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Olympe de Gouges

"Why this unswerving prejudice against my sex? Any why is it said, as I have quite clearly heard, that the Comédie Francaise should not put on any plays by women. I am a woman, but not rich ... Will it ever be allowed for women to escape from the terror of poverty other than by base means."

Olympe de Gouges,
a Daughter of Quercy on her Way to the Panthéon


(Translated from French)

The people of Quercy can be proud of the products of their soil, especially the wines of Cahors. They may also legitimately point with pride at a good many local heroes, writers and historical notabilities who have achieved national and often international renown. The most illustrious of them all, however, may not be Lucterius, the last Gaul to resist Julius Caesar; it may not be Pope John XXII, nor Alain de Solminhac, bishop of the Counter-Reformation, nor Clément Marot or Hughes Salel, poets, nor Fénelon, nor Saint-Jean-Gabriel Perboyre, martyred in China in 1842, nor Murat or Bessières, companions of Napoleon; it may not be Léon Gambetta, nor even Champollion. It may well be a woman. Judging by the number of university theses devoted to her, by the many translations into foreign languages and the longstanding worldwide impact of her writings, or by the dramatic and symbolic force of her execution, one must conclude that the most celebrated of all Quercy's children is Olympe de Gouges.

When Robespierre and his friends congratulated themselves in November 1793 on having guillotined a woman for her democratic ideas — for she could be accused of no crime or misdemeanour — they could not know that they would themselves soon be foreshortened and tossed into the dustbin of History. Nor that their victim, Olympe de Gouges, the most beautiful daughter of Quercy, and in many ways the founder of the movement for women's emancipation, would one day enter the Panthéon.

To be truthful, Olympe has not yet quite completed her entrance into that Parisian temple of French Republicanism in Rue Soufflot, but in what follows we shall explain why the President of the Midi-Pyrénées Region is entitled to demand of the President of the Repblic that she enter forthwith. The new Mayor of Montauban, Mme Barrèges, has just created a foundation named after Olympe de Gouges. The author of the article below, René Viénet, suggests that her name be given to the University of Cahors if and when that institution is revived, which would present the perfect opportunity to pay homage to a woman executed on 3 November 1793 for having, among other things, demanded the right to vote for her sisters. A right they would have to wait for (in France) until 1945.

Olympe de Gouges was born in 1745, fruit of the passion of Jacques Le Franc de Caïx2 for the first love of his youth in Montauban, Anne-Olympe Mouisset, Gouze by her married name. Never recognized by her natural father, Marie Gouze, later Widow Aubry, chose to be known as Olympe de Gouges. She was to be rejected, too, by her son Pierre, at the very moment when Robespierre was having her decapitated for demanding equality between the sexes and democracy.

Since Quercy's division by Napoleon into two departments, Lot and Tarn-et-Garonne, it is her native town Montauban that, thanks to the late lamented Félix Castang, has best preserved Olympe's memory by naming a high school after her. But Olympe belongs to the whole of Quercy, and it is only right that our elected officials should demand not only that her image appear in future on postage stamps or on euro notes, but also that she should be inducted into the Panthéon, where she will have many things to talk about with Voltaire, Descartes, Mirabeau3, Marie Curie, Zola, and Jean Moulin.

Since the physical remains of Olympe de Gouges have vanished along with those of the other martyrs of the Terror, there will be no need for a casket to be borne up Rue Soufflot to the Panthéon. In the absence of a bier, therefore, it would seem reasonable to suggest that Olympe's remains be represented by a wine, and what better for this purpose than a bottle of Cahors?

Prior to Olivier Blanc's works, with their impeccable scholarship and infectious sympathy for their subject4, Olympe was often condescendingly described as a political extremist, an author of little interest, or an illiterate suspected of libertinism. She had nevertheless (there was no getting away from it!) accomplished a stroke of genius by subversively adapting, and extending, the Declaration of the Rights of Man with her Declaration of the Rights of Woman5--a text destined to travel to every corner of the earth and become a cynosure on the occasion of the bicentennial celebrations for the French Revolution.

A Genius Ahead of Her Time

The fact is that, just like Louise Labbé two centuries earlier, Olympe was a genius ahead of her time--and way ahead of her early critics, including Michelet (whose criticism was not confined to her Declaration). Olympe is a true heroine, a natural subject for a novel, a film, a comic book, or an opera. She is a great figure in the history of humanity, someone in whom a province or a whole country may easily recognize itself, and someone, too, who belongs not only to the militant feminists who have already quite properly paid homage to her in many ways. We can only dream of one day coming upon the manuscript that Alexandre Dumas, having already dealt with Olympe de Clèves, never wrote on Olympe de Gouges.

