FESTIVAL OF THE SUPREME BEING -
PARIS, JUNE 8, 1794
Captured by Pierre-Antoine Demachy
Festival of the Supreme Being
Go here for more about
Maximilien de Robespierre.
Go here for more about
the Festival of the Supreme Being.
It follows the English
translation of the full text transcript of
Maximilien de Robespierre's two speeches on
occasion of the Festival of the Supreme Being, delivered in
the Tuileries Gardens, Paris, France - June 8, 1794.
Go here for the original
First Speech of
happy day, which the French people have
consecrated to the Supreme Being has finally
arrived. Never has the world which He created
offered to Him a spectacle so worthy of His
notice. He has seen tyranny, crime, and
imposture reign on earth. At this moment, He
sees an entire nation, grappling with all the
oppressors of the human race, suspend the course
of its heroic efforts to raise its thoughts and
vows toward the Great Being who has given it the
mission to undertake these efforts and the
strength to accomplish it.
Is it not He whose immortal hand, by engraving
in the hearts of man the code of justice and
equality, has written there the death sentence
of tyrants? Is it not He who, from the beginning
of time, decreed for all the ages and for all
peoples liberty, good faith, and justice?
He did not create kings to devour the human
race. He did not create priests to harness us
like brute beasts to the carriages of kings, and
to give the world examples of baseness, pride,
perfidy, avarice, debauchery, and falsehood. He
created the universe to proclaim His power. He
created men to help each other, to love each
other, and to attain happiness by way of virtue.
It is He who implanted in the breast of the
triumphant oppressor remorse and terror, and in
the heart of the oppressed and innocent calmness
and fortitude. It is He who impels the just man
to hate the evil one, and the evil man to
respect the just one. It is He who adorns with
modesty the brow of beauty, to make it yet more
beautiful. It is He who makes the mother's heart
beat with tenderness and joy. It is He who
bathes with delicious tears the eyes of the son
pressed to the bosom of his mother. It is He who
silences the most imperious and tender passions
before the sublime love of the fatherland. It is
He who has covered nature with charms, riches,
and majesty. All that is good is His work, or is
Himself. Evil belongs to the depraved man who
oppresses his fellow man or suffers him to be
The Author of Nature has bound all mortals by a
boundless chain of love and happiness. Perish
the tyrants who have dared to break it!
Republican Frenchmen, it is yours to purify the
earth which they have soiled, and to recall to
it the justice that they have banished! Liberty
and virtue together came from the breast of
Divinity. Neither can abide with mankind without
O generous People, would you triumph over all
your enemies? Practice justice, and render the
Divinity the only worship worthy of Him. O
People, let us deliver ourselves today, under
His auspices, to the just transports of a pure
festivity. Tomorrow we shall return to the
combat with vices and tyrants. We shall give to
the world the example of republican virtues. And
that will be honor Him still.
Second Speech of
The monster which the genius of kings had
vomited over France has gone back into
nothingness. May all the crimes and all the
misfortunes of the world disappear with! Armed
in turn with the daggers of fanaticism and the
poisons of atheism, kings have always conspired
to assassinate humanity. If they are able no
longer to disfigure Divinity by superstition, to
associate it with their crimes, they try to
banish it from the earth, so that they may reign
there alone with crime.
O People, fear no more their sacrilegious plots!
They can no more snatch the world from the
breast of its Author than remorse from their own
hearts. Unfortunate ones, uplift your eyes
toward heaven! Heroes of the fatherland, your
generous devotion is not a brilliant madness. If
the satellites of tyranny can assassinate you,
it is not in their power entirely to destroy
you. Man, whoever you are, you can still
conceive high thoughts for yourself. You can
bind your fleeting life to God, and to
immortality. Let nature seize all her splendor,
and wisdom all her empire! The Supreme Being has
not been annihilated.
It is wisdom above all that our guilty enemies
would drive from the republic. To wisdom alone
it is given to strengthen the prosperity of
empires. It is for her to guarantee to us the
rewards of our courage. Let us be grave and
discreet in all our deliberations, as men who
are providing for the interests of the world.
Let us be ardent and obstinate in our anger
against conspiring tyrants, imperturbable in
dangers, patient in labors, terrible in striking
back, modest and vigilant in successes. Let us
be generous toward the good, compassionate with
the unfortunate, inexorable with the evil, just
toward every one. Let us not count on an unmixed
prosperity, and on triumphs without attacks, nor
on all that depends on fortune or the perversity
of others. Sole, but infallible guarantors of
our character, even more than by the strength of
Frenchmen, you war against kings; you are
therefore worthy to honor Divinity. Being of
Beings, Author of Nature, the brutalized slave,
the vile instrument of despotism, the perfidious
and cruel aristocrat, outrages You by his very
invocation of Your name. But the defenders of
liberty can give themselves up to You, and rest
with confidence upon Your paternal bosom.
Being of Beings, we need not offer to You unjust
You know Your creatures, proceeding from Your
hands. Their needs do not escape Your notice,
more than their secret thoughts.
Hatred of bad faith and tyranny burns in our
hearts, with love of justice and the fatherland.
Our blood flows for the cause of humanity.
Behold our prayer. Behold our sacrifices. Behold
the worship we offer You.