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the tribunal of the department of the Maine-et-Loire to answer a charge of sedition. From this he extricated bimself; but he had nearly fallen a victim to an artifice by which some labourers on his property were bribed to raise a cap
of liberty on a tree, and then to insult it with shouts of " down with it, down with it.” He escaped this peril also; but the announcement of the murder of the King again threatened his life, and his grief and horror produced a dangerous illness. From this malady he was roused by the enthusiastic spirit of loyalty which now animated the Vendeans to resistance. A decree of the Convention had ordered a levy of 300,000 men. It was met by a general rising throughout the Bocage. The whole population, as one man, flew to arms, and a second decree of the Convention instructed the troops which were sent against the insurgents UTTERLY TO DESTROY La Vendée, to EXTERMINATE MEN, WOMEN, CHILDREN, ANIMALS AND VEGETATION. On the day of levy open hostilities commenced. A piece of artillery was discharged at the recusants. They seized the gun, dispersed the gendarmerie, and possessed themselves of the Republican papers and treasury, and a few stand of arms. Leaders were still wanting to complete their organization, and M. de Bonchamps was naturally the first to whom they turned for support and guidance.
M. de Bonchamps hesitated only till he had assured himself of the fidelity of his applicants. He then set out to Saint Florent in company with the deputation which had addressed him. Two children, a boy and a girl, had crowned his union, and the pregnancy of the Marchioness alone prevented her from accompanying her husband. At parting he addressed her in these noble and memorable words.
“ Arm yourself with courage, redouble your patience and resignation-you will have need of them. We must not deceive ourselves ;—we must not aim at worldly rewards—they would be below the purity of our motives and the sanctity of our cause. We must not even pretend to human glory; civil wars give not that * We shall see our houses burned, we shall be plundered, persecuted,
* « His own words ; an admirable and extraordinary saying for the chief of a party. This saying is, however, an exaggeration, or to speak more correctly, it. fails of truth. This is, perhaps, the only time in which the want of justice in an assertion has been sublime, for it proves the candour, the heavenly sentiments, and the perfect renunciation of human motives, in this hero. Without doubt, civil wars bestow no glory, when they are founded upon ambition, animosity, and vengeance; but they procure an immortal glory when they are undertaken for the upholding of lawful oaths, and for the defence of the sacred cause of religion, of morality, and of humanity. Such was the civil war of the Vendeans.—(Note by Madame de Genlis.)"
entrapped, calumniated, and perhaps sacrificed. Let us thank God that he has granted us this conviction, since our foreknowledge, in redoubling the merit of our actions, will enable us to anticipate the joy of that heavenly hope, which unshaken constancy in danger, and true heroism in defeat, can bestow. Finally, let us elevate our souls and all our thoughts towards heaven, for it is there we shall find a guide which cannot lead us astray, a strength which nothing can shake, and an infinite reward for the labours of a moment." P. 36.
The Royalists were at first successful, Jalais, Chemille, and Chollet, with all their artillery, speedily fell into the hands of a few undisciplined peasants armed with staves. To revenge these defeats the Revolutionists set fire to la Baronnière. The Vendeans demanded leave to panish the incendiaries.
“My friends,' replied the General, 'I thank you for the proofs of attachment and fidelity which you every day give me ;--but I will never suffer a single drop of the blood of the soldiers of my King, to be shed for the defence of my property.' In vain one of his friends repeated to him that this moderation would ruin his family. • We shall always have enough,' replied he, if I have the happiness to see my King on his throne again ;-if it be otherwise we shall have need of nothing.' P. 40.
The capture of Thouars followed after a severe conflict, which, though long doubtful, terminated in a complete victory for the Vendeans. The day of Fontenay covered them with equal glory. It was won by M. de Bonchamps. In the batlle he was treacherously wounded by a base wretch, to whom he had given quarter and freedom. The traitor having gained sufficient distance, discharged his musket at his benefactor and broke his breast-bone.
" Whilst these events engaged my husband, he had sent me word to repair with my children to Beauprécau, because the enemy were marching upon la Baronnière. The tocsin sounded; and I had barely time for a hasty flight. I was obliged to take the horses of the farmers, all our own having been seized by a requisition. I placed my children in one of the panniers, fixed on the back of a horse, with a few playthings to prevent their cries; the other pannier was filled with powder, muskets, and the pistols which belonged to my husband. The horse which carried my children, having taken fright, ran away and threw them down. The terror which their danger caused me was such, that two days after it produced a miscarriage.
“ During the two days which preceded this unfortunate accident, I was obliged to continue our journey to remain on horseback, and, though enduring the greatest agony, to affect tranquillity, that I might not discourage our peasants. I arrived at Gaubretière, in Poitou, at the house of Madame de Boisy, where I received the most tender marks of affection. I was at the fast extremity; and I only owed my recovery to the attentions which were lavished on me. I had hardly recovered, when I saw my husband arrive, wounded at the battle of Fontenay. From this latter town to la Gaubretière, the distance is at least fifteen leagues. During the whole of this journey M. de Bonchamps was carried by the soldiers, who contended for this honour, and desired to share it in turn. It was a melancholy meeting when I saw him in that state. I was myself convalescent;-- our tears gushed forth at our embrace." P. 52.
