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some of which were in a flourishing condition. The civil law, medicine and religion were taught. From all these schools some light was diffused through the intellectual darkness, and most important of all, a growing appetite for truth and an increasing perception of the vices and immoralities of the age. The printing press had come to give its powerful aid in spreading information. While the high clergy were often intent only on their own personal aggrandizement, there were many students who in reading the scriptures discovered, not merely the alluring promise of bliss in a life to come, but also the practical lessons of morality and the sublime virtue of the golden rule as a means of improving man's condition here on earth. The sixteenth century exhibits, often in the same individual as well as in the contentions of parties and factions, the struggle between the old savagery and barbarism in their most vicious forms, and conscience newly awakened to the command to love your enemies. The religious struggle in France was not between different states or sections of the country, but between neighbors. Men either followed the path of the reformation or adhered to the dogmas and the mastery of the established church, according to their mental bias and surrounding influences. It is difficult in this age to comprehend the feelings of Protestants and Catholics in those times. Protestants were appalled at the immoralities of the church and believed that nothing but eternal damnation could be meted out to those, who under the guise of religion were guilty of so many misdeeds. Catholics felt that Protestants were seeking to tear down that church to which they looked for protection and safe passage into a life of bliss to come. Generation after generation had lived and died in blissful confidence in the ability of the priest to pass the dying soul safely through purgatory into heaven, and the belief that without the aid of the church man was without hope. Deadly strife always develops hardness and cruelty, but religious wars and persecutions are always more cruel and unrelenting than others.
During the reign of Francis I there were eighty-one executions for heresy in accordance with judicial decrees. In
1545 a great number of Vaudians, estimated at 3,000, were ruthlessly massacred because of their religious opinions. During the twelve years reign of Henry II there were ninetyseven convictions and executions for heresy. Though in some cases the proceedings were very summary and execution followed arrest quickly, in most the proceedings were deliberate, and it cannot be doubted that many people believed that heresy was a crime meriting death. The study of the law had made such progress that the lawyers were already an important factor in the state. The highest court was the parliament of Paris, which not only exercised judicial functions, but was the medium through which all edicts of the King or Pope having the effect of laws were registered. Parliament itself was not a law-making power, but it sometimes interposed obstacles to obnoxious enactments by refusing to register them. The kings overcame the difficulty by causing registration to be made without the sanction of Parliament, but when in 1557 the papal bull was issued establishing the Inquisition in France, the Parliament refused to register it. In 1559 this Parliament was composed of one hundred and thirty members and in 1602 when Biron was condemned one hundred and twenty-seven voted for the conviction. The religious struggle attained its most fierce manifestation in the Massacre of St. Bartholomews Eve on Aug. 24, 1572, when the Protestants in great numbers were butchered by the order of Charles IX. The number is variously estimated from 10,000 to 100,000. It was the purpose of Charles to exterminate the Huguenots at one stroke and thus end the religious strife, but in this he signally failed. The moral sense of the Catholics was violently shocked, and all Christendom condemned in unmeasured terms the bloody butchery. The religious struggle continued throughout the reign of Charles IX, which ended with his death in 1574, and of his successor Henry III, 1574 to 1589. To the influence of Catharine de Medici, the Italian queen mother, was charged many of the evils with which the state was afflicted. In 1575 the Holy League, which had been first conceived in 1562, came into prominence, and on the other side the Protestants were not wanting in numbers or leadership. At Paris the Catholic League partitioned the city into five districts with a head man for each, who soon added to their number eleven others. This formed the committee of sixteen, which played an important part in the religious war. In 1588, when Henry III undertook to garrison the city, this committee, under the leadership of the Duke of Guise and backed by the populace, barricaded the streets of Paris and caused the king to seek safety in flight. On Oct. 6, 1588, the States-General, composed of one hundred and eighty nobles, one hundred and thirty-four clergymen and one hundred and ninety-one members of the third estate, were convoked at Blois. Nothing of importance was accomplished by the session, which ended Jan. 10, 1589. The King caused the Duke of Guise to be murdered, but the death of the leader did not destroy the league. The Parliament of Paris sided with the Leaguers, and the parliaments of other chief cities did likewise. The Duke of Mayenne, who succeeded to the Catholic leadership, organized a council general of the League, composed of forty members, for the general direction of its affairs. The struggle between Catholic and Protestant was popular in character and not merely the quarrel of leaders. The league had its committee and was backed by the populace at Paris. The Protestants on the other hand were asserting their right to religious liberty, and in doing so were forced to deny the temporal power of the king when exerted to compel submission to the established form of worship. It was an assertion of individual liberty, though without a clear conception of the significance of the claim.
