« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
more than usual susceptibility of those epidemic passions which often hurry on multitudes to counsels and deeds abhorrent from the ordinary tenor of the temper and conduct of the individuals who compose them. The most powerful agent of all was the peculiar malignity of wars of religion, in which one party must ever regard with the greatest disgust and detestation all that is most dear and venerable in the eyes of their opponents. The protestants regarded as idolatrous the honour paid by their forefathers to the remains and the likenesses of men accounted eminent for piety and virtue. They destroyed these monuments of supposed idolatry with unsparing rage. They profaned them in other modes more insulting and offensive than destruction itself. Nothing could be more natural than the fierce resentment kindled in the breasts of pious catholics by such outrages offered to the objects of their most affectionate veneration. In this and in other cases, shocking indignities and cruel retaliations were most practised by those members of both communions who were most influenced by the religious feelings, which are naturally allied to every kind affection and to every moral principle. The army of the reformed was so powerfully controlled by religion as to exhibit a perfect model of voluntary discipline, of austere morality, and of abstinence from the ordinary vices of soldiers. But the same spirit of religion, inflamed to an intensity necessary, perhaps, to sustain them through wars of extermination, was so distorted by this application, that, instead of inspiring that love of enemies which was its original glory, it refused to include them within the bounds of natural pity, and cast them off as unworthy of the universal offices of humanity. The atrocities perpetrated by the mareschal de Monluc*, coolly, or rather gaily, related by himself, sufficiently characterise the war on the side of the catholics; whose bigotry was lashed into activity by laws which authorised them, "at the first sound of the alarm-bell, to fall
* Mémoires de Monluc.
on the huguenots, and destroy them with as little mercy as if they were beasts of prey, or mad dogs." * Des Adrets*, a protestant, rivalled the cruelties of his opponents; directing, among other enormities, a garrison, who had surrendered on terms, to be thrown from the summit of high towers, where they were frequently received on the pikes of his soldiers; on pretence that the like perfidious cruelty had been practised by his opponents on the protestant garrison of Orange: a principle of revenge which would perpetuate every horrible expedient once used in war. † He afterwards became a catholic, but the sense of his desertion subdued his military abilities, though it did not soften his fierceness.
It was not till there was some approach to a general conviction that toleration, if not justifiable on principles of religion, was become at least politically necessary, that a peace between the two factions was possible. But the truce of 1563 continued disturbed by terrific rumours of the designs of the catholic monarchs.
The second civil war lasted during the years 1567 and 1568, and the truce which followed was observed only for six months. In the third civil war the protestant princes of Germany took a share. It is chiefly memorable as that in which Henry, prince of Bearn, signalised his youthful prowess. The prince of Condé was defeated at the head of the huguenot forces, and afterwards put to death in cold blood on the field of battle. Though the huguenots were defeated at the battle of Moncontera, they obtained favourable terms by a treaty concluded in 1570 at St. Germains.
At this point it seems convenient to review the projects discussed at Bayonne, which we have considered only collaterally, as they affect the occurrences in the interior of Britain, and to examine the progress towards their execution in the important points of either exterminating the Calvinists of France and Flanders, or at least placing them at the mercy of their inveterate and irreconcilable oppressors. At this new point of
view, it may be proper here to recapitulate some parts of what for other purposes has been scattered over various passages of the preceding narrative.
At the opening of the Lutheran reformation, Francis I., though he patronised the rising arts and the revived learning of his age, declared the religious novelties" to tend to the overthrow of all monarchy, human as well as divine."* Sir T. More himself attributed the excesses of the peasants to the pestilential doctrines of Luther. Adrian VI., a reformer of gross abuses, was earnestly dissuaded by cardinal Soderini from suffering the fundamental principles of the papal monarchy to be brought into question in a general council. "Governments,” said the cardinal, “ perish when they change. The only security is to follow the examples of those holy pontiffs, who, not making vain attempts to satisfy heretics by reforms, extinguished the Albigeois and the Vaudois by proclaiming crusades against them, by exciting princes and nations to take arms for their extermination, and by drowning all memory of their blasphemous dogmas in torrents of blood." The pope instructed his nuncio in Germany, whom he empowered to grant moderate reforms, at the same time to remind the German princes that disobedience to the laws of the church would bring those of the state into utter contempt; that those who had laid their hands on the property of churchmen would feel still less repugnance to the seizure of lay estates; and, finally, that the professions of the Lutherans, that they respected secular powers, were only lures to ensnare civil authorities to destruction. §
Impregnated as the Italian statesmen were with these principles, it is extremely probable that they were discussed, though perhaps secretly, at the first convention of the council of Trent. || Cardinal Pole promoted peace between France and Spain, avowedly that they
* Brantôme, Vie de Francis I. vii. 257.
