Claire Lacombe: Reign of Terror (1793- 1799)

juin 1800

You might be wondering where I am right now… Well, I can’t tell you. A lot has happened since 1792, which is why I am hiding in a place like this…

In 1793, Pauline Léon and I co-founded the Society of Revolutionary Republican Women. my dear friend Pauline is, of course, our leader. I am very proud of this organization, because we women get to gather, share concerns and problems, and participate in events that will eventually make a change in France. We mainly associated with the most militant sans-culottes and enragés. We stood among the market women of Paris, and plotted tactics to root out anti-revolutionaries. My years in this organization were very blissful. The group was beginning to feel like a family for me. The Society of Revolutionary Republican Women was a very successful organization… It was a little late when we realized that perhaps it was too successful. Under the Reign of Terror, our group got suppressed on October the 30th. Many say the reason why the National Convention banned women’s organizations was because we had become too notorious. That’s a joke! Pauline and I were very upset. With Robespierre “ruling” France (I hate the method he uses to solve problems), he may deem us to be a threat and execute us. Barred from any political activity, we spent the next few months just hanging around each other, not knowing what to do. I considered going back into acting, because I am running out of resources to support my life. This seemed like the best choice for me now, so eventually, I parted my friend Pauline with tears, and resumed being an actress (I am still trying to stay close to Paris).

In April, 1794, I was just preparing to leave for a theater in Dunkirk. As I stepped out the door, two people came out from no where and arrested me. They wouldn’t explain what my crime was, which angered and confused me greatly. I suspect it has something to do with the Society of Revolutionary Republican Women though. I wonder if Pauline is alright (I heard she was recently married to Théophile Leclerc, a man who supported us while our organization was still running). I got thrown into prison, where I spent my next year in darkness. Being in prison did not stop the amount of information I hear from the guards, even if I am uncertain whether the information is certain or not.  The moving also helped me gather a lot of information (They think I might gather the prisoners and plan an escape). I heard that just a few days before my arrest, on March the 30th, Robespierre sent his friends Danton and Desmoulins to the guillotine. I must say, I am surprised. As mentioned, I certainly do not agree with the way Robespierre executes things, frequently slaughtering innocent people, but I am shocked that he would kill his own friends. People are starting to be suspicious of Robespierre, and many say he is a heartless tyrant.

On July 28th, 1794, Robespierre and his followers were guillotined. That is when the Reign of terror ended. 

To be honest, I was happy and for a moment, I forgot I was in prison. The guards would looked at me strangely because, well, they probably think a prisoner smiling like an idiot is crazy. This happiness, however, did not last long. News spread that my friend Pauline got arrested… I’m sorry, I’d rather not talk about this topic. Lets fast forward to 1795, August the 18th, the day I was released. France in still very much poor and hungry. I figured that this place is no longer safe for me. I must leave. This is why I can’t tell you where I am, because I am in hiding. I would disguise myself and sneak in to town, which is how I keep up with all that is happening. Since then, France has been in many wars with many different countries. Newspapers say the most successful army is lead by a fellow named Napoleon. I am hesitant in judging his character, because as of now, he seems like a responsible and reasonable person. Whether or not he will become another King Louis or Robespierre is unknown. I don’t completely trust him, but then again, after all that’s happened, how can I trust anyone?

bonaparte_napoleon
How would you judge Napoleon’s character?

I worry for the future France will have. It is clear the result is that the greed and immorality of our leaders quickly destroys all of France. I certainly want people to remember me as “Red Rosa”, the “Heroine of August Tenth”, the woman who fought for other women’s rights, and a proud founder of the Society of Revolutionary Republican Women. I hope no one repeats the mistakes our political leaders have made in the future.

As Napoleon takes over the Directory, I knew that the revolution had come to an end. He is a great leader so far, but I am a little afraid of all that power he carries… What will France be like 5 years from now? My health is slowly failing, though I am happy to have made a change in this revolution. Now I can live in this tiny sliver of peace, even though I don’t know what the future may hold.

