1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Huguenots
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HUGUENOTS, the name given from about the middle of the 16th century to the Protestants of France. It was formerly explained as coming from the German Eidgenossen, the designation of the people of Geneva at the time when they were admitted to the Swiss confederation. This explanation is now abandoned. The words Huguenot, Huguenote are old French words, common in 14th and 15th-century charters. As the Protestants called the Catholics papistes, so the Catholics called the Protestants huguenots. Henri Estienne, one of the great savants of his time, in the introduction to his Apologie d'Herodote (1566) gives a very clear explanation of the term huguenots. The Protestants at Tours, he says, used to assemble by night near the gate of King Hugo, whom the people regarded as a spirit. A monk, therefore, in a sermon declared that the Lutherans ought to be called Huguenots as kinsmen of King Hugo, inasmuch as they would only go out at night as he did. This nickname became popular from 1560 onwards, and for a long time the French Protestants were always known by it.
France could not stand outside the religious movement of the 16th century. It is true that the French reform movement has often been regarded as an offshoot of Lutheranism; up to the middle of the century its adherents were known as Lutherans. But it should not be forgotten that so early as 1512 Jacobus Faber (q.v.) of Étaples published his Santi Pauli Epistolae xiv. . . . cum commentariis, which enunciates the cardinal doctrine of reform, justification by faith, and that in 1523 appeared his French translation of the New Testament. The first Protestants were those who set the teachings of the Gospel against the doctrines of the Roman Church. As early as 1525 Jacques Pavannes, the hermit of Livry, and shortly afterwards Louis de Berquin, the first martyrs, were burned at the stake. But no persecution could stop the Reform movement, and on the walls of Paris and even at Amboise, on the very door of Francis I.'s bedroom, there were found placards condemning the mass (1534). On the 29th of January 1535 an edict was published ordering the extermination of the heretics. From this edict dates the emigration of French Protestants, an emigration which did not cease till the middle of the 18th century. Three years later (1538) at Strassburg the first French Protestant Church, composed of 1500 refugees, was founded.
Of all these exiles the most famous was John Calvin (q.v.), the future leader of the movement, who fled to Basel, where he is said to have written the famous Institutio christianae religionis, preceded by a letter to Francis I. in which he pleaded the cause of the reformers. The first Protestant community in France was that of Meaux (1546) organized on the lines of the church at Strassburg of which Calvin was pastor. The Catholic Florimond de Remond paid it the beautiful tribute of saying that it seemed as though “la chrétienté fut revenue en elle à sa primitive innocence.”
Persecution, however, became more rigorous. The Vaudois of Cabrières and Mérindol had in 1545 been massacred by the orders of Jean de Maynier, baron d'Oppède, lieutenant-general of Provence, and at Paris was created a special court in the parlement, for the suppression of heretics, a court which became famous in history as the Chambre ardente (1549). In spite of persecution the churches became more numerous; the church at Paris was founded in 1556. They realized the necessity of uniting in defence of their rights and their liberty, and in 1558 at Poitiers it was decided that all the Protestant churches in France should formulate by common accord a confession of faith and an ecclesiastical discipline. The church at Paris was commissioned to summon the first synod, which in spite of the danger of persecution met on the 25th of May 1559. The Synod of Paris derived its inspiration from the constitution introduced by Calvin at Geneva, which has since become the model for all the presbyterian churches. Ecclesiastical authority resides ultimately in the people, for the faithful select the elders who are charged with the general supervision of the church and the choice of pastors. The churches are independent units, and there can be no question of superiority among them; at the same time they have common interests and their unity must be maintained by an authority which is capable of protecting them. The association of several neighbouring churches forms a local council (colloque). Over these stands the provincial synod, on which each church is equally represented by lay delegates and pastors. Supreme authority resides in the National Synod composed of representatives, lay and ecclesiastic, elected by the provincial synods. The democratic character of this constitution of elders and synods is particularly remarkable in view of the early date at which it began to flourish. The striking individuality of the Huguenot character cannot be fully realized without a clear understanding of this powerful organization which contrived to reconcile individual liberty with a central authority.
