« السابقةمتابعة »
He who did it acquitted himself with all the dig
nily possible ; I shall be grateful to him for it to Behind the painter, a young man whose bland
the last moment." hair, blue eye, and pale tint revealed a man of the blow at him whom she accused on the border of
This vengeance made a false north, stood up on the end of his feet to see better the tomb. The young Pontecaulant being absent the accused. He held his eyes fixed on her as a from Paris had not received the letter; his genephantom whose look had contracted the immobility rosity and his courage answered for his acceptance. of death. At each response of the young girl the Charlotte carried away a mistake and an injustice masculine sense and the feminine sound of that
to the scaffold. voice made him tremble and change color. He
The artist, who nad sketched the features of seemed to drink in with his eyes her words, and 10 Charlotte Corday before the tribunal, was M. Haassociate himself by gesture, by attitude and en- uer, painter and officer of the National Guard of thusiasm with the sentinients which the accused the section of the Theatre-Francais. Having reexpressed. Frequently, not being able to restrain entered her dungeon, she begged the door-keeper to his emotion, he provoked by involuntary exclama- permit him to enter to finish his work. M. Hauer tions, the murmurs of the auditors and the atten- was introduced. Charlotte thanked him for the tion of Charlotte Corday. At the moment the interest he appeared to take in her fate, and took President pronounced the decree of death, the her position before him with serenity. It might young man half arose with the gesture of one who have been said that in permitting him to transmit protects in his heart and reseated himself imme. her features and her physiognomy to posterity, she diately, as if strength failed him. Charlotte, in-charged him to transmit her soul and her patriolsensible to her own lot, saw this movement. She ism visible to generations to come. She conversed comprehended that at the moment when all aban- with M. Hauer about his art, the event of the day, doned her on earth, one soul attached itself to her's, of the peace which the act gave her, which she and that in the midst of this indifferent or hostile had consummated. She spoke of the young friends multitude, she had an unknown friend. Her look of her childhood at Caen, and prayed the artist to thanked him. This was their only conversation copy, in miniature, the large portrait which he here below.
made, and to send that miniature to her family. That young stranger was Adam Lux, a German In the midst of that conversation, mingled with republican, sent to Paris by the revolutionists of silence, they heard a gentle knock at the door of Mayence, to arrange, in concert, the movements of the dungeon placed behind the accused. They Germany with those of France in the common opened, it was the executioner. Charlotte, turocause of human reason and the liberty of the peo- ing at the noise, perceived the scissors and the red ple. His eyes followed the accused up to the mo- "chemise” which the executioner carried on his ment when she disappeared among the sabres of Her countenance grew pale and she shud. the gendarmes under the vault of the staircase. dered at that exhibition. “What already!" she His thoughts never quitted her more.
cried involuntarily. Soon she restrengthened herself, and casting a look on the unfinished portrait : “ Monsieur,” she said to the artist with a sad and benevolent smile, “I do not know how to thank
you for the care you have taken. I have only that Having reëntered the Conciergerie, which was to offer you, preserve it as a memorial of your to give her up in a few minutes to the scaffold, goodness and of my gratitnde.” In saying these Charlotte Corday smiled on her prison companions words she took the scissors from the band of the ranged in the corridors and the courts to see her executioner, and cutting a lock of her long hair, pass. She said to the door-keeper, “I had hoped which escaped from her bonnet, she presented it to we should breakfast together again ; but the judges M. Hauer. The gendarmes and the executioner, have kept me above so long that you must pardon at these words and this gesture, felt the tears mount me for not having kept my word.” The execu- into their eyes. tioner entered. She asked of him one minute to The family of M. Hauer still possesses this porfinish a letter which was begun. That letter was trait interrupted by death. The head alone was neither a weakness nor an expression of the ten- painted, the bust was scarcely sketched. But the derness of her soul; it was the cry of indignant painter, who followed with his eye the preparations friendship which wishes to leave an immortal re- for the scaffold, was so struck with the effect of proach to the baseness of an abandonment. It was the sinister splendor which the red “chemise,” addressed to Doulcet de Pontecaulant, whom she added to the beauty of the model that, after the had known at her aunt's, and whom she believed punishment of Charlotte, he painted her in this she had invoked in vain as a defender. Here is costume. that note : “Doulcet de Pontecaulant is a base man A priest, authorized by the public accuser, preto have refused to defend me where it was so easy. sented himself according to usage, to offer her the
