Unholy Territory

French Missionaries, Huguenot Refugees, and Religious Conflict in the Dutch Republic

In: Church History and Religious Culture
David van der Linden Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen The Netherlands Nijmegen

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This article studies the mission of French Discalced Carmelite friars in the seventeenth-century Dutch Republic. Established from 1647 onwards in The Hague, Leiden, and Amsterdam, the missionaries’ aim was to minister to the French-speaking Catholics of Holland, but they also sought to convert expatriate French Protestants as part of the wider Counter-Reformation campaign to win back souls lost to the Reformation. Despite conflict with the Walloon churches, however, the Carmelite mission was surprisingly successful in converting Huguenots to the Church of Rome, repatriating many of them to France in the wake of the Revocation. As such, this article sheds new light on the relationship between expatriate communities in Holland, arguing that the Dutch Republic was not only a safe haven for refugees, but also the scene of ongoing conflict between French Protestants and Catholics during the reign of Louis XIV.

1 Introduction

In the summer of 1647, the Discalced Carmelite friar César de Saint Bonaventure left his convent on the Rue de Vaugirard in Paris and travelled to the Dutch Republic, which he had left 27 years earlier when he was still a small boy. As he neared the village of Cuijk, south of Nijmegen, father César tucked away his clerical habit and so entered Dutch territory incognito.1 His trip was not undertaken for nostalgic reasons, however: César had returned to establish a Carmelite mission in the Dutch Republic, both to serve the French-speaking Catholics who lived in the major cities of Holland, and to reclaim souls lost to the Protestant Reformation. Far from being a fool’s errand, the Carmelite mission was highly successful, becoming a force to be reckoned with by Protestants in the Dutch Republic.

The aim of this article is to study the twists and turns of this French Carmelite mission, which not only illuminates a little-known aspect of early modern Dutch Catholicism, but also sheds new light on cross-confessional interactions in the Huguenot Refuge. For a long time, scholarship on the Dutch Refuge was rather inward-looking, written predominantly by Protestant authors who glorified the Huguenot past. The archival sources they relied on, moreover, resulted in histories that cover such topics as the institutional history of the Walloon churches, the integration of the refugees into Dutch society, and their contribution to economic and cultural activity.2 And although my own study of the Huguenot exile experience explored sermons, diaries, histories, and other personal testimonies to chart the lives of ordinary refugees, it focused almost exclusively on the refugee community, largely ignoring the interactions with other religious groups in the Dutch Republic, or between refugee centres across the Huguenot diaspora.3 In recent years, however, scholars have begun to explore the Huguenots from a transnational perspective, and to point out similarities to other refugee communities in the Dutch Republic, which according to Geert Janssen prided itself on its national identity as a “republic of the refugees.”4 Others have explored transnational networks of news and solidarity, arguing that Huguenot exiles consciously cultivated an identity as martyrs to persuade Protestant authorities to grant them privileges, organise collections, and support the restoration of the Edict of Nantes.5

Building on this new wave of scholarship, this article challenges the basic premise of Huguenot studies, namely that French Protestantism can be studied in its own right. On the one hand, it uses the Carmelite mission as a lens to explore the interactions between French-speaking Protestants and Catholics in the Dutch Republic, while on the other it draws attention to the transnational religious networks that not only sustained religious solidarity, but also fuelled conflict during the reign of Louis XIV. The article argues that the interaction between French-speaking Catholics and Protestants in the Dutch Republic was one of ongoing confrontation that continued beyond the Revocation, mirroring the confessional struggle between the two faiths in France. Louis XIV’s early reign witnessed growing tensions between Huguenots and Catholics as the king sent out commissioners to examine complaints made by local clergy about violations of the Edict of Nantes, and missionary orders increased their efforts to convert the Huguenots.6 The Carmelite mission that was established in Holland at precisely this juncture demonstrates that the anti-Protestant campaign reached well beyond the French heartland, turning the Dutch Republic into new mission territory for the Counter-Reformation. As such, this article brings together two recent strands in religious history: the widening scholarship on Huguenot refugees and a growing interest in the international character of the post-Tridentine Church.

Most of what we know about the Carmelite mission in the Dutch Republic derives from a manuscript history written by the order’s inspector-general, Louis de Sainte-Thérèse, who visited the Dutch mission in 1660 and subsequently published the Annales des Carmes déchaussez de France in 1666.7 We also possess a series of first-hand missionary accounts gathered in the “Traitté de la Mission des Carmes Déchaussez de France, dans la Hollande,” a six-part manuscript that survives in the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris. It was compiled in 1714 by the Carmelite friar Ange de tous les Saints in Leiden, to chronicle the history of the Carmelite mission. The first four parts were completed in December 1663 by the first Leiden missionary, Pierre de la Mère de Dieu, who gave a general overview of the mission at the request of his superiors, but also recounted his personal experiences. Part five, written by Ange himself, offers a history of the Leiden mission, while the sixth and final part is a memoir composed by César de Saint Bonaventure on his mission in The Hague, which ends rather abruptly in May 1651.8 Of course, the hagiographical tone of these accounts presents a problem to historians, but by juxtaposing them with sources produced by the Walloon churches, the Dutch authorities, and the French ambassadors to The Hague, this article seeks to overcome the implicit bias. The essay begins by discussing the origins of the Carmelite mission in the Dutch Republic, before turning to the various conflicts between French-speaking Catholics and Protestants. The third and final section analyses the impact of the Revocation on the Carmelite mission, and considers the relationship between the two communities more widely.

2 The Origins of the Carmelite Mission

It was not at all evident that the Discalced Carmelites should consider the Dutch Republic vital mission territory, because in the wake of the Reformation the remaining Catholic clergy had quickly established an underground network of priests and laywomen known as klopjes. Organised by the Delft priest Sasbout Vosmeer since 1583, over time this clandestine church structure came to be known as the Missio Hollandica or Holland Mission. In 1602, the papacy formally appointed Vosmeer as apostolic vicar in the United Provinces, in lieu of a resident bishop; by 1631 the Mission numbered 360 priests and 140 klopjes, who ministered to some 450,000 Catholics.9 The Mission focused its efforts primarily on the Dutch-speaking population, however, not necessarily on the smaller communities of French-speaking Catholics living in the major Dutch cities, such as expatriate French merchants and Walloon textile workers. Although in theory francophone Catholics could attend services in one of the tolerated Dutch-speaking chapels, the language barrier discouraged them from attending Mass. Friar Pierre de la Mère de Dieu—the second Carmelite missionary to arrive in Holland—would later observe that prior to the foundation of a French mission in Amsterdam in 1662, many French Catholics had neither confessed nor received communion in years. Others, troubled by feelings of spiritual anguish and wishing “not to be entirely deprived of the Sacred Word of God,” had attended services at the Walloon church, although this clearly carried the risk of conversion: Pierre complained that those who attended Protestant services “imperceptibly abandon the true Religion.”10 His comments not only underlined the necessity of a French-speaking mission in the Dutch Republic, they also reveal that its wider aim was to combat the threat of Protestantism.

