THE DRAWING IS ALLEGEDLY OF ROBESPIERRE ON THE DAY OF HIS EXECUTION, BY JACQUES-LOUIS DAVID
“Paris. 10th Thermidor, Second Year of the French Republic
We, the undersigned, an Officer of Health of the First Class in the Armies of the Republic and a Surgeon Major of the Grenadiers in the service of the Convention, having been ordered by the Representatives of the People who are members of the Committee of General Security at 5 a.m. this morning to bind up the wound of the scoundrel Robespierre, found the aforesaid stretched on a table in one of the offices of the Palace of the Tuileries.
He was covered with blood and was peaceful in appearance, not seeming to suffer much pain. His pulse was weak and its beats little developed. After having washed the face of the wounded man we noted that the whole face was swollen. The swelling was the greatest on the left side, the side on which he was wounded. There was also ulceration of the skin and extraversion about the left eye. The pistol shot had entered at the level of the mouth, one inch from the end of the lip As its direction was oblique, from without within, from left to right, from above to below, and the wound entered the mouth, it affected the exterior skin, the cellular tissue, the triangular muscles, the buccinators, etc.
By putting a finger in the mouth was found a fracture, with splinters, at the angle of the lower jawbone. We drew out canine teeth, a first molar, and some portions of the bone from the angle. It was impossible for us to follow the course of the bullet and we did not find a hole of exit or any trace of the bullet. We are led to believe by the smallness of the wound that the pistol was only charged with a small missile. Throughout the binding of the wound the monster did not cease to gaze at us without saying a word. The bandages having been fixed we laid him on the same table in a state of complete consciousness.
Vergez (junior) Officer of Health of the First Class
Unless Robespierre was lefthanded the position of the wound seems to rule out attempted suicide. Also clearly his face was not “shattered” as per the overheated descriptions in so many books, and the bandage was not “holding it together.”
Given the fact he’d been shot in the freakin face his wounds were relatively minor. His jaw was broken on the left side, he’d lost some teeth, there was muscle damage, but if the wound didn’t become infected he would likely have survived with nothing more than a scar.
It seems unlikely this was a point blank self-inflicted wound to me. I think Meda did it, just as he said he did.