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List Of Contents | Contents of Massacres of the South, by Dumas, Pere
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practicability, so that  also joined in the good work, and drew up a
document in which they asked the marechal to allow them to take up
arms and march against the rebels, as they were determined either to
bring them back into the good way by force of example or to fight
them as a proof of their loyalty.

This petition, which was signed by several nobles and by almost all
the lawyers and merchants of the city of Nimes, was presented to M.
de Villars on Tuesday, 22nd April, 1704, by M. de Albenas, at the
head of seven or eight hundred persons of the Reformed religion.
M. de Villars received the request kindly, thanked its bearer and
those who accompanied him, assuring them that he had no doubt of the
sincerity of their professions, and that if he were in want of help
he would have recourse to them with as much confidence as if they
were old Catholics.  He hoped, however, to win the rebels back by
mildness, and he begged them to second his efforts in this direction
by spreading abroad the fact that an amnesty was offered to all those
who would lay down arms and return to their houses within a week.
The very next day but one, M. de Villars set out from Nimes to visit
all the principal towns, in order to make himself acquainted with
men, things, and places.

Although the answer to the petition had been a delicate refusal,
d'Aygaliers was not discouraged, but followed M. de Villars
everywhere.  When the latter arrived at Alais, the new governor sent
for MM. de Lalande and de Baville, in order to consult them as to the
best means of inducing the Camisards to lay down their arms.  Baron
d'Aygaliers was summoned to this consultation, and described his plan
to the two gentlemen.  As he expected, both were opposed to it;
however, he tried to bring them over to his side by presenting to
them what seemed to him to be cogent reasons for its adoption.  But
de Lalande and de Baville made light of all his reasons, and rejected
his proposals with such vehemence, that the marechal, however much
inclined to the side of d'Aygaliers, did not venture to act quite
alone, and said he would not decide on any course until he reached
Uzes.

D'Aygaliers saw clearly that until he had obtained the approbation of
either the general or the intendant, he would get nothing from the
marechal.  He therefore considered which of the two he should try to
persuade, and although de Baville was his personal enemy, having
several times shown his hatred for him and his family, he decided to
address himself to him.

In consequence, the next day, to the great astonishment of M. de
Baville, d'Aygaliers paid him a visit.  The intendant received him
coldly but politely, asked him to sit down, and when he was seated
begged to know the motive which had brought him.  "Sir," replied the
baron, "you have given my family and me such cause of offence that I
had come to the firm resolution never to ask a favour of you, and as
perhaps you may have remarked during the journey we have taken with
M. le marechal, I would rather have died of thirst than accept a
glass of water from you.  But I have come here to-day not upon any
private matter, to obtain my own ends, but upon a matter which
concerns the welfare of the State.  I therefore beg you to put out of
your mind the dislike which you have to me and mine, and I do this
the more earnestly that your dislike can only have been caused by the
fact that our religion is different from yours--a thing which could
neither have been foreseen nor prevented.  My entreaty is that you do
not try to set M. le marechal against the course which I have
proposed to him, which I am convinced would bring the disorders in
our province to an end, stop the occurrence of the many unfortunate
events which I am sure you look on with regret, and spare you much
trouble and embarrassment."

The intendant was much touched by this calm speech, and above all by
the confidence which M. d'Aygaliers had shown him, and replied that
he had only offered opposition to the plan of pacification because he
believed it to be impracticable.  M. d'Aygaliers then warmly pressed
him to try it before rejecting it for ever, and in the end M.  de
Baville withdrew his opposition.

M, d'Aygaliers hastened to the marechal, who finding himself no
longer alone in his favourable opinion, made no further delay, but
told the baron to call together that very day all the people whom he
thought suitable for the required service, and desired that they
should be presented to him the next morning before he set out for
Nimes.

