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Huguenots and the Galleys

taken from The Huguenots In France and America by Hannah F. Lee
Originally Published Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1843. Pages 132-164

Chapter XXXI, A Huguenot In France Condemned To the Galleys


THE sufferings of the Protestants who remained in France, or made ineffectual
efforts to escape, during this period of persecution, have been too often recorded to
make it necessary to enlarge upon the subject. The following account is abstracted
from the memoir of an individual, published about the year 1716.


During the dragooning period, twenty-two soldiers were quartered in the family of a
widow, in the province of Perigord. They insisted on her signing the form of
abjuration prescribed, and, on her refusal, plundered her of all she possessed. Not
satisfied with this injustice, she was carried before a person of authority, and at
length by threats induced to sign, receiving a promise, that her four children should
remain unmolested. When she wrote her name she obstinately persisted in adding,
"compelled by fear." This was considered a breach of promise, and, though she was
left at liberty herself, her two younger sons and a daughter were seized and confined
in [133] convents. The eldest was a lad of eighteen, and, with a resolution uncommon
for his youth, he contrived and executed a plan of escape, with a companion near his
own age.


They proceeded without any obstacle to Paris, by travelling on by-roads, and arrived
there on the 10th of November, 1700. From a friend they procured necessary
directions, which would enable them to gain the frontier and embark for Holland.
After many hair-breadth and ingenious escapes, they were arrested at Marienburg
and conducted before the Governor. When questioned, they acknowledged that they
were of the reformed religion, but denied any intention to abscond, knowing how
severe the penalties were for this offence. The young Protestant afterwards deeply
regretted this deviation from truth, which in fact availed him nothing. He was
conducted with his companion to a dungeon, where they were searched, and all they
possessed was taken from them.


The Governor seems to have felt some compassion for the heretics, and took pains to
persuade them to abjure, as otherwise they would be condemned to the galleys for
attempting to abscond, of which there was sufficient evidence. They had now
determined to abide wholly by the truth, and place their reliance in God alone. "We
are determined," said they, "to endure [134] even the galleys or death, rather than
renounce the faith in which we have been educated." They found a gentleman here
who was secretly a Protestant, and who seems to have reverenced in these young men
the course which he had not had resolution to pursue; for, when brought to the same
extremity, he had abjured. He furnished them with money, and, confessing to them,
that he was "more miserable than they were, for he never could get rid of the
reproaches of his own conscience," parted from them with tears. We ought to
remember, in relating these persecutions, that they were the effect of misguided zeal,
and not of hard-hearted cruelty. Several of the priests used every argument to
convert them, and finally offered bribes. For Amadee, the subject of the memoir, one
offered to procure an excellent alliance, and said he knew a beautiful woman with a
large fortune who would accept of him for a husband, after he had proved himself a
converted son of the church.


The youth rejected the bribe, and refused the offer, with too much contempt for the
Christian patience of the confessor, who repaired to the Governor and told him, that
the heretic was evidently under the power of the Devil. Two days after, their sentence
was read to them. "Whereas, they were without a passport from Court, on the
frontiers of the kingdom, and being of the religion [135] which pretends to be
reformed, they were found guilty of having endeavoured to quit the kingdom, against
his Majesty's order to the contrary. For which crime they were condemned to serve in
his Majesty's galleys for life, and all their goods to be confiscated," &c.


The young men were now conducted to a dungeon, where they remained till they set
off for Tournay, accompanied by four archers, who handcuffed them and tied them
together. In this manner they went through Philipville, Maubeuge, and Valenciennes,
walking bound through the day, and at night consigned to loathsome prisons,
without a bed to rest on, and only sustained by a scanty portion of bread and water.
On their arrival at Tournay, they were placed in the prison of the Parliament, and
allowed a pound and a half of bread per day. Under this allowance they became weak
and emaciated, and suffered inexpressibly from the filth of their apartment. They
sold the clothes they wore for a little more bread, and, though from instinct seeking
to prolong their existence, felt an earnest conviction, that death alone could release
them from suffering. In this situation they remained six weeks, and were slightly
relieved by the arrival of two fellow-prisoners, who proved to be early schoolmates,
and who, after recognising them, asked if money could not procure them better fare.
On receiving [136] a reply in the affirmative, they produced, from different parts of
their dress, including the soles of their shoes, four hundred louis-d'ors, and, giving
Amadee a louis-d'or, requested him to summon the turnkey and order what he
thought proper. This he immediately did, and, inflated by such unexpected
prosperity, desired him, in an imperious manner, to bring dinner, giving him the
money. The turnkey replied, obsequiously, "Certainly, Sir; what will you please to
have? soup and bouilli?" Strange, that a louis-d'or could produce such an effect upon
human character!


