Isaac Marais, b3
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About Isaac Marais, b3
b3 “SA Genealogies” vol 5, Genealogical Institute of SA, Stellenbosch, 1999” page 463
French Refugees at the Cape, C.G.Botha, Cape Town, Cape Times Ltd, 1919
C416, Inkomende Brieven: Kamer Delft, Dec 19 1687, f.1013
Met dit schip’ staen mede van hier te gaen de volgende persoonen, die om de vervolginge tegens de waere gereformeerde Religie in Vrankrijk bij ons sijn overgekomen, die nu volgens Resolutie van de vergaderingh der Heeren 17 en ‘t reglement aen de Caep moeten werden geplaetst en als vrije luijden tot den lantbouw en andere hantwercken gebruijkt, wij recommandeeren U : E : deselve in alles behulpsaem te wesen waer aen de Compc in ‘t particulier en de kercks godsdienst sal geschieden-namentlijk
- Charles Marais uijt plessis in Vrankrijk
- Catarina Taboureux sijn huijsvrouw
- Claude Marais out 24 jaeren
- Charles Marais 19 jaeren
- Isaac Marais 10 laeren
- Marie Marais 6 jaeren
- der selver kinderen
M.Boucher. (1981). French speakers at the Cape: The European Background.
The Cape settlers from this part of France [From the Loire to the Channel] came largely, but not exclusively, from the towns and villages of coastal Normandy and from a rural quadrilateral with Paris, Orleans, Blois and L'Aigle at its corners. Indeed one refugee ship brought a party of French settlers from the United Provinces whose original homes, despite indications to the contrary by C. Graham Botha 2 and J.L.M. Franken,' were all within the quadrilateral. The vessel was the Voorschooten of Delft, which sailed from Goeree on December 31, 1687 under the captaincy of Frans Villerius.4 Special provision had been made for the spiritual needs of the emigrants. The ship carried two new quarto French Bibles and ten books of the psalms of Marot and Beze, and for the edification of the refugees on the voyage, the sermons of the former Caen pastors Pierre du Bose and Jean Guillebert. 5 In the context of this voyage, Franken’s identification of the Cape farm Le Plessis Marie with a locality near Marie in Picardy is certainly wide of the mark. 6 It was the refugee Charles Marais who perpetuated the name of his place of origin in the designation of the farm granted to him in 1688. He and his family came from the Hurepoix region of the Ile-de- France, south and south-west of Paris, and were members of the congregation worshipping at Le Plessis-Marly near Longvilliers, a village north-west of Dourdan towards the Rambouillet forest. Le Plessis- Marly was the estate of the Duplessis-Mornays, the family which gave the statesman Philippe de Mornay to the Protestant cause in the troubled days of Henri IV. Le Plessis-Marly came into Philippe’s possession through his mother Francoise, daughter of Charles du Bec-Crespin, vice- admiral of France. Formerly owned by her maternal aunt Jeanne de Deauvilliers, the property was acquired by Francoise in June 1561.7
The church was chosen in 1601 by the royal commissioners Francois d’Angennes and Pierre Jeannin to serve the Calvinists of the Montfort- l’Amaury bailiwick, replacing an earlier place of worship at Garan- cieres-en-Beauce to the south-west.8 The Mornays made personal provision in 1606 for the salary of a minister and for the support of the poor. The church was included in the Beauce colloquy of the synodal province for the north-east of France and had close connections with the seigneurial church of La Norville in the Hurepoix, sharing the same pastor, Maurice de Lauberon de Montigny, for a number of years after 1626. The Paris temple had been sited in the Hurepoix before 1606, first at Grigny and later, in 1599, at Ablon-sur-Seine. both south of the capital, but with the removal to Charenton, Le Plessis-Marly and La Norville alone served the region.9
It was for Jansenism, rather than Calvinism, that the Hurepoix was noted in the seventeenth century. The Calvinist reform movement had made little headway there and was very much a minority cult. Jean Jacquart has put forward some tentative reasons: the ease with which repressive measures could be introduced to counter heresy in towns and villages close to the capital; few complaints of a material kind against the Catholic church and close family ties between many of the clergy and their parishioners; social stability in a region which remained relatively strong economically during the wars of religion. Here then was no fertile field for religious innovation and proximity to Paris strengthened the efforts of Catholic reform: mission priests, following in the footsteps of Vincent de Paul, were active; eucharistic devotions, a counterpoise to Calvinism, were encouraged. A number of landowners returned to the Catholic faith and those who remained members of the reformed church do not appear to have strongly influenced their tenants.10
