Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Excerpts from the reports

These are a few of the exact words, taken from the afore-mentioned reports, that illustrate the times:

"… What surprises many is to see always the same women in the groups and the tribunals.  It is inconceivable to see how idle and sluttish they are."

"There has been a large gathering of armed national guards to celebrate, as is said, the anniversary of the execution of Louis Capet.  Nothing extraordinary happened.  On the suspicion of there being in the rue St. Jacques print-sellers who sold many engravings of the late King and Queen, people went there and burnt all the pictures….  Good people still complain of the high price of meat."

"The fete held yesterday, Place de Révolution, attracted many spectators.  The people showed at this fete its love of liberty and hatred of kings…  All passed off in the greatest of order.  Conspirators were guillotined amid cries of "Vive la République!…  During this ceremony, the people sang, danced, and seemed highly satisfied….  In a wine shop, porte St. Jacques, the fete was discussed.  Women said there could be no greater treat to sans-culottes than guillotining on day like this, for if the guillotine had not worked the fete would not have been so fine."  Thibault, aged 49, was executed on this date for speaking of the members of the Convention as "pigs."

"When we see the multitude of men and women who never miss attending these gatherings (of the Jacobin Club, the Cordeliers Club, the sections, the popular societies, the Commune and the tribunals) we cannot calculate without a shudder the time which they divert from useful labors."

"Women in groups proposed resolutions and denounced true patriots.  The people silenced them, bidding them to attend to their households, and telling them it was not their business to propose motions, especially against true republicans.  People say it has been noticed that women often become sanguinary, that they preach nothing but blood, that there are more and more a certain number of women who are constantly at the guillotine or the Revolutionary Tribunal…"

"Thieves are daily arrested.  Yesterday a company of these gentry were caught in stealing hams from a pork-butcher's shop.  The streets of Paris swarm with these scoundrels."

"Yesterday the market-women of Quinze-Vingts section replied to the citizens and citoyennes who complained o the market not being supplied as usual:  "Is to-day not Sunday?  Why, where can you come from?" and on their neighbors remarking that such talk can risk the guillotine, the rejoinder was, "Let them do what they like to me, I shall never forget Sundays."

"People have for along time been remarking, but particularly to-day, that children, at least under five or six years old, should not be allowed to enter the Revolutionary Tribunal, for they make such a noise crying during the trials.  Vendors of apples, brandy, and rolls, should also be prohibited for they pester citizens and interrupt the judges…."

"A child remarked to his mother that formerly school was very monotonous from having to kneel and repeat prayers which children did not comprehend, but now it was lively with singing patriotic hymns.   Thus the child already sees the difference between the old and the new régime.  The durability of the republic is ensured."

"This morning and all day many people collected in the rue St. Louis St. Honoré to see the window from which Vemerange threw himself down last night, and the pavement on which he fell.  It was said that having been discovered in a house in that little street where he was concealed, and having heard the armed force at the door, he wrapped himself in one of the sheets of his bed and threw himself from the fourth story into the street.  Not being quite dead, he was taken to the hospital."

A pretended banker saw his name placarded, and expected to be arrested.  Hearing a knock on the door, he broke a large square of glass and threw himself into the street.  He died shortly afterwards.  After hearing some observations, one man said, "As well be dead as go to prison, for you wills see that the prison massacres ordered by Pétion will be repeated," and this probably terrifies the prisoners.

"Mass celebrated this (Sunday) morning in the Assumption church.  A large number of persons were present, but at the end of the ceremony it is alleged that three or four Jacobins in red caps, posted at the church door with a register, demanded the names and addresses of all present before allowing them to leave.  This measure, which is denounced as illegal and vexatious disquiets many people."

"People in many groups said, "So we are not free.  Liberty of worship has been decreed, and you see how we are treated."

"Beggars, to excite pity and obtain more alms, go about the streets with three or four infants hanging at their necks, most of whom do not belong to them, but are kidnapped.  Four female wretches accused of this horrible crime were taken to-day to the Mountain section."

The decree of the Commune forbidding masters, fathers, and mothers to inflict corporal punishment is thought strange.  This makes children naughty and go all lengths in audacity and vice."

"The boys called enfants de la patrie (foundlings) are inconceivably corrupted.  Yesterday in the national Jardin des Plantes, they set off singing the most obscene songs, which made the people murmur.  Their teacher shows no shame.  Citizens attribute this to citizen Chaumette, for procuring the abolition on corporal punishment."

"Near the commune (Hotel de Ville) there was much talk of the notary who killed himself in the rue l'Égalité.  One said, "It would not be amiss if all notaries did the same, for there is not one who is really a patriot."  "That is true,"  people remarked."

"I entered one of the most frequented cafés of the maison Égalité (Palais Royale).  I tried to ascertain the cause of (the taciturnity) which I had seen.  The few persons whom I found inclined to talk were, like me, ignorant of it.  Others had the air of avoiding any question as a trap.  Nearly all talked of trivial matters, as though there were no fatherland, and passed the time in frivolous games. This silence is vexatious."

*******

I selected these pretty much at random.  There are more compelling choices to be added later.




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