Imatges de pÓgina

the reign in which France attained tory of Hochstedt, the first of our the apogee of her splendour and pros- great disasters in the War of Succesperity, is to be traced the origin of sion. During the reign of Louis XV., much of the discord and misery under whenever the allied powers threatwhich she since has groaned.

ened our frontiers, the government In no French work do we remem- was obliged to purchase the fidelity ber a passage so nearly approaching of the Protestants in the border proto a denunciation, temperately and vinces, by promises constantly reforcibly expressed, of Louis XIV.'s newed and never fulfilled. But was criminal errors, as the following page even the religious result, pursued at of Mr Weiss's new history.

the cost of so many sacrifices, ulti" The kingdom," says the learned mately attained ? At the period of professor, “which Louis XIV. re- the.revocation of the Edict of Nantes ceived covered with glory, powerful the population of France was about by its arms, preponderant abroad, twenty millions, and included one tranquil and contented at home, he million of Protestants. At the pretransmitted to his successor humbled, sent day, from fifteen to eighteen hunenfeebled, dissatisfied, ready to un- dred thousand Protestants live disdergo the reaction of the Regency, and seminated amongst thirty-five million of the whole of the eighteenth cen- Catholics. The proportion between tury, and thus placed upon the fatal the two religions has not varied. Enslope conducting to the Revolution of forced during a whole century, Louis 1789. To the formidable encroach- XIV.'s cruel laws, further aggravated ments of a prince ruled, during the by the decree of 1724, proved powerlatter part of his reign, by a nar- less against the religious convictions row and exclusive spirit in religious they were intended to annihilate." matters, and, in his policy, by views An examination of Mr Weiss's that were rather dynastic than na- book cannot better be commenced tional, Protestantism opposed an in- than by the quotation of its last few surmountable barrier in England and lines-the closing sentences of an eloHolland united under one chief, who quent chapter, whose publication preled the whole of Europe against iso- ceded that of the work itself.* "By lated France. The signal of coalitions writing,” he says, “the history of -since so often re-formed—was given these martyrs of their faith, we befor the first time in 1689, and, also lieve that, besides performing a pious for the first time, France was van- duty, we have filled up a void in our quished, ---for the Treaty of Ryswick national history. The annals of France was in fact a defeat. Not only the were not to remain for ever closed to king acknowledged William III., but the destinies-often' glorious, always his intendants officially recorded the honourable--of the scattered refugees. diminution of the population, and the We have studied the vicissitudes of impoverishment of the kingdom - their various fortunes, sought out the inevitable consequences of the emi- traces of their sufferings and triumphs, gration, and of the ensuing decline in displayed and proved their salutary agriculture, manufactures, and trade. influence in the most diverse counAt the beginning of the eighteenth tries; and, if it has not been granted century, the safety of France was com- to us to erect to them a durable mondpromised, in a military sense. Early ment, we at least shall have contriin the struggle which followed the ac- buted to rescue from oblivion great ceptance of the will of Charles II., and noble recollections, that deserve Marshal Villars had to be sent for to live in the memory of man, and of from Germany to combat the insur- which France herself has reason to be gents of the Cevennes; and no sooner proud." Without wasting in eulogium had that skilful commander quitted space which will be better occupied the army than the Allies won the vic- by an analysis of a portion of Mr


This concluding chapter appeared, under the title of “A General Appreciation of the Consequences of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes," in the twelfth number of a French Protestant periodical, “ Bulletin de la Société de l'Histoire du Protestantisie Français,” published at Paris in April of the present year,