Beyond such practical considerations, the first two Carmelite missionaries to arrive in Holland, the brothers César de Saint Bonaventure and Pierre de la Mère de Dieu, also nurtured personal reasons for establishing the French mission. Baptised in the Dutch Reformed Church as Johannes and Abraham Bertius, respectively, they had moved to France in 1620, where they subsequently converted to Catholicism and entered the order of the Discalced Carmelites. Their family history, rooted as it was in the experience of conversion and border-crossing, helps to explain why they considered the United Provinces as mission territory. During the early years of the Reformation, their grandfather Petrus Bertius had joined the Protestant movement to become one of the first Calvinist preachers in Flanders, ministering to the Protestant community of Dunkirk. Religious persecution soon drove him into exile: by 1569 Bertius and his family had fled to London, where they joined the Dutch church at Austin Friars. He eventually returned to the Low Countries, preaching in the Reformed churches of Rotterdam, Dunkirk, and Goes. His son, also called Petrus, matriculated at Leiden University in 1577 and was subsequently appointed as regent to the States College (Statencollege), the new training school for Dutch Reformed ministers founded in 1592. In 1595 he also became professor of ethics at Leiden University.11

Bertius’s career took a turn for the worse during the Arminian controversy, because he sided with the Remonstrants and openly denied the doctrine of predestination in his publications. Following the condemnation of the Arminian theology by the Synod of Dordrecht in 1619, Bertius was excluded from communion by Leiden’s Reformed church and dismissed from the university in the summer of 1620. Fortunately, his long-standing interest in geography had earned him a position as royal geographer to King Louis XIII in 1617, which came with a pension that he now intended to cash in. In June 1620 Bertius thus travelled to Paris, where he converted to Catholicism within two weeks, followed by his wife Anna-Maria and their six children a year later. More important for our story is that between 1627 and 1632 three of Bertius’s sons joined the French order of the Discalced Carmelites, and subsequently began to lobby their superiors with a daring plan: to return to the Dutch Republic as undercover missionaries and evangelise among the Protestants.12

Their mission epitomised the wider goals of the Discalced Carmelites. Created in the wake of the Council of Trent, the male branch of the Discalced Carmelites was a missionary order that sought to reconquer souls lost to the Protestant Reformation. The order had been founded in Spain by the Carmelite nun Theresa of Avila in 1562, in order to establish convents that upheld strict rules of enclosure and asceticism, so that members could devote themselves entirely to prayer and contemplation. Theresa soon developed a particular interest in France, however, having been visited in a dream by an angel suspending a bloody sword over the French kingdom, which had just been plunged into the Wars of Religion. As Theresa recalled in her spiritual guidebook The Way of Perfection, “at that time, the damage the heretics had caused in France & the progress heresy was making came to my knowledge, which greatly afflicted me, & so I wept to our Lord, & I begged him to remedy this evil.”13 In her prayers, Theresa asked God for capable preachers who could defend Catholic doctrine and convert the Protestants in France, but her plans only came to fruition after her death. In 1604 a group of Spanish nuns founded the first Discalced Carmelite convent in Paris, followed in 1608–1611 by friars from Italy who established the first male houses in Avignon, Lyon, and Paris. The order also branched out across the known world, establishing convents in Poland, Germany, the Southern Netherlands, the Americas, and the East Indies.14

It would not be until the middle of the seventeenth century that the Dutch Republic would find itself playing host to a Discalced Carmelite mission—a mission led by the three Bertius brothers. The timing of their mission owed much to the relaxation of hostilities between Spain and the United Provinces. Negotiations between the two parties, which would culminate in the Peace of Münster of 1648, offered Dutch Catholics more leeway to practice their faith and lessened religious persecution.15 When later in life Pierre de la Mère de Dieu reflected on the beginnings of the Carmelite mission in Holland, he unequivocally attributed its initial success to the 1648 peace, noting that “the hatred of Spain vanished imperceptibly, and the great aversion of the Catholics evaporated.”16 Crucially, the cessation of hostilities allowed missionaries to travel to the United Provinces again, including the Discalced Carmelites.

Already prior to the conclusion of the Peace of Münster the three Bertius brothers had begun to lobby their superiors to grant them a mission to their homeland, which had they had left as children and—more importantly—as Protestants. As the Carmelite historian Louis de Sainte-Thérèse remarked in his annals, “how astounding, that God gave the missionary spirit to these three children, so that just as God used converted Jews to confound Judaism, so he used converted heretics to attract infidels, schismatics, & heretics to the true Church.”17 Abraham Bertius, the eldest of the three brothers, who was born in Leiden in 1610, entered the Carmelite order in 1627, taking the monastic name of Pierre de la Mère de Dieu. In 1650 he published a small booklet in Paris that clearly outlined his missionary ambitions, Modus convertendi Haereticos (The way to convert the heretics). The second son, Wenceslaus, who took the name of Paul de Jesus Maria in 1628, was the first to try to persuade the general of the Carmelite order to send him to Holland. Instead, he was told to man the mission in Aleppo and then to go to Lebanon, where he died of dysentery in 1643. It was the third son, Johannes Bertius, who had adopted the name César de Saint Bonaventure in 1631, who finally succeeded in getting the mission approved. In 1647 he received the blessing of his French and Roman superiors to travel to the Dutch Republic, in order to investigate the feasibility of a permanent French Carmelite mission in Holland.18

Travelling via Maastricht, Nijmegen, and Utrecht, César’s final destination was The Hague, where he first focused his efforts on serving the expatriate community of French Catholics, who lacked a dedicated priest. By 1677 The Hague numbered around 24,000 inhabitants, of which an estimated 4,000 were Catholic. A report sent to Rome by apostolic vicar Jacob de la Torre in 1656 reveals that the community was served by five Dutch-speaking priests and two Jesuit friars.19 Our knowledge of the francophone Catholic community is far patchier, but according to César’s own account he soon gathered a congregation of between 400 and 500 French-speaking Catholics. He identified several key groups, including court nobility, French soldiers serving in the States army, merchants, and children taking his religious instructions on Sunday afternoons.20 His parish also included a French dance master, François de la Croix, who lend him a chalice, chasuble, and altar cloth to furnish his house chapel.21

3 Conflict in the Mission

Thanks to the dogged determination of César, the French Catholic mission seemed off to a promising start, but he also faced stiff opposition, both from the established Catholic hierarchy and the Dutch and French Reformed communities. Much to César’s dismay, initial resistance to the mission came from within the Catholic Church. When he had first proposed a mission to the Dutch Republic at the general chapter of his order in Rome in 1644, friars from the province of Flanders united against him. They argued the mission should come under their purview, rather than that of their Parisian brothers, because they were closer to Holland and spoke Dutch.22 After much debate the chapter eventually agreed to place the new mission under the authority of the French province in Paris, allowing César to set off for Holland in 1647, but the Flemish friars remained opposed to the idea. When in 1661 the general of the Discalced Carmelite order, friar Dominique de la Trinité, visited the monasteries in Flanders, he was again beseeched to recall the French missionaries. Although the general rejected these demands, the internecine struggles weighed heavily on the friars in Holland. As Pierre de la Mère de Dieu would later lament from Leiden, “it is easy to protect yourself against open persecution that comes from the enemies of Faith [i.e., the Protestants]; but it is very harmful to be attacked by Brothers of the same Order, who secretly impede the progress of many affairs that are glorious to God, useful to the Church, and advantageous to Our Holy Order.”23

A second internal front opened up once the Carmelite mission was underway. The apostolic vicars had always viewed the Holland Mission as the continuation of the former church provinces abolished at the Reformation, and argued that their own office endured as the direct successor of the old episcopacy. In contrast, the papacy and the new missionary orders that sprung up during the Counter-Reformation—in particular the Jesuits—regarded the Dutch Republic as mission territory and thus exempt from control by the apostolic vicar.24 As a result, secular priests in the Holland Mission were often wary of the regular orders, and they likewise viewed the new mission of the Discalced Carmelites as a threat to their authority. César would soon be caught in the crossfire. Upon arrival in The Hague he was invited to preach at the Portuguese embassy, but the Spanish ambassador claimed that César had spoken out against Spain in his sermon. He mobilised the apostolic vicar to denounce the Carmelite mission with the Propaganda Fide in Rome, which subsequently ordered César to leave The Hague. He had to spend several months in Louvain, but was finally cleared of all accusations and allowed to return in the autumn.25

