(Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2001)

By David A. Bell




Antoine-Pascal-Hyacinthe Sermet, Occitan Sermon (Discours Prounounçat dabant la legiou de Sant-Ginest), 1790

  with translation by David A. Bell


Note on the Text:


This text is the most important piece of Occitan writing published during the French Revolution. It is also an important and fascinating piece of Revolutionary rhetoric in its own right, although it has gone largely unnoticed because it is not in French. It was originally delivered on the outskirts of Toulouse on the occasion of the Festival of the Federation, on July 14, 1790. The text, and circumstances of its delivery and subsequent publication, are discussed in detail in The Cult of the Nation in France, pp. 169-74.


As noted in Boyer et al.’s Le texte occitan de la période révolutionnaire (see below, Bibliography), the Discours was probably the most widely-distributed of the two hundred or so Occitan texts of the Revolutionary period. Unlike any other of these texts, it was printed in four different dialectical versions, in Toulouse, Montpellier, Beziers and Montauban, in the second half of 1790 and the first half of 1791. Many of the other Occitan texts were written in direct response to it, or in defense of it. The fact that it was printed, and in exactly the same format and typeface as French-language pamphlets of the period (see The Cult of the Nation, p. 174), represented a clear challenge to the views of those Revolutionaries who saw “patois” as either incapable of conveying political instruction, or an untrustworthy means of doing so. Nonetheless, Sermet should not be seen as in direct conflict with Henri Grégoire, the most outspoken revolutionary advocate of abolishing “patois.” The two clerics’ common dedication both to Catholicism and to the Revolution overshadowed this difference and in fact made them fast friends (see Grégoire’s eulogy of Sermet in the Bibliography, below). One might even argue that their common attention to the language issue formed an additional bond between them, despite the opposed conclusions they drew from their experiences.


Sermet himself was born in southern France in 1732, and spent most of his adult life before the Revolution as a friar of the Order of the Discalced (unshod) Carmelites. According to Grégoire he travelled widely in southern Europe, gained a reputation as an érudit, and was elected to the Academy of Toulouse. He published learned essays on issues ranging from the Inquisition to classic Occitan poetry of Toulouse (see below, Bibliography), and gained a high reputation as a preacher, even preaching to the King at Versailles. He was certainly one of the many Languedoc clerics who cherished the local dialect, seeing it as a necessary and effective vessel for preaching the world of God to the inhabitants of the region. The fact that many of his (French) sermons were collected in the Jansenist collection Annales de la religion, and his own remarks at the top of p. 19, below strongly suggest that, like Grégoire, he was attracted to the dissident Jansenist tradition in the church.


In 1790, in large part because of the Discours, Sermet emerged as the most vocal clerical supporter in Toulouse of the revolutionary Civil Constitution of the Clergy. As a result, he became a figure of considerable controversy, and the subject of dozens of pamphlets in both Occitan and French (see the “Recueil Père Sermet” in the Bibliography, below). The next year, under the terms of the Constitution, he was elected the city’s bishop. Like Grégoire, he stayed true to his reformed Catholicism even after the Revolution’s official break with Christianity, as a result of which he was arrested during the Terror. Released after Thermidor, he died in 1809.


The Discours, which was a sermon in all but name (it even ends “atal sio”—“so be it”), was the most notable attempt to defend the Revolution in Occitan. Sermet took as his text Saint Paul’s insistence, in his Epistle to the Galatians, that Christians abrogate every vestige of the old, Jewish law, including circumcision. Sermet explicitly compared the situation of the early church to the situation of Revolutionary France, likening the old law to the Old Regime, and the “liberty” procured by Christ to Christians to the liberty gained by the French in 1789. In general, in his parallels between the coming of Christianity and the coming of the Revolution, Sermet was typical of the so-called “patriotic clergy” of the early Revolution, including Grégoire, and Adrien Lamourette.


Following an initial commentary on the biblical text, Sermet proceded to a wholesale denunciation of the injustices of the old regime, and praise of the Revolution’s promise of freedom and equality. Pages 8-9 in particular contain a stirring and beautiful vision of what the Revolution promised to the common people of France (“nou ny a pas cap, absouludoment cap… que nou sio respectablé, dont les bés & la libertat nou sion causo sacrado, & que n'ajo un dret egal à la justiço & à las recoumpensos”). In the second half of the text, Sermet moved on to defend the more controversial of the Revolution’s reforms against critics, first justifying the abolition of the parlements and other courts (a decision with important economic consequences for Toulouse), and finishing with an impassioned defense of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy. Did the Revolution want to destroy Religion? He asked the question again and again, each time answering with a resounding no, and insisting that to the contrary, the Revolution wanted to save true Religion from the corruption into which it had fallen before 1789. The sermon concluded with a reaffirmation of his listeners’ dual duties as Christians and patriots (“Ets Chresties, ets Franceses, nou doublidets dounc jamay ço que dibets à Dieus, à la Religieu, à la Natieu & à un Rey, dont le cor nou respiro que per nous aus”—p. 26).


Besides being a remarkable exposition of the viewpoint of the patriotic clergy, the sermon is also notable for the intimate, personal, informal tone afforded Sermet by the use of Occitan “patois.” The text often seems like the transcription of a face-to-face conversation. Sermet jokes, scolds, cajoles, exhorts, and stops to pose questions. The tone is somewhat reminiscent of Revolutionary newspapers like the Feuille villageoisie or the Alamanch du père Gérard, but far more personal. The writing is that of a priest who has used the Occitan language not simply to harangue, but to speak in confidence, to move, to teach, and to convert.


In all these ways, Sermet’s text exemplifies the close relationship between the language issue and religion that I discuss in The Cult of the Nation in France. It is not simply that Sermet himself was a priest, and, of all the Revolution’s reforms, cared most passionately about the Civil Constitution of the Clergy. The entire text was unmistakably a priestly work, inspired by the experience of Christian teaching. If the text was at the heart of the Revolution’s engagement with the language issue in southern France, then so was religion.



Note on the Language and the Translation:


At the time that Sermet wrote his text, Occitan dialects had not been languages of serious literature for more than a century, and had not been languages of administration or justice for nearly a quarter of a millenium. While occasional short Occitan texts, mostly religious writing or light verse, still found their way into print, along with reprints of classic Occitan poetry, this production was minuscule compared to French language publishing, even in former Occitan literary strongholds such as Toulouse and Marseilles. Literate men and women, even if they spoke an Occitan dialect as a native language, wrote and published almost exclusively in French. The modern standardization of Occitan still lay far in the future. Huge dialectical differences remained, not simply between the principal branches of Occitan (Provençal, Gascon and Languedocien, with Toulouse on the boundary between the last two), but within each branch. As a result, Sermet had very little guidance on such basic matters as spelling, to say nothing of how to render French political concepts into a language not used for politics for centuries. His compositors would have been equally unused to setting such a text in print. It is hardly a coincidence that even had Sermet wanted to compose a more purely political text, his “discours” inevitably fell back into the style of the one genre for which he had both Occitan precedents and Occitan experience: the sermon.


Even so, the result, inevitably, was somewhat rough and ready. In the text, a simple word such as “child” is spelled “mainatgé” on p. 1 and “maynaitgé” on p. 22, and similar variations abound. In general, Sermet’s orthography followed standard eighteenth-century French models, rather than Renaissance or Medieval Occitan precedents, to say nothing of the rules devised for contemporary Occitan. And in many cases, his “translation” of a word into Occitan inevitably consisted of nothing but pronouncing a French word in the Toulousain Occitan fashion and spelling it accordingly, as with “counstitutieu” (constitution), “natieu” (nation), “deputat” (député), etc. In many cases, whole phrases or sentences consist of little but literal word-for-word translation of the French. Consider the phrase on p. 2, “a peno lour abio fait quita las Idolos” (à peine [il] leur avait fait quitter les Idoles—barely had he made them abandon the Idols).


Nonetheless, unlike certain Revolutionary-era Occitan texts, Sermet’s text represents considerably more than a crude word-for-word translation into a southern French accent. As noted above, Sermet was familiar with the Occitan literary tradition, spoke the language fluently, delighted in its idioms, and here made a genuine, innovative and powerful attempt to adapt it to Revolutionary political uses. And we should definitely not assume that Sermet’s use of words like “counstitutieu” represented nothing but an artificial exercise. Most likely, Occitan speakers in Toulouse followed the general pattern of diglossic communities, and routinely introduced French words into their speech, adapting the pronunciation as they did so. Sermet’s usage follows this pattern. What would have struck his audience as unfamiliar was not so much the words he used, as the fact that the text was printed.


