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of January 10-11 ; that the robbers were apprehended
in London, and that a trial followed, in which the final
decision was not arrived at until February 28 last, as
the enclosed certificate bears witness.*

" Louveciennes, March 27, 1793."

This remonstrance had the desired effect, and the
seals were promptly removed ; but Grieve was not dis-
8 Cited by the Goncourts, La Du Barry, p. 251.


couraged, and, after spending some three months in
maturing his plans, in company with Salanave 9 and a
spy named Blache, who had had Madame du Barry
under observation during her stay in England, where
he had been masquerading as a teacher of French,
returned to the attack. Profiting by the terrible de-
cree of June 2, 1793, which directed the authorities
throughout the Republic to seize and place under arrest
all persons "notoirewient suspectes d' aristocratic et
d'inciwsme" he drew up an address to the authorities
of the Department of Seine-et-Oise, signed by thirty-
six of the inhabitants of Louveciennes, complaining
of the presence in their midst of many aristocrats and
suspected persons of both sexes, and demanding the
publication of the decree of June 2. This request hav-
ing been granted, Grieve at once made out a list of
"suspects," placed the name of Madame du Barry at
the head of it, and proceeded to the chateau to arrest
her. However, the countess had been advised of his
proceedings, and had sent her valet-de-chambre ,
Morin, and Labondie, to plead her cause with the
members of the superior administrations; and just as
Grieve and the officials of the municipality reached
the house, Boileau, member for the district, arrived
on the scene, reprimanded them for making improper
use of a law which was only intended to be used with
great caution, and suspended the arrest.

Nothing daunted, Grieve lost no time in drawing up
another address, and, on July 3, presented himself at
the bar of the Convention, accompanied by some of
"the brave sans-culottes of Louveciennes" ; and there
proceeded to read his petition, which contained a ve-
hement denunciation of Madame du Barry, "who had
made her chateau the centre of liberticide projects,

9 Salanave had been detected by Madame du Barry, soon after
her return, stealing her porcelain, and had been dismissed.


commenced by Brissac and continued by the aristocrats
of every shade with whom she was in constant cor-
respondence; who insulted by her luxury the suffer-
ings of the unfortunate people whose husbands,
fathers, brothers, and children were shedding their
blood for the cause of equality in our armies, and
whose arrest was indispensable in order to destroy the
vestiges of a false grandeur, which dazzled the eyes
of the good and simple inhabitants of the surrounding
country, and put into practice the misunderstood prin-
ciples of equality/'

To this the President of the Convention replied:
'The National Convention applauds the new proofs
which the commune of Louveciennes has just given of
its patriotism, recognised from the commencement of
the Revolution, and which it manifests at the present
moment by putting into execution the law of June 2
against a woman too long celebrated for the misfor-
tune of France. The facts that you have just alleged
against her are very grave; be assured that, if they are
proved, her head shall fall on the scaffold. 11

He then gave orders that Madame du Barry was to
be placed under arrest in her own house, guarded by a
gendarme, to be kept there at the lady's expense, and
sent the petition to the Committee of General Security,"
which body ordered the Department of Seine-et-Oise
to hold an inquiry into the alleged "incivism" of the
Citoyenne du Barry.

10 L'Egalite controuvee, ou Petite Histoire de la Protection,
contenant les pieces relatives a la arrestation de la du Barry.
(Paris: 1793.) * Ibid.

12 The Committee of General Security must not be confounded
with the Committee of Public Safety. On special occasions they
consulted together, but the former always occupied a subordinate
position. The Committee of General Security superintended the
measures taken for the detection of political crime. Originally
the Girondists possessed a majority in it, but it was now com-
posed of twelve Montagnards.


The inquiry was held a few days later, and the
signatories of Grieve's petition were called upon to
make good their allegations. This they entirely failed
to do; some, whom Grieve had probably intimidated
into signing the address, declared that they had done
so under a misapprehension as to its contents., while
the rest could only adduce rambling statements and
vague rumours, which even a revolutionary court was
reluctant to admit as evidence. On the other hand, a
number of the inhabitants of Louveciennes who looked
with disapproval on Grieve's proceedings, and had de-
clined to join the club which he had organised, drew
up a counter-petition, in which they spoke in high
terms of the Citoyenne du Barry, declaring that she
was the benefactress of the village ; that they had seen
her in all weathers taking food and money to the sick
and poor; that she readily paid all taxes that were
levied, and had proven her patriotism by lending a
room in her house for a meeting of the local commit-
tee. The address concluded with a complaint of the
conduct of certain persons (Grieve and his friends)
who had recently established themselves in their midst
and set themselves to disturb the harmony and good-
feeling which had hitherto existed.

