Page:History of the Guillotine.djvu/37

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M. de Clermont Tonnère, he escaped from their hands, and passed over into England.[1]

The article, however, notwithstanding M. de Liancourt's humane argument in its favour, was not passed without some difficulty, and only after two doubtful trials.

Still, however, this was a mere vote without any immediate legal effect till the whole constitution should be ratified: nor, be it observed, was anything said—either in the discussions or in the decrees—about a machine; and indeed it seems certain, from documents which we shall quote presently, that it was not yet decided that a machine should be employed at all, and that, on the contrary, the use of the sword (not even the axe and block) was still uppermost in men's minds.

At length, however, on the 21st of September, 1791, the new penal code was adopted; and on the 6th of October became, and still continues to be, the law of France. Its 2nd and 3rd articles, tit. 1, are as follow:—

"II. The punishment of death shall consist in the mere privation of life, and no kind of torture shall be ever inflicted on the condemned. "III. Every person condemned [to a capital punishment] shall be beheaded."

  1. He afterwards went to America, where he remained several years, and published his Travels in the United States. He obtained permission from Buonaparte to return to France; whence, on the fall of the Empire, he was one of the first who hurried over to Dover to kiss the bands of Louis XVIII., who, however, had not forgotten, and never forgave, his early countenance of the Revolution.