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A copy of the French constitution owned by Robespierre
The French state has stopped an auction of manuscripts written by French revolutionary Maximilien de Robespierre in Paris. The state preempted the sale of the collection, responding to an appeal from French historians.
The collection went on sale at a Sotheby's auction in Paris on Wednesday. The papers include rough drafts of speeches and letters that reveal the thoughts of the man who launched the reign of terror in France from 1792 to 1794 before falling victim to it.
The 100-plus manuscripts were kept by the descendants of his friend Philippe Le Bas.
The papers include notes for the speech delivered to the French national convention in which he denied claims he was tyrannical, on the eve of his arrest. He was executed the following day on July 28 1794.
French historians have been campaigning to keep the documents in France, saying they are priceless material for scholars.
The manuscripts were sold to the state for over 900,000 euros.