This petition they sent to the Committee of General
Security, who, after having deliberated upon it, de-
cided that there was no evidence to convict the Cito-
yenne du Barry, and directed the authorities of Seine-
et-Oise to set her at liberty.

Thus the countess was saved a second time, and a
severe rebuff administered to the malignant Grieve;
but the latter was not the man to allow his victim to
escape him. On July 31 he published and circulated a
violent pamphlet, under the title of "Sham Equality
(L'Egalite controuvee) ; or Short Account of the Pro-
tection (i.e., that given by Boileau and the authorities


of Seine-et-Oise to the ex- favourite), containing the
documents relating to the arrest of the Du Barry,
former mistress of Louis XV., to serve as an example
to those over-zealous patriots who wish to save the
Republic and those moderates who understand marvel-
lously well how to ruin it." The author signed him-
self "Grieve, defenseur offtcieux of the brave sans-
culottes of Louveciennes, friend of Franklin and Ma-
rat, factious (factieux) and anarchist of the first water,
and disorganiser of despotism for twenty years in both
hemispheres," denounced the interference of depart-
ments and committees with the course of justice, and
called loudly for the death of "the courtesan of Louve-
ciennes, the Bacchante crowned with ivy and roses."

This pamphlet was, in due course, brought to the
notice of Madame du Barry, who was astonished to
find that it contained a number of intimate details re-
garding her private life, which could only have been
furnished the writer by a member of her household.
Her suspicions fell upon Zamor, who had been the only
one of her servants who had not been placed under
arrest after Grieve's petition to the Convention, and
she promptly ordered the treacherous and ungrateful
Hindoo to leave the house. She doubtless imagined
that she had got rid of him for good and all; but she
was mistaken; for Zamor w r as to reappear to give
evidence against his benefactress before the Revolu-
tionary Tribunal.

As the days went by the attitude of Grieve and his
confederates towards the mistress of the chateau be-
came more and more menacing, and at length Madame
du Barry was forced to appeal for protection to the
administration of the department.

The administrators of Seine-et-Oise were favour-

13 A copy of this pamphlet, now very rare, is in the possession
of the British Museum.


ably disposed towards the ex- favourite ; indeed, one
of their number, named Lavallery, is commonly be-
lieved to have been in love with her ; and, in answer to
her appeal, Lavallery came to Louveciennes and urged
her to remove to Versailles and place herself under the
protection of himself and his colleagues. Madame du
Barry, however, explained to him that all her jewellery
which the burglars had overlooked, her plate, and a
very large sum in cash were concealed in various parts
of the house and grounds; that the traitors Salanave
and Zamor were acquainted with her arrangements,
and that her departure would probably be the signal
for a raid, which might deprive her of a great part of
her fortune.

The visit of Lavallery to Louveciennes did not pass
unnoticed by the watchful Grieve, who, the very next
day, called a meeting of his club and decided to send a
deputation to Versailles, to denounce Madame du
Barry to the revolutionary committee of the commune
of the town, and to draw up, in concert with that body,
a petition to the Committee of General Security, de-
manding the arrest of her protector and two of his

Solicitude for the safety of her hidden treasures was
not the only reason which made Madame du Barry
reluctant to quit Louveciennes at that moment; from
the following letter, which was among the papers
seized at her house, at the time of her arrest, it would
appear that she had given, or was about to give, a
third successor to Louis XV. :

"Saturday, September 7, 1793.