A text of this sort poses very obvious problems of translation. While Languedocien-French and Gascon-French dictionaries did exist in the eighteenth century (see Boissier de Sauvages de la Croix, in the Bibliography, below), there is little indication that Sermet paid them any attention when it came to his orthography, although in most cases they shared his practice of spelling by French rules. I have been further hindered by the fact that while Occitan is by no means a dead language, its spoken form has changed since the eighteenth century, and I have not been able to take a course in it. Instead, I learned from a book that teaches standard contemporary Occitan orthography--which seems to have been designed to distinguish the language as much as possible from French (quite the reverse of Sermet’s practice!) My translation into English should therefore be regarded as provisional—a work in progress. I have used Boissier de Sauvages de la Croix’s 1756 dictionary, and also drawn on Gabriel Roques’s useful Vocabulaire Gascon-Français / Français-Gascon (Nîmes, 1993). Other Occitan speakers are invited—encouraged!—to suggest corrections and improvements, and will be happily acknowledged on this site for doing so. I am grateful for Paul Cohen of the Université de Paris VII (Saint-Denis) for his advice on the translation of several particularly tricky passages. I have also mostly avoided the temptation to devise English equivalents of Sermet’s Occitan’s idioms, with the result that my translation is doubtless less colorful than the original text. Nonetheless, I hope that something of the flavor of his sermon comes through.


The text below is a transcription of the Toulouse version of the sermon, which is the closest to the spoken version delivered on July 14, 1790.





“Recueil Père Sermet,” Bibliothèque Municipale de Toulouse, Réserve D xviii 248, and D xix 134.


Pierre-Augustin Boissier de Sauvages de la Croix, Dictionnaire languedocien-françois : contenant un recueil des principales fautes que commettent, dans la diction et dans la prononciation françoises, les habitans des provinces méridionales, connues autrefois sous la dénomination générale de la langue-d'oc (Nîmes, 1756; repr. Nîmes, 1993).

Henri Boyer, Georges Fournier et al., Le texte occitan de la période révolutionnaire, 1788-1800 (Montpellier, 1989).

Henri Boyer and Philippe Gardy, eds., La question linguistique au sud au moment de la Révolution française, published as Lengas: Revue de sociolinguistique, nos. 17-18 (1985).

Henri Grégoire, Oraison funèbre d'Antoine Pascal-Hyacinthe Sermet, Ex-Provincial de l'Ordre des Carmes Déchaussés, Membre de l'Académie des Sciences de Toulouse, associé de celle de Montauban, ancien Evêque métropolitain du Sud, prononcé par M. Grégoire, ancien Évêque de Blois, Sénateur (Toulosue, 1809).

Timothy Jenkins, “Le père Sermet entre Godolin et l'abbé Grégoire,” in Christian Anatole, ed., Pèire Godolin, 1580-1649 (Toulouse, 1980), pp. 215-23.

Philippe Martel, ed., L'invention du midi: Représentations du Sud pendant la période révolutionnaire, published as nos. 15-16 of Amiras, repères occitans (1987).

Jean-Claude Meyer, La vie religieuse en Haute-Garonne sous la Révolution (Toulouse, 1982).

Antoine-Pascal-Hyancinthe Sermet, “Recherches historiques sur Goudouli, Pierre Helie et Madame la Présidente de Mansencal, Poètes Toulousain,” in Histoire et Mémoires de l'académie royale des sciences, inscriptions et belles-lettres de Toulouse (Toulouse, 1790), pp. 225-42.







The Text

(With original page numbers)









Exproubincial des Carmés Descaussés,

Predicairé ourdinari del Rey, &c.


A l'ouccasiou de la Federatiou generalo



De l'imprissario de D. DESCLASSAN










Ex-Provincial Director of the Unshod Carmelites,

Ordinary Preacher to the King, &c.


On the Occasion of the General Federation



Published by D. DESCLASSAN



PROUNOUNÇAT le 14 Juillet 1790, à l`houro de mietjon, en presenço de la Municipalitat & de la Legiou de SANT-GINEST, à l'ouccasiou de la Federatiou generalo,




Exproubincial des Carmés Descaussés, Predicairé ourdinari del Rey, de l'Academio Rouyalo de las Scienços, Inscriptious & Belos-Lettros de Toulouso, d'aquelo de Montalba, & Aumonié de la Legiou de Sant Ginest, dins le Cantou de Bruyeros & le District de Toulouso.



     Fratres, non sumus filii ancillae, sed liberae, quà libertate Christus nos liberavit. State & noilite iterum servitutis jugo contineri. Gal. c. 4, v. 31, & c. 5, v. I.


     Frairés, nou sen pas les mainatgés de l'esclabo, mes de la fenno libro, & acos Jesus Christ que nous a proucurat aquelo libertat : damourats dounc fermés, & bous tournets pas may bouta de noubel jouts le joug de l'esclabatgé.


JAMAY nou debinayots, mous efans, & brabés Camarados, à qui l'Apoustoul Sent-Pol, le plus grand des Predicairés




DELIVERED on July 14, 1790, at midday, in the presence of the Municipal Administration and the National Guard of SAINT-GINEST, on the occasion of the General Federation,




Ex-provincial director of the Unshod Carmelites, Ordinary preacher to the King, member of the Royal Academies of Sciences, Inscriptions and Literary Arts of Toulouse and Montauban, and Almoner of the National Guard of Saint-Ginest, in the Canton of Bruyère and the District of Toulouse




      So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free. Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.Galatians 4:31 and 5:1.  



NEVER forget, my children and good comrades, to whom the Apostle Saint Paul, the greatest Preacher 




qu'ajo parescut sur la terro, desempey la naissenço del Christianismé, adressabo aquel lengatgé. Aco ero, afin qu'au sapiats, à nostrés illustrés Aujols, as mainatgés d'aquelis Gauloisés, que quitteguen, y a enbiron tres milo ans (1) aquesté Pays, al nombré de may de cent cinquanto milo, per ana al dela de las mars, al bout del moundé counescut alabets, al fin found de l'Asio founda la superbo Bilo d'Anciro, & poupla la Proubinço que prenguec lour noum & s'apelec Galatio.

     A peno lour abio fait quita las Idolos, per embrassa l’Ebangeli, que qualquis Douctous Jousieus, que s'eron tabés counbertits, mes que tenion encaro à lours bieillos rubricos, trabailleguen à lour fourra pel cap, que nou y abio ré de plus sant & de plus agreablé à Dieus que la Cirouncisieu. L'Apoustoul au sauguec, & per les empatcha d'estre lours dupos, lour escriuguec fort & fermé que conservesson preciousomen la libertat, que lour abio proucourado Jesus-Christ, & que se gardesson ambé souen de las ceremounios peniblos & dégoustantos de


(1) Bejats uno petito Dissertatieu de ma faissou, sul mot l'OLUS, imprimado dins le troisiemé Boulumé des Memorios de nostro Academio de las Scienços.



to appear on earth since the birth of Christianity, addressed these words. It was, so that you may know, to our illustrious cousins, to the children of those Gauls who, around three thousand years ago (1), left this country, one hundred and fifty thousand of them, to journey beyond the seas, to the end of the world as it was then known, to the depths of Asia, to found the proud City of Ankara, and to populate the Province that took their name and was henceforth called Galatia.

     Barely had he made them abandon the Idols and embraced the Gospel, than a few Jewish theologians, who had also converted, but who clung to their old customs, worked to stuff their heads with the idea that there was nothing more holy or pleasing to God than Circumcision. The Apostle learned of this, and so as to prevent the Galatians from becoming the theologians' dupes, wrote to them strongly and firmly, telling them to guard preciously the liberty that Jesus Christ had procured for them, and to protect themselves with care from the painful and disgusting ceremonies of


(1) See my little essay, under the heading  OLUS, in the third volume of the Reports of our Academy of Sciences



l'ancieno Lé, que la noubelo abio toutos forobandidos.

     Aquel sant Apoustoul les aimabo trop, per nou pas s'interessa encaro del naut del Cel à nostré bounhur. Nous troubara dounc pas mechant que jou empruntei aboutei sas expressieus, per bous felicita del gran cambiomen, que la ma touto puissanto de Dieus ben d'oupera dins tout aquesté Rouyaume, per bous fa couneissé l'excelenço de nostro noubelo Coustitutieu, per bous exhourta à l'oubserva fidelomen, à bous coumpourta de faissou que les que soun les plus interessats à la descrida, sion fourçats de l'estima & de l'aima; & anfin, per vous recoumanda, se jamay se troubado de gens prou ecerbelats & prou enratgeats per l'attaqua, de teni cop, de la deffendré coumo de lions, & de nou recula jamay.