Claire Lacombe of France

Antoine Barnave: I Can Taste the Guillotine

I am writing to you from jail today.

It is November of 1793 and I am in the city of Fort Barraux sitting in this cold, dark, and eerie jail cell. The past couple of years have not gone in my favour, and my future does not look pleasant either.

My entire career came to a close in early 1792, after my group, the feuillants, were driven out of the assembly following our disapproval of the war against Austria. The people these days seem to not be able to tolerate anything as any objections given are refused with anger. Anyway, my disapproval of the war was not the only thing that led me to jail, rather suspicion of treason was what everyone assumed. Having heard my views, you know that I am supportive of a constitutional monarchy that consists of a king, as I wrote in the constitution of 1791. I must admit that I was sympathetic to the royal family and I helped them plan a counter-revolution, but I do not believe these actions account for treason. It is my opinion whether or not I support the monarchy, and I just wanted to satisfy all the people by creating the constitution of 1791. Nonetheless, I am still here sitting in jail. Oh mon dieu!

I was at the legislative assembly for the final time on August of 1792 before I was denounced and arrested in Grenoble. 10 months later, I got transported to Fort Barraux, where I am now. My situation does not look good, and I do not expect to live much longer. But what is the point? The country is slowly deteriorating courtesy of Monsieur Robespierre. The revolutionaries clearly do not know what they are doing. The people should have just listened to me… isn’t that what I do? I am an orator and politician, my job is to speak to the people and convince in making the “right” decision. But what can I do now? The royal family has already perished and the constitution of 1793 has been implemented… no king… Good luck France.

I predict a lot more bloodshed in France’s future. What’s more, if the people find out about my correspondence with Marie Antoinette, the consequences will not be pleasant. I feel that I have done everything possible to help France. I guess my opinion was in the minority this time and I unfortunately could not do anything.

Note to self, carefully choose sides as your decision may turn deadly.

The French Resolution

Fall 1793

It appears that these tumultuous times are drawing to a close – at least for now. Louis-Auguste has been executed, and rumours are circulating that Marie-Antoinette has been doing some horrible deeds: it is almost certain she will be executed. This effectively puts an end to the near-absolute power held by the nobles, royals and clergy. It is up to the Jacobins now to channel the general will into a suitable form of government: whether that is a monarchy, aristocracy, democracy or what have you does not matter to me.

All that I wish is that the people will make the choice together, and it will be a fair vote that is carried out as the people need. This revolution has shown the French that a group of united people can topple even the oldest monarchies, and I hope they continue to practice what they have learned and all take part in being active citizens in France, taking part in the decision making and hard work alike, so that they may all reap equal benefits as part of the country.  We need to have no trickery, or inner alliances but an open, honest country that serves its people. If everyone can do this, France will prosper and become a role model for the rest of the world.

I have been dead for 15 years now, and I am pleasantly surprised that people have read my writings, and some, like the Jacobins, even look to them as a guide. I should like to think of myself as that, a guide: holding a lantern in the night so that those who wish to follow my ideals may walk in my light and be guided to wherever they want to go safely. I do not expect everyone to have such silly fantasies as me, though! I simply hope to be remembered as the man who lived for the collective. Even if they do not remember my name, I hope they remember my thoughts about equality of authority, and the good of the general will. And finally, just as the guide does after the traveller is in his home, I shall extinguish my light here and move on to another place in the night – perhaps to another traveller who needs guidance, or perhaps to the place where no living man has ever been. I do not know yet; I venture out, and I will know when I arrive.

