Volumes and almost libraries have been written on the Calas affair, and we can but refer here to the only less famous cases of Sirven (very similar to that of Calas, though no judicial murder was actually committed), Espinasse (who had been sentenced to the galleys for harbouring a Protestant minister), Lally (the son of the unjustly treated but not blameless Irish-French commander in India), D'Etalonde (the companion of La Barre), Montbailli and others.
Its briefest equivalent may be given as "persecuting and privileged orthodoxy" in general, and, more particularly, it is the particular system which Voltaire saw around him, of which he had felt the effects in his own exiles and the confiscations of his books, and of which he saw the still worse effects in the hideous sufferings of Calas and La Barre.
The performance was the occasion of a split among the actors of the Comedie Frangaise, and the new theatre in the Palais Royal, established by the dissidents, was inaugurated with Henri VIII (1791), generally recognized as Chenier's masterpiece; Jean Calas, ou l'ecole des juges followed in the same year.
JEAN CALAS (1698-1762), a Protestant merchant at Toulouse, whose legal murder is a celebrated case in French history.
Pierre Calas, the surviving son, was banished for life; the rest were acquitted.
For three years he worked indefatigably to procure justice, and made the Calas case famous throughout Europe (see Voltaire).
Finally the king and council unanimously agreed to annul the proceeding of the parlement of Toulouse; Calas was declared to have been innocent, and every imputation of guilt was removed from the family.
See Causes celebres, tome iv.; Raoul Allier, Voltaire et Calas, une erreur judiciaire au X VIII e siecle (Paris, 1898); and biographies of Voltaire.