ARNAUD, HENRI (1641-1721), pastor and general of the Vaudois or Waldensians of Piedmont, was born at Embrun. About 1650 his family returned to their native valley of Luserna, where Arnaud was educated at La Tour (the chief village), later visiting the college at Basel (1662 and 1668) and the Academy at Geneva (1666). He then returned home, and seems to have been pastor in several of the Vaudois valleys before attaining that position at La Tour (1685). He was thus the natural leader of his co-religionists after Victor Amadeus expelled them (1686) from their valleys, and most probably visited Holland, the ruler of which, William of Orange, certainly gave him help and money. Arnaud occupied himself with organizing his 3000 countrymen who had taken refuge in Switzerland, and who twice (1687-1688) attempted to regain their homes. The English revolution of 1688, and the election of William to the throne, encouraged the Vaudois to make yet another attempt. Furnished with detailed instructions from the veteran Josué Janavel (prevented by age from taking part in the expedition) Arnaud, with about 1000 followers, started (August 17, 1689) from near Nyon on the Lake of Geneva for the glorieuse rentrée. On the 27th of August, the valiant band, after many hardships and dangers, reached the Valley of St Martin, having passed by Sallanches and crossed the Col de Very (6506 ft.), the Enclave de la Fenêtre (7425 ft.), the Col du Bonhomme (8147 ft.), the Col du Mont Iseran (9085 ft.), the Grand Mont Cenis (6893 ft.), the Petit Mont Cenis (7166 ft.), the Col de Clapier (8173 ft.), the Col de Côteplane (7589 ft.), and the Col du Piz (8550 ft.). They soon took refuge in the lofty and secure rocky citadel of the Balsille, where they were besieged (October 24, 1689 to May 14, 1690) by the troops (about 4000 in number) of the king of France and the duke of Savoy. They maintained this natural fortress against many fierce attacks and during the whole of a winter. In particular, on the 2nd of May, one assault was defeated without the loss of a single man of Arnaud's small band. But another attack (May 14) was not so successful, so that Arnaud withdrew his force, under cover of a thick mist, and led them over the hills to the valley of Angrogna, above La Tour. A month later the Vaudois were received into favour by the duke of Savoy, who had then abandoned his alliance with France for one with Great Britain and Holland. Hence for the next six years the Vaudois helped Savoy against France, though suffering much from the repeated attacks of the French troops. But by a clause in the treaty of peace of 1696, made public in 1698, Victor Amadeus again became hostile to the Vaudois, about 3000 of whom, with Arnaud, found a shelter in Protestant countries, mainly in Württemberg, where Arnaud became the pastor of Dürrmenz-Schönenberg, N.W. of Stuttgart (1699). Once again (1704-1706) the Vaudois aided the duke against France. Arnaud, however, took no part in the military operations, though he visited England (1707) to obtain pecuniary aid from Queen Anne. He died at Schönenberg (which was the church hamlet of the parish of Dürrmenz) in 1721. It was during his retirement that he compiled from various documents by other hands his Histoire de la glorieuse rentrée des Vaudois dans leurs vallées, which was published (probably at Cassel) in 1710, with a dedication to Queen Anne. It was translated into English (1827) by H. Dyke Acland, and has also appeared in German and Dutch versions. A part of the original MS. is preserved in the Royal Library in Berlin.
See K.H. Klaiber, Henri Arnaud, ein Lebensbild (Stuttgart, 1880); A. de Rochas d'Aiglun, Les Vallées vaudoises (Paris, 1881); various chapters in the Bulletin du bicentenaire de la glorieuse rentrée (Turin, 1889).
(W. A. B. C.)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)