Journal #3 – farmer

 

1799

Last month, I just gave my farm to my son. I’ve been tending to this farm for over 50 years now, and I’ve seen a lot of things happen during this time. The biggest thing is that there is now no more monarchy. It’s hard to believe that I was alive on the day the monarchy is abolished, considering how long it’s been there. It all started with a few bad harvests many years ago, which lead to food riots. I didn’t think much of it at the time, I thought everyone would settle down after a year of good harvest. But that year never came, and people got even hungrier. Once the ball got rolling, with the formation of the National Convention, it didn’t take long until the king was executed. It didn’t get any better after king Louis was executed though. The new people in charge, the Girondins and the Jacobins, started executing people left right and center! Lead by the Committee of Public Safety; funny name, when all they’ve done is put fear in everyone’s minds. I’m writing this now because there may be a new ruler soon. But, the thought that won’t go away in my mind is still, was killing the king the right way to go? I mean, when he was in power, sure he did some selfish things, but he also showed that he wanted to help, and maybe we just didn’t give him that chance. If I had known how awful this reign of terror would be, then I would certainly have left the king alive. At least he wouldn’t have gone crazy and started to kill everyone. Well, the answer to that question may be clear quite soon, when we get a new ruler. They say that Napoleon is going to be our new leader, and while he doesn’t seem too imposing to me, maybe a little on the short side, he does have quite the resume. I mean, he certainly knows how to lead and army, based on how many battles he has won. Hopefully he has the same skill with the people of France. Well I don’t have too much to worry about now, my son is covering my farm, so I can really just sit back, relax, and watch Napoleon at work. This will most likely be my last journal entry, unless something major happens. Goodbye

Journal #2

1792

Its been years since the bread riots, and yet, nothing has really changed. Sure the monarchy has less power now, and the third estate is better off. But, I’m still hungry. The taxes are just as high, preventing me from saving any amount of money. Recently, I heard there was another wave of food riots in Paris, if this continues, next time I’m joining them. It’s good other groups that mean well to us are slowly getting more power, but there is some part of me thats worried these radicals the Jacobins and the Girondins  and the Mountains will become too powerful and take things too far. I pray that doesn’t happen though, all I want is to be able to eventually have a stable France.

Early 1793

Big news! The king was executed! I’m not sure whether I feel happy about it. I’m happy because maybe now things will finally change. But I’m also slightly scared at what might happen, and who will take his place to control France. I hope now they will execute his wife as well, you can’t leave the job half done. I also hear they’re establishing a committee of public safety. That sounds very promising, we could all use some more safety. Oh well, I’m not important enough to have a say in any of these things, I can only sit back and watch.

Late 1793

Well they did it, they finally executed Marie Antoinette as well. In other news, a new calendar was introduced, with the year starting on September 22. I don’t get it, what was wrong with our previous calendar? Well great, now I have to get familiar with this calendar so that I can harvest and plant my crops on time. I also hear that there has been a crazy amount of executions with the guillotine recently. Honestly, that machine scares me, as I’m sure it does to others as well. Just thinking about being under it gives me the shivers. I really hope they will think of a better way of executing someone, as this one sounds plain nasty. I’d rather be hung than to get my head chopped off. Oh well, enough of my ranting, the main thing is that France is changing. For the better or for the worse is still to be told.

French revolution primary source document

Here is my primary source document for the French revolution:
http://chnm.gmu.edu/revolution/d/355/

Now what is this article about? Well it is written by Arthur Young, an Englishman who traveled through France before the revolution and recorded his expiriences . It is significant because it gives us insight into what France was like in those times. In the document, Arthur says that ” I found many in comfortable circumstances, such as might rather be called small farmers than cottagers, and in Basse Bretagne, many are reputed rich, but in general they are poor and miserable, much arising from the minute division of their little farms among all the children. In Lorraine, and the part of Champagne that joins it, they are quite wretched. I have, more than once, seen division carried to such excess, that a single fruit tree, standing in about ten perch of ground, has constituted a farm, and the local situation of a family decided by the possession.” This shows that most farmers in France were quite poor. Arthur also comments ” At Salbris, in Sologne, for a sheep-walk that feeds 700 sheep, and 200 English acres of other land, paid the landlord, for his half, about 331. sterling; the whole rent, for land and stock too, did not, therefore, amount to 1s. per head on the sheep.” This is a prime example of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Now why is this related to me? Well, if you do not know, I’m a farmer, so many of the things that Arthur is talking about applies to me.