The very thing that once made Olympe an object of scorn, namely the seamlessness of her way of living, her dramatic work, and her social convictions, the absence of any contradiction in her between thought and action, is precisely what most impresses us today. It is likely that Olympe was not well able to write, but gave admirable dictation; she also had a magnificent grasp of the fact that changing just a few words in, or adding one or two paragraphs to well accepted and admired texts can produce truly explosive pyrotechnics.

The Love of Freedom and the Freedom to Love

Widowed very young, universally described as a woman of exceptional beauty, Olympe decided to leave Quercy with her son Pierre. It was at that time, according to some of her admirers, that she stopped for a while at Parnac, on the banks of the Lot opposite her father's château at Caïx, where she appears never to have been admitted. That is how Olympe became the shade that to this day haunts the old stones of Régagnac.

Once in Paris, Olympe learnt the French language and embraced the life style of a free woman--and a libertine one, in the sense that she chose lovers with discernment, and never remarried. With the financial support of of her principal lover, she published political posters, manifestoes and theatre pieces which testify to a prodigious power to anticipate future democratic demands. Among them: an equality between the sexes extending to conjugal and separation agreements; full recognition and equality for illegitimate children; people's juries for criminal trials; solidarity with the poorest of the poor; income taxes; liberation of slaves in the French colonies6; and the abolition of the death penalty.

Olympe, however, had nothing of the fashionable radical in the manner of a Simone de Beauvoir, who perhaps had an acute feel for the Zeitgeist but who squandered even this small talent by subordinating it to a complacent admiration of dictatorship7. Olympe was no co-opter, no compromiser; rather, she was a forerunner, and one endowed with the sort of courage that can smash every form of dictatorship.

Against the Sanguinocrats 8

In her play on slavery, Olympe denounced the acting troupe of the Comédie Française for refusing to blacken their faces with liquorice juice and act the part of slaves. On one occasion, when a group of ignoramuses beneath her windows to vilify her, she went straight down to the street to confront them. Though a Republican. she offered to advocate for Louis XVI on the grounds that the monarch's own lawyer was too old and tired to make the case, notably, that logic demanded that the King be kept alive after the monarchy had been overthrown: a Capet guillotined, she argued, would inevitably give rise to a dynastic successor and a regency in exile. One is put in mind of Cromwell explaining to Mordaunt, in Twenty Years After, why it would have been preferable to let Charles escape the headsman's axe.

Olympe's courage was to find even more extraordinary and moving expression when, from her prison, on the eve of an execution that she could likely have avoided by flight, she mounted an attack on Robespierre in the form of an Address to to the Revolutionary Court9. This text deploys an eloquence and a violence against the Montagnards such as was very rarely heard in the French Revolution. But Mad Maximilien, mullah of the Cult of the Supreme Being, the most notorious of the sanguinocrats, the perverted mind lurking behind the defence of the shoemakers of Arras10, ancestor of Stalin and his purges, of Mao and his massacres, the inspiration of so many dictators—Maximilien Robespierre could not abide truths hammered home with such accuracy, and on the 13 Brumaire of Year II (3 November 1793), Olympe went to the scaffold.

That same day saw the première, at the Académie de Musique (the future Paris Opéra), of Miltiade à Marathon (music by Le Moyne; librettist, Guillard); just a few days earlier the same stage had carried the Paris première Mozart's Marriage of Figaro.

Olympe in the Panthéon

The bicentennial of the French Revolution could hardly be the occasion to glorify the guillotine which beheaded nearly twenty thousand people in a few short months, including Madame Roland and Olympe de Gouges. Despite its its gaily painted wood boards, the machine was clearly neither dusted off nor set up for the commemoration. It remained in sad storage in the Conciergerie, dutifully inventoried in the files of the Ministry of Justice11. It will doubtless come out, however, for the films now being planned on Olympe's life journey from Montauban to Parnac, and then from Quercy to the Place de la Révolution (today Place de la Concorde). It is to be hoped that these films will play their part in the overdue recognition of la belle Quercynoise and help elevate fer to her deserved eminence, not just in the Panthéon but also in the imagined identity of the French people at large, and first and foremost in the minds all those fortunate enough to dwell in the land of the Tarn and the Lot.


