In January 1793, six months before her arrest, Manon Roland wrote the following letter to her friend Johann Kasper Lavater in Zurich. She had first met Lavater in France, and then during her visit to Switzerland with her husband in the 1780s. She was, like many of her contemporaries, impressed with his science of physiognomy, using a person's facial features to make deductions about their character. Lavater used his science to draw conclusions about criminology, and this is perhaps the source of the advice he sent Roland via the intermediary of his wife.
Manon's letter to Lavater gives a vivid impression of what life at the onset of the Terror must have been like for those who did not sympathize with the Commune: constant fear, and the conviction that one must continue to defend liberty, at any cost.
January 1793 to Lavater, in Zurich
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