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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.

St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre

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 Today is a sad day in French Protestant history. Today, a slaughter of French Huguenots commenced in Paris at the instigation of the Catholic Queen Catherine de Medici on August 24, 1572. French Catholic nobles and commoners alike went after the Huguenots, beginning in Paris and then spreading to other parts of France. It started when Queen Catherine tried to get a Huguenot leader assassinated and failed. When Queen Catherine's daughter married a leading Huguenot nobleman, Henry of Navarre, there was a huge celebration in Paris that many Huguenot nobles attended. Queen Catherine saw in that her opportunity to slaughter the Huguenot nobles and she seized that opportunity. 


It was a bloodbath that was celebrated by both the Spanish king and the Pope. It also sparked another round of bloodshed between the papists and the Huguenots.


Massacre of St. Bartholomew's Day: Massacre of Saint Bartholomew’s Day, massacre of French Huguenots (Protestants) in Paris on August 24/25, 1572, plotted by Catherine de Medicis.
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Thank you for sharing this CL., and I moved this to the Christian History Sub-forum.


What I found interesting in the provided link:


Instead of crippling the Huguenot party as Catherine had hoped it would do, the massacre revived hatred between Roman Catholics and Huguenots and helped provoke a renewal of hostilities. Thenceforth the Huguenots abandoned John Calvin’s principle of obedience to the civil magistrate—that is, to the royal authority—and adopted the view that rebellion and tyrannicide were justifiable under certain circumstances.


I'd love to hear those arguments! The principle of obedience to the civil magistrate seemingly also was followed by Martin Luther as well as Calvin, from the writings of Paul during his persecution. I'm unstudied on this particular historical event and the doctrines which unfolded thereafter, but I think many church fathers indicated or contributed support of Just War Principals, that is, when the act of war is justified. As we can see from the below dates, though this theory was supported before the Hugenot massacre, a lot of contribution to Just War Principals seemingly surfaced and was an epicenter around that time:


Although St. Augustine provided comments on the morality of war from the Christian perspective (railing against the love of violence that war can engender) as did several Arabic commentators in the intellectual flourishing from the 9th to 12th centuries, but the most systematic exposition in the Western tradition and one that still attracts attention was outlined by Saint Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century. In the Summa Theologicae, Aquinas presents the general outline of what becomes the traditional just war theory as discussed in modern universities. He discusses not only the justification of war but also the kinds of activity that are permissible (for a Christian) in war (see below). Aquinas's thoughts become the model for later Scholastics and Jurists to expand and to gradually to universalize beyond Christendom – notably, for instance, in relations with the peoples of America following European incursions into the continent. The most important of these writers are: Francisco de Vitoria (1486-1546), Francisco Suarez (1548-1617), Hugo Grotius (1583-1645), Samuel Pufendorf (1632-1704), Christian Wolff (1679-1754), and Emerich de Vattel (1714-1767).


God bless,


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It was less difficult to murder the Huguenots than to try and defend a belief system that simply can not be defended.

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Despite Martin Luther's opposition to political rebellion of any kind, there are certain times when Lutherans find political change more than justified.. 


A biblical vision for family, church, and society in the spirit of the Lutheran confessions


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1 minute ago, ConfessionalLutheran said:

Despite Martin Luther's opposition to political rebellion of any kind, there are certain times when Lutherans find political change more than justified.. 


A biblical vision for family, church, and society in the spirit of the Lutheran confessions




In summary, the Geneva Bible promoted obedience to both higher and lower magistrates, and to the laws of the land, as limited within a constitutional framework—and all of this only so long as no civil mandate ran afoul of God’s moral law. Such a posture left open the possibility that a citizen would have to disobey one magistrate in order to obey a differently minded magistrate, with the prioritization among magistrates being determined not by rank alone, but by agreement with two other standards: the jurisdiction of each magistrate as defined by the operative constitution and, trumping all other considerations, the immutable principles of God’s moral law.


To King James I, who espoused a strong theory of royal prerogative, the Geneva theology was tantamount to treason; for Calvinist Puritans (who in time would gain enough votes in Parliament to depose two of James’s successors), the Geneva footnotes preserved a theology worth dying for. As smuggled copies of the outlawed Geneva Bible floated across the English Channel in ever growing quantities, James abandoned censorship in favor of a more practical means of preventing the English people from reading the Puritans’ prized republican footnotes: the king sponsored an alternative translation, devoid of political contraband, and sought to flood the market with cheap copies. Thus originated the “Authorized [i.e., not smuggled] Version,” also known as the “King James Version.” Significantly for American history, it was not the KJV, but rather than Geneva Bible, that became the Bible of New England’s Puritans.

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Gaspard de Coligny was the Huguenot that Queen Catherine tried to whack and failed at her first attempt. 


Gaspard II de Coligny, seigneur de Châtillon: Gaspard II de Coligny, seigneur de Châtillon, admiral of France and leader of the Huguenots during the early years of the Wars of Religion (1562–98). Coligny was the son of Gaspard I de Coligny, the marshal of Châtillon, and Louise de Montmorency, sister of Anne de Montmorency, constable of France.
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St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre:


“... Saint Bartholomew's Day, Massacre of (2008) Encyclopædia Britannica Deluxe Edition, Chicago; Hardouin de Péréfixe de Beaumont, Catholic Archbishop of Paris a century later, put the number at 100,000, but "This last number is probably exaggerated, if we reckon only those who perished by a violent death. But if we add those who died from wretchedness, hunger, sorrow, abandoned old men, women without shelter, children without bread,—all the miserable whose life was shortened by this great catastrophe, we shall see that the estimate of Péréfixe is still below the reality." G. D. Félice (1851). History of the Protestants of France. New York: Edward Walker, p. 217. ...” - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Bartholomew's_Day_massacre#cite_note-33







Voltaire the consumate Jesuit (playing the Hegelian dialectic, and to set up Plato's republic) wrote:

"... If the persecuting of those who differ from us in opinion is a holy action, it must be confessed that he who had murdered the greatest number of heretics would be the most glorious saint in Heaven.  If so, what a pitiful figure would be a man who had only stripped his brethren of all they had, and thrown them to rot in a dungeon, make, in comparison with the zealot who had butchered his hundreds on the famous day of St. Bartholomew?  This may be proved as follows:


