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Act of Toleration. We may see here, as in so many instances in Christian history, the principle of compensation, which enables us to believe that there is no real loss in the world, and that the lives and energies of faithful men are never squandered. The sufferings of the Huguenots, if they have brought but tardy benefits to their own country, gave to their adopted country a powerful impulse in the path of civil and religious freedom.

The President, having proposed a cordial vote of thanks to Canon Fremantle, which was carried by acclamation, the following paper was read by Mr. Edward Ernest Stride, a Member of the Council of the Society.


To an Englishman the sweet word "Home" represents an object, round which, his dearest affections centre, and surely not less so was this the case with our Huguenot forefathers.

The well-built house, the carefully-tended vines with their luscious fruit, the smiling orchard, planted by his revered parents, represented to the "Vigneron" truly a peaceful spot, in which he hoped to pass the remainder of his days, in the company of his loved ones.

We can picture to ourselves such an one, standing, as I have done, on the high promontory overhanging the Loire, called "Les Plumes," between the old towns of refuge, Sançerre and La Charité, looking for the last time at the clear sky of the centre of "la belle France," enjoying the warmth of the October sun, tracing the course for miles, by the vine-clad slopes, of the silver river, and then, bidding a tender sad adieu to all these loved and lovely scenes, to go forth whither he scarcely knew.

For there was something more precious to him than these good gifts which his Heavenly Father had given him richly to enjoy, and this was his conscience.

The strife of civil war had ceased, he was content as a loyal subject to dwell peacefully in the land, though many of his neighbours were opposed to his belief; yet this was not to be; a stern tyrant, aided by unscrupulous religious and other advisers, had determined that henceforth there should be but one religion in France, and that, the Roman Catholic.

Yes! Our Huguenot ancestors, knowing that the truth had made them free, felt that they could not surrender their souls

to the keeping of other men. They had heard of other lands where they might worship God "in spirit and in truth," and reluctantly they determined to quit all and to seek a refuge in another country.

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I propose now to follow some of this noble army of martyrs" in their flight from their native land to the shores of England.

In the town of Châtellerault, twenty-two miles N.E. of Poitiers, was born early in the 16th century, of Protestant parents, Paul Turquand.

He became a member of the Parliament of Paris, and having attained a great age, died at Poitiers, leaving an only son, also named Paul, and likewise born at Châtellerault, who, after his father's death, was made a Privy Councillor. In consequence of some extraordinary service which he rendered to the State, lands were given to him in the neighbourhood of Châtellerault and of Poitiers.

After the loss of his wife he withdrew from Court, and lived at Châtellerault, where he died, leaving three daughters and one son, also named Paul, who married and left children, one of whom Paul (whom we will call Paul IV.) married Madelaine, his first cousin.

This Paul was rich, and distributed liberally of his abundance to the surrounding poor Protestants.

At the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, he was informed by a relative, who was a member of Parliament, that he was marked out to be one of the first victims.

Immediately after this information, Paul IV. left his happy home, accompanied by his beloved wife and their four sons.

After placing their children with various friends, Paul and Madelaine set out on foot for the nearest sea-port, travelling by night and concealing themselves by day.

After three days they were informed that the dragoons were in search of them, which obliged them to part company and to adopt various disguises. Paul took the roud to Nantes, whilst his wife made her way to La Rochelle, at which port she arrived after a toilsome journey of three weeks, having been often nearly apprehended.

At La Rochelle, she providentially met with a tender-hearted English captain, to whom she told her case, and who promised that he would take her on board, though, in doing so, he exposed himself to imprisonment, if she was discovered by the French King's officers when they searched his vessel for French subjects.

Happily she was not found out. In about a week the ship sailed, and Madelaine was landed at Plymouth, where the kind captain placed her with a French family whom he had brought over from La Rochelle, a few weeks before.

She remained with this family for three years, and not wishing to be an incumbrance upon them, she applied herself to learning how to manufacture shags, in which she succeeded so well, as not only to be able to reimburse her friends for every expense that they had been put to on her acconnt, but also to maintain herself, and to save more than £70.

During all this time she had never received any tidings of her husband and children, and mournfully concluded that she should see them no more.

Let us now return to Paul, whom we left on his road to Nantes, were he safely arrived. During his stay here at a friend's house, whilst waiting for the sailing of a vessel, in which he expected to be conveyed to London, he was apprehended and taken back to Poitiers, where he was imprisoned and tortured by having his feet placed over a slow fire. He was also nearly starved to death, in order to make him confess where his wife was concealed.

After six months he was released, as his persecuters could not extort anything from him that would be of advantage to them.

Though quite unable to walk after the tortnre that he had undergone, Paul found means to get to Châtellerault, and in the course of six months he was well enough to proceed to Holland, during which journey he experienced great danger of being again apprehended.

