"Relinquish[ing] all former connections": British radical emigration to early republican Paris
- Číslo 57 
PublisherUniverzita Karlova, Filozofická fakulta
SourceLitteraria Pragensia, 2019, 57, 11-28
KeywordsKeywords not found
This article investigates British emigrant experience in early republican Paris by examining the associational culture forged in expatriate gatherings at White’s Hotel over the course of late 1792 and early 1793 and perpetuated during the collective persecution and incarceration that followed the outbreak of war. It argues that departures to Paris were prompted by the climate of repression in Britain, yet were also the result of other factors such as the commercial and editorial opportunities afforded British emigrants in the French capital, deep sympathy with French revolutionary politics and a broad sense of estrangement from British political culture. The article considers the centrality of first-hand witnessing and local political activism in shaping emigrants’ opinions of the Revolution and focuses on the crucial importance of collective action and solidarity between fellow emigrants once their continued presence in Paris began to be questioned. To regard the British emigrants as moderates, the article argues, is to drastically underestimate the degree of support they showed for radical initiatives in France, notably the drive towards greater popular involvement in law-making. Despite the diversity of political attitudes towards the ongoing Revolution harboured by British onlookers, many emigrants showed sustained commitment to the republican experiment during the years of emergency rule and shared a determination to correct the errors they believed were being disseminated by a hostile British press.