Jacques Hébert 1790

The Reawakening of Père Duchesne

Source: Le Père Duchesne, No 65;
Translated: for marxists.org by Mitchell Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) marxists.org 2007.

To fuck up the aristocrats and all the enemies of the constitution. His great excursion to the plain of Grenelle under the tents of the brave buggers who are camped there his farewell before his departure.

Yes, fuck, I’m reawakening to pulverize all the enemies of the nation; I’ve been quiet for too long. Annoyed to see a bunch of worthless fucks take my name and mouth a thousand stupidities under this borrowed mask, I was afraid that in the end I’d be confused with them, and I had taken the decision not to write a line until these slimy buggers shut their mouths. One of them, I heard, a postal clerk, calls himself the Truest of the True Père Duchesnes, and he has managed to convince many idiots that he really is. But since he allowed a tip of his ears to stick out of his mask, the good citizens didn’t fall for it. And because of his smooth style the clerk was recognized, and not the frank and loyal furnace merchant. Fuck, Père Duchesne doesn’t darken paper for little misses, and he has never been so clumsy as to take an aristocratic sign as his emblem. We’ve never seen a Cross of Malta on his pages. But the marks of his trade, two furnaces, these are his arms, and he’ll never be such a good for nothing as to blush for this.

I learned that another lunatic stuck his nose in this mess having called for murder and carnage everywhere. I hope that in such ravings no one recognized Père Duchesne. All those who’ve read my paper over the last two years know that I have always recommended respect for the law; that no good action has been carried out without my praising it and testifying to my joy in it. But I’ve also not spared the worthless bastards and disturbers of public peace. We all know how many times I’ve been beside myself with rage! How many times I cursed upon discovering new plots against freedom! In the end, all that is known of me are my joys and my fury.

But we’ve talked enough about me; let’s get back to the matter at hand. I say, fuck, that I am again going to declare war on all aristocrats, on all the buggers who conspire against the nation, on all the scoundrels who, under a lambskin, hide the ferocity of tigers. Those false patriots who seek to overturn everything; those ambitious ones who want to run the country in order to enrich themselves had better watch out. I’m following the trail of all these worthless bastards and all the rogues, and I’ll be such a good sentinel that not a single one will escape.

This is how those who have themselves published should act; it’s not through long involved reasoning that men should be judged, but by their acts. So when I find someone in the wrong I don’t waste a beat and, fuck, I tell him exactly what I think.

It has never been more difficult to learn the truth; you don’t know who to believe, all you find are fucking scoundrels everywhere who try to fool you and take you down the wrong road. Some want to force you to admire, to find worthy those that you know to be worthless bastards; other make it a crime to love and respect the most honest men, the most zealous defenders of freedom. This one is a traitor, one person tells you; but I say he’s a good bugger, answers the other. This is how the fools manage to mix things up. So I repeat, no one should be judged on hearsay: people should only be judged based on what they do, but at the same time, you must be on your guard about everyone. Never allow yourself to be led to be for or against without knowing why. I never want to erect idols for fear of having to later smash them, but I also can’t help myself from praising those who go straight ahead and who never falter; obey the law, this is the first obligation of a citizen. This is the touchstone which I use to distinguish true patriots from false; when a law is good, it’s a crime to violate it; if it’s bad we’re still required to blindly follow it. That which is worth nothing can’t last a long time; that which is good can never die. The more revolting a tree is, the quicker it is destroyed. If there had never been a de Brienne or de Callone there would never have been a revolution. It was those buggers who, because they oppressed us, made us feel the price of freedom and forced us to make a constitution. There are still today many worthless bastards who resemble them, and who think they will have us through their cabals, but like the other ones, they’ll end up burned. Yes, the more effort is taken to enslave us the freer we’ll be. The revolution has been completed, because this has been accomplished in public opinion. There is not one single Frenchman who wouldn’t prefer to die rather than return to the ancien régime.

Yes, fuck, we’ll triumph over all the enemies within and without; sooner or later all the traitors will be immolated; it’s impossible to force things on a people of 24 million people armed for their defense, and where the whole country is covered with pikes, bayonets and cannons.

What a pleasure it was to see in their camp those young buggers who are going to fly to the defense of the frontiers; they wait as if it were a holiday the day when they can finally reach that worthless bastard de Bouillé; let that old shit de Condé come here at the head of his black army and he’ll be properly received. Oh how well I was received by these young citizens! I had barely stepped foot in camp before this one took me by the arm, that one by the hand, the other one hugged my neck and “c’mon along Père Duchesne! Come into our tent drink to the health of the nation.”

It’s there, great gods, that by cursing the aristocrats I earned friends where it counts. After having joyously passed the day like that I left our young warriors and made my farewell. Oh fuck, my friends, if I wasn’t such an old bugger, I said while leaving them, I would follow you, I’d want to march at your head. Don’t worry, Père Duchesne, there are enough of us to fuck up the enemy without; you, gofuck, just watch over the one within.