Ux's Times Of London Article Series

This is for Discussions about Napoleonic History only.
User avatar
Lord Uxbridge Ist
Honourary Lord
Honourary Lord
Posts: 880
Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2003 5:33 pm
Location: UK

Ux's Times Of London Article Series

Postby Lord Uxbridge Ist » Fri Feb 18, 2005 11:59 am

I have recently started transcribing contemporary articles from the Times of London regarding the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. I aim to post one article a week in which we can watch events unfold, as they actually happened (but of course, through the eyes of the English press of the time.) I hope everyone finds the articles enjoyable and informative.

So, to kick things of, lets start were it all began, the Revolution:

*Note, I have tried to keep the original formatting and spellings that appeared in the articles where possible.

The Times, Friday, July 31 1789, page 4. Issue 1219



Every hour now presents a new scene of tumult and added consternation.

The word ?Spy!? is an immediate signal for murder, whenever, therefore a person passes who has the misfortune to meet among the mob an enemy, the word ? Spy ? is given, and he lives no longer to give offence.

Five persons were murdered ? in less than a quarter of an hour, - in this most deliberate manner.

Yet in the midst of this desperation, which will undoubtedly leave the city in ashes and blood, such is the respect they bear the English, and the name of our Constitution, that, on a Gentleman appearing, attended by two ladies, they immediately made a line to let them pass, crying out ?Vive la Liberte.?

The streets are in a state of continual uproar all night long; no order or control whatever. Torches are hurrying about, in pursuit of those whom you see flying before the fury of the mob, and whose death you are soon made sensible of by their shrieks.

L?Assemblie loses its power, and the most dignified of its Members cease to be heard.

The King might consider this as the crisis of his fate; were he in the least esteemed, the people, perhaps, through dread of worse sufferings, might again have recourse to him, and fly from petty tyrants to the throne; but he is so very unpopular ? they shew no such wish.

We have got an immediate army of citizens, and a spirited young General to command it; but this city, notwithstanding, is as much the seat of anarchy, as if those who are interested in the preservation of order, were not possessed of the means to restrain lawless violence, and the commission of crimes which must be punished, or there must be an end to society.

There is neither law or police at this moment in Paris. Our Sovereign Lord the Mob govern the city at their pleasure; they seize whom they please, and, in defiance of every subsisting law of the nation, and every dictate of reason, they put whom they chuse to death, without judgement, and without mercy.

The execution, which follows the sentence of this lawless banditti, is ? as may be expected ? attended with circumstances of barbarity and horror, much more a suited to the character of Cossacks and Calmucs, than of a Christian or civilized people.

The Marquis de la Fayette looks on; and, though he boasts himself as the Commander of 48000 steady and sedate citizens, he has not rescued any one victim from the rage of the populace; he has not asserted the domination of law, but has stood by, while it has been shamefully trodden under foot.

Whether this inactivity proceeds from want of power, or want of inclination to restrain the violence of the people, we know not; but this much is certain, that notwithstanding the numerous inrolments of men, in all the wards of Paris, and their declarations of readiness to maintain order in the capital, no man can call his life or his property his own, one minute longer than the people think fit to leave him in possession. If they think proper to call for either, or both, there is no law here that can afford the wretched victim even the least protection, or secure him a legal trial.

You talk of the Bastille as a dreadful engine of tyranny, and in so doing you give it its true name; but you seem to forget that tyranny is not more lessened when exercised by the people, than when exercised by a King.

The Bastille was a tyranny, not because people were confined there, but because they were confined against law, and were treated with a barbarity which, being exercised in private, could not answer the end of example, but must be the effect of private vengeance.

What then must be said of executions in the open day, without a trial, and without a sentence emanating from the law.

Surely, when such things are tolerated, there can be no Government; and, where there is no Government, there is no law, but that which is the most to be dreaded ? la loi du fort.

Were a man to have a choice of evils, he must have a little discernment who would not prefer the Government of tyranny of a King, however despotic, to that of a multitude, who trample upon all principles of right and wrong.

In this city we have had sufficient cause to regret, the National Assembly did not proceed to settle the constitution, before they began to address for a removal of the army.

Had they drawn up their Bill of Rights, and the King had drawn back, then they might have charged him with a breach of his word, and called upon their constituents to guard against the effects of his insincerity.

Then it would have been time enough to break open the arsenals, plunder his stores, debauch his troops, make his advisers have recourse to flight to save their lives; and then complete all, by gravely and wisely setting the necessary limits to the Royal prerogative ? or sending the King after his advisers, should they find him resolved to withstand the united wishes of all his people.

