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that day, may imagine the extreme state of sensitiveness that produced this self-abasement. It was confidently presumed, however, by the noble suppliants, that having once brought themselves to this measure, their influence over the tribunal would be irresistible. There was one lady present, however, Madame de Beauffremont, who was affected with the Scottish gift of second sight, and related Buch dismal and sinister apparitions as passing before her eyes, that many of her female companions were filled with doleful presentiments.
Unfortunately for the Count, there was another interest at work, more powerful even than the high aristocracy. The infamous but all-potent Abbé Dubois, the grand favorite and bosom counsellor of the Regent, was deeply interested in the scheme of Law, and the prosperity of his bank, and of course in the security of the stockbrokers. Indeed, the Regent himself is said to have dipped deep in the Mississippi scheme. Dubois and Law, therefore, exerted their influence to the utmost to have the tragic affair pushed to the extremity of the law, and the murder of the broker punished in the most signal and appalling manner. Certain it is, the trial was neither long nor intricate. The Count and his fellow prisoner were equally inculpated in the crime, and both were condemned to a death the most horrible and ignominious to be broken alive on the wheel !
As soon as the sentence of the court was made public, all the nobility, in any degree related to the house of Van Horn, went into mourning. Another grand aristocratical assemblage was held, and a petition to the Regent, on behalf of the Count, was drawn out and left with the Marquis de Créqui for signature. This petition set forth the previous insanity of the Count, and showed that it was a hereditary malady in his family. It stated various circumstances in mitigation of his offence, and implored that his sentence might be commuted to perpetual imprisonment.
Upward of fifty names of the highest nobility, beginning with the Prince de Ligne, and including cardinals, archbishops, dukes, marquises, etc., together with ladies of equal rank, were signed to this petition. By one of the caprices of human pride and vanity, it became an object of ambition to get enrolled among the illustrious suppliants; a kind of testimonial of noble blood, to prove relationship to a murderer! The Marquis de Créqui was absolutely besieged by applicants to sign, and had to refer their claims to this singular honor, to the Prince de Ligne, the grand father of the Count. Many who were excluded, were highly incensed, and numerous feuds took place. Nay, the affronts thus given to the morbid pride of some aristocratical families, passed from generation to generation ; for, fifty years afterward, the Duchess of Mazarin complained of a slight which her father had received from the Marquis de Créqui; which proved to be something connected with the signature of this petition.
This important document being completed, the illustrious body of petitioners, male and female, on Saturday evening, the eve of Palm Sunday, repaired to the Palais Royal, the residence of the Regent, and were ushered, with great ceremony, but profound silence, into his hall of council. They had appointed four of their number as deputies, to present the petition, viz: the Cardinal de Rohan, the Duke de Havré, the Prince de Ligne, and the Marquis de Créqui. After a little while, the deputies were summoned to the cabinet of the Regent. They entered, leaving the assembled petitioners in a state of the greatest anxiety. As time slowly wore away, and the evening advanced, the gloom of the company increased. Several of the ladies prayed devoutly; the good Princess of Armagnac told her beads.
The petition was received by the Regent with a most unpropitious aspect. In asking the pardon of the criminal,' said he, you display more zeal for the house of Van Horn, than for the service of the king. The noble deputies enforced the petition by every argument in their power. They supplicated the Regent to consider that the infamous punishment in question would reach not merely the person of the condemned, not merely the house of Van Horn, but also the genealogies of princely and illustrious families, in whose armorial bearings might be found quarterings of this dishonored name.
'Gentlemen,' replied the Regent, 'it appears to me the disgrace consists in the crime, rather than in the punishment.'
The Prince de Ligne spoke with warmth : 'I have in my genealogical standard,' said he, four escutcheons of Van Horn, and of course have four ancestors of that house. I must have them erased and effaced, and there would be so many blank spaces, like holes, in my heraldric ensigns. There is not a sovereign family which would not suffer, through the rigor of your Royal Highness; nay, all the world knows, that in the thirty-two quarterings of Madame, your mother, there is an escutcheon of Van Horn.'
* Very well,' replied the Regent, 'I will share the disgrace with you, gentlemen.'
