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1911 Encyclopedia Britannica
Antoine Perrenot, Cardinal de Granvella
CARDINAL DE (1517-1586), one of the ablest and most influential of the princes of the church during the great political and ecclesiastical movements which immediately followed the appearance of Protestantism in Europe, was born on the 20th of August 1517 at Besancon, where his father, Nicolas Perrenot de Granvella (1484-1550), who afterwards became chancellor of the empire under Charles V., was practising as a lawyer. Later Nicolas held an influential position in the Netherlands, and from 1530 until his death he was one of the emperor's most trusted advisers in Germany. On the completion of his studies in law at Padua and in divinity at Louvain, Antoine held a canonry at Besancon, but he was promoted to the bishopric of Arras when barely twenty-three (1J40). In his episcopal capacity he attended several diets of the empire, as well as the opening meetings of the council of Trent; and the influence of his father, now chancellor, led to his being entrusted with many difficult and delicate pieces of public business, in the execution of which he developed a rare talent for diplomacy, and at the same time acquired an intimate acquaintance with most of the currents of European politics. One of his specially noteworthy performances was the settlement of the terms of peace after the defeat of the league of Schmalkalden at Miihlberg in 1547, a settlement in which, to say the least, some particularly sharp practice was exhibited. In 1550 he succeeded his father in the office of secretary of state; in this capacity he attended Charles in the war with Maurice, elector of Saxony, accompanied him in the flight from Innsbruck, and afterwards drew up the treaty of Passau (August 1552). In the following year he conducted the negotiations for the marriage of Mary of England and Philip II. of Spain, to whom, in 1555 on the abdication of the emperor, he transferred his services, and by whom he was employed in the Netherlands. In April 1 559 Granvella was one of the Spanish commissioners who arranged the peace of Cateau Cambresis, and on Philip's withdrawal from the Netherlands in August of the same year he was appointed prime minister to the regent, Margaret of Parma. The policy of repression which in this capacity he pursued during the next five years secured for him many tangible rewards, in 1560 he was elevated to the archiepiscopal see of Malines, and in 1561 he received the cardinal's hat; but the growing hostility of a people whose religious convictions he had set himself to trample under foot ultimately made it impossible for him to continue in the Low Countries; and by the advice of his royal master he, in March 1564, retired to FrancheComte. Nominally this withdrawal was only of a temporary character, but it proved to be final. The following six years were spent in comparative quiet, broken, however, by a visit to Rome in 1565; but in 1570 Granvella, at the call of Philip, resumed public life by accepting another mission to Rome. Here he helped to arrange the alliance between the Papacy, Venice and Spain against the Turks, an alliance which was responsible for the victory of Lepanto. In the same year he became viceroy of Naples, a post of some difficulty and danger, which for five years he occupied with ability and success. He was summoned to Madrid in 1575 by Philip II. to be president of the council for Italian affairs. Among the more delicate negotiations of his later years were those of 1580, which had for their object the ultimate union of the crowns of Spain and Portugal, and those of 1584, which resulted in a check to France by the marriage of the Spanish infanta Catherine to Charles Emmanuel, duke of Savoy. In the same year he was made archbishop of Besancon, but meanwhile he had been stricken with a lingering disease; he was never enthroned, but died at Madrid on the 21st of September 1586. His body was removed to Besancon, where his father had been buried. Granvella was a man of great learning, which was equalled by his industry, and these qualities made him almost indispensable both to Charles V. and to Philip II.
Numerous letters and memoirs of Granvella are preserved in the archives of Besancon. These were to some extent made use of by Prosper Leveque in his Memoires pour servir (1753), as well as by the Abbe Boisot in the Tresor de Granvella. A commission for publishing the whole of the letters and memoirs was appointed by Guizot in 1834, and the result has been the issue of nine volumes of the Papiers d'Etat du cardinal de Granvelle, edited by C. Weiss (Paris, 1841-1852). They form a part of the Collection de documents inedits sur l'histoire de France, and were supplemented by the Correspondance du cardinal Granvelle, 1565-1586, edited by M. E. Poullet and G. J. C. Piot (12 vols., Brussels, 1878-1896). See also the anonymous Histoire du cardinal de Granville, attributed to Courchetet D'Esnans (Paris, 1761); J. L. Motley, Rise of the Dutch Republic; M. Philippson, Ein Ministerium unter Philipp H. (Berlin, 1895); and the Cambridge Modern History (vol. iii. 1904).
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Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Antoine Perrenot, Cardinal de Granvella'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/bri/a/antoine-perrenot-cardinal-de-granvella.html. 1910.