Mariano Charlotte De Corday D'Armans, a French heroine, born at St. Saturnin des Li-gnerets, in the present department of Orne, July 28, 1768, guillotined in Paris, July 17, 1793. Her father was a poor Norman nobleman of literary tastes, and author of works of a republican tendency. Her mother died during her early youth; her two brothers entered the army; one of her sisters died young, and she and her remaining sister were placed by their father in a convent at Caen. Among the visitors was M. de Belzunce, a young cavalry officer, between whom and Charlotte a tender feeling sprung up. She was intellectual, vehement, and enthusiastic; she was a republican in feeling, and entertained the most exalted ideas of the duties of patriotism. Her lover having been assassinated by the mob of Caen, she vowed revenge against those whom she conceived to have instigated the murder. After the revolution had closed the doors of the convent, she removed to the house of her aunt, an old royalist lady. Many Girondists had fled to Caen; among them was Barbaroux, and Charlotte found a pretext for calling upon him. The conversation chiefly turned upon the tragic fate of the Girondists, upon Mme. Roland, and upon Marat, for whom she had long felt a horror.
On the morning of July 9, 1793, she suddenly left the house of her aunt, on pretext of a journey to England. On the 11th she was in Paris, where she took a room not far from Marat's dwelling. For a time her mind was undecided as to whether Marat or Robespierre should fall, when Marat's journal, L'Ami du Peuple, in which he said that 200,000 more heads must be lopped off in order to secure the success of the revolution, fixed her determination. She addressed a letter to Marat soliciting an audience, in order to acquaint him with the plots of the Girondists at Caen. No answer came, and on the morning of July 13, after having purchased a knife in the Palais Royal, she called upon Marat, who then resided in a gloomy house in the rue des Cordelieres. She was refused admittance. She wrote a second note and called again at half-past 7 the same evening, when with some difficulty she gained admittance to Marat, who was just taking a bath. He listened to her repoct of the proceedings of the Girondists, and taking down their names, remarked with a smile, "Within a week they will all go to the guillotine." Drawing the knife which she had concealed in her bosom, she plunged it to the hilt in Marat's heart. He gave a loud cry and sank back dead.
She was immediately arrested and transferred to the nearest prison, the Abbaye. Her trial took place on the morning of July 17; she was sentenced to death, and guillotined the evening of the same day. Her courage did not forsake her for a moment. She declared that her project had been formed since May 31, when the Robespierre party had pronounced the doom of the Girondists, and that she had killed one man in order to save a hundred thousand. Her remarkable beauty and her lofty bearing on her way to the guillotine sent a thrill even through the hearts of her executioners. A young German enthusiast, Adam Lux, a deputy from the city of Mentz, at the execution cried out, "She is greater than Brutus." He wrote a pamphlet suggesting that a statue with such an inscription should be erected to her memory, for which he was arrested and guillotined. Andre Chenier, who paid a glowing poetical homage to her heroism, shared the same fate a year later.