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A la Confédération

March 23, 1791 — to the Confédération


In the eighty-three Departments, armed citizens unite to defend the constitution. Do you not believe, Gentlemen, that these wives and mothers of families could join together, following their example, to make it [the constitution] loved? The Société des amis de la verité is the first to have admitted us to patriotic session. Creil, Alas, Boredaux and several others followed your example. Would it not be useful to form, in each Section of the capital, a patriotic society of citoyennes, female friends of the truth.

Women … “can supervise efficiently the enemies harbored in the midst of the capital and . . . differentiate the genuinely poor person in need of his brothers’ aid from brigands called out by enemies. And the directorate of the central  circle, corresponding with patriotic societies in the Departments, would propagate enlightenment and would make it possible to break up more easily the plots hatched by malevolent persons.”

Women need to find a way of “Demonstrating that they are worthy of the justice just rendered them by the august representatives of the nation.”

Ah! How urgent that a maternal view be taken of this administration, where a culpable negligence makes nature tremble. Yes, young women from the country, arriving in this huge capital without friends, without acquaintances, abandoned to themselves, without work and wandering around, prey to all kinds of seduction, often return home with their souls debased, their blood polluted.

“The morals of both would be purified and egoism destroyed, and the wealthy man, object of jealousy and envy, would become an object of love and veneration to his brother in indigence.”

Already they burn to show all Europe that if, when they are degraded under despotism, pleasing frivolity was their lot, then when they are restored to the dignity of their being, they will be the model for all civic virtues.

A National Assembly “to bear respectful and grateful witness before the representatives of France to what they just did for them and to promise these worthy fathers of the people that they will inspire their children with the same respect, the same love, for the constitution and the most ardent zeal in propagating moral and civic virtues.