1 The present article first appeared in La Semaine du Lot no. 273, 3 November 2001 — this date being the anniversary of the execution of Olympe de Gouges. On the Internet it may be found on an excellent web site devoted to the province of Quercy, its history, its tourist attractions, its gastronomy, and so on (Go to ). The text is reproduced here as an introduction to the preparatory meeting (26 May 2002) of first Olympe de Gouges symposium in Taipei (3 Nov 2002). No changes have been made save for the addition of some explanatory material in the notes by the author and the translator. It is worth noting that this article was obviously read (and understood) in certain quarters, because a few weeks after its publication Jacques Chirac, President of the French Republic, devoted a whole day in Montauban to the celebration of Olympe's memory. And on the 2001 "Women's Day" in Paris, Olympe's portrait was displayed along with those of other exemplary French women between the columns of the Panthéon [Note added in May 2002.]

2 Also Marquis de Pompignan, whose seat, the Château de Caïx, is near Luzech, just across the river from the Parnac meander of the Lot. Today the château belongs to the Danish Royal Family.

3 In April 1791 the Constituent Assembly decreed that the new Church of Sainte-Geneviève should henceforward house the remains of great men. On the very same day the body of Mirabeau was laid therein. But even if Mirabeau was thus the Panthéon's first inductee, two months ahead of Voltaire and two years before Descartes, he was evicted in September 1794 when Marat arrived. But not permanently! The same vacillation awaited Marat, the country's gratitude to whom expired in in early 1795. For fear of making any more such gaffes, the Convention decided that the honors of the Panthéon should be bestowed on no citizen, nor a bust placed in any public place, until ten years after their death. The vast majority of the great men who now lie in the Panthéon are allies of Napoleon. [Note added in May 2002.]

4 Olivier Blanc's Olympe de Gouges (Paris: Syros, 1981; second edition, 1989) is out of print. His prefaces to the two volumes of Olympe's Écrits politiques (Paris: Côté Femmes, 1993), as all his other books, are of great interest. An indispensable and enjoyable work is Françoise Auricoste, Histoire des femmes quercynoises (Cahors: Quercy-Recherche, 1997). Readers interested in Olympe and the history of women's rights cannot be too strongly urged to begin their research at the Bibliothèque Marguerite Durand, 76 rue Nationale, 75013 Paris ().

5 See Histoire des droits et des libertés en France, a catalogue published in 1968, a few years before the bicentennial of the French revolution, by the Archives de France for the twentieth anniversary of the “Universal Declaration of the Rights of Man” (United Nations, 10 December 1948). The first “declaration of the rights of man” was composed in August 1789. On 3 September 1791, the Constituent National Assembly published the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen” as the preamble to the constitutional law that Louis XVI was to sign on 14 September. The “Declaration of the Rights of Woman and of the Female Citizen”, written and distributed by Olympe de Gouges, bears the same date.

6 The abolition of slavery was voted into law in 1794, four months after Olympe's execution. It was legalized once more under Napoleon, and finally abolished only in 1848, more than half a century after the anti-slavery campaign led by Olympe de Gouges.

7 Those in need of ammunition against M. Sartre and Mme de Beauvoir could do worse than consult a work that ought to be better known than it is: Gilbert Joseph, Une si douce occupation (Paris: Albin Michel, 1991) [“Such a Charming Occupation”, the title puns on the double meaning of "occupation": pastime/military control of France by Nazis — Trans.] .

8 "Sanguinocrat" is a neologism of the Revolutionary period attributable to Louis-Sébastien Mercier, author of the celebrated Tableaux de Paris and Olympe's very great friend and, in all likelihood, lover. [Trans.]

9 On Robespierre, see P. Bessand-Massenet's excellent Robespierre, l'homme et l'idée, new edition (Paris: Fallois, 2001).

10 Cf. “Cahier de doléances des cordonniers de la ville d'Arras”, drawn up by Robespierre, Archives Municipales D'Arras, AA 118ff, 207-8. [Note added in May 2002.]

11 Or so one may assume, though this has not really been verified. Even the best- documented sources on the guillotine are not clear. [Note added in May 2002.]

