July 1791 - Louis XVI is arrested

Snippets from the Gazette of 1791, from the French. The early Gazettes strongly supported the French Revolution, but this soon changed.

Gazette de L’Isle de Guernesey, Saturday 2 July 1791

Paris, 23 June.The traitor Louis XVI was arrested during his criminal flight, despite the efforts of the traitor Bouillé, who knew about and supported the secret plan to flee, just as he supported the massacre of the patriots of Nancy. It was at Varennes, a small town in the Meuse, and a few leagues from the border with Luxembourg, that Providence, protectress of France, ensured that our enemy failed in his undertaking. Several hours of mysterious and careful preparations all along the Montmédi road aroused the suspicions of the people of Varennes. Louis XVI got as far as the town, but no farther. 40 dragoons and sixty hussars despatched by Bouillé arrived as escort; but the townspeople took up arms, and the soldiers surrendered. As soon as the news of the arrest got out, all the national guardsmen and the countryfolk of that department and the neighbouring ones assembled; eventually an escort of 40,000 men took the fugitive back to the capital; the man who was fleeing in order to spill fountains of their blood, the blood of the people who loved him, and snatch from them their liberty, the most important thing a man has, that holy gift from God, which they have won through their reason and their courage. [The next few editions tell the story of the imprisonment of the royal family in great detail.]

Gazette de L’Isle de Guernesey, Saturday 9 July 1791


Mr. George-Richard Walker1 announces that he has been appointed agent for the Universal Tontine, which is paid out to surviving subscribers. Those who would wish to subscribe, should apply to him.

Captain Deschamps,2 presently loading in London, would like to inform anyone who has merchandise to deliver, that he intends to leave for Guernsey towards the end of this month, and since he intends to stop off in Jersey to unload part of his cargo, he is taking this opportunity to give notice to the merchants of Guernsey, so that they have time to send him their orders.

Gazette de L’Isle de Guernesey, Saturday 30 July 1791

Notice from Alderney

Mr Pierre Gauvin & Mr William Sandford, each possessing a small rigged cutter [?cutter de Bâtit], are competing: the said vessels are to round Ortac and return to the island’s port, next Monday August 8th, for the sum of 20 guineas which will be paid to the winner by the runner-up. There are bound to be a great number of wagers laid on the boats. It is rumoured that several gentlemen intend to come from Cherbourg for the day.


Captain Jean Sandford informs the public that a box has arrived containing merchandise marked R.G.W. Those to whom it may belong should notify & present the bill to Thomas de Carteret, Esq.

Notice to the Public

Monsieur Laurent Palme,3 pupil of the famous Roland and Bernard, offers demonstrations of the basics of calligraphy, the French Language and arithmetic, as well as basic pencil and pen drawing. He sells his portraits of the great men of France, & and those of our august constitution; such as M. Mirabeau, la Fayette, St Etienne, Sieyes, Barnave, Henri IV, Sully, the king and the queen. He also has a school of drawing and writing; he gives lessons in Town and in private houses to members of both sexes who deign to honour him with their trust.

Daniel Valpied, glazier, informs the public that he has a shop at the Tourgand; he asks those who do him the honour of commissioning him to rest assured that he will use his best endeavours to satisfy their requirements.

For sale.

The three-masted ship known as the Hudibras will be auctioned on Thursday 4th August. Please apply to Laurens Vaudin at the rue Marchand for the inventory.

1 This unfortunate man was hanged at Newgate and will be the subject of an article on the website in the near future.

There were many tontines in operation. A Royal Universal Tontine began operation in December 1791, and ended in 1798.

'The great advantage of the tontine, and one of the reasons for its popularity, was that there would normally be an annuity benefit. A typical tontine scheme would start with a fund equal to the total premiums of the 'tontiners', and pay out some pre-defined income from this fund—for instance 4%—this income being shared among all survivors; thus the last survivor would enjoy a munificent income. However, any capital remaining on extinction of all the tontiners would usually become the property of whatever body had organised the tontine.' [Matthew Edwards]

2 Perhaps the Alexander Deschamps who was the author of Sailing directions for Guernsey, Jersey, and all the British Islands in the Gulf of Avranches: with a full description of the tides, rocks, and appearances of the land from sea principally intended to guide strangers, 1818: Guernsey, Chevalier and Mauger.

3 Not a very esteemed artist nowadays. Here is a portrait by him of Marat.

....Laurent Palme the Younger was a pupil of Bernard, but mediocre, as Poujade says: 'Palme, teacher of calligraphy at Strasbourg and member of the Lycée des Arts, made a number of portraits in pen in which the hatching was far more significant than his drawing itself, which was sketchy and very bad. As a calligrapher, his was a fourth-rate hand.' [From a catalogue of an exhibition at the Musée de Luneville, 1966].