     Toutis y son interessats; diben dounc toutis agi de concert, & segui l'exemplé de nostré boun Rey, que tout Rey qu'ero, n'ero pas mens esclabo sur soun troné, le sceptré à la ma, & la courouno sul cap, que le darnié des Manobros, & le plus pauré des Paysans, & que n'a recoubert sa libertat, que desempey que nostrés sagés & sabens Depu-



the old Law, which the new law had entirely abrogated.

     This sainted Apostle loved them too much, not still to take an interest, from the heights of Heaven, in our own happiness. He will therefore not find it wrong that I have borrowed his words to congratulate you on the great change which the all-powerful hand of God has just brought about in this Kingdom, to acquaint you with the excellence of our new Constitution, to exhort you to observe it faithfully, and to behave in such a manner that those most interested in disparaging it will be obliged to respect and to love it; and finally, to urge you, if ever you are confronted by people scatterbrained and angry enough to attack it, to hold steady, to defend it like lions, and never to retreat.

     We all have an interest in this; let us all act together, then, and follow the example of our good King. For he himself was no less a slave, despite being king, sitting on his throne with the scepter in his hand and the crown on his head, than the humblest of laborers or the poorest of peasants. He too has only recovered his liberty since the moment when our wise and knowing Deputies 



tats l'an debarrassat d'aquelo troupo de courtisans, d'aquelo bando de flatomistrassés, que tout en l'accablan de reberencios, l'y sourrupabon les ardits, abusabon de soun noum, per nous espouti coumo de simecs, & le tegnion, sans que pousquesso s'en tira, dins un rude esclabatgé.

     Abiots bel diré, quand les Papiés blus, ou las gens en plaço bous rousegabon, ah! Se nostré bon Rey au sabio. Sans doutté quèn tenin aquel legatgé, randiots justisso à la bountat de soun cor. Mais coussi bouillots qu'au sauguesso, el que nous poudio parla en degus, qu'anaquelis qu'eron interessadis à le troumpa? Et quand au aurio saugut, cresets bous aus qu'un soul hommé, per tant escalairat que fousso, pousquesso regla toutis les affas, grands & menuts de toutos las Proubinços d'aquesté basté Rouyaumé? "Mous efans, bous aurio dit, mous Aujols an establit de len en len de Tribunals de toutos las coulous, per fa justiso à toutis & cadun de mous sutjets; adressats-bous-y, & bous la randran---" Bous la randran! Ah! sans doutté ignourabo dinquios an aquesté moumen, ço que coustabo en Franço aquelo pretendudo justiço. Ignou-



freed him from that horde of courtisans, that band of flatterers, who, even while covering him in compliments, extracted money from himand insulted his name, so as to crush us like flies, leaving him unable to free himself from his harsh slavery.

     You may well have said, when the blue papers of the fisc, or the people of high rank, took advantage of you:Oh! If only our good King knew. In speaking this way you were doubtless acknowledging the goodness of his heart. But how do you expect he could have known, he who was only allowed to speak to those determined to deceive him? And even if he had known, do you think that a single man, however enlightened, could have managed all the business, major and minor, of all the Provinces of this vast Kingdom? "My children," he would have said, "my ancestors established Courts of all sorts, far and wide, to render justice unto each and every one of my subjects. Look to them, and justice will be done unto you." Justice will be done! Doubtless he himself did not know how much justice cost at that time in France. He did not know 



rabo que per ratrapa cinq sos, ne caillo abansa milo, & qu'un Paysan sans proutectieu & sans argen, besio traina dex ans un affa de rés, que le mendré Cossoul de Bilatgé aurio jutgeat dins mijo houro. Bous la randran! Obé en Tournelo, s'abiots augut le malhur de fa qualco mechanto actieu. Singuliero justiço, toujoun alerto, quand s'agissio de puni le pauré, & toujoun moillo & nonchalento, quand ero questieu de ly fa dret, de le garanti de l'oupressieu, & de le tira de las grifos del hommé ritché ou accreditat!

     Et coussi se rappela sans humou aquelo foulo innombrablo d'abusés, que toumbabon presquebé toutis sur bostré cap! Es justé sans doutté, & l'Ebangéli nous au ourdouno, que cadun countribué à las despensos de l'Estat : mes le fort dieu supporta le feblé, & le feblé tout soul au suppourtabo tout. N'ero pas prou pés Nobles, qu'en coumpensatieu des serbicis que randion autres cops lours Aujols, & qu'elis nou randion plus, lour auguesson proudigat à l'infini les privilietgés persounels; calguec encaro que lours terros fousquesson anoublidos, & per consequent exemptados de taillos & de touto la sequelo. Cependant dins certenis 



that you had to pay out a thousand sous to get back five, and that a peasant without connections and money would see drag on for ten years a case that the humblest village magistrate would have resolved in half an hour. Justice will be done! Rather a prison term would have been done, if you had had the misfortune to do something wrong. A strange system of justice it was, always quick to punish the poor, but sluggish and nonchalant when it came to addressing their complaints, protecting them from oppression, or saving them from the claws of the rich and powerful!

     And how can we recall quietly those countless abuses, almost all of which principally affected you, the common people! It is doubtless just, and the Gospel has taught, that everyone should contribute to the maintenance of the State. But the strong should support the weak, and instead, in France the weak supported everyone else, all by themselves. It was not enough for the Nobles, that, in compensation for services rendered by their Ancestors, but no longer by themselves, they should enjoy an infinity of personal privileges. They also insisted that their lands be noble, and therefore free from the taille and all other taxes. Yet in some



endrets oucupabon les tres quarts del terren de la Coumunautat; & daquel affa, qui pagabo las reparatieus des camis, de las nausos, de las Gleisos, & tant d'autros historios? L'arpent de bigno, ou le campet del pauré Pausan, en recoumpenso sans doutté de ce qu'à forso de brassés & de susous despouillabo la terro de sas rounços & de sas espinos, & la fourçabo de se curbi de blad, per nouiri uno foulo d'ingrats, que nou fasion cas de sa bido, qu'autant qu'ero necessario per counserba la lour.

     Cal be cresé, d'aprep un tal systemo, que las gracios n'eron pas faitos per el; le Ministeri aurio cresut fa un pecat mourtal, que de l'y accourda le mendré encouratgeomen; cependant aco ero el que pouplabo nostros armados, el que fasio bouga nostrés bastimens del nort al mietjoun & del lebant al couchant, el que fasio trambla nostrés enemics & sur terro & sur mar, & cinq galousés fausés faison touto sa recoumpenso. Las aunous, las pensieus, & sourtout las grossos, eron toutos per ço qu'apelabon las gens de qualitat, toujous affamats, & jamay assadouillats.

     N'y abio qualqués-unis sans doutté dont la counduito sageo & las grandos actieus abion meritat l'amistat del Rey & l'estimo



places they owned three quarters of the Community's land, and in this case, who was to pay for the repair of the roads, the fences and the churches, and so much else? None other than the poor peasant, whose field, or acre of vines--as a reward for the effort and sweat that he had put into clearing the land of its thorns and brambles, and forcing it to yield grain--went to the feeding of a horde of ingrates, who only cared for his life insofar as it was necessary to preserve their own.

     The peasant could not have failed to see that the fruits of such a system were not meant for him; the Ministry would have thought it a mortal sin to have given him the least encouragement. Yet it was he who filled our armies, who sailed our ships from the north to south and east to west, who drove fear into our enemies on land and sea, and five false stripes of rank  were all that he had as a reward. Honors, pensions, and above all profts were for those who were called the "people of quality," who were always hungry and never satisfied.

