Victims on Display

Meaningless violence was precisely how the Duchess of Gontaut viewed the events of July 14th, especially the murder of the military governor of the Bastille and of the mayor of Paris, whose heads were placed on pikes and paraded around the city.


At three I go to the Club to meet the Gentleman with whom I engaged to dine at Table d'Hôte. We go thither and have a good Dinner for 3; Coffee &c., included the Price of the Dinner is 48 francs. After Dinner walk a little under the Arcade of the Palais Royal waiting for my Carriage. In this Period the Head and Body of M. de Foulon are introduced in Triumph. The Head on a Pike, the Body dragged naked on the Earth. Afterwards this horrible Exhibition is carried through the different Streets. His Crime is to have accepted a Place in the Ministry. This mutilated Form of an old Man of seventy five is shown to Berthier, his Son in Law, the Intendant of Paris, and afterwards he also is put to Death and cut to Pieces, the Populace carrying about the mangled Fragments with a Savage Joy. Gracious God, what a People!

Source: Georges Pernoud and Sabine Flaissier, eds., The French Revolution, trans. Richard Graves (New York: Capricorn Books, 1961), 55.