Auguste Blanqui’s Defence Speech at the ‘Trial of the Fifteen’ (12 January 1832)

Members of the jury,1

I am accused of having told thirty million French people, proletarians like me, that they had the right to live. If that is a crime, then it seems to me at least that I should only respond to those who are not parties to the very question they are judging. Indeed, gentlemen, please note that the public prosecutor did not appeal to your sense of equity and your reason, but to your passions and your interests. He is not calling for severity in response to a breach of morals and the laws; he seeks only to unleash vengeance against what he presents to you as a threat to your existence and your property. I am thus not standing before judges, but am in the presence of enemies. As a result, there would be no point in defending myself. I have resigned myself to every possible sentence you might pass upon me, while nevertheless vigorously protesting against this substitution of violence for justice, and while trusting in the future to restore force to right. However, if it is my duty, my duty as a proletarian deprived of all the rights of the city, to reject the competence of a court where only the privileged, who are not my peers, can sit, I am convinced that your hearts are elevated and dignified enough to appreciate the role that honour imposes on you in a situation where disarmed adversaries are effectively handed over to you to be slain. As for our role, it is scripted in advance; only the role of accuser is appropriate for the oppressed.

For one must not suppose that men who have momentarily gained power through stealth and fraud can simply, at their whim, drag patriots before their courts and force us to beg mercy for our patriotism by confronting us with the sword. Do not think that we came here to try to clear ourselves of the offences attributed to us! Far from it. We are honoured by this accusation, and it is from this very criminal’s bench, where we have the honour of sitting today, that we will launch our own accusations against the scoundrels who have ruined and dishonoured France, while waiting for the natural order of roles (the roles for which the opposing benches of this courtroom are designed) to be restored, and for accusers and accused to return to their rightful places.

What I want to say will explain why we wrote the lines for which we stand accused by the Crown, and why we will continue to write in the same vein.

The public prosecutor has, so to speak, conjured up in your minds a slave revolt in order to stir up your hatred through fear. ‘You see,’ he says, ‘this is the war of the poor against the rich; it is in the interest of all those who own property to repel the invasion. We bring your enemies before you. Strike them now, before they become any more fearsome!’

Yes, gentlemen, this is the war between rich and poor: the rich wanted it so, for they are the aggressors. And yet they think it wrong that the poor resist. They would readily say, in speaking of the people: ‘This animal is so ferocious that it defends itself when attacked.’ The prosecuting lawyer’s entire diatribe can be summed up in this one sentence.

Proletarians are constantly denounced as thieves prepared to launch themselves on property [propriétés]. Why? Because they complain of being crushed by taxes for the benefit of the privileged few. As for the privileged few, who live comfortably off the backs of the proletariat, they are the legal proprietors who are threatened with pillaging by a greedy rabble. This is not the first time that the executioners act as if they are the victims. So who are these thieves worthy of such anathemas and torment? Thirty million French people who pay a billion and half to the tax department and about an equal amount to the privileged few. Meanwhile the proprietors, whose power must be protected by the whole of society, comprise two or three hundred thousand idlers who calmly devour the billions paid them by the ‘thieves’. It seems to me that is it here, in a new form and between different adversaries, that we discover the war of the feudal barons against the merchants they robbed on the highways.

Indeed, the present government has no base other than this iniquitous distribution of benefits and burdens. It was established in 1814 by the Restoration and in keeping with the demands of the foreign powers, with the aim of enriching an imperceptible minority from the nation’s spoils. One hundred thousand bourgeois form what is called, by a bitter irony, its ‘democratic element’. What, good God, is to become of the other elements?

Paul-Louis Courier2 has already provided posterity with an immortal picture of the way our representative government operates, and has evoked the force of that suction pump that crushes the matter called the people, so as to suck the billions out of them and then pour them continuously into the coffers of a few idlers – a pitiless machine that grinds down twenty-five million peasants and five million workers, one by one, in order to extract their purest blood and transfuse it into the veins of the privileged. The workings of this machine, whose cogs are assembled with amazing artistry, affect the poor every minute of the day, pursuing them in the most basic necessities of their humble lives, taking half of the most meagre of their earnings and the most miserable of their pleasures. And yet it is not enough that so much money travels, through the depths of the tax department, from the pockets of the proletarians to those of the rich; even greater sums are levied directly on the masses by the privileged, by means of the laws that govern industrial and commercial transactions, laws that the privileged have the exclusive right to make.

