It no longer exists today… but on the rue des Moulins, those who were forced to take refuge in France due to their political convictions knew that they could find a comfortable place to stay: the Hotel of Dutch Patriots, named in honor of the Revolution of the United Provinces from 1783-1787. The cream of political exiles could be found here after 1789: Dutch, German and even Polish exiles rubbed shoulders with Corsican deputies, which contributed in giving the French Revolution not only a universal image, but also helped impart ideas across international borders!
Dutch Revolutionaries ask for help from the French
Who remembers the Dutch revolutionaries? And yet, they not only greatly inspired their French brothers, but they also considerably participated in the French Revolution. In exile in Paris since the failure of their own revolution in 1787, several of them drafted, for example, this speech, given on May 15, 1791 at the Jacobin Club of Paris, in order to convince the French to help them launch their revolution once again: “Free France can listen to the plaintive cry, must listen to the pressing cry of the Batavians (…). The Batavian patriots have designed a revolution as glorious as the one in France. (…) French honor gives us hope. It will not be disappointed.” The French only listened to them partially: created in 1795, the Batavian Republic, the first sister republic of the French Republic, was forced to gradually serve the interests of the latter.
The headquarters for Corsican deputies in Paris (29 rue des Moulins)
In 1789, several Corsican deputies gathered together in the Hotel of Dutch Patriots, on the rue Royale-Saint-Roch, the former name of the rue des Moulins. Pozzo di Borgo, Leonetti and Peraldi found the location to be very practical: it was right next to the Riding Academy. In May 1792, a young officer from this island accused of insubordination and forced to come to Paris to justify his behavior, stayed here. His name…Napoléon Bonaparte!
A Dutch Revolutionary in Paris: Etta Palm d’Aelders
Today she is not very well known, but this Dutchwoman played a major role in the Revolution in Paris. On December 30, 1790, Etta Palm d’Aelders read a speech On the Injustice of Laws in Favor of Men, at the Expense of Women in front of the Social Club in the Palais-Royal. Etta Palm thought that women must remain wives and mothers above all. However, in exchange for this role, they must receive their own rights: “may our holy revolution, which we owe to the progress of philosophy, provide a second revolution for our values.” A few months later, she founded the Patriotic and Charitable Society of the Women Friends of Truth, a political club, made up of women only. She also demanded the creation of a women’s club in each neighborhood in Paris! If some of these requests were granted, like the possibility for women to divorce (1792), she was often ignored by the men in the National Assembly!