Hébert on the flight to Varennes (1791)


In June 1791, immediately after the flight to Varennes, the radical journalist Jacques Hébert, condemned Louis XVI in Le Père Duchesne (number 61):


“You, my king. You are no longer my king, no longer my king! You are nothing but a cowardly deserter.

A king should be the father of the people, not its executioner. Now that the nation has resumed its rights it will not be so bloody stupid as to take back a coward like you.

You, king? You are not even a citizen. You will he lucky to avoid leaving your head on a scaffold for having sought the slaughter of so many men.

I don’t doubt that once again you are going to pretend to be honest and that, supported by those scoundrels on the constitutional committee, you are going to promise miracles. They still want to stick the crown on the head of a stag…

But no, damn it, that will not happen! From one end of France to the other, there is only an outcry against you, your debauched Messalina, and your whole bastard race.

‘No more Capet!’ This is what every citizen is shouting, and, besides, even if it were possible that they might want to pardon you all your crimes, what trust could now be placed in your remains?

You vile perjurer, a man who has broken his oath again and again. We will stuff you into Charenton [the asylum] and your whore into the Hôpital [hospital].

When you are finally walled up, both of you, and above all when you no longer have a civil list, I’ll be stuffed with an axe if you get away.”