In order for the landowner to get a high rent for his land, foreign corn is hit by an import duty that increases the price of bread; and you know that a few centimes more or less on a loaf of bread is a matter of life and death for many thousands of workers. The grain law hits the maritime population of the Midi especially hard. To enrich some large manufacturers and forest owners, iron from Germany and Sweden is subject to enormous duties, such that peasants are forced to pay a high price for poorly-made tools, even though they could get excellent ones at a good price. Foreigners in turn take revenge on our prohibitions by forcing French wine out of their markets, which, together with the taxes that weigh on this commodity inside the country, reduces the richest regions of France to destitution, and kills viticulture, this country’s most natural and truly indigenous form of cultivation, that which best promotes the enrichment of the soil and small-scale property. I will not speak about the tax on salt, the lottery, the tobacco monopoly – in a word, this inextricable network of taxes, monopolies, prohibitions, customs duties and city tolls that envelops the proletariat, and that enchains and atrophies its limbs. Suffice it to say that the burden of this mass of taxes is always shared out in such a way as to benefit the rich and to weigh exclusively on the poor, or, rather, so that the idlers can carry out a shameful plundering of the labouring masses.

Plundering is indeed essential. Should there not be a large civil list to defray the cost of the royal family, to console it for the sublime sacrifice it has made of its peace and quiet for the happiness of the country? And, since one of the main things that entitles the younger Bourbons to their hereditary status is their large family, surely the state will not be stingy and refuse the princes their prerogatives or the princesses their dowries. There is also this immense army of those who hold sinecures, of diplomats and civil servants, to whom France, for its own happiness, must pay huge stipends, so that they in turn are wealthy enough to enrich the privileged bourgeoisie – for all the money of those contributing to the budget is spent in the cities, and scarcely a single penny returns to the peasants who contribute five-sixths of the billion and a half livres that are collected.

Likewise, should not this new financial star,3 this nineteenth-century Gil Blas, courtier of and apologist for all the ministries, darling of the Count d’Olivarès and the Duke of Lerme alike, be free to sell high offices for great sums of hard cash? It is essential to oil the large cogs of the representative machine, to richly endow sons, nephews, cousins, and their sisters. And should not all the vermin of the palaces and the salons – the male and female courtesans, the schemers, the croupiers who gamble the honour and future of the country on the stock exchange; the brothel madames, the mistresses, the dealers, the writers bought off by the police who speculate on the fall of Poland – should they not all be gorged on gold? Should one not encourage the fermentation of this manure that so successfully fertilises public opinion?

This is the government that the silver tongues at the ministry present to us as the highest form of social organisation, the encapsulation of all that was good and perfect in the various administrative mechanisms since the Flood. This is what they praise as the ne plus ultra of human perfectibility as far as government is concerned! It is quite simply the theory of corruption pushed to its furthest limits. The strongest proof that this order of things has been established to serve only the exploitation of the poor by the rich, that it has sought no other basis than an ignoble and brutal materialism, is that intelligence has been reduced to slavery. For intelligence is a guarantee of morality, and if inadvertently introduced into such a system morality could only enter it as an infallible element of destruction.

I ask, gentlemen, how men of heart and intelligence, rejected as pariahs by an insipid aristocracy of wealth, could not be profoundly affected by such a cruel affront? How could they remain indifferent to the shame of their country, to the suffering of the proletariat, their brothers in misfortune? Their duty is to summon the masses to smash the yoke of poverty and ignominy. I have carried out this duty, and, regardless of prisons, we will carry it out in full, and defy our enemies. When you have behind you a great people advancing to win their freedom and well-being, you must be willing to throw yourself into the obstructing ditches in order to serve as a fascine and provide a way forward.

The spokesmen of the ministries smugly repeat that avenues are available for proletarians to voice their grievances, and that the law provides them with the regular means through which to advance their interests. This is an insult. The tax department hounds them with its gaping jaws; they must work, work night and day, in order to constantly feed its insatiable hunger. They can consider themselves lucky if some scraps remain for them to stave off the hunger of their children. The people do not write in the newspapers; they do not send petitions to the Chambers: it would be a waste of time. Moreover, all the voices that reverberate in the political sphere – the voices of the salons, those of the boutiques, of the cafés, in short of all the places where so-called public opinion is formed – are the voices of the privileged few. Not one belongs to the people; they are mute; they vegetate far from these high places where their destiny is determined. When, by chance, the tribune or the press lets slip some words of pity about the people’s poverty, silence is quickly imposed in the name of public safety, which forbids touching upon these burning issues, or else cries ring out about anarchy. If a few people persist, prison refutes any clamour that might trouble the ministerial digestion. And then, when there is silence all around, they say: ‘Look now, France is happy, it is peaceful, order reigns!’

