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A Political and Social History of Modern Europe V.1. by Carlton J. H. Hayes

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equal footing with that of the Catholic religion. Protestantism among
the German princes proved a disintegrating, rather than a unifying,
factor of national life. The rise of Protestantism was the last straw
which broke German nationalism.

[Sidenote: Charles V and England]

With England the relations of Charles V were interesting but not so
important as those already noted with the Germans, the Turks, and the
French. At first in practical alliance with the impetuous self-willed
Henry VIII (1509-1547), whose wife--Catherine of Aragon--was the
emperor's aunt, Charles subsequently broke off friendly relations when
the English sovereign asked the pope to declare his marriage null and
void. Charles prevailed upon the pope to deny Henry's request, and the
schism which Henry then created between the Catholic Church in England
and the Roman See increased the emperor's bitterness. Towards the close
of Henry's reign relations improved again, but it was not until the
accession of Charles's cousin, Mary (1553-1558), to the English throne
that really cordial friendship was restored. To this Queen Mary,
Charles V married his son and successor Philip.

[Sidenote: Abdication of Charles V]

At length exhausted by his manifold labors, Charles V resolved to
divide his dominions between his brother Ferdinand and his son Philip
and to retire from government. In the hall of the Golden Fleece at
Brussels on 25 October, 1555, he formally abdicated the sovereignty of
his beloved Netherlands. Turning to the representatives, he said:
"Gentlemen, you must not be astonished if, old and feeble as I am in
all my members, and also from the love I bear you, I shed some tears."
At least in the Netherlands the love was reciprocal. In 1556 he
resigned the Spanish and Italian crowns, [Footnote: He made over to his
brother all his imperial authority, though he nominally retained the
crown of the Holy Roman Empire until 1558] and spent his last years in
preparation for a future world. He died in 1558. Personally, Charles V
had a prominent lower jaw and a thin, pale face, relieved by a wide
forehead and bright, flashing eyes. He was well formed and dignified in
appearance. In character he was slow and at times both irresolute and
obstinate, but he had a high sense of duty, honest intentions, good
soldierly qualities, and a large amount of cold common sense. Though
not highly educated, he was well read and genuinely appreciative of
music and painting.


For a century and a half after the retirement of Charles V in 1556, we
hear of two branches of the Habsburg family--the Spanish Habsburgs and
the Austrian Habsburgs, descended respectively from Philip II and
Ferdinand. By the terms of the division, Ferdinand, the brother of
Charles, received the compact family possessions in the East--Austria
and its dependencies, Bohemia, that portion of Hungary not occupied by
the Turks, and the title of Holy Roman Emperor,--while the remainder
went to Charles's son, Philip II,--Spain, the Netherlands, Franche
Comté (the eastern part of Burgundy), the Two Sicilies, Milan, and the
American colonies.

Over the history of Ferdinand and his immediate successors, we need not
tarry, because, aside from efforts to preserve religious peace and the
family's political predominance within the empire and to recover
Hungary from the Turks, it is hardly essential. But in western Europe
Philip II for a variety of reasons became a figure of world-wide
importance: we must examine his career.

[Sidenote: Character and policies of Philip II]

Few characters in history have elicited more widely contradictory
estimates than Philip II. Represented by many Protestant writers as a
villain, despot, and bigot, he has been extolled by patriotic Spaniards
as Philip the Great, champion of religion and right. These conflicting
opinions are derived from different views which may be taken of the
value and inherent worth of Philip's policies and methods, but what
those policies and methods were there can be no doubt. In the first
place, Philip II prized Spain as his native country and his main
possession--in marked contrast to his father, for he himself had been
born in Spain and had resided there during almost all of his life--and
he was determined to make Spain the greatest country in the world. In
the second place, Philip II was sincerely and piously attached to
Catholicism; he abhorred Protestantism as a blasphemous rending of the
seamless garment of the Church; and he set his heart upon the universal
triumph of his faith. If, by any chance, a question should arise
between the advantage of Spain and the best interests of the Church,
the former must be sacrificed relentlessly to the latter. Such was the
sovereign's stern ideal. No seeming failure of his policies could shake
his belief in their fundamental excellence. That whatever he did was
done for the greater glory of God, that success or failure depended
upon the inscrutable will of the Almighty and not upon himself, were
his guiding convictions, which he transmitted to his Spanish
successors. Not only was Philip a man of principles and ideals, but he
was possessed of a boundless capacity for work and an indomitable will.
He preferred tact and diplomacy to war and prowess of arms, though he
was quite willing to order his troops to battle if the object, in his
opinion, was right. He was personally less accustomed to the sword than
to the pen, and no clerk ever toiled more industriously at his papers
than did this king. From early morning until far into the night he bent
over minutes and reports and other business of kingcraft. Naturally
cautious and reserved, he was dignified and princely in public. In his
private life, he was orderly and extremely affectionate to his family
and servants. Loyalty was Philip's best attribute.

There was a less happy side to the character of Philip II. His free use
of the Inquisition in order to extirpate heresy throughout his
dominions has rendered him in modern eyes an embodiment of bigotry and
intolerance, but it must be remembered that he lived in an essentially
intolerant age, when religious persecution was stock in trade of
Protestants no less than of Catholics. It is likewise true that he
constantly employed craft and deceit and was ready to make use of
assassination for political purposes, but this too was in accordance
with the temper of the times: lawyers then taught, following the
precepts of the famous historian and political philosopher,
Machiavelli, that Christian morality is a guide for private conduct
rather than for public business, and that "the Prince" may act above
the laws in order to promote the public good, and even such famous
Protestant leaders as Coligny and William the Silent entered into
murder plots. But when all due allowances have been made, the student
cannot help feeling that the purpose of Philip II would have been
served better by the employment of means other than persecution and

The reign of Philip II covered approximately the second half of the
sixteenth century (1556-1598). In his efforts to make Spain the
greatest power in the world and to restore the unity problems of
Christendom, he was doomed to failure. The chief Confronting reason for
the failure is simple--the number and [side note Problems Confronting
Philip II] variety of the problems and projects with which Philip II
was concerned. It was a case of the king putting a finger in too many
pies--he was cruelly burned. Could Philip II have devoted all his
energies to one thing at a time, he might conceivably have had greater
success, but as it was, he must divide his attention between
supervising the complex administration of his already wide dominions
and annexing in addition the monarchy and empire of Portugal, between
promoting a vigorous commercial and colonial policy and suppressing a
stubborn revolt in the Netherlands, between championing Catholicism in
both England and France and protecting Christendom against the
victorious Mohammedans. It was this multiplicity of interests that
paralyzed the might of the Spanish monarch, yet each one of his foreign
activities was epochal in the history of the country affected. We shall
therefore briefly review Philip's activities in order.

[Sidenote: Spain under Philip II: Political]

As we have seen, Philip II inherited a number of states which had
separate political institutions and customs. He believed in national
unification, at least of Spain. National unification implied
uniformity, and uniformity implied greater power of the crown. So
Philip sought to further the work of his great-grandparents, Ferdinand
and Isabella,--absolutism and uniformity became his watchwords in
internal administration. Politically Philip made no pretense of
consulting the Cortes on legislation, and, although he convoked them to
vote new taxes, he established the rule that the old taxes were to be
considered as granted in perpetuity and as constituting the ordinary
revenue of the crown. He treated the nobles as ornamental rather than
useful, retiring them from royal offices in favor of lawyers and other
subservient members of the middle class. All business was conducted by
correspondence and with a final reference to the king, and the natural
result was endless delay.

[Sidenote: Spain under Philip II: Economic]

Financially and economically the period was unfortunate for Spain. The
burden of the host of foreign enterprises fell with crushing weight
upon the Spanish kingdom and particularly upon Castile. Aragon, which
was poor and jealous of its own rights, would give little. The income
from the Netherlands, at first large, was stopped by the revolt. The
Italian states barely paid expenses. The revenue from the American
mines, which has been greatly exaggerated, enriched the pockets of
individuals rather than the treasury of the state. In Spain itself, the
greater part of the land was owned by the ecclesiastical corporations
and the nobles, who were exempt from taxation but were intermittently
fleeced. Moreover, the 10 per cent tax on all sales--the alcabala
[Footnote: See above, p. 57.]--gradually paralyzed all native
industrial enterprise. And the persecution of wealthy and industrious
Jews and Moors diminished the resources of the kingdom. Spain, at the
close of the century, was on the verge of bankruptcy.

[Sidenote: Spain under Philip II: Religious]

In religious matters Philip II aimed at uniform adherence to the
doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church. He felt, like so many of his
contemporaries, that disparity of belief among subjects would imperil
a state. Both from political motives and from religious zeal Philip was
a Catholic. He therefore advised the pope, watched with interest the
proceedings of the great Council of Trent which was engaged with the
reformation of the Church, [Footnote: See below, pp. 158 ff.] and
labored for the triumph of his religion not only in his own dominions
and in France, but also in Poland, in England, and even in Scandinavia.
In Spain he strengthened the Inquisition and used it as a tool of royal

[Sidenote: Temporary Union of Spain and Portugal]

Territorially Philip II desired to complete political unity in the
peninsula by combining the crown of Portugal with those of Castile and
Aragon. He himself was closely related to the Portuguese royal family,
and in 1580 he laid formal claim to that kingdom. The duke of Braganza,
whose claim was better than Philip's, was bought off by immense grants
and the country was overrun by Spanish troops. Philip endeavored to
placate the Portuguese by full recognition of their constitutional
rights and in particular by favoring the lesser nobility or country
gentry. Although the monarchies and vast colonial possessions of Spain
and Portugal were thus joined for sixty years under a common king, the
arrangement never commanded any affection in Portugal, with the result
that at the first opportunity, in 1640, Portuguese independence was
restored under the leadership of the Braganza family.

[Sidenote: Rebellions Against Philip II in Spain]

The most serious domestic difficulty which Philip had to face was the
revolt of the rich and populous Netherlands, which we shall discuss
presently. But with other revolts the king had to contend. In his
efforts to stamp out heresy and peculiar customs among the descendants
of the Moors who still lived in the southern part of Spain, Philip
aroused armed opposition. The Moriscos, as they were called, struggled
desperately from 1568 to 1570 to reëstablish the independence of
Granada. This rebellion was suppressed with great cruelty, and the
surviving Moriscos were forced to find new homes in less favored parts
of Spain until their final expulsion from the country in 1609. A revolt
of Aragon in 1591 was put down by a Castilian army; the constitutional
rights of Aragon were diminished and the kingdom was reduced to a
greater measure of submission.

[Sidenote: Revolt of the Netherlands: The Causes]

The causes that led to the revolt of the Netherlands may be stated as
fourfold. (1) Financial. The burdensome taxes which Charles V had laid
upon the country were increased by Philip II and often applied to
defray the expenses of other parts of the Spanish possessions.
Furthermore, the restrictions which Philip imposed upon Dutch commerce
in the interest of that of Spain threatened to interfere seriously with
the wonted economic prosperity of the Netherlands. (2) Political.
Philip II sought to centralize authority in the Netherlands and
despotically deprived the cities and nobles of many of their
traditional privileges. Philip never visited the country in person
after 1559, and he intrusted his arbitrary government to regents and to
Spaniards rather than to native leaders. The scions of the old and
proud noble families of the Netherlands naturally resented being
supplanted in lucrative and honorable public offices by persons whom
they could regard only as upstarts. (3) Religious. Despite the rapid
and universal spread of Calvinistic Protestantism throughout the
northern provinces, Philip was resolved to force Catholicism upon all
of his subjects. He increased the number of bishoprics, decreed acts of
uniformity, and in a vigorous way utilized the Inquisition to carry his
policy into effect. (4) Personal. The Dutch and Flemish loved Charles V
because he had been born and reared among them and always considered
their country as his native land. Philip II was born and brought up in
Spain. He spoke a language foreign to the Netherlands, and by their
inhabitants he was thought of as an alien.

