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CAMISARDS, the name given to the Protestant peasantry of the Cevennes who, from 1702 to 1705, and for some years afterwards, carried on an organized military resistance to the revo cation of the Edict of Nantes. The Camisards (from camisade, obs. Fr. for "a night attack," from the Ital. camiciata, formed from camicia, a shirt, from the shirt being worn over the armour to distinguish friends from foes), were also called Barbets ("water-dogs," a term also applied to the Waldenses), Vagabonds, Assemblers, Fanatics and the Children of God. They belonged to that romance-speaking people who made the South of France the most fertile nursing ground of mediaeval heresy (see CATHARS and ALBIGEN SES) . At the time of the Reformation the same causes produced like results.


1686 Pierre Jurieu published his work L'Accomplissement des propheties, in which, speaking of the Apocalypse, he predicted the end of the persecution of the Huguenots and the fall of Baby lon (that is to say of Roman Catholicism) for 1689. The revo lution in England seemed to provide a striking corroboration of his prophecies, and the apocalyptic enthusiasm took so strong a hold on people's minds that Bossuet felt compelled to refute Jurieu's arguments in his Apocalypse expliquee, published in 1689. The Lettres pastorales of Jurieu (Rotterdam, 1686-87), a series of brief tracts which were secretly circulated in France, continued to narrate events and prodigies in which the author saw the inter vention of God, and thus strengthened the courage of his adher ents. This religious enthusiasm, under the influence of Du Serre, was manifested for the first time in the Dauphine. Du Serre, who was a pupil of Jurieu, communicated his mystic faith to young children who were called the "petits prophetes," and went from village to village quoting the most obscure and terrible predictions. (See ANTICHRIST.) The assassination of the Abbe du Chayla on July 23, 1702, at Ponte de Monvert, marks the beginning of the war of the Ceven nes. The abbe, a veteran Catholic missionary from Siam, had been appointed inspector of missions in the Cevennes, where he introduced the "squeezers" (which resembled the Scottish "boot") . His murder was planned by Esprit Seguier, who at once began to carry out his idea of a general massacre of the Catholic priests. He soon fell, and was succeeded by Laporte, an old soldier, who, as his troop increased, assumed the title of "the colonel of the children of God," and named his camp the "camp of the Eternal." He used to lead his followers to the fight singing Clement Marot's grand version of the 68th Psalm, "Que Dieu se montre seulement," to the music of Goudimel. The movement was essentially a popu lar one ; there were no noblemen among its leaders. Besides La porte, the forest-ranger Castanet, the wool-carders Conderc and Mazel, the soldiers Catinat, Joany and Ravenel were selected as captains—all men whom the theomanie or prophetic malady had visited. The most important figures are those of Roland, who afterwards issued the following despatch to the inhabitants of St. Andre, "Nous, Comte et Seigneur Roland, generalissime des Protestants de France, nous ordonnons que vous ayez a congedier dans trois jours tons les pretres et missionnaires qui sont chez vous, sous peine d'etre brules tout vifs, vous et eux" (Court, i. p. ; and Jean Cavalier, the baker's boy, who, at the age of 17, commanded the southern army of the Camisards, and who, after defeating successively the Comte de Broglie, Montrevel, Berwick and Villars, made an honourable peace. (See CAVALIER, JEAN.) Cavalier for nearly two years continued to direct the war. Regular taxes were raised, arsenals were formed in the great limestone caves of the district, the Catholic churches and their decorations were burned and the clergy driven away. Occa sionally routed in regular engagements, the Camisards, through their desperate valour and the rapidity of their movements, were constantly successful in skirmishes, night attacks and ambus cades. The rising was far from being general, and never extended to more than three or four thousand men, but it was rendered dangerous by the secret, and sometimes the open, support of the people in general. Their knowledge of a mountainous country clothed in forests and without roads, gave the insurgents an enormous advantage over the royal troops, and the rebellion was not finally suppressed until Baville had constructed roads throughout the country.

Montrevel adopted a policy of extermination, and 466 villages were burned in the Upper Cevennes alone, the population being for the most part put to the sword. Pope Clement XI. assisted in this work by issuing a bull against the "execrable race of the ancient Albigenses," and promising remission of sins to the holy militia which was now formed among the Catholic population, and called the Florentines, Cadets of the Cross, or White Camisards. Villars, the victor of Hochstadt and Friedlingen, saw that concili ation was necessary ; he took advantage of the feelings of horror with which the quiet Protestants of Nimes and other towns now regarded the war, and published an amnesty. In May 1704 a f or mal meeting between Cavalier and Villars took place at Nimes, resulting in the despatch to the court of a document containing the requests of the Camisards. The three leading requests for liberty of conscience and the right of assembly outside walled towns, for the liberation of those sentenced to prison or the gal leys under the revocation, and for the restitution to the emigrants of their property and civil rights, were all granted—the first on condition of no churches being built, and the third on condition of an oath of allegiance being taken. The greater part of the Camisard army under Roland, Ravenel, and Joany would not accept the terms which Cavalier had arranged, and, insisting that the Edict of Nantes must be restored, continued the war till Jan. 1705, by which time all their leaders were either killed or dispersed. In 1709 Mazel and Claris, with the aid of two preaching women, Marie Desubas and Elizabeth Catalon, made a serious effort to rekindle revolt in the Vivarais; but in 1711 all opposition and all signs of the reformed religion had disappeared. On March 8, 1715, by medals and a proclamation, Louis XIV. announced the entire extinction of heresy.

