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. A number of factors caused Louis XVI to lose whatever faith he had in the revolution. Richard Cavendish | Published in History Today Volume 66 Issue 6 June 2016. Factors behind the king’s decision to flee included his lack of faith in the revolution and the Constitution of 1791, his personal religious beliefs, advice from Mirabeau and urging from his wife. Email; Share; Tweet; Marisa Linton takes us on a coach journey across France. (Louis XVI) * shows Louis had failed to understand the popularity of the changes which had taken He gave the following statement to explain his flight to Varennes the week before: “The reasons for my leaving were the insults and threats given against my family and myself on April 18th. The flight to Varennes refers to the royal family's failed attempt to escape Paris in June 1791. 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. The royal family had been brought to Paris after the events of the 5 th October 1789 when a mob stormed the Versailles Palace. The realization that the king had effectually repudiated the revolutionary reforms made up to that point came as a shock to people who had seen him as a well-intentioned monarch who governed as a manifestation of God's will. This French Revolution site contains articles, sources and perspectives on events in France between 1781 and 1795. At Varennes, the king was recognised and identified by a local postmaster. A minor controversy arose in April when the king learned he would be expected to attend a public Easter Mass at Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois, also at the Louvre. Despite a series of blunders, the royal entourage escaped Paris and travelled to within 30 kilometres of its goal. 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. Title: “The flight to Varennes” Flight to Varennes: Fuite à Varennes. The royal family were arrested at Varennes and returned to Paris. Discuss how different interest groups in France would respond on his return – what options were open to the Assembly? [11], Due to the cumulative effect of slow progression, time miscalculations, lack of secrecy, and the need to repair broken coach traces,[12] the royal family was thwarted in its escape attempt after leaving Paris. 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. Marie Antoinette’s close friend Fersen borrowed large sums of money to aid their escape. From the autumn of 1791 on, the king tied his hopes of political salvation to the dubious prospects of foreign intervention. Louis himself chatted with peasants while horses were being changed at Fromentieres and Marie Antoinette gave silver dishes to a helpful local official at Chaintrix. The question of what to do with the king after Varennes widened the gulf between political moderates and radical republicans. The Flight To Varennes: A... has been added to your Cart Add gift options. The Flight to Varennes, or the royal family’s unsuccessful escape from Paris during the night of June 20-21, 1791, undermined the credibility of the king as a constitutional monarch and eventually led to the escalation of the crisis and the execution of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. If any king could have coped with the French Revolution it was not Louis XVI. Bookstore. While the National Assembly took no immediate action, radicals demanded the abolition of the monarchy and the formation of a republic. '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'. Many were stunned not just by the king’s attempt to flee – but how the National Constituent Assembly responded to it. the apprehension of Louis XVI at Varennes. His Majesty was treated, as Pétion noted, like nothing had happened: “After a few minutes, we moved [to] the king’s apartments. [11], Whether De Bouillé's army would have been numerous or reliable enough to change the direction of the revolution and preserve the monarchy can never be known.[14][15]. If any king could have coped with the French Revolution it was not Louis XVI. The king had spent two years mouthing support for the constitution but his actions in June 1791 showed only contempt for it. Date accessed: January 14, 2021 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. Princess Marie-Thérèse’s account of the flight to Varennes (1791) (Louis XVI) * shows Louis had failed to understand the popularity of the changes which had taken This site is created and maintained by Alpha History. Why did the flight to Varennes provoke such a strong reaction? It also forms one of the best known and most admired portions of Carlyle's history of the Revolution. 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. 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. Bourgeois dreams of a harmonious constitutional monarchy were shattered; the progress made since 1789 appeared to have been lost. They were located and detained the following day and returned to the capital. 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). The royal family’s escape attempt encountered several delays that put them hours behind schedule and contributed to their eventual discovery and arrest. He immediately resumed his state of representation. 5. Henri Grégoire on the flight to Varennes (1791) One was the advice of Honore Mirabeau. 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. Seeking to avoid this, the king and his family planned to leave Paris on April 18th and spend Easter at their summer house at Saint-Cloud. 