"I send you, my dear and affectionate friend, the
picture that you wished for, sad and funereal present, 18

14 E. and J. de Goncourt's La Du Barry, p. 261.
"Without doubt a portrait of Brissac.


but I feel as much as you yourself that you ought to
desire it. In such a situation as ours, with so many
subjects of pain and grief, it is food for our melan-
choly that we seek and which becomes us beyond

''I have sent to fetch the three portraits of you which
were at his house; they are here. I have kept one of
the small ones ; it is the original of that in which you
are wearing a chemise or white peignoir and a hat with
a plume. 16 The second is a copy of that in which the
head is finished, but where the attire is only traced out ; 17
neither of them are framed. The large one, by
Madame Lebrun, is delicious and a ravishing likeness :
it is a speaking portrait and infinitely pleasing ; but in-
deed I should have thought myself too indiscreet in
selecting it, and the one I am keeping is so pleasing,
so excellent a likeness, and so piquant, that I am ex-
tremely content with it and transported with happiness
at possessing it. The one begun by Letellier is only
sketched out, and the head is scarcely anything but a
rough draft, which may become a good likeness. I
have had it sent back to the painter.

'With regard to your large portrait and the one
which I am keeping, tell me, dear friend, if you wish
me to send them to you or if I ought to have them
taken back to where they came from; in short, what
destination you intend for them. I desire nothing
more than to have one which I ma}^ carry with me and
which may never leave me. Come then, dear love, to
pass sweet days here ; come and dine with me, with
whomever you may choose ; come and procure me a
few moments of happiness ; I have none save with you ;
let me have an answer to all my questions; come to
see a mortal who loves you beyond all and above all

16 See p. 320 note supra.


until the last moment of his life. I kiss a thousand
times the portrait of the most charming woman in the
world, and whose heart, so good and so noble, merits
an eternal devotion."

This letter, now in the National Archives, is un-
signed, and there is considerable doubt as to the iden-
tity of its writer. M. Vatel is of opinion that it was
penned by the Due de Rohan-Chabot, a young man
some twenty years Madame du Barry's junior, to
whom the ex-favourite h?:d, a few months previously,
advanced a large sum of money, an act which, as we
shall presently see, both she and her unfortunate bank-
ers, the Vandenyvers, who had negotiated the trans-
action, were to have good cause to rue. But the noble-
man in question was certainly not in a position to in-
vite the lady to dine with him just then, or even to
spend "a few moments of happiness" with her, as he
appears to have taken up arms against the Republic,
and had he ventured within a dozen leagues of Paris,
would most certainly have paid for his rashness with
his head. We are, therefore, inclined to think that the
Goncourts, who attribute the letter to another member
of the Rohan family, the Prince de Rohan-Rochefort,
may be nearer the mark, as the princess of that name
was an intimate friend of Madame du Barry. How-
ever, as they do not give us any reason for the con-
clusion at which they have arrived, it is probably
merely a supposition on their part.


IN THE second week in September 1793, several
members of the Committee of General Security
retired, and were replaced by some of the most
fanatical and sanguinary members of the "Mountain" :
Vadier, "that odious mixture of pride, barbarity, and
cowardice," as Louis Blanc designates him; Amar,
who had voted for the execution of Louis XVI. "sans
ap pel ni stir sis"; and Panis, Santerre's brother-in-law.
The implacable Grieve was not slow to perceive his
opportunity, and hardly had the new members taken
their seats when he presented himself before them
with a new petition against Madame du Barry, signed
by the revolutionary committee of the commune of

On this occasion, his efforts were crowned with suc-
cess, and, on September 21, the Committee of General
Security issued the following decree :



"Sitting September 21, 1793.

'The Committee decrees that the woman named
Dubarry, residing at Louveciennes, shall be arrested
and conducted to the prison of Sainte-Pelagie, to be
there detained, as a measure of general security, as a
person suspected of incivism and aristocracy. The
seals shall be placed on her effects, and perquisition
made of her papers. Those which appear suspicious
shall be brought to the Committee of General Security.
The Committee delegates the Citizen Grieve to execute



the present decree, and authorises him to requisition
such civil officers of justice as he may find ; armed force
if need be. Moreover, the Citizen Grieve will cause
to be arrested and conducted to Paris, to be confined
as a measure of general security in the prison of La
Force, all persons found at the house of the said Du-
barry at Louveciennes at the moment of the execution
of the present decree.


