Like most people reading these pages, I have always been interested in History (aren't we all, since historical events are the basis of BeruBara?) and I do a minimum of research surrounding the facts and events described by Berusaiyu no Bara. I never thought, except for the obvious characters, that the "heroes" of the story were anything but fictitious, but I know that the story is so well made that distinguishing between "real" and "made-up" is sometimes difficult. For instance, I had my doubts about the General. I heard that Ryoko Ikeda found his name amongst the men trying to save the remaining Royal Family after the execution of Louis XXVI. Here are a few things I found.
Ryoko Ikeda mentions that she got the name "Jarjayes" (it is with an "a", I think have myself written it "Jarjayes" in most of my stories, and this is also how it is spelt in the French version of the Anime) from the list of "conspirators" determined to get the Royal Family (The Queen Marie Antoinette, Louis-Charles -the "Dauphin" or Louis XVII, since Louis XVI is dead-, Mme Royale Marie-Therese and Mme Elisabeth, sister of the late King) out of the "Prison du Temple" where they are held on the 3rd floor (Louis XVI had the 1st floor but is no more).
We all know that all of them, except for the Dauphin, finished on the guillotine (even Mme Elisabeth, a few years later!). As for "Louis XVII", we all know the polemic surrounding his substitution, escape, or Death.
I have to say that, at the time, even though the Temple was very well guarded (always at least 150 men in the inside Court), it was still very easy to get in and visit (wearing a uniform was enough for the guards who would not necessarily approach you, or holding a "pass", 6,000 to 7,000 passes per month were issued during the first few months of the Royal Family's stay!). When you know that, without photographs at the time, it was easy to transfer those cards, the possibilities were huge. Especially since possible escape routes (such as Stable doors or Courtyards) were only found AFTER the death of the Royal Family, such a plan wasn't at all utopic for the conspirators.
The plan we are interested in was probably the best and most baffling of all, and would have succeeded... but we all know the rest. Ryoko Ikeda probably found the name of the General thanks to Lepitre (What a name for a conspirator!), who was one of the leaders in the conspiracy, and also the one who talked about the implicated parties (including Jarjayes). It is most probable that Ikeda found an account of the surprising story Lepitre gave (well after the facts) in 1817.
The plan was simple, but effective:
The Ringleader was Toulan, a member of the Commune, who, even though he was in public a fervent adept of the Republican Cause, was in fact devoted to the Royal Family. Being so active in the Commune, he was the one who, on the 26 January 1793, stole the Stamp and Ring of the dead king, secured in the Council Room, and restituted it to Marie-Antoinette, while being the loudest in protesting against the theft.
Toulan managed to convince Lepitre to help in his plan to arrange the escape of the Royal Family. The only problem was that Lepitre was much more interested in the money he would be paid than the Royalist Cause.
Costumes were collected and/or created for Marie-Antoinette and Mme Elisabeth. Male costumes, including padding to change their figures, hats and all accessories. They deployed an incredible ingeniosity in getting these items inside the walls of the prison. It would be more difficult to get Mme Royal and the Dauphin outside, but they elaborated a plan including more costumes and even the drugging of the tabacco the guards would be using this night. Finally, they would be escaping one by one using fake passes that Lepitre was supposed to get them. As I said, once in possession of the passes, the guards wouldn't pay too much attention to the holders of the documents, and they could get outside to the Rue de la Corderie, were M. de Jarjayes (there he is!), would lead them to safety.
Jarjayes would only have a secondary role because his face was too well known to be part of the core of the operation, but he was given the difficult task to protect and hide the family. Besides, he had helped engineered the plan and was a solid contact regarding the operations with the Queen.
At this point, I will have to say that the General was also a "Marechal de Camp", and that he was a simple knight (Chevalier de Jarjayes, and not a Count, which makes me think that he may not have been of military descent, but acquired a name and title for himself, nor Great Nobility). This is quite contrary to the image and background given by Ryoko Ikeda of the character, but she was right in stating the undying devotion of the General to the King and then the Queen. He actually had stayed in Paris, at the risk of his own life, by order of the King, and after his execution for the Queen herself, even though he did not have any formal orders.