consolations of religion. “ Thank those who have till then unknown! emo‘ions whose sweetness equals been so attentive as to send you,” she said to him their bitterness, and which will never die but with with an affectionate grace, " but I have no need of me. Let them sanctify the place of her punishyoor ministry. The blood which I have shed, and ment and raise there her statue with these words : my own which I am going to pour out, are the only • Plus grande que Brutus!' To die for her, to be sacrifices I can make to the Eternal.” The exe- buffered as she was by the hand of the executioner, cutioner cut off her hair, tied her hands and put on to feel in dying the same cold steel which cut off her the “chemise" of the executed. “ Behold," the angelic head of Charlotte, to be united to her she said smiling, “the toilette of death made by in heroism, in liberty, in love, in death-these, hands a little rude, but it conducts to immortality." | henceforth, are Aty only desires ! I shall never
She gathered up her long hair, looked at it the reach that sublime virtue ; but is it not just that last time, and gave it to Madame Richard. At the the object adored should always be above the adomoment she mounted the cart to go to execution a rer? storm broke on Paris. The thunder and the rain did not disperse the multitude that encumbered the squares, the bridges and the streets on the route of the cortege. Hordes of infuriated women pursued her with their maledictions. Insensible to these Thus an enthusiastic and spiritual lover, germioutrages, she cast around a radiating eye of seren- nated from the last look of the victim, accompaity and of pity on the people.
nied her without her knowledge, step by step, to the scaffold, and prepared to follow her, to merit with its model and its ideal the eternal union of souls. The cart stopped. Charlotte grew pale on
seeing the instrument of punishment. She quickly The heavens became clear. The rain, which resumed her natural color and mounted the slippery glued her garments to her limbs, sketched the steps of the scaffold with a step as firm and as light graceful contours of her body under the humid as her dragging "chemise" and tied hands permitFool
, as that of a woman coming from a bath. ted. When the executioner, to uncover her neck, Her hands tied behind her back, forced her to raise lore off the neckerchief which covered her breast, op her head. That constraint of the muscles gave humiliated modesty gave her more emotion than more immobility to her attitude and made the curves the death so near at hand; but resuming her seof her stature more prominent. The setting sun renity and her almost joyous transport lowards illumined her front with rays like to an Aureola. eternity, she placed herself, her neck under the The color of her cheeks, heightened by the reflec- hatchet. Her head rolled and rebounded. One lion of the red chemise, gave her physiognomy a of the servants of the executioner, named Legros, splendor which dazzled the eyes. One could not took the head in one hand and buffetted it with the tell if this was the apotheosis or the punishment of other, through a vile adulation of the people. The beauty which this tumultuous cortege followed. cheeks of Charlotte reddened, it is said, from the Robespierre, Danton, Camille Desmoulins, placed outrage, as if dignity and modesty had survived for themselves on the passage to obtain a glimpse of a moment, the sentiment of life. The irritated her. All those who had the presentiment of as- multitude did not accept the homage. A chill of Bassination, were curious to study in her features horror ran through the crowd and demanded venthe expression of the fanaticism which might me- geance of that indignity. Dace them the next day. She resembled the celestial vengeance satisfied and transfigured. She appeared, at some moments, to seek in the thousands of visages, a look of intelligence on which her ere might repose. Adam Lux awaited the cart at the entry of the “ rue Saint Honoré.” He Such was the end of Marat. Such were the piously followed the wheels to the foot of the scaf- life and death of Charlotte Corday. In the presfold.
