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The Complete Celebrated Crimes by Alexander Dumas, Pere

Part 6 out of 33

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Maduron's arm every time the sentinel, in pacing his narrow round,
approached the spot. Before break of day the work was well begun.
Maduron then obliterated all traces of his file by daubing the bars
with mud and wax, and withdrew. For three consecutive nights he
returned to his task, taking the same precautions, and before the
fourth was at an end he found that by means of a slight effort the
grating could be removed. That was all that was needed, so he gave
notice to Messire Nicolas de Calviere that the moment had arrived.

Everything was favourable to the undertaking: as there was no moon,
the next night was chosen to carry out the plan, and as soon as it
was dark Messire Nicolas de Calviere set out with his men, who,
slipping down into the moat without noise, crossed, the water being
up to their belts, climbed up the other side, and crept along at the
foot of the wall till they reached the grating without being
perceived. There Maduron was waiting, and as soon as he caught sight
of them he gave a slight blow to the loose bars; which fell, and the
whole party entered the drain, led by de Calviere, and soon found
themselves at the farther end--that is to say, in the Place de la
Fontaine. They immediately formed into companies twenty strong, four
of which hastened to the principal gates, while the others patrolled
the streets shouting, "The city taken! Down with the Papists! A new
world! "Hearing this, the Protestants in the city recognised their
co-religionists, and the Catholics their opponents: but whereas the
former had been warned and were on the alert, the latter were taken
by surprise; consequently they offered no resistance, which, however,
did not prevent bloodshed. M. de St. Andre, the governor of the
town, who during his short period of office had drawn the bitter
hatred of the Protestants on him, was shot dead in his bed, and his
body being flung out of the window, was torn in pieces by the
populace. The work of murder went on all night, and on the morrow
the victors in their turn began an organised persecution, which fell
more heavily on the Catholics than that to which they had subjected
the Protestants; for, as we have explained above, the former could
only find shelter in the plain, while the latter used the Cevennes as
a stronghold.

It was about this time that the peace, which was called, as we have
said, "the insecurely seated," was concluded. Two years later this
name was justified by the Massacre of St. Bartholomew.

When this event took place, the South, strange as it may seem, looked
on: in Nimes both Catholics and Protestants, stained with the other's
blood, faced each other, hand on hilt, but without drawing weapon.
It was as if they were curious to see how the Parisians would get
through. The massacre had one result, however, the union of the
principal cities of the South and West: Montpellier, Uzes, Montauban,
and La Rochelle, with Nimes at their head, formed a civil and
military league to last, as is declared in the Act of Federation,
until God should raise up a sovereign to be the defender of the
Protestant faith. In the year 1775 the Protestants of the South
began to turn their eyes towards Henri IV as the coming defender.

At that date Nimes, setting an example to the other cities of the
League, deepened her moats, blew up her suburbs, and added to the
height of her ramparts. Night and day the work of perfecting the
means of defence went on; the guard at every gate was doubled, and
knowing how often a city had been taken by surprise, not a hole
through which a Papist could creep was left in the fortifications.
In dread of what the future might bring, Nimes even committed
sacrilege against the past, and partly demolished the Temple of Diana
and mutilated the amphitheatre--of which one gigantic stone was
sufficient to form a section of the wall. During one truce the crops
were sown, during another they were garnered in, and so things went
on while the reign of the Mignons lasted. At length the prince
raised up by God, whom the Huguenots had waited for so long,
appeared; Henri IV ascended the, throne.

But once seated, Henri found himself in the same difficulty as had
confronted Octavius fifteen centuries earlier, and which confronted
Louis Philippe three centuries later--that is to say, having been
raised to sovereign power by a party which was not in the majority,
he soon found himself obliged to separate from this party and to
abjure his religious beliefs, as others have abjured or will yet
abjure their political beliefs; consequently, just as Octavius had
his Antony, and Louis Philippe was to have his Lafayette, Henri IV
was to have his Biron. When monarchs are in this position they can
no longer have a will of their own or personal likes and dislikes;
they submit to the force of circumstances, and feel compelled to rely
on the masses; no sooner are they freed from the ban under which they
laboured than they are obliged to bring others under it.

However, before having recourse to extreme measures, Henri IV with
soldierly frankness gathered round him all those who had been his
comrades of old in war and in religion; he spread out before them a
map of France, and showed them that hardly a tenth of the immense
number of its inhabitants were Protestants, and that even that tenth
was shut up in the mountains; some in Dauphine, which had been won
for them by their three principal leaders, Baron des Adrets, Captain
Montbrun, and Lesdiguieres; others in the Cevennes, which had become
Protestant through their great preachers, Maurice Secenat and
Guillaume Moget; and the rest in the mountains of Navarre, whence he
himself had come. He recalled to them further that whenever they
ventured out of their mountains they had been beaten in every battle,
at Jarnac, at Moncontour, and at Dreux. He concluded by explaining
how impossible it was for him, such being the case, to entrust the
guidance of the State to their party; but he offered them instead
three things, viz., his purse to supply their present needs, the
Edict of Nantes to assure their future safety, and fortresses to
defend themselves should this edict one day be revoked, for with
profound insight the grandfather divined the grandson: Henri IV
feared Louis XIV.

The Protestants took what they were offered, but of course like all
who accept benefits they went away filled with discontent because
they had not been given more.

Although the Protestants ever afterwards looked on Henri IV as a
renegade, his reign nevertheless was their golden age, and while it
lasted Nines was quiet; for, strange to say, the Protestants took no
revenge for St. Bartholomew, contenting themselves with debarring the
Catholics from the open exercise of their religion, but leaving them
free to use all its rites and ceremonies in private. They even
permitted the procession of the Host through the streets in case of
illness, provided it took place at night. Of course death would not
always wait for darkness, and the Host was sometimes carried to the
dying during the day, not without danger to the priest, who, however,
never let himself be deterred thereby from the performance of his
duty; indeed, it is of the essence of religious devotion to be
inflexible; and few soldiers, however brave, have equalled the
martyrs in courage.

During this time, taking advantage of the truce to hostilities and
the impartial protection meted out to all without distinction by the
Constable Damville, the Carmelites and Capuchins, the Jesuits and
monks of all orders and colours, began by degrees to return to Nines;
without any display, it is true, rather in a surreptitious manner,
preferring darkness to daylight; but however this may be, in the
course of three or four years they had all regained foothold in the
town; only now they were in the position in which the Protestants had
been formerly, they were without churches, as their enemies were in
possession of all the places of worship. It also happened that a
Jesuit high in authority, named Pere Coston, preached with such
success that the Protestants, not wishing to be beaten, but desirous
of giving word for word, summoned to their aid the Rev. Jeremie
Ferrier, of Alais, who at the moment was regarded as the most
eloquent preacher they had. Needless to say, Alais was situated in
the mountains, that inexhaustible source of Huguenot eloquence. At
once the controversial spirit was aroused; it did not as yet amount
to war, but still less could it be called peace: people were no
longer assassinated, but they were anathematised; the body was safe,
but the soul was consigned to damnation: the days as they passed were
used by both sides to keep their hand in, in readiness for the moment
when the massacres should again begin.


The death of Henri IV led to new conflicts, in which although at
first success was on the side of the Protestants it by degrees went
over to the Catholics; for with the accession of Louis XIII Richelieu
had taken possession of the throne: beside the king sat the cardinal;
under the purple mantle gleamed the red robe. It was at this crisis
that Henri de Rohan rose to eminence in the South. He was one of the
most illustrious representatives of that great race which, allied as
it was to the royal houses of Scotland, France, Savoy, and Lorraine;
had taken as their device, "Be king I cannot, prince I will not,
Rohan I am."

Henri de Rohan was at this time about forty years of age, in the
prime of life. In his youth, in order to perfect his education, he
had visited England, Scotland, and Italy. In England Elizabeth had
called him her knight; in Scotland James VI had asked him to stand
godfather to his son, afterwards Charles I; in Italy he had been so
deep in the confidence of the leaders of men, and so thoroughly
initiated into the politics of the principal cities, that it was
commonly said that, after Machiavel, he was the greatest authority in
these matters. He had returned to France in the lifetime of
Henry IV, and had married the daughter of Sully, and after Henri's
death had commanded the Swiss and the Grison regiments--at the siege
of Juliers. This was the man whom the king was so imprudent as to
offend by refusing him the reversion of the office of governor of
Poitou, which was then held by Sully, his father-in-law. In order to
revenge himself for the neglect he met with at court, as he states in
his Memoires with military ingenuousness, he espoused the cause of
Conde with all his heart, being also drawn in this direction by his
liking for Conde's brother and his consequent desire to help those of
Conde's religion.

>From this day on street disturbances and angry disputes assumed
another aspect: they took in a larger area and were not so readily
appeased. It was no longer an isolated band of insurgents which
roused a city, but rather a conflagration which spread over the whole
South, and a general uprising which was almost a civil war.

This state of things lasted for seven or eight years, and during this
time Rohan, abandoned by Chatillon and La Force, who received as the
reward of their defection the field marshal's baton, pressed by
Conde, his old friend, and by Montmorency, his consistent rival,
performed prodigies of courage and miracles of strategy. At last,
without soldiers, without ammunition, without money, he still
appeared to Richelieu to be so redoubtable that all the conditions of
surrender he demanded were granted. The maintenance of the Edict of
Nantes was guaranteed, all the places of worship were to be restored
to the Reformers, and a general amnesty granted to himself and his
partisans. Furthermore, he obtained what was an unheard-of thing
until then, an indemnity of 300,000 livres for his expenses during
the rebellion; of which sum he allotted 240,000 livres to his
co-religionists--that is to say, more than three-quarters of the
entire amount--and kept, for the purpose of restoring his various
chateaux and setting his domestic establishment, which had been
destroyed during the war, again on foot, only 60,000 livres. This
treaty was signed on July 27th, 1629.

The Duc de Richelieu, to whom no sacrifice was too great in order to
attain his ends, had at last reached the goal, but the peace cost him
nearly 40,000,000 livres; on the other hand, Saintonge, Poitou, and
Languedoc had submitted, and the chiefs of the houses of La
Tremouille, Conde, Bouillon, Rohan, and Soubise had came to terms
with him; organised armed opposition had disappeared, and the lofty
manner of viewing matters natural to the cardinal duke prevented him
from noticing private enmity. He therefore left Nimes free to manage
her local affairs as she pleased, and very soon the old order, or
rather disorder, reigned once more within her walls. At last
Richelieu died, and Louis XIII soon followed him, and the long
minority of his successor, with its embarrassments, left to Catholics
and Protestants in the South more complete liberty than ever to carry
on the great duel which down to our own days has never ceased.

But from this period, each flux and reflux bears more and more the
peculiar character of the party which for the moment is triumphant;
when the Protestants get the upper hand, their vengeance is marked by
brutality and rage; when the Catholics are victorious, the
retaliation is full of hypocrisy and greed. The Protestants pull
down churches and monasteries, expel the monks, burn the crucifixes,
take the body of some criminal from the gallows, nail it on a cross,
pierce its side, put a crown of thorns round its temples and set it
up in the market-place--an effigy of Jesus on Calvary. The Catholics
levy contributions, take back what they had been deprived of, exact
indemnities, and although ruined by each reverse, are richer than
ever after each victory. The Protestants act in the light of day,
melting down the church bells to make cannon to the sound of the
drum, violate agreements, warm themselves with wood taken from the
houses of the cathedral clergy, affix their theses to the cathedral
doors, beat the priests who carry the Holy Sacrament to the dying,
and, to crown all other insults, turn churches into slaughter-houses
and sewers.

