Monday, March 16, 2009

Capture at Varennes



On June 21, 1791, Louis XVI, Marie-Antoinette, and their family were captured at Varennes after escaping from the Tuileries in Paris. The King begged the the grocer Sauce and his family not to hand them over to the authorities, saying:
I am your King; this is the Queen and the royal family. Surrounded in the capital by daggers and bayonets, I have come to the country, into the midst of my faithful subjects, to seek the peace and liberty you all enjoy. I could not stay in Paris; it would have been death to myself and my family. I have come to live among you my children, whom I will not forsake....Save my wife, save my children." (Webster, Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette during the Revolution, p.149)
His entreaties fell on deaf ears; the royal family were sent back to Paris where they all, except for young Madame Royale, met their deaths.

Some people find it interesting how a quatrain in the prophecies of Nostradamus appears to allude to the capture of the royal family at Varennes.

De nuict viendra par le forest de Reines,
Deux pars, vaultorte, Herne la pierre blanche,
Le moyne noir en gris dcdans Varennes:
Esleu Cap. cause tempeste, feu, sang, tranche.

By night shall come through the forest of Reines
Two parts, face about, the Queen a white stone,
The black monk in gray within Varennes.
Chosen Cap. causes tempest, fire, blood, slice.

Whether the prophecy genuinely refers to the night of Varennes or not, it was indeed the night that spelled the end of the monarchy. Share

6 comments:

Ms. Lucy said...

What a tragedy. The painting is exquisite. We can almost read the emotions going through every single person and their experience t that moment. Thank you.

lara77 said...

The arrest at Varennes was one of those events that history will always wonder what if.....? How many times I have read that event and wished the King and Queen had travelled in a smaller less conspicuous coach and not the large yellow berline described by historians. Thus began the beginning of the nightmare for France and all Europe.

Alexandra said...

I feel the same way...if only they had been more discreet they could have made it(!), but I don't think they were a bit clueless about the gravity of the situation. Hindsight is 20/20.

elena maria vidal said...

I have read many times that the royal family would have escaped if they had separated and gone less conspicuously. However, their passports were those of members of a household of wealthy Russian aristocrats, and Russian aristocrats were known to travel in grand style. Also, Louis never planned to leave France, but to rally support in the provinces. But Varennes was a pro=republican town.

Matterhorn said...

This was certainly tragic. Thank you, a very moving post.

elena maria vidal said...

You are welcome!