An Astonishing 18th Century Prophecy: Clairvoyant Foresight in the French Revolution

January 24th, 2024

By Brendan D. Murphy

Guest Writer for Wake Up World

We owe a celebrated historical example of amazing prevision to the French revolution and a Frenchman by the name of Jacques Cazotte (17 October 1719 – 25 September 1792), whose late 18th-century prediction and its fulfilment are matters of documented French history.

Here is the case according to La Harpe, the French writer who was a witness to the event and whose testimony was corroborated by many others who were present at the time:

            [I]t was at the beginning of the year 1788. We were dining with one of our brethren at the Academy—a man of considerable wealth and genius. The conversation became serious; much admiration was expressed on the revolution in thought which Voltaire had effected, and it was agreed that it was his first claim to the reputation he enjoyed.

We concluded that the revolution must soon be consummated; that it was indispensible that superstition and fanaticism should give way to philosophy, and we began to calculate the probability of the period when this should be, and which of the present company should live to see it.

The oldest complained that they could scarcely flatter themselves with the hope; the younger rejoiced that they might entertain this very probable expectation; and they congratulated the Academy especially for having prepared this great work, and for having been the rallying point, the center, and the prime mover of the liberty of thought.

One only of the guests had not taken part in all the joyousness of this conversation, and had even gently and cheerfully checked our splendid enthusiasm. This was Cazotte, an amiable and original man, but unhappily infatuated with the reveries of the illumaniti [sic, i.e. Illuminati]. He spoke, and with the most serious tone, saying:

“Gentleman, be satisfied; you will all see this great and sublime revolution, which you so much desire. You know that I am a little inclined to prophesy; I repeat, you will see it.”


He was answered by the common rejoinder: “One need not be a conjuror to see that.”

He answered:

“Be it so; but perhaps one must be a little more than conjuror for what remains for me to tell you. Do you know what will be the consequences of this revolution—what will be the consequence to all of you, and what will be the immediate result—the well-established effect—the thoroughly recognized consequences to all of you who are here present?”

“Ah,” said Condorcet, with his insolent and half-suppressed smile, “let us hear—a philosopher is not sorry to encounter a prophet—let us hear!”

Cazotte replied:

“You, Monsie[u]r de Condorcet—you will yield up your last breath on the floor of a dungeon; you will die from poison, which you will have taken in order to escape from execution—from poison which the happiness of that time will oblige you to carry about your person. You, Monsieur de Chamfort, you will open your veins with twenty-two cuts of a razor, and yet will not die till some months afterward.”

These personages looked at each other, and laughed again. Cazotte continued:

“You, Monsieur Vicq d’Azir, you will not open your own veins, but you will cause yourself to be bled six times in one day, during a paroxysm of the gout, in order to make more sure of your end, and you will die in the night.” Cazotte went on: “You, Monsieur de Nicolai, you will die on the scaffold; you, Monsieur Bailly, on the scaffold; you, Monsieur de Malesherbes, on the scaffold.”

“Ah, God be thanked,” exclaimed Roucher, “and what of I?”

Cazotte replied: “You? you also will die on the scaffold.”

“Yes,” replied Chamfort, “but when will all this happen?”

Cazotte answered: “Six years will not pass over, before all that I have said to you shall be accomplished.”

Here I [La Harpe] spoke, saying: “Here are some astonishing miracles, but you have not included me in your list.”

Jean-Francois de la Harpe, 1739 – 1803

Cazotte answered me, saying: “But you will be there, as an equally extraordinary miracle; you will then be a Christian!”

Vehement exclamations on all sides followed this startling assertion. “Ah!” said Chamfort, “I am comforted; if we shall perish only when La Harpe shall be a Christian, we are immortal.”

Then observed Madame la Duchesse de Grammont: “As for that, we women, we are happy to be counted for nothing in these revolutions: when I say for nothing, it is not that we do not always mix ourselves up with them a little; but it is a received maxim that they take no notice of us, and of our sex.”

“Your sex, ladies,” said Cazotte, “your sex will not protect you this time; and you had far better meddle with nothing, for you will be treated entirely as men, without any difference whatever.”

“But what, then, are you really telling us of[,] Monsieur Cazotte? You are preaching to us the end of the world.”

“I know nothing on that subject; but what I do know is, that you Madame la Duchesse, will be conducted to the scaffold, you and many other ladies with you, in the cart of the executioner, and with your hands tied behind your backs.”

“Ah! I hope that in that case, I shall at least have a carriage hung in black.” “No, madame; higher ladies than yourself will go, like you, in the common car[t], with their hands tied behind them.”

“Higher ladies! What! The princesses of the blood?”

“Yea, and still more exalted personages!” replied Cazotte.

Here a sensible emotion pervaded the whole company, and the countenance of the host was dark and lowering—they began to feel that the joke was becoming too serious. Madame de Grammont, in order to dissipate the cloud, took no notice of the reply, and contented herself with saying in a careless tone: “You see, that he will not leave me even a confessor!”

“No, madame!” replied Cazotte, “you will not have one—neither you, nor any one besides. The last victim to whom this favor will be afforded will be—”

Here he stopped for a moment.

“Well! who then will be the happy mortal to whom this prerogative will be given?” Cazotte replied: “It is the only one which he will have then retained—and that will be the King of France!”

This last startling prediction caused the company to disband in something like terror and dismay, for the mere mention of such thing was akin to treason.1



Thus ends La Harpe’s recounting of one of history’s most spectacular documented clairvoyant prophecies.

Swami Panchadasi (AKA William Walker Atkinson) offered some interesting commentary on this incredible series of predictions:

The amazing sequel to this strange story is that within the six years allotted by the prophecy, every detail thereof was verified absolutely. The facts are known to all students of the French Revolution, and may be verified by reference to any history of that terrible period…This celebrated instance of highly advanced future-time clairvoyance, or prevision, has never been equaled. The reason, perhaps, is that Cazotte indeed was an advanced and highly developed occultist—the account mentions this, you will notice. This class of persons very seldom prophe[s]y in this way, for reasons known to all occultists.2

As it turned out, amusingly enough, the atheistic de la Harpe did in fact become a Christian monk and the prophecy was found among his papers after his death in 1803. Dr. Walter Borman closely examined the matter and authenticated the reports a century later by finding plentiful evidence for it in letters and journals of the time.3


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Swami Panchadasi, Clairvoyance, Lesson XIII. See also Colin Wilson, The Occult, 406–7.


Ibid, Panchadasi.


Wilson, The Occult, 407.

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