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Massacres of the South by Alexandre Dumas, Pere

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by Alexandre Dumas, Pere


It is possible that our reader, whose recollections may perhaps go
back as far as the Restoration, will be surprised at the size of the
frame required for the picture we are about to bring before him,
embracing as it does two centuries and a half; but as everything has
its precedent, every river its source, every volcano its central
fire, so it is that the spot of earth on which we are going to fix
our eyes has been the scene of action and reaction, revenge and
retaliation, till the religious annals of the South resemble an
account-book kept by double entry, in which fanaticism enters the
profits of death, one side being written with the blood of Catholics,
the other with that of Protestants.

In the great political and religious convulsions of the South, the
earthquake-like throes of which were felt even in the capital, Nimes
has always taken the central place; Nimes will therefore be the pivot
round which our story will revolve, and though we may sometimes leave
it for a moment, we shall always return thither without fail.

Nimes was reunited to France by Louis VIII, the government being
taken from its vicomte, Bernard Athon VI, and given to consuls in the
year 1207. During the episcopate of Michel Briconnet the relics of
St. Bauzile were discovered, and hardly were the rejoicings over this
event at an end when the new doctrines began to spread over France.
It was in the South that the persecutions began, and in 1551 several
persons were publicly burnt as heretics by order of the Seneschal's
Court at Nimes, amongst whom was Maurice Secenat, a missionary from
the Cevennes, who was taken in the very act of preaching.
Thenceforth Nimes rejoiced in two martyrs and two patron saints, one
revered by the Catholics, and one by the Protestants; St. Bauzile,
after reigning as sole protector for twenty-four years, being forced
to share the honours of his guardianship with his new rival.

Maurice Secenat was followed as preacher by Pierre de Lavau; these
two names being still remembered among the crowd of obscure and
forgotten martyrs. He also was put to death on the Place de la
Salamandre, all the difference being that the former was burnt and
the latter hanged.

Pierre de Lavau was attended in his last moments by Dominique Deyron,
Doctor of Theology; but instead of, as is usual, the dying man being
converted by the priest, it was the priest who was converted by de
Lavau, and the teaching which it was desired should be suppressed
burst forth again. Decrees were issued against Dominique Deyron; he
was pursued and tracked down, and only escaped the gibbet by fleeing
to the mountains.

The mountains are the refuge of all rising or decaying sects; God has
given to the powerful on earth city, plain, and sea, but the
mountains are the heritage of the oppressed.

Persecution and proselytism kept pace with each other, but the blood
that was shed produced the usual effect: it rendered the soil on
which it fell fruitful, and after two or three years of struggle,
during which two or three hundred Huguenots had been burnt or hanged,
Nimes awoke one morning with a Protestant majority. In 1556 the
consuls received a sharp reprimand on account of the leaning of the
city towards the doctrines of the Reformation; but in 1557, one short
year after this admonition, Henri II was forced to confer the office
of president of the Presidial Court on William de Calviere, a
Protestant. At last a decision of the senior judge having declared
that it was the duty of the consuls to sanction the execution of
heretics by their presence, the magistrates of the city protested
against this decision, and the power of the Crown was insufficient to
carry it out.

Henri II dying, Catherine de Medicis and the Guises took possession
of the throne in the name of Francois II. There is a moment when
nations can always draw a long breath, it is while their kings are
awaiting burial; and Nimes took advantage of this moment on the death
of Henri II, and on September 29th, 1559, Guillaume Moget founded the
first Protestant community.

Guillaume Moget came from Geneva. He was the spiritual son of
Calvin, and came to Nimes with the firm purpose of converting all the
remaining Catholics or of being hanged. As he was eloquent,
spirited, and wily, too wise to be violent, ever ready to give and
take in the matter of concessions, luck was on his side, and
Guillaume Moget escaped hanging.

The moment a rising sect ceases to be downtrodden it becomes a queen,
and heresy, already mistress of three-fourths of the city, began to
hold up its head with boldness in the streets. A householder called
Guillaume Raymond opened his house to the Calvinist missionary, and
allowed him to preach in it regularly to all who came, and the
wavering were thus confirmed in the new faith. Soon the house became
too narrow to contain the crowds which flocked thither to imbibe the
poison of the revolutionary doctrine, and impatient glances fell on
the churches.

