Martyrs, my friend, have to choose between being forgotten, mocked or used. As for being understood – never.
Though my conduct on the 10th of August 1792 was the act of my life of which I have most reason to be proud, I will here merely do homage to the worthy martyrs of the national sovereignty and the sworn laws, who, while they supported constitutional royalty, manifested the highest degree of republican virtue.
We, who are the living, possess the past. Tomorrow is for our martyrs.
I have been astonished that men could die martyrs for religion – I have shuddered at it. I shudder no more – I could be martyred for my religion – Love is my religion – I could die for that.
The heart was always seen as the noblest of the internal organs as well as the most vital. The hearts of martyrs or future candidates for sainthood would be preserved, but never their livers, say, or the entrails – at least not on their own; it was either the heart by itself or the whole lot together.
I nursed men back to sanity who were driven to despair. I solicited clothes for the ragged children, for the desperate mothers. I laid out the dead, the martyrs of the strike.
Great persecutors are recruited among martyrs whose heads haven’t been cut off.
It is truer to say that martyrs create faith more than faith creates martyrs.