The Convention decrees the execution of Louis XVI (1793)


The following decree of the National Convention, issued January 20th 1793, ordered and authorised the execution of Louis XVI:


(January 20th 1793)

“The National Convention declares Louis Capet, last king of the French, guilty of a conspiracy against the liberty of the nation and of a crime against the general safety of the State.

The National Convention declares, that Louis Capet shall undergo the punishment of death.

The National Convention declares that the act of Louis Capet, brought to the ban by his counsel, and termed an appeal to the nation on the sentence passed against him in the convention, is null… and forbids every per­son from giving it authority, on pain of being prosecuted, and punished as guilty of a crime a­gainst the general safety of the republic.

The executive council shall notify the present decree, within the day, to Louis Capet, and shall take the necessary mea­sures of police and safety to secure its execution within 24 hours, reckoning from the notification, and shall render an account of the whole to the National Convention immediately after its execution.”

On receiving this decree Louis sent the following communication to the National Convention. His request for a three day stay of execution was refused:

“I demand a delay of three days, in order to enable me to appear in the presence of Al­mighty God. The better to effect this, I request leave to call to my aid the ex-bishop of Fermont…

I demand that his person be protected from all insult in order that he may be enabled to deliver himself up without fear to the work of charity which he is about to be employed in, with respect to me.

I demand to be freed from the perpetual in­spection which the general council of the com­mons has made use of towards me for some time past.

I demand that during this interval, I may be permitted to see my family, without any witness, every time that I solicit this permission.

I desire that the National Convention may deliberate immediately about the fate of my fa­mily and that they may be permitted to retire whenever they please.

I recommend all the persons who were at­tached to me to the care and protection of the nation. There are many of them who have ex­pended the whole of their fortunes in order to purchase their places, and must consequently be in great distress.

Among my pensioners are a great number of old men, and of poor people burdened with large families, who have not any thing to subsist on but the allowance which I paid them.

Given at the Tower in the Temple
January 20th 1793
(Signed) Louis.”