The operation had been exactly timed and thought over. Every details of the day studied, the schedule was finally drawn.
But Lepitre was late in delivering the passes, despite a FF200,000 advance, and soon, when the date reached the 13 March, Jarjayes correctly assumed that it was now too late to allow the escape of the whole family. This is where his presence in History is best known: he offers to help the Queen escape, but she refuses if her children are not saved. One of her last letters to Jarjayes starts with these words: "We made a beautiful dream, that's all". She then thanks the Chevalier for his devotion but assures him that she has no regrets if her Son cannot accompany her. This is the last known involvement of Jarjayes with the Royal Family and the last trace of his passage in History.
There may have been some time later a plan to help "Louis XVII" escape, and this would have involved the plan devised by Toulan and Jarjayes, modified to accommodate the new elements, but the involvement of Robespierre and the events leading to the great controversy as to whether it was the Dauphin who died in the Temple or not prevented such an action. To this day, even due to staggering evidence provided by new technology and DNA testing, there are still some doubts and some historians still refuse this fact.
Later, many more attempts to
save the Royal Family (especially the one led by the Baron de Batz) were
made, some nearly succeeded. Nearly... because we all know the rest.
Sadly, Andre is a fictitious character. Still, Ryoko Ikeda had to find her ideas somewhere. And find a name... A funny little coincidence came across when I was reading about something totally different. The only Grandier I could find a trace of, in History, was Urbain Grandier, who was executed as a sorcerer under Louis XIII. The poor man, in fact a victim of a political plot of the Church looking for a scapegoat, was accused of bewitching a few young nuns and served as an example. After or before this, I couldn't find the name Grandier anywhere else. The interesting fact is that Grandier was condemned after a young nun, being interrogated about him, supposedly "reverted to a trance-like state" and shouted "Urbanus magicus rosas diabolica". This sentence, although in incorrect Latin -but what would you expect at this time with little instruction-, meant, at least according to the accusers, that Urbain (Urbanus) the Magician bewitched her with roses coming from the Devil. She is, after that, supposed to have had roses coming out of her neck and ears, smelling of Sulphur.
Could it be possible that this relatively known fact was known to Ryoko Ikeda and that she used the name of the Martyr, because of the implication of the Roses in his tragic fate?
Before the Revolution:
If there is one thing which always amazed me about the French Revolution, this is the fact there should have never been one. Maybe it was the timing, the misunderstandings, the attitude of the Royal Family and all events, which, taken one after another, managed to heat up the people enough that the reform became Revolution. I have, of course, to give their due to the great leaders, the inspiration of the Revolution, who, for the People or for their own purpose, by their views and eloquent versions, speeches and actions, lead a group of men, not always sure about the direction to take, into one of the World's best known Historical Event.
It was acquired: there would be a reform, and some striking changes into the social and economic state of the Kingdom. Was it enough?, obviously not. But the situation was maybe a bit different to what most people think to this day:
In 1789, the Clergy represents the First Order of the Kingdom. They not only hold religious functions but operate in many civil functions as well. They benefit from important privileges and their revenue comes mostly from many taxes, the most important, well known and direct being the "Dîme", and their only monetary contribution to the Kingdom is the "Free Gift", the amount of which is decided every 5 years and doesn't represent much of their revenue.
There are many oppositions within their rank. First between the "regular" clergy (dedicated to the Mass, teaching, Charity or contemplation), which suffers strenuous losses in numbers (vocations becoming rarer by the year) and the "high secular clergy", made of high ranking religious men, all issued from the Nobility. For obvious reasons, these insist on the keeping of their financial and judiciary privileges.
There is also the "bottom" of the Clergy, which varies tremendously from region to region, and these are far from opulent, and many haven't received even the most basic instruction. This is this (major) part of the Clergy which will protest against the lavish lifestyles of their higher ranking counterparts.
