromwell. This mistake was the including of
Queen Anne Boleyn in the censure, without giving her previous warning,
which (they said) was contrary to all the commandments of God.
Accordingly Dr. Benet received orders to bring up this mistake
frequently in his audiences with the pope; and he did not fail to do so.
At this moment, in which he was about to lose England, the pope was more
uneasy at having committed an error of form with regard to Anne Boleyn
than with having struck the monarch of a powerful kingdom with an
interdict. There is, besides, no doubt that he dictated the unhappy
phrase himself.

Benet and his friends took advantage of the pope’s vexation, and even
increased it: they communicated the brief to the dignitaries of the
Church in Clement’s household, and the latter acknowledged that the
document must be offensive to his Majesty of England, and that ‘the pope
was much to blame.’[273] Benet transmitted the pontiff’s _errata_ to the
king, but it was too late: the blow had taken effect. The indignant
Henry was about to proceed ostentatiously to the very acts which Rome
threatened with her thunders.

Whilst the pope was hesitating, England firmly pursued her emancipation.
Parliament met on the 4th of February, and the boldest language was
uttered. ‘The people of England, in accord with their king,’ said
eloquent speakers, ‘have the right to decide supremely on all things
both temporal and spiritual;[274] and certainly the English possess
intelligence enough for that. And yet, in spite of the prohibitions
issued by so many of our princes, we see bulls arriving every moment
from Rome to regulate wills, marriages, divorces—everything, in short.
We propose that henceforward these matters be decided solely before the
national tribunals.’ The law passed. Appeals, instead of being made to
Rome, were to be made in the first instance to the bishop, then to the
archbishop, and, if the king was interested in the cause, to the Upper
Chamber of the ecclesiastical Convocation.

The king took immediate advantage of this law to inquire of Convocation
whether the pope could authorize a man to marry his brother’s widow. Out
of sixty-six present, and one hundred and ninety-seven who voted by
proxy, there were only nineteen in the Upper House who voted against the
king. The opposition was stronger in the Lower House; but even this
agreed with the other house in declaring that Pope Julius II. had
exceeded his authority in giving Henry a dispensation, and that the
marriage, was consequently null from the very first.

[Sidenote: Cranmer’s Letter.]

Nothing remained now but to proceed to the divorce. On the 11th of
April, two days before Easter, Cranmer, as archbishop, wrote a letter to
the king, in which he set forth, that desiring to fill the office of
Archbishop of Canterbury, ‘according to the laws of God and Holy Church,
for the relief of the grievances and infirmities of the people, God’s
subjects and yours in spiritual causes,’[275] he prayed his Majesty’s
favor for that office.[276] Cranmer did not decline the royal
intervention, but he avoided confounding spiritual with temporal

Henry, who was doubtless waiting impatiently for this letter, was
alarmed as he read the words ‘according to the laws of God and Holy
Church.’ God and the Church.... Well! but what of the king and the royal
supremacy? The primate seemed to assert the right of acting _proprio
motu_, and, while asking the king’s favor, to be doing a simple act of
courtesy.... Did the Church of England claim to take the pontiff’s place
and station, and leave the king aside?... That was not what Henry meant.
Tired of the pretensions of the Pope of Rome, would he suffer a pope on
a small scale at his side? He intended to be master in his own
kingdom—master of everything. The letter must be modified, and this
Henry intimated to Cranmer.

That day or the next after the one on which this letter had been written
there was a great festival at court in honor of Anne Boleyn. ‘Queen Anne
that evening went in state to her closet openly as queen,’ says Hall. It
was probably during this festival that the king, taking the prelate
aside, desired him to suppress the unwelcome passage. The idea suggested
by an eminent historian, that Cranmer sent both the letters together to
Henry that he might choose which he would prefer, seems to me
inadmissible. Cranmer, as it would appear, submitted, waiting for better
days. On returning to Lambeth, he recopied his letter, omitting the
words which had been pointed out. Not content with asking the king’s
_favor_, he desired his _license_, his authorization to proceed. He
dated his second letter the same day, and sent it to his master, who was
satisfied with it.[278]

This alone did not satisfy Henry: in his reply to the archbishop, he
marked still more strongly his intention not to have in England a
primate independent of the crown: ‘Ye, therefore, duly recognizing that
it becometh you not, being our subject, to enterprise any part of your
said office _without our license obtained so to do_.... In consideration
of these things, albeit we, being your king and sovereign, do recognize
no superior upon earth but only God; yet, because ye be under us, by
God’s calling and ours, the most principal minister of our spiritual
jurisdiction, we will not refuse your humble request.’

This language was clear. Henry VIII. did not, however, claim the
arbitrary authority to which the pope pretended: human and divine laws
were to be the supreme rule in England; but he, the king, was to be
their chief interpreter. Cranmer must understand that. ‘To these laws
we, as a Christian king,’ wrote Henry, ‘have always heretofore
submitted, and shall ever most obediently submit ourselves.’ The
ecclesiastical system which Henry VIII. established in England in 1533
was not a free Church in a free State, and there is no reason to be
surprised at it.

Cranmer, having received the royal license, set out for Mortloke manor
to prepare the act which, for six years, had kept England and the
continent in suspense. Taking the Bishops of Lincoln and Winchester and
some lawyers with him, he proceeded quietly and without ostentation to
the priory of Dunstable, five miles from Ampthill, where Queen Catherine
was staying. He wished to avoid the notoriety of a trial held in London.

[Sidenote: Ecclesiastical Court.]

The ecclesiastical court being duly formed, Henry and Catherine were
summoned to appear before it on the 10th of May. The king was present by
attorney; but the queen replied: ‘My cause is before the pope; I accept
no other judge.’ A fresh summons was immediately made out for the 12th
of May, and, as the queen appeared neither in person nor by any of her
servants, she was pronounced contumacious,[279] and the trial went
forward. The king was informed every night of each day’s proceedings,
and he was often in great anxiety. Some unexpected event, an appeal from
Catherine, the sudden intervention of the pope or of the emperor might
stop everything. His courtiers were on the watch for news. Anne said
nothing, but her heart beat quick; and the ambitious Cromwell, whose
fortunes depended on the success of the matter, was sometimes in great
alarm. Cranmer rested on the declarations of Scripture, and showed much
equity and uprightness during the trial.[280] ‘I have willingly injured
no human being,’ he said. But he knew the queen had numerous partisans;
they would conjure her, perhaps, to appear before her judges. There
would then be a great stir, and the voice of the people would be
heard.[281] The archbishop could hardly restrain his emotion as he
thought of this. He must indeed expect an inflexible resistance on the
part of the queen; but, in the midst of all the agitation around her,
she alone remained calm and resolute. Her hand had grasped the pope’s
robe, and nothing could make her let it go. ‘I am the king’s lawful
wife,’ she repeated; ‘I am Queen of England. My daughter is the king’s
child: I place her in her father’s hands.’

On Wednesday the 23d of May, the primate, attended by all the
archiepiscopal court, proceeded to the church of St. Peter’s priory at
Dunstable, in order to deliver the final judgment of divorce. A few
persons attracted by curiosity were present; but, although Dunstable was
near Ampthill, all of Catherine’s household kept themselves respectfully
aloof from an act which was to deal their mistress such a grievous blow.
The primate, after reciting the decisions of the several universities,
provincial councils, and other premises, continued: ‘Therefore we,
Thomas, archbishop, primate, and legate, having first called upon the
name of Christ, and having God altogether before our eyes, do pronounce
and declare that the marriage between our sovereign lord King Henry and
the most serene Lady Catherine, widow of his brother, having been
contracted contrary to the law of God, is null and void; and therefore
we sentence that it is not lawful for the said most illustrious Prince
Henry and the said most serene Lady Catherine to remain in the said
pretended marriage.’[282] The act, drawn up very carefully by two
notaries, was immediately sent to the king.

The divorce was pronounced, and Henry was free. Many persons gave way to
feelings of alarm: they thought that all Europe would combine against
England. ‘The pope will excommunicate the English,’ said some; ‘and then
the emperor will destroy them.’ But, on the other hand, the majority of
the nation desired to have done with a subject which had been agitating
their minds during the last seven years. England, getting out of a
labyrinth from which she had never expected to find an issue, began to
breathe again.

Catherine’s marriage was declared to be null: it only remained now to
recognize Anne Boleyn’s. On the 28th of May, an archiepiscopal court
held at Lambeth, in the primate’s palace, officially declared that Henry
and Anne had been lawfully wedded, and the king had now no thought but
how to seal his union by the pomp of a coronation. It would certainly
have been preferable had the new queen taken her seat quietly on the
throne; but slanderous reports made it necessary for the king to present
his wife to the people in all the splendor of royalty.

[Sidenote: Anne Presented To The People.]

At three o’clock in the afternoon of Thursday before Whitsuntide, a
magnificent procession started from Greenwich. Fifty barges, adorned
with rich banners, conveyed the representatives of the different city
companies, and the metropolis joyfully hailed a union that promised to
inaugurate a future of light and faith: it was almost a religious
festival. On the banner of the Fishmongers was the inscription, _All
worship belongs to God alone_; on that of the Haberdashers, _My trust is
in God only_; on that of the Grocers, _God gives grace_; and on that of
the Goldsmiths, _To God alone be all the glory_. The city of London thus
asserted, in the presence of the immense crowd, the principles of the
Reformation. The lord mayor’s barge immediately preceded the galley, all
hung with cloth of gold, in which Anne was seated. Near it floated
another gay barge, on which a little mountain was contrived, planted
with red and white roses, in the midst of which sat a number of young
maidens singing to the accompaniment of sweet music. A hundred richly
ornamented barques, carrying the nobility of England, brought up the
magnificent procession, and a countless number of boats and skiffs
covered the river. The moment Anne set her foot on shore at the Tower, a
thousand trumpets sounded points of triumph, and all the guns of the
fortress fired such a peal as had seldom been heard before.[283]

Henry, who liked the sound of cannon, met Anne at the gate and kissed
her, and the new queen entered in triumph that vast fortress from which,
three years later, she was to issue, by order of the same prince, to
mount, an innocent victim, the cruel scaffold. She smiled courteously on
all around; and yet, seized with a sudden emotion, she sometimes
trembled, as if, instead of the joyous flowers on which she trod with
light and graceful foot, she saw a deep gulf yawning beneath her.

The king and queen passed the whole of the next day (Friday) at the
Tower. On Saturday Anne left it for Westminster.[284] The streets were
gay with banners, and the houses were hung with velvet and cloth of
gold. All the orders of the State and Church, the ambassadors of France
and Venice, and the officers of the court, opened the procession. The
queen was carried in a magnificent litter covered with white cloth shot
with gold, her head, which she held modestly inclined, being encircled
with a wreath of precious stones. The people who crowded the streets
were full of enthusiasm, and seemed to triumph more than she did

The next day, Whit-Sunday, she proceeded for the coronation to the
ancient abbey of Westminster, where the bishops and the court had been
summoned to meet her. She took her seat in a rich chair, whence she
presently descended to the high altar and knelt down. After the
prescribed prayers she rose, and the archbishop placed the crown of St.
Edward upon her head. She then took the sacrament and retired; the Earl
of Wiltshire, her father, trembling with emotion, took her right hand
... he was at the pinnacle of happiness, and yet he was uneasy. Alas! a
caprice of the man who had raised his daughter to the throne might be
sufficient to hurl her from it! Anne herself, in the midst of all these
pomps, greater than any ever seen before at the coronation of an English
queen, could not entirely forget the princess whose place she had now
taken. Might not she be rejected in her turn?... In such a thought there
was enough to make her shudder.

[Sidenote: Feelings Of The New Queen.]

Anne did not find in her marriage with Henry the happiness she had
dreamt, and a cloud was often seen passing across those features once so
radiant. The idol to which this young woman had sacrificed
everything—the splendor of a throne—did not satisfy her longings for
happiness: she looked within herself, and found once more, as queen,
that attraction towards the doctrine of the Gospel which she had felt in
the society of Margaret of Valois, and which, amid her ambitious
pursuits, had been almost extinguished in her heart. She discovered that
for those who have everything, as well as for those who have nothing,
there is only one single good—God himself. She did not probably give
herself up entirely to Him, for her best impressions were often
fugitive; but she took advantage of her power to assist those who she
knew were devoted to the Gospel. She petitioned for the pardon of John
Lambert, who was still in prison, and that faithful confessor of Jesus
Christ settled in London, where he began to teach children Latin and
Greek, without however neglecting the defence of truth.[285]

Two women had for some time attracted the eyes of all England—the one
who was ascending the throne, and the other who was descending from it.
Nothing awakens the sympathy of generous souls more than misfortune, and
particularly innocence in misfortune; and accordingly Catherine’s fate
will always excite a lively interest, even in the ranks of
protestantism. We must not forget, however, that Catherine’s cause was
that of the old times and of the Roman papacy, and that Anne’s cause was
identified with that light, liberty, and new life which have
distinguished modern times. It is true, Catherine died in disgrace, but
in peace, surrounded by her women, her officers, her faithful servants;
while the youthful Anne, separated from her friends, alone on a
scaffold, praying God to bless the prince who put her to death, had her
head cruelly cut off by the hangman’s sword. If on the one side there
was innocence and divorce, on the other there was innocence and

The king, who had informed Catherine through Lord Mountjoy of the
archiepiscopal sentence, officially communicated his divorce and
marriage to the various crowned heads of Europe, and particularly to the
King of France, the emperor, and the pope. The latter on the 11th of
July annulled the sentence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, declared the
king’s marriage with Anne Boleyn unlawful, and threatened to
excommunicate both, unless they separated before the end of September.
Henry angrily commanded his theologians to demonstrate that the bull was
a nullity, recalled his ambassador, the Duke of Norfolk, and said that
the moment was come for all monarchs and all Christian people to
withdraw from under the yoke of the Bishop of Rome. ‘The pope and his
cardinals,’ he wrote to Francis I., ‘pretend to have princes, who are
free persons, at their beck and commandment. Sire, you and I and all the
princes of Christendom must unite for the preservation of our rights,
liberties, and privileges; we must alienate the greatest part of
Christendom from the see of Rome.’[286]

But Henry had scholastic prejudices, which made him fall into the
strangest contradictions. While he was employing his diplomacy to
isolate the pope, he still prayed him to declare the nullity of his
marriage with Catherine.[287] It is not at the court of this prince that
we must look for the real Reformation: we must go in search of it

Footnote 258:

  ‘Multo, minus scandalosum fuisset, dispensare cum Majestate vestra
  super duabus uxoribus.’—Record Office MS.

Footnote 259:

  Bossuet, _Hist. des Variations_, liv. vi.

Footnote 260:

  ‘Compelled to lie in the straw.’—_State Papers_ (Henry VIII.), part
  vii. p. 394.

Footnote 261:

  ‘Utterly resolve to do pleasure to your Highness.’—Benet to Henry
  VIII., _State Papers_, pp. 401, 402.

Footnote 262:

  ‘He would it had cost him a joint of his hand.’—Ibid.

Footnote 263:

  ‘Your Grace should give no credence thereto, for it is but
  dissimulation.—Ibid. p. 422.

Footnote 264:

  Cranmer, _Remains_, p. 246.

Footnote 265:

  ‘The purity of her life, her constant virginity.’—Burnet, _Records_,
  iii. p. 64; see, also, Wyatt, _Memoirs of Anne Boleyn_, p. 437.

Footnote 266:

  Henry’s instructions to the Earl of Rochford are written in French,
  probably that they might be shown to Francis.—_State papers_, vii. pp.

Footnote 267:

  _State Papers_, vii. p. 421. A note mentions that the document cannot
  be found. It is evidently the brief given by Le Grand, _Preuves du
  Divorce_, p. 558.

Footnote 268:

  ‘Te et ipsam Annam, excommunicationis pœna, innodatos declaramus.’—Le
  Grand, _Preuves_, p. 567.

Footnote 269:

  ‘Granted by the pope at the suits of the imperials.’—_State Papers_,
  vii. p. 454.

Footnote 270:

  ‘He can hardly believe it to be true rather than to be
  counterfeited.’—Ibid. p. 421.

Footnote 271:

  ‘In derogation both of justice and the affection lately shown by his
  Holiness unto us.’—Ibid.

Footnote 272:


Footnote 273:

  _State Papers_, vii. p. 454.

Footnote 274:

  Statute against appeals, 24 Henry VIII. cap. 12; Collyers, _Ch.
  History_, ii.

Footnote 275:

  Wilkins, _Concilia Mag. Britanniæ_, iii. pp. 756-759. Rymer, Fœdera,
  vi. p. 179.

Footnote 276:

  _State Papers_ (Henry VIII.), i. p. 390.

Footnote 277:

  ‘Your sufferance and grants.’—_State Papers_ (Henry VIII.), i. p. 390.

Footnote 278:

  The two letters are in the State Paper Office; they are in Cranmer’s
  handwriting, and appear to have been read, both of them, by the king.
  Our hypothesis touching these letters differs from that of Mr. Froude
  (_Hist. England_, i. p. 440). _State Papers_ (Henry VIII.), i. pp.
  390, 391.

Footnote 279:

  ‘Vere et manifeste contumacem.’—_State Papers_ (Henry VIII.) i. p.

Footnote 280:

  ‘My lord of Canterbury handleth himself very uprightly.’—Ibid. p. 395.

Footnote 281:

  ‘A great bruit and voice of the people.’—Cranmer, _Remains_, p. 342.

Footnote 282:

  ‘Non licere in eodem prætenso matrimonio remanere.’—Wilkins,
  _Concilia_, iii. p. 759; Rymer, _Fœdera_, vi. p. 182.

Footnote 283:

  Cranmer, _Remains_, p. 245.

Footnote 284:

  Mr. Froude says that Anne went to the Tower on the 19th of May, and
  that she quitted it for Westminster on the 31st, so that she resided
  there for eleven days (_History of England_, i. pp. 450, 451). That
  appears hardly probable, and is in contradiction to Cranmer’s
  narrative, where we read: ‘Her grace came to the Tower on Thursday at
  night.... Friday all day the king and queen tarried there.... The next
  day, which was Saturday, the knights rid before the queen’s grace
  towards Westminster.’—_Letters_, p. 245.

Footnote 285:

  ‘Lambert delivered ... by the coming of Queen Anne.’—Foxe, _Acts_, v.
  p. 225.

Footnote 286:

  ‘To the clear alienation of a great part of Christendom from that
  see.’—_State Papers_, vii. p. 477.

Footnote 287:

  ‘That the matrimony was and is naught.’—Ibid. p. 498.

                             CHAPTER XVIII.
                         A REFORMER IN PRISON.
                       (AUGUST 1532 TO MAY 1533.)

[Sidenote: Fryth’s Noble Character.]

One of the leading scholars of England was about to seal the testimony
of his faith with blood. John Fryth had been one of the most brilliant
stars of the university of Cambridge. ‘It would hardly be possible to
find his equal in learning,’ said many. Accordingly Wolsey had invited
him to his college at Oxford, and Henry VIII. had desired to place him
among the number of his theologians. But the mysteries of the Word of
God had more attraction for Fryth than those of science: the wants of
conscience prevailed in him over those of the intellect, and neglecting
his own glory, he sought only to be useful to mankind.[288] A sincere,
decided, and yet moderate Christian, preaching the Gospel with great
purity and love, this man of thirty seemed destined to become one of the
most influential reformers of England. Nothing could have prevented his
playing the foremost part, if he had had Luther’s enthusiastic energy or
Calvin’s indomitable power. There were less strong, but perhaps more
amiable features in his character; he taught with gentleness those who
were opposed to the truth, and while many, as Foxe says,[289] ‘take the
bellows in hand to blow the fire, but few there are that will seek to
quench it,’ Fryth sought after peace. Controversies between protestants
distressed him. ‘The opinions for which men go to war,’ he said, ‘do not
deserve those great tragedies of which they make us spectators. Let
there be no longer any question among us of Zwinglians or Lutherans, for
neither Zwingle nor Luther died for us, and we must be one in Christ
Jesus.’[290] This servant of Christ, meek and lowly of heart, like his
Master, never disputed even with papists, unless obliged to do so.[291]

A true catholicism which embraced all Christians was Fryth’s distinctive
feature as a reformer. He was not one of those who imagine that a
national Church ought to think only of its own nation; but of those who
believe that if a Church is the depositary of the truth, she is so for
all the earth; and that a religion is not good, if it has no longing to
extend itself to all the races of mankind. There were some strongly
marked national elements in the English Reformation: the king and the
parliament; but there was also a universal element: a lively faith in
the Saviour of the world. No one in the sixteenth century represented
this truly catholic element better than Fryth. ‘I understand the Church
of God in a wide sense,’ he said. ‘It contains all those whom we regard
as members of Christ. It is a net thrown into the sea.’[292] This
principle, sown at that time as a seed in the English Reformation, was
one day to cover the world with missionaries.

Fryth, having declined the brilliant offers the king had made to him
through Cromwell and Vaughan, joined Tyndale in translating and
publishing the Holy Scriptures in English. While laboring thus for
England, an irresistible desire came over him to circulate the Gospel
there in person. He therefore quitted the Low Countries, returned to
London, and directed his course to Reading, where the prior had been his
friend. Exile had not used him well, and he entered that town miserably
clothed, and more like a beggar than one whom Henry VIII. had desired to
place near him. This was in August 1532.

His writings had preceded him. Having received, when in the Netherlands,
three works composed in defence of purgatory by three distinguished
men—Rastell, Sir Thomas More’s brother-in-law, More himself, and Fisher,
Bishop of Rochester—Fryth had replied to them: ‘A purgatory! there is
not _one_ only, there are _two_. The first is the _Word of God_, the
second is the _Cross of Christ_: I do not mean the cross of wood, but
the cross of tribulation. But the lives of the papists are so wicked
that they have invented a third.’[293]

Sir Thomas, exasperated by Fryth’s reply, said with that humorous tone
he often affected, ‘I propose to answer the good young father Fryth,
whose wisdom is such that three old men like my brother Rastell, the
Bishop of Rochester, and myself are mere babies when confronted with
Father Fryth alone.’[294] The exile having returned to England, More had
now the opportunity of avenging himself more effectually than by his

[Sidenote: Fryth In The Stocks.]

Fryth, as we have said, had entered Reading. His strange air and his
look as of a foreigner arriving from a distant country attracted
attention, and he was taken up for a vagabond. ‘Who are you?’ asked the
magistrate. Fryth, suspecting that he was in the hands of enemies of the
Gospel, refused to give his name, which increased the suspicion, and the
poor young man was set in the stocks. As they gave him but little to
eat, with the intent of forcing him to tell his name, his hunger soon
became insupportable.[295] Knowing the name of the master of the
grammar-school, he asked to speak with him. Leonard Coxe had scarcely
entered the prison, when the pretended vagabond all in rags addressed
him in correct latinity, and began to deplore his miserable captivity.
Never had words more noble been uttered in a dungeon so vile. The
head-master, astonished at so much eloquence, compassionately drew near
the unhappy man and inquired how it came to pass that such a learned
scholar was in such profound wretchedness. Presently he sat down, and
the two men began to talk in Greek about the universities and languages.
Coxe could not make it out: it was no longer simple pity that he felt,
but love, which turned to admiration when he heard the prisoner recite
with the purest accent those noble lines of the _Iliad_ which were so
applicable to his own case:

                                  ‘Sing, O Muse,
              The vengeance deep and deadly; whence to Greece
              Unnumbered ills arose; which many a soul
              Of mighty warriors to the viewless shades
              Untimely sent.’[296]

Filled with respect, Coxe hurried off to the mayor, complained bitterly
of the wrong done to so remarkable a man, and obtained his liberation.
Homer saved the life of a reformer.

Fryth departed for London and hastened to join the worshippers who were
accustomed to meet in Bow Lane. He conversed with them and exclaimed:
‘Oh! what consolation to see such a great number of believers walking in
the way of the Lord!’[297] These Christians asked him to expound the
Scriptures to them, and, delighted with his exhortations, they exclaimed
in their turn: ‘If the rule of St. Paul were followed, this man would
certainly make a better bishop than many of those who wear the
mitre.’[298] Instead of the crosier he was to bear the cross.

[Sidenote: Fryth’s Eloquence.]

One of those who listened was in great doubt relative to the doctrine of
the Lord’s Supper; and one day, after Fryth had been setting Christ
before them as the food of the Christian soul through faith, this person
followed him and said: ‘Our prelates think differently; they believe
that the bread transformed by consecration becomes the flesh, blood, and
bones of Christ; that even the wicked eat this flesh with their teeth,
and that we must adore the host.... What you have just said refutes
their errors, but I fear that I cannot remember it. Pray commit it to
writing.’ Fryth, who did not like discussions, was alarmed at the
request, and answered; ‘I do not care to touch that terrible
tragedy;’[299] for so he called the dispute about the Eucharist. The man
having repeated his request, and promised that he would not communicate
the paper to anybody, Fryth wrote an explanation of the doctrine of the
Sacrament and gave it to that London Christian, saying: ‘We must eat and
drink the body and blood of Christ, not with the teeth, but with the
hearing and through faith.’ The brother took the treatise, and, hurrying
home with it, read it carefully.

In a short time every one at the Bow Lane meeting spoke about this
writing. One man, a false brother, named William Holt, listened
attentively to what was said, and thought he had found an opportunity of
destroying Fryth. Assuming a hypocritical look, he spoke in a pious
strain to the individual who had the manuscript, as if he had desired to
enlighten his faith, and finally asked him for it. Having obtained it,
he hastened to make a copy, which he carried to Sir Thomas More, who was
still chancellor.

Fryth soon perceived that he had tried in vain to remain unknown; he
called with so much power those who thirsted for righteousness to come
to Christ for the waters of life, that friends and enemies were struck
with his eloquence. Observing that his name began to be talked of in
various places, he quitted the capital and travelled unnoticed through
several counties, where he found some little Christian congregations
whom he tried to strengthen in the faith.

Tyndale, who remained on the continent, having heard of Fryth’s labors,
began to feel great anxiety about him. He knew but too well the cruel
disposition of the bishops and of More. ‘I will make the serpent come
out of his dark den,’ Sir Thomas had said, speaking of Tyndale, ‘as
Hercules forced Cerberus, the watch-dog of hell, to come out to the
light of day.... I will not leave Tyndale the darkest corner in which to
hide his head.’[300] In Tyndale’s eyes Fryth was the great hope of the
Church in England; he trembled lest the redoubtable Hercules should
seize him. ‘Dearly beloved brother Jacob,’ he wrote,—calling him Jacob
to mislead his enemies,—‘be cold, sober, wise, and circumspect, and keep
you low by the ground, avoiding high questions that pass the common
capacity. But expound the law truly, and open the veil of Moses to
condemn all flesh and prove all men sinners. Then set abroach the mercy
of our Lord Jesus, and let the wounded consciences drink of him.... All
doctrine that casteth a mist on these two to shadow and hide them,
resist with all your power.... Beloved in my heart, there liveth not one
in whom I have so great hope and trust, and in whom my heart rejoiceth,
not so much for your learning and what other gifts else you may have, as
because you walk in those things that the conscience may feel, and not
in the imagination of the brain. Cleave fast to the rock of the help of
God; and if aught be required of you contrary to the glory of God and
his Christ, then stand fast and commit yourself to God. He is our God,
and our redemption is nigh.’[301]

Tyndale’s fears were but too well founded. Sir Thomas More held Fryth’s
new treatise in his hand: he read it and, gave way by turns to anger and
sarcasm. ‘Whetting his wits, calling his spirits together, and
sharpening his pen,’ to use the words of the chronicler,[302] he
answered Fryth, and described his doctrine under the image of a cancer.
This did not satisfy him. Although he had returned the seals to the king
in May, he continued to hold office until the end of the year. He
ordered search to be made for Fryth, and set all his bloodhounds on the
track. If the reformer was discovered he was lost; when Sir Thomas More
had once caught his man, nothing could save him—nothing but a merry
jest, perhaps. For instance, one day when he was examining a gospeller
named Silver: ‘You know,’ he said, with a smile, ‘that silver must be
tried in the fire.’ ‘Yes,’ retorted the accused instantly, ‘but not
quicksilver.’[303] More delighted with the repartee, set the poor wretch
at liberty. But Fryth was no jester: he could not hope, therefore, to
find favor with the ex-chancellor of England.

[Sidenote: Fryth Hunted By More.]

Sir Thomas hunted the reformer by sea and by land, promising a great
reward to any one who should deliver him up. There was no county or town
or village where More did not look for him, no sheriff or justice of the
peace to whom he did not apply, no harbor where he did not post some
officer to catch him.[304] But the answer from every quarter was: ‘He is
not here.’ Indeed, Fryth, having been informed of the great exertions of
his enemy, was fleeing from place to place, often changing his dress,
and finding safety nowhere. Determining to leave England and return to
Tyndale, he went to Milton Shone in Essex with the intention of
embarking. A ship was ready to sail, and quitting his hiding-place he
went down to the shore with all precaution. He had been betrayed. More’s
agents, who were on the watch, seized him as he was stepping on board,
and carried him to the Tower. This occurred in October 1532.

Sir Thomas More was uneasy and soured. He beheld a new power lifting its
head in England and all Christendom, and he felt that in despite of his
wit and his influence he was unable to check it. That man so amiable,
that writer of a style so pure and elegant, did not so much dread the
anger of the king; what exasperated him was to see the Scriptures
circulating more widely every day, and a continually increasing number
of his fellow-citizens converted to the evangelical faith. These new
men, who seemed to have more piety than himself—he an old follower of
the old papacy!—irritated him sorely. He claimed to have alone—he and
his friends—the privilege of being Christians. The zeal of the partisans
of the Reformation, the sacrifice they made of their repose, their
money, and their lives, confounded him. ‘These diabolical people,’ he
said, ‘print their books at great expense, notwithstanding the great
danger; not looking for any gain, they give them away to everybody, and
even scatter them abroad by night.[305] They fear no labor, no journey,
no expense, no pain, no danger, no blows, no injury. They take a
malicious pleasure in seeking the destruction of others, and these
disciples of the devil think only how they may cast the souls of the
simple into hell-fire.’ In such a strain as this did the elegant utopist
give vent to his anger—the man who had dreamt all his life of the plan
of an imaginary world for the perfect happiness of every one. At last he
had caught the chief of these disciples of Satan, and hoped to put him
to death by fire.

[Sidenote: Fryth’s Labors In Prison.]

The news soon spread through London that Fryth was in the tower, and
several priests and bishops immediately went thither to try to bring him
back to the pope. Their great argument was that More had confuted his
treatise on the Lord’s Supper. Fryth asked to see the confutation, but
it was refused him. One day the Bishop of Winchester having called up
the prisoner, showed it to Fryth, and, holding it up, asserted that the
book quite shut his mouth: Fryth put out his hand, but the bishop
hastily withdrew the volume. More himself was ashamed of the apology and
did all he could to prevent its circulation. Fryth could only obtain a
written copy, but he resolved to answer it immediately. There was no one
with whom he could confer, not a book he could consult, and the chains
with which he was loaded scarcely allowed him to sit and write.[306] But
reading in his dungeon by the light of a small candle the insults of
More, and finding himself charged with having collected all the poison
that could be found in the writings of Wickliffe, Luther, Œcolampadius,
Tyndale, and Zwingle, this humble servant of God exclaimed: ‘No! Luther
and his doctrine are not the mark I aim at, but the Scriptures of
God.’[307] ‘He shall pay for his heresy with the best blood in his
body,’ said his enemies; and the pious disciple replied: ‘As the sheep
bound by the hand of the butcher with timid look beseeches that his
blood may soon be shed, even so do I pray my judges that my blood may be
shed _to-morrow_, if by my death the king’s eyes should be opened.’[308]

Before he died, Fryth desired to save, if it were God’s will, one of his
adversaries. There was one of them who had no obstinacy, no malice: it
was Rastell, More’s brother-in-law. Being unable to speak to him or to
any of the enemies of the Reformation, he formed the design of writing
in prison a treatise which should be called the _Bulwark_. But strict
orders had recently arrived that he should have neither pen, ink, nor
paper.[309] Some evangelical Christians of London, who succeeded in
getting access to him, secretly furnished him with the means of writing,
and Fryth began. He wrote ... but at every moment he listened for fear
the lieutenant of the Tower or the warders should come upon him suddenly
and find the pen in his hand.[310] Often a bright thought would occur to
him, but some sudden alarm drove it out of his mind, and he could not
recall it.[311] He took courage, however: he had been accused of
asserting that good works were of no service: he proceeded to explain
with much eloquence all their utility, and every time he repeated: ‘Is
that nothing? is that still nothing? Truly, Rastell,’ he added, ‘if you
only regard that as useful which justifies us, the sun is not useful,
because it justifieth not.’[312]

As he was finishing these words he heard the keys rattling at the door,
and, being alarmed, immediately threw paper, ink, and pen into a
hiding-place. However, he was able to complete the treatise and send it
to Rastell. More’s brother-in-law read it; his heart was touched, his
understanding enlightened, his prejudices cleared away; and from that
hour this choice spirit was gained over to the Gospel of Christ. God had
given him new eyes and new ears. A pure joy filled the prisoner’s heart.
‘Rastell now looks upon his natural reason as foolishness,’ he said.
‘Rastell, become a child, drinks the wisdom that cometh from on

The conversion of Sir Thomas More’s brother-in-law made a great
sensation, and the visits to Fryth’s cell became every day more
numerous. Although separated from his wife and from Tyndale, whom he had
been forced to leave in the Low Countries, he had never had so many
friends, brothers, mothers, and fathers; he wept for very joy. He took
his pen and paper from their hiding-place, and, always indefatigable,
began to write first the _Looking-glass of Self-knowledge_, and next a
_Letter to the faithful Followers of the Gospel of Christ_. ‘Imitators
of the Lord,’ he said to them, ‘mark yourselves with the sign of the
cross, not as the superstitious crowd does, in order to worship it, but
as a testimony that you are ready to bear that cross as soon as God
shall please to send it. Fear not when you have it, for you will also
have a hundred fathers instead of one, a hundred mothers instead of one,
a hundred mansions already in this life (for I have made the trial), and
after this life, joy everlasting.’[314]

[Sidenote: Fryth Visits Petit.]

At the beginning of 1533, Anne Boleyn having been married to the King of
England, Fryth saw his chains fall off: he was allowed to have all he
asked for, and even permitted to leave the Tower at night on parole. He
took advantage of this liberty to visit the friends of the Gospel, and
consult with them about what was to be done. One evening in particular,
after leaving the Tower, Fryth went to Petit’s house, anxious to embrace
once more that great friend of the Reformation, that firm member of
parliament, who had been thrown into prison as we have seen, and at last
set free. Petit, weakened by his long confinement, was near his end; the
persecution agitated and pained him, and it would appear that his
emotion sometimes ended in delirium. As he was groaning over the
captivity of the young and noble reformer, Fryth appeared. Petit was
confused, his mind wandered. Is it Fryth or his ghost? He was like the
apostles, when Rhoda came to tell them that Peter was at the gate
waiting to see them. But gradually recovering himself, Petit said: ‘You
here! how have you escaped the vigilance of the warders?’ ‘God himself,’
answered Fryth, ‘gave me this liberty by touching their hearts.’[315]
The two friends then conversed about the true Reformation of England,
which in their eyes had nothing to do with the diplomatic proceedings of
the king. In their opinion it was not a matter of overloading the
external Church with new frippery, but ‘to increase that elect,
sanctified, and invisible congregation, elect before the foundation of
the world.’[316] Fryth did not conceal from Petit the conviction he felt
that he would be called upon to die for the Gospel. The night was spent
in such Christian conversation and the day began to dawn before the
prisoner hastened to return to the Tower.

The evangelist’s friends did not think as he did. Anne Boleyn’s
accession seemed as if it ought to open the doors of Fryth’s prison, and
in imagination they saw him at liberty, and laboring either on the
continent or at home at that real reformation which is accomplished by
the Scriptures of God.

But it was not to be so. Most of the evangelical men raised up by God in
England during the reign of Henry VIII. found—not the influence which
they should have exercised, but—death. Yet their blood has weighed in
the divine balance; it has sanctified the Reformation of England, and
been a spiritual seed for future ages. If the Church of that rich
country, which possesses such worldly splendor, has nevertheless
witnessed the development of a powerful evangelical life in its bosom,
it must not forget the cause, but understand, with Tertullian, that _the
blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church_.

Footnote 288:

  ‘Serving for the common utility.’—Tyndale to Fryth, _Works_, iii. p.

Footnote 289:

  Foxe, _Acts_, v. p. 10.

Footnote 290:

  Tyndale and Fryth, _Works_, iii. p. 421.

Footnote 291:

  ‘He would never seem to strive against the papists.’—Foxe, _Acts_, v.
  p. 9.

Footnote 292:

  Fryth, _A Declaration of Baptism_, p. 287.

Footnote 293:

  See Tyndale and Fryth, _Works_, iii. p. 91. Preface to the Reader.

Footnote 294:

  Anderson, _Annals of the Bible_, i. p. 338.

Footnote 295:

  Foxe, _Acts_, v. p. 5.

Footnote 296:

  Earl of Derby’s Translation.

Footnote 297:

  He added: ‘Now have I experience of the faith which is in
  you.’—Tyndale and Fryth, _Works_, iii. p. 257.

Footnote 298:

  Ibid. p. 324.

Footnote 299:

  Tyndale and Fryth, _Works_, iii. p. 321.

Footnote 300:

  _Confutation of Tyndale’s Answer_, by Sir Thomas More, lord-chancellor
  of England (1532).

Footnote 301:

  Foxe, _Acts_, v. p. 133.

Footnote 302:

  Ibid. p. 9.

Footnote 303:

  Strype. i. p. 316.

Footnote 304:

  Foxe, _Acts_, v. p. 6.

Footnote 305:

  Preface to More’s Confutation, _Bible Ann._ i. p. 343.

Footnote 306:

  ‘He was so loaded with iron that he could scarce sit with any
  ease.’—Burnet, i. p. 161.

Footnote 307:

  Tyndale and Fryth, _Works_, iii. p. 342.

Footnote 308:

  Ibid. p. 338.

Footnote 309:

  The Subsidy or Bulwark; Tyndale and Fryth, _Works_, iii. p. 242.

Footnote 310:

  ‘I am in continual fear, lest the lieutenant or my keeper should espy
  any such thing by me.’—Ibid.

Footnote 311:

  ‘If any notable thing had been in my mind, it was clean lost.’—Ibid.

Footnote 312:

  The Subsidy or Bulwark; Tyndale and Fryth, _Works_, iii. p. 241.

Footnote 313:

  The Subsidy or Bulwark; Tyndale and Fryth, _Works_, iii. p. 211.

Footnote 314:

  Ibid. p. 259.

Footnote 315:


Footnote 316:

  Tyndale and Fryth; _Works_, iii. p. 288.

                              CHAPTER XIX.
                          (MAY TO JULY 1533.)

The enemy was on the watch: the second period of Fryth’s captivity, that
which was to terminate in martyrdom, was beginning. Henry’s bishops,
who, while casting off the pope to please the king, had remained devoted
to scholastic doctrines, feared lest the reformer should escape them:
they therefore undertook to solicit Henry to put him to death. Fryth had
on his side the queen, Cromwell, and Cranmer. This did not discourage
them, and they represented to the king that although the man was shut up
in the Tower of London, he did not cease to write and act in defence of
heresy. It was the season of Lent, and Fryth’s enemies came to an
understanding with Dr. Curwin, the king’s chaplain, who was to preach
before the court. He had no sooner got into the pulpit than he began to
declaim against those who denied the material presence of Christ in the
host. Having struck his hearers with horror, he continued: ‘It is not
surprising that this abominable heresy makes such great progress among
us. A man now in the Tower of London has the audacity to defend it, and
no one thinks of punishing him.’

[Sidenote: Fryth Ordered For Trial.]

When the service was over, the brilliant congregation left the chapel,
and each as he went out asked what was the man’s name. ‘Fryth’ was the
reply, and loud were the exclamations on hearing it. The blow took
effect, the scholastic prejudices of the king were revived, and he sent
for Cromwell and Cranmer. ‘I am very much surprised,’ he said, ‘that
John Fryth has been kept so long in the Tower without examination. I
desire his trial to take place without delay; and if he does not
retract, let him suffer the penalty he deserves.’ He then nominated six
of the chief spiritual and temporal peers of England to examine him:
they were the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishops of London and
Winchester, the lord chancellor, the Duke of Suffolk, and the Earl of
Wiltshire. This demonstrated the importance which Henry attached to the
affair. Until now, all the martyrs had fallen beneath the blows either
of the bishops or of More; but in this case it was the king himself who
stretched out his strong hand against the servant of God.

Henry’s order plunged Cranmer into the cruellest anxiety. On the one
hand, Fryth was in his eyes a disciple of the Gospel; but on the other,
he attacked a doctrine which the archbishop then held to be Christian;
for, like Luther and Osiander, he still believed in consubstantiation.
‘Alas!’ he wrote to Archdeacon Hawkins, ‘he professes the doctrine of
Œcolampadius.’[317] He resolved, however, to do everything in his power
to save Fryth.

The best friends of the young reformer saw that a pile was being raised
to consume the most faithful Christian in England. ‘Dearly beloved,’
wrote Tyndale from Antwerp, ‘fear not men that threat, nor trust men
that speak fair. Your cause is Christ’s Gospel, a light that must be fed
with the blood of faith. The lamp must be trimmed daily, that the light
go not out.’[318] There was no lack of examples to confirm these words.
‘Two have suffered in Antwerp unto the great glory of the Gospel; four
at Ryselles in Flanders. At Rouen in France they persecute, and at Paris
are five doctors taken for the Gospel. See, you are not alone: follow
the example of all your other dear brethren, who choose to suffer in
hope of a better resurrection. Bear the image of Christ in your mortal
body, and keep your conscience pure and undefiled.... _Una salus victis,
nullam sperare salutem_: the only safety of the conquered is to look for
none. If you could but write and tell us how you are.’ In this letter
from a martyr to a martyr there was one sentence honorable to a
Christian woman: ‘Your wife is well content with the will of God, and
would not for her sake have the glory of God hindered.’

[Sidenote: Cranmer Would Save Fryth.]

If friends were thinking of Fryth on the banks of the Scheldt, they were
equally anxious about him on the banks of the Thames. Worthy citizens of
London asked what was the use of England’s quitting the pope to cling to
Christ, if she burnt the servants of Christ? The little Church had
recourse to prayer. Archbishop Cranmer wished to save Fryth: he loved
the man and admired his piety. If the accused appeared before the
commission appointed by the king, he was lost: some means must be
devised without delay to rescue him from an inevitable death. The
archbishop declared that, before proceeding to trial, he wished to have
a conference with the prisoner, and to endeavor to convince him, which
was very natural. But at the same time the primate appeared to fear that
if the conference took place in London the people would disturb the
public peace, as in the time of Wickliffe.[319] He settled therefore
that it should be held at Croydon, where he had a palace. The primate’s
fear seems rather strange. A riot on account of Fryth, at a time when
king, commons, and people were in harmony, appeared hardly probable.
Cranmer had another motive.

Among the persons composing his household was a gentleman of benevolent
character, and with a leaning towards the Gospel, who was distressed at
the cruelty of the bishops, and looked upon it as a lawful and Christian
act to rob them, if possible, of their victims. Giving him one of the
porters of Lambeth palace as a companion, Cranmer committed Fryth to his
care to bring him to Croydon. They were to take the prisoner a journey
of four or five hours on foot through fields and woods, without any
constables or soldiers. A strange walk and a strange escort.[320]

Lord Fitzwilliam, first Earl of Southampton and governor of the Tower,
at that time lay sick in his house at Westminster, suffering such severe
pain as to force loud groans from him. On the 10th of June, at the
desire of my Lord of Canterbury, the archbishop’s gentleman, and the
Lambeth porter, Gallois, surnamed Perlebeane, were introduced into the
nobleman’s bedchamber, where they found him lying upon his bed in
extreme agony. Fitzwilliam, a man of the world, was greatly enraged
against the evangelicals, who were the cause, in his opinion, of all the
difficulties of England. The gentleman respectfully presented to him the
primate’s letter and the king’s ring. ‘What do you want?’ he asked
sharply, without opening the letter. ‘His grace desires your lordship to
deliver Master Fryth to us.’ The impatient Southampton flew into a
passion at the name, and cursed Fryth and all the heretics.[321] He
thought it strange that a gentleman and a porter should have to convey a
prisoner of such importance to the episcopal court: were there no
soldiers in the Tower? Had Fitzwilliam any suspicion, or did he regret
to see the reformer leave the walls within which he had been kept so
safely? We cannot tell: but he must obey, for they brought him the
king’s signet. Accordingly, taking his own hastily from his finger:
‘Fryth,’ he said, ‘Fryth.... Here, show this to the lieutenant of the
Tower, and take away your heretic quickly. I am but too happy to get rid
of him.’

A few hours later Fryth, the gentleman, and Perlebeane entered a boat
moored near the Tower, and were rowed speedily to the archbishop’s
palace at Lambeth. At first the three persons preserved a strict
silence, only interrupted from time to time by the deep sighs of the
gentleman. Being charged to begin by trying to induce Fryth to make some
compromise, he broke the silence at last. ‘Master Fryth,’ he said, ‘if
you are not prudent you are lost. What a pity! you that are so learned
in Latin and Greek and in the Holy Scriptures, the ancient doctors, and
all kinds of knowledge, you will perish, and all your admirable gifts
will perish with you, with little profit to the world, and less comfort
to your wife and children, your kinsfolk and friends.’... The gentleman
was silent a minute, and then began again: ‘Your position is dangerous,
Master Fryth, but not desperate: you have many friends who will do all
they can in your favor. On your part do something for them, make some
concession, and you will be safe. Your opinion on the merely spiritual
presence of the body and blood of the Saviour is premature: it is too
soon for us in England; wait until a better time comes!’

Fryth did not say a word: no sound was heard but the dash of the water
and the noise of the oars. The gentleman thought he had shaken the young
doctor, and, after a moment’s silence, he resumed: ‘My lord Cromwell and
my lord of Canterbury feel great affection for you: they know that, if
you are young in years, you are old in knowledge, and may become a most
profitable citizen of this realm.... If you will be somewhat advised by
their counsel, they will never permit you to be harmed; but if you stand
stiff to your opinion, it is not possible to save your life, for as you
have good friends so have you mortal enemies.’

[Sidenote: Attempt At Conciliation.]

The gentleman stopped and looked at the prisoner. It was by such
language that Bilney had been seduced; but Fryth kept himself in the
presence of God, ready to lose his life that he might save it. He
thanked the gentleman for his kindness, and said that his conscience
would not permit him to recede, out of respect to man, from the true
doctrine of the Lord’s Supper. ‘If I am questioned on that point, I must
answer according to my conscience, though I should lose twenty lives if
I had so many. I can support it by a great number of passages from the
Holy Scriptures and the ancient doctors, and, if I am fairly tried, I
shall have nothing to fear.’—‘Marry!’ quoth the gentleman, ‘if you be
fairly tried, you would be safe; but that is what I very much doubt. Our
Master Christ was not fairly tried, nor would he be, as I think, if he
were now present again in the world. How, then, should you be, when your
opinions are so little understood and are so odious?’—‘I know,’ answered
Fryth, ‘that the doctrine which I hold is very hard meat to be digested
just now; but listen to me.’ As he spoke, he took the gentleman by the
hand: ‘If you live twenty years more, you will see the whole realm of my
opinion concerning this sacrament of the altar—all, except a certain
class of men. My death, you say, would be sorrowful to my friends, but
it will be only for a short time. But, all things considered, my death
will be better unto me and all mine than life in continual bondage. God
knoweth what he hath to do with his poor servant, whose cause I now
defend. He will help me, and no man shall prevail on me to step

The boat reached Lambeth. The travellers landed, entered the
archbishop’s palace, and, after taking some refreshment, started on foot
for Croydon, twelve miles from London.

The three travellers proceeded over the hills and through the plains of
Surrey. Here and there flocks of sheep were grazing in the scanty
pastures, and to the east stretched vast woods. The gentleman walked
mournfully by the side of Fryth. It was useless to ask him again to
retract; but another idea engrossed Cranmer’s officer,—that of letting
Fryth escape. The country was then thinly inhabited: the woods which
covered it on the east and the chalky hills might serve as a
hiding-place for the fugitive. The difficulty was to persuade
Perlebeane. The gentleman slackened his pace, called to the porter, and
they walked by themselves behind the prisoner. When they were so far off
that he could not hear their conversation, the gentleman said: ‘You have
heard this man, I am sure, and noted his talk since he came from the
Tower.’—‘I never heard so constant a man,’ Perlebeane answered, ‘nor so
eloquent a person.’—‘You have heard nothing,’ resumed the gentleman, ‘in
respect both of his knowledge and his eloquence. If you could hear him
at the university or in the pulpit, you would admire him still more.
England has never had such a one of his age with so much learning. And
yet our bishops treat him as if he were a very dolt or an idiot.... They
abhor him as the devil himself, and want to get rid of him by any
means.’—‘Marry!’ said the porter, ‘if there were nothing else in him but
the consideration of his person both comely and amiable, his disposition
so gentle, meek, and humble, it were pity he should be cast away.’—‘Cast
away,’ interrupted the gentleman, ‘he will certainly be cast away if we
once bring him to Croydon.’ And lowering his voice, he continued:
‘Surely, before God I speak it, if thou, Perlebeane, wert of my mind, we
should never bring him thither.’—‘What do you mean?’ asked the
astonished porter. Then, after a moment’s silence, he added: ‘I know
that you have a great deal more responsibility in this matter than I
have; and therefore, if you can honestly save this man, I will yield to
your proposal with all my heart.’ The gentleman breathed again.

[Sidenote: Attempt To Save Fryth.]

Cranmer had desired that all possible efforts should be made to change
Fryth’s sentiments; and these failing, he wished to save him in another
way. It was his desire that the Reformer should go on foot to Croydon;
that he should be accompanied by two only of his servants, selected from
those best disposed towards the new doctrine. The primate’s gentleman
would never have dared to take upon himself, except by his master’s
desire, the responsibility of conniving at the escape of a prisoner who
was to be tried by the first personages of the realm, appointed by the
king himself. Happy at having gained the porter to his enterprise, he
began to discuss with him the ways and means. He knew the country well,
and his plan was arranged.

‘You see yonder hill before us,’ he said to Perlebeane; ‘it is Brixton
Causeway, two miles from London. There are great woods on both sides.
When we come to the top, we will permit Fryth to escape to the woods on
the left hand, whence he may easily get into Kent, where he was born,
and where he has many friends. We will linger an hour or two on the road
after his flight, to give him time to reach a place of safety, and when
night approaches, we will go to Streatham, which is a mile and a half
off, and make an outcry in the town that our prisoner has escaped into
the woods on the right hand towards Wandsworth; that we followed him for
more than a mile, and at length lost him because we were not many
enough. At the same time we will take with us as many people as we can
to search for him in that direction; if necessary we will be all night
about it; and before we can send the news of what has happened to
Croydon, Fryth will be in safety, and the bishops will be disappointed.’

The gentleman, we see, was not very scrupulous about the means of
rescuing a victim from the Roman priests. Perlebeane thought as he did.
‘Your plan pleases me,’ he answered; ‘now go and tell the prisoner, for
we are already at the foot of the hill.’

The delighted gentleman hurried forward. ‘Master Fryth,’ he said, ‘let
us talk together a little. I cannot hide from you that the task I have
undertaken, to bring you to Croydon, as a sheep to the slaughter,
grieves me exceedingly, and there is no danger I would not brave to
deliver you out of the lion’s mouth. Yonder good fellow and I have
devised a plan whereby you may escape. Listen to me. The gentleman
having described his plan, Fryth smiled amiably, and said: ‘This, then,
is the result of your long consultation together. You have wasted your
time. If you were both to leave me here and go to Croydon, declaring to
the bishops you had lost me, I should follow after as fast as I could,
and bring them news that I had found and brought Fryth again.’

The gentleman had not expected such an answer. A prisoner refuse his
liberty! ‘You are mad,’ he said: ‘do you think your reasoning will
convert the bishops? At Milton Shone you tried to escape beyond the sea,
and now you refuse to save yourself!’—‘The two cases are different,’
answered Fryth; ‘then I was at liberty, and, according to the advice of
St. Paul, I would fain have enjoyed my liberty for the continuance of my
studies. But now the higher power, as it were by Almighty God’s
permission, has seized me, and my conscience binds me to defend the
doctrine for which I am persecuted, if I would not incur our Lord’s
condemnation. If I should now run away, I should run from my God; if I
should fly, I should fly from the testimony I am bound to bear to his
Holy Word, and I should deserve a thousand hells. I most heartily thank
you both for your good will towards me; but I beseech you to bring me
where I was appointed to be brought, for else I will go thither all

Those who desired to save Fryth had not counted upon so much integrity.
Such were, however, the martyrs of protestantism. The archbishop’s two
servants continued their route along with their strange prisoner. Fryth
had a calm eye and cheerful look, and the rest of the journey was
accomplished in pious and agreeable conversation. When they reached
Croydon, he was delivered to the officers of the episcopal court, and
passed the night in the lodge of the primate’s porter.

[Sidenote: Fryth On The Real Presence.]

The next morning he appeared before the bishops and peers appointed to
examine him. Cranmer and Lord Chancellor Audley desired his acquittal;
but some of the other judges were men without pity.

The examination began:

‘Do you believe,’ they said, ‘that the sacrament of the altar is or is
not the real body of Christ?’ Fryth answered, simply and firmly: ‘I
believe that the bread is the body of Christ in that it is broken, and
thus teaches us that the body of Christ was to be broken and delivered
unto death to redeem us from our iniquities. I believe the bread is the
body of Christ in that it is _distributed_, and thus teaches us that the
body of Christ and the fruits of his passion are distributed unto all
faithful people. I believe that the bread is the body of Christ so far
as it is _received_, and thus it teaches us that even as the outward man
receiveth the sacrament with his teeth and mouth, so doth the inward man
truly receive through faith the body of Christ and the fruits of his

The judges were not satisfied: they wanted a formal and complete
retraction. ‘Do you not think,’ asked one of them, ‘that the natural
body of Christ, his flesh, blood, and bones, are contained under the
sacrament and are there present without any figure of speech?’—‘No,’ he
answered; ‘I do not think so;’ adding with much humility and charity:
‘notwithstanding I would not have that any should count my saying to be
an article of faith. For even as I say, that you ought not to make any
necessary article of the faith of your part; so I say again, that we
make no necessary article of the faith of our part, but leave it
indifferent for all men to judge therein, as God shall open their
hearts, and no side to condemn or despise the other, but to nourish in
all things brotherly love, and to bear one another’s infirmities.’[323]

The commissioners then undertook to convince Fryth of the truth of
transubstantiation; but he quoted Scripture, St. Augustine and
Chrysostom, and eloquently defended the doctrine of the spiritual
eating. The court rose. Cranmer had been moved, although he was still
under the influence of Luther’s teaching.[324] ‘The man spoke
admirably,’ he said to Dr. Heath as they went out, ‘and yet in my
opinion he is wrong.’ Not many years later he devoted one of the most
important of his writings to an explanation of the doctrine now
professed by the young reformer; it may be that Fryth’s words had begun
to shake him.

Full of love for him, Cranmer desired to save him. Four times during the
course of the examination he sent for Fryth and conversed with him
privately,[325] always asserting the Lutheran opinion. Fryth offered to
maintain his doctrine in a public discussion against any one who was
willing to attack it, but nobody accepted his challenge.[326] Cranmer,
distressed at seeing all his efforts useless, found there was nothing
more for him to do; the cause was transferred to the ordinary, the
Bishop of London, and on the 17th of June the prisoner was once more
committed to the Tower. The bishop selected as his assessors for the
trial, Longland, Bishop of Lincoln, and Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester:
there were no severer judges to be found on the episcopal bench. At
Cambridge, Fryth had been the most distinguished pupil of the clever and
ambitious Gardiner; but this, instead of exciting the compassion of that
hard man, did but increase his anger. ‘Fryth and his friends,’ he said,
‘are villains, blasphemers, and limbs of the devil.’[327]

[Sidenote: Fryth Sentenced To Death.]

On the 20th of June, Fryth was taken to St. Paul’s before the three
bishops, and though of a humble disposition and almost timid character,
he answered boldly. A clerk took down all his replies, and Fryth,
snatching up the pen, wrote: ‘I, Fryth think thus. Thus have I spoken,
written, defended, affirmed, and published in my writings.’[328] The
bishops having asked him if he would retract his errors, Fryth replied:
‘Let justice have its course and the sentence be pronounced.’ Stokesley
did not keep him waiting long. ‘Not willing that thou, Fryth, who art
wicked,’ he said, ‘shouldst become more wicked, and infect the Lord’s
flock with thy heresies, we declare thee excommunicate and cast out from
the Church, and leave thee unto the secular powers, most earnestly
requiring them in the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ that thy execution
and punishment be not too extreme, _nor yet the gentleness too much

Fryth was taken to Newgate and shut up in a dark cell, where he was
bound with chains on the hands and feet as heavy as he could bear, and
round his neck was a collar of iron, which fastened him to a post, so
that he could neither stand upright nor sit down. Truly the
‘gentleness’ was not ‘too much mitigated.’ His charity never failed
him. ‘I am going to die,’ he said, ‘but I condemn neither those who
follow Luther nor those who follow Œcolampadius, since both reject
transubstantiation.’[330] A young mechanic of twenty-four, Andrew
Hewet by name, was placed in his cell. Fryth asked him for what crime
he was sent to prison. ‘The bishops,’ he replied, ‘asked me what I
thought of the sacrament, and I answered, “I think as Fryth does.”
Then one of them smiled, and the Bishop of London said: “Why Fryth is
a heretic, and already condemned to be burnt, and if you do not
retract your opinion you shall be burnt with him.” “Very well,” I
answered, “I am content.”[331] So they sent me here to be burnt along
with you.’

On the 4th of July they were both taken to Smithfield: the executioners
fastened them to the post, back to back; the torch was applied, the
flame rose in the air, and Fryth, stretching out his hands, embraced it
as if it were a dear friend whom he would welcome. The spectators were
touched, and showed marks of lively sympathy. ‘Of a truth,’ said an
evangelical Christian in after days, ‘he was one of those prophets whom
God, having pity on this realm of England, raised up to call us to
repentance.’[332] His enemies were there. Cooke, a fanatic priest,
observing some persons praying, called out: ‘Do not pray for such folks,
any more than you would for a dog.’[333] At this moment a sweet light
shone on Fryth’s face, and he was heard beseeching the Lord to pardon
his enemies. Hewet died first, and Fryth thanked God that the sufferings
of his young brother were over. Committing his soul into the Lord’s
hands, he expired. ‘Truly,’ exclaimed many, ‘great are the victories
Christ gains in his saints.’

So many souls were enlightened by Fryth’s writings, that this reformer
contributed powerfully to the renovation of England. ‘One day, an
Englishman,’ says Thomas Becon, prebendary of Canterbury and chaplain to
Archbishop Cranmer, ‘having taken leave of his mother and friends,
travelled into Derbyshire, and from thence to the Peak, a marvellous
barren country,’ and where there was then ‘neither learning nor yet no
spark of godliness.’ Coming into a little village named Alsop in the
Dale, he chanced upon a certain gentleman also named Alsop, lord of that
village, a man not only ancient in years, but also ripe in the knowledge
of Christ’s doctrine. After they had taken ‘a sufficient repast,’ the
gentleman showed his guest certain books which he called his _jewels_
and _principal treasures_: these were the New Testament and some books
of Fryth’s. In these godly treatises this ancient gentleman occupied
himself among his rocks and mountains both diligently and virtuously.
‘He did not only love the Gospel,’ adds Cranmer’s chaplain, he ‘_lived
it also_.’[334]

Fryth’s writings were not destined to be read always with the same
avidity: the truth they contain is, however, good for all times. The
books of the apostles and of the reformers which that gentleman of Alsop
read in the sixteenth century were better calculated to bring joy and
peace to the soul than the light works read with such avidity in the

Footnote 317:

  Cranmer’s _Letters and Remains_, p. 246.

Footnote 318:

  Tyndale to Fryth: Foxe, v. p. 132; Anderson, _Annals of Bible_, i. p.

Footnote 319:

  ‘For there should be no concourse of citizens.’—Foxe, _Acts_, viii. p.

Footnote 320:

  The narrative from which we learn these particulars is given in the
  eighth volume of Foxe’s _Acts_, and seems to have been written by the
  gentleman himself. The circumstance that it is drawn up so as to
  compromise neither himself nor Cranmer is of itself a confirmation.

Footnote 321:

  Foxe, _Acts_, viii. p. 696.

Footnote 322:

  Foxe, _Acts_, viii. Appendix.

Footnote 323:

  Foxe, _Acts_, v. p. 12.

Footnote 324:

  ‘Mit den Zähnen zu bissen.’—Plank. iii. p. 369.

Footnote 325:

  ‘And surely I myself sent for him three or four times to persuade
  him.’—Cranmer, _Remains_, _Letters_, p. 246.

Footnote 326:

  ‘There was no man willing to answer him in open disputation.’—Foxe,
  _Acts_, viii. p. 699.

Footnote 327:

  Bishop Hooper, _Early Writings_, p. 245.

Footnote 328:

  ‘Ego Frythus ita sentio, ita dixi, scripsi, affirmavi, &c.’—Foxe,
  _Acts_, v. p. 14.

Footnote 329:

  Ibid. p. 15.

Footnote 330:

  ‘All the Germans, both of Luther’s side and also of
  Œcolampadius.’—Tyndale and Fryth, _Works_, iii. p. 455.

Footnote 331:

  Foxe, _Acts_, v. p. 18.

Footnote 332:

  Becon, _Works_, iii. p. 11.

Footnote 333:

  Foxe, _Acts_, v. p. 10.

Footnote 334:

  Becon, _Jewel of Joy_ (Parker Soc.), p. 420.

                              CHAPTER XX.

[Sidenote: Anne Boleyn.]

When Fryth mounted the scaffold, Anne Boleyn had been seated a month on
the throne of England. The salvoes of artillery which had saluted the
new queen had re-echoed all over Europe. There could be no more doubt:
the Earl of Wiltshire’s daughter, radiant with grace and beauty, wore
the Tudor crown; every one, especially the imperial family, must bear
the consequences of the act. One day Sir John Hacket, English envoy at
Brussels, arrived at court just as Mary, regent of the Low Countries,
was about to mount her horse. ‘Have you any news from England?’ she
asked him in French.—‘None,’ he replied. Mary gave him a look of
surprise,[335] and added: ‘Then I have, and not over good methinks.’ She
then told him of the king’s marriage, and Hacket rejoined with an
unembarrassed air: ‘Madam, I know not if it has taken place, but
everybody who considers it coolly and without family prejudice will
agree that it is a lawful and a conscientious marriage.’ Mary, who was
niece of the unhappy Catherine, replied: ‘Mr. Ambassador, God knows I
wish all may go well; but I do not know how the emperor and the king my
brother will take it, for it touches them as well as me.’—‘I think I may
be certain,’ returned Sir John, ‘that they will take it in good
part.’—‘That I do not know, Mr. Ambassador,’ said the regent, who
doubted it much; and then mounting her horse, she rode out for the

Charles V. was exasperated: he immediately pressed the pope to
intervene, and on the 12th of May, Clement cited the king to appear at
Rome. The pontiff was greatly embarrassed: having a particular liking
for Benet, Henry’s agent, he took him aside, and said to him
privately:[337] ‘It is an affair of such importance that there has been
none like it for many years. I fear to kindle a fire that neither pope
nor emperor will be able to quench.’ And then he added unaffectedly:
‘Besides, I cannot pronounce the king’s excommunication before the
emperor has an army ready to constrain him.’ Henry being told of this
_aside_ made answer: ‘Having the justice of our cause for us, with the
entire consent of our nobility, commons, and subjects, we do not care
for what the pope may do.’ Accordingly he appealed from the pope to a
general council.

The pope was now more embarrassed than ever; ‘I cannot stand still and
do nothing,’ he said.[338] On the 12th of July he revoked all the
English proceedings and excommunicated the king, but suspended the
effects of his sentence until the end of September. ‘I hope,’ said Henry
contemptuously, ‘that before then the pope will understand his

He reckoned on Francis I. to help him to understand it; but that prince
was about to receive the pope’s niece into his family, and Henry made
every exertion, but to no effect, to prevent the meeting of Clement and
Francis at Marseilles. The King of England, who had already against him
the Netherlands, the Empire, Rome, and Spain, saw France also slipping
from him. He was isolated in Europe, and that became a serious matter.
Agitated and indignant, he came to an extraordinary resolution, namely,
to turn to the disciples and friends of that very Luther whom he had
formerly so disdainfully treated.

[Sidenote: Missions Of Vaughan And Mann.]

Stephen Vaughan and Christopher Mann were despatched, the former to
Saxony, the other to Bavaria.[340] Vaughan reached Weimar on the 1st of
September, where he had to wait five days for the Elector of Saxony, who
was away hunting. On the 5th of September he had an audience of the
prince, and spoke to him first in French and then in Latin. Seeing that
the elector, who spoke neither French, English, nor Latin, answered him
only with nods,[341] he begged the chancellor to be his interpreter. A
written answer was sent to Vaughan at seven in the evening: the Elector
of Saxony turned his back on the powerful King of England. He was
unworthy, he said, to have at his court ambassadors from his royal
majesty; and besides, the emperor, who was his only master, might be
displeased. Vaughan’s annoyance was extreme. ‘Strange rudeness!’ he
exclaimed. ‘A more uncourteous refusal has never been made to such a
gracious proposition. And to my greater misfortune, it is the first
mission of kind with which I have ever been entrusted.’ He left Weimar
determined not to deliver his credentials either to the Landgrave of
Hesse or to the Duke of Lauenberg, whom he was instructed to visit: he
did not wish to run the chance of receiving fresh affronts.

A strange lot was that of the King of England! the pope excommunicating
him, and the heretics desiring to have nothing to do with him! No more
allies, no more friends! Be it so: if the nation and the monarch are
agreed, what is there to fear? Besides at the very moment this affront
was offered him, his joy was at its height; the hope of soon possessing
that heir, for whom he had longed so many years, quite transported him.
He ordered an official letter to be prepared announcing the birth of a
prince ‘to the great joy of the king,’ it ran, ‘and of all his loving
subjects.’ Only the date of the letter was left blank.

On the 7th of September, two days after the elector’s refusal, Anne,
then residing in the palace at Greenwich, was brought to bed of a fine
well-formed child, reminding the gossips of the features of both
parents; but alas! it was a girl. Henry, agitated by two strong
affections, love for Anne and desire for a son, had been kept in great
anxiety during the time of labor. When he was told that the child was a
girl, the love he bore for the mother prevailed, and though disappointed
in his fondest wishes, he received the babe with joy. But the famous
letter announcing the birth of a prince ... what must be done with it
now? Henry ordered the queen’s secretary to add an _s_ to the word
_prince_, and despatched the circular without making any change in the
expression of his satisfaction.[342] The christening was celebrated with
great pomp; two hundred torches were carried before the princess, a fit
emblem of the light which her reign would shed abroad. The child was
named Elizabeth, and Henry gave her the title of Princess of Wales,
declaring her his successor, in case he should have no male offspring.
In London the excitement was great; _Te Deums_, bells, and music filled
the air. The adepts of judicial astrology declared that the stars
announced a glorious future. A bright star was indeed rising over
England; and the English people, throwing off the yoke of Rome, were
about to start on a career of freedom, morality, and greatness. The firm
Elizabeth was not destined to shine by the amiability which
distinguished her mother, and the restrictions she placed upon liberty
tend rather to remind us of her father. Yet while on the continent kings
were trampling under foot the independence of their subjects, the
English people, under Anne Boleyn’s daughter, were to develop
themselves, to flourish in letters, and in arts, to extend navigation
and commerce, to reform abuses, to exercise their liberties, to watch
energetically over the public good, and to set up the torch of the
Gospel of Christ.

[Sidenote: English Envoys At Marseilles.]

The king of France very adverse to England’s becoming independent of
Rome, at last prevailed upon Henry to send two English agents (Gardiner
and Bryan) to Marseilles. ‘You will keep your eyes open,’ said Henry
VIII. to them, ‘and lend an attentive ear, but you will keep your mouths
shut.’ The English envoys being invited to a conference with Clement and
Francis, and solicited by those great personages to speak, declared that
they had no powers. ‘Why then were you sent?’ exclaimed the king unable
to conceal his vexation. The ambassadors only answered with a
smile.[343] Francis who meant to uphold the authority of the pope in
France, was unwilling that England should be free: he seems to have had
some presentiment of the happy effects that independence would work for
the rival nation. Accordingly he took the ambassadors aside, and prayed
them to enter immediately on business with the pontiff. ‘We are not here
for his Holiness,’ dryly answered Gardiner, ‘or to negotiate anything
with him, but only to do what the King of England commands us.’ The
tricks of the papacy had ruined it in the minds of the English people.
Francis I., displeased at Gardiner’s silence and irritated by his
stiffness, intimated to the King of England that he would be pleased to
see ‘better instruments’ sent.[344] Henry did send another instrument to
Marseilles, but he took care to choose one sharper still.

Edward Bonner, archdeacon of Leicester, was a clever, active man, but
ambitious, coarse and rude, wanting in delicacy and consideration
towards those with whom he had to deal, violent, and, as he showed
himself later to the protestants, a cruel persecutor. For some time he
had got into Cromwell’s good graces, and as the wind was against popery,
Bonner was against the pope. Henry gave him his appeal to a general
council, and charged him to present it to Clement VII.: it was the ‘bill
of divorcement’ between the pope and England. Bonner, proud of being the
bearer of so important a message, arrived at Marseilles, firmly resolved
to give Henry a proof of his zeal. If Luther had burnt the pope’s bull
at Wittemberg, Bonner would do as much; but while Luther had acted as a
free man, Bonner was only a slave, pushing to fanaticism his submission
to the orders of his despotic master.

Gardiner was astonished when he heard of Bonner’s arrival. What a
humiliation for him! He hung his head, pinched his lips,[345] and then
lifted up his eyes and hands, as if cursing the day and hour when Bonner
appeared. Never were two men more discordant to one another. Gardiner
could not believe the news. A scheme contrived without him! A bishop to
see one of his inferiors charged with a mission more important than his
own! Bonner, having paid him a visit, Gardiner affected great coldness,
and brought forward every reason calculated to dissuade him from
executing his commission.—‘But I have a letter from the king,’ answered
Bonner, ‘sealed with his seal, and dated from Windsor; here it is.’ And
he took from his satchel the letter in which Henry VIII. intimated that
he had appealed from the sentence of the pope recently delivered against
him.[346] ‘Good,’ answered Gardiner, and taking the letter he read: ‘Our
good pleasure is that if you deem it _good_ and _serviceable_ (Gardiner
dwelt upon those two words) you will give the pope notice of the said
appeal, according to the forms required by law; if not, you will
acquaint us with your opinion in that respect.—‘That is clear,’ said
Gardiner; ‘you should advise the king to abstain, for that notice just
now will be neither good nor serviceable.’—‘And I say that it is both,’
rejoined Bonner.

One circumstance brought the two Englishmen into harmony, at least for a
time. Catherine de Medicis, the pope’s niece, had been married to the
son of Francis I., and Clement made four French prelates cardinals. But
not one Englishman, not even Gardiner! That changed the question; there
could be no more doubt. Francis is sacrificing Henry to the pope, and
the pope insults England. Gardiner himself desired Bonner to give the
pontiff notice of the appeal, and the English envoy, fearing refusal if
he asked for an audience of Clement, determined to overleap the usual
formalities, and take the place by assault.

[Sidenote: Clement And Bonner.]

On the 7th of November, the Archdeacon of Leicester, accompanied by
Penniston, a gentleman who had brought him the king’s last orders, went
early to the pontifical palace, preparing to let fall from the folds of
his mantle war between England and the papacy. As he was not expected,
the pontifical officers stopped him at the door; but the Englishman
forced his way in, and entered a hall through which the pope must pass
on his way to the consistory.

Ere long the pontiff appeared, wearing his stole, and walking between
the cardinals of Lorraine and Medicis, his train following behind. His
eyes, which were of remarkable quickness, immediately fell upon the
distant Bonner,[347] and as he advanced he did not take them off the
stranger, as if astonished and uneasy at seeing him. At length he
stopped in the middle of the hall, and Bonner, approaching the datary,
said to him: ‘Be pleased to inform his Holiness that I desire to speak
to him.’ The officer refusing, the intrepid Bonner made as if he would
go towards the pope. Clement, wishing to know the meaning of these
indiscreet proceedings, bade the cardinals stand aside, took off the
stole, and going to a window recess, called Bonner to him. The latter,
without any formality, informed the pope that the King of England
appealed from his decision to a general council, and that he (Bonner),
his Majesty’s envoy, was prepared to hand him the authentic documents of
the said appeal, taking them (as he spoke) from his portfolio. Clement,
who expected nothing like this, was greatly surprised: ‘it was a
terrible breakfast for him,’ says a contemporary document.[348] Not
knowing what to answer, he shrugged his shoulders, ‘after the Italian
fashion;’ and at last, recovering himself a little, he told Bonner that
he was going to the consistory, and desired him to return in the
afternoon. Then beckoning the cardinals, he left the hall.

Henry’s envoy was punctual to the appointment, but had to wait for an
hour and a half, his Holiness being engaged in giving audience. At
length he and Penniston were conducted to the pope’s closet. Clement
fixed his eyes on the latter, and Bonner having introduced him, the pope
remarked with a mistrustful air: ‘It is well, but I also must have some
members of my council;’ and he ordered Simonetta, Capisuchi, and the
datary to be sent for. While waiting their arrival, Clement leant at the
window, and appeared absorbed in thought. At last, unable to contain
himself any longer, he exclaimed: ‘I am greatly surprised that his
Majesty should behave as he does towards me.’ The intrepid Bonner
replied: ‘His Majesty is not less surprised that your Holiness, who has
received so many services from him, repays him with ingratitude.’
Clement started, but restrained himself on seeing the datary enter, and
ordered that officer to read the appeal which Bonner had just delivered
to him.[349]

The datary began: ‘Considering that we have endured from the pope many
wrongs and injuries (_gravaminibus et injuriis_).’... Clasping his hands
and nodding dissent, Clement exclaimed ironically: ‘_O questo è molto
vero!_’ meaning to say that it was false, remarks Bonner.[350] The
datary continued: ‘Considering that his most holy Lordship strikes us
with his spiritual sword, and wishes to separate us from the unity of
the Church; we, desiring to protect with a lawful shield the kingdom
which God has given us,[351] appeal by these presents, for ourselves and
for all our subjects, to a holy universal council.’

[Sidenote: A General Council.]

At these words, the pope burst into a transport of passion,[352] and the
datary stopped. Clement’s gestures and broken words uttered with
vehemence, showed the horror he entertained of a council.... A council
would set itself above the pope; a council might perhaps say that the
Germans and the King of England were right. ‘To speak of a general
council! O good Lord!’ he exclaimed.[353]

The pope gave way to convulsive movements, folding and unfolding his
handkerchief, which was always a sign of great anger in him. At last, as
if to hide his passion, he said: ‘Continue, I am listening.’ When the
datary had ended, the pope said coldly to his officers: ‘It is well
written! _Questo è bene fatto._’

Then turning to Bonner, he asked: ‘Have you anything more to say to me?’
Bonner was not in the humor to show the least consideration. A man of
the north, he took a pleasure in displaying his roughness and
inflexibility in the elegant, crafty, and corrupt society of Rome. He
boldly repeated the protest, and delivered the king’s ‘provocation’ to
the pope, who broke out into fresh lamentations. ‘Ha!’ he exclaimed
vehemently, ‘his Majesty affects much respect for the Church, but does
not show the least to me.’ He _snarled_[354] as he read the new
document.... Just at this moment, one of his officers announced the King
of France. Francis could not have arrived at a more seasonable moment.
Clement rose and went to the door to meet him. The king respectfully
took off his hat, and holding it in his hand made a low bow,[355] after
which he inquired what his Holiness was doing. ‘These English
gentlemen,’ said the pontiff, ‘are here to notify me of certain
provocations and appeals ... and for other matters,’[356] he added,
displaying much ill-humor. Francis sat down near the table at which the
pope was seated; and turning their backs to Henry’s envoy, who had
retired into an adjoining room, they began a conversation in a low tone,
which Bonner, notwithstanding all his efforts, could not hear.