The Carmelite mission managed to survive largely because it enjoyed the protection of the French ambassador in The Hague, Gaspard Coignet, sieur de la Thuillerie, who allowed father César to preach in his embassy chapel, located at the Noordeinde.26 As Benjamin Kaplan has shown, early modern embassies played a key role in sustaining religious minorities in Europe’s major cities. The Hague was no exception: the Venetian and French embassies—and later also those of Portugal, Spain, Bavaria, and Cologne—employed chaplains who said Mass not only for the benefit of the ambassador and his retinue, but also for local Catholics.27 In May 1648, however, Louis XIV decided to recall De la Thuillerie and close his embassy in The Hague in retaliation for the States-General’s decision to conclude a separate peace with Spain. The French chapel ceased to exist, leaving César with little protection besides the presence of the French resident, Henri Brasset. The resident managed to broker a meeting with the local bailiff who registered César as serving the French diplomatic mission, thus allowing him to live in The Hague unmolested. Diplomatic protection had its limits, however, as César was not allowed to officiate at home, which impeded his efforts towards founding a fully-fledged mission.28

Indeed, César would soon experience the harsh reality of living as a Catholic in the Dutch Republic, namely regular harassment by both the authorities and the populace. The most notorious practice of Dutch officials was the extortion of money from local priests, known as recognition money, in exchange for a de facto toleration of Catholic house chapels.29 Thanks to his diplomatic protection César was exempt from paying recognition money, but in his memoir he recorded the ongoing intimidation by his Protestant neighbours, who knew that he violated the terms of his agreement by officiating in his own home. Moreover, the first house that César rented, located in the Nieuwe Molstraat, was situated opposite an unbending Calvinist delegate from the States of Zeeland, who complained about the sound of Catholic hymns. The Protestant minister Jacobus Stermont, a known anti-Catholic firebrand who petitioned the authorities to ban the missionary from The Hague also lived on the same street. César would move house within three weeks, but fared little better. Now living on the Prinsenstraat, his Huguenot neighbours jeered at him in street, calling him a “papist,” “monk,” and “Jesuit,” pelting him with snow balls in winter and stones the rest of the year.30

Yet César was not to be discouraged, working tirelessly to convert French-speaking Protestants to the Catholic faith, just as Dutch-speaking clergy continued their attempts at winning back the hearts and minds of the Dutch populace.31 César focused his efforts on the elite circles of The Hague, converting a string of nobles and leading several lapsed Catholics back to the Church of Rome, including a nun who had abandoned her convent in Maastricht to become a Lutheran. A crucial role in these conversions was played by Dorothea de Ligne Aremberg, Countess of Horne. In 1651 she served as intermediary for an unnamed Protestant noblewoman related to the family of Orange, who wished to be instructed in the Catholic faith by César and subsequently converted to Catholicism. The countess also oversaw the abjuration of a young woman from Nijmegen, Marie Teyler, who abjured her faith in César’s chapel despite her parents’ protestations.32 In addition César wielded his pen to win over French-speaking Protestants, writing the pocket-size catechism Abregé de la doctrine chrestienne to explain the principal points of Catholic doctrine. The book was secretly printed in The Hague and sold by a Catholic merchant; it was reprinted in Brussels in 1652 after the first print run had quickly sold out.33 At the request of the Countess of Horne, César also penned a treatise on the Eucharist specifically aimed at converting the local Protestants. According to César, his treatise succeeded in persuading a string of “heretics” to abjure their beliefs.34

The combined effect of these high-profile conversions and César’s growing self-confidence was to rattle the French-speaking community of The Hague, in particular the Walloon church, founded in 1591 to serve the French nobility at court who had arrived together with the stadtholder’s wife Louise de Coligny.35 The Walloon minister Jean Carré—who had been called to The Hague the year prior to César’s arrival—responded to César’s writings with a vitriolic pamphlet, L’ imposteur convaincu, ou refutation du traicté de la Ste Eucharistie, et des pretendües veritez Catholiques. While Carré’s broadside circulated in manuscript, it never made it into print, as the Walloon synod assembled at Den Bosch in 1651 judged it an ad hominem attack on César and forbade publication.36 The exasperated minister then reported the missionary to the sheriff, who twice raided César’s home, hoping to catch the friar in the act in his illegal chapel. The first raid ended in failure, as friends were able to warn César of the sheriff’s arrival, which allowed him time to hide the host, portable altar, and vestments. A raid two weeks later was more successful, because it was carried out in complete secrecy, but the protection of the French crown allowed César to avoid imprisonment.37 The uphill battle that César fought against the ecclesiastical hierarchy, his fellow friars in Flanders, the Walloon church, and the Dutch authorities eventually took their toll. In 1656 he fell ill and retired to the convent of the Discalced Carmelites in Brussels. Despite his recovery he would never return to the Low Countries, but was sent instead to Malta, where he died in 1662.38

The departure of father César did not spell the end of the Carmelite mission, however, which continued to serve the French Catholic community of Holland. In 1654, César’s brother Pierre de la Mère de Dieu had founded a new mission in Leiden, where he would serve until his death in 1683. In 1659 a new missionary also arrived in The Hague, Bernard de Saint Joseph, previously prior of the Discalced Carmelite monastery in Abbéville.39 His appointment was brokered by the new French ambassador in The Hague, Jacques-Auguste de Thou, who persuaded the head of the Discalced Carmelite order in Paris as well as the Propaganda Fide in Rome to send another missionary, who would be allowed to officiate in his embassy chapel. Bernard also said Mass in his own house though, and in 1664 established a permanent Carmelite chapel in the Assendelftstraat.40 In addition, De Thou managed to patch up the fraught relationship between the Holland Mission and the Carmelites, by personally inviting the vicar of Utrecht (and future apostolic vicar) Johannes van Neercassel to his residence, and impressing upon him the necessity to collaborate in order to favour the position of all Catholics in the Dutch Republic. Van Neercassel eventually buried the hatchet, writing in 1661 to the head of the Discalced Carmelite order in Paris that he had convinced the leadership of the Holland Mission to permanently allow the missionaries in Holland.41

As the mission continued, however, so did conflict with the French Protestant community, particularly in The Hague. Bernard was a gifted preacher whose sermons soon attracted curious Protestant ministers and believers, many of whom subsequently converted. A surviving register of baptisms and marriages performed in his chapel records 46 conversions between 1661 and 1675, virtually all of whom sported French names.42 Scandalised at these conversions, a group of Protestant noblewomen set a trap. They were acquainted with a young Catholic woman who had recently begun attending services at the Walloon church; they persuaded her to approach father Bernard and ask for his spiritual guidance in deciding which church offered the true path to salvation. No sooner had the missionary begun his religious instructions, however, than the woman accused him of sexual intimidation. The accusations only disappeared when a few months later it emerged that she had secretly delivered a child—the result of an affair with the French embassy’s secretary—and had converted to Protestantism.43

By the early 1660s, local frictions between French-speaking Protestants and Catholics in The Hague also came to have transnational repercussions, as the Carmelite missionaries tried to persuade French officials to use the toleration of the Huguenots in France as leverage to improve the situation for French Catholics in the Dutch Republic. They pointed out that by virtue of the Edict of Nantes, the French monarchy recognised Protestants as a religious minority before the law, allowing them to worship in public, whereas Catholics in the Dutch Republic only enjoyed de facto toleration in house chapels and experienced discrimination by local magistrates. Pierre de la Mère de Dieu, who was harassed by the sheriff of Leiden on more than one occasion, claimed that Catholics in Holland in fact suffered far ruder treatment than the Huguenots in France. “What would become of the so-called Reformed of France, if they were treated in the same way?” he asked rhetorically. “And what would happen if the [French] King, knowing that the good Catholics of the United Provinces are so rudely haunted, took a decision in his Council to feel sorry for them, and to make those of the so-called Reformed Religion feel the repercussions?”44

