The agency by which these principles were introduced was the edicts of the praetor, an annual proclamation setting forth the manner in which the magistrate intended to administer the law during his year of office.
During the troubles in the Cevennes (see Huguenots) he softened to the utmost of his power the rigour of the edicts, and showed himself so indulgent even to what he regarded as error, that his memory was long held in veneration amongst the Protestants of that district.
It is right to add, however, that some authorities consider the accounts of his leniency to have been greatly exaggerated, and even charge him with going beyond what the edicts permitted.
The struggle, however, with the Protestant princes of Germany not only led to continual demands of Charles for men and money from his Netherland dominions, but to his determination to prevent the spread of Protestant opinions; and a series of edicts was passed, the most severe of which (that of 1550) was carried out with extreme rigour.
They began to be alarmed by the severity with which the edicts against heresy were being carried out, and by the rising indignation among the populace.
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