Assassination of French Revolutionist Jean Paul Marat Part 1

About the assassination of French revolutionist and reign of terror proponent Jean Paul Merat, history and account of the murder.


The Victim: JEAN PAUL MARAT, French revolutionist who urged a "Reign of Terror."

The Date: July 13, 1793.

The Event: The 50-year-old Marat, a doctor-scientist turned journalist-politician, was trying to soak away the agony of a festering skin disease (probably a form of herpes) in a medicinal bath. Two of his loyal female companions sat on the floor of their squalid apartment folding copies of Marat's popular hand-printed newspaper, L'ami du peuple, number 242. It was dated July 14 (Bastille Day) and commemorated the fourth anniversary of that epochal uprising which had toppled the French monarchy and brought about the creation of the struggling and still deeply divided republic.

That afternoon, they'd ejected an unknown woman visitor who insisted on having a brief interview with Marat so that she might "put him in a condition to render a great service to France." That evening she returned and again demanded entrance. The famous revolutionary consented to see her as he sat upright in a large metal bathtub writing letters and making notes on a plank set across the middle of the rusty old container.

The "interview" was brief and to the point. The young woman said she'd just come from the city of Caen, where a number of Marat's enemies, exiled leaders of the Girondist party, were trying to organize an armed assault upon the insurrectionary Commune of Paris. She listed their names. "...Buzot, Barbarousk," he said, scribbling them down on a piece of scratch paper. "I shall send them all to the guillotine in a few days," said Marat.

He never got the chance. The short, gray-eyed brunet pulled a 6-in. butcher knife out of a sheath concealed in her stylish white muslin summer dress and plunged it deep into Marat's heart. Blood thickened Marat's bathwater as his loyal assistants cornered the assassin. A porter ran in, knocked her down with a chair, and tied her hands behind her back with a coarse handkerchief. The police and Marat's political associates arrived to question the aristocratically pale, totally composed, but highly lethal 24-year-old.

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