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    Robespierre sends troops to quell unrest in the Vendée region

    [French Revolution]. Maximilien de Robespierre Signed Decree. Two pages, 8""x 12.5", in French, on Comité de Salut Public [Committee on Public Safety] letterhead, [Paris]; 19 December 1793. A letter or decree, written in a secretarial hand, signed by Robespierre and three other members of the Committee on Public Safety, Lazare Carnot, Claude Antoine Prieur-Duvernois, and Bertrand Barère, concerning the counter-Revolution uprising in the Vendée region of France. The English translation of the letter is presented here:

    "The Public safety committee informed about the republic's troops tracking against the Vendée rebels, considering that the recapture of Toulon must focus its concern at this time; decides that among the ten thousand men who must have had to separate from Western Pyrenees's army to march to Vendée, that the ones who happened to have left at receipt of this decree will continue on their way to join forces commanded by [illegible], and in regards to what is left from the ten thousand men who were supposed to form the foresaid detachment, it will march towards Toulon without delay to reunite to besieging army, under the command of a brigadier general and under observation by Garrau representative of the people whom will follow siege operations, together."

    In the upper right hand corner of the document, in handwriting different from the secretarial script (possibly in Robespierre's hand) is the following (English translation): "send 1st orders by a courier to Bayonne these orders will be addressed to army quartermaster-sergeant [abbreviated], and to senior officer with public safety committee decree's copy-a notification letter will be sent to representatives."

    Maximilien-François-Marie-Isidore de Robespierre (1758-1794), born in Arras in the French province of Artois, was a lawyer and politician who became a radical Jacobin leader and one of the principal figures in the French Revolution (1789-1799) and its notorious Reign of Terror. In 1793, he came to dominate the Committee of Public Safety, the principal organ of the Revolutionary government from 1793 to 1795, and played an influential role in the execution of King Louis XVI, which resulted in the establishment of the French Republic. The Reign of Terror ended in 1794 when Robespierre was captured and executed by guillotine.

    The Committee of Public Safety, established in April of 1793 when France was beset by wars, both foreign and civil, was a political body of the French Revolution that gained virtual dictatorial control over France during the Reign of Terror. The committee provided for the defense of the nation against its enemies, foreign and domestic, and oversaw the existing departments of the French government. The members of the committee, at first numbering nine, was later increased to twelve, and included Carnot (1753-1823), Prieur-Duvernois (1763-1832), and Barère (1755-1841). The Committee of Public Safety had ended the French monarchy earlier on January 21, 1793 by guillotining King Louis XVI. The intensified bloodshed of the French Revolution was one of the reasons that ultimately influenced President George Washington to declare United States neutrality in April 1793 in the conflict between France and Great Britain.

    The uprising referred to in this decree occurred in the Vendée region or Western France against the Republican government between March and December 1793. Although the rebel forces achieved some victories and had moral support of Great Britain in the initial stages of the conflict, they were eventually crushed by the Republican army, which reportedly were responsible for numerous atrocities against residents of the Vendée region.

    A fascinating document signed by Robespierre concerning the last days of the Republican army's activities against Vendée rebels and during the height of the Reign of Terror.

    Condition: Gently toned, with stray staining, light wear along folds, small clean tear at lower right margin. Signatures remain bold. Document appears to have been cleaned.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2017
    19th Thursday
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