The synod of 1559 was the beginning of a remarkable increase in the Reform movement; at that synod fifteen churches were represented, two years later, in 1561, the number increased to 2150. The parlements were powerless before this increase; thousands left the Catholic Church, and when it was seen that execution and popular massacre provided no solution of the difficulty the struggle was carried into the arena of national politics. On the side of the reformers were ranged some among the noblest Frenchmen of the age, Coligny, La Noue, Duplessis Mornay, Jean Cousin, Ramus, Marot, Ambroise Paré, Olivier de Serres, Bernard Palissy, the Estiennes, Hotman, Jean de Serres, with the princess Renée of France, Jeanne d'Albret, Louise de Coligny. The policy which refused liberty of conscience to the reformers and thus plunged the country into the horrors of civil war came near to causing a national catastrophe. For more than fifty years the history of the Huguenots is that of France (1560-1629). Francis II., who succeeded Henry II. at the age of sixteen, married Mary Stuart, and fell under the domination of the queen's uncles, the Guises, who were to lead the anti-Reform party. The Bourbons, the Montmorencies, the Chatillons, out of hostility to them, became the chiefs of the Huguenots.
The conspiracy of Amboise, formed with the object of kidnapping the king (March 1560), was discovered, and resulted in the death of the plotters; it was followed by the proclamation of the Edict of Romorantin which laid an interdict upon the Protestant religion. But the reformers had become so powerful that Coligny, who was to become their most famous leader, protested in their name against this violation of liberty of conscience. The Guise party caused the prince of Condé to be arrested and condemned to death, but the sentence was not carried into effect, and at this moment Catherine de' Medici became regent on the accession of Charles IX. She introduced Italian methods of government, alternating between concessions and vigorous persecution, both alike devoid of sincerity. For a moment, at the colloquy of Poissy (Oct. 1561), at which Roman Catholic and Protestant divines were assembled together and Theodore Beza played so important a part, it seemed as though a modus vivendi would be established. The attempt failed, but by the edict of January 1562, religious liberty was assured to the Huguenots. This, however, was merely the prelude to civil war, the signal for which was given by the Guises, who slaughtered a number of Huguenots assembled for worship in a barn at Vassy (March 1, 1562). The duke of Guise, entering Paris in triumph, transferred the court to Fontainebleau by a daring coup d'état in defiance of the queen regent. It was then that Condé declared “qu'on ne pouvait plus rien espêrer que de Dieu et ses armes,” and with the Huguenot leaders signed at Orleans (April 11, 1562) the manifesto in which, having declared their loyalty to the crown, they stated that as good and loyal subjects they were driven to take up arms for liberty of conscience on behalf of the persecuted saints. The first civil war had already broken out; till the end of the century the history of France is that of the struggle between the Huguenots upholding “The Cause” (La Cause) and the Roman Catholics fighting for the Holy League (La Sainte Ligue). The leading events only will be related here (see also France: History). The Huguenots lost the battle of Dreux (Dec. 19, 1562), the duke of Guise was assassinated by Poltrot de Méré (Feb. 18, 1563) and finally Condé signed the Edict of Amboise which put an end to this first war. But the League gradually extended its action and Catherine de' Medici entered into negotiations with Spain. The Huguenots, seeing their danger, renewed hostilities, but after their defeat at St Denis (Nov. 10, 1567) and the revolt of La Rochelle, peace was concluded at Longjumeau (March 23, 1568). This truce lasted only a few months. Pope Pius V. did not cease to demand the extermination of the heretics, and the queen mother finally issued the edict of the 28th of September 1568, which put the Huguenots outside the protection of the law. The Huguenots once more took up arms, but were defeated at Jarnac (March 13, 1569), and Condé was taken prisoner and assassinated by Montesquiou. But Jeanne d'Albret renewed the courage of the vanquished by presenting to them her son Henri de Bourbon, the future Henry IV. Coligny, whose heroic courage rose with adversity, collected the remnants of the Protestant army and by a march as able as it was audacious moved on Paris, and the Peace of St Germain was signed on the 8th of August 1570.
