Anne Robert et la condamnation de la secte des Multipliants (Montpellier, mars-juin 1723)

On March 6, 1723, Louis de Bernage, intendant of Languedoc, arrested a group of Protestants gathered in Montpellier at the home of Anne Robert, widow of the merchant Jean Verchand. This strange “sect of the Multipliers” represents one of the most surprising chapters in the history of French Protestantism in the eighteenth century. Through a fresh analysis of the trial documents, it is easier to understand why Anne Robert, a member of Montpellier’s bourgeoisie, welcomed the group into her home, subsidized the construction of an extraordinary worship space and participated voluntarily in the sect’s ceremonies—despite multiple warnings from neighbors and friends. The detailed analysis of the trial reveals the prejudices and hesitations of the authorities, both in Montpellier and Versailles, when faced by a new development in French Protestantism, occurring between the Camisard War and the Desert Church’s expansion.