Portrait of one of the Mancini sisters

The Letters of Marie Mancini

The site’s great strengths currently lie in its annotated translations and ease of use, with the team having obviously given some thought to how users might want to explore these letters.

The Little Cartesian Devil


The reversal of circumstances that German cartoonists emphasized seemed generally to exercise considerable sway over this use of symbols. Here, Napoleon, who strode so large over Europe, is bottled and examined. Obsessed with his small stature, Napoleon might have been particularly displeased with this image.

This source is a part of the... Read More »

The Maroons


In this passage, Moreau de Saint–Méry explains that runaways in Haiti, known as Maroons, are and have always been a persistent problem and details the tremendous efforts put into retrieving the runaways. Despite this effort, some Maroons survived and thereby regained their freedom.

The Marseillaise (War Song for the Army of the Rhine)


Composed by Joseph Rouget de Lisle when he learned that France had declared war on Austria, the Marseillaise quickly became the anthem of the republican Revolution. it remains the French national anthem today. A republican anthem, the Marseillaise was considered suitable for all sorts of revolutionary events. While it was often sung casually in streets and parks, its learned composition also... Read More »

The Massacre of the Champ de Mars [Parade ground], in the Révolutions de Paris


On 15 July 1791, the Jacobins held a demonstration on the Champ de Mars in Paris to gain signatures for their petition. A contingent of National Guard soldiers, led by General Lafayette, fired on the crowd, killing at least fifty, in what became known as "the massacre of the Champ de Mars." To some observers, such as the radical newspaper writer whose account is reproduced here, the massacre... Read More »

The Maximum


In September 1793 the Convention furthered its role as the guarantor of the basic right to subsistence of all citizens by instituting price maximums on all essential consumer goods, especially foodstuffs, and on wages paid in the production of those goods. The Maximum was to remain in effect, at least theoretically, until the end of 1794 and thereafter would remain for historians evidence that... Read More »

The Mayor of Paris on the Taking of the Bastille


Jean Sylvain de Bailly, mayor of Paris and leader of the National Assembly, recorded his views of what was going on in Paris in the uprising of mid–July. Here we see the efforts of the delegates and their rejection by Louis XVI. As the men of the National Assembly could not imagine their country without a monarch, they refuse to blame the King. Yet they asserted themselves and the rights of... Read More »

The Mercator Projection


Although the Flemish geographer and cartographer Gerardus Mercator's rendering of the earth has been criticized for the way it distorts reality, it was revolutionary in the way it organized space and distance. By imposing a sense of order on the illustrated world by plotting it on an east-west and north-south grid, and having that grid apply everywhere, Mercator made it possible to chart more... Read More »

The New World and the Old: An American at the Opening of the Estates–General (May 1789)


On 5 May 1789, the deputies of all three orders convened before the King as the Estates–General. In attendance, among other visiting foreign dignitaries, was the American Gouverneur Morris, who recorded his observations in a diary. In the excerpt below, Morris describes first the royal procession through Versailles and then the opening of the Estates–General itself. His description of the King... Read More »

The Ninth of Thermidor


Having carried the day in the Jacobin Club, Robespierre rose to speak the next day in the Convention, where he attacked members of the Committee of Public Safety and Committee of General Security, until now his closest collaborators, for their extreme use of the Terror. He also hinted that such "terrorists" should be purged from the Convention. Fearing for their own safety, some members of... Read More »