Jean Calas, a French Protestant, born in 1698, executed at Toulouse, March 9, 1762. He was a merchant of Toulouse, his wife an English woman of French extraction. One evening in October, 1761, after the family had retired from supper, his eldest son, Marc An-toine, a young man addicted to gambling, and of a gloomy disposition, was found dead at the entrance to his father's warehouse. Besides the members of Calas's family, there was at the time no person in his house excepting M.
Lavaysse, a young gentleman from Bordeaux. When the corpse of young Calas was discovered, the greatest excitement ensued, and the multitude of Toulouse declared that his family had murdered him in order to prevent his secession from Protestantism. The honors of martyrdom were paid to young Calas, who was buried with great pomp, a catafalque erected upon his grave, and a skeleton placed upon it, with a martyr's palm in one hand and the act of abjuration in the other. The father was sentenced to die on the wheel by a tribunal of 13 judges, 5 of whom dissented from the verdict. The sentence was carried into execution, and the body burned to ashes. His youngest son was placed in a convent, with a view of forcing him to abjure Calvinism, and the daughters were shut up in a nunnery. A Catholic servant in Calas's family and Lavaysse were acquitted, although there was much ill feeling against the latter, as he was suspected of being an emissary of the Huguenots of Gui-cnne. The wife succeeded in escaping to Switzerland, where Voltaire, who then resided at Ferney, became interested in the case; and it was due to his strenuous interference that Elie de Beaumont and other eminent lawyers took it in hand, and obtained a reversal of the judgment.