Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Danton, George Jacques, a French revolutionist, was born at Arcis-sur-Aube in 1759, and subsequently called to the bar, but, on the outbreak of the Revolution, threw up his profession, and became a leading spirit in the iconoclastic movement of the time. After founding the Club of Cordeliers in 1790, in conjunction with Marat and Desmoulins, in 1792 he became Minister of Justice, and from the tribune, stalwart in figure and powerful in lung, poured forth words of impassioned eloquence which roused the people to frenzy. He voted for the death of the king in 1793, and was mainly instrumental in the establishment of the Committee of Public Safety. He now turned his attention to crushing the moderate party known as Girondists, but in doing so compassed his own death, for the Mountain or extreme party, finding their hands free, pursued a course of bloodshed that disgusted even Danton, and the latter soon found that his influence was being undermined by the austere but unscrupulous Robespierre, who rapidly gained the current of popular favour. After an ineffectual effort made to bring about a reconciliation between the rival leaders, Danton retired into private life with his young wife. Urged to strike the first blow, he remarked, "I prefer being guillotined to guillotining." In 1794 he was arrested, and, along with several friends, lodged in the Luxembourg on a charge of malversation, and after an eloquent defence, cut short by an infamous decree of the Committee of Public Safety that those who had "insulted Justice" should not be heard, was guillotined on the 5th of April.