For a moment it seemed reasonable to hope that the war was at an end. Coligny had said that he would prefer to be dragged through the streets of Paris than to recommence the fighting; Charles IX. had realized the nobility and the patriotism of the man who wished to drive the Spaniards from Flanders; Henri de Bourbon was to marry Marguerite of France. Peace seemed to be assured when on the night of the 24th of August, 1572, after a council at which Catherine de' Medici, Charles IX., the duke of Anjou and other leaders of the League assisted, there occurred the treacherous Massacre of St Bartholomew (q.v.) in which Coligny and all the leading Huguenots were slain. This date marks a disastrous epoch in the history of France, the long period of triumph of the Catholic reaction, during which the Huguenots had to fight for their very existence. The Paris massacre was repeated throughout France; few were those who were noble enough to decline to become the executioners of their friends, and the Protestants were slain in thousands. The survivors resolved upon a desperate resistance. It was at this time that the Huguenots were driven to form a political party; otherwise they must, like the Protestants of Spain, have been exterminated. This party was formed at Milhau in 1573, definitely constituted at La Rochelle in 1588, and lasted until the peace of Alais in 1629. The delegates selected by the churches bound themselves to offer a united opposition to the violence of the enemies of God, the king and the state. It is a profound mistake to attribute to them, as their enemies have done, the intention of overthrowing the monarchy and substituting a republic. They were royalists to the core, as is shown by the sacrifices they made for the sake of setting Henry IV. on the throne. It is true, however, that among themselves they formed a kind of republic which, according to the historian J. A. de Thou, had its own laws dealing with civil government, justice, war, commerce, finance. They had a president called the Protector of the Churches, an office held first by Condé and afterwards by the king of Navarre up to the day on which he became king of France as Henry IV. (1589). The fourth religious war, which had broken out immediately after the Massacre of St Bartholomew, was brought to an end by the pacification of Boulogne (July 16, 1573), which granted a general amnesty, but the obstinate intolerance of the League resulted in the creation of a Catholic party called “les Politiques” which refused to submit to their domination and offered aid to the Huguenots against the Guises. The recollections of the horrors of St Bartholomew's night had hastened the death of Charles IX., the last of the Valois; he had been succeeded by the most debauched and effeminate of monarchs, Henry III. Once more war broke out. Henry of Guise, “le Balafré,” nephew of the cardinal of Lorraine, became chief of the League, while the duke of Anjou, the king's brother, made common cause with the Huguenots. The peace of Monsieur, signed on the 5th of May 1576, marked a new victory of liberty of conscience, but its effect was ephemeral; hostilities soon recommenced and lasted for many years, and only became fiercer when the duke of Anjou died on the 10th of June 1584.
The fact that on the death of Henry III. the crown would pass to Henry of Navarre, the Protector of the Churches, induced the Guise party to declare that they would never accept a heretical monarch, and, at the instigation of Henry of Guise, Cardinal de Bourbon was nominated by them to succeed. Henry of Navarre since 1575 leader of the Huguenots, had year by year seen his influence increase, and now, faced by the machinations of the Guises, who had made overtures to Spain, declared that his only object was to free the feeble Henry III. from their influence. On the 20th of October 1587 he won the battle of Coutras, but on the 28th the foreign Protestants who were coming to his aid were routed by Guise at Montargis. The new body, known as “the Sixteen of Paris,” thereupon compelled Henry III. to sign the “Edict of Union” by which the cardinal of Bourbon was declared heir presumptive. The king could not, however, endure the humiliation of hearing Henry of Guise described as “king of Paris” and on the 23rd of December 1588 had him murdered together with the cardinal of Lorraine at the château of Blois. The League, now led by the duke of Mayenne, Guise's brother, declared war to the knife upon him and caused him to be excommunicated. In his isolation Henry III. threw himself into the arms of Henry of Navarre, who saved the royalist party by defeating Mayenne and escorted the king with his victorious army to St. Cloud, whence he proposed to enter Paris and destroy the League. But Henry III., on the 1st of August 1589, was assassinated by the monk Jacques Clement, on his deathbed appointing Henry of Navarre as his successor.
