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“Spontaneous execution”

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(Journal of the French Republic, No. 105, January 23, 1793)

The present article is an article by Jean-Paul Marat, a famous figure in the French Revolution, after the execution of Louis XVI, published in the Journal de la République française.

(Jean-Paul Marat)

The head of the authoritarian was right under the sword of law. Such a blow has overturned the foundations of the monarchy among us. I finally believed in the Republic.

To save him from execution, authoritarian followers sought to instill in us a fear of the consequences of his death. But how futile these fears were. Undoubtedly, serious efforts and follow-ups were made to maintain calm, which resulted from caution, but it turned out that these considerations were unnecessary. One could find public resentment and anger – from the temple to the execution scene. No one called for his pardon during the execution. No one spoke in defense of the man who once decided in France fate. There was a deep silence all around him, and when his head was shown to the people, this sound from the corners rose to the sky: Long live the nation, long live the republic!

The rest of the time passed completely calm. For the first time since the formation of the federation, the people seemed calm, lively due to their happiness. Man thought that perhaps he had already taken part in a religious rite. They had been freed from the heavy burden that oppression had placed on them for a long time, and because of the influence of their brotherly emotions, they had given all their hearts to hope for a happier future.

This sweet satisfaction was destroyed only by the grief caused by the horrific attack on one of the members of the nation [named Poltia], who had voted for despot’s death.

The execution of Louis XVI is one of those memorable events that will mark a new era in the history of nations. It will have a tremendous impact on the destiny of Europe’s tyrants and those who have not yet broken their chains.

The National Convention unequivocally demonstrated its greatness by announcing the death penalty for despot’s France, but the will of the people, as well as the way in which the people viewed the former National Convention’s punishment, go far beyond their representatives, because no doubt the same emotions that had aroused the citizens of Paris and the Allies, there were with all the citizens of the other sections.

The execution of Louis XVI not only did not endanger the peace of the country, but also was ultimately in the service of consolidating it. Not just to stop internal enemies from creating fear, but also to stop foreign enemies. It will also give the nation a new impetus to push back wild congregation of foreign mercenaries who have dared to throw razors at the people.

Since there is no way to back down, and this is exactly the situation we are in today, we either have to win or we have to give up. The obvious fact that Cambon portrayed in a great picture – as he spoke behind the desk yesterday – is as follows: We are finally anchored on Freedom Island and the ship that brought us here is set on fire.

Source: Terrorism: Liberty or Death in the French Revolution / Sophie Wahnich / Translated by Fouad Habibi / Ney Publishing / 2018

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