"Soup and bouilli will do," replied the halffamished prisoner; "but let us have a large
piece of beef, a gallon of soup, and ten pounds of bread, with beer in proportion." The
turnkey promised they should have all in an hour. An hour seemed to them an age;
they urged that it might be in half an hour, and at length it all arrived. "I had never
been a glutton," said the young man, "when a boy; but now I felt, that, if our
entertainers had appetites like myself, we had ordered too little." The new comers,
however, had but small appetites; and the poor residents of the dungeon nearly
destroyed themselves by this temporary feast, suffering after it in a greater degree
than they had enjoyed.


From this prison they were removed to another, and separated from their
schoolmates, who [137] supplied them with a very small sum at parting. Their new
prison was less irksome than the former one, and they entreated not to be remanded
to the Parliament prison. The Vicar, who had undertaken their conversion, seems to
have been a kind-hearted man, and pitied their condition. Though disappointed in
his desire of converting them, he was able to procure them alleviations, and finally
applied to a Counsellor of the Parliament in their behalf, to obtain for them, if
possible, a pardon, as the crime, for which they were sentenced to the galleys, was
not religion, but the intention of escaping from the country, and this had not been
proved. It is unnecessary to trace the steps taken by the humane Vicar and other
Catholics, who became interested in these unfortunate men. The Counsellor pleaded
their cause most ably, and all the Assembly seemed much disposed in their favor. In a
day or two they received the joyful intelligence, that the Parliament had entirely
acquitted them of having any intention of leaving the kingdom, and that, if their
authority had influence sufficient, they would be pardoned. The good Counsellor
wrote to Court, to the Marquis de la Villiere, and not a doubt was entertained of the
result. Congratulations poured in upon them, and every time the door turned on its
hinges they believed the joyful news of their release had arrived. For a fortnight they
[138] remained in this state of suspense, and then were ordered to appear before the
Counsellors; deep regret was expressed in many countenances; the President put a
letter into their hands, which was from the Marquis de la Villiere.


"Gentlemen:--A. M. and Daniel le Gras [the names by which they were known]
having been taken on the frontiers without a passport, it is his Majesty's pleasure,
that they be condemned to the galleys.


"Yours, &c."


In how few words may a man be doomed to misery! It was little relief to them to be
told, that it was the sentence of the King, not theirs, and that they truly
compassionated their misfortunes. The prospect was dark and desolate; they were
sentenced to the galleys for life. Three days after, they were removed to Lisle. Though
only fifteen miles, as they walked chained and handcuffed, they were extremely
fatigued, but obliged to go through various examinations before they were led to their
dungeon. Here were about thirty galley-slaves in total darkness, not a gleam of light
entering the prison,--men, not condemned for opinion, but for atrocious crimes. The
miserable prisoners thronged round them, demanding garnish money with oaths and
[139] imprecations, and threatening to toss them in a blanket if they had none. They
escaped this penalty by giving a part of their money. In situations like this, silence
and submission is the only resource; for once the hero of our story yielded to the
impulse of the moment, and gave an answer to the turnkey, that he considered as
defying him. We pass over the blows and cruelty exercised upon him in consequence,
and the loathsome dungeon to which he was removed, knee-deep in water. When his
allowance of bread and water was brought he refused to eat, and resigned himself to
a lingering death. It would seem, that in all situations men may be found, feeling
some of the ties of human nature. The gaoler came to his prison expecting to find a
daring and hardened offender. A short interview dispelled this idea. He reproved him
for exasperating the turnkey, but carried him to his own apartment and ordered
breakfast; afterwards he led him to a prison that was neither wet nor dark. He urged
to have his friend with him, and the gaoler gave him encouragement that he might
obtain this favor. The virtue of the gaoler seems, however, to have been very limited;
he endeavoured to get away the little money his prisoner possessed by exorbitant
demands.


At length, a new character appeared, and this was the Grand Provost and master of
the prison. [140]


He had received a letter from his brother-in-law, who resided near, and who had
heard of the imprisonment of the heretics. He was of Protestant extraction, and felt
the deepest commiseration for them. The Provost gave orders that they should be
removed from the common prisons and placed in commodious rooms, and supplied
with what they wanted free of expense.


