Thomas Jefferson’s Account of the Storming of the Bastille, 225 Years ago:
“…in that instant a discharge from the Bastille killed 4 people of those nearest to the deputies. The deputies retired, the people rushed against the place, and almost in an instant were in possession of a fortification, defended by 100 men, of infinite strength, which in other times had stood several regular sieges & had never been taken.”
From the file unit: Letters from Thomas Jefferson, 1785 - 1789
Appointed U.S. Minister to France in 1785, Thomas Jefferson was in Paris in July 1789 when the French people rose up against their rulers and the first blood was shed in the opening days of the French Revolution. In his letter to Secretary of Foreign Affairs John Jay, Jefferson recounts how a mob stormed the Bastille, took the stash of arms, freed the prisoners, and seized the “Governor” of the Bastille who was then killed and beheaded in the city streets on July 14, 1789.