The following day, accompanied by the mayor
who, poor man! must have been shaking in his shoes,
as he was one of those who had signed the pro-Du
Barry petition of the previous summer the juge de
paix of Marly, several officers of the municipality, and
two gendarmes, Grieve proceeded to Louveciennes, ex-
hibited his warrant to the ill-fated mistress of the
chateau, directed the juge de pair to place the seals on
the doors of the house, ordered the lady to enter a car-
riage in company with the gendarmes, and set out for

As they were passing the hydraulic machine at Marly,
they perceived a cabriolet approaching, in which sat
the Chevalier d'Escourre, who was on his way to
pay Madame du Barry a visit. Although Grieve had
no authority to apprehend any one save the ex-favour-
ite and those found on her premises, he was not the
man to stick at trifles, and immediately ordered the
gendarmes to arrest the chevalier, whom he subse-
quently declared to have been "at the du Barry's
door,* at the moment when her arrest took place. He

* Cited in Vatel's Histoire de Madame du Barry, iii. 451.

* " D'Estcourt had already arrived in a cabriolet, with a servant,
at the Dubarry's door, the day of her arrest; but having learned
what was passing in the house, fled at full speed. Our brave
sans-culottes pursued him, and, with difficulty, caught him at the


then removed the lady to the cabriolet, took the reins
himself, and drove her the rest of the way to the

It would indeed be interesting to know what passed
between the Englishman and the woman whose fate he
held in his hands during that drive. Did he offer her
life? as several writers seem to suppose. If he did, the
price was one which she declined to pay, for Grieve
never turned aside for a moment from his fell purpose
until the guillotine had claimed its victim.

At Sainte-Pelagie, Madame du Barry found herself
in the company of many of her own sex : the celebrated
Madame Roland, who had been shut up there since
September 2 ; the wives of two other Girondin leaders,
Mesdames Brissot and Petion; Mesdames de Crequy-
Montmorency and de Gouy; the Mesdemoiselles de
Moncrif and several actresses of the Frangais, now the
Theatre de la Nation, among them Mademoiselle Rau-
court, to whom, in the days of her favour, the coun-
tess had presented a magnificent dress.

Madame du Barry was very far from being disposed
to follow the example of calm fortitude which the
Girondin ladies set her, and on October 2 she wrote
a letter to the Administration of Seine-et-Oise, com-
plaining of the treatment she had received at the hands
of the Committee of General Security, who, after de-
claring her innocent of the charges brought against
her, had, only a few weeks later, decreed her arrest.
She pointed out that, had she desired, she could easily
have removed the most valuable part of her property
to England during her several journeys thither, and
that the fact that she had not done so was a convinc-

foot of the mountain of Bougival." Note in Grieve' s handwrit-
ing on the back of d'Escourre's acte d'accusation, cited by the


ing proof of her attachment to her country; and she
begged the Administration to prevent Grieve from
plundering her house.

The letter was without effect, for her enemy, antici-
pating her appeal to the departmental authorities, had,
a few days before obtaining the warrant for the ex-
favourite's arrest, denounced Lavallery and his two
brother-administrators to the committee of General
Security, who had ordered their apprehension ; and, on
the very day on which Madame du Barry's letter was
written, the body of her protector was found floating
in the Seine above Paris. Some writers have asserted
that he was so madly enamoured of Madame du Barry
that he drowned himself on learning of her arrest ; but
it would appear more probable that his death was due
to a desire to escape the ignominy of a public execu-
tion, as the warrant for his own arrest had been issued
before any steps had been taken against the lady.
However, there can be little doubt that his admiration
for the mistress of Louveciennes cost him his life.

Finding that she had nothing to hope for from the
Department, Madame du Barry appealed directly to the
Committee of General Security, to whom her friends
at Louveciennes now addressed a second petition, pray-
ing for the release of their benefactress. This seems
to have alarmed Grieve, who thereupon went to
Heron, a member of the Committee, who had a long-
standing feud with the Vandenyvers, Madame du Bar-
ry's bankers, and urged him to denounce them to his
colleagues as accomplices, of the ex>favourite in her
dealings with aristocrats and emigres, by which move,
he perceived, the case against the poor woman would
be greatly strengthened. Heron needed very little per-
suasion to induce him to undertake so congenial a task ;
and the unfortunate bankers were arrested and re-
moved to Sainte-Pelagie.

