Lot 50: Rare Document Signed by the French Revolutionary Judge, Fouquier-Tinville, from the Crawford Collection
Presidential Letters, Free Franks & Speeches: Washington to Bush + Important Autographs in History, Science & the Arts
October 26, 2016
New York, NY, USALive Auction
Description: Rare Document Signed by the French Revolutionary Judge, Fouquier-Tinville, from the Crawford Collection ********** FOUQUIER-TINVILLE, ANTOINE-QUENTIN. (1746-1795). French public prosecutor for the Revolutionary Tribunal and supervisor of all political executions during the Reign of Terror. Partially printed DS. (“Fouquier de Tinville”). 2pp. Oblong 4to. Paris, August 27, 1779. In French. A judicial decision informing those listed that Sieur Pasqual Deslez must pay the sum of 79 livres to the claimant, Sieur Duclos. Bearing an early and rare form of Fouquier-Tinville’s signature including the aristocratic “de.” ********** Following his legal studies, in 1774, Fouquier-Tinville bought a position as a prosecutor at Paris’ Châtelet, an Ancien Régime court of justice. There he was involved in the case detailed in our document between December 19, 1778 and February 19, 1779. In 1781, he sold his office in order to pay some debts and became a clerk for the lieutenant-general of police. It was during these early years of his career that he became interested in revolutionary ideas, and in 1793, was appointed public prosecutor to the Revolutionary Tribunal of Paris. He held the post until July of the following year and was “as ruthless and incorrupt as Robespierre himself... moved from his purpose neither by pity nor by bribes. His function was not so much to convict the guilty as to see that the proscriptions ordered by the faction for the time being in power were carried out with due regard to a show of legality... the cold obstinacy with which he pressed his charges was more convincing than any rhetoric, and he seldom failed to secure a conviction,” (Encyclopaedia Britannica). Four days after Robespierre’s execution on July 28, 1794, Fouquier was arrested, brought to trial, and condemned to death. He and fifteen other former members of the Tribunal met the guillotine on May 7, 1795. ********** Written on a folded vellum sheet, which bears a black ink revenue stamp and the collector stamp of the Bibliotheca Lindesiana, the private library of James Lindsay, 26th Earl of Crawford. Crawford was a prominent bibliophile, autograph collector and philatelist whose collection became the Crawford Library. In very good condition. A rare example with an unusual form of his signature.