     There were doubtless a few of them whose wise conduct and meritorious deeds made them deserving of the king`s friendship and the People`s respect. 



del Poplé. Tabés lour noum, jouts le noubel regimé, coumou jouts l'ancien, sera toujoun en beneratieu. Mes quantis, quantis, quantis, dount le noum & la naissenço fafion tout le meriti! Cependant eron autant arrougants que mespresablés. A les entendré, on aurio cresut que le soulel nou dibio se leba & lusi que per elis. Las gens lettruts abion bel lour diré dins lour librés, & les Prédicairés en cadiero, que begnion toutis del memo païré, qu'eron prestits de la memo pasto; que sourtidis de la terro coumo le pauré, y tournayon coumo el; que lour cendrés counfoundudos dins le memo cemeteri, nou sion ni plus suentos, ni mens pudentos; que la noublesso d'un fainian, d'un libertin, d'un beligan, ero uno noublesso de gous; que la béritablo counsistabo dins le ritché assemblatgé de las couneissenços, de la bertuts & des serbicis randuts à la Religieu, à la Natieu & al Rey. Aco ero lour parla grec; eron sourds anaquel lengatgé, ou se l'entendion s'en trufabon. Sabion que sans trabailla la manno lour tombaïo dins la gorgeo; que quand l'argent leur manquaio per jouga, se pabouna & se diberti, saurion, de rislo ou de raslo, le tira de la bourso des Menestrals qu'eron



Their names will be venerated under the new regime, as under the old. But how many, how many, how many there were who had nothing to boast of except their name and their birth! And yet they were as arrogant as they were contemptible. To listen to them, one would have believed that the sun shone for them alone. Men of letters may well have told them in books, and the preachers may have told them from the pulpits that all people come from the same father, that are all made of the same stuff; that they came from the earth like the poor man, and will return to it like him as well; that their remains, buried in the same cemetery, are neither richer than his, nor less smelly; that the nobility of a do-nothing, of a libertine, of a bully, is a beggar's nobility; that true nobility lies in a combination of learning, vritue, and services rendered to Religion, the Nation and the King. But this was all Greek to them; they were deaf to such language, or heard it without understanding. They knew that manna fell in their throats without having to work; when they lacked the money to play, frolic and amuse themselves, they knew how, by hook or by crook, to get it out of the purse of the common people, who were  



prou fats per le lou presta : que quand n'aurion pas de que paga, ço que n'ero que trop coumu, les Huchés gausaion pas aproucha de lour porto, & que lours crimés, s'en fasion qualcun per se bira le pagomen, nou sarion jamaï qu'un fougairou de paillo. Ero tens de les desabusa, de lour fa coumprené que nou y abio pas differentos espeços d'hommés, que toutis, tant que n'y a sur la terro, soun estadis creats à l'imatgé de Dieus, & que per consequent nou ny a pas cap, absouludoment cap, à mens que le crimé nou le desondré & ne le difiguré, que nou sio respectablé, dont les bés & la libertat nou sion causo sacrado, & que n'ajo un dret egal à la justiço & à las recoumpensos.

     Acos surtout d'aquel punt impourtant que se soun oucupadis nostrés sagés Deputats. Les drets de l'hommé soun la baso de lour Constitutieu. Plus de distinctieu que la que Dieus a establido & dieugut entré nous aus, per entreteni uno certeno subourdinatieu, uno certeno harmounio dins aquesté unibers. Car (prenets gardo mous efans & nou doublidets jamay aiço) toutis les membrés de nostré cos nou se ressemblon pas. Un hommé tout cambos, tout brassés, tout cap ou 



silly enough to lend it to them : they knew that when they couldn't pay back the loan, as was all too common, the victims didn`t dare come to their doors, and that their crimes, in taking advantage of someone by refusing payment, would never amount to more than a wisp of straw. It is time to cure them of these beliefs, to make them understand that there do not exist different species of men, that everyone, as long as they are on earth, have been created in the image of God, and that therefore there is no one, absolutely no one, unless dishonored and disfigured by crime, who is not respectable, whose life and liberty are not sacred, and who does not have an equal right to justice and to life's rewards.

     It is above all in relation to this point that our wise Deputies have concerned themselves. The rights of man are the base of their Constitution. There shall be no distinctions between us other than what God established, and needed to establish, so as to maintain a certain subordination, a certain harmony in this universe. For it is true (and pay attention my children, and never forget this), that all the parts of our body do not resemble each other. A man who was all legs, all arms, all head or



tout estoumach nou sio pas un hommé; & un Rouyaumé, ou toutis sion égalomen paurés, ou égalomen ritchés, sio leu réduit à la fam & à la misero. Mes se resto à l'abeni uno certeno inegalitat dins las conditieus & las fourtunos, n'aura plus ré de chouquant, ré de descourgatgeant. Tout sera justmen repartit, pla azengat & pla reglat. Ré de trop bas per ço qu'apelabon las gens de qualitat, quand seron bournats ou destracats, & ré de trop naut al countrari per ço qu'apelabon les roturiés, se soun sagés & letruts. Qui travaillara s'abançara, & qui se pausara reculara. Le nebout d'un Cardinal, se sap la Messo tou just, nou sera jamay qu'un Clerc de Sacristio, & le fil d'un Grouillé, se sap pla precha, pla coufessa, pla coudousi uno Parrrochio, pourtara à soun tour la crosso & la mitro, & aurets la counsoulacieu de le bese beni souben dins bostros campagnos, per bous fa repeta le catechismé, qu'aura prés plasé, dins bostro jouenesso, à bous enseigna. Le fil d'un Barou, d'un Marquis, d'un Conté, d'un Duc, s'es un couart & un bandouillé, n'atrapara jamay le gradé d'aspassado. Et le fil d'un paysan, s'és actif, balent, couratgeous & intelligent, pouira espera de pourta un joun le bastou de Marechal de Franço. 



all stomach would not be a man; and a Kingdom where all were equally poor, or equally rich, would quickly be reduced to hunger and misery. But if a certain inequality of conditions and wealth does necessarily persist, there will be nothing shocking or discouraging about it. Everything will be justly divided, well laid out and well regulated. Nothing will be too low for those they called "people of quality" when they are slow and ignorant, and nothing, on the contrary, will be too elevated for those once called commoners, when they are wise and learned. He who works will move forward, he who does not will move backwards. The nephew of a Cardinal, if he barely knows the words of the mass, will never be more than a humble priest, and the son of an ordinary man, who knows how to preach well, confess well, and lead a Parish well, will earn the mitre and crozier in his turn, and you will have the consolation of seeing him come often to your villages, to make you repeat the catechisms that he will have taken pleasure in teaching you during his youth. The son of a Baron, a Marquis, a Count or a Duke, if he is a coward and a knave, will never rise to the rank of corporal, while the son of a peasant, if he is active, valiant, brave and intelligent, will be able to hope, one day, to carry the baton of a Marshal of France.



      Coumo cadun, de quin estat que sio, sera recoupensat à proupourtieu de sous serbicis; cadun de memo, de quin estat que sio, sera punit à proupourtieu de sous desaïssis. La memo poutentio fara rasou delNoblé & del Routurié se toutis dus soun de fripouns, & lour houneste hommé de pairé noun sera pas mens estimat. Quino Lé barroco & estrabaganto que la qu'aben seguit jusquos aici! Pel memo crimé sarrabon le col à l'un, & le coupabon à l'autré. Toutis dus méritabon l'execratieu publico, & cependant nou y abio que la famillo del penjat que fousquesso deshouourado, tandis que le noum del descapitat (causo que you ay bisto) figurabo coumo un noubel titré d'aunou dins sa genealogio. Et pourio y abé qualcun de prou fol, per blama l'Assemblado Natiounalo d'abé refourmat un parei abus? Et que m'en citen qualcun, qu'ajo escapat à lours recercos & à lour zelo.

     An seguit tout, punt per punt : Municipalitats, Proubinços, Finanço, Ministeri, gens de Guerro, gens de Justiço, gens de Gleiso ; & toutis estounats de besé; que tout ero querat, tout cangrenat, coumo un boun Surgen, qu'es sourt as crics & as hurlomens d'un malaut, que bol gari & counserba, perço que l'aimo 



     As each person, from whatever estate he comes, will be rewarded in proportion to his good deeds, so will each person, from whatever estate he comes, be punished in proportion to his bad deeds. The same gallows will mark the doom of both the Noble and the Commoner, if both are knaves, and honest men will be equally respected whatever their origins as well. What a baroque and extravagant law had been in place until now! For the same crime, they twisted one person's neck, and cut the other's. Both deserved public execration, and yet only the family of the hanged man was dishonored, while the name of the decapitated man would become a new title of honor for his descendants (something I have seen). Could there be anyone mad enough to reproach the National Assembly for putting an end to such an abuse? Let me be told of anyone who has escaped their investigations and their zeal.

     They have followed it all, point by point: in Municipalities, Provinces, Financial Officers, Ministries, men of war, men of law, clergymen. And everyone was astonished to see that the Assembly sought out and excised all the corrupt tissue, like a good surgeon, who is deaf to the cries and screams of sick man, who wants to cure and to preserve him, because he loves him



tendromen, an coupat les brassés à l'un, las cambos à l'autre; ou, per millou diré, an refoundut tout l'edifici, & n'an fait un noubel; & pourbu que seguiscon fidelomen lours instruccieus, beiren aban lountemps que tout anira à rabi.

