DAYIENS, ROBERT FRA.NV)IS, known for his attempt to assassinate Louis XV., was born in 1714, at Tieulloy, a village near Arras, in France. He was evilly-disposed from his youth, being known even then as Robert is Diable. On account of a robbery which he had committed, be was obliged to flee into Belgium in 1756, whence he returned to Paris about the end of the year. It was during his absence in that country that he formed the intention of assassinating his sovereign. The motives which led him to this are not well understood. He himself alleged that it was the conduct of the king towards the parliament; while a more popular, but apparently groundless opinion was, that he was instigated by the Jesuits. On the 5th of Jan., 1757, having gone to Versailles on the previous day, he assiduously followed the king and Ids courtiers about everywhere; and about six o'clock at night, when the king was entering his carriage to leave Trianon, managed to stab him. The king, however, recognized his assassin, and D. was seized.
The punishment inflicted on him was horrible. The hand by which he attempted the murder was burned at a slow fire; the fleshy parts of his body were then torn off by pincers; and, finally, lie was dragged about for an hour by four strong horses, while into his numerous wounds were poured molten lead, resin, oil, and boiling wax! To wards night, the poor wretch expired, having by an effort of will almost superhuman, kept his resolution of not confessing who were his accomplices—if, indeed, he had any. His remains were immediately burned, his house was destroyed, his father, wife, and daughter were banished from France forever, and his brothers and sisters compelled to change their names.