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Weiss's interesting book, we will briefly say that he deserves credit no less for what he has abstained from than for what he has performed. In treating so copious a subject, the temptation to prolixity was great; it has been magnanimously resisted. Mr Weiss has borne steadily in mind that he had undertaken to write a history, not of French Protestantism, but of those French Protestants whom persecution drove from their native land, to enrich other countries by their toil and talents, and, in many instances, valiantly to defend the land of their adoption against the armies of the nation that had rejected them. Profoundly versed in history, himself a zealous Protestant, Mr Weiss has devoted many years of labour and research to the production of these two volumes. He has visited the countries where the refugees founded colonies-in some of which, although a century and a half has since elapsed, French is still the spoken tongue. England, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, have in turn received him, and in all he has culled voluminous and important materials for his work. The archives of his own country have swollen the mass of matter, further augmented by the results of researches recently made in Germany by French diplomatists, by order of two ministers of Foreign Affairs, MM. Drouyn de Lhuys and Lahitte. Most of the foreign documents, many of the French ones, were unpublished, and entirely unknown to the world. The persecuting government of Louis XIV. feared the effect that might be produced upon the less bigoted sections of the Roman Catholics, by a disclosure of the shameful injustice and cruel oppression to which their Protestant fellowcountrymen were subjected. Perhaps, also, a feeling of shame-inadequate to temper fanatical ardour, but sufficiently powerful to bring a blush for such barbarity-induced that and succeeding governments to conceal, as much as possible, the amount of misery, and the grievous detriment to France, originally occasioned by the intolerant spirit of Louis XIV. and his counsellors. The satisfaction with which a large portion of the nation beheld the Huguenots once more driven to the wall, and trodden under

foot, might have been materially lessened, and even converted into indignation and alarm, had it been known that the refugees were taking with them far more than their numerical proportion of the pith and vigour, virtue and valour, of France.

Few historians would have had resolution to confine themselves to their exact theme so strictly as Mr Weiss has done. Many would assuredly have given a volume or two to that preliminary and accessory branch of the subject, which he has admirably compressed into his First Book, of one hundred and twenty pages. Even those persons best versed in the history of the French Protestants during the eighty-seven years that elapsed between the promulgation of the Edict of Nantes and its revocation, will read with fresh and lively interest this succinct narrative. Mr Weiss possesses, in an eminent degree, the talent of compression, combined with a satisfactory lucidity of style and arrangement-attributable, we presume, partly to great painstaking and revision, and partly to his vocation of historical professor, which has habituated him to convey instruction in the clearest and most intelligible manner. He commences by dividing that term of eighty-seven years into three principal periods. During the firstextending from the publication of the celebrated edict which closed, in 1598, the bloody civil wars of the sixteenth century, to the capture of La Rochelle in 1629-the Protestants imprudently meddled in the troubles that distracted the regency of Mary de Medicis and the early years of Louis XIII.'s majority. Deprived, successively, of all the towns allotted them as places of refuge and security, and of their political organisation, they ceased to form a recognised body in the state. The second period extends from the capture of La Rochelle to the commencement, in 1662, of Louis XIV.'s persecutions. During that time the Protestants were a mere religious party, from which, little by little, its most influential chiefs withdrew themselves. They had laid aside their arms; instead of impoverishing France by strife, they enriched her by their industry. It had been wise and Christian-like to abstain from

molesting good subjects, who asked but liberty to pray to God in the way their conscience dictated. Such liberty was not long vouchsafed to them. Between 1662 and 1685, they were excluded from all public employments, attacked in their civil and religious rights, and, finally, by the revocation, compelled to change their religion, or fly their country.

Passing over the historian's rapid sketch of the events of the first period, the reader's attention is infallibly arrested by his novel and striking picture of the state of the French Protestants during the thirty years of repose that followed the siege of La Rochelle, and preceded the persecutions. Repulsed from court, gradually excluded from office of every kind, they fell back upon those natural resources of which none could deprive them-upon their industry, perseverance, and ingenuity. "The vast plains they possessed in Béarn, and in the western provinces, were covered with rich harvests; the parts of Languedoc occupied by them became the most fertile and the best cultivated-often in spite of poverty of soil. Thanks to their indefatigable toil, that province, so long devastated by civil wars, rose from its ruins. In the mountainous diocese of Alais, which includes the Lower Cevennes, the chestnut-tree supplied the inhabitants with food, which they piously compared to the manna wherewith God nourished the Israelites in the desert. The Aigoal and the Esperou, the two loftiest mountains of that chain, were covered with forests and pastures, where their flocks grazed. On the Esperou was particularly remarked a plain enamelled with flowers, and intersected by numerous springs, which preserved the freshness of its verdure in summer's greatest heat. The inhabitants called it the Hort-Diou, or Garden of God. The part of the Vivarais known as the Mountain produced corn in such great abundance that it far exceeded the consumption. The diocese of Uzès also yielded quantities of corn, and exquisite oil and wine. In the diocese of Nismes, the valley of Vaunage was renowned for the richness of its vegetation. The Protestants, who possessed within its limits more than sixty temples, called

