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selves the prosecution of the law, nounced hismajesty's wishto restore I shall prove, with respect to them, to the nation all its rights. that I am the king of all the The states-general met, and took French,
the title of the national assembly ; (Signed) Louis.
and in a short space of time,
constitution fit to secure the hapSept. 13, 1791.
piness of France, and of the moP. S. I have thought, gentlemen, narch , took place of the ancient that it was in the place where the order of things, under which the constitution has been formed, that apparent power of the kingdom I ought to pronounce the solemn only served to conceal the real acceptation of it.. I shall, in con
power of the abuses of certain sequence, repair to-morrow, at mid. aristocratic bodies. day, to the national assembly.
The national assembly, the form of a representative government, conjoined with an hereditary mo
narchy, the legislative body, was Letter of Instructions from M. declared to be permanent; the
Montmorin Minister of France, choice of the ministers of public for Foreign Affairs, sent by order worship, of magistrates, and judges of the King to all his Ministers was given to the people; the exat Foreign Courts, April 23, 1791. ecutive power was conferred on
the king, the formation of laws on
the legislative body, and the power THE king has charged me to of sanction on the monarch; the inform you of his earnest desire public force, both internal and exthat you make known his sen- ternal, was organized on the prinLiments respecting the revolution, ciples, and in conformity to the and the French constitution, to the fundamental distinction of
powers : court at which you reside. The such is the new constitution of the same orders are transmitted to the kingdom. ambassadors and ministers of France That which is called a revolution, at all the courts of Europe, to the is no more than the abrogation of end that no doubt may remain with numerous abuses, that have been regard to his majesty's intentions, accumulating for ages, through the his free acceptation of the new errors of the people, or the power form of government, or his irre- of the ministers, which was never vocable oath to maintain it. His the power of the king. Those abuses majesty convoked the stales-general were no less prejudicial to the mo. of his kingdom, and resolved in narch than to the nation. Those his council, that the commons abuses, authority, under happy should, in that assembly, have a reigns, had never ceased to attack, number of deputies equal to those but without the power to destroy. of the two other orders there ex. They exist no longer. The nation, isting, This act of provisional le- pow the sovereign, has no citizens, gislation, which the circumstances but such as are equal in rights; no of the times did not allow to be despot but the law; no ministers but more favourable, sufficiently an- public ministers, and of those mim Vol. XXXIII.
nisters the king is the chief. Such enemies of royalty. They would is the French revolution.
have deprived the king of the love : This revolution must naturally and the confidence of a great nahave for its enemies all those who, tion, if his principles and his proin the first moment of error, re- bity had been less known. What gret, on account of their private has the king not done to shew that interest, the abuses of the ancient he considered both the revolution government. Hence the apparent and the French constitution as his division in the kingdom, which is titles to glory? After having acdaily becoming less; hence perhaps cepted and sanctioned all the laws, some severe laws and circumstances he has neglected no means of caus. which time will correct : but the ing them to be executed. Since king, whose true power can never the month of February, of the be distinct from that of the nation, year preceding, he has promised who has no aim but the happiness in the midst of the national asof the people, and no authority but sembly to maintain them. He has that which is delegated to him; the taken an oath to do so in the midst king has adopted, without hesi- of the general federation of the tation, a happy constitution, which kingdom. Dignified by the title will at once regenerate his autho- of the Restorer of French liberty, rity, the nation, and the monarchy. he will transmit to his son more All his powers are preserved to than a crown-he will transmit a him, except the dreadful power constitutional royalty. of making laws. He remains The enemies of the constitution charged with the power of nego- are constantly repeating that the ciating with foreign powers, with king is not happy; as if it were the care of defending the kingdom, possible for a king to enjoy any hapand repelling its enemies; but the piness but the happiness of his peoFrench nation will in future have ple. They say that his authority is no external enemies but its ag- sessened, as if authority founded on gressors, no internal enemies but force were not less powerful, and those who, still flattering them- more precarious, than authority selves with vain hopes, believe founded on law. They say that the that the will of twenty-four mil- king is not free-a calumny atroJions of men, restored to their na- cious if they suppose that his will tural rights, after having organized must be constrained : absurd, if the kingdom in such a manner they take for a want of freedom as to leave only the memory of the consent repeatedly expressed ancient forms and abuses, is not an by his majesty to remain among immoveable and irrevocable con. the citizens of Paris ; a consent that stitution.