The Catholics, on the contrary, march at night, and, slipping in at
the gates which have been left ajar for them, make their bishop
president of the Council, put Jesuits at the head of the college, buy
converts with money from the treasury, and as they always have
influence at court, begin by excluding the Calvinists from favour,
hoping soon to deprive them of justice.

At last, on the 31st of December, 1657, a final struggle took place,
in which the Protestants were overcome, and were only saved from
destruction because from the other side of the Channel, Cromwell
exerted himself in their favour, writing with his own hand at the end
of a despatch relative to the affairs of Austria, "I Learn that there
have been popular disturbances in a town of Languedoc called Nimes,
and I beg that order may be restored with as much mildness as
possible, and without shedding of blood." As, fortunately for the
Protestants, Mazarin had need of Cromwell at that moment, torture was
forbidden, and nothing allowed but annoyances of all kinds. These
henceforward were not only innumerable, but went on without a pause:
the Catholics, faithful to their system of constant encroachment,
kept up an incessant persecution, in which they were soon encouraged
by the numerous ordinances issued by Louis XIV. The grandson of
Henri IV could not so far forget all ordinary respect as to destroy
at once the Edict of Nantes, but he tore off clause after clause.

In 1630--that is, a year after the peace with Rohan had been signed
in the preceding reign--Chalons-sur-Saone had resolved that no
Protestant should be allowed to take any part in the manufactures of
the town.

In 1643, six months after the accession of Louis XIV, the laundresses
of Paris made a rule that the wives and daughters of Protestants were
unworthy to be admitted to the freedom of their respectable guild.

In 1654, just one year after he had attained his majority, Louis XIV
consented to the imposition of a tax on the town of Nimes of 4000
francs towards the support of the Catholic and the Protestant
hospitals; and instead of allowing each party to contribute to the
support of its own hospital, the money was raised in one sum, so
that, of the money paid by the Protestants, who were twice as
numerous as the Catholics, two-sixths went to their enemies. On
August 9th of the same year a decree of the Council ordered that all
the artisan consuls should be Catholics; on the 16th September
another decree forbade Protestants to send deputations to the king;
lastly, on the 20th of December, a further decree declared that all
hospitals should be administered by Catholic consuls alone.

In 1662 Protestants were commanded to bury their dead either at dawn
or after dusk, and a special clause of the decree fixed the number of
persons who might attend a funeral at ten only.

In 1663 the Council of State issued decrees prohibiting the practice
of their religion by the Reformers in one hundred and forty-two
communes in the dioceses of Nimes, Uzes, and Mendes; and ordering the
demolition of their meetinghouses.

In 1664 this regulation was extended to the meeting-houses of Alencon
and Montauban, as Well as their small place of worship in Nimes. On
the 17th July of the same year the Parliament of Rouen forbade the
master-mercers to engage any more Protestant workmen or apprentices
when the number already employed had reached the proportion of one
Protestant, to fifteen Catholics; on the 24th of the same month the
Council of State declared all certificates of mastership held by a
Protestant invalid from whatever source derived; and in October
reduced to two the number of Protestants who might be employed at the

In 1665 the regulation imposed on the mercers was extended to the

In 1666 a royal declaration, revising the decrees of Parliament, was
published, and Article 31 provided that the offices of clerk to the
consulates, or secretary to a guild of watchmakers, or porter in a
municipal building, could only be held by Catholics; while in Article
33 it was ordained that when a procession carrying the Host passed a
place of worship belonging to the so-called Reformers, the
worshippers should stop their psalm-singing till the procession had
gone by; and lastly, in Article 34 it was enacted that the houses and
other buildings belonging to those who were of the Reformed religion
might, at the pleasure of the town authorities, be draped with cloth
or otherwise decorated on any religious Catholic festival.

In 1669 the Chambers appointed by the Edict of Nantes in the
Parliaments of Rouen and Paris were suppressed, as well as the
articled clerkships connected therewith, and the clerkships in the
Record Office; and in August of the same year, when the emigration of
Protestants was just beginning, an edict was issued, of which the
following is a clause:

"Whereas many of our subjects have gone to foreign countries, where
they continue to follow their various trades and occupations, even
working as shipwrights, or taking service as sailors, till at length
they feel at home and determine never to return to France, marrying
abroad and acquiring property of every description: We hereby forbid
any member of the so-called Reformed Church to leave this kingdom
without our permission, and we command those who have already left
France to return forthwith within her boundaries."

In 1670 the king excluded physicians of the Reformed faith from the
office of dean of the college of Rouen, and allowed only two
Protestant doctors within its precincts. In 1671 a decree was
published commanding the arms of France to be removed from all the
places of worship belonging to the pretended Reformers. In 1680 a
proclamation from the king closed the profession of midwife to women
of the Reformed faith. In 1681 those who renounced the Protestant
religion were exempted for two years from all contributions towards
the support of soldiers sent to their town, and were for the same
period relieved from the duty of giving them board and lodging. In
the same year the college of Sedan was closed--the only college
remaining in the entire kingdom at which Calvinist children could
receive instruction. In 1682 the king commanded Protestant notaries;
procurators, ushers, and serjeants to lay down their offices,
declaring them unfit for such professions; and in September of the
same year three months only were allowed them for the sale of the
reversion of the said offices. In 1684 the Council of State extended
the preceding regulations to those Protestants holding the title of
honorary secretary to the king, and in August of the same year
Protestants were declared incapable of serving on a jury of experts.

In 1685 the provost of merchants in Paris ordered all Protestant
privileged merchants in that city to sell their privileges within a
month. And in October of the same year the long series of
persecutions, of which we have omitted many, reached its culminating
point--the: Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Henri IV, who foresaw
this result, had hoped that it would have occurred in another manner,
so that his co-religionists would have been able to retain their
fortresses; but what was actually done was that the strong places
were first taken away, and then came the Revocation; after which the
Calvinists found themselves completely at the mercy of their mortal

>From 1669, when Louis first threatened to aim a fatal blow at the
civil rights of the Huguenots, by abolishing the equal partition of
the Chambers between the two parties, several deputations had been
sent to him praying him to stop the course of his persecutions; and
in order not to give him any fresh excuse for attacking their party,
these deputations addressed him in the most submissive manner, as the
following fragment from an address will prove:

"In the name of God, sire," said the Protestants to the king, "listen
to the last breath of our dying liberty, have pity on our sufferings,
have pity on the great number of your poor subjects who daily water
their bread with their tears: they are all filled with burning zeal
and inviolable loyalty to you; their love for your august person is
only equalled by their respect; history bears witness that they
contributed in no small degree to place your great and magnanimous
ancestor on his rightful throne, and since your miraculous birth they
have never done anything worthy of blame; they might indeed use much
stronger terms, but your Majesty has spared their modesty by
addressing to them on many occasions words of praise which they would
never have ventured to apply to themselves; these your subjects place
their sole trust in your sceptre for refuge and protection on earth,
and their interest as well as their duty and conscience impels them
to remain attached to the service of your Majesty with unalterable

But, as we have seen, nothing could restrain the triumvirate which
held the power just then, and thanks to the suggestions of Pere
Lachaise and Madame de Maintenon, Louis XIV determined to gain heaven
by means of wheel and stake.

As we see, for the Protestants, thanks to these numerous decrees,
persecution began at the cradle and followed them to the grave.

As a boy, a Huguenot could--enter no public school; as a youth, no
career was open to him; he could become neither mercer nor concierge,
neither apothecary nor physician, neither lawyer nor consul. As a
man, he had no sacred house, of prayer; no registrar would inscribe
his marriage or the birth of his children; hourly his liberty and his
conscience were ignored. If he ventured to worship God by the
singing of psalms, he had to be silent as the Host was carried past
outside. When a Catholic festival occurred, he was forced not only
to swallow his rage but to let his house be hung with decorations in
sign of joy; if he had inherited a fortune from his fathers, having
neither social standing nor civil rights, it slipped gradually out of
his hands, and went to support the schools and hospitals of his foes.
Having reached the end of his life, his deathbed was made miserable;
for dying in the faith of his fathers, he could not be laid to rest
beside them, and like a pariah he would be carried to his grave at
night, no more than ten of those near and dear to him being allowed
to follow his coffin.

Lastly, if at any age whatever he should attempt to quit the cruel
soil on which he had no right to be born, to live, or to die, he
would be declared a rebel, his goads would be confiscated, and the
lightest penalty that he had to expect, if he ever fell into the
hands of his enemies, was to row for the rest of his life in the
galleys of the king, chained between a murderer and a forger.

Such a state of things was intolerable: the cries of one man are lost
in space, but the groans of a whole population are like a storm; and
this time, as always, the tempest gathered in the mountains, and the
rumblings of the thunder began to be heard.

First there were texts written by invisible hands on city walls, on
the signposts and cross-roads, on the crosses in the cemeteries:
these warnings, like the 'Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin' of Belshazzar,
even pursued the persecutors into the midst of their feasts and

Now it was the threat, "Jesus came not to send peace, but a sword."
Then this consolation, "For where two or three are gathered together
in My name, there am I in the midst of them." Or perhaps it was this
appeal for united action which was soon to become a summons to
revolt, "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that
ye also may have fellowship with us."

And before these promises, taken from the New Testament, the
persecuted paused, and then went home inspired by faith in the
prophets, who spake, as St. Paul says in his First Epistle to the
Thessalonians, "not the word of men but the word of God."

Very soon these words became incarnate, and what the prophet Joel
foretold came to pass: "Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions,...
and I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood and
fire,... and it shall come to pass that whosoever shall call on the
name of the Lord shall be delivered."

In 1696 reports began to circulate that men had had visions; being
able to see what was going on in the most distant parts, and that the
heavens themselves opened to their eyes. While in this ecstatic
state they were insensible to pain when pricked with either pin or
blade; and when, on recovering consciousness, they were questioned
they could remember nothing.

The first of these was a woman from Vivarais, whose origin was
unknown. She went about from town to town, shedding tears of blood.
M. de Baville, intendant of Languedoc, had her arrested and brought
to Montpellier. There she was condemned to death and burnt at the
stake, her tears of blood being dried by fire.

After her came a second fanatic, for so these popular prophets were
called. He was born at Mazillon, his name was Laquoite, and he was
twenty years of age. The gift of prophecy had come to him in a
strange manner. This is the story told about him:--"One day,
returning from Languedoc, where he had been engaged in the
cultivation of silkworms, on reaching the bottom of the hill of St.
Jean he found a man lying on the ground trembling in every limb.
Moved by pity, he stopped and asked what ailed him. The man replied,
'Throw yourself on your knees, my son, and trouble not yourself about
me, but learn how to attain salvation and save your brethren. This
can only be done by the communion of the Holy Ghost, who is in me,
and whom by the grace of God I can bestow on you. Approach and
receive this gift in a kiss.' At these words the unknown kissed the
young man on the mouth, pressed his hand and disappeared, leaving the
other trembling in his turn; for the spirit of God was in him, and
being inspired he spread the word abroad."

A third fanatic, a prophetess, raved about the parishes of St.
Andeol de Clerguemont and St. Frazal de Vantalon, but she addressed
herself principally to recent converts, to whom she preached
concerning the Eucharist that in swallowing the consecrated wafer
they had swallowed a poison as venomous as the head of the basilisk,
that they had bent the knee to Baal, and that no penitence on their
part could be great enough to save them. These doctrines inspired
such profound terror that the Rev. Father Louvreloeil himself tells
us that Satan by his efforts succeeded in nearly emptying the
churches, and that at the following Easter celebrations there were
only half as many communicants as the preceding year.

