Camisards (from the French camise, a peasant's jacket), a sect of fanatics (made such by oppression) in France toward the end of the seventeenth century. The predictions of Brousson (q.v.) and Jurieu, as to the coming downfall of the papacy and the end of the world seem to have given a bent to the minds of the Protestants of Dauphine and Vivarais. "In 1688 five or six hundred Protestants of both sexes gave themselves out to be prophets, and inspired of the Holy Ghost. They had strange fits, which came upon them with faintings, as in a swoon, which made them stretch out their arms and legs, and stagger. They struck themselves with their hands; they fell on their backs, shut their eyes, and heaved their breasts. The symptoms answer to those produced by inspiring nitrous oxide, and, were the fact then discovered, we should have been tempted to suspect imposture. They remained a while in trances, and, coming out of them, declared that they saw the heavens open, the angels, paradise, and hell. Those who were just on the point of receiving the spirit of prophecy dropped down, not only in the assemblies, but in the fields, and in their own houses, crying out Mercy. The least of their assemblies made up four or five hundred, and some of them amounted to even three or four thousand. The hills resounded with their loud cries for mercy, and with imprecations against the priests, the pope, and his and Christian dominion, with predictions of the approaching fall of popery. All they said at these times was heard and received with reverence and awe." The government finally interfered with a violence which naturally increased the disorder. In 1702 a number of the Camisards were put to death with torture. A war arose, in which Cavalier, a young baker, became prominent as an able leader. The Marshal de Montrevel was sent by the court to quell these disturbances, and, after him, Marshal Villars; and, after a long series of the most barbarous massacres and perfidious cruelties, these wretched people were finally, in 1705, put down. Cavalier submitted, and afterward went to England. Ravance, Catinat, and Franceze, three of their leaders, were burned alive, and Vilas and Jonquet, also commanders of their forces, together with two merchants who assisted them, broken on the wheel. Many of these Camisards fled to England. See Smedley, Reformed Religion in France, vol. in, ch. 25; Theatre Sacre des Cevennes (London, 1707, by Max Misson, the chief source of information); The Wars of the Cevennes under Cavalier (Dublin, 1726); Schulz, Geschichie der Camisarden (Weimar, 1790); Court, Hist. des troubles des Cevennes (Villefranche, 1760); Histoire des Camisards (Lond. 1744); Peyrat, Hist. des Pasteurs du Desert (Paris, 1842); Hoffmann, Gesch. des A ufruhrs in den Cevennen (Nordlingen, 1837). SEE FRENCH PROPHETS.

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