GIFFORD, John (1758-1818). A Narrative of the Transactions Personally Relating to the Unfortunate Lewis the Sixteenth, King of France and Navarre. London: W. Locke, 1793.

$ 1,800.00

FORD, John (1758-1818).  A Narrative of the Transactions Personally Relating to the Unfortunate Lewis the Sixteenth, King of France and Navarre; from the Period of his Evasion from Paris, on the Twentieth of June, 1791, to his Death, on January, 1793. London: W. Locke, 1793. 

Large 4to., (11 x 9 inches). 6 engraved plates, EXTRA-ILLUSTRATED with 47 engraved plates of views and portraits, and one 4-page facsimile letter (one or two marginal repairs). Contemporary full blue morocco gilt, with the supra libros of Louis XVI on the front cover, by Morrell, top edges gilt, others uncut (binding just touched at the edges). 

Being an account of the trials and tribulations of Louis XVI of France from his capture while trying to flee Paris, to his death by guillotine in 1793: "Lethargic in temperament, lacking political insight, and therefore incapable of appreciating the need to compromise, Louis continued to divert himself by hunting and with his personal hobbies of making locks and doing masonry... Louis’s resistance to popular demands was one of the causes of the forcible transfer of the royal family from Versailles to the Tuileries Palace in Paris on October 6... The outbreak of the war with Austria in April 1792, the suspected machinations of the queen’s “Austrian committee,” and the publication of the manifesto by the Austrian commander, the duke of Brunswick, threatening the destruction of Paris if the safety of the royal family were again endangered, led to the capture of the Tuileries by the people of Paris and provincial militia on Aug. 10, 1792. It also led to the temporary suspension of the king’s powers by the Legislative Assembly and the proclamation of the First French Republic on September 21. In November, proof of Louis XVI’s secret dealings with Mirabeau and of his counterrevolutionary intrigues with the foreigners was found in a secret cupboard in the Tuileries. On December 3 it was decided that Louis, who together with his family had been imprisoned since August, should be brought to trial for treason. He himself appeared twice before the Convention (December 11 and 23).  

"Despite the last-minute efforts of the Girondins to save him, Citizen Capet, as he was then called, was found guilty by the National Convention and condemned to death on Jan. 18, 1793, by 387 votes (including 26 in favour of a debate on the possibility of postponing execution) to 334 (including 13 for a death sentence with the proviso that it should be suspended). When a final decision on the question of a respite was taken on January 19, Louis was condemned to death by 380 votes to 310. He was guillotined in the Place de la Révolution in Paris on Jan. 21, 1793. Nine months later his wife met the same fate. Louis XVI’s courage on June 20, 1792, when the royal palace was invaded by the Paris mob after his dismissal of the Girondin ministry, and his dignified bearing during his trial and at the moment of execution did something to redeem, but did not reestablish, his reputation" (Encyclopedia Britannica online). Catalogued by Kate Hunter