I had him condemned by the Parliament of Toulouse to be torn in pieces by four horses, and here he dies quietly on the battlefield of Rheinfeld. But what matters? The result is the same. Another great head is laid low! How they have fallen since that of Montmorency! I now see hardly any that do not bow before me.
This grand war had more victories in it than you will easily remember. The chief of them were at Salamanca, Vittoria, Orthes, and Toulouse; and the whole war was called the Peninsular War, because it was fought in the Peninsular of France and Spain. Sir Arthur Wellesley had been made duke of Wellington, to reward him, and he set off across France to meet the armies of the other European countries.
The King, entirely occupied with the aggrandisement of his natural children, had heaped upon the Comte de Toulouse every possible favour. M. de Chaulnes was old and fat, but much loved by the people of Brittany. He was overwhelmed by this determination of the King, and his wife, who had long been accustomed to play the little Queen, still more so; yet there was nothing for them but to obey.
The fanaticism aroused in the townsfolk by this incident; the execution by torture of Jean Calas, accused as a Protestant of having hanged his son, who had gone over to the Church of Rome; the ruin of the family; the claustration of the daughters; the flight of the widow to Switzerland; her introduction to Voltaire; the excited zeal of that incomparable partisan and the passionate persistence with which, from year to year, he pursued a reversal of judgment till at last he obtained it and devoted the tribunal of Toulouse to execration and the name of the victims to lasting wonder and pity these things form part of one of the most interesting and touching episodes of the social history of the eighteenth century.
The story has the fatal progression, the dark rigour, of one of the tragic dramas of the Greeks. Jean Calas, advanced in life, blameless, bewildered, protesting his innocence, had been broken on the wheel; and the sight of his decent dwelling, which brought home to me all that had been suffered there, spoiled for me, for half an hour, the impression of Toulouse.
After a time he said musingly: "Ah! how all these names, Toulouse, Carcassonne, Languedoc, bring back to me the memory of my namesake of olden times, Richard I. of England. This, over which we are floating, was the land of the Troubadours, and Richard was the very Prince of Troubadours. With all his faults England never had a king like him!"
However, he persevered in asserting his rights, and claimed before the Cour du Châtelet, in Paris, the name and honours of Count Solar; and orders were given by the court for the arrest of Cazeaux as his abductor and exposer. The unfortunate lawyer was seized and hurried to the Miséricorde, a loathsome dungeon below the Hotel de Ville, at Toulouse.
Then came, he announced, the very cream of the jest, when I was arrested as Lesperon and brought to Toulouse and to trial in Lesperon's stead; he told them how I had been sentenced to death in the other man's place, and he assured them that I would certainly have been beheaded upon the morrow but that news had been borne to him Rodenard of my plight, and he was come to deliver me.
I cannot speak without tears of Toulouse; if she be not reduced to equal ruin, it is to the merits of her holy bishop Exuperus that she oweth it." Then took place throughout the Roman Empire, in the East as well as in the West, in Asia and Africa as well as in Europe, the last grand struggle between the Roman armies and barbaric nations.
He also ceded to Pope Urban IV. the county of Venaissin, with its capital Avignon, which the court of Rome claimed by virtue of a gift from Raymond VII., Count of Toulouse, and which, through a course of many disputations and vicissitudes, remained in possession of the Holy See until it was reunited to France on the 19th of February, 1797, by the treaty of Tolentino.