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Calonne, the tender-heartedness of the financiers, and the philanthropy of the farmers of the revenue!

Suffer and die: be it so! But to suffer by election, to die through mere necessity-so that grace for one is death and ruin for the other! Oh! that is too much, too much by half.

Kind-hearted men, you who weep over the evils of the Revolution (doubtless with too much reason), shed also a few tears for the evils which occasioned it.

Come and see, I beseech you, this people lying in the dust, like poor Job, amid their false friends, their patrons, their influential protectors-the clergy and royalty. Behold the look of anguish that they turn upon their king, without speaking. What language is in that look!

"O king, whom I made my god, to whom I erected an altar, and to whom I prayed even before God himself, from whom, in the jaws of death, I implored for salvation; you, my only hope, you, whom I have adored. What! have you then felt nothing?"



THE illustrious Quesnay, physician to Louis XV. and to Madame de Pompadour, who lived in the house of the latter at Versailles, saw the king one day rush in suddenly, and felt alarmed. Madame du Hausset, the witty femme de chambre, who has left such curious memoirs, inquired of him why he seemed so uneasy. "Madam," returned he, "whenever I see the king, I say to myself: There is a man who can cut head off." Oh!" said she "the king is too good!" The lady's maid thus summed up, in one word, the guarantees of the monarchy.


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The king was too good to cut a man's head off; that was no longer agreeable to custom. But he could, with one word, send him to the Bastille, and there forget him.

It remains to be decided which is best,-to perish by one blow, or to suffer a lingering death for thirty or forty years.

There were some twenty Bastilles in France, of which six only (in 1775) contained three hundred prisoners. At Paris,



in '79, there were about thirty prisons where people might be incarcerated without any sentence. An infinite number of corvents were subsidiary to these Bastilles.

All these state-prisons, towards the close of the reign of Louis XIV., were, like everything else, controlled by the Jesuits. They were, in their hands, instruments of torture for the Protestants and the Jansenists-dens for conversion. A secrecy

more profound than that of the leads and the wells of Venice, the oblivion of the tomb, enshrouded everything. The Jesuits were the confessors of the Bastille, and of many other prisons; the prisoners who died were buried under false names in the church of the Jesuits. Every means of terror was in their hands, especially those dungeons whence the prisoners occasionally came out with their ears or noses gnawed away by the rats. Not only of terror, but of flattery also-both so potent with female prisoners. The almoner, to render grace more efficacious, employed even culinary arguments, starving, feeding, pampering the fair captive according as she yielded or resisted. More than one state-prison is mentioned in which the gaolers and the Jesuits paid alternate visits to the female prisoners, and had children by them. One preferred to strangle herself.

The lieutenant of police went, from time to time, to breakfast at the Bastille. That was reckoned as a visit,—a magisterial supervision. That magistrate was ignorant of everything; and yet it was he alone who gave an account to the minister. One family, one dynasty, Châteauneuf, his son La Vrillière, and his grandson Saint-Florentin (who died in 1777) possessed, for a century, the department of the state-prisons and the lettresde-cachet. For this dynasty to subsist, it was necessary to have prisoners; when the Protestants were liberated, their places were filled up with the Jansenists; next, they took men of letters, philosophers, the Voltaires, Frèrets, Diderots. The minister used to give generously blank lettres-de-cachet to the intendants, the bishops, and people in the adminstration. Saint-Florentin, alone, gave away as many as 50,000. Never had man's dearest treasure, liberty, been more lavishly squandered. These letters were the object of a profitable traffic; they were sold to fathers who wanted to get rid of their sons, and given to pretty women, who were inconvenienced by their husbands. This last cause of imprisonment was one of the most common.



And all through good-nature. The king was too good to refuse a lettre-de-cachet to a great lord. The intendent was too good-natured not to grant one at a lady's request. The government-clerks, the mistresses of the clerks, and the friends of these mistresses, through good-nature, civility, or mere polite ness, obtained, gave, or lent, those terrible orders by which a man was buried alive. Buried;-for such was the carelessness and levity of those amiable clerks,—almost all nobles, fashion able men, all occupied with their pleasures,—that they never had the time, when once the poor fellow was shut up, to think of his position.

Thus, the government of grace, with all its advantages,-descending from the king to the lowest clerk in the adminis tration, disposed, according to caprice or fancy, of liberty of life.

Let us understand this system well. Why does such an on succeed? What does he possess, that everything should thriv with him? He has the grace of God, and the king's goo grace. Let him who is in disgrace, in this world of grace, g out of the world,-banished, sentenced, and damned. The Bastille, the lettre-de-cachet, is the king's excommunica tion.

