Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Roland, Madame (Marie Jeanne Phlipon), the celebrated victim of the French Revolution, was born in Paris in 1754, and was the daughter of an engraver. She was extremely fond of reading, and was especially delighted with Plutarch's Lives, which she always carried about with her. After the death of her mother she entered a convent for a year, and there pursued her reading without stint. She was as intellectual as she was beautiful, and in 1780 married M. Roland de la Platiere, who was twenty-two years her senior. He was inspector-general of manufactures at Lyons, and was born in 1732. They travelled a good deal in Italy, Switzerland, and England between 1780-84. In 1791 M. Roland entered the Constituent Assembly as a deputy from Lyons, and most of his public acts were directly instigated by his courageous and brilliant wife. She welcomed the Revolution with effusion and accompanied her husband to Paris, taking part in the deliberations at the Jacobin Club and frequenting the sittings of the Assembly. She was one of the most eloquent women known to history, and she wielded a marked influence in the counsels of the Moderate party. M. Roland became acquainted with Robespierre and other leaders of the extreme party, but generally acted with the Girondists. When his office at Lyons was abolished he went to Paris in 1792 to claim his pension, and was appointed Minister of the Interior, though it was widely known that Madame Roland, who was devoted to him, would practically occupy the post. He was dismissed for sending a very outspoken letter to the king, which was really written by Madame Roland. Later she was arrested as a spy, but speedily released, and her husband was reinstated in his position as minister. He resigned, however, after the execution of Louis XVI., and, on the advice of his wife, fled when the Girondist party fell. She remained in Paris, and was at once arrested, and kept in prison for five months, during which time she wrote her Memoirs, a remarkably interesting work. On November 8th, 1793, she was led to the guillotine, bearing herself with great dignity and heroism. As she reached the statue of Liberty, she exclaimed: "O Liberty, what crimes are committed in thy name!" Her husband, whose whereabouts were not known, committed suicide when he heard of his. wife's execution. Her Memoirs have been often republished, and her Letters have also been collected.