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THE PASTORS OF PIEDMONT TO THE SWISS CANTONS. 667
Precairas, and we have had our audience of Conge, with a desire to return immediately into our country, except God's providence give us some more favourable occasion to serve you ; and since, without taking notice of some wise men's counsels, you resign the event of your affairs to God's providence, we beseech him that he would be pleased to assist you in your calamity, and direct all to his glory, and your temporal and spiritual welfare. Resting, after we have recommended you to God Almighty's favour, &c.
Letter from several of the Pastors of Churches in Piedmont, uddressed to the
Cantons of Switzerland. Most High, Mighty, AND SOVEREIGN LORDS,
Our churches have for a long time experienced, and principally in these unhappy troubles that have happened to them, the incomparable charity and fatherly affection of your Excellencies towards them, and still very lately, by sending our lords the ambassadors to his royal highness, upon occasion of the order of the 31st of January last, published against us, as we have been informed of by the letter which you have been pleased to direct to us. We are not able enough to acknowledge the care, trouble, and pains which our lords the ambassadors have taken in our favour and preservation, towards our sovereign ; and had they met with hearts disposed to our welfare and quietness, their intercessions would not have failed of being successful; but it ought to be confessed, that our condition is very bad from that quarter : we, nevertheless render to your Excellencies, with all the sentiments of acknowledgments we are capable of, our most humble and hearty thanks for so many favours we have received from their holy and Christian charity. We are very sensible, and confess it, though with great confusion, that our lords the ambassadors have not had from our people all that satisfaction that might have been wished for, concerning their resignation into your hands ; but we most humbly beseech you to employ their charity and support towards a people that make to themselves a point of conscience and honour to preserve their religion in their native country, where it has been a long time miraculously preserved. We are very sensible that as to the world, our ruin is unavoidable, but we are in hopes that God will revenge his quarrel, and that good men and charitable people will not abandon us; and principally, we put our trust, under God, in your Excellencies, and throw ourselves into their fatherly arms, beseeching you for the compassion of God, and in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, our common Father and Saviour, not to deprive us of your charity and affection, and to throw the eyes of your clemency and tenderness upon so many poor families, little children, and other weak miserable persons, as to the world, to let them feel the favourable effects of your Christian goodness. We beseech the Lord that he would be pleased to be the perpetual preserver of your Excellencies, and the abundant rewarder of all your holy and Christian charities; and are, with all the veneration imaginable,
Most high, mighty, and sovereign Lords, your Excellencies' most humble, most obedient, and most obliged servants,
The ministers, elders, and other directors of the churches
S. Bastie, Moderator.
Letter from the Pastors of the Churches in the Valleys of Piedmont to the
Swiss Ambassadors. MY LORDS,
We do intend to communicate immediately to our commonalties your Excellencies' letters : we could have wished that they had been more mindful of those wise counsels your Excellencies have given them to prevent such danger and desolation as in all human probability is now unavoidable: we pray to God that he would be pleased to crown their resolution, though against all appearance, with success, and to strengthen their infirmity and feebleness. I do believe that all the ministers do design to live and to die amongst them, because your Excellencies do not disapprove it; and, indeed, it would neither be honest nor excusable to abandon them in such a juncture of time; and we should certainly have reason to think ourselves guilty in part of their loss, because a good shepherd is bound to lay down his life for his fock. We continue to give your Excellencies our most humble thanks for the trouble and indefatigable care you have taken for our welfare and subsistence; and we conjure you, by the compassion of God, and by the charity of Jesus Christ, not to forget us, but whether it be during your stay at Turin, or after your return to the most high and mighty Protestant Cantons, to favour us with your affection and Christian charity upon all occasions. We pray our great God and Saviour that he would be pleased to reward the pains and charities of your Excellencies towards these churches, with his most precious blessings in heaven and earth, and to cover your sacred persons with his inviolable protection : these are the sincere and fervent wishes of those that are, with profound respect, My Lords, your Excellencies' most humble and obedient servants,
The Ministers of the Evangelical Churches of the Valleys
of Lucerne, Angrogne, Perouse, St. Martin, &c. in Piedmont, and in the name of all,
S. BASTIE, Minister, Angrogne, April 17, 1686.
Letter from his Royal Highness the Duke of Savoy to the French King's
Brother, the Duke of Orleans. Amongst the many and great troubles under which I am at present, seeing none but you capable of giving some ease to my afflicted spirits, I hope you will give me leave to do what unfortunate men have only left to do—that is to say, to justify their conduct, and to demonstrate their reasons to those that are not yet so far from all equity as to refuse to pity them. What have I ever done else to the king, than to serve him in the most substantial things he desired of me? Have I not sacrificed to his satisfaction the valleys of Lucerne, to my own prejudice, and against all the principles of true politics? Did I not consent to give hiin three of my regiments, at the same instant his ambassador made the first mention of it? Is it not evident that, to please the king, I have abandoned my interest, my country, and my person, by such compliances as have drawn upon me great aversion from all the Protestant powers, * of the Emperor, of the King of Spain, and of all the confederate princes? Wherein have I ever displeased the king! His ambassadors have sometimes made their complaints about some little insig
* Here is a frank avowal that the Duke had consented to the destruction of the Waldenses to oblige the King of France.—Ep.
