The Jesta Problem (jesta_ariadne) wrote,
The Jesta Problem
jesta_ariadne

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Camille Desmoulins quotes.

Because it has been REQUESTED!!! ^___^ And, yes, because I was kind of going to do something like this anyway...

Some of these are quite famous and can be found anywhere; most were found in my luvverly Morton book... (Alas, it's not mine. I have to give it back to the library. *cries and clings* But not before I've plagiarized quoted for all I'm worth!!)

However, no one requested all this, so um, if I had indeed to pick a couple:

- aux armes! XD

- In spite of success: ^_^
"I am not very happy. At one moment I find life delightful, at the next insupportable. And this happens ten times a day."

- To his father:
"I have a reputation. I am consulted on important matters. I am asked out to dine. No pamphleteer sells better than I do. All I lack is a lodging. I implore you to help me. Send me six louis or a bed."

- On his marriage to Lucile:
"I have waited long for happiness, but here it is at last, and I am now as happy as mortal can be upon this earth . . . Her eyes, like mine, were filled with tears. She was crying and laughing at the same time. I never saw anything so beautiful. . . ."

- To Robespierre, on artistic license: (hehehee)
"If these were not the actual words you used, at any rate they represented your thoughts."

- To Robespierre, in the words of Rousseau...
"Bruler n'est pas repondre." - "Burning is not answering".

- Just a little of his last letter to Lucile.....
"Lucile I still see, Lucile my true love. With my bound arms I hold you, and my head, separated from my body, turns still in death its eyes on you. I go to my death."

- Finally:
"I dreamed of a Republic that all the world would love. I could never have believed that men were so ferocious and so unjust!"

But there are a lot more too!!!!!! Good starting points for those you with literary ambitions... (...I was thinking fanfic; he may not be one to emulate in a writer's life, but whatever...) or just general interest... Entertaining, upsetting, it's all here.


Living in Paris as a struggling lawyer/writer, he wrote lots of letters home to his father. Until 1790 when he got married, these tend to have followed rather a pattern: 1. "I'm doing really well, everyone likes me, look... Love me, be proud of me please..." 3. "I need money."



Writing home on the 16th of July 1789 about his role in uh "starting the Revolution" on the 12th:
"Dearest father,

I can now write to you. . . . How things have changed over the last three days! Last Sunday, Paris was dismayed at the dismissal of M. Necker. Although I was getting people worked up, no one would take up arms. About three o'clock I went to the Palais-Royal. I was deploring our lack of courage to a group of people when three young men came by, holding hands and shouting Aux armes! (To arms!) I joined them and since my enthusiasm was quite obvious, I was surrounded and pressed to climb up on a table. Immediately six thousand people gathered around me. . . .

I was choking from the hundreds of ideas that overwhelmed me and, my thoughts a jumble, I spoke: "To arms!' I cried, "To arms! Let us all wear green cockades, the color of hope." . . . I grabbed a green ribbon and was the first to pin it to my hat. My action spread like wildfire! The noise from the tumult reached the camp; the Cravates, the Swiss, the Dragoons, the Royal-Allemand all arrived. Prince Lambesc, leading the regiment of Royal-Allemands, entered the Tuileries on horseback. He personally cut down an unarmed French guardsman with his sword, and knocked over women and children. The crowd became furious, and from that point on, there was but a single cry heard across Paris: To Arms!"

However, even that does not seem to have impressed his father much - he seems to have thoroughly disapproved of his son's lifestyle and politics, or at least they worried him very much. After the Bastille and the success of his pamphlets, Camille was becoming a very well known figure, called (as he does keep telling his father...) even the "Author of the Revolution"! He was still usually penniless. He writes home, all the time, to say how well he's doing, and even encloses "favourable press notices" about himself!


Then there's this letter (I think it's all one letter?). Which is one of me favourites.
"We are become close friends; at least he [Mirabeau, this is] calls me his very good friend. He is always gripping my hand, or giving me a friendly punch with his fist... he comes home to dinner with an admirable company of guests, and sometimes his mistress is there. We drink excellent wines, and I'm sure his luxurious repasts are corrupting me. I try to disguise from myself that his claret and his maraschino have their value, and it's extraordinarily difficult for me to resume my republican austerity, and to hate these aristocrats, whose crime is to keep such a good table...

