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TO THE

KING'S MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY.

SIRE,

HAVING been honoured with Your Majesty's gracious permission to lay before You this Narrative, which is principally occupied in detailing researches made into the present condition and ancient history of the VAUDOIS, or WALDENSES, I embrace, with sincere satisfaction, the hope that a community, which has often found relief and protection from Your August Predecessors, may engage some portion of Your Royal regard.

Such favour has this extraordinary race of people found in the sight of those Monarchs who have successively swayed the sceptre of these dominions, that for the last two hun

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dred years scarcely has there reigned a Sovereign who has not espoused their cause. To whom, indeed, could the DEFENDERS OF THE FAITH be more consistently expected to extend their regards than to the descendants of those primitive confessors, who had transmitted to them the Faith they so strenuously upheld ?

I cannot but express my humble conviction, that should circumstances ever render Your Benevolent Interposition necessary, this interesting people would not need to have recourse to precedents to move Your Majesty in their behalf. In such an event they would find their most sure and earnest advocate in Your Majesty's own breast.

Sensible as I am of the high distinction of being admitted to approach Your August Presence with this volume, I am still more gratefully impressed with the feeling of the prospect it opens to the Vaudois, of obtaining a large share of Your Sympathy; conscious

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that a just and righteous cause will never reach Your Majesty's ears without exciting a proportionate interest, and securing a corresponding support.

I have the honour to be,

SIRE,

with profound Respect,
Your Majesty's most dutiful Subject,

and most devoted Servant,

WILLIAM STEPHEN GILLY.

WANSTEAD,

May 20, 1824.

PREFACE

TO THE FIRST EDITION.

In the course of the last and present century, the press has teemed with accounts of excursions made to almost every part of the known world ; but the picturesque valleys at the eastern foot of the Cottian Alps, with the magnificent mountains which surround them, and the extraordinary race of people who inhabit this romantic region, would seem, from the little notice that has been taken of them, to have escaped the researches of the tourist. Independent of the unrivalled attractions of the scenery, there are higher considerations, which might have induced travellers, and particularly those from Protestant states, to visit these Alpine fastnesses, which nature seems to have reserved for the theatre of uncommon events. It was here that the Reformed Religion had its

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