Page:History of the Guillotine.djvu/64

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49
THE INVENTOR.

and constructor of the instrument that was finally adopted. This is proved incontestably, because, Schmidt's price of 960 francs having been found to be also exorbitant, "the real value not being above 305 livres, exclusive of the leather bag which was to receive the head, or 329 livres including the bag," it was resolved, in consideration that there were eighty-three instruments to be furnished, one to each department, that 500 francs (20l.) would be a liberal recompence: but it was thought fair to give M. Schmidt, "as the inventor" the preference of the new contract. And again; when Schmidt refused the contract at so low a rate, he was recommended to favour as being "l'inventeur de la machine à décapiter;" and when at last the order for the Departments was about to be transferred to the other contractor, Schmidt took out, or at least threatened to take out, an exclusive patent as the inventor of the machine, to the exclusion of both the Government and the contractor. (Lettre de Rœderer à Clavière, Rev. Ret., p. 29.) We know not how this by-battle ended—the last letter on the subject is dated the 6th of August, 1792—but then came the 10th of August, and in the anarchy which ensued all questions of right or property— even those connected with the triumphant Guillotine herself—were confounded and lost. In all these transactions there is no mention of, nor allusion to, Guillotin; and as we have before said, the instrument was, at its first actual appearance, called the Louison—but this name had no success; indeed M. Louis made no