Source Problems on the French Revolution

Contents:

D. The Sources

1. Procès-Verbal, No. 92, Monday, October 5, 1789.

The president having, moreover, in accordance with the decree of the first of this month, presented for the acceptance of the king the declaration of the rights of man in society and the nineteen articles of the constitution already decreed, read the reply of his majesty conceived in these terms:

"Thus confident that the first constitutional articles you have presented to me brought together at the end of your work will fulfil the wish of my peoples, and will assure the good fortune and prosperity of the kingdom, I grant, according to your desire, my consent to these articles, but upon one positive condition, and from which I will never depart, it is that as the result of your discussion the executive power shall remain in full force in the hands of the monarch. . . . I do not explain my attitude toward your declaration of the rights of man and of the citizen. It contains very good maxims, proper to guide your work, but principles susceptible of different applications and even of different interpretations cannot be justly appreciated, and have need of being so only at the moment when their true sense is fixed by the laws to which they ought to serve as the chief foundation. Signed, Louis."

After a second reading of the reply of the king to the declaration of rights and the nineteen articles of the constitution the discussion of this reply commenced. A great number of members, uneasy over anything which can arouse the distrust of the people or make possible in the future interpretations harmful to public liberty, observed that if the king did not accept at once the declaration of rights the tranquillity of the kingdom might be compromised, and that the consent given to the nineteen articles of the constitution decreed up to this time ought to be pure and simple for the same reasons. . . .

The assembly passed in the ordinary form the following decree:

"The national assembly has decreed that the president, at the head of a deputation, shall go to the king to-day for the purpose of begging his majesty to kindly give a pure and simple consent to the declaration of the rights of man and of the citizen and of the nineteen articles of the constitution which have been presented to him." . . .

But a member having observed that the deputies of the Vicomté, and those of the city of Paris, in the national assembly had assembled in the course of the morning to consider means of remedying the alarming scarcity of flour in Paris, and a great number of the citizenesses and some citizens having been admitted at this moment to the bar, where they stated that it was urgently necessary to occupy themselves with the food supply of this city, the assembly decided immediately to send the president to the king with those of the deputies who cared to accompany him to ask him not only for a pure and simple consent to the declaration of rights and the nineteen decreed articles of the constitution, but to request the use of the entire executive power in the employment of means to supply the capital with the grain and flour of which it has need. The president went to the king with the deputation at about five o’clock, and, the session continuing, the Bishop of Langres, one of the expresidents, replaced him. . . .

The citizens and the citizenesses of Paris, awaiting at the bar the reply of the king as to the scarcity of flour experienced in Paris, one of the members of the deputation reported, at about eight o’clock, the reply of his majesty on this particular matter. It is conceived in these terms:

"I am keenly affected by the insufficiency of the provisioning of Paris. I will continue to second the zeal and the efforts of the municipality with all the means and all the resources which are in my power, and I have given the most positive orders for the free circulation of grain on all the routes and the transportation of that destined for the use of my good city of Paris. Signed, Louis."

In addition, the following order was read which the king had just signed, and that M. de Saint-Priest, secretary of state, had countersigned. [The order was addressed to military and municipal officers, instructing them to see to it that the supplies for Paris were not interfered with.]

The assembly, wishing to cooperate as far as it is able in the effort to put an end to the scarcity of bread experienced by Paris, after the reading of the reply of the king, decrees as follows: [A decree concerning food supply].

Finally, in order not to neglect any of the means fit to quiet the popular agitation caused by the scarcity of bread in Paris, the assembly presented through its secretaries to the citizens and citizenesses of the capital, who were at the bar, collated copies of its decrees concerning the bread supply of August 29th and of September 18th, that of the reply of the king and of the orders sent out by his majesty in the evening of that day, and finally the new decree relative to the supply of bread which had just been passed.

The session having been prolonged from nine o’clock until half past nine in the evening, the vice-president adjourned it, after having set the hour for tomorrow at nine o’clock in the morning. The majority of the deputies had left the hall, after the adjournment by the vice-president, when the president returned from the château and the crisis in which they found themselves determined him to continue the session. He read the reply of the king, who, upon the representations of the assembly, accepted purely and simply the declaration of rights as well as the nineteen articles of the constitution. The reply of his majesty was thus conceived:

"I accept purely and simply the articles of constitution and the declaration of the rights of man which the national assembly has presented to me."

A numerous detachment of the national guard of Paris having arrived at ten o’clock in the evening, the king called into his presence the president who had just left his majesty. The king likewise called to him those of the deputies who were in the hall. The president went to his majesty with a very great number of members. The king said: "I have called you because I wished to surround myself with the representatives of the nation, and to enlighten myself with their advice in these difficult circumstances, but M. de Lafayette arrived before you, and I have already seen him. Assure the national assembly that I have never thought of separating from it, that I never will separate from it."

The agitation in Paris and the great number of s inhabitants of the capital who went to Versailles influenced the president at one o’clock to call the deputies together by the beating of drums. The assembly was well attended at half past one. . . . The president adjourned the session at three o’clock in the morning, after having set the hour of meeting for eleven o’clock of that day.

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Chicago: "1. Procès-Verbal, No. 92, Monday, October 5, 1789," Source Problems on the French Revolution in Source Problems on the French Revolution, ed. Fred Morrow Fling and Helene Dresser Fling (New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1913), 177–182. Original Sources, accessed October 23, 2019, http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=6KK84M8CH7VSEYD.

MLA: . "1. Procès-Verbal, No. 92, Monday, October 5, 1789." Source Problems on the French Revolution, in Source Problems on the French Revolution, edited by Fred Morrow Fling and Helene Dresser Fling, New York, Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1913, pp. 177–182. Original Sources. 23 Oct. 2019. originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=6KK84M8CH7VSEYD.

Harvard: , '1. Procès-Verbal, No. 92, Monday, October 5, 1789' in Source Problems on the French Revolution. cited in 1913, Source Problems on the French Revolution, ed. , Harper & Brothers Publishers, New York, pp.177–182. Original Sources, retrieved 23 October 2019, from http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=6KK84M8CH7VSEYD.