But instead of this, all the fences of law and Government have been broken down, and a rude and cruel rabble let loose upon the lives and properties of individuals.

Some few of their excesses and insolences we beg to relate:

The mob, hearing that there were great quantities of corn in the convent of St. Lazare, broke it open, and carried away the corn.

If there was a house in Paris which charity and humanity should have defended, it was this; for its stores were the stores of the poor, and more poor people were daily fed by this convent, than by 100 of any houses of this capital.

Whatever was the whim of the rabble on this occasion, they had lighted papers in the carts on which they had loaded the corn, though they drew it away at noon day.

The day the King was obliged to shew himself in Paris, an air of sadness was spread over his countenance; and sufficiently shewed, that in trusting himself to the unruly multitude, the confidence which he placed in them cost him much.

One of the rabble fired a pistol just as the KING was passing by St. Rech?s, in Rue St. Henere. It was not charged with either bullet or shot.

His MAJESTY suddenly started at the report, and looked round him with great earnestness, to try if he could see whence, or by whom the pistol had been fired.

Just at the New Bridge, or Pont Neuf, his own Guards (les Gardes Francois) who had deserted him, met his eye; they were drawn up in a hollow square, facing Rue de la Monnoie; instead of appearing confused at the sight of the Prince, whom they had abandoned, and whose person they no longer had the honour to guard, they assumed a bullying and menacing air. They had, a little way a head of the front line, not a field piece, but a forty-eight pounder.

At sight of such an apparatus for action, the KING put his hand to his forehead; and, with out looking any more at these base deserters, or heroic patriots, he was drawn by in his carriage.

When he alighted at Guildhall, all order was confounded ? Deputies, Electors, Nobles, King, and Mob, all entered pell-mell.

The KING was seated on his throne; but even there he was made to feel how little able he was to command respect, and how little disposed the heads of the city were to procure it him.

A drunken gunner got up to the throne, brandishing an enormous drawn sabre. ? The man did not appear to mean harm; but the King appeared to apprehend it; and yet no one would ease his mind by turning the fellow out. He was at last pleased, of his own accord, to lay his sabre at his Majesty?s feet, where the King seemed to be much better pleased to see it, than in the gunners hands.

Mons. Bailly, who, from his situation in life, it might have been expected, knew what was due to the person of the First Magistrate of a great Empire, and would have set an example to others, of respect to such a Magistrate, went up to the King to receive his commands; but instead of kneeling, as was the constant practice of the Lord Chancellor or Lord Keeper, and is the practice of the Lord Chancellor of England, at this day, when he approaches the Sovereign seated on the throne, Mons. Bailly received his Majesty?s orders standing, as if to bend the knee as a token of respect to a person, bearing or representing the Majesty of the Nation, was unbecoming a freeman.

Before King CHARLES I. was tried, orders were issued that he should be no longer served on the knee, or seated under a canopy. This want of respect for a Monarch was a prelude to the downfall of the Monarchy.

We hope, even though the Duke of Orleans should be benefited by our hope, that Louis XVI. Will not close the long and illustrious line of Kings, who, from the days of King HUGH CAPET, his Majesty?s ancestor, and the founder of his family, down to the present day, have governed France for the spaced of eight hundred and one years; during which length of time the sceptre never went out of the male line of HUGH CAPET, or out of his family name.

Count LALLY appears to be the only man in the popular party in the National Assembly, who has at heart the establishment of a Government by law. He moved, that the Assembly should resolve, that whoever should, on any account or pretext whatever, disturb the public peace or tranquillity, should be delivered over to the civil power to be tried, and acquitted or condemned according to the regular courte of law.

One would have imagined, that such a resolution would have been carried the moment it was read ? But it was taken ad referendum, and is to be debated some other day, perhaps when some forces of the noblest and wealthiest citizens in France shall have been sacrificed, not to the justice of the laws, but to the fury of the enraged populace.

Count LALLY proposed also, but without success, that the assembly should begin the glorious work of the Constitution?s Regeneration by an act of General Amnesty, that there might not be in France a heavy heart the day her Liberty was secured ? This generous proposition, however, was disregarded.


Next up is the execution of King Louis XVI.

PS Crow, please sticky this old man.
"There is no beating these troops. They were completely beaten; the day was mine, and yet they did not know it and would not run." - Marshal Soult in his report to Napoleon after the Battle of Albuera, 16th May, 1811

User avatar
Lord BloodnGore
Honourary Lord
Honourary Lord
Posts: 1844
Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2003 5:51 pm
Location: USA, San Diego

Postby Lord BloodnGore » Mon Feb 21, 2005 2:18 am

Nice one m8 :D

LBG 8)

User avatar
Posts: 467
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2003 6:22 pm

Postby lesterribles » Tue Feb 22, 2005 2:42 pm

Good stuff!