The successor of St. Peter and his consistory cannot err; they approved, they celebrated, they consecrated the action of St. Bartholomew; consequently that action was holy and meritorious; and, by a like deduction, he who of two murderers, equal in piety, had ripped up the bellies of eighty Huguenot women big with child would be entitled to double the portion of glory of another who had butchered but twelve; ..." - Voltaire: 60+ Works in One Volume - Philosophical Writings, Novels, Historical Works, Poetry, Plays & Letters; Candide, A Philosophical Dictionary, A Treatise on Toleration, Plato's Dream, The Princes of Babylon, Zadig, The Huron, Socrates, The Sage and the Atheist, Dialogues, Oedipus, Caesar ... Published by Musaicum Books; 2017 OK Publishing; ISBN 978-80-7583-598-7 - https://books.google.com/books?id=BnNODwAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false

See also Voltaire's "Henriade, Canto 2" - https://archive.org/stream/henriadeanepicp00voltgoog#page/n7/mode/1up



Lord Acton (A Roman Catholic, "... at Cambridge he regularly attended Mass, and he received the last sacraments, at Tegernsee, on his death-bed. ..." - http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01114a.htm ) wrote:

"... [page 115 (PDF 163)] The opinion that the Massacre of St. Bartholomew was a sudden and unpremeditated act cannot be maintained. . . .


“[page 116 (PDF 164)] By the month of February, 1572, the plan had assumed a practical shape. . . .


“[page 117 (PDF 165)] The court had determined to enforce unity of faith in France. An edict of toleration was issued for the purpose of lulling the Huguenots; but it was well known that it was only a pretense. Strict injunctions were sent into the provinces that it should not be obeyed; and Catherine said openly to the English envoy, ‘My son will have exercise but of one religion in his realm.’ On the twenty-sixth [of February] the king explained his plan to Mondoucet, his agent at Brussels: ‘Since it has pleased God to bring matters to the point they have now reached, I mean to use the opportunity to secure a perpetual repose in my kingdom, and to do something for the good of all Christendom. It is probable that the conflagration will spread to every town in France, and that they will follow the example of Paris, and lay hands on all the Protestants. . . . [page 117] I have written to the governors to assemble forces in order to cut to pieces those who may resist.’ The great object was to accomplish the extirpation of Protestantism in such a way as might leave intact the friendship with Protestant states. . . .


“[page 133 (PDF 181)] Salviati had written on the afternoon of the twenty-fourth [of August]. . . . [page 133 (PDF 181)] It was a fair sight to see the Catholics in the streets wearing white crosses, and cutting down heretics; and it was thought that, as fast as the news spread, the same thing would be done in all the towns of France. This letter was read before the assembled cardinals at the Venetian palace, and they thereupon attended the pope to a Te Deum in the nearest church. [page 134 (PDF 182)] The guns of St. Angelo were fired in the evening, and the city was illuminated for three nights. To disregard the pope’s will in this respect would have savored of heresy. Gregory XIII exclaimed that the massacre was more agreeable to him than fifty victories of Lepanto. For some weeks the news from the French provinces sustained the rapture and excitement of the court. It was hoped that other countries would follow the example of France; the emperor was informed that something of the same kind was expected of him. On the eighth of September the pope went in procession to the French church of St. Lewis, where three and thirty cardinals attended at a mass of thanksgiving. On the eleventh he proclaimed a jubilee. In the bull he said that forasmuch as God had armed the king of France to inflict vengeance on the heretics of the rebellion which had devastated his kingdom, Catholics should pray that he might have grace to pursue his auspicious enterprise to the end, and so complete what he had begun so well. . . ." - Lord Acton, The History of Freedom and Other Essays by John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton, First Baron Acton; D.C.L., LL.D., Etc. Etc.  Regius Professor of Modern History in the University of Cambridge; Edited with an Introduction by John Neville Figgis, Litt.D.; sometime Lecturer in St. Catherine's College, Cambridge; and Reginald Vere Laurence, M.A.; Fellow and Lecturer of Trinity College, Cambridge; Macmillan and Co., Limited; St. Martin's Street, London, 1919. - https://archive.org/stream/TheHistoryOfFreedom#page/n163/mode/1up/






St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre:


"... [page 25] The face of things was wholly changed upon the death of the Queen of Navarre; all the court appeared sensibly touched, and went into deep mourning. In a world, it is not giving too strong a name to all this conduct of Catherine and her son, to call it an almost incredible prodigy of dissimulation; feeling she could ensnare by it so discreet a man as the Admiral de Coligny, and that, notwithstanding a thousand circumstances concurring, one would think, to make him apprehend the danger that was approaching: for it was openly said, that Genlis and La-Noue, who had been sent to the assistance of the Prince of Orange, were defeated * by the connivance of the French court; which, while it was uncertain of success in the principal object of its dissimulation, could not think of risking all the consequences which that dissimulation might produce.


They were also informed of the conferences with the Queen-mother, and the principal ministers, held with Cardinal Alexandrin, nephew of Pope Pius V, and with the Guises; the last having been twice discovered conversing in mask with the King, the Queen mother, the Duke de Retz, and the Chancellor de Birague †. This was sufficient to shew what they ought to think of their pretended disgrace. In the death of the Queen of Navarre ‡, they thought they could perceive manifest [page 25-26 (notations skipped)] indications of poison. It passed for certain, that the wound the Admiral received came from the house of Villemur, preceptor to the Guises; and that the assassin had been met in his flight, upon a horse belonging to the King's stable. Even the guards that Charles * placed about the Admiral after this attempt, under pretext of securing his person, were, the greatest part of them, his declar- [page 26-27 (notations * recorded)]


[* All this is true, and proves, that this stratagem was the work of the Queen mother, and not that of the King. It is hard to say, what was her real intention in striking this stroke; whether she sought to get rid of a man who possessed too much power over the King's mind, and was capable of ruining her design of exterminating all the Huguenots; or whether, if the Admiral had died of this wound, she would have confined her vengeance to his single death; or, lastly, whether she expected the noise of this assassination would excite the Calvinists in Paris to revolt, and by that means furnish her with the occasion she wanted, to fall upon them with a high hand, for which her party was already prepared. Many expedients were proposed in the council to give a pretense for attacking them; amongst others, the assault of an artificial fort built in the Louvre, which would afford them an opportunity of turning the feigned slaughter into a real one against the Huguenots. An last, they resolved to put them all to the sword in the night.


