Peace of Amboise, 1563
Peace of Amboise, 1563

The Edict of Amboise, also known as the Edict of Pacification, was signed at the Château of Amboise on 19 March 1563 by Catherine de' Medici, acting as regent for her son Charles IX of France. The treaty officially ended the first war in the French Wars of Religion, inaugurating a period of official peace that would last until 1567. Moreover, the treaty restored peace to France by guaranteeing the Huguenots religious privileges and freedoms.

The road to peace

In January 1562, Catherine de 'Medici, attempting to solve the religious turmoil that had been engulfing France, promulgated the Edict of January which granted limited toleration to France's Huguenots.[1] The edict faced immediate resistance, and shortly thereafter, Francis, Duke of Guise oversaw the Massacre of Vassy against a Huguenot congregation, the inciting incident in the first French War of Religion.[2] No sooner had conflict begun with Louis, Prince of Condé's seizure of Orléans, than both sides began to send out peace feelers to each other, however attempts to negotiate an end from 18–28 May failed.[3] The Huguenots insisted on the removal of Guise from court, however this was an impossible demand for the crown to accept.[4] Further attempts at negotiations continued into June between Anne de Montmorency and Condé but the terms, including the banning of all preachers from France, and the removal of the Protestant princes from the country until the King reached his majority, were unacceptable to Condé.[5] With the loss of Antoine of Navarre at the Siege of Rouen and then Jacques d'Albon, Seigneur de Saint André on the field at the Battle of Dreux, the prospect of negotiated peace began to dwindle as the crowns war effort became monopolised under the Duke of Guise, who desired a total victory at Orléans.[6] Continued attempts in November as Conde approached Paris were less sincere offers from the crown than tactics to stall his approach until reinforcements could arrive.[7] With Guise's assassination at the culmination of the siege, peace once more became possible, as the demoralised royal army was unable to press its advantage and achieve total victory.[8]

Making the peace

Shortly after the assassination, Catherine travelled to Orléans, desiring to see the Constable.[9] To establish the peace in this new opportunity, the two captured prisoners Condé and Constable Montmorency were released from their respective captors to work out terms on 8 March, under the supervision of Catherine de Medici.[10] On the same day the two would hold a conference on the Île aux Bœufs to negotiate the terms of the peace that was to be established.[11] Several weeks later on 19 March, the Peace of Amboise, having received the assent of the royal council, would be decreed by the King.[12] The Edict would be sealed with yellow wax, a mark of the crowns hope that it would be a temporary settlement before the faiths could be reconciled as one, yet it would hold longer as a peace than the subsequent green wax sealed treaties.[13]

The terms

The edict was modelled after the earlier Edict of January, though with a greater deal of restrictions.[8] Liberty of conscience and private practice was permitted.[14] The practice of communal Calvinist worship was restricted to the suburbs of one town in each baillage or sénéchausée in general.[15] In exception to this Protestant nobles would be allowed to oversee worship in their feudal holdings freely and Protestant worship could continue in those towns still held by Huguenot garrisons at the end of the war.[10] Protestant worship would remain banned in Paris, despite the baillage provision.[14] The property of the Catholic church that had been seized in the violence of the war was to be returned.[10] The government agreed to pay for the Huguenot army that was in severe arrears on the condition it left the country.[15] Finally all political and religious leagues were banned.[15]

Accompanying the peace was a general amnesty for crimes committed during the war, that came into force the following day, after the hastily scheduled execution of Jean de Poltrot.[16]

The terms came as a crushing blow to the Genevan Protestant faction, who had held out hope of more generous terms, than the aristocratic favoured ones that Conde and Montmorency negotiated. [14]

Registration and enforcement

Registration

All the Parlements of France, the highest courts necessary for any law to come into effect, offered a degree of resistance to the registration of the Edict, largely over the clauses that related to the toleration of the Huguenots:

Enforcement

Once the Parlements had been coerced into registration, this did not represent an entire success for the edict, as many Parlements proved unwilling to enforce the legislation they had just saw through.[26] To this end the monarchy dispatched 30 commissioners with broad judicial and executive power into the province, to oversee the process and hear petitions and complaints from the residents of their assigned localities.[27] In some areas such as Lyon the commissioners oversaw the compelling of lower courts than the Parlements to also register the Edict.[28] The vagueness of the Edict on several key issues allowed for individual interpretation of the terms as befitted the local needs of the commissioners, as in legislation on whether Protestants must decorate their houses for Catholic ceremonies.[29] Several commissioners ran into conflict with their regions military governor, as with Charles de Montmorency-Damville and Gaspard de Saulx who both proved resistant to their pacifying efforts.[30]

