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TO MY FAITHFUL SERVANT FLEURY. - Jeanne Marie Roland de la Platière, An Appeal to Impartial Posterity, by Citizenness Roland 
An Appeal to Impartial Posterity, by Citizenness Roland, wife of the Minister of the Home Department, or A Collection of Pieces written by her during her Confinement in the Prisons of the Abbey and St. Pelagie, Part I (London: J. Johnson, 1795). Vol. 2.
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TO MY FAITHFUL SERVANT FLEURY.
My dear Fleury, you whose fidelity, services, and attachment, have been so grateful to me for these thirteen years past, receive my embraces, and my farewell.
Preserve the remembrance of what I was. It will console you for what I suffer: the good pass on to glory when they descend to the tomb. My sorrows are about to terminate; lay aside yours, and think of the peace which I am about to enjoy, and which nobody will in future be able to disturb. Tell my Agatha that I carry with me to the grave the satisfaction of being beloved by her from my infancy, and the regret of not being able to give her proofs of my attachment. I could have wished to be of service to you, do not at least let me afflict you.
Farewell, my poor Fleury, farewell!
Friday, 24 October.
You cannot imagine, dear Jany, all the vexation I have suffered at not being able to write to you at my ease, nor even to read your letter at leisure: I perceived that I had an officer close at my heels, and was afraid on your account. I am like a person afflicted with the plague. I have no longer any thing to lose, but I am frightened out of my wits for those who accost me; insomuch that yesterday at the court of justice, I was in doubt whether I should return the salute of a man whom I recollected, and whom I thought highly imprudent for shewing me politeness in public.—I was present at the reading of those articles of impeachment, a prodigy of delusion, or rather a master piece of perfidy. As soon as they had been read, the advocate, Chauvean, observed, in terms of great moderation, that, contrary to all the forms of law, the documents on which they were sounded had not been communicated to the prisoners’ counsel, and that he begged the tribunal to take the matter into consideration, and give orders for their delivery. After a moment’s whispering, the president made answer, in a faltering voice, that the papers in question were for the most part sealed up at the houses of the accused; that orders would be given to proceed to the removal of the seals, and that in the mean time the trial would begin. Yes, Jany, I heard this very distinctly with my own ears! I looked about to see if it were not a dream, and I asked of myself whether posterity would believe these things if they should come to its knowledge?—Well, the people felt nothing of all this; they did not perceive the atrocity of such conduct; the absurdity of bringing forward a charge and of withholding the vouchers of its truth; the stupidity of pretending that these documents are at the houses of the accused, of whose papers as yet no inventory has been taken; and the folly and impudence of confessing it. The president muttered a few words besides concerning the immense number of the other papers, and the difficulty of communicating them; but this was neither more just, nor less absurd. The witnesses were then sent out of court, that they might be called in their turns to make their deposition: mine is not yet come, but probably may to-morrow. I can perceive nothing, in these proceedings, but the intention of taking advantage of the truths I may have the courage to tell, to effect my ruin, which, considering the villains I have to deal with, and my contempt of death, is by no means difficult. Perhaps then we are doomed to meet no more. My friendship bequeaths to you the care of my memory. If I could think of any thing more conformable to the generosity of your sentiments known too late, I would charge you with it: but why, my dear Jany, known too late? It was Providence that conducted every thing: had I earlier known your worth, my affection for you would have involved you in my misfortunes. You will dispose of every thing for the best. A fall out of the window may be supposed, and those who will not believe it may be sent to see. As there are a great many workmen, masons and others, nothing is more easy than to imagine, that one of them, or somebody disguised like one of them, stole, at a certain hour under my window, and received the parcel.—This idea is indeed a very good one, and carries with it an air of probability. The portraits, anecdotes, and other detached pieces, should be presented to the public as materials to be worked up in better times. The little depot ought not to be neglected: it should be added to the mass.
The being summoned as a witness previously to the being judicially accused, forces me to adopt a different mode of proceeding from that on which I had determined when I gave you my will, and for which I had already made my preparations: I will then drain the bitter cup to the last drop. Farewell, Jany, farewell!
Your letter, my dear Bosc, was highly welcome: it discovers to me your whole heart, and the full extent of your attachment: they are both as uncommon, in my estimation, as they are dear to my heart. We do not however differ so much as you imagine; we did not understand each other perfectly. It was not my intention to depart at that moment, but to procure the means of doing so when I should deem it fitting. I was desirous of rendering homage to the truth, as I have it in my power to do, and then to make my exit just before the last ceremony. I thought it noble thus to deceive the tyrants. I had long ruminated on this project; and I swear to you, that it was not inspired by weakness. I am perfectly well: my head is as cool, and my spirit as unbroken, as ever. True it is, however, that the present trial embitters my sorrows, and inflames my indignation. I thought that the fugitives also had been taken up. It is possible that deep grief, and the exaltation of sentiments already terrible, matured in the secret recesses of my heart a resolution, to which my mind did not fail to ascribe the most excellent motives.
Called upon to give evidence in this affair, I thought that it necessarily changed my mode of proceeding. I was determined to avail myself of the opportunity to reach the goal with greater celerity: I intended to thunder, and then to make a finish. I thought that this very circumstance would authorize me to speak without reserve, and that I ought to have it in my pocket when going into court. I did not however wait for it to support my character. During the hours of expectation that I passed in the clerk’s office, in the midst of ten persons, officers, judges of the other sections, &c. and in the hearing of Hebert and Chabot, who came into the next room, I spoke with equal energy and freedom. My turn to be heard did not come; they were to fetch me the second day after: the third however is almost over, and nobody has yet appeared. I fear that these knaves perceive that I may possibly furnish an interesting episode, and think that, after having summoned me, it is better to reject my evidence.
I wait with impatience, and am now afraid that I shall not have an opportunity of acknowledging my friends in their presence. You are of opinion, my dear Bosc, that in either case I ought to wait for, and not hasten the catastrophe; it is on this alone that we are not perfectly agreed. It seems to me, that there would be weakness in receiving the coup-de-grace from the hands of others instead of taking it from one’s own; and in exposing one’s self to the insolent clamours of a brutal populace, as unworthy of such an example as incapable of turning it to any account. No doubt it would have been right to do so three months ago; but now it will be lost upon the present generation; and as to posterity, the other resolution, well managed, will have quite as good an effect.
You see that you did not understand me.—Examine then the matter in the same point of view in which it strikes me: it is not at all the same as that in which you see it. When you shall thus have maturely considered it, I will abide by your determination.
I hasten to conclude, that you may have my answer by the same conveyance: it is enough for me to have indicated what you will be able to investigate in the leisure of meditation.—My poor little girl! Where then is she? Let me know, I beg of you: send me a few particulars, that my mind’s eye at least may see her in her new situation. Affected by your cares, you think that I feel likewise the cruelty of all these circumstances. I understand that my brother-in-law is in confinement: no doubt the sequestration of his property is still in force, and perhaps he is in danger of banishment.
Consider that your friendship, which finds the task I impose upon it a painful one, may easily deceive you, as to what you can or ought to do in that respect. Try to think of the matter, as if it were neither you nor I, but two indifferent persons, in our relative situations, submitted to your impartial judgment. Attend to my fortitude, weigh my reasons, calculate coolly, and recollect how little the mob is worth that feasts upon such a sight.
I embrace you tenderly. Jany will tell you what it is possible to attempt some morning; but take care not to run any hazard.