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NOTES On my Trial, and the Examination by which it began. - 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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At the first moment of my confinement, I thought of writing to Duperret, to beg him to get some attention paid to my complaints. Without being intimate with him, I had observed in his character that kind of courage which prompts a man to stand forth without fear of consequences whenever he has it in his power to oblige; and he had inspired me with that confidence which arises in a revolution from a conformity of principles. I was not deceived: Duperret answered me with kindness and warmth; and added, to the expressions of his own sentiments, some intelligence concerning the state of public affairs, and the fugitive deputies. I thanked him; and, in replying to the passage that related to our friends, expressed my wishes for their safety, and for that of my country. A few days after, having printed the examination which I had undergone before an administrator of the police at the Abbey, I sent a copy to Duperret; and took that opportunity of testifying my contempt for the silly lies which Hebert had just told in speaking of me in his Pere Duchesne. The whole of our correspondence might amount to three or four short letters, including a note, in which I acquainted Duperret, as I acquainted at the time several other persons, whom I supposed to take an interest in my welfare, with the sudden transformation of my enlargement from the Abbey, into a new confinement at Sainte-Pelagie. It is on this correspondence that they mean to found an accusation against me, as having been at least indirectly connected with the rebels of Calvados. The very day of Brissot’s execution I was removed to the Conciergerie, put into a noisome room, and forced to sleep in a bed without sheets, which a fellow-prisoner was good enough to lend me. The day after I was examined in the office of the tribunal, by judge David, accompanied by the public accuser, and in the presence of a man whom I suspect to be a juror. At first they asked me many tedious questions concerning what Roland was before the 14th July, 1789; who was mayor of Lyons when he was municipal officer, &c.—I answered these questions by an exact relation of facts; but from that very moment I could perceive that, while asking a great many particulars, they did not wish me to be circumstantial in my answers. After this, without any transition, I was asked, if at the time of the Convention I had not been in the habit of seeing such and such members (here the proscribed and the condemned were named); and if in their conferences I had not heard them mention a departmentary force, and the means of obtaining it. I had to remark, that I had seen some of those members as friends, with whom Roland had been intimate from the time of the Constituent Assembly; others by accident, as acquaintances, or brought to our house by their colleagues; and that several of them I had never seen at all. That besides there had never been any secret councils or conferences at Roland’s; but that the conversation was public, and turned upon matters which engaged the attention of the Assembly, and interested every body else. The debate was long and violent before I could get my answers taken down. They desired me to confine myself to yes and no; accused me of being talkative; and told me that I was not shewing my wit at the hotel of the home department. The public accuser and the judge, especially the first, behaved with the prepossession and acrimony of people persuaded that they had got a great criminal before them, and impatient for her conviction. When the judge had asked a question, and the public accuser did not find it to his liking, he couched it in other terms, extended and rendered it complex and captious, interrupted my answers, and required them to be more concise: it was a downright persecution. I was kept about three hours, or rather more, after which the examination was suspended to be resumed, as I was told, in the evening. I am waiting for it. A determination to destroy me seems evident.—I will not prolong my life by any base subterfuge; neither will I lay bare my bosom to malevolence, nor facilitate, by a silly complaisance, the labours of the public accuser, who seems desirous, that by my answers I should furnish him with matter for the indictment which his zeal meditates against me.
Two days after I was sent for to be re-examined. The first question turned upon the pretended contradiction that existed between my letters to Duperret, and my having said that I was not particularly intimate with him; whence it resulted, that I disguised the truth in regard to my political connexions with the rebels. I answered that I had not seen Duperret above ten times in my life, and never in private, as it was easy to perceive by the first letter I addressed to him, when sending him a copy of the one I had written to the Convention; that the subsequent letters were the consequence of the kind and explicit answer I had received, &c. That at the period our little correspondence began there was no question of revolt and rebellion; and that at that time I had little room to make a choice in the assembly, where there was scarcely any person to whom I was known, or who would have undertaken the care of my interests.
Question. Who were the common friends of yourself and Duperret?
Answer. Barbaroux in particular.
