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* FROM THE FRENCH OF
• * , l
Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1833, By B. B. Muss Ey, in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.
PREFACE TO THE AMERICAN EDITION.
THE American public is here presented with a portion of history which has long been a subject of interest and inquiry. There are few Protestant readers who have not, at times, looked towards the old Albigensian sects, those forerunners of the Reformation, with a curiosity to learn more of them and of their fortunes than the scantiness of our means has hitherto permitted. Some of the popular historians have indeed given them a passing notice, and have mentioned in general terms the persecutions they suffered; but a clear developement of their character and condition, and a regular detail of the horrible cruelties which ceased only with their extermination, had never been attempted by a competent author in the English language, when the original of the following narrative appeared in France, nine or ten years ago. It is from the pen of a well known scholar and elegant writer, the celebrated M. de Sismondi, and forms a sort of episode in his great work, Histoire des Francais," which has reached to the sixteenth or seventeenth volume, without being yet completed. Though but a part, however, of this larger work, the present section appears entire in itself, and sufficiently independent of
* Chap. xxiv et seq. Tomes vi, vii.
the general history to be read with advantage in this separate form.
Its scene lies chiefly in that beautiful country, the South of France, extending around the mouths of the Rhone, westward to the city of Toulouse, and southward to the Pyrenees, comprising the old governments of Provence, Avignon and Languedoc. The period of which it treats begins with the early part of the thirteenth century, when the first crusade against the Provegnals was attempted, and runs onward through nearly forty years of succeeding carnage and desolation. At the beginning of the period, this ill-fated region appears a bright and sunny spot, like Goshen of old, while darkness lay around on all the face of the land; at its conclusion, to use the words of the English translator, ‘it seems as if the night of ignorance and tyranny had closed upon the nations forever.' Nor was it till three centuries afterwards, if we expept the appearance of Wickliffe and Höss, hit the Résormation:again dawned upon Europe and eißtually dissipatéâthé shades which had enveloped the old;&#e33:
The followińiolio: th: history was published anonymously at Töndon in 1826; and from that edition the work of M. de Sismondi is here reprinted verbatim, with the correction however of two or three typographical errors. But in the appendages, some alterations have been made, of which it is proper to give notice. The long Introductory Essay by the translator, consisting for the most part of reflections against the Catholic church, is omitted, because it would be read with little interest in this country, though the state of parties in Great Britain might there ensure it attention. The