October 07, 2012
***NOTE: I will not be available tomorrow, so there will be no post on October 08th***
A friend recently posed a question concerning how the French Catholics of 1565 felt about French Protestants being France’s representation in the New World. I immediately got the feeling that, as France wanted a toehold in Florida, they might have sent the “dregs of society” to the front lines, so to speak . . . like sending out the least-well-liked of a group of friends to scout for danger. If the colony failed, many might have shown less concern for these social and religious misfits than for their own people. That is not to say many French Catholics did not support the venture and perhaps even wish their countrymen well, however . . . it varied from family to family, and likely from region to region.
The French Crown did support the venture militarily and financially, but only with the promise that Spain would have no idea of the colony’s whereabouts. This, of course, would not be the case. I was also asked how the majority of Frenchmen reacted after the slaughters of La Caroline and Matanzas. Did they breathe a sigh of relief that “only Protestants” had been wiped out? Did they feel angry, betrayed, confused? (France and Spain were supposedly in a time of peace, though Spain admitted that such promises were not for Huguenots). There was in actuality a great public outcry, and many French Catholics were upset that such massacres had been enacted. Whether or not the majority felt the Protestants “deserved what they got,” they saw it as a stain on national honor, and they wanted revenge.
Family members of the slain men demanded reparations or at least some kind of memorial recognition. They got none. Queen Mother Catherine de’ Medici did express dismay and went to the king of Spain with her chastisements. Fearing war, she eventually let the matter drop. Friends and loved ones of the New World’s Huguenot martyrs were forced to bear their grief alone. In 1568 Dominique de Gourgues, acting less on Christian principle and more on a personal desire for revenge-his-way, led a reconnaissance mission that wiped out the Spanish settlement of San Mateo. San Mateo had been build over the ruins of the wrecked Fort de la Caroline near present-day Jacksonville, Florida.
(c) 2012 Joyously Saved