[Sidenote: Margaret of Parma and the "Beggars"]

At first the opposition in the Netherlands was directed chiefly against
the Inquisition and the presence of Spanish garrisons in the towns. The
regent, Margaret of Parma, Philip's half-sister, endeavored to banish
public discontent by a few concessions. The Spanish troops were
withdrawn and certain unpopular officials were dismissed. But
influential noblemen and burghers banded themselves together early in
1566 and presented to the regent Margaret a petition, in which, while
protesting their loyalty, they expressed fear of a general revolt and
begged that a special embassy be sent to Philip to urge upon him the
necessity of abolishing the Inquisition and of redressing their other
grievances. The regent, at first disquieted by the petitioners, was
reassured by one of her advisers, who exclaimed, "What, Madam, is your
Highness afraid of these beggars (_ces gueux_)?" Henceforth the
chief opponents of Philip's policies in the Netherlands humorously
labeled themselves "Beggars" and assumed the emblems of common begging,
the wallet and the bowl. The fashion spread quickly, and the "Beggars'"
insignia were everywhere to be seen, worn as trinkets, especially in
the large towns. In accordance with the "Beggars'" petition, an embassy
was dispatched to Spain to lay the grievances before Philip II.

[Sidenote: Duke of Alva in the Netherlands, 1567-1573]

Philip II at first promised to abolish the Inquisition in the
Netherlands, but soon repented of his promise. For meanwhile mobs of
fanatical Protestants, far more radical than the respectable "Beggars,"
were rushing to arms, breaking into Catholic churches, wrecking the
altars, smashing the images to pieces, profaning monasteries, and
showing in their retaliation as much violence--as their enemies had
shown cruelty in persecution. In August, 1566, this sacrilegious
iconoclasm reached its climax in the irreparable ruin of the
magnificent cathedral at Antwerp. Philip replied to these acts, which
he interpreted as disloyalty, by sending (1567) his most famous
general, the duke of Alva, into the Netherlands with a large army and
with instructions to cow the people into submission. Alva proved
himself quite capable of understanding and executing his master's
wishes: one of his first acts was the creation of a "Council of
Troubles," an arbitrary tribunal which tried cases of treason and which
operated so notoriously as to merit its popular appellation of the
"Council of Blood." During the duke's stay of six years, it has been
estimated that eight thousand persons were executed, including the
counts of Egmont and Horn, thirty thousand were despoiled of their
property, and one hundred thousand quitted the country. Alva, moreover,
levied an enormous tax of one-tenth upon the price of merchandise sold.
As the tax was collected on several distinct processes, it absorbed at
least seven-tenths of the value of certain goods--of cloth, for
instance. The tax, together with the lawless confusion throughout the
country, meant the destruction of Flemish manufactures and trade. It
was, therefore, quite natural that the burgesses of the southern
Netherlands, Catholic though most of them were, should unite with the
nobles and with the Protestants of the North in opposing Spanish
tyranny. The whole country was now called to arms.

[Sidenote: William the Silent, Prince of Orange]

One of the principal noblemen of the Netherlands was a German, William
of Nassau, prince of Orange.[Footnote: William (1533-1584), now
commonly called "the Silent." There appears to be no contemporaneous
justification of the adjective as applied to him, but the misnomer,
once adopted by later writers, has insistently clung to him.] He had
been governing the provinces of Holland and Zeeland when Alva arrived,
but as he was already at the point of accepting Protestantism he had
prudently retired into Germany, leaving his estates to be confiscated
by the Spanish governor. Certain trifling successes of the insurgents
now called William back to head the popular movement. For many years he
bore the brunt of the war and proved himself not only a resourceful
general, but an able diplomat and a whole-souled patriot. He eventually
gained the admiration and love of the whole Dutch people.

[Sidenote: The "Sea Beggars"]

The first armed forces of William of Orange were easily routed by Alva,
but in 1569 a far more menacing situation was presented. In that year
William began to charter corsairs and privateers to prey upon Spanish
shipping. These "Sea Beggars," as they were called, were mostly wild
and lawless desperadoes who stopped at nothing in their hatred of
Catholics and Spaniards: they early laid the foundations of Dutch
maritime power and at the same time proved a constant torment to Alva.
They made frequent incursions into the numerous waterways of the
Netherlands and perpetually fanned the embers of revolt on land.
Gradually William collected new armies, which more and more
successfully defied Alva.

[Sidenote: The "Spanish Fury" and the Pacification of Ghent, 1576]

The harsh tactics of Alva had failed to restore the Netherlands to
Philip's control, and in 1573 Alva was replaced in the regency by the
more politic Requesens, who continued the struggle as best he could but
with even less success than Alva. Soon after Requesens's death in 1576,
the Spanish army in the Netherlands, left without pay or food, mutinied
and inflicted such horrible indignities upon several cities, notably
Antwerp, that the savage attack is called the "Spanish Fury." Deputies
of all the seventeen provinces at once concluded an agreement, termed
the Pacification of Ghent (1576), by which they mutually guaranteed
resistance to the Spanish until the king should abolish the Inquisition
and restore their old-time liberties.

Then Philip II tried a policy of concession, but the new governor, the
dashing Don John of Austria, fresh from a great naval victory over the
Turks, soon discovered that it was too late to reconcile the
Protestants. William the Silent was wary of the Spanish offers, and Don
John died in 1578 without having achieved very much.

[Sidenote: Farnese, Duke of Parma]
[Sidenote: The Treaty of Array and the Union of Utrecht (1579): the
Permanent Division of the Netherlands]

But Philip II was not without some success in the Netherlands. He was
fortunate in having a particularly determined and tactful governor in
the country from 1578 to 1592 in the person of Alexander Farnese, duke
of Parma. Skillfully mingling war and diplomacy, Farnese succeeded in
sowing discord between the northern and southern provinces: the former
were Dutch, Calvinist, and commercial; the latter were Flemish and
Walloon, Catholic, and industrial. The ten southern provinces might
eventually have more to fear from the North than from continued union
with Spain; their representatives, therefore, signed a defensive league
at Arras in 1579 for the protection of the Catholic religion and with
the avowed purpose of effecting a reconciliation with Philip II. In the
same year the northern provinces agreed to the Union of Utrecht,
binding themselves together "as if they were one province" to maintain
their rights and liberties "with life-blood and goods" against Spanish
tyranny and to grant complete freedom of worship and of religious
opinion throughout the confederation. In this way the Pacification of
Ghent was nullified and the Netherlands were split into two parts, each
going its own way, each developing its own history. The southern
portion was to remain in Habsburg hands for over two centuries, being
successively termed "Spanish Netherlands" and "Austrian Netherlands"--
roughly speaking, it is what to-day we call Belgium. The northern
portion was to become free and independent, and, as the "United
Provinces" or simply "Holland," to take its place among the nations of
the world. For a considerable period of time Holland was destined to be
more prosperous than Belgium. The latter suffered more grievously than
the former from the actual hostilities; and the Dutch, by closing the
River Scheldt and dominating the adjacent seas, dealt a mortal blow at
the industrial and commercial supremacy of Antwerp and transferred the
chief trade and business of all the Netherlands to their own city of

[Sidenote: Reasons for the Success of the Dutch]

For many years the struggle dragged on. At times it seemed probable
that Farnese and the Spaniards would overcome the North by force as
they had obtained the South by diplomacy. But a variety of reasons
explain the ultimate success of the Dutch. The nature of the country
rendered ordinary campaigning very difficult--the network of canals
constituted natural lines of defense and the cutting of the dikes might
easily imperil an invading army. Again, the seafaring propensities of
the Dutch stimulated them to fit out an increasing number of privateers
which constantly preyed upon Spanish commerce: it was not long before
this traffic grew important and legitimate, so that in the following
century Amsterdam became one of the greatest cities of the world, and
Holland assumed a prominent place among commercial and colonial
nations. Thirdly, the employment of foreign mercenaries in the army of
defense enabled the native population to devote the more time to
peaceful pursuits, and, despite the persistence of war, the Dutch
provinces increased steadily in wealth and prosperity. Fourthly, the
cautious Fabian policy of William the Silent prevented the Dutch from
staking heavily upon battles in the open field. Fifthly, the Dutch
received a good deal of assistance from Protestants of Germany,
England, and France. Finally, Philip II pursued too many great projects
at once to be able to bring a single one to a satisfactory conclusion:
his war with Queen Elizabeth of England and his interference in the
affairs of France inextricably complicated his plans in the

[Sidenote: Formal Declaration of Dutch Independence, 1581]

In 1581 Philip II published a ban against William of Orange,
proclaiming him a traitor and an outlaw and offering a reward to any
one who would take him dead or alive. William replied by his famous
"Apology" to the charges against him; but his practical answer to the
king was the Act of Abjuration, by which at his persuasion the
representatives of the northern provinces, assembled at The Hague,
solemnly proclaimed their separation from the crown of Spain, broke the
royal seal of Philip II, and declared the king deprived of all
authority over them. We should call this Act of 1581 the Dutch
declaration of independence. It was an augury of the definitive result
of the war.

[Sidenote: Recognition of Dutch Independence]

Although William the Silent was assassinated by an agent of Spain
(1584), and Antwerp was captured from the Protestants in 1585, the
ability and genius of Farnese did not avail to make further headway
against the United Provinces; but Philip II, stubborn to the end,
positively refused to recognize Dutch independence. In 1609 Philip III
of Spain consented to a twelve years' truce with the States-General of
The Hague. In the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) the Dutch and Spaniards
again became embroiled, and the freedom of the republic was not
recognized officially by Spain till the general peace of Westphalia in
1648. [Footnote: See below, p. 229.]

The seven provinces, which had waged such long war with Spain,
constituted, by mutual agreement, a confederacy, each preserving a
distinct local government and administration, but all subject to a
general parliament--the States-General--and to a stadtholder, or
governor-general, an office which subsequently became hereditary in the
Orange family. Between the States-General and the stadtholder, a
constitutional conflict was carried on throughout the greater part of
the seventeenth century--the former, supported by well-to-do burghers,
favoring a greater measure of political democracy, the latter, upheld
by aristocratically minded nobles, laboring for the development of
monarchical institutions under the Orange family.

[Sidenote: Natural Opposition of England and France to the Policies of
Philip II]

Not only his efforts in the Netherlands but many other projects of
Philip II were frustrated by remarkable parallel developments in the
two national monarchies of England and France. Both these countries
were naturally jealous opposition and fearful of an undue expansion of
Spain, which might upset the balance of power. Both states, from their
geographical locations, would normally be inimical to Philip II:
England would desire, from her island position, to destroy the monopoly
which Spain claimed of the carrying trade of the seas; France, still
encircled by Habsburg possessions in Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands,
would adhere to her traditional policy of allying herself with every
foe of the Spanish king. Then, too, the papal authority had been
rejected in England and seriously questioned in France: Philip's
crusading zeal made him the champion of the Church in those countries.
For ecclesiastical as well as for economic and political purposes it
seemed necessary to the Spanish king that he should bring France and
England under his direct influence. On their side, patriotic French and
English resented such foreign interest in their domestic affairs, and
the eventual failure of Philip registered a wonderful growth of
national feeling among the peoples who victoriously contended against
him. The beginnings of the real modern greatness of France and England
date from their struggle with Philip II.

[Sidenote: Philip II and Mary Tudor]

At the outset of his reign, Philip seemed quite successful in his
foreign relations. As we have seen, he was in alliance with England
through his marriage with Queen Mary Tudor (1553-1558): she had
temporarily restored the English Church to communion with the Holy See,
and was conducting her foreign policy in harmony with Philip's--because
of her husband she lost to the French the town of Calais, the last
English possession on the Continent (1558). Likewise, as has been said,
Philip II concluded with France in 1559 the advantageous treaty of
Cateau-Cambrésis. But during the ensuing thirty years the tables were
completely turned. Both England and France ended by securing respite
from Spanish interference.

[Sidenote: Philip II and Elizabeth]

Mary Tudor died unhappy and childless in 1558, and the succession of
her sister Queen Elizabeth, daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn,
altered the relations between the English and Spanish courts. Elizabeth
(1558-1603) was possessed of an imperious, haughty, energetic
character; she had remarkable intelligence and an absorbing patriotism.
She inspired confidence in her advisers and respect among her people,
so that she was commonly called "Good Queen Bess" despite the fact that
her habits of deceit and double-dealing gave color to the French king's
remark that she was the greatest liar in Christendom. This was the
woman with whom Philip II had to deal; he tried many tactics in order
to gain his ends,--all of them hopelessly unsuccessful.

