previous next

[273] to bring from Paris a dozen copies of the paper containing the report to distribute among the jury. I told him he would commit a crime, according to English and American law,—‘Embracery;’ but he laughed at the idea. This forenoon the Procureur-General first spoke, then the counsel for the prisoner; then again the Procureur, and again the counsel for the prisoner. I understood that they had a right to speak as many times as they chose, the counsel for the prisoner always having the last word. In the arguments there was nothing such as I have been accustomed to; every thing was different. The defence was theatrical, brilliant, French. The counsel grasped the hand of his client, and worked the whole audience into a high pitch of excitement. At the close of his argument, he called upon his client to promise, in the face of the court and of God, that, if he were restored to liberty by the verdict of the jury, he would hasten to precipitate himself upon the tomb of the unfortunate girl he had destroyed and pray for forgiveness; and the prisoner, by way of response, stretched his hand to his counsel, who seized it with a strong grasp, saying at once, “J'ai fini.” Women screamed and fainted, strong men yielded, and tears flowed down the cheeks of the jury and even the grim countenances of the half-dozen police, or gendarmes, who sat by the side of the prisoner, elevated and within the observation of all the audience. The arguments concluded, the judge, sitting (and the jury sitting), read a very succinct statement of the case, and the law which bore upon it. This occupied perhaps five or ten minutes. The jury then retired, and within less than ten minutes returned. The prisoner, in the mean time, had been conducted to a room out of the court-room. The jury rendered their verdict, ‘Not guilty;’ the prisoner was then brought in, and the judge communicated the decision to him, dismissing him with an impressive admonition. The greatest excitement prevailed in the court-room when the verdict was announced. Women, and men too, cried for joy. So much for a French criminal trial!1

March 18 (Sunday). Stayed in Versailles another day, to view the wonderful palace, now opened as an historical museum, and the former scene of the Arabian Nights' magnificence of Louis Quatorze. I had previously, on the days of the trial, stolen some peeps at the garden; but I gave to-day entirely to this object. All that my imagination pictured fell infinitely short of what I found to be the reality.2

March 19. Was at the soiree of De Gerando this evening.

March 20. Again went to the College Royal de France and heard Lerminier. His audience was quite crowded, and he was excessively animated. He discussed the relations of France with the Church, under Philip Augustus; the character of Pope Innocent III.; and the crusade against the Albigenses. Americans are accused of national vanity; but certainly they must yield the palm on this account to the French. This whole lecture was calculated to pamper the national vanity of Frenchmen, and to fortify them in a belief, which needs no additional support among them, that they are and

1 The printed report of the trial noted Sumner's attendance.

2 He described at length the visit to the palace in a letter to Hillard, of March 21, 1838.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Versailles (France) (1)
France (France) (1)
Department de Ville de Paris (France) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
March 21st, 1838 AD (1)
March 20th (1)
March 19th (1)
March 18th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: