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The Huguenots, the Protestant Interest, and the War of the Spanish Succession, 1702-1714

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Laurence H. Boles

By 1700, the Protestants of Europe, above all the Calvinists (Reformed), felt threatened anew by Roman Catholicism. Activists, especially Huguenot émigrés, pleaded to friendly rulers to restore Protestantism in France and to protect it in the Holy Roman Empire as aims in their wars against Louis XIV. This activism peaked during the War of the Spanish Succession, 1702-1714, but to no avail. The peace of 1713-1715 brought only token gains for the continental Protestant interest; both the Allied and the Bourbon powers were absorbed in such secular concerns as state sovereignty, dynasticism, collective security, and trade. The activists were victims of the maturing European states system and of their own archaic world-view.

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6. THE CAMISARD REBELS, ÉMIGRÉ SOLDIERS, AND THE ALLIES: THE TACTICAL RETREAT 129

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CHAPTER 6 , The Camisard Rebels, Emigre Soldiers, and the Allies: The Tactical Retreat Louis XIV did not allow the War of the Spanish Succession to long proceed without trying to undermine the influence of French exile notables at the Allied courts agitating for integrated anti-Bourbon, Huguenot, and related Protestant causes. The focus of the French king's oblique counter-offensive was a series of interconnected events of the Camisard and Hungarian insurgencies that reached the pages of the Huguenot emigre press early in 1705. Soon dubbed the affaire Verville, the chain of events originated in the Cevennes Mountains, heartland of the Camisard revolt; the details were leaked by agents of the court of Versailles in the Dutch Republic. The publicity was intended to nullify the attempts of the Marquis de Miremont, the Marquis de Guiscard, and others who wished to arm the emigres and send Huguenot regiments into Languedoc to relieve the desperate Camisard rebels. 1 The affaire Verville ostensibly began when an obscure emigre officer holding Queen Anne's commission struggled northward alone from the Mediterranean coast to join the Camisard insurgents. Trapped by royalist forces, he was summarily condemned and hanged at Montpellier by order of Marshal Villars. Shortly after his capture and execution, troops of Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I in Hungary seized a French filibuster, the Sieur de Verville, on suspicion of abetting the anti-Habsburg rebellion of the Magyar nobility led by Ferenc II R:ik6szy, which had broken out in 1703.2 Taken to Vienna, Verville was interrogated by...

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