Robespierre’s homage to the Supreme Being (1794)


In July 1794, five years after the fall of the Bastille, Robespierre delivered a speech paying homage to the Supreme Being, France’s new republican god:


“The day forever fortunate has arrived, which the French people have consecrated to the Supreme Being. Never has the world which He created offered to Him a spectacle so worthy of His notice. He has seen reigning on this earth tyranny, crime and imposters. He sees at this moment a whole nation, grappling with all the oppressions of the human race, suspend the course of its heroic labours to elevate its thoughts and vows toward the great Being who has given it the mission it has undertaken and the strength to accomplish it…

He did not create kings to devour the human race. He did not create priests to harness us, like vile animals to the chariots of kings; and to give to the world examples of baseness, pride, perfidy, avarice, debauchery, and falsehood. He created the universe to proclaim His power. He created men to help each other, to love each other mutually, and to attain to happiness by the way of virtue…

Republican Frenchmen, it is yours to purify the earth which they have soiled, and to return the justice that they have banished! Liberty and virtue together came from the breast of Divinity. Neither can abide with mankind without the other…

The monster which the genius of kings had vomited over France has gone back into nothingness… Frenchmen, you war against kings; you are therefore worthy to honour Divinity… Hatred of bad faith and tyranny burns in our hearts, with love of justice and the fatherland. Our blood flows for the cause of humanity. Behold our prayer. Behold our sacrifices. Behold the worship we offer Thee.”