Page:History of the Guillotine.djvu/43

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the care with which all allusion to the more obvious use of the block and axe was omitted.

The appeal, however, of the Minister of Justice obliged the Legislative Assembly to solve the question, and they referred it to a committee, who themselves consulted M. Louis, the Secretary of the Academy of Surgery, and, on the 20th of March, Carlier (of the same name as the excutioner of 1684, who preceded the Sanson family in the office), brought up the report of the Committee, and on the same day the Assembly decreed—

"That the mode of execution proposed by M. Louis, the Secretary of the Academy of Surgeons (which proposal is annexed to the present decree), shall be adopted throughout the kingdom."

The following is M. Louis's report, which, notwithstanding its length, we think worth reproducing—it is in truth the main feature in the history of the guillotine, and its conclusions are still the existing Law of France on the subject:—

"Report on the Mode of Decollation.

"The Committee of Legislation having done me the honour to consult me on two letters addressed to the National Assembly concerning the execution of the 3rd Art. of the 1st Title of the Penal Code, which directs that every criminal capitally convicted shall be decapitated (aura la tête tranchée); by these letters the Minister of Justice and the Directory of the Department of Paris, in consequence of representations made to them, are of opinion that it is instantly necessary to determine the precise mode of