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AHB Library

“Institutes Of The Christian Religion”, John Calvin. Translated From Latin Into English, By Henry Beveridge, Esq. 1845.

“Calvinism” is a label used to identify a set of teachings drawn up by the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) in the year 1619. The teachings were in response to those of a Dutch Theologian named Jacobus Arminius. They are nicknamed Calvinism, because they reflect the doctrines set forth by a French Theologian named John Calvin. In 1536, at the age of twenty-seven, Calvin published a doctrinal body of divinity entitled “Institutes Of The Christian Religion”. The Five Points of Calvinism are based upon the teachings of this work.

So much is said about the Five Points of Calvinism, but few have actually read Calvin’s body of divinity. I am therefore pleased to upload this work to the online resources of the AHB, with the hope that those who frequent the homepage will be prompted to read it. To provide a brief overview of the time in which Calvin wrote his book, I copy below the second chapter from John Hazelton’s book, “Hold Fast”.

Jared Smith

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“I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it.”—Revelation 3:8

Blessed Jesus! thou hast indeed done all this, and more. Thou art thyself the door into thy fold here below, and to thy courts above; for thou hast said, by thee, “whosoever entereth in, shall go in, and find pasture:” and it is thou that hast opened a new and living way by thy blood. Thou art the only possible way of access to the Father. And because thou hast opened it, no man can shut it; for thou ever livest to keep the way, which thou hast once opened, still open, by thy all prevailing intercession. Yes, thou heavenly Lord, the gate is never shut, day nor night, in the preaching of thine everlasting gospel, all the ends of the earth shall see this salvation of our God. And, as thou hast graciously said, all that come to God by thee, shall never be shut out. The word, the authority, the warrant of Jehovah, is gone forth to this purpose. Thy blood and righteousness secure it. The Spirit sets his seal to it. Thou wilt receive, thou wilt bless, thou wilt cause all the Father hath given thee to come to thee; and thou wilt keep the door always open for all comers. Oh heavenly way! Oh precious, endless salvation! My soul, see to it that thou art entered in, and there abidest securely. Oh ye! my fellow sinners, yet without, rouse up from your carnal security and sloth, before the master of the house hath arisen and shut to the door; and ye then, too late, cry out, “Lord, Lord, open to us. Now is the accepted time; now is the day of salvation.”

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To me it appears the plain truth of God, and mind of the Spirit, that the alls and universal sounds, in texts relating to the redemption work of Christ, are of the very same meaning and intent as those in the texts relating to all flesh seeing the salvation glory of the Lord – of the Spirit’s pouring out upon all flesh – of all nations and tongues being gathered to see the glory of the Lord – of all men being drawn unto Christ – and of the Holy Spirit’s reproving or convincing the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment, John 16:8. And now to attach individual universality to the first class of these alls, &c must be to hold a perishable redemption, with the wreck of all involved in it, to an extent as far as the whole world is not saved. And to attach individual universality to the second class of these alls, must be at once to give God the lie, and say that his truth does not `endure for ever,’ nor his `word for ever settled in heaven.’ In my opinion, however, it is a decided error to consider that either of these classes of alls are at all intended to express personal numbers, few or many, in the redemption and salvation work of the Lord; but to declare the…

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“The king is held in the galleries.”—Song of Solomon 7:5

And who but Jesus is King in Zion? As one with the Father over all, God blessed for ever, he is indeed the King eternal, immortal, invisible. And as Mediator God-man, he is my God and King, both by his conquest of my heart, and the voluntary surrender of my soul. Yes, blessed Jesus, I not only hail thee my God and King, but I would have every knee bow before thee, and every tongue confess that thou art Lord and King, to the glory of God the Father. But, my soul, what are those galleries where thy King is held? Are they the scriptures of truth, where Jesus is held and retained, adored and admired? Or are they the public ordinances of thine house, or the place where thine honour dwelleth; or the secret chamber, or the closet of retirement and meditation; when thou comest to visit thy people, and when thou knockest at the door of their hearts, when thou comest in to sup with them, and they with thee? Well, my gracious, condescending Lord, be they what they may, or where they may; methinks, like the patriarch, when thou comest to wrestle with my poor, heedless and sleepy heart, I will hold thee in the galleries, and say, as he did,” I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.” I would say, as another famous patriarch did, “My Lord, if I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away from thy servant. Rest yourself under the tree; and I will fetch a morsel of thine own bread, and of thine own giving, and comfort ye your hearts: for therefore are ye come to your servant,” Gen. 18:3-5. I would entreat thee, Lord, not to be as the wayfaring man, that turneth in to tarry but for the night: but I would hold thee in the galleries of thine own graces, and thine own strength, imparted to my poor soul; and I would beg of thee, and entreat thee to tarry until the dawn of day, and make thyself fully known unto me, in breaking of bread, and in prayer. Yes, my adorable King, my Lord and my God! I would detain thee in the galleries, I would hold thee fast, I would not let thee go, until that I had brought thee into my mother’s house, the church— and until thou hadst brought me home to thine eternal habitation which is above; and there to sit down at thy feet to go out no more, but at the fountain head of joy to drink of the spiced wine of the juice of the pomegranate in everlasting felicity.

