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Geneva and the Consolidation of the French Protestant Movement, 1564-1572 : a Contribution to the History of Congregationalism, Presbyterianism and Calvinist Resistance Theory

244 pages

Front-matter : Table of Abbreviations; Introduction; Chapter I : The Geneva Company of Pastors : Internal Developments, 1564-1572; Chapter II : The Geneva Company of Pastors : Its Mission to France, 1563-1572; Chapter III : Arguments over French Reformed Church Organization; A. The Institutional Background; B. The Internal Attack : Jean Morély and his Treatise on Christian Discipline; C. The Internal Quarrel : 1. First Reactions to Morély’s Proposal; 2. Morély in the Ile-de-France; 3. The Official Reply to Morély; 4. Morély at the Court of Navarre; 5. Ramus Enters the Quarrel; 6. The St. Bartholomew’s Massacres End the Quarrel; 7. Epilogue; D. The External Attack : Charles du Moulin; Chapter IV : Geneva and the French Wars of Religion, 1563-1572; A. The Peace of Amboise : 1. Immédiate Protestant Reactions; 2. Continuing Rumors of Sedition; B. {p. 8} The Renewal of War : Geneva and the Conspiracy of Meaux; C. Geneva’s Support For War : 1. Diplomatic Background; 2. The Second War of Religion; 3. The Third War of Religion; D. The Return of Peace; Conclusion; Back-matter : Appendixes; Annotated Bibliography; Index

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This book has been in the making since 1959. In the process I have received substantial help from many people and institutions. It would be difficult and laborious to acknowledge them all. But it would be indecent not to acknowledge some of them.

Most of the information upon which the book is based was gathered during the 1960-1961 academic year, which I spent in Europe as a Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies. My search for this information was enormously facilitated by M. Henri Naef of Geneva, and by the principal editors of the Beza correspondence, Professor Henri Meylan of Lausanne and M. Alain Dufour of Geneva. M. Naef and his family loaned to me for extended periods of time the voluminous notes which he had compiled some time ago for a projected book on the Morély quarrel. MM. Meylan and Dufour permitted me full use of the magnificent files of information gathered from all over Europe for the critical edition of the Beza correspondence, now housed in the Musée historique de la Réformation of Geneva. They have also both helped repeatedly in locating and evaluating pieces of evidence important for this study.

Most of the writing of this book was done during the 1965-1966 academic year, which I spent in Princeton, New Jersey, as a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study. It owes much to the serene surroundings, the fine facilities, and the stimulating company offered by that genial institution.

In locating the materials upon which this study is based, I was also assisted by many other people, most of them librarians and archivists, particularly in Geneva and Zurich, but also in many other places in Europe and in this country. Of these, I particularly want to mention MM. Gustave Vaucher and Louis Binz, of the Archives d’Etat de Genève, who repeatedly helped me to locate and read materials in their collections ; Mr. Frank Hanlin, of the University of Iowa Library, who located and recommended purchase of rare books of importance to this study ; M. Jean Rott, of the Bibliothèque nationale et universitaire de Strasbourg, who graciously supplied me with a transcript of an important unpublished letter he had recently helped to discover ; Mr. Jon C. Swan, then of Amsterdam, who obtained for me a photographie copy of another important unpublished letter ; the Rev. Dr. Geoffrey Nuttall, of London, and the Rev. Dr. Douglas Horton, of Randolph, New Hampshire, who both called to my attention evidences 6of the influences of the Morély quarrel in England and who both read that section of my final draft dealing with this connection.

In resolving some of the technical problems I encountered in this study, I was further assisted by yet other people, most of them scholars working on studies parallel to this. Of these, I particularly want to mention Mlle. E. Droz of Gy (Geneva), who helped me with some technical bibliographical problems ; Prof essor Jean-François Bergier of Geneva, my collaborator in the critical edition of the Registres de la Compagnie des Pasteurs de Genève au temps de Calvin, a project related at several points to this one ; Professor Natalie Z. Davis of the University of Toronto, who is working on the Reformation in Lyon ; Professor Nancy Roelker of Tufts University, who is working on the career of Jeanne d’Albret ; Professor E. William Monter of Northwestern University, who is working on the social history of Geneva.

