|Soldiers of Lauzun's Legion|
Not surprisingly, the Duc de Lauzun, after the surrender of the British at Yorktown and subsequent recognition of the independence of the United States of America, returned home to great fanfare as a genuine war hero. King Louis XVI promoted Lauzun to maréchal de camp for his exploits. However, Lauzun started on a new career in politics after the King, reluctantly, recalled the Estates-General. The Duc de Lauzun was chosen to be a deputy for the nobility of Quercy and, not surprisingly, became an outspoken advocate of the Revolutionary cause. When the French Revolution began, despite all of its ridiculous egalitarian thundering, the Duc de Lauzun was an ardent supporter. That is important to understand as he was not simply going along to get along as many other cowardly aristocrats did when the disaster came, he was taking his earlier political views to their logical conclusion and was just as devoted to the cause of the Revolution as he was to eradicating any who opposed it. In 1791 he was trusted with taking the oath of the French army of Flanders and was subsequently given command of that army. The following year he was given command of the Army of the Rhine to stand guard against the Austrians.
|Badge of the Vendee' royalists|
The aristocrat, Duc de Lauzun, had sided against his class to support the Revolution but, in the end, he discovered that this would not save him. The barbaric firebrand Jean-Baptiste Carrier accused Lauzun of treason or “lack of civic virtue” in the revolutionary parlance and in July of 1793 he was stripped of all rank and offices and imprisoned. After a quick show trial by the Revolutionary Tribunal he was taken to the guillotine and beheaded on December 31. His wife was also subsequently arrested and she too went to the guillotine the following summer. So it was that the story of the Duc de Lauzun came to a tragic end, yet, it is hard to imagine anyone feeling much sympathy for him. Here was a man who was a traitor to his king, his country, his religion, his class and the entire civilization that birthed these things. In the end, he was also condemned as a traitor by his fellow traitors and that at least provides a valuable lesson, even for people today.
|Biron, the revolutionary general|
The revolutionary fervor of these men did not save them from being consumed by the flames they helped to fan in the first place. The drivers of the Revolution, with all of their egalitarian rhetoric, were happy to have the help of aristocrats like the Duc de Lauzun to gain power but they turned on them in the end since, no matter what their opinions, words or actions were, *who* they were, the very blood that was in their veins, made them the enemy. The Duc de Lauzun was obviously a man of talent, an aristocrat who, as such, was a natural leader. His military victories show what great deeds he was capable of and yet he could not or would not grasp the simple facts that his own revolutionary cohorts could; that a prince and a peasant are two different things that can never be the same, no less than a Swiss and a Saracen or a man and a woman. Aristocrats like the Duc de Lauzun, clergymen or even princes of the blood would never be more to the revolutionaries than what Stalin referred to as “useful idiots”. Some, like the famous Marquis de Lafayette, were able to survive but revolutions tend to ultimately feed on themselves and the Duc de Lauzun, as with most others who did not manage to escape the country, fell victim to the forces he had helped unleash. One can but wonder if, on his way to the guillotine, he did not have the awareness to regret the terrible path in life he had chosen to take. His life and his death should be a warning to anyone who thinks they can make common cause with the forces of darkness, posing as the forces of “enlightenment”.