Massacre And Pillage At Nismes





Nismes now exhibited a most awful scene of outrage and carnage, though

many of the protestants had fled to the Convennes and the Gardonenque.

The country houses of Messrs. Rey, Guiret, and several others, had been

pillaged, and the inhabitants treated with wanton barbarity. Two parties

had glutted their savage appetites on the farm of Madame Frat: the

first, after eating, drinking, and breaking the furniture, and stealing

what they thought proper, took leave by announcing the arrival of their

comrades, "compared with whom," they said, "they should be thought

merciful." Three men and an old woman were left on the premises: at the

sight of the second company two of the men fled. "Are you a catholic?"

said the banditti to the old woman. "Yes." "Repeat, then, your Pater and

Ave." Being terrified she hesitated, and was instantly knocked down with

a musket. On recovering her senses, she stole out of the house, but met

Ladet, the old valet de ferme, bringing in a salad which the

depredators had ordered him to cut. In vain she endeavoured to persuade

him to fly. "Are you a protestant?" they exclaimed; "I am." A musket

being discharged at him, he fell wounded, but not dead. To consummate

their work, the monsters lighted a fire with straw and boards, threw

their yet living victim into the flames, and suffered him to expire in

the most dreadful agonies. They then ate their salad, omelet, &c. The

next day, some labourers, seeing the house open and deserted, entered

and discovered the half consumed body of Ladet. The prefect of the Gard,

M. Darbaud Jouques, attempting to palliate the crimes of the catholics,

had the audacity to assert that Ladet was a catholic; but this was

publicly contradicted by two of the pastors at Nismes.



Another party committed a dreadful murder at St. Cezaire, upon Imbert la

Plume, the husband of Suzon Chivas. He was met on returning from work in

the fields. The chief promised him his life, but insisted that he must

be conducted to the prison at Nismes. Seeing, however, that the party

was determined to kill him, he resumed his natural character, and being

a powerful and courageous man advanced and exclaimed, "You are

brigands--fire!" Four of them fired, and he fell, but he was not dead;

and while living they mutilated his body and then passing a cord round

it, drew it along, attached to a cannon of which they had possession. It

was not till after eight days that his relatives were apprized of his

death. Five individuals of the family of Chivas, all husbands and

fathers, were massacred in the course of a few days.



Near the barracks at Nismes is a large and handsome house, the property

of M. Vitte, which he acquired by exertion and economy. Besides

comfortable lodgings for his own family, he let more than twenty

chambers, mostly occupied by superior officers and commissaries of the

army. He never inquired the opinion of his tenants, and of course his

guests were persons of all political parties; but, under pretence of

searching for concealed officers, his apartments were overrun, his

furniture broken, and his property carried off at pleasure. The houses

of Messrs. Lagorce, most respectable merchants and manufacturers M.

Matthieu, M. Negre, and others, shared the same fate: many only avoided

by the owners paying large sums as commutation money, or escaping into

the country with their cash.





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