THE DUKE OF SAVOY TO THE DUKE OF ORLEANS.
nificant things, a thousand of which would not be able to balance the least part of those substantial services which I have mentioned, nor the continual marks I have given of a strict adherence to the king's interests. A gentleman of Nice raises, without my leave, and without my desiring it, some soldiers, in the said place, against several declarations of my predecessors, at the same time that I am there actually present: this is not enough, he enlists some of those that belong to my regiment of guards; I have the goodness not to suffer him to be tried at the sessions, nor his goods to be seized according to custom ; and I content myself to send him to prison, only to prevent the ill example he had given by his behaviour : and yet, after all, they pretend to make a great business of this, as if I was obliged tamely to suffer this insolence and affront of one of my own subjects, in my very presence, instead of which they should have taken notice of my moderation.
I have given the king three regiments, partly composed out of the principal nobility of this country, there is a considerable number of gentlemen and others of my subjects in those troops; I am willing, for my greater recommendation, to give the king, with my own hands, such as he may desire to have above the said number ; but I do not intend to give my subjects full license to act against the law, and to deviate from that loyalty they naturally owe to their sovereign. Nevertheless, those that do it, are not punished for it, their goods are not seized, and I do expressly prohibit not to indict them for some impertinent and seditious words ; neither do I trouble their parents for it; yet, after all, if I do not applaud their exorbitance, my past services are forgotten, and I have no good intentions for those of his majesty!
There is a reciprocal agreement made about the restoring of the deserters of the garrison of Pignerol, Perouse, and Casal, and of those of my troops. This is not at all executed on the side of the said garrisons ; for, if they restore one, they retain fifty ; and yet they make a great noise, as if the agreement was not observed on my side. Of those troops which for the king's service I entertained in the valleys of Lucerne, a great many deserted to Pignerol; but the governor pretended either that he had no authority over those deserters, because they had listed themselves amongst some recruits which were made for other regiments; or, that they were to be exchanged with those troops of his majesty that were out of the place; or they refused them sometimes downright, pretending that there was an amnesty of the king in favour of the deserters; as if an amnesty of the king, that only regards those that desert in his own kingdom, could be made use of by those that deserted out of my troops, far from coming back, as it is expressly required in amnesties of such 'nature. It has been declared at Casal, that they would neither render nor re-take any deserter. This is a thing I do not complain of, for there seems to be a reciprocal equity in not asking, and in not giving back : but then the garrison of Casal has no reason to complain neither.
Give me leave about this subject to inform you of a thing that has made so great a noise. Some officers of Pignerol having made their complaints, that some of their deserters were to be found in the valleys of Lucerne, I gave orders that they should be restored, and, withal, leave that they might go themselves to discover them. They took along with them a serjeant that had deserted out of a regiment belonging to the said valleys : the officers of the said regiment seized him as soon as they saw him : I was told of it in a letter. I gave them, according to my custom in such matters, a general answer, that is to say, to do what they found just, having no mind to condemn the deserters myself. The serjeant did himself confess that he had deserted; he was tried and condemned according to law. Ought a deserter not to have been seized, that had the impudence to come before his officers, to encourage (by his so fine example) the rest of the regiment to desert as well as he? Does the agreement made to restore the deserters mention not to take them ourselves when they are to be found in our own territories, from whence they deserted, only because some officers had the impudence to take them along with them? Ought we to think that it is the king's pleasure that we leave off being sovereigns in foreign countries, when a criminal is at the suit of a French officer, and that there be no justice for them there? Ought we to think that he would have us take there more care than in his own kingdom? And yet this is the very thing that has been so much exaggerated, to prove that I have no good intentions for the king's service.
They have continued secretly to raise soldiers in my territories for the king's service : they are exhausted of men ; I cannot find enough to complete my own regiments. I endeavour to retain my own subjects by some slight demonstrations, without troubling those any more that do not observe it, setting at liberty those that have been imprisoned, as soon as they have it. Such great moderation is not at all taken notice of; as if a sovereign ought to contribute himself to the exhausting his country of men, and that he ought to leave off making use of his own subjects, only to be employed in the king's service, without seeming to take notice of it, without being asked or thanked for it.
Some years ago, the king, desiring to make some recruits in Savoy, for his regi. ments of Rousillon and St. Laurent, did consent that I might make some recruits for my service in the provinces of Dauphiny, Lionnois, and Provence; and though those recruits are very expensive, and come to nothing at all, by reason of the great number of those that desert either on the way, or as soon as they have arrived in this country, yet I never failed to give orders in Savoy, as often as the officers of the said regiment arrived there with a letter of Mons. de Louvois, to let them make their recruits. It has been represented some few months ago, to two or three officers that were come for the same purpose, that Savoy was exhausted of men; that it had very much suffered the last year, endeavouring to hinder the incursions of those of Lucerne, and some French protestants ; and that to continue to contribute to the king's satisfaction, there would, according to all appearance, be no less difficulty this year to furnish men enough to the same end-desiring the said officers to put off their recruits till some more convenient time. The Count de Rebenac having spoken something of it here, the same reasons were made known to him; withal telling him that it was no refusal, but only a putting it off for a better time, 10 make the said recruits with so much the more conve. niency; and though he seemed to be satisfied with these just reasons, yet endeavours have been made to draw an ill consequence out of it, to the prejudice of my good intentions for the king's service; as if the various troubles of this poor country, which it has been forced to undergo, were not evident to all the world, and which is only with a design to contribute to his majesty's satisfaction.