Philip first proposed matrimony, but Elizabeth was very careful not to
give herself, or England, such a master. Then when the queen declared
herself a Protestant and showed no inclination to assist Philip in any
of his enterprises, the Spanish king proceeded to plot against her
throne. He subsidized Roman Catholic priests, especially Jesuits, who
violated the laws of the land. He stirred up sedition and even went so
far as to plan Elizabeth's assassination. Many conspiracies against the
English queen centered in the person of the ill-starred Mary Stuart,
[Footnote: Mary Stuart (1542-1587).] queen of Scotland, who was
next in line of succession to the English throne and withal a Catholic.

[Sidenote: Mary Stuart]

Descended from the Stuart kings of Scotland and from Henry VII of
England, related to the powerful family of Guise in France, Mary had
been brought up at the French court and married to the short-lived
French king, Francis II. Upon the death of the latter she returned in
1561 to Scotland, a young woman of but eighteen years, only to find
that the government had fallen victim to the prevalent factional fights
among the Scotch nobles and that in the preceding year the parliament
had solemnly adopted a Calvinistic form of Protestantism. By means of
tact and mildness, however, Mary won the respect of the nobles and the
admiration of the people, until a series of marital troubles and
blunders--her marriage with a worthless cousin, Henry Darnley, and then
her scandalous marriage with Darnley's profligate murderer, the earl of
Bothwell--alienated her people from her and drove her into exile. She
abdicated the throne of Scotland in favor of her infant son, James VI,
who was reared a Protestant and subsequently became King James I of
England, and she then (1568) threw herself upon the mercy of Elizabeth.
She thought she would find in England a haven of refuge; instead she
found there a prison.

For the score of years during which she remained Elizabeth's prisoner,
Mary Stuart was the object of many plots and conspiracies against the
existing governments of both Scotland and England. In every such scheme
were to be found the machinations and money of the Spanish king. In
fact, as time went on, it seemed to a growing section of the English
people as though the cause of Elizabeth was bound up with Protestantism
and with national independence and prosperity just as certainly as the
success of Mary would lead to the triumph of Catholicism, the political
supremacy of Spain, and the commercial ruin of England. It was under
these circumstances that Mary's fate was sealed. Because of a political
situation over which she had slight control, the ex-queen of Scotland
was beheaded by Elizabeth's orders in 1587.

[Sidenote: The Armada]

Philip II had now tried and failed in every expedient but one,--the
employment of sheer force. Even this he attempted in order to avenge
the death of Mary Stuart and to bring England, politically,
religiously, and commercially, into harmony with his Spanish policies.
The story of the preparation and the fate of the Invincible Armada is
almost too well known to require repetition. It was in 1588 that there
issued from the mouth of the Tagus River the most formidable fleet
which up to that time Christendom had ever beheld--130 ships, 8000
seamen, 19,000 soldiers, the flower of the Spanish chivalry. In the
Netherlands it was to be joined by Alexander Farnese with 33,000
veteran troops. But in one important respect Philip had underestimated
his enemy: he had counted upon a divided country. Now the attack upon
England was primarily national, rather than religious, and Catholics
vied with Protestants in offering aid to the queen: it was a united
rather than a divided nation which Philip faced. The English fleet,
composed of comparatively small and easily maneuvered vessels, worked
great havoc upon the ponderous and slow-moving Spanish galleons, and
the wreck of the Armada was completed by a furious gale which tossed
ship after ship upon the rocks of northern Scotland. Less than a third
of the original expedition ever returned to Spain.

Philip II had thus failed in his herculean effort against England. He
continued in small ways to annoy and to irritate Elizabeth. He tried--
without result--to incite the Catholics of Ireland against the queen.
He exhausted his arsenals and his treasures in despairing attempts to
equip a second and even a third Armada. But he was doomed to bitterest
disappointment, for two years before his death an English fleet sacked
his own great port of Cadiz. The war with England ruined the navy and
the commerce of Spain. The defeat of the Armada was England's first
title to commercial supremacy.

[Sidenote: Economic Benefits of the Period for England]

It was long maintained that the underlying causes of the conflict
between England and Spain in the second half of the sixteenth century
and its chief interest was religious--that it was part of an epic
struggle between Protestantism and Catholicism. There may be a measure
of truth in such an idea, but most recent writers believe that the
chief motives for the conflict, as well as its important results, were
essentially economic. From the beginning of Elizabeth's reign, English
sailors and freebooters, such as Hawkins and Drake, took the offensive
against Spanish trade and commerce; and many ships, laden with silver
and goods from the New World and bound for Cadiz, were seized and towed
into English harbors. The queen herself frequently received a share of
the booty and therefore tended to encourage the practice. For nearly
thirty years Philip put up with the capture of his treasure ships, the
raiding of his colonies, and the open assistance rendered to his
rebellious subjects. Only when he reached the conclusion that his power
would never be secure in the Netherlands or in America did he dispatch
the Armada. Its failure finally freed Holland and marked the collapse
of the Spanish monopoly upon the high seas and in the New World.

[Sidenote: Affairs in France]

Before we can appreciate the motives and results of the interference of
Philip II in French affairs, a few words must be said about what had
happened in France since Francis I (1515-1547) and his son, Henry II
(1547-1559), exalted the royal power in their country and not only
preserved French independence of the surrounding empire of Charles V
but also increased French prestige by means of a strong policy in Italy
and by the extension of frontiers toward the Rhine. Henry II had
married a member of the famous Florentine family of the Medici--
Catherine de' Medici--a large and ugly woman, but ambitious,
resourceful, and capable, who, by means of trickery and deceit, took an
active part in French politics from the death of her husband,
throughout the reigns of her feeble sons, Francis II (1559-1560),
Charles IX (1560-1574), and Henry III (1574-1589). Catherine found her
position and that of her royal children continually threatened by (1)
the Protestants (Huguenots), (2) the great nobles, and (3) Philip II of

[Sidenote: Dangers to Royal Power in France: Protestantism]

French Protestantism had grown steadily during the first half of the
sixteenth century until it was estimated that from a twentieth to a
thirtieth of the nation had fallen away from the Catholic Church. The
influence of the advocates of the new faith was, however, much greater
than their number, because the Huguenots, as they were called, were
recruited mainly from the prosperous, intelligent middle class,--the
bourgeoisie,--who had been intrusted by preceding French kings with
many important offices. The Huguenots represented, therefore, a
powerful social class and likewise one that was opposed to the undue
increase of royal power. They demanded, not only religious toleration
for themselves, but also regular meetings of the Estates-General and
control of the nation's representatives over financial matters. The
kings, on their part, felt that political solidarity and their own
personal rule were dependent upon the maintenance of religious
uniformity in the nation and the consequent defeat of the pretensions
of the Huguenots. Francis I and Henry II had persecuted the Protestants
with bitterness. From 1562 to 1593 a series of so-called religious wars
embroiled the whole country.

[Sidenote: Dangers to Royal Power in France: the Nobles]

French politics were further complicated during the second half of the
sixteenth century by the recrudescence of the power of the nobles. The
so-called religious wars were quite as much political as religious--
they resulted from efforts of this or that faction of noblemen to
dictate to a weak king. Two noble families particularly vied with each
other for power,--the Bourbons and the Guises,--and the unqualified
triumph of either would be certain to bring calamity to the sons of
Catherine de' Medici.

[Sidenote: The Bourbons]

The Bourbons bore the proud title of princes of the blood because they
were direct descendants of a French king. Their descent, to be sure,
was from Saint Louis, king in the thirteenth century, and they were
now, therefore, only distant cousins of the reigning kings, but as the
latter died off, one after another, leaving no direct successors, the
Bourbons by the French law of strict male succession became heirs to
the royal family. The head of the Bourbons, a certain Anthony, had
married the queen of Navarre and had become thereby king of Navarre,
although the greater part of that country--the region south of the
Pyrenees--had been annexed to Spain in 1512. Anthony's brother Louis,
prince of Condé, had a reputation for bravery, loyalty, and ability.
Both Condé and the king of Navarre were Protestants.

[Sidenote: The Guise Family]

The Guise family was descended from a duke of Lorraine who had attached
himself to the court of Francis I. It was really a foreign family,
inasmuch as Lorraine was then a dependency of the Holy Roman Empire,
but the patriotic exploits of the head of the family in defending Metz
against the Emperor Charles V and in capturing Calais from the English
endeared the Guises to a goodly part of the French nation. The duke of
Guise remained a stanch Catholic, and his brother, called the Cardinal
of Lorraine, was head of as many as twelve bishoprics, which gave him
an enormous revenue and made him the most conspicuous churchman in
France. During the reign of Henry II (1547-1559) the Guises were
especially influential. They fought valiantly in foreign wars. They
spurred on the king to a great persecution of the Huguenots. They
increased their own landed estates. And they married one of their
relatives--Mary, queen of Scots--to the heir to the throne. But after
the brief reign of Mary's husband, Francis II (1559-1560), the Guise
family encountered not only the active opposition of their chief noble
rivals, the Bourbons, with their Huguenot allies, but likewise the
jealousy and crafty intrigues of Catherine de' Medici.

[Sidenote: Religious Wars in France]

Catherine feared both the ambition of the powerful Guise family and the
disruptive tendencies of Protestantism. The result was a long series of
confused civil wars between the ardent followers, respectively
Catholic and Protestant, of the Guise and Bourbon families, in which
the queen-mother gave support first to one side and then to the other.
There were no fewer than eight of these sanguinary conflicts, each one
ending with the grant of slight concessions to the Huguenots and the
maintenance of the weak kings upon the throne. The massacre of Saint
Bartholomew's Day (1572) was a horrible incident of Catherine's policy
of "trimming." Fearing the undue influence over the king of Admiral de
Coligny, an upright and able Huguenot leader, the queen-mother, with
the aid of the Guises, prevailed upon the weak-minded Charles IX to
authorize the wholesale assassination of Protestants. The signal was
given by the ringing of a Parisian church-bell at two o'clock in the
morning of 24 August, 1572, and the slaughter went on throughout the
day in the capital and for several weeks in the provinces. Coligny was
murdered; even women and children were not spared. It is estimated that
in all at least three thousand--perhaps ten thousand--lost their lives.

[Sidenote: The "Politiques"]

The massacre of Saint Bartholomew's Day did not destroy French
Protestantism or render the Huguenot leaders more timid in
asserting their claims. On the other hand, it brought into
clear light a noteworthy division within the ranks of their Catholic
opponents in France--on one side, the rigorous followers of the Guise
family, who complained only that the massacre had not been sufficiently
comprehensive, and, on the other side, a group of moderate Catholics,
usually styled the "Politiques" who, while continuing to adhere to the
Roman Church, and, when called upon, bearing arms on the side of the
king, were strongly opposed to the employment of force or violence or
persecution in matters of religion. The Politiques were particularly
patriotic, and they blamed the religious wars and the intolerant policy
of the Guises for the seeming weakness of the French monarchy. They
thought the massacre of Saint Bartholomew's Day a blunder as well as a

The emergence of the Politiques did not immediately make for peace;
rather, it substituted a three-sided for a two-sided conflict.

[Sidenote: Philip II and the War of the Three Henries]

After many years, filled with disorder, it became apparent that the
children of Catherine de' Medici would have no direct male heirs and
that the crown would therefore legally devolve upon the son of Anthony
of Bourbon--Henry of Bourbon, king of Navarre and a Protestant. Such an
outcome was naturally distasteful to the Guises and abhorrent to Philip
II of Spain. In 1585 a definite league was formed between Henry, duke
of Guise, and the Spanish king, whereby the latter undertook by
military force to aid the former's family in seizing the throne: French
politics in that event would be controlled by Spain, and Philip would
secure valuable assistance in crushing the Netherlands and conquering
England.[Footnote: At that very time, Mary, Queen of Scots, cousin of
Henry, duke of Guise, was held a prisoner in England by Queen
Elizabeth. See above, p. 99.] The immediate outcome of the agreement
was the war of the three Henries--Henry III, son of Catherine de'
Medici and king of France; Henry of Bourbon, king of Navarre and heir
to the French throne; and Henry, duke of Guise, with the foreign
support of Philip II of Spain. Henry of Guise represented the extreme
Catholic party; Henry of Navarre, the Protestant faction; and Henry of
France, the Catholic moderates--the Politiques--who wanted peace and
were willing to grant a measure of toleration. The last two were
upholders of French independence against the encroachments of Spain.

