League Memories: Recollections of Catholic political engagement in late sixteenth-century Paris

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League Memories: Recollections of Catholic political engagement in late sixteenth-century Paris

M.M. Critchlow

May 2015

(Doctoral thesis, Department of History)

I am grateful for the courteous and wise help I have received from library staff in Edinburgh, Liverpool, London and Sheffield and, above all, in Manchester and Paris. I am thankful too to the Society for the Study of French History for a generous bursary that enabled me to study in the Bibliothèque nationale de France. The thesis would never have begun without the painstaking and stupendous achievement of Marco Penzi in producing a superb transcript of long original manuscripts. I have been privileged to be guided in my studies by Professor Mark Greengrass; I feel humbled by his kind and gracious encouragement. He has been unfailingly generous in both the sheer enthusiasm he has shown for my work and the amount of time he has given me; I am very grateful. My wife, Anne-Louise, and our children have been loving – and very patient! Thank you.

Abstract page 4

List of abbreviations page 5

List of figures page 6
Chapter 1: Charles Valois page 7

Chapter 2: The Work page 34

Chapter 3: The Historian page 62

Chapter 4: The Sources page 96

Chapter 5: The Seize page 132

Chapter 6: The Seize in Decline page 183

Chapter 7: Political leaders page 222

Chapter 8: Religion page 261

Chapter 9: Beyond Paris page 291

Conclusion page 316

Bibliography page 326

The Histoire anonyme is an important manuscript for our understanding of the Catholic Ligue – especially in Paris – in the late sixteenth century. Written a generation after the demise of that movement in the mid-1590s, the original manuscript was later copied and then bound in two large volumes which were housed – until the Revolution – in the library of the Paris Oratoire. They now reside in the Bibliothèque nationale as manuscrits français 23295 and 23296. The first volume of the Histoire traces the story of the Ligue down to spring 1589. A severely edited version made by Charles Valois appeared in 1914.
The second volume, a direct mid-story continuation from the first, takes the narrative through to Henri IV’s triumphal entry into Paris in March 1594. As well as covering events in the capital – particularly the regicide, the long siege and the Brisson affair – the historien anonyme frequently leads us into the provinces for (borrowed) accounts of battles and sieges. The work is frequently punctuated by inserts of contemporary documents and it is laced with the author’s opinions. Yet, for all its evident interest, it has been largely overlooked by historians and it remains unpublished.
The Histoire is a story written by the defeated, one of only a few contemporary accounts of the Ligue – and the only comprehensive one – not to have emerged from the Politique camp which had stood by Henri of Navarre through the turbulent years after the regicide in 1589. Not that the historian is some haranguing Paris preacher, a hispanophile, un zélé. Rather, we pick up a voice hitherto rarely heard – that of a reasonable, moderate but devout Ligueur, seeking to correct misrepresentations issued by earlier writers. Thus, the text is a precious legacy, offering a story that royalist writers such as de Thou and L’Estoile neither told nor wished to hear. There is wistfulness… an admission that the Ligue made mistakes, an exploration of why they occurred, perhaps a ‘putting-in-order’ of memories in the autumn of life.
In this dissertation, the nature of manuscript 23296 will be brought to light through examination of its early seventeenth-century historiographical context and by analysis of the text itself. After building on the work of Valois, and exploring the worlds of the Palais de Justice and the Oratoire with which the writer was associated, we will seek to identify our author. We will be able to inspect his bookshelf and become acquainted with his beliefs, values and opinions. And we will rediscover the Ligue. It is hoped that the dissertation will lay the groundwork from which others may one day publish a complete edition of the Histoire anonyme.

AB Annuaire-Bulletin de la Société de l’Histoire de France

Ascoli Ascoli, P. M., ‘“The Sixteen” and the Paris League, 1585-1591’, unpublished doctoral thesis (University of California, 1971)

Descimon (1983) Descimon, R., Qui étaient les Seize? (Paris, 1983)

De Thou Thou, J-A. de, Histoire universelle depuis 1543 jusqu’à 1607, 16 vols (London, 1734)

Dialogue Cromé, F., Dialogue d’entre le maheustre et le manant, ed. P.M. Ascoli, (Geneva, 1977)

Gérard Gérard, A., ‘La révolte et le siège de Paris, 1589’, Mémoires de la Société de l’Histoire de Paris et de l’Isle-de-France 33 (1906)

H1 Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, ms. fr. 23295

H2 Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, ms. fr. 23296

Jouanna Jouanna, A., and others, Histoire et dictionnaire des guerres de religion (Paris, 1998)

Labitte Labitte, C., De la démocratie chez les prédicateurs de la Ligue (Paris, 1841)

L’Estoile L’Estoile, P. de, Mémoires-journaux, eds G. Brunet and others, 12 vols (Paris, 1875-1896)

Mariéjol Mariéjol, J-H., La Réforme, la Ligue et l’Edit de Nantes (1559-1598) (Paris, 1904)

ML Mémoires de la Ligue, compiler S. Goulart, ed. C.-P. Goujet, 6 vols (Amsterdam, 1758)

Pallier Pallier, D., Recherches sur l’imprimerie à Paris pendant la Ligue (1585-1594) (Geneva, 1975)

Palma-Cayet Palma-Cayet, P.V., Chronologie novénaire, in Nouvelle Collection des Mémoires pour servir à l’Histoire de France, eds J.-F. Michaud and J.J.F. Poujoulat, 32 vols (Paris, 1836-1844)

RDBVP Registres des délibérations du Bureau de la Ville de Paris, 1499-1624, 18 vols (Paris, 1883-1953)

Salmon (1972) Salmon, J.H.M., ‘The Paris Sixteen, 1584-94: The Social Analysis of a Revolutionary Movement’, Journal of Modern History 44 (1972)

Valois Histoire de la Ligue, œuvre inédite d’un contemporain, ed. C. Valois (Paris, 1914)


Figure 1 The Secretaries of the Société de l’Histoire de France up to

World War 1 page 7

Figure 2 The Published Historical Works of Charles Valois page 13
Figure 3 The Historian’s Handwriting page 66
Figure 4 Sketch-map of Rozée’s Quartier page 102
Figure 5A Leaders of the Bureau de la Ville, May 1588 – March 1593

(alphabetical) page 166

Figure 5B Leaders of the Bureau de la Ville, May 1588 – March 1594

(chronological and by status) page 168

Figure 6 Forty-eight Men of the Seize named by Rozée page 169
Figure 7 Timetable of the Main Events of the 1590 Siege of Paris page 186

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