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A Residence in France During the Years 1792, 1793,

And the more recent one of the Chevalier La Barre


Clementine

was consumptive when they were first arrested, and vexation, with ill-treatment in the prison, have so established her disorder, that she is now past relief. She is yet scarcely eighteen, and one of the most lovely young women I ever saw. Grief and sickness have ravaged her features; but they are still so perfect, that fancy, associating their past bloom with their present languor, supplies perhaps as much to the mind as is lost by the eye. She suffers without complaining, and mourns without ostentation; and hears her father spoken of with such solemn silent floods of tears, that she looks like the original of Dryden's beautiful portrait of the weeping Sigismunda.

The letter which condemned the father of these ladies, was not, it seems, written to himself, but to a brother, lately dead, whose executor he was, and of whose papers he thus became possessed. On this ground their friends engaged them to petition the Assembly for a revision of the sentence, and the restoration of their property, which was in consequence forfeited.

The daily professions of the Convention, in favour of justice and humanity, and the return of the seventy-three imprisoned Deputies, had soothed these poor young women with the hopes of regaining their paternal inheritance, so iniquitously confiscated. A petition was, therefore, forwarded to Paris about a fortnight ago; and the day before, the following decree was issued, which has

silenced their claims for ever: "La Convention Nationale declare qu'elle n'admettra aucune demande en revision des jugemens criminels portant confiscation de biens rendus et executes pendant la revolution."*

* "The National Convention hereby declares that it will admit no petitions for the revisal of such criminal sentences, attended with confiscation of property, as have been passed and executed since the revolution."

Yet these revolutionists, who would hear nothing of repairing their own injustice, had occasionally been annulling sentences past half a century ago, and the more recent one of the Chevalier La Barre. But their own executions and confiscations for an adherence to religion were to be held sacred.--I shall be excused for introducing here a few words respecting the affair of La Barre, which has been a favourite topic with popular writers of a certain description. The severity of the punishment must, doubtless, be considered as disgraceful to those who advised as well as to those who sanctioned it: but we must not infer from hence that he merited no punishment at all; and perhaps degradation, some scandalous and public correction, with a few years solitary confinement, might have answered every purpose intended.

La Barre was a young etourdi, under twenty, but of lively talents, which, unfortunately for him, had taken a very perverse turn. The misdemeanour commonly imputed to him and his associates was, that they had mutilated a Christ which stood on the Pont-neuf at Abbeville: but La Barre had accustomed himself to take all opportunities of insulting, with the most wanton malignity, these pious representations, and especially in the presence of people, with whom his particular connections led him to associate, and whose profession could not allow them entirely to overlook such affronts on what was deemed an appendage to the established religion of the country.


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