The king was speedily gotten into the power of the Guises, but little
headway was made by the extreme Catholics against Henry of Navarre, who
now received domestic aid from the _Politiques_ and foreign
assistance from Queen Elizabeth of England and who benefited by the
continued misfortunes of Philip II. At no time was the Spanish king
able to devote his whole attention and energy to the French war. At
length in 1588 Henry III caused Henry of Guise to be assassinated. The
king never had a real chance to prove whether he could become a
national leader in expelling the foreigners and putting an end to civil
war, for he himself was assassinated in 1589. With his dying breath he
designated the king of Navarre as his successor.

[Sidenote: Henry of Navarre]

Henry of Navarre, the first of the Bourbon family upon the throne of
France, took the title of Henry IV (1589-1610). [Footnote: It is a
curious fact that Henry of Navarre, like Henry of Guise and Henry of
France, died by the hand of an assassin.] For four years after his
accession, Henry IV was obliged to continue the civil war, but his
abjuration of Protestantism and his acceptance of Catholicism in 1593
removed the chief source of opposition to him within France, and the
rebellion speedily collapsed. With the Spanish king, however, the
struggle dragged on until the treaty of Vervins, which in the last year
of Philip's life practically confirmed the peace of Cateau-Cambrésis.

[Sidenote: Decline of Spain and Rise of France]

Thus Philip II had failed to conquer or to dismember France. He had
been unable to harmonize French policies with those of his own in the
Netherlands or in England. Despite his endeavors, the French crown was
now on the head of one of his enemies, who, if something of a renegade
Protestant himself, had nevertheless granted qualified toleration to
heretics. Nor were these failures of Philip's political and religious
policies mere negative results to France. The unsuccessful interference
of the Spanish king contributed to the assurance of French
independence, patriotism, and solidarity. France, not Spain, was to be
the center of European politics during the succeeding century.

[Sidenote: Philip II and the Turks]

In concluding this chapter, a large section of which has been devoted
to an account of the manifold failures of Philip II, a word should be
added about one exploit that brought glory to the Spanish monarch. It
was he who administered the first effective check to the advancing
Ottoman Turks.

After the death of Suleiman the Magnificent (1566), the Turks continued
to strengthen their hold upon Hungary and to fit out piratical
expeditions in the Mediterranean. The latter repeatedly ravaged
portions of Sicily, southern Italy, and even the Balearic Islands, and
in 1570 an Ottoman fleet captured Cyprus from the Venetians. Malta and
Crete remained as the only Christian outposts in the Mediterranean. In
this extremity, a league was formed to save Italy. Its inspirer and
preacher was Pope Pius V, but Genoa and Venice furnished the bulk of
the fleet, while Philip II supplied the necessary additional ships and
the commander-in-chief in the person of his half-brother, Don John of
Austria. The expedition, which comprised 208 vessels, met the Ottoman
fleet of 273 ships in the Gulf of Lepanto, off the coast of Greece, on
7 October, 1571, and inflicted upon it a crushing defeat. The Turkish
warships were almost all sunk or driven ashore; it is estimated that
8000 Turks lost their lives. When news of the victory reached Rome,
Pope Pius intoned the famous verse, "There was a man sent from God
whose name was John."

[Sidenote: Lepanto]

The battle of Lepanto was of great political importance. It gave the
naval power of the Mohammedans a blow from which it never recovered and
ended their aggressive warfare in the Mediterranean. It was, in
reality, the last Crusade: Philip II was in his most becoming rôle as
champion of church and pope; hardly a noble family in Spain or Italy
was not represented in the battle; volunteers came from all parts of
the world; the celebrated Spanish writer Cervantes lost an arm at
Lepanto. Western Europe was henceforth to be comparatively free from
the Ottoman peril.





Johnson, _Europe in the Sixteenth Century, 1494-1598_ (1897), ch. iii-
ix, a political summary; Mary A. Hollings, _Renaissance and
Reformation, 1453-1660_ (1910), ch. vi, ix, x, a brief outline; E. M.
Hulme, _Renaissance and Reformation_, 2d ed. (1915), ch. x, xiv, xxiv-
xxviii, a brief and fragmentary account; T. H. Dyer, _A History of
Modern Europe_, 3d ed., rev. by Arthur Hassall (1901), ch. ix, xi-
xxvii, old but containing a multitude of political facts; _Cambridge
Modern History_, Vol. II (1904), ch. ii, iii, vii, viii, and Vol. III
(1905), ch. xv, v; _History of All Nations_, Vol. XI and Vol. XII, ch.
i-iii, by the German scholar on the period, Martin Philippson;
_Histoire générale_, Vol. IV, ch. iii, ix, Vol. V, ch. ii-v, xv. Of the
Emperor Charles V the old standard English biography by William
Robertson, still readable, has now been largely superseded by that of
Edward Armstrong, 2 vols. (1902); two important German works on Charles
V are Baumgarten, _Geschichte Karls V_, 3 vols. (1885-1892), and Konrad
Häbler, _Geschichte Spaniens unter den Habsburgen_, Vol. I (1907). Of
Philip II the best brief biography in English is Martin Hume's (1902),
which should be consulted, if possible, in connection with Charles
Bratli, _Philippe II, Roi d'Espagne: Etude sur sa vie et son
caractère_, new ed. (1912), an attempt to counteract traditional
Protestant bias against the Spanish monarch. Also see M. A. S. Hume,
_Spain, its Greatness and Decay, 1479-1788_ (1898), ch. i-vi, for a
general account of the reigns of Philip II and Philip III; and Paul
Herre, _Papstium und Papstwahl im Zeitalter Philipps II_ (1907) for a
sympathetic treatment of Philip's relations with the papacy. For a
proper understanding of sixteenth-century politics the student should
read that all-important book, Machiavelli's _Prince_, the most
convenient English edition of which is in "Everyman's Library." For
political events in the Germanies in the sixteenth century: E. F.
Henderson, _A Short History of Germany_, 2 vols. in 1 (1902); Sidney
Whitman, _Austria_ (1899); Gustav Welf, _Deutsche Geschichte im
Zeitalter der Gegenreformation_ (1899), an elaborate study; Franz
Krones, _Handbuch der Geschichte Oesterreichs von der ältesten Zeit_,
Vol. III (1877), Book XIII.

FRANCE IN THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY. A. J. Grant, _The French Monarchy,
1483-1789_ (1900), Vol. I, ch. iii-v; G. W. Kitchin, _A History of
France,_ 4th ed. (1894-1899), Vol. II, Book II, ch. iv-v, and Book III;
_Cambridge Modern History_, Vol. III (1905), ch. i; Ernest Lavisse
(editor), _Histoire de France_, Vol. V (1903), Books III, IV, VII,
VIII, and Vol. VI (1904), Books I-III, the most thorough and best
treatment; Edward Armstrong, _The French Wars of Religion_ (1892); J.
W. Thompson, _The Wars of Religion in France: the Huguenots, Catherine
de Medici and Philip II of Spain_, 1559-1576 (1909), containing several
suggestions on the economic conditions of the time; A. W. Whitehead,
_Gaspard de Coligny, Admiral of France_ (1904); C. C. Jackson, _The
Last of the Valois_, 2 vols. (1888), and, by the same author, _The
First of the Bourbons_, 2 vols. (1890); Lucien Romier, _Les origines
politiques des Guerres de Religion_, Vol. I, _Henri II et l'Italie,
1547-1555_ (1913), scholarly and authoritative, stressing economic
rather than political aspects; Louis Batiffol, _The Century of the
Renaissance in France_, Eng. trans. by Elsie F. Buckley (1916),
covering the years 1483-1610, largely political.

ENGLAND IN THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY. Brief accounts: A. L. Cross, _History
of England and Greater Britain_ (1914), ch. xix-xxvi; E. P. Cheyney, _A
Short History of England_ (1904), ch. xii, xiii; _Cambridge Modern
History,_ Vol. III (1905), ch. viii-xi; J. F. Bright, _History of
England_, 5 vols. (1884-1904), Vol. II, _Personal Monarchy, 1485-1688_
(in part); A. D. Innes, _History of England and the British Empire_, 4
vols, (1914), Vol. II, ch. iii-viii; J. R. Seeley, _Growth of British
Policy_, 2 vols. (1895), a brilliant work, of which Vol. I, Part I,
affords an able account of the policy of Elizabeth. More detailed
studies: J. S. Brewer, _The Reign of Henry VIII from his Accession to
the Death of Wolsey_, 2 vols. (1884); H. A. L. Fisher, _Political
History of England, 1485-1547_ (1906), ch. vi-xviii; A. F. Pollard,
_History of England from the Accession of Edward VI to the Death of
Elizabeth_ (1910); J. A. Froude, _History of England from the Fall of
Wolsey to the Defeat of the Spanish Armada_, 12 vols. (1870-1872), a
masterpiece of prose-style but strongly biased in favor of Henry VIII
and against anything connected with the Roman Church; E. P. Cheyney, _A
History of England from the Defeat of the Armada to the Death of
Elizabeth_, Vol. I (1914), scholarly and well-written. Also see Andrew
Lang, _A History of Scotland_, 2d ed. (1901-1907), Vols. I and II; and
P. H. Brown, _History of Scotland_ (1899-1900), Vols. I and II.
Important biographies: A. F. Pollard, _Henry VIII_ (1905), the result
of much research and distinctly favorable to Henry; E. L. Taunton,
_Thomas Wolsey, Legate and Reformer_ (1902), the careful estimate of a
Catholic scholar; Mandell Creighton, _Cardinal Wolsey_ (1888), a good
clear account, rather favorable to the cardinal; J. M. Stone, _Mary the
First, Queen of England_ (1901), a sympathetic biography of Mary Tudor;
Mandell Creighton, _Queen Elizabeth_ (1909), the best biography of the
Virgin Queen; E. S. Beesly, _Queen Elizabeth_ (1892), another good
biography. For Mary, Queen of Scots, see the histories of Scotland
mentioned above and also Andrew Lang, _The Mystery of Mary Stuart_
(1901); P. H. Brown, _Scotland in the Time of Queen Mary_ (1904); and
R. S. Rait, _Mary Queen of Scots_, 2d ed. (1899), containing important
source-material concerning Mary. Walter Walsh, _The Jesuits in Great
Britain_ (1903), emphasizes their political opposition to Elizabeth.
Martin Hume, _Two English Queens and Philip_ (1908), valuable for the
English relations of Philip II. For English maritime development see
David Hannay, _A Short History of the English Navy_ (1898); J. S.
Corbett, _Drake and the Tudor Navy_, 2 vols. (1898), and, by the same
author, _The Successors of Drake_ (1900); J. A. Froude, _English Seamen
in the Sixteenth Century_ (1895).

of George Edmundson in the _Cambridge Modern History_, Vol. III
(1905), ch. vi, vii, and Vol. II (1904), ch. xix. For the Dutch
Netherlands the great standard work is now P. J. Blok, _History of
the People of the Netherlands_, trans. in large part by O. A.
Bierstadt, and for the Belgian Netherlands a corresponding function is
performed in French by Henri Pirenne. J. L. Motley, _Rise of the
Dutch Republic_, 3 vols. (many editions), is brilliantly written and
still famous, but it is based on an inadequate study of the sources and
is marred throughout by bitter prejudice against the Spaniards and in
favor of the Protestant Dutch: it is now completely superseded by the
works of Blok and Pirenne. Admirable accounts of William the Silent are
the two-volume biography by Ruth Putnam and the volume by the same
author in the "Heroes of the Nations" Series (1911); the most detailed
study is the German work of Felix Rachfahl.

Vol. III (1905), ch. iv; A. H. Lybyer, _The Government of the Ottoman
Empire in the Time of Suleiman the Magnificent_ (1913); Stanley
Lane-Poole, _Turkey_ (1889) in the "Story of the Nations" Series;
Nicolae Jorga, _Geschichte des osmanischen Reiches_; Leopold von
Ranke, _Die Osmanen und die spanische Monarchie im sechzehnten und
siebzehnten Jahrhundert_; Joseph von Hammer, _Geschichte des
osmanischen Reiches_, 2d ed., 4 vols. (1834-1835), Vol. II, a famous
German work, which has been translated into French.




