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S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.

Duc de Lauzun de Biron

  • [A French general, born 1747; fought in America; general-in-chief of the army of the Rhine, 1792; insisting upon resigning his command, he was executed Dec. 31, 1793.]
  • I beg a thousand pardons, my friend, but permit me to finish this last dozen of oysters (vous me permettrez bien encore une douzaine d’huîtres).

  • To the executioner’s messenger, who surprised him at a breakfast of oysters and white wine, and said he was at the duke’s orders; to which the latter rejoined, “No, morbleu, ’tis just the other way: I am at yours!”
  • His execution occurring on the last day of the year in the old calendar enabled him to say, “I shall arrive in the other world in time to wish my friends a happy new year.”
  • His last words were, “I have been false to my God, to my order, and to my king: I die full of faith and of repentance” (J’ai été infidèle à mon Dieu, à mon ordre, et à mon roi: je meurs plein de foi et de repentir).