THE BRUNSWICK MANIFESTO (1792)

 

[The demands for the suspension of Louis XVI, who was generally believed to be in traitorous correspondence with the Austrians and Prussians, became numerous in the summer of 1792; but it remained for the duke of Brunswick to assure the downfall of the monarchy by his proclamation, which became known in Paris, July 28, and seemed to furnish the agitators with a complete justification for the revolt which they were already plan­ning and which they carried out on August 10.]

 

Their Majesties the emperor and the king of Prussia having intrusted to me the command of the united armies which they have collected on the frontiers of France, I desire to announce to the inhabitants of that kingdom the motives which have determined the policy of the two sov­ereigns and the purposes which they have in view.

After arbitrarily violating the rights of the German princes in Alsace and Lorraine, disturbing and overthrowing good order and legitimate government in the interior of the realm, committing against the sacred person of the king and his august family outrages and brutalities which con­tinue to be renewed daily, those who have usurped the reins of government have at last completed their work by declar­ing an unjust war on his Majesty the emperor and attacking his provinces situated in the Low Countries. Some of the territories of the Germanic empire have been affected by this oppression, and others have only escaped the same fate by yielding to the threats of the dominant party and its emissaries.

 

His Majesty the king of Prussia, united with his Imperial Majesty by the bonds of a strict defensive alliance and him-self a preponderant member of the Germanic body, would have felt it inexcusable to refuse to march to the help of his ally and fellow-member of the empire. . . .

 

To these important interests should be added another aim equally important and very close to the hearts of the two sovereigns, - namely, to put an end to the anarchy in the interior of France, to check the attacks upon the throne and the altar, to reestablish the legal power, to restore to the king the security and the liberty of which he is now deprived and to place him in a position to exercise once more the legitimate authority which belongs to him.

 

Convinced that the sane portion of the French nation abhors the excesses of the faction which dominates it, and that the majority of the people look forward with impatience to the time when they may declare themselves openly against the odious enterprises of their oppressors, his Majesty the emperor and his Majesty the king of Prussia call upon them and invite them to return without delay to the path of rea­son, justice, order, and peace. In accordance with these views, I, the undersigned, the commander in chief of the two armies, declare :

 

1. That, drawn into this war by irresistible circumstances, the two allied courts entertain no other aims than the wel­fare of France, and have no intention of enriching themselves by conquests.

 

2. That they do not propose to meddle in the internal government of France, and that they merely wish to deliver the king, the queen, and the royal family from their captiv­ity, and procure for his Most Christian Majesty the neces­sary security to enable him, without danger or hindrance, to make such engagements as he shall see fit, and to work for the welfare of his subjects, according to his pledges.

 

3. That the allied armies will protect the towns and vil­lages, and the persons and goods of those who shall submit to the king and who shall cooperate in the immediate rees­tablishment of order and the police power throughout France….

 

6. That, on the contrary, the members of the Na­tional Guard who shall fight against the troops of the two allied courts, and who shall be taken with arms in their hands, shall be treated as enemies and punished as rebels to their king and as disturbers of the public peace.

 

7. That the inhabitants of the towns and villages who may dare to defend themselves against the troops of their Imperial and Royal Majesties and fire on them, either in the open country or through windows, doors, and openings in their houses, shall be punished immediately according to the most stringent laws of war, and their houses shall be burned or destroyed. . . .

 

8. The city of Paris and all its inhabitants without distinction shall be required to submit at once and without delay to the king, to place that prince in full and complete liberty, and to assure to him, as well as to the other royal personages, the inviolability and respect which the law of nature and of nations demands of subjects toward sovereigns. . . . Their said Majesties declare, on their word of honor as emperor and king, that if the chateau of the Tuileries is entered by force or attacked, if the least violence be offered to their Majesties the king, queen, and royal family, and if their safety and their liberty be not immediately assured, they will inflict an ever memorable vengeance by delivering over the city of Paris to military execution and complete destruction, and the rebels guilty of the said outrages to the punishment that they merit. . . .

 

Finally, I pledge myself, in my own name and in my said capacity, to cause the troops intrusted to my command to observe good and strict discipline, promising to treat with kindness and moderation all well-intentioned subjects who show themselves peaceful and submissive, and to use force only against those who shall be guilty of resistance and ill will.

 

It is for these reasons that I call upon and exhort in the most urgent manner all the inhabitants of the kingdom not to oppose the movements and operations of the troops which I command, but rather, on the contrary, to grant them every-where a free passage and to assist and aid them with all good will as circumstances shall demand.

 

Given at the headquarters at Coblenz, July 25, 1792.

CHARLES WILLIAM FERDINAND,

Duke of Brunswick-Luneburg