The Assembly deports non-juring clergy (1792)


In August 1792 the Legislative Assembly took action against non-juring priests, ordering them to take the oath or leave France within 14 days:


“The Legislative Assembly believes the unrest excited in the kingdom by priests who are not under oath is one of the major causes of danger to the fatherland. This comes at a time when all Frenchmen have need of unity, and of all their strength to drive back the external enemies, and must take all measures possible to ensure and guarantee peace within the nation… [The Assembly] decrees that there is a state of emergency…

Article 1. All clergy liable to the oath prescribed by the law of December 26th 1790 and that of April 17th 1791 who have not sworn it, or who, after having sworn it, have retracted it… will be obliged to leave the borders of their district and department of residence within eight days, and the kingdom, within a fortnight. These different deadlines will be counted from the day of publication of the present decree. They will each appear before the Directory or the Council of their district of residence, to declare to it the foreign country into which they intend to withdraw, and a passport containing their declaration, their description, the route they must take and the time within which they must have left the kingdom will be delivered to them on the spot.

Article 2. Once the 14 day deadline stipulated above has expired, those clergy not under oath who have not obeyed the above provisions will be deported to French Guyana. The district Directories will have them arrested and taken from brigade to brigade to the nearest seaport…

Article 4. Any clergyman who remains within the kingdom after having made his declaration to leave and obtained a passport, or who returns after having left, will be condemned to a punishment often years’ detention…

Article 7. Excepted from the preceding provisions are the disabled, whose disability has been recorded by an officer of health who will be designated by the general council of the town of their place of residence, and whose certificate will be verified by the same general council. Also excepted are sexagenarians whose age will also be duly recorded…”