The anti-Calvinist drive mounted by Louis XIV drove the pastor Jacques Rondeau of Le Plessis-Marly to England,11 while Charles Marais, his wife Catherine Taboureux and their children Claude, Charles, Isaac and Marie-Madeleine made their way to the United Provinces. Like so many other refugees of the period they had been compelled to accept Catholicism at the revocation, but returned to the reformed faith in their first country of refuge. Charles, his wife and the older children rejected their forced conversion at the Walloon church in The Hague on September 14, 1687.12
Tradition has it that Claude served as an officer in the French army and that the family occupied a higher social position than most other Cape refugees.1-' However, apart from the fact that it was to the more aristocratic congregation of The Hague that they were attached in the United Provinces, nothing has been discovered to substantiate the claims. Did economic hardship play any part in deciding Marais to quit France? The peasantry of the Hurepoix, essentially a region geared to the production of cereals and wine for the Paris market, suffered a long period of growing pauperization in the seventeenth century, as Jacquart has amply demonstrated. The crisis reached its peak in 1652 during the military operations of the Fronde, with widespread famine and general misery. A subsequent increase in land appropriation, in which the Paris bourgeoisie played a conspicuous part, subjected the humble rural population to further degradation.14 We do not know the circumstances of Charles Marais’s daily life, but it is possible that, even without religious persecution, his position was becoming intolerable. The Hurepoix, unlike some other agricultural regions of France, did not generally offer alternative means of remunerative employment, apart from the usual run of village crafts. Those who normally made a living from the land could often turn elsewhere to small scale textile manufacture. However it was virtually only in the stocking industry of Dourdan that such an opportunity existed in this part of the country.15
But were opportunities for immigrant agricultural workers much greater in the United Provinces? It is to be doubted. The Cape of Good Hope, however, needed farmers and if the Marais parents were a little old to begin a new life in a distant land, their children might be expected to prosper and make a useful contribution to the well-being of the colony. Claude was twenty-four years of age when the passenger list of December 19, 1687 was sent by the Delft chamber to the Cape. Charles was nineteen. Isaac a boy of ten and Marie a child of six.' (M.Boucher. (1981). French speakers at the Cape: The European Background. Pretoria, UNISA p 105-7)
REFERENCES: CHAPTER FIVE
- 1. See MOURS, Protestantisme en France au XVIV siecle, pp. 62-67; 86.
- 2. The French refugees at the Cape, 3rd ed., pp. 85; 98.
- 3. ‘Jean Prieur du Plessis’, Die Huisgenoot, XIV. 382. July 26, 1929, p. 25.
- 4. COERTZEN, Franse Flugenote in Suid-Afrika, pp. 150-151; BOTHA, French refugees, p. 7 and n.
- 5. C 416, Inkomende brieven, 1685-1687(1688): Kamer Delft. Dec. 19, 1687, f. 1013v. (CA). The French settlers listed in this letter (ff. lOllv. -1013) are also in BOTHA, French refugees, pp. 137-138.
- 7. On the Mornay background see HAAG and HAAG, France protestante, VII, pp. 512-542. Le Plessis-Marly is discussed in M. BOUCHER. ‘Cape and company in the early eighteenth century’, Kleio, IX, 1 and 2, June 1977, pp. 67-68.
- 8. 5642, Collection Auziere, Ile-de-France, Eglises, L-Z: Le Plessis-Marly, Pays chartrain, p. 23 (Bibl. Prot., SHPF).
- 9. JACQUART, Crise rurale, p. 582 and n.; J. PANNIER. ‘Notes sur l’eglise reformee de La Norville; les origines; un registre de 1671; la disparition’, BSHPF, L, April 15, 1901, p. 175.
- 10. Crise rurale, pp. 168-169; 583.
- 11. MOURS, 'Pasteurs’, BSHPF, CXIV, Jan.-March 1968, p. 81.
- 12. AB ZH Gra dtb, ’s-Gravenhage, Lidmaatschap, ens., 1621-1893 (copy): 1225-1227, p. 78, where the names are given as Marets and Taboureur (CBG).
- 13. A.O. HEESE (transcribed), Das Tagebuch des Missionars Albert Nachti- gal; Lydenburg, Stellenbosch, Detmold. I, 1871-1881, pp. 196-197 (p. 228 of original): information from Margaretha Elisabeth de Villiers, nee Marais (Original and transcript in Unisa Library).
- 14. Crise rurale, pp. 643-740.
- 15. JACQUART, Crise rurale, p. 495.
- 16. C 416, Inkomende brieven: Kamer Delft, Dec. 19, 1687, f. 1013; Botha, French refugees, pp. 137-138. See these sources for ages of others on ship.