Daily Archives: October 13, 2006

Item of the Day: Proceedings of the French National Convention on the Trial of Louis XVI.

Full Title: Proceedings of the French National Convention on the trial of Louis XVI. Late king of France and Navarre; to which are added, several interesting occurrences and particulars attending the treatment, sentence and execution of the ill-fated monarch; the whole carefully collected from authentic documents, and republished with additions, from the paper of The World. By Joseph Trapp, A.M. London: Printed for the author; Sold by Messrs. Murray, Kearsley, and Wenman and Co. Fleet-street; Ridgway, York-street, St. James’s; Deighton, Holborn; Downes, and M’Queen, Strand; and at the World Office, 1793.

From the moment Louis XVI. had attempted to fly the kingdom, and was brought back from Varennes to Paris, a continual torrent of misfortunes rushed upon him, which nothing could stop till it had swept away the tide of his wretched existence. The generality of the inhabitants of Paris, excited by the leading members of the Legislative Assembly, seduced from their principles by the licentiousness of the press, by means of which every effort was used to denigrate the character of the unfortunate Prince and his family, were now quite against him, and sought eagerly for opportunities to insult and grieve him, and to ill-treat those individuals who were determined to remain his friends and loyal subjects. Emigration—the conduct of the French princess at foreign courts—the invasion of the French territories by the combined armies—the massacres on the 10th of August and those which followed in the beginning of September, soured still more the public opinion against the King; he became the object in whom all their hatred and resentment concentrated. He and his family were confined in the temple, royalty was abolished, a National Convention convened, and France declared a republic. Not the smallest traces of royalty were left behind; the crown, scepter, and other insignia of royalty were broke and sent to the mint, and every statue, or monument of Kings, wantonly destroyed; even the ashes of the dead were insulted by those profane innovators, they were taken out of the quiet tomb, and burnt or scattered in the most disgraceful manner. For the name of King, that of Tyrant substituted; morality and good order fled from the kingdom; the ministers of the Altar were most rigorously prosecuted, and those who had not the good fortune to fly, fell victims to their principles. The new created National Convention did every thing to propagate their principles of modern philosophy; they insulted the very name of religion, and by so doing dissolved every tie of morality among the vulgar, who abandoned themselves to the most profligate and iniquitous excesses. When royalty had been abolished, commissaries were sent to the temple to signify the decree to the King; he heard his degradation without distorting a feature of his countenance; and when he was ordered to give up his star and ribband, he resigned them cheerfully; from that moment he was treated as a common individual, not with compassion but with rudeness, and consummate cruelty. In the beginning, the KING’s confinement was not close, and he could walk about the temple, but on Sunday the 30th of September, the Council General of the Commons of Paris, who were entrusted with the safety of royal captives, ordered the following decree to be put into execution at 11 o’clock in the evening;

  1. That Louis XVI. Be immediately conducted to the Great Tower of the Temple, and confined in a private room.
  2. That Antoinette be separated from her husband, and confined in a separate cell.
  3. That they be deprived of the use of pens, paper, ink, pencils, books, offensive and defensive arms, all the plate, and every other article not absolutely necessary.
  4. That their Valet be put under arrest.
  5. That the citizen Hebert be joined to the five commissaries already appointed to guard the prisoners.
  6. The council authorize the said commissaries to execute this order instantly, and impower [sic] them to use every means that their prudence will suggest, for the safety of these hostages of the combination of tyrants.

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Filed under 1790's, France, Legal, Posted by Caroline Fuchs