Skip to main content


    [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.

    Fees, Shipping, and Handling Description: Flat Material, Small (view shipping information)

    Sales Tax information  |  Terms and Conditions

    Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments

    Glossary of Terms

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2015
    4th-5th Wednesday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 603

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $100,000 (minimum $14), plus 20% of any amount between $100,000 and $1,000,000, plus 12% of any amount over $1,000,000 per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 31 days left to consign to the 2018 June 10 Civil War, Militaria, Arms & Armor - Dallas!

    Learn about consigning with us

    I don’t often do testimonials but in this case I felt truly obligated to thank Heritage Auctions for the extremely professional job your organization did for me.
    Charlie K.,
    Pittsburgh, PA
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2018 March 17 Western Americana & Texana Grand Format Auction - Dallas
    2018 March 17 Western Americana & Texana Grand Format Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED SO FAR $320,944