That conversation possibly decided the separation between England and
France. The king showed that he was offended at a course of proceeding
which he characterized as unbecoming; and Clement learnt, to his immense
satisfaction, that the English had not spoken to Francis about the
council. ‘If you will leave me and the emperor free to act against
England,’ he said to the king, ‘I will ensure you possession of the
duchy of Milan.’[357] The monarch promised the obedience of his people
to the decrees of the papacy, and the pope in his joy exclaimed:
‘_Questo è per la bontà vostra!_’ Bonner, who had not lost sight of the
two speakers, remarked that at this moment the king and the pope
‘laughed merrily together,’ and appeared to be the best friends in the

The king having withdrawn, Bonner, again approached the pope, and the
datary finished the reading. The Englishman had not been softened by the
mysterious conversation and laughter of Clement and Francis: he was as
rough and abrupt as the Frenchman had been smooth and amiable. It was
long since the papacy had suffered such insults openly, and even the
German Reformation had not put it to such torture. The Cardinal De
Medicis, chief of the malcontents, who had come in, listened to Bonner,
with head bent down and eyes fixed upon the floor: he was humiliated and
indignant. ‘This is a matter of great importance,’ said Clement; ‘I will
consult the consistory and let you know my answer.’

In the afternoon of Monday, 10th of November, Bonner returned to the
palace to learn the pope’s pleasure: but there was a grand reception
that day, the lords and ladies of the court of Francis I. were presented
to Clement, who did nothing for two hours but bless chaplets, bless the
spectators, and put out his foot for the nobles and dames to kiss.[358]

[Sidenote: Clement’s Answer.]

At last Bonner was introduced: ‘_Domine doctor, quid vultis?_ Sir
doctor, what do you want?’ said the pope. ‘I desire the answer which
your Holiness promised me.’ Clement, who had had time to recover
himself, replied: ‘A constitution of Pope Pius, my predecessor, condemns
all appeals to a general council. I therefore reject his Majesty’s
appeal as unlawful.’ The pope had pronounced these words with calmness
and dignity, but an incident occurred to put him out of temper. Bonner,
hurt at the little respect paid to his sovereign, bluntly informed the
pope that the Archbishop of Canterbury—that Cranmer—desired also to
appeal to a council. This was going too far: Clement, restraining
himself no longer, rose, and approaching Henry’s envoy, said to him: ‘If
you do not leave the room instantly, I will have you thrown into a
caldron of molten lead.’[359]—‘Truly,’ remarked Bonner, ‘if the pope is
a shepherd, he is, as the king my master says, a violent and cruel
shepherd.’[360] And not caring to take a leaden bath, he departed for

Clement was delighted not only at the departure, but still more at the
conduct of Bonner: the insolence of the English envoy helped him
wonderfully; and accordingly he made a great noise about it, complaining
to everybody, and particularly to Francis. ‘I am wearied, vexed,
disgusted with all this,’ said that prince to his courtiers. ‘What I do
with great difficulty in a week for my good brother (Henry VIII.), his
own ministers undo in an hour.’ Clement endeavored in secret
interviews[362] to increase this discontent, and he succeeded. The
mysterious understanding was apparent to every one, and Vannes, the
English agent, who never lost sight either of the pope or the king,
informed Cromwell of the close union of their minds.[363]

When Henry VIII. learnt that the King of France was slipping from him,
he was both irritated and alarmed. Abandoned by that prince, he saw the
pope launching an interdict against his kingdom, the emperor invading
England, and the people in insurrection.[364] He had no repose by night
or day: his anger against the pope continued to increase. Wishing to
prevent at least the revolts which the partisans of the papacy might
excite among his subjects, he dictated a strange proclamation to his
secretary: ‘Let no Englishman forget the most noble and loving prince of
this realm,’ he said, ‘who is most wrongfully judged by the _great
idol_, and most _cruel enemy to Christ’s religion, which calleth himself
Pope_. Princes have two ways to attain right—the general council and the
sword. Now the king, having appealed from the unlawful sentence of the
Bishop of Rome to a general council lawfully congregated, the said
usurper hath rejected the appeal, and is thus outlawed. By holy
Scripture, there is no more jurisdiction granted to the Bishop of Rome
than to any other bishop. Henceforth honor him not as an idol, who is
but a man usurping God’s power and authority; and a man neither in life,
learning, nor conversation like Christ’s minister or disciple.’[365]

Henry having given vent to his irritation, bethought himself, and judged
it more prudent not to publish the proclamation.

At Marseilles England and France separated: the first, because she was
withdrawing from the pope; the other, because she was drawing nearer to
him. It is here that was formed that secret understanding between Paris
and Rome which, adopted by the successors of Francis I., and more or
less courted by other sovereigns of Christendom, has for several
centuries filled glorious countries with despotism and persecution, and
often with immorality. The interview at Marseilles between the pope and
the King of France is the dividing point: since that time, governments
and nations in the train of Rome have been seen to decline, while those
who separated from it have begun to rise.

Footnote 335:

  ‘She gave me a look as to that she should marvell thereof.’—_State
  Papers_, vii. p. 451.

Footnote 336:

  ‘Setting forward to ride out a hunting.’—_State Papers_, vii. p. 451.

Footnote 337:

  ‘Taking me aside, showed unto me secretly.’—Ibid. p. 457.

Footnote 338:

  ‘So sore for him to stand still and do nothing.’—Ibid. p. 469.

Footnote 339:

  _State Papers_ (Henry VIII.), vii. p. 496.

Footnote 340:

  _State Papers_, (Henry VIII.), vii. p. 501.

Footnote 341:

  ‘Sed tantum annuit capite.’—Ibid. p. 502.

Footnote 342:

  This official document is given in the _State Papers_, i. p. 407. An
  examination of the manuscript in the Harleian collection, shows that
  the _s_ was added afterwards in the two following passages: ‘bringing
  forth of a prince_s_’ and ‘preservation of the said prince_s_.’

Footnote 343:

  Le Grand, _Hist. du Divorce_, i. p. 269.

Footnote 344:

  Ibid. p. 587.

Footnote 345:

  ‘Making a plairemouth with his lip.’—Foxe, _Acts_, v. p. 152.

Footnote 346:

  Cranmer’s _Memorials_, Appendix, p. 8.

Footnote 347:

  ‘The pope whose sight is incredulous quick, eyed me.’—Burnet,
  _Records_, iii. p. 38.

Footnote 348:

  Ibid. p. 51.

Footnote 349:

  ‘His Holiness, delivering it to the datarie, commanded him to read
  it.’—Burnet, _Records_, iii. p. 23.

Footnote 350:

  Burnet, _Records_, iii. pp. 37-46; Rymer, _Acta_, vi. pars ii. p. 188.

Footnote 351:

  ‘Legitimo defensionis clypeo protegere.’—Rymer, _Acta_, vi. pars ii.
  p. 188.

Footnote 352:

  ‘He fell in a marvellous great choler and rage.’—Burnet, _Records_,
  iii. p. 54.

Footnote 353:


Footnote 354:

  ‘Wherein the pope snarling.’—Ibid. p. 42.

Footnote 355:

  ‘The French king making very low _curtisie_, putting off his bonnet
  and keeping it off.’—Burnet, _Records_, iii. p. 42.

Footnote 356:

  ‘Questi signori Inglesi sono stati quà per intimare certi provocationi
  et appellationi. . . . e di fare altre cose.’—Ibid.

Footnote 357:

  Le Grand, _Histoire du Divorce_, i. p. 268.

Footnote 358:

  Burnet, _Records_, iii. p. 42.

Footnote 359:

  Ibid, i. p. 130.

Footnote 360:

  ‘Immitis et crudelis pastor.’—Rymer, _Acta_, p. 188.

Footnote 361:

  Cranmer’s appeal was not written till later, except there be some
  error in the date. Burnet, _Records_, iii. p. 24.

Footnote 362:

  ‘Hæc omnia a pontifice cum rege amotis arbitris tractata.’—_State
  Papers_ (Henry VIII.), vii. p. 222.

Footnote 363:

  ‘De summa animorum conjunctione.’—Ibid. p. 523.

Footnote 364:

  Strype, _Eccles. Mem._ i. p. 22.

Footnote 365:

  Strype, _Eccles. Mem._ p. 226 (Oxf. 1822).

                              CHAPTER XXI.
                        (JANUARY TO MARCH 1534.)

[Sidenote: Cry Against The Papacy.]

While the papacy was intriguing with France and the empire, England was
energetically working at the utter abolition of the Roman
authority.[366] ‘One loud cry must be raised in England against the
papacy,’ said Cromwell to the council. ‘It is time that the question was
laid before the people. Bishops, parsons, curates, priors, abbots, and
preachers of the religious orders should all declare from their pulpits
that the Bishop of Rome, styled the Pope, is subordinate, like the rest
of the bishops, to a general council, and that he has no more rights in
this kingdom than any other foreign bishop.’

It was necessary to pursue the same course abroad. Henry resolved to
send ambassadors to Poland, Hungary, Saxony, Bavaria, Pomerania,
Prussia, Hesse, and other German states, to inform them that he was
touched with the zeal they had shown in defence of the Word of God and
the extirpation of ancient errors, and to acquaint all men that he was
himself ‘utterly determined to reduce the pope’s power _ad justos et
legitimos mediocritatis suæ modos_, to the just and lawful bounds of his

He did not stop here. Desiring above all things to withdraw France from
under the influence of Rome, he instructed his ambassadors to tell
Francis I. in his name and in the name of the people: ‘We shall shortly
be able to give unto the pope such a buffet as he never had
before.’[368] This was quite in Henry’s style. ‘Things are going at such
a rate here,’ wrote the Duke of Norfolk to Montmorency, ‘that the pope
will soon lose the obedience of England; and other nations, perceiving
the great fruits, advantage, and profit that will result from it, will
also separate from Rome.’[369]

All this was serious: there was some chance that Norfolk’s prophecy
would be fulfilled. The poor pontiff could think of nothing else, and
began to believe that the idea of a council was not so unreasonable
after all, since the place and time of meeting and mode of proceeding
would lead to endless discussions; and if the meeting ever took place,
he would thus be relieved of a responsibility which became more
oppressive to him every day. He therefore bade Henry VIII. be informed
that he agreed to call a general council. But events had not stood
still; the position was not the same. ‘It is no longer necessary,’ the
king answered coldly. In his opinion, the Church of England was
sufficient of herself, and could do without the Church of Rome.

The King of France, growing alarmed, immediately resumed his part of
mediator. Du Bellay, his ambassador at Rome, made indefatigable efforts
to inspire the consistory with an opinion favorable to Henry VIII.
According to that diplomatist, the King of England was ready to
re-establish friendly relations with Clement VII., and it was parliament
alone that desired to break with the papacy forever: it was the people
who wished for reform, it was the king who opposed it. ‘Make your
choice,’ he exclaimed with eloquence.[370] ‘All that the king desires is
peace with Rome; all that the commonalty demands is war. With whom will
you go—with your enemies or with your friend?’ Du Bellay’s assertions,
though strange, were based upon a truth that cannot be denied. It was
the best of the people who wanted protestantism in England, and not the

[Sidenote: Alarm Of The Court Of Rome.]

The court of Rome felt that the last hour had come, and determined to
despatch to London the papers necessary to reconcile Henry. It was
believed on the Continent that the King of England was going to gain his
cause at last, and people ascribed it to the ascendency of French policy
at Rome since the marriage of Catherine de Medicis with Henry of
Orleans. But the more the French triumphed, the more indignant became
the Imperialists. To no purpose did the pope say to them: ‘You do not
understand the state of affairs: the thing is done.... The King of
England is married to Anne Boleyn. If I annulled the marriage, who would
undertake to execute my sentence?’—‘Who?’ exclaimed the ambassadors of
Charles V., ‘who?... The emperor.’[371] The weak pontiff knew not which
way to turn: he had but one hope left—if Henry VIII., as he expected,
should re-establish catholicism in his kingdom, a fact so important
would silence Charles V.

This fact was not to be feared: a movement had begun in the minds of the
people of Great Britain which it was no longer possible to stop. While
many pious souls received the Word of God in their hearts, the king and
the most enlightened part of the nation were agreed to put an end to the
intolerable usurpations of the Roman pontiff. ‘We have looked in the
Holy Scriptures for the rights of the papacy,’ said the members of the
Commons house of parliament, ‘but, instead of finding therein the
institution of popes, we have found that of kings—and, according to
God’s commandments, the priests ought to be subject to them as much as
the laity.’—‘We have reflected upon the wants of the realm,’ said the
royal council, ‘and have come to the conclusion, that the nation ought
to form one body; that one body can have but one head, and that head
must be the king.’ The parliament which met in January, 1534, was to
give the death-blow to the supremacy of the pope.

This blow came strictly neither from Henry nor from Cranmer, but from
Thomas Cromwell.[372] Without possessing Cranmer’s lively faith,
Cromwell desired that the preachers should open the Word of God and
preach it ‘with pure sincereness’ before the people,[373] and he
afterwards procured from every Englishman the right to read it. Being
pre-eminently a statesman of sure judgment and energetic action, he was
in advance of his generation; and it was his fate, like those generals
who march boldly at the head of the army, to procure victory to the
cause for which he fought; but, persecuted by the traitors concealed
among his soldiers, to be sacrificed by the prince he had served, and to
meet a tragical death before the hour of his triumph.

The Commons, wishing to put an end to the persecutions practised by the
clergy against the evangelical Christians, summoned—it was a thing
unprecedented[374]—the Lord-bishop of London to appear at their bar to
answer the complaint made against him by Thomas Philips, one of the
disciples of the Reformation. The latter had been lying in prison three
years under a charge of heresy. The parliament, unwilling that a bishop
should be able at his own fancy to transform one of his Majesty’s
subjects into a heretic, brought in a bill for the repression of
doctrines condemned by the Church. They declared that, the authority of
the Bishop of Rome being opposed to Holy Scripture and the laws of the
realm, the words and acts that were contrary to the decisions of the
pontiff could not be regarded as heresies. Then turning to the
particular case which had given rise to the grievance, parliament
declared Philips innocent and discharged him from prison.

After having thus upheld the cause of religious liberty, the Commons
proceeded to the definitive abolition of the privileges which the
bishops of Rome had successively usurped to the great detriment of both
Church and people. They restored to England the rights of which Rome had
despoiled her. They prohibited all appeals to the pope, of what kind
soever they might be,[375] and substituted for them an appeal to the
king in chancery. They voted that the election of bishops did not
concern the court of Rome, but belonged to the chief ecclesiastical body
in the diocese, to the chapter ... at least in appearance; for it really
appertained to the crown, the king designating the person whom the
chapter was to elect. This strange constitution was abolished under
Edward VI., when the nomination of the bishops was conferred purely and
simply on the king. If this was not better, it was at least more
sincere; but the singular _congé d’élire_ was restored under Elizabeth.

[Sidenote: Complaint Of Romish Exactions.]

At the same time new and loud complaints of the Romish exactions were
heard in parliament. ‘For centuries the Roman bishops have been
deceiving us,’ said the eloquent speakers, ‘making us believe that they
have the power of dispensing with everything, even with God’s
commandments. We send to Rome the treasures of England, and Rome sends
us back in return ... a piece of paper. The monster which has fattened
on the substance of our people bears a hundred different names. They
call it reliefs, dues, pensions, provisions, procurations, delegation,
rescript, appeal, abolition, rehabilitation, relaxation of canonical
penalties, licenses, Peter’s pence, and many other names besides. And
after having thus caught our money by all sorts of tricks, the Romans
laugh at us in their sleeves.’ Parliament forbade everybody, even the
king himself,[376] to apply to Rome for any dispensation or delegation
whatsoever, and ordered them, in case of need, to have recourse to the
Archbishop of Canterbury. Then, immediately putting these principles
into practice, they declared the king’s marriage with Catherine to be
null, for ‘no man has power to dispense with God’s laws,’[377] and
ratified the marriage between Henry and Anne, proclaiming their children
heirs to the crown. At the same time, wishing England to become entirely
English, they deprived two Italians, Campeggi and Ghinucci, of the sees
of Salisbury and Worcester, which they held.

It was during the month of March, 1534—an important date for
England—that the main branches of the tree of popery were thus lopped
off one after another. The trunk indeed remained, although stripped; but
yet a few months, and that too was to strew the earth with its fall.
Still the Commons showed a certain degree of consideration. When Clement
had threatened the king with excommunication, he had given him three
months’ grace; England, desiring to return his politeness, informed the
pope that he might receive some compensation. At the same time she made
an important declaration: ‘We do not separate from the Christian
Church,’ said the Commons, ‘but merely from the usurped authority of the
Pope of Rome; and we preserve the catholic faith, as _it is set forth in
the Holy Scriptures_.’ All these reforms were effected with great
unanimity, at least in appearance. The bishops, even the most
scholastic, such as Stokesley of London, Tonstal of Durham, Gardiner of
Winchester, and Rowland Lee of Coventry, declared the Roman papacy to be
of human invention, and that the pope was, in regard to them, only a
_bishop_, a _brother_, as his predecessors had been to the bishops of
antiquity.[378] Every Sunday during the cessation of parliament a
prelate preached at St. Paul’s Cross ‘that the pope was not the head of
the Church,’ and all the people said AMEN.

Meanwhile Du Bellay, the French ambassador at Rome, was waiting for the
act by which the King of England was to bind himself once more to the
pope—an act which Francis I. still gave him reason to expect. Every
morning he fancied it would arrive, and every evening his expectations
were disappointed. He called upon the English envoys, and afterwards at
the Roman chancery, to hear if there was any news; but everywhere the
answer was the same—nothing.

[Sidenote: Henry’s Condemnation.]

The term fixed by Clement VII. having elapsed, he summoned the
consistory for Monday the 23d of March. Du Bellay attended it, still
hoping to prevent anything being done that might separate England from
the papacy. The cardinals represented to him, that as the submission of
Henry VIII. had not arrived, nothing remained but for the pope to
fulminate the sentence. ‘Do you not know,’ exclaimed Du Bellay, in
alarm, ‘that the courier charged with that prince’s despatches has seas
to cross, and the winds may be contrary? The King of England waited your
decision for six years, and cannot you wait six days?’[379] ‘Delay is
quite useless,’ said a cardinal of the imperial faction; ‘we know what
is taking place in England. Instead of thinking of reparation, the king
is widening the schism every day. He goes so far as to permit the
representation of dramas at his court, in which the holy conclave, and
some of your most illustrious selves in particular, are held up to
ridicule.’ The last blow, although a heavy one, was unnecessary. The
priests could no longer contain their vexation; the rebellious prince
must be punished. Nineteen out of twenty-two cardinals voted against
Henry VIII.; the remaining three only asked for further enquiry. Clement
could not conceal his surprise and annoyance. To no purpose did he
demand another meeting, in conformity with the custom which requires
two, and even three consultations:[380] overwhelmed by an imposing and
unexpected majority, he gave way.

[Sidenote: The Pope’s Disquietude.]

Simonetta then handed him the sentence, which the unhappy pope took and
read with the voice of a criminal rather than of a judge. ‘Having
invoked the name of Christ, and sitting on the throne of justice,[381]
we decree that the marriage between Catherine of Aragon and Henry, King
of England was and is valid and canonical; that the said King Henry is
bound to cohabit with the said queen; to pay her royal honors; and that
he must be constrained to discharge these duties.’ After pronouncing
these words the poor pontiff, alarmed at the bold act he had just
performed, turned to the envoys of Charles V. and said to them: ‘I have
done my duty; it is now for the emperor to do his, and to carry the
sentence into execution.’ ‘The emperor will not hold back,’ answered the
ambassadors; but the thing was not so easily done as said.

Thus the great affair was ended; the King of England was condemned. It
was dark when the pope quitted the consistory; the news so long expected
spread immediately through the city; the emperor’s partisans,
transported with joy, lit bonfires in all the open places, and cannons
fired repeated salvoes. Bands of Ghibelines paraded the streets,
shouting, _Imperio e Espagna_ (the Empire and Spain). The whole city was
in commotion. The pope’s disquietude was still further increased by
these demonstrations. ‘He is tormented,’ wrote Du Bellay to his master.
Clement spent the whole night in conversation with his theologians.
‘What must be done? England is lost to us. Oh! how can I avert the
king’s anger?’ Clement VII. never recovered from this blow; the thought
that under his pontificate Rome lost England made him shudder. The
slightest mention of it renewed his anguish, and sorrow soon brought him
to the tomb.

Yet he did not know all. The evil with which Rome was threatened was
greater than he had imagined. If in this matter there had been nothing
more than the decision of a prince discontented with the court of Rome,
a contrary decision of one of his successors might again place England
under the dominion of the pontiffs; and these would be sure to spare no
pains to recover the good graces of the English kings. But in despite of
Henry VIII., a pure doctrine, similar to that of the apostolic times,
was spreading over the different parts of the nation; a doctrine which
was not only to wrest England from the pope, but to establish in that
island a true Christianity—a vast evangelical propaganda which should
plant the standard of God’s word even at the ends of the world. The
empire of Christendom was thus to be taken from a church led astray by
pride, and which bade mankind unite with it that they might be saved;
and to be given to those who taught that, according to the divine
declarations, none could be saved except by uniting with Jesus Christ.

Footnote 366:

  _State Papers_ (Henry VIII.), t. vii. p. 526.

Footnote 367:

  Burnet, _Records_, iii. p. 69.

Footnote 368:

  _State Papers_, vol. vii. p. 526.

Footnote 369:

  Le Grand, _Preuves_, p. 591.

Footnote 370:

  ‘He eloquently declared our king’s message.’—Lord Herbert, _Life of
  Henry VIII._ p. 396, fol.

Footnote 371:

  ‘That the emperor would be the executor.’—Ibid. p. 553.

Footnote 372:

  For Cromwell’s early history, see the _History of the Reformation_,
  vol. v. bk. xx. ch. xiv.

Footnote 373:

  Lord Cromwell to Parker.

Footnote 374:

  ‘Not fit for any of the Peers to appear and answer at the bar of the
  House of Commons.’—Collyers, ii. p. 83.

Footnote 375:

  Collyers, ii. p. 84.

Footnote 376:

  ‘Neither the king, his successor, nor his subjects to apply to the see
  of Rome.’—Collyers, ii. p. 84.

Footnote 377:

  Ibid. p. 85.

Footnote 378:

  ‘Solum Romanum episcopum et fratrem, ut primis episcopis mos
  erat.’—Wilkins, _Concilia_, iii. p. 782.

Footnote 379:

  Herbert, _Life of Henry VIII._ p. 396. Burnet, _Hist. Ref._ i. p. 131.

Footnote 380:

  ‘What could not be done in less than three consistories, was now
  despatched in one.’—_Herbert_, p. 397.

Footnote 381:

  ‘Christi nomine invocato, in throno justitiæ pro tribunali
  sedentes.’—Foxe, _Acts_, v. p. 657.

                               BOOK VII.
                               AND ITALY.

                               CHAPTER I.
                              (JULY 1533.)

[Sidenote: Spirit Of The Times.]

We have seen the Reformation advancing in the bosom of a great nation;
we shall now see it making progress in one of the smallest. The fall of
Wolsey in England and the flight of the bishop-prince from Geneva are
two historical dates which bear a certain resemblance. After the
disappearance of these two prelates, there was a forward movement in
men’s minds, and the Reformation advanced with more decided steps. Those
two countries are now, as regards their importance, at the two extreme
points in the line of nations; but in the sixteenth century the humble
city of the Leman played a more important part in the Church of Christ
than the mighty England. Calvin and his school did more than the Tudors,
the Stuarts, and their divines, to check the reaction of the papacy and
secure the triumph of true Christianity. The sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries have proclaimed Geneva the antagonist of Rome; and, in truth,
the petty band which marched under its banner, held their ground for
nearly two centuries against the powerful and well-disciplined army of
the Roman pontiffs. We have not forgotten Wittemberg, we shall not
forget Geneva. The historian is not allowed to pass by the little ones
who have had their share in the developments of the human mind. To those
who repose beneath the healthful shade of the great Gospel oak, and
under its green boughs, we must relate the story of the acorn from which
it sprang. The man who despises humble things cannot understand great
things. ‘The Lord,’ says Calvin, ‘purposely made his kingdom to have
small and lowly beginnings, in order that his divine power should be
better known, when we see a progress that had never been expected.’

                  *       *       *       *       *

On the 1st of July, 1533, the Bishop of Geneva had returned to his city
with the aid of the priests, the catholics, the Friburgers, and the
‘mamelukes,’ with the intention of ‘burying that sect,’ as he called the
Reformation. Many of the most devoted friends of the Gospel were in
exile or in the episcopal prison; hostile bands appeared in the
neighborhood of the city, and all expected a victory of the Roman party.
The tree was about to be violently uptorn before it had given any shade.
But when God has placed a germ of religious, or even of political, life
among a people, that life triumphs despite all the opposition of men.
There are rocks and mountains which seem as if they would stop the
course of the mighty waters, and yet the rivers still run on their way.
The exasperated Pierre de la Baume chafed in Geneva, and beat the earth
as if to crush reform and liberty beneath his feet; but by so doing he
opened a gulf, in which were swallowed up his rights as a prince, his
privileges as a bishop, taxes, revenue, priests, monks, mitres, images,
altars, and all the religion of the Roman pontiffs.

If the bishop was uneasy, the people were uneasy likewise. It was not
only strong men who spoke against the abuses of the papacy, but even
women extolled the prerogatives of the evangelical faith. One day (in
June or July, 1533) there was a large party at one of their houses, and
two gentlemen of the neighboring district, Sire de Simieux and M. de
Flacien, ‘besides seven or eight of their varlets,’ were invited. In
their presence the wife of Baudichon de la Maisonneuve professed the
evangelical truth. De Simieux having reproved the Genevese lady, ‘It is
very clear you are a good Papist,’ said she. ‘And that you are a good
Lutheran,’ retorted De Simieux. ‘Would to God,’ exclaimed the lady,
‘that we were all so, for it is a good thing and a good law!’[382] The
two gentlemen had had enough; they took leave of the ladies, and their
eight ‘varlets’ followed them. Another incident will still better show
the spirit of the times.

An evangelical named Curtet had just been murdered. Many huguenots
thought it strange that, while their adversaries struck down a man,—a
real image of God,—they must respect images made of wood, canvas, or
stone. There was a deservedly celebrated place in Geneva, formerly
occupied by the castle of Gondebaud, King of Burgundy, whence his niece
Clotilda, one day escaped to marry and convert Clovis. It was a very
ancient arcade, only pulled down within these few years,[383] and known
as the _Porte du Château_ (the castle gate). Near this place stood an
image of the Virgin, an object of great veneration.[384] On the 12th of
July, 1533, some ‘Lutherans,’ believing it to be blasphemy against God
to regard the Virgin as ‘the salvation of the world,’ went to the gate,
carried away the image, broke it to pieces, and burnt it.

The bishop, feeling that such men as these were capable of anything,
resolved to put the imprisoned huguenots beyond their reach. A report
soon spread abroad that he was secretly preparing boats to convey the
prisoners during the night to Friburg or the castle of Chillon, ‘there
to do his pleasure on them.’[385] All the huguenot population was in
commotion; each man shouldered his arquebuse and joined his company;
Philip, the captain-general, ordered the approaches to the lake to be
guarded, so as to prevent the captive citizens from being conveyed

[Sidenote: Uneasiness In The City.]

The noble enthusiasm which the Reformation kindles in the soul uplifts a
man; while the philosophic indifference of scholars and priests serves
but to degrade him. The Genevans, filled with love for justice and
liberty, were ready to risk all that they held most dear in order to
prevent innocent citizens from being unjustly condemned, and a prelate
sent by the pope from usurping rights which belonged to the magistrates
elected by the people. An extraordinary agitation prevailed in men’s
minds, and several huguenots proceeded to the shore of the lake. Pierre
Verne, taking advantage of the darkness, got into the boats fastened to
the bank, and cut the mooring-ropes as well as the cords to which the
oars were lashed, so that they were made unserviceable.[386] Numerous
patrols traversed the streets, the armed men being accompanied by
citizens, both young and old, carrying _montres de feu_, that is, rods
tipped with iron, having several lighted matches or port-fires at the
end, which were used at that time to discharge the arquebuses. The
dreaded hour when the evil use which princes make of their power
accelerates their ruin, had arrived at last for the Bishop of Geneva. De
la Baume and his partisans, who watched from their windows the passage
of these excited bands, were surprised at the number of arquebusiers
with which the city was suddenly thronged. ‘They were informed that for
each arquebusier there were three or four match-men, which caused great
alarm to those in the palace.’ A comet that appeared during the month of
July alarmed them still more.[387] As yet the huguenots wanted a man to
lead the way; they were to find him in Baudichon de la Maisonneuve.

The Lutheranism of that citizen was of old date. He was a great friend
of John Lullin, who possessed, it will be remembered, the hostelry of
the Bear, at that time much frequented by German traders, who were, for
the most part, Lutherans. Some Nuremburg merchants of the name of Toquer
arrived there during the Lent of 1526.[388] De la Maisonneuve, who had
much business with Germany, went often to see them, ‘eating and drinking
with them.’ Their conversation was very animated, and usually turned
upon religion. As early as 1523 the traders of Nuremburg had heard the
Gospel from the mouth of Osiander, and they endeavored to propagate it
wherever they went. Their words struck De la Maisonneuve all the more
‘because at that time there was no mention of Lutheranism in Geneva, or
next to none, at least.’[389] There was at that time in Lullin’s service
a young man of Lyons, named Jean Demai, about twenty-five years of age,
and very attached to the Roman Church. While waiting at table, he
listened attentively to the conversation between Baudichon and the
Germans, and kept it in his memory. The daring Genevese did not restrain
himself, and said, sometimes at dinner, sometimes at supper,[390] ‘God
did not ordain Lent. It is mere folly to confess to the priests, for
they cannot absolve you. It is an abuse to go to mass. All the religious
orders, mendicants, and others, are nonsense.’ ‘What, then, will you do
with the monks?’ asked one of the party. ‘Set them all to till the
earth,’ he replied. ‘If you say such things,’ observed a catholic, ‘the
Church will refuse you burial.’ ‘When I die,’ he answered, ‘I will have
no preaching at my funeral, and no bells tolled; I will be buried
wherever I please.’[391] Baudichon’s remarks were not kept within the
walls of the hostelry of the Bear. Before long they were repeated
throughout the city and neighborhood. ‘That man,’ said many, ‘is one of
the principal Lutherans and in the front rank of those who set them
going.’[392] That is what he was about to do.

[Sidenote: Baudichon Recovers The Prisoners.]

On the 12th of July, 1533, Baudichon had passed the day in the country,
making preparations for the harvest. Returning from the fields at night,
he was surprised to see an extraordinary guard at the city gate, and on
asking what it meant, he was told that the episcopalians were going to
convey the prisoners to some place of strength. Immediately he
determined to compel the bishop—but solely through fear—to follow the
course prescribed by the laws. He desired fifty of the most resolute of
his friends to take each an iron-tipped staff and to place five matches
at the end. He then concealed them all in a house not far from the
palace. Ere long darkness covered the city; there was nobody in the
streets except a few patrols. De la Maisonneuve bade the men of his
troop light their matches, and put himself at their head. In their left
hands they held the staff, and the sword in their right. Entering the
palace, and making their way to the prince’s apartment, they appeared
before him, surrounded him with their two hundred and fifty lights; and
Baudichon, acting as spokesman, called upon him to surrender his
prisoners to their lawful judges. The bishop stared with amazement at
this band of men with their swords and flaming torches; the night season
added to his terror, and he thought that if he did not give way he would
be put to death. Baudichon had no such idea; but Pierre de la Baume,
imagining his last hour had come,[393] gave the required order. Upon
which the troop defiled before him with their port-fires, and quitted
the episcopal palace. The huguenot prisoners having been transferred to
the syndics, the latter intrusted them to the gaoler of the same prison
‘to keep them securely under pain of death.’ They had passed from the
arbitrary power of the bishop to the lawful authority of the councils.
Constitutional order was restored.[394]

The bishop passed a very agitated night. The huguenots and the torches
and the swords with which he had been surrounded would not let him
sleep; and, when daylight came, he, as well as his courtiers, was quite
unmanned. The 13th of July fell on Sunday, and what a Sunday! ‘I shall
leave the city,’ the prelate said to his servants. A rumor of his
approaching departure having got abroad, some of the canons hurried to
the palace to dissuade him. ‘I will go,’ he repeated. To no effect did
his followers represent to him that, if he left, the catholic faith, the
episcopate, the authority of the prince, his revenues, would all be
lost; nothing could shake him. He was determined to go. A Thomas à
Becket would have died on the spot; but Pierre de la Baume, says a
contemporary document, ‘was very warm about his own safety, but more
than cold for the church.’[395]

One thought, however, disturbed the timid bishop; and the proceedings of
the syndics, Du Crest and Coquet, who came to beg him not to desert the
city and his flock, served but to increase his distress. If the
huguenots knew of his departure, he thought they might possibly stop him
and bring him back to the palace. He dreamt of nothing but persecution;
he saw nothing but prisons, swords, and corpses. He made up his mind to
deceive the syndics, and assured them he would return in six weeks
without fail; but he promised himself that Geneva should never see him
again. He then asked the magistrates for six score of arquebusiers to
protect his departure the next morning.

The syndics having determined to convene the council, the ushers went
round the city and roused the councillors from their beds. Geneva
desired to keep her bishop, while the bishop wished to desert her. The
council ordered that next morning at daybreak, for fear the prelate
should leave early, the syndics should go and point out the necessity
for his remaining.[396]

[Sidenote: The Bishop Anxious To Leave.]

The syndics had scarcely left him when he fell into fresh terrors. He
thought that the mustering of six-score arquebusiers would spread abroad
the news of his departure, that the huguenots would rush to arms, that
he would find himself between two parties armed with spears and
arquebuses.... He must make haste and depart alone, by night or at peep
of day, without any parade, before the syndics could have time to
assemble the council, which, he fancied, could not meet before the
morrow. No one slept in the palace that night; all were busy preparing
for the departure, and they took care that nothing should betray to the
outside the agitation that reigned within. That was a terrible night.
Two spectres appeared to the bishop and dismayed him—the Gospel and
liberty. He saw no means of escaping them but flight. But what would the
duke and the pope say? To quiet his conscience, he wrote, at the last
moment, a letter to the council, in which he enjoined them to oppose the
evangelical meetings, and to maintain the Romish religion ‘_mordicus_,
tooth and nail.’

Daylight would soon appear; they were dejected in the palace, but
everything was ready for flight. At that moment there was a knocking at
the gate.... It was the four syndics; the bishop was a few minutes too
late.... The syndics entered, and conjured Pierre de la Baume in the
name of peace, country, and religion. They pointed out to him the
consequences of his departure; the monarchical power crumbling away, the
republic rising upon its ruins, the Church of Rome disappearing, and
that of the innovators taking shape....

But nothing could move the bishop; he remained insensible as a statue.
They next entreated him to leave the state affairs in order; to appoint,
during his absence, a vicar, an official, a judge of appeal. Pierre de
la Baume refused everything. One only thought filled his mind—he wanted
to get away. ‘Alas!’ said the moderate catholics, ‘he does not set the
state in order, and as for the church over which he is pastor ... he
abandons his flock.’[397] When the syndics had withdrawn, he gave the
signal for departure. There was not a moment to lose, he thought; it
will soon be broad daylight, and who knows but the magistrates, who set
so much upon his presence, may give orders to stop him. Let every man do
his duty! Let there not be a minute’s delay! The bishop took care not to
leave the palace either by the principal entrance or by the ordinary
gates of the city. In the vaults of the building was a passage which led
to an unfrequented street—the Rue du Boule, now the Rue de la Fontaine.
By following this street, the bishop could reach a secret postern in the
wall of the city, which Froment calls _la fausse porte du sel_. Then
Pierre de la Baume would be outside of Geneva; then he would be safe.
Accordingly the bishop quitted his apartments, descended to the basement
of the palace, and made his escape from that edifice (which is now a
prison) like a malefactor escaping from his dungeon. His officers were
downcast; they would have wished to crush those insolent huguenots, but
were obliged to leave them a clear field. The bishop himself, forced to
quit his palace and his power, felt great vexation.[398] He looked about
him with uneasiness, and trembled lest he should see the huguenots
appear at the corner of the street. The encroachments he had made on the
liberties of the citizens were not of a nature to tranquillize him, and
in his distress he quickened his steps.

[Sidenote: The Bishop’s Departure.]

The fugitive band reached the secret postern; the prelate had the key;
he passed through and stood on the shore of the lake. There was no enemy
in sight. He entered a boat which had been got ready for him, and
reached the other bank. He sprang immediately upon the horse that was
waiting for him, and rode off at a gallop. He felt the weight upon his
heart grow lighter the farther he went. Now the fierce huguenots will
trouble him no more, and he will ‘make good cheer.’ ‘He retired to the
Tower of May,’ says the chronicle, ‘and never returned again.’[399]

Baudichon de la Maisonneuve had succeeded beyond his expectations. Not
only had the prisoners been rescued from the unlawful power of the
bishop, but the prelate himself had disappeared. A few huguenots, waving
their _montres de feu_, had been sufficient to deliver Geneva. Not a
drop of blood had been shed. ‘As at the sound of the trumpets of Gideon,
and at the sight of his lamps,’ said the evangelists, ‘the Amalekites
and the Midianites fled during the night, so did the bishop and his
followers flee away at the sound of the arms and at the sight of the

Early in the morning of the 14th of July, the news of the bishop’s
departure circulated through the city. The catholic members of the
council, deserted by a perjured prince, felt themselves unable
henceforth to oppose the torrent which was advancing with irresistible
power. ‘All the catholics,’ says Sister Jeanne, ‘were sorely grieved.’
The pope blamed the bishop for abandoning his church, and reproached him
for his cowardice.[401] ‘That miserable city, having lost its prince and
pastor,’ said people in Italy, ‘will become the asylum of every villain
and the throne of heresy.’[402] But what caused so much sorrow to the
papists was the source of immense joy to the evangelicals. They
contended that the prince by running away abdicated his usurped power,
and that the citizens resumed their rights.[403] The sun of Geneva was
setting, according to the old style (that of the Roman court); but
according to the new (that of the Gospel), it was rising; and Geneva,
illumined by its rays, was to communicate that divine light to others.
The 14th of July, 1533, witnessed in Geneva the fall of that hybrid
power[404] which claims to hold two swords in its hand. Since then other
bishop-kings have also disappeared, even in the most catholic countries;
and the last, that of Rome, totters on his pedestal. The people of
Geneva, from the time when they lost sight of that shameless and
pitiless prelate, ceased to care about him, and never asked after him.
They even invented a by-word, in use to this day; and when they wish to
speak of a man for whom they feel a thorough indifference, they say: _Je
ne m’en soucie pas plus que de Baume_ (I do not care a straw about

Footnote 382:

  ‘Une bonne chose et une bonne loi.’ MS. du procès inquisitionnel de
  Lyon (Archives de Berne), pp. 200-202.

Footnote 383:

  About 1836.

Footnote 384:

  Registre du Conseil, _ad locum_.

Footnote 385:

  ‘Et illic en faire à son plaisir.’

Footnote 386:

  ‘Ni tirer ni nager’ (neither pull nor steer), alluding to the peculiar
  mode of rowing employed on the lake.

Footnote 387:

  Berne MSS., _Hist. Helvet._ v. p. 125.

Footnote 388:

  ‘About eight years ago,’ says an authority of 1534 (MS. du procès
  inquisitionel de Lyon). The reading of the MS. is _Toquer_, which is
  probably not the correct spelling of the German name.

Footnote 389:

  ‘Ou du moins était-ce comme rien.’

Footnote 390:

  ‘Soit en dînant, soit en soupant.’—_MS. de Lyon._

Footnote 391:

  MS. du procès de Lyon, pp. 294-297.

Footnote 392:

  ‘Les mettent en train.’—MS. du procès de Lyon, p. 185.

Footnote 393:

  Sœur Jeanne. _Levain du Calvinisme_, p. 68.

Footnote 394:

  Registres du Conseil des 10, 11, 12 Juillet. Froment, _Gestes de
  Genève_, pp. 62, 63. Roset MS.

Footnote 395:

  ‘Fort échauffé pour sa propre personne, plus que froid pour
  l’église.’—Registre du Conseil du 13 Juillet; Froment, _Gestes de
  Genève_, p. 63, Berne MS.

Footnote 396:

  Registre du Conseil du 13 Juillet 1533.

Footnote 397:

  Le Curé Besson: _Mémoires pour l’Histoire Ecclésiastique du Diocèse de
  Genève_, p. 63.

Footnote 398:

  Froment, _Gestes de Genève_, p. 63.

Footnote 399:

  Roset MS.

Footnote 400:

  Froment, _Gestes de Genève_, pp. 62, 63.

Footnote 401:

  Le Curé Besson, _Mémoires pour l’Histoire Ecclésiastique du Diocèse de
  Genève_, p. 63.

Footnote 402:

  Briève Relation de la Révolte de la Ville de Genève. MS. in the
  Archives Générales du Royaume d’Italie, paquet 14.

Footnote 403:

  Letter to Lord Townsend, by the Secretary of State Chouet. Berne MSS.
  vi. 57.

Footnote 404:

  It was also on the 14th of July, two centuries and a half later
  (1789), that the reign of the feudal system came to an end.

Footnote 405:

  ‘I care no more for him than for Baume,’ that is, _not at all_. This
  expression owes its origin to the name of La Baume, last bishop of
  Geneva. _Glossaires Genevois_ de Gaudy et de J. Humbert.

                              CHAPTER II.
                        (JULY TO DECEMBER 1533.)

The bishop had fallen from his throne, and with him had expired a
despotism which offensively usurped the liberties of the people; the
lawful magistrates once more sat in their curule chairs, with liberty
and justice at their sides. They investigated the cases of the citizens
whom Pierre de la Baume claimed to get rid of without the formality of
trial. The only man who could be accused of Wernly’s death was Pierre
l’Hoste, and he had taken refuge in the Dominican church, where the
bishop had not cared to follow him. The syndics went to the church; the
poor wretch, shaking in every limb, clung vainly to the altar, and cried
out: ‘I claim the privileges accorded to this sanctuary.’ He was
arrested and the inquiry commenced. It proved the innocence of the
imprisoned Huguenots, and showed that the disturbance in which Wernly
fell had been caused by the violence of the canon himself, who was armed
from head to foot, and had taunted his adversaries with loud cries. The
magistrates, however, thought that the blood of the victim called for
the blood of him who had shed it. Pierre l’Hoste, the carman of the
city, denied striking the fatal blow, but confessed that he had struck
Wernly: he was condemned and beheaded. All the other prisoners were

But there was no relief to Claudine Levet’s sorrow; her husband was
still confined in Castle Gaillard, and the governor refused to release
him. The council entreated the Bernese deputies in Geneva to intercede
in behalf of the prisoner, and on the 4th of September, one of them,
accompanied by J. Lullin and C. Savoye, having gone out to
Ville-la-Grand, about a league from the city, Aimé Levet was surrendered
to them.[406]

[Sidenote: Froment And Alexander Arrive.]

While this pious man lay in the Gaillard dungeons, the insults heaped
upon him, the harshness of the prison, and the almost certain death
which threatened him, had given his faith a new life; so that when the
castellan had released him from his bonds, he inwardly vowed that he
would make his deliverance accelerate the triumph of the Gospel. He had
scarcely reached home, when he wrote to Anthony Froment, the evangelist,
whose church had been the market-place, and whose pulpit a fishwife’s
stall, and conjured him to return. The latter did not hesitate, and
knowing that the struggles which awaited him there were beyond the
strength of one man, he invited one of the brethren from Paris, and at
that time in the Pays de Vaud to accompany him. This was Alexander
Canus, called also Dumoulin. One day, therefore, Aimé and Claudine Levet
saw the two evangelists arrive. One lodged with them at St. Gervais on
the right bank, and the other at Claude Salomon’s, near the Molard, on
the left bank; being thus quartered in the two parts into which the city
was divided, they could share the labor.

Salomon, who shared with Levet the honor and danger of receiving the
evangelists, was as gentle as his friend Maisonneuve was quick and often
violent. One day, shortly after the bishop’s flight, the latter saw in
front of him in the street two of the bishop’s partisans, whom he
suspected to be getting up some conspiracy; his blood boiled at the
sight, and he exclaimed: ‘there are so many traitors here.... My fingers
itch to be at them.’[407] A sense of duty, however, restrained him, and
he did nothing. But Salomon was calm and full of charity and compassion:
he felt none of these passing ebullitions, and thought only of visiting
the sick and the poor, and sheltering strangers whom the Romish
persecutions drove to Geneva. ‘These poor refugees,’ he said, ‘are more
destitute than all the rest.’ His wife, ‘neither dainty nor nice,’[408]
lavished her cares on them. They were the Gaius and Dorcas of Scripture.

[Sidenote: Order To Preach The Scriptures.]

Froment and Alexander, quartered on both sides of the Rhone, preached
the Word in private houses with such power that the new faith extended
far and wide, ‘like the layers of a vine;’[409] the old stocks producing
young shoots, which took root and formed other stocks. The priests were
alarmed, and exclaimed that if those doctrines continued to be so
preached, all the country would soon be infested with the sect. They
applied to the bishop, who was at his castle of May—restless, agitated,
and reproaching himself with his disgraceful flight. Wishing to redeem
that fault, he replied on the 24th of October, forbidding any preaching
in Geneva except according to ancient custom. The exulting priests
presented these episcopal letters to the council. The bishop’s cowardly
behavior had estranged the magistrates. ‘_Preach the Gospel_,’ answered
the council, ‘_and say nothing which cannot be proved by Holy
Scripture_.’ These important words, which gave the victory to the
Reformation, may still be read in the official minutes.

Great was the joy among the reformed. They saw in these words a decree
which made evangelical Christianity a lawful religion[410] at Geneva (as
at Rome in the third and fourth centuries), and authorized them to form
a Church which should be free without being dominant. The same fact has
reappeared at other times and in other countries. From that day, all who
had any leaning towards the Gospel would go to the house of Maisonneuve
or of some other huguenot leader, and sit down in the largest room.
Presently the preacher would enter, take his place before a table, and
usually (as it would seem) under the mantel-piece of the large
projecting fireplace. He would then proclaim the Word of God. These
evangelists ‘_did not fret themselves_,’ they did not speak with
bitterness like some others, and make a great noise; but invited souls
to approach Christ without fear, because he is _meek and lowly in
heart_; and such simple genial preaching attracted all who heard it. The
bishop exclaimed that it was only ‘painted language,’ and ‘sham
tenderness;’ but the number of hearers became so considerable that the
two missionaries were forced to preach in the streets and cross-ways of
the city at the Molard, the foot of Coutance, and other places. As soon
as they appeared anywhere a numerous assembly gathered round them, the
hearers crowded one upon another, and the living words addressed to them
bore more fruit than scholastic or trivial sermons delivered in fine
churches to hearers dozing in comfortable seats. ‘These preachings in
houses, streets, and cross-ways,’ said Froment himself, ‘are not without
danger to life, but are a great advancement to the Word, and detriment
to popery.’[411]

The catholic party became alarmed; their leaders met, and the
procurator-fiscal with the bishop’s officers and the priests, who were
‘greatly envenomed against the two reformers,’[412] resolved to
apprehend them. Whenever a meeting was formed, the sergeants came upon
it unexpectedly. ‘But as soon as they saw the levelled halberds, the
faithful, greatly increased in number, did their duty, surrounded their
ministers, and helped them to escape.’ In consequence of this, the
episcopal police went more craftily to work: they kept watch upon the
ministers, and came upon them when they were alone, ‘aiming at nothing
less than their lives.’[413] But these efforts of the priests increased
the respect men felt for the evangelists. ‘Such persecutions,’ said the
huguenots, ‘are a sign by which we may know that the ministers are
excellent servants of Christ.’[414]

The bishop, vexed at having left his episcopal city, could find rest
nowhere. At one time he was at the Tower of May, at another at
Lons-le-Saulnier, now at Arbois, now elsewhere. The thought that two
reformers had come to take his place in Geneva disturbed him; and when
he found that the citizens paid no attention to his strict prohibition
of Gospel preaching sent on the 24th of October, his exasperation was at
its height. ‘We must apply an heroic remedy to the disease,’ he said,
and on the 20th of November he dictated letters patent addressed to the

[Sidenote: Gospel Preaching Forbidden.]

The Great Council met on the 30th of November to hear the letters read.
‘We command,’ said the bishop, ‘that no one in our city of Geneva
preach, expound, or cause to be preached or expounded, secretly or
publicly, or in any manner whatsoever, the _holy page_, the _holy
Gospel_,[415] unless he have received our express permission, under pain
of perpetual excommunication and a fine of one hundred livres.’ The Two
Hundred were astounded, the evangelicals were indignant, and the better
catholics hung their heads. A bishop to forbid the preaching of the
_holy page_, of the _holy Gospel_! ... to forbid it too in the very
season (Advent) when it was usual to proclaim it! To excommunicate all
who preach it! To forbid its being taught _in any manner whatsoever_! To
forbid them to talk of it in courts or gardens, or elsewhere! Not a
room, not a cellar, kitchen, or garret was excepted! The Apostle Paul
declares, however, that _the Gospel of Christ must not be hindered_. The
emotion of the Two Hundred was so great that all deliberation became
impossible; ‘_the whole council rose and went out_,’ we read in the
minutes of the sitting. Such was the mute but energetic reply made by
Geneva to its bishop.

In the city the emotion was still greater, and vented itself in murmurs
and sighs, and also in ironical jests. ‘Have you heard the news?’ said
the huguenots: ‘the bishop is going to issue an order with sound of
trumpet, forbidding us to speak either good or evil of God and Christ.’
The silly prohibition was like oil thrown upon the fire: the preachings
became more frequent, and even the indifferent began to read the
Scriptures. Froment and his friends distributed evangelical books in
abundance: first the New Testament, then various treatises recently
composed, such as _La Vérité cachée_, _La Confrérie du Saint-Esprit_,
_La Manière du Baptême_, _La Cène de Jésus-Christ_, and _Le Livre des
Marchands_.[416] De Vingle, the printer, and one of his men, named
Grosne, helped them in this work. But the papists sometimes treated the
colporteurs roughly; a gentleman of the neighborhood, having caught
Grosne on the high road, cut off his ears.[417] This had no effect; the
people thirsted for the truth, and all were eager to hear the Word of

The leaders of the episcopal party, seeing that nothing could stop these
_prêcheurs de cheminées_ (chimney-preachers) and their hearers, looked
about for a preacher whose energetic eloquence might rekindle the
expiring Roman fervor,—one of those stout champions who can deal heavy
blows in serious contests. For three or four centuries the Dominicans
had played, as inquisitors, the chief parts in the papacy; they were
skilful, eloquent, shrewd in government, persevering in their designs,
inflexible in dogma, prodigal of threats, condemnations, and the stake.
There was much talk in Savoy, and even in Geneva, about one of them,—a
doctor of the Sorbonne, named Guy Furbity,—‘a great theologian,’ they
said, ‘an enthusiastic servant of the pope, a sworn enemy of the
Reformation, daring and violent to the last degree.’[418] Just then he
was preaching at Chambéry and Montmeillan, charming all hearers. The
Genevese catholics petitioned the Sorbonne for this great preacher. Such
a rock, transported to the valley of the Leman, would, they thought,
check the devastating torrent of reform. Their prayer was granted, and
Furbity flattered himself that he was going to win a fairer crown than
all his predecessors. Proud of his order, his reputation, and his
Church, he arrived in Geneva with haughty head, glaring eyes, and
threatening gestures; one might have imagined that he was going to crush
all his adversaries to powder. ‘Ah! those poor Lutherans,’ he said
disdainfully, ‘those poor chimney-preachers!’ ‘He was in a passion,’
says Froment.[419] The huguenots said, as they pointed him out, ‘Look at
that Atlas, who fancies he carries the tottering Church of the Roman
pontiff on his shoulders.’[420]

[Sidenote: Furbity Abuses Bible-Readers.]

A plot had been formed, of which Furbity was to be the chief instrument.
The syndics, Du Crest, Baud, Malbuisson, and many other good Genevans
had been gained over by the priests to the cause of the pope, and by
this means the latter held in their hands the council, the treasury, the
artillery, and, in one word, the city property, besides the ignorant
populace.[421] The Sorbonne doctor had hardly alighted at the convent of
his order when a deputation from the canons came and asked him to preach
in the cathedral and not in the Dominican church. ‘The sermons delivered
at St. Pierre’s, said the monks, ‘will produce a greater
sensation.’—‘Very good,’ said Furbity, ‘I promise you that I will cry
out pretty loudly against the modern heretics.’ It was objected that it
was contrary to the established custom to have such preachings in the
cathedral. ‘We will put him there by force of arms,’ answered the
churchmen, ‘and he shall say what he pleases.’

On the morning of Sunday, the 30th of November, a certain number of
priests and laymen armed themselves; and the zealous Furbity, taking his
place in the middle of the band, proceeded to the cathedral. ‘Really,’
said some of the Genevese with astonishment, ‘he is going to preach by
main force.’ But he restrained himself that day, and he met with no
opposition. The next day, Monday, he went to work in earnest. His sermon
was a continued declamation, full of pompous phrases extolling the
papacy, and of invectives against the preachers. ‘In the pulpit he
behaves like a madman,’ said Froment, who was present; ‘he roars without
rhyme or reason.’ But the bigots were in ecstasies. ‘Have you heard Dr.
Furbity?’ they said in the city. On Wednesday an immense crowd assembled
to hear him. The Dominican went into the pulpit resolved to crush the
heretics, as his patron, St. Dominick had done before him.

He imagined that his great business was to lower the Bible and then to
exalt the pope, and he set to work accordingly. ‘All who read the
Scriptures in the vulgar tongue,’ he said, ‘are gluttons, drunkards,
debauchees, blasphemers, thieves, and murderers.... Those who support
them are as wicked as they, and God will punish them. All who will not
obey the pope, or the cardinals, or the bishops, or the curates, or the
vicars, or the priests, are the devil’s flock. They are marked by him,
worse than Jews, traitors, murderers, and brigands, and ought to be
hanged on the gallows. All who eat meat on Friday and Saturday, are
worse than Turks and mad dogs.... Beware of these heretics, these
Germans, as you would of lepers and rottenness. Have no dealings with
them in the way of business or otherwise, and do not let them marry your
daughters. You had better give them to the dogs.’[422]

Among the evangelicals who listened to this string of abuse was one
Janin, a man of small stature, a maker of pikes, halberds, javelins, and
arrows, whence he was usually called the _collonier_, or armorer. His
activity was indefatigable; he was present everywhere; he held
discussions in private and preached ‘to companies, urging with all his
might’ those who listened to him to embrace the faith which Luther had
found in the Holy Scriptures.[423] Having gone to St. Pierre’s, he sat
down near some good catholics, among others Pierre Pennet, whose
brothers were soon to become famous in Geneva for their zeal in behalf
of the Romish faith. Janin, unable to put up with such insulting
language, became restless, and exclaimed that the preacher did not know
what he was saying. The catholics around him, annoyed at being disturbed
in their devotions, said: ‘Begone; one preacher is enough here.’[424]
But they had some trouble to make him hold his tongue. A more telling
interruption was to disturb the orator before long.

[Sidenote: Furbity Challenges The Lutherans.]

The Dominican saw clearly that abuse alone would not restore the papacy;
its fundamental doctrines must be established, and this he undertook to
do in other discourses. Continuing to insult the reformers as ‘wretches
who, instead of wearing the _robe_, are dressed like _brigands_,’ he
maintained that priests only, by virtue of the sacramental institution,
could bring souls into communion with God. He even used language that
must have sounded strange to the worshippers of Mary. ‘A priest who
consecrates the elements of the Sacrament,’ he said, ‘is above the Holy
Virgin, for she only gave life to Jesus Christ once, whereas the priest
creates him every day, as often as he likes. If a priest pronounces the
sacramental words over a sack full of bread, or in a cellar full of
wine, all the bread, by that very act, is transformed and becomes the
precious body of Christ, and all the wine is changed into blood—which is
what the Virgin never did.... Ah! the priest! ... you should not merely
salute him, you should kneel and prostrate yourselves before him.’

This was not enough; the Dominican thought it his duty to establish the
doctrine of transubstantiation, on which the dignity of the priest is
founded. He exclaimed: ‘We must believe that the body of Jesus Christ is
in the host in flesh and bone. We must believe that he is there as much
as he was in the Blessed Virgin’s womb, or on the wood of the true
cross. We must believe it under pain of damnation, for our holy
theological faculty of Paris at the Sorbonne, and our mother the holy
Church, believe it. Yes; Jesus Christ is in the host, as he was in the
Virgin’s womb, ... but small ... as small as an ant. It is a matter that
admits of no further discussion.’

Whereupon the Dominican, satisfied that he had gained a signal victory,
indulged in the impetuosity of his clerical haughtiness, and, pouring
out a torrent of insults, exclaimed: ‘Where are those wretched Lutherans
who preach to the contrary? Where are these heretics, these rascals,
these worse than Jews, Turks and heathens?... Where are these fine
_chimney-preachers_? Let them come forward, and they shall be
answered.... Ha! ha! They will take good care not to show themselves,
except at the chimney-corner, for they are only brave in deceiving poor
women and such as know nothing.’[425]

Having spoken thus, the monk sat down, proud of his eloquence. A great
agitation prevailed in the congregations; the reformers were challenged
to the combat; the people wondered whether they would reply to the
challenge. There was a momentary pause, when Froment rose, and standing
in the middle of the church, motioned them with his hand to be silent.
‘For the love of God,’ he said, ‘listen to what I have to tell you!’ The
congregation turned their eyes on the person who uttered these words,
and the evangelist, with sonorous voice, exclaimed: ‘Sirs, I offer my
life—yea, I am ready to go the stake if I do not show, by Holy
Scripture, that what Dr. Furbity has just said is false, and the
language of Antichrist.’ He then adduced scriptural authorities against
the Dominican’s assertions. ‘It is the truth,’ exclaimed the reformers;
and some of them looking towards the monk, called out: ‘Let him answer
that.’ Furbity, astonished at hearing himself refuted by such plain
passages, dared not rise, but remained fixed to his seat, hiding his
head in the pulpit. ‘Let him answer,’ shouted the huguenots on all
sides: their shouts were useless.

[Sidenote: Tumult In The Church.]

The canons and their friends, finding their oracle was dumb, ventured
upon a controversy which was much more in their line. They drew their
swords (priests often wore swords in those times), and approaching
Froment, exclaimed: ‘Kill him—kill the Lutheran!... Ah! the wretch! he
has dared take our good father to task.’ Nothing but death could expiate
the crime of a layman who had ventured to contradict a priest. There was
only one point on which these churchmen were not agreed: it was whether
they should _burn_ or _drown_ the evangelist. Some shouted: ‘Burn
him—burn him!’ and others: ‘To the Rhone with him!’—‘There was no small
commotion,’ writes Froment. Just as the priests were about to carry him
off, Baudichon de la Maisonneuve, Ami Perrin, Janin le Collonier, and
others rallied round him like a body-guard, wishing to get him out of
the church. This did not calm the tumult; the people ran after him, and
the magistrates would have arrested him. ‘They crowded upon one
another,’ says Froment, ‘either to see him, or to strike him, or to
carry him off.’ The tumultuous crowd made a last effort to lay hold of
the evangelist, just as they reached the great doors of the cathedral.
Baudichon de la Maisonneuve observing this, halted, drew his sword, and,
facing the rioters, cried in a loud voice: ‘I will kill the first man
that touches him. Let the law prevail; and if any one has done wrong,
let him be punished.’ The catholics, intimidated by Maisonneuve’s look,
shrank back; and Froment’s friends, taking advantage of this favorable
moment, dragged him away from his enemies. Then, ‘the women, as if they
were mad, rushed after him with great fury, throwing many stones at
him.’[426] The huguenot Perrin, more politic than evangelical, alarmed
at the tumult, said to Froment: ‘We have spoilt the business; it was
going on very well, and now all is lost.’ _The other_ (by which words
Froment indicates himself), sure of his cause, answered simply: ‘All is
won!’ The future showed that he was right. When Froment arrived at
Baudichon’s house,—the usual asylum of the friends of the Gospel,—Le
Collonier took him up to the hayloft and carefully hid him under the
hay. De la Maisonneuve and Janin had afterwards to pay dearly for their
kind offices. The latter had scarcely quitted the loft when Claude Baud
arrived with his officers and his halberds. ‘They searched the house all
over, and even thrust their spears into the hay, but finding nobody they

Alexander, who had not spoken in the church, had accompanied his friend
as far as the great doors. Seeing Froment led away by Janin, and
believing him safe, he halted ‘at the top of the steps in the midst of
the people,’ and, not permitting himself to be intimidated by the
popular fury, he exclaimed: ‘He very properly took him to task. Doctor
Furbity has preached against the holy books; he is a false prophet.’ The
syndics, pleased to catch one at least, carried Alexander off to the
town-hall, and some demanded that he should be sentenced to death. The
sage Balthasar resisted this: ‘It was not this man who caused the
uproar,’ he said. ‘Besides, he is a Frenchman; and the King of France
may perhaps take _some opportunity_ against our city if we put his
subjects to death.’ The two ‘_Mahometists_’ were banished for life from
the city, under pain of death; and, at the same time, it was agreed that
the Advent preachers should be told ‘to preach the Gospel only, in order
to avoid disturbance.’

Alexander was conducted by the watch out of the city to a place called
La Monnaye, where, seeing the crowd following him, he turned towards
them and said: ‘I shall not take my rest like a soldier whose time of
service is over.’ He then addressed the crowd for two hours, and many
were won to the Gospel. De la Maisonneuve having returned home, went in
search of Froment in the hayloft; and as soon as it was night, the two
friends quitted Geneva secretly, took up Alexander at La Monnaye, and
then all three set off for Berne.

Footnote 406:

  Registre du Conseil des 6, 7, 8, 12, 17, Août et 4 Septembre
  1533.—Froment, _Gestes de Genève_, p. 60. Roset MS. liv. iii. ch. xvi.

Footnote 407:

  ‘La main me fourmille que je n’agisse contre les traîtres!’

Footnote 408:

  ‘Nullement délicate ni mignarde.’—Froment, _Gestes de Genève_, p. 68.
  Registre du Conseil du 12 Octobre 1535.

Footnote 409:

  ‘A la façon des provins.’

Footnote 410:

  Religio licita.

Footnote 411:

  Froment, _Gestes de Genève_, p. 66.

Footnote 412:

  ‘Fort envenimés contre les deux réformateurs.’

Footnote 413:

  ‘Ne voulant pas moins que la _jacture_ de leur vie.’

Footnote 414:

  Froment, _Gestes_, p. 66.

Footnote 415:

  ‘Neminem clam, palam, occulte vel publice sacram paginam, sacrum
  Evangelium exponere aut alias quomodocumque dicere.’—Gaberel, _Lettres
  patentes de l’Evêque. Pièces justificatives_, i. p. 42.

Footnote 416:

  The Hidden Truth. The Brotherhood of the Holy Ghost. The Manner of
  Baptism. The Supper of Jesus Christ. The Tradesmen’s Book.

Footnote 417:

  MS. du procès inquisitionnel de Lyon, pp. 6 et 7.

Footnote 418:

  Berne MSS. _Hist. Helv._ v. 12.

Footnote 419:

  ‘Il était enflambé.’—Froment, _Gestes_.

Footnote 420:

  ‘Velut alter Atlas qui instanti causæ catholicæ succollaret.’—_Geneva
  Restituta_, p. 63.

Footnote 421:

  Froment, _Gestes de Genève_, pp. 66-68. La Sœur Jeanne, _Levain du
  Calvinisme_, p. 70.

Footnote 422:

  See the documents attached to the trial, in the Registres du Conseil
  du 27 Janvier 1534.

Footnote 423:

  ‘Prêchant à des compagnies induisant de toute sa possibilité, &c.’—MS.
  du procès inquisitionnel de Lyon, p. 29.

Footnote 424:

  Ibid. p. 37.

Footnote 425:

  Froment, _Gestes de Genève_, pp. 69-71. Gautier MS.

Footnote 426:

  ‘Les femmes comme enragées . . . de grande furie, lui jetant force
  pierres.’—Froment, _Gestes merveilleux de Genève_, pp. 71-74. Sœur
  Jeanne, _Levain du Calvinisme_, p. 70. Gautier MS.

Footnote 427:

  Registre du Conseil du 2 Décembre 1533.

                              CHAPTER III.
                    (DECEMBER 1533 TO JANUARY 1534.)

[Sidenote: Furbity Visited By The Catholics.]

De la Maisonneuve was determined to uphold the liberty of
Gospel-preaching. ‘We are called Lutherans,’ said Froment; ‘now,
_Luther_ in German means _clear_, and there is nothing clearer than the
Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Lutheran cause is the cause of light.’ And
therefore De la Maisonneuve desired to propagate it.

The zealous huguenot did not lose a moment after his arrival at Berne.
He told all his friends (of whom he had many) what was going on at
Geneva. Froment and Alexander, who stood by his side, supported his
complaints and repeated the insults of the Dominican. The Bernese were
exasperated by the abuse the monk had heaped upon the protestants, but
they were animated by a nobler motive. They had thought that Geneva, so
famous for the energetic character of its citizens, would be a great
gain for the Reformation; and now people were beginning to say in Savoy,
in the Pays de Vaud, at Freiburg, and in France, that the reforming
movement was crushed in the huguenot city. ‘A great rumor,’ says Farel,
‘spread everywhere touching Geneva, how that Master Furbity had
triumphed in his disputations with the Lutherans.’[428] The Bernese
resolved to assist the threatened Reform by despatching to Geneva ...
not large battalions, but a humble preacher of the Gospel. They sent
William Farel as Maisonneuve’s companion.

On Sunday, December 21, the feast of St. Thomas of Canterbury, Furbity,
proud at having to eulogize so heroic a saint, was more energetic than
ever. ‘All who follow that cursed sect,’ he cried, ‘are lewd and
gluttonous livers, wanton, ambitious, murderers, and thieves, who live
like beasts, loving their own sensuality, acknowledging neither a God
nor a superior.’ These words raised the enthusiasm of the catholics, the
chief of whom resolved to go in a body to the bishop’s palace to thank
the reverend father. The noble Perceval de Pesmes, _capitaine des bons_,
‘the captain of the good,’ as the nuns called him, was at their head.
‘Most reverend father,’ said the descendant of the Crusaders, ‘we thank
you for preaching such good doctrine, and beg you will fear
nothing.’—‘Hold fast to the sword, captain; on my side I will use the
spirit and the tongue.’ The compact being made, the deputation withdrew.

They had scarcely quitted the episcopal palace, when a strange report
circulated through the town. ‘De la Maisonneuve has returned from Berne
and brought the notorious William Farel with him!’ Farel having
re-entered Geneva, was not to leave it again until the work of the
Reformation was completed there. ‘What!’ exclaimed the catholics, ‘that
wretch, that devil whom we drove out is come back!’ They were so
exasperated that De Pesmes, Malbuisson, and others, meeting Farel and
Maisonneuve in the street that very day, drew their swords and fell upon
them; they were rescued by some huguenots. The episcopalians consulted
together, and decided to take up arms to expel the reformer.

[Sidenote: Farel And Baudichon.]

Not without reason were the catholics alarmed. Farel was a hero. A work
that is beginning requires one of those strong men who, by the energy of
their will, surmount all obstacles, and set in motion all the forces of
their epoch to carry out the plan they have conceived. Calvin and Luther
are the great men of the Reformation in the sixteenth century. Calvin
defended it against dangerous enemies; he gave to the renovated Church a
body of divinity and a simple powerful constitution. The scriptural
faith which he has set forth is making, and will make, the circuit of
the world. But when he arrived at Geneva, the Reform was already
accomplished outwardly. Farel is really the reformer of that city as
well as of other places in Switzerland and France. A noble and simple
evangelist, his genius was less great, his name less illustrious than
his successor’s; but he ceased not to expose his life in fierce combats
for the Saviour, and, in the order of grace, he was in that beautiful
country enclosed between the Alps and the Jura what fire is in the order
of nature—the most powerful of God’s agents. He was not, as is sometimes
imagined, a hot-headed man, liable to fits of violence and temper. With
energy he combined prudence—with zeal, impartiality. ‘Would to God,’ he
said, on the occasion of his discussion with Furbity, ‘that each man
would state each thing without leaning to one side more than to the
other.’[429] But it must be acknowledged that he had more force than
circumspection, and an unparalleled activity was the principal feature
of his character. To venture everywhere, to act in all circumstances, to
preach in every place, to brave every danger, were his enjoyment and his
life. His excessive genius ‘delighted in adventure,’ as was said of a
celebrated conqueror, and he was never so truly happy as when he was in
the field. Farel began the work, and Calvin completed it.

Another man, a layman, was called to play a part not less important in
the Genevan Reformation. It has been remarked[430] that in the great
revolutions of nations, God sometimes gives not a counsellor to be
listened to, but a torrent to be followed. There was indeed in Geneva a
mighty torrent rushing towards Reform, and the man who personified that
popular force was Baudichon de la Maisonneuve. Noble in heart as in
race, at first he had been merely an independent politician and an
opponent of the papacy; but, opening his house and his heart to the
Gospel, he came to love it more and more every day. Certainly he did not
possess all the evangelical graces; he was somewhat of a jester, and
might often be found laughing at the superstitions of his times.
Occasionally, also, he was violent in his acts and words. But the
republican energy that characterized him made him the fittest man to
cope with Rome, the Duke, and the Inquisition. Strong, proud, immovable,
he was on a small stage, what the Elector of Saxony and the Landgrave of
Hesse were on a larger stage, the patron of evangelical doctrine.
Although of noble descent, he was in trade, and had an extensive
business. Rich and generous, he provided for the wants of the new creed.
The magistrates of the cities with which he had dealings showed him much
consideration; and not only did the puissant republic of Berne intercede
in his favor, but King Francis I. also. De la Maisonneuve had no doubts
about the triumph of the Reformation. One day, as a Lausanne dealer was
buying one of his horses, the confident Genevan said to him: ‘You shall
pay me when no more masses are celebrated at Lausanne.’ Two or three
months later, when settling his accounts at Lyons, he said to one of his
correspondents: ‘You shall pay me when the priests in this city are what
those in Berne are now.’ This made the bigoted catholics exclaim: ‘He is
the cause of the perversion of Geneva. Would to God he had died ten
years ago!’[431] De la Maisonneuve had much affinity with Berthelier:
the latter began the independence of the city, the former introduced the
reform. They were both pioneers; but if Berthelier’s death was the most
heroic, Baudichon’s life was the most exemplary.

De la Maisonneuve was able, in case of necessity, to unite prudence with
energy. On the 21st December, the Dominican having preached with great
_éclat_ in the cathedral, some of the reformed said, boldly: ‘Why should
not our minister (Farel) preach in the church as well as a popish
doctor?’ and invited the reformers to enter the building. The indignant
catholics exclaimed: ‘It shall cost us our lives sooner!’ De la
Maisonneuve calmed his friends; he wished to try legal means, and ask
the magistrates for a church.

[Sidenote: The Plot Breaks Out.]

The next day he appeared before the council, and handed in the letter
from the chiefs of the mighty Bernese republic. ‘What!’ they said, ‘you
expel from your city our servants, people attached to the Holy Word,
whom we commended to you, and at the same time you tolerate men who
blaspheme against God. Your preacher has attacked us; we shall prosecute
him, and call upon you to arrest him. Moreover, we ask for a place in
which Farel may preach the Gospel publicly.’ The larger portion of the
council was astounded at these two requests. They were about to
deliberate on them when a commotion was heard in the street. A plot had
broken out.

It was near midday. Between eight and nine hundred priests and laymen
were going to the bishop’s palace, where they had appointed a meeting.
In the palace everything was astir; the cellars were open, and the
servants were running about with bottles in their hands. ‘They supplied
wine in profusion, and every man promised to do his duty. They were
respectable-looking people and well dressed.’ Two hundred men were to
stop at St. Pierre’s to attack the heretics in the rear. All the others
were to go down to the Molard, ‘burning for the cause of God,’ and
attack Baudichon’s house, where Farel was to be found.[432]

De la Maisonneuve, understanding what was going on, hastily quitted the
council-chamber, and ran to defend his home.[433] His first care was to
hide Farel as well as he could, and then, while preparations were making
to storm his house, he took steps for its defence. But the council,
learning what was going on, left the hôtel de ville, and ordered the
bishop’s partisans to lay down their arms. It seemed strange to do so,
after so many protestations and so much zeal; yet they obeyed. ‘The
wicked build triumphs in the air,’ said the huguenots, ‘and all these
reports ended in smoke at last.’[434]

Farel left his hiding-place and resumed his preachings in the houses;
but his audience had a singular appearance. In front of the minister
might be seen the proud features of the huguenots, with helmets on their
heads, swords by their sides, and some were armed with cuirass,
arquebuse, or halberd; for, since the last catholic resort to arms, they
feared a surprise. Baudichon watched over the assembly. Wearing an
allécret (a sort of light breastplate), and holding a staff in his hand,
he ‘set the people in order,’ assigning them their places, and whenever
he chanced to hear any conversation, ‘bidding them be silent;’ then
Farel would begin to speak and preach the Gospel with boldness.[435]

The syndics, placed between the reformers and the catholics, could not
tell what to do. If they arrested Furbity, they would exasperate the
catholics and Savoyards; if they allowed him to continue his philippics
against the reformed, they would offend the huguenots and the Bernese.
The Two Hundred therefore resolved to leave the Dominican ostensibly at
large, at the same time treating him in reality as a prisoner. He might
go where he pleased, but attended by six guards, who followed him even
to the foot of the pulpit. ‘Alas!’ exclaimed his friends, ‘they have
placed the reverend father in the keeping of the watch!’ On hearing
which the monk observed, haughtily: ‘I am under restraint on account of
a set of people who are good for nothing.’

Christmas day arrived: the Dominican had ‘a very numerous audience,
particularly of women.’ Incense smoked on the altars; the chants
resounded in the choir; the faithful had never shown so much fervor, and
the monk preached with such warmth that, ‘within the memory of man,
there had never been so fine a service.’[436] At the same time, Farel,
plainly dressed, was preaching in a large room. There was no incense, no
tapers, no chanting, but the words of God which stirred men’s
consciences. This irritated Furbity still more, and on the last day of
the year he exclaimed from the pulpit: ‘All who follow the new law are
heretics and the most worthless of men.’[437] Thus ended the year 1533.

[Sidenote: Furbity Takes Leave.]

The new year was to make the balance incline to the side of the
Reformation; accordingly the clergy, as if terrified at the future,
resolved to destroy the tree by the roots, and inaugurated the first day
of the year 1534 by an extraordinary proclamation. ‘In the name of
Monseigneur of Geneva and of his vicar,’ said the priests from all the
pulpits, ‘it is ordered that no one shall preach _the Word of God_,
either in public or in private, and that all the books of Holy
Scripture, whether in French or in German, shall be burnt.’[438] The
reformed, who were present in great numbers in the church, were
staggered at the new-year’s gift which the bishop presented to his
people. The Dominican, who was preaching that day for the last time,
outdid the proclamation, and bade farewell of his audience in a paltry

                 Je veux vous donner mes étrennes,
                 Dieu convertisse les luthériens!
                 S’ils ne se retournent à bien,
                 Qu’il leur donne fièvres quartaines!
                 Qui veut _si, prennent ses mitaines_![439]

Notwithstanding his invocation of the quartan ague, the catholics said,
with tears in their eyes, ‘With what devotion he takes leave of us!’
All, however, had not been equally touched: just as the monk was
preparing to depart, his guards stopped him, for he had forgotten that
he was a prisoner.

Meanwhile the episcopal mandate was causing disturbance in the city.
‘Forbid the preaching of the Gospel,’ said some; ‘burn the holy books!
What a horrible notion! The Mahometans never did anything like it with
regard to the Koran, or the Ghebers with the books of Zoroaster. Those
who are charged to preach the Word of God are the very men to condemn it
to the flames!’ Thus catholics and evangelicals took up arms—the former
to destroy the Bible, the others to defend it.