The Nobility comes as the second Order. The "Noblesse d'epee" (who gained their Nobility by acts of bravery -often at war-, and can be of new or very old Nobility) is opposed to the "Noblesse de Robe" (who gained their Nobility by acquitting themselves of functions which require them to be nobles, and can often buy those charges and functions). Amongst the "Noblesse d'epee", you also need to make the distinction between the Nobility at the Court of France and the Nobility of its Provinces.
The Nobility at Court benefits from high revenues. The King grants them houses and domain near his Palace, and they also receive pensions. Military officers receive a gracious pay.
However, "looking the part" at Court costs a massive amount of money, and many Nobles had little choice but contract debts (the Duke of Orleans had a seventy-four Millions debt), sell or lend their domains...
The Nobility further away from Paris, on the other hand, is often living in misery and difficult conditions. Only able to gain revenue from their domains, they hate the Nobility of the Court and the "Bourgeoisie", often richer than them, but that they cannot imitate at the risk of losing their Title.
The "Noblesse de Robe" is constituted of members executing certain functions conferring the statute of Nobility. It is important to note that, amongst all the political elements of the Court, the vast majority are noble, that all the high administration is noble and that amongst all the ministers of the reign of Louis XVII, Necker is the only commoner.
When the Revolution threatens, all types of Nobles (but even more so the "Noblesse de Robe" and the Nobility at Court, having common interests) seem to "stick together" and advocate their exclusivity, and tend to become a closed caste.
The Nobility is not necessarily against a reform of the institutions and they do not object to the Monarchy becoming constitutional rather than a God given Birth right, providing their interests are safe.
Finally, the "Tiers-Etat" (Third State). This is the notion which is the most debatable and the least easy to analyse or understand. There are many misunderstandings.
The "Bourgeoisie" believed, in all good Faith, that they incarnated the People of France. Granted they were many and presented many aspects, but they certainly did not include all of the French people.
The Bourgeoisie itself offers a striking "hierarchy" in itself, between the high class (lawyers, doctors, advisors...) and the middle-bottom class (mostly crafters and artisans...).
The high bourgeoisie always had a vision of its importance (intellectual and political) and the functions they could occupy if it wasn't for the birth right of the Nobility. This is then hardly surprising that they would welcome a radical social and political transformation. They counted amongst them many great artists, writers and philosophers, many using their talents later to "lead" the Revolution and the New Regime.
The lower and middle bourgeoisie are maybe even more unhappy about their situation. However, there is in them a striking contradiction: they welcome a social change which would help their social ascension, but they fear liberalism which would provide more competition and therefore, economically speaking, they would rather support the traditions of the past and welcome a Reglementation.
But these are the people forming the base of the "Sans Culottes".
In 1789, most of the bourgeoisie doesn't support a Revolution. They are faithful to the Monarchy. They do not demand an abolition of the Nobility, but rather a union with them, ad obviously equality.
Amongst those people most frustrated
by the social order, the workers (spending often over 12 hours a day in
factories in poor conditions) demand the right for everybody to be able
to afford their bread. They realise that changes so far only benefited
the Nobility and Bourgeoisie. Also in those ranks were the peasants,
the majority of the French people at that time, frustrated by the heavy
taxes and practices still maintained (such as the "servage") by the Nobility.
Those men and women were ready (and had over the years already created
havoc) to lend a hand to the Revolution.
From this account, I have to admit, there is a lot in favour of a social and economic change, maybe radical or not, but this is not necessarily against the Monarchy. It also took a fair amount of persuasion, actions (lack of respect, misunderstanding of the parties involved? interpretation of the acts of the Royalty?) and speeches to lead to the Revolution. Many people declare that, once started, the move could not be stopped. This may be true, but there is still to define at which point it was irreversible. And there is also the point that the Revolution may have been prevented.
