« 이전계속 »
From the schedule* of all that now remains, appended below, it appears that several extremely interesting documents
* Authentic list of the portion of the Historical Archives saved from the Prefecture de Police :— The prison books containing the tcrous (entries) of prisoners confined respectively at the— Conciergerie from the year 1500 to 1794 Chatelet „ „ 1651 „ 1792
At the Prisons—
„ La Tour St. Bernard, ,, 1716 ,, 1792
and III. of the Republic.
the Republic. ,, the Abbaye, from 1793 to year II. of the Republic.
,, the Luxembourg, from 1793 to year II.
of the Republic. ,, the Cannes, from 1793 to year II. of the
Of the Maison de Sant6 de la Folie-Regnault,
for year II. of the Republic. ,, ,, Maison de Sante Belhomme. ,, ,, „ du Temple, from year IV. to 1808.
,, Vincennes from 1808 to 1814. The Registers of the interrogatories of individuals arrested for emigration and opposition to the Revolution, from 1793 to year II. of the Republic
The Registers of divers police researches, from 1790 to year II. of the Republic
The Registers of prisoners by order of the King, from 1728 to 1772. (Provincial Prisons.)
The Registers of criminal proceedings, from the year 1725 to 1789.
Inventory of persons imprisoned by order of the King within the jurisdiction of Paris.
Inventory of persons imprisoned by order of the King. (Provincial Jurisdiction.)
Decisions of Provincial Councils.
Sentences and decisions of the Parliament of Paris from 1767 to 1791.
MS. collection of laws and police regulations, known as the "Collection Lamoignon," 1182 to 1762.
The Registers of the banners and colors of the Chatelet.
The laws, regulations, and edicts enacted from the time of St. Louis to that of Henri II. inclusive.
Notes on the prisoners of the Bastile from 1661 to 1756.
All LetIres de Cachet between 1721 and 1789.
The Procfrs-verbaux, or official statements of Police functionaries, from 1790 to 1814.
Judgments, orders of arrestation, of transferment of liberation of prisoners, from 1789 to year V. of the Republic
are absent: among those missing, is one of which we should be sorry there could be a duplicate, and yet the world can hardly afford to lose so striking and characteristic a relic. We are all familiar with the figurative diction which speaks of books "written in blood," but few of us have realized to themselves the horror with which they would peruse such pages; yet, among the vast collection of State curiosities preserved in the extensive chambers of the Prefecture, existed a volume which might be literally and not rhetorically so described. I have held it in my hand, horresco refevens, and turned its discolored leaves, and read upon them the dreadful tale of human passions—for every line is the confession of a crime.
The history of this ledger is that of the "Hundred Hours." It stood propped up desk-fashion upon a small shelf facing the door of the Abbaye which opened into the court, and at the extremity of a short passage, up and down which paced Maillard, while the miserable prisoners, after undergoing a mock trial of a few minutes' duration, were led out, unconscious whether they were condemned or acquitted, and handed over to the " travailleurs," better known as " Septembriseurs" —those hired and extemporized executioners only too readily to be found in times of popular tumult—to be savagely butchered. The whole process of arrest, judgment, and execution appears to have occupied less than a quarter of an hour, and the voice of humanity must have been utterly stifled. The registry is made with consummate terseness: "Juge par le peuple et mis a mort sur-le-champ," without the assignation of any cause, stands opposite every name with rare exceptions, though "Juge par le peuple et mis en liberte" does occur once or twice. Opposite one, is this singular and suggestive entry: "Juge par le peuple et mis (it libre," with a stroke through the last
Notes by Topinot Lebrun relative to the individuals cited before the Revolutionary tribunal.
Funeral services, programmes, and other particulars relating to the inhumation of Princes.
All the papers relating to the attempt by the infernal machine of the Rue St. Nicaise.
Papers relating to the trials of Geo.ges Cadoudal; General Mallett ; Fauche; Borei and Perlet; Lavalette; the confederates of Paris; of Maubreuil; the Twenty-two Patriots; Ceracchi; the Ex-conventionalists; the Conspiracy of 1820; Louvel; Mathurin Bruno; La Rochelle, &c, &c. two words and the correction "a mort!" We ask ourselves, with a shudder, was this an act of clemency repented of during the penning of the entry? or—who knows? —was it that, after being acquitted, the wretched victim was massacred by mistake? Alas! none will ever know, till this world has ceased to be.