They remained under arms not only during the night of the first of
January, but also during the second, the third, and a part of the
fourth, bivouacking in the squares, and kindling great fires. The
citizens of Geneva had often taken up arms from other motives. If any
one had now gone to the catholics and asked them: ‘Why are you doing
this?’ they would have answered: ‘Because we desire to drive out the
Bible:’ and if the same question had been put to the reformed, they
would have answered: ‘Because we desire to keep it.’ These poor folks
had often nothing to eat or drink; and when any party sent to a house to
procure provisions, the other party often seized the spoil. They were
obliged to give the purveyors a strong escort.[440]

It was a strange sight, no doubt, to see a town filled with armed men
because of the Word of peace. It was in this way that great emotions
displayed themselves at that epoch, and it would be ridiculous to
exhibit the men of the sixteenth century with the manners of the
nineteenth. The evangelical Christians believed that, if the Bible were
taken from them, Jesus would also be lost to them; it seemed that if
there were no more Scripture, there would be no more Christ, no more
salvation. The political huguenots, not troubling themselves about that
matter, thought that the Bible was the best means of getting rid of the
bishop. Consequently all alike passed the days and nights under arms
around the watchfires, being unwilling to have the Scriptures taken away
from them. The reformed, desiring to appear pacific, thought it their
duty to yield a little, and prevailed upon Alexander to withdraw, as he
had been lawfully banished. He turned his steps in the direction of
France, where he soon after found a martyr’s death. But the evangelical
cause in Geneva lost nothing, for, as Alexander left on one side,
Froment returned on the other; and almost at the same moment an embassy
from Berne, headed by Sebastian of Diesbach, appeared at the city gates.
These worthy deputies, seeing what was going on,—the bivouacks, the
soldiers, the spears, and arquebuses,—stopped their horses, examined the
groups with an air of astonishment, asked what it all meant, and finally
exhorted the rival parties to withdraw. The Genevese began to understand
the strangeness of their position: the huguenots felt that it was a
different power from that of their arquebuses which should defend the
Bible; the men of both parties, therefore, yielded to the wise
remonstrances of the Bernese, and every man retired to his own

[Sidenote: Three Reformers In Geneva.]

Diesbach and his colleagues came with the intent of prosecuting the
Dominican; but while shutting the door against the monk, they desired to
throw it wide open to the Reformation. Farel had been at Geneva some
time; Froment had just arrived; but that was not all. A man of modest
appearance, who formed part of the Bernese retinue, was to be more
formidable to Roman-catholicism than the illustrious ambassadors
themselves. They had with them the young and gentle Viret. Weak and
faint, he was still suffering from a wound inflicted by a priest of
Payerne, but the deputies of Berne had insisted on his accompanying
them. Thus Farel, Viret, and Froment—three men of lively faith and
indefatigable zeal—were going to work together in Geneva. Everything
seemed to indicate that the reformed bands of Switzerland were unmasking
their batteries and preparing to dismantle those of the pope. They were
about to open a sharp fire, which would beat down the thick walls that
for so long had sheltered the oracles and exactions of the papacy.

Viret immediately asked after his friends Farel and Froment, who had
been forced to hide themselves during the armed crisis; some huguenots
went in search of them and brought them to the Tête-noire, where the
embassy was quartered. ‘You shall stay with us,’ said the Bernese; ‘we
will protect your liberty, and you shall announce the Gospel.’ The three
reformers immediately began to preach in private houses,[442]
proclaiming the authority and the doctrines of those Holy Scriptures
which the clergy had condemned. What a strange contradiction! The bishop
had just interdicted the Bible, and the three most powerful preachers in
the French tongue were now publicly teaching its divine lessons.... So
many and such good workmen had never before been seen in Geneva. ‘And
the papists dared do nothing against them.’[443]

But the Bernese wanted more: ‘You protect that Dominican who slanders
our good reputation,’ they said to the council; ‘you despise our mode of
living, you condemn the holy Gospel of God, you maltreat those who
desire to understand it, and banish those who preach it: is that
conducting yourselves in conformity with the treaty of alliance? Let the
monk defend what he has taught: we have brought preachers who will show
him the falseness of his doctrine. If you refuse these requests, Berne
will find other means of vindicating her honor.’ The syndics replied to
the Bernese: ‘It is not our business to know what concerns priests;
apply to the prince-bishop.’—‘That is a mere evasion,’ answered Berne.
‘We give you back our letters of alliance.’ At these words the premier
syndic, becoming alarmed, offered to let the Dominican appear before
them. The Bernese accepted, but ‘on condition that the monk should be
obliged to answer the ministers before all the people.’[444] That was
the essential point.

Footnote 428:

  _Lettres certaines d’aucuns grands troubles et tumultes advenus à
  Genève, avec la disputation faite l’an 1534._ This pamphlet is dated
  April 1, 1534, and is from the pen of Farel, though the printer
  describes it as being by a notary of Geneva.

Footnote 429:

  _Lettres certaines d’aucuns grands troubles et tumultes advenus à
  Genève, avec la disputation faite l’an 1534_, avant-propos.

Footnote 430:

  Thiers on the Insurrection in Spain.

Footnote 431:

  MS. du procès inquisitionnel de Lyon. Archives de Berne, pp. 38, 198,
  229, 285.

Footnote 432:

  Registre du Conseil du 22 Décembre 1533. Froment, _Gestes merveilleux
  de Genève_, p. 78. Sœur Jeanne, _Levain du Calvinisme_, p. 71.
  _Lettres certaines d’aucuns grands troubles_, &c.

Footnote 433:

  Recent investigations indicate that this house was situated in the Rue
  basse du Marché, in front of the Terraillet.

Footnote 434:

  ‘Les méchants se bâtissent des triomphes en l’air, et tous ces bruits
  ne sont finalement que fumée.’—_Lettres certaines._ Froment, _Gestes
  de Genève_, p. 79. Sœur Jeanne, _Levain du Calvinisme_, p. 73.

Footnote 435:

  Froment, _Gestes de Genève_, p. 79. MS. du procès inquisitionnel de
  Lyon, p. 226.

Footnote 436:

  ‘De vie d’hommes, n’avait été fait si bel office.’ Registre du Conseil
  des 23 et 24 Décembre et du 27 Janvier, 1534.—La Sœur Jeanne, _Levain
  du Calvinisme_, p. 74.

Footnote 437:

  Registre du Conseil des 27 et 28 Décembre.—Gautier MSC.—Ruchat, iii.
  p. 245.

Footnote 438:

  MSC. de Roset, liv. iii. ch. xvii.—Registre du 1 Janvier, 1534.—Spon.
  i. p. 50.—Ruchat, iii. p. 244.—Roset and Farel, both contemporaries,
  and in a position to know the truth, report the fact that the Holy
  Scriptures were to be _burnt_. The minutes of the council do not
  mention it; but the secretary occasionally toned down what seemed too
  strong for a council the majority of which was at that time catholic.

Footnote 439:

  _Prendre ses mitaines_, a figurative expression for _prendre ses
  mesures_.—_Lettres certaines_, &c.

Footnote 440:

  Froment, _Actes de Genève_, p. 80.

Footnote 441:

  Froment, _Gestes de Genève_, p. 80.

Footnote 442:

  Farellus, Fromentius, Viretus intra privatos parietes in prædicando
  Dei verbo. _Geneva restituta_, p. 65.

Footnote 443:

  MSC. de Roset, _Chron._, lib. iii. ch. xviii.—Froment, _Gestes de
  Genève_, pp. 80, 81.—Registre du Conseil du 5 Janvier.

Footnote 444:

  Registre du Conseil des 7 et 8 Janvier, 1534.—Froment, _Gestes de
  Genève_, pp. 80, 81.—Ruchat, iii. p. 245.

                              CHAPTER IV.
                            THE TOURNAMENT.
                      (JANUARY TO FEBRUARY 1534.)

[Sidenote: The Three Reformers.]

The 9th of January was an important date in the history of the
Reformation of Geneva, and perhaps (we might add) in that of Europe. The
laity were about to resume their rights: a priest was to appear before
the Genevese laymen and the Bernese magistrates. As soon as the Council
of Two Hundred had assembled, the ambassadors entered, followed by three
persons who attracted the special attention of all present. The eyes
full of fire, the bold bravery, the indomitable features of one of them
marked him to be Farel. The second, less known, had, although young, the
prudence of a man in years and the sweetness of a St. John; this was
Viret. The third, short in stature and of mean appearance, decided in
his gait, lively, and talkative; this was Froment. They all took their
seats at the right of the premier syndic. The friar of the order of St.
Dominic, entering in his turn, sat on the left on a raised bench. They
had met to attack and defend the papacy. The tournament, at which a
great crowd of gentlemen and citizens was present, resembled one of
those ‘solemn judgments’ to which man had had recourse for ages to
terminate certain controversies. The subject of the dispute was more
important than usual. Truth and tradition, the middle ages and modern
times, independence and slavery, were in the balance. All, therefore,
who were interested in divine and human things, waited with impatience.
Their expectations were disappointed.

Just as the struggle was about to begin, one of the combatants hung
back. The Dominican rose and said: ‘Messieurs, I am a monk and doctor of
Paris; I cannot appear before laymen without the license of my prelate.’
He sat down. ‘You offered before all the people,’ said Sebastian of
Diesbach, ‘to defend your position by the Holy Scriptures, and now you
want a licence.’ Farel rose and observed, that the monk and the great
apostle were of contrary opinions; ‘St. Paul refused, in such a case, to
appear before the priests at Jerusalem, and appealed to Cæsar. Now Cæsar
was certainly a layman, and what is more—a heathen.’ The monk forbore to
reply to this invincible argument; but looking with pity on the
individual who had dared speak to him, said, with a gesture of contempt,
‘that he had nothing to do with that man.’ Then, remembering how the
strappado and the stake brought such cavillers to their senses in Paris,
he added: ‘Let him go and speak like that in France!’ ‘Good father,’
said the premier syndic, ‘since you will not answer when our lords of
Berne accuse you, leave that place and sit on the bench yonder, where
you shall hear the rest.’ The monk of St. Dominic had to quit his place
of honor and go to the bar; but notwithstanding this humiliation, he
again refused to speak. The syndics then sent to ask the grand-vicar to
give him leave to answer; but this dignitary replied: ‘I am ill.’ The
deputies made the same request to the official, M. de Veigy, who
answered: ‘The bishop has forbidden me to do so.’ ‘Shameful!’ exclaimed
many; ‘all these priests refuse to give an account of their faith.’ The
Dominican said to the council: ‘Let my lords the ambassadors select as
judges two doctors from Germany; and we will select two from Paris; then
I will reply not only to Farel, Viret, and Froment, but to a hundred or
two hundred of such preachers.... Alone I will meet them all!’ The
Bernese declared they would trust the matter to those only who were
lawfully authorized. They wanted more. The refusal of the Dominican
served but to increase their desire to see the Reformation freely
preached in Geneva. Not contenting themselves with a theological
discussion, they said to the syndics: ‘The way to pacify the city and to
be just towards all, is to pick out one of the parish churches and
appoint a preacher of the Gospel to it. Those who wish to go to the
sermon, will go to the sermon; those who wish to go to mass, will go to
mass; every man is to remain free in his conscience; no one shall be
constrained, and all will be satisfied.’ ‘We are only laymen,’ answered
the astonished syndics; ‘it is not our business to choose preachers and
assign them churches.’ The council sent a deputation to Berne to soften
the rigor of the chiefs of the state; but it was useless. The greater
the _suppleness_ (to use the language of a manuscript) shown by the
Genevans, the greater the inflexibility displayed by the Bernese. It was
a struggle between the pliant and the rigid; and the pliant, as usual,
were compelled to give way.[445]

[Sidenote: Reparation Demanded.]

The Bernese ambassadors pursued their plans with vigor, and demanded
reparation for the insults of the Dominican, and a church for the
preachers of the Gospel. ‘If you refuse,’ added Diesbach, ‘we shall
return you the seals of our alliance; we shall take back ours; we shall
prosecute the monk ... and whomsoever we think fit.’ The Two Hundred
were astounded, involuntary tears escaped from the eyes of some, and
even the people outside were much disturbed (says the Council minute).
Joining deeds to words, Sebastian of Diesbach placed the letters of
alliance on the table. The whole assembly immediately rose up with
indescribable emotion, and with tears begged the ambassadors to take
back their letters. ‘We will do our best to satisfy you!’ exclaimed the
premier-syndic, stout catholic as he was. The stern Bernese noble was
touched. ‘We take them back,’ he said at last; ‘but we protest that we
shall return them if you do not satisfy our demands.’[446] Everything
was then prepared for the trial. Geneva undertook to bear the axe into
the wilderness of church abuses: a priest, accused by laymen, was about
to be tried by laymen. This in itself was a revolution.

[Sidenote: The Monk On His Trial.]

On the 27th January, the Two Hundred sitting as a court of justice,
Furbity was brought before them. He had taken courage; his erect head
and confident look showed that he believed himself sure of victory. He
called upon the Bernese to set forth their grievances, but protested
against the inquiry on account of the sacerdotal character with which he
was invested. Then the following colloquy took place:—

AMBASSADOR.—You preached publicly that four kinds of executioners
divided the robe of our Saviour Jesus Christ at the foot of the cross,
and that the first were Germans. That word concerns us.

MONK.—I never used such words; and I do not know to what country the
executioners belonged.

AMBAS.—We will prove this charge presently. You said that those who eat
meat on Friday and Saturday are worse than Jews, Turks, and mad dogs.

MONK.—I did not mean thereby to offend their Excellencies of Berne; I
was preaching only to the people of this city.

AMBAS.—You said that all who read the Holy Scriptures in the vulgar
tongue are no better than lewd livers, gluttons, drunkards, blasphemers,
murderers, and robbers.

MONK.—I affirm that I have not abused my lords of Berne.

AMBAS.—You spoke in a general manner, and consequently included them in
your accusation.

MONK.—I was speaking to the Genevese only.

AMBAS.—You said: ‘Avoid these wicked modern heretics, these Germans, as
you would lepers and unclean persons. Do not let them marry your
daughters, you had better give them to the dogs.’

MONK.—I deny having preached that article.

AMBAS.—You said: ‘That the modern heretics, who will not obey the pope
or the cardinals, bishops, and curates, are on that account the devil’s
flock and worse than mad dogs ... and ought to be hanged on the

MONK.—That is an article of faith, and I have not to answer for it
before you.

PREMIER-SYNDIC.—You are commanded to answer.

MONK.—I shall not answer.

PREMIER-SYNDIC.—The charge is confessed.

AMBAS.—‘Most honored lords, we belong to those who read Scripture in the
vulgar tongue. We belong to those who hold our Lord as _sole head of the
Church_, as its everlasting and sovereign pastor; and, moreover, we are
Germans; and for this reason we believe the said articles have been
uttered against us. If we were what these articles say, we should
deserve corporal punishment; and therefore we demand, in terms of the
_lex talionis_, that the said preacher be visited with a punishment
similar to that which we should have incurred.’

The reasoning of the ambassador was not irrefutable. Envoys from Zurich,
Basle, and other Evangelical cantons, even from the landgrave of Hesse
or the elector of Saxony might just as well accuse the monk of having
insulted them. But it is precisely this which explains the conduct of
the Bernese deputies. Protestantism had been abused, its fundamental
principles trampled under foot. The Bernese did not prosecute the monk
in order to avenge a personal affront; what they wanted was to see the
Word of God set in the place of the word of the pope, and the
Reformation established in Geneva. The Gospel was on trial and not my
lords of Berne; but the latter considered themselves the champions of
the Reformation in Switzerland, and when enemies attacked it, they
thought it their duty to defend it. To have kept out of the lists would
have been disobedience to the supreme judge of the combat. The
ambassadors brought up fourteen witnesses ready to swear that the monk
had said what was ascribed to him.[447]

Furbity seeing no other means of escape, determined to fight for Rome.
On Thursday, 29th January, a rumor spread through the city that the monk
would hold a discussion with the reformers. The Two Hundred, and a
certain number of other citizens, met in the Hotel de Ville to be
present at this important struggle.

One of the tourneys of the Reformation at Geneva was about to begin; the
two combatants were in the lists. On one side the Dominican, the
champion of Rome, came forward with scholastic learning that was not to
be despised, a front of adamant, lungs strong enough to reduce all his
rivals to silence, and a tongue furnished with an inexhaustible flow of
words.[448] At once violent and skilful, he made use of every weapon,
and possessed a particular art of glozing over his errors and rendering
them less apparent.[449] On the other side was Farel, less experienced
than his rival in the tricks of dialectics, but full of love for the
truth, firm as a warrior advancing to defend it, and ready to confound
the monk’s scholastic arguments by the invincible demonstrations of the
Scriptures of God. Possessing a manly eloquence and sonorous voice, his
clear, energetic, and at times ironical language, did prompt justice
upon the sophisms of his adversaries[450].

The reformer rose first and said: ‘This is a serious business; let us
therefore speak with all mildness. Let not one strive to get the better
of the other. We can have no nobler triumph than to see the truth
prevail. So that it be acknowledged by all, I willingly consent to
forfeit my life.’ Touched by his words, the assembly exclaimed: ‘Yes,
yes! that is what we desire.’

Furbity began by asserting the authority of the pope. He maintained that
the heads of the Church may ordain things that are not in Scripture, and
to prove it, he quoted Deuteronomy: ‘If there arise a matter too hard
for thee in judgment, thou shalt come unto the priests, and thou shalt
observe to do according to all that they inform thee.’[451]

Farel, on the contrary, maintained the authority of the Holy Scriptures,
and declared that all doctrine must be founded on them alone. He called
to mind that God, in this very book of Moses, had said: ‘_Ye shall not
add unto the Word which I command you, neither shall you diminish aught
from it_.’[452] ‘What is said of the Levitical priest in the Old
Testament (he added) ought to be applied, not to the Romish priests, but
to Jesus Christ, who is the everlasting high-priest. To him, therefore,
we must go, him we must obey, and not the priest.’[453] ‘Christ,’
exclaimed Furbity, ‘gave to St. Peter the key of the kingdom of heaven,
and St. Peter transmitted it to the priests, his successors.’ ‘The key
of the heavenly kingdom,’ answered Farel, ‘is the Word of God. If any
one believes in the promises of grace with all his heart, heaven opens
for him. If any one rejects them, heaven is closed against him.’

As it was growing late, the discussion was adjourned to the next day,
and Furbity said haughtily that he was ready. A voice from the midst of
the crowd called out: ‘Endeavor to hold more to the Word of God and less
to the teaching of the Sorbonne.’ ‘I shall behave like a man,’ he
answered. ‘If the strength of a man consists in his want of sense, then
you are a true man,’ rudely returned the speaker.

The next day the discussion entered upon a new phase.

[Sidenote: Interpretation By The Councils.]

Farel maintained throughout the right and duty of the Christian people
to read the Scriptures, to understand them, and to submit to them alone.
Furbity, on the contrary, asserted that the Scriptures should be read by
the clergy only, and understood conformably with the interpretation of
the councils. He proved his point by reasons which might have some force
in the eyes of his friends, but they had none for Farel, who maintained
the necessity of the immediate contact of each Christian soul with the
Scriptures of God. It was not from councils (he contended) nor from
popes, but from the Word of God itself that every Christian must receive
by faith the truth which saves. The first assembly at Jerusalem
(ordinarily termed the first council), was it not, according to the
account in the Acts, composed of apostles, elders, and of the _whole
church_, and did it not begin its letter with: ‘The apostles and elders
and _brethren_’? Defending, therefore, the rights of the lay members of
the flock, he declaimed energetically against the institution of all
those dignitaries who, in the Romish Church, are _lords over God’s
heritage_: ‘You invent all sorts of things,’ he said to the
Dominican,[454] ‘you introduce diversities of orders, a countless number
of eminences, bishops, prelates, archbishops, primates, cardinals,
popes, and other superiorities of which Scripture makes no mention. You
do everything to your own fancy, without any regard to God or the right.
The apostles took counsel with the whole assembly of the believers, but
you ... you do everything, you are everything! ... you cut and shape as
you please. The Christian people are no more called by you into council
than dogs and brutes. Your ordinances must be adored, and those of God
be trodden under foot. Your papal monarchy surpasses all others in
pride, pomp, and feasting. You want those who are to teach the people to
be princes with lordships, estates, law-courts, and governments. You
want to have a rich triumphant Jesus, who shall put to death all who
contradict him.... Ah! sirs, the Saviour was not such here below: he was
poor, humble, put to death, and his disciples were banished, imprisoned,
stoned, and killed.... What similarity is there between the Apostolic
Church and yours?... The supreme argument in yours is the
executioner.... The apostles did not, like you, fulminate fierce
excommunications; they did not, like you, imprison and condemn.... No!
Jesus is not in the midst of you. He is in the midst of those who are
expelled, beaten, burnt for the Gospel, as the martyrs were in the time
of the primitive Church.’

[Sidenote: Farel’s Thunders.]

The reformer’s energetic words sounded like a peal of thunder to his
antagonist. Furbity was confounded and bewildered; his ideas became
confused; he lost his presence of mind, and, wishing to establish the
doctrine of the episcopate as it is understood at Rome, he quoted the
verse in which it is said that a bishop ought to be _the husband of one
wife_, which greatly amused the assembly. He did more: desiring to prove
that there had been bishops of the Roman model in the apostolic times,
he mentioned Judas Iscariot. ‘It is written of Judas,’ he said, ‘his
bishopric let another take: _Episcopatum suum accipiat alter_. As Judas
had a bishopric, he must of necessity have been a bishop;’ and he
concluded there was no salvation out of the Roman episcopate. The doctor
had not kept his promise to behave _like a man_. Farel smiled at the
strange argument, and began to lash the Dominican with the scourge of
irony. ‘As you have quoted that good bishop, Judas,’ he said, ‘Judas,
who sold the Saviour of the world; as you have asserted that he had a
diocese, pray tell me in what part of the Roman empire it lay, and how
much it was worth, according to the customary language of Rome. That
bishop, whose name you use, is very like certain prelates who, instead
of preaching the Word of God, _carry the bag_,[455] and instead of
glorifying Jesus Christ, sell him by selling his members, whose souls
they hand over to the devil, receiving money from him in exchange.’[456]

The monk, astonished at such boldness, again exclaimed in a threatening
manner: ‘Go and repeat what you say at Paris, or any other city of
France.’ So sure was he that the evangelist would be sent to the stake
there that he could not refrain from repeating such a peremptory
argument. It was all that Farel would have desired: ‘Would to God that I
were allowed to explain my faith publicly,’ he said; ‘I should prove it
by Holy Scripture, and if I did not, I would consent to be put to

As the discussion went on, the feelings grew inflamed on both sides—some
defending Furbity, others supporting Farel.

No one was more assiduous at this verbal tournament than Baudichon de la
Maisonneuve; he accompanied the evangelical champion, both as he went to
the meeting and returned from it, being unwilling to leave to others the
care of protecting his person. The catholics did not fail to notice the
constant goings and comings of the great citizen; it quite shocked them:
his intimacy with the detested heretic seemed to them most disgraceful.
A young man of five-and-twenty, named Delorme, who was born at Fontenay,
a league and a half from the city, and who for upwards of a year had
been following his business with a relative in Geneva, specially watched
Baudichon, and was surprised to see so great a gentleman pay such
frequent visits to the poor preacher, Farel.[457] He made a note of it,
which, on a future day he made use of.

The disputation went on all through Friday. The market on Saturday, the
services on Sunday, and the Feast of the Purification which fell on
Monday, interrupted it for three days. The three ministers took
advantage of the leisure given them to preach to the people with fervor.
Each day they proclaimed the Gospel in the large hall of their friend’s
house, and Baudichon watched to see that everything went on in an
orderly manner—which was very necessary, for the sensation excited by
the discussion attracted large crowds. In the evening the evangelicals
met in different houses and conversed together until far into the night.
During the daytime they endeavored to attract to their assemblies such
as still hesitated between popery and the Reformation. ‘Ah,’ exclaimed
young Delorme with vexation, ‘see what efforts they are making to
increase their party.’[458] All Geneva was in a ferment.

[Sidenote: Tales About Farel.]

But the sensation was not confined to that city: the anger excited by
the discussions manifested itself in violent speeches in the surrounding
districts. The idle, the curious, and the devout would stop and question
travellers ‘to learn the great news from Geneva which they so desired to
know.’[459] Many priests and monks preached in the villages round the
city against _heretics_ and _heresy_; and in Geneva, as well as in other
places through which Farel had passed, there was always some friar or
old woman to tell strange stories about the reformer. ‘He has no whites
to his eyes,’ they would say; ‘his beard is red and stiff, and there is
a devil in every hair of it. He has horns on his head, and his feet are
cloven like a bullock’s.... Lastly—and this seemed more horrible than
all the rest—he is the son of a Jew of Carpentras.’[460]

All these stories, flying about the city, reached the Tête-Noire inn,
where the Bernese and the three reformers lodged. The domestic life of
this hostelry was not edifying. The landlord (according to the
chronicle) had two wives: his lawful spouse and a servant who acted as
the mistress. The former, an upright person, behaved becomingly to the
preachers of the Gospel, though she did not like them; but the other
woman detested them, and every time they entered the house, both master
and servant scowled at them. They restrained themselves however before
the illustrious lords of Berne, greeting them with forced smiles; but
made up for it when they were alone with the preachers. The latter
usually dined together; and the landlord and servant, while waiting on
them, heard language from the lips of the evangelists which greatly
provoked them. Instead of the idle stories and jests so common at the
dinner-table, the three ministers would exchange words of truth with one
another; and this conversation, so new to the two listeners, caused them
to make wry faces (as Froment records, who saw them). The three guests
had scarcely quitted the room when the servant, who had restrained
herself, would cry out after them: ‘Heretics! traitors! brigands!
huguenots! Germans!’ ... ‘I had rather,’ said the landlord, ‘that they
went away without paying (that was saying a great deal), provided it was
a long way off ... so long that we should never see them again.’ These
two wretched people felt that the doctrine of the Bible condemned their
disorderly lives, and the hatred they felt towards the holiness of God’s
Word was vented on those who proclaimed it.

‘The adulterous servant, unable to serve the preachers as Herodias
served John the Baptist,’ says Froment, ‘avenged herself in another
manner.’ Addressing one of those women who prate at random about
everything: ‘Only imagine what I have seen,’ said she; ‘one night as the
preachers were going to bed, I stole up softly after them, and,
approaching the door, I peeped through a hole.... What did I see? They
were _feeding devils_!’ The neighbor’s dismay did not hinder the servant
from continuing: ‘These devils were like black cats ... their eyes
flashed fire, their claws were crooked and pointed ... they were under
the table ... moving backwards and forwards.... Yes; I saw them through
the hole.’ In a short time all the gossips of the quarter knew it; ‘at
which there was a great stir in the neighborhood.’[461]

To this story of the servant, the priests added theirs, and said: ‘There
are three devils in Geneva in the form of men—Farel, Viret, Froment; and
many demoniacs. If ever you listen to those three goblins, they will
spring upon you, enter into your body, and you are done for.’[462] Not
satisfied merely with repeating such absurdities in their conversation,
the priests began to preach to the people upon ‘the three devils.’ Next
a song was written on them; and ere long the catholic mob went up and
down the streets singing these rude rhymes:—

                      Farel farera,
                      Viret virera,
                      Froment on moudra,
                      Dieu nous aidera
                      Et le diable les emportera.[463]

The popular epigram was mistaken. At the very moment when the catholics
were singing it about the city, tragic events were coming that were to
change everything in Geneva. It was the Roman Church that was about to
_veer_ and popery to depart.

Footnote 445:

  Registre du Conseil des 10, 11, 12 Janvier, 1534.—Ruchat, iii. p. 251,
  252.—MSC. de Gautier.

Footnote 446:

  Registre du Conseil des 25 et 26 Janvier, 1534.—MSC. de Roset, liv.
  ii. ch. xviii. etc.

Footnote 447:

  Registre du Conseil du 27 Janvier, 1534.—_Lettres certaines d’aucuns
  grands troubles._

Footnote 448:

  Furbito homine sinuoso, cui firma latera, frons ferrea.—_Geneva
  restituta_, p. 68.

Footnote 449:

  Pictæ tectoria linguæ.—_Persius._

Footnote 450:

  Farello pro veritate strenue stante, etc.—_Geneva restituta._

Footnote 451:

  Deuteronomy xvii. 8-10.

Footnote 452:

  Deuteronomy iv. 2.

Footnote 453:

  Farel indicated the passages taken from the following chapters:
  Hebrews v. to x.; Romans xiv.; Matthew v.; Luke xxiv.; John v. viii.
  xii. xiv.; Romans xv.; Galatians i.; Deuteronomy xviii.

Footnote 454:

  _Lettres certaines_, &c., by Farel.

Footnote 455:

  Au lieu de porter la Parole de Dieu, portent la bourse.

Footnote 456:

  _Lettres certaines._

Footnote 457:

  MSC. du Procès inquisitionnel de Lyon, p. 80.

Footnote 458:

  Ibid. p. 81.

Footnote 459:

  _Lettres certaines d’aucuns grands troubles_, &c. This work, which is
  dated Geneva, 1st April 1534, and consequently appeared two months
  after the discussion, is the principal source whence we have taken our
  account of these discussions.

Footnote 460:

  Froment, _Gestes de Genève_, p. 86.

Footnote 461:

  Froment, _Gestes de Genève_, p. 85.

Footnote 462:


Footnote 463:

  Farel shall depart, Viret shall veer (go away); Froment (corn) shall
  be ground in the mill; God will help us, and the devil shall run away
  with them all. Froment’s _Gestes de Genève_, pp. 84-86.

                               CHAPTER V.
                               THE PLOT.
                      (JANUARY AND FEBRUARY 1534.)

[Sidenote: Christendom In Sixteenth Century.]

In the sixteenth century a consciousness of justice, truth, and liberty
was awakening throughout Christendom, and men were beginning to protest
everywhere, particularly in Geneva, at the lamentable perversions of
social and religious life imposed by popery in times gone by. But the
expiring Middle Ages rose energetically against this awakening which was
to condemn them to be reckoned among the dead. The object of the
struggle going on was to secure the triumph of the Reformation—or, as
others expressed it, the triumph of progress and civilization. This
struggle is the supreme interest of history. The intrigues of courts,
and even the battles of armies, which are more pleasing to certain
minds, are trifles in comparison with these mighty movements of
humanity. Nevertheless, if they had their grandeur and their necessity,
they had their danger also. To preserve the ship, launched into the open
sea, from striking upon the treacherous shoals of disorder and
libertinage, it was necessary that the Lord should command it. At the
time when mankind were breaking the secular chains of popery and the
fantastic institutions of feudalism, it was necessary they should cleave
to the sovereign Master, who alone gives the breath of life to
individuals and to nations. If England has so long enjoyed the precious
fruits of liberty, and if France has not yet been able to secure them,
it is because the former welcomed the Reformation and the latter
rejected it. One of the great evils springing out of popery was the
blunting of the moral sense; and the revival of the sixteenth century
was a moral revival. In catholicism there were sincere men; but
everything was good in their eyes, provided they attained an end which
they believed to be glorious. And hence, strange to say, pretended
preservers of order easily became assassins.

[Sidenote: Meditated Coup-D’-État.]

The Bishop of Geneva watched attentively from his silent priory all that
was passing in his diocese, at that time so strangely agitated. He
desired to reascend his double throne, and still hoped to reëstablish
the authority of the prince and the pope in the city. Many catholics,
especially at the courts of the bishop and the duke, could really see
nothing in this reformation of doctrine but ‘a popular tumult, which
would be of short duration.’ ‘The aspect of affairs will soon change,’
they said.[464] Perhaps if Calvin had not come, this prophecy might have
been fulfilled; but others saw things in darker colors. The _tempest of
Luther_ would, in their opinion, upset everything; the same wave that
now threatened the power of the pontiff would ere long sweep away the
power of kings. Men did not know how to act that they might prevent such
a misfortune; and the most decided said plainly, that the only means of
saving Geneva was to set up one supreme magistrate. Did not the Romans
create dictators in the hour of extreme peril? All these councils of
Twenty-five, of Sixty, of Two Hundred, and, above all, the General
Council of the people were (the Episcopals thought) both useless and
pernicious. The administration ought to be placed in the hands of one
man, and be given preferably to one of the lords of Friburg. The fervent
catholicism of that canton and its resentment at Wernli’s death
guaranteed the fidelity with which the mission would be fulfilled. It
does not appear that anything was decided about the selection; but the
bishop made up his mind to attempt a bold stroke of policy. Having come
to an understanding with the Duke of Savoy,[465] he signed at Arbois the
instruments which set up in Geneva a _Lieutenant of the prince_ in
temporal matters _with full powers of punishing criminals_. The document
was immediately forwarded to Portier, the episcopal secretary, the
bishop’s confidential man, who was to determine, in accordance with the
heads of the party, the favorable moment and the best means of carrying
it into execution. On his side the duke did not keep them waiting for
assistance. Portier received blank warrants, sealed with the ducal arms,
with authority to use them as he pleased, so as to bring the matter to a
happy issue. The plot was skilfully devised. The court of Turin, the
lords of Friburg, and the mamelukes were all to assist the bishop; but,
according to the received formula, ‘God was there and the republic of

Indeed, it seemed at first that the instrument was destined to remain
mere waste paper. The episcopal plot existed; the deed had been signed
by the prince-bishop on the 12th of January, but on the first of
February it was still a dead letter. Portier, aware of the spirit with
which the citizens were animated, feared to make the episcopal ordinance
known, either to magistrates or people. Privately, however, he discussed
with some of his confidants the means of putting it into execution;
among them were two brothers named Pennet, one of whom was the episcopal
jailer. The bishop’s partisans at Geneva, as well as at Arbois and
Turin, thought that logical discussions only did harm: that they should
have recourse to more vigorous measures; that force only would constrain
the Genevese to bend their necks to the yoke; and, finally, that a riot
which disturbed the public peace would be, even if it failed, the best
means of justifying the nomination of a lieutenant invested with
absolute power. Some hot-headed episcopals, and particularly the two
Pennets, the _séides_ of the party, resolved to act immediately: ‘They
undertook, with several others, to spill much blood,’ says a document
written a few days after the affair.[467]

[Sidenote: Two Huguenots Assassinated.]

On Tuesday, 3d February, the most excitable of the episcopal party met
at the palace: Pennet, the jailer, his brother Claude, Jacques Desel,
and several others. It was after dinner. Inflamed by the desire of
saving the authority of the prince and the pope, excited by the
ordinance which they had hitherto kept by them, and irritated at seeing
Furbity, the Dominican, contradicted by Farel and prosecuted by the
Bernese, perhaps also (as some have believed) acting under positive
orders emanating from the bishop, these men armed themselves and issued
from the palace, ‘proposing to strike and kill the others,’ says the
document which we have just quoted. These fanatics—we believe them to
have been sincere, but unhappily of opinion that to stab a heretic was
one of the most meritorious works to win heaven—these fanatics entered
the court of St. Pierre’s. Just as they came in front of the steps, and
the large platform on which the white marble portal of the cathedral
opens, they met two huguenots, Nicholas Porral, the notary, and Stephen
d’Adda.[468] Their blood boiled at the sight of the two heretics: Pennet
the jailer drew his sword, sprung at Porral, struck him; and, seeing him
fall, impudently continued his way, with his band, by the Rue du Perron
to the Molard, the rallying ground of all rioters. D’Adda, and some
other huguenots who had come up, surrounded the wounded Porral, lifted
him up, and, wishing to stop the commencing riot as soon as possible,
carried him to the hotel-de-ville, and laid him, all pale and bleeding,
before the syndics and the council.

The magistrates were moved at the sight as of old—if we may compare the
great things of antiquity with the little things that inaugurated modern
times—as of old the corpse of Cæsar, gashed with wounds and carried
through the Forum, excited the indignation and cries of the startled
people. D’Adda informed the syndics of Pennet’s violent attack, and
called for the punishment of the assassin. But he had scarcely ceased
speaking when a great noise was heard from without: the court-yard of
the hotel-de-ville was filled with agitated citizens; tumultuous shouts
were raised, the gates of the hall were dashed open and ‘incontinent
(says the Register) many people rushed in furiously crying out: Justice!
justice!’ An estimable man, a worthy tradesman and zealous huguenot,
Nicholas Berger by name, who lived in the Rue du Perron, happened to be
in his shop just as the band, which had wounded Porral, was passing by.
Attracted by the noise, he had probably moved towards the door: Claude
Pennet observing him, stopped, and, as if jealous of his brother’s
exploit, sprung at the unarmed citizen, and with one blow of his dagger,
laid him dead at his feet. ‘All good men,’ added the citizens, ‘are
filled with horror, and demand that the criminal be punished according
to law.’

This event was not without importance. It was a new act in that
obstinate struggle which, at the beginning of the sixteenth century,
took place in a permanent manner in a little city on the shore of the
Leman lake, and was repeated in other shapes in other countries.
Combatants do not cross a frontier without marking their path by their
blood. Those who were then fighting the last battles of what may be
called the iron age, believed they were serving the cause of justice.
Impartial history shrinks from tracing too hideous a picture of these
insolent champions of Rome and feudalism. Even at Geneva, where they
were perhaps more violent than elsewhere, they were not all devoid of
generous sentiments. Undoubtedly many were animated by party-spirit; but
there were some also who desired the good of their country. In their
eyes, both religion and order were compromised by the alliance between
Switzerland and the Reformation, and that sacred cause could only be
upheld, they thought, by the energetic intervention of the episcopal
party. They were mistaken; but their error did not lie essentially in
that. The great evil consisted in the corruption of their moral sense by
the principles of a fanatical bigotry, so that all means appeared good
to attain their end; all—even the dagger.

While the people were demanding justice for a double murder, there was a
great uproar in the city: the drums beat, and everybody ran to arms. The
citizens, who wanted independence and reform, exclaimed that the
bishop’s followers, unable to vanquish them by words, desired to triumph
over them by the _mandosse_ (a sort of Spanish sword). ‘It is the fifth
riot the priests have got up to save the mass,’ they said, as they took
up their arms, not to attack but to support the established authorities.

The council was astounded at the news of Berger’s death. All its members
were opposed to such crimes; but three of the four syndics were
catholics: Du Crest, Claude Baud, and Malbuisson, and the councillors
were usually divided in the same proportion as the syndics. Besides
which, Portier, who headed the band, was the accredited agent of the
prince-bishop, whose authority the council desired to maintain. The
syndics were discussing what was to be done, when the ambassadors of
Berne demanded to speak with the council. The noble lords, who usually
maintained such a cold attitude, were much excited: ‘As we were coming
up to the hotel-de-ville,’ they said, ‘all the persons we met were
running to arms. It is to be feared that there will be a great butchery
(_tuerie_); we conjure you to look to it, and offer our services to
appease the disturbance.’ The premier syndic prayed them to do so; and,
when the Bernese had left, the council continued its deliberations.

Meanwhile, the principle huguenots had met in consultation. Two of their
friends had just fallen beneath the blows of their adversaries: one of
them was dead; their party had taken up arms; Portier and the Pennets
had fled in alarm; the catholic faction was discouraged. In this state
of things it would have been easy for them to fall upon their
adversaries and gain a decisive victory; but sentiments of order and
legality prevailed among them. They had no desire to infringe the law
but to appeal to it; there were judges in Geneva. Blood must be avenged,
not by violence but by justice. ‘No disorder,’ said the huguenot chiefs,
‘no revenge, no attack, no fighting! ... but let us help the magistrates
that they may be able to do their duty.’ Five hundred armed citizens,
the most valiant men in Geneva, arrived in good order and drew up in
front of the hotel-de-ville, while their chiefs—Maisonneuve, Salomon,
Perrin, and Aimé Levet—went into the council-room. ‘Honored lords,’ they
said, ‘we have assembled for no other reason than to preserve order. We
fear lest the priests have prepared a fourth or fifth _émeute_; and
hence we are here in a body to avoid their fury and lend assistance to
the syndics. We pray that the murderers and those who counselled the
riot may be punished.’[469] There was not a moment’s hesitation: all,
catholics and protestants alike, desired the guilty to be punished, and
search was made for them.

[Sidenote: The Bishop’s Palace Searched.]

It was thought that they were hiding in the bishop’s palace: it was
probable, indeed, that secretary Portier, who lived there, had gone
thither and given a refuge to his accomplices, as being the safest place
in all Geneva. ‘We will go and take them there,’ said Syndic Du Crest, a
catholic but loyal man. The other syndics rose, and all quitted the
hotel-de-ville followed by their officers. At the imposing sight of the
chief magistrates of the city, demanding an entrance into the palace,
the bishop’s servants opened the doors, and a strict search began
immediately. Not a chamber or a cellar or a garret escaped the
inquisitive eyes of the magistrates and their sergeants; ‘but for all
the pains they took,’ says the ‘Council Register,’ ‘none of the culprits
were found.’ Many believed they had escaped; Perronnette alone, the
episcopal secretary’s wife, seeing the vigor with which the assassins
were hunted after, felt her anguish doubled as to the fate of her
husband. The syndics, wishing to prevent new intrigues, resolved to
leave a few of their officers in the episcopal mansion, with orders to
keep guard during the night. The men stationed themselves in the
vestibule to wait for the morning; but no one in the city knew they were

These brave men were talking of what was going on in Geneva, when a
little before eight o’clock at night (it had been dark for some time, as
it was the beginning of February), a low, smothered voice was heard in
the street, as if some one was speaking through the key-hole. The guards
listened. The voice was heard again and pronounced several times in a
distinct manner the name of the portress. ‘It was a priest softly
calling to the servant,’ says the ‘Council Register.’ The huguenots,
understanding instantly the advantage they could derive from this
unexpected circumstance, desired a young man who was with them to
imitate a woman’s voice and answer. Disguising his tones, he said: ‘What
do you want?’ The priest having no doubts about the sex and functions of
the speaker, said (still in a low voice) that he wanted certain keys for
Mr. Secretary Portier and Claude Pennet. It is probable they wished to
use them to hide in some safer place, and perhaps leave the city by a
secret gate. The young man, again assuming a female voice, said: ‘What
will you do with them?’ ‘I shall take them to St. Pierre’s church, where
they are hidden,’ answered the priest. It was just what the guard wanted
to know. One of them got up, opened the gate, and the priest, seeing an
armed man instead of a woman, fled in affright. The guard, without
stopping to pursue him, ran to the hotel-de-ville, where the council was
sitting _en permanence_, and told the whole story to the syndics. The
murderers whom they were looking for were hidden in the cathedral. The
magistrates determined to go there immediately.

[Sidenote: The Search.]

It was no slight task to seek the assassins in the vast cathedral, all
filled with chapels, altars, and other places where men could hide. The
syndics entered between eight and nine o’clock at night with a certain
number of officers carrying flambeaux. The doors were shut immediately,
so that no one could get out, and a dead silence prevailed in the nave.
Under the flickering light of the torches, this pile, one of the finest
monuments of the twelfth century, displayed all its august majesty. But
that splendor of byzantine and gothic architecture, those graceful
proportions, that admirable unity so well calculated to produce a deep
impression of grandeur and harmony, did not strike My Lords of Geneva,
who were thinking of other matters. Du Crest and his colleagues were not
occupied with architectural decorations and holy images.... They were
hunting for murderers.

The search began: the magistrates and their officers went over the
chapels of the Holy Cross, the Virgin, St. Martin, St. Maurice, St.
Anthony, and nine others in the interior; they examined carefully the
eighteen altars, so richly adorned with all that the catholic worship
requires. The sergeants took their flambeaux into every corner, they
lifted up the carpets, they stooped to search for the culprits. The
apse, the transept, the sanctuary, they searched them all; they examined
the vestry, the stalls, the aisles, the galleries, the stairs—they found
nothing. They next went into the chapel of the Maccabees, adjoining the
cathedral, and which the cardinal-bishop, Jean de Brogny, had built a
century before, adorning it with magnificent carvings, gorgeous
paintings, and mouldings enriched with beads of gold. They passed by
those tables where might still be seen a young man keeping swine under
an oak, the cardinal desiring in this manner to recall the humble
recollections of his early life; but neither Portier, nor Pennet, nor
any of their accomplices could be found. The search had lasted nearly
three hours, and the magistrates and their officers were beginning to
lose all hope, when the idea occurred to one of them that possibly the
murderers they were looking after might be hidden in one of the three
towers. The syndics and their suite resolved to examine them, beginning
with the south tower, one hundred and fifty feet high. As they climbed
the numerous steps, they thought that, if the evidence of the priest was
true, the criminals must be there, and they might perhaps find not only
Portier and the Pennets, but a band of their friends well armed. The
stairs being very narrow, it would have been easy for the episcopals to
close the passage and even to kill some of those who were looking after
them. The men who executed the syndic’s orders ascended slowly and
steadily, and approached the great steeple with its four gothic windows
surmounted by semi-circular arches. The steps of this numerous party
re-echoed through the winding staircase. The officer of the Council, who
marched at the head of the band, having reached the top of the tower,
carefully put forward his torch and saw arms glittering and eyes
sparkling in one corner. He drew near, followed by his friends, and
discovered the crafty Portier and the violent Pennet, crouching down,
‘armed,’ says the Register, ‘with swords, iron pikes, axes, and daggers,
and covered with coats of mail.’ The two malefactors, although armed to
the teeth, did not think of defending themselves: they were more dead
than alive. The officers of the State seized them and shut them up in
the prison of the hotel-de-ville.[470]

[Sidenote: The Plot Discovered.]

While these things were going on at St. Pierre’s, the guard which the
syndics had left at the palace, encouraged by the success of their
stratagem, had resolved to take advantage of the opportunity to get at
the secrets of the house; and, assuming a simple, good-natured air, they
entered into conversation with the servants, questioning them so
skilfully that they soon knew all they wanted. ‘The bishop’s secretary,
alone and without support, is too weak,’ they said, ‘to withstand the
will of the council and people.’ ‘But he is not so _alone_ as you
think,’ answered one; ‘he has with him my lord the bishop, his highness
the Duke of Savoy;’ and then he continued proudly, ‘he has even received
letters from them!’ The independent citizens, affecting incredulity,
exclaimed! ‘What! Portier receive secret messages from such great
personages!’ ... One of the episcopals, piqued by the disdainful sneer,
declared aloud, ‘that the letters were in existence, _in buffeto_ (says
the Council Register, in its classic Latin), in the secretary’s buffet.’
At these words the sly huguenots started up suddenly, and, hurrying in
great glee to Portier’s room, broke open the cupboard, took out the
papers lying there, and carried them to the syndics. This discovery was
still more important than the other.

The magistrates hastened to open the packet, and found a bundle of
papers, all having reference to the plot which the bishop had contrived
for the subjugation of Geneva. They examined the contents and were
alarmed. ‘Here is an act signed by the bishop on the 12th of January
last,—only twenty days ago,—appointing a governor for the temporalities,
with power to punish rebels. The prince, of his mere caprice,
establishes an unconstitutional agent, who is to have no other law than
his own will. Here are blank warrants sealed with the arms of the Dukes
of Savoy. It is a downright conspiracy, a crime of high-treason.’ The
date of the act made it sufficiently clear that Pierre de la Baume was
the instigator of the troubles which had been on the point of throwing
the city into confusion. It was determined that Portier, the recognized
agent of this revolutionary intrigue, should be tried before the
syndics; and a public prosecutor, Jean Lambert, a sound huguenot, was
elected to conduct the proceedings.[471]

However, before commencing this trial, that of Pennet, less complicated
than the other, was to be concluded. The case was clear, provided for by
the law, and not pardonable. Claude Pennet stood forward boldly, like a
man enduring persecution for the Christian religion. He was convicted of
having murdered Nicholas Berger in his shop at the Perron, and Syndic du
Crest, a catholic but a wise man, pronounced the sentence of death. This
made no change in Pennet’s manner. He did not repent the deed he had
done: fanaticism stifled the voice of conscience in him. It was the same
with all his friends, zealots of the Roman party. In them passion took
the place of reason, and they boasted of the murder as an honorable,
holy, and heroic act. Pennet asked to see Furbity, the Dominican, who
was detained in prison for having insulted the adversaries of Rome. The
monk of the order of the Inquisition was conducted to the murderer’s
cell, ‘and when they saw each other they could not forbear from
weeping,’ says the nun of St. Claire.[472] Pennet wished to die piously:
‘therefore this good catholic made his confession.’ ... ‘I am condemned
to the scaffold for the love of Jesus Christ,’ he said to the Dominican,
‘and I entreat your holy prayers.’ The reverend father, moved to tears
by the piety and wretched fate of this precious son of the Church,
kissed him, and said: ‘Sire Claude, go cheerfully and rejoice in your
martyrdom, nothing doubting; for the kingdom of heaven is open and the
angels are waiting for you.’[473]

[Sidenote: Pennet’s Execution And Miracles.]

The murder of which Pennet was guilty was, in the Dominican’s eyes, the
work of a saint. Most of the episcopals thought the same; and it was
feared that their party, which had the populace with them, would oppose
the execution of the sentence. De la Maisonneuve, determining to support
the law by force, collected a certain number of armed men in his
house.[474] But their intervention was not necessary. Nothing disturbed
the course of justice, and the executioner cut off the murderer’s head,
and hung his body on a gibbet. Before long, the populace was in
commotion. ‘Have you heard the news?’ people said. ‘Miracles are worked
at the place where Pennet’s body hangs. His face is as ruddy and his
lips as fresh as if he was alive, and a white dove is continually
hovering over his head.’ The devout made pilgrimages to the place of

The other Pennet, the jailer who had wounded Porral, and who, says
Sister Jeanne, ‘was not less ardent than his brother in upholding the
holy catholic religion,’ was all this time lying hid in the house of a
poor beggar-woman, where the nuns of St. Claire, who alone were in the
secret, stealthily carried him food. The execution of his brother
alarmed him; so one night, when it froze hard, he left his hiding-place
barefoot, and arrived stealthily at the convent of St. Claire, where the
nuns provided him with a disguise, in which he escaped to Savoy.

The third delinquent,—the State criminal, Portier,—remained. The matter
appeared so serious to the procurator-general that he desired it should
be communicated to the people. The Council General having met on the 8th
February, Lambert ordered the letters found at the palace, as well as
the duke’s blank warrants, to be read to the assembly. ‘What! a governor
of Geneva invested with the temporalities of the sovereign power, with
authority to punish citizens who maintain their political and religious
rights; the constitution of the State trampled under foot by the
prince-bishop; and the Duke of Savoy, that eternal enemy of Genevan
independence, forcibly aiding this usurpation and violence!’ All this
constituted a guilty plot, even in the eyes of right-minded catholics.
The voice of the people and the voice of justice were in harmony. The
procurator-general demanded that Portier should be brought before his
judges. The trial was much slower than that of the two Pennets had been,
for the Roman-catholics made every effort to save him, and even offered
large sums of money. But the procurator-general and the huguenots
represented continually that ‘there was a conspiracy against the
liberties of the city;’ it was not possible to save the episcopal

Yet Portier and his agents had merely begun to carry out the orders they
had received; the bishop was the real criminal. His quality of prince
covered his person, so that, even had he been in Geneva, not a hair of
his head would have fallen. But Pierre de la Baume was to receive the
punishment, which, by the will of God, falls upon unjust princes. He had
desired to employ his power for the purpose of oppression, and God
shattered that power. When the sealed letters of the bishop which gave
Geneva a dictator were read in the assembly of the people, the citizens
were shocked; a sullen silence betrayed their indignation; they seemed
to hear the funeral knell of an ancient dynasty that had departed. The
Genevese determined to break with the episcopal traditions, and to raise
to the government none but men known by their attachment to the union of
Geneva with Switzerland and to the cause of the Reformation. While,
among the syndics retiring from office, there was only one who belonged
to this category, four friends of independence were called by the people
to the first position in the State. They were Michael Sept, one of the
huguenots who, in 1526, had fled to Berne, and had brought back the
Swiss alliance; Ami de Chapeaurouge, Aimé Curtet, and J. Duvillard. The
executive council thus became a huguenot majority. It was the episcopal
conspiracy that struck the decisive blow, that threw wide open the
hitherto half-open door, and permitted the victorious Reformation to
enter the city.[475]

Footnote 464:

  Crespin, _Actes des Martyrs_, p. 114.

Footnote 465:

  MSC. de Roset, liv. iii. ch. xxi.—MSC. de Gautier.

Footnote 466:

  Registre du Conseil des 8 et 10 Février, 1534.

Footnote 467:

  _Lettres certaines_, 1534.

Footnote 468:

  Froment, _Gestes de Genève_, p. 245.—_Chron. msc._ de Roset.—_Hist.
  msc._ de Gauthier.—Registre du Conseil.

Footnote 469:

  Registre du Conseil du 3 Février, 1534.—MSC. de Roset, _Chron._ liv.
  iii., ch. xix.—MSC. de Gautier.

Footnote 470:

  Registre du Conseil du 3 Février, 1534. Spon. i. p. 516. Ruchat, iii.
  p. 276. Balvignac, _Mèm. d’Archeologie_, iv. pp. 101-102.

Footnote 471:

  Registre du Conseil des 3 et 8 Février, 1534. Ruchat, iii. p. 277.
  Mém. de Gautier.

Footnote 472:

  ‘Quand se virent l’un l’autre, ne se purent tenir de pleurer.’—La Sœur
  Jeanne, _Levain du Calvinisme_.

Footnote 473:

  Ibid. pp. 82-83.

Footnote 474:

  MS. du Procès inquisitionnel de Lyon, p. 32.

Footnote 475:

  Registre du Conseil des 8 et 10 Février, 1534.

                              CHAPTER VI.
                    (FEBRUARY 10 TO MARCH 1, 1534.)

[Sidenote: Furbity Summoned Before The Council.]

Unequivocal tokens soon made known the change that had taken place.
Every one knew that the critical moment had arrived; but that it should
be salutary, it was necessary to enlighten the people and set distinctly
before them the end which it was proposed to attain. In all that
concerns religious questions, the first point is to understand them
thoroughly; vagueness always does injury to true religion. The
magistrates determined to make clear the points on which the discussion
turned, and accordingly the new syndics ordered Furbity to appear before
the Council. This body, which had called to their aid the deputies of
Berne and the three reformers, invited the monk to prove by the Holy
Scriptures, as he had promised, the doctrines he advanced. ‘In the first
place,’ they said, ‘you have accused those who eat meat, _which God hath
created to be received_,[476] of being worse than _Turks_.’—‘Sirs,’
answered the monk, ‘I confess that our Lord did not make the prohibition
of which I spoke; I will, therefore, prove my statement by the decrees
of St. Thomas.’—‘Ho! ho!’ said Farel, ‘you pretended to prove everything
by the Word of God; you even consented, in the opposite case, to be
burnt at the stake, and now ... you give up the Scriptures!’

They did not confine themselves to this question; the lords of Berne
proved by fourteen witnesses the other errors preached by Furbity; for
instance: that God will punish those who read the Scriptures in the
vulgar tongue, and that Christ had given the papacy to St. Peter. They
proved, also, the reality of the abuse uttered by the Dominican against
the reformed Christians, except, however, that a _German_ (a Swiss
German) was among the executioners of our Lord: it appeared that some
wag had invented the story to ridicule the monk. The Bernese declared
that, as the monk was, according to his own confession, only ‘a preacher
of the decrees of St. Thomas’ and a story-teller, justice ought to have
its course.

The Dominican began to be afraid, and offered to apologize in the
cathedral for the outrage to God and the lords of Berne. ‘We accept,’
said the premier syndic, ‘and you will afterwards quit Geneva and never
return under pain of death.’ The Dominican desired nothing better than
to get away as soon as possible.[477]

In consequence of this decision, the Dominican attended by his guard,
was led quietly to St. Pierre’s on Sunday, the 15th of February. He was
much agitated, walked hurriedly, and his mind was distracted with
contending emotions. On reaching the foot of the pulpit, he went into it
hastily, and, casting his eyes on the crowd which filled the church, his
confusion and embarrassment increased. He saw himself between two
powers—the horrible Bernese and the terrible Dominicans—and felt himself
unable to satisfy one without offending the other. He tried, however, to
recover himself, made the sign of the cross, said the _Ave Maria_, and
invoked the Virgin.... The Bernese looked surprised; but it was much
worse, when, instead of reading the retractation which the syndics had
given him, he began to skim it over, to wander from it, and finally to
say something quite different. One of the Bernese called to him: ‘Sir
Doctor, you have nothing to do here but to retract,’ and numerous voices
immediately seconded the remark. But the monk rambled wider than ever
from the question, hesitated, and became confused;[478] many of the
huguenots left their places, a great agitation pervaded the church, and
the patience of the congregation was becoming exhausted. ‘You are making
fools of us,’ they cried out to the monk. ‘Do not stuff our ears with
your usual nonsense. Come, a good _peccavi_!’[479] But there was no
retractation. A great uproar then arose; some violent men went up into
the pulpit, seized the disciple of St. Dominic, and dragged him down
roughly.[480] ‘They made the chair fall after him,’ says Sister Jeanne,
‘and he was nearly left dead on the spot’ (the good sister often colors
too highly). The catholics quitted the church in alarm, and the doctor
of the Sorbonne, having broken his promise, was led back to prison.[481]

The Bernese ambassadors next appeared before the Council, and asked
permission for the Gospel to be publicly preached in one of the
churches. The syndics replied that it was just what they wanted, and
that they would require the Lent preacher to conform his sermons to the

[Sidenote: Dominicans And Franciscans.]

The fanatical Dominican, empowered to deliver the Advent lectures,
having compromised catholicism, and the council having declared against
every preacher who should not preach according to God’s Word, the
Genevan clergy determined to make a last effort. They said they must
choose a monk of another sort for the Lent course, and consequently
turned to the Franciscans, who had often dreamt of a transformation of
religious society. There were great differences between these two
mendicant orders: the Dominicans were rich, the Franciscans poor; the
Dominicans aimed at dominion, the Franciscans at humility; the
Dominicans were fossilized in their doctrines and customs, the
Franciscans were flexible and had a taste for innovations. They knew how
to catch the multitude by their enthusiasm and flagellations, by their
insinuating manners and miraculous visions. It is a man of this sort,
said the oldest of the catholics, that we want after the Dominican. If
Geneva had resisted the roughness of the one, it would be captivated by
the flatteries of the other. In this manner the clergy hoped to lead
Geneva insensibly back into the arms of Rome.

Father Courtelier, superior of the Franciscans of Chambery, renowned for
his eloquence and wit, was invited to come and preach at Geneva during
Lent. He arrived on Saturday, the 14th of February: next morning (it was
the Sunday preceding Shrove Tuesday) he appeared before the Council. The
premier syndic, assuming a duty that was somewhat episcopal, said to
him: ‘Reverend father, you must preach nothing but the pure Gospel of
God.’—‘I undertake to do so,’ replied the monk, who had been well
tutored; ‘you will be satisfied.’ And then desiring to show how
accommodating he was, he presented nine articles, saying: ‘This is what
I desire to preach;’ adding, as if he was before the college of
cardinals: ‘Strike out what you do not approve of.’ The Council, in
great part Lutheran, finding themselves converted by the priest into a
court of doctrine, ordered the paper to be read. _Invocation of the
Virgin Mary_ was one of the articles; _Purgatory_ was another; _Prayer
for the dead_; _Invocation of the Saints_.... The huguenots objected,
and these four points were struck off the list; but he was allowed to
make the sign of the cross in the pulpit, to repeat the salutation of
the angel to Mary, which is recorded in the Gospel of St. Luke, and to
celebrate mass. The priest returned to his convent with the revised

[Sidenote: Courtelier’s Sermon.]

On Ash Wednesday the reverend superior went into the pulpit and labored
skilfully to retain Geneva in the orbit of the papacy. The two chiefs of
the Reformation—the layman Baudichon de la Maisonneuve and the reformer
Farel—with many of their _accomplices_ (as Father Courtelier styles
them),[483] desirous of hearing how the monk would manage to make the
pope and Luther agree, had gone to the Franciscan church at Rive
(Courtelier had not been admitted to the honor of the cathedral). The
monk began by repeating in a sonorous voice the invocation to the
Virgin: _Ave Maria_ ..., at which Farel and the huguenots called out so
that all could hear them: ‘It is a foolish thing to salute the Virgin
Mary!’—‘I do it _by permission of the Council_,’ answered the monk
ingenuously, and all the catholics in the congregation, desiring to
support their champion, began to cry out: _Ave Maria, gratia plena_!
There was such a loud and universal murmur, that Farel, Maisonneuve, and
their friends were obliged to hold their tongues.[484]

Courtelier continued, endeavoring to speak at once according to the pope
and the Gospel. One sentence contradicted another; what was white one
moment was black the next; his sermon was a muddle of ideas without
issue, a strain of music without harmony. Farel and his friends soon
understood the manœuvre. ‘He is using a cloak to entrap us,’ they said,
‘and will take care not to show his teeth at starting. He gives us drink
... as they did at Babylon, poison in a golden chalice.’ Disgusted with
such trimming, Farel stood up and said: ‘You cannot teach the truth, for
you do not know it.’ The poor friar stopped short: resuming his courage
by degrees and wishing to please the friends of the Gospel, he began to
inveigh against both priests and popes. It was now the turn of the
catholics; and the Franciscan, noticing their anger and desiring to
regain their favor, began once more to vituperate the reformers. Without
doctrine, without opinions, he fluctuated between Rome and Wittemberg,
and instead of satisfying everybody, he exasperated both parties. ‘We
cannot serve God and the devil,’ said Froment with disgust.

The reverend superior now changed his tactics, knowing, as all good
Franciscans did, that flies are to be caught with honey, and began to
praise the Genevans in extravagant language: ‘Ladies and gentlemen,’ he
said from the pulpit, ‘beware how you suffer yourselves to be seduced by
the people (Farel and his two friends) who teach you that you and your
fathers were idolaters, and that you are being led away to hell. No! you
are a noble and mighty city ... you are of good repute ... and worthy
people.... Ladies and gentlemen, always preserve your glorious title,
and make yourselves worthy of the great name borne by your noble city.
Is it not called _Geneva, Gebenna_,[485] that is to say, _gens bona,
gens benigna, gens sancta, gens præclara, gens devota_? ... a good,
merciful, holy, illustrious, and devout people.... Your name declares
it.’ The monk was inexhaustible in extravagant compliments, although he
knew very well what he ought to think of the ‘holiness’ of the Genevese,
and particularly of the monks and priests.

This final effort of Roman-catholicism in Geneva did not succeed. On the
contrary, the huguenots, provoked by his fawning, said: ‘We do not
desire to please either gentlemen or ladies,’[486] and moved with firm
steps in the path of Reform. Farel, setting aside the manifold
ceremonies with which Rome had overburdened public worship, desired to
re-establish baptism in conformity with the Gospel institution, as a
sign of regeneration. The news spread, and excited great curiosity even
among the strangers who were in Geneva. On the 22d of February, the
first Sunday in Lent, two Savoyards, Claude Theveron of the mountains of
the Grand-Bornand, and Henry Advreillon of the parish of Thonon, were in
the Molard, where also a number of Genevans, both catholics and
Lutherans, had assembled. ‘Have you heard,’ said one of them, ‘that
there is going to be a baptism at Baudichon’s house?’—‘Let us go and see
what it is like,’ said the Savoyards; and, following some huguenots,
they entered a large hall, which had been contrived by removing the
partitions.[487] Some of the seats were already occupied; the two
strangers were able to find room, but the later arrivals were compelled
to stand near the door. ‘There must be three hundred and more present,’
said Advreillon to his friend. On a raised chair sat a young man with
mild countenance and sharp eyes: they were told it was Viret of Orbe;
right and left of him were Farel and Froment. A gentleman of the city of
good appearance, who seemed to be between forty and fifty years old,
showed the people to their seats and watched to see that everything was
conducted with propriety. ‘That is Baudichon de la Maisonneuve,’ the
Savoyards were informed, ‘the master of the house, and the greatest
Lutheran in Geneva.’[488]

[Sidenote: A Reformed Baptism.]

The service then began. Viret’s gentle eloquence charmed his hearers;
the two strangers, however, would gladly have seen themselves outside of
the assembly into which they had impudently crept; but all the passages
were blocked up: ‘We cannot get out,’ said Advreillon, ‘because of the
great crowd of people;’ so they made up their minds to stay till the
end. As soon as the sermon was over, the two Savoyards were about to
leave, when De la Maisonneuve said aloud: ‘Let no one move, a baptism is
going to be celebrated here.’ The baptism took place, and Viret added:
‘It was with pure, fair water that John baptized Jesus Christ; to
baptize with oil, salt, and spittle as the hypocrites do, is wrong.’ The
two strangers, offended by such language, got away as fast as they

As many persons had been unable to take part in the service, the
huguenots, whose patience was exhausted, resolved to be no longer
satisfied with narrow halls, which did not permit all who loved the Word
of God to hear it. ‘Jesus Christ commands the Gospel to be preached in
all the world,’ said Farel, ‘it must therefore be preached in Geneva;’
whereupon he asked for a church. The Bernese ambassadors undertook to
present the petition. ‘Most honored lords,’ they said to the Council,
‘when we and our ministers pass along the streets, people shout after
us: “Holla! heretics, you dare not appear in public, you preach your
heresies in holes and corners like pigsties.”[489] We have long put up
with this, and now we come to ask you for a church. No one will be
constrained to hear our preacher; every man will go to the worship he
prefers, and thus everybody will be satisfied.’ The syndics, greatly
embarrassed, declared they were grieved at the _ignominies_ heaped upon
the Bernese, but said it was not in their jurisdiction to assign a
pulpit to a Lutheran preacher; that it belonged to the prince-bishop and
his vicars. ‘Still,’ they added, ‘if you take of your own accord some
edifice in which you can preach your doctrines ... you are strong ... we
cannot resist you ... we dare not.’

[Sidenote: Farel And Courtelier.]

The refusal of the syndics annoyed the evangelicals; Farel resolved to
have an interview with the father-superior. Did he wish to convince
Courtelier, at times so accommodating, that the evangelical doctrine
ought to be preached in the churches; or else, convinced, like Luther,
that the papacy was a power of Antichrist which resisted the kingdom of
God, did he desire to tell the cordelier his mind? We cannot say:
perhaps it was partly both. Accompanied by the intrepid Maisonneuve and
the wise councillor Balthasar, Farel proceeded to the Franciscan
convent. Courtelier received them in his cell, and the reformer having
complained that the Gospel truth could not be preached, the monk,
instead of making the least concession, took refuge behind the authority
of the pope, extolling his holiness’s infallibility and power. Had not
Alvarus Pelagius, a Franciscan like himself, declared that the
jurisdiction of the pope is universal, embracing the whole world, its
temporalities as well as its spiritualities?[490] Had not another monk
taught that ‘the pope is in the place of God?’[491] But Farel, instead
of seeking his ideas about Rome in the writings of the monks of the
middle ages, derived them from the Holy Scriptures, and particularly
from the Revelation of St. John. ‘Your holy Father,’ he said to the
superior, ‘is the beast whom the ignorant worship. John the Evangelist
tells us of a beast with seven heads,[492] which “devoureth them which
dwell upon the earth,” and makes war upon the saints, and he adds: _the
seven heads are seven hills_, on which it sits. _Seven hills_, do you
hear? Everybody knows that Rome is built on _seven hills_. Therefore the
holy see is not apostolical but diabolical.’ Courtelier was moved. He
remonstrated with Farel ‘as well as he could,’ he says; but the reformer
replied, the conversation grew warm, and at last the evangelists, unable
to convince the monk, took leave of him. Maisonneuve quitted the cell,
annoyed at Courtelier’s blindness, and all three left the convent

This energetic argument, which applied the prophecies of the Bible
respecting Antichrist to the pope, had already been employed by Luther.
No proof excited more anger among the Romanists or inspired the
evangelicals with more firmness.

Footnote 476:

  1 Timothy iv. 3.

Footnote 477:

  _Lettres certaines_, &c. Registre du Conseil des 11, 12, 13, 15
  Février, 1534. Froment, _Gestes_, p. 87.

Footnote 478:

  ‘Vagans et vacillans, sententiæ satisfacere neglexit.’—Registre du
  Conseil du 15 Février, 1534.

Footnote 479:

  ‘Nugis solitus plebis aures suspendere satageret.’—_Geneva restituta_,
  pp. 6-9.

Footnote 480:

  ‘Impostor suggestu deturbatus.’—_Geneva restituta_, pp. 6-9.

Footnote 481:

  Registre du Conseil des 15, 16, 20 Février. Froment, _Gestes de
  Genève_, p. 88. La Sœur Jeanne, _Levain du Calvinisme_, p. 78.

Footnote 482:

  Registre du Conseil des 15 et 16 Février, 1534.

Footnote 483:

  MS. du Procès inquisitionnel de Lyon, p. 331.

Footnote 484:

  MS. du Procès inquisitionnel de Lyon, pp. 331-332.

Footnote 485:

  The word _Gebenna_ occurs frequently in ancient documents.

Footnote 486:

  ‘Nous ne voulons plaire, nous, ni à Monsieur ni à Madame.’—Froment,
  _Gestes de Genève_, pp. 83-84.

Footnote 487:

  MS. du Procès inquisitionnel de Lyon, pp. 231, 232, 236.

Footnote 488:

  MS. du Procès inquisitionnel de Lyon, pp. 233, 234.

Footnote 489:

  MS. du Procès inquisitionnel de Lyon, pp. 235, 236.

Footnote 490:

  ‘Jurisdictionem habet universalem in toto mundo papa, nedum in
  spiritualibus sed temporalibus.’—_De planctu ecclesiæ_, lib. i. cap.

Footnote 491:

  ‘Papa vice Dei, est omnium regnorum provisor.’—Aug. Triumphus, _Summa
  de potestate ecclesiasticâ_, Qu. xlvi. art. 3.

Footnote 492:

  Revelation xiii.-xx.

                              CHAPTER VII.
                      (MARCH 1 TO APRIL 25, 1534.)

The interview with the father-superior had been useless; the churches
remained closed. The evangelicals could wait no longer: the majority of
the inhabitants were for the Word of God, but not a church was opened to
them. The walls of St. Pierre, St. Gervais, St. Germain, and the
Madelaine contained merely the external and barren forms of the Roman
worship: life and movement were there no longer; they had passed into
the hearts of the resolute men and pious women who gathered round Farel.
Neither the hall in Maisonneuve’s house, nor any other sufficed for the
_lovers of the Word_. Every day numbers of hearers had to remain in the
street. ‘Alas!’ said they, ‘the Gospel can find nothing in Geneva but
_secret chambers_, and we can only whisper of the grace of Christ. And
yet grace ought to be proclaimed all through the city and spread even to
the ends of the world.’ They were about to take measures accordingly.

[Sidenote: Farel In The Grand Auditory.]

On the second Sunday in Lent (1st of March, 1534), after the
evangelicals had heard Farel in one of the usual halls, twenty-nine of
the most notable huguenots remained behind and began to inquire what
ought to be done. ‘The Council,’ reported one of them, ‘told my lords of
Berne to take any place they liked for their preacher ... well, suppose
we take one. It is God’s will to have the Gospel published. But the pope
with his people care no more about it than the priests of Bacchus,
Jupiter, and Venus did of old. Without any further petitioning let us do
what God commands.’ At these words Maisonneuve and the other huguenots
proceeded to the convent at Rive. Father Courtelier was preaching there:
he had just finished his sermon and the crowd were leaving the church.
The daring Baudichon informed the monks, to their great surprise, that
Farel was going to preach there, and also that the bells would be rung,
which did not astonish them less. Two or three huguenots, going into the
belfry, rang three loud peals at intervals during an hour. Meanwhile De
la Maisonneuve took his measures. Instead of taking possession of the
church, he selected a part of the convent named the _grand auditory_, or
the _cloister_. This part of the monastery was constructed in the shape
of a gallery, and had a court in the middle: it was more spacious than
the church, and would hold four or five thousand persons.[493]

The sound of the bells at an unusual hour was heard all through the
city. Each note, as it rang in the ears of the Genevese, announced to
them that the Gospel, with which all Christendom was then agitated, was
at last about to be publicly proclaimed within their walls. ‘Master
Farel,’ they said, ‘is going to preach in the cloister at Rive,’ and a
crowd collected from all sides. People of every sort had assembled to
hear him: evangelicals, political huguenots, the indifferent and
bigoted. Certain priests gnashed their teeth and even attempted to turn
away some of their parishioners; but it was labor in vain: the number
increased every minute. Some Franciscan monks, who stared at the sight
of such an extraordinary multitude, could not resist the desire of going
to the grand auditory and hearing what was said.

De la Maisonneuve gave the necessary orders for placing the people. The
assembly, although respectful, was profoundly agitated. In the place
where they had met, men of different parties crowded together: the
opportunity of hearing the famous Farel, and the object which such
meetings were to attain, namely, a change in the religion of Geneva—all
stirred their minds deeply. But if there was any unbecoming movement,
Maisonneuve, from his elevated place, imposed silence by his hand. At
length the reformer appeared. The catholics were astonished when they
saw him: ‘What!’ they said, ‘no sacerdotal ornaments! He is dressed like
a layman, with a Spanish cloak and brimmed cap.’[494] But under that cap
and cloak lay hid what was rarely found beneath the robes of priests—an
ardent soul, a heart overflowing with love, and such eloquence that the
hearers exclaimed, as Calvin did once: ‘Your thunders have caused an
indescribable trouble in my soul.’[495] Farel began to speak: borrowing
his fire from the writings of the prophets and apostles, says one of his
biographers, he enlightened and inflamed the heart.[496] He excited in
many a lively feeling of love for Christ. God, as Calvin says, was at
work in his own through the ministry of the reformer. Some began to
consider and to relish the grace which they had formerly swallowed
without tasting.[497] The assembly was charmed and enraptured; the souls
of many were inflamed by the ardor of the divine spirit.

Among the Franciscans who listened to Farel was Jacques Bernard,
belonging to one of the best families in Geneva. He was lively,
intelligent, learned, and defiant, and had long been a sincere
worshipper of the Virgin. He had often spoken violently against the
reformers, and a few days before, meeting Farel and Viret, he told them
with a scowl: ‘In times past there were schismatics enough who forbade
men to salute the Virgin and make the sign of the cross.’ Then, without
another word, he rudely turned his back on them. But on this occasion no
one in the grand auditory was more attentive than Jacques. God gave him
_new eyes_ and _new ears_. It has been said that the convent at Rive was
to him as the road to Damascus—that there this new Saul became a new
Paul.[498] This first preaching of Farel’s contributed at least to
Bernard’s conversion, and ere long he maintained courageously the truths
he had once so much attacked.

But this light, which had enlightened some, blinded others. The wrath of
the men devoted to the papacy knew no bounds; they indulged in terrible
bursts of passion, and their followers spread the flames through the
city. The conflagration broke out the next day. The Two Hundred were
hardly met, when Nicholas du Crest, the three Malbuissons, Girardin, and
Philip de la Rive, with several others, appeared before them and said: A
minister preached the new law yesterday in the cloister at Rive; we wish
to know if it was with your consent. At the same moment the ambassadors
of Berne arrived and held very different language: ‘What we have so long
asked for,’ they said, ‘has been accomplished _by the inspiration of
God_, without our knowing anything of it. The place which you had
refused us has been given by the Lord himself. Yes, God, by the
inspiration of the Holy Ghost, has put it into the hearts of your
citizens to have the Gospel preached in the grand auditory. Permit the
minister to continue his preaching in that place, and give no annoyance
to such as may go to hear him.’

[Sidenote: Farel Continues To Preach.]

Although, to satisfy the catholics, the Council had at first hinted to
the Bernese that as they were returning home, it would be very natural
that they should take their ministers with them, Farel continued to
preach every day to numerous congregations. His hearers were more
convinced than ever of the errors of Rome and of the truth of the
evangelical doctrine—things which appeared to them as clear as the day.
Many threw aside their supineness; their contrite hearts joyfully
received the Saviour’s pardon, and, ‘caring no longer for the frivolous
things so esteemed by the papists,’ devoted themselves to works of true
innocence and charity. There was great cheerfulness in Geneva. Bands of
people paraded the city with songs of joy; groups assembled at the
Molard and conversed of the extraordinary things that were taking place.
The evangelicals no longer doubted of the victory. A young Savoyard,
named Henry Percyn, approaching one of these groups, recognized
Baudichon de la Maisonneuve, who, surrounded by several Lutherans, ‘was
talking to some catholics who were there.’ The latter defended their
Church: ‘Are these three chimney-preachers better than pope, bishop,
canons, priests, and monks?’ Maisonneuve replied: ‘I will bet one
hundred crowns to fifty, that next Easter not a single mass will be
celebrated in Geneva.’ None of the catholics would accept the wager.
Baudichon was mistaken, but by a few months only.[499]

On Saturday, the 7th of March, the Bernese ambassadors attended the
evangelical assembly for the last time. They were leaving Farel, Viret,
and Froment without protection in the midst of deadly enemies, and
without force to resist them alone. Accordingly, as soon as the service
was ended, they rose and said: ‘Farewell, gentlemen of Geneva, we
commend our preachers to you.’[500]—‘It is not necessary to commend
them,’ answered a Genevese, ‘we know the danger they incur in trying to
rescue the people from the slavery into which they have fallen.’ As he
left the hall, Claude Bernard took the three evangelists home to his
house, where they lived henceforward.