Signed,

       Courtesy of Wikipedia

Courtesy of Wikipedia

 

Related Posts

  • 32
    1742 I am moving back to Paris. My debts are paid to Francoise-Louise de Warens, my love, my provider, and my friend. She brought this move about: without her guidance and assistance in my learning I would never have grown so adept in music, and the childhood songs that were sung to me would have remained…
    Tags: will, people, france, general, man

Madame Tallien: Prison is not a Pleasent Experience

My dear Papa,

You will not believe the outrage that has happened! I, Theresa, have been imprisonned by these foul revolutoinaries! Like a common criminal! That- that horrid man, Rosbipeierre and his gang, have decided that being born an aristocrat is a crime! A crime!. As if it was my choice to be born with a high status (if it was my choice, I would have chosen aristocracy, though. Being a queen is far too dangerous, have you heard of poor Marie Antoinette?). This prison is horrible, much too dirty for someone of my rank, and I’m sure these guards are even reading my letters.

Have you heard the news of the king, papa? As much as I am sympathetic, I must admit he had it coming. Those rumors of the locked chest, papa? In this country, traitors are not welcome. Even if he wasn’t necessarily plotting with them, even a correspondence is dangerous.

Still, I remain hopeful papa. I still remain my childishly vain self as I remark that my looks have not been overlooked here. You did teach me how to use the situation to my advantage. with any luck, I will escape and be more powerful than ever. If I do not, then I fear the guillotine may be my end. If that is to come true, know that I love you, papa.

Your loving daughter,

Theresa

Le 9 d’Octobre, 1791

Charlotte Corday: I killed one man to save 100,000

Well, what an eventful end to my time in this revolution. Jean-Paul was threatening the republic too much. He needed to be dealt with. So I decided that what goes around, comes around. He stabbed us all in the back so I stabbed him in the back on July 13, 1793. Originally I planned on making a public spectacle, however his skin condition caused me to reorganize. I leave you with my Addresse aux Français amis des lois et de la paix further explaining my motives. Let me tell you this though. I killed Marat under the belief that his death will stop the violence that is happening in France and it will prevent the risk of an all-out civil war. My only regret is that my plan did not allow me to see whether or not my sacrifice was in vain. I was executed in the guillotine four days later. They gave me a trial where I explained that I killed Marat in order to save the 100 000 that I believed would one day die at his hand. Hopefully, when this revolution has died down and authority has stopped being challenged, France will come out strong with a Republic and no mass murderers in charge. I wish that I will not be forgotten after my sacrifice and though I did not mind dying for the good of the people, I hope that I will not go without recognition.

 

My final words, French Revolution, Marquis du Condorcet

I write this in great haste, for I fear my time shall come at any moment. Already, those with a sense of mind are being captured, and possibly sentenced to death. Marat, one of the last sensible people, has already been assassinated, even after he hid for so long from authorities, so long he claimed “all this hiding from the authorities will not prove good for my health.” I myself am on the run, hiding out for a total of five months now, and authorities will likely catch me soon. Should I fall to their hands, they will surely execute me. The Montagnards misrepresented my ideas, and upon criticizing them for not allowing me to throw out my own voice, they decided that I was no longer worthy to live freely anymore. That was five months ago, and now I hide in fear that they will arrest me. In my time here, I have been able to write another book, giving the people my final words before I perish. This shall surely be the end for me, leaving the Revolution as a now bitter memory. It was such a good cause, but it was poisoned by the most influential people.

With these ill-willed people at the head of France, the outcomes will surely not be any good. Although the outcomes would show people the possibilities of revolution, the implications that they put on France will be nothing but bad. They said they were fighting to get rid of a tyrannical monarch, but they are becoming just as much of a tyrant as he was. If King Louis could speak from the dead, perhaps even his opinion would be better than theirs. Maybe we should have stuck with him, not bothering to kill him but rather just force him to change his views.

Although I will likely be remembered as a traitor and scum, I wish for my words to be read, so that people may remember me as a voice for rationalism. I spoke for the people, no matter how discriminated they were. I supported the women and blacks, and wanted to give the slaves freedom! Yet with the actions of our new “leaders”, I will not be remembered for any of this.

So I write to you, in vain hopes that somebody will pass on my words and influence.

