Monday, April 27, 2015

Revocation of the Edict of Nantes

In 1685 Louis XIV supposed that the Huguenots had been so reduced in numbers that the Edict of Nantes could be repealed. All freedom of worship was denied them; their ministers were banished, but their flocks were not allowed to follow them. If taken while trying to escape, men were sent to the galleys, women to captivity, and children to convents for education. Dragoons were quartered on families to torment them into going to mass.

A few made head in the wild moors of the Cevennes under a brave youth named Cavalier, and others endured severe persecution in the south of France. Dragoons were quartered on them, who made it their business to torment and insult them; their marriages were declared invalid, their children taken from them to be educated in the Roman Catholic faith. A great number, amounting to at least 100,000, succeeded in escaping, chiefly to Prussia, Holland, and England, whither they carried many of the manufactures that Colbert had taken so much pains to establish.

Many of those who settled in England were silk weavers, and a large colony was thus established at Spitalfields, which long kept up its French character.