Source 4

A letter from a Mr Jenkinson in Paris, dated 15 July 1789 (FO 27/32)


The Bastille made some Resistance but was taken yesterday Evening.  The Governor and sub-Governor had their Heads cut off, which were carried in Triumph around the City. … the King was at first very resolute.  The thoughts however of the Danger he was in have this Evening induced him to recant all his former words & to submit in everything.  Deputies have arrived this afternoon from Versailles with this goodnews, and it is reported that the King will be here himself tomorrow, but I own I very much doubt it.  The Consternation that has prevailed in Paris for the last two days, is beyond all power of description.  Few People have gone out of their doors, & all Public Amusement for the first time have been stopped. I however have seen every thing of importance from the first Entrance of the Troops to the taking of the Bastille which I was present at yesterday Evening & indeed the whole sight has been such, that nothing would have tempted me to miss it.


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4. Look at Source 4. This is a letter from a Mr Jenkinson from Paris, dated 15 July 1789.

  • Examine Mr. Jenkinson’s description of the storming of the Bastille – is there any reason to doubt his claims? Give your reasons
  • Why, according to this source, did the King ‘recant all his former words’ and agree to the people’s demands?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of this evidence?