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been a minor, then was with his royal mother and the court. Two days afterwards he obtained an audience, and introduced himself in an elaborate latin oration, which he delivered in the presence of the duke, Madame Royal, and all the court, and in which he painted in strong colours the accounts that had been received in England concerning the dreadful atrocities that had been recently perpetrated upon the Waldenses by means of the soldiery_describing “ the houses on fire, which," says he, “ are yet smokingthe mangled carcases, and ground defiled with bloodvirgins violated, and, after being treated with brutal outrage too indecent to be mentioned, left to breathe out their last-men an hundred years old, helpless through age and bed-ridden, burnt in their beds-infants dashed against the rocks," &c. &c. " Were all the tyrants," says he, “ of all times and ages alive again, they might blush to find that, in comparison of these things, they had contrived nothing that deserved to be called barbarous and inhuman! The very angels are seized with horror at them! Men are amazed! Heaven itself seems to be astonished with the cries of dying men, and the very earth to blush, being discoloured with the gore of so many innocent persons," &c. Having finished his harangue, Sir Samuel presented to the duke the following letter with which he had been charged by his master, the Lord Protector.
Most SERENE PRINCE!
We have received letters from several places near your dominions, informing us that the subjects of your royal highness, professing the reformed religion, have of late, by your express order and command, been required, under pain of death and confiscation of their estates, to abandon their houses, possessions, and dwellings, within three days after the publication of that order, unless they would pledge themselves to relinquish their religious profession and become Catholics within twenty days. And that, when, with all becoming humility, they addressed themselves to your royal highness, petitioning for a revocation of that order, and a reception to former favour with a continuance of such liberties as were granted them by your most serene predecessors, a part of your army fell upon them, most cruelly massacred many, imprisoned others, banisbing the rest into desert places and mountains covered with snow, where some hundreds of families are reduced to such extremity, that it is to be feared they will all miserably perish, in a short time, with hunger and cold.
When intelligence was first brought us that a calamity so awful had befallen those most miserable people, it was impossible for us not to feel the deepest sorrow and compassion. For, as we are, not only by the ties of humanity, but also by religious fellowship and fraternal relation, united to them, we conceived we could neither satisfy our own minds, nor discharge our duty to God, nor the obligations of brotherly kindness and charity, as professors of the same faith, if, while deeply sympathizing with our afflicted brethren, we should fail to use every endeavour that was within our reach, to succour them under so many unexpected miseries.
We, in the first place, therefore, most earnestly desire and entreat your highness that you would re-consider the acts and ordinances of your most serene predecessors, and the indulgences which were by them granted from time inmemorial, and ratified to their subjects of the vallies. In granting and confirming which, as, on the one hand, they unquestionably did that which in itself was well pleasing to God, who intends that the law and liberty of conscience shall remain wholly in his own power, so, on the other, it cannot be doubted but that they had a respect also
to the merit of their subjects, whom they had always found faithful in war and obedient in time of peace. And as your serene highness has imitated the example of your predecessors, in all other things that have been so graciously and gloriously achieved by them, so we beseech you again and again that you would abrogate this edict, and any other that has been issued for the disquieting of your subjects on account of their religion; that you would restore them to their native homes and the possession of their properties; that you would confirm to them their ancient rights and liberties, cause reparation to be made to them for the injuries they have sustained, and adopt such means as may put an effectual stop to these vexatious proceedings. In doing this, your royal highness will perform what is acceptable to God, comfort and revive these miserable and distressed people, and give satisfaction to all your neighbours professing the reformed religion, and especially to ourself, who shall regard your favour and clemency towards them as the effect and fruit of our mediation, which we shall consider ourself bound to requite by a return of every good ofhce, while it will also be the means of not only laying a foundation for our good correspondence and friendship, but also of encreasing it between this commonwealth and your dominions. And this we promise ourself from your justice and clemency; whereunto we desire God to incline your heart and mind, and so we sincerely pray that he would confer on you and on your people peace and truth, and that he would prosper you in all your affairs, .
Given at our palace at Westminster, May 25, 1655.
As soon as the duke and his mother had made themselves acquainted with the contents of this letter, Madame Royal addressed herself to the English minister, and told him that “as, on the one hand, she could not but extremely applaud the singular charity and goodness of his highness, the Lord Protector, towards their subjects, whose situation had been represented to him so exceedingly lamentable, as she perceived by his discourse, had been done, so, on the other, she could not but extremely wonder that the malice of men should ever proceed so far as to clothe such paternal and tender chastisements of their most rebellious and insolent subjects, in characters so black and deformed, thereby to render them odious to all the neighbouring princes and states, with whom they were so anxious to keep up a good understanding and friendship especially with so great and powerful a prince as the Lord Protector.” She, at the same time, gave him to understand that “she was persuaded, when he came to be more particularly informed of the truth of all that had passed, he would be so perfectly satisfied with the duke's proceedings, that he would not give the least countenance to his disobedient subjects. However, for his highness's sake, they would not only freely pardon their rebellious subjects for the very heinous crimes which they had committed, but would also grant them such privileges and favours as could not fail to give the protector full proof of the great respect which they entertained for his person and mediation.”
These plausible professions, while they no doubt display the usual finesse of politicians, yet certainly evince no ordinary measure of respect for the head of the English government, and are much more complaisant than was the style in which the same lady had previously addressed Major Weis, the deputy from the Swiss cantons. For when this latter gentleman delivered to the duke a letter from the six Protestant cantons of Switzerland upon the same melancholy occasion, Madame Royal promptly replied, that they were not obliged to give an account of their
actions to any prince in the world; nevertheless, out of the respect which they bore to his masters of the cantons, they had given orders to the Marquis of Pionessa to acquaint him with the truth of all these affairs.
The marquis, in consequence, waited upon Major Weis, and endeavoured to justify all his proceedings, by casting the whole blame upon the Waldenses, repeatedly protesting that he never had the least design to force their consciences, and that all the reports which had been circulated respecting the massacre and other cruelties, were mere forgeries. To all which the major replied, that " with regard to the massacre, it was a thing so demonstrably evident, that it was impossible either to conceal or deny it. And as to the people's right of habitation in the places from whence they were ordered to depart, it was founded upon justice and equity, inasmuch as it had not only been conceded to them by Charles Emanuel, duke of Savoy, but also purchased of his royal highness for six thousund ducatoons, which were actually paid by them on that very account." The marquis told him, that he did not at all deny the authenticity of the charters which the Waldenses held, but they were all conditional, and that the Catholic religion ought to have been freely exercised in all those places, which they would never allow. In short, that their continual residence in all those places for the last ninety years, could be called no better than a ninety years rebellion and disobedience. Such were the miserable pleas of this intolerant and blood-thirsty man.
It is obvious from all that can be collected of the temper and influence of the Marquis of Pionessa, the bigotted attachment of the duke and his mother to the court of Rome, and the firm hold which the Catholic clergy had then got of their minds, that there was not the smallest disposition in the court of Savoy, to mitigate their sufferings, or abate the rigorous proceedings which had hitherVol. II.