This page provides a full set of scans of Blanqui’s manuscripts held by Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, which the library has kindly provided, at the highest resolution they offer. Readers should bear in mind that Blanqui’s handwriting is often extremely small and faint, and some of the original manuscripts can be difficult to decipher even with a magnifying glass; for the sake of illustration some higher resolution photographs of a few sample manuscript pages are posted here. For a relatively detailed list of the contents of each manuscript volume, please consult the inventory prepared by Maurice Paz (1972).
This volume consists simply of a rough, hand-written listing of the contents of the original folders that contained Blanqui’s papers, which were bequeathed to his friend Ernest Granger. It contains no details regarding the documents themselves. It is dated 7 March 1899. 36 folio pages.
Like NAF 9578, this volume consists solely listing of a bare-bones ‘Catalogue of the papers bequeathed by Auguste Blanqui to Ernest Granger’ (tome II, liasses IX à XV), and is dated 27 March 1899. 30 folio pages.
This volume contains copies that Blanqui made of many important documents, usually written in faint and minuscule script, on both sides of semi-translucent paper; it is by far the most difficult volume to decipher, and can only be properly read in the original, with a magnifying glass. Even then it is often difficult to make out. Its (deliberately?) jumbled contents include texts relating to the quarrel with Barbès and the Taschereau document, the trials in Blois (1847) and Bourges (1849), speeches given in 1848, notes on Robespierre, and a mix of letters and texts written in the mid to late 1850s.
This volume contains an assortment of statements and texts from 1848 and 1850, including critical notes on Robespierre (ff. 77 to 103). It also includes texts relating to a failed escape attempt from the prison on Belle-Isle in 1853, a version of the letter to Maillard (2 June 1852), some letters from 1857 and 1852, materials relating to the trial in Blois (April 1846), and some texts relating to the Taschereau affair and the rivalry with Barbès. 380 folio pages.
This volume contains texts from 1848 to 1850, including reflections on the failure of the 1848 revolution, the Taschereau document, letters to friends and allies, and a brief autobiographical account of Blanqui’s youth (f. 156 ff).
This volume is composed of relatively clean and legible copies of texts that can be found, in a more or less polished state, in other volumes. Most of the first half of this volume consists of documents from 1849 and 1850, and includes discussions of Catholicism, of education, of the need for a free press, of the failures of 1848 and the rise of Napoleon III. There are also documents relating to the Bourges trial of 1849, a version of the critical notes on Robespierre, and a wide range of both political and personal letters from the late 1840s and from the 1850s.
Although written in a faint and cramped hand, this volume is composed of clean, carefully written copies of documents, most of which also appear in other volumes. It includes texts relating to the trials of 1847 and 1849, various political letters, political analyses of the early 1850s, other texts written in prison at Belle-Ile in 1852-53, letters from 1858-60, and letters written 1849-50.
This volume appears to consist of final copies of various texts, some of which may have been re-written by a secretary. It includes copies of Blanqui’s most high-profile interventions of 1848-1851, including the toasts or speeches he prepared for meetings in December 1848 and January 1851, reflections on revolutionary violence, on the centrality of Paris, copies of texts planned for the unpublished second issue of the Libérateur (March 1834), on socialism, the attempted escape from Belle-Ile (April 1853), the Taschereau document, Blanqui’s brief autobiographical sketch (ff. 225-242), a set of important texts and speeches from the spring of 1848 (ff. 304-328), copies of letters from 1850-52, and notes from the trials of Blois and Bourges.
Most of this volume is made up of manuscripts (of varying degrees of legibility) of Blanqui’s book L’Éternité par les astres, and ends (ff. 531-576) with a copy of the published edition of 1872.
Most of this volume consists of texts relating to the trial of 1861, and Blanqui’s defence against charges of conspiracy and of being a member of a secret society. It includes transcriptions of the court proceedings and of Blanqui’s failed appeal to the Cour de Cassation, and a copy of the police report on Blanqui from 1860-61 (ff. 357-365).
The first third of this volume consists of biographical studies of a range of figures, written in the 1860s in collaboration with some of Blanqui’s friends (Tridon, Protot, Jaclard, and Losson). There are biographies here of the politician Émile Ollivier, Léonor-Joseph Havin (editor of Le Siècle), Hyppolite Carnot (minister of education in 1848), and the writer and politician Eugène Pelletan. More finished versions of these texts are collected in NAF 9590(2). The remainder of the volume consists of jottings in small notebooks of the 1860s, various letters, and discussions of extracts of the press. It ends with documents relating to Blanqui’s publications of 1871 (Un Dernier Mot) and late 1880 (Ni Dieu Ni Maître).
Most of this volume is made up of late letters to Blanqui, from relatives, friends, allies, political figures, journalists, from the years 1879 and 1880.
This volume consists of papers from 1879 and 1880, relating to Blanqui’s electoral campaign in Bordeaux (1879), and letters to and from a wide range of correspondents. It includes a partial catalogue of Blanqui’s papers, prepared in his own hand (ff. 546-565). The volume ends with a stack of subscription forms for the journal Blanqui had hoped to launch in 1869, La Renaissance.
This volume consists mostly of papers from 1866, and includes letters and documents relating to the arrest of Blanqui’s supporters in November 1866, the subsequent trial of Gustave Tridon and the defence that Blanqui helped to prepare.