I run over and examine all my actions, and I find nothing else that in the least can be taken hold of by those that please themselves with censuring my actions before the king, except my journey to Venice, which the Marquis of Arcy has so often talked of before and after it. I confess that I was very glad to have an opportunity to know the Duke of Bavaria, and to see, at the same time, the somuch-renowned city of Venice. I protest that I did not think nor resolve on it till at a time when I could not make it known to the king, and receive his advice, without losing the opportunity of executing my design. I beseech you seriously to consider of what ill consequence it could be, and what reason the king has to complain of it, since I did not do it, when my father, of blessed memory, went to Padua for the same reason, and that I did not know the king meddled with the travels that other princes undertake. Sure it is, that what has followed has made it evident that there was nothing in this journey but what is good and honest, and what nobody can disapprove of.
Give me leave also to answer some other complaints which the ambassador of his majesty, and Monsieur Catinat, have mingled in their discourse, and which partly you yourself have made to the Marquis of Dogliani, my ambassador, namely, that I was treating with his imperial majesty, with the King of Spain, with England and Holland. To convince his majesty that this was a false sup
THE DUKE OF SAVOY TO THE DUKE OF ORLEANS.
position I have written you several times that it was not true: if you do but know me well, you will easily be convinced that this is more than a sufficient proof; for I had rather lose all than tell you a lie. In the meantime I informed the pope, by my resident, I have written to him, and his nuncio that had shewed the letter to Monsieur Catinat, that it was not true, and that nothing had passed, neither was there any thing on foot against his majesty's interest; that, on the contrary, I had done several things against common civility, and directly against my own interest, out of fear of displeasing him ; having had no ministers at the emperor's and the catholic king's court, to behave myself in this point according to the Marquis of Arcy's direction, who could not allow so much as some gentlemen, my subjects, going into Hungary to improve themselves in the art of war. As for England, the same reason has hindered me that I have sent no answer to an obliging letter from thence; and concerning the States-General, they have written to me a letter, not long ago, in favour of the Waldenses : I desired to be excused from doing what they requested, and this is the only correspondence I have had with them.
There has been something mentioned of intelligence I kept with certain men in Dauphiny : this is an invention of the same stamp with the rest, but with this difference, that I have reason to hope that by the falsity of this lie it will be judged that the rest is of no better foundation. In fine, I am willing to submit myself to the judgment of his holiness, or the commonwealth of Venice, or any other power that I have not just reason to suspect; but the king himself, by making some just reflections, according to his great understanding, may easily see the falsity of all these accusations. And to be plain with you, after the hard usage I just now receive, it ought to be less strange that those who have surprised his majesty's equity so as to persuade him to such extremes with me, have endeavoured to give some few, though false, colours to their pretences.
I beseech you, Sir, to make a parallel of what substantial things I have actually done for the king's service with the aforesaid pretences, and to judge if those solid marks I have given of my zeal for the king's interest, do not altogether destroy them; and if it be not against common sense to put them into a parallel. Cast your eyes upon what follows. Monsieur de Rebenac, the king's ambassador, arrives in this country; he takes pains to assure me of the king's goodness in regard to my person. I answer it with those earnest protestations so often repeated by me and my ministers, of my great acknowledgment and zeal for the king's service, that ought fully to persuade him of it. He desires me to drive the rest of my subjects out of the valleys: I do consent to it; he does nothing but entertain me about that business, and the king's favourable opinion he has of me. Monsieur Catinat arrives at Pignerol, he comes to see me in this city ; the project against the Vaudois seems to be his only design; he speaks to me about it as the only cause of his coming. I do easily believe it: I let him see a list of all my troops, and that they are not enough to furnish garrisons for my fortresses, and to send them to such places where my service requires their presence; and nevertheless I resolve to furnish him with a considerable detachment. He seems to be satisfied; he desires to have at Pignerol a conference with my officers; I send them to him. All his thoughts seem to be employed about this design; he makes all seeming preparations for it; he says that his commission regards more those parts that are of this, than the other side of Pignerol; that it was necessary to use all haste to make an end of the business with the Vaudois, and he seems to concern himself with nothing else. In the meantime there happened an insurrection in Mondovi; to appease that, I sent thither some of my troops, and some few of those that are at Lucerne. Monsieur Catinat lets me know, that seeing I was engaged about the business of Mondovi, if I could not assist him with the same number of troops I had promised, I should let him have at least a part of it. I gave orders to send him a detachment of four hundred men; he seems to be satisfied. It snows very much in the valleys, so there is no action