King Louis XVI to the Guillotine:

On January 20, 1793 King Louis of France was sentenced to death by the Revolutionary Convention, the execution to take place the following day. The King asked for a Priest whom the Convention would guarantee to protect  “from fear and anxiety resulting from this charitable act”.  He named ‘M. Edgeworth of Fermon of No.483 Rue du Bac’. His sister, Madame Elizabeth had recommended Edgeworth to the King who did not know him personally. The request was granted by the Convention. At 4 p.m. on January 20, a messenger arrived for Edgeworth with a note: “The executive Council, on a matter of the greatest importance, requests the immediate presence of Citizen Edgeworth de Firmont at its chambers”.

Edgeworth was prepared for the summons. He had earlier received a letter from the King in which he asked Edgeworth ‘as a last pledge of my affection for him, as a favour which he hoped I would not refuse, ‘to attend him during his last hours’. The guillotine had been erected on a platform in what is now the Place de la Concorde. In the carriage sat beside him and accompanied him to the steps of the  scaffold.  The drums were sounding and the King signalled for silence. The drummers stopped tapping and the King addressed the crowd in a loud. He said, “I forgive those who are guilty of my death, and I pray God that the blood you are about to shed may never be required of France. I only sanctioned upon compulsion the Civil Constitution of the Clergy’. The drums then resumed their beating. After the execution nobody stopped as he slipped away through the crowds. He escaped to England and laterbecame chaplain to the exiled Louis XVII.

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