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Title Page

17 Sep 2022, by

Memoirs Of A Huguenot Family

Translated And Compiled From The Original Autobiography Of The Rev. James Fontaine

And Other Family Manuscripts, Comprising An Original Journal Of Travels In Virginia, New-York In Virginia, New-York Etc, In 1717 And 1716.

By Ann Maury

With An Appendix, Containing A Translation Of The Edict Of Nantes, The Edict Of Revocation, And Other Interesting Historical Documents

1872

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Original Preface

17 Sep 2022, by

In bringing before the public this history of a private family, part of which was published some years ago, we feel it to be possible, that in our own admiration of the virtues of our forefathers, and our deep interest in the vicissitudes of their fortunes, we may over-estimate the pleasure a perusal is likely to afford the general reader. There are, however, so many individuals in the United States who are lineally descended from James Fontaine, that we think the publication is required for them alone. We believe, also, that the work will address itself to the hearts of a numerous body of Christians, who glory, like ourselves, in a Huguenot origin, and who, in reading the following pages, may realize, more fully than they have hitherto done, the trials of their own ancestors in leaving the homes of their fathers for the sake of the Gospel, and be thereby incited to more steadfast faith.

We have been so much struck with some remarks upon the benefits to be derived from family history in a preface to the “Lives of the Lindsays,” that we venture to make a quotation which we think equally applicable to the volume we are now introducing to the reader.

“Every family should have a record of its own. Each has its peculiar spirit, running through the whole line, and, in more or less development, perceptible in every generation. Rightly viewed, as a most powerful but much neglected instrument of education, I can imagine no study more rife with pleasure and instruction. Nor need our ancestors have been Scipios or Fabii to interest us in their fortunes. We do not love our kindred for their glory or their genius, but for their domestic affections and private virtues, that, unobserved by the world, expand in confidence towards ourselves,and often root themselves, like the banian of the East, and flourish with independent vigor in the heart to which a kind Providence has guided them. An affectionate regard to their memory is natural to the heart; it is an emotion totally distinct from pride,—an ideal love, free from that consciousness of requited affection and reciprocal esteem, which constitutes so much of the satisfaction we derive from the love of the living. They are denied, it is true, to our personal acquaintance, but the light they shed during their lives survives within their tombs, and will reward our search if we explore them . Be their light, then, our beacon—not the glaring light of heroism which emblazons their names in the page of history with a lustre as cold, though as dazzling, as the gold of an heraldic illuminator; but the pure and sacred flame that descends from heaven on the altar of a Christian a heart, and that warmed their naturally frozen affections, till they produced the fruits of piety, purity, and love-evinced in holy thoughts and good actions, of which many a record might be found in the annals of the past, would we but search for them, and in which we may find as strong incentives to virtuous emulation as we gather every day from those bright examples of living worth, which it is the study of every good man to imitate. And if the virtues of strangers be so attractive to us, how infinitely more so should be those of our own kindred, and with what additional energy should the precepts of our parents influence us, when we trace the transmission of those precepts from father to son through successive generations, each bearing the testimony of a virtuous, useful and honorable life to their truth and influence, and all uniting in a kind and earnest exhortation to their descendants so to live on earth, that followers of Him through whose grace alone we have power to obey Him—we may at last be reunited with those who have been before, and those who shall come after us—

“No wanderer lost,
A family in heaven.”

Be grateful, then, for your descent from religious, as well as noble ancestors; it is your duty to be so, and this is the only worthy tribute you can now pay their ashes.”

On the former appearance of a portion of the present book, many supposed it to be a work of imagination merely, presented under the guise of autobiography. It is therefore proper, now, to state that it is in truth what, on the title-page, it purports to be, an authentic narrative of actual occurrences, and is drawn entirely from family manuscripts.