     Le capairou nou se dounara plus ni à l'argent ni à la proutectieu; nou sera pas may la récoumpenso de la flatario ou de la tracassario; & les Oufficiés Municipals del mendré Bilatgé figuraran brabomen à coustat dés de la grandos Bilos. Nou bejeguets pas, pel la Fédératieu de Toulouso, les Paysans confounduts ambé de Segnous del temps passat? Ah! jamay aquestis nou fousquesguen plus glouriousés de se besé en plaço. Nou la diben ni à lour naissenço, ni à lours ritchessos, mes à lour meriti. Per exemplé, se bostré Mero fousquesso estat un loup, un ours, un tigré, coumo certenis autrés, jamay n'aurio réunit bostrés suffratgés; mes coumo se coumpourtec toujoun à bostre égard, puleu en amic & en pairé, qu'en Segnou, & que fa bourso ero toujoun duberto per vous fa trabailla, quand erots alegrés, & per bous soulatgea, quand erots malauts, bous ets toutis empressats de ly douna aquelo marquo de counfienço & de recouneissenço, pla fachats de nou



tenderly, and so they cut the arms from one, the legs from another; or to put it better, they have rebuilt the entire structure, and made a new one out of it, and as long as they faithfully follow their instructions, everyone will see before long that all will go well.

     The choice of a mayor will no longer be determined on the basis of money or protection; it will no longer be the reward for flattery or cajoling; and the municipal officers of the humblest village will stand proudly alongside those of the largest towns. Don`t you see, here at the Festival of the Federation of Toulouse, peasants standing side by side with those who were their lords? Ah! never did  those lords occupy a more glorious place. They owe it not to their birth, or wealth, but to their merit. For example, if your Mayor had been a wolf, a bear, or a tiger, like certain others, he would never have gotten your votes; but as he has always behaved more as a friend and father towards you than as a Lord, always opened his purse to pay you when you were ready to work, and to help you out when you were sick, you have been all eager to given him that mark of esteem and acknowledgment, and have been annoyed only because you could not do as much 



n'abé pas pouscut fa autant per sa brabo fenno, & per cadun de sous charmantis mainatgés.

     L'Assemblado de nostré Departomen n'entraïnara pas aprep elo le terotrum pompous & ruinous de nostrés anciens Estats del Languedoc; mais la libertat & le zelodel bé public y regnaran. N'y beiren pas uno troupo d'esclabos trop pagats, le bec toujoun cousut, nou gausa le durbi que per diré amen, coumo las bestios de l'Apoucalipso, & s'inclina en tramblan daban l'esclabo titrat & decourat del Ministeri.

     Cal d'impousitieus dins le Rouyaumé, per nous garanti des enemics, fourtifica las frountieros, nouiri las Armados de terro & de mar, fa flouri las sçienços, paga les Douctous qu'élebon la jouenesso, las gens de Lé que randen la justiço, & anfin abouei les Capelas, que soun dinstrats dins la bigno del pairé de famillo, nous pas per la rousega & la grugea, mes per la trabailla. Mes coussi se lebabon aquelos impousitieus? Bous au ey dit deja : tout d'un coustat & ré de l'autré. Abouei, qui may aura, may pagara. Per quand de mas, & per quinos mas passabo aquel pauré argent? Nostros Finanços eron un gouffré sans founs, oun dégus



for his good wife, and for each of his charming children.

     The Assembly of our Department will not be plagued by the pompous and ruinous menagerie that were the former Estates of Languedoc; liberty and zeal for the public welfare will reign there instead. We will not see there that band of overpaid slaves, who always kept their beaks sealed, and didn't dare to open them except to say "amen," like the beasts of the Apocalypse, and to bow down trembling before the titled and decorated slaves of the Ministry.

     We need taxes in the Kingdom to protect us from our enemies, protect the frontiers, feed the army and navy, promote learning, pay the teachers who raise our young, and the men of the Law who render Justice, and finally to have Priests who go into our fathers' vineyards, not to gnaw and devour them, but to work. But how were these taxes raised? I have already told you: everything from one side and nothing from the other. You must see that now, whoever has more will pay more. And through whose hands did this poor money used to flow? Our state finances were a bottomless pit, from which no one drew a drop, 



nou besio gouto, que lés que las palpabon. Sur bint millouns que darrancabon al pauré poplé, à grand peno qualque cop ne damourabo un pes besouns de l'Estat. Uno troupo de loups, toujoun affamts, cridabon: parti-boli, & qui gausabo lour resista? Abouei aben toutis aprés à chiffra; caldra que nous randon counté, nous pas à léscur, mes al grand joun. Cadun aura dret de bisita aquel counté & de l'examina, perço que sera moullat; & les fripouns dimingaran, perço que n'aimon pas le lum.

     Cal de Ministrés à nostré boun Rey, perço que qu'a toujoun augut, & aura encaro trop d'affas, & que nés pas de fer per les tratta tout soul. Mes l'Assemblado l'a boutat à soun aisé per les causi. Alparaban ero foursat d'y ana à palpos. Uno troupo de charlatans qu'abino la furou de grapilla, fasion al butololi per s'empara delgoubernomen. Pas un, abant d'y mounta, que nou se bantesso d'abé un emplastré dibin, per gari las plagos del Rouyaumé. Le pauré boun Rey counsultabo, & qui? D'autrés charlatans apoustats, que gratuffabon  lour counfrairé, perço que esperabon d'en estre gratuffadis à lour tour. Qui mal nou fa, mal nou penso. Le Rey lour baillabo sa




except those who handled the money. Out of twenty million they snatched from the poor, sometimes there scarcely remained one million for the needs of the State. A band of wolves, always famished, cried out "we're taking our share," and who dared resist them? You must see that now they have learned to add everything up, and give us fair accounts, and not in obscurity, but in the full light of day. Everyone will have the right to see these accounts and examine them, because everyone will be included in the process, and the knaves will dwindle away, because they hate the light.

     Our good King needs ministers, because he has always had them, and will always have too much business to deal with all by himself. But the Assembly has put him at his ease to deal with them. Before, he was forced to go there blindly. A band of charlatans, out to glean all they could for themselves, put oil on the fire so as to take control of the government. There was not one who, before getting there, did not boast of having a divine bandage for healing the Kingdom's wounds. Our poor good King asked for advice, and from whom? Other charlatans, who scratched their colleagues’ back, and hoped to be scratched in their turn. Who does no evil, thinks no evil. The King gave them his



counsienço & les installabo. Ré de plus charmant que lour debut; & à les entendré, degus de plus deinsteressat.Tout pel Rey, ça dision, tout per la Natieu. Nou bouillon rés, absouludomen rés per elis. Tout ce qu'és noubel es bel. A peno abion desplegat lour boutigo, qu'on les besio de demena coumo un poussedat dins un aigo benitié. Et bouto & biro, cambia & despalla tout tout ço qu'abion fait lours debanciés, ero lour grando oucupacieu. Degus dins aquel premié moument, que nou cridesso al miraclé. Mes pendent que le poplé s'extasiabo de lours tours de passo passo, les Chibaillés que n'eron pas accoustumadis al traval, & que n'abion en bisto que de ferra la mulo, & de prené lours plases, plantabon aquieu le themo, & le laissabon fa à lours garçous. Le mal nou tardabo pas à empira; alabets cadun durbissio les els, & les marmuls coumençabon. Per les apasima & se tira d'affas, que fasion nostrés coumpagnous? Flatabon les uns, graissabon la ma as austrés, n'emprisounabon qualqués uns, & sourtout per se desencula, fasion, en pla pagan, & toujoun as despens de l'Estat, coumpousa de grandis Memorios, & de countés de Bernat moun ounclé, oun degus nou besio gouto, & quand



blessing and put them in office. Nothing was more promising than the way they started off; and to hear them, no one was more disinterested than they. "All is for the king," they said, "all is for the nation." They wanted nothing, absolutely nothing for themselves. All that was new was wonderful. No sooner had they set up their offices than they began to carry on like a bewitched man in a pool of holy water. And in a jiffy, they changed and undid everything their predecessors had done--it was their great undertaking. There was no one, in that first moment, who didn't cry out that miracles were being done. But while the people gasped in awe at their acrobatics, the Gentlemen who were not used to working, and who only thought of their own pleasures, did nothing and let their boys loose. Things soon got worse, and then everyone closed their eyes, and the murmuring began. To calm things down and get out of trouble, what did our fine fellows do? They flattered some critics, bribed others, threw others in prison, and above all, to exonerate themselves, like good pagans, and always at State expense, drew up long Reports, and tall tales, in which nothing was clear. And (14)



enfin les bounis chifrairés les abion boutadis à quia, jetabon tout sul pauré Rey. A les entendré, aco ero el qu’abio tout decidat, tout ourdounat, & le plus souben nou sabio lours soutisos que quand tout le Rouaumé n’ero instruit. Quin partit prené alabets? Fa oustal nau? Caillo be sy determina. Mes le remedit ero calque cop piri que le mal. Aprep un estourdit, un traité ou un pinsou, né begno un autre que n’ero qualque cop encaro may. Et que rescabon an aquel mestié? Sabion que degus nou recercaio lour conduito, & qu’uno bouno pensieu scïo la recoumpenso de lours soutisos ou de lours couquinarios. Ah! que n’oun fera pas à tal à l’abeni : n’ajats pas paou que si freten encaro. Nou y a Rey que tengo ; nou lour fera plus libre de le fa parla à lour fantasio ; seran respounsablés de tout, & beiran que n’an pas à fa à uno Natieu ingrato ou imbecillo ; se pla fan, pla troubaran ; ma se s’escarton del dret cami, poden s’attendré à estré tourtillats & penchenadis coumo cal.

