10 August, 1792, The massacre of the Swiss Guards

The massacre of the Swiss Guards.

Few moments of history have the pathos of the French Revolution. Unfortunately this tragedy was all too real.

Elena-Maria Vidal has captured the scene at the Tuilleries at her blog, Tea at Trianon.

My intention here is to remember the brave Swiss who nobly performed their duty until death.

Here is a comment I made to Elena-Maria in December of 2006...

...On 10 August 1792, His Majesty the King and his family are removed (escape is too kind a word) from the Tuileries by the National Guard and brought before the so called "National Assembly". Within minutes of the their departure, attackers, the mob, burst through the gates of the Tuileries and confront The Swiss Guards who are in formation on the grand staircase of the palace arrayed as for battle. Their bright red uniforms and white cross belts immaculate in the sunlight.

Shouts for the surrender arose from the crowd. One traitor who speaks German yells to the Swiss.

"Surrender to the Nation!"…

" We would think ourselves dishonoured! We are Swiss and we surrender only with our lives!" Comes the reply in return.

The crowd becomes angry and and increasingly violent attempting to pull the soldiers of the stair case with the hooks of halberds. They succeeded with five, removing their weapons and butchered them. Then 60 of the Guard form a hollow square and force the mob back down the street. Turning a piece of the National Guards artillery back on them they fire and have the attackers running down the street.

The King, secluded in a cramped stenographers box was told to have the Guard lay down its arms and return to the barracks. The King, who grieves at the thought of his subjects having their blood shed reluctantly agrees and orders the Guard to lay down its arms. Captain Durler of the Guard refuses to believe this order. It is madness. He asks for it in writing. He has just seen with his own eyes what the mob has done to 5 of his men moments before.

He knows surrender means death. The King gives him the order in writing.

Captain Durler orders his men to lay down their arms and return to the barracks. As they withdraw they are attacked, where ever they run, where ever they attempt to hide they are dragged out and murdered. No not murdered, that would be to kind a word for it, for they are hacked to pieces, women and children lustily calling for their death, whistling and cheering at each head piked, each arm severed. The heads of the guards are kicked like balls in the streets of Paris. 900 are killed in this way.

At the end of the day no street in Paris is without it's head on a pike.

THIS is the glory of which The French Republic is so proud. This is the true story of the Godless proto-communists and their anarchical government, begun in fear, savagery and repression, maintained by threats and the guillotine.

Let them be remembered here.

"HELVETIORUM FIDEI AC VIRTUTI" – "To the Loyalty and Courage of the Swiss".

A of the hero of the Vendee' is a witness to the atrocity of 10 August 1792. Henri de la Rochejaquelein is at the Tuileries to offer his services to the royal family. He arrives just as the mob begins the massacre and escapes only by exchanging his coat with that of a republican. The short coat and tricolour cockade probably don't fool as many people as the leg of a Swiss Guardsman he carries over his shoulder...

Vive le Roy,

Un article sur les gardes suisses en français cliquez ici.

Taken from The Guillotine and the Cross, by Dr Warren Carroll


Louvain, an episode of the Great War

An American describes Belguim at the opening of hostilities August 1914...

...I am not going to try to describe Louvain. Others have done that competently. The Belgians were approximately correct when they said Louvain had been destroyed. The Germans were technically right when they said not over twenty per cent of its area had been reduced; but that twenty per cent included practically the whole business district, practically all the better class of homes, the university, the cathedral, the main thoroughfares, the principal hotels and shops and cafes. The famous town hall alone stood unscathed; it was saved by German soldiers from the common fate of all things about it. What remained, in historic value and in physical beauty, and even in tangible property value, was much less than what was gone forever.

I sought out the hotel near the station where we had stayed, as enforced guests of the German army, for three days in August. Its site was a leveled gray mass, sodden, wrecked past all redemption; ruined beyond all thought of salvage. I looked for the little inn at which we had dined. Its front wall littered the street and its interior was a jumble of worthlessness. I wondered again as I had wondered many times before what had become of its proprietor — the dainty, gentle little woman whose misshapen figure told us she was near the time for her baby.