...I think I ought to be most contented, when I remember my position at Guise, to find myself dining with Mirabeau, burnt by the Parliament of Toulouse [ie his pamphlet was publicly burnt -- best advertising in the world, and he seemed to thrive on controversy and opposition] and with a reputation as a good citizen and a good writer...

[But....!] I am not very happy. At one moment I find life delightful, at the next insupportable. And this happens ten times a day. [I love this. Gweee. Soo, well, kind of teenagery-ish. Oh dear. We don't grow out of it. Oh well!]

...I have a reputation. I am consulted on important matters. I am asked out to dine. No pamphleteer sells better than I do. All I lack is a lodging. I implore you to help me. Send me six louis or a bed...
[This does not NEED paraphrasing.]


Camille said later:
“It was easier for me to make a Revolution and turn France upside down than to get fifty louis out of my father.”


He was still sending home letters asking for money, furniture, clothes, sheets, tablecloths, napkins etc pretty much up till the point when he married Lucile. Although he was becoming very successful and famous and everything, apparently he only got paid thirty louis for La France Libre (his pamphlet finally published after the fall of the Bastille) and only SIX for Discours de la Lanterne aux Parisiens (the anonymous one that advocated stringing up aristocrats from lampposts. ...It was really well-recieved! ^^;)

Proud of his role in "starting" the Revolution:
“No one can see the cockade without thinking of me.”

"One will call me the best writer of today, another the most zealous defender of liberty... I am by now sufficiently indifferent to praise."
...To which Morton wryly comments: "Had that last sentence been the truth, he might have been a happier man." (...but life would have been boring, don't you understand...?)


He started up a newspaper Les Revolutions de France et de Brabant, which was very successful, and had for its motto: "Quid Novi?" - "What's new?"

This next quote needs a bit of background, but it's very funny... It's a reply to a rather virulent attack Marat apparently sent into his paper after something about him contained a (single, but obvious) misprint. Les Revolutions was a very lively paper which encouraged debate and interaction with readers. So, Desmoulins writes a little satirical thing back to him, which ends:
"For myself, I will allow you to attack me as much as you please. You do your writing in an underground cavern where the air is not an inducement to pleasant thoughts. You are right to boast that you are my elder, and to call me, disdainfully, a young fellow, as it is twenty-four years since you were mocked by Voltaire; you are right, also, to call me unjust, since I once said that of all journalists you are the one who has best served the Revolution; you are right, again, to call me malicious, since I am the only writer who has ever dared to praise you; and, finally, you are right to call me a lukewarm patriot, because of a misprint so obvious that nobody could be misled by it. In spite of the insults you have been hurling at me for six months, I declare that as long as your extravagances are on the side of the Revolution, I shall persist in praising you, and for this reason; because I believe that liberty must be defended, like the town of Saint-Malo, not only by men, but by dogs."
Heheheee. *is in love with his long sentences* That was in 1790 I think, issue number 76 of a weekly newspaper. It's so witty, cheeky - carefree almost. *sigh* Those were exciting days... and still full of hope... Louis Combes (a contemporary, but I know no more than that) called La France Libre “Chant de l’allouette Gauloise" - the song of the lark of Gaul. Morton comments: “and if the voice of the lark is, on occasion, hoarse with indignation, the song is generally gay and carefree.” Happier years indeed...



More about the adolescent-angst (though he was thirty ^^):
"There are often moments when, in spite of the compliments of people who tell me that the arrows of Hercules are mine, I am unhappy enough, and feel like I am abandoned like Philoctetes on the island of Lemnos."