But if, in spite of these precautionary measures, the cry of hunger uttered by thousands of poor wretches still reaches privileged ears, then they roar, they exclaim: ‘Force must remain with the law! A nation’s sole passion should be for the law!’ Gentlemen, in your opinion, are all laws good? Have there never been any that horrified you? Do you not know of any that are ridiculous, odious or immoral? Is it possible thus to hide behind an abstract word that refers to a chaos of forty thousand laws, and that equally signifies what is best and what is worst? You respond: ‘If there are bad laws, ask for legal reform; in the meantime, obey.’ This is an even more bitter insult. The laws are made by a hundred thousand voters, applied by a hundred thousand jurors, enforced by a hundred thousand urban national guards – for the rural national guard, which too closely resembles the people, has been disbanded with great care. And these voters, these jurors, these national guardsmen are all the same individuals, and they accumulate the most conflicting roles, finding themselves simultaneously legislators, judges and soldiers, such that the same man who in the morning creates a deputy (that is, the law) also applies this law at midday in his capacity as a juror and carries it out in the evening in the streets while wearing the uniform of the national guard. What do the thirty million proletarians do in the midst of all these manoeuvres? They pay.

The apologists for the representative government have largely based their praise on the system having successfully established the separation of the legislative, judicial and executive powers. They could not find sufficiently enthusiastic expressions of admiration for this marvellous equilibrium that has solved the longstanding problem of reconciling order with freedom, movement with stability. Well! It would seem that it is precisely the representative system, as the apologists describe it, which concentrates the three powers in the hands of a small number of privileged people who are united by the same interests. Does this conflation not constitute the most monstrous of tyrannies, even by its apologists’ own admission?

What, then, is the upshot? The proletarian remains on the outside. The Chambers, elected by the monopolisers of power, continue unperturbed to concoct tax, penal and administrative laws, all with the same aim of despoilment. If the people, crying out their hunger, were to ask the privileged to abdicate their privileges, the monopolists to relinquish their monopolies, and all of them to renounce their idleness, they would be laughed at. What would the nobility have done in 1789 if they had been humbly begged to give up their feudal rights? They would have punished such insolence… So the people went about things in a different way.

The most skilful of this heartless aristocracy, sensing all that threatens them in the despair of a starving multitude, propose to alleviate their misery a little – not out of humanity, God forbid!, but to save itself from the danger. As for political rights, no-one must speak of them. It is simply a matter of throwing the proletarians a bone to gnaw on.

Other men, with kinder intentions, claim that the people are tired of freedom and ask only to live. I am not sure what vague despotic impulses lead them to exalt the example of Napoleon, who knew how to rally the masses by giving them bread in exchange for freedom. This despotic leveller was indeed supported for a time, especially after flattering the passion for equality, for he had the same thieving contractors shot who would today be rewarded with positions as deputies. He fell nevertheless, for having killed freedom. This should serve as a valuable lesson for those who seek to be his heirs.

One cannot respond to the cries of distress of a starving population by repeating the insulting words of Imperial Rome: panem et circenses! Let it be known that the people beg no more! It is not a question of dropping some crumbs from a splendid table to amuse them. The people do not need alms; they aim to secure their own well-being themselves. The people want to make the laws that should govern them, and they will make them. Laws will then no longer be made against them; they will be made for them because they will be made by them. We do not recognise anyone’s right to bestow the kind of extravagant favours that a contrary whim could revoke. We call for the thirty million French people to choose the form of their government and elect through universal suffrage the representatives who will be tasked with making the laws. Once this reform has been accomplished, the taxes that strip the poor for the benefit of the rich will be promptly abolished and replaced by others established on a contrary basis. Instead of taking from the proletarian workers to give to the rich, taxes should seize the idlers’ surplus so as to distribute it among this mass of destitute men, condemned to inactivity by their lack of money; taxes should target unproductive consumers so as to stimulate the sources of production; taxes should facilitate the progressive reduction of the public debt, this bleeding sore of the country; finally taxes must replace the stock exchange’s disastrous swindling with a system of national banks that will offer active men funds for investment. Then, but only then, will taxes be a benefit.