De la Maisonneuve departed about the same time as the Bernese, on his
way to Frankfort on business. At a date we cannot fix he took Farel and
Viret to Lausanne to ‘similarly seduce’ the inhabitants of that city;
but the Lausannese, the priests and their friends (for the middle-class
was favorable to the Reform), ‘drove the preachers away.’ It is scarcely
probable that the two reformers should have chosen to leave Geneva at
the important epoch of which we are treating; and yet a contemporary
document would lead us to believe so. When De la Maisonneuve reached
Frankfort, he conversed with the Lutherans and communicated, as it would
seem, according to the ritual of Luther.[501]

Shortly after this, Portier was convicted of having conspired with the
bishop against the liberty of the city, and condemned to lose his head.
The law having punished the guilty, the public conscience was satisfied.
It is necessary that justice should reign among nations; when it is
trampled under foot and the guilty are held to be innocent, there rises
in the breasts of the good a cry of sorrow, we will not say of revenge.
But that condemnation was big with important consequences for Geneva; it
was, says the chronicler, ‘a terror to the creatures of the bishop.’ As
Portier had only carried out the orders of the prince, the condemnation
of the servant was that of the master. The episcopal agents began to
understand that they must obey the laws and pay respect to lay
tribunals. The power of the episcopal faction was broken.[502]

[Sidenote: Farel’s Progress.]

Farel became more energetic, while, on the other hand, the Franciscan
preacher did all he could to support the tottering papacy. It was not
only in the same country that these two contrary systems were then in
conflict: it was in the same city, in the same house,—the monastery at
Rive. One day the cordelier taught in the church that ‘the wafer ceases
to be bread, and that the _mouth_ receives the body of Jesus Christ;’
while Farel said in the cloister: ‘It is true that the life is
_enclosed_ in the body of Christ; but we have no communion with him
except by a true faith. Faith is the mouth of the soul to receive the
Saviour.’ In the church the cordelier encouraged the purchase of
indulgences, the practice of penances and satisfactions; but in the
grand auditory Farel exclaimed: ‘All our sins are pardoned _freely_. How
dare the monks, then, set up their satisfactions, which the Word of God
has shattered to pieces?’[503] Gradually the cordelier lowered his tone:
the powerful voice of Farel was reducing him to silence. ‘You must
know,’ wrote Madame de la Maisonneuve to her husband, who was at
Frankfort, ‘you must know that Master William does his duty bravely in
announcing the Word of God.’ She added: ‘We have had no prohibitions:
nobody contradicts us. Our business increases greatly.’[504]

Roman-catholicism was falling: Friburg hurried to its support. ‘Alas!’
replied the syndics to the ambassadors, ‘we do not set Farel to preach:
it is the people. We could sooner stop a torrent than prevent people
going to hear them. So far as we are concerned, we have abolished no
ceremony, pulled down no church.’ Thus, at Geneva, as in mighty England,
it was the nation rather than its leaders who desired the Reform; and it
was the same everywhere. The Friburgers, calm and reserved, then stepped
forward in the midst of the assembly of the people, coldly laid their
letters of alliance before the premier syndic, and asked for those of
Geneva. ‘Keep them! keep them!’ was the cry on all sides; and the
citizens rushed towards the deputation, lavishing on them marks of
affection and prayers. Messieurs of Friburg, sternly shaking off their
embraces, departed, leaving the letters of alliance on the table.

The alarmed Council now resolved to do all in their power to appease the
catholics and Friburgers. Every year at Easter a grand procession took
place, in which the images and relics of the saints were carried through
the city. The Council ordered the usual honors to be paid them. Aimé
Levet having declared that he would not forsake the living God for that
multitude of _petty gods_, the syndics served him with a special order
through the police. But still the Levets would hang no drapery upon
their house, and kept the shop open as on an ordinary day. For this
offence Aimé was kept three days in prison on bread and water.

[Sidenote: Farel’s Domestic Troubles.]

The consideration due to Friburg had led the magistrates to this act of
severity; but the evangelical movement was not checked by it. The
Christian meetings increased in number after Easter. Farel energetically
urged forward the car of Reform, and his voice by turns alarmed like the
thunders of Sinai, or consoled like the Beatitudes of the Gospel. Yet,
in the midst of these numerous works, he was often observed to pause,
overcome with sadness. The persecution continued in France: three
hundred Lutherans were in prison at Paris. ‘What restive horses are
these!’ he exclaimed. ‘They shrink back instead of advancing! What
adversaries are springing up against the Redeemer, who reigns with glory
in heaven! But God will not forsake his work.’[505] He had still keener
sorrows than these: his own brothers, Daniel, Walter, and Claude, had
been seized by the enemy from a desire to avenge upon them the _evil_
which the reformer was doing. One of the three, who was younger than
himself, had been condemned to imprisonment for life, and his mother,
already a widow, was shedding tears of bitterness. ‘Alas!’ said William
Farel, ‘her son, who was born after me, has long been in prison, and has
greater sorrows to endure than I have.’ The reformer applied to friends
in high station to obtain his brother’s release from the king; but the
strictness of the prison had only been increased. ‘I know not,’ he said,
on the 28th of April, 1534, ‘who has so stirred the fire.... May it
please God that the poor prisoner hold firm and declare fearlessly what
ought to be said of the good Saviour.’[506] Farel possessed that filial
affection which is serious and respectful towards the father, tender and
gentle towards the mother. It made him exclaim in his anguish: ‘Alas!
the poor widow! O my anguish-stricken mother!’ The love he felt for
Christ had increased his natural affections.

De la Maisonneuve, having returned to Geneva after Easter, was about to
start again for Lyons. Farel, knowing that his friend, De la Forge, the
merchant of Paris, would be going also to that city at this season of
the year, gave Baudichon a letter for his Paris brethren, at that time
so afflicted, directing his letter _to the holy vessel elect of God_.
‘Jesus,’ he wrote to this little flock in the capital, ‘is the rock of
offence against which the world has fought since the beginning of time,
and will always fight; but its efforts are vain. No council can
withstand God, and if the wicked lift their horns, they shall be
broken.’ He then solicited the intercession of the members of the church
in behalf of his brother. ‘I pray you,’ he said, ‘speak of my brother in
that quarter where you know better than myself that it is expedient to
do so. What! a protracted detention, the confiscation of his property,
six hundred crowns which the bishop has extracted from him—is not that
enough? Oh! that the poor fellow could be set at liberty! All here who
fear the Lord entreat you to exert yourselves for him.’[507] The
evangelicals of Geneva were interested in the fate of their reformer’s
brothers. At the same time Farel wrote also to De la Forge, commending
his brother to him, and knowing the perils with which the Parisian
merchant was threatened, he added: ‘If we have Jesus, that heavenly
treasure cannot be taken from us: let us march onwards, though all the
world should rise against Him.’

In treating of our reformers, we naturally bestow attention on their
labors, struggles, writings, and trials; it is well, however, to enter
sometimes into the inner sanctuary of their hearts and of their domestic
lives. We are touched and rejoice to find there such abundance of the
most legitimate and tenderest of human affections. They were men as well
as Christians. This fact is a proof of the sincerity of their piety; it
is like a spring of pure water gushing up on a field of battle,
refreshing and reviving those whom so many struggles might have wearied.

Footnote 493:

  Froment, an eye-witness, says (_Gestes de Genève_, p. 82) that Farel
  preached ‘in the grand auditory of the convent of Rive, without
  entering the church.’ Father Courtelier, in his evidence at Lyons
  (_Procès inquisitionnel_, p. 322), says that Farel preached ‘in the
  same church and pulpit as himself.’ But Froment’s evidence is
  corroborated by the Register of the Council of Geneva, which says,
  that the meeting was held in the cloister or auditory. Courtelier, no
  doubt only meant to say that Farel preached in the same edifice as
  himself, without strictly designating the place.

Footnote 494:

  MS. du Procès inquisitionnel de Lyon, p. 323.

Footnote 495:

  Sane me, tam vehementer conturbarunt tua illa fulgura.’—Calvini _Epp._

Footnote 496:

  Ancillon, _Vie de Farel_.

Footnote 497:

  ‘Savourer la grâce ... avalée sans la goûter.’

Footnote 498:

  M. Archinard: _Edifices religieux de l’ancienne Genève_, p. 108.

Footnote 499:

  MS. du Procès inquisitionnel de Lyon, pp. 226-227.

Footnote 500:

  Registre du Conseil du 6 Mars, 1534. Froment, _Gestes de Genève_, p.
  91. MS. de Gautier.

Footnote 501:

  MS. du Procès inquisitionnel de Lyon, pp. 199, 200, 204.

Footnote 502:

  Registre du Conseil du 10 Mars, 1534.

Footnote 503:

  MS. de Gautier. Registre du Conseil du 18 Mars, 1534.

Footnote 504:

  She dated her letter, _De Genève, trois semaines avant Pâques_, and
  signed it: _La toute votre femme chérie, Baudichone_.—MS. du Procès
  inquisitionnel, pp. 23-24.

Footnote 505:

  MS. du Procès inquisitionnel de Lyon, pp. 11-12.

Footnote 506:

  ‘Puisse à Dieu seulement que le pauvre prisonnier pousse outre et
  déclare sans crainte ce qui doit être dit du bon Sauveur.’—Lettre aux
  fidèles de Paris. (MS. du Procès inquisitionnel de Lyon.)

Footnote 507:

  Geneva, April 25, 1534. MS. du Procès inquisitionnel de Lyon.

                             CHAPTER VIII.
                      A BOLD PROTESTANT AT LYONS.
                            (1530 TO 1534.)

Farel, who was so distressed by the long captivity of one of the members
of his family, little suspected that a friend, loved by him as a
brother, would ere long be in a dungeon. De la Maisonneuve, who traded
in all sorts of merchandise, but particularly in silk fabrics,
jewellery, and furs, had been in the habit of attending the fairs of
Lyons for twenty years, and went there as often as three or four times a
year. Of late, the frankness with which he maintained the evangelical
doctrines had offended many persons, and thus paved the way for a
catastrophe which now seemed inevitable. Courted by the merchants,
esteemed by the magistrates, he was, on the other hand, in the bad books
of the priests, and the priests were powerful.

[Sidenote: The Reliquary.]

One day, in the year 1530, when he was at Nuremberg on business, a rich
merchant of that city, a sound protestant, who had no love for relics,
had given him a valuable reliquary in payment of a debt.[508] As Lyons
was noted for its devotion, Baudichon, who cared little for the object
and looked at it only as an article of merchandise, thought it might
fetch a good price in that city, and happening to go there not long
after, offered the little box to a money-changer. He would have done
better to have refused it at Nuremberg, but Christian wisdom was then
only dawning upon him. The money-changer took up the article and
examined it devoutly. On the top was an image of St. James in silver,
‘carefully wrought,’ and weighing about four marks. Underneath was the
reliquary: a box of silver with a glass allowing the inside to be seen,
and some little parchment labels indicating the names of the saints
whose relics were contained within. The Lyons money-changer looked with
adoration on the precious remains of St. Christopher, St. Syriac, and
another. He took off his cap, made a bow to the relics, and kissed them
devoutly; and as his wife and children had clustered round him with
pious curiosity, he made each of them kiss the sacred remains. Turning
to Maisonneuve, he said: ‘Sir Baudichon, I am surprised that you should
bring me this relic in such a manner.’ Maisonneuve replied: ‘It is very
likely they are the bones of some ordinary body which the priests give
the people to kiss to deceive them.’ At these words, an apprentice, of
the age of eighteen, a very bigoted youth, left the shop indignant, and
sat down on a bench in the street. The changer having paid Baudichon
seventy livres tournois for his merchandise, the huguenot departed. But
as he was passing in front of the bench, the apprentice, unable to
restrain his anger, insulted him. Maisonneuve was content to reply that
if he was in Geneva, ‘he would give him relics for nothing.’ This affair
began to make Baudichon suspected.[509]

Next year (1531), when Maisonneuve was again at Lyons, and dining at the
table-d’hôte of the Coupe d’Or, he met with some merchants from the
neighboring provinces, and particularly from Auvergne, whose
inhabitants, upright and charitable, but ignorant and vindictive, were
distinguished at that time by a credulous devotion, as excessive as it
was superstitious. The Genevan did not scruple to declare his religious
convictions boldly before them, and the bigoted Auvergnats were much
surprised to hear him speak ‘_after his manner about the Gospel and
faith during all the meal_.’ ‘Hold your tongue,’ they said, angrily, ‘if
you were in our country, _you would be burnt_.’[510]

[Sidenote: Who Is Petrus?]

A year later (in 1532), also at fair time, De la Maisonneuve, Bournet, a
broker to whom he had confided an article of jewellery for sale, Humbert
des Oches, and other tradesmen were supping at the table-d’hôte of the
Coupe d’Or. It was one of those days on which the Church forbids the
eating of meat. Bournet had brought some fish, of which they all
partook, and Baudichon among them. This surprised one of the guests, who
asked him whether they eat meat at Geneva on fast days. ‘Certainly they
do,’ he answered, ‘and if I were in a place where it could be got, I
should make no difficulty about it, for God does not forbid it.’—‘The
pope and the Church forbid it,’ returned Bournet, sharply. Baudichon
declared that he did not acknowledge the pope’s power to forbid what God
permits. ‘God said to St. Peter,’ rejoined Bournet, ‘“_Whatsoever thou
shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven_” (Matthew xvi. 19). The
pope is now in the place of St. Peter; therefore’....—‘The pope and the
priests,’ retorted Maisonneuve, ‘are so far from being like St. Peter,
that there are many among them who lead evil lives, and require to be
set in order and reformed. The Word of God alone brings grace to the
sinner.’ He then began to repeat ‘some passages from the Gospels _in the
French language_,’ selecting those which announce Jesus Christ and the
complete pardon he gives. Every Christian who proclaims the Gospel
might, he declared, be God’s instrument to liberate souls from sin and
condemnation; and then, growing bolder, he exclaimed: ‘I am _Petrus_;
you (turning to Bournet) are _Petrus_. Every man is Peter, provided he
is firm in the faith of Jesus Christ.’ All present were much struck with
his observations, and the strange man became still blacker in their

At the feast of the Epiphany in the year 1533, the brother of Lyonnel
Raynaud, priest of the order of St. John of Jerusalem, and Messire Jean
Barbier, of the cathedral of Vienne, arrived at the Coupe d’Or, with a
clerk in attendance upon the latter. They sat down to table with the
company. Everybody was speaking at once. One of the guests, however,—and
he was usually among those who talked the most,—seemed absorbed in
thought. De la Maisonneuve (for it was he) fixed his eyes on the priests
of Vienne, and, after a few moments, said to them, ‘Can you explain to
me why they put a certain cordelier to death at Vienne a few years ago?’
He alluded to Stephen Renier, of whom we have spoken elsewhere.[512] ‘He
was a heretic,’ said Barbier, ‘and had taught endless errors at Annonay
and elsewhere.’ De la Maisonneuve boldly undertook his defence. ‘You did
wrong to put him to death,’ he said; ‘he was a truly good man, of sound
learning, and one likely to produce great fruits.’ The strife began
immediately. Baudichon affirmed that we were not required to keep the
commandments of the Church, but only those of God; while the priest
tried with all his might to prove that Baudichon was wrong. The Genevan
grew more animated, and spoke with great boldness. This new kind of
tournament absorbed all attention: the guests left off eating and
drinking, fixed their eyes on the two champions, and opened their ears
wide. A merchant of Vienne, one Master Simon de Montverban, an
acquaintance of Baudichon’s, and whom the latter had often soundly
beaten, observed to him: ‘You have found a man at last to answer you.’
But the Genevan replied so forcibly to the arguments of the Viennese,
and the contest became so animated, that the three priests, suddenly
rising from table, quitted the room hastily, and went into a separate
chamber. ‘If this man were at Vienne,’ said Barbier, ‘I would have him
sent to prison.’ The prison and the stake which followed it were safer
arms than discussion.[513]

[Sidenote: Hostility To Baudichon.]

De la Maisonneuve, having returned to Lyons for the fairs of Easter and
of August, met a considerable number of merchants at the Coupe d’Or, and
immediately undertook to enlighten them, feeling that language was given
for such purposes; but, as he feared also that his scattered remarks, if
not followed up, would be insufficient to correct the tardiness of
certain men, he determined to make use of various stimulants.
Accordingly, he spared neither toil nor weariness. Simon de Montverban,
who was there again, was struck with his zeal, and complained of it.
‘Whenever the merchants take their meals,’ he said, ‘whenever he meets
them in the common hall, when they come in or go out, everywhere and
always, Baudichon gets talking and disputing about the Gospel.’ No
longer confining himself to questions of fasting or images, he went
straight to what was essential: he put forward Scripture as the fountain
of truth, and declared that every sinner, even the greatest, was saved
through uniting himself by faith to Jesus Christ. People censured him in
vain. In vain did two merchants, one named Arcon and the other Hugues,
repeat to every body and to Baudichon himself that, if he was in their
country, he would be burnt; the latter, who did not doubt them,
continued his arguments. Lyons was a free city during the fair, and he
took advantage of it to make the pure Gospel known. Simon de Montverban
complained to the Genevan huguenot’s brother-in-law, an ardent papist,
who made answer: ‘I wish that Baudichon had died ten years ago; he is
the cause of all the troubles at Geneva.’[514]

De la Maisonneuve was again at Lyons at the feasts of All Saints
(November, 1533) and Epiphany (1534). One evening, when a numerous
company was supping at the inn, the conversation turned on the religious
circumstances of the times. After listening a while, he exclaimed: ‘It
is nonsense to pray to the saints, to hear mass, and confess to the
priests!’ and proceeded to quote _the Gospels and the Apostles_ to prove
what he said. ‘In our country,’ again asserted some who heard him, ‘at
Avignon, at Clermont you would be sent to the stake!’ It was the burden
of the old song, and they were only surprised that he was not burnt at
Lyons. De la Maisonneuve, knowing well that it was out of their Roman
piety that they wished to burn him, was content to smile. But his
calmness excited the wrath of his fellow-guests. The merchants of
Auvergne rose from the table in a fit of anger, and, addressing the
hostess, desired she would not receive Maisonneuve in future. ‘If we
find him here when we come again,’ they said, ‘we shall go and lodge
elsewhere.’ The landlady promised the Auvergnats not to receive him in

The Easter fair of 1534 was drawing near, and as it was the most
considerable in the year, Maisonneuve did not want to miss it. But
circumstances had become more threatening and rendered the journey
dangerous. There were, as we have seen, in the castle of Peney on the
Lyons road, and other strong places, traitors who had fled from Geneva,
and carried off all the Genevans they could lay hands on. Baudichon’s
friends wished him to put off this journey. ‘The fair is free
(_franche_) to every one,’ he answered. ‘Ay!’ said Froment, ‘under the
papacy there are many franchises for thieves, robbers, and murderers;
but for the evangelicals all the liberties, franchises, and promises of
princes are broken.’[516] Maisonneuve knew this well, yet he was not a
man to be frightened. The report of his intentions having gone abroad,
certain _traitors_ (as Froment terms the fanatical partisans of the
bishop and pope) hastened to give their Lyons friends notice of
Baudichon’s approaching arrival, conjuring them to get him put to death.
‘He was spied and _recommended_ to their care.’[517]

De la Maisonneuve, bearing Farel’s letters, started from Geneva in the
morning of the 25th of April, and arrived at Lyons on the 26th, having
no suspicion that his enemies were waiting for him and preparing his
scaffold. He had with him Janin the armorer, his aide-de-camp in
religious matters, who had supplied himself with evangelical books
printed at Neufchatel to circulate them in Lyons. Baudichon, as usual,
had alighted at the Coupe d’Or near St. Pierre-les-Nonnains, and was
cordially received by the landlady notwithstanding the promise she had
made the Auvergnats some months before. Janin stopped there also, and
stored his evangelical books away in the room that had been assigned

The next day there was a great disturbance at the inn. The merchants had
arrived from Auvergne, and one of the first persons they saw was the
famous heretic!... The color rushed to their cheeks, and they had words
with the hostess because she did not keep her promise. That they did not
content themselves with mere words, is clear from events which followed.
The bigots of France wished to share with the bigots of Geneva the honor
of putting to death the captain of the Lutherans.[518]

Maisonneuve immediately began to look after Étienne de la Forge, in
order to hand him the reformer’s letters; but on going to his house in
the Place de l’Herberie, he learnt, to his great disappointment, that
the Parisian merchant had not yet arrived.

[Sidenote: Baudichon And Janin Arrested.]

The enemies of the Reformation lost no time. Informations were sworn
against Maisonneuve on the 27th of April, the day after his arrival, and
the following morning, the 28th, the officers of justice arrested him
and his friend Janin ‘by authority of the seneschal’s court of Lyons,’
and shut him up in the king’s prison. But this was not what the priests
wanted. ‘These two men,’ they said, ‘being charged with offences against
our holy faith, the interest of the king our lord, and the common weal,
we demand that they be sent to the prison of the archiepiscopal see, and
that they be tried before the ecclesiastical judges.’[519] The two
prisoners were accordingly transferred to the archbishop’s prison. The
great huguenot saw that he had fallen into a trap, and prepared to meet
his enemies.

There was great agitation in the episcopal palace. That church of Lyons
which had been the church of the primate of all the Gauls—of which
thirty bishops had been canonized—which had supplied so many cardinals,
legates, statesmen, and ambassadors—whose chapter, consisting of seventy
canons, had included the sons of emperors, kings, and dukes among their
number, and of which the kings of France were honorary canons—that
church was about to have the glory of trying and putting to death the
layman who was Farel’s right arm, as Jerome of Prague had been that of
John Huss. All its dignitaries—the deans, chamberlains, wardens,
provosts, knights, theologians, and school-men—all were talking of this
fortunate circumstance. The clergy of the metropolitan church of St.
John the Baptist, in particular, took an active part in the business,
and the walls of that vast Gothic building echoed to the oft-repeated
name of the captain of the Lutherans. On the 29th of April the members
of the _inquisitional court_ assembled in the hall of justice of the
episcopal prison, and, wearing their robes of office, took their seats
on the judicial benches. They were Stephen Faye, official of the
primacy, and Benedict Buatier, ordinary official of Lyons,—both of them
vicars-general of the primate of France. The third judge was John
Gauteret, inquisitor of ‘heretical pravity.’ Ami Ponchon, notary public,
was to act as secretary;[520] and Claude Bellièvre, king’s advocate, was
to aid them by his presence. The court being thus formed, they summoned
before them Baudichon de la Maisonneuve, who declared his name, age
(forty-six years), and condition, and the trial began.[521]

Footnote 508:

  MS. du Procès inquisitionnel de Lyon, p. 147.

Footnote 509:

  All those particulars, as well as those which follow, are taken
  literally from the depositions of the witnesses, made on oath, before
  the court of Lyons, and are to be found in pages 132-147 of the
  official manuscript.

Footnote 510:

  MS. du Procès inquisitionnel de Lyon, déposition de Pécoud, pp.

Footnote 511:

  MS. du Procès inquisitionnel de Lyon, pp. 209, 211, 217, 218.

Footnote 512:

  Vol. i. p. 576.

Footnote 513:

  MS. du Procès inquisitionnel de Lyon. There are three depositions with
  regard to these facts: those of Barbier the priest, pp. 267-270; of
  the furrier Simon de Montverban, pp. 274-278; and of friar Lyonnel,
  pp. 305-312.

Footnote 514:

  MS. du Procès inquisitionnel de Lyon, pp. 282-285.

Footnote 515:

  MS. du Procès inquisitionnel de Lyon, pp. 298-300, 413-414.

Footnote 516:

  Froment, _Gestes de Genève_, p. 241.

Footnote 517:

  ‘Iceluy fut épié et recommandé.’—Froment, _Gestes de Genève_, p. 241.

Footnote 518:

  MS. du Procès inquisitionnel de Lyon, p. 424.

Footnote 519:

  Ibid. p. 1.

Footnote 520:

  All the procès-verbaux or minutes have his signature, with a curious
  flourish (_parafe_) exactly alike on each.

Footnote 521:

  MS. du Procès inquisitionnel, pp. 5-6.

                              CHAPTER IX.
               (FROM 29TH OF APRIL TO 21ST OF MAY, 1534.)

[Sidenote: The Examination.]

The tribunal of priests wished to mark distinctly at the very outset
that the Romish doctrine was in question: it was necessary to proclaim
anew that _in instanti_, at the very moment, at the priest’s word, there
was no longer in the host either bread or wine, but only the body and
blood of the Saviour. ‘What do you think of the sacrament of the altar?’
was the first question put by the court to Maisonneuve. He rejected the
Roman error; but his protestantism, as we have seen, came from Germany,
and the Lutherans taught that ‘in the sacrament of the altar, in the
bread and wine, were the true body, the true blood of Christ;’[522] and
as, according to the Lutheran doctrine, the presence was spiritual,
supernatural, and heavenly,[523] Maisonneuve, who professed this faith
and had taken the sacrament at Frankfort in the Lutheran church,
answered: ‘I believe that the real body of Christ is in the blessed
host,’[524] but knowing the axiom of jurisprudence, that no accused
person is bound to criminate himself, he would not declare his faith
more precisely.

If this doctrine interested the court, the connection of the accused
with the chiefs of what they called _heresy_ had also a great importance
in their eyes, and a doctor well known in France had given them great
umbrage. ‘Do you know _Pharellus_?’ they asked Maisonneuve, who calmly
replied: ‘He is from Dauphiny; he was brought to Geneva by my lords of
Berne; and when I hear him, I believe as much of his sermons as seems
right, and no more.’ These two answers might have led some to hope that
they would exercise clemency towards the accused; but such was not the
intention of the canons of St. John. The court declared that the
witnesses would be examined on the following day. They were all to be
for the prosecution; they might invent, add, or exaggerate, and the
prisoner would not have it in his power to produce any witnesses for the

The first who gave evidence was a young working-man, twenty-two years of
age, by name Philip Martin, and by trade a weaver. ‘I lived three years
in the city of Geneva,’ he said, ‘and during that time the Lutheran sect
multiplied exceedingly. I witnessed many armed assemblies and riots,
papists against evangelists, by day as well as by night. Among the most
prominent of the Lutheran party was Baudichon, and after him Jean
Philippe, Jean Golaz, Ami Perrin, who commonly were present at the armed
meetings, directing everything and providing for the expenses. About a
year ago a canon named Wernli was run through the body; Baudichon was
there, armed and wearing a cuirass.’[525] De la Maisonneuve calmly
interrupted him: ‘The witness does not speak the truth. When the canon
was wounded, I was in this very city of Lyons. I therefore charge him
with perjury, and desire that he be taken into custody.’ Martin had
borne false witness; this all who knew Maisonneuve at Geneva and Lyons
could declare. It was a bad beginning.

On the first of May a fanatical youth, named Pierre, brother of the two
Pennets, who had been condemned for assassinating a citizen and
conspiring against the liberties of the city, gave his evidence.
‘Baudichon entirely supports this Lutheran sect,’ he said; ‘he is their
captain. One day last year he assembled all the Lutherans and armed them
to plunder the churches, which ended in the death of four persons sons
and the wounding of many others.’[526] This also was false: Vandel, a
huguenot, had been wounded in a riot got up by the priests; but there
had been no deaths. ‘The witness hates me,’ said Maisonneuve, ‘because
one of his brothers was executed by judicial authority.’—‘Baudichon,’
continued Pennet, in greater excitement, ‘instead of fearing the
syndics, constrains them to humble themselves before him.’—‘I submit to
lose my head,’ exclaimed Maisonneuve, ‘in case the syndics declare that
I have ever done them any displeasure.’[527] The court rose.

[Sidenote: Emotion At Geneva.]

All this time Geneva was greatly agitated: the news of Baudichon’s
arrest had caused uneasiness among his friends. Men spoke about it ‘in
the city and in the fields,’ everywhere, in short. When friends met one
another, they asked: ‘Have you heard that Baudichon has been brought
before the archiepiscopal court of Lyons for being a Lutheran?’ The
devout (if we may use the words of the manuscript) ‘consigned him to
Satan, as being the principal cause of heresy in Geneva;’[528] while the
huguenots, agitated and alarmed at the dangers that threatened their
friend, considered what was to be done. They determined to act
immediately and simultaneously at Lyons, Berne, and even at Paris, if
they could. Thomas, Baudichon’s brother, started for Lyons at once, and
asked for an audience with Monseigneur du Peyrat, the king’s
Lieutenant-general. ‘For what reason,’ he said, ‘and by what authority
has my brother, Baudichon de la Maisonneuve, been sent to prison?’—‘I do
not detain him,’ answered du Peyrat; ‘apply to the vicars general.’
Thomas, learning that his brother was in the hands of the priests, and
his danger therefore greater, resolved to make every effort to save him.

Thomas and the Genevans were not the only persons interested in this
matter. Baudichon’s imprisonment was an attack upon the rights of the
foreign merchants, and compromised the fairs at Lyons. What German
Lutheran would come there in future? The inhabitants, especially the
innkeepers, tradespeople, and merchants, foresaw great pecuniary loss,
and the princes of commerce felt the injury done to one of their number.
There was, consequently, a great commotion in the city, and many
merchants, ‘as well of the city as foreigners,’ determining to complain
of it, proceeded to the _consulate_ (or town-council), to whom they
represented, ‘with much grief,’[529] that the imprisonment of Baudichon
de la Maisonneuve was an infringement of the privileges of the fairs;
and that many merchants had to receive from him certain sums which it
was impossible for him to pay now, because he could not collect the
money which other merchants owed him. ‘We pray you, therefore,’ they
said, in conclusion, ‘not to suffer our privileges to be
violated.’—‘Release my brother, _à pur et à plein_, without reserve,’
added Thomas de la Maisonneuve. Four of the consuls seconded the
remonstrance.[530] The municipality resolved that Jean de la Bessie,
procurator-general of Lyons, and one councillor should demand
Baudichon’s liberation of the inquisitional court. ‘My brother,’ said
Thomas, ‘is a burgess of Berne and of Friburg, and by virtue of the
treaties between the king and the lords of the League, he cannot be made
a prisoner in this kingdom.’[531] The priests were determined to pay no
regard to the request of the magistrates: a serious incident roused them
from their listlessness.

[Sidenote: Bernese Intervention.]

A despatch had just arrived, addressed to Monseigneur the king’s
lieutenant-general: it was from the lords of Berne. The
lieutenant-general knew well the value of Swiss intervention. Had not
four hundred of them, at the battle of Sesia, after Bayard’s death,
checked, by their impetuosity and the sacrifice of their lives, the army
of the allies? Monseigneur du Peyrat determined, therefore, to support
the prayer of the Bernese, and gave the city secretary the necessary
instructions. The effect of the despatch was still greater upon Thomas
de la Maisonneuve. Now there could be no more delays! Impatient to see
his brother at liberty, imagining that he would succeed better by
hurrying the affair, he would not wait a day or an hour. He should have
considered that haste increases the chances of failure, and that the
impatient man compromises both his character and his cause; but he could
see nothing but Baudichon’s sufferings and the injury done to the
Genevese reformation by his captivity. He was no longer master of
himself: he wanted that very instant to deliver his brother from the
jaws of the lion. ‘Set him free immediately,’ he said, ‘so that we may
be able to answer the lords of Berne by the courier who is ready to
return.’ The vicars-general answered curtly: ‘We are in course to order
it, as is right.’[532] This cold formula appeared of evil omen to
Thomas, and from that hour his fears increased.

On the other hand, Baudichon, informed of what was going on, took
courage; and the judges, fully aware that it would not do to condemn on
suspicious evidence a man who had such powerful supporters, determined
to entice Maisonneuve craftily into some heretical declaration.

On the 5th of May the sergeants once more brought in their prisoner.
‘What are your opinions in regard to faith?’ asked the court. De la
Maisonneuve answered: ‘I am a good Christian; if you do not think so,
deliver me over to my superiors (the magistrates of Geneva) to examine
me.’ But instead of doing so, the vicars-general tried to induce him to
explain his ideas on the subject of transubstantiation, feeling sure of
catching him in an error. The prisoner only replied: ‘I am not bound to
answer you.’ The court tried in vain to induce him to speak: ‘I will not
make any reply,’ he repeated. They read to him Janin’s answer on the
sacrament, which was (it would appear) very shocking to Roman ears, and
asked him what he thought of it; but Baudichon did not fall into the
snare. ‘I am no judge,’ he said, ‘and it is not my business to decide
whether the answer is good or bad.’[533] Then taking the offensive, he
added: ‘If Frenchmen were imprisoned at Geneva for cases analogous to
mine, would you be pleased?’—‘You have Pharellus and other Frenchmen
there,’ answered the judges, ‘and have not surrendered them to the
king.’ The officials of Lyons complained to the man whom they kept in
prison because people were left at liberty in Geneva. Baudichon retorted
proudly: ‘Ours is a free city,’ and withdrew.[534] ‘They set their traps
in vain,’ said a reformer, speaking of the attacks of the papacy. ‘God
has victories abundantly in his hands to triumph over them and their

The judges were greatly embarrassed: they desired, not to release
Maisonneuve, but (as he had often been told) to burn him; and yet, as it
was impossible for them not to reply, at least by some formalities, to
such high and mighty lords as Messieurs of Berne, they gave a certain
solemnity to their answer. On Wednesday, the 6th of May, the officials,
vicars-episcopal, inquisitors, and other ecclesiastical dignitaries,
took their seats in front of the main door of the archiepiscopal palace.
In public and in the open air they were about to hear the demand of the
Swiss, supported by the lieutenant-general of the king. The city clerk,
delegated by the councillors of Lyons, set forth the contents of the
letters from Berne, and at the same time Thomas de la Maisonneuve
presented two substantial merchants of the city as bail for his
brother.[536] The cause of the Genevese prisoner was growing in
importance: a sovereign state, which the king had every reason to treat
courteously, had taken up his defence; the trial was becoming an
international matter. The court knew that Francis I. was susceptible,
and that it was dangerous to thwart him, as he had shown in the case of
Beda. After full examination, therefore, they decreed that they ‘would
amply inform the king _our sire_, in order that he may make known his
good pleasure, and until his answer arrives, the said Baudichon shall
not be liberated; at the same time, he shall be permitted, on account of
his business, to speak with those who have dealings with him, in the
presence of the jailers of the archiepiscopal prison, who are enjoined
to treat him well and discreetly, according to his station.’[537]

[Sidenote: Baudichon.]

Two points were gained; Baudichon was to be treated like a prisoner of
mark, and his case was to be laid before the king. The memory of the
_estrapades_ of Paris was too recent for the evangelicals to entertain
very lively hopes: it was, however, a gleam of light. The judges
themselves, feeling that the matter was becoming difficult and success
doubtful, undertook to obtain a recantation from Baudichon, which would,
besides, be more glorious for Rome (they thought) than a sentence of
death. On the 21st of May, therefore, the court having called to their
aid two inquisitors skilful in controversy, Nicholas Morini and Jean
Rapinati, summoned Maisonneuve before them; when Father Morini
endeavored to prove to him out of Scripture the material presence of
Christ in the Sacrament. Baudichon understood the passages quoted
differently from the doctors. Refusing to stop at the material
substance, the flesh (as they did, and also the people of Capernaum who
are blamed in the Gospel), he held to our Saviour’s words: _It is the
spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I
speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life_.[538]—‘I understand
these words as well as you, and better, but I will not enter into any
discussion. I am not bound to answer inquisitors.’[539] The court,
provoked by these refusals, resolved to put the grand question to him:
‘Do you yield obedience to our holy father the pope of Rome?’ To the
great disappointment of the vicars-general and inquisitors, he simply
replied: ‘I am not bound to answer.’—‘We are your judges in this
matter,’ they exclaimed with irritation; ‘we order and summon you to
answer.’[540] But he would not; and then, recovering from their emotion,
they tried to surprise him by an insidious question.

Alexander, who had preached the Gospel at Lyons with such energy, had
just been thrown into prison. If De la Maisonneuve acknowledged him for
his friend, they might easily class them together. The judges therefore
asked him insidiously, ‘whether Jacques de la Croix, _alias_ Alexander,
had not in former times eaten and drunk at his house?’—‘If he has eaten
and drunk at my house,’ responded Baudichon, ‘I hope it did him good.’
And that was all. It was impossible to make the prisoner fall into the
trap: his good sense foiled all the plots of his adversaries.

Thus did the judges hunt down an innocent man. At that time men set
themselves up between God and the soul of man. This was not only an
outrage upon human liberty, it was high-treason against Heaven. Such a
grave consideration imparts a tragic interest to this trial, and
encourages us conscientiously to reproduce all its painful phases. The
judge has no concern with the relations of the soul with its Creator.
‘The dominion of man ends where that of God begins.’[541] God does not
give his glory to another. Whoever desires to exercise authority over
the conscience is a madman; nay, more, he is an atheist. He presumes to
move God from his throne and sit in his place.

Footnote 522:

  ‘Panam et vinum in cœna esse verum corpus et sanguinem Christi.’ _Ant.
  Smalcad. Catech. major_, &c.

Footnote 523:

  ‘Intelligimus spiritualem, supernaturalem, cœlestem modum.’—_Formula

Footnote 524:

  MS. du Procès inquisitionnel, pp. 6-9.

Footnote 525:

  ‘Embastonné et muni d’un allécret.’—MS. du Procès inquisitionnel.

Footnote 526:

  MS. du Procès inquisitionnel, pp. 34-41.

Footnote 527:

  Ibid. p. 46.

Footnote 528:

  ‘Le donnaient au diable.’—MS. du Procès inquisitionnel, pp. 87-88.

Footnote 529:

  ‘Fort dolosés.’—MS. du Procès inquisitionnel, pp. 52, 53.

Footnote 530:

  Henri Guyot, Benoît Rochefort, Pierre Manicier, and Simon Penet. MS.
  du Procès inquisitionnel.

Footnote 531:

  Ibid. pp. 47-50.

Footnote 532:

  MS. du Procès inquisitionnel, pp. 59-61.

Footnote 533:

  MS. du Procès inquisitionnel, pp. 62-65.

Footnote 534:

  Ibid. pp. 66, 67.

Footnote 535:


Footnote 536:

  Thomas Javellot and Loys de la Croix. MS. du Procès inquisitionnel, p.

Footnote 537:

  MS. du Procès inquisitionnel, pp. 69-76.

Footnote 538:

  St. John vi. 63.

Footnote 539:

  MS. du Procès inquisitionnel, pp. 91-94.

Footnote 540:

  MS. du Procès inquisitionnel, pp. 95-96.

Footnote 541:

  Said by Napoleon I. to a deputation from the Consistory of Geneva.

                               CHAPTER X.
                      THE TWO WORSHIPS IN GENEVA.
                          (MAY TO JULY 1534.)

[Sidenote: Morality In The Reformation.]

While they were prosecuting Maisonneuve on the banks of the Rhone and
the Saône, the struggle between catholicism and reform became more
active on the shores of Lake Leman: an evangelical was threatened with
death at Lyons, but Roman-catholicism was on the point of expiring at
Geneva. It was crumbling away beneath its own weight: the religious
orders, and especially the Franciscans, which had been founded to
support it, were now shaking its foundations. Notorious abuses and
scandalous disorders were making the protest against monkery and popery
more necessary every day. At the very moment when the trial was
beginning at Lyons (3d of May), an honorable lady of Geneva, Madam
Jaquemette Matonnier, passing near the Franciscan convent, observed a
woman noted for her disorderly life stealthily entering the building.
‘It would be better for you,’ she said, ‘to stay with your husband.’ At
these words, two monks who were standing at the door rushed violently
upon Madame Matonnier and beat her until the blood came. This incident,
which soon became known, aroused the whole city. The syndics went to the
convent, shut up the two monks in the prison, and took away the key.
‘Men who live in convents,’ said the people, ‘ought not to be stained
with such depravity; and yet it is hard to find one monastery out of ten
that is not a den of wantonness rather than the home of chastity.’

Sin begat death. The Romish clergy destroyed themselves by the
abominable manners of a great number of their members. But better times
were beginning; morality was springing, in company with faith, from the
tomb in which they had been buried so long, and were spreading through
Christendom the potent germs of a new life. A sad spectacle was that
presented by the Church at the beginning of the sixteenth century! There
were magnificent cathedrals, wealthy pontiffs, sumptuous rites,
admirable paintings, and harmonious chants; but in the midst of all
these pomps yawned an immense void: faith and life were wanting.
Religion was at that time like those winter trees whose frost-covered
branches glitter with a certain brightness under the rays of the sun,
but are all frozen. A new season was beginning, which, by bringing back
the sap into their sterile branches, would cover them with rich foliage
and make them produce savory fruit. We do not say, as an eminent
Christian has said, that the reaction of morality against formalism is
the great fact of the Reformation, its glory and its appropriate title.
Such an assertion omits one essential element. The grand title of the
Reformation is to have restored to Christendom religion in its entirety,
the truth with the life, doctrine with morality. If one had been
wanting, the other would not have sufficed, and the Reformation would
hot have existed.

While Roman-catholicism was falling lower through the disorders of the
monks, evangelical Christianity was rising through the zeal of the
reformers. Farel, Viret, and Froment preached every day, either publicly
or in private houses, ‘to the great advancement of the Word of God,
which increased much.’ The Reformation was no longer a mere teaching; it
entered into the manners and worship, and produced life. On the Sunday
after Easter, Farel gave his blessing to the first evangelical marriage.

[Sidenote: A Savoyard Procession.]

When sincere catholics, and even those who were not so, saw these
strange contrasts, they imagined that the last hour of the papacy in
Geneva had arrived. A final effort must be made, but unfortunately the
remedies employed were not much better than the disease. One day a
report spread instantaneously through the whole city that the Blessed
Virgin, arrayed in white robes, had appeared to the curate in the church
of St. Leger, and ordered a grand procession of all the surrounding
districts. She added that if this were done, ‘the Lutherans would all
burst in the middle: but if the order was not obeyed, the city would be
swallowed up.’[542] The huguenots smiled, inquired into the matter, and
at the end of authentic investigations, discovered that the fine lady
was the curate’s housemaid. But many catholics in Geneva, and almost all
in Savoy, were convinced of the reality of the apparition. The clergy
mustered their forces. ‘It depends upon you,’ they said in many places,
‘to put all the heretics in Geneva to death.’ The devotees of the
neighboring parishes began to stir in this pious work, and on the 15th
of May a long procession of men, women, and children arrived before the
city. They were heard singing lustily in the Savoyard tongue—

                       _Mare de Dy, pryy pou nous!_
                       (Mother of God, pray for us!)

The Council, fearing a disturbance, would not let them enter, and they
had to be content with going to Our Lady of Grace, near the Arve bridge.
As the poor people had eaten nothing on the road, and were exhausted,
the syndics sent them bread; and after taking some refreshments, the
assemblage turned homewards. Many Genevese, anxious to see them close,
went out of the city, and collected on their road, and as the Savoyards
passed before them singing _Mare de Dy, pryy pou nous!_ the bantering
huguenots answered to the same tune: _Frare Farel, pregy toujours!_
Brother Farel, preach forever![543]

All was not over: the story of the apparition of the Virgin and of her
commandment having reached as far as the capital of the Chablais, the
heights of Cologny were soon crowned by a numerous and compact
procession, in appearance more formidable than the first: it was the men
of Thonon and the adjoining places, who, carrying banners, crosses, and
relics, were descending the hill with a firm step. The stalwart pilgrims
boldly passed the gates of the city, the huguenots, who were listening
to Farel, not being there to prevent them; and on reaching the Bourg de
Four, halted before the church of St. Claire. The alarm spread
immediately: some citizens entering the auditory where Farel was
preaching, announced this Romish invasion. The reformer did not disturb
himself; but some of his hearers, the fiery Perrin, the energetic
Goulaz, and others, went out, and, charging the head of the procession,
drove back at the point of the sword the Savoyards who had entered
Geneva as if it were a village of the Chablais. The startled pilgrims
threw away their banners with affright, and fled from the city. Froment
supposes that as the enemy from within had not had time to join with
those from without, the plot had failed; but we rather believe that
these devout pilgrims calculated only on their litanies in their war
against the Lutherans. Those processions, those banners of the Virgin,
those paltry relics, inspired the reformed with a still deeper disgust
for Roman-catholicism: even the pomps of St. Pierre’s touched them
little more than the fetichism of the Savoyards. They were beginning to
understand that public worship ought not to be a spectacle, and that to
burden the Church with a multitude of rites is to rob her of the
presence of Christ.

[Sidenote: The Images Destroyed.]

The audacity displayed by these catholic bands emboldened some of the
huguenots. If Savoyards came to strengthen their faith in Geneva, ought
they to hesitate to show theirs? Some hot-headed members of the Reform
permitted themselves to be carried away to the committal of
reprehensible acts. Whenever they went to the Franciscan cloister, the
first object that struck their eyes was the image of St. Anthony of
Padua, a miracle-monger of the thirteenth century, having eight other
saints on each side of it. These pious figures, ranged over the convent
gate, irritated the huguenots. It was vain to tell them that pictures
are _the books of the ignorant_: the reformers answered that if the
catholic prelates left the duty of teaching the people to _idols_, they
would prefer remaining at home in their chairs. ‘If you had not taken
the Bible from the Church,’ said the huguenots, ‘you would have had no
necessity to hang up your paintings.’ Accordingly, between eleven and
twelve o’clock one Saturday night, nine men carrying a ladder approached
the convent, raised it silently against the porch, and then, with
hammers and chisels, began to destroy the images. They cut off the head
and limbs of the saint, leaving only his trunk; they did the same to the
others, and threw the fragments into the well of St. Clair. The night
passed without any disturbance, but in the morning there was a great
uproar in the city. ‘What a piteous sight!’ said the devout assembled
before the porch of St. Francis. The iconoclasts, who were discovered
after a little time, were punished, but the images were not restored.

‘Alas!’ said the Friburgers, ‘Geneva is about to pull down the altars of
the Romish faith!’—‘It is,’ answered the Bernese, ‘because upon these
very altars the bishop desired to burn the venerable charters of her
people, and has sprinkled them with the blood of her most illustrious
citizens.’[544]... Sensuous worship no longer pleased the Genevans.
Those labored pictures, those sculptured angels, those dazzling
decorations, that charm of ceremonies and edifices, those shafts and
pediments, those unintelligible chants, those intoxicating perfumes,
those mechanical performances of the priests, with their gold and
lace—all these things disgusted them exceedingly. Since God is a spirit,
they said, those who worship him must worship him in spirit, by the
inward faith of the heart, by purity of conscience, and by offering
themselves to God to do his will.

The hour had come when this spiritual worship was to be really
celebrated in Geneva: the Feast of Pentecost had arrived. On that day a
large crowd had assembled in the Great Auditory. It was not only such as
Vandel, Chautemps, Roset, Levet, with their wives and friends, who
resorted thither, but new hearers were added to the old ones. Farel
preached with fervor. He was accustomed to say that ‘God sends rain upon
one city when he pleases, while another city has not a single drop;’ and
therefore he conjured ‘all hearts thirsting with desire for the
preaching of the Gospel’[545] to pray that the Spirit might be given
them. We have not his Whitsunday sermon, he preached extempore; but we
know that he ended it by giving glory _to the Father, Son, and Holy
Ghost, the only true God_, and that his discourse bore good fruit.
Several circumstances had prepared his audience. The plot of the bishop
and the duke which God had frustrated, the nomination of the huguenot
syndics, the rupture with Friburg, Maisonneuve’s imprisonment—all these
events had stirred their hearts, had cleft them as the ploughshare
cleaves the earth, and opened them to the seed from heaven. What now
shone before the eyes of those who filled the Grand Auditory ‘were not
the petty flames of human candles, but Christ, the great sun of
righteousness, as if at noonday.’[546] While the priests were chanting
words that sounded only in the air, the voice of the reformer had
penetrated to the very bottom of men’s hearts. The proof was soon

[Sidenote: Bernard’s CONVERSION.]

When the sermon was over, Farel prepared to celebrate the Lord’s Supper
publicly, according to the Gospel form, and, standing with his brethren
Viret and Froment before a table, he gave thanks, took the bread, broke
it, and said: ‘_Take, eat_;’ and then, lifting up the cup, he added:
‘_This is the blood of the New Testament, which is shed for the
remission of sins_.’ The believers were beginning to draw near to
receive the communion of the Lord,[547] when an unexpected circumstance
fixed their attention. A priest of noble stature, wearing his sacerdotal
robes, left the place where he had been sitting among the congregation,
and approached the table. It was Louis Bernard, one of the twelve
_habilités_ of the cathedral, possessor of a wealthy benefice, and
brother of him who had been touched at the time of Farel’s first
preaching. Was he going to say mass? did he want to dispute with Farel?
or had he been converted? All were anxious to see what would happen. The
priest went up to the table, and then, to the general surprise, he took
off his sacerdotal vestments, flung away cope, alb, and stole, and said
aloud: ‘I throw off the old man, and declare myself a prisoner to the
Gospel of the Lord.’[548] Then, turning to the reformers and their
friends, he said: ‘Brethren, I will live and die with you for Jesus
Christ’s sake.’ All imagined they saw a miracle;[549] their hearts were
touched. Farel received Bernard like a brother; he broke bread with him,
gave him the cup, and, eating of the same morsel, the two adversaries
thus signified that they would in future love one another ‘with a
sincere and pure affection.’ The priest was not the only person who
threw off the foul robes of his ancient life, and put on the white robe
of the Lord. Many Genevans from that day began to think and live
differently from their fathers; but Louis Bernard was a striking type of
that transformation, and the crowd, as they quitted the church, could
not keep their eyes off him. They saw him returning full of peace and
joy to his father’s house, wearing a Spanish cape instead of the usual
priest’s hood. All the evangelicals,—‘men, women, and children,—went
with great joy to greet him and make their reverence.’[550]

Another circumstance, quite as extraordinary, still further increased
the beauty of this festival. During the rejoicings of that first
evangelical Pentecost, a knight of Rhodes came to Geneva in search of
liberty of faith. A knight of Rhodes was a strange visitor in that city.
It was known confusedly that those warlike monks, instituted to defend
the pilgrims in the Holy Land, had been expelled from Jerusalem by
Soliman, and had finally settled in Malta. But why should this one come
to Geneva? The ex-knight, whose name was Pierre Gaudet, related how,
being born at St. Cloud, near Paris, he had heard the Gospel, and that,
having chosen for his glory the cross of the Son of God, he held the
world in contempt. The scandal he had thus occasioned had forced him to
flee. Having an uncle living about a league from Geneva—the commander of
Compesières—he had taken refuge with him; but feeling the need of
Christian communion, he had come to his brethren that he might enjoy it.
The huguenots received him like a friend. That city which had seen in
Berthelier and Lévrier the martyrs of liberty, was to have in Gaudet the
first martyr of the Gospel.[551]

[Sidenote: Old And New Manners.]

While the Word of God was forming new manners, the contrast of the old
manners asserted itself more boldly. The people of the lower classes—men
and women, youths and maidens—danced, according to custom, in the public
square on the evening of Whitsunday. The _tabarins_ played their music
in the streets, and merry-andrews made the people laugh. The women of
St. Gervais, disguised and carrying bunches of box, set the example to
those of the other quarters. The young men united with them, and the
joyous troops paraded the streets in long files, singing, capering, and
sometimes attacking the passers-by. George Marchand, a huguenot no
doubt, who was very ready with his hands, being caught hold of by a
woman who wanted to make him dance with her, gave her a slap on the
face. There was a fierce disturbance; and the Council consequently
forbade these dancing promenades, and ordered that every one should be
content ‘to dance before his own house:’ and this was surely enough.
From that time such idle processions were not repeated. While the
catholic common people were indulging in wanton sports, not perceiving
that they were dancing round the open grave of Roman-catholicism, the
evangelicals increased in zeal and faith to extend the teaching of the
Word of God; and a gentler and more Christian life was about to be
naturalized in that small but important city. The Whitsuntide procession
of 1534, with its coarse jests, was, in Geneva, the funeral procession
of popery.[552]

Indeed, the laity were then learning better things than those which the
monks had taught them. It was not the ministers alone who labored;
simple believers practiced the ministry of charity. If there chanced to
be in any house a man ‘very rebellious,’ opposing the doctrine of
Scripture, his friends, neighbors, and relations, who had tasted of its
excellence, would go to him, and without offending him, without
returning him evil for evil, ‘admonish him with great mildness.’ The
evangelicals invited certain of their friends, even strangers and
enemies, to their houses to eat and drink, in order that they might
speak more familiarly with them. All their study was ‘to gain some one
to the Word.’[553]

In the neighboring countries, in Savoy, Gex, Vaud, and the Chablais, not
only did the enemies of Geneva use threats, but made preparations to
attack it. There was much talk in the city of the assaults that were to
be made by the _forains_, the aliens; and accordingly there was always a
number of citizens kept under arms. Farel, Viret, and Froment often
joined these soldiers of the republic during their night-watches, and,
sitting near the gates of the city or on the ramparts, by the glare of
the bivouac fires or the torches, they would converse together about the
truth, questioning and answering one another. ‘Each man familiarly and
freely objected and replied to what the preacher said;’ and sometimes
before they left their posts, the citizens were resolved in heart upon
religious points about which they had hitherto been in doubt. Not
without reason are these ‘conversations of the bivouac’ recorded here.
In later times, one of the evangelists of Geneva, calling to mind the
nocturnal meetings he had held at the military posts, exclaimed: ‘At
these assemblies and watches more people have been won to the Gospel
than by public preaching.’[554]

Footnote 542:

  ‘Les luthériens crêveraient par le milieu ... la ville
  s’abymerait.’—Froment, _Gestes de Genève_, pp. 92, 93.

Footnote 543:

  Registre du Conseil du 15 Mai, 1534. Froment, _Gestes de Genève_.

Footnote 544:

  Registre du Conseil des 4, 11, 13, 30 Avril; 5, 14, 15, 17, 24, 26
  Mai, and 12 Juin. Sœur Jeanne, _Levain du Calvinisme_, p. 89. MS. de
  Berne, _Hist. Helv._, v. 12. Froment, _Gestes de Genève_, pp. 119,

Footnote 545:

  Farel’s words. See p. 242 of the volume recently published in
  commemoration of the tercentenary of his death (_Du vrai usage de la
  croix de Jesus-Christ_, Neuchatel, 1865).

Footnote 546:

  _Du vrai usage_, &c.

Footnote 547:

  ‘Gebennis hac Pentacoste cum innumeri cœnam peragerent
  dominicam.’—Haller to Bullinger, 4th June, 1534. MS. Arch. Eccl.

Footnote 548:

  ‘Veterem hominem exuens et se Evangelii captivum exhibens.’—Haller,

Footnote 549:

  ‘Est in miraculum.’—Haller to Bullinger, 4th June, 1534. MS. Eccl.

Footnote 550:

  The Spanish cape was a cloak with a hood, in common use at that
  time.—La Sœur Jeanne, _Levain du Calvinisme_, p. 89.

Footnote 551:

  Registre du Conseil du 29 Juin, 1535. Crespin, _Martyrologue_, p. 114.

Footnote 552:

  Registre du Conseil des 31 Mai et 2 Juin, 1534.

Footnote 553:

  ‘Gaigner quelqu’un à la Parolle.’—Froment, _Gestes de Genève_, p. 127.

Footnote 554:

  Froment, _Gestes de Genève_, pp. 126, 127.

                              CHAPTER XI.
                          (MAY TO JUNE 1534.)

[Sidenote: Discussion In The Garden.]

In the midst of these dangers and struggles the Huguenots were not to be
consoled for the imprisonment of Maisonneuve. So long as the intrepid
captain of the Lutherans was threatened with extreme punishment, the
triumph of the evangelicals could not be complete. They feared generally
a fatal termination, for Baudichon and Janin, far from yielding anything
to their adversaries, were boldly spreading the knowledge of the Gospel
in their prison. Janin was as much at his ease as if he had been in the
streets of Geneva: at the jailer’s table, in the halls and galleries and
elsewhere, the armorer argued about the faith. One day, meeting Jacques
Desvaux, a priest of the diocese of Le Mans, Janin took him to task and
tried to convert him to the Gospel. He spoke to him of the apostles and
the saints, and showed him how they had always taught doctrines opposed
to those of Rome. He did more. A garden was attached to the prison, and
the prisoners were allowed to walk in it at certain hours. One day,
shortly before the festival of the Rogations, Janin went into it, taking
a French Testament with him, and began to read it. When he had done he
left the book, not unintentionally, on a low wall, and went away. A
priest named Delay (there was no lack of ecclesiastics in the
archiepiscopal prison) passing near, observed the book, took it up, and,
opening it, read: _The New Testament_. A Testament in French! Delay
began to examine it: a number of prisoners, priests and others, gathered
round him; he turned over the pages in search of the First Epistle of
St. John, ‘because on that day the Church mentioned it,’ but could not
find it.[555]

From the place in the garden to which he had retired, Janin saw Delay
looking for something. Going up to him, the Genevese asked what he
wanted. On being told, he took the book, immediately found the epistle
(those laymen of Geneva knew their Bible better than the priests), and
began to read the first chapter aloud, dwelling upon the words: _The
blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin_. He stopped,
and addressing the prisoners, explained the words, and drew their
attention to two doctrines which, he said, can never be made to
harmonize: that of the Bible, according to which we are cleansed _by the
blood of Christ_; and that of Rome, according to which we are cleansed
by meritorious works. ‘You explain the passage wrongly,’ exclaimed some
of his hearers: ‘we must not follow the letter, but the moral meaning.’
It is an argument we have seen revived in more recent times. ‘You cannot
understand that epistle,’ said a priest, ‘since you are obliged to read
it in French.’—‘Surely I must read it in my own language,’ answered
Janin, ‘for I do not understand Latin. God commanded his apostles to
preach the Gospel to all creatures, and therefore in all
languages.’—‘That is true,’ answered the priests: ‘_prædicate Evangelium
omni creaturæ_; but it is also true that all good Christians draw near
our mother, the Holy Church, to hear Scripture explained by the mouths
of priests and doctors who, in this world, hold the place of the
apostles.’ Janin, who, though honoring the special ministry of the Word,
firmly believed in the universal priesthood taught by St. Peter,[556]
exclaimed boldly: ‘I am just as much a priest as any man, and can give
absolution. God has made us all priests. I can pronounce the sacramental
words, like the other priests.’ And, if we are to believe his accusers,
he added: ‘You may even utter them in the house, in the kitchen.’ He
then began to repeat aloud: _Hoc est corpus meum_.[557] Janin was one of
those daring spirits who imagine that the more they startle their
hearers, the more good they do. Still, the ministers, Farel and Viret,
had no warmer friend.

The prisoners who listened to him, wishing, perhaps, to prolong a
discussion that amused them, started the huguenot again. ‘The Virgin
Mary,’ began one. Janin, interrupting him, said: ‘The Virgin Mary was
the noblest woman that ever existed in the world, inasmuch as she bore
in her bosom Him who has washed us from our sins. But we must not pray
to her or to the saints in paradise.’—‘And prayers for the dead,’
suggested another.—‘There is no need of them,’ said the armorer, ‘for as
soon as we are dead, we are saved or condemned for everlasting, and
there is no purgatory.’[558]

[Sidenote: Rogation Festival.]

On Monday, the 11th of May, the festival of the Rogations afforded the
prisoners a spectacle calculated to break the uniformity of their lives.
They proceeded to the garden, and presently a noisy crowd gave
indications of the grand procession, which was now returning to St.
John’s church, adjoining the archiepiscopal prison, whence it had
started. The priests went first, with crosses and banners, reciting
prayers or singing hymns; after them came the people. De la Maisonneuve
and Janin said that such a ceremony was an abuse, and that it would have
been far better to have given to the poor the money which those fine
banners had cost. The procession having at last reëntered the church of
St. John, the singing, shouting, and noise became insupportable, even in
the garden. Baudichon, according to the evidence of one of his accusers,
withdrew, saying: ‘Those people must be fools and madmen, or do they
imagine that God is deaf?’[559]

The next day the festival continued, and just as the prisoners were
going to dinner, the noise of singing was heard. It was a new
procession. ‘Where do they come from?’ asked Maisonneuve. The jailer’s
wife answered: ‘From the church of St. Cler.’ ‘And what have they been
doing there?’ said Baudichon; ‘have they been looking for St. Cler? They
will not find him or God either, for they are in Paradise; and it is
great nonsense to look for them elsewhere.’[560]

On the 28th of May, the depositions made by the prisoners with reference
to the language used on the Rogation days were read. ‘I would sooner be
torn in pieces,’ said De la Maisonneuve, ‘than have uttered the words
contained in that deposition.’[561] The Court having summoned the priest
Delay before them, the latter declared that he adhered to the main
points, _with the exception_ of the words ascribed to Baudichon. ‘He
only said,’ continued Delay, ‘that it would have been better to give the
poor the money paid for the banners. I did not hear him use the other

Janin, who had hitherto been the most ardent of the two prisoners, now
began to grow dispirited, as is usual with such temperaments. He looked
upon his condemnation to death as certain; and was quite unmanned by the
thought that he would never see Geneva again. On Whitsunday, a turnkey
having gone to fetch him from his dungeon to hear a mass which the other
prisoners had asked for, Janin, far from refusing, did not betray the
least sign of opposition during the service, but behaved himself
decently, ‘which he had not been accustomed to do before,’ said one who
was present. He quitted the chapel, dejected and silent. Just as he was
about to re-enter his narrow cell, De la Maisonneuve came up: he knew
the state of his friend’s soul and desired to cheer him. Leaning against
the door, he said to Janin, who was already inside: ‘Do not fret
yourself; be firm, and make no answer. I would sooner it cost me five
hundred crowns, than that any harm should come to you or me. My lords of
Berne will not suffer them to do us any mischief.’[563]

[Sidenote: Opinion Of Baudichon.]

Janin’s alarm was not, however, without foundation: false evidence
multiplied. Louis Joffrillet accused De la Maisonneuve of having said to
him at the door of his master’s shop: ‘Pshaw! if you were at Geneva I
would give you a horse-load of relics for a dozen _aiguilettes_.... They
sell relics there at the butchers’ stalls.’[564] On hearing the
unbecoming words ascribed to him, Baudichon exclaimed: ‘That witness is
a little brigand, a young thief; he has told a lie. I demand that he be
detained, and (he added in great anger) I will have him hanged!’
Manicier, Joffrillet’s deposed that he had no recollection of such words
being used by De la Maisonneuve.[565]

All these depositions, De la Maisonneuve’s courage, and the interest
felt for him in high places, created a greater excitement every day in
the second city of France. ‘There was much noise in Lyons about those
two Lutherans of Geneva.’[566] Some eagerly took their part; others, who
detested them, hoped to see them burnt. But as the two protestants had
powerful protectors, the clergy dared not proceed to extremities without
sufficient proof. The canons of St. John sent M. de Simieux, a gentleman
of Dauphiny, who was related to one of them, to Geneva to try and hunt
up some capital charge against Baudichon. De Simieux alighted at the
Hôtel de la Grue, in the Corraterie, and immediately entered into
conversation with the landlord, who promised to introduce him to some
worthy people, from whom he would receive accurate information about
that wretched Baudichon.[567]

Meanwhile, the gentleman amused himself by walking up and down in front
of his lodging. Presently he saw fifteen persons, ‘of the most
respectable of the city,’ approaching, who saluted him and said: ‘We
have heard that you are come from Lyons; is it true that Baudichon is
about to be released?’ De Simieux asked the gentlemen what they thought
of the prisoner. ‘If he is discharged,’ said one of them, ‘we and all
the Catholics in Geneva will be totally ruined and lost. His
accomplices, the Lutherans of the city, have prepared their plan, and
the only thing they are waiting for, before putting it into execution,
is Baudichon’s release.’ ‘Yes, yes,’ said all the fifteen, ‘we are sure
of it.’[568]

De Simieux asked them to specify some overt act. ‘On Corpus Christi
day,’ said one, ‘as the procession was passing Baudichon’s house, his
wife was at the window with her maid, and both were spinning with their
distaffs. When Madame de la Maisonneuve saw the priests marching before
her _all in white_, she exclaimed: “Look what fine _goats_!” ... as if a
flock of those animals had been passing by twos before her.’[569] As
this remark of the wife was not sufficient to burn the husband, De
Simieux asked for something more. ‘It is notorious,’ they told him,
‘that Baudichon is the person most employed in seducing the city of
Geneva to the Lutheran heresies; that it was he who caused the preachers
to come; and that, if he is liberated, everybody will go over to his

While this conversation was going on in a narrow street, an official
interview of far greater importance was taking place not far off. Two
ambassadors from the King of France had just arrived at Geneva, and the
syndics who waited upon them declared they thought it very strange that
messieurs of Lyons should presume to give them the law. The ambassadors
promised to speak to the king on the subject.[571]

[Sidenote: Baudichon Locked Up.]

Meantime, matters were looking worse at Lyons. On Thursday, the 18th of
June, Florimond Pécoud, the merchant, seasoned his deposition with some
piquant expressions which he falsely ascribed to Baudichon. ‘Telling him
one day that I had just come from mass,’ said Pécoud, ‘Baudichon made
the remark: “And what did you see there? ... a slice of turnip, ...
nothing more.”’[572] At these words the prisoner rose indignantly, and
said to the judges: ‘I will not make any reply, I have made too many
already,’ and proceeded to leave the hall. ‘We order you to stay,’ said
the judges; but De la Maisonneuve would not stop. ‘Positively,’ said the
judges, looking at each other, ‘he flees our presence.’ To the jailer
who was sent after him to bid him return, he answered haughtily: ‘I am
not disposed at present; let them wait until after dinner.’ Baudichon
reappeared in the afternoon, but his anger had not cooled down. ‘I know
that Pécoud,’ he said; ‘he has cheated the merchants, he has been a
bankrupt, and his wife and he live by the debauchery of others. I
guarantee to prove what I say.’

The next day there was a scene quite as lively. Maisonneuve having
contradicted a witness: ‘I command you to sit in the dock,’ said the
president. ‘I will not sit in the dock,’ answered the citizen of Geneva;
‘I have sat there too long.’ This was too much for the judges. The
procurator-fiscal ordered Baudichon to be taken away and put in solitary
confinement: no one was to speak to him. The prisoner was accordingly
removed and locked up.[573]

The Court immediately increased the number of witnesses for the
prosecution: it is useless to name them. De la Maisonneuve, more
indignant than ever, thought it enough to say: ‘They are false
witnesses, tutored to procure my death.’[574]

Such was indeed the intention of the Court, and, considering the power
of the ecclesiastical tribunals, it seemed impossible they should fail
to attain their end. De la Maisonneuve was not prepared to die. His
knowledge of the Gospel had stripped death of its terrors in his eyes,
but the work of his life was not terminated: the reformation of Geneva
was not accomplished, there was still many a tough contest to be fought
for liberty. A man of resolution was wanted at Geneva—a man to launch
the bark with energy towards the happy shores it was to reach. That man
was De la Maisonneuve.

On the 1st of July, seeing the eagerness of his adversaries, he
petitioned the court to grant him an advocate. The judges would not
consent: the prosecution was difficult enough already. ‘The case does
not require it,’ said the procurator-fiscal, ‘the accused must answer by
his own mouth. The said Baudichon is not an ignorant man; he is prudent
and _astute_ enough in his business.’[575]

De la Maisonneuve could indeed speak freely in the uprightness of his
heart; but a formal defence alarmed him. Anticipating, however, the
unjust refusal of his judges, he had resolved to protest against it.
Producing certain papers, he said, as he pointed to them: ‘This document
was written by my own hand; I desire that it be inserted among the
minutes of the trial, and propose to read it word for word.’ He was
permitted to do so; upon which Baudichon, standing before his judges
with the paper in his hand, reminded them of the fact of his unjust
imprisonment, which had already lasted three months; contended that his
judges had no authority to take cognizance of anything he had done out
of the kingdom, and added: ‘I call upon you to do me speedy justice; if
you refuse, I will prosecute each one of you, and force you to make
compensation and reparation for the injuries I have suffered.... I
appeal to his Majesty.’[576]

[Sidenote: Treatment Of Baudichon.]

The vicars-general could not believe their ears. What impudence! The
accused presumes to attack the members of the Court, and his judges are
to be put on their defence. Are they not the representatives of the
Church? ‘You have no cause to complain of your long detention,’ they
said. ‘It proceeds solely from your having refused to answer us. We
cannot send you before the syndics of Geneva, because, as laymen, they
have no cognizance of such matters. Besides, the king understands that
you demur concerning the offences committed by you in the kingdom of
France.’ Then pressing him with questions, they said: ‘Are you a
Christian? What is your faith? Do you believe in the holy catholic
Church? Do you obey our holy father the pope? We are judges of your
faith, and we require you to answer, under pain of excommunication and
other lawful penalties.’ ‘I will not answer,’ returned Maisonneuve,
quite as determined as they, ‘and I appeal from your order to every
court in the kingdom.’ After this answer, Baudichon, in the eyes of the
Court, was nothing but an obstinate heretic. The inquisitor, Morini,
conjured him to return to the catholic faith. It was useless.[577]

A man who struggled with so much courage against unreasonable judges,
who, in their despotism, claimed the right to forbid him to display
before God the faith, homage, and obedience which his conscience imposed
upon him,—a man who, in the first half of the sixteenth century, bearded
the inquisitors even in sight of the stake, as if his forehead had been
made _of adamant, harder than flint_, deserves some respect from an
easier age, which is no longer called to such combats, and which perhaps
would be unable to sustain them.

Footnote 555:

  MS. du Procès inquisitionnel de Lyon. Déposition Desvaux, pp. 99, 100;
  Déposition Delay, pp. 112, 113.

Footnote 556:

  1 St. Peter ii. 9.

Footnote 557:

  MS. du Procès inquisitionnel de Lyon. Déposition Desvaux, pp. 100-103;
  Déposition Delay, pp. 114, 115, 124.

Footnote 558:

  Ibid. Déposition Desvaux, pp. 104, 105; Déposition Delay, pp. 116,

Footnote 559:

  MS. du Procès inquisitionnel. Déposition Desvaux, pp. 106, 107;
  Déposition Delay, pp. 118, 119.

Footnote 560:

  Ibid. Déposition Galla, pp. 148-151; Déposition de Gynieux dit Nego,
  pp. 154-156.

Footnote 561:

  Ibid. p. 121.

Footnote 562:

  MS. du Procès inquisitionnel, p. 124.

Footnote 563:

  MS. du Procès inquisitionnel. Déposition de Billet, pp. 127-129;
  Déposition de Mochon, pp. 130, 131.

Footnote 564:

  Ibid. Déposition de Joffrillet, pp. 136, 137.

Footnote 565:

  ‘Recors de tels propos et paroles.’—MS. du Procès inquisitionnel, pp.
  138-140; Déposition de Manicier, p. 144.

Footnote 566:

  Froment, _Gestes de Genève_, p. 241.

Footnote 567:

  Froment, _Gestes de Genève_. The inn of La Grue was, it would seem,
  the projecting corner house on the left as you go from the Rhone,
  before reaching the museum.

Footnote 568:

  MS. du Procès inquisitionnel, pp. 184-196.

Footnote 569:

  MS. du Procès inquisitionnel, pp. 197, 198.

Footnote 570:

  Ibid. pp. 198-200.

Footnote 571:

  Registres du Conseil du 10 Juin, 1534.

Footnote 572:

  Maisonneuve compared the host to a slice of turnip—one of the
  commonest of things.—MS. du Procès inquisitionnel, p. 162.

Footnote 573:

  MS. du Procès inquisitionnel, pp. 189-191.

Footnote 574:

  Ibid. pp. 222-238.

Footnote 575:

  MS. du Procès inquisitionnel, p. 246.

Footnote 576:

  Ibid. pp. 247-250.

Footnote 577:

  MS. du Procès inquisitionnel, pp. 251-259.

                              CHAPTER XII.
                           SENTENCE OF DEATH.
                              (JULY 1534.)

The judges and priests, though determined to free the Church from such a
dangerous enemy by pronouncing the capital sentence upon him, resolved
to make a last effort to obtain a condemnatory confession from him. The
procurator-fiscal, looking at Baudichon, said: ‘Considering the
arrogance and temerity of the accused, considering that he is not
sufficiently attainted by the witnesses, we order that he be
_constrained_ to answer _concerning his faith_, and to that end be put
to the torture.’ The noble-minded citizen was to be exposed to the
horrible torments practiced by the inquisitors, but there were no
instructions as to the kind of torture to be employed.[578] De la
Maisonneuve was imprisoned under the roof. Was the order of the Court
carried out? That is more than we can tell; we have discovered nothing
relative to his punishment; we can only find that he was treated in a
harsh and cruel manner. Appearing before the Court on the 13th of July,
he complained strongly of the indignities to which he had been exposed.
‘They have behaved tyrannously to me,’ he said, ‘and shown me much
rudeness and cruelty.’ The judges answered that he had no grounds of
complaint, and that if he wished any favor he had only to answer
concerning his faith. ‘If I were to remain here a prisoner all my life,’
said Baudichon, ‘I would never answer you, for you are not my

The Court then resolved to try if they could not obtain from him some
semi-catholic formula which would authorize them to publish his
recantation, or, in default of that, some very heretical declaration
which would justify their burning him. A few words uttered with the lips
were enough for certain judges to give life or death. Evangelical
Christianity prescribes an opposite way; words will not satisfy it:
truth must penetrate into the depths of the heart and abide there by
means of a thorough assimilation which transforms man to the image of
God. But, above all, it protests against constraint; and to those
officials, those inquisitors who imagine they are helping the cause of
truth, it exclaims: ‘Leave to God what belongs to God!’ This was
Maisonneuve’s opinion.

[Sidenote: Charges Against Baudichon.]