In 1790, he married Lucile Duplessis - after a long struggle; her father, a rich middle-class civil servant, also apparently disapproved of Camille, possibly his ideas, and certainly his total lack of funds and respectability. (Morton attributes to them a many-years-long courtship/obsession thing with a striking resemblance to Marius and Cosette!!) So - this letter home on December 11th 1790 finds Camille very happy indeed:
"On this day, December 11th, I find myself at last with all my hopes fulfilled. I have waited long for happiness, but here it is at last, and I am now as happy as mortal can be upon this earth. The charming Lucile, of whom I have told you so often, whom I have loved for eight years, has promised to marry me, and her parents have given their consent. A moment ago her mother came, crying with joy, to tell me the news . . . She led me into her daughter's room, and I threw myself on my knees before Lucile. I heard her laugh, and raised my eyes in surprise. But her eyes, like mine, were filled with tears. She was crying and laughing at the same time. I never saw anything so beautiful. . . ."


So, he was now madly in love and married to the object of his adoration, so all was well... Financially, there was no need to really keep writing, but at the same time he couldn't stop. This quote is brilliant... Robespierre had complained that Camille had wrongly attributed an (offensive) speech to him - Camille says:
"If these were not the actual words you used, at any rate they represented your thoughts!"
Camille was generally very supportive of Robespierre, reporting his speeches (uh, even if they included ones he may not have made ^^), and saying things like "I was more than once moved to tears" by one of them.



After the Champs de Mars massacre - when Robespierre hesitated and stepped back (frightened?) for a bit from Republican principles, and Danton fled to England, and Camille was forced to stop writing his paper. He had to start another one in 1792 though... And it seems by this time he really feels things are getting serious - there's almost- disillusionment, though not quite I don't think, already.
"I will not in this place repeat the pompous promised that I made to the public in my prospectus for the Révolutions. In those days I was sure of myself, my style was governed by my imagination, which saw everything in bright colours, and hand not yet been warped by meditation and by my experiences of life. If my reader laughs less today I will endeavour to make him think more."


And after the storming of the Tuileries, Camille got a job under Danton (who was made a minister) - he was now signing himself "Secretary-General of the Department of Justice" under "my friend Danton". Then he (unusually) made a speech in the Jacobins club... In general he called for unity and solidarity... and finished with this:
"For the establishment of liberty and the safety of the country, one single day of anarchy will do more than four years of a National Assembly."


*resists the urge to summarize again everything that happened. I've already tried to do that! This is a quotey post!*
During the whole mess of the purging of the Girondins, in another letter home:
"The state of affairs is incomparably better than it was four years ago . . . but I think the loss of so many men ought to bring us more happiness in return . . . "


And then the really dramatic, public expression of that feeling... when the Girondins were condemned to the death. Bursting into tears/running from the courtroom/collapsing/fainting, he said - well, there seem to be many variations on a theme here of what he actually said... Some possibilities:
"It is I who has destroyed them!"

"They were my friends... and I killed them!"

"It is me, it is my Histoire des Brissotins that is killing them, and they were Republicans!

"It's me, it's my writings that have done this; they were my friends, and I killed them!"


JB Morton has this somewhat irritating habit of skating over things that he assumes everyone knows all-too-well already. Truth is I do know these more famous stories very well, but... well, it's just annoying that his bibliography shows he had access to the Vieux Cordelier, and yet he refuses to quote very much of it~
Nevertheless, there is some;
"Why has the Republic made pity a crime? Do we imagine that we are more free than the Athenians, who erected an altar to Pity?"

"Love of country cannot exist where is neither love nor pity for one's fellow-men, but only a soul dried up and withered by self-love."


Hébert had been getting low shots at Camille's domestic affairs and his wife. In issue V, Camille replies:
"I will say but one word of my wife. I have always believed in the immortality of the soul. After all the sacrifices I had made for the liberty and happiness of the people, I said to myself, when I was being persecuted: "Evidently the reward of honesty is elsewhere." But my marriage is such a happy one, and I am so fortunate in my domestic affairs, that I grew afraid that I had received my reward on this earth, and I had lost my hope of immortality. But at the present moment, your attack on me and your cowardly calumnies restore to me all my former hope."


