(OCTOBER 12TH 1535.)
DIPLOMACY and war are the two means employed to decide international differences. It is customary to speak disparagingly of both, and not without cause. All who care for their fellow-men and desire the material and moral prosperity of nations, look upon war as a crime against humanity; and yet a people, invaded by an unjust and ambitious conqueror, who desires to despoil them of their independence and nationality, have as much right to defend themselves as the man attacked on the highway by a robber bent on depriving him of his purse or his life.
Diplomacy has its faults, like war. Its object being to conciliate jarring interests, it falls easily into narrow and selfish views, while it should possess that broad wisdom which reconciles differences with impartiality.
Fully acknowledging the tact with which in ordinary times it adheres to the path it ought to follow, we think that it gets confused and goes astray in periods of transition, when society is passing from one phase to another. Seamen on a distant voyage have observed that in certain latitudes and on certain days the compass-needle is so agitated that the steersman cannot make use of it to direct his course: it turns, perhaps, to the right when it should point to the left. This is just the case with diplomacy in those great epochs, when, as in the sixteenth century, society is turning on its hinges and entering into a new sphere. In such a case diplomacy acts first in a direction contrary to the impulses which prepare the future: it devotes all its care to maintain what has been, while the normal character of the new epoch is precisely that what has been must give place to what is to be. Governments, naturally enough, always begin by opposing the new developments of social, political, and religious life. This is just what the powerful aristocracy of Berne did at first with regard to Geneva: we have seen it once and we shall see it again. But if there is a bad diplomacy, there is also a good one. Would it be out of place to remark here, that if the chateau of Coppet, where some of the facts of our history occurred, was in 1535 the seat of bad policy, it became afterwards the center of a liberal statesmanship? The Council of Berne had kept themselves carefully informed of the proceedings of Claude Savoye. They had learnt that about four hundred and fifty men, ‘among whom were several of My Lords’ subjects,’ were crossing the Jura to succor Geneva, ‘not without danger, because of the smallness of their number.’ The Council knew that these men would have to fight the nobles and other people of the country, brought together from every quarter in the villages and on the roads, to the number of more than three or four thousand. The Bernese magistrates wished, besides, to avoid war. They had, therefore, deputed Louis of Diesbach and Rodolph Nagueli to the Pays de Vaud, with instructions to order the volunteers to return home. The two Bernese ambassadors had made their way to the castle of Coppet, situated between Geneva and Gingins. There was just then a great crowd in that feudal residence, which has since been replaced by a modern chateau. That place, which was one day to be the asylum of letters and of liberty, was now, by a singular contrast, the head-quarters of a rude and ignorant gentry, who desired at any price to maintain feudalism, and destroy in Geneva light, independence, and faith.
Monseigneur de Lullin, governor of the Pays de Vaud in behalf of the duke, had taken up his abode there with his officers and several gentlemen of the district.
On Saturday, 29th October, the day when Wildermuth and his band reached the village of Saint Cergues, the ambassadors from Berne had arrived at the castle of Coppet, with the intention of coming to some understanding with the governor of Vaud on the means of preventing the battle that was imminent. Here they learnt that it was nearer than they had imagined, and that the Swiss were expected on the following morning. The Savoyard and Bernese chiefs immediately entered into a conference on these serious matters, and they were still in discussion when Claude Savoye, who had only two or three leagues to pass over, arrived on his panting courser. The daring Genevan was fully conscious that it was very imprudent to show himself in the castle occupied by the commander-inchief of the enemies of Geneva; but it mattered not to him; he wanted to obtain from Diesbach, at any risk, a promise that he would not stop the troops that Claude was bringing to the help of his fellow-citizens.
