Page:History of the Guillotine.djvu/31

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advocated, of removing from a criminal's family any share in his disgrace—false in principle, and impossible in fact—had made, as such plausibilities generally do when the public mind is excited, a great popular impression. The case, very characteristic in all its circumstances, was this.

There were three brothers of a respectable family in Paris of the name of Agasse, the two eldest of whom, printers and proprietors of the Moniteur, were convicted for forgery of bank-notes, and sentenced to be hanged. This condemnation excited—from the youth and antecedent respectability of the parties—great public interest. It might be naturally expected that this sympathy would have exerted itself in trying to procure a pardon, or at least some commutation of punishment, for these young men, whose crime was really nothing compared with those of which Paris was the daily and hourly scene; but no! There seems, on the contrary, to have been a pretty general desire that they should suffer the full sentence of the law, in order that the National Assembly and the good people of Paris might have a practical opportunity of carrying out the new principle that the "crime does not disgrace the family." In the evening sitting of the 21st January (a date soon to become still more remarkable in the history of the Guillotine) an Abbé Pepin mounted hastily the tribune of the National Assembly, recalled to its attention Guillotin's propositions, which had been, he said, too long neglected, and stated that a case had now occurred which required the instant passing