The words of Saint-Simon

The revocation of the edict of Nantes, without the slightest pretext or necessity, and the
various proscriptions that followed it, were the fruits of a frightful plot, in which the new spouse was
one of the chief conspirators, and which depopulated a quarter of the realm, ruined its commerce,
weakened it in every direction, gave it up for a long time to the public and avowed pillage of the
dragoons, authorised torments and punishments by which so many innocent people of both sexes
were killed by thousands; ruined a numerous class; tore in pieces a world of families; armed relatives
against relatives, so as to seize their property and leave them to die of hunger; banished our
manufactures to foreign lands, made those lands flourish and overflow at the expense of France, and
enabled them to build new cities; gave to the world the spectacle of a prodigious population
proscribed, stripped, fugitive, wandering, without crime, and seeking shelter far from its country;
sent to the galleys, nobles, rich old men, people much esteemed for their piety, learning, and virtue,
people well off, weak, delicate, and solely on account of religion; in fact, to heap up the measure of
horror, filled all the realm with perjury and sacrilege, in the midst of the echoed cries of these
unfortunate victims of error, while so many others sacrificed their conscience to their wealth and
their repose, and purchased both by simulated abjuration, from which without pause they were
dragged to adore what they did not believe in, and to receive the divine body of the Saint of Saints
whilst remaining persuaded that they were only eating bread which they ought to abhor! Such was
the general abomination born of flattery and cruelty. From torture to abjuration, and from that to
the communion, there was often only twenty-four hours’ distance; and executioners were the
conductors of the converts and their witnesses. Those who in the end appeared to have been
reconciled, more at leisure did not fail by their flight, or their behaviour, to contradict their
pretended conversion.
Nearly all bishops indulged this practice, many imposing it ; some encouraged the
tormentors, forcing conversions and participation to the Eucharist to inflate the size of
their success, details of which they sent to court to gain consideration and rewards.
Provincial superintendents vied in their support, alongside the dragoons, and in parading
their lists at court. What few public servants or squire were actually in the provinces and in
a position to get a mention through their bishops or superintendent seized the
(Paraphrasing of two paragraphs missing from the source translation)
The King received from all sides news and details of these persecutions and of these
conversions. It was by thousands that those who had abjured and taken the communion were
counted; ten thousand in one place; six thousand in another—all at once and instantly. The King
congratulated himself on his power and his piety. He believed himself to have renewed the days of
the preaching of the Apostles, and attributed to himself all the honour. The bishops wrote panegyrics
of him, the Jesuits made the pulpit resound with his praises. All France was filled with horror and
confusion; and yet there never was so much triumph and joy—never such profusion of laudations!
The monarch doubted not of the sincerity of this crowd of conversions; the converters took good
care to persuade him of it and to beatify him beforehand. He swallowed their poison in long.
draughts. He had never yet believed himself so great in the eyes of man, or so advanced in the eyes
of God, in the reparation of his sins and of the scandals of his life. He heard nothing but eulogies,
while the good and true Catholics and the true bishops, groaned in spirit to see the orthodox act
towards error and heretics as heretical tyrants and heathens had acted against the truth, the
confessors, and the martyrs. They could not, above all, endure this immensity of perjury and
sacrilege. They bitterly lamented the durable and irremediable odium that detestable measure cast
upon the true religion, whilst our neighbours, exulting to see us thus weaken and destroy ourselves,
profited by our madness, and built designs upon the hatred we should draw upon ourselves from all
the Protestant powers.