Page:History of the Guillotine.djvu/62

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47
LAQUIANTE'S MACHINE.

verb that there is nothing new under the sun; and we are at a loss to account for the negligence of both Guillotin and Louis, who, being aware that such an instrument had been in use in Italy and England, seem to have made no inquiry after plans or drawings; though we have little doubt that all we have mentioned, and perhaps many more, were to be found in the Bibliotheque of the Rue de Richelieu.

But, after all, it was neither Guillotin nor Louis who constructed (invention is out of the question) the instrument which was actually adopted: for while all these proceedings were going on in Paris, the same difficulties as to the execution of malefactors had occurred in the departmental tribunals, and an officer of the criminal court at Strasburgh, named Laquiante, had made a design of a machine à décapiter, and employed one Schmidt, a forte-piano maker, to execute it. Dubois gives a copy of this design, which was very ill-contrived, being more like Handle Holme's armorial bearings than the perfect guillotine.

As soon as the Legislative Assembly had decided to adopt M. Louis's proposition, we presume that he set about preparing a model (his report distinctly negatives the idea that he had as yet done so), and Rœderer, having obtained the sanction of the Minister of Finance for the expense, called upon a person of the name of Guidon, who had, it seems, the office or contract "pour la fourniture des bois de justice," to give an estimate for the construction of Louis's machine. Guidon (5th April, 1792) estimated the work at 5660 francs (about 226l.), and, when remon-