a French victim of fanaticism; born in 1698. He was a Protestant, and was engaged as a merchant in Toulouse, when his eldest son committed suicide; and as he was known to be attached to the Roman Catholic faith, a cry arose that he had on that account been murdered by his father. Jean Calas and his whole family were arrested, and a prosecution instituted against him, in support of which numerous witnesses came forward. The parliament of Touloulse condemned him, by eight voices against five, to be tortured and broken on the wheel, which sentence was carried out in 1762, his property being also confiscated. Voltaire became acquainted with his family, and procured a revision of the trial, when Calas was declared innocent, and his widow pensioned.
Entry from Everybody's Cyclopedia, 1912.