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it could have been in human nature to put it in possession of the situation to have conducted themselves in such in which the Protestants were placed a manner, if they had known the real previous to the restoration of his prefacts of the case. All that he imputed sent Majesty, Louis XVIII. on the to his Majesty's ministers was, that throne of France. The departinent they had too credulously believed, and of the Gard was the first part of too'lightly judged upon, all the stories France, and, he believed, of Europe, they had received. "He could also as- where the doctrines of the reformed sure the House, if indeed it were religion were promulgated ; and it necessary, that in introducing this was in the mountains of the Cevennes matter to its consideration he was ac- that, in the twelfth century, heresy, tuated by no party or personal feelings, as it was then terined, first took its but by motives of justice and huma- root, distinguished by the piety of the nity to an injured and dislieartened doctrines of those who professed it. people; and after having received in- In this situation they remained unmoformation from various quarters, after lested to the time of the Reformation; having had the means of conversing but by the unhappy communication with many persons that had been on between the leaders of the two parties the spot, he did think it would have at the latter end of the reign of Franbeen a dereliction of the duty he owed cis I. a dreadful destruction of_the to oppressed and injured individuals, Protestants took place at Aix. This had he not drawn the attention of the was the first appearance of that bitter House to the subject.-The letter of animosity which afterwards spread dethe Duke of Wellington had been vastation throughout the whole of published at Nismes, and was scat- France, and the commencement of tered about the town with the greatest those dreadful wars between the Hujoy and exultation by the Catholics ; gonots and Catholics, so disgraceful but it filled the Protestants with the to human nature. At last religious utmost consternation; it took from peace was restored under the reign of the oppressors the only restraint im- Henry IV. when the Protestants enposed upon them, and from the op- joyed the most perfect liberty. Nismes pressed their last hope. So completely was then the city to which the Pro. were they oppressed, that they were testants resorted. So matters rested looked upon as mere slaves, under the until the revocation of the edict of controul, and subject to the passions, Nantes, when those bloody orders of an enraged master-without hope, were issued, the object of which was without comfort and without relief. to convert the whole province of the In considering, then, this important Gard by a regiment of dragoons. subject, there were thrçe principal The face of things was immediately questions to be discussed: ist. whe, changed; all France became a Cathos ther any and what punishment had lic.country, and not a Protestant was been indicted on these murderers and to be seen in it. In the time of Louis assassins; 2dly, whether these offences XIV. and XV. the Protestants again had been comınitted against law and began to rear up their heads; and of nature from political or religious mo- so novel a description were they, that tives; and 3dly, whether the French the term of a les novear convertis," was government had afforded any protec- applied to them. Proceeding in his tion to the injured. Unless these statement of the grievances under three questions were considered, it which the Protestants laboured, the would be impossible to give a distinct Hon. Gentleman mentioned that it idea of the disgraceful transactions had been stated as an instance of which had taken place in the depart- comparative lenity by one writer, that ment of the Gard, to which the dis. froin the year 1746 to 1770 only eight tressing scenes were almost wholly of their ministers were banged. In confined. There could be no doubt all this period their marriages were dethat there had been a most unjust per- clared null, their children of fourteen 'secution of the Protestants in the South years old, who professed the Catholic of France, and that Nismes was the religion, were taken from the care of principal scene of horror and of blood- their parents : instances might be menshed; but in order that the subject tioned of husbands being sent to the might be fully comprehended by the galleys for marrying according to the House, it would be necessary for himn Protestant forms, and their wives i.