We have translated and printed in an Appendix various documents and edicts throwing light upon the history of the times, some of which, we believe, have not been published at length in the English language for more than a century. We took infinite pains, without success, to procure a translation of the Edict of Nantes, and were therefore induced to translate it for ourselves, and we think it desirable to place it within the general reach of the descendants of Huguenots, as a document in which they cannot fail to take an in terest.

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New Preface

17 Sep 2022, by

According to Bob Juch’s Kin, the Rev. James Fontaine is my great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather. He was born in France, on the 7th April, 1658. At the age of sixty-four, he wrote an autobiography for his children, the beginning of which reads:

“I, James Fontaine, have commenced writing this history, for the use of all my children, on the twenty-sixth day of March, 1722; being sixty-four years old.

My Dear Children—Whenever I have related my own adventures to you, or given you details of the incidents that befell your ancestors, you have evinced so deep an interest in them, that I feel I ought not to neglect making a record of the past for your use; and I am determined to employ my leisure time in this way. I would fain hope that the pious examples of those from whom we are descended, may warm your hearts and influence your lives. I hope you will resolve to dedicate yourselves, wholly and unreservedly, to the service of that God whom they worshipped at the risk of their lives, and that you, and those who come after you, will be steadfast in the profession of that pure reformed religion, for which they endured, with unshaken constancy, the most severe trials. You cannot fail to notice, in the course of their lives, the watchful hand of God’s Providence, supporting and preserving them through hardship and suffering.”

In 1838, Ann Maury, a descendent of Rev. Fontaine, published the first edition and what appears to be an abridged version of this autobiography. It was entitled, ”A Tale Of The Huguenots Or Memoirs Of A French Refugee Family (De La Fontaine)”. Thirty-four years later, in 1872, a new edition was published which appears to be the unabridged version, entitled “Memoirs Of A Huguenot Family”.

As a sidenote, I belong to a circle of historic churches known as the Strict and Particular Baptists. One of the leading figures of these churches in the early 18th century was a man named John Gill. Dr. Gill, though a Baptist, subscribed to the Five Points of Calvinism, which Rev. Fontaine himself embraced. He was born in 1697, when Rev. Fontaine was thirty-nine years old, and had been serving for two years as the pastor of the Goat Yard Chapel, when Rev. Fontaine wrote his autobiography in 1722. Perhaps not of interest to anyone else who may read these pages, it warms my heart to know these men were contemporaries in the gospel ministry.

As I stated in the preface of the first edition, I am pleased to make the writings of my forefather available through the online resources of the AHB. I thank the Lord Jesus Christ, who enabled us both, for that He counted us faithful, putting us into the gospel ministry.

“Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”—1 Timothy 1:17

Jared Smith

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Table Of Contents

17 Sep 2022, by

Chapter 1

Reasons for writing these memoirs — Noble origin of our family — John de la Fontaine born — Obtains a commission in the household of Francis I. — Embraces Protestantism — Persecution — January Edict — John de la Fontaine resigns his commission — Assassination — Flight of his sons to Rochelle — Marriage of James de la Fontaine — Attempt to poison him — Henry IV. At Rochelle.

Chapter 2

James Fontaine — Fond of study — Travels abroad — Called to the churches of Vaux and Royan — First marriage — Children by it — Second marriage — Children by it — My father’s person — Habits — Labors in the ministry — Summons before the governor — Second summons — Death.

Chapter 3

My birth — Lameness — Imitation of my fathers prayers — Meditations upon the heavenly bodies — Sent to school — Anecdotes of boyhood — Disgusted with study — Letter to sister — Mr. De la Bussier — Admirable preceptor — College — Take degree of Master of Arts — My mother’s death — Division of property.

Chapter 4

Study with Mr. Forestier — His persecutions — His wife’s firmness — Return home — Pray with neighbors — Absent at Easter — Poor people assemble in the woods — A spy — Warrants issued — A mason taken up — Recantation — Repentance — My return home — Warrant against me — Grand Provost and archers appear — Prison — Permitted to pray.

Chapter 5

Provost and archers make another tour — Twenty country people brought to prison — Well supplied by Protestant brethren — Prayer — Indictment — Confrontation — Recollement — Examination of witnesses — Apply to be set at liberty — Accusation of the King’s advocate — Dungeon — Removed to Town Hall — Bribery proposed to me.

Chapter 6

Trial before the Presidency — Digression — Defense — Angry discussion with the President — Query — Reply — Sentence.

Chapter 7

Appeal to Parliament — Factum — President’s remarks — Sentence reverse — Register refuses copy of decree — Apply for redress — Return home.

