Page:History of the Guillotine.djvu/35

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of the committee, who warmly advocated their views and his own for the abolition, was Le Pelletier de St. Fargeau, an ex-president of the Parliament of Paris, where he had been a leading frondeur: at the outset of the States-General he seemed inclined to the Royalist party, but, either from terror or a desire of popularity, soon became a Jacobin.[1] This strenuous advocate for the abolition of the punishment of death in any case voted for the murder of the King, and was himself on the same day assassinated by one Pâris, an ex-Garde du Corps, in a café of the Palais Royal;[2] but a still more remarkable circumstance was, that the member who distinguished himself by the most zealous, argumentative, and feeling protest against the shedding of human blood, in any possible case or under any pretext whatsoever, was, as the reports call him, "Monsieur de Robespierre!"

The fundamental question being thus decided for the retention of capital punishment, the mode of

  1. "Homme faible et riche, qui s'était donné à la Montagne par peur!"—Mémoires de Madame Roland, vol. ii. p. 296.
  2. The name of the coffee-house keeper was Fevrier, and it shows the temper of the times that at this moment of complicated horrors the public was amused with the following burlesque epitaph on Le Pelletier:—

    "Ci-gît Le Pelletier,
     Assassiné en Janvier
      Chez Fevrier,
      A Paris,
      Par Pâris."

    Madame Roland suspected, and we incline to believe, that he was not murdered by Pâris, but by his own party, to increase the exasperation of the public mind, and ensure the execution of the King.—Mémoires de Madame Roland, ubi supra.