Intelligence.- Debate in the House of Commons on the French Protestants. 359 a receptacle of prostitutes. Such by tion and justice. He did not speak law was the condition of the Protes- this invidiously, but, as was usual in tants in France — ameliorated, no a sect which formed the minority, doubt, by the increasing toleration of many of whom were opulent, greater the age. Louis XVI. had the distin- regularity of conduct and correctness guished merit of remedying many of of morals were generally found 10 prethose grievances from the earliest years rail. The Protestants being thus reof his reign. There were extant me- stored to the rank of citizeus, all relimorials presented to bim by the laa gious animosities seemed to subside in mented M. Malesherbe and others, on the South of France. In 1802, Buothis subject; and their remaining grieva naparte, being then First Consul, proances would, doubtless, have been re- cured the enactment of a law which moved by that unfortunate sovereign, placed their religion precisely on the had not his throne been overthrown same footing with the Catholic faith by the torrent of the revolution, in point of establishment and privi. amidst his wishes to establish a con- lege. Could it be matter of reproach stitutional liberty: One of the first to ihein that they were grateful for this acts of the revolution was to restore the favour?-it was not possible but that Protestants to a perfect equality of pri- they must have felt attachment to him vileges. They were declared admis- for it. Hence, however, it was deem, sible to all civil offices without dis- ed proper by soine that they should be tinction; and one of their ministers, stigmatized as Buonapartists. There Rabaut St. Etienne, was president of was no foundation for the assertion the national assembly. 'The Protes- that any partiality was shown to them tants, with the feelings natural to inen, by Buonaparte. “There was not one could not but applaud and admire a Protestant prefect or commandant of work, by which they were raised, from department appointed by him; none being outcasts of society, and from a of them filled the tribunal of justice; state of degradation and infamy, to and probably one reason of this might that of citizens with equal rights. be, that before the revolution they This, however, had been objected to were not allowed to follow the profesthem by some persons as matter of sion of the law. It was not impro reproach; but he trusted he should be bable, however, that the circumstance able to show, to the satisfaction of the of the Protestants being thus placed House, that all that had been said of on a level with their former masters, their being revolutionists and Buona. might excite a rankling jealousy in the partists in a peculiar degree was per- latter, which would break out on the verted and misrepresented. He would, first convenient opportunity. This assert, that in those scenes of horror state of things continued until Louis which soon disgraced the progress of XVIII. was restored to his kingdom the revolution, not one Protestaut was in April 1814. At this period Buo-, found to be an actor. Of course he naparte had become odious to the Promust here be supposed to speak gene- testants at Nismes, both from the rally, as far as his information ex- weight of taxation with which they tended. He acknowledged, indeed, were loaded, and from the incessant that some of them who were members, demands of the conscription. The of the convention .voted for the death taxes fell with peculiar hardship. on of the king, but all of them with the the Protestants, as, generally speaking, addition of the appeal to the people, there more property in their which, if not displaying due firmness, hands; and leading, as they generally at least discovered their wish to save did, retired, domestic lives, the conthe monarch. There was not one scription, which tore froin them their. Protestant a member of the revolu- children, was peculiarly felt by them tiorary tribunal of the department of as a hardship of the greatest severity. the Gard; and of the 130 persons He believed that the Protestants were, who were guillotined by its orders at under these circumstances, unanimous Nismes, more than 100 were Protese in the joy which they expressed on the tants, though the Protestants formed restoration of Louis XVIII. L'iforonly about one third of the popula- tunately, however, during the course fion. He might say, that amidst the of the succeeding ten months, a conhorrors of the revolution they were siderable change of opinion took place. always found on the side of modera- Persons who had been long absent
returned with their old prejudices, and Vive l'Empercur.. It bad been repre-, the lower orders of the people began sented, that during the second reign to threaten the Protestants, who con- of Buonaparte, acts of the greatest ceived on their part that there was a violence were commitied by the strong tendency io go back to the old Protestants; and that when Kismes regime. They were not much alarmed again became a royal town on the by the circumstance of the charter 17th of July, the atrocities which issued by Louis, declaring the Catholic ensued were merely retaliative. The the established religion of France, be- fact' was, however, that no acts of cause the other guards which it afford- violence were committed during this ed appeared sufficient to protect their interval no persons were insultedrights: they could not forget also that no houses attacked-none were killed, the king had just returned from a re- at least in the town of Nismes, though sidence in a land of Protestants, where it was said that some stragglers of the he must have witnessed the effects of Duke d’Angoulemne's army were murreligious toleration; and they looked dered by the peasants. Upon the 15th forward 10 a season of tranquillity and July many of the royal volunteers, as enjoyment. · But circumstances soon they were called, returned to Nismes; compelled them to change their ideas. numbers of armed men