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•» «• for him to write his name, that it might be compared with his hand writting in the office of the secretary at war which he offered to carry over with him. Governor W— still pressed him to take him into custody, the messenger more strongly declined it, by informing him that he was the bearer of dispatches of great importance to his court, that he must immediately cross the Channel, and should hazard a passage, although the weather looked lowering, in an open boat, as no packets bad arrived, and that consequently it was altogether impoffible to take him over, but again requested him to write his name, for the purpose already mentioned; the governor consented, pens and paper were brought, but the. hand of the murderer shook so dreadfully, that he could not write, and in an agony of mind, bordering upon frenzy, he rushed out of the room, and immediately left the town.
The messenger entered the boat, and-set sail; a storm quickly followed, the bout sunk in sight of tie pier, and all on board but one of the watermen perished I ! I
The great disposer of human destiny, in vindication of his eternal justice, rescued the life of this infatuated delinquent from the waves, and from a sudden deaths to resign him to the public and merits 4 . doom .of the few s. ... ... v . . i j,r v .
©HAP. VH.J IN FRANCE. 75
. CHAPTER VII. ...
Filial Piety.—St. Catharine's Mount.—Madame PhilIcpe.—General Ruffin's Trumpet.—Generosity.— Love InfeElious.—Masons and Gardners. >
-1 HAVE before had occasion to mention the humane conduct of Madame G towards the persecuted abbe ; she soon afterwards, with the principal ladies of the city, fell under the displeasure of Robespierre, and his agents. Their only crime was .wealth, honorably acquired. A committee, composed of the most worthless people of Rouen, was formed, who, in the name of, and for the use of the nation, seized upon the valuable stock of Messrs. G——, who were natives of France. In one night, by torchlight, their extensive ware houses were sacked, and all their stores were forcibly fold in the public market place to the best bidder :the plundered merchants were paid the amount of the sale in asiignats, in a paper currency which then bore an enormous discount, and shortly afterwards retained only the value of the paper upon which the national note was written. In ihort, in a few hours an honorable family, nobly allied, were despoiled of a property to the amount of 25,000/. sterling. Other merchants shared the fame fate. This act of robbery was followed by an act of
cruelty. Madame G , the mother, who was
born in England, and who married a French gentleman of large fortune, whom she survived, of a delicate frame and advanced in years, was committed to prison, where, with many other female sufferers, she was closely consined for eleven months, during which, time she was compelled to endure all forts of' privations. After the committee of rapine had settled their black account, and had remitted the guilty balance to their employers, the latter, in a letter of "friendly collusion, and fraudulent familiarity," after pastmg a few revolutionary jokes upon what had
occurred, observed that the G s seemed to bleed
very freely, and that as it was likely they must have credit with many persons to a large amount, directed their obedient and active banditti to order these devoted gentlemen to draw, and to deliver to them, their draughts upon all such persons who stood indebted to their extensive concern. In the words of a celebrated orator,* "Though they had shaken the «tree till nothing remained upon the leafless branch"es yet a new flight was on the wing, to watch the "sirst buddings of its prosperity, and to nip every "hope of future foliage and fruit."
The G 3 expected this visit, and, by an ingenious, and justisied expedient, prevented their perdition from becoming decisive.'
* Vide Sheridan's cration against Hastings upon the Begum charge.
CHAP. IN TRANCE;
Soon after the gates of the prison were closed upon Madame G , her eldest son, a man of commanding person, and eloquent address, in desiance of every friendly, and of every affectionate entreaty, flew to Paris.
It ,was in the evening of last winter which beheld its shows crimsoned with revolutionary carnage, when he presented himself, undismayed, before that committee, whose horrible nature will be better described by merely relating the names of its members, then sitting, than by the most animated and elaborate delineations of all its deadly deeds of rapine and of blood. At a table covered with green cloth, shabbily lighted, in one of the committee rooms of the national assembly, were seated Robespierre, Collot, d'Herbois, Carnot, and Davids They were occupied insilling up the lists for the permanent guillotine, erect,ed very near them, in la Plate de la Revolution, which the executioners w«re then clearing ot its gore, and preparing for the next day's butchery. In this devoted capital more blood had, during that day, streamed upon the scaffold, than on any one day during the revolution.
The terrisied inhabitants, in darkness, in remote recesses of their desolate houses, were silently offer- . ing up a prayer to the great God of Mercy to release them, in a way most suitable to his wisdom, from such scenes of deep dismay, .and remorseless slaughter
I Robespierre,'as^ftial, was dreiseil with great neatness and gaiety-; the savage was generally scented, whilst his associates were habited, en Jacobin; in the squalid, silthy fal&fon of that era of the revolution, in the dress of bhckguards.'/" , . .-', ,n t I .
Mr, G bowed, and addressed them very respectfully. « I am come, citizens, before you," said this amiable son, " to implore the release of my mo*v ther; she is pining in the prisons of Rouen, withi"out having committed any offence; she is in years-5 u and if her consinement continues, hen children "whose fortunes have been placed at the disposal of "the national exigencies, will have to, lament her « death; grant the prayer of her son, restore, I con* , "jure you, by all the rights of nature, restore her to « her afflicted family." Robespierre looked obliquely at him, and with his accustomed sharpness, interrupted him from proceeding further, by exclaiming, " what right have you to appear before us, mis*. "creant ? you are an agent of Pitt and Cobourg (the « then common phrase of reproach) you shall be sent "to the guillotine—Why are you not at the fron-.
"tiers?" Monsieur G—• , unappalled, replied*.
« give me my mother, and I will be there tc-mor"row, I am ready instantly to spill my blood, if it *' must be the price of her discharge." Robespierre,, wlsose savage soul was. occasionally moved by sights of heroic virtue, seemed impressed by this brave and unusual addrcfo He paused, and aster whispering a