This, gentlemen, is what we mean by the republic, and only this. 1793 is a bogeyman that frightens only door-keepers and domino players. Note, gentlemen, that I deliberately said the words ‘universal suffrage’ in order to show our contempt for certain comparisons. We are all too familiar with the use a hard-pressed government makes of lies, of calumnies, of tales ridiculous or perfidious, so as to restore some credence to the old story it has been peddling for so long, that of an alliance between republicans and Carlists4 – that is, an alliance between the two most contrary forces in the world. This is its last resort, its great resource for finding some support. And invocation of the most stupid of melodramatic conspiracies, of the most odious police farces, does not appear too dangerous a game to the government if this allows it, by threatening France with the Carlism it detests, to divert it a few more days away from the republican paths to which its instinct for salvation leads it.

But who might ever be persuaded of the possibility of this unnatural union? Do the Carlists not have on their hands the blood of our friends who died on the Restoration’s scaffolds? We do not forget our martyrs so easily. Did not the Bourbons foment opposition to the revolutionary spirit represented by the tricolour flag across Europe for twenty-five years, just as they still do today? This flag is not yours, apostles of quasi-legitimacy! It is that of the Republic! It is we, we republicans, who raised it in 1830, without you and in spite of you, you who burned it in 1815; and Europe knows that only a republican France will defend it when the kings return to attack it once again. If there is any natural alliance here, it is between you and the Carlists. For the time being, it is true that you do not both support the same man. They are sticking to their man, who is not here, but you will probably sell yours down the river so as to be more accommodating and to arrive more surely at what you both wish for – not least because doing so will simply return you to your old stomping grounds.

Indeed, the very word ‘Carlists’ is a non-sense; in France there are and can only be royalists and republicans. With each passing day the division between these two principles becomes ever sharper; the good people who had believed in a third principle, a sort of neutral genre called the juste milieu, are slowly but surely abandoning this absurdity, and they will all return to one flag or the other, according to their passion and their interest.

Yet you, you monarchic men, who revive the spirit of monarchy so effortlessly, we know towards which banner your doctrines lead you. It did not take you eighteen months to choose your side. At ten o’clock in the morning on 28 July 1830, having dared to say in the office of a newspaper that I was going to get my rifle and tricolour rosette, one of today’s leading figures exclaimed, full of indignation: ‘Sir, the colours of the tricolour may well be your own but they will never be mine. The white flag is the flag of France.’ Then as now, the coterie of men who control the country is so compact that you could almost squeeze them into a single sofa.5

Well then! We, we who for fifteen years plotted against the white flag, we could only grit our teeth in anger when we saw it flying above the Tuileries Palace and the Hôtel de Ville, where the foreign powers had planted it. The most beautiful day of our lives was the day we dragged the white flag through the mud and trampled upon the white rosette, that wench of the enemy camps. It takes no small amount of impudence to accuse us of being complicit with royalism. And yet, on the other hand, it requires no small amount of tactless hypocrisy to pretend to pity our apparent credulity and foolish bonhomie, which allow, it is claimed, the Carlists to make dupes of us. To say such things is not to add insult to injured enemies. They [the Carlists] claim to be strong, and they have their Vendée; we shall see, whether or not they return to the fray!

In any case, I say again, it will soon be necessary to choose between the monarchical monarchy and the republican republic; we will see whom the majority are for. Still, if the opposition in the Chamber of Deputies, as national as it is, cannot rally the whole country; if it allows the government to accuse it of incompetence and impotence, it is because, even though clearly rejecting royalty, it has not dared to declare itself as for the republic with the same frankness; it is because in saying what it did not want, it did not articulate what it did want. It does not reject the use of the word ‘republic’, with which the men of corruption seek to frighten the nation, knowing full well that the nation wants it almost unanimously. For forty years now, and with extraordinary success, history has been distorted so as to instil fear. But the last eighteen months have disabused many people of many errors, and dispelled many lies, and the people will not allow themselves to be deceived for much longer. They want both freedom and well-being. It is slanderous to portray them as prepared to exchange all their freedoms for a piece of bread: we must cast this imputation back at those cynical political atheists [athées politiques] who threw it. Is it not the people who, in every crisis, have shown themselves as ready to sacrifice their welfare and their lives for moral interests? Was it not the people who asked to die in 1814, rather than seeing foreign invaders in Paris? And yet what material need pushed them to this act of devotion? They had bread on 1 April just as they did on 30 March.6