" He engraved on his heart," he himself ence of murder, history does not dare to glorify; said
, “ that unchangeable douceur in the midst of in the presence of heroism, history dares not 10 the barbaroos howlings of the multitude, that look wither. The appreciation of such an act places 80 gentle and so penetrating those vivid, yet hu- the mind in the formidable alternative of not remid sparks, which escaped as so many inflamed cognizing virtue, or of praising assassination. As thoughts from those beautiful eyes, in which spoke that painter who, despairing of being able to renforth a soul as intrepid as tender ; charming eyes, der the complex expression of a mixed sentiment, which would have moved a rock!” he cries. . cast a veil over the face of his model and left a **Umqne and immortal souvenirs,” he added, “which problem to the spectator, we must cast this myshave broken my heart and filled it with emotions, tery to be debated forever in the abyss of the hu
I love, I love the beautiful
I glory in its might;
With rapturous delight;
My spirit hears its tone,
Beneath its spell alone. The beautiful, the beautiful!
'Tis scattered o'er the earth ;We see it in the autumn gloom,
And in the summer mirth ; Upon the wild and stormy main,
In copse and valley green, And in the dim old wilderness
The beautiful is seen.
man conscience. There are some things which man does not know how to judge and which mount without mediation and without appeal to the direct tribunal of God. There are some human acts so mingled with weakness and force, with pure intention and culpable means, with error and truth, with murder and martyrdom, that they cannot be glorified by a single word. and one does not know whether to call them criminal or virtuvus. The culpable devotion of Charlotte Corday is in the number of those acts which admiration and horror should leave forever in doubt, if the “morale” did not reprove them. As to ourselves, if we had to find for this sublime liberator of her courtry and this generous murderess of tyranny, a name which should include at once the enthusiasm of our emotion for her and the severity of our judgment on her act, we should create a word which would unite the two extremes of admiration and horror in the language of men, and we should call her the angel of assassination.
A few days after the punishment, Adam Lux published the apology of Charlotte Corday and asso. ciated himself with her attack, to be associated with her martyrdom. Arrested for this hold provocation, he was cast into the Abbaye. He cried out, in passing the threshold of the prison, “ I am going there to die for her !” And he died, in effect, soon, saluting as the altar of liberty and love, the scaffold which the blood of his model had consecrated.
The heroism of Charlotte was chanted by André Chenier, who was soon to die himself . . . . for liberty. The poetry of all nations possessed itself of the name of Charlotte Corday, to make of it the terror of tyrants. " What tomb is that ?" sings the German poet Klopstock. “It is the tomb of Charlotte. Let us go to gather flowers and scatter the leaves over her ashes, for she died for her country. No, no, do not gather any thing. Let us go to seek a weeping-willow and let us plant it upon her green sod, for she has died for her country. No, no, do not plant any thing, but weep and let your tears be blood, for she has died in vain for her country.”
On learning in his prison, the crime, the judgment and the death of Charlotte Corday, Vergniaud exclaimed, “ She kills us, but she teaches us how to die."
The beautiful, the beautiful!
'Tis where in splendor rise The columns of the princely dome
Beneath the blue-arched skies ; 'Tis where the deathless ivy clings
Amid the ruins hoar, Or a woodbine twines in rustic grace
Beside the collage door.
The beautiful, the beautiful!
It breathes in every word
When e'er its depths are stirred.
of a dark and flashing eye,
When passion's storm is bigh.
'Tis in the aged brow-
Our youthful spirits bow;
Or rosy infancy,-
The beautiful we see.
It mingles with our dreams,-
In strange and filful gleams;
And forms of light divine,
Their magic spells entwine.
When other sources fail,
And lift the temple-veil ;
And deep affections lie,
I love, I love the beautiful,
Wherever it be found;
My eager soul hath bound;
Rebellious thought to tame, And mingle with all earthly bliss
Its great Creator's name.
to punish the forging of certain public and corpoWORDINESS IN LEGISLATION. rate seals, but missing that aim in the fog of words,
and punishing only the forging of an instrument for The vice which has pervaded English and Amer- the purpose of counterfeiting such seals. This ican Laws for so long a time and so mischievously, palpable no hit is found in the Va. Revised code of is about to disappear, as we may hope, from the 1819, vol. 1. p. 579, 92. Any careful reader will laws of Virginia. Messrs. Patton and Robinson, see that its fair grammatical construction is prethe eminent jurists appointed by a former Legisla- cisely what we have said. Perhaps the courts tore to revise the civil and criminal codes, have knowing what the Legislature meant, might force determined that so far as their agency may go, a different interpretation : but in doing so, they common sense shall prevail over pedantry and would trample upon the great rule of construction, prejudice, in stripping laws of their useless verbi. -that penal statutes must be taken strictly against age, and clothing them in language clear to plain the Commonwealth, and favorably to the accused. minds. They have patterned much (if we are
Such failures to effectuate the law-maker's inrightly informed) after the Massachusetts Revisal, tent, are a natural fruit of the wordy system. In and the Code Napoleon, which are models of brev- penning one of the fashionable, million-word staity and lucidness. The prevailing character of the lutes, the writer's mind becomes confused, and he Legislature warrants the belief, that the efforts of writes confusedly-mismatches verbs and their obthe Revisors will be seconded by that Body.