Such a state of licence, which threatened to spread farther and
farther, awoke the religious solicitude of Messire Francois Langlade
de Duchayla, Prior of Laval, Inspector of Missions of Gevaudan, and
Arch-priest of the Cevennes. He therefore resolved to leave his
residence at Mende and to visit the parishes in which heresy had
taken the strongest hold, in order to oppose it by every mean's which
God and the king had put in his power.

The Abbe Duchayla was a younger son of the noble house of Langlade,
and by the circumstances of his birth, in spite of his soldierly
instincts, had been obliged to leave epaulet and sword to his elder
brother, and himself assume cassock and stole. On leaving the
seminary, he espoused the cause of the Church militant with all the
ardour of his temperament. Perils to encounter; foes to fight, a
religion to force on others, were necessities to this fiery
character, and as everything at the moment was quiet in France, he
had embarked for India with the fervent resolution of a martyr.

On reaching his destination, the young missionary had found himself
surrounded by circumstances which were wonderfully in harmony with
his celestial longings: some of his predecessors had been carried so
far by religious zeal that the King of Siam had put several to death
by torture and had forbidden any more missionaries to enter his
dominions; but this, as we can easily imagine, only excited still
more the abbe's missionary fervour; evading the watchfulness of the
military, and regardless of the terrible penalties imposed by the
king, he crossed the frontier, and began to preach the Catholic
religion to the heathen, many of whom were converted.

One day he was surprised by a party of soldiers in a little village
in which he had been living for three months, and in which nearly all
the inhabitants had abjured their false faith, and was brought before
the governor of Bankan, where instead of denying his faith, he nobly
defended Christianity and magnified the name of God. He was handed
over to the executioners to be subjected to torture, and suffered at
their hands with resignation everything that a human body can endure
while yet retaining life, till at length his patience exhausted their
rage; and seeing him become unconscious, they thought he was dead,
and with mutilated hands, his breast furrowed with wounds, his limbs
half warn through by heavy fetters, he was suspended by the wrists to
a branch of a tree and abandoned. A pariah passing by cut him down
and succoured him, and reports of his martyrdom having spread, the
French ambassador demanded justice with no uncertain voice, so that
the King of Siam, rejoicing that the executioners had stopped short
in time, hastened to send back to M. de Chaumont, the representative
of Louis XIV, a mutilated though still living man, instead of the
corpse which had been demanded.

At the time when Louis XIV was meditating the Revocation of the Edict
of Nantes he felt that the services of such a man would be invaluable
to him, so about 1632, Abbe Duchayla was recalled from India, and a
year later was sent to Mende, with the titles of Arch-priest of the
Cevennes and Inspector of Missions.

Soon the abbe, who had been so much persecuted, became a persecutor,
showing himself as insensible to the sufferings of others as he had
been inflexible under his own. His apprenticeship to torture stood
him in such good stead that he became an inventor, and not only did
he enrich the torture chamber by importing from India several
scientifically constructed machines, hitherto unknown in Europe, but
he also designed many others. People told with terror of reeds cut
in the form of whistles which the abbe pitilessly forced under the
nails of malignants; of iron pincers for tearing out their beards,
eyelashes, and eyebrows; of wicks steeped in oil and wound round the
fingers of a victim's hands, and then set on fire so as to form a
pair of five-flamed candelabra; of a case turning on a pivot in which
a man who refused to be converted was sometimes shut up, the case
being then made to revolve rapidly till the victim lost
consciousness; and lastly of fetters used when taking prisoners from
one town to another, and brought to such perfection, that when they
were on the prisoner could neither stand nor sit.

Even the most fervent panegyrists of Abbe Duchayla spoke of him with
bated breath, and, when he himself looked into his own heart and
recalled how often he had applied to the body the power to bind and
loose which God had only given him over the soul, he was seized with
strange tremors, and falling on his knees with folded hands and bowed
head he remained for hours wrapt in thought, so motionless that were
it not for the drops of sweat which stood on his brow he might have
been taken for a marble statue of prayer over a tomb.

Moreover, this priest by virtue of the powers with which he was
invested, and feeling that he had the authority of M. de Baville,
intendant of Languedoc, and M. de Broglie, commander of the troops,
behind him, had done other terrible things.

He had separated children from father and mother, and had shut them
up in religious houses, where they had been subjected to such severe
chastisement, by way of making them do penance for the heresy of
their parents, that many of them died under it.

He had forced his way into the chamber of the dying, not to bring
consolation but menaces; and bending over the bed, as if to keep back
the Angel of Death, he had repeated the words of the terrible decree
which provided that in case of the death of a Huguenot without
conversion, his memory should be persecuted, and his body, denied
Christian burial, should be drawn on hurdles out of the city, and
cast on a dungheap.

Lastly, when with pious love children tried to shield their parents
in the death-agony from his threats, or dead from his justice, by
carrying them, dead or dying, to some refuge in which they might hope
to draw their last breath in peace or to obtain Christian burial, he
declared that anyone who should open his door hospitably to such
disobedience was a traitor to religion, although among the heathen
such pity would have been deemed worthy of an altar.

Such was the man raised up to punish, who went on his way, preceded
by terror, accompanied by torture, and followed by death, through a
country already exhausted by long and bloody oppression, and where at
every step he trod on half repressed religious hate, which like a
volcano was ever ready to burst out afresh, but always prepared for
martyrdom. Nothing held him back, and years ago he had had his grave
hollowed out in the church of St. Germain, choosing that church for
his last long sleep because it had been built by Pope Urban IV when
he was bishop of Mende.

Abbe Duchayla extended his visitation over six months, during which
every day was marked by tortures and executions: several prophets
were burnt at the stake; Francoise de Brez, she who had preached that
the Host contained a more venomous poison than a basilisk's head, was
hanged; and Laquoite, who had been confined in the citadel of
Montpellier, was on the point of being broken on the wheel, when on
the eve of his execution his cell was found empty. No one could ever
discover how he escaped, and consequently his reputation rose higher
than ever, it being currently believed that, led by the Holy Spirit
as St. Peter by the angel, he had passed through the guards invisible
to all, leaving his fetters behind.

This incomprehensible escape redoubled the severity of the
Arch-priest, till at last the prophets, feeling that their only
chance of safety lay in getting rid of him, began to preach against
him as Antichrist, and advocate his death. The abbe was warned of
this, but nothing could abate his zeal. In France as in India,
martyrdom was his longed-for goal, and with head erect and
unfaltering step he "pressed toward the mark."

At last, on the evening of the 24th of July, two hundred conspirators
met in a wood on the top of a hill which overlooked the bridge of
Montvert, near which was the Arch-priest's residence. Their leader
was a man named Laporte, a native of Alais, who had become a
master-blacksmith in the pass of Deze. He was accompanied by an
inspired man, a former wool-carder, born at Magistavols, Esprit
Seguier by name. This man was, after Laquoite, the most highly
regarded of the twenty or thirty prophets who were at that moment
going up and down the Cevennes in every direction. The whole party
was armed with scythes, halberts, and swords; a few had even pistols
and guns.

On the stroke of ten, the hour fixed for their departure, they all
knelt down and with uncovered heads began praying as fervently as if
they were about to perform some act most pleasing to God, and their
prayers ended, they marched down the hill to the town, singing
psalms, and shouting between the verses to the townspeople to keep
within their homes, and not to look out of door or window on pain of

The abbe was in his oratory when he heard the mingled singing and
shouting, and at the same moment a servant entered in great alarm,
despite the strict regulation of the Arch-priest that he was never to
be interrupted at his prayers. This man announced that a body of
fanatics was coming down the hill, but the abbe felt convinced that
it was only an unorganised crowd which was going to try and carry off
six prisoners, at that moment in the 'ceps.' [ A terrible kind of
stocks--a beam split in two, no notches being made for the legs: the
victim's legs were placed between the two pieces of wood, which were
then, by means of a vice at each end, brought gradually together.
Translators Note.]

These prisoners were three young men and three girls in men's
clothes, who had been seized just as they were about to emigrate. As
the abbe was always protected by a guard of soldiers, he sent for the
officer in command and ordered him to march against, the fanatics and
disperse them. But the officer was spared the trouble of obeying,
for the fanatics were already at hand. On reaching the gate of the
courtyard he heard them outside, and perceived that they were making
ready to burst it in. Judging of their numbers by the sound of their
voices, he considered that far from attacking them, he would have
enough to do in preparing for defence, consequently he bolted and
barred the gate on the inside, and hastily erected a barricade under
an arch leading to the apartments of the abbe. Just as these
preparations were complete, Esprit Seguier caught sight of a heavy
beam of wood lying in a ditch; this was raised by a dozen men and
used as a battering-ram to force in the gate, which soon showed a
breach. Thus encouraged, the workers, cheered by the chants of their
comrades, soon got the gate off the hinges, and thus the outside
court was taken. The crowd then loudly demanded the release of the
prisoners, using dire threats.

The commanding officer sent to ask the abbe what he was to do; the
abbe replied that he was to fire on the conspirators. This imprudent
order was carried out; one of the fanatics was killed on the spot,
and two wounded men mingled their groans with the songs and threats
of their comrades.

The barricade was next attacked, some using axes, others darting
their swords and halberts through the crevices and killing those
behind; as for those who had firearms, they climbed on the shoulders
of the others, and having fired at those below, saved themselves by
tumbling down again. At the head of the besiegers were Laporte and
Esprit Seguier, one of whom had a father to avenge and the other a
son, both of whom had been done to death by the abbe. They were not
the only ones of the party who were fired by the desire of vengeance;
twelve or fifteen others were in the same position.

The abbe in his room listened to the noise of the struggle, and
finding matters growing serious, he gathered his household round him,
and making them kneel down, he told them to make their confession,
that he might, by giving them absolution, prepare them for appearing
before God. The sacred words had just been pronounced when the
rioters drew near, having carried the barricade, and driven the
soldiers to take refuge in a hall on the ground floor just under the
Arch-priest's room.

But suddenly, the assault was stayed, some of the men going to
surround the house, others setting out on a search for the prisoners.
These were easily found, for judging by what they could hear that
their brethren had come to their rescue, they shouted as loudly as
they could.

The unfortunate creatures had already passed a whole week with their
legs caught and pressed by the cleft beams which formed these
inexpressibly painful stocks. When the unfortunate victims were
released, the fanatics screamed with rage at the sight of their
swollen bodies and half-broken bones. None of the unhappy people
were able to stand. The attack on the soldiers was renewed, and
these being driven out of the lower hall, filled the staircase
leading to the abbe's apartments, and offered such determine.
resistance that their assailants were twice forced to fall back.
Laporte, seeing two of his men killed and five or six wounded, called
out loudly, "Children of God, lay down your arms: this way of going
to work is too slow; let us burn the abbey and all in it. To work!
to work! "The advice was good, and they all hastened to follow it:
benches, chairs, and furniture of all sorts were heaped up in the
hall, a palliasse thrown on the top, and the pile fired. In a moment
the whole building was ablaze, and the Arch-priest, yielding to the
entreaties of his servants, fastened his sheets to the window-bars,
and by their help dropped into the garden. The drop was so great
that he broke one of his thigh bones, but dragging himself along on
his hands and one knee, he, with one of his servants, reached a
recess in the wall, while another servant was endeavouring to escape
through the flames, thus falling into the hands of the fanatics, who
carried him before their captain. Then cries of "The prophet! the
prophet!" were heard on all sides. Esprit Seguier, feeling that
something fresh had taken place, came forward, still holding in his
hand the blazing torch with which he had set fire to the pile.

"Brother," asked Laporte, pointing to the prisoner, "is this man to

Esprit Seguier fell on his knees and covered his face with his
mantle, like Samuel, and sought the Lord in prayer, asking to know
His will.