The Sire de Lullin, being informed of his arrival, was surprised and exasperated: there was a stormy scene in the conference, and that clever but hasty and passionate administrator ordered the heretical and rebellious Genevan to be seized. The latter, escorted by armed men, soon appeared before him in the principal hall of the castle. To the Savoyards about the governor, a huguenot of Geneva was a kind of monster which aroused alike their curiosity and horror. Savoye, finding himself in the lion’s jaws, presented the paper that D’Allinges had sent him. This put a climax to the governor’s passion. ‘By what right,’ he asked that chief, ‘do you give a safe-conduct?’ Lullin, imagining that the noble Savoyard might be a traitor in correspondence with the enemies of his highness, ordered both the bearer and the giver of the passport to be locked up. The ambassadors of Berne did not think it their duty to offer any opposition: the main thing for them was to obtain a promise from the governor to do all in his power to hinder the arrival of the Swiss band. They therefore asked him to set out with them the next morning (Sunday, October 10th) at daybreak, to climb the mountain on whose top they hoped still to find Wildermuth and his followers, and to make them return. De Lullin would not consent to this proposition. He wished to suffer the little Swiss force to descend into the plain, not doubting that the soldiers under his orders would crush them to pieces. An opportunity offered of giving a sound lesson to those adventurers who dared measure themselves against the duke of Savoy: not one of those rash men should return home. But the Bernese were still more decided than the Savoyard governor, and after many efforts succeeded in bringing him round to their views. ‘We came to the conclusion, after much trouble,’ they said in their report, ‘to go and meet them and make them retire in confidence to their own country, at the expense of My Lord of Savoy. Very different thoughts occupied the dwellers in the castle during the night which followed these deliberations. While the Bernese were reflecting on the means of preventing a battle, the governor examined his plans: he had three to four thousand soldiers, fresh, vigorous, and ready for the combat, while the Swiss were only four or five hundred tired and starving men. Not to take advantage of such an opportunity of punishing those ‘heretics and mischief-makers,’ appeared to him a serious fault. Without breaking his promise, it was possible (if he procrastinated) that the Swiss would have time to come down from the mountains and be cut to pieces by the Savoyards. On Sunday morning Diesbach and Nagueli were stirring at daybreak, but Lullin made them wait a long time for him. When he appeared, the Bernese told him they were ready to start, according to their agreement. ‘Excuse me, gentlemen,’ said the governor, ‘I must hear mass first: we catholics never begin a journey without it.’ The mass was very tedious; at length the Bernese, seeing the governor return, thought their long trial was ended; but Lullin, convinced as ever that by giving time to his troops they would destroy Wildermuth’s band, said to them: ‘Gentlemen, they are about to serve up a collation: it is impossible to start without breakfasting.’ The collation had to be waited for: Lullin and his officers talked much and with extreme amiability. ‘Really, the governor and his gentlemen are keeping us a little too long this morning,’ said the ambassadors, who were quite wearied with these delays. At length they sat down to table, and would no doubt have sat there long, but that suddenly a noise like discharges of musketry was heard. The Bernese ambassadors sprang to their feet. There was no more room for doubt: the battle had begun, and it was perhaps too late to fulfill their commission.
They determined, notwithstanding, to ride to the field of battle. The Savoyard governor, thinking that, in consequence of all his delays, his men-at-arms would have had time to cut the Swiss to pieces, raised no more difficulties. They went down into the courtyard of the castle, where for several hours thirty horses had been stamping impatiently, and a great number of officers, guards, and servants had been gossiping. ‘Bring me the Genevan’s fine Spanish horse,’ said the governor, ‘and give him a donkey.’ They brought Savoye’s noble courser to the Sire de Lullin. ‘Give me also his arquebuse,’ added the sharp-witted Savoyard, ‘for I am sure it is a good one.’ The troop fell in: the thirty horsemen and the governor’s guards surrounded the Sire de Lullin, his officers, the Bernese, and poor Savoye mounted on his humble quadruped. They could not go very fast in consideration of the heretical donkey, which Lullin would not leave behind. Claude did not allow himself to be vexed by the ridicule with which the governor tried to cover him, and sooner than stay at Coppet he preferred they should laugh at him and treat him as a common prisoner.
Meanwhile, the governor and his escort kept advancing, looking before them and trying if they could not discover the Swiss. Suddenly, at a short distance from Gingins, the strangest and most unexpected sight met their eyes. Soldiers were flying in every direction — along the highway, through the lanes, across the fields: everywhere terror, confusion, and all the marks of a signal defeat. The governor looked attentively: it was useless trying to deceive himself, the runaways were his own soldiers. He had expected to see the hostile band destroyed, and he found those who were to accomplish his designs fleeing in confusion. Incensed by such cowardice, he approached some of the fugitives and cried out: ‘What are you doing, you poltroons? Stop! why are you running away? Are you not ten times as numerous as the heretics? Turn back and help me to hang them!’ But the Savoyards, smitten with a panic terror, passed near him almost without seeing him. It was impossible to check their flight.