jects and sometimes " leaves all memory of sense But we intend no such concession, as to call the behind.” If his mind is too clear ever to become verbiage of our past laws, and of English laws, confused,—yet in attempting minute specification merely useless. It is very hurtful. It so clouds he will leave out some particulars : or, if his know. their meaning, as to make their writers often ap- ledge ie so great and his recollection so exact as to pear to have had in mind Talleyrand's famed say- embrace all that exist, still he cannot foresee fuing,—that the main purpose of words is to conceal ture subjects, which have no parallel in the present thoughts. It goes far to hinder not only the com- or the past. Human cunning, the perpetual creamon people, but well-informed men, even lawyers, tion of new objects of value, and the frequent shiftfrom knowing what is the law; having thus the ing of human affairs into new channels, will always very effect of the Roman tyrant's cruelty, who baulk the most tedious particularizer that ever wrote bred up the tablets on which his laws were writ. a statute. ten too high for his people to read them, and then
To meet these unforeseen emergencies, the milpunished their violation. And it produces such in-lion-word man commonly adds to his long list of accuracy, it leaves so many of those gaps called particulars a sweeping phrase, designed to cover * omitted cases,” that Lord Kenyon or Lord Ellen- all possible cases. But our courts would probaborough (we forget which) might well say that he bly follow those of England, in adjudging such a could drive a coach-and-four through any statute. sweeping phrase inoperative. For when a law The penners of laws, here and in England, seem had made it felony to steal sheep or other cattle, to have been prompted by that spirit of verbosity, the courts held the words “ or other cattle” inoperawhich has jostly brought so much ridicule and re- tive, and that the act extended only to sheep. proach upon lawyers : the spirit engendered by the " And therefore, at the next session" [of Parliaold practice of paying for legal writings in propor- ment,) says Judge Blackstone, " it was found netion to their number of words: the verbosity, which cessary to make another statute, extending the forfilled many pages with a marriage agreement, mer to bulls, cows, oxen, steers, bullocks, heifers, anounting at last, as Mr. Shandy luminously in- calves, and lambs, by name. So, the Virginia forms us, to this only—“ In three words, my mother Legislaturet having specified some thirty-six kinds was to lie in, if she chose it, in London.”
of writing, as the subjects of punishable forgery, Some readers may stare, at our saying that a and wound np the list with the words, " or other moltitude of words makes laws inaccurate. Such writing, to the prejudice of another's right;” our an effect is the furthest possible from the concep-courts, it is to be presumed, would adjudge the tions of him who uses that multitude. He doubts law applicable only to the 36 specified kinds; and bot , that his copiousness of language covers every the last mentioned words to be of no effect. Slave or slaves,'—" person or
Suppose the comprehensive term, the sweeping persons,"
—" he, she, or they,”—“ hog, pig, or phrase, alone, had been used ! Suppose the Eng
-“ horse, gelding, mare, colt, foal, or lish slatote had made it punishable to steal" catile filly,"—and other such specifications, make a web of any kind,” without mentioning sheep? Or supwhich seems to him complete, because it is com- pose the Virginia statute had simply punished the plicated: but when it comes to be tested in prac- forgery of “any writing, to the prejudice of anothlice
, it is found to provide perhaps for not above er's right? Would not that language cover every half the cases it was intended to meet. We could
* 1 Black. Comm. 88. cite a long section, containing 196 words, intended
† IR. C. p. 579, 580, 94.