Seeing that a pardon could not be obtained, the Cardinal de Rohan and the Marquis de Créqui left the cabinet ; but the Prince de Ligne and the Duke de Havré remained behind. The honor of their houses, more than the life of the unhappy Count, was the great object of their solicitude. They now endeavored to obtain a minor grace. They represented that in the Netherlands, and in Germany, there was an important difference in the public mind as to the mode of inflicting the punishment of death upon persons of quality. That decapitation had no influence on the fortunes of the family of the executed, but that the punishment of the wheel was such an infamy, that the uncles, aunts, brothers, and sisters, of the criminal, and his whole family, for three succeeding generations, were excluded from all noble chapters, princely abbeys, sovereign bishoprics, and even Teutonic commanderies of the Order of Malta. They showed how
this would operate immediately upon the fortunes of a sister of the Count, who was on the point of being received as a canonness into one of the noble chapters.
While this scene was going on in the cabinet of the Regent, the illustrious assemblage of petitioners remained in the hall of council, in the most gloomy state of suspense. The rëentrance from the cabinet of the Cardinal de Rohan and the Marquis de Créqui, with pale, down-cast countenances, had struck a chill into every heart. Still they lingered until near midnight, to learn the result of the after application. At length the cabinet conference was at an end. The Regent came forth, and saluted the high personages of the assemblage in a courtly manner. One old lady of quality, Madame de Guyon, whom he had known in his infancy, he kissed on the cheek, calling her his good aunt.' He made a most ceremonious salutation to the stately Marchioness de Créqui, telling her he was charmed to see her at the Palais Royal; 'a compliment very ill-timed, said the Marchioness, “ considering the circumstance which brought me there.' He then conducted the ladies to the door of the second saloon, and there dismissed them, with the most ceremonious politeness.
The application of the Prince de Ligne and the Duke de Havré, for a change of the mode of punishment, bad, after much difficulty, been successful. The Regent had promised solemnly to send a letter of commutation to the attorney-general on Holy Monday, the 25th of March, at five o'clock in the morning. According to the same promise, a scaffold would be arranged in the cloister of the Conciergerie, or prison, where the Count would be beheaded on the same morning, immediately after having received absolution. This mitigation of the form of punishment gave but little consolation to the great body of petitioners, who had been anxious for the pardon of the youth: it was looked upon as all-important, however, by the Prince de Ligne, who, as has been before observed, was exquisitely alive to the dignity of his family.
The Bishop of Bayeux and the Marquis de Créqui visited the unfortunate youth in prison. He had just received the communion in the chapel of the Conciergerie, and was kneeling before the altar, listening to a mass for the dead, which was performed at his request. He protested his inuocence of any intention to murder the Jew, but did not deign to allude to the accusation of robbery. He made the bishop and the Marquis promise to see his brother the prince, and inform him of this his dying asseveration.
Two other of his relations, the Prince Rebecq-Montmorency and the Marshal Van Isenghien, visited him secretly, and offered bim poison, as a means of evading the disgrace of a public execution. On his refusing to take it, they left him with high indignation. • Miserable mau!' said they, ' You are fit only to perish by the hand of the executioner!'
The Marquis de Créqui sought the executioner of Paris, to bespeak an easy and decent death for the unfortunate youth. “Do not make bim suffer,' said he; uncover no part of him but the neck; and have his body placed in a coffin, before you deliver it to his family. The executioner promised all that was requested, but declined a rouleau of a hundred louis-d'ors which the Marquis would have put into his hand. “I am paid by the king for fulfilling my office,' said he ; and added, that he had already refused a like sum, offered by another relation of the Marquis.
The Marquis de Créqui returned home in a state of deep affliction. There he found a letter from the Duke de St. Simon, the familiar friend of the Regent, repeating the promise of that prince, that the punishment of the wheel should be commuted to decapitation.
Imagine,' says the Marchioness de Créqui, who in her memoirs gives a detailed account of this affair, “imagine what we experienced, and what was our astonishment, our grief, and indignation, when, on Tuesday the 26th of March, an hour after mid-day, word
was brought us that the Count Van Horn had been exposed on the wheel, in the Place de Grève, since half past six in the morning, on the same scaffold with the Piedmontese De Mille, and that he had been tortured previous to execution !'