Meanwhile the Vicomte de Joyeuse, who had just been appointed
governor of Languedoc in the place of M. de Villars, grew uneasy at
the rapid progress made by the Protestants, who so far from trying to
conceal it boasted of it; so he summoned the consuls before him,
admonished them sharply in the king's name, and threatened to quarter
a garrison in the town which would soon put an end to these
disorders. The consuls promised to stop the evil without the aid of
outside help, and to carry out their promise doubled the patrol and
appointed a captain of the town whose sole duty was to keep order in
the streets. Now this captain whose office had been created solely
for the repression of heresy, happened to be Captain Bouillargues,
the most inveterate Huguenot who ever existed.

The result of this discriminating choice was that Guillaume Moget
began to preach, and once when a great crowd had gathered in a garden
to hear him hold forth, heavy rain came on, and it became necessary
for the people either to disperse or to seek shelter under a roof.
As the preacher had just reached the most interesting part of his
sermon, the congregation did not hesitate an instant to take the
latter alternative. The Church of St. Etienne du Capitole was quite
near: someone present suggested that this building, if not the most
suitable, as at least the most spacious for such a gathering.

The idea was received with acclamation: the rain grew heavier, the
crowd invaded the church, drove out the priests, trampled the Holy
Sacrament under foot, and broke the sacred images. This being
accomplished, Guillaume Moget entered the pulpit, and resumed his
sermon with such eloquence that his hearers' excitement redoubled,
and not satisfied with what had already been done, rushed off to
seize on the Franciscan monastery, where they forthwith installed
Moget and the two women, who, according to Menard the historian of
Languedoc, never left him day or night; all which proceedings were
regarded by Captain Bouillargues with magnificent calm.

The consuls being once more summoned before M. de Villars, who had
again become governor, would gladly have denied the existence of
disorder; but finding this impossible, they threw themselves on his
mercy. He being unable to repose confidence in them any longer, sent
a garrison to the citadel of Nimes, which the municipality was
obliged to support, appointed a governor of the city with four
district captains under him, and formed a body of military police
which quite superseded the municipal constabulary. Moget was
expelled from Nimes, and Captain Bouillargues deprived of office.

Francis II dying in his turn, the usual effect was produced,--that
is, the persecution became less fierce,--and Moget therefore returned
to Nimes. This was a victory, and every victory being a step
forward, the triumphant preacher organised a Consistory, and the
deputies of Nimes demanded from the States-General of Orleans
possession of the churches. No notice was taken of this demand; but
the Protestants were at no loss how to proceed. On the 21st December
1561 the churches of Ste. Eugenie, St. Augustin, and the Cordeliers
were taken by assault, and cleared of their images in a hand's turn;
and this time Captain Bouillargues was not satisfied with looking on,
but directed the operations.

The cathedral was still safe, and in it were entrenched the remnant
of the Catholic clergy; but it was apparent that at the earliest
opportunity it too would be turned into a meeting-house; and this
opportunity was not long in coming.

One Sunday, when Bishop Bernard d'Elbene had celebrated mass, just as
the regular preacher was about to begin his sermon, some children who
were playing in the close began to hoot the 'beguinier' [a name of
contempt for friars]. Some of the faithful being disturbed in their
meditations, came out of the church and chastised the little
Huguenots, whose parents considered themselves in consequence to have
been insulted in the persons of their children. A great commotion
ensued, crowds began to form, and cries of "To the church! to the
church!" were heard. Captain Bouillargues happened to be in the
neighbourhood, and being very methodical set about organising the
insurrection; then putting himself at its head, he charged the
cathedral, carrying everything before him, in spite of the barricades
which had been hastily erected by the Papists. The assault was over
in a few moments; the priests and their flock fled by one door, while
the Reformers entered by another. The building was in the twinkling
of an eye adapted to the new form of worship: the great crucifix from
above the altar was dragged about the streets at the end of a rope
and scourged at every cross-roads. In the evening a large fire was
lighted in the place before the cathedral, and the archives of the
ecclesiastical and religious houses, the sacred images, the relics of
the saints, the decorations of the altar, the sacerdotal vestments,
even the Host itself, were thrown on it without any remonstrance from
the consuls; the very wind which blew upon Nimes breathed heresy.

For the moment Nimes was in full revolt, and the spirit of
organisation spread: Moget assumed the titles of pastor and minister
of the Christian Church. Captain Bouillargues melted down the sacred
vessels of the Catholic churches, and paid in this manner the
volunteers of Nimes and the German mercenaries; the stones of the
demolished religious houses were used in the construction of
fortifications, and before anyone thought of attacking it the city
was ready for a siege. It was at this moment that Guillaume
Calviere, who was at the head of the Presidial Court, Moget being
president of the Consistory, and Captain Bouillargues
commander-in-chief of the armed forces, suddenly resolved to create a
new authority, which, while sharing the powers hitherto vested solely
in the consuls, should be, even more than they, devoted to Calvin:
thus the office of les Messieurs came into being. This was neither
more nor less than a committee of public safety, and having been
formed in the stress of revolution it acted in a revolutionary
spirit, absorbing the powers of the consuls, and restricting the
authority of the Consistory to things spiritual. In the meantime the
Edict of Amboise was promulgated, and it was announced that the
king, Charles IX, accompanied by Catherine de Medicis, was going to
visit his loyal provinces in the South.