What was to be done at such a strange conjuncture? There was but one course to be taken. The governor had flattered himself with the hope of seeing the Swiss crushed or of crushing them himself, and he had found them victorious. Instead of having recourse to the sword, he must make up his mind to an humble prayer. It appears that neither Lullin nor Diesbach had any hope of seeing a third attack succeed. The Bernese ambassadors, commissioned by their Council to act as mediators, must therefore advance and stop the terrible band. De Lullin gave them some of his horsemen as an escort, and they galloped off. At one time they were stopped by bands of fugitives, at another they fell into the midst of the Savoyard cavalry marching forward to rejoin their colors: at last they arrived on the field of battle. It was the moment when the Swiss, having gained two victories and returned thanks to God, had perceived that fresh troops were approaching, and were preparing to renew the combat for a third time. But at the sight of the lords of Berne they halted. This important circumstance was about to give a new and unexpected turn to events.
During this time what was the Genevan doing on his donkey? The chroniclers do not tell us: he disappeared, he vanished. We may conjecture that, seeing Lullin occupied in rallying his troops, still hoping that another battle would be fought, and comprehending the necessity of informing the Councils of what was going on, he took advantage of the general confusion to make for Geneva, to call his fellow-citizens to take part in this heroic affair, and unite with the Swiss. However that may be, the news of the battle of Gingins was brought to Geneva by Savoye, or some other person, on the 11th of October, the day after the fight, and the whole city was in commotion. A deadly combat (they said) has taken place between our liberators and our oppressors. Four hundred Savoyards were left on the field, but the Swiss, surrounded by numerous troops, are shut up near Nyon, and in great danger of being cut to pieces!
Then arose a cry in the free city! They knew the number of the Savoyards, and even exaggerated them; but the Swiss must be saved at any cost.
Besides, there could be no doubt that if that little band was destroyed, Lugrin, Mangerot, and the other chiefs would turn against Geneva. The Genevese did not hesitate: they had already fought many a battle, and were ready to fight others. The strong man is he who struggles continuously. The swimmer who ceases to make head against the current is swept away by the stream and disappears. The people whose liberty or faith is threatened, must, like the strong man, struggle until the last, for fear the rushing waters should overwhelm him. This was the example long given by the small city of Geneva: for ages she had been struggling for her independence; for ages to come she struggled for her faith.
Baudichon de la Maisonneuve, the captain-general, summoned all the citizens to arms. There was no difficulty in collecting them. They talked in Geneva of the unheard-of difficulties which the Swiss had had to overcome in traversing the Jura. Such sufferings, toils, diligence, and love (said the people); such signal services; the great dangers to which those brave men have been exposed on our account — shall we repay them only with ingratitude? The Genevans resolved to deliver the Swiss or to die with them. In an instant they were under arms; ‘about two thousand men,’ says Froment, placed themselves, fully equipped, under the orders of Baudichon de la Maisonneuve; other documents speak of five hundred only — a number which seems nearer the truth. Froment, probably, counted all who took up arms: the oldest, who remained in the city to defend it, as well as the youngest, who left it to march to the aid of Wildermuth’s band. Eight pieces of artillery were taken out of the arsenal, and the army having been divided into three corps under separate captains, Baudichon de la Maisonneuve took the command-in-chief. They departed. The soldiers of Geneva advanced enthusiastically towards the Pays de Vaud, and hastened their steps for fear they should arrive too late. At the sight of Baudichon’s little army the scattered Savoyards, whom fear had brought as far as Versoix and the neighborhood of Coppet, and who were still trembling at the thought of yesterday’s combat, imagined that everything was lost. ‘We are all going to be killed,’ they said, ‘and the country conquered.’ Some fled in different directions across the fields; others, fearing there would be no time to run, hid themselves in the courtels or enclosed gardens in the vicinity of Coppet; while others more frightened still, wishing to put the lake between them and their enemies, jumped into some boats moored to the bank, and for want of oars employed their halberds, and thus, rowing with all their might, reached the shore of Savoy. The Genevans, without stopping to pursue the fugitives, arrived to within a short distance of Coppet. ‘If once we are united with the Swiss, which can be easily done,’ they said, ‘our country is saved.’ On Sunday evening and Monday morning diplomacy had done its work.
