The document summarizes the findings of the Revolutionary Court concerning Carrier, a deputy of the National Convention, and his accomplices. The men named used the power entrusted to them by the National Convention to assassinate and inhumanely murder many supposed anti-revolutionaries.
Originally, Carrier had been sent, in 1793, to Nantes, a city in the western department of Pays de la Loire, to fight against anti-revolutionary forces. This took place during La Terreur, a period when leading French politicians used brutal violence as a tactic to gain control over the widespread civil war and counter-revolution. After Carrier arrived, he formed the Legion of Marat in order to expedite the disposal of prisoners and anti-revolutionaries in the Nantes and Vendée regions. The Legion used their power to work outside the law and commit many atrocities.
The pamphlet goes into detail about each of the accomplices’ crimes, and then details Carrier’s own crimes. Finally, the Court finds Carrier guilty and condemns him to be executed within 24 hours.
BY THE REVOLUTIONARY COURT
Translated by Lynnea Wolfe and Allison Stoch
JEAN-BAPTISTE CARRIER, ex-deputy to the National Convention, and his Accomplices, are condemned to the death penalty having been tried and convicted of drowning men, women, children, assassinating a large number of people and burning towns, where men and women had their throats cut and girls were raped.
IN the name of the French Republic, the court has pronounced the following ruling:
All that is most barbaric in cruelty; all the most treacherous crimes; all that is most arbitrary in authority; all that is most terrible of infractions; and all that is most revolting in immorality; these are the crimes committed by Carrier and his accomplices.
In the most remote splendors of the world, in all the pages of history, even in the barbaric ages, one would barely be able to come across traits that come close to the horrors committed by those presently accused.
Nero1 was less bloodthirsty, Phalaris2 less barbaric, and Syphanis less cruel.
Under the mask of patriotism, they dared to commit the most heinous crimes; they dared to defile virtue in order to exalt crime; they coldly contemplated murder and assassination, they knowingly exercised all sorts of violent acts; the obligations of the magistrate were trampled, the cry
1. Nero (37 CE – 68 CE) was an ancient Roman emperor known for a violent rule, his name was later used as a symbol for debauchery. – TRANS.
2. Phalaris was an ancient Sicilian tyrant renowned for his excessive cruelty. – TRANS.
For the sake of their passions, these immoral beings sacrificed honor and integrity. They were speaking of patriotism while suffocating its most precious seed; terror preceded them and tyranny rode among them.
If casting a look into their private lives, one will see Goullin tyrannically commanding his colleagues and forcing them to agree with all of his cruelty suggested. We will hear him answer an unhappy wife who was asking for news of her husband: “What does it matter? The quicker he dies, the quicker we will get his property.”
We will see Chaux in the district, intimidating those who appear to be his competitors, and ensuring that the farm of de la Barossiere and land were adjudicated to him; we will hear him saying, about a place that suited him, “I know a way for me to get my hands on it. I will have the owner arrested, who in order to get out of prison, will be happy to hand over his land.”
Grandmaison was an assassin before the Revolution; he mistreated the victims he incarcerated; he claimed for himself the silverware that was impounded; he oversaw drownings and signed death penalty orders.
Joly carried out the executions. He would take all that he found: jewels, silverware and precious personal effects, all fitting his greed. He was the great executor. It was he who [illegible] the miserable ones sentenced to death and who attended all the daily rituals of the committee.
Bachelier, as president, oversaw all the committee’s operations. He had all those who harmed his interests incarcerated. He took the silverware that was offered as a gift and directed the operations that took place at night.
Pinard was the main supplier, he conducted countryside expeditions, he pillaged, stole without impunity, and made sure that everything they might need for their houses be brought to each member of the committee.
Furthermore, he assassinated everyone in his path. Men, women, children, no one could escape his murderous rage.
Carrier, ex-deputy to the National Convention, is found guilty and convicted of:
1. Having, on Frimaire4 27th, of year two, given Phelippe, President of the criminal court of the Loire-Inférieure district, in Nantes, the written order to immediately execute, without any trial, 24 brigands who had just been apprehended with their weapons, and brought to Nantes; two of whom were 13 years old and two 14 years old. Having the same day repeated the preceding order, although Phelippe had told him that it went against the laws of March 19, May 10, and July 5, 1793 (old style).