The assassination of Henry III by a fanatical monk made Henry of Navarre, a Protestant, heir to the throne. The Catholics were still largely in the majority and Henry, who had been the recognized head of the Protestants, had a difficult task before him; but with the force of the sentiment of loyalty to the legitimate heir to the throne and a wise policy of toleration of religious differences, he accomplished good for the state and the substantial restoration of domestic peace. His principle of toleration was a principle of liberty of conscience, religious thought and expression. The edict of Nantes, which he published on April 13, 1598, was a great stride forward, though it did not accord entire equality or freedom in religion. By it the Protestant form of worship in the castles of the lords high justiciary, who numbered 3,500, was allowed, and also in the castles of simple noblemen, provided the number present did not exceed thirty. The state was charged with a provision of 165,000 livres for salaries of Protestant ministers, and donations and legacies for their support were permitted. The children of Protestants were admitted to the schools and universities. The Parliament being intensely Catholic there was great difficulty in obtaining justice by the Protestants, and a special court, called the edict chamber, was established for the trial of causes in which they were interested. Catholic judges could not sit in this court, except with the consent of the parties. In the Parliaments of Bordeaux, Toulouse and Grenoble, the edict chambers were composed of two presidents, one Catholic and one Protestant, and twelve councillors equally divided. The Protestants retained control of the towns then in their possession, numbering great and small about two hundred, and their garrisons and fortifications were maintained at the public charge. After his accession to the throne Henry found it easier to rule as a Catholic than as a Protestant, and in 1593 became a Catholic and was received into the Church. He issued this edict as a Catholic monarch for the pacification of his kingdom, and as a measure of justice to his subjects. Henry is also credited with a comprehensive plan for the pacification of all Europe by confederating all the Christian states, Catholic, Luthern and Calvanist, with equal rights. The plan contemplated independence in local affairs, the care for common interests through central authority and the pacific settlement of all disputes between states. The recent Hague conferences are steps toward the realization of a world wide union of this kind. The barbarism of a division of the continent into so many hostile camps must some day be generally recognized the simple remedy of efficient coöperation and combination for the general good be adopted, and all the vast armies which now sap the life of each nation and periodically spread death,
destruction and misery over the land, be disbanded to aid in promoting the general welfare. The curse of militarism may be removed merely by the extension to national disputes of the principle of the decision of controversies by reason and the judgment of disinterested men, as controversies between individuals and subdivisions of a state are now settled. In Henry's foreign policy the principle of religious toleration played an important part. To check the power of Austria he allied Catholic France with Protestant Germany and England against Spain and Austria. Under his rule there was a growing respect for law as well as an increased measure of liberty. When he became convinced that Biron, who had long been a favorite with him, plotted against his authority, instead of directing his execution arbitrarily, as Charles IX had commanded that of Coligny and the Huguenots and Henry III that of the Duke of Guise, he caused him to be publicly tried. The inquiry lasted three weeks, and the one hundred and twenty-seven judges in the Parliament of Paris unanimously condemned him. Doubtless the accused stood at great disadvantage in a trial with the king as accuser, and the tribunal could hardly be called an impartial one, but strict impartiality, absolute freedom from all bias, is hardly to be found, unless the matter tried is of utter indifference to the judge. It is greatly to be regretted that in his private morals Henry was conspicuous for weakness rather than strength of character, yet in spite of this blemish he stands out as a truly great public character, who labored earnestly and successfully to protect the public good, not only of his own kingdom but of all Europe. During the regency of Marie de Medici, widow of Henry IV, and the reign of Louis XIII, Richelieu promoted the system of absolutism, which attained its highest stage under Louis XIV. The power of the feudal lords had been waning for more than a century. Under the ministry of Richelieu all eyes became steadily fixed on the king as the fountain of all power in the state, and the ambitious nobles were taught to seek advancement through the favor of the king, rather than the power of their armed retainers. Though Henry IV had had his councillors, no ministry with a distri