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Friedrich Cotta, "On the Good Life the People of the Rhine and the Mosel Can Now Have" (November 30, 1792)

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See, dear people between the Rhine and the Mosel, those are the main evils which have been oppressing you. However, you are to be freed from them when you accept the new arrangement from France, because this new arrangement is entirely to the advantage of the peasants and tradesmen or the other so-called common people who previously were so disdained and who in France now have been set in their proper place again.

Judge now for yourselves, dear people, which arrangement is better, your previous one or that of France. Some of you will say: "I cannot see how our position is better since the French are in our country." You are not entirely wrong, only that, dear people, you have also not yet said, at least the majority of you have not yet said: "We want to be French, in the future we want to be one with the great French family." Only then, when you have declared such, when you want to accept the French constitution, only then can you enjoy its advantages. Or do you want to reap something before you have sowed? However, you will consider all of your advantages and soon see that you could not be any safer or more peaceful than under the protection of your neighbor, the French. Then you yourselves will appeal to the plenipotentiaries and the representatives of the French people to take you into their confederation.

Mainz, the 30th of November 1792, in the first year of the French Republic.

Source: Friedrich Cotta, “Wie gut es die Leute am Rhein und an der Mosel jetzt haben können” [“On the Good Life the People of the Rhine and the Mosel Can Now Have”] (November 30, 1792), in C. Träger, ed., Mainz zwischen Rot und Schwartz [Mainz between Red and Black]. Berlin: Rütten & Loening, 1963, pp. 300-05.

Reprinted in Jost Hermand, ed., Von deutscher Republik 1775-1795. Texte radikaler Demokraten [Of the German Republic 1775-1795. Texts by Radical Democrats]. © Insel Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, 1968, pp. 152-57.

Translation: Ben Marschke

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