Determined as was Captain Bouillargues, for once he had to give way,
so strong was the party against him; therefore, despite the murmurs
of the fanatics, the city of Nimes resolved, not only to open its
gates to its sovereign, but to give him such a reception as would
efface the bad impression which Charles might have received from the
history of recent events. The royal procession was met at the Pont
du Gare, where young girls attired as nymphs emerged from a grotto
bearing a collation, which they presented to their Majesties, who
graciously and heartily partook of it. The repast at an end, the
illustrious travellers resumed their progress; but the imagination of
the Nimes authorities was not to be restrained within such narrow
bounds: at the entrance to the city the king found the Porte de la
Couronne transformed into a mountain-side, covered with vines and
olive trees, under which a shepherd was tending his flock. As the
king approached the mountain parted as if yielding to the magic of
his power, the most beautiful maidens and the most noble came out to
meet their sovereign, presenting him the keys of the city wreathed
with flowers, and singing to the accompaniment of the shepherd's
pipe. Passing through the mountain, Charles saw chained to a palm
tree in the depths of a grotto a monster crocodile from whose jaws
issued flames: this was a representation of the old coat of arms
granted to the city by Octavius Caesar Augustus after the battle of
Actium, and which Francis I had restored to it in exchange for a
model in silver of the amphitheatre presented to him by the city.
Lastly, the king found in the Place de la Salamandre numerous
bonfires, so that without waiting to ask if these fires were made
from the remains of the faggots used at the martyrdom of Maurice
Secenat, he went to bed very much pleased with the reception accorded
him by his good city of Nimes, and sure that all the unfavourable
reports he had heard were calumnies.

Nevertheless, in order that such rumours, however slight their
foundation, should not again be heard, the king appointed Damville
governor of Languedoc, installing him himself in the chief city of
his government; he then removed every consul from his post without
exception, and appointed in their place Guy-Rochette, doctor and
lawyer; Jean Beaudan, burgess; Francois Aubert, mason; and Cristol
Ligier, farm labourer--all Catholics. He then left for Paris, where
a short time after he concluded a treaty with the Calvinists, which
the people with its gift of prophecy called "The halting peace of
unsure seat," and which in the end led to the massacre of St.

Gracious as had been the measures taken by the king to secure the
peace of his good city of Nimes, they had nevertheless been
reactionary; consequently the Catholics, feeling the authorities were
now on their side, returned in crowds: the householders reclaimed
their houses, the priests their churches; while, rendered ravenous
by the bitter bread of exile, both the clergy and the laity pillaged
the treasury. Their return was not, however, stained by bloodshed,
although the Calvinists were reviled in the open street. A few stabs
from a dagger or shots from an arquebus might, however, have been
better; such wounds heal while mocking words rankle in the memory.

On the morrow of Michaelmas Day--that is, on the 31st September
1567--a number of conspirators might have been seen issuing from a
house and spreading themselves through the streets, crying "To arms!
Down with the Papists!" Captain Bouillargues was taking his revenge.

As the Catholics were attacked unawares, they did not make even a
show of resistance: a number of Protestants--those who possessed the
best arms--rushed to the house of Guy-Rochette, the first consul, and
seized the keys of the city. Guy Rochette, startled by the cries of
the crowds, had looked out of the window, and seeing a furious mob
approaching his house, and feeling that their rage was directed
against himself, had taken refuge with his brother Gregoire. There,
recovering his courage and presence of mind, he recalled the
important responsibilities attached to his office, and resolving to
fulfil them whatever might happen, hastened to consult with the other
magistrates, but as they all gave him very excellent reasons for not
meddling, he soon felt there was no dependence to be placed on such
cowards and traitors. He next repaired to the episcopal palace,
where he found the bishop surrounded by the principal Catholics of
the town, all on their knees offering up earnest prayers to Heaven,
and awaiting martyrdom. Guy-Rochette joined them, and the prayers
were continued.

