Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Death of Joseph Bara (1883)

Jean-Joseph Weerts: The Death of Joseph Bara

Joseph Bara, also written was a young French republican drummer boy at the time of the Revolution. He was in fact too young to join the army but attached himself to a unit fighting counter revolutionaries in Vendée. After his death General J.-B. Desmarres gave this account, by letter, to the Convention. "Yesterday this courageous youth, surrounded by brigands, chose to perish rather than give them the two horses he was leading." The boy's death was seized on as a propaganda opportunity by Robespierre, who praised him at the Convention's tribune saying that "only the French have thirteen-year-old heroes". But rather than simply being killed by Breton royalists who solely wanted to steal horses, Bara was transformed into a figure who denied the Ancien Régime at the cost of death. His story became that having been trapped by the enemy and being ordered to cry "Vive le Roi" ("Long live the King") to save his own life, he preferred instead to die crying "Vive la République" ("Long live the Republic"). [Wikipedia]

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