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4 - Plots, pamphlets and crowds: February–April 1791

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 September 2012

David Andress
Affiliation:
University of Portsmouth
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Summary

The events of the journée of 28 February 1791 would offer every side in the revolutionary political equation the chance to validate its own interpretation of the forces at work. Several thousands of the ordinary population of the Faubourg St-Antoine chose that day to march to the château of Vincennes, a few miles to the east of the city. They were moved by a growing concern over the previous week that the municipality's recently-begun refurbishment of the château as an overflow prison had sinister connotations. It appears that on the 25th the Cordeliers Club had sent a deputation to the Jacobins to propose just such an expedition, but had been rejected. Gorsas subsequently linked this overture to the machinations of the Club monarchique. Popular concern, however, was noted, and to some extent shared, by the authorities of the Sections des Quinze-Vingts and de Montreuil, the latter Section's commissaire de police informing the municipality that a general sentiment to undertake a demolition had arisen within the Section by the 26th. Upon reaching the site 3–4,000 people occupied the courtyard, while a substantial number of men entered the keep, and began to demolish the building work which had been started.

When news that the march was getting under way reached the Hôtel de Ville, the general alarm was sounded, and substantial contingents of the National Guard, along with the headquarters staff, marched to intercept the crowd.

Type
Chapter
Information
Massacre at the Champ de Mars
Popular Dissent and Political Culture in the French Revolution
, pp. 85 - 108
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2000

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