Charles Buck's Theological Dictionary

198 Huguenots


An appellation given by way of contempt to the reformed or protestant Calvinists of France. the name had its rise in 1560, but authors are not agreed as to the origin and occasion thereof. Some derive it from the following circumstance:–One of the gates of the city of Tours is called the gate of Fourgon, by corruption from feu Heugon, i. e. the late Hugon. This Hugon was once count of Tours, according to Eginhardus in his life of Charles the Great, and to some other historians. He was, it seems, a very wicked man, who by his fierce and cruel temper made himself dreadful, so that after his death he was supposed to walk about in the night time, beating all those he met with: this tradition the judicious Thuanas has not scrupled to mention in his history. Davila and other historians pretend that the nickname of Huguenots was first given to the French Protestants, because they used to meet in the night time in subterraneous vaults near the gate of Hugon; and what seems to countenance this opinion is, that they were first called by the name of Huguenots at this city of Tours. Others assign a more illustrious origin to this name, and say that the leaguers gave it to the reformed, because they were for keeping the crown upon the head of the present line descended from Hugh Capet; whereas they were for giving it to the house of Guise, as descended from Charles the Great. Others again derive it from a French and faulty pronunciation of the German word edignossen, signifying confederates; and originally applied to that valiant part of the city of Geneva, which entered into an alliance with the Swiss cantons, in order to maintain their liberties against the tyrannical attempts of Charles III. duke of Savoy. These confederates were called Eignots; whence Huguenots. The persecution which they have undergone has scarce its parallel in the history of religion. During the reign of Charles IX. and on the 24th of August, 1572, happened the massacre of Bartholomew, when seventy thousand of them throughout France were butchered with circumstances of aggravated cruelty.

In 1598, Henry IV. passed the famous edict of Nantz, which secured to the Protestants the free exercise of their religion. This edict was revoked by Lewis XIV. their churches were then razed to the ground, their persons insulted by the soldiers, and, after the loss of innumerable lives, fifty thousand valuable members of society were driven into exile. In Holland they built several places of worship, and had among them some distinguished preachers. Among others were Superville, Dumont, Dubosc, and the eloquent Saurin; the latter of whom, in one of his sermons (ser. 9. vol. v.) makes the following fine apostrophe to that tyrant Lewis XIV. by whom they were driven into exile: “And thou, dreadful prince, whom I once honoured as my king, and whom I yet respect as a scourge in the hand of Almighty God, thou also shalt have a part in my good wishes! These provinces, which thou threatenest, but which the arm of the Lord protects; this country, which thou fillest with refugees, but fugitives animated with love; those walls, which contain a thousand martyrs of thy making, but whom religion renders victorious, all these yet resound benedictions in thy favour. God grant the fatal bandage that hides the truth from thine eyes may fall off! May God forget the rivers of blood with which thou hast deluged the earth, and which thy reign hath caused to be shed!– May God blot out of his book the injuries which thou hast done us; and while he rewards the sufferers, may he pardon those who exposed us to suffer! O, may God, who hath made thee to us, and to the whole church, a minister of his judgments, make thee a dispenser of his favours–an administrator of his mercy!”

Charles Buck (1771-1815) was an English Independent minister, best known for the publication of his “Theological Dictionary”. According to the “Dictionary of National Biography”, a Particular Baptist minister named John C. Ryland (1723-1792) assisted Buck by writing many of the articles for the aforementioned publication. One may conclude, based not only Buck’s admiration for his friend Ryland, but also on the entries in his Theological Dictionary, that he stood head and shoulders with the High-Calvinists of his day.

Charles Buck on the Biblical Covenants (Complete)
Charles Buck's Theological Dictionary