+ Life of Sir T. More, in Lives of British Statesmen, vol. i. Cab. Cyc.
Fra Paolo, Istoria de Conc. Trident. lib. i. A. D. 1522.
|| December, 1545.
might combine their counsels and their power to restore the union of the church. In 1559, Perrenot, bishop of Arras, whose historical name is cardinal Granvelle, persuaded Charles, cardinal of Lorraine, at secret interviews between them, that it was the duty and interest of all catholic princes to suspend their worldly differences in order to unite for the sacred purpose of healing the breach in Christian union which had been caused by the German heresy.* "The chief motive of the peace of Câteau-Cambresis," says a well-informed contemporary, was that the seeds of the Saxon heresy were springing up throughout France." It was the opinion of the two cardinals, that," without a peace between the crowns of France and Spain, the catholic religion could not long continue either in France or Flanders ; so great was the increase of protestants, who could only be suppressed by establishing an inquisition in both countries." Immediately after the conclusion of the treaty the secret project to exterminate protestants was betrayed to William I., prince of Orange, by Henry II., who mistakenly supposed that the prince was a papal bigot, enjoying the same favour under Philip II., as he possessed under Charles V. Symptoms of the concert for the suppression of the impious and seditious opinions of the age broke out in various parts of Europe. Paul IV. (Caraffa) issued his tremendous bull for the excommunication and deposition of all princes tainted with heresy, manifestly and principally aimed at the head of Elizabeth, whom he had not yet the audacity to proscribe by name. On the 10th of May, 1563, the cardinal of Lorraine read a letter to the council of Trent from his niece, the queen of Scots," submitting herself to the council, and promising that when she succeeded to the crown of England she would subject both her kingdoms to the obedience due to the apostolic The cardinal excused his royal niece for not having sent prelates to the council by the cruel necessity of
*Thuan. lib. xx. c. 9.
+ Adriani, Istor. di suoi Tempi, lib. xi. Firenze, 1583.
Sir F. Walsingham to Burleigh. Paris, Aug. 12. 1571. Digges, 123. VOL. III.
keeping terms with her heretical counsellors. * council returned solemn thanks to the queen for a letter which, thus read in the representative assembly of Christendom, they doubtless regarded as the first-fruits of a pious concert of catholic princes against rebellious heretics. After such a letter to so numerous a body of important men of every nation, it was impossible that the general existence of an understanding between catholic princes on this subject should not be universally believed.
Pius IV., weary of the slow steps by which the holy allies + advanced to the verge of an exterminating war, earnestly urged a personal interview between Catherine de Medicis and Philip II. Philip evaded the journey, alleging his infirm health, which, with the habits of inaction and seclusion, in which he resembled his model, Tiberius, and with the convenience of gaining time, by his distance, for the consideration of every suggestion, was probably among his real motives. Catherine was attended by her son, Charles IX., with a splendid retinue of French, whose gaiety and brilliancy presented a striking contrast with the Castilian grandees who formed the train of the queen of Spain and the duke of Alva, over the gravity of whose national manners the temper of Philip had spread a deeper shade of melancholy dignity. The pretext for this assembly was that of an interview of the young queen of Spain with her mother the queen-dowager of France. Had this been the sole or the main object, it seemed singular that the conductor of the young queen should have been Alva, a cold, stern, unbending veteran of sixty, justly renowned for military genius, who had been employed from his earliest youth against the German innovators, the slaughter, and extirpation of whom he regarded as his most sacred duty to God or man. Military sports and courtly amusements occupied during the earlier part of the day the knights of both nations. Festivity, jollity,
Fra Paolo, Istoria Conc. Trident. lib. vii.
Opere, ii. 301.