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one day in his rambles, he reached the top of a hill, that overlooked the desert where the protestants were assembled at worship. He was in his military uniform, and in that hostile garb the most philanthropic of men was mistaken for an enemy. The audience dispersed with precipitation, but M. de Boufflers threw off his coat, flew down the hill, rallied the fugitives, and placing himself by Paul Rabeau the preacher, listened to an admirable sermon.*
* M. de Boufflers, whom Delille calls "le modile des Chevaliers, la Jteur des Troubadours," was an elegant writer, though perhaps still more distinguished for the charms of his conversation, which had an irresistible attraction. He had much of the polish of courts, but still more of the simplicity of the philosopher. His playful and original wit enchanted others, but he never suspected himself of possessing the slightest intellectual superiority. I knew him only in his advanced age, but he was the most amiable of old men. Time had respected his faculties and feelings, and had left him those best sensibilities of our nature, of which the contraction, or the loss, is the most gloomy circumstance of our closing history.
The edict of Louis XVI gave the protestants the privilege of enregistering their marriages, and legitimatized their children, leaving them, however, still at a distance from all the rights of citizens.
But the tide of public opinion flowed already full in favour of religious toleration. The mild and humane character of Louis XVI, -who wished all within the pale of his dominion to be happy, was in sympathy with the sublime lessons of Malesherbes. Voltaire had also brought persecution into disgrace; the multitude had adopted the opinions of the Encyclopedists. Such as could neither reason nor feel could imitate: toleration was the general fashion; and the great event of the revolution approached.
The same subject continued.
The hour of emancipation arrived; the revolution took place, and was no doubt hailed by the protestants like the day-star from on high. Yet no one has dared- to accuse them of having sullied their triumph by any excesses whatever. Restored to civic rights, and the protection of* equal laws, the assemblies of the desert flew to the temples, which were now thrown open for their solemnities, and poured forth the tribute of their boundless gratitude.
Nothing could be more affecting than the public worship of the protestants, at which I was often present in the first years of the Revolution. The remembrance of past perils, the consciousness of present security, was a new joy, which, purified and exalted by a sentiment of devotion, excited emotions al. most too powerful to sustain. Every bosom beat high with gratitude, every eye was bathed in tears!
When the reign of terror commenced, the protestants had their full share of its perils. The list of victims who perished on the scaffold contains, in proportion, the names of a greater number of protestants than catholics. The executioners did not stop to inquire into the religious creed of their victims.*
But previously to that period, a scene of horrible import to the protestants had already
* During the time of terror, every church in Paris, but that of the protestants, was shut. Encouraged by the example of our pastor, M. Marron, who with the heroism of devout resignation performed divine service every Sunday and Decadi, under the knife of the assassins, the protestants even then assembled regularly for public worship. Such as still survive cherish the recollection that, in those days of profanation and sacrilege, we could say with Joshua, "As for me, and my house, we will serve the Lord."
passed in the south of France, the great theatre of fanaticism. A massacre of the protestants took place in the year 1790, at Nismes.
However strange it may appear, it is nevertheless true, that this event produced no lasting impression on the public mind, and was in some sort absorbed in the mass of general calamity, which soon after spread itself over France. But the truth is, no events whatever leave any durable impression on a people in revolution. The destruction of the monarchy in 1792, the struggles of the republicans and the terrorists in 1793, seem to us almost as far lost in the lapse of time as the fall of Caesar, or the wars of Marius and Scylla. We descend the pathway of a torrent, with impetuous swiftness, and have no leisure to remount the stream. In such circumstances no event enchains attention, or fastens on the memory. Revolutionary life is an hors d'ceuvre in human existence—it re