A compilation of manuscripts from the mid to late 1860s, some of which are rough and preliminary, some of which were posthumously published in Critique Sociale (1885). There are commentaries on political figures like Lassalle, Proudhon, Mazzini, and Jules Favre, discussion of articles in the press, critical notes on Comte and positivism (ff. 60-6), the need for universal education, critiques of religion and spiritualism, a misogynist diatribe against women as victims of Catholicism and as hostile to new ideas (ff. 283-4), notes on ‘Capital and Labour’, on usury and its defenders, on ‘Communism, the future of society’ (f. 361ff); the volume ends with notations on articles published in the press 1868-70, and documents relating to the Lausanne conference of the International Workingmen’s Association (1867).
The first half of this large volume consists of more finished versions of the biographical studies drafted in papers collected in NAF 9587, along with some additional texts. There are brief texts on Émile Ollivier, Victor Ambroise Lanjuinais, Eugène Pelletan, and Hyppolite Carnot. The second half of the volume is made up of letters to friends and allies, including Tridon and Blanqui’s network of supporters in Paris, from the mid to late 1860s, followed by copies of letters from Belle-Ile (1852-55). The volume also includes a draft of Blanqui’s preface to Tridon’s book Les Hébertistes (ff. 437-447), an assortment of texts from and about 1848, and commentaries on extracts from the press from the 1860s. It includes manuscript drafts of many of Blanqui’s contributions to Candide (ff. 483-551), and ends with recollections of Blanqui’s imprisonment in 1848, and transcriptions of press coverage of events in 1849.
A rather random assortment of texts, including documents relating to the arrests of Blanqui’s supporters in November 1866 and the subsequent trial; texts from 1848-49; Blanqui’s response to the Taschereau document of April 1848 (ff. 177-194); texts relating to the trial of 1861; the ‘Report’ of 2 February 1832, in what Paz identifies as its original version (ff. 314-28), and an assortment of jotting and notes on articles in the press, mainly from the 1860s.
Another eclectic mix of texts from a wide range of periods, including letters from 1879, texts relating to the attempted launch of La Renaissance, the trial of 1866, letters and notes from the mid 1860s, and commentaries on the press from the mid to late 1860s.
Along with notes on the press from 1869, this important volume includes preliminary drafts of the Instruction pour une prise d’armes, and a long, rather digressive draft of a text entitled ‘Athéisme et spiritualisme’ (dated 4 November 1868, ff. 87-132) part of which was later published in Ni Dieu Ni Maître, in December 1880; this text ends with a rambling misogynist attack on women as both the primary victims and ‘most loyal supporters’ of Christianity, and thus as enemies of the revolution, of justice, and of progress. The volume also includes critical notes on positivism (ff. 132-178), two drafts of the article ‘Fatal, Fatalisme, Fatalité’ (ff. 179-238 and ff. 239-302), a critique of federalism and decentralisation as ‘an aristocratic hypocrisy’ (f. 497ff.), a critique of power (‘it is important to hate power [la puissance]…’, f. 511), and further notes on free will (f. 523), as well as some scattered notes on the press, from the spring of 1879.
This volume is composed of letters to Blanqui, from his sisters and various friends, notably from Tridon (1863 to 1868), and from Watteau (1863 to 1866).
An eclectic collection of texts from all phases of Blanqui’s revolutionary career, including his most important texts from the early 1830s, and from 1848, through to a discussion astronomy and zodiacal light written in January 1872 and texts from the electoral campaign of 1879. There is a critique of Catholicism’s prosecution of witchcraft (ff. 100-135), an affirmation of materialism and atheism, another critique of free will (libre arbitre, f. 77 ff.), a critique of the English model of ‘democracy’ (f. 276ff), and an assortment of further critical reflections on religion (f. 329ff).
Most of this volume is a relatively coherent collection of texts written in prison in the 1870s, including early drafts of Blanqui’s critique of professional standing armies and letters reflecting on the early years of the Third Republic, and then relating to his campaigns of 1879-80 (see the relatively full summary in Paz’s Inventaire, pp. 28-32). The volume also includes copies of documents relating to the Taschereau affair of 1848 (ff. 408-427), and extracts from the press clipped and retained by Blanqui.
This volume begins with a draft version of ‘Capital et travail’ dated January 1870 (published as part of Critique sociale ), and includes notes on the press from 1871-72, and then a substantial compilation of newspaper clippings relating to Blanqui’s trial of February 1872 (f. 83-213). It continues with a relatively coherent series of letters and documents from 1865-66, and reflections on the press and on the growing network of Blanqui’s supporters, written in 1867, and then continuing on with letters by and to Blanqui, from 1868-69 (Paz’s Inventaire includes lengthy extracts, pp. 32-43).
The last four volumes in this series consist of collections of printed newspapers. The first 65 pages of this volume consist of an incomplete collection of editions of La Patrie en Danger, from the autumn of 1870. It also includes a number of editions of the weekly paper La Rive Gauche (1864-65), and of Blanqui’s own Candide (May 1865).
A collection of newspapers, including in particular issues of Le Réveil (1870), La Défense Nationale (1870), Le Prolétaire (1879), Le XIX Siècle (1879), Le National (1879), La Marseillaise (1879).
A collection of newspapers: La Tribune du Peuple (1866), La Morale Indépendante (1865), La Marseillaise (1879).
A final collection of newspapers, including issues of Le Libre Examen (1866), La Victoire de la Démocratie (1879), La République Française (1872).