[Sidenote: Differences between Religious Bodies in 1500 and Those in

Four hundred years ago, practically all people who lived in central or
western Europe called themselves "Christians" and in common recognized
allegiance to an ecclesiastical body which was called the "Catholic
Church." This Catholic Church in 1500 differed from any present-day
religious society in the following respects: (1) Every child was born
into the Church as now he is born into the state; every person was
expected to conform, at least outwardly, to the doctrines and practices
of the Church; in other words the Catholic Church claimed a universal
membership. (2) The Church was not supported by voluntary contributions
as now, but by compulsory taxes; every person was compelled to assist
in defraying the expenses of the official religion. (3) The state
undertook to enforce obedience on the part of its subjects to the
Church; a person attacking the authority of the Catholic Church would
be liable to punishment by the state, and this held true in England and
Germany as well as in Spain or Italy.

[Sidenote: Rise of Protestantism]

Then, within fifty years, between 1520 and 1570, a large number of
Catholic Christians, particularly in Germany, Scandinavia, Scotland,
and England, and a smaller number in the Low Countries and in France,
broke off communion with the ancient Church and became known as
Protestants. Before the year 1500 there were no Protestants; since the
sixteenth century, the dominant Christianity of western and central
Europe has been divided into two parts--Catholic and Protestant. It is
important that we should know something of the origin and significance
of this division, because the Christian religion and the Christian
Church had long played very great roles in the evolution of European
civilization and because ecclesiastical and religious questions have
continued, since the division, to deserve general attention.

[Sidenote: "Catholic" Christianity]

Let us understand clearly what was meant in the year 1500 by the
expression "Catholic Christianity." It embraced a belief in certain
religious precepts which it was believed Jesus of Nazareth had taught
at the beginning of the Christian era, the inculcation of certain moral
teachings which were likewise derived from Jesus, and a definite
organization--the Church--founded, it was assumed, by Jesus in order to
teach and practice, till the end of time, His religious and moral
doctrines. By means of the Church, man would know best how to order his
life in this world and how to prepare his soul for everlasting
happiness in the world to come.

[Sidenote: The Catholic Church]

The Catholic Church was, therefore, a vast human society, believed to
be of divine foundation and sanction, and with a mission greater and
more lofty than that of any other organization. Church and state had
each its own sphere, but the Church had insisted for centuries that it
was greater and more necessary than the state. The members of the
Church were the sum-total of Christian believers who had been baptized
--practically the population of western and central Europe--and its
officers constituted a regular governing hierarchy.

[Sidenote: Head of the Church]

At the head of the hierarchy was the bishop of Rome, styled the pope or
sovereign pontiff, who from the first had probably enjoyed a leading
position in the Church as the successor of St. Peter, prince of the
apostles, and whose claims to be the divinely appointed chief bishop
had been generally recognized throughout western Europe as early as the
third century--perhaps earlier. The bishop of Rome was elected for life
by a group of clergymen, called cardinals, who originally had been in
direct charge of the parish churches in the city of Rome, but who later
were frequently selected by the pope from various countries because
they were distinguished churchmen. The pope chose the cardinals; the
cardinals elected the pope. Part of the cardinals resided in Rome, and
in conjunction with a host of clerks, translators, lawyers, and special
officials, constituted the _Curia_, or papal court, for the
conduct of general church business.

[Sidenote: Local Administration of the Church]
[Sidenote: Secular Clergy]

For the local administration of church affairs, the Catholic world was
divided under the pope into several territorial subdivisions, (1) The
patriarchates had been under patriarchs who had their sees [Footnote:
"See," so called from the Latin _sedes_, referring to their seat
or chair of office. Similarly our word "cathedral" is derived from the
Latin _cathedra_, the official chair which the bishop occupies in
his own church.] in such ancient Christian centers as Rome. Jerusalem,
Alexandria, Antioch. and Constantinople. (2) The provinces were
divisions of the patriarchates and usually centered in the most
important cities, such as Milan, Florence, Cologne, Upsala, Lyons,
Seville, Lisbon, Canterbury, York; and the head of each was styled a
metropolitan or archbishop. (3) The diocese--the most essential unit of
local administration--was a subdivision of the province, commonly a
city or a town, with a certain amount of surrounding country, under the
immediate supervision of a bishop. (4) Smaller divisions, particularly
parishes, were to be found in every diocese, embracing a village or a
section of a city, and each parish had its church building and its
priest. Thus the Catholic Church possessed a veritable army of
officials from pope and cardinals down through patriarchs, archbishops,
and bishops, to the parish priests and their assistants, the deacons.
This hierarchy, because it labored _in the world_ (_sæculo_),
was called the "secular clergy."

[Sidenote: "Regular" Clergy]

Another variety of clergy--the "regulars"--supplemented the work of the
seculars. The regulars were monks, [Footnote: The word "monk" is
applied, of course, only to men; women who followed similar rules are
commonly styled nuns.] that is, Christians who lived by a special
_rule_ (_regula_), who renounced the world, took vows of
chastity, poverty, and obedience, and strove to imitate the life of
Christ as literally as possible. The regular clergy were organized
under their own abbots, priors, provincials, or generals, being usually
exempt from secular jurisdiction, except that of the pope. The regulars
were the great missionaries of the Church, and many charitable and
educational institutions were in their hands. Among the various orders
of monks which had grown up in the course of time, the following should
be enumerated: (1) The monks who lived in fixed abodes, tilled the
soil, copied manuscripts, and conducted local schools. Most of the
monks of this kind followed a rule, or society by-laws, which had been
prepared by the celebrated St. Benedict about the year 525: they were
called therefore Benedictines. (2) The monks who organized crusades,
often bore arms themselves, and tended the holy places connected with
incidents in the life of Christ: such orders were the Knights Templars,
the Knights Hospitalers of St. John and of Malta, and the Teutonic
Knights who subsequently undertook the conversion of the Slavs. (3) The
monks who were called the begging friars or mendicants because they had
no fixed abode but wandered from place to place, preaching to the
common people and dependent for their own living upon alms. These
orders came into prominence in the thirteenth century and included,
among others, the Franciscan, whose lovable founder Saint Francis of
Assisi had urged humility and love of the poor as its distinguishing
characteristics, and the Dominican, or Order of the Preachers, devoted
by the precept of its practical founder, Saint Dominic, to missionary
zeal. All the mendicant orders, as well as the Benedictine monasteries,
became famous in the history of education, and the majority of the
distinguished scholars of the middle ages were monks. It was not
uncommon, moreover, for regulars to enter the secular hierarchy and
thus become parish priests or bishops, or even popes.

[Sidenote: Church Councils]
[Sidenote: Conciliar Movement]

The clergy--bishops, priests, and deacons--constituted, in popular
belief, the divinely ordained administration of the Catholic Church.
The legislative authority in the Church similarly was vested in the
pope and in the general councils, neither of which, however, could set
aside a law of God, as affirmed in the gospels, or establish a doctrine
at variance with the tradition of the early Christian writers. The
general councils were assemblies of prelates of the Catholic world, and
there had been considerable discussion as to the relative authority of
their decrees and the decisions and directions of the pope. [Footnote:
Papal documents have been called by various names, such as decretals,
bulls, or encyclicals.] General church councils held in eastern Europe
from the fourth to the ninth centuries had issued important decrees or
canons defining Christian dogmas and establishing ecclesiastical
discipline, which had been subsequently ratified and promulgated by the
pope as by other bishops and by the emperors; and several councils had
been held in western Europe from the twelfth to the fourteenth
centuries under the direct supervision of the bishop of Rome, all the
canons of which had been enacted in accordance with his wishes. But
early in the fifteenth century a movement was inaugurated by certain
Catholic bishops and scholars in favor of making the councils superior
to the pope and a regular source of supreme legislation for the Church.
In this way, the councils of Constance (1414-1418) and Basel (1431 ff.)
had endeavored to introduce representative, if not democratic,
government into the Church. The popes, however, objected to this
conciliar movement and managed to have it condemned by the Council of
Ferrara-Florence (1438-1442). By the year 1512 the papal theory had
triumphed and Catholics generally recognized again that the government
of the Church was essentially monarchical. The laws of the Catholic
Church were known as canons, and, of several codes of canon law which
had been prepared, that of a monk named Gratian, compiled in the
twelfth century, was the most widely used.

[Sidenote: The Pope and his Powers]

We are now in a position to summarize the claims and prerogatives of
the bishop of Rome or pope. (1) He was the supreme lawgiver. He could
issue decrees of his own, which might not be set aside by any other
person. No council might enact canons without his approval. From any
law, other than divine, he might dispense persons. (2) He was the
supreme judge in Christendom. He claimed that appeals might be taken
from decisions in foreign courts to his own Curia, as court of last
resort. He himself frequently acted as arbitrator, as, for example, in
the famous dispute between Spain and Portugal concerning the boundaries
of their newly discovered possessions. (3) He was the supreme
administrator. He claimed the right to supervise the general business
of the whole Church. No archbishop might perform the functions of his
office until he received his insignia--the pallium--from the pope. No
bishop might be canonically installed until his election had been
confirmed by the pope. The pope claimed the right to transfer a bishop
from one diocese to another and to settle all disputed elections. He
exercised immediate control over the regular clergy--the monks and
nuns. He sent ambassadors, styled legates, to represent him at the
various royal courts and to see that his instructions were obeyed. (4)
He insisted upon certain temporal rights, as distinct from his directly
religious prerogatives. He crowned the Holy Roman Emperor. He might
depose an emperor or king and release a ruler's subjects from their
oath of allegiance. He might declare null and void, and forbid the
people to obey, a law of any state, if he thought it was injurious to
the interests of the Church. He was temporal ruler of the city of Rome
and the surrounding papal states, and over those territories he
exercised a power similar to that of any duke or king. (5) He claimed
financial powers. In order to defray the enormous expenses of his
government, he charged fees for certain services at Rome, assessed the
dioceses throughout the Catholic world, and levied a small tax--Peter's
Pence--upon all Christian householders.

[Sidenote: Purpose of the Church]

So far we have concerned ourselves with the organization of the
Catholic Church--its membership, its officers, the clergy, secular and
regular, all culminating in the pope, the bishop of Rome. But why did
this great institution exist? Why was it loved, venerated, and well
served? The purpose of the Church, according to its own teaching, was
to follow the instructions of its Divine Master, Jesus Christ, in
saving souls. Only the Church might interpret those instructions; the
Church alone might apply the means of salvation; outside the Church no
one could be saved. [Footnote: Catholic theologians have recognized,
however, the possibility of salvation of persons outside the visible
Church. Thus, the catechism of Pope Pius X says: "Whoever, without any
fault of his own, and in good faith, being outside the Church, happens
to have been baptized or to have at least an implicit desire for
baptism, and, furthermore, has been sincere in seeking to find the
truth, and has done his best to do the will of God, such an one,
although separated from the body of the Church, would still belong to
her soul, and therefore be in the way of salvation."] The salvation of
souls for eternity was thus the supreme business of the Church.

[Sidenote: Theology]

This salvation of souls involved a theology and a sacramental system,
which we shall proceed to explain. Theology was the study of God. It
sought to explain how and why man was created, what were his actual and
desirable relations with God, what would be the fate of man in a future
life. The most famous theologians of the Catholic Church, for example,
St. Thomas Aquinas (d. 1274), studied carefully the teachings of
Christ, the Bible, the early Christian writings, and the decrees of
popes and councils, and drew therefrom elaborate explanations of
Christian theology--the dogmas and faith of the Catholic Church.

