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Robespierre’s Annotated Copy of Constitution At Auction

May 17, 1989

PARIS (AP) _ The revolutionary leader Robespierre’s own draft of France’s first constitution goes on the auction block next month along with other documents from the bloody events of 200 years ago.

The 57-page manuscript, to be sold June 12 by Paris auctioneer Jacques Tajan, contains countless annotations in Maximilien Robespierre’s own hand on various aspects of the first constitution prepared in 1791 by the National Assembly.

Bound in fine red Moroccan leather, its value is estimated at $66,000.

The sale also features documents from the King Luois XVI’s trial and a letter written on Oct. 10, 1789, by Queen Marie Antoinette to the Austrian ambassador in Paris describing her departure from the palace at Versailles four days earlier.

″Despite all the nasty things that people continue to do to me, I am well,″ the queen wrote to Mecy-Argenteau, her close friend and confident.

The letter is estimated at about $10,000.

Known as the ″Incorruptible,″ Robespierre was responsible for sending some 17,000 people to the guillotine during the year-long Reign of Terror, which climaxed with his own beheading in 1794.

The notes show he was obsessed with power. He believed in a strong central authority and was against the creation of a legislative branch composed of representatives elected by the people for brief periods of time.

His notes also condemn the National Assembly’s plan to limit the vote to those paying taxes worth three days’ work.

″Wealth corrupts more than poverty,″ Robespierre wrote in the margin of the text. ″Millionaires are the ones who should be excluded″ from voting.

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