Last Will of Louis XVI 1792

It follows the English translation of the French transcript of the Last Will of King

Louis XVI as published in the work Historical Epochs of the French Revolution by H. Goudemetz, 1796, made available by Project Gutenberg.



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About Louis XVI

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Louis XVI signed his Last Will on December 25, 1792, and was executed on January 21, 1793.


IN the name of the most holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, this day, the 25th of December, 1792, I, Louis XVI. by name, King of France, having been four months shut up with my family in the Tower of the Temple, at Paris, by those who were my subjects, and deprived of all communication whatever, even, since the 11th of this month, with my family; being moreover involved in a trial, of which it is impossible to foresee the issue, on account of the passions of men, and for which there is no pretence nor motive in any existing law, having none but God for witness to my thoughts, and to whom I can address myself, I here declare, in his presence, my last will and sentiments.

I leave my soul to GOD my creator; I beseech him to receive it in his mercy; not to judge it according to its merits, but to those of our Lord Jesus Christ, who offered himself as a sacrifice to GOD his Father for us men, unworthy of it as we are, and I more than any.

I die in the faith of our holy mother the catholic, apostolic, and Roman Church, which derives her powers in an uninterrupted succession from St. Peter, to whom Jesus Christ had entrusted them; I firmly believe and acknowledge all that is contained in the apostles' creed, the commandments of God, and of the church; the sacraments and mysteries, such the Catholic Church teaches, and has always taught them; I never pretended, to be a judge of the different modes of explaining the dogmas which divide the church of Jesus Christ; but I have always trusted, and shall always trust, if God grants me life, to the decisions that the ecclesiastical superiors, together with the holy catholic church, give and shall give, according to the discipline of the church since Jesus Christ. I pity with all my heart our brethren who may be in error, but I do not pretend to judge them; nor do I love them the less in Jesus Christ, according to what christian charity teaches us, and I pray God to forgive me all my sins: I have scrupulously sought to know them, to detest them, and to humble myself in his presence. Not being permitted to make use of the ministry of a catholic priest, I pray God to receive the confession which I have made to him of them; and above all, my sincere repentance for having put my name (though against my will) to acts that may be contrary to the discipline and faith of the catholic church, to which I have always been sincerely and faithfully united. I pray God to accept my firm resolution, if he grants me life, to make use as soon as possible of the ministry of a catholic priest, that I may accuse myself of all my sins, and receive the sacrament of penance. I beseech all those whom I may have inadvertently offended, (for I do not remember to have knowingly given offence to any person) and those to whom I may have given bad examples, or caused scandal, to forgive the injuries they think I may have done them.

I implore all charitable persons to join their prayers to mine, to obtain from God the pardon of my sins; I, with all my heart, forgive those who are become my enemies, although I have not given them any reason to be so; and I beseech God to forgive them, as well as those who, through a false or mistaken zeal, have brought many misfortunes on me.

I recommend to God, my wife and children; my sisters, my aunts, my brothers, and all those who are attached to me, either by the ties of blood, or in any other way whatever. I particularly beseech God to cast a merciful eye on my wife, my children, and my sister, who have long suffered with me, to support them by his grace, if they should happen to lose me, and as long as they remain in this perishable world.

I recommend my children to my wife; I never doubted her maternal tenderness for them. I above all recommend to her to make them good christians, and honest people; to make them consider the grandeurs of this world (if they be condemned to possess them) only as dangerous and perishable possessions, and to direct their attention to Eternity, the only solid and durable glory. I beg of my sister to continue her tenderness to my children, and to be a mother to them, if they should have the misfortune of losing her who is such.

I intreat my wife to forgive me all the afflictions she suffers for my sake, and the sorrows I may have given her in the course of our union; as she may be certain that I have no fault to find with her, even where she may think she has cause to reproach herself.

I earnestly recommend to my children, after what they owe to God, (which is the first of all duties) to live always in harmony with one another, to be submissive and obedient to their mother, and grateful to her for all the care and trouble she takes for them out of regard to my memory. I desire them to consider my sister as their second mother.

I recommend to my Son, if he has the misfortune to become King, to remember that he owes himself entirely to his fellow citizens; that he must forget all hatred and resentment, and particularly all that relates to the misfortunes and afflictions that I endure; that he can only make the people happy by reigning according to the laws, but at the same time, that a King cannot make himself respected, and do all the good he wishes, without having the necessary authority; and that otherwise, being restrained in his operations, and not inspiring respect, he is rather hurtful than useful.

I recommend to my son to take as much care of all those persons who were attached to me, as the circumstances he may be in will allow him; to recollect that it is a sacred debt which I have contracted towards the children or the relations of those who have died for me, and those who suffer for my sake. I know that there are several persons among those who ought to have been attached to me, who have not acted towards me as they ought, and have even been ungrateful towards me; but I forgive them, (often in time of trouble and confusion, men are not masters of themselves) and I beg my son, if he finds the opportunity, to think only of their misfortunes.

I wish I could here give a testimony of my gratitude to those who have shown a true and disinterested affection for me. If, on the one hand, I have been sensibly affected with the ingratitude and disloyalty of those, to whom I had shewn at all times only kindness to them, their relations, or friends; on the other hand, I have had the consolation to receive proofs of disinterested affection and regard from several others. I beg them to accept my best thanks.

In the present state of things, I should fear to expose them if I spoke more explicitly; but I particularly recommend to my son to embrace every opportunity of discovering them.

Nevertheless, I think I should wrong the national feeling, if I were not openly to recommend to my son Messieurs De Chamilly and Hue, whose sincere affection for me induced them to shut themselves up with me in this melancholy abode, and who ran the risque (sic) of being the unfortunate victims of their attachment. I also recommend Cleri, with whose attentions I have had all reasons to be satisfied ever since he has been with me. As he is the person who has remained with me to the last, I request Messieurs de la Commune to give him my clothes, my books, and the other trifles which have been deposited at the Council of the Commune.

I also very willingly forgive those who guarded me, for their ill treatment, and the constraint which they thought necessary to keep me under. I have found some feeling and compassionate minds; may they enjoy in their hearts the pleasure that their turn of thinking must afford them.

I request Messieurs De Malsherbes, Tronchet, and De Seze, to receive my best thanks, and assurances of my gratitude for all the care and attention they have shown me.

I conclude with declaring before GOD, being ready to appear before him, that I cannot reproach myself with any of those crimes that have been laid to my charge.

Made and copied in the Tower of the Temple, the 25th of December, 1792.


(Signed) LOUIS.

And undersigned BEAUDRAIS, Municipal Officer.




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