Lucile Desmoulins

Anne-Lucile-Philippe Desmoulins, née Laridon-Duplessis (18 January 1770 in Paris 13 April 1794) was the wife of the French revolutionary and journalist Camille Desmoulins.


She was the daughter of Claude-Etienne Laridon-Duplessis, an official of the French Treasury, and Anne-Françoise-Marie Boisdeveix. Her sister, Adèle Duplessis, was briefly engaged to Maximilien Robespierre.

Though she would eventually marry Camille Desmoulins, the two first met when she was much younger and he was an admirer of her mother. She was headstrong and when she fell in love with Camille, ten years her senior, her father refused the marriage. In one of her journals, Lucile talks about what happened on Bastille Day.[2]

"August 9th, 1792. What will become of us? I can endure no more. Camille, O my poor Camille, what will become of you? O God, if it be true that thou hast existence, save the men who are worthy of Thee. We want to be free. O God, the cost of it! As a climax to my misery, courage abandons me."[3]

Her father finally agreed to allow Camille to marry her on December 29, 1790, at the Church of Saint Sulpice in Paris. Signatories to their marriage included Jérôme Pétion de Villeneuve, Jacques Pierre Brissot, and Maximilien Robespierre. The Desmoulins's only child, Horace Camille, was born July 6, 1792.

On April 5, 1794, Lucile Desmoulins was arrested on charges that she had conspired to free her husband (then imprisoned in the Luxembourg while on trial with Georges Danton) and for plotting the ruin of the republic.[4] Camille Desmoulins was executed on the same day Lucile was arrested, and Lucile followed him to the guillotine on April 13, 1794. She is reported to have remarked, while awaiting her execution, "They have assassinated the best of men. If I did not hate them for that, I should bless them for the service they have done me this day."[5]

Following the deaths of his parents, Horace Camille Desmoulins was raised by Lucile's mother and sister. He migrated to Haiti in 1817, married and had four children, and died there in 1825.[6]


Lucile Desmoulins is the heroine of Georg Büchner's play Danton's Death.

She appears prominently in A Place of Greater Safety (1993) by Hilary Mantel.

Lucile Desmoulins has been played in movies by:

She is the subject of the fourth movement of composer Kate Soper's piece "Voices from the Killing Jar", 2012.[7]


  1. Guillotine, Madame (2011-03-08). "International Women's Day – Lucile Desmoulins". Madame Guillotine. Archived from the original on 2016-12-20. Retrieved 2016-12-12.
  2. ", From the journal of Lucile Desmoulins, wife of the..." bunniesandbeheadings. Retrieved 2016-12-12.
  3. "Desmoulins, Lucie Simplice Camille Benois". Encyclopædia Britannica. 1911. Retrieved 2018-04-13.
  4. Mallock, Daniel (2016-02-02). Agony and Eloquence: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and a World of Revolution. Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. ISBN 9781634508322.
  5. "entry for Horace Desmoulins". Retrieved 2019-05-31.

Further reading

  • Claretie, Jules. Camille Desmoulins and His Wife: Passages from the History of the Dantonists. London: Smith, Elder, & Co., 1876.
  • Methley, Violet. Camille Desmoulins: A Biography. New York: E.P. Dutton & Co., 1915.
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