Jean-Paul Marat Archive
Translated: for marxists.org by Mitch Abidor, from a contemporary account by Lebois of the murder of Jean-Paul Marat in 1793;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) marxists.org 2004.
It’s time for the permanent guillotine. A conspiracy to assassinate our best, our firmest supporters, our faithful representatives has revealed itself. Already, yesterday a sacrilegious hand dared stab the firmest supporter, the most zealous defender of the people: in a word, an inhabitant of the Mountain.
For quite some time he was threatened by a horde of bandits who were located in Paris.
Not a one of these scoundrels dared raise his hand against him, since they knew that the people would take their vengeance and made them suffer the penalty due their crimes.
Posterity will tremble with horror when it learns that it was a woman who committed this crime against a representative of the people.
Yesterday this patricidal woman went to Marat’s home to speak to him on an affair of importance. Marat, always concerned about public safety, asked her to return during the evening.
Marat arrived from the Convention around seven or eight o'clock in the evening, the time when the assassin was supposed to present herself.
Suffering for a while from illness, Marat regularly took baths. Upon his arrival at home he got into bath.
This scoundrel woman presented herself at about eight o'clock and asked to speak to him. It was announced to Marat that the person who had come in the morning and whom he had told to return in the evening was asking to speak to him.
Marat, always worried about the lot of the people, and believing it was a matter of some information or denunciations – especially at a time when the Republic is in the greatest danger, and when the people fears for the lives of its faithful representatives; in the moment when the side that is paralytic in the Convention and vigorous in negotiation conspires against the brave Montagnards – left his bath and said to have her come in.
The patricidal woman presented herself to him and, holding a dagger, plunged it into his breast.
Marat, the intrepid Marat, falling immediately under the murderous steel, still had the courage to call for the guard, but soon Marat, the friend of the people, its true defender, was no more.
Immediately, the people who were in another room off to the side ran in and cried out “Murderer! Close the doors!”
Neighbors heard the cries, entered, began by closing the doors, and took hold of the patricidal woman.
The armed force was immediately called for; they came and surrounded Marat’s house. Four doctors were sent for at Saint Come, and he had just expired when they arrived.
Soon Municipal Officers and Police Administrators arrived.
Immediately the writing of the official account was undertaken, as well as the interrogation of the accused.
I want only to give an account of the sad events and to recount the interrogation, but given that it would only be founded on hearsay, since no one could enter the house of the deceased, all I can say is that everyone was in agreement that it was a woman who had arrived from Caen named Charotte Cordier.
None of the citizens who were gathered there in great numbers could hold back their tears, and shouts of indignation could be heard from everywhere.
Danton, Robespierre, Barrère, Thuriot, Héraut-Sechelles, all of the true Mountain; beware! Perhaps the daggers that will be thrown at you have already been sharpened, and the assassins chosen.
The paralytics who are still seated with you have sworn to avenge their accomplices who have been arrested and accused. Their wish was executed yesterday against Marat, and tomorrow on another.
Pache, Chaumet, Hébert and all the patriots of the municipality; be on your guard as well. You demanded the punishment of the guilty, and the traitors are still conspiring in the prisons where they are being held, and perhaps they've already put a price on your heads.
You brave and intrepid Jacobins, redouble your efforts and your courage. With the Paris municipality, immediately go and ask the National Convention which tribunal will judge those who bore a sacrilegious hand to strike the breast of one of your friends, one of your members.
Demand of it that the paralytic side, once known as the Marais and the Vendée be immediately replaced; that most, and even all be arrested because they are guilty, have no doubt about it.
Sans Culottes, my friends, let us avenge, avenge the death of one of our friends, a Montagnard. Let the head of the patricidal woman fall under the sword of the law. Let the guillotine be permanent and let those who did us so much harm, who desire the destruction of the republic and to give us a king, be punished.
If you follow this advice, hastily given, the lives of our faithful representatives will no longer be in danger.
LEBOIS, friend of the Sans Culottes.