Eventually he arrived safely in London, where he made himself known to the minister and elders of the French Protestant Church called La Patente, situated in Brown's Lane, Spitalfields.

As might naturally be expected, Paul lost no time in enquiring after his wife, but for the space of two years he heard nothing of her.

On the other hand, Madelaine, who had endeavoured to ascertain the fate of her beloved husband, at last heard from a commercial traveller, of a man then residing in Spitalfields, who had lost his wife while making her escape from France, and whose name exactly corresponded with hers.

This traveller suggested to Madelaine that, if she would trust herself with him, he would conduct her to London; to which proposition she eventually agreed, and in a few days she


was safely placed in the arms of her husband, free of all expenses, the worthy traveller declaring that, the satisfaction he experienced in witnessing their happy and extraordinary meeting after so long an absence, amply repaid him.

We leave now this happy pair, rejoicing that the Lord had re-united them in a country where they had free liberty to worship Him according to their consciences. Stripped of all earthly goods, they worked hard, becoming chargeable to no


After some years they returned to France, but being deceived as to the probability of peace, they came back to their home in Spitalfields, bringing with them their two youngest sons, Claude and Peter.*

The manufactory at Bordeaux was used for imprisoning women, who either would not abjure their religion, or who were captured in their flight from the kingdom. Sixteen or seventeen succeeded in escaping from the hardships they endured in this place, and made their way to England. Amongst them was Madame Frances Pastre, of the province of Béarn, who being sent to draw water from the well, in the garden of the manufactory, made use of this opportunity for effecting her escape.

Having no tools, she had to force her way, with her head and hands, through a very thick hedge, twelve feet high, the blood streaming down her face and arms.

On the other side was a deep ditch, full of water and mud, into which she sunk almost up to her neck. The night was dark and the rain fell heavily; hungry and weary she struggled on, until she found someone willing to shelter her.

A gentleman, who had been a prisoner with her at Bordeaux for conscience sake, heard of her sad condition, and sent for her to his house, some leagues distant from the place where she lodged. On her arrival there, nothing was omitted for her comfort and the recovery of her health, which had been much impaired.

Three weeks afterwards, this gentleman sent her to Bordeaux, and generously suppoorted her there, until a ship was found to convey her to England. There she had the good fortune to meet a sister, who joyfully received her, and took care of her afterwards.+

*I owe this interesting narative to the kindness of James Van Sommer, Esq., who permitted me to consult the printed "Family Records," compiled from a manuscript in the family, by Mrs. Elizabeth Pierce, née Turquand.

+ Compiled from the Appendix to Laval's "History of the Reformation in France," pp., 57-59, London, 1737.

About the year 1650 a company of the persecuted Huguenots, comprising members of the Chaigneau, Raboteau, Gambier, Grueber and Tabiteau families (of whom the Chaigneau and Raboteau families were then as later, connected by marriage,) assembled at La Rochelle, and after many days, secured a hoy or fishing-smack, which was accustomed to ply between La Rochelle and Dublin, with apples and dried herrings.

Pierre Chaigneau had with him his wife and their little daughter, and Monsieur Raboteau had his wife, son, and stepdaughter.

The elder persons of the little band hid themselves, crowded together, in the hold of the little vessel, whilst the two young children, aged respectively ten and twelve years, were concealed in an empty barrel, laid lengthways in a row amongst many others, so that in the case of any search, they, at least, might escape.

They all settled in Dublin, and were amongst the first who entered their names in the registers of the French colony in that city.

The top of the barrel was converted into a table by the grateful Pierre Chaigneau, as a memorial of his family's escape, and it is now in the possession of the Chaigneau-Colville family.

I may here allude to the escape of the two demoiselles Raboteau, in two empty apple barrels, after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, but this narrative is too well-known to be be here repeated.*

Mademoiselle Suzanne de Robillard, daughter of Josias de Robillard, Chevalier, Seigneur de Champagné in Poitou, was left at La Rochelle by her parents in 1687, in charge of five of her younger brothers and sisters, of whom the eldest was ten, and the youngest only two years old.

She had received permission from her parents to escape from France, if a favourable opportunity should present itself.

On the 24th April, she was informed by a trustworthy friend that a small English vessel was about to sail for England with a cargo of wine and of salt, and that the captain was willing to throw overboard a cask of wine, and thus make room for four or five persons in the hold; he could conceal no more,

*I am indebted to Miss Layard for this interesting account; the facts were communicated to her, verbally, as an old established family tradition, by a descendant of one of the families herein mentioned. I have incurred the responsibility of altering the date from 1560 to about 1650. E. E. Stride.

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