French Revolution 1793

Interrogation of Jacques Roux

Source: Mortimer Ternaux, Histoire de la terreur, Paris, M. Lévy Frères, 1868;
Translated: for by Mitchell Abidor

Note by the historian Mortimer Ternaux: When the news of Marat’s assassination spread around Paris it occurred to no one that the assassin could be a woman, and the first suspected were those who had had differences with the Friend of the People. Among them was Jacques Roux, who was normally mixed up in intrigues as well as every street movement. Marat had bitterly attacked him in his journal at the time of the petition of the Gravilliers Section, and Jacques Roux hadn’t hidden his irritation. For a period he was thought to have been capable of taking revenge, and we here give his interrogation before the Committee of General Safety. Jacques Roux had been denounced by the police observer Blache, whose letter follows:

Police report

Citizen Greive, who resides on Rue Cimetière-Saint-André-des-Arts near Jardinet in the faubourg Saint-Germain at Citizen Denis’, last Tuesday was with Citizen Allain at Citizen Marat’s. While they were talking with the latter Jacques Roux came into Marat’s house. The latter spoke to him with all republican energy. Jacques Roux left and, from the doorway, cast a furious look mixed with indignation at Citizen Marat. This look surprised Greive and Allain. The latter also said a few things to Jacques Roux.

Greive gave Citizen Allain’s address.

Jacques Roux lives on Rue Aumaire, at the Saint-Nicolas-des-Champs community of priests.

Prepared for the Committee of General Safety, July 14, 1793, Year II o the Republic


The report was accompanied by a declaration signed by Citizens Allain and Greive of the Marseille Section, attesting to the profound impression they’d felt seeing Jacques Roux stop at the end of the long landing before going down the stairs, casting a prolonged vengeful look that it was impossible to describe.

Jacques Roux was interrogated that very day, but Charlotte Corday had already been arrested and he was freed. In the interrogation we note how he disavows the petition that was the reason behind his expulsion from the Cordelier Club.

Committee of General Safety
July 14, 1793, year II of the Republic

Q: What is your name?

A: Jacques Roux

Q: Where do you live?

A: At Saint-Nicolas-des-Champs, Gravilliers Section

Q: What is your profession?

A: I’m a priest and a municipal officer of Paris

Q: Do you know Marat?

A: Yes, I knew him, and he found asylum at my house when he was persecuted by Lafayettte.

Q: Had it been a long time since you’d seen him when he was assassinated?

A: I had been at his place five or six days ago, to bring him my baptismal certificate and a letter I’d written him asking him to retract some of his issues.

Q: Was there anyone there when you entered his house?

A: There were six people, more or less, to the best of my recollection.

Q: Did you not have an argument with Marat?

A: None.

Q: What was the reason for your visit?

A: It was to give him a letter, since I didn’t count on finding him.

Q: You didn’t have a problem with him that day?

A: No, none at all. He told me I was a hypocrite as far as I can recall.

Q: When you left Marat’s you didn’t say anything unpleasant to him?

A: No.

Q: Did you ever write for or against the republic?

A: I only wrote to defend and support it.

Q: Did he tell you anything unpleasant?

A: Yes, he advised me to go vegetate at my estate.

Q: When you left Marat’s did you not show, in you bearing and physiognomy, anything that revealed feelings against him?

A: No.

Q: What work did you propose to do against Marat?

A: A response to one of his issues.

Q: Did you know anything of an assassination plot against Marat?

A: No.

Carried out and completed at the Committee of General Safety.

Citizen Jacques Roux, before signing, said that Marat reproached him, in their conversation, for having delivered a mortal blow to the Republic in the address he’d presented at the bar of the Convention in the name of the Gravilliers Section around the end of last June. To which he answered that such had not been his intention; that the constitution being accepted he would conform himself to it and use all of his means to defend and support it.

Jacques Roux