In a short time he rose and said, "This man is not to die; for
inasmuch as he has showed mercy to our brethren we must show mercy to

Whether this fact had been miraculously revealed to Seguier, or
whether he had gained his information from other sources, the newly
released prisoners confirmed its truth, calling out that the man had
indeed treated them with humanity. Just then a roar as of a wild
beast was heard: one of the fanatics, whose brother had been put to
death by the abbe, had just caught sight of him, the whole
neighbourhood being lit up by the fire; he was kneeling in an angle
of the wall, to which he had dragged himself.

"Down with the son of Belial!" shouted the crowd, rushing towards the
priest, who remained kneeling and motionless like a marble statue.
His valet took advantage of the confusion to escape, and got off
easily; for the sight of him on whom the general hate was
concentrated made the Huguenots forget everything else:

Esprit Seguier was the first to reach the priest, and spreading his
hands over him, he commanded the others to hold back. "God desireth
not the death of a sinner,'" said he, "'but rather that he turn from
his wickedness and live.'"

"No, no!" shouted a score of voices, refusing obedience for the first
time, perhaps, to an order from the prophet; "let him die without
mercy, as he struck without pity. Death to the son of Belial,

"Silence!" exclaimed the prophet in a terrible voice, "and listen to
the word of God from my mouth. If this man will join us and take
upon him the duties of a pastor, let us grant him his life, that he
may henceforward devote it to the spread of the true faith."

"Rather a thousand deaths than apostasy!" answered the priest.

"Die, then!" cried Laporte, stabbing him; "take that for having burnt
my father in Nimes."

And he passed on the dagger to Esprit Seguier.

Duchayla made neither sound nor gesture: it would have seemed as if
the dagger had been turned by the priest's gown as by a coat of mail
were it not that a thin stream of blood appeared. Raising his eyes
to heaven, he repeated the words of the penitential psalm: "Out of
the depths have I cried unto Thee, O Lord! Lord, hear my voice!"

Then Esprit Seguier raised his arm and struck in his turn, saying,
"Take that for my son, whom you broke on the wheel at Montpellier."

And he passed on the dagger.

But this blow also was not mortal, only another stream of blood
appeared, and the abbe said in a failing voice, "Deliver me, O my
Saviour, out of my well-merited sufferings, and I will acknowledge
their justice; far I have been a man of blood."

The next who seized the dagger came near and gave his blow, saying,
"Take that for my brother, whom you let die in the 'ceps.'"

This time the dagger pierced the heart, and the abbe had only time to
ejaculate, "Have mercy on me, O God, according to Thy great mercy!"
before he fell back dead.

But his death did not satisfy the vengeance of those who had not been
able to strike him living; one by one they drew near and stabbed,
each invoking the shade of some dear murdered one and pronouncing the
same words of malediction.

In all, the body of the abbe received fifty-two dagger thrusts, of
which twenty-four would have been mortal.

Thus perished, at the age of fifty-five, Messire Francois de Langlade
Duchayla, prior of Laval, inspector of missions in Gevaudan, and
Arch-priest of the Cevennes and Mende.

Their vengeance thus accomplished, the murderers felt that there was
no more safety for them in either city or plain, and fled to the
mountains; but in passing near the residence of M. de Laveze, a
Catholic nobleman of the parish of Molezon, one of the fugitives
recollected that he had heard that a great number of firearms was
kept in the house. This seemed a lucky chance, for firearms were
what the Huguenots needed most of all. They therefore sent two
envoys to M. de Laveze to ask him to give them at, least a share of
his weapons; but he, as a good Catholic, replied that it was quite
true that he had indeed a store of arms, but that they were destined
to the triumph and not to the desecration of religion, and that he
would only give them up with his life. With these words, he
dismissed the envoys, barring his doors behind them.

But while this parley was going on the conspirators had approached
the chateau, and thus received the valiant answer to their demands
sooner than M. de Laveze had counted on. Resolving not to leave him
time to take defensive measures, they dashed at the house, and by
standing on each other's shoulders reached the room in which M. de
Laveze and his entire family had taken refuge. In an instant the
door was forced, and the fanatics, still reeking with the life-blood
of Abbe Duchayla, began again their work of death. No one was
spared; neither the master of the house, nor his brother, nor his
uncle, nor his sister, who knelt to the assassins in vain; even his
old mother, who was eighty years of age, having from her bed first
witnessed the murder of all her family, was at last stabbed to the
heart, though the butchers might have reflected that it was hardly
worth while thus to anticipate the arrival of Death, who according to
the laws of nature must have been already at hand.

The massacre finished, the fanatics spread over the castle, supplying
themselves with arms and under-linen, being badly in need of the
latter; for when they left their homes they had expected soon to
return, and had taken nothing with them. They also carried off the
copper kitchen utensils, intending to turn them into bullets.
Finally, they seized on a sum of 5000 francs, the marriage-portion of
M. de Laveze's sister, who was just about to be married, and thus
laid the foundation of a war fund

The news of these two bloody events soon reached not only Nimes but
all the countryside, and roused the authorities to action. M. le
Comte de Broglie crossed the Upper Cevennes, and marched down to the
bridge of Montvert, followed by several companies of fusiliers. From
another direction M. le Comte de Peyre brought thirty-two cavalry and
three hundred and fifty infantry, having enlisted them at Marvejols,
La Canourgue, Chiac, and Serverette. M. de St. Paul, Abbe Duchayla's
brother, and the Marquis Duchayla, his nephew, brought eighty
horsemen from the family estates. The Count of Morangiez rode in
from St. Auban and Malzieu with two companies of cavalry, and the
town of Mende by order of its bishop despatched its nobles at the
head of three companies of fifty men each.

But the mountains had swallowed up the fanatics, and nothing was ever
known of their fate, except that from time to time a peasant would
relate that in crossing the Cevennes he had heard at dawn or dusk, on
mountain peak or from valley depths, the sound going up to heaven of
songs of praise. It was the fanatic assassins worshipping God.

Or occasionally at night, on the tops of the lofty mountains, fires
shone forth which appeared to signal one to another, but on looking
the next night in the same direction all was dark.

So M. de Broglie, concluding that nothing could be done against
enemies who were invisible, disbanded the troops which had come to
his aid, and went back to Montpellier, leaving a company of fusiliers
at Collet, another at Ayres, one at the bridge of Montvert, one at
Barre, and one at Pompidon, and appointing Captain Poul as their

This choice of such a man as chief showed that M. de Broglie was a
good judge of human nature, and was also perfectly acquainted with
the situation, for Captain Poul was the very man to take a leading
part in the coming struggle. "He was," says Pere Louvreloeil, priest
of the Christian doctrine and cure of Saint-Germain de Calberte, "an
officer of merit and reputation, born in Ville-Dubert, near
Carcassonne, who had when young served in Hungary and Germany, and
distinguished himself in Piedmont in several excursions against the
Barbets, [ A name applied first to the Alpine smugglers who lived in
the valleys, later to the insurgent peasants in the Cevennes.--
Translator's Note.] notably in one of the later ones, when, entering
the tent of their chief, Barbanaga, he cut off his head. His tall
and agile figure, his warlike air, his love of hard work, his hoarse
voice, his fiery and austere character, his carelessness in regard to
dress, his mature age, his tried courage, his taciturn habit, the
length and weight of his sword, all combined to render him
formidable. Therefore no one could have been chosen more suitable
for putting down the rebels, for forcing their entrenchments, and for
putting them to flight."

Hardly had he taken up a position in the market town of Labarre,
which was to be his headquarters, than he was informed that a
gathering of fanatics had been seen on the little plain of Fondmorte,
which formed a pass between two valleys. He ordered out his Spanish
steed, which he was accustomed to ride in the Turkish manner--that
is, with very short stirrups, so that he could throw himself forward
to the horse's ears, or backward to the tail, according as he wished
to give or avoid a mortal blow. Taking with him eighteen men of his
own company and twenty-five from the town, he at once set off for the
place indicated, not considering any larger number necessary to put
to rout a band of peasants, however numerous.

The information turned out to be correct: a hundred Reformers led by
Esprit Seguier had encamped in the plain of Fondmorte, and about
eleven o'clock in the morning one of their sentinels in the defile
gave the alarm by firing off his gun and running back to the camp,
shouting, "To arms!" But Captain Poul, with his usual impetuosity,
did not give the insurgents time to form, but threw himself upon them
to the beat of the drum, not in the least deterred by their first
volley. As he had expected, the band consisted of undisciplined
peasants, who once scattered were unable to rally. They were
therefore completely routed. Poul killed several with his own hand,
among whom were two whose heads he cut off as cleverly as the most
experienced executioner could have done, thanks to the marvellous
temper of his Damascus blade. At this sight all who had till then
stood their ground took to flight, Poul at their heels, slashing with
his sword unceasingly, till they disappeared among the mountains. He
then returned to the field of battle, picked up the two heads, and
fastening them to his saddlebow, rejoined his soldiers with his
bloody trophies,--that is to say, he joined the largest group of
soldiers he could find; for the fight had turned into a number of
single combats, every soldier fighting for himself. Here he found
three prisoners who were about to be shot; but Poul ordered that they
should not be touched: not that he thought for an instant of sparing
their lives, but that he wished to reserve them for a public
execution. These three men were Nouvel, a parishioner of Vialon,
Moise Bonnet of Pierre-Male, and Esprit Seguier the prophet.

Captain Poul returned to Barre carrying with him his two heads and
his three prisoners, and immediately reported to M. Just de Baville,
intendant of Languedoc, the important capture he had made. The
prisoners were quickly tried. Pierre Nouvel was condemned to be
burnt alive at the bridge of Montvert, Molise Bonnet to be broken on
the wheel at Deveze, and Esprit Seguier to be hanged at
Andre-de-Lancise. Thus those who were amateurs in executions had a
sufficient choice.

However, Moise Bonnet saved himself by becoming Catholic, but Pierre
Nouvel and Esprit Seguier died as martyrs, making profession of the
new faith and praising God.

Two days after the sentence on Esprit Seguier had been carried out,
the body disappeared from the gallows. A nephew of Laporte named
Roland had audaciously carried it off, leaving behind a writing
nailed to the gibbet. This was a challenge from Laporte to Poul, and
was dated from the "Camp of the Eternal God, in the desert of
Cevennes," Laporte signing himself "Colonel of the children of God
who seek liberty of conscience." Poul was about to accept the
challenge when he learned that the insurrection was spreading on
every side. A young man of Vieljeu, twenty-six years of age, named
Solomon Couderc, had succeeded Esprit Seguier in the office of
prophet, and two young lieutenants had joined Laporte. One of these
was his nephew Roland, a man of about thirty, pock-marked, fair,
thin, cold, and reserved; he was not tall, but very strong, and of
inflexible courage. The other, Henri Castanet of Massevaques, was a
keeper from the mountain of Laygoal, whose skill as a marksman was so
well known that it was said he never missed a shot. Each of these
lieutenants had fifty men under him.

Prophets and prophetesses too increased apace, so that hardly a day
passed without reports being heard of fresh ones who were rousing
whole villages by their ravings.

In the meantime a great meeting of the Protestants of Languedoc had
been held in the fields of Vauvert, at which it had been resolved to
join forces with the rebels of the Cevennes, and to send a messenger
thither to make this resolution known.