     Auren de souldats per nous defendré & costo les enemics de dedins, & costo les de deforo, s’es poussiblé que n’ajan de ço qu’aben, n’embejan rés à degus,



when proper accountants finally got the goods on them, they blamed everything on the poor King. To hear them, it was he who had decided and ordered everything, and most often he himself was the last person in the kingdom to hear of their nonsense. And what could be done then? Cut expenses? There was no other choice. But the remedy was always worse than the disease. And after a fool, a traitor or a miser would come another who was sometimes worse. And what did anyone risk in this line of work? They knew that no one oversaw their behavior, and that a good pension would always be the reward for their nonsense and knavery. Ah! This will not be the case in the future. Don’t be afraid of them still carrying on. Now they do not have hold of the king, and are no longer free to make him speak as they wish; they will be responsible for everything themselves, and will see that they can’t behave as they wish towards an ungrateful or insensible Nation. If they do well, they will be well rewarded. But if they depart from the straight and narrow, they can expect to be appropriately punished and dismissed.

     We have soldiers to defend us against enemies within and without, if it is possible that we still have the latter, given that we do not envy anyone anything,



& n’aben plus embejo de nous fa estirpa, per ana, coumo autrés cops, à prepaus de botos, disputa qualqués mechantis arpens de terro, ount souben nou creissio pas per dus ardits de persil. Mes quinis souldats? Toutis balens, toutis couratjousés, toutis intrépidés, coumo soun toujon estats; & en memo temps toutis patriotis, coumo nous aus, & debengundis trop lurrats, per creé jamay plus, que sion oubligeadis en counscienço, d’apunta lours fusils & lours bayounetos costo lours frairés & lours bounis amics. Saben que soun pagadis per deffendré la Natieu, la Counstitutieu & le Rey ; & quicounquo fera fidel sur aquelis tres punts, n’aura plus rés à craigné de lour part.

     En destruisen Parloments, Tresaurarios & Senechals, es segur que bouton à remotis fotxo brabos gens qu’abion meritat nostro amistat & nostro estimo. Mes anfin se se couporton coumo cal, diben estré segurs que les Departomens nou les regardaran pas coumo de bastars, & que pouiran ne tria qualcun per fa le mestié que fasion alparaban. Cal encaro counbeni qu’aquelo destruccieu es un retté soufflet per nostro pauro Bilo, que tirabo fotxo dignés d’aquelis establissoments ; mes, coumo dits le reprouverbi, qui n’es bou



and no one any longer wants to destroy us, to go as before with troops to fight for a few mean acres of land, where there often grows nothing but two bunches of parsley. But what soldiers do we have? They are all valiant, brave and intrepid as they have always been; and at the same they are all patriotic, as we are, and they are becoming too clearsighted ever to believe again that they are obliged in good conscience to aim their muskets and bayonets against their brothers and good friends. They know that they are paid to defend the Nation, the Constitution and the King; and that whoever is faithful to those three things will never have anything more to fear.

      By destroying the Parlements, Treasuries and Sénéchaussés, it is certain that we have put into distress some good people who deserved our friendship and esteem. But in the end if they behave appropriately, they can be sure that the Departments will not treat them like bastard orphans, and that they will find some way to remain in the same profession as before. We also have to admit that this reform has been a hard blow for our poor City, which drew some profit from those institutions. But, as the proverb says, he who is only good for himself



que per si, n’es bou per rés. Ount l’un pert, l’autré gagno. Las autros Bilos n’eron pas de piro counditieu : & al joun d’abouei, coumo del tems tes Apostouls, toutis les Francesés nou diben abé qu’un cor & qu’uno amo, & nou s’ouccupa que de l’interés general.

     Ero gracious sans doutté per nous aux, quoiqué calqué cop pla dangeroux, d’abé les Jutgés à la porto : mes cresets que fousquesso fort agréablé as autrés de quitta lour boutigo, lour mouillé, lours mainatgés, per beni à cinquanto legos demanda justiço? Et quino justiço? Dont, comou bous ay déja dit, on nou besio soubent jamay la fi. De la faissou qu’au azengon, y aura mens de disputos, & per counsequent mens d’anumousitats. D’abord plus de proucessés pel deymé : passat aquest’an, oun le cal paga exactomen, nou lebaran pas may. Plus de proucesses per beneficis ; nou se dounaran plus per compay & per coumay : la bouxdel poplé y noummara, & bous an dit souben que la voux del poplé ero la boux de Dieu. Plus de proucessés pes affieux : paga ou se redima, tout es explicat dins aquelis deux mots. Mes, sur-tout, presque plus de proucessés de famillo tan countraris à l’esprit de l’Ebangeli. Y aura un Tribu-



is good for nothing. Where one loses, the other wins. Other Cities were not worse than ours, and at present, as in the time of the Apostles, all the French should have but one body and one soul, and concern themselves with the general interest alone.

     It was doubtless beneficial for us, although also very dangerous, to have judges at our doorstep. But do you think it was pleasant for others to have to leave their shops, their wives and children to travel fifty leagues to have their cases heard? And what sort of justice did they receive? A justice, as I have already told you, which they never saw the end of. With the new arrangements, there will be fewer disputes, and so fewer animosities. First of all, there will be no more trials over the tithe: after this year, when it must be paid exactly, there will be no more. There will be no more trials over clerical livings, either; they won’t be given out by friends and relatives: they will be chosen by the voice of the people, and as you have often been told, the voice of the people is the voice of God. There will be no more business trials: pay or settle up, everything is covered by this simple phrase. But above all, there will be hardly any of those trials that are so contrary to the spirit of the Gospel, namely family trials. There will be



nal tout exprés per bouta d’accordi le marit & la mouillé, le pairé & le fil, le frairé & la sor : & qui nou bouldra pas s’y teni, ne plouara pas quatre jours aprep la festo. Les pichous proucessés seran expeditas dins un birat de ma, & dins les Bilatges mèmo : & coumo les grandis Jutgés n’auran cap d’interés à alounga l’estribiero, & que toutos las chicanos seran aboulidos, un gran proucés sera milo cops plus court, que n’eron autrés cops les plus menuts. Et quand même nous jutgeayon plus mal que pel passat, y gagnayon toujoun. Un proucés es uno malautio, & las plus courtos soun las plus suppourtablos & las mens desesperantos.

      Mes de toutos las reformos que bénén de fa, la principalo es la que regardo la Gleiso. Belcop de gens de tout estat, interessats ou prebenguts, an cresuts, ou fait semblant de credé que bouillon destrui la Religieu. La Religieu! Cresets, efans, que la counescoï & que l’aïmei? Nou soun plus jouen : & sabets qu’ey passat touto ma bido à l’estudia, à l’explica, à la precha as pichous coumo as grands, dins las Bilatges coumo àParis, & dins l’oustal de nostré boun Rey. Sabets que nou l’ey jamaï trahido, que



a special court for reconciling husband and wife, father and son, brother and sister; and whoever does not accept the results will still not be miserable ever after. Small trials will take place in the blink of an eye, and in the villages themselves. And as the great Judges will no longer have any reason to draw out the proceedings, and since all pettyfogging will have been abolished, even a major trial will be a thousand times shorter than the most minor ones used to be. And even if the quality of the judging is worse than in the past, we we will still win. A trial is always a misfortune, and the shortest ones are always the most bearable and the least likely to cause despair.