Although Pierre expertly glossed over the increasing harassment of the Huguenots during the reign of Louis XVI, these were not idle threats. Although the Carmelites surely approved the stricter measures that the French clergy demanded against the Huguenots, they also believed that the toleration of Protestants in France should be exploited in diplomatic negotiations. In the fall of 1660, a Dutch delegation had travelled to Paris to conclude a new treaty of commerce with France, headed by diplomat Coenraad van Beuningen and assisted by the Dutch ambassador in Paris, Willem Boreel.45 The Carmelites saw the negotiations as a rare opportunity to press the Dutch for a clause that guaranteed freedom of worship for Catholics in Holland, at least for the small French-speaking community. In 1661 the Carmelite missionaries therefore sent an envoy to Paris—probably Pierre de la Mère de Dieu from Leiden—to make their case at court, arguing that because the Huguenots enjoyed freedom of worship in France, the Dutch “cannot reasonably refuse His Most Christian Majesty the same courtesy for the French Catholics in Holland.” In September of that year, ambassador De Thou also travelled to Paris to personally discuss the situation with Louis XIV, urging the king to defend the true Church.46 These demands bore fruit, as when in March 1662 the treaty of commerce was about to be signed, the head of the French delegation, the Count of Brienne, suddenly demanded that all French Catholics in Holland should be granted freedom of worship. The Dutch negotiators were taken aback but stood their ground, Van Beuningen arguing that the French ambassador already enjoyed freedom of worship in his embassy chapel. Including a separate religious clause required extensive consultation with the States-General who, he warned, would probably never consent to modifying the ordinances against Catholics. The French eventually backed down, signing the treaty on 27 April 1662 without any religious clauses.47 Despite the failure of the Carmelite missionaries to influence the outcome of the negotiations, the episode shows that the growing tensions between French Protestants and Catholics were no longer limited to local squabbles, but had become part of a transnational struggle between the two communities.

4 The Impact of the Revocation

The increasingly perilous position of the Huguenots in France in the early 1680s rekindled the conflicts concerning the Carmelite mission, and they would escalate after news of the Revocation reached the Dutch Republic. The arrival of Huguenot refugees, who told grim tales of persecution and forced abjurations, did little to calm the animosity between French Catholics and Protestants. The Walloon church of The Hague first recorded the arrival of refugees in November 1682, noting that “the rude treatment that befalls our brothers of the Reformed Religion in France” put an unbearable strain on the deaconry and necessitated a special church collection.48 The Walloon synod was also flooded with refugee ministers who recounted the destruction of their churches. In 1684, for example, Pierre Boyer informed the assembly that “the horrible tempest that Satan has unleashed against the churches of France has made me leave my country.” After the authorities had closed down his church at St. Hippolyte, Boyer was sentenced to death for organising a clandestine church service, but he had managed to escape before the sentence could be carried out.49

Not without reason, clergy in the Holland Mission worried that the reports of Huguenot persecution would have serious repercussions for the tolerated position of Catholics in the Dutch Republic, especially if refugee ministers were allowed to fan the flames of public opinion from their pulpits in the Walloon churches. Apostolic vicar Van Neercassel thus blamed the Revocation for the resurgence of anti-Catholic sentiments and the renewed persecution of priests and missionaries in Holland, writing in 1686 that “it is clear as daylight that all these things are happening in retaliation for what is being done in France.” The position of the regular clergy and foreign missionaries was especially dire, he observed, as they were viewed as loyal only to Rome, rather than as obedient Dutch citizens.50 The French ambassador in The Hague, Count d’ Avaux, and his secretary Saint Didier echoed similar fears in their reports to Versailles, warning Louis XIV that the stories of refugee ministers had led to outrage among Dutch and French Protestants. Shortly after the Revocation, Saint Didier reported that the States-General had decreed a national prayer day on 21 November, in order to ask God “to mollify the king’s heart, who is making the faithful suffer such a cruel persecution.” The Walloon churches were selecting refugee ministers to preach that day, “because having been greatly affected themselves, they are more likely to touch and animate the people.”51

On a local level, the persecutions in France indeed led to growing tensions between Catholics and Protestants in The Hague. In 1682 the elders and ministers in the Dutch Reformed church took a renewed interest in Catholic activities, denouncing a new chapel built in the Oude Molstraat without permission of the authorities, the religious instruction taking place in the open air, and the presence of Catholic schools.52 In March 1683 they also sent a delegation to the pensionary of Holland, Gaspar Fagel, warning him that d’ Avaux’s personal chaplain, Charles Limojon, had visited Catholic convicts in prison despite the fact that he was restricted to officiating in the embassy chapel. In June the elders went a step further, as they protested “the publicly going to church in the homes of ambassadors, of those that are subjects of this State, as well as in other [Catholic] churches.” They asked Fagel to pressure the States of Holland to ban “all ordained papists” from the city, including the French Carmelite missionaries.53

The situation of French Catholics in Leiden and Amsterdam, where the Discalced Carmelites had also established stations, was noticeably different. In 1654 César’s brother, Pierre de la Mère de Dieu, had opened a French chapel in Leiden, the town where he had been born in 1610. Leiden’s Catholic community formed just a small minority: in 1638 apostolic vicar Jacob de la Torre estimated that the city contained some 3,000 Catholics, who were served by three secular priests, two Jesuits, two Franciscans, and two Dominican friars. By 1714 the number of Catholics had risen to 6,000, but this was still less than ten percent of the urban population.54 At Pierre’s arrival, the French-speaking Catholic community numbered just 200 to 300 people, but by 1689 the Carmelite mission served around 1200 parishioners, of whom 800 regularly attended Mass.55 The community was composed mostly of French merchants, including the brothers Claude and Joseph Verdun from Rodez, Claude and Nicolas Jacquin from Paris, and Simon Barbé from Rouen. In addition, the mission served the many Walloon textile workers of Leiden’s cloth industry, as well as some upper-class families, including physicians, lawyers, bankers, and Catholic students from noble German families who were enrolled at Leiden University.56

Without the direct protection of the French ambassador, however, Pierre’s position in Leiden was more tenuous than his brother’s. He lived in fear of the local authorities, who in the 1650s applied the anti-Catholic ordinances strictly. The sheriff and his men frequently visited the houses of Catholic inhabitants to ensure they were not used as house chapels, and while priests continued to officiate covertly, the house owners always stored away the clerical ornaments to avoid detection.57 Pierre had set up a makeshift chapel in the house of the Catholic widow Maria Droogh, known as De Zon (“The Sun”) and located at the eastern end of the Haarlemmerstraat. He tried to keep a low profile and posted sentries whenever he officiated, thus hoping to evade capture should the sheriff plan a surprise raid. In September 1663, however, the authorities cordoned off the entire neighbourhood and forced his parishioners to exit the chapel while Protestant neighbours hurled insults at them. According to Pierre, who narrowly escaped arrest—he was late for Mass—and almost certain banishment, one of the Protestants had shouted “we should treat them like the rest of the Catholics, and purge the city of Leiden from this filth.”58 Despite Pierre’s precarious position he succeeded in converting 23 Protestants, noting their names in the back of his marriage register, including in 1668 “a semi-atheist, who had lived in heresy for over 25 years, one of the biggest blasphemers against the Catholics in the city of Leiden.” Pierre converted many more Protestants in fact, yet he omitted their names for fear the register would “fall into the hands of some infidel.”59

