(French: emigrer, to emigrate)
French noblemen who, from the very beginning of the Revolution, "migrated" to Germany, Piedmont, and England, to escape persecution and in the hope of starting a counter-revolutionary movement with the help of foreign rulers.
Undoubtedly they made a costly blunder in proclaiming their intention of calling upon foreign intervention to stop the course of the Revolution and save the throne, but impartial history proves that they intended to fight the Revolution alone and that they never dreamt of surrendering any French territory.
Their headquarters were at Coblenz and at Turin, and their leaders the Count of Provence (the future Louis XVIII) and the Count of Artois (the future Charles X).
In the beginning they suffered severely, but after they were organized, they displayed a frivolity which discredited their cause abroad as well as at home.
Louis XVI protested against the deeds and avowed plans of these compromising allies.
Bishops and priests after refusing to take the oath of "Liberty and Equality," took refuge in England and Spain, being far better received in the former country, since Spain feared the influence of many of the lower French clergy who had shown a strong leaning towards the "New Ideas."
These "Emigres Priests" created everywhere a most favorable impression by their courage and the dignity of their lives.
Sidney Dark, in the Dublin Review, April, 1929, says that their presence greatly lessened anti-Catholic prejudices in England, thus helping to prepare the way for Catholic Emancipation.
New Catholic Dictionary