This only spurred the League to redoubled energy, and Mayenne proclaimed the cardinal of Bourbon king with the title of Charles X. But Henry IV., who had already promised to maintain the Roman Church, gained new adherents every day, defeated the Leaguers at Arques in 1589, utterly routed Mayenne at Ivry on the 14th of March 1590, and laid siege to Paris. Cardinal de Bourbon having died in the same year and France being in a state of anarchy, Philip II. of Spain, in concert with Pope Gregory XIV., who excommunicated Henry IV., supported, the claims of the infanta Isabella. Mayenne, unable to continue the struggle without Spanish help, promised to assist him, but Henry neutralized this danger by declaring himself a Roman Catholic at St Denis (July 25, 1593), saying “Paris after all is worth a mass, in spite of the advice and the prayers of my faithful Huguenots.” “It is with anguish and grief,” writes Beza, “that I think of the fall of this prince in whom so many hopes were placed.” On the 22nd of March 1594 Henry entered Paris. The League was utterly defeated. Thus the Huguenots after forty years of strife obtained by their constancy the promulgation of the Edict of Nantes (April 13, 1598), the charter of religion and political freedom (see Nantes, Edict of).
The Protestants might reasonably hope that Henry IV., in spite of his abjuration of their faith, would remember the devoted support which they had given him, and that his authority would guarantee the observance of the provisions of the Edict. Unhappily twelve years afterwards, on the 14th of May 1610, Henry was assassinated by Ravaillac, leaving the great work incomplete. Once more France was to undergo the misery of civil war. During the minority of Louis XIII. power resided in the hands of counsellors who had not inherited the wisdom of Henry IV. and were only too ready to favour the Catholic party. The Huguenots, realizing that their existence was at stake, once more took up arms in defence of their liberty under the leadership of Henri de Rohan (q.v.). Their watchword had always been that, so long as the state was opposed to liberty of conscience, so long there could be no end to religious and civil strife, that misfortune and disaster must attend an empire of which the sovereign identified himself with a single section of his people. Richelieu had entered the king's council on the 4th of May 1624; the destruction of the Huguenots was his policy and he pursued it to a triumphant conclusion. On the 28th of October 1628, La Rochelle, the last stronghold of the Huguenots, was obliged to surrender after a siege rendered famous for all time by the heroism of its defenders and of its mayor. The peace of Alais, which was signed on the 28th of June 1629, marks the end of the civil wars.
The Huguenots had ceased to exist as a political party and, in the assurance that liberty of conscience would be accorded to them, showed themselves loyal subjects. On the death of Louis XIII., the declaration of the 8th of July 1643 had guaranteed to the Protestants “free and unrestricted exercise of their religion,” thus confirming the Edict of Nantes. The synods of Charenton (1644) and Loudun (1659) asserted their absolute loyalty to Louis XIV., a loyalty of which the Huguenots had given proof not only by their entire abstention from the troubles of the Fronde, but also by their public adherence to the king. The Roman Catholic clergy had never accepted the Edict of Nantes, and all their efforts were directed to obtaining its revocation. As long as Mazarin was alive the complaints of the clergy were in vain, but when Louis XIV. attained his majority there commenced a legal persecution which was bound in time to bring about the ruin of the reformed churches. The Edict of Nantes, which was part of the law of the land, might seem to defy all attacks, but the clergy found means to evade the law by demanding that it should be observed with literal accuracy, disregarding the changes which had been produced in France during more than half a century. The clergy in 1661 successfully demanded that commissioners should be sent to the provinces to report infractions of the Edict, and thus began a judicial war which was to last for more than twenty years. All the churches which had been built since the Edict of Nantes were condemned to be demolished. All the privileges which were not explicitly stated in the actual text of the Edict were suppressed. More than four hundred proclamations, edicts or declarations attacking the Huguenots in their households and their civil freedom, their property and their liberty of conscience were promulgated during the years which preceded the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. In spite of all sufferings which this rigorous legislation inflicted upon them they did not cease to resist, and in order to crush this resistance and to compel them to accept the “king's religion,” there were organized the terrible dragonnades (1683-1686) which effected the forcible conversion of thousands of Protestants who gave way under the tortures which were inflicted upon them. It was then that Louis XIV. declared that “the best of the larger part of our subjects, who formerly held the so-called reformed religion, have embraced the Catholic religion, and therefore the Edict of Nantes has become unnecessary”; on the 18th of October 1685 he pronounced its revocation. Thus under the influence of the clergy was committed one of the most flagrant political and religious blunders in the history of France, which in the course of a few years lost more than 400,000 of its inhabitants, men who, having to choose between their conscience and their country, endowed the nations which received them with their heroism, their courage and their ability.
