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Swiss Guards

guard, revolution and companies

SWISS GUARDS. Swiss companies served in France from the time of Louis XI, who paid particular attention to cultivate the friendship of the cantons. In 1571 Charles IX created the charge of Colonel-General of the Swiss for Montmorency, who. commanded all the Swiss in the kingdom, except the 100 guards of the king. The institution of the Swiss guards as a complete regiment dates from 1616. In 1714 it was composed of 12 companies, some of which had two captains. Louis XIV gave it five officers to each company. All the officers and men were Swiss, and the companies mounted guard before the king according to the rank. of the cantons to which their cap tains belonged. The Swiss guards followed in order of precedence after the French guards. They enjoyed liberty of worship. According to the arrangement with the Cantons, the Swiss guards could not be obliged to serve against Germany beyond the Rhine, against Italy be yond the Alps, or against Spain beyond the Pyrenees. This convention was often broken.

The attachment of the Swiss guards to the king made them obnoxious to the people during the Revolution. They were repeatedly banished and recalled, and on and after 10 Aug. 1792, when they had to defend the Louvre against the mob, they were massacred without mercy. The Lion of Lucerne was designed by Thor waldsen in memory of their heroism. At the Restoration, a Swiss Guard was formed to guard the person of the worthless Bourbon, but it was dispersed by the Revolution of 1830. The Vatican Palace, Rome, the residence of the popes, is guarded by a company of Swiss, who are termed the Swiss Guard. Consult Stephens, H. M., (2 vr:ls., New York 1891) and Ternaux, de la Terreur> (8 vols., Paris 1863-81).