Edict of Nantes
The king of France Henri IV authorized freedom of worship with the Protestant , according to several limits, and granted certain military fortified towns to them. Henri IV itself was old a protesting, and had chosen to convert with the Catholicisme in order to reach the throne. The promulgation of this edict put an end to the wars of religion which devastated France at the 16th century, and constitutes a Amnistie putting an end to the civil war.
That the memory of all last things on the one hand and other since the beginning of the month of March 1585 until our advent with the crown and during the preceding disorders and at the time of iceux, will remain extinct and dormant like not occurred thing. And permissible neither will be allowed our public prosecutors neither other public unspecified people neither deprived, in some time nor for some occasion that it either, to make of it mention, lawsuit or continuation in any court or jurisdiction that it or.
AntecedentsThe edict of Nantes, which closes in France the disturbed period of war of religion, is not the first text of this type in France. Following the disorders noted since four decades, the king of France Charles IX sign the edict of Saint-Germain (or edict of January) the January 17th 1562 which has the same spirit as the future edict of Nantes by granting the freedom of Culte to the Protestant in the suburbs. One can also note the edict of Amboise (March 19th 1563) which reduces the rights to the only gentlemen, as well as the Paix of Saint-Germain (August 8th 1570) who grants the freedom of Conscience, freedom of worship and four fortified towns: La Rochelle, Cognac, Montauban and the Charity-on-Loire. What makes the difference between these texts and the edict of Nantes, it is the real application of the latter thanks to the authority of Henri IV, which had been Protestant itself earlier in its life.
See also: the list of the Edicts of Pacification
Development of the treatyThe future “Edict of Nantes” is prepared with Angers.
Du March 7th at April 12th 1598, Henri IV makes of Angers its one moment old capital. Vis-a-vis the a long time independent Brittany, Angers, located well at the steps of the kingdom, was a fortified town of importance.
The acrostic joined on the name of Angers testifies to the importance of the city angevine:
- has ntic key of France,
- NR ecteté of suffering,
- G arant against ennemys,
- E pillar of insurance,
- R ecours of secourance,
- S eccurity of amys.
In 1597, the town of Amiens is taken again to the Spaniards. Henri IV can turn all his forces towards the last bastion of the League, combined Spaniards: the duke of Mercoeur, governor of the Brittany. The situation of this last is not bearable any more: the whole of the kingdom of France east returned in royal obedience, thanks to military successes of the king and with his conversion with Catholicism.
The sior of Rochepot, governor of the place of Angers, organized with the local population and municipal officials, the reception and the stay of King de France.
Arrived at Angers, Henri IV multiplies the symbolic gestures to rejoin the catholics of member of a league spirit completely. He goes to the cathedral to hear the mass. He receives with knees, with the entry of the church, the blessing of the bishop. A few days afterwards, it follows the procession of the Branches, a palm with the hand and its collar about the Holy Spirit on the shoulders. Henri IV washes the feet with the thirteen poor with the episcopal palate, touches the patients of the scrofula on the square of the cathedral according to the royal tradition. Finally it poses the first stone of the convent of the Capuchins, always in Angers.
During this time the duke of Mercœur sends his wife, the duchess of Mercoeur, in company of his representatives near king de Navarre, to negotiate his tender. (Brittany raises itself against their duke and Mercoeur loses several Breton fortified towns which rejoin the King of France, the last in date Dinan, in which population, helped by the Inhabitants of Saint Malo, crit “ Vive the King ”, “ Vive public freedom ”)). Henri IV refuses to accommodate the lady of Mercoeur to Angers. It is driven back with the Bridge-of-C (southern suburb of Angers located on the Loire). Nevertheless it meets the Mistress of the king, Gabrielle d' Estrée. The two women quickly put agreement for a marriage between the only daughter of Mercoeur, Francoise with César de Vendôme, wire naturalness of the king and Gabrielle d' Estrée. After this interview, Henri IV lets himself convince by his Mistress and finally agrees to receive in Angers, the woman of Mercoeur, as well as the delegates sent by her husband.
