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Guillaume de Félice - Montauban (1839 Onwards)
Visitors today that come to Montauban will be charmed by its picturesque
medieval arched arcades, at night-time by the lit Pont-Vieux, or during the
stifling summer months, by the sun glowing on the archetypal redbrick
Montauban, thirty miles north of Toulouse, is one of the oldest of the Bastides; towns built in the medieval Languedoc, Gascony and Aquitaine, during the 13th and 14th centuries in an effort to colonise the wilderness of South-Western France.
Its quaint, languid appearance belies one of the most fought over towns of the wars of religion. Its first inklings of stability were in 1570, when it was decided under the peace-treaty of Saint-Germain to allow it to be one of four Huguenot strongholds. Despite numerous sieges, this lasted until the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, wherein the Protestants were again persecuted, and among other things, the Jesuit school shut down.
125 years later in 1810, there was a year of unusual prosperity, brought about by Napoleon extorting money from his enemies (in order for him to sign a peace treaty with them). The Protestants of the Southern provinces of France took advantage of this momentto solicit the re-establishment of the Faculty of Theology at Montauban.
Now a more permanent educational establishment, de Félice arrived in 1839, aged 35 to become the new chair “de morale chrétienne et d'éloquence sacrée” (of Christian morality and ethics) on the 2nd of May. A copy of the pamphlet handed out on the day still exists (see right)
Here, he settled down
and married Josephine Rivier (1817-1869), the daughter of an aristocrat from
the Félice family’s hometown of Yverdon.
They had their first child a year later, Théodore (1840-91), who in later
life carried on the family profession by becoming a Pastor at Orthez on the
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