Benefactions were daily bestowed upon them by the compassionate inhabitants of
the city, and one of the most respectable of the prisoners was selected to distribute
these donations. To this honor Amadie was appointed. A box, hanging by a rope from
the window, received the charity of the citizens; frequently tradesmen and merchants
threw in a donation of money. All this the selected almoner was to distribute among
six hundred prisoners. The galley-slaves, who were of the lowest order, were not
permitted to receive theirs, but it was given to the gaoler for their use, who converted
the chief part of it to his own.


Amadee and his companion were now comparatively well situated, but this could not
last long. At the end of three months they were ordered to depart with a company of
galley-slaves. It was the last ordered to Dunkirk; the rest were to be carried to
Marseilles, which was a journey by foot of three hundred miles, and to be performed
with chains about the neck. The Provost advised [141] them to seize this opportunity,
as he could control the manner of their going. They assented, and the kind Provost
ordered them to be distinguished from all the others, by being transported in a
wagon, supping with the guards, and having a bed allowed them at night. So different
was their treatment from that of the others, that they were supposed to be persons of
high rank, and crowds flocked to see them. Women were faithful to the
compassionate instinct of their hearts. One beautiful girl approached Amadee,
holding a rosary with a crucifix attached to it, which she offered him. Though he
would gladly have accepted it as a token, from the tender-hearted maiden, he felt that
it would be considered as a sign of abjuration of his own faith, and heroically
declined it. That evening she came to his prison bringing a priest, and declared her
object to be his conversion. Let us not think lightly of a faith that could make a young
man, not yet twenty, resist the allurements of youth, beauty, and a virtuous alliance,
and embrace stripes and bondage.


"This," said Amadee, "was a trial, that God alone enabled me to go through. Once I
became faint from my emotions, and I was on the point of yielding. I pressed the soft,
delicate hand, that I held, to my lips again and again, and tried to release it, but I
could not let it go. The [142] priest saw my yielding spirit. 'That hand may be yours,'
said he, 'for all eternity, by renouncing your heresy and embracing the true religion.'
Did God put those words into his mouth to nerve me with courage? 'No,' I exclaimed,
with new resolution; 'it might be mine for this life, but I should purchase it by an
eternity of misery. Let me rather die a galley-slave, at peace with my own conscience
and my God.' Yet, when I saw her no more, when the last glimpse of her sweet and
sorrowful face was gone, when even her white dress could no longer be discerned, I
sank down and wept aloud. At length the agony of my soul began to yield to a still,
small voice within. I grew calm, and thought I was dying. 'God hears my prayers,'
said I; 'he has sent his angels to minister to me, to conduct me to the realms of bliss.'
Shall I confess it? The face of the sweet Catholic girl was ever before me. She seemed
to emit a radiance of light through my prison. I know not whether my dream was a
sleeping or a waking one, but methought she leaned over me, and, raising the hand I
had resigned, said in a soft, silver voice, 'Thou hast won this for eternity.'


"How often, in successive years, when chained to the oar, have I heard that voice and
seen the beautiful vision! God ministers to us by his holy angels!" [ 143]



We must turn from this touching scene to sad reality. He at length arrived at
Dunkirk, and was put on board a galley, called the Heureuse, commanded by
Commodore de la Pailleterie. On his first arrival he offended a slave by refusing him
money; the fellow informed the sous-comite that he had uttered "horrid blasphemies
against the holy Virgin, and all the saints in paradise." The sous-comite ordered him
to receive the bastinado. This punishment is too well known to need a description.
We turn from it with anguish, at the remembrance of cruelties man has devised for
his brother man. Fortunately an officer of some rank passed, as they were about to
inflict the punishment. "He made inquiries into the nature of my offence, and
demanded of me, how I came to be guilty of such folly as well as insolence, as to
blaspheme the Catholic faith. I answered, that it was false, that my religion forbade
my insulting that of others." He made still further inquiries, and obtained evidence
that the accusation was false, and the Protestant was acquitted.


This may prove, that no government is so arbitrary as to withhold all attempts to
administer justice. There are principles implanted in the breast that cannot be wholly
eradicated. God does not leave himself without witnesses in the heart of every human
being. Yet many instances [144] occurred which proved that nothing could exempt
the unhappy slaves from the bastinado for the slightest offence.