Between two shooting parties, Henri IV prepares the rendering of the duke of Mercœur and the preparation of the edict of pacification. An agreement is signed with the emissary of Mercœur the March 20th: it gives up its government of Brittany with the help of an enormous amount of money, but must grant the marriage of his only daughter Francoise with César de Vendôme, wire naturalness of the king and Gabrielle d' Estrée.
The March 28th, the duke of Mercoeur meets Henri IV with Briollay, at the duke of Rohan with which the king likes to drive out. Mercoor throws himself to the feet of the King and swears of him to be faithful. Duplessis-Mornay, friend faithful of Henri IV attends this situation operated well by Mercoeur. The king is not easily deceived and accepts this tender willingly. It is true that Mercoeur still has military forces, in particular with the presence of: 2000 Spanish which camps with the Pellerin along the the Loire and of: 5000 others with the Blavet under the command of its ally Don Juan d' Aguila.
Mercoor goes back himself from there to Nantes. The March 23rd a tax is raised to cover the expenses of reception for the reception of king de France. Meanwhile, Mercoeur demobilizes its own troops.
The king can then leave definitively Angers for Nantes on April 12th, leaving his great council to the convent of the Jacobins of Angers to put the last hand at the drafting of the edict which will be signed in Nantes, probably on April 30th, 1598. Henri IV receives the ambassadors of England and Province-Plain who try to persuade it to continue the war against Spain, but King de Navarre makes a point of putting a term at so many years of sufferings, misfortunes and calamities in his kingdom, as Sully brings it back.
the May 2nd 1598, the Paix of Vervins is signed between France and Spain. The kingdom recovers all its possessions in the North of the country and the Spanish troops leave the Pilgrim and the Blavet.
At the time, the edict is not called “edict of Nantes”, nor even “edict of Angers” but “ edict of pacification ”.
The edict of pacificationContrary to an generally accepted idea, the edict of Nantes " was not a gracious act, due to the will of the king, in the plenitude of its Souveraineté, but a treaty whose articles were discussed as with belligerents " (Jacques Bainville, French history , Marabout, 1986). Guaranteeing the freedom of conscience everywhere in the kingdom, it grants freedom of worship in the places where the Protestantisme was installed before 1597 like in 3500 castles of justicieux lords and two localities by bailliage.
In certain cities (Bordeaux, Grenoble, Castrate), the Protestants are judged by courts made up for half of Protestants. In certain cities, the protesting worship is prohibited (Paris, Rouen, Dijon, Toulouse or Lyon.) but in others it is the reverse (Saumur, La Rochelle, Montauban or Montpellier). Pierre Miquel tells that the catholics " which wanted to keep the faith of their fathers could not go to the church: it was destroyed, or carries it in was barred by stakes, on order of a Protestant chief ".
Réformés will not be private their civil laws, they can open academies. an equipment of 45.000 ecus is planned for the pastors.
150 places of refuge are given to the Protestants, including 51 places of safety. These places could be defended by a potential army of 30.000 soldiers.
It should not be believed either that this treaty was accommodated with relief; cities like Paris, Rennes, Rouen or others (catholic cities) will ratify it only at the end of 10 years under the threat of Henri IV whereas people as Theodore Agrippa of Aubigné qualified it abominable edict .
Another generally accepted idea which proves to be false is the concept of tolerance . Contrary to what was known as in 1998, this concept is not in the edict, moreover this word does not appear there. In fact, at that time this word is negative. It is synonymous to endure or to support . " If what we name tolerance means to accept the thought of the other like as true as its own opinion, here which is perfectly impossible at the 16th century. In the religious field, each one is sure to hold the truth. Knowing the latter, knowing that the other is in the error and plays its destiny eternal, it would be criminal to give up it and give up so that we will call a right of interference to save it, including by the force" (Gabriel Audision, Le Figaro , April 30th 1998).
