Not a member?     Existing members login below:
Take Free-eBooks to GO! With our Mobile Apps here

Massacres of the South

Chapter 3
Such crimes, of which we have only described a few, inspired horror in the
breasts of those who were neither maddened by fanaticism nor devoured by the
desire of vengeance. One of these, a Protestant, Baron d'Aygaliers, without
stopping to consider what means he had at his command or what measures were
the best to take to accomplish his object, resolved to devote his life to the
pacification of the Cevennes. The first thing to be considered was, that if the
Camisards were ever entirely destroyed by means of Catholic troops directed by
de Baville, de Julien, and de Montrevel, the Protestants, and especially the
Protestant nobles who had never borne arms, would be regarded as cowards,
who had been prevented by fear of death or persecution from openly taking the
part of the Huguenots. He was therefore convinced that the only course to
pursue was to get his co-religionists to put an end to the struggle themselves, as
the one way of pleasing His Majesty and of showing him how groundless were
the suspicions aroused in the minds of men by the Catholic clergy.
This plan presented, especially to Baron d'Aygaliers, two apparently
insurmountable difficulties, for it could only be carried out by inducing the king to
relax his rigorous measures and by inducing the Camisards to submit. Now the
baron had no connection with the court, and was not personally acquainted with
a single Huguenot chief.
The first thing necessary to enable the baron to begin his efforts was a passport
for Paris, and he felt sure that as he was a Protestant neither M. de Baville nor
M. de Montrevel would give him one. A lucky accident, however, relieved his
embarrassment and strengthened his resolution, for he thought he saw in this
accident the hand of Providence.
Baron d'Aygaliers found one day at the house of a friend a M. de Paratte, a
colonel in the king's army, and who afterwards became major-general, but who at
the time we are speaking of was commandant at Uzes. He was of a very
impulsive disposition, and so zealous in matters relating to the Catholic religion
and in the service of the king, that he never could find himself in the presence of
a Protestant without expressing his indignation at those who had taken up arms
against their prince, and also those who without taking up arms encouraged the
rebels in their designs. M. d'Aygaliers understood that an allusion was meant to
himself, and he resolved to take advantage of it.
So the next day he paid a visit to M. de Paratte, and instead of demanding
satisfaction, as the latter quite expected, for the rudeness of his remarks on the
previous day, he professed himself very much obliged for what he had said,
which had made such a deep impression on him that he had made up his mind to
give proof of his zeal and loyalty by going to Paris and petitioning the king for a
position at court. De Paratte, charmed with what he had heard, and enchanted
with his convert, embraced d'Aygaliers, and gave him, says the chronicler, his
blessing; and with the blessing a passport, and wished him all the success that a
father could wish for his son. D'Aygaliers had now attained his object, and