Paris in the Revolution
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Om Paris in the Revolution
Whilst the greatest effort has been made to ensure the quality of this text, due to the historical nature of this content, in some rare cases there may be minor issues with legibility. I have always liked the method which our fathers used to employ. When they presented a book to readers, they never failed to say, by way of preface or advertisement, what they proposed to do; and if I here borrow from them this process, devoid of pretension, it is because I fear that I may be suspected of having attempted to write, after so many others, a history of the Revolution.
I have never had this ambition, and my purpose has been very different.
In studying the memoirs and the journals of the Revolutionary epoch, in turning over the dossiers of our depots of archives, in reading the works in which our contemporaries have made those times, fertile in tragic episodes, live again, I have very often been struck by the little room which descriptions, scenery, things, occupy in these narrations. It is said that chronology and geography are the two eyes of history. At this rate, the history of the Revolution is blind in one eye, for its topography remains to be written. Not only are ordinarily interested persons pretty nearly ignorant of the whereabouts of the Jacobins, the Feuillants, la Force, la Bourbe, the Riding-School, the Revolutionary Tribunal; but the learned - and even those who have specialised in the study of the Revolution - could not say what were exactly, in 1793, the Tuileries, the Abbaye, the Conciergerie, the Hotel de Ville. Of the Paris of former times there remains so little!
How many times, in perusing the pages which the sombre days of the Terror inspired in Michelet and Lamartine, have I essayed to reconstruct mentally, with the help of their narrations, the hall where the Convention sat, the prisons, the Committees! How much should I have preferred to these great compositions the smallest sketch taken after nature. I asked myself, Why was this? Preoccupation quite modern of a reader spoiled by the minute reporting so much in vogue in our time. If post