 

Related Posts

  • 35
    Jhon de la Visconse A life’s story Chapter  1, the master of puppets Allow me to introduce myself. I am Jhon de la Visconse, a Frenchman from the Visconse family. I am the last in the line of my heritage, and plan on keeping it that way. Who in this world has the time or…
    Tags: will, france, people, time, revolution
  • 35
    My efforts have paid off, and after throwing my voice out to the people they have turned their minds in the right direction, thus electing me as a representative in the Assemble. Soon enough, I will have them promote me, hopefully to at least a secretary, so that I may have more control over what…
    Tags: france, revolution, will, people

Maximilien Robespierre: My Reign

I now report from the grave as my reign comes to a close. I have escaped from the chaos of reality to the afterlife and now I lie next to my enemies. My journey has been long and hard, through times of great glory and times of utter defeat. I have met many influential and infamous people ranging from Georges Danton, Jacques-Louis David, and even King Louis the 16th himself. I can still remember the time when I helped make the greatly influential Declaration of the rights of man and citizen and the wonderful time when I became the leader of the Jacobins and the Committee of Public Safety. This all seemed like a long time ago, when it was in fact only three years ago. Then came the traitors and the need to take stronger action to achieve my goals. Being the leader of a political party wasn’t enough to tame the wild people of France. From then on, it was a whirlwind of fights between the people, the Girondists, the monarchy, the external parties, and more. Now looking back, it was truly amazing that I was able to handle such a situation.

With my life now past, I regret not realizing the fact that my greatest threat wasn’t the dying monarchy or the external threats (not to say that these weren’t big issues), it was the people. I learned a little too late that the power of the people could be used against me as much as it was for me. I spent my life devoted to saving our nation and our people, but this is how I was treated in 1794 when my goal was close to being realized. Only a little bit more, only a couple more steps, we would have soon had a nation free of disbelievers and traitors, but before I had a chance to tell the people how I was nearing success, I was shot in the jaw, arrested, and led to the guillotine. How ironic, the fact that I am killed by the weapon I used to pave my own path to the top. I can still vividly remember that final moment at the execution platform. That feeling of impending doom, followed by a stream a regrets, then nothing. It was all so sudden, going straight from the glory at the top to the depths of hell. At least King Louis is here with me to suffer the same fate.

Even though I can not make any more lasting changes, I am sure that I made enough of an impact on history. I feel the intense emotions felt by those still alive and whether I am to be remembered as a villain or as a savior, I will always know deep within my heart that I did this for the people.  I would have loved to have been remembered as the ultimate savior of our nation, but alas that dream is now cut short. I always wanted to build a nation based off of virtue, philosophy, and justice, but there just had to be so many people who could not see the good behind my words. These were the exact same people who could not see the benefit of my plans in the long run, only looking at the few traitors that had to be eliminated for this cause. The people seemed to have forgotten the fact that they were the ones that accepted me over King Louis! But now that I am dead and with no one to take over, I predict that tumultuous times with the royals will surface once more. See, this wouldn’t have ever happened if I was still in power. Do you regret my execution by now, my greatest enemies?

As much as I feel sympathy for the problems that I know you will face, I have no desire to reach out and lend a helping hand. I have now learned the true face of my nation, the cruelty behind it and its people. My country is full of cowards who can not stand the slightest sight of a traitor’s blood in order to achieve a greater good, while being unable to accept a monarchy once more. My country is full of traitors who are never devoted to a single cause, swaying back and forth between many. These traitors are the ones who make me spill this blood. These are the people you should be angry at, not me, the person carrying out the necessary tasks. Be warned that this will be no different even if France’s ruler changes in this chaotic time, but now I shall leave you be. To respect the decisions that all of you made, I shall let you suffer under the hands of the wealthy. You shall feel what it is like to be oppressed once more, because by then you would welcome me with open arms from the grave.

french_latin_republic_2

Related Posts

  • 46
    I am glad to see so many supporters still interested in my story even after all these years of chaos. I assure you, if we as a nation climb up the steps to democracy, this chaos will cease. What complaints could there be with a government that represents the people? Many events have happened in…
    Tags: people, will, nation, monarchy, louis, feel, king