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. Another factor in Louis’ decision to flee Paris was his devout religious faith. URL: https://alphahistory.com/frenchrevolution/flight-to-varennes/ Everyone was aware that foreign intervention was imminent. The Paris sections and radical journalists demanded the immediate abolition of the monarchy and the creation of a republic. Convicted, Louis was sent to the guillotine on 21 January 1793. However, various factions in Paris like the Cordeliers and the Jacobins disagreed, and this led to a protest at the Champ de Mars; the protest turned violent, resulting in the Champ de Mars Massacre.[16]. He also mistakenly believed that he enjoyed particular favor with the peasantry and other commoners. For more info, visit our FAQ page or Terms of Use. 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". 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. Few people in France had seen the king personally but his image was printed on the currency. Already all valets were in attendance, wearing their usual court dress. Some Republicans called for his deposition, others for his trial for alleged treason and intended defection to the enemies of the French Nation. 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. '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'. 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. [10] The escape was largely planned by the queen's favourite, the Swedish Count Axel von Fersen and the Baron de Breteuil, who had garnered support from Swedish King Gustavus III. Whatever public affection the king had enjoyed in early 1791 was shattered by the events of June 20th and 21st. 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. At Châlons townspeople reportedly greeted and applauded the royal party. Republicanism quickly evolved from being merely a subject of coffeehouse debate to the dominant ideal of revolutionary leaders.[3]. Authors: Jennifer Llewellyn, Steve Thompson It is often said that Fersen and the queen were lovers, however, evidence for this is circumstantial. Flight to Varennes. According to the author, Timothy Tackett, “The King’s Flight to Varennes” - has marked a major turning point of the French Revolution. [8], The long-term political objectives of the royal couple and their closest advisors remain unclear. The Flight to Varennes. Why Did The King Make The Flight To Varennes? During the night of 20–21 June 1791, French King Louis XVI (1754 – 1793), his wife, Marie-Antoinette (1755 – 1793), their children, Louis-Charles (1785 – 1795), the dauphin, or heir apparent, and his sister Marie-Thérèse (1778 – 1851), the king’s sister Élisabeth of France (1764 – 1794) attempted to escape France. 1. The escape failed due to a series of misadventures, delays, misinterpretations and poor judgments. This would mean receiving communion from a constitutional priest. Mirabeau’s advisory notes to the king, discovered after his death in April 1791, were comprehensive and astute. Louis XVI on his motives for the flight to Varennes (1791) On the night of the 20/21st June 1791, King Louis XVI attempted to flee in an event that was later named the flight to Varennes. In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). De Bouille on his role in the flight to Varennes (1791) Add to folder. Louis and his family were promptly detained and hustled back to Paris under guard. Show short video clip about the Flight to Varennes. It contains 231,429 words in 354 pages and was updated on December 2nd 2020. The credibility of the king as a constitutional monarch had been seriously undermined by the escape attempt. 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. HistoryMaker. What is more certain is that Fersen was operating with the financial backing of Sweden’s Gustav III, who wanted the French royal family to escape the dangers of Paris. What was the significance of the flight to Varennes? Other Sellers on Amazon. The midnight escape of the disguised royal family out a forgotten back door of The royal family was returned to Paris and reinstalled at the Tuileries Palace, this time under a more visible guard. Flight to Varennes. Fersen, a regular visitor to France from the late 1770s, had become a favourite of Marie Antoinette. Richard Cavendish | Published in History Today Volume 66 Issue 6 June 2016. It seemed as if the king had merely returned from a hunting expedition, and everyone was assisting him with his toilet. 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). the king disapproved the ccc marie-antoinette advised against the constitutional monarchy breteuil and calonne advised to leave and come back with austrian forces to crush the revolution Students may jump on the idea of the king being a ‘traitor’ it’s important at this point to remind … The Flight to Varennes, or the royal family’s unsuccessful escape from Paris during the night of June 20-21, 1791, undermined the credibility of the king as a constitutional monarch and eventually led to the escalation of the crisis and the execution of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. The king was appalled by the Civil Constitution of the Clergy and its implications for the church in France. He successfully escaped, and spent the French revolution in exile, later returning to be crowned King Louis XVIII. 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