User avatar
Lord Uxbridge Ist
Honourary Lord
Honourary Lord
Posts: 880
Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2003 5:33 pm
Location: UK

Postby Lord Uxbridge Ist » Tue Mar 01, 2005 11:36 am


The Times, Friday, January 25 1793, page 2. Issue 2516


By an express which arrived yesterday morning from Messrs. Fector and Co. at Dover, we learn the following particulars of the King?s execution:

At six o?clock on Monday morning, the King went to take a farewell of the QUEEN and ROYAL FAMILY. After staying with them some time, and taking a very affectionate farewell with them, the KING descended from the tower of the Temple, and entered the Mayor?s carriage, with his confessor and two Members of the Municipality, and passed slowly along the Boulevards which led from the Temple to the place of execution. All women were prohibited from appearing in the streets, and all persons from being seen at their windows. A strong guard cleared the procession.

The greatest tranquillity prevailed in every street through which the procession passed. About half past nine, the King arrived at the place of execution, which was the Place de Louis XV, between the pedestal which formerly supported the statue of his grand-father, and the promenade of the Elysian Fields.
LOUIS mounted the scaffold with composure, and that modest intrepidity peculiar to oppressed innocence, the trumpets sounding and drums beating during the whole time. He made a sign of wishing to harangue the multitude, when the drums ceased, and Louis spoke these few words I die innocent; I pardon my enemies; I only sanctioned upon compulsion the Civil Constitution of the Clergy. ? He was proceeding, but the beating of the drums drowned his voice. His executioners then laid hold of him, and an instant after his head was separated from his body; this was about a quarter past ten o?clock.

After the execution, the people threw their hats up in the air, and cried out Vive la Nation! Some of them endeavoured to seize the body, but it was removed by a strong guard to the Temple, and the lifeless remains of the King were exempted from those outrages which his Majesty had experienced during his life.

The King was attended on the scaffold by an Irish priest as his confessor, not choosing to be accompanied by one who had taken the National oath. He was dressed in a brown great coat, white waistcoat and black breeches, and his hair was powdered.

When M. de Malsherbes announced to LOUIS, the fatal sentence of Death. ?Ah!? exclaimed the Monarch, ?I shall then at length be delivered from this cruel suspense.?

The decree imported that LOUIS should be beheaded in the Place de Carousel, but reasons of public safety induced the Executive Council to prefer the Place de la Revolution, formerly the Place de Louis XV.

Since the decree of death was issued, a general consternation has prevailed throughout Paris; - the Sans Culottes are the only persons that rejoice. ? The honest citizens, immured within their habitations, could not suppress their heart felt grief, and mourned in private with their families the murder of their much loved Sovereign.

The last requests of the unfortunate LOUIS breathes the foul magnanimity, and a mind enlightened with the finest ideas of human virtue. He appears not to be that man which his enemies reported. His heart was found ? his head was clear ? and he would have reigned with glory, had he but possessed those faults which his assassins laid to his charge. His mind possessed the suggestions of wisdom; and even in his last moments, when the spirit of life was winged for another world, his lips gave utterance to them, and he spoke with firmness and with resignation.

Thus has ended the life of LOUIS XVI, after a period of four years detention; during which, he experienced from his subjects every species of ignominy and cruelty which a people could inflict on the most sanguinary tyrant. LOUIS XVI, who maws proclaimed at the commencement of his reign THE FRIEND OF THE PEOPLE, and by the Constituent Assembly, THE RESTORER OF THEIR LIBERTIES ? Louis, who but a few years since was the most powerful Monarch in Europe, has at last perished on the scaffold. Neither his own natural goodness of heart, his desire to procure the happiness of his subjects, nor that ancient love which the French entertained for their Monarch, has been sufficient to save him from this fatal judgement.
Long in the habit of supporting the virtues of this unhappy Victim of savage Republicanism; and, steady in persevering to declare, THAT HIS HIGHEST AMBITION WAS THE HAPPINESS OF HIS PEOPLE, we hold ourselves justified, from the universal indignation which has marked this last act of cruelty exercised against him, to pay our sorrowing tribute to his memory, and join with the united millions of Europe, in supplicating the wrath of Heaven, and the vengeance of Mankind, to extend to his unnatural murderers the most exemplary punishment.

