Calas, Jean

Calas, Jean, a tradesman of Toulouse, whose son committed suicide, and who was charged with murdering him to prevent his going over to the Catholic Church; was tried, convicted, and sentenced to torture and death on the wheel (1762); after which his property was confiscated, and his children compelled to embrace the Catholic faith, while the widow escaped into Switzerland. Voltaire, to his immortal honour, took up her case, proved to the satisfaction of the legal authorities in France the innocence of the victims, got the process revised, and Louis XV. to grant a sum of money out of the royal bounty for the benefit of the family.

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

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