Page:History of the Guillotine.djvu/23

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physician, one Dr. Guillotin, who professed, probably sincerely, but somewhat ostentatiously, what it was the fashion to call philanthropy; and just before the election of the States-General he published one or two pamphlets in favour of the Tiers Etat—liberal and philosophic as he no doubt considered them, but seditious in the eyes of the Parliament of Paris, which made some show of prosecuting the author: this was enough in those days to establish any man's popularity, and Guillotin, though a person, as it turned out, of very moderate ability, was so recommended by his popular pamphlets and by the censure of the Parliament, that he was elected as one of the representatives of Paris to the National Assembly.

We abstract from a work published in the height of republican enthusiasm (1796), and certainly with no bias against the Revolution or its founders, the following account of Dr. Guillotin:—

"By what accident has a man without either talents or reputation obtained for his name a frightful immortality? He fathered a work really written by a lawyer—Hardouin—who had too much character to produce it in his own name; and this work having been censured by the Parliament, Guillotin, who assumed the responsibility of it, became the man of the day, and owed to it that gleam of reputation which ensured his election to the States-General. He was in truth a nobody, who made himself a busybody—and by meddling with everything, à tort et à travers, was at once mischievous and ridiculous."—Portraits des Personnes Célèbres, 1796.

He made several small attempts at senatorial