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simone_remy in melkam

Speech 24/7/1792 ~ third extract ~ Reflections on the King and his future

The Constitution, although it doesn't rule on the possible madness of the King doesn't claim that the executive power should continue to hold the reins of state if he is not acting in good faith. His removal is not forbidden.
The King's insanity is easily proved by a thousand facts. I need only one: for example everyone would agree that only a treacherous or insane general would attempt to save his allies by burning their towns. Yet the French King has allowed General Jarry to make the Belgians hate the French by the burning of the town of Courtray. In this way he has made this friendly town of allies suffer all the ills that could be imposed by their cruel,enemies. Could there be a clearer example of madness or treachery?

If he is mad, Loius XVI must be suspended, if he is treacherous he must be deposed. Is there clearer evidence of insanity than for this constitutional monarch to appoint officers and generals who spend all their time in the camps of the enemies of the constitution or to dismiss ministers who support the constitution? Today, in the hands of the King, the appointment of ministers, to borrow a phrase from M.Manuel, is no less than a gift to the aristocracy. Is there clearer evidence of insanity than to dismiss a minister for proposing a camp of 20,000 men at Soissons only to propose a camp of 30,000 in the same place the very next day?

The Earl of Shaftesbury said that enslavement and Catholicism are like two brothers who go hand in hand. Sometimes one will be the first to,enter a country, sometimes the other, but they always come together. In England the Stuart's wanted to introduce Catholicism first, to pave the way for despotism; in Scotland they began by adopting despotism to pave the way for Papism.
In the same way here, every counter revolutionary journal or manifesto, every emigre or Prussian speaks only of returning France to the double yoke of religion and reactionary politics: refractory priests in the departments spread the madness of papacy, servitude and imbecility against the sound ideas of philosophy and freedom, opposing the constitution; can the be any clearer sign of madness than for a constitutional monarch to veto the decree exiling all such priests? In doing this our constitutional monarch displayed before the whole world a total loss of intellectual faculty, the Paris commune must demand that the National Assembly either suspend him, because he is mad, or dethrone him because he is a traitor. The Constituion is not forbidden to deal with this King Lear in such a way, and if it were then the constituents would have to declare him insane.

During the suspension of executive power, in order to maintain the political indivisibility of the 83 departments, I think that the commune should nominate two 'curators' of the monarchy, to act for Louis XVI whilst his insanity continues and until his rightful senses return. I prefer this solution to that of asking all 83 departments to elect separate individuals to form a Council of State because it is to be feared that these would be 83 kinglets, and we all know that there is nothing worse than petty tyrants! If the 83 departments simply nominate 2 regents, able to be removed when necessary, it seems to me that the choice is already made, and that four years of revolution have clearly shown two men who merit our confidence, provisionally and for the duration of the National Convention. (Georges and Max?? ed.)

I don't know which would be the greater disaster for the Patriots and the cause of freedom: if he were assassinated by Coblentz and the aristocracy or if he escaped us through flight. If he were assassinated I can assure that the murderer would be instantly killed, like Clement, and we would certainly find that a Jacobin calling card had been slipped into his pocket so that we could be charged with the crime; because it won't take place in France. If he flees, that is just what Coblentz and the Congress of Mayence are hoping and praying for.

I think we cannot be too watchful of Louis XVI; we should keep him closely guarded amongst us, right at the centre of our attention. I do still weigh the King in the balance of M.Manuel, but the question here is not the specific intrinsic weight of a king. I am weighing Louis XVI on the scales of the kings of Prussia and Hungary. Are we supporting the value of kings in the minds of slaves? What ransoms were paid for Louis IX and King Jean and Francois II?
We should imitate the example of London. Once they realised that Charles I was in communication with the Catholics of Ireland,p;that he was secretly raising troops against parliament; from the time when rightly suspected him of trying to reverse the constitution, then they seized the Prince of Wales, the Dukes of York and Gloucester,and would equally have seized the Queen if she had not fled to France. Indeed M.le Maire, given the gravity of the circumstances you must show the vigilance and determination of Thomas Andrews, the Mayor of London. If you can keep guard over the King and his family, keeping them close by you, in this way you will save the capital and the empire. You will be saving yourself and all of us because in the scales of despots a King weighs more than 25 million citizens.

It is vital then that after suspending the King by cause of his insanity the National Assembly makes it clear that they are continuing to hold the King and his family as hostages to the safety of France.