MARAT, Jean Paul (1743-1793). L'Ami du Peuple. Paris: Imprimerie de la Veuve Hérissant, later Imprimerie de Marat, 12 September 1789-14 July 1793.
COMPLETE SET, comprising:
An undated prospectus: Le Publiciste Parisien, nos. 1-5. 12-15 September 1789
L'Ami du Peuple, nos. 6-685. 16 September 1789-21 September 1792
Journal de la République Française, nos. 1-143. 25 September 1789-11 March 1793
Le Publiciste de la République Francaise, nos. 144-150. 14-22 March 1793
Observations à mes Commetans et Profession de Foi, nos. 151-155 (et 156). 25-30 March 1793
Le Publiciste de la République Francaise, nos. 157-242. 1 April-14 July 1793
[With:] One volume containing 13 pamphlets by Marat; and another "Pièces pour et contre Marat," comprising 15 pamphlets.
Together 19 volumes, 8o. Uniformly bound in early 20th-century red half-morocco, spines with raised bands, gilt-lettered, by Godillot, top edges gilt.
Provenance: [Christie's London, 28 Jujne 1995, lot 265, to Quaritch]
A VERY FINE SET IN EXCELLENT STATE OF PRESERVATION OF ONE OF THE MOST FAMOUS AND RAREST JOURNALS OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION
The creation of the Ami du Peuple was a milestone in the history of the French Revolution. Marat was a fervent advocate of social justice. At various times he proposed in his journal that the confiscated property of the church be turned into public workshops for the employment of the poor, a more equal distribution of all land, the eventual establishment of equality of wealth and the progress of the revolution through the foundation of revolutionary clubs.
The journal started from a relatively moderate position in opposition to the first Comité de la Constitution. However, after a short time Marat's proposals became ever more radical. For attacking the Commune de Paris, he was prosecuted and several times had to go into hiding to avoid prison. In 1790 he fled to London and did not return until April 1791, during which time publication of the journal ceased, although various imitations were published. In July 1791 his printer was imprisoned, and between 21 July and 10 August only one issue was published. On 14 December 1791, he bade farewell to his subscribers and fled again to London but returned to Paris in March 1792. His paper gained tremendous popularity and is said to have been directly responsible for the events of 10 August 1792, when a mob stormed the Tuileries. It was also at that time that he began to advocate popular executions to end all the evils in France. From September 1792, Marat was a member of the Convention Nationale that made France a republic by acclamation, and it was then that he changed the title of the journal to Journal de la République française. It continued under this name until the Convention decreed that no deputy might be employed as a journalist; to evade this law, he changed the name to Le Publiciste de la République française and soon after that to Observations à mes Commetans. In April 1793 he was indicted by the Committee of Public Safety on charges that his writings incited pillage, murder and attacks upon the Convention, but he was aquitted by the Revolutionary Tribunal. It was then that he became most popular and most powerful, until he was assassinated on 13 July 1793 by Charlotte Corday. The last number of his journal appeared the next day, on July 14, the fourth anniversary of the storming of the Bastille.
In spite of its influence, the circulation of the journal was for the most part probably fewer than 2,000 copies, of which about 700 were given away free. COMPLETE SETS ARE VERY RARE. The set here offered may be the only one remaining in private hands.
E. Hatin, Bibliographie historique et critique de la presse periodique française, Paris 1866, pp. 97-100; E. Hatin, Histoire politique et litteraire de la presse en France. Paris 1859-61, vol. 6, pp. 5-200. (19)