Farmer Frank – The French Resolution

DING DONG THE KING IS GONE! I know this is a pretty bad thing to wish on someone but hey, he deserved it. I could run the country better than him and that says a lot. Now that the King is dead my worrying is ALMOST over. That is because there is this thing called the Reign of Terror and that is also bringing some trouble back here at the farm. Once this terror stuff is over my worrying will be over and I’ll be able to live a happy life with my crops … and my wife. To be honest with you, the revolution for us was fighting with the bakers … looks like the King got most of the blame. Well, that is not really our fault, we did our part .. we did what we do best, Farm. And that is all anyone can really ask of us. To us, when this Reign thing is over it’ll be the last implication or event that declares the Revolution to be over. For most of the Revolution, we were safe … it is only until this Reign of Terror was introduced that kind of worried us. We hope to be remembered as the brave farmers who stood by their counrty and wanted to rule it all at the same time. Ignore those bakers who talk smack about us … they couldn’t do what we do if a shovel came and hit them right smack across the face. Yup I went there. All in all, it is so nice to see my wife smiling again … we can live a good life knowing that the worst of the worst is over and we can go back to loving our crops and suppling this counrty with all their food and being the base of the counrty. Cause remember y’all are nothin without us farmers in the picture.
Well I think I’ve said it all. It was nice filling you guys in on what us farmers go through in life and it’s time that you start showing some respect! k thanks :)

follow me on twitter : @nhfarmers
Just a farmer living his life one crop at a time

Sincerely,
Farmer Frank

The French Resolution

The revolution was something I strongly supported, although I didn’t consider how it might affect me. Being abruptly abandoned by my husband at the beginning was far from easy but I made by and I am now happy to see I am glad such a terrible man is out of my life. Although the idea of the revolution was good people get out of control, I was not the only person wrongly imprisoned. Gladly, my dear Jean Tallien was kind enough to release me and take me under his wing. Once I found Jean things started to look up for my son and I, the fighting and chaos going on seemed much less terrifying when I had Jean as my safety net. Not only did he keep me safe but he allowed me to do my part by rescuing wrongly accused people from prison. When Jean was imprisoned my safety blanket was stripped away, I have to admit I was scared not only for him but for my own safety. I was all alone during the reign of terror and without protection my future was uncertain. I felt the weight of the revolution more than ever at this time and not until Jean Tallien was released from prison did I feel safe again, it marked the end of the revolution for me.  Although I am safe and happy the revolution is not without consequences.  The King was undoubtedly our leader and without this structure it will take time before a clear leader emerges. In the time it takes for this to happen all kind of problems will go undealt with. Although I may not have been one of the great leaders of this revolution I did manage to survive it. I hope to one day be remembered as a strong intelligent women who made a difference while managing to protect herself and her son. I feel proud of how I handled such a difficult situation and I’m sure people will one day recognize my strategic actions.

Madame Tallien

The French Revolution

Dear Diary,
Today marks the 6 year anniversary of what they are calling my “Women’s March to Versailles”. I like the sounds of that. It makes me think maybe the rights of women will be fair someday, maybe even equal to men. Since my March, I’ve been thrown in jail twice, but thankfully escaped. Both for speaking my opinion in public. Honestly, I got off easy. People around me have been killed on the spot for speaking their mind, at least I’m not dead yet. My luck is starting to run out. Rumors are spreading of them looking for me again, and jail might not be an option this time.

The fruit-selling business has been as encouraging as always, and less and less people are remembering me for my March. It seems so simple just to change my name and disappear from the excitement of this Revolution. The end of it is near, and doesn’t need my help. Women are getting a say in the result of what happens, and that is all I could ask for. The name Reine Audu will be a strong, courageous name highly remembered for her leadership role, but starting now, I won’t be remembered as Reine Audu. For the safety of my life, I will stay in the shadows of thee marketplace, selling my fruit in peace.
Sincerely Yours,
Rita Arora