Memoirs 12 Vol. 2


While Heron was drawing up his report against the
Vandenyvers, Grieve had received permission to make
investigations at Louveciennes, where he busied him-
self in going through all the letters and papers he
could find in the chateau and affixing to them annota-
tions for the guidance of the prosecution. Although
the majority of these letters are of the most trivial
nature, and many anterior to the Revolution, there is
hardly one from which the malice of the scoundrel
does not succeed in extracting something to compro-
mise his victim.

Thus, on a note in which mention is made of the
Abbe Billiardi, he writes: "This Abbe Billiardi was
one of her most frequent visitors since the Revolution,
as was also the Abbe de Fowtenille, ex-vicar of A gen,
guillotined the other day in Paris. Billiardi is dead.
These abbes were inseparable friends, and Billiardi
was also an anti^r evolutionist. Behold the friends of
the Dubarry!" On a letter from Madame Vigee Le-
brun, dated from Naples, in which she begs to be re-
membered to Brissac, Madame de Souza, the Portu-
guese Ambassadress, and the Marquise de Brunoi:
"Letter of the woman Lebrun, painter and mistress of

On a letter from Thellusson, the banker: "One of
the greatest London bankers, nephew of Thellusson,
former partner of Necker and great enemy of the

On a letter from Forth, a London dectective whom
Madame du Barry had employed for the recovery of
her jewels : "Proof of her connection with Forth, the
famous English spy, who has not ceased to intrigue
against France since 1777, and particularly since the
time of Franklin. It is he and Bethune Charost who
have been the most active emissaries of the Courts of
London, Berlin, and the Hague, and it is this Forth


who, one may presume, has plotted with her at Louve-
ciennes the pretended robbery of her diamonds."

On a letter from Lord Hawkesbury,* who presents
his compliments to Madame du Barry and will be
charmed to render her any service in his power in re-
gard to her lawsuit: (< Letter which proves her in-
trigues with the courtiers of George III. Lord
Hawkesbury is the privy councillor of the tyrant f who
governs Pitt himself and who, for twenty years, has
really held the reins of government, although now and
again apparently in disgrace; his son is to-day the
great political courier between London and the allied
Powers in the Netherlands"

"He forces the letters to say what they do not
say, he connects certain passages with events with
which they have no connection. He imagines, he
supposes, he lies, he tortures, in short, phrases and
words to extract from them a culpability neces-
sary for the furtherance of his schemes and his

On a letter from the Due de Rohan-Chabot refer-
ring to the loan of 200,000 livres which Madame du
Barry had made him, he suggests that the money was
to be used to subsidise the insurgents in La Vendee,
where the duke's estates were. A memorandum of
the expenses incurred by the countess during her stay
in London in November 1792 is endorsed with an in-
quiry if the money were not given to emigres. And a
letter from an old lady to Madame du Barry, dated La
Meilleraie, April 9, 1793, bears the annotation:
"Remark the time when this letter was written; it is
that of the treason of Dwmouries"

He details the "liberticide" books, journals, pam-

* Charles Jenkinson, afterwards first Earl of Liverpool. He
had been created Baron Hawkesbury in 1786.
4 Robert Banks Jenkinson, afterwards second Earl of Liverpool.


phlets, engravings, and so forth, which he has found,
among which he cites the Histoire des caricatures de la
revolte des Frangais of Boyer de Nismes ; twelve copies
of Peltier's Dernier Tableau de Paris; a translation of
Burke's work on Marie Antoinette; Epitaphe du
Varicourt, tue a la porte de la Rcine, which he declares
to have been written by the Abbe Dellile, "poet-in-or-
dinary of the Dubarry," and a portrait of the Comte
d'Artois. 5 Assisted by Salanave and Zamor, he also
collected all the jewellery, cash, and securities he could
discover, and made an exact inventory of them; after
which he drew up a list of twenty-seven witnesses, with
himself at their head, and forwarded this, together
with a long memorandum of the various facts to which
they were prepared to depose, to Fouquier-Tinville, the
Public Prosecutor.

On October 30 the Committee of General Security
deputed two of their number, Voulland and Jagot, to
proceed to Sainte-Pelagie and interrogate the Citoy-
enne du Barry. This interrogatory, a verbatim ac-

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Online LibraryH. Noel (Hugh Noel) WilliamsMemoirs of Madame Du Barry of the court of Louis XV → online text (page 26 of 28)