The Brunswick Manifesto (1792)


The Brunswick Manifesto, demanding the protection of the king and the restoration of royal authority, was issued to the people of France by Charles, Duke of Brunswick, in July 1792:

 

Their Majesties the emperor [of Austria] and the king of Prussia having entrusted to me the command of the united armies which they have collected on the frontiers of France, I desire to announce to the inhabitants of that kingdom the motives which have determined the policy of the two sovereigns and the purposes which they have in view.

 

After arbitrarily violating the rights of the German princes in Alsace and Lorraine, disturbing and overthrowing good order and legitimate government in the interior of the realm, committing outrages and brutalities against the sacred person of the king and his august family… those who have usurped the reins of government have at last completed their work by declaring an unjust war on his Majesty the emperor…

 

His Majesty the king of Prussia, united with his Imperial Majesty by the bonds of a strict defensive alliance and himself a preponderant member of the Germanic body, would have felt it inexcusable to refuse to march to the help of his ally and fellow-member of the empire…

 

To these important interests should be added another aim equally important and very close to the hearts of the two sovereigns: namely, to put an end to the anarchy in the interior of France, to check the attacks upon the throne and the altar, to reestablish the legal power, to restore to the king the security and the liberty of which he is now deprived, and to place him in a position to exercise once more the legitimate authority which belongs to him.

 

Convinced that the sane portion of the French nation abhors the excesses of the faction which dominates it, and that the majority of the people look forward with impatience to the time when they may declare themselves openly against the odious enterprises of their oppressors, [we] call upon them and invite them to return without delay to the path of reason, justice, order, and peace.

 

In accordance with these views I, the commander in chief of the two armies, declare:

 

1. That, drawn into this war by irresistible circumstances, the two allied courts entertain no other aims than the welfare of France, and have no intention of enriching themselves by conquests.

 

2. That they do not propose to meddle in the internal government of France, and that they merely wish to deliver the king, the queen, and the royal family from their captivity, and procure for His Majesty the necessary security to enable him, without danger or hindrance, to make such engagements as he shall see fit, and to work for the welfare of his subjects, according to his pledges.

 

3. That our allied armies will protect [French] towns and villages, and the persons and goods of those who shall submit to the king and who shall cooperate in the immediate reestablishment of order and the police power throughout France.

 

4. That the members of the National Guard who shall fight [against us] and who are taken with arms in their hands, shall be treated as enemies and punished as rebels to their king and as disturbers of the public peace…

 

7. That the inhabitants of the towns and villages who may dare to defend themselves against [our troops], either in the open country or through windows, doors, and openings in their houses, shall be punished immediately according to the most stringent laws of war, and their houses shall be burned or destroyed…

 

8. The city of Paris and all its inhabitants shall be required to submit at once and without delay to the king, to place that prince in full and complete liberty, and to assure to him… the inviolability and respect which the law of nature and of nations demands of subjects toward sovereigns… If the chateau of the Tuileries is entered by force or attacked, if the least violence be offered to their Majesties, and if their safety and their liberty are not immediately assured, [we] will inflict an ever memorable vengeance by delivering over the city of Paris to military¬†execution and complete destruction, and the rebels guilty of the said outrages to the punishment that they merit…

 

It is for these reasons that I call upon and exhort in the most urgent manner all the inhabitants of the kingdom not to oppose the movements and operations of the troops which I command, but rather, on the contrary, to grant them everywhere a free passage and to assist and aid them with all good will as circumstances shall demand.

 

Signed at Coblenz, July 25th 1792

Charles William Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick

 


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