Laporte had just returned from La Vaunage, where he had been making
recruits, when this good news arrived; he at once sent his nephew
Roland to the new allies with power to pledge his word in return for
theirs, and to describe to them, in order to attract them, the
country which he had chosen as the theatre of the coming war, and
which, thanks to its hamlets, its woods, its defiles, its valleys,
its precipices, and its caves, was capable of affording cover to as
many bands of insurgents as might be employed, would be a good
rallying-ground after repulse, and contained suitable positions for
ambuscades. Roland was so successful in his mission that these new
"soldiers of the Lord," as they called themselves, on learning that
he had once been a dragoon, offered him the post of leader, which he
accepted, and returned to his uncle at the head of an army.

Being thus reinforced, the Reformers divided themselves into three
bands, in order to spread abroad their beliefs through the entire
district. One went towards Soustele and the neighbourhood of Alais,
another towards St. Privat and the bridge of Montvert, while the
third followed the mountain slope down to St. Roman le Pompidou, and

The first was commanded by Castanet, the second by Roland, and the
third by Laporte.

Each party ravaged the country as it passed, returning deathblow for
deathblow and conflagration for conflagration, so that hearing one
after another of these outrages Captain Poul demanded reinforcements
from M. de Broglie and M. de Baville, which were promptly despatched.

As soon as Captain Poul found himself at the head of a sufficient
number of troops, he determined to attack the rebels. He had
received intelligence that the band led by Laporte was just about to
pass through the valley of Croix, below Barre, near Temelague. In
consequence of this information, he lay in ambush at a favourable
spot on the route. As soon as the Reformers who were without
suspicion, were well within the narrow pass in which Poul awaited
them, he issued forth at the head of his soldiers, and charged the
rebels with such courage and impetuosity that they, taken by
surprise, made no attempt at resistance, but, thoroughly demoralised,
spread over the mountain-side, putting a greater and greater distance
at, every instant between themselves and the enemy, despite the
efforts of Laporte to make them stand their ground. At last, seeing
himself deserted, Laporte began to think of his own safety. But it
was already too late, for he was surrounded by dragoons, and the only
way of retreat open to him lay over a large rock. This he
successfully scaled, but before trying to get down the other side he
raised his hands in supplication to Heaven; at that instant a volley
was fired, two bullets struck him, and he fell head foremost down the

When the dragoons reached the foot of the rock, they found him dead.
As they knew he was the chief of the rebels, his body was searched:
sixty Louis was found in his pockets, and a sacred chalice which he
was in the habit of using as an ordinary drinking-cup. Poul cut off
his head and the heads of twelve other Reformers found dead on the
field of battle, and enclosing them in a wicker basket, sent them to
M. Just de Baville.

The Reformers soon recovered from this defeat and death, joined all
their forces into one body, and placed Roland at their head in the
place of Laporte. Roland chose a young man called Couderc de Mazel-
Rozade, who had assumed the name of Lafleur, as his lieutenant, and
the rebel forces were not only quickly reorganised, but made complete
by the addition of a hundred men raised by the new lieutenant, and
soon gave a sign that they were again on the war-path by burning down
the churches of Bousquet, Cassagnas, and Prunet.

Then first it was that the consuls of Mende began to realise that it
was no longer an insurrection they had on hand but a war, and Mende
being the capital of Gevaudan and liable to be attacked at any
moment, they set themselves to bring into repair their counterscarps,
ravelins, bastions, gates, portcullises, moats, walls, turrets,
ramparts, parapets, watchtowers, and the gear of their cannon, and
having laid in a stock of firearms, powder and ball, they formed
eight companies each fifty strong, composed of townsmen, and a
further band of one hundred and fifty peasants drawn from the
neighbouring country. Lastly, the States of the province sent an
envoy to the king, praying him graciously to take measures to check
the plague of heresy which was spreading from day to day. The king
at once sent M. Julien in answer to the petition. Thus it was no
longer simple governors of towns nor even chiefs of provinces who
were engaged in the struggle; royalty itself had come to the rescue.

M. de Julien, born a Protestant, was a, member of the nobility of
Orange, and in his youth had served against France and borne arms in
England and Ireland when William of Orange succeeded James II as King
of England, Julien was one of his pages, and received as a reward for
his fidelity in the famous campaign of 1688 the command of a regiment
which was sent to the aid of the Duke of Savoy, who had begged both
England and Holland to help him. He bore himself so gallantly that it
was in great part due to him that the French were forced to raise the
siege of Cony.

Whether it was that he expected too much from this success, or that
the Duke of Savoy did not recognise his services at their worth, he
withdrew to Geneva, where Louis XIV hearing of his discontent, caused
overtures to be made to him with a view to drawing him into the
French service. He was offered the same rank in the French army as
he had held in the English, with a pension of 3000 livres.

M. de Julien accepted, and feeling that his religious belief would be
in the way of his advancement, when he changed his master he changed
his Church. He was given the command of the valley of Barcelonnette,
whence he made many excursions against the Barbets; then he was
transferred to the command of the Avennes, of the principality of
Orange, in order to guard the passes, so that the French Protestants
could not pass over the frontier for the purpose of worshipping with
their Dutch Protestant brethren; and after having tried this for a
year, he went to Versailles to report himself to the king. While he
was there, it chanced that the envoy from Gevaudan arrived, and the
king being satisfied with de Julien's conduct since he had entered
his service, made him major-general, chevalier of the military order
of St. Louis; and commander-in-chief in the Vivarais and the

M. de Julien from the first felt that the situation was very grave,
and saw that his predecessors had felt such great contempt for the
heretics that they had not realised the danger of the revolt. He
immediately proceeded to inspect in person the different points where
M. de Broglie had placed detachments of the Tournon and Marsily
regiments. It is true that he arrived by the light of thirty burning
village churches.

M. de Broglie, M. de Baville, M. de Julien, and Captain Poul met
together to consult as to the best means of putting an end to these
disorders. It was agreed that the royal troops should be divided
into two bodies, one under the command of M. de Julien to advance on
Alais, where it was reported large meetings of the rebels were taking
place, and the other under M. de Brogue, to march about in the
neighbourhood of Nimes.

Consequently, the two chiefs separated. M. le Comte de Broglie at
the head of sixty-two dragoons and some companies of foot, and having
under him Captain Poul and M. de Dourville, set out from Cavayrac on
the 12th of January at 2 a. m., and having searched without finding
anything the vineyards of Nimes and La Garrigue de Milhau, took the
road to the bridge of Lunel. There he was informed that those he was
in search of had been seen at the chateau of Caudiac the day before;
he therefore at once set out for the forest which lies around it, not
doubting to find the fanatics entrenched there; but, contrary to his
expectations, it was vacant. He then pushed on to Vauvert, from
Vauvert to Beauvoisin, from Beauvoisin to Generac, where he learned
that a troop of rebels had passed the night there, and in the morning
had left for Aubore. Resolved to give them no rest, M, de Broglie
set out at once for this village.

When half-way there, a member of his staff thought he could
distinguish a crowd of men near a house about half a league distant;
M. de Broglie instantly ordered Sieur de Gibertin, Captain Paul's
lieutenant, who was riding close by, at the head of his company, to
take eight dragoons and make a reconnaissance, in order to ascertain
who these men were, while the rest of the troops would make a halt.

This little band, led by its officer, crossed a clearing in the wood,
and advanced towards the farmhouse, which was called the Mas de
Gafarel, and which now seemed deserted. But when they were within
half a gun-shot of the wall the charge was sounded behind it, and a
band of rebels rushed towards them, while from a neighbouring house a
second troop emerged, and looking round, he perceived a third lying
on their faces in a small wood. These latter suddenly stood up and
approached him, singing psalms. As it was impossible for M. de
Gibertin to hold his ground against so large a force, he ordered two
shots to be fired as a warning to de Brogue to advance to meet him,
and fell back on his comrades. Indeed, the rebels had only pursued
him till they had reached a favourable position, on which they took
their stand.

M. de Brogue having surveyed the whole position with the aid of a
telescope, held a council of war, and it was decided that an attack
should be made forthwith. They therefore advanced on the rebels in
line: Captain Poul on the right, M. de Dourville on the left, and
Count Broglie in the centre.

As they got near they could see that the rebels had chosen their
ground with an amount of strategical sagacity they had never till
then displayed. This skill in making their dispositions was
evidently due to their having found a new leader whom no one knew,
not even Captain Poul, although they could see him at the head of his
men, carbine in hand.

However, these scientific preparations did not stop M. de Brogue: he
gave the order to charge, and adding example to precept, urged his
horse to a gallop. The rebels in the first rank knelt on one knee,
so that the rank behind could take aim, and the distance between the
two bodies of troops disappeared rapidly, thanks to the impetuosity
of the dragoons; but suddenly, when within thirty paces of the enemy,
the royals found themselves on the edge of a deep ravine which
separated them from the enemy like a moat. Some were able to check
their horses in time, but others, despite desperate efforts, pressed
upon by those behind, were pushed into the ravine, and rolled
helplessly to the bottom. At the same moment the order to fire was
given in a sonorous voice, there was a rattle of musketry, and
several dragoons near M. de Broglie fell.

"Forward!" cried Captain Poul, "forward!" and putting his horse at a
part of the ravine where the sides were less steep, he was soon
struggling up the opposite side, followed by a few dragoons.

"Death to the son of Belial!" cried the same voice which had given
the order to fire. At that moment a single shot rang out, Captain
Poul threw up his hands, letting his sabre go, and fell from his
horse, which instead of running away, touched his master with its
smoking nostrils, then lifting its head, neighed long and low. The
dragoons retreated.

"So perish all the persecutors of Israel!" cried the leader,
brandishing his carbine. He then dashed down into the ravine, picked
up Captain Poul's sabre and jumped upon his horse. The animal,
faithful to its old master, showed some signs of resistance, but soon
felt by the pressure of its rider's knees that it had to do with one
whom it could not readily unseat. Nevertheless, it reared and
bounded, but the horseman kept his seat, and as if recognising that
it had met its match, the noble animal tossed its head, neighed once
more, and gave in. While this was going on, a party of Camisards
[Name given to the insurgent Calvinists after the Revocation of the
Edict of Nantes.--Translator's Note.] and one of the dragoons had got
down into the ravine, which had in consequence been turned into a
battlefield; while those who remained above on either side took
advantage of their position to fire down at their enemies. M. de
Dourville, in command of the dragoons, fought among the others like a
simple soldier, and received a serious wound in the head; his men
beginning to lose ground, M. de Brogue tried to rally them, but
without avail, and while he was thus occupied his own troop ran away;
so seeing there was no prospect of winning the battle, he and a few
valiant men who had remained near him dashed forward to extricate M.
Dourville, who, taking advantage of the opening thus made, retreated,
his wound bleeding profusely. On the other hand, the Camisards
perceiving at some distance bodies of infantry coming up to reinforce
the royals, instead of pursuing their foes, contented themselves with
keeping up a thick and well-directed musketry-fire from the position
in which they had won such a quick and easy victory.

As soon as the royal forces were out of reach of their weapons, the
rebel chief knelt down and chanted the song the Israelites sang when,
having crossed the Red Sea in safety, they saw the army of Pharaoh
swallowed up in the waters, so that although no longer within reach
of bullets the defeated troops were still pursued by songs of
victory. Their thanksgivings ended, the Calvinists withdrew into the
forest, led by their new chief, who had at his first assay shown the
great extent of his knowledge, coolness, and courage.

This new chief, whose superiors were soon to become his lieutenants,
was the famous Jean Cavalier.

Jean Cavalier was then a young man of twenty-three, of less than
medium height, but of great strength. His face was oval, with
regular features, his eyes sparkling and beautiful; he had long
chestnut hair falling on his shoulders, and an expression of
remarkable sweetness. He was born in 1680 at Ribaute, a village in
the diocese of Alais, where his father had rented a small farm, which
he gave up when his son was about fifteen, coming to live at the farm
of St. Andeol, near Mende.