The description of a galley will be new to many. "Ours was a hundred and fifty feet
long and fifty broad, with but one deck, which covered the hold. The deck rises about
a foot in the middle, and slopes toward the edges to let the water run off more easily;
for when a galley is loaded it seems to swim under the water, and the sea continually
rushes over it. To prevent the sea from entering the hold, where the masts are placed,
a long case of boards, called the coursier, is fixed in the middle, running from one
end of the galley to the other. The slaves, who are the rowers, have each a board
raised from the deck under which the water passes, which serves them for a footstool,
otherwise their feet would be constantly in the water. A galley has fifty benches for
rowers, twenty-five on each side; each bench is ten feet long, one end fixed in the
coursier, that runs through the boat, the other in the band or side of the boat; the
benches are half a foot thick, and placed at four feet distance from each other, and
are covered with sackcloth, stuffed with flock, and a cowhide thrown over them,
which, reaching to the footstool, gives them the appearance of large trunks. To these
the galley-slaves are chained, six to a bench. The [145] oars are fifty feet long, and are
poized in equilibrio upon the apostic, or piece of timber for this purpose. They are
constructed so, that the thirteen feet of the oar, that go into the boat, are equal in
weight to the thirty-seven which go into the water. It would be impossible for the
slaves to grasp them, and handles are affixed for rowing.


"The master or comite stands always at the stern, near the captain, to receive his
orders. There are sous-comites, one in the middle and one near the prow, each with a
whip of cords to exercise as they see fit on the slaves. The comite blows a silver
whistle, which hangs from his neck; the slaves have their oars in readiness and strike
all at once, and keep time so exactly, that the hundred and fifty oars seem to make
but one movement. There is an absolute necessity for thus rowing together, for,
should one be lifted up or fall too soon, those before would strike the oar with the
back part of their heads. Any mistake of this kind is followed by blows given with
merciless fury. The labor of a galley-slave has become a proverb; it is the greatest
fatigue that a man can bear. Six men are chained to each bench on both sides of the
coursier wholly naked, sitting with one foot on a block of timber, the other resting on
the bench before them, holding in their hands an enormous oar. Imagine them

lengthening their bodies, their arms stretched out [146] to push the oar over the
backs of those before them; they then plunge the oar into the sea, and fall back into
the hollow below, to repeat again and again the same muscular action. The fatigue
and misery of their labor seems to be without parallel. They often faint, and are
brought to life by the lash. Sometimes a bit of bread dipped in wine is put into their
mouths, when their labor cannot for a moment be spared. Sometimes, when they
faint, they are thrown into the sea, and another takes the place."


[147]


Chapter XXXII, Description of the Galleys - Conclusion of the Narrative


THIS sketch, slight as it is, will give some idea of the horrors of the situation; but we
turn from these minute descriptions of cruelty and consequent suffering; one
reflection constantly arises to the mind in reading this narrative, that vice and virtue
cannot be levelled in their effects by any similarity of situation. Though we now
behold the young man a galley-slave, surrounded by the lowest class of offenders, yet
his mild and gentle manners, and the purity of Christian precepts, produce their
effect.


As in all orders of society, some are more obnoxious than others, there was an
evident distinction among the comites of the different galleys. One, who presided
over a galley that lay near, was named Palma. He was notorious for his cruelty. All
looked upon it as an aggravation of their misfortunes to be placed in this galley. "As
our numbers multiplied," says Amadee, "it was announced, that several of us were to
be distributed on board this galley. I prayed that my [148] lot might not fall to this
comite. When the lots were drawn, a man approached me and ordered me to follow
him. Eager to know my fortune, I begged him to inform me to what galley my lot had
fallen. 'The galley of Palma,' said he. 'O Heavens!' I exclaimed, 'has God thus deserted
me?'


"'What do you mean?' said he, frowning.


"'He is as merciless as a demon,' I exclaimed; 'nothing can exceed his cruelty.'


"'I should like to know,' said he, fiercely, 'who gives that character of me; they should
soon feel my wrath.'