A few instants later fresh noises were heard in the street, and the
gates of the palace court groaned under blows of axe and crowbar.
Hearing these alarming sounds, the bishop, forgetting that it was his
duty to set a brave example, fled through a breach in the wall of the
next house; but Guy-Rochette and his companions valiantly resolved
not to run away, but to await their fate with patience. The gates
soon yielded, and the courtyard and palace were filled with
Protestants: at their head appeared Captain Bouillargues, sword in
hand. Guy-Rochette and those with him were seized and secured in a
room under the charge of four guards, and the palace was looted.
Meantime another band of insurgents had attacked the house of the
vicar-general, John Pebereau, whose body pierced by seven stabs of a
dagger was thrown out of a window, the same fate as was meted out to
Admiral Coligny eight years later at the hands of the Catholics. In
the house a sum of 800 crowns was found and taken. The two bands
then uniting, rushed to the cathedral, which they sacked for the
second time.

Thus the entire day passed in murder and pillage: when night came the
large number of prisoners so imprudently taken began to be felt as an
encumbrance by the insurgent chiefs, who therefore resolved to take
advantage of the darkness to get rid of them without causing too much
excitement in the city. They were therefore gathered together from
the various houses in which they had been confined, and were brought
to a large hall in the Hotel de Ville, capable of containing from
four to five hundred persons, and which was soon full. An irregular
tribunal arrogating to itself powers of life and death was formed,
and a clerk was appointed to register its decrees. A list of all the
prisoners was given him, a cross placed before a name indicating that
its bearer was condemned to death, and, list in hand, he went from
group to group calling out the names distinguished by the fatal sign.
Those thus sorted out were then conducted to a spot which had been
chosen beforehand as the place of execution.

This was the palace courtyard in the middle of which yawned a well
twenty-four feet in circumference and fifty deep. The fanatics thus
found a grave ready-digged as it were to their hand, and to save
time, made use of it.

The unfortunate Catholics, led thither in groups, were either stabbed
with daggers or mutilated with axes, and the bodies thrown down the
well. Guy-Rochette was one of the first to be dragged up. For
himself he asked neither mercy nor favour, but he begged that the
life of his young brother might be spared, whose only crime was the
bond of blood which united them; but the assassins, paying no heed to
his prayers, struck down both man and boy and flung them into the
well. The corpse of the vicar-general, who had been killed the day
before, was in its turn dragged thither by a rope and added to the
others. All night the massacre went on, the crimsoned water rising
in the well as corpse after corpse was thrown in, till, at break of
day, it overflowed, one hundred and twenty bodies being then hidden
in its depths.

Next day, October 1st, the scenes of tumult were renewed: from early
dawn Captain Bouillargues ran from street to street crying, "Courage,
comrades! Montpellier, Pezenas, Aramon, Beaucaire, Saint-Andeol, and
Villeneuve are taken, and are on our side. Cardinal de Lorraine is
dead, and the king is in our power." This aroused the failing
energies of the assassins. They joined the captain, and demanded
that the houses round the palace should be searched, as it was almost
certain that the bishop, who had, as may be remembered, escaped the
day before, had taken refuge in one of them. This being agreed to, a
house-to-house visitation was begun: when the house of M. de
Sauvignargues was reached, he confessed that the bishop was in his
cellar, and proposed to treat with Captain Bouillargues for a ransom.
This proposition being considered reasonable, was accepted, and after
a short discussion the sum of 120 crowns was agreed on. The bishop
laid down every penny he had about him, his servants were despoiled,
and the sum made up by the Sieur de Sauvignargues, who having the
bishop in his house kept him caged. The prelate, however, made no
objection, although under other circumstances he would have regarded
this restraint as the height of impertinence; but as it was he felt
safer in M. de Sauvignargues' cellar than in the palace.

But the secret of the worthy prelate's hiding place was but badly
kept by those with whom he had treated; for in a few moments a second
crowd appeared, hoping to obtain a second ransom. Unfortunately, the
Sieur de Sauvignargues, the bishop, and the bishop's servants had
stripped themselves of all their ready money to make up the first, so
the master of the house, fearing for his own safety, having
barricaded the doors, got out into a lane and escaped, leaving the
bishop to his fate. The Huguenots climbed in at the windows, crying,
"No quarter! Down with the Papists!" The bishop's servants were cut
down, the bishop himself dragged out of the cellar and thrown into
the street. There his rings and crozier were snatched from him; he
was stripped of his clothes and arrayed in a grotesque and ragged
garment which chanced to be at hand; his mitre was replaced by a
peasant's cap; and in this condition he was dragged back to the
palace and placed on the brink of the well to be thrown in. One of
the assassins drew attention to the fact that it was already full.
"Pooh!" replied another, "they won't mind a little crowding for a
bishop." Meantime the prelate, seeing he need expect no mercy from
man, threw himself on his knees and commended his soul to God.
Suddenly, however, one of those who had shown himself most ferocious
during the massacre, Jean Coussinal by name, was touched as if by
miracle with a feeling of compassion at the sight of so much
resignation, and threw himself between the bishop and those about to
strike, and declaring that whoever touched the prelate must first
overcome himself, took him under his protection, his comrades
retreating in astonishment. Jean Coussinal raising the bishop,
carried him in his arms into a neighbouring house, and drawing his
sword, took his stand on the threshold.

