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French Historical Studies

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On the morning of 14 December 1790, an angry crowd surrounded the royal prison in Aix en-Provence and forced the release of the marquis de la Roquette and the avocat au parlement Jean Joseph Pascalis. Led by militant members of the Club des anti-politiques, a radical club in Aix composed largely of artisans, the crowd escorted the two men through the streets of Aix to the elegant Cours Mirabeau, where each was hanged by a rope from a street lantern. Later that day the same fate befell Andre-Raymond Guiramand, an elderly chevalier of St. Louis who in recent days had ardently and vocally defended the royalist cause from the steps of the cafe Guion. Thus abruptly ended the brief existence of the Club des amis de la paix in Aix, whose gala opening had been scheduled to occur two days earlier.1

This violent episode in the revolutionary history of Aix is but an extreme case among numerous confrontations between radical revolutionaries and the leaders of monarchist clubs that occurred throughout provincial France from December 1790 through late 1791. The appearance of these clubs in provincial towns roughly coincided with the formation of the Club monarchique in Paris and with the publication of a flurry of pamphlets and newspaper articles debating both the legitimacy of political clubs generally and the rights and responsibilities of particular clubs and their members. Yet the activities of monarchist clubs during this period have received scant attention in revolutionary historiography.2 We thus know very little about these clubs, which, de-spite their short life, contributed greatly to the polarization of politics in 1790-91.


This is a post-print version of an article originally published in French Historical Studies,1998, Volume 21, Issue 2.. The version of record is available through:Duke University Press.