Young Cavalier, who was only a peasant and the son of a peasant,
began life as a shepherd at the Sieur de Lacombe's, a citizen of
Vezenobre, but as the lonely life dissatisfied a young man who was
eager for pleasure, Jean gave it up, and apprenticed himself to a
baker of Anduze.

There he developed a great love for everything connected with the
military; he spent all his free time watching the soldiers at their
drill, and soon became intimate with some of them, amongst others
with a fencing-master who gave him lessons, and a dragoon who taught
him to ride.

On a certain Sunday, as he was taking a walk with his sweetheart on
his arm, the young girl was insulted by a dragoon of the Marquis de
Florae's regiment. Jean boxed the dragoon's ears, who drew his
sword. Cavalier seized a sword from one of the bystanders, but the
combatants were prevented from fighting by Jean's friends. Hearing
of the quarrel, an officer hurried up: it was the Marquis de Florae
himself, captain of the regiment which bore his name; but when he
arrived on the scene he found, not the arrogant peasant who had dared
to attack a soldier of the king, but only the young girl, who had
fainted, the townspeople having persuaded her lover to decamp.

The young girl was so beautiful that she was commonly called la belle
Isabeau, and the Marquis de Florac, instead of pursuing Jean
Cavalier, occupied himself in reviving Isabeau.

As it was, however, a serious affair, and as the entire regiment had
sworn Cavalier's death, his friends advised him to leave the country
for a time. La belle Isabeau, trembling for the safety of her lover,
joined her entreaties to those of his friends, and Jean Cavalier
yielded. The young girl promised him inviolable fidelity, and he,
relying on this promise, went to Geneva.

There he made the acquaintance of a Protestant gentleman called Du
Serre, who having glass-works at the Mas Arritas, quite near the farm
of St. Andeol, had undertaken several times, at the request of Jean's
father, Jerome, to convey money to Jean; for Du Serre went very often
to Geneva, professedly on business affairs, but really in the
interests of the Reformed faith. Between the outlaw and the apostle
union was natural. Du Serre found in Cavalier a young man of robust
nature, active imagination, and irreproachable courage; he confided
to him his hopes of converting all Languedoc and Vivarais. Cavalier
felt himself drawn back there by many ties, especially by patriotism
and love. He crossed the frontier once more, disguised as a servant,
in the suite of a Protestant gentleman; he arrived one night at
Anduze, and immediately directed his steps to the house of Isabeau.

He was just about to knock, although it was one o'clock in the
morning, when the door was opened from within, and a handsome young
man came out, who took tender leave of a woman on the threshold. The
handsome young man was the Marquis de Florac; the woman was Isabeau.
The promised wife of the peasant had become the mistress of the

Our hero was not the man to suffer such an outrage quietly. He
walked straight up to the marquis and stood right in his way. The
marquis tried to push him aside with his elbow, but Jean Cavalier,
letting fall the cloak in which he was wrapped, drew his sword. The
marquis was brave, and did not stop to inquire if he who attacked him
was his equal or not. Sword answered sword, the blades crossed, and
at the end of a few instants the marquis fell, Jean's sword piercing
his chest.

Cavalier felt sure that he was dead, for he lay at his feet
motionless. He knew he had no time to lose, for he had no mercy to
hope for. He replaced his bloody sword in the scabbard, and made for
the open country; from the open country he hurried into the
mountains, and at break of day he was in safety.

The fugitive remained the whole day in an isolated farmhouse whose
inmates offered him hospitality. As he very soon felt that he was in
the house of a co-religionist, he confided to his host the
circumstances in which he found himself, and asked where he could
meet with an organised band in which he could enrol himself in order
to fight for the propagation of the Reformed religion. The farmer
mentioned Generac as being a place in which he would probably find a
hundred or so of the brethren gathered together. Cavalier set out
the same evening for this village, and arrived in the middle of the
Camisards at the very moment when they had just caught sight of M. de
Broglie and his troops in the distance. The Calvinists happening to
have no leader, Cavalier with governing faculty which some men
possess by nature, placed himself at their head and took those
measures for the reception of the royal forces of which we have seen
the result, so that after the victory to which his head and arm had
contributed so much he was confirmed in the title which he had
arrogated to himself, by acclamation.

Such was the famous Jean Cavalier when the Royalists first learned of
his existence, through the repulse of their bravest troops and the
death of their most intrepid captain.

The news of this victory soon spread through the Cevennes, and fresh
conflagrations lit up the mountains in sign of joy. The beacons were
formed of the chateau de la Bastide, the residence of the Marquis de
Chambonnas, the church of Samson, and the village of Grouppieres,
where of eighty houses only seven were left standing.

Thereupon M. de Julien wrote to the king, explaining the serious turn
things had taken, and telling him that it was no longer a few
fanatics wandering through the mountains and flying at the sight of a
dragoon whom they had to put down, but organised companies well led
and officered, which if united would form an army twelve to fifteen
hundred strong. The king replied by sending M. le Comte de Montrevel
to Nimes. He was the son of the Marechal de Montrevel, chevalier of
the Order of the Holy Spirit, major-general, lieutenant of the king
in Bresse and Charolais, and captain of a hundred men-at-arms.

In their struggle against shepherds, keepers, and peasants, M. de
Brogue, M. de Julien, and M. de Baville were thus joined together
with the head of the house of Beaune, which had already at this epoch
produced two cardinals, three archbishops, two bishops, a viceroy of
Naples, several marshals of France, and many governors of Savoy,
Dauphine, and Bresse.

He was followed by twenty pieces of ordnance, five thousand bullets,
four thousand muskets, and fifty thousand pounds of powder, all of
which was carried down the river Rhone, while six hundred of the
skilful mountain marksmen called 'miquelets' from Roussillon came
down into Languedoc.

M. de Montrevel was the bearer of terrible orders. Louis XIV was
determined, no matter what it cost, to root out heresy, and set about
this work as if his eternal salvation depended on it. As soon as M.
de Baville had read these orders, he published the following

"The king having been informed that certain people without religion
bearing arms have been guilty of violence, burning down churches and
killing priests, His Majesty hereby commands all his subjects to hunt
these people down, and that those who are taken with arms in their
hands or found amongst their bands, be punished with death without
any trial whatever, that their houses be razed to the ground and
their goods confiscated, and that all buildings in which assemblies
of these people have been held, be demolished. The king further
forbids fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, and other relations of
the fanatics, or of other rebels, to give them refuge, food, stores,
ammunition, or other assistance of any kind, under any pretext
whatever, either directly or indirectly, on pain of being reputed
accessory to the rebellion, and he commands the Sieur de Baville and
whatever officers he may choose to prosecute such and pronounce
sentence of death on them. Furthermore, His Majesty commands that
all the inhabitants of Languedoc who may be absent at the date of the
issue of this proclamation, return home within a week, unless their
absence be caused by legitimate business, in which case they shall
declare the same to the commandant, the Sieur de Montrevel, or to the
intendant, the Sieur de Baville, and also to the mayors and consuls
of the places where they may be, receiving from the latter
certificates that there is a sufficient reason for their delay, which
certificates they shall forward to the above-mentioned commandant or
intendant. And His Majesty furthermore commands the said commandant
and intendant to admit no foreigner or inhabitant of any other
province into Languedoc for commercial purposes or for any other
reason whatsoever, unless provided with certificates from the
commandants or intendants of the provinces whence they come, or from
the judges of the royal courts in the places whence they come, or
from the nearest place containing such courts. Foreigners must be
provided with passports from the ambassadors or ministers of the king
accredited to the countries to which they belong, or from the
commandants or intendants of the provinces, or from the judges of the
royal courts of the places in which they may be at the date of this
proclamation. Furthermore, it is His Majesty's will that those who
are found in the, aforesaid province of Languedoc without such
certificates be regarded as fanatics and rebels, and that they be
prosecuted as such, and punished with death, and that they be brought
for this purpose before the aforesaid Sieur de Baville or the
officers whom he may choose.



"Given at Versailles the 25th day, of the month of February 1703."

M. de Montrevel obeyed this proclamation to the letter. For
instance, one day--the 1st of April 1703--as he was seated at dinner
it was reported to him that about one hundred and fifty Reformers
were assembled in a mill at Carmes, outside Nimes, singing psalms.
Although he was told at the same time that the gathering was composed
entirely of old people and children, he was none the less furious,
and rising from the table, gave orders that the call to horse should
be sounded. Putting himself at the head of his dragoons, he advanced
on the mill, and before the Huguenots knew that they were about to be
attacked they were surrounded on every side. It was no combat which
ensued, for the Huguenots were incapable of resistance, it was simply
a massacre; a certain number of the dragoons entered the mill sword
in hand, stabbing all whom they could reach, whilst the rest of the
force stationed outside before the windows received those who jumped
out on the points of their swords. But soon this butchery tired the
butchers, and to get over the business more quickly, the marshal, who
was anxious to return to his dinner, gave orders that the mill should
be set on fire. This being done, the dragoons, the marshal still at
their head, no longer exerted themselves so violently, but were
satisfied with pushing back into the flames the few unfortunates who,
scorched and burnt, rushed out, begging only for a less cruel death.

Only one victim escaped. A beautiful young girl of sixteen was saved
by the marshal's valet: both were taken and condemned to death; the
young girl was hanged, and the valet was on the point of being
executed when some Sisters of Mercy from the town threw themselves at
the marshal's feet end begged for his life: after long supplication,
he granted their prayer, but he banished the valet not only from his
service, but from Nimes.

The very same evening at supper word was brought to the marshal that
another gathering had been discovered in a garden near the still
smoking mill. The indefatigable marshal again rose from table, and
taking with him his faithful dragoons, surrounded the garden, and
caught and shot on the spot all those who were assembled in it. The
next day it turned out that he had made a mistake: those whom he had
shot were Catholics who had gathered together to rejoice over the
execution of the Calvinists. It is true that they had assured the
marshal that they were Catholics, but he had refused to listen to
them. Let us, however, hasten to assure the reader that this mistake
caused no further annoyance to the marshal, except that he received a
paternal remonstrance from the Bishop of Nimes, begging him in future
not to confound the sheep with the wolves.

In requital of these bloody deeds, Cavalier took the chateau of
Serras, occupied the town of Sauve, formed a company of horse, and
advancing to Nimes, took forcible possession of sufficient ammunition
for his purposes. Lastly, he did something which in the eyes of the
courtiers seemed the most incredible thing of all, he actually wrote
a long letter to Louis XIV himself. This letter was dated from the
"Desert, Cevennes," and signed "Cavalier, commander of the troops
sent by God"; its purpose was to prove by numerous passages from Holy
Writ that Cavalier and his comrades had been led to revolt solely
from a sense of duty, feeling that liberty of conscience was their
right; and it dilated on the subject of the persecutions under which
Protestants had suffered, and asserted that it was the infamous
measures put in force against them which had driven them to take up
arms, which they were ready to lay down if His Majesty would grant
them that liberty in matters of religion which they sought and if he
would liberate all who were in prison for their faith. If this were
accorded, he assured the king His Majesty would have no more faithful
subjects than themselves, and would henceforth be ready to shed their
last drop of blood in his service, and wound up by saying that if
their just demands were refused they would obey God rather than the
king, and would defend their religion to their last breath.

