01 July 2010

To dare, to dare again and ever to dare!

Yeah, I missed doing this post on the 1st, my bad. In my own defense I am in the middle of moving house and summer school and I... ok, I forgot. Sue me.

Georges Jacques Danton was a French revolutionary who is regarded as one of the most inflammatory public speakers of his time. However, he very rarely wrote his speeches ahead of time and there are very few records of those he did. In 1792 he gave this speech, inciting the French people to war.

To dare again and ever to dare

It is gratifying to the ministers of a free people to have to announce to them that their country will be saved. All are stirred, all are excited, all burn to fight. You know that Verdun is not yet in the power of our enemies. You know that its garrison swears to immolate the first who breathes a proposition of surrender.

One portion of our people will proceed to the frontiers, another will throw up intrenchments, and the third with pikes will defend the hearts of our cities. Paris will second these great efforts. The commissioners of the Commune will solemnly proclaim to the citizens the invitation to arm and march to the defense of the country. At such a moment you can proclaim that the capital deserves well of all France.

At such a moment this National Assembly becomes a veritable committee of war. We ask that you concur with us in directing this sublime movement of the people, by naming commissioners who will second us in these great measures. We ask that any one refusing to give personal service or to furnish arms shall be punished with death. We ask that a set of instructions be drawn up for the citizens to direct their movements. We ask that couriers be sent to all the departments to notify them of the decrees that you proclaim here. The tocsin we are about to ring is not an alarm signal; it sounds the charge on the enemies of our country. To conquer them we must dare, dare again, always dare, and France is saved!

-Georges Danton, 2 September 1792

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