In preparing the text of this book for publication, I was assisted by yet other people. Professor Felix Gilbert, of the Institute for Advanced Study, supplied a helpful critical reading of the greater part of the final draft of the book. Mr. William Lubenow, a research assistant provided to me by the University of Iowa, compiled much of the material constituting Appendix I, and helped in other ways. Mr. Malcolm Sylvers, a research assistant provided to me by the University of Wisconsin, helped me in reading proofs, compiling the index, and in yet other ways. And I was again assisted at this stage in my work by Professor Meylan, who agreed to check my transcription of the Latin letter which constitutes Appendix II, and by M. Dufour, who supplied a particularly careful and critical reading of the entire final draft of the book.

This book might have been a better one, if I had waited for even more help. Among the projects which I might have investigated, is a doctoral dissertation dealing with the Morély quarrel, which is now being prepared by Mr. Cari Weiner of Carleton College for submission to the University of Wisconsin, but which was begun years before I arrived here, which I have never seen, and about which I know very little. Another such project is an edition of Morély’s Traicté de la discipline & police chrestienne, announced for publication in 1967 by the Librairie Slatkine of Geneva.

Many other people have helped me in less tangible ways with this book. They include students and colleagues and friends in many places in many countries. I would like to mention one of them : the late Professor Garrett Mattingly, my mentor in graduate study at Columbia University. He encouraged me powerfully in the early stages of my work on this book. Unfortunately he did not live to see any substantial part of it. I hope it is not unworthy of his memory.


Robert M. Kingdon

Madison, Wisconsin, U.S.A.

February 1967



Front-matter : Table of Abbreviations 9


Chapter I : The Geneva Company of Pastors : Internal Developments, 1564-1572 17

Chapter II : The Geneva Company of Pastors : Its Mission to France, 1563-1572 30

Chapter III : Arguments over French Reformed Church Organization37

A. The Institutional Background 37

B. The Internal Attack : Jean Morély and his Treatise on Christian Discipline 43

C. The Internal Quarrel :

1. First Reactions to Morély’s Proposal 62

2. Morély in the Ile-de-France 67

3. The Official Reply to Morély 76

4. Morély at the Court of Navarre 82

5. Ramus Enters the Quarrel 96

6. The St. Bartholomew’s Massacres End the Quarrel 111

7. Epilogue 122

D. The External Attack : Charles du Moulin 138

Chapter IV : Geneva and the French Wars of Religion, 1563-1572 149

A. The Peace of Amboise :

1. Immédiate Protestant Reactions 149

2. Continuing Rumors of Sedition 157

B.8 The Renewal of War : Geneva and the Conspiracy of Meaux 162

C. Geneva’s Support For War :

1. Diplomatic Background 170

2. The Second War of Religion 177

3. The Third War of Religion 183

D. The Return of Peace 193


Back-matter : Appendixes, Annotated Bibliography 203


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D’Aumale, CondéDuc d’Aumale, Histoire des princes de Condé
J. Aymon, Synodes[Jean] Aymon, ed., Tous les synodes nationaux des églises réformées de France
Beza, Corr.Théodore de Bèze, Correspondance, ed., by Fernand Aubert, Henri Meylan, Alain Dufour, Arnaud Tripet
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C. Borgeaud, UniversitéCharles Borgeaud, Histoire de l’Université de Genève
A. Bouvier, BullingerAndré Bouvier, Henri Bullinger, le successeur de Zwingli
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BSHPFBulletin de la Société de l’histoire du protestantisme français
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Genève au temps de Bèze
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France protestante, 2nd ed.The same, revised by Henri Bordier (1877-1888)
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     – RCP     – Registres de la Compagnie des Pasteurs
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R. D. Linder, ViretRobert Dean Linder, The Political Ideas of Pierre Viret
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MDGMémoires et Documents publiés par la Société d’histoire et d’archéologie de Genève
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At sundown on Saturday, May 24, 1564, John Calvin died. His chief disciple, Theodore Beza, reported : " Thus, in the same moment, that day, the sun set and the greatest light which was in this world, for the direction of the Church of God, was withdrawn to Heaven. We can well say that with this single man it has pleased God in our time, to teach us the way both to live well and to die well."1