Page:A book of the Cevennes (-1907-).djvu/377

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VILLENEUVETTE

shrine is at the entrance to the beautiful basin of Villeneuvette, rich with cork trees, micocouliers (Celtis Australis), mulberries, chestnuts, tall ancient cypresses, pines, caper bushes, and the kermes-oak.

Here in the bottom, by the little river, is the industrial settlement of Villeneuvette. An avenue of planes leads to a wall, with a gateway in it, over which is the inscription, Honor to work" Up to 1848 it bore the title "royal factory" This is the last existing example of the factories established by Colbert in 1666 for the weaving of cloth for the Levant trade, and for each piece of cloth woven was received a bonus of ten francs. It was found that the trade in the Levant of French cloth was failing owing to English competition. Colbert founded this among other colonies of workmen to ensure that the cloth exported was of good quality, and agents in Constantinople and in Pondicherry received and sold it. In order to protect the establishment during the religious wars that desolated the Cevennes, the settlement was surrounded by a rampart, crenelated and flanked by redoubts. Within are the factory, a church, and the houses of the artisans, arranged on a formal plan. The colony had its own municipal government, and elected its own mayor. Every night the drawbridge was raised and the gate fastened.

Villeneuvette owns a considerable territory around it, and the land is parcelled out among the workmen engaged in the factory. Each family has its garden,its vineyard, and its plantation of mulberries, so that when work is slack in the factory there is plenty of occupation for the hands in the fields.

For more than two centuries Villeneuvette has been