10 August: A First Hand Account (Part 2)

Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, Public Domain
Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, Public Domain

Scottish born John Moore continued to record his observations about the 10 August storming of the Tuileries Palace in 1792. He made the following notations in his journal on 11 August, which are provided below almost verbatim:

When the King and Queen entered the hall of the National Assembly, they were accompanied by the Dauphin, their daughter, and the Princess Elizabeth, and attended by the ministers and some members of the municipality of Paris.

Jean-François Merlet, Courtesy of Wikipedia
Jean-François Merlet, Courtesy of Wikipedia

The King at first, placed himself at the side of the President, [Jean-François Merlet], and said, “I am come hither to prevent a great crime — I believe myself in safety in the midst of you, gentlemen.”

The President answered, “that he might rely on the Assembly, who had sworn to die at their post in the supporting the rights of the nation, and of the constituted authorities.”

It was observed by one of the members, that the King’s presence put a restraint on the debates; on which he descended to the bar where his family was, and with them was conducted into a box on the right hand of the President, called La Loge du Logographe, where seven or eight persons used to fit around a table to take down in writing the debates, and every thing remarkable that passed in the Assembly.

They had not been situated there long when the action began. The National Assembly is very near the place in which the engagement was. Several cannonbullets struck the roof of the hall, and some musquetshot, entered the windows. What interest all within must have taken in this action, will be easily imagined. Some members rose and changed their seats when the cannon were first heard; but the President, calling to order, said it was the duty of every member to remain with steadiness at his post, and to serve his country to the best of his abilities. After this every member kept his place, except such as deputed on some particular business by the President.

The King said to the President, that he had given orders to the Swiss not to fire.

The firing of the cannon and musquets continued. The Assembly remain silent for some time.

A member then made a motion, that it should be immediately decreed, that all property and persons should be under the safeguard of the law and the people.

This was applauded and decreed.

They next decreed an act of proclamation to all the citizens inviting them to have confidence in their representative, who had sworn to save the country.

10 August
Massacre of the Swiss Guards by Jean Duplessi-Bertaux, Courtesy of Wikipedia

I went this morning to see the places where the action of yesterday happened. The naked bodies of the Swiss, for they were already stripped, lay exposed on the ground. I saw a great number on the terrace immediately opposite the palace of the Tuileries; some lying singly in different parts of the gardens; and some in heaps, one above another, particularly near the terrace of the Feuillants.

The garden and adjacent courts were crowded with spectators, among whom there was a considerable portion of women, whose curiosity, it was evident, was fully equal to their modesty.

The bodies of the National Guards, of the Citizens of Fauxbourgs, and of the Fœderes, have been already removed by their friends; those of the Swiss only lie exposed in this shocking manner. Of about 800 or 1000 of these, who were yesterday mustered in the Tuileries, I am told there are not 200 left alive.

Plaque commemorating 10 August 1792 assault on the Tuileries, in the Catacombs of Paris where many of those killed have been buried. Courtesy of Wikipedia.
A plaque in the Catacombs of Paris commemorates 10 August 1792, where many of those killed have been buried. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

I descended to the terrace, and took another melancholy walk among the bodies of those whom I had seen two days before in all the pride of health and military pomp. In point of size and looks, I do not suppose there is a finer battalion of infantry in Europe than they formed at that time.

After they gave way they were slaughtered by those who keep aloof while they resisted. Some were pursued through the streets and dragged from the shops and houses wither they fled for shelter. About fifty or sixty who asked for quarter, were saved by the Marseillois; they were delivered to the National Guards, and conducted by them to the Maison de Ville.

References:

  • “August 10, 1792,” in Chester Chronicle, 7 June 1793

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