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Title: History of the Reformation in Europe in the time of Calvin. Vol. 2 (of 8)
Author: Merle d'Aubigné, J. H. (Jean Henri)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of the Reformation in Europe in the time of Calvin. Vol. 2 (of 8)" ***

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Transcriber's note:

Obvious printer errors corrected silently.

Hyphenation has been rationalised. Inconsistent spelling (including
accents) has been retained.

Small capitals have been replaced by full capitals. Italics are
indicated by _underscores_.

Running headers, at the top of each right-hand page, have been converted
into Sidenotes and moved in front of the paragraphs to which they refer.







 'Les choses de petite durée ont coutume de devenir fanées, quand elles
 out 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.'







Calvin's Friend—The Students at Orleans—Pierre de l'Etoile—Opinions
concerning Heretics—Calvin received in the Picard Nation—Calvin
nominated Proctor—Procession for the Maille de Florence—Distinguished by
the Professors—His Friends at Orleans—Daniel and his Family—Melchior
Wolmar—Calvin studies Greek with him—Benefit to the Church of God
                                                                    PAGE 1


Wolmar teaches him about Germany—Orleans in 1022 and 1528—Calvin's
Anguish and Humility—What made the Reformers triumph—Phases of Calvin's
Conversion—He does not invent a new Doctrine—I sacrifice my Heart to
Thee—His Zeal in Study—He supplies Pierre de l'Etoile's place—Calvin
sought as a Teacher—He seeks a Hiding-place for Study—Explains the
Gospel in Private Families—His first Ministry


Calvin at his Father's Bed-side—His first Letter—Beza arrives at
Orleans—Calvin goes to Bourges—Brilliant Lessons of Alciati—Wolmar and
Calvin at Bourges—Wolmar calls him to the Evangelical Ministry—The
Priest and the Minister—Calvin's Hesitation—He evangelises—Preaches at
Lignières—Recalled by his Father's Death—Preachings at Bourges—Tumult


Margaret's Regret—Complaints of Erasmus—Plot of the Sorbonne against
Berquin—His Indictment prepared—The Queen intercedes for him—Berquin at
the Conciergerie—Discovery of the Letter—He is imprisoned in a strong
Tower—Sentence—Recourse to God—Efforts of Budæus to save him—His Earnest
Appeals to Berquin—Fall and Uprising of Berquin—Margaret writes to the
King—Haste of the Judges—Procession to the Stake—Berquin joyous in the
presence of Death—His Last Moments—Effect on the Spectators—Murmurs,
Tricks, and Indignation—Effect of his Death in France—The Martyrs'
Hymn—The Reformer rises again from his Ashes


Calvin turns towards a Christian Career—His old Patrons—Calvin's Sermon
and Hearers—Determines to go to Paris—Focus of Light—Coiffart's
Invitation—Professor Cop goes to see him—Visit to a Nunnery—An Excursion
on horseback—Devotes himself to Theology—Speaks in the Secret
Assemblies—Movement in the _Quartier Latin_—Writings put into
circulation—Calvin endeavours to bring back Briçonnet—Fills the Vessels
with costly Wine—Efforts to convert a young Rake—Beda attacks the King's
Professors—Calvin's Scriptural Principles—Small Beginnings of a great


Margaret promotes Unity—Progress of the Reformation—Death of the Queen's
Child—Orders a _Te Deum_ to be sung—Marriage of Francis I. and
Eleanor—Crowd of learned Men—Margaret in the Desert—The Fountain Pure
and Free—Fatal Illness of Louisa of Savoy—Margaret's Care and
Zeal—Magnificent but chimerical Project


Charles V. accuses the Protestants—The German Protestants to Francis
I.—The King sends an Envoy to them—The Envoy's Imprudence and
Diplomacy—Queen Margaret's Prayer-book—Lecoq's Sermon before the
King—_Sursum Corda_—Lecoq's Interview with the King—Lecoq's
Fall—Fanaticism at Toulouse—Jean de Caturce finds Christ—Twelfth-night
Supper—Caturce arrested—His Degradation—He disputes with a Monk—Two
Modes of Reformation


Daniel tries to bind Calvin to the Church—Calvin resists the
Temptation—His Commentary on Seneca's _Clemency_—His Motives—His
Difficulties and Troubles—Zeal in making his Book known—Calvin's Search
for Bibles in Paris—An unfortunate _Frondeur_—Calvin receives him
kindly—Various Attacks-The Shop of La Forge—Du Tillet and his
Uncertainty—Testimony rendered to Calvin—Relations between Queen
Margaret and Calvin—He refuses to enter the Queen's Service—The Arms of
the Lord


William du Bellay and his Projects—Luther opposed to War—Alliance of
Smalkalde-Assemblies at Frankfort and Schweinfurt—Luther's Opposition to
Diplomacy—No Shedding of Blood—Du Bellay's Speech—Du Bellay and the
Landgrave—The Wurtemberg Question—Peace of Nuremberg—Great Epochs of
Revival—Francis I. unites with Henry VIII.—Confidential Intercourse at
Bologna—Plan to emancipate his Kingdom from the Pope—Message sent by
Francis to the Pope—Christendom will separate from Rome

 (AUTUMN 1532.)

Alarm occasioned by this Conference—Christopher of Wurtemberg—His
Adversity—The Emperor and his Court cross the Alps—Christopher's
Flight—He is sought for in vain—Claims the Restoration of Wurtemberg

 (LENT 1533.)

Roussel invited to preach in the Churches—His Fears—Refusal of the
Sorbonne—Preachings at the Louvre—Crowded Congregations—Effects of these
Preachings—Margaret again desires to open the Churches—Courault and
Berthaud preach in them—Essence of Evangelical Preaching—Its
Effects—Agitation of the Sorbonne—They will not listen—Picard, the
Firebrand—Sedition of Beda and the Monks—The People agitated—God holds
the Tempests in his Hand


The Chiefs of the two Parties imprisoned—Beda traverses Paris on his
Mule—Indignation of the King—He insults the Deputies of the
Sorbonne—Duprat imprisons Picard—Priests and Doctors summoned—Francis
resolves to prosecute the Papists—Condemnation of the three Chiefs—Is
the Cause of Rome lost?—Grief and Joy—Illusions of the Friends of the
Reform—A Student from Strasburg—The four Doctors taken away by the
Police—Belief that the Reform has come—The Students' Satire—Their Jokes
upon Cornu—Appeal of the Sorbonne—Fresh Placards—Progress of the
Reform—If God be for us, who can be against us?—Agitation—Siderander at
the Gate of the Sorbonne—Desires to speak to Budæus—Fresh Attacks

 (WINTER 1532-1533.)

The Parties face to face—The Emperor demands a Council—Reasons of the
Pope against it—Moral Inertia of the Papacy—The Pope's
Stratagems—Italian League—Tournon and Gramont arrive—They try to win
over the Pope—A great but sad Affair—Catherine de Medici—Offer and
Demand of Francis I.—The Pope's Joy—Thoughts of Henry VIII. on the
proposed Marriage—Advantages to be derived from it

 (WINTER 1532-1533.)

Doubts insinuated by Charles V.—Let the Full Powers be demanded—The
King's Hesitation—The Full Powers arrive—The Emperor's new Manœuvres—His
Vexation—Charles V. demands a General Council—Francis I. proposes a Lay
Council—Importance of that Document—True Evangelical Councils—Charles
condemns and Francis justifies—Secularisation of the Popedom—The Pope
signs the Italian League—Cardinals' Hats demanded—Vexation of Charles V.—
Projected Interview between the King and the Pope—The Marriage will take

 (SUMMER 1533.)

Uneasiness and Terror of the Ultramontanes—Plot against the Queen of
Navarre—_The Mirror of the Sinful Soul_—Beda discovers Heresy in
it—Denounces it to the Sorbonne—Assurance of Salvation—The Queen
attacked from the Pulpits—Errors of Monasticism—The _Tales_ of the
Queen of Navarre—Search after and Seizure of the _Mirror_—Rage of
the Monks against the Queen—Margaret's Gentleness—Comedy acted at the
College of Navarre—The Fury Megæra—Transformation of the Queen—
Montmorency tries to ruin her—Christians made a Show

 (AUTUMN 1533.)

Montmorency—The Prior of Issoudun—The Police at the College—Arrest of
the Principal and the Actors—Judgment of the Sorbonne denounced to the
Rector—Speech of Rector Cop—The Sorbonne disavows the Act—Le Clerq's
Speech—The University apologises—Reform Movement in France—Men of
Mark—New Attacks

 (OCTOBER 1533.)

The Marriage announced to the Cardinals—Stratagems of the Imperialists
to prevent it—The Swiss—The Moors—The Pope determines to go—Catherine in
the Ships of France—The Pope sails for France—Various Feelings—The
Pope's Arrival at Marseilles—Nocturnal Visit of the King to the
Pope—Embarrassment of the First President—Conferences between the King
and the Pope—The Bull against the Heretics—The Wedding—Catherine's
Joy—What Catherine brings—The Pope's Health declines—The Modern Janus

 (NOVEMBER 1533.)

Calvin and Cop share the Work—Inaugural Sitting of the University in
1533—Calvin's Address—The Will of God is manifested—Effect of the
Address—Indignation of the Sorbonne—One only Universal Church—The
University divided—Interest felt by the Queen—Calvin summoned by the
Queen—No one shall stop the Renewal of the Church—The Rector going in
State to the Parliament—Stopped by a Messenger—Cop's Flight—Order to
arrest Calvin—He is entreated to flee—Calvin's Flight—Disguise—
Probability of the Story—Goes into Hiding—Many Evangelicals leave
Paris—Margaret's Farewell

 (WINTER 1533-1534.)

Christopher applies to Francis—Will the King unite with the
Protestants?—Du Bellay urges him—Du Bellay passes through
Switzerland—His Speech to Austria—Christopher's Friends—Du Bellay pleads
for him—His Threats—The French Envoy triumphs—The Landgrave's
Projects—Luther opposes them—Conversation between Luther and
Melanchthon—Their Efforts with the Landgrave—Conference between the
Landgrave and the King—Philip and Francis come to an Understanding—
Francis asks for Melanchthon—The Treaty signed—Contradictions in
Francis I

 (WINTER 1533-1534.)

The Churches of Paris closed against the Gospel—Private
Assemblies—Dispersed by Morin—New Attack against the Faculty of
Letters—Lutherans threatened with the Stake—Three hundred Evangelicals
sent to Prison—Disputation between Beda and Roussel—Beda's Book
exasperates the King—Margaret intercedes for the Evangelicals—They are
set at liberty—Alexander at Geneva and in Bresse—He preaches at
Lyons—His Activity and Prudence—He is believed to possess Satanic
Powers—Margaret at Paris—The Populace hinder Roussel from
preaching—Alexander preaches at Lyons at Easter—Seized and condemned to
Death—Journey from Lyons to Paris—Appears before the Parliament—Put to
the Torture—Sacerdotal Degradation—Martyrdom—Testimony rendered to

 (SPRING 1534.)

Interview between Du Bellay and Bucer—The great Fusion is
preparing—Francis I. aids it—His Hopes—Fears and Predictions in
Germany—Austria invokes the Help of the Pope—Sanchez's Interview with
Clement VII.—Consequences of the Temporal Power—The Landgrave advances
with his Army—Melanchthon's Trouble—The Landgrave's Victory—Terror at
Rome—Joy at the Louvre—Wurtemberg restored to its Princes—Religious
Liberty established by the Treaty—Accessions to the Reform

 (SUMMER 1534.)

A Student of Nismes arrives at Wittemberg—Melanchthon's Letter to
Margaret—Conversation between Margaret and Baduel—Francis I. sends
Chelius into Germany—Melanchthon's Anguish—Chelius received with
Joy—Melanchthon's Zeal—Diverse Opinions on the Union—Bucer's Approval
and Sincerity—Memoirs of the three Doctors—Sitting at the Louvre—Bucer
and Melanchthon denounce the Blemishes of Popery—Moderation—The Church
must have a Government—One single Pontiff—Justification and the Mass—The
Sacraments—Protest against Abuses—Melanchthon's Prayer

 (SUMMER 1534.)

Death of the Provostess of Orleans—The Provost and the Friars—Vengeance
invented by the Cordeliers—First Appearance of the Ghost—Second
Appearance—The Provostess tormented for her Lutheranism—The Official's
Investigation—The Students in the Chapel—The Provost appeals to the
King—Arrest of the Monks—They are taken to Paris—The Novice confesses
the Trick—Condemnation—End of the Matter

 (AUTUMN 1534.)

Francis acknowledges his Mistakes in Religion—Promises Help to the
German Protestants—French Edition of the Articles communicated to Rome
and the Sorbonne—Alarm of the Sorbonne—The French Spirit—Discussion
between the King's Ministers and the Sorbonne—The Bishops and the Roman
Pontiff—Indifferent Matters—Prayers to the Saints and Saints' Days—The
Mass-mongers—Restoration of the Lord's Supper—Communion with Christ by
Faith—Transubstantiation and the Monasteries—An Assembly of Laymen and
Divines—Peril of Catholicism—England and France—Fresh Efforts of the
Sorbonne—Is Protestantism to be feared by Kings?—Uneasiness of Calvin's
Friends—Dangers of these Conciliations—An Event about to change the
State of Things



The Crisis—The Means of Salvation—The Nations behindhand—New Position of
Geneva—The Castles and the neighbouring Seigneurs—Pontverre against the
Swiss Alliance—The Gentlemen on the Highway—Violence and Contempt—
Sarcasms and Threats—The Genevans under arms—Moderation of the
Genevans towards the Disloyal—Favre's Mission to Berne—Cartelier's
Condemnation—Pardoned by the Bishop—The Bishop's Hesitation and Fear


Laymen and Ecclesiastics—Councillor Ab Hofen, the Friend of Zwingle, at
Geneva—His Christian Conversations—The Priests—The Politicians—Zwingle's
Encouragement—He cheers up Ab Hofen—Opposition and Dejection—Ab Hofen's
Departure, Death, and Influence—The Sack of Rome—Effects of this
Catastrophe—The Genevans compare the Pope and their Bishop—Union of
Faith and Morality

 (SUMMER 1527.)

The Bishop desires to ally with the Swiss—The Swiss refuse—Plot of the
Duke against the Bishop—The Duke's Scheme—Preparations and Warning—The
Bishop escapes—Failure of the Plot—Terror of the Bishop—The Huguenots
wish to get rid of the Canons—The Bishop puts the Canons in prison—The
Bishop desires to become a Citizen—The Syndics call for Lay
Tribunals—The Bishop grants them—Joy of the Citizens—Prerogatives of the
Bishop questioned—The Duke's Irritation—A Ducal Envoy releases the
Canons—They quit Geneva—Various Opinions about their Departure


Bishopers and Commoners—Complaints against the Priests—A Young Woman
kidnapped by the Bishop—The People compel him to restore her—Right of
Resistance—Quarrels of the two Parties—The Duke's Threats—The Bishop's
Fears—He determines to quit Geneva—His Night Escape—He arrives at St.
Claude—Hugues returns in safety—The Hireling abandons his Flock

 (AUGUST 1527 TO FEBRUARY 1528.)

The Duke tries to gain the Bishop—The State of Geneva constituted—The
Ducal Arms fall at Geneva—Geneva excommunicated—Geneva interdicts the
Papal Bulls—Funeral Procession of Popery—Complaints of the
Priests—Attempt to deprive Bonivard of St. Victor's—Bonivard on
Excommunication—The Duke claims Authority in Matters of Faith—Resolute
Answer of the Genevans—Canons sharply reprimanded by the Duke—Intentions
of Charles

 (MARCH 1528.)

Complaints of Bonivard about Geneva—Certain Huguenots go to St.
Victor's—Bonivard's Address to them—Faults to be found in it—Huguenots
eat Meat in Lent—The Meeting at Bursinel—Pontverre and the Spoon—The
Fraternity of the Spoon—Alarm in Geneva—Rights of Princes and
Subjects—Bonivard defends Cartigny—The Savoyards take the
Castle—Bonivard fails to retake it—Progress of the Gospel in Geneva—Duke
and Bishop reconciled—The City looks upon the Bishop as an Enemy


The Bishop desires to withdraw the Criminal Administration from the
Syndics—Noble Answer of the Genevans—The Bishop's Irritation—His furious
Reception of a Genevan Envoy—Calm of the Genevans—The Duke convokes a
Synod—Speech of Bishop Gazzini—Coldness of the Swiss—Ducal Intrigues in
the Convents—The Order of the Keys—The Syndics at the Dominican Convent

 (OCTOBER 1528 TO JANUARY 1529.)

Pontverre plunders Bonivard—Convokes the Fraternity at Nyon—Insolence of
Pontverre when passing through Geneva—Conference at the Castle of
Nyon—Resolutions adopted there—Pontverre desires to take Geneva by
Treachery—Again attempts to pass through Geneva—His Insolence, Jests of
the Genevans—Struggle on the Rhone Bridge—Pontverre flees—Last Struggle
and Death—Act of Divine Justice—Honours paid him—Violence of the Nobles
increases—Courageous Enterprise of Lullin and Vandel—A Genevan
crucified—The Night of Holy Thursday—The Day of the Ladders

 (APRIL 1529 TO JANUARY 1530.)

Disorders and Superstitions in Geneva—Speech on the Saints'
Bodies at St. Gervais—The Souls from Purgatory in the Cemetery—Protest
at St. Gervais—Negative Reform—Representations
of the Bishop—Genevans trust in God—The Cantons cool
towards Geneva—The Swiss propose to revoke the Alliance—Energetic
Refusal of the Genevans—They incline towards the
Reform—Gazzini asks an Audience of the Pope—His Speech
about Geneva and Savoy—The Pope's Answer—Letter of
Charles V. to the Genevans—Emperor and Pope unite against

 (MARCH TO MAY 1530.)

The Procurator-Fiscal's Complaints to the Council—Penalty denounced
against the Lutherans, and against Impure Priests—Building the Wall of
St. Gervais—Discourse of the Evangelical Swiss—Vandel wishes for a
Preacher at St. Victor's—Bonivard claims his Revenues—His difficult
Position—The Duke covets St. Victor's—Bonivard visits his sick
Mother—Bonivard's Enemies at Geneva—He goes to Friburg—Determines to
give up his Priory—Bellegarde welcomes Bonivard—Bonivard and his Guide
in the Jorat—He is treacherously arrested—Bonivard at Chillon—His Future


Arrest of the Fiscal Mandolla—The Bishop takes his part—Hastens his
Plans against Geneva—Bishop's Appeal to the Knights—He gives them their
Instructions for the War—Crusade to maintain the Holy Faith—Prisoners in
the Castles—Projects at Augsburg and Gex—De la Sarraz at the head of the
Knights—Troops march against Geneva—Plans of the Enemy—A Friburg Herald
maltreated—The Savoyard Army occupies the Suburbs—Preparations for the
Assault—The Emperor receives Intelligence of the War—The Army
retires—What is the Cause?—The Mercy of God—15,000 Swiss
arrive—Soldierly Controversy—Burning of the Convent of Belle Rive—Good
Catholics quartered at St. Claire—Mass at St. Claire; Preachings at St.
Pierre—Castles taken and burnt—Devotedness of the Nuns of St.
Claire—Truce of St. Julian


Emperor's Letter to the Genevans—Their Answer—Fresh Armaments of the
Duke—Decision of the Diet of Payerne—Pardon and Pilgrimage to St.
Claire—Pilgrims sent back—Fresh Pardon; Religious Liberty—Repasts of the
Pilgrims and Sarcasms of the Genevans—Angels protect St. Claire—The
Pardon followed by an Awakening—_De Christo meditari_—Farel watches
Geneva—Comprehends its Wants—Desires to send Toussaint to Geneva—He
shrinks from the Struggle—Zwingle's Prayer; Fears of the
Genevans—Examination of the Suspected—Friburg and Berne—Allies of the
two Parties at Cappel

 (OCTOBER 1531 TO JANUARY 1532.)

Geneva attacked because elected of God—Defeat of Cappel—Triumph of the
Romanists—Berne turns her back on Geneva—The Duke and his Army
approach—Reply of Geneva to Berne—Seven Black Knights without Heads—God
prepares Geneva by Trials—Effects produced within by Evils from
without—The Swiss Patricians desire to rescind the Treaty—Geneva appeals
to the People of Berne—The Great Councils are for Geneva—Retirement and
Death of Hugues

 (SPRING 1532.)

The Emperor desires to give Geneva to the Duke's Son—Zeal of the Duke,
Firmness of the Genevans—The two Spheres of Christianity—Insufficiency
of Negative Protestantism—Olivétan at Chautemps' House—His Piety, Zeal,
and Courage—Conversations and Sermons—Olivétan's Discourse—The
Judge—Carnal Men—Intellectual Men—Redemption by Blood—The Spirit of
Jesus Christ—The Pioneer—Olivétan's Work

 (JUNE AND JULY 1532.)

Roman Jubilees—Fermentation at Geneva—A Power which devours everything
that is given to it—Gospel Pardon of all Sins—Tumult around the
Placards—Fight in the City—Catholic Intervention of Friburg—The Council
strives to give Satisfaction—Reaction of the Evangelicals—Order to
preach without Fables—The Nuncio and the Archbishop at Chambéry—Joy of
the Evangelicals out of the City—The little Flock of Payerne—Letter of
the Lovers of the Holy Gospel—The Standard-bearers of the Gospel of
Christ—The Standard raised in Geneva—Geneva attacked by both
Parties—Which will prevail?—The Struggle grows fiercer every day—The
Strong Things of this World destroyed by the Weak




Calvin, whom his father's wishes and his own convictions urged to
abandon the priestly career, for which he was preparing, had left Paris
in the autumn of 1527, in order to go to Orleans and study jurisprudence
under Pierre de l'Etoile, who was teaching there with great credit.
'Reuchlin, Aleander, and even Erasmus, have professed in this city,'
said his pupils; 'but the Star (Etoile) eclipses all these suns.' He was
regarded as the prince of French jurists.[1]

When Calvin arrived in that ancient city to which the Emperor Aurelian
had given his name, he kept himself apart, being naturally timid, and
repelled by the noisy vivacity of the students. Yet his loving
disposition sighed after a friend; and such he found in a young scholar,
Nicholas Duchemin, who was preparing himself for a professorship in the
faculty of letters.[2] Calvin fixed on him an observing eye, and found
him modest, temperate, not at all susceptible, adopting no opinion
without examination,[3] of equitable judgment, extreme prudence, and
great mildness, but also a little slow in his movements. Duchemin's
character formed a striking contrast with the vivacity, ardour,
severity, activity, and, we will add, the susceptibility of Calvin. Yet
he felt himself attracted towards the gentle nature of the young
professor, and the very difference of their temperaments shed an
inexpressible charm over all their intercourse. As Duchemin had but
moderate means, he received students in his house, as many of the
citizens did. Calvin begged to be admitted also, and thus became one of
the members of his household. He soon loved Duchemin with all the energy
of a heart of twenty, and rejoiced at finding in him a Mommor, an
Olivétan, and even more. He wanted to share everything with Nicholas, to
converse with him perpetually; and they had hardly parted, when he began
to long to be with him again. 'Dear Duchemin!' he said to him, 'my
friend, you are dearer to me than life.'[4] Ardent as was this
friendship, it was not blind. Calvin, true to his character, discovered
the weak point of his friend, who was deficient, he thought, in energy;
and he reproved him for it. 'Take care,' he said, 'lest your great
modesty should degenerate into indolence.'[5]


The scholar of Noyon, consoled by this noble friendship, began to
examine more closely the university population around him. He was
surprised to see crowds of students filling the streets, caring nothing
for learning, so far as he could tell. At one time he would meet a young
lord, in tight hose, with a richly embroidered doublet, small Spanish
cloak, velvet cap, and showy dagger. This young gentleman, followed by
his servant, would take the wall, toss his head haughtily, cast
impertinent looks on each side of him, and want every one to give way to
him. Farther on came a noisy band composed of the sons of wealthy
tradesmen, who appeared to have no more taste for study than the sons of
the nobility, and who went singing and 'larking' to one of the numerous
tennis-courts, of which there were not less than forty in the city. Ten
_nations_, afterwards reduced to four, composed the university. The
German nation combined with 'the living and charming beauty of the body'
that of a mind polished by continual study. Its library was called 'the
abode of the Muses.'[6]

Calvin made a singular figure in the midst of the world around him. His
small person and sallow face formed a strong contrast with the ruddy
features and imposing stature of Luther's fellow-countrymen. One thing,
however, delighted him: 'The university,' he said, 'is quite a
republican oasis in the midst of enslaved France.' The democratic spirit
was felt even by the young aristocrats who were at the head of each
nation, and the only undisputed authority in Orleans was that of Pierre
de l'Etoile.


This 'morning-star'[7] (as the registers of the Picard nation call him)
had risen above the fogs and was shining like the sun in the schools.
The great doctor combined an eminently judicial mind with an
affectionate heart; he was inflexible as a judge, and tender as a
mother. His manner of teaching possessed an inexpressible charm. As
member of the council of 1528, he had advocated the repression of
heresy; but he had no sooner met Calvin at Orleans than, attracted by
the beauty of his genius and the charms of his character, he loved him
tenderly. Although opposed to the young man's religious opinions, he was
proud of having him as his pupil, and was his friend to the last: thus
giving a touching example in the sixteenth century of that noble
christian equity which loves men while disapproving of their opinions.[8]

Calvin, sitting on one of the benches in the school, listened
attentively to the great doctor, and imbibed certain principles whose
justice no one at that time in all christendom thought of disputing.
'The prosperity of nations,' said Pierre de l'Etoile, 'depends upon
obedience to the laws. If they punish outrages against the rights of
man, much more ought they to punish outrages against the rights of God.
What! shall the law protect a man in his body and goods, and not in his
soul and his most precious and eternal inheritance?... A thief shall not
be able to rob us of our purses, but a heretic may deprive us of
heaven!' Jurists and students, nobles and people, were all convinced
that the law ought equally to guarantee temporal and spiritual goods.
'Those insensate and furious men,' said the code which Pierre de
l'Etoile was expounding to his pupils, 'who proclaim heretical and
infamous opinions, and reject the apostolic and evangelical doctrine of
the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in one only Godhead and one holy
Trinity, ought first to be delivered up to divine vengeance, and
afterwards visited with corporal punishment.[9] Is not that a _public
offence_?' added the code; 'and although committed against the
religion of God, is it not to the prejudice of all mankind?'[10]

Pierre de l'Etoile's youthful hearers received from these words those
deep impressions which, being made while the character is forming, are
calculated to last through life. The mind of man required time to throw
off these legal prejudices, which had been the universal law of the
understanding for more than a thousand years.[11] Could it be expected
that a young disciple, rising up against the most venerable teachers,
should draw a distinction between the temporal and the spiritual sphere,
between the old and the new economy, and insist that, inasmuch as grace
had been proclaimed by virtue of the great sacrifice offered to eternal
justice, it was repugnant to the Gospel of Christ for man to avenge the
law of God by severe punishments? No: during the sixteenth, and even the
seventeenth century, almost all enlightened minds remained, in this
respect, sunk in lamentable error.

Calvin, bashful and timid at first, gradually came round; his society
was courted, and he conversed readily with all. He was received into the
Picard nation. 'I swear,' he said, 'to guard the honour of the
university and of my nation.'[12] Yet he did not suffer himself to be
bound by the university spirit: he had a larger mind than his
fellow-students, and we find him in relation with men of all nations,
towards whom he was drawn by a community of affection and study. Etoile
gave his lessons in the monastery of Bonne Nouvelle. Calvin listened
silently to the master's words, but between the lessons he talked with
his companions, went in and out, or paced up and down the hall like the
rest. One day, going up to one of the pillars, he took out his knife and
carved a C, then an A, and at last there stood the word CALVIN, as the
historian of the university informs us. It was _Cauvin_ perhaps,
his father's name, or else _Calvinus_, for the students were fond
of latinising their names. It was not until some time after, when the
Latin word had been retranslated into French, that the Reformer bore the
more familiar name. This _Calvin_ long remained on the pillar where
the hand of the young Picard had cut it—a name of quarrels and
discussions, insulted by the devout, but respected by many. 'This
precious autograph has disappeared,' says the historian, 'with the last
vestiges of the building.'[13]


The Picards, proud of such a colleague, raised him to the highest post
in the nation—that of proctor. Calvin was thus in the front rank in the
public processions and assemblies of the university. He had to convene
meetings, examine, order, decide, execute, and sign diplomas. Instead of
assembling his _nationals_ at a jovial banquet, Calvin, who had been
struck by the disorders which had crept into these convivial meetings,
paid over to the treasurer the sum which he would have expended, and
made a present of books to the university library.[14] Erelong his
office compelled him to display that firmness of character which
distinguished him all his life. This hitherto unknown incident is worthy
of being recorded.

Every year, on the anniversary of the Finding of the Body of St. Firmin,
the inhabitants of the little town of Beaugency, near Orleans, appeared
in the church of St. Pierre, and, after the epistle had been chanted,
handed to the proctor of the Picard nation a piece of gold called
_maille de Florence_, of two crowns' weight.[15] 'The origin of
this ancient custom,' they told Calvin, 'was this. On the 13th of
January, 687, the body of St. Firmin the martyr having been solemnly
exhumed, a marvellous change took place in nature. The trees put forth
fresh leaves and blossoms, and at the same time a supernatural odour
filled the air. Simon, lord of Beaugency, who suffered from leprosy,
having gone to the window of his castle to witness the ceremony, was
restored to health by the sweet savour. In token of his gratitude he
settled an annual offering of a gold _maille_, payable at first to
the chapter of Amiens, and afterwards to the Picard students embodied in
their nation at Orleans.'[16]

Calvin, who blames 'the old follies and nonsense which men substitute
for the glory of Jesus Christ,' did not place great faith in this
miracle. However, as the tribute was not paid in 1527, he resolved to go
with his 'nation' and demand it. He assembled his fellow-students, and
placing a band of music and the beadles in front, he led the procession;
all his 'nationals' followed after him in a line, and in due course the
joyous troop arrived at Beaugency, where the _maille_ was placed in
his hand. It bore in front an image of John the Baptist, and on the
reverse a fleur-de-lys with the word _Florentia_. The Picard
students were satisfied, and, with their illustrious chief at their
head, resumed the road to Orleans, bringing back the golden
_maille_ in triumph, as Jason and the Argonauts had in days of yore
returned from Colchis with the golden fleece. The procession reentered
the city amid the shouts of the university. Calvin was one day to rob
the _dragon_ of a more magnificent treasure, and nations more
numerous were to show their joy by louder shouts of gladness.[17]


Although Calvin would not separate from his fellow-students, he often
suffered in the midst of this noisy and dissolute multitude, and turned
with disgust from the duels, intrigues, and excesses which filled so
large a space in the student life. He preferred study, and had applied
to the law with his whole heart.[18] The vivacity of his wit, the
strength of his memory, the remarkable style in which he clothed the
lessons of his masters, the facility with which he caught up certain
expressions, certain sentences, which fell from their lips, 'the starts
and flashes of a bright mind, which he displayed at intervals,'—all
this, says a Roman-catholic historian, soon made him distinguished by
the professors.[19]

But he was destined to find something better on the banks of the Loire:
the work begun at Paris was to be strengthened and developed at Orleans.
Calvin, always beloved by those who knew him, made numerous friends,
especially among certain men attacked by the priests, and whose faith
was full of christian meekness. Every day he had a serious conversation
with Duchemin.[20] In order to lessen his expenses, he had shared his
room with a pious German, formerly a grey friar, who having learnt, as
Luther said, that it is not the cowl of St. Francis which saves, but the
blood of Jesus Christ, had thrown off his filthy frock[21] and come to
France. The Picard student talked with him of Germany and of the
Reformation; and some persons have thought that this was what first
'perverted Calvin from the true faith.'[22]


Next to the house of Duchemin where the wind of the new doctrine was
blowing; next to the library, whose curator, Philip Laurent, became his
friend: Calvin loved particularly to visit the family of an advocate
where three amiable, educated, and pious ladies afforded him the charms
of agreeable conversation. It was that of Francis Daniel, 'a person,'
says Beza, 'who, like Duchemin, had a knowledge of the truth.' He was a
grave and influential man, possessing inward christianity, and (perhaps
his profession of lawyer had something to do with it) of a very
conservative mind, holding both to the forms and ordinances of the
Church. Calvin, on leaving the schools, the library, and his study, used
to seek relaxation in this house. The company of educated and pious
women may have exercised a happy influence over his mind, which he would
have sought in vain in the society of the learned. And accordingly,
whenever he was away, he did not fail to remember his friend's mother,
wife, and sister Frances.[23]

In the company of these ladies he sometimes met a young man for whom he
felt but little sympathy: he was a student from Paris, Coiffard by name,
lively, active, intelligent, but selfish.[24] How much he preferred
Daniel, in whom he found a mind so firm, a soul so elevated, and with
whom he held such profitable conversations! The two friends were agreed
on one point—the necessity of a Reformation of the Church; but they soon
came to another point which at a later day occasioned a wide divergence
between them. 'The reformation,' said the advocate, 'must be
accomplished in the Church; we must not separate from the Church.' The
intercourse between Calvin and Duchemin gradually became less frequent;
the latter, being naturally rather negligent, did not reply to his
friend's letters.[25] But Calvin's attachment for Daniel grew stronger
so long as the reformer remained in France, and to him almost all the
letters are addressed which he wrote between 1529 and 1536.

But all these friendships did not satisfy Calvin; at Daniel's, at
Duchemin's, at the library, and wherever he went, he heard talk of a man
whom he soon burned to know, and who exercised over him more influence
than all the rest. A poor young German of Rotweil, named Melchior
Wolmar, had come to Paris, and, being forced to work for a living, had
served for some time as corrector for the press.[26] Greedy of
knowledge, the youthful reader quitted his proofs from time to time, and
slipped among the students who crowded round the illustrious John
Lascaris, Budæus, and Lefèvre. In the school of the latter he became a
sincere christian; in the school of the former, a great hellenist. When
he took his degree of M.A. along with a hundred others, he occupied the
first place. Having one day (when in Germany) to make a speech in his
mother-tongue, Wolmar asked permission to speak in Greek, because, he
said, that language was more familiar to him. He had been invited to
Orleans to teach Greek; and being poor, notwithstanding his learning, he
took into his house a small number of young children of good family. 'He
was my faithful instructor,' says one of them, Theodore Beza; 'with what
marvellous skill he gave his lessons, not only in the liberal arts, but
also in piety!'[27] His pupils did not call him _Melchior_, but
_Melior_ (better).

[Sidenote: STUDY OF GREEK.]

Calvin, whose exalted soul was attracted by all that is beautiful,
became attached to this distinguished professor. His father had sent him
to study civil law; but Wolmar 'solicited him to devote himself to a
knowledge of the Greek classics.' At first Calvin hesitated, but yielded
at last. 'I will study Greek,' he said, 'but as it is you that urge me,
you also must assist me.' Melchior answered that he was ready to devote
to him abundantly, not only his instruction, but his person, his life,
himself.[28] From that time Calvin made the most rapid progress in Greek
literature. The professor loved him above all his pupils.[29] In this
way he was placed in a condition to become the most illustrious
commentator of Scripture. 'His knowledge of Greek,' adds Beza, 'was of
great service to all the Church of God.' What Cordier had been to him
for Latin, Wolmar was for Greek.

[Footnote 1: 'Jurisconsultorum Gallorum princeps.'—Bezæ _Vita

[Footnote 2: 'Jam dedisti nomen inter rei litterariæ professores.'—
Calvinus Chemino, Berne MSS. This letter will be found in the _Letters
of John Calvin_, published in English at Philadelphia, by the learned
Dr. Jules Bonnet, to whom I am indebted for the communication of the
Latin manuscripts.]

[Footnote 3: 'In ea natus es dexteritate, quæ nihil imprudenter
præjudicare soleat.'—Calvinus Chemino.]

[Footnote 4: 'Mi Chemine! amice mi! mea vita charior!'—Calvinus Chemino.]

[Footnote 5: 'Vide ne desidem te faciat tuus pudor!'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 6: Le Maire, _Antiquités d'Orléans_, i. p. 388.—_Theod.
Beza_ von Baum, i. p. 27.]

[Footnote 7: 'Ille quasi stella matutina in medio nebulæ et quasi sol
refulgens emicuit.'—Bimbenet, _Histoire de l'Université des Lois
d'Orléans_, p. 357.]

[Footnote 8: Ibid. pp. 354-357.]

[Footnote 9: 'Hæretici divina primum vindicta, post etiam ... ultione
plectendi.'—_Justiniani Codicis_ lib. i. tit. i.: _De summa Trinitate,
et ut nemo de ea publice contradicere audeat_.]

[Footnote 10: 'Publicum crimen, quia quod in religionem divinam
committitur in omnium fertur injuriam.'—Ibid. tit. v.: _De Hæreticis_.]

[Footnote 11: The Justinian code dates from 529 A.D., just a thousand
years before the time of Calvin's studies; but the greater part of the
laws contained in it were of older date.]

[Footnote 12: Bimbenet, _Hist. de l'Univ. des Lois d'Orléans_, p. 30.]

[Footnote 13: Bimbenet, _Hist. de l'Univ. d'Orléans_, p. 358. The
prefecture now occupies the site of Bonne Nouvelle.]

[Footnote 14: Ibid. pp. 40, 41, 51, 52, 358.]

[Footnote 15: This _maille_ was probably the gold florin of Florence.
The _giglio fiorentino_ is the badge of this city, and John the Baptist
its patron.

  'La lega suggellata del Batista,'

says Dante in the _Inferno_, xxx. 74.]

[Footnote 16: M. Bimbenet, chief greffier to the Imperial Court of
Orleans, gives this tradition in his _Hist. de l'Univ. d'Orléans_,
pp. 161, 162, 179-358.]

[Footnote 17: _Hist. de l'Univ. d'Orléans_, pp. 173, 176, 179.]

[Footnote 18: 'Ut patris voluntati obsequerer, fidelem operam impendere
conatus sum.'—Calv. _in Psalm_.]

[Footnote 19: 'Singularem ingenii alacritatem,' &c.—Flor. Rémond, _Hist.
de l'Hérésie_, liv. vii. ch. ix.]

[Footnote 20: 'Longa consuetudine diuturnoque usu.'—Bezæ _Vita Calvini_.]

[Footnote 21: 'Läusige Kappe.']

[Footnote 22: _Remarques sur la Vie de Calvin, Hérésiarque_, by J.
Desmay, vicar-general, p. 43.]

[Footnote 23: 'Saluta matrem, uxorem, sororem Franciscam.'—Calvinus
Danieli, Berne MSS.]

[Footnote 24: 'De Coiffartio quid aliud dicam, nisi hominem esse sibi
natum?'—Calvinus Danieli, Geneva MSS.]

[Footnote 25: _Calvin's Letters_, Philadelphia, i. p. 32.]

[Footnote 26: Wolmar, _Commentaire sur l'Iliade_.]

[Footnote 27: Beza, _Vie de Calvin et Histoire des Eglises Réformées_,
i. p. 67.]

[Footnote 28: 'Quam liberaliter paratus fueris te mihi officiaque tua
impendere.'—Calv. _in 2ᵃᵐ Ep. ad Cor._]

[Footnote 29: 'Præ cæteris discipulis diligere ac magnifacere eum
cœpit.'—Flor. Rémond, _Hist. de l'Hérésie_, liv. vii. ch. ix.]


Calvin was to receive something more from Wolmar; he was about to begin,
under his guidance, the work of all his life—to learn and to teach
Christ. The knowledge which he acquired at the university of Orleans,
philosophy, law, and even Greek, could not suffice him. The moral
faculty is the first in man, and ought to be the first in the university
also. The object of the Reformation was to found, not an intellectual,
but a moral empire; it was to restore holiness to the Church. This
empire had begun in Calvin; his conscience had been stirred; he had
sought salvation and found it; but he had need of knowledge, of increase
in grace, of practice in life, and these he was about to strive after.


Melchior, like Melanchthon, had set himself to study the Holy Scriptures
in the original languages, and in them had found light and peace.
Calvin, on his side, 'having acquired some taste for true piety,' as he
informs us, 'was burning with a great desire to advance.'[30] The most
intimate confidence and the freest communication were established
between the professor and the scholar. Melchior spoke to Calvin of
Germany and the Reformation; he read the Greek Testament with him, set
before him the riches of Christ announced therein, and, when studying
the Epistles of St. Paul, explained to him the doctrine of imputed
righteousness which forms the essence of their teaching. Calvin, seated
in his master's study, listened in silence, and respectfully embraced
that mystery so strange and yet so profoundly in harmony with the
righteousness of God!... 'By faith,' said Wolmar, 'man is united to
Christ and Christ to him, so that it is no longer man whom God sees in
the sinner, but his dearly beloved Son himself; and the act by virtue of
which God makes the sinner an inheritor of heaven, is not an arbitrary
one. The doctrine of justification,' added Wolmar, 'is in Luther's
opinion the capital doctrine, _articulus stantis vel cadentis

But Calvin's chief teacher was God. At Orleans he had more of those
struggles, which are often prolonged in strong natures. Some take him
simply for a metaphysical thinker, a learned and subtle theologian; on
the contrary, no other doctor has had more experience of those tempests
that stir up the heart to its lowest deeps. 'I feel myself pricked and
stung to the quick by the judgment of God. I am in a continual battle; I
am assaulted and shaken, as when an armed man is forced by a violent
blow to stagger a few steps backwards.' The light which had rejoiced him
so much when he was in college at Paris, seemed almost to have faded
away. 'I am like a wretched man shut up in a deep dungeon, who receives
the light of day obliquely and in part, only through a high and narrow
loop-hole.' He persevered, however; he fixed his eyes on Jesus, and was
soon able to say: 'If I have not the full and free sight of the sun, I
distinguish however his light afar, and enjoy its brightness.'[32]

People at Orleans soon found out that there was something new and
strange in this young man. It was in this city, in the year 1022, that
the revival of modern times, if we may so speak, had begun among the
heads of a school of theology at that time very celebrated. Priests and
canons had told the people who listened to them, both in Orleans and in
the neighbouring towns, 'that they ought to be filled with the gift of
the Holy Spirit; that this Spirit would reveal to them all the depths
and all the dignity of the Scriptures;[33] that they would be fed with
heavenly food and refreshed by an inward fulness.'[34] These
_heretics_ had been put to death at Orleans. Would they be seen
rising again, after more than five centuries, in the city and even in
the university? Many doctors and students opposed Calvin: 'You are a
schismatic,' they said; 'you are separating from the Church!' Calvin,
alarmed at these accusations, was a prey to fresh anguish.


Then, as he informs us, he began to meditate on the Psalms, and in the
struggles of David he found an image of his own: 'Ah!' he exclaimed,
'the Holy Spirit has here painted to the life all the pains, sorrows,
fears, doubts, hopes, anxieties, perplexities, and even the confused
emotions with which my mind is wont to be agitated.... This book is an
anatomy of all the parts of the soul.... There is no affection in man
which is not here represented as in a glass.'[35] This man, whom the
Romish and other legends describe as vain, proud, and insensible,
desired to see himself as he was, without screening any of his faults.
'Of the many infirmities to which we are subject,' he said, 'and of the
many vices of which we are full, not one ought to be hidden. Ah! truly
it is an excellent and singular gain, when all the hiding-places are
laid open, and the heart is brought into the light and thoroughly
cleansed of all hypocrisy and foul infection.'[36]

Such are the principles by which the Reformation has triumphed. Its
great organs desired that men's hearts should be 'cleansed of all foul
infection.' It is a singular delusion of those writers who, seeing
things otherwise than they are, ascribe this divine work to vile
interests and base passions. According to them, its causes were jealousy
of the Augustine monks, the ambition of princes, the greed of nobles,
and the carnal passions of priests, which, however, as we have seen, had
but too free scope during the middle ages. A searching glance into the
souls of the Reformers lays bare to us the cause of the revival. If the
writers of whom I have spoken were right, the Reformation ought not to
have waited until Luther for its accomplishment; for there had existed
for ages in christendom ambitious princes, greedy nobles, jealous monks,
and impure priests. But what was really a new thing was to find men who,
like the reformers, opened their hearts to the light of the Holy Spirit,
believed in the Word of God, found Jesus Christ, esteemed everything in
comparison with him as loss, lived the life of God, and desired that
'all hiding-places should be laid open,' and men's hearts cleansed of
all hypocrisy. Such were the true sources of the Reformation.

The adversaries of the Gospel understood the danger incurred by the
Church of Rome from the principles professed by Calvin; and hence they
called him wicked and profane, and, as he says, 'heaped upon his head a
world of abuse.' They said that he ought to be expelled from the Church.
Then the student, 'cast down but not destroyed,' retiring to his
chamber, would exclaim: 'If I am at war with such masters, I am not,
however, at war with thy Church, O God! Why should I hesitate to
separate from these false teachers whom the apostles call thy
enemies?[37]... When cursed by the unrighteous priests of their day, did
not thy prophets remain in the true unity of thy children? Encouraged by
their example, I will resist those who oppress us, and neither their
threats nor their denunciations shall shake me.'[38]


The conversion of Calvin, begun at Paris, was completed at Orleans.
There are, as we have said, several phases in this work. The first is
that of the conscience, where the soul is aroused; the second is that of
the understanding, where the mind is enlightened; then comes the last,
where the new man is built up, where he strikes deeper root in Christ,
and bears fruit to God. At Paris, Calvin had heard in his heart the
divine voice calling him to eternal life; at Orleans, he constantly
studied the Holy Scriptures,[39] and became 'learned in the knowledge of
salvation,' as Theodore Beza tells us. The Church herself has gone
through similar phases: the first epoch of her history, that of the
apostolic fathers,[40] was that of simple piety without the scientific
element; the second, the age of the apologists, was that of a christian
understanding seeking to justify its faith in the eyes of reason. Calvin
had followed this road; but he did not give way to an intellectualism
which would have brought back death into his heart. On the contrary, the
third phase began immediately, and from day to day the christian life
became in him more spiritual and more active.

The conversion of Calvin and of the other reformers—we must insist upon
this point—was not simply a change wrought by study in their thoughts
and in their system. Calvin did not set himself the task of inventing a
new theology, as his adversaries have asserted. We do not find him
coldly meditating on the Church, curiously examining the Scriptures, and
seeking in them a means of separating a portion of christendom from
Rome. The Reformation was not the fruit of abstract reasoning; it
proceeded from an inward labour, a spiritual combat, a victory which the
reformers won by the sweat of their brow, or rather ... of their heart.
Instead of composing his doctrine chapter after chapter, Calvin,
thirsting for righteousness and peace, found it in Christ. 'Placed as in
the furnace of God (they are his own words), the scum and filth of his
faith were thus purified.' Calvin was put into the crucible, and the new
truth came forth, burning and shining like gold, from the travail of his
melted soul. In order to comprehend the productions of nature or of art,
we must study closely the secrets of their formation. We have on a
former occasion sought to discover the generative principle of the
Reformation in the heart of Luther; we are now striving to discern it in
Calvin also. Convictions, affections, intelligence, activity—all these
were now in process of formation in that admirable genius under the
life-giving rays of truth.


There came a moment when Calvin, desirous of possessing God alone,
renounced the world, which, from that time, has never ceased to hate
him: 'I have not sued thee by my love, O Christ,' he said; 'thou hast
loved me of thy free will. Thou hast shone into my soul, and then
everything that dazzled my eyes by a false splendour immediately
disappeared, or at least I take no count of it. As those who travel by
sea, when they find their ship in danger, throw everything overboard, in
order that, having lightened the vessel, they may arrive safely in port;
in like manner I prefer being stripped of all that I have, rather than
be deprived of thee. I would rather live poor and miserable than be
drowned with my riches. Having cast my goods into the waves, I begin to
have hope of escape since the vessel is lightened.... I come to thee
naked and empty.... And what I find in thee is not a trifling vulgar
gain: I find everything there.'[41] Thus lifting up his hands to God,
Calvin offered the sacrifice of a heart burning with love. He made this
grand thought the charter of his nobility, his blazon, and engraving
this design on his seal, a hand presenting a heart in sacrifice, he
wrote round it: _Cor meum velut mactatum Domino in sacrificium
offero_—'O Lord, I offer unto thee as a sacrifice my heart immolated to
thee.' Such was his device—such was his life.

The eyes of many began already to be turned upon him with admiration.
The surprising clearness of his mind, the powerful convictions of his
heart, the energy of his regenerated will, the strength of his
reasoning, the luminous flashes of his genius, and the severe beauties
of his eloquence—all betokened in him one of the great men of the age.
'A wonderful mind!' says Florimond de Rémond, one of his chief
adversaries, 'a mind keen and subtle to the highest degree, prompt and
sudden in its imaginations! What a praiseworthy man he would have been,
if, sifting away the vices (heresy), the virtues alone could have been
retained!'[42] There was doubtless something wanting in Calvin: he may
not have had that smiling imagination which, at the age he had now
reached, generally gilds life with the most brilliant colours; the world
appeared to him one wide shipwreck. But, possessing the glance of the
eagle, he discovered a deliverance in the future, and his powerful hand,
strengthened by God, was about to prepare the great transformations of
the Church and of the world.

He was indefatigable in labour. When the day was ended, and his
companions indulged in dissipation or in sleep, Calvin, restricting
himself to a slight repast for fear of oppressing his head, withdrew to
his room and sat down to study the Scriptures. At midnight he
extinguished his lamp,[43] and early in the morning, when he awoke and
before he left his bed, he 'ruminated,' says Beza, on what he had read
and learnt the night before.[44] 'We were his friends, we shared his
room with him,' said Theodore Beza's informants. 'We only tell you what
we have seen.'—'Alas!' adds the reformer, 'these long vigils, which so
wonderfully developed his faculties and enriched his memory, weakened
his health, and laid the foundation of those sufferings and frequent
illnesses which shortened his days.'[45]


His taste for Holy Scripture did not divert Calvin from the study of
law. He was unwilling that the labours of his profession should suffer
in any degree from the labours of piety. He made such remarkable
progress in jurisprudence that he was soon looked upon, by both students
and professors, as a master and not as a scholar.[46] One day, Pierre de
l'Etoile begged him to give a lesson in his place; and the young man of
nineteen or twenty discharged his duty with so much skill and clearness,
that he was considered as destined to become the greatest jurist in
France. The professors often employed him as their substitute.[47]

To knowledge he joined communion. While still continuing to follow the
lessons of Etoile, Calvin 'sought the company of the faithful servants
of God,' as he tells us. All the children of God (he thought) should be
united together by a bond of brotherly union. He mixed also with
everybody, even with the gainsayers, and if they attacked the great
doctrines of Gospel truth, he defended them. But he did not put himself
forward. He could discern when, how far, and to whom it was expedient to
speak, and never exposed the doctrine of Christ to the jeers of the
unbeliever by imprudence or by the fears of the flesh. When he opened
his mouth, every one of his words struck home. 'Nobody can withstand
him,' they said, 'when he has the Bible in his hand.'

Students who felt a difficulty in believing, townspeople who could not
understand, went and begged him to teach them.[48] He was abashed. 'I am
but a poor recruit,' he said, 'and you address me as if I were a
general.'[49] As these requests were constantly renewed, Calvin tried to
find some hiding-place where he could read, meditate, and pray, secure
from interruption.[50] At one time it was the room of a friend, a nook
in the university library, or some shady retreat on the banks of the
river. But he was hardly absorbed in meditation or in the study of
Scripture, before he found himself surrounded by persons eager to hear
him, and who refused to withdraw. 'Alas!' he exclaimed, 'all my
hiding-places are turned into public schools.'[51]

Accordingly he sought still more private retreats; for he wished to
understand before he taught. The French love to see clearly into things;
but their defect in this respect is that they often do not go deep
enough, or fail to observe that by going deep they arrive at truths in
whose presence the most eminent minds ought to confess their
insufficiency and believe in the revelation from God. In the middle ages
there had been men who wished to bring the mysteries of the catholic
faith to the test of reason;[52] Abelard was at the head of that
phalanx. Calvin was not a new Abelard. He did not presume to fathom
impenetrable mysteries, but sought in Scripture the light and the life
of his soul.


His admirers returned to him. Several citizens of Orleans opened their
houses to him, saying: 'Come and teach openly the salvation of man.'
Calvin shrank back. 'Let no one disturb my repose,' he said; 'leave me
in peace.' His repose, that is to say his studies, were his only
thought. But these souls, thirsting for truth, did not yield so easily.
'A repose of darkness!' replied the most ardent; 'an ignoble peace![53]
Come and preach!' Calvin remembered the saying of St. Chrysostom:
'Though a thousand persons should call you, think of your own weakness,
and obey only under constraint.'[54] 'Well, then, we constrain you,'
answered his friends. 'O God! what desirest thou of me?' Calvin would
exclaim at such moments. 'Why dost thou pursue me? Why dost thou turn
and disturb me, and never leave me at rest? Why, despite my disposition,
dost thou lead me to the light and bring me into play?'[55] Calvin gave
way, however, and understood that it was his duty to publish the Gospel.
He went to the houses of his friends. A few men, women, and young people
gathered round him, and he began to explain the Scriptures. It was quite
a new order of teaching: there were none of those distinctions and
deductions of scholastic science, at that time so familiar to the
preachers. The language of the young man possessed an admirable
simplicity, a piercing vitality, and a holy majesty which captivated the
heart. 'He teaches the truth,' said his hearers as they withdrew, 'not
in affected language, but with such depth, solidity, and weight, that
every one who hears him is struck with admiration.' These are the words
of a contemporary of Calvin, who lived on the spot, and in the very
circle in which the Reformer then moved. 'While at Orleans,' adds this
friend, Theodore Beza, 'Calvin, chosen from that time to be an
instrument of election in the Lord's work, wonderfully advanced the
kingdom of God in many families.'[56]

It was at Orleans, therefore, that Calvin began his evangelist work and
manifested himself to the world as a christian. Calvin's activity in
this city is a proof that he was then converted to the Gospel, and that
he had been so for some time; for his was not one of those expansive
natures which immediately display externally what is within them. This
first ministry of the reformer negatives the hypotheses which place
Calvin's conversion at Orleans, or at Bourges somewhat later, or, even
later still, during his second residence at Paris.

Thus the young doctor, growing in knowledge and acting in love, refuted
the objections of the gainsayers, and led to Christ the humble souls who
thirsted for salvation. A domestic event suddenly withdrew him from this
pious activity.

[Footnote 30: Calvin, _Préface aux Psaumes_.]

[Footnote 31: ('The touch-stone of a standing or of a falling Church.')
'Wolmarus lutheranum virus Calvino instillabat.'—Flor. Rémond, _Hist. de
l'Hérésie_, liv. vii. ch. ix.]

[Footnote 32: Calvin, _Institution_, liv. iii. ch. ii. 17-19.]

[Footnote 33: 'Sancti Spiritus dono repleberis, qui scripturarum omnium
profunditatem ac veram dignitatem te docebit.'—Mansi, _Gesta Synodi
Aurelianensis_, xix. p. 376.]

[Footnote 34: 'Deinde cœlesti cibo pastus, interna satietate

[Footnote 35: Calvin, _Préface des Commentaires sur les Psaumes_.]

[Footnote 36: Ibid.]

[Footnote 37: 'Quos pronuntiabant apostoli esse habendos pro hostibus,
ab iis cur dubitassem me sejungere?'—_Opusc. Lat._ p. 124; _Franç._
p. 169.]

[Footnote 38: _Opuscules._]

[Footnote 39: 'Interea tamen ille sacrarum litterarum studium simul
diligenter excolere in quo tantum etiam promoverat.'—Bezæ _Vita

[Footnote 40: From 70 to 130 A.D.]

[Footnote 41: Calvin, _in Ep. Johan._; _Pauli ad Philip._ &c.]

[Footnote 42: Flor. Rémond, _Hist. de l'Hérésie_, liv. vii. ch. x.]

[Footnote 43: 'Ad mediam usque noctem lucubrare.'—Bezæ _Vita

[Footnote 44: 'Mane vero, quæ legisset, in lecto veluti concoquere.'—

[Footnote 45: 'Et tandem etiam intempestivam mortem attulit.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 46: 'Doctor potiusquam auditor haberetur.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 47: 'Quum sæpissime obiret ipsorum doctorum vices.'—Bezæ
_Vita Calvini_.]

[Footnote 48: 'Omnes purioris doctrinæ cupidi ad me, discendi causa,
ventitabant.'—_Præf. in Psalm._]

[Footnote 49: 'Novitium adhuc et tyronem.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 50: 'Tunc latebras captare.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 51: 'Ut mihi secessus omnes instar publicæ scholæ essent.'—
_Præf. in Psalm._]

[Footnote 52: 'Catholicæ fidei mysteria ratione investiganda.'—Abelard,
_Introd. ad Theol._ p. 1059.]

[Footnote 53: 'Ignobile otium colere.'—_Præf. in Psalm._]

[Footnote 54: Chrysostomus, _De Sacerdotio_, lib. iv.]

[Footnote 55: Calv. _Præf. in Psalm._ p. 3.]

[Footnote 56: Théod. de Bèze, _Histoire des Eglises Réformées_, p. 6.]



One day, probably at the beginning of April 1528, about the Easter
holidays, Calvin received a letter from Noyon. He opened it: it
contained sad news! his father was seriously ill. He went at once to
Duchemin in great agitation: 'I must depart,' he said. This friend, and
many others, would have wished to keep him in a place where he had
become so useful; but he did not hesitate. He must go to his father; he
would, however, only stay as long as was necessary; as soon as the sick
man was better, he would come back. 'I promise you to return shortly,'
he said to Duchemin.[57] Calvin, therefore, bade farewell to his
cherished studies, to his beloved friends, and those pious families in
which he was advancing the kingdom of God, and returned to Picardy.

We have but few particulars of his sojourn at Noyon. Assuredly his
filial piety indulged at his father's bedside in what has been termed
with reason the sweetest form of gratitude. Yet the weak condition of
the episcopal secretary was prolonged, without any appearance of
imminent danger. A question began to rise up in the young man's heart:
shall he go, or shall he stay?[58] Sometimes, when seated by the sick
man's pillow during the watches of the night, his thoughts would
transport him to Orleans, into the midst of his studies and the society
of his friends; he felt himself impelled, as by a vigorous hand, towards
the places that were so dear to him, and he made in his mind all the
arrangements necessary for his return.[59]... Suddenly his father's
disease grew worse, and the son did not quit the sufferer's bedside. The
old secretary, 'a man of sound understanding and good counsel,' says
Beza, was much respected by those around him, and love for the author of
his days was profoundly engraven in the young man's soul. 'The title of
father belongs to God,' he said; 'when God gives it to a man, he
communicates to him some sparks of his own brightness.'[60]


Erelong a crisis appeared to take place; the doctors held out hopes: the
patient might recover his health, they said.[61] Calvin's thoughts and
desires were turned once more towards Orleans; he would have wished to
go there instantly,[62] but duty was still the strongest, and he
resolved to wait until his father's convalescence was complete. Thus one
day after another glided away.[63] Alas! the doctors were deceived.
'There is no longer any hope of a cure,' they soon told him; 'your
father's death cannot be far off.'[64] Calvin, therefore, determined
(14th of May, 1528) to write to Duchemin, which he had not yet done
since his departure. It is the first of the reformer's letters that has
been handed down to us. 'You know,' he says, 'that I am very exact in my
correspondence, and that I carry it even to importunity.[65] You will be
astonished, perhaps, that I have been wanting in my extreme punctuality;
but when you know the cause, you will restore to me your friendship,
should I perchance have forfeited it.' He then tells Duchemin of his
father's condition, and adds: 'Happen what may, I will see you
again.'[66] What did happen is not very clear. Calvin was at Noyon, as
we have seen, on the 14th of May, 1528; perhaps he remained all the
summer with the sick man. It has been concluded from this letter to
Duchemin that Gerard Calvin died shortly after the 14th of May; at that
time _the approach of death_ was certain, according to the doctors;
but doctors may be mistaken. According to Theodore Beza, he died during
his son's residence at Bourges, nine or ten months later, and a passage
from Calvin, which we shall quote further on, confirms Beza's testimony,
of itself so decisive.

One circumstance, which has some interest, seems to show that Calvin was
not at Orleans during the latter part of this year. On the 5th of
December, 1528,[67] eight months after his sudden departure, a boy eight
or nine years old arrived at Melchior Wolmar's house in that city. He
had a sickly look, but was a well-made child, playful and well-bred,
with a keen glance and lively wit. This boy, who was one day to be
Calvin's best friend, belonged to a Burgundian family. His father,
Pierre de Beza, was bailli of Vezelay, a very old town, where the child
was born on the 24th of June, 1519,[68] and received the name of
Theodore. One of his uncles, named Nicholas, seignior of Cette and of
Chalonne, and councillor of parliament, having paid the bailli a visit a
few months after the child's birth, adopted him, being an unmarried man,
and took him to Paris, although he had not been weaned.[69] Nine years
later (1528), at the recommendation of an Orleanese, who was connected
with the Bezas and a member of the royal council, the uncle sent his
nephew to Wolmar, who was described to him as very learned in Greek and
of great experience in education. Nothing in Calvin's biography written
by Beza indicates that the latter met Calvin at that time at Orleans.
When Margaret of Valois, who was Duchess of Berry, endeavoured about
this time to gather together a number of pious and learned men in her
university of Bourges, she invited Wolmar there;[70] and it was here
that young Beza saw Calvin for the first time.


The scholar, set at liberty by the apparent restoration of his father's
health, had once more turned his thoughts towards his studies. He
desired to take advantage of the instruction of a doctor whose
reputation surpassed even that of Pierre de l'Etoile. All the learned
world was at that time talking of Alciati of Milan, whom the king had
invited to Bourges, and to attend whose brilliant lessons the academic
youth flocked from every quarter. Calvin had other motives besides this
for going to that city. Under Margaret's influence, Berry had become a
centre of evangelisation. Returning, therefore, to Orleans, he made
known his intention of going to Bourges, and the professors of the
university where he had studied, and even taught with credit,
unanimously offered him the degree of doctor. It would appear that his
modesty did not permit him to accept it.[71]

There were fewer resources at Bourges than at Orleans. 'As we cannot
live as we wish,' said the students, 'we live as we can.' Everything was
dear: board alone cost one hundred francs a year.[72] 'France is truly a
golden country,' bitterly remarked a poor scholar, 'for without gold you
can get nothing.' But the Noyon student cared little for the comforts of
life; intellectual and spiritual wealth satisfied him. He was anxious to
hear Alciati, and was surprised to find him a tall corpulent man, with
no very thoughtful look. 'He is a great eater,' said one of his
neighbours, 'and very covetous.'[73] Intelligence and imagination,
rather than sentiment, were his characteristics: he was a great jurist
and also a great poet. Mingling literature with his explanation of the
laws, and substituting an elegant style for barbarism of language, he
gave quite a new _éclat_ to the study of the law. Calvin listened
with admiration. Five years later Alciati returned to Italy, allured by
greater emoluments and greater honours.

Erelong Calvin gave himself up entirely to other thoughts. Bourges had
become, under Margaret's government, the centre of the new doctrine in
France; and he was accordingly struck by the movement of the minds
around him. There was discussing, and speaking, and assembling, wherever
the sound of the Gospel could be heard. On Sunday students and citizens
crowded the two churches where Chaponneau and Michel preached. Calvin
went with the rest, and found the christian truth pretty fairly set
forth 'considering the time.'[74] During the week, evangelical truth was
taught in the university by Gamaire, a learned priest, and by
Bournonville, prior of St. Ambrose.


But nothing attracted Calvin like Wolmar's house. It would appear that
this scholar had arrived at Bourges before him.[75] It was there that
Calvin met young Beza, and then began in Theodore's heart that filial
piety which continued all his life, and that admiration which he
professed afterwards in one of his Latin poems, where he calls Calvin

  Romæ ruentis terror ille maximus.[76]

And truly Calvin was training for this. If Wolmar at Orleans had
confirmed the christian faith in him, Wolmar at Bourges was the first
who invited him distinctly to enter upon the career of a reformer. The
German doctor communicated to the young man the books which he received
from beyond the Rhine—the writings of Luther, Melanchthon, and other
evangelical men.[77] Wolmar, modest, gentle, and a foreigner, did not
think himself called to do in France what these illustrious servants of
God were doing in Germany: but he asked himself whether there was not
some Frenchman called by God to reform France; whether Lefèvre's young
fellow-countryman, who united a great understanding with a soul so full
of energy, might not be the man for whom this work was reserved.

Wolmar seems to have been to Calvin what Staupitz was to Luther; both
these doctors felt the need of minds of a strong temper for the great
things that were about to take place in the world. One day, therefore,
the professor invited the student to take a walk with him, and the two
friends, leaving behind them that old city, burnt down by Cæsar and
Chilperic, rebuilt by Charlemagne, and enlarged by Philip Augustus, drew
near the banks of the Auron, at its confluence with the Yèvre, and
strolled here and there among the fertile plains of Berry.[78] At last
Wolmar said to Calvin, 'What do you propose doing, my friend? Shall the
Institutes, the Novels, the Pandects absorb your life? Is not theology
the queen of all sciences, and does not God call you to explain his Holy
Scriptures?'[79] What new ideas then started up before Calvin! At Paris
he had renounced the priesthood, and at Bourges Wolmar urged him to the
ministry.... What should he do?

This was quite another calling. In the theocratic and legal Church, the
priest is the means by which man is restored to communion with God. The
special priesthood, with which he is invested, is the condition on which
depends the virtue of the sacraments and of all the means of grace.
Possessed of a magical power, he works the greatest of miracles at the
altar, and whoever does not partake in the ministrations of this
priesthood can have no share in redemption. The Reformation of the
sixteenth century, by setting aside the formal and theocratic Church of
Rome, which was shaped in the image of the Jewish theocracy, and by
substituting for it the Evangelical Church, conformably to the
principles of Christ and his apostles, transformed the ministry also.
The service of the Word became its centre—the means by which, with the
aid of the Holy Ghost, all its functions were discharged. This
evangelical ministry was to work its miracles also; but whilst those of
the legal ministry proceed from a mysterious virtue in the priesthood,
and are accomplished upon earthly elements, those of the evangelical
ministry are wrought freely by the divine Word, and by a heartfelt faith
in the great love of God, which that ministry proclaims,—strange
spiritual miracles, effected within the soul, transforming the man and
not the bread, and making him a new creature, destined to dwell
eternally with God.


Did Calvin at this time see clearly the difference between the Roman
priesthood and the Gospel ministry? We doubt it. It was not until later
that his ideas became clear upon this important point. The notion,
however, of abandoning not only the priesthood, but also the study of
the law for the Gospel, was not new to him. More than once in his
retirement, he had already asked himself: 'Shall I not preach Christ to
the world?' But he had always shrunk away humble and timid from this
ministry. 'All men are not suited for it,' he said; 'a special vocation
is necessary, and no one ought to take it upon himself rashly.'[80]
Calvin, like St. Augustin, the ancient doctor whom he most resembled
(the irregularities excepted which mark the youth of the bishop of
Hippona), feared to undertake a charge beyond his strength. He thought
also that his father would never consent to his abandoning the law and
joining the heretics. And yet he felt himself daily more inclined to
entertain the great questions of conscience and christian liberty, of
divine sovereignty and self-renunciation. 'So great a desire of
advancing in the knowledge of Christ consumed me at that time,' he said,
'that I pursued my other studies very coldly.'[81] A domestic event was
soon to give him liberty to enter upon the new career to which God and
Wolmar were calling him.[82]

Nor was this the only call he received at Bourges. Wolmar had spoken of
him, and several families invited him to their houses to edify them.
This took the young man by surprise, as it had done at Orleans; he
remained silent, lost in the multitude of his thoughts. 'I am quite
amazed,' he said, 'at seeing those who have a desire for pure doctrine
gather round me to learn, although I have only just begun to learn
myself!' He resolved, however, to continue at Bourges the evangelical
work which he had timidly commenced on the banks of the Loire; and he
brought more time and more decision to the task.


Calvin accordingly entered into relations with students and townspeople,
nobles and lawyers, priests and professors. The family of the Colladons
held at that time a considerable station in Berry. Two brothers, Leo and
Germain, and two sisters, Mary and Anne, were the first to embrace the
Gospel in Berry. Leo and Germain were advocates, and one of their
cousins, styled Germain II. in the genealogies, now eighteen years old,
afterwards became Calvin's intimate friend at Geneva. These ties of
friendship had probably begun at Bourges.[83]

The evangelist soon extended his christian activity beyond the walls of
the city. Many natives of Berry, who had heard him at Bourges, had been
charmed with his addresses. 'Come and preach these beautiful words to
us,' they said. Calvin gradually laid aside his natural timidity, and
being cheerful and fond of walking, he visited the castles and
villages.[84] He introduced himself affectionately into all the houses
at which he stopped. 'A graceful salutation,' he said in after years,
'serves as an introduction to converse with people.'[85] He delivered
several sermons in these hamlets and country-seats.

On the banks of the Arnon, ten leagues from Bourges, there stands a
little town named Lignières, at that time the seat of a considerable
lordship.[86] Every year certain monks came to preach in the parish
church, and were bountifully received at the château, where they
complained of their wretchedness in the most pitiable tone. This
offended the lord of Lignières, who was not of a superstitious
character. 'If I am not mistaken,' he said, 'it is with a view to their
own gain that these monks pretend to be such drudges.'[87] Disgusted
with their hypocrisy, M. de Lignières begged Calvin to come and preach
in their stead. The law-student spoke to an immense crowd with such
clearness, freedom, depth, and vitality, that every one was moved.[88]
'Upon my word,' said the lord to his wife, 'Master John Calvin seems to
me to preach better than the monks, and he goes heartily to work


When the priests saw the young evangelist so well received, they cried
out and intrigued against him, and did all in their power to get him put
into prison.[90] It was at Bourges that Calvin began to see that
'everything among men is full of vexation.' He said: 'By the assaults
made against them, Christ sounds the trumpet to his followers, in order
that they may prepare themselves more cheerfully for battle.'[91]

In this way Calvin laboured in the town, in the villages, and in the
châteaux, conversing tenderly with children, preaching to adults, and
training heroes and martyrs. But the same circumstance which had taken
him away from Orleans, suddenly occurred at Bourges. One day he received
a letter from Noyon, written probably by his brother Anthony. Alas! his
father was dead! and he was far from him, unable to lavish upon him the
attentions of his filial piety. 'While he was at Bourges his father
died,' says Theodore Beza, 'and he was obliged to return to Noyon.'[92]
The death was very sudden.[93] Calvin did not hesitate; he bade farewell
to Berry, to those pious families which he had edified, to his studies,
and to his friends. 'You held out your hand to me,' he said to Wolmar,
'and were ready to support me from one end to the other of my course;
but my father's death takes me away from our conversations and our

Bourges did not fall back into darkness after Calvin's departure. A
venerable doctor, named Michel Simon, perhaps that _Michel_ whom we
have already mentioned, displayed a holy boldness notwithstanding his
age. One day a Pelagian cordelier (as all the doctors of that order are)
had effrontery enough to maintain that man can be saved by his natural
strength alone. Simon confronted him, and succeeded in getting it laid
down that in the public disputations every proposition must be
established by the text of Scripture. This gave a new impulse to
theological studies.

The priests came to an understanding with one another, and made their
preparations without saying a word. On the following Sunday, Michel
Simon, having entered the pulpit, was about to begin his sermon, when
the curé, with his vicars and choristers, entered the choir, and began
to chant the office for the dead. It was impossible either to preach or
to hear. The exasperated students rushed into the choir, threw the books
about, upset the lecterns, and drove out the priests, who ran off 'in
great disorder.' Simon, who remained master of the field, delivered his
sermon, and, to the surprise of his hearers, ended by repeating the
Lord's prayer _in French_, without adding the _Ave Maria_! Whereupon a
man, sitting in one of the upper stalls (he was the king's proctor),
stood up, and with a sonorous voice began: _Ave Maria, gratia_.... He
could not complete the sentence. A universal shout interrupted him; the
women, who are easily excited, caught up their little stools, crowded
round the proctor, and shook them over his head. These people were
catholics, disgusted with the priests, not with the disciples of the

While the student of Noyon was devoting himself to the preaching of the
Gospel, extreme danger threatened him who had been his forerunner in
this work.

[Footnote 57: 'Quod tibi promiseram discedens me brevi adfuturum.'—
Calvinus Chemino, May 14, 1528, Berne MS.]

[Footnote 58: 'Ea me expectatio diutius suspensum habuit.'—Calvinus

[Footnote 59: 'Nam dum reditum ad vos meditor.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 60: Calvini _Opera_.]

[Footnote 61: 'Sed cum medici spem facerent posse redire in prosperam
valetudinem.'—Calvinus Chemino.]

[Footnote 62: 'Nihil aliud visum est quam tui desiderium.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 63: 'Interim dies de die trahitur.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 64: 'Certum mortis periculum.'—Calvinus Chemino.]

[Footnote 65: 'In litteris missitandis plus satis officiosum, ne dicam

[Footnote 66: 'Utcunque res ceciderit, ad vos revisam.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 67: 'Factum est ut ad te pervenirem anno Domini 1528, nonis
Decembris.'—Letter of Theodore Beza to Wolmar, Preface to the
_Confessio Fidei Christianæ_.]

[Footnote 68: 'Anno Domini 1519 die 24 junii, placuit Deo O. M. ut mundi
lucem aspicerem.'—Letter of Theodore Beza to Wolmar, Preface to the
_Confessio Fidei Christianæ_.]

[Footnote 69: 'Ut me quamvis adhuc a nutricis uberibus pendentem.'—

[Footnote 70: 'Aureliæ primum, deinde Biturigibus, quum in eam urbem
regina Navarræ te evocasset.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 71: 'Eique discedenti doctoratus insignia absque ullo pretio
offeruntur.'—Bezæ _Vita Calvini_.]

[Footnote 72: _Conrad Gessner_ von Hanhait, p. 22. _Theodor. Beza_ von
Baum, p. 12.]

[Footnote 73: 'Vir fuit corpulentus, proceræ staturæ. Auri avidus
habitus est et cibi avidior.'—Panzivole, _De claris Legum Interpret._
lib. ii.]

[Footnote 74: Théod. de Bèze, _Hist. des Eglises Réformées_, p. 6.]

[Footnote 75: Ibid.]

[Footnote 76: 'Of Rome in its decline the greatest dread.'—Bezæ

[Footnote 77: 'Libros quos e Germania acceperat, mittebat.'—Flor.
Rémond, _Hist. de l'Hérésie_, ii. liv. vii.]

[Footnote 78: 'Die quodam cum discipulo magister, animi gratia,
deambulans.'—Flor. Rémond, _Hist. de l'Hérésie_.]

[Footnote 79: 'Ut posito Justiniani codice ad Theologiæ omnium
scientiarum reginæ studium, animum applicaret.'—Flor. Rémond, _Hist. de
l'Hérésie_, liv. vii. ch. ix. Florimond Rémond was so hostile to the
Reformation which he had abjured, that he cannot be trusted when his
prejudices are concerned; but he ought to be believed when his
predilections do not mislead him. I cannot see what object he could have
had in inventing this conversation. 'The Calvinists, in order to be
avenged of this writer,' says Moreri, 'have endeavoured to traduce his
memory.' The most sensible course is to hold a just mean between the
Romish apologists and the protestant detractors.]

[Footnote 80: 'Non omnes esse Verbi ministerio idoneos ... requiritur
specialis vocatio.'—Calv. _Opera_.]

[Footnote 81: 'Tanto proficiendi studio exarsi, ut reliqua studia
quamvis non abjicerem, frigidius tamen sectarer.'—Calv. _Præf._ in

[Footnote 82: 'Acriter exhortans ut de reformanda atque illustranda Dei
ecclesia cogitationem ac curam serio inciperet.'—Flor. Rémond, _Histoire
de l'Hérésie_.]

[Footnote 83: Leo Colladon died at Geneva on the 31st of August, 1552.
His son Nicholas took refuge there in 1553, and in 1556 succeeded Calvin
in the chair of divinity. Germain II., made free of the city in 1555,
was the compiler of the Genevese code. Galiffe, _Généalogie des Familles
Genevoises_. Haag, _France Protestante_, article _Colladon_.]

[Footnote 84: Théod. de Bèze, _Hist. des Eglises Réformées_, p. 7.]

[Footnote 85: Calvin, _Commentaire sur Mathieu_, ch. x.]

[Footnote 86: In the reign of Louis XIV. this lordship belonged to

[Footnote 87: 'Contrefont les marmitons.']

[Footnote 88: 'Nonnullas interdum conciones in agro Biturigum, in
oppidulo quod _Linerias_ vocant.'—Bezæ _Vita Calvini_.]

[Footnote 89: Bèze, _Hist. des Eglises Réformées_, p. 7.]

[Footnote 90: 'Nisi me ab ipsis prope carceribus mors patris
revocasset.'—Calvinus Volmario, _in 2ᵃᵐ Ep. ad Corinth_.]

[Footnote 91: _Commentaire sur Mathieu_, ch. x.]

[Footnote 92: Théod. de Bèze, _Vie de Calvin_ (French text), p. 11.
'In agro Biturigum ... mors patris nuntiata in patriam vocavit.'—Ibid.
in Latin text.]

[Footnote 93: 'Repentina mors patris,' says Beza. This _sudden_ death
proves that Calvin's father did not die, as some assert, of the long
illness described in the letter to Duchemin.]

[Footnote 94: _Dédicace de la 2ᵉ aux Corinthiens._]


When Calvin passed through the capital on his way from Bourges to Noyon,
on the occasion of his father's death, he might have remarked a certain
agitation among his acquaintances. In fact, the Sorbonne was increasing
its exertions to destroy Berquin, who, forsaken by almost everybody, had
no one to support him but God and the Queen of Navarre.


Margaret, who was at St. Germain-en-Laye, enjoyed but little repose. The
brilliant court of Francis I. filled the noble palace with their
pastimes. Early in the morning every one was afoot; the horns sounded,
and the king set off, accompanied by the King of Navarre, a crowd of
nobles, the Duchess of Etampes, and many other ladies, and joined one of
those great hunting parties of which he was so fond. Margaret, remaining
alone, recalled her sorrows, and sought the _one thing needful_. Her
husband sometimes indulged in gaming, and the queen entreated
Montmorency to give him good advice. Henry, who thought his wife rather
too pious, complained of this with all the impetuosity of his character.
It was not Margaret's only vexation. At first her mother had appeared to
take part with the Reformation. One day, in December 1522, Louisa of
Savoy had said to her daughter, who was delighted to hear it: 'By the
grace of the Holy Ghost, my son and I are beginning to know these
hypocrites, white, black, grey, and all colours.... May God, by his
mercy and infinite goodness, defend us from them; for, if Jesus Christ
is not a liar, there is no such dangerous brood in all human
nature.'[95] But this princess, whose morality was more than doubtful,
had now become reconciled, and even leagued with these 'hypocrites
black, white, and grey,' and the king was beginning to give them his
support. Thus Margaret saw the three objects of her tenderest affection
alienating themselves from God; and remaining at the palace while
Francis with his lords and ladies and his hounds was chasing the wild
animals, she walked sadly in the park, saying to herself:

  Father and mother I have none;
  Brother and sister—all are gone,
  Save God, in whom I trust alone,
  Who rules the earth from his high throne.

  All these loved ones I would forget;
    Parents and friends, the world, its joys,
  Honour and wealth however great,
    I hold my deepest enemies!
      Hence, ye delights!
      Whose vanity
  Jesus the Christ has shown to me!

  But God, God only is my hope;
    I know that he is all in all,
  Dearer than husband to the wife—
    My father, mother, friend, my all!
      He is my hope,
      My resting-place,
    My strength, my being, and my trust,
  For he hath saved me by his grace.

  Father and mother I have none;
  Brother and sister—all are gone,
  Save God, in whom I trust alone,
  Who rules the earth from his high throne.[96]


Whilst Margaret was seeking consolation in God, there came a support
which she had not expected. Erasmus was growing uneasy; the letters
which he received were full of alarming news; he saw that Francis I., on
whom he had so much relied, was stumbling and ready to fall. This would
give the victory to the Sorbonne. Having a presentiment that the
ultramontanists were daring revolutionists, prepared to sacrifice not
only literature and the Gospel, but royalty itself, he laid aside his
usual prudence, and resolved to tear the veil from the king's eyes,
which concealed the perverted designs of the Roman party, and to show
him conspirators in those who called themselves the supporters of the
throne. 'These men,' he wrote, 'under the cloak of the interests of the
faith, creep into all sorts of dark ways. Their only thought is of
bringing the august heads of monarchs under their yoke and of suspending
their power. Wait a little. If a prince resists them, they call him a
favourer of heresy, and say that it is the duty of the Church (that is
to say, of a few apocryphal monks and false doctors) to dethrone him.
What! shall they be permitted to scatter their poisons everywhere, and
we be forbidden to apply the antidote?'[97]

This epistle from the prince of letters, who with so much discernment
placed his finger on the sore, soon became known; and when it reached
the Sorbonne, the doctors, dismayed that a man so moderate and respected
should reveal their secrets so boldly, saw no other means of saving
their cause than by striking their enemies with terror. They dared do
nothing against the sage of Rotterdam, who was besides out of their
reach; but they swore that his friend Berquin should pay for his master.
The theologians of the Sorbonne demanded that this gentleman should be
brought to trial; Duprat, Louisa of Savoy, and Montmorency supported
their petition. There was no means of evading it, and twelve judges were
nominated by the pope and by the king.[98] These men were greatly
embarrassed, for Berquin's irreproachable life, amiable character,
inexhaustible charity, and regular attendance at public worship, had won
universal esteem. However, as the first president De Selva, the fourth
president Pailot, and some others, were either weak or fanatical
persons, the Sorbonne did not lose all hope. One alone of the twelve
caused any fear: this was William Budæus, called by Erasmus 'the prodigy
of France;' an enlightened man, who, while professing a great respect
for the Catholic Church, had more than once betrayed certain evangelical
tendencies to his wife and children. The twelve judges proceeded with
their investigation, without requiring the accused man to be shut up in
prison. Berquin went and came as he pleased; he spoke to the judges and
parliament, and convinced them of his innocence. But terror began to
paralyse the weak minds among them; they were afraid of the righteous
man; they would have nothing to do with 'that sort of people,' and
turned their backs upon him.


Berquin now resolved to address the king and to get Margaret to support
him. 'It was generally reported,' says one of the enemies of the Reform,
'that the Queen of Navarre took wondrous pains to save those who were in
danger, and that she alone prevented the Reformation from being stifled
in the cradle.'[99] Berquin went to the palace, and made his danger
known to the queen. He found in Margaret the compassion which failed him
elsewhere. She knew that we ought not 'to stand aside from those who
suffer persecution for the name of Christ, and would not be ashamed of
those in whom there was nothing shameful.'[100] Margaret immediately
took up her pen, and sitting down at that table where she had so often
pleaded both in prose and verse the cause of Christ and of christians,
she wrote the king the following letter:—

'Monseigneur,—The unhappy Berquin, who maintains that God, through your
goodness, has twice saved his life, presents himself before you, to make
manifest his innocence to you, having no one else to whom he can apply.
Knowing, Monseigneur, the esteem in which you hold him, and the desire
which he has now and always has had to serve you, I fear not to entreat
that you will be pleased to have pity upon him. He will convince you
that these heretic-finders are more slanderous and disobedient towards
you than zealous for the faith. He knows, Monseigneur, that you desire
to maintain the rights of every one, and that the just man needs no
advocate in the eyes of your compassion. For this cause I shall say no
more. Entreating Him who has given you such graces and virtues to grant
you a long and happy life, in order that he may long be glorified by you
in this world and everlastingly in the world to come,

'Your most obedient and most humble subject and sister,


Having finished, the queen rose and gave the letter to Berquin, who
immediately sought an audience of the king. We know not how he was
received, or what effect Margaret's intercession had upon Francis. It
would seem, however, that the king addressed a few kind words to him. We
know at least that Beda and the Sorbonne were uneasy, and that, fearing
to see their victim once more escape them, they increased their
exertions, and brought one charge after another against him. At last the
authorities gave way; the police received orders to avoid every
demonstration calculated to alarm him, lest he should escape to Erasmus
at Basle. All their measures were arranged, and at the moment when he
least expected it, about three weeks before Easter (in March 1529),
Berquin was arrested and taken to the Conciergerie.


Thus then was 'the most learned of the nobles,' as he was termed, thrown
into prison in despite of the queen. He paced sadly up and down his
cell, and one thought haunted him. Having been seized very unexpectedly,
he had left in his room at Paris certain books which were condemned at
Rome, and which consequently might ruin him. 'Alas!' he exclaimed, 'they
will cost me serious trouble!'[102] Berquin resolved to apply to a
christian friend whom he could trust, to prevent the evil which he
foresaw; and the next day after his incarceration, when the domestic,
who had free access to him, and passed in and out on business, came for
orders, the prisoner gave him, with an anxious and mysterious air, a
letter which he said was of the greatest importance. The servant
immediately hid it under his dress. 'My life is at stake,' repeated
Berquin. In that letter, addressed to a familiar friend, the prisoner
begged him without delay to remove the books pointed out to him and to
burn them.

The servant, who did not possess the courage of a hero, departed
trembling. His emotion increased as he proceeded, his strength failed
him, and as he was crossing the Pont au Change, and found himself in
front of the image of Our Lady, known as _la belle ymage_, the poor
fellow, who was rather superstitious, although in Berquin's service,
lost his presence of mind and fainted. 'A sinking of the heart came over
him, and he fell to the ground as if in a swoon,' says the catholic
chronicler.[103] The neighbours and the passers-by gathered round him,
and lifted him up. One of these kind citizens, eager to assist him,
unbuttoned his coat to give him room to breathe, and found the letter
which had been so carefully hidden. The man opened and read it; he was
frightened, and told the surrounding crowd what were its contents. The
people declared it to be a miracle: 'He is a heretic,' they said. 'If he
has fallen like a dead man, it is the penalty of his crime; it was Our
Lady who did it.'—'Give me the letter,' said one of the spectators; 'the
famous Jacobin doctor who is preaching the Lent sermons at St.
Bartholomew's dines with me to-day. I will show it to him.' When the
dinner-hour came, the company invited by this citizen arrived, and among
them was the celebrated preacher of the Rue St. Jacques in his white
robe and scapulary and pointed hood. This Jacobin monk was no holiday
inquisitor. He understood the great importance of the letter, and,
quitting the table, hastened with it to Beda, who, quite overjoyed at
the discovery, eagerly laid it before the court. The christian gentleman
was ruined. The judges found the letter very compromising. 'Let the said
Berquin,' they ordered, 'be closely confined in a strong tower.' This
was done. Beda, on his side, displayed fresh activity; for time pressed,
and it was necessary to strike a decisive blow. With some the impetuous
syndic spoke gently, with others he spoke loudly; he employed threats
and promises, and nothing seemed to tire him.

From that hour Berquin's case appeared desperate. Most of his friends
abandoned him; they were afraid lest Margaret's intervention, always so
powerful, should now prove unavailing. The captive alone did not give
way to despair. Although shut up in a strong tower, he possessed liberty
and joy, and uplifting his soul to God, he hoped even against hope.


On Friday, the 16th of April, 1529, the inquiry was finished, and at
noon Berquin was brought into court. The countenance of Budæus was
sorrowful and kind; but the other judges bore the stamp of severity on
their features. The prisoner's heart was free from rancour, his hands
pure from revenge, and the calm of innocence was on his face. 'Louis
Berquin,' said the president, 'you are convicted of belonging to the
sect of Luther, and of having written wicked books against the majesty
of God and of his glorious mother. Wherefore we condemn you to do public
penance, bareheaded and with a lighted taper in your hand, in the great
court of our palace, asking pardon of God, of the king, and of justice,
for the offence you have committed. You shall then be taken, bareheaded
and on foot, to the Grève, where you shall see your books burnt. Next
you shall be led to the front of the church of Notre Dame, where you
shall do penance to God and the glorious Virgin, his mother. Afterwards
you shall have your tongue pierced—that instrument of unrighteousness by
which you have so grievously sinned.[104] Lastly, you shall be taken to
the prison of Monsieur de Paris (the bishop), and be shut up there all
your life between four walls of stone; and we forbid you to be supplied
either with books to read, or pen and ink to write.'

Berquin, startled at hearing such a sentence, which Erasmus terms
'atrocious,' and which the pious nobleman was far from expecting,[105]
at first remained silent, but soon regaining his usual courage, and
looking firmly at his judges,[106] he said: 'I appeal to the
king.'—'Take care,' answered his judges; 'if you do not acquiesce in our
sentence, we will find means to prevent you from ever appealing again.'
This was clear. Berquin was sent back to prison.

Margaret began to fear that her brother would withdraw his support from
the evangelicals. If the Reformation had been a courtly religion,
Francis would have protected it; but the independent air that it seemed
to take, and, above all, its inflexible holiness, made it distasteful to
him. The Queen of Navarre saw that the unhappy prisoner had none but the
Lord on his side. She prayed:

      Thou, God, alone canst say:
  Touch not my son, take not his life away.
  Thou only canst thy sovereign hand outstretch
  To ward the blow.[107]

Everything indicated that the blow would be struck. On the afternoon of
the very day when the sentence had been delivered, Maillard, the
lieutenant-criminal, with the archers, bowmen, and arquebusiers of the
city, surrounded the Conciergerie. It was thought that Berquin's last
hour had come, and an immense crowd hurried to the spot. 'More than
twenty thousand people came to see the execution,' says a
manuscript.[108] 'They are going to take one of the king's officers to
the Grève,' said the spectators. Maillard, leaving his troops under
arms, entered the prison, ordered the martyr's cell to be opened, and
told him that he had come to execute the sentence. 'I have appealed to
the king,' replied the prisoner. The lieutenant-criminal withdrew.
Everybody expected to see him followed by Berquin, and all eyes were
fixed upon the gate; but no one appeared. The commander of the troops
ordered them to retire; the archers marched back, and 'the great throng
of people that was round the court-house and in the city separated.' The
first president immediately called the court together, to take the
necessary measures. 'We must lose no time,' said some, 'for the king has
twice already rescued him from our hands.' Was there no hope left?


There were in France at that time two men of the noblest character, both
friends of learning, whose whole lives had been consecrated to doing
what was right: they were Budæus on the bench, and Berquin in his cell.
The first was united to the second by the purest friendship, and his
only thought was how to save him. But what could he do singly against
the parliament and the Sorbonne? Budæus shuddered when he heard of his
friend's appeal; he knew the danger to which this step exposed him, and
hastened to the prison. 'Pray do not appeal!' said he; 'a second
sentence is all ready, and it orders you to be put to death. If you
accept the first, we shall be able to save you eventually. Pray do not
ruin yourself!' Berquin, a more decided man than Budæus, would rather
die than make any concession to error. His friend, however, did not
slacken his exertions; he desired at whatever risk to save one of the
most distinguished men of France. Three whole days were spent by him in
the most energetic efforts.[109] He had hardly quitted his friend before
he returned and sat down by his side or walked with him sorrowfully up
and down the prison. He entreated him for his own safety, for the good
of the Church, and for the welfare of France. Berquin made no reply;
only, after a long appeal from Budæus, he gave a nod of dissent.
Berquin, says the historian of the University of Paris, 'sustained the
encounter with indomitable obstinacy.'[110]


Would he continue firm? Many evangelicals were anxiously watching the
struggle. Remembering the fall of the apostle Peter at the voice of a
serving-maid, they said one to another that a trifling opposition was
sufficient to make the strongest stumble. 'Ah!' said Calvin, 'if we
cease but for an instant to lean upon the hand of God, a puff of wind,
or the rustling of a falling leaf, is enough ... and straightway we
fall!' It was not a puff of wind, but a tempest rather, by which Berquin
was assailed. While the threatening voices of his enemies were roaring
around him, the gentle voice of Budæus, full of the tenderest affection,
penetrated the prisoner's heart and shook his firmest resolutions. 'O my
dear friend,' said Budæus, 'there are better times coming, for which you
ought to preserve yourself.' Then he stopped, and added in a more
serious tone: 'You are guilty towards God and man if by your own act you
give yourself up to death.'[111]

Berquin was touched at last by the perseverance of this great man; he
began to waver; his sight became troubled. Turning his face away from
God, he bent it to the ground. The power of the Holy Spirit was
extinguished in him for a moment (to use the language of a reformer),
and he thought he might be more useful to the kingdom of God by
preserving himself for the future, than by yielding himself up to
present death. 'All that we ask of you is to beg for pardon. Do we not
all need pardon?' Berquin consented to ask pardon of God and the king in
the great court of the palace of justice.

Budæus ran off with delight and emotion to inform his colleagues of the
prisoner's concession. But at the very moment when he thought he had
saved his friend, he felt a sudden sadness come over him. He knew at
what a price Berquin would have to purchase his life; besides, had he
not seen that it was only after a struggle of nearly sixty hours that
the prisoner had given way? Budæus was uneasy. 'I know the man's mind,'
he said. 'His ingenuousness, and the confidence he has in the goodness
of his cause, will be his ruin.'[112]

During this interval there was a fierce struggle in Berquin's soul. All
peace had forsaken him; his conscience spoke tumultuously. 'No!' he said
to himself, 'no sophistry! Truth before all things! We must fear neither
man nor torture, but render all obedience to God. I will persevere to
the end; I will not pray the leader of this good war for my discharge.
Christ will not have his soldiers take their ease until they have
conquered over death.'

Budæus returned to the prison shortly afterwards. 'I will retract
nothing,' said his friend; 'I would rather die than by my silence
countenance the condemnation of truth.'[113] He was lost! Budæus
withdrew, pale and frightened, and communicated the terrible news to his
colleagues. Beda and his friends were filled with joy, being convinced
that to remove Berquin from the number of the living was to remove the
Reformation from France. The judges, by an unprecedented exercise of
power, revised their sentence, and condemned the nobleman to be
strangled and then burnt on the Grève.

Margaret, who was at St. Germain, was heartbroken when she heard of this
unexpected severity. Alas! the king was at Blois with Madame ——....
Would there be time to reach him? She would try. She wrote to him again,
apologising for the very humble recommendations she was continually
laying before him, and adding: 'Be pleased, Sire, to have pity on poor
Berquin, who is suffering only because he loves the Word of God and
obeys you. This is the reason why those who did the contrary during your
captivity hate him so; and their malicious hypocrisy has enabled them to
find advocates about you to make you forget his sincere faith in God and
his love for you.'[114] After having uttered this cry of anguish, the
Queen of Navarre waited.


But Francis gave no signs of life. In his excuse it has been urged that
if he had at that time been victorious abroad and honoured at home, he
would have saved Berquin once more; but the troubles in Italy and the
intrigues mixed up with the treaty of Cambray, signed three months
later, occupied all his thoughts. These are strange reasons. The fact
is, that if the king (as is probable) had desired to save Berquin, he
had not the opportunity; the enemies of this faithful christian had
provided against that. They had scarcely got the sentence in their
hands, when they called for its immediate execution. They fancied they
could already hear the gallop of the horse arriving from Blois, and see
the messenger bringing the pardon. Beda fanned the flame. Not a week's
delay, not even a day or an hour! 'But,' said some, 'this prevents the
king from exercising the right of pardon, and is an encroachment upon
his royal authority.'—'It matters not! put him to death!'—The judges
determined to have the sentence carried out the very day it was
delivered, '_in order that he might not be helped by the king_.'[115]

In the morning of the 22nd of April, 1529,[116] the officers of
parliament entered the gloomy cell where Berquin was confined. The pious
disciple, on the point of offering up his life voluntarily for the name
of Jesus Christ, was absorbed in prayer; he had long sought for God and
had found him; the Lord was near him, and peace filled his soul. Having
God for his father, he knew that nothing would be wanting to him in that
last hour when everything else was to fail him: he saw a triumph in
reproach, a deliverance in death. At the sight of the officers of the
court, some of whom appeared embarrassed, Berquin understood what they
wanted. He was ready; he rose calm and firm, and followed them. The
officers handed him over to the lieutenant-criminal and his sergeants,
who were to carry out the sentence.

Meanwhile several companies of archers and bowmen were drawn up in front
of the Conciergerie. These armed men were not alone around the prison.
The news had spread far and wide that a gentleman of the court, a friend
of Erasmus and of the Queen of Navarre, was about to be put to death;
and accordingly there was a great commotion in the capital. A crowd of
common people, citizens, priests and monks, with a few gentlemen and
friends of the condemned noble, waited, some with anger, others with
curiosity, and others with anguish, for the moment when he would appear.
Budæus was not there; he had not the courage to be present at the
punishment. Margaret, who was at St. Germain, could almost see the
flames of the burning pile from the terrace of the château.

When the clock struck twelve, the escort began to move. At its head was
the grand penitentiary Merlin; then followed the archers and bowmen, and
after them the officers of justice and more armed men. In the middle of
the escort was the prisoner. A wretched tumbrel was bearing him slowly
to punishment. He wore a cloak of velvet, a doublet of satin and damask,
and golden hose, says the Bourgeois of Paris, who probably saw him
pass.[117] The King of heaven having invited him to the wedding, Berquin
had joyfully put on his finest clothes. 'Alas!' said many as they saw
him, 'he is of noble lineage, a very great scholar, expert and quick in
learning ... and yet he has gone out of his mind!' There was nothing in
the looks or gestures of the reformer which indicated the least
confusion or pride. He neither braved nor feared death: he approached it
with tranquillity, meekness, and hope, as if entering the gates of
heaven. Men saw peace unchangeable written on his face. Montius, a
friend of Erasmus, who had desired to accompany this pious man even to
the stake, said in the highest admiration: 'There was in him none of
that boldness, of that hardened air which men led to death often assume;
the calmness of a good conscience was visible in every feature.'—'He
looks,' said other spectators, 'as if he were in God's house meditating
upon heavenly things.'[118]


At last the tumbrel had reached the place of punishment, and the escort
halted. The chief executioner approached and desired Berquin to alight.
He did so, and the crowd pressed more closely round the ill-omened spot.
The principal officer of the court, having beckoned for silence with his
hand, unrolled a parchment, and read the sentence 'with a husky voice,'
says the chronicler. But Berquin was about to die for the Son of God who
had died for him; his heart did not flinch one jot; he felt no
confusion, and wishing to make the Saviour who supported him in that
hour of trial known to the poor people around him, he uttered a few
christian words. But the doctors of the Sorbonne were watching all his
movements, and had even posted about a certain number of their creatures
in order to make a noise if they thought it was necessary. Alarmed at
hearing the soft voice of the evangelist, and fearing lest the people
should be touched by his words, these 'sycophants' hastily gave the
signal. Their agents immediately began to shout, the soldiers clashed
their arms, 'and so great was the uproar that the voice of the holy
martyr was not heard in the extremity of death.' When Berquin found that
these clamours drowned his voice, he held his peace. A Franciscan friar,
who had accompanied him from the prison, eager to extort from him one
word of recantation, redoubled his importunities at this last moment;
but the martyr remained firm. At length the monk was silent, and the
executioner drew near. Berquin meekly stretched out his head; the
hangman passed the cord round his neck and strangled him.


There was a pause of solemn silence ... but not for long. It was broken
by the doctors of the Sorbonne and the monks, who hastily went up and
contemplated the lifeless body of their victim. No one cried 'Jesus!
Jesus!'—a cry of mercy heard even at the execution of a parricide. The
most virtuous man in France was treated worse than a murderer. One
person, however, standing near the stake, showed some emotion, and,
strange to say, it was the grand penitentiary Merlin. 'Truly,' he said,
'so good a christian has not died these hundred years and more.' The
dead body was thrown into the flames, which mounted up and devoured
those limbs once so vigorous and now so pale and lifeless. A few men,
led away by passion, looked on with joy at the progress of the fire,
which soon consumed the precious remains of him who should have been the
reformer of France. They imagined they saw heresy burnt out, and when
the body was entirely destroyed, they thought that the Reformation was
destroyed with it, and that not a fragment of it remained. But all the
spectators were not so cruel. They gazed upon the burning pile with
sorrow and with love. The christians who had looked upon Berquin as the
future reformer of France, were overwhelmed with anguish when they saw
the hero in whom they had hoped reduced to a handful of dust. The temper
of the people seemed changed, and tears were seen to flow down many a
face. In order to calm this emotion, certain rumours were set afloat. A
man stepped out of the crowd, and going up to the Franciscan confessor,
asked him: 'Did Berquin acknowledge his error?'—'Yes, certainly,'
answered the monk, 'and I doubt not that his soul departed in peace.'
This man was Montius; he wrote and told the anecdote to Erasmus. 'I do
not believe a word of it,' answered the latter. 'It is the usual story
which those people invent after the death of their victims, in order to
appease the anger of the people.'

Some such stratagems were necessary, for the general agitation was
increasing. Berquin's innocence, stamped on his features and on all his
words, struck those who saw him die, and they were beginning to murmur.
The monks noticed this, and had prepared themselves beforehand in case
the indignation of the people should break out. They penetrated into the
thickest of the crowd, making presents to the children and to the common
people; and having worked them up, they sent them off in every
direction. The impressionable crowd spread over the Grève and through
the neighbouring streets, shouting out that Berquin was a heretic. Yet
here and there men gathered in little groups, talking of the excellent
man who had been sacrificed to the passion of the theological faculty.
'Alas!' said some with tears in their eyes, 'there never was a more
virtuous man.'[119] Many were astonished that a nobleman who held a high
place in the king's affections should be strangled like a criminal.
'Alas!' rejoined others indignantly, 'what caused his ruin was the
liberty which animated him, which is always the faithful companion of a
good conscience.'[120] Others of more spirit exclaimed: 'Condemn,
quarter, crucify, burn, behead ... that is what pirates and tyrants can
do; but God is the only just judge, and blessed is the man whom he
pardoneth.' The more pious looked for consolation to the future. 'It is
only through the cross,' they said, 'that Christ will triumph in this
kingdom.'[121] The crowd dispersed.

[Sidenote: THE MARTYRS' HYMN.]

The news of this tragedy soon spread through France, everywhere causing
the deepest sorrow. Berquin was not the only person struck down; other
christians also suffered the last punishment. Philip Huaut was burnt
alive, after having his tongue cut out; and Francis Desus had both hand
and head cut off. The story of these deaths, especially that of Berquin,
was told in the shops of the workmen and in the cottages of the
peasants. Many were terrified at it; but more than one evangelical
christian, when he heard the tale at his own fireside, raised his head
and cast a look towards heaven, expressive of his joy at having a
Redeemer and a _Father's house_ beyond the sky. 'We too are ready,'
said these men and women of the Reformation to one another, 'we are
ready to meet death cheerfully, setting our eyes on the life that is to
come.' One of these christian souls, who had known Berquin best, and who
shed most tears over him, was the Queen of Navarre. Distressed and
alarmed by his death and by the deaths of the christians sacrificed in
other places for the Gospel, she prayed fervently to God to come to the
help of his people. She called to mind these words of the Gospel:
_Shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto
him?_[122] A stranger to all hatred, free from every evil desire of
revenge, she called to the Lord's remembrance how dear the safety of his
children is to him, and implored his protection for them:

  O Lord our God, arise,
  Chastise thy enemies
    Thy saints who slay.
  Death, which to heathen men
  Is full of grief and pain,
  To all who in heaven shall reign
    With thee is dear.

  They through the gloomy vale
  Walk firm, and do not quail,
    To rest with thee.
  Such death is happiness,
  Leading to that glad place
  Where in eternal bliss
    Thy sons abide.

  Stretch out thy hand, O Lord,
  Help those who trust thy Word,
  And give for sole reward
    This death of joy.
  O Lord our God, arise,
  Chastise thy enemies
    Thy saints who slay.[123]

This little poem by the Queen of Navarre, which contains several other
verses, was the martyrs' hymn in the sixteenth century. Nothing shows
more clearly that she was heart and soul with the evangelicals.

Terror reigned among the reformed christians for some time after
Berquin's martyrdom. They endured reproach, without putting themselves
forward; they did not wish to irritate their enemies, and many of them
retired to _the desert_, that is, to some unknown hiding-place. It
was during this period of sorrow and alarm, when the adversaries
imagined that by getting rid of Berquin they had got rid of the
Reformation as well, and when the remains of the noble martyr were
hardly scattered to the winds of heaven, that Calvin once more took up
his abode in Paris, not far from the spot where his friend had been
burnt. Rome thought she had put the reformer to death; but he was about
to rise again from his ashes, more spiritual, more clear, and more
powerful, to labour at the renovation of society and the salvation of

[Footnote 95: _Journal de Louise de Savoie._]

[Footnote 96: _Marguerites de la Marguerite_, i. p. 502.]

[Footnote 97: 'Illis licere venena sua spargere, nobis non licere
admovere antidota.'—Erasmi _Epp._ p. 1109.]

[Footnote 98: _Journal d'un Bourgeois de Paris sous François I._
p. 380.]

[Footnote 99: Flor. Rémond, _Hist. de l'Hérésie_, p. 348.]

[Footnote 100: Calvin.]

[Footnote 101: _Lettres de la Reine de Navarre_, ii. p. 96.]

[Footnote 102: _Journal d'un Bourgeois de Paris_, p. 381.]

[Footnote 103: Ibid.]

[Footnote 104: 'Lingua illi ferro perfoderetur.'—Erasmi _Epp._ p. 1277.
_Journal d'un Bourgeois de Paris_, p. 382.]

[Footnote 105: 'Audita præter expectationem atroci sententia.'—Erasmi

[Footnote 106: 'Constanti vultu.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 107: _Marguerites de la Marguerite_, i. p. 444.]

[Footnote 108: _Chronique du Roi François I._ p. 76, note.]

[Footnote 109: 'Budæum triduo privatim egisse cum Berquino.'—Erasmi

[Footnote 110: Crévier, v. p. 206.]

[Footnote 111: Crespin, _Martyrologue_, p. 103, verso.]

[Footnote 112: Crespin, _Martyrologue_, p. 103, verso.]

[Footnote 113: 'At ego mortem subire, quam veritatis damnationem, vel
tacitus approbare velim.'—Bezæ _Icones_.]

[Footnote 114: _Lettres de la Reine de Navarre_, ii. p. 99.]

[Footnote 115: _Journal d'un Bourgeois de Paris_, p. 383.]

[Footnote 116: Crespin and Theodore Beza speak of the month of November;
the Bourgeois de Paris mentions the 17th of April, but most of the
authorities give the 22nd.]

[Footnote 117: 'Des chausses d'or.'—_Journal d'un Bourgeois de Paris_,
p. 384.]

