“Eat him if you want!”
The Murder of Alain de Money's
France was losing the war with Prussia in 1870, Emperor Napleon II had just been captured and his regime overthrown by a self proclaimed government for National Defence, the walls of social order were crumbling in on themselves, and a young aristocrat was about to become one of the focal points of Frances most gruesome acts.
Hautefaye, in south western France was the setting for the grisly act of violence that will forever stain the area.
With the war not going well, a long lasting drought, and a hate for nobility, the illiterate peasants of Hautefaye were a resentful bunch and didn't like the fact that they had to get their news about the war from Noblemen.
At a rural fair (of sorts) outside the town, more than 200 peasants had gathered to trade, Alain de Money had brought the news of the war not tiding well for France, the peasants didn't take it so well and grew unruly.
The Vicomte Camille Maillard Lafaye, some of the Mayor of a nearby town, was present at the trading grounds, him and his party were attacked by the unruly mob, and fled for their lives. The crowd, now heated, bearing pitchforks, cudgels and whatever weapons they could brandish now turned their anger turned towards Alain.
Alain was accused of being a Prussian spy, of financing a war against France, or treason and any other crime the mob could think up. The Parish priest tried to intervene between the mob and Alain, but he soon realised that he was well overpowered, and left for sanctuary in his Church.
The Mayor, who was unsure of what to tell the drunken mob to stop the brutal attack about to ensue, added more flames to fire by shouting “Eat him if you want!”
For the next two hours Alain was tortured by more than 200 people in the mob, some as young as 14 years old. He was stabbed with pitchforks, sliced with hooks, whipped, kicked, punched and bludgeoned before it was decided to tie him to a blacksmiths workbench, where he was beaten from behind with a hook.
He had horseshoes nailed to his feet and one of his eyeballs was burst from its socket, after this ordeal it was decided to burn him.
A large pile of grass and wood was made and Alains body was thrown on-top, a young child lit the bonfire, and the crowd continued to whip, punch and bludgeon Alain even as he burnt in front of them. Some of the people are said to have collected the fat melting from his burning body, and collect it on bread, eating it as they watched.
Some of the men did not escape punishment for their crimes against Alain De Money's, fifty people were arrested, ranging in age from 14 to 60, of them 19 were convicted, one to spend life in jail, the rest got 6 to 8 years hard labour and four men, considered the ring leaders were sentenced to death by guillotine.
© 2013 Allen Tiller
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