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List Of Contents | Contents of Massacres of the South, by Dumas, Pere
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letter to M. de Bonzols, under-commandant of the province of
Languedoc, who was living at Lunel:

"SIR, Up to the present all my demands, that the Catholic companies
should be put under arms, have been of no avail.  In spite of the
order that you gave at my request, the officials of the municipality
were of opinion that it would be more prudent to delay the
distribution of the muskets until after the meeting of the Electoral
Assembly.  This day the Protestant dragoons have attacked and killed
several of our unarmed Catholics, and you may imagine the confusion
and alarm that prevail in the town.  As a good citizen and a true
patriot, I entreat you to send an order to the regiment of royal
dragoons to repair at once to Nimes to restore tranquillity and put
down all who break the peace.  The Town Council does not meet, none
of them dares to leave his house; and if you receive no requisition
from them just now, it is because they go in terror of their lives
and fear to appear openly.  Two red flags have been carried about the
streets, and municipal officers without guards have been obliged to
take refuge in patriotic houses.  Although I am only a private
citizen, I take the liberty of asking for aid from you, knowing that
the Protestants have sent to La Vannage and La Gardonninque to ask
you for reinforcements, and the arrival of fanatics from these
districts would expose all good patriots to slaughter.  Knowing as I
do of your kindness and justice, I have full trust that my prayer
will receive your favourable attention.

"FROMENT, Captain of Company No. 39

"June 13, 1790, 11 o'c.  p.m."


Unfortunately for the Catholic party, Dupre and Lieutaud, to whom
this letter was entrusted for delivery, and for whom passports were
made out as being employed on business connected with the king and
the State, were arrested at Vehaud, and their despatches laid before
the Electoral Assembly.  Many other letters of the same kind were
also intercepted, and the red-tufts went about the town saying that
the Catholics of Nimes were being massacred.

The priest of Courbessac, among others, was shown a letter saying
that a Capuchin monk had been murdered, and that the Catholics were
in need of help.  The agents who brought this letter to him wanted
him to put his name to it that they might show it everywhere, but
were met by a positive refusal.

At Bouillargues and Manduel the tocsin was sounded: the two villages
joined forces, and with weapons in their hands marched along the road
from Beaucaire to Nimes.  At the bridge of Quart the villagers of
Redressan and Marguerite joined them.  Thus reinforced, they were
able to bar the way to all who passed and subject them to
examination; if a man could show he was a Catholic, he was allowed to
proceed, but the Protestants were murdered then and there.  We may
remind our readers that the "Cadets de la Croix" pursued the same
method in 1704.

Meantime Descombiez, Froment, and Folacher remained masters of the
ramparts and the tower, and when very early one morning their forces
were augmented by the insurgents from the villages (about two hundred
men), they took advantage of their strength to force a way into the
house of a certain Therond, from which it was easy to effect an
entrance to the Jacobin monastery, and from there to the tower
adjoining, so that their line now extended from the gate at the
bridge of Calquieres to that at the end of College Street.  From
daylight to dusk all the patriots who came within range were fired at
whether they were armed or not.

On the 14th June, at four o'clock in the morning, that part of the
legion which was against the Catholics gathered together in the
square of the Esplanade, where they were joined by the patriots from
the adjacent towns and villages, who came in in small parties till
they formed quite an army.  At five A.M. M. de St. Pons, knowing that
the windows of the Capuchin monastery commanded the position taken up
by the patriots, went there with a company and searched the house
thoroughly, and also the Amphitheatre, but found nothing suspicious
in either.

Immediately after, news was heard of the massacres that had taken
place during the night.

The country-house belonging to M. and Mme.  Noguies had been broken
into, the furniture destroyed, the owners killed in their beds, and
an old man of seventy who lived with them cut to pieces with a
scythe.

A young fellow of fifteen, named Payre, in passing near the guard
placed at the Pont des files, had been asked by a red-tuft if he were
Catholic or Protestant.  On his replying he was Protestant, he was
shot dead on the spot.  "That was like killing a lamb," said a
comrade to the murderer.  "Pooh!" said he, "I have taken a vow to
kill four Protestants, and he may pass for one."