There is perhaps no example in history of so cruel a persecution as this, which destroyed a church of which Protestant Europe was justly proud. At no period in its career had it numbered among its adherents so many men of eminence, Abbadie, Claude, Bayle, Du Bosc, Jurieu, Élie Benoist, La Placette, Basnage, Daillé, Mestrezat, Du Quesne, Schomberg, Ruvigny. There were no Huguenots left in France; those who, conquered by persecution, remained there were described as “New Catholics.” All the pastors who refused to abjure their faith were compelled to leave the country within fifteen days. The work was complete. Protestantism, with its churches and its schools, was destroyed. As Bayle wrote, “France was Catholic to a man under the reign of Louis the Great.”
Persecution had succeeded in silencing, but it could not convert the people. The Huguenots, before the ruins of their churches, remembered the early Christians and held their services in secret. Their pastors, making light of death, returned from the lands of their exile and visited their own churches to restore their courage. If any one denied the Catholic faith on his death-bed his body was thrown into the common sewers. The galleys were full of brave Huguenots condemned for remaining constant to the Protestant faith. For fifteen years the exiles continuously besought Louis XIV. to give them back their religious liberty. For a moment they hoped that the Treaty of Ryswick (1697) would realise their hopes, but Louis XIV. steadily declined to grant their requests. Despair armed the Cévennes, and in 1702 the war of the Camisards broke out, a struggle of giants sustained by Jean Cavalier with his mountaineers against the royal troops (see Camisards and Cavalier, Jean). The Huguenots seemed to be finally conquered. On the 8th of March 1715 Louis XIV. announced that he had put an end to all exercise of the Protestant religion; but in this very year, on the 21st of August, while the king was dying at Versailles, there assembled together at Monoblet in Languedoc, under the presidency of a young man twenty years of age, Antoine Court, a number of preachers, as the pastors were then called, with the object of raising the church from its ruins. This was the first synod of the Desert. To re-establish the abandoned worship, to unite the churches in the struggle for liberty of conscience, such was the work to which Court devoted his life, and which earned for him the name of the “Restorer of Protestantism” (see Court, Antoine). In spite of persecution the Protestants continued their assemblies; the fear of death and of the galleys were alike powerless to break their resistance. On the demand of the clergy all marriages celebrated by their pastors were declared null and void, and the children born of these unions were regarded as bastards.
