Manon Roland

. . . the thing that has struck me most has been their universal mediocrity . . . it is hardly surprising that we have fallen step by step under the dominion of crass ignorance and shameful incompetence.

Sound familiar?

 Madame Roland, c. 1787, by Adélaïde Labille Guiard

Madame Roland, c. 1787, by Adélaïde Labille Guiard

Manon Roland, born in 1754, was an early sympathizer of the revolution. She is most well-known today for her memoirs she wrote in prison while awaiting trial.

On 8 November 1793 she was executed on the Place de la Revolution, today the Place de la Concorde and her body dumped into a mass grave in the Madeleine Cemetery. The cemetery itself eventually became the Chapelle Expiatoire and is the final resting place for many who were executed during the Terror, including Manon, Charlotte Corday and King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette (the latter two removed to the crypt of the Basilica Saint-Denis). 

Quoted in Lucy Moore Liberty: The Life and Times of Six Women in Revolutionary France (NY, NY: Harper Collins 2007), p. 218.