The assassins, however, soon recovered from their surprise, and
reflecting that when all was said and done they were fifty to one,
considered it would be shameful to let themselves be intimidated by a
single opponent, so they advanced again on Coussinal, who with a
back-handed stroke cut off the head of the first-comer. The cries
upon this redoubled, and two or three shots were fired at the
obstinate defender of the poor bishop, but they all missed aim. At
that moment Captain Bouillargues passed by, and seeing one man
attacked by fifty, inquired into the cause. He was told of
Coussinal's odd determination to save the bishop. "He is quite
right," said the captain; "the bishop has paid ransom, and no one has
any right to touch him." Saying this, he walked up to Coussinal,
gave him his hand, and the two entered the house, returning in a few
moments with the bishop between them. In this order they crossed the
town, followed by the murmuring crowd, who were, however, afraid to
do more than murmur; at the gate the bishop was provided with an
escort and let go, his defenders remaining there till he was out of

The massacres went on during the whole of the second day, though
towards evening the search for victims relaxed somewhat; but still
many isolated acts of murder took place during the night. On the
morrow, being tired of killing, the people began to destroy, and this
phase lasted a long time, it being less fatiguing to throw stones
about than corpses. All the convents, all the monasteries, all the
houses of the priests and canons were attacked in turn; nothing was
spared except the cathedral, before which axes and crowbars seemed to
lose their power, and the church of Ste. Eugenie, which was turned
into a powder-magazine. The day of the great butchery was called
"La Michelade," because it took place the day after Michaelmas, and
as all this happened in the year 1567 the Massacre of St.
Bartholomew must be regarded as a plagiarism.

At last, however, with the help of M. Damville, the Catholics again
got the upper hand, and it was the turn of the Protestants to fly.
They took refuge in the Cevennes. From the beginning of the troubles
the Cevennes had been the asylum of those who suffered for the
Protestant faith; and still the plains are Papist, and the mountains
Protestant. When the Catholic party is in the ascendant at Nimes,
the plain seeks the mountain; when the Protestants come into power,
the mountain comes down into the plain.

However, vanquished and fugitive though they were, the Calvinists did
not lose courage: in exile one day, they felt sure their luck would
turn the next; and while the Catholics were burning or hanging them
in effigy for contumacy, they were before a notary, dividing the
property of their executioners.

But it was not enough for them to buy or sell this property amongst
each other, they wanted to enter into possession; they thought of
nothing else, and in 1569--that is, in the eighteenth month of their
exile--they attained their wish in the following manner:

One day the exiles perceived a carpenter belonging to a little
village called Cauvisson approaching their place of refuge. He
desired to speak to M. Nicolas de Calviere, seigneur de St. Cosme,
and brother of the president, who was known to be a very enterprising
man. To him the carpenter, whose name was Maduron, made the
following proposition:

In the moat of Nimes, close to the Gate of the Carmelites, there was
a grating through which the waters from the fountain found vent.
Maduron offered to file through the bars of this grating in such a
manner that some fine night it could be lifted out so as to allow a
band of armed Protestants to gain access to the city. Nicolas de
Calviere approving of this plan, desired that it should be carried
out at once; but the carpenter pointed out that it would be necessary
to wait for stormy weather, when the waters swollen by the rain would
by their noise drown the sound of the file. This precaution was
doubly necessary as the box of the sentry was almost exactly above
the grating. M. de Calviere tried to make Maduron give way; but the
latter, who was risking more than anyone else, was firm. So whether
they liked it or not, de Calviere and the rest had to await his good

Some days later rainy weather set in, and as usual the fountain
became fuller; Maduron seeing that the favourable moment had arrived,
glided at night into the moat and applied his file, a friend of his
who was hidden on the ramparts above pulling a cord attached to
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 goods 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 means 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 worn 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 determined
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; for 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 but 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.


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