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WHILE Scotland was suffering for the cause
Stuarts, a similar and not less remarkable course
To understand the nature of the war of the Camisards, a few preliminary explanations seem desirable.
The readers of a previous tract* will be aware that, after a long period of civil war, arising from the spread of Calvinism in France, tranquillity was restored to that country by the accession of Henry IV. to the throne. Originally a Calvinist, Henryalthough he found it necessary, for political reasons, to embrace the Catholic faith- -was naturally disposed to be tolerant towards his old friends and fellow-religionists; and accordingly, under his auspices, was passed the famous Edict of Nantes, dated the 30th of April 1598, by which ample liberty of conscience, the privilege,
with certain restrictions, of worship after their own forms, and perfect freedom from civil disabilities, were secured to the French Protestants. This Edict of Nantes was regarded by the Protestants as the great charter of their liberties, never to be repealed or infringed. During Henry's lifè it was punctually respected; and under its protection the Calvinists enjoyed a peace which had long been strange to them. Restrained from open attacks on the established church, bound also to contribute to its support, they were yet permitted to worship God in their own way, to print books for their own use, to educate their children in the Protestant faith, and even to hold synods for arranging the affairs of their church-privileges which, though at the present day they may seem limited enough, were then accepted with thankfulness." At Henry's death, however, in the year 1610, the condition of the Protestants was altered for the worse. commenced between his son and successor, Louis XIII., and the Protestants of France. At this moment the master-spirit of Richelieu took the direction of affairs. The Protestants could not cope with so powerful a genius. In November 1628, the town of Rochelle, long the principal fastness of Protestantism in France, surrendered to his hands. Richelieu, however, was a generous enemy; and, in depriving the Calvinists of their political influence, he suffered them to retain most of their religious rights, as secured by the Edict of Nantes. To use his own expression, all that he wished in making war upon the Protestants was,
to reduce them to the condition in which all subjects ought to be—to disable them from forming a separate body in the state." When this was once effected, he was content; and under Richelieu every national career of activity, agriculture, commerce, the army, and the navy-was open to the Calvinists.
REIGN OF LOUIS XIV. - PERSECUTION OF THE PROTESTANTS THE DRAGONNADES-REVOCATION OF THE EDICT OF NANTES.
Richelieu died in December 1642, and his master, Louis XIII., survived him but a few months. He was succeeded by his son, Louis XIV., then a child of five years of age.
An immense change had been brought about in France during the last reign by the efforts of Richelieu. Factions had been suppressed; the nobility humbled; the monarchy exalted; and, instead of a kingdom torn by political and civil discord, as it had been for a century previously, the young king received from his dying father a kingdom compact, peaceful, powerful, and submissive to the slightest declaration of the sovereign's will. The reign of Louis XIV. was the culminating era of the French monarchy. “Louis," says a French author," was born with an ideal of royalty altogether Asiatic. It consisted not in conducting his armies, for he was not a hero; not in directing diplomatic arrangements, for he was not a politician ; not in organising his government, for he was not a statesman; but in reigning, in sitting upon his throne, in receiving the laurels of his generals, the submissions of vanquished nations, the homages of allied kings, the embassies of distant monarchs, the praises of the universe."
During the first eighteen years of Louis XIV.'s long reign, nothing of consequence happened affecting the condition of the French Protestants, as it had been fixed by Richelieu. There were various reasons for this forbearance. The Cardinal Mazarin, who succeeded Richelieu as prime minister, desired to follow up the policy of that great statesman, which, as we have seen, was tolerant towards the Protestants. The international relations of France were likewise such as to render persecution of the Calvinists impolitic. It was the era of the civil war and Protectorate in England; and the terror of Cromwell's name was sufficient, while he lived, to check the persecuting spirit of foreign governments. The restoration of Charles II. to the throne of England in 1660, the marriage, in the same year, of Louis XIV. with Marie-Therese, daughter of Philip IV. of Spain, and the death of Mazarin in 1661, were fatal events for French Protestantism. From this period we date the commencement of the persecutions of Louis XIV. One of the articles in the ma
marriage-contract of Louis and Marie-Therese, was the extirpation of heresy in France. The zeal of the Catholic clergy, long suppressed, now burst forth with fresh fury. France, divided into two religions, was universally compared by them to the household of Abraham, in which Hagar shared the honours due alone to Sarah; and the monarch was solicited to imitate the conduct of the patriarch, and drive out the bondwoman and her son.
