Page:History of the Guillotine.djvu/94

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79
ROBESPIERRE'S POLICY.

himself an impostor, at the head of a procession in which asses were insultingly decorated with the sacred emblems of religion. Chaumette himself it was who introduced to the Convention a prostitute in the character of the Goddess of Reason. Robespierre sent this whole clique to the Guillotine, and on the 13th of April, 1794, Chaumette's own blood flowed to increase the horrors of which he had complained.

The Guillotine remained in permanence in the Place de la Révolution till the 8th of June, 1794, when the inhabitants of the streets through which these batches (fournées) as they were called, of sufferers used to pass, became at last tired of that agreeable sight, and solicited its removal. This would probably have been not much regarded; but there was a more potent motive. Robespierre seems at this time to have adopted a new policy, and to have formed some design of founding a dictatorial authority in his own person on the basis of religion and morals. On the 7th June he made his famous report acknowledging "l'Etre Suprême" and appointing the 20th June for the great fete in the garden of the Tuileries, which was to celebrate this recognition. Of this fête Robespierre was to be the Pontifex Maximus and it can hardly be doubted that it was to remove the odious machine from the immediate scene of his glorification that it was—the day after the decree and ten days before the fête—removed to the Place St. Antoine, in front of the ruins of the Bastile; but that a day might not be lost, it was removed on a Decadi, the republican Sabbath. It stood, however,