Skip to main content Accessibility help

Belated Crusaders: Religious Fears in Anglo-French Diplomacy 1654–1655

  • Ruth Kleinman (a1)


Historians have commonly taken the secularization of politics and diplomacy as one of the great themes of the seventeenth century, and rightly so. But secular attitudes in matters of state did not move in an unbroken, irresistible progression; until well into the century they coexisted with more traditional modes of thought and developed against resistance from many people who still believed it immoral to divorce religion from politics. Moreover it was by no means always clear which trend was the stronger. Thus long after the Peace of Westphalia, for example, the possibility of international religious war continued to seem real, even to the point where fears of it entered into considerations of diplomacy. One interesting case of this kind arose in the course of Anglo-French negotiations during the mid-1650s, when apprehension of a Catholic crusade on the one side and rumors of a Protestant one on the other added a special dimension to an already complicated situation.



Hide All

1. This was Baron de Baas, Mazarin's personal representative who had been sent to second the ambassador Antoine de Bordeaux. In joining the plot against Cromwell Baas apparently acted independently; at least no evidence has ever proved Mazarin was involved and Cromwell took Mazarin's word for his innocence. See Abbott, Wilbur C., ed., The Writings and Speeches of Oliver Cromwell (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 19371947), 3:303349.

2. Abbott, 3:365–366.

3. Abbott, 4:48.

4. Fraser, Antonia, Cromwell: The Lord Protector (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1973), pp. 408410, 536, 553; Paul, Robert S., The Lord Protector: Religion and Politics in the Life of Oliver Cromwell (London: Lutterworth Press, 1955), pp. 334342.

5. Gardiner, Samuel R., History of the Commonwealth and Protectorate (London: Long- mans, Green and Co., 18941901), 2:88. See also Firth, Charles H., Oliver Cromwell and the Rule of the Puritans in England, 2d ed. (London: Oxford University Press, 1900), p. 363; and Bowman, Jacob N., The Protestant Interest in Cromwell's Foreign Relations (Heidelberg: O. Winter, 1900), passim.

6. Abbott, 4:139.

7. Ibid., 3:112.

8. Ibid., 2:524–525; Gardiner, 2:92–94; Knaehel, Philip A., England and the Fronde: The Impact of the English Civil War and Revolution on France (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1967), p. 161.

9. Knachel, pp. 201–214; Westrich, Sal A., The Ormée of Bordeaux (Baltimore: Johns Hopkms University Press, 1972), pp. 4059, 9295.

10. Abbott, 3:259; Gardiner, 2: 425.

11. France, Archives Diplomatiques du Ministère des Affaires Etrangères, Correspondance Politique: Angleterre (henceforth cited as CPA), 63, folios 190–190 verso, Baas to Mazarin, 23 March 1654; 64, folios 63–64, Bordeaux to Mazarin, 18 May 1654; 62 folios 536–537, Bordeaux to Brienne, 6 July 1654. All these and subsequent dates are new style.

12. Mazarin, Jules, Lettres du Cardinal Mazarin pendant son Ministère, ed. by Chéruel, P. A. and d'Avenel, G., Collection de Documents Inédits sur I'Histoire de France, 3e Série, Histoire Politique, 27 (Paris: Imprimerie Nationale, 18721906), 6:121, to Bordeaux, 6 February 1654; 136, to Bordeaux and Baas, 25 March 1654.

13. Barrière, Condé's chief agent in London, collaborated with the Spanish ambassador in urging a Spanish alliance on Cromwell and also tried to lure Cromwell into an invasion of France by constant reports of Huguenot suffering and readiness to revolt. French concern over his activities and Mazarin's efforts to counteract his arguments formed one of the main themes in the diplomatic correspondence for the years 1653–1655, with examples too numerous to mention.

14. For typical instances see Mazarin, , Lettrcs, 6:123, to Bordeaux, 6 February 1654; 144, to Bordeaux, 7 April 1654; 156 to Rordeaux 3 May 1654. Mazarin especially wanted to know the names, descriptions and hiding places of the Huguenot ministers Cromwell was reportedly sending into France.

15. Ascoli, Georges, La Grande Bretagne devant l'Opinion Française au 17e Siècle, Travaux et Mémoires de l'Université de Lille, nouv. série, fasc. 13, 2 vols. (Paris: Gamber, 1930), 1:76.