One more scene of aristocratic pride closed this tragic story. The Marquis de Créqui, on receiving this astounding news, immediately arrayed himself in the uniform of a general officer, with his cordon of nobility on the coat. He ordered six valets to attend him in grand livery, and two of his carriages, each with six horses, to be brought forth. In this sumptuous state, he set off for the Place de Grève, where he had been preceded by the Princes de Ligne, de Rohan, de Crouy, and the Duke de Havré.
The Count Van Horn was already dead, and it was believed that the executioner had had the charity to give him the coup de grace, or ' death-blow,' at eight o'clock in the morning. At five o'clock in the
evening, when the Judge Commissary left bis post at the Hotel de Ville, these noblemen, with their own hands, aided to detach the mutilated remains of their relation; the Marquis de Créqui placed them in one of his carriages, and bore them off to his hotel, to receive the last sad obsequies.
The conduct of the Regent in this affair excited general indignation. His needless severity was attributed by some to vindictive jealousy; by others to the persevering machinations of Law and the Abbé Dubois. The house of Van Horn, and the high nobility of Flanders and Germany, considered themselves flagrantly outraged : many schemes of vengeance were talked of, and a hatred engendered against the Regent, that followed him through life, and was wreaked with bitterness upon his memory after his death.
The following letter is said to have been written to the Regent by the Prince Van Horn, to whom the former had adjudged the confiscated effects of the Count:
'I do not complain, Sir, of the death of my brother, but I complain that your Royal Highness has violated in his person the rights of the kingdom, the nobility, and the nation. I thank you for the confiscation of his effects; but I should think myself as much disgraced as be, should I accept any favor at your hands. I hope that God and the King may render to you as strict justice as you have rendered to my unfortunate brother.'
A Visit to THIRTEEN ASYLUMS FOR THE INSANE IN EUROPE : WITH STATISTICS
By Pliny EARLE, M. D. Philadelphia : ADAM WALDIE.
We promised, in our January number, to advert thereafter more particularly than we were then enabled to do, to this unpretending but exceedingly interesting pamphlet. During a tour in Great Britain and on the European continent, the author visited several asylums for the insane, and he has here embodied the notes collected at those institutions; 'trusting,' and not, we may believe, without good reason, that some of the ideas might not be entirely useless.' He begins with the English public asylums, which he describes very satisfactorily; but makes no allusion to the private lunatic asylums of England, which have been represented to us as numerous, and as teeming with abuses of the most aggravated character. They are often established by private individuals, for purposes of pecuniary gain; the proprietor charging so much per week, month, or year, for each patient. Hence it is made an object to procure as many patients, and keep them as long, as they possibly can. Their very principle, it will be seen, opens a wide field for abuse. A wicked, unscrupulous man, for example, has a rich uncle, of whose property he desires to gain immediate possession. He may safely gain his object, by writing to a proprietor of one of these asylums, stating that he has a relation whom he wishes to place under his care, and requesting him to send, at a certain hour, a couple of slout keepers, and a doctor to certify, in order to save trouble. Nothing more is required. At the appointed time, down come the keepers, with the doctor, who perhaps find the victim preconcertedly excited by the nephew, or if not, the announcement of their errand accomplishes that object; the doctor certifies, and pockets his fee; and, armed with his authority, the keepers seize and drag the unhappy man away to their den, from which he seldom escapes, while the necessary payments are kept up. An English friend has told us, that hundreds are thus imprisoned in England, and have been for years; and although commissioners are compelled, by law, to visit such establishments four times a year, they seldom perform the duty more than twice during the term; and even then, so short is their stay, and so entirely do they depend upon the representations of the proprietors, that their visits are worse than useless to the persons confined. The victim, therefore, becomes lost to society, to which he can scarcely hope ever to return; he is beyond the reach of the law; he cannot communicate with those who would promote his restoration, but is treated at once as an incurable lunatic; guarded and kicked about during the day, and locked and chained, if a murmur should escape him, in a miserable cell at night; and if he can, by dint of the most galling brutality, be goaded on to absolute madness, it supersedes the necessity for any disguise on the part of the proprietors, and one of their chief objects is thereby attained. We observe, by a brief paragraph in the English intelligence, by late arrivals, that this iniquitous private mad-house system is to be brought formally before Parliament, at its next session. But we are forgetting the public asylums, where the great object is to cure the patients, instead of keeping them