     But of all the reforms that have been carried out, the most important concerns the Church. Many people from all walks of life, whether out of self-interest or prejudice, believe or claim to believe that we want to destroy Religion. Religion! Do you not believe, my children, that I know and love religion? I am no longer young, and as you know I have spent my entire life studying, explaining and preaching religion to great and small alike, in villages and in Paris, and in the palace of our good King. You know that I have never betrayed it,



quand an boulut m’empatcha, per minos ou per menaços, de precha certenos bertats de fé, councinnados dins l’Ebangeli & les Councillés, ay tengut fermé, & ramplit moun deber. Et cresets bous aus, qu’aprep l’abé toujoun prechado sans cap d’interés, sans y abé jamay gagnat, coumo toutis & cadun de mous pareils, ni fermos, ne fermiés, anfin sans autro recoumpenso qu’uno bido duro de trabal & de fatigo, & un habilomen petaçat, & qualque cop turlupinat, you l’abandounneissi dins aquesté moument, se poudioï soulomen soupçonna que fousquesso dins le mendré dangé?

      Bolen destrui la Religieu! Ah! se la plupart d’aquelis que tenen un tal lengatgé eron de bouno fé, abouayen que desempei long-tems l’aurion elis-mêmes cassado de la Franço, se le boun Dieus, per un des plus grands miracles de sa touto puissenço, nou la y abio counserbado ; hélas ! à grand peno en fotço entrets ne damourabo la carcasso. Les affas del Royaumé eron rettomen en désordré ; mes lés de la Gleiso n’eron bé encaro may. Bolen destrui la Religieu! Ah! digan puleu qu’aquesto reboulutieu sembio faito tout exprés per ancanti les abusés que la désfigurabon & la rendion mespresablo,



and that when they tried to prevent me, by hints or threats, from preaching certain truths of faith that are known in the Gospel and the Church Councils, I held firm and did my duty. And do you believe that after having always preached without gain, without having acquired land or tenants as my fellow clergymen have done, without any reward at all except for a hard life of work and exhaustion, a run-down lodging, and occasional torment, that I would abandon religion now, or that I would not say if I suspected it were in the least danger?

     We want to destroy Religion! Ah, if most of those who spoke in this way spoke in good faith, they would have to admit that they themselves would long ago have driven religion from France if God, by one of the greatest miracles of his omipotence, hadn’t preserved it. And alas! In some places only the carcass of religion remains. If the affairs of the Kingdom were clearly disordered, those of the Church were even more so. We want to destroy Religion! Ah! We say rather that this revolution might have been designed to do away with the abuses that disfigured religion, and made it despicable,



& per la fa beni auta puro, auta neto, auta belo qu’al jour que sourtic de las mas del Fil de Dieus. Bolen destrui la Religieu! Et per que tenen un tal lengatge? Per interés, pas per re may. Escoutats-me, Efans; nou boli d’autre jutgé que bous autres; abets prou de sen, prou d’intelligenço, que qu’en digon, per decida la questieu. Es aco destrui la Religieu, que d’abouli las resignatieus, & d’empatcha qu’uno Curo nou debengo un heritatgé dins uno famillo, & qu’un biel ounclé, entestat d’un nebout que sourtis à peno del Seminari, nous le fasco passa sul bentré d’uno troupo de Bicaris, may lettruts, may experimentats, & qu’an biellit dins le Ministeri? Es aco destrui la Religieu, d’empatcha qu’un Gargantuas, qu’à grand peno disio beleu uno Messo cad’an, qu’on nou bic jamay ni en cadiero, ni dins un coufessiounal, & que nou randio cap d’espeço de serbici à la Gleïso, mangé tout soul une fournado de pa, tandis qu’un pauré Curé à la coungruo, cargat del soin del troupel, toujoun à trouteja de soun pé dins las fangos, toujoun accaplat del pés del joun & de la neit, abio à peno un pa pichou per el & sa fillo de serbici? Quand mêmo l’Apoustoul Sent-Pol nou



and to make it once again as pure, as clean and as beautiful as the day that it left the hands of the Son of God. We want to destroy Religion! Why do they speak like this? Out of self-interest, nothing more. Listen to me, my Children. I want no other judge than you. You have enough sense and intelligence, whatever may be said, to decide the question. Is it destroying Religion to abolish clerical legacies, and to prevent a parish from becoming a piece of family property, with an old uncle bequeathing it to a nephew barely out of Seminary, passing over a horde of more learned and experienced Vicars who have grown old in the Ministry? Is it destroying religion to prevent a glutton [Gargantua], who barely says one Mass a year, is never seen in a confessional or before the altar, and never does any sort of service for the Church, from eating an oven-load of bread himself, while a poor parish priest on the official salary [congrue], loaded with the care of a flock, always scampering about with his feet in the mud, always burdened day and night, has barely a small loaf for himself and his servant? Did not the Apostle Saint Paul



bous aurio pas aprés (1) que qui nou bol pas trabailla nou dieu pas mangea, bous soubendriots au mens del Reproverbi de bostro grand-mairé, qu’un boussi pla partageat nou fec jamay mal en degus. Bolen destrui la Religieu! Ah! la destruision bé millou, quand fasion dependré le sort d’un Benefici de la diligenço d’un poustillou. Les chebals, disio un hommé d’esprit, attrapon les rebenguts de la Gleïso, & les loups ou les asés les mangeon. Bolen destrui la Religieu! Ah! se qualcun diurio estré tentat de teni aquel lengatgé, aco sio you sans douté puleu qu’un autré, per que perdi moun estat; mes sabi que moun salut diu uniquoment m’ouccupa, qu’aquel estat n’és qu’un mouyen per y arriba, & que se le boun Dieus, per de rasous que dibi adoura sans me reboulta, permet que me tiren aquel mouyen, m’aimo trop per nou pas m’en fourni qualqu’autre, que baldra autant, & beleu encaro may. L’habillomen, ça disen, nou fa pas le Moungé. Jouts aquesté ou jouts un autré, remplirei, d’ambé la gracio de Dieus, toutos las founctieus de moun ministeri, & le cambiomen de découratieu, se m’y besi oubligeat, n’afféblira


        (1)    Qui non vult operari, non manducet



teach you that if any would not work, neither should he eat (1), and do you not remember your grandmother’s proverb, that dividing a dish equally never did anyone any harm. We want to destroy Religion! Ah! what destroys Religion is when the fate of a parish depends on the diligence of a post driver. A witty man once said that horses deliver the revenues of the Church, and wolves and asses eat them. We want to destroy Religion! Ah! If anyone should have been tempted to speak like this, it would have been me more than anyone, for I am the one losing my status as a friar as a result of the reforms. But I know that I should care for nothing but my salvation, that being a friar was nothing but a way of getting there, and that God, for reasons that I must gratefully accept without protest, has let them take this status from me, but loves me too much not to give me another one that is just as good, and perhaps even better. The habit, as it is said, does not make the monk. Under this habit or another I will carry out, with the grace of God, all the duties of my Ministry, and a change of decoration, if I am obliged to have one, will not weaken



(1)     [2 Thessalonians, 3:10—DAB]



pas le zelo que m’animo per la glorio de la Gleïso & bostro sanctificatieu. Bolen destrui la Religieu! Ah! may de quatre santis Abesqués, dount nou meriti pas de baïsa les pezegados, penson pla differentomen. Quand eron d’ambés loups, eron fourçats de hurla coumo elis. Mes quantis de cops gemisson dins le founds de lour cor, de se besé coundamnats à laissa lour troupel entre las mas de lours garçous & de lours apprendissés, per trouta cad’an des Estats à Bersaillos & de Besaillos as Estats! Toujoun le cap coupat de pounts, de camis & de rollès de taillo & de capitatieu, jamai n’abion un soul petit moumen de libré per soungea à la lour bisito. Gauzaöioy paria que le plus biel de la Parochio nou pourio pas se banta de n’abé jamai bist un dins bostro Gleïso. Ah! quin sera lour countentomen, quand, debarrassadis de toutis aquelis galousés afas estangés à lour ministeri, pouiran beni bous bisita, bous instruiré, bous counsoula & bous soulatgea dins bostro pauriero ! oui, bous soulatgea, car se un Gentilhommé, cargat de fenno & de maynaitgés, se crei riché quand a trento, bint ou mêmo doutzé milo francs de rento, à plus forto rasou ne seranelis quand nou seran pas



my zeal for the glory of the Church and for your sanctification. We want to destroy Religion! Ah! More than four holy bishops, whose hems I am not worthy of kissing, think very differently. When they were with the wolves, they were forced to howl like wolves. But how many times did they shudder in the depths of their hearts, at seeing themselves condemned to leaving their flocks in the hands of their boys and apprentices, so as to hurry each year from the Estates [of Languedoc] to Versailles, and back from Versailles to the Estates! Always thinking of roads and bridges, of the land tax and the poll tax, they never had a single tiny moment free to see to their diocesan responsibilities. I would dare to bet that the oldest man in your Parish could not boast of ever having seen a bishop in your Church. Ah! How content these bishops would be, if they were freed of all this ridiculous business that has nothing to do with their Ministry, and could come to visit you, teach you, console you and help you. For if a Gentleman with a wife and children thinks himself rich with thirty thousand francs in annuities, or twenty or even twelve, they would think themselves all the more so if they didn’t also have to run



may oubligeats de teni aubergeo coumo alparaban. Bolen destrui la Religieu? Desisi qui que ce sio de me cita un soul articlé del Credo que l’Assemblado natiounalo ajo attaquat directomen ou indirectomen; & en matiero de fé, qui counserbo le Credo au counserbo tout.