The envoys of Berne, arriving on the field of battle at the moment when the Swiss were going for a third time to rush upon the Savoyard army, had stationed themselves in front of that band of heroes, and, faithful to the diplomatic spirit which at that time prevailed in the councils of the powerful republic, had said: ‘Halt! On behalf of our superiors we command you to retire. The Savoyards are many, and quite prepared to receive you warmly.’ The lords of Berne were accustomed to command, and their dependents to obey: they hoped, therefore, to gain the men of Seeland. Further, Louis of Diesbach, who had distinguished himself in the Italian wars, and had been governor of Neuchatel after the Swiss had carried off its prince, Louis of Orleans, fancied himself on that account sure of persuading those Neuchatelers who had remained faithful to the enterprise. Calling them aside, he endeavored to show them, as well as the Bernese, ‘that it would be better for them to retire with a good victory than to run into greater danger.’ — ‘Every effort was made by soft words to induce the valiant champions to return,’ says Froment.
Diplomacy was less sure than it appeared to be of the defeat which, as it pretended, awaited the companions of Wildermuth. If alone they had won two victories, what would they not do with the help of the men of Geneva? The Savoyards were placed between two fires, and it appeared to many that they were all going to be taken and their country conquered. The followers of La Maisonneuve, combining with those of Wildermuth, would expel the Savoyards from the country and unite it either to Geneva or to Switzerland. On the other hand, the diplomatists said to the Swiss, that another attack would expose them to the risk of a defeat as signal as their triumph had been; that the battles which such brave men had fought would not be useless; and that the Bernese, intrusted with the task of mediation, would obtain from Savoy a good peace in favor of Geneva. ‘See, you have been two or three days without eating,’ added Diesbach; ‘two battles have exhausted your strength. Make your way to the village of Founex, above Coppet; abundant supplies are waiting for you, and there you shall receive our last directions.’ Thus spoke the lords of Berne.
But the intrepid men of the Seeland and Neuchatel contingent were ‘greatly angered;’ they asked whether they should let themselves be seduced by ‘soft words’ or ‘foolish fears;’ they laughed at the attempt to frighten them with the Savoyards, who were (they said) so scared that they did not know what they were about! But the ambassadors did not cease their exertions, and already the Swiss were hesitating. A number of the Bernese did not wish to put themselves in opposition to the government of their canton; and the Neuchatelers thought that as it was the lords of Berne who had supported Neuchatel in the work of Reform, they would not be likely to abandon Geneva. The greater number, exhausted and worn out by two days’ journeying in the snow and one day of hard fighting, and having had no other food than a few turnips, were of opinion, that as they were weakened by hunger, and the food was offered them at Founex which had not been given them at Gingins, it was quite natural to go there. Besides, that was not relinquishing their design. Was not Founex on the road to Geneva? The ambassadors became more urgent, and at last all marched off, leaving, not without regret, the glorious field of battle. ‘And so they came to Founex, where they were supplied with meat and drink,’ say the registers of Geneva. The Bernese lords saw them march off, and when the last had passed them, they breathed freely, turned their bridles, and with their escort took the road to Coppet, much pleased at having succeeded so well. But they were not yet at the end of their troubles. They had hardly proceeded half way when they were exposed to a new danger. A Savoyard squadron, about sixty strong, was approaching: on coming within a short distance of the Bernese, the horsemen set spurs to their horses and dashed upon the ambassadors and their escort, shouting out, ‘Slay, slay!’ One of them, placing his musket on Diesbach’s breast, was preparing to kill him. In the midst of the alarm that had seized them, the Bernese diplomatists began to understand that it is not wise to choose one’s friends badly.
However, Diesbach escaped with a fright, one of his escort having turned the musket aside. The explanations of the ambassadors did not satisfy the Savoyards, who were a reinforcement of cavalry on their way to Gingins, to help their countrymen to take satisfaction for the defeat which their friends had suffered. They were furious, and swore they would avenge their comrades murdered in two affairs by the Bernese. Convinced that these patricians of Berne were in a plot with the victors, they made them prisoners, ordered them to get off their horses, and forcing them to march on foot between them, as if they were robbers, intended to put them in prison at Nyon. At last, however, after fresh parleying, those rude horsemen found out that they were taking away the governor’s friends, and, intimidated by the knowledge, they hastened to release the envoys, who remounted their horses and rode off to Coppet. It was late when they arrived at the castle, where serious matters awaited them. The next morning, Monday, 11th of October, the governor, the two Bernese deputies, and several gentlemen, having met at breakfast, were discussing what was to be done, ‘as they sat eating, drinking, and banqueting,’ when an officer entered and informed them that a Genevese army, commanded by De la Maisonneuve, was approaching the castle.
