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The French Revolution

Thomas Carlyle

Book Overview: 

The French Revolution: A History was written by the Scottish essayist, philosopher, and historian Thomas Carlyle. The three-volume work, charts the course of the French Revolution from 1789 to the height of the Reign of Terror (1793–94) and culminates in 1795. A massive undertaking which draws together a wide variety of sources, Carlyle's history—despite the unusual style in which it is written—is considered to be an authoritative account of the early course of the Revolution. Volume 1 is titled 'The Bastille'

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Crime, with frightful shoes-of-swiftness! 'Some score or two' of wretched persons, found prostrate with drink in the cellars of that Saint-Lazare, are indignantly haled to prison; the Jailor has no room; whereupon, other place of security not suggesting itself, it is written, 'on les pendit, they hanged them.' (Histoire Parlementaire, ii. 96.) Brief is the word; not without significance, be it true or untrue!

In such circumstances, the Aristocrat, the unpatriotic rich man is packing-up for departure. But he shall not get departed. A wooden-shod force has seized all Barriers, burnt or not: all that enters, all that seeks to issue, is stopped there, and dragged to the Hotel-de-Ville: coaches, tumbrils, plate, furniture, 'many meal-sacks,' in time even 'flocks and herds' encumber the Place de Greve. (Dusaulx, Prise de la Bastille, p. 20.)

And so it roars, and rages, and brays; drums beating, steeples pealing; criers rushing with hand-bells: "Oyez, oyez. . . Read More