To assist in enforcement the Marshal François de Montmorency was deputised over the regions of the Île-de-France, Picardy, Normandy, Berry and Orléans.[31] He proceeded first to Picardy to oversee the recognition of the King's majority.[31] The Marshal François de Scépeaux was assigned the regions of Lyonnais, Dauphiné, Provence and Languedoc, he made his way first to the troubled city of Lyon.[31] Finally Marshal Imbert de La Plâtière was assigned the regions of Touraine, Anjou, Maine, Poitou, parts of Brittany and lower Normandy.[31] With such broad remits, the Marshals found themselves overstretched in their ability to provide backing to the commissioners.[31]

These efforts would be further supplemented by a 2 year long royal tour of the provinces arranged by Catherine de Medici for her son, from 1564–6.[32] Circling France in a clockwise direction, this tour took the King to 3 Parlements and many other cities, to hear petitions and chastise the various Parlements for their failures to uphold the King's will.[26] Ultimately these efforts failed to secure rigorous adherence to the terms laid out in the edict, as in Tours where Protestants were denied the site of worship given to them by the edict, or in Romans where Protestants refused to reinstate the Mass.[28][33]

In Jan 1566, concerned about the caseload being sent up from commissioners to the crown to arbitrate, the decision was made to end the commissioner system and to replace it with local led Parlement 'neutral chambers.'[34] The edict would be voided with the declaration of a second civil war after the failure of the Surprise of Meaux.

More immediate problems with the peace revealed themselves in the efforts to expedite the Protestant mercenary army from France in 1563, with the unpaid troops marauding over the land and plundering at will in Champagne for many weeks.[35][36] Eventually with the help of the Antoine III de Croy and French regular troops from Metz they were removed.[35] Further issues arose concerning the banning of political and religious leagues, with little attempt to stop the upsurge in Catholic leagues that formed subsequently to the peace.[37] Particularly with Blaise de Lasseran-Massencôme, seigneur de Montluc in Languedoc and Tavannes in Burgundy where confraternities of the holy ghost were established under his direction.[38]

Legacy of peace

Ultimately the peace would be a failure. This is both in its most basic goal of bringing peace to France, as the war that had ravaged France from 1562-3 became only the first of at least seven over the following decades. Indeed it was but another 4 years before Protestant fear of the revocation of the Edict of Amboise and Spanish intentions to crush the revolt in the Netherlands drove them into open rebellion against the crown once again.[39] More than this though, the edict failed in its goal of quieting popular religious violence in the communities of the Kingdom, as would be most infamously demonstrated during the provincial massacres of St Bartholomew, that followed the violence in the capital.[40]

See also

References

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  2. ^ Carroll, Stuart (2009). Martyrs and Murderers: The Guise Family and the Making of Europe. Oxford University Press. p. 18. ISBN 0199229074.
  3. ^ Thompson, James (1909). The Wars of Religion in France: The Huguenots, Catherine de Medici and Phillip II. Chicago University Press. p. 149.
  4. ^ Thompson, James (1909). The Wars of Religion in France 1559–1576: The Huguenots, Catherine de Medici and Phillip II. Chicago University Press. p. 151.
  5. ^ Thompson, James (1909). The Wars of Religion in France 1559–1576: The Huguenots, Catherine de Medici and Phillip II. Chicago University Press. p. 153.
  6. ^ Carroll, Stuart. Martyrs and Murderers: The Guise Family and the Making of Europe. Oxford University Press. p. 166. ISBN 0199229074.
  7. ^ Thompson, James (1909). The Wars of Religion in France 1559–1576: the Huguenots, Catherine de Medici and Phillip II. Chicago University Press. pp. 174–5.
  8. ^ a b Holt, Mack (2005). The French Wars of Religion, 1562–1629. Cambridge University Press. p. 55. ISBN 9780521547505.
  9. ^ Thompson, James (1909). The Wars of Religion in France 1559–1576: The Huguenots, Catherine de Medici and Phillip II. Chicago University Press. p. 189.
  10. ^ a b c Knecht, Robert (2010). The French Wars of Religion 1559–1598. Routledge. p. 37. ISBN 9781408228197.
  11. ^ Roberts, Penny (2013). Peace and Authority During the French Religious Wars c.1560–1600. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 32. ISBN 9781137326744.
  12. ^ Thompson, James (1909). The Wars of Religion in France 1559–1576: The Huguenots, Catherine de Medici and Phillip II. Chicago University Press. p. 190.
  13. ^ Roberts, Penny (2013). Peace and Authority During the French Religious Wars c.1560–1600. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 64. ISBN 9781137326744.
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  25. ^ Roberts, Penny (2007). "The Language of Peace during the French Religious Wars". Cultural and Social History. 4 3.
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  33. ^ Nicholls, David (1994). "Protestants, Catholics and Magistrates in Tours 1562–72: The Making of a Catholic City during the Religious Wars". French History. 8: 23.
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