The conflict had begun when the Vendean people protested and spontaneously rose against the increasingly dictatorial Paris regime, which, in the name of “the People” (in truth, the bourgeois intellectuals who controlled the National Assembly), had systematically suppressed their Faith, trampled on local liberties, and imposed massive conscription for its foreign wars. Organizing (or rather, loosely organizing) themselves as the Catholic Army (later the Catholic and Royal Army) with the simple demand of having their freedom of worship restored, the rebels would wage a valiant struggle, even achieve remarkable victories, against the increasingly overwhelming arms and numbers of the central government.
It was at Savenay that the Army met its end, having earlier suffered a crushing defeat at Le Mans. The aftermath of the battle was a orgy of massacre so horrific that Scherer and other historians, as well as the people of the Vendee, would call it genocide. Brandishing the tricolor of liberty, equality, and brotherhood, the army of the Revolution “pacified” the Vendee through mass killing of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians and execution of prisoners that, in the end, left a mere half of the population alive. Thus, to punish their disobedience of its “democracy”, the Republic launched against its own people the first breakers of total war.
American Navigator calls the Vendee conflict a prime historical instance of rampant secularism leading to persecution. Indeed, it created a precedent, for as Christendom’s Long Defeat (to use Tolkien’s phrase) continued, the same pattern was followed in Mexico, Switzerland, and elsewhere: Liberal or Protestant persecution of the Christian faithful in the name of freedom, imposition of (Calvinist or Secular) bourgeois values in the name of the people, and enthronement of “Reason” by force of arms. Those who resisted, of course, would be called “oppressors” and “reactionaries”; and what does it say about contemporary civilization that our history books follow the propaganda of bourgeois ideology, excoriating those who resist the repression as ‘zealots’ and ‘fools’ while calling their brutal murderers ‘progressives’?
The heroes–nay, I call them martyrs–of Savenay and the Vendee were defeated according to this world’s measure, their people’s fate a foretelling of Christendom’s end; but I think they were victorious then and ever after; for they fought in the Holy Name of Christ the King, God from eternity, Lord of creation and Judge of nations, cujus regni non erit finis. Therefore, even as we weep for their sufferings and pray for their repose (or, I wonder, should we not rather ask them to intercede for us?), I think we should rejoice even more for their glory. May we fight as they fought and triumph as they triumphed, declaring as one true Church:
Dieu le Roy!