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List Of Contents | Contents of Massacres of the South, by Dumas, Pere
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conducted by then were far from being as remarkable for honour and
justice as was that which we have just described.  We may instance
the trial of a poor boy of fourteen, the son of a miller of
Saint-Christol who had been broken the wheel just a month before.
For a moment the judges hesitated to condemn so young a boy to death,
but a witness presented himself who testified that the little fellow
was employed by the fanatics to strangle Catholic children.  Although
no one believed the evidence, yet it was seized-on as a pretext: the
unfortunate boy was condemned to death, and hanged without mercy an
hour later.

A great many people from the parishes devastated by M. de Julien had
taken refuge in Aussilargues, in the parish of St. Andre.  Driven by
hunger and misery, they went beyond the prescribed limits in search
of means of subsistence.  Planque hearing of this, in his burning
zeal for the Catholic faith resolved not to leave such a crime
unpunished.  He despatched a detachment of soldiers to arrest the
culprits: the task was easy, for they were all once more inside the
barrier and in their beds.  They were seized, brought to St. Andre's
Church and shut in; then, without trial of any kind,--they were
taken, five at a time, and massacred: some were shot and some cut
down with sword or axe; all were killed without exception--old and
young women and children.  One of the latter, who had received three
shots was still able to raise his head and cry, "Where is father?
Why doesn't he come and take me away."

Four men and a young girl who had taken refuge in the town of
Lasalle, one of the places granted to the houseless villagers as an
asylum, asked and received formal permission from the captain of the
Soissonais regiment, by name Laplace, to go home on important private
business, on condition that they returned the same night.  They
promised, and in the intention of keeping this promise they all met
on their way back at a small farmhouse.  Just as they reached it a
terrible storm came on.  The men were for continuing their way in
spite of the weather, but the young girl besought them to wait till
daylight, as she did not dare to venture out in the dark during such
a storm, and would die of fright if left alone at the farm.  The men,
ashamed to desert their companion, who was related to one of them,
yielded to her entreaties and remained, hoping that the storm would
be a sufficient excuse for the delay.  As soon as it was light, the
five resumed their journey.  But the news of their crime had reached
the ears of Laplace before they got back.  They were arrested, and
all their excuses were of no avail.  Laplace ordered the men to be
taken outside the town and shot.  The young girl was condemned to be
hanged; and the sentence was to be carried out that very day, but
some nuns who had been sent for to prepare her for death, having
vainly begged Laplace to show mercy, entreated the girl to declare
that she would soon become a mother.  She indignantly refused to save
her life at the cost of her good name, so the nuns took the lie on
themselves and made the necessary declaration before the captain,
begging him if he had no pity for the mother to spare the child at
least, by granting a reprieve till it should be born.  The captain
was/not for a moment deceived, but he sent for a midwife and ordered
her to examine the young girl.  At the end of half an hour she
declared that the assertion of the nuns was true.

"Very well," said the captain: "let them both be kept in prison for
three months; if by the end of that time the truth of this assertion
is not self-evident, both shall be hanged."  When this decision was
made known to the poor woman, she was overcome by fear, and asked to
see the, captain again, to whom she confessed that, led away by the
entreaties of the nuns, she had told a lie.

Upon this, the woman was sentenced to be publicly whipped, and the
young girl hanged on a gibbet round which were placed the corpses of
the four men of whose death she was the cause.

As may easily be supposed, the "Cadets of the Cross" vied with both
Catholics and Protestants in the work of destruction.  One of their
bands devoted itself to destroying everything belonging to the new
converts from Beaucaire to Nimes.  They killed a woman and two
children at Campuget, an old man of eighty at a farm near
Bouillargues, several persons at Cicure, a young girl at Caissargues,
a gardener at Nimes, and many other persons, besides carrying off all
the flocks, furniture, and other property they could lay hands on,
and burning down the farmhouses of Clairan, Loubes, Marine, Carlot,
Campoget Miraman, La Bergerie, and Larnac--all near St. Gilies and
Manduel.  "They stopped travellers on the highways," says
Louvreloeil, "and by way of finding out whether they were Catholic or
not, made them say in Latin the Lord's Prayer, the Ave Maria, the
Symbol of the Faith, and the General Confession, and those who were
unable to do this were put to the sword.  In Dions nine corpses were
found supposed to have been killed by their hands, and when the body
of a shepherd who had been in the service of the Sieur de Roussiere,
a former minister, was found hanging to a tree, no one doubted who
were the murderers.  At last they went so far that one of their bands
meeting the Abbe de Saint Gilles on the road, ordered him to deliver
up to them one of his servants, a new convert, in order to put him to
death.  It was in vain that the abbe remonstrated with them, telling
them it was a shame to put such an affront on a man of his birth and
rank; they persisted none the less in their determination, till at
last the abbe threw his arms round his servant and presented his own
body to the blows directed at the other."