One might have assumed, by contrast, that our privileged few would be easily roused by grand ideas of country and honour as a result of the exquisite sensitivity they acquire through opulence, and would at least have foreseen better than others the disastrous consequences of that foreign invasion. And yet was it not in fact they who wore the white rosette before the enemy and who kissed the boots of the Cossack? What! Classes that applauded at the country’s dishonour, that openly profess a most disgusting materialism, that would sacrifice a thousand years of freedom, prosperity and glory for a three-day ceasefire bought by infamy – these classes are to have in their hands exclusive custody of our national dignity! Since they are rendered bestial by corruption, in the people they recognise only the appetites of beasts, and thereby arrogate to themselves the right to distribute whatever food is necessary to sustain the animal vegetation that they exploit!

Neither is it hunger that pushed the proletarians into our public squares in July. They were motivated by feelings of the highest morality: the desire to redeem themselves from servitude by performing a great service to the country, and above all, by hatred of the Bourbons! For the people never recognised the Bourbons. Their hatred has smouldered for fifteen years. They waited in silence for the chance to take revenge. And, when their mighty hand smashed the Bourbon yoke, they believed that they had also torn up the treaties of 1815. For the people are a greater politician than the statesmen; their instinct told them that a nation does not have a future so long as its past is burdened with a shame of which it has not been cleansed.

And so, to war! A war not to resume the absurd conquests of the past, but to end the political exclusion of France and to return its honour, the first condition of prosperity. A war in order to prove to the nations of Europe, our sisters, that far from bearing a grudge against them for the error that led them to invade France in 1814 and which was to be fatal for us and them, we know how to avenge both them and us by punishing deceitful kings and by bringing peace and freedom to our neighbours! This is what the thirty million French people who enthusiastically greeted the new era wanted.

This is what should have emerged from the July revolution of 1830. It came to serve as a complement to our forty revolutionary years. Under the Republic [of 1792], the people had won freedom at the price of famine; the Empire [of 1804-15] gave them a kind of well-being while stripping them of their freedom. The two regimes both knew how to gloriously enhance our dignity abroad, this first requirement for a great nation. All of this perished in 1815, and the foreigner’s victory lasted fifteen years. What, then, was the battle of July, if not revenge for this long defeat, and a renewal of what binds our nation together? And since every revolution is a step forward, should not this one have guaranteed us the full enjoyment of those gains which until then we had only partially secured, and finally returned to us all that we had lost with the Restoration?

Freedom! Well-Being! Dignity abroad! Such was the motto inscribed on the plebeian flag of 1830. Our doctrinaire opponents read instead: uphold all privileges! The Charter of 1814! Quasi-legitimacy! As a result, they gave the people servitude and misery within, infamy without. So did the proletariat fight simply to change the face on the coins that they so seldom see? Are we so very curious about new medals, that we overturned thrones just in order to indulge such a passing fancy?

This is certainly the opinion of a ministerial propagandist who claims that in July we persisted in wanting constitutional monarchy, with Louis-Philippe taking the place of Charles X. The people, according to him, fought only as an instrument of the middle classes; that is to say that the proletarians are gladiators who kill and are killed for the amusement and benefit of the privileged, who applaud from their balconies…. – once the battle has ended, of course.

The pamphlet containing these fine theories on our representative government appeared on 20 November [1831]; Lyon responded on the 21st.7 The response of the people of Lyon was so resolute and decisive that nobody mentioned the propagandist’s work again.

What an abyss the events of Lyon have just exposed before our very eyes! The whole country was moved to pity at the sight of this army of ghosts, half consumed by hunger, running headlong into grapeshot so that at least they could die right away.

And it is not only in Lyon; workers are dying everywhere, crushed by taxes. These men who were not long ago so proud of a victory that linked their arrival on the political stage to the triumph of freedom, who required the whole of Europe as the stage of regeneration are now fighting hunger, a hunger that does not leave them enough strength to protest against all this new dishonour being added to the dishonour of the Restoration. Even Poland’s death-cries could not distract them from the contemplation of their own miseries, and they withheld what remained of their tears for themselves and their children. Imagine the kind of suffering required to make them forget the exterminated Poles so quickly!