The Admiral lodged in the street Bedisy in an inn, which is called at present the Hotel S. Pierre. The chamber where we was murdered is still shewn there. (notation * ended)]


[page 26-27] [declar-]ed enemies. It was no less certain, that all the citizens of Paris were furnished with arms, which, by the King's order, they kept in their houses.


The most clear-sighted among the Huguenots, yielding to proofs so convincing, quitted the court, and Paris itself, or lodged at least in the suburbs. Of this number were Mess. de Langoiran, de Frontenay, the Viscount de Chartres, de Loncaunay, de Rabodanges, Du-Breuil, de Segur, de Say, Du-Touchet, Des Hayes, de Saint-Gelais, de Chouppes, de Beauvais, de Grandriem se, St. Estienne, d'Arnes, de Boisec, and many other gentlemen of Normandy, and Poitou *. Happily my father was one of those, whose life was preserved by a wise distrust. When they were pressed to come nearer the court, they replied, that they found the air of suburbs was better for their health, and the air of the fields still better than that of the suburbs. When they were informed, that of Bishop of Valence, in taking leave of the King for his embassy to Poland, had penetrated into the secret, and been indiscreet enough to reveal it to some of his friends, and that they had intercepted letters sent to Rome by the Cardinal de Peleve, in which he unveiled all this mystery to the Cardinal de Lorrain; then it was, that these gentlemen redoubled their importunity with the King of Navarre, either to quit Paris himself, or at least to permit them to retire to their own homes. To their advice the Prince opposed that which had been given him by a number of other persons, and even in the Protestant party; for where are not traitors to be found? They warned him to be distrustful; they noted to him the names of all these who had been gained over by [page 27-28 (* notations skipped)] the Queen-mother to deceive him. He listened to nothing. The Admiral * appeared no less incredulous: his bad destiny began by blinding, to destroy him. Happy, if he had had the prudence of the Marechal de Montmorency, whom they could never draw from Chantilly, although the King incessantly plied him to partake in the favour of the Admiral, and to continue near his person, to aid him in his counsels.


If I sought to augment the horror universally excited by an action so barbarous † as that of [page 27-28, † notation recorded]


[(* notation skipped); † What M. de Sully says of the massacre ought not to be thought too severe. "An execrable action," cries Perefixe, "that never had, and, I trust God, never will have its like." Pope Pius V. was so much afflicted at it, that he shed tears; but Gregory XIII, who succeeded him, ordered a public thanksgiving to God for this massacre to be offered at Rome, and sent a legate to congratulate Charles IX, and to exhort him to continue it. The following is a short account of the massacre. All the necessary measures having been taken, the ringing of the bells of St. Germain l'Auxerrois, for matins, was the signal for beginning the slaughter. The Admiral de Coligny was first murdered, in the midst of his servants, by Besmes, a German, and a domestic of the Duke of Guise, and others; the Duke himself, and the Chevalier de Guise, staying below in the court. His body was thrown out of the window. They cut off his head, and carried it to the Queen-mother, together with his box of papers; among which, it is said, they found the memoirs of his own times, composed by himself. After they had ordered all sorts of indignities to the bleeding carcase, it was hung on the gibbet of Montfaucon, whence the Marechal de Montmorency caused it to be taken down in [page 28-29, notations continue] the night, and buried at Chantilly. The whole house of Guise had been personally animated against the Admiral, ever since the last assassination of Claude Duke of Guise, by Poltrot de Mere, whom they believed to have been incited to this crime by him; and, to say the truth, the Admiral was never able to clear himself of this imputation. If this butchery (as many people are fully persuaded) was only an effect of the Guises resentment, who advised the Queen-mother to it, with a view of revenging their own quarrel; it must be confessed, that no particular person ever drew so severe a vengeance for an offense. All the domestics of the Admiral were afterwards slain; and, at the same time, the King's emissaries began the slaughter in all quarters of the city. The most distinguished of the Calvinists who lost their lives, were Francis de la Rochefoucault, who having been at play part of the night with the King, and finding himself seized in bed by men in masks, thought it was the King and his courtiers who came to divert themselves with him: Anthony de Clermnot, Marquis de Resnel, murdered by his own kinsman Lewis de Clermont of Bugy d'Amboise, with whom he had a law-suit for the marquisate of Clermont; Charles de Quellenec, Baron of Pont in Bretagne, whose dead body excited the curiosity of the ladies of the court, on account of a process carried on by his wife, Catherine de Parthenay, daughter and heiress of John de Soubize; Francis Nompar de Cammont, murdered in his bed betwixt his two sons; one of whom was stabbed by his side, but the other, by counterfeiting himself dead, and lying concealed under the bodies of his father and brother, escaped: Teligny, son in law to the admiral: Charles de Beaumanoir de Lavardin; Antony de Marasin, Lord of Guerchy; Beaudisner, Pluviaut, Berny, Du Briou, governor to the Marquis of Conty; Beauvais, governor to the King of Navarre, Colombieres, Francourt, &c. The Count de Mongomery was pursued by the Duke of Guise as far as Montfort L'Amaury. The King pardoned the Viscounts of Grammont and Duras, and Gamache and Beuchavannes. The three brothers of the Marechal de Montmorency were also spared, through fear that he might thereafter revenge their death. See the historians and other writers. Read also that fine description of the massacre of St. Bartholomew, by M. de Voltaire, in his Henriade, Canto 2. (notation † ended)]


[page 27-28] [as that of] 24th of August 1572, too well known by the name of the massacre of St. Bartholomew, I should in this place expiate upon the number, the quality, the virtues, and the talents of those who were inhumanly butchered on this horrible day as well in Paris as in all the rest of the kingdom, I should mark at least some part of the reproaches, the ignominious treatments, and the detestable devices of cruelty, which aimed, in giving death, to inflict [page 29-30] thousand stabs, as sensible as death itself to the unhappy victims. I have the pieces still in my hands, that vouch the instances of the court of France with the neighbouring courts, to imitate its example against the Reformed, or at least to refuse any asylum to all these unfortunate people. But I prefer the honour of the nation to the malignant pleasure which particular person might draw from a detail, in which they would find the names of those who forgot humanity so far, as to imbrue their hands in the blood of their fellow-citizens, and of their proper parents. I even would, if it were possible, bury for ever the memory of a day for which the divine vengeance punished France, by six and twenty successive years of disaster, carnage, and horror. One cannot help judging after this manner, when he considers all that passed from that fatal moment till the peace of 1598. It is even with regret, that I insist upon the part which regards the prince who is the subject of these memoirs, and upon what of it concerned myself.