Chapter 8

Persecution of 1685 — Meeting of ministers and elders — My opinion opposed to the majority — Meeting of Protestants at Royan — Mr. Certani dissuades from emigration — Interview with him — Gloomy forebodings — Departure of Protestants — Dragoons appear — I leave home — Visit sisters — Traverse the country — My betrothed.

Chapter 9

Revocation of the Edict of Nantes — Preparations for flight — Difficulties and dangers of embarkation — Land in England — Cheapness of bread — Speculation in grain — Cruelty of a captain of a vessel.

Chapter 10

Singular proposal from a lady — Marriage — Mode of living — Removal to Bridgwater — Assistance from Committee — Why discontinued — Application for relief — Unkindness — Attempt to recover property.

Chapter 11

Remove to Taunton — Receive ordination — Keep a shop — Manufactory — Prosperity — Summoned before the mayor — Defense — Speech of recorder — Discharge.

Chapter 12

Revolution of 1688 — Landing of the Dutch — Unexpected visitor — Soldiers billeted on me — Retirement from business — Calimanco — Profitable manufacture — Crippled weaver — Secret discovered — Visit Dublin and Cork — Send sons to Holland — Increase of family.

Chapter 13

Arrival at Cork — Pastoral charge — Manufactory — Happiness — Dissension in the church — Resignation — Reply — Remarkable dream — Visit fishing stations — Death of Aaron — Become fisherman — Remove to Bear Haven — Loss of the Robert — Bad season — Trading voyage — Successful fishery — Loss — Irish neighbors.

Chapter 14

Attacked by a French Privateer — Defence — Letter to the Duke of Ormond — Ammunition furnished by government — Small fort — Visit Dublin — London — Pension — Copy of warrant — Return home.

Chapter 15

Attacked by a second Privateer — Outhouses fired — Breach in the wall — Wounded — Surrender — Carried off to the vessel — Expostulation with captain — Ransom — Peter left as a hostage.

Chapter 16

Affidavit before Magistrates — Retaliation on French prisoners — Removal to Dublin — Haunted house — Appear before grand jury — Award school — Education of children — Peter enters College — John gets a commission in the army — Moses and Francis enter college — Moses studies law — Emigration to America — Marriage of children — Death of my wife — Failure of health — Conclusion.

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Chapter 1

17 Sep 2022, by

Reasons for writing these memoirs — Noble origin of our family — John de la Fontaine born — Obtains a commission in the household of Francis I. — Embraces Protestantism — Persecution — January Edict — John de la Fontaine resigns his commission — Assassination — Flight of his sons to Rochelle — Marriage of James de la Fontaine — Attempt to poison him — Henry IV. At Rochelle.

Let our beginning be in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.

SEVENTY-EIGHTH PSALM

“Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: that the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments.” Amen.

I, James Fontaine, have commenced writing this history, for the use of all my children, on the twenty-sixth day of March, 1722; being sixty-four years old.

My Dear Children—

Whenever I have related my own adventures to you, or given you details of the incidents that befell your ancestors, you have evinced so deep an interest in them, that I feel I ought not to neglect making a record of the past for your use; and I am determined to employ my leisure time in this way. I would fain hope that the pious examples of those from whom we are descended, may warm your hearts and influence your lives. I hope you will resolve to dedicate yourselves, wholly and unreservedly, to the service of that God whom they worshipped at the risk of their lives, and that you, and those who come after you, will be steadfast in the profession of that pure reformed religion, for which they endured, with unshaken constancy, the most severe trials. You cannot fail to notice, in the course of their lives, the watchful hand of God’s Providence, supporting and preserving them through hardship and suffering.

You need not look farther back than the period over which your own memories can stray, for numberless instances of the providential care of that same God, whose “hand is not shortened.”

I have gained the knowledge of those events which occurred before my day from my mother, my older brothers, and my aunt Bouquet, my father’s sister; and I have the most perfect conviction of the truth of all which I relate.

For my own part, I trust that, while recording the past mercies of God for the benefit of my descendants, I may derive personal advantage from the review. The frailties and sins of the different periods of my life, thus brought to mind, ought to cause me to humble myself before the throne of grace, and tremblingly implore pardon for the past, through the mediation of my blessed Saviour; and the…

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Chapter 2

17 Sep 2022, by

James Fontaine — Fond of study — Travels abroad — Called to the churches of Vaux and Royan — First marriage — Children by it — Second marriage — Children by it — My father’s person — Habits — Labors in the ministry — Summons before the governor — Second summons — Death.

