from The Torments of Protestant Slaves in the
French King's Galleys, & in the Dungeons of
Marseilles, 1686-1707. Edited by Edward Arber, 1907.
A Short Account of the violent Proceedings and unheard-of Cruelties
which have been exercised upon those of Montauban, and which
continue to be put in practice in other places, against those of the
Reformed Religion in France; for to make them renounce their
On Saturday, the 8/18th of August 1685, the Intendant of the Upper Guienne, who
resides at Montauban, having summoned the principal Protestants of the said City to
come before him, represented unto them, That they could not be ignorant that the
Absolute Will and Pleasure of the King was to tolerate but One Religion in his
Kingdom, viz., the Catholic Religion: and therefore wished them readily to comply
with the same; and, in order thereto, [he] advised them to assemble themselves, and
to consider what resolution they would take.
To this Proposal, some answered, That there was no need of their assembling
themselves upon that account:forasmuch as every one of them, in particular, was
[ready] to try and examine themselves; and [to] be
always in a readiness to give a
Reason of the Faith which was in them.
The next day [,August 9/19], the Intendant again commanded them to meet together
in the Town House [Hotel de Ville]; which he ordered should be left free for them,
from noon till six of the clock in the evening. Where meeting accordingly; they
unanimously resolved, as they had lived, so to persist till death, in their Religion.
Which resolution of theirs, there were some deputed by them to declare to the
Intendant: who presenting themselves before him, he who was appointed
Spokesman, began - p. 159- to address himself to the Intendant in these words,
'My Lord! we are not unacquainted, how we are menaced with the greatest violence.'
'Hold there!' said the Intendant, "No violence!'
After this, the Protestant continued, 'but whatever force or violence may be put upon
Here the Intendant, interrupting him again, said, 'I forbid you to use any such
Upon which second interruption; he contented himself to assure him, in few words,
That they were all resolved to live and die in their Religion.
The day after [,August 10/20], the Battalion of La Fere, consisting of sixteen
Companies, entered the City; and were followed by many more. The Protestants, all
this while, dreaming of no other Design they had against them, but that of ruining
their estates [property] and [of] impoverishing them, had already taken some
measures how to bear the said trial. They had made a Common Purse, for the relief of
such who should be most burdened with Quartering; and were come to a resolution
The Huguenot Society
Founders of Manakin in the Colony of Virginia
Huguenot Society FMCV - Huguenot History
to possess what they had in common. But alas! how far these poor Souls were
mistaken in their accounts; and how different the treatment they
received from the
Dragoons was, from what they expected; I shall now relate to you.
First therefore, in order to their executing the Design and Project they had formed
against them, they made the Soldiers take up their Quarters in one certain place in
the city: but withal appointed several 'Corps de Guard' [guardhouses], to cut off the
communication which one part of the city might have with the other; and [they]
possessed themselves of the Gates, that none might make their escape.
Things being thus ordered; the Troopers, Soldiers, and Dragoons, began to practise
all manner of hostilities and cruelties, wherewith the Devil can inspire the most
inhuman and reprobate minds.
They marred and defaced their household stuff; and broke their looking-glasses, and
other like utensils and ornaments. They let the wine run about their cellars; and cast
abroad and spoiled their corn, and other alimentary - 160- provisions. And as for
those things which they could not break or dash to pieces, as the furniture of beds,
hangings, tapestry, linen, wearing apparel, plate, and things of the like nature; these
they carried to the Market Place; where the Jesuits bought them of the Soldiers, and
encouraged the Roman Catholics to do the like. They did not stick to sell the very
houses of such as were most resolute and constant in their Profession.
It is supposed, according to a moderate calculation, that, in the time of four or five
days, the Protestants of the City were the poorer by a Million of money [that is,
1,000,000 livres-100,000 pounds]
than they were, before the entering of these
Missionaries. There were Soldiers who demanded 400 Crowns [80 pounds] a piece
from their hosts, for spending money; and many Protestants were forced to pay down
10 Pistoles [8 pounds 15 shillings] to each Soldier, on the same account.
In the meantime, the outrages they committed upon their Persons were most
detestable and barbarous. I have only here set down some few; of which I have been
A certain tailor, named Bearnois, was bound and dragged by the Soldiers to the
'Corps de Guard'; where they boxed and buffeted him all night: all which blows and
indignities he suffered with the greatest
The Troopers who Quartered with Monsieur Solignac, made his dining room a stable
for their horses; though the furniture of it was valued at 10,000 Livres [10,000
pounds], and forced him to turn the broach
[spit] till his arm was nearly burnt, by
their continual casting of wood upon the fire.
A passenger, as he went through the said City, saw some Soldiers beating a poor man,
even to death, for to force him to go to Mass: whilst the constant Martyr, to his last
breath, cried, He would never do it!; and only requested, They would dispatch and
make an end of him!
The Barons de Caussade and de la Motte, whose constancy and piety might have
inspired courage and resolution to the rest of the citizens, were sent away to Cahors.
Monsier D'Alliez, one of the prime Gentlemen of Montauban, being a venerable old
man, found so ill treatment at their hands, as it is thought that he will -p 161- scarcely
escape with his life.
Huguenot Society FMCV - Huguenot History
Monsieur de Garrison, who was one of the most considerable men of the City, and an
intimate friends of the Intendant, went and cast himself at his feet; imploring his
protection, and conjuring him to rid him of his Soldiers, that he might have no force
put upon his Conscience: adding, That, in recompense of the favour he begged of
him, he would willingly give himn all he had! which was to the value of about a
Million of Livres [=100,000 pounds]. But, by all his entreaties and proffers, he could
not in the least prevail with the Intendant: who gave orders that, for a terror to the
meaner sort, he should be worse used than the rest, by dragging him along the
The Method they most commonly made use of, for to make them abjure their
Religion, and which could not be the product of anything but Hell, was this. Some of
the most strong and vigorous Soldiers took their Hosts, or other persons of the
house, and walked them up and down in some chamber, continually tickling them,
and tossing them like a ball from one to another; without giving them the least
intermission: and keeping them in this condition for three days and nights together;
without meat, drink, or sleep. When they were so wearied and fainting that they
could no longer stand upon their legs; they laid them on a bed; continuing as before
to tickle and torment them. After some time, when they thought them somewhat
recovered, they made them rise, and walked them up and down as before; sometimes
tickling, and at other times lashing them with rods, to keep them from sleeping.
As soon as one party of these barbarous Tormentors were tired and wearied out, they
were relieved by others of their companions; who, coming fresh to the work, with
greater vigour and violence reiterated the same course. By this infernal invention
(which they had formerly made use of, with success, in Bearn and other places) many
went distracted [insane]; and others became mopish and stupid, and remain so.
Those who made their escape were fain to abandon their estates; yea, their Wives,
children, and aged relations, to the mercy of these barbarous, and more than savage,
Troops. (p. 162)