"I now perceived, that it was Palma himself to whom I was speaking. 'God's will be
done,' said I; 'I will serve you faithfully and without murmuring; the treatment
remains with you.' He made no reply, but conducted me to his galley, and ordered
the sous-comite to chain me, as usual. As I was young and vigorous, he put a heavy
chain round my leg. Soon after, Palma came to the bench where I was placed; he
observed that they had put one of the heaviest chains upon me, and immediately
ordered a lighter one, and even chose the chain himself. From this time he favored
me particularly, and, when the hard-hearted captain ordered Palma to give the
Huguenots a hempen breakfast, meaning a whipping, he let his blows fall lightly on
me, [149] and I even thought he spared the others for my sake. When the captain, as
is customary, appointed a galley-slave to take care of the provisions, Palma
recommended me to him, as a slave whom he could trust, but, added he, 'He is a
Huguenot.' 'How, then, can he be trusted?' asked the captain. He yielded so far to the
representations of Palma, as to order me before him. 'They tell me,' said he, 'you are
the only slave that can be trusted, and you are a Huguenot.' I answered submissively,
that there were other Huguenots on board the galley, that could be trusted. 'I will try
you,' said he, 'and give you the care of the stores; but, remember, for the slightest
infidelity you receive the bastinado!' The office entitles the slave who holds it to an
exemption from the oar and a dinner every day upon the captain's provision.


"Such a situation was comparative happiness to the hard duty I was undergoing; my
heart beat rapidly. I made no reply, for I was buried in thought. 'Dog of a Christian,'
he exclaimed, 'have you no thanks?' At this moment a struggle, not inferior to that I
had experienced once before, took possession of my mind. 'There is another
Huguenot on board this galley,' said I, 'who is every way more worthy of this office
than myself. He is an old man, broken down by labor; he is unable to work at the
[150] oar, and even stripes can get but little service from him. I am yet able to
endure; grant him this place, and let me still continue at the oar.' The captain seemed
doubtful whether he understood me. 'I know who he means,' said the comite, 'it is old
Bancillon.' 'Let him be brought,' said the commander. Bancillon was brought
forward, bowed down by age and labor, his venerable head covered with white hair.
The comites acknowledged, that, excepting inability of strength, he had no faults, and
was respected for his integrity by every one." It is unnecessary to pursue the details.
He was appointed to the office, and the young Amadee returned to the oar. "How
weak was my virtue!" he exclaims; "though it enabled me to resign the office to this
venerable minister, (for such he once was,) it could not restrain bitter emotions. I felt
my face bedewed with scalding tears of regret, as I once more commenced my hard
labor. But when, a short time after, I beheld the venerable Bancillon losing the
emaciated and distressed appearance he had worn, smiling benignantly on me, and
imploring for me the blessing of Heaven, I no longer murmured; I was rewarded for
my sacrifice."


"One circumstance ought not to be omitted, relating to Bancillon. He soon won the
entire confidence of the captain, and the jealousy of those around him was roused.
They laid a plot [151] to ruin him. He discovered it, and, without exposing them to
the bastinado by revealing it, informed the captain that he wished to resign his office.
'Do you know the penalties?' said the captain. 'I know,' replied the old man, 'that I
must return to the oar. My sight and my memory fail me; I will try to perform my
duty, and death will soon release me from the hard service.'


"While he was speaking, one of those who had devised his ruin, suspecting that he
was informing the captain, came forward and revealed the plot, to secure his own
pardon. The captain investigated the matter, insisted on his resuming the office, and
grew more lenient towards the Huguenots for his sake. There were six of these in our
galley, and all of them won more forbearance from the comites, by their quiet and
orderly behaviour, than might have been expected."


In the beginning of the summer of 1708, (Amadee had been seven years on board the
galleys,) Queen Anne had a vessel of seventy guns commanded by a man who was a
concealed Catholic, though an Englishman. Strange as it may seem, he bore a perfect
hatred towards his own country, where the same persecutions had formerly been
exercised towards the Papists, as were now practising by the French towards the
Huguenots. He was no sooner in possession of the ship, than [152] he sailed to
Gottenburg, sold her, and repaired to France to offer his services to Louis the
Fourteenth against his country. The King received him graciously, promised him a
captain's commission when one should be vacant; and, in the mean time, advised
him to go on board the galley of Monsieur Langeron at Dunkirk; this was the one to
which Amadee belonged. The Englishman, whose name was Smith, constantly
suggested plans for burning the towns on the coast, and particularly Harwich, a small
town situated near the mouth of the Thames. For this purpose there was a
reinforcement of soldiers and combustibles prepared. Six galleys sailed on a fine
clear morning to perform this cruel vengeance on Harwich, at the instigation of a
native Englishman.


They arrived at the mouth of the Thames at about five in the evening, and waited till
dark to make their descent upon the quiet town. In the mean time, an alarm was
given, that a fleet of merchant ships, escorted by a frigate, were making for the mouth
of the Thames. It was immediately resolved by a council of war, that the six galleys
should attack this fleet. They soon came up to it. Four of the galleys were to attack
the merchant ships, while that of Commodore de Langeron and one other were to
become masters of the frigate.