By the late 1680s, the relations between Catholics and Protestants that had prevailed at the start of the Carmelite mission had become somewhat less antagonistic. The Dutch Reformed consistory still complained about Catholic priests in Leiden, but the authorities no longer raided their house chapels, which thus became a permanent fixture of the religious landscape. The French Carmelite chapel was moved to the garden behind Maria’s house and acquired the name Le Soleil. The town council had also put a cap on the recognition money each Catholic parish had to pay the sheriff, allowing the priests—including the Carmelite missionaries—to officiate without being harassed.60 The arrival of a new French missionary in February 1688, friar Ange de tous les Saints, also helped to diffuse tensions. Ordained in the Discalced Carmelite monastery of Paris in 1676, father Ange had made a career as preacher, in particular in Charenton, where at the time of the Revocation he engaged in regular controverses to instruct Huguenots in the Catholic faith.61 Once in Leiden, Ange nonetheless managed to maintain cordial relations with his Protestant neighbours, including the Walloon church. In his memoir of the Leiden mission, Ange noted that in winter the Walloon deacons donated bread, medical aid, and peat to aid the poor families in his parish. He also sang the praises of the Huguenot refugee community, especially the textile merchants, “who have employed my poor Catholic workmen as well as their own, so that they could make a living.”62

It is difficult to say why confessional tensions eventually eased in Leiden, and what prompted the Huguenot refugees to offer charity to French Catholics, while the two groups remained antagonistic in The Hague. Part of the answer, as Christine Kooi has argued, is that in the absence of a strong centralised government the tolerance afforded to Catholics depended on the attitude of local authorities, and thus varied considerably throughout the Dutch Republic.63 Leiden’s Catholic community had also clearly invested in maintaining cordial relations with their Protestant neighbours, as is evident from the Revocation period. As Huguenot refugees began pouring into Leiden, on 5 December 1685 the city organised a city-wide collection, to which Catholic citizens were also expected to contribute. Apostolic vicar Van Neercassel reported that local priests had indeed encouraged their parishioners to give generously, partly out of a Christian duty to help those in need, but also to avoid a potential backlash against their community.64 Although the collection yielded close to 20,000 guilders, the Protestant burgomasters were initially disappointed by the contribution of the Catholics, forcing them to organise a second collection on 30 December. Ultimately, Leiden’s Catholic citizens collected over 3,300 guilders for the refugees.65 These Catholic efforts paid off in times of crisis. In 1693 Ange was accused by a Huguenot woman of trading secrets to the French at a time when the Dutch Republic was at war with Louis XIV. Her husband, Joseph Duplessis, was a renegade priest who regretted his conversion to Protestantism; Ange had therefore written to bishop Bossuet and the Carmelite order in Paris to secure his return, which had enraged Duplessis’s wife. Ange was duly arrested, but the magistrates treated him courteously and released him within a month, “having found me innocent in matters of correspondence with the French court on matters of state, in which I have never interfered, but only in converting souls,” as he noted in his memoirs.66

The French Carmelite mission in Amsterdam experienced a similar trajectory from initial conflict to gradual toleration. The mission was established in 1662 with the support of French ambassador De Thou, who persuaded the apostolic vicar and the burgomasters to allow the Discalced Carmelites into Amsterdam. In contrast to Leiden and The Hague, the missionaries did not have to fear raids or pay off the sheriff, as the Amsterdam authorities were considerably more tolerant: by 1683, the city numbered 26 Catholic chapels.67 The location the Discalced Carmelites chose for their chapel, however, provoked immediate conflict. Located on the Rokin, the building had served as a Catholic chapel until Amsterdam had joined the Reformation in 1578; the poignancy of reclaiming this specific site for Catholic worship was not lost on the Carmelites. Inflammatory was that the chapel stood opposite a Protestant church, the Nieuwezijds Kapel (also known as the Heilige Stede), a site of pilgrimage where, prior to the Reformation, Catholics commemorated the miracle of a man who had thrown up a consecrated host, which remained intact when thrown into the fire.68 The Dutch Reformed consistory duly complained to the town council about the Carmelite appropriation of this church. They were soon joined by the ministers of the Walloon church, who, according to the Carmelites, “were stung to see such a crowd of people of the same [French] Nation in a Catholic Church, and were convinced that it would greatly diminish their own Congregation and cause many conversions, to the disadvantage of their so-called Reformation.”69 As a result of these pressures, in 1663 the Carmelites relocated to a permanent chapel on the Boommarkt, which they had decorated with a series of altar pieces.70

After the initial shockwave of the Revocation had passed, the relationship between French Catholics and Protestants in Holland seems to have eased. The conclusion of the Peace of Rijswijk in 1697, however, which ended the Nine Years’ War between the Dutch Republic and France, set the stage for a final round of conflict. It is important to stress that most Huguenot refugees had viewed exile as a temporary interlude, hoping they could return home when the religious situation in France improved. These were not pipe dreams, because not only had stadtholder William III overthrown the Catholic King James II in 1688, he had also continued to wage war against France in his new capacity as King of England. Yet the Peace of Rijswijk proved disappointing: despite lobbying efforts of the exiled Huguenot leadership to have the Edict of Nantes reinstated, the Dutch negotiators did not press the matter, especially when Louis XIV refused to discuss the restoration of Protestantism in France and threatened to break off the negotiations. Instead, the French king made it known that only refugees who abjured their religion would be allowed to return home.71

The correspondence of the new French ambassador to The Hague, François d’ Usson, marquis De Bonrepaus, who arrived in January 1698, reveals that many exiles indeed made the decision to return home. Almost as soon as Bonrepaus arrived refugees began to show up at his residence in The Hague wishing to make an abjuration and return to France as “good Catholics.” Besides their general disillusionment with the Peace of Rijswijk, many refugees were struggling to make ends meet during the economic downturn that followed the Nine Years’ War, and Louis XIV promised them the restitution of their possessions they had abandoned in France. To effectuate these conversions Bonrepaus turned to the Discalced Carmelite mission in The Hague, in particular friar Agapitus ab Assumptione, who had arrived from Paris in 1695. Agapitus received the Huguenots’ abjuration in his own chapel as well as at the embassy, signing certificates that returning refugees could take with them as proof of their conversion.72 By April 1698 Bonrepaus had thus repatriated over 700 Huguenots, in particular textile workers, sailors, and soldiers, because he believed they would be the most beneficial to the French state.73

Predictably, the Walloon churches were appalled at the steady flow of refugees returning to France. From their pulpits, ministers warned against leaving exile and exhorted the refugees to remain unwavering in their Protestant faith.74 The relationship between French Catholics and Protestants in Holland also soured. In March 1698, ambassador Bonrepaus received an anxious visit from friar Ange, who complained about the worsening position of French Catholics in Leiden. He reported that following the conclusion of the Peace of Rijswijk, Nicolas Tribault, a refugee draper from Leiden who had travelled to France for business, had been arrested near Tournai on charges of heresy. This news had so angered the Huguenot community that they had pressured the authorities to ban Ange from Leiden if he did not obtain Tribault’s release.75 Tribault’s wife Anne Poitevin had even petitioned the States-General to intervene, which resulted in a frosty meeting between pensionary Heinsius and Bonrepaus, who was forced to explain that Huguenots could only re-enter France if they abjured their religion.76 In the end, friar Ange was allowed to stay in Leiden, yet his position remained precarious: in 1702 he was briefly banished from town on suspicion that he was collecting money to support the French war effort against the Dutch Republic.77 The Revocation, in other words, helped undo the fragile regime of coexistence that had emerged between French-speaking Protestants and Catholics in the Dutch Republic.