As the wretched prisoners, helpless and unresi>-ting, were cut down and thrown quivering and mangled on a ghastly heap, their blood, like that of Abel, was crying vengeance from the ground, and was even then, as we shall see, rising up in silent but eloquent testimony against their relentless and inhuman murderers. Every page of this curious and, let us hope, unique volume, is stained with the blood of these hapless creatures, as it was dashed out of their frames with the clubs and knives with which they were slaughtered; while on some of the leaves remain the marks, sometimes of fingers, sometimes of the entire hand, of the brutal murderer who came in, reeking with gore from his scarcely-finished work, to inscribe his own name and that of his victim, and to obtain the price of blood.
The mode in which the payments were made, we learn from what may be called the Supplement to this bloody record: a file of "Bons pour 25 francs" preserved along with it, each being signed on the back by the "travailleur" who received it, and, after his name, added his trade or occupation and address. Little deemed he when complying with this formality that he was writing his own conviction; for we are glad to find that a day of retribution came at last, and on the strength of this very evidence, these " travailleurs," consisting of tradesmen and artisans, were traced, prosecuted, and convicted under the Restoration; being then punished either with the Bagnes or perpetual imprisonment.
Another hideous episode of this fearful epoch recorded here, was the massacre of the College de St. Firmin, scarcely less barbarous than that of the 'Cannes. The following singular I O U, which I copied, bears upon it its evidence of the principles on which such work was done: thus, it survives to be read by succeeding generations :—
COMMUNE DE PARIS.
"The citoyen treasurer of the Commune will please to pay to Gilbert Petit the sum of
48 livres, in consideration of the time devoted by him and three of his comrades to the despatching (expedition) of the priests of St. Firmin, during two days, according to the requisitions made to us by the section of Sans Culottes who employed them.
"Dated, a la Maison Commune, This 4th day of Ventose, ivth year of Liberte and 1st of Egalite. (Signed) Nicoul <k Jerome Lamarck, Commissaires de la Commune." It is endorsed—
"Received the sum of 48 livres.
Gilbert Petit + his mark"
The College of St- Firmin had existed since 1220, and stood in the Rue St Victor. It had been abandoned for some time when the house was opened as a seminary for preachers, and St. Vincent At Paul was appointed its chaplain. This religious institution, surpressed in 1790, became the property of the nation, and served as a prison during the Reign of Terror.
It was at the time of this suppression that the wholesale assassination of the inmates occurred, and it is thus described by Nougaret:—
"At the Seminaire de St. Firmin," says he, "the ruffians, tired of executing their victims one by one, burst open the house, and rushed frantically within; in a few minutes it presented the appearance of a vast shambles, human blood began to flow on the beds and floors of the dormitory, and to pour in a stream down the stairs. Men still living were thrown from the windows to fall upon the pikes, bayonets, and scythes of those who stood below to receive them and finish the barbarous work.
"Those who had taken sanctuary at the altar were assassinated at its foot; while falling on their knees and striking their breasts they were receiving the benediction of the most venerable among them, and were imploring Heaven to pardon their murderers. Among the ninety-one priests thus sacrificed, was one Joseph-Marie-Gros, vicar of St. Nicholas du Chardonnet, who had always entertained the most paternal affection for his flock: While bewildered by the frantic figures of the cowardly villains who surrounded him, his eye fell on a face in the midst of them, which he immediately recognized as one of his parishioners, to whom he had always shown special kindness. A ray of hope illumined his horizon as the familiar features approached. 'Mon ami,' said he, 'surely I know you?'
"• Maybe you once did, but I no longer know any one but the Commune that pays me.'
'" Have you, then, forgotten all our former relations?' "'Entirely.'
"The venerable old man gave himself up, and a tear trembled in his eye as he thought of the sinful ingratitude and perversity of his former catechumen. Meantime the fellow, surlily turning away his head that he might not meet the meek and silent reproach, beckoned to his comrades, who at once seized the grey-haired octogenarian, and remorselessly threw him from the window. His head was broken on the pavement below, which was strewn with his brains. His aged limbs quivered for a moment, but he moved no more, and his body was thrown on the ghastly heap beside him. When his will was opened, it was found he had left all his little property to the poor of his parish, with a special legacy to the miscreant whose hand had been the instrument of his death."
Among these State Papers are enumerated the ecrous of all the prisoners who passed through the cells of the Abbaye during the Reign of Terror. Among them what can be more moving than that of the unfortunate Queen—the beautiful Marie Antoinette—once the idol, and a few short years later the butt, of the populace ?• Well indeed might Alfred Nettement pen those elegant and touching sketches of her as "Heureuse comme une' Reine," and "Malheureuse comme une Reine I"
By these insolent cowards we find her name entered as "Marie Antoinette, veuve de Louis Capet le raccourci" t while that of the Princess Elizabeth, the King's sister, stands—" Marie Elizabeth Capet, accus6 d'avoir excite le peuple a la haine et a la revoke contre l'autorite t" A singular charge to be made by fellows themselves rebels against all law and order.
