On this day we celebrate the anniversary of the death in 1794 of that unpleasant man, Maximilien Marie Isidore de Robespierre.
In his quest to form a Utopian society in France he unleashed the full terror of the French Revolution. Fittingly, he met the same end to which he had so enthusiastically and mercilessly condemned so many misfortunates.
This is how Thomas Carlyle reported Robespierre’s personal rendezvous with the guillotine:
“All eyes are on Robespierre’s Tumbril, where he, his jaw bound in dirty linen, with his half-dead Brother, and half-dead Henriot, lie shattered; their ‘seventeen hours’ of agony about to end. The Gendarmes point their swords at him, to shew the people which is he. A woman springs on the Tumbril; clutching the side of it with one hand; waving the other Sibyl-like; and exclaims: ‘The death of thee gladdens my very heart, m’enivre de joie;’ Robespierre opened his eyes; ‘Scelerat, go down to Hell, with the curses of all wives and mothers!’–At the foot of the scaffold, they stretched him on the ground till his turn came. Lifted aloft, his eyes again opened; caught the bloody axe. Samson wrenched the coat off him; wrenched the dirty linen from his jaw: the jaw fell powerless, there burst from him a cry;–hideous to hear and see.”