I had gone to be betimes in the evening, and felt myself awakened about three hours after midnight, by the sound of all the bells, and the confused cries of the populace. My governor St. Julian, with my valet de chambre, went hastily out to know the cause; and I never afterwards heard more of these two men, who, without doubt, were among the first that were sacrificed to the public fury. I continued alone in my chamber, dressing myself, when, in a few moments, I saw my landlord enter, pale, and astonished. He was of the Reformed religion, and having learned what the matter was, had resolved to go to mass, to save his life, and preserve his house from being pillaged. He came to persuade me to do the same, and to take me with him. I did not think proper to follow him, but resolved to try if I could gain the college of Burgundy, where I studied, notwithstanding the di- [page 30-31] [di-] stance it was from the house where I lodged, which made the attempt very perilous. I put on my scholar's robe, and taking a large prayer-book under my arm, I went down. Upon entering the street, I was seized with horror at the sight of the furies, who rushed from all parts, and burst open the houses, bawling out, "Slaughter, slaughter, massacre the Huguenots." And the blood which I saw shed before my eyes redoubled my terror. I fell into the midst of a body of guards; they stopped me, questioned me, and were beginning to use me ill, when, happily for me, the book that I carried was perceived, and served me for a passport. Twice after this I fell into the same danger, from which I extricated myself with the same happiness. At last I arrived at the college of Burgundy, where a danger far greater than any I had yet met with awaited me. The porter having twice refused me entrance, I remained in the midst of the street, at the mercy of the furies, whose numbers increased every moment, and who were evidently in quest of their pray, when I bethought myself of calling for the principal of the college, La Faye, a good man, who loved me tenderly. The porter, gained by some small pieces of money which I put into his hand, did not fail to make him come. This honest man made me go into his chamber, where two inhuman priests, whom I heard make mention of the Sicilian vespers *, wanted to force me from him, that they might cut me in pieces, saying, the order was, to slaughter to the very infants at the breast. All that he could do was, to conduct me secretly to a remote closet, where he locked me up. I was there confined three days, uncertain of my destiny, receiving succour only from a domestic belonging to this [page 31-32, * notation recorded]


[* In the year 1282, the Sicilians murdered all the French in the island. The bell for vespers was the signal. (notation * end)]


[page 31-32] [to this] charitable man, who brought me from time to time something to preserrve my life.


At the end of that term, the prohibition for murdering and pillaging any more of the Protestants being published, I was taken from my cell; and immediately after, I saw Ferriere and La Vieville, two soldiers of the guard who were my father's creatures, enter the college. They came to know what had become of me, and were armed, without doubt, to rescue me by force where-ever they should find me. They gave my father a relation of my adventure; and eight days after, I received a letter from him, in which he acquainted me how greatly he had been alarmed on my account, but advised me however to continue in Paris, which the Prince, my master, was not at liberty to abandon: only not to expose myself to an evident danger, I should resolve to do what the prince himself had done, meaning that I ought to go to mass. In effect, the King of Navarre had found no other means to save his life. He was awaked, with the Prince of Conde, two hours before day, by a multitude of soldiers, who rushed boldly into the chamber, in the Louvre, where they lay, and insolently commanded them to dress themselves, and attend the King. They were forbid expressly to take their swords; and as they went out, they saw several of their gentlemen * massacred disrespectfully before their eyes. Charles waited for them, and received them with a visage and eyes in which fury was painted: he ordered them, with the oaths and blasphemies which were familiar to him, to quit a religion that [page 32-33, * notation skipped]


[Page 32-33] had only been taken up, he said, to serve as a pretext for their rebellion. The condition to which these princes † were reduced, could not hinder them from discovering that they should obey him with pain: so that the wrath of the King became immoderate. He told them, in an imperious and furious tone, "That he would no longer be contradicted in his sentiment by his subjects; that they, by their example, should teach others to revere him as the image of God, and cease to be enemies to the images of his mother." he ended by declaring, that if they did not go that moment to mass, he was forthwith to give orders to treat them as criminals guilty of treason against divine and human majesty. the manner in which these words were pronounced, not permitting them to doubt but that there were sincere, they bended under violence, and did what was exacted. Henry was even obliged to send an edict into his dominions, by which the exercise of any other religion but the Romish was forbidden. Though this submission secured his life, in other respects he fared for it but little the better. He was subjected to a thousand caprices and a thousand insults from the court; at times free, oftener closely confined, and treated as a criminal. Sometimes his domestics were permitted to see and to serve him, then all on a sudden we would be prohibited to appear.


At such times I employed my leisure as usefully as possible. I was no longer at liberty from this time forth for learned languages, or whatever is called studies. This application, which my father [page 33-34, notation * skipped]


[page 33-34] had always strongly recommended to me, became impossible when once I approached the court. It was with regret I parted with an excellent preceptor, to whose care my father had entrusted my education: he himself perceiving he could be no longer useful, requested to retire. From his hands I passed into those of one called Chretien, whom the King of Navarre kept in his train, and enjoined to teach me mathematics and history: two sciences which soon consoled me for those I renounced, because I felt that inclination for them, which I have ever since preserved: the rest of my time was employed in learning to write and read well, and in forming myself to exercises proper to give gracefulness to the body. It was in these principles, joining still a greater attention to form the manners, that the method of educating youth consisted, which was known to be peculiar to the King of Navarre, because he himself had been brought up in that manner. I followed it till I was sixteen years of age, when the conjuncture of the times throwing us, both him and me, into the tumult of arms, without almost the hope of coming out of it, these exercises necessarily gave place to such as related solely to war, which (renouncing all others) I began with that of the arquebuse. All that a young man can then do, is to improve his heart by what he is obliged to with-hold from his understanding: for even amidst the hurry and din of arms, there are not wanting, to him who knows how to look them out, excellent schools of virtue and politeness. But unhappy, and even all his life, is he, who being engaged in a profession so fatal to youth, is deficient in strength or inclination to resist bad examples. Though he should have the good fortune to preserve himself from all shameful vice, how shall he instruct and fortify himself in the principles that wisdom dictates alike to the private man and the prince' that virtue be so effectually wrought into [page 34-35] habit by practice, that no virtuous action can ever be found painful; and that when reduced to the necessity of saving all all by a crime, or of losing all by a good action, the heart may even be a stranger to the interior struggles of duty and inclination?


