simone_remy (simone_remy) wrote in melkam,

Speech 24/07/1792 ~ second extract ~warning Paris

It is at this moment, with the advance of the Austrian army, that the position of Paris becomes all at once critical and desperate. At this moment, when the North becomes the prey of the Prussians and Austrians, a general cry will be raised against Paris. Here are the accusations which every department will rightly make against us:

'Blind Parisians' they will say 'you are to blame for all the evils which have left France in a state of desolation; you have praised to the skies the reputations of our greatest enemies; in ordering funerary celebrations for these fifteen parricides (not sure who they are sorry -ed), in raising statues to Arnold and awarding civic crowns to Bouille you have persistently led public opinion astray and diverted confidence from the true friends of the people. By flattering the most contemptible idols you have filled the National Assembly and other institutions with schemers and allies of Coblentz. You have nurtured these volcanoes of poison at your very core; these counter revolutionary journals which have puked their bile all over France, L'ami du Roi, La Gazette de Paris, La Gazette Universelle, Gaulthier, Royou and so many more who have infected town and country alike and ceaselessly defamed the revolution in the eyes of all Europe, presenting the patriots as no more than criminals, meriting a thousand deaths.
'What nation, what foolish town, after enduring conspiracies at its heart for four years, continues to invite its enemies to come and tear it apart? It is you who have abused, persecuted and prosecuted the best citizens, the same citizens whose predictions are today justified by these events. You have forced the people who spoke the most truth to flee from one underground hiding place to another. It is you who have placed sentries to protect the publications of Gaulthier and Royou whose journals are the enemies of France, whilst you besiege Marat.
It is you cowardly Parisians who have allowed the Temple of Liberty to be defiled for four years and have allowed the senate of the French people to be soiled by 400 pro Austrian senators. Whilst you couldn't prevent the taking of the Bastille, you have prevented the taking of Vincennes. You have weighted down with iron the generous, patriotic hands that would have demolished it.
On the Champ de Mars it was you who dared to murder peaceable citizens exercising their constitutional right, the sacred right of petition. Without you, without your white horse, your martial law, shopkeepers, Feuillants, journals and justices of the peace, Liberty would have been affirmed for the last three years and the country would have flourished calmly as a model,for all governments.
The kings of Hungary and Prussia would never have been able to approach that land of freedom and good fortune. The tyrants would have been put to flight in the face of Liberty, like criminals before justice. It is you, Parisians, who by the contagion of your example have taken pains to deprave public opinion, to put patriotism on ice, to murder Liberty with slow acting poisons and to open up the road to Paris for the Austrian despot. You can become slaves if you like! Even become Austrians if you wish; we will die as free men and Frenchmen. We want the harmony of friends and brothers; your rentiers want the peace of slavery. They alone have reversed the revolution and led the empire to this state of upheaval and destruction. We are sick and tired of seeing our tributes provisioning these Austrian auxiliaries. We don't retain enough of our taxes to defend our country and we want to separate ourselves from the metropolis which is killing Liberty.
Thus, abandoned by the North, dismembered by the coalition of despots, the midi and the confederation of patriots what will become of Paris, which only exists on taxation, when all the channels bringing in the southern riches are cut off? What will become of you, wealthy counter revolutionaries? The misery of your ruin will not even be tempered by the joy of being Austrians or slaves. Four or five hundred thousand men will rise up to repeal and exterminate the enemy troops at our gate in spite of all your efforts.
In all that political turmoil you will force the 83 departments to that state of republican confederation which you fear so much and which renders you so morbidly afraid. In Paris, abandoned by the nation, fear the same isolation as Versailles abandoned by the court. You haughty, property owners and aristocratic shop owners should fear the passive citizens who have never even been part of the third estate; whose condition the revolution has worsened rather than improved, whom the Austrians have liberated with the burden of war. Fear an even worse equality, the equality of destitution, isolation, depopulation, bankruptcy and what will be for you the ultimate misery, The Republic of Paris!'

Unseeing rich men, you have less than a month to find a remedy for these evils. If you wish to avoid them I am here to show you the way.
My fellow citizens can have more faith in my speeches at this tribune than in my writing, which has occasionally been mistaken. You can see that our enemies may even now be invading, with fire and flames to hand. You can see that the National Assembly, after so many oaths to preserve the constitution, cannot accept any other articles of capitulation without being dishonoured. Women, children and the sans culottes are perfectly well able to support the constitution with out help from the National Assembly and will harass the unworthy with the fact that the inviolability of the constitution is entrusted to the entire nation. So capitulation is impossible. 500,000 men will rise up to defend the home of the constitution, and if they cannot wage war with your support, will wage it with your property and your wealth. And here I am calling down thunder on my roof too, I have property. I could hardly imagine that Paris would fall, but I say with absolute certainty that Paris will before Liberty falls. And here you must know the complete truth. When even the 300,000 Jacobins and the five million federees are annihilated don't imagin that Paris will escape being turned over to the destruction of the Austrians and despotism.

So, what remains for you to do blind ones? Since you cannot compromise with enemy because of us, you will have to vanquish them by our side. It is in your best interests, your only interests, that Paris remains the capital and that France remains united to avoid bearing the entire costs of the war which will not be inconsiderable. It will be shared among the 83 departments.
Yes! My country can flourish again. Again Paris can eclipse London and become the queen of cities, the centre of enlightenment law and human wisdom. It only requires you, gentlemen, to make it flourish with Liberty, the arts and commerce to draw in all nations.
But the danger is imminent. Twenty million Frenchmen, determined to live free or die, have grown tired of the blindness of those Parisians who risk the safety of the patrie and the freedom of the world. What treachery will make the scales fall from your eyes? When will you pick up your weapons and reverse this stance which shocks our eyes and soils the commune if not when Paris is under threat? You see that the executive power has betrayed you. What must be done? The same thing which the English Parliament did when it too was betrayed by the executive power.
Tags: camille desmoulins, speech 24/07/1792
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