Paris sections demand the removal of the king (1792)




On August 3rd 1792, 47 of the 48 Paris sections handed the following petition, demanding the removal of the king, to the Legislative Assembly. The Assembly heard the petition but equivocated and took no firm action. This led to the attack on the Tuileries and the suspension of Louis XVI a week later.



“Legislators, when the fatherland is in danger, its children ought to press around it, and never has so great a peril threatened the fatherland. The Paris Commune sends us to you. We come to bring the opinion of a large city into the home of the law. Filled with respect for the nation’s representatives, filled with confidence in their courageous patriotism, [Paris] believes that to cure the ills of France it is necessary to attack them at their source and not lose a moment…

We shall not retrace for you the entire conduct of Louis XVI since the first days of the revolution, his sanguinary projects against the city of Paris, his preferences for nobles and priests, the aversion he displayed for the people and the National Assembly… We shall not retrace for you the oaths he violated so many times, the protestations incessantly renewed and contradicted by his actions, up to the moment when his treacherous flight opened up the eyes of the citizens… We shall leave aside everything that is covered by the people’s pardon, but to forgive is not to forget…

Armed enemies threaten our territory from abroad. Two tyrants publish a manifesto against the French nation that is as insolent as it is absurd. French parricides, led by the king’s brothers and allies, prepare to rend the bosom of their fatherland. Already the enemy at our frontiers places executioners opposite our soldiers…

The head of the executive power is the first link in the chain of counter-revolution… Far from putting himself in opposition to our domestic and foreign enemies, his conduct is a formal and perpetual act of disobedience to the Constitution. As long as we have such a king, liberty cannot grow strong, and we are determined to remain free…

Since it is very doubtful whether the nation can have confidence in the present dynasty, we ask that the ministers may provisionally exercise the executive power once [the king is removed] until the will of the people, our sovereign and yours, is legally pronounced in a National Convention…

Meanwhile, let our enemies, however they may be, arrange themselves beyond our frontiers; let scoundrels and perjurers abandon the soil of our liberty; let 300,000 slaves advance, they will find before them tens of millions of free men… Let each of us be soldiers in turn [and] let each of us make his memory illustrious by the death of a tyrant before yielding his last breath.”

paris sections louis xvi
A coloured drawing from 1792 mocking the unpopular Louis XVI
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