5 Conclusion

This essay has sought to understand the Huguenot Refuge through the eyes of the refugees’ adversaries, using the mission of the French Discalced Carmelites in the Dutch Republic as a point of entry. From the perspective of the Carmelites, the struggle between Catholics and Protestants during Louis XIV’s reign did not end at the borders of the French kingdom. They viewed the cities of Holland as a key battleground in the competition for souls, analogous to the Counter-Reformation missions underway in the French provinces. The converted Bertius brothers—in particular César de Saint Bonaventure and Pierre de la Mère de Dieu—may have had personal reasons to establish a mission in the Dutch Republic, but once they had convinced the leadership of the Catholic Church and the French ambassador to support their mission, they focused their efforts on winning over French-speaking Protestants to the Church of Rome. The grudging toleration of Catholics in the Dutch Republic made such attempts a hazardous undertaking, yet despite ongoing harassment and growing tensions in the 1680s the friars never abandoned their post. In fact, the French Carmelite mission was surprisingly successful: not only did it become a permanent fixture of the Dutch religious landscape, but the friars also managed to convert hundreds of French Protestants, even after the Revocation. The outbreak of the French Revolution would ultimately prevent the Carmelites from sending new missionaries, but their chapels continued to serve Catholics in the new Dutch kingdom.78 The fate of French Catholics and Protestants were thus intimately linked, even after they settled in the Dutch Republic.

These findings also suggest that we should reconsider the history of the Huguenot refugees more widely, which until fairly recently was seen as a religious community that must be studied on its own terms, or at best in interaction with their host society. By shifting our perspective, however, it becomes clear that not only should the Huguenot Refuge be understood as one diaspora amongst many, but that it must also be connected to other faith communities in exile, in particular in the multi-confessional Dutch Republic. As Mathilde Monge and Natalia Muchnik have aptly noted, inter-diasporic relationships have rarely been explored “because of their historiographical and heuristic compartmentalisation,” but once these walls are torn down the interconnections between expatriate communities quickly become apparent.79 The struggle between expatriate Catholics and Protestants in Holland shows this is a particularly useful way of rethinking the Huguenot Refuge. In the end, the Dutch Republic was not simply a safe haven for religious minorities—the “great ark of the refugees,” according to Pierre Bayle—but also the scene of enduring conflict.


I am grateful to the Institut Protestant de Théologie for funding a research trip to Paris in the spring of 2019, and to Jan Machielsen and Joke Spaans for their insightful comments on a draft of this essay.


Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF), MS Fr. 25049, Traitté de la Mission des Carmes Déchaussez de France dans la Hollande, fols. 339v–340r.


See the article by August den Hollander in this special issue. For a wider overview of trends in Huguenot historiography: Bertrand Van Ruymbeke, “Le Refuge. History and Memory from the 1770s to the Present,” in A Companion to the Huguenots, ed. Raymond A. Mentzer and Bertrand Van Ruymbeke (Leiden, 2016), 422–441.


David van der Linden, Experiencing Exile. Huguenot Refugees in the Dutch Republic, 1680–1700 (Farnham, 2015).


Owen Stanwood, The Global Refuge. Huguenots in an Age of Empire (Oxford, 2020); Geert Janssen, “The Republic of the Refugees. Early Modern Migrations and the Dutch Experience,” Historical Journal 60 (2017), 233–252. See also Mathilde Monge and Natalia Muchnik, L’ Europe des diasporas, XVIe–XVIIIe siècles (Paris, 2019).


Susanne Lachenicht, “Refugees and Refugee Protection in the Early Modern Period,” Journal of Refugee Studies 30 (2017), 261–281; Andrew C. Thompson, “The Protestant Interest and the History of Humanitarian Intervention, c. 1685–c. 1756,” in Humanitarian Intervention. A History, ed. Brendan Simms and D.J.B. Trimm (Cambridge, 2011), 67–88. See also the recent PhD dissertation by David de Boer, Religious Persecution and Transnational Compassion in the Dutch Vernacular Press, 1655–1745 (Ph.D. diss., Leiden University, 2019), chs. 3–4.


Élisabeth Labrousse, Une foi, une loi, un roi? La révocation de l’ Édit de Nantes (Paris, 1990), 47–62; Keith P. Luria, Sacred Boundaries. Religious Coexistence and Conflict in Early-Modern France (Washington, D.C., 2005), 47–102; Joseph Bergin, The Politics of Religion in Early Modern France (New Haven, 2014), 227–251.


Louis de Sainte-Thérèse, Annales des Carmes déchaussez de France, et des carmelites qui sont sous le gouvernement de l’ ordre (Paris: Charles Angot, 1666). His manuscript is kept in Paris, Archives Nationales, L 932, no. 8. It has been published in multiple instalments as “Histoire de la Mission des Carmes déchaussés de la province de Paris en Hollande,” Études carmelitaines 3 (1913), 570–591; 4 (1914), 51–74, 205–224, 390–406; 10 (1920), 86–120, 256–294.


BnF Fr. 25049. The completion date of the first four parts is given on fol. 223v. The dating of the entire receuil can be inferred from a brief note on fol. 318r, where Ange mentions the number of baptisms he performed in Leiden until his present day, given as 2 March 1714.


P.W.F.M. Hamans, Geschiedenis van de katholieke kerk in Nederland (Bruges, 1992), 245–252; Charles H. Parker, Faith on the Margins. Catholics and Catholicism in the Dutch Golden Age (Cambridge, MA, 2008), 30–36; Carolina Lenarduzzi, Katholiek in de Republiek. De belevingswereld van een religieuze minderheid, 1570–1750 (Nijmegen, 2019), 40.


BnF Fr. 25049, fols. 188v–189r.


The most recent overview is L.J.M. Bosch, Petrus Bertius, 1565–1629 (Ph.D. diss., Katholieke Universiteit Nijmegen, 1979). See also Herman Jozef Allard, Petrus Bertius, hoogleeraar aan de Leidse academie (Den Bosch, 1870); Doede Nauta, ed., Biografisch lexicon voor de geschiedenis van het Nederlandse protestantisme, 6 vols. (Kampen, 1978–2006), 2: 63–64.


Bosch, Petrus Bertius (see above, n. 11), 128–159; Allard, Petrus Bertius (see above, n. 11), 23–53. See also the account by Bertius’s own son: Pierre de la Mère de Dieu, Les Fleurs du Carmel, cueillies du parterre, des carmes déchaussez de France, presentées aux tres-reverends peres provinciaux, prieurs, et leurs associez, de la province de France (Antwerp: Marcelis Parys, 1670), 213–219.


Cited in Sainte-Thérèse, Annales des Carmes déchaussez (see above, n. 7), 4–5.


Ibid., 31–34; Petrus Wilhelmus Janssen, Les origines de la réforme des Carmes en France au XVIIe siècle (The Hague, 1963), 107; Barbara Diefendorf, From Penitence to Charity. Pious Women and the Catholic Reformation in Paris (Oxford, 2004), 101–118.


Joke Spaans, “De katholieken in de Republiek na de Vrede van Münster,” De Zeventiende Eeuw 13 (1997), 253–260; Lenarduzzi, Katholiek in de Republiek (see above, n. 9), 28–30.


BnF Fr. 25049, fol. 27r–v.


Sainte-Thérèse, Annales des Carmes déchaussez (see above, n. 7), 410.


Ibid., 410–411, 719; Mère de Dieu, Les Fleurs du Carmel (see above, n. 12), 220–227. Their Latin names are also recorded in BnF, Arsenal MS 1155, Catalogus chronologicus et historicus Carmelitarum discalceatorum provinciae Parisiensis, fols. 85 (Petrus a Matre Dei), 88 (Paulus a Jesu Maria), and 38 (Caesarius a Sancto Bonaventura). See also A.H.L. Hensen, ‘Uit het leven van Johannes Bertius’, De Katholiek. Godsdienstig, geschied- en letterkundig maandschrift, 113 (1898), 1–16, 112–126; Bosch, Petrus Bertius (see above, n. 11), 163–168; Joannes a Cruce Peters, “De ongeschoeide Carmelieten gedurende de Hollandse Zending (1648–1853),” Carmel 2 (1949), 40–75, there 41–44, 48.