[153] In pursuance of this plan, four of the galleys surrounded the merchantmen,
who were without guns, to prevent their entering the Thames. The captain of the
frigate, perceiving the design of the enemy, ordered the men to crowd all sail, and, if
possible, get into the Thames, and, leaving them, bore down upon the other galleys.
"Ours," says Amadee, "was the only one in a condition to begin the engagement, as
our associate had fallen back, for some cause, more than a league behind us. Our
commodore thought his one galley would be more than a match for the frigate, and
did not hesitate to meet it. We were soon within cannon-shot, and, accordingly, the
galley discharged her broadside. The frigate, silent as death, approached us without
firing a gun; no sound could be heard from her, except her deep sweep through the
water. Our commodore actually believed, that she was going to surrender without a
blow. Along, however, she came steadily advancing, the galley incessantly pouring in
her broadside, and the frigate still seeming to move by invisible means, and
preserving a death-like silence. Suddenly we saw all hands in motion; it became
evident, that it was making an attempt to fly. Nothing gives spirits like a flying
enemy. The officers began to boast, 'If the frigate does not strike in two moments, it
shall be sunk by a blast in less time.'


[ 154] "The commodore gained upon the frigate, and ordered the men to bury the
beak of the galley in the stern, and immediately to board her. All the sailors and
soldiers stood ready with their sabres and battle-axes. Suddenly the frigate dashed
round and fairly laid herself alongside of us. Now it was, that we saw our mistake; the
grappling irons were thrown out and fixed us fast to the frigate. The artillery began to
pour upon us with grapeshot; all on board were as much exposed as if upon a raft.
Not a gun was fired that did not do horrible execution. The English masts were filled
with sailors, that threw grenades among us like hail, and scattered wounds and
death. Our men no longer thought of attack; terror seemed to have taken possession
of the officers. To add to the horror of our situation, the enemy threw in forty or fifty
men, who, sword in hand, hewed down all that opposed them, but sparing the slaves,
who were chained and unable to make resistance. Langeron, seeing himself reduced
to such extremity, waved the flag of distress to call the other galleys to his aid. They
were obliged to quit their intended prey, and hasten to our assistance, and the whole
fleet of merchant ships saved themselves in the Thames.


"The galleys rowed with such swiftness, that in less than half an hour the six galleys
encompassed the frigate. Her men were now no longer [155] able to keep the deck,
and a number of grenadiers were ordered to board her. This was executed with
extreme difficulty, but the frigate's crew were at last constrained to yield when
encompassed by the six galleys. At length all the ship's company were made
prisoners, except the captain, who took refuge in the cabin, firing upon us with the
utmost obstinacy. We concluded that he must be perfectly fool-hardy when he
declared, that he would sooner blow the frigate up in the air than strike. The way to
the powder led through the cabin, and, were the frigate blown up, it would have been
attended with disastrous consequences to our galleys. In this extremity it was
concluded to hold a parley with the captain, and to promise him the kindest
treatment on his surrendering. He only replied by firing from the windows. The
English officers, by their accounts of him, had greatly increased the tremendous idea
we had formed of the desperate captain. At length it was resolved, that he should be
taken, dead or alive; for this purpose, a sergeant with twelve grenadiers attempted to
break open his door; but the captain, who was prepared with loaded pistols, shot him
down, and the others took to flight; for, as they could advance into the room but one
at a time, the captain could kill them one after the other. Recourse was had to more
gentle measures, and he finally consented to [156] surrender himself. Our
astonishment was extreme when he appeared; hump-backed, palefaced, and
deformed in person, we could scarcely believe, that this insignificant figure had made
such a mighty uproar. It was soon understood, why he had so long resisted. The
course he pursued was to give the merchantmen time to escape into the Thames.
When he saw that they had accomplished this purpose, he yielded at once."


We must now pursue this narrative, to give a faint idea of the horrors of the
engagement.