I continue the narrative with what I know of my father, the youngest child and only son of James de la Fontaine, who received his own name, James. He was of delicate constitution, and he was from the earliest age very fond of books, which circumstances decided his father not to bring him up to a trade of any kind, but to make every possible effort to culti vate his taste for study, and to give him an education to fit him for one of the learned professions. He was assisted by several friends in this undertaking, but most effectually by Mr. Merlin, a sincere and worthy servant of God, a Protestant minister in Rochelle, who gave James gratuitous instruction in various branches of knowledge.

My father’s inclination towards the office of the holy ministry soon evinced itself, and he did not hesitate to follow the pious impulse, though fully aware of the dangers incident to the vocation. When his education was somewhat advanced, his pious and generous friend, Mr. Merlin, further assisted him by recommending him to the Countess of Royan as a suitable tutor to a young relation of hers. In that capacity he accompanied the young man to the college of Saumur, and superintended his studies there, while he availed himself of the advantages, thus opened to him, of completing his own preparation for the ministry.

After leaving college, he travelled with his pupil through various countries, and he was thus enabled to perfect himself in several living languages. In the course of their travels they went to London, and they remained there long enough to allow my father to fall in love with…

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Chapter 3

17 Sep 2022, by

My birth — Lameness — Imitation of my fathers prayers — Meditations upon the heavenly bodies — Sent to school — Anecdotes of boyhood — Disgusted with study — Letter to sister — Mr. De la Bussier — Admirable preceptor — College — Take degree of Master of Arts — My mother’s death — Division of property.

I have now arrived at the history of my own life, which I shall give more in detail, as being more immediately interesting to you than the annals of past generations. You will find a varied tissue of adventures, checkered with alternate extremes of prosperity and adversity, but amidst its joys and sorrows, you will not fail to discern the hand of Almighty God leading me by his good Providence, watching over me, and making all things work together for my good.

I was born at Jenouillé, on the 7th April, 1658. The first sorrow of my life proceeded from the carelessness of my nurse: she trusted me to her daughter’s care, who was a young and giddy girl, and she played and romped with me, tossing me in the air and catching me in her arms. At last she missed her hold and let me fall on the ground, by which my leg was broken a little below the knee. The nurse lived at Royan, and being desirous to conceal the disaster from my parents, she took me of her own accord to an ignorant surgeon, near at hand, who relieved her apprehension by pronouncing that no harm had been done. He was entirely mistaken, and the bone, not having been set, united of itself in process of time, with considerable enlargement at the place, and making the leg shorter and weaker than the other, thus causing lameness for life.

I inherited something of the family beauty of face, and resembled my father more than any of my brothers and sisters, and I was of a very lively and inventive turn. When I was only four years old, I was so taken with hearing my father read the Scriptures and pray with the…

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Chapter 4

17 Sep 2022, by

Study with Mr. Forestier — His persecutions — His wife’s firmness — Return home — Pray with neighbors — Absent at Easter — Poor people assemble in the woods — A spy — Warrants issued — A mason taken up — Recantation — Repentance — My return home — Warrant against me — Grand Provost and archers appear — Prison — Permitted to pray.

Having made all necessary arrangements for the management of my property, I went once more to the house of my brother in-law, Mr. Forestier, at St. Mesme in Anguomois. I knew that I should find in him an able and willing friend, to help me in the prosecution of my theological studies. My sole wish now was to dedicate all the talents, God had bestowed on me, to his glory.

I spent a year with Mr. Forestier, during which time he took great pains with me. He taught me to prepare sermons, and showed me how far it was desirable to use Commentaries for such purposes. When he thought me qualified, he allowed me to preach sometimes in his church.

While I was with him, a complaint was lodged against him that he had received a Papist into the communion of the Protestant Church, contrary to the king’s edict. Upon this accusation, he was seized and carried to prison with much degradation: he was placed on horseback, with his legs tied together under the horse’s belly.

If you had but seen the Papists of Angouleme collected upon the road to enjoy the spectacle! They were in such numbers that I may say they were literally piled up by the…

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Chapter 5

17 Sep 2022, by

Provost and archers make another tour — Twenty country people brought to prison — Well supplied by Protestant brethren — Prayer — Indictment — Confrontation — Recollement — Examination of witnesses — Apply to be set at liberty — Accusation of the King’s advocate — Dungeon — Removed to Town Hall — Bribery proposed to me.

When I had been in prison about ten days, the Provost and his Archers set out upon another circuit to look for those who had been at our meetings, and as I had foreseen, the country people would no longer flee. They had received timely warning, and the timid retreated to the woods, but the Provost was met by more than one hundred and fifty persons, who accosted him with the utmost intrepidity, saying: “We have all attended these holy meetings and prayed to God in the woods, and we are ready to justify our conduct.”

