The Edict of Amboise: March 18, 1563
Hard-pressed as they were, France’s Protestant community often received concessions that Protestants in other countries did not . . . they were often given edicts, which, though rarely fair to the Huguenot community, were designed to prevent warfare and overt bloodshed. One such edict was the 1563 “Edict of Amboise.” The event that triggered it was a tragic one, or rather, two. Troubles began in March 1562 with the massacre of Vassy (see post of August 30th) and the subsequent War of Religion.
In a bold move, queen mother Catherine de’ Medici, acting on behalf of her underage son, bestowed lukewarm religious freedom upon the Huguenots in the hopes that doing so would restore peace. The Edict of Amboise was rather liberal for the day, as Protestant nobility had the liberty of practicing their faith in the comfort of their homes without being subject to outside inquiries. For the benefit of common people, only certain townships were designated as “Protestants welcome.” (On second thought, “welcome” is too generous a word for the 16th century. One ought to say “Protestants tolerated only because the queen mother decreed it so.”) Paris stepped up and declared the Edict of Amboise an abomination, unwilling to grant such concessions even in the face of possible warfare.
There were various smaller events that took place as a consequence of the Edict of Amboise. For example, the Protestant Louis de Condé, a principle player in the War of Religion, was freed from captivity. He and others must have been wary of those who honored the peace only under great protest. Paris was not the only city that refused the edict. The majority of France was still unwilling to accept Protestants as Christian counterparts, and Rouen, Toulouse, and Dijon also bitterly decried the Edict of Amboise. Thankfully the document was eventually passed in every province. Those who had opposed it bitterly soon reaped the benefits of the edict, for there was no warfare until 1567. Even such a small handful of years free from bloodshed were a blessing in a time when religious conflicts began at the drop of a hat.
(c) 2012 Joyously Saved