Friday, May 12, 2017

The Reign of Terror in France (1793-1794)

It forever shamed the French Revolution. It began in March, 1793, when the Revolutionary Tribunal was established by the National Convention.  This series is written by François P. G. Guizot the Prime Minister who ended absolute monarchy in 1830 but was retired in the Revolution of 1848.

The judges sat with pistols ready to hand; the President cast his eyes over the lists for the day and called upon the accused. "Dorival, do you know anything of the conspiracy?" "No!"

"I expected that you would make that reply; but it won't succeed. Bring another."

"Champigny, are you not an ex-noble?"


"Bring another."

"Guidreville, are you a priest?"

"Yes, but I have taken the oath."

"You have no right to say any more. Another."

"Ménil, were you not a domestic of the ex-constitutional Menou?"



"Vély, were you not architect for Madame?"

"Yes, but I was disgraced in 1789."


"Gondrecourt, is not your father-in-law at the Luxembourg?"



"Durfort, were you not in the bodyguard?"

"Yes, but I was dismissed in 1789."


So the examination went on. The questions, the answers, the judgment, the condemnation, were all simultaneous. The juries did not leave the hall; they gave their opinions with a word or a look. Sometimes errors were evident in the lists. "I am not accused," exclaimed a prisoner one day.

"No matter; what is thy name? See, it is written now. Another."

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