The number who presented themselves was much greater than those against whom he held warrants, so he was obliged to make an examination, and he drew off to one side all those whose names did not appear upon his list. After this rejection, the number left was still too large to take to prisons al ready well filled with papists who had been committed for real crimes, so the Provost declared he would take only twenty. A holy strife then arose amongst these followers of the Lord as to who should be of the number.

The Archers were themselves struck at the scene they beheld. “What are you about?” said they. “Do you set no value upon life? What fury urges you to the gallows? Think for a moment of your wives and children! What will become of them?” They tried every expedient to intimidate them, and swore to them, by all that was sacred, that if once they were taken to prison they would only exchange it for the rack, the gibbet, or, at any rate, the galleys. They adduced numerous instances of such and such persons, who, for similar offences, had been hanged, broken on the wheel, &c., &c. It was all of no use, their words seemed to act like wind upon fire; the more furious and violent were the Archers the more was the zeal of the people kindled.

At length, by a refinement of cruelty, the Provost determined to leave behind those who were most anxious to go, and he selected those to take with him who appeared the least eager. They were bound together two and two, as dogs are coupled for hunting, and tied to the…

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Chapter 6

17 Sep 2022, by

Trial before the Presidency — Digression — Defense — Angry discussion with the President — Query — Reply — Sentence.

The month of August had come round by the time that the process was ready to be brought before the Presidency in the Hall of Justice./p>

In this court, the prisoner has to depend upon himself, he is not allowed the help of an advocate to plead for him. The door is locked, and guarded byArchers. The President sits in the centre, the Judges or Counsellors on each side; the Register remains in the lower part of the Hall, and the prisoner is usually seated near him, on a three-legged wooden stool, as a mark of disgrace.

There is a saying in France,“he has sat upon the stool,” which is tantamount to the English phrase, “I have seen him hold up his hand at the bar.”

The testimony recorded in the confrontation is read to the accused, and he is asked if it be correct, and if the signature attached to it be his. The judges then examine him more fully, and if it be a case which admits of appeal to Parliament, the answers are recorded. As soon as the examination is over, the accused is taken back to prison, and the sentence of the court, in writing, is sent to him by a sheriff’s officer.

In preparing for my defence I thought much more of my poor neighbors than of myself, because I was really innocent of the charge in the indictment, they were not. Knowing that they would not be assisted by an advocate, I could not help feeling some apprehension for them, and I determined, if any opportunity offered itself, I would say something applicable to their case. I thought it possible that I might be able to soften the hearts or alarm the consciences of the judges; and I made it a subject of special prayer to God.

I will make a digression here, which you will presently perceive is not altogether irrelevant. My apartment in the tower of the Town Hall looked down into the…

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Chapter 7

17 Sep 2022, by

Appeal to Parliament — Factum — President’s remarks — Sentence reverse — Register refuses copy of decree — Apply for redress — Return home.

The Parliament of Bourdeaux, or rather of Guienne, then held its sittings at La Reolle, and by its order we were removed to the prison of that town, which was so full that the jailer, contented with the payment of his entrance fee, allowed us to go and come on “parole” as we pleased. This promised to be a very advantageous arrangement for me, as I could thus have the opportunity of making personal application to Parliament, proving my own innocence, and exposing the injustice of the Presidency of Saintes in its true colors.

I had my Factum printed, of which the following is a true and faithful copy:

FACTUM

“JAMES FONTAINE is accused of two things. The one, of being found in the assemblies held in the wood of Chatelars, near Royan; and the other, of having been heard praying to God, in the prison of Saintes. With regard to the first accusation, it is based upon the testimony of only one witness, named Agoust, who made affidavit to having seen him at the distance of one hundred paces from his own house, and two hundred paces from the place where the assemblies were said to have been held. At the confrontation, this witness admitted that he only thought he had seen him from a window, and that, too, in the dusk of the evening, at the distance of three or four hundred paces; and upon the strength of such testimony as this, the said Fontaine has been confined four months in the prisons of Saintes, which are extremely rude in their accommodations. The charge of praying to God rested upon the evidence of four witnesses, who contradicted themselves upon cross-examination; and it appeared that the said Fontaine merely knelt down in a corner of the prison, and spoke in so low a tone that the jailer’s wife, after acknowledging that she passed within one pace of him when he was kneeling down, was not able to repeat a single word of what he had said. After the breviate of the case was completed, the Seneschal, in the most extraordinary manner, refused to judge, and the…

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Chapter 8

17 Sep 2022, by

Persecution of 1685 — Meeting of ministers and elders — My opinion opposed to the majority — Meeting of Protestants at Royan — Mr. Certani dissuades from emigration — Interview with him — Gloomy forebodings — Departure of Protestants — Dragoons appear — I leave home — Visit sisters — Traverse the country — My betrothed.