[Footnote 118: 'Dixisses illum in templo de rebus cœlestibus cogitare.'—
Erasmi _Epp._ p. 1277.]

[Footnote 119: 'Prædicant eo nihil fuisse integrius.'—Erasmi _Epp._
p. 1313.]

[Footnote 120: 'Libertas, bonæ conscientiæ comes, perdidit virum.'—Ibid.
p. 113.]

[Footnote 121: 'Christo, nonnisi sub cruce, in Gallis triumphaturo.'—
Bezæ _Icones_.]

[Footnote 122: Luke xviii. 7.]

[Footnote 123:

  'Reveille-toi, Seigneur Dieu,
    Fais ton effort,
  Et viens venger en tout lieu
    Des tiens la mort.'

  _Les Marguerites de la Marguerite_, i. p. 508.]



Calvin, having bid farewell to the towns and châteaux of Berry, had
arrived in the midst of those hills and plains, those green pastures and
noble forests, which stretch along both sides of the Oise. He approached
that little city of Noyon, which had been one time the capital of the
empire of Charlemagne, and where Hugues Capet, the head of the third
race, had been elected king. But his thoughts were not on these things:
he was thinking of his father. As soon as he caught a glimpse of that
beautiful Gothic cathedral, beneath whose shadow he had been brought up,
he said to himself that its pavement would never more be trodden by his
father's feet. He had never before returned to Noyon in such deep
emotion. The death of Berquin, the death of his father, the future of
the Church and of himself—all oppressed him. He found consolation in the
affection of his family, and especially in the devoted attachment of his
brother Anthony and of his sister Mary, who were one day to share his
exile. Bowed down by so many afflictions, he would have sunk under the
burden, 'like a man half dead, if God had not revived his courage while
comforting him by his Word.'[124]

His father—that old man with mind so positive, with hand so firm, and
whose authority he had venerated—was not there to guide him: he was
free. Gerard had decided that his son should devote himself to the law,
by which he might rise to a high position in the world. Calvin aspired,
indeed, to another future, but from obedience he had renounced his most
ardent desires; and now, finding himself at liberty, he turned towards
that christian career in which he was to be, along with Luther, the
greatest champion of modern times. 'Earthly fathers,' he said on one
occasion, 'must not prevent the supreme and only Father of all from
enjoying his rights.'[125]

As yet, however, Calvin did not meditate becoming a reformer in the same
sense as Luther. At that time he would have liked to see all the Church
transformed, rather than set himself apart and build up a new one. The
faith which he desired to preach was that old christian truth which Paul
had preached at Rome. The scribes had substituted for it the false
traditions of man, but this was only one reason the more for proclaiming
in the Church the doctrine which had founded the Church. After the first
phase of christian life, in which man thinks only of Christ, there
usually comes a second, where the christian does not voluntarily worship
with assemblies opposed to his convictions. Calvin was now in the first
of these phases. He thought only of preaching the Gospel. Did he not
possess a pulpit in this very neighbourhood, and was it not his duty to
glorify God from it? Had it been in his power, he would have done so in
St. Peter's at Rome; why, then, should he refrain in his own church?


Calvin had friends in Picardy, even among the dignitaries of the clergy.
Early attached to their young fellow-townsman, these men had received
him with joy; they had found him more advanced in piety and learning,
and had observed nothing in him opposed to their opinions. They thought
that he might become one of the pillars of the Church. The circumstance
that he had studied the law did not check them; it rendered him, in
their eyes, fitter still to maintain the interests of the faith ... and
of the clergy. Far from repelling him, his former patrons endeavoured to
bind him still closer to them. That noble friend of his boyhood, Claude
de Hangest of Momor, now abbot of St. Eloy, offered to give him the
living of Pont L'Evêque in exchange for that of St. Martin of
Marteville. Calvin, seeing in this offer the opportunity of preaching in
the very place where his ancestors had lived, accepted; and then
resigned, in favour of his brother Anthony, the chapel of La Gésine, of
which he had been titulary for eight years. The act is dated the 30th of
April, 1529.[126]

The same persons who presided over these several changes encouraged
Calvin to preach. When a young man who has gone through his studies for
the ministry of the Word returns to his native place, every one is
anxious to hear him. Curiosity was still more keenly aroused in Calvin's
case, for his reputation had preceded him, and some little charge of
heresy, put forward from time to time, served but to increase the
general eagerness. Everybody wanted to hear the son of the episcopal
secretary, the cooper's grandson. The men and women who knew him
hastened to the church; people even came from Noyon. The holy place was
soon filled. At last a young man, of middle height, with thin pale face,
whose eyes indicated firm conviction and lively zeal, went up into the
pulpit and explained the Holy Scriptures to his fellow-townsmen.[127]
The effects of Calvin's preaching were various. Many persons rejoiced to
hear, at last, a living word beneath that roof which had reechoed with
so much vain and useless babbling. Of this number were, no doubt,
certain notable men who were seen pressing round the preacher: Laurent
of Normandy, who enjoyed great consideration in that district;
Christopher Lefèvre, Lancelot of Montigny, Jacques Bernardy, Corneille
de Villette, Nicholas Néret, Labbé surnamed Balafré, Claude Dupré, and
Nicholas Picot, Anthony Calvin's brother-in-law. All were afterwards
accused of having embraced the new doctrine, and were condemned by the
parliament of Paris to be drawn on hurdles and burnt in the great square
of Noyon; but they had already quitted the kingdom.[128]

The words of the young speaker did not merely communicate fresh
knowledge—they worked a transformation of the heart and life. But there
were men present quite ready to receive certain evangelical ideas, who
yet did not mean to change either their life or their heart. The same
word thus produced faith in some and opposition in others: it _divided
the light from the darkness_.[129] Certain bigots and priests, in
particular, inveighed against the preaching of that serious-looking,
earnest young man, and exclaimed: 'They are setting wolves to guard the


Calvin stayed only two or three months at Noyon. Perhaps a growing
opposition forced him to depart. He desired also to continue his Greek
studies; but instead of returning to Orleans or Bourges, he resolved to
go to Paris. The moment was favourable. Classical studies were at that
time making great progress in the capital. Francis I., at the request of
Budæus and Du Bellay, had just founded (1529) several professorships for
teaching Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. It was a complete revolution, and
Paris was full of animation when Calvin arrived. The fantastical
framework which the scholastics, theologians, jurists, and philosophers
had erected during the middle ages, fell to the ground in the midst of
jeering and laughter, and the modern learning arose amid the unanimous
applause of the rising generation. Pierre Danès, a pupil of Budæus and
Lascaris, and afterwards a bishop, taught Greek;[131] Francis Vatable
introduced young scholars to the knowledge of the Hebrew Scriptures,
although he failed himself to find the counsel of God therein;[132]
other illustrious professors completed this precious course of
instruction. Paris was a centre whence light emanated; and this was the
reason which induced Calvin to forsake Noyon, Bourges, and even Orleans,
and hasten his steps thither.

The journey was a painful one; Calvin (whether on horseback or on foot
is unknown) arrived in Paris about the end of June, quite worn out with
fatigue. 'It is impossible,' he said next morning, 'for me to go out of
doors;'[133] indeed, he did not leave his room for four days. But the
news of his arrival soon spread; his friends and admirers hastened to
his inn, and during these four days his room was never empty.[134] All
the agitation of the schools seemed to be transported thither.


They talked of Budæus, Vatable, and Danès, of Greek and Hebrew, and of
the sun of learning then shining over the old Lutetia.... Calvin
listened and learnt the state of men's minds. One of the first who
hurried to him was Coiffard, his fellow-collegian at Orleans, who
brought his father with him. People contended for the student of Noyon,
who had already become celebrated. 'Come and stay with us,' said the
young Parisian; and when Calvin declined, 'I entreat you,' said Coiffard
in the most affectionate manner, 'to grant me this favour.'[135] The
father also insisted, for the worthy citizen knew what a steady friend
his rather frivolous son would find in the Picardin student. 'There is
nothing in the world I desire so much,' he said, 'as to see you
associate with my son.'[136]—'Come, do come,' urged the son, 'and be my
companion.' Calvin was touched by this affection; but he feared the
interruptions of the family, its distance from college, and he had but
one object—study. 'I would accept your offer with both hands,' he said,
'but that I intend to follow Danès' Greek course, and his school is too
far from your house.'[137] The father and son went away greatly

Not long after this, a more important personage entered the room. It was
Nicholas Cop, professor at St. Barbe, whose father, a native of Basle,
had just been appointed physician to the king. Both father and son were
strongly suspected of belonging to the 'new opinions;' but at that time
Francis cared little about them. The elder Cop had translated Galen and
Hippocrates, and the king had confided to him the care of his health. A
strict friendship erelong united Calvin and the son. The latter,
although a professor in the university, listened to the student of Noyon
as a disciple listens to his master; it is one of those marks of
Calvin's superiority, which every one recognised instantly. He showed
his friend 'how Christ discharges the office of physician, since he is
sent by the Father to quicken the dead.'

The conversations which these two young men then held together resulted
in after years in an event which exercised a certain influence over the
destiny of the reformer and of the Reform itself.


An object of less importance occupied them now: it was Calvin's first
business in Paris, and the account he gives of it throws a new light on
the future legislator. The custom of shutting up in convents the young
persons who had any tendency towards the Gospel had already begun. 'Our
friend Daniel, the advocate,' said Calvin to Cop, 'has a sister in a
nunnery at Paris; she is about to take the veil, and Daniel wishes to
know if it is with her full consent.'—'I will accompany you,' said the
professor, and on the following Sunday, Calvin having recovered from his
fatigue, the two friends set out for the convent. The future reformer,
who was already opposed to monastic vows, especially when taken under
constraint, cleverly devised a plan for learning whether any restriction
was placed upon the young lady's liberty. 'Converse with the abbess,' he
said to Cop, as they were going to the nunnery, 'and contrive that I may
be able to talk privately with our friend's sister.' The abbess,
followed by the girl, entered the parlour. 'We have granted her,' said
the former, 'the privilege of taking the solemn vows.'[138] According to
his instructions Cop began to talk with the superior on different
subjects which had no connection with the matter in hand. During this
time, Calvin, who believed he saw a victim before him, took advantage of
the opportunity, and said to Daniel's sister: 'Are you taking this yoke
upon you willingly, or is it placed on your neck by force?[139] Do not
fear to trust me with the thoughts that disturb you.' The girl looked at
Calvin with a thoughtless air, and answered him with much volubility:
'The veil is what I most desire, and the day when I shall make my vow
can never come too soon.' The future reformer was astonished: he had
before him a giddy young person, who had been led to believe that she
would find great amusement in the cloister. 'Every time she spoke of her
vows,' said Calvin, 'you might have fancied she was playing with her
doll.'[140] He desired, however, to address one serious word to her:
'Mademoiselle,' he said to her, 'I beg of you not to trust too much to
your own strength: I conjure you to promise nothing as if you could
accomplish it yourself. Lean rather on the strength of God, in whom we
live and have our being.'[141] Perhaps Calvin thought that by speaking
so seriously to the young girl, she would renounce her rash undertaking;
but he was mistaken.

He returned to his inn, and two days after (the 25th of June) he wrote
to Daniel an account of his visit to the convent. Having finished, he
was beginning another letter to a canon of Orleans,[142] when one of his
friends arrived, who had come to take him for a ride. We might suppress
this incident as being of no importance; but it is perhaps also an
unexpected feature in Calvin's habits. He is generally represented as
absorbed in his books or reprimanding the disorderly. And yet he was no
stranger to the decent relaxations of life: he could ride on horseback
and took pleasure in the exercise. He accepted his friend Viermey's
offer. 'I shall finish the letter on my return,' he said,[143] and the
two students set off on their excursion in the neighbourhood of Paris. A
few days later Calvin hired a room in the college of Fortret, where he
was near the professors, and resumed his study of languages, law, and
philosophy.[144] He desired to learn. Having received the knowledge of
divine things, he wished to acquire a true understanding of the world.

But erelong the summons from on high sounded louder than ever in his
heart. When he was in his room, surrounded by his law books, the voice
of his conscience cried to him that he ought to study the Bible. When he
went out, all his friends who felt a love for pure religion begged of
him to devote himself to the Gospel.[145] Calvin was one of those
fortresses that are not to be taken at the first assault. As he looked
upon the books scattered about his study, he could not make up his mind
to forsake them. But whenever in the course of his life God spoke
clearly to him, he repressed his fondest desires. Thus urged from within
and from without, he yielded at last. 'I renounce all other sciences,'
he said, 'and give myself up entirely to theology and to God.'[146] This
news spread among the secret assemblies of the faithful, and all were
filled with great satisfaction.

A mighty movement had taken place in Calvin's soul; but it must be
understood that there was no plan laid down in his mind. He had no
ambition, no art, no _rôle_; but he did with a strong will whatever
God set before him. The time he now spent in Paris was his
apprenticeship. Having given himself to God, he set to work with the
decision of an energetic character and the firmness of a persevering
mind. He studied theology with enthusiasm. 'The science of God is the
mistress-science,' he said; 'the others are only her servants.' He gave
consistency to that little chosen band who, in the midst of the crowd of
scholars, turned lovingly towards the Holy Scriptures. He excited young
and noble minds; he studied with them and endeavoured to explain their


He did more. Berquin's death had struck all his friends with terror. 'If
they have burnt this green wood,' said some, 'they will not spare the
dry.' Calvin, not permitting himself to be checked by these alarms,
began to explore that city which had become so dangerous. He joined the
secret assemblies which met under the shadow of night in remote
quarters,[147] where he explained the Scriptures with a clearness and
energy of which none had ever heard the like. These meetings were held
more particularly on the left bank of the Seine, in that part of the
city which the catholics afterwards termed _Little Geneva_, and
which, on the other hand, is now the seat of Parisian catholicism. One
day the evangelicals would repair mysteriously to a house on the
property of the abbey of St. Germain des Prés; another day they would
meet in the precincts of the university, the _quartier latin_ of
our times. In the room would be a few wooden benches, on which the poor
people, a few students, and sometimes one or two men of learning, took
their seats. They loved that simple-hearted young man, who so
effectually introduced into their minds and hearts the truths he found
in the Scriptures. 'The Word of Christ is always a fire,' they said;
'but when he explains it, this fire shines out with unusual brilliancy.'

Young men formed themselves on his model; but there were many who rushed
into controversy, instead of seeking edification as Calvin did. In the
university quarter the pupils of Daniel and Vatable might be seen, with
the Hebrew or Greek Testaments in their hands, disputing with everybody.
'It is thus in the Hebrew text,' they said; 'and the Greek text reads so
and so.' Calvin did not, however, disdain polemics; following the
natural bent of his mind, he attacked error and reprimanded the guilty.
Some who were astonished at his language asked: 'Is not this the curé of
Pont l'Evêque, the friend of Monseigneur de St. Eloy?' But, not allowing
himself to be checked by these words, he confounded alike the
superstitious papists and the incredulous innovators. 'He was wholly
given up to divinity and to God, to the great delight of all


It was already possible to distinguish in him, in some features at
least, the character of chief of the Reform. As he possessed great
facility of correspondence, he kept himself informed, and others also,
of all that was passing in the christian world. He made about this time
a collection of papers and documents relating to the most recent facts
of the Reformation, and sent them to Duchemin, but not for him to
keep.[149] 'I send them to you on this condition,' wrote Calvin, 'that,
in accordance with your good faith and duty, they may pass through your
hands to our friends.'[150] To this packet he added an epitome,[151]
some commentaries, and a collection of notes made probably by Roussel
during his residence at Strasburg. He purposed adding an appendix:[152]
'But I had no time,' he said.[153] Calvin desired that all the friends
of the Gospel should profit by the light which he himself possessed. He
brought the new ideas and new writings into circulation. A close
student, an indefatigable evangelist, this young man of twenty was, by
his far-seeing glance, almost a reformer.

He did not confine his labours to Paris, Orleans, Bourges, or Noyon: the
city of Meaux occupied his attention. Meaux, which had welcomed Lefèvre
and Farel, which had heard Leclerc, the first martyr, still possessed
Briçonnet. This former protector of the evangelicals would indeed no
longer see them, and appeared absorbed in the honours and seductions of
the prelacy. But some men thought that at the bottom of his heart he
still loved the Gospel. What a triumph if the grace of God should once
more blossom in his soul! Daniel had friends at Meaux; Calvin begged of
him to open the door (or, to use his own expression, _the window_) of
this city for him. In the number of these friends was a certain
_Mæcenas_. The young doctor, writing from Meaux, gives a portrait of
this individual which exactly fits the bishop. He does not name
Briçonnet; but as he often suppresses names, or employs either initials
or pseudonyms, we might almost say that the name was not necessary here.
Daniel accordingly wrote to Mæcenas, who returned a very cold
answer.[154] 'I cannot walk with those people,' he said; 'I cannot
conform my manners to theirs.'[155] Daniel insisted; but it was all of
no use: the timid Mæcenas would on no account have anything to do with
Calvin. Briçonnet, we learn, was surrounded by friends who were
continually repeating to him: 'A bishop ought to have no commerce with
persons suspected of innovation.'[156] Calvin, animated by the noblest
ambition, that of bringing back to God a soul that was going astray,
finding himself denied every time he knocked at the gate of this great
personage, at last gave up his generous enterprise, and, shaking the
dust from his feet, he said with severity: 'Since he will not be with
us, let him take pleasure in himself, and with a heart full, or rather
inflated by his own importance, let him pamper his ambition.'[157]


Calvin did not, however, fail completely at Meaux: 'You have given me
prompt and effectual aid,' he wrote to Daniel; 'you have opened me a
window, and have thus given me the privilege of being in future an
indiscreet petitioner.'[158] He took advantage of this opening to
propagate the Gospel. 'I will do it,' he said, 'without imprudence or
precipitation.' And, calling to mind that 'the doctrine of Christ is
like old wine, which has ceased working, but which nevertheless gives
nourishment to the body,'[159] he busied himself in filling vessels with
this precious drink: 'I will take care,' he wrote to Daniel, 'that the
inside shall be well filled with wine.'[160] He ended his letter by
saying: 'I want the _Odyssey_ of Homer which I lent Sucquet: pray
tell him so.'[161] Luther took Plautus and Terence into the convent with
him; Calvin asked for Homer.

He soon returned to Paris, which opened a wider field of labour to him.
On the 15th of January, 1530, he wrote Daniel a letter which he dated
from the _Acropolis_, as if Paris were to him the citadel of catholicism
or the Parthenon of France.[162] He was always trying to save some lost
sheep, and such a desire filled his mind on the 15th of January. On that
day he expected two friends to dinner. One of them, Robert Daniel,
brother to the advocate of Orleans, an enthusiastic young man, was
burning with desire to see the world. Calvin, who had already done all
in his power to win him over, flattered himself that he would succeed
that day; but the giddy young fellow, suspecting perhaps what awaited
him, did not come. Calvin sent a messenger to Robert's lodging. 'He has
decamped,' said the landlord; 'he has left for Italy.' At Meaux Calvin
had desired to win over a great personage; at Paris he had hoped to win
over a young adventurer: in both cases he failed. 'Alas!' he said, 'I am
but a dry and useless log!' And once more he sought fresh strength in


Meanwhile the Sorbonne, proud of the victory it had gained in bringing
Berquin to the stake, decided to pursue its triumphs. The war was about
to begin again. It was Beda who renewed the combat—that Beda of whom
Erasmus said: 'There are three thousand priests in that man alone!' He
did not attack Calvin, disdaining, or rather ignoring him. He aimed at
higher game, and having triumphed over one of the king's gentlemen, he
attacked the doctors whom Francis had invited to Paris for the
propagation of learning. Danès, Vatable, and others having been cited
before the parliament, the fiery syndic rose and said: 'The king's
doctors neglect Aristotle, and study the Holy Scriptures only.... If
people continue to occupy themselves with Greek and Hebrew, it is all
over with faith. These folks desire to explain the Bible, and they are
not even theologians!... The Greek and Hebrew books of the Holy
Scriptures come mostly from Germany, where they may have been altered.
Many of the persons who print Hebrew books are Jews.... It is not,
therefore, a sufficient argument to say: It is so and so in the
Hebrew.[163] These doctors ought to be forbidden to interfere with Holy
Scripture in their courses; or at least they should be ordered first to
undergo an examination at the university.' The king's professors did not
hold back in the cause of knowledge. They boldly assumed the offensive.
'If the university of Paris is now in small esteem among foreign
nations,' they said to the parliament, 'it is because instead of
applying themselves to the study of the Holy Gospels and of the ancient
fathers—Cyprian, Chrysostom, Jerome, and Augustin—its theologians
substitute for this true knowledge a science teaching nothing but craft
and sophistry. It is not thus that God wills to enlighten his people. We
must study sacred literature, and drink freely of all the treasures of
the human mind.'[164] Beda had gone too far. At court, and even in
parliament, numerous voices were raised in behalf of learning and
learned men. Parliament dismissed the charges of the syndic of the

The exasperated Beda now employed all his eloquence to get the
professors condemned by the Sorbonne. 'The new doctors,' he exclaimed,
'horrible to say! pretend that Holy Scripture cannot be understood
without Greek, Hebrew, and other such languages.' On the 30th of April,
1530, the Sorbonne did actually condemn as rash and scandalous the
proposition of the professors which Beda had denounced.[165]


Calvin anxiously observed in all its phases this struggle between his
teachers and the doctors of the Sorbonne. All the students were on the
watch, as was Calvin also in his college; and when the decision of the
parliament became known there, it was received with loud acclamations.
While the Sorbonne placed itself on the side of tradition, Calvin placed
himself still more decidedly on the side of Scripture. He thought that
as the oral teaching of the apostles had ceased, their written teaching
had become its indispensable substitute. The writings of Matthew and
John, of Peter and Paul, were, in his opinion, the living word of these
great doctors, their teaching for those ages which could neither see nor
hear them. It appeared to Calvin as impossible to reform the Church
without the writings of the apostles, as it would have been to form it
in the first century without their preaching. He saw clearly that if the
Church was to be renewed, it must be done by faith and by Scripture—a
twofold principle which at bottom is but one.

But the hour had not yet come when Calvin was to proclaim these great
truths with the authority of a reformer. A modest and devout man, he was
now performing a more humble work in the remotest streets and loneliest
houses of the capital. One would have taken him for the most
insignificant of men, and yet he was already a conqueror. The light of
Scripture, with which his mind was saturated, was one day to shine like
the lightning from east to west; and no man since St. Paul was to hold
the Gospel torch so high and with so firm a hand. When that student, so
thin, pale, and obscure, in appearance so mean, in manner so timid,
passed down the street of St. Jacques or of the Sorbonne; when he crept
silently past the houses, and slipped unobserved into one of them,
bearing with him the Word of life, there was not even an old woman that
noticed him. And yet the time was to come when Francis I., with his
policy, conquests, priests, court, and festivities, would only call up
frivolous or disgusting recollections; while the work which this poor
scholar was by God's grace then beginning, would increase day by day for
the salvation of souls and prosperity of nations, and would advance
calmly but surely to the conquest of the world.

[Footnote 124: Calvini _Opusc._]

[Footnote 125: 'Unico omnium patri suum jus integrum maneat.'—Calvin
_in Matthæum_.]

[Footnote 126: Desmay, _Vie de Calvin_, pp. 40-42. Drelincourt, _Défense
de Calvin_, pp. 167, 168.]

[Footnote 127: 'Quo loco constat Calvinum ... ad populum conciones
habuisse.'—Bezæ _Vita Calvini_.]

[Footnote 128: Archives Générales, x. 8946. _France Protestante_,
article _Normandie_.]

[Footnote 129: Genesis i. 5.]

[Footnote 130: Desmay, _Vie de Calvin_, p. 41. Drelincourt,
_Défense de Calvin_, p. 168.]

[Footnote 131: Crévier, _Hist. de l'Université de Paris_, v. p. 245.]

[Footnote 132: 'Quo alios introduxisti, nusquam ipse ingressus.'—Bezæ

[Footnote 133: 'Lassus de itinere pedem extrahere domo non potui.'—
Calvinus Danieli, Berne MSS.]

[Footnote 134: 'Proximos quatuor dies, cum me ægre adhuc sustinerem.'—

[Footnote 135: 'Multis precibus, iisque non frigidis, sæpe institit.'—

[Footnote 136: 'Nihil magis appetere quam me adjungi filio.'—Calvinus
Danieli, Berne MSS.]

[Footnote 137: 'Nihil unquam magis ambabus ulnis complexus sum, quam
hanc amici voluntatem.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 138: 'Eam obtinuisse ex solenni more voti nuncupandi
potestatem.'—Calvinus Danieli, Berne MSS.]

[Footnote 139: 'Num jugum illud molliter exciperet? num fracta potius
quam inflexa cervix?'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 140: 'Diceres eam ludere cum puppis, quoties audivit voti
nomen.'—Calvinus Danieli, Berne MSS.]

[Footnote 141: 'Omnia reponeret in Dei virtute in quo sumus et

[Footnote 142: 'Habeo litteras inchoatas ad canonicum.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 143: 'Viermæus cum quo equum ascendo.'—Calvinus Danieli, Berne

[Footnote 144: 'In collegio Forterestano domicilium habuit.'—Flor.
Rémond, _Hist. de l'Hérésie_, ii. p. 246.]

[Footnote 145: Theodore Beza, _Vie de Calvin_, in French text, p. 12.
'Omnibus purioris religionis studiosis.'—Ibid. Latin text.]

[Footnote 146: 'Ab eo tempore sese Calvinus, abjectis reliquis studiis,
Deo totum consecravit.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 147: 'Qui tunc Lutetiæ occultos cœtus habebant.'—Bezæ _Vita

[Footnote 148: Beza, _Vie de Calvin_, French text, p. 12. 'Summa piorum
omnium voluptate.'—Ibid. Latin text.]

[Footnote 149: 'Mitto ad te rerum novarum collectanea.'—Calvinus
Chemino, Berne MSS.]

[Footnote 150: 'Hac tamen lege, ut pro tua fide officioque per manus
tuas ad amicos transeant.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 151: 'Mitto Epitomem alteram G. nostri.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 152: 'Cui velut appendicem assuere decreveram.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 153: 'Nisi me tempus defecisset.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 154: 'Supinum illum Mæcenatem.'—Calvinus Danieli Aureliano,
Idibus Septembris 1529. Geneva MSS. Calvin borrows this expression from
Juvenal, i. 65:

  'Multum referens de Mæcenate supino.']

[Footnote 155: 'Non potest mores suos nobis accommodare.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 156: Maimbourg, _Histoire du Calvinisme_, liv. ii.]

[Footnote 157: 'Sit assentator suus, et pleno, seu verius turgido
pectore, foveat ambitionem.'—Calvinus Danieli, Geneva MSS.]

[Footnote 158: 'Apertam esse fenestram, ne post hæc simus verecundi
petitores.'—Calvinus Danieli, Geneva MSS. An expression imitated from
Suetonius, lib. xxviii.]

[Footnote 159: Calvin, _in Lucam_, ch. v. 39.]

[Footnote 160: 'Interim tamen penum vino instruendum curabo.'—Calvinus
Danieli, Geneva MSS. This passage presents some difficulty. 'Penus' in
Persius means a _safe_ where meat is kept; in Festus and Lampridius, the
_sanctuary_ of the temple.]

[Footnote 161: 'Odysseam Homeri quam Sucqueto commodaveram, finges a me

[Footnote 162: _Calvin's Letters_, i. p. 30. Philadelphia, edit. J.

[Footnote 163: 'Ita habent Hebræa.'—_Actes du Parlement._]

[Footnote 164: Crévier, _Hist. de l'Université de Paris_, v. p. 249.]

[Footnote 165: 'Hæc propositio temeraria est et scandalosa.'—D'Argentré,
_Collectio Judiciorum de novis Erroribus_, ii. p. 78.]


When was France to turn herself towards the Word of God? At the time of
her brother's return from his Spanish captivity, Margaret had solicited
him to grant liberty of preaching the Gospel, and the king, as will be
remembered, had deferred the matter until his sons were restored to
freedom. That moment seemed to have arrived. In order to recover his
children, Francis had sacrificed at Cambray (June 1529), in _the Ladies'
Peace_, the towns he had conquered, the allies who had been faithful to
him, and two millions of crowns besides.

It was not, however, until ten months later that the children of France
returned. All the royal family hurried to the Spanish frontier to
receive them; all, except Margaret. 'As it would be difficult to take
you further without danger,' said her mother, 'the king and I have
determined to leave you behind for your confinement.'[166] Margaret,
uneasy and perhaps a little jealous, wrote to Montmorency: 'When the
King of Navarre is with you, I pray you to advise him; but I much fear
that you will not be able to prevent his falling in love with the
Spanish ladies.'[167] At the beginning of July the king's children were
restored to their father; Margaret was transported with joy, and showed
it by her enthusiastic letters to Francis I.[168] She loved these
princes like a mother. More serious thoughts soon filled her mind: the
epoch fixed by her brother had arrived, but would he keep his promise?


Margaret lost no time. Being left alone at Blois, she endeavoured to
strengthen the good cause, and carried on an active correspondence with
the leaders of the Reform. 'Alas!' said the priests, 'while King Francis
is labouring to protect his kingdom from the inundations of the Rhine
(that is, the Reformation), his sister the Queen of Navarre is trying to
break the dykes and throw down the embankments.'[169] There was one work
above all which Margaret had at heart; she wished to put an end to the
divisions among the evangelicals. She entreated the Frenchmen who were
at Strasburg, 'waiting for the consolation of Israel,' to do all in
their power to terminate the disunion; she even commanded Bucer to do
so.[170] Bucer's fine talents, benevolent character, and cultivated
understanding, the eloquence of his language, the dignity of his
carriage, the captivating sound of his voice, his discerning of spirits,
his ardent zeal—all seemed to fit him for a peace-maker. He set to work
without delay, and informed Luther of the princess's injunctions. 'If
our opinions are compared with yours,' he said, 'it will be easily seen
that they are radically the same, although expressed in different terms.
Let us not furnish our enemies with a weapon with which to attack

If Margaret had confidence in Bucer, he too had confidence in her. He
admired the sincerity of her faith, the liveliness of her piety, the
purity of her manners, the beauty of her understanding, the charms of
her conversation, and the abundance of her good works. 'Never was this
christian heroine found wanting in her duty,' he wrote to Luther.[172]
The Strasburgers thought that if Luther and the Germans on one side, and
Margaret and the French on the other, were united, the cause of the
Reformation would be triumphant in Europe. Whenever any good news
arrived from France, Bucer thrilled with joy; he ran to communicate it
to Capito, to Hedion, to Zell, and to Hohenlohe; and then he wrote to
Luther: 'The brethren write to us from France, dear doctor, that the
Gospel is spreading among them in a wonderful manner. A great number of
the nobility have already received the truth.[173] There is a certain
district in Normandy where the Gospel is spread so widely that the enemy
call it _Little Germany_.[174] The king is no stranger to the good
doctrine;[175] and as his children are now at liberty, he will no longer
pay such regard to what the pope and the emperor demand. Christ will
soon be publicly confessed over the whole kingdom.'[176]


The Queen of Navarre was obliged to discontinue her correspondence with
the reformers of Germany; great joys and great anguish gave another
direction to her thoughts. About a fortnight after the return of the
children of France, Margaret became the mother of a fine boy at the
castle of Blois. When the king passed through that place on his return
from the Pyrenees, he took his sister with him, after her churching, to
Fontainebleau. But erelong bad tidings of her child summoned Margaret to
Alençon, where he was staying with his nurse; he died on Christmas day,
1530, at the age of five months and a half. The mother who had watched
near him, who had felt his sweet breath upon her cheek, saw him now
lying dead in his little cradle, and could not turn away her eyes from
him. At one time she thought he would revive, but alas! he was really
dead. The queen felt as if her life had been torn from her; her strength
was exhausted; her heart bled, but God consoled her. 'I place him,' she
said, 'in the arms of his Father;' and as she felt the necessity of
giving glory to God publicly, she sent for one of her principal
officers, and, with a voice stifled by tears and sighs, ordered that the
child's death should be posted up in the principal quarters of the city,
and that these words should be at the foot of the notice:


A sentiment of joy mingled, however, with her inexpressible sorrow; and,
confident that the little child was in the presence of God, the pious
mother ordered a _Te Deum_ to be sung.[177] 'I entreat you both,' she
wrote to her brother and to her mother, 'to _rejoice at his glory_, and
not give way to any sadness.'[178] Francis, who had not long before lost
two daughters, was moved at this solemn circumstance, and replied to his
sister: 'You have borne the grief of mine, as if they were your own lost
children; now I must bear yours, as if it were my own loss. It is the
third of yours and the last of mine, whom God has called away to his
blessed communion, acquired by them with little labour, and desired by
us with such great travail.'[179] There are afflictions from God which
awaken deep feelings, even in the most frivolous hearts, and lips which
are ordinarily dumb sometimes utter harmonious sounds in the presence of
death. Other consolations were not wanting to the queen. Du Bellay, at
that time Bishop of Bayonne, and afterwards of Paris, hastened to
Alençon: 'Ah!' said Margaret, 'but for our Lord's help, the burden would
have been more than I could bear.'[180] The bishop urged her, on the
part of the king, to go to St. Germain, where preparations were making
for the coronation of Queen Eleanor, the emperor's sister. Margaret, who
always obeyed her brother's orders, quitted Alençon, though with sorrow,
in order to be present at his marriage.


The court had never been more brilliant. The less happiness there was in
this marriage, the more pomp the king desired to display; joy of the
heart was replaced by the sound of the fife and drum and of the hautboy.
The dresses were glittering, the festivities magnificent.

  There were mysteries and games, and the streets were gaily drest,
  And the roads with flowers were strewn of the sweetest and the best;
  On every side were galleries, and, if 't would pleasure yield,
  We'd have conjured up again for thee a new Elysian field.[181]

Princes, archbishops, bishops, barons, knights, gentlemen of parliament,
and the magistrates of the city, were assembled for this illustrious
marriage; scholars and poets were not wanting. Francis I. would often
repeat the proverb addressed by Fouquet, Count of Anjou, to Louis IV.:

  Un roi non lettré
  Est un âne couronné.[182]

Philologers, painters, and architects had flocked to France from foreign
countries. They had met in Paris men worthy to receive them. William
Budæus, the three brothers Du Bellay, William Petit, the king's
confessor; William Cop, the friend of Lascaris and Erasmus; Pierre du
Châtel, who so gracefully described his travels in the East; Pellicier,
the learned commentator on Pliny, whose papers have not, however, been
printed;[183] Peter Danès, whose talents and knowledge Calvin esteemed
so highly: all these scholars, who entertained sympathies, more or less
secret, for the Reform, were then at court. These men of letters passed
among the Roman party as belonging to Luther's flock.[184] Somewhat
later, indeed, when one of them, Danès, was at the Council of Trent, a
French orator inveighed strongly against the lax morals of Rome. The
Bishop of Orvieto said with contempt: '_Gallus cantat!_'—'_Utinam_,'
sharply retorted Danès, then ambassador for France, '_utinam ad galli
cantum Petrus resipisceret!_'[185] But the cock has often crowed, and
Peter has shed no tears.

In the midst of all these men of letters was

  Margaret, the fairest flower
  That ever grew on earth,

as Ronsard called her. But although her fine understanding enjoyed this
select society, more serious thoughts occupied her mind. She could not
forget, even in the midst of the court, the little angel that had flown
away from her; she was uneasy about the friends of the Gospel; the
worldly festivities around her left her heart depressed and unsatisfied.
She endeavoured to pierce the thick clouds that hung over her, and
soaring in spirit to the 'heavenly kingdom,' she grasped the hand that
Christ stretched out to her from on high. She returned to the well of
Jacob, where she had drunk when she was so tired with her journey. She
had been as a parched and weary land, having neither dew nor moisture,
and the Lord had refreshed her with the clear springs of his Holy
Spirit. 'A continual sprinkling (to use her own words) kept up in her a
heavenly eternity;' and she would have desired all who gathered round
her to come to that well where she had so effectually quenched her own
thirst. Accordingly, in the midst of the worldly agitation of the court,
and of all the honours lavished on her rank and her wit, the poor
mother, whose heart was bruised but consoled, looked out in silence for
some lamb which she could recall from its wandering, and said:


  'Come to my fountain pure and free,
  Drink of its stream abundantly.'
  Hasten, sinners, to the call
  Of your God, who speaks to all:

  'Come and drink—it gives relief
  To every form of mortal grief;
  Come and drink the draught divine,
  Out of this new fount of mine.
  Wash away each mortal stain
  In the blood of Jesu slain.
  No return I seek from thee
  But works of love and charity.'

  Hasten, sinners, to the brink
  Of this stream so pure, and drink!
  Fill your hearts, so that ye may
  Serve God better every day.
  Then, well washed of every stain
  That of earth might yet remain,
  By Jesu's love at last set free,
  Live in heaven eternally.

  'Come to my fountain pure and free,
  Drink of its stream abundantly!'
  Listen, sinners, to the call
  Of your God, who speaks to all.[186]

These appeals were not unavailing. The Reformation was advancing in
France by two different roads: one was on the mountains, the other in
the plain. The Gospel gained hearts among the sons of labour and of
trial; but it gained others also among the learned and high-born, whose
faculty of inquiry had been aroused, and who desired to substitute truth
in the place of monastic superstitions. Margaret was the evangelist of
the court and of the king. Her mother, with Duprat and Montmorency,
ruled in the council-chamber, the Duchess of Etampes in the court
festivities, but the gentle voice of the Queen of Navarre supported
Francis in his frequent periods of uneasiness and dejection. Yet not to
the king alone did Margaret devote at this time the attentions of her
ardent charity. All the affections of her heart were just now
concentrated on a single object.


She had not recovered from the death of her child, when another blow
fell upon the Queen of Navarre. The brilliant and gay festivities of the
court were succeeded by the sullen silence of the grave; and the icy
coldness, which had presided over the marriage of Francis with his
enemy's sister, was followed by the keen anguish and the bitter sorrows
of the tenderest of daughters. About the end of the year 1531 the Isle
of France was visited by an epidemic. Louisa of Savoy was taken
seriously ill at Fontainebleau, where the children of the king were
staying. Margaret hurried thither immediately. Louisa, that great enemy
of the Reformation, weakened by her dissolute life, was suffering from a
severe fever, and yet, imagining that she would not die, she continued
to attend to business of importance, and, between the paroxysms of the
disease that was killing her, dictated her despatches to the king. Never
had mother so depraved and daughter so virtuous felt such love for each
other. As soon as she saw the Duchess of Angoulême, the Queen of Navarre
anticipated 'the greatest of misfortunes,' and never left her side. The
king's children afforded their grandmother some diversion. Charles, Duke
of Angoulême, then nine years old, thought only of his father. 'If I
only meet him,' said the boy one day, 'I will never let go his
hand.'—'And if the king should go to hunt the boar?' said his
aunt.—'Well! I shall not be afraid; papa will be able to take care of
me.'—'When Madame heard these words,' wrote Margaret to her brother,
'she burst into tears, which has done her much good.'

In the midst of all these mournful occupations, Margaret kept watch over
the friends of the Gospel. 'Dear nephew,' she wrote to the grand-master
Montmorency, 'that good man Lefèvre writes to me that he is
uncomfortable at Blois, because the folks there are trying to annoy him.
For change of air, he would willingly go and see a friend of his, if
such were the king's good pleasure.' Margaret, finding that the enemies
of the Reform were tormenting the old man, gave him an asylum at Nerac
in her own states. We shall meet with him there hereafter.

On the 20th of September, Louisa, feeling a little better, left
Fontainebleau for Romorantin; but she had hardly reached Grez, near
Nemours, when her failing voice, her labouring breath, and her words so
sad 'that no one could listen to them, gave her daughter a sorrow and
vexation impossible to describe.'[187] 'It is probable that she will
die,' wrote Margaret to the king. Louisa, notwithstanding her weakness,
still busied herself with affairs of state; she wished to die governing.
Deep sorrow filled her daughter's heart. It was too much for her, this
sight of a mother whom she loved with intense affection, trifling on the
brink of the grave, strengthening herself against death by means of her
power and her greatness, 'as if they would serve her as a rampart and
strong tower,' forgetting that there was another besides herself, who
disposed of that life of which she fancied herself to be the mistress.
Margaret did not rest content with only praying for her mother; she sat
by her and spoke to her of the Saviour. 'Madame,' she said, 'I entreat
you to fix your hopes elsewhere. Strive to make God propitious to
you.'[188] This woman, so ambitious, clever, false, and dissolute, whose
only virtue was maternal love, does not appear to have opened her heart
to her daughter's voice. She breathed her last on the 29th of September,
1531, in the arms of the Queen of Navarre.

Thoughts of a different order were soon to engross Margaret's attention.
Hers was a sincere and living piety, but she had an excessive fear of
contests and divisions, and, like many eminent persons of that epoch,
she desired at any cost, and even by employing diplomatic means, to
achieve a reform which should leave catholicity intact. To set before
herself a universal transformation of the Church was certainly a noble
and a christian aim; but Calvin, Luther, Farel, and others saw that it
could only be attained at the expense of truth. The Queen of Navarre's
fault was her readiness to sacrifice everything to the realisation of
this beautiful dream; and we shall see what was done in France (Francis
lending himself to it from mere political motives) to attain the
accomplishment of this magnificent but chimerical project.

[Footnote 166: _Lettres de la Reine de Navarre_, i. p. 247.]

[Footnote 167: _Lettres de la Reine de Navarre_, i. p. 246.]

[Footnote 168: Ibid. ii. p. 105.]

[Footnote 169: Flor. Rémond, _Hist. de l'Hérésie_, p. 487.]

[Footnote 170: 'Jussu reginæ Navarræ, ut hoc tandem dissidium
tollatur.'—Buceri _Opera Anglicana_, fᵒ 693. Gerdesius, ii. p. 33.]

[Footnote 171: 'Præbetur telum hostibus.'—Gerdesius, iv. p. 33.]

[Footnote 172: 'Nunquam suo officio deest christianissima illa heroīna,
regis soror.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 173: 'Procerum magnus numerus jam veritati accessit.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 174: 'Ut cœperint eam vocare _parvam Allemaniam_.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 175: 'Rex a veritate alienus non est.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 176: 'Bona spes est, brevi fore, ut Christus publicum apud
ipsos obtineat.'—Gerdesius, iv. p. 33.]

[Footnote 177: Charles de Sainte-Marthe, _Oraison funèbre de

[Footnote 178: _Lettres de la Reine de Navarre_, i. p. 269.]

[Footnote 179: Ibid.]

[Footnote 180: Ibid. i. pp. 272, 273.]

[Footnote 181: Marot, _Chronique de François I._ p. 90.]

[Footnote 182: 'An unlettered king is a crowned ass.' A.D. 936.]

[Footnote 183: Teissier, _Eloge des Hommes savants_, i. p. 200.]

[Footnote 184: Flor. Rémond, _Hist. de l'Hérésie_, p. 884.]

[Footnote 185: The Latin word _gallus_ signifies both _Frenchman_ and
_cock_. 'The Frenchman crows,' said the bishop. 'Would to God,' retorted
Danès, 'that Peter (the pope) would repent at the crowing of the cock!'
Sismondi, _Hist. des Français_, xvi. p. 359.]

[Footnote 186: _Les Marguerites de la Marguerite_, i. pp. 505-508.]

[Footnote 187: _Lettres de la Reine de Navarre_, i. p. 280; ii. p. 120.]

[Footnote 188: _Lettres de la Reine de Navarre_, i. p. 269.]



The royal trio was now broken up. Margaret, knowing well that her mother
had always influenced her brother in favour of popery, hoped to profit
by an event that had cost her so many tears, and immediately attempted
to incline her brother to the side of the Reform. But there were other
influences at work at court: the Sorbonne, the bishops, Montmorency, and
even the emperor endeavoured to set Francis against the evangelicals.
Charles V. especially desired to take advantage of the alliance which
drew him closer to France, in order to turn its sovereign against
Luther. His envoy, Noircarmes, had very positive instructions on this
point. One day, when this ambassador had gone to present his homage to
the king, they had a long conversation together, and Noircarmes gave
utterance to all the usual calumnies against the Reformation. Francis
did not know what answer to make, but fixed the diplomatist's
accusations in his memory, with the intention of repeating them to his
sister. He paid her a visit, while still in a state of excitement.
'Madame,' said he angrily, 'do you know that your friends the
protestants preach the community of goods, the nullity of the marriage
tie, and the subversion of thrones? Noircarmes says that if I do not
destroy Lutheranism, my crown will be in danger.'[189] To justify the
innocent was one of the tasks which the Queen of Navarre had imposed
upon herself. 'Sire,' she said to the king, 'the reformers are
righteous, learned, peaceful men, who have no other love than that of
truth, no other aim than the glory of God, and no other thought than to
banish superstition and to correct morals.' The Queen of Navarre was so
gracious, so true, so eloquent, that the king left her completely
changed—at least for the day.[190] But it was not long before perfidious
insinuations again roused his anger.


Margaret, either by her own hand or through her agents, informed the
protestants of Germany of the charges brought against them by Charles's
ambassador, and called upon them to contradict Noircarmes. This they did
immediately. One of them, Matthew Reinhold, a man devoted to the Gospel
and a clever diplomatist, arrived in Paris about the middle of April
1531, and having been received by the king, attended by his lords and
his bishops, he handed in a letter from the Elector of Saxony, the
Landgrave of Hesse, and their allies. Francis opened it and appeared to
read it with interest. 'Sire,' wrote the princes, 'a few monks (Tetzel
and his friends) having through avarice hawked their indulgences about
the country to the dishonour of Christ and the ruin of souls,[191]
certain just and wise men have reproved them; the sun has risen upon the
Church, and has brought to light a world of scandals and errors. Help
us, Sire, and use such means that these disputes may be settled, not by
force of arms, but by a lawful judgment, which shall do no violence to
the consciences of christians.'[192]

While Francis was reading this letter, the lords and prelates of his
court eyed the Lutheran from head to foot. They went up to him and asked
the strangest questions. 'Is it true,' said a bishop, 'that the women in
your country have several husbands?'—'All nonsense!' replied the German
envoy. To other questions he returned similar answers; the eagerness of
the speakers increased, and the conversation was becoming animated, when
the king, who had finished the letter, declared that he thought it very
reasonable, and, to the great surprise of the court, smiled graciously
upon Reinhold.[193] A few days later (21st April) he gave the envoy an
answer: 'In order to heal the sores of the christian republic,' he said,
'there must be a council; provided the Holy Ghost, who is the lord of
truth, has the chief place in it.' Then he added: 'Do not fear the
calumnies of your enemies.'[194] The first step was taken.

The grand idea of the counsellors of Francis I., and of the king
himself, was, at this time, to substitute for the old policy of France a
new and more independent policy, which would protect it against the
encroachments of the papacy. Melanchthon was charmed at the king's
letter. 'The Frenchman answered us in the most amiable manner,' he
said.[195] A council guided by the Spirit of God was precisely what the
German protestants demanded: they thought themselves on the point of
coming to an understanding with the King of France. This hope took
possession of Margaret also, and of the powerful party in the royal
council who thought, like her, that the union of France, Germany, and
England would lead to an internal and universal reform of christendom.
The king, urged to form an alliance with the German princes, resolved to
send an ambassador on his part, and selected for this mission one
Gervais Waim. The choice was an unlucky one: Waim, a German by birth,
but long resident in Paris,[196] desired that everything in Germany
should remain as he had left it. A blind partisan of the ancient state
of things, he regarded any change as an outrage towards the German
nation, and was full of prejudices against the Reformation. Accordingly,
he had hardly arrived at Wittemberg (this was in the spring of 1531),
when he sought every opportunity of gratifying his blind hatred. He met
with a grand reception; banquets and entertainments were given in his
honour. One day there was a large party, at which Luther was present
with his friends and many evangelical christians, who were desirous of
meeting the envoy of the King of France. The latter, instead of
conciliating their minds, grew warm, and exclaimed: 'You have neither
church nor magistrate nor marriage; every man does what he pleases, and
all is confusion as among the brutes. The king my master knows it very
well.'[197] On hearing this extravagant assertion, the company opened
their eyes. Some got angry, others laughed, many despaired of ever
coming to an understanding with Francis I. Melanchthon changed his
opinion entirely. 'This man,' he said, 'is a great enemy of our
cause.... The kings of the earth think of nothing but their own
interest; and if Christ does not provide for the safety of the Church,
all is lost.'[198] He never said a truer thing. Waim soon found that he
had not been a good diplomatist, and that he ought not to have shocked
the protestant sentiment; he therefore confined himself to his duty, and
his official communications were of more value than his private
conversations.[199] We shall see presently the important steps taken by
France towards an alliance with evangelical Germany.


Margaret, believing that the triumph of the good cause was not far off,
determined to move forward a little. She had struck out of her
prayer-book all the prayers addressed to the Virgin and to the saints.
This she laid before the king's confessor, William Petit, Bishop of
Senlis, a courtier, and far from evangelical, though abounding in
complaisance for the sister of his master. 'Look here!' she said; 'I
have cut out all the most superstitious portions of this
book.'[200]—'Admirable!' exclaimed the courtier; 'I should desire no
other.' The queen took the prelate at his word: 'Translate it into
French,' she said, 'and I will have it printed with your name.' The
courtier-bishop did not dare withdraw; he translated the book, the queen
approved of it, and it appeared under the title of _Heures de la Royne
Marguerite_ ('Queen Margaret's Prayer-book'). The Faculty of Divinity
was angry about it, but they restrained themselves, not so much because
it was the queen's prayer-book, as because the translator was a bishop
and his Majesty's confessor.


Nor did the Queen of Navarre stop here. There was at that time in Paris
a curé, named Lecoq, whose preaching drew great crowds to St. Eustache.
Certain ladies of the court, who affected piety, never missed one of his
sermons. 'What eloquence!' said they, speaking of Lecoq, one day when
there was a reception at St. Germain; 'what a striking voice! what a
flow of words! what boldness of thought! what fervent piety!'—'Your fine
orator,' said the king, who was listening to them, 'is no doubt a
Lutheran in disguise!'—'Not at all, Sire,' said one of the ladies; 'he
often declaims against Luther, and says that we must not separate from
the Church.' Margaret asked her brother to judge for himself. 'I will
go,' said Francis. The curé was informed that on the following Sunday
the king and all his court would come to hear his sermon. The priest was
charmed at the information. He was a man of talent, and had received
evangelical impressions; only they were not deep, and the breath of
favour might easily turn him from the right way. As this breath was just
now blowing in the direction of the Gospel, he entered with all his
heart into this conspiracy of the ladies, and began to prepare a
discourse adapted, as he thought, to introduce the new light into the
king's mind.

When Sunday came, all the carriages of the court drew up before the
church of St. Eustache, which the king entered, followed by Du Bellay,
Bishop of Paris, and his attendant lords and ladies. The crowd was
immense. The preacher went up into the pulpit, and everybody prepared to
listen. At first the king observed nothing remarkable; but gradually the
sermon grew warmer, and words full of life were heard. 'The end of all
visible things,' said Lecoq, 'is to lead us to invisible things. The
bread which refreshes our body tells us that Jesus Christ is the life of
our soul. Seated at the right hand of God, Jesus lives by his Holy
Spirit in the hearts of his disciples. _Quæ sursum sunt quærite_, says
St. Paul, _ubi Christus est in dextera Dei sedens_. Yes, _seek those
things which are above_! Do not confine yourselves during mass to what
is upon the altar; raise yourselves by faith to heaven, there to find
the Son of God. After he has consecrated the elements, does not the
priest cry out to the people: _Sursum corda!_ lift up your hearts! These
words signify: Here is the bread and here is the wine, but Jesus is in
heaven. For this reason, Sire,' continued Lecoq, boldly turning to the
king, 'if you wish to have Jesus Christ, do not look for him in the
visible elements; soar to heaven on the wings of faith. _It is by
believing in Jesus Christ that we eat his flesh_, says St. Augustin. If
it were true that Christ must be touched with the hands and devoured by
the teeth,[201] we should not say _sursum_, upwards! but _deorsum_,
downwards! Sire, it is to heaven that I invite you. Hear the voice of
the Lord: _sursum corda_, Sire, _sursum corda!_'[202] And the sonorous
voice of the priest filled the whole church with these words, which he
repeated with a tone of the sincerest conviction. All the congregation
was moved, and even Francis admired the eloquence of the preacher. 'What
do you think of it?' he asked Du Bellay as they were leaving the
church.—'He may be right,' answered the Bishop of Paris, who was not
opposed to a moderate reform, and who was married.—'I have a great mind
to see this priest again,' said the king.—'Nothing can be easier,'
replied Du Bellay.

[Sidenote: FALL OF LECOQ.]

Precautions, however, were taken that this interview should be concealed
from everybody. The curé disguised himself and was introduced secretly
into the king's private cabinet.[203] 'Leave us to ourselves,' said
Francis to the bishop.—'Monsieur le curé,' continued he, 'have the
goodness to explain what you said about the sacrament of the altar.'
Lecoq showed that a spiritual union with Christ could alone be of use to
the soul. 'Indeed!' said Francis; 'you raise strange scruples in my
mind.'[204] This encouraged the priest, who, charmed with his success,
brought forward other articles of faith.[205] His zeal spoilt
everything; it was too much for the king, who began to think that the
priest might be a heretic after all, and ordered him to be examined by a
Romish doctor. 'He is an arch-heretic,' said the inquisitor, after the
examination. 'With your Majesty's permission I will keep him locked up.'
The king, who did not mean to go so far, ordered Lecoq 'to be set at
liberty, and to be admitted to prove his assertions by the testimony of
Holy Scripture.'

Upon this the Cardinals of Lorraine and Tournon, 'awakened by the
crowing of the cock,'[206] arranged a conference. On one side was the
suspected priest, on the other some of the most learned doctors, and the
two cardinals presided as arbiters of the discussion. Tournon was one of
the ablest men of this period, and a most implacable enemy of the
Reformation; in later years he was the persecutor of the Waldenses, and
the introducer of the Jesuits into France. The discussion began.
'Whoever thought,' said the doctors of the Sorbonne to Lecoq, 'that
these words _sursum corda_ mean that the bread remains bread? No;
they signify that your heart should soar to heaven in order that the
Lord may descend upon the altar.' Lecoq showed that the Spirit alone
gives life; he spoke of Scripture; but Tournon, who had been the means
of making more than one pope, and had himself received votes for his own
election to the papacy, exclaimed in a style that the popes are fond of
using: 'The Church has spoken; submit to her decrees. If you reject the
authority of the Church, you sail without a compass, driven by the winds
to your destruction. Delay not!... Save yourself! Down with the yards
and furl the sails, lest your vessel strike upon the rocks of error, and
you suffer an eternal shipwreck.'[207] The cardinals and doctors
surrounded Lecoq and pressed him on every side. Here a theologian fell
upon him with his elaborate scholastic proofs; there an abbé shouted in
his ears; and the cardinals threw the weight of their dignity into the
scales. The curé of St. Eustache was tossed to and fro in indecision. He
had some small taste for the Gospel, but he loved the world and its
honours more. They frightened and soothed him by turns, and at last he
retracted what he had preached. Lecoq had none of the qualities of a
martyr: he was rather one of those weak minds who furnished backsliders
to the primitive Church.

Happily there were in France firmer christians than he. While, in the
world of politics, diplomatists were crossing and recrossing the Rhine;
while, in the world of Roman-catholicism, the most eloquent men were
becoming faithless to their convictions: there were christian men in the
evangelical world, among those whose faith had laid hold of redemption,
who sacrificed their lives that they might remain faithful to the Lord
who had redeemed them. It was a season when the most contrary movements
were going on.

Toulouse, in olden times the sanctuary of Gallic paganism, was at this
period filled with images, relics, and 'other instruments of Romish
idolatry.' The religion of the people was a religion of the eye and of
the ear, of the hands and of the knees—in short, a religion of
externals; while within, the conscience, the will, and the understanding
slept a deep sleep. The parliament, surnamed 'the bloody,' was the
docile instrument of the fanaticism of the priests. They said to their
officers: 'Keep an eye upon the heretics. If any man does not lift his
cap before an image, he is a heretic. If any man, when he hears the
_Ave Maria_ bell, does not bend the knee, he is a heretic. If any
man takes pleasure in the ancient languages and polite learning, he is a
heretic.... Do not delay to inform against such persons.... The
parliament will condemn them, and the stake shall rid us of them.'[208]

A celebrated Italian had left his country and settled at Agen. Julius
Cesar della Scala, better known by the name of Scaliger, belonged to one
of the oldest families of his native country, and on account of the
universality of his knowledge, many persons considered him the greatest
man that had ever appeared in the world. Scaliger did not embrace the
reformed faith, as his son did, but he imported a love of learning,
particularly of Greek, to the banks of the Garonne.


The licentiate Jean de Caturce, a professor of laws in the university,
and a native of Limoux, having learnt Greek, procured a New Testament
and studied it. Being a man of large understanding, of facile eloquence,
and above all of thoughtful soul, he found Christ the Saviour, Christ
the Lord, Christ the life eternal, and adored him. Erelong Christ
transformed him, and he became a new man. Then the Pandects lost their
charm, and he discovered in the Holy Scriptures a divine life and light
which enraptured him. He meditated on them day and night. He was
consumed by an ardent desire to visit his birthplace and preach the
Saviour whom he loved and who dwelt in his heart. Accordingly he set out
for Limoux, which is not far from Toulouse, and on All Saints' day,
1531, delivered 'an exhortation' there. He resolved to return at the
Epiphany, for every year on that day there was a great concourse of
people for the festival, and he wished to take advantage of it by openly
proclaiming Jesus Christ.


Everything had been prepared for the festival.[209] On the eve of
Epiphany there was usually a grand supper, at which, according to
custom, the king of the feast was proclaimed, after which there was
shouting and joking, singing and dancing. Caturce was determined to take
part in the festival, but in such a way that it should not pass off in
the usual manner. When the services of the day in honour of the three
kings of the East were over, the company sat down to table: they drank
the wine of the south, and at last the cake was brought in. One of the
guests found the bean, the gaiety increased, and they were about to
celebrate the new royalty by the ordinary toast: _the king drinks!_
when Caturce stood up. 'There is only one king,' he said, 'and Jesus
Christ is he. It is not enough for his name to flit through our
brains—he must dwell in our hearts. He who has Christ in him wants for
nothing. Instead then of shouting _the king drinks_, let us say
this night: _May Christ, the true king, reign in all our

The professor of Toulouse was much esteemed in his native town, and many
of his acquaintances already loved the Gospel. The lips that were ready
to shout _the king drinks_ were dumb, and many sympathised, at least by
their silence, with the new 'toast' which he proposed to them. Caturce
continued: 'My friends, I propose that after supper, instead of loose
talk, dances, and revelry, each of us shall bring forward in his turn
one passage of Holy Scripture.' The proposal was accepted, and the noisy
supper was changed into an orderly christian assembly. First one man
repeated some passage that had struck him, then another did the same;
but Caturce, says the chronicle, 'entered deeper into the matter than
the rest of the company,' contending that Jesus Christ ought to sit on
the throne of our hearts. The professor returned to the university.

This Twelfth-night supper produced so great a sensation, that a report
was made of it at Toulouse. The officers of justice apprehended the
licentiate in the midst of his books and his lessons, and brought him
before the court. 'Your worships,' he said, 'I am willing to maintain
what I have at heart, but let my opponents be learned men with their
books, who will prove what they advance. I should wish each point to be
decided without wandering talk.' The discussion began; but the most
learned theologians were opposed to him in vain, for the licentiate, who
had the Divine Word within him, answered 'promptly, pertinently, and
with much power, quoting immediately the passages of Scripture which
best served his purpose,' says the chronicle. The doctors were silenced,
and the professor was taken back to prison.[211]

The judges were greatly embarrassed. One of them visited the
_heretic_ in his dungeon, to see if he could not be shaken. 'Master
Caturce,' said he, 'we offer to set you at full liberty, on condition
that you will first retract only three points, in a lecture which you
will give in the schools.' The chronicler does not tell us what these
three points were. The licentiate's friends entreated him to consent,
and for a moment he hesitated, only to regain his firmness immediately
after. 'It is a snare of the Evil one,' he replied. Notwithstanding
this, his friends laid a form of recantation before him, and when he had
rejected it, they brought him another still more skilfully drawn up. But
'the Lord strengthened him so that he thrust all these papers away from
him.' His friends withdrew in dismay. He was declared a heretic,
condemned to be burnt alive, and taken to the square of St. Etienne.

Here an immense crowd had assembled, especially of students of the
university who were anxious to witness the degradation of so esteemed a
professor. The 'mystery' lasted three hours, and they were three hours
of triumph for the Word of God. Never had Caturce spoken with greater
freedom. In answer to everything that was said, he brought some passage
of Scripture 'very pertinent to reprove the stupidity of his judges
before the scholars.' His academical robes were taken off, the costume
of a merry-andrew was put on him, and then another scene began.


A Dominican monk, wearing a white robe and scapulary, with a black cloak
and pointed cap, made his way through the crowd, and ascended a little
wooden pulpit which had been set up in the middle of the square. This by
no means learned individual assumed an important air, for he had been
commissioned to deliver what was called 'the sermon of the catholic
faith.' In a voice that was heard all over the square, he read his text:
_The Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall
depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of
devils_.[212] The monks were delighted with a text which appeared so
suitable; but Caturce, who almost knew his Testament by heart,
perceiving that, according to their custom of distorting Scripture, he
had only taken a fragment (_lopin_) of the passage, cried out with
a clear voice: 'Read on.' The Dominican, who felt alarmed, stopped
short, upon which Caturce himself completed the passage: _Forbidding
to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created
to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe_. The monks
were confounded; the students and other friends of the licentiate
smiled. 'We know them,' continued the energetic professor, 'these
deceivers of the people, who, instead of the doctrine of faith, feed
them with trash. In God's service there is no question of fish or of
flesh, of black or of grey, of Wednesday or Friday.... It is nothing but
foolish superstition which requires celibacy and abstaining from meats.
Such are not the commandments of God.' The Dominican in his pulpit
listened with astonishment; the prisoner was preaching in the midst of
the officers of justice, and the students heard him 'with great favour.'
The poor Dominican, ashamed of his folly, left his sermon unpreached.

After this the martyr was led back to the court, where sentence of death
was pronounced upon him. Caturce surveyed his judges with indignation,
and, as he left the tribunal, exclaimed in Latin: 'Thou seat of
iniquity! Thou court of injustice!' He was now led to the scaffold, and
at the stake continued exhorting the people to know Jesus Christ. 'It is
impossible to calculate the great fruit wrought by his death,' says the
chronicle, 'especially among the students then at the university of
Toulouse,' that is to say, in the year 1532.[213]

Certain preachers, however, who had taught the new doctrine, backslided
deplorably at this time, and checked the progress of the Word in the
south; among them were the prothonotary of Armagnac, the cordelier Des
Noces, as well as his companion the youthful Melchior Flavin, 'a furious
hypocrite,' as Beza calls him. One of those who had received in their
hearts the fire that warmed the energetic Caturce, held firm to the
truth, even in the presence of the stake: he was a grey friar named
Marcii. Having performed 'wonders' by his preaching in Rouergue, he was
taken to Toulouse, and there sealed with his blood the doctrines he had
so faithfully proclaimed.[214]


We must soon turn to that external reformation imagined by some of the
king's advisers, under the inspiration of the Queen of Navarre, and by
certain German protestants who, under the influence of motives partly
religious, partly political, proposed to reform Christendom by means of
a council, without doing away with the Romish episcopate. But we must
first return to that humble and powerful teacher, the noble
representative of a scriptural and living reformation, who, while urging
the necessity of a spiritual unity, set in the foremost rank the
imprescriptible rights of truth.

[Footnote 189: Seckendorf, pp. 1170, 1171.]

[Footnote 190: 'Fratris iras pro viribus moderavit.'—Bezæ _Icones_.]

[Footnote 191: 'Propter quæstum, cum contumelia Christi et cum periculo
animarum.'—_Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 472.]

[Footnote 192: Sleidan, ch. viii.]

[Footnote 193: 'Ihm eine gnädige Mine gemacht.'—Seckendorf, p. 118.]

[Footnote 194: Sleidan, ch. viii. p. 232.]

[Footnote 195: 'Gallus rescripsit humanissime.'—_Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 503.]

[Footnote 196: Du Bellay, _Mémoires_, iv. p. 167.]

[Footnote 197: 'Sondern gienge alles unter einander wie das Viehe.—
Schelhorn, p. 289.]

[Footnote 198: 'Illi reges sua agunt negotia.'—_Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 518.]

[Footnote 199: Du Bellay, _Mém._ p. 167.]

[Footnote 200: Bèze, _Hist. Eccl._ i. p. 8.]

[Footnote 201: 'Corpus et sanguinem Domini, in veritate, manibus
sacerdotum tractari, frangi, et fidelium dentibus atteri.' (The formula
which Pope Nicholas exacted of Bérenger.)—Lanfranc, _De Euchar._ cap. v.]

[Footnote 202: 'Speciebus illis nequaquam adhærendum, sed fidei alis ad
cœlos evolandum esse. Illud subinde repetens: _Sursum corda! sursum
corda!_'—Flor. Rémond, _Hist. de l'Hérésie_, ii. p. 225. See also
Maimbourg, _Calvinisme_, pp. 22-24.]

[Footnote 203: 'Bellaii opera, Gallus hic in secretiorem locum
vocatus.'-Flor. Rémond, ii. p. 225.]

[Footnote 204: 'Regi scrupulos non leves injecit.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 205: 'Idem de aliis quoque fidei articulis.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 206: A play upon the priest's name, both in French and in
Latin. 'Lotharingus et Turnonius cardinales Galli hujus cantu
excitati.'—Flor. Rémond, ii. p. 225.]

[Footnote 207: 'Antennas dimittite ac vela colligite, ne ad errorum
scopulos illisa navi æternæ salutis naufragium faciatis.'—Flor. Rémond,
_Hist. de l'Hérésie_, ii. p. 225.]

[Footnote 208: Théod. de Bèze, _Hist. Eccl._ i. p. 7.]

[Footnote 209: This _jour des Rois_ corresponds with our _Twelfth

[Footnote 210: Théod. de Bèze, _Hist. Eccl._ i. p. 7. Crespin,
_Martyrologue_, fol. 106.]

[Footnote 211: Théod. de Bèze, _Hist. Eccl._ i. p. 7. Crespin,
_Martyrologue_, fol. 106.]

[Footnote 212: 1 Timothy iv. 1.]

[Footnote 213: Théod. de Bèze, _Hist. Eccl._ i. p. 7. Crespin,
_Martyrologue_, fol. 106.]

[Footnote 214: Ibid.]


Lecoq had been caught in the snares of the world; Caturce had perished
in the flames; some elect souls appeared to be falling into a third
danger—a sort of christianity, partly mystical, partly worldly, partly
Romanist. But there was a young man among the evangelicals who was
beginning to occasion some uneasiness in the lukewarm. Calvin—for it is
of him we speak—was successively attacked on these three sides, and yet
he remained firm. He did more than this, for every day he enlarged the
circle of his christian activity. An advocate, a young _frondeur_,
a pious tradesman, a catholic student, a professor of the university,
and the Queen of Navarre—all received from him at this time certain
impulses which carried them forward in the path of truth.


The advocate Daniel loved him dearly, and desired to keep him in the
Romish communion. His large understanding, his energetic character, his
indefatigable activity seemed to promise the Church a St. Augustin or a
St. Bernard; he must be raised to some important post where he would
have a prospect of making himself useful. The advocate, who thought
Calvin far less advanced in the ways of liberty than he really was, had
an idea of obtaining for him an ecclesiastical charge which, he
imagined, would perfectly suit his young friend: it was that of official
or vicar-general, empowered to exercise episcopal jurisdiction. Would
Daniel succeed? Would he rob the Reformation of this young and brilliant
genius? Influential men were ready to aid him in establishing Calvin in
the ranks of the Romish hierarchy. Accordingly the first temptation to
which he was exposed proceeded from clerical ambition.

An ecclesiastic of high birth, John, Count of Longueville and Archbishop
of Toulouse, had been appointed Bishop of Orleans in 1521, with
permission to retain his archbishopric.[215] In 1532 a new bishop was
expected at Orleans, either because Longueville was dead, or because, on
account of his illness, a coadjutor had become necessary. The pluralist
prelate was a fellow-countryman of Calvin's.[216] Daniel, thinking that
he ought to seize this opportunity of procuring the post of official for
the young scholar, made the first overtures to Calvin on the 6th of
January, 1532. 'I never will abandon,' he said, 'the old and mutual
friendship that unites us.' And then, having by this means sought to
conciliate his favourable attention, he skilfully insinuated his wishes.
'We are expecting the bishop's arrival every day; I should be pleased
if, by the care of your friends, you were so recommended to him that he
conferred on you the charge of official or some other post.'[217] There
was much in this to flatter the self-love of a young man of
twenty-three. If Calvin had been made vicar-general at so early an age,
he would not have stopped there; that office often led to the highest
dignities, and his brilliant genius, his great and strong character,
would have made him a bishop, cardinal, who can say? ... perhaps pope.
Instead of freeing the Church he would have enslaved it; and instead of
being plain John Calvin he might perhaps have been the Hildebrand of his

What will Calvin do? Although settled as regards doctrine, he was still
undecided with regard to the Church: it was a period of transition with
him. 'On the one hand,' he said, 'I feel the call of God which holds me
fast to the Church, and on the other I fear to take upon myself a burden
which I cannot bear.... What perplexity!'[218] Erelong the temptation
presented itself. 'Consider!' whispered an insidious voice; 'an easy,
studious, honoured, useful life!'—'Alas!' he said, 'as soon as anything
appears which pleases us, instantly the desires of the flesh rush
impetuously after it, like wild beasts.' We cannot tell whether these
'wild beasts' were roused in his ardent soul, but at least, if there was
any covetousness within, 'which tempted the heart,' he forced it to be
still. Strong decision distinguishes the christian character of Calvin.
The new man within him rejected with horror all that the old man had
loved. Far from entering into new ties, he was thinking of breaking
those which still bound him to the Roman hierarchy. He therefore did not
entertain Daniel's proposal. Of the two roads that lay before him, he
chose the rougher one, and gave himself to God alone.


Having turned his back on bishops and cardinals, Calvin looked with love
upon the martyrs and their burning piles. The death of the pious Berquin
and of other confessors had distressed him, and he feared lest he should
see other believers sinking under the same violence. He would have
desired to speak in behalf of the dumb and innocent victims. 'But,
alas!' he exclaimed, 'how can a man so mean, so low-born, so poor in
learning as I, expect to be heard?'[219] He had finished his commentary
upon Seneca's treatise of _Clemency_. Being a great admirer of that
philosopher, he was annoyed that the world had not given him the place
he deserved, and spoke of him to all his friends. If one of them entered
his little room and expressed surprise at seeing him take such pains to
make the writings of a pagan philosopher better known, Calvin, who
thought he had discovered a vein of Gospel gold in Seneca's iron ore,
would answer: 'Did he not write against superstition? Has he not said of
the Jews, that the conquered give laws to their conquerors? When he
exclaims: "We have all sinned, we shall all sin unto the end!"[220] may
we not imagine that we hear Paul speaking?'

Another motive, however, as some think, influenced Calvin to select the
treatise on _Clemency_. There was a similarity (and Calvin had noticed
it) between the epochs of the author and of the commentator. Seneca, who
lived at the time of the first persecutions against the christians, had
dedicated his treatise on _Clemency_ to a persecutor. Calvin determined
to publish it with a commentary, in the hope (it has been said) that the
king, who was fond of books, would read this legacy of antiquity.
Without absolutely rejecting this hypothesis, we may say that he was
anxious to compose some literary work, and that he displayed solid
learning set off by an elegant and pleasing style which at once gave him
rank among the literati of his day.

These are the words of Seneca, which, thanks to Calvin, were now heard
in the capital of the kings of France: 'Clemency becomes no one so much
as it does a king.—You spare yourself, when you seem to be sparing
another. We must do evil to nobody, not even to the wicked; men do not
harm their own diseased limbs. It is the nature of the most cowardly
wild beasts to rend those who are lying on the ground, but elephants and
lions pass by the man they have thrown down.[221] To take delight in the
rattling of chains, to cut off the heads of citizens, to spill much
blood, to spread terror wherever he shows himself—is that the work of a
king? If it were so, far better would it be for lions, bears, or even
serpents to reign over us!'[222]


As soon as the work was finished, Calvin thought of publishing it; but
the booksellers turned their backs on him, for an author's first work
rarely tempts them. The young commentator was not rich, but he came to a
bold resolution. He felt, as it would appear, that authorship would be
his vocation, that God himself called him, and he was determined to take
the first step in spite of all obstacles. He said: 'I will publish the
book on _Clemency_ at my own expense;' but when the printing was
finished, he became uneasy. 'Upon my word,' he said, 'it has cost me
more money than I had imagined.'[223]

The young author wrote his name in Latin on the title-page of the first
work he published, _Calvinus_, whence the word _Calvin_ was derived,
which was substituted for the family name of _Cauvin_. He dedicated his
book to the abbot of St. Eloy (4th April, 1532), and then gave it to the
world. It was a great affair for him, and he was full of anxiety at its
chances and dangers. 'At length the die is cast,'[224] he wrote to
Daniel on the 23rd of May; 'my Commentary on _Clemency_ has appeared.'

Two thoughts engrossed him wholly at this time: the first concerned the
good that his book might do. 'Write to me as soon as possible,' said he
to his friend, 'and tell me whether my book is favourably or coldly
received.[225] I hope that it will contribute to the public good.' But
he was also very anxious about the sale: all his money was gone. 'I am
drained dry,' he said; 'and I must tax my wits to get back from every
quarter the money I have expended.'

Calvin showed great activity in the publication of his first work; we
can already trace in him the captain drawing out his plan of battle. He
called upon several professors in the capital, and begged them to use
his book in their public lectures. He sent five copies to his friends at
Bourges, and asked Sucquey to deliver a course of lectures on his
publication. He made the same request to Landrin with regard to the
university of Orleans.[226] In short, he lost no opportunity of making
his book known.

Daniel had asked him for some Bibles. Probably Calvin's refusal to
accept office in the Church had not surprised the advocate, and this
pious man desired to circulate the book which had inspired his young
friend with such courage and self-denial. But it was not easy to execute
the commission. There was Lefèvre's Bible, printed in French at Antwerp
in 1530; and the Latin Bible of Robert Stephens, which appeared at Paris
in 1532. The latter was so eagerly bought up, that the doctors of the
Sorbonne tried to prohibit the sale. It was probably this edition which
Calvin tried to procure. He went from shop to shop, but the booksellers
looked at him with suspicion, and said they had not the volume. Calvin
renewed his inquiries in the Latin quarter, where at last he found what
he sought at a bookseller's who was more independent of the Sorbonne and
its proclamations than the others. 'I have executed your commission
about the Bible,' he wrote to Daniel; 'and it cost me more trouble than
money.'[227] Calvin profited by the opportunity to entreat his friend to
deliver a course of lectures on the _Clemency_. 'If you make up your
mind to do so,' he wrote, 'I will send you a hundred copies.' These
copies were, no doubt, to be sold to Daniel's hearers. Such were the
anxieties of the great writer of the sixteenth century at the beginning
of his career. Calvin's first work (it deserves to be noted) was on
_Clemency_. Did the king read the treatise?... We cannot say; at any
rate, Calvin was not more fortunate with Francis I. than Seneca had been
with Nero.


Another case of a very different nature occupied his attention erelong.
Calvin had a great horror of falsehood: calumny aroused his anger,
whether it was manifested by gross accusations, or insinuated by
equivocal compliments. Among his friends at the university there was a
young man whom he called his excellent brother, whose name has not been
preserved. All his fellow-students loved him; all the professors
esteemed him;[228] but occasionally he showed himself a little rough.
This unknown student, having received the good news of the Gospel with
all his soul, felt impelled to speak about it out of the abundance of
his heart, and rebelled at the obligation he was under of concealing his
convictions. There was still in him some remnant of the 'old man,' and
feeling indignant at the weakness of those around him, and being of a
carping temper, he called them cowards. He could not breathe in the
atmosphere of despotism and servility in which he lived. He loved
France, but he loved liberty more. One day this proud young man said to
his friends: 'I cannot bend my neck beneath the yoke to which you so
willingly submit.[229] Farewell! I am going to Strasburg, and renounce
all intention of returning to France.'

Strasburg did not satisfy him. The eminent men who resided there
sometimes, and no doubt with good intentions, placed peace above truth.
The caustic opinions of the young Frenchman displeased Bucer and his
friends. He was a grumbler by nature, and spoke out bluntly on all
occasions.[230] He had a sharp encounter with a Strasburger, whose name
Calvin does not give, and who was perhaps just as susceptible as the
Parisian was hasty. The young Frenchman was declaiming against baptismal
regeneration, when on a sudden his adversary, whom Calvin judges with
great moderation, began to accuse the poor refugee of being an
anabaptist. This was a dreadful reproach at that time. Wherever he went
the Strasburger scattered his accusations and invectives. Every heart
was shut against the poor fellow; he was not even permitted to make the
least explanation. He was soon brought to want, and claimed the
assistance of friends whom he had formerly helped. It was all of no use.
Reduced to extreme necessity, having neither the means of procuring food
nor of travelling, he managed however to return to France in a state of
the greatest destitution. He found Calvin at Noyon, where the latter
chanced to be at the beginning of September 1532.


The young man, soured and disappointed, drew a sad picture of Strasburg.
'There was not a single person in the whole city from whom I could
obtain a penny,' he said. 'My enemy left not a stone unturned;
scattering the sparks of his wrath on every side, he kindled a great
fire.... My sojourn there was a real tragedy, which had the ruin of an
innocent man for its catastrophe.' Calvin questioned him on baptism, and
the severe examination was entirely to the advantage of the young
refugee. 'Really,' said the commentator on _Clemency_, 'I have never met
with any one who professed the truth on this point with so much
frankness.' Calvin did not lose a moment, but sat down (4th of
September) to write to Bucer, whom he styled the _bishop_ of Strasburg.
'Alas!' he said, 'how much stronger calumny is than truth! They have
ruined this man's reputation, perhaps without intention, but certainly
without reason. If my prayers, if my tears have any value in your eyes,
dear Master Bucer, have pity on the wretchedness of this unfortunate
man![231] You are the protector of the poor, the help of the orphan; do
not suffer this unhappy man to be reduced to the last extremity.'

Shortly after writing this touching appeal, Calvin returned to Paris. As
for the young man, we know not what became of him. He was not, however,
the only one who first attacked and then called for pity.

The literary movement of the capital manifested itself more and more
every day in a biblical direction. Guidacerio of Venice, devoting
himself to scriptural studies, published a commentary on the _Song of
Solomon_, and an explanation of the _Sermon on the Mount_,[232] to the
great annoyance of the doctors of the Sorbonne, who were angry at seeing
laymen break through their monopoly of interpreting Scripture. Priests
in their sermons, students in their essays, put forward propositions
contrary to the Romish doctrine; and Beda, who was beside himself,
filled Paris with his furious declamations. He soon met with a cutting
reply. Some young friends of learning gave a public representation of a
burlesque comedy entitled: 'The university of Paris is founded on a
monster.'[233] Beda could not contain himself: 'They mean me,' he
exclaimed, and called together the Faculties. They laid the matter
before the inquisitors of the faith, who had the good sense to let it


When Calvin returned to Paris, he did not join this literary world,
which was jeering at the attacks of the priests: he preferred the narrow
and the thorny way. Every day he attended the meetings which were held
secretly in different parts of the capital. He associated with pious
families, sat at the hearths of the friends of the Gospel, and
discoursed with them on the truth and on the difficulties which the
Reformation would have to encounter in France. A pious and open-hearted
merchant, a native of Tournay, Stephen de la Forge by name, particularly
attracted him at this time. When he entered his friend's warehouse, he
was often struck by the number of purchasers and by the bustle around
him. 'I am thankful,' said La Forge, 'for all the blessings that God has
given me; and I will not be sparing of my wealth, either to succour the
poor or to propagate the Gospel.' In fact, the merchant printed the Holy
Scriptures at his own expense, and distributed copies along with the
numerous alms he was in the habit of giving. Noble, kind-hearted, ready
to share all that he possessed with the poor, he had also a mind capable
of discerning error. He was good, but he was not weak. Certain doctors,
infidel and immoral philosophers, were beginning at that time to appear
in Paris, and to visit at La Forge's, where Calvin met them. The latter
asked his friend who these strange-looking people were: 'They pretend to
have been banished from their country,' said La Forge; 'perhaps.... But
if so, believe me it was for their misdeeds and not for the Word of
God.'[235] They were the chiefs of the sectarians afterwards known by
the name of _Libertines_, who had just come from Flanders. La Forge
not only gave his money, but was able somewhat later to give himself,
and to die confessing Jesus Christ. When Calvin remembered at Geneva the
sweet conversations they had enjoyed together, he exclaimed with a
sentiment of respect: 'O holy martyr of Jesus Christ! thy memory will
always be sacred among believers.'[236]

Besides La Forge, Calvin had another intimate friend at Paris, whose
personal character possessed a great attraction for him, although the
tendency of his mind was quite different from that of his own. Louis du
Tillet was one of those gentle moderate christians, who fear the cross
and are paralysed by the opinion of the world. The _frondeur_ and
he were two extremes: Calvin was a mean between them. Du Tillet wished
to maintain the Catholic Church, even when reforming it, for he
respected its unity. The reformer had been struck with his charity, his
humility, and his love of truth; while Louis, on the other hand,
admiring 'the great gifts and graces which the Lord had bestowed on his
friend,' was never tired of listening to him. He belonged to a noble
family of Angoulême; his father was vice-president of the Chamber of
Accounts; his eldest brother was the king's valet-de-chambre; and his
other brother was second chief-registrar to the parliament. He was
continually fluctuating between Calvin and his own relatives, between
Scripture and tradition, between God and the world. He would often leave
Calvin to go and hear mass; but erelong, attracted by a charm for which
he could not account, he returned to his friend, whose clear ideas threw
some little light into his mind. Du Tillet exclaimed: 'Yes, I feel that
there is much ignorance and darkness within me.' But the idea of
forsaking the Church alarmed him, and he had hardly uttered such words
as these when he hurried off again to confess.

Calvin, thanks to the numerous friends who saw him closely, began to be
appreciated even by those who calumniated his faith. 'This man at least
leads an austere life,' they said: 'he is not a slave to his belly; from
his youth he has abhorred the pleasures of the flesh;[237] he indulges
neither in eating nor drinking.[238]... Look at him ... his mind is
vigorous; his soul unites wisdom with daring.... But his body is thin
and spare; one clearly sees that his days and nights are devoted to
abstinence and study.'—'Do not suppose that I fast on account of your
superstitions,' said Calvin. 'No! it is only because abstinence keeps
away the pains that disturb me in my task.'

[Sidenote: CALVIN AND COP.]

Professor Nicholas Cop, son of that William Cop, the king's physician,
the honour of whose birth (says Erasmus) both France and Germany
disputed,[239] had recognised an inward life in Calvin, and a vigorous
faith which captivated him, and he never met him in the neighbourhood of
the university without speaking to him. They were often seen walking up
and down absorbed in talk, while the priests looked on distrustfully.
These conversations disturbed them: 'Cop will be spoilt,' they said, and
they endeavoured to prejudice him against his friend; but their intimacy
only became stricter.

Calvin's reputation, which was beginning to extend, reached the ears of
the Queen of Navarre, and that princess, who admired men of genius and
delighted in agreeable conversation, wished to see the young literary
christian. Thus there was an early intercourse between them. The
christian and learned scholar undertook the defence of the sister of
Francis I. in a letter written to Daniel in 1533, and this princess
afterwards made known to him the projected marriage of her daughter
Jeanne d'Albret—circumstances which indicate an intimate connection
between them. During the time when the piety of the Queen of Navarre was
the purest, a mutual respect and affection united these two noble
characters. 'I conjure you,' said Margaret to Calvin, 'do not spare me
in anything wherein you think I can be of service to you. Rest assured
that I shall act with my whole heart, according to the power that God
has given me.'[240]


'A man cannot enter the ministry of God,' says Calvin, 'without having
been proved by temptation.' The queen's wit, the court of St. Germain,
intercourse with men of genius and of rank, the prospect of exercising
an influence that might turn to the glory of God—all these things might
tempt him. Would he become Margaret's chaplain, like Roussel? Would he
quit the narrow way in which he was treading, to enter upon that where
christians tried to walk with the world on their right hand and Rome on
their left? The queen's love for the Saviour affected Calvin, and he
asked himself whether that was not a door opened by God through which
the Gospel would enter the kingdom of France.... He was at that moment
on the brink of the abyss. What likelihood was there that a young man,
just at the beginning of his career, would not gladly seize the
opportunity that presented itself of serving a princess so full of piety
and genius—the king's sister? Margaret, who made Roussel a bishop, would
also have a diocese for Calvin. 'I should be pleased to have a servant
like you,' she told him one day. But the rather mystical piety of the
princess, and the vanities with which she was surrounded, were offensive
to that simple and upright heart. 'Madame,' he replied, 'I am not fitted
to do you any great service; the capacity is wanting, and also you have
enough without me.... Those who know me are aware that I never desired
to frequent the courts of princes; and I thank the Lord that I have
never been tempted, for I have every reason to be satisfied with the
good Master who has accepted me and retains me in his household.'[241]
Calvin had no more longing for the semi-catholic dignities of the queen
than for the Roman dignities of the popes. Yet he knew how to take
advantage of the opportunity offered him, and nobly conjured Margaret to
speak out more frankly in favour of the Gospel. Carried away by an
eloquence which, though simple, had great power, she declared herself
ready to move forward.

An opportunity soon presented itself of realising the plan she had
conceived of renewing the universal Church without destroying its unity;
but the means to be employed were not such as Calvin approved of. They
were about to have recourse to carnal weapons. 'Now the only foundation
of the kingdom of Christ,' he said, 'is the humiliation of man. I know
how proud carnal minds are of their vain shows; but the arms of the
Lord, with which we fight, will be stronger, and will throw down all
their strongholds, by means of which they think themselves

Luther now appears again on the scene; and on this important point
Luther and Calvin are one.

[Footnote 215: 'Cum facultate retinendi simul archiepiscopatum
tolosanum.'—_Gallia Christiana._]

[Footnote 216: 'Scis nos episcopum nationis tuæ habere.'—Daniel Calvino,
Berne MSS.]

[Footnote 217: 'Ut officialis dignitate aut aliqua alia te ornaret.'—
Daniel Calvino, Berne MSS.]

[Footnote 218: Calvin, _Lettres Françaises_.]

[Footnote 219: 'Unus de plebe, homuncio mediocri seu potius modica
eruditione præditus.'—Calvinus, _Præf. de Clementia_.]

[Footnote 220: 'Peccavimus omnes ... et usque ad extremum ævi
delinquemus.'—_De Clementia_, lib. i.]

[Footnote 221: 'Ferarum vero, nec generosarum quidem, præmordere et
urgere projectos.'—_De Clementia_, cap. v.]

[Footnote 222: 'Si leones ursique regnarent.'—Ibid. cap. xxvi.]

[Footnote 223: 'Plus pecuniæ exhauserunt.'—Calvinus Danieli, Geneva

[Footnote 224: 'Tandem jacta est alea.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 225: 'Quo favore vel frigore excepti fuerint.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 226: 'Ut Landrinum inducas in protectionem.'—Calvinus Danieli,
Geneva MSS.]

[Footnote 227: 'De Bibliis exhausi mandatum tuum.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 228: 'Ita se gessit, ut gratiosus esset apud ordinis nostri
homines.'—Calvinus Bucero, Strasburg MSS.]

[Footnote 229: 'Cum non posset submittere diutius cervicem isti
voluntariæ servituti.'—Calvinus Bucero, Strasburg MSS.]

[Footnote 230: 'Cassait toutes les vitres.']

[Footnote 231: 'Si quid preces meæ, si quid lacrimæ valent, hujus
miseriæ succurras.'—Calvinus Bucero, Berne MSS.]

[Footnote 232: _Versio et Commentarii_, published at Paris in 1531.]

[Footnote 233: 'Academiam parisiensem super monstrum esse fundatam.'—
Morrhius Erasmo, March 30, 1532.]

[Footnote 234: 'Res delata est ad inquisitores fidei.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 235: 'Quod ex Stephano a Fabrica (_De la Forge_) intellexi,
istos potius ob maleficia ... egressos esse.'—_Adv. Libertinos._]

[Footnote 236: Ibid.]

[Footnote 237: 'Calvinus strictiorem vivendi disciplinam secutus
est.'—Flor. Rémond, _Hist. de l'Hérésie_, ii. p. 247.]

[Footnote 238: 'Cibi ac potus abstinentissimus.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 239: 'Illum incomparabilem, quem certatim sibi vindicant, hinc
Gallia, hinc Germania.'—Erasmi _Epp._ p. 15.]

[Footnote 240: _Calvin's Letters_, i. p. 342. Philadelphia, ed. J.

[Footnote 241: _Lettres Françaises de Calvin. A la Reine de Navarre_,
i. p. 114, ed. J. Bonnet.]

[Footnote 242: Calvin, _in 2ᵃᵐ Epist. ad Corinth._ ch. x.]



France, or at least the king and the influential men, appeared at this
time to be veering towards a moderate Reform. Francis I. seemed to have
some liking for his sister's religion; but there were other motives
inclining him to entertain these ideas. Finding himself without allies
in Europe, he endeavoured to gain the friendship of the protestants,
hoping that with their help he would be in a condition to oppose the
emperor and restore the French preponderance in Italy. One man in
particular set himself the task of directing his country into a new
path; this was William du Bellay, brother to the Bishop of Paris, and
'one of the greatest men France ever had,' says a catholic
historian.[243] A skilful, active, and prudent diplomatist, Du Bellay
called to mind the memorable struggles that had formerly taken place
between the popes and the kings of France; he believed that christendom
was in a state of transition, and desired, as the Chancellor de
l'Hôpital did in later years, that the new times should be marked with
more liberty, and not with more servitude, as the Guises, the Valois,
and the Bourbons would have wished. He went even farther: he thought
that the sixteenth century would substitute for the papacy of the middle
ages a form of christianity, catholic of course, but more in conformity
with the ancient Scriptures and the modern requirements. From that hour
his dominant idea, his chief business, was to unite catholic France to
protestant Germany.

Having received the instructions of Francis I., Du Bellay left Honfleur,
where the king was staying,[244] on the 11th of March, 1532, and crossed
the Rhine about the middle of April. At Schweinfurth-on-the-Maine,
between Wurtzburg and Bamberg, he found an assembly composed of a few
protestant princes on one side, and a few mediators on the other, among
whom was the elector-archbishop of Mayence. As this brings us into
Germany, it is necessary that we should take a glance at what had
happened there since the great diet of Augsburg in 1530.[245]

The catholics and protestants had made up their minds at that time for a
contest, and everything foreboded the bursting of the storm in the next
spring (1531). There were, so to say, two contrary currents among the
friends of the Reformation in Germany. One party (the men of prudence)
wished that the evangelical states should seek powerful alliances and
prepare to resist the emperor by force of arms; the other (the men of
piety) called to mind that the Reformation had triumphed at Augsburg by
faith, and added that from faith all its future triumphs were to be
expected. These two parties had frequent meetings at Wittemberg, Torgau,
and elsewhere. One man especially, with open countenance and firm look,
whose lips seemed always ready to speak, made his clear and sonorous
voice heard: this was Luther. 'To God alone,' he told the elector,
'belongs the government of the future; your Highness must therefore
persevere in that faith and confidence in God which you have just
displayed so gloriously at Augsburg.'[246] But the jurists of Torgau
were not entirely of that opinion, and they endeavoured to prove that
their rights in the empire authorised the protestants to repel force by
force. Luther was not to be shaken. 'If war breaks out,' he replied, 'I
call God and the world to witness, that the Lutherans have in no wise
provoked it; that they have never drawn the sword, never thrown men into
prison, never burnt, killed, and pillaged, as their adversaries have
done; and, in a word, that they have never sought anything but peace and
quietness.'[247] The politicians smiled at such enthusiasm, and said
that in real life things must go on very differently. A conference was
appointed for the consideration of what was to be done, and in the
meanwhile great efforts were made to win over new allies to the
protestant cause.


On the 29th of March, 1531, the deputies of the protestant states met at
Smalcald, in the electorate of Hesse. In the eyes of the peace party
this was a place of evil omen: the town was fortified, and there were
iron mines in the neighbourhood, from which arms have been manufactured
and cannons founded. As the deputies proceeded to the castle of
Wilhelmsburg, built on a hill near the town, they wore a mournful
anxious look. They were disappointed in the hope they had entertained of
seeing Denmark, Switzerland, Mecklenburg, and Pomerania join them.
Nevertheless they did not hesitate, notwithstanding their weakness, to
assert their rights against the power of Charles V. Nine princes and
eleven cities entered into an alliance for six years 'to resist all who
should try to constrain them to forsake the Word of God and the truth of

This resolution was received with very different sentiments. Some said
that it was an encroachment on the spirituality of the Church; others
maintained that since liberty of conscience was a civil as well as a
religious right, it ought to be upheld, if necessary, by force of arms.
They soon went farther. Some persons proposed, with a view of making the
alliance closer, to introduce into all the evangelical churches a
perfect uniformity both of worship and ecclesiastical constitution; but
energetic voices exclaimed that this would be an infringement of
religious liberty under the pretence of upholding it. When the deputies
met again at Frankfort, on the 4th of June, these generous men said
boldly: 'We will maintain diversity for fear that uniformity should,
sooner or later, lead to a kind of popery.' They understood that the
inward unity of faith is better than the superficial unity of form.[248]

After various negotiations the evangelicals met at Schweinfurth to
receive the proposals of their adversaries; and it was during this
conference (April and May 1532) that the ambassador of the King of
France arrived. When the protestants saw him appear, they were rather
embarrassed; but still they received him with respect. He soon found out
in what a critical position the men of the confession of Augsburg were
placed. True, the mediators offered them peace, but it was on condition
that they made no stipulations in favour of those who might embrace the
Gospel hereafter. This proposal greatly irritated the Landgrave of
Hesse, his chancellor Feig, and the other members of the conference.
'What!' exclaimed the Hessians, 'shall a barrier be raised between
protestantism and popery, and no one be allowed to pass it?... No! the
treaty of peace must equally protect those who now adhere to the
confession of Augsburg and those who may hereafter do so.'—'It is an
affair of conscience,' wrote the evangelical theologians, and Urban
Regius in particular; 'this is a point to be given up on no
account.'[249] The electoral prince himself was resolved to adopt this
line of conduct.


Luther was not at Schweinfurth, but he kept on the look-out for news. He
spoke about the meeting to his friends; he attacked the schemes of the
politicians; all these negotiations, stipulations, conventions,
signatures, ratifications, and treaties in behalf of the Gospel annoyed
him. When he learnt what they were going to do at Schweinfurth, he was
dismayed. To presume to save the faith with protocols was almost
blasphemous in his eyes! One of his powerful letters fell like a
bomb-shell into the midst of the conference. 'When we were without any
support,' he said, 'and entirely new in the empire, with struggles and
combats all around us, the Gospel triumphed and truth was upheld,
despite the enemies who wished to stifle them both. Why should not the
Gospel triumph now with its own strength? Why should it be necessary to
help it with our diplomacy and our treaties? Is not God as mighty now as
then? Does the Almighty want us to vote the aid that we mean to give him
in future by our human stipulations?'...

These words of Luther caused general consternation. People said to one
another that 'the Doctor had been ill, and that he had consoled his
friends by saying: "Do not be afraid; if I were to sink now, the papists
would be too happy; therefore I shall not die." They added that his
advice against treaties was no doubt a remnant of his fever; the great
man is not quite right in his mind; the prince-electoral and the
excellent chancellor Bruck wrote to the elector, who was in Saxony, that
everybody was against Luther, who appeared to have no understanding of
business.' But the reformer did not suffer himself to be checked; on the
contrary, he begged the elector to write a sharp letter to his
representatives. 'The princes and burgesses have embraced the Gospel at
their own risk and peril,' he said, 'and in like manner every one must
in future receive and profess it at his own expense.' At the same time
he began to agitate Wittemberg, and drew up an opinion which Pomeranus
signed with him. In it he said: 'I will never take upon my conscience to
provoke the shedding of blood, even to maintain our articles of faith.
It would be the best means of destroying the true doctrine, in the midst
of the confusions of war.'[250] The reformer thought that if the
Lutherans and the Zwinglians, the Germans and the Swiss united, they
would feel so strong, that they would assume the initiative and draw the
sword—which he wished to avert by all means in his power.


But the politicians were not more inclined to give way than the
theologians. On the contrary, they made preparations for receiving the
ambassador of France, in which, however, there was some difficulty. The
diplomatist's arrival compromised them with the imperialists; they could
not receive him in the assembly at Schweinfurth, since catholic princes
would be present. The protestants therefore went a few miles off, to the
little town of Königsberg in Franconia, between Coburg, Bamberg, and
Schweinfurth. Here they formed themselves into a secret committee and
received the ambassador. 'Most honoured lords,' said Du Bellay, 'the
king my master begs you will excuse him for not having sent me to you
sooner. That proceeds neither from negligence nor from want of
affection, but because he desired to come to some understanding with the
King of England, who also wishes to help you in your great enterprise.
The negotiations are not yet ended; but my august master, desirous of
avoiding longer delay, has commissioned me to say that you will find him
ready to assist you. Yes, though he should do it alone; though his
brother of England (which he does not believe) were to refuse; though
the emperor should march his armies against you, the king will not
abandon you. On the honour of a prince, he said. I have received ample
powers to arrange with you about the share of the war expenses which his
Majesty is ready to pay.'[251]

The circumstances were not favourable for the proposals of Francis I.
The pacific ideas of Luther prevailed. The Elector of Saxony, who was
then ill, desired to die in peace. He therefore sided with the reformer,
and it was agreed to name in the act of alliance the princes and cities
that had already adhered to the confession of Augsburg, and that they
alone should be included in the league. These peaceful ideas of the
protestants did not harmonise with the warlike ideas of King Francis. Du
Bellay was not discouraged, and skilfully went upon another tack; while
the Saxon diplomatists were compelled to yield to the will of their
master, Du Bellay remarked a young prince, full of spirit and daring,
who spared nobody and said aloud what he thought. This was the Landgrave
of Hesse, who complained unceasingly either of Luther's advice, or of
the resolution of the conference. 'The future will show,' he told
everybody, 'whether they have acted wisely in this matter.' The minister
of Francis I., who was of the landgrave's opinion, entered into
communication with him.

An important question—the question of Wurtemberg—at that time occupied
Germany. In 1512 Duke Ulrich, annoyed because he had not more influence
in the Suabian league, had seceded from it, quarrelled with the emperor,
thrown that prince's adherents into prison, burdened his subjects with
oppressive taxes, and caused trouble in his own family. In consequence
of all this, the emperor expelled him from his states in 1519 and 1520,
and he took refuge in his principality of Montbéliard. It seemed that
adversity had not been profitless to him. In 1524, when Farel went to
preach the Reformation at Montbéliard, Ulrich (as we have seen[252])
defended religious liberty. When the emperor was at Augsburg in 1530,
wishing to aggrandise the power of Austria, he had given the duchy of
Wurtemberg to his brother Ferdinand, to the great indignation of the
protestants, and especially of the landgrave. 'We must restore the
legitimate sovereign in Wurtemberg,' said this young and energetic
prince: 'that will take the duchy from the catholic party and give it to
the protestants.' But all the negotiations undertaken with this view had
failed. If, however, one of the great powers of Europe should take up
the cause of the dukes of Wurtemberg, their restoration would be easier.
Francis I. had not failed to see that he could checkmate the emperor
here. 'As for the Duke of Wurtemberg,' said Du Bellay to the Königsberg
conference, 'the king my lord will heartily undertake to serve him to
the utmost of his power, without infringing the treaties.'[253] The
landgrave had taken note of these words, and their result was to
establish the Reformation in a country which is distinguished by its
fervent protestantism and its zeal in propagating the Gospel to the ends
of the world.


A mixed assembly of catholics and protestants having met at Nuremberg in
the month of May, the protestants demanded a council in which everything
should be decided 'according to the pure Word of God.' The members of
the Romish party looked discontented: 'It is a captious, prejudiced, and
anti-catholic condition,' they said. Yet, as the Turks were threatening
the empire, it was necessary to make some concessions to the
Reformation, in order to be in a condition to resist them. The violent
fanatics represented to no purpose that Luther was not much better than
Mahomet; peace was concluded at Nuremberg on the 23rd of July, 1532, and
it was agreed that, while waiting for the next free and general council,
the _status quo_ should be preserved, and all Germans should exercise a
sincere and christian friendship. This first religious peace cheered
with its mild beams the last days of the elector John of Saxony. On the
14th of August, 1532, that venerable prince, whom even the imperialists
styled 'the Father of the German land,' was struck with apoplexy. 'God
help me!' he exclaimed, and immediately expired. 'Wisdom died with the
elector Frederick,' said Luther, 'and piety with the elector John.'

Yet Du Bellay was always harassed by the desire of emancipating from
Rome that France which the Medici, the Guises, the Valois, and
afterwards the Bourbons, were about to surrender to her. He therefore
increased his exertions among the protestants to induce them to accept
the friendship, if not the alliance, of his master. But they had no
great confidence in 'the Frenchman;' they were afraid that they would be
surprised, deceived, and then abandoned by Francis; they 'shook with
fear.' The ambassador was more urgent than ever; he accepted the
conditions of the protestants, and the two parties signed a sort of
agreement. Du Bellay returned to Francis I., who was then in Brittany,
and the king having heard him, sent him instantly to England, to give
Henry VIII. a full account of all his negotiations with the protestant

Thus politicians were intriguing on every side. In Germany, France, and
England, the princes imagined that they could conquer by means of
diplomacy; but far different were the forces by which the victory was to
be gained. In the midst of all this activity of courts and cabinets,
there was an inner and secret activity which stirred the human mind and
excited in it a burning thirst, which the truth and the life of God
alone could quench. Centuries before, as early as 1020, the revival had
begun in Aquitaine, at Orleans, and on the Rhine. Men had proclaimed
that christians 'ought to be filled with the Holy Ghost; that God would
be with them, and would give them the treasures of his wisdom.'[255]
This inward movement had gone on growing from age to age. The Waldenses
in the twelfth century, the purest portion of the Albigenses in the
thirteenth, Wickliffe and the Lollards in the fourteenth, and John Huss
and his followers in the fifteenth, are the heroes of this noble war.
This christian life arose, increased, and spread; if it was extinguished
in one country, it reappeared in another. The religious movement of the
mind gained strength; the electricity was accumulated in the battery;
the mine was charged, and the explosion was certain erelong. All this
was being accomplished under the guidance of a sovereign commander. He
applied the match in the sixteenth century by the hand of Luther; once
more he sprang the mine by the powerful preaching of Calvin, Knox, and
others. It was this that won the victory, and not diplomacy. However, we
have not yet done with it.


At this time Francis I. was enraptured with Henry VIII., calling him his
'good brother' and 'perpetual ally.' Wearied of the pope and of the
popedom, which appeared as if unable to shake off the tutelage of
Charles V., the King of France saw Germany separating from Rome, and
England doing the same, and Du Bellay was continually asking him why he
would not conclude a triple alliance with these two powers? Such a
coalition, formed in the name of the revival of learning and of reform
in the Church, would certainly triumph over all the opposition made to
it by ignorance and superstition. Francis I. had not made up his mind to
break entirely with the pope, though he was resolved to unite with the
pope's enemies. In order to conclude a close alliance with Henry, he
chose the moment when that prince was most out of humour with the court
of Rome. The articles were drawn up on the 23rd of June, 1532.[256]

The two kings were not content with making preparations only for the
great campaign they meditated against the emperor and Rome: they
determined to have an interview. On the 11th of October, 1532, the
gallant Henry, accompanied by a brilliant court, crossed the Channel and
arrived at Calais, at that time an English possession; while the elegant
Francis, attended by his three sons and many of his nobles, arrived at
Boulogne one or two days later. The great point with Francis was glory—a
victory to be gained over Charles V.; the great point with Henry was to
gratify his passions, and as Clement VII. thwarted him, he had a special
grudge against the pope. With such hatreds and such intentions, it was
easy for the two kings to come to an understanding.

Their first meeting was at Boulogne, in the abbot's palace, where they
stayed four days under the same roof. Francis was inexhaustible in
attentions to his guest; but the important part of their business was
transacted in one of their closets, where these impetuous princes
confided to each other their anger and their plans. The King of England
gave vent to 'great complaints and grievances' against Clement VII. 'He
wants to force me to go to Rome in person. If he means to institute an
inquiry, let him send his proctors to England. Let us summon the pope
(he added) to appear before a free council empowered to inquire into the
abuses under which princes and people suffer so severely, and to reform

Francis, who also had 'goodwill to complain,' filled the abbot's palace
with his grievances: 'I have need of the clergy-tenths (the tenth part
of the Church revenues), in order that I may resist the Turk; but the
holy father opposes my levying them. I have need of all the resources of
my subjects; but the holy father is continually inventing new exactions,
which transfer the money of my kingdom into the coffers of the popedom.
He makes us pay annates, maintain pontifical officers at a great
expense, and give large presents to prothonotaries, valets,
chamberlains, ushers, and others. And what is the consequence? The
clergy are poor; the ruined churches are not repaired; and the indigent
lack food.... Most assuredly the Roman government is only _a net to
catch money_. We must have a council.'[258]

The two princes resolved to 'take from the pope the obedience of their
kingdoms,' as Guicciardini says.[259] However, before resorting to
extreme measures, Francis desired to begin with milder means, and Henry
was forced to consent that France should forward his grievances to Rome.

[Sidenote: THE MASKED LADY.]