16. Kleinman, Ruth, “Gratitude Revisted: The Declaration of Saint-Germain, 1652,” French Historical Studies 5 (Spring 1968): 249262.

17. Knachel, pp. 107–111; Stankiewicz, W. J., Politics and Religion in 17th Century France (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1960), pp. 136147. et passim.

18. Mazarin, , Lettres, 6: 131134, memorandum to Baas and Bordeaux, 25 March 1654; 170, to Bordeaux, 24 May 1654; 227–228, to Bordeaux, 20 July 1654.

19. CPA, 62, folios 428–428 verso, Bordeaux to Brienne, 26 March 1654; folios 433 verso 434 verso, Bordeaux to Brienne, 30 March 1654; 63, folios 337–340 verso, Baas to Mazarin, 21 April 1654; folios 394, 395 verso, 397–398 verso, Baas to Mazarin, 30 April 1654; folios 453–454, Louis XIV to Bordeaux and Baas, 17 June 1 654; 64, folios 138–139, Bordeaux to Mazarin, 16 July 1654. For Bordeaux's opinion regarding Cromwell's use of the religious pretext see 63, folios 360–363, Bordeaux to Mazarin, 27 April 1654.

20. CPA, 63, folios 313 verso-314, Bordeaux to Mazarin, 16 April 1654.

21. Benoist, Elie, Histoire de l'Edit de Nantes… (Delft: A. Beman, 16931695), 3, pt.1: 156212. Above all a friendly and encouraging tone was maintained when Huguenots brought complaints to court. One English informant noted that Mazarin seemed to have become their advocate, and he also noted the reason: the cardinal was telling Catholic clergy that since the Huguenots only asked for the justice due them and had done nothing to forfeit it, he had neither reason nor inclination to make war on them— especially while England was so well armed. Thurloe, John, A Collection of the State Papers of John Thurloe, Esq., Secretary, first to the Council of State, and afterwards to the Two Protectors, Oliver and Richard Cromwell, ed. by Birch, Thomas (London: printed for executor of F. Gyles, 1742), 2:69, from Monsieur Augier's secretary in Paris, 14 February 1654.

22. Benoist, 3, pt. 1:158.

23. Ascoli, 1:76, 112–113.

24. du Clergé de Franco, Assemblées, Recueil des Acles, Titres et Mémoires… ed. by Saulzet, M. du, 2d ed. (Paris: Veuve de F. Muguet et al., 17681771), 13:672687, 8 Juno 1654.

25. Not to mention Individual protests, the Assembly of the Clergy presented a formal remonstrance on 2 April 1656. de France, Assemblées du Clergé, Recueil …, 13:624643.

26. CPA, 60, folios 359–377, “Advis à Monseigneur le Cardinal sur le dessein du Protecteur d' Angleterre de réunir, en une, toutes les communions protestantes avec le moyen de le prévenir et de l'en empêcher”, 21 July 1654. Part of the “Advis” was published by Guizot, François P. G. in Histoire do la République d'Angleterre et de Cromwell, 1649–1658 (Paris: Didier, 1854), 2:426436, but Guizot omitted La Milletière's recommendations for preventive action.

27. CPA, 60, folios 359, 361, 361 verso.

28. CPA, 60, folios 359 verso, 360.

29. CPA, 60, folios 360, 361 verso, 362–366 verso.

30. CPA 60, folios 359 verso-360.

31. Almost all that is known about La Milletière's life was collected and published by Haag, Emile and Haag, Eugène, La France Protestante (Paris, Geneva: J. Cherbuliez, 18461858), 2:494497. Some references to La Milletière's earlier career are to be found in Benoist, 2:423, 514–515, 578; 3, pt. 1:33–34; and in Clarke, Jack A., Huguenot Warrior: The Life and Times of Henri de Rohan, 1579–1638 (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1966). pp. 38, 131. In Société du Protestantisme Français, , Bulletin 8 (1859): 252253. the editors published a brief biographical notice which contributed nothing new except the claim that La Milletière had been Mazarin's confidential agent, but other than a reference. to a short discussion of the “Advis” in Guizot, 2:76 they presented no evidence for that.

32. The Hugenots complained about violations of the Edict of Nantes while their noble leaders sought special profits in opposing the crown, and the Assemblies of La Rochelle and Milhau among others endorsed the principle of armed resistance.

