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S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.

Charles François Dumouriez

  • [A French statesman and general; born at Cambrai, 1739; favored the moderate party in the Revolution; minister for foreign affairs, 1792, where he gained the king’s confidence; general-in-chief of the French army; defeated the Austrians at Jemappes, and conquered Belgium; having plotted a counter-revolution, was obliged to go into exile, and died in England, 1823.]
  • Sire, I shall often displease you, but I shall never deceive you (Je vous déplairai souvent, mais je ne vous tromperai jamais).

  • To Louis XVI., when made minister for foreign affairs.
  • When the master of ceremonies exclaimed, on Roland’s first appearance at court, “Without buckles in his shoes!” Dumouriez satirically replied, “Ah, sir, all is lost!” (tout est perdu!)
  • He called the Girondists “the Jesuits of the Revolution.”—Memoirs, III. 314. “They are men skilled in advocate fence. They have been called the Jesuits of the Revolution, but that is too hard a name.”—CARLYLE: French Revolution, II. 5, 2.
  • When a ham, which had the cross of the Teutonic order cut in it, was brought on to the table, during one of his campaigns, Dumouriez asked, “What, does the hog, too, belong to the Teutonic order?”
  • While meditating a restoration of Louis XVI., in collusion with Austria, he defined his position: “Though I were to be called Cæsar, Cromwell, or Monk, I will save my country, in spite of the Jacobins and the conventional regicides who protect them.” Four commissioners were sent to him by the Convention, one of whom, Bancal, urged the example of the obedience of the great men of antiquity to their country. “But,” replied Dumouriez, “the Romans did not slay Tarquin. They had neither Jacobin clubs nor revolutionary tribunals. Tigers crave my head: I will not give it to them. Since you cite the Romans, I declare that I will never be a Curtius to cast myself into the gulf.” The allusion is to the tradition, that, in 362 B.C., the earth in the Roman forum gave way, and a great chasm appeared, which the soothsayers declared could only be filled up by throwing into it Rome’s greatest treasure; that thereupon Curtius, a noble youth, mounted his steed in full armor, and, declaring that Rome possessed no greater treasure than a brave and gallant citizen, leaped into the abyss; upon which the earth closed over him.