Droits de l'homme, en réponse à l'attaque de M. Burke sur la Révolution françoise, par Thomas Paine: Traduit de l'anglais par F.S. Avec des notes et une nouvelle préface de l'auteur
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- Droits de l'homme, en réponse à l'attaque de M. Burke sur la Révolution françoise, par Thomas Paine: Traduit de l'anglais par F.S. Avec des notes et une nouvelle préface de l'auteur translation
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- Droits de l'homme, en réponse à l'attaque de M. Burke sur la Révolution françoise, par Thomas Paine: Traduit de l'anglais par F.S. Avec des notes et une nouvelle préface de l'auteur paratext
Paine wrote a new 6pp preface for the French edition, which included a retranslation back into French of the 'Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen', which Paine lifted from the version found in the appendix of Richard Price's 'A Discourse on the Love of Our Country' (Nov 1789).
Soulès’ translation had been arranged by Jean-Pierre Brissot and François-Xavier Lanthenas as part of the Cercle Social's strategy during the spring of 1791 to influence the debates on reforms to the French constitution. Soulès, who had lived in UK, where he met future president John Adams and Arthur Young, was a professional translator contracted to Buisson.
In two footnotes, Soulès challenges Paine's account of the events of the 1 October 1789 banquet in which a tricolor cockade was allegedly trampled underfoot by royal bodyguards [p.47]. This formed part of a much longer historical account, which had been provided (unacknowledged) by Lafayette. He also defends the queen against the attacks on her reputation [pp.119-20], backing up Paine's point that it was she who helped support the American cause in the French court.
Lafayette himself dismissed the translation in a letter to President George Washington as hasty and “rather indifferent”. Extracts were serialized in Brissot's Le Patriote français #687 (26 June 1791) and Camille Desmoulins' Revolutions de France #84 (June 1791).
Surviving correspondence reveals that Joseph-Pascal Parraud, a translator of travelogues, was originally considered for the translation, as was Griffet de Labaume. However, the latter was encouraged to translate Paine's 'Common Sense' instead, being considered suspect by some Cercle Social members for having fraternized with liberal aristocrats during his time as the duc de La Rochefoucauld-Enville’s secretary.
For more on the history of the text and its translation, see Gregory Claeys, ed., 'Thomas Paine: Rights of Man' (1992), J.C.D. Clark, 'Thomas Paine. Britain, American and France in the Age of Enlightenment and Revolution' (2018) and Carine Lounissi, 'Thomas Paine and the French Revolution' (2018).