If any king could have coped with the French Revolution it was not Louis XVI. Flight to Varennes: Featured in Macworld - one of the best history sites on the web. He successfully escaped, and spent the French revolution in exile, later returning to be crowned King Louis XVIII. Relations between France and its neighbors, already strained because of the revolution, deteriorated even further with some foreign ministries calling for war against the revolutionary government. Search. As the French citizens were in the midst of terror and destruction of the Revolution, King Louis XVI attempted to flee Paris to Belgian frontiers almost succeed, but fortunately he was stopped just miles away from the frontier. 'The King does not think it would be possible to govern so large and important a kingdom as France by the means esablished by the National Assembly such as they exist at present'. The flight to Varennes proved to monarchical Europe that, despite protestations to the contrary, the French king did not approve the course of the revolution and in fact had become a prisoner of it. The king and his family were arrested at Varennes and returned to Paris. This site is created and maintained by Alpha History. Add. What was the significance of the flight to Varennes? The king’s failed attempt to escape Paris was dubbed the flight to Varennes (something of a misnomer given the real objective of his flight was Montmedy). 1. Show short video clip about the Flight to Varennes. Publisher: Alpha History This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Esmein, Jean Paul Hippolyte Emmanuel Adhémar (1911). It also forms one of the best known and most admired … Richard Cavendish | Published in History Today Volume 66 Issue 6 June 2016. The royal family had been brought to Paris after the events of the 5 th October 1789 when a mob stormed the Versailles Palace. what was the response of the people of france. According to the author, Timothy Tackett, “The King’s Flight to Varennes” - has marked a major turning point of the French Revolution. The Royals felt like virtual prisoners in Paris- if prisoners were allowed to live in grand Palaces and eat the best food. Finally, Jean-Baptiste Drouet, the postmaster of Sainte-Menehould, recognized the king from his portrait printed on an assignat in his possession. The relocation seemed to have emotionally paralyzed the king, which left many important decisions to the politically untrained queen. The king's brothers and the principal Royalists strongly advised the king to leave Paris, the center of the storm, and join the émigrés and the armies they were raising, so as to return to his capital with their aid and dictate terms instead of having them forced upon him. Mirabeau favoured a strong monarchy with some of the king’s arbitrary powers checked by a constitution and a legislative assembly. Jerome Pétion, the Republican politician who later became mayor of Paris, was amazed at the reception afforded the king on his return to the city. Why Did The King Make The Flight To Varennes? Bookstore. The midnight escape of the disguised royal family out a forgotten back door of Marie Antoinette left the Tuileries as planned but spent several minutes wandering lost in the streets outside, before eventually locating her carriage. They planned to escape to Austria and then recapture the French crown through foreign assistance. Add. Already all valets were in attendance, wearing their usual court dress. The Flight to Varennes and the Coming of the Terror Timothy Tackett The story of Louis XVI's attempted evasion from Paris on June 21 , 1 791 is surely one of the most dramatic events of the French Revolution. Outside Paris, the king and his family would meet a platoon of Hussars and make their way to Montmedy, a fortress in north-eastern France manned by loyal soldiers. [9], Prodded by the queen, Louis committed himself and his family to a disastrous attempt of escape from the capital to the eastern frontier on 21 June 1791. Upon hearing this, Parisian radicals stormed the Tuileries Palace on 10 August 1792. Add to folder. Add to Cart. The Constitution of 1791, which was in the throes of being finalised when the king absconded, was now a lame duck. This would have involved the splitting up of the royal family, however, thus Louis and Marie-Antoinette decided on the use of a heavy and conspicuous coach drawn by six horses. He was 19 when he succeeded his grandfather, Louis XV, in 1774. Some accused high ranking city officials, including Bailly and Lafayette, of assisting the royal family to escape. URL: https://alphahistory.com/frenchrevolution/flight-to-varennes/ The plan, hatched by Count Axel von Fersen and supported by Marie Antoinette, was to travel by coach to Montmedy, a fortress near the German border garrisoned by royalist troops. HistoryMaker. At the Estates-General two years earlier, Mirabeau had seemed an arch-radical, defiantly proclaiming that the National Assembly would only disperse at the point of bayonets. This incident only confirmed what most already suspected: that the king and his family were virtual prisoners in Paris. Home. The royal family was returned to Paris and reinstalled at the Tuileries Palace, this time under a more visible guard. The royal Flight to Varennes (French: Fuite à Varennes) during the night of 20–21 June 1791 was a significant episode in the French Revolution in which King Louis XVI of France, his queen Marie Antoinette, and their immediate family unsuccessfully attempted to escape from Paris in order to initiate a counter-revolution at the head of loyal troops under royalist officers concentrated at Montmédy near the frontier. Furthermore, he overestimated popular support for the traditional monarchy, mistakenly believing only Parisian radicals supported the revolution and that the populace as a whole