Posterity, in condemning those infamous Judges who have sacrificed LOUIS to the fury and ambition of the vilest of men, will extend their censures yet further, and in the warmth of virtuous indignation, will not refrain from blasting the memory of that Minister (Necker), who, to gratify a selfish vanity, directed the Royal victim to make the first step towards that precipice, from the brink of which he is now precipitated.

Posterity will condemn those Members of the Constituent Assembly, who allured by the meteor of false philosophy, madly burst asunder the bonds of popular subordination; tore down the pillars of Monarchy and Religion, and left LOUIS defenceless, forsaken, and abandoned to those hordes of Monsters, who under the different appellations of Legislative Assemblies, Clubs, and Sections, have inflicted upon their miserable victim a thousand agonizing deaths and apprehensions, before they delivered him up to the axe of the executioner.

The perpetrators of such crimes may proceed in their career, till they draw down the same punishment on themselves. The virtuous of every country will bedew with sensibility, the memory of a good and pious King; whilst the tardy tears of the first Revolutionists shall blend themselves with the hypocritical complaints of the new Republicans upon the precipitancy of the King?s execution.

Unquestionably, the blood of this unfortunate Monarch will invoke vengeance on his murderers. This is not the cause of Monarchs only, it is the cause of every nation on the face of the earth. All potentates owe it to their individual honour, but still more strongly to the happiness of their people collectively, to crush these savage Regicides in their dens, who aim at the ruin of all nations, and the destruction of all Governments. It is not by feeble efforts only, that we can hope to exterminate these inhuman wretches. Experience has proved them to be ineffectual. Armed with fire and sword, we must penetrate into the recesses of this land of blood and carnage: LOUIS might still have been living, had neighbouring Princes acted with that energy and expedition, which the case required.


Next up will be The Insurrection in Paris, October 1795, in which Bonaparte takes command of the artillery and fires upon the mob, in the famous 'Whiff of Grapeshot' episode.
"There is no beating these troops. They were completely beaten; the day was mine, and yet they did not know it and would not run." - Marshal Soult in his report to Napoleon after the Battle of Albuera, 16th May, 1811

User avatar
Lord Thindigital
Honourary Lord
Honourary Lord
Posts: 935
Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2003 5:53 pm
Location: staffordshire england

Postby Lord Thindigital » Tue Mar 01, 2005 11:49 am

'we are the music makers, we are the keepers of dreams'

User avatar
Posts: 310
Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2005 4:12 am
Location: United States of America

Postby HuronKing » Sat May 06, 2006 6:41 am

So amusing to read a British newspaper speak about what kind of atrocity it is to kill the king of France considering the extensively LONG history that Britain has had trying to kill French kings. :wink:
Strength and Honor
Psalms 119:89
"Forever O Lord Thy Word Is Settled In Heaven."

User avatar
Lord Crow

Postby Lord Crow » Sat May 06, 2006 6:02 pm

I would say more French Armies than the kings but I know what you mean.

User avatar
Posts: 2778
Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2004 7:47 am
Location: Greece

Postby Arman » Tue May 09, 2006 11:20 am

HuronKing wrote:So amusing to read a British newspaper speak about what kind of atrocity it is to kill the king of France considering the extensively LONG history that Britain has had trying to kill French kings. :wink:

Well, all autocratic media was full of such condolense to the king and every European Monarch were feeling executor sword above their heads at that moment.
That was first revolution of such scale in Europe, and it was quite unpleasant and dangerous for all European Monarchs.
I don't think that majority of French was pitty of the king as far as history shows, Revolution had many time used very hard support from French citizens. At the end even Napoleon had managed to return to France and find plenty of supporters even after he was defeated.
I don't know tho wheather it was support to Revolution or admiration of Napoleon as monarch, second is more likelly.

User avatar
Posts: 158
Joined: Mon Oct 09, 2006 11:01 am
Location: Some Feild, In Kent, Near a Hedge, About Six Feet Below Ground Level

Postby CaptainVexilleBritannicus » Sat Jan 05, 2008 9:56 am

The french revolution was a rather bad one really. you overthrow and kill the king, only to repalce him with . . . an emperor! and after that another king, and an emperor again. But a lot ov revolutions of the previous two centuries are llike that - Brazil and Mexico had emperors, the CAR's president declared himself an emperor and India and Ireland (southern, the former Irish Free State) remained an Empire and a Kingdom respectively for longer than they had independance from the UK.
Your obt svt,
Britannicus Vexille Esq.

Return to “The Napoleonic Library”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests