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Royal Decree In Favour Of The Persecuted








At length the decree of Louis XVIII., which annulled all the
extraordinary powers conferred either by the king, the princes, or
subordinate agents, was received at Nismes, and the laws were now to be
administered by the regular organs, and a new prefect arrived to carry
them into effect; but in spite of proclamations, the work of
destruction, stopped for a moment, was not abandoned, but soon renewed
with fresh vigour and effect. On the 30th of July, Jacques Combe, the
father of a family, was killed by some of the national guards of Rusau,
and the crime was so public, that the commander of the party restored to
the family the pocket-book and papers of the deceased. On the following
day tumultuous crowds roamed about the city and suburbs, threatening the
wretched peasants; and on the 1st of August they butchered them without
opposition. About noon on the same day, six armed men, headed by
Truphemy, the butcher, surrounded the house of Monot, a carpenter; two
of the party, who were smiths, had been at work in the house the day
before, and had seen a protestant who had taken refuge there, M.
Bourillon, who had been a lieutenant in the army, and had retired on a
pension. He was a man of an excellent character, peaceable and harmless,
and had never served the emperor Napoleon. Truphemy not knowing him, he
was pointed out partaking of a frugal breakfast with the family.
Truphemy ordered him to go along with him, adding, "Your friend,
Saussine, is already in the other world." Truphemy placed him in the
middle of his troop, and artfully ordered him to cry Vive l'Empereur:
he refused, adding, he had never served the emperor. In vain did the
women and children of the house intercede for his life, and praise his
amiable and virtuous qualities. He was marched to the Esplanade and
shot, first by Truphemy and then by the others. Several persons
attracted by the firing, approached, but were threatened with a similar
fate. After some time the wretches departed, shouting Vive le Roi.
Some women met them, and one of them appeared affected, said one, "I
have killed seven to-day, for my share and if you say a word, you shall
be the eighth." Pierre Courbet, a stocking weaver, was torn from his
loom by an armed band, and shot at his own door. His eldest daughter was
knocked down with the butt end of a musket; and a poignard was held at
the breast of his wife while the mob plundered her apartments. Paul
Heraut, a silk weaver, was literally cut in pieces, in the presence of a
large crowd, and amidst the unavailing cries and tears of his wife and
four young children. The murderers only abandoned the corpse to return
to Heraut's house and secure every thing valuable. The number of murders
on this day could not be ascertained. One person saw six bodies at the
Cours Neuf, and nine were carried to the hospital.

If murder some time after, became less frequent for a few days, pillage
and forced contributions were actively enforced. M. Salle d'Hombro, at
several visits was robbed of 7000 francs; and on one occasion, when he
pleaded the sacrifices he had made, "Look," said a bandit, pointing to
his pipe, "this will set fire to your house; and this," brandishing his
sword, "will finish you." No reply could be made to these arguments. M.
Feline, a silk manufacturer, was robbed of 32,000 francs in gold, 3000
francs in silver, and several bales of silk.

The small shopkeepers were continually exposed to visits and demands of
provisions, drapery, or whatever they sold; and the same hands that set
fire to the houses of the rich, and tore up the vines of the cultivator,
broke the looms of the weaver, and stole the tools of the artizan.
Desolation reigned in the sanctuary and in the city. The armed bands,
instead of being reduced, were increased; the fugitives, instead of
returning received constant accessions, and their friends who sheltered
them were deemed rebellious. Those protestants who remained, were
deprived of all their civil and religious rights, and even the advocates
and huissiers entered into a resolution to exclude all of "the pretended
reformed religion" from their bodies. Those who were employed in
selling tobacco were deprived of their licenses. The protestant deacons
who had the charge of the poor were all scattered. Of five pastors only
two remained; one of these was obliged to change his residence, and
could only venture to administer the consolations of religion, or
perform the functions of his ministry, under cover of the night.

Not content with these modes of torment, calumnious and inflamatory
publications charged the protestants with raising the proscribed
standard in the communes, and invoking the fallen Napoleon; and, of
course, as unworthy the protection of the laws and the favour of the
monarch.

Hundreds after this were dragged to prison without even so much as a
written order; and though an official newspaper, bearing the title of
the Journal du Gard, was set up for five months, while it was
influenced by the prefect, the mayor, and other functionaries, the word
charter was never once used in it. One of the first numbers, on the
contrary, represented the suffering protestants as "Crocodiles only
weeping from rage and regret that they had no more victims to devour; as
persons who had surpassed Danton, Marat, and Robespierre, in doing
mischief: and as having prostituted their daughters to the garrison to
gain it over to Napoleon." An extract from this article, stamped with
the crown and the arms of the Bourbons, was hawked about the streets,
and the vender was adorned with the medal of the police.





Next: Petition Of The Protestant Refugees

Previous: Letters From Louvois To Marillac



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