Front Page Titles (by Subject) PREFACE - The French Revolution, vol. 1
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PREFACE - Hippolyte Taine, The French Revolution, vol. 1 
The French Revolution, 3 vols., trans. John Durand, (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2002). Vol. 1.
Part of: The French Revolution, 3 vols.
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This second part of “Les Origines de la France Contemporaine” will consist of two volumes.—Popular insurrections and the laws of the Constituent Assembly end in destroying all government in France; this forms the subject of the present volume.—A party arises around an extreme doctrine, gets possession of the power, and exercises it in conformity with that doctrine; this will form the subject of the second volume.
A third volume would be required to criticize authorities. For this I have no room, and I merely state the rule that I have observed. The most trustworthy testimony is that of the eye-witness, especially when this witness is an honourable, attentive, and intelligent man, writing on the spot, at the moment, and under the dictation of the facts themselves—if it is manifest that his sole object is to preserve or furnish information, if his work is not a piece of polemics planned for the needs of a cause, or a passage of eloquence arranged for popular effect, but a legal deposition, a secret report, a confidential dispatch, a private letter, or a personal memento. The nearer a document approaches this type, the more it merits confidence, and supplies superior materials.—I have found many of this character in the national archives, principally in the manuscript correspondence of ministers, intendants, subdelegates, magistrates, and other functionaries; of military commanders, officers in the army, and gendarmerie; of royal commissioners, and of the Assembly; of administrators of departments, districts, and municipalities, besides persons in private life who address the King, the National Assembly, or the ministry. Among these are men of every rank, profession, education, and party. They are distributed by hundreds and thousands over the whole surface of the territory. They write apart, without being able to consult each other, and without even knowing each other. No one is so well placed for collecting and transmitting accurate information. None of them seek literary effect, or even imagine that what they write will ever be published. They draw up their statements at once, under the direct impression of local events. Testimony of this character, of the highest order, and at first hand, provides the means by which all other testimony ought to be verified. The foot notes at the bottom of the pages indicate the condition, office, name, and dwelling-place of those decisive witnesses. For greater certainty I have transcribed as often as possible their own words. In this way the reader, confronting the texts, can interpret them for himself, and form his own opinions; he will have the same documents as myself for arriving at his conclusions, and, if he is pleased to do so, he will conclude otherwise. As for allusions, if he finds any, he himself will have introduced them, and if he applies them he is alone responsible for them. To my mind, the past has features of its own, and the portrait here presented resembles only the France of the past. I have drawn it without concerning myself with the discussions of the day; I have written as if my subject were the revolutions of Florence or Athens. This is history, and nothing more, and, if I may fully express myself, I esteem my vocation of historian too highly to make a cloak of it for the concealment of another.