The Assembly bestows French citizenship (1792)


On August 26th 1792 the Legislative Assembly bestowed French citizenship on various ‘friends of liberty’, whose writings had advanced the causes of revolution and equality:


“The Legislative Assembly, considering that there are men who through their writings and their courage have served the cause of liberty and prepared the emancipation of peoples, cannot be seen as foreigners by a nation that has been made free by their knowledge and their courage…

Considering that if five years of residence in France are sufficient for a foreigner to obtain the title of French citizen, this title is all the more rightly due to those who, whatever the soil on which they live, have dedicated their strength and their vigilance to the defence of the cause of the people against the despotism of kings, to the abolition of earthly prejudices, and to the extension of the limits of human knowledge…

Considering that if it is not possible to hope that men will one day form one sole family, one sole association, before law as before nature, the friends of liberty and of universal brotherhood should not be any the less dear to a nation that has proclaimed its renunciation of any conquest, and its desire to fraternise with all people…

It is up to a generous and free people to call on all sources of knowledge, and to confer the right to work towards this great goal of reason on men who, through their feelings, their writings and their courage, have shown themselves to be so eminently worthy of it.

[The Legislative Assembly] declares that it confers the title of French citizens on Priestly, Payne, Benthonn, Wilberforce, Clarkson, Makintosh, David Williams, Gornai, Anacharsis Clootz, Campe, Cormelle Paw, Pestalorri, Washington, Hamilton, Madison, Klopsloc, Kosciusko, Gileers.”