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694 [638]

Actes and Monumentes of the Church.

howe he ought to gouerne hym self in such busines, and in that place you my Lorde Presidēt haue alleged many places of the scripture, as appeareth more at large in your said booke, and by this plea of a matter which semeth to be but of small importaūce, you haue obtayned great fame and honour for the vpright declaration of the maner and forme, howe iudges oughte grauely to proceade in cryminall matters.

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Then my Lorde Presydent you which haue taught others, wil you not also learne by your owne bookes the whiche wyll manifestly condempne you, if you proceade any further, to þe destruction of these poore men of Merindole. For are not they Christian men, and oughte you not as well to minister ryght and iustice vnto them, as you haue done vnto the Rattes. By these and suche lyke demonstrations, the Presydent was perswaded, and immediatly called backe his commission whiche he had geuen out, and caused the armie to retyre, the whiche were already all moste come vnto Merindole within one mile and a halfe. Then the Merindolines seing the armie retyre, gaue thākes vnto God, comforting one an other, admonyshed them alwayes to haue the feare of God before their eyes, to be obedient vnto his holy cōmaundements, subiect to his moste holy wil, and euery man to submitte hym selfe vnto his prouidence paciently, attending and lookyng for the hope of the blessed, that is to saye, the true lyfe and the euerlasting ryches, hauynge alwayes before their eyes, for exāple our Lord Iesu Christe the very sonne of God, the whiche hath entred into his glory by many trybulations. By these and suche other lyke proposytions, the Merindolines prepared them selues to endure and abyde all the afflictions, that it should please God to laye vpō them. And such was their answer vnto euery man which toke pytie vpon their destruction, & euen vnto those them selues whiche went about to seeke their ruyne, whereupon the brute and noyse was so great, as well of the areste as of the enterpryse of the executiō, and also of the patience & constancie of the Merindolanes, that ther was fewe men in al Fraunce, the whiche was desirous to heare newes, but that thei were aduertysed of all that is aforesayde. And this matter was thought of so great importaunce, that it was not hydden or kepte secrete, from kynge Frauncis, whiche laste departed, a king of noble courage and great iudgement, the whiche gaue commaundement 

Commentary  *  Close

This passage follows closely Crespin (Crespin/Benoist, 1, p. 392-4 - i.e, Crespin [1560], fol 100A-101B and Pantaleon, fols 125-116. In December 1540, the French king François I ordered the arrêt of the Parlement of Aix-en-Provence to be carried out, rejecting a last-minute appeal for clemency. Shortly afterwards, Guillaume du Bellay, sieur de Langey ('Longeay'), lieutenant du roi in Piedmont, was despatched by the royal council to investigate the claims of the Vaudois and he reported favourably on their monarchical loyalties, leading to a conditional royal pardon for the Vaudois at Mérindol provided that they abjured within three months.

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vnto the Noble & vertuous Lorde, Munseur de Langeay, whiche then was his liefetenaunt in Thurine that he should diligently enquire and searche out the truthe of all this matter. Whereupon the said Munseur de Langeay, sent into Prouince two men of fame and estimation, geuing them in charge to bryng vnto hym þe copie of the arest,and diligently to enquyre all that hath followed and ensued therupon. And likewyse to make diligent inquisition of the lyfe and maners of the sayd Merindolanes & others which were persectued in the countrie of Prouince. These deputies brought the copie of the arest, and of all that hapened therupon vnto the said Monseur de Langeay, declaring vnto him the great iniuries, pollinges, extorsions, exactiōs, tyrannies, and cruelties, which the iudges as well seculer as ecclesiasticall, vsed against thē of Merindol & others. As touching the behauiour & dispositiō of these which wer persecuted, they reported that the moste parte of the men of Prouince affirmed them to be men of great labour and trauaile, & that about 200. yeares passed (as it is reported) they came out of the coūtrey of Piedmount to dwell in Prouince, and toke to tillage and to inhabite many hamlettes and villages destroyed by the warres & other desert and wast places, whiche they had so well occupied that nowe there was greate store of wynes, oyles, hony, and cattell, where with straungers were greatly relieued & holpen. Besdies that, before they came into the cōtrey to dwell, þe place of Merindole, was taxed but a foure crounes, whiche before the last destruction, paied yearely vnto the Lord for taxes and tallages, aboue 350. crounes, besyde other charges. The like was also reported of Lormarine & diuers other places of Prouince, where as there was nothing but robberie before they came to inhabite there, that none durst passe that way, but in great daūger. Moreouer, they of the countrey of Prouince, affirmed that the inhabitauntes of Merindole and the other that were persecuted: were peasible & quiet people, beloued of all their neighbours, men of good behauiour, constant in keping of their promesse and paying of their debtes, without trauersing or pleading of the lawe. They were also charitable men, geuing of almes, & would suffer none amongst them to lacke or be in necessitie. They also gaue almes to straūgers, & to the poore passengers, harbering, norishing & helping thē in all their necessities according to their power. These people of Merindole, were knowen throughout all þe countrie of prouince, because they could in no wyse endure to blaspheme, to name þe deuil, or to swere except it were in iudgemēt or in making some solempne couenant. They were also knowen by this, that thei could neuer be moued nor prouoked to talke of any dishonest matters, but in what cōpany soeuer they came, where as any wanton talke or blasphemy was, cōtrary to þe dishonor of god, thei straightway departed out ot þe cōpany. It is also true as they of Prouīce do affirme, that they neuer sawe the inhabitauntes of Merindole go vnto their busines, but that first thei made their praiers, not beholdīg

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