Roland, who, whether in mockery or pride, began now to call himself
"Comte Roland," did not lag behind his young brother either as
warrior or correspondent. He had entered the town of Ganges, where a
wonderful reception awaited him; but not feeling sure that he would
be equally well received at St. Germain and St. Andre, he had written
the following letters:--

"Gentlemen and officers of the king's forces, and citizens of St.
Germain, make ready to receive seven hundred troops who have vowed to
set Babylon on fire; the seminary and the houses of MM. de Fabregue,
de Sarrasin, de Moles, de La Rouviere, de Musse, and de Solier, will
be burnt to the ground. God, by His Holy Spirit, has inspired my
brother Cavalier and me with the purpose of entering your town in a
few days; however strongly you fortify yourselves, the children of
God will bear away the victory. If ye doubt this, come in your
numbers, ye soldiers of St. Etienne, Barre, and Florac, to the field
of Domergue; we shall be there to meet you. Come, ye hypocrites, if
your hearts fail not.


The second letter was no less violent. It was as follows:--

"We, Comte Roland, general of the Protestant troops of France
assembled in the Cevennes in Languedoc, enjoin on the inhabitants of
the town of St. Andre of Valborgne to give proper notice to all
priests and missionaries within it, that we forbid them to say mass
or to preach in the afore-mentioned town, and that if they will avoid
being burnt alive with their adherents in their churches and houses,
they are to withdraw to some other place within three days.


Unfortunately for the cause of the king, though the rebels met with
some resistance in the villages of the plain, such as St. Germain and
St. Andre, it was otherwise with those situated in the mountains; in
those, when beaten, the Protestants found cover, when victorious
rest; so that M. de Montrevel becoming aware that while these
villages existed heresy would never be extirpated, issued the
following ordinance:--

"We, governor for His most Christian Majesty in the provinces of
Languedoc and Vivarais, do hereby make known that it has pleased the
king to command us to reduce all the places and parishes hereinafter
named to such a condition that they can afford no assistance to the
rebel troops; no inhabitants will therefore be allowed to remain in
them. His Majesty, however, desiring to provide for the subsistence
of the afore-mentioned inhabitants, orders them to conform to the
following regulations. He enjoins on the afore-mentioned inhabitants
of the hereinafter-mentioned parishes to repair instantly to the
places hereinafter appointed, with their furniture, cattle, and in
general all their movable effects, declaring that in case of
disobedience their effects will be confiscated and taken away by the
troops employed to demolish their houses. And it is hereby forbidden
to any other commune to receive such rebels, under pain of having
their houses also razed to the ground and their goods confiscated,
and furthermore being regarded and treated as rebels to the commands
of His Majesty."

To this proclamation were appended the following instructions:--

"I. The officers who may be appointed to perform the above task
shall first of all make themselves acquainted with the position of
the parishes and villages which are to be destroyed and depopulated,
in order to an effective disposition of the troops, who are to guard
the militia engaged in the work of destruction.

"II. The attention of the officers is called to the following:--
When two or more villages or hamlets are so near together that they
may be protected at the same time by the same troops, then in order
to save time the work is to be carried on simultaneously in such
villages or hamlets.

"III. When inhabitants are found still remaining in any of the
proscribed places, they are to be brought together, and a list made
of them, as well as an inventory taken of their stock and corn.

"IV. Those inhabitants who are of the most consequence among them
shall be selected to guide the others to the places assigned.

"V. With regard to the live stock, the persons who may be found in
charge of it shall drive it to the appointed place, save and except
mules and asses, which shall be employed in the transport of corn to
whatever places it may be needed in. Nevertheless, asses may be
given to the very old, and to women with child who may be unable to

"VI. A regular distribution of the militia is to be made, so that
each house to be destroyed may have a sufficient number, for the
task; the foundations of such houses may be undermined or any other
method employed which may be most convenient; and if the house can be
destroyed by no other means, it is to be set on fire.

"VII. No damage is to be done to the houses of former Catholics
until further notice, and to ensure the carrying out of this order a
guard is to be placed in them, and an inventory of their contents
taken and sent to Marechal de Montrevel.

"VIII. The order forbidding the inhabitants to return to their
houses is to be read to the inhabitants of each village; but if any
do return they shall not be harmed, but simply driven away with
threats; for the king does not desire that blood be shed; and the
said order shall be affixed to a wall or tree in each village.

"IX. Where no inhabitants are found, the said order shall simply be
affixed as above-mentioned in each place.


Under these instructions the list of the villages to be destroyed was
given. It was as follows:

18 in the parish of Frugeres,
5 " " Fressinet-de-Lozere,
4 " " Grizac,
15 " " Castagnols,
11 " " Vialas,
6 " " Saint-Julien,
8 " " Saint-Maurice de Vantalon,
14 " " Frezal de Vantalon,
7 " " Saint-Hilaire de Laret,
6 " " Saint-Andeol de Clergues,
28 " " Saint-Privat de Vallongues,
10 " " Saint-Andre de Lancise,
19 " " Saint-Germain de Calberte,
26 " " Saint-Etienne de Valfrancesque,
9 " " parishes of Prunet and Montvaillant,
16 " " parish of Florac.

A second list was promised, and was shortly afterwards published: it
included the parishes of Frugeres, Pompidon, Saint-Martin, Lansuscle,
Saint-Laurent, Treves, Vebron, Ronnes, Barre, Montluzon, Bousquet, La
Barthes, Balme, Saint-Julien d'Aspaon Cassagnas, Sainte-Croix de
Valfrancesque, Cabriac, Moissac, Saint-Roman, Saint Martin de Robaux,
La Melouse, le Collet de Deze, Saint-Michel de Deze, and the villages
of Salieges, Rampon, Ruas, Chavrieres, Tourgueselle, Ginestous,
Fressinet, Fourques, Malbos, Jousanel, Campis, Campredon,
Lous-Aubrez, La Croix de Fer, Le Cap de Coste, Marquayres, Le
Cazairal, and Le Poujal.

In all, 466 market towns, hamlets, and villages, with 19,500
inhabitants, were included.

All these preparations made Marechal de Montrevel set out for Aix,
September 26th, 1703, in order that the work might be carried out
under his personal supervision. He was accompanied by MM. de
Vergetot and de Marsilly, colonels of infantry, two battalions of the
Royal-Comtois, two of the Soissonnais infantry, the Languedoc
regiment of dragoons, and two hundred dragoons from the Fimarcon
regiment. M. de Julien, on his side, set out for the Pont-de-
Montvert at the same time with two battalions from Hainault,
accompanied by the Marquis of Canillac, colonel of infantry, who
brought two battalions of his own regiment, which was stationed in
Rouergue, with him, and Comte de Payre, who brought fifty-five
companies of militia from Gevaudan, and followed by a number of mules
loaded with crowbars, axes, and other iron instruments necessary for
pulling down houses.

The approach of all these troops following close on the terrible
proclamations we have given above, produced exactly the contrary
effect to that intended. The inhabitants of the proscribed districts
were convinced that the order to gather together in certain places
was given that they might be conveniently massacred together, so that
all those capable of bearing arms went deeper into the mountains, and
joined the forces of Cavalier and Roland, thus reinforcing them to
the number of fifteen hundred men. Also hardly had M. de Julien set
his hand to the work than he received information from M. de
Montrevel, who had heard the news through a letter from Flechier,
that while the royal troops were busy in the mountains the Camisards
had come down into the plain, swarmed over La Camargue, and had been
seen in the neighbourhood of Saint-Gilles. At the same time word was
sent him that two ships had been seen in the offing, from Cette, and
that it was more than probable that they contained troops, that
England and Holland were sending to help the Camisards.

M. de Montrevel; leaving the further conduct of the expedition to MM.
de Julien and de Canillac, hastened to Cette with eight hundred men
and ten guns. The ships were still in sight, and were really, as had
been surmised, two vessels which had been detached from the combined
fleets of England and Holland by Admiral Schowel, and were the
bearers of money, arms, and ammunition to the Huguenots. They
continued to cruise about and signal, but as the rebels were forced
by the presence of M. de Montrevel to keep away from the coast, and
could therefore make no answer, they put off at length into the open,
and rejoined the fleet. As M. de Montrevel feared that their retreat
might be a feint, he ordered all the fishermen's huts from
Aigues-Morte to Saint-Gilles to be destroyed, lest they should afford
shelter to the Camisards. At the same time he carried off the
inhabitants of the district of Guillan and shut them up in the
chateau of Sommerez, after having demolished their villages. Lastly,
he ordered all those who lived in homesteads, farms, or hamlets, to
quit them and go to some large town, taking with them all the
provisions they were possessed of; and he forbade any workman who
went outside the town to work to take more than one day's provisions
with him.

These measures had the desired effect, but they were terrible in
their results; they deprived the Camisards of shelter indeed, but
they ruined the province. M. de Baville, despite his well-known
severity tried remonstrances, but they were taken in bad part by M.
de Montrevel, who told the intendant to mind his own business, which
was confined to civil matters, and to leave military matters in his,
M. de Montrevel's, hands; whereupon the commandant joined M. de
Julien, who was carrying on the work of destruction with
indefatigable vigour.

In spite of all the enthusiasm with which M. de Julien went to work
to accomplish his mission, and being a new convert, it was, of
course, very great. Material hindrances hampered him at every step.
Almost all the doomed houses were built on vaulted foundations, and
were therefore difficult to lay low; the distance of one house from
another, too, their almost inaccessible position, either on the peak
of a high mountain or in the bottom of a rocky valley, or buried in
the depths of the forest which hid then like a veil, made the
difficulty still greater; whole days were often lost by the workmen
and militia in searching for the dwellings they came to destroy.

The immense size of the parishes also caused delay: that of
Saint-Germain de Calberte, for instance, was nine leagues in
circumference, and contained a hundred and eleven hamlets, inhabited
by two hundred and seventy-five families, of which only nine were
Catholic; that of Saint-Etienne de Valfrancesque was of still greater
extent, and its population was a third larger, so that obstacles to
the work multiplied in a remarkable manner. For the first few days
the soldiers and workmen found food in and around the villages, but
this was soon at an end, and as they could hardly expect the peasants
to keep up the supply, and the provisions they had brought with them
being also exhausted, they were soon reduced to biscuit and water;
and they were not even able to make it into a warm mess by heating
the water, as they had no vessels; moreover, when their hard day's
work was at an end, they had but a handful of straw on which to lie.
These privations, added to their hard and laborious life, brought on
an endemic fever, which incapacitated for work many soldiers and
labourers, numbers of whom had to be dismissed. Very soon the
unfortunate men, who were almost as much to be pitied as those whom
they were persecuting, waited no longer to be sent away, but deserted
in numbers.

M. de Julien soon saw that all his efforts would end in failure if he
could not gain the king's consent to a slight change in the original
plan. He therefore wrote to Versailles, and represented to the king
how long the work would take if the means employed were only iron
tools and the human hand, instead of fire, the only true instrument
employed by Heaven in its vengeance. He quoted in support of his
petition the case of Sodom and Gomorrah--those cities accursed of the
Lord. Louis XIV, impressed by the truth of this comparison, sent him
back a messenger post-haste authorising him to employ the suggested

"At once," says Pere Louvreloeil, "the storm burst, and soon of all
the happy homesteads nothing was left: the hamlets, with their barns
and outhouses, the isolated farmhouses, the single huts and cottages,
every species of building in short, disappeared before the swift
advancing flames as wild flowers, weeds, and roots fall before the

This destruction was accompanied by horrible cruelty. For instance,
twenty-five inhabitants of a certain village took refuge in a
chateau; the number consisted of children and very old people, and
they were all that was left of the entire population. Palmerolle, in
command of the miquelets, hearing of this, hastened thither, seized
the first eight he could lay hold of, and shot them on the spot, "to
teach them," as he says in his report, "not to choose a shelter which
was not on the list of those permitted to them."

