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

Joseph Fouché

  • [Duc d’Otranto, a French Jacobin; born at Nantes, 1763; member of the Convention; minister of police under the Directory and Empire, and a short time after the restoration; banished, 1816; died at Trieste, 1820.]
  • Death is an eternal sleep (La mort est un sommeil éternel).

  • Placed by his orders on the gates of the cemeteries in 1794.
  • Robespierre said, in one of his last speeches, “No, Chaumette: death is not an eternal sleep.”
  • Napoleon asked Fouché if he did not vote for the death of Louis XVI.; to which he gave the courtier-like reply, “Yes, sire: that was the first service I had the honor of rendering your majesty;” meaning that the death of the king was the first step to the empire.
  • A lady wrote him from St. Petersburg, in 1801, that she had seen Alexander I. in a procession, preceded by the assassins of his grandfather (Peter III.), followed by those of his father (Paul), and surrounded by his own. “Behold a woman who speaks Tacitus!” exclaimed Fouché.