I endeavored to fix the location of the little sidewalk cafe where we sat on the second or the third day of the German occupation — August twenty-first, I think, was the date — and watched the sun go out in eclipse like a copper disk. We did not know it then, but it was Louvain's bloody eclipse we saw presaged that day in the suddenly darkened heavens. Even the lines of the sidewalks were lost. The road was piled high with broken, fire-smudged masonry. The building behind was a building no longer. It was a husk of a house, open to the sky, backless and front-less, and fit only to tumble down in the next high wind.

As we stood before the empty railroad station, in what I veritably believe to be the forlornest spot there is on this earth, a woman in a shawl came whining to sell us postal cards, on which were views of the desolation that was all about us.

"Please buy some pictures," she said in French. "My husband is dead."

"When did he die?" one of us asked.

She blinked, as though trying to remember.

"That night," she said as though there had never been but one night. "They killed him then — that night." "Who killed him?" "They did."

She pointed in the direction of the square fronting the station. There were German soldiers where she pointed — both living ones and dead ones. The dead ones, eighty- odd of them, were buried in two big crosswise trenches, in a circular plot that had once been a bed of ornamental flowers surrounding the monument of some local notable. The living ones were standing sentry duty at the fence that flanked the railroad tracks beyond.

"They did," she said; "they killed him! Will you buy some postal cards, m'sieur? All the best pictures of the ruins!"

She said it flatly, without color in her voice, or feeling or emotion. She did not, I am sure, flinch mentally as she looked at the Germans. Certainly she did not flinch visibly. She was past flinching, I suppose.

The officer in command of the force holding the town came, just before we started, to warn us to beware of bicyclists who might be encountered near Tirlemont.

"They are all franc-tireurs — those Belgians on wheels," he said. "Some of them are straggling soldiers, wearing uniforms under their other clothes. They will shoot at you and trust to their bicycles to get away. We've caught and killed some of them, but there are still a few abroad. Take no chances with them. If I were in your place I should be ready to shoot first."

We asked him how the surviving populace of Louvain was behaving.

"Oh, we have them — like that!" he said with a laugh, and clenched his hand up in a knot of knuckles to show what he meant. "They know better than to shoot at a German soldier now; but if looks would kill we'd all be dead men a hundred times a day." And he laughed again.

Of course it was none of our business; but it seemed to us that if we were choosing a man to pacify and control the ruined people of ruined Louvain this square-headed, big- fisted captain would not have been our first choice.

It began to rain hard as our automobile moved through the wreckage-strewn street which, being followed, would bring us to the homeward road — home in this instance meaning Germany. The rain, soaking into the debris, sent up a sour, nasty smell, which pursued us until we had cleared the town. That exhalation might fully have been the breath of the wasted place, just as the distant, never-ending boom of the guns might have been the lamenting voice of the war-smitten land itself.

I remember Liege best at this present distance by reason of a small thing that occurred as we rode, just before dusk, through a byway near the river. In the gloomy, wet Sunday street two bands of boys were playing at being soldiers. Being soldiers is the game all the children in Northern Europe have played since the first of last August.

From doorways and window sills their lounging elders watched these Liege urchins as they waged their mimic fight with wooden guns and wooden swords; but, while we looked on, one boy of an inventive turn of mind was possessed of a great idea. He proceeded to organize an execution against a handy wall, with one small person to enact the role of the condemned culprit and half a dozen others to make up the firing squad.

As the older spectators realized what was afoot a growl of dissent rolled up and down the street; and a stout, red-faced matron, shrilly protesting, ran out into the road and cuffed the boys until they broke and scattered. There was one game in Liege the boys might not play.

The last I saw of Belgium was when I skirted her northern frontier, making for the seacoast. The guns were silent now, for Antwerp had surrendered; and over all the roads leading up into Holland refugees were pouring in winding streams. They were such refugees as I had seen a score of times before, only now there were infinitely more of them than ever before: men, women and children, all afoot; all burdened with bags and bundles; all dressed in their best clothes — they did well to save their best, since they could save so little else — all or nearly all bearing their inevitable black umbrellas.