What we know of the spiritual manifestations in the Cevennes (which much resembled those of the Swedish Raestars of Smaland in 1844) is chiefly derived from Le Theatre sacre des Cevennes (London, 1707), reprinted at Paris in 1847; A Cry From the Desert, etc., by John Lacy (1707); La Clef des propheties de M. Marion (London, 1707) ; Avertissements prophetiques d'Elie Marion, etc. (London, 1707). The inspiration (of which there were four degrees, avertissement, prophetie, dons) was sometimes communicated by a kiss at the assembly. The patient, who had gone through several fasts three days in length, became pale and fell insensible to the ground. Violent agitations of the limbs and head followed, as Voltaire remarks, "quite according to the ancient custom of all nations, and the rules of madness trans mitted from age to age." Finally the patient (who might be a little child, a woman, a half-witted person) began to speak in the good French of the Huguenot Bible words such as these: "Mes f rrres, amendez-vous, faites penitence, la fin du monde approche; le jugement general sera dans trois mois; repentez-vous du grand peche que vous avez commis d'aller a la messe ; c'est le Saint Esprit qui parle par ma bouche," Brueys, Histoire du fanatisme de notre temps (Utrecht, 1737, vol. i. p. 1S3). The discourse might go on for two hours ; after which the patient could only ex press himself in his native patois, and had no recollection of his "ecstacy." All kinds of miracles attended on the Camisards. Lights in the sky guided them to places of safety, voices sang en couragement to them, shots and wounds were often harmless. Those entranced fell from trees without hurting themselves ; they shed tears of blood ; and they subsisted without food or speech for nine days. The supernatural was part of their life. The publication of J. F. K. Hecker's work, Die V olkskrankheiten des Mittelalters, made it possible to consider the subject in its true relation. This was translated into English in 1844 by B. G. Babington as The Epidemics of the Middle Ages.


Louvreleuil, Le fanatisme renouvele, ou l'hisBibliography.-J. B. Louvreleuil, Le fanatisme renouvele, ou l'his- toire des sacrileges, des incendies et des meurtres ... commis dans les Cevennes (Avignon, 1701—o6) ; A Compleat History of the Cevennes, giving a Particular Account of the Situation, etc., by a doctor of civil law (1703) ; D. A. de Brueys, Histoire du Fanatisme de notre temps (1690), Suite de l'histoire du fanatisme de notre temps ou l'on voit les derniers troubles des Cevennes (17o9) ; Lettres choisies de M. Flechier eveque de Nines, avec une relation des fanatiques du Vivarez (1715) ; Madame de Merez de l'Incarnation, Memoires et journal tres fidele de ce qui s'est passé le II de mai 1703 jusqu'au z juin 1705 a Nimes tou chant les phanatiques, published by E. de Barthelemy (Montpellier, 1874) ; M. Misson, Le Theatre sacre des Cevennes, ou Recit de diverses merveilles nouvellement operees dans cette parti de la province de Languedoc (London, 1707) ; the Theatre also contains important ex tracts from the works of Benoit, Brueys, Euiscard and Boyer, and several original letters from Camisards; Histoire des Camisards (Lon don, 1740) an anonymous work in 1759 condemned by the parlement of Toulouse to be torn up and burnt; A. Court, Histoire des troubles de Cevennes (1760, 2nd ed. 1819) , the best work of this period, com piled from numerous manuscript references. Modern works E. Moret, Quinze ans du regne de Louis XIV. (1859) ; G. Frosterus, Les Insurges Protestants sur Louis XIV. (1868) ; A. E. Bray, The Revolt of the Protestants of the Cevennes (1870) ; F. Puaux, Histoire populaire des Camisards (1878) , and "Origine, causes et consequences de la guerre des Camisards" (in Revue Historique, 1918) ; A. Issarte, Des causes de la revolte des Camisards (1901) ; C. Bost, Les predicants prot estantes des Cevennes, 1684-1700 (1912) ; J. Dedieu, Le Role Politique des Protestants francais, 1685-1715, with bibliography (1921) .

cevennes, les, protestants, histoire, cavalier, published and war