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The Catholic Arms At Beaucaire








In May, 1815, a federative association, similar to those of Lyons,
Grenoble, Paris, Avignon, and Montpelier, was desired by many persons at
Nismes; but this federation terminated here after an ephemeral and
illusory existence of fourteen days. In the mean while a large party of
catholic zealots were in arms at Beaucaire, and who soon pushed their
patroles so near the walls of Nismes, "as to alarm the inhabitants."
These catholics applied to the English off Marseilles for assistance,
and obtained the grant of 1000 muskets, 10,000 cartouches, &c. General
Gilly, however, was soon sent against these partizans, who prevented
them from coming to extremes, by granting them an armistice; and yet
when Louis XVIII. had returned to Paris, after the expiration of
Napoleon's reign of a hundred days, and peace and party spirit seemed to
have been subdued, even at Nismes, bands from Beaucaire joined
Trestaillon in this city, to glut the vengeance they had so long
premeditated. General Gilly had left the department several days: the
troops of the line left behind had taken the white cockade, and waited
farther orders, whilst the new commissioners had only to proclaim the
cessation of hostilities, and the complete establishment of the king's
authority. In vain, no commissioners appeared, no despatches arrived to
calm and regulate the public mind; but towards evening the advanced
guard of the banditti, to the amount of several hundreds, entered the
city, undesired but unopposed. As they marched without order or
discipline, covered with clothes or rags of all colours, decorated with
cockades not white, but white and green, armed with muskets,
sabres, forks, pistols and reaping hooks, intoxicated with wine, and
stained with the blood of the protestants whom they had murdered on
their route, they presented a most hideous and appalling spectacle. In
the open place in the front of the barracks, this banditti was joined by
the city armed mob, headed by Jaques Dupont, commonly called
Trestaillon. To save the effusion of blood, this garrison of about 500
men consented to capitulate, and marched out sad and defenceless; but
when about fifty had passed, the rabble commenced a tremendous fire on
their confiding and unprotected victims; nearly all were killed or
wounded, and but very few could re-enter the yard before the garrison
gates were again closed. These were again forced in an instant, and all
were massacred who could not climb over roofs, or leap into the
adjoining gardens. In a word, death met them in every place and in
every shape and this catholic massacre rivalled in cruelty, and
surpassed in treachery, the crimes of the September assassins of Paris
and the Jacobinical butcheries of Lyons and Avignon. It was marked, not
only by the fervour of the revolution, but by the subtlety of the
league, and will long remain a blot upon the history of the second
restoration.





Next: Massacre And Pillage At Nismes

Previous: Napoleon's Return From The Isle Of Elba



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