"We have seen," says the unfortunate Amadee, "how dexterously the frigate placed
herself alongside of us, by which we were exposed to the fire of her artillery, charged
with grape-shot. It happened that my seat, on which there were five Frenchmen and
one Turk, lay just opposite one of the cannon, which was charged. The two vessels lay
so close, that, by raising my body in the least, I could touch the cannon with my
hand. A neighbourhood so terrible filled us all with silent consternation. My
companions lay flat on the seat and in that posture endeavoured to avoid the coming
blow. I had presence of mind enough to perceive, that the gun was pointed in such a
manner, that those who lay flat would receive its contents; and I sat as upright as
possible, but, being chained, could not quit my station. [157]


In this manner I awaited death, which I had scarce any hope of escaping. My eyes
were fixed upon the gunner, who, with his lighted match, fired one piece after
another. He came nearer and nearer to the fatal one. I lifted my heart to God in
fervent prayer. Never had I felt such assurances of divine mercy, whether life or
death awaited me. I looked steadily at the gunner as he applied the lighted match.
What followed I only knew by the consequences. The explosion had stunned me; I
was blown as far as my chain would permit. Here I remained, I cannot say how long,
lying across the body of the lieutenant of the galley, who had been killed some time
before. At last, recovering my senses and finding myself lying upon a dead body, I
crept back to my seat. It was night, and the darkness was such, that I could see
neither the blood that was spilled, nor the carnage around me. I imagined that their
former fears still operated upon my companions; and that they lay on their faces to
avoid the no longer threatening danger. I felt no pain from any wound and believed
myself uninjured.


"I remained in a tranquil state for some moments, and even began to be amused with
the motionless silence of my fellow-slaves, who, I supposed, were still lying as they
first threw themselves. Desirous to free them from their [158] terrors, I pushed the
one next to me. 'Rise, my boy,' said I, 'the danger is over.' I received no answer. I
spoke louder; all was silence and Egyptian darkness.

"Isouf, a Turk, had often boasted, that he never knew what fear was. He was
remarkable for his truth and honesty. 'My good fellow,' said I, in a tone of raillery,
'up, the danger is over, you may be as brave as ever. Come, I will help you. I leaned
forward and took his hand. O, horrors! my blood still freezes at the remembrance; it
came off in mine, stiff, and deadly cold! The first gleam of light showed me my
companions all slaughtered! Of the six on our seat I alone survived. Alas! I may well
say, I was the miserable survivor; their toils and agonies were over. It was some time
before I discovered that I was wounded, and then not by pain, but by the blood which
deluged me."


But why prolong this sad narrative? Of eighteen slaves on the three bancs or seats,
Amadee was the only living one; and he, mutilated and wounded in three places,
awaited the end of the engagement,--the silence only broken by groans or
imprecations, or the firing of the captain, who still refused to surrender.


After a long interval of suffering, Amadee was considered able to resume his place at
the oar. It may not be uninteresting to abstract some account [159] of the occupation
of the slaves when the galley is laid up for the winter in time of peace.


"The order is given from Court about the lat ter end of October. The galleys are then
arranged along the quay. The galley is entirely cleared, and the slaves remain fixed to
their wretched quarters for the winter. They spread their great-coats for beds on a
board, and here they sleep. When the weather is extremely cold they have a tent,
made of coarse woollen cloth, raised over the galley. They never have fire or blankets.
It is now a season of some rest for them, and they are permitted to earn a little
money. Among the variety there are often tradesmen, tailors, shoemakers, gravers,
&c. These are sometimes permitted to build wooden stalls upon the quay opposite
their respective galleys. The keeper chains them in their stalls. Here they may earn a
few halfpence a day, and this situation is comparative ease. There is, however, still
hard labor aboard the galley. The comites still use the lash without mercy, and often
without discrimination. One of the hardest labors to Amadee, because the most
tyrannical and degrading, was the exhibition to which they were constantly exposed
by the officers, for the entertainment of their friends. The galley was cleaned anew,
and the slaves were ordered to shave, and put on their red habits and red caps, [160]
which are their uniform, when they wear any garments. This done, they are made to
sit between the benches, so that nothing but heads with red caps are visible, from one
end of the galley to the other. In this attitude the gentlemen and ladies, who come as
spectators, are saluted by the slaves, with a loud and mournful cry of Hau. This
seems but one voice; it is repeated three times, when a person of high distinction
enters. During this salute the drums beat, and the soldiers, in their best clothes, are
ranged along the bande of the boat, with their guns shouldered. The masts are
adorned with streamers; the chamber at the stern is also adorned with hangings of
red velvet, fringed with gold. The ornaments in sculpture, at the stern, thus
beautified to the water's edge; the oars lying on the seats, and appearing without the
galley like wings, painted of different colors,--a galley thus adorned strikes the eye
magnificently; but let the spectator reflect on the misery of three hundred slaves,
scarred with stripes, emaciated and dead-eyed, chained day and night, and subject to
the arbitrary will of creatures devoid of humanity, and he will no longer be enchanted
by the gaudy outside. The spectators, a large proportion of whom are often ladies,
pass from one end of the galley to the other, and return to the stern, where they seat
themselves. The comite then blows his whistle. At the first [161] blast every slave
takes off his cap; at the second, his coat; at the third, his shirt, and they remain
naked. Then comes what is called the monkey exhibition. They are all ordered to lie
along the seats, and the spectator loses sight of them; then they lift one finger, next
their arms, then their head, then one leg, and so on, till they appear standing upright.
Then they open their mouths, cough all together, embrace, and throw themselves
into ridiculous attitudes, wearing, to the appearance of the spectator, an air of gayety,
strangely contrasted with the sad, hollow eye of many of the performers, and the
ferocious, hardened despair of others. To the reflecting mind there can scarcely be
any thing more degrading than this exhibition; men, subject constantly to the lash,
doomed for life to misery, perpetually called upon to amuse their fellow-beings by
'antic tricks.'


