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List Of Contents | Contents of Massacres of the South, by Dumas, Pere
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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.

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