The whole place was in confusion. The Savoyard army was so far off that the Genevese might by a bold stroke seize the governor of Vaud, with his officers and gentlemen, and even the envoys of Berne, and carry them away to Geneva. Such a blow would have been quite in harmony with Baudichon’s daring character; if he had been able to make the bishop quit Geneva, he might easily (thought many) deliver his city from the lords who were conspiring at Coppet. What could be done to stop him? Those gentlemen invented ‘an old trick of war,’ says the chronicle, according to which every man, not in a position to resist his adversaries, makes a pretense of wishing for peace, either to gain time or to draw his enemy into a snare. At any price the men of Geneva must be induced to return.
Diplomacy, therefore, recommenced its stratagems. The governor of Vaud, although more determined than ever to destroy that restless city, commissioned some of his gentlemen to go and inform the Genevan commander that they were in conference, and that they were even ready to sign the preliminaries of a peace advantageous to the city; but that, in order to complete the negotiations, they wanted three deputies from Geneva.
The gentlemen of Savoy, the bearers of this message, having arrived at the Genevan outposts, and being conducted to De la Maisonneuve, discharged their pacific mission. Opinions were divided. Some suspected a trick, and contended that if the troops of Geneva and Neuchatel could meet, the independence of Geneva would be secured. They therefore did all they could to oppose the conference; but others affirmed that they could trust M. de Diesbach; and that the best course would be to send three of their men, to ascertain the sincerity of these proposals of peace and then return and make their report. ‘Who will guarantee their return?’ cried those who feared the Savoyard governor. Upon this the gentlemen of the Sire de Lullin pledged their ‘faith and promise’ that no harm should befall the delegates. The worthy Genevans, being unwilling to suspect perjury, gave way, and selected as their envoys Jean d’Arlod, Thibaut Tocker, and Jean Lambert.
When this deputation reached the castle, the Sire de Lullin and his guests were again occupied in eating, drinking,-and banqueting. This intimacy of the lords of Berne with the enemies of Geneva displeased D’Arlod and his colleagues; but all the same they resolved to discharge their mission faithfully. They had not long to wait before they learnt that the Savoyard chiefs had no idea of peace; and that they wanted to crush that sect, rebellious to the laws of the Church, — that sect which they had so long loaded with their contempt, which dismissed the priests, declared its independence of the pope, made laws contrary to those which for centuries had governed Christendom, and pretended to treat with Rome as an equal. Those huguenots had deprived the saints of the honors they had enjoyed, destroyed the images, abolished the mass, and interdicted the sacred rites. What was then to be done, except to treat their deputies as criminals? The Genevan plenipotentiaries asked to see the preliminaries of the peace which it was desired to conclude with them. The Sire de Lullin could not believe his ears, and, bursting with anger, he flew into a passion at their audacity: ‘What! rebels dare ask to know the preliminaries !’ He ordered them to be seized. It was useless for the Genevans to appeal to the promise that had been given them; Lullin would not hear a word, and, desiring war at any price, was determined to trample under foot the inviolability with which the law of nations invests internuncios. The three Genevans were ‘tied and fastened like robbers.’ — ‘Take them to the castle of Chillon,’ said Lullin, ‘where they will be able to talk with M. de Saint Victor (Bonivard), who has already spent six years there for the business of Geneva.’ The three noble citizens were carried off and shut up in the fortress of Chillon. It was the opinion then at Coppet, as it had been a century before at Constance, ‘that no one is bound to keep faith with heretics.’ De la Maisonneuve and his officers waited impatiently for the return of their delegates; the time slipped away, and they did not appear. The fear of deplorable events began to disturb the least credulous minds. ‘It is probable,’ said some, ‘that this is a going which will have no returning .’ The commander sent the trumpeter, Ami Voullier, to inquire what was going on — a duty belonging in those days to his office. Voullier, either because he inclined to the worse side, or was bribed by the enemy, or suffered himself to be deceived by some crafty Savoyard, returned and reported that the gentlemen at the castle were occupied in drawing up the articles of peace; and that the place was not undefended, for he had seen in the vineyards round about it more soldiers than vinestocks. He added that, as peace was about to be concluded, the presence of armed men who were not to fight was useless, and that the best thing would be for every man to return home. The most pacific of the Genevans, believing their delegates to be really occupied in drawing up a real treaty, insisted upon returning to the city. An experienced and clear-sighted commander, a man of superior mind, would not have been satisfied with the trumpeter’s report. He would not have left the place without being put in direct communication with the three plenipotentiaries. If he had discovered the governor’s perfidy, he would have been able, especially with the support of the Swiss, to surround the castle, capture the governor and his suite, and the Bernese themselves, and not release them until he had obtained the deliverance of his envoys. Even if it were true that they were discussing a treaty of peace, would it not have been of advantage for the forces of Geneva to remain near Coppet to add strength to the representations of their delegates? De la Maisonneuve was a good citizen, a good protestant, and a soldier, but he was neither a great general nor a keen diplomatiSt. Besides, a noble simplicity of heart does not suspect dissimulation. Those proud huguenots, who erred sometimes through too much violence, erred now through too much simplicity. It was decided that, as peace was going to be signed, the Genevans should return home. The corps started for Geneva. This error weighed heavily upon Baudichon de la Maisonneuve, and troubled him all the rest of his life.
