Articles, respondus par le Roy en son Conseil privé, sur la requeste presentée par plusieurs habitans de la ville de Bourdeaux, & Seneschaulcée de Guyenne, sur le faict de la Religion qu’on dict réformée
Paris, chez Charles Perier, rue S. Jean de Beauvais, au Bellerophon. 1565.
FIRST EDITION 8vo. 16 unnumbered leaves. A-D4 [last blank]. Roman letter in various sizes. Grotesque woodcut initials and head-pieces, engraved bookplate of Bertrand and Mabel Rambaut, Baythorne Park on front pastedown. Light age yellowing. A very good copy in fine C19th crimson crushed morocco by Masson-Debonnelle, spine with raised bands, title and date lettered direct in minuscule letter, edges gilt ruled, inner dentelles richly gilt, combed marble end-papers, a.e.g.
First edition of this extremely rare pamphlet, the Hugenot’s petition to the King that the local authorities in the town of Bordeaux recognise their rights, particularly in light of the Edict he had made in an attempt to reconcile the two religions, with the Kings response to the petition given in the text. The Edict of Saint-Germain, also known as the Edict of January, was a decree of tolerance promulgated by the regent of France, Catherine de’ Medici, in January 1562. It provided limited tolerance to the Protestant Huguenots in the Roman Catholic realm. Consistent with Catherine’s manoeuvring, it attempted to steer a middle course between Protestants and Catholics in order to strengthen royal dominion. Without threatening the privileged position of the Catholic Church in France, the Edict recognised the existence of the Protestants and guaranteed freedom of conscience and private worship. It forbade Huguenot worship within towns (where conflicts flared up too easily) but permitted Protestant synods and consistories. This pamphlet states that, despite the edict, many of those in power in Bordeaux were refusing to cooperate and were using the troubles to illegally imprison, fine and confiscate the property of Protestants and to cause them as much trouble as possible, despite the fact that the majority of people in Bordeaux were ‘dict reformé’. Protestants under the edict were given the permission to worship but only in certain towns and in Bordeaux they were given the town of St. Macaire. “The protestants petitioned for another town in place of St. Macaire, which had been assigned them for their religious worship – the most inconveniently situated in the entire ‘Senéchaussée’. They desired a city in which they could go to and return from in the same day. They stated that “la plus grande partie des plus notable familles de Bourdeaux est de la religion réformée.” This part of their request the king referred to the judgment of the governor.” Henry Martyn Baird ‘History of the Rise of the Huguenots.’
“The edict provided for a place for preaching in each prefecture, to be selected by the king. In some cases no place had yet been designated. In others, the most inconvenient places had been assigned. Sometimes the Huguenots of a district would be compelled to go _twenty or twenty-five leagues_ in order to attend divine worship. .. But it was the prejudice and ill-will, of which the Huguenots were the habitual victims at the hands of royal governors and other officers, which moved them most deeply. The evident desire was to find some ground of accusation against them. The ears of the judges were stopped against their appeals for justice. It was enough that they were accused. Decrees of confiscation, of the razing of their houses, of death, were promptly given before any examination was made into the truth of their culpability. … The king, or his ministers, fearful of a commotion during his absence from Paris, … even made a pretence of desiring to secure justice to his Protestant subjects; but the attempt really effected very little. Thus, for instance, while sojourning in the city of Valence (on the fifth of September, 1564), Charles received a petition of the Huguenots of Bordeaux, setting forth some of the grievances under which they were groaning, and gave a favourable answer. He permitted them, by this patent, to sing their psalms in their own houses. He declared them free from any obligation to furnish the “pain benit,” and to contribute to the support of Roman Catholic fraternities. The Protestants were not to be molested for possessing or selling copies of the Bible. They must not be compelled to deck out their houses in honor of religious processions, nor to swear on St. Anthony’s arm. They might work at their trades with closed doors, except on Sundays and solemn feasts. Magistrates were forbidden to take away the children of Huguenots, in order to have them baptized according to Romish rites. Protestants could be elected to municipal offices equally with the adherents of the other faith.” Henry Martyn Baird ‘History of the Rise of the Huguenots.’
Charles Perier, the son in law of the bookseller printer Chrétien Wechel, was himself a printer authorised by the University of Paris. He was imprisoned several times in Paris (November 1565, November 1567, Februrary to May 1569) for importing Calvinist works from Geneva for distribution in there. He was persecuted during the Massacre of St. Bartholomew, during which his son Charles was killed. He fled Paris but died shortly afterwards.
Lindsay & Neu, no. 416. USTC 2430.