The Court and the canons of St. John, having failed to obtain any
confession from Baudichon, resolved to call a witness before them who,
they thought, must crush him. At their request, the Bishop of Geneva,
who was then at Chambéry, desired father Cautelier, superior of the
Franciscan convent, to proceed to Lyons and give evidence against the
prisoner. On the 18th of July the monk appeared before the Court, and
declared that ‘he had preached daily at Geneva all through Lent, doing
the best he could; that he had known Baudichon, notoriously reputed as a
favorer of the Lutheran sect, and one Farellus, a very bad man, who
preached that heresy, and others more execrable still, of which he was
the inventor; that one day, being unable to obtain a license for
Farellus to preach, Baudichon came up with his accomplices; that, in the
presence of a very great multitude of people, he declared he would have
Farellus preach; that thereupon some of his party went and rang the bell
three different times, and that in the same monastery where he,
Cautelier, had preached in the morning, the said Farellus preached
publicly, according to his accursed doctrine, which he continued to do
all through Lent, wearing a secular dress.’ Then, speaking of the visit
made him by Maisonneuve and Farel, the father superior continued: ‘They
asserted that the pope is the beast of the apocalypse, and that the holy
see is not apostolical but diabolical; ... and Baudichon was so
transported with rage and anger, that he would have set the monastery on

De la Maisonneuve was then brought in. The two great adversaries met
face to face and kept their eyes fixed on each other. The energetic
huguenot, speaking with calmness, almost with disdain, said: ‘I know
that witness; he is a bad man.... He preached several heresies at
Geneva, and excited much disturbance among the people.’—‘Heresies!’
exclaimed the astonished judges. ‘What heresies?’ An heretical father
superior! that was strange indeed!—‘If I was at Geneva,’ answered the
accused, ‘I would tell you, but here I shall say no more.’[581]

At the same time the crafty monk had with him a weapon which, he
thought, must infallibly procure Baudichon’s death. Pierre de la Baume,
in his quality of bishop and prince, had given him a sealed letter
addressed to the judges, praying them to send the culprit to him, or at
least, to treat him with all the rigor of justice. Coutelier handed it
to the Court. The bishop informed his ‘good brothers and friends’ that
Maisonneuve had already been convicted of Lutheran heresy (this was five
or six years back), that he had done penance, and promised him, his
bishop, that he would not go astray again. ‘Cum nemini gremium ecclesia
claudat,’ continued La Baume, ‘as the Church shuts her bosom against no
one, I was content to pardon him, but threatened him with the stake in
case of relapse.’ It is possible that De la Maisonneuve may formerly
have had some conversation of this sort with the bishop, who took
advantage of it. The law threatened very severe penalties against such
as relapsed; they were not allowed a trial, and were delivered up
immediately to the secular arm to be put to death. ‘I beg you to
transfer him to me’ continued the bishop, ‘to execute justice upon him
to the contentment of _God and the world_, and the maintenance of our
holy faith.’ But a rivalry worthy of Rome existed between the Bishop of
Geneva and the primate of France; each wished to have the honor of
burning the Genevan.[582]

The struggle was natural. The affair had all the more importance in the
eyes of the bishops and priests inasmuch as Maisonneuve was guilty of a
blacker crime in their opinion than that of Luther and of Farel. He was
a _layman_, and yet he presumed to reform the Church. The clergy
believed that the intervention of the laity was the most menacing
circumstance possible. A great transformation was going on: opinion was
changing; as the understanding became enlightened, it condemned abuses
and reformed errors. One of the evils introduced by catholicism,
aggravated still further by the papacy, had been to nullify the faithful
in religious matters. It was endurable that a bishop should go to war;
but for a layman to have anything to say in the Church was inadmissible.
This perversion of the primitive order was pointed out by the reformers:
in their eyes the despotism of priests was still more revolting than the
despotism of kings. A man might, they thought, give up to another man
his house, his fields, his earthly existence; but to give up to him his
soul, his eternal existence, ... impossible! One of the forces of
protestantism was the influence of the laity; one of the weaknesses of
Roman-catholicism was their exclusion from the direction of religious

The Bishop of Geneva thought that, by putting that powerful layman,
Maisonneuve, to death, he was dealing the Reformation a heavy blow. The
officials of the archbishop-primate of France thought the same. There
was no doubt what would be the fate of the proud Baudichon: it was only
a question whether the flames of his funeral pile should be kindled at
Lyons or Chambéry. The judges consequently asked him if he desired to be
sent to Chambéry to be tried by the Bishop of Geneva; and the prisoner
declared that he preferred remaining in the kingdom of France. De la
Baume gave way, but insisted that the Court should make haste and punish
such a turbulent man. ‘Chastise him,’ said the bishop, ‘according to the
good pleasure of the king, who has shown in his letters that he is quite
inclined that way. Nay, more, you will do a very meritorious work before
God.’ The Court accordingly began their preparations for offering up the

[Sidenote: Proceedings Of The Magistrates.]

The magistrates of Geneva had not remained inactive. On the 23d of June
the syndics and council of the city wrote three letters: one to the
king’s lieutenant, another to the burgesses of Lyons, and a third to
Diesbach and Schœner, ambassadors of Berne at the Court of Francis I.,
declaring they thought it ‘very strange that Messieurs of Lyons should
wish to give the law to Geneva.’[584] The vicars-general were not much
alarmed: they hoped that the intervention of Francis I. would be limited
to forbidding Baudichon de la Maisonneuve to be tried for acts committed
in his own country. Still they judged it prudent to make haste.

The Court now resorted to its final, solemn, and triple summons.[585]
‘Baudichon de la Maisonneuve,’ said the president, ‘we adjure you to
answer concerning your faith under pain of excommunication.’ The Genevan
was silent. Thrice the same question was put, thrice there was the same
silence. At last, when the president added: ‘Are you a Christian?’ he
replied: ‘You are not my judges, and never will be. If I were before the
syndics of Geneva, I should answer so that every one would be
satisfied.’ He declared, however, that he was ready to enter into
explanations immediately concerning any offence he was accused of
committing in France; thus showing that he desired merely to maintain
the rights of his people and of their magistrates. The Court would not
consent: they no doubt understood that mere table-talk was not
sufficient to cause a man to be burnt. Once more they refused him a
counsel. ‘If you can write,’ they told him, ‘we permit you to set down
with your own hand whatever you please, and we will hear you tomorrow.’
He declared he could not do it without access to the minutes of the
proceedings; to which the Court answered, that the proceedings must be
well known to him.[586]

[Sidenote: The Sentence.]

The inquiry was over; De la Maisonneuve was returned to the care of the
archbishop’s procurator-general, and the next day, the 18th of July, he
was taken before him. That personage rose and said: ‘Baudichon de la
Maisonneuve, being manifestly convicted of the crimes and offences
mentioned in the indictment, is by us pronounced heretical, a great
abettor, defender, and protector of the heretics and heresies which at
present swarm so greatly, and as such he is remitted to the secular

They were in haste to finish. There was a rumor that the king would
deliver the prisoner: they must, therefore, hurry on the sentence and
execution. On the 28th of July the Court held its last sitting. Two
inquisitors were on the bench, and the final sentence was pronounced:

‘Baudichon de la Maisonneuve,’ said the Court, ‘you have been fully
convicted of having affirmed at Geneva and elsewhere many heretical
propositions of the Lutheran or Œcolampadian faction;

‘Of having been the chief promoter and defender of that sect;

‘Of having protected the impure Farel and other persons, propagators of
that perverse doctrine;

‘Of having refused to answer in our presence concerning your faith;

‘We therefore declare you to be heretical, and the chief fautor and
defender of heresy and heretics;[588]

‘Consequently we deliver you over as such to the secular arm.’

This was the formula employed by the ecclesiastical tribunals in
pronouncing the capital sentence. De la Maisonneuve appealed to the
king, to the legate, to any proper authority, and was led back to

The Church, having a horror of blood, delivered Baudichon to the civil
magistrates that they might take the life of that high-minded man: the
captain of the Lutherans was condemned to death.[589] For a long while
people at Geneva, Lyons, and elsewhere, had been every day expecting
that he would be burnt.[590] Now there could no longer be any doubt
about his fate: the sentence was lawfully pronounced. The priests
triumphed, and the evangelicals awaited a great sorrow.

Many burning piles had already been erected in France, Germany, and
elsewhere, and Christians more earnest than Maisonneuve, but not freer
or more courageous, had perished on them for their faith. Were the
persecutors always influenced by cruelty and hatred? Were the
vicars-general, the canons of St. John, the archbishop-primate of
France—all of them thirsting for blood? No doubt there were malignant
fanatics among them, but it would be unjust to form so severe a judgment
of all. Some of them were upright and perhaps benevolent men, to whom
the words uttered upon the cross might be justly applied: _Forgive them,
for they know not what they do_. Atrocious as are the deeds of the
persecutors in the sixteenth century, they easily admit of explanation.
A religion convinced of the truth of its dogmas considers it to be its
right and duty to combat the errors which destroy souls (as it
believes); and, if it is allied with the civil power, makes it a virtue
and a law to borrow the secular sword to purify the Church from
contagion. The fault of such judges—and it is a great fault—is to put
themselves in the place of God, to whom alone belongs the dominion over
conscience; to forget that religion, being in its nature spiritual, has
nothing to do with constraint, and can be propagated and received by
moral convictions only. The sword, when religion determines to grasp it,
easily becomes insensate and ruthless in her hands. _Put up thy sword
into the sheath_, said Jesus to Peter; and those who call themselves
Peter’s successors have been always drawing it. The ground is so
slippery, the gulf so near, that, besides the thousands of cases in
which the Church of Rome during the sixteenth century suffered that
great fall, two or three instances may be quoted in which even
protestants have stumbled.

Three centuries have corrected such lamentable aberrations; we no longer
erect scaffolds, but tribunals, dungeons, and exile still coerce
religious convictions. What must we do to destroy forever such evils in
all their ramifications? The most effectual remedy would seem to be the
separation of the spiritual and temporal power, the destruction of the
links which still unite the ecclesiastical with the civil power. The
doctrine which condemns those fanatical murders has long prevailed all
over evangelical Christendom; at Rome the acts are tempered, but the
principles remain. Modern civilization is waiting for the time when
salutary modifications between the Church and the State will take from
the former, everywhere and forevermore, the possibility of again
grasping the unholy sword which has poured forth such torrents of the
most generous blood.

Footnote 578:

  MS. du Procès inquisitionnel, pp. 260-262.

Footnote 579:

  MS. du Procès inquisitionnel, pp. 303, 304.

Footnote 580:

  MS. du Procès inquisitionnel, pp. 324-327.

Footnote 581:

  MS. du Procès inquisitionnel, pp. 335-338.

Footnote 582:

  MS. du Procès inquisitionnel, pp. 345-349.

Footnote 583:

   MS. du Procès inquisitionnel, p. 338.

Footnote 584:

  Registres du Conseil des 10 et 23 Juin et 7 Juillet, 1534.

Footnote 585:

  Friday, 17th July, 1534.

Footnote 586:

  MS. du Procès inquisitionnel, pp. 339-343.

Footnote 587:

  Ibid. pp. 350-354.

Footnote 588:

  ‘Hæreticæ pravitates et hæreticorum maximum defensorem et
  factorem.’—The sentence is in Latin in the MS. du Procès
  inquisitionnel, pp. 431-435.

Footnote 589:

  See the letter of Francis I. to the Council of Geneva in the archives
  of that city.

Footnote 590:

  Froment, _Gestes de Genève_, p. 242.

                             CHAPTER XIII.
                              (JULY 1534.)

[Sidenote: Effect Of Baudichon’s Imprisonment.]

By imprisoning Maisonneuve, the priests had desired to check the
progress of the Gospel, but it had the contrary effect. The courage of
the accused and the injustice of the accusers increased the
determination of the Genevans. The work of the Reformation was not a
work without fore-thought; it had been long preparing, and advanced step
by step towards the goal by paths which the hand of God had traced for
it. The rich harvests which were to cover the shores of Lake Leman and
to feed so many hungry souls, were not to spring from the earth in a
day; the soil had long been ploughed and dressed, the seed had been
sown, and therefore the crop was so abundant. The Reformation was the
fruit of a long travail: at one time the secret operations of divine
influence, at another, deeds done by men in the light of day, was
transforming by slow degrees a somewhat restless but still energetic and
generous people.

The festival of Corpus Christi was approaching, and the catholics hoped
by that imposing ceremony to bring back some of those who had left them;
but their expectations were disappointed. The most enlightened and
honorable men of Geneva had no longer any taste for these feasts—not
because of their antiquity, but because they were in their opinion
founded on serious errors, and shocked their enlightened sentiments. The
thought that a wafer, consecrated by a priest, was about to be paraded
through the city to receive divine honors, revolted evangelical
Christians. They determined not to join in the procession, or to shut up
their houses, but to work as on ordinary days. When the priests and
their adherents heard of this, they imagined that the Lutherans intended
attacking them during their progress; but, on being reassured, they took
courage and the devout began to file off. There was not the least act of
violence, but only a silent protest; many houses before which the
procession passed were without hangings, and through the open windows
‘the Lutheran dames were seen in velvet hoods busily spinning with their
distaffs or working with their needles.’ Vainly did the priests sing and
the splendid cortège defile through the streets: the velvet-hooded
ladies remained motionless. Gross insults would not have enraged the
devotees so much. One of them seeing a window open on the ground-floor
and a protestant lady filling her distaff, reached into the room,
snatched away the distaff, struck her violently on the head with it,
threw it into the mud, trampled on it, and disappeared among the crowd.
The startled lady screamed out, and (says Sister Jeanne) nearly died of
fright. Notwithstanding this act of violence, the protestants remained
quiet. Everything helped the cause of Reform: neither the grotesque nor
unseemly dances of the populace, nor the sanctimonious processions of
the clergy, were able to paralyze in Geneva the power of the doctrine
from on high.[591]

An act of a new convert still further increased the murmurs. When Louis
Bernard threw off the surplice he returned to civil life: he soon became
a member of the Two Hundred, and afterwards of the Executive Council.
Being an upright man and desirous of leading a Christian life, he
married a widow of good family, and Viret blessed their union. The
marriage created a great sensation. ‘What!’ exclaimed the catholics,
‘priests and monks with wives!’ ‘Yes!’ rejoined the reformers, ‘you
think it strange they should have lawful wives, but you were not
surprised when they had unlawful wives, the practice was so general.
What foxy consciences are yours! You confess to brushing off the dew
with your tail as you crossed the meadows, but not of having stolen the
poor man’s poultry!’ Bernard justified by his conduct the step that he
had taken. The men who had been dissolute priests became good
fathers,[592] and society was gainer by the exchange.

[Sidenote: Discussion Before The Council.]

But the priests did not think so. Master Jean, the vicar of St. Gervais,
a zealous man and noisy talker, having heard of Bernard’s marriage,
exclaimed from the pulpit: ‘Where is the discipline prescribed by the
church, where are the commandments of the pope? Oh, horror! priests
marry after they have taken the vow of chastity!’ The question of
marriage and celibacy was discussed before the Council; the priest and
Viret, who had given the nuptial benediction, were summoned to the
Hôtel-de-ville. The reformer maintained that marriage is honorable to
all men. St. Paul, when directing that the minister of the Lord should
not have several wives, shows that we must not constrain him to have
none at all, and if the apostle insists that he must be a good father,
it follows evidently that he should be married. ‘Those who issue from
the dens of the solitary and idle life called monkery or celibacy,’ said
one of the reformers, ‘are like savages; while the government of a
household is an apprenticeship for the government of the Church of God.’
The vicar supported his opinion by bad arguments,’ says the ‘Register,’
‘and wandered far from the truth.’ ‘Do not corrupt the Gospel, or else
we shall take proceedings against you,’ said the premier-syndic. The
poor dumbfoundered vicar stammered out a few excuses and retired,
promising to teach in future in conformity with their lordships’

But they had no sooner shut his mouth on the question of marriage, than
he opened it on that of baptism. ‘Do these heretics imagine,’ he
exclaimed, ‘that the Holy Ghost can descend into the heart by other
channels than the priests?... They baptize in rooms, in gardens, without
blowing upon the child to drive away the wicked one.... They are _ipso
facto_ excommunicate.’

The independence of Church and State was not understood in the sixteenth
century. Farel complained to the Council, and the priest was about to
yield, when some laymen, irritated by the defeat of Rome, came to his
assistance. ‘Are these heretics already giving us the law in Geneva?’
they said to the council. ‘Only the other day they were satisfied to
speak, and now they want to hinder us from doing so. We demand that it
be as permissible for Master Jean to preach as it is for Master Farel.’
The syndic replied frankly:—‘We have not forbidden the vicar to preach:
on the contrary we order him to preach the Gospel.’[594] It was not then
understood that to command a man to preach what he did not believe was
more tyrannical than to silence him.

Farel, Viret, and the vicar were in attendance; they were led into the
council chamber, and the discussion began immediately. ‘The Holy Ghost,’
said Farel, ‘can act without the aid of priests. It is faith in the
power of Christ’s blood that cleanseth us from our sins, and baptism is
the evidence of that absolution. But where have you read that it must be
celebrated with oil, salt, and other rubbish?[595] ... I know very well
that this strange trumpery is of ancient origin.... The devil very early
began to indulge in heavy jokes, and all these baubles come from him.
Let us put aside these pomps and shows that dazzle the eyes of the
simple, but brutalize their understanding, and let us celebrate the rite
of baptism simply, according to the Gospel form, with fair water, in the
name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.’ The embarrassed vicar quoted
the authority of the pope in his defence, and highly extolled the two
swords that are in his hand. ‘That is an idle allegory,’ said the
reformer, ‘and a sorry jest.... There are two powers indeed: one in the
Church, the other in the State. The only power in the Church is the Word
of Christ, and the only power in the State is the sword.’ That
distinction gave much pleasure, and the secretary entered it on the
minutes. An important transformation was going on: the civil power was
lifting its head and beginning to brave that spiritual power which had
humbled it for so long. The syndic kindly entreated Farel ‘to take it
all in good part;’ but turning with severity towards the vicar, ordered
him again ‘to preach in accordance with the truth.’ ‘Do you forbid me to
preach any more?’ asked the priest, abashed. The syndic answered him a
little harshly: ‘You are forbidden nothing, except lying.’ This marks a
new phase of the Reformation in Geneva. The monks who remained faithful
to St. Francis were alarmed in their convent at Rive, and said: ‘Let us
make haste to carry away our altar-ornaments and jewels.’ ... The
Council opposed this, and ordered those precious objects to be kept in
safe custody.[596]

[Sidenote: Alarming Rumor.]

While the magistracy of Geneva held back from catholicism, the partisans
of the pope in the surrounding country were preparing to support it. An
alarming rumor had been circulating in the city for some days; and the
vicar and the reformer had scarcely withdrawn, when several members of
the Council expressed their fears. ‘The bishop, in concert with the
duke, has formed the design of invading us,’ they said. ‘At a banquet,
at which two hundred persons were present, a formidable conspiracy was
planned against our liberties. Wherever you go, you hear nothing but
threats against the city. Many of our fellow-citizens have gone out to
join the enemy, and are preparing to attack us, with the gentry of the
neighborhood.’ Captain-General Philippe was ordered ‘to be on the
look-out,’ and many placed their hands and their lives at his disposal.
It was true that Pierre de la Baume, having formed a new plot, had come
to an understanding with the Genevese episcopals and the lords of
Friburg; and quitting, not without reluctance, his delightful residence
at Arbois, he had gone to Chambéry to concert measures with the duke. A
Romish camarilla stimulated the two princes. The most fervid of the
mamelukes, and of the lords of Savoy and of Vaud, had arranged a meeting
for a hunting match at the foot of the Voirons, and there arrangements
had been made for ‘hunting down’ the heresy of Geneva. ‘Every one there
is running after this new word,’ they told the duke. ‘There is but one
means of safety left, and that is, to destroy the city and the heretics
by making war upon them, and then restoring the prelate by force.’
Forthwith the plan was arranged ‘of the most dangerous treason that had
yet been aimed at Geneva.’ The duke hoped to become master of the city,
and to re-establish the papal power in it. He had no doubt that
catholicity, far from being jealous of his conquest, would be eager to
applaud it. To insure success, he determined to ask the help of France,
and to that end applied to the Cardinal de Tournon. It was proposed that
Pierre de la Baume should resign his see to one of the duke’s sons, the
young Count of Bresse, and a handsome compensation was offered him.
Maisonneuve, the captain of the Lutherans, a man so generally dreaded,
being then in prison at Lyons, it was desirable to take advantage of his
absence, and the last day of July was fixed for the execution of the

The Councils of Geneva, in great alarm, sent John Lullin and Francis
Favre to Berne to ask the advice and assistance of those powerful
allies. At the same time they ordered the bells of the Convent of St.
Victor and others to be cast into cannon, and directed the captains of
the city to take the necessary measures for putting it into a state of
defence. And, lastly, wishing to deprive the enemies of Geneva of every
pretext, the Council determined to punish those who had ‘ill-advisedly
broken the images of the convent at Rive;’ and declared, that _though
such images ought to be taken down and destroyed, according to God’s
law_, yet ‘those persons’ ought not to have done it without order and
permission, because it was _an act pertaining to the magistracy_. In
consequence of this, six men, of whom little was known, were imprisoned
on the 26th July.[598]

[Sidenote: Enthusiasm In Geneva.]

Great was the enthusiasm in Geneva. The citizens were ready to give up
everything ‘to follow the right path,’ and the Reformation still
advanced, notwithstanding the great danger with which it was threatened.
Some even chose this moment to confess their faith. The last Sunday in
July, a few hours before the day when the enemy intended to enter
Geneva, a member of the Dominican order, that pillar of the papacy,
‘after the bell had bidden the people to the sermon,’ appeared before
the congregation, took off his monastic dress, went into the pulpit, and
then, ‘like a madman,’ prayed God to have pity on him. He bewailed
himself, asked pardon of his listeners for having ‘lived so ill in times
past, and so monstrously deceived everybody.’ ‘I have preached
indulgences,’ he continued, ‘I have praised the mass, I have extolled
the sacraments and ceremonies of the Church. Now I renounce them all as
idle things. I desire to find but one thing—the grace of Christ
crucified for me.’ After which he preached an heretical sermon.[599]

These conversions increased the dangers of Geneva, by exciting the wrath
of the catholics. Four days after the touching confession of the
Dominican the projected plot was to be carried out. The Savoyard troops,
assembling at a little distance from the city, were to approach it under
cover of the darkness. One detachment would arrive by the lake and the
tower guard, bribed by ten crowns, would let the boats pass without
firing on them. Within the city, more than three hundred foreigners had
entered separately and stealthily, and were hidden in catholic houses.
In the middle of the night F. du Crest was to go to the Molard with
fire-arms and hoist a red flag. The firing of a heavy culverine would be
the signal for the priests to come to the support of their friends.
Certain episcopals would mount to the roofs of their houses with lighted
torches to summon the foreign troops to approach. The catholics of
Geneva and their allies would then leave their houses; three of the city
gates were to be forced by a locksmith of their party, the troops would
enter, and Genevans and strangers would advance shouting: ‘Long live our
prince, monseigneur of Geneva!’ The friends of independence and reform,
thus caught between two fires, would be unable to make any resistance.
Then would begin the executing of the judgment of God: if it had been
waited for long, it would only be the more terrible now. The pious
soldiers of the Church would fall upon the Lutherans and put them to
death. The city would be purged of all those seeds of the gospel and
liberty which were choking, within its walls, the ancient and glorious
plants of feudalism and popery. Finally to complete their work, the
conquerors would share the property of the vanquished, which the bishop
had in anticipation confiscated for their benefit, and Geneva, forever
bound to Rome, would thus become its slave and never its rival.[600]

On the 29th and 30th July all began to move round the city. On the
north, the Marshal of Burgundy, the bishop’s brother, was to descend
into the valley of the Leman, with six thousand men, raised in imperial
Burgundy. On the south, the Duke of Savoy had obtained permission of the
king of France to enlist in Dauphiny, ‘persons experienced in war.’
Numerous soldiers—some coming by land, others by water—were expected
from Chablais, Faucigny, Gex, and Vaud. A galley and other boats had
been fitted out near Thonon, to which place the artillery of Chillon had
been removed. Several corps were marching on Geneva. The bishop, who was
anything but brave, did not wish to leave Chambéry; but the duke, to
encourage him, gave him a body-guard of two hundred well-armed men, and
Pierre de la Baume quitted, not without alarm, the capital of Savoy
early in the morning of the 30th July, and halted at Lé-luiset, a
village situated about two leagues from Geneva, where he intended to
wait in safety the issue of the affair.

The corps nearest to Geneva appeared. Savoyard troops under the command
of Mauloz, castellan of Gaillard, reached their station in front of the
St. Antoine Gate. Armed men from Chablais advanced along the Thonon road
as far as Jargonnant, in front of the Rive gate. Other bands prepared to
enter by the gate on the side of Arve and Plainpalais. Barks and boats
filled with soldiers arrived in the waters that bathed the city. The
army that was to cross the Jura, and other corps, did not appear; but
the assembled forces were sufficient for the coup-de-main.[601]

[Sidenote: Levrat, The Traitor.]

While these manœuvres were going on without, everything seemed going on
well within. The man entrusted with the care of the artillery, and who
was called Le Bossu (the Hunchback), had been bribed. In the evening
Jean Levrat, ‘one of the most active of the traitors,’ had prowled about
his dwelling, and the keeper, not wishing to be compromised, had handed
him through a loophole the keys of the tower of Rive, where the cannons
had been stored. Levrat and his accomplices spiked several, and Le Bossu
had filled others with hay. The blacksmith had counterfeited the keys of
the city, and made iron implements to break down the gates.[602] The
most lively emotion prevailed in the houses of all the catholics. Party
walls had been broken through, so that they could go from one to another
and concert matters secretly. Michael Guillet, Thomas Moine, Jacques
Malbuisson, De Prato, Jean Levrat, and the Sire de Pesmes, went to and
fro watching that no man shrank back.

Throughout the whole of the 30th of July the Councils and the reformed
remained in complete ignorance of the blow that was impending. They knew
of the threats, but did not believe there was any danger, so that in the
evening of the 30th they had gone to rest as quietly as usual. In the
early part of the night a stranger desired to speak with the
premier-syndic on urgent business. Michael Sept received him. ‘I am from
Dauphiny,’ said the man: ‘I am a hearer of the Word of God, and should
grieve to see Geneva and the Gospel brought to destruction. The duke’s
army is marching upon your city; a number of soldiers are already
assembled all round you, and very early this morning the bishop left
Chambéry to make his entrance among you.’ It was a fellow-countryman of
Farel and Froment that undertook to save Geneva. But was there still
time? The premier-syndic immediately communicated the intelligence to
his colleagues, and it was resolved to arrest some of those who were
always ready to make common cause with the enemy outside. The syndics
questioned them, confronted them with one another, and gradually saw the
horrible plot unravelled, of which they had until that moment been
ignorant.[603] All the citizens upon whom they could rely were called to
arms. It was not yet midnight.

The episcopals, who had not gone to bed, waited in excitement for the
appointed hour. A great number of canons and priests had assembled in
the house of the canon of Brentena, Seigneur of Menthon, belonging to an
illustrious family of Savoy. They congratulated one another that the
plot had been so well arranged, and nothing in that assembly of
ecclesiastics was talked of but torches, banners, and artillery. In a
short time, however, one of their party came in, and told them that the
huguenots were arming everywhere. The reverend members of the chapter
ran to the window, and saw with affright a numerous patrol marching by.
The alarm spread; not an episcopal dared venture out: they hid the red
flag, the signal for the murder of the huguenots. One hope only
remained; the troops round Geneva were amply sufficient to secure the
triumph of the bishop.[604]

[Sidenote: Waiting For The Signal.]

And indeed the number of soldiers round the city was very great. Playing
on the word _Geneva, gens nova_, the leaders had chosen for their
watchword this cruel phrase: _Nous ferons ici gent nouvelle_,[605] that
is to say, they would extirpate the evangelicals from Geneva and replace
them by catholic Savoyards. They waited for the appointed signal and
turned their eyes to the roofs of the houses from which the torches were
to be waved. They fancied that some had been seen, but had soon
disappeared. While the anxious officers were asking what was to be done,
some of the soldiers noticed a simple-looking boy walking about on the
hill, peering innocently about him, but constantly getting nearer to the
city gates. He was taken before Mauloz the castellan and M. de Simon,
another of the leaders, who asked him what he was doing there at such an
hour of the night. The boy, who seemed greatly embarrassed, answered, ‘I
am looking for the mare I lost.’ It was not the case.

Three of the best citizens of Geneva, Jean d’Arlod, auditor, the zealous
Étienne d’Adda, and Pontet, happening to be at La Roche, three or four
leagues from Geneva, in the evening, had heard the enterprise talked of,
and had immediately mounted their horses in order to reach the gates
before the enemy.[606] Pushing rapidly along the by-roads, they stopped
at a farm-house a short distance from the city, where they learnt that
the Savoyard troops were already under the walls. D’Arlod directed one
of the farm-servants to go and see if they could enter. M. de Simon and
Mauloz the castellan, impatient to know the cause of the delay,
determined to make use of this poor boy, of whose innocence they felt no
doubts. ‘Hark ye!’ they said to him; ‘go and see whether the Rive and
St. Antoine gates are open.’ The lad, who was very unwilling to serve as
a scout to the Savoyards, replied: ‘Oh! I should be afraid they would
kill me.’ At that instant Mauloz, whose attention was divided between
the youth and the houses on which the torches were to be displayed,
exclaimed, ‘There is one!’ A brilliant light appeared over the city: the
whole force hailed it with joy, and the two captains could not turn away
their eyes. The light appeared and disappeared, returned, and was again
eclipsed, and every time it came in sight, strange to say, it looked
more elevated. Higher and higher it rose; already it overtopped the
tallest chimneys. There was something extraordinary about it, and the
Savoyards began to grow uneasy. ‘Why, can it be so?’ said those who knew
Geneva; ‘the light is ascending the spire of St. Pierre!... Yes, it is
so ... that is where the main watch of the city is stationed in time of
danger.’ At last the light ceased to move; it halted at the top of the
spire, which was built on the crest of the hill. It thus brooded over
the city, and seemed turned upon the Savoyard army, like the glaring eye
of the lion shining through the midnight darkness of the desert. Then a
panic terror seized the soldiers of Charles III.; their features were
disturbed, their hearts quaked. Mauloz, who had kept his eyes fixed on
the threatening apparition, turned in despair towards M. de Simon, who
was already moving off, and exclaimed: ‘We are discovered: we are
betrayed! We shall not enter Geneva to-night.’ The young messenger,
finding that nobody took heed of him, ran off to the farm to tell
D’Arlod and his friends what had taken place.[607]

[Sidenote: Retreat Of The Savoyards.]

Yet the lion’s eye still glared above the city. ‘The sugar-plums are all
ready for our supper,’ said the men-at-arms.[608] Every one thought of
retiring: Mauloz and Simon gave orders for the retreat. As day was
beginning to break, the Genevese look-outs stationed on the tower saw
the Savoyards filing off in the direction of Castle Gaillard, with drums
beating and colors flying.

The Genevan catholics were in suspense no longer: their enterprise had
miscarried. They were stupefied and furious against their allies. One of
them, Francis Regis, said with a great oath: ‘We are ruined and undone:
those gentlemen are not worth a straw. We made the signals, everything
was in good order, but the gentry deceived us.’[609] As for the bishop,
he was more frightened than disappointed. When the terrible beacon shone
out from the temple of St. Pierre’s, some men, commissioned to keep him
informed of what was going on, had started off full gallop, and reported
to him the ominous words of the ferocious Mauloz: ‘We are betrayed!’
Instantly the poor prelate mounted his horse, and rode hastily away to
join the duke.

When the sun rose, not an enemy was to be seen about the city. The
Genevans could not believe their eyes: the events of that memorable
night seemed almost miraculous, and they were transported with joy, like
men who have been saved from death. All the morning the streets were
filled with people; they exchanged glances, they shook hands with each
other; many blessed God; some could not believe that their catholic
fellow-citizens were cognizant of the plot. One little incident removed
every doubt. As some citizens happened to be passing the house of the
keeper of the artillery, they heard the shrill voice of a woman
screaming in great emotion: ‘Ha! traitor! you are betraying me as you
betrayed the city!’ ... A man replied with abuse and blows; the screams
of the wretched creature became louder and louder, and the coarse voice
of another woman was mingled with hers. It was the Bossu, his wife, and
servant: the keeper of the artillery had been surprised by his wife in
flagrant infidelity. The huguenots, hearing the uproar, stopped and
entered the house. ‘Yes,’ screamed the wife louder than ever; ‘yes,
traitor, you gave Jean Levrat the keys through the loop-hole.’ Levrat,
the Bossu, and the locksmith were immediately arrested.[610]

The leaders of the conspiracy remained, as usual, at liberty. Skulking
in their houses, Guillet, De Prato, Perceval de Pesmes, the two Du
Crests, the two Regis, and many others, knew well that they merited
death more than Portier; and, affrighted like the hare in its form,
which pricks up its ears to listen for the pursuing huntsman, they
started at the slightest noise, and fancied every moment that the
syndics or their officers were coming. As no one appeared, they formed a
desperate resolution: disguising themselves in various ways, they left
their houses and escaped; ‘and never returned to the city again,’ says
Froment. The bishop’s conspiracy with Portier and the Pennets had forced
several catholics to leave the council; the project of a night attack
obliged many to leave Geneva. Every effort made by catholicism to rise
helped it to descend, and every blow aimed at the Reformation for its
destruction raised it still higher. The citizens remarked to one
another, reports a contemporary, who has recorded the words: ‘It was God
who brought down the hearts of our enemies, both without and within, so
that they could not make use of their strength.’[611]

[Sidenote: Vigilance And Meditation.]

Meanwhile Geneva was not at ease. The Marshal of Burgundy and the
Governor of Chablais had not appeared; and the enemy might have
withdrawn only to wait for these powerful reinforcements. All the
citizens were called to arms. ‘Throughout that week a strong guard was
kept up, and the gates of the city were closed.’ As the episcopals had
often had recourse to the bells to summon their partisans, ‘it was
forbidden to ring the church-bells either day or night.’ A silence,
accompanied with meditation and vigilance, prevailed through the city.
The inhabitants were ready to sacrifice their lives, and showed their
resolution by a deep earnestness, and not by idle boasts. The preachers
would converse with the soldiers, speaking familiarly to them of _the
good fight_, and the soldiers never grew tired of listening to them.
‘What a new way of making war,’ said many. ‘In old times the soldiers
used to have dissolute women with them at their posts, but now they have
preachers, and instead of debauchery and filthy language, every thing is
turned to good.’[612]

Could such generous zeal save the city from the attacks of Savoy
supported by France, Friburg, Burgundy, and the mamelukes? There were
men who shook their heads with sorrow and ‘lived in fear and
despondency.’ But ‘a friend sticketh closer than a brother.’ On the
morning after the enterprise, a delegate from Lausanne arrived in
Geneva, and although the Duke had given orders that the Estates of Vaud
should make common cause with him, the messenger said: ‘We are ready,
brethren, to send you a hundred arquebusiers if you want them.’
Neuchâtel made a similar offer. Berne commissioned Francis Nägeli the
treasurer, the banneret Weingarten, and two other citizens, to exhort
the Duke and Marshal of Burgundy to desist from hostilities. The Swiss
cantons, assembled at Baden, forwarded a similar message to Charles III.

The partisans of the pope and of the bishop saw that as their enterprise
had miscarried, their cause was lost. The leaders had escaped at first:
now the flight became general. Even the friends of the Genevese
franchises began to leave the city; it was, therefore, natural that the
fanatics should depart to swell the ranks of the mamelukes. They took
with them all they could carry, and used various stratagems to get out
of the city, stealing away cautiously by night. Some took refuge on the
left shore of the lake; a greater number in the castle of Peney, on the
right bank of the Rhone, whence they kept the Genevese population
continually on the alert. Their wives and children, left behind in the
city, held secret interviews with them at the foot of the steep cliffs
which line the banks of the river, and told them all the news. No
Genevan citizen could start for Lyons without the refugees at Peney
being informed of it; they were always on the look-out for travellers.
It was a strange phenomenon, of which history presents, however, more
than one example, this opposition of the papists and feudalists to civil
and religious liberty degenerating into brigandage.[613]

The flight of the episcopalian laity destroyed the power of the clergy,
whose support they were, and made the reformers masters of the
situation. Geneva was resolved to keep within her walls none but those
who were ready to shed their blood for her. One night when the drum
called citizens to arms a timid man bade his wife say he was absent:
some of his neighbors, however, forced their way into his chamber and
found him hidden in bed, pretending to have the fever: he shook, indeed,
but it was with fear. The coward was banished from the city for life,
under pain of being flogged if he returned: a year later, however, he
was indulgently readmitted, ‘because it is not given to every man to
have the courage of a Cæsar,’ says the ‘Register’; but he was always
looked upon as an alien. Courage was at that time one of the
qualifications necessary for Genevese citizenship.[614]

[Sidenote: Frightened Nuns.]

While the mamelukes were indulging in highway robbery without the city,
the weaker members of the episcopal party who still remained within it
were living in fear. Their persons, their worship, their convents were
respected: not a hair of their heads was touched; but they trembled lest
the outrages of the refugees at Peney should excite the huguenots to
take their revenge. The nuns especially were in perpetual alarm. One
night, between eleven and twelve o’clock, the sisters of St. Claire were
startled from their slumbers by a loud knocking at the door: scared at
the noise, they listened with beating hearts. Then other knocks were
heard. Faint and trembling, they crept from their beds. The huguenots
are surely coming to avenge on them the perfidious night of the 31st of
July! ‘The heretics,’ they whispered one to another, ‘have broken down
the gates of the convent.’ The nuns ascribing guilty intentions to them,
ran to the abbess in dismay: ‘My dear children,’ said she, ‘fight
valiantly for the love of God.’ They waited, but nobody came.

The youngest of the nuns, who had been at service overnight with the
rest of the community, and made drowsy by the long prayers, had fallen
into a sound sleep; the under-superior had locked her in the church
without observing her. About eleven o’clock the unlucky sister awoke:
she looked round, and could not make out where she was.... At last she
recognized the chapel; but the darkness, the loneliness, the place
itself—all combined to frighten her. She fancied she could see the dead
taking advantage of that silent hour to quit their graves and wander
through the church.... Her limbs refused to move. At length she summoned
up courage and rushed to the door. It was locked. In her fright, she
gave it a violent blow. It was this which woke the sisters. Then she
listened, and as no one came, she knocked again three times, as loud as
she could.

While this was going on, the abbess prepared to receive the wolves who
were about to devour her innocent lambs. She first desired to know if
all her flock were present, and to her great anguish discovered that one
was missing. Then another knock, louder than all the rest, was heard.
‘Let us go forth,’ said the abbess, ‘and enter the church, for it will
be better for us to be before God than in the dormitory.’ They descended
the stairs; the abbess put the key into the lock, opened the door ...
and found before her the young nun, who, pale as death fainted away at
her feet.[615]

The tales that men took pleasure in circulating, and sometimes even
printing, about the reformers and the reformed, about Calvin and Luther
in particular, often had no more reality than the imaginations of the
nuns of St. Claire as to the designs of the huguenots, which had given
the poor girls such a terrible fright; and they were less innocent.

Footnote 591:

  Registre du Conseil du 2 Juin, 1534.—La sœur Jeanne, _Levain du
  Calvinisme_, pp. 89, 90.

Footnote 592:

  Froment, _Gestes de Genève_, pp. 127-129; MS. de Gautier.

Footnote 593:

  Registre du Conseil du 8 Juin, 1534.—MS. de Gautier; La sœur Jeanne,
  _Levain du Calvinisme_, p. 88.

Footnote 594:

  Registres du Conseil des 20 et 24 Juillet, 1534.—MS. de Gautier.

Footnote 595:

  ‘Aliis unguentis.’—Registres du Conseil du 24 Juillet, 1534.

Footnote 596:

  Registres du Conseil des 30 Juin et 24 Juillet, 1534.—MS. de Gautier.

Footnote 597:

  Registres du Conseil des 23 Juin et 7 Juillet, 1534.—Froment, _Gestes
  de Genève_, p. 123; Ruchat, iii. p. 334.—MS. de Gautier.

Footnote 598:

  Registres du Conseil des 24, 26 Juin, 17, 26, 27, 28 Juillet, 1534.

Footnote 599:

  La Sœur Jeanne, _Levain du Calvinisme_, p. 94.

Footnote 600:

  _Chron._ MS. de Roset, liv. iii. ch. xxvii.—MS. de Gautier.—Froment,
  _Gestes de Genève_, pp. 123, 124.—Procès aux Archives.—Gaberel, Pièces
  Justificatives.—Papiers Galiffe, communiqués par M. A. Roget, ii. 115.

Footnote 601:

  _Chron._ de Roset.—Registre du Conseil des 17, 28, 31 Juillet,
  1534.—Ruchat, iii. p. 325.—Vulliemin, _Histoire de la Suisse_, xi. p.
  89.—Froment, _Gestes de Genève_, pp. 123-125.

Footnote 602:

  Froment, _Gestes de Genève_, p. 123.

Footnote 603:

  Our account of the manner in which the plot was discovered is founded
  on the testimony of many witnesses. Froment, _Gestes de Genève_, p.
  125; Roset (_Chron._ MS. liv. iii. ch. xxvii.), and the minutes or
  Register of the Council which were drawn up by Roset’s father. Other
  versions, differing from this narrative, do not appear to us to repose
  upon such solid foundations.

Footnote 604:

  Registre du Conseil du 31 Juillet, 1534.—_Chron._ MS. de Roset.

Footnote 605:

  ‘Faciemus hic gentem novam.’—_Geneva restituta_, p. 73. ‘We will make
  a new people here.’

Footnote 606:

  Registre du Conseil _in loco_.

Footnote 607:

  Registre du Conseil du 25 Janvier, 1537. It was not until then that
  D’Arlod related to the Council of Two Hundred what had happened to him
  three years before. _Chron._ MS. de Roset, liv. iii. ch. xxvii.

Footnote 608:

  The soldiers played upon the word _dragée_—which means small-shot as
  well as sweetmeats.

Footnote 609:

  Déposition de Jacques Maguin. Papiers Galiffe. A. Roget, ii. p. 116.

Footnote 610:

  Froment, _Gestes de Genève_, p. 125. Registre du Conseil du 31
  Juillet, 1534. _Chron._ MS. de Roset.

Footnote 611:

  Michel Roset, MS. Froment, _Gestes de Genève_, pp. 123-125. Registre
  du Conseil du 7 Août, 1534.

Footnote 612:

  La sœur Jeanne, _Levain du Calvinisme_, p. 92. Froment, _Gestes de
  Genève_, p. 126. MS. de Gautier.

Footnote 613:

  Registre du 30 Septembre, 1534. The ruins of the castle of Peney were
  still to be seen a few years ago near Satigny, between the Lyons and
  Geneva railway and the Rhone.

Footnote 614:

  Registres du Conseil des 4, 12, 13 Août, 4 Septembre, 1534: 27
  Janvier, 1535.

Footnote 615:

  La Sœur Jeanne, _Levain du Calvinisme_, pp. 92-94.

                              CHAPTER XIV.
                     (AUGUST AND SEPTEMBER, 1534.)

The friends of independence and of the Reformation had better grounded
anxieties than those of the nuns of St. Claire: they understood that the
attack had only been adjourned, and that they must hold themselves ready
for severe struggles. Accordingly, Geneva mustered all her forces. ‘Let
those who are abroad return home,’ said the Council: but alas! two of
the most intrepid were in the prisons of the French primate, and about
to be sent to the stake. The sentence condemning Baudichon de la
Maisonneuve and his friend to death had been pronounced, as we have
seen. They had been delivered by the priests to the secular arm, and
were about to be executed, when a fresh attempt was made in their

[Sidenote: Tales About Parel.]

There was a patrician family in Berne, illustrious for its ancient
nobility and valor, some of whose members had rendered signal services
to France. In the 15th century, Nicholas of Diesbach, the avoyer, allied
that puissant republic with Louis XI. against Charles the Bold, and had
gained several victories over the Burgundian forces. At Pavia, in 1525,
another of the family, John of Diesbach, commanded the Swiss auxiliary
troops of France. Stationed on the right wing, at the head of 2,000
Helvetians, at first he drove back the imperialist infantry and cavalry.
Francis I. was on the point of gaining the victory; but meanwhile his
left wing had been annihilated; in that quarter Suffolk, the heir of the
White Rose, the Duke of Lorraine’s brother, Nassau, Schomberg, La
Tremouille, San Severino, and the veteran La Palisse, fell on the field
of battle, and Montmorency was made prisoner. Nevertheless, the Swiss
still held their ground manfully, when Alençon, the king’s
brother-in-law, fleeing shamefully, and carrying after him part of the
French men-at-arms, caused Diesbach’s soldiers, who were fighting at his
side and already shouting victory, to waver. At that moment the
lansquenets, commanded by the redoubtable Freundsberg, fell furiously on
the Swiss and broke them. The Helvetians, seeing the Frenchmen retiring,
believed they were to be sacrificed to the hatred of the Germans. John
of Diesbach conjured and threatened them in vain; nothing could stop
them. Then the valorous captain rushed forward alone against a battalion
of lansquenets and fell dead. Bonnivet, in despair, stretched out his
neck to the spears of the enemy, and was killed: and Francis I. who was
the last to fight, yielded up his sword with a shudder to Lannoy.[616]

John of Diesbach had married a French lady, Mademoiselle de Refuge, to
whom the king had promised a dowry of 10,000 livres, but had afterwards
given her husband, as an equivalent, the lordship of Langes, which the
latter had bequeathed to his wife. But in 1533 Francis I. had taken back
the estate, without giving the promised dowry. The widow of the hero of
Pavia, finding herself thus deprived of her property by the man for whom
her husband had died, implored the intervention of Berne, and the chiefs
of that republic had commissioned another Diesbach, Rodolph, to proceed
to the court of France to support the just claims of his relation.
Rodolph departed on the 12th of January, 1534, accompanied by George
Schœner. This mission was destined to be of more importance to Geneva
than to Berne.[617]

Rodolph of Diesbach himself was highly esteemed in France. He had passed
his youth there, had studied at the University of Paris, and from 1507
to 1515 had taken part in the wars of Louis XII., and honorably
distinguished himself. On his return to Berne, he was one of those who
embraced the evangelical faith, and was often called to defend the
interests of Geneva and the Reformation. While Rodolph was in France
pleading the cause of his cousin, De la Maisonneuve and Janin were
imprisoned at Lyons, and Diesbach received instructions from the lords
of Berne to do all in his power to obtain their liberation from the
king. He set about it with all the energy of a Bernese and a warrior;
went to Blois, where Francis I. was then holding his court, and
earnestly solicited the enlargement of the two evangelicals.[618] He
regarded Baudichon de la Maisonneuve as his co-burgher and
co-religionist, and saw clearly how useful his presence would be in
Geneva. But, on the other hand, the catholic nobles and ultramontane
priests urged the king to suffer the two Genevans to be burnt. How could
Francis I., who had recently become the pope’s friend, and who had
ordered the heretics in his kingdom to be brought to trial[619]—how
could he save the heretics of Geneva? The friends as well as the enemies
of the Reformation were in the keenest suspense. Weeks, and even months
elapsed, without obtaining a decisive answer from the king.

[Sidenote: A Terrible Necessity.]

Geneva was greatly agitated during this long delay; but the absence of
the two energetic huguenots did not hinder the work from being pursued
with resolution. The magistrates desired to take and execute promptly
the supreme measures rendered necessary by the danger of the country. A
terrible and inexorable necessity continually rose before their minds.
To save Geneva, a great portion of it must be destroyed.

The city was at that time composed of two parts: the city proper and the
four suburbs. The suburb of the Temple, or _Aigues Vives_ (Eaux Vives),
stood on the left shore of the lake, and took its name from the church
of St. John of Rhodes, which stood there.[620] The suburb of Palais lay
to the left, on the picturesque banks of the Rhone; that of St. Leger
extended from the city to the bridge thrown over the icy torrent of the
Arve; and that of St. Victor, in which the monastery of that name was
situated, stretched from Malagnou to Champel. This town beyond the walls
not only had as many houses as the one within, but covered a far more
extensive surface, and contained over six thousand inhabitants.

On the 23d August the Two Hundred members of the Great Council received
a summons, bearing the words: ‘In consequent of urgent affairs of the
city.’[621] Every one understood what they meant. The premier-syndic
proposed to build up some of the gates, and to set a good guard; but
added, that such measures alone were not sufficient; that, as the
suburbs were very extensive, the enemy could establish himself in them;
and that it was necessary unhesitatingly to knock down all the houses,
barns, and walls, beginning with the nearest. Many were struck with
grief when they heard the proposition. What a resolution! what a
disaster! With their own hands the citizens were to destroy those
peaceful homes in which their childhood had played, where they had been
born, and where those whom they loved had died; and a great part of the
population would have no other shelter left them than the vault of
heaven. Yet the Two Hundred did not hesitate. The friends of the
Reformation, in whose eyes the Gospel had shone with all its brightness,
were prepared for the greatest sacrifices so that they might preserve
it. Those who were not touched by religious motives were carried away by
patriotic enthusiasm. ‘It is better to lose the hand than the arm ...
the suburbs than the city,’ exclaimed the citizens. The resolution was
agreed to; and without any delay—for the matter was urgent—the very same
day, after dinner, the four syndics, accompanied by Aimé Levet and five
other captains of the city, ‘went to give orders for the destruction of
the suburbs.’ There were cries and tears here and there, but nearly all
had formed the resolution to lay their goods, although with trembling
hands, upon the altar of their country and their faith.

It must be done, for every day the danger appeared to draw nearer. The
Genevese ambassadors at Berne wrote to the Council: ‘Be on your guard.’
Acts of violence and trifling skirmishes announced more serious combats.
On the 14th of August, Richerme, a merchant of Geneva, returning from
Lyons, was seized, dragged successively to three of the bishop’s
castles, and put to the torture. On the 25th, Chabot, another citizen,
was stopped at the Mont de Sion, taken to the castle of Peney, and also
put to the torture; but the judges, wishing to give a proof of their
good nature, added: ‘Do not let his bones be broken or his life
endangered.’ They soon brought in a new prisoner.

[Sidenote: The Embroiderer Of Avignon.]

There was an embroiderer at Avignon, ‘so superstitious in fasting,’ that
he had sometimes gone several days without eating or drinking. The poor
artisan, having received the Gospel, had ceased to attend mass, and had
consequently been sent to prison. The churchmen asked him how long it
was since he had been present at the sacrifice of the altar. ‘Three
years,’ he replied; ‘and with my own will neither myself nor any of my
family would ever have gone there.’ When they heard him talk in this
way, the priests did not dare put him to death, for they thought him
mad. Six months afterwards there came a great pestilence; every one
fled, and the prison-doors were left open: ‘seeing which the pious
embroiderer went out.’ He thirsted for the Gospel, and knowing that
there were great preachers at Geneva, he took the road to that city. His
travelling expenses were not great: ‘he had been accustomed to go from
Avignon to Lyons, more than sixty French leagues, for a _sol-de-roi_,’
says Froment. At last he reached the valley of the Leman, alone and a
fugitive, but joyfully anticipating the words of life that he was soon
to hear. Suddenly he was surrounded by a troop of horsemen, who asked
him roughly: ‘Where are you going?’ ‘To Geneva.’ ‘What to do?’ The
embroiderer answered frankly and courteously, as was his custom, ‘I am
going to hear the Gospel preached; will you not go and hear it also?’
‘No, indeed,’ answered the men. He began to press them: ‘Go, I entreat
you,’ he said. ‘I am surprised at you: you are so near, and I am come
expressly all the way from Avignon to hear it. I entreat you to come.’
‘March, rascal!’ they cried, ‘and we will teach you to hear those devils
of Geneva.’ They took him to Peney, and, on reaching the castle, said to
him: ‘We will give you three strappadoes in the name of the three devils
you wished to go and hear preach.’ Having tied his hands behind his
back, they raised him to the top of a long beam of wood, and let him
fall suddenly to within two feet of the ground. ‘That is in the name of
Farel,’ they cried; then came one for Froment, and another for Viret.
The poor fellow, all bruised as he was, getting on his legs as well as
he could, again looked at his tormentors, and, touched with love for
them, repeated, in a persuasive tone: ‘Come along with me and hear the
Gospel.’ The indignant Peneysans answered roughly: ‘March back quickly
to the place from whence you came,’ which he would not do for anything
they could do to him. ‘He is out of his mind,’ they said; and, taking
him for an idiot, they let him go. The poor man reached Geneva at last,
and was lodged for nearly two months, says Froment, ‘with the author of
this book, to whom he related the whole matter.’[622]

Such deeds of violence showed the Genevans that there was no time to
lose. In the month of August the resolutions of the Council followed one
another rapidly. On the 18th they ordered that the church and priory of
St. Victor should be demolished; on the 23d, that all the houses, barns,
and walls in the suburbs should be pulled down; and that a certain
number of Swiss veteran soldiers should be enrolled who should be fed
and lodged by the rich in turn; on the 24th, that all absentees should
be summoned to return for the defence of the city; on the 1st of
September, that it should be fortified on the side of the lake; on the
11th, that the trees around the walls which might screen the approach of
the enemy should be cut down; and on the 13th, that every man should
begin to pull down his house within two days, that is, by the 15th of

The calamity then appeared before them as imminent and inexorable, and
with all its coarser and sad realities. The weaker minds were
distressed, the more excitable gave way to anger. In the suburbs there
was much clamor. What! the houses to be levelled to the ground, like
those of traitors, and that too by the very hands of the inhabitants!
The priests shuddered at the thought that the churches of St. Victor,
St. Leger, and of the Knights of Rhodes were to be destroyed.
Discontented citizens pointed coolly to the solidity of the condemned
edifices, and declared that it would not be possible to pull them down.
And, finally, the chiefs of the catholic party, foreseeing that the
measures which were to be the salvation of Reform would be the ruin of
popery, determined to make a vigorous demonstration against them.

Thirty of the most notable catholics, headed by Anthony Fabri, one of
the family of the celebrated Bishop Waldemar, and Philip de la Rive,
waited upon the council. Fabri, who had been elected spokesman, was
calm, but by his side stood De Muro (du Mur), who was much excited. ‘We
demand that the suburbs be left in their present condition, as being
beautiful, convenient, and more useful to the city than if they were
destroyed.’ The council, whom it pained to impose such a sacrifice,
reserved the power of compensating the greatest sufferers, but held to
their orders. ‘I crave permission to leave the city,’ said De Muro,
‘with eight hundred of my co-burghers, for this demolition is an act of
hostility against us.’[624]

[Sidenote: Baudichon Liberated.]

At the very time when certain of the citizens were threatening to leave
Geneva, the friends of independence desired all the more to see the
return of those who were away. There was one in particular whose
decision and courage were appreciated by all. Suddenly, on the 26th of
September, the very day when De Muro had used that threatening language,
a report circulated through the city that Baudichon de la Maisonneuve
and his companion had been set at liberty.

Rodolph of Diesbach and George Schœner had not ceased to implore the
king’s intervention. Although the prince, who in a few months was to
fill the streets of his capital with strappadoes and burning piles, did
not feel any very sincere compassion for the two heretics, still he
desired to conciliate the favor of the Swiss, and perhaps not being much
inclined to restore her estates to John of Diesbach’s widow, he was not
sorry to give the Bernese some other satisfaction. The cause of justice
triumphed at last. Moved by Diesbach’s earnest solicitations, Francis I.
granted the release of the prisoners. The two Bernese, instead of
‘tarrying to turn from side to side to the helps of this world,’
acknowledged the protection of God. ‘We have obtained their liberty,’
said the ambassadors, ‘God having given them to us.’[625] They started
immediately for Lyons, furnished with letters under his Majesty’s seal,
which they presented to the authorities in whose guard the prisoners
were kept ‘until they should be burnt, as was the practice in those
days.’[626] The gates of the prison were opened; De la Maisonneuve and
Janin were given up to the Bernese. At the news of such an unprecedented
act, the officials, inquisitors, and canons of St. John were amazed; all
the priests of Lyons were sorely vexed, and the archbishop of Geneva
still more so; but they were forced to be patient.[627] As for the
prisoners, they knew that if God delivers his servants, it is not with
the intent that they should abandon what they have begun. Instead of
saying, when they were restored to liberty, Let us remain for a time in
the shade, lest we be exposed to new dangers, they desired to work with
greater zeal at the emancipation of their country. They travelled from
Lyons to Geneva with the two lords of Berne, and were once more within
the walls of that ancient city.

[Sidenote: The Prisoners Restored.]

There was still so much uneasiness felt about them, that on the 16th of
September, when the news spread that some Bernese gentlemen had arrived
at the hostelry of the Tour Perse[628] with Baudichon and Collonier,
many persons would hardly believe it. God gave the Genevans more than
they hoped for. When friends who have been supposed lost are found
again, those who had sorrowed over their bereavement run to meet them,
and feel an inexpressible satisfaction as they look at them. So it
happened at Geneva when the two prisoners returned. There was great joy
in the city: many gave thanks to God that ‘the violent course of the
wolves who would have devoured the best sheep of the flock had been
frustrated,’ and praised the King of France because he valued the
arquebuses of the Swiss more than the paternosters of the priests.

Desirous of showing the ambassadors a mark of respectful gratitude, the
four syndics and the councillors, with their ushers and serjeants,
proceeded on the 17th of September to the Tour Perse[629] to hold an
official sitting, at which the transfer of the prisoners was to be made.
The chief magistrates of the republic having taken their seats in one of
the large rooms, according to the usual order, Rodolph of Diesbach and
G. Schœner entered, accompanied by the captives. Those noble gentlemen
explained that they had come from Lyons and the court of France; that
with God’s aid they had obtained the release of the two Genevans; that,
according to rule, they ought to deliver the prisoners into the hands of
the magnificent lords of Berne, to whose intervention their deliverance
was due;[630] that they yielded, however, to the wishes of Baudichon and
Collonier, who preferred to remain in the city of Geneva;[631] and that
they only wanted a guarantee that the Council would be willing to
produce them before Messieurs of Berne, whenever the latter demanded
them.[632] The Genevese magistrates thanked the lords of Berne, and gave
the required guarantee in writing.[633]

At last De la Maisonneuve was free: he could return to his wife and
children, and converse with his friends. The latter were never tired of
listening to him: the particulars of his imprisonment, his examinations,
and his dangers possessed the liveliest interest for them. Froment
especially, who was fond of a gossip,[634] asked him many questions. ‘As
Baudichon told me,’ we read in his _Gestes_, ‘all that could not be done
without great expense, and his captivity cost him one thousand and fifty
crowns of the sun.’[635]

A letter from Francis I. completed this episode in the history of the
Reformation. Four days after the prisoners had been restored to their
homes, that prince wrote to the syndics at Geneva:—[636]

    ‘To our very dear and good friends the lords of Geneva:

    ‘Very dear and good friends,—You know how, at your earnest prayer
    and request, and also at that of our very dear and great friends,
    confederates, allies, and gossips, the lords of the city and canton
    of Berne, we have restored and sent back certain prisoners who had,
    in this our kingdom, used words respecting the faith, such and of
    such consequence, that therefore they had been condemned to death.
    This we were right willing to do; for the affection we have to
    gratify you and the said lords of Berne, as well in this respect as
    in all others that may be possible to us, having perfect confidence
    that you are willing to do the like for us. For this cause, having
    been advertised that you have detained in prison in your city a monk
    our subject, Guy Furbity by name, of the order of Preaching Friars,
    for having held certain language and dogmatized things touching the
    faith of the Church, which did not seem good to you, and for which
    he is about to be brought to trial, we desire to pray you right
    affectionately by these presents, that, showing towards us
    reciprocal pleasure, you would immediately release the said Furbity
    our subject, without further proceedings against him for the reasons
    aforesaid. By so doing you will please us very agreeably. Praying
    the Creator to guard you, our very dear and good friends, in his
    most holy keeping. Written at Blois the xxist day of September, one
    thousand v hundred xxxiiij.


[Sidenote: Furbity Set At Liberty.]

Francis I. said: I send you back two prisoners, return me one. That
seemed just and natural, yet the petty republic did not yield to the
demand of the puissant king of France. The Council desired to follow
conscientiously the legal course, and the rules of diplomacy. They found
that the two cases were not identical; and as the Dominican had been
imprisoned at the instance of the lords of Berne, it was agreed to ask
their opinion first. The favor of the house of Valois could not make the
magistrates of Geneva yield, even after the extraordinary boon they had
just received: they desired, above all things, to follow the principles
admitted in politics, and act justly towards the Bernese. Furbity was
set at liberty at the beginning of 1536.

To have imprisoned the Dominican at all for preaching was a fault, and
to keep him in prison was another; but in each case the fault was that
of the age. With this reserve, we may pay to the courage of the weak the
honor that is due to them. It is a noble thing in small states to hold
firm to their principles in the presence of powerful empires, when they
do so without presumption. And not only is it noble, it is salutary
also, and invests them with a moral force which guarantees their
existence. The petty republics of Switzerland and Geneva in particular
have given more signal examples than that which has just been recorded.

Footnote 616:

  Narrative of Pescara and Freundsberg. _Histoire de la Suisse_, by Jean
  de Muller, continued by MM. Gloutz-Blotzheim, J. J. Hottinger,
  Monnard, and L. Vulliemin.

Footnote 617:

  MS. chronicles of the Diesbach family at Berne.

Footnote 618:

  Registre du Conseil de Genève, 17 September, 1534.

Footnote 619:

  ‘_Faire et perfaire le procès des hérétiques._’—Letter to the Bishop
  of Paris.

Footnote 620:

  Near the Pré l’Évêque.

Footnote 621:

  Registre du Conseil _ad diem_.

Footnote 622:

  Froment, _Actes et Gestes Merveilleux de la Cité de Genève_, pp. 174,

Footnote 623:

  Council Registers under the dates mentioned.

Footnote 624:

  Registre du Conseil du 14 Septembre, 1534.

Footnote 625:

  ‘Deo dante illorum relaxationem obtinuerunt.’ Registres du Conseil du
  14 Septembre, 1534.

Footnote 626:

  Note by Flournois on the corresponding passage of the Council

Footnote 627:

  Froment, _Gestes de Genève_, p. 244.

Footnote 628:

  Registre du Conseil du 17 Septembre, 1534.

Footnote 629:

  ‘In domo turris Perse.’ Registre du Conseil du 17 Septembre, 1534.

Footnote 630:

  ’Illos debere magnificis Dominis Bernatibus præsentari.’—_Ibid._

Footnote 631:

  ‘Dicti Baudichon et Collonier optant potius in hac civitate expectare,
  quod alibi.’—_Ibid._

Footnote 632:

  ‘Petunt cautionem de repræsentando eosdem.’—_Ibid._

Footnote 633:

  ‘Super quo factum remersiationibus.’—_Ibid._

Footnote 634:

  Bonnet, _Lettres Françaises de Calvin_, ii. p. 575.

Footnote 635:

  Froment, _Gestes de Genève_, p. 244.

Footnote 636:

  Archives of Geneva, No. 1054, year 1534.

                              CHAPTER XV.
                   (SEPTEMBER 1534 TO JANUARY 1535.)

Baudichon de la Maisonneuve and Janin re-entered Geneva the day after
that on which the final order to demolish the suburbs was given. The
captain of the Lutherans was restored to his country at the very moment
when the deadliest blows were aimed at it. The coincidence was
remarkable. The return of these two energetic citizens could not but
give a fresh impetus to the resolution to sacrifice one half of the city
in order to save the other. The first walls destined to fall were those
of the monastery of St. Victor, which, as it stood at the gate of the
city, might easily be occupied by the enemy’s army as an advanced
post.[637] There were no tears shed over the destruction of that
building, except such as might have been drawn down by the thought of
its antiquity. Ever since Bonivard the prior had been prisoner at
Chillon, the monks had shaken off every kind of restraint, and the
monastery had become a sty of scandals and disorders. The friars had
been in the habit of frequenting certain houses of ill fame in their
suburbs; but now the convent was the scene of their continual orgies. No
sooner was there a talk of destroying that nest of debauchery than the
reprobates exhibited the most insatiable greediness. The monks and their
mistresses began to pillage the monastery; they tore down and carried
away everything that was of any value; at night, and sometimes even
during the day, they were seen leaving the monastery with bundles, and
hiding their plunder in the adjoining houses. The priory was thus not
only emptied, but almost stripped to the bare walls.[638] What an
ignoble fall was that of these pretended religious orders!
Notwithstanding their robbery, the Council assigned the monks a
residence in the city, and even a chapel, which was more than they

Then every man put his hand to the work. All was life and animation on
those beautiful heights whence the eye takes in the lake, the Alps, the
Jura, and the valley lying between them. First, the church was pulled
down, and then the priory, and nothing was left but rubbish which
encumbered the ground. That building, the most ancient in Geneva, was
founded at the beginning of the sixth century by Queen Sedeleuba, sister
of Queen Clotilda, in memory of the victories of her brother-in-law,
Clovis;[639]—that temple where the body of St. Victor had been deposited
during the night, and which (as it was said) a light from heaven pointed
out to strangers,—that sanctuary to which the great ones of the earth
had gone as pilgrims, was now an undistinguishable ruin. That monument,
erected to commemorate the triumph of orthodoxy defended by Clovis over
Arianism professed by Gondebald, crumbled to the ground, after lasting
more than a thousand years, in the midst of the libertinism of its
monks. A crown had been placed on the cradle of St. Victor—a rod should
have been placed upon its ruins.

[Sidenote: Lamentations Of The Dead.]

Yet things that have been great in the eyes of men do not always end
like those that have been vulgar. One day a strange report, set afloat
by the monks and nuns, circulated through the city. During the night,
voices, groans, and lamentations had been heard among the ruins of St.
Victor. The wind, when it blows strong over those heights, often
resembles the human voice. The devotees listened: again the plaintive
tones were heard, and agitated them. ‘Ah!’ they exclaimed, ‘it is the
dead groaning, and not without reason, because their repose has been
disturbed.’ The crowd increased, and ere long ‘the ghosts were plainly
lamenting, not only by night, but by day.’ If the dead lamented over the
fall of St. Victor, the living had reason to weep still more over the
church, whose monks had been its disgrace instead of its glory.

After the priory, the houses nearest to the city were pulled down one by
one. When the citizens, wearied by their labors, sat down on the ruins
to rest, they asked what was to become of them. ‘Where shall I store my
goods, where shelter my wife and children?’ said Jean Montagnier. ‘And
where shall I go myself?’ A poor mason, an infirm old man, burst into
tears when he saw his wretched home demolished: the Council gave him a
measure of wheat, and promised to pay his rent. But if the magistrates
showed kindness to the wretched, they were inflexible to the rebels.
Magdalen Picot, a widow, having insulted the syndics in a fit of
passion, was sentenced to three days’ imprisonment. If the poor lamented
their hovels, the rich regretted their beautiful houses, the pleasant
gardens round them, the smiling meadows watered by running streams and
overshadowed by majestic trees, the fountains and the temple of the
Crusaders, whose Gothic walls imparted an antique and religious
character to the pleasing picture. A poet gave utterance to their
thoughts in these lines:—

                Urbe fuere mihi majora suburbia quondam,
                  Templis et domibus nec speciosa minus,
                Quinetiam irriguis pratis, hortis et amœnis;
                  Pascebant oculos hæc animosque magis.[640]

Amid such lamentations, all good citizens and zealous evangelicals
remained firm; but De Muro with a great number of catholics quitted
Geneva, and passed over to the enemy’s camp. Henceforward they were to
fight no longer against the Reformation with secret conspiracies; they
would attack it in open war: _aperto bello patriam oppugnaturi_.[641]

[Sidenote: The Affrighted Nuns.]

At the same time that the houses were demolished, ramparts were built.
Tribolet, captain of Berne, and one of the envoys from that republic, a
man of experience, quick and compassionate at the same time, directed
the construction of the earthworks and masonry intended to fortify the
city. Towards the end of September, he began to plot out the lines in a
garden adjoining the convent of St. Claire. Rich and poor, great and
small, wheeled their barrows filled with earth and stones. When the work
was done, Tribolet decided that it must be continued into the next
garden, that of the nuns; and on the 30th of September, as early as four
in the morning, they were politely requested to remove from the garden
everything they wished to keep. Sorely distressed at this terrible
message, they began to call upon God through the intercession of the
Virgin and the saints. ‘We are secluded from the world for the love of
God,’ said the abbess to the Bernese captain; ‘forbear from breaking
into our holy cloister.’ Tribolet explained to her that the safety of
the city required it, and added that he would do his work, ‘whether they
liked it or not.’ Thereupon the frightened sisters threw open the
convent, and running into the church, fell prostrate to the earth,
weeping bitterly. When the captain opened the door, and saw the poor
women stretched on the pavement, he said kindly to them: ‘Do not be
afraid, we shall do you no harm.’ The sisters were much surprised to
find a heretic could be so good-natured.[642]

Meanwhile the work of destruction continued, and as the materials were
employed to build the fortification and repair the breaches in the
walls, we may say with Bonivard, ‘_Etiam periere ruinæ_:’ ‘the very
ruins have perished.’

But what was to be done with the six thousand citizens expelled from
their homes? Were they to be left to wander about, exposed to the
robbers of the neighborhood? There would have been room for a great
portion of them in the convents, but those buildings were kept closed.
On the other hand, the houses of the huguenots were thrown open, even to
catholics. The citizens had incurred debts through long wars, their
trade was ruined and their fields laid waste.... Nevertheless he that
possessed two rooms gave up one, and he who had a loaf of bread shared
it with his brother. Syndic Duvilard was empowered to lodge
provisionally, either in the state buildings or in private houses, such
as had been deprived of their homes. If any destitute persons were seen
loitering in the streets, benevolent men and pious women would accost
them, take them home, sit them down at the family table, and every place
however small, was fitted up with sleeping accommodation. The Council
even gave aid and comfort to the rich. Butini of Miolans was lodged,
says the Register, in the house of the curate of St. Leger.

The activity of the Genevese was constantly stimulated by the news which
reached them from without. ‘The Duke of Savoy,’ said letters from Berne,
‘is collecting an army of brigands, and preparing perpetual troubles for
you.’ Towards the end of September, the two Gallatins (John the notary
and his son Pierre), having gone to their estate at Peicy for the
vintage, were on their return summoned before the Council on a charge of
communicating with the people in the castle of Peney, which was half a
league distant. The father said that, while he was in the press-house
pressing the grapes, Nicod de Prato and other Peneysans had called on
him. Did any one ever refuse a visit paid in the press-house? They had
taken a glass of wine together, and that was all. ‘As for me,’ said the
son, ‘I confess that I went to Peney and drank with the episcopal
fugitives there; they told me that ere long we should have a _stout
war_; that it would not be a little one like De Mauloz’ night attack on
the 31st of July; that they would come in great force, and that I should
do well to leave the city. When I returned (continued Pierre) I reported
it all to my captain.’ The two Gallatins were immediately discharged
without any remark.[643]

The first enemy which the bishop loosed against his flock was famine: he
gave orders to intercept the provisions all round the city. The
market-place was deserted, the stores in the houses were gradually
exhausted, and the episcopals flattered themselves that before long none
but hungry phantoms would be seen in Geneva, instead of valiant
citizens. ‘Oh, insensate shepherd! he robs even his sheep of their food,
when he should feed them,’ said one who was among the number confined
within the city walls. Unhappy bishop! unhappy Geneva![644]

[Sidenote: Geneva Encircled With Iron.]

As if starvation was not enough, the unnatural pastor surrounded Geneva
with a circle of iron. His castle of Jussy to the east, at the foot of
the Voirons; that of Peney to the west, on the banks of the Rhone; the
Duke’s castle of Galliad to the south-west, on the heights overlooking
the Arve; and to the north on the lake, the village of Versoix, at that
time well defended: all these fortresses, filled with mamelukes and
soldiers, hemmed in the city, and left no issue but by the lake. ‘In
this way no one can leave Geneva,’ they said, ‘except at the risk of his
life.’ The bishop followed the example given by dispossessed
princes—nay, even by ecclesiastical authorities, and connived more or
less at the brigands. Many gentlemen of those districts, returning with
delight to a trade their fathers had formerly practised, kept watch in
their eyries for the little merchant caravans, to pounce upon them. One
day some devout catholics of Valais, on their way to France with a long
file of well-laden mules, were stripped by these rough episcopals.
Beyond the Fort de l’Ecluse was situated a castle—a thorough den of
robbers—belonging to the Seigneur of Avanchi, ‘the cunningest and
cruellest man ever known.’ Accompanied by a few savage mercenaries, he
would lie in ambush near the high-road, and when travellers appeared,
spring from the rocks like a wild beast, ‘tearing out the eyes of some,
and cutting off the ears of others.’ D’Avanchi treated in this manner a
poor tradesman who had printed some New Testaments;[645] and when the
judge of the castle remonstrated with him for his cruelty, the seigneur
killed him on the spot. He showed no preference, however, so far as
religion was concerned. Having fallen in with some nuns one day, he
graciously invited them to enter his mansion under pretence of giving
them alms, and then maltreated them. The fierce and sensual wild-boar of
the Jura was taken to Dôle, and there put to death by order of a
catholic tribunal.[646]

The bishop now took another step: he ordered the episcopal see to be
transferred from Geneva to the town of Gex, at the foot of the Jura, and
gave instructions ‘that his council, court, judges, and all other
officers should proceed thither.’ In the night of the 24th of September
the episcopal officers escaped stealthily, and the city was left not
only without prelate, but also without civil judges or courts of appeal.
When the news of this flight got abroad in the morning, De la
Maisonneuve, Levet, Salomon, and their friends felt an immense relief.
At last they were free from that episcopal crew, who had so often caught
the Genevese in their toils ‘by frauds and snares.’[647] The Council
forbade the seals, the symbol of supreme authority, to be taken from
Geneva.[648] The prince bishop assembled at Gex a great number of
priests from the surrounding districts. ‘We must crush that Lutheran
sect,’ he told them, ‘by war or otherwise. It is not enough to remain
entrenched in our camp, we must force the enemy in theirs.’

[Sidenote: Thunderbolts Against Geneva.]

Pierre de la Baume launched his thunderbolts at last. In every parish of
the Chablais, Faucigny, Gex, and Bugey, in every abbey, priory, and
convent, the great excommunication was pronounced in his name, not only
against the councils and citizens of Geneva, but against all who should
hear the preachers or talk with them, and even against any persons who
should enter the city for any purpose whatsoever. Hereafter, the
superstitious rural population looked upon Geneva as a place inhabited
by devils. Some men of Thonon, more curious than the rest, ventured to
pay it a visit, and on their return declared ‘that the preachers were
really men and not demons.’ These rash individuals were arrested and
taken to Gex, where the bishop sent them to prison;[649] and after that
time no one dared go to Geneva.

The friends of the Reformation were not discouraged by these hostile
acts. ‘By Christmas at the latest,’ they said, ‘all the churches will be
empty, and the whole city of one faith.’[650] ‘It is all for the best,’
added many. ‘Once upon a time the bishops usurped the franchises of the
city; now they return them to us and go away. Well, then, let us do
without bishops, and govern ourselves.’ The Council did not think fit to
proceed so quickly, and merely resolved ‘that everything should be
written down which the bishop had done against the city, by way of
precaution against him.’[651] When the canons, the representatives of
the prelate, assembled for their usual monthly meeting,[652] the syndics
and council appeared before them: ‘Forsaken by our bishop, who is
exciting cruel soldiers against his flock, what shall we do, reverend
sirs?’ they asked. ‘The see is vacant: we pray you to recognise the
fact, and to elect, as in your privilege, the necessary functionaries
for the city, in the place of those who have deserted their

The canons having answered in a dilatory manner, the councils, who were
always rigid observers of precedent, resolved to apply to the only
authority that could decide between them and the bishop. The Genevese
appealed to the pope. It was a strange step, but appeals to the Roman
pontiff as head of the catholic world, partly founded on the forged
decretals of the pseudo Isidore,[654] were then in full vigor. That
petty people followed the path of legality, and by this means attained
their end. The men who have succeeded, remarks an historian, are those
who, in the very midst of a revolution, have neither accepted nor
adopted a revolutionary policy.[655] On the 7th of October, 1534, the
syndics and council entered an appeal at Rome, complaining that their
bishop had deprived them of their franchises and jurisdiction. It was
not a matter of religion, but of policy. The prince of the Vatican was
called upon to fulfil his obligations. It was Rome who broke the bond:
no answer was returned, which greatly delighted the evangelicals.[656]

[Sidenote: Proceedings Of The Duke.]

But as the pope laid down the crosier the duke took it up. He succeeded
in gaining over some Bernese ambassadors who had been sent to him, and
these men, enraptured with the prince’s courteous manners, tried to
convince the people of Geneva of his goodness. ‘We know him,’ said the
huguenot, ‘he has an ass’s head and a fox’s tail.’[657] The Bernese
continued: ‘Everything will be forgiven, but on condition that you send
away these new preachers; that you permit such preachings no longer;
that the bishop be restored to his former estate, and finally that you
live in the faith of our holy mother, the Church.’[658] The Genevans
could hardly believe their ears. The Little and the Great Council having
sent for the ambassadors of Berne, told them plainly and curtly: ‘You
ask us to abandon our liberties and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We would
sooner renounce father and mother, wife and children, we would sooner
lose our goods and our life! Tell the duke we will set fire to the four
corners of the city, before we dismiss the preachers who announce the
Word of God.... Nevertheless, they offer to endure death, if it can be
shown by Scripture that they are wrong.’ The men of Berne were greatly
astonished at such a reply.[659]

The duke was still more astonished; the measure was full, the insolence
of that handful of friends to the evangelical doctrine must be severely
punished. ‘Seeing this, the duke and all his following (_sequelle_),
more inflamed than ever with anger against Geneva, consulted together to
make war upon it.’ From every quarter the heads of the clergy (and
Bishop du Bellay in particular) conjured him ‘to support the authority
of the holy faith in the city of Geneva.’[660] The persuasion of these
prelates inflamed the prince with such zeal for the maintenance of the
papacy, that, unmindful of every treaty, he sent letters to Valais and
the catholic cantons, demanding their assistance _propter fidem_, in
behalf of the true faith, against the cities of Geneva, Lausanne, and
others.[661] At the same time he despatched orders to his governors,
gentlemen, provosts and other officers, ‘to ruin and destroy
Geneva.’[662] On the 20th of November a diet was held at Thonon to
decide upon the fate of the city; and as the aristocratic influence
prevailed just then at Berne, the Bernese deputies adopted the sinister
resolutions of Savoy. Even Charles V. declared through an ambassador his
support of the duke’s demands, and required that, prior to any other
measure, the bishop should be restored to all his rights.

