The Colloquy of Montbeliard: Religion and Politics in the Sixteenth Century

By Jill P. Raitt | Go to book overview

2
The Political Background

The story of Montbéliard is not only part of the complex history of France and the empire; it is involved in the history of all of Europe. Its problems are a microcosm of the problems of people affected by religious quarrels in the last quarter of the sixteenth century. At least three forms of Protestantism were represented in Montbéliard during the fifty years previous to the colloquy of 1586: the evangelicals faithful to Pierre Toussain and his simple confession of faith, the French refugees who followed the Gallican Confession, and the Lutheranism of the town's suzerains. Montbéliard was often, therefore, a focal point for heated exchanges between its count, Frederick, and the Holy Roman Emperor, Rudolph II. 1 Montbéliard featured in correspondence between the king of Navarre and the Palatinate elector, John Casimir. 2 Meanwhile, Duke Ludwig of Württemberg, William, Landgrave of Hesse, other Lutheran princes, and the king of Denmark were contacted by Queen Elizabeth with regard to a Protestant League. 3 The architects of the Catholic League, the powerful Guises, were concerned about Montbéliard as a staging ground for attacks against Henry III of France, while Montbéliard's Catholic neighbors, especially those in the Guise's Lorraine, complained to Rudolph and to Henry III about the Huguenot refugees sheltering there. 4

The political history of Europe in the last quarter of the sixteenth century is a complex weave out of which it is not easy to pluck the pertinent threads. The relations between Henry III and Navarre are complicated enough, but they are interwoven with the development of the Catholic League5 and the alliances to counter it. Strengthened by Phillip II of Spain's identification of his own cause with that of the league, it concluded on January 2, 1585, the Treaty of Joinville. By reserving succession to the French crown to Cardinal Charles de Bourbon and guaranteeing Henry of Guise a yearly subsidy of fifty thousand écus, the stage was set for the capitulation of Henry III to the Guise and the signing of the Treaty of Nemours concluded July 7, 1585. Nemours provides a moment at which the pattern was particularly clear. 6 The treaty was the cause of Navarre's more intense pursuit of the French wars of religion and of tangled diplomatic relations with the areas on France's eastern border, including Savoy, Lorraine, the Swiss cantons, and the German western duchies. The treaty itself represented the capitulation of Henry III to the Catholic League, a capitulation brought about by Catherine de' Medici. 7 The terms of

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The Colloquy of Montbeliard: Religion and Politics in the Sixteenth Century
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Abbreviations xiii
  • Introduction 3
  • Notes 10
  • 1 - Ancient Liberties and Evangelical Reform 11
  • Notes 32
  • 2 - The Political Background 45
  • Notes 60
  • 3 - The Lord's Supper 73
  • Notes 100
  • 4 - The Person of Christ 110
  • Notes 126
  • 5 - Images, Baptism, and Predestination 134
  • 6 - Aftermath (1): Polemics and Politics 160
  • Notes 176
  • 7 - Aftermath (2): The Larger Scene 187
  • Notes 192
  • Appendix 1 Appendix: in Which Is Taught, What Was Done, Regarding the Communication and Protest of the French Exiles After the Colloquy of Montbéliard 197
  • Notes 201
  • Appendix 2 - Instrument 203
  • Appendix 3 207
  • Note 210
  • Bibliography of Works Cited 211
  • Index 221
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