The Origin of Liberty of Conscience And Calvin's Geneva
(Source, Charles F. Adams, ed., The Works of
John Adams  Vol. 6, p. 313-314)
After Martin Luther had introduced into Germany the liberty of thinking
in matters of religion, and erected the standard of reformation, John Calvin,
a native of Noyon, in Picardie, of a vast genius, singular eloquence, various
erudition, and polished taste, embraced the cause of reformation. In the
books which he published, and in the discourses which he held in the several
cities of France, he proposed one hundred and twenty-eight articles in
opposition to the creed of the Roman Catholic church. These opinions were
soon embraced with ardor, and maintained with obstinacy, by a great number
of persons of all conditions. The asylum and the centre of this new sect
was Geneva, a city situated on the lake ancienty called Lemanus, on the
frontiers of Savoy, which had shaken off the yoke of its bishop and the
Duke of Savoy, and erected itself into a republic, under the title of a
free city, for the sake of liberty of conscience.
Let not Geneva be forgotten or despised. Religious liberty owes it much
respect, Servetus notwithstanding. From this city proceeded printed books
and men distinguished for their wit and eloquence, who spreading themselves
in the neighboring provinces, there sowed in secret seeds of their doctrine.
Almost all the cities and provinces of France began to be enlightened by
it. It began to introduce itself into the kingdom under Francis I, in opposition
to all the vigorous resolutions which he took to suppress it. Henry II
ordained, with inexorable severity, the punishment of death against all
who should be convicted of Calvinism...
Theodore Beza, a disciple of Calvin, celebrated for his eloquence and
erudition, had already converted several persons of both sexes and of the
first nobility of the kingdom. And it was no longer in the stables and
cellars that the Calvinists held their assemblies and preached their sermons,
but in the houses of gentlemen and in the palaces of the great.