flocked in They were insulted by the populace from the country, ard required the on the ground of their religion ; songs garrison which held it in Buonaparte's were sung publicly in the streets of name to surrender. This garrison, Nismes, in which they were threatened consisting of about 200 men, consentwith the renewal of the horrors of ed to lay down their arms, but they St. Bartholomew; gibbets were drawn were all of them, with the exception on their doors. In this situation of of a few who contrived to make their things, Buonaparte suddenly made his escape, massacred as they came out of appearance in France, in the month their barracks. For some successive of March 1815. It was a trying oc- days the whole of the Protestants of currence for the Protestants at Nismes: Nismes were exposed to outrages of but uniting with the established au- every kind; their houses were plunthorities, they declared their determi- dered or pulled down, the rich were nation to support the government laid under contibutions, the looms of He had in his possession the original the poor manufacturers were destroyed, declaration to this effect made at women were stripped and scourged in Nismes on the 13th of March last the streets; no less than 30 females year, and which was signed by the were subjected to this atrocity, one principal Protestants, the five Catholic of whom was far advanced in preg. Clergy, and three Protestant ministers nancy. He would repeat what he had of the town. The list of Protestants' stated on a former occasion, that 200 who signed it was greater in proportion persons were murdered in cold blood, to their respective numbers than that besides 2,000'individuals who were of the Catholics. It contained an ex- persecuted in their persons and propression of the warmest attachment to perty. One man, a Mr. Lafond, far the government of the king, and advauced in life, these wretches threw called upon the people of the depart- from the balustrades of his own stairment for their support. Soon after case, and, on still discovering some this the Duke d'Angouleme fixed his signs of life, they cur him to pieces head-quarters at Nismes, and here it with their sabres. The seven sons of was alleged that the Protestants did a Mr. Leblanc, and the five sons of a not join the Duke with much alacrity. Mr. Chivar, were murdered. A wretch They were in truth deterred from so' of the name of Trestaillon was the acting by the previous alarm which chief leader in these atrocities. This had been excited among them, and man, hearing that Chivar, the father, perhaps it was not surprising that was confined to his bed, came to his they did not zealously join the Duke's house, and asked the wife to let him army. Some of them, however, of- see her husband, affecting to feel for fered their sons to join him. On the him; but immediately on being intro3d of April the authority of Buona- duced, he shot the old man dead with parte was declared in the town of a pisiol. This monster in human Nismes: the few soldiers in the gar- shape had been taken twice into rison there were called out, and shouted custody, but he had never yet been
Intelligence --Delale in the House of Commons on the French Protestants. 361 punished by the French government. had been committed, the perpetrators (Hear!). He had boasted of the of which concealed themselves in murders he had committed. One of darkness. These, he said, had prothe first acts after the 17th of July, foundly wounded his heart; but he the period when Nismes reverted ascribed them all to unknown agiunder the royal government, was to tators, who in this way abused their disarm the urban guard, which it was love for their king. What were we declared should exclusively consist of to think of a government which asCatholics : and he should have to cribed these murders to misguided state an order of the new authorities, demonstrations of loyalty? They are that all persons should be disarmed then reminded that such crimes could who could not belong to the national not be justified, because crimes of the guard, which was equivalent to de- same kind had been committed during claring, that their intended victims an usurpation blasted by heaven, and should be disarmed, in order to their detested by man. But what was the execution. In one place these infu- fact? The national guard which was riated persons dug up the body of a at the disposal of the mayor,
had never joung man, and burnt it, together exerted themselves during all these with the house of his father. In short, days to prevent the perpetration of the every kind of atrocity was committed. murders. It mighi be worth menHe was speaking now of persons who, tioning, that M. Trinquelaque, a lawwere murdered in cold blood, and not yer, who was chosen one of the deputaken with arms in their hands. It ties to the legislature, and lately apwas proper here to inquire what steps pointed secretary general to the mi. were taken by the French govern- nister of justice, was the person who, ment to prevent these excesses. The after the first restoration, proposed that king, had appointed the Marquis a silver image should be dedicated to d'Arbaud Joucques prefect of the de- the Virgin, in the event of the preg. partment of the Gård. He arrived nancy of the Duchess d'Angouleme. on the 30th of July, and issued a pro- It was also worthy of remark, that on clamation for the purpose of protect- the 24th of August, another military ing the Protestants from the fury of force entered Nismes, , exclusive of their persecutors. In consequence of the national guard, when tranquillity this he was ill-treated on his appear- was restored, and continued as long ance at the theatre. They insisted as they remained. The national that Trestaillon should be released, guard was marched into the mountains which was accordingly done. This of the Cevennes, where the people prefect was still continued ; and un- had remained in perfect tranquilliiy, der such circumstances could any man though they were now treated by the say, in the