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Anne

simone_remy in melkam

Two letters written to Camille in August 1790

Neither of these letters was written by Camille, the first is unsigned, the second from Linguet but they both relate, in very different ways, to events in the National Assembly in early August 1790 when Malouet was seeking to have him committed on grounds of insanity. They give an insight into the times and Camille’s experiences, maybe even his personality.

August 3 1790 [Matton page 75] an unsigned letter
If M Desmoulins was speaking about yesterday evening’s escapade in his paper, I beg him not to name me, or indicate me at all, always supposing that he knows my name and my role. I have the strongest reasons for making this request, and I hope that he will want to show consideration.
The fact is that I was very nearly arrested in M Desmoulins’ place. I was in the gallery at the time of the first uprising against him and since the outcry seemed only to come from the right, I looked outside and seeing some guards already directing their steps towards M Desmoulins’ place I called out to them in quite a loud voice: <do not arrest him! do not arrest him! There is no decree>. The commander and many other guards soon arrived. Not finding M Desmoulins, who had just slipped away under my gaze they came back to me and asked me why I had cried out like that and if I was a member of the national assembly? I told them no, but that as a citizen I had believed I was able to ensure that he was not arrested unless the whole assembly had ordained it. Then they took it into their heads that I might BE M Desmoulins. They came down to look at me, first the leader, then the Swiss guards, then another and another. They went to the president. The bailiffs arrived; they went back to the president from where they returned with the order in writing, the commander ran from left to right before knowing what should be done with me. Finally, after about fifteen minutes, they told me I was free and that they regretted what had happened. The commander and his deputy told me that in all fairness there was nothing reprehensible in my conduct; that I was a citizen who had believed he was entitled to express his opinion that no one should be arrested without the decree of the whole assembly.
I have the honour of wishing you good day.


Second letter [Matton p 86]
From Linguet to Camille
Paris 6 August 1790
My dear Camille, the reason for your visit yesterday was inexplicable to me; if it was to tell me about your victory it was a little late. You are well aware that I learned about it from the gazettes; I congratulate you no less wholeheartedly though.
If it was about your business at the Chatelet it will be found that I was right in telling you on Wednesday that your adversaries would not consider themselves beaten and would not consider the decree of the third of this month, illustrating that of July 31, as you like to see it as, an abolition of their complaints relative to their personal interests and private claims. The presumption is of your age.
If the complaints continue, our position, in one sense becomes still more delicate and more embarrassing in some respects than it had been before and demands a great deal of circumspection from you. Having no more news of your prosecutor than you have, I do not know at all how things stand, which is all the more extraordinary.
If you continue to maintain the objection, consider what I told you of the need to be wise, considerably reserved in your next issues, particularly the thirty seventh. On Wednesday you seemed tempted to celebrate the triumph of Tuesday, to speak of M Lafayette, against M Lafayette and co. It may, perhaps be useless to tell you this, but still it is necessary to warn you; be very careful; if you had consulted me you would not have said anything in number thirty six: because what you did say couldn’t help you, could damage you and could certainly harm you.
You consider me very pedantic don’t you? But we are not talking about literature here: it is a question of judgment: and although I can be as literary as the next man on occasions, I become serious when it is necessary to become a lawyer. Think about these things I beg you and conduct yourself accordingly, always supposing that you still want me to defend you.
Vale, cicerone more
Tuus Linguet

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