Thera Wijsenbeek, ed., Den Haag. Geschiedenis van de stad, 3 vols. (Zwolle, 2005), 2: 59 (table 2), 218; L.J. Rogier, Geschiedenis van het katholicisme in Noord-Nederland in de 16e en de 17e eeuw, 2 vols. (Amsterdam, 1947), 2: 394.


BnF Fr. 25049, fol. 374v (congregation size), fols. 348v and 372r (nobility), fol. 357 (army captain), and fol. 365v (merchants and children).


Ibid., fol. 363r. On French musicians and dancers in The Hague, see Rebekah Ahrendt, “L’ activité des foyers musicaux et théâtraux en Europe vers 1700. Une enquête en coulisses,” in Les foyers artistiques à la fin du règne de Louis XIV (1682–1715). Musique et spectacles, ed. Anne-Madeleine Goulet, Rémy Campos, Mathieu da Vinha, and Jean Duron (Turnhout, 2019), 399–416.


BnF Fr. 20459, fols. 330r–337r; Sainte-Thérèse, Annales des Carmes déchaussez (see above, n. 7), 719.


BnF Fr. 25049, fol. 162v.


Hamans, Geschiedenis van de katholieke kerk, 261–266 (see above, n. 9); Parker, Faith on the Margins, 39–43 (see above, n. 9); Lenarduzzi, Katholiek in de Republiek (see above, n. 9), 44–45.


BnF Fr. 25049, fols. 343r–345r.


Ibid., fol. 348v; H.M. Mensonides, “De kapel van de Franse ambassadeur in Den Haag in de eerste helft van de zeventiende eeuw,” Jaarboek Die Haghe (1969), 54–68. On De la Thuillerie’s tenure, see Otto Schutte, Repertorium der buitenlandse vertegenwoordigers, residerende in Nederland, 1584–1810 (The Hague, 1983), 11–12.


Benjamin Kaplan, “Diplomacy and Domestic Devotion. Embassy Chapels and the Toleration of Religious Dissent in Early Modern Europe,” Journal of Early Modern History, 6 (2002), 341–361; Wijsenbeek, ed., Den Haag (see above, n. 19), 2: 216–218.


BnF Fr. 25049, fols. 349r, 361r–v; Mensonides, “De kapel van de Franse ambassadeur” (see above, n. 26). On Brasset, who served in The Hague from 1627 until 1654, see Schutte, Repertorium der buitenlandse vertegenwoordigers (see above, n. 26), 7.


Christine Kooi, “Paying off the Sheriff. Strategies of Catholic Toleration in Golden Age Holland,” in Calvinism and Religious Toleration in the Dutch Golden Age, ed. Ronnie Po-Chia Hsia and Henk van Nierop (Cambridge, 2002), 87–101, esp. 91–93; Lenarduzzi, Katholiek in de Republiek (see above, n. 9), 22–24.


BnF Fr. 25049, fols. 362r–365v, 375r.


Lenarduzzi, Katholiek in de Republiek (see above, n. 9), 293–311.


Ibid., fols. 367v–372v. César only refers to the “Countess of Horn,” but the dating of these conversions suggests this must be Dorothea de Ligne: J.S.F.J.L. de Herckenrode and J.C.J. de Vegiano, Nobiliaire des Pays-Bas et du comté de Bourgogne, 5 vols. (Ghent, 1862–1888), 1: 1063 and 2: 1228–1229. I am grateful to Dries Raeymaekers for confirming my identification.


BnF Fr. 25049, fol. 366r. A copy survives in the University Library of Maastricht: Abregé de la doctrine chrestienne. Reduict en forme de catechisme, et divisé en 5 parties & 41 leçons, pour l’ usage des catholiques (Brussels: François Viviens, 1652), call no. MU 1158 I 4.


BnF Fr. 25049, fol. 371r–v. Peters, “De ongeschoeide Carmelieten” (see above, n. 18), 50, gives as title Tractatus de SS. Eucharistiae Sacramento, in quo e SS. Scripturis demonstratur realis Christo praesentia, nomen et significatum Transsubstantiationis vindicatur et potestas Ecclesiae ad prohibendum Laicis usum calicis, ac probate in Missa offeri verum ac proprium sacrificium. I have not been able to locate a physical copy of this treatise.


Ferdinand-Henri Gagnebin, “L’ établissement de l’ Église wallonne de La Haye,” Bulletin de la Commission pour l’ histoire des églises wallonnes 1 (1885), 299–351.


BnF Fr. 25049, fols. 372v–373r. The official resolutions of the 1651 Walloon synod do not record this decision: Émile Bourlier, ed., Livre synodal contenant les articles résolus dans les Synodes des Églises Wallonnes des Provinces-Unies, 2 vols. (The Hague, 1896–1904), 1: 501–507. See for Carré’s confirmation in 1646: G.H.M. Posthumus Meyjes and Hans Bots, eds., Livre des Actes des Églises Wallonnes aux Pays-Bas, 1601–1697 (The Hague, 2005), 422.


BnF Fr. 25049, fols. 373r–375r.


Sainte-Thérèse, Annales des Carmes déchaussez (see above, n. 7), 722–724; Sainte-Thèrèse, “Histoire de la mission” (1914) (see above, n. 7), 401–402.


For Leiden, see: BnF Fr. 25049, fol. 297r; BnF Arsenal 1155, fols. 44, 85 (no. 240). For The Hague, see: BnF Fr. 25049, fol. 297r; BnF Arsenal 1155, fol. 90 (no. 308).


BnF Ms Fr. 25049, fols. 167v; Sainte-Thèrèse, “Histoire de la mission” (1914) (see above, n. 7), 402–406, and (1920), 86–96; Wijsenbeek, ed., Den Haag (see above, n. 19), 2: 217. On De Thou, see Schutte, Repertorium der buitenlandse vertegenwoordigers (see above, n. 26), 14. The ambassador also employed a personal chaplain who kept a register of baptisms and marriages performed in the embassy chapel: The Hague, Haags Gemeentearchief (HGA) 0377, 343, Registre des baptesmes et mariages.


BnF Fr. 25049, fols. 171r–173r; BnF Arsenal MS 1155, fol. 42, Neercassel to Dominique de la très Sainte Trinité, 11 May 1661. On Van Neercassel, see Parker, Faith on the Margins (see above, n. 9), 35–36; Lenarduzzi, Katholiek in de Republiek (see above, n. 9), 41–43.


Sainte-Thérèse, “Histoire de la mission” (1920) (see above, n. 7), 95; HGA 0377, 353, Liber Baptismorum of the French Carmelite chapel, fols. 73–75.


Sainte-Thérèse, “Histoire de la mission” (1920) (see above, n. 7), 98–101. The manuscript does not name the secretary, but this must have been either Pierre Bernarts or Destouches: Schutte, Repertorium der buitenlandse vertegenwoordigers (see above, n. 26), 14–15.


BnF Fr. 25049, fol. 8v.


Herbert H. Rowen, John de Witt, Grand Pensionary of Holland, 1625–1672 (Princeton, 1978), 465–469; Schutte, Repertorium der buitenlandse vertegenwoordigers (see above n. 26), 14–15, 104–105.


BnF Fr. 25049, fols. 163r–168v. Pierre briefly mentions his presence in Paris on fol. 194r.


BnF Fr. 25049, fols. 165r–170r. See for the Dutch perspective Lieuwe van Aitzema, Saken van Staet en Oorlogh, in, ende omtrent de Vereenigde Nederlanden, 6 vols. (The Hague: Johan Veely, Johan Tongerloo, and Jasper Doll, 1669) 4: 862–863, and the final report by Van Beuningen in The Hague, Nationaal Archief (NA),, 1996, fols. 493v–495v.


