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Interference Of Government Against The Protestants








M. Bernis, extraordinary royal commissioner, in consequence of these
abuses, issued a proclamation which reflects disgrace on the authority
from whence it emanated. "Considering," it said, "that the residence of
citizens in places foreign to their domicile, can only be prejudicial to
the communes they have left, and to those to which they have repaired,
it is ordered, that those inhabitants who have quitted their residence
since the commandment of July, return home by the 28th at the latest,
otherwise they shall be deemed accomplices of the evil-disposed persons
who disturb the public tranquility, and their property shall be placed
under provisional sequestration."

The fugitives had sufficient inducements to return to their hearths,
without the fear of sequestration. They were more anxious to embrace
their fathers, mothers, wives, and children, and to resume their
ordinary occupations, than M. Bernis could be to insure their return.
But thus denouncing men as criminals who fled for safety from the sabres
of assassins, was adding oil to the fire of persecution. Trestaillon,
one of the chiefs of the brigands, was dressed in complete uniform and
epaulettes which he had stolen; he wore a sabre at his side, pistols in
his belt, a cockade of white and green, and a sash of the same colours
on his arm. He had under him, Truphemy, Servan, Aime, and many other
desperate characters. Some time after this M. Bernis ordered all parties
and individuals, armed or unarmed, to abstain from searching houses,
without either an order, or the presence of an officer. On suspicion of
arms being concealed, the commandant of the town was ordered to furnish
a patrol to make search and seizure; and all persons carrying arms in
the streets, without being on service, were to be arrested. Trestaillon,
however, who still carried arms, was not arrested till some months
after, and then not by these authorities, but by General La Garde, who
was afterwards assassinated by one of his comrades. On this occasion it
was remarked, that "the system of specious and deceptive proclamations
was perfectly understood, and had long been practised in Languedoc; it
was not too late to persecute the protestants simply for their
religion. Even in the good times of Louis XIV. there was public opinion
enough in Europe to make that arch tyrant have recourse to the meanest
stratagems." The following single specimen of the plan pursued by the
authors of the Dragonades may serve as a key to all the plausible
proclamations which, in 1815, covered the perpetration of the most
deliberate and extensive crimes:--





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Previous: Massacre And Pillage At Nismes



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