By 1789, the Marquis de Sade had been in prison for twelve years, for the abduction and abuse of a prostitute. The last five of those years he was incarcerated at the now-infamous Bastille. The Bastille, which at the time held high-ranking people and aristocrats, was much less sordid than other Parisian prisons, but was still a tortuous place for the Marquis. The long years in prison had left the Marquis with a debilitating case of gastritis. He continually begged his jailer for a little coffee which was known to clear up such gastric blockages, but the jailer always refused.
On July 10, 1789, after begging for coffee once again, the jailer not only said no to the coffee, he took away the only comfort the Marquis had—his rump pillow. For the Marquis, this was the last straw. He took his toilet funnel and, using it as a megaphone, screamed out his cell window, “The government is cutting the throats of political prisoners in here!” His rant caused a small riot outside of the prison; when the rebels heard about it, they decided to take action.
Ten days later the rebels stormed the Bastille. They found few prisoners (the Bastille only held 50), but another discovery in the prison was much more important: a huge cache of weapons and ammunition. Finding those arms was the turning point for the rebels, as they now had the means to carry out and win the revolution. Many historians agree that had the Marquis gotten his coffee, the Bastille would not have been stormed and the French Revolution might very well not have been won.