Text of the will of Louis XVI

Here is the found will of Louis XVI, which was written on Christmas Day in 1792. The National Convention judged Louis XVI guilty and sentenced him to death. Louis XVI was guillotined on January 21, 1793, in the Place de la Révolution (Place de la Concorde taudai) in Paris.

In the name of the Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Today, the twenty-fifth of December one thousand seven hundred and ninety-two. I, Louis XVI of the name, King of France, being for more than four months locked up with my family in the Tower of the Temple in Paris, by those who were my subjects, and deprived of any communication whatsoever, even since the eleventh of the current with my family. Moreover, I am involved in a trial whose outcome is impossible to foresee because of the passions of men, and for which no pretext or means can be found in any existing law, having only God to witness my thoughts, and to whom I can turn. I declare here in his presence, my last will and feelings.

I leave my soul to God my creator, and I beg him to receive it in his mercy, not to judge it according to his merits, but by those of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who offered himself as a sacrifice to God his Father, for us men, however unworthy we may be, and me first.

I die in the Union of our holy Mother the Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church, which holds its powers by an uninterrupted succession of St. Peter to whom Jesus Christ entrusted them. I firmly believe and confess all that is contained in the Symbol and commandments of God and the Church, the Sacraments and the Mysteries as the Catholic Church teaches them and has always taught them. I have never claimed to be a judge of the different ways of explaining the dogmas that are tearing the Church of Jesus Christ apart, but I have referred and will always refer, if God grants me life, to the decisions that the ecclesiastical superiors, united with the Holy Catholic Church, give and will give in accordance with the discipline of the Church followed since Jesus Christ. I pity with all my heart our brothers who may be in error, but I do not pretend to judge them, and I love them all the less in Jesus Christ according to what Christian charity teaches us.

I pray to God to forgive me all my sins, I have tried to know them scrupulously, to hate them and to humble myself in his presence, not being able to make use of the ministry of a Catholic priest. I pray God to receive the confession I have made to him, and especially the deep repentance I have for having put my name (even though it was against my will) to acts that may be contrary to the discipline and belief of the Catholic Church to which I have always remained sincerely united in heart. I pray God to receive the firm resolution in which I am, if he grants me life, to make use as soon as I can of the ministry of a Catholic priest, to accuse me of all my sins, and to receive the Sacrament of Penance.

I beg all those whom I may have inadvertently offended (for I do not remember knowingly offending anyone), or to whom I may have given bad examples or scandals, to forgive me the harm they believe I may have done them.

I beg all those who have Charity to unite their prayers with mine, to obtain from God the forgiveness of my sins.

I forgive sincerely those who have made enemies of mine without my having given them any reason to do so, and I pray God to forgive them, as well as those who by a false zeal, or by a misunderstood zeal, have done me much harm.

I commend to God my wife, my children, my sister, my aunts, my brothers, and all those who are attached to me by blood ties, or in any other way. I pray God especially to cast eyes of mercy on my wife, my children and my sister who have long suffered with me, to sustain them by his grace if they come to lose me, and as long as they remain in this perishable world.

I recommend my children to my wife, I have never doubted her maternal tenderness for them; I especially recommend her to make them good Christians and honest men, to make them look at the greatness of this world (if they are condemned to experience it) only as dangerous and perishable goods, and to turn their eyes towards the only solid and lasting glory of Eternity. I beg my sister to continue her tenderness to my children, and to take their place of a mother, if they should have the misfortune to lose theirs.

I beg my wife to forgive me for all the pains she suffers for my sake, and the sorrows I may have given her in the course of our union, just as she can be sure that I will not hold anything against her if she believes she has something to reproach herself for.

I strongly recommend to my children, after what they owe to God who must walk before all else, always to remain united among themselves, submissive and obedient to their mother, and grateful for all the care and pains she takes for them, and in memory of me. I beg them to look upon my sister as a second mother.

I recommend to my son, if he had the misfortune to become King, to think that he owes himself entirely to the happiness of his fellow citizens, that he must forget all hatred and resentment, and especially all that has to do with the misfortunes and sorrows that I am experiencing. That he can only bring happiness to the People by ruling according to the Laws, but at the same time that a king can only make them respect, and do the good that is in his heart, as long as he has the necessary authority, and that otherwise, being bound in his operations and not inspiring respect, he is more harmful than useful.

I recommend to my son to take care of all the people who were attached to me, as much as the circumstances in which he will find himself will give him the faculties, to remember that it is a sacred debt that I have contracted towards the children or the parents of those who have perished for me, and then of those who are unhappy for me. I know that there are several of those who were attached to me, who have not behaved towards me as they should, and who have even shown ingratitude, but I forgive them (often, in times of trouble and turmoil, one is not the master of oneself) and I beg my son, if he finds the opportunity, to think only of their misfortune.

I would like to be able to show my gratitude to those who have shown me a true and disinterested attachment. On the one hand, if I was touched by the ingratitude and disloyalty of people to whom I had never shown anything but kindness, to them and their relatives or friends, on the other hand, I have been comforted by the attachment and the free interest that many people have shown me. I beg them to receive all my thanks; in the situation in which things are still, I would fear to compromise them if I spoke more explicitly, but I recommend especially to my son to look for the occasions to be able to recognize them.

I would think I was slandering the sentiments of the Nation, however, if I did not openly recommend to my son MM de Chamilly and Hue, whom their true attachment to me had led to shut themselves in with me in this sad stay, and who thought they were the unfortunate victims. I also recommend Clery to him, whose care I have had every reason to praise since he has been with me. As it is he who remained with me until the end, I beg MM of the Commune to give him my clothes, my books, my watch, my purse, and the other small effects which were deposited at the Council of the Commune.

I still forgive very willingly to those who kept me, the bad treatments and the embarrassments which they thought they had to use towards me. I found some sensitive and compassionate souls, that those who enjoy in their heart the peace which their way of thinking must give them.

I beg Messrs. de Malesherbes, Tronchet and the Sea, to receive here all my thanks and the expression of my sensitivity for all the care and pains they have taken for me.

I finish by declaring before God and ready to appear before him that I do not reproach myself for any of the crimes which are brought against me.