2. Having, on the 29th of the same month, given the written order commanding Phelippe to have 27 brigands, who were
4. The month of February in the Revolutionary calendar - TRANS.
3. Having authorized a military commission to shoot country people, some of whom had never taken up arms. Having secretly infiltrated various towns at night, whose inhabitants had remained calm for two months, cultivating their fields, he ordered that they be indistinctly shot without being questioned.
4. Having drowned and shot many brigands who had surrendered themselves in Nantes having been promised amnesty.
5. Having eighty or more brigands on horseback, who were armed and had equipment, suffer the same fate as other prisoners, even though they had come in the name of the enemy army to surrender and deliver their superiors, bound hand and foot. They had said that three of them would go as emissaries to get the final agreement, and that the others would remain hostages.
7.5 Having given unlimited power to the previously named Lamberty, who then used it to drown priests and other people, and commit republican marriages, which entailed stripping a young boy and a young girl, tying them together, and throwing them into the water.
9.6Having forbidden all the citizens from obeying the orders of Trehouard, the representative of the people, so as to [illegible] of the powers of the National Convention by declaring him to be a partisan of all the federalists and royalists, moderate and anti-revolutionaries from countries he had traveled to. Also because Trehouard, the representative of the people, had Lebatteux arrested who, in possession of the unlimited powers of Carrier and at the head of a so-called Revolutionary army, had engaged in excessive behavior and other arbitrary acts including having eight individuals arrested and shot, although two of them produced proper civil certificates.
10. Having written to General Haxe, on the 23rd of Frimaire7, that the intention of the National Convention was to exterminate all those living in Vendée8, and to burn down all of their houses. Upon receiving this letter, some generals burned down a large number of towns in the region, as well as farms, and cut the throats of both patriot and rebel residents regardless of sex or age.
11. Having given the leader, and each member of the Marat Legion, powers that gave them a way to attack the liberty, safety and property of all citizens. Did the most excessive conspirators, the most cruel enemy of the Republic, more treacherously assassinated the Republic, did they make a more daring attempt against national sovereignty? Corruption, wastefulness, burglary, armed robbery, immoralities, misuse of authority and power, murder, assassinations; these are the crimes of which the villainous Carrier and his accomplices are found guilty and for which they are convicted by the revolutionary court.
5. The sixth paragraph appears to be missing. – TRANS.
6. The eighth paragraph appears to be missing. – TRANS.
7. The month of February in the Revolutionary Calendar. – TRANS.
8. Vendée, a department in western France, was a religious rural area where the Revolution was not welcome. In March of 1793, in response to things like the National Convention’s attack on the Catholic Church and rising land taxes, the citizens formed an army to fight against revolutionary forces. - TRANS.
At the beginning of this session Carrier took the floor and begged the president to call back a witness heard in the session of the day before who could give precise clarifications to the court about the brigands on horseback that had been mentioned. I have other clarifications to give to the court, [illegible] Carrier, because based on the dire facts that were stated, there are no circumstances which I can keep quiet, no accommodations I can make, as I had promised myself I would.
Yes, Carrier continued, I received orders, orders from my superiors, to strike with force, and if the Nantais people were honest, they would have testified that they had seen me many times, with tears in my eyes, without being able to understand the motive behind them. After this confession I pray the citizen judges and jury people to reiterate the questioning on issues they believe to be correct, and let me, in support of my response, show the signed orders that imperatively guided my behavior: based on the facts that will be given, it will be up to the court’s wisdom to decide the conduct it must hold.
We listen then to a statement by Lebatteu, prisoner at the la Conciergerie10 . It remained unquestionable that this criminal committed atrocities that outraged nature in the department of Morbihan11 , where he went with an army force of 700 men, in virtue of the unlimited orders given to him by Carrier.
Infraction, pillaging, assassinations, are the main crimes committed by this criminal, who pushed the crime to the point of having a grave in a cemetery be opened, so he could bury people alive.
Upon hearing this horrific story the audience shivered with outrage.
The accused had promised to reveal everything, but he did not keep his word.
9. La Place de Grève is a square in the 4th arrondissement of Paris that is well known for being a place where many high profile figures were executed publicly in early France. The last public execution at the square was in 1830. – TRANS.
10. From the 6th century on, la Conciergerie was used by various high ranking persons in France as royal residences, seats of power, administrative institutions, etc. During the Revolution, it became a main prison when the Republican courts were established there. - TRANS.
11. Morbihan is a region in the North-East corner of France. – TRANS.
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