"Forty of these galleys were maintained during the reign of Louis the Fourteenth, at a
most extravagant expense. It has been a subject of inquiry, what were the motives, as
the success of this kind of boats is supposed to be disproportionate to frigates, and
other ships of war. They provided maintenance for younger brothers of noble
families, particularly Knights of Malta, who were generally the head officers. They
likewise afforded a secure prison for criminals of all kinds. [162]


There are, perhaps, nautical advantages, as it matters not which way the wind blows,
they being always subject to the oar."


We pass over the transfer of our unfortunate prisoner from Dunkirk to the galleys at
Marseilles, and the description of the horrible prison of Tournelle, at Paris, where
they were chained in ranks, so that they could neither stand nor lie down, nor even
sit, but were obliged to assume a posture between all.


On the 17th of January, 1713, our Protestant friend, with twenty-two other prisoners,
arrived at Marseilles; nearly half of the number had died in the transportation. They
were put on board a galley, where there were other Protestants, who had preferred
stripes and suffering to abjuration of their religion. Let us hasten to the conclusion of
this melancholy story. By the intercession of Queen Anne, of England, liberty and
pardon was granted to a certain number of the Protestant galley-slaves, on condition
of their quitting the kingdom at their own expense. This number was limited to a
hundred and thirty-six, and Amadee was amongst them; the number of Protestant
slaves was upwards of three hundred. These were not released till nearly a year
afterwards. By the aid of the charitable, the poor captives, after encountering many
obstacles, arrived, on Sunday, within a [163] league of Geneva. They here halted at a
small village, situated on a mountain, where they could view their land of rest.


We may judge of their emotions, after what they had endured. The gates of the city
were closed on Sunday till four o'clock. They waited till that hour, and then
proceeded to the town. Intelligence, however, had previously reached the place, of
the arrival of the convicts. They were met by crowds of people, of every age and sex,
and the dignitaries of the city. But the scene became more deeply interesting; many
had friends and near relations on board the galleys. Exclamations were heard, of "My
son!" "My husband!" "My brother!" All received welcome and embraces; it was a
band of Christian brothers meeting, and language seemed wanting to express their
mutual feelings. We close this account of Protestant constancy and suffering, in the
words of our hero.


"At length, we followed their Excellencies, who conducted us into the city in a kind of
triumph; joy all around us, acclamations from every quarter; the governors honoring
us with their presence, our galley labors at an end, and liberty secured to us, ofHuguenot 
serving God according to our own consciences; venerable ministers of the gospel
consoling, and strengthening, and even praising us, for our perseverance. O, what a
[164]


Sabbath evening was this! How different from the cavalcades, to which we had been
accustomed, when pursuing our weary way, loaded with chains, insulted by the
populace, famishing with hunger, holding out our wooden cups imploring a drop of
water, and refused with surliness or gibes." Not one of them was conducted to the
hospital, though it had been prepared for them; private asylums were offered the
sufferers, and each one was received at some domestic board.


There is a sort of poetical justice in bringing the sufferers in safety to the burialplace{(*)}
of Calvin, the first French reformer, with whose history we almost began
that of the Huguenots. The setting sun was casting its glorious beams on the
graveyard, as the pilgrims knelt in silent prayer. How solemn, how impressive the
scene! If ever spirits are permitted to revisit the earth, surely, Calvin's must have
been there, purified from all bigotry, and walking humbly and devoutly with the
persecuted Servetus.