After living together for four days at Boulogne, Henry and Francis went
to Calais, where the latter found his apartments hung with cloth of
gold, embroidered with pearls and precious stones. At table, the viands
were served on one hundred and seventy dishes of solid gold. Henry gave
a grand masked ball, at which the King of France was considerably
tantalised by a masked lady of very elegant manners with whom he danced.
She spoke French like a Frenchwoman, abounded in wit and grace, and
knew, in its most trifling details, all the scandal of the court of
France. The king declared the lady to be charming, and her neck the
prettiest he had ever seen. He little imagined then that this neck would
one day be severed by the orders of Henry VIII. At the end of the dance,
the King of England, with a smile, removed the lady's mask, and showed
the features of Anne Boleyn, Marchioness of Pembroke, who (it will be
recollected) had been brought up at the court of the French king's

Pleasure did not make the two princes forget business. They were again
closeted, and signed a treaty, in accordance with which they engaged to
raise an army of 65,000 infantry and 15,000 cavalry, intended apparently
to act against the Turks.[261] Du Bellay's policy was in the ascendant.
'The great king,' he said, 'is staggering from his obedience.'[262]


Wishing to make a last effort before determining to break with the pope,
Francis summoned Cardinals de Tournon and de Gramont, men devoted to his
person, and said to them: 'You will go to the holy father and lay before
him in confidence both our grievances and our dissatisfaction. You will
tell him that we are determined to employ, as soon as may be advisable,
all our alliances, public as well as private, to execute great things ...
from which much damage may ensue and perpetual regret for the
future. You will tell him that, in accord with other christian princes,
we shall assemble a council without him, and that we shall forbid our
subjects in future to send money to Rome. You will add—but as a secret
and after taking the pope aside—that in case his holiness should think
of censuring me and forcing me to go to Rome for absolution, I shall
come, but _so well attended_ that his holiness will be only too eager to
grant it me....

'Let the pope consider well,' added the king, 'that the Germans, the
Swiss League, and several other countries in Christendom, have separated
from Rome. Let him understand that if two powerful kings like us should
also secede, we should find many imitators, _both Italians and
others_;[263] and that, at the least, there would be a greater war in
Europe than any known in time past.'[264]

Such were the proud words France sent to Rome. The two kings separated.
A young prince, held captive by Charles V., gave them the first
opportunity of acting together against both emperor and pope.

[Footnote 243: Le Grand, _Hist. du Divorce de Henri VIII._ i. p. 20.]

[Footnote 244: 'Ex oppido unde fluctu Lexoviorum.'—Rommel, _Philippe le
M._ ii. p. 259.]

[Footnote 245: _History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century_,
vol. iv. bk. xiv. ch. xii.]

[Footnote 246: Lutheri _Epp._ iv. p. 201—Dec. 1530.]

[Footnote 247: _Warnung an seine lieben Deutschen._ Lutheri _Opp._ lib.
xx. p. 298.]

[Footnote 248: Seckendorf, pp. 1174-1192, sqq.]

[Footnote 249: Urban Regius to the Landgrave.]

[Footnote 250: Lutheri _Epp._ iv. pp. 335, 337, 369, 372, sqq.]

[Footnote 251: Du Bellay, _Mémoires_, pp. 168, 169, Paris, 1588. The
historian is very well informed, especially on everything concerning his
brother's missions.]

[Footnote 252: _Hist. of the Ref. of the Sixteenth Cent._ vol. iii. bk.
xii. chap. xi.]

[Footnote 253: Du Bellay, _Mémoires_, pp. 171, 172.]

[Footnote 254: Du Bellay, _Mémoires_, pp. 171, 172.]

[Footnote 255: 'Deus tibi comes nunquam deerit, in quo sapentiæ thesauri
atque divitiarum consistunt.' See Ademarus, monk of Angoulême in 1029,
_Chronic._ _Gesta Synodi Aurelianensis_, &c.]

[Footnote 256: The articles are given in Herbert's _Life of Henry VIII._
p. 366, sqq. Du Bellay, _Mémoires_, p. 171.]

[Footnote 257: Du Bellay, _Mémoires_, p. 173.]

[Footnote 258: Du Bellay, _Mémoires_, pp. 173, 174.]

[Footnote 259: Guicciardini, _Hist. des Guerres d'Italie_, ii. liv. xx.
p. 893.]

[Footnote 260: 'The French king talked with the marchioness a space.'—
_Hall_, p. 794.]

[Footnote 261: Le Grand, _Hist. du Divorce de Henri VIII._ p. 238.]

[Footnote 262: Brantôme, _Mémoires_, i. p. 235.]

[Footnote 263: The words _tant italiens que autres_, are not in the
speech delivered at Calais according to Du Bellay; but they are in the
written instructions given to the two cardinals. _Preuves des Libertés_,
p. 260.]

[Footnote 264: Du Bellay, _Mémoires_, pp. 175, 176, sqq.]

 (AUTUMN 1532.)

The news of the meeting of Francis I. and Henry VIII. alarmed Germany,
Italy, and all Europe. 'The kings of France and England,' it was said,
'are going to take advantage of the emperor's campaign against the
Turks, to unite their armies with those of the protestants and gain a
signal victory.'[265] But nobody was more alarmed than the pope.
Abruptly addressing the Bishop of Auxerre, the minister of France, he
made the bitterest complaints to him.[266] Already he saw France, like
England, shaking off the yoke of Rome. 'I have it from good authority,'
says Brantôme, 'that the King of France was on the point of renouncing
the pope, as the King of England had done.'[267]

On leaving Boulogne, Francis went to Paris, where he spent the winter
and took his measures for 'the great effort' with which he threatened
the pope. The priests were very uneasy, and began to dread a reform
similar to that in England. Calling to mind that in Denmark, Sweden, and
elsewhere, a great part of the ecclesiastical property had been
transferred to the treasury of the State, they granted the king all he
asked; and the prince thus obtained between five and six hundred
thousand ducats, which put him in a condition to do 'the great things'
with which the cardinals were to menace the pontiff.[268] An unexpected
event furnished the opportunity of employing the priests' money in
favour of the Reformation.


The haughty Soliman had invaded Hungary, in July 1532, at the head of
numerous and terrible hordes. Displaying a luxury without precedent, he
gave audience on a golden throne, with a crown of solid gold at his
side, and the scabbards of his swords covered with pearls. But erelong
the sickly Charles succeeded in terrifying this magnificent barbarian.
Having raised an army which combined the order and strength of the
German lansquenets with the lightness and impetuosity of the Italian
bands and the pride and perseverance of the Spanish troops, he forced
Soliman to retreat. The emperor was all the more delighted, as the
conference between Henry and Francis made him impatient to settle with
the Mussulmans. It was even said in the empire that it was this
conference which brought Charles back, as he desired to join the pope in
combating projects which threatened them both. The emperor passed the
Alps in the autumn of 1532.[269]

Among the nobles and warriors who accompanied him, was a young prince of
eighteen, Christopher, son of Duke Ulrich of Wurtemberg. He was only
five years old when his father was expelled from his duchy by the
Austrians; and the latter, wishing to make him forget Wurtemberg,
resolved to separate him from his country and his parents. The little
boy and his guardians having left Stuttgard, stopped to pass the night
in a town near the frontier. A lamb was gambolling in the yard; the poor
boy, delighted with the gentleness of the animal, ran and took it up in
his arms, and began to play with it. In the morning, just as they were
leaving, little Christopher, less distressed at their taking away his
sceptre than at their separating him from his pet companion, kissed it
with tears in his eyes, and said to the host: 'Pray take care of it, and
when I return I will pay you for your trouble.'

Christopher was taken to Innsbruck, where his life was a hard one. The
young prince who, in later times, filled his country with evangelical
schools, had no one to cultivate his mind, and he who was one day to sit
at the table of kings was often half-starved; his dress was neglected,
and even the beggars, when they saw him, were moved with compassion.
From Innsbruck he was transferred to Neustadt (Nagy-Banya) in Hungary,
beyond the Theiss. One day a troop of Turkish horsemen, having crossed
the Carpathians, scoured the country that lay between the mountains and
the river, and, catching sight of the prince, rushed upon him to carry
him off. But a faithful follower, who had observed their movements,
shouted for help, and succeeded in saving Christopher from the hands of
the Mussulmans. And thus the heir of Wurtemberg grew up in the bosom of


The noble-hearted man who had saved him at the peril of his own life was
Michael Tifernus. In his early childhood he had been carried off by the
Turks, and, being abandoned by them, he had succeeded in reaching a
village near Trieste, where some kind people took care of him. Tifernus
(who derived this name from the place of his adoption, for his parents'
name was never known) was sent to a school in Vienna, where he received
a sound education. King Ferdinand, who was guilty of negligence towards
Christopher rather than of ill-will, gave him Tifernus for tutor. The
latter attached himself passionately to the prince, who, under his care,
became an accomplished young man. In the midst of the splendours of the
court of Austria and of the Roman worship, grew up one who was erelong
to rescue Wurtemberg from both Austria and Rome. An important
circumstance occurred to agitate the young prince deeply, and throw a
bright light over his dark path.

Christopher accompanied the emperor in 1530 to the famous diet of
Augsburg. He was struck by the noble sight of the fidelity and courage
of the protestants. He heard them make their confession of faith; his
elevated soul took the side of the oppressed Gospel; and when, at this
very diet, Charles solemnly invested his brother Ferdinand with the
duchy of Wurtemberg,—when Christopher saw the standard of his fathers
and of his people in the hands of the Austrian archduke—the feeling of
his rights came over him; he viewed the triumphant establishment of the
evangelical faith in the country of his ancestors as a task appointed
him. He would recover his inheritance, and, uniting with the noble
confessors of Augsburg, would bring an unexpected support to the

The emperor, after the war against the Turks, desired the prince to
accompany him to Italy and Spain; perhaps it was his intention to leave
him there; but Christopher made no objection. He had arranged his plans:
two great ideas, the independence of Wurtemberg and the triumph of the
Reformation, had taken possession of his mind, and while following the
emperor and appearing to turn his back on the states of his fathers, he
said significantly to his devoted friend Tifernus: 'I shall not abandon
my rights in Germany.'[270]


Charles V. and his court were crossing the Alps in the autumn of 1532.
The young duke on horseback was slowly climbing the passes which
separate Austria from Styria, contemplating the everlasting snows in the
distance, and stopping from time to time on the heights from whose base
rushed the foaming torrents which descend from the sides of the
mountains. He had a thoughtful look, as of one absorbed by some great
resolution. The news of the interview of Francis I. and Henry VIII.,
which had alarmed Austria, had inflamed his hopes; and he said to
himself that now was the time for claiming his states. He had conversed
with his governor about it, and it now remained to carry the daring
enterprise into execution. To escape from Charles V., surrounded by his
court and his guards, seemed impossible; but Christopher believing that
God can _deliver out of the mouth of the lion_, prayed him to be his
guide during the rest of his life. As etiquette was not strictly
observed in these mountains, Christopher and his governor lagged a
little in the rear of their travelling companions. A tree, a rock, a
turn in the road sufficed to hide them from view. Yet, if one of the
emperor's attendants should turn round too soon and look for the
laggards, the two friends would be ruined. But no one thought of doing
so: erelong they were at some distance from the court, and could see the
imperial procession stretching in the distance, like a riband, along the
flanks of the Norican Alps. On a sudden the two loiterers turned their
horses, and set off at full gallop. They asked some mountaineers to show
them a road which would take them to Salzburg, and continued their
flight in the direction indicated. But there were some terrible passes
to cross; Christopher's horse broke down, and it was impossible to
proceed. What was to be done? Perhaps the imperialists were already on
their track.

The two friends were not at a loss. There was a lake close at hand; they
dragged the useless animal by the legs towards it, and buried it at the
bottom of the water, in order that there might be no trace of their
passage. 'Now, my lord,' said his governor, 'take my horse and proceed;
I shall manage to get out of the scrape.' The young duke disappeared,
and not before it was time. 'What has become of Prince Christopher?'
asked Charles's attendants. 'He is in the rear,' was the reply; 'he will
soon catch us up.' As he did not appear, some of the imperial officers
rode back in search of him. The little lake into which the prince's
horse had been thrown was partly filled with tall reeds, among which
Tifernus lay concealed. Presently the imperialists passed close by him;
he heard their steps, their voices; they went backwards and forwards,
but found nothing. At last, they returned and mournfully reported the
uselessness of their search. It was believed that the two young men had
been murdered by brigands among the mountains. The court continued its
progress towards Italy and Rome. All this time Christopher was fleeing
on his governor's horse, and by exercising great prudence he reached a
secure asylum without being recognised, and here he kept himself in
concealment under the protection of his near relatives the dukes of
Bavaria. Tifernus joined him in his retreat.


The report of Christopher's death was circulated everywhere; the
Austrians, who had no doubt about it, felt surer than ever of
Wurtemberg; they were even beginning to forget the prince, when a
document bearing his name and dated the 17th of November, 1532,[271] was
suddenly circulated all over Germany. Faithful to his resolution, the
young prince in this noble manifesto gave utterance to the bitterest
complaints, and boldly claimed his inheritance in the face of the world.
This paper, which alarmed Ferdinand of Austria, caused immense joy in
Wurtemberg and all protestant Germany. The young prince had everything
in his favour: an age which always charms, a courage universally
acknowledged, virtues, talents, graceful manners, an ancient family, a
respected name, indisputable rights, and the love of his subjects. They
had not seen him, indeed, since the day when he had bedewed the pet lamb
with his tears; but they hailed him as their national prince who would
recover their independence. Protected by the Duke of Bavaria, by the
Landgrave of Hesse, and by the powerful King of France, Christopher had
all the chances in his favour. He had more: he had the support of God.
As a friend of the Gospel, he would give fresh strength to the great
cause of the Reformation. Du Bellay would use all his zeal to
reestablish him on the throne, and thus procure an ally for France who
would help her to enter on the path of religious liberty.

We must now return to the country of Margaret of Navarre, and see how
this princess began to realise her great project of having the pure
Gospel preached in the bosom and under the forms of the Roman Catholic

[Footnote 265: 'The people was marvellously affrayed less you would have
joined armies.'—Hawkins to Henry VIII., Nov. 21, 1532. _State Papers_,
vii. p. 388.]

[Footnote 266: 'Hys Holynes taketh it greatly for ill.'—Ibid. p. 381.]

[Footnote 267: Brantôme, _Mémoires_, p. 235.]

[Footnote 268: Du Bellay, _Mémoires_, p. 174. _Relation des Ambassadeurs
Vénitiens_, i. p. 52.]

[Footnote 269: Hammer, iii. p. 118. Schoertlin, _Lebens Beschreibung_.
Ranke, _Deutsche Geschichte_, iii. p. 425.]

[Footnote 270: 'Entschlossen seine Gerechtigkeiten in Deutschland nicht
zu verlassen.'—Ranke, _Deutsche Geschichte_, iii. pp. 448-451. This
narrative is based upon Gabelkofer, extracted by Sattler and Pfister.]

[Footnote 271: This document will be found in Sattler, ii. p. 229. See
also Ranke, _Deutsche Geschichte_, iii. p. 450.]

 (LENT 1533.)

The alliance with England, and the hope of being able, sooner or later,
to triumph over Charles V., filled the King of France with joy; and
accordingly the carnival of the year 1533 was kept magnificently at
Paris. The court was absorbed in entertainments, balls, and banquets.
The young lords and ladies thought of nothing but dancing and
intriguing, at which soberer minds were scandalised. 'It is quite a
Bacchanalia,' said the evangelicals.[272] As soon as the carnival was
ended, Francis started for Picardy; leaving the King and Queen of
Navarre at Paris. Margaret now breathed more freely. She had been
compelled, willingly or unwillingly, to take part in all the court
fêtes; and she now determined to make up for it by organising a great
evangelical preaching instead of the 'bacchanalia' at which she had
sometimes been present. Was not Francis holding out his hand to the King
of England and to the protestants of Germany? The opportunity should be
seized of preaching the new doctrine boldly. The Queen of Navarre sent
for Roussel and communicated her intention to him. She will open the
great churches of the capital, and from their pulpits the inhabitants of
Paris shall hear the mighty summons. The poor almoner, in whom courage
was not the most prominent virtue, was alarmed at first. In the handsome
saloons of Margaret he might indulge in his pious and rather mystical
aspirations; but to enter the pulpits of Paris ... the very thought
dismayed him, and he begged the queen to find some other person. Roussel
did not deny that it was right to preach the Gospel publicly, but
declared himself to be incompetent for the work. 'The minister of the
Gospel,' he said, 'ought to possess an invincible faith.[273] The enemy
against which he fights is the kingdom of hell with all its
powers.[274]... He must defend himself on the right hand and on the
left.... What do you require of me? To preach peace, but under the
cross! To bring in the kingdom of God, but among the strongholds of the
devil.... To speak of repose in the midst of the most furious tempests,
of life in the midst of death, of blessedness in the midst of hell! Who
is fitted for such things?... Doubtless it is a noble task, but no one
ought to undertake it unless he is called to it. Now I feel nothing in
me which a minister of the Gospel of Christ ought to possess at this


Such a man as Calvin would certainly have been preferable, but Margaret
would neither have dared nor wished to put him in the front. These
sermons undoubtedly formed part of the chaplain's duty; and hence the
Queen, an energetic and impulsive woman, being determined to profit by
the opportunity of giving the Gospel free entrance into Paris, persisted
with Roussel, promised him the help of her prayers and of her favour,
and at last prevailed on him to preach. In truth, his modesty is an
honour to him: no doubt there was boldness wanted; but many humble and
candid souls would have hesitated like him. He was fitter than he
imagined for the work which the Queen of Navarre had taken in hand.

This obstacle having been surmounted, Margaret met with another. It was
the custom for the Sorbonne to appoint the preachers, and it was
impossible to get them to accept Roussel. 'They will nominate some
furious and insolent monks,' says Calvin, 'who will make the churches
ring with their insults against truth.'[276] The struggle began, and
despite the absence of Francis, despite the influence of the Queen of
Navarre, the Sorbonne gained the day, and the pulpits of the capital
were closed against the almoner. Margaret was very indignant at these
doctors, who looked upon themselves as the doorkeepers of the kingdom of
heaven, and by their tyranny prevented the door from being opened; but
Roussel was by no means sorry to be prohibited from a work beyond his


But nothing could stop the queen. Being resolved to give the Gospel to
France, she said to herself that it must be done now or never. Her zeal
carried her to an extraordinary act. The Sorbonne closed the doors of
the churches against Roussel: Margaret opened to him the palace of the
king. She had a saloon prepared in the Louvre, and gave orders to admit
all who desired to enter. Was the king informed of this? It is possible,
and even probable, that he was. He did not fear to show the pope and
Charles V. how far his alliance with Henry VIII. and the protestants
would extend. He would not have liked to appear schismatic and
heretical; but he sometimes was pleased that his sister should do so;
and he could always vindicate himself on the ground of absence.

A Lutheran sermon at the Louvre! That was truly a strange thing; and
accordingly the crowd was so great that there was not room for them.
Margaret threw open a larger hall, but that too was filled, as well as
the corridors and ante-chamber.[277] A third time the place of meeting
was changed.[278] She had vainly selected the largest hall; the
galleries and adjoining rooms were filled, and room was wanting still.
These evangelical preachings at the Louvre excited a lively curiosity in
Paris. They were all the fashion, and the worthy Roussel, to his great
surprise, became quite famous. He preached every day during Lent,[279]
and every day the crowd grew larger. Nobles, lawyers, men of letters,
merchants, scholars, and tradespeople of every class flocked to the
Louvre from all parts of Paris, especially from the quarters of the
University and St. Germain. At the hour of preaching, the citizens
poured over the bridges in a stream, or crossed the Seine in boats. Some
were attracted by piety, some by curiosity, and others by vanity. Four
or five thousand hearers crowded daily round Roussel.[280]

When the worthy citizens, students, and professors had climbed the
stairs at the Louvre, crossed the antechambers, and reached the door of
the principal saloon, they stopped, opened their eyes wide, and looked
wonderingly on the sight presented to them in the monarch's palace. The
King and Queen of Navarre were in the chief places, seated in costly
chairs, whence the active Margaret cast a satisfied glance on all those
courtiers, those notables of the city, those curious Parisians, those
friends of Reform, who were flocking to hear the Word of God. There were
people of every rank: John Sturm, already so decided for the Gospel, was
seen by the side of the elegant John de Montluc, afterwards Bishop of
Valence. At length the minister appeared; he prayed with unction, read
the Scriptures with gravity, and then began his exhortations to the
hearers. His language was simple, but it stirred their hearts
profoundly. Roussel proclaimed the salvation obtained by a living faith,
and urged the necessity of belonging to the invisible Church of the
saints. Instead of attacking the Roman religion, he addressed his
appeals to the conscience; and this preaching of the Gospel (rather
softened down as it was) won, instead of irritating, men's minds.
Accustomed as they were to the babbling of the monks, the congregation
listened seriously to the practical preaching of the minister of God.
Here were no scholastic subtleties, no absurd legends, no amusing
anecdotes, no burlesque declamations, and no unclean pictures: it was
the Gospel.[281] As they quitted the Louvre, men conversed about the
sermon or the preacher. Sturm of Strasburg and John de Montluc, in
particular, often talked together.[282] The satisfaction was general.
'What a preacher!' they said; 'we have never heard anything like it!
What freedom in his language! what firmness in his teaching!'[283] Some
of his hearers wrote in their admiration to Melanchthon, who informed
Luther, Spalatin, and others of it.[284] Germany rejoiced to see France
begin to move at last.

Margaret, who had a lively imagination and warm heart, was all on fire.
She spoke to the worldlings of that 'peace of God which passeth all
understanding.' She said to the friends of the Gospel: 'The Almighty
will graciously complete what he has graciously begun through us.' She
added: 'I will spend myself in it.' She excited and stirred up everybody
about her, and the crowded congregations of the Louvre were in great
measure the result of her incessant activity. She knew how by a word or
a message to attract courtiers whose only thoughts were of debauchery,
and catholics whose only wish was for the pope. Like a sabbath-bell, she
called Paris to hear the voice of God, and drew the crowd. Possessing in
the highest degree, so long as her brother did not check it, that energy
which women often show in religious matters, she was resolved to
prosecute her work and win the prize of the contest.

She returned to her first idea. She said to herself that the best way to
effect a reform in the Church without occasioning a schism, was for the
Gospel to be preached in the churches of Paris and of France. The
ceremonies of the Roman worship and the jurisdiction of the bishops
would remain, but Christ would be proclaimed. This system, which was
fundamentally that of Melanchthon and even of Luther at this time,[285]
she did her best to realise. The victory she had just achieved at the
Louvre doubled her courage; she determined to have the churches which
had been refused to her at first. She therefore began to work upon the
king, and, as he was thinking only of his alliances with Henry VIII. and
the protestants, she obtained from him an order authorising the Bishop
of Paris to appoint whom he pleased to preach in his diocese.[286] The
prelate, who was a brother of the diplomatist Du Bellay, passed like him
for a friend of the Reformation. At Margaret's request he named two
evangelical Augustine monks—Courault and Berthaud. 'Strange!' said the
public voice; 'here are men of the order to which Luther belonged going
to preach the doctrine of the great reformer in the capital of France.'
All the evangelicals were overjoyed and wrote to their friends
everywhere that 'Paris was supplied with three excellent preachers,
announcing the truth ... with a little more boldness than was


Courault, a sincere scriptural christian, who did not participate in
Margaret's subtleties, preached at St. Saviour's. The inhabitants of the
quarter of St. Denis and from other parts crowded to this church. Many
persons who had said of the preachings at the Louvre, 'They are not for
us,' hastened to the place which belonged to the people. The man who
occupied the pulpit was about the middle age; he did not possess
Roussel's grace, he was even somewhat rough, and preached the Gospel
without reserve and without disguise. His lively and aggressive style,
his expressive and rather threatening gestures arrested attention. He
attacked unsparingly the errors of the Church and the vices of
christians. Courault did not come, as the Roman preachers had done up to
that very hour, to impose on his hearers certain laws, ceremonies, and
acts of worship by means of which they could be reconciled to God and
merit his favour. He spoke not of feasts, or of dedications, or of
customs, or of those mechanical prayers and chantings, in which the
understanding and the heart have no share, and with which the Church
burdened believers. He had a special horror of all that mixes up the
worship of the creature with the adoration of God, and would not suffer
the perfect work of Christ to be obscured by the invocation of other
mediators. He preached that the true worship of the New Testament was
faith in the Gospel, and the love which proceeds from faith; that it was
communion with Christ, patience under the cross, and a holy activity in
doing good, accompanied by the constant prayers of the heart. This
preaching, so new in the capital, attracted an immense crowd. The
enthusiasm was universal. 'This man is in the first rank among good
men,' was the general opinion.[288] 'He is like a sentinel on a tower
who, with his eyes fixed on the east, proclaims that the sun, so long
hidden, will shine at last upon the earth.'[289] Light beamed from
Courault's discourses. His sight was weak, and in after years, during
his exile in Switzerland, where he was Calvin's colleague, he became
quite blind; but his language was always marked by great clearness. It
was said of him that 'although blind he enlightens the soul.'[290] Among
his hearers was Louis du Tillet, Calvin's friend, and the youthful canon
was deeply excited by the living faith of the aged Augustine. 'Oh! what
piety I found in him!' he exclaimed on a later occasion.[291]

Berthaud, the other preacher named by the bishop, subsequently deserted
the Gospel and died a canon of Besançon: so that each of them reminds us
of our Saviour's words: _There shall two be in the field; the one shall
be taken, and the other left_.[292]

These evangelical preachings in the palace of the king and in the
churches of Paris were important facts, and there has been nothing like
it since in France. The alarm was consequently at its height. People
asked whether the sentinels of the Church were asleep, and whether the
bark of St. Peter would founder, while the Gospel ship seemed floating
onwards in full sail.


But the doctors of the Sorbonne were not asleep; on the contrary, they
were on the watch, they sent their spies into the evangelical
assemblies, received their reports, and took counsel together every day.
The members of this society, the principal, the prior, the senior, the
recorder, the professors, the proctors, and the librarians declared
boldly and unanimously that all was lost if they did not make haste to
check the evil. The evangelicals and the men of letters were informed of
these fanatical discussions. 'What a horde of scribes and pharisees!'
they exclaimed.[293] But that did not stop the horde. 'What must be
done?' they asked; and Beda replied: 'Let the preachers be seized and
put to death like Berquin.' Some, more moderate or more politic, knowing
that Roussel was preaching by order of the king's sister, shrank from
this proposal, fearing they would offend their sovereign.[294] 'What
foolish policy!' exclaimed Beda, 'what ineffable cowardice!... Is not
the Sorbonne the oracle of Europe? Shall it render ambiguous answers,
like the pagan oracles of old?'

Beda prevailed, and Roussel was denounced to the king. 'Apply to my
chancellor,' said Francis, who did not wish to say either yes or no. The
Sorbonne delegates then waited upon Duprat. 'Apply to the bishop,' said
the cardinal, who was afraid of displeasing the king. The Sorbonnists
went to their diocesan, rather anxious about the reception they would
receive from him; and with good reason, for the liberal Du Bellay only
laughed at them.[295] The exasperated but indefatigable doctors now
turned to the first president, who was one of their party; but that
magistrate, believing the Sorbonne to be in disgrace, was not anxious to
support their cause. The wrath of the doctors now became unbounded.
Would there no longer be any justice in France for the champions of the
papacy? The friends of letters, who had carefully noted all these
repulses, smiled at the confusion of the priests; and Sturm in
particular, the reviver of learning at Strasburg, and now professor at
Paris, did not spare them: 'Look at these _Thersites_!' he said,
comparing them to the ugliest, most cowardly, and most ridiculous of the
Grecian host at Troy. 'They are at the end of their tether and cannot
succeed,' continued Sturm; 'for those who can help them will not, and
those who will cannot.'[296]

The doctors of the Sorbonne now lost all moderation. 'The king,' said
they, 'who publicly supports the heretics, his sister and the Archbishop
of Paris, who protect them, are as guilty as they.' Orders were sent
through all the camp: every pulpit became a volcano. Furious
declamations, superstitious sermons, scholastic discourses, violent and
grotesque speeches—the supporters of Rome made use of all. 'Do you know
what an heretical minister is?' asked a monk. 'He is a pig in a pulpit,
decorated with cap and surplice, and preaching to a congregation ... of


The most active firebrand in this conflagration was Le Picard, a
bachelor of divinity, professor of the college of Navarre, and
subsequently dean of St. Germain l'Auxerrois. He was twenty-nine years
old, of a 'stormy' temper if ever there was one, and in truth he did
'storm' in the churches and at the meetings of the priests. He went into
the pulpit to oppose Courault; and the people who had gone to hear the
Augustine monk, crowded also to hear his opponent. The latter
gesticulated much, shouted loudly, invoked the Virgin, and attacked the
king, accusing him bluntly of heresy. He was a true precursor of those
who advised the massacre of St. Bartholomew; and indeed he made a
proposal, not long after, worthy of the Guises and the Medici. 'Let the
government pretend to be Lutheran,' he said, 'in order that the reformed
may assemble openly; then we can fall upon them and clear the kingdom of
them once for all.'[298] A monk, charmed with his virtues, has written
his life under the title of _The Perfect Ecclesiastic_.[299]


Yet if Le Picard was the most active champion, Beda was still general.
Placed as on a hill, he overlooked the field of battle, examined where
it was necessary to send help, wrote every day to the orators of his
party—to Le Picard, Maillard, Ballue, Bouchigny, and others, and
conjured them not to relax for an instant in their attacks. 'Stir up the
people by your discourses,' he said.[300] It was a critical moment: it
was in the balance whether France would remain catholic or become
heretic. 'Though the monarch deserts the papacy,' he said, 'agitate,
still agitate!' Then the fanatical monks went into the pulpits and
aroused the people by their fiery eloquence: 'Let us not suffer this
heresy, the most pestilential of all, to take root among us.... Let us
pluck it up, cast it out, and annihilate it.'[301]

All the forces of the papacy were engaged at this time as in a battle
where the general launches his reserves into the midst of the struggle.
The mendicant friars, those veteran soldiers of the popedom, who had
access into every family, were set to work. Dominicans, Augustines,
Carmelites, and Franciscans, having received their instructions, entered
the houses of Paris. The women and children, who were used to them,
saluted them with 'Good morning, friar John or friar James;' and while
their wallet was being filled, they whispered in the ears of the
citizens: 'The pope is above the king.... If the king favours the
heretics, the pope will free us from our oaths of fidelity.'

They went still further. Whenever it is felt desirable to arouse the
people, they require to be excited by some spectacle. A _neuvaine_ was
ordered in honour of St. James. The crowd flocked to adore the good
saint with his long pilgrim's staff; and for nine days the devout of
both sexes, kneeling round his image, crossing themselves and employing
other usual ceremonies, loudly called upon the saint to give a
knock-down blow with his staff to those who protected the heretics.

These incendiary discourses and bigoted practices succeeded. The people
began to be restless and to utter threats.[302] They paraded in bands
through the streets, they collected in groups in the public places, and
cries were heard of: 'The pope for ever! down with his enemies!...
Whoever opposes the holy father, even if he be a king, is a knave and a
tyrant, to whom the Grand Turk is preferable.... We will dye our streets
with the blood of those people.'... There was already in the veins of
the inhabitants of Paris the blood of the men of the Reign of Terror.
The crowds who filled the streets stopped before the booksellers' shops,
where books and pictures, defamatory of the reformers and even of the
Queen of Navarre, were displayed. Among the books was a 'stage play'
aimed at the king's sister: it was probably that entitled: _The Malady
of Christendom, with thirteen characters_.[303]

But even that was not sufficient. There was still wanting a theological
decision from the first academical authority of christendom, which
should place Roussel in the same rank as the arch-heretic Luther. The
Sorbonne, wishing to strike a decisive blow, published a certain number
of the so-called pernicious and scandalous doctrines imputed to Roussel,
and condemned them as being similar to the errors of Luther. The alarm
and agitation were now at their height; the people fancied they could
see the monk of Wittemberg breathing his impious doctrines over Paris.
Rome fought boldly, and everything was in confusion.[304]

What became of Calvin during all this uproar? 'What is this madness,' he
said on a later occasion, 'which impels the pope and his bishops, the
priests and the friars, to resist the Gospel with such obstinate
rebellion?... The servants of God must be furnished with invincible
constancy in order to sustain without alarm the commotions of the
people. We are sailing on a sea exposed to many tempests; but nothing
ought to turn us aside from doing our duty conscientiously.[305] The
Lord consoles and strengthens his servants when they are thus
agitated.... He has in his hand the management of every whirlwind and of
every storm, and appeases them whenever it seems good to him.... We
shall be roughly handled, but he will not suffer us to be drowned.'[306]

[Footnote 272: 'Bacchanalia factis multis regiis conviviis.'—Siderander
Bedroto, Strasburg MSS. ed. Schmidt.]

[Footnote 273: 'Exigit invictum fidei robur.'—Roussel to Œcolampadius,
_Ep. Ref. Helvet._ p. 20.]

[Footnote 274: 'Adversus totum inferorum regnum, a dexteris et a

[Footnote 275: 'Nihil minus in me sentiam quam quod ad evangelicum
dispensatorem et ministrum attinet.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 276: 'Quisque erat clamosissimus et stolido furore præditus.'—
Calvinus Danieli, _Epp._ p. 3. Genève, 1575.]

[Footnote 277: 'Vix enim locus inveniebatur qui satis capax esset.'—
Letter dated Paris, May 28, 1533, by Peter Siderander. Strasburg MSS.
Schmidt, _G. Roussel_, p. 201.]

[Footnote 278: 'Adeo ut ter mutare locum coactus sit.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 279: 'Concionatus est autem quotidie per totam hanc

[Footnote 280: 'Ut nulla fere concio facta fuerit quin hominum quatuor
vel quinque millia adfuerint.'—Siderander, Strasburg MSS.]

[Footnote 281: Schmidt, _G. Roussel_, p. 85.]

[Footnote 282: See Sturm to Montluc, June 17, 1562.]

[Footnote 283: 'Gerardus libere docet Evangelium in ipsa Lutetia ... in
aula reginæ Navarræ magna animi constantia.'—Melanchthon, _Corp. Ref._
ii. p. 658.]

[Footnote 284: 'Hæc certa sunt et mihi, ex Parisiis, ab optimis viris
diligenter perscripta.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 285: Negotiations of Smalcald, Aug. 1531.]

[Footnote 286: 'Allatum est regium diploma quo parisiensi episcopo
permittitur præficere quos velit singulis parochiis concionatores.'—
Calvini _Epp._ p. 3.]

[Footnote 287: Théod. de Bèze, _Hist. des Eglises Réformées_, i. p. 9.]

[Footnote 288: 'Qui inter bonos postremus non erat.'— Calvini _Epp._
p. 3.]

[Footnote 289: 'In specula nostra, donec appareat quod nunc absconditum

[Footnote 290: Théod. de Bèze, _Hist. des Eglises Réformées_, i. p. 9.]

[Footnote 291: _Correspondance de Calvin et Du Tillet_, p. 78.]

[Footnote 292: Matthew, xxiv. 40.]

[Footnote 293: 'Turba illa scribarum et pharisæorum.'—Strasburg MSS.]

[Footnote 294: 'Non facile contra regem temere ausi sunt certamen

[Footnote 295: 'Hic aperte eos illusit.'—Sturm to Bucer, ed. Strobel, p.

[Footnote 296: Isti Thersitæ . . . hi qui possunt nollent, et qui
cuperent non auderent adesse.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 297: One of the stalls in a church at Toulouse represents a
similar scene, with these words: _Calvin the pig preaching_.]

[Footnote 298: Labitte, _Démocratie des Prédicateurs de la Ligue_, p.

[Footnote 299: H. de Coste, _Le parfait Ecclésiastique, ou Histoire de
Le Picard_, 12mo, Paris, 1658.]

[Footnote 300: 'Beda sollicitabat suos oratores ut ne cessarent in suis
demegoriis concitare populum.'—Sturm to Bucer. Strasburg MSS.]

[Footnote 301: 'Populum stimulare ne hæresim hanc pestilentissimam
radices agere pateretur.'—Siderander Bedroto. Ibid.]

[Footnote 302: 'Ad extremum populus etiam mussitare et minari cœpit.'—
Sturm to Bucer.]

[Footnote 303: Typographi in suis pægmatis scriptura et pictura et ludo
scenico læserunt reginam.'—Ibid. _The Moralité de la Maladie de la
Chrétienté_, 8vo, appeared at Paris this very year (1533). The learned
biographer of Roussel and of Sturm supposes, very reasonably as it
appears to me, that this is the _ludus scenicus_, the play of which
Sturm speaks.]

[Footnote 304: 'Omnino res cœpit esse θορυβώδης.'—Sturm to Bucer.]

[Footnote 305: 'En rondeur de conscience.'—Calv. _Opusc._]

[Footnote 306: Calvin, _in Acta_ xix.]



Margaret and her husband, with the Bishop du Bellay, alarmed at the
storm, resolved to lay their complaints before Francis I. The kingly
authority was threatened; these hot-headed 'wallet-bearers' were the
predecessors of those who instigated the murders of Henry III. and Henry
IV. The King of Navarre on the one hand, and the Bishop of Paris on the
other, laid before their sovereign an alarming picture of the state of
the capital. 'The blood of Berquin does not satisfy these fanatics,'
they said; 'they are calling for fresh acts of cruelty.... And who will
be their victims now?... They are planning a crime, a revolt!'[307] But
while Francis was listening to his sister's denunciations with one ear,
he was receiving those of the Sorbonne in the other. 'Sedition!' said
one party. 'Heresy!' cried the other. 'Sire,' repeated the theologians
incessantly, 'shut the pulpits against Roussel and his colleagues.'[308]
Thus pulled in different directions, the king, puzzled which to believe,
resolved to punish both parties alike. 'I will confine them all to their
houses,' he said; 'Beda with his orators on one side, and Gerard Roussel
with his preachers on the other. We shall then have some peace and be
able at our leisure to examine these contradictory accusations.'[309]
Thus, at the same moment, Beda, Maillard, Ballue, and Bouchigny of the
church party, and Roussel, Courault, and Berthaud of the evangelical
party, received orders not to leave their houses. The schoolmaster thus
punished the quarrelsome boys by putting them in opposite corners.

Preparations were made for investigating the two cases, but the matter
was not so easy as the king had imagined. The theologians were indignant
at finding themselves placed in the same rank with the Lutherans. Far
from submitting to be prosecuted for sedition, they claimed to prosecute
the others for heresy. They would not be the accused or even the
accusers; they took their stand as inquisitors of the faith and as


The terrible Beda, shut up in the college of Montaigu,[311] and not
daring to go out, found himself condemned, considering his restless
temper, to the severest penance. At first he was content to keep his
agents at work, who were ready at any moment to bear his orders. But
when he learnt that his right to judge was disputed, and that he was to
be put in the same rank with Roussel, the turbulent doctor could
restrain himself no longer. His room was too narrow to contain his
anger. He made light of the king's commands, and, disobeying his orders,
mounted his mule and rode into the city. From time to time he stopped.
The catholic tribune, the defender of the pope, was soon recognised; a
crowd gathered round him; he addressed the people from his mule, and did
his best to arouse their fanatical passions. While the catholics flocked
round him, some evangelicals were watching the orator and his audience
from a distance. 'I saw him riding on his mule,' says Siderander.[312]
Beda thought himself stronger than the king, and in some respects he
was; he reigned over the savage appetites of an ignorant and fanatical
populace. Such was the power in the sixteenth century by which the pope
triumphed more than once in the capital of France and elsewhere.

Beda was vigorously supported by all his subalterns: Le Picard
especially, who had not been put under arrest, expressed his indignation
in his fanatical discourses that the king should desire to hold the
balance even between the Church and heresy; and advocated a resort to
force to insure the triumph of the oppressed papacy. A riot seemed about
to break out. The friends of learning and of the king were alarmed.
Might not the Roman party take advantage of Francis's absence to
establish another power than his in Paris, and to treat this monarch as
the Seize in after years treated his grandson Henry III.?

The King of Navarre and the Bishop of Paris hastened to Meaux, where
Francis was staying with his court, and informed him that Beda, Le
Picard, and their colleagues had thrown aside all reserve, and that,
unless energetic measures were taken, the public tranquillity and
perhaps his crown might be endangered. The king gave way to a paroxysm
of anger. Beda's freak of parading the streets of Paris on his mule,
notwithstanding the prohibition, was one of those insults that Francis
felt very keenly. He ordered Cardinal Duprat and the Bishop of Senlis to
make all haste to Paris, and stop the intrigues of the Sorbonne and the
promenades of Beda, and also arrest Le Picard. 'As for the inquiry about
heresy,' said the king, 'I reserve that for myself.'[313] Heresy was
treated with more tenderness than the first catholic faculty of
christendom. Francis began to find the Lutherans gentle as lambs in
comparison with the hot-headed papists. Certain personages, whose
arrival was soon to be announced by the officers of his court, confirmed
him in this opinion.


Scarcely had the two prelates left Meaux, when a deputation from the
Sorbonne arrived. When Francis received them, he was evidently in a bad
humour, but he did not address them sharply, as the courtiers had
expected. The theologians approached him with all the required
formalities; they desired, if possible, to win him by meekness. But by
degrees they raised their tone; they beset him with their accusations,
and irritated him with their pretensions, repeating again and again that
it was the prerogative of the Sorbonne, and not of the prince, to give
their opinion in a matter of heresy. There was some truth in this, but
the truth did not please Francis, who claimed to be master in
everything. Still he contained himself, until the doctors, coming to
threats of revolt, and shouting their loudest, reminded him of the
possibility of a deposition of kings by the popes.[314] These
recollections of the middle ages, with which they menaced the haughty
monarch, who claimed to begin a new era, and who desired that the
Reformation should serve at least to abate the pretensions of Rome, and
emancipate princes from its yoke, made the king shudder, and aroused a
terrible fit of anger. His face grew red, his eyes flashed fire, and
putting aside his usual courtesy, he drove the reverend fathers from his
presence, calling them beasts, and saying: 'Get about your business, you
donkeys!'[315] At this moment Francis inaugurated modern times—though
certainly in a fashion rather cavalier.

However, Cardinal Duprat was on the road. What would he do, this vile
courtier of the popes, who at their demand had destroyed the bulwark of
the Gallican liberties, and who hated the Reformation? The Sorbonne
placed their hope in him. But Duprat served his master before all
things, and he could not hide from himself that the hot-headed catholics
were threatening the king's crown. He resolved to strike heavily. As
soon as he reached Paris, he had Le Picard arrested, as being the most
compromised. He confined him in his own palace, seized his books and
papers, and had him interrogated by the advocate-general. The seditious
bachelor raved in his prison, and protested aloud against the indignity
of such treatment; but all his storming was of no use. He was condemned
to be shut up in the abbey of St. Magloire, and forbidden to teach.[316]

Nor did Duprat stop here. He was shocked that paltry priests should dare
speak against that royal majesty of Francis I. for which he, a cardinal
and chancellor, had nothing but humble flatteries. He never ceased to be
the mortal enemy of the Gospel, and originated many a measure of
persecution against the reformed; but his chief quality was a slavish
devotion to the wishes of his master. To the mendicant monks sent out by
the Sorbonne he opposed 'inquirers'—the name he gave to the spies who
were in every parish, and who skilfully interrogated men and women,
nobles and sacristans, to find out whether the preachers or the friars
had attacked the king's government in their hearing. Many of the
townspeople were unwilling to say anything; yet the clever and dreaded
minister attained his ends, and having discovered the most refractory
priests, he summoned them before him. This summons from a cardinal of
the holy Church, from the most powerful person in the kingdom, alarmed
these violent clerics; on a sudden their courage collapsed, and they
appeared before his eminence with downcast eyes, trembling limbs, and
confused manner. 'Who permitted or who authorised you to insult the king
and to excite the people?' asked the haughty Duprat.[317] The priests
were too much terrified to conceal anything: 'It was with the consent
and the good pleasure of our reverend masters,' they replied.[318]

The theologians of the Sorbonne were now summoned in their turn. They
were quite as much alarmed as their creatures, and, seeing the danger,
denied everything.[319] They managed to take shelter behind certain
clever reservations: they had _hinted_ the insult, but they had not
_commanded_ it. At heart both chiefs and followers were all equally
fanatical, and not one of them needed any stimulus to do his duty in
this holy war. These reverend gentlemen, having thus screened themselves
under denials, withdrew, fully convinced that no one would dare lay
hands upon them. But a hundred Bedas would not have stopped the terrible
cardinal. In the affair of the concordat, had he taken any notice of the
fierce opposition of the sovereign courts, of the universities, or even
of the clergy of France? Duprat smiled at his own unpopularity, and
found a secret pleasure in attracting the general hatred upon himself.
Catholics and evangelicals—he will brave and crush them all. He went to
the bottom of the matter, and having discovered who were the Æoluses
that had raised these sacerdotal tempests, he informed the king of the


Francis had never been so angry with the catholics. He had met with men
who dared resist him!... It was his pride, his despotism, and not his
love of truth, that was touched. Besides, was he not the ally of
Henry VIII., and was he not seeking to form a league with the
protestants of Germany? Severe measures against the ultramontane bigots
would convince his allies of the sincerity of his words. He had another
motive still: Francis highly valued the title 'patron of letters,' and
he looked upon the friars as their enemy. He put himself forward as the
champion of the learning of the age, and not of the Gospel; but for a
moment it was possible to believe in the triumph of the Reformation
under the patronage of the Renaissance.


On the 16th of May, 1533, the indefatigable Beda, the fiery Le Picard,
and the zealous friar Mathurin, the three most intrepid supporters of
the papacy in France, appeared before the parliament. An event so
extraordinary filled both university and city with surprise and emotion.
Devout men raised their eyes to heaven; devout women redoubled their
prayers to Mary; but Beda and his two colleagues, proud of their Romish
orthodoxy, appeared before the court, and compared themselves with the
confessors of Christ standing before the proconsuls of Rome. No one
could believe in a condemnation; was not the King of France the eldest
son of the Church? But the disciples of the pope did not know the
monarch who then reigned over France. If they wanted to show what a
priest was like, the sovereign wanted to show what a king was like. When
signing the letters-royal in which Francis had suggested the arrest to
parliament, he exclaimed: 'As for Beda, on my word, he shall never
return to Paris!'[320] The king's ordinance had been duly registered;
the court was complete; and not a sound could be heard, when the
president, turning to the three doctors, said: 'Reverend gentlemen, you
are banished from Paris, and will henceforward live thirty leagues from
this capital; you are at liberty, however, to select what residences you
please, provided they be at a distance from each other. You will leave
the city in twenty-four hours. If you break your ban, you will incur the
penalty of death. You will neither preach, give lessons, nor hold any
kind of meeting, and you will keep up no communication with one another,
until the king has ordered otherwise.'

Beda, Le Picard, Mathurin, and their friends, were all terrified.
Francis had, however, reserved for the last a decision which must have
abated their courage still more. As if he wished to show the triumph of
evangelical ideas, he cancelled the injunction against Roussel; and
Margaret's almoner was able once more to preach the Gospel in the
capital. 'If you have any complaint against him,' said the king to the
Sorbonne, 'you can bring him before the lawful tribunals.'[321]

This decree of the parliament fell like a thunderbolt in the midst of
the Sorbonne. Stunned and stupefied, unable to say or do anything, the
doctors shook off their stupor only to be seized with a fit of terror.
They visited each other, conversed together, and whispered their alarms.
Had the fatal moment really come which they had feared so long? Was
Francis about to follow the example of Frederick of Saxony and Henry of
England? Would the cause of the holy Roman Church perish under the
attacks of its enemies? Would France join the triumphal procession of
the Reformation?... The old men, pretty numerous at the Sorbonne, were
overwhelmed. One of them, a broken-down, feeble hypochondriac, was so
terribly disturbed by the decree, that he fairly lost his senses. He
suffered a perpetual nightmare. He fancied he saw the king and the
parliament, with all France, destroying the Sorbonne, and trampling on
the necks of the doctors while their palace was burning. The poor man
expired in the midst of these terrible phantoms.[322] Yet the blow which
stunned some, aroused others. The more intrepid doctors met and
conferred together, and strove to encourage their partisans and to
enlist new ones: they took no rest night or day.[323] Unable to believe
that this decree really expressed the king's will, they determined to
send a deputation to the south of France, whither he had gone; but
Francis had not forgotten their hint about the deposition of kings by
the popes, and, angry as ever, he rejected every demand.


Nor was the Sorbonne alone agitated: all the city was in commotion, some
being against the decree, others for it. The bigots, in their compassion
for 'the excellent Beda,'[324] exclaimed: 'What an indignity, to expose
so profound a divine, so high-born a man, to such a harsh
punishment!'[325] But, on the other hand, the friends of learning leapt
for joy.[326] A great movement seemed to be accomplishing; it was a
solemn time. Some of the most intelligent men imagined that France was
about to be regenerated and transformed.... Sturm in his college was
delighted. What news to send to Germany, to Bucer, to Melanchthon!... He
ran to his study, took up his pen, and wrote in his transport: 'Things
are changing, the hinges are turning.... It is true there still remain
here and there a few aged Priams, surrounded by servile creatures, who
cling to the things that are passing away.... But, with the exception of
this small number of belated men, no one any longer defends the cause of
the Phrygian priests.'[327] The classic Sturm could only compare the
spirit of the ultramontanists to the superstition and fanaticism of the
priests of Phrygia, so notorious for those qualities in ancient times.
But the friends of the Reform and of the Renaissance were indulging in
most exaggerated illusions. A few old folks, mumbling their _Ave-Marias_
and _Pater-nosters_, seemed to them to constitute the whole strength of
the papacy. They had great hopes of the new generation: 'The young
priests,' they said, 'are rushing into the shining paths of
wisdom.'[328] Francis I. having shown an angry face to the Sorbonne,
every Frenchman was about to follow his example, according to the belief
of the friends of letters. They indulged in transports of joy, and, as
it were, a universal shout welcomed the opening of a new era. But alas!
France was still far distant from it; she was not judged worthy of such
happiness. Instead of seeing the triple banner of the Gospel, morality,
and liberty raised upon her walls, that great and mighty nation was
destined, owing to Romish influence, to pass through centuries of
despotism and wild democracy, frivolity and licentiousness, superstition
and unbelief.


In the midst of the contrary movements now agitating Paris, there was a
certain number of spectators who, while leaning more to one party than
to the other, set about studying the situation. In one of the colleges
was a student of Alsace, the son of an ironmonger at Strasburg, who,
wishing to give himself a Greek or Latin name, called himself
_Siderander_, 'man of iron.' Such, however, was not his nature; he was
particularly curious; he had a passion for picking up news, and his
great desire to know other people's business made him supple as the
willow, rather than hard as the metal. Siderander was an amiable
well-educated young man, and he gives us a pretty faithful picture of
the better class of students of that day. On Monday, May 26, he was
going to hear a lecture on logic by Sturm, who, leaving the paths of
barren scholasticism, was showing by example as well as by precept how
clearness of thought may be united with elegance of language. Just as
the Alsatian was approaching the college of Montaigu, where Sturm
lectured, he met with a piece of good-luck. He saw an immense crowd of
students and citizens collected in front of the college, where they had
been waiting since the morning to witness the departure of the Hercules
of the Sorbonne.[329] He ran as fast as he could, his heart throbbing
with joy at the thought of seeing Beda, the great papist, going into
banishment.... For such a sight, the student would have walked from
Strasburg. The rumour had spread through Paris that the three or four
disgraced doctors were to leave the capital on that day. Everybody
wished to see them: some for the joy they felt at their disgrace;
others, to give vent to their sorrow. But, sad misfortune! the lucky
chance which had delighted the student failed him. The government was
alarmed, and fearing a riot, the exiles did not appear. The crowd was
forced to disperse without seeing them, and Siderander went away in
great disappointment. The next morning, at an early hour, the four
culprits, Beda, Le Picard, Mathurin, and a Franciscan, came forth under
guard and without noise. The doctors, humiliated at being led out of the
city like malefactors, did not even raise their heads. But the
precautions of the police were useless: many people were on the
look-out, the news spread in a moment through the quarter, and a crowd
of burgesses, monks, and common people filled the streets to see the
celebrated theologians pass, dejected, silent, and with downcast eyes.
The glory of the Sorbonne had faded; even that of Rome was dimmed; and
it seemed to many as if the papacy was departing with its four
defenders. The devout catholics gave way to sighs and groans,
indignation and tears; but at the very moment when these bigots were
paying the last honours to popery, others were saluting the advent of
the new times with transports of joy. 'They are sycophants,' said some
among the crowd, 'banished from Paris on account of their lies and their
traitorous proceedings.'[330]

The disciples of the Gospel did not confine themselves to words. Matters
were in good train, and it was desirable to persevere until the end was
reached. While the Sorbonne bent its head, the Reformation was looking
up. The Queen of Navarre and her husband, with many politicians and men
of rank, encouraged Roussel, Courault, and others to preach the Gospel
fearlessly; even these evangelists were astonished at their sudden
favour. Roussel in particular advanced timidly, asking whether the
Church would not interpose its _veto_? But no; Bishop du Bellay, the
diplomatist's brother, did not interfere. During the whole period of the
king's absence, Paris was almost like a country in the act of reforming
itself. Men thought themselves already secure of that religious liberty
which, alas! was to cost three centuries of struggle and the purest
blood, and whose lamentable defeats were to scatter the confessors of
Jesus Christ into every part of the world. When a great good is to be
bestowed on the human race, the deliverance is only accomplished by
successive efforts. But at this time men thought they had attained the
end at a single bound. From the pulpits that were opened to them in
every quarter of Paris, the evangelists proclaimed that the truth had
been revealed in Jesus Christ; that the Word of God, contained in the
writings of the prophets and apostles, did not require to be sanctioned
or interpreted by an infallible authority; and that whoever listened to
it or read it with a sincere heart, would be enlightened and saved by
it. The tutelage of the priests was abolished, and emancipated souls
were brought into immediate contact with God and his revelation. The
great salvation purchased by the death of Christ upon the cross was
announced with power, and the friends of the Gospel, transported with
joy, exclaimed: 'At last Christ is preached publicly in the pulpits of
the capital, and all speak of it freely.[331] May the Lord increase
among us day by day the glory of his Gospel!'[332]


The most serious causes always find defenders among trivial men, who do
not thoroughly understand them, but yet despise their adversaries. The
Reformation has no reason to be proud of some of its auxiliaries in the
sixteenth century. A serious cause ought to be seriously defended; but
history cannot pass by these manifestations, which are as much in her
domain as those of another kind. Satire was not spared in this matter.
The students especially delighted in it: they posted up a long placard,
written carefully with ornamented letters in French verse, in which the
four theologians were described in the liveliest and most fantastic
colours.[333] Two of their colleagues were also introduced, for the four
doctors on whom the king's wrath had fallen were not the only criminals.
A cordelier especially was notorious for his curious sermons, full of
bad French and bad Latin, and still more notorious for the clever and
popular eloquence he displayed, whenever a collection was to be made in
favour of his order. This Pierre Cornu, who had been nicknamed _des
Cornes_, was wonderfully touched off in the poem of the students. Groups
of scholars, burgesses, and Parisian wits gathered round the placards,
some bursting with laughter and others with anger. The vehement and
ridiculous Cornu especially excited the mirth of the idlers. A profane
author who had nothing to do with the Reformation, speaks of him in his
writings:—'Ha! ha! Master Cornu,' said one, 'you are not the only man to
have horns.... Friend Bacchus wears a pair; and so do Pan, and Jupiter
Ammon and hosts besides.'—'Ha! ha! dear Master Cornibus,' said another,
'give me an ounce of your sermon, and I will make the collection in your
parish.' Strange circumstance! The public voice seemed at this time
opposed to these forerunners of the preachers of the League. The
Sorbonne, however, had friends who replied to these jests by bursts of
passion. 'The man who wrote these verses is a heretic,' they
exclaimed.[334] From insults they passed to threats; from threats they
came to blows, and the struggle began. The bigots wished to pull down
the placard. A creature of the Faculty succeeded; springing into the
air, he tore it down and ran off with his spoil.[335] Then the crowd


In that age placards played a great part, similar to that played by
certain pamphlets in later times. There was no need to buy them at the
bookseller's; everybody could read the impromptu tracts at the corners
of the streets. Rome was not in the humour to leave these powerful
weapons in the hands of her enemies, and the Sorbonne determined to
appeal to the people against the abhorred race of innovators. It did not
jest, like the youth of the schools; it went straight to the point, and
invoked the stake against its adversaries. Two days after that on which
the former placard was posted up, another was found on the walls,
containing these unpolished verses:

  To the stake! to the stake! with the heretic crew,
  That day and night vexes all good men and true.
  Shall we let them Saint Scripture and her edicts defile?
  Shall we banish pure science for Lutherans vile?
  Do you think that our God will permit such as these
  To imperil our bodies and souls at their ease?

  O Paris, of cities the flower and the pride,
  Uphold that true faith which these heretics deride;
  Or else on thy towers storm and tempest shall fall....
  Take heed by my warning; and let us pray all
  That the King of all kings will be pleased to confound
  These dogs so accursed, where'er they be found,
  That their names, like bones going fast to decay,
  May from memory's tablets be clean wiped away.

  To the stake! to the stake! the fire is their home!
  As God hath permitted, let justice be done.

A crowd equally great assembled before this placard, as cruel as it was
crafty. The writer appealed to the people of Paris; he entitled them
'the flower and pride of cities,' knowing that flattery is the best
means of winning men's minds; and then he called for the stake. The
'stake' was the argument with which men opposed the Reform. 'Burn those
who confute us!' This savage invocation was a home-thrust. Many of the
citizens, kneeling down to write, copied out the placard, in order to
carry it to every house: the press is less rapid, even in our days.
Others committed the verses to memory, and walked along the streets
singing the burden:

  To the stake! to the stake! the fire is their home!
  As God hath permitted, let justice be done!

These rude rhymes became the motto of their party; this cruel ballad of
the sixteenth century erelong summoned the champions of the Church in
various quarters to fatten the earth with the ashes of their enemies.
Pierre Siderander happened to be in the crowd; noticing several papists
copying the incendiary verses, the Strasburg student did the same, and
sent copies to his friends. By this means they were handed down to our

The next day there was a fresh placard. The Sorbonne, finding the people
beginning to be moved, wished to arouse them thoroughly. This ballad was
not confined to a general appeal to the stake; Roussel was mentioned by
name as one who deserved to be burnt. The fanatical placards of the
Sorbonnists were not so soon torn down as the satirical couplets of
their pupils. They could be read for days together, such good watch did
the sacristans keep over them.

But the Sorbonne did not limit themselves to a paper war; they worked
upon the most eminent members of the parliament. Their zeal displayed
itself on every side. 'Justice! justice!' they exclaimed; 'let us punish
these detestable heretics, and pluck up Lutheranism, root and
branch.'[337] The whole city was in commotion; the most odious plots
were concocted; and the _matéologues_, as the students called the
defenders of the old abuses, took counsel at the Sorbonne every day.


In the midst of all this agitation the Reformation was advancing quietly
but surely. While the Queen of Navarre boldly professed her living piety
in the palace, and preachers proclaimed it from their pulpits to the
believing crowd, evangelical men, still in obscurity, were modestly
propagating around them a purer and a mightier faith. At this period
Calvin spent four years in Paris (1529-1533), where he at first engaged
in literature. It might have been thought that he would appear in the
world as a man of letters, and not as a reformer. But he soon placed
profane studies in the second rank, and devoted himself to the service
of God, as we have seen. He would have desired not to enter forthwith
upon a career of evangelical activity. 'During this time,' he said, 'my
sole object was to live privately, without being known.' He felt the
necessity of a time of silence and christian meditation. He would have
liked to imitate Paul, who, after his conversion and his first preaching
at Damascus, passed several quiet years in Arabia and Cilicia;[338] but
he had to combat error around him, and he soon took a step in advance.
While Courault and Roussel were preaching in the churches to large
audiences and dealing tenderly with the papacy, Calvin, displaying great
activity,[339] visited the different quarters of Paris where secret
assemblies were held, and there proclaimed a more scriptural, a more
complete, and a bolder doctrine. In his discourses he made frequent
allusions to the dangers to which those were exposed who desired to live
piously; and he taught them at the same time 'what magnanimity believers
ought to possess when adversity draws them on to despair.'—'When things
do not go as we wish,' he said, 'sadness comes over the mind and makes
us forget all our confidence. But the paternal love of God is the
foundation of an invincible strength which overcomes every trial. The
divine favour is a shelter against all storms, from whatever quarter
they may come.' And he usually ended his discourses, we are told, with
these words: '_If God be for us, who can be against us?_'[340]

Mere preaching did not satisfy Calvin: he entered into communication
with all who desired a purer religion,[341] made them frequent visits,
and conversed seriously with them. He avoided no one, and cultivated the
friendship of those whom he had formerly known. He advanced step by
step, but he was always busy, and the doctrine of the Gospel made some
progress every day. All persons rendered the strongest testimony to his
piety.[342] The friends of the Word of God gathered round him, and among
them were many burgesses and common people, but there were nobles and
college professors also.

These christians were full of hope, and even Calvin entertained the bold
idea of winning the king, the university, and indeed France herself,
over to the Gospel. Paris was in suspense. Every one thought that some
striking and perhaps sudden change was about to take place in one
direction or another. Will Rome or will the Reformation have the
advantage? There were strong reasons for adopting the former opinion,
and reasons hardly less powerful for adopting the latter. Discussions
arose upon this point, even among friends. Men were on the look-out for
anything that might help them to divine the future, and the more curious
resorted to the various places where they hoped to pick up news. Public
attention was particularly turned towards the Sorbonne, when it was
known that the heads of the Roman party were holding council.


On the 23rd of May, 1533, Pierre Siderander (who was naturally
inquisitive), instigated by a desire to learn what was going to happen,
and wishing in particular to know what was doing in the theological
clubs (for from them, he doubted not, would proceed the blow that would
decide who should be the victors), stole into the buildings belonging to
the faculty of divinity.[343] He did not dare penetrate farther than the
great gate: stopping there like any other lounger, he began to look at
the pictures that were sold at the entrance of the building.[344] But,
with all his innocent air, his eyes and ears were wide open, trying to
pick up a word or two that would tell him what was going on; for the
doctors, as they went in or out talking together, must necessarily pass
close by him. Pierre wasted his time sauntering about before the
pictures of the saints and of the Virgin (which he looked upon as
idolatrous). On a sudden he saw the illustrious Budæus coming out of the
Sorbonne.[345] At that time Budæus was playing the same part as the
noble Chancellor l'Hôpital afterwards did: he was present in every place
where it was necessary to moderate, enlighten, or restrain the
hot-headed. He passed Siderander without saying a word, and quitted the
building; but the curious student could not resist; he left his post and
began to follow the celebrated hellenist, wishing to look at him at his
ease, and hoping no doubt to learn something.[346] 'Am I not,' he said,
'the friend of his two sons who like myself attend the course of
Latomus? Has not the eldest invited me to come and see his museum?[347]
Did not I go there the other day, and ought he not to return my visit
along with his brother?' Siderander, who burnt with desire to know what
was said in the assembly which the founder of the college of France had
just left, quickened his pace; the words were already on his lips, when
he suddenly stopped intimidated. Timidity was stronger than curiosity,
and he soon lost sight of the man whom Erasmus called 'the prodigy of
France.' And yet, had he asked him, he would perhaps have learnt what
the Roman party was plotting, and been able to tell his friends the
probable issue of the crisis. He had often asked the sons of Budæus what
their father was planning.[348] 'He is much with the bishop,' answered
they, 'but he is planning nothing.'[349] Thus Siderander did all he
could, but to no purpose, to elicit some interesting communication and
to learn some rare news. He was unable to satisfy his extreme curiosity.
'And that is not all,' he said to himself, 'for if, instead of losing my
time under the portico of the Sorbonne, I had been elsewhere, I might
have learnt something.' He desired to be everywhere, and yet was
nowhere. 'Ha!' he said with vexation as he returned from running after
Budæus, 'while I throw my hook in at one place, the fish goes to
another. Things occur in our quarter which the inhabitants of the others
know nothing about, and we know nothing of what takes place
elsewhere.[350] Alas! everything assumes a threatening aspect;
everything announces a violent storm.'[351]


The Sorbonne, the religious orders, and all fervent catholics, being
convinced that the innovators, by exalting Jesus Christ and his Word,
were humbling the Church and the papacy, were determined to wage a
deadly war against them. They thought that if they first struck down the
most formidable of their adversaries, they could easily disperse the
rest of the rebel army. But against whom should the first blow be aimed?
This was the subject of deliberation in those councils which the curious
Siderander desired so much to overhear.

Before we learn what was preparing at the Sorbonne, we must enter more
illustrious council-chambers, and transport ourselves to Bologna.

[Footnote 307: 'Rex Navarræ instinctu uxoris et episcopus regem
sollicitare ... seditionis crimen intendere.'—Sturm to Bucer.]

[Footnote 308: 'Gerardum removeat a concionibus.'—_Corp. Ref._ ii. p.

[Footnote 309: 'Placuit regi ut Beda cum suis oratoribus et G. Rufus,
quisque in suis ædibus, tanquam privata custodia detineretur.'—Sturm to

[Footnote 310: 'Ut ne accusatores viderentur, sed opinatores tantum, et
inquisitores hæreticæ pravitatis.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 311: 'Tum bonus noster Beda in Monte suo Acuto manere coactus
est.'—Siderander Bedroto.]

[Footnote 312: 'In mulo suo equitantem vidi.'—Siderander Bedroto.]

[Footnote 313: 'Judicium de hæresi sibi reservavit.'—Sturmius Bucero.]

[Footnote 314: 'Vociferati sunt seditiosissime, regi minantes ipsi.'—
Melanchthon to Spalatin, _Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 685.]

[Footnote 315: 'Rex, quoniam esset exacerbatus, irrisit tanquam
Arcadicorum pecorum.'—Sturm to Bucer.]

[Footnote 316: H. de Coste, _Le parfait Ecclésiastique_, p. 73.]

[Footnote 317: 'Cujus vel permissu vel jussu populum commovissent et
læsissent regem.'—Sturm to Bucer, ed. Schmidt.]

[Footnote 318: 'Responderunt ex consensu et placito magistrorum
nostrorum.'—Sturm to Bucer, ed. Schmidt.]

[Footnote 319: 'Theologi cum pericula animadverterent, negabant.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 320: 'Nunquam velit Bedam reverti.'—Sturm to Bucer.]

[Footnote 321: 'Gerardus libere concionatur; et imperatum theologis, si
quid habeant negotii adversus eum, ut jure agant.'—Melanchthon to
Spalatin, July 22. _Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 658.]

[Footnote 322: 'Senex quidem theologus hanc contumeliam theologici
ordinis adeo ægre tulit, ut delirio vitam amiserit.'—Melanchthon to
Spalatin. _Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 658.]

[Footnote 323: 'Ὁι θεολόγοι non die, non nocte, unquam cessant ab
opere.'—Siderander, Strasburg MSS.]

[Footnote 324: 'Illi miserantur optimi Bedæ.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 325: 'Hominem tam grandem natu, exilium tam durum pati

[Footnote 326: 'Audias alios qui gaudio exultent.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 327: 'Vide rerum commutationem ... Praeter senes Priamos et
paucos alios, nemo est qui faveat istis sacerdotibus Phrygiis.'—Sturm to

[Footnote 328: 'Juniores theologi jam sapere incipiunt.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 329: 'Maximam turbam ante collegium Montis Acuti vidi.'—
Siderander Bedroto.]

[Footnote 330: 'Beda urbe pulsus cum aliis quibusdam sycophantis.'—
Melanchthon to Spalatin, _Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 658.]

[Footnote 331: 'Palam prædicare Christum quidam cœperunt, omnes loqui
liberius.'—Bucer to Blaarer. Strasburg MSS.]

[Footnote 332: 'Christus evangelii gloriam augeat.'—Melanchthon to
Spalatin. _Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 658.]

[Footnote 333: 'In qua pulcherrime suisque coloribus omnes isti theologi
depingebantur.'—Siderander Bedroto.]

[Footnote 334: 'Alii auctorem clamabant esse hæreticum.'—Siderander

[Footnote 335: 'Tandem nescio quis delator dilaceravit.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 336: 'Quos cum viderem, descripsi et ipse,' and here follow
the verses. Schmidt, _G. Roussel. Pièces Justificatives_, p. 205.]

[Footnote 337: 'Ut supplicium de detestandis illis hæreticis sumat,
eosque extirpet funditus.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 338: Galatians i. 17-21.]

[Footnote 339: 'Nec ei mox defuit in quo sese strenue exerceret.'—Bezæ
_Vita Calvini_.]

[Footnote 340: Bezæ _Vita Calvini_. Herzog, _Real Encyclopädie_, art.
_Calvin_. Schmidt, _G. Roussel_, p. 94.]

[Footnote 341: 'Omnibus purioris religionis studiosis innotuit.'—Bezæ
_Vita Calv._]

[Footnote 342: 'Non sine insigni pietatis testimonio.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 343: 'Heri videre volui quidnam in Sorbonna ageretur.'—
Siderander Bedroto.]

[Footnote 344: 'Picturas et imagines quæ ibi venduntur.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 345: 'Budæum egredientem video.'—Siderander Bedroto.]

[Footnote 346: 'Quem relicto instituto secutus sum.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 347: 'Me rogavit ut musæum suum viderem.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 348: 'Quid novi jam pater moliretur.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 349: 'Negabat quicquam moliri.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 350: 'Quod nos ignoramus.'—Siderander Bedroto.]

[Footnote 351: 'Nemo est qui possit expiscari omnia ... Omnia tumultum
minari videntur.'—Ibid.]

 (WINTER 1532-1533.)

The emperor, having descended the Italian slopes of the Alps and crossed
the north of Italy, arrived at Bologna on the 5th of December, 1532,
somewhat annoyed at the escape of Duke Christopher, but not suspecting
that it would lead to any serious consequences. This city, afterwards
made famous by Guido, Domenichino, the two Caracci, and by Benedict XIV.,
one of the most distinguished popes of the eighteenth century, grew more
animated every day. The pope had arrived there: princes, nobles,
prelates, and courtiers filled its splendid palaces; a new world was in
motion around the churches, the Asinelli, the fountain of Neptune, and
the other monuments which adorn that ancient city. The emperor had
desired a conference with the pope, with the intention of uniting
closely with him, and through him with the other catholic princes, to
act together against their two enemies, France and the Reformation. But
Charles was mistaken if he thought to find himself alone with the pope
at Bologna. He was to meet with opponents who would hold their own
against him: a struggle was about to begin around Clement VII. between
France and the empire. Francis I., who had just had a conference with
Henry VIII., did not care, indeed, to meet Charles; but his place in
Italy was to be supplied by men who would do his work better than he
could do it himself. On the 4th of January, 1533, Cardinals de Tournon
and de Gramont, sent by Francis to Clement to threaten him with a
certain 'great injury' which he might have cause to regret for ever,
arrived in this city. Would the presence of the two cardinals thwart
Charles's plans?


The first point which the emperor desired to carry was the convocation
of a general council. A grave man and always occupied with business, he
possessed a soul greedy of dominion. Ferdinand and Isabella having
founded their power in Spain by restoring that country to unity, he
desired to do in central Europe what they had done in the peninsula,
that is, unite it under his patronage, if not under his sceptre. And lo!
Germany is suddenly broken in his hands and divided into two parts. Sad
humiliation! When he had crossed the Alps, after Soliman's retreat, he
had no longer that unlimited confidence in his genius and authority
which he had felt two years before, when going to the diet of Augsburg.
He had come from Spain to crush that new sect which thwarted the dreams
of his ambition; and instead of crushing it, he had been forced to
recognise it. After the retreat of the Turks, Charles found himself at
the head of a numerous and triumphant army, and men asked one another if
he would not fall upon the protestants with it; but the best soldiers of
that army were protestant themselves. Other means must be resorted to in
order to bring the schism to an end. He weighed everything carefully,
and brought to this business that nice and calm attention which always
distinguished him. Knowing that the result of an appeal to arms was
uncertain, and that instead of restoring concord he might stir up a
hatred that nothing could extinguish, he decided in favour of a council
to restore unity, and made his demand to the pope at Bologna. But
Clement VII. feared a council as much as Charles desired it. 'They would
want to redress grievances,' he said to his confidants, 'and reform
abuses, quite as much as to extirpate heresy.' Possessing great
intelligence and rare ability, vain, cunning, false, and with no
elevation of soul, Clement determined to put off this assembly
indefinitely, although always promising it. While the emperor recognised
the inefficiency of temporal arms, the pope felt still more keenly the
inefficiency of spiritual arms. Each of these two personages distrusted
the power of which he had most experience. The humble Gospel of the
reformers intimidated both Church and Empire. Clement conferred on the
subject with the Archbishop of Cortona, governor of Bologna, with the
legate Campeggio, and with the nuncio Gambara: all agreed with him, and
declared that to desire to bring back protestants to the Romish faith
otherwise than by force was a very perilous enterprise.


As, however, neither the pope nor the emperor would give way, they
desired a conference, at which each would endeavour to convince the
other. A day, therefore, was appointed, and the two potentates met in
the palace of Bologna. Charles represented to Clement, that 'a great
number of catholics desired and demanded a council as necessary to
destroy the heresy of Luther, which was gaining strength every day, and
to suppress the numerous disorders that existed in the Church.'[352] But
the pope replied: 'If we assemble a council, and permit the protestants
to be present and to question the doctrines sanctioned by the Church,
they will attack them all, and numberless innovations will be the
result. If, on the contrary, we do not allow them to speak, they will
say that they are condemned unheard; they will leave the assembly, and
the world will believe that we are in the wrong. As the protestants
reject the decisions of past councils, how can we hope that they will
respect the decisions of future councils? Do we not know their
obstinacy? When we put forward the authority of the Church, do they not
set the authority of Holy Scripture in its place? They will never
acknowledge themselves defeated, which will be a great scandal. If the
council decrees that the pope is above the council (which is the truth),
the heretics will hold another, and will elect an anti-pope (Luther,
perhaps). Sire, the remedy which you propose will give rise to greater
evils than those which we have now to cure.'[353]

The papacy in the sixteenth century had fallen into a state of inertia.
It was active enough as a political power; but as a spiritual power it
was nothing. It had great pretensions still, as far as appearances went;
but it was satisfied if certain preferences and a certain pomp were
conceded to it. It was afraid of everything that possessed any vitality,
and feared not only those it called heretics, but even an assembly
consisting of prelates of the Roman Church. And while the papacy was
thus affected with a general weakness as regards spiritual powers, the
Reformation was full of vigour and of life. It was a young warrior
attacking a decrepid veteran. Besides these general causes, there were
private motives which added to Clement's inactivity; but these he kept
to himself. When he was alone in his chamber, he called to mind that his
birth was not legitimate; that the means he had used to obtain the
popedom had not been irreproachable; and that he had often employed the
resources of the Church for his own interest ... in waging a costly war,
for instance. All this might be brought against him in a council, and
endanger his position. But as his position was dearer to him than the
unity of the Church, he would grant nothing, and so reduced Charles to
despair by his evasions.

The hatred which the emperor bore to the pope was still further
increased by the pontiff's resistance.[354] In his anger he appealed to
the cardinals. At first he succeeded, having brought powerful
inducements into play, and a consistory decided in favour of the
immediate convocation of a council. The alarmed Clement set to work to
bring back the misguided cardinals, and he was successful; for a second
consistory, held on the 20th of December, coincided with the pope. 'We
cannot think of assembling a council,' said the sacred college, 'before
we have reconciled all the christian princes.'[355] The emperor openly
expressed his dissatisfaction. Wait until Henry VIII., Francis I., and
Charles V. are agreed ... as well put it off to the Greek calends!
Clement endeavoured to pacify him. He would assemble it at _a suitable
time_, he said; and then, as he feared that the Germans, on hearing of
his refusal, would hold a _national_ council, he sent off envoys to
prevent it, at the same time hinting to the emperor that they were
empowered to prepare that nation for a general council.[356] Was
Charles V. the pope's dupe? It is a doubtful point. Clement, an
enthusiastic disciple of his fellow-countryman Machiavelli, was,
conformably to the instructions of his master, supple and false, without
conscience and without faith. But the emperor knew full well that such
were the precepts of the illustrious Florentine.


For some time past Charles had been silently meditating another project
which, he thought, could not fail to render him master of Italy. It was
the formation of a defensive Italian league against Francis. He
communicated his plan to the pope with the reserve and ability that
characterised him, and set himself up as the defender of Rome. Clement,
however, did not believe in his generosity, but on the contrary feared
that this confederation would give him a master; nevertheless he
appeared to be charmed with it. 'Yes!' he exclaimed, 'Italy must set
itself against the ambition of France.' At the same time he informed the
ambassador of Venice that he had said these things, not as being his own
opinion, but the emperor's. 'Report this prudently to your lords,' he
added.[357] The pontiff had always two faces and two meanings.

In reality, he did not know what course to pursue. At one time he was
ready to throw himself into Charles's arms and run the same chances with
him; and then, on learning what had taken place at Boulogne and Calais,
he trembled lest the King of France should throw off his obedience.
These two terrible monarchs made a shuttlecock of the pope, and drove
him to despair. But he remembered how Machiavelli had said, that the
world is governed by two things—force and cunning; and leaving the
former to the emperor, he took refuge in the latter. 'Accordingly
Clement determined to move softly,' says Du Bellay, 'temporising,
quibbling, waiting, and stopping to see what the French cardinals would
bring him.' They arrived just at this critical moment. It was an
ill-omened embassy for France, since no event of the sixteenth century
did more to strengthen the dominion of intrigue, cowardice, debauchery,
crime, and persecution in that country.


Cardinal de Tournon, the most influential of the two ambassadors, was a
skilful priest, devoted to the pope and popery, cruel, the accomplice of
the Guises in after years, and all his life one of the greatest enemies
of religious liberty. His colleague, Cardinal de Gramont, Bishop of
Tarbes and afterwards Archbishop of Toulouse, was a more pliable
diplomatist, and had been employed in England at the time of the
dissolution of Henry's marriage with Catherine of Arragon. The first of
these two men was the more hierarchical, the second the more politic;
but both had the interests of their master Francis at heart. Their
mission was difficult, and they had many a consultation about what was
to be done. Tournon was ready to sacrifice everything, truth in the
first place, in order to unite the king with the pope. 'It is to be
feared,' he said to his colleague, 'that if we let the holy father know
all the discontent of the two kings, we shall but increase his despair;
and that the emperor, profiting by our threats, will gain him over and
do with him as he likes, which would lead to the disturbance of
christendom.' Instead of carrying out the Calais resolutions, Tournon
and Gramont determined to put them aside. They thought that Francis I.
was going wrong, and desired to be more royalist than the king himself.
To win the pope from Charles V. and give him to Francis I. was the great
work they resolved to attempt at Bologna. The emperor was there, and he
was a stout antagonist; but the two priests were not deficient in skill.
To save catholicism threatened in France, and to lay the kingdom at the
pope's feet, was their aim. 'Let us carry out our instructions,' they
said, 'by beginning with the last article. Instead of employing severity
first and mildness last, we will do just the contrary.'[358]

The two cardinals having been received by the pontiff, paid him every
mark of respect, and tried to make him understand that, for the good of
the holy see, he ought to preserve the goodwill of the most christian
king. They therefore proposed an interview with Francis, and even with
the King of England, that prince being eager to put an end to the
difficulties of the divorce. 'Finally,' they added, laying a slight
stress upon the word, 'certain proposals, formerly put forward in the
king's name, might be carried out.'[359]—'These proposals,' says Du
Bellay, 'would lead, it must be understood, to the great exaltation of
the pope and his family.' The last argument was the decisive stroke
which gained Clement VII.

Francis, even while desiring to throw off the Roman tutelage, wished to
gain the support of the pope in order to humiliate Charles V. He had
therefore revived a strange idea, which he had once already hinted at,
without overcoming, however, the excessive repugnance which it caused
him. But he saw that the moment was critical, and that, to ally himself
with both Henry and Clement, he must make some great sacrifice. He had
therefore sent a special ambassador to Bologna, to carry out a scheme
which would fill all Europe with surprise: a deplorable combination
which by uniting the pope, indissolubly as it appeared, to the interests
of the Valois, was sooner or later to separate France from England,
change the channel that divides them into a deep gulf, infuse Florentine
blood into the blood of France, introduce the vilest Machiavellism into
the hearts of her kings who boasted of their chivalrous spirit, check
the spread of learning, turn back on their hinges the gates that were
beginning to open to the sun, confine the people in darkness, and
install an era of debauchery, persecution, and assassination both
private and public.

The special ambassador charged with the execution of this scheme was
John, Duke of Albany, qualified by his illustrious birth for transacting
the great affair. Alexander Stuart, son of James II., King of Scotland,
having been exiled by his eldest brother James III., had gone to France
in 1485. His son John, the last Duke of Albany, attached himself to
Louis XII., and followed him into Italy. Being recalled to Scotland, he
was made regent of the kingdom in 1516, and again quitted his country to
follow Francis I. into Lombardy. This royal personage, supported by
Gramont and Tournon, was commissioned by the King of France to propose
to the pope the marriage of his son Henry, Duke of Orleans, with a girl
of fourteen, a relative of the popes, and who was named Catherine de


Catherine was the daughter of Lorenzo II. de Medici, nephew of Leo X.,
and invested by his uncle in 1516 with the duchy of Urbino. Lorenzo, who
had made himself hateful by his despotism, died the very year of his
daughter's birth (1519). The duchy reverted to Leo X., and subsequently
to its former masters the Della Rovera, and Catherine was left a
portionless orphan. A marriage with this girl, descended from the rich
merchants of Florence, was a strange alliance for the son of a king, and
it was this that made Francis hesitate; but the desire of winning the
pope's favour from his rival helped him at last to overcome his haughty
disgust. Clement, who held (says Du Bellay) his family 'in singular
esteem,' was transported with delight at the offer. A Medici on the
throne of France!... He could not contain himself for joy. At the same
time Francis intended to make a good bargain. He asked through the Duke
of Albany, whose wife was Catherine's maternal aunt, that the pope
should secure to his son Henry a fine Italian state composed of Parma,
Florence, Pisa, Leghorn, Modena, Urbino, and Reggio; besides (said the
secret articles) the duchy of Milan and the lordship of Genoa, which,
added the French diplomatists, 'already belong to the future husband.'
In order to fulfil these engagements the pope was to employ his
influence, his negotiations, his money, and his soldiers. Clement said
that the conditions were very reasonable.[360] He knew perfectly well
that he could not give these countries to his niece; but that was the
least of his cares. The preceding year, when he was speaking to
Charles's ambassador of the claims of Francis upon Italy, the Austrian
diplomatist had said abruptly: 'The emperor will never _yield_ either
Milan or Genoa to the King of France.'—'Impossible, no doubt!' answered
the pope, 'but could not they be _promised_ to him?'[361]... The scion
of the Medici brought to France neither Genoa nor Milan, nor Parma, nor
Piacenza, nor Pisa, but in their stead she gave it the imbecile
Francis II., the sanguinary Charles IX., the abominable Henry III., the
infamous Duke of Anjou, and also that woman, at once so witty and
dissolute, who became the wife of Henry IV., and in comparison with whom
Messalina appears almost chaste. Four children of the Medici are among
the monsters recorded in history, and they have been the disgrace and
the misery of France.


The pope stalked proudly and haughtily through the halls of his palace,
and gave everybody a most gracious reception. This good-luck, he
thought, had come from heaven. Not only did it cover all his family with
glory, but secured to him France and her king, whose reforming caprices
began to make him uneasy; 'and then,' adds Du Bellay, 'he was very
pleased at finding this loophole, to excuse himself to the emperor, who
was pressing him so strongly to enter into the Italian league.'[362]
Nevertheless the pope stood in awe of Charles V., who seemed eager to
set himself up for a second Constantine, and he appeared anxious and

Charles, whom nothing escaped, immediately remarked this, and thought to
himself that some new wind had blown upon the pontiff. In order to find
it out, he employed all the sagacity with which he was so eminently
endowed. 'The emperor knew from the language and countenance of the holy
father,' says Du Bellay, 'that he was less friendly towards him than
before, and suspected whence the change proceeded.'[363] Charles had
heard something about this marriage some time before; but the ridiculous
story had only amused him. The King of France unite himself with the
merchants of Florence!... And Clement can believe this!... 'Hence
Charles V., thinking,' as Du Bellay tells us, 'that the affair would
never be carried out, had advised the pope to consent.'[364]


Meanwhile Francis lost no time. He had commissioned Du Bellay, the
diplomatist, to communicate his intentions to his good brother the King
of England, who had a claim to this information, as he was godfather to
the future Henry II.—worthy godfather, and worthy godson! The
self-conceit of the Tudor was still more hurt than that of the Valois.
He said to Lord Rochford, whom he despatched to the King of France: 'You
will tell the Most Christian King, our very dear brother, the great
pleasure that we enjoy every day by calling to mind the pure, earnest,
and kind friendship he feels for us.'[365] He added: 'Since our good
brother has asked us, we are willing to declare, that truly (as we know
how he himself considers it), having regard to the low estate and family
from which the pope's niece is sprung, and to the most noble and most
illustrious blood, ancestry, and royal house of France, from which
descends our very dear and very beloved cousin and godson, the Duke of
Orleans, the said marriage would be very ill-matched and unequal; and
for this reason we are by no means of opinion that it ought to be
concluded.'[366] At the same time, after Henry had given his advice as a
sovereign, he could not fail to consult his personal interests; and
Rochford (Anne Boleyn's father) was to say to the King of France: 'If,
however, by this means our brother should receive some great advantage,
which should redound to the profit and honour both of himself and us; if
the pope should do or concede anything to counterbalance and make up for
the default of noble birth ... let him be pleased to inform us of it; he
will find us very prompt to execute whatever shall be thought advisable,
convenient, and opportune by him and us.'[367] Henry, therefore,
consented that Francis should deal with the pope about his godson: he
only wished that he might be sold dear. His full restoration to the
favour of the court of Rome after his marriage with Anne Boleyn was the
price that he asked. And then the royal godfather, who was at heart the
most papistical of kings, would have declared himself fully satisfied
and the pope's most humble servant.

[Footnote 352: 'Concilii, desiderati da molti, come necessarii per la
eresia di Lutero, che ogni di ampliava e per molti discordini che sono
nella chiesa.'—Guicciardini, _Discorsi politici, Opere inedite_, i. p.

[Footnote 353: 'Al contrario, remedio e piu pericoloso et poi partorire
maggiori mali.'—_Lettere di Principi_, ii. p. 197. Du Bellay,
_Mémoires_, pp. 183-185.]

[Footnote 354: 'Il papa con chi forse avea odio.'—Guicciardini, _loc.

[Footnote 355: Despatch of the Bishop of Auxerre, ambassador of France,
dated December 24, 1532.]

[Footnote 356: Instructions for the nuncio Rangoni. Pallavicini, liv.
iii. ch. xiii.]

[Footnote 357: Despatch of the Bishop of Auxerre, dated January 1,

[Footnote 358: Du Bellay, _Mémoires_, p. 177.]

[Footnote 359: Du Bellay, _Mémoires_, p. 178.]

[Footnote 360: The secret articles are in the Bibliothèque Impériale at
Paris. MSS. Béthune, No. 8541, fol. 36. Ranke, _Deutsche Geschichte_,
iii. p. 439.]

[Footnote 361: Bucholz, ix. p. 101. Ranke, _Deutsche Geschichte_, iii.
p. 439.]

[Footnote 362: Du Bellay, _Mémoires_, p. 178.]

[Footnote 363: Ibid. p. 179.]

[Footnote 364: Ibid. p. 180.]

[Footnote 365: Henry's instructions are in French. _State Papers_, vii.
p. 423.]

[Footnote 366: Ibid. p. 428.]

[Footnote 367: Ibid.]

 (WINTER 1532-1533.)

When the emperor was informed of these matters, he began to knit his
brows. A flash of light revealed to him the ingenious plans of his
rival, and he took immediate steps to prevent the dangerous union.
Charles V., Francis I., Henry VIII., and the pope were all in commotion
at the thought of this marriage, and little Catherine was the Briseis
around whom met and contended the greatest powers of the world.


At first the emperor endeavoured to instil into the pope's mind
suspicions of the good faith of the King of France. That was no
difficult matter. 'Clement dared not feel confident,' says Du Bellay,
'that the king really wished to do him such great honour.'[368]—'The
Orleans marriage would certainly be very honourable and advantageous,'
said Charles V. and his ministers; 'but his holiness must not rely upon
it; the king makes the proposal only with the intention of _befooling_
him and using him to his own benefit.'[369] And when the pope repeated
the promises of Albany, Gramont, and Tournon, the ministers of Charles
kept silence, and replied only by a slight smile. The blow had told.
Clement, who always tried to deceive, was naturally inclined to believe
that the king was doing the same.

When the emperor and the diplomatists saw that they had made a breach,
they attempted a new assault. Charles asked the young lady's hand for
Francis Sforza, Duke of Milan. This scheme was worthy of that exuberant
genius which Charles always displayed in the invention of means
calculated to secure the success of his policy. This union would, in
fact, have the double advantage of wresting Catherine and the Milanese
from France at one blow. Charles hinted to her uncle that he would do
much better to accept for his young relative a _real_ marriage than to
run after a shadow. 'It is a great offer, and the match is a good one,'
said Clement; 'but the other is so grand and so honourable for my house,
regard being had to dignities, that I never could have hoped for such
honour ... and so much progress has been made, that I cannot listen to
any other proposal without offending the king.'[370]

Clement had become hard to please. If the Medici were the descendants of
a merchant, the Sforzas came from a peasant, a leader of free troops, a
_condottiere_. Clement looked down upon the Duke of Milan. 'Besides,'
says Guiccardini, 'he burnt with desire to marry his niece to the second
son of Francis I.'[371] This is what he always came back to. Charles
told him that Francis wanted, by this offer, to break up the Italian
league, and when that was done, the marriage would be broken off
too.[372] But Clement maintained that the king was sincere in his offer.
'Good!' said the emperor to the pope; 'there is a very simple means of
satisfying yourself on that point. Ask the two cardinals to procure
immediately from France the powers necessary for settling the marriage
contract. You will soon see whether his proposal is anything better than
base money which they want to palm off upon you.'[373]

The emperor's remarks were not without their effect upon Clement: he was
thoughtful and uneasy. The French ambassadors had been lavish of words,
but there was nothing written: _verba volant_. The pope caught at the
idea suggested by Charles. If the full powers do not arrive, the king's
treachery is unveiled; if they arrive, the game is won. Clement asked
for them. 'Nothing is more easy,' said Tournon and Gramont, who wrote to
their master without delay.[374]


Francis I. was startled when he received their despatch. His proposal
was sincere, for he thought it necessary to his policy; but the remarks
of Charles V. and Henry VIII. about the daughter of the Florentine
merchant, and the astonishment of Europe, which unanimously protested
against 'such great disparity of degree and condition,'[375] had sunk
into his mind. He, so proud of his blood and of his crown ...
countenance a misalliance! He hesitated; he would only proceed slowly ...
step by step ... and with a long interval after each.[376] If
Charles, who was impatient to return to Spain, should leave Italy
without banding it against France ... then ... new facts, new counsel ...
he would consider. But now he was driven to the wall: the question
must be answered. Shall Catherine de Medici come and sit on the steps of
the throne of St. Louis, or shall she remain in Italy? Shall she
continue to receive abominable lessons from her relative Alexander de
Medici, a detestable prince who exiled and imprisoned even the members
of his own family, and confiscated their property, and was addicted to
the most scandalous debauchery? ... or shall she come to France to put
in practice those lessons among the people of her adoption? The king
must make up his mind: the courier was waiting. One thing decided him.
His old gaoler, the emperor, said that this marriage proposal was a
trick. If Francis refused what the pope asked, Charles would triumph,
and turn against him both pope and Italy. The king's ambition was
stronger than his vanity, and coming to a desperate resolution, he had
the full powers drawn up, signed, and sent off.[377]

They arrived at Bologna about the middle of February. Albany, Gramont,
and Tournon carried them in triumph to the pope, who immediately
communicated them to the emperor. The latter read the procuration, which
contained 'an express clause for settling the marriage of the Duke of
Orleans with the Duchess of Urbino,' and was greatly surprised.[378]
'You see,' said Clement, 'there is no hole by which he can creep out.'
Charles could not believe it. 'The king has only sent this document for
a _show_,' he said to Clement; 'if you press the ambassadors to go on
and conclude the treaty, they will not listen to you.'[379] A little
while ago there had been nothing but words, and now there was only a
piece of _paper_.... The new propositions were communicated to the duke
and the two cardinals, who replied: 'We offer to stipulate forthwith the
clauses, conditions, and settlements that are to be included in the


Clement breathed again, and believed in the star of the Medici. If that
star had placed his ancestors the Florentine merchants at the head of
their people, it might well raise Catherine, the niece of two popes, the
daughter and grand-daughter of dukes, to the throne of France. He
informed the emperor that everything was arranged, and that the terms of
the contract were being drawn up. Clement's face beamed with joy. The
emperor began to think the matter serious, 'and was astonished and vexed
above all,' says Du Bellay, 'at the frustration of his plan, which was
to excite the holy father against the king.' Charles saw that the
impetuosity of Francis had been too much for his own slowness; but he
knew how to retrace his steps, and the fecundity of his genius suggested
a last means of breaking up 'this detestable cabal.'—'Since it is so,'
he said, 'I require your holiness at least to include among the
conditions of the contract now drawing up, the four articles agreed to
between us, the first time you spoke to me of this marriage.' Clement
appeared surprised, and asked what articles they were. 'You promised
me,' said Charles, 'first that the king should bind himself to alter
nothing in Italy; second, to confirm the treaties of Cambray and Madrid;
third, to consent to a council; and fourth, to get the King of England
to promise to make no innovations in his country until the matter of his
divorce was settled at Rome.' The King of France would never agree to
such conditions; the pope was dismayed. Would he be wrecked just as he
had reached the harbour?—'I made no such promises,' he exclaimed
eagerly. 'The holy father,' says Du Bellay, 'formally denied ever having
heard of these matters.'[381] The altercation between the two chiefs of
christendom threatened to be violent. Which of them was the liar?
Probably the pope had said something of the kind, but only for form's
sake, in order to pacify Charles, and without any intention of keeping
his promise. He was the first to recover his calmness; he detested the
emperor, but he humoured him. 'You well know, Sire,' he said, 'that the
profit and honour accorded by the king to my family in accepting my
alliance, are so great, that it belongs to him and not to me to propose
conditions.'[382] He offered, however, to undertake that everything
should remain in 'complete peace.' The emperor, a master in
dissimulation, tried to conceal his vexation, but without success; this
unlucky marriage baffled all his plans. Francis had been more cunning
than himself.... Who would have thought it? The King of France had
sacrificed the honour of his house, but he had conquered his rival.
Confounded, annoyed, and dejected, Charles paced up and down with his
long gloomy face, when an unexpected circumstance revived his hopes of
completely embroiling the pope and the King of France.

We have witnessed the conferences that took place between Clement and
Charles on the subject of a general council. The emperor had asked for
one in order 'to bring back the heretics to union with the holy faith,
and he observed that if it were not called, it was to be feared that the
heretics would unite with the Turks; that they would fancy themselves
authorised to lay hands upon the property of the Church, and would
succeed in living in that liberty which they called _evangelical_, but
which,' added Charles, 'is rather _Mahometan_, and would cause the ruin
of christendom.'[383] The pope, who thought much more of himself and of
his family than of the Church, had rejected this demand. He had smiled
at seeing the great potentate's zeal for the religious and evangelical
question.... Clement never troubled himself about the Gospel:
Machiavelli was the gospel of the Medici. They cherished it, and
meditated on it day and night; they knew it by heart, and put it into
admirable practice. Clement and Catherine were its most devoted
followers and most illustrious heroes.


The policy of the King of France was quite as interested, but it was
more frank and honest. Even while politically uniting with the pope, he
did not mean to place himself ecclesiastically under his guardianship.
He had, like Henry VIII., the intention of emancipating kings from the
pontifical supremacy, and desired to make the secular instead of the
papal element predominate in christian society. For many centuries the
hierarchical power had held the first rank in Europe: it was time that
it gave way to the political power. Francis, having come to a knowledge
of the opposite opinions of the pope and the emperor touching the
council, slipped between the two and enunciated a third, which filled
the emperor with astonishment and the pontiff with alarm. It was one of
the greatest, most original, and boldest conceptions of modern times: we
recognise in it the genius of Du Bellay and the aspirations of a new
era. 'It is true, as the holy father affirms,' said the King of France,
'that the assembling of a council has its dangers. On the other hand,
the reasons of the emperor for convoking it are most worthy of
consideration; for the affairs of religion are reduced to such a pass
that, without a council, they will fall into inextricable confusion, and
the consequence will be great evils and prejudice to the holy father and
all christian princes. The pope is right, yet the emperor is not wrong;
but here is a way of gratifying their wishes, and at the same time
preventing all the dangers that threaten us.[384] Let all the christian
potentates, whatever be their particular doctrine (the King of England
and the protestant princes of Germany and the other evangelical states,
were therefore included), first communicate with one another on the
subject, and then let each of them send to Rome as soon as possible
ambassadors provided with ample powers to discuss and draw up by common
accord all the points to be considered by the council. They shall have
full liberty to bring forward anything that they imagine will be for the
unity, welfare, and repose of christendom, the service of God, the
suppression of vice, the extirpation of heresy, and the uniformity of
our faith. No mention shall be made of the remonstrances of our holy
father, or of the decisions of former councils; which would give many
sovereigns an opportunity or an excuse for not attending.[385] When the
articles are thus drawn up by the representatives of the various states
of christendom, each ambassador will take a duplicate of them to his
court, and all will go to the council, at the time and place appointed
by them, well instructed in what they will have to say. If those who
have separated from the Roman Church agree with the others, they will in
this way take the path of salvation. If they do not agree, at least they
will not be able to deny that they have been deaf to reason, and refused
the council which they had called for so loudly.'[386]

This is one of the most remarkable documents that we have met with in
relation to the intercourse between France and Rome, and it has not
attracted sufficient attention. In it Francis makes an immense stride.
Convinced that the new times ought to tread in a new path, he
inaugurates a great revolution. He emancipates the political power, so
far as regards religious matters, and desires that it shall take
precedence of the pontifical power in everything. If his idea had been
carried out, great ecclesiastical questions would no longer have been
decided in the Vatican, but in the cabinets of princes. This system,
indeed, is not the true one, and yet a great step had been taken in the
path of progress. A new principle was about to influence the destinies
of the Church.

Up to this time the clerical element had reigned in it alone; but now
the lay element claimed its place. The new society was unwilling that
priests alone should govern christians, just as shepherds lead their
flocks. But this system, we repeat, was not the true one. Christian
questions ought not to be decided either by pope or prince, but by the
ministers of the Church and its members, as of old in Jerusalem by the
_apostles_, _elders_, and _brethren_.[387] For this we have the
authority of God's Word. That evangelical path is forbidden to the
Roman-catholic Church; for it is afraid of every christian assembly
where the opinions of believers are taken into account, and finds itself
miserably condemned to oscillate perpetually between the two great
powers—the pope and the king.


It was very near the end of February when the emperor received at
Bologna this singular opinion of the French king. Having failed in his
attempts to prevent the Orleans marriage, he was busy forming the
Italian league, and preparing to leave for Spain. Charles instinctively
felt the encroachment of modern times in this project of Du Bellay's. To
deprive the pope and clergy of their exclusive and absolute authority
would lead (he thought) to taking it away from kings also. It seemed to
him that popery rendered liberty impossible not only in the Church but
also among the people. Francis, or rather Du Bellay, had imagined that
Charles would say (as one of his successors said[388]): 'My trade is to
be a king,' and that he would grasp at the institution of a _diplomatic_
papacy. But whether Charles wished to profit by this opportunity 'to
fish up again' the pope who had plunged into French waters, or simply
yielded to his Spanish catholic nature and the desire he felt for
unlimited power, he rejected Francis's proposal. 'What!' he exclaimed,
'shall the ambassadors of christian kings and potentates lay down
beforehand the points to be discussed in the council?... That would be
depriving it of its authority by a single stroke. Whatever is to be
discussed in the council ought to depend entirely on the inspiration of
the Holy Ghost and not on the appetites of men.'[389]


This answer vexed Francis considerably. His proposition failing, it
became a weapon in the hands of his rival to destroy him. He therefore
sought to justify himself. 'I cannot help being surprised,' he said,
'that, with a view to calumniate me, my opinion has been misrepresented
to the emperor. Is it not more reasonable to have this business managed
by ambassadors who can arrive speedily in Rome, than to wait for a
council which at the soonest cannot meet within a year?... And as for
everything depending upon the Holy Ghost, assuredly my proposal has been
wickedly and malignantly interpreted; for as we shall send ambassadors
guided by a sincere affection for the Church, is it not evident that
this assembly cannot be without the Holy Ghost?'[390] Thus the king, in
defending himself, took shelter under the _inspiration_ of his
diplomatists. We may well admit that the Holy Ghost was less with the
pope than with the king; but He was really with neither of them.

Thus for a moment the idea of Francis I. fell to the ground; it was
premature, and only began to be realised in after days by the force of
circumstances and in the order of time. It was in 1562, when the council
which had been so much discussed, and which opened at Trent in 1545, met
for the third time, that this new fashion was introduced into Roman
catholicism. The prelates could not come to an understanding, the
Italian deputies wishing to maintain everything, while the French and
German deputies demanded important concessions with a view to a
reconciliation between the princes and their subjects. There were
struggles, jests, and quarrels: they came to blows in the streets. The
majority of the council were angry because the Roman legates regularly
delayed to give their opinions until the courier arrived from Rome.
'Their Inspiration,' said the French, who were always fond of a joke,
'their Inspiration comes to Trent in a portmanteau.' The meeting was
about to be broken up, when the papacy, being obliged to choose between
two evils, resolved to come to an understanding with the princes. The
pope agreed that all important questions should be previously discussed
in the secular courts, and the secondary questions be left to the
council, provided that all proper respect was shown to the papacy. Rome
triumphed within the walls of Trent, but she ceased to be a pure
hierarchy. From that hour the political element has had the precedence,
and the papacy has become more and more dependent on the secular power.
The scheme of Francis I. has been partly realised. There remains,
however, one step more to be taken. Instead of the interested decisions
of kings, it is the sovereign and unchangeable Word of God which ought
to be placed on the throne of the Church.

Charles V. hoped that the singular opinion of the King of France would
incline Clement to enter into the Italian league; but the pope was not
very susceptible in religious matters. Still, as the emperor was
impatient, Clement resolved to give him this trifling satisfaction. Why
should he refuse to enter into a league whose object was to exclude
Francis I. from Italy? As at that very time he was signing secret
articles by which he bound himself to give to France Parma, Piacenza,
Urbino, Reggio, Leghorn, Pisa, Modena, and even Milan and Genoa, there
was no reason why the worthy uncle of Catherine should not sign another
treaty with Charles which stipulated exactly the contrary. Francis would
not be alarmed at the pontiff's entering the league; he would understand
that it was simply an honorary proceeding, a diplomatic measure. The
marriage of the pope's niece caused the poor emperor so much annoyance,
that he deserved at least this consolation. Besides, when the pope gave
his signature to Charles V., he was doing (as he thought) a very honest
thing, for he had not the least intention of keeping the solemn promises
he had made to Francis.[391]

It was now the 28th of February, and the imperial equipage was ready:
horses, mules, carriages, servants, officers, noblemen, were all waiting
the moment of departure. The ships that were to convey the mighty
Charles and his court to Spain were in the harbour of Genoa, ready to
weigh anchor. This very day had been fixed for signing the act of the
Italian league. The high and mighty contracting powers met in the palace
of Bologna. The document was read aloud before the delegates of the
princes and sovereigns of Italy included in it. Every one assented, the
signatures were affixed, and Clement eagerly added his name, promising
himself to sign another contract very shortly with the King of France.


Everything seemed as if it would pass off in a regular way, without
Charles allowing his vexation to break out. That prince, who knew so
well how to restrain himself, raised a sensation, however, among the
great personages around him. Addressing the pope, he demanded a
cardinal's hat for three of his prelates: it was a trifling compliment
(he thought) which Clement might well concede him; but the pope granted
one hat only. The ambassador of France then came forward, and, on behalf
of his master, demanded one for John, Bishop of Orleans and uncle of the
Duke of Longueville, which was granted. Then the same ambassador,
growing bolder, begged, _on_ _behalf of the King of England_, a
cardinal's hat for the Bishop of Winchester. This was too much for
Charles. 'What! ask a favour for a king who has put away my aunt
Catherine, who is quarrelling with the pope and rushing into schism!'...
'The emperor took this request,' says Du Bellay, 'in very bad part.'—'We
can see clearly,' said Charles to those around him, 'that the affairs of
these two kings are in the same scales; that one does not less for the
other than for himself.' Then, throwing off his usual reserve, he openly
expressed his disapprobation. 'This request of a hat for England,' said
he, 'displeases me more than if the ambassador of France had asked
_four_ for his master.'[392] The diplomatists there present could not
turn away their eyes from that face, usually so placid, and now so
suddenly animated; they were secretly delighted at seeing any feeling
whatever, especially one of ill-humour, on the features of that powerful
monarch, all whose words and actions were the result of cold reflection
and calculated with the nicest art. But no one was so rejoiced as
Hawkins, the English ambassador: 'The emperor departed from hence
evil-contented,' he wrote to Henry forthwith, 'and satisfied in nothing
that he came for. All he did was to renew an old league, lest he should
be seen to have done nothing.'[393] Charles was eager to leave the city
where he had been duped by the pope and checkmated by the king, and
already he repented having shown his displeasure. He descended the steps
of the palace, threw himself into his carriage, and departed for Milan,
where he had some business to settle before going to Genoa and Spain. It
was, as we have said, Friday, the 28th of February.[394]


The pope remained ten days longer at Bologna. There was a talk of an
interview between him and the King of France, to whom he had written
with his own hand. The papal nuncio had proposed to the king that the
emperor should be present also. 'Provided the King of England be the
fourth,' answered Francis.[395] 'We should be unwilling, the King of
England and I,' added he, 'to be present at the interview except with
forces equal to those of the emperor, for fear of a surprise.... Now it
might happen that, the escorts of these _not very friendly_ princes
being together, we should begin a war instead of ratifying a
peace.'[396] They accordingly fell back upon the conference of _two_,
pending which the marriage should be completed. Nice was at first
selected as the place of meeting; but the Duke of Savoy, who did not
like to see the French at Nice, objected. 'Well, then,' said the pope,
'I will go to Antibes, to Fréjus, to Toulon, to Marseilles.' To ally
himself with the family of France, he would have gone beyond the columns
of Hercules. Francis, on his side, desired that the pope, who had waited
for the emperor in Italy, should come and seek him in his own kingdom.
The pope thus showed him greater honour than he had shown Charles—on
which point he was very sensitive. Marseilles was agreed upon.