On Mazarin's death in 1661, Louis XIV., now about twentythree years of age, avowed his intention of thenceforth governing alone. His ideas of his own power were of the most absolute character, as may be judged from his celebrated saying, “ L'etat, c'est moi!”_" The state, that is me!” On Mazarin's death, the young monarch assumed the entire administration of affairs into his own hands. One of his first acts was to dismiss Fouquet, who had acted as superintendent of finance under Mazarin, and appoint in his room the celebrated Colbert, whose strict economy soon restored order and prosperity to the revenue. Colbert was a Protestant; but his appointment did not proceed from favour to his religious opinions. On the contrary, Louis began to manifest the most rooted dislike to the Protestants. The first distinct exhibition of this dislike in practice, was the appointment of a commission to ascertain the number of churches, schools, and burying-grounds possessed by the Protestants, in order to reduce it strictly within the legal limits fixed by the Edict of Nantes. This proved a great hardship to the Calvinists. Many chapels, which had been erected in consequence of the increase of the Protestant population, were suppressed, as having no legal right; elementary schools for the young were likewise
prohibited, because, though evidently implied by the Edict of Nantes, they were not expressly stipulated for in its provisions. By a strict application of the letter of the Edict, its whole spirit was violated, and the Protestants subjected to the most gailing superintendence. The slightest irreverence on the part of a Protestant to the ceremonies of the Catholic religion was punished with rigour; and all liberty of speech was virtually denied to the Calvinistic preachers. A multitude of vexatious edicts were passed, which reminded the Protestants of their inferior position in the state. Their clergy were forbidden to walk with their gowns on, to pray or address the people in the open air at funerals, or to mention the Church of Rome in their discourses with any other qualification than that of Catholic. Protestant notaries were forbidden to mention the Reformed Church without prefixing the word "pretended” to the name, under a penalty for every omission of the word. It was for bidden to Calvinists to bury their dead after six o'clock in the morning, and before six in the evening, in spring and summer; after eight in the morning, and before four in the evening, in autumn and winter. It was forbidden to Protest tant congregations to sing in their churches during the pasă sag'e of the holy sacrament. These, and many other such-like enactments, were passed between the years 1662 and 1668. "A still more direct blow at Protestantism was the abolition, in 1669, of the Chamber of the Edict-a board invested with the charge of seeing the Edict of Nantes faithfully observed. The Protestants, foreseeing the impending persecution, began to leave France, and seek a refuge in other countries. The monarch tried to check the stream of emigration by a law punishing emigrants with death. The effort, however, was vain; family after family took leave of their native coasts, and went into exile.
Those who remained in France, especially such as occupied stations of trust or importance, were under great temptations to abjure the Protestant faith. The king had declared his intention to employ only good Christians in public situations," by which he meant Roman Catholics. Accordingly, many Protestants were ejected from their places in the public service, and the royal patronage was carefully withheld from all who were not Catholics. On the other hand, the most tempting encouragements were held out to such as should set a public example by abjuring their Protestant tenets. In this work of conversion Louis was assisted by the grand genius of Bossuet, whose sermons and publications, the production of a powerful intellect and a fervid soul, really shook the attachment of many minds to. Protestant ism, and dragged them over to the Chur of Rome. Influenced partly by courtly motives, and partly by the arguments and controversies of Bossuet and his associates with their Protestant opponents, many of the first houses of France, as those of Bouillon, Coligny, Rohan, and Sully, abandoned Protestantism. It
iwas not uncommon for an intending convert of rank to invite some leading Protestant clergyman to meet some leading Catholic in his house, there to debate respecting their differences, as if to satisfy the mind of their host which religion was the preferable-the host having long ago determined the matter for himself. - These theological controversies, and the persecution of the Protestants which accompanied them, were interrupted by the breaking out of a war with Holland in the year 1672. All the energies of Louis, and his ministers Louvois and Colbert, were devoted to this attempt to subjugate Holland. Scarcely,” says a French historian, since the invasion of Greece by Xerxes, had the world seen an exhibition of force more imposing than that of Louis XIV, invading Holland in 1672 at the head of his armies and fleets, commanded by Condé, Turenne, Luxembourg, and Duquesne. But scarcely,” adds he,“ since Mara thon and Salamis, has the world seen a more glorious display of heroism than that of the Dutch people defending their liberties.": At their head appeared a young, weak-bodied, pale-faced prince as yet unknown to fame, but soon to be recognised as the champion of European Protestantism-William of Orange, afterwards William III. of England. Austere, simple, and taciturn, this young pale-faced stadtholder possessed a brain such as had been denied to his antagonist, the haughty and high-born king of France. Whoever would understand the history of Europe in the end of the seventeenth century, must have a picture in his mind of these two men-Louis XIV., the despot of France, and the patron of Catholicism; and William of Orange, the republican stadtholder, and the protector of Protestantism,
The war with Holland was brought to a conclusion by the peace of Nimeguen in 1678. Louis now turned his attention to his own kingdom, and again his bigoted dislike to the Calvinists began to display itself in persecution. A monarch with Oriental ideas of his own power, totally ignorant of any except palace-life, and accustomed to see his Protestant courtiers become Catholics to please him, had no conception of the difficulty of forcing a nation's conscience, no belief that the common people had a conscience at all. His resolution to abolish Protestantism in his kingdom was encouraged by Letellier, his chancellor, and Louvois, his secretary-of-war, as well as by his mistress, Madame de Maintenon-a name conspicuous in the history of those times.
The persecution was recommenced with new vigour. Decree after decree was issued against the Protestants. One of these decrees excluded Protestants from all the royal farms; another fixed the age for the voluntary conversion of the children of Protestant parents at seven years. Excited by the priests, mobs rose in the towns, attacked the Protestant places of worship, and made bonfires of the desks, seats, and Bibles; corpses were disinterred