It was not long before Charles felt violent remorse for the barbarous action to which they had forced him to lend his name and authority. From the evening of the 24th of August, he was observed to groan involuntarily at the recital of a thousand strokes of cruelty, which every one made a merit of in his presence. Of all those who were about the person of this prince, none had so great a share of his confidence as Ambrose Pare. This man, who was only his surgeon, had contracted with him so great a familiarity, though he was a Huguenot, that, on the day of the massacre, this Prince having said, that it was at that hour that all the world must become Catholic; Pare replied without emotion, "By the light of God, Sire, I cannot believe but you remember to have promised never to command me four things, namely, to enter into my mother's womb, to be present in a day of battle, to quit your service, or to go to mass." The King took him aside, and opened himself to him upon the trouble with which he felt himself agitated. "Ambrose," said he to him, "I know not what has befallen me these two or three days past, but I feel my mind and body all as much disordered as it I had a fever. I think at every moment, as well when awake as asleep, that these massacred bodies present themselves to me, hideous faces, and covered with blood. I wish from my heart, that the infirm and the innocent had not been taken in." The order which was published the day following to discontinue the slaughter, was the fruit of this conversation.


The King even believed, that his honour was concerned to disavow all publically, as he did by the [page 35-36] letters-patent which he sent into the provinces. He there threw all upon the Guises, and would have had the massacre pass for an effect of their hatred against the Admiral. The particular letters which he wrote on this subject to England, Germany, Switzerland, and other neighbouring states, were conceived in the same terms.


Doubtless it was the Queen-mother and her council that made the King comprehend the consequence of so formal a disavowal: for, at the end of eight days, his sentiments and language were so greatly changed, that he went to hold his bed of justice in the parliament, to order other letters-patent to be registered; the contents of which were, that nothing was done on the 24th of August but by his express order *, and to punish the Huguenots; to each of whom, I mean the principals, a capital crime was imputed, in order, if possible, to give the name and colour of an execution of justice to a detestable butchery. These letter were addressed to the governors of provinces, with an order to publish them, and to pursue the rest of the pretended criminals. I ought here to make honourable mention of the Counts de Tende, and de Charny; of Mess. de Mandelot, de Gordes, de Saint-Heran, and de Carogue, who openly refused to execute any such order in their government. The Viscount d'Ortez, governor of Bayonne, had resolution enough to answer Charles, who had wrote him [page 36-37, notation * recorded]


[* Nothing is more certain, than that, during the massacre, he was seen with a carabine in his hand, which, 'tis said, be fired upon the Calvinists that were flying. The last Marechal de Tesse was, in his youth, acquainted with an old man of ninety years of age, who had been page to Charles IX. and often told him, that he himself had loaded that Carabine. It is also true, that this prince also went with his court to view the body of the Admiral, which hung by the feet with a chain of iron to the gallows of Montfaucon; and one of his courtiers observing it smelt ill, Charles replied, As Vitellus had done before him, "The body of a dead enemy always smells well." Voltaire's Henriade, p.32, & 37 (notation * end)]


[page 36-37] with his own hand, "That on this point he must not expect any obedience †."


The number of Protestants massacred during the eight days, in all the kingdom, amounted to 70,000. This crushing blow conveyed such a sensible terror into the party, that it believed itself extinct, and talked no longer but of submitting, or flying into foreign countries. A vigorous and unexpected stroke broke yet once this resolution. Renier *, a gentleman of the Reformed religion, having, by a kind of miracle, escaped out of the hands of the Lord de Vezins, his most cruel enemy, saved himself, with the Viscount de Gourdon, and about eighty horse, and came to Montauban. he found this city under such a consternation, and so little in a condition to defend itself against the troop of Montluc, which approached, that, daring to advise the inhabitants to hold out, he himself run the risk [page 37-38, notation † recorded] ..."


[† Claude de Savoy, Count of Tende, saved the lives of all the Protestants in Dauphine. When he received the King's letter, by which he was directed to destroy them, he said, That could not be his Majesty's order. ----- Eleonor de Chabot, Count of Charny. Lieutenant-General in Burgundy. There was only one Calvinist murdered at Dijon. ----- Francis de Mandelot, governor of Lyon: he was resolved to save the Reformed; whom nevertheless, were all massacred in the prisons where he had put them for security. M. de Thou says, he only feigned ignorance of this barbarity. ----- Bertrand de Simiane, Lord of Gordes, a man greatly esteemed. ----- N. de S. Heran de Montmorin, governor of Auvergne: he positively refused to obey, unless the King was present in person. ----- Tanneguy Le-Veneur, Lieutenant General in Normandy, a man full of probity and humanity: he did all that he could to preserve the Protestants at Rouen; but he was not master of it. ----- N. Viscount d'Ortez, governor of all that frontier. See his answer to the King, "Sire, I have communicated your Majesty's orders to your faithful inhabitants, and to the troops in the garrison: I found there good citizens, and brave soldiers, but not one executioner," De Thou, lib. 52 & 53. D'Aubigne, vol. 2, book I. &c. (notation † end; notation * skipped)]


[page 37-38] of being delivered up to Montluc; which obliged him to leave Montauban precipitately. This little troop fell in with a party of 450 horse, belonging to the army of Montluc, and, seeking to die gloriously, performed such prodigious acts of valour, that they cut in pieces the whole party. Renier returned to Montauban with the good news; he was now obeyed, and they shut the gates upon Montluc. This resistance, and the resolution of Montauban, being communicated from one to another, thirty towns followed its example, and conducted themselves in a manner that the Protestants (beyond their most aspiring hopes) obliged the Catholics to keep themselves on the defensive.