Protestantism, which persecution seemed to have driven from France, drew new life from this very persecution. Outlawed, exiles in their own country, deprived of all civil existence, the Huguenots showed an invincible heroism. The history of their church during the period of the Desert is the history of a church which refused to die. Amongst its famous defenders was Paul Rabaut, the successor of Antoine Court. Year by year the churches became more numerous. In 1756 there were already 40 pastors; several years later, in 1763, the date of the last synod of the Desert, their number had increased to 65. The question of Protestant marriages roused public opinion which could not tolerate the idea that Frenchmen, whose sole crime was their religious belief, should be condemned to civil death. The torture of Jean Calas, who was condemned on a false charge of having killed his son because he desired to become a Catholic, caused general indignation, of which Voltaire became the eloquent mouthpiece. Ideas of tolerance, of which Bayle had been the earliest advocate, became victorious, and owing to the devotion of Rabaut Saint-Étienne, son of Paul Rabaut, and the zeal of Lafayette, the edict of November 1787, in spite of the fierce opposition of the clergy, renewed the civil rights of the Huguenots by recognizing the validity of their marriages. Victories even greater were in store; two years later liberty of conscience was won. On the 22nd of August 1789 the pastor Rabaut Saint-Étienne, deputy for the sénéchaussée of Nîmes to the States General, cried out, “It is not tolerance which I demand, it is liberty, that my country should accord it equally without distinction of rank, of birth or of religion.” The Declaration of the Rights of Man affirmed the liberty of religion; the Huguenots had not suffered in vain, for the cause for which their ancestors and themselves had suffered so much was triumphant, and it was the nation itself which proclaimed the victory. But religious passions were always active, and at Montauban as at Nîmes (1790) Catholics and Protestants came to blows. The Huguenots, having endured the persecutions of successive monarchs, had to endure those of the Terror; their churches were shut, their pastors dispersed and some died upon the scaffold. On the 3rd of Ventose, year II. (February 21, 1795), the church was divorced from the state and the Protestants devoted themselves to reorganization. Some years later Bonaparte, having signed the Concordat of the 15th of July 1801, promulgated the law of the 18th of Germinal, year X., which recognized the legal standing of the Protestant church, but took from it the character of free church which it had always claimed. So great was the contrast between a past which recalled to Protestants nothing but persecution, and a present in which they enjoyed liberty of conscience, that they accepted with a profound gratitude a regime of which the ecclesiastical standpoint was so alien to their traditions. With enthusiasm they repeated the words with which Napoleon had received the pastors at the Tuileries on the 16th of Frimaire, year XII.: “The empire of the law ends where the undefined empire of conscience begins; law and prince are powerless against this liberty.”
The Protestants, on the day on which liberty of conscience was restored, could measure the full extent of the misery which they had endured. Of this people, which in the 16th century formed more than one-tenth of the population of France, there survived only a few hundred thousands; migration and persecution had more than decimated them. In 1626 there were 809 pastors in the service of 751 churches; in 1802 there were only 121 pastors and 171 churches; in Paris there was only a single church with a single pastor. The church had no faculty of theology, no schools, no Bible societies, no asylums, no orphanages, no religious literature. Everything had to be created afresh, and this work was pursued during the 19th century with the energy and the earnest faith which is characteristic of the Huguenot character.
At the fall of the Empire (1815) the reaction of the White Terror once more exposed the Protestants to outrage, and once more a number fled from persecution and sought safety in foreign countries. Peace having been established, attention was once more focussed on religious questions, and the period was marked in Protestantism by a remarkable awakening. On all sides churches were built and schools opened. It was an epoch of the greatest importance, for the church concentrated itself more and more on its real mission. During this period were founded the great religious societies: — Société biblique (1819), Société de l'instruction primaire (1829), Société des traités (1821), Société des missions (1822). The influence of English thought on the development of religious life was remarkable, and theology drew its inspiration from the writings of Paley, David Bogue, Chalmers, Ebenezer Erskine, Robert and James Alexander Haldane, which were translated into French. Later on German theology and the works of Kant, Neander and Schleiermacher produced a far-reaching effect. This was due to the period of persecution which had checked that development of religious thought which had been so remarkable a feature of French Protestantism of the 16th and 17th centuries.
Slowly Protestantism once more took its place in the national life. The greatest names in its history are those of Guizot and Cuvier; Adolf Monod, with Athanase Coquerel, stand in the front rank of pulpit orators. The Protestants associated themselves with all the great philanthropic works — Baron Jules Delessert founded savings banks, Baron de Staël condemned slavery, and all France united to honour the pastor, Jean Frédéric Oberlin. But the reformers, if they had no longer to fear persecution, had still to fight in order to win respect for religious liberty, which was unceasingly threatened by their adversaries. Numerous were the cases tried at this epoch in order to obtain justice. On the other hand the old union of the reformed churches had ceased to exist since the revolution of July. Ecclesiastical strife broke out and has never entirely ceased. A schism occurred first in 1848, owing to the refusal of the synod to draw up a profession of faith, the comte de Gasparin and the pastor Frederic Monod seceding and founding the Union des Églises Évangeliques de France, separated from the state, of which later on E. de Pressensé was to become the most famous pastor. Under the Second Empire (1852-1870) the divisions between the orthodox and the liberal thinkers were accentuated; they resulted in a separation which followed on the reassembly of the national synod, authorized in 1872 by the government of the Third Republic. The old Huguenot church was thus separated into two parts, having no other link than that of the Concordat of 1802 and each possessing its own peculiar organization.