[Sidenote: The Sacramental System]

The very center of Catholic theology was the sacramental system, for
that was the means, and essentially the only means, of saving souls. It
was, therefore, for the purpose of the sacramental system that the
Church and its hierarchy existed. The sacraments were believed to have
been instituted by Christ Himself, and were defined as "outward signs
instituted by Christ to give grace." The number generally accepted was
seven: baptism, confirmation, holy eucharist, penance, extreme unction,
holy orders, and matrimony. By means of the sacraments the Church
accompanied the faithful throughout life. Baptism, the pouring of
water, cleansed the child from original sin and from all previous
actual sins, and made him a Christian, a child of God, and an heir of
heaven. The priest was the ordinary minister of baptism, but in case of
necessity any one who had the use of reason might baptize.
Confirmation, conferred usually by a bishop upon young persons by the
laying on of hands and the anointing with oil, gave them the Holy Ghost
to render them strong and perfect Christians and soldiers of Jesus
Christ. Penance, one of the most important sacraments, was intended to
forgive sins committed after baptism. To receive the sacrament of
penance worthily it was necessary for the penitent (1) to examine his
conscience, (2) to have sorrow for his sins, (3) to make a firm
resolution never more to offend God, (4) to confess his mortal sins
orally to a priest, (5) to receive absolution from the priest, (6) to
accept the particular penance--visitation of churches, saying of
certain prayers, or almsgiving--which the priest might enjoin. The holy
eucharist was the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, the consecration of
bread and wine by priest or bishop, its miraculous transformation
(transubstantiation) at his word into the very Body and Blood of
Christ, and its reception by the faithful. It was around the eucharist
that the elaborate ritual and ceremonies of the Mass developed, that
fine vestments and candles and incense and flowers were used, and that
magnificent cathedrals were erected. Extreme unction was the anointing
at the hands of a priest of the Christian who was in immediate danger
of death, and it was supposed to give health and strength to the soul
and sometimes to the body. By means of holy orders,--the special
imposition of hands on the part of a bishop,--priests, bishops, and
other ministers of the Church were ordained and received the power and
grace to perform their sacred duties. Matrimony was the sacrament, held
to be indissoluble by human power, by which man and woman were united
in lawful Christian marriage.

Of the seven sacraments it will be noticed that two--baptism and
penance--dealt with the forgiveness of sins, and that two--holy orders
and matrimony--were received only by certain persons. Three--baptism,
confirmation, and holy orders--could be received by a Christian only
once. Two--confirmation and holy orders--required the ministry of a
bishop; and all others, except baptism and possibly matrimony, required
the ministry of at least a priest. The priesthood was, therefore, the
absolutely indispensable agent of the Church in the administration of
the sacramental system. It was the priesthood that absolved penitents
from their sins, wrought the great daily miracle of transubstantiation,
and offered to God the holy sacrifice of the Mass.

[Sidenote: Various Objections to the Church]

It must not be supposed that either the theology or the organization of
the Catholic Church, as they existed in the year 1500, had been
precisely the same throughout the Christian era. While educated
Catholics insisted that Christ was indirectly the source of all faith
and all practice, they were quite willing to admit that external
changes and adaptations of institutions to varying conditions had taken
place. Moreover, it must not be supposed that the proud eminence to
which the Catholic Church had attained by 1500 in central and western
Europe had been won easily or at that time was readily maintained.
Throughout the whole course of Christian history there had been
repeated objections to new definitions of dogma--many positively
refused to accept the teaching of the Church as divine or infallible--
and there had been likewise a good deal of opposition to the temporal
claims of the Church, resulting in increasing friction between the
clergy and the lay rulers. Thus it often transpired that the kings who
vied with one another in recognizing the spiritual and religious
headship of the pope and in burning heretics who denied doctrines of
the Catholic Church, were the very kings who quarreled with the pope
concerning the latter's civil jurisdiction and directed harsh laws
against its exercise.

[Sidenote: Sources of Conflict between Church and State]

As strong national monarchies rose in western Europe, this friction
became more acute. On one side the royal power was determined to exalt
the state and to bring into subjection to it not only the nobles and
common people but the clergy as well; the national state must manage
absolutely every temporal affair. On the other side, the clergy stoutly
defended the special powers that they had long enjoyed in various
states and which they believed to be rightly theirs. There were
_four_ chief sources of conflict between the temporal and
spiritual jurisdictions, (1) Appointments of bishops, abbots, and other
high church officers. Inasmuch as these were usually foremost citizens
of their native kingdom, holding large estates and actually
participating in the conduct of government, the kings frequently
claimed the right to dictate their election. On the other hand the
popes insisted upon their rights in the matter and often "reserved" to
themselves the appointment to certain valuable bishoprics. (2) Taxation
of land and other property of the clergy. The clergy insisted that by
right they were exempt from taxation and that in practice they had not
been taxed since the first public recognition of Christianity in the
fourth century. The kings pointed out that the wealth of the clergy and
the needs of the state had increased along parallel lines, that the
clergy were citizens of the state and should pay a just share for its
maintenance. (3) Ecclesiastical courts. For several centuries the
Church had maintained its own courts for trying clerical offenders and
for hearing certain cases, which nowadays are heard in state courts--
probating of wills, the marriage relations, blasphemy, etc. From these
local church courts, the pope insisted that appeals might be taken to
the Roman Curia. On their side, the kings were resolved to substitute
royal justice for that of both feudal and ecclesiastical courts: they
diminished, therefore, the privileges of the local church courts and
forbade the taking of appeals to Rome. (4) How far might the pope, as
universally acknowledged head of the Church, interfere in the internal
affairs of particular states? While the pope claimed to be the sole
judge of his own rights and powers, several kings forbade the
publication of papal documents within their states or the reception of
papal legates unless the royal assent had been vouchsafed.

[Sidenote: Royal Restrictions on the Church]

Gradually the national monarchs secured at least a partial control over
episcopal appointments, and in both England and France papal
jurisdiction was seriously restricted in other ways. In England the
power of the ecclesiastical courts had been reduced (1164); no property
might be bestowed upon the Church without royal permission (1279); the
pope might not make provision in England for his personal appointees to
office (1351); and appeals to Rome had been forbidden (1392).
[Footnote: All these anti-papal enactments were very poorly enforced.]
In France the clergy had been taxed early in the fourteenth century,
and the papacy, which had condemned such action, had been humiliated by
a forced temporary removal from Rome to Avignon, where it was
controlled by French rulers for nearly seventy years (1309-1377); and
in 1438 the French king, Charles VII, in a document, styled the
Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges, solemnly proclaimed the "liberties of
the Gallican Church," that a general council was superior to the pope,
that the pope might not interfere in episcopal elections, that he might
not levy taxes on French dioceses. The Pragmatic Sanction was condemned
by the pope, but for three-quarters of a century after its issuance
there were strained relations between the Church in France and the
sovereign pontiff.

[Sidenote: Political Differences Distinct from Religious Differences]

Similar conflicts between spiritual and temporal jurisdictions were
common to all Christian states, but the national strength and the
patriotism of the western monarchies caused them to proceed further
than any other state in restricting the papal privileges. Despite the
conflict over temporal affairs, which at times was exceedingly bitter,
the kings and rulers of England and France never appear to have
seriously questioned the religious authority of the Church or the
spiritual supremacy of the pope. Religiously, the Catholic Church
seemed in 1500 to hold absolute sway over all central and western

[Sidenote: Religious Opposition to Catholicism]

Yet this very religious authority of the Catholic Church had been again
and again brought into question and repeatedly rejected. Originally, a
united Christianity had conquered western Asia, northern Africa, and
eastern Europe; by 1500 nearly all these wide regions were lost to
Catholic Christianity as that phrase was understood in western Europe.
The loss was due to (1) the development of a great Christian schism,
and (2) the rise of a new religion--Mohammedanism.

[Sidenote: The Schism between the East and the West]

Eastern Europe had been lost through an ever-widening breach in
Christian practice from the fifth to the eleventh century. The Eastern
Church used the Greek language in its liturgy; that of the West used
the Latin language. The former remained more dependent upon the state;
the latter grew less dependent. Minor differences of doctrine appeared.
And the Eastern Christians thought the pope was usurping unwarrantable
prerogatives, while the Western Christians accused the Oriental
patriarchs of departing from their earlier loyalty to the pope and
destroying the unity of Christendom. Several attempts had been made to
reunite the Catholic Church of the West and the Orthodox Church of the
East, but with slight success. In 1500, the Christians of Greece, the
Balkan peninsula, and Russia were thought to be outside the Catholic
Church and were defined, therefore, by the pope as schismatics.

[Sidenote: Mohammedanism]

Far more numerous and dangerous to Catholic Christianity than the
schismatic Easterners were the Mohammedans. Mohammed himself had lived
in Arabia in the early part the seventh century and had taught that he
was the inspired prophet of the one true God. In a celebrated book,--
the Koran,--which was compiled from the sayings of the prophet, are to
be found the precepts and commandments of the Mohammedan religion.
Mohammedanism spread rapidly: within a hundred years of its founder's
death it had conquered western Asia and northern Africa and had gained
a temporary foothold in Spain; thenceforth it stretched eastward across
Persia and Turkestan into India and southward into central Africa; and
in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, as we have seen, it
possessed itself of Constantinople, the Balkans, Greece, and part of
Hungary, and threatened Christendom in the Germanies and in the

[Sidenote: Western Heresies]

Even in western Europe, the Catholic Church had had to encounter
spasmodic opposition from "heretics," as those persons were called who,
although baptized as Christians, refused to accept all the dogmas of
Catholic Christianity. Such were the Arian Christians, who in early
times had been condemned for rejecting the doctrine of the divinity of
Christ, and who had eventually been won back to Catholicism only with
the greatest efforts. Then in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries the
Albigensian heretics in southern France had assailed the sacramental
system and the organization of the Church and had been suppressed only
by armed force. In the fourteenth century, John Wycliffe appeared in
England and John Hus in Bohemia, both preaching that the individual
Christian needs no priestly mediation between himself and God and that
the very sacraments of the Church, however desirable, are not
essentially necessary to salvation. The Lollards, as Wycliffe's English
followers were called, were speedily extirpated by fire and sword,
through the stern orthodoxy of an English king, but the Hussites long
defied the pope and survivals of their heresy were to be found in 1500.

[Sidenote: Skeptics]

In addition to these heretics and the Jews, [Footnote: For detailed
accounts of the Jews during the middle ages as well as in modern times,
see the _Jewish Encyclopædia_, ed. by Isidore Singer, 12 vols.
(1901-1906).] many so-called skeptics no doubt existed. These were
people who outwardly conformed to Catholicism but inwardly doubted and
even scoffed at the very foundations of Christianity. They were
essentially irreligious, but they seem to have suffered less from
persecution than the heretics. Many of the Italian humanists,
concerning whom we shall later say a word, [Footnote: See below] were
in the fifteenth century more or less avowed skeptics.


[Sidenote: A Religious and Political Movement]

We have seen in the preceding pages that prior to 1500 there had been
many conflicts between kings and popes concerning their respective
temporal rights and likewise there had been serious doubts in the minds
of various people as to the authority and teachings of the Catholic
Church. But these two facts--political and religious--had never been
united in a general revolt against the Church until the sixteenth
century. Then it was that Christians of Germany, Scandinavia, Scotland,
and England, even of the Low Countries and France, successfully
revolted against the papal monarchy and set up establishments of their
own, usually under the protection of their lay rulers, which became
known as the Protestant churches. The movement is called, therefore,
the Protestant Revolt. It was begun and practically completed between
1520 and 1570.

[Sidenote: Political Causes of Protestant Revolt]

In explaining this remarkable and sudden break with the religious and
ecclesiastical development of a thousand years, it is well to bear in
mind that its causes were at once political, economic, and religious.
Politically, it was merely an accentuation of the conflict which had
long been increasing in virulence between the spiritual and temporal
authorities. It cannot be stated too emphatically that the Catholic
Church during many centuries prior to the sixteenth had been not only a
religious body, like a present-day church, but also a vast political
power which readily found sources of friction with other political
institutions. The Catholic Church, as we have seen, had its own
elaborate organization in every country of western and central Europe;
and its officials--pope, bishops, priests, and monks--denied allegiance
to the secular government; the Church owned many valuable lands and
estates, which normally were exempt from taxation and virtually outside
the jurisdiction of the lay government; the Church had its own
independent and compulsory income, and its own courts to try its own
officers and certain kinds of cases for every one. Such political
jurisdiction of the Church had been quite needful and satisfactory in
the period--from the fifth to the twelfth century, let us say--when the
secular governments were weak and the Church found itself the chief
unifying force in Christendom, the veritable heir to the universal
dominion of the ancient Roman Empire.