At last all was in proper train. The blood of the Valois and of the
Medici was about to be united. The clauses, conditions, and conventions
were all arranged. The marriage ceremony was to be magnificently
celebrated in the city of the Phocæans. The pope was at the summit of
happiness, and the bride's eyes sparkled with delight. The die was cast;
Catherine de Medici would one day sit on the throne of France; the St.
Bartholomew was in store for that noble country, the blood of martyrs
would flow in torrents down the streets of Paris, and the rivers would
roll through the provinces long and speechless trains of corpses, whose
ghastly silence would cry aloud to heaven.

But that epoch was still remote; and just now Paris presented a very
different spectacle. It is time to return thither.

[Footnote 368: Du Bellay, _Mémoires_, p. 179.]

[Footnote 369: Ibid. p. 180.]

[Footnote 370: Du Bellay, _Mémoires_, p. 180. Guicciardini, _Wars of
Italy_, ii. bk. xvi. pp. 894-897.]

[Footnote 371: Guicciardini, _ibid._]

[Footnote 372: 'Cæsar arbitratus illud conjugium quasi per simulationem
a rege oblatum.'—Pallavicini, _Hist. Concil. Trid._ lib. iii. cap. ii.
p. 274.]

[Footnote 373: 'Adulterinam esse monetam qua rex ipsum commercari

[Footnote 374: Du Bellay, _Mém._ p. 180. Pallavicini, _ibid._
Guicciardini, _Wars of Italy_, ii. p. 898.]

[Footnote 375: Guicciardini, ii. p. 898.]

[Footnote 376: 'Quo fortasse magis dubitanter ac pedetentim
processisset.'—Pallavicini, _Hist. Concil. Trid._ i. p. 274.]

[Footnote 377: 'Gallus explorato æmuli consilio, ut ipsum eluderet, eo
statim properavit.'—Ibid. Du Bellay, _Mémoires_. Guicciardini, _Wars of

[Footnote 378: Du Bellay, _Mém._ p. 182.]

[Footnote 379: Ibid.]

[Footnote 380: Ibid. Guicciardini. Pallavicini.]

[Footnote 381: Du Bellay, _Mém._ p. 182.]

[Footnote 382: Ibid. pp. 182, 183.]

[Footnote 383: Du Bellay, _Mém._ p. 186.]

[Footnote 384: Du Bellay, _Mém._ p. 185.]

[Footnote 385: The protestant sovereigns.]

[Footnote 386: Du Bellay, _Mém._ pp. 186, 187.]

[Footnote 387: Acts xv. 23.]

[Footnote 388: The Emperor Joseph II.]

[Footnote 389: Du Bellay, _Mém._ p. 189.]

[Footnote 390: Du Bellay, _Mém._ p. 187.]

[Footnote 391: Guicciardini. Du Bellay.]

[Footnote 392: Du Bellay, _Mém._ p. 189.]

[Footnote 393: _State Papers_, vii. p. 439.]

[Footnote 394: 'The 28th the emperor departed from hens' (_State
Papers_, viii. p. 438), 'and went to Milan' (p. 447).]

[Footnote 395: Du Bellay, _Mém._ p. 189.]

[Footnote 396: Ibid.]

 (SUMMER 1533.)


The Romish party would not be comforted under its defeat. Beda, Le
Picard, and Mathurin in exile; evangelical sermons freely preached in
the great churches of the capital; the new doctrines carried through
Paris from house to house; and the Queen of Navarre seated, as it were,
upon the throne during her brother's absence, protecting and directing
this Lutheran activity—it was too much! The anxiety and alarm of the
ultramontanists increased every day: they held numerous conferences; and
if the young Alsatian whom we saw at the gate of the Sorbonne, or any
other inquisitive person, could have crept into these catholic
committees, he would have heard the most violent addresses. 'It is not
only the approach of the enemy that alarms us,' they said: 'he is
there ... the revolutionary, immoral, impious, atheistic, abominable,
execrable monster!' Other epithets were added, to be found only in the
popish vocabulary. 'He is making rapid progress; unless we resist him
vigorously, it is all over! The world will perhaps see crumbling under
his blows those ancient walls of Roman catholicism under which the
nations have taken shelter for so many ages.' And hence the Sorbonne was
of the same opinion with the priests and the most hot-headed laymen,
that, overlooking for the moment secondary persons, it was necessary to
strike the most dangerous. In their eyes the Queen of Navarre was the
great enemy of the papacy; the monks, in particular, whose disorders she
had not feared to expose, were full of fury against her; their clamours
were heard in every quarter. 'The queen,' they said, 'is the modern Eve
by whom the new revolt is entering into the world.'—'It is the nature of
women to be deceived,' said one; and to prove it he quoted St. Jerome.
'Woman is the gate of the devil,' said another, citing the authority of
Tertullian. 'The wily serpent,' said the greatest doctors, 'remembers
that memorable duel fought in Paradise. Another fight is beginning, and
he is again putting in practice the stratagems that succeeded so well
before. At the beginning of the world and now, it is always against
woman—that tottering wall, that _pannel_ so weak and easy to break
down—that he draws up his battery. It is the Queen of Navarre who
supports the disciples of Luther in France; she has placed them in
schools; she alone watches over them with wonderful care, and saves them
from all danger.[397] Either the king must punish her, or she must
publicly recant her errors.' The ultramontanists did not restrict
themselves to words: they entered into a diabolical plot to ruin that
pious princess.


This was not an easy thing to do. The king loved her, all good men
revered her, and all Europe admired her. Yet, as Francis was very
jealous of his authority, the priests hoped to take advantage of his
extreme susceptibility and set him at variance with a sister who dared
to have an opinion of her own. Besides, the Queen of Navarre, like every
other eminent person, had powerful enemies at court, 'people of Scythian
ingratitude,' who, having been received in her household and raised by
her to honours, secretly did all in their power to bring her into
discredit with the king and with her husband.[398] The most dangerous
enemy of all was the grand-master Montmorency, an enterprising, brave,
and imperious man, skilful in advancing his own fortune, though unlucky
with that of the kingdom; he was besides coarse and uncultivated,
despising letters, detesting the Reformation, irritated by the
proselytism of the Queen of Navarre, and full of contempt for her books.
He had great influence over Francis. The Sorbonne thought that if the
grand-master declared against her, it would be impossible for Margaret
to retain the king's favour.

An opportunity occurred for beginning the attack, and the Sorbonne
caught at it. The Queen of Navarre, sighing after the time when a pure
and spiritual religion would displace the barren ceremonial of popery,
had published, in 1531, a christian poem entitled: _The Mirror of the
Sinful Soul, in which she discovers her Faults and Sins, as also the
Grace and Blessings bestowed on her by Jesus Christ her Spouse_.[399]
Many persons had read this poem with interest, and admired the queen's
genius and piety. Finding that this edition, published in a city which
belonged to her, had made no noise, aroused no persecution, and had even
gained her a few congratulations, she felt a desire to issue her pious
manifesto to a wider circle. Encouraged, moreover, by the position which
her brother had just taken up, she made an arrangement with a bookseller
rather bolder than the rest, and in 1533 published at Paris a new
edition of her book, without the author's name, and without the
authorisation of the Sorbonne.

The poem was mild, spiritual, inoffensive, like the queen herself; but
it was written by the king's sister, and accordingly made a great
sensation. In her verses there were new voices, aspirations towards
heaven long unknown; many persons heard them, and here and there certain
manifestations showed themselves of a meek and inward piety long since
forgotten. The alarmed Sorbonne shouted out—'heresy!' There was, indeed,
in the _Mirror_ something more than aspirations. It contained nothing,
indeed, against the saints or the Virgin, against the mass or popery,
and not a word of controversy; but the essential doctrine of the
Reformation was strongly impressed on it, namely, salvation by Jesus
Christ alone, and the certain assurance of that redemption.


At the time of which we are writing, Beda had not been banished. At the
beginning of 1533 he had been intrusted by the Sorbonne with the
examination of all new books. The fiery syndic discovered the _Mirror_,
and with excess of joy he fell upon it to seek matter of accusation
against the king's sister. He devoured it; he had never been so charmed
by any reading, for at last he had proof that the Queen of Navarre was
really a heretic.[400] 'But understand me well,' he said; 'they are not
dumb proofs nor half proofs, but literal, clear, complete proofs.' Beda
prepared therefore to attack Margaret. What a contrast between the
formal religion of the Church and that of this spiritual poem! St.
Thomas and the other chiefs of the schools teach that man may at least
possess merits of _congruity_; that he may perform supererogatory works,
that he must confess his sins in the ear of the priest, and satisfy the
justice of God by acts of penance, _satisfactio operis_. But according
to the _Mirror_, religion is a much simpler thing ... all is summed up
in these two terms: man's sin and God's grace. According to the queen,
what man needs is to have his sins remitted and wholly pardoned in
consequence of the Saviour's death; and when by faith he has found
assurance of this pardon, he enjoys peace.... He must consider all his
past life as being no longer for him a ground of condemnation before
God: these are the _glad tidings_. Now these _tidings_ scandalised Beda
and his friends exceedingly. 'What!' he exclaimed, holding the famous
book open before them, 'what! no more auricular confessions,
indulgences, penance, and works of charity!... The cause of pardon is
the reconciliatory work of Christ, and what helps us to make it our own
is not the Church, but faith!' The syndic determined to make the
'frightful' book known to all the venerable company.

The Sorbonne assembled, and Beda, holding the heretical poem in his
hand, read the most flagrant passages to his colleagues. 'Listen,' he
said, and the attentive doctors kept their eyes fixed on the syndic.
Beda read:

  Jesus, true fisher thou of souls!
    My only Saviour, only advocate!
  Since thou God's righteousness hast satisfied,
    I fear no more to fail at heaven's gate.
  My Spouse bears all my sins, though great they be,
  And all his merits places upon me....
  Come, Saviour, make thy mercies known....
  Jesus for me was crucified:
  For me the bitter death endured,
  For me eternal life procured.[401]

It has been said that Margaret's poems are theology in rhyme. It is true
that her verses are not so elegant as those of our age, and that their
spirit is more theological than the poetry of our days; but the theology
is not that of the schools, it is that of the heart. What specially
irritated the Sorbonne was the peace and assurance that Margaret
enjoyed, precious privilege of a redeemed soul, which scholasticism had
condemned beforehand. The queen, leaning upon the Saviour, seemed to
have no more fear. 'Listen again,' said Beda:

  Satan, where is now thy tower?
  Sin, all withered is thy power.
  Pain or death no more I fear,
  While Jesus Christ is with me here.
  Of myself no strength have I,
  But God, my shield, is ever nigh.[402]


Thus, argued the doctors of the Sorbonne, the queen imagines that sins
are remitted gratuitously, no satisfaction being required of sinners.
'Observe the foolish assurance,' said the syndic, 'into which the new
doctrine may bring souls. This is what we find in the _Mirror_:

  'Not hell's black depth, nor heaven's vast height,
  Nor sin with which I wage continual fight,
  Me for a single day can move,
  O holy Father, from thy perfect love.'[403]

This simple faith, supported by the promises of God, scandalised the
doctors. 'No one,' said they, 'can promise himself anything certain as
regards his own salvation, unless he has learnt it by a special
revelation from God.' The council of Trent made this declaration an
article of faith. 'The queen,' continued her accuser, 'speaks as if she
longed for nothing but heaven:

  'How beautiful is death,
  That brings to weary me the hour of rest!
  Oh! hear my cry and hasten, Lord, to me,
  And put an end to all my misery.'[404]

Some one having observed that the Queen of Navarre had not appended her
name to the title of her work, her accuser replied: 'Wait until the end,
the signature is there;' and then he read the last line:

  The good that he has done to me, his Margaret.[405]

In a short time insinuations and accusations against the sister of the
king were heard from every pulpit. Here a monk made his hearers shudder
as he described Margaret's wicked _heresies_; and there another tried to
make them laugh. 'These things,' says Theodore Beza, 'irritated the
Sorbonne extremely, and especially Beda and those of his temper, and
they could not refrain from attacking the Queen of Navarre in their

Other circumstances excited the anger of the monks. Margaret did not
love them. Monachism was one of the institutions which the reformers
wished to see disappear from the Church, and the Queen of Navarre, in
spite of her conservative character, did not desire to preserve it. The
numerous abuses of the monastic life, the constraint with which its vows
were often accompanied, the mechanical vocation of most of the
conventuals, their idleness and sensuality, their practice of mendicancy
as a trade, their extravagant pretensions to merit eternal life and to
atone for their sins by their discipline, their proud conviction that
they had attained a piety which went beyond the exigencies of the divine
law, the discredit which the monastic institution cast upon the
institutions appointed by God, on marriage, family, labour, and the
state politic; finally, the bodily observances and macerations set above
that living charity which proceeds from faith, and above the fruits of
the Spirit of God in man:—all these things were, according to the
reformers, entirely opposed to the doctrine of the Gospel.


Margaret went further still. She had not spared the monks, but on the
contrary had scourged them soundly. If Erasmus and Ulrich von Hutten had
overwhelmed them with ridicule, the Queen of Navarre had in several
tales depicted their grovelling character and dissolute life. She had,
indeed, as yet communicated these stories to few besides her brother and
mother, and never intended publishing them; but, some copies having been
circulated among the attendants of the court, a few leaves had fallen
into the hands of the monks, and this was the cause of their anger.
Margaret, like many others of her time, was mistaken—such at least is
our opinion—as to the manner in which the vices of the monasteries ought
to be combated. Following the example of Menot, the most famous preacher
of the middle ages, she had described faithfully, unaffectedly, and
sometimes too broadly the avarice, debauchery, pride, and other vices of
the convents. She had done better than this, however; to the silly
nonsense and indecent discourses of the grey friars she had opposed the
simple, severe, and spiritual teaching of the Gospel. 'They are moral
tales,' says a contemporary author (who is not over favourable to
Margaret); 'they often _degenerate_ into real sermons, so that each
story is in truth only the _preface to a homily_.'[407] After a
narrative in illustration of human frailty, Margaret begins her
application thus: 'Know that the first step man takes in confidence in
himself, by so much he diverges from confidence in God.' After
describing a false miracle by which an incestuous monk had tried to
deceive Margaret's father, the Count of Angoulême, she added: 'His faith
was proof against these external miracles. We have but one Saviour who,
by saying _consummatum est_ (it is finished), showed that we must wait
for no successor to work out our salvation.' No one but the monks
thought, in the sixteenth century, of being scandalised by these tales.
There was then a freedom of language which is impossible in our times;
and everybody felt that if the queen faithfully painted the disorders of
the monks and other classes of society, she was equally faithful in
describing the strict morality of her own principles and the living
purity of her faith. It was her daughter, the austere Jeanne d'Albret,
who published the first correct edition of these _Novels_; and certainly
she would not have done so, if such a publication had been likely to
injure her mother's memory.[408] But times have changed; the book,
harmless then, is so no longer; in our days the tales will be read and
the sermons passed over: the youth of our generation would only derive
harm from them. We acquit the author as regards her intentions, but we
condemn her work. And (apologising to the friends of letters who will
accuse us of barbarism) if we had to decide on the fate of this book, we
would willingly see it experience a fate similar to that which is spoken
of in the Bible, where we are told that _many Corinthians brought their
books together and burned them_.[409]


Let us return to the _Mirror_, in which the pious soul of Margaret is

The Faculty decided that the first thing to be done was to search every
bookseller's shop in the city and seize all the copies found there.[410]
Here Beda disappeared: he no longer played the principal part. It is
probable that the proceedings against him had already begun; but this
persecution, by removing its leader, helped to increase the anger of the
Romish party, and consequently the efforts of the Sorbonne to ruin the
Queen of Navarre. As Beda was absent, the priest Le Clerq was ordered to
make the search. Accompanied by the university beadles, he went to every
bookseller's shop, seized the _Mirror of the Sinful Soul_, wherever the
tradesman had not put it out of sight, and returned to the Sorbonne
laden with his spoils. After this the Faculty deliberated upon the
measures to be taken against the author.

This was no easy matter: they knew that the king, so hasty and violent,
had much esteem and affection for his sister. The most prudent members
of the Faculty hesitated. Their hesitation exasperated the monks, and
the rage with which the more fanatical were seized extended even to the
provinces. A meeting of the religious orders was held at Issoudun in
Berry to discuss what ought to be done. The superior of the grey friars,
an impetuous, rash, and hardly sane person, spoke louder than all the
rest. 'Let us have less ceremony,' he exclaimed; 'put the Queen of
Navarre in a sack and throw her into the river.'[411] This speech, which
circulated over France, having been reported to the Sorbonne doctors,
alarmed them, and many counselled a less violent persecution, to which a
Dominican friar answered: 'Do not be afraid; we shall not be alone in
attacking this heretical princess, for the grand-master is her mortal

Montmorency, who next to Francis was now the most important personage in
the kingdom, concealed under the cloak of religion a cruel heart and
peevish disposition, and was feared by everybody, even by his friends.
If he were gained over, the Queen of Navarre, attacked simultaneously by
the priestly and the political party, must necessarily fall.

Margaret supported these insults with admirable mildness. At this very
time she was carrying on an almost daily correspondence with
Montmorency, and subscribed all her letters: '_Your good aunt and
friend_.' Full of confidence in this perfidious man, she called on him
to defend her. 'Dear nephew,' she wrote, 'I beg you to believe that, as
I am just now away from the king, it is necessary for you to help me in
this matter. _I rely upon you_; and in this trust, which I am sure can
never fail me, confides your good aunt and friend, Margaret.' The queen
made some allusion to the violent language of the monks, but with great
good-humour. 'I have desired the bearer,' she said, 'to speak to you
about _certain nonsense_ that a Jacobin monk has uttered in the faculty
of theology.' This was all: she did not make use of one bitter
word.[413] Montmorency, that imperious courtier who before long
persecuted the protestants without mercy, began to think himself strong
enough to ruin Margaret, and we shall soon see what was the result of
his perfidious insinuations. The Sorbonne deliberated as to what was to
be done. According to the decrees of Sixtus IV. and Alexander VI., no
books, treatises, or writings whatsoever[414] could be printed without
an express authorisation; but the Queen of Navarre had printed her book
without any such permission. The society, without pretending to know the
author, declared the _Mirror of the Sinful Soul_ prohibited, and put it
in the _Index Librorum Prohibitorum_.


This was not enough. The priests excited the students; but while the
former were playing a tragedy, the latter (or rather their teachers)
resorted to satire. The scholars of the college of Navarre, who passed
from the grammar to the logic class, were in the habit of giving a
dramatic representation on the 1st of October. The clerical heads of the
college, wishing to render the queen hateful to the people and
ridiculous to the court, composed a drama. The parts were distributed
among the pupils; the rehearsals began, and those who were admitted to
them agreed that the author had so seasoned the plot with gall and
vinegar, that success was certain.[415] The report spread through the
Latin quarter: and even Calvin heard of it, for he kept himself well
informed of all that took place in the schools. While applying himself
constantly to the work of God, he kept watch also upon the work of the
adversary. There was so much talk about this play, that, when the day of
the representation arrived, there was a rush for admission, and the hall
was crammed. The monks and theologians took their seats in front, and
the curtain rose.

A queen, magnificently dressed and sitting calmly on the stage, was
spinning, and seemed to be thinking of nothing but her wheel. 'It is the
king's sister,' said the spectators; 'and she would do well to keep to
her distaff.'

Next a strange character appeared: it was a woman dressed in white,
carrying a torch and looking fiercely around her. Everybody recognised
the fury Megæra. 'That is Master Gerard,' they said, 'the almoner of the
king's sister.'[416] Megæra, advancing cautiously, drew near the queen
with the intention of withdrawing her from her peaceful feminine
occupation, and making her lay aside her distaff. She did not show her
enmity openly, but came slily forward, putting on a smiling look, as if
bringing additional light. She walked round and round the queen, and
endeavoured to divert her attention by placing the torch boldly before
her eyes.[417]

At first the princess takes no heed, but continues spinning; at length,
alas! she stops and permits herself to be attracted by the false light
before her; she gives way, she quits her wheel.... Megæra has conquered,
and in exchange for the distaff she places the Gospel in the queen's
hand.[418] The effect is magical; in a moment the queen is transformed.
She was meek, she becomes cruel; she forgets her former virtuous habits;
she rises, and, glaring around with savage eyes, takes up a pen to write
out her sanguinary orders, and personally inflicts cruel tortures on her
wretched victims. Scenes still more outrageous than these follow. The
sensation was universal! 'Such are the fruits of the Gospel!' said some
of the spectators. 'It entices men away to novelties and folly; it robs
the king of the devoted affection of his subjects, and devastates both
Church and State.'[419]


At last the play was ended. The Sorbonne exulted; the Queen of Navarre,
who had formerly lashed the priests and monks, was now scourged by them
in return.

Shouts of approbation rose from every bench, and the theologians clapped
the piece with all their might; such applause as that of these reverend
doctors had never been heard before.[420] There were, however, a few
reasonable men to whom such a satire written against the king's sister
appeared unbecoming. 'The authors have used neither veil nor figure of
speech,' they said: 'the queen is openly and disgracefully insulted in
the play.'[421] The monks, finding they had gone too far, wished to hush
up the matter; but in a short time the whole city was full of it, and a
few days after a mischievous friend went and spoke of it at court,
describing the whole play, scene after scene, to the queen herself.[422]

The Sorbonne, the highest authority in the Church after the pope, had
struck the first blow; the second had been given in the colleges; the
third was to be aimed at Margaret by the court. By ruining this princess
in the eyes of her brother, the enemies of the Reformation would cause
her the most unutterable sorrow, for she almost adored Francis.
Afterwards they would get her banished to the mountains of Béarn.
Montmorency lent himself to this intrigue; he advanced prudently,
speaking to the king about heresy, of the dangers it was bringing upon
France, and of the obligation to free the kingdom from it for the
salvation of souls. Then, appearing to hesitate, he added: 'It is true,
Sire, that if you wish to extirpate the heretics, you must begin with
the Queen of Navarre.'[423]... And here he stopped.

Margaret was not informed of this perfidious proceeding immediately; but
everybody told her that if she allowed the impertinence of the monks and
the condemnation of the Sorbonne to pass unpunished, she would encourage
their malice. She communicated what had taken place to her brother,
declared herself to be the author of the _Mirror_, and insisted on the
fact that it contained nothing but pious sentiments, and did not attack
the doctrines of the Church: 'None of us,' she said, 'have been found
_sacramentarians_.' Finally, she demanded that the condemnation by the
theological faculty should be rescinded, and the college of Navarre
called to account.


Calvin watched the whole business very closely; it might almost be said,
after reading his letter, that he had been among the spectators. He
censured the behaviour of both scholars and masters.[424] 'Christians,'
he said later, 'are made a show of, as when in a triumph the poor
prisoners are paraded through the city before being taken to prison and
strangled. But the spectacle made of believers is no hindrance to their
happiness, for in the presence of God they remain in possession of
glory, and the Spirit of God gives them a witness who dwells steadfast
in their hearts.'[425]

[Footnote 397: Flor. Rémond, _Hist. de l'Hérésie_, pp. 847-849.]

[Footnote 398: Sainte-Marthe, _Oraison funèbre de Marguerite_, p. 45.]

[Footnote 399: The first edition of the _Miroir de l'Ame pécheresse_,
was published at Alençon, by Simon Dubois.]

[Footnote 400: Théod. de Bèze, _Hist. des Eglises Réformées_, i. p. 8.
Génin, _Notice sur Marguerite d'Angoulême_, p. iii. Freer, _Life of
Marguerite d'Angoulême_, ii. p. 112.]

[Footnote 401: _Les Marguerites de la Marguerite_, i. p. 60.]

[Footnote 402: Ibid. p. 63.]

[Footnote 403: _Les Marguerites_, i. p. 65.]

[Footnote 404: Ibid. pp. 51, 57.]

[Footnote 405: Ibid. p. 70.]

[Footnote 406: Théod. de Bèze, _Hist. des Eglises Réformées_,
i. pp. 8, 9.]

[Footnote 407: Génin, _Notice sur Marguerite d'Angoulême_, p. 95,
preceding her letters.]

[Footnote 408: _Marguerite de Valois, Reine de Navarre, étude
historique_, 1861.]

[Footnote 409: Acts xix. 19.]

[Footnote 410: 'Quum excuterent officinas bibliopolarum.'—Calvini _Epp._
p. 2; Genève, 1617.]

[Footnote 411: _Lettres de la Reine de Navarre_, i. p. 282. Freer, _Life
of Marguerite_, ii. p. 118. Castaigne, _Notice sur Marguerite_.]

[Footnote 412: Lettre de la Reine Marguerite à Montmorency. _Lettres de
la Reine de Navarre_, i. p. 282.]

[Footnote 413: _Lettres de la Reine de Navarre_, i. pp. 282, 283.]

[Footnote 414: 'Libri, tractatus aut scripturæ quæcunque.'—Raynald,
_Annales Eccl._ xix. p. 514.]

[Footnote 415: 'Fabula felle et aceto, ut ait ille, plusquam mordaci
conspersa.'—Calvini _Epp._ p. 1.]

[Footnote 416: The word _Megæra_ is made up of the first syllables of
_Magister Gerardus_. 'Megæram appellant alludens ad nomen Magistri

[Footnote 417: 'Tunc Megæra illi faces admovens, ut acus et colum
abjiceret.'—Calvini _Epp._ p. 1.]

[Footnote 418: 'Evangelia in manus recepit.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 419: Flor. Rémond, _Hist. de l'Hérésie_, p. 844.]

[Footnote 420: 'Mirabiliter applaudentibus theologis.'—Sturmius Bucero.]

[Footnote 421: 'Quam non figurate, nec obscure, conviciis suis
proscindebant.—Calvini _Epp._ p. 1.]

[Footnote 422: 'Re ad reginam delata.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 423: _Lettres de la Reine de Navarre_, i. p. 58.]

[Footnote 424: 'Indigna prorsus ea muliere.'—Calvini _Epp._ p. 1.]

[Footnote 425: Calvini _Opp._ passim.]

 (AUTUMN 1533.)

Francis was not at Paris when the storm broke out against his sister. In
the summer of 1533, says the chronicle, 'the king visited his states and
lordships of Languedoc, and made his triumphal entry into the city of
Toulouse.'[426] It was by letter, therefore, that he heard of what was
taking place. All were asking what he would do. On the one hand, he had
a great affection for the queen; but, on the other, he did not like his
tranquillity to be disturbed; he protected learning, but he detested the
Gospel. His better self gained the upper hand; his hatred of the
absurdities of the monks was aroused; his great susceptibility made him
take the affronts offered to his sister as if they had been offered to
himself; and one after another he gave Margaret's enemies a forcible

The first whom he taught his place was Montmorency. When the latter
endeavoured to instil his perfidious insinuations into the king's mind,
Francis silenced him: 'Not a word more about it,' he said: 'she is too
fond of me to take up with any religion that will injure my
kingdom.[427] Margaret was informed subsequently of the attempt of the
grand-master, 'whom she never liked more,' adds Brantôme.


The second to feel the king's hand was the prior of the Franciscans who
had proposed to sew Margaret in a sack and throw her into the Seine.
'Let him suffer the punishment he desired to inflict upon the queen,' he
exclaimed. On hearing of this sentence the monks became irritated, and
the populace, according to one historian, got up a riot. But the queen
interceded for the wretch, and his life was spared; he was simply
deprived of his ecclesiastical dignities and sent to the galleys for two

The play represented against the queen, as well as the priests who had
composed it and superintended the representation, next engaged the
king's attention; he resolved not to spare them, and at the least to put
them in a terrible fright. He issued his orders, and immediately the
lieutenant of police marched out and appeared at the head of a hundred
archers before the college of Navarre.[429] 'Surround the building,' he
said, 'so that no one can escape.'[430] The archers did as they were
ordered. For this narrative we are again indebted to Calvin, who
continued to take the deepest interest in the whole affair. The orders
of the lieutenant were not executed without noise, and some of the
professors and pupils, attracted to the windows, had watched the
movements of the municipal officers. The author of the drama, who had
expected nothing like this, and who was very vain and continually
boasting of his pious exploit, happened to be in the room of a friend,
joking about the queen and the famous comedy, when suddenly he heard an
unusual noise.[431] He looked out, and, seeing the college surrounded by
soldiers, became alarmed and confused. 'Hide me somewhere,' he
exclaimed. He was put in a place where it was supposed nobody could find
him: there are always good hiding-places in colleges. 'Stay there,' said
his friends, 'until we find an opportunity for your escape.'[432] And
then the door was carefully shut.


Meanwhile the lieutenant of police had entered with a few of his
archers, and demanded the surrender of the author of the satire against
the Queen of Navarre. The head of the college, a man of distinction,
profound learning, and great influence, whom Calvin styles 'the great
Master Lauret,' and Sturm 'the king of the wise,' did not deserve his
name. He refused everything. Upon this, the sergeants began to search
the building for the culprit; and professors and students were in great
anxiety. But every nook and corner was explored in vain; they found
nothing.[433] The lieutenant thereupon ordered his archers to lay hands
upon the actors in default of the author, and he himself arrested one of
the persons who had taken a part in the play. This was the signal for a
great tumult. Master Lauret, knowing himself to be more guilty than
those youths, rushed upon the lieutenant and endeavoured to rescue the
scholar;[434] the students, finding themselves supported by their chief,
fell upon the archers, and kicked and beat them, some even pelting them
with stones.[435] There was a regular battle in the college of Navarre.
But the law prevailed at last, and all the beardless actors fell into
the hands of the police.

The lieutenant was bent on knowing the nature of their offence. 'Now,'
said he to the juvenile players, 'you will repeat before me what you
said on the stage.'[436] The unlucky youths were forced to obey; in
great confusion and hanging their heads, they repeated all their
impertinence. 'I have not done,' resumed the lieutenant, turning to the
head of the college; 'since the author of the crime is concealed from
me, I must look to those who should have prevented such insolence.
Master Lauret, you will go with me as well as these young scamps. As for
you, Master Morin (he was the second officer of the college), you will
keep your room.' He then departed with his archers; Lauret was taken to
the house of a commissary, and the students were sent to prison.

The most important affair still remained—the decision come to by the
Sorbonne against Margaret's poem. The king, wishing to employ gentle
means, simply ordered the rector to ask the faculty if they had really
placed the _Mirror_ in the list of condemned books,[437] and in that
case to be good enough to point out what they saw to blame in it. To the
rector, therefore, was confided the management of the affair. A new
rector had been elected a few days before (10th of October); and whether
the university perceived in what direction the wind was blowing, or
wished to show its hostility to the enemies of the light, or desired to
court the king's favour by promoting the son of one of his favourites,
the chief physician to the court, they had elected, in spite of the
faculty of theology, Nicholas Cop, a particular friend of Calvin's.
'Wonderful!' said the friends of the Gospel: 'the king and his sister,
the rector of the university, and even, as some say, the Bishop of
Paris, lean to the side of the Word of God; how can France fail to be

The new rector took the affair vigorously in hand. Won over to the
Gospel by Calvin, he had learnt, in conversation with his friend, that
sin is the great disease, the loss of eternal life the great death, and
Jesus Christ the great physician. He was impatient to meet the enemies
of the Reform, and the king gave him the desired opportunity.... He had
several conversations with Calvin on the subject, and convened the four
faculties on the 24th of October, 1532. The Bishop of Senlis, the king's
confessor, read his Majesty's letter to them; after which the youthful
rector, the organ of the new times, began to speak, and, full of the
ardour which a recent conversion gives, he delivered (Calvin tells us) a
long and severe speech,[438] a christian philippic, confounding the
conspirators who were plotting against the Word of God. 'Licence is
always criminal,' he said; 'but what is it when those who violate the
laws are those whose duty it is to teach others to observe them?... Now
what have they done? They have attacked an excellent woman, who is alike
the patroness of sound learning and mother of every virtue.[439] They
penetrate into the sanctuary of the family of our kings, and encroach
upon the sovereign majesty... What presumptuous temerity, what imprudent
audacity!... The laws of propriety, the laws of the realm, the laws of
God even, have all been violated by these impudent men... They are
seditious and rebellious subjects.' Then turning to the faculty of
theology, the rector continued: 'Put an end, Sirs, to these foolish and
arrogant manners; or else, if you have not committed the offence, do not
bear the responsibility. Do you desire to encourage the malice of those
who, ever ready to perpetrate the most criminal acts, wipe their mouths
afterwards and say: "It is not I who did it! it is the university!"
while the university knows nothing about it?[440] Do not mix yourselves
up in a matter so full of danger, or ... beware of the terrible anger of
the king.'[441]


This speech, the terror inspired by the king's name, and the
recollection of Beda's imprisonment, disturbed the assembly. The
theologians, who were all guilty, basely abandoned their colleague, who
had only carried out a general resolution, and exclaimed unanimously:
'We must disavow the rash deed.'[442] The four faculties declared they
had not authorised the act of which the king complained, and the whole
responsibility fell on Le Clerq, curé of St. André, who had taken the
most active part in the matter. He was the Jonah to be thrown into the

Le Clerq was very indignant. He had gone up and down the city in the
sight of everybody, he had ransacked the booksellers' shops to lay hold
of the heretical _Mirror_; the booksellers, if necessary, could depose
against him; but when he found himself abandoned by those who had urged
him on, he was filled with anger and contempt. Still, he endeavoured to
escape the danger that threatened him, and seeing among the audience
several officers of the court, he said in French, so that all might
understand him: 'In what words, Sirs, can I sufficiently extol the
king's justice?[443] Who can describe with what unshaken fidelity this
great prince has on all occasions shown himself the valiant defender of
the faith?[444] I know that misguided men[445] are endeavouring to
pervert the king's mind, and conspiring the ruin of this holy faculty;
but I have a firm conviction that their manœuvres will fail against his
majesty's heroic firmness. I am proud of the resistance I make them. And
yet I have done nothing of myself; I was delegated by an order of the
university for the duty I have fulfilled.[446] And do you imagine that
in discharging it, I had any desire to get up a plot against an august
princess whose morals are so holy, whose religion is so pure,[447] as
she proved not long ago by the respect with which she paid the last
honours to her illustrious mother? I consider such obscene productions
as _Pantagruel_ ought to be prohibited; but I place the _Mirror_ simply
among the suspected books, because it was published without the
approbation of the faculty. If that is a crime, we are all guilty—you,
gentlemen,' he said, turning towards his colleagues, 'you as well as
myself, although you disavow me.'[448]


This speech, so embarrassing to the doctors of the faculty, secured the
triumph of the queen. 'Sirs,' said the king's confessor, 'I have read
the inculpated volume, and there is really nothing to blot out of it,
unless I have forgotten all my theology.[449] I call, therefore, for a
decree that shall fully satisfy her majesty.' The rector now rose again
and said: 'The university neither recognises nor approves of the censure
passed upon this book. We will write to the king, and pray him to accept
the apology of the university.' Thereupon the meeting broke up.

Thus did Margaret, the friend of the reformers, come out victorious from
this attack of the monks. 'This matter,' says Beza, 'somewhat cowed the
fury of our masters (_magistri_), and greatly strengthened the small
number of believers.'[450] The clear and striking account which Calvin
has left us, has enabled us to watch the quarrel in all its phases. As
we read it, we cannot help regretting that the reformer did not
sometimes employ his noble talents in writing history.[451]

An astonishing change was taking place in France. Calvin and Francis
appeared to be almost walking together. Calvin watched with an observing
eye the movements of men's minds, and his lofty understanding delighted
in tracing out the approaching consequences. What did he see in the year
1533? The different classes of society are in motion; men of the world
begin to speak more freely;[452] students, with the impetuosity of
youth, are rushing towards the light; many young professors perceive
that Scripture is above the pope; one of his most intimate friends is at
the head of the university; the fanatical doctors are in exile; and the
most influential men both in Church and State are favourable to the
Reform. The Bishop of Senlis, confessor to the king; John du Bellay,
Bishop of Paris, who possesses the king's entire confidence; his brother
William, one of the greatest men in France, seem all to be placing
themselves at the service of evangelical truth. William du Bellay, in
particular, excited the greatest hopes among the reformers at this time;
they entertained, indeed, exaggerated ideas about him. As Berquin was no
more, and Calvin had hardly appeared, it was Du Bellay, in their
opinion, who would reform France. 'O that the Lord would raise up many
heroes like him!' said the pious Bucer; 'then should we see Christ's
kingdom appearing with the splendour of the sun.[453] The Sire de Langey
(William du Bellay) is ready to suffer everything for Jesus Christ.'[454]


The most earnest men believed in the salutary influences which the
Reformation would exert. In fact, by awakening the conscience and
reviving faith, it was to be a principle of order and liberty; and the
religious activity which it called into existence could not but be
favourable to education and morality, and even to agriculture,
manufactures, and commerce. If Francis I. had turned to the Gospel, the
noblest minds would have followed him, and France would have enjoyed
days of peace and marvellous prosperity.

Among the enlightened men of whom we are speaking, we must include
Philip de Chabot, seignior of Brion, admiral of France, a favourite with
the king, and inclined to the cause of the Reform;[455] Maure Musée,
groom of the chamber, also won over to the Gospel; and the pious Dame de
Cany, who influenced her sister, the Duchess of Etampes, in favour of
the reformed.[456] That frivolous woman was far from being converted;
but if the Reform was reproached with the protection she afforded it,
the evangelicals called to mind that Marcia, mistress to the Emperor
Commodus, as the duchess was to the king, had protected the early
christians, and primitive Christianity was none the less respected for

Calvin did not place his hope in the powers of the world: 'Our wall of
brass,' he said, 'is to have God propitious to us. _If God be for
us_—that is our only support. There is no power under heaven or above
which can withstand his arm, and having him for our defender we need
fear no evil.'[457] And yet the blows which Francis I. had warded from
the head of the queen were to fall upon Cop and Calvin himself. But
before we come to these persecutions, we must follow the king, who,
quitting Toulouse and Montpellier, proceeded to Marseilles to meet the

[Footnote 426: _Chronique du Roi François I._ p. 98.]

[Footnote 427: _Lettres de la Reine de Navarre_, i. p. 88.]

[Footnote 428: Castaigne, _Notice sur Marguerite_. Freer, _Life of

[Footnote 429: 'Prætor stipatus centum apparitoribus gymnasium adit.'—
Calvini _Epp._ p. 1.]

[Footnote 430: 'Suis jussis domum circumcidere, ne quis elaberetur.'

[Footnote 431: 'Sed cum forte in amici cubiculo esset, tumultum prius
exaudisse.'—Calvini _Epp._ p. 1.]

[Footnote 432: 'E quibus per occasionem fugeret.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 433: 'Autor sceleris deprehendi non poterat.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 434: 'Dum vult obsistere gymnasiarcha.'—Calvini _Epp._ p. 1.]

[Footnote 435: 'Lapides a nonnullis pueris conjecti sunt.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 436: 'Quod pro scena recitassent jussit repetere.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 437: 'Improbatæ religionis.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 438: 'Longa et acerba oratione.'—Calvini _Epp._ p. 1.]

[Footnote 439: 'In reginam virtutum omnium et bonarum literarum matrem
arma sumere.'—Calvini _Epp._ p. 1.]

[Footnote 440: 'Ut dicant Academiam fecisse.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 441: 'Ne se immiscerent tanto discrimini, ne regis iram
experiri vellent.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 442: 'Omnium sententia fuit factum abjurandum.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 443: 'Magnificis verbis regis integritatem.'—Calvini _Epp._
p. 1.]

[Footnote 444: 'Fidei animosum protectorem.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 445: 'Aliquos sinistros homines.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 446: 'Se quidem fuisse delegatum Academiæ decreto.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 447: 'Fœminam tam sanctis moribus, tam pura religione

[Footnote 448: 'Omnes esse culpæ affines, si qua esset, quantumvis
abnegarent.'—Calvini _Epp._ p. 1.]

[Footnote 449: 'Nisi oblitus esset suæ theologiæ.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 450: Théodore de Bèze, _Hist. Eccl._ p. 9.]

[Footnote 451: This letter is the first in the collection published by
Theodore Beza, and will be the tenth in that to be published by Dr.

[Footnote 452: 'Omnes cœperunt loqui liberius.'—Bucer to Blaarer.
Strasburg MSS.]

[Footnote 453: 'Dominus excitet multos isti heroï similes.'—Bucer to
Chelius, quoted by Schmidt.]

[Footnote 454: 'Quidvis pati pro Christo.'—Sturm to Bucer. Ibid.]

[Footnote 455: 'Admiralius adest, qui unice nobis favet.'—Sturm to
Bucer, quoted by Schmidt.]

[Footnote 456: _Lettres de Jean Calvin_, i. p. 335, edit. J. Bonnet.]

[Footnote 457: Calvini _Opp._ passim.]

 (OCTOBER 1533.)

This interview of the pope with the king might be more injurious to the
Gospel than all the attacks of the Sorbonne. If Clement united sincerely
with Francis against Charles; if Catherine de Medici became the pledge
of union between Rome and France; would not the Reformation soon be
buried by the mournful glare of the pale torches of this fatal marriage?
Yet men still hoped that the projected interview would not take place.
In fact, Henry VIII. and the emperor did all they could to prevent
Francis from meeting the pope.[458]


But Clement VII., more charmed than ever with a matrimonial union
between the family of the Florentine merchants and that of St. Louis,
cared naught for the emperor or the king of England; and about the end
of April 1533, he convoked a sacred college at Rome, to whom he
communicated his plans. They already knew something about them: the
Roman cardinals smiled and congratulated his Holiness, but the Spanish
cardinals looked very much out of humour. The pope tried to persuade
them that he only desired this marriage for the glory of God and of the
Church. 'It is for _holy opportunities_,' he told them. No one dared
oppose it openly; but, on leaving the meeting, the emperor's cardinals
hurried to his ministers and informed them of the pontifical
communication. The latter lost no time; they called upon all their
friends, managed them with great ability, and, by dint of energy and
stratagem, succeeded in holding a congregation at the beginning of June,
at which none of the French cardinals were present. Not daring to oppose
the marriage itself, Charles's prelates displayed extreme sensibility
for the honour and welfare of the pope. They appeared to be suddenly
seized with a violent affection for Clement. 'What! the pope in France!'
they exclaimed. 'Truly it must be something more than the marriage of a
niece to _move a pope from his seat_.' Then, as if Clement's health was
very precious to them, and the Roman air excellent, the crafty Spaniards
brought forward sanitary reasons. 'Such a journey would be dangerous,
_considering the extreme heat of Provence_.'—'Never mind that,'
cunningly answered the pope; 'I shall not start until after the first


Charles then sought other means to prevent the conference. He will
contrive that the pope shall delay his departure from week to week,
until the winter sets in, and then it is not to be thought of. A very
natural occasion for these delays presented itself. The marriage of
Henry VIII. with Anne Boleyn having been made public, the emperor
haughtily demanded that justice should be done to the queen, his aunt.
Here, certainly, was matter enough to occupy the court of Rome for
months; but Clement, who had let the English business drag along for
years, being eager to finish the _other_ marriage, hastily assembled a
consistory, and pronounced against Henry VIII. all the censures which
Charles V. demanded. Then, in his zeal forgetting his usual cunning, he
made Catherine's marriage the peroration of his speech, and having done
with England and its king, he ended by saying: 'Gentlemen, if any of you
desire to make the voyage with me, you must hold yourselves in readiness
for departure.'[459]

Immediate preparations were made for fitting up the galleys of Rhodes in
which the pope was to sail. All was bustle in the harbour. Those long
low barks were supplied with everything necessary for subsistence, for
sailing, and even for attack and defence. The oars were fixed in their
places; the yards and sails were set; the flags were hoisted.... Then
the imperialists, trying to outwit the pope, had recourse to a new
stratagem; they were smitten with a sudden fondness for Coron.—'Coron,
that city in the south of Greece,' they said to the pope, 'a city of
such great importance to christendom, is attacked by the Turks; we
require the galleys of Rhodes to defend it; we must deliver the Greeks
our brothers from slavery, and restore the empire of the East.'... The
pope understood; it was difficult to beat him in cunning. 'Well, well,'
said he, 'make haste; fly to the help of christendom.... I will lend you
the said galleys, and will add my own ... and ... I will make the
passage on board the galleys of France.'[460]

Then the emperor turned to the Swiss; the Dukes of Savoy and Milan,
also, fearing that at the projected interview something would be
_brewed_ to their detriment, united with him. These three princes
attempted to induce the catholic cantons to enter the Italian league. If
these terrible Helvetic bands pass the Alps, all idea of travelling will
be abandoned by the pope. How could he expose himself to pikes and
arquebuses? Clement VII. had not the warlike disposition of Julius II.
'The King of France favours the protestants,' said Charles's deputies to
the catholic cantons; 'he desires to put the evangelical cantons in a
condition to avenge the defeat at Cappel; but if you join us, you have
nothing to fear.' At these words the catholics became eager[461] to
enter the league against the king and the pope; but Francis sent them
money to keep quiet, and they did not move.[462]

Were all his manœuvres to fail? Never had a marriage been heard of
against which so many obstacles had been raised; but it was written in
the book of fate, said many; the arms forged against it could not
succeed; and the haughty Charles vainly agitated all Europe—Swiss,
Germans, Greeks, and Turks. His ministers now had recourse to another
stratagem. Everybody knew that the pope was not brave. They revived
their tender affection for his person; and as Switzerland was not to be
tempted, they turned to Africa. 'Let your Holiness beware,' they said;
'if you undertake this voyage, you will certainly fall into the hands of
the Moors.[463]... A fleet of pirates, lurking behind the islands of
Hyères, will suddenly appear, fall on the ship in which you are sailing,
and carry you off.'[464] This time the pope was staggered. The terror
inspired by the barbarian ships was at that time very great. To be
carried away by the Moors! A pope captive in Algiers or Tunis! What a
dreadful thought!

Will he go or will he not? was the question Europe set itself. But the
matter was violently canvassed at Rome, where Guelphs and Ghibelines
almost came to blows. Arguments for the marriage, and consequently for
the voyage, were not wanting. 'The time has come,' said the papists,
'for a bold stroke to prevent France from being lost like Germany and
England.' There were loud discussions in the convents and churches, and
even in the public places. A Franciscan of the Low Countries, Herbom by
name, a monk of fiery fanaticism, stirred up the pontifical city.
'Luther, Zwingle, and Œcolampadius,' he said, 'are soldiers of Pilate;
they have crucified Jesus Christ.... But, alas! alas! this crime is
repeated in our days ... at Paris. Yes, even at Paris, by certain
disciples of Erasmus.' It was clearly necessary for the pope and his
little niece to hasten to France, in order to prevent what these
blaspheming monks dared to call the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.


At last Clement made up his mind. He would brave the fury of the waves,
and risk the attacks of the corsairs, in order to conquer the _soldiers
of Pilate_ and give a royal husband to his niece. The galleys of France,
commanded by the Duke of Albany, left Marseilles in September to fetch
the pope, who had gone to Pisa, making a boast, wherever he went, of the
most noble disinterestedness. 'I am going to this interview,' he said,
'in order to procure the peace of Europe, to prepare an expedition
against the infidels, to lead back the King of England to the right
path, and, in a word, solely for the interests of christendom.' Then,
after thus disguising himself, like the wolf in the fable, under a
borrowed dress, he showed the tip of his ear, and begged the Duke of
Albany to escort _their common relative_ to Nice, where she would wait
for further orders. The honour done to his family was so great that
doubts were continually arising in his mind about the trustworthiness of
the French king's promises. He would not take his niece with him to
Marseilles, for fear he should have to bring her back. He will see
Francis alone first; he will speak to him and sound him. Clement
believed that his piercing eye would read the king's heart to the very
bottom. When all his fears are removed, Catherine shall come to France;
but until then, she shall only go part of the way.[465]

The young lady departed for Nice, and people said, pointing to her as
they saw her going on board ship: 'There is the real cause of the
strange journey of a pope to France! If it were a matter touching the
safety of the Church, Clement would not do so much; but it is to place a
Medici beside a throne, and perhaps set her upon it.'... The French
fleet put to sea: the ship, on whose mainmast the standard of France had
been hoisted, exhibited a sight at once gay and sad. Beneath the flags
and banners, at the side of the Duke of Albany, and in the midst of a
brilliant retinue, might be seen a kind of little fairy, who was then
making her first appearance in the world. She was a young creature, of
middle stature, with sparkling eyes and bell-like voice, who appeared to
possess some supernatural power, and singularly fascinated every one
that came near her. Her enchantments and her philtres were the subtle
poison on which the papacy relied for destroying heresy. This child,
between thirteen and fourteen years of age, skipped with joy about the
stately ship. 'I am going to be the daughter-in-law of the glorious King
of France,' she said to herself. Death, with whom this strange creature
seemed to have made a secret and terrible treaty, was in truth erelong
to raise her to the summit of power. The galleys of Albany, after having
conveyed _the girl_ to Nice (it is Guicciardini's word), returned to
Leghorn, the port of Pisa, and on the 4th of October the pope, with the
cardinals and all his household, put to sea.


The papal fleet, all fluttering with banners, had a smooth passage.[466]
Clement could without interruption meditate on a thousand different
projects. Marry Catherine to the son of the King of France; free
himself, thanks to the support of this prince, from the patronage of the
emperor whom he detested; put off indefinitely the council which Charles
had been so bold as to promise to the protestants; and finally crush the
Reformation, both in France and elsewhere.... Such were Clement's
projects during the voyage. Before leaving Rome, he had drawn up (1st of
September) a bull against the heretics; he had it on board the ship, and
he purposed demanding its immediate execution from Francis, as a wedding
present. The winds blew softly in the direction of Marseilles; all
congratulated themselves on the beauty of the passage; but this fleet,
in appearance so inoffensive, which glided so smoothly over the waters
of the Mediterranean, carried, like the bark of Ulysses, stores of
future tempests.

Opinions were much divided in France about the pope's voyage. If Clement
satisfied Francis, the Reform was ruined; if he thwarted the king,
France would follow the example of England. Everybody admitted the
hypothesis that pleased him best. 'Francis and Clement,' said the
reformed, 'follow such opposite courses, that it is impossible for them
to coincide.'—'The king and the pope,' said the ultramontanists, 'are
about to be united by indissoluble bonds, and popery will be restored in
France in all its exclusive supremacy.'[467] There were however some of
the school of Erasmus who remained in doubt. 'As for me,' wrote
Professor Sturm to Bucer, 'I desire much that popery should be
overthrown, but ... I fear greatly that it will be restored.'[468] Sturm
did not compromise himself. To which side will Marseilles make
Francis I. incline? Historians have decided that he was won over to
Rome; but after hearing the historians, we must listen to history.


At the beginning of October 1533, the ancient city of the Phocæans was
in a state of great excitement; the King of France and the pope were
coming; what an honour! It is well known that the inhabitants of that
city are quick, enthusiastic, and fond of show and parade. Watchmen had
been placed on the highest points to telegraph the approaching fleet. At
length, on the 4th of October, the castles of If and Notre Dame de la
Garde suddenly gave the looked-for signals. One cry only was heard in
the streets of Marseilles: 'The flotilla with the pope on board has come
in sight.'[469] A feverish agitation pervaded the city; the sound of
trumpets, clarions, and hautboys filled the air; the people hurried to
the harbour. Nobles and prelates went on board the ships that had been
kept ready; their sails were unfurled, and in a short time this
extemporised fleet saluted that of the pope with deafening acclamations.
Many devout catholics trembled with joy and admiration; they could
hardly believe their eyes. 'Behold the real representative of Christ,'
they said, 'the father of all christians, the only man who can at will
give new laws to the Church;[470] the man who has never been mistaken
and never will be; whose name is alone in the world, _vice-God_ upon
earth.'[471] Clement smiled: in Italy he had never heard such
exclamations or witnessed such enthusiasm. O France! truly art thou the
eldest daughter of the Church! He did not know that vanity, curiosity,
love of pomp, and a fondness for noise had much to do with this rapture,
and that France, like her king Clovis, worships what it has cast down,
and casts down what it has worshipped. The pope had no leisure to
indulge in such reflections. At the moment his galley entered the
harbour, three hundred pieces of artillery fired a salute. Notre Dame de
la Garde, the tower of St. John, the abbey of St. Victor, the harbour
and its vicinity were all on fire.[472]

Francis was not to be seen among the vast and brilliant crowd which
filled Marseilles. There were princes of the blood, prelates,
diplomatists, magistrates, courtiers, and warriors; but the king,
although at the gates of the city, kept himself in the background and
apart. However, when the night came, and everybody had retired to their
quarters to rest after so fatiguing a day, a man, wrapped up in a cloak,
entered the city, glided mysteriously along the dark streets, and
stopped at the gate of the palace where the pope was lodging. This man
was immediately introduced into the apartments where Clement was
preparing to take his repose: it was the King of France.[473]... What
was the object of this nocturnal visit? Was it because the king wished
to sound the pontiff in secret, before receiving him officially? Was it
the etiquette of the time? However that may be, Francis, after a secret
and confidential conversation, returned with the same mystery, wearing a
very satisfied look. The pope had promised everything, all the rights,
all the possessions,—in a word, whatever he had made up his mind not to

The next day the pope, dressed in his pontifical robes, and seated in a
magnificent chair borne on men's shoulders, made his solemn entry,
attended by his cardinals, also in all the brilliancy of their costume,
and by a great number of lords and ladies of France and Italy.[474]


Early in the morning, and while the streets were echoing with cries of
joy, the president of the parliament, living in one of the handsomest
houses of Marseilles, was pacing his room with anxious brow,
gesticulating and carefully repeating some Latin phrases. That
magistrate had been commissioned, as a great orator, to deliver an
address to the pope; but as unfortunately Latin was not familiar to him,
he had had his speech written out beforehand, and by dint of labour he
had so far committed it to memory, as to be able to repeat it
off-hand—provided there was no change made in it.

At the same moment, a messenger from the pope appeared at the king's
levée with a paper, and requested, on behalf of the pontiff, who had a
great fear of the terrible Charles V., that the said oration should be
delivered as it was written on the paper he brought with him, so as to
give the emperor no offence. Francis despatched Clement's draft to the
president. What a disappointment! The new address was precisely the
contrary of what he had been learning by heart. The famous orator became
confused: he did not know what to do.... Alas! he had but a few minutes
to spare, and the sonorous words which would have offended the great
emperor, and which he had counted on reciting in his loudest voice, kept
recurring to his mind. He fancied himself in the presence of that
magnificent assembly of proud Roman prelates who knew Latin so well....
There could be no doubt about it ... he would become embarrassed, he
would stammer, he would not remember what he had to say, and would break
down. He was quite in a fever. The president, no longer master of
himself, hurried off to the king, and begged him to give the office to
some one else. 'Very well, then,' said Francis to Bishop du Bellay, 'you
must undertake it.' At that moment the procession started. It reached
its destination; the Bishop of Paris, although taken unawares, put a
bold face upon the matter; and being a good Latin scholar and able
orator, he executed his commission wonderfully well.[475]

The official conferences began shortly after, and neither king nor pope
spared protestations, stratagems, or falsehoods: the pope particularly
excelled in the latter article. 'He used so much artifice in the
business,' says Guicciardini,[476] 'that the king confided marvellously
in him.' What Francis required to compensate him for the misalliance was
not much: he asked for the duchies of Urbino and Milan, Pisa, Leghorn,
Reggio, Modena, Parma, Piacenza, and Genoa. But if the king was
inexhaustible in his demands, the pope was equally so in his promises,
being the more liberal as he intended to give nothing. Clement, touched
by the good-nature of Francis, who appeared to believe all that was told
him, sent at last to Nice for the youthful Catherine.


It was not decorous for the pope to appear to have come so far only to
give away a young lady. He proposed, therefore, in order to conceal his
intrigues, to issue the bull against the heretics which he had brought
with him. It was his wedding present, and nothing could better
inaugurate Catherine's entry into France. But the diplomatist, William
du Bellay, did all in his power to prevent this truly Roman transaction.
He had several very animated conversations on this subject with the
cardinals and with the pope himself. He represented to him the necessity
of satisfying the protestants of Germany: 'A free council and mutual
concessions,' he said; but Clement was deaf. Du Bellay would not give
way; he struggled manfully with the pontiff, and conjured him not to
attempt to put down the Reformation with violence.[477] He used similar
language to Francis, and laid before him some letters which he had
recently received from Germany; but the king replied that he was taking
the matter too seriously. The bull of excommunication was simply a
_manner_, a papal form ... and nothing more. The bull was published, and
there was a great noise about it. Francis and Clement, each believing in
the other's good faith, were deceiving one another. The only truth in
all this Marseilles business was the gift the pope made to France of
Catherine de Medici. That was quite enough certainly.

As soon as the pope's niece arrived, preparations were made for the
marriage. The ministers of the king and of the pope took the contract in
hand, and the latter having spoken of an annuity of one hundred thousand
crowns: 'It is very little for so noble an alliance,' said the
treasurers of Francis I.—'True,' replied Strozzi, one of Clement's most
able servants; 'but observe that her grace the Duchess of Urbino brings
moreover three rings of inestimable value ... Genoa, Milan, and
Naples.'[478] These diamonds, whose brilliancy was to dazzle the king
and France, never shone on Catherine's fingers or on the crown of Henry


The ceremony was conducted with great magnificence. The bride advanced,
young, brilliant, radiant with joy, with smiling lips and sparkling eyes,
her head adorned with gold, pearls, and flowers; and in her train ...
Death.... Death, who was always her faithful follower, who served
her even when she would have averted his dart; who, by striking the
dauphin, was to make her the wife of the heir to the crown; by striking
her father-in-law, to make her queen; and by striking down successively
her husband and all her sons, to render her supreme controller of the
destinies of France. In gratitude, therefore, towards her mysterious and
sinister ally, the Florentine woman was forty years later, and in a
night of August, to give him a magnificent entertainment in the streets
of Paris, to fill a lake with blood that he might bathe therein, and
organise the most terrible festival that had ever been held in honour of
Death. Catherine approached the altar, trembling a little, though not
agitated. The pope officiated, desirous of personally completing the
grandeur of his house, and tapers without number were lighted. The King
and Queen of France, with a crowd of courtiers dressed in the richest
costumes, surrounded the altar. Catherine de Medici placed her cold hand
in the faithless hand of Henry of Valois, which was to deprive the
Reform of all liberty, and France herself, in the _Unhappy Peace_, of
her glory and her conquests. Clement gave his pontifical blessing to
this tragic pair. The marriage was concluded; the _girl_, as
Guicciardini calls her, was a wife; her eyes glanced as with fire. Was
it a beam of happiness and pride? Probably. We might ask also if it was
not the joy of the hyena scenting from afar the graves where it could
feast on the bodies of the dead; or of the tiger espying from its lair
in the African desert the groups of travellers upon whom it might spring
and quench its raging thirst for blood. But although the appetites which
manifested themselves in the St. Bartholomew massacre already existed in
the germ in this young wife, there is no evidence (it must be
acknowledged) that she allowed herself to be governed at Marseilles by
these cruel promptings.

There are creatures accursed of God, who, under a dazzling veil and fair
outward show, impart to a nation an active power of contagion, the venom
of corruption, an invisible principle of death which, circulating
through the veins, infects with its morbid properties all parts of the
body, and strikes the physical powers with general prostration. It was
thus at the commencement of the history of the human race that a fallen
being deceived man; by him sin entered into the world, and _death by
sin_. This first scene, which stands alone, has been repeated, however,
from time to time in the world, though on a smaller scale. It happened
to France when the daughter of the Medici crept into the family of its
kings. No doubt the disease was already among the people, but
Catherine's arrival was one of those events which bring the corruption
to a head. This woman, so false and dissolute, so vile as to crawl at
the feet of her husband's mistress and pick up secrets for her; this
woman, who gave birth to none but enervated, idiotic, distempered, and
vicious children, not only corrupted her own sons, but infected an
entire brilliant society that might have been noble and just (as Coligny
showed), and instilled her deadly venom into its veins. The niece of the
pope poisoned France.

'Clement's joy was incredible,' says Guicciardini.[479] He had even a
feeling of gratitude, and resolved to give the king four _hats_ for four
French bishops. Did he intend that these hats should supply the place of
Urbino, Genoa, Milan, and Naples? Nobody knows. One of the new cardinals
was Odet de Chatillon, then eleven years old, brother of the immortal
Coligny, and subsequently one of the supporters of protestantism in
France. The king, wishing to appear grateful for so many favours, wrote
to the Bishop of Paris, that 'as the crime of heresy increased and
multiplied, he should proceed to act against the heretics.'—'Do not
fail,' he added.[480] But the Bishop of Paris, brother of the
diplomatist Du Bellay, was the least inclined of all the prelates in
France to persecution. Francis knew this well, and for that very reason,
perhaps, gave him the order.


The pope, delighted at having made so good a bargain in the city of
merchants, embarked on the 20th of November to return to Rome. Excess of
joy was hurtful to him, as it had been to his cousin Leo X. The threats
of the emperor, who demanded a council; the pressure of Francis I., who
claimed Catherine's _three rings_;[481] the quarrels of his two nephews,
who were fighting at Florence,—all filled poor Clement with uneasiness
and sorrow. He told his attendants that his end was near; and
immediately after his return, he had the ring and the garments prepared
which are used at the burial of the popes.[482] His only consolation,
the approaching destruction of the protestants, seemed to fail him in
his last days. Even during his interview with the pope, Francis was
secretly intriguing to unite with the most formidable of the enemies of
Rome. After embracing the old papacy with apparent emotion, the
chivalrous king gallantly held out his hand to the young Reformation. In
the space of two months he had two interviews as opposite as possibly
could be. These two contradictory conferences point out one of the
traits that best characterise the versatile and ambitious Francis. This
modern Janus had a head with two faces. We have just seen that which
looked backwards into the past; we shall soon see that which looked
forwards into the future. But before we follow the King of France in his
oscillation towards Germany and the protestants, we must return to
Calvin. In October 1533, Francis and Clement had met at Marseilles; and
on the 1st of November, while those princes were still diplomatising, a
great evangelical demonstration took place at Paris.

[Footnote 458: Henry VIII. to Norfolk, Aug. 8, 1533. _State Papers_,
vii. p. 493.]

[Footnote 459: Du Bellay, _Mémoires_, p. 195.]

[Footnote 460: Ibid. p. 185.]

[Footnote 461: 'En grand branle.']

[Footnote 462: Du Bellay, _Mém._ p. 195.]

[Footnote 463: 'Non licere ejus Sanctitati sine Maurorum periculo illuc
accedere.'—Vanner to Cromwell. _State Papers_, vii. p. 508.]

[Footnote 464: 'Ob insulas de Yeres, ubi piratarum classis posset ad
intercipiendum pontificem in insidiis latitare.'—Vanner to Cromwell,
_State Papers_, vii. p. 508.]

[Footnote 465: Guicciardini, _Wars of Italy_, ii. bk. xx.]

[Footnote 466: Guicciardini, _Wars of Italy_, ii. bk. xx. p. 901.]

[Footnote 467: 'Papam aut subversum, aut restitutum iri in suam et
inveteratam tyrannidem.'—Sturm to Bucer. Strasburg MSS.]

[Footnote 468: 'Alterum ego expecto magno cum desiderio, alterum non
mediocriter extimesco.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 469: Du Bellay, _Mémoires_, p. 204.]

[Footnote 470: 'Quod illi soli licet pro temporis necessitate novas
leges condere.'—_Dict. Gregorii._]

[Footnote 471: 'Veri Dei vicem gerit in terris.'—_De Translatione

[Footnote 472: Du Bellay, _Mém._ p. 205. _State Papers_, vii. p. 515.]

[Footnote 473: Guicciardini, _Wars of Italy_, ii. bk. xx. p. 901.]

[Footnote 474: Du Bellay, _Mém._ p. 205.]

[Footnote 475: Du Bellay, _Mém._ p. 206.]

[Footnote 476: _Wars of Italy_, ii. bk. xx. p. 901.]

[Footnote 477: 'Legatum vehementer contendisse cum romano pontifice
Massiliæ, ne violenter agat.'—_Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 721.]

[Footnote 478: Guicciardini, _Hist. des Guerres d'Italie_, ii. liv. xx.
p. 901.]

[Footnote 479: _Guerres d'Italie_, ii. liv. xx. p. 901.]

[Footnote 480: _Lettre close à l'évêque de Paris_, p. 21.]

[Footnote 481: 'S. M. Christᵐᵃ dimando che da sua Santᵃ li fussino
osservate le promesse.'—Soriano, Ranke, _Päpste_, i. p. 127.]

[Footnote 482: Guicciardini, _Guerres d'Italie_, i. liv. xx. p. 902.]

 (NOVEMBER 1533.)

Calvin had not quitted Paris. He was at one moment on the boulevards
with the merchant De la Forge, at another in the university quarter with
Cop; in the dwellings of the poor, and the mansions of the nobles,
'increasing greatly the work of the Lord,' says Beza, 'not only by
teaching truth, but also by opposing the heretics.'[483] He then retired
to his chamber and meditated. He turned his piercing glance upon the
future, and fancied he could see, in a time more or less remote and
through certain clouds, the triumph of the Gospel. He knew that the
cause of God in general advances painfully; that there are rocks in the
way; that interest, ignorance, and servility check it at every moment;
that it stumbles and falls, and men may think it ruined. But Calvin
believed that He who is its Head would help it to overcome all its
enemies. 'Only,' he said, 'those who bear its standard must mount to the
assault with unflinching courage.' Calvin, thinking that the time for
the assault had come, desired that in the university itself, from that
pulpit which all Europe respected, the voice of truth should be heard
after centuries of silence. A very natural opportunity occurred.


During the month of October Cop was much occupied with a task that had
fallen to him. It was the custom of the university for the rector to
deliver an inaugural address in Latin on All Saints' Day in one of the
churches of Paris. Calvin thought that it was his duty to take advantage
of this opportunity to proclaim the Gospel boldly in the face of France.
The rector replied that he was a physician, and that it was difficult
for him to speak like a divine: 'If, however, you will write the
address,' he said, 'I will promise to deliver it.' The two young men
were soon agreed; they understood the risk they ran, but were ready to
incur it, without presumption however, and with prudence. They agreed to
explain the essence of the Gospel before the university, giving it the
academic name of _Christian Philosophy_. 'Christ,' says Calvin, 'desires
us to be like serpents, careful to avoid all that may hurt us; and yet
like doves, who fly without fear and without care, and who offer
themselves innocently to the fowlers who are laying snares for

All Saints' Day, 1533, having arrived, the university assembled with
great pomp in the Mathurins' church; many were impatient to hear Cop,
whose conduct in the case of the Queen of Navarre had made him an object
of suspicion to the Sorbonne. A great number of monks, and especially of
Franciscans, took their places and opened their ears. There were however
scattered about the church many steadfast friends of the Gospel, who had
come to be present at the assault and perhaps witness the triumph of
their faith. Among them, and on a bench apart, sat a young man of humble
appearance, calm, modest, and attentive to all that was said. Nobody
suspected that it was he (Calvin) who was about to set the university,
and indeed all France, in commotion. The hour having come, all the
dignitaries, professors, and students fixed their eager eyes upon Cop as
he rose to speak. He pronounced the opening address 'in a very different
fashion,' says Theodore Beza, 'from what was usual.' There was a
simplicity and life in his delivery which contrasted strongly with the
dryness and exaggeration of the old doctors. The discourse is of
importance in the history of the Reformation; we shall give it,
therefore, in part, all the more because it has lain unknown until this
hour among the manuscripts of the library of Geneva, and is now first
presented to the christian public.[485]


'Christian philosophy is a great thing,' said the rector; 'a thing too
excellent for any tongue to express and even for any mind to conceive
its value. The gift of God to man by Jesus Christ himself, it teaches us
to know that true happiness which deceives nobody, making us believe and
comprehend that we are truly the sons of God.... The brightness of the
splendour of this wisdom of God eclipses all the glimmerings of the
wisdom of the world. It places its possessors as far above the common
order of men, as that order is itself above the brutes.[486] The mind of
man, opened and enlarged by the divine hand, then understands things
infinitely more sublime than all those which are learnt from our feeble
humanity. How admirable, how holy must this divine philosophy be, since,
in order to bring it to men, God was willing to become man, and, to
teach it to us, the Immortal put on mortality! Could God better manifest
his love to us than by the gift of his eternal Word? What stronger and
tenderer bond could God establish between himself and us than by
becoming a man such as we are? Sirs, let us praise the other sciences, I
approve of it; let us admire logic, natural philosophy, and ethics, in
consideration of their utility; but who would dare compare them with
that other philosophy, which explains what philosophers have long been
seeking after and never found ... the will of God? And what is the
hidden will that is revealed to us here? It is this: _The grace of God
alone remits sins.[487]... The Holy Ghost, which sanctifies all hearts
and gives eternal life, is promised to all christians._[488] If there is
any one among you who does not praise this science above all other
sciences, I would ask him, what will he praise? Would you delight the
mind of man, give him repose of heart, teach him to live holy and
happily? Christian philosophy abundantly supplies him with these
admirable blessings; and, at the same time, it subdues, as with a
wholesome rein, the impetuous movements of the soul.[489] Sirs, since
the dignity and glory of this Gospel are so great, how I rejoice that
the office with which I am invested calls upon me to lay it before you

This appeared a strange exordium to a great number of hearers: What! not
a word about the saints whom all catholics glorify on this day?... Let
us wait, however, and see.

The rector then announced that according to custom he would explain the
Gospel of the day, that is, the beatitudes pronounced by Jesus on the
mountain. 'But first of all,' he said, 'unite with me in earnest prayer
to Christ, who is _the true and only intercessor with the Father_, in
order that by his fertilising Spirit he may enlighten our
understandings, and that _our discourse may praise him, savour of him,
be full of him, and reflect his image, so that this divine Saviour,
penetrating our souls, may water them with the dew of his heavenly

Then the rector explained the happiness of those who are _poor in
spirit_, who _mourn_, who _hunger and thirst after righteousness_.


The university had never heard the like. An admirable proportion was
observed throughout the address; it was academical and yet evangelical—a
thing not often seen. Calvin had discovered that tongue of the wise
which useth knowledge aright. But the enemies of the Gospel were not
deceived. Through the thin veil with which he had covered the grandeur
of divine love, they discovered those heights and depths of grace which
are a source of joy to the true christian, but an object of abhorrence
to the adversary. There was an indescribable uneasiness among the
auditory. Certain of the hearers exchanged glances, in this way
indicating to one another the passages which seemed to them the most
reprehensible. University professors, priests, monks, and students—all
listened with astonishment to such unusual language. Here and there in
the congregation signs of approbation might be observed, but far more
numerous signs of anger. Two Franciscans, in particular, were so excited
that they could scarcely keep their seats; and when the assembly broke
up they were heard expressing their indignation in loud terms: 'Grace ...
God's pardon ... the Holy Ghost ... there is abundance of all that
in the rector's discourse; but of penance, indulgences, and meritorious
works ... not a word!' It was pointed out to them that the rector,
according to custom, had ended his exordium with the salutation which
the angel had addressed to Mary; but that, in the opinion of the monks,
was a mere form. The words being in Scripture, how could the rector
refuse to pronounce them? Had he not besides begun by saying that Christ
is the _only true_ intercessor, _verus et unus apud Patrem
intercessor_?... What is left then to Mary, except that she is the
mother of the Saviour? The Sorbonne was filled with anger and alarm....
To select the day of the festival of _All Saints_, in order to proclaim
that there is _only one_ intercessor! Such a crime must not remain
unpunished. If Cop wished to produce a sensation, the monks will produce
one also! The two Franciscans having consulted with their friends, their
opinion was that the university was not to be trusted. Consequently they
hastened to the parliament and laid the rector's heretical propositions
before it.

Cop and Calvin had each retired separately, and been visited in their
respective apartments by many of their friends. Some of them did not
approve of these great manifestations; they would have wished the
evangelicals to be content with a few small conventicles here and there
in retired places. Calvin did not agree with them. In his opinion there
was one single universal christian Church, which had existed since the
time of the apostles, and would exist always. The errors and abuses
abounding in christendom, profane priests, hypocrites, scandalous
sinners, do not prevent the Church from existing. True, it is often
reduced to little more than a small humble flock; but the flock exists,
and it must, whenever it has the opportunity, manifest itself in
opposition to a fallen catholicism. The reformers themselves, though it
is frequently forgotten, maintained the doctrine of a universal Church;
but while Rome counts among the number of signs which characterise it 'a
certain pomp and temporal possessions,'[491] the evangelical doctors, on
the contrary, reckon persecution and the cross as a mark of the true
Church. Cop and Calvin were to make the experiment in their own persons.


The rector was not inclined to give way to the monks: he resolved to
join battle on a question of form, which would dispose his colleagues in
his favour, and perhaps in favour of truth. It was a maxim received in
the university, that all its members, and _a fortiori_ its head, must be
tried first by the corporation, and that it was not permissible to pass
over any degree of jurisdiction.[492] Accordingly, on the 19th of
November, the rector convoked the four faculties, and, having undertaken
the defence of his address, complained bitterly that certain persons had
dared to carry the matter before a foreign body. The privileges of the
university had thus been attacked. 'It has been insulted by this
denunciation of its chief to the parliament,' said Cop; 'and these
impudent informers must give satisfaction for the insult.'

These words excited a great commotion in the assembly. The theologians,
who had hung down their heads in the case of the Queen of Navarre,

  ... N'osant approfondir
  De ces hautes puissances
  Les moins pardonnables offenses,

resolved to compensate themselves by falling with their whole strength
upon a plain doctor, who was besides by birth a Swiss. Every one of them
raised a cry against him. The university was divided into two distinct
parties, and the meeting reechoed with the most contradictory appeals.
The theologians shouted loudest: 'Time presses,' they said; 'the crisis
has arrived. If we yield, the Romish doctrine, vanquished and expelled
from the university, will give place to the new errors. Heresy is at our
gates; we must crush it by a single blow!'—'The Gospel, philosophy, and
liberty!' said one party.—'Popery, tradition, and submission!' said the
other. The noise and disturbance became such that nothing could be
heard. At last the question was put to the vote: two faculties, those of
letters and medicine, were for Cop's proposition; and two, namely, law
and divinity, were against it. The rector, to show his moderation,
refused to vote, being unwilling to give the victory to himself.[493]
The meeting broke up in the greatest confusion.

The rector's address, and the discussions to which it gave rise, made a
great noise at court as well as in the city; but no one took more
interest in it than the Queen of Navarre. The question of her poetry had
been the first act; Calvin's address was the second. Margaret knew that
he was the real author of the discourse. She always granted her special
patronage to the students trained in any of her schools. She watched the
young scholars with the most affectionate interest, and rejoiced in
their successes. There was not one of them that could be compared with
Calvin, who had studied at Bourges, Margaret's university. The purity of
his doctrine, the boldness of his profession, the majesty of his
language, astonished everybody, and had particularly struck the queen.
Calvin was one of her students for whom she anticipated the highest
destinies. That princess was not indeed formed for resistance; the
mildness of her character inclined her to yield; and of this she was
well aware. About this time, being commissioned by the king to transact
certain business with one of her relations, a very headstrong woman, she
wrote to Montmorency, 'Employ a head better steeled than mine, or you
will not succeed. She is a Norman woman, and smells of the sea; I am an
Anjoumoise, sprinkled with the soft waters of the Charente.'[494] But,
mild as she was, she took this matter of Cop and Calvin seriously to
heart. When the friends of the Gospel placed the candle boldly on the
candlestick to give light to all France, should a violent wind come and
extinguish it?


The Queen of Navarre summoned Calvin to the court, Beza informs
us.[495]... The news circulated immediately among the evangelical
christians, who entertained great hopes from it. 'The Queen of Navarre,'
they said, 'the king's only sister, is favourable to true religion.
Perhaps the Lord, by the intervention of that admirable woman, will
disperse the impending storm.'[496] Calvin accordingly went to court.
The ladies-in-waiting having introduced him into the queen's apartment,
she rose to meet him, and made him sit down by her side, 'receiving him
with great honour,' says Beza, 'and hearing him with much
pleasure.'[497] The two finest geniuses which France then possessed were
thus brought face to face—the man of the people and the queen, so
different in outward appearance and even as to the point of view from
which they regarded the Reform, but yet both animated with an ardent
desire to see the triumph of the Gospel. They communicated their
thoughts to each other. Calvin, notwithstanding the persecution, was
full of courage. He knew that the Church of Christ is exposed to changes
and error, like all human things, and the state of christendom, in his
opinion, showed this full clearly; but he believed that it possessed an
incorruptible power of life, and that, at the very moment when it seemed
entirely fallen and ruined, it had by the Holy Spirit the ability to
rise again and be renewed. The hour of this renewal had arrived, and it
was as impossible for men to retard it as to prevent the spring-time
from budding and covering the earth with leaves, blossoms, and fruit.
Yet Calvin was under no delusion as to the dangers which threatened
evangelical christianity. 'When the peril is imminent,' he said, 'it is
not the time to indulge ourselves like silly, careless people; the fear
of danger, serving as an incentive, should lead us to ask for God's
help, and to put on our armour without trembling.' The queen promised to
use all her influence to calm the storm. Calvin was conducted out of the
palace with the same attentions that had been paid him when he entered
it. He afterwards spoke about this interview to Theodore Beza, who has
handed it down to us.[498]

Still the sky became more threatening. The parliament, paying no respect
to the privileges of the university, had entertained the complaint of
the monks; the rector, therefore, received a message from this sovereign
court summoning him to appear before it. Calvin knew quite well that a
similar process would soon reach him; but he never shrank back either
from before the despotism of an unjust power, or from the popular fury.
'We are not in the school of a Plato,' he said, 'where, sitting in the
shade, we can indulge in idle discussions. Christ nobly maintained his
doctrines before Pilate, and can we be so cowardly as to forsake
him?'[499] Cop, strengthened by his friend, determined to appear to the
summons of the parliament. That body had great power, no doubt; but the
rector said to himself that the university possessed incontestable
privileges, and that all learned Europe had been for many centuries
almost at its feet. He resolved to support its rights, to accuse his
accusers, and to reprimand the parliament for stepping out of the lawful
course. Cop, therefore, got himself ready to appear, as became the head
of the first university of the christian world. He put on his academical
robes, and preceded by the beadles and apparitors, with their maces and
gold-headed staves,[500] set out with great ceremony for the Palace of


He was going to his death. The parliament, as well as Calvin, had
understood the position, but had arrived at very different conclusions.
It saw that the hour was come to strike the blow that would crush the
Reformation, and had resolved to arrest the rector even in the court.
The absence of the king was an opportunity of which they must hasten to
take advantage. A signal vengeance, inflicted in full parliament, was to
expiate a crime not less signal, committed in the presence of the whole
university. A member of the court, converted to the Gospel, determined
to save the unfortunate Cop, and sent a trusty man to warn him of the
impending danger. As he quitted the great hall, the messenger caught
sight of the archers who had been sent for to arrest the rector: might
it not be too late to save him? Cop was already on the road and
approaching the palace, accompanied by a crowd of students, citizens,
and common people, some full of good wishes, others curious to learn the
issue of this singular duel between the parliament and the university.
The man sent to forewarn the rector arrived just as the university
procession was passing through a narrow street. Taking advantage of a
momentary confusion occasioned by the crowd, he approached Cop, and
whispered in his ear: 'Beware of the enemy;[501] they intend shutting
you up in the Conciergerie; Berquin's fate awaits you; I have seen the
officers authorised to seize you; if you go farther, you are a dead
man.' ... What was to be done?... If it had been Calvin instead of Cop,
he would perhaps have gone on. I cannot tell; for the peril was
imminent, and it appeared doubtful if anything would be gained by
braving it. However that may be, Cop was only Calvin's double; it was
his friend's faith that urged him forward more perhaps than his own. To
stand firm in the day of tempest, man must cling to the rock without
human help; Cop, overtaken by this news of death at the very moment he
fancied he was marching to victory, lost his presence of mind, stopped
the procession, was suddenly surrounded by several friends, and, the
disorder being thus augmented, he escaped and hastily returned home.[502]


Where shall he go now? There could be no doubt that the parliament would
seize him wherever he could be found; his friends therefore insisted
that he should quit France. He was strongly inclined to do so: Basle,
the asylum of his master Erasmus, was his native place, and he was sure
of finding a shelter there. Cop flung off the academical dress, the cap
and gown, which would have betrayed him;[503] caught up hurriedly what
was necessary for his journey, and by mistake, some say, carried away
the university seal with him.[504] I rather believe he did so
designedly; compelled to yield to force, he desired, even when far from
Paris, to retain the insignia of that illustrious body. His friends
hurried him; at any moment the house might be surrounded; he quitted it
stealthily, escaped out of Paris, and fled along the road which leads to
Basle, using every precaution to conceal himself from the pursuit of his
enemies. When the archers went to his house, they searched it in vain:
the rector had disappeared.

The parliament, exasperated at this escape, promised a reward of three
hundred crowns to any one who should bring back the fugitive rector,
_dead or alive_.[505] But Cop in his disguise eluded every eye; he
succeeded through innumerable dangers in getting safely out of the
kingdom, and arrived in Switzerland. He was saved; but the Reformation
was threatened with a still more terrible blow.

The Roman party consoled themselves a little for this escape by saying
that Cop was only a puppet, and that the man who had pulled the strings
was still in their power. 'It is Calvin,' they said, 'whom we must seize.
He is a daring adventurer, a rash determined man, resolved to make the
world talk of him like that incendiary of the temple of Diana, of whom
history speaks. He will keep all Europe in disquietude, and will build
up a new world. If he is permitted to live, he will be the Luther ...
the firebrand of France.'[506]

The lieutenant-criminal, Jean Morin, had kept his eye for some time upon
the young doctor. He had discovered his activity in increasing the
heretical sect, and also his secret conferences with Cop. His agents
were on his track whenever Calvin went by night to teach from house to
house.[507]... Cop was the shadow, said the monks; if the shadow escapes
us, let us strike the substance. The parliament ordered the
lieutenant-criminal to seize the reformer and shut him up in the


Calvin, trusting to his obscurity and, under God, to the protection of
the Queen of Navarre, was sitting quietly in his room in the college of
Fortret.[508] He was not however free from emotion; he was thinking of
what had happened to Cop, but did not believe that the persecution would
reach him. His friends, however, did not share in this rash security.
Those who had helped Cop to escape, seeing the rector out of his
enemies' reach, said to themselves that the same danger threatened
Calvin.[509] They entered his chamber at a time when they were least
expected. 'Fly!' they said to him, 'or you are lost.' He still
hesitated. Meanwhile the lieutenant-criminal arrived before the college
with his sergeants. Several students immediately hurried to their
comrade, told him what was going on, and entreated him to flee. But
scarcely have they spoken, when heavy steps are heard: it is no longer
time.... The officers are there! It was the noise made by them at
Calvin's door (says an historian) which made him comprehend the danger
that threatened him. Perhaps the college gate is meant, rather than the
door of the reformer's own room.[510] In either case, the moment was
critical; but if they could manage to gain only a few minutes, the young
evangelist might escape. His noble, frank, and sympathetic soul
conciliated the hearts of all who knew him. He always possessed devoted
friends, and they did not fail him now. The window of his room opened
into the street of the Bernardins. They lost not a moment: some of those
who came to warn him engaged the attention of Morin and his officers for
a few minutes; others remaining with Calvin twisted the bed-clothes into
a rope, and fastened them to the window. Calvin, leaving his manuscripts
scattered about, caught hold of the sheets and lowered himself down to
the ground.[511] He was not the first of Christ's servants who had taken
that road to escape death. When the Jews of Damascus conspired against
Paul, 'the disciples took him by night and let him down by the wall in a
basket.'—'Thus early,' says Calvin, 'Paul went through his
apprenticeship of carrying the cross in after years.'[512]

He had hardly disappeared when the lieutenant-criminal, notorious for
his excessive cruelty,[513] entered the room, and was astonished to find
no one there. The youthful doctor had escaped like a bird from the net
of the fowler. Morin ordered some of his sergeants to pursue the
fugitive, and then proceeded to examine carefully all the heretic's
papers, hoping to find something that might compromise other Lutherans.
He did lay his hand on certain letters and documents which afterwards
exposed Calvin's friends to great danger, and even to death.[514] Morin
docketed them, tied them up carefully in a bundle, and withdrew. The
cruel hatred which animated him against the evangelical christians had
been still further increased by his failure.

Calvin, having landed in the street of the Bernardins, entered that of
St. Victor, and then proceeded towards the suburb of that name. At the
extremity of this suburb, not far from the open country (a catholic
historian informs us), dwelt a vine-dresser, a member of the little
church of Paris. Calvin went to this honest protestant's and told him
what had just happened. The vine-dresser, who probably had heard him
explain the Scriptures at their secret meetings, moved with a fatherly
affection for the young man, proposed to change clothes with him.
Forthwith, says the canon to whom we are indebted for the account,
Calvin took off his own garments and put on the peasant's old-fashioned
coat. With a hoe on one shoulder, and a wallet on the other, in which
the vine-dresser had placed some provisions, he started again. If Morin
had sent his officers after him, they might have passed by the fugitive
reformer under this rustic disguise.


He was not far beyond the suburbs of Paris, however, when he saw a canon
whom he knew coming towards him. The latter with astonishment fixed a
curious look on the vine-dresser, and fancying him to be very unlike a
stout peasant, he drew near, stopped, and recognised him. He knew what
was the matter, for all Paris was full of it. The canon immediately
remonstrated with him: 'Change your manner of life,' he said; 'look to
your salvation, and I will promise to procure you _a good appointment_.'
But Calvin, 'who was hot-headed,' replied: 'I shall go through with it
to the last.'[515] The canon afterwards related this incident to the
Abbot de Genlis, who told it to Desmay.[516]

Is this a story invented in the idle talk of a cloister? I think not.
Some of the details, particularly the language of the canon, render it
probable. It was also by the promise of a 'good appointment' that
Francis de Sales endeavoured to win over Theodore Beza. Simony is a sin
so _innocent_ that three priests, a canon, an abbot, and a doctor of the
Sorbonne, combine to relate this peccadillo. If the language of the
canon is in conformity with his character, Calvin's answer, 'I will go
through with it to the last,' is also in his manner. Although we may
have some trouble to picture the young reformer disguised as a peasant,
with his wallet and hoe, we thought it our duty to relate an incident
transmitted to us by his enemies. The circumstance is really not
singular. Calvin was then beginning an exodus which has gone on
unceasingly for nearly three centuries. The disciples of the Gospel in
France, summoned to abjure Christ, have fled from their executioners by
thousands, and under various disguises. And if the gravity of history
permitted the author to revert to the stories that charmed his
childhood, he could tell how many a time, seated at the feet of his
grandmother and listening with attentive ear, he has heard her describe
how her mother, a little girl at the time of the Revocation in 1685,
escaped from France, concealed in a basket which her father, a pious
huguenot, disguised as a peasant, carried carefully on his back.

Calvin, having escaped his enemies, hurried away from the capital, from
his cherished studies and his brethren, and wandered up and down,
avoiding the places where he might be recognised. He thought over all
that had happened, and his meditative mind drew wholesome lessons from
it. He learnt from his own experience by what token to recognise the
true Church of Christ. 'We should lose our labour,' he said in later
days, thinking perhaps of this circumstance, 'if we wished to separate
Christ from his cross; it is a natural thing for the world to hate
Christ, even in his members. There will always be wicked men to prick us
like thorns. If they do not draw the sword, they spit out their venom,
and either gnash their teeth or excite some great disturbance.' The
sword was already 'drawn' against him: acting, therefore, with prudence,
he followed the least frequented roads, sleeping in the cottages or the
mansions of his friends. It is asserted that being known by the Sieur de
Hasseville, whose château was situated beyond Versailles, he remained
there some time in hiding.[517]

The king's first movement, when he heard of Cop's business and the
flight of Calvin, was one of anger and persecution. Duprat, formerly
first president of parliament, was much exasperated at the affront
offered to that body. Francis commanded every measure to be taken to
discover the person who had warned Cop of his danger; he would have had
him punished severely as a favourer of heresy.[518] At the same time, he
ordered the prosecution of those persons whom the papers seized in
Calvin's room pointed out as partisans of the new doctrine.


There was a general alarm among the evangelicals, and many left Paris. A
Dominican friar, brother of De la Croix, feeling a growing thirst for
knowledge, deliberated in his convent whether he ought not to remove to
a country where the Gospel was preached freely.[519] He was one of those
compromised by Calvin's papers. He therefore made his escape, reached
Neufchatel, and thence proceeded to Geneva, where we shall meet him

The greater part of the friends of the Gospel, however, remained in
France: Margaret exerted all her influence with her brother to ward off
the impending blow, and succeeded in appeasing the storm.[520] Francis
was always between two contrary currents, one coming from Duprat, the
other from his sister; and once more he followed the better.

The Queen of Navarre, exhausted by all these shocks, disgusted with the
dissipations of the court, distressed by the hatred of which the Gospel
was the object among all around her, turned her face towards the
Pyrenees. Paris, St. Germain, Fontainebleau, had no more charms for her;
besides, her health was not strong, and she desired to pass the winter
at Pau. But, above all, she sighed for solitude, liberty, and
meditation; she had need of Christ. She therefore bade farewell to the
brilliant court of France, and departed for the quiet Béarn.

  Adieu! pomps, pleasures, now adieu!
  No longer will I sort with you!
  Other pleasure seek I none
  Than in my Bridegroom alone!
  For my honour and my having
  Is in Jesus: him receiving,
  I'll not leave him for the fleeting!...
              Adieu, adieu![521]

Margaret arrived in the Pyrenees.

[Footnote 483: Théod. de Bèze, _Hist. Eccl._ i. p. 9.]

[Footnote 484: Calvini _Opera_.]

[Footnote 485: The document is in the library of Geneva (MS. 145). It
has on the margin: 'Hæc Johannes Calvinus _propria manu_ descripsit, et
est _auctor_.' Dr. Bonnet came upon it in the course of his researches
for his edition of Calvin's Letters, and gave the author a copy.]

[Footnote 486: 'Hac qui excellunt, tantum prope reliquæ hominum
multitudini præstare mihi videntur, quantum homines belluis
antecedunt.'—Geneva MSS. 145.]

[Footnote 487: 'Sola Dei gratia peccata remittit.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 488: 'Spiritum sanctum, qui corda sanctificat et vitam æternam
adfert, omnibus christianis pollicetur.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 489: 'Motus animi turbulentos, quasi habenis quibusdam.'—
Geneva MS.]

[Footnote 490: 'Ut tota nostra oratio illum laudet, illum sapiat, illum
spiret, illum referat. Rogabimus ut in mentes nostras illabatur, nosque
gratiæ cœlestis succo irrigare dignetur.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 491: Bellarmine, _De Controversiis_.]

[Footnote 492: Crévier, _Hist. de l'Université_, v. p. 275.]

[Footnote 493: Crévier, _Hist. de l'Université_, v. p. 276.]

[Footnote 494: _Lettres de la Reine de Navarre_, i. p. 287.]

[Footnote 495: 'In aulam.'—Bezæ _Vita Calvini_.]

[Footnote 496: 'Hanc tempestatem Dominus, reginæ Navariensis, piis tunc
admodum faventis, intercessione, dissipavit.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 497: 'Ibique perhonorifice ab ea accepto et audito Calvino.'—

[Footnote 498: Théod. de Bèze, _Vie de Calvin_, p. 14. Calvini _Opera_,

[Footnote 499: Calvini _Opera_, i. pars iii. pp. 1002, 1003.]

[Footnote 500: 'Citatus rector sese quidem in viam cum suis
apparitoribus dedit.'—Bezæ _Vita Calvini_.]

[Footnote 501: 'Ut sibi ab adversariis caveret.'—Bezæ _Vita Calvini_.]

[Footnote 502: 'Domum reversus.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 503: Maimbourg, _Hist. du Calvinisme_, p. 58.]

[Footnote 504: 'Ablato secum, forte per imprudentiam, signo
universitatis.'—Bucer to Blaarer, Jan. 18, 1534.]

[Footnote 505: 'CCC coronatos ei qui fugitivum rectorem, vivum vel
mortuum adducat.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 506: Flor. Rémond, _Hist. de l'Hérésie_, liv. vii. ch. viii.]

[Footnote 507: Maimbourg, _Hist. du Calvinisme_, p. 58.]

[Footnote 508: Gaillard, _Hist. de François I._ iv. p. 274.]

[Footnote 509: Théod. de Bèze, _Hist. des Egl. Réf._ i. p. 9.]

[Footnote 510: Varillas, _Hist. des Revolutions Religieuses_,
ii. p. 467. This writer is not always correct.]

[Footnote 511: Drelincourt, _Défense de Calvin_, pp. 35, 169.]

[Footnote 512: Acts ix. 25.]

[Footnote 513: 'Morinus, cujus adhuc nomen ab insigni sævitia
celebratur.'—Bezæ _Vita Calvini_.]

[Footnote 514: 'Deprehensis, inter schedas, multis amicorum litteris, ut
plurimi in maximum vitæ discrimen incurrerent.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 515: 'Je poursuivrai tout outre.']

[Footnote 516: Desmay, _Jean Calvin Hérésiarque_, p. 45. Drelincourt,
_Défense de Calvin_, p. 175.]

[Footnote 517: Casan, _Statistique de Mantes_. _France Protestante_, i.
p. 113.]

[Footnote 518: Registres du Parlement.]

[Footnote 519: Crespin, _Martyrologue_, fol. 106.]

[Footnote 520: Gaillard, _Hist. de François I_. iv. p. 275.]

[Footnote 521: _Les Marguerites de la Marguerite_, i. p. 518.]

 (WINTER 1533-34.)


Almost about the same time, Francis bent his steps towards the Rhine.
The establishment of the Reform throughout Europe depended, as many
thought, on the union of France with protestant Germany. This union
would emancipate France from the papal supremacy, and all christendom
would then be seen turning to the Gospel. The king was preparing to hold
a conference with the most decided of the protestant princes of Germany.
Rarely has an interview between two sovereigns been of so much

Francis I. had hardly quitted Marseilles and arrived at Avignon, when he
assembled his council (25th of November, 1533), and communicated to it
the desire for an alliance which the German protestants had expressed to
him. A certain shame had prevented him from moving in the matter, amid
the caresses which papacy and royalty were lavishing upon each other at
Marseilles. But now that Clement was on board his galleys, nothing
prevented the King of France, who had given his right hand to the
pontiff, from giving his left to the heretics.[522] There were many
reasons why he should do so. The clergy were not allies for whose
support he was eager: the best orthodoxy, in his eyes, was the iron arm
of the lansquenets. Besides, the opportunity was unprecedented: in fact,
he could at one stroke gain the protestants to his cause, and inflict an
immense injury on Austria—that is to say, on Charles V.

It will no doubt be remembered that the young Prince of Wurtemberg, whom
the emperor was leading in his train across the Alps, having escaped
with his governor, had loudly demanded back the states of which Austria
had robbed his father. Francis was chiefly occupied about him at
Avignon. 'At this place,' says the historian Martin du Bellay, 'the king
assembled his council, and deliberated on a request made to him not only
by young Duke Christopher of Wurtemberg and his father, but by his
uncles, Duke William and Duke Louis of Bavaria. Christopher himself had
written to Francis I.: "Sire," he said, "during the great and long
calamity of my father and myself, what first made hope spring up in our
hearts was the thought that you would interpose your influence to put an
end to our misery.... Your compassion for the afflicted is well known. I
doubt not that, by your assistance, we shall soon be restored to our

Francis, always on the watch to injure his rival, was delighted at this
proceeding, and did not conceal his joy from the privy council. 'I
desire much,' he said, 'to see the dukes of Wurtemberg restored to their
states, and should like to help them, as much to weaken the emperor's
power as to acquire new friendships in Germany. But,' he added, 'I would
do it under so _colourable a pretext_, that I may affirm that I have
infringed no treaty.'[524] To humble the emperor and to exalt the
protestants, without appearing to have anything to do with it, was what
Francis desired.


William du Bellay urged the king to return the duke a favourable answer.
A friend of independence and sound liberty, he was at that time the
representative of the old French spirit, as Catherine de Medici was to
become the representative of the new—that is to say, of the Romish
influence under which France has unhappily suffered for nearly three
centuries. It has been sometimes said that the cause of France is the
cause of Rome; but the noblest aspirations of the French people and its
most generous representatives condemn this error. Popery is the cause of
the pope alone; it is not even the cause of Italy; and if the contrary
opinion still exists in France, it is a remnant of the influence of the

The transition from Marseilles to Avignon was, however, a little abrupt.
To ally the eldest son of the Church with the protestants at the very
moment he left the pope's arms, in a city which belonged to the holy
see, and in the ancient palace of the pontiffs, seemed strange to the
French, whose eyes were still fascinated by the pomp of Rome. This was
noticed by Du Bellay, who, wishing to facilitate the transition,
explained to the council 'that a diet was about to be held at Augsburg,
where the reparation of a great injustice would be discussed; that an
innocent person implored the king's assistance; that it was the practice
of France to succour the oppressed everywhere; that precious advantages
might result from it ... besides, there could be no doubt of success,
and as the cause of Duke Christopher would be conducted in the diet
according to the rights, usages, immunities, and privileges of the
German nation, the emperor could not prevent justice being done.... Let
us send an ambassador,' added Du Bellay, 'to support the claims of the
dukes of Wurtemberg, and Austria must either restore these princes to
their states, or arouse the hostility of all Germany against it.'[525]
Francis was already gained. He hoped not only to take Wurtemberg from
Austria, but also to get up a general war in Germany between the
protestants and the empire, of which he could take advantage to seize
upon the states which he claimed in Italy. When his detested rival had
fallen beneath their combined blows, the religious question should be
settled. The king, who had meditated all this in the intervals of his
conferences with Clement VII., ordered Du Bellay to proceed to Augsburg
forthwith, and charged him 'to do everything in his power, _with a
sufficiently colourable pretext_, towards the re-establishment of the
dukes of Wurtemberg.'[526] Du Bellay was satisfied. He wished for more
than the king did; he desired to emancipate France from the papal
supremacy, and with that object to draw Francis and protestantism closer
together. That was difficult; but this Wurtemberg affair, which
presented itself simply as a political question, would supply him with
the means of overcoming every difficulty. This was where he would have
to set the wedge in order to split the tree. He thought that he could
make use of it to counteract the effects of the conference which the
king had just held with the pope by contriving another between the two
most anti-papistical princes in Europe. Du Bellay departed, taking the
road through Switzerland.


He had his reasons for adopting this route. The emperor and his brother
consented, indeed, that their rights should be discussed in the diet,
but it was only that they might not appear to refuse to do justice:
everybody knew that Ferdinand had no intention of restoring Wurtemberg.
The balance was at that time pretty even in Germany between Rome and the
Gospel, and the restitution of Wurtemberg would make it incline to the
side of the Reformation. If Austria would not give way, she would have
to be constrained by force of arms. Du Bellay desired, therefore, to
induce the protestant cantons of Switzerland, bordering on Wurtemberg,
to unite their efforts with those of protestant Germany in wresting that
duchy from the Austrian rule. Francis, who knew how to manage such
matters, had conceived the design of placing in the hands of the
Helvetians, probably through Du Bellay, a certain sum of money to cover
the expenses of the campaign. But it seems that the protestant cantons
did not agree to the arrangement.[527]

When Du Bellay arrived at Augsburg, he met the young Duke Christopher.
He entered into conversation with him, and they were henceforth
inseparable: this prince, so amiable, but at the same time so firm, was
his man. He is to be the lever which the counsellor of Francis I. will
use to stir men's minds, and to unite Germany and France.... The first
thing to be done was to restore him to his throne. The French ambassador
paid a visit to the delegates from Austria. 'The king my master,' he
said, 'is delighted that this innocent young man has at last found a
harbour in the midst of the tempest. His father and he have suffered
enough by being driven from their home.... It is time to restore the son
to the father, the father to the son, and to both of them the states of
their ancestors. If entreaties are not sufficient,' added Du Bellay
firmly, 'the king my master will employ all his power.'[528] Thus did
France take up her position as the protector of the distressed; but
there was something else underneath: the chief object of the king was to
strike a blow at the emperor; that of Du Bellay, to strike the pope.

Christopher, who received encouragement from every quarter, appeared
before the diet on the 10th of December, 1533. He was no longer the
captive prince whom Charles had led in his train. The poor young man,
who not long ago had been compelled to flee, leaving his companion
behind him, hidden among the reeds of a marsh in the Norican Alps, stood
now before the German diet, surrounded by a brilliant throng of nobles,
the representatives of the princes who supported his claims, and having
as _assistants_ (that is, as espousing his quarrel) the delegates of
Saxony, Prussia, Brunswick, Mecklenburg, Luneburg, Hesse, Cleves,
Munster, and Juliers. The King of Hungary pleaded his cause in person:
'Most noble seigniors,' he began, 'when we see the young Duke
Christopher of Wurtemberg deprived of his duchy without having done
anything to deserve such punishment, disappointed by the Austrians in
all the hopes they had given him, unworthily treated at the imperial
court,[529] compelled to make his escape by flight, imploring at this
moment by earnest supplications your compassion and your help—we are
profoundly agitated. What! because his father has done wrong, shall this
young man be reduced to a hard and humiliating life? Has not the voice
of God himself declared that the son shall not bear the iniquities of
the father?'


The Austrian commissioners, finding their position rather embarrassing,
began to temporise, and proposed that Christopher should accept as
compensation some town of small importance. He refused, saying: 'I will
never cease to claim simply and firmly the country of my fathers.'[530]
But Austria, fearing the preponderance of protestantism in Germany,
closed her ears to his just request. At this point France intervened
strongly in favour of the two protestant princes. Du Bellay, after
reminding the diet that Ulrich had confessed his faults, and that he was
much altered by age, long exile, and great trials, continued thus: 'Must
the duke see his only son, a young and innocent prince, who ought to be
the support of his declining years, for ever bearing the weight of his
misfortunes? Will you take into consideration neither the calamitous old
age of the one, nor the unhappy youth of the other? Will you avenge the
sins of the father upon the child who was then in the cradle? The dukes
of Wurtemberg are of high descent. Their punishment has been permitted,
but not their destruction. Help this innocent youth (Christopher),
receive this penitent (Ulrich), and reestablish them both in their
former dignity.'[531]

The Austrians, who were annoyed at seeing the ambassador of the King of
France intermeddling in their affairs, held firm. The deputies of
Saxony, Hesse, Prussia, Mecklenburg, and the other states, now made up
their minds to oppose Austria; they told the young duke that they were
ready to cast their swords in the balance, and Christopher himself
requested Du Bellay 'to change his congratulatory oration into a
comminatory one.'[532]


When the French envoy was admitted again before the diet, he assumed a
higher tone: 'My lords,' he said, 'will you lend your hands to the ruin
of an innocent person?... If you do so ... I tell you that you will
bring a stain upon your reputation that all the water in the sea will
not be able to wash out. This prince, in heart so proud, in origin so
illustrious, will not endure to live miserably in the country whose
sovereign he is by birth; he will go into a foreign land. And in what
part soever of the world he may be, what will he carry with him?... The
shame of the emperor, the shame of King Ferdinand, the shame of all of
you. Every man, pointing to him, will say: That is he who formerly....
That is he who now.... That is he who through no fault of his own....
That is he who, being compelled to leave Germany.... You understand, my
lords, what is omitted in these sentences; I willingly excuse myself
from completing them ... you will do it yourselves. No! you will not be
insensible to such great misery.... I see your hearts are touched
already.... I see by your gestures and your looks that you feel the
truth of my words.'

Then, making a direct attack upon the emperor and his brother, he said:
'There are people who, very erroneously in my opinion, consult only
their wicked ambition and unbridled covetousness, and who think that, by
oppressing now one and now another, they will subdue all Germany.'

Turning next to the young Prince of Wurtemberg, the representative of
Francis I. continued: 'Duke Christopher, rely upon it the Most Christian
King will do all that he can in your behalf, without injury to his
faith, his honour, and the duties of blood. The court of France has
always been the most liberal of all—ever open to receive exiled and
suffering princes. With greater reason, then, it will not be closed
against you who are its ally ... you who, by the justice of your cause
and by your innocence, appear even to your enemies worthy of pity and

The members of the diet had listened attentively to this speech, and
their countenances showed that they were convinced.[534] The cause was
won: the Swabian league, the creature of Austria and the enemy of the
Reformation, was not to be renewed. Du Bellay left Augsburg, continued
his journey through Germany, and endeavoured to form a new confederation
there[535] against Austria, which Francis I. and Henry VIII. could join.
'If any one should think of invading England,' the latter was told, 'we
would send you soldiers _by the Baltic sea_.'[536] It is to be feared
that this succour by way of the Baltic would have arrived rather late in
the waters of the Thames. But the main thing in Du Bellay's eyes was
action, not diplomatic negotiations. His idea was to unite Francis I.
and the protestants of Germany in a common movement which would lead
France to throw off the ultramontane yoke; but there were only two men
of sufficient energy to undertake it. The first was the king his master,
to whom we now return.

Francis, after leaving Avignon, had gone into Dauphiny, thence to Lyons
and other cities in the east of France. In January 1534, he reached
Bar-le-Duc, thus gradually drawing nearer to the German frontier. The
winter this year was exceedingly severe, but for that the king did not
care: he thought only of uniting France and the protestants by means of
Wurtemberg, as the marriage of Catherine had just united France and the


The second of the princes from whom an energetic course might be
expected was the Landgrave of Hesse. Of all the protestant leaders of
Germany he was the one whose heart had been least changed by the Gospel.
Without equalling Francis I. in sensuality, he was yet far from being a
pattern of chastity. But, on the other hand, none of the princes
attached to the Reformation equalled him in talent, strength, and
activity. By his character he was the most important man of the
evangelical league, and more than once he exercised a decisive influence
on the progress of the protestant work. Philip, cousin of the Duke of
Wurtemberg, often had him at his court; Ulrich had even taken part in
the famous conference of Marburg. Moved by the misfortunes of this
prince, delighted at the trick Christopher had played the emperor,
touched by the loyalty of the Wurtembergers, who claimed their dukes and
their nationality, impatient to win this part of Germany to the
evangelical faith, he desired to take it away from Austria. To find the
men to do it was easy, if only he had the money ... but money he had

Du Bellay saw that there lay the knot of the affair, and he made haste
to cut it. The clergy of France had just given the king a considerable
sum: could a better use be made of it than this? The French envoy let
Philip know that he might obtain from his master the subsidies he
needed. But more must be done: he must take advantage of the opportunity
to bring together the two most enterprising princes of the epoch. If
they saw and heard one another, they would like each other and bind
themselves in such a manner that the union of France and protestant
Germany would be effected at last. Philip of Hesse received all these
overtures with delight.