They must have come long distances; but I marked that none of them moaned or complained, or gave up in weariness and despair. They went on and on, with their weary backs bent to their burdens and their weary legs trembling under them; and we did not know where they were going — and they did not know. They just went. What they must face before them could not equal what they left behind them; so they went on.

That poor little rag doll, with its head crushed in the wheel tracks, does not after all furnish such a good comparison for Belgium, I think, as I finish this tale; for it had sawdust insides — and Belgium's vitals are the vitals of courage and patience.

Pour ceux qui a défié le boche aigle, salut.


The King's Speech

...5 August was the anniversary of the German invasion of Belgium during World War I. Here is a description of King Albert's stirring speech to the Belgian Parliament on this grave occasion, taken from the diplomatic diaries of Hugh Gibson:

August 5.—Yesterday morning we got about early and made for the Chamber of Deputies to hear the King's speech. The Minister and I walked over together and met a few straggling colleagues heading in the same direction. Most of them had got there ahead of us, and the galleries were all jammed. The Rue Royale, from the Palace around the park to the Parliament building, was packed with people, held in check by the Garde Civique. There was a buzz as of a thousand bees, and every face was ablaze—the look of a people who have been trampled on for hundreds of years and have not learned to submit. The Garde Civique had two bands in front of the Senate, and they tried to play the " Brabanconne" in unison. Neither of them could play the air in tune, and they were about a bar apart all the time. They played it through and then began to play it over again without a pause between. They blew and pounded steadily for nearly half an hour, and the more they played the more enthusiastic the crowds became...

Thanks and a tip of the beret to mon Colibri, "Matterhorn" at Cross of Laeken.


Nagasaki: The "Catholic Capital of Japan"

On August 9, 1945, the American B-29 bomber, Bock's Car left Tinian carrying Fat Man, a plutonium implosion-type bomb. The primary target was the Kokura Arsenal, but upon reaching the target, they found that it was covered by a heavy ground haze and smoke, pilot Charles Sweeney turned to the secondary target of the Mitsubishi Torpedo Plant at Nagasaki.

Of the 286,00 people living in Nagasaki at the time of the blast, 74,000 were killed and another 75,000 sustained severe injuries.

Christine at Laudem Glorae posted...

...God’s inscrutable providence allowed an atomic bomb named “Fat Man” to be dropped from a B-29 into the heavily populated city of Nagasaki. The epicenter of the blast was the Urakami district, the heart and soul of Catholicism in Japan since the sixteenth century.

[A witness] remembered two strange stories, one by a nurse and some others in his radiology department telling of some women singing Latin hymns on the midnight after the blast. The next day they found the twenty-seven nuns from the nearby Josei Convent. The convent was demolished and all were dead, horribly burned to death; and yet they died singing! The other incident concerned girls from Junshin, a school where his wife Midori had taught, run by nuns that he knew well. During the dark days of 1945, when the people worried of being firebombed, the girls had been taught by the principal nun to sing, “Mary, my Mother, I offer myself to you.” Remarkably, after the bombing, though many of the Junshin girls were instantly killed, Nagai heard several reports of different groups of Junshin girls who had been working in factories, fields and other places, singing, “Mary, my Mother, I offer myself to you.” Many would be dead within days, but they were heard singing.


Lift the City - a Catholic Eucharistic flash mob


Dr Warren Carroll

The late Dr. Warren H. Carroll a leading Catholic historian and author, and the founder of Christendom College,returned his soul to God on 17 July, 2011. He was 79 years old.

A convert to Christianity, Dr. Warren Carroll was educated at Bates College and received a Doctorate of History from Columbia University. After founding Christendom College, he served as the College's president until 1985 and then as the chairman of its History Department until his retirement in 2002. He is the author of numerous historical works including "The Rise and Fall of the Communist Revolution" and his major multi-volume work "The History of Christendom."