The skillful diplomatists assembled at Coppet, having thus got rid of the Genevese, undertook to rid themselves in a similar manner of the Swiss cantoned at Founex. Some of them, going to Wildermuth’s little army, said: ‘Peace is concluded. All soldiers must now return home. The city of the huguenots will now be free; You have fairly acquired the right to enjoy repose. Moreover, the governor of Vaud undertakes to pay the expense of your journey.’ The Swiss gave way like the Genevans. An heroic victory was succeeded by a diplomatic defeat. If the honest have their power, the cunning have theirs also. It is the fate of humble and sincere individuals and nations to be sometimes mystified by the adroit and powerful. As regards the Swiss, the last verse of the war-song of Gingins shows that, if they turned their steps homewards, it was because of their conviction that the deliverance of Geneva was secured. ‘Finish the matter,’ we said, ‘in order that the city of Geneva may be delivered — that is all we ask; that peace may be secured to her, so that the Word of God may be preached within her walls in all liberty, that the Lord’s fold may be saved, and then we shall return joyful to our homes.’ But these strains were the illusions of honorable minds. If arms had wrought the triumph of right and liberty at Gingins, policy had procured the triumph of fraud and despotism at Coppet.
Still one question arises. Was the battle of Gingins useless? No, for it saved Geneva. The bravery of the Swiss and their victory were deeply imprinted in the minds of the population of Vaud. They talked of it in villages and castles, and even in Savoy. Accordingly, some months later, when an army sent by the Councils of Berne appeared in the country, no one dared measure himself with it, the bravery of the Swiss still freezing all hearts with terror.
Louis of Diesbach and his colleagues, who arrived at Geneva the day after the treason of Coppet, proposed to the council a treaty with the duke, stipulating, among other things, that the traitors of Peney should be restored to their privileges. ‘What!’ said the premier Syndic, ‘you have sent back those who were coming to our help, and you claim to place within our walls those who will never cease from making war on us!’ De la Maisonneuve, discovering that the trumpeter had made a false report, and that his troops, instead of returning to Geneva, ought to have marched upon Coppet, could not contain his sorrow and rage. He declared the man guilty of high-treason, and many persons joined with him in demanding Ami Voullier’s head. His life was, however, spared, but he lost the esteem of his fellow-citizens. The indignation of the magistrates and of the chiefs of the soldiery was trifling compared with the anger of the people. The thought that the envoys had been shut up within the walls of Chillon made all their hearts burn. ‘Let us make reprisals,’ said the relatives of the victims to the syndics, ‘and to make sure that they will restore us our fellow-citizens, let us seize hostages who are as good as they.’ Three notable men, at that time within the reach of the Genevans — M. de Sales, the Bastard of Wufflens, and M. de Montfort were laid hold of. The last-named was a monk of the convent of St. Jean, situated on the heights bathed by the blue waters of the Rhone, at the gates of Geneva, although within the duke’s territories. The people do not weigh the claims of justice so calmly as wise men in council. The flames which burnt in every heart broke out all of a sudden. There was shouting and assembling. The popular waves rose higher from street to street, tossing and foaming. ‘Shall we leave at the very gates of the city,’ was the cry, ‘a building whence the enemy can make his artillery bear upon us?’ The crowd rushed to St. Jean, scaled the walls, seized De Montfort, climbed on the roof, broke, demolished, and threw down everything, and did not stop until the convent was in ruins.
The crime of Coppet produced the execution at St. Jean. Popular indignation did not reflect that in all states, and especially in republics, nothing should be done except by the law.