The descendants of the Huguenots, however, remained faithful to the traditions of their ancestors, and extolled the great past of the French reform movement. Moreover, in 1859 were held the magnificent religious festivals to celebrate the third centenary of the convocation of their first national synod; and when on the 18th of October 1885 they recalled the 200th anniversary of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, they were able to assert that the Huguenots had been the first defenders of religious liberties in France. In the early days of the 20th century the work of restoring French Protestantism, which had been pursued with steady perseverance for more than one hundred years, showed great results. This church, which in 1802 had scarcely 100 pastors has seen this number increased to 1000; it possesses more than 900 churches or chapels and 180 presbyteries. In contrast with the poverty of religious life under the First Empire it presented a striking array of Bible societies, missionary societies, and others for evangelical, educational, pastoral and charitable work, which bear witness to a church risen from its ruins. French Protestantism in the course of the 19th century reckoned among its members such eminent theologians as Timothée Colani (1824-1888), who together with Edmond Scherer founded the celebrated Revue de théologie de Strasbourg (1850); Edmond de Pressensé, editor of the Revue chrétienne, Charles Bois and Michel Nicolas, professors of theology at Montauban, Auguste Sabatier, professor of theology at the university of Paris, Albert Réville, professor at the Collège de France, Félix Pécaut, &c.; well-known preachers such as Eugène Bersier, Ernest Dhombres, Ariste Viguré, Numa Recolin, Auguste de Coppet, and missionaries, for example Eugène Casalis and Coillard; Jean Bost, who founded the hospitals at Laforce; historians like Napoléon Peyrat, the brothers Haag, who wrote La France protestante, François Puaux, Charles Coquerel, Onesime Douen, Henri Bordier, Edouard Sayous, de Félice, Theophile Rollez; Jean Pédézert, Léon Pilatte and others, who were journalists; such statesmen as Guizot, Léon Say, Waddington; such scholars as Cuvier, Broca, Wurtz, Friedel de Quatrefages; such illustrious soldiers and sailors as Rapp, Admirals Baudin, Jauréguiberry, Colonel Denfert-Rochereau. But the population of Protestant France does not exceed 750,000 souls, without counting the Lutherans, who are attached to the Confession of Augsburg, numbering about 75,000. Their chief centres are in the departments of Gard, Ardèche, Drôme, Lozere, the Deux Sèvres and the Seine.
The law of the 9th of December 1905, which separated the church from the state, has been accepted by the great majority of Protestants as a legitimate consequence of the reform principles. Nor has its application given rise to any difficulty with the state. They used their influence only in the direction of rendering the law more liberal and immediately devoted themselves to the organization of their churches under the new régime. If the two great parties, orthodox and liberal, have each their particular constitution, nevertheless a third party has been formed with the object of effecting a reconciliation of all the Protestant churches and of thus reconstituting the old Huguenot church.
Bibliography. — A complete list of works is impossible. The following are the most important: —
General Authorities. — Bulletin de la société de l'histoire du protestantisme français (54 vols.), a most valuable collection, indispensable as a work of reference; Haag, La France protestante, lives of French Protestants (10 vols., 1846; 2nd ed., Henri Bordier, 6 vols., 1887); F. Puaux, Histoire de la Réformation française (7 vols., 1858) and articles “Calvin” and “France protestante” in Encyclopédie des sciences religieuses of Lichtenberger; Smedley, History of the Reformed Religion in France (3 vols., London, 1832); Browning, History of the Huguenots (1 vol., 1840); G. A. de Félice, Histoire des protestants de France (1874).