No. It would require

Are the excommunicated to die? decision of the king, a resolution painful to take, which woul grieve the king himself. It would be a judgment between hir and his conscience. Let us save him the task of judging, killing. There is a middle term between life and death: lifeless, buried life. Let us organize a world expressly fo oblivion. Let us set falsehood at the gates within and withou in order that life and death be ever uncertain. The livin corpse no longer knew anything about his family. "But m wife?" Thy wife is dead-I make a mistake-re-marrie "Are any of my friends alive? Do they ever remember me? Thy friends, poor fool, why, they were the persons who b trayed thee." Thus the soul of the miserable prisoner, a pr to their ferocious merriment, is fed on derision, calumny, a lies.


Forgotten! O terrible word! among souls! Had not he whom right to live at least in the mind?

That a soul should peris
God created for life th
What mortal shall da



inflict, even on the most guilty, this worst of deaths,—to be eternally forgotten?

No, do not believe it. Nothing is forgotten,-neither man nor thing. What once has been, cannot be thus annihilated. The very walls will not forget, the pavement will become accomplice, and convey sounds and noises; the air will not forget; from that small skylight, where a poor girl is sewing, at the Porte Saint-Antoine, they have seen and understood. Nay, the very Bastille itself will be affected. That surly turnkey is still a man. I see inscribed upon the walls the hymn of a prisoner to the glory of a gaoler, his benefactor.-Poor benefit! A shirt that he gave to that Lazarus, barbarously abandoned, devoured by vermin in his tomb!

Whilst I have been writing these lines, a mountain, a Bastille has been crushing my breast. Alas! why stay so long talking of dilapidated prisons, and wretches whom death has delivered? The world is covered with prisons, from Spielberg to Siberia, from Spandau to Mont-St.-Michel. The world is a prison !

Vast silence of the globe, stifled groans and sobs from the ever-silent earth, I hear you but too plainly. The captive mind, dumb among inferior animals, and musing in the barbarous world of Africa and Asia, thinks, and suffers in our Europe!

Where does it speak, if not in France, in spite of chains? It is ever here that the mute genius of the earth finds a voice,— an organ. The world thinks, France speaks.

And it is precisely on that account that the Bastille of France, the Bastille of Paris (I would rather say the prison of thought), was, of all other Bastilles, execrable, infamous, and accursed. From the last century, Paris was already the voice of the globe. The earth spoke by the voice of three men-Voltaire, Jean-Jacques, and Montesquieu. That the interpreters of the world should behold unworthy threats perpetually suspended over them, that the narrow issue through which the agony of mankind could breathe its sighs, should ever be shut up, was beyond human endurance.

Our fathers shivered that Bastille to pieces, tore away its stones with their bleeding hands, and flung them afar. Afterwards, they seized them again; and, having hewn them into




a different form, in order that they might be trampled under foot by the people for ever, built with them the Bridge of Revo


All other prisons had become more merciful; but this one had become more cruel. From reign to reign, they diminished what the gaolers would laughingly term, the liberties of the Bastille. The windows were walled up one after another, and other bars were added. During the reign of Louis XVI., the use of the garden and the walk on the towers were prohibited.

About this period two circumstances occurred which added to the general indignation,-Linguet's memoirs, which made people acquainted with the ignoble and ferocious interior; and, what was more decisive, the unwritten, unprinted case of Latude whispered mysteriously, and transmitted from mouth. to mouth, its effect was only rendered more terrible.

For my part, I must acknowledge the extremely agonizing effect which the prisoner's letters produced on me. Though a sworn enemy to barbarous fictions about everlasting punishments, I found myself praying to God to construct a hell for tyrants.

Ah! M. de Sartines, Ah! Madame de Pompadour, how heavy is your burden! How plainly do we perceive, by that history, how, having once embraced injustice, we go on from bad to worse; how terror, descending from the tyrant to the slave, returns again more forcibly to torment the tyrant. Having once kept this man a prisoner without judgment, for some trifling fault, Madame de Pompadour and M. de Sartines are obliged to hold him captive for ever, and seal over him with an eternal stone the hell of silence.

But that cannot be. That stone is ever restless; and a low, terrible voice—a sulphurous blast-is ever arising. In '81, Sartines feels its dread effect,-in '84, the king himself is hurt by it,-in '89, the people know all, see all, even the ladder by which the prisoner escaped. In '93, they guillotine the family of Sartines.

For the confusion of tyrants, it so happened that they had in that prisoner confined a daring, terrible man, whom nothing could subdue, whose voice shook the very walls, whose spirit and audacity were invincible. A body of iron, indestructible, which was to wear out all their prisons, the Bastille, Vincennes,

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