The Rights of Women

By Olympe de Gouges


Man, are you capable of being just? It is a woman who poses the question; you will not deprive her of that right at least. Tell me, what gives you sovereign empire to oppress my sex? Your strength? Your talents? Observe the Creator in his wisdom; survey in all her grandeur that nature with whom you seem to want to be in harmony, and give me, if you dare, an example of this tyrannical empire. Go back to animals, consult the elements, study plants, finally glance at all the modifications of organic matter, and surrender to the evidence when I offer you the means; search, probe, and distinguish, if you can, the sexes in the administration of nature. Everywhere you will find them mingled; everywhere they cooperate in harmonious togetherness in this immortal masterpiece.

Man alone has raised his exceptional circumstances to a principle. Bizarre, blind, bloated with science and degenerated - in a century of enlightenment and wisdom - into the crassest ignorance, he wants to command as a despot a sex which is in full possession of its intellectual faculties; he pretends to enjoy the Revolution and to claim his rights to equality in order to say nothing more about it.

Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen

Mothers, daughters, sisters [and] representatives of the nation demand to be constituted into a national assembly. Believing that ignorance, omission, or scorn for the rights of woman are the only causes of public misfortunes and of the corruption of governments, [the women] have resolved to set forth in a solemn declaration the natural, inalienable, and sacred rights of woman in order that this declaration, constantly exposed before all the members of the society, will ceaselessly remind them of their rights and duties; in order that the authoritative acts of women and the authoritative acts of men may be at any moment compared with and respectful of the purpose of all political institutions; and in order that citizens' demands, henceforth based on simple and incontestable principles, will always support the constitution, good morals, and the happiness of all.

Consequently, the sex that is as superior in beauty as it is in courage during the suffering of maternity recognized and declares in the presence and under the auspices of the Supreme Being, the following Rights of Woman and of Female Citizens.

Article 1

Woman is born free and lives equal to man in her rights. Social distinctions can be based only on the common utility.

Article 2

The purpose of any political association is the conservation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of woman and man; these rights are liberty, property, security, and especially resistance to oppression.

Article 3

The principle of all sovereignty rests essentially with the nation, which is nothing but the union of woman and man; no body and no individual can exercise any authority which does not come expressly from it [the nation].

Article 4

Liberty and justice consist of restoring all that belongs to others; thus, the only limits on the exercise of the natural rights of woman are perpetual male tyranny; these limits are to be reformed by the laws of nature and reason.

Article 5

Laws of nature and reason proscribe all acts harmful to society; everything which is not prohibited by these wise and divine laws cannot be prevented, and no one can be constrained to do what they do not command.

Article 6

The laws must be the expression of the general will; all female and male citizens must contribute either personally or through their representatives to its formation; it must be the same for all: male and female citizens, being equal in the eyes of the law, must be equally admitted to all honors, positions, and public employment according to their capacity and without other distinctions besides those of their virtues and talents.

Article 7

No woman is an exception: she is accused, arrested, and detained in cases determined by law. Women, like men, obey this rigorous law.

Article 8

The law must establish only those penalties that are strictly and obviously necessary, and no one can be punished except by virtue of a law established and promulgated prior to the crime and legally applicable to women.

Article 9

Once any woman is declared guilty, complete rigor is [to be] exercised by the law.

Article 10

No one is to be disquieted for his very basic opinions; woman has the right to mount the scaffold; she must equally have the right to mount the rostrum, provided that her demonstrations do not disturb the legally established public order.

Article 11

The free communication of thoughts and opinions is one of the most precious rights of woman, since the liberty assures the recognition of children by their fathers. Any female citizen thus may say freely, I am the mother of a child which belongs to you, without being forced by a barbarous prejudice to hide the truth; [an exception may be made] to respond to the abuse of this liberty in cases determined by the law.

Article 12

The guarantee of the rights of woman and the female citizen implies a major benefit; this guarantee must be instituted for the advantage of all, and not for the particular benefit of those to whom it is entrusted.

Article 13

For the support of the public force and the expenses of administration, the contributions of woman and man are equal; she share all the duties [corvees] and all the painful tasks; therefore, she must have the same share in the distribution of positions, employments, offices, honors and jobs [industrie].

Article 14

Female and male citizens have the right to verify, either by themselves or through their representatives, the necessity of the public contribution. This can only apply to women if they are granted an equal share, not only of wealth, but also of public administration, and in the determination of the proportion, the base, the collection, and the duration of the tax.

Article 15

The collectivity of women, joined for tax purposed to the aggregate of men, has the right to demand an accounting of his administration from any public agent.

Article 16

No society has a constitution without the guarantee of the rights and the separation of powers; the constitution is null if the majority of individuals comprising the nation have not cooperated in drafting it.