Happily the citizens of Geneva were not without timely warning of the
storm that was about to burst upon them. The messengers, commissioned by
Charles III. to carry his rigorous orders to his agents, had to pass
through certain villages, where they would sometimes halt at the inn.
Everybody noticed their embarrassed manner, and in some places there
were well-disposed persons who stopped and searched them, and
discovering their letters took them away and sent them to the syndics.
The latter comprehended the danger impending over the city, and
accordingly took the measures necessary for its defence.[663] The
friends of independence and of the Reformation, instead of being
dejected by such news, felt their courage increased. It was as if a
spark had fallen upon powder; their spirits caught fire. The hour of
sacrifices and energetic resolutions had arrived; there were no more
paltry scruples, evasions or delays, no more timid compromises. For a
thing to succeed, it must be done with decision. The Genevese therefore
boldly grasped the hammer, and with fresh strength began to demolish the
suburbs and popery at the same time. At the Pré l’Evêque, they took down
a stone cross because (as they said) ‘it turned men away from the true
cross of Jesus Christ.’[664] At St. Leger, as the church had been
demolished, they destroyed the images also. Still the Roman worship
remained free; while Rome was attacking Geneva, Geneva protected Rome.
The canons having timidly asked the Council, on the 24th of December, if
they might celebrate the Christmas matins next day, the syndics posted
themselves at the doors of the different churches ‘with men-at-arms to
prevent annoyance,’ until divine service was over.[665]

[Sidenote: Switzerland Against Geneva.]

Geneva had still one hope remaining. Would those same Switzers, who had
shaken off the oppression of Austria, permit Savoy to place Geneva under
the yoke? Would the protestant republic of Berne, which had done so much
to sow the good seed in this allied city,—which to this end had brought
thither and protected Farel, Viret, and Froment,—would that republic
turn away, now that the grain was beginning to shoot forth, and the
harvest was at hand? It seemed impossible. A diet was to meet at Lucerne
in January, to deliberate what Switzerland should do in this
conjuncture. All the ideas of the Genevans were concentred on that one
point. Not only did a majority of the cantons, but the Bernese
themselves, consent to the restoration of the duke and the bishop. They
required, indeed, that liberty of conscience should be respected; ‘for,’
said they, ‘it does not depend upon man to believe what he wishes; faith
is the gift of God.’ But the duke and the bishop had the frankness to
reject such a condition: ‘We claim,’ they said, ‘the right of ordering
everything that concerns religion in our states.’—‘We mean,’ added their
representatives, ‘that the preachers shall be expelled from the city,
and that Berne shall break off her alliance with it.’ At these words
grief and indignation pierced the Genevan deputies like a sword. ‘What!’
they said; ‘the bishop complains of being robbed of his jurisdiction,
and it is he who is the robber! He has been always wishing to strip
Geneva of her franchises; and not long ago he transferred the officers
of justice, the courts, and the tribunals, to a foreign country.’ The
diet was inexorable. They resolved that the duke and the bishop should
be reinstated in the possession of all their lordships and privileges.
To no purpose did Syndic Claude Savoie and Jean Lullin, who were alarmed
at this decision, hasten to Lucerne and declare that Geneva would never
accept the articles voted. ‘You ought to thank us,’ answered the
Swiss,—was it in irony or in sincerity?—‘instead of which you insult us.
Accept the mandate.’—‘We cannot,’ proudly answered the deputies. ‘In
that case,’ resumed the cantons, ‘we have only to place the matter in
the hands of God.’[666]

Geneva was abandoned by all, even by Berne. The news filled the citizens
with the liveliest emotion. There was nothing left them but God, and God
is mighty. ‘Yes,’ said they, ‘be it so, let God decide.’ Men worked at
the walls and prepared their arms, the women prayed, and the children in
their games defied Savoy and the bishop. The bells of the demolished
churches were melted down to make cannon. Every night, men on guard
stretched the chains across the streets, and the watchword was to make
‘good ward and sure ward.’ Everything was carried out with order,
calmness, and courage.[667]

Their enemies smiled at this activity, and asked how it could be
possible for such a small city to resist the numerous forces about to
march against it. But wiser men were not ignorant that in the world
faith often prevails over superstition, wisdom over strength, piety over
anger, and that the great mission falls ultimately to the just and the
calm. Charles V., who aspired to place his sword in the balance, and
other great and ambitious men, have had something gigantic in them;
extraordinary ideas have flashed across their minds like lightning, and
they have often cast a wide and sombre light over history; but they have
founded nothing lasting. All great and solid creations belong to
justice, perseverance, and faith.

[Sidenote: The Song Of Resurrection.]

The spirit of self-sacrifice and firmness with which the Genevans
demolished one half of their city was a pledge of victory. At the
beginning of 1535 the work was almost ended. A few, however, of the
remoter buildings did not come down until 1536, and even 1537.
Everything was levelled round the walls, the approaches to the place
were free, the artillery could play without obstruction, the lines
intended to cover the city were formed, the ramparts were built, and
Geneva, witnessing the labors of her children, and her sudden and
marvellous transformation, might well exclaim by the mouth of one of her

                . . . . . Incepit tentandi causa pudoris
                Alliciens varios hæc mea forma procos;
              Qui me cum blandis non possent fallere verbis,
                Ecce minas addunt, denique vimque parant.
              Tunc ego non volui pulchrum præponere honesto,
                Diripui rigida sed mea pulchra manu
              Templa, domos, hortos, in propugnacula verti,
                Arcerent stolidos quæ procul inde procos.
              Diripui pulchrum certe, ut tutarer honestum.
                _E pulchra et fortis facta Geneva vocor._[668]

Geneva was then passing through the arduous ordeal of transformation.
Rough blows assailed her, groans burst from her bosom, and on her
features was the pallor of death. But in the hour when the sacrifice was
thus accomplished on the altar, when riches and beauty were immolated to
save independence and faith, when these proud thoughts agitated men’s
hearts and made their presence known by a cry of agony or by words of
high-mindedness, a mysterious light shone forth, in the midst of the
darkness; liberty, morality, and the Gospel had appeared. Hopeful eyes
had seen a new edifice, radiant with immortal glory, rising above the
ruins of the old. The song then heard was not the song of death, but of

Footnote 637:

  It was situated nearly on the spot where the Russian church now

Footnote 638:

  Registre du Conseil du 18 Août, 1534. The expression in the Register
  is much more energetic.

Footnote 639:

  ‘Ecclesia quam Sedeleuba regina in suburbano Genevensi
  construxerat.’—Fredegarius, _Chron._ cap. xxii. La sœur Jeanne,
  _Levain du Calvinisme_, p. 94.

Footnote 640:

  ‘Great suburbs at one time surrounded the city, not less beautiful
  with churches and houses than with well-watered meadows and pleasant
  gardens; which feasted the eyes and the heart still more.’ The lines
  from which our extract is taken are in Gautier’s manuscript. He
  ascribes them to an anonymous writer who had seen the suburbs.

Footnote 641:

  Registre du Conseil des 11, 14, 16, et 19 Septembre, 1534. Gautier,
  MS. La sœur Jeanne, _Levain du Calvinisme_, pp. 97, 98. MS. de
  Turrettini; Berne, _Hist. Helvet._

Footnote 642:

  Registre du Conseil des 21, 25 Septembre, 1534. La sœur Jeanne,
  _Levain du Calvinisme_, pp. 97-100.

Footnote 643:

  Registre du Conseil du 21 Septembre, 1534. The Gallatin family, after
  serving this republic, furnished devoted citizens to the United
  States. Abraham Albert Alphonse Gallatin, who emigrated to America at
  the end of the eighteenth century, became Secretary of State.

Footnote 644:

  Froment, _Gestes de Genève_, p. 115. Registre du Conseil, 29
  Septembre, 1534.

Footnote 645:

  Procès Inquisitionnel de Baudichon de la Maisonneuve. MS. de Berne, p.

Footnote 646:

  Froment, _Gestes de Genève_, pp. 117, 118, 121, 174. Registre du
  Conseil du 25 Septembre, 1534. Roset MS.

Footnote 647:

  Par fraudes et pipées.

Footnote 648:

  Froment, _Gestes de Genève_, p. 115. Registre du Conseil du 25
  Septembre, 1534. Gautier MS.

Footnote 649:

  Froment, _Gestes_, p. 116.

Footnote 650:

  La sœur de Sainte Claire, _Levain du Calvinisme_, p. 97.

Footnote 651:

  Registre du 18 Septembre, 1534.

Footnote 652:

  ‘Die calendæ suæ.’—Registre du Conseil du 1er Octobre, 1534.

Footnote 653:

  Registre du Conseil du 1er Octobre 1534. MS. de Gautier. MS. de Roset,
  liv. iii. ch. xxix.

Footnote 654:

  ‘Episcoporum judicia et cunctorum majorum negotia causarum eidem
  sanctæ sedi reservata esse liquet.’—Canon 12.

Footnote 655:

  M. Guizot.

Footnote 656:

  _Chron._ MS. de Roset, liv. iii. ch. xxix. MS. de Gautier.

Footnote 657:

  Froment, _Gestes de Genève_, p. 110. Registre du Conseil du 1er
  Septembre, 1534.

Footnote 658:

  Froment, _Gestes de Genève_, pp. 110, 111.

Footnote 659:

  Ibid. p. 112.

Footnote 660:

  ‘Soutenir l’autorité de la sainte foy dans la ville de
  Genève.’—Archives of the kingdom of Italy at Turin, bundle xiii. No.

Footnote 661:

  Archives of the kingdom of Italy at Turin, bundle xiii. No. 19.

Footnote 662:

  ‘Nuire et détruire Genève.’

Footnote 663:

  Froment, _Gestes de Genève_, p. 113. Registre du Conseil 1er, 13
  Octobre, 1534. MSC. de Roset, liv. iii. ch. xxx.

Footnote 664:

  Registre du Conseil des 28 Novembre, 3 Décembre, 1534, et 9 Mars,
  1535. La sœur Jeanne, _Levain du Calvinisme_, pp. 100-104.

Footnote 665:

  Registre du Conseil du 24 Décembre, 1534. La sœur Jeanne, _Levain du
  Calvinisme_, p. 104.

Footnote 666:

  MS. de Roset, liv. iii. ch. xx. Registre du Conseil des 5, 28 Janvier,
  20 et 21 Février, 1535. MS. de Gautier.

Footnote 667:

  Registre du Conseil des 29 Décembre, 1534; 8, 12, 15 Janvier, 1535.

Footnote 668:

  ‘My beauty attracted many suitors who sought to seduce me. When they
  saw that their flattering could not make me faithless, they had
  recourse to threats, and at last prepared to overcome me by force.
  Then I, unwilling to set my beauty above my virtue, destroyed with
  inflexible hand my temples, gardens, and houses, and converted them
  into ramparts, to keep my insensate suitors at a distance. I destroyed
  my beauty to preserve my honor. I was once Geneva the fair; now I am
  called Geneva the valiant.’ These lines are preserved in Gautier’s
  manuscript history.

                              CHAPTER XVI.
                     (END OF 1534 TO AUGUST 1535.)

While the work of the Reformation appeared exposed to great dangers in a
small city of the Alps, it had in the eyes of the optimists chances of
success in two of the greatest countries of Europe—France and Italy. The
two finest geniuses of the reform, Melancthon and Calvin, had been
summoned to those two countries respectively. Luther, their superior by
the movements of his heart and the simplicity of his faith, was inferior
to them as a theologian, and they probably surpassed him in their
capacity to comprehend in their thoughts all nations and all churches.

The first half of the sixteenth century was the epoch of a great
transformation to the people of Europe; there had been nothing like it
since the introduction of Christianity. During the middle ages, the pope
was the guardian of Christendom, and the people were infants, who, not
having attained the necessary age, could not act for themselves. The
pontificial hierarchy opened or shut the gates of heaven, laid down what
every man ought to believe and do, dominated in the councils of princes,
and exercised a powerful influence over all public institutions. But a
wardship is always provisional. When a man attains his majority, he
enters into the enjoyment of his property and rights, and having to
render an account to none but God, he walks without guardians by the
light which his conscience gives him. There is also a time of majority
for nations, and Christian society attained that age in the sixteenth
century. From that moment it ceased to receive blindly all that the
priests taught; it entered into a higher and more independent sphere.
The teaching of man vanished away; the teaching of God began again. Once
more those words were heard in Christendom which Paul of Tarsus had
uttered in the first century: ‘_I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I
say_.’[669] But it must be carefully observed that it was by throwing
open the Bible to their generation that the reformers realized this
sentence. If they had not restored a heavenly torch to man, if they had
left him to himself in the thick shadows of the night, he would have
remained blind, uneasy, restless, and unsatisfied. The holy emancipation
of the sixteenth century invited those who listened to it to draw freely
from the divine Word all that was necessary to scatter the darkness of
their reason and fill up the void in their hearts. Elevating them above
the goods of the body, above even arts, literature, science, and
philosophy, it offered to their soul eternal treasures—God himself. The
Gospel, then restored to the world, gave an unaccustomed force to the
moral law, and thus conferred on the people who received it two
boons,—order and liberty,—which the Vatican has never possessed within
its precincts.

[Sidenote: Alarm And Joy.]

All men, however, did not understand that the majority which each must
necessarily attain individually is at the same time essential to them
collectively, and that the Church in particular must inevitably attain
it. There were many, among those who were interested in the prosperity
of nations, who felt alarm at the abolition of the papal guardianship.
They saw that this stupendous act would work immense changes in the
sphere of the mind; that society as a whole, literature, social life,
politics, the relations of foreign countries with one another, would be
made new. This prospect, which was a subject of joy to the greater
number, excited the liveliest apprehensions in others. Those especially
who had not learnt that man, as a moral being, can only be led by free
convictions, imagined that all society would run wild and be lost if
that power was suppressed which had so long intimidated and restrained
it by the fear of excommunications and the stake. These men, alarmed at
the sight of the free and living waters of reform and wishing at any
cost to save the nations of Europe from the deluge which appeared to
threaten them, thought it their duty to confine them still more, to
restore, strengthen and raise the imperilled dikes, and thus keep the
stagnant waters in the foul canals where they had stood for ages.

Notwithstanding his liberal tendencies with regard to literature and the
arts, Francis I. was not exempt from these fears, and gave a helping
hand to a restoration,—often a cruel restoration of the Romish
jurisdiction. Henry VIII., of little interest as an individual, though
great as a king, and who was truly the father, predecessor, and
fore-runner of Elizabeth and her reign, even while striving
ineffectually to preserve the catholic doctrines in his realm, separated
it decisively from the papacy, and by so doing laid the foundations of
the liberty and greatness of England. Francis I., on the other hand,
maintained the papal supremacy in his dominions, and labored to restore
it in the countries where it had been abolished. In 1534 and 1535 we see
him making great exertions to that end, and finding numerous helpers to
back him up.

The idea of restoring unity in the Christian Church of the West, not
only engrossed the attention of those who were actuated by despotic
views, but also of noble-minded and liberal men. ‘By what means can we
succeed?’ they asked. The violent answered, ‘By force;’ but the wise
represented that Christian unity could not be brought about by the
sword. Those who were occupied with this great question determined to
examine whether they could not solve it by means of mutual concessions;
and they set about their task with different motives and in different
tempers. They formed three categories.

There existed at that time in all parts of Europe men of wit and
learning, children of the Renaissance, who disliked the superstitions
and abuses of Rome, as well as the bold doctrines and severe precepts of
the Reformation. They wanted a religion, but it must be an easy one, and
more in conformity (as they held) with reason. Between Luther and the
pope, they saw Erasmus, and that elegant and judicious writer was their
apostle: hence the Elector of Saxony called them Erasmians.[670] They
thought that by melting popery and protestantism together they might
realize their dreams.

In like manner, too, there were persons to be found of greater or less
eminence in whom the desire prevailed to maintain Europe in that papal
wardship which had lasted through all the middle ages: they feared the
most terrible convulsions if that supreme authority should come to an
end. At their head in France was the king. Francis I. had also a more
interested object: he desired, from political motives, to unite
protestants and catholics, because he had need of Rome in Italy to
recover his preponderance there, and of the protestants in Germany to
humble Charles V. To this class also belonged, to a greater or less
extent, William du Bellay, the king’s councillor and right hand in
diplomacy. So far as concerns doctrine, both were on the side of
Erasmus; but, in an ecclesiastical point of view, while the prince
inclined to a moderate papal dominion, the minister would have preferred
a still more liberal system.

[Sidenote: The Moderate Evangelicals.]

Finally, there were, particularly in Germany, a few evangelical
Christians who consented to accept the episcopalian form, and even the
primacy of a bishop, in the hope of obtaining the transformation of the
doctrine and manners of the universal Church. Melancthon at Wittemberg,
Bucer at Strasburg, and Professor Sturm at Paris, were the most eminent
men of this school. Melancthon went farther than his colleagues. He
believed that the great revolution then going on was salutary and even
necessary; but he would have liked to see it limited and directed.
Former ages had elaborated certain results which ought, in his opinion,
to be handed down to ages to come; and he imagined that if the pope
could be induced to receive the Gospel, that despot of old times might
still be useful to the Church. Another and a still more urgent interest
animated these pious men: it was necessary to rescue the victims of
fanaticism, to extinguish the burning piles. The bloody and solemn
executions which had taken place in Paris on the 21st of January, 1535,
in presence of the king and court, had excited an indescribable horror
everywhere. One might have imagined that those noble-hearted men foresaw
the miseries of France, the battle-fields running with blood, and the
night of St. Bartholomew with its murders ushered in by the death-knell
from the steeple of St. Germain l’Auxerrois; that they saw pass before
them those armies of fugitives whom the revocation of the Edict of
Nantes scattered over the wide world.

One common feature characterized all three classes. Those who composed
them were in general of an accommodating disposition, an easy manner,
ready to sacrifice some part of what they thought true, in order to
attain their end. But there were in Europe, on the side of Rome many
inflexible papists, and on the side of the Reformation many determined
protestants, who set truth above unity, and were resolved to do
everything ‘so that the talent which God had entrusted to them might not
be lost through their cowardice, or taken from them on account of their

[Sidenote: Effects Of The Placards.]

The famous placards posted up in the capital and all over France on that
October night of 1534 had carried trouble into the hearts of the
peacemakers. They had seen, as they imagined, the torch suddenly applied
to the house in which they were quietly laboring to reconcile Rome and
the Reformation. ‘Such a seditious act agitates the whole kingdom, and
exposes us to the greatest dangers,’[672] wrote Sturm from Paris to
Melancthon. ‘The authors of those placards are men of a fanatical turn,
rebels who circulate pernicious sentiments, and who deserve
chastisement,’ wrote Melancthon to the Bishop of Paris. But at the same
time the most energetic of the German protestants, revolted by the
cruelty of Francis I., refused to join in union with a prince who burnt
their brethren. The King of France had formed the plan of a congress,
destined to restore peace to Christendom; but an imprudent hand had
applied the match to the mine, and the friends of peace were struck with
terror and confusion. From that moment there was nothing heard but
recriminations, reproaches, and altercations.

Francis I. saw clearly that, if his project was on the brink of failing,
the fault was due mainly to his own violence; he therefore undertook to
set straight the affairs he had so imprudently damaged. On the 1st
February, 1535, he wrote to the evangelical princes of the empire,
assuring them that there was no similarity between the German
protestants and the French _heretics_, his victims. The contriver of the
strappadoes of the 21st January, assumed a lofty tone, as if he were
innocence itself. ‘I am insulted in Germany,’ he said, ‘in every place
of assembly, and even at public banquets. It is said that people dressed
like Turks can walk freely about the streets of Paris, but that no one
dares appear there in German costume. People say that the Germans are
looked upon here as heretics, and are arrested, tortured, and put to
death. We think it our duty to reply to these calumnies. Just when we
were on the point of coming to an understanding with you, certain
mad-men endeavored to upset our work. I prefer to bury in darkness the
paradoxes they have put forth; I am loth to set them before you, most
illustrious princes, and thus display them in the sight of the
world.[673] I think it sufficient to say that even you would have
devoted them to execration. I wished to prevent the pestilence from
spreading over France, but not a single German was sent to prison.[674]
The men of your nation, princes and nobles, continue to be graciously
received at my court; and as for the German students, merchants, and
artisans who work in my kingdom, I treat them like my other subjects,
and, I may say, like my own children.’ The letter produced some little
effect, and there was a reaction on the other side of the Rhine.
Melancthon resumed his schemes of reunion.

But a new change then occurred: suddenly, and with greater violence than
ever, new difficulties arose, which threatened to make shipwreck of the
whole business. Francis I. had caused the conciliatory opinions of
Melancthon, Hedio, and Bucer to be circulated in Germany.[675] Some
unwise and by no means upright adherents of catholicism mutilated and
abridged those opinions,[676] and then proclaimed with an air of triumph
that the heretics, with Melancthon at their head, were about to return
into the bosom of the Church!... Excessive was the irritation of the
evangelical flocks, and loud cries arose from every quarter against the
temporizers and their weakness. They called to mind that truth is not a
merchandise which can be cheapened; but a chain, of which if but one
link be broken, all the rest is useless. ‘Melancthon is of opinion,’
said some, ‘that a single pontiff, residing at Rome, would be very
useful to maintain harmony of faith between the different nations of
Christendom. Bucer adds that we must not overthrow all that exists in
popery, but restore in the protestant churches many of the practices
observed by the ancients. The men who speak thus are deserters and
turncoats. They betray our cause, they commit a crime.’[677] If such
protestants as these were heard among the Lutherans, doctors such as
Farel and Calvin spoke out still more plainly against all attempts at a
union with popery. ‘It is wrong,’ wrote Calvin afterwards to some
English friends, ‘to preserve such paltry rubbish, the sad relics of
papal superstition, every recollection of which we ought to strive to
extirpate.’[678] The thought that Francis I. was at the head of these
negotiations filled the Swiss theologians in particular with ineffable
disgust. ‘What good can be expected of that prince,’ said Bullinger,
‘that impure, profane, ambitious man?[679] He is dissembling: Christ and
truth are of no account in his projects. His only thought is how to gain
possession of Naples and Milan. What does this or that matter, so that
he makes himself master of Italy?’ These honest Swiss were not wanting
in common sense. Alarmed at the trap that was preparing for Reform,
Bullinger, Blaarer, Zwyck, and other reformed divines wrote to Bucer:
‘It is of no use your contriving a reunion with the pope; thousands of
protestants would rather forfeit their lives than follow you.’

At the same time the Sorbonne and its followers raised their voices
still higher against all assimilation with Lutheran doctrines. The storm
swelled on both sides, and burst upon the moderate party. Poor Bucer,
driven in different directions, succumbed under the weight of his
sorrow. ‘Would to God,’ he exclaimed, ‘that, like the French martyrs, I
were delivered from this life to stand before the face of Jesus

[Sidenote: Hope Of Union Lost.]

Every hope of union seemed lost. The ship which the politic King of
France had launched, and to which the hand of the pious Melancthon had
fastened the banners of peace, had been carried upon the breakers; all
attempts to get her out to sea again appeared useless; there was neither
water enough to float her, nor wind enough to move her. She was about to
be abandoned, when a sudden breeze extricated her from the shallows, and
launched her once more upon the wide ocean.

Clement VII. having died of chagrin, occasioned by the prospect of a
future in which he could see nothing but deception and sorrow,[681] the
King of France considered himself thenceforward liberated from the
promises made to Catherine’s uncle. Ere long the choice of the Sacred
College gave him still greater liberty. Alexander Farnese, who, under
the title of Paul III., succeeded Clement, was a man of the world; he
had studied at Florence in the famous gardens of Lorenzo de’ Medici, and
from his youth had lived an irregular life. On one occasion, being
imprisoned by his mother’s orders in the castle of St. Angelo, he took
advantage of the moment when the attention of his jailers was attracted
by the procession of Corpus Christi to escape through a window by means
of a rope. Although he had two illegitimate children, a son and a
daughter, he was made cardinal, and from that hour kept his eyes
steadily fixed upon the triple crown. He obtained it at last, at the age
of sixty-seven, and declared that in religious matters he would follow
very different principles from those of his predecessors. This man, who
had so much need of reformation for himself and his family, was
engrossed wholly with reforming the Church. We shall find not only a
king of France, but a pope of Rome also, making advances to Melancthon.
Leo X. bequeathed schism to Christendom. Paul III. undertook to restore
unity, and thus hoped to acquire a greater glory than that of the
Medicis. He promised the ambassadors of Charles V. to call a council,
and four days after his election declared his intentions in full
consistory. ‘I desire a reform,’ he said; ‘before we attempt to change
the universal Church, we must first sweep out the court of Rome;’ and he
nominated a congregation to draw up a plan of reform. Proud of his
skill, he thought that everything would be easy to him, and already
triumphed in imagination over the Germans, who were, in his opinion, so
boorish, and the Swiss, who were so barbarous. Francis I., satisfied
with this disposition of the pope, was not unaware, besides, that he had
private means of communicating with him. The first secretary of his
Holiness was Ambrosio, an influential man and by no means averse to
presents. A person who had need of his services having given him sixty
silver basins with as many ewers, ‘How is it,’ said a man one day, ‘that
with all these basins to wash in, his hands are never clean?’[682]

[Sidenote: Popery In France.]

But the work of union was not to be so easy as the conjunction of two
such stars as Farnese and Valois seemed to promise. While the Romish
Church was being toned down at Rome, popery became stricter in France.
The fanatical party that was to acquire a horrible celebrity by the
crimes of the Bartholomew massacre and of the League, was beginning to
take shape round the dauphin, the future Henry II. That youth of
eighteen, who had not long returned from Madrid, was far from being
lively, talkative, and independent, like a young Frenchman, but gloomy
and silent, and appeared to live only to obey women. There were two at
his side, admirably calculated to give him a papistical direction:
first, his wife, Catherine de Medicis, and next his mistress, Diana of
Poitiers, a widow, still beautiful in spite of her age, and who would
not (as it has been said) have spoken to a heretic for an empire. The
mistress and the wife, who were on the best of terms, and all of the
dauphin’s party, endeavored to thwart the king’s plans. The most
influential members of that faction were continually repeating to him
that the protestants of Germany were quite as fanatical and seditious as
those of France. At the same time, the emperor’s agents, animated by the
same intentions, told the German protestants that Francis I. was an
infidel in alliance with the Turks. The obstacles opposed in France and
Germany to the reconciliation of Christendom were such that its
realization appeared a matter of difficulty.

But in the midst of these intrigues the moderate party held firm. The Du
Bellays belonged to one of the oldest families in France; their nobility
could be traced back to the reign of Lothaire,[683] and their mother,
Margaret de la Tour-Landry, reckoned among her ancestors a man who had
occupied himself with laying down the rules of a good education. After a
life of busy warfare, the Chevalier de la Tour-Landry, seignior of
Bourmont and Claremont, who lived in the fourteenth century, wrote two
works on education: one for his sons, the other for his daughters,
copies of which became numerous. The treatise intended for the girls was
printed in 1514, perhaps by the direction of the parents of the Du
Bellays. ‘Out of the great affection I bear to my children,’ wrote the
old cavalier, ‘whom I love as a father ought to love them, my heart will
be filled with perfect joy if they grow up good and honorable, loving
and serving God.’[684] William and John particularly seemed to have
responded to this prayer. William, the elder, was not void of Christian
sentiments. ‘I desire,’ he said, ‘that nothing may happen injurious to
the cause of the Gospel and the glory of Christ;’[685] but he was
specially one of the most distinguished generals and diplomatists of his
epoch. He knew, says Brantome, the most private secrets of the emperor
and of all the princes of Europe, so that people supposed him to have a
familiar spirit. Although maimed in his limbs—the consequence of his
campaigns—he was a man of indefatigable activity. His brother John,
Bishop of Paris, who was also ‘another master-mind,’ professed like him
an enlightened catholicism; and hence it happened that on the accession
of Henry II. he was deprived of his rank by the intrigues of the papist
party, and driven from France. Still, to show that he remained a
catholic, he took up his residence in Rome.

[Sidenote: Melancthon’s Position.]

In 1535 the moderate catholic party, at the head of which were these two
brothers, seeing the chances of success at Rome as well as at Paris,
resolved to take a more decided step, and to invite Melancthon to
France. The proposal was made to Francis I., and supported by all the
members of the party. They knew that Melancthon was called ‘the master
of Germany,’ and thought that if he came to France he would conciliate
all parties by the culture of his mind, by his learning, wisdom, piety,
and gentleness. One man, if he appears at the right moment, is sometimes
sufficient to give a new direction to an entire epoch, to a whole
nation. ‘Ah, sire,’ said Barnabas Voré de la Fosse, a learned and
zealous French nobleman, who knew Germany well, and had tasted of the
Gospel, ‘if you knew Melancthon, his uprightness, learning, and modesty!
I am his disciple, and fear not to tell it you. Of all those who in our
days have the reputation of learning, and who deserve it, he is the

These advances were not useless: Francis I. thought the priests very
arrogant and noisy. His despotism made him incline to the side of the
pope; but his love of letters, and his disgust at the monks, attracted
him the other way. Just now he thought it possible to satisfy both these
inclinations at once. Fully occupied with the effect of the moment, and
inattentive to consequences, he passed rapidly from one extreme to
another. At Marseilles he had thrown himself into the arms of Clement
VII., now he made up his mind to hold out his hand to Melancthon.
‘Well!’ said the king, ‘since he differs so much from our rebels, let
him come: I shall be enchanted to hear him.’ This gave great delight to
the peacemakers. ‘God has seen the affliction of his children and heard
their cries,’ exclaimed Sturm.[687] Francis I. ordered De la Fosse to
proceed to Germany to urge Melancthon in person.

A king of France inviting a reformer to come and explain his views was
something very new. The two principal obstacles which impeded the
Reformation seemed now to be removed. The first was the character of the
reformers in France, the exclusive firmness of their doctrines, and the
strictness of their morality. Melancthon, the mild, the wise, the
tolerant, the learned scholar, was to attempt the task. The second
obstacle was the fickleness and opposition of Francis I.; but it was
this prince who made the advances. There are hours of grace in the
history of the human race, and one of those hours seemed to have
arrived. ‘God, who rules the tempests,’ exclaimed Sturm, ‘is showing us
a harbor of refuge.’[688]

[Sidenote: Efforts Of The Mediators.]

The friends of the Gospel and of light set earnestly to work. It was
necessary to persuade Melancthon, the Elector, and the protestants of
Germany, which might be a task of some difficulty. But the mediators did
not shrink from before obstacles; they raised powerful batteries; they
stretched the strings of their bow, and made a great effort to carry the
fortress. Sturm, in particular, spared no exertions. The free courses he
was giving at the Royal College, his lectures on Cicero, his logic,
which, instead of preparing his disciples (among whom was Peter Ramus)
for barren disputes, developed and adorned their minds—nothing could
stop him. Sturm was not only an enlightened man, a humanist,
appreciating the Beautiful in the productions of genius, but he had a
deep feeling of the divine grandeur of the Gospel. Men of letters in
those times, especially in Italy, were often negative in regard to the
things of God, light in their conduct, without moral force, and
consequently incapable of exercising a salutary influence over their
contemporaries. Such was not Sturm: and while those _beaux-esprits_,
those wits were making a useless display of their brilliant intelligence
in drawing-rooms, that eminent man exhibited a Christian faith and life:
he busied himself in the cultivation of all that is most exalted, and
during his long career, never ceased from enlightening his
contemporaries.[689] ‘The future of French protestantism is in your
hands,’ he wrote to Bucer; ‘Melancthon’s answer and yours will decide
whether the evangelicals are to enjoy liberty, or undergo the most cruel
persecutions. When I see Francis I. meditating the revival of the
Church, I recognize God, who inclines the hearts of princes. I do not
doubt his sincerity; I see no hidden designs, no political motives;
although a German by birth, I do not share my fellow-countrymen’s
suspicions about him. The king, I am convinced, wishes to do all he can
to reform the Church, and to give liberty of conscience to the
French.’[690] Such was, then, the hope of the most generous spirits—such
the aim of their labors.

Sturm, wishing to do everything in his power to give France that liberty
and reformation, wrote personally to Melancthon. He was the man to be
gained, and the professor set his heart upon gaining him. ‘How delighted
I am at the thought that you will come to France!’ he said. ‘The king
talks much about you; he praises your integrity, learning, and modesty;
he ranks you above all the scholars of our time, and has declared that
he is _your disciple_.[691] I shed tears when I think of the devouring
flames that have consumed so many noble lives; but when I learn that the
king invites you to advise with him as to the means of extinguishing
those fires, then I feel that God is turning his eyes with love upon the
souls who are threatened with unutterable calamities. What a strange
thing! France appeals to you at the very time when our cause is so
fiercely attacked. The king, who is of a good disposition at bottom,
perceives so many defects in the old cause, and such imprudence in those
who adhere to the truth, that he applies to you to find a remedy for
these evils. O Melancthon! to see your face will be our salvation. Come
into the midst of our violent tempests, and show us the haven. A refusal
from you would keep our brethren suspended above the flames. Trouble
yourself neither about emperors nor kings: those who invite you are men
who are fighting against death. But they are not alone: the voice of
Christ, nay, the voice of God himself calls you.’[692] The letter is
dated from Paris, 4th March, 1535.

The Holy Scriptures, which were read wherever the Reform had penetrated,
had revived in men’s hearts feelings of real unity and Christian
charity. Such cries of distress could not fail to touch the protestants
of Germany; Bucer, who had also been invited, made preparations for his
departure. ‘The French, Germans, Italians, Spaniards, and other nations,
who are they?’[693] he asked. ‘All our brethren in Jesus Christ. It is
not this nation or that nation only, but all nations that the Father has
given to the Son. I am ready,’ he wrote to Melancthon; ‘prepare for your

[Sidenote: Importance Of France.]

What could Melancthon do? that was the great question. Many persons,
even in Germany, had hoped that France would put herself at the head of
the great revival of the Church. Had not her kings, and especially Louis
XII., often resisted Rome? Had not the university of Paris been the
rival of the Vatican? Was it not a Frenchman who, cross in hand, had
roused the West to march to the conquest of Jerusalem? Many believed
that if France were transformed, all Christendom would be transformed
with her. To a certain point, Melancthon had shared these ideas, but he
was less eager than Bucer. The outspoken language of the placards had
shocked him; but the burning piles erected in Paris had afterwards
revolted him; he feared that the king’s plans were a mere trick, and his
reform a phantom. Nevertheless, after reflecting upon the matter, he
concluded that the conquest of such a mighty nation was a thing of
supreme importance. His adhesion to the regenerating movement then
accomplishing might decide its success, just as his hostility might
destroy it. He must do something more than open his arms to France, he
must go to meet her.

Melancthon understood the position and set to work. First, he wrote to
the Bishop of Paris, in order to gain him over to the proposed union, by
representing to him that the episcopal order ought to be maintained. The
German doctor did not doubt that even under that form, the increasing
consciousness of truth and justice, the living force of the Gospel,
which was seen opening and increasing everywhere, would gain over to the
Reformation the fellow-countrymen of St. Bernard and St. Louis. ‘France
is, so to speak, the head of the Christian world,’ he wrote to the
Bishop of Paris.[694] ‘The example of the most eminent people may
exercise a great influence over others. If France is resolved to defend
energetically the existing vices of the Church, good men of all
countries will see their fondest desires vanish. But I have better
hopes; the French nation possesses, I know, a remarkable zeal for
piety.[695] All men turn their eyes to us; all conjure us, not only by
their words, but by their tears, to prevent sound learning from being
stifled, and Christ’s glory from being buried.’

On the same day, 9th of May, 1535, Melancthon wrote to Sturm: ‘I will
not suffer myself to be prevented either by domestic ties or the fear of
danger. There is no human grandeur which I can prefer to the glory of
Christ. Only one thought checks me: I doubt of my ability to do any
good; I fear it will be impossible to obtain from the king what I
consider necessary to the glory of the Lord and the peace of
France.[696] If you can dispel these apprehensions, I shall hasten to
France, and no prison shall affright me. We must seek only for what is
fitting for the Church and France. You know that kingdom. Speak. If you
think I should do well to undertake the journey, I will start.’

Melancthon’s letter to the Bishop of Paris was not without effect. That
prelate had just been made a cardinal; but the new dignity in nowise
diminished his desire for the restoration of truth and unity in the
Church; on the contrary, it gave him more power to realize the great
project. The Reformation was approaching. Delighted with the sentiments
expressed to him by the _master_ of Germany, he communicated his letter
to such as might feel an interest in it, and among others, no doubt, to
the king. ‘There is not one of our friends here,’ he said, ‘to whom
Melancthon’s mode of seeing things is not agreeable. As for myself, it
is pleasant far beyond what I can express.’[697] It was the same with
his brother William. While the new cardinal especially desired a union
with Melancthon in the hope of obtaining a wise and pious reform, the
councillor of Francis I. desired, while leaving to the pope his
spiritual authority, to make France politically independent of Rome. The
two brothers united in entreating the king to send for Luther’s friend.
De la Fosse joined them, and all the friends of peace, in conjuring the
king to give the German doctor some proof of his good-will. ‘He will
come if you write to him,’ they said.

[Sidenote: Letter Of The King.]

Francis I. made up his mind, and instead of addressing the sovereign
whose subject Melancthon was, the proud king of France wrote to the
plain doctor of Wittemberg. This was not quite regular; had the monarch
written to the elector, such a step might have produced very beneficial
results; not so much because the susceptibility of the latter prince
would not have been wounded, as because the reasons which Francis, with
Du Bellay’s help, might have given him, would perhaps have convinced a
ruler so friendly to the Gospel and to peace as John Frederick. It is
sometimes useful to observe the rules of diplomacy. This is the letter
from the King of France to the learned doctor, dated 23d of June, 1535.

    ‘Francis, by the grace of God King of the French, to our dear Philip
    Melancthon, greeting:

    ‘I have long since been informed by William du Bellay, my
    chamberlain and councillor, of the zeal with which you are
    endeavoring to appease the dissensions to which the Christian
    doctrine has given rise. I now learn from the letter which you have
    written to him, and from Voré de la Fosse, that you are much
    inclined to come to us, to confer with some of our most
    distinguished doctors on the means of restoring in the Church that
    divine harmony which is the first of all my desires.[698] Come then,
    either in an official character, or in your own name; you will be
    very acceptable to me, and you will learn, in either case, the
    interest I feel in the glory of your Germany and the peace of the

These declarations from the King of France forwarded the enterprise;
before taking such a step, he must have been very clear in his
intentions. We may well ask, however, if the letter was sincere. In
history, as in nature, there are striking contrasts. While these things
were passing in the upper regions of society, scenes were occurring in
the lower regions which ran counter to those fine projects of princes
and scholars. The Swiss divines maintained that the whole affair was a
comedy in which the king and his ministers played the chief parts. That
may be questionable, but the interlude was a blood-stained tragedy. In
the very month when Francis I. wrote to Melancthon, a poor husbandman of
La Bresse, John Cornon, was arrested while at work in the fields, and
taken to Macon. The judges, who expected to see an idiot appear before
them, were astonished when they heard that poor peasant proving to them,
in his simple _patois_, the truth of his faith, and displaying an
extensive knowledge of Holy Scripture. As the pious husbandman remained
unshaken in his attachment to the all-sufficient grace of Jesus Christ,
he was condemned to death, dragged on a hurdle to the place of
execution, and there burnt alive.[699]

In the following month of July, Dennis Brion, a humble barber of
Sancerre, near Paris, and a reputed heretic, was taken in his shop. He
had often expounded the Scriptures, not only to those who visited him,
but also to a number of persons who assembled to hear him. Nothing
annoyed the priests so much as these meetings, where simple Christians,
speaking in succession, bore testimony to the light and consolation they
had found in the Bible. Brion was condemned, as the husbandman of La
Bresse had been, and his death was made a great show. It was the time of
the _grands jours_ at Angers; and there he was burnt alive, in the midst
of an immense concourse of people from every quarter.[700] It is
probable that those executions were not the result of any new orders,
but a mere sequel to the cruelties of the 21st of January, the influence
of which had only then reached the provinces.

These two executions, however, made the necessity of laboring to restore
peace and unity still more keenly felt. Those engaged in the task saw
but one means: to admit on one side the evangelical doctrine, and on the
other the episcopal form with a bishop _primus inter pares_. Western
Christendom would thus have a protestant body with a Roman dress. The
Church of the Reformation (it was said) holds to doctrine before all
things, and the Church of Rome to its government; let us unite the two
elements. The Wittemberg doctors hoped that the substance would prevail
over the form; the Roman doctors that the form would prevail over the
substance; but many on both sides honestly believed that the proposed
combination would succeed and be perpetual.

[Sidenote: Du Bellay Goes To Rome.]

At the same time as De la Fosse started for Wittemberg, the new
cardinal, Du Bellay, departed for Rome: two French embassies were to be
simultaneously in the two rival cities. The ostensible object of the
cardinal’s journey was not the great matter which the king had at heart,
but to thank the pope for the dignity conferred upon him; still it was
the intention and the charge of the Bishop of Paris to do all in his
power to induce the catholic Church to come to an understanding with the
protestants. Before quitting France, he wrote to Melancthon: ‘There is
nothing I desire more earnestly than to put an end to the divisions
which are shaking the Church of Christ. My dear Melancthon, do all you
can to bring about this happy pacification.[701] If you come here, you
will have all good men with you, and especially the king, who is not
only in name, but in reality, _most Christian_. When you have conferred
with him thoroughly, which will be soon, I trust, there is nothing that
we may not hope for. God grant that at Rome, whither I am going with all
speed, I may obtain, in behalf of the work I meditate, all the success
that I desire.’[702]

The cardinal’s journey was of great importance. The party to which he
belonged, which desired one sole Catholic Church, in which evangelical
doctrines and Romish forms should be skilfully combined, was acquiring
favor in the metropolis of catholicism. The new pope raised to the
cardinalate Contarini and several other prelates who were known for
their evangelical sentiments and the purity of their lives. He left them
entire liberty; he permitted them to contradict him in the consistory,
and even encouraged them to do so. The hope of a reform grew greater day
by day in Italy.[703] It thus happened that Cardinal du Bellay found
himself in a very favorable atmosphere at Rome: he would be backed by
the influence of France, and to a certain point by the imperial
influence also, for no one desired more strongly than Charles V. an
arrangement between catholics and protestants. The Bishop of Paris, an
enlightened and skilful diplomatist and pious man, had a noble
appearance, and displayed in every act the mark of a great soul.[704] He
thus won men’s hearts, and might, in concert with Melancthon, be the
chosen instrument to establish the so much desired unity in the Church.

[Sidenote: Du Bellay To Melancthon.]

While he was on his way to confer with the pope and cardinals, others
were canvassing Melancthon and the protestants. De la Fosse left for
Wittemberg, bearing the king’s letter, and William du Bellay, an
intelligent statesman, who was determined to spare no pains to bring the
great scheme to a successful issue, wrote to the German doctor,
explaining motives and removing objections. In his eyes the cause in
question was the greatest of all: it was the cause of religion and of
France. ‘Let us beware,’ wrote the councillor of Francis I. to
Melancthon, ‘let us beware of irritating the king, whose favor you will
confess is necessary to us. If, after he has written to you with his own
hand, after you have almost given your consent, after he has sent you a
deputation, in whose company you could make the journey without
danger,—if you finally refuse to come to France, I much fear that the
monarch will not look upon it with a favorable eye. It is necessary both
to France and religion that you comply with the king’s request.[705]
Fear not the influence of the wicked, who cannot endure to be deprived
of anything in order that the glory of Jesus Christ should be
increased.[706] The king is skilful, prudent, yielding, and allows
himself to be convinced by sound reasons. If you have an interview with
him, if you talk with him, if you set your motives before him, you will
inflame him with an admirable zeal for your cause.[707] Do not think you
will have to dissemble or give way.... No; the king will praise your
courage in such serious matters more than he would praise your weakness.
I therefore exhort and conjure you in Christ’s name not to miss the
opportunity of doing the noblest of all the works which it is possible
to perform among men.’

As we read these important letters, these touching solicitations, and
the firm opinions of the councillor of Francis I., we are tempted to
inquire what is their date. Is it in reality only five months after the
strappadoes? One circumstance explains the startling contrast. France
might say: ‘I feel two natures in me.’ Which of them shall prevail? That
is the question. Will it be the intelligence, frankness, love of
liberty, and presentiment of the moral responsibility of man, which are
often found in the French people; or the incredulity, superstition,
sensuality, cruelty, and despotism, of which Catherine de Medicis, her
husband, and her sons were the types? Shall we see a people, eager for
liberty, submitting in religious things to the yoke of a Church which
never allows any independence to individual thought? Strange to say, the
solution of this important question seemed to depend upon a reformer.
Should Melancthon come to France, he would, in the opinion of the Du
Bellays and the best intellects of the age, inaugurate with God’s help
in that illustrious country the reign of the Gospel and liberty, and put
an end to the usurpations of Rome.

If the great enterprise at which some of the greatest and most powerful
personages were then working succeeded, if the tendency of Catherine and
her sons (continued unfortunately by the Bourbons) were overcome, France
was saved. It was a solemn opportunity. Never, perhaps, had that great
nation been nearer the most important transformation.

In addition to the appeals of Du Bellay, no means were spared to
persuade Germany. Sturm wrote another letter to the Wittemberg doctor,
telling him that the king was not very far from sharing the religious
ideas of the protestants, and that, if his views were laid clearly and
fearlessly before him, the reformer would find that the sovereign agreed
with him on many important points. And more than this, Claude Baduel,
who, after studying at Wittemberg, was in succession professor at Paris,
rector at Nismes, and pastor at Geneva, was intrusted by the Queen of
Navarre with a mission to Melancthon. Francis I., wishing to pass from
words to deeds, published an amnesty on the 16th July, 1535, in which he
declared that ‘the anger of our Lord being appeased, persons accused or
suspected should not be molested, that all prisoners should be set at
liberty, their confiscated goods restored, and the fugitives permitted
to re-enter the kingdom, provided they lived as good catholic

As Francis I. did not wish to alarm the court of Rome, and desired to
prevent it from interfering and seeking to disturb and thwart his plans,
he called Cardinal du Bellay to him a short time before his departure,
and said: ‘You will give the Holy Father to understand that I am sending
your brother to the protestants of Germany to get what he can from them;
at the very least to prevail on them to acknowledge the power of the
pope as head of the Church universal. With regard to faith, religion,
ceremonies, institutions, and doctrines, he will preserve such as it
will be proper to preserve,—at least, what may reasonably be tolerated,
while waiting the decision of the council.... Matters being thus
arranged, our Holy Father will then be able earnestly and joyfully to
summon a council to meet at Rome, and his authority will remain sure and
flourishing; for, if the enemies of the Holy See once draw in their
horns in Germany, they will do the same in France, Italy, England,
Scotland, and Denmark.’[709]

The opinions of Francis I. come out clearly in these instructions. The
only thing he cared about was the preservation of the pope’s temporal
power. As for religion, ceremonies, and doctrines, he would try to come
to an understanding,—he would get what he could; but the protestants
must pull in their horns,—must renounce their independent bearing. The
king declared himself satisfied, provided the people of Europe continued
to walk beneath the Caudine forks of Romish power.

[Sidenote: Conference With The Reformers.]

It was not long before the king showed what were his real intentions,
and towards what kind of reconciliation a council would have to labor,
if one should ever be assembled, which was very doubtful. On the 20th
July, the Bishop of Senlis, his confessor, requested the Sorbonne to
nominate ten or twelve of its theologians to confer with the reformers.
If a bombshell had fallen in the midst of the Faculty, it could not have
caused greater alarm. ‘What an unprecedented proposal!’ exclaimed the
doctors; ‘is it a jest or an insult?’ For two days they remained in
deliberation. ‘We will nominate deputies,’ said the assembly, ‘but for
the purpose of remonstrating with the king.’ ‘Sire,’ boldly said these
delegates, ‘your proposal is quite useless and supremely dangerous.
Useless, for the heretics will hear of nothing but Holy Scripture;
dangerous, for the catholics, who are weak in faith, may be perverted by
the objections of the heretic.... Let the Germans communicate to us the
articles on which they have need of instruction, we will give it them
willingly; but there can be no discussion with heretics. If we meet
them, it can only be as their judges. It is a divine and a human law to
cut off the corrupted members from the body. If such is the duty of the
State against assassins, much more is it their duty against schismatics
who destroy souls by their rebellion.’[710]

These different movements did not take place in secret; they were talked
about all over the city, and far beyond it. Enlightened minds were much
amused by the fear which the doctors of the Sorbonne had of speaking.
There was no lack of remarks on that subject. ‘We must not chatter and
babble overmuch about the Gospel; but it is absurd that, when anybody
inquires into our faith, we should say nothing in defence of it. Let us
discourse about the mysteries of God peaceably and mildly: to be silent
is a supineness and cowardice worthy of the sneers of unbelievers.’[711]
When Marot the poet heard of the answer of the Sorbonne, he said:—

                     Je ne dis pas que Mélancthon
                       Ne déclare au roi son advis;
                       Mais de disputer vis-à-vis ...
                     Nos maîtres n’y veulent entendre.

The politicians were not silent. The prospect of an agreement with the
protestants deeply moved the chiefs of the Roman party, who resolved to
do all in their power to oppose the attempt. Montmorency, the grand
master, the Cardinal de Tournon, the Bishop of Soissons, de
Chateaubriand, and others exerted all their influence to prevent
Melancthon from coming to France, Cardinal du Bellay from succeeding at
Rome, and catholics and protestants from shaking hands together under
the auspices of Francis I.

This fanatical party, which was to make common cause with the Jesuits,
already forestalled them in cunning. ‘One morning,’, say Roman-catholic
historians,[712] ‘Cardinal de Tournon appeared at the king’s _levée_,
reading a book magnificently bound.’ ‘Cardinal, what a handsome book you
have there!’ said the king. ‘Sire,’ replied De Tournon, ‘it is the work
of an illustrious martyr, Saint Irenæus, who presided over the Church of
Lyons in the second century. I was reading the passage which says that
John the Evangelist, being about to enter some public baths, and
learning that the heretic Cerinthus was inside, hastily retired,
exclaiming: “Let us fly, my children, lest we be swallowed up with the
enemies of the Lord.” That is what the apostles thought of heretics; and
yet you, Sire, the eldest son of the Church, intend inviting to your
court the most celebrated disciple of that arch-heretic Luther.’ De
Tournon added that an alliance with the Lutherans would not only cause
Milan to be lost to France, but would throw all the catholic powers into
the arms of the emperor.[713] Francis I., though persisting in his
scheme, saw that he could not force those to speak who had made up their
minds to be silent; and wishing to give De Tournon some little
satisfaction he let the Faculty know that he would not ask them to
confer with the reformers. The king intended to hear both parties; he
sought to place himself between the two stormy seas, like a quiet
channel, which communicates with both oceans, and in which it was
possible to manœuvre undisturbed by tempests.

[Sidenote: Is A Mixed Congress Possible?]

The refusal of the Sorbonne, at that time more papistical than the pope
himself, does not imply that a conference between protestant and
catholic theologians was impossible; for six years later such a
conference really did take place at Ratisbon, and nearly succeeded. A
committee, half protestant, half Romanist, in which Melancthon and Bucer
sat, and in which the pious Cardinal Contarini took part as papal
legate, admitted the evangelical faith in all essential points, and
declared in particular that man is justified not by his own merits, but
by faith alone in the merits of Christ, pointing out, however, as the
protestants had always done, that the faith which justifies must _work
by love_. That meeting of Ratisbon came to nothing: it could come to
nothing. A gleam of light shone forth, but a breath from Rome
extinguished the torch, and Contarini submitted in silence. The
conference, however, remains in history as a solemn homage, paid by the
most believing members of the Roman-catholic Church to the Christian
doctrines of the Reformation.[714]

Footnote 669:

  1 Corinth. x. 15.

Footnote 670:

  ‘Die Leute die die Sache fordern, mehr Erasmich als Evangelisch
  sind.’—Bretschneider, _Corpus Reformatorum_, ii. p. 909.

Footnote 671:


Footnote 672:

  ‘Stultissimis et seditiosissimis rationibus regna et gentes
  perturbarunt.’—_Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 855.

Footnote 673:

  ‘Quorum ego paradoxa malo iisdem sepelire tenebris, unde subito
  emerserant, quam apud vos, amplissimi ordines, hoc est, in orbis
  terrarum luce memorari.’ In the _Corpus Reformatorum_, ii. pp.
  828-835, Bretschneider gives only the German translation of this
  letter. The original Latin, whose existence we were ignorant of when
  our third volume was published, will be found in Freheri _Script.
  Rerum German._ iii. p. 295.

Footnote 674:

  It appears certain that some Germans were imprisoned; but they were
  afterwards released and sent back to Germany by the king’s
  order.—_Corpus Reformatorum_, ii. p. 857.

Footnote 675:

  For these opinions see _supra_, vol. ii. p. 353.

Footnote 676:

  ‘Mutilati et excerpti . . . . . . mala fide decerpti.’—_Corpus
  Reformatorum_, ii. p. 976.

Footnote 677:

  ‘Vocor transfuga, desertor . . . . me totam causam
  prodidisse.’—Melancthon to Du Bellay. _Corpus Reform._ ii. p. 915.

Footnote 678:

  ‘C’est un vice d’entretenir des menus fatras.’—Calvin, _Lettres
  Françaises_, i. p. 420.

Footnote 679:

  ‘De Gallo, homine impuro, profano et ambitioso.’—Bullinger to
  Myconius, 12 March, 1534. _Corp. Ref._ p. 122.

Footnote 680:

  ‘Ego velim . . . . cum Gallis martyribus Christum adire.’—Bucer,
  _Zeitschrift für Hist. Theol._ 1850, p. 44.

Footnote 681:

  ‘E fu questo dolore ed affanno che lo condusse alla morte.’—Soriano,
  in Ranke, i. p. 127.

Footnote 682:

  Warchi, _Istorie Fiorentine_, p. 636. Ranke.

Footnote 683:

  Moreri, art. _Du Bellay_.

Footnote 684:

  _Livre du Chevalier de la Tour-Landry qui fut fait pour l’enseignement
  des femmes mariées et à marier._ It was reprinted in 1854 by Jannet,
  in the ‘Bibliothèque Elzevirienne.’ There are seven manuscript copies
  in the Bibliothèque Impériale. See also Burnier, _Histoire Littéraire
  de l’Education_, i. p. 11.

Footnote 685:

  ‘Quod Evangelii causam et Christi gloriam perturbaret.’—_Corp. Ref._
  ii. p. 887.

Footnote 686:

  ‘Cum rege diu de te locutus est, ita ut te omnibus, qui nostris
  temporibus docti et habentur et sunt, prætulerit.’—_Corp. Ref._ ii. p.

Footnote 687:

  ‘Sentio respici a Deo calamitatibus affectas et afflictas hominum
  conditiones.’—_Corpus Reformatorum_, ii. p. 858.

Footnote 688:

  ‘Deus portum aliquem profugium ostendit.’—_Ibid._ p. 856.

Footnote 689:

  See Schmidt’s _Vie de Jean Sturm, premier recteur de Strasbourg_.

Footnote 690:

  ‘Da Franz i. aüf Erneürung der Kirche sinne . . . . bereit sei zur
  Kirchenverbesserung, das seine zu thun, und die Gevissen frei zu
  lassen.’—Sturm to Bucer. Schmidt, _Zeitschrift für die Hist. Theol._
  1850, i. p. 46. Strobel, _Hist. du Gymnase de Strasbourg_, p. 111 &c.

Footnote 691:

  ‘Non rogatus se discipulum tuum esse dixit.’—_Corpus Reformatorum_,
  ii. p. 857.

Footnote 692:

  ‘Sed advocari te Dei Christique voce.’—_Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 859.

Footnote 693:

  ‘Qui sunt Germani, qui Itali, qui Hispani et alii?’—Schmidt,
  _Zeitschr. für Hist. Theol._ 1850, p. 47.

Footnote 694:

  ‘Cum regnum gallicum, si licet dicere, caput christiani orbis
  sit.’—_Corpus Reformatorum_, ii. p. 869.

Footnote 695:

  ‘Gallica natio eximium habet pietatis studium.’—_Ibid._

Footnote 696:

  ‘Vereor ut impetrari ea possint quæ ad gloriam Christi et
  tranquillitatem Galliæ et Ecclesiæ necessaria esse duco.’—_Corpus
  Reformatorum_, ii. p. 876.

Footnote 697:

  ‘Mihi vero etiam supra quam dici potest jucundum.’—_Ibid._ p. 880.

Footnote 698:

  ‘Quo resarciri possit pulcherrima illa ecclesiasticæ politiæ harmonia,
  qua una re cum ego mihi nihil unquam quicquam majori cura, studio
  complectendum esse duxerim.’—_Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 880.

Footnote 699:

  Crespin, _Actes des Martyres_, p. 116.

Footnote 700:

  Ibid. p. 126.

Footnote 701:

  ‘In hanc pacificationem, mi Melancthon, per Deum quantum potes
  incumbe.’—_Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 881.

Footnote 702:

  The letter is dated: ‘Ex fano Quintini (St. Quentin) in Viromanduis,
  die 27 Jun. anno 1535.’—_Ibid._

Footnote 703:

  ‘Molti anni inanzi, li prelati non erano stati in quelle riforma di
  vita; li cardinali havevono libertà maggiore di dire l’ opinione loro,
  in consistorio .... Si poteva sperare di giorno in giorno maggiore
  riforma.’—_Tre libri delli Commentarj delli Guerra_, 1537. Ranke.

Footnote 704:

  De Thou; Sainte-Marthe.

Footnote 705:

  ‘Necessarium esse religioni et Galliæ ut regiæ exspectationi
  satisfacias.’—_Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 888.

Footnote 706:

  ‘Non enim est quod metuas iniquorum potentiam.’—_Ibid._

Footnote 707:

  ‘Mirabiliter eum inflammares.’—_Ibid._

Footnote 708:

  Isambert, xii. p. 405; Sismondi, xvi. p. 459.

Footnote 709:

  Instructions des rois très chrétiens et de leurs ambassadeurs (Paris
  1654), p. 7.

Footnote 710:

  Ballue et Bouchigny. Crevier, _Hist. de l’Université_, v. pp. 2-4.

Footnote 711:


Footnote 712:

  Pallavicini, Maimbourg, Varillas, &c.

Footnote 713:

  Maimbourg, _Calvinisme_, p. 28. Varillas, ii. p. 449.

Footnote 714:

  ‘Acta in conventu Ratisbonensi, 1541,’ by Melancthon and Bucer.

                             CHAPTER XVII.
                       (AUGUST TO NOVEMBER 1535.)

[Sidenote: Individuality And Community.]

Was the union desired by so many eminent men to be for good or for evil?
On this question different opinions may be, and have been, entertained.
Certain minds like to isolate themselves, and look with mistrust and
disdain upon human associations. It is true that man exists first as an
individual, and that before all things he must be himself; but he does
not exist alone: he is a member of a body, and this forms the second
part of his existence. Human life is both a monologue and a dialogue.
Before the era of Christianity, these two essential modes of being had
but an imperfect existence: on the one hand, social institutions
absorbed the individual, and on the other, each nation was encamped
apart. Christianity aggrandized individuality by calling men to unite
with God, and at the same time it proclaimed the great unity of the
human race, and undertook to make into one family all the families of
the earth, by giving the same heavenly Father to all. It imparts a fresh
intensity to individuality by teaching man that a single soul is in
God’s eyes of more value than the whole universe; but this, far from
doing society an injury, becomes the source of great prosperity to it.
The more an individual is developed in a Christian sense, the more
useful a member he becomes of the nation and of the human race.
Individuality and community are the two poles of life; and it is
necessary to maintain both, in order that humanity may fulfil its
mission in revolving ages. The mischief lies in giving an unjust
pre-eminence to either of the two elements. Romish unity, which
encroaches upon individuality, is an obstacle to real Christian
civilization; while an extreme individuality, which isolates man, is
full of peril both to society and to the individual himself. It would
therefore be unreasonable to condemn or to approve absolutely the
eminent men who in 1535 endeavored to restore unity to the Church. The
question is to know whether, by reconstructing catholicity, they
intended or not to sacrifice individual liberty. If they desired a real
Christian union, their work was good; if, on the contrary, they aimed at
restoring unity with a hierarchical object, with a despotic spirit,
their work was bad.

There was another question on which men were not more agreed. Would the
great undertaking succeed? France continued to ask for Melancthon; would
Germany reply to her advances? We must briefly glance at the events
which had taken place in the empire since the agreement between the
catholics and protestants concluded, as we have seen, in July,
1532.[715] These events may help us to solve the question.

It had been stipulated in the religious peace that all Germans should
show to one another a sincere and Christian friendship. In the treaty of
Cadan (29th June, 1534), Ferdinand, who had been recognized as King of
the Romans, had undertaken, both for himself and for Charles V., to
protect the protestants against the proceedings of the imperial court.
Somewhat later, the city of Münster, in Westphalia, had become the
theatre of the extravagances of fanaticism. John Bockhold, a tailor of
Leyden, setting himself up for a prophet, had made himself master of the
city, and been proclaimed king of Zion. He had also established a
community of goods, and attempted, like other sectarians, to restore
polygamy. He used to parade the city, wearing a golden crown; to sit in
judgment in the market-place, and would often cut off the head of a
condemned person. A pulpit was erected at the side of the throne, and
after the sermon the whole congregation would sometimes begin to dance.
The Landgrave, Philip of Hesse, one of the leaders of the protestant
cause, marched against these madmen, took Münster on the 24th June,
1535, and put an end to the pretended kingdom of Zion.[716] These
extravagances did not injure the protestant cause, which was not
confounded with a brutal communism, reeking with cruelty and debauchery;
besides, it was the protestants, and not the catholics, who had put them
down. But from that hour, the evangelicals felt more strongly than ever
the necessity of resisting the sectarian spirit: this they had done at
Wittemberg as early as 1522. At last it appeared clearer every day that
the free and Christian general council, which they had so often
demanded, would be granted them. All the events, which we have
indicated, seemed to have prepared protestant Germany to accept the
proposals of France.

[Sidenote: An Important Mission.]

Voré de la Fosse, bearing letters from Francis I., William du Bellay,
and other friends of the union, was going to Germany to try and bring it
to a successful issue. De la Fosse was not such a distinguished
ambassador as those who figured at London and at Rome, and the power to
which he was accredited was a professor in a petty town of Saxony. But
Germany called this professor her ‘master,’ and De la Fosse considered
his mission a more important one than any that had been confided to
dukes and cardinals. Christendom was weakened by being severed into two
parts; he was going to re-establish unity, and revive and purify the old
member by the life of the new one. The Christian Church thus
strengthened would be made capable of the greatest conquests. On the
success of the steps that were about to be taken depended, in the
opinion of De la Fosse and his friends, the destiny of the world.

The envoy of Francis I. arrived at Wittemberg on the 4th of August,
1535, and immediately paid Melancthon a visit, at which he delivered the
letters intrusted to him, and warmly explained the motives which ought
to induce the reformer to proceed to France. De la Fosse’s candor, his
love for the Gospel, and his zeal gained the heart of Luther’s friend.
By degrees a sincere friendship grew up between them; and when
Melancthon afterwards wanted to justify himself in the eyes of the
French, he appealed to the testimony of the ‘very good and very
excellent Voré.’[717] But if the messenger pleased him, the message
filled his heart with trouble: the perusal of the letters from the king,
Du Bellay, and Sturm brought the doubts of this man of peace to a
climax. He saw powerful reasons for going to France and equally powerful
reasons for staying in Germany. To use the expression of a reformer,
there were two batteries firing upon him by turns from opposite
quarters, now driving him to the right, now to the left. What would
Charles V. say, if a German should go to the court of his great
adversary? Besides, what was to be expected from the Sorbonne, the
clergy, and the court? Contempt.... He would not go. On the other hand,
Melancthon had before him a letter from the king, pressing him to come
to Paris. An influential nation might be gained to the Gospel, and carry
all the West along with it. When the Lord calls, must we allow ourselves
to be stopped by fear?... He hesitated no longer: he would depart. Voré
de la Fosse was delighted. But erelong other thoughts sprang up to
torment the doctor’s imagination. What was there not to be feared from a
prince who had sworn, standing before the stake at which he was burning
his subjects, that to stop heresy he would, if necessary, cut off his
own arm and cast it into the fire?... In that terrible day of the
strappadoes, a deep gulf had opened in the midst of the church. Was it
his business to throw himself, Curtius-like, into the abyss, in order
that the gulf should close over him?... Melancthon would willingly leave
to the young Roman the glory of devoting himself to the infernal gods.

De la Fosse visited the illustrious professor daily, and employed every
means to induce him to cross the Rhine.[718] ‘We will do whatever you
desire,’ he said. ‘Do you wish for royal letters to secure to you full
liberty of going to France and returning? You shall have them. Do you
ask for hostages as guarantees for your return? You shall have them
also. Do you want an armed guard of honor to escort you and bring you
back? It shall be given you.[719] We will spare nothing. On your
interview with the king depends not only the fate of France, but (so to
speak) of the whole world.[720] Hearken to the friends of the Gospel who
dwell in Paris. Threatening waves surround us, they say by my mouth;
furious tempests assail us; but the moment you come, we shall find
ourselves, as it were, miraculously transported into the safest of
havens.[721] If, on the contrary, you despise the king’s invitation, all
hope is lost for us. The fires now slumbering will instantly shoot forth
their flames, and there will be a cruel return of the most frightful
tortures.[722] It is not only Sturm, Du Bellay, and other friends like
them who invite you, but all the pious Christians of France. They are
silent, no doubt—those whom the cruellest of punishments have laid among
the dead, and even those who, immured in dungeons, are separated from us
by doors of iron; but, if their voices cannot reach you, listen at least
to one mighty voice, the voice of God himself, the voice of Jesus

[Sidenote: Melancthon A Man Of God.]

When Melancthon heard this appeal, he was agitated and overpowered.[724]
What an immense task! These Frenchmen are placing the world on his
shoulders! Can such a poor Atlas as he is bear it? How must he decide?
What must he do? In a short time his perplexity was again increased. The
French gentleman had hardly left the room when his wife, Catherine
daughter of the Burgomaster of Wittemberg, her relations, her young
children, and some of his best friends surrounded him and entreated him
not to leave them. They were convinced that, if Melancthon once set foot
in that city ‘which killeth the prophets,’ they would never see him
again. They described the traps laid for him; they reminded him that no
safe-conduct had been given him; they shed tears, they clung to him, and
yet he did not give way.

Melancthon was a man of God, and prayed his heavenly Father to show him
the road he ought to take; he thoroughly weighed the arguments for and
against his going. ‘The thought of myself and of mine,’ he said, ‘the
remoteness of the place to which I am invited, and fear of the dangers
that await me ought not to stop me.[725] Nothing should be more sacred
to me than the glory of the Son of God, the deliverance of so many pious
men, and the peace of the Church troubled by such great tempests. Upon
that all my thoughts ought to be concentred; but this is what disturbs
me: I fear to act imprudently in a matter of such great importance, and
to make the disease still more incurable through my precipitancy. Will
not the French, while giving way on some trivial points which they must
necessarily renounce, retain the most important articles in which
falsehood and impiety are especially found?[726] Alas! such patchwork
would produce more harm than good.’

There was much truth in these fears; but De la Fosse, returning to his
friend, sought to banish his apprehensions, and assured him that the
disposition of Francis I. was excellent at bottom. ‘Yes,’ replied
Luther’s friend, ‘but is he in a position to act upon it?’[727] He
expected nothing from a conference with fanatical doctors. Besides, the
Sorbonne refused all discussion. ‘The king,’ he said, ‘is not the
Church. A council alone has power to reform it; and therefore the prince
ought to set his heart upon hastening its convocation. All other means
of succoring afflicted Christendom are useless and dangerous.’

De la Fosse turned Melancthon’s objection against him. ‘At least we must
prepare the way for the council,’ he said; ‘and it is just on that
account that the King of France wishes to converse with you.’ Then,
desiring to strike home, the envoy of Francis I. continued: ‘The king
never had anything more at heart than to heal the wounds of the Church:
he has never shown so much care, anxiety, and zeal.[728] If you comply
with his wishes, you will be received with more joy in France than any
stranger before you. Will you withhold from the afflicted Church the
hand that can save her? Let nothing in the world, I conjure you, turn
you aside from so pure and sacred an enterprise.’[729] De la Fosse was
agitated. The idea of returning to Paris without Melancthon—that is to
say, without the salvation he expected—was insupportable. ‘Depart,’ he
exclaimed, ‘if you do not come to France!... I shall never return

[Sidenote: Melancthon’s Character.]

Melancthon was touched by these supplications. He thought he heard (as
they had told him) the voice of God himself. ‘Well, then,’ he said, ‘I
will go. My friends in France have entertained great expectations and
apply to me to fulfil them: I will not disappoint their hopes.’
Melancthon was resolved to maintain the essential truths of
Christianity, and hoped to see them accepted by the catholic world.
Francis I. and his friends had not rejected Luther’s fundamental
article,—justification solely by faith in the merits of Christ, by a
living faith, which produces holiness and works. According to the most
eminent and most Christian orator of the Roman Church, Melancthon
combined learning, gentleness, and elegance of style, with singular
moderation, so that he was regarded as the only man fitted to succeed in
literature to the reputation of Erasmus.[731] But he was more than that:
his convictions were not to be shaken; _he knew where he was_, and, far
from seeking all his life for his religion—as Bossuet asserts—he had
found it and admirably explained it in his _Theological
Commonplaces_.[732] Still he constantly said to his friends: ‘We must
contend only for what is great and necessary.’[733]

Melancthon, who was full of meekness, was always ready to do what might
be agreeable to others. Sincere, open, and exceedingly fond of children,
he liked to play with them and tell them little tales. But with all this
amiability he had a horror of ambiguous language, especially in matters
of faith; and although a man of extreme gentleness, he felt strongly,
his anguish could be very bitter, and when his soul was stirred, he
would break out with sudden impetuosity, which, however, he would soon
repress. His error, in the present case, was in believing that the pope
could be received without receiving his doctrines: every true
Roman-catholic could have told him that this was impossible. At all
events De la Fosse had decided him. For the triumph of unity and truth,
this simple-hearted bashful man was resolved to brave the dangers of
France and the bitter reproaches of Germany. ‘I will go,’ he said to the
envoy of Francis I. It was the language of a Christian ready to
sacrifice himself. In history we sometimes meet with characters who
enlarge our ideas of moral greatness: Melancthon was one of them.

But would his prince allow him to go? The prejudices of Germany against
France, besides numerous political and religious considerations, might
influence the elector. These were difficulties that might cause the
enterprise to fail. Still the noble-minded professor resolved to do all
in his power to overcome them. The university had just removed from
Wittemberg to Jena on account of the plague. Melancthon, quitting
Thuringia, directed his course hastily towards the banks of the Elbe,
and arriving at Torgau, where the court was staying, at the old castle
outside the city, was admitted on Sunday, the 15th of August, after
divine service to present his respects to the elector.

John Frederick was attended by many of his councillors and courtiers,
and notwithstanding the esteem he felt for Melancthon, an air of
dissatisfaction and reserve was visible in his face. The elector was
offended because the King of France, instead of applying to him, had
written direct to one of his subjects; but graver motives caused him to
regard the Wittemberg doctor’s project with displeasure.

[Sidenote: Letter To The Elector.]

It was no slight thing for Melancthon, who was naturally timid and
bashful, to ask his sovereign for anything likely to displease him.
Without alluding to the letter he had received from Francis I., which he
thought it wiser not to mention, he said: ‘Your Electoral Grace is aware
that eighteen Christians have been burnt in Paris, and many others
thrown into prison or compelled to fly. The brother of the Bishop of
Paris has endeavored to soften the king, and has written to me that that
prince has put an end to the executions, and desires to come to an
understanding with us in regard to religious matters. Du Bellay invites
me to mount my horse and go to France.[734] If I refuse, I appear to
despise the invitation or to be afraid. For this reason I am ready in
God’s name to go to Paris, as a private individual, if your Highness
permits. It is right that we should teach great potentates and foreign
nations the importance and beauty of our evangelical cause. It is right
that they should learn what our doctrine is and not confound us with
fanatics, as our enemies endeavor to do. I do not deceive myself as to
my personal unimportance and incapacity; but I also know, that if I do
not go to Paris, I shall appear to be ashamed of our cause, and to
distrust the words of the King of France, and the good men who are
endeavoring to put an end to the persecution will be exposed to the
displeasure of the master. I know the weight of the task imposed upon me
... it overwhelms me ... but I will do my duty all the same, and with
that intent I conjure your Grace to grant me two or three months’ leave
of absence.’

Melancthon, according to custom, handed in a written petition.[735] John
Frederick was content to answer coldly that he would make his pleasure
known through the members of his council.

The ice was broken. France and Germany were face to face in that castle
on the banks of the Elbe. The opposition immediately showed itself. The
audience given to Melancthon set all the court in motion. The Germanic
spirit prevailed there more than the evangelical spirit, and the
knowledge that Germans could be found who were willing to hold out their
hands to Francis I. irritated the courtiers. They met in secret
conference, looked coldly upon Melancthon, and addressed him rudely.
Gifted with the tenderest feelings, the noble-hearted man was deeply
wounded. ‘Alas!’ he wrote to Jonas, ‘the court is full of mysteries, or
rather of hatreds!... I will tell you all about it when I see you.’[736]

He awaited with anxiety the official communication from the elector. The
next day, 16th of August, he was informed that John Frederick’s
councillors had a communication to make to him on the part of their
master. If the interview with the Elector had been cold, this was icy.
Chancellor Bruck—better known as Pontanus, according to the fashion of
latinizing names—had been intrusted with this mission. Bruck, who at the
famous diet of Augsburg had presented the Evangelical Confession to
Charles V. in the presence of all the princes of Germany, was an
excellent man, more decided than Melancthon, and in some respects more
enlightened; he saw that it was dangerous to accept the pope, if they
desired to reject his doctrines. He received the doctor with a severe
look, and said to him in a harsh tone: ‘His Highness informs you that
the business you have submitted to him is of such importance, that you
ought not to have engaged yourself in it without his consent. As your
intentions were good, he will overlook it; but as to permitting you to
make a hasty and perilous journey to France, all sorts of reasons are
against it. Not only his Highness cannot expose your safety; but as he
is on the point of discussing with the emperor several questions which
concern religion, he fears that if he sent a deputy to Paris, his
Imperial Majesty, and the other princes of Germany, would imagine that
he was charged with negotiations opposed to the declarations we have
made to them. That journey might be the cause of divisions, quarrels,
and irreparable evils.[737] You are consequently desired to excuse
yourself to the King of France in the best way you can, and the elector
promises you he will write to him on the subject.’

[Sidenote: Melancthon’s Sorrow.]

Melancthon withdrew in sorrow. What a position was his! His conscience
bade him go to Paris, and his prince forbade him. Do what he would, he
must fail in one of his most important duties. If he departs in defiance
of the elector’s prohibition, he will not only offend his prince, but
set Germany against himself, and sacrifice the circle of activity which
God has given him. If he remains, all hope is lost of bringing France to
the light of the Gospel. Hesitating and heart-broken, he went first to
Wittemberg, desiring to confer with Luther, and did not conceal from his
friend the deep indignation with which he was filled.[738] He was called
to raise the standard of the Gospel in an illustrious kingdom, and the
elector opposed it on account of certain diplomatic negotiations. He
declared to Luther that he would not renounce the important mission, and
he was fortified in this opinion by the sentiments which that reformer
entertained. The two friends could speak of nothing but France, the
king, and Du Bellay. ‘As you have consulted me,’ said Luther, ‘I declare
that I should see you depart with pleasure.’[739] He also made a
communication to Melancthon which gave the latter some hope.

