Page:A French Volunteer of the War of Independence.djvu/40

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in the archives,—is written, "Transferred to Pierre-en-Cize, 19th February, 1775." It is clear also, from the date, that the lettre de cachet must have been signed "La Vrillière," for his successor, M. de Malesherbes, would certainly have refused to put his name to it.[1]

Where were human justice, a father's wisdom, the voice of nature, and the ties of blood? And yet I can honestly aver that my relatives, who all belonged to a high rank of society, were the best meaning people in the world,—all gentleness, and kindness,—though, perhaps, I should add, except towards me, and except on that occasion. That was the sad effect of prejudice. If you have respectable, well-

  1. De Malesherbes never issued an order unless good cause was shown, and released many of the persons who had been imprisoned by his predecessors. He had, at the date given, been Minister for the last three months, but being busily engaged in putting to rights the State finances, was probably unable to look after other affairs. The Due de la Vrillière allowed his mistress to do quite an extensive business in lettres de cachet, and she would sell a blank form (which the purchaser could fill in according to taste) for 50 louis.