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Maximilien Robespierre

      Maximilien Isidore Robespierre, the leader of the most violent of those theorizers who overthrew the French monarchy, the exponent of all that deep-rooted hatred which the commoners of France, as the result of long centuries of oppression, harbored against their king, nobles, and clergy; Robespierre, who ruled the infant republic during her first bold defiance of united Europe, yet whose name has become, even among his countrymen, a symbol of horror, was born at Arras, in 1758. His father was an advocate in the supreme council of Artois, and, ruined by his dissipation, had left France long before the revolution. An orphan at the age of nine, and without fortune, Maximilien was indebted to the benevolent protection of the Bishop of Arras, M. de Conzie, for the situation of bursar of the College of Louis XIV. We are assured that from his infancy he manifested a cruel, reserved, and timid disposition, and an ardent love of liberty and independence. After having passed through his studies, and obtained the honor of being chosen by his fellow-students to address Louis XVI., upon the entrance of that prince into Paris, he returned to Arras, where, having become an advocate of the council of Artois, he composed strictures against the magistrates of that province. A daring enthusiast, in 1789 he was elected, on account of his revolutionary principles, by the third estate of Artois, to a seat in the Constituent Assembly. We shall not follow him in detail in that assembly: we shall sim...

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