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Professional Detachment: The Executioner of Paris

Arthur Isak Applbaum
Harvard Law Review
Vol. 109, No. 2 (Dec., 1995), pp. 458-486
DOI: 10.2307/1341979
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1341979
Page Count: 29
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Professional Detachment: The Executioner of Paris
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Abstract

Saviours of the homeland, hereafter do not make such a hasty end of criminals who fall into your clutches. Put it to those extreme patriots of excess that it is no service to their fellow citizens to eradicate, by their slapdash zeal, the only way to come at the root of the catastrophes that were then being prepared. Put it to them that they owe me compensation for the executions of which they have deprived me. Each of the heads of the four scoundrels, if my sword had put them off their shoulders, would have been worth twenty écus to me. Put it to them that the work would have been much more neatly done and that a great many spectators would have enjoyed the spectacle of the sacrifice of these vile victims, if the tragedy had been played at my theatre........ And let these usurpers consider that they, much more than I, deserve that ignominy with which I am myself visited. For it is not I who kill the criminals who die beneath my blows; it is Justice that sacrifices them, it is Justice that makes me the avenger of society. Should not this appellation rather honour than abase me?... [W]ill philosophy not succeed in making my profession a glorious one?

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