Referring to rumours he's going to be arrested/killed. At this stage, he is very eloquent, brave and composed:
"What! Every day the million soldiers of the Republic face the murderous batteries which cover the fortresses, and charge from victory to victory. Shall we then, we deputies of the Convention, who are not called to die like the soldier, by a bullet from the shadows and in the darkness of the night, with no witness of his valour; we who, dying for liberty, meet a glorious and a majestic end, before the eyes of the whole nation, of Europe and of posterity- shall we be less brave than our soldiers? Shall we not dare to stand up to the raging anger of Père Duchesne [penname of Hébert], that we may win the victory expected of us by the French people; a victory over ultra-revolutionaries and counter-revolutionaries; a victory over all intriguers, ruffians, ambitious rogues; over all enemies of the public good?"


Defending himself (or trying to) at the Jacobins... is very confused:
"I don't know where I am in this matter..."


And then, of course, the famous exchange.

: Robespierre says "Camille is a spoilt child. Formerly he was of a happy disposition, but bad company has corrupted his heart. Steps must be taken against his pamphlets... But Camille himself we must keep in our midst. I ask, for the sake of example, that Camille's pamphlet's be burnt here, in this hall."

Camille shoots back: "Bruler n'est pas repondre." - "Burning is not answering". Rousseau's words.

[there is more, and yes I'm going to quote it all because it says quite a bit about Robespierre too.]
Robespierre: "How can you dare to justify the writings which are the delight of the aristocrats? Know this Camille. If you were not Camille, the amount of indulgence shown to you would be unthinkable.. Your attitude in trying to justify yourself proves to me that your intentions are dishonest."

Camille: "But I don't understand you, Robespierre. How on earth can you say that only aristocrats read my paper? The Convention, the Mountain, have my Vieux Cordelier. Are they, then, composed of aristocrats? Did I not read you my pamphlets and beg you, in the name of our friendships, to be good enough to give me the benefit of your advice, and to show me the policy I was to pursue?"

Robespierre: (...rather feebly...) "You did not show me all the numbers; I only saw one or two. Since I take sides in no quarrel, I didn't want to read the rest. People would have said I had dictated them."


And, um, this is an exchange between Danton and Robespierre, actually, but...... um, it's interesting? Though I'm not ENTIRELY sure how factual/stuff of legends. I think it came from one eyewitness, not a public meeting or anything. Their last meeting together, I believe, March 22nd 1794.
Danton: "Let us forget our resentments and concentrate on our country's need and its perils."

Robespierre: "With your principles and your theory of morality, I suppose we should never find any man guilty and of punishment?"

Danton: "Would that annoy you? Would it annoy you if there were no guilty people to punish?"


The end of March...
"Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die."


Letter to Lucile from prison. I won't copy out the whole thing, though I like the translation better in the book...

"I am summoned . . . It was the commissaries of the Revolutionary Tribunal, come to question me, and the only question they asked me was- had I conspired against the Republic? What a mockery!"

" I dreamed of a Republic that all the world would love. I could never have believed that men were so ferocious and so unjust!"

"Live on for my Horace, tell him what I cannot tell him, that I would have loved him deeply . . . Farewell Lucile, my own Lucile, my dearest Lucile! Farewell Horace, Annette! Farewell, my father! I see the shore of life recede from me. Lucile I still see you, Lucile my true love. With my bound arms I hold you, and my head, separated from my body, turns still in death its eyes on you."


And that's nearly the end.


By way of an epilogue, Morton has the following... it's not a Camille quote but... it's such a sad sentimental little story, and very immediate... (and -- anyone else thinking Terry Pratchett's Night Watch??? ^^;;;)
There was another who watched [the execution], and he noticed that there was a lilac bush in bloom on the terrace of the Orangerie. A year later, to the day, he walking across the Place de la Révolution, thinking of the scenes he had lived through. He remembered suddenly what day this was, and turning to look at the lilac bush, he said to a friend, "Spring is late this year. When Camille died the lilac was in flower." And his friend replied, "You will never see the lilac in flower without remembering the unhappy man who paid for all his faults by writing the Vieux Cordelier. Each year, on April 5th, Dussault made a kind of pilgrimage to this place, and he called the lilac bush le lilas de Camille.



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So! There you are then~
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