Newspaper account of the outbreak of the French Revolution


The opening shots of the French Revolution in 1789 were treated with a mixture of horror and optimism in Britain. The downfall of the absolute monarchy in France was initially welcomed by some political figures. Some like Edmund Burke believed that a wave of reform would sweep across Europe, with long-overdue political reform in Britain following in its wake.

Burke later revised his attitudes to the revolution, however, claiming that the stability of the British constitution and her hard-won libertarian principles represented a more stable bedrock on which parliamentary reform should be built. Burke’s rejection of the bloodshed in France was later published in his Reflections on the Revolution in France which sparked a fierce debate during the 1790s regarding the outcome of the Reign of Terror across the channel. Though many political groups continued to take inspiration from the actions of the sans-culottes, others like Burke predicted chaos and turmoil should Britain follow a similar revolutionary route. Such responses resulted in strict measures imposed by Prime Minister William Pitt in the 1790s, designed to stem any criticism of the government and to curb the activities of political radicals.

Full title:
Paris. (By Express on Saturday Evening.)'
July 1789
Newspaper / Ephemera
The World
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library
17th-18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers

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