language of the Duke of national guard as in a state of rebelWellington, that the French govern- lion. The Austrian troops that were ment had done every thing to protect soon after sent into the Cevennes, in its Protestant subjects ? The distur- order to disarm the inhabitants, de bances at Nismes still continued. clared, on the contrary, they had never The 21st of August was the important scen a people more peaceably disposed. day fixed for the election of deputies They quitted the country on the 25th to the legislature. He read from the of October, and the same system of official journal of the Gard, the pro- murder was recommenced, Besides clamation of Devallon, the mayor of the infamous Trestaillon, there was Nismes, on the eve of the feast of St. another notorious murderer, of the Louis, recommending to the people name of Quatretaillon. Trestaillon to abstain from the employment of had been sent away from that part of squibs and crackers, and reminding the country, but punished he had them that the least disturbance would never been. In fact, not one of the throw great responsibility on the persons concerned in these numerous magistrates. What was the amount of atrocities had been brought to punishforce which this mayor, then, had at ment; they still roamed about at his disposal? It was twenty-four com- large, though well known to most of panies of national guards and three of the inhabitants of Nismes. He had cavalry. There was ar other procla- to notice another proclamation of the mation issued on the 30th of August, prefect, in which he spoke of an in which he states, that many murders indignation, too natural ‘not to be excusable, having burst on the heads order. It seemed to him, that the of the disaffected; but, illegal as it House would act very unwisely, if they was, he adds, it was not stained by should allow the 'Honourable and plunder, and popular indignation had Learned Gentleman to proceed with not been disgraced by robbery. The these details. He had beco admitted Honourable Gentleman then proceed- into the Chamber of Deputies by ed to advert to the opening of the courtesy, as an English gentleman on Protestant churches at Nismes, on the his travels; and he had no right to 12th of November, when General make use of what he then heard for Legarde was severely wounded. Many the purpose of grounding an inquiry of the congregation were besides in the English House of Coninions. wounded and maltreated. On the It would be a great breach of confi1st of September, 1815, another pro dence in the Honourable and Learned clamation was issued, which still used Gentleman, [a laugh,] and was deroihe language of persuasion to mur- gatory to the high character and dignity derers. He made no doubt that the of the House. (Repeated laughter and Noble Lord was much better acquaint. loud calls to Sir Samuel Romilly to ed than himself with all these facts; proceed.) but the House would take into its con- Sir Samuel ROmILLY said, he sideration the extreme difficulty of could easily remove all embarrassment procuring authentic information. There from the mind of the Honourable had been no difficulty, indeed, in pub Baronet, with respect to being, guilty lishing any thing against the Protes- of any breach of confidence, as he was (ants; the conductors of the journals only stating what the French governwere permitted, nay, they were even ment itself had permitted to be publishcourted, to publish statements against ed in all the newspapers on ihe folthose persons ; but the police would lowing day. [Hear, hear!). He renot suffer a single paragraph to be in- peated, that there was no hesitation serted with regard to their sufferings. whatever on the part of that governHe was himself present in the Cham- ient in publishing every thing against ber of Deputies, when a discussion the Protestants. The four deputies took place on the personal liberty of of the department of La Gard publishthe subject; and because one of the ed in the Quotidienne a sort of protest representatives, Monsieur d'Argen- against the king's proclamation, and son, stated, that there had been perse- declared that the tumult was excited cutions in the South of France, a great only by a few old women. On the part of the assembly rose in a most 12th of November the prefect issued tumultuous manner, and in the a proclamation, and, in the name of coarsest terms insisted that he should the department, promised a reward be called to order. He (Sir Samuel of 3,000 francs to any person who Romilly) then saw a gentleman in his should make known the name of the place who was present in the French individual who had shot the General, Chamber on that occasiort
; and he and bring him before him. This appealed to that Honourable Member man, however, had not been proses to corroborate this statement. The cuted or punished; nay, he had not President yielded to the cry of the been seized, though his name was House, and Monsieur d'Argenson was well known to be Boisset. The procalled to order, It was notorious, clamation of the king said, that an however, that only six days before he atrocious crime had been committed ; made that speech, the blood of the but what followed? It called upon Protestants was flowing down the the magistrates to disarm all the Prostreets of Nismes, and it was only a testants; and why? Because, as the fortnight before that the king's gene- prefect stated, a tumult had been exral was wounded; and yet he was cited by a few old women! On the called to order for stating that there 19th of December, the mayor publishhad been a persecution in the South. ed a proclamation, stating, that the [Hear, hear!] When General Le- Protestant churches should be re-opengarde was wounded at Nismes, the ed on the following Thursday, and an king published a proclamation on the assurance was given to the people that subject; and
the Protestants should have churches Sir Gerard Noel rose to call the built out of the city. Of the two Honourable and Learned Gentleman to churches of the Protestants at Nismes,