But fresh obstacles now intervened. The theologians of the Reformation
detested these foreign alliances and wars, which, in their opinion,
defiled the holiest of causes. Luther and Melanchthon waited upon the
elector, conjuring him to oppose the landgrave's rash enterprise; and Du
Bellay found the two reformers employing as much zeal to prevent the
union of Francis and Philip as he to accomplish it. 'Go,' said the
elector to Luther and Melanchthon, 'and prevail upon the landgrave to
change his mind.'

The two doctors, on their way from Wittemberg to Weimar, where they
would meet Philip, conversed about their mission and the landgrave: 'He
is an intelligent prince,' said Luther, 'all animation and impulse, and
of a joyous heart. He has been able to maintain order in his country, so
that Hesse, which is full of forests and mountains where robbers might
find shelter, sees its inhabitants travelling and roaming about, buying
and selling without fear.... If one of them is attacked and robbed,
forthwith the landgrave falls upon the bandits and punishes them. He is
a true man of war—an Arminius. His star never deceives him, and he is
much dreaded by all his adversaries.'[537] 'And I too,' said
Melanchthon, 'love the _Macedonian_' (for so he called Philip of Hesse,
because, in his opinion, that prince had all the shrewdness and courage
of his namesake of Macedon); 'for that reason,' he added, 'I am
unwilling that, being so high, he should risk so great a fall.'[538] The
two theologians had no doubt that a war undertaken against the powerful
house of Austria would end in a frightful catastrophe to the protestants.

When they reached Weimar the two reformers saw the landgrave, and
employed 'their best rhetoric,' says Luther, to dissuade him.[539] The
doctor held very decided opinions on this subject. An alliance with the
King of France, what a disgrace! A war against the emperor, what
madness! 'The devil,' he said, 'desires to govern the nation by making
everybody draw the sword. With what eloquence he strives to convince us
that it is lawful and even necessary! Somebody is injuring these people,
he says; let us make haste to strike and save them! Madman! God sleeps
not, and is no fool; he knows very well how to govern the world.[540] We
have to contend with an enemy against whom no human strength or wisdom
can prevail. If we arm ourselves with iron and steel, with swords and
guns, he has only to breathe upon them, and nothing remains but dust and
ashes.... But if we take upon us the armour of God, the helmet, the
shield, and the sword of the Spirit, then God, if necessary, will hurl
the emperor from his throne,[541] and will keep for us all he has given
us—his Gospel, his kingdom.' Luther and Melanchthon persevered in their
representations to the landgrave, in order to thwart Du Bellay's plans.
'This war,' they said, 'will ruin the cause of the Gospel, and fix on it
an indelible stain. Pray do not disturb the peace.' At these words the
prince's face grew red; he did not like opposition, and gave the two
divines an angry answer.[524] 'They are people who do not understand the
affairs of this world,' he said; and, returning to Hesse, he pursued his
plans with vigour.

He had not long to wait for success. The King of France invited the
landgrave to cross into Lorraine to come to an understanding with him:
he added, 'without forgetting to bring Melanchthon.'[543] Then Philip
held back no longer: a conference with the mighty King of France seemed
to him of the utmost importance. He started on his journey, reached
Deux-Ponts on the 18th of January, 1534; and shortly afterwards that
daring prince, who, by quitting Augsburg in 1530, had thrown the diet
into confusion, and alarmed the cabinet of the emperor,—the most warlike
chief of the evangelical party, the most brilliant enemy of popery,
Philip of Hesse, arrived at Bar-le-Duc, where Francis received him with
the smile which had not left his lips since his meeting with


The two princes first began to scrutinise each other. The landgrave was
thirty years old, and Francis forty. Philip was short, his eyes large
and bold, and his whole countenance indicated resolution of character.
Politics and religion immediately occupied their attention. The king
expressed himself strongly in favour of the ancient liberties of the
Germanic empire, which Austria threatened, and pronounced distinctly for
the restoration of the dukes of Wurtemberg. Coming then to the grand
question, he said, 'Pray explain to me the state of religious affairs in
Germany; I do not quite understand them.'[545] The landgrave explained
to the king, as well as he could, the causes and true nature of the
Reformation, and the struggles to which it gave rise. Francis I.
consented to hear from the mouth of a prince a statement of those
evangelical principles to which he closed his ears when explained to him
by Zwingle or by Calvin. It is true that Philip presented them rather in
a political light. Francis showed himself favourable to the protestant
princes. 'I refused my consent to a council in Italy,' he said; 'I
desire a neutral city, and instead of an assembly in which the pope can
do what he pleases, I demand a free council.' 'These are the king's very
words,' wrote the landgrave to the elector.[546] Philip of Hesse was
delighted. Assuredly, if Germany, France, England, and other states
should combine against the emperor and the pope, all Europe would be
transformed. 'That is not all,' added the landgrave; 'the king told me
certain things ... which I am sure will please your highness.'[547]

The secret conference being ended: 'Now,' said Francis to the landgrave,
'pray present Melanchthon to me.' He had begged the German prince, as we
have seen, to bring this celebrated doctor with him; the King of France
wished for something more than a diplomatic conference, he desired a
religious one. But the landgrave had not forgotten the interview at
Weimar; and far from inviting Melanchthon, he had carefully concealed
from the Elector of Saxony the resolution he had formed, notwithstanding
his representations, to unite with the King of France in hostilities
against Austria. Philip having answered that Melanchthon was not with
him: 'Impossible!' exclaimed the king, and all the French nobles echoed
the word. 'Impossible! you will not make us believe that Melanchthon is
not with you!'—'Everybody wished to convince us that we had Philip with
us,' said the landgrave.—'Show him to us,' they exclaimed, 'almost using
violence towards us.'[548]

It was indeed a great disappointment. Melanchthon was the most esteemed
representative of the Reformation. Some of those who accompanied the
king had reckoned upon him for a detailed explanation of the evangelical
principles; there were some even who desired to consult him on the best
means of insuring their success in France. In their eyes Melanchthon was
as necessary as Philip. 'As he is not here,' said they, 'you must send
for him.'—'Really,' said the landgrave, smiling, 'these Frenchmen desire
so much to see Melanchthon, that, if we could show him to them, they
would give us as much money as Tetzel and all the indulgence vendors
ever gained with their sanctimonious paper rubbish.'[549]


They consoled themselves for this disappointment by holding a new
conference on the mode of delivering Wurtemberg. The king said that he
could not furnish troops, as that would be contrary to the treaty of
Cambray. 'I do not require soldiers,' answered the landgrave, 'but I
want a subsidy.' But to supply funds for a war against Charles V. was
equally opposed to the treaty. An expedient was sought and soon found.
Duke Ulrich shall sell Montbéliard to France for 125,000 crowns; but it
shall be stipulated, in a secret article, that if the duke repays this
sum within three years (as he did) Francis will give back Montbéliard.
It would appear that England also had something to do with the
subsidy.[550] The treaty was signed on the 27th of January, 1534. It is
worthy of notice that the French historians, even those free from
ultramontane prejudices, do not speak of this conference.

Several other interviews took place. The landgrave was not the best type
of the true Reformation, but he had with him some good evangelicals,
who, in their pious zeal, could show the King of France, as Luther would
have done, the way of salvation. Solemn opportunities are thus given men
of leaving the low grounds in which they live, and rising to the heights
where they will see God. Francis I. closed his eyes. That prince
possessed certain excellent gifts, but his religion 'was nothing but
vanity and empty show.' At Bar-le-Duc he took the mailed hand of the
landgrave, but had no desire for the hand of Jesus Christ.

The landgrave went back into Germany, and the King of France to the
interior of his states. Returning from the two interviews, he
congratulated himself on having embraced the pope at Marseilles and the
protestants at Bar-le-Duc. In proportion as the conference with Clement
had been public, that with Philip had been secret; but, on the other
hand, it had been more confidential and more real. These two meetings,
these two facts in appearance so different, had been produced by the
action of the same law. That law, which Francis wore in his heart, was
hatred and ruin to Charles V. Were not the pope and the landgrave two of
the princes of Europe who detested the emperor most? It was therefore
quite logical and in harmony with the science of Machiavelli for the
king to give one hand to Clement and the other to Philip. Internal
contradictions could not fail to show themselves erelong. In fact, the
Landgrave of Hesse, supported by France, was about to attack Austria,
and establish protestantism in Wurtemberg in the place of popery....
What would Clement say? But before we follow the landgrave upon this
perilous enterprise, let us return into France with the king.

[Footnote 522: Du Bellay, _Mémoires_, p. 206.]

[Footnote 523: Martin du Bellay gives Duke Christopher's letter.
_Mémoires_, pp. 207, 208.]

[Footnote 524: Du Bellay, _Mémoires_, p. 208.]

[Footnote 525: Du Bellay, _Mémoires_, p. 209.]

[Footnote 526: Ibid. p. 210.]

[Footnote 527: 'Regem Franciæ deposuisse certam pecuniæ summam in bellum
pro restitutione junioris ducis Wurtembergensis apud Helvetios.'—_State
Papers_, vii. p. 539.]

[Footnote 528: Du Bellay, _Mémoires_, p. 211.]

[Footnote 529: 'Coactus qui fuerit ex ea curia in qua tam indigne
tractabatur, sese subducere.'—Johannes rex Hungariæ, manu propria,
_State Papers_, vii. p. 538.]

[Footnote 530: Ranke, after Gabelkofer and Pfister, iii. p. 453.]

[Footnote 531: Du Bellay, _Mémoires_, pp. 213-219. He gives his
brother's speech at full length.]

[Footnote 532: 'Changer son oraison gratulatoire en oraison

[Footnote 533: Du Bellay, _Mémoires_, pp. 220-232.]

[Footnote 534: Du Bellay, _Mémoires_, p. 232.]

[Footnote 535: 'Eum (Du Bellay) laborare inter certos Germaniæ
principes, ut fœdus novum inter se creent.'—Mont to Henry VIII., _State
Papers_, vii. p. 539.]

[Footnote 536: 'Ipsi vero militem per mare Balticum nobis mitterent, si
quis Majestatem Vestram invadere vellet.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 537: 'Der Landgraf ist ein Kriegsmann, ein Arminius.'—Lutheri
_Opp._ xxii. p. 1842.]

[Footnote 538: 'Ego certe τὸν Μακεδόνα non possum non amare et nolim
cadere.'—_Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 727.]

[Footnote 539: 'Und brauchten dazu unsere beste Rhetorica.'—Lutheri
_Opp._ xxii. p. 1843.]

[Footnote 540: 'Gott schläfet nicht, ist auch kein Narr: Er weiss sehr
wohl wie man regieren soll.'—Ibid. x. p. 254.]

[Footnote 541: 'Den Kayser von seinem Stuhl stürzen.'—Ibid. xi. p. 434.]

[Footnote 542: 'Da ward S. F. G. gar roth und erzumte sich drüber.']

[Footnote 543: 'Der König von Frankreich an uns beghert hat, das wir zu
Ihm kommen wolten.'—The Landgrave to the Elector, Rommel's
_Urkundenbuch_, p. 53.]

[Footnote 544: Sleidan, i. liv. ix. p. 358.]

[Footnote 545: 'Wie doch die Saclien und Zwiespalten der Religion
standen.'—The Landgrave to the Elector, Rommel's _Urkundenbuch_, p. 53.]

[Footnote 546: 'Und sind das eben die Worte des Konigs.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 547: 'Es haben sich zwischen dem Könige und uns Reden
zugetragen ... daran E. L. gut gefallen haben werden.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 548: 'Der König und die grossen Herrn und jedermann wolten uns
_mit Gewald uberreden_, wir hätten Philippum bey uns.'—The Landgrave to
the Elector, Rommel's _Urkundenbuch_, p. 53.]

[Footnote 549: Rommel's _Urkundenbuch_, p. 53.]

[Footnote 550: _State Papers_, vii. p. 568.]

 (WINTER 1533-34.)


The consequences of the meeting at Marseilles were to be felt at Paris.
After Calvin's flight, the Queen of Navarre, as we have seen, had
succeeded in calming the storm; and yet the evangelical cause had never
been nearer a violent persecution. The prisons were soon to be filled;
the fires of martyrdom were soon to be kindled. During the year 1533
_Lutheran_ discourses had greatly multiplied in the churches. 'Many
notable persons,' says the chronicler, 'were at that time preaching in
the city of Paris.'[551] The simplicity, wisdom, and animation of their
language had moved all who heard them. The churches were filled, not
with formal auditors, but with men who received the glad-tidings with
great joy. 'Drunkards had become sober; libertines had become chaste;
the fruits which proceeded from the preaching of the Gospel had
astonished the enemies of light and truth.'

The doctors of the Sorbonne did not wait for the king's orders to attack
the evangelicals; his interview with the pope, and the news of the bull
brought from Rome, had filled the catholic camp with joy. 'What!' they
exclaimed, 'the king is uniting with the pope at Marseilles, and in
Paris the churches are opened to heresy! ... let us make haste and close

In the meanwhile Du Bellay, the Bishop of Paris, who had made such a
fine Latin speech to Clement VII., and who went at heart half-way with
his brother, arrived in the capital. The leaders of the Roman party
immediately surrounded him, urged him, and demanded the realisation of
all the hopes which they had entertained from the interview at
Marseilles. The bishop was embarrassed, for he knew that his brother and
the king were just then occupied with a very different matter. Yet it
was the desire of Francis that, for the moment, they should act in
conformity with his apparent and not with his real action. The bishop
gave way. The pious Roussel, the energetic Courault, the temporising
Berthaud, and others besides, were forbidden to preach, and one morning
the worshippers found the church doors shut.[552]


Great was their sorrow and agitation. Many went to Roussel and Courault,
and loudly expressed their regret and their wishes. The ministers took
courage, and 'turned their preaching into private lectures.' Little
meetings were formed in various houses in the city. At first none but
members of the family were present; but it seemed that Christ, according
to his promise, was in the midst of them, and erelong friends and
neighbours were admitted. The ministers set forth the promises of Holy
Scripture, and the worshippers exclaimed: 'We receive more blessings now
than before.'

There were others besides Parisian faces which Courault, Roussel, and
their friends saw on the humble benches around their little table: there
were persons from many provinces of France, and even from the
neighbouring countries. Among them was Master Pointet, a native of
Menton, near Annecy, in Savoy, 'who practised the art of surgery in the
city of Paris.' He had been brought to a knowledge of the Gospel in a
singular way. 'Monks and priests,' says the chronicler, 'used to come to
him to be cured of the diseases peculiar to those who substitute an
impure celibacy for the holy institution of marriage.'[553] Pointet,
observing that godliness was not to be found among the priests, sought
for it in the Scriptures; and, having discovered it there, began to
remonstrate seriously with those unhappy men. 'These punishments,' he
told them, 'proceed from your accursed celibacy: they are your wages,
and you would do much better to take a wife.' Pointet, while reading
these severe lessons, loved to go and learn in the lowly assemblies held
by the humble ministers of the Word of God, and no one listened with
more attention to the preaching of Roussel and Courault.

The Sorbonnists, having heard of these conventicles, declared 'that they
disliked _these lectures_ still more than the sermons.' In fact, if the
preaching in the churches had been a loud appeal, the Divine Word in
these small meetings spoke nearer to men's hearts, enlightening them and
making them fast in Jesus Christ; and accordingly the conversions
increased in number. The lieutenant-criminal once more took the field:
he posted his agents at the corners of the more suspected streets, with
orders to watch the Lutherans and ferret them out. These spies
discovered that on certain days and hours many suspicious-looking
persons, most of them poor, were in the habit of frequenting certain
houses. Morin and his officers set to work immediately: they made the
round of these conventicles, seizing the pastors and dispersing the
flocks. 'We are deprived of everything,' said the worshippers; 'we
remain without teaching and exhortation. Alas! poor sheep without
shepherds, shall we not go astray and be lost?' Then with a sudden
impulse they exclaimed: 'Since our guides are taken away from us here,
let us seek them elsewhere!' Many French evangelicals fled into foreign

While the poor reformed[554] who remained in Paris were thus forsaken
and sorrowful, the Sorbonne loudly demanded the return of Beda and the
other exiles. The theologians canvassed the most influential members of
the parliament, and besieged Cardinal Duprat. The king and the pope had
just met solemnly at Marseilles; one of the Medici had just entered the
family of the Valois; a royal letter, despatched from Lyons, ordered
proceedings to be taken against the heretics: could they leave the
champions of the papacy in disgrace? The demand was granted, and the
impetuous Beda returned in triumph to the capital with his friends. That
wicked little fairy Catherine had, unconsciously, and by her mere
presence, restored him to liberty.


The wrath and fanaticism of Beda, excited by exile, knew no bounds. The
repression of obscure _preachers_ did not satisfy him; he determined to
renew the attack he had formerly made upon the learned. 'I accuse the
king's readers in the university of Paris,' he said to the parliament.
These were the celebrated professors Danès, Paul Paradis, Guidacieri,
and Vatable, learned philologists, esteemed by Francis and honoured over
all literary Europe. 'Their interpretations of the text of Scripture,'
continued Beda, 'throw discredit on the Vulgate, and propagate the
errors of Luther. I demand that they be forbidden to comment on the Holy

Beda did not stand alone. Le Picard had returned from exile with his
master, and the Sorbonne, wishing to give him a striking mark of their
esteem, had conferred on him the degree of doctor of divinity. Beda and
Le Picard took counsel together with some other priests. War was
resolved upon, the legions were mustered, the plan of the campaign drawn
up, and the various battle-fields allotted among the combatants. They
took possession of the pulpits from which the preachers of the Reform
had been expelled, and loud voices were heard everywhere giving
utterance to violent harangues against 'the Lutherans.' Beda, Le Picard,
and their followers denounced the heretics as enemies of the altar and
the throne. In the Gospel, the germ of every liberty, they saw the cause
of every disorder. 'It is not enough to put the Lutheran evangelists in
prison,' said these forerunners of the preachers of the League; 'we must
go a step further, and burn them.'[556]

The arrests were begun immediately; but early in the year 1534 the
burning pile was declared to be the best answer to heresy. The
parliament of Paris published an edict, according to which whoever was
convicted of Lutheranism on the testimony of two witnesses, should be
burnt forthwith.[557] That was the surest way: the dead never return.
Beda immediately demanded that the decree should be applied to the four
evangelists: Courault, Berthaud, Roussel, and one of their friends.
Notwithstanding his moderation and his concessions, Roussel particularly
excited the syndic's anger. Was he not Margaret's chaplain? The terror
began to spread. Whilst Francis at Bar-le-Duc was endeavouring to please
the most decided of the protestants, the evangelicals of Paris, alarmed
by the inquiries of the police, shut themselves up in their humble
dwellings. 'Really,' they said, 'this is not much unlike the Spanish
inquisition.'[558] The Sorbonne dared not, however, burn Roussel and his
friends without the consent of the king.


In the meanwhile the ultramontane party formed the design of catching
all the Lutherans in Paris in one cast of the net. Morin set to work: he
urged on his hounds; his sergeants entered the houses, went down into
the cellars and up into the garrets, taking away, here the husband from
the wife; there, the father from the children; and in another place, the
son from the mother. Some of these poor creatures hid themselves, others
escaped by the roofs; but the chase was successful upon the whole. The
alguazils of the Sorbonne lodged about _three hundred prisoners_ in the
Conciergerie.[559] When this news spread, with its concomitants of
terror and distress, the flight recommenced on a larger scale: some were
stopped on the road, but many succeeded in crossing the frontier. Among
their number was a christian courtier, Maurus Musæus, a gentleman of the
king's chamber, who took refuge at Basle, whence he wrote describing his
numerous perplexities to Bucer.[560]

All this was done by the Sorbonne and parliament, as the king had not
yet spoken out. At last he returned to the capital, and everybody
thought he would be eager to fulfil the promises he had made the pope;
but, on the contrary, he hesitated and affected to be scrupulous. The
evil spirit that he had received from Clement VII. under the form of a
Medici, was too young to have any influence over him. Besides, he was
thinking much more just then of his alliance with the protestants of
Germany than of his union with the pope, and the attacks made against
his professors in the university annoyed him.

Beda was not discouraged: he got some persons, who had access to the
king, to beg that Roussel and his friends might be burnt. But how could
that prince send the Lutherans of France to the stake at the very time
he was seeking an alliance with the Lutherans of Germany? 'Nobody is
condemned in France,' he said, 'without being tried. Beda wishes to have
Roussel and his friends burnt; very well! let him first go to the
Conciergerie and reduce them to silence.'[561] This was not what Beda
wanted: he knew that it was easier to burn the chaplain than to refute
him. But the king compelled him to go to the prison; and there the
impetuous Beda and the meek Roussel stood face to face. The disputation
began in the presence of witnesses. The prisoner brought forward, with
much simplicity, the Scriptures of God; the syndic of the Sorbonne
replied with scholastic quibbles and ridiculous trifling.[562] His own
friends were embarrassed; everybody saw his ignorance; Beda left the
prison overwhelmed with shame, and Roussel was not burnt.[563]


While Beda and Roussel were disputing in the Conciergerie, a different
scene was passing at the Louvre. A friend of letters, belonging to the
royal household, knowing the king's susceptibility, placed a little book
elegantly bound on a table near which the king was accustomed to sit.
Francis approached, took up the book heedlessly, and looked at it. He
was greatly surprised on reading the title: _Remonstrance addressed to
the King of France by the three doctors of Paris, banished and
relegated, praying to be recalled from their exile_. It was a work
published by Beda before his return to Paris, and had been carefully
concealed from the monarch. 'Ho! ho!' said he, 'this book is addressed
to me!' He opened and read, and great was his anger on seeing how he was
insulted and slandered.... 'Francis I. regards neither pope nor Medici:
in his eyes, the chief infallibility is always his own.' 'Send those
wretches to prison,' he exclaimed; and immediately Beda, Le Picard, and
Le Clerq were shut up in the bishop's prison on a charge of high

And now the chiefs of both causes were in confinement: Gerard Roussel,
Courault, and Berthaud on one side; Beda, Le Picard, and Le Clerq on the
other. Would any one dare affirm that the King of France did not hold
the balance even between the two schools? Who shall be released? who
shall remain a prisoner? was now the question. It would have been better
to set them all at large; but neither Francis nor his age had attained
to religious liberty. Contrary winds agitated that prince, and drove him
by turns towards Rome and towards Wittemberg. One or other of them,
however, must prevail. Margaret, believing the time to be critical,
displayed indefatigable activity. She pleaded the cause of her friends
to the king and to his ministers. Still mistaken, or seeming to be
mistaken, as regards Montmorency, she begged this treacherous friend to
save the very persons whose destruction he had sworn. 'Dear nephew,' she
wrote to him, 'they are just now completing the proceedings against
Master Gerard, and I hope the king will find him worthy of something
better than the stake, and that he has never held any opinion deserving
such punishment, or savouring of heresy. I have known him these five
years, and, believe me, if I had seen anything doubtful in him, I should
not so long have put up with such a pagan.'[565] The king could not
resist his sister's earnest solicitations and the desire of making
friends among the protestants of Germany. In the month of March 1534 he
published an ordinance vindicating the evangelical preachers from the
calumnies of the theologians, and setting them at liberty.[566]

Surprising thing! Roussel, Courault, and Berthaud at liberty; Beda, Le
Picard, and Le Clerq in prison! The champions of heresy triumph, and the
champions of the Church are in chains! And this, too, after the king's
return from Marseilles (the interview at Bar-le-Duc was not known at
Paris), and four months after the marriage of Henry of France with the
pope's niece!... Where are the promises made to Clement VII.? Both the
city and the Sorbonne were deeply excited by this measure.[567] The
greater the hopes aroused by the union with the papacy, the greater the
fears caused by the king's conduct towards its most intrepid defenders.
Would Francis I. become a Henry VIII.? Would Roman catholicism be ruined
in France? The priests were afraid—many of them even despaired.

The evangelicals, on the contrary, were delighted. The Word of God was
about to triumph, they thought, not only in Paris, but also throughout
France. Surprising news indeed came from Lyons, where an invisible
preacher kept the whole population in suspense.


The friar De la Croix, whom we have already mentioned, having abandoned
Paris, his convent, his cowl, and his monkish title, had reached Geneva
under the name of Alexander. Cordially welcomed by Farel and Froment, he
had been instructed by their care in the knowledge of the truth. His
transformation had been complete. Christ had become to him 'the sun of
righteousness; he had a burning zeal to know him, and great boldness in
confessing him. Incontinent, he showed himself resolute, and resisted
all gainsayers.' Accordingly the Genevan magistracy, which was under the
influence of the priests, had condemned him to death as a heretic; the
sentence had, however, been commuted, 'for fear of the King of France,'
who would not suffer a Frenchman, even if heretical, to be maltreated,
and Alexander was simply turned out of the city. When on the high-road
beyond the gates, and near the Mint, he stopped and preached to the
people who had followed him. Such was the power of his language that it
inspired respect in all around him. 'Nobody could stop him,' says
Froment, 'so strongly did his zeal impel him to win people to the

Alexander first went to Berne with Froment, and then, retracing his
steps, seriously reflected whether he ought not to return into France.
He did not deceive himself: persecution, imprisonment, death, awaited
him there. Then ought he not rather, like so many others, to preach the
Gospel in Switzerland? But France had so much need of the light and
grace of God.... should he abandon her? To preach Christ to his
countrymen, Alexander was ready to bear all manner of evil, and even
death. One single passion swallowed up all others. 'O my Saviour! thou
hast given thy life for me; I desire to give mine for thee!' He crossed
the frontier; and, learning that Bresse and Maconnais (Saône-et-Loire),
where Michael d'Aranda had preached Christ in 1524, were without
evangelists, he began to proclaim the forgiveness of the Gospel to the
simple and warm-hearted people of that district, among whom fanaticism
had so many adherents. He did not mind this: wandering along the banks
of the Bienne, the Ain, the Seille, and the Saône, he entered the
cottages of the poor peasants, and courageously scattered the seed of
the Gospel.[569] A rumour of his doings reached Lyons, where certain
pious goldsmiths, always ready to make sacrifices for their faith,
invited Alexander to come and preach in their city.

[Sidenote: HIS WORK AT LYONS.]

It was a wider field than the plains of Bresse. Alexander departed,
arrived at Lyons, and entered the goldsmiths' shops. He conversed with
them, and made the acquaintance of several _poor men of Lyons_, who were
rich in faith; they edified one another, but this did not satisfy him.
The living faith by which he was animated gave him an indefatigable
activity. He was prompt in his decisions, full of spirit in his
addresses, ingenious in his plans. He began to preach from house to
house; next 'he got a number of people together here and there, and
preached before them, to the great advancement of the Word.' Opposition
soon began to show itself, and Alexander exclaimed: 'Oh that Lyons were
a free city like Geneva!'[570] Those who desired to hear the Word grew
more thirsty every day; they went to Alexander, and conversed with him;
they dragged him to their houses, but the evangelist could not supply
all their wants. He wrote to Farel, asking for help from Geneva, but
none came; the persecution was believed to be so fierce at Lyons, that
nobody dared expose himself to it. Alexander continued, therefore, to
preach alone, sometimes in by-streets, and sometimes in an upper
chamber. The priests and their creatures, always on the watch,
endeavoured to seize him, but the evangelist had hardly finished his
sermon when the faithful, who loved him devotedly, surrounded him,
carried him away, and conducted him to some hiding-place. But Alexander
did not remain there long: wistfully putting out his head, and looking
round the house, to see that there was no one on the watch, he came
forth to go and preach at the other extremity of the city. He had hardly
finished when he was carried away again, and the believers took him to
some new retreat, 'hiding him from one house to another,' says the
chronicler, 'so that he could not be found.'[571] The evangelist was
everywhere and nowhere. When the priests were looking after him in some
suburb in the south, he was preaching in the north, on the heights which
overlook the city. He put himself boldly in the van, he proclaimed the
Gospel loudly, and yet he was invisible.

Alexander did more than this: he even visited the prisons. He heard one
day that two men, well known in Geneva, who had come to Lyons on
business, had been thrown into the bishop's dungeons on the information
of the Genevan priests: they were the energetic Baudichon de la
Maison-Neuve, and his friend Cologny.[572] The gates opened for
Alexander: he entered, and that mysterious evangelist, who baffled the
police of Lyons, was inside the episcopal prison. If one of the agents
who are in search of him should recognise him, the gates will never open
again for him. But Alexander felt no uneasiness; he spoke to the two
Genevans, and exhorted them; he even went and consoled other brethren
imprisoned for the Gospel, and then left the dungeons, no man laying a
hand on him. The priests and their agents, bursting with vexation at
seeing the futility of all their efforts, met and lamented with one
another. 'There is a Lutheran,' they said, 'who preaches and disturbs
the people, collecting assemblies here and there in the city, whom we
must catch, for he will spoil all the world, as everybody is running
after him; and yet we cannot find him, or know who he is.'[573] They
increased their exertions, but all was useless. Never had preacher in so
extraordinary a manner escaped so many snares. At last they began to say
that the unknown preacher must be possessed of satanic powers, by means
of which he passed invisible through the police, and no one suspected
his presence.


Thus the Gospel was proclaimed in the first and in the second city of
France. The Sorbonne and the catholic party had been intimidated by the
king, and the Easter festival of 1534, which was approaching, might give
the evangelicals of Paris a striking opportunity of proclaiming their
faith. This was what the Queen of Navarre desired. She had passed some
time at Alençon, and also at Argentan, not far from Caen, with her
sister-in-law, Catherine d'Albret, abbess of the convent of the Holy
Trinity; at length she had returned to Paris. The priests dared not name
her, but they made certain allusions to her in their sermons which their
hearers very well understood. These things were reported to Margaret,
who cared neither to pacify nor to punish her accusers, and answered
them only by endeavouring still more to advance the cause of piety in
France. The little conventicles only half pleased her: she wanted the
evangelical doctrine to enter the kingdom by the churches, and not by
the 'upper chambers.' She would have desired for France a reformation
similar to that of England, which, while giving it the Word of God,
preserved its archbishops and bishops, its cathedrals, its liturgy, and
its grandeur. Queen of France, she would have been its Elizabeth; but
doubtless with more grace. Her ambition was to install the Gospel at
Notre Dame. She paid a visit to the king; she spoke to the bishop ...
Roussel shall preach there. He was not a Farel in boldness, but Margaret
encouraged him; besides, the idea of preaching the Gospel to the people
of Paris in that old cathedral was pleasing to him. He determined,
therefore, to comply with the queen's wishes.

The report of Margaret's intentions had hardly become known, when the
canons were in commotion. How scandalous! What! shall these
evangelicals, of whom they wished to purge France, assemble in the
cathedral?... A disciple of Luther ... in the temple ennobled by so many
holy bishops!... Finding themselves betrayed by the king, the priests
resolved to turn to the people. These fanatics did not scruple to become
mob-leaders; they traversed the city and the suburbs, entered the shops,
distributed little handbills, and stuck up placards: under the
excitement of this mission the oldest Sorbonnists regained all the
activity of youth. 'We must resist these scandalous meetings at any
cost,' they said. 'Let the people crowd before the gates of Notre Dame,
and hinder the evangelicals from entering; or, if they do not succeed,
let them fill the cathedral, and prevent Roussel from ascending the
pulpit, and drown his heretical voice by the shouts of the believers.'
When the day came, a great movement took place among the citizens of
Paris. An immense crowd hastened from all the neighbouring quarters, who
surrounded Notre Dame and filled the interior of the church. The
Lutherans could not get in, and Roussel was forced to give up his

A favourable wind seemed generally to be breathing over the Reformation:
its enemies were still in prison and its friends at liberty; Francis
appeared to be more than ever in harmony with his sister and with the
protestants of Germany; and an evangelical orator was authorised to
preach at Notre Dame: a violent hurricane, however, suddenly burst upon
the metropolis. A pious and active christian was there to lose his life,
and Paris was to witness at the same time—a triumph and a martyrdom.


One day, a few weeks after Easter, a man loaded with chains entered the
capital: he was escorted by archers, all of whom showed him much
respect. They took him to the Conciergerie. It was Alexander Canus,
known among the Dominicans by the name of Father Laurent de la Croix. At
Lyons, as at Paris, Easter had been the time appointed by the
evangelicals for boldly raising their banner. The goldsmiths, who were
to Alexander what the Queen of Navarre was to Roussel, were no longer
satisfied with preachings in secret. Every preparation was made for a
great assembly; the locality was settled; pious christians went through
the streets from house to house and gave notice of the time and place.
Many were attracted by the desire of hearing a doctrine that was so much
talked about, and on Easter-day the ex-dominican preached before a large
audience.[575] Was it in a church, in some hall, or in the open air? The
chronicler does not say. Alexander moved his hearers deeply, and it
might have been said that Christ rose again that Easter morn in Lyons,
where he had so long lain in the sepulchre. All were not, however,
equally friendly; some cast sinister glances. Alexander was no longer
invisible: the spies in the assembly saw him, heard him, studied his
physiognomy, took note of his _blasphemies_, and hurried off to report
them to their superiors.[576]

While the police were listening to the reports and taking their
measures, there were voices of joy and deliverance in many a humble
dwelling. A divine call had been heard, and many were resolved to obey
it. Alexander, who had belonged to the order of _Preachers_, combined
the gift of eloquence with the sincerest piety. Accordingly, his hearers
requested him to preach again the second day of Easter. The meeting took
place on Monday, and was more numerous than the day before. All eyes
were fixed on the evangelist, all ears were attentive, all faces were
beaming with joy; here and there, however, a few countenances of evil
omen might be seen: they were the agents charged to seize the mysterious
preacher. The assembly heard a most touching discourse; but just when
Alexander's friends desired, as usual, to surround him and get him away,
the officers of justice, more expeditious this time, came forward, laid
their hands upon him, and took him to prison. He was brought before the
tribunal and condemned to death. This cruel sentence distressed all the
evangelicals, who urged him to appeal; he did appeal, which had the
effect of causing him to be transferred to Paris. 'That was not done
without great mystery,' says Froment, 'and without the great providence
of God.'[577] People said to one another that Paul, having appealed to
the emperor, won over a great nation at Rome; and they asked whether
Alexander might not do the same at Paris. The evangelist departed under
the escort of a captain and his company.

The captain was a worthy man: he rode beside Alexander, and they soon
entered into conversation. The officer questioned him, and the
ex-dominican explained to him the cause of his arrest. The soldier
listened with astonishment; he took an interest in the story, and by
degrees the words of the pious prisoner entered into his heart. He heard
God's call and awoke; he experienced a few moments of struggle and
doubt, but erelong the assurance of faith prevailed. 'The captain was
converted,' says Froment, 'while taking him to Paris.' Alexander did not
stop at this; he spoke to each of the guards, and some of them also were
won over to the Gospel. The first evening they halted at an inn, and the
prisoner found means to address a few good words to the servants and the
heads of the household. This was repeated every day. People came to see
the strange captive, they entered into conversation with him, and he
answered every question. He employed in the service of the Gospel all
the skill that he possessed in discussion. 'He was learned in the
doctrine of the sophists,' says a contemporary, 'having profited well
and studied long at Paris with his companions (the Dominicans).' Now and
then the people went and fetched the priest or orator of the village to
dispute with him; but they were easily reduced to silence. Many of the
hearers were enlightened and touched, and some were converted. They
said, as they left the inn: 'Really we have never seen a man answer and
confound his adversaries better by Holy Scripture.'[578] The crowd
increased from town to town. At last Alexander arrived in Paris:
'Wonderful thing!' remarks the chronicler, 'he was more useful at the
inns and on the road than he had ever been before.'[579]


This remarkable prisoner was soon talked of in many quarters of Paris.
The case was a very serious one. 'A friar, a Dominican, an inquisitor,'
said the people, 'has gone over to the Lutherans, and is striving to
make heretics everywhere.' The monks of his own convent made the most
noise. The king, who detained Beda in prison, desired to preserve the
balance by giving some satisfaction to the catholics. He was not uneasy
about the German protestants; he had observed closely the landgrave's
ardour, and had no fear that the fiery Philip would break off the
alliance for a Dominican monk. Francis, therefore, allowed matters to
take their course, and Alexander appeared before a court of parliament.
'Name your accomplices,' said the judges; and as he refused to name the
accomplices, who did not exist, the president added: 'Give him the
boot.' The executioners brought forward the boards and the wedges, with
which they tightly compressed the legs of the evangelist. His sufferings
soon became so severe that, hoping they had converted him, they stopped
the torture, and the president once more called upon him to name all
who, like himself, had separated from the Church of Rome; but he was not
to be shaken, and the punishment began again. 'He was severely tortured
several times,' say the _Actes_, 'to great extremity of cruelty.' The
executioners drove the wedges so tightly between the boards in which his
limbs were confined, that his left leg was crushed. Alexander groaned
aloud: 'O God!' he exclaimed, 'there is neither pity nor mercy in these
men! ... oh that I may find both in thee!'—'Keep on,' said the head
executioner. The unhappy man, who had observed Budæus among the
assessors, turned on him a mild look of supplication, and said: 'Is
there no Gamaliel here to moderate the cruelty they are practising on
me?'[580] The illustrious scholar, an honest and just man, although
irresolute in his proceedings, kept his eyes fixed on the martyr,
astonished at his patience. 'It is enough,' he said: 'he has been
tortured too much; you ought to be satisfied.' Budæus was a person of
great authority; his words took effect, and the _extraordinary gehenna_
ceased. 'The executioners lifted up the martyr, and carried him to his
dungeon a cripple.'[581]


It was the custom to deliver sentence in the absence of the accused, and
to inform him of it in the Conciergerie through a clerk of the criminal
office. The idea occurred of pronouncing it in Alexander's presence;
perhaps in his terror he might ask for some alleviation, and by this
means they might extort a confession. But all was useless. The court
made a great display, and a crowd of spectators increased the solemnity,
to no purpose: Alexander Canus, of Evreux, in Normandy, was condemned to
be burnt alive. A flash of joy suddenly lit up his face. 'Truly,' said
the spectators, 'is he more joyful than he was before!'[582]

The priests now came forward to perform the sacerdotal degradation. 'If
you utter a word,' they told him, 'you will have your tongue cut
out.'—'The practice of cutting off the tongue,' adds the historian,
'began that year.' The priests took off his sacerdotal dress, shaved his
head, and went through all the _usual mysteries_. During this ceremony
Alexander uttered not a word; only at one of the absurdities of the
priests he let a smile escape him. They dressed him in the _robe de
fol_—a garment of coarse cloth, such as was worn by the poorer
peasantry. When the pious martyr caught sight of it, he exclaimed, 'O
God, is there any greater honour than to receive this day the livery
which thy Son received in the house of Herod?'[583]

A cart, generally used to carry mud or dust, was brought to the front of
the building. Some Dominicans, his former brethren, got into it along
with the humble christian, and all proceeded towards the Place Maubert.
As the cart moved but slowly, Alexander, standing up, leant over towards
the people, and 'scattered the seed of the Gospel with both hands.' Many
persons, moved even to tears, exclaimed that they were putting him to
death wrongfully; but the Dominicans pulled him by his gown, and annoyed
him in every way. At first he paid no attention to this; but when one of
the monks said to him coarsely: 'Either recant, or hold your tongue,'
Alexander turned round and said to him with firmness: 'I will not
renounce Jesus Christ.... Depart from me, ye deceivers of the people!'

At last they reached the front of the scaffold. While the executioners
were making the final preparations, Alexander, observing some lords and
ladies in the crowd, with common people, monks, and several of his
friends, asked permission to address a few words to them. An
ecclesiastical dignitary, a chanter of the Sainte Chapelle, carrying a
long staff, presided over the clerical part of the ceremony, and he gave
his consent. Then, seized with a holy enthusiasm, Alexander confessed,
'with great vehemence and vivacity of mind,'[584] the Saviour whom he
loved so much, and for whom he was condemned to die. 'Yes,' he
exclaimed, 'Jesus, our only Redeemer, suffered death to ransom us to God
his Father. I have said it, and I say it again, O ye christians who
stand around me, pray to God that, as his son Jesus Christ died for me,
he will give me grace to die now for him.'


Having thus spoken, he said to the executioner: 'Proceed.' The officers
of justice approached, they bound him to the pile and set it on fire.
The wood crackled, the flames rose, and Alexander, his eyes upraised to
heaven, exclaimed: 'O Jesus Christ, have pity on me! O Saviour, receive
my soul!' He saw the glory of God; by faith he discerned Jesus in
heaven, who received him into his kingdom. 'My Redeemer!' he repeated,
'O my Redeemer!' At last his voice was silent. The people wept; the
executioners said to one another: 'What a strange criminal!' and even
the monks asked: 'If this man is not saved, who will be?' Many beat
their breasts, and said: 'A great wrong has been done to that man!' And
as the spectators separated, they went away thinking: 'It is wonderful
how these people suffer themselves to be burnt in defence of their

The Romish party having obtained this satisfaction, the political party
thought only of overthrowing popery in one of the states of Germany, and
of paving the way for its decline in the kingdom of St. Louis.

[Footnote 551: Crespin, _Martyrologue_, fol. 111.]

[Footnote 552: Théod. de Bèze, _Hist. Eccl._ i. p. 9.]

[Footnote 553: Crespin, _Martyrologue_, fol. 107 verso.]

[Footnote 554: The words _reform_ and _reformed_ apply especially to the
religious movement in France.]

[Footnote 555: Crévier, _Hist. de l'Université de Paris_ v. p. 278.]

[Footnote 556: 'Hos Beda vellet incendio tradere.'—Myconius to
Bullinger, _Ep. Helvet. Ref._ p. 121, 8vo.]

[Footnote 557: 'Edictum, omnem qui duobus testibus convinceretur
lutheranus, statim exurendum esse.'—Bucer to Blaarer, Strasburg MSS.]

[Footnote 558: 'Res erit non absimilis inquisitioni Hispaniæ.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 559: 'Nunc circa trecentos Parisiis jam captos.'—Bucer to
Blaarer, Strasburg MSS.]

[Footnote 560: His letters are preserved in the Seminary at Strasburg.]

[Footnote 561: 'Tum _coegit_ Bedam ut privatim cum eis congredi
oporteret.'—Letter of Oswald Myconius, _Ep. Helvet. Ref._ p. 121.]

[Footnote 562: 'Pessime enim nugas suas ad scripturas Dei adhibuit.'—

[Footnote 563: 'Inscitiam suam ostendere, quod et ei cessit in magnam

[Footnote 564: 'Beda conjectus est in carcerem, accusatus criminis læsæ
majestatis.'—Cop to Bucer, Strasb. MSS. See also H. de Coste, p. 77.
Schmidt, p. 106.]

[Footnote 565: _Lettres de la Reine de Navarre_, i. p. 299.]

[Footnote 566: 'Prorsus liberatus est theologorum calumniis, ac decreto
regis absolutus.'—Cop to Bucer, Strasburg MSS.]

[Footnote 567: 'Quo multi commoti sunt et perturbati.'—Cop to Bucer,
Strasburg MSS.]

[Footnote 568: Froment, _Actes et Gestes de Genève_, p. 76.—The Mint was
near the present railway station.]

[Footnote 569: Crespin, _Martyrologue_, fol. 106.]

[Footnote 570: Froment, _Actes et Gestes_, p. 74.]

[Footnote 571: Ibid.]

[Footnote 572: Froment, _Actes et Gestes_, p. 75.]

[Footnote 573: Ibid. p. 74.]

[Footnote 574: Coste, _Hist. de Le Picard_, p. 46; Schmidt, _Mémoires de
Roussel_, p. 107.]

[Footnote 575: Crespin, _Martyrologue_, fol. 106.]

[Footnote 576: Froment, _Actes et Gestes_, p. 75.]

[Footnote 577: _Actes et Gestes_, p. 75.]

[Footnote 578: Froment, _Actes et Gestes_, p. 75.]

[Footnote 579: Ibid.]

[Footnote 580: Crespin, _Martyrologue_, fol. 107.]

[Footnote 581: Crespin, _Martyrologue_, fol. 107.]

[Footnote 582: Ibid.]

[Footnote 583: Crespin, _Martyrologue_, fol. 107. Froment, _Actes et
Gestes_, p. 76.]

[Footnote 584: Ibid.]

[Footnote 585: Crespin, _Martyrologue_, fol. 107 verso. Froment, _Actes
et Gestes_, p. 78.]

 (SPRING 1534.)

The idea of correcting the errors of the Church without changing its
government was not new in France. By the Pragmatic Sanction in 1269, St.
Louis had founded the liberties of the Gallican Church; and the great
idea of reform had been widely spread since the time of the council of
Constance (1414), of Clemengis, and of Gerson. The two Du Bellays, with
many priests, scholars, and noblemen, thought it was the only means of
calming down the agitations of christendom, and Margaret of Valois had
made it the great business of her life.


William du Bellay, on his way back from Augsburg, where he had delivered
such noble speeches in favour of the protestant dukes of Wurtemberg, had
stopped at Strasburg, and had several meetings with the pacific Bucer.
His success in Germany, his conversations with the evangelical princes
and doctors, who took him for as sound a protestant as themselves, had
filled him with hope. In no place could those who desired to take a
middle course meet with more sympathy than at Strasburg; there was quite
a system of compromises there with the Swiss and with Luther; why not
with Rome also? 'Since Luther will not give way in anything,' Bucer had
said, 'I will accommodate myself to his terminology; only I will avoid
every expression that may indicate a too local and too gross presence of
the body of Christ in the bread.'[586] Accordingly Bucer, with his pious
and moderate friends Capito, Hedio, and Zell, received the diplomatic
mediator with great pleasure. They retired to the reformer's library,
where Du Bellay explained his great project with all the seriousness of
a man convinced. 'It is a greater work,' he said to Bucer, 'than this
union of Zwinglians and Lutherans which has hitherto been your sole and
constant occupation. We wish to effect a fusion between catholicism and
the Reformation. We shall maintain the _unity_ of the former; we shall
uphold the _truth_ of the latter.' Du Bellay's plan was at bottom, we
see, the same as Leibnitz endeavoured to get Bossuet and Louis XIV. to
accept. Bucer was in ecstasies: it was what he had sought so long; the
diplomatist appeared to him as if surrounded with a halo of glory. And
hence he often said: 'If the Lord would raise up many men like this
_hero_, the kingdom of Christ would soon come out of the pit.'[587]
According to Bucer, Du Bellay was meditating a very perilous but still a
great enterprise: it was a labour worthy of Hercules.... The counsellor
of the King of France was satisfied to find the great pacificator
agreeing with him, and hastened to Paris, flattering himself that he
would gain a victory more striking than that of Francis I. at Marignan,
or of Charles V. at Pavia.

Everything seemed favourable: Francis, delighted at his conference with
the landgrave, had never been better disposed for conciliation. Du
Bellay endeavoured to convince him that Germany was quite ready for the
_great fusion_. Melanchthon, whom all Germany venerated, was (in his
opinion) the man of the hour, by whose agency the two contrary currents
would mingle their waters and form but one stream bearing life to every
part. Was it not he who said: 'Preserve all the old ceremonies that you
can: every innovation is injurious to the people?' Had he not declared
at Augsburg that no doctrine separated him from the Roman Church; that
he respected the universal authority of the pope, and desired to remain
faithful to Christ and the Church of Rome? Margaret of Navarre also
spoke to her brother of this great and good man: 'Melanchthon's
mildness,' she said, 'contrasts with the violent temper of Zwingle and
Luther.' Other persons observed to the king that what distinguished
France from all catholic nations was its attachment to those liberties
of the Church, which were on that account denominated _Gallican_. 'It
would thus be a thoroughly French enterprise,' they said, 'to strip the
pope of his usurped privileges.'

Francis listened. To be king both in Church and State, to imitate his
dear brother of England, who at heart was more catholic than
himself,—this was his desire. Du Bellay, noticing this disposition,
laboured vehemently (to use his own expression)[588] to introduce the
Melanchthonian ideas into France. He spoke of them at court and in the
city, sometimes even to the clergy, and met everywhere with almost
universal approbation.[589] 'Only make a forward movement,' he was told.
The king resumed the reading of the Bible, which he had laid aside after
the first days of the Reformation. It was not that he relished the Word
of God, but the Bible was a weapon that would help him to gain the
victory over the emperor. When conversing with the persons around him,
he would quote some phrase of Scripture. He particularly liked the
passages where St. Paul speaks of _breastplates_, _shields_, _helmets_,
and _swords_. He found the apostle, indeed, a little too spiritual and
mystical; and in his heart he preferred the helmet of a soldier to the
_helmet of salvation_; but he appeared every day better disposed towards
the Holy Scriptures.[590] Margaret was transported with joy. 'I agree
with the German protestants,' said the king to Du Bellay. 'Yes, I agree
with them in _all_ points ... except _one_!' Du Bellay wrote immediately
to Bucer, and added: 'You know what that means.'[591] Francis desired to
remain in union with Rome for form's sake, if it were only by a thread.
But Rome is not contented with a thread.


An approaching event seemed destined to decide whether or not a
semi-reformation would be established in France. The king and his
minister kept their eyes fixed on Germany, and waited impatiently to
learn if the enterprise decided upon at Bar-le-Duc for the restoration
of the protestant princes to the throne of Wurtemberg would be crowned
with success. In their eyes Wurtemberg was the field of battle where the
cause of the papacy would triumph or be crushed. Francis hoped that, if
the protestants were victorious, they would enter upon a war that would
become general. If the empire and the papacy fell beneath the blows of
their enemies, new times would begin. Europe would be emancipated from
both pope and emperor, and Francis would profit largely, both for
himself and France, by this glorious emancipation.

The landgrave prepared everything for the great blow he was about to
strike. At once prudent and active, he did not write a word that could
compromise him, but sent his confidential counsellors in every
direction. He went in person to the Elector of Trèves and the
elector-palatine, and promised them that if Wurtemberg was restored to
its lawful princes, Charles's brother should be compensated by being
recognised King of the Romans. These measures succeeded with Philip, who
immediately made known this happy commencement to Francis I.

On Easter Monday (1534) the Louvre displayed all its magnificence; many
officers of the court were on foot, for Francis was to give audience to
the agent of the Waywode (hospodar) of Wallachia, who had been
dispossessed by Austria, like the Duke of Wurtemberg. The king's eyes
sparkled with delight: 'The Swabian league is dissolved,' he told the
envoy. 'I am sending money into Germany.... I have many friends
there.... My allies are already in arms.... We are on the point of
carrying our plan into execution.'[592] Francis was so happy that he
could not keep his secret.


All was not, however, so near as he imagined. An old obstacle came up
again, and seemed as if it would check the landgrave. The other
evangelical princes and doctors did all they could to thwart an
enterprise which would, in Philip's opinion, secure their triumph. 'The
restoration of the Duke of Wurtemberg,' said the wise Melanchthon, 'will
engender great troubles. Even the Church will be endangered by them. You
know my forebodings.[593] All the kings of Europe will be mixed up in
this war. It is a matter full of peril, not only to ourselves, but to
the whole world.'[594] Astrology interfered in the matter, and spread
terror among the people. Lichtenberg, a famous astrologer, published
some predictions, to which he added certain 'monstrous pictures,'[595]
and said: 'The Frenchman (Francis) will again fall into the emperor's
hands;[596] and all who unite with him in making war will be destroyed.
The lion will want help, and will be deceived by the lily.'[597] In such
terms the German prophecy declared that France (the lily) would deceive
Hesse (whose device is a lion): this shows how little confidence Germany
had in the French monarch.

Ferdinand of Austria distrusted the prophecy, and thought the
landgrave's attack close at hand. Sensible of his own weakness, he turned
to the pope and said to him through his envoy Sanchez: 'The landgrave's
expedition is a danger which threatens the Church and Italy ...
the spirituality and the temporality.' The pope promised everything,
but (as was his custom) with the determination to do nothing. A war that
might weaken Charles was gratifying to him, even though protestantism
should profit by it. Clement, however, convoked the consistory;
described to them in very expressive language the danger of the empire
and the Church; but of helping them, not a word.... Ferdinand, still
more alarmed, became more importunate, and the matter was brought before
a congregation: 'Alas!' said Clement to the cardinals, 'it is impossible
to conceal from you the dangers that threaten King Ferdinand and the
Austrian power. They are attacked by so severe a disease that a simple
medicine would be insufficient to effect a cure.... It requires an
energetic remedy ... but where can it be found?' The cardinals agreed
with their chief; they thought that, as the danger threatened Austria
alone, it was for Austria to get out of it as she could. The
recollection of the sack of Rome by the imperialists in 1527 was not yet
effaced from the hearts of these Roman priests, and they were not sorry
to see the emperor punished by an heretical scourge. They resolved that
as Rome could not give a subsidy sufficiently large, they would give
none at all. 'This expedition,' said Clement VII. to Ferdinand's envoy,
with a certain frankness, 'is only a private matter.... But if the
landgrave touches the Church, you may reckon then upon my help.'
Sanchez, seeing the pontiff's lukewarmness, and moved by sorrow and
indignation,[598] forcibly replied: 'Be not deceived, holy father....
This matter is not so small as you suppose.... It will cost the Church
of Rome dear ... and not the Church only, but the city and all Italy.'


Sanchez thought, like Francis and the politicians, that the protestants,
victorious in Wurtemberg, would not stop in so glorious a career; that
they would raise a large army; and that, aided by France, they would
cross the Alps and go to Rome to dethrone the successor of St. Peter,
and put an end to what they regarded as the power of antichrist. This
suggestion exasperated Clement: he felt the tiara shaking on his head,
and angrily exclaimed: 'And where is the emperor? What is he doing? Why
does he not watch over his brother's states and the peace of Germany?'
Charles V., quite unconcerned about a project which might, however,
insure his rival's triumph, was calmly enjoying his repose beneath the
smiling sky of Spain, reclining on the banks of its beautiful rivers,
under the shade of its orange and citron trees and of its gigantic
laurels. The pope took courage from his example to do the same. If he
did nothing to stop the protestant army, the papacy might suffer; but if
he did anything, he might turn aside from the house of Austria the
terrible blow about to fall on it, and save from a reverse that imperial
power which he detested. The pontiff sank back into his apostolic chair,
and prepared for a luxurious slumber, thinking it would be time enough
to wake up ... when danger was at his own door. 'Alas!' said sincere
catholics, 'why are the successors of St. Peter, the fisherman and
apostle, _clothed in soft raiment_, which is for those who are _in
kings' houses_? Why do they covet these courtly pomps and effeminacies?
Why do they imitate _the princes of the Gentiles who exercise dominion
over them_? Christ bore the cross.' The political passions of
Clement VII. extinguished his ecclesiastical zeal. The temporal power of
the popes has never been other than a clog upon their spiritual power,
preventing it from working freely. The judgments of God were about to be

At the beginning of May everything was astir in Hesse, Pomerania,
Mecklenburg, Brunswick, Westphalia, and on the banks of the Rhine; the
landgrave was preparing to march against Austria. Omens threatened,
indeed, to detain him. At Cassel, the chief town of Hesse, a monster was
seen walking mysteriously and silently upon the water during the
night.[599] 'It is a sure warning,' said the old crones and a few
citizens, 'that the prince ought to stop.' But Philip replied coldly:
'These visions are not worthy of belief.' Without heeding the monster,
Philip, mounted on horseback and carrying a lance in his hand, reviewed
his army on Wednesday, the 6th of May, after midnight, and then gave the
order to march. Almost all the officers and a great many of the soldiers
belonged to the evangelical confession. It was, alas! the first
politico-religious army of the sixteenth century, and this campaign was
the first Germanico-European opposition to the house of Austria.[600]
History shrouds herself beneath a veil of mourning as she points to this
epoch; for the employment of human force in the interests of religion,
the armed struggle between the new and the old times, began then.


The Austrian government, deserted by the pope, saw that it must help
itself, and had made great exertions on its part. All the convents,
chapters, and towns of Wurtemberg had been forced to contribute large
sums of money, and the most experienced generals of the Italian wars had
been placed at the head of the imperial army. The soldiers of Austria
marched to Laufen on the Neckar, and there waited for the enemy. The
landgrave's army, full of hope and courage, uttered loud shouts of joy
when they heard of it.

It was not so at Wittemberg. Melanchthon was more grieved than ever, and
many persons sympathised with him. On the one hand, the theologians of
the Reformation detested war; but on the other, they said to themselves
at certain moments: 'Still ... if Philip takes up arms it is to restore
legitimate princes to the throne of their fathers, and secure a free
course to the Word of God!'—'Oh, what cruelties in the Roman Church,'
added Melanchthon, 'what idolatries, and what obstinacy in defending
them! Who knows but God desires to punish their defenders, if not
utterly to destroy such notorious evils for ever?[601] Oh that the issue
of this war may be beneficial to the Church of Christ!' Some time after,
when Melanchthon was told of the advance of the army of Philip of Hesse,
that peaceful christian gave way once more to his anguish: 'These
movements are quite against our advice,' he said, and then shutting
himself up in his closet, he exclaimed: 'In the midst of the dangers and
sorrows to which God exposes us, we have nothing else to do but to call
upon Christ and to feel his presence.'[602] He then fell upon his knees
before God; and God, who saw him in secret, rewarded him openly. But
while the christians were weeping and praying, the politicians were
rejoicing and acting. Du Bellay, in particular, did not doubt that an
early victory would cement the union of France with German
protestantism; and perceiving the consequences that would follow from
the enfranchisement of his country, he gave utterance to his joy.

The impetuous landgrave, taking a spring, cleared, as at one bound, the
country which separated him from the Neckar, arrived unexpectedly on the
banks of that river near Laufen, where the imperial army was posted, and
attacked it with spirit. At first the Austrians courageously sustained
the fight; but the count palatine, their commander, having been wounded
by a cannon-shot, they retired precipitately. Early the next morning,
the landgrave, putting himself at the head of his cavalry and artillery,
fell upon them as they were beginning to retreat, and drove part of them
into the Neckar.[603]

Wurtemberg was gained, and Duke Ulrich, accompanied by Prince
Christopher, reappeared in the country of his fathers. The people,
excited at the thought of seeing their national princes once more after
so many years, assembled in the open country near Stuttgard, and
received them with immense acclamation. The landgrave, not allowing
himself to be retarded by the warm reception of the people whom he had
restored to independence, followed up his plan, and on the 18th of June
reached the Austrian frontier. Everybody thought that he would march on
Vienna, and overthrow that insolent dynasty which desired to be the
master of the world.


Great was the consternation in all the catholic world, but particularly
in the Vatican. On the 10th of June, 1534, Clement, who was sick, went
sorrowful, downcast, and tottering, to the college of cardinals, and
laid before them the pitiful letters he had received from King
Ferdinand.[604] The cardinals, as they read them, were struck with
terror. Would Vienna, that had resisted the Turks, fall under the
assault of the protestants? Would a victorious army, crossing the Alps,
come and perpetrate a second sack of Rome which, as the work of
heretics, might not be more compassionate than that of the catholic
Charles V.? The cardinals saw no other remedy than that to which Rome
had recourse when her ducats and arquebuses were gone. 'A general
council,' they exclaimed, 'is the only remedy that can save us from
heresy and all the calamities by which christendom is distressed.'

While there was mourning at Rome, there were great rejoicings at the
Louvre. It was a long time since the emperor had received such a check.
About the end of June a courier from Germany brought Francis the
despatches announcing the arrival of Philip of Hesse on the Austrian
frontier. He could not repress the outburst of his joy. He spoke to
himself, to his councillors, to his courtiers.... 'My friends,' he
exclaimed, 'my friends have conquered Wurtemberg.' Then, as if the
landgrave and his victorious army were before him, he exclaimed in a
tone of command: 'Forward! forward!' His dream was about to be realised;
the war would become general; he already saw the landgrave at Vienna;
and, what was better still, he saw himself at Genoa, Urbino, Montferrat,
and Milan. All his life through he forgot France for Italy, which he
never possessed. But he was mistaken as to the landgrave's intentions.
Much as Francis desired to see the war become general, Philip of Hesse
laboured to keep it local. Satisfied with having restored Wurtemberg to
its princes, he meant to respect the empire. The kings of France and
England were seriously vexed: 'The Duke of Wurtemberg, restored by my
help and yours,' said Henry VIII. to Francis I., 'is only seeking how to
make peace with the emperor.'[605] It would appear by the evidence
derived from the _State Papers_, that the gold of England as well as of
France had contributed to despoil Austria of Wurtemberg. Henry, more
perhaps than Francis I., had hoped that the blow struck upon the banks
of the Neckar would be, to emperor as well as to pope, the commencement
of sorrows; but they were both mistaken. The temptation, no doubt, was
great for a prince of thirty, full of decision and energy, who believed
that nothing would make the triumph of protestantism so secure as the
humiliation of Austria; but Philip's loyalty resisted the temptation.


On the 27th of June the peace of Cadan put an end to all differences,
and restored Wurtemberg to its national princes, with a voice in the
council of the empire. If there had never been a war more energetically
conducted, there had never been a peace so promptly concluded. The
landgrave had displayed a spirit and talents which, men thought, might
in future prove troublesome to the puissant Charles.[606]

The emperor having received his lesson, the pope's turn came next. As
the state of Wurtemberg had been wrested from the hands of Austria, the
Church was to be saved from the clutches of the papacy. At the diet of
Augsburg, in 1530, Duke Christopher had seen the landgrave, his relation
and friend, come forward as the most intrepid champion of the
Reformation. His generous heart had been won to a cause which included
such a noble defender, and his desire was to see it triumph in
Wurtemberg. On the other hand, King Ferdinand, when renouncing his
authority over the duchy, desired at least to maintain that of the pope;
and he therefore proposed to insert in the treaty of peace an article
forbidding any change in religious matters. But the dukes, the
landgrave, and the Elector of Saxony unanimously declared that the
Gospel ought to have free course in the duchy, and the electoral
chancellor wrote this word on the margin, by the side of the article
proposed by the King of the Romans: _Rejected_.[607] 'You are in no
respect bound as to the faith,' said the evangelical princes to Ulrich;
while the papal nuncio Vergerio entreated King Ferdinand not to give way
to the Lutherans. All the efforts of the Romish party were useless. The
important victory of the landgrave (and of Francis I.) was about to open
the gates of Wurtemberg to the Reformation, and consequently those of
other Roman-catholic countries.

Ulrich and Christopher, being quite as desirous of bringing souls to the
knowledge of the Word of God as of replacing their subjects under the
sceptre of the ancient house of Emeric,[608] set to work immediately.
They invited to their states Ambrose Blaarer, the friend of Zwingle and
Bucer, and Ehrard Schnepf, the friend of Luther, converted by his means
at Heidelberg at the beginning of the Reformation.[609] Their labours
and those of other servants of God spread the evangelical light over the
country.[610] Nor was that all: if the defeat at Cappel had restored
many cities to the Romish creed,[611] the victory of Laufen allowed many
to come to the evangelical faith. Baden, Hanau, Augsburg, Pomerania,
Mecklenburg, and other places began, advanced, or completed their
reformation about this time. French money had never before returned such
good interest.


France was now about to undertake a still greater task. We have seen
that there were at that time two systems of reform: Margaret's system
and Calvin's. It was in the order of things that the one which remained
nearest to catholicism should be tried first. If the most eminent
persons of the age, who sought in this middle course the last and
supreme resource of christendom, did not see their efforts crowned with
success, it would be necessary to undertake, or rather to continue
spiritedly, a more simple, more scriptural, more practical, and more
radical reform. When Margaret failed, there remained Calvin. The
realisation of this specious but illusory system, recommended in after
years to Louis XIV. by a great protestant philosopher of Germany, was
about to be tried by Francis I. The narrative of this experiment ought
to occupy a remarkable place in the religious history of the sixteenth

[Footnote 586: Rœhrich, _Reform in Elsass_, ii. p. 274.]

[Footnote 587: 'Dominus excitet multos isti heroï similes.'—Bucer to

[Footnote 588: 'Adhuc vehementer laboratur.'—Du Bellay to Bucer.]

[Footnote 589: 'Omnes enim bene sperare jubent.'—Du Bellay to Bucer.]

[Footnote 590: 'Etiam rex ipse, cujus animus _erga meliores litteras_
magis ac magis augetur.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 591: 'Una tamen in re vehementer a Germanis abhorret.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 592: Béthune MSS. 8493. Ranke, iii. p. 456.]

[Footnote 593: 'Restitutio ducis Wurtembergensis brevi magnos motus
pariet. Divinationes meas nosti.'—_Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 706.]

[Footnote 594: 'Magna et periculosa res universo orbi terrarum ac
præcipue nobis.'—Ibid. p. 728.]

[Footnote 595: 'Mit monstrosen Figuren.'—Seckendorf, p. 833.]

[Footnote 596: 'Gallum iterum venturum in potestatem imperatoris

[Footnote 597: 'Leo carebit auxilio et decipietur a lolio.'—Ibid. The
correct reading is evidently _lilium_ (lily) and not _lolium_ (tares).
The preposition _a_ indicates that the word is taken in a symbolical

[Footnote 598: 'Dolore et indignatione accensus replicui.'—Sanchez'
report to Ferdinand: Bucholz. Ranke.]

[Footnote 599: 'Cassellæ nescio quid memorant noctu, super aquis monstri
visum esse.'—_Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 729.]

[Footnote 600: Ranke, _Deutsche Geschichte_, iii. p. 459.]

[Footnote 601: 'Quid si Deus illa publica vitia tum punire, tum aliqua
ex parte tollere decrevit?'—_Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 729.]

[Footnote 602: 'Ut Christum invocare et præsentiam ejus experiri
discamus.'—_Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 730.]

[Footnote 603: Sleidan, i. liv. ix p. 365. Ranke, iii. p. 461. Rommel,
ii. p. 319.]

[Footnote 604: 'In senatum pontifex venit, lectæque ibi sunt litteræ
fratris Caroli.'—Pallavicini, _Conc. Trid._ i. p. 294.]

[Footnote 605: 'The Duke of Wyttemberg lately restored by his and his
good brother's meanes.'—_State Papers_, vii. p. 568.]

[Footnote 606: Sleidan, i. pp. 366-368. Ranke, iii. pp. 465-468.]

[Footnote 607: 'Soll aussen bleiben.'—Sattler, iii. p. 129. Sleidan,
iii. p. 369. Ranke, iii. p. 481.]

[Footnote 608: The house of Wurtemberg boasts its descent from Emeric,
mayor of the palace under Clovis.]

[Footnote 609: _Hist. of the Ref. of the Sixteenth Century_, vol. i. bk.
iii. ch. ii.]

[Footnote 610: 'Snepfius Stuttgardiæ pastor ecclesias in illo ducatu
reformavit.'—Melch. Adami _Vitæ Germanorum Theologorum_, p. 322.]

[Footnote 611: _Hist. of the Ref. of the Sixteenth Century_, vol. iv.
bk. xvi. ch. x.]


The Wurtemberg affair being ended, Du Bellay thought of nothing but his
great plan; that is, a Reformation according to the ideas of the Queen
of Navarre—the combination of catholicism and truth by the union of
France and Germany. They were not the only persons who entertained such
thoughts: Roussel, Bucer, and many other evangelical christians asked
themselves whether the great success obtained in Germany would not
decide the reformation of France. Intercourse was much increased between
the two countries. Frenchmen and Germans were continually crossing and
recrossing the Rhine.


In the month of July 1534, the Queen of Navarre was in one of the
chambers of her palace: before her stood a bashful timid young man, and
she had a letter in her hand which she appeared to be reading with the
liveliest interest. The young man was a native of Nîmes, Claude Baduel
by name. He had just come from Wittemberg, where he had found, at the
feet of Melanchthon and Luther, the knowledge of the Saviour. He was not
an ordinary student. Of reserved manners,[612] generous heart, rare
disinterestedness, and great firmness in the faith, he had at the same
time a highly cultivated mind. He spoke Latin not only with purity, but
with great elegance, and his discourses were as full of matter as of

Like many other young scholars, Baduel was very poor, not having the
means of studying and scarcely of living. Often during his residence at
Wittemberg, he found himself in his little room reduced to the last
extremity. He had uttered many a groan, and had prayed to that heavenly
Father who feedeth the birds of the air. As the moment of his departure
approached, his distress had increased. How could he perform the
journey? What would become of him in France? He had asked himself with
sorrow whether he ought not to abandon letters and devote himself to
some manual labour. On a sudden, he conceived the idea of applying to
the Queen of Navarre; and going to Melanchthon, he said to him: 'Ill
fortune compels me to forsake the liberal arts for vulgar occupations,
which my nature and my will abhor with equal energy.[614] In vain have I
zealously devoted myself to the study of Holy Scripture and of
eloquence; in vain have I ardently desired to make further progress; a
cruel enemy—poverty—lays its barbarous hands upon me, and compels me to
renounce a vocation which transported me with joy.[615] Yet I
am determined to make a last and supreme attempt. The Queen of Navarre
is a sort of providence, almost a divinity for the friends of letters
and of the arts.[616]... Pray, dear master, give me a letter to her.'

Melanchthon, grieved at the destitute condition of a young man whose
fine understanding he appreciated, did not hesitate to accede to his
request. In those days there was less etiquette and formality and more
familiarity between princes and the friends of letters than there has
been since. On the 13th of June, 1534, a month after the battle of
Laufen, the master of Germany wrote to the sister of Francis, to
introduce the scholar to her. It was this letter which Baduel had
delivered to the queen, and which she, delighted at entering into direct
communication with Melanchthon, was reading with the greatest interest.

'It is certainly a great boldness,' wrote the illustrious reformer, 'for
a man like me, of low condition and unknown to your highness,[617] to
dare recommend a friend to you; but the reputation of your eminent
piety, spread through all the world,[618] does not permit me to refuse
an upright and learned man the service he begs of me. The liberal arts
can never be supported except by the generosity of princes.' Melanchthon
ended by saying: 'Never will alms more royal or more useful have been
bestowed. The Church, scattered over the world, has long counted your
highness among the number of those queens whom the prophet Isaiah calls
the _nursing mothers_ of the people of God, and will take care to hand
down the remembrance of your kindnesses to the most distant
generations.'[619] But the student, that living message of the
reformers, interested Margaret no less than the letter itself. Baduel
had seen and heard them, in their homes, in the street, and in the
pulpit. 'Talk to me,' she said with that amiable grace which
distinguished her, 'talk to me about Melanchthon and Luther; tell me how
they teach and how they live, what are their relations with their
pupils, and what they think of France.' Margaret desired to know
everything. She questioned him on several points, a knowledge of which
might be useful for the projects she had conceived in conjunction with
Du Bellay.


The queen did not forget the young man himself: observing the beauty of
his mind, the liveliness of his faith, and the elevation of his soul,
she thought that to protect Baduel was to prepare a chosen instrument to
propagate evangelical principles in France. Thanks to her care, the
young man, recommended by Melanchthon, became erelong a professor at
Paris. Subsequently, when a college of arts was founded at Nîmes, the
youthful doctor resolved to sacrifice the advantageous post he held in
the capital to devote his services to the city of his birth. The queen
recommended him to the consuls of that city for rector of their new
institution. 'I provided for his studies,' she told them. But
persecution did not allow Baduel to serve France unto the end; he was
obliged to take refuge at Geneva, where he became professor in the
academy founded by Calvin.[620]


The communications of the young man of Nîmes strengthened Margaret, the
king, and Du Bellay in their plans, and Francis resolved to send across
the Rhine a confidential person, empowered to ask the doctors of the
Reformation for a sketch of the means best suited to found an
evangelical catholicism in Europe. It was not Baduel whom Du Bellay
selected for this mission: he was too young. The diplomatist cast his
eyes on Ulric Chelius, a doctor of medicine and native of Augsburg, at
that time living at Strasburg, a great friend of Sturm and Bucer, and
more than once employed by the King of France in various negotiations.
Intelligent, active, and animated like Bucer with the double desire of
reforming and at the same time of uniting christendom, Chelius was well
suited for such a work. Although a German, and consequently knowing
Germany thoroughly, he had all the promptitude of a Frenchman; and the
circumstance that he was not of exalted rank rendered him fitter still
for entering into negotiations that were to be carried on secretly. He
left Strasburg and arrived at Wittemberg in July 1534.

Melanchthon was at that time greatly agitated. The divisions which
separated catholicism from reform, and the quarrels between the
Zwinglians and the Lutherans, filled him with anguish. He often stole
away from that crowd of every age, condition, and country which
continually filled his house, eager to see him.[621] His wife's anxious
heart was wrung when she saw her husband's sadness, and even the
children could scarcely cheer him by their innocent smiles. The future
alarmed him.... 'What sad times are hanging over us,' he exclaimed,
'unless there be somebody to remedy the existing disorders!... We are
moving to our destruction.... They will have recourse to arms ... and
State and Church will perish!'[622]

As soon as Chelius reached Wittemberg, he called upon Melanchthon. 'King
Francis,' he said, 'desires truth and unity. In almost every particular he
is in accord with you, and approves of your book of _Common-places_.[623]
I am authorised to ask you for a plan to put an end to the religious
dissensions which disturb christendom; and I can assure you that the
King of France is doing, and will do, all he can with the pope to
procure harmony and peace.'[624] Nothing was better adapted to captivate
Melanchthon. At this period the _moderates_ had not yet renounced the
idea of preserving external unity; they desired to maintain catholicity:
even Melanchthon saw no other safety for divided and agitated
christendom. Accordingly, never had message arrived at a more suitable
time. Chelius was to him like an angel come from heaven; a beam of joy
lighted up the great doctor's clouded brow. He went to see Luther, and
conversed with him and other friends about the proposals of the King of
France. 'If a few good and learned men,' said he, 'brought together by
certain sovereigns, were to confer freely and amicably together, it
would be easy, believe me, to come to an understanding with each
other.[625] Ignorant men know nothing about the matter, and make the
evil greater than it is.'[626]


Melanchthon thought that he could unite catholics and protestants. We
must not be surprised at it, for in our days very estimable, though not
very clear-sighted men, entertain the same idea. Truth was dear to the
doctor of Germany, but concord, unity, and catholicity were not less so.
The Church, according to Melanchthon and his friends, ought to be
universal; for redemption is appointed for all men, and all have need of
it. The Church ought therefore to strive to unite all the children of
Adam in communion with God, on the foundation of Christ, the only
Redeemer. It possesses a power which can embrace all humankind and keep
all differences in subjection. Such were the thoughts by which
Melanchthon was inspired: if there were any sacrifices to be made to
preserve the catholicity of the Church, he would gladly make them; he
would recognise the bishops, and even the head of the bishops, rather
than destroy unity. 'There is no question of abolishing the government
of the Church,' he said; 'the chief men among us ardently desire that
the received forms should be preserved as much as possible.'[627]
Luther's friend took the matter so much to heart that he began to
address Du Bellay personally: 'I entreat you,' he said, 'to prevail upon
the great monarchs to establish a concord which shall be consistent with
piety.[628] The dangers which threaten us are such that so great a man
as you ought not to be wanting in the cause of the State and of the
Church.... But what am I doing?... What need to urge you to walk who are
running already?'[629] _Catholicity and truth_: such was the device
graven on the arms borne by the champions who, under the auspices of the
King of France, were to appear between the two camps of Rome and the

Melanchthon busied himself with sketching the plan of the new Church,
which, with God's help and the support of the _great monarchs_
(Francis I., Henry VIII., and probably Charles V.), was to become the
Church of modern times. It might be eventually one of the most important
labours ever undertaken by man. Not only the politicians, but all pious,
loving, and perhaps feeble hearts, who feared controversy more than
anything, ardently hoped for the success of this heroic attempt. The
_chief men_, said Melanchthon, shared his opinion and encouraged his
projects. Yet there were simple, earnest, christian men, with minds
determined to set truth above everything, who saw with uneasiness these
theologico-diplomatic negotiations. Neither Farel, nor Calvin, nor
probably Luther, was among those who rallied round the standard raised
by Du Bellay and grasped by Melanchthon.

That pious man, however, was far from wishing to sacrifice the truth. 'I
am quite of your opinion,' said he to Bucer, 'that there can be no
agreement between us and the Bishop of Rome.[630] But, to satisfy the
worthy men who are endeavouring to bring this great matter to a happy
issue, I shall lay down what ought to be the essential points of
agreement.' Melanchthon then believed, and many evangelical christians
in France, and particularly in Germany, believed also, that if a reform,
though incomplete, were once established, the power of truth would soon
bring about a complete reform. He therefore finished his sketch and gave
it to Chelius.


The latter, imagining that he held the salvation of the Church in his
hands, hastened to Strasburg to communicate Melanchthon's project to his
friends. On arriving at Bucer's house (17th of August), he found him
writing his answer to the _Catholic Axiom_ of the Bishop of Avranches, a
great enemy of protestantism. Bucer put aside his own papers and took
those of the Wittemberg doctor, which he was impatient to see. He read
them eagerly over and over again. 'Really there is nothing here to
offend anybody,' he said, 'if people have the least idea of what the
reign of Christ means. But, my dear Chelius,' he added, 'a union is
possible only among those who truly believe in Christ. That there should
be a superior authority, well and good! but it must be a holy authority
in order that every man may obey it with a good conscience.[631] If we
are to unite, all additions must be cut away, and we must return simply
to the doctrine of Scripture and of the Fathers.'

Chelius desired Bucer to give him his opinion in writing. The reformer
hastily drew up a memoir, which, being approved by his colleagues, he
handed to his friend on the 27th of August.[632] Francis's agent had
fixed that day for his departure; but at the last moment he changed his
mind, and remained twenty-four hours longer in Strasburg. There was
another doctor in that city, a meek, pious, and firm man, an old friend
of Zwingle's:[633] it was Hedio, and Chelius asked him for his opinion
also. Then, taking with him the memoirs of the three doctors, he started
without delay for Paris, convinced that catholicity and truth were about
to be saved.

On reaching the capital Chelius gave the papers to William du Bellay,
who immediately laid them before the king. The latter ordered that the
Bishop of Paris and certain of the nobles, men of letters, and
ecclesiastics, who desired to see a united but reformed Church, should
have these documents communicated to them. The arrival of this ultimatum
of the Reformation was an event of great importance; and accordingly the
memoirs of the three doctors were anxiously perused at the Louvre, in
the bishop's palace, and in other houses of the capital. Perhaps history
has made a mistake in taking so little note of this. Three of the
reformers, with England, Francis I., and some of the most eminent men of
the epoch, demanded one only catholic but reformed Church. A great
evangelical unity seemed on the point of being realised. Shall we not
set forth in some detail a proposal of such high interest? There are
individuals, we are aware, who are always looking for facts and
sensations, never troubling themselves about principles and doctrines;
but the wise, on the contrary, know that the world is moved by ideas,
and, whatever may be the objections of curious minds, history must
perform her task, and give to opinions the place that belongs to them.

At this time several meetings of an extraordinary kind were held at the
Louvre, and upon them, as some thought, the future of christendom
depended. The opinions of Melanchthon, Bucer, and Hedio, demanded by the
king, brought by Chelius, and laid before the monarch by Du Bellay, were
in his majesty's closet. The walls of the Louvre, which had witnessed
such levity of morals, and which hereafter were to witness so many
crimes, heard those holy truths explained in which everlasting life is
to be found. Around the table on which these documents lay, there were
politicians no doubt who in this investigation looked only to temporal
advantages, and Francis was at their head; but there were also serious
men who desired for the new Church both unity and reform. We will let
the reformers speak. They were not present in person, it will be
understood, before the King of France; it is their written advice which
he had asked for, and which was probably read by one of the Du Bellays.
But, for brevity's sake, we shall designate these memoirs by the names
of their authors, since it is the authors themselves who speak, and not
the historian.


Francis I., eager both to emancipate France from its subordination to
the papacy, and to form in Europe a great united party capable of
vanquishing and thwarting Austria, listened with goodwill to Melanchthon
and his friends; yet he found the language of the reformers a little
more severe and _heretical_ than he had imagined. Some of the persons
around him were pleased; some were astonished, and others were
scandalised, and not without reason. To place the moderate Melanchthon
by the side of the pacific Bishop of Paris, well and good! but to hope
to unite the unyielding Luther and the fiery Beda, the pious elector and
the worldly Francis ... what a strange undertaking! Let us listen,
however; for these personages have taken their seats, and the inquiry is
about to begin.[634]


'There can be no concord in the Church except between those who are
really of the Church.[635] There is nothing in common between Christ and
Belial. We cannot unite God and the world.... Now, what are the majority
of bishops and priests?... I grieve to say.'

This introduction appeared to the king rather high-flown; but he said to
himself that Bucer doubtless wished to make protestation of his loyalty
at the very outset. Perhaps his colleagues will be more conciliating.


'The catholic doctrine, say some, has a few trifling blemishes here and
there; while we and our friends have been making a great noise without
any cause.... That is a mistake. Let not the pontiff and the great
monarchs of christendom shut their eyes to the diseases of the
Church.[636] They ought, on the contrary, to acknowledge that these
pretended trifling blemishes destroy the essential doctrines of the
faith, and lead men into idolatry and manifest sin.'


'If you wish to establish christian concord, apply to those who truly
believe in Christ.[637] Those who do not listen to the Word cannot
explain the Word.... What errors have been introduced by wicked priests!
Shall we apply to other priests to correct them, who perhaps surpass the
former in wickedness?'

Really the pacific Bucer and Melanchthon speak as boldly as Luther and
Farel. The king and his councillors were beginning to be alarmed, but
more conciliatory words revived their hopes.


'All that can be conceded, while maintaining the faith and the love of
God, we will concede. Every salutary custom, observed by the ancients,
we will restore. We have no desire to upset everything that is standing,
and we know very well that the Church here below cannot be without


The satisfaction of the king and his councillors increased when they
came to Church government. There must be order in the Church, said the
protestants. There must be a ministry of the Word; an inspection of the
pastors and of the flocks, in order to secure discipline and peace. The
service, the time appointed for worshipping in common, the place where
the Church should assemble, the holy offices, the temporal aid necessary
for the support of the ministry, the care of the poor: all these things
require an attentive and faithful administration. These principles were
set forth by the reformers, the Strasburg doctor insisting most on this


'The kingdom of Christ ought not to be without a government. In no place
ought order to be stricter, obedience more complete, and power more

Francis I. and his councillors heard these declarations with pleasure.
They had been told that the _pretended_ Church of the protestants was
composed of atoms that had no cohesion with each other. Others affirmed
that the only superior power recognised in it was that of certain
theocratic prophets, like Thomas Munzer and others. Francis, therefore,
was satisfied to learn that while they acknowledged a universal
priesthood, by virtue of which every believer approached God in prayer,
protestantism maintained a special evangelical ministry. But what was
this ministry, this government? This the king and his advisers desired
to know. Here, in our opinion, the mediating divines went wrong: the
king's wishes were to be almost satisfied.


'As a bishop presides over several Churches, no one can think it wrong
for a pontiff to preside at Rome over several bishops. The Church must
have leaders to examine those who are called to the ministry, to judge
in ecclesiastical causes, and watch over the teaching of the
ministers.... If there were no such bishops, they ought to be
created.[639] One sole pontiff may even serve to maintain harmony of
faith between the different nations of christendom.'

Francis was delighted; but the more decided evangelicals looked upon
this idea of an _evangelical_ pope as a dream to be consigned to the
Utopia described by Sir Thomas More. An accessory declaration of another
kind was to please the king even more.


'As for the Roman pontiff's claim to transfer kingdoms from one prince
to another, that concerns neither the Gospel nor the Church; and it is
the business of kings to combat that unjust pretension.'

Now that these concessions were granted, the reformers were about to
make the loud voice of the Reformation heard.


'The first of doctrines is the justification of sinners.'


'Remission of sins ought to be accompanied by a change of life; but this
remission is not given us because of this new life; it comes to us only
through mercy, and is given to us solely because of Christ.'


'Thus, then, we have done with the merits ascribed to the observances
and prayers of the monks and priests: we have done with all vain
confidence in our own works. Let the grace of God be obscured no longer,
and the righteousness of Christ be no more diminished! It is on account
of the blood of his only Son that God forgives us our sins.'


Francis and his advisers thought that _orthodox_ enough. Even the
schoolmen (they said) have used this language in some of their books.
They raised no opposition to the opinion of the reformers upon
justification by faith.[640] But one point made them uneasy.... What
will they say of the mass? This important subject was not forgotten.


'What! to be present every day at mass without repentance, without
piety, even without thinking of the mysteries connected with it, will
suffice to obtain all kinds of grace from God!... No! when we celebrate
the sacrament of our Lord's body and blood, there must be a living
communion between Christ and the living members of Christ.'[641]



'The mass is the only knot we cannot untie;[642] for it contains such
horrible abuses ... invented for the profit of the monks. All impious
rites must be interdicted, and others established in conformity with the

'The mass must be preserved,' said Francis; 'but the stupid, absurd, and
foolish legends abolished.'[643]

The Frenchmen were anxious to learn the doctrine of the reformers on the
sacraments: it was, in fact, the embarrassing point, in consequence of
the different opinions of different doctors. The enemies of the
Reformation spread the rumour through France that the sacraments were to
protestants mere ceremonies only, by which christians show that they
belong to the Church. 'No,' said the doctors, 'these outward forms are
means by which grace works inwardly in our souls. Only this working does
not proceed from the disposition of the priest administering the
sacrament, but from the faith of him who receives it.' And here came the
great question: 'Is Christ present or not in the communion?' Bucer and
his friends cleverly extricated themselves from this difficulty.


'The body of Christ is received in the hands of the communicants, and
eaten with their mouths, say some. The body of Christ is discerned by
the soul of the believer and eaten by faith, say others. There is a way
of putting an end to this dispute by simply acknowledging that, whatever
be the manner of eating, there is a real _presence of Christ_ in the
Lord's Supper.'[644]

By degrees the reformers became more animated.


'We must teach the people that the saints are not more merciful than
Jesus Christ, and that we must not transfer to them the confidence due
to Christ alone.

'The monasteries must be converted into schools.

'Celibacy must be abolished, for most of the priests live in open


'The Church must have a constitution in which everything will be decided
by Scripture; and a conference of learned and pious men is wanted to
draw it up.'


'That assembly must not be composed of divines only, but of laymen also;
and, above all things, no forward step should be taken so long as the
pope and the bishops persist in their errors, and even defend them by

When the reformers drew up these articles, they had gradually begun to
feel some hope. It is possible, perhaps probable, that unity will be
restored.... Moved at the thought, they lifted their eyes towards the
mighty arm from which they expected help.


'O that the Lord Jesus Christ would look down from heaven and restore
the Church for which he suffered to a pious and perpetual union, which
may cause his glory to shine afar!'[647]

Francis and his councillors were satisfied upon the whole;[648] but the
doctors of Rome looked with an uneasy eye upon these (to them)
detestable negotiations. There was agitation at the Sorbonne and even at
the Louvre. All the leaders of the Roman party who had a voice at court
made respectful representations. Cardinal de Tournon added
remonstrances. Du Bellay held firm; but it was not so with Francis. He
hesitated and staggered. An event occurred to give him a fresh impulse,
and to legitimatise in his eyes the reforms demanded by his minister.

[Footnote 612: 'Mores modestissimi.'—Melanchthon to the Queen of
Navarre, _Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 733.]

[Footnote 613: 'Non solum mundities et elegantia singularis, sed etiam
quædam non insuavis copia.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 614: 'Ad quasdam alias operas, a quibus et natura et voluntate
abhorret.'—Ibid. p. 735.]

[Footnote 615: 'Paupertas, quasi manus injecit.'—Ibid. p. 752.]

[Footnote 616: 'Velut in quodam numine.'—_Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 752.]

[Footnote 617: 'Homo infimæ sortis et ignotus Celsitudini tuæ.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 618: 'Fama tuæ eximiæ pietatis quæ totum terrarum orbem
pervagata est.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 619: 'Et recensebit ad posteros universa ecclesia.'—_Corp.
Ref._ ii. p. 733.]

[Footnote 620: He died there in 1561. See Senebier, _Hist. Litt. de
Genève_. Ch. le Fort, _Livre du Recteur_, p. 371. Haag, _France
Protestante_, which contains a list of Baduel's numerous writings.]

[Footnote 621: 'Videres in ædibus illis perpetuo accedentes et
discedentes atque exeuntes aliquos.'—Camerarius, _Vita Melanchthonis_,
p. 40.]

[Footnote 622: 'Quanta dissipatio reipublicæ et ecclesiæ.'—_Corp. Ref._
ii. p. 740.]

[Footnote 623: 'In plerisque dicebat regem esse non alienum a libro
Philippi quo _locos_ ille tractat _communes_.'—Gerdesius, _Hist. Evang.
renov._ iv. p. 114.]

[Footnote 624: 'Regem Gallorum apud pontificem de pace et mitigatione
tantarum rerum acturum esse.'—_Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 976.]

[Footnote 625: 'Si monarchæ aliqui efficerent ut aliqui boni et docti
viri amanter et libere inter se colloquerentur.'—_Corp. Ref._ ii. p.

[Footnote 626: 'Et interdum præter rem tumultuantur.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 627: 'Usitatam ecclesiæ formam conservare, quantum possibile

[Footnote 628: 'Ut Celsitudo tua, propter Christi gloriam, hortetur
summos monarchas.'—_Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 740.]

[Footnote 629: 'Sed nihil opus est, _te currentem_, ut dici solet,

[Footnote 630: 'Assentior tibi, mi Bucere, desperandam esse concordiam
cum pontifice romano.'—_Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 275.]

[Footnote 631: 'Dass die obere Gewalt eine heilige sey.'—Schmidt,
_Zeitschrift für Hist. Theol._]

[Footnote 632: 'Consentientibus symmistis meis.'—Consilium Buceri,
Strasburg MSS.]

[Footnote 633: _Hist. of the Ref. of the Sixteenth Century_, vol. ii.
bk. viii. ch. viii.]

[Footnote 634: Melanchthon's memoir will be found in the _Corpus
Reformatorum_, published by Dr. Bretschneider, ii. pp. 743-766. I am
indebted to Professor Schmidt for a copy of Bucer's memoir, which is in
the Strasburg library. The volume containing Hedio's memoir has
disappeared from the archives; we have, however, found a few extracts.]

[Footnote 635: 'Concordia esse non potest nisi inter eos qui sunt de
ecclesia.'—Consilium Buceri MS.]

[Footnote 636: 'Pontifex et summi reges agnoscant ecclesiæ morbos.'—
_Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 743.]

[Footnote 637: 'Nisi inter eos qui Christo vere credunt.'—Consilium

[Footnote 638: 'Nec etiam ut nulla omnino labes tolleretur.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 639: 'Creari tales oporteret.'—_Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 746.]

[Footnote 640: 'Locum de justificatione, ut a nostris tractatur,
_probare regem_.'—_Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 1017.]

[Footnote 641: 'Viva vivorum membrorum Christi communione.'—Buceri
Consilium MS.]

[Footnote 642: 'Hic unus nodus de missa videtur inexplicabilis esse.'—
_Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 781.]

[Footnote 643: 'Orationes et legendas multas ineptas et impias
abrogandas aut saltem emendandas.'—Ibid. p. 1015.]

[Footnote 644: 'Veram Christi in cœna præsentiam exprimi.'—Buceri Cons.]

[Footnote 645: 'Plurimi in manifesta turpitudine vivunt.'—_Corp. Ref._
ii. p. 764.]

[Footnote 646: Schmidt, _Zeitschrift für Hist. Theolog._ 1850, p. 35.]

[Footnote 647: 'Ut Christus ecclesiam suam ... redigat in concordiam
piam et perpetuam.'—_Corp. Ref._]

[Footnote 648: 'Hos articulos Francisco regi non displicuisse multa sunt
quæ suadent.'—Gerdesius, _Hist. Evang. renov._ iv. p. 124.]

 (SUMMER 1534.)


Calvin, as it will be remembered, had studied and evangelised at
Orleans, and his teaching had left deep traces, particularly among the
students and with certain ladies of quality. The wife of the city
provost seems to have been one of the souls converted by the ministry of
the young reformer. The narrative he has devoted to her, the full
details into which he enters, show the interest he took in her
conversion.[649] This woman, who occupied a distinguished rank in the
city, had found peace for her soul in faith in Christ; she had believed
in the promises of the Word which Calvin had explained; she had felt
keenly the nothingness of Roman pomps and superstitions; the grace of
God was sufficient for her; and caring little for _outward adorning_,
she strove after that _which is not corruptible_, the ornament of the
_women who trusted in God_. 'She is a Lutheran,' said some; 'she belongs
to those who have listened to the teaching of Luther's disciples.' Her
husband the provost, a person of influence, a great landowner, an
esteemed magistrate, a man of upright, prompt, and energetic character,
was touched by the purity of his wife's conduct, and, without being
converted to the Gospel, had become disgusted with the Roman
superstitions, and despised the monks.

The provostess (to adopt the language of the manuscripts) fell ill, sent
for a lawyer, and dictated her will to him. Lying on a bed of sickness,
which she was never to leave again, full of a living faith in Christ,
she felt certain of going to her Saviour, and experienced an
insurmountable repugnance to the performance over her grave of any of
the superstitious ceremonies for which devout women have ordinarily such
a strong liking. Accordingly, while the notary, pen in hand, was waiting
the dictation of her last will, she said: 'I forbid all bell-ringing and
chanting at my funeral, and no monks or priests shall be present with
their tapers. I desire to be buried without pomp and without torches.'
The lawyer was rather surprised, but he wrote down the words; and her
husband, who remained near her and knew her faith, promised that her
wishes should be kept sacred. When she died, the mortal remains of this
pious woman were laid in the tomb of her father and grandfather, with no
other accompaniment than the tears of all who had known her, and the
prayers of the children of God who formed the little evangelical flock
of Orleans.


When the ceremony was over, the provost proceeded to the convent of the
Franciscans, in whose cemetery the burial had taken place. He was a
liberal man, and, though despising the monks, did not wish to do them
wrong, even in appearance. The friars, already much irritated, did not
understand what the magistrate wanted with them, and received him very
coldly. 'As you were not called upon to do duty,' he told them, 'here
are six gold crowns by way of compensation.' The monks, who had reckoned
on the death of this lady as a great windfall, were by no means
satisfied with the six gold pieces; and, even while taking them, looked
sulkily at the widower, and swore to be revenged.

Not long after this, the provost having determined upon cutting down a
wood he possessed near Orleans, was giving directions to his workmen,
when two monks, following the narrow lanes running through the forest,
arrived at the spot where the owner and the woodmen were at work, boldly
addressed the former, and demanded in the name of the convent permission
to send their waggon once a day during the felling to lay up their
store. 'What!' answered the provost, whom the avarice of the monks had
always disgusted, 'a waggon a day! Send thirty, my reverend fathers, but
(of course) with ready money. All that I want, I assure you, is good
speed and good money.'[650]

The two cordeliers returned abashed and vexed, and carried the answer to
their superiors. This was too much: two affronts one after the other!
The monks consulted together; they desired to be revenged by any means;
such _heresies_, if they were tolerated, would be the ruin of the
convents. They deliberated on the best manner of giving a striking
lesson to the provost and to all who might be tempted to follow the
example of his wife. 'These gentlemen, to be revenged, proceeded to
devise a fraud,' says Calvin. Two monks particularly distinguished
themselves among the speakers: brother Coliman, provincial and exorcist
of great reputation among the grey friars, and brother Stephen of Arras,
'esteemed a great preacher.' These two doctors, wishing to teach the
city that monks are not to be offended with impunity, invented a
'tragedy,' which, they thought, would everywhere excite a horror of

Brother Stephen undertook to begin the drama: he shut himself up in his
cell and composed, in a style of the most vulgar eloquence, a sermon
which he fancied would terrify everybody. The news of a homily from the
great preacher circulated through the city, and when the day arrived, he
went up into the pulpit and delivered before a large congregation (for
the church was crammed) a 'very touching' discourse, in which he
pathetically described the sufferings of the souls in purgatory.... 'You
know it,' he exclaimed, 'you know it. The unhappy spirits, tormented by
the fire, escape; they return after death, sometimes with great tumult,
and pray that some consolation may be given them. Luther, indeed,
asserts that there is no purgatory.... What horror! what abominable
impiety!' 'The friar forgot nothing,' says Beza, 'to convince his
audience that spirits return from purgatory.' The congregation dispersed
in great excitement; and after that the least noise at night frightened
the devout. The way being thus prepared, the impudent monks arranged
among themselves the horrible drama which was to avenge them on the
provost and his wife.


On the following night the monks rose at the usual hour and entered the
church, carrying their antiphonaires or anthem-books in their hands.
They began to chant; their hoarse voices were intoning matins ... when
suddenly a frightful tumult was heard, coming from heaven as it seemed,
or at least from the ceiling of the church. On hearing this 'great
uproar,' the chanting ceased, the monks appeared horrified, and Coliman,
the bravest, moved forward, armed with all the weapons of an exorcist,
and _conjured_ the evil spirit; but the spirit said not a word. 'What
wantest thou?' asked Coliman. There was no answer. 'If thou art dumb,'
resumed the exorcist, 'show it us by some sign.' Upon this the spirit
made another uproar. The hearers, not in the secret, were
terror-stricken. 'All is going on well,' said Coliman, Stephen, and
their accomplices; 'now let us circulate the news through Orleans.' The
next day the friars visited some of the most considerable personages of
the city who were among the number of their devotees. 'A misfortune has
happened to us,' they said, without mentioning what it was; 'will you
come to our help and be present at our matins?'

These worthy citizens, anxious to know what was the matter, did not go
to bed, and went to the convent at midnight. The monks had already
assembled in the church to chant their collects, anthems, and litanies;
they provided good places for the devout laymen, and with trembling
voices began to intone:

  _Domine! labia_...

The words had hardly been uttered, when a frightful noise interrupted
the chanting. 'The ghost! the ghost!' exclaimed the terrified monks.
Then Coliman, who had 'the usual equipment when he wished to speak to
the devil,' came forward, and, playing his part admirably, said, 'Who
art thou?'—Silence.—'What dost thou want?'—Silence.—'Art thou
dumb?'—Silence.—'If thou art not permitted to speak,' said Coliman,
'answer my questions by signs.... For _Yes_, give two knocks; and three
for _No_. Now, tell me ... art thou not the ghost of a person buried
here?' The ghost began to knock _Yes_. Then resumed Coliman: 'Art thou
the ghost of such a one, or such a one?' naming in succession many of
those who were buried in the church; but to each question the ghost
answered _No_. After a long circuit, the exorcist came at last to the
point he desired: 'Art thou the ghost of the provostess?' The spirit
replied with a loud _Yes_. The mystery seemed about to be cleared up: a
new act of the comedy began. 'Spirit, for what sin hast thou been
condemned?' asked the exorcist: 'Is it for pride?'—_No!_ 'Is it for
unchastity?'—_No!_ Coliman, after running through all the sins
enumerated in Scripture, bethought himself at last, and said: 'Art thou
condemned for having been a Lutheran?' Two knocks answered _Yes_, and
all the monks crossed themselves in alarm. 'Now tell us,' continued the
exorcist, 'why thou makest such an uproar in the middle of the night? Is
it for thy body to be exhumed?'—_Yes!_ There could no longer be any
doubt about it: the provostess was suffering for her Lutheranism. The
report had been prepared beforehand, but a few witnesses refused to sign
it, suspecting some trick. The provincial concealed his vexation, and
wishing to excite their imaginations still more strongly, he exclaimed:
'The place is profaned; let us leave it ... as the papal canons
command.' Forthwith one of the monks caught up the pyx containing the
_corpus Domini_; another seized the chalice; others took the relics of
the saints and 'the rest of their tools;'[651] and all fled into the
chapter-room, where divine service was thenceforward celebrated.


The news of this affair soon reached the ears of the bishop's official,
and there was much talk about it at the palace. The Franciscans were
pretty well known there. 'There is some monkish trick at the bottom,'
said the official, an estimable and upright clergyman. He could not
conceal his disgust at this cheat of the friars. He thought that these
impetuous cordeliers would compromise, and perhaps ruin the cause of
religion, instead of advancing it, by their pretended miracles. It was
to be one of the peculiarities of protestantism to unveil the cunning,
avarice, and hypocrisy of the priests, the workers of miracles.
Extraordinary acts of the divine power were manifested at the time of
the creation of the Church, as at the time when the heavens and the
earth were first made by the Word of God. Is not all creation a miracle?
But the Reformation turned away with disgust from the tricks and cheats
of the Roman mountebanks, who presumed to ape the power of God. There
were even in the Catholic Church men of good sense who shared this
opinion. Of this number was the official of Orleans, the man who filled
the place which some had destined for Calvin.

He took with him a few honest people, and went to the grey friars'
church to inquire more particularly into the fact. He called the monks
together: brother Coliman gravely told the whole story, and the
official, after hearing their tales, said: 'Well, my brethren, I now
order these conjurations to be performed in my presence.—You,
gentlemen,' he said to some of his party, 'will mount to the roof and
see if any ghost appears.'—'Do nothing of the kind,' exclaimed friar
Stephen of Arras, in great alarm; 'you will disturb the spirit!' The
official insisted that the conjuration should be performed; but it was
not possible; the exorcist and the ghost both remained dumb. The
episcopal judge withdrew, confirmed in his views. 'Here's a ghost that
appears only to the monks,' he said to his companions; 'it is frightened
at the official.' This affair, which made some tremble and others smile,
soon became known throughout the city; the news reached the dark and
winding streets where the students lived: one told it to another, and
all hurried off to the university. Everything was in commotion there:
some were for the monks, the majority against them. 'Let us go and see,'
exclaimed this young France. Off they started, and arriving in a large
body, says Calvin, soon filled the church. They raised their heads, they
fixed their eyes on the roof that had become so celebrated; but they
waited in vain, it uttered no sound. 'Pshaw!' said they, 'it is a plot
the friars have wickedly contrived to be revenged of the provost and his
wife. We will find out all about it.' These curious and rather
frolicsome youths rushed to the roof in search of the ghost; they looked
for it in every corner, they called it, but the phantom was determined
to be neither seen nor heard, and the students returned to the
university, joking as they went.


There was one person, however, in Orleans who did not joke: it was the
provost. Irritated at the insult offered to his wife, he had recourse to
the law: a written summons was left at the convent, but the monks
refused to put in an answer, pleading the immunities they enjoyed in
their ecclesiastical quality. The provost, true to his character, was
not willing to lose this opportunity of giving the friars a severe
lesson. 'What!' he exclaimed, 'shall these wretches make her, who rests
at peace in the grave, the talk of the whole city? If she had been
accused in her lifetime, I would have defended her, much more will I do
so after her death!' He determined to lay the matter before the king,
and set out for Paris.

The story of the ghost who appeared with a great noise in a convent at
Orleans, had already reached the capital, and been repeated at court.
The monks, in general, were not in high favour there. The courtiers
called to mind the words of the king's mother, who thanked God for
having taught her son and herself to know 'those hypocrites, white,
grey, black, and of all colours.' Du Bellay especially and his friends
gladly welcomed a story which set in bold relief the vices of the old
system and the necessity of a reform. As soon as the provost reached the
capital, he had an audience of the king. Francis, who was not famed for
his conjugal affections, could not understand the emotion of the
widower; but despising the monks at least as much as his mother and
sister did, and delighted to put in practice the new reforming ideas
which were growing in his mind, he resolved to seize the opportunity of
humbling the insolence of the convents. He granted all the provost
asked; he nominated councillors of parliament to investigate the matter;
and as the cordeliers pleaded their immunities, Duprat, in his quality
of legate, gave, by papal authority, power to the commissioners to

The day when the royal agents arrived at Orleans was a day of sorrow to
one part of the inhabitants of that city, but of joy to the greater
number. People looked with astonishment on these gentlemen from Paris,
who would be stronger than the monks, and would punish them for their
long tyranny. A crowd followed them to the convent, and when they had
entered, waited until they came out again. Oh! how every one of them
would have liked to see what was going on within those gloomy walls! The
officers of the parliament spoke to the monks with authority, exhibited
their powers, and arrested the principal culprits, to the great
consternation of all the other monks. Some wretched carts stood at the
gate of the monastery; the archers brought out the insolent friars; and
the crowd, to its unutterable amazement, saw them mount like vulgar
criminals into these poor vehicles, which the maréchaussée was preparing
to escort. What inexpressible disgrace for the disciples of St. Francis!


The news of the arrest had spread to all the sacristies, parsonages, and
convents of the city, and a cry of persecution arose everywhere. At the
moment of departure, a bigoted and excited crowd collected round the
carts in which sat the reverend fathers, quite out of countenance at
their misfortune. These people, some of whom no doubt were fanatics, but
amongst whom were many who felt a sincere affection for the monks, wept
bitterly; they uttered loud lamentations, and put money into the friars'
hands, 'as much to make good cheer with,' says Calvin, 'as to help in
their defence.'[652] But in the midst of this dejected crowd might be
observed some citizens and jeering students, who exclaimed: 'Fine
champions, indeed, to oppose the Gospel!' Certain sayings of Luther had
crossed the Rhine, and were circulating among the youths of the schools:
'Who made the monks?' asked one. 'The devil,' answered another. 'God
having created the priests, the devil (as is always the case) wished to
imitate him, but in his bungling he made the crown of the head too
large, and instead of a priest he turned out a monk.'[653] Such was the
exodus of the reverend fathers: they arrived in Paris, and there they
were separated and confined in different places, in order that they
might not confer with one another.

The deception was manifest, but it was impossible to obtain a
confession. The monks had sworn to keep profound silence, in order to
preserve the honour of their order and of religion, and also to save
themselves. They called to mind what had happened in the Dominican
convent at Berne in 1500: how a soul had appeared there in order to be
delivered from purgatory; how the five wounds of St. Francis had been
marked on a poor novice; and how, at the request of the papal legate,
four of the guilty monks had been burnt alive.[654] Might not the same
punishment be inflicted on a monk of Orleans? They trembled at the very
thought. In vain, therefore, did the councillors of parliament begin
their inquiry; in vain did they go from one house to another, and enter
the rooms where these reverend fathers were confined: the monks were
sullen, unfathomable, and more silent than the ghost itself.

The judges determined to try what they could with the novice who had
acted the part of the ghost; but if the monks were silent, sullen, and
immovable, the novice was agitated and frightened out of his senses. The
friars had uttered the most terrible threats; and hence, when he was
interrogated, 'he held firm,' says the Geneva manuscript, 'fearing, if
he spoke, that the cordeliers would kill him.' The judges then reminded
him of the power of the parliament and the protection of the king. 'You
shall never return into the hands of the monks,' they told him. At these
words the poor young fellow began to breathe; he recovered from his
great fright; his tongue was loosened, and he 'explained the whole
affair to the judges,' says Beza. 'I made a hole in the roof,' he said,
'to which I applied my ear, to hear what the provincial said to me from
below. Then I struck a plank which I held in my hand, and I hit it hard
enough for the noise to be heard by the reverend fathers underneath.
That was all the _fun_,' he added.


