Calas, Jean

Portrait
Born: Mar 19, 1698 AD
Died: 1762 AD, at 63 years of age.

Nationality: French
Categories: Merchants


1698 - Born on March 19th in Lacabarède, France. Huguenot cloth merchant whose execution caused the philosopher Voltaire to lead a campaign for religious toleration and reform of the French criminal code.

1761 -  Calas was arrested and charged with having murdered his son to prevent or punish his conversion to Catholicism.

1762 - Found guilty by the local magistrates, he was condemned to death by the Parlement (appellate court) of Toulouse.

         - Died on March 10th in Toulouse. He was publicly broken on the wheel, strangled, and then burned to ashes.

1765 - Influential friends of the family in Geneva interested Voltaire in the case, and through a vigorous press campaign the philosopher convinced large segments of European public opinion that Calas's judges had allowed their anti-Huguenot prejudices to influence their verdict.

         - The panel reversed Calas' conviction on March 9th, and the government paid the family an indemnity.
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