was due to their patriotism, even The most dangerous of those to their fears, but above all to their enemies are they who affect to dis- love. seminate doubts of the intentions Those calumnies, however, have of the monarch. They are much reached foreign courts; they have to blame, or much deceived. They been repeated there by Frenchmen suppose themselves the only friends who are voluntary exiles from their of the king, and they are the only country, instead of sharing its glory,
and who, if they were not enemies, The King's Speech to the Nationni have deserted their station as citi. Assembly on accepting the Consti. zens. The king, sir, charges you tution, Sept. 14. to defeat their intrigues and their
Gentlemen, projects. The same calumnies, while they spread the falsest ideas I COME to consecrate, in this respecting the French revolution, place, solemnly, the acceptance have rendered the intentions of which I have given to the constituFrench travellers suspected by se
consequence of veral nations : and the king ex
which I swear to be faithful to the pressly orders you to protect and nation and the law; and to employ defend them. Represent the French all the power that is delegated to constitution in the same light as that me, to maintain the constitution in which the king views it: and decreed by the constituting national leave no doubt of his intention to assembly. May this great and memaintain it to the utmost of his morable epoch be that of the repower. By securing the liberty and establishment of peace and union, theequality of the citizens, that con- and become the surety of the hapstitution founds the national prospe- piness of the people, and the prosrity on the most immoveable basis; perity of the empire. it confirms the royal authority by
The President's Answer. the law; it prevents, by a glorious revolution, the revolution ABUSES of long standing which which the abuses of the old govern- had triumphed over the good inment would probably soon have ef- tentions of the best of Kings, and fected by a dissolution of the em- had incessantly braved the authoripire; and finally, it will constitute ty of the throne, oppressed France. the happiness of the king. To Depasitary of the wishes, rights, justify it, to defend it, and to con- and power of the people, the nasider it as the rule of your conduct, tional assembly has established, by ought to be your first and most the destruction of all abuses, the important duty
solid basis of public prosperity. I have frequently before commu- Sire, what this assembly has denicated to you his majesty's senti- creed, the national concurrence ments on this head; but, after the has ratified. The most complete information he has received of the execution of its decrees, in all parts opinionendeavoured to be establish- of the empire, attests the general ed in foreign courts respecting what sentiment. It deranges the weak is passing in France, he has ordered plans of those whom discontent -me to make known the contents of has too long kept blind to their this letter to the court at which own interests. It promises to your you reside ; and that it may be still majesty, that your wishes for the more public his majesty has order. welfare of the French will no ed it to be printed.
longer be vain.
The national assembly has noMONTMORIN. thing more to desire, on this ever
memorable day, in which you comApril 23, 1791.
plete, in its bosom, by the most
solemn engagement, the accepta King of the French. To all citition of constitutional royalty. It is zens-Greeting: the attachment of the French, it : I HAVE accepted the constituis their confidence, which confers tion-I will use all my endeavours upon you that pure and respectable to maintain it, and cause it to be title to the most desirable crown in executed. the universe ; and what secures it The revolution is completed-It to you, sire, is the unperishable is time that the re-establishment of authority of a constitution freely order should give to the constitudecreed. It is the invincible force tion the support which is still most of a people who feel themselves necessary; it is time to fix the opiworthy of liberty. It is the neces. nion of Europe on the destiny of sity which so great a nation will France, and to shew that the ever have for an hereditary mo. French are worthy to be free. narchy.