Article 17

Property belongs to both sexes whether united or separate; for each it is an inviolable and sacred right; no on can be deprived of it, since it is the true patrimony of nature, unless the legally determined public need obviously dictates it, and then only with a just and prior indemnity.


Woman, wake up; the tocsin of reason is being heard throughout the whole universe; discover your rights. The powerful empire of nature is no longer surrounded by prejudice, fanaticism, superstition, and lies. The flame of truth has dispersed all the clouds of folly and usurpation. Enslaved man has multiplied his strength and needs recourse to yours to break his chains. Having become free, he has become unjust to his companion. Oh, women, women! When will you cease to be blind? What advantage have you received from the Revolution? A more pronounced scorn, a more marked disdain. In the centuries of corruption you ruled only over the weakness of men. The reclamation of your patrimony, based on the wise decrees of nature - what have you to dread from such a fine undertaking? The bon mot of the legislator of the marriage of Cana? Do you fear that our French legislators, correctors of that morality, long ensnared by political practices now out of date, will only say again to you: women, what is there in common between you and us? Everything, you will have to answer. If they persist in their weakness in putting this non sequitur in contradiction to their principles, courageously oppose the force of reason to the empty pretensions of superiority; unite yourselves beneath the standards of philosophy; deploy all the energy of your character, and you will soon see these haughty men, not groveling at your feet as servile adorers, but proud to share with you the treasures of the Supreme Being. Regardless of what barriers confront you, it is in your power to free yourselves; you have only to want to. Let us pass not to the shocking tableau of what you have been in society; and since national education is in question at this moment, let us see whether our wise legislators will think judiciously about the education of women.

Women have done more harm than good. Constraint and dissimulation have been their lot. What force has robbed them of, ruse returned to them; they had recourse to all the resources of their charms, and the most irreproachable persons did not resist them. Poison and the sword were both subject to them; they commanded in crime as in fortune. The French government, especially, depended throughout the centuries on the nocturnal administrations of women; the cabinet kept no secret from their indiscretion; ambassadorial post, command, ministry, presidency, pontificate, college of cardinals; finally, anything which characterizes the folly of men, profane and sacred, all have been subject to the cupidity and ambition of this sex, formerly contemptible and respected, and since the revolution, respectable and scorned.

In this sort of contradictory situation, what remarks could I not make! I have but a moment to make them, but this moment will fix the attention of the remotest posterity. Under the Old Regime, all was vicious, all was guilty; but could not the amelioration of conditions be perceived even in the substance of vices? A woman only had to be beautiful or amiable; when she possessed these two advantaged, she saw a hundred fortunes at her feet. If she did not profit from them, she had a bizarre character or a rare philosophy which made her scorn wealth; then she was deemed to be like a crazy woman; the most indecent made herself respected with gold; commerce in women was a kind of industry in the first class [of society], which, henceforth, will have no more credit. If it still had it, the revolution would be lost, and under the new relationships we would always be corrupted; however, reason can always be deceived [into believing] that any other road to fortune is closed to the woman whom a man buys, like the slave on the African coasts. The difference is great; that is known. The slave is commanded by the master; but if the master gives her liberty without recompense, and at an age when the slave has lost all her charms, what will become of this unfortunate woman? the victim of scorn, even the doors of charity are closed to her; she is poor and old, they say; why did she not know how to make her fortune> Reason finds other examples that are even more touching. A young, inexperienced woman, seduced by a man whom she loves, will abandon her parents to follow him; the ingrate will leave her after a few years, and the older she has become with him, the more inhuman is his inconstancy; is she has children, he will likewise abandon them. If he is rich, he will consider himself excused from sharing his fortune with his noble victims. If some involvement binds him to his duties, he will deny them, trusting that the laws will support him. If he is married, any other obligation loses its rights. Then what laws remain to extirpate vice all the way to its root? The law of dividing wealth and public administration between men and women. It can easily be seen that one who is born into a rich family gains very much from such equal sharing. But the one born into a poor family with merit and virtue - what is her lot? Poverty and opprobrium. If she does not precisely excel in music or painting, she cannot be admitted to any public function when she has all the capacity for it. I do not want to give only a sketch of things; I will go more deeply into this in the new edition of all my political writings, with notes, which I propose to give to the public in a few days.

