Decree of the Parlement of Paris against Robert–François Damiens

After a three–month trial, the magistrates found Damiens guilty of parricide against the person of the King on 26 March 1757. In a final interrogation, Damiens is once again asked about accomplices. He then denies having them.


We, clerks, had the convict escorted to the Place de Grève. There, in the presence of the people, I read for the last time, the judgment, which was first done by the Enforcer of High Justice. Then the convict was put and tied up on the scaffold. First his hand was burnt while he was holding the knife with which he committed the parricide. We came closer to the convict, exhorted him again to tell us the names of his accomplices, and we told him that the President of the Court and the Court Administrator would come if he had any statements to make. The convict told us that he had no accomplices or statements to make. At this time, the convict had his breasts, arms, thighs, and legs tortured. Then melted lead, boiling oil, burning pitch, and melted wax and sulfur were thrown on these parts. During the whole torture, the convict screamed several times: "My God, give me strength, give me strength. Lord, my God, have pity on me. Lord, my God, I am suffering so much. Lord, my God, give me patience." Then four horses pulled the convict [in the four cardinal directions], and after a while he was dismembered. His limbs were then thrown on the stake. We reported everything to the President and the Administrator, and stayed at the Place de Grève until everything was over.

Source: Anonymous, Pièces originales et procédures du procès, fait à Robert-François Damiens (Paris: Pierre Guillaume Simon, 1757).