Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 2.djvu/314

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.


by her first minister, Cardinal Antoine Duprat, and by her own anxiety to gain the support of the Pope, induced the Parliament to appoint a commission for the trial of Lutherans. Many persons were imprisoned; Lefèvre's translation of the New Testament was condemned to be burned; and proceedings were instituted against the Meaux preachers. They saved themselves by flight, finding a refuge at Strassburg in the house of Capito (October, 1525). In January, 1526, Berquin was imprisoned, and on February 17 a young bachelor of arts named Joubert was burnt at Paris for holding Lutheran doctrines.

On March 17 Francis returned from captivity; and on the very day of his arrival in France he sent an order for the Parliament to suspend all action against Berquin, who after considerable delay was set at liberty. Lefèvre, Roussel, and Arande, who still called themselves members of the Catholic Church, were recalled from exile, and Lefèvre was appointed tutor to the King's third son. In spite of the execution of Jacques Pauvan, one of the Meaux preachers against whom proceedings had been taken with the full approval of the King (August 28, 1526), the hopes of the Reformers began to rise; and, on the whole, up to the end of 1527 things seemed to be taking a turn in their favour. But on December 16 of that year the King, being in straits for money for the ransom of his sons, summoned an Assembly of Notables; and, when the representatives of the clergy accompanied their vote of 1, 300, 000 livres with a request that he would take measures for the repression of Lutheranism, he gave a ready assent.

An outrage on a statue of the Virgin at Paris (May 31, 1528) furnished him with an opportunity of proving his sincerity, and he took part in a magnificent expiatory procession. Not long afterwards Berquin was again brought to trial and found guilty of heresy. Francis left him to his fate, and he was burnt on April 17, 1529. "He might have been the Luther of France," says Theodore Beza, "had Francis been a Frederick of Saxony." Meanwhile an important provincial synod, that of Sens, had been sitting at Paris from February to October of 1528 under the presidency of Cardinal Duprat, the Archbishop of Sens, for the purpose of devising measures for the repression of heresy. Similar synods were held for the provinces of Bourges and Lyons.

For two and a half years after Berquin's death the King showed no favour to the Reformers. But in the autumn of 1532 another change in his religious policy began to make itself felt. The ever shifting course of his diplomacy had now brought him into a close alliance with Henry VIII and into relations with the Protestant Princes of Germany. It was perhaps significant of this change that Jean du Bellay who, like his brother Guillaume, was in favour of a moderate reform of the Church, was at this time appointed Bishop of Paris. During the whole of Lent, 1533, Gérard Roussel, at the instigation of Margaret, now Queen of Navarre, and of her husband, preached daily in the Louvre to