I take up my text again on the subject of morals. Marriage is the tomb of trust and love. The married woman can with impunity give bastards to her husband, and also give them the wealth which does not belong to them. The woman who is unmarried has only one feeble right; ancient and inhuman laws refuse to her for her children the right to the name and the wealth of their father; no new laws have been made in this matter. If it is considered a paradox and an impossibility on my part to try to give my sex an honorable and just consistency, I leave it to men to attain glory for dealing with this matter; but while we wait, the way can be prepared through national education, the restoration of morals, and conjugal conventions.

Form for a Social Contract Between Man and Woman

We, ________ and _________, moved by our own will, unite ourselves for the duration of our lives, and for the duration of our mutual inclinations, under the following conditions: We intend and wish to make our wealth communal, meanwhile reserving to ourselves the right to divide it in favor of our children and of those toward whom we might have a particular inclination, mutually recognizing that our property belongs directly to our children, from whatever bed they come, and that all of them without distinction have the right to bear the name of the fathers and mothers who have acknowledged them, and we are charged to subscribe to the law which punished the renunciation of one's own blood. We likewise obligate ourselves, in case of separation, to divide our wealth and to set aside in advance the portion the law indicates for our children, and in the event of a perfect union, the one who dies will divest himself of half his property in his children's favor, and if one dies childless, the survivor will inherit by right, unless the dying person has disposed of half the common property in favor of one who he judged deserving.

That is approximately the formula for the marriage act I propose for execution. Upon reading this strange document, I see rising up against me the hypocrites, the prudes, the clergy, and the whole infernal sequence. But how is [my proposal] offers to the wise the moral means of achieving the perfection of a happy government! I am going to give in a few words the physical proof of it. The rich, childless Epicurean finds it very good to go to his poor neighbor to augment his family. When there is a law authorizing a poor man's wife to have a rich one adopt their children, the bonds of society will be strengthened and morals will be purer. This law will perhaps save the community's wealth and hold back the disorder which drives so many victims to the almshouses of shame, to a low station, and into degenerate human principles where nature has groaned for so long. May the detractors of wise philosophy then cease to cry out against primitive morals, or may they lose their point in the source of their citations.

Moreover, I would like a law which would assist widows and young girls deceived by the false promises of a man to whom they were attached; I would like, I say, this law to force an inconstant man to hold to his obligation or at least [to pay] an indemnity equal to his wealth. Again, I would like this law to be rigorous against women, at least those who have the effrontery to have recourse to a law which they themselves had violated by their misconduct, if proof of that were given. At the same time, as I showed in Le Bonheur primitif de l'homme, in 1788, that prostitutes should be placed in designated quarters. It is not prostitutes who contribute most to the depravity of morals, it is the women of society. In regenerating the latter, the former are changed. This link of fraternal union will first bring disorder, but in consequence it will produce at the end a perfect harmony.

I offer a foolproof way to elevate the soul of women; it is to join them to all the activities of man; if man persists in finding this way impractical, let him share his fortune with woman, not at his caprice, but by the wisdom of laws. Prejudice falls, morals are purified, and nature regains all her rights. Add to this the marriage of priests and the strengthening of the king on his throne, and the French government cannot fail.

It would be very necessary to say a few words on the troubles which are said to be caused by the decree in favor of colored men in our islands. There is where nature shudders with horror; there is where reason and humanity have still not touched callous souls; there, especially, is where division and discord stir up their inhabitants. It is not difficult to divine the instigators of these incendiary fermentations; they are even in the midst of the National Assembly; they ignite the fire in Europe which must inflame America. Colonists make a claim to reign as despots over the men whose fathers and brothers they are; and, disowning the rights of nature, they trace the source of [their rule] to the scantiest tint of their blood. These inhuman colonists say: our blood flows in their veins, but we will shed it all if necessary to glut our greed or our blind ambition. It is in these places nearest to nature where the father scorns the son; deaf to the cries of blood, they stifle all its attraction; what can be hoped from the resistance opposed to them? To constrain [blood] violently is to render it terrible; to leave [blood] still enchained is to direct all calamities towards America. A divine hand seems to spread liberty abroad throughout the realms of man; only the law has the right to curb this liberty if it degenerates into license, but it must be equal for all; liberty must hold the National Assembly to its decree dictated by prudence and justice. May it act the same way for the state of France and render her as attentive to new abuses as she was to the ancient ones which each day become more dreadful. My opinion would be to reconcile the executive and legislative power, for it seems to me that the one is everything ad the other is nothing - whence comes, unfortunately perhaps, the loss of the French Empire. I think that these two powers, like man and woman, should be united but equal in force and virtue to make a good household. . . .

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