it Little Canaan. In Berri, the skilful wine-growers restored that country to its former state of prosperity." In the towns, the Protestants were not less remarkable for their manufacturing and commercial intelligence and success, than were their rural brethren for their proficiency in agriculture. By irrefragable documents - despatches and memorials from government officials, conceived, for the most part, in a spirit hostile to the Huguenots-Mr Weiss shows that in many districts and cities commerce was entirely in their hands. This was the case in Guienne, where nearly all the trade in wine was transacted by them; in the two governments of Brouage and Alençon, where a dozen Protestant families monopolised the trade in salt and wine, amounting annually to twelve or fifteen hundred thousand livres. At Sancerre, the intendant (M. de Seraucourt) admitted that they were superior to the Catholics in numbers, wealth, and consideration. At Rouen, at Caen, at Metz, nearly the whole of the trade was carried on by them. The governor of the lastnamed town recommended the ministers of Louis XIV. to show them



particular attention, much gentleness and patience," inasmuch, he said, as they have all trade in their hands." Little attention was paid to the judicious recommendation. As long as fourteen years after the Revocation, Baville, the intendant of Languedoc, a cruel persecutor of the Protestants, wrote as follows: "If the merchants of Nismes are still bad Catholics, at least they have not ceased to be very good traders. Generally speaking, all the new converts are more at their ease, more laborious and industrious, than the old Catholics of the province." Bordeaux, La Rochelle, and the Norman ports, were indebted to members of the Reformed church for great increase of trade. "The English and Dutch had more confidence in them than in the Catholic merchants, and were more willing to correspond with them." Our restricted space prevents us from giving much of the curious statistical information supplied by Mr Weiss. The Protestants were the first to adopt in France the system (already prevailing in England and

Holland) of the division of labour. The thriving manufactories of cloth at Rheims, Abbeville, Elbœuf, Louviers, Rouen, Sedan, and numerous other places, owed their establishment and progress to Protestant families. The Protestants of the Gévaudan, a district of Languedoc, annually sent to foreign parts a value of from two to three millions of livres of serge and other light fabrics. Every peasant had his loom, and worked at it in the intervals of agricultural occupation. The manufactures of silk stuffs and stockings, of hardware, gold and silver lace, and notably of paper, were chiefly in Protestant hands. In Brittany they made sail-cloth, of which, previously to the emigration, the English and Dutch annually purchased very large quantities. In Touraine they were tanners, and their leather was celebrated throughout France. They had four hundred tanneries in that province. The silk and velvet manufactures of Tours and Lyons, so renowned in the middle of the seventeenth century, owed their success and prosperity mainly to the Protestants. We abstain from enumerating a number of other important articles of consumption produced, almost exclusively, by that industrious people, whose reputation stood as high for commercial probity as for activity and intelligence. The reasons for their general superiority over their Catholic fellow-citizens are concisely and forcibly given by Mr Weiss. mere handful amongst jealous and suspicious millions, austere morality and integrity were their sole safeguard against calumny, and against the severity of the laws levelled especially at them. Their very enemies were compelled to admit that they were frugal, laborious, lovers of truth and of their religion, conscientious in their conduct, constant in their fear and reverence of God. Placed at disadvantage by the State on account of their creed, their stimulus to exertion was strong, since it was only by superior industry and intelligence that they could place themselves on a level with their more favoured Catholic fellow subjects. "They were further aided by the principles of their religion, unceasingly tending to instruct and enlighten them, by conducting them to


faith only through the gate of investigation. Thence their superior enlightenment, which necessarily extended itself to all their actions, and rendered their minds more capable of seizing every idea whose application could contribute to their welfare." Most of the Protestants, when young, visited Protestant countries, French Switzerland, Holland, and England, and thence brought back valuable knowledge and enlarged ideas. One more circumstance is to be noted: the Protestants' working year contained 310 days, only the Sundays and solemn festivals being given to rest; the Catholics, on the other hand, gave barely 260 days to labour-the rest were holidays. Hence a clear gain of one-sixth to Protestant industry.