The next day, instead of the fifty men whom the marachal had thought
could be gathered together, d'Aygaliers came to him followed by
eighty, who were almost all of good and many of noble family.  The
meeting took place, by the wish of the baron, in the courtyard of the
episcopal palace.  "This palace," says the baron in his Memoirs,
"which was of great magnificence, surrounded by terraced gardens and
superbly furnished, was occupied by Monseigneur Michel Poncet de La
Riviere.  He was a man passionately devoted to pleasures of all
kinds, especially to music, women, and good cheer.  There were always
to be found in his house good musicians, pretty women, and excellent
wines.  These latter suited him so well that he never left the table
without being in a pleasant humour, and at such a moment if it came
into his head that anyone in his diocese was not as good a Christian
as himself, he would sit down and write to M. de Baville, urging that
the delinquent ought to be sent into exile.  He often did this honour
to my late father."  M. d'Aygaliers goes on to say that "on seeing
such a great number of Huguenots in the court who were all declaring
that they were better servants of the king than the Catholics, he
almost fell from his balcony with vexation and surprise.  This
vexation increased when he saw M. de Villars and M. de Baville, who
had apartments in the palace, come down into the court and talk to
these people.  One hope still remained to him: it was that the
marechal and the intendant had come down to send them away; but this
last hope was cruelly disappointed when he heard M. de Villars say
that he accepted their service and expected them to obey d'Aygaliers
in all matters concerning the service of the king."

But this was not all that had to be accomplished arms were necessary
for the Protestants, and though their number was not great, there was
a difficulty in finding them weapons.  The unfortunate Calvinists had
been disarmed so often that even their table-knives had been carried
off, so it was useless to search their houses for guns and sabres.
D'Aygaliers proposed that they should take the arms of the
townspeople, but M. de Villars considered that it would offend the
Catholics to have their arms taken from them and given to the
Protestants.  In the end, however, this was the course that had to be
adopted: M. de Paratte was ordered to give fifty muskets and the same
number of bayonets to M. d'Aygaliers, who also received, as the
reward of his long patience, from M. de Villars, before the latter
left for Nimes, the following commission:

"We, Marechal de Villars, general in the armies of the king, etc.,
etc., have given permission to M. d'Aygaliers, nobleman and
Protestant of the town of Uzes, and to fifty men chosen by him, to
make war on the Camisards.

"(Signed) "VILLARS

"(Countersigned) "MORETON

"Given at Uzes, the 4th of May 1704"


Hardly had M. de Villars set out for Nimes than d'Aygaliers met with
fresh difficulties.  The bishop, who could not forget that his
episcopal palace had been turned into barracks for Huguenots, went
from house to house threatening those who had promised to countenance
d'Aygaliers' plans, and strictly forbidding the captains of the town
troops to deliver any weapons to the Protestants.  Fortunately,
d'Aygaliers had not accomplished so much. without having learned not
to draw back when the road grew rough, so he also on his side went
about confirming the strong and encouraging the feeble, and called on
M. de Paratte to beg him to carry out the orders of M. de Villars.
De Paratte was happily an old soldier, whose one idea was that
discipline should be maintained, so that he gave the guns and
bayonets to d'Aygaliers on the spot, without a word of objection, and
thus enabled the latter to start at five o'clock next morning with
his little band.

Meantime de Baville and de Lalande had been reflecting what great
influence d'Aygaliers would gain in the province should he succeed in
his aims, and their jealousy had made them resolve to forestall him
in his work, by themselves inducing Cavalier to abandon his present
course.  They did not conceal from themselves that this would be
difficult, but as they could command means of corruption which were
not within the power of d'Aygaliers, they did not despair of success.

They therefore sent for a countryman called Lacombe, in order to
enlist him on their side; for Cavalier, when a boy, had been his
shepherd for two years, and both had remained friends ever since:
this man undertook to try and bring about a meeting between the two
gentlemen and Cavalier--an enterprise which would have been dangerous
for anyone else.  He promised first of all to explain to Cavalier the
offers of MM. de Baville and de Lalande.

Lacombe kept his word: he set off the same day, and two days later
appeared before Cavalier.  The first feeling of the young chief was
astonishment, the second pleasure.  Lacombe could not have chosen a
better moment to speak of peace to his former shepherd.

"Indeed," says Cavalier in his Memoirs, "the loss which I had just
sustained at Nages was doubly painful to me because it was
irreparable.  I had lost at one blow not only a great number of
weapons, all my ammunition, and all my money, but also a body of men,
inured to danger and fatigue, and capable of any undertaking;
--besides all this, I had been robbed of my stores--a loss which made
itself felt more than all the others put together, because as long as
the secret of the cavern was kept, in all our misfortunes we were

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