But gradually the temporal rulers themselves repressed feudalism.
Political ambition increased in laymen, and local pride was exalted
into patriotism. By the year 1200 was begun the growth of that notable
idea of national monarchy, the general outline of which we sketched in
the opening chapter. We there indicated that at the commencement of the
sixteenth century, England, France, Spain, and Portugal had become
strong states, with well-organized lay governments under powerful
kings, with patriotic populations, and with well-developed, distinctive
languages and literatures. The one thing that seemed to be needed to
complete this national sovereignty was to bring the Church entirely
under royal control. The autocratic sovereigns desired to enlist the
wealth and influence of the Church in their behalf; they coveted her
lands, her taxes, and her courts. Although Italy, the Netherlands, and
the Germanies were not yet developed as strong united monarchies, many
of their patriotic leaders longed for such a development, worked for
it, and believed that the principal obstacle to it was the great
Christian Church with the pope at its head. Viewed from the political
standpoint, the Protestant Revolt was caused by the rise of national
feeling, which found itself in natural conflict with the older
cosmopolitan or catholic idea of the Church. It was nationalism
_versus_ Catholicism.

[Sidenote: Economic Causes of Protestant Revolt]

Economically, the causes of the Protestant Revolt were twofold. In the
first place, the Catholic Church had grown so wealthy that many people,
particularly kings and princes, coveted her possessions. In the second
place, financial abuses in ecclesiastical administration bore heavily
upon the common people and created serious scandal. Let us say a word
about each one of these difficulties.

At the opening of the sixteenth century, many bishops and abbots in
wealth and power were not unlike great lay lords: they held vast fair
dominions--in the Germanics a third of the whole country, in France a
fifth, etc.--and they were attended by armies of retainers. Most of
them were sons of noblemen who had had them consecrated bishops so as
to insure them fine positions. Even the monks, who now often lived in
rich monasteries as though they had never taken vows of poverty, were
sometimes of noble birth and quite worldly in their lives. The large
estates and vast revenues of Catholic ecclesiastics were thus at first
the lure and then the prey of their royal and princely neighbors. The
latter grew quite willing to utilize any favorable opportunity which
might enable them to confiscate church property and add it to their own
possessions. Later such confiscation was euphemistically styled

On the other hand, many plain people, such as peasants and artisans,
begrudged the numerous and burdensome ecclesiastical taxes, and an
increasing number felt that they were not getting the worth of their
money. There was universal complaint, particularly in the Germanies,
that the people were exploited by the Roman Curia. Each ecclesiastic,
be he bishop, abbot, or priest, had right to a benefice, that is, to
the revenue of a parcel of land attached to his post. When he took
possession of a benefice, he paid the pope a special assessment, called
the "annate," amounting to a year's income--which of course came from
the peasants living on the land. The pope likewise "reserved" to
himself the right of naming the holders of certain benefices: these he
gave preferably to Italians who drew the revenues but remained in their
own country; the people thus supported foreign prelates in luxury and
sometimes paid a second time in order to maintain resident
ecclesiastics. The archbishops paid enormous sums to the pope for their
badges of office (_pallia_). Fat fees for dispensations or for
court trials found their way across the Alps. And the bulk of the
burden ultimately rested upon the backs of the people. At least in the
Germanics the idea became very prevalent that the pope and Curia were
really robbing honest German Christians for the benefit of scandalously
immoral Italians.

There were certainly grave financial abuses in church government in the
fifteenth century and in the early part of the sixteenth. A project of
German reform, drawn up in 1438, had declared: "It is a shame which
cries to heaven, this oppression of tithes, dues, penalties,
excommunication, and tolls of the peasant, on whose labor all men
depend for their existence." An "apocalyptic pamphlet of 1508 shows on
its cover the Church upside down, with the peasant performing the
services, while the priest guides the plow outside and a monk drives
the horses." It was, in fact, in the Germanics that all the social
classes--princes, burghers, knights, and peasants--had special economic
grievances against the Church, and in many places were ready to combine
in rejecting papal claims.

This emphasis upon the political and particularly upon the economic
causes need not belittle the strictly religious factor in the movement.
The success of the revolt was due to the fact that many kings, nobles,
and commoners, for financial and political advantages to themselves,
became the valuable allies of real religious reformers. It required
dogmatic differences as well as social grievances to destroy the
dominion of the Church.

[Sidenote: Abuses in the Catholic Church]

Nearly all thoughtful men in the sixteenth century recognized the
existence of abuses in the Catholic Church. The scandals connected with
the papal court at Rome were notorious at the opening of the century.
Several of the the popes lived grossly immoral lives. Simony (the sale
of church offices for money) and nepotism (favoritism shown by a pope
to his relatives) were not rare. The most lucrative ecclesiastical
positions throughout Europe were frequently conferred upon Italians who
seldom discharged their duties. One person might be made bishop of
several foreign dioceses and yet continue to reside in Rome. Leo X, who
was pope when the Protestant Revolt began, and son of Lorenzo de'
Medici, surnamed the Magnificent, had been ordained to the priesthood
at the age of seven, named cardinal when he was thirteen, and speedily
loaded with a multitude of rich benefices and preferments; this same
pope, by his munificence and extravagance, was forced to resort to the
most questionable means for raising money: he created many new offices
and shamelessly sold them; he increased the revenue from indulgences,
jubilees, and regular taxation; he pawned palace furniture, table
plate, pontifical jewels, even statues of the apostles; several banking
firms and many individual creditors were ruined by his death.

[Sidenote: Attacks on Immorality of Clergymen]

What immorality and worldliness prevailed at Rome was reflected in the
lives of many lesser churchmen. To one of the popes of the fifteenth
century, a distinguished cardinal represented the disorders of the
clergy, especially in the Germanics. "These disorders," he said,
"excite the hatred of the people against all ecclesiastical order; if
it is not corrected, it is to be feared that the laity, following the
example of the Hussites, will attack the clergy as they now openly
menace us with doing." If the clergy of Germany were not reformed
promptly, he predicted that after the Bohemian heresy was crushed
another would speedily arise far more dangerous. "For they will say,"
he continued, "that the clergy is incorrigible and is willing to apply
no remedy to its disorders. They will attack us when they no longer
have any hope of our correction. Men's minds are waiting for what shall
be done; it seems as if shortly something tragic will be brought forth.
The venom which they have against us is becoming evident; soon they
will believe they are making a sacrifice agreeable to God by
maltreating or despoiling the ecclesiastics as people odious to God and
man and immersed to the utmost in evil. The little reverence still
remaining for the sacred order will be destroyed. Responsibility for
all these disorders will be charged upon the Roman Curia, which will be
regarded as the cause of all these evils because it has neglected to
apply the necessary remedy." To many other thoughtful persons, a moral
reformation in the head and members of the Church seemed vitally

Complaints against the evil lives of the clergy as well as against
their ignorance and credulity were echoed by most of the great scholars
and humanists of the time. The patriotic knight and vagabond scholar,
Ulrich von Hutten (1488-1523), contributed to a clever series of
satirical "Letters of Obscure Men," which were read widely, and which
poked fun at the lack of learning among the monks and the ease with
which the papal court emptied German pockets.

[Sidenote: Ulrich von Hutten and Erasmus]

Then, too, the great Erasmus (1466-1536) employed all his wit and
sarcasm, in his celebrated "Praise of Folly," against the theologians
and monks, complaining that the foolish people thought that religion
consisted simply in pilgrimages, the invocation of saints, and the
veneration of relics. Erasmus would have suppressed the monasteries,
put an end to the domination of the clergy, and swept away scandalous
abuses. He wanted Christianity to regain its early spiritual force, and
largely for that purpose he published in 1516 the Greek text of the New
Testament with a new Latin translation and with notes which mercilessly
flayed hair-splitting theologians.

Thus throughout the fifteenth century and the early part of the
sixteenth, much was heard from scholars, princes, and people, of the
need for "reformation" of the Church. That did not signify a change of
the old regulations but rather their restoration and enforcement. For a
long time it was not a question of abolishing the authority of the
pope, or altering ecclesiastical organization, or changing creeds. It
was merely a question of reforming the lives of the clergy and of
suppressing the means by which Italians drew money from other nations.

[Sidenote: Religious Causes of Protestant Revolt]

In the sixteenth century, however, a group of religious leaders, such
as Luther, Cranmer, Zwingli, Calvin, and Knox, went much further than
Erasmus and the majority of the humanists had gone: they applied the
word "reformation" not only to a reform in morals but to an open break
which they made with the government and doctrines of the Catholic
Church. The new theology, which these reformers championed, was derived
mainly from the teachings of such heretics as Wycliffe and Hus and was
supposed to depend directly upon the Bible rather than upon the Church.
The religious causes of the Protestant Revolt accordingly may be summed
up as: first, the existence of abuses within the Catholic Church;
second, the attacks of distinguished men upon the immorality and
worldliness of the Catholic clergy; and third, the substitution by
certain religious leaders of new doctrines and practices, which were
presumed to have been authorized by the Bible, but which were at
variance with those of the medieval Church.

[Sidenote: Date and Extent of the Protestant Revolt]

For the great variety of reasons, which we have now indicated,--
political, economic, and religious,--the peoples of northern Germany,
Scandinavia, the Dutch Netherlands, most of Switzerland, Scotland,
England, and a part of France and of Hungary, separated themselves,
between the years 1520 and 1570, from the great religious and political
body which had been known historically for over a thousand years as the
Catholic Christian Church. The name "Protestant" was first applied
exclusively to those followers of Martin Luther in the Holy Roman
Empire who in 1529 protested against an attempt of the Diet of Speyer
to prevent the introduction of religious novelties, but subsequently
the word passed into common parlance among historians and the general
reading public as betokening all Christians who rejected the papal
supremacy and who were not in communion with the Orthodox Church of
eastern Europe.

Of this Protestant Christianity three main forms appeared in the
sixteenth century--Lutheranism, Calvinism, and Anglicanism. Concerning
the origin and development of each one of these major forms, a brief
sketch must be given.


[Sidenote: Martin Luther]

Lutheranism takes its name from its great apostle, Martin Luther.
Luther was born in Eisleben in Germany in 1483 of a poor family whose
ancestors had been peasants. Martin early showed himself bold,
headstrong, willing to pit his own opinions against those of the world,
but yet possessing ability, tact, and a love of sound knowledge.
Educated at the university of Erfurt, where he became acquainted with
the humanistic movement, young Martin entered one of the mendicant
orders--the Augustinian--in 1505 and went to live in a monastery. In
1508 Luther was sent with some other monks to Wittenberg to assist a
university which had been opened there recently by the elector of
Saxony, and a few years later was appointed professor of theology in
the institution.

[Sidenote: Justification by Faith]

While lecturing and preaching at Wittenberg, where he was very popular,
Luther developed from the writings of St. Paul and St. Augustine an
important doctrinal conviction which differed widely from the faith of
the Catholic Church. It concerned the means of eternal salvation. The
Church taught, as we have seen, that she possessed the sole means, and
that every Christian must perform certain "good works" in order to
secure salvation. Luther, on the other hand, became convinced that man
was incapable, in the sight of God, of any good works whatsoever, and
could be saved only by faith in God's promises. In other words, this
monk placed his doctrine of "justification by faith" in opposition to
the generally accepted belief in "justification by faith and works."

[Sidenote: Tetzel's "Sale" of Indulgences]

So far, Luther certainly had no thought of revolting against the
authority of the Church. In fact, when he visited Rome in 1511, it was
as a pious pilgrim rather than as a carping critic. But a significant
event in the year 1517 served to make clear a wide discrepancy between
what he was teaching and what the Church taught. That year a certain
papal agent, Tetzel by name, was disposing of indulgences in the great
archbishopric of Mainz. An indulgence, according to Catholic theology,
was a remission of the temporal punishment in purgatory due to sin, and
could be granted only by authority of the Church; the grant of
indulgences depended upon the contrition and confession of the
applicant, and often at that time upon money-payments. Against what he
believed was a corruption of Christian doctrine and a swindling of the
poorer people, Luther protested in a series of ninety-five Theses which
he posted on the church door in Wittenberg (31 October, 1517).

