Bernard-René de Launay


Bernard-René de Launay

Bernard René Jourdan, marquis de Launay (1740-1789) was a French governor of the Bastille, the son of a previous governor, and commander of its garrison when it was stormed on 14 July 1789 ("see Storming of the Bastille").

Unlike Sombreuil, the governor of Hôtel des Invalides, who had accepted the revolutionaries' demands earlier that way, de Launay refused to surrender the prison and hand over the arms and the gunpowder in it.Hampson, Norman, 1963. A social history of the French Revolution. P.74-75] He promised that he would not shoot unless attacked and tried to negotiate with revolutionary representatives, but the negotiations drew out. As parts of the crowd, impatient, started entering the courtyard of the fortress (on some accounts, this had been made possible by de Launay's lowering the drawbridge), the garrison opened fire [http://chnm.gmu.edu/revolution/chap4a.html Paris and the Politics of Revolution. At "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity: Exploring the French Revolution", by Lynn Hunt and Jack Censer] ] George F. E. Rudé, Harvey J. Kaye. 2000. Revolutionary Europe, 1783-1815. P.73] Philip G. Dwyer, Peter McPhee. 2002. The French Revolution and Napoleon. P.18] GEO EPOCHE Nr. 22 - 05/06 - Französische Revolution] François Furet, Mona Ozouf, Arthur Goldhammer. 1989. A Critical Dictionary of the French Revolution. P. 125] - according to some accounts, on de Launay's orders, resulting in about 100 casualties among the crowd and one killed defender. The besiegers interpreted this as treachery on the part of de Launay. Eventually de Launay decided to capitulate on the condition that nobody from within the fortress would be killed, and threatened that he would blow up the entire fortress and the surrounding district if these conditions were rejected. [Hans-Jurgen Lusebrink, Rolf Reichardt, Nobert Schurer. 1997. The Bastille: A History of a Symbol of Despotism and Freedom, P.43] His conditions were rejected, but he nevertheless capitulated.

De Launay was then seized and was supposed to be escorted to the Hôtel de Ville by one of the leaders of the insurrection, soldier Pierre-Augustin Hulin, but on the way there, the furious crowd assaulted him, beat him and eventually lynched him by stabbing him repeatedly with their bayonets and shooting him once. The actual killing was reported to have been unleashed by the fact that de Launay, desperate and abused by the crowd, kicked an unemployed cook named Desnot in the groin. After the killing, his head was sawn off by Mathieu Jouve Jourdan, a butcher. It was fixed on a pike to be carried through the streets. Several other defenders of the Bastille were also lynched.

Lieutenant Deflue, a subordinate of de Launay who was besieged together with him, later commented on the events and accused his late superior of military incompetence, inexperience, irresoluteness and outright cowardice, which he had allegedly displayed long before the siege. [Quétel, Claude, 1989. La Bastille: Histoire Vraie D'une Prison Legendaire, p. 353]

De Launay had three daughthers by two wives. Some of de Launay's descendants settled in Russia, see Boris Delaunay and Vadim Delaunay for details.

Quotes

The event inspired several literary accounts, notably Charles Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities" (where fictional detail is added to fit into the plot)::"They found [ the mob ] surging and tossing, in quest of Defarge himself. Saint Antoine was clamorous to have its wine–shop keeper foremost in the guard upon the governor who had defended the Bastille and shot the people. Otherwise, the governor would not be marched to the Hôtel de Ville for judgment. Otherwise, the governor would escape, and the people’s blood (suddenly of some value, after many years of worthlessness) be unavenged."

:"In the howling universe of passion and contention that seemed to encompass this grim old officer conspicuous in his grey coat and red decoration, there was but one quite steady figure, and that was Madame Defarge’s. “See, there is my husband!” she cried, pointing him out. “See Defarge!” She stood immovable close to the grim old officer, and remained immovable close to him; remained immovable close to him through the streets, as Defarge and the rest bore him along; remained immovable close to him when he was got near his destination, and began to be struck at from behind; remained immovable close to him when the long–gathering rain of stabs and blows fell heavy; was so close to him when he dropped dead under it, that, suddenly animated, she put her foot upon his neck, and with her cruel knife—long ready—hewed off his head." (Book II, Chapter 21) [ [http://etext.library.adelaide.edu.au/d/dickens/charles/d54tt/part27.html Charles Dickens, "A Tale of Two Cities", Chapter 21 - "Echoing Footsteps"] , University of Adelaide version.]

References


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Bernard-René de Launay — Französische Soldaten oder Milizionäre tragen die Köpfe von de Launay (rechts) und Jacques de Flesselles auf Piken Bernard René Jourdan, Marquis de Launay, nach eigener Signatur auch de Launey geschrieben, Vorname auch Jordan (* 8. April 1740 in… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Bernard-Rene Jordan de Launay — Bernard René Jordan de Launay Pour les articles homonymes, voir Delaunay. Article de la série Révolution française …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Bernard-René Jordan De Launay — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Delaunay. Article de la série Révolution française …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Bernard-rené jordan de launay — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Delaunay. Article de la série Révolution française …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Bernard René Jourdan de Launay — Bernard René Jordan de Launay Pour les articles homonymes, voir Delaunay. Article de la série Révolution française …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Bernard-René Jordan de Launay — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda El marqués Bernard René Jordan de Launay nació el 9 de abril de 1740 en París y murió el 14 de julio de 1789 en París, era hijo de un gobernador de la Bastilla, y sucedió a su padre en 1776. Estaba al mando de la… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Bernard-René Jordan de Launay — Französische Soldaten oder Milizionäre tragen die Köpfe von de Launay (rechts) und Jacques de Flesselles auf Piken Bernard René Jourdan, Marquis de Launay, nach eigener Signatur auch de Launey geschrieben, Vorname auch Jordan (* 8. April 1740 in… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Bernard-René Jordan de Launay — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Launay et Delaunay. Le marquis Bernard René Jordan de Launay[1] (8 ou 9 avril 1740 – 14 juillet 1789) était, le 14 juillet 1789, gouverneur de la Bastille et, à ce titre, commandant de la petite garn …   Wikipédia en Français

  • René — (born again, or reborn, in French) is a very common given name in French speaking countries. It comes from the Latin name Renatus. René is normally, originally only a masculine name (Renée being the feminine form). But in non Francophone… …   Wikipedia

  • Bernard de Launay — Bernard René Jordan de Launay Pour les articles homonymes, voir Delaunay. Article de la série Révolution française …   Wikipédia en Français