33. This civil war ended in Rohan's defeat, the siege and capture of La Rochelle by the royal army and the modification of the Edict of Nantes through the peace of Alais in 1629, by which the Huguenots lost their rights to fortify their cities, arm themselves, and hold political assemblies. For a favorable interpretation of Rohan's role in these events, see Clarke Huguenot Warrior.

34. Haag and Haag, 2:496. This and subsequent translations are the author's.

35. Ibid.

36. Ibid., p. 495; between 1634 and 1637 he published three books on means of reuniting the Reformed churches with Rome, and although the Sorbonne found his theology wanting, Richelieu's intervention protected him from open censure. For Richelieu's own interest in reunion projects see Church, William F., Richelieu and Reason of State (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1972), p. 87, n. 222; p. 189, n. 43.

37. Haag and Haag, 2:494–497 list 48 titles altogether for the years 1628–1664, not counting his 1622 discourse justifying armed rebellion.

38. CPA, 60, folios 369 verso-370.

39. CPA, 60, folio 369 verso.

40. CPA, 60, folios 369.371.

41. CPA, 63, folios 530–532, Bordeaux to Servien, 23 July 1654.

42. Mazarin, , Lettres, 6:333 to Bordeaux, 3 October 1654.

43. Ibid.

44. Abbott, 3:159–160, 25 January 1654.

45. Abbott, pp. 160–161.

46. Ibid., p. 160.

47. For the fullest account of Dury's life and work see Batten, John M., John Dury: Advocate of Christian Reunion (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1940 pp. 183 deal with the earlier period, up to 1640. See also Jordan, Wilbur K., The Development of Religious Toleration in England (19321940; rpt.. Gloucester, Massachusetts: Peter Smith, 1965), 2:364370; and Rouse, Ruth and Neil, S. C., eds., A History of the Ecumenical Movement, 1517–1948, 2d ed. (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 19671970), 1:134136.

48. Dury, John, A Summarie Account of … J. D.'s Former and Latter Negotiation for the Procuring of True Gospel Peace … Amongst the Protestant Churches, and Academios (London: printed for author, 1657), pp. 124; Batten, pp. 18–119.

49. As cited in Batten, p. 105.

50. Dury, John, A Summary Discourse Concerning the Work of Peace Ecclesiasticall, How It May Concurre With the Aims of a Civill Confederation Amongst Protestants: Presented to the Consideration of My Lord Ambassador Sir T. Row, etc. at Hamburg … 1639 (Cambridge: Roger Daniell, 1641), p. 1.

51. Ibid., passim.

52. Dury, John, Motives to Induce the Protestant Princes to Mind the Worke of Peace Ecclesiasticall Amongst Themselves… (n.p., 1639). Batten, p. 86 cites a London printing of 1641.

53. Masson, David, The Life of John Milton (London: Macmillan and Co., 1877), 4:631; 5:158, 200, 230, 235236, 315, 448.

54. Batten, pp. 118–119, 143.

55. Ibid., pp. 143–145. Dury still held to the same militant ideas in later years, judging by the pamphlet generally attributed to him: The Interest of England in the Protestant Cause (London: no pub., 1659).

56. Batten, pp. 143–146.

57. Ibid., p. 144.

58. CPA, 60, folios 359–361.

59. Abbott, 3:45–125; Paul, pp. 281–284.

60. Batten, pp. 145–146, Gardiner, 2:377–380.

61. Abbott, 3:911–915.

62. Ibid., pp. 232–238.

63. Dury, , A. Summarie Account …, pp. 2446. See also Brauer, K., Die Unionstaetigkeit John Duries unter dem Protektorat Oliver Cromwells (Marburg: printed for author, 1905).

64. Brauer, pp. 79–89.

65. Vaughan, Robert, The Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell, and the State of Europe during the Early Part of the Reign of Louis XIV (London: H. Colburn, 18381839), 1:57, Pell to Thurloe, 12 June 1654; 16–17, Pell to Thurloe, 11 July 1654; Pupikoser, J. A. and Kaiser, J., eds., Die Eidgenoessischen Abschiede aus dem Zeitraume von 1649 bis 1680, Amtliche Sammlung der Aelteren Eidgenocssischen Abschiede 6 (Frauenfeld: J. Huber, 1867), 1:219467 passim.