Having been informed of the audience of the 15th, the reformer had just
written to the elector. The cries of his brethren in France, delivered
to the flames, moved Luther at Wittemberg, as they moved Calvin at
Basle. The French reformer addressed an admirable letter to Francis I.,
and the German reformer endeavored to send Melancthon to him. The two
men were thus unsuspectingly ‘conjoint together in opinion and desires.’
‘I entreat your Grace,’ wrote Luther to John Frederick, in the most
pressing manner, ‘to authorize Master Philip to go to France. I am moved
by the tearful prayers made to him by pious men, hardly rescued from the
stake, entreating him to go and confer with the king, and thus put an
end to the murders and burnings. If this consolation be refused them,
their enemies, thirsting for blood,[740] will begin to slay and burn
with redoubled fury.... Francis I. had written Melancthon an exceedingly
kind letter, and envoys have come to solicit him on his behalf.... For
the love of God, grant him three months’ leave. Who can tell what God
means to do? His thoughts are always higher and better than ours. I
should be greatly distressed if so many pious souls, who invite
Melancthon with cries of pain, and reckon upon him, should be
disappointed and conceive untoward prejudices against us. May God lead
your Grace by his Holy Spirit!’

Such was Luther’s affection for his brethren in France. He did more than
write. The reformer was not in good health just then; he complained of
losing his strength, and of being so _decrepit_ that he was compelled to
remain idle half the day.[741] Notwithstanding this, he made the journey
from Wittemberg to Torgau, where he had an interview with the
prince.[742] Perhaps this journey was anterior to Melancthon’s.

[Sidenote: German Prejudices.]

The simultaneous efforts of these two great reformers ought to have
produced a favorable effect upon a prince like the elector. John
Frederick, who had succeeded his father John in August, 1532, was true
and high-minded, a good husband and a good prince. A disciple of
Spalatin and the friend of Luther, he venerated the Word of God, and was
full of zeal for the cause of the Reformation. Less phlegmatic than his
father, he united judgment and prudence with an enterprising spirit.
Such qualities must have led him to favor Melancthon’s journey to
France. But he was susceptible and rather obstinate; so that if a
project, not originating with him, but with another, displeased him in
any way, the probability of its success was not great. And hence
Luther’s letter did not make a great impression upon him: it merely
increased the excitement. The prejudices of Germany rendered
Melancthon’s journey less popular every day; at the court of Torgau, in
Saxony, and in the other protestant countries, it was regarded as
madness. ‘We at Augsburg,’ wrote Sailer, the deputy of that city, ‘know
the King of France well: he cares very little, as everybody knows, about
religion, and even morality. He is playing the hypocrite with the pope,
and cajoling the Germans, thinking only how he can disappoint the
expectations he raises in them. His sole thought is to crush the
emperor.’[743] Some even of the best disposed were full of horrible
apprehensions, and fancied that they saw an immense pile constructing on
which to burn the _master of Germany_. Passions were roused; a violent
tempest stirred men’s minds; the most gloomy opinions arrived at Torgau
every day from all quarters. Others did not look upon the matter so
tragically, but employed the weapons of ridicule. German susceptibility
was wounded because Francis I. had not selected some great personage for
this mission. They looked down upon Barnabas Voré called De la Fosse: ‘A
fine ambassador!’ they said; ‘all the pawnbrokers in France would not
advance twenty crowns upon his head.’—‘Even the Jews,’ said another,
‘would not have such a Barnabas, if they could buy him for a

Before long the people grew tired of jests and suppositions, and
circulated extraordinary stories. Many prophesied that Melancthon would
be assassinated, even before he had crossed the Rhine. It was reported
that the papists had killed the real ambassador on the road, that they
had substituted De la Fosse for him, and given him forged letters with a
view to influence Melancthon, for whom they had prepared an ambuscade.
‘If he departs, he is a dead man.’[745] Albert of Mayence, the
ecclesiastical elector, in particular gave umbrage to the protestants.
When these rumors reached Luther, he said: ‘In this I clearly recognize
that bishop and his colleagues; of all the devil’s instruments, they are
the worst; my fears for Philip increase. Alas! the world belongs to
Satan, and Satan to the world.’ Then, remembering an anecdote, he
continued: ‘The Archbishop of Mayence, after reading Melancthon’s
commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, exclaimed: “The man is
possessed!” and throwing the volume on the ground, trampled upon it.’ If
the prince, through whose states Melancthon would probably have to pass,
treated the book thus, what would he do to the author? Luther was
shaken. In 1527, George Winckler, the pious pastor of Halle, having been
summoned before this very Archbishop Albert, had been murdered by some
horsemen as he was returning by the road Melancthon must take. The great
reformer began to change his mind.

The elector, perceiving this, put more solid arguments before him: ‘I
fear,’ he said, ‘that if Melancthon goes to France, he will concede to
the papists far more than what you, doctor, and the other theologians
would grant, and hence there would arise a disunion between you and him
that would scandalize Christians and injure the Gospel. Those who invite
him are more the disciples of Erasmus than of the Bible. Melancthon will
infallibly incur the greatest danger at Paris—danger both to body and
soul. I would rather see God take him to himself than permit him to go
to France. That is my firm resolve.’[746]

These communications seriously affected Luther: the elector attacked him
on his weakest side. The reformer venerated Melancthon, but he knew to
what sacrifices his desire for union had more than once been on the
point of leading him. If Melancthon was the champion of unity, Luther
was the champion of truth: to guard the whole truth with a holy jealousy
was his principle. The Reformation, he thought, must triumph by fidelity
to the Word of God, and not by the negotiations of kings. Recovering
from his first impressions, he said to Melancthon: ‘I begin to suspect
these ambassadors.’[747] From that moment he never uttered a word in
favor of the journey. Still the dangers of the protestants of France
were never out of his thoughts. ‘Must we abandon our brethren?’ he asked
himself perpetually. A luminous idea occurred to him: Suppose the
evangelicals were to leave France, and come to Germany in search of
liberty.[748] He engaged to receive them well. Luther anticipated _the
Refuge_ by a century and a half.

[Sidenote: Harsh Letter To Melancthon.]

By degrees the elector gained ground, and the extraordinary adventure
proposed to Melancthon became more doubtful every day. From the first
the prince had had the politicians and courtiers with him; then the men
of letters and citizens, alarmed by the sinister reports, had gone over
to his side; and now Luther himself was convinced. Melancthon remained
almost alone. His sympathetic heart longed to remove the sword hanging
over the heads of the French evangelicals, and it seemed as if nothing
could stop him. John Frederick endeavored to convince him. Beyond a
doubt, the French reformation, driven at this moment by contrary winds,
must reach the haven; but the task must be left to its own crew. Every
ship must have its own pilot. John Frederick, therefore, wrote a severe
letter to Melancthon, and the tender-hearted divine had to drink the cup
to the dregs. ‘You declared that you were ready to undertake a journey
to France,’ said the elector, ‘without consulting us. You should,
however, have thought of your duty to us, whom God has established as
your superior. We were greatly displeased to see that you had gone so
far in the matter. You know the relations existing between the King of
France and the emperor, and you are not ignorant that we are obliged to
respect them. We desire that foreign nations should be brought to the
Gospel; but must we go to them to effect their conversion?[749] The
undertaking is of great extent, and the success very doubtful. The
letters we receive from France are well calculated to make us despair of
seeing the evangelical seed bear fruit there. _Do you desire to disturb
the public peace of the German nation, and while we have a right to
expect that you will second us, do you presume on the contrary to vex us
and thwart our plans?_’

This was too much. Melancthon stopped; the arrow, aimed by the elector,
had pierced his heart. His decision was soon made: ‘Because of these
words,’ he said ‘I will not go.’ He afterwards underlined the passage,
and wrote in the margin the words we have just quoted.[750] The elector
had been still more severe, when he dictated the despatch. ‘Go,’ were
his words, ‘go and do as you please; engage in this adventure. But we
leave all the responsibility with you. Consider it well.’ He suppressed
this paragraph at the chancellor’s desire.[751]

Melancthon’s simple and tender heart was crushed by his sovereign’s
dissatisfaction. Surmounting his natural shyness, he had determined to
brave danger, in the hope of seeing the Reformation triumph, and now
disgrace was his only reward. The courtiers maintained that he and the
other theologians were obstinate and almost imbecile, and would do much
better to be content with their schools and leave the government of the
Church to others. Melancthon lightened his grief by sharing it with his
friends; he wrote to Camerarius, to Sturm, and even to William du
Bellay. The great hellenist, who had lived much among the ancient
republics of Greece, imagined that Europe was already overrun by the
evils under which those states had perished. ‘I have never known a more
cruel prince,’ he said to them: ‘with what harshness he treats me![752]
He not only does not permit me to depart, but he insults me besides. My
fault is in being less obstinate than others. I confess that peace is so
precious in my eyes that it ought not to be broken except for matters
really great and necessary. Oh! if the elector did but know those who
take advantage of this proposed journey to sow discord! It is not the
learned who do it, but the ignorant and the fools. They call me deserter
and runaway.... O my friend, we live under the _régime_ of the
democracy, that is to say, under the tyranny of the unlearned,[753] of
people who quarrel about old wives’ stories, and think of nothing but
gratifying their passions. How great is the hatred with which they are
inflamed against me!... They slander me and say that I am betraying my
prince.’ Theramenes was condemned to drink hemlock because he had
substituted an aristocracy or government of the worthiest for a
democracy, and governed the state with wisdom. ‘I do not deceive
myself,’ he exclaimed; ‘the fate of Theramenes awaits me.’[754]

Melancthon was not the only sufferer; his faithful friend, Luther, did
not fail him. Although he was now opposed to the French journey, John
Frederick’s letter disturbed him seriously; it appeared to him that
great changes were necessary, and a stormy future loomed before him. ‘My
heart is sad,’ he wrote to Jonas, ‘for I know that such a severe letter
will cause Philip the keenest anguish.... All this awakens thoughts
which I would rather not have.[755] Another time I will tell you more
... at present I am overwhelmed with sorrow.’ Then, feeling uneasy about
Melancthon, he wrote to him: ‘Have you _swallowed_ our prince’s
letter?[756] I was exceedingly agitated by it from love to you. Tell me
how you are.’ ...

What were the thoughts that occurred to Luther involuntarily? There is
some difficulty in deciding. Perhaps the reformer thought that this
business might occasion a difference between Church and State. ‘Admire
the wisdom of the court,’ he said; ‘see how it boasts of being an actor
in this adventure! As for us, we much prefer being merely spectators,
and I begin to congratulate myself that the court despises and excludes
us.[757] It all happens through the goodness of God, so that we should
not be mixed up with these disturbances, which we might perchance have
to lament hereafter very sorely. Now we are safe, for whatever is done
is done without us. What Demosthenes desired too late, we obtain
early—namely, not to be concerned in the government.[758] May God
strengthen us therein! Amen.’ Luther appeared to foresee a time when the
evangelical Church would have no other support but God, and rejoiced at
the prospect.

[Sidenote: Melancthon’s Letter To The King.]

As John Frederick had not yet despatched his letter to Francis I., his
councillors delicately advised him to suppress it. ‘Since the king has
not written to the elector about the proposed journey,’ said Luther, ‘it
would be better for the elector also not to write. A letter from him
would perhaps give the king an opportunity of answering, and that should
be avoided.’[759] John Frederick still hesitated, for although his
letter was written on the 18th of August, it was not despatched until
the 28th. ‘Most serene and illustrious king,’ he said, ‘we should have
been willing to do your majesty a pleasure, by permitting Melancthon to
go to France, especially as it was for an extraordinary propagation of
the Gospel, so as to make it yield the most abundant and the richest
fruit.[760] But we had to take into consideration the difficulties of
the present times.’ Then, as a final reason, the elector added: ‘Lastly,
we do not remember for certain ... that your Majesty has written to us
about Melancthon. If in any future contingency you should write to us
for him,’ continued John Frederick, ‘and should assure us that he will
be restored safe and sound, we will permit him to proceed to you. Be
assured that we shall always readily do whatever we can to propagate the
Gospel of Christ in every place, to favor the temporal and spiritual
interests of your Majesty, your kingdom, and its church, and to hasten
the deliverance of the Christian commonwealth.’

Melancthon, to whom the elector communicated this letter,[761] feared
that instead of quieting the King of France, it would only irritate him
still more. He could not bear the idea of answering ungratefully a
powerful monarch who had shown such kindness towards him. This thought
engrossed him from morning to night. On the very day when the Elector
Frederick’s letter was despatched, Melancthon sent off three, the first
of which was for the king. He feared, above all things, that Francis I.
would relinquish the great enterprise that was to restore unity and
truth to the Church. He therefore wrote to him, suppressing the
indignation he felt at the elector’s refusal. ‘Most Christian and most
mighty king,’ he said, ‘France infinitely excels all the kingdoms of the
world, in that it has continually been a vigilant sentinel for the
defence of the Christian religion.[762] Wherefore, I humbly congratulate
your Majesty for having undertaken to reform the doctrine of the Church,
not by violent remedies but by reasonable means;[763] and I beseech your
Majesty not to cease bestowing all your thoughts and all your care upon
this matter. Sire, do not allow yourself to be stopped by the harsh
judgments and rude writings of certain men. Do not suffer their
imprudence to nullify a project so useful to the Church. After receiving
your letter, I made every effort to hasten to your Majesty; for there is
nothing I desire more than to aid the Church according to my poverty. I
had conceived the best hopes, but great obstacles keep me back.... Voré
de la Fosse will inform you of them.’

If the doctor of Germany was reserved when writing to the king, he
allowed the emotions of his heart to be seen in the letters he wrote the
same day to Du Bellay and Sturm: ‘Could anything be more distressing,’
he said to Du Bellay, ‘than to be exposed at one and the same time to
the anger of the most Christian king, the harsh treatment of the
elector, and the calumnies of the people?... But the injustice of men
shall not rob me of moderation of spirit or zeal for religion. Touching
the journey, I have promised Voré de la Fosse to go to Frankfort
shortly, whence, if it be desired, I will hasten to you.’ He had not,
therefore, entirely given up France. ‘I hope,’ he said in conclusion,
‘that the king’s mind will be so guided by your advice and by that of
your brother the cardinal, that he will henceforward employ all his
powers in setting forth the glory of Christ.’[764]

The work of union to which Francis I. invited Melancthon, had struck
deep root in the doctor’s mind. Sadolet, Bishop of Carpentras (who was
raised to the cardinalate the year after), having published a treatise
on the matter under discussion, the reformer wrote to Sturm that Sadolet
advocated the very points he was resolved to defend, but he regretted to
see him indulge in such bitter attacks upon the protestants.[765] A
little later, when the illustrious Budæus, on whom he had counted,
praised Francis for his zeal in expiating and punishing the assaults of
the heretics,[766] Melancthon was hurt, but not disconcerted. ‘I have
read his treatise,’ he said to Sturm, ‘but what does it matter? All
these things inflame rather than cool me; they fan my desire to go to
you, to make my ideas known to all those learned men, those friends of
what is good, and to learn theirs. Let us unite all our forces to save
the Church: no injustice of man shall check my zeal.’[767]

[Sidenote: Motives Of Francis.]

In this respect Melancthon did not stand alone: Francis I. showed no
less energy, and was careful not to be offended at the elector’s
refusal. The alliance of the protestants became more necessary to him
every day. The prince who did so much in France for the arts, and who,
as the patron of scholars, received the title of _Father of Letters_,
desired a reform after Erasmus’s pattern. There was a very marked
distinction, which it is impossible to overlook, between Francis I. and
his son Henry II.; but the love of knowledge was not the king’s chief
motive: he entertained certain political designs which greatly increased
his eagerness for an alliance with the protestants. The Duke of Milan
was just dead, and the ambitious Francis desired to conquer the duchy
for his second son. Moreover, the evangelical party was not without
influence at court: Margaret, Queen of Navarre, Admiral Chabot, and many
noblemen favored the Gospel; and they were supported by the Du Bellays
and others of the moderate party. The men of the Romish faction rallied
round Diana of Poitiers and Catherine of Medicis.

The king had discovered that John Frederick had felt hurt at seeing a
foreign monarch address one of his subjects on a matter touching the
cause of which the elector was regarded as the head. Francis probably
thought the prince’s susceptibility to be very natural, and therefore,
instead of breaking with him, determined to profit by the lesson he had
received. He would resume his plans, but he would write no more to
Melancthon: he would address the elector in person, or rather all the
protestant princes united, according to the usual forms; and to avoid
reminding them of his first fault, the name of Melancthon should not be
mentioned. The zeal of the learned professor and of the powerful monarch
came, we may be sure, from different sources; one proceeded from on
high, the other from below; but the same desire animated both of them.

The Romish party were greatly agitated when they heard of the king’s
intentions, and again attempted to thwart a project they regarded as
highly pernicious. The Sorbonne represented to Francis I. that no
concession ought to be made, and proceeded to demonstrate, after an
extraordinary fashion, the articles rejected by the Lutherans. ‘They
deny the power of the saints to heal the sick,’ said the theologians;
‘but is not this miraculous power proved by the virtue the kings of
France possess of healing the _evil_ by a touch?’ Francis I. was an
extraordinary saint, and such an argument probably amused him more than
it convinced him. The Cardinal De Tournon proceeded more wisely, by
reiterating to the monarch that he could not have Milan without the help
of the pope. But even this argument did not shake Francis I.: he highly
appreciated the pope’s friendship, but he valued still more highly the
spears of the lansquenets.

[Sidenote: Mission Of Du Bellay.]

The protestants were about to assemble at Smalcalde; two powerful
princes, the Dukes of Wurtemberg and Pomerania, had joined the
evangelical alliance, and steps had been taken by the confederates to
have a large army constantly on foot. When he heard of this, the King of
France felt new hopes, and began a second campaign, which he planned
better than the first. Instead of employing an obscure gentleman like
Voré de la Fosse, he selected the most illustrious of his diplomatists,
and ordered William du Bellay to start for Germany. The latter was still
more zealous than his master, and fearing he should arrive too late,
wrote from Lorraine (where he happened to be staying) to the Elector of
Saxony, praying him to prolong the meeting for a few days, ‘as the King
of France had intrusted him with certain propositions touching the peace
of Christendom.’[768] The news of such a mission delighted the friends
of the Reformation, and filled the Roman party with indignation.
‘Never,’ said Sturm, ‘never before now has the cause of the Gospel been
in such a favorable position in France.’[769] The elector, Melancthon,
and Du Bellay arrived at Smalcalde in the middle of December.

The ambassador of Francis I. immediately demanded a private audience of
the elector, and on the 16th December handed him the letters in which
the king, with many professions of zeal for the pacification of the
Christian Church, besought the elector to co-operate earnestly ‘in so
pious and holy a work.’[770] John Frederick was not convinced; he always
set religion before policy, but he knew that Francis I. adopted the
contrary order. Fearing, accordingly, that behind this _pious work_, the
king concealed war with the emperor, he immediately pointed to the
insurmountable barrier which separated them: ‘Our alliance,’ he said,
‘has been formed solely to maintain the pure Word of God, and propagate
the holy doctrine of faith.’ The diplomatist was not to be baffled:
there were two pockets in his portfolio—one containing religious, the
other political matters. Opening the former, he said: ‘We ask you to
send us doctors to deliberate on the union of the Churches.’ Germany
spoke of the _Word_ and _doctrine_: France of _union_ and of the
_Church_: this was characteristic. John Frederick replied that he would
consult his allies. The audience came to an end, and the 19th December
was appointed by the princes and deputies of the cities to receive the
ambassador of France.

[Sidenote: Intercession.]

To gain this assembly was the essential thing, and this the king had
felt. Accordingly, in the letter he addressed to that body, he made use
of every plea, and spoke ‘of the ancient, sacred, and unbroken
friendship which united France and Germany, and of the unalterable
affection and good-will he entertained towards the princes.’[771]
Francis I. hoped that these worthy Germans would allow themselves to be
caught by his words; but they were more clear-sighted than he imagined.
Du Bellay had observed this; he had ascertained the unfavorable
prepossessions of Germany, and when he rose to speak, he described the
pious and peaceable evangelicals put to death by Francis as seditious
persons who desired to stir up the people. ‘Most illustrious and most
excellent princes,’ he continued, ‘certain persons, moved by hatred,
pretend that the states of the empire ought to be on their guard when
foreign kings send them embassies, seeing that those monarchs speak in
one way and act in another.[772] The French have not been named, I must
confess; but they are clearly pointed at. Who has been more strictly
faithful to his friendships than the King of France? Who has been more
prompt to brave danger for the good of Germany? What nations have ever
been more united than the Germans and the French? The king is convinced
that you think very soundly on many things; but he could have desired a
little more moderation in some of them. Like yourselves, he feels that
the negligence and superstition of men have introduced many useless
ceremonies into the Church; but he does not approve of their suppression
without a public decree.[773] He fears lest a diversity of rites should
engender dissension of minds, and be the cause of civil strife
throughout Christendom. Reconciliation is the dearest of his wishes. If
you are willing to receive him into your association, you will find him
a sure friend. Diversity of opinion has separated you from him hitherto,
but similitude of doctrine will henceforward unite him.’[774] In
conclusion, Du Bellay renewed his demand for a congress of French and
German doctors, to confer on the matters in dispute.

This clever oration did not convince the protestants; they had remained
cold, while Du Bellay was pleading his cause so warmly. The point on
which Francis I. and his ambassador wished to touch lightly was that
which the Germans had most at heart. They could not forget what they had
heard about Du Bourg and the cripple and other martyrs, prisoners, and
fugitives. They were shocked at the idea of entering into alliance with
the man who had shed the blood of their brethren. They determined to
‘open their mouths for the dumb, and to support the cause of all such as
were appointed to destruction.’ ‘We will not suffer in our states,’ they
answered, ‘any stirrers-up of sedition, and we cannot, therefore,
condemn the King of France for putting them down in his kingdom. But we
beseech him not to punish all without distinction. We ask him to spare
those who, having been convinced of the errors with which religion is
infected, have embraced the pure doctrine of the Gospel, which we
ourselves possess. Merciless men, who wish to save their interests and
their power, have cruelly defended their impious opinions, and, in order
to exasperate the king’s mind, have supposed false crimes, which they
impute to innocent and pious Christians. It is the duty of princes to
seek God’s glory, to cleanse the Church from error, and to stop
iniquitous cruelties; and we earnestly beseech the mighty King of France
to give his most serious attention to this great duty only.’[775]

This noble answer was not encouraging. The ambassador was not
disconcerted, but, dexterously eluding the subject, merely assured the
assembly once more of his master’s firm resolution to labor at the
reformation of the Church. The great point was to know what would be the
nature of this reformation. Why assemble a congress of learned men to
discuss it, if it was certain beforehand that they could not come to an
understanding? The protestants present did not all think alike. The
religious men, who were very incredulous on the subject of the king’s
evangelical piety, thought that nothing ought to be done; on the other
hand, the men of expediency said it was worth looking into; and, the
proposition having been made to hold a preliminary consultation (at
Smalcalde), it was resolved that next day (20th of December) there
should be a meeting between Du Bellay, Bruck the electoral chancellor,
Melancthon, John Sturm, deputy from Strasburg,[776] the delegates of the
Landgrave of Hesse,—in whose states the conference was held,—and
Spalatin, the elector’s chaplain, who was appointed secretary. The
opposing parties were now to try if they could come to some arrangement.
It was no slight task assumed by the minister of Francis I., who came
forward, according to his master’s instructions, as the representative
of the catholic party; but no one knew better than Du Bellay how far, in
the king’s opinion, France could then be reformed, if the protestants
consented to enter into alliance with her. This explanation is
important: it is worth our while to learn the plan conceived by the
French government.

[Sidenote: Du Bellay’s Propositions.]

At daybreak[777] on the 20th of December the members of the conference
assembled. They had chosen that early hour, probably, because important
business still demanded their attention. An ambassador from the pope,
the famous legate Vergerio, who afterwards came over to the side of the
reformers, was then in the town. He had been sent to propose a council,
and was to receive the answer of the protestants on the following
morning. The delegates having taken their seats, the French ambassador
explained what was the nature of the reform to which the kingdom of
France would lend a helping hand. ‘Firstly,’ he said, ‘with regard to
the primacy of the Roman pontiff, the King of France thinks, as you do,
that he possesses it by human, and not by divine, right. We are not
inclined to loose the rein too much in this respect. Hitherto the popes
have employed the power they claim in making and unmaking kings, which
is certainly going too far. True, some of our theologians maintain that
the papacy is of divine right; but, when the king asked for proofs, they
could not give him any.’ Melancthon was satisfied; the chancellor less
so; Bruck shared the opinion of the King of England, who, says Du
Bellay, ‘would not concede any authority to the pope, whether coming
from God or from man.’

‘As for the sacrament of the Eucharist,’ continued the ambassador, ‘your
opinions on the matter please the king, but not his theologians, who
support transubstantiation with all their might. His Majesty seeks for
arguments to justify your way of thinking, and is ready to profess it,
if you will give him sound ones. Now you know that the king is the only
person who commands in his realm.’[778]

‘As for the mass,’ continued Du Bellay, a little uneasy, like a man
walking over a quicksand, ‘there are great disputes about it. The king
is of opinion that many prayers and silly, impious legends have been
foisted into that portion of divine worship, and that those absurd and
ridiculous passages must be expurgated, and the primitive order
restored.’[779] As Francis I. was particularly averse to masses
celebrated in honor of the saints to obtain their intercession with God,
Du Bellay repeated one or two of the king’s expressions on that point.
‘One day the king said: “I have a prayer-book, written many years ago,
in which there is no mention of the intercession of saints. I am assured
that Bessarion[780] himself said: ‘As for me, I am more concerned about
live saints than dead ones.’”’

‘The king thinks, however,’ added Du Bellay, ‘that we preserve the
celebration of mass; only there must not be more than three a day in
every parish church; one before daybreak, for working men and servants;
the second and third for the other worshippers,’ If transubstantiation
and the _silly legends_ were rejected, the moderate protestants were
ready to concede the daily celebration of the Eucharist. Du Bellay

‘As for the images of the saints, the king thinks, with you, that they
are not set up to be worshipped, but to remind us of the faith and works
of those whom they represent; and that is what the people ought to be

‘His Majesty is also pleased with your opinions on free-will.’

The discussion—the great struggle in France—turned on purgatory; the
ambassador slyly pointed out the reason: ‘Our divines obstinately defend
it,’ he said, ‘for upon that doctrine depends the payment of masses,
indulgences, and pious gifts. Put down purgatory, and you take away from
them all opportunity of acquiring wealth and honor;[781] you cut off the
limbs that supply their very life-blood! The king gave them some months
to prove their doctrine by Scripture; they accepted the terms, but made
no answer, and when the king pressed them, they exclaimed: “Ah, Sire, do
not furnish our adversaries with weapons that they will afterwards turn
against us.” It therefore appears to me that it would be proper for one
of your doctors to write a treatise on the subject and present it to his

‘As for good works, our theologians stoutly maintain their opinion;
namely, that they are necessary. I told them that you thought the same,
and that all you assert is, that the necessity of works cannot be
affirmed so as to mean that we are justified and saved by them. An
inquisitor of the faith has declared his agreement with Melancthon on
this point.[782] I think, therefore, that we may come to an
understanding on that matter.

[Sidenote: Monasteries And Celibacy.]

‘You do not like monasteries: well! The king hopes to obtain from the
Roman party that no one shall be at liberty to take monastic vows before
the age of thirty or forty; and that the monks shall be free henceforth
to leave their convents and marry, if opportunity offers. The king
thinks that not only the good of the Church requires it, but also the
good of the State, for there are many capable men in the cloisters who
might be usefully employed in divers functions and duties. His Majesty
is therefore of opinion, not that monasteries should be destroyed, but
that vows should be no longer obligatory. It is by taking one step after
another that we shall come to an understanding.... It is not convenient
to pluck off a horse’s tail at one pull.[783] Monasteries ought to be
places of study, set apart for the instruction of those who are to teach
the young. It is useful and even necessary to proceed with
moderation.... His Majesty hopes to bring the Roman pontiff himself
gradually to this idea.

‘As for the marriage of priests, the French theologians do not approve
of it; but here the king holds a certain medium. He desires the
toleration of those of your ecclesiastics who have wives; as for the
others, he wishes they should remain in celibacy. If, however, there are
any priests who desire to be married, let them marry; only they must at
the same time quit holy orders.

‘As for the communion, the king hopes to obtain from the pope permission
for every man to take the sacrament under one or both kinds, as his
conscience may dictate. He declares that he has heard old men say that
both kinds used to be given to the laity in France a hundred and twenty
years ago; not indeed in the churches but in private chapels. And even
to this day, the kings of France communicate under both kinds.’

This explanation of the reform projected for France, and the exchange of
ideas which it had occasioned, occupied some time. The day was already
advanced, and the protestant delegates were making ready to depart.[784]
The ambassador hastened to add a few words to prove the sincerity of his
proposals. ‘Cardinal Santa Croce,’ he said, ‘has already substituted
psalms for the silly and ungodly hymns in the liturgy. True, the
theologians of Paris have condemned the change. You see the Sorbonne
claims such authority that it not only calls you heretics, but does not
fear to condemn the cardinals and the pope himself.’[785] Thus,
according to Du Bellay, protestants, king, cardinals, and pope were on
one side, and the Sorbonne on the other. The Lutherans, being in such
good company, had nothing to fear. To encourage them still more, he
informed them that Francis I. admitted the point which they put forward
as the very life-spring of their doctrine. ‘The king,’ he continued,
‘thinks highly of the doctrine of justification, as you explain it. It
would please him much, if two or three of your learned men were sent to
France to discuss these several points in his presence. We must take
precautions that the best and soundest part of the Church be not
conquered and crushed by numbers.[786] Lastly, it would be very
beneficial,’ Du Bellay adroitly added, as he finished his speech, ‘if
the princes and deputies of the cities here assembled were to intercede
in behalf of those who are exiled on account of religion, and to ask
that no one should hereafter suffer any injury for what he thinks, says,
or does with respect to his faith.’[787] How could the protestants,
after such a compassionate solicitation, speak any more of the scaffolds
of the 21st of January?

[Sidenote: Reformation Of Francis I.]

Such was the Reformation which Francis I. declared him-self willing to
give France. As concerns doctrine, it was much more complete than the
hybrid system which Henry VIII. was at that time endeavoring to set up
in England. The protestants found these propositions acceptable enough
in general, with some modifications, doubtless, which could not fail to
be introduced: the imperfect reform of the French king would be
completed by degrees. Had not his ambassador just said that it was
dangerous to pull out a horse’s tail at once, giving them to understand
that it would be pulled out hair by hair? The Reformation proclaimed,
the evangelical doctrine professed, the frivolities of public worship
put away, the Sorbonne placed under ban, the sounder part of Christendom
preponderating over the more numerous part,—the cardinals and the pope
himself (as Du Bellay hinted) aiding in this transformation,—what
important advantages! One thing, however, was still wanting: many asked
not only whether the catholics would carry out the Reformation to an
end, as they hinted, but even whether they would maintain the
concessions they had made.

This thought engrossed the attention of the protestant delegates. They
made their report, however, to their principals, and amid the doubts by
which they were agitated one thing only appeared urgent to the men of
the Augsburg Confession—the duty of interceding in favor of their
brethren in France. They commissioned Melancthon to draw up the answer
to Du Bellay, and on the 22d of December, the French envoy having been
once more admitted into the assembly of the princes and deputies, the
vice-chancellor said to him: ‘That the most puissant king of France by
sending them an ambassador as illustrious by his virtues as eminent by
his rank, and the duty imposed on him to treat concerning matters of
faith, the importance of which was paramount in their eyes, manifestly
showed them the Christian zeal with which the king was animated—a zeal
most worthy of so good a prince: that the reports circulated with
respect to certain punishments that had taken place in France could not
in truth authorize the States of Germany to form a judgment on the
puissant monarch of that kingdom; however, they besought him not to
allow himself to be carried away by the cruelty of men who, ignorant of
the truth, desire to act severely against good and bad without
distinction; that idle opinions having crept into the Church, it was
necessary to apply a remedy, but those who endeavored to do so became
objects of the bitterest hatred—the papists, who clung to their abuses,
striving by a thousand artifices to inflame the hearts of kings and to
arm them against the innocent.[788] For this reason the States assembled
at Smalcalde conjured his Majesty to prohibit such iniquitous cruelty,
and to advance the good of the Church and the glory of God.’

The evangelicals having discharged this duty passed rapidly over the
rest. They represented to the ambassador that the proposal to send
learned men into France was of such importance, that it was impossible
to give him an immediate answer, but that the deputies would report
thereon to the chiefs as soon as they returned home. ‘We assure you,
however,’ they said in conclusion, ‘that nothing would please us more
than to see the doctrine of piety and the concord of nations propagated
more and more by means in conformity with the Word of God.’[789]

After a postponement, which seemed almost a refusal, Du Bellay felt
embarrassed, for he had still to discharge the principal mission that
his master had entrusted to him. He could not, however, leave Smalcalde
without fulfilling it. He did not make it known distinctly in his public
speeches, but solicited the protestants in private conversations to make
an alliance with the king his master. The latter answered that the first
condition of such a union would be that the allies should undertake
nothing against the emperor, the head of the Germanic Confederation. Now
it was precisely for the purpose of acting against Charles V. that
Francis I. sought the friendship of evangelical Germany. Du Bellay left
Smalcalde dissatisfied.

[Sidenote: Francis Plays Two Parts.]

The distrust of the Lutheran princes was not unreasonable. While the
king was acting the protestant beyond the Rhine, he was acting the
papist beyond the Alps; if the emperor would consent to yield Milan to
him, Francis I. would bind himself to reduce Germany under the yoke of
the house of Austria. ‘I will spare nothing,’ he said, ‘for the
greatness of the said emperor and his brother the king of the
Romans.’[790] He went further than this: ‘Let the pope say the word, and
I will constrain England by force of arms to submit to the Church.’ The
cruel paw peeped out from beneath the skin of the lamb, and the lion
suddenly appeared, ready to attack, seize, and devour, as a delicate
morsel, those whom he treated as friends and companions.

The cause of truth and unity was not to triumph by means of a congress
at Smalcalde, by diplomatic negotiations, or by the instrumentality of
Francis I. He who said, _My kingdom is not of this world_, did not
choose men of the world to establish his kingdom, and will not permit a
monotonous uniformity to take the place of unity in his empire.
Treaties, constitutions, and forms prescribed by monarchs are human
elements which the kingdom of heaven repudiates. True unity does not
proceed from an identical administration, a clerical organization, or a
pompous hierarchy: it is essentially moral and spiritual, and consists
in community of thoughts, faith, affections, works, and hopes. Diversity
of forms, far from injuring it, gives it more intensity. In the
sixteenth century the world was far, and is still far, from seeing the
realization of this divine unity. Some steps, however, have been taken,
and the time no doubt will come when, according to the scriptural
prophecy, all the families of the earth will be blessed in Christ
Jesus.[791] But there will be no real, free, evangelical catholicity
until Christians understand and realize those elementary words of the
primitive Church: _I believe in the communion of saints_.

Footnote 715:

  _Supra_, vol. ii. ch. xxi. bk. 2.

Footnote 716:

  _Historia belli Anabaptistarum monasteriensis_, by H. von

Footnote 717:

  ‘Viri optimi et fidelissimi Voræi testimonium.’—Melancthon G. Bellaio,
  _Corp. Ref._ ii. 315.

Footnote 718:

  ‘Cum eo locutus de profectione ad Regem.’,—Camerarius, _Vita
  Melancthonis_, p. 148. Camerarius was an intimate friend of

Footnote 719:

  ‘Obsides qui darentur dum abesset..... Præsidia quibus

Footnote 720:

  ‘Pæne orbis terrarum fortunam esse positam.’—_Ibid._

Footnote 721:

  ‘In illis fluctibus et sævissimis tempestatibus, jam portum et
  tutissimam stationem.’—_Ibid._

Footnote 722:

  ‘Sopiti ignes rursum suscitarentur, et suppliciorum immanitas

Footnote 723:

  ‘Advocari ipsum Dei Christique Jesu voce.’—Camerarius, _Vita
  Melancthonis_, p. 148.

Footnote 724:

  ‘Afficiebatur atque perturbabatur.’—_Ibid._

Footnote 725:

  ‘Non respectus ad se aut suos, non longiquitas loci, non periculorum
  metus.’—_Ibid._ p. 149.

Footnote 726:

  ‘In quibus potissimum falsitas impietatis resideret.’—Camerarius,
  _Vita Melancthonis_, p. 150.

Footnote 727:

  ‘Quid ipse tamen rex posset efficere—non sine causa
  dubitabat.’—_Ibid._ p. 150.

Footnote 728:

  ‘Nullam enim rem unquam majore Regem cura, studio, sollicitudine animi
  complectendam duxisse.’—Camerarius, _Vita Melancthonis_, p. 151.

Footnote 729:

  ‘Neque se abduci ullius persuasione sineret ex tam pio sanctoque

Footnote 730:

  ‘Er wollte nicht in Frankreich wiederkommen, so ich nicht mit
  zöge.’—_Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 905.

Footnote 731:

  Bossuet, _Hist. des Variations_, t. i. liv. v. ch. ii. et xix.

Footnote 732:

  _Loci communes theologici._ They went through sixty-seven editions,
  and were translated into several languages.

Footnote 733:

  ‘Non puto contendendum esse, nisi de magnis et necessariis
  rebus.’—Melancthon Sturmio, _Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 917.

Footnote 734:

  ‘Ich wollte einen Ritt in Frankreich thun.’—_Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 904.

Footnote 735:

  _Ibid._ ii. pp. 903-905.

Footnote 736:

  ‘Aulica quædam μυοτήρια vel potius odia sunt.’—_Corp. Reform._ ii. p.

Footnote 737:

  ‘Zerrüttung, unwiederbringlicher Nachtheil, Beschwerung und Schade zu
  erfolgen.’—_Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 908.

Footnote 738:

  ‘Subindignabundus hinc discessit,’ said Luther. _Ep._ iv. p. 621.

Footnote 739:

  ‘Philippus . . . . me consule libens proficisceretur.’—Lutheri _Ep._
  iv. p. 621.

Footnote 740:

  ‘Bluthünde,’ bloodhounds. _Ibid._ p. 620.

Footnote 741:

  ‘Ego non annis, sed viribus, decrepitus fio, ad labores antemeridianos
  pene totus inutilis factus.’—Lutheri _Ep._ iv. p. 623 (23d August,

Footnote 742:

  ‘Nachdem aber Dr. Martinus bey uns zu Torgau auch gewest, so haben wir
  Ihm solches ungefährlich vermeldet.’ This declaration of the elector
  incontestably proves the fact of Luther’s journey to Torgau with this
  object. The time cannot be fixed, but the elector speaks of it in a
  paper addressed to Bruck on the 19th of August. _Corp. Ref._ ii. p.

Footnote 743:

  Seckendorf, _Historie des Lutherthums_, p. 1497.

Footnote 744:

  _Ibid._ p. 1498.

Footnote 745:

  Luther to Jonas, 1 Sept. 1535. _Ep._ iv. p. 628.

Footnote 746:

  _Corpus Reformat._ ii. p. 909. Seckendorf, _Historie des Lutherthums_,
  p. 1458.

Footnote 747:

  ‘Ego suspectos cœpi habere istos legatos tuos.’—Lutheri _Ep._ iv. p.

Footnote 748:

  ‘Invenirent loca in quibus viverent.’—_Ibid._

Footnote 749:

  ‘Wir viel mehr fördern wollten dasz fremde _nationes zu_ dem Evangelio
  gebracht wurden.’—_Corpus Reform._ ii. p. 911.

Footnote 750:

  ‘Propter hæc verba nolui proficisci.’—_Corpus Ref._ ii. p. 911, in
  note. The italics in the text indicate the lines underscored by

Footnote 751:

  The passage is found in Bruck’s copy (Weimar Archives), but not in

Footnote 752:

  ‘Nunquam sensi asperiorem principem.’—_Corpus Reform._ ii. p. 915.

Footnote 753:

  ‘Nunc autem est democratia aut tyrannis indoctorum.’—_Ibid._ p. 917.

Footnote 754:

  ‘Plane fatum mihi Theramenis impendere videtur.’—_Ibid._ p. 918.

Footnote 755:

  ‘Cogito varia, quæ utinam non cogitarem.’—Lutheri _Ep._ iv. p. 626.

Footnote 756:

  ‘An devoraveris litteras istas principis.’—_Ibid._ p. 627.

Footnote 757:

  ‘Incipio enim unice gaudere, nos ab aula contemni et excludi.’—_Ibid._

Footnote 758:

  ‘Scilicet ne ad rempublicam adhibeamur.’—_Ibid._ p. 628.

Footnote 759:

  Lutheri _Ep._ iv. p. 627.

Footnote 760:

  ‘Ad insignem propagationem, uberrimum et amplissimum fructum
  Evangelii.’—Johannes Fredericus ad Franciscum regem Galliæ. _Corpus
  Reform._ ii. p. 906.

Footnote 761:

  _Corpus Reform._ ii. p. 903.

Footnote 762:

  ‘Pro religionis christianæ defensione præcipue velut in statione
  perpetuo fuit.’—_Ibid._ p. 913.

Footnote 763:

  ‘Suscipit curam sanandæ doctrinæ christianæ; non tamen violentis
  remediis, sed vera ratione.’—_Ibid._

Footnote 764:

  ‘Ut potius (rex) det operam, ut illustretur gloria Christi.’—_Corpus
  Reform._ ii. p. 916.

Footnote 765:

  ‘Sadoleti scriptum . . . . . eadem dicit quæ nos defendimus.’—_Ibid._
  p. 917.

Footnote 766:

  See his treatise: _De transitu Hellenismi ad Christianismum_,
  dedicated to the king in 1535.

Footnote 767:

  ‘Hoc studium nulla mihi eripiet hominum iniquitas.’—_Corp. Ref._

Footnote 768:

  ‘Ad publicam christianæ, reipublicæ pacem spectantibus.’ 2d Dec.,
  1535. _Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 1015.

Footnote 769:

  ‘Nunquam in meliori loco fuit res Evangelii, quam sit hoc tempore in
  Gallia.’ Sturm to Bucer.

Footnote 770:

  ‘Maximopere obtestantes ut pro virili nobiscum incumbatis in tam pium
  sanctumque opus.’ _Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 1010. Seckendorf says (_Hist.
  Luth._ p. 1146) that this letter had been sent to the Elector
  beforehand; but in the documents of the State Paper Office at Weimar
  we read: ‘Hæc locutus reddidit principi litteras quas vocant
  credentiales.’ And the _Corpus_ gives in a note the letter we have
  just quoted.

Footnote 771:

  ‘Quæ voluntas, quam amica, quam benevola, quam constans.’—_Corp. Ref._
  ii. p. 1010.

Footnote 772:

  ‘Ut aliud agentibus et aliud significantibus.’ Bellaii ad principes
  Oratio.—_Ibid._ p. 1012.

Footnote 773:

  Sleidan, _Mémoires sur l’État de la Religion et de la République_, i.
  p. 389.

Footnote 774:

  ‘Ut quos diversitas opinionum sejunxerit, similitudo doctrinæ
  conjungat.’—_Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 1013.

Footnote 775:

  Sleidan, i. p. 392.

Footnote 776:

  He must not be confounded with Professor Sturm, who was then in Paris.

Footnote 777:

  ‘Sub diluculum.’—_Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 1014.

Footnote 778:

  ‘Esse enim solum qui in suo regno imperet.’—_Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 1015.

Footnote 779:

  ‘Orationes et legendas multas ut ineptas et impias abrogandas, aut
  saltem emendandas; multa enim in his absurda, multa ridicula.’—_Ibid._
  p. 1015.

Footnote 780:

  Bessarion, born at Trebizond in 1395, Greek bishop of Nicæa, and
  afterwards Cardinal of the Roman Church, endeavored to unite the two
  Churches, and was on the point of being elected pope.

Footnote 781:

  ‘Videre enim eos, alioqui sibi tolli omnes occasiones acquirendi opes,
  honores, et omnia.’—_Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 1015.

Footnote 782:

  ‘De fide quoque inquisitorem fidei recte sentire.’—_Corp. Ref._ ii. p.

Footnote 783:

  ‘Sicut etiam cauda equina non statim et commode tota evelli
  possit.’—_Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 1016.

Footnote 784:

  ‘Nobis jam abituris.’—_Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 1017.

Footnote 785:

  ‘Sed etiam cardinales, papam quoque ipsum, condemnare non
  dubitant.’—_Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 1017.

Footnote 786:

  ‘Melior et sanior pars a majore vincatur et opprimatur.’—_Corp. Ref._
  ii. p. 1018.

Footnote 787:

  ‘Nequid fraudi sit, quod quisque senserit, dixerit, egerit.’—_Corp.
  Ref._ ii. p. 1018.

Footnote 788:

  ‘Variis artificiis regum animos incendunt atque armant adversus eos.’
  _Corp. Ref_. ii. p. 1024.

Footnote 789:

  ‘Nihil enim optatius quam ut latissime propagetur pia doctrina et
  multarum gentium concordia.’—_Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 1026.

Footnote 790:

  Mémoires de Du Bellay, p. 243.

Footnote 791:

  Genesis xii. 3.

                             CHAPTER XVIII.
                   THE GOSPEL IN THE NORTH OF ITALY.
                            (1519 TO 1536.)

[Sidenote: Condition Of Italy.]

The Reformation had also commenced in Italy.

As the knowledge of the ancient languages, literary pursuits, and
cultivation of the intellect flourished more in that country than
elsewhere, it seemed natural that it should be among the first to open
itself to the light of the Gospel. In the midst of superstition, many
elevated minds were to be found whom the formalism of the Roman Church
could not satisfy. The corruption of the clergy and of religion had sunk
deeper in Italy than in the rest of Christendom, so that the magnitude
of the evil made the necessity of a remedy more keenly felt.
Accordingly, although many obstacles appeared to close the peninsula
against the entrance of evangelical doctrine; although national pride,
the interest which the Italians of every class seemed to have in the
continuance of the papacy, the hostility of the governments, and above
all the overwhelming power of the pontifical hierarchy, erected barriers
everywhere, which seemed more insurmountable than the Alps, there was at
that time an electric current between Italy and the reformed countries
that nothing could stop. The Reformation had hardly sent forth its first
beams of light, the flame had hardly risen over Germany and Switzerland,
when, in the regions beyond the mountains, from Venice and Turin to
Naples, isolated spots of light gleamed out amidst the darkness. The
evangelical doctrine, in general not much appreciated by the people,
found an easy access to the hearts of many cultivated men. Italy was a
vast plain, in which were numerous uncultivated fields and barren
heaths: but a liberal hand having been opened over it, the seeds of life
which fell from it found here and there good soil, and, at the breath of
spring, the blade and the ear sprang forth. A fierce storm, mingled with
thunder and lightning, afterwards burst upon those fields; the light of
day was hidden, and the obscurity of darkness once more covered the
country. But the light had been beautiful, and its appearance, although
fugitive, deserves to be remembered, if only as a pledge to make us hope
for better days. The positive results of the Italian Reformation seem to
escape us entirely; and yet it possesses quite as many of those
characteristics which charm the mind, captivate the imagination, and
touch the heart, as other Reformations do. The new and varied plants
which that ancient land began to produce, the brilliant flames which for
a moment shed such beautiful light, the men of God at that time
scattered all over Italy, deserve to be known, and we must now turn to

At Pavia, on the Ticino, there lived a bookseller named Calvi, ‘who
cultivated the muses.’ Frobenius, the celebrated printer of Basle,
having as early as 1519 sent him Erasmus’s Testament and the early
writings of Luther, he began to study the Gospel more than the poets.
Wishing to help, in proportion to his ability, in ‘the revival of
piety,’[792] he undertook to circulate the writings of the reformers not
only in his immediate neighborhood, but through all the cities of
Italy.[793] Pavia possessed a celebrated university, and the precious
volumes were first distributed among its professors and their pupils.
The students might often be seen reading these absorbing pages under the
porticos of the university and beneath the walls of the cathedral or of
the old castle. Other printers and booksellers joined with Calvi in the
work of dissemination, and before long a book entitled _Il principii
della Theologia di Ippolito di Terranigra_ was read all over Italy, even
in Rome. _Terranigra_ was Melancthon, and these _Principles of Divinity_
were his _Theological Commonplaces_. This admirable book was to be found
even in the Vatican, along with the works of _Coricius Cogelius_
(Zwingle) and _Aretius Felinus_ (Bucer). Bishops and cardinals pompously
extolled them; none of them suspecting that the breath of evangelical
piety which animated those writings must necessarily dissipate the false
piety of the confessional. _Terranigra’s_ book was read with such
eagerness at Rome, that it soon became necessary to ask for a fresh
supply. A learned Franciscan of the metropolis, who possessed the Latin
edition, struck with the unknown name _Terranigra_,[794] desired to
procure the Italian work so much talked of. It soon began to call up
certain recollections: he fancied he had seen the work before. He rose
from his seat, took down his Latin _Melancthon_, compared it with the
Italian, and to his great horror found the two works were the same.
Without delay he made known the stratagem of the booksellers, and the
volume, which the cardinals had extolled to the skies one day, was
condemned to the flames on the next.

[Sidenote: Enthusiasm For Luther.]

But the propaganda did not cease. The young Germans who came to study
law and medicine at Bologna, Padua, and other universities of the
peninsula, the young Italians who began to frequent the schools of
Germany and Switzerland, helped alike to diffuse evangelical faith
beyond the Alps. Many of the Lutheran lansquenets whom Charles V.
marched into Italy, and of the Swiss soldiers whom Francis I. drew
thither, professed in the houses where they lodged the doctrines of the
Reformation, and did so with thorough military frankness. Some praised
Luther, others Zwingle, and all contrasted the purity of the reformers’
lives and the simplicity of their manners with the irregularities,
luxury, and pride of the Roman prelates.

The Italians have an open and quick understanding, precision in their
ideas, clearness of expression, an instinct of the beautiful, and great
independence of character; and hence they were tired of living in
ignoble subjection to ignorant, lazy, and dissolute priests.
Conscientious men of eminent mind joyfully welcomed a doctrine which put
God’s Word in the place of papal bulls, briefs, and decretals, and
substituted the spirit and the life for the ecclesiastical mechanism of
the Latin ritual. Italy was charmed with Luther’s character and work. In
1521 a voice from Milan exclaimed: ‘O mighty Luther! who can paint thy
features so full of animation, the godlike qualities of thy mind, thy
soul inspired with a will so pure? Thy voice, which rings through the
universe and utters unaccustomed sounds, terrifies the vile hearts of
the wicked,[795] and bears an unexpected balm to diseases which appeared
beyond remedy. Take courage, then, venerable father, whose mouth makes
salvation known to all, and whose word destroys more monsters than ever
Hercules rent in pieces.’

The dignitaries of Rome were alarmed at this enthusiasm. At the diet of
Nuremberg in 1524, Cardinal Campeggi exclaimed: ‘The Germans take up a
new opinion quickly, but they soon abandon it; while the Italians
obstinately persist in what they have once adopted.’[796] It was rather
the contrary that was to take place. The Italians showed themselves
still more prompt than the Germans: the number of Lutherans increased
every day.[797] The converted catholics began by degrees to explain the
Gospel and to refute the errors of the Roman Church in private houses:
this was done even in the Papal States. Before long, several priests and
monks were enlightened, and the Reformation took a new step: its
principles were taught in the churches. Clement VII. felt great alarm,
when all of a sudden the doctrine, attacked by him and his legates in
distant countries, broke out all over his dear Italy and threatened the
walls of the papacy. He uttered a cry of terror: ‘To our exceeding
sorrow,’ he said, ‘Luther’s pestilential heresy has been spread among
us, not only among the laity, but also among the priests and monks.[798]
Heresy is increasing, and in every place the catholic faith has to
suffer the cruellest assaults.’ The cry was useless. In that very year
(1530) the New Testament was translated by Bruccioli, printed at Venice,
and the much dreaded contagion thenceforward made still more rapid

[Sidenote: Rosselli To Melancthon.]

It was in this latter city, on the hundred islets and amid the lagunes
of the queen of the Adriatic, that the doctrine of the Gospel first
raised its standard. There was no power in Europe more jealous of its
independence and authority than Venice; the winged lion of St. Mark
braved the priest of Rome; the senate rejected the Inquisition,
practised freedom of inquiry, and did not license the pope’s edicts
until after serious study and strict examination. Protestants were soon
to be found at Venice who, strange to say, were more protestant than
those of Augsburg. ‘I am delighted,’ said Luther, on the 7th of March,
1528, ‘to hear that they have received the Word of God at Venice.’[799]
A report having got abroad that Melancthon appeared inclined, at the
diet of 1530, to recognize the primacy of the Bishop of Rome, the new
evangelicals of Venice were troubled and alarmed: one of them, Lucio
Paolo Rosselli, although only a beginner in the Christian doctrine,
determined to write, respectfully but frankly, to the illustrious doctor
of Germany: ‘There are no books by any author,’ he said to Melancthon,
‘which please me more than those you have published. But if the reports
which the papists circulate about you are true, the cause of the Gospel
and those who, taught by the writings of yourself and Luther, have
embraced it, are in great danger. All Italy awaits the result of your
meeting at Augsburg.[800] O Melancthon! let neither threats, nor fears,
nor prayers, nor promises make you desert the standard of Jesus Christ!
Even if you must suffer death to maintain his glory, do not hesitate. It
is better to die with honor than to live with ignominy.’

It was much worse when the Venetian ambassador at the court of Charles
V. forwarded to the senate the letter which Melancthon had written on
the 6th of July to Cardinal Campeggi, and in which he went so far as to
say that the protestants did not differ from the Roman Church in any
important dogma, and were disposed to acknowledge the papal
jurisdiction.[801] The evangelical Christians of Venice, who wanted a
decided position, were dismayed. Most of them denied that the letter was
Melancthon’s; Rosselli, in particular, with generous enthusiasm, took up
the doctor’s defence, and on the 1st of August sent him a copy of the
letter, ‘to the end that he might carefully scrutinize the wickedness of
those who ascribed to him words calculated to disgrace the true
defenders of the cause of Christ and Christ himself.[802] Now that we
have discovered their malice,’ added the Venetian, ‘resist their
iniquity with greater zeal, and let the emperor and all Christian
princes know the shameless practices of the enemy.’

What seemed impossible to the Italians was but too true: Melancthon had
carried his concessions too far. When he declared, however, that he
would not recognize the Bishop of Rome until he became evangelical, he
had put a stipulation to his compact which rendered it impossible.

From Venice we pass to Turin. The Italian revival did not present that
simple historical and continuous advance which we meet with in other
European countries. It was not like a single river whose deep and mighty
waters, as they flowed along, ran calmly in the same channel; but like
little streams, issuing from the earth in various places, whose bright
and limpid waters glittered in the sunbeam and fertilized the soil
around them. They disappeared; they were lost in the ground, oftentimes,
alas! imparting to it a sanguine hue, and the earth returned to its
former barrenness. Yet many a plant had been revived by them, and their
sweet remembrance may still cause joy to others.

[Sidenote: Celio Curione.]

The works of the reformers had reached Turin. Piedmont, from its
vicinity to Switzerland, France, and Germany, was among the first to
receive a glimpse of the sun which had just risen beyond the Alps. The
Reformation had already appeared in one of its cities,—at Aosta,—and
most of its doctrines had for ages been current among the Waldensian
valleys. Monks of the Augustine convent at Turin, Hieronimo Nigro
Foscianeo in particular, were among the number of those who first became
familiar with the evangelical writings. Celio Secundo Curione, a young
man still at college, received them from their hands in 1520.

About three leagues and a half from Turin, and at the foot of the Alps,
was situated the town of Cirié, with its two parochial churches and an
Augustine monastery. Higher up there stood an old castle named Cuori,
and the family to which it belonged was called from it Curione or
Curioni.[803] One of its members, Giacomino Curione, who lived at Cirié,
had married Charlotte de Montrotier, lady of honor to Blanche, Duchess
of Savoy, and sister to the chief equerry of the reigning duke. On the
1st of May, 1503, a son was born to them at Cirié; he was named Celio
Secundo,[804] and was their twenty-third child.[805] He lost his mother
as he came into the world, and his father, who had removed to Turin, and
afterwards to Moncaglieri, where he had property, died when Celio was
only nine years old.

The elder Curione possessed a Bible, which in the hour of death he put
into his son’s hands. That act was perhaps the cause of the love for
Scripture by which the heir of the Curiones was afterwards
distinguished: the depth of his filial piety made him look upon the book
as a treasure before he knew the value of its contents. Celio having
begun his education at Moncaglieri, went to Turin, where his maternal
grandmother, Maddalena, lived. She received him into her house, where
the anxious love of the venerable lady surrounded him with the tenderest
care.[806] He is said to have dwelt on that pleasant hill which
overlooks Turin, whence the summits of the Alps are visible, and whose
base is washed by the slow and majestic waters of the Po.[807] Celio had
applied with his whole heart to the study of the classical orators,
poets, historians, and philosophers; when he reached his twentieth year
he felt deeper longings, which literature was incapable of satisfying.
The old Bible of his father could do this: a new world, superior to that
of letters and philosophy,—the world of the spirit,—opened before his

There was much talk just then, both in university and city, of the
Reformation and the reformers. Curione had often heard certain priests
and their partisans bitterly complaining of the ‘false doctrines’ of
those _heretics_, and making use of the harshest language against Luther
and Zwingle. He listened to their abuse, but was not convinced. He
possessed a nobler soul than the majority of the people around him, and
his generous independent spirit was more disposed in favor of the
accused than of the accusers. Instead of joining in this almost
unanimous censure, Celio said to himself: ‘I will not condemn those
doctors before I have read their works.’[808] It would appear that he
was already known in the Augustine convent, in which, as in that of
Wittemberg, some truly pious men were to be found. The grace of his
person, the quickness of his intellect, and his ardent thirst for
religious knowledge, interested the monks. Knowing that they possessed
some of the writings of the reformers, Curione asked for them, and
Father Hieronimo lent him Luther’s _Babylonian Captivity_, translated
into Italian under a different title. The young man carried it away
eagerly to his study. He read those vigorous pages in which the Saxon
doctor speaks of the lively faith with which the Christian ought to
cling to the promises of God’s Word; and those in which he asserts that
neither bishop nor pope has any right to command despotically the
believer who has received Christian liberty from God. But Celio had not
yet obtained light enough; he carried the book back to the convent, and
asked for another. Melancthon’s _Principles of Theology_ and Zwingle’s
_True and False Religion_ were devoured by him in turn.

[Sidenote: Curione’s Spiritual Wants.]

A work was then going on in his soul. The truths he had read in his
Bible grew clearer and sank deeper into his mind; his spirit thrilled
with joy when he found his faith confirmed by that of these great
doctors, and his heart was filled with love for Luther and Melancthon.
‘When I was still young,’ he said to the latter afterwards, ‘when first
I read your writings, I felt such love for you that it seemed hardly
capable of increase.’[809]

Curione was not satisfied with the writings merely of these men of God:
his admiration for them was such that he longed to hear them: an ardent
desire to start immediately for Germany was kindled in his heart.[810]
He talked about it with his friends, especially with Giovanni and
Francesco Guarino, whom the Gospel had also touched, and who declared
their readiness to depart with him.

The three young Italians, enthusiastic admirers of Luther and
Melancthon, quitted Turin and started for Wittemberg. They turned their
steps towards the valley of Aosta, intending to cross the St.
Bernard,[811] where for more than five centuries a house of the
Augustine order had existed for the reception of the travellers who made
use of that then very frequented pass. They conversed about their
journey, their feelings, and their hopes; and not content with this,
they spoke of the truth with simple-hearted earnestness to the people
they met with on the road or at the inns. In the ardor of their youthful
zeal, they even allowed themselves to enter into imprudent discussions
upon the Romish doctrines.[812] They were ‘bursting to speak’—they could
not wait until they had crossed the Alps: the spirit with which they
were filled carried them away. They had been cautioned, and had resolved
to be circumspect; but ‘however deep the hiding-places in the hearts of
men,’ said a reformer, ‘their tongues betray their hidden
affections.’[813] One of those with whom these Piedmontese youths had
debated went and denounced them to Boniface, Cardinal-bishop of Ivrea,
and pointed out the road they were to take. The prelate gave the
necessary orders, and just as the three students were entering the
valley of Aosta,[814] the cardinal’s satellites, who were waiting for
them, laid hold of them and carried them to prison.

What a disappointment! At the very time they were anticipating the
delights of an unrestrained intercourse with Melancthon and Luther, they
found themselves in chains and solitary imprisonment. Curione possessed
friends in that district who belonged to the higher nobility; and
contriving to inform them of his fate, they exerted themselves in his
behalf. The cardinal having sent for him, soon discovered that his
prisoner was not an ordinary man. Struck with the extent of his
knowledge and the elegance of his mind, he resolved to do all he could
to attach him to the Roman Church. He loaded him with attentions,
promised to bear the necessary expenses for the continuation of his
studies, and with that intent placed him in the priory of St. Benignus.
It is probable that Cornelio and Guarino were soon released: although
less celebrated than their fellow-traveller, they afterwards became
distinguished by their evangelical zeal.

[Sidenote: Relics And The Bible.]

Although shut up in a monastery, Curione’s soul burnt with zeal for the
Word of God. He regretted that Germany on which he had so much reckoned,
and unable to increase his light at the altar of Wittemberg, he wished
at least to make use of what he had for the benefit of the monks
commissioned to convert him. He was grieved at the superstitious
practices of their worship, and would have desired to enfranchise those
about him. A shrine, put in a prominent place on the altar, enclosed a
skull and other bones reported to be those of St. Agapetus and St. Tibur
the martyr, and which during certain solemnities were presented to the
adoration of the people. Why set dry bones in the place which should be
occupied by the living Word of God? Are not their writings the only
authentic remains of the apostles and prophets? Curione refused to pay
the slightest honor to these relics, and in his private conversation he
went so far as to speak to some of the monks against such idolatrous
worship, instructing them in the true faith.[815] He resolved to do
something more. In the convent library he had found a Bible, to which no
one paid any attention; he had, moreover, noticed the place where the
monks kept the key of the shrine they held so dear.[816] One
day—probably in 1530—taking advantage of a favorable opportunity when
the monks were occupied elsewhere,[817] he went into the library, took
down the holy Word of which David said it was _more to be desired than
gold_, carried it into the church, opened the mysterious coffer, removed
the relics, put the Bible in their place, and laid this inscription upon
it: ‘_This is the ark of the covenant, wherein a man can inquire of the
true oracles of God, and in which are contained the true relics of the
saints_.’ Curione, with emotion and joy, closed the shrine and left the
church without being observed. The act, rash as it was, had a deep and
evangelical meaning: it expressed the greatest principles of the
Reformation. Some time after, at one of the festivals when the relics
were to be presented to the adoration of the worshippers, the monks
opened the shrine. Their surprise, emotion, and rage were boundless, and
they at once accused their young companion of sacrilege. Being on the
watch, he made his escape, and, quitting Piedmont, took refuge at Milan.

In that city Curione zealously devoted himself to lecturing; but, being
at the same time disgusted with the unmeaning practices of the monks, he
gave himself with his whole heart to works of Christian charity. As
famine and pestilence were wasting the country, he soon after occupied
himself wholly in succoring the poor and the sick; he solicited the
donations of the nobility, prevailed on the priests to sell for the
relief of the wretched the precious objects which adorned their
churches, consoled the dying, and even buried the dead.[818] In the
convent, he had appeared to be struggling for faith only; in the midst
of the pestilence, he seemed to be living for works only. He remembered
that Jesus had come _to serve_, and following his Master’s example, he
was eager to console every misery. ‘Christ having become the living root
of his soul, had made it a fruitful tree.’ As soon as the scourge
abated, every one was eager to testify a proper gratitude to Celio, and
the Isacios, one of the best families in the province, gave him the hand
of one of their daughters, Margarita Bianca, a young woman of great
beauty, who became the faithful and brave companion of his life.[819]

[Sidenote: Papal Preachers.]

Some time after this, Curione, believing that he had nothing more to
fear, and desiring to receive his patrimony, to revisit his native
country, and to devote his strength and faith to her service, returned
to Piedmont. His hopes were disappointed. Cruel family vexations and
clerical persecutions assailed a life that was never free from
agitation. He had lost all but one sister, whose husband, learning that
he intended claiming his inheritance, determined to ruin him. A
Dominican monk was making a great noise by his sermons in a neighboring
city.[820] Celio took a book from his library, and went with some
friends to hear him. He expected that the monk, according to the custom
of his class, would draw a frightful picture of the reformers. Curione
knew that the essence of the preaching of the evangelical ministry was
Christ, justification by faith in his atoning work, the new life which
He imparts, and the new commandments which He gives. According to him,
the task of the servant of God, now that all things were made new, was
to exalt, not the Church, but the Saviour; and to make known all the
preciousness of Christ rather than to stun his hearers by furious
declamations against their adversaries. Such were not the opinions
entertained at that time—we will not say by the great doctors of the
Romish Church, but by the vulgar preachers of the papacy. Laying down as
a fundamental principle that _there was no salvation out of the Church_,
they naturally believed themselves called to urge the necessity of
union—not with Christ, but—with Rome; to extol the beauties of its
hierarchy, its worship, and its devout institutions. Instead of feeding
the sheep, by giving them the spiritual nourishment of faith, they
thought only of pronouncing declamatory eulogies of the fold and drawing
horrible pictures of the devouring wolves that were prowling about it.
If there had been no protestants to combat, no Luther or Calvin to
calumniate, many popish preachers would have found the sermon a
superfluous part of the service, as had been the case in the Middle

The _good monk_, whom Curione and his friends had gone to hear, preached
according to the oratorical rules of vulgar preachers. ‘Do you know,’ he
exclaimed, ‘why Luther pleases the Germans?... Because, under the name
of Christian liberty, he permits them to indulge in all kinds of
excess.[821] He teaches, moreover, that Christ is not God, and that He
was not born of a virgin.’ And continuing this monkish philippic with
great vehemence, he inflamed the animosity of his hearers.

When the sermon was over, Curione asked the prelate who was present for
permission to say a few words. Having obtained it, and the congregation
being silent and expectant, he said: ‘Reverend father, you have brought
serious charges against Luther: can you tell me the book or the place in
which he teaches the things with which you reproach him?’ The monk
replied that he could not do so then, but if Curione would accompany him
to Turin, he would show him the passages. The young man rejoined with
indignation: ‘Then I will tell you at once the page and book where the
Wittemberg doctor has said the very contrary.’ And opening Luther’s
_Commentary on the Galatians_, he read aloud several passages which
completely demonstrated the falseness of the monk’s calumnies. The
persons of rank present at the service were disgusted; the people went
still further; some violent men, exasperated by the Dominican’s having
told them such impudent lies, rushed upon him and struck him. The more
reasonable had some trouble to rescue him and send him home safe and

[Sidenote: Curione Again Imprisoned.]

This scene made a great noise. The bishop and the inquisitors looked
upon it as a revolt against the papacy. Curione was a firebrand flung by
Satan into the midst of the Church, and they felt that if they did not
quench it instantly, the impetuous wind which, crossing the Alps, was
beginning to blow in the peninsula, would scatter the sparks far and
wide, and spread the conflagration everywhere. The valiant evangelist
was seized, taken to Turin, thrown into prison, and in a moment, as soon
as the news circulated, all his old enemies set to work. His covetous
brother, and even his sister, as it would appear, made common cause with
the priests to destroy him.[823] Fanaticism and avarice joined together;
one party wished to deprive him of his property only, but the others
wanted his life. It was not the first time Curione had been in prison
for speaking according to the truth: he did not lose courage, he
preserved all the serenity of his mind, and remained master of himself.
The ecclesiastic charged with the examination overwhelmed him with
questions.[824] He was reminded of the relics taken away from the
monastery of St. Benignus, the journey he had wished to take to Germany,
and the conversations he had held on the road, and was threatened with
the stake.[825]

The bishop, knowing that Curione had protectors among the first people
in the city, started for Rome, in order to obtain from the pope in
person his condemnation to death. Before leaving, he transferred the
prisoner to his coadjutor David, brother of the influential cardinal
Cibo. David, wishing to make sure of his man, and to prevent its being
known where he was detained, removed him by night from the prison in
which he had been placed, took him to one of those mansions, not very
unlike castles, that are often to be found in Italy, and locked him up
in a room enclosed by very thick walls.[826] His officers attached heavy
chains to poor Celio’s feet, riveted them roughly, and fastened them
into the wall; and finally, two sentries were placed inside the door of
the house. When that was done, David felt at ease, sure of being able to
produce his prisoner when the condemnation arrived from Rome. There was
no hope left the wretched man of being saved. Curione felt that his
death could not be far off; but though in great distress he still
remained full of courage.

The different operations by which David had secured his prisoner had
been carried on during the night; when the day came, Curione looked
round him: the place seemed to bring to his memory certain half-effaced
recollections. He began to examine everything about him more carefully,
and by degrees remembered that once upon a time, when a boy, he had been
in that house, in that very room—it had probably been the house of some
friend. He called to remembrance exactly the arrangement of the
building, the galleries, the staircase, the door, and the windows.[827]
But ere long he was recalled from these thoughts by a feeling of pain:
his jailers had riveted the fetters so tightly that his feet began to
swell and the anguish became intolerable. When his keeper came as usual
to bring him food, Curione spoke to him of his pain, and begged him to
leave one of his feet at liberty, adding that, when that was healed, the
jailer could chain it up again and set the other free. The man
consented, and some days passed in this way, during which the prisoner
experienced by turns severe pain and occasional relief.

This circumstance did not prevent him from making the most serious
reflections. He should never see his wife, his children, or his friends
again; he could no longer take part in that great work of revival which
God was then carrying on in the Church. He knew what sentence would be
delivered at Rome. When St. John saw the woman seated on the seven
hills, he exclaimed: ‘_Babylon! ... drunken with the blood of the saints
and martyrs of Jesus_.’ Death awaited Curione on the bishop’s return: of
that he had not a doubt. But was it not lawful to defend one’s life
against the violence of murderers? An idea suddenly crossed his
inventive mind; the hope of escaping, of seeing his dear ones again, of
again serving the cause of the Gospel, flashed upon him. He reflected
and planned; the expedient which occurred to his mind was singular:
possibly it might not succeed, but it might also be the means of saving
him from the hands of his persecutors. When Peter was in prison the
angel of the Lord opened the door and led him out. Celio did not expect
a miracle; but he thought it was man’s duty to do all in his power to
thwart the counsels of the ungodly. He was not, however, very sanguine
of success. God holds the lives of his children in his hand; the Lord
will restore him to liberty or send him to the scaffold, as He shall
judge best.

[Sidenote: Curione’s Escape.]

Curione delayed no longer: he proceeded at once to carry out the curious
and yet simple expedient which had occurred to his lively imagination.
He took the boot off his free leg and stuffed it with rags;[828] he then
broke off the leg of a stool that was within his reach, fastened the
sham foot to it, and contrived a wooden leg which he fixed to his knee,
in such a way that he could move it as if it were a real leg. His
Spanish robe, reaching down to his heels, covered everything, and made
the matter easier. Presently he heard the footsteps of his jailers:
luckily, everything was ready. They entered, did what they were
accustomed to do every day, loosed the chained foot, and then, without
examining too closely—for they had no suspicions—they put the fetters on
the sham leg, and went away.

Celio was free; he rose, he walked; surprised at a deliverance so little
expected, he was almost beside himself ... he was rescued from death.
But all was not over; he had still to get out of that strong mansion,
where so close a watch was kept over him. He waited until night, and
when darkness brooded over the city and his keepers were sunk in sleep,
he approached the door of the chamber. The jailers, knowing that the
prisoner was chained to the wall, and that sentinels were posted at the
outer gate, had only pushed it to without locking it. Curione opened it,
and moved along with slow and cautious steps, avoiding the slightest
noise for fear of giving the alarm. Although it was quite dark, he
easily found his way by the help of his memory: he groped his course
along the galleries, descended the stairs; but on reaching the door of
the house, he found it closely shut. What was to be done now? The
_sbirri_ were asleep, but he dared not make any noise lest he should
wake them. Recollecting that there was a window placed rather high on
one side of the door, he contrived to reach it, leapt into the
court-yard, scaled the outer wall, fell into the street, and began to
seek for a hiding-place as fast as his wounded feet would permit
him.[829] When the morning came, there was great surprise and agitation
in the house. The fidelity of the jailers was not suspected: and as no
one could explain the prisoner’s flight, his enemies circulated the
report that he had had recourse to magic to save himself from death.

Curione himself was surprised. The thought that he had escaped not only
from the hands of his guards, but also from the terrible condemnation of
the sovereign pontiff, whose support the bishop had gone to solicit,
still further magnified in his eyes the greatness of his deliverance. He
had felt, and severely too, the power of his enemies; but he saw that
however keen the hatred of the world, a breath of heaven was sufficient
to frustrate its plots. He hastened to leave Turin, and took refuge in a
secluded village in the duchy of Milan, where his family joined him. His
reputation as a man of letters had spread through that country, and
certain Milanese gentlemen who came to pass the summer in the villas
near the lonely house which he inhabited, entertained a high opinion of
him. One of them, happening to meet him, recognized him; he spoke of him
to others of his friends, who made his acquaintance, and all of them,
delighted with his amiable character and cultivated mind, were unwilling
that such fine talents should remain buried in a sequestered village.
They got him invited to the university of Pavia, where he was soon
surrounded by an admiring audience. The inquisition, for a time at
fault, discovered at last that the daring heretic who had escaped from
his prison at Turin was teaching quietly at Pavia; it issued an arrest
against him, being determined to put an end to the harassing warfare
which this independent man was waging against the darkness of the Middle
Ages. The familiars of the Holy Office lay in ambush with the intention
of seizing the Piedmontese professor as he was leaving his house to go
to the lecture-room. But the plot got wind; the students, who were very
numerous, supported by some of the chief people of the town, formed a
battalion which surrounded Curione as he left his house, conducted him
to the Academy, and when the lecture was over, escorted him home
again.[830] Public opinion declared itself so strongly in favor of
liberty of teaching and against Romish tyranny, that three years elapsed
without the inquisitors being able to seize the professor, which caused
great joy all over the city. The pope, irritated at such resistance,
threatened to excommunicate the senate of Pavia; and Curione, unwilling
to imperil his friends, quitted that town for Venice, whence he
proceeded to Ferrara to live under that enlightened protection which the
Duchess Renée extended to all who loved the Gospel.

[Sidenote: Renée Of France.]

Ferrara was in truth a centre where the Gospel found a firm support.
Renée, who was daughter of Louis XII., and would have succeeded him if
(as she used to say) ‘she had had a beard on her chin,’ had inherited,
not the catholic ardor of her mother, Anne of Brittany, but the
reforming and anti-popish spirit of her father, who had taken for his
device: _Perdam Babylonis nomen_. Deprived of the throne by ‘that
accursed Salic law’—to use her own words—but brought up at the court of
Francis I., she was closely attached to her cousin Margaret, and
although her junior by eighteen years, had eagerly embraced the Gospel
which that ‘elder sister’ had preached to her with so much earnestness.
Renée was not one of those people who are simply the disciples of
others. Less beautiful than Margaret, she resembled her in possessing a
great soul, a generous heart, and, more than that, a sound judgment and
firm will. While clouds gathered round the mild and brilliant luminary
which presided over the destinies of Navarre and obscured the end of its
course, hardly a passing vapor dimmed for an instant the pure star of
Ferrara and Montargis.

There had been a talk of marrying Renée, as there had been of marrying
Margaret, to Charles V., and also to Henry VIII.; but the politic
Francis had preferred giving his predecessor’s daughter to a prince who
would cause him no umbrage. She was therefore married to Hercules of
Este, Duke of Ferrara, grandson of pope Alexander VI. by Lucrezia
Borgia, and vassal of the Holy See. Such gloomy antecedents did not
promise a sympathetic union to the friend of Margaret of Valois.

Although surrounded at Ferrara with all the splendors of a court, Renée
delighted in the associations of literature and art, and loved above
everything to retire to her closet and seek ‘the one thing needful.’
There was in her piety at this period of her life a slight trace of
Margaret’s mystical spirit. A contemplative life, however, was not in
keeping with her active character; she had rather a practical turn; she
loved to attract to her small court the learned men of Italy, and
particularly welcomed the evangelicals who had been driven out of
France. She was thus beginning to be the object of the most opposite
remarks. All were agreed as to her extreme beneficence; but the
adherents of the papacy complained that her intellect, which enabled her
to excel in philosophy, inclined her, unfortunately, to investigate
religious questions; they added, however, that if she came to the aid of
certain persons in bad odor among Roman catholics, it was because her
inexhaustible goodness filled her with compassion for those whom she
thought unjustly treated.[831] ‘She desires to do good to everybody,’ it
was said; ‘in one year she assisted ten thousand of her
fellow-countrymen. And when the stewards of her household represented to
her the excessive expense of this, she only answered: “What would you
have?—they are poor people of my own country, all of whom would be my
subjects but for that wicked Salic law!”’[832] She was at once a Mæcenas
and a Dorcas.

