Gracchus Babeuf 1793

The New Calendar of the French Republic

Translated: from the original for by Mitchell Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) 2005.

It wasn’t only the government that published material on the use of the Republican calendar; private citizens did so as well. Gracchus Babeuf published a reference guide, to which this is the introduction.

To my Fellow Citizens:

I hastily prepared this first edition, where I restricted myself to the sole object of usefulness, because my compatriots need to use the new calendar, and they need to do so immediately. A new edition is at the publisher. For this one I took a little more time: I enriched it with accessories which, I believe, will make it approach the merit of the “Double Almanack of Liege,” and I don’t despair of supplanting the “Mathieu Lansberg.”

There is not a single citizen for whom the new calendar isn’t an indispensable and instant necessity. Not a letter, not an act, not an affair can be treated of without the intervention of the date, and it’s necessary that everyone use the only true one, the only good one, the Republican. The Convention had promised to send the calendar to the administrative bodies and the constituted authorities, but it must be put within the reach of all individuals, and this is what I’ve done.

I placed the decree at the head, which is the best material for giving information about the new organization of the French year.

After this the work consists, for every day of the year, in bringing together the former era with the new, so next to such and such a date of the old calendar is found that in keeping the new one. Knowing the first, I help you find next to it the second. Examples: September 22 is the first day of the first decade of the first month; January 1, 1794 is the second day of the second décade of the fourth month, etc.

It is only with the assistance of such a comparative table that we will manage to familiarize ourselves with this new form. Though this work is quite simple, and it doesn’t tax the imagination, its usefulness is such that people will be quite grateful to me for having produced it. This attitude is my recompense.

Gracchus Babeuf