The Legislative Assembly’s decree on émigrés (1791)


On November 9th 1791 the Legislative Assembly took action against émigrés who were mobilising counter-revolutionary forces outside France, issuing this decree:


“Article 1. Those Frenchmen gathered beyond the kingdom’s borders are, from this moment, declared to be suspected of conspiracy against the fatherland.

Article 2. If on January 1st 1792 they are still gathered in the same way, they will be declared guilty of conspiracy; as such they will be prosecuted, and punished with death…

Article 4. The income of the accused, condemned in absentia, will be, during their lifetime, collected for the nation’s profit, without prejudice to the rights of the wives, children and creditors of the condemned.

Article 5. From this moment, the incomes of French princes who are absent from the kingdom are impounded. No payment of any salary, pension or income whatsoever may be made directly or indirectly to the said princes, nor to their proxies or representatives… Any officer, whatever his rank, who abandons his duties without having given his prior resignation, will be prosecuted as being guilty of desertion, and given the same punishment as that for soldiers…

Article 14. There will be a stay on the export of arms, ammunition and implements of war. Administrative and municipal bodies will pay particular attention to the execution of this article. The regular seizures will be placed in storage by the local municipality, which will send a copy of the report to the district Directory, which will make the legislative body aware of it.

Article 15. The committee for legislation is given the responsibility of shortly presenting measures, which the king will be requested to take in the name of the nation, regarding neighbouring powers that protect the groups of émigrés on territories bordering the French empire.”