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Farther Account Of The Proceedings Of The Catholics At Nismes

The excesses perpetrated in the country it seems did not by any means
divert the attention of the persecutors from Nismes. October, 1815,
commenced without any improvement in the principles or measures of the
government, and this was followed by corresponding presumption on the
part of the people. Several houses in the Quartier St. Charles were
sacked, and their wrecks burnt in the streets amidst songs, dances, and
shouts of Vive le Roi. The mayor appeared, but the merry multitude
pretended not to know him, and when he ventured to remonstrate, they
told him, "his presence was unnecessary, and that he might retire."
During the 16th of October, every preparation seemed to announce a night
of carnage; orders for assembling and signals for attack were circulated
with regularity and confidence; Trestaillon reviewed his satellites, and
urged them on to the perpetration of crimes, holding with one of those
wretches the following dialogue:

Satellite. "If all the protestants, without one exception, are to be
killed, I will cheerfully join; but as you have so often deceived me,
unless they are all to go I will not stir."

Trestaillon. "Come along, then, for this time not a single man shall
escape." This horrid purpose would have been executed had it not been
for General La Garde, the commandant of the department. It was not till
ten o'clock at night that he perceived the danger; he now felt that not
a moment could be lost. Crowds were advancing through the suburbs, and
the streets were filling with ruffians, uttering the most horrid
imprecations. The generale sounded at eleven o'clock, and added to the
confusion that was now spreading through the city. A few troops rallied
round the Count La Garde, who was wrung with distress at the sight of
the evil which had arrived at such a pitch. Of this M. Durand, a
catholic advocate, gave the following account:

"It was near midnight, my wife had just fallen asleep; I was writing by
her side, when we were disturbed by a distant noise; drums seemed
crossing the town in every direction. What could all this mean! To quiet
her alarm, I said it probably announced the arrival or departure of some
troops of the garrison. But firing and shouts were immediately audible;
and on opening my window I distinguished horrible imprecations mingled
with cries of vive le Roi! I roused an officer who lodged in the
house, and M. Chancel, Director of the Public Works. We went out
together, and gained the Boulevarde. The moon shone bright, and almost
every object was nearly as distinct as day; a furious crowd was pressing
on vowing extermination, and the greater part half naked, armed with
knives, muskets, sticks, and sabres. In answer to my inquiries I was
told the massacre was general, that many had been already killed in the
suburbs. M. Chancel retired to put on his uniform as captain of the
Pompiers; the officers retired to the barracks, and anxious for my
wife I returned home. By the noise I was convinced that persons
followed. I crept along in the shadow of the wall, opened my door,
entered, and closed it, leaving a small aperture through which I could
watch the movements of the party whose arms shone in the moonlight. In a
few moments some armed men appeared conducting a prisoner to the very
spot where I was concealed. They stopped, I shut my door gently, and
mounted on an alder tree planted against the garden wall. What a scene!
a man on his knees imploring mercy from wretches who mocked his agony,
and loaded him with abuse. In the name of my wife and children, he said,
spare me! What have I done? Why would you murder me for nothing? I was
on the point of crying out and menacing the murderers with vengeance. I
had not long to deliberate, the discharge of several fusils terminated
my suspense; the unhappy supplicant, struck in the loins and the head,
fell to rise no more. The backs of the assassins were towards the tree;
they retired immediately, reloading their pieces. I descended and
approached the dying man, uttering some deep and dismal groans. Some
National Guards arrived at the moment, I again retired and shut the
door. "I see," said one, "a dead man." "He sings still," said another.
"It will be better," said a third, "to finish him and put him out of his
misery." Five or six muskets were fired instantly, and the groans
ceased. On the following day crowds came to inspect and insult the
deceased. A day after a massacre was always observed as a sort of fete,
and every occupation was left to go and gaze upon the victims. This was
Louis Lichare, the father of four children; and four years after the
event, M. Durand verified this account by his oath upon the trial of one
of the murderers."

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