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by Dr. John Thomas
"Consciences were bought up like articles of merchandise Pastors were forbidden to preach beyond the place in which they resided, under penalty of several years' imprisonment.
Children of tender age were authorized to embrace Popery in spite of the opposition of their parents; who, without regard to rank, condition, or merit, were declared unworthy to serve the State.
"The great majority continued steadfast.
Promises of wealth and honours, seductions, artifices, threats, failed to shake their constancy: so that their persecutors resorted to the still more energetic measures, commonly known as the dragonnades.
"These were a species of punishment unthought of by the Inquisition.
Profligate and merciless soldiers were sent into the houses of the Huguenots.
They had orders to resort to every method except assassination to convert their victims to Papalism!
They laid waste their property, destroyed their household goods, treated mothers, wives, and maidens, in an infamous manner, brutally struck the men; and, by a refinement of cruelty, hindered them from taking an hour's rest until they had signed a derisive abjuration.
Some, crushed beneath such accumulated sufferings, lost their reason: others, led away by despair, suffered death by their own hands.
The Dragonnades still live in the memory of Frenchmen, as a fearful and horrible memento of by-gone days.
But even these atrocities were insufficient to consummate the conversion of the Huguenots to Romanism.
"In 1685, as we have said, Louis the Fourteenth signed the revocation of the Edict of Nantes.
The preamble of this ordinance made the king say, ‘We now see, with the gratitude we owe to God, that our endeavours have had the result which we proposed, since the best and greatest portion of our subjects of the pretended reformed religion have embraced the Catholic faith.
' But this did not express the math.
Hundreds of thousands emigrated from France, to seek asylums in foreign lands; into every part of Europe, and from the Cape of Good Hope to the American wilderness, they carried their faith, industry, laborious habits, and their example; and besides these, two millions remained in the land of their birth, who persevered in their opinions beneath the sword of the executioner, and in the sight of the fires of martyrdom.
"Those who had not quitted France were in the most deplorable condition.
Deprived of their leaders, and having no regular means of religious instruction, pursued like rebels, they met at distant intervals, in some wild retreat.
When they were surprised, the soldiers fired on them, as if they had been ferocious animals.
Thou- sands of poor victims were condemned to the galleys, and were there confounded with the vilest wretches.
Others were hung, beheaded, or burned.
If a dying man, moved to remorse, disavowed in his last moments the Popish religion, to which he had conformed during his life, his dead body was dragged through the streets by the hangman, and was afterwards cast into a receptacle for filth, like the carcase of an unclean beast". -- A bridg. of G. De Felice.
Speaking of the Revocation, M. Saurin says, "Now we were banished, then we were forbidden to quit the kingdom, on pain of death.
Here we saw the glorious rewards of those who betrayed their religion; and there we beheld those who had the courage to confess it, haled to a dungeon, a scaffold, or a galley.