The latter had at first turned all their forces against Rochelle and Sancerrem whichm taking advantage of the general fear, they invested. These enterprises did not succeed. ..." - Maximilian de Bethune; Memoirs of Maximilian de Bethune, Duke of Sully, Prime Minister of Henry the Great. Newly translated from the French edition of D. de L'Ecluse. To which is annexed, The trials of Francis Ravaillac, for the Murder of Henry the Great. In Five Volumes. Volume I. Edinburgh: Printed by A. Donaldson, and sold at his Shops the corner of Arundel Street, Strand, London, and Edinburgh. M.DCC.LXX (1770); pages 25-38 (some notations retained as noted) - https://archive.org/stream/memoirsofmaximil01sull#page/25/mode/1up














Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre:


"... A detailed recital of these horrors is not here to be expected. They fill a volume of Theodore De Beze. Jacques de Thou devotes to them several books of his history. Crespin, Jean de Serres, the memoirs of Montluc, of Tavanes, of Conde, of Lanoue, and of fifty others are full of them. Whoever wishes to investigate the details may seek for them there. Were we to attempt the task, the pen would again and again fall from our hand. ..." - History of the Protestants of France, from the Commencement of the Reformation to the Present Time. By G. De Felice.; Translated from the Second Revised and Corrected Edition, by Philip Edw. Barnes, Esq., B.A., F.L.S., of the Middle Temple, Barrister-at-Law. London: George Routledge & Co., Farringdon Street. 1853. page 138 (PDF 166) - https://archive.org/stream/historyprotesta00flgoog#page/n166/mode/1up/


"... [page 165 (PDF 193)] The day of Saturday was spent in preparations, and secret councils. The duke of Guise, who had speedily returned after feigning to depart, arranged matters with the sheriffs, the captains of the quartiers, and the Swiss. "Let every good Catholic," he said to them, "tie a strip of white linen round his arm, and wear a white cross in his hat."


The hour drew nigh. Catherine declared to Charles IX. that it was too late to go back; that the moment had come to lop off the gangrened limbs; and, recurring to the language of her cradle, as will happen under the dominion of powerful emotions: "E pieta," she said, "lor ser crudele, e crudelta lor ser pietoso (it is pity to be cruel to them, and it would be cruelty to show them pity),"


Charles still hesitated; a cold sweat stood upon his forehead. his mother struck a blow upon the point, on which he was most sensitive. She asked if by his irresolution he would have his courage called in question. The king was indignant at the thought of a suspicion of cowardice. He rose, and cried out: "Well, begin!" It was then half-past one in the morning.


In the king's chamber there were now only Catherine, Charles IX., and the duke of Anjou. All three preserved a sullen silence. The report of the first pistol was heard. Charles started, and sent word to the duke of Guise to precipitate nothing. It was too late. The queen-mother, distrusting the hesitation of her son, had commanded that the [page 165-166 (PDF 193-194)] hour for the signal should be anticipated. The great bell of saint Germain l'Auxerrois began to toll between two and three in the morning of Sunday, the 24th of August. At the sound of the tocsin, armed men rushed out from every door, shouting, "For God and the King!"


The duke of Guise, accompanied by his uncle, the Duke d'Aumale, the Chevalier d'Angouleme, and three hundred soldiers, hastened to the dwelling of the Admiral. They knocked at the first gate in the king's name. A gentleman opened it: he fell stabbed. The inner gate was then burst in. At the noise of firing Coligny and all his people got up. They attempted to barricade the entry to the apartments; but this feeble rampart crumbled before the onset of their aggressors.


The Admiral had invited his minister Merlin to pray with him. A servant hurried to him terror-striken: "Sir," cried he, "the house is broken into, and there are no means of resistance." "I have long been prepared to die," answered Coligny. "As for you, save yourselves if you can; for you cannot secure my life. I commend my soul to the mercy of God."


All reached the upper part of the house, except Nicolas Muss, his German interpreter. Coligny rested against the wall; his would prevented him from standing upright. The first who entered the room was a Lorraine, or German, named Behem, Besme, a servant of the duke of Guise. "Are you not the Admiral?" he demanded. "Yes, I am," replied Coligny; and looking without discomposure upon the naked sword of the assassin, [he added]: "Young man, you ought to consider my age and my infirmity; but you till not make my life shorter." Besme plunged his sword into his breast, and gave him a second blow upon the head. The others finished the murder with their daggers. *


Guise was waiting impatiently in the courtyard. "Besme, hast thou done it?" [he shouted]. "It is done, my lord," [was the reply given]. Monsieur le Chevalier would not believe it unless he saw it with his eyes; "Throw him out of the [page 166-167 (PDF 194-195)]


[* This Besme received the reward of his crime from the Cardinal de Lorraine, who permitted him to marry one of his natural daughters: a double disgrace for a priest to recompense such a man, and to have such a reward to bestow. (notation * end)]


[page 166-167 (PDF 194-195)] window," [was, therefore, the command]. Besme and one of his companions lifted up the body of the Admiral, who still breathing, clutched the window-frame. They flung him into the courtyard. The duke of Guise, wiping off the blood from his face with a handkerchief, said: "I know him, it is he;" and kicking the dead body with his foot, he hastened into the street, exclaiming: "Courage, comrades; we have begun well--now for the rest; the king commands it."


Sixteen years and four months afterwards, on the 23rd of December, 1588, in the castle of Blois, the corpse of this same Henry of Guise was lying before Henry III., who, in like manner, kicked it in the face. Sovereign justice of God!


Coligny was fifty-five years and a half old. Since the peace of 1570, he every morning and evening read the sermons of John Calvin upon the book of Job, saying that this history was his help and consolation in all his troubles. he also spent several hours of the day in writing his memoirs. These papers having been brought to the council after the massacre of Saint Bartholomew, were burned by the king's order, lest they might increase regret for his death.


Some time after this event, when the English ambassador expressed his grief for the murder of Coligny, Catherine made answer to him: "Do you know that the Admiral recommended the king, as a matter of the last importance, to keep under the king of Spain, and also your mistress (Queen Elizabeth), as much as possible?" "Very true, madam," replied the ambassador; "he was a bad Englishman, but a good Frenchman."


Let us also cite a saying of Montesquieu: "The Admiral Coligny was assassinated, having only had the glory of the state at heart."




