Laplanche on his contributions to revolution (1793)


Jacques Laplanche was a constitutional clergyman who became a prominent Montagnard and a représentant en mission in Cher, central France. Sometime during the Terror, probably around December 1793, Laplanche listed his contributions to the revolution. It reveals both his radicalism and his ego:


“1 have spoken of religion and all its mumbo jumbo. I have spoken out against the bad priests, I have crushed fanaticism and superstition and, at my words, all the chapels, all the crosses, all the holy mangers and wooden and stone saints at the street corners have fallen; everything has been destroyed. I have suppressed a parish, banned the church, sent the priest back to his former empty presbytery. The bells have come down, only one will remain to give warning of fires and danger.

I have replaced the district administration; it was bad. I have replaced the judicial tribunal; it was made up of dusty old wigs. In place of this old regime I have installed men of enlightenment and some sans culottes, a vine-grower, a shoemaker and a joiner have been nominated, with thousands of cries of ‘Long live the Mountain!’

I have kept the municipal council: it is sound. In place of the lieutenant of gendarmerie I have nominated citizen Desbans. I have confirmed the existing committee of surveillance; it is made up of true Montagnards.

I have taxed the rich for the Revolution; the total of this tax is 249,000 livres. I have had two bad priests arrested. I have given orders for the arrest of Romanet, former noble and bodyguard. I have had corn distributed to those poor souls who had none. I have given orders that I must have the names of all the needy who have a right to be helped; I will favour the parents, wives and children of the men who are defending the nation.

That is not all, Citizen Representatives. I shall travel throughout the district, I will root out fanaticism, I shall crush the aristocracy, I will bring about the triumph of the Montagnards, I shall tax the rich, and in the end I will enable the people to enjoy the advantages of liberty and equality.”