Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

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With lyrics drawn from a Republican Ode composed by the revolutionary poet Lebrun in 1793, this hymn commemorates the execution of Louis XVI.

This aria from the Gretry opera, Richard the Lion–Hearted, was adopted by royalists during the early years of the Revolution. The song’s accusation that the king had been abandoned by all but his most devoted followers made it a suitable…

A hymn written by Joseph Gossec to celebrate national unity on the first anniversary of the taking of the Bastille. Combining old and new, Gossec set a traditional Latin text to music scored for wind instruments (rather than the common organ), the…

The news of Robert–François Damiens’s attack on the King and his subsequent trial spread rapidly and generated great interest across France and all of Europe. This pamphlet, published in London, describes for English readers the goings–on in…

This pamphlet was one of the many published in France in response to the news of Damiens’s attack on the King. It is written from the standpoint of the so–called patriot party, which opposed the concentration of power in the hands of the King,…

During the course of his trial, Damiens was interrogated over fifty times by the magistrates of the Parlement of Paris and by the King’s prosecutors. The interrogators were concerned above all to determine if Damiens had accomplices and if so, what…

After a three–month trial, the magistrates found Damiens guilty of parricide against the person of the King on 26 March 1757. In a final interrogation, Damiens is once again asked about accomplices. He then denies having them.

Having found Damiens guilty, the judges ordered him punished in a gruesome public spectacle, with the intention of repressing symbolically, through his body, the threat to order that the judges perceived in his attack on the King. Such punishment,…

Later in the 1750s, the Parlement turned its attention from religious controversy to royal fiscal policy. With the outbreak of yet another war—the Seven Years’ (or French and Indian) War against Britain—the royal treasury needed even more…

In 1763, with the Seven Years’ War having gone badly for France and the treasury facing ever greater shortfalls, the crown issued a series of new edicts on fiscal matters, necessary in large measure to pay off the war debts, which would extend the…
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