18th and 19th Century: Charlotte Corday and the Bathtub Murder of Jean-Paul Marat

Originally posted on 18th and 19th Century.

On the evening of the fourth anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, a twenty-four-year-old woman, with  one purpose in mind, visited the French journalist and radical Jacobin, Jean-Paul Marat. The woman “was rather tall—her admirably proportioned figure full of native grace and dignity. The chief expression of her fair and oval countenance were sweetness and modesty; her clear, open brow, shaded by rich curls of brown hair, enhanced the transparent purity of her complexion—her dark and well-arched eyebrows and eyes of a deep gray…added to her thoughtful and meditative appearance. Her nose was straight and well-formed—her mouth, though rather grave, exquisitely beautiful and her smile full of fascination.” The woman was Marie-Anne Charlotte de Corday d’Armont, better known today as Charlotte Corday.

Corday was a heroic, although somewhat misguided girl, who was intent on killing Marat. At the death of her mother, her father had sent her and her younger sister to the Abbaye-aux-Dames convent located in Caen. There she read enlightened works and became politically active, sympathizing largely with the Girondins. She also garnered the attention of young man named Monsieur de Franquelin, who perhaps to impress the fair Corday armed himself and enlisted in the battalion of Caen. From a balcony she watched as his battalion passed by and she was so impressed, it confirmed her resolve to do whatever it took to support the Girondins. Moreover, at the time, Corday wanted to prevent what she believed was an impending civil war and she wanted to get even for the September Massacres that she blamed on Jean-Paul Marat, the man she also considered “the most formidable foe of the Girondins.”

Corday had given much thought about how to kill Marat. Her initial plan was to…

via 18th and 19th Century: Charlotte Corday and the Bathtub Murder of Jean-Paul Marat.

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