The friars were then confronted with the novice, who stoutly maintained
the cheat got up by them. They were both indignant and alarmed at seeing
this pitiful varlet turning against their reverences; but as it was now
impossible to deny the fact, they began to protest against their judges,
and to plead their privileges once more. They were condemned; the
indignation was general, the king especially being greatly irritated.
All his life long he looked upon the monks, black or white, as his
personal enemies. Besides, the hatred he felt against that lazy and
ignorant herd was, he thought, one of his attributes as the Father of
Letters. His anger broke out in the midst of his court: 'I will pull
down their convent!' he exclaimed, 'and build in its place a palace for
the duke!' (that is, for the Duke of Orleans, Catherine's husband). All
the councillors of parliament, both lay and clerical, were assembled.
The haughty Coliman, the eloquent brother Stephen, and their accomplices
were forced to stand at the bar, and sentence was solemnly delivered.
They were to be taken to the Chatelet prison at Orleans; there they
would be stripped of their frocks, be led into the cathedral, and then,
set on a platform with tapers in their hands, they were to confess
'that, with certain fraud and deliberate malice, they had plotted such
wickedness.' Thence they were to be taken to their convent, and
afterwards to the place of public execution, where they would again
confess their crime.

This promised the idlers of Orleans a still more extraordinary spectacle
than that given them when the friars got into their carts. Every day
they expected to see the sentence carried out; but the government feared
to appear too favourable to the Lutherans. The matter was protracted;
some of the monks died in prison; the others were suffered to escape;
and thus ended an affair which characterises the epoch, and shows the
weapons that a good many priests used against the Reformation. If the
sentence was never executed, the moral influence of the story was
immense, and we shall presently see some of its effects.

[Footnote 649: Calvin's manuscript narrative, recently discovered in the
Geneva library by Dr. J. Bonnet, has been printed in the _Bulletin de
l'Histoire du Protestantisme Français_, iii. p. 33.]

[Footnote 650: This affair is mentioned by Sleidan and Theodore Beza,
both of whom appear to have seen Calvin's narrative.]

[Footnote 651: Calvin, _Hist. de l'Esprit des Cordeliers d'Orléans_.
Geneva MS. (_Bulletin de l'Histoire du Protestantisme Français_, iii.)
Beza, _Hist. Eccles._ p. 11. Sleidan, i. p. 361.]

[Footnote 652: Calvin's MS. _Bulletin de l'Hist. du Prot. Fran._ iii.
p. 36.]

[Footnote 653: Lutheri _Opp._ xxii. p. 1463.]

[Footnote 654: _History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century_,
vol. ii. bk. viii. ch. ii.]

 (AUTUMN 1534.)


The disgust inspired by the imposture of the cordeliers of Orleans, and
the jests lavished upon the monks in the Louvre and throughout Paris,
were further encouragements to the king to prosecute his alliances with
protestantism. He had, however, little need of a fresh incentive; the
reform proposed by Melanchthon was in his view acceptable and
advantageous, because it diminished the power of the pope, and corrected
abuses incompatible with the new light, at the same time that it left
untouched that catholicism from which the king had no desire to secede.
In his private conversations with Du Bellay, Francis, laying aside all
reserve, acknowledged frankly that the Romish Church was upon the wrong
track, and said in a confidential tone, that 'Luther was not so far
wrong as people said.' He did not fear to add that it was himself rather
who had been mistaken. The King of France, and the country along with
him, thus appeared to be in a good way for reform.

Francis determined to acquaint the protestant princes with his
sentiments on Melanchthon's memoir. 'My envoy, on his return to Paris,'
he wrote, 'having laid before me the opinions of your doctors on the
course to be pursued, I entertain a hope of seeing the affairs of
religion enter upon a fair way at last.'[655] Du Bellay, well satisfied
on his part with the impression made on his master by the opinions of
the evangelical divines, informed the magistrates of Augsburg, Ulm,
Nuremberg, Meiningen, and other imperial cities, that the King of France
approved of the Lutheran doctrines, and would protect the protestants.
The Melanchthonian reformation was therefore in progress, and already
men were preparing the stones for the edifice of the reformed Catholic
Church. The French government did not confine itself to writing letters;
but, strange to say! the sovereign, the absolute monarch, did not fear
to make an acknowledgment of his errors, and to express his regret: he
sent a thorough palinode into Germany. He who was putting the Lutherans
to death was not far from declaring himself a Lutheran. In October and
November 1534, an agent from Francis I. visited the cities of the
Germanic empire, announcing everywhere that 'the king now saw his
mistake in religious matters,'[656] and that the Germans who followed
Luther _thought correctly as regards the faith that is in Christ_.[657]
The worthy burgomasters and councillors of Germany were amazed at such
language, and looked at one another with an incredulous air; but the
French envoy assured them repeatedly that the King of France desired a
reform even in his own country.... 'The emperor,' he added, 'wishes to
constrain the protestants by force of arms to keep to the old doctrine;
but the King of France will not permit it. He has sent me into Germany
to form an alliance with you to that intent.' Such was the strange news
circulated beyond the Rhine. It reached the ears of the Archbishop of
Lunden, who immediately forwarded it to Charles V.

When Francis I. annulled the pragmatic sanction at the beginning of his
reign, he had reserved the right of appointing bishops, and had thus
made the Church subordinate to the State. The time seemed to have
arrived for taking a second step. It was necessary to put an end to the
popish superstitions and abuses, condemned by the friends of letters,
whose patron he claimed to be, and thus satisfy the protestants; and, by
a wise reform, maintain in Europe the catholicity of the Church, which
the popes were about to destroy by their incredible obstinacy. The king
would thus appear to be a better guardian of European catholicism than
even the pope, and secure for himself that European preponderance which
Charles V. had hitherto possessed.


He must set his hand to the work and begin with the clergy. The king,
seeing that it would be unwise to communicate to them unreservedly the
opinions of the reformers, as they had been read at the Louvre, resolved
to have a new edition of them prepared, which should contain the
essential ideas. It would appear that he confided this task to a
numerous commission.[658] William du Bellay and his brother the Bishop
of Paris were doubtless the two chief members. The commissioners set to
work, correcting, suppressing, adding, hitting certain popular
superstitions a little harder even than the reformers, and at length
they prepared a memoir which may be considered as a statement of what
the French government meant by the proposed reformation.[659] The
changes made by the French excited much discontent among the German
protestants, and Melanchthon himself complained of them bitterly.[660]

The king, who carried into every pursuit the courage and fire of which
he had given so many proofs on the field of battle, appeared at first to
attack the papacy with the same resolution that he would have employed
in attacking one of Charles's armies. It must be clearly remembered
that, in his idea, the reform which he was preparing carried with it the
cessation of schism, and that his plan would restore the catholicity
torn to pieces by Roman insolence and imprudence. This remark, if duly
weighed, justifies the king's boldness. He sent the project to Rome, we
are assured, asking the pope to support or to amend it.[661] We may
imagine the alarm of the Vatican on reading this heretical memoir. Then
Du Bellay, taking the Sorbonne in hand, had a conference with the
deputies of that illustrious body, whose whole influence was ever
employed in maintaining the factitious unity that characterises the
papacy. 'Gentlemen,' he said to them, 'by the king's commands I have
endeavoured to prevail upon the German churches to moderate the
doctrines on which they separated from the Roman Church, wishing thus to
lead them back to union. By order, therefore, of my master, I hand you
the present articles, to receive instruction from you as to what I shall
have to say to the German doctors.'[662] The deputies having received
the paper from Du Bellay, forwarded it to the sacred faculty. The latter
delegated to examine it 'eminent men, doctors of experience in such
matters,'[663] who immediately set to work.


The secretary of the Sorbonne began to read the articles: the doctors
listened and soon began to look at each other and ask if they had heard
correctly. The venerable committee was agitated like the surface of the
sea by a sudden squall. They knew Francis; they knew he did not think
there existed in his kingdom any society daring enough to set limits to
his power. He expected that a word from his mouth would be considered as
a decree from God. The doctors came to the conclusion, therefore, that
if the king desired such a reform, nothing in the world could prevent
him from establishing it. They saw the Church laid waste, and Rome in
ruins.... It was the beginning of the end. Their terror and alarm
increased every minute. All the sacred faculty, all the Church must rise
and exclaim: 'Stop, Sire, or we perish!'

The French autocrat, however, took his precautions, and even while
meditating how he could strip the pope of his power, he put on a
pleasant face, and ascribed to others the blows aimed by his orders
against Rome. 'They are _Melanchthonian_ articles,' said his
ministers.[664] True, but behind Melanchthon was Du Bellay, and behind
him was the king. The tactics employed at this moment by Francis I. are
of all times; and if the multitude is sometimes deceived, intelligent
minds have always recognised the thoughts of the supreme mover under the
pen of the humble secretary. The movement of Francis towards
independence is in no respect surprising: the outburst is quite French
if it is not christian. There has always existed in France a spirit of
liberty so far as concerns the Church; and the most pious kings, even
St. Louis, have defended the rights of their people against the holy
see. The Gallican liberties, although they are nothing more than a
dilapidated machine, are still a memorial of something; and what is
dilapidated to-day may be restored to-morrow. It was therefore a truly
French feeling,—it was that hidden chord which vibrates at the bottom of
every generous heart, from the Channel to the Mediterranean Sea, whose
harmonious sound was heard at this important period of the reign of
Francis I.

The venerable company had some difficulty to recover from their alarm.
What! really, not in a dream, not figuratively, heresy is at the gates
of the Church of France, introduced by the king ... who courteously
offers her his hand!... The terrified Sorbonne raised a cry of horror,
and mustered all their forces to prevent the _heretic_ from entering.
They turned over the volumes of the doctors; they opposed the _Summa_ of
St. Thomas to the Epistles of St. Paul; they sought by every means in
their power to defend stoutly the scholastic doctrine in the presence of
Francis. A fireship had been launched by the guilty hand of the king:
did that prince imagine he would see the glorious vessel, which had so
long been mistress of the seas, in a hurry to lower her flag? The crew
were valiant, determined upon a deadly resistance, and ready to blow
themselves into the air with the ship, rather than capitulate. The
struggle between the king and the corporation was about to begin. Alas!
Beda was no longer there to support them, and recourse must be had to
others. 'Master Balue was elected to go to court, carrying the
registers, and Master Jacques Petit was given him as his
associate.'[665] The Sorbonne was poor in resources: the strong men were
in the camp of Luther, Calvin, and Melanchthon.


What was said at court between Master Balue, Master Petit, and the King
of France, has not been recorded; but we have the memoir sent by the
king to the Sorbonne, and the answer returned by that body to the king.
These documents may enlighten us as to what passed at the conference,
and we shall allow them to speak for themselves, arranging the former
under the name of the king's ministers. William du Bellay, his brother
the Bishop of Paris, and others probably were the persons empowered by
the king to confer with Master Balue and Master Jacques Petit. They were
champions of very different causes—the men who then met, probably at the
Louvre, in the presence of Francis I., and whom we are about to hear.


'To establish a real concord in the Church of God, we must all of us
first look at Christ; we must subject ourselves to him, and seek his
glory, not our own.'[666]


'We have heard his Majesty's good and holy words, for which we all thank
God, praying him to give the king grace to persevere.'[667]

This was doubtless a mere compliment.



'Above all things, let us remember that the doctors of the Word of God
ought not to fight like gladiators, and defend all their opinions
_mordicus_ (tooth and nail);[668] but rather, imitating St. Augustin in
his _Retractations_, they should be willing to give way a little to one
another ... without prejudice to truth.'


'Open your eyes, Sire; the Germans desire, in opposition to your
catholic intention, that we should give way to them by retrenching
certain ceremonies and ordinances which the Church has hitherto
observed. They wish to draw us to them, rather than be converted to


'You are mistaken: important concessions have been obtained. The Germans
are of opinion that bishops must hold the chief place among the
ministers of the Churches, and that a pontiff at Rome should hold the
first place among the bishops. But, on the other hand, the pontifical
power must have respect for consciences, consult their wants, and be
ready to concede to them some relaxation.'[670]


'It must not be forgotten that the ecclesiastical hierarchy is of divine
institution, and will last until the end of time; that man can neither
establish nor destroy it, and that every christian must submit to


'Having established the catholicity of the Church, let us consider what
reforms must be effected in order to preserve it. First, there are
indifferent matters, such as food, festivals, ecclesiastical vestments,
and other ceremonials, on which we shall easily come to an
understanding. Let us beware of constraining men to fast by commandments
which nobody observes ... and _least of all those who make them_.'[672]


'None resist them but men corrupted by depraved passions.'[673]



'Certain doctors of the Church, making use of a holy prosopopœia, have
introduced into their discourses the saints whom they were eulogising,
and have prayed for their intercession as if they were present before
them;[674] but they only desired by this means to excite admiration for
these godly persons, rather than to obtain anything by their
intercession.... Let the people, then, be exhorted not to transfer to
the saints the confidence which is due to Jesus Christ alone. It is
Christ's will to be invoked and to answer prayer.'[675]

Here the French mind indulged in a sly hit which would not have occurred
to the German mind; and the king's councillors, determining to strike
hard, continued:

'What abuses and disorders have sprung out of this worship of man!
Observe the words, the songs, the actions of the people on the saints'
days, near their graves or near their images! Mark the eagerness with
which the idle crowd hurries off to banquets, games, dances, and
quarrels. Watch the practices of all those paltry, ignorant, greedy
priests, who think of nothing but putting money in their purses; and
then ... tell us whether we do not in all these things resemble pagans,
and revive their shameful superstitions?'[676]

Not a word of this popular description of saints' days will be found in
Melanchthon's memoir: it is entirely the work of Francis and his


'Let us beware how we forsake ancient customs. Let us address our
prayers directly to the saints who are our patrons and intercessors
under Jesus Christ. To assert that they have not the prerogative of
healing diseases, is in opposition to your Majesty's personal experience
and the gift you have received from God of curing the king's evil....
Let us also pay our devotions to statues and images, since the seventh
general council commands them to be adored.'[677]

When the Sorbonne, in order to defend the prerogatives of the saints,
cited the miraculous powers of the king, they employed an argument to
which it was dangerous to reply; and, accordingly, we find nothing on
this point in the answers of the opponents of the faculty. The
discussion, getting off this shoal, turned to the act which is the
essence of the Romish doctrine, and priests were once more lashed by the
royal hand, which was even more skilful at this work than in curing the


'There ought to be in the Church a living communion of the members of
Christ.[678] But, alas! what do we find there? A crowd of ignorant and
filthy priests, the plague of society, a burden to the earth, a slothful
race who can do nothing but say mass, and who, while saying it, do not
even utter those five intelligible words, preferable, as St. Paul
thinks, to ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.... We must get rid
of these mercenaries, these mass-mongers, who have brought that holy
ceremony into contempt, and we must supply their place with holy,
learned, and experienced men.[679] Then perhaps the Lord's Supper will
recover the esteem it has lost. Then, instead of an unmeaning babble, we
shall have psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs. Then we shall sing to
the Saviour, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is the
Lord, to the glory of God the Father.... What false confidence, what
wretched delusion is that which leads so many souls to believe that by
attending mass every day, even when piety is neglected, they are
performing an act useful to themselves and their friends, both for this
life and for that which is to come!'[680]

[Sidenote: THE LORD'S SUPPER.]

The Sorbonne contended for the external mechanism of the sacramental
act, to which their opponents desired to impart a spiritual and living
character, and defended without shame or scruple the material advantages
the clergy derived from it.


'The mass is a real sacrifice, of great benefit to the living and the
dead, and its excellence is founded on the passion of Jesus Christ. It
is right, therefore, to bestow temporal gifts on those who celebrate it,
be they good or bad; and the priests who receive them ought not to be
called mass-mongers, even though they are paid.'[681]

The king's ministers now came to the much disputed doctrine of the
presence of Christ in the communion.


'Let us put aside the disputes that have divided us so long.[682] Let us
all confess that in the eucharist the Lord truly gives believers his
body to eat and his blood to drink to feed our souls in life
everlasting; and that in this manner Christ remains in us and we in
Christ. Whether this sacrament be called the Lord's Supper, the Lord's
bread and wine, mass, eucharist, love-feast, or sacrifice, is of little
moment. Christians ought not to dispute about names, if they possess the
things; and, as the proverb says, "When we have the bear before us, let
us not look after his track."[683] Communion with Christ is obtained by
faith, and cannot be demonstrated by human arguments. When we treat of
theology, let us not fall into matæology.'[684]

The Sorbonne could not overlook this side-blow aimed at the scholastic


'It is very useful, and often very necessary for the extirpation of
heresy, to employ words not to be found in Scripture, such as
_transubstantiation_, &c.[685] Yes, the bread and the wine are truly
changed in substance, preserving only the accidents, and becoming the
body and blood of Christ. It is not true that the _panitas_ or
_corporitas_ of the bread combines with the _corporitas_ of Christ. The
transubstantiation is effected _in instanti_ and not _successivè_; and
it is certain that neither laymen nor women can accomplish this
miraculous act, but priests only.'

The controversy next turned on confession, justification, faith, works,
and free-will; after which they came to practical questions.


'Good men do not ask that the monasteries should be destroyed, but be
turned into schools;[686] so that thus the liberality of our brethren
may serve to maintain, not idle people, but men who will instruct youth
in sound learning and morality.'


'What! the pope should permit the friars to leave their monasteries
whenever they wish! This clearly shows us that the Germans are aiming at
the overthrow, the ruin of all religion.'[687]


'And what prevents our restoring liberty of marriage to the ministers of
the Church? Did not Bishop Paphnucius acknowledge at the Nicene council
that those who forbid it encourage licentiousness? In that great crowd
of priests and monks it is impossible for purity of life to be restored
otherwise than by the divine institution which dates from Eden.'[688]


'An article quite as dangerous as the secularisation of monks.'



'In this age, when everything is in a ferment,[689] and when so many
sects are raising their heads in various places, the interest of the
christian Church requires that there should be an assembly composed not
only of priests and theologians, but also of laymen and upright,
sensible, courageous magistrates, who have at heart the glory of the
Lord, public morality, and general usefulness.... Ah! it would be easy
to agree if we thought of Christ's glory rather than of our own!'[690]

The doctors of the Sorbonne had no great liking for deliberative
assemblies where they would sit with laymen and even with heretics.


'Beware! ... it is to be feared that, under the pretext of uniting with
us, the heretics are conspiring to lead the people astray.... Have we
not seen such assemblies in Germany, called together on a pretence of
concord, produce nothing but divisions, discord, and infinite ruin of

But the Sorbonne warned the king in vain. Francis at this time, through
policy no doubt, was opposed to the doctrines maintained by the priests.
He desired to be freed at home from that papal supremacy which presumed
to direct the policy and religion of his kingdom; and abroad he knew
that a league with England and Germany could alone destroy the
overwhelming preponderance of Charles V. And hence the meetings of the
Sorbonne grew more and more agitated; the doctors repeated to one
another all the alarming reports they had heard; there was sorrow and
anger; never, they thought, had Roman-catholicism in France been
threatened with such terrible danger. It was no longer a few obscure
sects; no longer a Brueys, a Henry of Lausanne, a Valdo, Albigenses, or
Waldenses, who attacked the Church: no! powerful states, Germany and
England, were separating from the papacy, and the absolute monarch of
France was endeavouring to introduce revolutionary principles into his
kingdom. The Church, as its Head had once been, was deserted by its
friends. The grandees who were subsequently to form a league around the
Guises, were silent now; the rough and powerful Montmorency himself
seemed dumb; and, accordingly, agitation and alarm prevailed in the
corporation. Certain ultramontane fanatics proposed petitioning the king
to put down heresy by force, and to uphold the Roman dogmas by fire and
sword. More moderate catholics, observing with sorrow the catholicity so
dear to them rent by schism, sought for more rational means of restoring
the unity destroyed by the Reformation. Everybody saw clearly that the
enemy was at the gate, and that no time must be lost in closing it.


Alas! they had to deal with others besides heretics. All reflecting
minds in Europe, and especially in France, were struck with the example
set by the King of England, and the members of the Roman party thought
that Francis was about to adopt the same course in his kingdom. There
was indeed a difference between the systems of these two princes. Henry
desired the doctrine of Rome, but not its bishop; Francis accepted the
bishop, but rejected the doctrine. Nevertheless, as each of these
reforms was a heavy blow aimed at the system of the middle ages, they
were looked upon as identical. The success which Henry's plan had met
with in England was an indication of what Francis's plan would meet with
in France. The two monarchs who reigned on each side of the Channel were
equally absolute.

The Roman doctors, finding that their controversy had not succeeded,
resolved to go to work in a more cunning way, and, without seeming to
reject a union with Germany, to oppose the heretics by putting them out
of court. 'Sire,' they said to Francis, 'your very humble servants and
most obedient subjects of the Faculty of Theology pray you to ask the
Germans whether they confess that the Church militant, whose head (under
Jesus) is Peter and his successors, is infallible in faith and morals?
whether they agree to obey him as his subjects, and are willing to admit
all the books contained in the Bible,[692] as well as the decisions of
the councils, popes, and doctors?'[693] Obedience to the pope and to
tradition, without discussing doctrines, was their summary of the
controversy. It did not succeed.


The doctors of the faculty, finding that the king would not aid them,
applied to the papal nuncio. They found him also a prey to fear. They
began to consult together on the best means of keeping France in
communion with the holy see. As Francis was deaf to theological
arguments, the Sorbonne and the nuncio agreed that some other means must
be used. The prelate went to the Louvre, carrying with him a suggestion
which the Sorbonne had prompted. 'Sire,' he said, 'be not deceived. The
protestants will upset all civil as well as religious order.... The
throne is in as much danger as the altar.... The introduction of a new
religion must necessarily introduce a new government.'[694]

That was indeed the best way of treating the affair; the nuncio had
found the joint in the armour, and the king was for a moment staggered;
but the pope's conduct restored his confidence. Rome began to proceed
against Henry VIII. as she had formerly done against kings in the middle
ages. This proceeding, so offensive to the royal dignity, drew Francis
towards the Reformation. If there is danger towards royal power, it
exists on both sides, he thought. He believed even that the danger was
greater on the side of Rome than of Germany, since the protestants of
that country showed their princes the most loyal submission, and the
most religious and profound respect. He had observed, that while the
pope desired to deprive the King of England of his states and release
his subjects from their obedience, the reformation which that prince had
carried out had not prejudiced one of his rights; that there was a talk,
indeed, of insurrections against Henry VIII., but they were got up by
Rome and her agents. Enlightened men suggested to Francis, that while
popery kept the people in slavery, and caused insurrection and rebellion
against the throne, the Reformation would secure order and obedience to
kings, and liberty to the people. He seems to have been convinced ...
for the moment at least. 'England and I,' he said, 'are accustomed to
keep together and to manage our affairs in harmony with each other, and
we shall continue to do so.'[695]

This new movement on the part of Francis emboldened the evangelicals.
They hoped that he would go on to the end, and would not leave the pope
even the little place which he intended to reserve for him. If a prince
like Louis IX. maintained the rights of the Gallican Church in the
thirteenth century; if a king like Charles VII. restored ecclesiastical
liberty in the fifteenth; shall we not see in this universal revival of
the sixteenth century a monarch like Francis I. emancipating France from
the Roman yoke? At a great sacrifice he has just done much for
Wurtemberg, and will he do nothing for his own kingdom? The friends of
the Reformation encouraged one another to entertain the brightest hopes.
'What a noble position!' they said.[696] Whenever they met, whether in
the university, in the country, or in the town, they exchanged
congratulations.[697] In their opinion, old things had passed away.


But there were other evangelicals—men more decided and more
scriptural—who looked with a distrustful eye upon these mysterious
conferences between Francis and the protestants of Germany. Those fine
speeches of Du Bellay, and that remarkable conference at Bar-le-Duc,
were in their eyes policy and diplomacy, but not religion. They felt
uneasy and alarmed; and when they met to pray in their obscure
conventicles, these humble christians said to one another with terror:
'Satan is casting his net to catch those who are not on the watch. Let
us examine the colours in which he is disguised.' Astonished and even
distressed, they asked if it was not strange to assert, as Melanchthon
had done, 'that no good man would protest against the monarchy of the
Roman bishop,[698] and that, in consideration of certain reforms, we
should hasten to recognise him!' No, the Roman episcopate will never be
reformed, they said. Remodel it as you like, it will always betray its
domineering spirit, revive its ancient tricks, and regain its
ascendency, even by fire. We must be on our guard.... Between Rome and
the Reformation it is a matter of mere yes or no: the pope or Jesus
Christ! Unable to conquer the new Church in fair fight, they hope to
strangle it in their embraces. Delilah will lull to sleep in her lap the
prophet whom the strong men have been unable to bind with green withes
and new ropes. Under the pretence of screening the Reform from evil
influences, they desire to set it, like a flower of the field, in some
place without light and air, where, fading and pining away ... it will
perish. Thanks to the protection of the Queen of Navarre, the gallant
and high-spirited charger that loved to sport in the meadows is about to
be taken to the king's stable, where it will be adorned with a
magnificent harness ... but its mouth will be deformed by the bit, its
flanks torn by the spur, and even the plaits of its mane will bear
witness to its degradation.

This future was not reserved for the Reform. While the mild and prudent
voices of Melanchthon and Bucer were soothing it to sleep, innocently
enough no doubt, bolder and freer voices, those of a Farel and a Calvin,
were preparing to arouse it. While the papers of the conciliating
theologians were lying on the velvet cover of the royal table, another
paper, whose lines of fire seemed penned by the thunderbolt, was about
to circulate through the kingdom, and be posted even at the door of the
king's chamber by a too daring hand, which was to arouse in that prince
one of the most terrible bursts of passion ever recorded in history. A
loud peal of thunder would be heard, and the heavy atmosphere which
stifled men's minds would be followed by a pure and reviving air. There
would be furious tempests; but the christians of the scriptural,
practical, and radical Reformation rejoiced at witnessing the failure of
this specious but impossible project, which aimed at reforming the
Church even while preserving Roman-catholicism. The system of the Queen
of Navarre will have to be abandoned; that of Calvin will prevail. To
uphold truth, the evangelicals were about to sacrifice unity. No doubt
furious persecutions would be the consequence, but they said to each
other that it was better to live in the midst of hurricanes that awaken,
than in mephitic vapours which lull men into the sleep of death.

We shall describe hereafter the event which had so notable an influence
on the destinies of the Reformation in France. They were Frenchmen who
caused it; it was a Frenchman who was the principal author; but it was
from Switzerland, as we shall see, that this formidable blow was to
come, and to that country we must now return.

[Footnote 655: 'Dadurch Ich in gute Hoffnung kommen die Sachen sollten
auf gute Wege gerichtet werden.' This German translation of the king's
letter is given in the _Corp. Ref._ ii. pp. 828-835.]

[Footnote 656: 'Rex suus cognoscit nunc errorem suum in religione.'—
Lanz, _Correspondance de l'Empereur Charles-Quint_, ii. p. 144.]

[Footnote 657: 'Quod isti Germani Lutherum sequentes de Christo et de
fide illius recte sentiant.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 658: 'Fuerunt illi (Melanchthonis articuli) a _quamplurimis_
in Gallia excerpti, sed non integri verum mutilati.'—Gerdesius, _Hist.
Evang. renov._ iv. p. 124.]

[Footnote 659: This memoir is printed in the _Corpus Reformatorum_,
ii. pp. 765-775; and while Melanchthon's is entitled _Consilium Gallis
Scriptum_, this is headed _Idem Scriptum a Gallis editum_.]

[Footnote 660: 'Qua de re Melanchthon ipse conqueritur.'—Gerdesius,
iv. p. 124.]

[Footnote 661: 'Eosdem articulos Romam misisse dicitur, quo pontificis
ipsius quoque impetraret vel emendationem vel consensum.'—Gerdesius,
_Hist. Evang. renov._ iv. p. 124.]

[Footnote 662: D'Argentré, _De novis Erroribus_, i. p. 3553. Gerdesius,
iv. App. xiii.]

[Footnote 663: Letter from the Faculty of Theology to Francis I.
D'Argentré, i. p. 3953. Gerdesius, iv. App. xiii.]

[Footnote 664: D'Argentré, i. p. 3953. Gerdesius, iv. App. xiii.]

[Footnote 665: Gerdesius, i. App. xiii. p. 75.]

[Footnote 666: 'Necessarium ut in Christum omnes spectemus.'—Scriptum a
Gallis editum, _Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 765.]

[Footnote 667: _Facultatis Theologiæ Parisiensis Responsum ad Regem
Franciscum_, D'Argentré, i. p. 3953.—Gerdesius, iv. App. p. 75.]

[Footnote 668: 'Nec geramus alterutri gladiatorios animos nostra
mordicus defendendi.'—Scriptum a Gallis editum, _Corp. Ref._ ii. p.

[Footnote 669: _Facultatis Theol. Paris. Resp. ad Regem._ Gerdesius, iv.
App. p. 75.]

[Footnote 670: 'Ut consulat conscientiis, aliquando concedere
relaxationem.'-Scriptum a Gallis editum, _Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 766.]

[Footnote 671: 'Jure divino institutam, quæ usque ad consummationem
sæculi perduratura est.'—Gerdesius, iv. App. p. 78.]

[Footnote 672: 'Quæ tamen nemo observat, atque hi minime omnium qui
præcipiunt.'—_Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 767.]

[Footnote 673: D'Argentré, i. p. 397. Gerdesius, iv. App. p. 79.]

[Footnote 674: 'Pia mortuorum facta prosopopœia ... quasi præsentes a
præsentibus orasse.'—Scriptum a Gallis editum, _Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 768.]

[Footnote 675: 'Qui et velit invocari et velit exaudire.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 676: 'Videbimus nos minime abesse a superstitione
Ethnicorum.'—Scriptum a Gallis editum, _Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 768.]

[Footnote 677: 'Statuas et imagines sanctorum quas adorandas sept. œcum.
synodus decernit.'—_Facultatis Theol. Paris. Resp._]

[Footnote 678: 'Viva membrorum Christi communione.'—Scriptum a Gallis
ed. _Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 769.]

[Footnote 679: 'Semotis his missarum conducticiis nundinatoribus.'—

[Footnote 680: 'Præpostera ejus operis fiducia quæ plerosque sic

[Footnote 681: 'Vocari non debent nundinatores.'—_Facult. Theol. Paris

[Footnote 682: 'Sublatis quæ inter nos diu viguerunt altercationibus.'—
Script. a Gallis ed., _Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 770.]

[Footnote 683: 'Præsente urso, quod dicitur, vestigia non quæramus.'—

[Footnote 684: 'Theologiam sic tractemus ut non incidamus in

[Footnote 685: 'Utile et necessarium certa verborum forma uti, in sacra
scriptura non expressa.'—_Facult. Theol. Paris. Resp._ p. 82.]

[Footnote 686: 'Non petunt boni ut monasteria deleantur, sed ut sint
scholæ.'—Script. a Gallis ed., _Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 773.]

[Footnote 687: _Facultatis Theologiæ Parisiensis Responsum._ Gerdesius,
_Hist. Evang. renov._ p. 76.]

[Footnote 688: 'In tanta sacerdotum et monachorum turba restitui aliter
vitæ puritas non poterit.'—Scriptum a Gallis editum, _Corpus
Reformatorum_, ii. p. 774.]

[Footnote 689: 'Hoc fermentato sæculo.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 690: 'Perfacile autem coalescere possumus.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 691: _Facultatis Theologiæ Parisiensis Responsum._ Gerdesius,
_Hist. Evang. renov._ p. 77.]

[Footnote 692: Including the apocryphal books.]

[Footnote 693: _Facultatis Theologiæ Parisiensis Responsum._ Gerdesius,
_Hist. Evang. renov._ iv. App. p. 77.]

[Footnote 694: Du Bellay, _Mémoires_, ed. Petitot, Introd. p. 123.
Schmidt, _Hist. Theol._ p. 36 (ed. 1850).]

[Footnote 695: 'England und Ich pflegen zusammen zu halten und sämmtlich
unsere Sachen vornehmen.'—Rex Galliæ ad principes protest. _Corp. Ref._
ii. p. 830.]

[Footnote 696: 'Quam pulchre staremus.'—Sturm to Melanchthon, MS.]

[Footnote 697: Ibid.]

[Footnote 698: 'Neque bonus ullus erit, qui reclamet in pontificis
monarchiam.—_Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 762.]



The Reformation was necessary to christian society. The Renaissance,
daughter alike of ancient and of modern Rome, was a movement of revival,
and yet it carried with it a principle of death, so that wherever it was
not transformed by heavenly forces, it fell away and became corrupted.
The influence of the humanists—of such men as Erasmus, Sir Thomas More,
and afterwards of Montaigne—was a balmy gale that shed its odours on the
upper classes, but exerted no power over the lower ranks of the people.
In the elegant compositions of the men of letters, there was nothing for
the conscience, that divinely appointed force of the human race. The
work of the Renaissance, had it stood alone, must of necessity,
therefore, have ended in failure and death. There are persons in these
days who think otherwise: they believe that a new state of society would
have arisen without the Reformation, and that political liberty would
have renewed the world better than the Gospel. This is assuredly a great
error. At that time liberty had scarcely any existence in Europe, and
even had it existed, and the dominion of conscience not reappeared along
with it, it is certain that, though powerful enough, perhaps, to destroy
the old elements of order prevailing in society, it would have been
unable to substitute any better elements in their place. If, even in the
nineteenth century, we tremble sometimes when we hear the distant
explosions of liberty, what must have been the feeling in the sixteenth?
The men who were about to appear on the theatre of the world were still
immersed in disorder and barbarism. Everything betokened great virtues
in the new generation, but also tumultuous passions; a divine heroism,
but also gigantic crimes; a mighty energy, but at its side a languishing
insensibility. A renewed society could not be constituted out of such
elements. It wanted the divine breath to inspire high thoughts, and the
hand of God to establish everywhere the providential order.

At the end of the fifteenth and the beginning of the sixteenth century,
society was in a state of excitement. The world was in suspense, as when
the statuary is about to create a work that shall be the object of
universal admiration. The metal is melted, the mass flows from the
furnace like glowing brass; but the approaching lava alarms, and not
without reason, the anxious spectators. At this period we witness
struggles, insurrections, and reaction. The perfumed spirit of the
Renaissance was unable to check the evil and to establish order and
liberty. Society had appeared to grow young again under the breath of
antiquity; but wherever a knowledge of the Gospel was not combined with
the cultivation of letters, that purity, boldness, and elevation of
youth, which at first had charmed contemporaries, disappeared. The
melting was checked, the metal grew cold, and instead of the masterpiece
that had been expected, there appeared the repulsive forms of servility,
immorality, and superstition.


Was there any means of preventing so fatal a future? How, in the midst
of the old society, which was crumbling to pieces, could a new one be
formed, with any certain prospect of vitality? In religion only the
coming age was to find its living force. If the conscience of man was
awakened and sanctified by christianity, then and then only the world
would stand.

Was it possible to look for this regenerating element in the society
which was expiring? That would be to search among the dead for the
principle of life. It was necessary to have recourse to the primitive
sources of faith. The Gospel, more human than literature, more divine
than philosophy, exerts an influence over man that these two things
cannot possess. It goes down into the depths—that is, into the
people—which the Renaissance had not done; it rises towards the high
places—that is, towards heaven—which philosophy cannot do. When the
Gospel lifted up its voice in the days of the Reformation, the people
listened. It spoke to them of God, sin, condemnation, pardon,
everlasting life—in a word, of Christ. The human soul discovered that
this was what it wanted; and was touched, captivated, and finally
renewed. The movement was all the more powerful because the doctrine
preached to the people had nothing to do with animosities, traditions,
interests of race, dynasties, or courts. True, it got mixed up with
these things afterwards; but in the beginning it was simply the voice of
God upon earth. It circulated a purifying fire through corrupted
society, and the new world was formed.

The old society, whose place was about to be occupied, did all in its
power to resist the light. A terrible voice issued from the Vatican; a
hand of iron executed its behests in many a country, and strangled the
new life in its cradle. Spain, Italy, Austria, and France were the chief
theatres of the deplorable tragedies, whose heroes were Philip II. and
the Guises. But there were souls, we may even say nations, protected by
the hand of God, who have been ever since like trees whose leaves never
wither.[699] Intelligent men, struck by their greatness, have been
alarmed for the nations that are not watered by the same rivers. Against
such a danger there is, however, a sure remedy; it is that all people
should come and drink at those fountains of life which have given
protestant nations 'all the attributes of civilisation and power.'[700]
Or do they perchance imagine that by shutting their windows against the
sun, the light will spread more widely?... A new era is beginning, and
all lingering nations are now invited to the great renovation of which
the Gospel is the divine and mighty organ.


In 1526 Geneva was in a position which permitted it to receive the new
seed of the new society. The alliance with the cantons, by drawing that
city nearer to Switzerland, facilitated the arrival of the intrepid
husbandmen who brought with them the seeds of life. At Wittemberg, at
Zurich, and even in the upper extremities of Lake Leman, in those
beautiful valleys of the Rhone and the Alps which Farel had evangelised,
the divine sun had poured down his first rays. When the Genevans made
their alliance with the Swiss, they had only thought of finding a
support to their national existence; but they had effected more: they
had opened the gates of day, and were about to receive a light which,
while securing their liberties, would guide their souls along the path
of eternal life. The city was thus to acquire an influence of which none
of its children had ever dreamt, and by the instrumentality of Calvin,
one of the noblest spirits that ever lived, 'she was about to become the
rival of Rome,' as an historian says (perhaps with a little
exaggeration), 'and wrest from her the dominion of half the christian

If the alliance with the cantons opened Geneva on the side of
Switzerland, it raised a wall of separation between that city and
Savoy—which was not less necessary for the part she was called upon to
play in the sixteenth century. The valley of the Leman was at that time
dotted with châteaux, whose ruins may still be seen here and there. As
invasion, pillage, and murder formed part of social life in the middle
ages, the nobles surrounded their houses with walls, and some even built
their dwelling-places on the mountains. From Geneva might be descried
the castle of Monnetier standing on immense perpendicular rocks on Mont

  J'aimais tes murs croulants, vieux moutier ruiné!
  _Naître, souffrir, mourir!_ devise triste et forte . . .
  Quel châtelain pensif te grava sur la porte?[702]

Further on, and near Thonon, on an isolated hill, shaded by luxuriant
chestnut trees, stood the vast castle of Allinges, which is still a
noble ruin. The lords of these places, energetic, rude, freebooting, and
often cruel men, growing weary of their isolation and their idleness,
would collect their followers, lower their drawbridges, rush into the
high roads in search of adventures, and indulge in a life of raids and
plunder, violence and murder.

The towns, with their traders and travellers, were especially the
abhorrence of these gentlemen robbers. From the tenth century the
Genevan travellers and foreign merchants, passing through Geneva with
their goods, often fell a prey to the plundering vagabondage of the
neighbouring lords. This was not without important consequences for
civilisation and liberty. Seeing the nobles perpetually in insurrection
against social order, the burghers learnt to revolt against despotism,
murder, and robbery. Geneva received one of these lessons, and profited
by it better than others.[703]


In all the castles of Genevois, Chablais, and the Pays de Vaud, it was
said, in 1526, that the alliance of Geneva with the free Swiss cantons
menaced the rights of Savoy, the temporal (and even the spiritual) power
of the bishop, and Roman-catholicism. And hence the irritated nobles
ruminated in their strongholds upon the means of destroying the union,
or at least of neutralising its effects. François de Ternier, seigneur
of Pontverre, whose domains were situated between Mont Salève and the
Rhone, about a league from Geneva, thought of nothing else night or day.
A noble, upright, but violent man; a fanatical enemy of the burgher
class, of liberty, and of the Reformation; and a representative of the
middle ages, he swore to combat the Swiss alliance unto death, and he
kept his oath. Owing to the energy of his character and the nobility of
his house, François possessed great influence among his neighbours. One
day, after long meditation over his plans, he left his residence,
attended by a few horsemen, and visited the neighbouring castles. While
seated at table with the knights, he made his apprehensions known to
them, and conjured them to oppose the accursed alliance. He asked them
whether it was for nothing that the privilege of bearing arms had been
given to the nobles. 'Let us make haste,' he said, 'and crush a new and
daring power that threatens to destroy our castles and our churches.' He
sounded the alarm everywhere; he reminded the nobles that they had a
right to make war whenever they pleased;[704] and forthwith many lords
responded to his energetic appeals. They armed themselves, and, issuing
from their strongholds, covered the district around Geneva like a cloud
of locusts. Caring little for the political or religious ideas with
which Pontverre was animated, they sought amusement, plunder, and the
gratification of their hatred against the citizens. They were observed
at a distance, with their mounted followers, on the high roads, and they
were not idle. They allowed nobody to enter the city, and carried off
property, provisions, and cattle. The peasants and the Genevan
merchants, so disgracefully plundered, asked each other if the tottering
episcopal throne was to be upheld by _banditti_.... 'If you return,'
said these noble highwaymen, 'we will _hang you up by the neck_.' Nor
was that all: several nobles, whose castles were near the water,
resorted to piracy on the lake: they pillaged the country-houses near
the shore, imprisoned the men, insulted the women, and cut off all
communication with Switzerland.


One difficulty, however, occurred to these noble robbers: they chanced
to maltreat, without their knowing it, some of their own party, who were
coming from German Switzerland. Having been much reproached for this,
they took counsel on the road: 'What must we do,' they asked, 'to
distinguish the Genevans?' They hit upon a curious shibboleth. As soon
as they caught sight of any travellers in the distance, they spurred
their horses, galloped up, and put some ordinary question to the
strangers, 'examining in this way all who passed to and fro.' If the
travellers replied in French, the language of Geneva, the knightly
highwaymen declared they were _huguenots_, and immediately carried them
off, goods and all. If the victims complained, they were not listened
to; and even when they came from the banks of the Loire and the Seine,
they were taken and shut up in the nearest castle. Many messengers from
France to the Swiss cantons, who spoke like the Genevans, were arrested
in this way.

France, Berne, and Geneva complained bitterly; but the lords (for the
most part Savoyards) took no notice of it. By chastising these burghers,
they believed they were gaining heaven. They laughed among themselves at
the universal complaints, and added sarcasm to cruelty. One day a
Genevan deputy having appeared before Pontverre, to protest against such
brigandage, the haughty noble replied coldly: 'Tell those who sent you,
that in a fortnight I will come and set fire to the four corners of your
city.' Another day, De la Fontaine, a retired syndic and mameluke, as he
was riding along the high road, met a huguenot, and said to him: 'Go and
tell your friends that we are coming to Geneva shortly, and will throw
all the citizens into the Rhone.' As the Genevan walked away, the
mameluke called him back: 'Wait a moment,' he said, and then continued
maliciously: 'No, I think it will be better to cut off their heads, in
order to multiply the relics.' This was an allusion to Berthelier's
head, which had been solemnly buried. In the noisy banquets which these
nobles gave each other in their châteaux, they related their feats of
arms: anecdotes akin to those just quoted followed each other amid roars
of laughter: the subject was inexhaustible. The politicians, although
more moderate in appearance, were not less decided. They meditated over
the matter in cold blood. 'I will enter Geneva sword in hand,' said the
Count of Genevois, the duke's brother, 'and will take away six score of
the most rebellious patriots.'[705]

Thus the middle ages seemed to be rising in defence of their rights. The
temporal and spiritual authority of the bishop-prince was protected by
bands of highwaymen. But while these powers, which pretended to be
legitimate, employed robbery, violence, and murder, the friends of
liberty prepared to defend themselves lawfully and to fight honourably,
like regular troops. Besançon Hugues, reelected captain-general three
days after the alliance with the Swiss, gave the signal. Instantly the
citizens began to practise the use of arms in the city; and in the
country, where they were placed as outposts, they kept strict watch over
all the movements of the gentlemen robbers. Fearing that the latter, to
crown their brigandage, would march against Geneva, the syndics had iron
gratings put to all the windows in the city walls, built up three of the
gates, placed a guard at the others, and stretched chains across every
street. At the same time they brought into the harbour all the boats
that had escaped the piratical incursions of the nobles, placed a sentry
on the belfry of St. Pierre, and ordered that the city should be lighted
all the night long. This little people rose like one man, and all were
ready to give their lives to protect their goods and trade, their wives
and children, and to save their old liberties and their new


While thus resolute against their enemies in arms, the citizens showed
moderation towards their disarmed foes. Some of those who were most
exasperated, wishing to take their revenge, asked permission to
_forage_, that is, to seize the property of the disloyal and fugitive
mamelukes. 'It is perfectly fair,' they said, 'for their treason and
brigandage have reduced Geneva to extreme misery: we shall only get back
what they have taken from us.' But Hugues, the friend of order as well
as of liberty, made answer: 'Let us commence proceedings against the
accused; let us condemn them in penalties more or less severe; but let
us refrain from violence, even though we have the appearance of right in
our favour.'—'The ducal faction,' replied these hot-headed men, 'not
only plundered us, but conspired against the city, and took part in the
tortures and murders inflicted upon the citizens.' The syndics were not
convinced, and the property of the offenders was respected; but after a
rigorous investigation, they were deprived of the rights of

The Swiss cantons, discontented because the Genevans, who were in great
straits, had not repaid the expenses incurred on their behalf, asked
more for the mamelukes than the council granted: they demanded that they
should all be allowed to return to the city. But to receive those who
were making war against them, seemed impossible to the Genevans. They
sent two good huguenots to Berne, François Favre and Baudichon de la
Maison-Neuve, to make representations in this matter. The deputies were
admitted to the great council on the 5th of June, 1526. De Lullins, the
Savoyard governor, was also received on the same day, and in the duke's
name he made great complaints against Geneva. Favre, a quick, impatient,
passionate man, replied in _coarse terms_. The Bernese firmly adhered to
their resolution, and reprimanded the Genevan deputy, who candidly
acknowledged his fault: 'Yes,' he said, 'I am _too warm_; but I answered
rather as a private individual than as an ambassador.' On returning to
his inn, he thought that the payment of the sum claimed by the Bernese
would settle everything, and the same day he wrote to the council of
Geneva: 'Your humble servant begs to inform you that you must send the
money promised to my lords of Berne. Otherwise, let him fly from the
city who can! Do you think you can promise and not be bound to keep your
word? Find the money, or you are lost. I pray you warn my wife, that she
may come to Lausanne. I am serving at my own expense, and yet I must pay
for others also. Do not ruin a noble cause for such a trifle. If Berne
is satisfied, we shall be all right with the mamelukes.'[708]


Robber nobles were not the only supporters of the middle ages. That
epoch has had its great men, but at the time of its fall it had but
sorry representatives. The knights of the highway had their companions
in the intriguers of the city. Among the latter we may include
Cartelier, who had played his part in the plots got up to deliver Geneva
to Savoy.[709] This man, who hated independence and the Reformation even
more than Pontverre did, was, through the anger of the citizens and the
avarice of the bishop, to suffer for the crimes of which his party was
guilty. Being utterly devoid of shame, he went up and down the city as
if he had nothing to fear, and when he chanced to meet the indignant
glance of a huguenot, he braved the anger with which he was threatened
by assuming an air of contempt and defiance. Rich, clever, but of low
character, he had contrived to be made a citizen in order to indulge in
the most perfidious intrigues. One day he was apprehended,
notwithstanding his insolent airs, and put into prison. A thrill ran
through all the city, as if the hand of God had been seen striking that
great criminal. Amblarde, Berthelier's widow, and his two children;
John, Lévrier's brother; and a hundred citizens who had all just cause
of complaint against the wretch, appeared before the council, and called
for justice with cries and tears: 'He has spilt the blood of our
fathers, our brothers, and our husbands,' said the excited crowd. 'He
wished to destroy our independence and subject us to the duke.'
Convicted of conspiring against the State, the wretch was condemned to
death. The executioner, putting a rope round his neck, led him through
the city, followed by an immense crowd. The indignant people were
delighted when they saw the rich and powerful stranger reduced to such
humiliation. Proud and pitiless, he had plotted to ruin the city, and
now he was expiating his crimes. Things did not stop here: while
moderate men desired to remain in the paths of justice, the more
hot-headed of the party of independence _derided_ him, says a
chronicler, and some mischievous boys pelted him with mud. The unhappy
man, whose fall had been so great, thus arrived at the place of
execution, and the hangman prepared to perform his duty.

Cartelier had but a few minutes more to live, when the bishop's steward
was seen hurrying forward with letters of grace, commuting the capital
punishment into a fine of six thousand golden crowns payable to the
prelate and to the city. To spare the life of the wretched man might
have been an act of mercy and equity, especially as his crimes were
political; but the angry youths who surrounded the criminal ascribed the
bishop's clemency to his covetousness and to the hatred he bore the
cause of independence. They desired the execution of the condemned man.
Twice the hangman removed the rope, and twice these exasperated young
men replaced it round Cartelier's neck. They yielded at last, however,
and were satisfied with having made the conspirator feel all the anguish
of death. Cartelier was set at liberty. When the bishop was informed of
what had happened, he became afraid, imagining his authority compromised
and his power endangered. 'It was for good reasons,' he wrote to the
syndics, 'that I pardoned Cartelier; however, write and tell me if the
people are inclined to revolt on account of this pardon.'[710] The
people did not revolt, and the rich culprit, having paid the fine,
retired quietly to Bourg in Bresse, whence he had come.


The bishop, who had first sentenced, then pardoned, and then repented of
his pardon, was continually hesitating, and did not know what party to
side with. He was not devoted body and soul to the duke, like his
predecessor. Placed between the Savoyards and the huguenots, he was at
heart, equally afraid of both, and by turns flung himself into the arms
of opposite parties. He was like a stag between two packs of hounds,
always afraid and panting. 'I write _angrily_,' he says in his letters:
he was, indeed, always angry with one party or the other. Even the
canons, his natural friends, and the members of his council aroused his
fears, and not without cause; for these reverend persons had no
confidence either in the bishop's character or in the brigandage of the
gentry of the neighbourhood. Messieurs De Lutry, De Montrotier, De
Lucinge, De St. Martin, and other canons said that the temporal
authority of the prelate was too weak to maintain order; that the sword
of a secular prince was wanted, and at the bottom of their hearts they
called for the duke. 'Ah!' said La Baume to Hugues, 'the chapter is a
_poisoned_ body;' he called the canons thieves and robbers: _Ille fur et
latro est_, he said of one of them. The episcopal office appeared a
heavy burden to him; but it put him in a position to give good dinners
to his friends, and that was one of the most important duties of his
life. 'I have wine for the winter,' he wrote in a postscript to the
letter in which he made these complaints, 'and plenty to entertain you
with.'[711] Such were his episcopal consolations.

[Footnote 699: Psalm i.]

[Footnote 700: M. Michel Chevalier, on the Prosperity of Protestant

[Footnote 701: Galiffe, _Matériaux pour l'Histoire de Genève_, ii. p.

[Footnote 702: Galloix, _Salève_. The author remembers reading, since
the time of his boyhood, these three words on the ruins that have been
since restored, _Nasci, pati, mori_.]

[Footnote 703: Spon, _Hist. de Genève_. Gautier MS. Guizot,
_Civilisation en France et en Europe_. Froment.]

[Footnote 704: Ordonnance de Louis Hutin. Guizot, _Civilisation en
France_, v. p. 138.]

[Footnote 705: Registres du Conseil du 3 décembre. Lettres de Messieurs
de Berne. Galiffe fils, _Besançon Hugues, Pièces Justificatives_, p.

[Footnote 706: Registres du Conseil des 15, 16, 23, 24, 28 mars.]

[Footnote 707: Roset, _Chron._ MS. liv. ii. ch. ii. Registres du Conseil
du 7 septembre 1526. Spon, _Histoire de Genève_, ii. p. 396. Bonivard,
_Chroniq._ ii. pp. 446, 447. Gautier MS.]

[Footnote 708: This letter will be found in Galiffe, _Matériaux pour
l'Histoire de Genève_, ii. p. 489.]

[Footnote 709: See above, vol. i. p. 228.]

[Footnote 710: Archives de Genève. Lettre de Pierre de la Baume aux
syndics, du 24 janvier 1527.]

[Footnote 711: Registres du Conseil de décembre 1526, de janvier et
avril 1527. Roset MS. bk. ii. ch. v. Galiffe, _Matériaux pour l'Histoire
de Genève_, ii. pp. 264, 437, 439, 440. Bonivard, _Chroniq._ ii. pp.
452-454. _Mém. d'Archéologie_, ii. p. 11. La Sœur de Jussie, _Le Levain
du Calvinisme_.]


The bishop was about to have enemies more formidable than the duke and
the League. The Reformation was approaching. There is a characteristic
trait in the history of Geneva; the several surrounding countries were
by turns to scatter the seeds of life in that city; in it was to be
heard a concert of voices from France, Italy, and German Switzerland. It
was the last of these that began.


At the time when treason was expelled from the city in the person of
Cartelier, the Gospel entered it in that of an honest Helvetian, one of
the Bernese and Friburg deputies who went there in 1527 about the
affairs of the alliance concluded in 1526. Friburg would not have
permitted a heretic preacher to accompany the deputation; even Berne
would not have desired it just yet; but one of the Bernese ambassadors,
a pious layman, who was coming to give a valuable support to national
independence, was to call the Genevese to spiritual liberty. The lay
members of the Church occupied in the time of the apostles, as is well
known, a marked station in the religious community;[712] but by degrees
the dominion of the clergy had been substituted for evangelical liberty.
One of the principal causes of this revolution was the inferiority of
the laity; for many centuries ecclesiastics were the only educated men.
But if this state of things should change, if the laity should attain to
more knowledge and more energy than the clergy, a new revolution would
be effected in an opposite direction. And this is really what happened
in the sixteenth century. The christian layman who then arrived at
Geneva was Thomas ab Hofen, a friend of Zwingle, whom we have already
mentioned.[713] In the year 1524 he had declared at Berne in favour of
the Reformation. The Zurich doctor, hearing of his departure for the
shores of Lake Leman, was rejoiced, for the piercing eye of his faith
had fancied it could perceive a ray of evangelical light breaking over
those distant hills. He desired that the Genevans, now united to
Switzerland, should find in her not only liberty but truth.
'Undoubtedly,' wrote Zwingle to the excellent Bernese, 'undoubtedly this
mission may be of extraordinary advantage to the citizens of Geneva, who
have been so recently received into alliance with the cantons.'[714]

Ab Hofen did not go to Geneva with the intention of reforming it; his
mission was diplomatic; but he was one of that 'chosen generation' of
whom St. Peter speaks—one of those christians who are always ready to
'show forth the praises of Him who has called them to his marvellous
light.'[715] As he entered the city, he said to himself that he would do
with earnestness whatever work God might set before him, as his Zurich
friend had prayed him. Simple-minded, moderate, and sensitive, Ab Hofen
placed the kingdom of heaven above the things of the earth; but he was
subject to fits of melancholy, which occasionally made him
faint-hearted. When he arrived at Geneva, he visited many citizens,
attended the churches and the meetings of the people, and, having
reflected upon everything, he thought to himself that there was much
patriotism in the city, but unfortunately little christianity, and that
religion was the weak side of Genevan emancipation. He was distressed,
for he had expected better things. With a heart overflowing with sorrow
he returned to his inn (17th of January, 1527), and feeling the
necessity of unburdening himself on the bosom of a friend, he sat down
and wrote to the great reformer of Zurich: 'The number of those who
confess the doctrine of the Gospel must be increased.'[716] There were,
therefore, at this time in Geneva christians who confessed salvation by
Jesus Christ, and not by the ceremonies of the Church; but their number
was not large.


Ab Hofen determined to do his best to remedy this evil. He had a loving
heart and practical mind, and with indefatigable zeal took advantage of
every moment of leisure spared him by his official duties. As soon,
therefore, as a conference with the Genevan magistrates was ended, or a
despatch to the Bernese government finished, he laid aside his
diplomatic character and began to visit the citizens, conversing with
them, and telling them of what was going on at Zurich and preparing at
Berne. Being received into the families of some of the principal
huguenots, and seated with them round the hearth, at the severest
portion of the year (January 1527), he spoke to them of the Word of God,
of its authority, superior (he said) to the pope's, and of the salvation
which it proclaimed. He taught them that in the Gospel God gives man
full remission of his sins. These doctrines, unknown for so many ages,
and subversive of the legal and ceremonial religion of Rome, were heard
at Geneva with astonishment and pleasure.

At first the priests received the evangelist magistrate rather
favourably. The rank which he bore made him honourable in their eyes;
and he, far from being rude towards them, like certain huguenots, was
amiable and sympathising. Some ecclesiastics, believing him to belong to
their coterie, because he spoke of religion, did not conceal their
uneasiness from him, and described to him, very innocently, the fine
times when presents of bread, wine, oil, game, and tapers were plentiful
in their kitchen, and when they used to say, with a gracious tone, to
the believers who brought these donations in white napkins: _Centuplum
accipietis et vitam æternam possidebitis_.[717] Then they added, with
loud complaints: 'Alas! the faithful bring us no more offerings, and
people do not run so ardently after indulgences as they used to do.'[718]

The Bernese envoy, inwardly delighted at these candid avowals, which he
did not fail to transmit to Zwingle, apparently avoided all controversy,
and continued to announce the simple Gospel. The citizens listened to
him; they sought his company, and invited him to take a seat in their
family circle, or in some huguenot assembly, and to speak of the noble
things that were doing at Zurich. These successes encouraged him: his
eyes sparkled, he accosted the citizens freely, and his words flowed
copiously from his lips. 'I will not cease proclaiming the Gospel,' he
wrote to Zwingle; 'all my strength shall be devoted to it.'[719] Erelong
the well-disposed men who had gathered round him were joined by other
citizens, exclusively friends of liberty; they listened to him with
interest; but when he began to blame certain excesses, and to require
certain moral reforms, he met with coldness and even determined
opposition from them, and they turned their backs on him. Ab Hofen,
although a man of zeal and piety, did not possess the faith which moves
mountains; he returned dispirited to his inn, shut himself up in his
room, and, heaving deep sighs, wrote all his trouble to Zwingle. The
latter, who possessed a sure glance, saw that the opportunity was
unique. To establish the Reformation at the two extremities of
Switzerland, at Zurich and Geneva, appeared to him a most important
work. Would not these two arms, as they drew together, drag all
Switzerland with them, especially if the powerful Berne lent its support
in the centre? But he knew Ab Hofen, and fearing his dejection, he wrote
to him: 'Take care that the work so well begun is not stopped. While
transacting the business of the republic, do not neglect the business of
Jesus Christ.[720] You will deserve well of the citizens of Geneva if
you put in order not only their laws and their rights, but their souls
also.[721] Now what can put the soul in order except it be the Word and
the teaching of Him who created the soul?'[722]


Zwingle went further than this, and, in order to revive Ab Hofen's
fainting heart, made use of an argument to which the politician could
not be insensible. The reformer of Zurich was the friend of liberty as
well as of the Gospel, and he believed that a people could be governed
in only one of two ways: either by the Bible or by the sword, by the
fear of God or by the fear of man. In his opinion Geneva could protect
her independence against the attacks of Savoy, France, and all foreign
powers, only by submitting to the King of heaven. 'O my dear Thomas,' he
wrote to his friend, 'there is nothing I desire so much as to see the
doctrine of the Gospel flourishing in that republic (Geneva). Wherever
that doctrine triumphs, the boldness of tyrants is restrained.'[723] At
the same time, not wishing to offend the Bernese deputy, Zwingle added:
'If I write these things, it is not to awaken one who sleeps, but to
encourage one who runs.'[724] He ended his letter with a fraternal
salutation to the evangelical christians of Geneva: 'Salute them all in
my name,' he said.

Ab Hofen was not insensible to this appeal; if he was easily cast down,
he was as easily lifted up. He therefore redoubled his zeal, and pressed
Geneva to imitate Zurich and Berne; but he perceived that his
evangelical exertions were appreciated by a very small number only, and
regarded with coldness, and even with displeasure and contempt, by the
majority of politicians. Citizens, who had at first given him the
warmest welcome, scarcely saluted him when he met them, and if he went
to any meeting his presence put a restraint upon the whole assembly. He
soon encountered opposition of a more hostile nature; the priests eyed
him angrily, and the confidence which some ecclesiastics had placed in
him was succeeded by a violent hatred. The clergy proclaimed a general
crusade against heresy; the canons put themselves at the head of the
opposition; priests and monks filled the streets, going from house to
house, and bade the citizens be on their guard against the evangelical
addresses of the Bernese envoy. They cried down, abused, and
anathematised the doctrines he taught, and made war against the New
Testament wherever they found it. They encouraged one another, and
frightened the women especially. According to their representations, the
city would be ruined if it listened to the heretical diplomatist.


Ab Hofen now fell into a state of discouragement more serious than the
former. 'All my efforts are vain,' he wrote to Zwingle; 'there are about
_seven hundred_ clergymen in Geneva who do their utmost to prevent the
Gospel from flourishing here.[725] What can I do against such numbers?
And yet a wide door is opened to the Word of God.... The priests do not
preach; and as they are unable to do so, they are satisfied with saying
mass in Latin.... Miserable nourishment for the poor people!... If any
preachers were to come here, proclaiming Christ with boldness, the
doctrine of the pope would, I am sure, be soon overthrown.'[726]

But such preachers did not appear. Convinced of his insufficiency, and
continually repeating that true ministers, like Zwingle and Farel, were
wanted in that city; finding that many of the Genevans desired to be
liberated not only from the vexations of Savoy, the shuffling of the
bishop, and the doctrines of the pope, but also from the laws of
morality; struck with the evils he saw ready to burst upon Geneva, and
which the Gospel alone could avert,—this simple-minded, pious, and
sensitive man returned heartbroken to Berne. Had this disappointment any
effect upon his health? We cannot say; but he died not long after, in
the month of November, 'as a christian ought to die,' it was said. It
was found after his departure that his exertions had not been useless,
and that some Genevans at least had profited by his teaching: among
their number were counted Besançon Hugues and Baudichon de la
Maison-Neuve. Some astonishment may be felt at seeing these two names
together, for they are those of the chiefs of two opposite parties; but
there is nothing improbable about it, for Hugues must have been
frequently brought into contact with Ab Hofen, and it is not impossible
that he listened to his religious conversation. Hugues was a serious
man; he was, moreover, a statesman, and must have desired to know
something about the religious opinions which seemed at that time likely
to be adopted by the whole confederation; but his policy consisted in
maintaining the rights of the bishop-prince on one side, and those of
the citizens on the other; as for his religion, he was a catholic, and
we do not see that he changed in either of those relations. What he
might have been, if he had been living at the time when the Reformation
was carried through, no one can say. De la Maison-Neuve, on the
contrary, was a decided huguenot, and certainly needed the Gospel to
moderate the ardour of his character. William de la Mouille, the
bishop's chamberlain and confidant, appears to have been the person who
profited most by the teaching of the layman of Berne.

[Sidenote: SACK OF ROME.]

While the Gospel was entering Geneva, desolation was entering Rome. It
is a singular circumstance, the meeting of these two cities in history:
one so powerful and glorious, the other so small and obscure. That,
however, is capable of explanation: the great things of the world have
always come from great cities and great nations; but the great things of
God have usually small beginnings. Conquerors must have treasures and
armies; but evangelical christianity, which undertakes to change man,
nations, and the whole human race, has need of the strength of God, and
God affects little things. In the first century, he chose Jerusalem; in
the middle ages, the Waldensian valleys; in the sixteenth century,
Wittemberg and Geneva. 'God hath chosen the weak things of the world to
confound the things which are mighty.'[727]

In the month of May (1527) a rumour of startling importance suddenly
spread through the world: 'Rome has just been destroyed,' said the
people, 'and there is no more pope.' The troops of Charles V. had taken
and sacked the pontifical city, and if the pope was still alive, he was
in concealment and almost in prison. The servants of the Church, who
were terrified at first, soon recovered their breath, and directly their
alarm was dissipated, avarice and covetousness took its place. In the
presence of the ruins of that ancient city, its friends thought only of
dividing its spoils. The Bishop of Geneva, in particular, found himself
surrounded by petitioners, who sought to be collated to the benefices
hitherto held by clergymen resident in Rome. 'They have all perished,'
he was told; 'their benefices are vacant: give them to us.' The bishop
granted everything; and he even conferred on himself (Bonivard tells us)
the priory of St. Jean-lez-Genève, which belonged to a cardinal. Seldom
had so many deaths made so many people happy.[728]

The sack of Rome had more important results for Geneva and the
protestant nations. When they saw the ruin of that city, it appeared to
them that the papacy had fallen with it. The huguenots never grew tired
of listening to the wonderful news and of commenting upon it. Struck
with the example set them by Charles V., they thought to themselves that
'if the emperor had set aside the bishop and prince of Rome, they might
well abandon the prince and bishop of Geneva.' Their right to do so was
far clearer. The pope-king had at least been elected at Rome, and in
conformity with ancient custom; while the bishop-prince had not been
elected at Geneva and by Genevans, in accordance with the ancient
constitutions, but by a foreign and unlawful jurisdiction. The huguenots
promised even to be more moderate than his catholic majesty. Finally,
the acts which impelled them to turn Pierre de la Baume out of the city,
were far more vexatious in their eyes than those which had induced
Charles to expel Clement VII. from Rome. 'Are we not much more oppressed
by ecclesiastical tyranny,' they said, 'than by secular tyranny? Are we
not forced to pay, always to pay, and is it not our money that makes the
bishop's pot boil?'[729] Further, the shameful conduct of many of the
ecclesiastics seemed to them a sufficient motive for putting an end to
their rule.

A scandal which occurred just at this time increased the desire felt by
certain huguenots to withdraw themselves from the government of the
monks and priests. On the 10th of May, certain inhabitants of St. Leger
appeared before the council. For some time past their sleep had been
disturbed by noises and shouting, in which the cordeliers, jacobins, and
other friars were concerned; and they desired to put an end to it. 'Some
disorderly women have settled in our quarter,' they told the council,
'and certain monks frequent their houses.'[730]... 'If you observe the
monks going there at night-time,' replied the council, 'give information
to the syndics and the captain-general. The watch will immediately go
and take them.' The citizens withdrew half satisfied with the answer,
but fully determined to call the watch as soon as the disorder was


These scandals—an acknowledged thing at Rome—greatly exasperated the
citizens of Geneva, and made the better disposed long for a reformation
of faith and morals. They said that soldiers use their arms as their
officers command them: that the monks and priests (they should have said
all christians) ought also to use their lives as their chief orders
them; and that if they make a contrary use of them, they enlist under
the standard of vice and avow themselves its soldiers. The worthy
citizens of Geneva could not make that separation between religion and
morality, of which the greater part of the clergy set the example. In
proportion as the Reformation made progress in the world, the opposition
increased against a piety which consisted only in certain formulas,
ceremonies, and practices, but was deprived of its true substance—living
faith, sanctification, morality, and christian works. Christianity, by
the separation which Rome had made between doctrines and morals, had
become like one of those spoilt and useless tools that are thrown aside
because they can no longer serve in the operations for which they were
made. The reformers, by calling for a living, holy, active faith, were
again to make christianity in modern times a powerful engine of light
and morality, of liberty and life.

[Footnote 712: Acts i. 15; vi. 5; xv.]

[Footnote 713: See above, vol. i. p. 371.]

[Footnote 714: 'Nunc vero cum te Gebennæ reipublicæ gratia abesse
constat ... reficiemur. Utilitatem autem non vulgarem recens factis
civibus per te comparari.'—Zwingle to Thomas ab Hofen, 4 Jan. 1527.
_Epp._ ii. p. 9.]

[Footnote 715: 1 Peter ii. 9.]

[Footnote 716: 'Hic Genevæ numerus Evangelii doctrinam confitentium
augeri incipiat.'—Ab Hofen to Zwingle, January 17, 1527. Zwinglii _Epp._
ii. p. 15.]

[Footnote 717: 'You shall receive a hundredfold, and shall possess
everlasting life.']

[Footnote 718: 'Clerici queruntur homines neque amplius sacra dona
præbere velle, neque tam vehementer ad indulgentias currere.'—Ab Hofen
to Zwingle. Zwinglii _Epp._ ii. p. 16.]

[Footnote 719: 'Quousque meæ vires valeant, in ea re nequaquam me
defecturum esse.'—Ab Hofen to Zwingle. Zwinglii _Epp._ ii. p. 15.]

[Footnote 720: 'In mediis reipublicæ negotiis, Christi negotiorum minime
sis negligens.'—Zwinglii _Epp._ ii. p. 9.]

[Footnote 721: 'Optime de Gebennæ civibus merebere, si non tantum leges
eorum ac jura, quantum animos componas.'—Ibid. p. 10.]

[Footnote 722: 'Animos autem quid melius componet, quam ejus sermo atque
doctrina qui animos ipse formavit?'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 723: 'Hæ enim ubi crescunt, tyrannorum audacia coerceretur.'—

[Footnote 724: 'Non quasi torpentem sim expergefacturus; sed currentem
adhortor.'—Zwinglii _Epp._ ii. p. 10.]

[Footnote 725: 'In hac urbe clerici sunt ad 700, qui manibus pedibusque
impediunt, quominus Evangelii doctrina efflorescat.'—Zwinglii _Epp._ ii.
p. 10.]

[Footnote 726: 'Si prædicatores haberent, fore puto ut pontificia
doctrina labefactetur.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 727: 1 Cor. i. 27.]

[Footnote 728: Bonivard, _Chroniq._ ii. p. 461.]

[Footnote 729: 'Ne sont-ce pas nos écus qui font bouillir le pot de

[Footnote 730: 'Querelaverunt de putanis et certis religiosis qui ibidem
affluunt.'—Registres du Conseil du 10 mai 1527.]

 (SUMMER 1527.)


The sack of Rome had made a great sensation in catholic countries.
Pierre de la Baume almost believed that the reign of popery had come to
an end, and was much alarmed for himself. If a prince so powerful as the
pope had succumbed, what would become of the Bishop of Geneva? The
alliance with the cantons, and the Gospel which a Swiss magistrate had
just been preaching, seemed to him the forerunners of his ruin. He had
no lansquenets before him, like those who had compelled Clement VII. to
flee, but he had huguenots, who, in his eyes, were more formidable
still. Liberty seemed to be coming forth, like the sun, from the night
of the middle ages; and the bishop thought the safest course would be to
turn towards the rising orb, and to throw himself into the arms of the
liberals. He had a strong preference for the Savoyard despotism; but, if
his interests required it, he was ready to pay court to liberty. Other
instances of this have been seen. The bishop, therefore, sanctioned the
sequestration of the property of the mamelukes, and made Besançon Hugues
a magnificent present. He conferred on him the perpetual fief of the
fishery of the lake, the Rhone, and the Arve, reserving to himself
(which showed the value of the gift) the right of redemption for two
thousand great ducats of gold.[731] All this was but a step towards the
accomplishment of a strange design.

The bishop had taken it into his head that he would form an alliance
with the Swiss, feeling convinced that they alone could protect him
against the impetuosity of the huguenots and the tyranny of the Duke of
Savoy. He therefore sent Robert Vandel to Friburg and Basle, to entreat
these states to admit him into their citizenship. This move caused the
greatest surprise among the Genevans. 'What!' said they, 'is Monseigneur
turning huguenot?' The Swiss rudely rejected the Romish prelate's
request. 'We will not have the bishop for our fellow-citizen,' they made
answer, 'and that for four reasons: first, he is fickle and changeable;
second, he is not beloved in Geneva; third, he is imperialist and
Burgundian; and fourth, he is a _priest_!' The cantons did not mention
the strongest reason. Friburg and Berne, allies of the city, could not
be at the same time the allies of the bishop, for how could they have
supported the rights of the Genevans against him?[732]

The bishop was not discouraged. At one time he felt his throne shaking
beneath him, and, fearing that it would fall, he clung to liberty with
all his might; at another, he fancied he could see the phantom of heresy
approaching with slow but sure step, and erelong taking its seat on his
throne ... and the sight increased his fear. He therefore sent Besançon
Hugues to Berne—a more influential diplomatist than Vandel—who was
received with consideration in the aristocratic circles, but had to bear
all kinds of reproach. The proud Bernese were indignant at his becoming
the advocate of a person so little esteemed as the bishop. One day, in
the presence of these energetic men who had witnessed so many struggles,
as Hugues was warmly pleading the prelate's cause, his listener suddenly
turned away with horror, and, as if he had been waving aside with his
hand some satanic vision, he said: 'The name of the bishop is more
hateful among us than that of the devil himself.' This was enough for
Hugues, who returned to Geneva greatly disheartened. Pierre de la Baume,
a vain and frivolous priest, soon consoled himself for this
discomfiture, laughing at the reproaches uttered against him. He amused
himself with the objections of the Swiss, and was continually repeating
to those about him: 'What would you have?... How could the Helvetians
receive me into their alliance? I am a priest and Burgundian!'... Thus,
at one time trembling, at another laughing, the Bishop of Geneva was
moving towards his ruin.[733]


For some time Charles III., Duke of Savoy, had been watching the
prelate, and noting with vexation the interested and (in his opinion)
culpable overtures he was making to the Genevans and the confederates.
The news that the bishop had sent two envoys in succession to the Swiss
put a climax to the prince's anger. It is not sufficient for the
citizens to desire to emancipate themselves; even the bishops, whom the
dukes have always regarded as their agents, presume to tread in their
footsteps. This deserves a terrible punishment. The duke conferred with
his advisers on the nature of the lesson to be given the prelate. One of
the most decided of Charles's ministers proposed that he should be
kidnapped; the motion was supported, and the resolution taken. In order
to carry it into execution, it was necessary to gain some of the clergy
about him. The canons were sounded, and many of them, already sold to
the duke, promised their good offices. 'The bishop is a great devotee of
the Virgin,' they said; 'on Saturday, the day dedicated to St. Mary, he
generally goes to hear mass at Our Lady of Grace, outside the city. He
rides on a mule in company with other members of the cloth. Now, as this
church is separated from Savoy only by a bridge, the captain of his
highness's archers has simply to lie in ambush near the river to snap up
(_happer_) Monseigneur. The priests and officers about him, being bribed
or men of no courage, will run away. Let him be dragged hastily to the
other side of the Arve, and, once in the territory of Savoy, he can be
put to death as a traitor.' Everything was arranged by good catholics,
and the Archbishop of Turin probably had a share in it. The reformers
never went to work in so off-hand a manner as regards bishops.


Thus war broke out between the two great enemies of Geneva. The Genevans
knew not how to get rid of the prelate, and here was Charles, like
another Alexander, cutting the Gordian knot. The bishop once carried
off, one of the most formidable obstacles to independence, morality,
religion, and civilisation will be removed. So long as he is there,
nothing that is good can be done in Geneva; and when he is no longer
there, the city will become free. This, however, was not his highness's
plan: having 'snapped up' the duke, he expected to 'snap up' the city
also. This was his scheme for taking Geneva. 'As soon as the Savoyard
archers have kidnapped the bishop, certain of his highness's creatures
will go to the belfry of Notre Dame and ring the great bell. All the
bells of the adjoining villages will answer the signal; the nobles will
rush sword in hand from their castles, the country-people will take up
their scythes or other weapons, and all will march to Geneva. The
Genevans are hot and hasty: when they learn that the Savoyards have
crossed the Arve and violated their territory, they will take up arms
and march into the domains of Savoy to avenge the offence; but they will
find Pontverre and all his friends there ready to meet them. In the
midst of this agitation the duke will have a capital excuse for entering
the city and taking possession of it. And when he is established there,
he will cut off the heads of Hugues, the syndics, the councillors, M. de
Bonmont, and many others. Finally, Geneva shall have a bishop who will
occupy himself with refuting the heretics, and his highness will
undertake to make the hot-headed republicans bow beneath the sword of
the temporal power, and expel for ever from the city both reformers and
Reformation.'[734] The duke, charmed with this plan, made immediate
preparations for its execution. To prevent Pierre de la Baume from
escaping into Burgundy, he posted soldiers in all the passes of the
Jura, whilst his best captains were stationed round the city to carry
out the ambuscade.


These various measures could not be taken without something creeping
out. Geneva had friends in the villages, where an unusual agitation
indicated the approaching execution of some act of treachery. On
Thursday, the 11th of July, a man, making his way along by-paths,
arrived from Savoy, and said to the people of Geneva: 'Be on your
guard!' Two days later, Saturday the 13th, which was the day appointed
for action, another man, crossing the bridge of Arve, came and told one
of the syndics, between eight and nine in the morning, that some horse
and foot soldiers had been secretly posted at Lancy, only half a league
from the city. The syndics did not trouble themselves much about it; and
the bishop, who was naturally a timid man, but whom these warnings had
not reached, mounted his mule—it was the day when he went to make
adoration to the Virgin—rode out to Our Lady's, took his usual place,
and the mass began. Charles's soldiers were already advancing in the
direction of the bridge, in order to seize the prelate directly he left
the church. Some devout persons had pity on him, and just as the priest
had celebrated the mystery, a man, with troubled look, entered the
building (whether he came from Geneva or Savoy is unknown), walked
noiselessly to the place where the bishop was sitting, and whispered in
his ear: 'Monseigneur, the archers of Savoy are preparing to clutch you
(_gripper_).' At these words the startled La Baume turned pale and
trembled. He did not wait for the benediction; fear gave him wings; he
got up, rushed hastily out of the church, and leaped upon his mule
'without putting his foot in the stirrup, for he was a very nimble
person,' says Bonivard; then, using his heels for spurs, he struck the
animal's flanks, and galloped off full speed, shouting, at the top of
his voice, to the guards as he passed: 'Shut the gates!' The prelate
reached the city out of breath and all of a tremble.[735]

The city was soon in commotion. Besançon Hugues, the captain-general,
who was sincerely attached to La Baume, and strongly opposed to the
usurpations of Savoy, had divined the duke's plot, and, with his usual
energy, began to pass through the streets, saying: 'Close your shops,
put up the chains, bolt the city gates, beat the drum, sound an alarm,
and let every man take his arquebuse.' Then, leaving the streets, Hugues
went to St. Pierre's, and, notwithstanding the opposition of the canons,
accomplices in the conspiracy, he ordered the great bell to be rung. A
rumour had already spread on the other side of the Arve that the plot
had failed, and that the bishop had escaped on his mule. The men-at-arms
of Savoy were disconcerted; the village bells were not rung, the nobles
remained in their castles, the peasants in their fields. 'Our scheme has
got wind,' said the Savoyard captains; 'all the city is under arms; and
we must wait for a better opportunity.'

The canons, though siding with the duke, had concealed their game, and
employed certain creatures of Savoy to carry out the plot. These people
were known; they became alarmed, and saw no other means of escaping
death than by leaving the city. But all the gates were shut!... What of
that: despair gave them courage. At the very moment when the armed men
of Savoy were retiring, several persons were seen to run along the
streets, jump into the ditches of St. Gervais, scale the palisades, and
scamper away as fast as their legs could carry them. They were the
traitors who had corresponded with the enemy outside.

As for La Baume, he had lost his presence of mind. Rejected by the
Swiss, despised by the Genevans, persecuted by the duke, what should he
do? If he could but escape to his benefices in Burgundy, where the
people are so quiet and the wine is so good!—but, alas! all the passes
of the Jura are occupied by Savoyard soldiers. He was in great distress.
Not thinking himself safe in his palace, he had taken refuge in the
house of one of his partisans when he returned on his mule from his
visit to Our Lady's. He expected that the duke would follow up his plan,
would enter Geneva, and seek him throughout the city. Accordingly, he
remained quiet in the most secret hiding-place of the house which had
sheltered him. It was only when he was told that the Savoyard soldiers
had really retired, that all was tranquil outside the city, and that
even the huguenots did not think of laying hands on him, that he took
courage, came out of his hiding-place, and returned to the palace.
Nevertheless, he looked stealthily out of the window to see if the
huguenots or the ducal soldiers were not coming to seize him even in his
own house. The Genevans smiled at his terror; but everybody, the
creatures of Charles excepted, was pleased at the failure of the duke's
treachery. Religious men saw the hand of Heaven in this deliverance.
'They gave God thanks,' says Balard.[736]

This attack, abortive as it was, had one important consequence; it
delivered the city from the canons, and thus paved the way for the
Reformation. These men were in Geneva the representatives and supporters
of all kinds of religious and political tyranny. To save catholicism, it
would have been necessary for the clergy, and particularly for the
canons, who were their leaders, to unite with the laity, and, while
maintaining the Roman ceremonial, to demand the suppression of certain
episcopal privileges and ecclesiastical abuses. Some of the huguenot
chiefs—those who, like Hugues, loved the bishop, and those also who
subsequently opposed Calvin's reformation—would probably have entered
with joy into this order of things. For the execution of such a plan,
however, the priests ought to have been upright and free. But the
absolute authority of the Church, which had enfeebled the vigour of the
human mind, had specially degraded the priests. The clergy of Geneva had
fallen too low to effect a transformation of catholicism. Many of the
canons and even of the curés could see nothing but the act of a
revolutionist or even of a madman in the bishop's desire to ally himself
with the Swiss, and had consequently entered into Charles's scheme,
which was so hateful to the Genevans.


The huguenots hastened to take advantage of it. If the ducal plot had
not delivered them from the bishop, it must at least free them from the
canons. These ecclesiastical dignitaries never quitted Geneva, while the
bishop often absented himself to intrigue in Italy or to amuse himself
in Burgundy. They were besides more bigoted and fanatical than the
worldly prelate, and therefore all the more dangerous. And then, if they
desired to get rid of the bishop, was it not the wisest plan to begin
with his council? Shortly after the famous alert, some Genevan liberal
went to the palace and said to La Baume: 'The canons, my lord, are the
duke's spies: so long as they remain in Geneva, Savoy will have one foot
in the city.' The poor bishop was too exasperated against the canons not
to lend an ear to these words, and after ruining himself with the duke,
he took steps to ruin himself with the clergy, and to throw overboard
the most devoted friends of the Roman institutions. 'Yes,' said he,
'they intrigue (_grabugent_) against the Church!... Let them be
arrested.... It is they who wished to see me kidnapped.... Let them be
put in prison!' The next morning the procurator-fiscal, with his
sergeants, knocked at the doors of the most influential of the canons,
Messieurs De la Madeleine, De Montrotier, De Salery, De Veigy, and
others, arrested them, and, to the indescribable astonishment of the
servants and neighbours of these reverend gentlemen, carried them off to

As soon as the gates were shut upon the canons, the bishop began to
reflect on the daring act he had just achieved. Still flushed with
anger, he did not repent, but he was uneasy, distressed, and amazed at
his own courage. If the duke sought to kidnap him but the other day,
what will this terrible prince do, now that he, La Baume, has boldly
thrown his most devoted partisans into prison?... All Savoy will march
against him. He sent for the captain-general, imparted to him all his
fears; and Besançon Hugues, his most faithful friend, wishing to
dissipate his alarm, placed watchmen on the tower of St. Pierre, on the
walls, and at every gate. They had instructions to inform the
commander-in-chief if a single horseman appeared on the horizon in the
direction of Savoy.


La Baume began to breathe again; yet he was not entirely at his ease. He
smiled to himself at the _watch_ of Besançon Hugues. What can these few
armed citizens do against the soldiers of the nephew of Francis I. and
brother-in-law of Charles V.? The Duke of Savoy was prowling round him
like a wild beast eager to devour him; the bishop thought that the bear
of Berne alone could defend him. But alas! Berne would have nothing to
do with him, because he was a _priest_ and a _Burgundian_!... He turned
all this over in his mind. He, so wary a politician, he whom the emperor
employed in his negotiations—shall not he find some outlet, when it is a
question of saving himself? On a sudden he hit upon a scheme for
becoming an ally of Berne, in spite of Berne. He will get himself made a
_citizen of Geneva_, and, by virtue of the general co-citizenship, he
will thus become the ally of the cantons. Delighted at this bright idea,
he communicated it to his intimate friends, and, unwilling to lose a
day, ordered the council-general to be convened for the morrow.[738]

On the next morning (15th of July) the bells of the cathedral rang out;
the burgesses, girding on their swords, left their houses to attend the
general council, and the bishop-prince, accompanied by his councillors
and officers, appeared in the midst of the people, and sat down on the
highest seat. Entirely absorbed by the strange ambition of becoming a
plain burgess of the city in which he was prince, he was profuse in
salutations; and to the huguenots he was particularly gracious. 'I
recall,' he said, 'my protest against the alliance with the Swiss. I
know how you cling to it; well! ... I now approve of it; I am willing to
give my adhesion to it; and, the more clearly to show my approval, I
desire that I may be made a freeman of the city.' Great was the
astonishment of the people. A bishop made a citizen of Geneva! Such a
thing had never been heard of. All the friends of independence, however,
were favourable to the scheme. Some wished to gratify the bishop; others
were pleased at anything that could separate him more completely from
the duke; all agreed that if the bishop were made a citizen of Geneva,
and united with their friends the confederates, great advantage would
result to the city. If he begins with turning Swiss, who knows if he
will not turn protestant? The general council therefore granted his


Wishing to make him pay for his freedom, and not to lose an opportunity
of recovering their liberties, the syndics begged him to transfer all
civil suits to lay jurisdiction. Laymen judges in an ecclesiastical
principality!... It was a great revolution, and three centuries and more
were to pass away before a similar victory was gained in other states of
that class. The bishop understood the great importance of such a
request; he fancied he could already hear the endless appeals of the
clergy who found themselves deprived of their honours and their profits;
but at this time he was acting the part of a liberal pope, while the
canons were playing the incorrigible cardinals. He said Yes. It was an
immense gain to the community, for interminable delays and crying abuses
characterised the ecclesiastical tribunals at Geneva as well as at Rome.

The syndics, transported with joy, manifested all their gratitude to the
prelate. They told him he had nothing to fear, either from the Genevans
or even from the duke. Then turning to the people, they said: 'Let every
citizen draw his sword to defend Monseigneur. If he should be attacked,
we desire that, at the sound of the tocsin, all the burgesses, and even
the priests, should fly to arms.'—'Yes, yes!' shouted the citizens; 'we
will be always faithful to him!' A transformation seemed to have been
effected in their hearts. They knew the great value of the sacrifice the
bishop had made, and showed their thankfulness to him. Upon this, the
bishop, 'raising his right hand towards heaven, and placing his left on
his breast (as was the custom of prelates),' said: 'I promise, on my
faith, loyally to perform all that is required of a citizen, to prove
myself a good prince, and never to separate myself from you!' The
delighted people also raised their hands and exclaimed: 'And we also, my
lord, will preserve you from harm as we would our own heads!'[739] The
poor prelate would have sacrificed still more to protect himself from
Charles's attacks, which filled him with indescribable terror.

It seemed as if this concession, by uniting the bishop and the Genevans
more closely, ought to have put off the Reformation; but it was not so.
In proportion as the Genevans obtained any concession, they desired
more; accordingly, when the citizens had returned home, or when they met
at one another's houses, they began to say that it was something to have
obtained the civil judicature from the bishop, but that there were other
restitutions still to be made. Some men asked by what right he held the
temporal authority; and others—those who knew best what was passing at
Zurich—desired to throw off the spiritual jurisdiction of the prelate in
order to acknowledge only that of Holy Writ.

Opposition to ecclesiastical principalities began, then, three centuries
ago at Geneva. 'The bishop grants us the civil jurisdiction,' said
Bonivard; 'an act very damaging to himself, and very profitable to
us.... But ... this is an opening to deprive him entirely of his
authority. Neither La Baume nor the other bishops were lawfully elected,
that is to say by the clergy at the postulation of the people. They were
thrust into the see by the pope.... They are but tyrants set over us by
other tyrants. We can therefore reject them without danger to our souls;
and since they came in by the caprice of arbitrary power, it is lawful
for us to expel them by the free authority of the city. Geneva has never
acknowledged other princes than those whom the people themselves
elected.' Some were astonished at Bonivard's language; but the larger
number listened to him with enthusiasm. The catholics, growing more and
more uneasy, anticipated great disasters. The edifice of popery,
continually undermined in Geneva, was tottering; its pillars and
buttresses were giving way; and the keystone of the arch, the episcopal
power itself, was on the point of crumbling to dust. Alas! catholic
Geneva was a dismantled fortress.[740]


When the duke heard of the bishop's concessions, he was seized with one
of his fits of anger. And not without cause: by transferring the civil
authority to a lay tribunal, La Baume had been guilty of a new offence
against the duke; for it was in reality the jurisdiction of the vidame
(that is to say, of the duke) which the bishop had thus ceded; and hence
it was that he had been induced to do it so readily.

Charles had no need of this new grievance. When they learnt at the court
of Turin that the canons had been put in prison by the prelate, there
was a violent commotion; the friends and relatives of those reverend
gentlemen made a great noise, and the duke resolved to send the most
urgent remonstrances to the Genevans, reserving the right to have
recourse to more energetic measures if words did not suffice. He
commissioned M. de Jacob, his grand equerry, to go and set this little
people to rights, and the ducal envoy arrived in Geneva about the middle
of July. He carried his head very high, and behaved with great reserve,
as if he had been injured: he had come with the intention of making that
city, so small and yet so arrogant, feel how great is the power of a
mighty prince. On the 20th of July, the Sire de Jacob being introduced
before the council, haughtily represented to them, not that the reverend
fathers imprisoned as criminals were innocent, but that they belonged to
high families and were his highness's subjects, and added that the duke
consequently ordered them to be immediately set at liberty. 'Otherwise,'
added the ambassador in an insolent tone, 'my lord will see to it, as
shall seem good to him.' The tone and look of the ducal envoy explained
his words, and every one felt that Charles III. would come and claim the
canons at the head of his army. The embarrassed magistrates and prelates
answered the envoy by throwing the blame upon one another. The former
declared that they had not interfered in the matter, which concerned
Monseigneur of Geneva only; and the bishop, in his turn, laid all the
blame on the people. 'I was obliged to do so,' he said, 'to save the
canons from being killed.' Nevertheless, he showed himself merciful. The
avoyer of Friburg, who had been delegated for this purpose by his
council, added his entreaties to the ducal summons; and, pressed at once
by Switzerland and Savoy, the bishop thought he could not resist. The
arrest of the canons was in reality, on his part, an act of passion as
much as of justice. 'I release them,' he said; 'I pardon them. I leave
vengeance to God.'

The canons quitted the place where they had been confined, bursting with
anger and indignation. Having had time to reflect on what was passing in
Geneva, on the impetuous current that was hurrying the citizens in a
direction contrary to Rome, they had made up their minds to quit a city
where they had been so unceremoniously thrown into the receptacle for
criminals. De Montrotier, De Veigy, and their colleagues had hardly
returned to their houses when they told everybody who would listen to
them that they would leave Geneva and the Genevans to their miserable
fate. This strange resolution immediately spread through the city, and
excited the people greatly; it was important news, and they could hardly
believe it. The canons of Geneva were a very exalted body in the opinion
of catholicity. In order to be received among them, the candidate must
show titles of nobility or be a graduate in some famous university; and
since the beginning of the century their number included members of the
most illustrious families of Savoy—De Gramont, De la Foret, De
Montfalcon, De Menthon, De la Motte, De Chatillon, De Croso, De Sablon,
and others as noble as they.[741]


The canons kept their word. As soon as they had made the necessary
arrangements for their departure, they mounted their mules or got into
their carriages, and set off. The Genevans, standing at the doors of
their houses and in groups in the streets, watched these Roman
dignitaries thus abandoning their homes, some with downcast heads,
others with angry looks, who moved along sad and silent, and went out by
the Savoy gate with hearts full of resentment against a city which they
denounced as ungrateful and rebellious. Out of thirty-two, only seven or
eight remained.[742] The citizens, assembling in various places, were
agitated with very different thoughts. The huguenots said to themselves
that these high and reverend clerks, true cardinals, who supported the
papacy much better than the bishop, would no longer be there to prevent
the new generation from throwing off the shackles of the middle ages;
that this unexpected exodus marked a great revolution; and that the old
times were departing, and the Reformation beginning. On the other hand,
the creatures of Rome felt a bitter pang, and flames of vengeance were
kindled in their hearts. Lastly, those citizens who were both good
Genevans and good catholics, were seized with fear and melancholy. 'No
more canons, erelong perhaps no more bishop!... Will Geneva, without its
canons and bishops, be Geneva still?' But the great voice, which drowned
all the rest, was that of the partisans of progress, of liberty, of
independence, and of reform, who desired to see political liberty
developed among the community, and the Church directed by the Word of
God and not by the bulls of the pope. Among them were Maison-Neuve,
Bonivard, Porral, Bernard, Chautemps, and others. These men, the
pioneers of modern times, felt little respect and no regret for the
canons. They said to one another that these noble and lazy lords were
pleased with Geneva so long as they could luxuriously enjoy the
pleasures of life there; but that when the hour of combat came, they
fled like cowards from the field of battle. The canons did fly in fact;
they arrived at Annecy, where they settled. As for Geneva, they were
never to enter it again.

[Footnote 731: 'Pro summa ducatorum auri largorum duorum millia.'—
Galiffe fils, _Besançon Hugues_, p. 454; _Pièces Justificatives_, No. 4.]

[Footnote 732: Spon, _Hist. de Genève_, i. p. 407, note.]

[Footnote 733: Bonivard, _Chroniq._ ii. p. 468. _Journal de Balard_, p.
112. Gautier MS. _Mém. d'Archéologie_, iv. p. 161.]

[Footnote 734: In his journal recently published, Balard, one of the
most respected and most catholic magistrates of the time, describes this
plot at full length, pp. 117, 118. See also Bonivard, _Police de
Genève_, p. 396.]

[Footnote 735: _Journal de Balard_, p. 118. Bonivard, _Police de
Genève_, p. 396.]

[Footnote 736: 'On regratia Dieu.'—_Journal de Balard_, p. 117.
Bonivard, _Chroniq._ ii. p. 467.]

[Footnote 737: _Journal de Balard_, p. 119. Registres du Conseil, _ad

[Footnote 738: Registres du Conseil des 13 et 14 juillet 1527. Bonivard,
_Chroniq._ ii. p. 467. Galiffe, _Matériaux pour l'Histoire de Genève_,
ii. pp. 421, 517. _Journal de Balard_, p. 119.]

[Footnote 739: Registres du Conseil du 15 juillet 1527. Bonivard,
_Chroniq._ ii. p. 471. _Journal de Balard_, p. 119.]

[Footnote 740: Registres du Conseil du 15 juillet 1527. _Journal de
Balard_, p. 119. Bonivard, _Chroniq._ pp. 471, 472.]

[Footnote 741: Besson, _Mémoire du Diocèse de Genève_, p. 87.]

[Footnote 742: Registres du Conseil des 18, 19, 23, 24 juillet 1527.
Bonivard, _Chroniq._ ii. p. 468. _Journal de Balard_, pp. 121-124.]



From this time parties in Geneva took new forms and new names. There
were not simply, as before, partisans of the foreign domination and
Savoy, and those of independence and Switzerland: the latter were
divided. Some, having Hugues and Balard as leaders, declared for the
bishop; others, with Maison-Neuve and Porral at their head, declared for
the people. They desired not only to repel the usurpations of Savoy, but
also to see the fall of the temporal power of the bishop in Geneva.
'Now,' said Bonivard, 'that the first division into mamelukes and
huguenots has almost come to an end, we have the second—that of
bishopers (_évêquains_) and commoners (_communiaires_).' These two
parties had their men of sense and importance, and also their hotheaded
adherents; as, for instance, De la Thoy on the side of the commoners,
and Pécolat, the man of whom it would have been least expected, among
the bishopers. A singular change had been effected in this former martyr
of the bishop: the _jester_ had joined the episcopal band. Was it
because he was at heart catholic and even superstitious (he had
ascribed, it will be remembered, the healing of his tongue to the
intervention of a saint), or because, being a thorough parasite, he
preferred the well-covered tables of the bishopers? We know not. These
noisy partisans, the vanguard of the two parties, were frequently
quarrelling. 'They murmured, jeered, and made faces at each other.'

At the same time this new division marked a step made in advance by this
small people. Two great questions were raised, which sooner or later
must rise up in every country. The first was _political_, and may be
stated thus: 'Must we accept a traditional dominion which has been
established by trampling legitimate rights under foot?' (This was the
dominion of the bishop.) The second was _religious_, and may be
expressed thus: 'Which must we choose, popery or the Gospel?' Many of
the _commoners_, seeing the bishop and the duke disputing about Geneva,
said that these two people were fighting for what belonged to neither of
them, and that Geneva belonged to the Genevans. But there were
politicians also among them, lawyers for the most part, who founded
their pretensions on a legal basis. The bishops and princes of Geneva
ought by right, as we have seen, to be elected at Geneva and not at
Rome, by Genevans and not by Romans. The issue of the struggle was not
doubtful. How could the bishop make head against magistrates and
citizens relying on positive rights, and against the most powerful
aspirations of liberty that were awaking in men's hearts? How could the
Roman doctrine escape the floods of the Reformation? Certain scandals
helped to precipitate the catastrophe.

On the 12th of July some huguenots appeared before the council. 'The
priests of the Magdalen,' they said, 'keep an improper house, in which
reside several disorderly women.' There were among the Genevans, and
particularly among the magistrates, men of good sense, who had the fear
of God before their eyes and confidence in him in their hearts. These
respectable laymen (and there may have been priests who thought the
same) had a deep conviction that one of the great defects of the middle
ages was the existence of popes, bishops, priests, and monks, who had
separated religion from morality. The council attended to these
complaints to a certain extent. They banished from Geneva the persons
who made it their business to facilitate illicit intercourse, obliged
the lewd women to live in a place assigned them, and severely
remonstrated with the priests.[743] The first breath of the Reformation
in Geneva attacked immorality. It was not this affair, however, which
gave the bishop his death-blow; it was a scandal occasioned by himself,
and in his own house. 'Halting justice' was about to overtake the guilty
man at last.


One day a report suddenly got abroad which put the whole city in
commotion. 'A young girl, of respectable family,' said the crowd, 'has
just been carried off by the bishop's people: we saw them dragging her
to the palace.' It was an electric spark that set the whole populace on
fire. The palace gates had been immediately closed upon the victim, and
the bishop's servants threatened to repel with main force the persons
who demanded her. 'Does the bishop imagine,' said some of the patriots,
'that we will put up with his beatings as quietly as the folks of St.
Claude do?' It would seem that La Baume permitted such practices among
the Burgundians, who did not complain of them. The girl's mother,
rushing into the street, had followed her as fast as possible, and had
only stopped at the closed gates of the episcopal palace. She paced
round and round the building, roaring like a lioness deprived of her
whelp. The citizens, crowding in front of the palace, exclaimed: 'Ha!
you are now throwing off the mask of holiness which you held up to
deceive the simple. In your churches you kiss God's feet, and in your
life you daringly spit in his face!' Many of them called for the bishop,
summoning him to restore the young woman to her mother, and hammering
violently at the gate.

The prelate, who was then at dinner, did not like to be disturbed in
this important business; being puzzled, moreover, as to the course which
he ought to adopt, it appeared that the best thing he could do was to be
deaf. He therefore answered his servants, who asked him for orders, 'Do
not open the door;' and raising the glass to his lips, he went on with
his repast. But his heart was beginning to tremble: the shouts grew
louder, and every blow struck against the gate found an echo in the soul
of the guilty priest. His servants, who were looking stealthily out of
the windows, having informed him that the magistrates had arrived,
Pierre de la Baume left his chair, paler than death, and went to the
window. There was a profound silence immediately, and the syndics made
the prelate an earnest but very respectful speech. The bishop, terrified
at the popular fury, replied: 'Certainly, gentlemen, you shall have the
young woman.... I only had her carried off for a harper, who asked me
for her in return for his services.' Monseigneur had not carried off the
girl in the violence of passion, but only to pay the wages of a
musician! It was not more guilty, but it was more vile. The palace gates
were opened, and the girl was restored to her mother. Michael Roset does
not mention the harper, and leads us to believe that the bishop had
taken her for himself. This scandalous abduction was the last act done
in Geneva by the Roman bishops.[744]

From that moment the deposition of the bishop was signed, as it were, in
the hearts of most of the citizens. 'These, then, are the priests'
works,' they said, 'debauchery and violence!... Instead of purifying the
manners of the people, they labour to corrupt them! Ha! ha! you
bishopers, a fine religion is that of your bishop!'

Opposition to a corrupt government soon began to appear a duty to them.
The right of resistance was one of the principles of that society in the
middle ages, which some writers uphold as a model of servility. In the
Great Charter of England, the king authorised his own subjects, in case
he should violate any one of their liberties, 'to pursue and molest him
to the uttermost of their power, by seizing his castles, estates,
possessions, and otherwise.' In certain cases, the vassals could
separate themselves entirely from their suzerain. Some vassals, it is
true, might carry this principle too far, and claim to throw off the
feudal authority _whenever it pleased them_; but the law made answer:
'No, not unless there is _reasonable cause_.'[745] When freeing herself
from the bishop-princes, who had so often violated the franchises and
connived with the enemies of the city, Geneva thought she was acting
with very reasonable cause, and not going beyond the bounds of legality.
The ruin of the bishops and princes of Geneva, already prepared by their
political misdeeds, was completed by their moral disorders.

But if the friends of law and morality desired to break by legal means
the bonds which united them to the bishop-prince, other persons, the
wits and brawlers, envenomed against his partisans, began to get up
quarrels with the bishopers. One day 'the young men of Geneva,'
returning from a shooting match, where, says the chronicler, they had
'had many a shot at the pot' (that is, had drunk deeply), determined to
give a smart lesson to two of the bishop's friends, Pécolat and Robert
Vandel. The latter, at that time attached personally to Pierre de la
Baume, afterwards became one of the most zealous patriots. 'They are at
St. Victor's,' somebody said; 'let us go and fetch them.' The party,
headed by a drummer, went to the priory, where Bonivard told the
ringleaders that the two bishopers and others were diverting themselves
at Plainpalais. Just as the band arrived, the episcopals were entering
the city: one of the 'sons of Geneva,' catching sight of Pécolat and
Vandel, exclaimed: 'My lord, you have traitors among you there!' The
bishop spurred his mule and rode off; Pécolat drew his sword; his
opponent, De la Thoy, did the same, and they began to cut at each other.
The fray was so noisy that the guards in alarm shut the gates, when a
few reasonable men parted the combatants. A more serious movement was
accomplishing in the depths of men's minds. Nothing but secularisation
and reformation could put an end to the almost universal discontent.[746]


The Duke of Savoy wished for another solution. His councillors
represented to him that the bishop had lost his credit among the nobles
and clergy, through his desire to ally himself with the Swiss; that he
was ruined with the citizens by his unedifying mode of life; and that
the moment had come for giving these restless people a _stronger
shepherd_, who would cure them of their taste for political and religious
liberty. In consequence of this, the duke summoned the Genevans, on the
30th of July, to recognise his claims, and his ambassadors added that,
if the citizens refused, 'Charles III. would come in person with an
army, and then they would have to keep their city ... if they could.'
The Genevans made answer: 'We will suffer death rather.' The Bernese,
informed of the threats of Savoy, sent ambassadors to Chambéry to
admonish (_admonester_) the duke. 'I have a grudge against the city,' he
said, 'and against the bishop also, and I will do my pleasure upon him
in defiance of all opposition.'—'Keep a good look-out,' said the Bernese
ambassadors to the syndics, on their return, 'for the duke is preparing
to carry off the bishop and confiscate the liberties of the city.' The
bishop and the citizens were exceedingly agitated. Men, women, and
children set to work: they cut down the trees round the walls, pulled
down the houses, and levelled the gardens, while four gangs worked at
the fortifications. 'We would rather die defending our rights,' said the
Genevans, 'than live in continual fear.'[747]

It might have been imagined that the duke, by declaring war at the same
time against the bishop and the city, would have brought them nearer
each other; but the popular irritation against the bishop and clergy was
only increased by it. The citizens said that all the misfortunes of
Geneva proceeded from their having a bishop for a prince; and La Baume
saw a conspirator in every Genevan. More than one bishop, the oppressor
of the liberties of his people, had fallen during the middle ages under
the blows of the indignant burgesses. For instance, the wretched Gaudri,
bishop of Laon in the twelfth century, having trampled the rights of the
citizens under foot, had been compelled to flee from their wrath, and
hide himself in a cask in the episcopal cellar. But, being discovered
and dragged into the street, he was killed by the blow of an axe, and
his body covered with stones and mud.[748] If good _catholics_ had
practised such revenge upon their bishop, what would _huguenots_ do?


