Friday, October 29, 2010


Chrétien-Guillaume de Lamoignon de Malesherbes was the lawyer who defended Louis XVI.
Chrétien-Guillaume was the 18th century French lawyer who accepted the noble if risky and unrewarding job of defending Louis XVI, the French king to end all French kings. He did his defending, with a lot of courage and some class, before a revolutionary tribunal that believed in giving the guilty a fair trial before sending them to the guillotine.

His client, the ex-king, and the client's missus, Marie-Antoinette, predictably lost their case, and subsequently lost their heads. Unlike today's lawyers, who pocket their remittance whatever the outcome, Malesherbes shortly afterwards followed his illustrious if unlucky clients up the steps of the killing machine, where he lost his own head.

Malesherbes stumbled on climbing into the wagon that was to transport him to the place of execution. He wryly observed that, under similar circumstances, a Roman senator would decide that the day was ill-omened and would return home. Malesherbes wasn't given the choice. He was guillotined on April 22, 1794.

He has since had a boulevard named after him here in Paris. Now, some people feel his name on the street plaques should be followed by the qualification "Defender of Louis XVI".

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May said...

I've always liked Malesherbes.

However, Louis XVI, as we know, was not the "French king to end all French kings," there were several more after him.

I'm also skeptical of the "fair trial" comment.(Unless, of course, it is ironic).

lara77 said...

If I recall while Malesherbes waited to be executed the evil men of the republic executed his sister,daughter,son in law,grandaughter and her husband before him. This obviously done so he could watch his family suffer before his own death. THAT was pure unmitigated evil of the most despicable kind. THAT is the heritage of the republic.

elena maria vidal said...

Whenever sadism is involved it means the devil has taken charge.