May 19 1815: A Disciple of De Sade

“Friday May 19th 1815: I called, after writing bad French against Sismondi and [ ], on Madame de Coigny, where I saw Lascour in bad spirits about the Royal Volunteers, of which he is one.

He told a story in today’s Journal de l’Empire of a Captain Saint-Claire of the line, member of the Legion of Honour, who stabbed himself before a council of war upon having sentence pronounced upon him for murdering a girl – Keric Macker, called “La Belle Hollandaise”. The judge said “St Claire, vous avez manqué de l’honneur”. The young man jumped from the bench and said, “Jamais!” – then stabbed himself – he took off his Cross of the Legion of Honour himself, and was carried away dying to the Abbaye.  His counsel, in pleading, said a report had gone abroad that his client had murdered the girl upon the principles which had entered into the head of that monster who had finished his disgraceful existence amongst the madmen of Charenton. This is the famous de Sade, author of Justine.

I have little doubt of St Claire being a disciple of de Sade’s, and the advocate, mentioning the matter, shows how far the thing has gone in France. de Sade gave Courthande to a whole party at a ball, and then debauched his sister-in-law. In the Fauxbourg St Antoine there was a club à la Justine, which was discovered, but for the honour of the nation all the details were concealed, and except de Sade, who I believe was then sent to Charenton, nobody punished.”

— John Cam Hobhouse writes in his diary for May 19 1815

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