Royal Officials in Reformation France: Is it Easy to be a Huguenot?

Altukhova, N. I. Frantsuzskie chinovniki v epokhu Reformatsii: Legko li byt’ gugenotom? [Royal Officials in Reformation France: Is It Easy to Be a Huguenot?], in: Proslogion: Studies in Medieval and Early Modern Social History and Culture, 2018. Vol. 4 (1). P. 84100.

Natalia Ivanovna Altukhova, research fellow, Institute of World History, Russian Academy of Sciences (119334, Rossiya, Moskva, Leninskiy prospekt, 32A), scientific assistant, Ecclesiastical Research Centre «Orthodox Encyclopedia» (105120, Rossiya, Moskva, Nizhnyaya Syromyatnicheskaya ulitsa, 10A, building 1)

Language: Russian

The article deals with the practice of venality (vénalité des offices) in France during the Wars of Religion in the second half of the sixteenth century. During that period the adherents of the so-called «reformed religion» could obtain or lose the opportunity to acquire and to perform royal offices, depending on whether hostilities prevailed or a peace was concluded — on conditions either favourable to the Huguenots or depriving them of the rights received during the previous war. The article examines steps taken to prevent «the heretics» from serving «the most Christian king» (oath of allegiance to the Catholic religion, testimonies of «a Catholic way of life», certificates from Catholic priests) as well as the royal legislation against Huguenot officials. While addressing Edicts of Pacification (édits de pacification), it is possible to reveal, on the one hand, the pendulum-like nature of royal commands, switching between prohibition and permission for Huguenots to acquire and to dispose of royal offices; on the other hand, a gradual, if very slow, process of obtainment by the Huguenots of the right not only to appeal to the Catholic king for justice, but also to participate in the work of financial and judicial institutions, executing offices acquired through the department of casual revenues (caisse des parties casuelles). The development of legal venality excluded the possibility to deprive owners, whether Calvinists or Catholics, of their offices without financial reimbursement. The implementation of anti-Huguenot edicts was thus delayed by the lack of money in the royal treasury. However, the Huguenots themselves, fearing for their lives and property, often preferred to conceal their relationship with «the so-called Reformers».

Key Words: French Wars of Religion, venality of offices, officials, Edicts of Pacification, Huguenots, France, sixteenth century


Creative Commons License