The Catholics see this edict like a means of containing the Protestants while waiting for their disappearance, a kind of makeshift all in all. On their side the Protestants regard this edict only as one pause in the conversion of the catholics: " Will we say that it is necessary to allow the freedom of conscience? Not less of the world, if it is a question of freedom of adoring God each one with his own way. It is a dogma diabolique" declared in 1570 Theodore de Bèze, the successor of Jean Calvin. In 1586, Catherine de Médicis is addressed to the Viscount of Turenne: " king wants in his States only a religion". It what the Viscount answers " Us too. But that it is ours ".
In practice, the edict of Nantes marks a turning in the history of the Mentalité S: its signature marks the distinction between the political subject, which must obey, whatever its confession, with the law of the King, and the believer, free of his choices Religieux henceforth confined with the private sphere. The man cuts himself into two: a public half, and a private half; the actions and the acts are subjected without exception to the Loi of the monarch.
Pierre Joxe emphasized one of the paradoxes of the edict of Nantes. It shows that this text, commonly presented like flux the Tolérance, did not profit always as much with the Protestants than it is believed. On the other hand, it founds, around a religion of State whose sovereign is the pivot, the Absolutisme. Its result is a true royal religion, which will culminate with Louis XIV in Versailles, in “solar religion”. The edict leads finally France to sacrilize a king with a degree without equivalent in Europe.
The revocation was done in three stages.
The revocation of the military clauses (1629)The military slope of the edict of Nantes, namely the possibility for the Protestants of preserving military fortified towns, had been revoked under the reign of Louis XIII, by the promulgation of the edict of Ale grace (June 28th 1629).
This one, which make following the Siège of the La Rochelle, Protestant city, in 1628, prohibited the political assemblies and removes the Protestant places of safety. But it maintains freedom of worship in all the kingdom, except with Paris.
The policy of conversion (years 1660 - 1685)As from the years 1660, a policy of conversion of the Protestants to Catholicism was undertaken by Louis XIV through the kingdom. She is exerted by a work missionary, but also by various persecutions, like the Dragonnades. The dragonnades consist in obliging the Protestant families to place a dragon, member of a body of soldiers. The dragon is placed with the expenses of the Protestant family, and exerts various pressures on it.
This policy of more or less forced conversions was effective, at least officially, and one saw developing a clandestine practice of Protestantism, at new converts with Catholicism.
The number of Protestants " officiels" strongly fell, and the edict of Nantes, formally always valid, was emptied of its contents.
The final revocation (1685)To complete this policy, Louis XIV revoked the religious slope of the edict of Nantes by signing the edict of Fontainebleau, contresigned by the chancellor Michel Tellier, on October 18th 1685. The Protestantisme consequently became prohibited on the French territory.
This revocation involved the exile of many Huguenot S, weakening the French economy for the benefit of the Protestant countries which accommodated them: England and its colonies of the Virginia and the South Carolina, Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands and its colonies of the Cape and the New Amsterdam, the latter in the past located on the territory of the New York and the New Jersey of today. One speaks very roughly about 300.000 exiled, of which many craftsmen or members middle-class.
The Revocation of the Edict of Nantes also had as indirect effects of risings of Protestants, like the war of the Camisards of the Cevennes, and a very strong erosion of the number of the Protestants living in France, by the exile or progressive conversion with the Catholicisme.
Under the successors of Louis XIV, Protestantism remained prohibited, but prohibition was applied in a way gradually less militant, and of many Protestant communities could of this fact of remaining.
They were three years after this revocation, which, according to much of historians, the Croix huguenote was invented with Nimes by Maystre.
A recent historiographic discovery shows that the edict of Nantes was not sealed with green wax, used for the perpetual edicts, but with brown wax, like a temporary edict. Problem of chancellery or political calculation? The debate remains open.
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