case, as effectually as if every case were specified ? The word " cattle" shall include all animals of The English enumeration, after all its ridiculous the cow, sheep, hog, and goat kinds : particularity, omits goats, and swine. It would not The words " in writing,” or “written," may inbe difficult to suggest papers of value, which are clude printing, engraving, lithographing, and all omitted in the Virginia enumeration : bank certifi- other modes of representing words or letters : cates of deposite, for example. But we cannot The words “justice of the peace," “magisimagine any subject of forgery, which would not trate,” or “justice" (when used to signify a justice be included in the words “ any writing to the pre- of the peace) may include mayor, alderman, judge, judice of another's right;" nor any domestic ani- or other person having the functions of a justice mal always worthy to be protected against theft, of the peace : that would not be comprehended by the word " cat- The words "goods and chattels," or "goods," tle."
chatiels," shall include bank notes, and all To meet the scruples of word-catchers, who other written evidences of debt, choses in action, might question whether “cattle" properly means and papers of value, or other personal property. hogs or goats, and whether “writing” would meet The word county" may include corporation, the case of a printed forgery, let the code have city, borough, and other localities of jurisdiction : prefixed to it a set of definitions, declaring that The word “person" may include bodies politic general words shall be construed to mean all that and corporate : may fairly be included in them that “cattle” shall The word " oath," or swear," shall include afmean (in laws) all animals of the cow, sheep, hog, firmation, or affirm : and goat kinds—that " writing" shall include print- The words "insane person" may include idiots, ing, etching, engraving, &c.
lunatics, persons non compos, or any wise derang. This is what the Legislature of Massachusetts ed in mind : has done ; and what our Revisors propose to do. The word "will" shall include testaments and A page or two of such definitions, carefully kept codicils : in view throughout the Cude, might shorten it by The words “ free negro” shall include free one half-make it infinitely clearer than hereto- mulatto ; and the word " negro" shall include mofore-and leave comparatively few cases unprovi- latto. ded for, that could arise in human society. To 4. The punishment prescribed for a criminal in make this plainer, let us give specimens of such the first degree, shall be held applicable to persons definitions as we understand that the Revisors pro- aiding, abetting, counselling, causing, or procuring pose : and then exemplify their views further, by a a crime, without express mention of them. sample of the shortening and clarifying effect of 5. The word “he," she," "it," or " they," their plan.
We profess to speak not by their au shall be taken to mean the person or persons, thing thority, but only from our idea of their design, so or things, which it represents by fair grammatical far as it has been unfolded to the public : and we construction : without repeating the name itself of copy, in part, from the Massachusetts Revisal.
the person or thing.
6. The word “forge" or counterfeit," shall DEFINITION
import and include falsely making, forging, coun
terfeiting, altering or erasing, with intent to de. In this code, and in all other acts of the General fraud. Assembly, the following rules of construction shall These at least suffice to show the principle. If be observed, unless inconsistent with the manifest statutes be composed with faithful reference eren interest of the Legislature, or with the context of to these few definitions,—omitting the phrases the act in which the words and phrases here defined, every such offender,"—"every such person,"are used : That is to say,
being thereof duly convicted”—"public jail and 1. A word in the singolar number, may be held penitentiary house,”—and countless others like to include the plural ; and a word in the plural, them, with which enactments are padded out to may be held to include the singular.
plethora, -it is incredible how much brevity will 2. A word importing the masculine gender, may be promoted, with its attendant graces and virbe held to include females, as well as males. tues,-lucidness, neatness, accuracy. In short, it
3. The mention of the chief thing of a kind will be found that a half, a third, or a foarth, of the may include that whole kind : and the name of a words now commonly used in Virginia statutes, thing which, by its ordinary or fair interpretation, would express their meaning better than the whole embraces also other things, shall be held to include does. The Greek proverb, that " a half is more them, without specifying them. For example, than the whole,”- -or Dean Swift's oft-quoted say.
The word "horse" may include gelding, mare, ing about two and two not always making four, in coll, foal, and filly :
the arithmetic of the customs,-is perfectly appliThe word "cow" shall include bull, bullock, calf, cable here. heifer, steer, ox, and yearling :
To illustrate this further, we copy, exactly, a