Madame de Lamballe's and other distinguished names appear in the hideous list, where also we read that of Charlotte Corday.
Of all, however, perhaps the most curious, the most valuable to the historian, was a bundle of papers contained in a worm-eaten wooden casket. Monsieur Labat, seeing how deeply occupied I was with the fortunes of the beautiful and hapless Queen, whose cruel fate I do not think I had ever so vividly realized to myself till this moment, produced this ancient box from some fiidden recess, and placed it on the green baize cloth before me, with something like veneration ; then, pointing to it, he said solemnly :—
"That box contains the solution to one of the enigmas of history. In that correspondence lies the complete and ample justification of Marie Antoinette, and the true story of the Collier De La Reine."
The papers seized at the house of Robespierre, after his assassination, are numerous, and, as may be supposed, among them are some terribly compromising. One bundle consisted entirely of anonymous threats and warnings addressed to this democrat, who must have lived for some months in hourly expectation of the fate he finally met. One of these is accompanied by a singular pen-and-ink caricature, in which he is represented sitting on a tomb occupying the centre of the paper: on it is inscribed the comprehensive epitaph—
"Gi-git toute la France!"
Beneath his feet are two volumes, labelled "Constitution de 1792," and "Constitution de 1793." On either side is a semicircle of guillotines, each specifically inscribed to signify that it has served to exterminate a separate class of society— nobles, landowners, ministers, officials, politicians, savans, priests, religious orders, tradesmen, &c, &c. At the base is one more guillotine, on which lies " Monsieur de Paris," the only individual now left alive, and whom Robespierre himself is therefore in the act of guillotining. We are given to understand by a note at foot, that Robespierre having caused the whole French nation to be executed, and no longer needing the service of the headsman, is giving himself the trouble of executing him, and then means to reign in peace over the whole of France.
The prods verbal of the post-mortem examination of Mirabeau is another curious piece, proving that his death was not the result of poison, but of his own intemperate habits.
Absent likewise from the existing list is a characteristic autograph letter addressed, by Louis-Philippe Joseph Egalite to his. daughter, regulating her expenditure at the time when, having compounded with his creditors, he was himself living on an allowance of 200,000 livres a year. The Princess was then hiding in Brussels, and. the letter was entrusted to a female domestic, who, bribed by the self-constituted Government of France, betrayed her employers to them and gave up their whereabouts, placing the letter in the hands of the President.
In it the Duke desires her to limit her expenses to 4,000 livres a month, and directs that her establishment shall consist of a" gouvernante," a "femme de chambre," and a " valet de chambre," and that she shall keep only one "carosse a deux chevaux, pour sa promener trois ou quatre fois par semaine."
The report of the execution of Cartouche, also preserved here, affords some very dramatic particulars not generally known. This brigand was not only an immensely powerful man, but he had an iron will, and, when undergoing the fulfilment of his sentence, suffered the application of the "question " in very severe forms, without for a moment flinching or wavering in his determination not to betray his accomplices, persuaded, as he was, that, before the final issue, he certainly should be rescued by the armed force of his desperate band. With wonderful constancy and confiding patience did the brigand chief await the arrival of his followers; and even when his limbs were so dislocated and mangled that he was about to be carried off to the scaffold to which he was no longer able to walk, he yet held firmly to his conviction of their intrepidity and fidelity. Alas! however, for this heroic faith, which might have been better placed, no signs of relief appeared; and when, arrived under the shadow of the guillotine, he saw himself hopelessly forsaken, his heart was filled with disappointment and rage.
"Stay," said he to the Valets du bourreau, who supported his shattered frame, "I have revelations to make."
On this, Cartouche was carried back —Heaven knows in what condition—to his cell, the condemned cell, an awful place to behold; pens and paper were brought, and the wretched convict made a last supreme effort to write down the names of his false friends and faint-hearted adherents. It was in vain ; his arm dropped lifeless by his side, and he was fain to content his vengeance by dictating the fatal declaration.
Thirty names he gave, including those of two of his mistresses, which head the list, as it there stands appended to his "acte de condamnation."
This evidence, however, though fatal to his gang, served him but little, and the sentence which condemned him to die on
the wheel was not even commuted; for we read in the margin of the record the fearful words "rompu vif," testifying to the mode of his death, and another note states that he lived twelve hours on the rack!
The Genovevan library possesses his skull, bequeathed by him to the Fathers of that monastery, within which he desired to be buried; it is asserted that just before he expired, the miserable man sent for one of these religious, and made a full and penitent confession.