We are willing, whilst fulfilling our task, to abridge as far as possible the details of the massacre of Saint Bartholomew.


When the sun of the 24th of August rose upon Paris, all was tumult, disorder, and carnage; rivers of blood flowed in the streets; corpses of men, women, and children blocked up the doorways; on all sides groans, blasphemies, death-cries, and imprecations, were heard; ruffians by thousands insulted their victims before butchering them, and then loaded [page 167-168 (PDF 195-196)] themselves with spoils; the poniard, the pike, the knife, the sword, the arquebuse, every weapon of the soldier and the brigand, were brought into the service of this execrable slaughter; and the vile populace running after the murderers, finished the Huguenots, by mutilating them and dragging them in the mire, by a cord round the neck, to have their share also in this feast of cannibals.


At the Louvre, the Huguenots, brought up one after another between a double line of halberts, fell bleeding before they reach the end; and the ladies of the court, well worthy to be the mothers, the wives, and the sisters of assassins, came to gloat over the bodies of the victims.


It has been remarked that of so many brave men, who had a thousand times faced death on the field of battle, there was but one, Taverny, who sought to defend himself; and even he was a lawyer. The rest presented their throats to the poniard like women. A crime so monstrous overwhelmed their minds, and paralyzed their hand; and before they could recover themselves, they were no more.


Some, however, who lived on the other side of the Seine, in the faubourgs Saint Germain, Montgomery, Rohan, Segur, and La Ferriere, had time to comprehend their position and to escape. it was then that the king, maddened with fury, seized an arquebuse and fired at Frenchmen. Two hundred and twenty-seven years afterwards, Mirabeau picked the arquebuse of Charles IX. out of the dust of centuries, to turn it against the throne of Louis XVI.


On the same Sunday morning, the king sent for Henry of Navarre and Henry of Conde. He said to them in a ferocious tone: "The mass, death, or the Bastille." after some resistance, the princes consented to make profession of the Romish faith; but neither the court nor the people believed in the sincerity of their abjuration.


The massacre lasted four days. It was necessary to clothe it with a pretext before France and Europe. At first it was endeavoured to throw the burthen upon the Guises, but they refused [to bear it]. Next a pretended conspiracy of the Huguenots against Charles IX. and his family was invented. There were tergiversations of every kind, fabrications, which could not be maintained for an hour, confessions, which were retracted on the following day, orders and counter-orders to [page 168-169 (PDF 196-197)] the governors in the provinces: a miserable play of the actors after the tragic scene.


On Thursday, when the blood of the victims deluged the streets of Paris, the clergy celebrated an extraordinary jubilee, and made a general procession. They even determined to consecrate an annual feast to a triumph so glorious; and whilst the (Roman) Catholic pulpits re-echoed with thanksgivings, a medal was struck with this legend: "Piety has awakened Justice!" The massacre of Saint Bartholomew was renewed in the provinces, and horrible to say, it lasted more than six weeks. ...


... The blow fell upon the provinces with a variable force. in those where the Reformed were few in number, as in Brittany, Picardy, Champagne and Burgundy, no great excesses were committed. In certain cantons of the provinces, on the contrary, where they were very numerous, as in [page 169-170 (PDF 197-198)] Saintonge, and in Lower Languedoc, they did not dare to attack them. It is important also to observe, that in general, Saint Bartholomew's day was nowhere so kept, but in the towns. This explains why so many Calvinists escaped death.


The faithful of Meaux were butchered in the prisons during several days, and the sword being too slow, iron hammers were employed. Four hundred houses, in the most handsome quarter of the town, were pillages and devastated.


At Troyes, the executioner had more humanity than the governor, who gave him the command to massacre the prisoners. "It is against my duty," said he, "for I have not learned to execute any one without a sentence of condemnation being first passed." There were other executioners, who, finding their hearts fail them in the midst of the butchery, sent for wine to strengthen them for their work.


At Orleans, where there still remained three thousand Calvinists, men on horseback cried throughout the streets: "Courage, friends, kill all, and then you shall pillage their goods." The most ruffianly were those who had abjured in the last wars; they parodied the psalms, whilst they immolated those whose faith they had forsworn.


At Rouen, many Huguenot took to flight; the rest were cast into prison. The massacre began only on the 17th September, and lasted four days. The prisoners were called over by their names, from a list given to the murderers. There perished, according to the relation of Crespin, near six hundred persons.


At Toulouse, the events of Paris were made known on Sunday, the 31st August. The gates of the town were instantly closed, and the Reformed, who had gone to celebrate their worship at the village of Castanet, were only admitted one by one, by little posterns. They were taken to the prisons and the convents. There they remained a month. It was not till 3rd October that they were executed, by order of the chief president Dafis. Three hundred perished, amongst whom were five councillors, who after they were killed, were hnged in their robes on the great elm, which stood before the court of the palace.


The massacre of Bordeaux was delayed like that of Toulouse, and during these hesitations, a Jesuit named Augier [page 170-171 (PDF 198-199)] declaimed every day from his pulpit against the pusillanimity of the governor. At length, companies of assassins were organized: they had the name of "the red, or cardinal band," bestowed upon them.


The towns of Bourges, Angers, and many others, witnessed similar scenes. But these were trifling by the side of the massacres of Lyons: here there was a second Saint Bartholomew, more frightful still than that of Paris, beause it was conducted with a sort of regularity. The governor Mandelot gave orders that the Calvinists should be shut up in the prisons of the Archbishoprics, of the Cordeliers, and of the Celestins, and be slaughtered in detachments. The executioner of Lyons, like his brother of Troyes, refused to lend his hand to the work. "After sentence," said he, "I will do what I have to do; there are but too many such executioners as are needed residing in the town." A writer says upon this subject: "What a re-establishment of order it would have been, if in this unhappy city the governor had been the executioner, and the executioner the governor!"*


There perished at Lyons, according to some, eight hundred, according to others, thirteen hundred, fifteen hundred, ot eighteen hundred, Huguenots. The dwellers on the borders of the Rhone, in Dauphine, and in Provence, stood aghast at the sight of so many corpses floating on the waters, or thrown up on the banks of the river; many were tied to long poles, and horribly mutilated. "At Lyons," says Capilupi, a gentleman attached to the court of the pope, "thanks to the excellent order and singular prudence of M. de Mandelot, governor of the town, all the Huguenots were taken one after the other like sheep."†


The correspondence of Mandelot has recently been published. He expressed his deep regret to Charles IX. that a few Huguenots had escaped, and supplicated his majesty to grant him a share of the spoils of the dead. Lyons has witnessed other massacres, but we have not learned that the proconsuls of the Convention held out their hands to clutch the wages of blood.