La Baume had other fears besides. An intriguing woman, his cousin Madame
de Besse, generally known as Madame de la Gruyère, being gained over by
the duke, alarmed the bishop by insinuating that he was to be kidnapped,
and that this time his mule would not save him. That lady had scarcely
left the palace when the Bernese entered and said to the frightened
bishop: 'Make haste to go! for the duke is coming to take you.' They may
have said this with a mischievous intention, desiring to free the city
from the bishop. La Baume had not a minute of repose afterwards. His
servants, threatened by the huguenots, began to be afraid also, and thus
increased their master's alarm. He passed the day in anguish, and awoke
in the night uttering cries of terror. At times he listened as if he
heard the footsteps of the men coming to carry him off. He did not
hesitate: his residence in the episcopal city had become insupportable.
He had too much sense not to see that the cause of his temporal
principality was lost, and, to add to his misfortune, the only prince
who could defend him was turning against him. Whatever the risk, he must
depart. 'Whereat the bishop was so vexed,' says Bonivard, 'that he
meditated retiring from Geneva into Burgundy.' He flattered himself that
he would be quiet in the midst of his good vassals of St. Claude, and
happy near his cellars of Arbois![749]

It was, however, no easy thing to do. He would have to get out of
Geneva, pass through the district of Gex, and cross the Jura mountains,
all filled with armed men. Feeling the want of some one to help him, he
determined to apply to Besançon Hugues. He invited him to come to the
palace, but in the night, so that no one might see him. When Hugues got
there, the wretched and guilty prelate squeezed his hand, and told him
all his troubles. 'I can no longer endure the wrong, violence, and
tyranny which the duke does me,' he said. 'I know that he is plotting to
kidnap me and shut me up in one of his monasteries. On the other hand, I
mistrust my own subjects, for they are aiming at my life. I am day and
night in mortal torment. You alone can get me out of the city, and I
hope you will manage so that it shall not be talked of.' Besançon Hugues
was touched when he saw the man whom he recognised as his lord agitated
and trembling before him. How could he refuse the alarmed priest the
favour he so earnestly demanded?... He left the bishop, telling him that
he would go and make preparations for a nocturnal flight.[750]


In the night of the 1st and 2nd of August, 1527, Hugues went secretly to
the palace, accompanied by Michael Guillet, a leading mameluke. The
prelate received his friends like liberating angels. They all three went
down into the vaults, where La Baume ordered a private door to be opened
which led into the street now called the Rue de la Fontaine. He had to
go along this street to reach the lake; but might not some of those
terrible huguenots stop him in his flight? He crept stealthily and in
disguise out of the palace, put himself between his two defenders, and,
a prey to singular alarm, went forward noiselessly. On arriving at the
brink of the water, the fugitive and his two companions descried through
the darkness the boatmen whom Hugues had engaged. La Baume and Besançon
entered the boat, while Michael Guillet returned to the city. The
boatmen took their oars, and crossed the lake at the point where the
Rhone flows out of it. La Baume looked all round him; but he could see
nothing, could hear nothing but the dull sound of the oars. The danger,
however, was far from being passed. The right bank might be occupied by
a band of his enemies.... When the boat touched the shore, La Baume
caught sight of two or three men with horses. They were friends. Hugues
and the bishop got into their saddles without a moment's loss, and
galloped off in the direction of the Jura. The bishop had never better
appreciated his good luck in being one of the best horsemen of his day;
he drove the spurs into his steed, fancying at times that he heard the
noise of Savoyard horses behind him. In this way the bishop and his
companion rode on, all the night through, along by-roads and in the
midst of great dangers, for all the passes were guarded by men-at-arms.
At last the day appeared. In proportion as they advanced, La Baume
breathed more freely. After four-and-twenty hours of cruel fright, the
travellers arrived at St. Claude. Pierre de la Baume was at the summit
of happiness.[751]

The day after his departure, the news of the bishop's flight suddenly
became known in Geneva, where it caused a great sensation. 'Alas!' said
the monks in their cloisters, 'Monseigneur, seeing the approaching
tribulation, has got away by stealth across the lake.' The patriots, on
the contrary, collecting in groups in the public places, rejoiced to
find themselves delivered by one act both from their bishop and their
prince. At the same time the Savoyard soldiers, posted round Geneva,
were greatly annoyed; they had been on the watch night and day, and yet
the bishop had slipped through their fingers. To avenge themselves, they
swore to arrest Besançon Hugues on his return. The latter, making no
stay at St. Claude, reappeared next morning at daybreak in the district
of Gex, when he soon noticed that gentlemen and soldiers were all
joining in the chase after him. The bells were rung in the village
steeples, the peasants were roused, and every one shouted: 'Hie! hie!
the traitor Besançon!' It seemed impossible for him to escape. Having
descended the mountain, he followed the by-roads through the plain, when
suddenly a number of armed men fell upon him. Hugues had great courage,
a stout sword, and a good horse; fording the water-courses, and
galloping across the hills, he saved himself, 'as by a miracle,' says
his friend Balard.[752]


The Genevans were very uneasy about him, for they all loved him. The
drums beat, the companies mustered under their officers, and they were
about to march out with their arms to protect him, when suddenly he
arrived, panting, exhausted, and wounded. They would have liked to speak
to him, and, above all, to hear him; but Hugues, hardly shaking hands
with his friends, rode straight to his own house and went to bed; he was
completely knocked up. The syndics went to his room to investigate the
circumstances of which he had to complain. But erelong the brave man
recovered from his fatigue, and the city was full of joy. The bishop's
flight still further increased their cheerfulness: it snapped the bonds
of which they were weary. 'The _hireling_,' they said, 'leaveth the
sheep, and fleeth, when he seeth the wolf coming.'[753] 'Therefore,'
they added, 'he is not the shepherd.'

[Footnote 743: Registres du Conseil du 12 juillet 1527.]

[Footnote 744: Roset MS. _Chronol._ liv. ii. ch. xv. Bonivard,
_Chroniq._ ii. p. 455.]

[Footnote 745: Beaumanoir, _Coutumes de Beauvaisis_, p. 61. Guizot,
_Histoire de la Civilisation en France_, iv. p. 72.]

[Footnote 746: Bonivard, _Chroniq._ ii. p. 464.]

[Footnote 747: Registres du Conseil des 30 juillet et 25 août 1527.
_Journal de Balard_, pp. 125, 126.]

[Footnote 748: 'Quot saxis, quot et pulveribus corpus oppressum.'—G. de
Novigento, _Opp._ p. 507.]

[Footnote 749: Bonivard, _Chroniq._ ii. p. 473. Spon, _Hist. de Genève_,
ii. p. 410. Gautier MS.]

[Footnote 750: Savyon, _Annales_, p. 139. Bonivard, _Chroniq._ ii. p.
474. Galiffe, _Matériaux pour l'Histoire de Genève_, pp. 427, 428, &c.]

[Footnote 751: _Journal de Balard_, p. 126. Bonivard, _Chroniq._ ii. p.
474. _Mém. d'Archéol._ ii. p. 12.]

[Footnote 752: _Journal de Balard_, p. 127. Registres du Conseil du 6
août 1527, La Sœur de Jussie, p. 4.]

[Footnote 753: John x. 12.]

 (AUGUST 1527 TO FEBRUARY 1528.)

The Duke of Savoy was the wolf. When he heard of the bishop's flight,
his vexation was greater than can be imagined. He had told the Bernese:
'I shall have Monsieur of Geneva at my will,'[754] and now the wily
prelate had escaped him a second time. At first Charles III. lost all
self-control. 'I will go,' he said, 'and drag him across the Alps with a
rope round his neck!' After which he wrote to him: 'I will make you the
poorest priest in Savoy;' and, proceeding to gratify his rage, he seized
upon the abbeys of Suza and Pignerol, which belonged to La Baume.
Gradually his anger cooled down; the duke's counsellors, knowing the
bishop's irresolute and timid character, said to their master: 'He is of
such a changeable disposition[755] that it will be easy to bring him
over again to the side of Savoy.' The prince yielded to their advice,
and sent Ducis, governor of the Château de l'Ile, to try to win him
back. It appeared to the ducal counsellors that Pierre de la Baume,
having fled from Geneva, could never return thither, and would have no
wish to do so; and that the time had come when a negotiation, favourable
in other respects to the prelate, might put the duke in possession of a
city which he desired by every means to close against heresy and liberty.


The bishop, at that moment very dejected, was touched by the duke's
advances; he sent an agent to the prince, and peace seemed on the point
of being concluded. But Charles had uttered a word that sounded ill in
the prelate's ears. 'The duke wishes me to subscribe myself _his
subject_,' he wrote to Hugues. 'I think I know why.... It is that he may
afterwards lay hands on me.' Nevertheless, the duke appeared to restrain
himself. 'I will give back all your benefices,' he told the bishop, 'if
you contrive to annul the alliance between Geneva and Switzerland.' La
Baume consented to everything in order to recover his abbeys, whose
confiscation made a large gap in his revenues. He did not care much
about living at Geneva, but he wished to be at his ease in Burgundy. At
this moment, as the duke and the Genevans left him at peace, he was
luxuriously enjoying his repose. Instead of being always in the presence
of huguenots and mamelukes, he walked calmly in his garden 'among his
pinks and gilly-flowers.'[756] He ordered some beautiful fur robes,
lined with black satin, for the winter; he kept a good table, and said:
'I am much better supplied with good wine here than we are at

The bishop having fled from his bishopric like a hireling,—the prince
having run away from his principality like a conspirator,—the citizens
resolved to take measures for preserving order in the State, and to make
the constitution at once stronger and more independent. The general
council delegated to the three councils of Twenty-five, Sixty, and
Two-Hundred the duty of carrying on the necessary business, except in
such important affairs as required the convocation of the people. A
secret council was also appointed, composed of the four syndics and of
six of the most decided huguenots. A distinguished historian says that
the Genevan constitution was then made democratic;[758] another
historian affirms, on the contrary, that the power of the people was
weakened.[759] We are of a different opinion from both. In proportion as
Geneva threw off foreign usurpation, it would strengthen its internal
constitution. Undoubtedly, this little nation desired to be free, and
the Reformation was to preserve its liberties; there is a democracy in
the Reform. Philosophy, which is satisfied with a small number of
disciples, has never formed more than an intellectual aristocracy; but
evangelical christianity, which appeals to all classes, and particularly
to the lowly, develops the understanding, awakens the conscience, and
sanctifies the hearts of those who receive it, in this way spreading
light, order, and peace all around, and forming a true democracy on
earth, very different from that which does without Christ and without
God. But Geneva, at that time surrounded by implacable enemies,
required, as necessary to its existence, not only liberty, but order,
power, and consequently authority.


The bishop had hardly disappeared from Geneva when the insignia of ducal
power disappeared also. Eight years before this, Charles III. had caused
the white cross of Savoy, carved in marble, to be placed on the Château
de l'Ile, 'at which the friends of liberty were much grieved.'—'I have
placed my arms in the middle of the city as a mark of sovereignty,' he
had said haughtily, 'and have had them carved in hard stone. Let the
people efface them if they dare!' On the morning of the 6th of August
(five days after the bishop's flight), some people who were passing near
the castle perceived to their great astonishment that the ducal arms had
disappeared.... A crowd soon gathered to the spot, and a lively
discussion arose. Who did it? was the general question. 'Oh!' replied
some, 'the stone has accidentally fallen into the river;' but although
the water was clear, no one could see it. 'It was you,' said the duke's
partisans to the huguenots, 'and you have hidden it somewhere.'
Bonivard, who stood thoughtful in the midst of the crowd, said at last:
'I know the culprit.'—'Who is it? who is it?' 'St. Peter,' he replied.
'As patron of Geneva, he is unwilling that a secular prince should have
any ensign of authority in his city!' This incident, the authors of
which were never known, made a great impression, and the most serious
persons exclaimed: 'Truly, it is a visible sign, announcing to us a
secret and mysterious decision of the Most High. What the hand of God
hath thrown down, let not hand of man set up again!'[760]

The Genevans wanted neither duke nor bishop; they went farther still,
and being harassed by the court of Rome, they were going to show that
they did not care for the pope. They had hardly done talking of La
Baume's flight and of the Savoy escutcheon, when they were told strange
news. A report was circulated that an excommunication and interdict had
been pronounced against them, at the request of the mamelukes. This
greatly excited such citizens as were still attached to the Roman
worship. 'What!' said they; 'the priests will be suspended from their
functions, the people deprived of the benefit of the sacraments, divine
worship, and consecrated burial ... innocent and guilty will be involved
in one common misery.'... But the energy of the huguenots, whom long
combats had hardened like steel, was not to be weakened by this new
attack. The most determined of them resolved to turn against Rome the
measure plotted against Geneva. The council, being resolved to prevent
the excommunication from being placarded in the streets,[761] ordered 'a
strict watch to be kept at the bridge of Arve, about St. Victor and St.
Leger, and that the gates should be shut early and opened late.' This
was not enough. Five days later (the 29th of December, 1527), the
people, lawfully assembled, caused the _Golden Bull_ to be read aloud
before them, which ordered that, with the exception of the emperor and
the bishop, there should be no authority in Geneva. Then a daring
proposition was made to the general council, namely, 'that no
metropolitan letters, and further still no apostolical letters (that is
to say, no decrees emanating from the pope's courts), should be executed
by any priest or any citizen.'—'Agreed, agreed!' shouted everybody. It
would seem that the vote was almost unanimous. In this way the bishop on
the banks of the Tiber found men prepared to resist him on the obscure
banks of the Leman.

This vote alarmed a few timid persons of a traditional tendency.
Advocates of the _status quo_ entreated the progressionists to restrain
themselves; but the latter had no wish to do so. They answered that the
Reformation was triumphing among the Swiss; that Zwingle, Œcolampadius,
and Haller were preaching with daily increasing success at Zurich,
Basle, and Berne. They added that on the 7th of January, 1528, the
famous discussion had begun in the last-named city, and that the Holy
Scriptures had gained the victory; that the altars and images had been
thrown down 'with the consent of the people;' that a spiritual worship
had been substituted in their place, and that all, including children
fourteen years old, had sworn to observe 'the Lutheran law.' The
huguenots thought that if excommunication came to them from Rome,
absolution would come to them from Berne—or rather from heaven.


The more light-hearted among them went further than this. For ages the
Roman Church had accustomed its followers to unite masquerades with the
most sacred recollections. In some cantons there had been great
rejoicings over the abolition of the mass. Such a fire could not be
kindled in Switzerland without scattering a few sparks over Geneva.
Baudichon de la Maison-Neuve, a great enemy to superstition, an active
and even turbulent man, and daring enough to attempt anything, resolved
to organise a funeral procession of the papacy. He would attack Rome
with the weapons that the Roman carnival supplied him, and would arrange
a great procession. Whilst serious men were reading the epistle from
heaven (the Gospel), which absolved them from the excommunication of its
pretended vicar, the young and thoughtless were in great excitement;
they dressed themselves in their houses in the strangest manner; they
disguised themselves, some as priests, some as canons, and others as
monks; they came out, met together, drew up in line, and soon began to
march through the streets of the city. There were white friars, grey
friars, and black friars, fat canons, and thin curates. One was begging,
another chanting; here was one scourging himself, there another
strutting solemnly along; here a man carrying a hair shirt, there a man
with a bottle. Some indulged in acts of outrageous buffoonery; others,
the more completely to imitate the monks, went so far as to take
liberties with the women who were looking on, and when some fat friar
thus made any burlesque gesture, there was loud applause, and the crowd
exclaimed: 'That is not the worst they do.' In truth the reality was
more culpable than the burlesque. When they saw this tumultuous
procession and heard the doleful chanting, mingled with noisy roars of
laughter, every one said that popery was dying, and singing its _De
profundis_, its burial anthem.

The priests took the jest in very bad part, and the procession was
hardly over before they hurried, flushed with anger, to complain to the
syndics of 'the enmity raised against them by Baudichon and others.' The
syndics referred their complaint to the episcopal council, and the
latter severely reprimanded the offenders. But Maison-Neuve and his
friends withdrew, fully convinced that the priests were in the wrong,
and that the victory would ultimately be on their side.[762]


They were beginning in Geneva to estimate a papal excommunication at its
proper value. No one knew more on this subject than Bonivard, and he
instructed his best friends on this difficult text. Among the number was
François Favre, a man of ardent character, prompt wit, and rather
worldly manners, but a good citizen and determined huguenot. Favre was
one day, on a famous occasion, to be at the head of Bonivard's
liberators. He went sometimes to the priory, where he often met Robert
Vandel, a man of less decision than his two friends. Vandel, who still
kept on good terms with the bishop, was at heart one of the most
independent of men, and Bonivard had made him governor of the domain of
St. Victor.

These Genevans and others continued the conversations that Bonivard had
formerly had with Berthelier in the same room and at the same table.
They spoke of Berne, of Geneva, of Switzerland, of the Reformation, and
of excommunication. Bonivard found erelong a special opportunity of
enlightening his two friends on the acts of the Romish priesthood.


There was no one in Geneva whom the papal party detested more than him.
The ultramontanists could understand why lawyers and citizens opposed
the clergy; but a prior!... His enemies, therefore, formed the project
of seizing the estates of St. Victor, and of expelling Bonivard from the
monastery. The huguenots, on hearing of this, ardently espoused his
cause, and the council gave him, for his protection (20th of January,
1528) six arquebuses and four pounds of gunpowder. These were hardly
monastic weapons; but the impetuous Favre hastened to offer him his
heart and his arm; and, to say the truth, Bonivard in case of need could
have made very good use of an arquebuse. He had recourse, however, to
other defenders; he resolved to go and plead his cause before the
League. But this was not without danger, for the duke's agents might
seize him on the road, as he afterwards had the misfortune to know.
Favre, ever ready to go where there was any risk to be run, offered to
accompany him to Berne. Vandel had to go as governor of St. Victor: they
set off. Arriving at a village in the Pays de Vaud, the three huguenots
dismounted and took a stroll while their horses were resting. Bonivard,
as he was riding along, had noticed some large placards on the doors of
the churches, and being curious to know what they were about, he went up
to them, and immediately called his friends; 'Come here,' he said; 'here
are some curious things—letters of excommunication.' He was beginning to
read them, when one of his companions cried out: 'Stop! for as soon as
you have read them, you will thereby be excommunicate!' The worthy
huguenot imagined that the best plan was to know nothing about such
anathemas, and then to act as if the excommunication did not exist—which
could not be done if they were read. Bonivard, a man of great good
sense, profited by the opportunity to explain to his friends what these
earthly excommunications were worth. 'If you have done what is wrong,'
he told them, 'God himself excommunicates you; but if you have acted
rightly, the excommunication of priests can do you no harm. There is
only one tribunal which has power over the conscience, and that is
heaven. The pope and the devil hurt only those who are afraid of them.
Do therefore what is right, and fear nothing. The bolts which they may
hurl at you will be spent in the air.' Then he added with a smile: 'If
the pope or the metropolitan of Vienne excommunicate you, pope Berthold
of Berne will give you absolution.'[763] Bonivard's words were repeated
in Geneva, and the papal excommunications lost credit every day.

This became alarming: the episcopal officers informed the bishop; but
the latter, who was enjoying himself in his Burgundian benefices, put
aside everything that might disturb his meals and his repose. It was not
the same with the duke and his ministers. That prince was not content
with coveting the prelate's temporal power; looking upon La Baume as
already dispossessed of his rights, he made himself bishop, nay almost
pope, in his place. The cabinet of Turin thought that if the principles
of civil liberty once combined with those of religious liberty, Geneva
would attempt to reform Savoy by means of conversations, letters, books,
and missionaries. Charles III. therefore sent a message to the council,
which was read in the Two-Hundred on the 7th of February. 'I hear,' said
the prince, 'that the Lutheran sect is making way among you.... Make
haste to prevent the ravages of that pestilence, and, to that intent,
send on the 17th two men empowered by you to hear some very important
things concerning _my authority in matters of faith_.'

What would the Genevans answer? If a bishop is made prince, why should
not a prince be made bishop? The confusion of the two provinces is a
source of continual disturbance. Christianity cannot tolerate either
Cæsars who are popes, or popes who are Cæsars; and yet ambition is
always endeavouring to unite these two irreconcilable powers. The duke
did not presume to abolish definitively the episcopal power and confer
it on himself; but he wished to take advantage of the bishop's flight to
acquire an influence which he would be able to retain when the episcopal
authority was restored. He spoke, therefore, like a Roman pontiff ... of
his authority in matters of faith.

'Really,' said the council, 'we have had enough and too much even of one
pope, and we do not care to have two—one at Rome and the other at our
very gates.' The citizens were so irritated at Charles's singular claim,
that they did not return an answer in the usual form. 'We will not write
to the duke,' said the syndics; 'we will delegate no one to him, seeing
that we are not his subjects; but we will simply tell the bearer of his
letter that _we are going on very well_, and that the duke, having no
authority to correct us, ought to _mind his own business_.' Such is the
minute recorded in the council register for this day. As for La Baume,
the poor prelate, who did not trouble himself much either about pope or
Lutheranism, wrote the same day to the Genevans, that he permitted them
'to eat milk-food during the coming Lent.' This culinary permission was
quite in his way, and it was the most important missive from the bishop
at that time.[764]


When the episcopal council heard of the syndics' answer, they were in
great commotion. They thought it rude and unbecoming, and trembled lest
Charles should confound them with these arrogant burgesses. They
therefore sent M. de Veigy, one of the most eminent canons, to the duke,
in order to pacify him. The reverend father set off, and while on the
road, he feared at one moment Charles's anger, and at another enjoyed in
anticipation the courtesies which the ducal court could not fail to show
him. But he had scarcely been presented to the duke, and made a profound
bow, when Bishop de Belley, standing at the left of his highness, and
commissioned to be the interpreter of his sentiments, addressed him
abruptly, and, calling him traitor and huguenot, insulted him just as De
la Thoy might have done. But this abuse was nothing in comparison with
Charles's anger: unable to restrain himself, he burst out, and, giving
utterance to the terrible schemes he had formed against Geneva, declared
he would reduce that impracticable city to ashes, and ended by saying:
'If you do not come out of it, you will be burnt in it with all the
rest.' The poor canon endeavoured to pacify his highness: 'Ah, my lord,'
he said, 'I shall not remain there: all the canons now in the city are
about to leave it!' And yet De Veigy was fond of Geneva, and thought
that to reside in Annecy would be terribly dull. Accordingly, on his
return to the city, he forgot his terror and his promises, whereupon he
received this short message from Charles III.: 'Ordered, under pain of
death, to quit Geneva in six days.'—'He left on the 3rd of March, and
with great regret,' adds Balard.[765] Charles wished to put the canons
in a place of safety, before he burnt the city.

[Footnote 754: 'Que qui en volisse contredire' (whatever any one may do
to oppose it), he added.—_Journal de Balard_, p. 124.]

[Footnote 755: 'Il est d'un esprit si changeant.'—_Hist. de Genève_, MS.
of the 17th century. Bibliothèque de Berne, _Hist. Helvét._ v. p. 12.]

[Footnote 756: Letter from La Baume to Hugues. Galiffe, _Matériaux_.]

[Footnote 757: Galiffe, _Matériaux_, ii. pp. 424-475. _Mém.
d'Archéologie_, ii. pp. 14, 15.]

[Footnote 758: Mignet, _Réforme à Genève_, p. 34.]

[Footnote 759: James Fazy, _Hist. de la République de Genève_, p. 158.]

[Footnote 760: _Journal de Balard_, p. 127. Roset MS. _Chronol._ liv.
ii. ch. xx. Bonivard, _Chroniq._ ii. p. 448. Gautier MS.]

[Footnote 761: Registres du Conseil des 24 et 29 décembre 1527.
Bonivard, _Chroniq._ ii. pp. 473, 474. Gautier MS. _Journal de Balard_.]

[Footnote 762: Registres du Conseil des 15 et 17 janvier 1528. _Journal
de Balard_, p. 146. Gautier MS.]

[Footnote 763: 'Hominum anathemata a Bertholdo papa facile solvenda.'—
Spanheim, _Geneva Restituta_, p. 35.]

[Footnote 764: Registres du Conseil du 7 février 1528. _Journal de
Balard_, p. 147.]

[Footnote 765: Registres du Conseil du 7 février et du 3 mars 1528.
_Journal de Balard_, pp. 147-149.]

 (MARCH 1528.)


The partisans of absolutism and the papacy rose up on every side against
Geneva, as if the Reformation were already established there. It was not
so, however. Although Geneva had come out of Romanism, it had not yet
entered Reform: it was still in those uncertain and barren places, that
land of negations and disputes which lies between the two. A few persons
only were beginning to see that, in order to separate really from the
pope, it was necessary, as Haller and Zwingle said, to obey Jesus
Christ. Bonivard, a keen critic, was indulging in his reflections, in
his large arm-chair, at the priory of St. Victor, and carefully studying
the singular aspect Geneva at that time presented. 'A strange
spectacle,' he said; 'everybody wishes to command, and no one will obey.
From tyranny we have fallen into the opposite and worse vice of
anarchy.... There are as many tyrants as heads ... which engenders
confusion. Everybody wishes to make his own profit or private pleasure
out of the common weal; profit tends to avarice; and pleasure consists
in taking vengeance on him whom you hate. Men are killed, but they are
not the real enemies of Geneva.... If you wound a bear, he will not
spring upon the man who wounded him, but will tear the first poles or
the first tree in his way.... And this, alas! is what they are doing
among us. Having groaned under a tyrannical government, we have the love
of licence instead of the love of liberty. We must be apprentices before
we can be masters, and break many strings before we can play upon the
lute. The huguenots have driven out the tyrant, but have not driven out
tyranny. It is not liberty to do whatever we desire, if we do not desire
what is right. O pride! thou wilt be the ruin of Geneva! Pride has
always envy for its follower; and when pride would mount too high, the
old crone catches her by the tail and pulls her back, so that she falls
and breaks her neck.... The huguenot leagues are not sufficient; the
Gospel must advance, in order that popery may recede.' It is Bonivard
himself who has transmitted these wise reflections.[766]

He was not the only person who entertained such thoughts. The affairs of
the alliance often attracted Bernese to Geneva; and being convinced that
the Reformation alone could save that city, they continued Ab Hofen's
work. Being admitted into private families, they spoke against human
traditions and extolled the Scriptures. 'God speaks to us of the
Redeemer,' they said, 'and not of Lent.' But the Friburgers, thrusting
themselves into these evangelical conferences, exclaimed: 'Obey the
Church! If you separate from the Church, we will break off the


The _bishopers_ were with Friburg, the _commoners_ with Berne. The
latter were divided into three classes: there were politicians, to whom
religion was only a means of obtaining liberty; serious and peaceful
men, who called for true piety (Bonivard mentions Boutelier as one of
these); and, lastly, the enemies of the priests, who saw the Reformation
from a negative point of view, and regarded it essentially as a war
against Roman superstitions. One day these sincere but impatient men
said they could wait no longer, and went out to St. Victor to invite the
prior to put himself at their head. They rang at the gate of the
monastery, and the janitor went and told Bonivard, who ordered them to
be admitted: 'We wish to put an end to all this papal ceremony,'
they told him; 'we desire to drive out all its ministers, priests, and
monks ... all that papistical rabble; and then we mean to invite the
ministers of the Gospel, who will introduce a true christian reformation
among us.'

The prior smiled as he heard these words: 'Gentlemen,' he said, in a
sarcastic tone, 'I think your sentiments very praiseworthy, and confess
that all ecclesiastics (of whom I am one) have great need to be
reformed. But ought not those who wish to reform others to begin by
reforming themselves? If you love the Gospel, as you say you do, you
will live according to the Gospel. But if you wish to reform us without
reforming yourselves, it is evident that you are not moved by love for
the Gospel, but by hatred against us. And why should you hate us? It is
not because our manners are contrary to yours, but because they are like
them. Aristotle says in his _Ethics_,' continued the learned prior, 'and
experience confirms the statement, that animals which eat off the same
food naturally hate each other. Two horses do not agree at the same
manger, nor two dogs over the same bone. It is the same with us. We are
unchaste, and so are you. We are drunkards, and so are you. We are
gamblers and blasphemers, and so are you. Why then should you be so
opposed to us?... We do not hinder you from indulging in your little
pleasures; pray do the same by us. You desire to expel us, you say, and
put Lutheran ministers in our place.... Gentlemen, think well of what
you are about: you will not have had them two years before you will be
sorry for it. These ministers will permit you to break the commandments
of the pope, but they will forbid your breaking those of God. According
to their doctrines, you must not gamble or indulge in debauchery, under
severe penalty.... Ah! how that would vex you!... Therefore, gentlemen,
you must do one of two things: either leave us in our present condition;
or, if you wish to reform us according to the Gospel, reform yourselves

These remarks were not quite so reasonable as they appeared to be. _It
is the sick that have need of a physician_, and as these 'sons of
Geneva' wished to invite the ministers of the Gospel, _in order to
introduce a true christian reform_, Bonivard should have encouraged
instead of opposing them. These worldly men might have had a real desire
for the Gospel at the bottom of their hearts. Reprimanded by the prior,
they withdrew. Bonivard watched them as they retired. 'They are going
off with their tails between their legs.[768] Certainly, I desire a
reformation; but I do not like that those who are more qualified to
deform than to reform should presume to be its instruments.'


When they got home, these huguenots deliberated whether they would allow
themselves to be stopped by Bonivard's irony; they resolved to follow
out his precept—to reform themselves first; but, not knowing that
reformation consists primarily in reestablishing faith and morality in
the heart, they undertook simply to prune away certain superstitions. As
the episcopal letter permitted them to take milk in Lent, De la
Maison-Neuve and his friends said: 'We are permitted to take milk, why
not meat?' Then repeating the lesson which the Bernese had taught
them—Do not the Scriptures say, _Eat of all that is sold in the
shambles_?—they resolved to eat meat every day. The council saw this
with uneasiness, and forbade the new practice under pain of three days'
imprisonment on bread and water and a fine of five sols.[769] But
wishing to hold the balance even, they had hardly struck one side before
they struck the other, and condemned the forty-four fugitive mamelukes
to confiscation and death.

This last sentence aroused the anger of all the adjacent country; the
Sire de Pontverre, in particular, thought the time had come for drawing
the sword, and immediately messengers were scouring the country between
the Alps and the Jura. They climbed painfully up the rocky roads that
led to the mountain castles; they crossed the lake, everywhere summoning
the gentlemen, the friends of the mamelukes. The knights did not need to
be pressed; they put on their armour, mounted their coursers, left their
homes, and proceeded towards the appointed rendezvous, the castle of
Bursinel, near Rolle, on the fertile slope which, running out from the
Jura, borders the lake opposite Mont Blanc. These rough gentlemen
arrived from La Vaux, Gex, Chablais, Genevois, and Faucigny: one after
another they alighted from their horses, crossed the courtyard, and
entered the hall, which echoed with the clash of their arms; then,
shaking hands, they sat down at a long table, where they began to feast.
The audacity of the Genevans was the principal subject of conversation,
'and heaven knows how they of Geneva were picked to pieces,' says a

Of all these nobles, the most hostile to Geneva was the Sire de
Pontverre. Of athletic frame, herculean strength, and violent character,
bold and energetic, he was, from his marked superiority, recognised as
their chief by the gentlemen assembled at the castle of Bursinel. If
these men despised the burgesses, the latter returned the compliment.
'They are holding a meeting of bandits and brigands at Bursinel,' said
some of the Genevans. We must not, however, take these somewhat harsh
words too literally. The depredations of these gentlemen doubtless
undermined the social organisation, and it was time to put an end to
these practices of the middle ages. Many of them were, however, good
sons and husbands, good fathers, and even good landlords; but they had
no mercy for Geneva. As they sat at table they said that the princes had
succeeded in France and elsewhere in destroying the franchises of the
municipal towns, and that this free city, the last that survived,
deserved a similar fate much more than the others, since it was
beginning to add a new vice to its former vices ... it was listening to
Luther. 'A contest must decide,' they added, 'whether the future times
shall belong to the knights or to the burgesses, to the Church or to
heresy.' If Geneva were overthrown, they thought they would be masters
of the future. Pontverre has been compared to the celebrated Roman who
feared the Carthaginians, and, like him, never forgot to repeat at every
meeting of the nobles: _Delenda Carthago_.[771]


The dinner was drawing to an end; the servants of the lord of Bursinel
had brought the best wines from the castle cellars; the libations were
numerous, and the guests drank copiously. 'It chanced,' says Bonivard,
'that some rice (_papet_) was brought in, with as many spoons as there
were persons at table.'[772] Pontverre rose, took up a spoon with the
same hand that wielded the sword so vigorously, plunged it into the dish
of rice, and, lifting it to his mouth, ate and said: 'Thus will I
swallow Geneva and the Genevese.' In an instant all the gentlemen,
'heated with wine and anger,' took up their spoons, and exclaimed as
they ate, 'that they would make but one mouthful of all the huguenots.'
Pontverre did not stop at this: he took a little chain, hung the spoon
round his neck, and said: 'I am a _knight of the Spoon_, and this is my
decoration.'—'We all belong to the same order,' said the others,
similarly hanging the spoons on their breasts. They then grasped each
other's hands, and swore to be faithful to the last. At length the party
broke up; they mounted their horses, and returned to their mansions; and
when their neighbours looked with surprise at what hung round their
necks, and asked what the spoon meant, they answered: 'We intend to eat
the Genevans with it; will you not join us?' And thus the fraternity was
formed which had the conquest of Geneva for its object.

The Spoon was taken up everywhere, as in the time of the crusades men
took up the Cross: the decoration was characteristic of these
loud-spoken free-living cavaliers. Meetings took place every week in the
various castles of the neighbourhood. New members joined the order, and
hung the spoon round their necks, saying: 'Since the commonalty (the
Genevans and Swiss) form alliances, surely the nobles may do so!' They
drew up 'statutes and laws for their guidance, which were committed to
writing, as in public matters.'[773] Erelong the 'gentlemen of the
Spoon,' as they called themselves, proceeded to perform their vow; they
issued from their castles, plundered the estates of the Genevans,
intercepted their provisions, and blockaded them closer and closer every
day. When they came near the city, on the heights of Pregny, Lancy, and
Cologny, they added derision to violence; they took their spoons and
waved them in the air, as if they wished to use them in swallowing the
city which lay smiling at their feet.

[Sidenote: ALARM AT GENEVA.]

The alarm increased every day in Geneva; the citizens called the Swiss
to their aid, fortified their city, and kept strict watch. Whenever any
friends met together, the story of the famous dinner at Bursinel was
repeated. The Genevans went so far, says a chronicle, as to be unwilling
to make use of the innocent spoon, such a horror they felt at it. Many
of those who read the Scriptures began to pray to God to save Geneva;
and on the 23rd of March, the council entered the following words in
their register: 'May we be delivered from the evils we endure, may we
conquer and have peace!... May the Almighty be pleased to grant it to

Pontverre was not a mere adventurer; he possessed a mind capable of
discerning the political defects of his party. Two men in Geneva
especially occupied his thoughts at this time: they were the bishop and
the prior. In his opinion, they ought to gain the first and punish the

He began with Bonivard; no one was more detested by the feudal party
than he was. That the head of a monastery should side with the huguenots
seemed a terrible scandal. No one besides, at that time, advocated more
boldly than the prior the principles opposed to absolute power; and this
he showed erelong.

At Cartigny, on the left bank of the Rhone, about two leagues from
Geneva, he possessed a fief which depended on the dukes of Savoy: 'It is
a mere pleasure-house, and not a fortress,' he said; and yet he was in
the habit of keeping a garrison there. The duke had seized it during his
vassal's captivity, and to Bonivard's frequent demands for its
restoration he replied 'that he dared not give it up for fear of being
excommunicated by the pope.' Michaelmas having come, the time at which
the rent was collected, the Savoy government forbade the tenants to pay
it to the prior; the latter felt indignant, and the principles he then
laid down deserve to be called to mind. 'The rights of a prince and his
subjects are reciprocal,' he said. 'If the subject owes obedience to his
prince, the prince owes justice to his subject. If the prince may
constrain his subject, when the latter refuses obedience in a case
wherein it is lawfully due, the subject has also the right to refuse
obedience to his prince, when the latter denies him justice. Let the
subject then be without fear, and rest assured that God is for him. Men,
perhaps, will not be on his side; but if he has strength to resist men,
I can answer for God.'[775]

Bonivard, who was determined to obtain justice, laid before the council
of Geneva the patents which established his rights, and prayed their
help in support of his claim. His petition at first met with some little
opposition in the general council. 'The city has enough to do already
with its own affairs,' said many, 'without undertaking the prior's;' but
most of the huguenots were of a contrary opinion. 'If the duke has at
St. Victor a lord after his fashion,' they said, 'it might be a serious
inconvenience to us. Besides, the energetic prior has always been firm
in the service of the city.' This consideration prevailed and the
general council decided that they would maintain Bonivard's rights by
force of arms if necessary.

The prior now made his preparations. 'Since I cannot have civil
justice,' he said, 'I will have recourse to the law of nations, which
authorises to repel force by force.' The petty sovereign of St. Victor,
who counted ten monks for his subjects, who no longer possessed his
uncle's culverins, and whose only warlike resources were a few
arquebusiers, hired by a Bernese adventurer, besides four pounds of
powder, determined to march against the puissant Duke of Savoy, prince
of Piedmont, and even to brave that pope-king who once upon a time had
only to frown to make all the world tremble. Perish St. Victor rather
than principles!


Bonivard sent for a herald and told him: 'The Duke of Savoy has usurped
my sovereignty; you will therefore proceed to Cartigny and make
proclamation through all my lordship, in these terms: "No one in this
place shall execute either ducal or papal letters under pain of the
gallows.'" We see that Bonivard made a large use of his supreme power.
The herald, duly escorted, made the terrible proclamation round the
castle; and then a captain, a commissioner, and a few soldiers, sent by
Bonivard, took possession of the domain in his name, _under the nose of
the pope and the duke_.[776] He was very proud of this exploit. 'The
pope and the duke have not dared send men to prevent my captain from
taking possession,' he said good-humouredly; for Bonivard, though
sparkling with wit, was also a good-tempered man.

The fear ascribed to the duke did not last long. The lands of Cartigny
were near those of Pontverre, and the order of the Spoon was hardly
organised when an expedition directed against the castle was the prelude
to hostilities. A ducal provost, with some men-at-arms, appeared before
the place on the 6th of March, 1528. Bonivard had vainly told his
captain to defend himself: the place was taken. The indignant prior
exclaimed: 'My people allowed themselves to be surprised.' He believed,
as the Genevans also did, that the duke had bribed the commandant: 'The
captain of Cartigny, after eating the fig, has thrown away the basket,'
said the huguenots in their meetings.

The prior of St. Victor, being determined to recover his property from
his highness's troops, came to an understanding with an ex-councillor of
Berne, named Boschelbach, a man of no very respectable character, who
had probably procured him the few soldiers of his former expedition, and
who now, making greater exertions, raised for him a corps of twenty men.
Bonivard put himself at the head of his forces, made them march
regularly, ordered them to keep their matches lighted, and halted in
front of the castle. The prior, who was a clever speaker, trusted more
to his tongue than to his arms: he desired, therefore, first to explain
his rights, and consequently the ex-councillor, attended by his servant
Thiebault, went forward and demanded a parley on behalf of the prior. By
way of answer the garrison fired, and Thiebault was shot dead.

That night all Geneva was agitated. The excited and exasperated citizens
ran armed up and down the streets, and talked of nothing but marching
out to Cartigny to avenge Thiebault's death. 'Be calm,' said
Boschelbach; 'I will make such a report to my lords of Berne that
Monsieur of Savoy, who is the cause of all the mischief, shall suffer
for it.'[777] The syndics had not promised to attack Savoy, which would
have been a serious affair, but only to defend Bonivard. In order,
therefore, to keep their word, they stationed detachments of soldiers in
the other estates belonging to St. Victor, with orders to protect them
from every attack. Cartigny was quite lost to the prior; but he was
prepared to endure even greater sacrifices. He had his faults, no doubt;
and, in particular, he was too easy in forming intimacies with men far
from estimable, such as Boschelbach; but he had noble aspirations. He
knew that by continuing to follow the same line of conduct he would lose
his priory, be thrown into prison, and perhaps put to death: 'But what
does it matter,' he thought, 'if by such a sacrifice right is maintained
and liberty triumphs?'[778]


The lord of Pontverre was occupied with a scheme far more important than
Bonivard's destruction. He wished, as we have said, to win back the
bishop. Possessing much political wisdom, seeing farther and more
clearly than the duke or the prelate, he perceived that if the war
against the new ideas was to succeed, it would be necessary for all the
old powers to coalesce against them. Nothing, in his opinion, was more
deplorable than the difference between Charles III. and Pierre de la
Baume: he therefore undertook to reconcile them. He showed them that
they had both the same enemies, and that nothing but their union would
put it in their power to crush the huguenots. He frightened the bishop
by hinting to him that the Reformation would not only destroy
Catholicism, but strip him of his dignities and his revenues. He further
told him that heresy had crept unobserved into his own household and
infected even his chamberlain, William de la Mouille, who at that time
enjoyed his entire confidence.[779] La Baume, wishing to profit
immediately by Pontverre's information, hastened to write to La Mouille:
'I will permit no opportunity for breeding in my diocese any wicked and
accursed sect—such as I am told already prevails there. _You have been
too slow in informing me of it._... Tell them boldly that I will not put
up with them.'[780]

The prelate's great difficulty was to become reconciled with the duke.
Having the fullest confidence in his talent for intrigue, he thought
that he could return into friendly relations with his highness without
breaking altogether with Hugues and the Genevans. 'He is a fine jockey,'
said Bonivard; 'he wants to ride one and lead the other by the bridle!'
The bishop began his manœuvres. 'I quitted Geneva,' he informed the
duke, 'in order that I might not be forced to do anything displeasing to
you.' It will be remembered, on the contrary, that he had run away to
escape from Charles III., who wanted to 'snap him up;' but that prince,
satisfied with seeing La Baume place himself again under his guidance,
pretended to believe him, and cancelled the sequestration of his
revenues. Being thus reconciled, the bishop and the duke set to work to
stifle the Reformation. 'Good,' said Bonivard; 'Pilate and Herod were
made friends together, for before they were at enmity between


The bishop soon perceived that he could not be both with the duke and
Geneva; and, every day drawing nearer to Savoy, he turned against his
own subjects and his own flock. And hence one of the most enlightened
statesmen Geneva ever possessed said in the seventeenth century, to a
peer of Great Britain who had put some questions to him on the history
of the republic: 'From that time the bishop became very hateful to the
city, which could not but regard him as a declared enemy.'[781] It was
the bishop who tore the contract that had subsisted between Geneva and

[Footnote 766: Bonivard, _Police_, &c. pp. 398-400; _Chroniq._ ii. p.
473. Gautier MS.]

[Footnote 767: Ibid.]

[Footnote 768: 'La queue entre les jambes.'—Bonivard, _Advis des
difformes Réformateurs_, pp. 149-151.]

[Footnote 769: Registres du Conseil des 11 et 26 février 1528. Bonivard,
_Chroniq_. ii. p. 479.]

[Footnote 770: 'Dieu sait comme ceux de Genève étaient déchiquetés.']

[Footnote 771: 'Ne taschait, fors à la ruine de Genève.'—Bonivard,
_Chroniq._ ii. p. 482.]

[Footnote 772: Ibid.]

[Footnote 773: Bonivard, _Chroniq._ ii. p. 483.]

[Footnote 774: Registres du Conseil des 14, 23, 24 mars. _Journal de
Balard_, p. 156. Bonivard, _Chroniq._ ii. pp. 482, 486, etc.]

[Footnote 775: Bonivard, _Chroniq._ ii. p. 477.]

[Footnote 776: 'A la barbe du pape et du duc.']

[Footnote 777: 'En portera la pâte au four.']

[Footnote 778: Bonivard, _Chroniq._ ii. pp. 475, 480, 502. Gautier MS.]

[Footnote 779: See nineteen letters from the bishop to William de la
Mouille, his chamberlain, printed in Galiffe, _Matériaux pour l'Histoire
de Genève_, ii. pp. 461-485.]

[Footnote 780: Galiffe, ii. p. 477.]

[Footnote 781: _Memoir to Lord Townshend on the History of Geneva_, by
Mr. Secretary Chouet. Berne MSS. vi. 57.]


The first measure Charles exacted from his new ally was to revoke the
civil rights he had conceded to the citizens. The bishop consented. In
order to deprive the secular magistrate of his temporal privileges, he
resolved to employ spiritual weapons. Priests, bishops, and popes have
always found their use very profitable in political matters; princes of
great power have been known to tremble before the documents launched
into the world by the high-priest of the Vatican. The bishop, therefore,
caused an order to be posted on the church doors, forbidding the
magistrates to try civil causes under pain of excommunication and a fine
of one hundred pounds of silver. It seems that the bishop had thought it
prudent to attack the purses of those who were not to be frightened by
his _pastorals_. 'Remove these letters,' said the syndics to the
episcopal secretary, 'and carry them back to the bishop, for they are
contrary to our franchises.' At the same time they said to the judges:
'You will continue to administer justice, notwithstanding the
excommunication.' This, be it remarked, occurred at Geneva in the
beginning of the sixteenth century.


When informed of these bold orders, the bishop-prince roused himself....
One might have fancied that the spirit of Hildebrand and Boniface had
suddenly animated the weak La Baume. 'What! under the pretence of
maintaining your liberties,' he wrote to the Genevans, 'you wish to
usurp our sovereignty!... Beware what you do, for if you persevere, we
will with God's help inflict such a punishment that it shall serve for
an example to others.... The morsel you desire to swallow is harder to
digest than you appear to believe.... We command you to resign the
administration of justice; to receive the vidame whom the duke shall be
pleased to send you; to permit him to exercise his power, as was done in
the time of the most illustrious princes his grace's predecessors; and
finally to remit to his highness and us the whole case of the fugitives.
If within a fortnight you do not desist from all opposition to our
authority, we will declare you our enemies, and will employ all our
resources and those of our relations and friends to punish you for the
outrage you are committing against us, and we will strive to ruin you
totally, whatever may be the place to which you flee.'

Great was the commotion in the city at hearing such words addressed by
the pastor of Geneva to his flock; for if the bishop made use of such
threats, it was with the intention of establishing the authority of a
foreign prince among them. The true huguenots, who wanted neither duke
nor bishop, were silent under these circumstances, and allowed the
episcopal party, of which Hugues was the chief, to act. Two ambassadors
from the bishop having been introduced before the general council on the
14th of June, 1528, the premier syndic said to them: 'If the bishop
desires to appoint a vidame to administer justice among us, we will
accept him; but the dukes of Savoy have never had other than an unlawful
authority in Geneva. We have no prince but the bishop. Has he forgotten
the great misfortunes that have befallen the city in consequence of
these Savoyard vidames?... Citizens perpetually threatened, many of them
imprisoned and tortured, their heads cut off, their bodies quartered....
But God has helped us, and we will no longer live in such misery....
No!' continued the speaker with some emotion, 'we will not renounce the
independence which our charters secure to us.... Rather than lose it, we
will sacrifice our lives and goods, our wives, and our children.... We
will give up everything, to our last breath, to the last drop of our
blood.'... Such words, uttered with warmth, always excite the masses;
and, accordingly, as soon as the people heard them, they cried as with
one voice: 'Yes! yes! that is the answer we will make.'

This declaration was immediately sent into Switzerland; and, strange to
say, such patriotic enthusiasm was received with ridicule by some
persons in that noble country. Geneva was so small and so weak, that her
determination to resist a prince so powerful as the duke seemed mere
folly: the Swiss had forgotten that their ancestors, although few in
number, had vanquished Austria and Burgundy. 'These Genevans _are all
mad_,' said they. When they heard of this insult, the council of Geneva
was content to enter in its registers the following simple and spirited
declaration: 'Considering our ambassadors' report of what the Swiss say
of us, it is ordered that they be written to and told that we _are all
in our right minds_.'[782]

On hearing of these proceedings, La Baume, who was at the Tour de May in
Burgundy, flew into a violent passion. He paced up and down his room,
abused his attendants, and uttered a thousand threats against Geneva. He
included all the Genevans in the same proscription, and had no more
regard for conservatives like Besançon Hugues than for reformers like
Baudichon de la Maison-Neuve. He was angry with the citizens who
disturbed him with their bold speeches in the midst of his peaceful
retreat. 'In his opinion the chief virtue of a prelate was to keep a
plentiful and dainty table, with good wines; and,' says a person who
often dined with him, 'he had sometimes more than he could carry.[783]
He was, moreover, liberal to women of doubtful character, very stately,
and fond of great parade.'


One day, as he was leaving the table where he had taken too much wine,
he was told that a messenger from Geneva, bearing a letter from the
council, desired to speak with him. 'Messieurs de Genève, remembering,'
says Balard, 'that _dulce verbum frangit iram_,[784] wrote to him in
friendly terms.' The messenger, Martin de Combes, having been admitted
to the bishop, bowed low, and, courteously approaching, handed him the
letters of which he was the bearer. But the mere sight of a Genevan made
the bishop's blood boil, and, losing all self-control, he said 'in great
fury:' 'Where do you come from?'—'From Geneva.'—'It is a lie,' said the
bishop; and then, forgetting that he was contradicting himself, he
added: 'You have changed the colour of your clothes at Geneva;' wishing
apparently to accuse the Genevans of making a revolution or a
reformation. 'Come hither,' he continued; 'tell the folks in Geneva that
they are all traitors—all of them, men, women, and children, little and
big; that I will have justice done shortly, and that it will be
something to talk about. Tell them never to write to me again....
Whenever I meet any persons from that city, I will have them put to
death.... And as for you, get out of my sight instantly!' The poor
messenger, who trembled like a leaf, did not wait to be told twice.

La Baume, who had forgotten Plutarch's treatise, _De cohibenda ira_,
could not recover from his emotion, and kept walking up and down the
room with agitated step. Suddenly, remembering certain cutting
expressions, uttered in Switzerland by Ami Girard, a distinguished,
well-read, and determined huguenot, who was generally envoy from Geneva
to Berne and Friburg, he said to his servants: 'Bring that man back.'
Poor De Combes was brought back like a criminal whose rope has once
broken, and who is about to be hanged again. 'Mind you tell those folks
at Geneva all that I have ordered you,' exclaimed the bishop. 'There is
one of them (I know him well—it is Ami Girard) who said that I wish to
bridle Geneva in order that Monsieur of Savoy may ride her.... I will be
revenged on him ... or I will die for it.... Out of my sight instantly.
Be off to your huguenots.'


De Combes retired without saying a word, and reported in Geneva the
prelate's violent message. He had committed nothing to writing; but the
whole scene remained graven in his memory. 'What!' exclaimed the
huguenots, 'he said all that?' and then they made him tell his story
over again. The murmurs now grew louder: the Genevans said that 'while
in the first centuries the ministers of the Church had conciliated
general esteem by their doctrine and character, modern priests looked
for strength in alliances with the princes of this world; formerly the
vocation of a bishop was martyrdom, but now it is eating and drinking,
pomp, white horses, and ... bursts of anger.' All this was a deadly blow
to the consideration due to the clergy. The council was, however, wiser
than the prelate; they ordered that no answer should be returned him.
This decision was indeed conformable to custom, as the report had been
made to the syndics _viva voce_, and not by official letter. La Baume,
at the time he gave audience to the envoy from Geneva, was too confused
to hold a pen or to dictate anything rational to his secretary; but the
magistrates of Geneva, on the other hand, were always men of rule and

While the bishop was putting himself into a passion like a soldier, the
Duke of Savoy was convoking a synod like a bishop. It was not enough for
the evangelical doctrine to _infect_ Geneva—it was invading his states.
It already numbered partisans in Savoy, and even the Alps had not proved
a sufficient barrier against the new invasion. Some seeds of the Gospel,
coming from Switzerland, had crossed the St. Bernard, in despite of the
opposition of the most zealous prelate in Piedmont—we may even say in
all Italy. This was Pierre Gazzini, Bishop of Aosta, who was afterwards
to contend, in his own episcopal city, with the disciples of Calvin, and
with Calvin himself. Gifted with a lofty intelligence, great energy of
character, and ardent catholicism, Gazzini was determined to wage war to
the death against the heretics, and it was in accordance with his advice
that a synod had been convoked. When the assembly met on the 12th of
July, 1528, Gazzini drew a deplorable picture of the position. 'My
lords,' he said, 'the news is distressing from every quarter. Switzers
and Genevans are circulating _the accursed book_. Twelve gentlemen of
Savoy adhere scrupulously to the doctrines of Luther. All our parishes
between Geneva and Chambéry are infected by forbidden books. The people
will no longer pay for masses or keep the fasts; men go about everywhere
saying that the property of the abbots and prelates ought to be sold to
feed the poor and miserable!' Gazzini did not confine himself to
pointing out the disease; he sought for the cause. 'Geneva,' he said,
'is the focus,' and he called for the most violent measures in order to
destroy it.[786] The duke determined to employ every means to extinguish
the fire, 'which (they said) was continually tossing its burning flakes
from Geneva into Savoy.'


Charles III. had been ruminating for some time over a new idea. Seeing
the difficulties that the annexation of Geneva to Savoy would meet with
on the part of the Swiss, he had conceived another combination; that is,
to make his second son, a child four years old, count or prince of
Geneva. Circumstances were favourable to this scheme. Pierre de la Baume
was designated successor to the Archbishop of Besançon; he, doubtless,
would not want much pressing to give up his bishopric when he was
offered an archbishopric. The duke therefore sent commissioners to the
emperor and the pope to arrange the matter with them. Hugues, ever ready
to sacrifice himself to save his country, started immediately, with
three other citizens, for Berne and Friburg; but he found the
confederates much cooled with regard to Geneva. 'You are very proud,'
said the avoyer of Berne to the envoys in full council, and, adds
Hugues, 'they gave us a good scolding.'[787] The duke had set every
engine to work, and, covetous as he was, had distributed profusely his
crowns of the sun. 'Ha!' said the Genevan, 'Monsieur of Savoy never
before sent so much money here at one time,' and then sarcastically
added, with reference to the lords of Berne: 'The _sun_ has blinded

The Genevans found themselves alone; the monarchical powers of
Christendom—Piedmont, France, and the Empire—were rising against their
dawning liberty; even the Swiss were forsaking them; but not one of them
hesitated. Ami Girard and Robert Vandel, at that time ambassadors to
Switzerland, quivered with indignation, and, filled with an energy that
reminds us of old Rome, they wrote to their fellow-citizens: 'Sooner
than do what they ask you, set fire to the city, and _begin with our

The duke now prepared to support his pretensions by more energetic
means. His agents traversed the districts round Geneva; they went from
door to door, from house to house, and said to the peasants: 'Do not
venture to carry provisions to Geneva.' Others went from castle to
castle, and told the lords: 'Let every gentleman equip his followers
with uniform and arms, and be ready at the sound of the alarm-bell.'


But the duke did not confine his intrigues to the outside of the city;
he employed every means inside. Gentlemen of Savoy made visits, gave
dinners, and tampered with certain private persons, promising them a
great sum of money 'if they would do _their duty_.' The monks, feeling
assured that their knell would ring erelong, redoubled their efforts to
secure the triumph of Savoy in Geneva. Three of them, Chappuis, superior
of the Dominicans, a man deep in the confidence of his highness, who had
lodged in his monastery, with Gringalet and Levrat, simple monks, held
frequent conferences in the convent of Plainpalais, in the prior's
chamber, round a table on which lay some little silver keys; by their
side were lists containing the names of the principal Genevese
ecclesiastics and laymen from whom Chappuis believed he might hope for
support. The three monks took up the keys, looked at them complacently,
and then placed them against certain names. The duke, knowing that
intrigue and vanity are the original sins of monks, had sent the prior
these keys (the arms of Faucigny, a province hostile to Geneva):
'Procure for us friends in the convents and the city,' he had told them;
'and for that purpose distribute these keys with discretion. Whoever
wears them will belong to us.' It was a mysterious decoration, by means
of which the duke hoped to gain partisans for the annexation. Chappuis
and Levrat began to tamper with the laity of the city, while Gringalet
undertook to gain the monks. In spite of all the skill they employed,
their manœuvres were not always crowned with success. One day Gringalet
went up to two monks, Bernard and Nicholas, and showed them the
talisman; but they looked coldly on such _toys_, manifesting no desire
to possess them. The ducal monk, perceiving that the keys had no virtue,
said to his colleagues: 'If we do not succeed in our scheme; if Savoy
and the papacy do not triumph in Geneva, we will abandon the ungrateful
city; we will transfer the property of our convent to some other place,
and leave nothing but the bare walls behind!' Bernard and Nicholas, who
inclined to the side of light, were alarmed, and, judging it to be a
matter of high importance, denounced the plot to the council: 'This,
then, is the use of monks,' said the syndics. 'They are traitors, ready
to deliver the city to the foreigner. We will put all to rights.' They
ordered the two monks to say nothing, and when night came the council
proceeded to the Dominican monastery. The beadles knocked at the gate;
the porter opened it, and looked with astonishment at the noble company.
The syndics ordered all the convent to assemble. The monks were greatly
alarmed: Chappuis, Gringalet, and Levrat trembled, having no doubt that
they had been betrayed. They made haste to hide the little keys, and
then proceeded anxiously to the common hall, where the brethren had
already assembled: 'We have heard of your intrigues,' said the premier
syndic; 'we know why you are distributing in Geneva the keys of those
Turks (_Turcanorum_), the Faucignerans.... You had better say your
prayers and not meddle with politics. You pretend to renounce the world,
reverend brethren, and then do nothing else but intrigue for the things
of this world. You intend, we hear, to carry away your property, your
relics, and your jewels; gently ... we will spare you that trouble; we
will take care of them in the grotto of St. Pierre, and put your persons
in a place of safety.'... The council ordered an inventory of the goods
of the convent to be drawn up, and generously left the monks three
chalices for the celebration of mass. They banished Chappuis, Gringalet,
and Levrat, and placed the other brethren under the surveillance of two
deputies of the council. The monks had their wings clipped, and the
Reformation was beginning.[790]

[Footnote 782: Registres du Conseil des 23 et 30 avril; 24 mai; 2, 9, 14
juin; 7 août. _Journal de Balard_, pp. 160-170. La Baume's letters,
_Archéologie_, ii. p. 15. Bonivard, _Chroniq._ ii. p. 493. Gautier MS.
Bonivard, _Ancienne et nouvelle Police de Genève_, p. 384.]

[Footnote 783: 'Il s'en donnait jusqu'à _passer trente et un_.' This
proverbial expression refers, possibly, to the months whose days never
exceed thirty-one.]

[Footnote 784: 'A soft answer turneth away wrath.']

[Footnote 785: Registres du Conseil du 25 août. _Journal de Balard_, p.
178. Bonivard, _Chroniq._ ii. p. 495.]

[Footnote 786: Gazzini, _Mémoire au Saint Père_. Archives of Turin,
Roman Correspondence. Gaberel, _Hist. de l'Eglise de Genève_, i. p. 95.]

[Footnote 787: 'Ils nous lavèrent bien la tête.']

[Footnote 788: Letter of B. Hugues. Galiffe, _Matériaux_, ii. pp. 525,

[Footnote 789: Letters of Vandel and Girard. Galiffe, _Matériaux_, ii.
p. 533.]

[Footnote 790: Registres du Conseil des 10, 11 et 20 octobre 1528.
_Journal de Balard_, p. 183.]

 (OCTOBER 1528 TO JANUARY 1529.)


Chappuis, Gringalet, and Levrat filled the places through which they
passed with their complaints, and all the bigots looked upon them as
martyrs. The knights of the Spoon, being informed of the fate with which
monastic institutions were threatened in Geneva, resolved to avenge
religion and do all the injury they could to the audacious burgesses.
Pontverre had already opened the campaign by a little scene of pillage,
which is of no importance except to show the manners of the age. Wishing
to spoil and plunder the Genevans _under their noses_, he had ordered
his tenants to sharpen their scythes. One day in the beginning of June,
the peasants shouldered their scythes; Pontverre put himself at their
head, his men-at-arms surrounded them, and all marched towards the
meadows of the Genevans on the left bank of the Arve, about a quarter of
an hour's walk from the city. The mowers arrived, whetted their
instruments, and then proceeded to cut down the new grass. At last they
came to a meadow which belonged to Bonivard: to rob the prior was a
_dainty thing_ for Pontverre. Meanwhile the Genevans, having heard of
what was going on, had hurried to the spot, and discovered by the side
of the mowers a body of men whose arms flashed in the rays of the sun.
Bonivard easily recognised the seigneur of Ternier. The huguenots could
hardly contain themselves. The chief of the knights of the Spoon, having
charged his people not to leave a blade of grass standing, approached
the bridge of Arve which separates the two countries, and, calling out
to the Genevans assembled on the right bank, began to insult and defy
them. 'Come, come, cheer up!' he said; 'why don't you cross the bridge
and fetch the hay we have cut for you?' The citizens loaded their arms,
and the two bands began to fire at each other with their arquebuses.
'Let us take him at his word,' said some of the huguenots; 'let us go
over the bridge and drive away the robbers.' Already several young men
were preparing to cross the river; but Bonivard did not think a few
loads of hay worth the risk of a battle that might not end well for
Geneva. 'I dissuaded them,' says he, 'and led them back to the

The Genevans, seeing the danger with which they were threatened by the
knights, energetically prepared for resistance, and solicited aid from
Berne and Friburg. Two _enseignes_, that is, eight hundred men,
principally from Gessenay, arrived in Geneva and were quartered among
the inhabitants, but especially on the churchmen and in the convents.
The duke, who attached great importance to the Swiss alliance, and
feared to come into collision with their men-at-arms, now permitted
provisions to be carried to the market of Geneva, and, the semblance of
peace having been restored, the allied troops quitted the city on the
30th of October, 1528.


Pontverre's humour was not so pacific. One of the last representatives
of feudal society, he saw that its elements were on the verge of
dissolution, and its institutions about to disappear. Power, which had
long ago passed from the towns to the country, was now returning from
the country to the towns; Geneva, in particular, seemed as if it would
nullify all the seigneurs in its neighbourhood. And, further still, the
Church which puts forward creeds in an absolute manner, so that no
person has the right to examine them, was attacked by the religious
revolution beginning in Geneva. Pontverre desired to preserve the
ancient order of things, and, with that object, to take and (if
necessary) destroy that troublesome city. He therefore, as prior of the
order, convened a general assembly of the knights of the Spoon at Nyon,
in order to arrange, in concert with the duke, the requisite measures
for capturing the city. The bailiwick of Ternier, the lordship of
Pontverre, was situated about a league from Geneva, between the verdant
flanks of the Salève and the smiling shores of the Rhone. It would have
been easy, therefore, for that chief to cross the river between Berney
and Peney, and thus get on the right bank of the lake; but he thought it
more daring and heroic to traverse Geneva. They represented to him, but
to no purpose, the danger to which he would expose himself, for if he
was always quick to provoke the Genevans, they were equally quick to
reply. Pontverre would listen to nothing. There was a treaty by which
Savoyard gentlemen had the right of free passage through the city; and,
armed with a sword, he feared nobody. It was in the month of December,
when, presenting himself at daybreak at the Corraterie gate, Pontverre
passed in; he rode quietly through the city, looking to the right and to
the left at the shops which were still closed, and did not meet a single
huguenot. On arriving at the Swiss gate, by which he had to leave the
city, he found it shut. He summoned the gate-keeper, who, as it appears,
was not yet up. The horse pawed the ground, the rider shouted, and the
porter loitered: he ran out at last and lowered the chain. The impatient
Pontverre paid him by a slap in the face, and said: 'Rascal, is this the
way you make gentlemen wait?' He then added with violent oaths: 'You
will not be wanted much longer. It will not be long before we pull down
your gates and trample them under foot, as we have done before.' He then
set spurs to his horse and galloped away. The porter, exasperated by the
blow he had received, made his report, and the Genevans, who were
irritable folk, became very angry about it. 'It is not enough,' they
said, 'for these Savoyards to do us all sorts of injury outside the
walls, but they must come and brave us within. Wait a little! We will
pay them off, and chastise this insolent fellow.' The council, while
striving to restrain the people, ordered sentinels to be stationed


The gentry of the district who had taken part in the meeting at
Bursinel, had immediately begun to canvass their neighbours, and a great
number of persons, incensed against Geneva, had taken the Spoon, as in
the time of the crusades men took the Cross. The second meeting,
therefore, promised to be more numerously attended than the first. From
all quarters, from Gex and Vaud and Savoy, the knights arrived at Nyon,
a central situation for these districts, where they usually held their
councils of war. Climbing the hill, they entered the castle, from whose
windows the lake, its shores, and the snowy Alps of Savoy were visible
in all their magnificence. Having taken their places in the great hall,
they began their deliberations. These unpolished gentlemen, descended
from the chevaliers of the middle ages, who thought it enough to build a
tower upon a rock and to pass their lives in crushing the weak and
plundering the innocent, still preserved something of the nature of
their ancestors. Pontverre, who was their president, had no difficulty
in carrying them with him. Feudalism and even catholicism exercised
great influence over him, and gave to his words an energy and deep
conviction which it was hard to resist. He pointed out to these lords
that the authority of the prince and of the pope, religious and
monarchical order, the throne and the altar, were equally threatened by
an insolent bourgeoisie. He showed them how monstrous it was that
lawyers, that men of low birth and no merit, and that even shopkeepers
should presume to take the place of the bishop and the duke. 'We must
make haste,' he said, 'to disperse and crush the seeds of rebellion, or
you will see them spreading far and wide.' The knights of the castle of
Nyon were unanimous. The right of resistance had been the characteristic
of the feudal system; and never had the exercise of that right been more
necessary. One lord exercised it in the middle ages against another
lord, his neighbour. But what were these isolated adversaries compared
with that universal and invisible enemy which threatened the old society
in all its parts, and which, to be surer of triumph, was inaugurating a
new religion? In the valley of the Leman, Geneva was the stronghold of
this new and terrible adversary. 'Down with Geneva! Rome and Savoy for
ever!' was the cry that rose from every heart. It was agreed that all
the gentlemen and their followers should meet at a certain time and
place, armed with sword and lance, in order to seize upon the city and
put an end to its liberties.

Pontverre, delighted at seeing the success of his appeal, sat silent,
and appeared for a time lost in deep meditation. He had a subtle mind,
he did not fear to resort to stratagem, and hoped that an assault would
not be necessary. With the greatest secresy he had gained friends who
occupied a house in the Corraterie, the back door of which opened to the
outside of the city. It would seem that this house belonged to the
hospital of the Pont du Rhone, situated between that bridge and the
Mint, and placed under the patronage of the canons of the
cathedral.[793] The council rose. Pontverre was particularly intimate
with the Sire de Beaufort, governor of Chillon, one of the most valiant
knights of the assembly. Taking him aside, and enjoining secresy, he
said: 'We have a gate in Geneva at our orders. No one knows of it; but
do not fear. I will undertake that you shall all enter.'—'Pontverre did
indeed enter,' said Bonivard, some time after, when he heard of this
remark; 'he went in, but he did not come out.'[794]


The knights mounted their horses, and each one rode off to his castle to
prepare for the great enterprise. Pontverre did the same; but, always
daring, and taking a delight in braving the people of Geneva, he
resolved to pass through the city again. His friends reminded him that
the citizens were now on their guard; that he had offended them some
days before; that if he attempted such an imprudent act, he was a dead
man; and that his life was necessary to their enterprise. It was all to
no purpose. 'His hour was come,' says the chronicler of St. Victor, 'and
it pleased God so.'—'Fear not,' answered the daring soldier to his
brothers in arms; 'I will pass through by night, and wrap my face up in
my cloak, so that no one can recognise me. Besides, if they attack me, I
have my sword.' One of his friends, the Sire de Simon, resolved to
accompany him, and some armed attendants followed them. The knights who
remained behind, watched him as he galloped off towards Geneva, and
wondered anxiously what would happen.

Pontverre, checking the speed of his horse, reflected on the work he was
about to undertake. He thought it worthy of the name he bore, and of the
memory of his ancestors. By lending his sword to the Duke of Savoy and
to the pope, he would make absolutism in the Church and in the State
triumphant in Geneva; at one blow he would crush in that restless city
both independence and the Reformation. He reached Geneva between four
and five o'clock in the afternoon of Saturday, the 2nd of January, 1529,
and night had set in. Pontverre hid his face in his cloak, presented
himself with his escort at the Pâquis gate, and passed through. He
entered the streets. The commander of an army which purposed capturing
and destroying Geneva, was traversing, like an ordinary traveller, the
city he was about to surround with his forces, besiege, and perhaps
burn.... Such impudent assurance has perhaps never been witnessed in
modern times. He was hardly inside the city, when, no longer able to
contain himself (for pride and anger prevailed over discretion), he put
aside all precaution, threw off his cloak, and, drawing his sword,
'uttered threats and insults out of his haughtiness and insolence.'[795]
He went even further than this: the streets of Geneva, and the presence
of the detested huguenots whom he saw moving about, made his wrath boil
over; and striking one of the citizens on the head with his sword, he
exclaimed with a round oath: 'We must kill these traitors!' The
assaulted citizen turned round, and others ran up: this took place in
the Rue de Coutance, which has witnessed many other fights since then,
even in very recent times.[796] The huguenots surrounded the horseman,
and, recognising him, called out: 'It is Pontverre! it is Pontverre!'
The crowd increased and blocked up the bridge over the Rhone, which the
chief of the knights of the Spoon would have to cross.


For several days past the citizens had been talking in Geneva about the
conference at Nyon; they said that these gentlemen of the Spoon were
planning some new attack, that they were going once more to plunder and
kill, and that this time they would probably try to carry fire and sword
into Geneva itself. The irritation was excessive among the people; some
of the citizens, meeting in the public places or in their own houses,
were talking about the gentlemen assembled at Nyon, and many jokes were
made upon them. 'These gentlemen!' said one huguenot. 'Call them rob-men
(_gens-pille-hommes_),' said a second; 'or kill-men (_gens-tue-hommes_),'
added a third; and despite the serious state of affairs, they all began
to laugh. On a sudden, here before them, in their very city, was the
leader of the enterprise, the man who never ceased harassing them: he
had drawn his sword and struck one of the citizens. The latter drew in
their turn, and just as the bold cavalier had crossed the suburb of St.
Gervais, and was coming upon the bridge, they surrounded him, and one of
them struck him in the face. The representative of feudalism was
fighting almost alone with the representatives of the bourgeoisie. The
old power and the new were struggling on the Rhone bridge. And while the
blue waters were flowing beneath, as they had ever done; while the old
waters were running on to be lost in the sea, and the new ones were
coming, loosened from the Alpine glaciers by the beams of the sun,—on
the bridge above there were other ancient things passing away, and other
new ones appearing in their place. Amid the flashing of swords and the
shock of arms, amid the indignant shouts of the citizens and the oaths
of the knight, a great transformation was going on; society was passing
over to the system of freedom and abandoning the system of feudalism.

The Sire de Pontverre, seeing the number of his enemies increasing,
spurred his horse, dashed through the crowd, and reached the Corraterie
gate, by which he desired to leave the city, and which led to the Black
Friars' monastery. But the Genevans had got there before him.... The
gate, alas! was shut. In this extremity, Pontverre did not falter. Close
at hand was the house, dependent on the hospital, the back gate of which
led outside the city, and by which he designed introducing the Savoyards
by night. Thanks to his horse, he was a little in advance of his
pursuers; he lost not a moment, he turned back, and reached the house in
question. To get at the door it was necessary to go up several steps.
The Genevans were now rushing after him in a crowd, shouting:
'Pontverre! Pontverre!'... The latter faced his enemies, and, without
dismounting, backed his horse up the steps, at the same time using his
sword against his pursuers. At this moment the syndic Ami Girard
arrived; he found the Sire de Simon, and the other horsemen who had
accompanied their chief, beset on all sides. The syndic begged that they
might not be hurt; and as the horsemen surrendered their arms, they were
lodged in a place of safety. Pontverre dismounted on reaching the top of
the steps, and, hoping to escape by the door we have mentioned, rushed
into the house. His face was covered with blood, for, says an
eye-witness, 'he had a sword-cut on his nose;' his eyes were wild; he
heard the feet of the huguenots close behind him. Had he no time to
reach the door, or did he find it shut? We cannot tell. Seeing that he
could not escape, he appears to have lost his presence of mind. Had he
still been himself, he would no doubt have faced his enemies and sold
his life dearly, but, for the first time in his life, he became
frightened; he dashed into one of the apartments, threw himself on the
floor, and crept hastily under a bed: a child might have done the same.
What a hiding-place for the most valiant knight whom the Alps and the
Jura had seen perhaps for centuries!


At this moment, the Genevans who were pursuing him rushed into the house
and began to search it; they entered the room where the man lay hid who
had threatened to swallow Geneva as if it were a spoonful of rice. At
their head was Ami Bandière, one of the huguenots who had been compelled
to flee to Berne at the same time as Hugues and the leaders of the
party—the man, it will be remembered, whose father and children had
appeared before the council in 1526, when it was necessary to defend the
huguenots who had taken refuge in Switzerland. Bandière, an upright,
determined, and violent man, an enthusiast for liberty, noticed the bed;
he thought that the proud gentleman might possibly be hidden beneath it.
'They poked their swords underneath,' says Bonivard, 'and the wretched
man hidden there received a stab.'[797] This was too much: the Sire de
Pontverre was aroused: being an active and powerful man, he rushed out
of his hiding-place in a fury, and, springing to his feet, seized
Bandière with his vigorous arms, threw him on the bed, and stabbed him
in the thigh with a dagger. The shouts now grew louder. If he had
surrendered no harm would have been done him; but Bandière's friends,
excited by the blood of their brother, were eager to avenge him. They
rushed upon Pontverre. Alone in the middle of the room, this athletic
man received them boldly: he swung his sword round him, now striking
with the edge, and now with the point; but a citizen, inflamed by anger,
aimed a violent blow at him, and the captain-general of the knights of
the Spoon fell dead. At this moment the syndic Ami Girard entered,
exclaiming: 'Stop! stop!' but it was too late.

Thus died François de Ternier, lord of Pontverre, whose ancestors had
always been enemies of Geneva, 'and who himself had been the worst,'
says one of his contemporaries. He fell a martyr to feudalism, say some;
a victim to his own insolence, say others. His sole idea had been to
ruin Geneva, to disperse its inhabitants, to throw down its walls; and
now he lay dead a few yards from the place where, in 1519, he was
present at the head of his troopers to take part in the murder of
Berthelier, and in the very place by which he had arranged to enter and
destroy the city by fire and sword.—'A memorable instance of divine
justice,' said some of the citizens; 'a striking deliverance for Geneva;
a terrible lesson for its enemies!' There is a great difference, it must
be observed, between the martyrs of liberty and right, and those of
feudalism and the papacy. Arbitrary power perfidiously seized the
greatest citizens, the Bertheliers and Lévriers, in the midst of an
inoffensive life, and put them to death by the vile hand of the common
headsman, after a sham trial, which was a disgraceful mockery of
justice; but it was only when provoked by the champions of feudalism,
and at the risk of their own lives, that the men of liberty struck their
adversaries. Pontverre died in a contest in which he had been the first
to draw the sword.


As the Genevans wished to show every mark of respect to their dead
enemy, the council ordered that he should be buried with the usual rites
by the Franciscans in a chapel of the convent of Rive, which had been
founded by his family, and where some of his ancestors had been laid.
After this ceremony had taken place according to the forms of the Roman
ritual, an inquest was made into the cause of this tragical death, 'to
do justice therein, if there should be need.' All the cool-headed people
in Geneva were seriously grieved: 'Alas!' said they, 'what a pity that
he would not live in peace, for he was a virtuous cavalier, except that
he was so pugnacious! It would have been better to make him prisoner; it
would have been the means of obtaining a perpetual treaty!' The officers
of justice found letters on his person which had reference to the plot
hatched against Geneva, and in which the knights of the Spoon were
ordered to assemble 'with swords and spears' against the city. It was
made evident that he had been the chief of the bands which pillaged and
killed without mercy the citizens and inhabitants of the country, and
that he was to blame, having first wounded Bandière: the magistrates,
therefore, came to the conclusion that there were no grounds for
bringing any one to trial. The Sire de Simon and the other companions of
the famous captain were conducted uninjured to the frontier of

One would have thought that, as the head of the league against Geneva
had fallen, the league itself would have been weakened; but, on the
contrary, Pontverre's death added fuel to the rage of the brethren of
the Spoon. Disorder and violence increased around the city, and the very
next day, Sunday, the 3rd of January, the gentry, wishing to avenge
their chief, kept the field everywhere. 'We will kill all the Genevans
we can find,' said they.—'They fell upon the first they met, committing
violence and murder.' It seemed as if Pontverre's soul had revived, and
was impelling his former colleagues to offer sacrifices without number
to his shade. An early attack was expected; the alarm spread through
Geneva, and the council met. 'François de Ternier's death,' said one of
the members, 'has thrown oil upon the fire instead of extinguishing it.
Alone, we cannot resist the attack of Savoy and of the knights. Let us
make haste to inform Berne and Friburg.'—'It is impossible,' said
another councillor; 'all the gentlemen of Vaud are in arms; no one can
cross the province. Our envoys would be stopped at Versoy, Coppet, Nyon,
and Rolle; and whoever is taken will be put to death to avenge the fall
of the illustrious chief.'

But a free people always finds citizens ready to sacrifice themselves.
Two men stood up: they were two of the bravest huguenots, Jean Lullin
and Robert Vandel. 'We will go,' they said. They embraced their
relatives, and got into a boat, hoping to reach some place on the lake
where they could land without danger. But they had hardly left the shore
when they were recognised and pursued by some of the enemies' boats,
well manned and armed. As soon as the two Genevans observed them, they
saw their danger, and, catching up the spare oars, assisted the boatmen
with their vigorous arms, and rowed off as fast as they could. They kept
gaining on the Savoyard boats; they passed unmolested within sight of
several harbours occupied by their enemies, and at last reached Ouchy,
dripping with perspiration. The people of Lausanne, who were well
disposed towards the Genevans, assisted them. They got to Friburg, 'by
subtle means,' probably in disguise, and told their old friends of the
increasing dangers to which the city was exposed, especially since the
death of Pontverre.[799]

[Sidenote: THE SIRE DE VIRY.]

The place of the latter was now filled by the Sire de Viry, whose
castle, like Pontverre's, was situated between Mont Salève and the lake
(between Chancy and Léluiset), and whose family had always supplied
Savoy with fanatical partisans. Viry was furious at the escape of Lullin
and Vandel; and, accordingly, on the next day, the servants of these two
Genevans, who had been ordered to take their masters' horses to
Lausanne, having passed through Coppet, were thrown into prison by his
orders. He did not stop at this. 'The gentlemen assaulted every Genevan
they met with their daggers and battle-axes, striking them on the loins,
the shoulders, and other parts, and many died thereof.'—'All the
territory of Monseigneur of Savoy is in arms,' said people at Geneva in
the beginning of March 1529, 'and no one can leave the city except at
great risk.'

The ducal party, desirous of defying the Genevans in every way, resolved
to send them, not a written but a living message, which would show them
the fate that awaited them. On the 14th of March, the people who were
leaving the church of Our Lady of Grace, saw a strange figure coming
over the bridge of Arve. He had at his back a wooden plank reaching from
his feet to above his head, to which he was fastened; while his
outstretched arms were tied to a cross piece which was placed on a level
with his shoulders. The gentlemen had thought it a pretty jest to
crucify a Genevan, without doing him any great injury, and they left his
feet at liberty, so that he could return home thus singularly arrayed.
'What is that?' asked the people, stopping at the foot of the bridge.
They thought they recognised an inhabitant of the city. 'They have made
a cross of him front and back,' said the spectators. The man came over
the bridge, approached his fellow-citizens, and told them his story. 'I
had gone to the village of Troinex on business, when the enemy caught
me, trussed me up in this manner, and compelled me to return in this
condition to Geneva.' The people hardly knew whether to laugh or be
angry; however, they unbound their crucified fellow-citizen, and all
returned together to the city.

This was only a little joke of the young ones among the knights; the
Sire de Viry and his colleagues had more serious thoughts. The attack
upon Geneva, resolved upon at the castle of Nyon, was to be put into
execution. The lords issued with their armed retainers from all the
castles in the great valley, and on the 24th of March some peasants from
the banks of the Arve came and told the syndics that there was a great
concourse of gentlemen and soldiers at Gaillard; that these armed men
intended on the following night to secretly scale the walls of the city,
and that there was a strong guard upon all the roads to detain everybody
who ventured out of Geneva. At that time the whole garrison consisted
but of fifty soldiers, 'keeping watch and ward by turns,' as Bonivard
informs us. How was it possible to resist with such a few men? Yet two
powers kept the walls: the energy of the citizens and the providence of


At midnight on Holy Thursday (25th of March), the knights of the Spoon,
with about four thousand Savoyard troops and the fugitive mamelukes,
moved forward as secretly as possible to take Geneva by surprise. The
citizens, accustomed to false alarms, had not paid much attention to the
warning they had received. At the head of the band that was to lead the
assault were a certain number of men carrying long ladders which had
been made at Chillon. The men-at-arms who followed them wore white
shirts over their armour in order to be recognised in the darkness; they
had even sent to their friends in Geneva certain tokens which the latter
were to fasten to the ends of their spears in order that the assailants
might know them in the confusion. The city clocks had struck two when a
few Savoyards arrived at the foot of the wall: not a sound was heard,
the night was dark, and everything promised complete success. Meanwhile
the main body had halted a quarter of a league from the city, and
hesitated to make the attack. Pontverre was no longer among them, and
Viry had not inherited his influence. 'At the moment of execution, a
spirit of fear fell upon the Savoyards,' says a chronicler; 'God took
away their courage, so that they were not able to come near.'—'We are
not strong enough to carry out our enterprise,' said one.—'If we fail,'
said another, 'Messieurs of the Swiss League will not fail us.' They
consequently withdrew, and, in order to conceal their disgrace, said
that the duke or the bishop had forbidden them to advance. Might not the
duke, influenced by the cantons, have really given them the order to
retreat at the last moment? That alone appears to explain this
retrograde movement. However, the Genevans ascribed their deliverance to
a higher cause; they entered on the registers of the council the
following simple words which we copy: 'The gentlemen (_gentils_) had
undertaken to attack the city, _which God has preserved hitherto_.' The
25th of March was called _the day of the ladders_.[800]

[Footnote 791: Bonivard, _Chroniq._ ii. p. 507. Gautier MS.]

[Footnote 792: Bonivard, _Chroniq._ ii. p. 517.]

[Footnote 793: _Mém. d'Archéologie_, iii. p. 201.]

[Footnote 794: Bonivard, _Chroniq._ ii. p. 522.]

[Footnote 795: _Journal de Balard._ _Mém. d'Archéologie_, x. p. 189.]

[Footnote 796: July and December 1862, between radicals and liberals.]

[Footnote 797: 'A belles épées nues on fourgonna dessous, et le
malheureux qui y était caché reçut un coup d'estoc.']

[Footnote 798: Registres du Conseil _ad annum_. Bonivard, _Chroniq._ ii.
pp. 520-525. Spon, _Hist. de Genève_, i. p. 425. Savyon MS. Balard,
_Mém. d'Archéologie_, x. p. 189. _Le Levain du Calvinisme ou
Commencement de l'Hérésie de Genève_, par Révérende Sœur Jeanne de
Jussie, publié en 1853, par M. G. Revilliod, p. 11.]

[Footnote 799: Registres du Conseil des 2, 3 et 6 janvier 1529. _Journal
de Balard_, p. 189. Spon, _Hist. de Genève_, ii. pp. 422-426. Gautier

[Footnote 800: Registres du Conseil du 25 mars 1529. _Journal de
Balard_, pp. 216, 219, 221, 222. Bonivard, _Chroniq._ ii. p. 533. La
Sœur de Jussie, p. 6.]

 (APRIL 1529 TO JANUARY 1530.)


While the men of the old times were taking fright and retreating, the
men of the new times were taking courage and advancing. They sat down at
the firesides of the burgesses of Geneva, and, leading the way to
religious conversation, gradually scattered new ideas in the city and
new seed in men's hearts. Of these _Lutherans_, as they were called,
some were Genevans, others Bernese; and the witty Bonivard occasionally
joined in this familiar talk. Some of them, truly pious men, told their
listeners that they ought to look for salvation to the cross alone, and
that, just as the sun transforms the earth and causes it to produce
fruit, so the light of the Gospel would transform their hearts and lead
them to perform new works. Others, who were sarcastic and simply
negative men, confined themselves to pointing out the abuses of Rome and
of its clergy. They said openly what hitherto they had dared to utter
only in secret. If they saw a cordelier passing, with ruddy face, long
beard, brown frock, and disgusting aspect, they pointed at him and said:
'These monks creep not only into the consciences of the citizens, but
into their houses, and defile the city by their scandals and
adultery.[801] Our grated windows and bolted doors can hardly keep out
their unbridled vices, and protect the chastity of our wives and
daughters.[802] God has given them up to the lusts of their hearts.'

Such conversations as these were continually taking place among the
Genevans and the Bernese during the interval between the reformation of
Berne and that of Geneva. When a Genevan invited a Switzer to his house,
the former would volunteer, after dinner, to show his guest the
curiosities of the city. 'We will first go and have a look at the church
of St. Pierre,' said he. 'See what a fine cathedral it is; admire these
pillars, these arches, that vaulted roof; but there are other things
besides. Here is a shrine containing an invaluable treasure—the arm of
St. Anthony.... On holidays it is brought out for the adoration of the
people, who kiss the relic with holy reverence. But,' added the Genevan,
in a whisper to his companion, 'this arm some people affirm to be only
one of the members of a stag. Come with me to the high altar; you see
the box in which the brains of St. Peter are preserved!... To doubt this
is a frightful heresy, and not to adore them abominable impiety; but ...
between you and me ... these brains of the apostle are only


Sometimes Swiss and Genevans crossed the river and climbed the street
leading to the ancient church of St. Gervais. 'What are those old women
about, putting their ears to that hole?' asked one of them. A number of
priests and women had collected there. 'The bodies of St. Gervais, St.
Nazaire, St. Celsus, and St. Pantaleon are buried under this altar,'
said the priests to the women. 'These holy bodies desire to quit their
vault; come and listen at this hole, and you will hear them.' The simple
women approached, and heard a noise like that of men talking together.
'We can hear them,' they said.—'Alas!' continued the priests, 'in order
to raise the body of a saint, we require bishops, ceremonies, silver
utensils, and we have nothing!' As they wished to deliver these holy
personages, these good women immediately cast their offerings into the
church box ... and the priests gathered them up. 'Do you know,' said a
huguenot, 'incredulous people affirm that the noise which proceeds, as
the priests say, from the conversation of St. Pantaleon and his friends,
is caused by certain pipes, cleverly arranged, which, immediately the
hole is opened and the air flows in, give out the sounds that are

'Have you ever seen souls out of purgatory? Nothing is easier at Geneva,'
said a huguenot after supper. 'It is quite dark; let us go to the cemetery,
and I will show them to you.... Here we are.... Do you see those little
flames creeping slowly here and there among the scattered bones?... They
are souls (the priests tell us) which, having left their place of
anguish, crawl slowly about the cemetery at night, and entreat their
relatives to pay the priests for masses and prayers to free them from
purgatorial fires.... Wait a little ... there is one coming near us ...
I will deliver it.' He stooped, and, picking it up, showed it to his
companions: 'Ha! ha! upon my word, these souls are curiously made ...
they are crabs, and the priests have fastened little wax tapers to their

'That is one of the tricks of our clergy,' said a learned huguenot.
(Bonivard often took part in these conversations.) 'They are buffoons in
their repasts, fools in all difficult discussions, snails in work,
harpies in exaction, leopards in friendship, bulls in pride, minotaurs
in devouring, and foxes in cunning.'[806]

The Genevans went further still. One day—it was Tuesday, the 4th of
January, 1530—when several huguenots had met together, and the relics
and impositions of the priests had formed the subject of conversation,
some of them, living in St. Gervais, indignant at the frauds of the
clergy, who metamorphosed the bodies of saints into mines of gold,
determined to protest against these abuses. They went out of the house
in a body, marched up and down the different streets, and, stopping at
certain places, assembled the people in the usual manner, when,
surrounded by a large crowd, they held (says the council register) 'an
auction of an unusual sort, by way of derision.' Perhaps they offered
the bodies to the highest bidder; but, in any case, they themselves were
sent to prison.

This scene had greatly amused the inhabitants of the suburb. Old
superstitions were giving way in Geneva and falling to the ground amid
the applause of the people. The huguenots claimed the right of free
inquiry, and desired that the human understanding should have some
authority in the world. These experiments of liberty, which alarmed the
Church, delighted the citizens. The inhabitants of St. Gervais, animated
with generous sentiments, went in great numbers to the hôtel-de-ville.
'We desire that the prisoners be set at liberty,' said they to the
syndics, 'and we offer to be bail for them.' The magistrates still clung
to the old order of things.—'I ought to reprimand you severely for your
disorders,' said the premier syndic. 'We will have no tumult or sedition
here. Let the relatives of the prisoners come before the council
to-morrow, and we will hear them.' On the 9th of January, the
Two-Hundred resolved to pardon the prisoners, and to tell them that this
folly, if they ever committed another like it, should count double
against them.[807]


The beginning of the Reformation at Geneva had a negative character. Men
everywhere in the sixteenth century felt the need of thinking and
judging.... The Genevans, more than others, wished to reform the abuses
which successive usurpations had introduced into the State: how could
they fail to demand a reform of the abuses introduced into the Church?
Not only isolated grievances and local annoyances, but popery itself,
would be struck down by a reform. This course, natural as it seemed, was
not the best, however. The external, that is to say, government, rites,
and ceremonies, are not essentials in christianity; but the internal,
namely, faith in the teaching of the Word of God, change of heart, and a
new life—these are essential. When we wish to reform a vicious man, it
is not enough to take off his filthy clothes and wash the dirt from his
face: his will must be transformed. At Wittemberg the Reformation began
in the person of Luther with the internal; at Geneva it began in the
huguenots with the external. This would have been a great disadvantage,
if religion at Geneva had not become, under the influence of Calvin, as
internal as in Germany. The Genevese reform would have perished if it
had preserved the character it assumed at first. But the tendency we
have pointed out was a useful preparation for that change which realises
the grand announcement of Christ: '_The kingdom of God is within you_.'

The bishop, who was still in Burgundy, desired neither internal nor
external reform. He was alarmed at what was taking place at Geneva, and,
finding himself unable alone to check the torrent which threatened to
sweep away both mitre and principality, he complained to the duke, the
emperor, and even the syndics. On the 8th of August, a messenger from
the prelate appeared before the council, and ordered them, in his name,
'to desist from what they had begun, and to send ambassadors to
Charles V., who would put everything to rights.' In October, the bishop,
annoyed that they paid no attention to his complaints, made fresh
demands, in a severe and threatening tone. He gave them to understand
that he would destroy Geneva rather than permit any abuses to be
reformed. His letters were read in the council, and their contents
communicated to the people. Threatened with the anger of the duke, the
pope, and the emperor, and reduced to the greatest weakness, what would
they do? 'Geneva,' they said, 'is in danger of being destroyed.... But
God watches over us.... Better have war and liberty than peace and
servitude. We do not put our trust in princes, and to God alone be the
honour and glory.'[808] With such confidence nations never perish.


Geneva required it much. Her enemies said that violent revolutions were
at the gate; that they had begun in Saxony, where at least they had not
touched the political authority; while, on the contrary, in this city of
the Alps, civil revolution was advancing side by side with religious
revolution. The Swiss were beginning to be tired of a city so weak and
yet so obstinate, which had not strength to defend itself and too much
pride to submit. Excited and influenced by the Duke of Savoy, they
determined to propose a revocation of the alliance. This news spread
consternation through the city. 'Alas!' said the huguenots, 'if the
sheep give up the dogs, the wolves will soon scatter them;' and, without
waiting to receive notice of this fatal determination, the patriots
stretched out their hands towards that Switzerland from which the duke
wished to separate them, and exclaimed: 'We will die sooner!'... But, at
the same time, the few mamelukes who still remained in the city,
thinking that the end was at hand, made haste to join the ducal army.

The end seemed to be really approaching. On the 1st of May, an imposing
embassy from the five cantons of Zurich, Basle, Soleure, Berne, and
Friburg, arrived at Geneva, and was soon followed by delegates from
Savoy. The Genevans saw with astonishment the Swiss and the Savoyards
walking together in the streets, lavishing marks of courtesy on each
other, and looking at the huguenots with a haughty air. What! the
descendants of William Tell shaking hands with their oppressors! The
thoughts of the citizens became confused: they asked each other if there
could be any fellowship between liberty and despotism.... They were
forced to drain the cup to the dregs. On the 22nd of May the embassy
appeared before the council. Their spokesman was Sebastian de Diesbach,
a haughty Bernese, eminent magistrate, distinguished diplomatist, and
celebrated soldier. He refused to call the Genevans his co-burghers,
bluntly demanded the revocation of the alliance, and proposed a peace
which would have sacrificed the independence of the citizens to the
duke. At the same time he gave them to know that the Swiss were not
singular in their opinion, and that the great powers of Europe were
making a general arrangement. In truth, Francis I., changing his policy,
supported the demands of his uncle the duke, and declared that, in case
of refusal, he would unite the armies of France with those of Savoy.
Charles V. was quite ready to repay himself for his inability to destroy
the protestants of Germany, by indulging in the pleasure of crushing
this haughty little city. Even the King of Hungary sent an ambassador to
Geneva in the Savoy interest. Would this little corner of the world
presume to remain free when Europe was resolved to crush it under its
iron heel?[809]

While the powerful princes around Geneva were oscillating between two
opinions—so that at times it was hard to say whether Charles was for the
pope or against him, and whether Francis was for the protestants or against
them—the Genevans, those men of iron, had but one idea, liberty ...
liberty both in State and Church. The huguenots showed themselves
determined, and kept a bold front in the presence of the ambassadors.
'Take care, gentlemen,' said De Lussey, De Mezere, and others; 'we shall
first exercise strict justice against the city, and, if that is not
sufficient, strict war; while, if you restore to the duke his old
privileges, he will forgive everything, and guarantee your
liberties.'—'Yes,' added the Swiss, 'under a penalty of ten thousand
crowns if he does the contrary.' ... But, 'marvellous sight,' says a
contemporary, 'the more the ambassadors threatened and frightened, the
more the Genevans stood firm and constant, and exclaimed: "We will die


On the 23rd of May the Sire de Diesbach proposed the revocation of the
alliance to the Council of Two Hundred; and on the following day, the
council-general having been summoned, the premier syndic, without losing
time in endless explanations, plainly answered the deputies of the
cantons: 'Most honoured lords, as the alliance with the League was not
concluded hastily (_à la chaude_), we hope in God and in the oath you
made to us that it will never be broken. As for us, we are determined to
keep ours.' The magistrate then turned towards the people and said: 'I
propose that whosoever speaks of annulling the alliance with the Swiss
shall have his head cut off without mercy, and that whosoever gets
information of any intrigue going on against the alliance, and does not
reveal it, shall receive the strappado thrice.' The general council
carried this resolution unanimously.

Diesbach and his colleagues were confounded, and looked at one another
with astonishment. 'Did not Monsieur of Savoy assure us,' they said,
'that, except some twenty-five or thirty citizens, all the people were
favourable to him?'—'And I too know,' said a stranger, whose name has
not been handed down to us, 'that if the alliance had been broken, the
duke would have entered Geneva and put thirty-two citizens to
death.'[810] 'Come with us,' said the most respected men in Geneva; and,
laying their charters before the ambassadors, they proved by these
documents that they were free to contract an alliance with the cantons.
The delegates from Berne, Friburg, Zurich, Basle, and Soleure ordered
their horses to be got ready. Some huguenots assembled in the street,
and shouted out, just as the Bernese lords were getting into their
saddles: 'We would sooner destroy the city, sooner sacrifice our wives,
our children, and ourselves, than consent to revoke the alliance.' When
Diesbach made a report of his mission at Berne, he found means to gloss
over his defeat a little: 'There were a thousand people at the general
council,' he said with some exaggeration; 'only _one_ person [he meant
the president] protested against the rupture of the alliance; upon which
_all the rest joined in with him_!'... Did he not know that it was quite
regular for a proposition to be made by _one_ person, and to be carried
by a whole nation?[811]


A new spirit, unknown to their ancestors, now began to animate many of
the Genevans. Ab Hofen's mission had not been without effect. Besides a
goodly number of persons, who were called indeed 'by the name of
Luther,' but whose sole idea of reform was not to fast in Lent and not
to cross themselves during divine worship, there were others who desired
to receive the Word of God and to follow it. The Romish clergy
understood this well. 'If these Genevans cling so much to the Swiss,'
said the priests at their meetings, 'it is in order that they may
profess _heresy_ freely. If they succeed, we shall perhaps see Savoy,
Aosta, and other countries of Italy reforming themselves likewise.'

The duke, being determined to extinguish these threatening flames,
resolved to claim the influence of the pope, with his treasures and even
his soldiers; for the _vicar_ of Him who forbade the sword to be drawn
possesses an army. Besides, Clement VII. was one of the cleverest
politicians of the age, and his advice might be useful. As Pietro
Gazzini, Bishop of Aosta, was then at Rome, the court of Turin
commissioned that zealous ultramontanist to inform the pope of what was
going on at Geneva. Gazzini begged an audience of Clement, and having
been introduced by the master of the ceremonies on the 11th of July,
1529, he approached the pope, who was seated on the throne, and,
kneeling down, kissed his feet. When he arose, he described all the acts
committed by the Lutherans at Geneva and in the _valleys of Savoy_. 'O
holy father,' said he, 'the dangers of the Church are imminent, and we
are filled with the liveliest fears. It is from Upper Burgundy and the
country of Neufchatel that this accursed sect has come to Geneva. And
now, alas! what mischief it has done there!... Already the bishop dares
not remain in his diocese; already Lent is abolished, and the heretics
eat meat every day; and, worse still, they read forbidden books (the New
Testament), and the Genevans set such store by them that they refuse to
give them up, even for money. These miserable heretics are doing extreme
mischief, and not at Geneva only; Aosta and Savoy would have been
perverted long since, had not his highness beheaded twelve gentlemen who
were propagating these dangerous doctrines. But this wholesome severity
is not enough to stop the evil. Although his highness has forbidden,
under pain of death, any one to speak of this sect and its abominable
dogmas, there is no lack of _wicked babblers_ who go about circulating
these accursed doctrines all over his territories. They say that his
highness is not their king; and, making a pretence of the great expenses
of the war, they vehemently call upon us to sell the little
ecclesiastical property we possess.... The duke, my lord and master, is
everywhere destroying this sect. _He is the barrier that closes Italy
against it_, and in this way he renders your holiness the most signal
service; but we need your help.' Gazzini closed his address with a
demand for a subsidy.


Clement had listened with great attention; he understood the mischief
and the danger which the Bishop of Aosta had pointed out, and the
dignitaries and other priests around him seemed still more affected.
Thoroughly versed in philosophical and theological questions, endowed
with a perspicacity that penetrated to the very heart of the most
difficult matters, the pope saw how great the danger would be if
_heresy_ should find in the south, at Geneva, a centre that might become
far more _pernicious_ than even Wittemberg; he felt also the necessity
of having a prince, a zealous catholic, to guard the French and Italian
slopes of the Alps. This pontiff, perhaps the most unlucky of all the
popes, saw the Reformation spreading under his eyes over Europe without
having the power to stop it, and whatever he did to oppose it served but
to propagate it more widely still. Now, however, he met with a
sympathising heart. He wished to prevent Geneva from being reformed, and
to save a fortress from being delivered up to the enemy; while a
powerful prince offered to carry out the necessary measures. Clement
therefore received Gazzini's overtures very graciously; and yet he was
ill at ease. In the Piedmontese ambassador's speech there was a word,
one word only, that embarrassed him—the subsidy: in fact, he had not
recovered from the sack of Rome. Clement VII. replied: 'I look upon his
highness as my dearest son, and I thank him for his zeal; but as for
money, it is impossible for me to give him any, considering the
emptiness of the treasury.' Then, appealing to the wants of the Church
and the duty of princes, who ought to be ready to sacrifice for it their
wealth, their subjects, and their lives, the pope added: '_I pray the
duke to keep his eye particularly upon Geneva. That city is becoming far
too Lutheran, and it must be put down at any risk._'[812] Gazzini,
having been attended to the gates of the palace by the pontifical
officers, regretted his failure in the matter of the subsidy. His chief
object, however, had been attained: the papacy was warned; it would
watch Geneva as a general watches the enemy.


As the pope was won, it next became necessary to influence the emperor.
That was an easier task for the duke, as Charles V. was his
brother-in-law, and the empress and the Duchess of Savoy, who were
sisters, and strongly attached to Rome, could write to each other on the
subject. The protest drawn up at Spires by the evangelical princes, in
April 1529, had irritated that monarch exceedingly; and he therefore
prepared, in accordance with the oath he had sworn at Barcelona, to
apply 'a suitable antidote against the pestilent malady under which
christendom was suffering.' When Geneva was mentioned to him, his first
thought was that it was a long way off; yet, as it was an imperial city,
he determined to include it in the plan of his campaign, and resolved
immediately to take a preliminary step to restore it to the papacy. On
the 16th of July, 1529, the emperor dictated to his secretary the
following letter, addressed to the syndics of Geneva:—


'We have been informed that several preachers hold private and public
meetings in your city and in the frontier countries, that they propagate
the errors of Luther, and that you tolerate these proceedings. These
practices cause the Church most serious damage, and the pontifical
majesty, as well as the imperial dignity, is grievously insulted by your
conduct. Wherefore we order you to arrest the said preachers, and punish
them according to the tenor of the severest edicts. By this means you
will extirpate impiety from your country, and will do an act agreeable
to God and conformable to our express will.

'CAROLUS, Imp.'[813]

This letter, which savoured so strongly of the absolute monarch, excited
much astonishment in Geneva. The citizens did not deny that the emperor
might claim a certain authority over them, since theirs was an imperial
city. They have resisted the bishop-prince, they have resisted the duke:
will they also resist this powerful sovereign? His demand was clear, and
some of them said that to oppose so great a prince would be the height
of madness, in a little city of merchants. But the Genevans did not
hesitate, and, without any bravado, returned the emperor this simple
message: 'Sire, we intend to live, as in past times, according to God
and the law of Jesus Christ.'

Upon this, Charles promised to assist the duke with an armed force. The
pope, too, changed his mind, in spite of his refusal to Gazzini, and
found _in the emptiness of his treasury_ a subsidy of four thousand
Spanish livres. The two mightiest personages in christendom united
against this little city their influence, their excommunications, their
cunning, their wealth, and their soldiers; and everything was got ready
for the meditated attack.

[Footnote 801: 'Et in domos et toros grassabantur.'—_Geneva Restituda_,
p. 21.]

[Footnote 802: 'Vix ac ne vix tot admissariorum prurentium ardores
arceri poterant.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 803: 'Pro cerebro Petri pumex repertus.'—Ibid. See also
Calvin's _Inventaire des Reliques_.]

[Footnote 804: 'Reperti tubi, tanta arte inter se commissi, ut excitatum
ab adstantibus sonum statim exciperent.'—_Geneva Restituta_, p. 26.
Registres du Conseil du 8 décembre 1535. Froment, _Actes et Gestes
merveilleux de la Cité de Genève nouvellement convertie à l'Evangile_,
publiés par M. G. Revilliod, p. 49.]

[Footnote 805: 'Sed his spectris, propius vestigatis, animæ crustosæ et
testaceæ deprehensæ ... ellychniis succensis dorsorum crustæ
alligatis.'—_Geneva Restituta_, p. 27. Froment, _Actes et Gestes de
Genève_, p. 150.]

[Footnote 806: 'In exactionibus harpias, ad superbiendum tauros, ad
consumendum minotauros.'—_Geneva Restituta_, p. 28.]

[Footnote 807: 'Leur serait comptée pour deux.'—Registres du Conseil des
4 et 9 janvier 1530.]

[Footnote 808: 'Melius est bellum cum libertate quam pacifica servitus.
Nolite confidere in principibus; soli Deo honor et gloria!'—_Journal de
Balard_, pp. 226, 264, 267. Registres du Conseil des 17 avril, 8 août,
17 octobre, 14 novembre, &c.]

[Footnote 809: Registres du Conseil de Genève du 23 mai 1529. _Journal
de Balard_, p. 229.]

[Footnote 810: Registres du Conseil des 23 et 24 mai 1529. _Journal de
Balard_, pp. 331-336. Gautier MS.]

[Footnote 811: Registres du Conseil des 23 et 24 mai 1529. _Journal de
Balard_, pp. 331-336. Gautier MS. Bonivard, _Chroniq._ ii. p. 535.
Galiffe fils, _Besançon Hugues_, p. 364.]

[Footnote 812: Archives de Turin, Correspondance romaine; Dépêches du 12
juillet 1529 et du 23 décembre 1530. Gaberel, _Pièces Justificatives_,
p. 31.]

[Footnote 813: Archives de Turin, première catégorie, p. 11, nᵒ 63.
Gaberel, i. p. 101.]

 (MARCH TO MAY 1530.)


The courage of the defenders of catholicism in Geneva was revived by the
news they received from without; and the emperor, the pope, and the duke
declaring themselves ready to do their duty, the episcopal officers
prepared to do theirs also. But one circumstance might paralyse all
their efforts: 'God, of his goodness, began at this time,' says a
manuscript, 'to implant a knowledge of the truth, of his holy Gospel,
and of the Reformation in the hearts of some individuals in Geneva, by
the intercourse they had with the people of Berne.'[814] These huguenots
boldly professed the protestant ideas they had imbibed, and, though
possessing no very enlightened faith, felt a pleasure in attacking with
sarcasm and ridicule the priests and their followers. Curés and friars
waited every day upon the episcopal vicar, and complained bitterly of
these _Lutherans_, as they called them, who, in their own houses, or in
the public places, and even in the churches, as they walked up and down
the aisles, spoke aloud of the necessity of a reformation.[815] On the
22nd of March, the vicar, eager to do his duty in the absence of the
bishop, sent for the procurator-fiscal, and consulted with him on the
defence of the faith. The procurator appeared before the council.
'Heresy is boldly raising its head,' he said; 'the people eat meat in
Lent, according to the practice of the Lutheran sect. Instead of
devoutly listening to the mass, they promenade (_passagiare_) the church
during divine service.... If we do not put a stop to this evil, the city
will be ruined.... I command you, in behalf of my lord the bishop, to
punish these rebels severely.' The Berne manuscript adds, 'He made great
complaints, accompanied with reproaches and threats.' The Duke of Savoy
supported him by advising the council to take precautions against the
Lutheran errors that were making their way into the city. The
magistrates were fully inclined to check religious innovation: 'We must
compel everybody,' they said, 'to listen to the mass with respect.' The
huguenots pointed out the danger of attending in any degree to the
duke's wishes, for in that case he would fancy himself the sovereign of
Geneva. What was to be done? A man of some wit proposed a singular and
hitherto unheard-of penalty for suppressing heresy, which was adopted
and published in spite of the opposition of the most determined
huguenots: 'Ordered, that whoever eats meat in Lent, or walks about the
churches, shall be condemned to build _three toises of the wall_ of St.
Gervais.' The city was building this wall as a means of defence against
the duke.[816]


This decree raised a storm against the Roman clergy. There have been at
all times estimable men among the catholic priests, and even christians
who, with great self-sacrifice, have dedicated themselves to the
alleviation of human misery. The party spirit that represents a whole
class of men as hypocrites, fanatics, and debauchees, is opposed to
justice as well as to charity. It must be confessed, however, that there
were not at this time in Geneva many of those pious and zealous priests
who have been found in the Roman-catholic Church since it was awakened
by the Reformation. 'What!' exclaimed the members of council who
inclined towards protestantism, and saw their friends condemned, 'the
Church forbids us to eat food which God created for our use, and permits
priests to gratify an insatiable lewdness, against which God has
pronounced a severe condemnation!... Ha! ha! Messieurs du clergé, you
wish us to eat nothing but fish, and you live in habitual intercourse
with harlots.... Hypocrites! you strain at the gnat and swallow the
camel.' At the same time these citizens exposed the irregularities of
the priests and monks, pointed out their resorts for debauchery, and
described the scandals occasioned by their lusts. This description,
which every one knew to be true, made a deep impression. The good
catholics who were on the council saw the injury done to religion by the
immorality of the clergy; while certain practical men were inclined to
consider the great movement then going on in the Church as essentially a
reform of morals. 'The Lutheran sect increases and prospers,' said a
catholic councillor, 'because of the scandal of the priests, who live
openly with women of evil life.'[817]


The council sent for the vicar-general: 'We have a great complaint to
make,' they told him. 'No remedy has been applied to the depravity and
scandalous conduct of the ecclesiastics, who are the cause of all kinds
of irregularity. Exert your authority without waiting until the secular
power is compelled to interfere.' It would appear that, as the vicar
held out no great hopes of amendment, the council were of opinion that,
after condemning the laymen who walked about in the churches, they ought
also to condemn the priests who were caught in disorderly houses. One
councillor imagined it would be but fair to yoke, so to say, these two
different kinds of delinquents to the same car. A second resolution was
therefore adopted by the council, which, never losing sight of the
necessity of protecting the city against Savoy, ordered 'that the
priests should forthwith forsake their evil ways under penalty of
building three toises of the wall of St. Gervais, in company with the
others.'[818] Thus the forerunners of protestantism and the profligate
priests were ordered to labour together at the same task in the fosses
of St. Gervais. The latter were indignant at being placed in the same
rank with the former, and thought their dignity compromised by the
singular decree which forced them to supply the heretics with mortar. It
would appear, however, that the two orders were not very strictly
observed, that wicked ecclesiastics continued to gratify their
appetites, and that the wall advanced but slowly. 'The canons, priests,
and friars are incorrigible,' said the people; 'they are jovial fellows,
fond of drinking, and rear their bastard children openly. How can the
Church be scandalised at such a course of life, when even the popes set
the example?'[819]

Although this decree of the council showed great impartiality and a
certain amount of good sense, we cannot put in the same rank the two
classes whom it affected. The huguenots, seeing that the Holy Scriptures
call that a _doctrine of devils_ which commands men '_to abstain from
meats which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving_,'[820]
did what the Word of God directs, while the evil priests indulged in the
most scandalous disorders. Negative protestantism, however, is not true
piety; and hence it was that the evangelical christians of Zurich and
Berne, taking advantage of the frequent journeys the Genevans made to
these two cities on public or private business, were constantly urging
them to receive the true essence of the Gospel. In the visits they made
to each other, in their friendly walks on the shore of the lake of
Zurich or on the hills which overlook the Aar, these pious reformers of
German Switzerland said to the huguenots: '_The kingdom of God is not
meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy
Ghost._[821] Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, but born as a man,
has become our Redeemer by his death and by his resurrection. He alone
satisfies completely the religious wants of mankind. Unite yourselves to
Him by faith, and you will experience in yourselves that the pure
religion of the Gospel is not only the first among all religions
professed by men, but, as coming from God, is perfect.'