M. Maigre, an old man of eighty-two, head of one of the most
respected families in the neighbourhood, tried to escape from his
house along with his son, his daughter-in-law, two grandchildren, and
two servants; but the carriage was stopped, and while the rebels were
murdering him and his son, the mother and her two children succeeded
in escaping to an inn, whither the assassins pursued them,
Fortunately, however, the two fugitives having a start, reached the
inn a few minutes before their pursuers, and the innkeeper had enough
presence of mind to conceal them and open the garden gate by which he
said they had escaped.  The Catholics, believing him, scattered over
the country to look for them, and during their absence the mother and
children were rescued by the mounted patrol.

The exasperation of the Protestants rose higher and higher as reports
of these murders came in one by one, till at last the desire for
vengeance could no longer be repressed, and they were clamorously
insisting on being led against the ramparts and the towers, when
without warning a heavy fusillade began from the windows and the
clock tower of the Capuchin monastery.  M. Massin, a municipal
officer, was killed on the spot, a sapper fatally wounded, and
twenty-five of the National Guard wounded more or less severely.  The
Protestants immediately rushed towards the monastery in a disorderly
mass; but the superior, instead of ordering the gates to be opened,
appeared at a window above the entrance, and addressing the
assailants as the vilest of the vile, asked them what they wanted at
the monastery.  "We want to destroy it, we want to pull it down till
not one stone rests upon another," they replied.  Upon this, the
reverend father ordered the alarm bells to be rung, and from the
mouths of bronze issued the call for help; but before it could
arrive, the door was burst in with hatchets, and five Capuchins and
several of the militia who wore the red tuft were killed, while all
the other occupants of the monastery ran away, taking refuge in the
house of a Protestant called Paulhan.  During this attack the church
was respected; a man from Sornmieres, however, stole a pyx which he
found in the sacristy, but as soon as his comrades perceived this he
was arrested and sent to prison.

In the monastery itself, however, the doors were broken in, the
furniture smashed, the library and the dispensary wrecked.  The
sacristy itself was not spared, its presses being broken into, its
chests destroyed, and two monstrances broken; but nothing further was
touched.  The storehouses and the small cloth-factory connected with
the monastery remained intact, like the church.

But still the towers held out, and it was round them that the real
fighting took place, the resistance offered from within being all the
more obstinate that the besieged expected relief from moment to
moment, not knowing that their letters had been intercepted by the
enemy.  On every side the rattling of shot was heard, from the
Esplanade, from the windows, from the roofs; but very little effect
was produced by the Protestants, for Descombiez had told his men to
put their caps with the red tufts on the top of the wall, to attract
the bullets, while they fired from the side.  Meantime the
conspirators, in order to get a better command of the besiegers,
reopened a passage which had been long walled up between the tower
Du Poids and the tower of the Dominicans.  Descombiez, accompanied by
thirty men, came to the door of the monastery nearest the
fortifications and demanded the key of another door which led to that
part of the ramparts which was opposite the place des Carmes, where
the National Guards were stationed.  In spite of the remonstrances of
the monks, who saw that it would expose them to great danger, the
doors were opened, and Froment hastened to occupy every post of
vantage, and the battle began in that quarter, too, becoming fiercer
as the conspirators remarked that every minute brought the
Protestants reinforcements from Gardonninque and La Vaunage.  The
firing began at ten o'clock in the morning, and at four o'clock in
the afternoon it was going on with unabated fury.

At four o'clock, however, a servant carrying a flag of truce
appeared; he brought a letter from Descombiez, Fremont, and Folacher,
who styled themselves "Captains commanding the towers of the Castle."
It was couched in the following words:--

"To the Commandant of the troops of the line, with the request that
the contents be communicated to the militia stationed in the
Esplanade.

"SIR,--We have just been informed that you are anxious for peace.  We
also desire it, and have never done anything to break it.  If those
who have caused the frightful confusion which at present prevails in
the city are willing to bring it to an end, we offer to forget the
past and to live with them as brothers.

"We remain, with all the frankness and loyalty of patriots and
Frenchmen, your humble servants,

"The Captains of the Legion of Nimes, in command of the towers of the
Castle,

"FROMENT, DESCOMBIEZ, FOLACHER NIMES, the 14th June 1790, 4.00 P.M."


On the receipt of this letter, the city herald was sent to the towers
to offer the rebels terms of capitulation.  The three "captains in
command" came out to discuss the terms with the commissioners of the

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