opposed it. Although the King reluctantly accepted the new constitution (1791), he could not accept all the reforms, particularly those which hurt the Church. He instead secretly committed himself to a policy of covert counter-revolution. One was the advice of Honore Mirabeau. Appalled by the growing radicalism of the revolution, particularly its attempts to regulate and control the church, Louis XVI agreed to abscond from the city. Other Sellers on Amazon. His Majesty was treated, as Pétion noted, like nothing had happened: “After a few minutes, we moved [to] the king’s apartments. [7] They escaped only as far as the small town of Varennes-en-Argonne, where they were arrested after havi… Bourgeois dreams of a harmonious constitutional monarchy were shattered; the progress made since 1789 appeared to have been lost. In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). The king was arrested at 11pm on June 21st and dispatched back to Paris at 7am the following morning. By early 1791, Mirabeau was advising Louis to relocate to Rouen or some other provincial capital; once there he could rally support, appeal to the people and lead a national revolution, free of the dark influences in Paris. In November, proof of Louis XVI's secret dealings with the deceased revolutionary politician, Mirabeau, and of his counterrevolutionary intrigues with foreigners was found in a secret iron chest, the armoire de fer, in the Tuileries. The royal family then made plans to escape. There had been hardly any republicanism in 1789, and what there was had abated once the king was back in Paris and accepting all the Assembly sent to him. Due to this, Louis XVI was recognized the next da… 3. The Flight to Varennes served as a major journee because it showed the National Assembly as well as the French people, that Louis XVI could no longer be trusted. Mirabeau’s political vision for France, however, was fundamentally conservative. At the same time, he encouraged the Girondin faction in the Legislative Assembly in their policy of war with Austria, in the expectation that a French military disaster would pave the way for the restoration of his royal authority. The royal family’s escape attempt encountered several delays that put them hours behind schedule and contributed to their eventual discovery and arrest. From this point forward, the abolition of the monarchy and the establishment of a republic became an ever-increasing possibility. A detailed document entitled Declaration to the French People prepared by Louis for presentation to the National Assembly and left behind in the Tuileries indicates that his personal goal was a return to the concessions and compromises contained in the declaration of the Third Estate on 23 June 1789, immediately prior to the outbreak of violence in Paris and the storming of the Bastille. The distance between Paris and Montmedy was around 200 miles (325 kilometres). Why was the flight to Varennes important? The flight to Varennes describes the royal family’s failed attempt to escape their house arrest in Paris in June 1791. Whatever public affection the king had enjoyed in early 1791 was shattered by the events of June 20th and 21st. the royals left the tuileries at midnight and were arrested in Varennes and returned to Paris where they were met with silent, sullen crowds of people. The king was appalled by the Civil Constitution of the Clergy and its implications for the church in France. Meanwhile, the king’s coach proceeded on its journey and reached Sainte-Menehould, around 50 miles (80 kilometres) from Montmedy. One day after being convicted of conspiracy with foreign powers and sentenced to death by the French National Convention, King Louis XVI is executed by guillotine in the Place de la Revolution in Paris. This incident was a turning point after which popular hostility towards the French monarchy as an institution, as well as towards the king and queen as individuals, became much more pronounced. The Assembly responds to the flight to Varennes (1791) Article. They escaped only as far as the small town of Varennes-en-Argonne, where they were arrested after having been recognized at their previous stop in Sainte-Menehould. Louis XVI's indecisive response was one of the causes of the forcible transfer of the royal family from the Palace of Versailles to the Tuileries in Paris on 6 October 1789 after The Women's March on Versailles. 5. Nine months later, Marie Antoinette was also convicted of treason, and was beheaded on 16 October. Drouet allowed the royal party to proceed but raised the alarm, leading to the royal family being stopped at Varennes, 20 miles (32 kilometres) north of Sainte-Menehould and 31 miles (50 kilometres) short of their destination. The Royals felt like virtual prisoners in Paris- if prisoners were allowed to live in grand Palaces and eat the best food. Instead, he regularly attended Mass at a small chapel in the Louvre, where the service was performed by refractory or non-juring priests. (Louis XVI) * shows Louis had failed to understand the popularity of the changes which had taken To avoid this, Mirabeau became a virtual double agent. what actually happened on the night of the flight to Varennes? In a letter drafted for presentation to the Diet of the Swiss Cantons at Zurich, the royalist baron de Breteuil stated that "His Majesty desires to have such imposing forces at his disposition, that even the most audacious rebels will have no other option than to submit". Word of the royal flight quickly spread around the city, prompting an angry reaction. At Châlons townspeople reportedly greeted and applauded the royal party. pp. Authors: Jennifer Llewellyn, Steve Thompson Despite a series of blunders, the royal entourage escaped Paris and travelled to within 30 kilometres of its goal. 4. The court expectation was that "numerous faithful subjects of all classes" would then rally to demand the restoration of the rights of the throne and that order would be restored without the need for civil war or foreign invasion. This event was a turning point in the revolution because it exposed the untrustworthiness of the king and the unworkability of the newly devised constitution. Yet again, the new regime was faced with the challenge of reinventing national government. Another hour was lost near Châlons when the king’s carriage fell and damaged its harness sometime around dawn on June 21st. His plans were shrouded in secrecy, but he probably intended to flee to Montmedy in Lorraine, where he hoped to gain the protection of the royalist military commander and negotiate the terms of the new constitution. [4], The intended goal of the unsuccessful flight was to provide the king with greater freedom of action and personal security than was possible in Paris. Significant civil and political events by year, Richard Cavendish, page 8, "History Today", June 2016, Richard Cavendish, p. 8, "History Today", June 2016, Learn how and when to remove this template message, Charles William Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick, History of the French Revolution from 1789 to 1814, Déclaration de Louis XVI à tous les Français, à sa sortie de Paris, The Flight to Varennes • Memoir by the Duchesse d'Angoulême, Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany, Frederick Louis, Prince of Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen, François Alexandre Frédéric, duc de la Rochefoucauld-Liancourt, Honoré Gabriel Riqueti, comte de Mirabeau, Alexandre-Théodore-Victor, comte de Lameth, Louis Michel le Peletier de Saint-Fargeau, List of people associated with the French Revolution, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Flight_to_Varennes&oldid=998701359, Articles needing additional references from May 2019, All articles needing additional references, Wikipedia articles incorporating a citation from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica with Wikisource reference, Wikipedia articles incorporating text from the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 6 January 2021, at 16:58. This would mean receiving communion from a constitutional priest. The troops under his command included two Swiss and four German mercenary regiments who were perceived as being more reliable in a time of general political unrest than their French counterparts. [1] Much was due to the king's indecision; he repeatedly postponed the schedule, allowing small problems to become much larger. Prodded by the queen, Louis committed himself and his family to a disastrous attempt of escape from the capital to the easter… On the way back, they were jeered and insulted by the people as never before. Flight to Varennes. Since then, provocative writings inciting violence against me and my family have been published, which have remained unpunished. The flight to Varennes refers to the royal family's failed attempt to escape Paris in June 1791. For more info, visit our FAQ page or Terms of Use. In May 1790, he signed a secret deal with the crown, agreeing to work for the king’s benefit in the National Constituent Assembly. Date accessed: January 14, 2021 While the Assembly had every intention of creating a limited or constitutional monarchy, after June 1791, such an idea became increasingly suspect. The Flight to Varennes, June 20, 1791: The Flight to Varennes served as a major journee because it showed the National Assembly as well as the French people, that Louis XVI could no longer be trusted. [8], The long-term political objectives of the royal couple and their closest advisors remain unclear. At Varennes, the king was recognised and identified by a local postmaster. Princess Marie-Thérèse’s account of the flight to Varennes (1791) He was 19 when he succeeded his grandfather, Louis XV, in 1774. Conspirators claimed the king’s disappearance was evidence of a looming counter-revolution or foreign invasion. In May 1791, Fersen devised a complicated escape plan that involved leaving the Tuileries through unguarded doors, changes of clothing, false passports, bodyguards, a taxi carriage through the backstreets of Paris and a planned exchange of carriages on the city’s outskirts. Citation information A note left by Louis XVI after fleeing Paris (1791) This event was a turning point in the revolution because it exposed the untrustworthiness of the king and the unworkability of the newly devised constitution. The outbreak of the war with Austria in April 1792 and the publication of a manifesto by the Prussian commander, Charles William Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick, threatened the destruction of Paris if the safety of the royal family was again endangered. On 3 December, it was decided that Louis XVI, who together with his family had been imprisoned since August, should be brought to trial for treason. This attack led in turn to the suspension of the king's powers by the Legislative Assembly and the proclamation of the First French Republic on 21 September. Convicted, Louis was sent to the guillotine on 21 January 1793. The king's brother also fled on the same night, by a different route. He also mistakenly believed that he enjoyed particular favor with the peasantry and other commoners. “The flight to Varennes opened up the second great schism of the revolution. Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube. The Flight To Varennes: A... has been added to your Cart Add gift options. The Paris sections and radical journalists demanded the immediate abolition of the monarchy and the creation of a republic. Hébert on the flight to Varennes (1791). It is often said that Fersen and the queen were lovers, however, evidence for this is circumstantial.