Finally, I will have to say that, sadly, what is notorious and remains in our minds may not necessarily be the Revolution itself (which was quite a positive move, leading to the ideas of equality, the Declaration of the Human Rights, etc...) and a lot less extreme than one wishes to think, but the bloodshed that followed during the "Terror" and the "Great Terror", where the heads of the Nobility (and not only the Nobles!) were rolling constantly.
As an indication, here are a
few figures I came across regarding the Revolution, the wars against the
nations opposed to the Revolution, the civil wars, the casualties of the
war of the "Chouans" and the Terror (over 4-5 years): (Yes,
I am boring so I counted and compiled)
VICTIMS OF THE REVOLUTION:
14 July 1789: Paris,
About 100 dead and 115 wounded.
17 July 1791: Paris,
Champ-de-Mars. La Fayette and Bailly open fire on a group of
protesters demanding the "replacement" of Louis XVI.
About 12 to 40 dead and about 400 wounded according to the Quid.
10 August 1792:
Paris, Tuileries. The attackers who will take the castle kill
600 of the 900 members of the Swiss Guard defending the castle. (According
786 killed (including 26 officers) according to the Quid, and amongst the attackers: 98 dead and 270 wounded.
Paris: about 1 100 victims in Paris (Nobles, prisoners of common
right, priests...) according to Moure.
1 395 dead according to the Quid (which quotes the prisoners as the major part of the victims, including teenagers, children and women).
3 400 victims according to Sanson (quite a difference!).
Outside Paris: about 300 dead (Quid).
November 1793: Lyon massacre: 2 000 killed under the fire of the canons of the Republican Army, according to Vovelle; 1 876 killed according to the Quid.
15 000 victims (Biographie portative des contemporains)
Between 8 000 and 12 000 (Guepin, Lescardieri, Laurant, Historians at Nantes)
About 20 000 dead for Cretineau-Joly,
but 31 724 according to the Count of Rovigo. Only 900 according to
Dugast-Matifeux, between 900-2 800 according to Gaston-Martin.
Prudhomme counts 32 000 victims and details the Women and Children drowned or gunned down, Nobles and artisans.
Drownings organised by Carrier
(October to December 1793):
4 860 dead according to Lallie, 1 800 for Gaston Martin, 4 800 dead including 2 000 killed Christmas week (Quid).
Revolutionary Tribunal of
Nantes, March 1793 to May 1794:
273 Death sentences, 42 deported (J.J. Bregeon)
332 guillotined or gunned down
298 in Bordeaux,
62 in Bayonne,
391 in Arras (Robespierre's hometown)
267 in Rennes, according to the Quid.
The Revolutionary Tribunal of Paris gave out 4 021 sentences from April 6 1793, there were 2 585 Death sentences and 1 306 suspects acquitted, 72 prison sentences and 36 deportations and 22 cases were sent to other tribunals (Gerard Walter).
According to Tulard, the number of people presented before that Tribunal was 5 343 and 2 747 condemned and executed.
Number of Death penalties pronounced by the Tribunal and other instances in the whole of France: 16 594. (in 10 months of the "Terror"). According to Tulard/Fayard/Fierro).
Of those who died under the Guillotine:
From 13 800 according to Mourre to 18 613 denounced by Prudhomme,
From 25 000 (Mourre) to 40 000 according to Donald Greer.
Figures regarding prisoners at this time vary from 100 000 to 500 000.
War in Vendee: The
Military Vendee (773 cities on over 10 000 square kilometres) lost about
15% of its resident population, meaning at least 117 257 dead out of 815
000, according to Reynald Seycher.
150 000 dead for François Lebrun.
Wars and war of the "Chouans":
From 300 000 to 600 000, possibly more, including Republican soldiers, Chouans soldiers, civilians (executed), Women and Children, and including those dead from cold or hunger (All sources).
Total of the losses over the wars of the Revolution and the beginning of the empire: about 2 millions dead. 400 000 are the direct results of Revolutionary wars and 400 000 to 500 000 from the civil wars from 1792 to 1799. Deaths due to the Civil War accounted for 0.53% of the French Population, which was about 28.5 millions at the time (Soria).