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Database: Antoine Fouquier-Tinville

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ACU Antoine Fouquier-Tinville

Born in 1746, Antoine Fouquier-Tinville was appointed director of one of the grand juries of the tribunal established on August 17, 1792 to try the royalists arrested on August 10 after the fall of the monarchy. In November of the same year, he became public prosecutor. In September 1793, the Reign of Terror became a matter of major concern. In the words of Fouquier-Tinville, "heads were falling like tiles."*
* Oh yes. "Heads were falling like tiles". A common phrase at the time, presumably because there were no decent French roofers in the 18th century. They were all too busy polishing.
As public prosecutor, he was in charge of prosecuting culprits and "bringing them to justice," which generally meant condemning them to death or otherwise doing the Committee of Public Safety's bidding. The day after the fall of Robespierre, he was relieved of his duties. A trial was brought against him in December 1794. When he was convicted, he pleaded in vain, "I have simply been the Convention's axe, does one punish an axe?" **
** A bad workman pretends he's a tool. Another popular phrase there.
He made his own trip to the guillotine on May 7, 1795.

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