Louis XVI - Writing His Will During Trial

Louis XVI - Writing His Will During Trial Famous Historical Events Famous People Social Studies Trials World History Visual Arts

This painting, called Louis XVI Writing His Will at the Temple, is by Danloux Henri-Pierre. The deposed (and ultimately doomed) King wrote his Will on December 25, 1792 (Christmas Day) while he was held captive in the Temple prison.

Taking a break for Christmas, the court resumed the King's trial (before the National Convention) on December 26, 1792.  On that day, Louis' lead defense lawyer - Raymond Desèze - told the court:

Louis ascended the throne at the age of twenty, and at the age of twenty he gave to the throne the example of character. He brought to the throne no wicked weaknesses, no corrupting passions. He was economical, just, severe. He showed himself always the constant friend of the people

The people wanted the abolition of servitude. He began by abolishing it on his own lands.

The people asked for reforms in the criminal law... he carried out these reforms.

The people wanted liberty: he gave it to them. The people themselves came before him in his sacrifices.

Nevertheless, it is in the name of these very people that one today demands... Citizens, I cannot finish... I stop myself before History. Think how it will judge your judgement, and that the judgement of him will be judged by the centuries.  (Quoted by David P. Jordan, in The King's Trial, at page 135.)

Although Desèze was brilliant, and his arguments were persuasive, the "guilty" verdict against the King surprised no one.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5155stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 07, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Nov 18, 2018

Media Credits

Image online, courtesy the amazon.com website.




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