Description

    [French Revolution]. Joseph Fouché Letter Signed. Two pages, 9.75" x 15.5", in French, "Commune affranchie [Lyon]," December 12, 1793. The city of Lyon, a royalist stronghold, had withstood a two month siege before it fell to revolutionary forces on October 9, 1793. Joseph Fouché (1759-1820), a deputy of the National Convention and , later, Napoleon's minister of police, arrived in Lyon, which had been renamed Ville-Affranchie [Liberated City], shortly thereafter and continued to oversee the repressive measures placed on the people of the city. Over 2,000 citizens were condemned to death. After the fall of Lyon, Nicolas de Bournissac, the royalist provost-marshal of Marseille, was arrested and taken to Lyon for trial.

    Addressed to the French National Convention during the height of the revolution, Fouché gives his assessment of the situation, in part: "We are continually halted in our rapid revolutionary advance by new obstacles that must be surmounted, by ever recurring conspiracies which must be extinguished. . . . Ah! If an ill-conceived and misrepresented sensibility had not misled public reason . . . if a saintly and courageous proscription against all oppressors had been declared . . . throughout the Republic, tomorrow Toulon would be evacuated. Our infamous enemies in their criminal despair would turn their poisons, their daggers against themselves. We must give public witness to the regard for the assiduous and courageous labors of the Revolutionary commission that we are establishing. . . . It is in the people's presence . . . that it restores justice as God himself would restore it."

    Of Nicolas de Bournissac, he states: "The Terror is truly here the order of the day. . . . it is under misery's honorable tatters that the rich Royalist hides, still reeking of Republican blood. It is hiding behind a monk's habit that we have discovered the henchmen Bournissac, leading his wife upon an ass into an obscure retreat where they would hope to conceal from Justice, the attempted murders with which he has for so long sullied the Marseille commune. Tomorrow we will lead him into this commune so that, in the presence of the People, he atones for his ferocious oppression." Bournissac was condemned to death and was executed less than three weeks after this letter was written, on December 30, 1793, by guillotine.

    Condition: One horizontal fold. One spot of water staining in the upper left corner. Lightly stained along the left and lower edges. Small spots of foxing.


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    Auction Dates
    November, 2015
    4th-5th Wednesday-Thursday
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