Monday, January 15, 2007

The Reforms of Louis XVI

Here are some of the reforms of Louis XVI, made of his own free will beginning from the moment he ascended the throne. He was considered quite the Liberal.

1774 Louis XVI placed Turgot in charge of finances and introduced free circulation of grain. Founded School of Medicine in Paris.

1775 Droits d'octroi were reduced, prison reform begun, and the death penalty for deserters was abolished.

1776 The king signed the six edicts of Turgot comprising the abolition of the corvee. The parlements resisted the edicts, preventing them from becoming law. In the same year he reduced his household.

1778 More taxes reduced.

1779 The king abolished servitude and other reforms were made.

1780 Further reductions in the Royal household were made, hospital reform was begun, prison reform continued, most torture was abolished.

1784 Relief given to Jews.

1786 More hospital reform, aid to the deaf, and provisions made for lost children.

1787 Steps taken towards the total abolition of the corvee, more reductions in royal household, civil rights accorded to Jews and Protestants.

1788 All forms of torture were abolished, greater freedom given to press, steps towards abolition of lettres de cachet.

All of the above is taken from Nesta Webster's Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette during the Revolution, but it is a matter of public record. Anyone who thinks Louis XVI was a lazy, sluggish, do-nothing king need only examine the six volumes of laws passed during his reign. He wanted to reform the feudal tax system, which is why he called the Estates-General. If all the nobles and wealthy clergy had been minimally taxed, there would have been no deficit.

The enemies of the king were determined his plans were not to succeed. They had been planning for years. As Marie-Antoinette wrote to her brother Leopold II in August 1790 about the society she had once thought to be innocuous: Be well on your guard where you are with regard to all associations of Freemasons. You must already have been warned that it is by this means that all the monsters here count on attaining the same end in every country. Oh, God, preserve my fatherland and you from such misfortunes. Share


Anonymous said...

Many thanks for posting this! It seems that Louis XVI's accomplishments have been overlooked. The description of a lazy, inept monarch is what I learned in school and in my college European history classes. There are books about Louis XVI, and I believe Louis XVI is long overdue for scholarly reassessment!

elena maria vidal said...

Elisa, thanks! Yes, Louis needs a serious scholarly revamping of his image to replace the politically correct lies that most of us are fed.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't the Bastille scheduled to be demolished too? One of my history professors in school said that Louis planned to tear down the Bastille in order to make a park, and there were very few prisoners inside when it was stormed.

Athanasius said...

Even contemporary histories will acknowledge there were only 7 prisoners in the Bastile. It was like a country club prison. Webster notes, in the same book Ms. Vidal referenced, that there were cells filled with books, fine wines, good clothes, and good food. But the image of the Bastile was too fixed in popular imagination for reality to dispel the myth, and it found its way into text books for a good 200 years.
Generally historians try to take the fact that the reforms didn't accomplish their end as proof that Louis XVI was a do nothing king. However it was the other way around. The Masonic Jacobin clubs, having a) been inspired by the ideas of the Philosophes and most importantly Rousseau, and b) already decided that the king must be eliminated so that they could destroy the Church and remake society perverted the execution of Louis XVI's reforms in the Estates general, and even paid to delay or destroy grain shipments in order to perpetuate the famine, so that they would have an excuse to stir up popular support against the clergy and the king. The nobility was incidental and many of them took the side of the Revolutionaries like Mirabeau and the Duc du Orelans, and apostate clergy like Tallyrand were at the forefront of the Jacobin movement and the heretical Constitution of the clergy which was modeled on masonic doctrine. All of that is eliminated from modern text books, and instead we learn that Louis XVI was incompetent, slow witted, that Marie Antoinette said let them eat cake (which she never really said) and that the revolution though bloody was necessary. At least they have stopped saying that Louis XVI was a tyrant.

elena maria vidal said...

Thank you, Athanasius! All true!

elena maria vidal said...

This information can also be found in Simon Schama's "Citizens."

May said...

When there is bad will, anything can be interpreted badly. I was reminded of this recently when reading of a new book on the Belgian queens, which apparently sets out, among other things, to crack the "myth" of the charitable Queen Astrid, using even her care for the poor against her- on the grounds that it was 'paternalist'. One can tell the authors are trying really, really hard to find something to criticize...

And wasn't Louis XVI himself attacked for his charitable works at his trial- they said it was all a scheme to enslave the people, or some such thing?

Unknown said...

Just a note, your first point was not a good decision by the King, according even to Hilaire Belloc as it brought grain out of the areas that needed it and exacerbated the famine. Turgot was an idiot.