66. Vaughan, 1:54, Pell to Thurloe, 19 September 1654.

67. Abbott, 4:352–354, 410.

68. Mazerin, , Lettres, 6:333, to Bordeaux, 8 October 1654.

69. CPA, 62, folios 546–549 verso, Bordeaux to Brienne 23 July 1654; 63, folios 530–532, Bordeaux to Servien, 23 July 1654; folios 540–541, 542 verso, Bordeaux to Servien, 5 August 1654; folios 543–543 bis, 545 verso, Bordeaux to Servien, 6 August 1654; folios 558–560, Bordeaux to Servien, 13 August 1654; folios 566–566 verso, Bordeaux to Mazarin,13 August 1654; 62, folios 564–566, 568, Bordeaux to Brienne, 15 August 1654; folios 578–579 verso, Bordeaux to Brienne 27 August 1654.

70. CPA, 64, folios 153–157, unsigned memorandum, 1 August 1654; 63, folios 548, 550–550 verso, memorandum from Servlen, 13 August 1654; folios 554–556 verso, memorandum from Servien, 13 August 1654; folios 571–575 verso, memorandum from Servien, 27 August 1654.

71. CPA, 63, folios 554–56 verso, memorandum from Servien, 13 August 1654.

72. Abbott, 3:717–743.

73. Ibid., pp. 726–728; CPA, 66, fulios 6O-60 verso, Cromwell to Mazarin, 4 June 1655; folios 61–61 verso, Cromwell to Louis XIV, 4 June 1655.

74. CPA, 65, folios 137–140, Bordeaux to Brienne, 24 June 1655; Gardiner, 3:380–381.

75. CPA, 62, folios 599 verso-600, Bordeaux to Brienne, 17 September 1654; folios 638 verso, 640–640 verso, Bordeaux to Brienne, 9 November 1654; 64, folios 287–288, 289 verso, Bordeaux to Mazarin, 24 December 1654; 66, folios 2–6 verso, Whyte to Mazarin, undated but with notation of January 1655; 65, folios 57–59 verso, Bordeaux to Brienne, 25 February 1655; 66, folios 49–53, Propositions and advice given by an English merchant to His Eminence 25 April 1655; 65, folios 137–140, Bordeaux to Brienne, 24 June 1655.

76. His agent Barrière did not leave London until the spring of 1656; CPA, 65, folios 268–268 verso, Bordeaux to Brienne, 15 May 1656.

77. Thurloe, 2:555–556, 600–601, 614–615, 624–625, 646–647, 665, 678, 680–681, 692, 697–698, 702, 711, 718–719, 739; 3:92.

78. Abbott, 3:876–877; CPA, 66, folios 122–135, Cromwell's ratification of the treaty, 7 November 1655; folios 136–137, Cromwell's ratification of the secret articles, 7 November 1655.

79. CPA, 64, folio 154 verso, unsigned memorandum probably drafted by Servien, 1 August 1654.

80. Abbott, 3:260–261.

81. Abbott, 4:139, Cromwell's instructions to Colonel William Lockhart, his ambassador to France, April 1656.

82. As cited in Batten, p. 172; Dury was addressing an appeal to Charles II for support.

83. Ibid.; Brauer, pp. 197–201.

84. Haag and Haag, 2:496–497.

85. Isambert, F. A., ed., Recueil Général des Anciennes Lois Françaises, depuis l'An 420 jusqu'd la Révolution… (Paris: Bellin - Le Prieur, 18211833), 17:335, Declaration to the effect that the Edict of Nantes and the declarations, judgments and regulations given in consequence of it, will be kept and observed, and that two commissioners will be sent to have them enforced, 18 July 1656; 339, Declaration … prohibiting the Protestants from practicing their religion in cities which are the seats of archbishops or bishops, and in places or lordships belonging to clergy; and that ministers may not preach outside their place of residence, December 1656; 346, Judgment of the royal council which revokes that of 21 May 1652, and prohibits ministers of the Reformed Religion from preaching in more than one place, 11 January 1657; 346, Judgment of the royal council which orders that temples built by Protestant highjusticiars will be demolished when the [present] lord is Catholic, and that whoever acquires the domain may not establish Protestant exercises under cover of the high justice included in the domain rights, 11 January 1657; 356, Prohibition of any Reformed colloquies other than the annual synod, which must be held in the presence of a royal commissioner and may not discuss matters other than church discipline, 26 July 1657.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Church History
  • ISSN: 0009-6407
  • EISSN: 1755-2613
  • URL: /core/journals/church-history
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed