It is difficult, in these days of religious toleration, to understand why men should, three centuries ago, have flown at each others' throats in the name of the Almighty; still less how, in cold blood, they could have perpetrated hideous massacres of men, women, and children. The Huguenot wars were, however, as much political as religious. Philip of Spain, at that time the most powerful potentate of Europe, desired to add France to the countries where his influence was all powerful; and in the ambitious house of Guise he found ready instruments. For a time the new faith, that had spread with such rapidity in Germany, England, and Holland, made great progress in France, also. But here the reigning family remained Catholic, and the vigorous measures they adopted, to check the growing tide, drove those of the new religion to take up arms in self defence. Although, under the circumstances, the Protestants can hardly be blamed for so doing, there can be little doubt that the first Huguenot war, though the revolt was successful, was the means of France remaining a Catholic country. It gave colour to the assertions of the Guises and their friends that the movement was a political one, and that the Protestants intended to grasp all power, and to overthrow the throne of France. It also afforded an excuse for the cruel persecutions which followed, and rallied to the Catholic cause numbers of those who were, at heart, indifferent to the question of religion, but were Royalists rather than Catholics. The great organization of the Church of Rome laboured among all classes for the destruction of the growing heresy. Every pulpit in France resounded with denunciations of the Huguenots, and passionate appeals were made to the bigotry and fanaticism of the more ignorant classes; so that, while the power of the Huguenots lay in some of the country districts, the mobs of the great towns were everywhere the instruments of the priests.