LETTER FROM LOUIS XVI TO ANOTHER MONARCH (1791)

 

[The early months of the Legislative Assembly were mainly occupied with the policy to be pursued toward three classes of opponents to the Revolution, - the run-away nobles, the foreign powers, who seemed ready to aid them, and, at home, the members of the clergy, who refused to support the new constitution. The king was also regarded with the greatest suspicion. Since the flight to Varennes and the Declaration of Pillnitz it seemed clear to both the Assembly and the people at large that the king was in all probability relying upon help from foreign powers. That they were quite right in this assumption has since been proved by the discov­ery of letters like the following which Louis was at the time secretly dispatching to his fellow-monarchs.]

 

PARIS, December 3, 1791.

 

My Brother:

 

I have learned through M. du Moustier of the interest which your Majesty has expressed not only in my person but also in the welfare of my kingdom. In giving me these proofs, the attitude of your Majesty has, in all cases where your interest might prove advantageous to my people, excited my lively appreciation. I confidently take advantage of it at this time when, in spite of the fact that I have accepted the new constitution, seditious leaders are openly exhibit­ing their purpose of entirely destroying the remnants of the monarchy. I have just addressed myself to the emperor, the empress of Russia, and to the kings of Spain and Swe­den; I am suggesting to them the idea of a congress of the chief powers of Europe, supported by an armed force, as the best means of checking seditious parties, of establishing a more desirable order of things, and of preventing the evil which afflicts us from reaching the other states of Europe.

 

I trust that your Majesty will approve my ideas, and that you will maintain the most absolute secrecy about the propo­sition I am making to you. You will easily understand that the circumstances in which I find myself force me to ob­serve the greatest caution. That is why no one but the baron of Breteuil is informed of my plans, and your Majesty may therefore communicate to him anything you wish. . . .

 

Your good brother,

Louis