HGA 0241, 1, Consistory minutes Walloon church The Hague, 22 November 1682, fol. 174. The town council of The Hague granted this collection the next day: HGA 0350, 55, Town council resolutions, 23 November 1683, fol. 151v.


Posthumus Meyjes and Bots, eds., Livre des Actes (see above, n. 36), 897–898.


Bruno Neveu, “Les protestants français réfugiés aux Pays-Bas vus par un évêque catholique. Lettres de Jean de Neercassel à Louis-Paul Du Vaucel (1685–1686),” Bulletin de la Société de l’ Histoire du Protestantisme Français 113 (1967), 49–60; Henri Schmitz Du Moulin, “La Révocation et le vicariat apostolique des Pays-Bas,” in Tricentenaire de la Révocation de l’ Édit de Nantes. La Révocation et l’ extérieur du royaume, ed. Michel Peronnet (Montpellier, 1985), 157–172, citation on 171.


Paris, Archives des Affaires Étrangères (AAE), CP Hollande 143, Saint Didier to Torcy, The Hague, 15 November 1685, fols. 153r–154r; Nicolaas Christiaan Kist, Neêrland’s bededagen en biddagsbrieven, 2 vols. (Leiden, 1848–1849), 2: 252–253. On the embassy of d’ Avaux, see Jacques Solé, “La diplomatie de Louis XIV et les protestants français réfugiés aux Provinces-Unies, 1678–1688,” Bulletin de la Société de l’ Histoire du Protestantisme Français 115 (1969), 625–660.


HGA 0203, 4, Consistory minutes Reformed church The Hague, 3 and 10 July 1682, 2 October 1682, 4 December 1682, fols. 200–203.


HGA 0203, 4, Consistory minutes Reformed church The Hague, 5 March 1683, fols. 210–211; 4 June 1683, fols. 217–218. On Limojon, see Schutte, Repertorium der buitenlandse vertegenwoordigers (see above, n. 26), 47. Limojon has left a register of baptisms and marriages he performed in the embassy chapel: HGA 0377, 344, Liber sacer.


Rogier, Geschiedenis van het katholicisme (see above, n. 19), 2: 390; BnF MS Fr. 25049, fol. 310v.


J.D. Frenay, “Aanteekeningen betreffende de Leydsche pastoors sedert de Hervorming tot aan de Herstelling, van 1557 tot 1857,” Bijdragen voor de geschiedenis van het Bisdom van Haarlem 4 (1876), 161–244, there 178; Peters, “De ongeschoeide Carmelieten” (see above, n. 18), 51–52; BnF MS Fr. 25049, fol. 320v.


BnF MS Fr. 25049, fols. 320v–324r, 325v–326r.


Ibid., fol. 215r–v. See also W.P.C. Knuttel, De toestand der Nederlandsche katholieken ten tijde der Republiek, 2 vols. (The Hague, 1892–1894), 1: 302–303; Christine Kooi, Calvinists and Catholics during Holland’s Golden Age: Heretics and Idolaters (Cambridge, 2012), 115–117.


Frenay, “Aanteekeningen betreffende de Leydsche pastors” (see above, n. 55), 172–176; BnF MS Fr. 25049, fols. 215v–218r.


Leiden, Erfgoed Leiden en omstreken (ELO), 0544B, 9, Marriage register of the Leiden Carmelite mission, unfoliated list titled “Les Noms, & sur noms de ceux [qui ont] fait entre mes mains, profession de la Religion Catholique Apostolique & Romaine.” See also Frenay, “Aanteekeningen betreffende de Leydsche pastors” (see above, n. 55), 176–178.


Knuttel, De toestand der Nederlandsche katholieken (see above, n. 57), 1: 304; Frenay, “Aanteekeningen betreffende de Leydsche pastors” (see above, n. 55), 175–176; BnF MS Fr. 25049, fol. 310r.


BnF MS Fr. 25049, fols. 297v–395v; BnF Arsenal 1155, fol. 118 (no. 667).


BnF MS Fr. 25049, fol. 308r.


Christine Kooi, “Paying off the sheriff” (see above, n. 29).


Neveu, “Les protestants français” (see above, n. 50), 55; Schmitz Du Moulin, “La Révocation et le vicariat apostolique” (see above, n. 50), 163.


Neveu, “Les protestants français” (see above, n. 50), 58; ELO, 0501A, 192, Resolutions burgomasters of Leiden, 5 December 1685, fol. 89; ELO, 0501A, 26, Aflezingsboeken, 5 December 1685. I am grateful to Erica Boersma for these references. Her dissertation analyses the collections organised for Huguenot refugees throughout the Dutch Republic: Noodhulp zonder natiestaat. Bovenlokaal geefgedrag in de Nederlandse Republiek, 1620–circa 1800 (Ph.D. diss, Leiden University, forthcoming).


BnF MS Fr. 25049, fol. 327r.


Ibid., fols. 184r–195v; I.H. van Eeghen, “De eigendom van de katholieke kerken in Amsterdam ten tijde van de Republiek,” Bijdragen voor de geschiedenis van het Bisdom van Haarlem, 64 (1957), 217–277, esp. 219–220; Joke Spaans, “Stad van vele geloven, 1578–1795,” in Geschiedenis van Amsterdam, ed. Willem Frijhoff and Maarten Prak, 2 vols. (Amsterdam, 2004), 2: 385–467, there 403–405.


BnF MS Fr. 25049, fols. 198r–v, 201v–202v; Peters, “De ongeschoeide Carmelieten” (see above, n. 18), 54–56. On the Heilige Stede, see Charles Caspers and Peter Jan Margry, The Miracle of Amsterdam. Biography of a Contested Devotion (Notre Dame, 2019).


BnF MS Fr. 25049, fol. 202v.


Ibid., fols. 208r–209r; Spaans, “Stad van vele geloven” (see above, n. 67), 424–425; Robert Schillemans, “Zeventiende-eeuwse altaarstukken in de Amsterdamse staties. Een inventarisatie,” in Putti en cherubijntjes. Het religieuze werk van Jacob de Wit, ed. Guus van den Hout and Robert Schillemans (Amsterdam, 1995), 53–73, there 65.


Van der Linden, Experiencing Exile (see above, n. 3), 131–143; Peter Rietbergen, “William III of Orange (1650–1702) between European Politics and European Protestantism. The Case of the Huguenots,” in La Révocation et les Provinces-Unies, 1685, ed. Hans Bots and G.H.M. Posthumus Meyjes (Amsterdam and Maarssen, 1986), 35–50.


Van der Linden, Experiencing Exile (see above, n. 3), 144–145; BnF Arsenal 1155, fols. 40, 125 (no. 759). See for a sample certificate: AAE CP Hollande 178, Bonrepaus to Louis XIV, The Hague, 17 February 1698, fol. 172r.


Van der Linden, Experiencing Exile (see above, n. 3), 146–147. A breakdown by profession can be found in AAE CP Hollande 179, Bonrepaus to Louis XIV, The Hague, 24 April 1698, fol. 101r.


Van der Linden, Experiencing Exile (see above, n. 3), 153–156.


AAE CP Hollande 178, Bonrepaus to Louis XIV, The Hague, 13 March 1698, fols. 285r–287v.


NA 1.01.02, 3336, Resolutions States-General, 26 November 1697, fols. 445v–446r; AAE CP Hollande 178, Bonrepaus to Louis XIV, The Hague, 7 March 1698, fols. 264v–265r.


BnF MS Fr. 25049, fol. 327r–v.


Peters, “De ongeschoeide Carmelieten” (see above, n. 18), 62–67.


Monge and Muchnik, L’ Europe des diasporas (see above, n. 4), 393.

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