A tolerant Louis XVI

Far from a tyrannical rule, King Louis XVI's reign was one of tolerance, and a desire to help his people. Undermined by calumnious detractors, (many of whom were family members,) who were concerned for their own position, property and wealth the he still strove for the betterment of his subjects. He was a just man, a forerunner of womens rights and of justice. He abolished certain taxes. He made injustices right. If he could have continued in the course of his benevolent reign the world might well have been different.

This is of course mostly forgotten by historians. Only the words of one of a tyrant of the revolution, nay the prophet of the Antichrist “It is with regret that I pronounce the fatal truth: Louis ought to perish rather than a hundred thousand virtuous citizens; Louis must die that the country may live" are remembered. Why is that?

Louis XVI decided to relieve his people of the "Right of Joyous Advent", a tax at every change of reign.

Louis XVI created the corps of the firemen.
Louis XVI permitted women the attainment of Masters in any profession.

Louis XVI authorized the installation of a water pump to supply Paris with water to fight fires in Paris.
Louis XVI created a Mount-of-Piety to Paris to discourage usury and to come to the aid of the poor people.

Louis XVI allowed the crews of its warships the percentage (a third) of the prize money value of the captured warships that was reserved for him during war time.
Louis XVI decided to help the abbot of the Epée in his work for the education of the "deaf-mutes without fortune" he taught a sign language of his own invention. The King gave him a pension of 6000 livres of his own budget, against the archdiocese opinion that suspected this man of Jansenism. (heresy, quietism)
Louis XVI endowed the school of Valentin Hauÿ for the blind.

Louis XVI gave fishing rights the English fishermen and obtained the reciprocity for the French fishermen.
Louis XVI gave the right to married women and to minors access their inheritance and pensions without asking the authorization of their husband or guardian.
Louis XVI coined the phrase "Social Justice".

Louis XVI ordered military hospitals to treat the wounded enemies "as subjects of the King", 90 years before the first Geneva convention.
Louis XVI decided to abolish the serfdom in the royal domain and the right that allowed the lords to make serfs follow or left their domains.
Louis XVI ordered the abolition of torture.
Louis XVI did paid infirmary expenses to insure the prisons were "clear and well-ventilated" .
Louis XVI eliminated Maison du Roi tax (a third).

Louis XVI financed all the installations of the hôtel-dieu for that every sick individual have his own clean bed. (Not done for Louis-Charles, LouisXVII)
Louis XVI was founded a hospital for the children with contagious diseases, today called the Hospital of the Sick Children.

Louis XVI created the Museum des Sciences et Techniques, the future Center of National Arts and Trades.

Louis XVI was founded the School of the Mines.
Louis XVI financed on its own the brothers Montgolfier (pioneers of aviation)
Louis XVI financed equally the experiences of Jouffroy of Abbans for the use of steam for sailing ships.

Louis XVI exempted the Jews of the body toll and of humiliation. He had synagogues constructed in Nancy and Lunéville, and permit to the Jews to have access to all the masteries in the Parliament of Nancy.
Louis XVI granted seven million to the victims of the cold in the winter.
Louis XVI granted retirement pensions to all those that exercised a maritime profession.

Louis XVI asked for a annual balance of the commerce budget.

Louis XVI created the property rights (copyrights) of authors and music composers.

Louis XVI granted the right of citizenship to the protestants.

Louis XVI ended the right to the hold prisoners in preventive custody before their indictment, and before their trial. He decided to grant them a compensation as well as a right of announcement if their innocence was shown at the time of their trial. (not afforded to his person or his family)

Louis XVI granted the first right of women to vote within the framework of the election of the representatives of the Assembly of the General States.


Louis XVI created the School of music and of dance of the Opera of Paris, and the Museum of the Louvre.

Inspiré de l'ouvrage "Louis XVI a la parole" par Paul et Pierrette Girault de Coursac, Edition l'O.E.I.L.

Today Robespierre's other words are forgotten, "The secret of freedom lies in educating people, whereas the secret of tyranny is in keeping them ignorant."

Vive Le Roi!
Richard Sieur de Brantigny