Página:Imbert de Saint-Amand Marie Antoinette.djvu/36

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teach all who dwell there, that our Constitution accords inviolability to the King alone. Let them know that the law will overtake all the guilty with- out exception, and that there will 11ot be a single head convicted of crime which can escape its sword.” The decree of impeachment against the ministers was voted by a very large majority. De Lessart was advised to take flight, but he refused. “I owe it to my country,” said. he, “I owe it to my King and to myself to make my innocence and the regu- larity of my conduct plain before the tribunal of the high court, and I have decided to give myself up at Orleans.” He was conducted by gendarmes to that city, where he was imprisoned. Louis XVI. dared not do anything to save his favorite minister. On March 11, Pétion, the mayor of Paris, came to the bar of the Assembly, and read, in the name of the Commune, an address in which it was said: “When the atmosphere surrounding us is heavy with noisome vapors, Nature can relieve herself only by a thunder-storm. So, too, society can purge itself from the abuses which disturb it only by a formidable explosion. . . . It is true, then, that responsibility is not an idle word; that all men, whatever may be their stations, are equal before the law; that the sword of justice is poised over all heads without distinction.” Was not this language like a prognostic of the 21st of January and the 16th of October? Encompassed by a thousand snares, hated by each of the extreme parties, by the