This is the France of July such as the doctrinaires have made it. Who would have thought it! In those intoxicating days, as we wandered without thinking, with our rifles on our shoulders, through barricades and streets whose paving stones had been torn up, dazed by our triumph, our chests puffed up with happiness, dreaming, as the distant roar of our Marseillaise reached their ears, of the pallid reaction of kings and the joy of peoples – who would have ever said that such joy and glory would turn into such mourning! Seeing these great workers, six-foot tall, whose rags the bourgeoisie willingly kissed as they came trembling from their cellars, and whose selflessness and courage they evoked with sobs of admiration – who would have thought that they would die of poverty on these streets, streets they themselves had conquered, and that their former admirers would now call them the scourge of society!

Magnanimous shades! Glorious workers, whose dying hands I grasped in a final farewell on the battlefield, whose dying faces I covered with rags, you died happy in the midst of a victory which should have redeemed your race. And yet, six months later, I found your children in the depths of our dungeons, and each evening I fell asleep on my pallet to the sound of their moaning, to the curses of their torturers, and to the whistling of the whip that silenced their cries.

Gentlemen, is there not some imprudence in these insults cast at men who have tried their strength, and who find themselves in worse conditions than those that drove them to battle? Is it wise to teach the people, in such bitter fashion, that they were the dupe of their own moderation in victory? Can you be sure that the proletarians’ clemency will no longer be needed, that you can safely risk finding them pitiless? It seems that the only precaution taken against popular vengeance is to exaggerate the picture in advance, as if this exaggeration, these imaginary scenes of murder and plunder, were the only means to avert the reality. It is easy to point the bayonet at the chests of men who surrendered their arms after victory.

What will be less easy is to erase the memory of this victory. Almost eighteen months have been spent rebuilding piece by piece what was toppled in forty-eight hours, and these eighteen months of reaction have done nothing to undermine the work of three days. No human force can reduce to nothing what was achieved. Ask those who complained of an effect without a cause if they believe there can be causes without effects. France conceived new offspring in the bloody embrace of its six thousand heroes; the childbirth may be long and painful but the wombs are robust, and the poisonous doctrinaires will not succeed in aborting it.

You confiscated the rifles of July. Yes, but the bullets have been fired. Each of the bullets fired by the Parisian workers is now making its way around the world. They strike without ceasing, and they will continue to strike until not a single enemy of freedom and the happiness of the people is left standing.

  1.  Source: MF, 62-79, first published as Défense d’Auguste Blanqui au procès des Quinze (Paris: La Société des Amis du Peuple, 1832). In July 1831 Blanqui was arrested and charged, along with fourteen other members of the Société des Amis du Peuple (including François-Vincent Raspail, Antony Thouret, and Aloysius Huber) for plotting against the state, and for press violations. ‘Le Procès des Quinze’ (the trial of the fifteen) took place on 10-12 January 1832, at the Cour d’Assises. Although acquitted by the jury for the press offences, the magistrate convicted Blanqui for seditious remarks made during the trial. He was sentenced to a year in prison.
  2.  Cf. Paul-Louis Courier, ‘Pièce diplomatique’ (1823) in Œuvres complètes de P.-L. Courier: Tome Premier (Paris: A. Sautelet, 1830), 365-72.
  3.  As Le Nuz notes (MF, 66), it is not clear whom Blanqui is referring to here.
  4. Supporters of the ‘legitimate’ Bourbon king Charles X (the former Comte d’Artois), i.e. ultra-monarchists.
  5.  ‘Alors comme à présent, ces messieurs faisaient tenir la France sur un canapé’. As Littré notes, during the Restoration, the term le canapé served as a derogatory name for the Doctrinaires, since ‘on disait qu’ils formaient une coterie si peu nombreuse qu’elle tenait sur un canapé’.
  6. Paris capitulated on the last day of March 1814.
  7.  The pamphlet Blanqui is evoking here is probably the anonymous text by E.R., Que nous faut-il encore? Et qu’avons-nous à craindre? Questions d’évidence (Paris: Delaunay, 20 November 1831), which questioned the people’s right to insurrection and thus sought to discredit the July days of 1830. On 21 November 1831 the canuts (silk weavers) of Lyon rose up in a major revolt following a dispute over wages and price controls; a couple of days later, after a pitched battle, with hundreds of casualties on both sides, they took control of the city. Thousands of government troops were sent in on 3 December, and after scores of workers were arrested the remainder went back to work.