[Sidenote: The Ninety-five Theses]

The Theses had been written in Latin for the educated class but they
were now speedily translated into German and spread like wildfire among
all classes throughout the country. Luther's underlying principle of
"salvation through simple faith" was in sharp contrast with the theory
of "good works," on which the indulgences rested. "The Christian who
has true repentance," wrote Luther, "has already received pardon from
God altogether apart from an indulgence, and does not need one; Christ
demands this true repentance from every one." Luther's attitude
provoked spirited discussion throughout the Germanics, and the more
discussion, the more interest and excitement. The pope, who had
dismissed the subject at first as a mere squabble among the monks, was
moved at length to summon Luther to Rome to answer for the Theses, but
the elector of Saxony intervened and prevailed upon the pope not to
press the matter.

[Sidenote: Disputation at Leipzig, 1519]

The next important step in the development of Luther's religious ideas
was a debate on the general question of papal supremacy, held at
Leipzig in 1519, between himself and an eminent Catholic apologist,
Johann Eck. Eck skillfully forced Luther to admit that certain views of
his, especially those concerning man's direct relation with God,
without the mediation of the Church, were the same as those which John
Hus had held a century earlier and which had been condemned both by the
pope and by the great general council of Constance. Luther thereby
virtually admitted that a general council as well as a pope might err.
For him, the divine authority of the Roman Catholic Church ceased to

[Sidenote: Separation of Luther from the Catholic Church]

Separation from the traditional Church was the only course now open to
Luther and this was consummated in the year 1520. In a series of three
bold pamphlets, he vigorously and definitely attacked the position of
the Church. In the first--_An Address to the Nobility of the German
Nation_--Luther stated that there was nothing inherently sacred
about the Christian priesthood and that the clergy should be deprived
immediately of their special privileges; he urged the German princes to
free their country from foreign control and shrewdly called their
attention to the wealth and power of the Church which they might justly
appropriate to themselves. In the second--_On the Babylonian
Captivity of the Church of God_--he assailed the papacy and the
whole sacramental system. The third--_On the Freedom of a Christian
Man_--contained the essence of Luther's new theology that salvation
was not a painful _progress_ toward a goal by means of sacraments
and right conduct but a _condition_ "in which man found himself so
soon as he despaired absolutely of his own efforts and threw himself on
God's assurances"; the author claimed that man's utter personal
dependence on God's grace rendered the system of the Church

In the midst of these attacks upon the Church, the pope excommunicated
Luther, and in the following year (1521) influenced the Diet of the
Holy Roman Empire, assembled at Worms, to pronounce him an outlaw. But
the rebel calmly burnt the papal bull and from the imperial ban he was
protected by the elector of Saxony. He at once devoted himself to
making a new German translation of the Bible, which became very popular
and is still prized as a monument in the history of German literature.
[Footnote: The first edition of the Bible in German had been printed as
early as 1466. At least eighteen editions in German (including four Low
German versions) had appeared before Luther issued his German New
Testament in 1522.]

[Sidenote: Spread of Lutheranism]

Within the next few years the Lutheran teachings carried everything
before them throughout the northern and central Germanies. Nor are the
reasons for Luther's success in defying pope and emperor and for the
rapid acceptance of his new theology hard to understand. The movement
was essentially popular and national. It appealed to the pious-minded
who desired a simplification of Christian dogma and a comprehensible
method of salvation. It also appealed to the worldly minded who longed
to seize ecclesiastical lands and revenues. Above all, it appealed to
the patriots who were tired of foreign despotism and of abuses which
they traced directly to the Roman Curia. Then, too, the Emperor Charles
V, who remained a loyal Catholic, was too immersed in the difficulties
of foreign war and in the manifold administrative problems of his huge
dominions to be able to devote much time to the extirpation of heresy
in the Germanies. Finally, the character of Luther contributed to
effective leadership--he was tireless in flooding the country with
pamphlets, letters, and inflammatory diatribes, tactful in keeping his
party together, and always bold and courageous. Princes, burghers,
artisans, and peasants joined hands in espousing the new cause.

[Sidenote: Luther and the German Peasants]

But the peasants espoused it in a manner altogether too logical and too
violent to suit Luther or the desires of the princes. The German
peasants had grievances against the old order compared with which those
of the knights and towns-folk were imaginary. For at least a century
several causes had contributed to make their lot worse and worse. While
their taxes and other burdens were increasing, the ability of the
emperor to protect them was decreasing; they were plundered by every
class in the community, especially by the higher clergy. Thus, under
the influence of social and economic conditions, various uprisings of
the peasants had taken place during the latter part of the fifteenth
century. These insurrections became almost regular in the southwestern
Germanies, and were called _Bundschuhe_, a shoe fastened upon the
end of a pole serving as a standard of revolt. When Luther urged the
princes to assail the ecclesiastics, to seize church lands, and to put
an end to financial abuses, the peasants naturally listened to his
words with open ears and proceeded with glad hearts to apply his advice

The new Lutheran theology may have been too refined for the peasants,
but they imagined they understood its purport. And spurred on by
fanatics, whom the religious ferment of the times produced in large
numbers, [Footnote: Many of these radical religious leaders were more
consistent and thoroughgoing than Luther in maintaining the right of
each Christian to interpret the Scriptures for himself. Since they
generally refused to recognize infant baptism as valid and insisted
that baptism should be administered only to adults, they were
subsequently often referred to as "Anabaptists." Many of the
"Anabaptists" condemned oaths and capital punishment; some advocated
communism of worldly goods, in several instances even the community of
women. Nicholas Storch (d. 1525), a weaver, and Thomas Munzer (d.
1525), a Lutheran preacher, spread these doctrines widely among the
peasants. Luther vehemently denounced the "Anabaptists."] the peasants
again took arms against feudal oppression. That the peasants' demands
were essentially moderate and involved no more than is granted
everywhere to-day as a matter of course, may be inferred from their
declaration of principles, the Twelve Articles, among which were:
abolition of serfdom, free right of fishing and hunting, payment in
wages for services rendered, and abolition of arbitrary punishment. So
long as the peasants directed their efforts against the Catholic
ecclesiastics, Luther expressed sympathy with them, but when the
revolt, which broke out in 1524, became general all over central and
southern Germany and was directed not only against the Catholic clergy
but also against the lay lords,--many of whom were now Lutheran,--the
religious leader foresaw a grave danger to his new religion in a split
between peasants and nobles. Luther ended by taking strong sides with
the nobles--he had most to expect from them. He was shocked by the
excesses of the revolt, he said. Insisting upon toleration for his own
revolt, he condemned the peasants to most horrible fates in this world
and in the world hereafter. [Footnote: Although Luther was particularly
bitter against the "Anabaptist" exhorters, upon whom he fastened
responsibility for the Peasants' Revolt, and although many of them met
death thereby, the "Anabaptists" were by no means exterminated.
Largely through the activity of a certain Melchior Hofmann, a widely
traveled furrier, "Anabaptist" doctrines were disseminated in northern
Germany and the Netherlands. From 1533 to 1535 they reigned supreme,
attended by much bloodshed and plenty of personal license, in the
important city of Munster in western Germany. Subsequently, Carlstadt
(1480-1541), an early associate of Luther, though his later antagonist,
set forth Anabaptist views with greater moderation; and in course of
time the sect became more or less tinged with Calvinistic theology.] He
furiously begged the princes to put down the insurrection. "Whoever
can, should smite, strangle, or stab, secretly or publicly!"

[Sidenote: The Peasants' Revolt]

The Peasants' Revolt was crushed in 1525 with utmost cruelty. Probably
fifty thousand lost their lives in the vain effort. The general result
was that the power of the territorial lords became greater than ever,
although in a few cases, particularly in the Tyrol and in Baden, the
condition of the peasants was slightly improved. Elsewhere, however,
this was not the case; and the German peasants were assigned for over
two centuries to a lot worse than that of almost any people in Europe.
Another result was the decline of Luther's influence among the
peasantry in southern and central Germany. They turned rapidly from one
who, they believed, had betrayed them. On the other hand, many Catholic
princes, who had been wavering in their religious support, now had
before their eyes what they thought was an object lesson of the results
of Luther's appeal to revolution, and so they cast their lot decisively
with the ancient Church. The Peasants' Revolt registered a distinct
check to the further spread of Lutheranism.

[Sidenote: Diets of Speyer 1526, 1529]
[Sidenote: The Word "Protestant"]

The Diet of the Holy Roman Empire which assembled at Speyer in 1526 saw
the German princes divided into a Lutheran and a Roman Catholic party,
but left the legal status of the new faith still in doubt, contenting
itself with the vague declaration that "each prince should so conduct
himself as he could answer for his behavior to God and to the emperor."
But at the next Diet, held at the same place in 1529, the emperor
directed that the edict against heretics should be enforced and that
the old ecclesiastical revenues should not be appropriated for the new
worship. The Lutheran princes drafted a legal protest, in which they
declared that they meant to abide by the law of 1526. From this protest
came the name _Protestant_.

[Sidenote: Confession of Augsburg, 1530]

The next year, Luther's great friend, Melancthon, presented to the Diet
of Augsburg an account of the beliefs of the German reformers, which
later became known as the Confession of Augsburg and constitutes to the
present day the distinctive creed of the Lutheran Church. The emperor
was still unconvinced, however, of the truth or value of the reformed
doctrine, and declared his intention of ending the heresy by force of

[Sidenote: Religious Peace of Augsburg, 1555]

In this predicament, the Lutheran princes formed a league at Schmalkald
for mutual protection (1531); and from 1546 to 1555 a desultory civil
war was waged. The Protestants received some assistance from the French
king, who, for political reasons, was bent on humiliating the emperor.
The end of the religious conflict appeared to have been reached by the
peace of Augsburg (1555), which contained the following provisions: (1)
Each prince was to be free to dictate the religion of his subjects
[Footnote: _Cuius regio eius religio_.]; (2) All church property
appropriated by the Protestants before 1552 was to remain in their
hands; (3) No form of Protestantism except Lutheranism was to be
tolerated; (4) Lutheran subjects of ecclesiastical states were not to
be obliged to renounce their faith; (5) By an "ecclesiastical
reservation" any ecclesiastical prince on becoming a Protestant was to
give up his see.

[Sidenote: Lutheranism in the Germanies]

Thus, between 1520 and 1555, Martin Luther [Footnote: He died in 1546,
aged 62.] had preached his new theology at variance with the Catholic,
and had found general acceptance for it throughout the northern half of
the Germanies; its creed had been settled and defined in 1530, and its
official toleration had been recognized in 1555. The toleration was
limited, however, to princes, and for many years Lutheran rulers showed
themselves quite as intolerant within their own dominions as did the

[Sidenote: Lutheranism in Scandinavia]

The triumph of Lutheranism in the Scandinavian countries has been
traced largely to political and economic causes. When Martin Luther
broke with the Catholic Church, Christian II (1513-1523) was reigning
as elected king over Denmark and Norway and had recently conquered
Sweden by force of arms. The king encountered political difficulties
with the Church although he maintained Catholic worship and doctrine
and apparently recognized the spiritual supremacy of the pope. But
Christian II had trouble with most of his subjects, especially the
Swedes, who were conscious of separate nationality and desirous of
political independence; and the king eventually lost his throne in a
general uprising. The definite separation of Sweden from Denmark and
Norway followed immediately. The Swedes chose the celebrated Gustavus
Vasa (1523-1560) as their king, while the Danish and Norwegian crowns
passed to the uncle of Christian II, who assumed the title of Frederick
I (1523-1533).

[Sidenote: Denmark]

In Denmark, King Frederick was very desirous of increasing the royal
power, and the subservient ecclesiastical organization which Martin
Luther was advocating seemed to him for his purposes infinitely
preferable to the ancient self-willed Church. But Frederick realized
that the Catholic Church was deeply rooted in the affections of his
people and that changes would have to be effected slowly and
cautiously. He therefore collected around him Lutheran teachers from
Germany and made his court the center of the propaganda of the new
doctrine, and so well was the work of the new teachers done that the
king was able in 1527 to put the two religions on an equal footing
before the law. Upon Frederick's death in 1533, the Catholics made a

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