The absence of their favourite General was severely felt by the Royalists. It was a source of proportionate triumph to their opponents. The cry when they met on the field was now, “ If you have not Bonchamps you will be beaten." On his recovery he was again distinguished in every action ; but in spite of the valour displayed by the Royalists, the tide of success was changing. Cathélineau, their Generalissimo, was killed before Nantes, and Bonchamps himself was again wounded by a pistol-shot in the elbow. The Marchioness hastened to join him at Jalais. She was compelled to leave her children to the care of an old soldier ; but her presence was necessary to her husband's recovery: for his attendants from time to time were all compelled to quit his couch, in order to repulse tumaltuous attacks of the Revolutionists. In a few days, though the weather was dreadful, she was able to fetch her children. Bonchamps continued to recover, and bis chamber was the resort and council-hall of the Royalist leaders. The military reputation which he bad gained appeared to belong to much more advanced years than he counted; and on one occasion the Prince de Talmont, who believed him to be at least fifty, on observing Madame de Bonchamps giving orders in the antichamber, addressed ber,
young lady, oblige me by informing your father of my arrival."
The battle of Montaigu was won as soon as Bonchamps could again take the field. That of Chollet succeeded. The Royalists were beaten, and M. de Bonchamps received a mortal wound. The Republicans at this time shot all their prisoners. The Vendeans rallied to preserve their leader from this fate; and having rescued him in spite of the pursuit of their enemies, conveyed him for five leagues to Saint Florent. In this town 5000 Republican prisoners were confined in ap abbey. As yet the Vendeans had been preserved by religious feelings from any sanguinary reprisals upon their enemies; but when they learned the dangerous wound and approaching dissolution of their beloved leader, their fury knew no bounds, and they hastened towards the church, denouncing vengeance against their prisoners. Bonchamps heard the cry of blood. His couch was surrounded by his own officers, kneeling and waiting with fearful anxiety the decision of the surgeon, which soon pronounced the wound to be fatal. Bonchamps endeavoured to calm the grief of his comrades in arms, and then raising bimself for a few moments, demanded a promise that they would punctually fulfil his last orders. "It was readily given ; and he then solemnly enjoined them to hasten to save the lives of the prisoners. “ My friend," he said, turning to d'Autichamps, one most deservedly in his confidence, “this is unquestionably the last order that I shall give you ;- assure me that it shall be executed."
M. de Bonchamps' wishes were fulfilled. The soldiery obeyed his dying orders, and the victims escaped.
“ Amongst the five thousand prisoners, whom this dying hero saved, was a man whose name deserves to be better known. He was a merchant of Nantes, named Haudaudine; he had been seduced by the new principles, although retaining still the uprightness of a virtuous man. Some time previous to the battle at Chollet, he was made a prisoner by the Vendeans. He then offered to go and negociate the exchange of the prisoners, answering upon his own head for the success of this negociation, adding, that in case it should fail, he would return into the hands of the Royalists : his liberty was restored to him upon these conditions, He accordingly set off
, but the Republicans rejected all his proposals. He declared he was going to resume his fetters, and that, most probably, the enemy would take his life. In vain they en deavoured to detain him; he went back to the Vendean army, and voluntarily returned to prison. Being among the number of the prisoners confined at Saint-Florent, he would have perished, if it had not been for the generosity of the Marquis de Bonchamps.” Life of Bonchamps by Chauveau.
After a few hours, Bonchamps having received the conso. lation of religion, expired in a fisherman's hut at La Meilleraie. His decease was announced to the Convention in words which sufficiently evidenced the fear with which he was regarded by his enemies. The despatch which notified the battle of Chollet contained this paragrapb, “ The death of M. de Bonchamps is worth a victory."
The Marchioness was left in ignorance of her irreparable loss for several days. She was told that her husband had desired her to fly to Britanny.. On crossing the Loire; the grief and consternation of the peasants announced some ter
rible calamity, and roused her suspicions. She questioned them closely, and learned that her hopes and happiness were sunk in the grave.
" At the moment when I heard those terrible words," he no longer lives,' I thought my own life would have also terminated. For some minutes, I remained in a state which bordered upon stupidity. During the war I had a thousand times feared for his life ; and yet this dreadful event appeared as incomprehensible to me, as if I had never had reason to foresee and dread it. The imagination, which exaggerates so many things, could not give an idea of such a rending of the heart, of such an annihilation of every hope. I was roused from this sinking torpor, and regained the power of reflexion, only to feel at once all the pangs which can overwhelm the soul. Without religion I should have yielded in despair ;-but I resigned myself, I prayed, and I then knew I should have strength to support my deplorable situation." P. 85.
Henri de la Rochejaquelein and D’Autichamps had been entrusted by the dying hero with the protection of his wife; and it was in following the army only that she could secure their care.
At the taking of Fougères, her intercession, like that of Bonchamps himself, saved some unbappy prisoners, who otherwise would have atoned with their lives for the cruelty of the Revolutionary party. The name of Bunchamps often reanimated the drooping courage of the Vendeans, and the inspiriting words of the widow rallied them to action. Even her boy had' caught the enthusiasm of bis parents ; when he heard the roar of cannon, far from being frightened, he beat his little drum, and cried “ Victory, victory." He learned to address many of the soldiers by name, and always urged them to fight pour bon Dieu et le Roy. At the unfortunate battle of Le Mans he was lost for several hours, and when he first saw his mother, so great was his emotion, that in attempting to reach her he sprang out of the arms of the servant who carried him on horseback, and falling to the ground was nearly trampled on.
In the horror of the rout, after this defeat, the Marchioness and her children assumed the disguise of peasants. It was necessary to cross the Loire ; a post of Republicans occupied the opposite bank, and by their fire the servant who carried Hermenée, her son, was wounded. The child fell on the edge of the boat, and was caught by his mother. In the haste to land, the boat was upset. The Marchioness mechanically grasped the hands of her children, and they were dragged from the water without consciousness. Her first refuge was in the cottage of an old housekeeper of la Baronnière, a woman attached by long service and many benefits