Merle, Matthieu

Merle, Matthieu a noted Huguenot soldier, was born at Uzis, Languedoc, in 1548. He was not, as De Thou represents, the son of a wool-carder, nor did he follow in his youth the trade of wool-carding. He belonged to a noble but poor family of Lower Languedoc, did not receive any school education,, and never learned either to read or to write. Having a decided liking for war and the profession of arms, Merle, at the age of twenty; enlisted in a guard commanded by D'Acier, who subsequently became the duke of Uzes. As a member of that guard, Merle went through the campaign of 1569 in Poitou. After the pacifiction in 1570. he entered the service of Francois de Pevre, a gentleman of the horse, who intrusted him with the supervision" of his castle in Gdnaudau. Shortly after the massacre of St. Bartholomew, hostilities having been kindled afresh, Merle inflicted the bloodiest retaliation upon the Romanists, and by his deeds of valor and prowess became so redoubtable that the mere mention of his name was sufficient to cause far and near the direst consternation among his enemies. He died about 1590. Goudin, in his Memores, published a brief sketch of Merle, and his career as a soldier. See De Thou, Historia sui temporis; M. Imberais, Hist. des guerres religieuses en Auvergne; Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Geneale, s.v.

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