But my vigilance and my cares When your majesty, waiting ought still to be seconded by the from experience the lights which concurrence of all the friends of are about to be spread by the prac. their country and of liberty: it is tical result of the constitution, pro- by submission to the laws; it is by mises to maintain it at home, and abjuring the spirit of party, and to defend it from external attack, all the passions which accompany the nation, trusting to the justness of it; it is by a happy union of sentiits rights, and to the consciousness ment, of wishes, and of endeavours, of its force and courage, as well as that the constitution will be conto the loyalty of your co-operation, firmed, and that the nation will can entertain no apprehension of enjoy all the advantages which it alarms from without, and is about secures. to contribute, by its tranquil con Let every idea of intolerance fidence, to the speedy success of then be abandoned for ever; let its internal government.
the rash desire of independence no What ought to be great in your longer be confounded with the love eyes, sire, dear to our hearts, and of liberty ; let those pernicious quawhat will appear with lustre in our lifications, with which it has been history, is, the epoch of this rege- attempted to inflame the people, peration; which gives to France, be irrevocably banished; let religicitizens-to the French, a country ous opinions no longer be a source to you, as king, a new title of gran- of persecution and animosity; let deur and of glory-and to you all who observe the laws be at liagain, as a man, a new source of berty to adopt that form of worship enjoyment, and new sensations of to which they are attached; and happiness.
let no party give offence to those
who may follow opinions different Proclamation of the King of the from their own from motives of French, Sept. 28.
conscience. But it is not sufficient
to shun those excesses to which you LOUIS,
might be carried by a spirit of vio By the Grace of God, and by the lence; you must likewise fulfil the Constitutional Law of the State, obligations which are imposed by
the public interest. One of the functions; fulfil them with zeal, first, one of the most essential, is with courage, with impartiality; the payment of the contributions labour with me to restore peace and established by your representatives, the government of laws; and by It is for the observance of engage- thus securing the happiness of the ments, which national honour has nation, prepare for the return of rendered sacred ; for the internal those whose absence has only protranquillity of the state ; for its ex- ceeded from the fear of disorder ternal security; it is for the stabi. and violence. lity of the constitution itself that I And all you who from different remind you of this indispensable motives have quitted your country, dutv.
your king invites you to relurn to Citizens armed for the mainte- your fellow-citizens ; he invites pance of the law, National guards, you to yield to the public wish and never forget that it is to protect' ihe national interest. Return with the safety of persons and of pro- confidence under the security of perty, the collection of public con. law; and this honourable return; tributions, the circulation of grain at the moment when the constituand of provisions, that the arms tion is definitively settled, will renwhich
bear have been deliver- der more easy and more expeditied into your hands; it belongs to ous, the re-establishment of order you to feel that justice and mutual and of tranquillity. utility demand, that, between the And you French people, a nation inhabitants of the same empire, so illustrious for so many ages, abundance should be applied to the shew yourselves magnanimous and aid of indigence; and that it is the generous, at the moment when duty of the public force to promote your liberty is confirmed ; resume the advancement of commerce, as your happy character; let your mothe means of remedying the intem- deration and wisdom revive among perance of seasons, correcting the you the security which the disturinequality of harvest, uniting toge- bances of the revolution had bather all the parts of the kingdom, nished; and let your king henceand establishing a community of the forth enjoy, without inquietude various productions of their soil and without molestation, those and industry.
testimonies of attachment and fide. And you,
whom the people have lity which can alone secure his hapa chosen to watch over their inte- piness. rests; you also, on whom they Doneat Paris, the 28th Sept.1791. have conferred the formidable
(Signed) Louis, power of determining on the pro. (and underneath) DE LESSART. perty, the honour, and the life of citizens ; you too whom they have instituted to adjust their differen- The King's Speech to the National, ces, members of the different admi- Assembly, the last Day of their nistrative bodies, judges of tribu
Meeting, September 30. nals, judges of peace, I recommend Gentlemen, to you to be impressed with the YOU. have terminated your laimportance and dignity of your bours: the constitution is finished.