simone_remy (simone_remy) wrote in melkam,

Speech to conseil general de la commune: July 24 1792 ~ conclusion

So much for justice, amnesty and reconciliation between royalty, Feuillants and Jacobins. It is madness for you wealthy people to imagine that the Prussians will defend your property. Have you forgotten how these same Prussians and the counter revolutionary General Brunswick behaved recently when they put down the revolution in Holland? Have you forgotten how they ransacked the shops and houses in Amsterdam, taking whatever they wanted and throwing whatever they couldn't carry into the river. There are no worse thieves than these people whom you have invited to come and defend the Quai d'Orfevres. Don't you realise their despotic leaders have only prevented mass desertion by promising these pirates the right to pillage Paris and plunder our shops. It may be true that they have only promised them the businesses of the patriots but if the Jacobins don't have enough to satisfy them these bandits will turn their attentions to wealthier premises; and these won't belong to the Jacobins. They will be creating an August 4th in our land and you will not know where to turn!
There will be nothing left for you to do but to join with us and cut off this war at its birth before it spawns ruin and disaster in Paris. You will have to take a lesson from Carthage during the third Punic war. After being lulled to sleep by the Feuillant Carthaginians and the treacherous Roman senate, Carthage was surprised to find the legions at their gates, intent on razing their city to the ground. Within three days, unprepared, with no arms or ramparts, the Carthaginians armed three thousand citizens and retook their walls; all the able bodied men were put to work making pikes, javelins and engines of war. Pliny tells us that the women of Carthage cut off their hair to make rope and within three days Carthage was sufficiently prepared to withstand a siege of three years.
For my part I can scarcely get over the unbelievable blindness of the Parisians and I don't understand why we aren't hearing the sound of hammers beating out pikes in the street. If the National Assembly abandons us then it is up to you M le Maire to save us all and to set an example to other municipalities. The genius of the French surpasses all other nations in the making of artillery; we make cannons out of the statues of tyrants; these damnable men deserve no less a torment than to fight for freedom after their deaths just as they fought against it in life. To the music of arms the impetuous French will turn the tide of battle,making pikes longer than the Austrians javelins. Pikes and cannon! Cannon and pikes! You must provision Paris like an Arsenal.
But this cold blooded silence from Parisians forces me to ask, in dread, has Paris become Austrian? If this is so there are still 500,000 Frenchmen in this Austrian town who will never be taken alive, enslaved by the enemy but would rather leave the tyrants nothing more than a heap of ashes in place of their buildings.
I conclude by asking the commune to send a message to the National Assembly demanding that they adopt the measures I have outlined for the safety of the people: or, if they do not believe the constitution can be saved they should do as the Romans did and place all weapons in the hands of each citizen individually and collectively. The tocsin must sound and we should and bring the entire nation together, as they did in Rome, invested with the right to put all known conspirators to death.; to reaffirm the freedom and safety of the patrie.
One single day of anarchy will achieve more than four years of the National Assembly.
Tags: camille desmoulins, july 1792 speech
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