Orphans on the Earth

Orphans on the Earth : Girondin Fugitives from the Terror, 1793-1794

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Description

Just as it was not foreordained that the Terror of 1793D1794 should follow the early idealistic years of the French Revolution, neither could it have been imagined that some of those elected deputies who had helped to establish the new republic would become fugitives from their own government. Yet, in May to June 1793, twenty-nine deputies of the moderate Girondin faction were expelled from the National Convention by the radical Jacobin leadership and placed under house arrest. This action followed months of irreconcilable quarrels between the Girondin and Jacobin factions. Some of the proscribed deputies chose to remain in Paris and were subsequently executed in October 1793. Others escaped, fleeing first to Caen in Normandy, where they hoped to ignite a federalist revolt against the government in Paris. When their efforts failed, a small group of the former deputies fled to nearby Brittany and then down the western coast to the Bordeaux area, where they found refuge near St. Emilion. Hiding for several months in the home and attached stone quarry of the deputy Guadet's relatives, four of these fugitives wrote their memoirs before their presence was discovered by one of Robespierre's agents. The memoirs of Fran_ois Buzot, Jerome PZtion, Charles Barbaroux, and Jean-Baptiste Louvet, in addition to correspondence between them and Jean and Manon Roland, provide the basis for this book. This is the first book to examine the lives of the fugitives during the period of the Terror (1793D94), after which only Louvet remained alive.show more

Product details

  • Electronic book text | 140 pages
  • Lexington Books
  • MD, United States
  • English
  • 073914068X
  • 9780739140680

About Bette Wyn Oliver

Bette W. Oliver of Austin, Texas, is an independent scholar with a Ph.D. in Modern European History from the University of Texas at Austin. A specialist in eighteenth-century France, she is the author of From Royal to National: The Louvre Museum and the Biblioth_que Nationale (2007). With an educational background in both journalism and history, she served as the associate editor of the interdisciplinary journal Libraries & Culture from 1986 to 2005. In addition to her work as a historian, she is the author of eight volumes of poetry, much of it about France.show more

Review quote

Oliver's prose is highly readable, and her work will have great appeal to the casual reader and nonspecialist scholar .Oliver's work is a welcome contribution to an overlooked aspect of the Terror. The phrase "orphans of the earth" was coined by Francois Buzot, one of twenty-nine Girondin deputies expelled from the National Convention in the summer of 1793 following the successful Jacobin coup and placed under house arrest. Those who chose to remain in the capital were put on trial and would die on the guillotine .Oliver tells it well, movingly at times, and does nothing to hide her sympathy for the fugitives and for those who, like Marie-Therese Bouquey in Saint-Emilion, got caught up in their escape and paid a terrible price for helping them. "Petite histoire" is may be, a story made for the romantic spirit of the age. But it is not without interest, and it provides a fitting postscript to the political careers of some of the most prominent leaders of the Gironde. The final chapter of Girondin history deserves to be better known. Oliver's latest book is a solid, sympathetic study of these revolutionary leaders after they lost power. Hers is a very human tale of fascinating people drawn largely from their own words; it is a sad story of devoted men defeated and hunted down by the opponents. This book is a fine assessment of the Girondins in their last days.--Michael W. Howell, College of the Ozarks Based largely on the manuscript memoirs and correspondence of Francois Buzot, Jerome Petion, Charles Barbaroux, Jean-Baptiste Louvet, and Madame Roland, Bette Oliver's Orphans on the Earth narrates, from their perspective, the story of these members of the Girondin faction, their expulsion from the Convention, and their flight from Paris. By relating in evocative detail the previously untold account of their harrowing year of pursuit by the Jacobins, this book lays bare the tragic human cost of the French Revolution and allows the reader to experience the daily life of a fugitive during the Terror.--Robert W. Brown, University of North Carolina at Pembrokeshow more