What was the number of victims throughout France? De Thou says 30,000; Sully, 70,000; the bishop Perefixe, [page 171-172 (PDF 199-200)]


[*Aignan, Biblioth. etrangerem tome i. p, 229. † Le Stratageme de Charles IX. p. 178. (notations end)]


[page 171-172 (PDF 199-200)] 100,000. This last figure is probably exaggerated, if we reckon those only who met with a violent death. But if there be added those who died of misery, hunger, grief, the aged, who were helpless and abandoned, women without shelter, children without bread, the many wretched beings, whose lives were shortened by this great catastrophe, it will be confessed that the number given by Perefixe is till below the truth.


The sensation produced by the massacre of Saint Bartholomew throughout Europe was immense. Men were unwilling to believe the first accounts. When they were confirmed, all the courts, all the churches, all the public places, every house resounded with acclamations; and there was not a hut, into which the deeds done on that day did not carry, according to the sentiments of the inhabitants, the exultations of joy, or the stupor of overwhelming grief.


Many thought, at first, that it was only the first scene of a vast conspiracy to exterminate all the Protestants of Europe. The Papacy, Philip II., and the court of Charles IX., in fact never ceased to talk of the complete extirpation of heretics: the power, not the will, was wanting.


At Rome, the news of the massacre, which Charles IX. had announced in ambiguous words to the legate, was expected, and received with transports of joy. The messenger was gratified with a present of a thousand pieces of gold. He brought a letter from the nuncio Salviati, written on the very day, the 24th August, in which this priest said to Gregory XIII, that "he blessed God to see his pontificate commence so auspiciously." The king Charles IX., and the queen Catherine, were praised for having shown so much prudence in extirpating this pestilent race, and for having so well chosen their time that all the rebels had been secured under lock and key, as in a dovecote (sotto chiave, in gabbia).


After having offered up solemn thanksgivings with the college of cardinals, the pope caused the guns of the castle of Saint Angelo to be fired, declared a jubilee, and struck a medal in honour to the great event. The Cardinal de Lorraine, who had gone to Rome on the election of the new pontiff, also celebrated the massacre bu a great procession to the [page 172-173 {PDF 200-201)] French church of Saint Louis. He caused an inscription to be written on the gates in letters of gold, in which he said that, "the Lord had granted the prayers, which he had offered to him for twelve years!"


Madrid shared in the rejoicings of Rome. Philip II. wrote to Catherine that this was the greatest and best news that could ever be announced to him. This prince, who has been surnamed "the Demon of the South," had other reasons for his joy besides fanaticism.


In the Low Countries, the duke of Alba cried out, on leaning the assassination of Coligny: "The Admiral is dead; there is a great captain the less for France, and a great enemy the less for Spain."


But how shall we relate the impression produced by the massacre of Saint Bartholomew in Protestant countries? it may be seen in the letters of Theodore de Beze, and others of his contemporaries, that, for more than a year, they could not chase from their minds that bloody and horrible image, and that they spoke of it with a trembling, which attested the profound shock which their souls [had sustained].


Germany, England, Switzerland, in witnessing the arrival of a multitude of fugitives appalled and half-dead, and on hearing from their mouth the narrative of the massacres, cursed the name of France. At Geneva, a day of abstinence and prayer was instituted, which has been kept up to this day. In Scotland, all the pastors preached upon the massacre of Saint Bartholomew; and the aged Knox, borrowing the language of the prophets, pronounced in a church at Edinburgh the following words: "The sentence is gone forth against the murderer, the king of France, and the vengeance of God will not be withdrawn from his house. His name shall be held in execration by posterity; and no on who shall spring from his loins, shall possess the kingdom in peace, unless repentance come to prevent the judgment of God." ... [page 173-174 (PDF 201-202)]


... [page 173-174 (PDF 201-202)] If all the circumstances of the massacre of Saint Bartholomew be well weighed,--the premeditation, the intervention of the court and of the councils of the king, the snares that were laid to entrap the Calvinists, the solemn oaths which had drawn them to Paris, the royal marriage ceremony stained with blood, the dagger put into the hands of the people by the chiefs of the state, the hecatombs of human victims immolated at a time of universal peace, the carnage prolonged for two months in the provinces, and lastly, the priests and the princes of the priests, ankle-deep in blood, lifting their hands to heaven to thank God,--if, we say, we ponder upon all these circumstance, we cannot escape the conviction that the slaughter of Saint Bartholomew is the greatest crime of the Christian era, since the invasion of the men of the North. The Sicilian Vespers, the extermination of the Albigeois, the tortures of the Inquisition, the murders by the Spaniards in the New World, odious [page 174-175 (PDF 202-203)] though they be, do not unite in the same degree the violation of all laws, human and divine. And frightful calamities have spring from this monstrous crime. Individuals may indeed commit crimes, which remain unpunished in this world; but dynasties, castes, and nations, never go unrewarded. …" - History of the Protestants of France, from the Commencement of the Reformation to the Present Time. By G. De Felice.; Translated from the Second Revised and Corrected Edition, by Philip Edw. Barnes, Esq., B.A., F.L.S., of the Middle Temple, Barrister-at-Law. London: George Routledge & Co., Farringdon Street. 1853. pages 165-175 (PDF 193-203) - https://archive.org/stream/historyprotesta00flgoog#page/n193/mode/1up/











Maximilian de Bethune; Memoirs of Maximilian de Bethune, Duke of Sully, Prime Minister of Henry the Great. Newly translated from the French edition of D. de L'Ecluse. To which is annexed, The trials of Francis Ravaillac, for the Murder of Henry the Great. In Five Volumes. Volume I. Edinburgh: Printed by A. Donaldson, and sold at his Shops the corner of Arundel Street, Strand, London, and Edinburgh. M.DCC.LXX (1770); pages 25-38 (some notations retained as noted), pages throughout

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