Emmanuel Lanne

Friday, 20 May 2011 00:52
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[personal profile] montagnarde1793

I've put this off long enough. As I mentioned a couple of posts back, Emmanuel Lanne, a good friend of Philippe Le Bas's, was executed on 17 Floréal Year III, essentially for being a judge at the Revolutionary Tribunal. I came across the letter he wrote on the eve of his execution in Buchez and Roux and I wanted to share it with you on the anniversary of his death, but since I was in the middle of writing a paper at the time, I was obliged to put it off. Here's the letter now:

16 Floréal an 3, à minuit.

"Ma Flavie*, je vais à la mort, mais non pas à l'ignominie : car il n'y en a que pour les ennemis du peuple. Mes juges m'ont condamné. Pourquoi ? parce qu'ils sont plus égarés que coupables ; parce que ce qui était vertu il y a un an, est un crime aujourd'hui.
"Aimer le peuple il y a un an, poursuivre ses ennemis, poursuivre les ennemis de l'égalité, était une vertu. Aujourd'hui insulter au peuple, insulter à sa misère, est une vertu. Ne perds pas de vue ces vérités. Jamais tu ne cesseras de conserver l'estime et l'attachement que ton époux mérite.
"Ne pleure pas sur sa mort. Va, elle est digne d'envie. Un jour viendra, si notre pays n'est pas gouverné par un roi, où la mémoire de ton mari sera vengée.
"Elève toujours tes enfans dans les sentimens de la liberté. Dis-leur qu'après toi ce sont eux que j'aime le plus. Dis à mon fils, quand il sera capable de servir sa patrie, que son père est mort pour la cause de la liberté. Dis-lui qu'il suive mon exemple, dût-il mourir aussi en défendant la cause du peuple !
"Dis à mes soeurs, dis à leurs maris, que ma mort seule est le terme de mon attachement pour eux. Dis-en autant à mes amis...... Et pour toi, tu sais combien je t'aime ; et, si je regrette la vie, c'est pour toi, mes enfans et mes soeurs, mais plus encore pour ma patrie. - Adieu, mon amie, je ne serai plus à l'instant où tu liras ma lettre. Je serai enseveli dans le sommeil de la paix. Adieu, aime toujorus mes enfans, et conserve-toi pour eux.
"Ton frère va à la mort, chère Rose, et mérite toujours ton estime et ton attachement. Je recommande à ton amitié ma femme et mes enfans. Console-les, ou plutôt consolez-vous ensemble. Conservez-vous l'une pour l'autre, pour mes enfans que je vous recommande. Élevez-les dans le sentier de l'honneur et de la liberté.
"Dis à.........., dis à Henriette, dis à leurs maris que je les ai aimés jusqu'à la mort. Dis-leur que je meurs pour la liberté.
"Adieu, chère soeur, console-toi. Va, la mort est le commencement de l'immortalité. - LANNE."

My (somewhat rushed) translation:
“16 Floréal Year 3, at midnight.

“My Flavie, I go to my death, but not to ignominy: for it only exists for the enemies of the people. My judges have condemned me. Why? Because they are more led astray than guilty; because what was virtue a year ago is a crime today.
“To love the people, a year ago, to pursue their enemies, to pursue the enemies of equality, was a virtue. Today to insult the people, to insult their poverty, is a virtue. Do not lose these truths from sight. Never will you cease to conserve the esteem and attachment that your husband merits.
“Do not weep for his death. Come, it is enviable. A day will come, if our country is not governed by a king, when the memory of your husband will be avenged.
“Always raise your children in the sentiments of liberty. Tell them that after you they are what I love most. Tell my son, when he is capable of serving his country, that his father died for the cause of liberty. Tell him to follow my example, even were he also to die in defending the cause of the people!
“Tell my sisters, tell their husbands, that my death alone will be the end of my attachment for them. Tell my friends the same…… And as for you, you know how much I love you; and, if I regret life, it is because of you, my children and my sisters, but more still for my country. – Adieu, my friend, I will be no more at the moment you read my letter. I will be shrouded in the sleep of peace. Adieu, love my children always, and conserve yourself for them.
“Your brother goes to his death, dear Rose, and merits still your esteem and your attachment. I recommend my wife and children to your friendship. Console them, or rather console each other. Conserve yourselves for each other, for my children whom I recommend to you. Raise them on the path of honor and liberty.
“Tell………., tell Henriette, tell their husbands that I loved them unto death. Tell them that I die for liberty.
“Adieu, dear sister, be consoled. Come, death is the beginning of immortality. – LANNE.”
*His wife, who, on a side note has one of the most awesome names ever: Marie-Flavie-Scholastique-Josèphe Heroguelle.

In other news, I'm thinking of adopting a more revolutionary penname. I'm obviously Estella/Estelle to everyone who knows me from LJ/deviantart, which is left over from my middle school LOTR obsession (if you don't get the reference, don't worry, you wouldn't unless you like reading hobbit genealogies), but I really think it's time to move on. There was some discussion in my seminar today about revolutionary first names, in which two historians who shall not be named because this post isn't f-locked and I do want to preserve some shred of anonymity, in the context of a larger discussion of cultural phenomena during the French Revolution briefly mentioned names that they likely would have adopted if they had been alive at the time (I must say, I found this absolutely adorable, though I may be the only one).

This got me thinking about a revolutionary name - or at least penname - for myself. Now, that would still leave the choice of one pretty wide open, since I could pick a name from Antiquity: Porcie, say, or Aspasie (for an interesting discussion of Robespierre's positive references to the latter - among other things - I recommend reading Fl. Gauthier's article in Républicanismes et droit naturel). I could pick a revolutionary value (though I might feel a bit like an allegory then, which would be odd): Liberté, Justice, Vertu, etc. I could pick my month or day of birth: Floréal or Aubépine. I could even theoretically take the name of a revolutionary martyr, but I would feel weird running around calling myself Marat or Lepeletier (or Couthon or Soubrany, for that matter). I would insert a poll, but I don't really feel like setting it up. Still, let me know your thoughts. (I'm leaning toward Floréal at this point, but I could be persuaded otherwise if anyone has a better idea...)
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