Jean-Paul Marat 1789

Prospectus for L’Ami du Peuple

Translated: for by Mitchell Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) 2004.

Now that the French have, arms in hand, re-conquered liberty; that a crushed despotism no longer dares raise its hand; that the disturbers of the state have been forced to flee; that the enemies of the Fatherland are obliged to put on a mask; that disconcerted ambition fears to show itself; that the barriers of prejudice are everywhere overturned by the voice of reason; that the rights of man and the citizen are going to be consecrated; and that France awaits its happiness from a free constitution, nothing can oppose the Nation’s wishes but the play of prejudices and passions in the assembly of its representatives.

It depends on wise men to prepare the triumph of the great truths that will bring about the reign of justice and freedom and solidify the foundations of public happiness. Thus, the greatest present to offer the nation in the current conjuncture, or rather, the only thing that it needs, would be a periodical in which one can attentively follow the work of the National Assembly; where one can analyze with impartiality each article; where correct principles will ceaselessly be recalled; where will be established the rights of man and the citizen; where the successful organization of a wise government will be outlined; where the abuses to be corrected will be pointed out; where the agents of power will be watched over; where their maneuvers, their machinations, and their attacks will be repelled; where the defense of the oppressed will be espoused; where the means to dry up the sources of the state’s misfortunes will be developed; and where unity, abundance and peace will be brought about by solidifying freedom. Such is the plan of this journal, which the public will see scrupulously fulfilled in accordance with its point of view, the extent of its knowledge, and the well-deserved success of the political works of its author, though the public is already certain of this thanks to the issues that have already come out.

In order to better serve the Fatherland M. Marat has, for a long time, shown no concern for his reputation. But his name is too well known today for it to be necessary to observe that his pen has only been guided by his love for truth, humanity and justice. We can even add that his touch is so original that those writers who tried to continue his journal during his retirement were never able to reach the second issue.

M. Marat has not simply served the Fatherland with his pen, he has also served it with his person from the first instant of the revolution. It is he who caused to fail the project formed by the enemies of the state to surprise Paris the night of July 14 by transporting there, under the mask of friendship, several regiments of German cavalry, numerous detachments of which had already been received and led in triumph. It is he who determined the Parisians to march on Versailles on October 5 and prevent France from again being plunged into the abyss. It is he who, renewing before our eyes the functions of the Roman censors, had the courage to present himself to the Paris municipality in order to denounce to it its corrupted members and force it to purge itself.

The zeal of this intrepid citizen, whose name is inscribed among those of the liberators of the Fatherland, has no limits. And who would not be amazed by the indomitable courage with which he has defended the public cause for the last six months; the audacity with which he attacks all who are guilty of abuse and pursues without rest the representatives of the nation who abuse their powers, as well as the agents of authority who embezzle, and the judges who prevaricate; the generosity with which he defends the oppressed? His paper, having become the bogeyman of the evil, has made for him legions of redoubtable enemies. A price was put on his head by the leaches of the state. Cowardly assassins have tried to bring an end to his days; heedless judges have cast a fiery decree against him. Taken from his home by his friends he was, for two months, in a kind of exile. Finally, he was arrested in his retreat by a large body of soldiers. By his virtue, his courage, his steadfastness, he has triumphed over all. He was returned with honors of war by the enemies he had trampled. He forced them to repair the ills they’d done him. Today his paper circulates freely, and all good citizens proffer wishes that nothing will alter its course.

This paper, the only one truly consecrated to the salvation of the Fatherland, is more necessary than ever.

It appears regularly every day. Subscriptions in the provinces can be taken at all bookstores and postmasters; and in Paris at the author’s offices at 39, rue de l’Ancienne Comedie Franšaise, where the price of a subscription should be sent postage paid, as well as all letters to the Friend of the People.

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