The author of The Troubles in the Cevennes relates something
surpassing all this which took place at Montelus on the 22nd February
"There were a few Protestants in the place," he says, "but they were
far outnumbered by the Catholics; these being roused by a Capuchin
from Bergerac, formed themselves into a body of 'Cadets of the
Cross,' and hastened to serve their apprenticeship to the work of
assassination at the cost of their countrymen.  They therefore
entered the house of one Jean Bernoin, cut off his ears and further
mutilated him, and then bled him to death like a pig.  On coming out
of this house they met Jacques Clas, and shot him in the abdomen, so
that his intestines obtruded; pushing them back, he reached his house
in a terrible condition, to the great alarm of his wife, who was near
her confinement, and her children, who hastened to the help of
husband and father.  But the murderers appeared on the threshold,
and, unmoved by the cries and tears of the unfortunate wife and the
poor little children, they finished the wounded man, and as the wife
made an effort to prevent them, they murdered her also, treating her
dead body, when they discovered her condition, in a manner too
revolting for description; while a neighbour, called Marie Silliot,
who tried to rescue the children, was shot dead; but in her case they
did not pursue their vengeance any further.  They then went into the
open country and meeting Pierre and Jean Bernard, uncle and nephew,
one aged forty-five and the other ten, seized on them both, and
putting a pistol into the hands of the child, forced him to shoot his
uncle.  In the meantime the boy's father had come up, and him they
tried to constrain to shoot his son; but finding that no threats had
any effect, they ended by killing both, one by the sword, the other
by the bayonet.

"The reason why they put an end to father and son so quickly was that
they had noticed three young girls of Bagnols going towards a grove
of mulberry trees, where they were raising silk-worms.  The men
followed them, and as it was broad daylight and the girls were
therefore not afraid, they soon came up with them.  Having first
violated them, they hung them by the feet to a tree, and put them to
death in a horrible manner."

All this took place in the reign of Louis the Great, and for the
greater glory of the Catholic religion.

History has preserved the names of the five wretches who perpetrated
these crimes: they were Pierre Vigneau, Antoine Rey, Jean d'Hugon,
Guillaume, and Gontanille.


Such crimes, of which we have only described a few, inspired horror
in the breasts of those who were neither maddened by fanaticism nor
devoured by the desire of vengeance.  One of these, a Protestant,
Baron d'Aygaliers, without stopping to consider what means he had at
his command or what measures were the best to take to accomplish his
object, resolved to devote his life to the pacification of the
Cevennes.  The first thing to be considered was, that if the
Camisards were ever entirely destroyed by means of Catholic troops
directed by de Baville, de Julien, and de Montrevel, the Protestants,
and especially the Protestant nobles who had never borne arms, would
be regarded as cowards, who had been prevented by fear of death or
persecution from openly taking the part of the Huguenots: He was
therefore convinced that the only course to pursue was to get, his
co-religionists to put an end to the struggle themselves, as the one
way of pleasing His Majesty and of showing him how groundless were
the suspicions aroused in the minds of men by the Catholic clergy.

This plan presented, especially to Baron d'Aygaliers, two apparently
insurmountable difficulties, for it could only be carried out by
inducing the king to relax his rigorous measures and by inducing the
Camisards to submit.  Now the baron had no connection with the court,
and was not personally acquainted with a single Huguenot chief.

The first thing necessary to enable the baron to begin his efforts
was a passport for Paris, and he felt sure that as he was a
Protestant neither M. de Baville nor M. de Montrevel would give him
one.  A lucky accident, however, relieved his embarrassment and
strengthened his resolution, for he thought he saw in this accident
the hand of Providence.

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