Pacification, Edicts of
Pacification, Edicts of a name given to certain edicts issued by sovereigns of France, intended, under special circumstances, to afford toleration to the Reformed Church of that country. The first edict of this kind was granted by Charles IX in 1562, tolerating the Reformed religion in the vicinity of all the cities and towns of the realm. March 19, 1563, the same king granted a second edict at Amboise, permitting the free exercise of Protestant worship in the houses of gentlemen and lords high-justiciaries (or those that had the power of life and death) to their families and dependents only, and allowing other Protestants to have their meetings in such towns as they had them in before March 7. Another, called the Edict of Longumeau, sanctioning the execution of that of Amboise, was published March 27,1568. Afraid of an insurrection of the Huguenots, Charles revoked these edicts in September, 1568, forbidding Protestantism, and commanding all its ministers to leave the kingdom in fifteen days. But on Aug. 8, 1570, he retracted, and published an edict on the hallowing the lords high-justiciaries to have sermons in their houses for all who chose to attend. He likewise gave them four towns, viz. Rochelle, Montauban, Cognac, and La Charite, as places of security for them during the space of two years. Nevertheless in August, 1572, he authorized the St. Bartholomew massacre, and at the same time issued a declaration forbidding the exercise of the Protestant religion, and thereby proved clearly that the successive edicts which he had granted the Protestants, instead of intending their relief, had simply sought to lull them into a false and deceitful security, in order to give time and opportunity to that cruel monarch for his preparation. of the massacre of St. Bartholomew (q.v.).
In April, 1576, Henry III made peace with the Protestants, and the edict of pacification was published in Parliament, May 14, permitting them to build churches. .But the faction of the Guises began the famous league for defence of the Catholic religion, which became so formidable that it obliged the king to assemble the states of the kingdom at Blois in December, 1576; where it was enacted that there, should be but one religion in France, and that the Protestant ministers should all be banished. In 1577 the king. to secure peace, published an edict in Parliament, Oct. 5, granting the same liberty to the Reformed which they had before. However, in July, 1585, the league obliged him to publish another edict, revoking all former grants, and ordering all Protestants to leave the kingdom in six months, or conform.
Henry IV, on his coronation, abolished, July 4, 1591, the edicts against the Protestants. This edict was verified in the Parliament of Chalons, but was never fully acted out. The most famous edict of pacification, however, was the Edict of Nantes, issued by Henry in 1598. It proved the most effectual measure of relief "which the French Protestants had ever enjoyed. By this edict of toleration they were allowed the free exercise of their religion, declared to be eligible to all public offices, and placed in all respects on a footing of equality with their Roman Catholic fellow-subjects. This edict was confirmed by Louis XIII in 1610, and by Louis XIV in 1652. But the latter in 1685. abolished it entirely. SEE HUGUENOTS; SEE NANTES, EDICT OF.