Cartouche received his education in the same college as Voltaire, and among the ecrous of the Bastile preserved here, his name is, by a singular coincidence, inscribed on the same page as that of " Arouet," when incarcerated there for libel—"'pour crime de poesie," as the accusation is styled.
The "lettres de cachet" of all the prisoners who were ever arrested according to that formality, form another important collection among these papers : these "lettres de cachet," of the mysterious nature of which so many romancists have availed themselves, were all signed by the King, and countersigned by the Minister ; and by the mode in which the two signatures were bracketed together, it was impossible any other name could be inserted between. A knowledge of this fact may contribute to spoil some few pages of some few French novels, and upset the probabilities of their plots.
The ecrou of Ravaillac I was curious to see, and it was instantly brought me. It stood in the middle of a double-columned page of an old book, so ancient that it almost crumbled beneath the touch. It shows this miscreant to have been not "a Jesuit," as history generally states, but a "praeticien"—a mechanic or industrial —possibly, a medical—practitioner.
That of Jacques Clement has been lost.
Many similar notes does my Diary of the year 1859 contain of visits to the Prefecture, but the above will suffice to show how deplorable would have been the loss had such unique and priceless memoranda been sacrificed to the insane fury of an association of coarse and unappreciative roughs.
It is a remarkable fact that notwithstanding the revolutions that have laid bare all the most hidden corners of Paris, notwithstanding the sacking and pillaging of public buildings, and the great interest many must have had in searching, appropriating, or destroying such documents as these, never, but with one solitary exception, has a single item been abstracted from the collection. Every successive archivist has remained sternly, as well as diplomatically, faithful to the traditions of his predecessors.
The occasion to which I refer occurred during the Empire, when it appears that all the documents having any reference to the affaire de Strasbourg and the affaire de Boulogne were removed by supreme authority, on the ptea that they belonged to another department, were not restored, and have never since been found!
The following anecdote appeared to me curious and characteristic, and as such I offer it to my readers : it is, at all events, authentic.
In 1848, when Caussidiere was at the head of the Prefecture de Police, an individual, destined subsequently to occupy an important position, presented himself one day at the Depot des Archives, and, exhibiting an authorization signed by certain members of the Government, requested that a register he required to consult should be given up to him. M. Labat received him, and, having listened to his request and examined his paper, returned it to him, at the same time politely but firmly regretting that it was quite impossible to comply therewith, on the plea that it was contrary to all precedent in the history of the nation for the archivist to allow the minutest item constituting his trust to leave the premises; he
added, however, that he should be happy to allow any paper to be examined in his presence. This arrangement did not appear to suit the applicant, who withdrew extremely dissatisfied with the reply.
M. Labat repaired at once to Caussidiere's room, and informed him of the visit he had received and the demand which was its object.
"And you acquiesced?" replied he.
"By no means," said M. Labat.
"How! When he produced an authority !" exclaimed the astonished Caussidiere.
"The refusal was absolutely imperative," answered M. Labat. "Only see whither such a precedent would lead us! My trust was handed to me intact, and I must transmit it in the same condition. Ours is an office in which we must, perforce, establish an inviolable solidarity; and the moment I am compelled by superior authority to infringe upon that princiciple, I shall resign my position."
Caussidiere, well aware of the value of so zealous a defender of property so important to the nation, was delighted with the intelligence and courage of his subordinate.
"My dear M. Labat," said he, "would that France possessed a few more such public servants as you. Continue, I pray you, to act with as much prudence and firmness as you have exhibited to-day: I authorize you to keep a loaded pistol on your desk, and if need be to fire it at the first person who attempts to meddle with your papers, even if it should be myself."
St. Paul's. THE LITERARY LIFE. II.
To take up, as promised, the subject of preparation for literature as a profession, I begin by saying that probably the greater number of those who try to find their way into literature never think of preparing for it at all, and that some of those who read this will no doubt wonder what kind of preparation can be possible or desirable. Let me be excused for being autobiographical : it will prove the shortest way of getting into the heart of the subject.
The Scripture-loving people among whom my lot was first cast used to say of rue that I had " the pen of a ready writer,"
from the time when I could use the pen. But long before I had learnt writing I had a style of what shall I say ?—slate-pencilmanship of my own, and, on the slate, "lisped in numbers, for the numbers came." By the time I was ten years old I had produced plenty of verse, which, merely as such, was good, and which probably contained some faint elements of poetry. But my shyness and self-distrust were extreme, and this continued up to long after the time when it had been proved that other people were willing to hear me, or read me. These lines may