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.

Charlotte Corday and the Murder of Marat | Madame Guillotine

Originally posted on Madame Guillotine.

At 7am on the morning of Sunday, the 13th July 1793, a young woman, just twenty-five years of age, with neatly arranged curling chestnut hair and clear blue eyes walked with a firm and steady tread through the already busy sun warmed streets of Paris from her lodging, room 7 in the Hôtel de la Providence, 19 Rue Hérold, to the arcades of the Palais Royal. We don’t know what thoughts ran through her head as she strolled purposely along, perhaps stirring lines written by her great great great grandfather, the celebrated playwright Pierre Corneille, or perhaps she stopped every now and again to enjoy the bustle and excitement that attended the preparations for the next day’s celebration of the fourth anniversary of the fall of the Bastille.

The elegant arcades of the former Royal palace were decorated for the occasion with tricolor banners, while the trees planted in the famous gardens were bedecked with tricolor ribbons that floated slightly in the morning breeze, while everywhere the woman looked she saw young people like herself laughing and smiling as they sang patriotic songs and looked forward to the festivities.

Marie-Anne-Charlotte de Corday d’Armont was not a Parisienne, despite the undoubted elegance of her brown striped silk dress, but was one of the last scions of a somewhat diminished aristocratic family from Caen in Normandy. The street vendor who sold her a newspaper before she…

via Charlotte Corday and the Murder of Marat | Madame Guillotine.