Georges Danton: “My only regret is that I am going before that rat Robespierre.”

Oh Camille.

These words will never be recorded – never be transcribed into the annal’s of history, the lament of the one’s chained to doom. I would scream to the very heavens for eternity if I thought for a moment that it would make a difference… this isn’t fair.

I know it’s childish, this fear of death – but I assure you, Camille, I go into God’s hands with my head held high. It is not the act of dying I am afraid of. No, surely not, what I fear is what I am leaving in this world of the living.

This revolution was born from the fruits of OUR LABOURS, Camille, the sweat from our brows and our backs greased the cogs of this machine. We changed the very foundation of France, overthrowing the corrupt monarchy and all we get for it is an early unwanted death. For our services to our country we are rewarded with oblivion.

Oh Camille, what wondrous men we were, what wondrous men we could have been.

Camille, they will surely weep for us. Take some little comfort from that.

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Robespierre.

I curse you Robespierre.

I curse you Robespierre, such that your soul will never find it’s way into God’s light. I curse you, such that your spirit will be spit out of heaven and you will spend eternity falling, ever falling. Falling, in the way that the wind will rip you from history and your insanity will be dissolved into the air.

I curse you.

We once had, if not brotherhood, at least mutual understanding. We were creating a France that our children would be proud of. I know not when your idealism became madness but I must have failed to see the signs, because I was not prepared for all the murders, and all the terror that you instilled into this country.

Robespierre, you will follow me into dissolution. I will drag you down screaming, and we will fall together.

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“Don’t forget to show my head to the people. It’s well worth seeing.”

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In the dying light of day the great leader seemed to be rising out of his tomb as much as preparing to descend into it. Never was anything more bold than that great athlete’s countenance, never anything more formidable than the look of that profile which seemed to defy the knife. That great head, even as it was about to fall, appeared to be in the act of dictating laws.

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Georges Danton, born on October 26th 1759, and died on April 5th 1794.

 

Georges Danton: A King in Peril & A Hope for France

Dear Camille Desmoulins,

I write with a fervour – limitless energy flows through my veins, as France is spreading her wings for the first time! Not three months ago today, I wrote you about the revolution that was surely going to begin. Although you agreed with me, when I dared to open my mouth to present my dream I was scoffed at behind closed doors. But I refused to give up hope, and now we are on at the crest of this wave of change. Oh Camille, I feel as though I am poised to strike the killing blow! First we stormed the Bastille and with my new position as Minister of Justice I have the legal means to take action against the King!

Although, not much action will need to be taken – the King has doomed himself. In his Royal foolishness, King Louis XVI was caught fleeing France; we have all the conviction we need to bury him and his legacy and create a new France, a France built on domestic peace, stability and justice for all! I must convince the people that the King must die; he cannot be allowed to become an obstacle to this Revolution.

Camille, our Caveliers clubs has grown to more than we could have ever dreamed of. Our organization has become one of the premier places of discussion in all of Paris. Along with the Jacobin’s club, we are the most powerful political society in the city.

Ah, the Jacobin’s club. My friend, I beg of you, be cautious around Maximilien Robespierre. He is a silver tongued serpent that has wove his way into our ranks. He speaks of great things but he masks his true desire – to burn all of our heritage and re-establish all of France’s Institutions in line with his own likings. It is admirable to hope for a France based on pure moral virtue, but it is unfortunately drastically unrealistic, and his radicalism is unsettling. Treat him with great discretion.

Camille, I promise to write again soon. You are my visionary brother.

Stay safe.

Georges Danton.

 

Georges-Jacques Danton: Do you hear the people sing?

Before continuing, please find a passing minstrel to sing this.

To Camille Desmoulins,

The midnight-oil burns quickly these nights.

I am no stranger to writing; indeed, as an Advocate for the people in France I am often found penning various legal pleas. Recently, however, my wrist has grown weary. Too many people are crying out in the dark – crying out to be heard in a country where no one is listening. In the Cordeliers District, my home, my child’s home, the last place in France where liberty has not yet been violated; the streets have filled up with the wretched faster that I could have imagined. I pride myself on giving a voice to those who cannot speak; however, in the past month I have not been able to make a dent in the ever growing list of the needy. I must do more to help the people. When my beautiful France has become a battleground between starvation and altruism, I know that I must act.

Camille Desmoulins, my dear, dear friend. You spoke of a France where the Monarchy is not irreconcilably hostile to freedom, where the Monarchy is elected by the people and for the people. As children we spoke of this, but now, my friend, this needs to become a reality. We can make a radical change. It starts with us; we will be the spark that will ignite the Revolution! We speak of a transformation; I say it is upon us! Let the winds of change fan the flames as to consume the corrupt bureaucracy that has been in power far too long!

These nights I stay up deep into the witching hour; writing letters, drafting documents and bringing people together. Camille, I propose that we form a society of like-minded individuals. Every change starts with a few, but we need to take action and that means we need people that can help. Together we can make a difference.

And Camille, we are not the only ones that are beginning to grow weary of the inaction. Have you had the chance to peruse the “Petition of Women of the Third Estate to the King?” Women from all over France wrote this, my friend –

The women of the Third Estate are almost all born without wealth; their education is very neglected or very defective: it consists in their being sent to school with a teacher who himself does not know the first word of the language [Latin] he teaches. They continue to go there until they can read the service of the Mass in French and Vespers in Latin. Having fulfilled the first duties of religion, they are taught to work; having reached the age of fifteen or sixteen, they can earn five or six sous a day. If nature has refused them beauty they get married, without a dowry, to unfortunate artisans; lead aimless, difficult lives stuck in the provinces; and give birth to children they are incapable of raising. If, on the contrary, they are born pretty, without breeding, without principles, with no idea of morals, they become the prey of the first seducer, commit a first sin, come to Paris to bury their shame, end by losing it altogether, and die victims of dissolute ways. 

Do you see, Camille! The time to strike is now! 

I have a dream for a new France, my friend, and I am now of the opinion that our vision for this magnificent nation has become more than a pipe dream.

My fondest hope is that one day I will see it with my own eyes – and this day is coming, I promise you.

Sincerely,

Georges-Jacques Danton