The four Vandels, without entirely breaking with Rome, had been for more
than three years among the most decided of the so-called Lutheran party.
Hugues Vandel was sent into Switzerland as ambassador (this is the name
usually given to the envoys in the official documents of the period). At
Zurich, 'the Zwinglians gave him a hearty welcome;' the friends of
Haller did the same at Berne, where he happened to be in June 1530. All
of the evangelicals in these two cities were earnest in their wishes to
see a vital christianity displace the few negative reforms in Geneva.
'The majority in the city of Geneva would like to be evangelical,'
answered Vandel; 'but they want to be shown the way, and no one would
dare preach the Gospel in the churches for fear of Friburg.' What is to
be done? thought he. Day and night he tried to find the means of having
the Gospel preached to his fellow-citizens; at last a bright idea
suddenly occurred to him; he spoke about it to the Zwinglians at Zurich,
and to Berthold Haller at Berne; he wrote about it to Farel, to
Christopher Fabry, and also to his brother Robert at Geneva. His idea
was this: It will be remembered that St. Victor was a little independent
principality at the gates of the city. 'Suppose it were made over to my
lords of Berne,' said Vandel; 'they would like to have a bailiff there
and _a preacher who would be our great comfort_.' It is true that the
church of St. Victor was old, and would probably 'tumble down' erelong,
but Berne would be able to rebuild it. All the evangelicals of Geneva,
forsaking the mass in the city churches, and crossing St. Antoine, would
go in crowds to hear Christ preached in the church of Bonivard.... Thus
that Renaissance of which the prior was the representative, would be
truly for Geneva the gate of the Reformation. An event which had just
taken place may have suggested this idea to Vandel. It was a scheme
suggested by the pope, and carried out by the duke.[822]

Bonivard, deprived of his benefice at the time of Berthelier's death,
had recovered his priory but not his revenue. Endowed, as he was, with
resolution and invention rather than perseverance, holding that the
detention of his property by the duke was an injustice, desiring to be
restored to full possession of his little principality, and not a little
ashamed of having to tell his servant that he had nothing in his purse
when the latter came and asked for money to purchase the necessaries of
life—Bonivard had girded on his sword, taken a musquetoon, mounted his
horse, and, thus equipped and accompanied by a few men-at-arms, had made
several raids into the duke's territory to levy his rents. But he had to
deal both with the duke and the pope. He had been replaced in his priory
by the bishop and the council, but without the consent of the courts of
Rome and Turin, which had illegally despoiled him of it. Consequently a
pontifical proctor, attended by an escort, made his appearance to
prevent the prior from recovering his property. Bonivard, who was
naturally impetuous, looked upon this man as a robber come to plunder
him; he therefore rushed forward, caught up his arms, and discharged his
musquetoon at the Roman official. The latter, who was terrified, rode
off as fast as he could; for Bonivard with his firelock had wounded the
horse.[823] Both pope and duke were loud in their complaints, and
Clement even issued a brief against him. In consequence of this, the
council of Geneva forbade Bonivard to indulge in these military freaks;
and as he had no means of living, the magistrates granted him four
crowns and a half a month, to pay his expenses and those of his servant,
until he was in a better position. 'Alas!' said the prior, 'four crowns
a month! ... it is so little, that I can hardly keep myself and my
page.' However, he remained patient, but he was not left in peace.

The Roman proctor, taking up the matter again, claimed the priory, in
the name of Clement, on behalf of the priest who had been invested with
it after the death of the traitor Montheron. Bonivard, desiring to place
his benefice beyond the reach of fresh attacks, annexed it to the
hospital of Geneva, which was to receive the revenues for him as prior.
But the duke had other views. More than four hundred persons, carrying
arms, and assembling by night before the hôtel-de-ville, had demanded
justice on certain monks of St. Victor, who were accused of plotting to
betray the convent to the partisans of Savoy. Besançon Hugues and Thomas
Vandel, the procurator-fiscal, were the bearers of this request, and
Bonivard had the monks shut up in prison. When the duke was informed of
the annexation of the priory to the hospital of Geneva, his anger was
increased, for he had a great desire to possess St. Victor's, which
would give him a footing close to the gates of the city. His agents
therefore solicited the prior 'daily' to revoke this act, and promised
him 'seas and mountains' if he would consent; but Bonivard shook his
head, saying: 'I do not trust him!' Charles now determined to get rid of
a man who was an obstacle in his path in all his enterprises against


The prior, usually so cheerful, had been for some time dejected and
thoughtful. It was not only his priory, his poverty, and his enemies
that threw a shade over his countenance, formerly so animated: his
mother was seriously ill. To Bonivard filial piety was the most natural
of obligations, the first and sweetest form of gratitude. He thought:
'How correctly Plato writes that there are no Penates more sacred, there
is no worship more acceptable to the gods, than that of a father or
mother bending under the weight of years.' His Genevese friends, who
went daily to St. Victor's, observed his sadness, and asked him the
reason. 'Alas!' he said, 'I should like to see my aged mother once more
before she dies. I have not seen her these five years, and she is on the
brink of the grave.' To one of them who inquired where she was, he
replied: 'At Seyssel, in our ancestral house.' Seyssel was in the states
of Savoy, and Charles would not fail to have the prior seized if he
ventured to appear there.

Bonivard fancied, however, he could see the means of gratifying his
dearest wishes. He determined to take advantage of the solicitations
addressed to him by Charles to ask for a safe-conduct. 'I will go and
see my mother and brother at Seyssel,' he said, 'and ask their advice.
We will consult together on this business.' The duke sent Bonivard the
required passport, stipulating, however, that it should be available for
the month of April only. Charles, delighted at seeing Bonivard quit the
neighbourhood of Geneva and venture into the middle of his territories,
determined that if this journey did not give him the priory, it should
at least give him the prior.... Bonivard's friends, whose judgment was
not influenced by filial affection, were justly alarmed when they heard
of his approaching departure, and tried to detain him; he could think of
nothing, however, but seeing his mother before she died. He accordingly
departed, passed the Fort de l'Ecluse, the Perte du Rhone, and reached
the little town where the 'ancient dame,' as he called her, resided. The
mother, who loved the name, the talents, the glory, and the person of
her son, clasped him in her arms with fond affection; but her joy soon
gave way to fear, for she knew Charles's perfidy, she remembered
Lévrier's story ... and trembled for her child.[825]


Meanwhile Bonivard's enemies in Geneva had not delayed to take advantage
of his departure. Some of them were mamelukes. To embroil him with the
huguenots seemed likely to be of service to their cause; and they
therefore began to report in the city that he had gone to surrender St.
Victor's to the duke, and that he was betraying the people and revealing
their secrets. The intimate friends of the prior indignantly
contradicted the calumny; but his enemies continued repeating it, and,
as the most ardent men are often the most credulous, a few huguenots
gave credit to these assertions. Bonivard wrote to the council of
Geneva, complaining of the injury done him, and reminded them that there
was not a man in the city more devoted to its independence than himself.

What should he do? He was exceedingly embarrassed. Should he return to
Geneva? He feared the anger of those among the huguenots in whose eyes
it was a crime to go to Savoy. Should he remain at Seyssel? As soon as
the month of April was ended, he would be seized by the duke. His mother
conjured him to put himself out of the reach of his enemies, both duke
and Genevans....

  'Et qui refuserait une mère qui prie?...

He determined to go to Friburg. The council of Geneva had indeed told
him not to disquiet himself about the foolish stories of his enemies,
and added: 'Let him come, if he pleases, and he will be treated
well.'[826] This was not a very pressing invitation, and Besançon
Hugues, the most influential man in the city, was against him. Hugues, a
catholic and episcopalian, might very well have no great liking for the
prior of a monastery who was coming round entirely to the new ideas. It
seems, however, that these catholic prejudices were mixed up with some
human weaknesses. 'Bonivard,' says a manuscript, 'often had disputes
with Besançon Hugues, who hoped to obtain for his son the investiture of
the priory of St. Victor.'[827] The prior was not ignorant of this
hostile disposition. 'Alas!' he said, 'a councillor, and he not one of
the least, is exciting the council and the people against me.' On the
other hand, he could not make up his mind to turn thoroughly to the side
of the Reformation; he still remained in the neutral ground of Erasmus,
and indulged in jests against the huguenots, which indisposed them
towards him. He belonged neither to one party nor to the other, and
offended both. He was not anxious, therefore, to return to Geneva just
now, fearing that his enemies would be stronger than his friends. The
month of April being ended, he begged the duke to prolong his
safe-conduct during the month of May, and it was granted. Bonivard now
took leave of his aged mother, whom he left full of anguish about the
fate of her son. She never saw him again.

The Count of Chalans, president of the council of Savoy, and friend of
the Bishop of Aosta, was, though a layman, as bigoted to
Roman-catholicism as Gazzini was, as a priest. At that time he was
holding a _journée_ or diet at Romont, between Lausanne and Friburg. The
avoyer of Friburg, who was Bonivard's friend, happening to be at Romont,
Bonivard repaired thither; and, related as he was to the nobility of
Savoy, he presented his homage to the count, who received him kindly.
Bonivard skilfully sounded De Chalans on what he might have to fear; for
once already, and not far from that place, he had been seized and thrown
into a ducal prison. The count pledged his honour, both verbally and in
writing, that he would run no danger in the duke's territories during
the month of May, and, he added, even during the month of June.
Bonivard, thus set at ease, began to reflect on his position. It was a
strange thing for a man, so enlightened as he was on the abuses of
popery and monasticism, to be at the head of a monastic body. Moreover,
in addition to the pope and the duke, he had a new adversary against
him. 'I fear the duke on the one hand,' he said, 'and on the other the
madness of the people of Geneva, to whom I dare not return without the
strongest pledges.'


Bonivard, having weighed everything, determined upon a great sacrifice.
He started for Lausanne, and proposed to the Bishop of Montfaucon to
resign to him the priory of St. Victor, on condition of receiving a
pension of four hundred crowns. The bishop accepted the proposal,
provided Geneva and Savoy would consent. Bonivard thought this an easy
matter, and as René de Chalans was then holding another _journée_ at
Moudon, he determined to go thither to arrange the great affair. He
arrived on the 25th of May. The count received him courteously, and
appeared to enter into his ideas; but at the same time this lord and
certain officers of Savoy held several private conferences, the result
of which was that they sent a messenger to Lausanne. Bonivard was
invited to sup with the president, who gave him the seat of honour.
There was a large party, the repast was very animated, and the prior,
whose gaiety was easily revived, amused all the company by his wit.
There was, however, one officer at his highness's table who annoyed him
considerably: it was the Sire de Bellegarde, Lévrier's murderer. This
wretch, as if he desired to efface that disagreeable impression, was
most obliging and attentive. At last they left the table. There were so
many gentlemen assembled in the little town of Moudon, that all the
bed-rooms were occupied—so at least it was stated. Upon this,
Bellegarde, in a jovial tone, said to Bonivard: 'Well, then, my friend,
I will share my room with you.' Bonivard accepted the offer, but not
without some uneasiness. The next morning he prepared to set out for
Lausanne in order to arrange his business with the bishop. 'I am afraid
that you will lose your way, and that something may happen to you,' said
Bellegarde. 'I will send a servant on horseback along with you.' The
confiding Bonivard departed with the sergeant of his highness's steward.

Bellegarde varied his treachery. He had kidnapped Lévrier as he was
leaving the cathedral, and had conveyed him in person to the castle
where he was to meet his death. This time he preferred to keep out of
sight, and for that reason a message had been despatched to Lausanne.
After watching over Bonivard during the night, lest he should escape, as
Hugues had escaped from Châtelaine, Bellegarde took leave of him, giving
him a very courteous embrace, and strongly recommending him to the care
of the sergeant. The road from Moudon to Lausanne runs for about five
leagues through the Jorat hills, which at that period were wild and
lonely. Gloomy thoughts sprang up from time to time to disturb Bonivard.
He remembered how Lévrier had been seized by Bellegarde at the gates of
St. Pierre.... If a similar fate awaited him!... His confidence soon
revived, and he went on.


It was a fine day in May, this Thursday, the 26th. Early in the morning
Messire de Beaufort, captain of Chillon, and the Sire du Rosey, bailli
of Thonon, having received their instructions from Moudon, had quitted
Lausanne, followed by twelve to fifteen well-armed horsemen. On reaching
the heights of the Jorat, near the convent of St. Catherine, they hid
themselves in a wood of black pines, which still remains;[828] and there
both leaders and soldiers waited silently for the unfortunate Bonivard.
He was provided, indeed, with a safe-conduct from the duke; but John
Huss's had been violated, and why should they observe that of the prior
of St. Victor? 'No faith ought to be kept with heretics,' had been said
at Constance, and was repeated now at Moudon. Erelong De Beaufort and Du
Rosey heard the tramp of two horses; they gave a signal to their
followers to be ready, and peered out from among the trees where they
lay hid to see if their victim was really coming. At last the guide on
horseback appeared, then came Bonivard on his mule; De Bellegarde's
servant led him straight to the appointed place. Just as the unlucky
prior, wavering between confidence and fear, was passing the spot where
Beaufort, Du Rosey, and their fifteen companions were posted, the latter
rushed from the wood and sprang upon Bonivard. He put his hand to his
sword, and clapped spurs to his mule in order to escape, calling out to
his guide: 'Spur! spur!' But, instead of galloping forwards, the
sergeant turned suddenly upon the man he should have protected, caught
hold of him, and 'with a knife which he had ready' cut Bonivard's
sword-belt. All this took place in the twinkling of an eye. 'Whereupon
these honest people fell upon me,' said the prior when he told the story
in after years, 'and made me prisoner in the name of Monseigneur.' He
made all the resistance he could; produced his papers, and showed that
they were all in order; but his safe-conduct was of no avail with the
agents of Bellegarde and De Chalans. Taking some cord from a bag they
had brought with them, they tied Bonivard's arms, and bound him to his
mule, as they had once bound Lévrier, and in this way passing through
Lausanne, near which the outrage had been committed, they turned to the
left. The prior crossed Vaux, Vevey, Clarens, and Montreux; but these
districts, which are among the most beautiful in Switzerland, could not
for an instant rouse him from his deep dejection. 'They took me, bound
and pinioned, to Chillon,' he says in his _Chronicles_, 'and there I
remained six long years.... It was my second passion.'[829]


Nine years before, almost day for day (May 1521), Luther had also been
seized in a wood for the purpose of being taken to a castle; but he had
been carried off by friends, while _the prisoner of Chillon_ was
perfidiously taken by enemies. Bonivard, a reformer of a negative and
rather philosophical character, was much inferior to Luther, the
positive and evangelical reformer; but Bonivard's imprisonment far
exceeded in severity that of the Saxon doctor. At first, indeed, the
prior of St. Victor was confined in a room and treated respectfully; but
Charles the Good, after visiting him and holding some conversation with
him, ordered, as he left the castle, that the prisoner should be treated
harshly. He was transferred to one of those damp and gloomy dungeons cut
out of the rock, which lie below the level of the lake. It is probable
that the duke gave this cruel order because the prisoner, true to light
and liberty, had refused to bend before him. Bonivard's seizure was a
severe blow to his mother, to his friends, and even to the magistrates
of Geneva, who, on hearing of it, saw all the duke's perfidy and the
prior's innocence, and restored to him their affection and esteem. For
some time it was uncertain whether Bonivard was alive or dead; all that
people knew was that he had been seized, in defiance of the
safe-conduct, on the hills above Lausanne. However, John Lullin and the
other envoys of Geneva present at the _journée_ held at Payerne at
Christmas 1530, being better informed, did all in their power to obtain
the liberation of a man who had done such good service to liberty; but
the agents of Savoy pretended ignorance of the place of his imprisonment.

A brilliant existence was thus suddenly interrupted. What humour, what
originality, what striking language, what invention, what witty
conversations were abruptly cut short! Bonivard never recovered from
these six years of the strictest captivity. When he came out of Chillon
he was a different man from what he was when he entered it. He was like
a bird which, while giving utterance to the sweetest song, is caught by
a gust of wind and beaten to the ground; ever after it miserably drags
its wings, and utters none but harsh unpleasing sounds. St. Victor
wanted the _one thing needful_; he was not one of those of whom it is
said: _their youth is renewed like the eagle's_. The brightness of the
Reformation eclipsed him. The latter part of his life was as sad as his
early part had been brilliant. It would have been better for his fame
had he been put to death in the castle-yard of Chillon, as Lévrier had
been in that of Bonne.

[Footnote 814: Berne MS. _Hist. Helvet._ v. p. 12.]

[Footnote 815: Michel Roset, _Chroniq._ MS. liv. ii. ch. xiv.]

[Footnote 816: Registres du Conseil des 22 et 29 mars. Bonivard,
_Chroniq._ ii. p. 551. Berne MS. _Hist. Helvet._ v. p. 12.]

[Footnote 817: Bonivard, _Chroniq._ ii. p. 551.]

[Footnote 818: 'Quod presbyteri ab inde debeant relinquere eorum
lupanaria, lubricitates et meretrices, sub simili pœna (facere in muris
Sancti Gervasii tres teysias muri.)'—Registres du Conseil du 1ᵉʳ avril.]

[Footnote 819: Galiffe, _Matériaux pour l'Histoire de Genève_, ii. p.
vii. The note contains a long list of the illegitimate children of
popes, archbishops, inquisitors, and other churchmen.]

[Footnote 820: 1 Timothy iv. 1-3.]

[Footnote 821: Romans xiv. 17.]

[Footnote 822: Lettre de Vandel du 23 juin 1530. Galiffe fils, _Besançon
Hugues_, note to page 395.]

[Footnote 823: 'Procuratorem prosequentem scopettis invasisse, et equum
super quo fugiebat vulnerasse.'—Brief of Clement VII., dated January 24,

[Footnote 824: Bonivard, _Chroniq._ ii. pp. 485, 547, 572. _Mém.
d'Archéologie_, tom. v. p. 162.]

[Footnote 825: Bonivard, _Chroniq._ ii. pp. 572,573. _Mém.
d'Archéologie_, iv. p. 171.]

[Footnote 826: 'Fuit lecta missiva Domini Sancti Victoris. Rescribatur
ei ut veniat, si velit, et illum bene tractabimus.'—Council Register,
May 2, 1530.]

[Footnote 827: Gautier MS. Bonivard, _Chroniq._ ii. p. 573.]

[Footnote 828: The convent of St. Catherine occupied the site of the
_Chalet à Gobet_, an inn situated on the road from Lausanne to Berne.]

[Footnote 829: 'Ce fut ma seconde passion.'—Bonivard, _Chroniq._]



Bonivard's arrest was not an isolated act, but the first skirmish of a
general engagement. The duke and the bishop were reconciled, and their
only thought was how they could reduce Geneva by force of arms. A
singular resolution for a pastor! Fortunately for him, the Genevans gave
him a pretext calculated in some measure to justify his warlike cure of

The iniquitous conduct of the Duke of Savoy towards Bonivard refuted the
unjust accusations brought against him, and the Genevans at once
manifested their sympathy with the unhappy prisoner of Chillon. They
were indignant at the duke's violation of the safe-conduct that he
himself had given. 'You see his bad faith,' they said. Thinking that
when the innocent were put in prison, it was time to punish the guilty,
they determined to have their revenge.

There was at Geneva a man named Mandolla, a procurator-fiscal and
thorough-going partisan of the duke and the bishop. 'He was a bastard
priest of evil name and fame,' say the chronicles of the times, 'who
indulged in exactions, and in plundering and arbitrarily imprisoning
those who displeased him.' The vicar-general, Messire de Gingins, abbot
of Bonmont, an upright and benevolent man, often remonstrated with him,
but Mandolla answered him with insolence. Nor was this all; for, having
the temporal authority under his jurisdiction, he was continually
intriguing to deliver up Geneva to the duke. The citizens, irritated at
these encroachments on their rights, addressed several strong
remonstrances to the abbot of Bonmont against the foreign priest who was
trying to rob them of their independence. It was a serious accusation:
Mandolla's conscience told him it was just; he took the alarm, and,
wishing to escape justice, hastily quitted Geneva, and fled for refuge
to the castle of Peney.

The Genevans now complained louder than ever. 'Remove this thorn from
the city,' said they to the vicar-general. The abbot acknowledged the
justice of their demand, and the council, the guardians of the rights of
the city, came to his assistance; for they recollected how, at the
election of the syndics in 1526, that man had intrigued to carry the
list which contained the name of the infamous Cartelier. Some armed men
were sent to the castle of Peney, where they seized Mandolla, bound him
to a horse, as Lévrier and Bonivard had been bound, and on the 24th of
June he was brought back to Geneva, surrounded by guards who led him to
prison. A procurator-fiscal treated like a criminal! it was a thing
unprecedented. The people stopped in the streets as he passed, and
looked at him with astonishment. The unhappy Mandolla's mind was in a
state of great confusion. He wondered if they would avenge on him the
deaths of Lévrier and Berthelier and the captivity of Bonivard. He felt
that he was guilty, but trusted in his powerful protectors. His friends
did not, indeed, lose a moment, but wrote to the bishop, who was at


Mandolla had hardly been three days in prison, when 'a severe and
threatening letter' from the bishop arrived at Geneva. The prelate was
indignant that the citizens should dare lay hands upon a clerk, who was
one of his officers, and especially on that fiscal who, as Bonivard
says, _brought the water to his mill_. 'Not content with the
unseasonable innovations you have made in our jurisdiction,' he wrote to
the syndics on the 27th of June, 'you have caused our procurator to be
arrested in the discharge of his functions.... And you do not like to be
called traitors!... We condemn the outrage as much as if you had done it
to our own person. Set our fiscal at liberty, without any damage to his
person; make amends for the outrage you have committed; otherwise we
shall employ all the means God has placed in our hands to obtain
vengeance.' The council were greatly astonished on reading this letter:
'The bishop forgets,' they said, 'that this is a case simply of robbery
and treason. How long has it been the custom to threaten with the
vengeance of God and man the magistrates who prosecute a thief?'—'My
lord,' answered the magistrates, 'Mandolla you well know to be a traitor
and a robber.' And, giving no heed to the episcopal summons, they drew
up an indictment against the fiscal. When this was told to La Baume, he
could not contain himself. His twofold title of prince and bishop filled
him with pride, and he could not bear the thought that these citizens of
Geneva disregarded his orders.

This affair only served to hasten the execution of his plans. His mind
was full of bitterness on account of the heresy he had discovered in the
city, and he thought but of punishing those whom he looked upon as
traitors. It did not occur to the bishop that Geneva, after undergoing a
great transformation, was one day to become the most active focus of the
Reform. But, without foreseeing such a future, he thought that if the
Reformation were established there, as at Zurich and Berne, the
provinces of Savoy, and others besides, would erelong fall a prey to the
contagion. He made up his mind to oppose it in every way, and it must be
confessed that he had a right to do so; but two things are to be
regretted: the unholy mixing up of the catholic cause with that of a
traitor and thief, and the means that the prelate employed.


These means he sought in violence. In order to punish the huguenots he
must have allies. Where could he look for them except among the knights
of the Spoon? As prince and bishop of Geneva, he would give a shape to
this fraternity, and organise it against his own episcopal city. He
forthwith entered into communication with its principal leaders: John de
Viry, sire of Alamogne; John Mestral, sire of Aruffens; John de
Beaufort, baron of Rolle; Francis, sire of St. Saphorin; the sire of
Genthod, a village situated between Geneva and Versoix; and especially
Michael, baron of La Sarraz, whom the bishop called 'his dearly beloved
cousin.' Without waiting for these powerful lords to attack the city, he
began to carry on a little war himself. He put into prison two Genevan
cattle-dealers, who chanced to be in the territory of St. Claude;
ordered the Genevan _goats and cows_ to be seized, which were grazing on
the hills of Gex; and posted armed men on all the roads leading from
Geneva to Lyons, with instructions to stop his _subjects_ and their
friends, and to seize their goods.[830]

After this little war, the bishop turned his thoughts to the great one.
At first he wished to set in motion his own vassals, friends, and allies
on the western slopes of the Jura. 'Brother,' said he to the Baron of
St. Sorlin, 'call out our Burgundians.' His negotiations with La Sarraz,
Viry, and others having succeeded, he issued a general appeal to the
knights of the Spoon. 'Gentlemen and neighbours of my episcopal city,'
he said, 'I have been informed of your friendly disposition to aid me in
punishing my rebellious subjects of Geneva. And now, knowing that it
will be a meritorious work before God and the world to do justice upon
such evil-doers, I pray and require you to be pleased to help me in this
matter.' Many of these gentlemen crossed the Jura to come to an
arrangement with him, and filled Arbois with their indignation.

The 20th of August was an important day at the residence of the
prince-bishop; he had determined to make war upon his flock, and this
moment had been chosen for the declaration. Pierre de la Baume was not
so cruel as his predecessor, the bastard of Savoy; but his irritation
was now at its height. If he chanced to meet any Genevans who addressed
him in respectful language, he would smile graciously upon them, but 'it
was all grimace,' says the pseudo-Bonivard.[831] When they had quitted
him, La Baume once more indulged in angry and threatening words. The
convents, the commandery of Malta, and the college of the canons of
Arbois were still more violent in their complaints. On the 20th of
August a meeting took place at the priory. The knights of the Spoon, who
had found the wine of Arbois excellent, arrived with their swords, their
coats of mail, and their cloaks. The bishop, proud of having such
defenders, invited them near the chair where he was seated, and
graciously handed them their commissions to make war upon his subjects.
'We, Pierre de la Baume,' they ran, 'bishop and prince of Geneva, having
regard to the insolence, rebellion, treason, and conspiracies that some
of our subjects of Geneva are daily committing against us and our
authority ... imprisoning our subjects and our officers without orders,
assuming our rights of principality, and threatening to do worse; ...
being resolved _to maintain our Church in her authority and to uphold
our holy faith_, have commissioned and required our friends and
relatives to aid us in punishing the rebels, and, if need be, to proceed
by force of arms.' (Here follow the names of these friends, the Baron of
La Sarraz, and the other lords mentioned above.) The prelate ended the
document by a declaration that these gentlemen 'had full authority from
him, and that, in confirmation, he had written these letters with his
own hand at Arbois, on this 20th of August in the year 1530.' He had
signed the papers: _Bishop of Geneva_. The gentlemen thanked the
prelate, promised to do all in their power, and, quitting Franche-Comté,
returned to their castles to make ready for the campaign, repeating to
one another, as they rode along, that it was very necessary to maintain
_the authority of the Roman Church_ in Geneva, and to uphold _the holy
faith_, and seeming very proud that such was the object of the crusade
they were about to undertake.[832]


The bishop's alarm was not without foundation. The huguenots, even those
most inclined to protestantism, did not possess much evangelical light;
they were struck rather with the superstitions of Rome than with their
own sins and the grace of God. There were nevertheless some Genevans and
a few foreigners living in Geneva, who displayed great zeal, and replied
to the bishop's violence by going about from place to place seeking to
enlighten souls. The gentlemen of Savoy, who had just made an alliance
with the bishop, had seen this with their own eyes. 'They enter the
cottages, and even venture into our castles,' said the knights,
'everywhere preaching what they call the Word of God.' The peasants
listened rather favourably to the addresses of these evangelists; but,
says Balard, 'the gentlemen could not be prevented from taking vengeance
on such excesses.' When any of these daring pioneers of the Reformation
arrived at a castle, or even at the village or town which depended on
it, the lord, exasperated that the heretics should dare come and preach
their doctrines to his servants and vassals, seized them and threw them
into his dungeons.

Some envoys from Friburg who were going to Chambéry, having halted on
the road at the castle of one of their friends, heard of these doings;
it happened, too, that some of these huguenot prisoners (they may have
come from Berne) were confined in the place at which they were stopping.
As the Friburgers, although good catholics, were not in favour of
employing brute force in matters of religion, they found means to touch
the hearts of their persecutors, and succeeded in having these fervent
evangelists set at liberty. They then continued their journey to
Chambéry. But the duke had hardly given them audience before he said to
them with bitterness: 'I have to complain, gentlemen, that you go about
in search of prisoners in my country, and that the people of Geneva are
trying to make my people as bad as themselves.... I will not put up with
such disorders.... I cannot prevent my nobles from taking
vengeance.'[833] But the Genevans were equally unwilling to submit to
the ill-treatment to which some of their number had been exposed, and
accordingly Robert Vandel and John Lullin were despatched in all haste
to Berne and Friburg to urge on the arrival of these noble auxiliaries.
It is probable, however, that certain serious rumours which were
beginning to circulate in Geneva were the principal cause of their

It was the autumn of 1530, and as the chiefs of German catholicism had
assembled at Augsburg to deliberate upon the means of destroying
protestantism in the empire, the duke and the bishop, the two great
enemies of Geneva, appointed a meeting at Gex, at the foot of the Jura,
to deliberate on the means of expelling both liberty and the Gospel from
the city of the Leman. 'Lutheranism is making considerable progress in
Geneva,' said the bishop to the duke; 'attack the city; for my part I
will employ in this work the revenues of my see and of my abbeys, and
even all my patrimony.'[835] The duke might have had reasons for
delaying the war. His brother-in-law the emperor, and the other catholic
princes assembled at Augsburg, thought they could not be ready before
the spring, and desired that protestantism should then be attacked on
all points at once. But passion prevailed with Charles III. Aspiring to
the sovereignty of Geneva, it was important for him to play the
principal part in the attack against that city; and when once Geneva was
taken, he would prove to all the world that, in accordance with the
system of the cardinals, it would be necessary to establish there some
ruler more powerful than a bishop, in order to prevent future


The Baron of La Sarraz was already at work; he was a man fitted to
succeed Pontverre. Prejudiced like him against Geneva, liberty, and the
Reformation, he was less noble, less virtuous, and less headstrong than
that unhappy gentleman, but surpassed him in genius and in ability. He
had sworn that either he or Geneva should give way and perish.... The
oath was accomplished, but not in the manner he had anticipated. The
knights of the Spoon, summoned by the bishop, excited by La Sarraz,
supported by the fugitive mamelukes, and approved of by the duke, took
the field immediately. They intercepted the provisions intended for
Geneva, and sharp skirmishes occurred every day. If any citizen went
beyond the walls to look after his farm or attend to his business, the
knights would fall upon him and beat him, shut him up in one of their
castle dungeons, and sometimes kill him. But all this was a mere
prelude. The bishop came to an understanding with the Baron of La
Sarraz, through his cousin, M. de Ranzonière. Another conference took
place at Arbois towards the middle of September 1530. After a long
conversation about the heresy and independence of Geneva, and the
strange changes and singular perils to which that city and the
surrounding provinces were exposed, they decided upon a general

On the 20th of September, the men-at-arms of the knights of the Spoon,
the Burgundians of the bishop, and the ducal troops, made arrangements
to surprise Geneva. On the 24th of September, some well-disposed people
came and told the citizens that the Duke of Nemours was at Montluel in
Bresse, three leagues from Lyons, with a large army. It was the Count of
Genevois, younger brother of the Duke of Savoy, whom his sister, the
mother of Francis I., had created Duke of Nemours in 1515. He was, as we
have already remarked, an able man, and, even while courting the
Genevans, desired nothing better than to destroy their city. His sister,
Louisa of Savoy, whose hostile disposition towards the Gospel we have
seen, thought it a very laudable thing to crush a place in which the
protestants, persecuted by her in France, might find an asylum. The six
captains of Geneva, on hearing this alarming intelligence, assembled
their troops and addressed them in a touching proclamation. This was on
Sunday, the 25th of September. 'We have been informed,' they said, 'that
our enemies will attack us very shortly. We pray you therefore to
forgive one another, and be ready to die in the defence of your rights.'
The citizens unanimously replied to these noble words: 'We are willing
to do so.'[838]


The next day, Monday, the 26th of September, a man of Granson, coming
from Burgundy, confirmed the news of the danger impending over the city.
'Everything is in motion on our side,' he told them. 'M. de St. Sorlin
has declared that _God and the world_ are enraged against Geneva (it was
the favourite expression of his family); companies of arquebusiers are
about to cross the Jura; the gentlemen of the Spoon are approaching with
a large number of armed men, and the day after the feast of St. Michael
they will enter Geneva by force, to kill the men, women, and children,
and plunder the city.' The man of Granson, at the request of the
syndics, hurried off to carry the news to Berne and Friburg.[839]

It was a singular thing, this expedition against Geneva in behalf of the
_holy faith_, for there was not a church in the city where mass was not
sung, and not one where the Gospel was preached. It was still a catholic
city; but, we must confess, it contained little really worthy of the
name, except old walls, old ceremonies, and old priests. Mass was
performed, but the huguenots, instead of listening to it, walked up and
down the aisles. The Reformation was everywhere in Geneva, and yet it
was nowhere. The bishop, the duke, and even the emperor, who were not
very acute judges, confounded liberty with the Gospel; and seeing that
liberty was in Geneva, they doubted not that the Gospel was there also.


On Friday, the 30th of September, the enemy's army debouched on all
sides of Geneva. The six captains of Geneva and their six hundred men
got their arms ready. At this moment envoys arrived from Friburg,
wishing to see, hear, and advise the councils. They had hardly entered
the city, when the troops of Savoy, Burgundy, and Vaud were seen
preparing to blockade it. A Friburg herald left immediately, to carry
the news to his lords; but at Versoix the ducal soldiers were on their
guard; the messenger was seized and conducted to the knight of the Spoon
who commanded in the castle. It was to no purpose that he declared
himself to be a Friburger: 'You wear neither the arms nor the colours of
Friburg,' was the reply; 'go back to Geneva.' And as the herald insisted
upon passing (he had had good reasons for not putting on his uniform),
the knights maltreated him and drove him before them close up to the
drawbridge of Geneva, insulting him from time to time in a very
offensive manner. The night was then approaching; the steps of the
horses and the shouts of the horsemen could be heard in the city; it was
believed that the assault was about to be made, and some citizens ran
off to ring the tocsin. The alarm continued through the night.

The enemy had pitched their camp at Saconnex, on the right bank of the
Rhone and the lake, about half a league from Geneva, in the direction of
Gex and the Jura. On Saturday, the 1st of October, they sallied forth
early in the morning, pillaged the houses round the city, set fire to
several farms, and returned to their camp: this was a petty prelude to
the meditated attack. At this moment a second herald, coming from
Friburg, was brought in. He had been stopped at Versoix, for nobody
could pass that post in either direction. The Friburgers, uneasy at
receiving no news from Geneva, had sent this man to learn whether their
friends were really in danger or not. 'What is your business?' asked the
officers. The herald, who had learnt the story of his colleague, had
recourse to a stratagem which the usages of war justify, but christian
truth condemns. 'I am ordered,' he said, 'to go and tell our ambassadors
that they must return immediately; and that if Monsieur of Savoy needs
the help of my lords of Friburg, they will assist him.' The Savoyards,
delighted at the mission of the Friburger, hastened to set him at
liberty; he went on to Geneva, and told the whole affair to the
ambassadors of his canton. The latter, extremely pleased at his
dexterity, asked him if he could once more make his way through the
triple barrier that the cavaliers had raised between Geneva and Friburg.
He was to report that the state of affairs was as bad as could be; and
that Geneva, attacked by superior forces, was on the point of falling.
'We have no time to write,' they added, for they feared their letters
would be intercepted; 'but we give you our rings as a token. Go
speedily, and tell the lords of the two cities (Berne and Friburg), that
if they wish to succour the city of Geneva, _they must do so now or_
_never_.' Prompt help from the Swiss could alone preserve the liberties
of Geneva. The cunning Friburger departed; but even should he succeed in
making his way through the Savoyard troops lying between Friburg and
Geneva, what might not happen before a Swiss army could arrive?[840]

The next day, Sunday, the 2nd of October, the episcopal army was put in
motion; it surrounded the city; a part of the Savoyard troops occupied
the suburb of St. Leger and the monasteries of St. Victor and Our Lady
of Grace; another part was drawn up opposite the Corraterie. The
Genevans could no longer restrain themselves: the gates of the
Corraterie were thrown open, and a number of the more intrepid sallied
out upon the Savoyards, who received them with their arquebuses: one
citizen was shot dead, and the others returned into the city. Erelong
similar skirmishes took place on every side, and the trainbands of
Geneva, firing upon the enemy from the wall, killed several of them.
Masters of the suburbs, the Savoyard army waited until night to make the
assault. _Death and plunder_ was the pass-word given by the leaders.

The situation of Geneva became more critical every hour. In the evening,
just as the bell was ringing for vespers, there was a gleam of light in
the stormy sky. Ambassadors arrived from Berne; they had passed through
the enemy's lines, doubtless in consequence of their diplomatic
character. They immediately visited their Friburg colleagues, who made
known to them all their fears: 'Yet a few hours more,' they said, 'and
Romish despotism will perhaps triumph over the Genevese liberties.' The
Swiss did not lose a moment, but despatched a herald, post-haste, to
demand immediate support. A part of the defenders of Geneva went to
their homes to take some slight repose.

[Sidenote: NIGHT ASSAULT.]

The night closed in, but a bright moon permitted every movement to be
observed which took place without the city. At midnight the moon set:
darkness and silence for some time reigned upon the walls. This was the
hour fixed for the assault. The bands of Savoy and Burgundy and the
knights of the Spoon moved forward without noise, and soon reached the
ditch, in readiness to attack the city. It was easy for them to break in
the gates and to scale the walls. The sentries on the ramparts listened,
and tried to make out the movements of the enemy. The Genevans were all
determined to sacrifice their lives, but they were too few to defend
their homes against such an army. They had to fear enemies still more
formidable. It was asserted that the governor of the Low Countries, the
pope, the Dukes of Lorraine and Gueldres, and the King of France were
all pushing forward troops against the city. The alarm had been given in
the courts of Europe by a recent act of the Landgrave of Hesse. He was
negotiating a treaty with the cantons of Zurich and Basle, by the terms
of which each of the contracting parties was bound to support the others
in case of violence against the cause of the Gospel. 'Might not Philip
do the same with Berne and Geneva?' said some. 'Might not the latter
city become an asylum of the Reformation in the south, for the
populations of the Latin tongue?... No time must be lost in destroying

People were talking of these things at Augsburg. The protestant princes
and doctors had quitted that city, where the famous diet had just ended:
a month had been given them to become reconciled with Rome. But
Charles V., who did not reckon much upon this _entente cordiale_ between
the pope and Luther, had declared that he would terminate the
controversy with the sword, and had given orders to raise a powerful
army to crush both protestants and protestantism: that, however, was not
to be done before the spring of next year. One day, when the emperor was
conversing about Geneva with Duke Frederick and other catholic
princes,[842] despatches were brought him announcing the march of
different armed bodies against Geneva. Charles always displayed a
prudence and reserve in his plans, which proceeded as much from nature
as from habit. As his faculties had been developed slowly, he had
accustomed himself to ponder upon everything with close attention; he
had decided in particular that not a shot ought to be fired in Europe
against the protestants before the spring of 1531, and had instructed
his brother-in-law of Savoy to that effect. Accordingly, when he learnt,
in October, that an attack was preparing against Geneva, he gave
utterance to his vexation. 'Ha!' he exclaimed, 'the Duke of Savoy is
beginning this business too soon!'[843] 'These words give cause for
reflection,' said the deputies of Nuremberg, who reported them to their
senate. After Geneva, their own turn would come, no doubt.


Meanwhile, about one o'clock on a pitch-dark night, the troops of the
duke, the bishop, and the knights of the Spoon had come up close to the
ditch. But, strange to say, they remained inactive. They neither broke
down the gates nor mounted the walls: on the contrary, 'the nearer they
approached,' says Balard, who was in the city, '_the more their hearts
failed them._' Besides the knights of Vaud and the leaders of the
Burgundian bands, there were in the besieging army a certain number of
officers holding their commissions immediately from his highness the
duke. On a sudden these Savoyard captains drew back; they moved away,
and left the others at the edge of the ditch. This unexpected defection
surprised every one: the soldiers asked what it meant.... The troops
fell into disorder, a panic soon ran through their ranks, and in a
moment there was a general flight, their only exploit being the
plundering of the suburbs.

The officers of Savoy, as they retired, said that the duke 'had
commanded them to withdraw under pain of death.' He had indeed received
the emperor's orders not to begin the war before the spring; but he
could not resolve to arrange his plans in harmony with those of his
illustrious ally. Always anxious to make himself master of Geneva, he
had let things take their course. A more pressing message from the
emperor had arrived. The duke, much vexed, had communicated it with a
bad grace to his captains. Had it only reached them at the moment they
were making the attack? or did they hesitate at the very time when,
blinded by hatred, they were about to escalade the walls in defiance of
the orders of the puissant emperor? Had their courage failed them at the
last step? This seems the most probable conclusion. There is, however, a
certain mystery in the whole incident which it is difficult to
penetrate. Geneva, alone in the presence of a gallant and numerous army,
was defended during this memorable night by an unknown and invisible
power. The Genevans believed it to be the hand of the Almighty. Did they
not read in Scripture that a city, inhabited by the people of God,
having been compassed by horses, and chariots, and a great host, the
mountain round about was miraculously filled with horses and chariots of
fire in far greater numbers?[844] None of these indeed had been seen
upon the Alps, but the arm of the Lord had put the enemy to the rout.
'The bark of God's miracles' had been once more saved in the midst of
the breakers. The citizens reiterated in their homes, in the streets,
and in the council, the expression of their gratitude. 'Ah!' said syndic
Balard, 'the faint heart, the sudden discouragement of those who had
conspired against the city, came from the grace and pity of God!'[845]

The citizens wished to open the gates and follow in pursuit of the
enemy; but the ambassadors of Berne and Friburg restrained them. The
flight was so extraordinary that these warlike diplomatists feared that
it was a stratagem. 'You do not know,' they said, 'how great is the
cunning of the enemy. Wait until you receive help from our masters,
which we hope will soon arrive.'


In fact, fifteen thousand of those soldiers who were the terror of
Europe were then entering the Pays de Vaud with ten pieces of cannon and
colours flying, and were marching to Geneva. Some of the citizens
regretted the arrival of these troops, who came (they said) when they
were not wanted, and who would be an expense to the city; but the more
far-sighted thought their presence still necessary. The enemies of the
new order of things still threatened Geneva on every side, and were even
in Geneva, always ready to renew the attack. It was necessary to put a
stop to the violence of these feudal lords and the intrigues of the
monks; it was necessary to free the country once for all from the
robbers who spread desolation all around; and the Swiss army was looked
upon as called to accomplish this work. This was also what the Bernese
and Friburgers said, and they spared no pains to deliver the inhabitants
of the shores of the Leman from their continual alarms. They did no harm
to the peasants, except that they 'lived upon the good man;'[846] but
they captured, plundered, and burnt the castles of the knights of the
Spoon. The garrisons fled at their approach, carrying away baggage,
treasures, and artillery across the lake to Thonon: boats were
continually passing from one shore to the other. The priests and friars
were not looked upon with very friendly eyes by the _Lutherans_, and
here and there they had their gowns torn; but not one of them was
wounded. One hundred and twenty Genevans, encouraged by this news, put
to flight at Meyrin eight hundred soldiers of Savoy and Gex.

At noon on Monday, the 10th of October, the Swiss army, with the avoyer
D'Erlach at its head, marched into Geneva. But where could they put
fifteen thousand soldiers in that little city? The citizens received a
great number; a part were quartered in the convents. 'Come, fathers,
make room,' said the quartermasters to the Dominicans. The monks gave up
their dormitories very unwillingly; but that did not matter: six
companies, '_all Lutherans_,' were lodged in the convent, and two
hundred horses were turned loose in their burial-ground to feed upon the
grass. The Augustine and Franciscan monasteries, as well as the houses
of the canons and other churchmen, were also filled with troops. These
men carried on the controversy in their own fashion—that is, in a
military and not an evangelical manner. A great number of them had to
bivouac in the open air. The Bernese artillerymen, who were posted round
the Oratory, situated between the city and Plainpalais, felt cold during
the night. They first began to examine the chapel, and then entered it,
and took away the altar and the wooden images, with which they made a
good fire. They were not, however, yet at their ease: these rough
Helvetians, having no desire to lie down or to remain standing all
night, broke up a large cross, and with the fragments made seats on
which they sat round the fire. Some Friburgers, observing what they
considered to be a sacrilege, went up to the Bernese and reprimanded
them sharply, asking them why they did not go and look for wood
somewhere else. 'The wood from the churches is usually very dry,' coolly
answered the artillerymen. These catholic Friburgers were no doubt
superstitious; but perhaps the Bernese were not very pious, and most of
them, while destroying the _idols_ without, left those standing that
were within.


The Genevans anxiously looked about for quarters for their guests, being
unwilling to leave these confederates without shelter, who had quitted
everything for them. As the city was not large enough, the country was
laid under contribution. At the extremity of a fine promontory which
stretches from the southern shore into the lake, at Belle Rive, about a
league from the city, stood a convent of Cistercian nuns, staunch
partisans of the duke, and who were suspected of intriguing in his
favour, and of having been greatly delighted when the Savoyard army had
beleaguered the city not long before. 'Come with us,' said certain young
huguenots to a Swiss company bivouacking in the open air; 'we will
provide you comfortable quarters, situated in a beautiful locality.'
They marched off immediately. The nuns, whose hearts palpitated with
fear, were on the watch, and, looking from their windows, they saw a
body of soldiers advancing by the lake. Hastily throwing off their
conventual dress, they disguised themselves and took refuge in the
neighbouring cottages. At last the troop arrived. Were the Genevans and
Bernese irritated by this flight, or did they intend to follow the
custom of burning the houses of those who plotted against the State? We
cannot tell; but, be that as it may, they set fire to the convent, not,
however, to the church, and the house itself suffered but little, for
the nuns returned to it soon after. When the flames were seen from
Geneva, they occasioned much excitement; but nothing could equal that of
the sisters of St. Claire.[847] The poor nuns, huddling together in
their garden, looked at the fire with terror, and exclaimed: 'It is a
sword of sorrow to us, like that which pierced the Virgin.' They ran
backwards and forwards, they entered the church, they returned to the
garden, and fell down at the foot of the altar, and then, looking again
at the flames, devoutly crossed themselves. 'We must depart,' they said,
and immediately the best scholars among them drew up, as well as their
emotion permitted, a humble petition addressed to the syndics. 'Fathers
and dear protectors,' said they, 'on our bended knees and with uplifted
hands, we, being greatly alarmed, entreat you by the honour of our
Redeemer, of his virgin mother, of Monsieur St. Pierre, and Madame St.
Claire, and all the saints of paradise, to be pleased to allow us to go
out from your city in safety.' Three of the most devout members of the
council went to the convent to comfort them. 'Fear nothing,' they said,
'for the city has not the least intention of becoming Lutheran.'[848]

A certain consideration was shown towards the sisters, by requiring them
to find quarters for only twenty-five soldiers, all Friburgers, 'good
catholics,' says one of the nuns, 'and hearing mass willingly.' But
alas! the mass did not make them more merciful. 'They were as thievish
as the others,' says the same nun. Shortly after their arrival they
threatened to break down the doors and the walls, if the nuns did not
supply them with as much to eat and drink as they wanted. It is true
that the sisters put the soldiers upon spare diet, giving them only a
few peas.[849] This little garrison, however, was of advantage to the
church of St. Claire: it was the only place in Geneva where the Roman
worship was performed. The Friburgers, at the request of the sisters,
took post at the door, and prevented the _heretics_ from entering, but
gave admission _by order_ to all the priests and monks of Geneva who
showed themselves. The latter came dressed as laymen, carrying their
robes under their arms; they went into the vestry, put on their clerical
costume, entered the chapel, drew up round the altar, and chanted mass
_in pontificalibus_. When the service was over, the nuns congratulated
each other: 'What glory Madame St. Claire has over Madame Magdalen,
Monsieur St. Gervais, and even M. St. Pierre!' It was a great
consolation and indescribable honour to them.

The mass, however, was not to have all its own way in Geneva. The
Bernese desired to have the Word of God preached; consequently, on
Tuesday, the 11th of October, they proceeded to the cathedral with their
evangelical almoner, and ordered the doors to be opened. Some of them
went into the tower and rang the episcopal bells, after which the
almoner went up into the pulpit, read a portion of Scripture, and
preached a sermon. A great number of Genevans had gone to the church and
watched this new worship from a distance. They did not fully understand
it; but they saw that the reading of God's Word, its explanation, and
prayer were the essential parts, and they liked that better than the
Roman form. From that time, the evangelical service was repeated daily,
and 'no other bell, little or big, rang in Geneva.' The priests consoled
themselves by thinking that 'the accursed minister preached in German.'
The _German_, however, went further: he had brought with him some copies
of the Holy Scriptures in French, and French translations of several of
the writings of Zwingle, Luther, and other reformers; and when the
Genevans who had heard him without understanding him went to pay him a
visit, he gave them these books, after shaking hands with them, and in
this way prepared their minds for the work of the Reformation.


While these books might be producing some internal good, the Genevans
were anxious for another reform. They wished to purge the country of the
outrages, robberies, and murders which the nobility in the neighbourhood
of Geneva, still more than those in the Pays de Vaud, had made the
peaceful burghers endure so long. This also was a reform, though
different from that of Luther and Farel. 'Come along with us,' they said
to the terrible bands of Friburg and Berne, 'and we will lead you to
these brigands' nests.' The Swiss troops, guided by the Genevans,
appeared successively before the castles of Gaillard, Vilette,
Confignon, Sacconex, and others. They captured and set fire to many of
these haunts, where the noble robbers had so often hidden their plunder
and their prey. The terror of the partisans of the old order of things
now became extreme. The sisters of St. Claire thought that everything
was on fire round Geneva. 'Look!' said they, standing on the highest
part of their garden, 'look! although the weather is fair, the sky is
darkened by the smoke.' They fancied it was the last day. 'Of a surety,'
they added, 'the elements are about to be dissolved.' The desolation was
still greater in the country. The captain-general had issued an order
forbidding all marauding, but the soldiers rarely attended to it. The
peasantry were seen running away like sheep before the wolf; the
gentlemen hid themselves in the woods or the mountains; and several
noble dames, who had taken refuge in miserable huts, 'were brought to
bed there very wretchedly.'[850]

Although certain accusations have been brought against them, the nuns of
St. Claire were sincere in their devotion, and moral in their conduct;
and while the dissolute friars kept silence, these superstitious but
virtuous women appeared to stand alone by the side of popery in its
agony. Desiring to appease the wrath of heaven, they made daily
processions in their garden, barefooted in the white frost, chanting low
the litanies of the Virgin and the saints 'to obtain mercy.' They passed
all the night in vigils, 'praying to God in behalf of his holy faith and
the poor world.' After matins they lighted the tapers, and scourged
themselves; then bending to the earth, they exclaimed: _Ave, benigne
Jesu!_ 'hail, gentle Jesus!' Sister Jeanne affirms that by these means
they worked miracles. Indeed, one of the _mahometists_ (huguenots),
having flung a consecrated wafer into a cemetery, it could not be found
again: 'the angels had carried it away and put it in some unknown
place.'[851] It was not very miraculous that so small an object could
not be found among the grass and between the graves of a cemetery. A
miracle more real was worked.

The Duke of Nemours, brother of the Duke of Savoy, who, as we have seen,
had come from France with his men-at-arms to attack Geneva, laid aside
his warlike humour when he found the Swiss in the city, and, wishing to
conciliate the Genevans, repeated to all who came near him that he had
never intended to do them any harm, and would punish severely everybody
who was guilty of violence towards them. A truce was concluded at St.
Julien. The definitive treaty of peace was referred to a Swiss diet to
be held at Payerne. The bishop released the merchants, the cows, and the
goats he had seized, and the Genevans set Mandolla at liberty; 'but,'
adds Bonivard, 'I was not taken out of Chillon.'[852]

[Footnote 830: _Journal de Balard_, pp. 274-280. Registres du Conseil
des 23 juin; 5, 8, 19 juillet; 9 août. Bonivard, _Chroniq._ ii. p. 576.
Galiffe fils, _Besançon Hugues_, pp. 398, 399. Gautier MS.]

[Footnote 831: MS. _Hist. of Geneva_ in the Berne library, erroneously
ascribed to Bonivard.]

[Footnote 832: _Journal de Balard_, pp. 274-280. Registres du Conseil
des 23 juin; 5, 8, 19 juillet; 9 août. Bonivard, _Chroniq._ ii. p. 576.
Galiffe fils, _Besançon Hugues_, pp. 398, 399. Gautier MS.]

[Footnote 833: _Journal de Balard_, p. 280.]

[Footnote 834: Roset MS. _Chroniq._ liv. ii. ch. xlix. Registres du
Conseil du 4 juillet et du 12 août.]

[Footnote 835: Bonivard, _Chroniq._ ii. pp. 577, 578. Besson, _Mémoires
du Diocèse de Genève_, p. 62. Gautier MS.]

[Footnote 836: See vol. i. p. 69.]

[Footnote 837: Gautier MS. Besson, _Mémoires du Diocèse de Genève_.
Galiffe fils, _Besançon Hugues_, p. 400. Bonivard, _Chroniq._ ii. pp.
577, 578.]

[Footnote 838: _Journal de Balard_, p. 286.]

[Footnote 839: Ibid. p. 287.]

[Footnote 840: _Journal de Balard_, p. 289.]

[Footnote 841: Sleidan, _Hist. de la Réformation_, liv. vii. _Journal de
Balard_, p. 289.]

[Footnote 842: 'Als der Kayser mit Herzog Friedrichen und andern Fürsten
des Krieges vor Genf zu reden worden.'—_Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 421.]

[Footnote 843: 'Hat der Kayser unter andern in Französisch geredet: Ey,
der Herzog hat die Sache zu früh angefangen.'—_Corp. Ref._ ii. p. 421.]

[Footnote 844: 2 Kings vi. 17.]

[Footnote 845: _Journal de Balard_, pp. 289, 290.]

[Footnote 846: 'Ils vivaient sur le bon homme.' _Bon homme_ was a term
applied by the nobles to the peasantry. Hence the war of _Jacques
Bon-homme_ in France.]

[Footnote 847: Their convent was in the upper part of the city where the
palace of justice now stands, in the Bourg de Four.]

[Footnote 848: La Sœur J. de Jussie, pp. 11-14.]

[Footnote 849: La Sœur J. de Jussie, p. 18.]

[Footnote 850: La Sœur J. de Jussie, p. 21.]

[Footnote 851: La Sœur J. de Jussie, pp. 23-25.]

[Footnote 852: Ibid. pp. 20-25. Bonivard, _Chroniq._ ii. p. 586. Gautier



Thus had failed the attack of the bishop-prince against his city; and it
was much to be feared that such an act, instead of restoring his power,
would only accelerate his fall. Pierre de la Baume saw this, and
resolved to employ other means to regain in Geneva the authority he had

The thought that the Helvetic league was to be the arbiter between
Geneva and her bishop-prince oppressed him like a nightmare: he did not
doubt that the diet would pronounce against him. A clever idea occurred
to him. 'If,' said he, 'I could but have the emperor as arbiter, instead
of the Swiss.... Surely the monarch, who is preserving the papacy in
Germany, will preserve it also at Geneva.' Charles V. and the catholic
party were still at Augsburg; and the bishop would have desired to
substitute a congress of princes for a diet of republicans. 'In truth,'
said the emperor, when this petition was laid before him, 'we should not
like the rights of the most reverend father in God, the Bishop of
Geneva, to be prejudiced.... They are of imperial foundation; and it is
our duty, therefore, to maintain them.' Charles had never been more
irritated against the protestants than he was now. It was the middle of
November: the imperial _recess_ had just been rejected by the
evangelicals, because the emperor (they said) had not authority to
command in matters of faith.[853] The deputies of Saxony and Hesse had
left without waiting for the close of the diet. The imperialists assured
the friends of the Bishop of Geneva that he could not have chosen a
better time, and that his cause was gained. On the 19th of November
proclamation was to be made in Augsburg of the re-establishment 'of one
and the same faith throughout the empire.' On the evening before, while
this was being drawn up, the emperor called his secretary, and dictated
to him the following letter, addressed to the people of Geneva:—


'We have been informed that there is a question between you and our
cousin, the Duke of Savoy, about matters touching the rights of our
well-beloved cousin and counsellor, the Bishop of Geneva. We have
desired to write to you about that, enjoining you very expressly to send
to our imperial authority persons well informed on all points in dispute
between the bishop and yourselves. We shall demand the same of the said
lords, the duke and the bishop, our cousins, for the settlement of your
differences, which will be for the welfare and tranquillity of both
parties. You will thus learn the desire we have that _our subjects_
should live in peace, friendship, and concord.

 'Dear liegemen, may God watch over you!
 'At Augsburg, 18th of November, 1530.


This letter from his imperial majesty created a great sensation in
Geneva. It was known that Charles V. was preparing to reduce mighty
princes, and every one perceived the danger that threatened the city.
'What!' said the people, 'we are to send deputies to Augsburg, and
perhaps to Austria, where they will meet those of the bishop and the
duke ... and the emperor will be our judge!' The councils assembled
frequently without coming to any decision as to the answer to be
returned. First one and then another was commissioned to draw it up.
Councillor Genoux produced a draft signed 'Your very humble
subjects.'—'We are not subjects,' exclaimed the huguenots. At length
they decided on writing as follows:—

'Most serene, most invincible, very high and mighty Prince Charles,
always august. For this long time past, we, in defence of the authority
and franchises of our prince-bishop and city of Geneva, have suffered
many vexations, great charges, expenses, and dangers, proceeding from
the most illustrious duke. Quite recently we were surrounded by armed
men, his subjects, and outrageously attacked. Nevertheless, by God's
will and the kind succour of the magnificent lords of Berne and Friburg,
we have been preserved from this assault—to relate which would be
wearisome to your majesty.' The council added that, as the settlement
which the emperor desired to undertake would be arranged at Payerne
before the Swiss diet, they could not profit by his good intentions, and
concluded by commending to him the city of Geneva, 'which, from desiring
to observe its strict duty, would have been almost destroyed but for the
grace of God.'[854]

Thus did the little city boldly decline the intervention of the great
emperor. The duke and the bishop had hoped that Charles V., who was in
their opinion called to destroy the Reformation in Germany, would begin
by crushing it in Geneva. Accordingly, when the news of the Genevese
refusal reached the ears of the duke and the bishop, their indignation
knew no bounds. 'Since these rebels reject the peaceful mediation of the
emperor,' they said, 'we must bring the matter to an end with the
sword.' They once more resolved to take the necessary steps, but with as
much secresy as possible, so that the Swiss should not be informed of
them. The Duke of Nemours, who had not made use of his army, instructed
ten thousand lansquenets who were at Montbéliard to move as quietly as
they could behind the Jura, arrive at St. Claude, descend as far as Gex,
and, two days before the opening of the diet of Payerne which the bishop
so much dreaded, _suddenly take Geneva by storm, set it on fire_, and,
leaving a heap of ashes behind them, retire rapidly into Burgundy before
the Swiss could have time to arrive. At the same time messengers were
sent to all the castles of the Pays de Vaud, inviting the gentlemen to
hold themselves in readiness. On his side, the Duke of Savoy, who was
then at Chambéry, made 'great preparation' of armed men and adventurers,
both Italian and French. Everything, he said, was to be completed with
the greatest secresy.


But Charles was less discreet than his brother; he could not keep
silence, but boasted of the clever _coup de main_ that he was preparing.
On the other hand, a man coming from Montbéliard to Berne reported that
he had seen ten thousand soldiers reviewed in that town. At this
intelligence, the energetic lords of Berne desired all the cantons to
hold themselves in readiness to succour Geneva, and threatened the
gentry of the Pays de Vaud to waste their country with fire and sword if
they moved. Meanwhile the council called out all the citizens. Thus the
mine was discovered, the blow failed, and the duke, once more
disappointed in his expectations, left Chambéry for Turin.[855] The diet
which met at Payerne, even while conceding the vidamy to the duke (which
he was not in a condition to reclaim), maintained the alliance of
Geneva, Berne, and Friburg, and condemned Charles III. to pay these
three cities 21,000 crowns. Geneva and Berne desired more than this:
they demanded that Bonivard should be set at liberty—'if perchance he be
not dead,' they added. The Count of Chalans replied that M. St. Victor
was 'a lawful prisoner.'[856]

As neither war nor diplomacy had succeeded in restoring the
prince-bishop to his see, he had recourse to less secular means: he
turned to the pope, who determined to grant the city a marvellous favour
by which he hoped to attach once more the bark of Geneva to the ship of
St. Peter. The heroism which the sisters of St. Claire had shown when
the Swiss had come to the help of the city in October 1530, had touched
the pontiff: among the conventuals of Geneva the only men were the
women. The pope therefore granted a general pardon to all who should
perform certain devotions in the church of that convent. On Annunciation
Day (March 25) this remarkable grace was published throughout the


An immense crowd from all the Savoyard villages flocked to the city, 'in
great devotion,' on the first day. Chablais, Faucigny, Genevois, and Gex
were full of devotees strongly opposed to the Reformation; they were
delighted at going to pay homage in Geneva itself to the principles for
which they had so often taken up arms. As they saw these long lines
approach their walls, the citizens felt a certain fear. 'Let us be on
our guard,' they said, 'lest under the dress of pilgrims the knights and
men-at-arms of the Spoon should be concealed.' They suddenly closed the
city gates. The pilgrims continuing to arrive soon made a crowd, and,
being fatigued with their long march, exclaimed in a pitiful voice:
'Pray open the gates, for we have come from a distance.' But the
Genevans were deaf. Then appeared the pilgrims from Faucigny, energetic
and vigorous men, who got angry, and finding words of no avail, they
forced the gates, and proceeded to the church of St. Claire, where they
began unceremoniously to say their _Paters_ and _Aves_. According to a
bull of Adrian VI., it was sufficient to repeat five of these to obtain
seventy thousand years of pardon.[857] The colour mounted to the cheeks
of some of the huguenots, who would have resisted the unlawful
intrusion; but the Faucignerans continued their devotions as calmly as
if they had been in their own villages. Then the syndics went to St.
Claire (it was the hour of vespers), accompanied by their sergeants
'with drawn swords and stout staves,' and made the usual summons for
these strangers to leave the city. Upon the refusal of the Savoyards,
the public force interfered; the Faucignerans resisted, blows were
exchanged, and finally these extraordinary pilgrims were compelled to
retire without having gained their pardon. This scene increased the
dislike of the Genevans to the Romish ceremonies. To publish indulgences
was a curious means of strengthening catholicism in Geneva. Pope
Clement VII. forgot that Leo X. had thus given the signal for the

When these scenes were described at Rome, they excited great irritation.
The sacred college determined to try again, and to exhibit in the very
midst of this heretic population a still more striking act of Roman
devotion. Clement VII. called his secretary and dictated to him, 'of
divine inspiration,' a new pardon, to which the Bishop of Geneva affixed
his _placet_, and which inflicted the penalty of excommunication on any
who should oppose it. This bull was published in the Savoyard country
adjacent to Geneva. The parish priests had scarcely announced the pardon
from their pulpits, ere the villages were astir, and men and women, old
and young, made their arrangements to go and seek the glorious grace
offered them in the city of the huguenots. The Genevans, friends of
religious liberty and legality, determined to offer no hindrance to
these devotions. But they took their precautions, and the
captain-general called out a strong guard. The pilgrims approached,
staff in hand, some carrying a cross on their shoulders; and erelong a
great crowd of Savoyards appeared before the walls. Here they were
compelled to halt. At each gate were arquebusiers, a great many of them
huguenots, who searched the pilgrims lest they should carry swords
beneath their clothes, in addition to their staves. The examination was
made, not without much grumbling, but no arms were found.

Then the devoted multitude rushed into the city, and crowded into the
church of St. Claire as if it had been that of Our Lady of Loretto. The
Genevans suffered the pilgrims to go through all their forms without
obstruction. If the Savoyards wished to perform their devotions, they
reckoned also, as is usual in affairs of this kind, upon eating and
drinking, and that abundantly. The crowd for this part of the pilgrimage
was so great, that the tavern-keepers, for want of room, were forced to
set tables in the open air. This mixture of praying and drinking made
the spectators smile, and some of the huguenots gave vent to their
sarcastic humour: 'Really,' said one, 'this pardon is quite an
ecclesiastical fair' (_nundinæ ecclesiasticæ_)! 'The fair,' said
another, 'is more useful than people imagine. By these pilgrimages the
priests revive the flagging zeal of their flocks. They are nets in which
the simple birds come and are caught.' 'I very much fear,' added a
third, 'that in order to sell her indulgences, the Church makes many
promises which God certainly will not fulfil.... It is a pious fraud, as
Thomas Aquinas says.'—'Let them alone,' said others, 'let them bring
their money ... and then, when the plate is well filled, we will empty
it.' They did not proceed to such extremities: the syndics merely
forbade the money to be spent out of the city.[859]


The sisters of St. Claire rejoiced. The pope had honoured them in the
sight of all christendom; their monastery was on the way to become a
celebrated place. They believed themselves to be the favourites of God
and of the heavenly intelligences, and imagined that angels would come
to their assistance. As the plague was then raging in Geneva, they
saw—surprising miracle!—the hosts of heaven leaving their glorious
abodes to preserve the convent: the plague did not visit it. All the
nuns were convinced that this was due to a miraculous intervention. And
when the sisters, in church or in refectory, at vespers or at matins,
conversed about this great grace, they whispered to one another: 'Three
wondrously handsome and formidable knights, each having a beautiful
shining cross on his forehead, keep watch before the gate.... And when
the wicked plague appears, she sees them straight in front of her, and
flees away, fearing the brightness of their faces.' Sister Jeanne de
Jussie informs us of this miraculous fact, and concludes her narrative
with this pious exclamation: 'To God be the honour and praise!' Some
sensible men afterwards asked why these knights, 'with the shining cross
on their foreheads,' had not stationed themselves at the gates of Geneva
to prevent the entrance of that other plague (as Rome called it), the

The means which the pope had selected for reannexing Geneva to Rome, had
quite a different effect: they produced a revival of religion. The Roman
indulgence aroused the Genevans, and made them seek for a real pardon.
Had not Luther, fourteen years before, proclaimed at Wittemberg that
'_every true christian participates in all the blessings of Christ, by
God's gift, and without a letter of indulgence_?'—'This doctrine,' said
certain huguenots who had returned from a journey through the cantons,
'is received in Switzerland, and not at Zurich and Berne alone. There
are many people of Lucerne and Schwytz even, who prefer God's pardon to
the pardons of the pope.'

An invisible hand was at that time stretched over the city, and holding
a blessing in reserve for it. Farel, who was on the shores of the lake
of Neufchatel, was informed of the evangelical movement which followed
the noisy devotions of the Faucignerans, and wrote about it immediately
to Zwingle, his friend and counsellor. This was in October 1531: yet a
few more days, and the reformer of Zurich was to meet his death on the
battle-field of Cappel. This awakening of Geneva was the last news which
came to rejoice his oppressed soul. 'Many in that city,' wrote Farel,
'feel in their hearts holy aspirations after true piety.'[860] And,
according to this energetic reformer, it was something more than vague
movements of the soul that they felt. 'Several Genevans,' he wrote
another day to Zwingle, 'are meditating on the work of Christ.'[861]


Thus, then, did that city of Geneva, which had been so engrossed with
political independence, begin to reflect on Jesus Christ. It was the new
topic which the Reformation presented everywhere to the consideration of
earnest men. In Germany, Switzerland, France, and England, still more
than at Geneva, serious minds were beginning to meditate on Christ—_de
Christo meditari_. Some did so in a superficial manner; others devoted
themselves to it in the depths of their soul; and holy thoughts found a
home in the houses of the citizens, in the colleges, in obscure cells,
and even on the throne. 'Christ is the Redeemer of the world,' thought
these meditative minds, 'the restorer of the union with God, which sin
destroyed.... Christ came to establish the kingdom of God upon earth....
But no one can enter that kingdom unless God pardons his sins.... In
order that we may find peace, not only must our souls be relieved from
the penalty, but our consciences must be delivered from the feeling of
the sin that keeps it apart from its God.... An atonement is
necessary.... Christ, like those whom he came to save, a man like them,
is at the same time of an eternal and divine nature, which has given him
power to ransom the entire people of God, and to be the principle of a
new life.... He took upon himself the terrible penalty which we
deserved.... His whole life was one continuous expiatory suffering....
But the crowning of his sorrows, and what gave them truly the character
of expiation, was his death.... Christ, uniting himself to humanity
through love for us, suffered death under a form which bears in the most
striking manner the character of a punishment, that is to say, the pain
of a malefactor condemned by a human tribunal.... He, the Holy One,
wishing to save his people, was made sin upon the cross.... He was
treated as the representative of sinful humanity.... He, the beloved of
the Father, endured for rebellious men the most deadly anguish, the
entire abandonment by God.... From that hour the people of God enjoy the
remission of their sins, they are reconciled with God, they have free
access to the Father.... That sacrifice is of universal
comprehensiveness; no one is excluded from it ... and yet no one
receives the benefit of it, except by a personal appropriation, by being
united to Jesus Christ, by participating, through faith, in his holy and
imperishable life.'

Such, in the sixteenth century, were the meditations of elect souls in
many a secret chamber, and it is in this way that the Reformation was
accomplished. Perhaps one or two Genevans had similar thoughts; but,
generally, their knowledge was not very advanced, and most of the
huguenots desired rather to be delivered from the bishop and the duke
than from sin and condemnation. Farel did not conceal from Zwingle his
anxieties in this respect, and said, in his letter from Granson: 'As for
the degree of fervour with which the Genevans seek after piety—it is
known only to the Lord.'[862]


No one interested himself more than Farel in the reformation of Geneva.
That year he was at Avenche, Payerne, Orbe, Granson, and other places;
and everywhere he ran the risk of losing his life. In one place a
sacristan threatened him with a pistol; in another, a friar tried to
kill him with a knife concealed under his frock; but Farel never thought
of himself. Of intrepid heart and indomitable will, always burning with
desire to promote the triumph of the Gospel, and prepared to confront
the most violent opposition, he felt himself strongly drawn to Geneva as
soon as he heard that the Reformation had to contend with powerful
adversaries there. He then fixed his eyes on that city, and during his
long career never turned them away from it. In the midst of his labours
at Granson, by the side of the lake, near the old castle, on the famous
battle-field, Geneva occupied his thoughts. He reflected that although
it already had a reputation for heresy, there was in reality no true
reform. What! shall the Reformation die there before it is born? He
desired to see the Word of God preached there publicly, in an
appropriate, vivifying, effective manner, and, as Calvin said, 'by
pressing the people importunately.' He desired to see the pulpit become
the seat of the prophets and apostles, the throne of Christ in his
Church. No time must be lost. The Reformation would be ruined in Geneva,
and the new times would perish with it, if the huguenots, who had ceased
to listen to the mass, were contented, as their only worship, with
walking up and down the church while the priests were chanting. The
ardent passions and warlike humour of the Genevese alarmed him. 'Alas!'
he said, 'there is no other law at Geneva than the law of arms.'[863] He
desired to establish the law of God there. He would have liked to go
there himself, and perhaps he would have carried away some by his lively
eloquence, and alarmed others by the thunders of his voice; but he owed
himself at this time to the places he was evangelising at the peril of
his life. If he quitted the work, Rome would regain her lost ground. He
therefore looked about him for a man fitted to scatter through the city
the seeds of the Word of God.


Pierre Toussaint, the young canon of Metz, had quitted France, at the
invitation of Œcolampadius, after his sojourn at the court of the Queen
of Navarre, and had joined Zwingle at Zurich.[864] Farel came to the
determination of sending Toussaint to Geneva: they had occasionally
preached the Gospel together since 1525. 'Make haste to send him into
the Lord's vineyard,' he wrote to Zwingle, 'for you know how well fitted
he is for this work. I entreat you to extend a helping hand.'[865] And,
as if he foresaw the importance of the reformation of Geneva, he added:
'It is no small matter: see that you do not neglect it.[866] Urge
Toussaint to labour strenuously, so as to redeem by his zeal all the
time he has lost.'[867] Zwingle executed the commission. Toussaint, one
of the most amiable among the secondary personages of the Reform,
listened attentively to the great doctor, and at first showed himself
inclined to accept the call.[868] Zwingle spared no pains to bring him
to a decision: he set before him what the Gospel had already done in
Geneva, and what remained to be done. 'Enter into this house of the
Lord,' he said. 'Rend the hoods in pieces, and triumph over the
shavelings.... You will not have much trouble, for the Word of God has
already put them to flight.'[869] He did not mean that Toussaint should
literally tear the friars to pieces, for the expression is figurative;
but the energy of Farel and Zwingle, and what he heard of the Genevan
persecutions, alarmed the poor young man. He had quitted the court of
Francis I. because of the worldliness and cowardice he had encountered
there; and now, seeing in Geneva monks and priests, _bishopers_ and
_commoners_, huguenots and mamelukes, he shrank back in terror, as if
from a den of wild beasts. He had said 'No' to the court, he said 'No'
to the energetic and impetuous city. Geneva wanted heroes—men like Farel
and Calvin. The project failed.

Farel was vexed. He who had never shrunk from any summons could not
succeed in sending an evangelist into this city!... He called to mind
that all help comes from a God of mercy, and in his anguish turned to
the Lord: 'O Christ,' he said, 'draw up thy army according to thy good
pleasure; pluck out all apathy from the hearts of those who are to give
thee glory, and arouse them mightily from their slumber.'[870] The
moment was soon to arrive when he would go himself to Geneva; but before
he appeared there, his prayer would be answered. God, whom he had
invoked, was to send there within a few months a strong and modest man,
who would prepare the way for Farel, Calvin, and the Reformation.

Meanwhile several Genevans, who did not understand that a conversion of
the heart is necessary, wished to effect at least a negative reform,
which would have consisted in doing away with the mass, images, and
priests. The more daring asked why Geneva should not do like Zurich,
Berne, and Neufchatel. 'Yes,' answered the more prudent, 'if the
Friburgers would permit.'[871]

These desires for reform, weak as they were, alarmed the Romish party.
Friars, priests, and bigots got up an agitation, and, going in great
numbers before the procurator-fiscal, conjured him to lay aside his
apathy, seeing that this new religion would change everything in Geneva,
and deprive the bishop not only of his spiritual jurisdiction, but of
his secular authority also. The fiscal, who was empowered to watch over
the rights of the prince, called for a severe inquiry upon all suspected
persons.[872] At these words there was silence in the assembly: some of
the members of the council looked at one another, and felt ill at ease,
for they were among the number of the suspected. The fiscal spoke out
more plainly, and filled the hall with complaints and clamour. 'Let us
destroy heresy!' he repeated.[873] The council, perplexed to the highest
degree, evaded the matter by doing nothing either for or against it.


The fervent catholics next proceeded to the hotel where the Friburg
ambassadors were staying. 'If Geneva is reformed,' said the latter,
'there is an end to the alliance.' The Friburgers did more than this:
leaving their lodgings, they accosted the more decided liberals, and
repeated to them in a firm tone: 'If Geneva is reformed, there is an end
to the alliance!' The huguenots hurried off to the Bernese ambassadors;
but the battle of Cappel was not far off, and it was a matter of doubt
whether the Reformation could be preserved even in Berne and Zurich. The
Bernese received the Genevans coldly, and the latter returned astonished
and incensed. 'Alas!' said Farel, 'the Bernese show less zeal for the
glory of Christ than the Friburgers for the decrees of the pope.'[874]

A new difficulty arose. The huguenots would have desired to march to the
deliverance of Zurich and the reformed, while the catholics wished to
support Lucerne and the smaller cantons. On the 11th of October—the very
day of the battle of Cappel, but it was not yet known—Berne demanded a
hundred arquebusiers of Geneva; and the next day Friburg wrote desiring
them to send all the help they could against the heretical cantons.
Which side should Geneva take? 'Let us refuse Friburg,' said some. 'Let
us refuse Berne,' said others. The former called to mind the assistance
which the most powerful republic in Switzerland had sent them; the
latter remembered that Friburg had espoused the cause of Geneva when
Berne was against them. The council, impelled in contrary directions,
resolved to preserve a just balance, and extricated themselves from
their embarrassment by the strangest middle course. They resolved that a
hundred Genevans should go and fight in favour of the Reformation, and
appointed Jean Philippe, one of the most zealous huguenots, to command
them; after which they also gave Friburg a favourable answer, and
elected syndic Girardet chief of the auxiliaries intended for the

[Footnote 853: _Hist. of the Ref. of the Sixteenth Century_, vol. iv.
bk. xiv. ch. xii.]

[Footnote 854: See the emperor's letter of Nov. 18, 1530, and the answer
of the Council, Dec. 10. Registers, December 9, 1530. Bonivard,
_Chroniq._ ii. pp. 591-594.]

[Footnote 855: _Journal de Balard_, pp. 306-309.]

[Footnote 856: Ibid. pp. 312, 313. Bonivard, _Chroniq._ ii. pp. 595,
607. Galiffe fils, _Besançon Hugues_, p. 407. Ruchat, ii. p. 305.]

[Footnote 857: Chais, _Lettres sur les Jubilés_, ii. p. 583.]

[Footnote 858: La Sœur J. de Jussie, p. 25.]

[Footnote 859: La Sœur J. de Jussie, p. 28.]

[Footnote 860: 'Sunt qui ad pietatem aspirant.'—Farel to Zwingle,
October 1, 1531, _Epp._ ii. p. 647. This letter, written from Granson
eleven days before Zwingle's death, was the last the Zurich reformer
ever received. That which comes after, dated simply from Orbe, 1531, is
evidently anterior to that from Granson.]

[Footnote 861: 'Apud Gebennenses non nihil audio de Christo

[Footnote 862: 'Sed quanto fervore novit Dominus.'—Zwingl. _Epp._ ii.
p. 647.]

[Footnote 863: 'Jus est in armis.'—Zwingl. _Epp._ ii. p. 647.]

[Footnote 864: 'Petrus Tossanus per Œcolampadium sæpe suis vocatus
literis, quibus nostras frequentes addidimus. E Gallis pulsus ad te se
contulit.'—Farel to Zwingle, Orbe, _Epp._ ii. p. 648.]

[Footnote 865: 'Quantum agnoscis idoneum, tantum adige in vineam Domini

[Footnote 866: 'Res non parva est, neque contemnenda.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 867: 'Strenue laborare, id studio et diligentia compenset,
quod diu cessans omisit.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 868: 'Petrum sperabam in messem Domini venturum.'—Farel to
Zwingle, _Epp._ ii. p. 648.]

[Footnote 869: 'Fractis cuculatis aliisque rasis, quos pridem Verbum

[Footnote 870: 'Christus pro sua bona voluntate disponat omnia!
Socordiam omnem et veternum excutias a pectoribus eorum, per quos
Christi honor procurandus venit.'—Farel to Zwingle, Orbe, _Epp._ ii. p.

[Footnote 871: 'Et si per Friburgenses liceret, asserit excipiendum
prompte Evangelium.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 872: 'In hæreticæ pravitatis suspectos severa diligentia
inquireretur.'—Spanheim, _Geneva Restituta_, p. 37.]

[Footnote 873: 'Clamosa quiritatione et crebro convitio.'—Spanheim,
_Geneva Restituta_, p. 37.]

[Footnote 874: 'Bernenses non ea diligentia laborant pro Christi gloria,
qua Friburgenses pro pontificiis placitis.'—Zwingl. _Epp._ ii. p. 648.]

[Footnote 875: Registres du Conseil des 11, 13, 14 octobre 1531.]

 (OCTOBER 1531 TO JANUARY 1532.)


The news of the war between the catholics and the reformed having
reached Turin, the duke thought it a favourable opportunity for
attacking Geneva. It was reported that five thousand lansquenets were
approaching on the side of Burgundy, ten thousand Italians on the side
of the Alps, and that all the states of his highness beyond the
mountains were in motion to fall upon the city. 'There are certain heads
in Geneva,' said the duke, 'that I purpose to set flying.' The Genevans
lost not a moment. 'Let everything be destroyed that may obstruct the
defence of the city,' said the council. 'Let all the suburbs be
levelled—Eaux Vives on the left shore of the lake; St. Victor, at the
other side of St. Antoine; St. Leger, up to the Arve; and the Corraterie
as far as the Rhone. Let every man keep a good look-out; let no one be
absent without leave; let those who are away return to defend the city;
and let solemn prayers and processions be made for three days.'[876]

Thus, while Lucerne and the smaller cantons were attacking Zurich, the
Duke of Savoy and the gentlemen of the Leman were preparing to attack
Geneva. These two cities were in the sixteenth century the capitals of
protestantism in Switzerland. Geneva, however, was still filled with
priests and monks, while the choirs of all the churches reechoed with
the matins and other chants of the Romish ritual,

  De pieux fainéants y laissant en leur lieu,
  A des chantres gagés, le soin de louer Dieu.

How did it happen that Geneva was at this time coupled with Zurich? It
is because that city, though not yet won over to the Reformation, was
predestined to be so: a solitary example, probably, of a state exposed
to great dangers, not so much on account of what it is, as on account of
what it will be. The beginnings of the evangelical faith to be found
there were so very small, that they would not have sufficed to draw upon
it the anathemas of the bishop and the armies of the duke; but the
election of God was brooding over it; God prepared it, tried it, and
delivered it, because of the great things for which he destined it. The
adversaries of the Gospel seemed to have a secret presentiment of this;
and they desired therefore to destroy by the same blow the city of
Zwingle and that which was to be the city of Calvin.


All the citizens were afoot. Some armed with arquebuses mounted guard;
others marched out with their mattocks to level the suburbs. At this
moment a messenger arrived from Switzerland announcing the defeat at
Cappel: Zurich had succumbed.... At first the huguenots could not
believe the mournful news; they made the messenger repeat it; but it was
soon confirmed from various quarters, and the friends of independence
and of the Reformation bent their heads in sorrow. The arm in which they
had trusted was rudely broken. The protestant party throughout
Switzerland was disheartened, while the Roman party rejoiced. It was
told at Geneva that the mass had been restored at Bremgarten,
Rapperschwyl, and Soleure, and in all the free bailiwicks, and that the
monks were returning in triumph to their deserted cells. Was it possible
for the Reformation to plant its banners on the shores of Lake Leman, at
the very moment when it was expelled from those places where it seemed
to have been so firmly established?

The Genevan catholics anticipated their triumph. The death of the Swiss
reformer was (they thought) the end of the Reformation; they had only to
strike the final blow. Their secret meetings became more numerous;
detestable plots were concocted. The heroes of the old episcopal party,
resuming their arrogant look, walked boldly in the streets of Geneva,
some rattling their swords, others sweeping the ground with their long
robes. If they chanced to meet any _suspected_ persons, they made
contemptuous gestures at them, picked quarrels with them, insulted, and
even struck them, and the outrages remained unpunished.[877] The
Friburgers, in particular, thought everything was lawful against the
evangelicals,[878] and desiring to subdue Geneva, emulous of the
Waldstettes at the Albis, they marched through the streets in small
bands, and whenever they discovered any huguenot, they surrounded him,
carried him off, and threw him into prison without trial.[879] In this
way the partisans of the bishop expected to restore him to his episcopal
throne. Pierre de la Baume was getting ready to ascend it again.

The huguenots, astonished at the perpetration of such outrages in the
presence of the Swiss, and even by the Swiss, applied once more to the
Bernese, but in vain. The latter were unwilling to countenance a
struggle in Geneva which they were checking in other quarters. 'Let
there be no petulance, no violence,' they said; 'we have the orders of
the senate.' But, as the Genevans were not disposed to remain quiet, the
envoys of Berne assumed a grave countenance, and, putting on a
magisterial haughtiness, dismissed their unseasonable visitors. The
Genevans withdrew murmuring: 'What scandalous neglect and cowardice!'
they said; 'Messieurs of Berne think a great deal more of this world
than of the world to come.'—'The senate of Berne,' repeated Farel,
'would not put up with the slightest insult to one of their ambassadors,
and yet they make light of serious insults offered to the Gospel of


The defeat of Zurich redoubled the energy of Duke Charles. Desirous of
adorning his brows with laurels similar to those of the victors at
Cappel, he gave orders for a general attack. The troops of Vaud and
Savoy surrounded Geneva, and cut off the supplies; the boats were seized
on both shores of the lake, and the duke arrived at Gex, three leagues
from the city, with a strong force of cavalry to superintend the
assault. Under these gloomy auspices the year 1532 began in Geneva. The
danger appeared such that, at seven in the evening of the 2nd of
January, all the heads of families assembled and resolved to keep night
and day under arms, to wall up the gates, and to die rather than
renounce the Swiss alliance and their dearest liberties. A greater
misfortune was about to befall them.[881]

On the 7th of January, five days after this courageous resolution, three
Bernese deputies, De Diesbach, De Watteville, and Nägueli, appeared
before the council. Sadness was depicted on their faces, and everything
betokened that they were the bearers of a distressful message. 'We are
come from Gex, where the duke is lying,' they said. 'He consents to
treat with you, if you will first renounce the alliance with the
cantons. Remember, he is a mighty prince, and able to do you much harm.
You have not yet paid for the last army we sent you; we cannot set
another on foot. We conjure you to come to some arrangement with his

During this speech the Genevans flushed with anger and indignation. They
could not understand how the proud canton of Berne could ask them to
renounce the cause of independence and the Swiss alliance. The deputy
having ended his address—the general council of the people had been
convened to hear it—the premier syndic replied: 'We will listen to no
arrangement except how to preserve the alliance. The more we are
threatened, the firmer we shall be. We will maintain our rights even
till death. We trust in God and in Messieurs of the two cities. And if,
to pay you what we owe, we must pawn our property, our wives, and our
children, we will do so. As for the alliance, we are resolved to live
and die for it.' The syndic had scarcely done speaking, when all the
people cried out: 'So be it! We will do nothing else—we will die first!'
The arquebusiers of Jean Philippe and of Richardet were of the same
mind. The ambassadors thought it strange that they should dare to resist
Berne. 'We will carry your answer back to our lords,' they said, 'and
they will do what pleases them.' They then retired. The people held up
their hands, and all swore to be faithful to the alliance.

The Bernese envoys had left. The people were in great agitation. The
cause of liberty had just been vanquished at Cappel; the armies of the
duke surrounded the city, and the Swiss desired to cancel the alliance.
Geneva was not exempt from secret terrors: the women shed tears, and
even the men felt an oppression like that of the nightmare; but
enthusiasm for liberty prevailed over every fear. Deprived of the help
of men, the Genevans raised their eyes to heaven. Many of them
experienced extraordinary emotions, and were the victims of strange
spectral hallucinations. One night, the sentries posted on the walls saw
seven headless horsemen, dressed in black, keeping guard around the
city. They were dressed in black, for all Geneva was in mourning; they
were without heads, for no one could reckon upon preserving his own; and
then these Genevans fancied, in their enthusiasm, that they could defend
Geneva, even when their heads were off. The duke, having learnt that
some mysterious allies had come to the help of the city, quitted Gex,
and hurried off to Chambéry. It is probable, however, that his
conference with the three lords of Berne had more influence in arresting
the execution of his designs, than the apparition of the seven black


The trials, the terrors, the repeated attacks that Geneva was forced to
undergo at the hands of her enemies, are the characteristics of her
history at the epoch of the Reformation. Her citizens, plundered, hunted
down, captured, thrown into the dungeons of the castles, always between
life and death, lived continually in the apprehension of an assault, and
almost every year their fears were changed into terrible realities; of
this we have seen several instances, and we shall see more. There is
probably no city of the sixteenth century which arrived at the
possession of truth and liberty through such great perils. When their
supplies failed, when their communications, with Switzerland were
interrupted, when no one could leave the city, when all around the arms
of the Savoyards were seen flashing in the rays of the sun, the citizens
no doubt displayed an heroic courage; but yet the women and the aged
men, and even men in the vigour of life, felt a mortal fear and anguish.
'Christians are not logs of wood,' it was said subsequently in this
city, and we may well apply the words to the Genevans of this epoch;
'they are not so devoid of human feeling, that they are not touched by
sorrow, that they do not fear danger, that poverty is not a burden to
them, and persecution sharp and difficult to bear. This is why they feel
sad when they are tried.'[883] Long ago in the early days of
Christianity, famines, earthquakes, plagues, persecution, and
afterwards, at the period of the invasion of the barbarians, the
devastations with which that calamity was attended, made serious souls
feel the presence of God, and led them to the cross. An earthquake which
threw down part of the city of Philippi, terrified a gaoler, until then
hardened in superstition, humbled him, and made him listen to the
teaching of the disciples which he had previously despised;[884] and,
later still, a similar calamity in Africa brought a great number of
pagans to confess the Gospel and be baptised.

It was by such trials as these that Geneva was now prepared. God was
ploughing the field which he wished to sow. Distresses and deliverances
continually repeated revealed to thoughtful men the power of God: to
this even the Registers of the Council bear witness. Did this rough
school lead any souls further? Were there any who sought beyond the
world for life incorruptible?... The inward travail of men's minds is
generally concealed, and the chroniclers give us no information on this
point (it is not their department); but we cannot doubt that the end for
which God sent the trial was attained. Perhaps at that time there were
souls which, in the midst of the evils they saw around them, were led to
discover in themselves the supreme evil—sin; perhaps in some private
chamber humble voices were then raised to heaven; perhaps the judgments
of God, which were suspended over their heads and those of their wives
and children, induced some to dread the last judgment; and perhaps there
were many who embraced the eternal love, that inexhaustible source of
salvation, who believed in the Gospel of the Son of God and found peace
therein. We know not what took place in the secret depths of men's
hearts; but certainly the times which we are describing were times of
trial which contributed to make Geneva what it subsequently became: it
was a 'burning furnace from which came forth fine brass.'[885] If Geneva
shone out in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, it was partly
because at the epoch of the Reformation it had been sorely tried, and,
if the expression be allowable, 'brightly burnished.'—'We are as it were
annealed in the furnace of God,' may be said of this city, 'and the scum
of our faith has been thus purged away.'[886]


On the 7th of February, 1532, five ambassadors—two from Berne, and three
from Friburg—with Sebastian de Diesbach at their head, appeared at
Geneva before the Council of Two Hundred; they were the representatives
of the Swiss aristocracy, of those proud captains who figured in battles
and appeared in the courts of kings. They discharged their mission with
as little ceremony as they observed in taking cities, and demanded that
Geneva should renounce its alliance with the Swiss and put the Duke of
Savoy again in possession of his supremacy.... What will the Genevans
do? Even Friburg, which had at first appeared favourable to them, failed
them now.... Two hundred voices exclaimed: 'We will die sooner!' The
next day, when the general council was assembled, the greatest
excitement prevailed among them; everybody seemed eager to speak at
once; loud clamours arose on every side: 'All the people began to
shout,' say the minutes of this assembly. The language of Diesbach was
urgent, imperative, and threatening.... A hurricane was blowing over
Geneva; the tree must bend or break. But it neither bent nor broke. The
ambassadors, amazed and indignant, returned to their own country.[887]

The Genevans, left alone, asked what was to be done.... The cup was
overflowing. Suddenly a happy idea crossed the minds of certain
patriots. Although the patricians and pensioners are opposed to the
rights of Geneva, will not the people, and the grand council which
represents them, be in favour of liberty? When the Reformation was
established at Berne, in 1528, the noblest resolutions were formed. The
indigent had been clothed with the church ornaments, the pensions of the
princes renounced, and the military capitulations which bound the Swiss
to the service of foreign powers abolished. Then the enthusiasm had
cooled down; the pensioners regretted the old times; they tampered with
the more influential people of the city, and exasperated them against
the alliance with Geneva which displeased their old master the duke.
'Let us make an attempt,' exclaimed some of the Genevese, 'to revive in
Berne the noble aspirations for Reform and liberty.' Robert Vandel and
two other deputies departed for the banks of the Aar.

Vandel was well suited for this mission. Ever since the day when he saw
his aged father illegally seized by the bishop and thrown into prison,
he had given his heart to independence, as he subsequently gave it to
the Gospel. He knew that the people had retained their sympathy for
Geneva, and that if the patricians prevailed in the little council, the
citizens prevailed in the great council: he therefore appeared before
this body. He explained to them the dangers of the Genevans, their love
of independence, and their resolution to risk everything rather than
separate from the Swiss. His language moved the hearts of the Bernese,
and the good cause prevailed. 'We will maintain the alliance,' they
said; 'and, if necessary, we will march to defend your rights.' Friburg
adopted the resolutions of Berne.[888] Thus after the trial came the
deliverance; Geneva began to breathe freely. Yet another sorrow was in
store for it.


On the 20th of February, Besançon Hugues appeared before the council and
resigned all his functions. 'I am growing old,' he said (he was only
forty-five); 'I have many children, and I desire to devote myself to my
own affairs.' There is no doubt that the motives assigned by Hugues had
some part in his determination; we may, however, ask if they were the
only ones. He watched attentively the movement of men's minds in Geneva,
and, being devoted to Roman-catholicism and the bishop, he could not
help seeing that the opposite party was gaining more followers every
day. He had spared neither time, trouble, fortune, nor health to bring
about the alliance with the Swiss. Seeing that it existed no longer
solely in the parchments of the archives, but in the hearts of the
people, he thought that he had fulfilled his task, and that for the new
work Geneva ought to have new leaders. If Hugues was not old, he was
ailing; he already felt the approaches of that disease which carried him
off a few months later. He declined rapidly, and breathed his last
towards the end of the year.

The death of Besançon Hugues did not proceed from an ordinary sickness:
he died of a broken heart. Although still a catholic, at the moment when
the Reform was about to enter his country, a crown ought to be laid upon
his grave. The continual anxiety which the perils of Geneva had caused
him; more than forty official missions; his incessant labours in the
Genevan cause; the new burdens continually imposed upon him; the
reverses which rent his heart; his precipitate flight, his dangers on
the roads and in the cities, cold, watchings, and the cares of a
family—('I commend to you my poor household,' he said sometimes in his
letters to the council); his disappointments; the reproaches he had to
endure from both parties; his struggles with the pensioners, the agents
of Savoy, the knights of the Spoon, and some of his fellow-citizens—all
these vexations contributed to his disease and death. The head of
Besançon Hugues did not fall under the sword of the executioner, like
those of Berthelier and Lévrier; but the pacific hero sank under the
weight of fatigue and sorrow. An invisible sword struck him; and it may
be said that the deaths of the three great men of Genevan emancipation
were the deaths of martyrs.

[Footnote 876: Registres du Conseil du 11 octobre 1531.]

[Footnote 877: 'Alii impune injuria afficiuntur.'—Zwingl. _Epp._ ii. p.

[Footnote 878: 'Nihil pene non licet Friburgensibus in pios.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 879: 'Indicta causa, rapiuntur in carceres.'—Zwingl. _Epp._
ii. p. 648.]

[Footnote 880: 'Non putarim senatum Bernensem olim ita laturum levem
injuriam in nuntium sicut gravem in Evangelium perfert.'—Ibid.]

[Footnote 881: Registres du Conseil du 2 janvier 1532.]

[Footnote 882: Registres du Conseil des 7, 8, 9 janvier 1532. Savyon,

[Footnote 883: Calvin on 1 Peter i. 7.]

[Footnote 884: Acts xvi. 23, 24.]

[Footnote 885: Revelation i. 15.]

[Footnote 886: Calvin.]

[Footnote 887: Registres du Conseil des 4, 7, 8 février 1532.]

[Footnote 888: _History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century_,
bk. xv. ch. iii. Ruchat, ii. p. 83. Galiffe fils, _B. Hugues_, p. 442.]

 (SPRING 1532.)


Just as the noble citizen, who had defended with such devotedness the
independence of his country, had retired from the stage of the world,
new plots were got up against Geneva; but new strength came also to her
help. An emperor was rising against the city, and a schoolmaster was
bringing it the everlasting Word.

The imperial court was then at Ratisbon, where the Germanic diet was to
assemble. The Duke and Duchess of Savoy, who could not make up their
minds to resign Geneva, had ordered their ambassador accredited to
Charles V. to solicit the influence of that prince in order to induce
the bishop, his partisan, to cede his temporal principality to the
duke's second son. The duchess, who appears to have been anxious to
bring about this cession, made every possible exertion to attain her
object. The emperor, who was very fond of Beatrice, answered: 'I desire
this arrangement, because of the singular love, goodwill, and affection
I feel towards my dearly beloved cousin and sister-in-law.' He added,
moreover, that he desired it also 'in the interest of the holy faith and
for the preservation of mother Church.' He undertook to persuade Pierre
de la Baume to transfer his temporality to the young prince; and, that
he might bring the negotiation to a favourable issue, he applied to the
Count of Montrevel, the head of the bishop's family. On the 14th of
April, 1532, he dictated and forwarded the following letter to that
nobleman: 'The emperor, king, duke, and count of Burgundy, to his very
dear liegeman: We require and order you very expressly, that as soon as
possible, and at the earliest opportunity and convenience, you proceed
to the Bishop of Geneva, and tell him, as you may see most fitting, the
desire we have that he should _please our said cousins_, the duke and
duchess; employing with him soft words of persuasion, according to your
accustomed prudence. He can all the easier yield to our prayer, because,
as the successor-designate of the Archbishop of Besançon, he must
necessarily leave Geneva to reside in that city.' The emperor, moreover,
used his influence with the Marshal of Burgundy, the Baron of St.
Sorlin, Pierre de la Baume's brother. The prelate was to be attacked on
every side. Charles's recommendations could hardly have been more urgent
if the safety of the German empire had been at stake.[889]

The duke, who was delighted at these letters of the emperor, began to
take such measures as would enable him to profit by them. Since the
puissant Charles V. gives Geneva to his son, he will go in quest of the
young prince's new states. In the following month (May 1532) everything
foreboded that some new attack was preparing against Geneva. There was
great commotion in the castles; trumpets were sounding, banners flying,
and priests raising loud their voices. It might have been imagined that
they were preparing for a crusade like those which had taken place of
yore against the Albigenses or the Saracens. The Genevans, who had not a
moment's repose, mournfully told one another the news. 'In the states of
Savoy there are loud rumours of war,' they said; 'the nobles are enraged
against the evangelicals, whom they call _Lutherans_; and some of the
gentry are assembled already, and going to and fro under arms.' The
citizens did not give way to dejection; on the contrary, the knowledge
of these intrigues and preparations made them long the more earnestly
for the emancipation of Geneva. They said that from the day when the
pope had deprived the citizens of the choice of their ruler, and had
nominated creatures or members of the house of Savoy as bishops at
Geneva, there had been in the city nothing but disorders, violence,
extortion, imprisonment, confiscations, tortures, and cruel punishments.
They asked if it was not time to return to the primitive form of
Christianity, to the popular organisation of the Church; they repeated
that Geneva would never secure her independence and her liberty, except
by trusting to the great principles of the Reformation. 'Zurich,' they
said, 'has resumed the rights which Rome had taken away: it is time that
Geneva followed her example.'[890]


The Reformation was neither a movement of liberty nor a philosophical
development, but a christian, a heavenly renewal. It sought after God,
and, having found him, restored him to man: that was its work. But, at
the same time, wherever it was established, at least under the
Calvinistic form, civil liberty followed it. We must acknowledge,
however, that the reformers, with the exception of Zwingle, did not
trouble themselves much about this. It was grace that filled them with
enthusiasm. It was the great idea of a free pardon, and not artillery,
which shattered the power of the pope. Every man was then invited to the
foot of the cross, to receive immediately from Christ, and through no
sacerdotal channel, an inestimable gift. But Christianity, which the
priesthood had monopolised, vitiated, and made a trade of during the
middle ages, became common property in the sixteenth century. It passed
from the pomps of the altar to men of humble and contrite heart, from
the gloomy and solitary cloisters to the domestic hearth, from isolated
Rome to universal society. Once more launched into the midst of the
nations, it everywhere restored to man faith, hope, and morality, light,
liberty, and life.


At the very time when a beautiful princess was coveting Geneva, an
ambitious duke intriguing, and courtiers agitating, and when a puissant
monarch was granting his imperial favours, a humble schoolmaster arrived
in the city. And while all those pomps and ceremonies were among the
number of things worn out and passing away, this teacher brought with
him the principles of a new life. Farel, as we have seen, ardently
desired that the Word of God should be circulated and even publicly
preached at Geneva. He thought that then only would the Reformation be
truly established and independence secured. It is probable that the
person who arrived in this city, and whom he had long known, was sent by
him; but we have no proof that such was the case. However, this man was
not, properly speaking, a preacher; he was merely a schoolmaster, and
yet he was to perform a work greater than that of the emperor. At that
time Geneva passed for protestant; but her protestantism was limited to
throwing off despotism and superstition. But it is not sufficient to
reject what is false; the truth preached by Christ and the apostles must
be believed. _Faith_ is the principle of the Reformation. There was at
Geneva, to some extent, that negative protestantism which rejects not
only the abuses of popery, but also evangelical truth itself; which can
create nothing, and which is little else than a form—and certainly one
of the least interesting forms—of philosophy. If Geneva was to be
reformed, to become a centre of light and morality, and to maintain her
political independence, she must have a positive and living
christianity; and it was this that Olivétan, Farel, and Calvin were
about to bring her.


In the street of the Croix d'Or, not far from the Place du Molard, lived
an enlightened, wealthy, and influential citizen, Jean Chautemps, a
member of council. He was a quiet and conscientious man, yielding
unhesitatingly to his convictions. Chautemps valued learning highly, and
having sons desired to see them well educated. People spoke to him of a
Frenchman, born at Noyon, in Picardy, who, after a long residence at
Paris, had been compelled to leave France in consequence of one of the
attacks so frequently made upon the _Lutherans_ at that time. 'Besides,'
added his informant, 'he is a very learned man.' Indeed, without being
either a Reuchlin in Hebrew or a Melanchthon in Greek, he had a sound
knowledge of both languages; it was his practice to read the Holy
Scriptures in the original text, and he was fond of inserting in his
writings passages from the Old Testament, where they still appear in
beautiful Hebrew characters, in the midst of his antiquated French. His
name was Peter Robert Olivétan—the same who, during his residence in
Paris, had had the happiness of bringing to a knowledge of evangelical
truth one of his cousins and fellow-townsmen, John Calvin. Chautemps,
considering it fortunate to have such a master for his children,
received him into his house.

Calvin's cousin boldly set to work. He taught his patron's children,
and, as it would appear, some others that had been placed with them. He
taught with love and clearness, according to 'the right mode' of
Mathurin Cordier, whom he had known at Paris. He believed, as Calvin
says, that 'roughness and servile austerity excite children to
rebellion, and extinguish in them the holy affections of love and
reverence,' and he strove 'by moderate and kind treatment to increase in
them the will and readiness to obey.'[891]

The schoolmaster, as he is termed in the Registers of the Council of
Geneva, did not restrict himself to teaching Latin and Greek. He was
simple and modest, and calls himself, in the preface to the book which
has immortalised him (the translation of the Bible), '_the humble and
lowly translator_.' But God had kindled a divine fire in his heart. He
believed that the christian ought to carry a lighted lamp in his hand to
show others the way of life, and he never failed to do so. He sometimes
accompanied Chautemps to the churches, and was observed to be deeply
moved by the errors which he heard there; he would leave the temple in
agitation, return home, and, seated with his patron, refute by Holy
Scripture the opinions of the priests, and faithfully explain the true
Christian doctrine. The councillor, who had early sided with those who
inclined towards the Reformation, was struck with these conversations,
and, far from resisting the truth that was set before him, joyfully
yielded himself to it. He presently displayed, according to Froment's
testimony, 'if not a perfect knowledge, at least a great desire for
learning, with much love and zeal to show himself as a friend of the
Reformation.'[892] From that hour the pious councillor always came
forward whenever there was a question of upholding the evangelical cause
in Geneva. When that great missionary, Farel, arrived, Chautemps was
among the first to welcome him. When a dispute occurred with the curate
of St. Magdalen's, he was one of those who defended the teaching of the
Scriptures.[893] And subsequently he boldly declared, in full council,
that he desired to live according to the Gospel and the Word of God.[894]

Olivétan's zeal was not confined to the house in which he lived; he
laboured to make the Gospel known to the councillor's friends, and even
to everybody whom he found accessible to the Divine Word. He exerted
himself, and overcame obstacles; by means of the Scriptures he
endeavoured to 'point out _with gentleness_' to the priests the errors
which they taught, and would not allow himself to be hindered by any
fear. Such zeal was not without danger, for the priests had still much
power in Geneva. Chautemps and his friends accordingly advised Olivétan
to be prudent, lest he should come to harm; but the schoolmaster said
like his cousin: 'It is God's