Special Periods. The 16th Century. — H. M. Baird, The Huguenots and Henry of Navarre (2 vols., New York, 1886), and History of the Rise of the Huguenots of France (New York, 1879); A. W. Whitehead, Gaspard de Coligny (London, 1904); J. W. Thompson, The Wars of Religion in France, 1559-1576 (1909); Th. Beza, Histoire ecclésiastique des églises reformées au royaume de France (3 vols., Antwerp, 1580; new edition by G. Baum et Cunitz, 1883); Crespin, Histoire des martyrs persécutés et mis à mort pour la vérité de l'evangile (2 vols. in fol., Geneva, 1619; abridged translation by Rev. A. Maddock, London, 1780); Pierre de la Place, Commentaires sur l'état de la religion et de la république (1565); Florimond de Raemond, L'Histoire de la naissance, progrès et decadence de l'hérésie du siècle (1610); De Thou, Histoire universelle (16 vols.); Th. Agrippa D'Aubigné, Histoire universelle (3 vols., Geneva, 1626); Hermingard, Correspondance des réformateurs dans les pays de la langue française (8 vols., 1866), a scholarly work and the most trustworthy source for the history of the origin of French reform. “Calvini opera” in the Corpus reformatorum, edited by Reuss, Baum and Cunitz, particularly the correspondence, vols. x. to xxii.; Doumergue, Jean Calvin, les hommes et les choses de son temps (3 vols., 1899); G. von Polenz, Geschichte des französischen Calvinismus (5 vols., 1857); Étienne A. Laval, Compendious history of the reformation in France and of the reformed Church in that Kingdom from the first beginning of the Reformation to the Repealing of the Edict of Nantes (7 vols., London, 1737-1741); Soldan, Geschichte des Protestantismus in Frankreich bis zum Tode Karls IX. (2 vols., 1855); Merle D'Aubigni, Histoire de la réformation en Europe au temps de Calvin (5 vols., 1863).
17th Century. — Élie Benoit, Histoire de l'Édit de Nantes (5 vols., Delft, 1693), a work of the first rank; Aymon, Tous les synodes nationaux des églises réformées de France (2 vols.); J. Quick, Synodicon (2 vols., London, 1692), important for the ecclesiastical history of French Protestantism; D'Huisseau, La Discipline des églises réformées de France (Amsterdam, 1710); H. de Rohan, Mémoires . . . jusqu'en 1629 (Amsterdam, 1644); Jean Claude, Les Plaintes des Protestans de France (Cologne, 1686, new edition with notes by Frank Puaux, Paris, 1885); Pierre Jurieu, Lettres pastorales (3 vols., Rotterdam, 1688); Brousson, État des Réformés de France (3 vols., The Hague, 1685); Anquez, Histoire des assemblées politiques des réformés de France (1 vol., Paris, 1859); Pilatte, Édits el arrêts concernant la religion prétendue réformée, 1662-1711 (1889); Douen, Les Premiers pasteurs du Désert (2 vols., 1879); H. M. Baird, The Huguenots and The Revocation of the Edict of Nantes (2 vols., New York).
18th Century. — Peyrat, Histoire des pasteurs du Désert (2 vols., 1842); Ch. Coquerel, Histoire des églises du Désert (2 vols., 1841); E. Hugues, Antoine Court, Histoire de la restauration du protestantisme en France (2 vols., 1872); Les Synodes du Désert (3 vols., 1875); A. Coquerel, Jean Galas (1869); Court de Gebelin, Les Toulousaines (1763).
19th Century. — Die protestantische Kirche Frankreichs (2 vols., 1848); Annuaire de Rabaut 1807, de Soulier 1827, de De Prat 1862, (1878); Agenda protestant de Frank Puaux (1880-1894); Agenda annuaire protestant de Gambler (1895-1907); Bersier, Histoire du Synode de 1872 (2 vols.); Frank Puaux, Les Œuvres du protestantisme français au XIX e siècle. See also Camisards, Calvin, Edict of Nantes.
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