The Catholics also of St. Florent, Senechas, Rousson, and other
parishes, becoming excited at seeing the flames which enveloped the
houses of their old enemies, joined together, and arming themselves
with everything that could be made to serve as an instrument of
death, set out to hunt the conscripts down; they carried off the
flocks of Perolat, Fontareche, and Pajolas, burned down a dozen
houses at the Collet-de-Deze, and from there went to the village of
Brenoux, drunk with the lust of destruction. There they massacred
fifty-two persons, among them mothers with unborn children; and with
these babes, which they tore from them, impaled on their pikes and
halberts, they continued their march towards the villages of St.
Denis and Castagnols.

Very soon these volunteers organised themselves into companies, and
became known under the name of Cadets de la Croix, from a small white
cross which they wore on their coats; so the poor Huguenots had a new
species of enemy to contend with, much more bloodthirsty than the
dragoons and the miquelets; for while these latter simply obeyed
orders from Versailles, Nimes, or Montpellier, the former gratified a
personal hate--a hate which had come down to them from their fathers,
and which they would pass on to their children.

On the other hand, the young Huguenot leader, who every day gained
more influence over his soldiers, tried to make the dragoons and
Cadets de la Croix suffer in return everything they inflicted on the
Huguenots, except the murders. In the night from the 2nd to the 3rd
October, about ten o'clock, he came down into the plain and attacked
Sommieres from two different points, setting fire to the houses. The
inhabitants seizing their arms, made a sortie, but Cavalier charged
them at the head of the Cavalry and forced them to retreat. Thereupon
the governor, whose garrison was too small to leave the shelter of
the walls, turned his guns on them and fired, less in the hope of
inflicting injury on them than in that of being heard by the
neighbouring garrisons.

The Camisards recognising this danger, retired, but not before they
had burnt down the hotels of the Cheval-Blanc, the Croix-d'Or, the
Grand-Louis, and the Luxembourg, as well as a great number of other
houses, and the church and the presbytery of Saint-Amand.

Thence the Camisards proceeded to Cayla and Vauvert, into which they
entered, destroying the fortifications. There they provided
themselves abundantly with provisions for man and beast. In Vauvert,
which was almost entirely inhabited by his co-religionists, Cavalier
assembled the inhabitants in the market-place, and made them join
with him in prayer to God, that He would prevent the king from
following evil counsel; he also exhorted his brethren to be ready to
sacrifice their goods and their lives for the re-establishment of
their religion, affirming that the Holy Spirit had revealed to him
that the arm of the Lord, which had always come to their aid, was
still stretched out over them.

Cavalier undertook these movements in the hope of interrupting the
work of destruction going on in Upper Cevennes; and partly obtained
the desired result; for M. de Julien received orders to come down
into the open country and disperse the Camisards.

The troops tried to fulfil this task, but, thanks to the knowledge
that the rebels had of the country, it was impossible to come up with
them, so that Fleshier, who was in the thick of the executions,
conflagrations, and massacres, but who still found time to write
Latin verse and gallant letters, said, in speaking of them, "They
were never caught, and did all the damage they wished to do without
let or hindrance. We laid their mountains waste, and they laid waste
our plain. There are no more churches left in our dioceses, and not
being able either to plough or sow our lands, we have no revenues.
We dread serious revolt, and desire to avoid a religious civil war;
so all our efforts are relaxing, we let our arms fall without knowing
why, and we are told, 'You must have patience; it is not possible to
fight against phantoms.'" Nevertheless, from time to time, these
phantoms became visible. Towards the end of October, Cavalier came
down to Uzes, carried off two sentinels who were guarding the gates,
and hearing the call to arms within, shouted that he would await the
governor of the city, M. de Vergetot, near Lussan.

And indeed Cavalier, accompanied by his two lieutenants, Ravanel and
Catinat, took his way towards this little town, between Uzes and
Bargeac, which stands upon an eminence surrounded upon all sides by
cliffs, which serve it as ramparts and render it very difficult of
access. Having arrived within three gun-shots of Lussan, Cavalier
sent Ravanel to demand provisions from the inhabitants; but they,
proud of their natural ramparts, and believing their town
impregnable, not only refused to comply with the requisition, but
fired several shots on the envoy, one of which wounded in the arm a
Camisard of the name of La Grandeur, who had accompanied Ravanel.
Ravanel withdrew, supporting his wounded comrade, followed by shots
and the hootings of the inhabitants. When they rejoined Cavalier and
made their report, the young commander issued orders to his soldiers
to make ready to take the town the next morning; for, as night was
already falling, he did not venture to start in the dark. In the
meantime the besieged sent post-haste to M. de Vergetot to warn him
of their situation; and resolving to defend themselves as long as
they could, while waiting for a response to their message they set
about barricading their gates, turned their scythes into weapons,
fastened large hooks on long poles, and collected all the instruments
they could find that could be used in attack or defence. As to the
Camisards, they encamped for the night near an old chateau called
Fan, about a gun-shot from Lussan.

At break of day loud shouts from the town told the Camisards that the
expected relief was in sight, and looking out they saw in the
distance a troop of soldiers advancing towards them; it was M. de
Vergetat at the head of his regiment, accompanied by forty Irish

The Protestants prepared themselves, as usual, by reciting psalms and
prayers, notice without taking of the shouts and threats of any of
the townspeople, and having finished their invocations, they marched
out to meet the approaching column. The cavalry, commanded by
Catinat, made a detour, taking a sheltered way to an unguarded bridge
over a small river not far off, so as to outflank the royal forces,
which they were to attack in the rear as soon as Cavalier and Ravanel
should have engaged them in front.

M. de Vergetot, on his side, continued to advance, so that the
Calvinists and the Catholics were soon face to face. The battle
began on both sides by a volley; but Cavalier having seen his cavalry
emerging from a neighbouring wood, and counting upon their
assistance, charged the enemy at the double quick. Catinat judging
by the noise of the firing that his presence was necessary, charged
also at a gallop, falling on the flank of the Catholics.

In this charge, one of M. de Vergetot's captains was killed by a
bullet, and the other by a sabre-cut, and the grenadiers falling into
disorder, first lost ground and then fled, pursued by Catinat and his
horsemen, who, seizing them by the hair, despatched them with their
swords. Having tried in vain to rally his men, M, de Vergetot,
surrounded by a few Irish, was forced in his turn to fly; he was
hotly pursued, and on the point of being taken, when by good luck he
reached the height of Gamene, with its walls of rock. Jumping off
his horse, he entered the narrow pathway which led to the top, and
entrenched himself with about a hundred men in this natural fort.
Cavalier perceiving that further pursuit would be dangerous, resolved
to rest satisfied with his victory; as he knew by his own experience
that neither men nor horses had eaten for eighteen hours, he gave the
signal far retreat, and retired on Seyne, where he hoped to find

This defeat mortified the royal forces very deeply, and they resolved
to take their revenge. Having learnt by their spies that on a
certain night in November Cavalier arid his band intended to sleep on
a mountain called Nages, they surrounded the mountain during the
night, so that at dawn Cavalier found himself shut in on every side.
As he wished to see with his own eyes if the investment was complete,
he ordered his troops to fall into rank on the top of the mountain,
giving the command to Ravanel and Catinat, and with a pair of pistols
in his belt and his carbine on his shoulder, he glided from bush to
bush and rock to rock, determined, if any weak spot existed, to
discover it; but the information he had received was perfectly
correct, every issue was guarded.

Cavalier now set off to rejoin his troops, passing through a ravine,
but he had hardly taken thirty steps when he found himself confronted
by a cornet and two dragoons who were lying in ambush. There was no
time to run away, and indeed such a thought never entered the young
commander's head; he walked straight up to them. On their side, the
dragoons advanced towards him, and the cornet covering him with his
pistol, called out, "Halt! you are Cavalier; I know you. It is not
possible for you to escape; surrender at discretion." Cavalier's
answer was to blow out the cornet's brains with a shot from his
carbine, then throwing it behind him as of no further use, he drew
his two pistols from his belt, walked up to the two dragoons, shot
them both dead, and rejoined his comrades unwounded. These, who had
believed him lost, welcomed him with cheers.

But Cavalier had something else to do than to celebrate his return;
mounting his horse, he put himself at the head of his men, and fell
upon the royal troops with such impetuosity that they gave way at the
first onset. Then a strange incident occurred. About thirty women
who had come to the camp with provisions, carried away by their
enthusiasm at the sight of this success, threw themselves upon the
enemy, fighting like men. One young girl of about seventeen, Lucrese
Guigon by name, distinguished herself amongst the others by her great
valour. Not content with encouraging her brethren by the cry of "The
sword of the Lord and of Gideon!" she tore sabres from the hands of
the dead dragoons to despatch the dying. Catinat, followed by ten of
his men, pursued the flying troops as far as the plain of Calvisson.
There they were able to rally, thanks to the advance of the garrison
to meet them.

Eighty dragoons lay dead on the field of battle, while Cavalier had
only lost five men.

As we shall see, Cavalier was not only a brave soldier and a skilful
captain, but also a just judge. A few days after the deed of arms
which we have just related, he learned that a horrible murder had
been committed by four Camisards, who had then retired into the
forest of Bouquet. He sent a detachment of twenty men with orders to
arrest the murderers and bring them before him. The following are
the details of the crime:

The daughter of Baron Meyrargues, who was not long married to a
gentleman named M. de Miraman, had set out on the 29th November for
Ambroix to join her husband, who was waiting for her there. She was
encouraged to do this by her coachman, who had often met with
Camisards in the neighbourhood, and although a Catholic, had never
received any harm from them. She occupied her own carriage, and was
accompanied by a maid, a nurse, a footman, and the coachman who had
persuaded her to undertake the journey. Two-thirds of the way
already lay safely behind them, when between Lussan and Vaudras she
was stopped by four, men, who made her get out of her carriage and
accompany them into the neighbouring forest. The account of what
then happened is taken from the deposition of the maid. We copy it
word for word:

"These wretches having forced us," says she, "to walk into the forest
till we were at some distance from the high road, my poor mistress
grew so tired that she begged the man who walked beside her to allow
her to lean on his shoulder. He looking round and seeing that they
had reached a lonely spot, replied, 'We need hardly go any farther,'
and made us sit dawn on a plot of grass which was to be the scene of
our martyrdom. My poor mistress began to plead with the barbarians
in the most touching manner, and so sweetly that she would have
softened the heart of a demon. She offered them her purse, her gold
waistband, and a fine diamond which she drew from her finger; but
nothing could move these tigers, and one of them said, 'I am going to
kill all the Catholics at once, and shall be gin with you.' 'What
will you gain by my death?' asked my mistress. 'Spare my life.'--
'No; shut up!' replied he. 'You shall die by my hand. Say your
prayers.' My good mistress threw herself at once on her knees and
prayed aloud that God would show mercy to her and to her murderers,
and while she was thus praying she received a pistol-shot in her left
breast, and fell; a second assassin cut her across the face with his
sword, and a third dropped a large stone on her head, while the
fourth killed the nurse with a shot from his pistol. Whether it was
that they had no more loaded firearms, or that they wished to save
their ammunition, they were satisfied with only giving me several
bayonet wounds. I pretended to be dead: they thought it was really
the case, and went away. Some time after, seeing that everything had
become quiet, and hearing no sound, I dragged myself, dying as I was,
to where my dear mistress lay, and called her. As it happened, she
was not quite dead, and she said in a faint voice, 'Stay with me,
Suzon, till I die.' She added, after a short pause, for she was
hardly able to speak, 'I die for my religion, and I hope that God
will have pity on me. Tell my husband that I confide our little one
to his care.' Having said this, she turned her thoughts from the
world, praying to God in broken and tender words, and drew her last

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