While in prison, Jeanne-Marie Roland expressed the wish that she might have written a history that would have made her the Tacitus, or more modestly, the Catharine Macaulay of her country. It is clear that she had previously admired Macaulay's republican history of the Stuarts and the English Civil War. Jean-Paul Marat also appreciatively referred to this history, and hints such as these suggest that this work was quite well known in France before the Revolution, although a French translation was not published there until 1791-92. This paper provides an overview of Macaulay's influence in France, examines the origins of the translation of her history, and considers the way it was presented, during the crucial period of the Revolution when it appeared. I will offer new evidence for Macaulay's relationships with French radicals and aristocrats before the Revolution, and in particular, discuss letters relating to her acquaintance with the duc Louis-Alexandre de La Rochefoucault, the chevalier d'Eon, Guillaume-Joseph Saige, Jouges de Chaumont (who was Benjamin Franklin's French hostess), and relating to her friendship with Jacques-Pierre Brissot de Warville.
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Karen Green; Catharine Macaulay's French Connections. Eighteenth-Century Life 1 April 2017; 41 (2): 59–72. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00982601-3841372
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