The year 1685 opened with a bitter spirit of persecution far beyond all that had preceded it. There was no longer the slightest semblance of justice in the forms of proceeding, the dragoons ravaged and pillaged without mercy, resembling in their progress a lawless and victorious army taking possession of an enemy’s country. In the history of the past we look in vain for any record of cruelties such as were inflicted upon the unoffending and unresisting Huguenots. They were not accountable to any one for their acts; each dragoon was a sovereign judge and an executioner; he who had ingenuity enough to invent any new species of torture was sure of applause, and even reward for his discovery. My blood boiled under the sense of injury, and I desired earnestly that the Protestants should take up arms in a body, and offer resistance, instead of waiting quietly to be slain like beasts at the shambles.

Early in the year I received an invitation to attend a meeting of ministers and elders at Coses, to hold a consultation as to what ought to be done in the present cruel crisis. Twelve ministers and as many elders were present in answer to the summons. As I was only a candidate, and not a minister, I had no right to appear in such a meeting, and still less to give a vote, but my deportment in prison had gained me so much reputation, that young as I was, the ministers requested to have my opinion.

I pointed out to them what I considered the great error of which they had been guilty, namely, preaching the doctrine of non-resistance from their pulpits. I said it appeared to me that our quiet submission to all the grievous edicts and declarations of the king had encouraged him to go on. Our obedience to one edict only paved the way for another more intolerable to be issued, and I thought we might blame the timid policy of the day for much that we had endured. I dissented totally from the generally received doctrine that our lives and estates are the property of the king, and I thought such an admission reflected discredit upon our forefathers, who had obtained for us, sword in hand, the privileges which were now taken away from us. To make short of the matter, my opinion was that there was nothing left for us but to take up arms and leave the issue to the Lord of Hosts.

I was listened to thus far with impatience, and they then rebuked me sharply for the…

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Chapter 9

17 Sep 2022, by

Revocation of the Edict of Nantes — Preparations for flight — Difficulties and dangers of embarkation — Land in England — Cheapness of bread — Speculation in grain — Cruelty of a captain of a vessel.

In the month of October, 1685, the edict of Nantes was actually revoked[1] by that great persecutor, Louis the 14th. Of course no choice was now left for Protestants; flight was the only alternative.

I went to Marennes to make preparations in good earnest, and I was so fortunate as to find an English captain of a vessel, with whom I was able to make a bargain. He agreed to take me, and four or five persons with me, to England, at the rate of ten pistoles each, and it was arranged that we should assemble at Tremblade for embarkation. I went im mediately to fetch your dear mother, Anne Elizabeth Boursiquot, and her sister Elizabeth, and my niece Janette Forestier; the latter was my god-daughter, and I felt it incumbent upon me to provide for her safety.

I mentioned the plan to some few persons, and I expected they would have rejoiced at the prospect of getting away, but their fears were stronger than their hopes, and they dared not venture to encounter so many dangers. The coast was carefully guarded both by sea and land to prevent emigration.

We went to Tremblade to be ready, and took up our abode in the house of a man who was to act as our pilot be cause he could speak English. He was a very imprudent as well as a drunken man, which made our situation very dangerous while under his roof.

After several days of cruel suspense, the Captain sent us word that he should be ready to sail the next day, and he wished us to be in readiness also. He said that he should pass between the Isle of Oleron and the main-land, and that if we would be on the sands near the Forest of Arvert, he would send a boat ashore for us.

We set off during the night, and had two horses to carry the few little possessions we were able to take with us. In the course of the following day, upwards of fifty persons assembled on the sands, with the hope that they might be taken on board the vessel, and make their escape with us. Most of them were very young, and they had not taken due precaution to conceal their intentions, so the…

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Chapter 10

17 Sep 2022, by

Singular proposal from a lady — Marriage — Mode of living — Removal to Bridgwater — Assistance from Committee — Why discontinued — Application for relief — Unkindness — Attempt to recover property.

I have already mentioned that I had been hospitably received into the house of a Mr. Downe at Barnstaple. This gentleman was a bachelor of some forty years of age, and he had an unmarried sister living with him, who was about thirty-three or thirty-four years old. They were kindness itself, and I was as completely domesticated with them as if I had been a brother. They were in easy circumstances. Miss Downe was worth about £3000, and her brother had an estate near Minehead, worth £10,000.