Question. Was it known to you that Roland, before he entered into the administration, belonged to the Committee of Correspondence of the Jacobins?
Question. Was it not you who took upon you to compose the letters it was his duty to draw up for the Committee?
Answer. My husband never borrowed my thoughts, although he may sometimes have employed my pen.
Question. Were you not acquainted with the office for the formation of public spirit, established by Roland to corrupt the departments, to bring to Paris a departmentary force, to tear the republic to pieces, according to the plans of a liberticide faction, &c.; and was it not you who conducted the business of that office?
Answer. Roland established no office under that denomination; and I conducted the business of none. After the decree, passed at the latter end of August, ordering him to disperse useful writings, he assigned to some of his clerks the care of forwarding them, exerting himself to the utmost in the execution of a law which tended to diffuse the knowledge and the love of the revolution. This he called the patriotic correspondence; and as to his own writings, instead of promoting discord, they all breathed a desire to concur in the maintenance of order, and of peace.
Here it was observed, that it was in vain for me to attempt to disguise the truth, as it evidently appeared by all my answers, that I was desirous of doing; that upon the door of that very office was a ridiculous inscription, and that I was not so great a stranger to my husband’s transactions as not to know it; that my endeavours to justify Roland would be equally ineffectual; and that fatal experience had but too well shown the mischief that perfidious minister had done, by aspersing the most faithful representatives of the people, and by exciting the departments to take up arms against Paris.
To this I answered, that far from desiring to disguise the truth, I was proud of doing homage to it, even at the risk of my life; that I had never read the inscription in question; that, on the contrary, I had remarked at the time the report of that denomination was in circulation, that it was not to be found in the printed lists of offices belonging to the home department; and that, in answer to the injurious imputations cast upon Roland, I had only two facts to oppose: the first his writings, which all contained the best principles of morality and politicks; the second, his forwarding of all those printed by order of the National Convention, even to the speeches of the members of that assembly, who passed for the most violent in opposition.
Question. Do you know at what time Roland left Paris, and where he may be?
Answer. Whether I do or not, it is what I neither ought nor choose to tell.
It was observed, that this obstinacy in constantly disguising the truth proved that I thought Roland guilty; that I set myself in open rebellion against the law; that I forgot the duty of a person accused, whom it behoves above all to reveal the truth to justice, &c. The public accuser, who put this question, took care to accompany it, as he did every one else he thought proper to ask, with insulting epithets, and expressions that indicated anger. I attempted to answer; but he forbad me to enter into details; and both he and the judge, endeavouring to avail themselves of the kind of authority given them by their office, employed every mean to reduce me to silence, or to make me say what they thought fit. Indignant at this, I told them, that I would complain in open court of their unheard of and captious mode of examination; that I would not suffer myself to be brow-beat; and that I considered the laws of reason and nature as superior to all human institutions: then turning round to the clerk, ‘Take your pen,’ said I, ‘and write.’
Answer. ‘A person accused is answerable for his own actions, but not for those of others. If, during more than four months, Roland had not in vain solicited the passing of his accounts, he would not now be obliged to absent himself, nor should I be obliged to make a secret of the place of his residence, even supposing that I am acquainted with it.—I know of no law which requires me to betray the dearest sentiments of nature.’
Here the public accuser exclaimed in a rage, that there would be no end to my loquacity; and here he closed the examination.
‘How I pity you,’ said I calmly. ‘I forgive you even the disagreeable things you say to me: you think you have a great criminal before you, and you are impatient to convict her. How unfortunate is the man who entertains such prejudices! You may send me to the scaffold; but you cannot deprive me of the satisfaction I derive from a good conscience, nor of the persuasion that posterity will revenge Roland and myself, by devoting his persecutors to infamy.’ Being desired to choose an advocate, I named Chauveau, and retired, saying to them with a smile, ‘I wish you, in return for all the ill you mean to do me, the same peace of mind I enjoy, whatever may be the reward attached to it.’
This examination took place in a room called the council-chamber, where there was a table with several persons sitting round it, who appeared to be there for the purpose of writing, and who did nothing but listen to what I said. There were a great many goers and comers; nor could any thing be less secret than this examination.