As an historian, dates were very important to Dr. Carroll. In the 5th Volume of his History of Christendom series, The Revolution Against Christendom (pages 275-279), Dr. Carroll wrote about the Carmelite Martyrs of Compeigne, who died on July 17, 1794, and on whose feast day he died.
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I carry several books with me, The Bible, Chronicles of the Crusades, Life of St Louis by Villhardoun and Joinville, Joan of Arc: Her Story by Pernoud, and Guillotine and the Cross by Dr Carroll.

This is a review of that latter tome...

The Guillotine and the Cross(Warren Carroll, Christendom Press, 1991)
reviewed by Matthew M. Anger

To the theological temperament the [French] Revolution was, of course, proof that neither God nor Satan had abandoned the heroic battleground of this earth. - Crane Brinton, A Decade of Revolution, 1789-1799

Few studies of the French Revolution illustrate the underlying theological reality of human events as well as Warren Carroll's Guillotine and the Cross (Christendom Press, 1991). It is a book that has already joined the ranks of classic Catholic history, along with the works of Hilaire Belloc, William Thomas Walsh and Christopher Hollis, for its engaging narrative and uncompromising analysis. An example of Carroll's style is his discussion of the attempt by Robespierre to concoct a Jacobin faith to replace the old Creed. The Revolution, while abolishing Catholicism, condescended to acknowledge the existence of God. In commemoration of this progressive discovery, it proclaimed a "festival of the Supreme Being" which took place in May 1793. These events, says Carroll

"...are all discussed by most historians, even Catholic historians, with a seriousness which under all the circumstances they hardly seem to deserve. Whatever it was that Robespierre was talking about was very far removed from the God of the martyrs of the Revolution... It was a "god" who seems to have borne a rather close resemblance to Maximillien Robespierre himself. At the "festival of the Supreme Being" he hailed this god from an enormous pasteboard mountain which he had run ahead of the formal procession to be assured of climbing first. From its summit, dressed in a robin's-egg blue coat and jonquil-colored breeches, he addresses an enormous throng through clouds of incense. In honor of the occasion [he notes wryly], the guillotine was draped in velvet that day and did not strike off a single head..."

Dr Carroll will be missed by us but not by Heaven.

Dr Carroll produced 22 lectures which are listed here...

1 The Shadow of Genghis Khan
2 Lord Horatio Nelson
3 Alexander the Great
4 Isabel of Spain: The Catholic Queen
5 McCarthy: The Myth and the Truth
6 Danton's Conversion in the French Revolution
7 Bonnie Prince Charlie
8 Blessed Charles of Austria: A Man of Peace in a World at War
9 Charles V: The Man Who Saved Christendom
10 John Schmitz: A Catholic Hero
11 The Devil Unchained: The Ten Deaths of Rasputin
12 The Protestant Revolt, Not a Reformation
13 The Arctic Eagle: Carl Gustaf Mannerheim
14 The Death of Lenin
15 The Russian Civil War: 1918-1926
16 The Russian Revolution: Part One
17 The Russian Revolution: Part Two
18 Witness: Whittaker Chambers
19 Andrew Eiva and the End of the Communist Empire
20 Prince Henry the Navigator of Portugal (1390-1460)
21 The Fall of the Soviet Union
22 The Watchwords of Christendom College: Truth Exists, the Incarnation Happened

All of these lectures can be down loaded free from iTunes U

May the Saints and Apostles pray for you Dr Carroll.


The murder of the Princess de Lamballe

...Among the thousands murdered during the French Revolution, one of the most notorious cases was that of the death of the Princesse de Lamballe, friend of Queen Marie-Antoinette. The fury of the new order of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity vented itself upon her frail form in a manner of extreme violence. This was as strange as it was hideous, because other than being a confidante of the queen's, Madame de Lamballe could be counted among the more liberal, "enlightened" aristocrats, devoted to works of charity and civil improvements...more...

Elena-Maria again relates ..."Such excesses became typical of the French Revolution, stirred up by propaganda which played upon the fears of many. The Princesse de Lamballe was a bit misguided but ultimately heroic and loyal, and the grisly death to which she was subjected exemplified not only the misogyny of the new order but a hatred of all that was beautiful and good..."

Go here to read the testimony of Madame Tourzel.(in French)