[Sidenote: Resurrection Of Christianity.]

The time had gone by in Italy when the fanaticism of pagan antiquity had
misled the mind, and preachers were to be heard speaking from the pulpit
of Minerva, Christ, and Jupiter in the same breath. At the very moment
when celebrated professors, commissioned to teach philosophy even at the
university of Ferrara, were exclaiming, as Voltaire and others did after
him: ‘Christianity is dying out, and its end is near!’ Christianity on
the contrary was reviving at Wittemberg, Zurich, Cambridge, and even in
France, and the cry which it uttered as it issued from the tomb,
re-echoed through Italy and awoke many souls there. In 1528, and perhaps
earlier, the evangelical doctrines had been professed at Ferrara. In
1530, the inquisition of that city wrote to the pope, that there were
many Lutherans, both laymen and ecclesiastics, within its walls.[833] In
fact, the duchess was calling round her, either for the education of her
children, or simply for love of learning and the Gospel, professors
skilled in the study of the classics, among whom were men enlightened
about the superstitions of the Roman Church, and often sincerely
attached to the Gospel. Of their number were Celio Calcagnini, Lilio
Giraldi Bartholomeo Riccio, Marzello Palingenio, and the two brothers
Sinapi. Giovanni Sinapi in particular was full of zeal to spread around
him the doctrine of the Scriptures. Many of the most eminent men of
Italy, such as Curione, Occhino, Peter Martyr, and the famous poet
Flaminio, lived for a time at Ferrara. From that centre evangelical
doctrines were propagated in the neighbouring cities; and particularly
in Modena, where they spread so widely in the university and among the
townspeople, that it was soon called _the Lutheran city_.[834]

Footnote 792:

  ‘Cupit renascenti pietati suppetias ferre.’—Frobenius to Luther,
  February 14, 1519.

Footnote 793:

  ‘Per omnes civitates sparsum.’—_Ibid._

Footnote 794:

  Gerdesius, _Specimen Ital. Ref._ ii. p. 11. The words _Schwarzerd_,
  _Melancthon_, and _Terranigra_ have the same meaning in German, Greek,
  and Italian, namely, _black earth_.

Footnote 795:

                 ‘Vocis, quæ totum penitus diffusa per orbem,
                 Terruit insolito pectora tetra sono.’

  These verses have been preserved by Schelhorn in his _Amœnitates
  Eccl._ ii. p. 624.

Footnote 796:

  Seckendorf, _Hist. du Luthéranisme_, p. 613.

Footnote 797:

  Sarpi, _Hist. du Concile de Trente_, i. p. 85.

Footnote 798:

  ‘Pestifera hæresis Lutheri non tantum apud sæculares personas, sed
  etiam ecclesiasticas et regulares, tam mendicantes quam non
  mendicantes.’ _Brief to the Inquisitors_, Raynald _ad annum_.

Footnote 799:

  ‘Læte audio de Venetis quod Verbum Dei receperint.’—Luther, _Ep._ iii.
  p. 289.

Footnote 800:

  ‘Scias igitur Italos omnes expectare Augustensis hujus vestri
  decreta.’ Venetiis, 3 calend. Aug. anno 1530. _Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 227.

Footnote 801:

  _Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 170.

Footnote 802:

  ‘Tibi ea adscribent, quæ Christo, verisque Christi defensoribus,
  dedecori sunt.’—_Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 243.

Footnote 803:

  Celio Secundo writes his name both ways, but more frequently

Footnote 804:

  ‘Natus anno MDIII. calendis Maii, Cyriaci Taurinorum.’—_Curionis
  Historia_ a Professore Stupano, 1570, in Schelhorn, _Amœnitates
  Litterariæ_, xiii. p. 330.

Footnote 805:

  ‘Vicenos ternosque liberos suscepit, ex quibus Cœlius ultimus natus
  fuit.’—_Curionis Historia_, p. 329.

Footnote 806:

  ‘Taurinum se contulit, ubi per aliquos annos apud Magdalenam proavam
  suam agens.’—_Curionis Historia_, p. 330.

Footnote 807:

  Bonnet, _Récits du seizième Siècle_, p. 248.

Footnote 808:

  ‘Non esse sibi damnandos hosce, priusquam illorum horos
  legisset.’—_Curionis Historia_, p. 331.

Footnote 809:

  ‘Adolescens adhuc, cum prima tua monimenta legissem, te ita amavi ut
  vix ulterius progredi meus in te amor posse videretur.’—_C. S.
  Curionis, Epist._ i. p. 71.

Footnote 810:

  ‘Ita est illa (opera) admiratus ut statim decreverit in Germaniam
  transire.’—_Curionis Historia_, p. 331.

Footnote 811:

  ‘Institutum iter per Salassorum regionem ingreditur.’—_Ibid._

Footnote 812:

  ‘Cum juvenes in itinere, minus caute, de rebus ad religionem
  pertinentibus disputarent.’—_Ibid._ p. 332.

Footnote 813:


Footnote 814:

  ‘Cum essent vallem prætoriam ingressuri.’—_Curionis Historia_, p. 332.

Footnote 815:

  ‘Privatim multos contraria hisce docebat et in vera fide
  erudiebat.’—_Curionis Historia_, p. 332.

Footnote 816:

  ‘Itaque, observato clavium loco, capsam aperit.’—_Ibid._ p. 333.

Footnote 817:

  ‘Cum cæteri aliis rebus intenti essent.’—_Ibid._

Footnote 818:

  ‘Ipse omnibus aderat, consolabatur, atque etiam mortuos ipsos
  sepeliebat.’—_Curionis Historia_, p. 335.

Footnote 819:

  ‘Ei uxorem dederunt Margaritam Biancam, puellam
  elegantissimam.’—_Curionis Historia_, p. 335.

Footnote 820:

  ‘In vicinum locum, Castelleviolonem nomine.’—_Ibid._

Footnote 821:

  ‘Lutherum Germanis placere, quod sub libertate christiana omnis
  generis libidines concederet.’—_Curionis Historia._

Footnote 822:

  ‘Ut vix intercedente Præfecto, vivus Taurinum redire
  potuerit.’—_Curionis Historia_, p. 339.

Footnote 823:

  ‘In causa propemodum ipsi fuerunt (soror et maritus) quod captus
  fuerit, vitam quoque fere amiserit.’—_Curionis Historia_, p. 336.

Footnote 824:

  ‘Hic examinatur, quæstiones adhibentur.’—_Ibid._ p. 339.

Footnote 825:

  ‘Ignem flammasque minantur.’—_Ibid._ p. 339.

Footnote 826:

  ‘Ex prioribus carceribus noctu deducit, et in conclavi quodam
  fortissimis parietibus munito ... asservari curat.’—_Ibid._

Footnote 827:

  ‘Recreatque in memoriam singularum domus partium situm.’—_Curionis

Footnote 828:

  ‘Extrahit caligam pedis liberi, eamdem lineis quibusdam pannis
  infarcit.’—_Curionis Historia_, p. 341.

Footnote 829:

  His feet never recovered their strength.

Footnote 830:

  ‘Magna studiosorum caterva, eum a sua domo in auditorium deducebat, et
  ex eo iterum domum comitabatur.’—_Curionis Historia_, p. 343.

Footnote 831:

  Maimbourg, _Histoire du Calvinisme_, liv. i. p. 61.

Footnote 832:

  Varillas, _Histoire des Hérésies_, ii. p. 499. Brantôme, _Dames

Footnote 833:

  _P. Martyr Vermigli_, par C. Schmidt, p. 11.

Footnote 834:

  ‘Città lutherana.’—Poli, _Epist._ iii. p. 84.

                              CHAPTER XIX.
                            (1520 TO 1536).

While Venice, Turin, Milan, Ferrara, Modena, and other cities of Upper
Italy were listening to the voice of the Gospel, the centre and south of
the peninsula had also their witnesses to the truth.

[Sidenote: Character Of Occhino.]

Bernardino Occhino, born at Sienna in 1487, four years younger than
Luther and Zwingle, and twenty-one years older than Calvin, was the most
famous preacher of the age. In his sermons were to be found that
elegance, that choice of words and those turns of expression which
produce clearness, grace, and facility of style; but at the same time he
was not void of imagination or enthusiasm, and possessed a boldness of
language which surprises and carries away those who listen to it.
Without being one of those firm, solid spirits who search into all
knowledge, and weigh and measure all thoughts, he had strong religious
cravings, and as he was moved himself, he moved his hearers. ‘From the
very beginning of my life,’ he said, ‘I had a great longing for the
heavenly paradise.’ He determined to win it, but went astray on the
road. His studies were imperfect; he knew little Greek and no Hebrew:
his knowledge of Christian doctrine was neither deep nor extensive; he
sometimes allowed himself to descend to trifles and even to
contradictions; and without denying the essential doctrines of faith, he
was found in the latter part of his life employing obscure and equivocal
expressions concerning them. He inopportunely defended customs tolerated
under the old covenant, but manifestly forbidden under the new, and thus
drew down much affliction on his old age. Occhino was a great orator,
but not a great divine.

Sienna, the rival of Florence in the Middle Ages, still possessed
sufficient attractions to induce a young man to follow the career of
letters or of honors; but Occhino’s mind took another direction. From
his earliest youth, his religious feelings had inclined him to an
ascetic life, and he sought peace for his soul in exercises of devotion.
‘I believe in salvation through works,’ he said, ‘through fasting,
prayer, mortifications, and vigils. With the help of God’s grace we can,
by means of these practices, satisfy the justice of God, obtain pardon
for our sins, and merit heaven.’[835] Erelong his private macerations
proved insufficient for him, and he became a monk. Every religious
society approved of by Rome was holy in his eyes; but he joined the
Observantine Franciscans, because that order was reputed to be stricter
than the others. The youthful Bernardino soon found, like Luther, that
the life of the cloister could not satisfy his need of holiness. He was
discouraged, and, renouncing the pursuit of an object which he seemed
unable to attain, he turned to the study of medicine, without however,
leaving the convent. Some Franciscans, having separated from the order
with the intention of forming a still stricter rule, under the name of
Capuchins, Occhino thought he had found what he wanted, and, having
joined them, gave himself up with all his strength to voluntary
humiliation and the mortification of the senses. _Eat not, touch not,
taste not._ If any new and stricter laws were drawn up by the chiefs of
the order, he hastened to conform to them. He threw himself blindfold
into a complicated labyrinth of traditions, disciplines, fastings,
mortifications, austerities, and ecstasies. And when they were over, he
would ask himself whether he had gained anything? Remaining ill at ease
and motionless in his cell, he would exclaim: ‘O Christ! if I am not
saved now, I know not what I can do more!’ The moment was approaching
when he would feel that all these macerations were but ‘running knots,
which bind at first and strangle at last.’[836]

This was in 1534, when Occhino was forty-seven years old. The agitations
of his soul often inspired him, during his sermons, with those pathetic
impulses which touch the heart; his superiors, wishing to turn his gifts
to account, called him to the functions of the pulpit, and as he thus
entered upon a new phase of life, a revolution was also effected in his
thoughts. He turned away from the superstitious practices and paltry
bonds of the monks and devotees, and approached the Holy Scriptures.
Monastic discipline had increased his darkness: the Word was to bring
him light. He felt the necessity of conscientiously preparing his
sermons, and began to study the Bible. But, strange to say, Scripture,
instead of making his work easier, embarrassed him at the very outset,
made him uneasy, and even paralyzed him. A striking contrast presented
itself to his mind. ‘I believe,’ he said, ‘that we must merit heaven by
our works, while Scripture tells me that heaven is given by grace,
because of the redemption through Jesus Christ.’ He tried for some time
to reconcile these contradictory views; but, do what he would, Rome and
the Bible remained diametrically opposed to each other; he determined in
favour of Rome. To doubt that the pope’s teaching was divine would have
been a crime. ‘The authority of the Church,’ he said in after years,
‘silenced my scruples.’ He applied again to his mortifications. It was
all in vain: peace was a stranger to his soul.

Then he turned once more to what he had abandoned. He said to himself
that, according to the universal opinion of Christendom, the Scriptures
were given by God to show the path to heaven; and that if there was
anywhere a remedy for the disease under which he felt himself suffering,
it must be in God’s Book. He read its holy pages with entire confidence,
and made every exertion to understand them. Erelong a new light broke
upon him; a heavenly brightness was poured upon the mystery of Golgotha,
and he was filled with unutterable joy. ‘Certainly,’ he said, ‘Christ by
his obedience and death has fully satisfied the law of God and merited
heaven for his elect. That is true righteousness, that is the true
salvation.’[837] He did not advance any farther just then; for some time
longer the Roman-Catholic Church was in his eyes the true Church, and
the religious orders were holy institutions. He had found that peace
which he had sought so long, and was satisfied.

[Sidenote: Occhino’s Popularity.]

The activity of his life increased, the fervor of his zeal augmented,
his preaching became more spiritual and more earnest. He continued his
itinerant ministry, and attracted still more the attention of the people
of Italy. He always went on foot, though weak in body. His name filled
the peninsula, and when he was expected in any city a multitude of
people and even nobles and princes would go out to meet him. The
principal men of the city would display a deep affection for him, pay
him every honor, and not permit him to go and lodge in the wretched cell
of a monastery, but force him to accept the brilliant hospitality of
their mansions. The magnificence of these dwellings, the costly dresses
of their inhabitants, and ‘all the pomp of the age,’ made no change in
his humble and austere life. Sitting at the luxurious banquets of the
great ones of this world, he would drink no wine and eat but of one
dish, and that the plainest. Being conducted to the best chamber, and
invited to repose in a soft and richly-furnished bed, in order to
recruit himself after the fatigue of his journey, he would smile,
stretch his threadbare mantle on the floor, and lie down upon it.

As soon as the news of his arrival became known, crowds of people would
throng round him from all parts. ‘Whole cities went to hear him,’ says
the Bishop of Amelia, ‘and there was no church large enough to contain
the multitude of hearers.’[838] All eyes were fixed on him as soon as he
entered the pulpit. His age, his thin pale face, his beard falling below
the waist, his gray hair and coarse robe, and all that was known of his
life, made the people regard him as an extraordinary man, indeed as a
saint. Was there any affectation in these strange manners? Probably
there was, for though a new creation had begun in him, the old nature
was still very strong. He was not insensible to the glory that comes
from man, and perhaps did not seek alone that which comes from God.

At length the great orator began to speak, and all the congregation hung
upon his lips. He explained his ideas with such ease and grace, that
even from the very beginning of his ministry, he charmed all who heard
him. But after he had studied Scripture, there was more elegance,
originality, and talent in his discourses. He made use of evangelical
language, which penetrated the heart; and yet no one, unless he were a
very subtle theologian, would dare ascribe new doctrines to him. The
inward power which he had received touched their hearts; the movements
of his eloquence carried away his hearers, and he led them where he
pleased.[839] At Perugia, enemies embraced one another as they left the
church, and renounced the family feuds which had been handed down
through several generations. At Naples, when he preached for some work
of charity, every purse was opened: one day he collected five thousand
crowns—an enormous sum for those times. Even princes of the Church, such
as Cardinal Sadolet and Cardinal Bembo, adjudged him the palm of popular
eloquence: all voices hailed him as the first preacher of Italy.[840] We
shall see him presently producing a religious revival at Naples. He was
preceded and aided in that work by men who, although inferior to him in
eloquence, were his superiors in knowledge and faith.

[Sidenote: Character Of Peter Martyr.]

At the time when the Word was thus sown, and was everywhere bearing
fruit more or less, Florence, the land of the Medici, so illustrious
from its attachment to letters and liberty, was not to be a barren soil.
In the year 1500, the year in which Charles V. was born, a rich
patrician named Stephen Vermigli had a son whom he named Peter Martyr in
honor of Peter of Milan whom the Arians are said to have put to death
for maintaining the orthodox faith, and to whom a church was dedicated
near the house in which the child was born.[841] His mother, Maria
Fumantina, an educated woman of meek and tranquil piety, devoted herself
to her only son, taught him Latin in his earliest years, and poured into
his heart that incorruptible spirit, which is of such great value before
God. The boy early attended the public schools established for the
Florentine youth, and was distinguished for the quickness of his
understanding, the extent of his powers, the strength of his memory, and
above all by such a thirst for learning that no difficulties could stop
him. If Occhino possessed liveliness of feeling and imagination, Peter
Martyr possessed solidity of judgment and depth of mind.

Before long the youth was involved in a painful struggle. His
father,—either because he disapproved of a monastic life, the abuses of
which, even at Florence, had been exposed by Dante and afterwards by
Savonarola; or because he was ambitious and desired to see his son
attain a brilliant position—intended giving him an education calculated
to advance him in the service of the State. Peter Martyr, on the
contrary, inspired by the pious feelings which he had inherited from his
mother, wished to dedicate himself to God. His greatest ambition was to
learn; his glory was to know; knowledge, and especially the knowledge of
divine things, was in his eyes superior to all the world besides. His
father commanded in vain and disinherited him in vain; in 1516 the young
man entered the monastery of regular canons of St. Augustine at Fiesole,
near Florence. After a certain interval of time Peter Martyr felt that
he did not learn much in the cloister. He was penetrated with the
thought that man ought to make it his object to propagate around him
solid knowledge and true light, especially in all that relates to the
immortal soul; but to propagate them, he must first possess them. He
obtained permission to visit Padua, the seat of a celebrated university.
Quiet, steady, diligent, affectionate, and respectful, he was loved and
esteemed by all. He venerated the aged as if they were his fathers, and
displayed such modesty, affection, and eagerness to do what was pleasing
to his comrades, that he always found them, in times of trial, his
surest friends.[842] Although he was in the age of passions, and lived
in cities where temptations were numerous, he was able to preserve that
chastity of thought and that purity of conduct so necessary to the
happiness and real success of a young man. He studied philosophy, and in
the public disputations acquired a singular dialectic skill, of which he
afterwards gave striking proofs. But he was in search of something
better, namely, divine truth; and therefore began to attend the lectures
of the theological professors. He was soon disgusted with them, for they
taught nothing but scholastics, and he resolved to seek the road by
himself. He frequently spent the greater part of the night in the
library of his monastery; he read the Greek authors, and then took up
the Fathers of the Church, Tertullian, Athanasius, and Augustine, and
began to have a perception that the theology of primitive catholicism
was quite different from that of the papacy.

In 1526, his superiors, struck with his talents, called him to the
ministry. Peter Martyr preached at Rome, Bologna, Pisa, Venice, Mantua,
Bergamo, and other cities. At the same time he gave public lessons in
literature and philosophy, particularly on Homer. But he determined to
go farther, and, no longer contenting himself with the poets,
philosophers, and Fathers of the Church, he desired to know the Holy
Scriptures. He was enraptured with them; as the Latin text was not
sufficient for him, he read the New Testament in Greek; he next resolved
to read the Old Testament also in the original, and meeting with a
Jewish doctor named Isaac, at Bologna, he learnt Hebrew of him. Then it
was that a new light illumined his fine genius. While he was studying
the letter of the Holy Scriptures, _the Spirit of God opened his
understanding_, and displayed before him the mysteries concealed within
them.[843] His learning, labors, and administrative ability had already
attracted general consideration; and the pious sentiments he now
displayed helped to increase it. He was appointed Abbot of Spoleto, and
in 1530 was summoned to a larger theatre, to Naples, as Prior of St.
Peter’s _ad Aram_, where we shall meet him erelong.

[Sidenote: Aonio Paleario.]

In 1534 there lived in Sienna a friend of Greek and Latin literature, an
enthusiast for Cicero, whose elegant and harmonious periods he
translated better than any other scholar, and who was particularly
distinguished among the professors of the university for his elevation
of soul, love of truth, boldness of thought, and the courage with which
he attacked false doctors and sham ascetics. He made a sensation in the
world of schools, and, though he had no official post, the students
crowded to his lectures. His name was Antonio della Paglia, which he
latinized, according to the fashion of the age, into Aonius Palearius.
This, again, was Italianized into Aonio Paleario. Among the hills which
bound the Roman Campagna, near the source of the Garigliano, stands the
ancient city of Veroli; here he was born in 1503, of an old patrician
house according to some, of the family of an artisan according to
others. In 1520 he went to Rome, where the love of art and antiquity was
then much cultivated, and, from the lessons of illustrious teachers, he
learnt to admire Demosthenes, Homer, and Virgil. A rumor of war
disturbed his peaceful labors. In 1527 the imperial army descended the
Alps, and, like an avalanche which, slipping from the icy mountain-tops,
rushes down into the valley, it overthrew and destroyed everything in
its course. Milan had been crushed, and, when the news reached Rome at
the same time with the furious threats uttered by the imperialists
against the city of the pontiffs, the young student exclaimed, ‘If they
come near us, we are lost!’ Paleario hastily took refuge in the valley
where he was born; but even there the spray of the avalanche reached
him. When he returned to the papal city, alas! the houses were in ruins,
the men of letters had fled. He turned his eyes towards Tuscany, quitted
Rome in the latter part of 1529, and after spending some time at
Perugia, went on to Sienna, where he arrived in the autumn of 1530.

That ancient city of the Etruscans, transformed into a city of the
Middle Ages, at first delighted the friend of letters. Its position in
the midst of smiling hills,[844] the fertility of its fields, the
abundance of everything, the beauty of the buildings, the cultivated
minds of its inhabitants—all enraptured him. But erelong he discovered a
wound which wrung his heart: the State was torn by factions; an
ignorant, impetuous, turbulent democracy had the upper hand; the
strength of a people who might have done great things was wasted in idle
and barren disputes. The most eminent men wept over the sorrows of their
country, and fled with their wives and children from the desolated land.
‘Alas!’ exclaimed Paleario, ‘the city wants nothing but concord between
the citizens.’[845] He met, however, with an affectionate welcome in the
families of a few nobles; and, after visiting Florence, Ferrara, Padua,
and Bologna, he returned in 1532 to Sienna, to which his friends had
invited him.

[Sidenote: Poem On Immortality.]

Paleario was a poet: his fancy was at work wherever he went; and, either
during his travels or on his return to the Ghibeline city, he composed a
Latin poem on the immortality of the soul.[846] We find traces of the
Roman doctrine in it, especially of purgatory[847] and of the queenship
of the Virgin.[848] His eyes, however, were already turned towards the
Reformation. He desired to have readers like Sadolet, and also the
sympathy of Germany.[849] The poem evidences a soul which, without
having yet found God and the peace he gives, sighs after a new earth, a
rejuvenated humanity, and a happiness which consists in contemplating
the Almighty, the King of men, as the eternal and absolute goodness and
supreme happiness.[850]

Ere long Paleario took another step. The religious questions by which
Italy was so deeply agitated engrossed that eminent mind. He commenced
reading not only Saint Augustine but the Reformers and the Holy
Scriptures, and began to speak in his lectures with a liberty that
enraptured his hearers, but so exasperated the priests that his friend
and patron Sadolet recommended him to be more prudent. Paleario,
however, boldly crossed the threshold which separates the literary from
the Christian world. He received thoroughly the doctrine of
justification by faith, and found in it a peace which was to him a
warrant of its truth. ‘Since he in whom the Godhead dwells,’ he said,
‘has so lovingly poured out his blood for our salvation, we must not
doubt of the favor of Heaven. All who turn their souls towards Jesus
crucified, and bind themselves to him with thorough confidence, are
delivered from evil and receive forgiveness of their sins.’

Paleario loved the country. Having noticed a villa which had belonged to
Aulus Cecina, the friend of Cicero, situated between Colle and Volterra,
at the summit of a plateau, whence flowed a stream, watering the slopes,
and where a pure air and the tranquility of the fields could be
enjoyed,[851] the Christian poet bought it, and there, in his beloved
_Cecignana_, on the terrace before the house or among the forest oaks,
he passed many a peaceful day, consecrated to serious meditation. He
knew that the world on which he fixed his eyes was the creation of the
Supreme, the free will of God; that an inward and uninterrupted bond
existed between the Creator and his creatures; and rejoiced that, owing
to the redemption of Jesus Christ, there would be formed out of its
inhabitants a kingdom of God, from which evil would be forever banished.

[Sidenote: Paleario’s Love Of Nature.]

Paleario’s tender soul needed domestic affections, and at Sienna he was
alone. He married Marietta Guidotti, a young person of respectable
parentage, who had been brought up with holy modesty.[852] She bore him
two sons, Lampridius and Phædrus, and two daughters, Aspasia and
Sophonisba, whom he loved tenderly, and who were, after God, the
consolation of a life agitated by the injustice of his enemies. Family
affections and a love for the beauties of nature were in Paleario, as
they often are, the marks of an elevated soul. At a later period, when
his life had become still more bitter; when he had lost his health, and
his faith had made him an object of horror to the fanatical; when he
exclaimed, ‘All men are full of hatred and ill-will toward me;’[853]
when he foresaw that he must ere long succumb beneath the blows of his
adversaries; even then he sighed after the country, and wrote to one of
his friends, with a simplicity reminding us of ancient times:—‘I am
weary of study; fain would I fly to you and pass my days under the warm
bright sky of your fields. At early morn, or when the day begins to
wane, we will wander through the country, around the cottages, with
Lampridius and Phædrus my darling boys, and with your wife and
mine.[854] Get ready the garden, that we may live on herbs, for I am
utterly disgusted with the luxurious tables of our cities. The farm
shall supply us with eggs and poultry, the river with fish. Oh! how
sweet are the repasts at which we eat the fruit we gather from our own
garden, the fowls fed by our own hands, the birds caught in our
nets,—sweeter far than those where you see nothing on the table but
provisions bought in the market! We will work in the fields; we will
tire ourselves. Make your preparations; get ready a saw, a hatchet, a
wedge to cleave the wood, pruning-shears, a harrow, and a hoe. If these
implements fail us, we will be content with planting trees, that shall
serve for ages yet to come.’ It is pleasing to see the disciple of
Cicero and especially of the Bible, at a time when he was tormented by
sickness and the hatred of the wicked, rejoicing like a child at the
thought of planting trees that should give a cool shade and welcome
fruit to coming generations. We shall now describe the end of his stay
at Sienna, and what brought his great sorrow upon him, although it will
lead us beyond the limits of time we have prescribed for ourselves.

The best friend Paleario possessed was Antonio Bellantes, president of
the Council of Nine, a grave and benevolent man, generally loved and
respected; in a time of difficulty he had assisted the State by the gift
of two million golden crowns. Bellantes esteemed Paleario very highly,
and Paleario loved him above all other men. In the course of the popular
disturbances, the members of the Council of Nine had been banished; but
the senate and people had entreated Bellantes to remain at Sienna—a
circumstance which had greatly enraged his enemies. Ruffians broke into
his house one night and plundered it. Somewhat later Bellantes died,
leaving all his ready money to his mother, that she might deliver it to
his sons when they came of age. The good lady was a great friend of the
monks; every day the capuchins used to visit her,[855] and when she felt
sick they crowded round her bed. After her death, no property could be
found in her house, except some torn bags which appeared to have held
money. The sons of Bellantes accused the monks of having stolen their
inheritance, and Paleario supported them with his eloquence. The monks
denied the fact, and were acquitted upon their solemn oath. Inflamed
with anger against Paleario, they resolved upon his destruction.

[Sidenote: Plot Against Paleario.]

At the head of his adversaries was the senator Otto Melio Cotta, a rich,
powerful, and ambitious man of a domineering spirit. At first he had
been mixed up in political affairs, but he afterwards enlisted under the
banners of the clergy, and made common cause with the monks. A plot was
formed in the Observantine convent, situated about a mile from Sienna,
in the midst of woods, grottos, and holy places. Three hundred members
of the Joanelli, a brotherhood formed for certain exercises of piety,
swore upon the altar to destroy Paleario. Not confining themselves to
attacks upon his teaching, Cotta and his other adversaries began to pry
into his private life, to watch all his movements, and to catch up every
word. They soon found fresh subjects of complaint against him. Paleario
had ridiculed a wealthy priest, who was to be seen every morning
devoutly kneeling before the shrine of a saint, but who refused to pay
his debts; and the keen irony with which he had spoken of him had
occasioned a great scandal among the clergy. That however, was not
enough; they must have a palpable mark of heresy. His adversaries
endeavored, therefore, to entrap him, and some of them, presenting
themselves as if they wanted to be instructed, put questions to him
calculated to lead him into the snare. ‘What,’ they asked, ‘is the first
means of salvation given by God to man?’ He answered ‘_Christ_.’ That
might pass; but, continuing their questions, Paleario’s enemies added:
‘What is the second?’ In their opinion, he should have indicated
meritorious works; but Paleario replied: ‘_Christ_.’ Continuing their
inquiry, they said: ‘And what is the third?’ They thought that Paleario
should answer, The Church; out of the Church there is no salvation; but
he still replied, ‘_Christ_.’[856] From that moment he was a lost man.
The monks and their friends reported to Cotta the answer which they
deemed so heretical.

Paleario had no suspicion of danger. Cardinal Sadolet and some other
friends invited him to come and see them at Rome, and he went. He had
not been there long before he received a very excited letter from
Faustus Bellantes. ‘There is a great agitation in the city,’ he said;
‘an astounding conspiracy has been formed against you by the most
criminal of men.[857] We do not know upon what the accusation is
founded; we are ignorant of the names of your adversaries. The report
runs that the chiefs of the state have been excited against you in
consequence of calumnious charges concerning religion. It is said that
some wretched monks have sworn your ruin; but the plot must have deeper
roots. I shall go to Sienna to-morrow, and shall speak to my friends and
relations about it. I am ready for everything, even to lose my life in
your defence. Mean-time I conjure you, let your mind be at peace.’

Bellantes was not deceived. Cotta, without loss of time, appeared in the
senate and reported to his colleagues the monstrous language of
Paleario, and exclaimed, that if they suffered him to live, ‘there would
be no vestige of religion left in the city.’[858] Every man was silent:
such was the alarm caused by a charge of heresy, that no one dared take
up the defence of that courageous Christian.

Paleario heard of this, and was distressed but not surprised. One truth
was deeply engraved in his heart: All power of salvation is given to
Jesus Christ; He is the only source whence the new life can be drawn. It
seemed to him that the priests had forged so many means of acquiring
pardon, that they hardly left Christ the hundredth part. He could well
understand how irritated the clergy must be against a man who set so
little store by all their paltry contrivances; but although he saw
clearly the danger that threatened him, he remained firm. ‘The power of
the conspirators is immense,’ he said; ‘the more fiercely a man attacks
me, the more pious he is reckoned. But what matters it? Jesus Christ,
whom I have always sincerely and religiously adored, is my hope.[859]...
I despise the cabals of men, and my heart is full of courage.’[860]
Christ was his king. He knew that that great Sovereign, who is achieving
the conquest of the world, preserves at the same time all those who have
found reconciliation with God through him.

His wife was not so calm. Marietta, his virtuous and devoted partner, so
ardent in her affection, was filled with uneasiness and trouble; her
imagination called up before her not only the misfortunes of the moment;
but also those of the future; she was the most unhappy of women.[861]
Her agony was greater than her strength; she passed whole days in
tears.[862] Distressed and exhausted, she lost her health; and every one
might see in her face the sorrow which was consuming her. When her
husband heard of this at Rome, he was heart-broken, and conjured his
mother and Bellantes to visit Marietta, in order to distract the
afflicted wife from her sorrow.

Paleario would have desired to hasten to her in person and confront his
accusers; but his friends at Sienna and at Rome alike dissuaded him. The
citizens who were then at the head of the state were violent men, of no
morality, and as ready to condemn the innocent as to acquit the guilty.
It was hoped that a new election would bring upright men into power:
they conjured Paleario to wait, and he did so. But there was no change:
the denunciations, charges, and murmurs only increased. The enemies of
the Gospel attacked not merely Paleario, but the reformers, the
_Germans_, as they said: they tried to involve all the friends of the
Bible, both German and Italian, in the same condemnation. At last, what
had been hoped for came to pass; an important change took place in the
government of the republic; order and liberty were restored. Paleario
thought he could no longer remain away; he left Rome and joined his
family at his country-house near Colle.

[Sidenote: Paleario Accused Of Heresy.]

As soon as his adversaries were informed of his return, they laid a
charge of heresy before the senate of Sienna and the court of Rome.
Determined to employ all means to destroy Paleario, they resolved to
constrain the ecclesiastical authority to go along with them by the
strong pressure they would bring to bear upon it. With this intent
twelve of them met, and, bent on prevailing upon the archbishop to
demand that Paleario should be put upon his trial, they marched through
the streets of the city to the prelate’s palace. In this excited band
there was the senator Cotta with five others, distinguished among whom
was Alexis Lucrinas, an impetuous and foolish man; then three priests,
people of little importance, but very violent, grossly ignorant, and
untiring babblers;[863] and lastly, three monks. The archbishop happened
just then to be at his villa in the suburbs, for the sake of the purer
air; the delegates went there after him, accompanying their march with
such shouting, threats, and disputes, that the women, attracted by the
unusual noise, ran to the windows, fancying they were taking some
criminal to punishment. Some of the conspirators said: ‘The witnesses
will be heard, the motives of his condemnation will be declared, and
then Paleario will be thrown into the fire;’ but others wanted to
proceed more quickly, so that the punishment should follow immediately
upon the statement of the offence without any form of trial and without
permitting the accused to be heard.[864] Archbishop Francesco Bandini,
of the illustrious house of Piccolomini, was a friend of letters and
consequently of Paleario. It was afternoon; the prelate who was taking
his siesta, being awoke by the noise, called a servant, and asked him
who were vociferating in that manner. Being informed that they were men
of consideration, he ordered them to be admitted. He rose from his
couch, took his seat and waited for the strange deputation. They
entered: Lucrinas, who had been sometimes invited to his lordship’s
table, was full of confidence in himself, and accordingly had begged
that they would allow him to speak. Looking round him with a satisfied
and boasting air, he began to pour out against Paleario a long string of
insults and maledictions in a passionate tone. The bishop, a wise and
grave man, had some difficulty to contain himself, and said that the
whole proceeding appeared to him full of levity. ‘There can be no
question of levity,’ impudently exclaimed Lucrinas, ‘when three hundred
citizens are ready to sign the accusation.’ ‘And I could produce six
hundred witnesses,’ rejoined the prelate, ‘who have sworn that you are a
merciless usurer. I did not, however, give effect to their denunciation.
Did I do well or ill? tell me.’ ... The poor wretch was silent; the fact
was too notorious to be denied, and too scandalous to be confessed. But
his companions were not to be put out by such a trifle; they explained
the motives of their prosecution, threw themselves at the prelate’s
feet, and conjured him in the name of religion to support the charge
against Paleario. The archbishop, considering that it was a question of
heresy, thought that it was a matter for the courts to decide, and
consented to their prayer.

[Sidenote: Paleario’s Enemies.]

Paleario’s enemies set to work immediately; they endeavored to prejudice
the most notable persons in Sienna against him; and picked out
individuals from among the populace, who were without light and without
conscience, whom they induced to testify before the court to things of
which they knew nothing.[865] It was in vain that the famous Sadolet,
summoned to Rome by the pope, stopped at Sienna, and undertook
Paleario’s defence. It was in vain that the cardinal, the archbishop,
and Paleario had a consultation in which Sadolet commended the accused
to the archbishop, and gave touching proofs of his esteem and affection
for him; the conspirators were able to turn the interview against the
man whom they had sworn to sacrifice to their hatred. A number of people
who had assembled in the public square began to talk about the
conference: ‘When Paleario was accused by the prelate,’ said some, ‘he
was silent through shame.’ ‘No,’ said the others, ‘he answered, but was
sharply reprimanded by Sadolet.’[866] Impatient to see their victim
handed over to death, happy at having already caused doubt in the mind
of the archbishop, and imagining they had convinced Sfondrati the
president of the republic, and Crasso the prætor, the twelve obtained an
order for Paleario to be summoned before the senate on a charge of

That innocent and just man was not blind to the danger and difficulty of
his position. He felt that the calumnies of his enemies would check the
good he hoped to do, would break up old friendships, and destroy the
peace that the city was beginning to enjoy. Ere long, perhaps, his wife
would be a widow and his children orphans: a veil of sadness covered his
face. Oh! how bitter was such a trial! He knew full well that
afflictions awaken heavenly life in the Christian; that it is a
privilege of the child of God; but he was for some time without comfort,
and his soul was bowed down. ‘My adversaries,’ he said, ‘heap wrong upon
wrong, hatred upon hatred:[867] they have done nothing else these six
months. Has there ever been a man saintly enough not to give way under
the attacks of such a perverse zeal? I will not speak of Socrates,
Scipio, Rutilius, or Metellus; certain failings might have laid them
open to the attacks of their enemies. But even He than whom none was so
good, none so holy, even the all-innocent Jesus Christ himself, was
assailed on every side.[868] Alas! where can the righteous man turn?
whom can he implore?’

[Sidenote: Trial Of Paleario.]

Paleario soon learnt to answer this. When he found himself summoned to
appear before the senate, his courage revived. He was not only strong in
his innocence, but the faith which inspired his heart told him that God
loves his servants, and that with Him they are free from every danger.
He went to the palace of the Signiory, and entered the hall, leaning on
the arm of the youthful Faustus Bellantes, son of his old friend,
accompanied by some faithful men who were unwilling to forsake him in
the day of his distress. He stood in the presence of those who held his
life in their hands. Sfondrati the president, Crasso the prætor, the
senate, and the Nine were seated in their judicial chairs. His
adversaries were there also; Cotta especially, full of presumptuous
assurance, and feeling certain that the time had come at last when he
could fall upon his prey. Paleario recognized him; he was agitated and
indignant at seeing him quietly taking his seat in the senate, at the
very time he was bent on carrying out an infamous plot. He contained
himself, however; and, first addressing the senators, to whom he gave
the title employed in ancient Rome, he said:[869] ‘Conscript fathers,
when there was a talk about me in former years, I was not seriously
moved by it: the times were times of desolation; all human and divine
rights were confounded in the same disorder. But now, when, by the
goodness of God, men of wisdom have been placed at the head of the
republic, when the sap and the blood circulate afresh through the
state,[870] why should I not lift up my head?’

By degrees Paleario grew warm; his eyes fell again upon his insolent
enemy whom he apostrophized as Cicero did Catiline: ‘Cotta, you wicked,
arrogant, and factious man,’ he said, ‘who practise not that religion in
which God is worshipped in spirit and in truth, but that which plunges
into every superstition, because it is the best adapted to impose upon
mankind: Cotta, you imagine you are a Christian, because you bear the
image of Christ upon your purple robe; while by your calumnies you are
crushing an innocent man, who is also an image, a living image, of Jesus
Christ. When you accused me falsely of a crime, did you obey Jesus
Christ? When you went to the house of the Nine to utter falsehoods
against me, did you think, Cotta, you were making a pilgrimage to
Jerusalem? I am surprised that you do not crucify innocent persons....
You would do it—yes, you would do it, if you could do all that your
pride suggests.’[871]

Paleario then passed on to a more important subject. In attacking him,
his adversaries really attacked the Gospel, the Reformation, and those
excellent men whom God was making use of to transform Christian society.
Paleario defended the reformers in the presence of all Italy.

[Sidenote: Paleario’s Defence.]

‘You bring impudent reproaches against me, Cotta,’ he continued; ‘you
assert that I think wrongly on religious matters, that I am falling into
heresy, and you accuse me of having adopted the opinions of the
_Germans_. What a paltry accusation! Do you pretend to bind all the
Germans in the same bundle? Are all the Germans bad? Do you not know
that the august emperor is a German? Will you say that you mean only the
theologians? What noble theologians there are in Germany! But though
your accusations are unmeaning in appearance, there is a sting lying
under them. I know the venom they contain.... The _Germans_ that you
mean are Œcolampadius, Erasmus, Melancthon, Luther, Pomeranus, Bucer,
and their friends. But is there a single theologian in Italy so stupid
as not to know that there are many things worthy of praise in the works
of those doctors?... Exact, sincere, earnest, they have professed the
truths which we find set forth by the early fathers. To accuse the
Germans is to accuse Origen, Chrysostom, Cyrillus, Irenæus, Hilary,
Augustin, and Jerome. If I purpose imitating those illustrious doctors
of Christian antiquity, why repeat perpetually that I think like the
Germans? What! because the learned professors of the German schools have
followed the footsteps of those holy men of the first centuries, may not
I follow them also? You would like me to imitate the folly of those who,
to obtain good preferments, fight against even that which is good in
Germany.... Ah! conscript fathers, rather than strive after those
delights which lead many astray, I prefer to live honestly. My
circumstances may be narrow, but my conscience is at liberty.[872] Let
those vile flatterers sit on the doctor’s seat or the bishop’s throne,
let them put mitres or tiaras on their heads, let them wear the
purple.[873]... Not so for me, I will remain in my library, sitting on a
wooden stool, wearing a woollen garment against the cold, a linen
garment in the heat, and with only a little bed on which to taste the
repose of sleep.

‘But, Cotta, you still continue your attacks; you reproach me for
praising all the Germans say and do. No! there are some things I approve
of in them and others that I do not. When I meet with thoughts which for
ages have been obscured by a barbarous style, hidden under the brambles
of scholasticism, and sunk into the deepest darkness—when I see these
brought into the full light of day, placed within the reach of all, and
expressed in the choicest Latinity, I not only praise the Germans, but I
heartily thank them. Sacred studies had fallen asleep in convent cells,
where the idle men who should have cultivated them had hidden themselves
as if in gloomy forests, under the pretence of applying to work. But
what happened? They snored so loud that we could hear them in our cities
and towns.[874] Now, learning has been restored to us; Latin, Greek, and
Chaldee libraries have been formed; assistance has been honorably
extended to the theologians; precious books have been multiplied by
means of the wonderful invention of printing. Can there be anything more
striking, more glorious, or more deserving our eternal gratitude?’

After this defence of the literary and reforming movement of Germany,
Paleario came to what is grander than all—to Christ: ‘Are they not
insufferable men,’ he said, ‘nay, wicked men, before whom we dare not
praise the God of our salvation, Jesus Christ, the King of all nations,
by whose death such precious boons have been conferred upon the human
race? And yet for this, conscript fathers, yes, for this I am reproached
in the accusation brought against me. On the authority of the most
ancient and most faithful documents, I had declared that the end of all
evils had arrived, that all condemnation was done away with for those
who, being converted to Christ crucified, trust in him with perfect
confidence. These are the things that appeared detestable to those
twelve ... shall I say to those twelve men or twelve wild beasts, who
desire that the man who wrote these things should be thrown into the
fire! If I must suffer that penalty for the testimony I have borne to
the Son of God, believe me that no happier fate could befall me; in
truth, I do not think that a Christian in our times ought to die in his
bed. Ah! conscript fathers, to be accused and cast into prison is a
trifle; to be scourged, to be hanged, to be sewn up in a sack, to be
thrown to wild beasts, to be consumed by fire,—all these are trifles, if
only by such punishments truth is brought into the light of day.’[875]

Aonio Paleario did not speak as a rhetorician; he was no maker of
Ciceronian periods. The man who at this time professed so energetically
the supreme importance of truth and did so again in his _Beneficio di
Gesù Christo crocifisso_,[876] gave his life for it. If he _spoke_ at
Sienna, he was to _act_ at Rome. In each of these phases we recognize
the noble victim of 1570.

After speaking like a martyr, he spoke like a man. He looked round
him: some of the most eminent citizens, the Tancredis, the Placidis,
the Malevoltas were near him full of emotion. Egidio, superior of
the Augustines, and his monks—men abounding in piety and
modesty—strengthened him by their approbation and their prayers. His
two young friends, Faustus and Evander Bellantes, keeping their eyes
fixed upon him, could not restrain their tears. Presently a more
moving sight met his eyes: he beheld Marietta, pale and weeping.
‘What do I see?’ he exclaimed. ‘Thou also, my wife, art thou come
dressed in mourning weeds, accompanied by the noblest and most pious
of women—art thou come with thy children, to throw thyself at the
feet of the senators? O my light, my life, my soul! return home,
train up our children; do not be afraid, Christ who is thy spouse
will be their father.[877]... Alas! she is half killed with
grief.[878] O mother, support her, take her away; take her to your
own home, if you can ... and let your love dry up her tears.’

[Sidenote: Paleario Acquitted.]

The impression produced by this address was so profound, that the senate
declared Paleario innocent. But such a striking triumph served only to
enrage his enemies the more: he saw that he could not remain at Sienna,
and therefore took leave of his friends. Bellantes, on his death-bed,
had commended his children to him, and Paleario exhorted them to aspire
to something great. It is probable that he went to Rome for a short
time, where his friends had got the proceedings set aside which his
enemies had commenced against him; and afterwards to Lucca, where the
chair of eloquence was given him. He left a great void at Sienna, and
his friends were grieved. Faustus Bellantes seemed to express the
feelings of all when he wrote: ‘Since you left, such a torpor has come
over me that I am scarcely able to write.’[879]

[Sidenote: Evangelicals Of Bologna.]

Besides these lights—a Curione or a Paleario, scattered here and there
over Italy—there were societies of Christian men in several cities who
courageously professed evangelical truth. Bologna in particular—a city
in the neighborhood of Ferrara, and whose university was, along with
that of Paris, the first of the great schools of Europe—counted a large
number of laymen and ecclesiastics who, like those of Venice, showed
much zeal and decision for the great principles of the Reformation. When
John of Planitz, ambassador from Saxony to the emperor, crossed the Alps
in 1533, the evangelical Christians of Bologna addressed him with
thorough Italian ardor. ‘We know,’ they said, ‘that the Germans have
thrown off the yoke of antichrist and have attained to the liberty of
the children of God. We know that they are but little troubled because
the hateful name of heretics has been given them, and that, on the
contrary, they rejoice because they are thought worthy of enduring
shame, imprisonment, fire and sword for the cause of Christ. We know
that if they demand a council, it is not in their own interest, but with
a view to the salvation of other people. For this reason all the nations
of Christendom owe a deep debt of gratitude both to them and to you,
most honored lord; but there is no nation more indebted to you than our
own. Of all countries subject to the tyrant, Italy, being the nearest to
him, as it is his seat,[880] experiences the liveliest joy and special
gratitude, because, through the goodness of God, redemption has drawn
nigh to her at last. We entreat you to employ every means for the
convocation of a council. In all the towns of the peninsula, and in Rome
itself, as the emperor knows, a great number of pious, wise, and
distinguished men desire it, are waiting for it, and loudly demanding
it. If the pope should summon a council, he will easily remedy the
abuses that have crept into the Church through the neglect of his
predecessors; and for that excellent work he will receive appropriate
honor from men, and from Jesus Christ life eternal. Let every one be at
liberty to read the books in which learned doctors (the reformers) have
explained their faith. At least let priests, monks, and laity be at
liberty to possess the Bible without incurring the reproach of heresy,
and even to quote the words of Christ and of St. Paul without being
reviled as sectarians. If, on the contrary, Rome tramples under foot the
commandments of the Lord, his grace, his doctrine, his peace, and the
liberty which he gives—has not the reign of Antichrist begun?... If you
need our help, speak! we are ready. If necessary, we will sacrifice our
fortunes and our lives in the Redeemer’s cause; and as long as we live
we will commend it daily to God by fervent prayer.’[881] Such was the
decision of the Christians of Italy, even in the cities subject to the

About the time when this eloquent address reached the lord of Planitz,
John Mollio, a Franciscan from the neighborhood of Sienna, arrived at
Bologna as professor in the university. Convinced by the teaching of the
Holy Scriptures and of the reformers, he professed with great freedom
the Christian truth according to the writings of St. Paul; but the pope
forbade him to lecture on the epistles of that Apostle. Mollio then took
up the other books of the New Testament; but he drew from them the same
doctrine, and his hearers, delighted at seeing the pope’s prohibition
thus evaded, enthusiastically applauded him. The Court of Rome, finding
that there was no means of turning grace out of the Bible, gave orders
to turn Mollio out of the university—which was much easier. However, the
number of evangelical Christians in Bologna continued to increase.[882]

Footnote 835:

  B. Occhino, ‘Responsio qua rationem reddit discessus ex Italia.’

Footnote 836:


Footnote 837:

  B. Occhino, ‘Responsio qua rationem reddit discessus ex Italia.’

Footnote 838:

  Ant. M. Gratiani, Bishop of Amelia: see _Hist. du Cardinal Commendon_,
  liv. ii. ch. ix.

Footnote 839:

  ‘Ut auditorum animos quocumque vellet raperet.’—Bzovius, ad annum

Footnote 840:

  ‘Ut unus optimus totius Italiæ concionator haberetur.’—Bzovius, ad
  annum 1542.

Footnote 841:

  ‘Ex voto quodam quod fuerunt Petro Martyri Mediolanensi, qui quondam
  ab Arianis occisus est.’—Simler, _Vita Petri M. Vermilii_, Tiguri,

Footnote 842:

  ‘Æquales suos quamvis plerosque ingenio excelleret, ita tamen amabat,
  ita modestia sua sibi devinciebat, ut . . . amicissimos semper
  habuerit.’—Simler, _Vita Petri M. Vermilii_, Tiguri, 1569.

Footnote 843:

  ‘Dum litteram aliquandiu sectatur, patefaciente Spiritu Dei, abdita et
  spiritualia mysteria salutariter cognovit.’—Simler, _Vita Petri M.
  Vermilii_, Tiguri, 1569.

Footnote 844:

  ‘Urbs situ, natura, et ingeniis nobilis, inter amœnos colles conclusa,
  fertilis et copiosa.’—_Oratio de Concordia Civium_, p. 380. (_Palearii
  Opera_, Wetstein, Amsterdam.)

Footnote 845:

  ‘Nihil unquam enim civitati defuit nisi concordia civilis.’—_Oratio de
  Concordia Civium._

Footnote 846:

  De Immortalitate Animarum. The poem was published by Gryphius, at
  Lyons, in 1536, through the instrumentality of Cardinal Sadolet,
  Bishop of Carpentras.

Footnote 847:

  ‘Tres igitur sedes statuit pater optimus ipse.’

Footnote 848:

                             ‘Teque, optima Virgo,
                 Victricem, præclare acto _Regina_ triumpho.’

Footnote 849:

  ‘Quales nunc habet ingeniis Germania florens.’

Footnote 850:

                             ‘Oculos defigite in unum,
               Unus ego omnipotens, ego Rex hominumque Deumque,
               Æternumque bonum simplexque, et summa voluptas.’
               (_Ad finem._)

Footnote 851:

  The villa is now the property of Count Guicciardini.

Footnote 852:

  ‘Adolescentulam optimis parentibus bene et pudice educatam ducam in
  uxorem.’—Palearii _Epist._ p. 61.

Footnote 853:

  ‘Malevolorum et invidorum plena sunt omnia.’—_Ibid._ p. 209.

Footnote 854:

  ‘Mane aut inclinato in pomeridianum tempus die, cum Lampridio et
  Phædro, suavissimis pueris, et cum mulieribus nostris circum villulas
  errabimus.’—_Ibid._ p. 209.

Footnote 855:

  ‘Lignipodas, qui in aviæ conclave quotidie cursabant.’—Faustus
  Bellantes to Paleario, _Epist._ p. 97.

Footnote 856:

  ‘Rogatus quid primum esset generi hominum a Deo datum, in quo salutem
  collocare mortales possent? Responderim CHRISTUM. Quid secundum?
  CHRISTUM. Quid _tertium_? CHRISTUM.’—Palearii _Epist._ p. 99.

Footnote 857:

  ‘Incredibilem conspirationem scelestissimorum hominum contra te esse
  factam.’—Palearii _Epist._ p. 97.

Footnote 858:

  ‘Cotta asserebat, me salvo, vestigium religionis in civitate reliquum
  esse nullum.’—_Ibid._ p. 99.

Footnote 859:

  ‘Christus tamen meus mihi spem facit, quem sancte et auguste semper
  colui.’—Palearii _Epist._ p. 100.

Footnote 860:

  ‘Sed ego jam humana contemno, fortissimo animo sum.’—_Ibid._

Footnote 861:

  ‘Miserrima est omnium mulierum.’—_Ibid._ p. 103.

Footnote 862:

  ‘In lacrymis jacet totos dies et mærore conficitur.’—_Ibid._

Footnote 863:

  ‘Tenues homines sed arrogantes, imperiti, loquacissimi.’—Palearii
  _Opera_, p. 86.

Footnote 864:

  ‘Alii . . . auditis testibus, mox in ignem conjiciendum censebant,
  indicata causa. Alii, causa dicta pœnam sequi oportere
  putabant.’—Palearii _Opera_.

Footnote 865:

  ‘Testes partim e plebecula tenues, rerum de quibus testimonium
  dixerunt imperiti.’—Palearii _Epist._ p. 116.

Footnote 866:

  ‘Alii respondentem graviter objurgatum a Sadoleto.’—Palearii _Epist._
  p. 118.

Footnote 867:

  ‘Injuriam augere injuria, et odio cumulare odium.’—_Ibid._ p. 119.

Footnote 868:

  ‘Quo nemo melior, nemo sanctior circumventus est innocentissimus
  Christus.’—Palearii _Epist._ p. 116.

Footnote 869:

  _Oratio tertia pro se ipso._ This is the speech which the
  ecclesiastical authorities of Naples cut out of all the copies of
  Paleario’s works that fell into their hands, but which we have found
  complete in the edition of Amsterdam, pp. 73-97.

Footnote 870:

  ‘Cum succus et sanguis Reipublicæ sit restitutus.’—Palearii _Opera_,
  edit. Amsterdam, p. 73.

Footnote 871:

  ‘Homines innocentes in crucem tollas. . . . Tolleres, tolleres quidem
  si quantum furor iste, superbia, iracundia affert, tantum tibi
  liceret.’—_Ibid._ p. 80.

Footnote 872:

  ‘Res domi angusta est; at conscientia in animi penetralibus augusta,
  læta, alacris.’—Palearii _Opera_, edit. Amsterdam, p. 84.

Footnote 873:

  ‘Sedeant illi in cathedra, diademata imponunt, dibaphum

Footnote 874:

  ‘Jacebant divina studia, strata in cellulis hominum otiosorum, qui
  licet in sylvas se abstrusissent, ut in hæc incumberent; ita
  stertebant tamen, ut nos in urbibus et vicis audiremus.’—Palearii
  _Opera_, edit. Amsterdam, pp. 81-85.

Footnote 875:

  ‘Parum est accusari et deduci in carcerem, virgis cædi, reste
  suspendi, insui in culeum, feris objici, ad ignem torreri nos decet,
  si his suppliciis veritas in lucem est proferenda.’—Palearii _Opera_,
  edit. Amsterdam, p. 91.

Footnote 876:

  The fact that Paleario was the author of this book seems clearly
  established by Mr. Babington, as well as by M. J. Bonnet and Mrs.

Footnote 877:

  ‘Nunquam iis sponsore Christo deerit pater.’—Palearii _Opera_, p. 97.

Footnote 878:

  ‘Præ dolore misere exanimatam.’—_Ibid._

Footnote 879:

  ‘Postquam in urbem profectus es, ita nescio quomodo animus meus
  torpuit, ut difficillimum mihi fuerit scribere epistolam
  hanc.’—Palearii _Epist._ p. 93.

Footnote 880:

  ‘Besonders Italien, welches dem Tyrannus am nähesten unterworfen; ja,
  dessen Sitz sey.’—Seckendorff’s translation, p. 1366.

Footnote 881:

  The Italian original, which is dated 5th January, 1533, is preserved
  in the archives of Weimar. Seckendorff gives a German translation in
  his ‘History of Lutheranism,’ pp. 1365-1367.

Footnote 882:

  Mac Crie, _History of the Reformation in Italy_, p. 88.

                              CHAPTER XX.
                     THE GOSPEL AT NAPLES AND ROME.

The Gospel had made noble conquests in the north and centre of the
peninsula: it did the same at Naples, and even at Rome.

It was not the Italians alone who spread the Gospel in Italy. Among the
contemporaries and acquaintances of Paleario, Peter Martyr, and Occhino,
were two twin brothers, descended from one of the oldest families of
Leon in Spain, Juan and Alfonso di Valdez. They were so much alike, that
Erasmus, who knew Alfonso, wrote to Juan: ‘They tell me you are so like
your brother, both in figure and in talent, that when people see you,
they do not take you for twins, but for the same person. I shall regard
you, then, as one, and not two individuals.’[883] And, indeed, some
historians, understanding literally what Erasmus merely intended for a
pleasant jest, have converted the two brothers into one person. One of
them disappears, and it is usually Alfonso: his actions are recorded,
but they are ascribed to Juan. The two Valdez were born in 1500, at
Cuença, in New Castile, of which their father was corregidor in 1520.
Charles V. made Alfonso his secretary,[884] and took him with him when
he left Spain in 1520, to receive the imperial crown at Aix-la-Chapelle.
In the following year the young Spaniard was among the gentlemen who
attended the emperor at Worms, when Luther made his famous appearance
before the Diet. Luther’s writings having been condemned by imperial
decree to be burnt, Alfonso, whom all these events interested in the
highest degree, desired to be present at the execution of the sentence.
When the monks, who surrounded and fed the fire saw all the heretical
paper converted into black ashes, as thin as a spider’s web, and blown
to and fro by the wind, they exclaimed: ‘There is nothing more to fear
now: it is all over;’ and then went away. But such was not Alfonso’s
opinion. ‘They call it the end of the tragedy,’ he wrote to his friend
Peter Martyr of Anghiera (who must not be confounded with Vermigli),
‘but I believe we are only at the beginning of it.’ Valdez, whom
everybody looked upon as a youth of great expectation,[885] became
intimate with Erasmus; perhaps at the suggestion of the emperor, who,
like Francis I., would willingly have united with the prince of the
schools, in order to become master of Luther and the pope, and if
possible to reconcile them. Alfonso, who was a great admirer of Erasmus,
was considered to be more Erasmian than Erasmus himself; but the
disciple went further and higher than the teacher. Erasmus was the
bridge by which Alfonso crossed the river, and passed from Rome to the

[Sidenote: A Dialogue By Valdez.]

In May, 1527, the emperor and his court were at Valladolid, where the
empress awaited her confinement. Valdez was there also. On a sudden the
news arrived of the famous sack of Rome by the troops of Charles V. The
indignation of the clergy, the agitation of the people, and the emotion
of the courtiers were extreme. Although grieved by the excess of which
the capital of Romanism had been the theatre, Alfonso believed it was
the season to say what he thought of the papacy, and consequently he
wrote and published a ‘Dialogue on the Things which happened at
Rome.’[886] The afflictions of the metropolis of catholicism, he says,
have dispersed a great number of its inhabitants; a Roman archbishop,
escaping from the disaster, arrives at Valladolid, and in the town where
a prince (the future Philip II.) had just been born, he meets one of the
emperor’s knights, by name Lactontio. The guilt of these disasters, says
the knight, lies with the pope, who, as instigator of the war and
unfaithful to his oaths, has dishonored his holy calling. Lactontio
draws one of those contrasts of light and darkness, between Christ and
the pontiff, which Luther’s pen could describe so well, but which were
quite new in the ‘most catholic’ kingdom. He goes even further, and
declares for the separation of the spiritual from the temporal power.
‘Is it useful, is it advantageous,’ he asks, ‘for the high priests of
Christendom to possess temporal power? We believe they could occupy
themselves much more freely with spiritual interests if they had not
this great burden of secular things. In all Christendom there is not a
state worse governed than the States of the Church. Erasmus pointed out
the faults of the Court of Rome, but his gentle remonstrances did not
touch you. Then God permitted Martin Luther unsparingly to expose all
your vices in broad daylight, and to detach many churches from their
obedience to you. It was all of no use; neither the respectful advice of
Erasmus nor the irreverent language of Luther could convince Rome of its
errors. God, therefore, had recourse to other appeals, and permitted the
calamities of war to fall upon your impenitent city.’ Here the
archdeacon, much more sensitive about the punishment of Rome than about
its faults, exclaims with mingled sorrow and naïveté: ‘Alas! the sacking
of the city has occasioned a loss of fifteen millions of ducats. Rome
will never become Rome again, even in half a century. The holy church of
St. Peter has been turned into a stable. For forty days not a single
mass has been said in the metropolis of Christendom. Even the bones of
the Apostles were scattered about.’ ‘The relics of the saints should be
honored,’ remarks the knight. ‘Let us understand one another, however; I
do not speak of those which require believers to solve some very thorny
problems—to decide, for instance, whether the mother of the Virgin had
two heads or the Virgin had two mothers.... We should place all our hope
in Jesus Christ alone. Honor images, if you like, but do not dishonor
Jesus Christ, and do not let Paradise be shut against the man who has no
money in his purse.’[887]

This sharp attack, levelled at the papacy, was the more important, as
before the dialogue was published and circulated in Spain, Italy, and
Germany, it had been submitted by Valdez to several men of mark: to Don
Juan Manuel, formerly ambassador of the emperor at Rome, to the
celebrated imperial chancellor Gattinara, to Doctor Carrasco, and
several other theologians, who with a few unimportant observations, had
approved it. Count Castiglione, the papal nuncio, was not to be
deceived; he made a violent attack upon the imperial secretary, called
him a Lutheran, and declared that he could already see him wearing the
ignominious costume of the _autos da fé_.

[Sidenote: Mercury And Charon.]

Alfonso was silent; but a voice was raised in his defence—it was that of
his twin brother. In 1528[888] Juan published a _Dialogue_, half serious
and half in jest, _between Mercury and Charon_, which bears the mark of
a young writer. While the ferryman of Hades is busy taking over the
souls which come to him on the banks of the Styx, he is accosted by the
messenger of heaven, who makes use of strong language about the papacy.
‘So great is the corruption of those who call themselves Christians,’ he
says, ‘that I should consider it a great insult if they wanted to change
their name and be called _Mercurians_. One day,’ he continues, ‘seeing a
number of people approaching the altar to receive the host, I followed
them, with the pious design of partaking one of the wafers the priests
were distributing. But I was refused; and why? Solely because I would
not pay for it.’ Then, turning to the relics, whose dispersion was
considered to be the greatest outrage in the sack of Rome, Juan
introduces St. Peter, and puts wiser words into his mouth on this
subject than those of Mercury. According to the fervent apostle, the
plunder of Rome teaches Christians that they ought to set more value
upon one of the epistles of St. Paul or of himself than upon all the
_relics_ of their bodies. ‘The homage hitherto paid to our bones,’ he
continues, ‘must now be paid to the spirit which, for the good of
Christians, we have enshrined in our writings.’ But the satire
immediately begins again. At the thought of the sack of Rome, Mercury
bursts out into an ‘Olympian laugh.’ ‘Behold the judgment of God!’ he
says; ‘the sellers have been sold, the robbers have been robbed, and the
ill-doers ill-done!’ And when Charon complains that the pretended vicars
of heaven often forget to keep their word, ‘It is quite the rule,’
answers Mercury, ‘that at the place where the best wine grows you drink
the worst; that the cobbler is always ill-shod, and the barber never
shaved.’ The dialogues of the twin brothers, so full of wit and yet of
Christian truth, excited loud recriminations; for the moment, however,
persecution did not touch them. It is true, the priests raised a violent
storm against them; but they were protected by the name of Charles V. In
March, 1529, Erasmus wrote to Juan, congratulating him on having escaped
safe and sound from the tempest.[889]

When the emperor returned to Germany, Alfonso accompanied him. At
Augsburg, in 1530, as we have said in another place,[890] he played the
part of mediator between Charles V. and the protestants, and immediately
translated the celebrated evangelical confession into Spanish. But in
April, 1533, when Charles V. embarked at Genoa on his return to Spain,
Valdez remained in Italy. If he had accompanied his master, even that
powerful monarch, it was said, could not have preserved him from the
death the monks were preparing for him. From this period Alfonso seems
to have shared his time between Germany and Italy: henceforward his
brother occupies the foremost place. He was converted to the Gospel
after Alfonso, but eventually outstripped him.

[Sidenote: Juan Valdez At Naples.]

Juan had been forced to leave his native country.[891] He did not go to
Germany, as some have said, confounding him with his brother; but
henceforward he occupies an important position in Italy. In 1531 he went
to Naples, thence he proceeded to Rome, returning again to Naples in
1534, where he spent the remainder of his days. Some zealous
protestants, who formed part of the German army, and had been sent, in
1528, to drive off the French, who were besieging that city, were the
first to propagate the knowledge of the Gospel in that district. ‘But
when Juan Valdez arrived,’ says the Roman-catholic Caracciolo, ‘he alone
committed greater ravages among souls than many thousands of heretic
soldiers had done.’[892] Some have thought that he occupied the post of
secretary to the viceroy of Naples. But if he had an office at court, he
soon resigned it to enjoy his independence. ‘He did not frequent the
court very much,’ says Curione, ‘after Christ was revealed to him.’[893]

Persecution had made Juan more serious; the experiences of his inner
life had matured him; he was still busy with literature and
languages,[894] but he loved the Gospel above everything, and sought to
make it known by his conversation as well as by his writings. There was
such grace in his mind, such peace and innocence in his features, such
attraction in his character, that he exercised an irresistible charm
over all who came near him. He soon gathered a circle of scholars and
gentlemen about him; he strove to extricate them from their worldliness,
to convince them of the nothingness of their own righteousness, and to
lead them to the salvation that is in Christ Jesus. He was even a torch
to enlighten some of the most celebrated preachers of Italy. ‘I know
it,’ says Curione, ‘for I have heard it from their own mouths.’ But at
the same time he had so much love in his heart and so much simplicity in
his manners, that he put the poor at their ease, and won the confidence
even of the rudest men, the lazzaroni of that day. He became all things
to all men to bring souls to Christ.[895] Valdez was not robust; he was
thin, and his limbs were weak; and it would appear that the state of his
health induced him to settle at Naples. ‘But,’ said his friends, ‘one
part of his soul served to animate his delicate and puny nature, while
the greater part of that clear, bright spirit was devoted to the
contemplation of truth.’ He generally collected his friends together at
Chiaja, near Pausilippo and Virgil’s tomb, in a villa whose gardens
looked over the wide sea, in front of the island of Nisida. In that
delightful country ‘where Nature exults in her magnificence and smiles
on all who behold her,’ Juan Valdez, and such as were attracted by the
loveliness of his doctrine and the holiness of his life, passed hours
and days never to be forgotten. He was not content to admire with them
the magnificence of nature; he introduced them to the magnificence of
grace. ‘An honored and brilliant knight of the emperor,’ says Curione,
‘he was a still more honored and brilliant knight of Jesus Christ.’[896]

[Sidenote: Peter Martyr Vermigli.]

Among the eminently gifted men who gathered round him was Peter Martyr
Vermigli, abbot of St. Peter’s _ad aram_. Peter Martyr, as we have said,
had gone from Spoleto to Naples in 1530, where he had made great
progress in the knowledge of the Gospel. Nothing could divert him from
the search after truth; neither fear of the world, nor the great income
he possessed, nor the high dignity with which he was invested. That
earnest soul, that profound mind, pursued after the knowledge of God
with indefatigable zeal. Being called to give drink to the sheep which,
attracted by his voice, crowded to the sheepfold, he was thirsty
himself, and alas! he had no water. He experienced that tormenting, that
bitter, that violent thirst under which the strongest men sometimes give
way. It was then he heard those words of Christ: _If any man thirst, let
him come unto me and drink_. He knew that man _comes_ to Christ by
faith,—by believing in his holiness, in his love, in his promises, and
in his almighty power to save. Putting scholasticism aside, and no
longer contenting himself with the Fathers of the Church, he hastened to
the fountain of Scripture and drank of the cup of salvation.[897] He
knew the fulness of grace which is in the Redeemer, and understood how
those who seek consolation elsewhere labor in vain. Growing more
enlightened every day by the Spirit of God, he discovered the grievous
errors of the Church and the simple grandeur of the Gospel. It was at
Naples that the light of the divine Word shone into his soul with
increasing glory and splendor.[898] Vermigli admired the beauties of
creation,[899] the sea glittering in the sunshine, and the graceful
promontories of the bay; but he loved still better to plunge into the
mysterious splendors of grace. He did not confine himself to the
writings of the Apostles, but added those of the reformers,—of Bucer,
Zwingle, Luther, and Melancthon. Zwingle’s treatise on _False and True
Religion_ showed him the necessity of returning to the simplicity and
primitive customs of the Church. Almost every day he conversed upon Holy
Scripture with friends who, like himself, loved religion pure and
undefiled, and principally with Flaminio and Valdez.[900] But above all
things he sought to impart by preaching the light which he had received.

[Sidenote: Purgatorial Fire.]

To this end Vermigli undertook to preach on the First Epistle to the
Corinthians, which he did in the presence of a large audience, including
even bishops. When he came to the third chapter,[901] he first showed
what was the foundation upon which the whole of Christian doctrine must
be built: _For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which
is Jesus Christ_, says the Apostle. But what is built on that stone?
When the architect has laid the foundations of the edifice he intends to
raise, he employs various materials to complete the work. Marble,
porphyry, and jasper shall form the pillars, the mantel-pieces, the
pavement, and the statues; gold and silver will serve for the internal
decorations; but there will also be wood and paper, stubble and other
coarse materials employed in the structure. It is so with the edifice of
God. On the foundation, which is Christ, we must build sound doctrines
which flow from Christ himself, from his divinity, truth, grace, and
spirit. If false doctrines are substituted for them,—doctrines
proceeding from man’s own righteousness and from the darkness with which
sin has overshadowed his understanding, what will happen? When a
conflagration breaks out, the fire makes manifest the divers materials
with which the house was built: the flame consumes the wood and stubble;
but it attacks in vain the marble and the jasper, the silver and gold:
these it cannot destroy. So it will be with the doctrines taught in the
Church. ‘False teachings cannot eternally pass for true,’ said Peter
Martyr. ‘There is nothing hidden which shall not be revealed; if the
falsehood of the dogmas put forth is not detected at the first, time
will make it known.[902] The day will come when every error hidden under
an appearance of truth shall be declared to be error in the most
striking manner; all darkness shall be scattered, everything will be
valued in conformity with its strict reality.[903] The eternal judgment
of God is the _fire that shall try every man’s work_. It is not enough
that the doctrines should be approved by the judgment of men, they must
be able to stand before the fire of God’s trial.[904] The day and the
fire of which the Apostle speaks are the piercing investigation, the
sure touchstone, which will enable us at last to distinguish between
true doctrines and false.[905] _Gold, stubble, fire_—they are all

Peter Martyr’s audience, and especially the ecclesiastics, were unable
to conceal their surprise. The passage which he thus explained was that
on which the Romish Church based the doctrine of purgatorial fire; but
the learned doctor found something quite different in it. The priests
and monks not only saw that precious fire taken away from which they had
derived so much profit, but saw another fire substituted for it, which
threatened to consume their traditions and practices, _their hay and
stubble_. And hence the sermon aroused a storm in the hitherto calm
waters of Naples. The monks accused the prior of St. Peter’s _ad aram_,
and his friends of Chiaja defended him. His enemies succeeded in closing
the pulpit against him; but on the intervention of the powerful
protectors he possessed at Rome, his liberty of preaching was restored.

[Sidenote: Illustrious Women At Chiaja.]

This petty persecution was salutary to the Christian circle at Chiaja.
It grew wider, and its meetings were attended by nobles and scholars,
among others by Benedetto Gusano de Verceil, and a Neapolitan nobleman,
Giovanni Francesco Caserta.[906] The latter had a young relative, at
that time living in the midst of the splendors of the world. The Marquis
Caraccioli, one of the grandees of Naples, had an only son, Galeazzo.
Ardently desiring to perpetuate his name, he married him early to a
wealthy heiress, Vittoria, daughter of the Duke of Nocera, who bore him
four sons and two daughters. As soon as the old marquis saw that his
desire for posterity would be satisfied, he turned his ambition in
another direction, and sent his son to the court of the emperor, who
invested him with one of the great offices of his household. As Galeazzo
was not always on service, he returned from time to time to Naples,
where he gave himself up entirely to the vanities of the world, to the
pleasures of the earth, and to projects of ambition. A close friendship,
however, bound him to the pious Caserta. The Christian, taking advantage
of this intimacy, spoke to the worldling about the Word of God and the
only way of salvation which is Christ Jesus; but after these
conversations, the youthful chamberlain of Charles V. would hurry off to
theatre or ball. Caserta took him to hear Peter Martyr; and then
thinking that a society so cultivated as that which met at Chiaja might
perhaps win over his friend, he introduced him to Valdez. For some time
longer the seed continued to fall among thorns; but a little later the
young marquis received with joy the salvation of the Gospel, and,
desiring to remain faithful to it, he took refuge in Geneva. Calvin, who
welcomed him like a son, dedicated one of his writings to him, to show
his respect for the firmness of his faith. Although Caraccioli ‘did not
court the applause of men, and was content to have God alone for a
witness,’ the reformer, when he saw the illustrious Neapolitan refugee,
exclaimed with emotion: ‘Here is a man of ancient house and great
parentage, flourishing in honors and in goods, having a noble and
virtuous wife, a family of children, quiet and peace in his house, in
short, happy in everything that concerns the state of this life, but who
has voluntarily abandoned the place of his birth to stand beneath the
banner of Christ. He made no difficulty in leaving his lordship, a
fertile and pleasant country, a great and rich patrimony, a convenient,
comfortable, and cheerful palace; he broke up his household, he left
father, wife, children, relations, and friends, and after abandoning so
many allurements of the world, he is content with our littleness, and
lives frugally according to the habits of the commonalty—neither more
nor less than any one of us.’[907]

In the select society which gathered round Valdez, there were also, as
at Thessalonica in the days of St. Paul, _of the chief women not a few_.
Among these high-born dames was Vittoria Colonna, widow of that famous
general the Marquis of Pescara, a woman illustrious for her beauty, and
her talent, whose poems were much admired at the time, and in whose
society, the poet Bernardo Tasso, father of him who wrote the ‘Jerusalem
Delivered,’ and Cardinal Bembo, learned some of the truths of the
Gospel. There also might be seen Isabella di Bresegna, to whom Curione
dedicated the works of Olympia Morata; but above all Guilia di Gonzaga,
widow of Vespasiano Colonna, Duke of Trajetto,[908] the most beautiful
woman in Italy. So great was the reputation of her beauty in Europe, and
even beyond it, that Barbarossa the corsair determined to carry her off.
Having undertaken in 1534 to terrify Naples, he suddenly appeared before
that city with a hundred sail, and landing near Fondi, between Gaeta and
Terracina, where the duchess was living on her estate, he tried to
surprise her; but she escaped the bird of prey, though not without
difficulty. This attempt was one of the motives which determined Charles
to undertake the expedition to Tunis. It is thus that men and women, of
whom the 16th century is proud, adorned the evangelical circle of

While Valdez reposed on the beautiful hills of Pausilippo, in the midst
of orange and fig trees, and in front of the wide sea, he loved to
indulge peacefully in religious meditations, and not unfrequently the
thoughts with which he was busy formed the subject of interesting
conversations with his friends. Certain topics—_Considerazioni_, as he
called them—occupied a mind at once eminently original and Christian.
Virgil’s tomb, which was situated a few paces off, might have suggested
other thoughts: the dying poet had ordered the following words to be
carved on his sepulchre:

                 _Parthenope, cecini pascua, rura, duces._

The country life and the warlike exploits which the prince of Latin
poets sang have great attractions to many minds; but the visitors at
Pausilippo, whose history we are relating, had higher aspirations, and
conversed on topics which it is our duty to record.

‘In what do the sons of God differ,’ they asked, ‘from the sons of
Adam?—Why is the state of a Christian who believes with difficulty
better than that of him who believes with ease?—Why does God give a
child to a Christian and suddenly take it away?—The man from whom God
takes away the love of the world, and to whom He gives the love of God,
experiences nearly the same thing as he who ceases to love one woman and
becomes enamored of another.[909]—To believe with difficulty is the sign
of a call from God.—Those who tread the Christian path without the
inward light of the Holy Spirit, are like those who walk by night
without the light of the sun.—How can God make himself _felt_, and how
can he permit himself to be _seen_?—The evils of curiosity, and how we
ought to read the Scriptures without curiosity.—Why are the
superstitious severe, while true Christians are merciful?—How God reigns
by Christ, and Christ is the head of the Church.—The three kinds of
conscience: that of the natural law, that of the written law, and th