The poor lady most unfortunately took a great fancy to me, and she persuaded herself that it would be greatly for the benefit of all concerned if she were to be married to me, and her brother to my intended. I should have supposed it an easy matter for any one to have fallen in love with your dear mother in those days, for she was very beautiful, her skin was delicately fair, she had a brilliant color in her cheeks, a high forehead, a remarkably intellectual expression of countenance; her bust was fine, rather inclined to embonpoint, and she had a very dignified carriage, which some persons condemned as haughty, but I always thought it peculiarly becoming to one of her beauty. The charms of her mind and disposition were no way inferior to those of her person, so that altogether she seemed formed to captivate the most indifferent, yet I am almost sure that Mr. Downe only yielded to the solicitations of his sister, and had really no love in his heart.

Miss Downe opened her project to me one day by observing that she thought we must be two fools, to think of being married to each other, when our only portion would be beggary. I did not at first comprehend her, but she persevered in her attacks upon me at every opportunity, and began to give me broad hints that if I would only open my eyes, I might plainly see where I could do much better for myself. I then discovered her meaning, but I was determined not to appear to understand it, and our languages being different, made it very easy for me to appear as ignorant as I pleased. However, it so happened that her brother entered the room one day when she was trying to drive it into me, that a more suitable match was within my power than the one I was in tending to make. She turned to him and begged he would make the…

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Chapter 11

17 Sep 2022, by

Remove to Taunton — Receive ordination — Keep a shop — Manufactory — Prosperity — Summoned before the mayor — Defense — Speech of recorder — Discharge.

I went over to Taunton, to look about me, for any prospect of improving my circumstances, and I was so far successful that I obtained a few pupils to instruct in the French language. At first I went there only for the day, three times a week, to give lessons, but after a while, I decided that it would be the most advantageous plan to remove my family there entirely, and keep a shop as we had done in Bridgewater, and I hoped that the addition of the profits, from teaching, to those from the shop, would maintain us all.

I went over to Taunton, to look about me, for any prospect of improving my circumstances, and I was so far successful that I obtained a few pupils to instruct in the French language. At first I went there only for the day, three times a week, to give lessons, but after a while, I decided that it would be the most advantageous plan to remove my family there entirely, and keep a shop as we had done in Bridgewater, and I hoped that the addition of the profits, from teaching, to those from the shop, would maintain us all.

I had been in the habit not only of having family worship, but of preaching to the circle of relatives who clustered around us. When I removed to Taunton, three or four French families wished to join us, and so form a small congregation. I then thought that I ought to receive that authority from man which I had already received from God.

I was aware that the Episcopalians possessed all the Church Benefices, and filled all the offices of trust throughout the kingdom, but I was not dazzled by their splendor. I preferred the simplicity of Divine worship, to which I had been accustomed from my childhood, to the grandeur and wealth of the Episcopalians.

Some of the Presbyterians with whom I had become acquainted, actually hated the Episcopalians, and they made me believe that the Church of England was a kind of Romanism. I held in abhorrence all the…

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Chapter 12

17 Sep 2022, by

Revolution of 1688 — Landing of the Dutch — Unexpected visitor — Soldiers billeted on me — Retirement from business — Calimanco — Profitable manufacture — Crippled weaver — Secret discovered — Visit Dublin and Cork — Send sons to Holland — Increase of family.

A short time after the prosecution related in the last chapter the glorious Revolution of 1688 commenced. I felt very anxious about the effect it might have upon the welfare of me and mine. I had a vivid recollection of the end of the Monmouth rebellion, for they were still busy hanging and quartering when I landed in England.

The Prince of Orange marched with his army to Exeter, where he was welcomed by the same party that had declared for Monmouth. Three sorry-looking Dutchmen were sent to Taunton, and they were suffered to take possession of the place without the slightest show of resistance from any quarter. The common people hailed their arrival as a joyous event.

The Mayor and Aldermen were most decided Jacobites; they stood aloof to watch the course of events, and contented themselves, meanwhile, with noting down the names of all persons who appeared to favor the Dutch, in the expectation of having them hanged after awhile, as those had been who joined the Duke of Monmouth. I felt very certain that whichever side I might espouse, my name would have a prominent place in the list of culprits, and I was the more convinced of this from the story that was told about me.

On the arrival of a company of soldiers at Taunton, they were informed that there was a French Jesuit in the place who said Mass in his house every Sunday. It happened fortunately for me, that the Captain of this company was a French Protestant, who had taken refuge in Holland, and entered the…

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