When, upon the death of Mazarin, Louis XIV. grasped the reins of power, the Protestant religion was not only tolerated, but authorised and permitted throughout the kingdom of France. The Huguenot political faction was destroyed; the French nobility, a few years before so warlike and turbulent, had abandoned their provincial strongholds to bask in court favour; the plebeians were contented and happy because peace and public order were maintained; the triumph of the crown was complete. For a while the king's policy was to maintain the Protestants in the privileges granted them by his predecessors, but to show them no further favour, and to exclude them from all benefits and advantages in his own individual gift. He hoped that they would gradually go over to Rome, in order to share the good things bestowed upon Catholics- a motive which had already induced most of the Protestant nobles to abjure their religion. The king, however, did not long adhere to a system which, although neither just nor impartial, was at least prudent and moderate. His first notable act of aggression against his patient, peaceable, and valuable Protestant subjects, was the demolition, in the district of Gex, of twenty-two of their churches, under the pretence that the Edict of Nantes did not apply to that bailiwick, which had been annexed to the kingdom since its promulgation. Another decree granted to the Catho

lics of Gex a term of three years for into their corporation more than two payment of their debts. This was an persons of the reformed religion. immoral lure held out to the Protes- Slackened a little during the war with tants, who, by changing their religion, Holland, these odious persecutions would partake of the advantage. Then resumed their vigour after the peace came an order in council, forbidding of Nimeguen. On the most absurd Protestants to bury their dead save pretexts, the temples, in a number of at daybreak or nightfall. In 1663, those large towns where the populanewly-converted Protestants were dis- tion was chiefly Protestant, were pensed from payment of their debts pulled down. And by an edict of to their former co-religionists. The the 17th June 1681, children of seven effects of this iniquitous dispensation years of age were authorised to ab. upon the various trades in wbich the jure their parents' faith and embrace Protestants were so largely engaged, the Catholic religion! It was openneed hardly be indicated.' Old and ing a fine field to the unscrupulous barbarous laws against converts who proselytising emissaries of Rome. “It relapsed into the reformed religion, now sufficed that an envious person, were revived and put in force. The an enemy, a debtor, declared before a bodies of persons who had abjured tribunal that a child wished to beProtestantism, and who, upon their come a Catholic, had manifested an deathbeds, refused the sacraments intention of entering a church, had of Rome, were drawn upon hurdles joined in a prayer, or made the sign amidst the outrages of the popu- of the cross, or kissed an image of the lace. This law was applied to per- Virgin, for the child in question to be sons of quality ; amongst others to taken from his parents, who were a demoiselle de Montalembert, whose compelled to make him an allowance corpse was dragged naked through proportioned to their supposed ability. the streets of Angoulême. In 1665, But such estimates were necessarily priests were authorised to present arbitrary, and it often happened that themselves, in company with the the loss of his child entailed upon the magistrate of the place, at the bed- unfortunate father that of all his proside of dying Protestants, to exhort perty." We have not room to multhem to conversion; and if they ap- tiply instances of the abominable peared disposed to it, the work was system then adopted. Whilst Colto be proceeded with in spite of the bert lived, his voice was ever uplifted family. It may be imagined what in the king's council against the gentle and conscientious use Catholic maltreatment and oppression of men priests would make of this scandalous whom he held to be peaceable, induspermission. A dying man, agonised trious, and useful citizens. After his and speechless, made, or was said to death, Louvois, anxious to please the have made, a sign with his head, king, went far beyond anything that hand, or eyes, indicating adherence had yet been done. He instituted to the Church of Rome. Thereupon wbat were called the dragonnades. his body was interred in the Catholic Troops, principally dragoons, were cemetery, and bis children were hur- sent into the provinces and quartered ried to mass- -Catholics by virtue of in Protestant houses, where they were their father's pretended abjuration. encouraged to every kind of excess

Such was the beginning of the per- short of rape and murder. “In many secution. Thenceforward no month villages (of Poitou) the priests folpassed without some fresh act of lowed them in the streets, crying out: rigour.. Temples were shut_up or 'Courage, gentlemen; it is the king's demolished; the number of Protes- intention that these dogs of Huguenots tant schools was limited; the educa- should be pillaged and sacked. The tion of Protestant children was re- soldiers entered the houses sword in stricted to reading, writing, and hand, crying • Kill! kill!' to frighten ciphering. French Protestants were women and children.

They forbidden to leave the country; and employed threats, outrages, and even those already in foreign parts were tortures, to compel them to conversion; ordered to return. The physicians burning the feet and hands of some of Rouen were forbidden to admit at a slow fire, breaking the ribs and


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