Desmoulins, Camille (17621794)

Desmoulins, Camille, one of the most striking figures in the French Revolution, born at Guise, in Picardy; studied for the bar in the same college with Robespierre, but never practised, owing to a stutter in his speech; was early seized with the revolutionary fever, and was the first to excite the same fever in the Parisian mob, by his famous call “To arms, and, for some rallying sign, cockades—green ones—the colour of Hope, when,” as we read in Carlyle, “as with the flight of locusts, the green tree-leaves, green ribbons from the neighbouring shops, all green things, were snatched to make cockades of”; was one of the ablest advocates of the levelling principles of the Revolution; associated himself first with Mirabeau and then with Danton in carrying them out, and even supported Robespierre in the extreme course he took; but his heart was moved to relent when he thought of the misery the guillotine was working among the innocent families, the wives and the children, of its victims, would, along with Danton, fain have brought the Reign of Terror to a close; for this he was treated as a renegade, put under arrest at the instance of Robespierre, subjected to trial, sentenced to death, and led off to the place of execution; while his young wife, for interfering in his behalf, was arraigned and condemned, and sent to the guillotine a fortnight after him (17621794).

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

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