     N’ajats dounc, mous efants & brabés camarados, cap d’inquietudo, cap de scrupulé sul juromen que la Natieu attend de bous aus, & qu’anan fa toutis ensemblé, daban Dieus, à la facio del cel & de la terro, dins aquesté mounmen à jamai memourablé, ount toutos las Bilos & Bilatgés d’aquesté Rouyaumé se reunissen as Deputats qu’abets enbouyadis à Paris. La noubelo Constitutieu es faïto per nostré bounhur, perque nous tiro toutis de l’esclabatgé, & que nous rand la libertat que nou dieurion jamaï abé perdut. Mais prenets gardo, bous direi d’ambé l’Apostoul St. Pol (1), qu’aquelo libertat que Jesus-Christ el memo nous a procurado, nou degeneré pas en licenço, & en libertinatgé, & que nou sio pas une ouccasieu per bous


(1) Vos enim in libertatem vocati estis fratres, tantum ne libertatem in occasionem detis carnis, sed par charitatem spiritus servite invicem. Omnis enim Lex in uno sermone impletur ; diliges proximumtuum sicut teipsum. Gal. c. 5, v. 13, 14.



an inn. We want to destroy Religion? I challenge anyone to cite for me a single article of the Creed which the National Assembly has attacked, directly or indirectly; and in matters of faith, he who conserves the Creed conserves everything.

      So have no fear and no scruples, my children and good comrades, about the oath that the Nation expects from you. Let us take it together, before God, heaven and earth, in this forever memorable moment when all the cities and villages of this kingdom have joined together with the deputies they have sent to Paris. The new Constitution has been written for our happiness, because it brings us all out of slavery and restores to us the liberty we should never have lost. But I say to you, with the Apostle Saint Paul, be careful lest this liberty which Jesus Christ himself has gained for us degenerate into licentiousness and libertinage, and lest


(1) For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyselfGalatians 5:13-14.



aus de segui les moubemens de bostros passious. Nou bous an pas armadis per fa la guerro, mes per counserva la pax, & seyoï le premié à maudiré las armos que pourtats, se dibiots las bira les unis costo les autrés. Tranquilitat, amistat, councordo, fraternitat, aquieu ço que l’Ebangeli bous precho, ço quey toujoun prechat pertout, ço que percharei tant que bieurey, & ço que l’Assemblado Natiounalo bous precho elo-memo per moun ministeri. Car touto la Lé, continuo le grand Apostoul, (& bous an dit aço un milié de cops) es ranfermado dins aquesté Coumandomen, aimerets bostré prouchen, coumo bous autrés memos. Point de distintinctieu : qu’aquel prouchen pensé coumo bous aus, ou d’une autro maniero, dibets l’aima toujoun. Et sans doutté que ya fotzo gens dins aquesté pays, que nous soun pas auta partisans que nous aus de la noubelo Counstitutie. Mes pesats lours rasous, & se nou les excusats pas, au mens les plandrets. Marchand que perd nou pot pas riré, & n’y a que perden d’aquesté affa uno partido de lour fourturno; & quand memo n’y perdrion pas, countats per rés las bieillos habitudos, las bieillos ideos? On n’oun cambio pas auta facillomen que de camisolo. Mes laissats-les



you follow the movements of your passions. You have not been armed to make war, but to keep the peace, and I would be the first to curse the arms you bear, if you tried to turn men against each other. Tranquility, friendship, concord and fraternity: This is what the Gospel preaches to you, this is what has always everywhere been preached, this is what I will preach as long as I live, and what the National Assembly itself preaches to you through my ministry. For all the Law, the great Apostle continued (and you have been told this a thousand times), is contained in the single Commandment: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. It does not matter if your neighbor thinks as you do, or differently. You must still love him. And there are certainly some people in this country who are not as favorable towards the new Constitution as we are. But weigh their arguments, and if you do not pardon them, at least pity them. A merchant who loses money can’t laugh, and there are those who have lost much [since the start of the Revolution]. And even with those who have not lost money, do you count for nothing the loss of old customs and old ideas? You can’t change them as easily as you change a shirt. But let these people



les courré : se un cop se decidion à ne fa le sacrifici (& cal espera que nou tardaran pas) seran beleu plus estacadis que cap de nous aus al regimé noubel. Me soun souben mesisat d’un hommé qu’emprountabo sans marchanda; mes le que marchando, aban de fa fa la lettro de cambi, y a à paria que pagara. Usats dounc d’indulgenço à l’égard d’aquelis que soun encaro à se decida, & trattats-les, coumo bouldriots que vous tratesson, s’érots à leur plaço. Ambé la douçou & la patienço on ben à bout de tout; & on pren may de mouscos d’ambun ounço de mél, que d’ambun barril de binagré. Les turlupina, les insulta, les maltratta, fouratgea lours oustals & lours recoltos, coumo an fayt en certenis endrets de bandos de beligans & de counquillarts, nou serbyo qu’à les randré plus oupiniastrés, qu’à lour fa regreta encaro may l’ancien regimé, & qu’à lour douna uno ideo encaro plus mechanto del noubel ; & nostro sageo Assemblado nou mancayo pas de boun fa puni seberomen. Nou dibets bous bira costo les enemics de la Counstitutieu ; lour moustra las dents, & les mena tambour batan qu’en cas que s’abissesson de l’attaqua, & que trabaillesson à la despalla. Encaro diurots alabets attendré les ordrés de



go. If one day they decide to make the sacrifice (and it is to be hoped that they will not tarry), then they will be as attached than ourselves to the new regime.  I am often put in mind of a man who borrowed without haggling; but what he did do, before having the contract drawn up, was to lay a wager over whether he would pay. So be indulgent towards those who have yet to make up their minds, and treat them as you would like to be treated if you were in their place. With kindness and patience one always succeeds, and you catch more flies with an ounce of honey than with a barrel of vinegar. To torment these people, insult them, mistreat them, to pillage their homes and harvest, as certain groups of brigands and knaves have done, will only make them more stubborn, and more attached to the old regime, while giving them an even worse impression of the new one; and our wise Assembly would not hesitate to punish you severely. You must not turn against the enemies of the Constitution, threaten them, or beat the drums against them unless they decide to attack it, and work to destroy it. And even then you should wait for orders



bostro Municipalitat, & le sinnal de bostré Estat-Major. Couneissets la balou & la prudenço des brabés Oufficiés que soun al cap de bostro Legieu; & quin Bilatgé dins le Rouyaumé pot se banta d’estré millou ourganisat & millou coundousit? Seguissets dounc à la lettro & lours instruccieus & lours exemplés, & surtout gardats-bous, coumo dits l’Apostoul (1), de bous querela, de bous graupigna, de bous moussega. Bostros dibisieus nou serbion qu’à bous affebli, & qu’à descrida la plus admirablo reboulutieu que se sio jamay ouperado, desempey que le moundé es moundé. Ets Chresties, ets Franceses, nou doublidets dounc jamay ço que dibets à Dieus, à la Religieu, à la Natieu & à un Rey, dont le cor nou respiro que per nous aus, & que se glourifico d’estré nostré Amic & nostré Pairé : aco sera le beritablé mouyen d’estré hurousés dins aquesté moundé & dins l’autré. Atal-sio.



(1) Quod si invicem mordetis & commeditis, videte ne ab invicem consumamini. Gal c. 5, v. 15.



from your Municipality, and the signal from your commanding officer. You know the valor and prudence of the good Officers who are at the head of your Legion; and what Village in the Kingdom can boast of being better organized and better led? So follow their instructions and their example to the letter, and above all, as the Apostle said, avoid quarreling, scratching each other, and getting angry at each other. Your disagreements will only weaken you, and will tarnish the most admirable Revolution to have taken place since the world was the world. You are Christian, you are French. So never forget what you owe to God, to Religion, to the Nation, and to a King whose heart beats for you alone, and who glories in being your Friend and Father. This is the true means of being happy in this world and the next. So be it.



(1) But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. Galatians 5:15.


David A. Bell

Sidney and Ruth Lapidus

Professor in the Era of

North Atlantic Revolutions


Department of History


Princeton University



Curriculum Vitae

Substack Newsletter

Website updated February 2024