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Thread: 'The French Revolution', by Archibald Maule Ramsay

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    Post 'The French Revolution', by Archibald Maule Ramsay

    By Archibald Maule Ramsay

    From: 'The Nameless War'

    Archibald Maule Ramsay wrote the true history of events leading up to the Second World War. For this, he was imprisoned for several years.

    The French Revolution of 1789 was the most startling event in the history of Europe since the fall of Rome. A new phenomenon then appeared before the world. Never before had a mob apparently organized successful revolution against all other classes in the state, under high sounding, but quite nonsensical slogans, and with methods bearing not a trace of the principles enshrined in those slogans.

    Never before had any one section of any nation conquered all other sections; and still less swept away every feature of the national life and tradition, from King, religion, nobles, clergy, constitution, flag, calendar, and place names, to coinage.

    Such a phenomenon merits the closest attention; especially in view of the fact that it has been followed by identical outbreaks in many countries. The main discovery that such an examination will reveal is this fact: the revolution was not the work of Frenchmen to improve France. It was the work of aliens, whose object was to destroy everything, which had been France.

    This conclusion is borne out by the references to "foreigners" in high places in the Revolutionary Councils, not only by Sir Walter Scott, but by Robes Pierre himself.

    We have the names of several of them, and it is clear that they were not British, or Germans, or Italians, or any other nationals; they were, of course, Jews.

    Let us see what the Jews themselves have to say about it :

    "Remember the French Revolution to which it was we who gave the name of 'Great.' The secrets of its preparation are well known to us for it was wholly the work of our hands." Protocols of Zion No. 7.

    "We were the first to cry among the masses of the people the words 'Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.' The stupid Gentile poll parrots flew down from all sides on to these baits, and with them carried away the well-being of the world. The would-be-wise men of the Gentiles were so stupid that they could not see that in nature there is no equality, and there cannot be freedom (meaning, of course, freedom as understood by Socialists and Communists, freedom to wreck your own country)." Protocols of Zion-No.1.

    With this knowledge in our possession we shall find we possess a master key to the intricate happenings of the French Revolution. The somewhat confused picture of characters and events moving across the screen, which our history books have shown us, will suddenly become a concerted and connected human drama.

    When we begin to draw parallels between France of 1789, Britain of 1640, Russia of 1917, Germany and Hungary of 1918-19, and Spain of 1936, we shall feel that drama grip us with a new and personal sense of reality. "Revolution is a blow struck at a paralytic."

    Even so, however, it must be obvious that immense organization, and vast resources, as well as cunning and secrecy far above the ordinary are necessary for its successful preparation.

    It is amazing indeed that people should suppose that "mobs" or "the people" ever have, or ever could, undertake such a complicated and costly operation. No mistake more-over could be more dangerous; for it will result in total inability to recognize the true significance of events, or the source and focus of a revolutionary movement.

    The process or organizing revolution is seen to be firstly the infliction of paralysis; and secondly, the striking of the blow or blows.

    It is for the first process, the production of paralysis, that the secrecy is essential. Its outward signs are debt, loss of publicity control, and the existence of alien-influenced secret organizations in the doomed state.

    Debt, particularly international debt, is the first and over-mastering grip. Through it men in high places are suborned, and alien powers and influences are introduced into the body politic. When the debt grip has been firmly established, control of every form of publicity and political activity soon follows, together with a full grip on industrialists.

    The stage for the revolutionary blow is then set. The grip of the right hand of finance established the paralysis; while it is the revolutionary left that holds the dagger and deals the fatal blow. Moral corruption facilitates the whole process.

    By 1780 financial paralysis was making its appearance in France. The world's big financiers were firmly established. "They possessed so large a share of the world's gold and silver stocks, that they had most of Europe in their debt, certainly France."

    So writes Mr McNair Wilson in his Life of Napoleon, and continues on page 38: "A change of a fundamental kind had taken place in the economic structure of Europe whereby the old basis had ceased to be wealth and had become debt. In the old Europe wealth had been measured in lands, crops, herds and minerals; but a new standard had now been introduced, namely, a form of money to which the title 'credit' had been given."

    The debts of the French Kingdom though substantial were by no means insurmountable, except in terms of gold: and had the King's advisers decided to issue money on the security of the lands and real wealth of France, the position could have been fairly easily righted. As it was the situation was firmly gripped by one financier after another, who either could not or would not break with the system imposed by the international usurers.

    Under such weakness, or villainy, the bonds of usury could only grow heavier and more terrible, for debts were in terms of gold or silver, neither of which France produced.

    And who were the potentates of the new debt machine; these manipulators of gold and silver, who had succeeded in turning upside down the finances of Europe, and replacing real wealth by millions upon millions of usurious loans?

    The late Lady Queensborough, in her important work Occult Theocracy gives us certain outstanding names, taking her facts from L'Anti-Semitisme by the Jew Bernard Lazare, 1894.

    In London she gives the names of Benjamin Goldsmid and his brother Abraham Goldsmid, Moses Mocatta their partner, and his nephew Sir Moses Montifiore, as being directly concerned in financing the French Revolution, along with Daniel Itsig of Berlin and his son-in-law David Friedlander, and Herz Cerfbeer of Alsace. These names recall the Protocols of Zion, and turning up Number 20 we read: "The gold standard has been the ruin of States which adopted it, for it has not been able to satisfy the demands for money, the more so as we have removed gold from circulation as far as possible."

    And Again: "Loans hang like a Sword of Damocles over the heads of rulers who . . . come begging with outstretched palm."

    No words could describe more aptly what was overtaking France. Sir Walter Scott in his Life of Napoleon, Vol. 1, thus describes the situation: "These financiers used the government as bankrupt prodigals are treated by usurious moneylenders, who feeding their extravagance with the one hand, with the other wring out of their ruined fortunes the most unreasonable recompenses for their advances.

    By a long succession of these ruinous loans, and the various rights granted to guarantee them, the whole finances of France were brought to total confusion."

    King Louis' chief finance minister during these last years of growing confusion was Necker, "a Swiss" of German extraction, son of a German professor of whom McNair Wilson writes: "Necker had forced his way into the King's Treasury as a representative of the debt system owning allegiance to that system."

    We can easily imagine what policy that allegiance inspired in Necker; and when we add to this the fact that his previous record was that of a daring and unscrupulous speculator, we can understand why the national finances of France under his baneful aegis rapidly worsened, so that after four years of his manipulations, the unfortunate King's government had contracted an additional and far more serious debt of 170,000,000 pounds.

    By 1730 Freemasonry had been introduced into France from England. By 1771 the movement had attained such proportions that Phillipe Duc de Chartres afterwards d'Orleans became Grand Master. This type of freemasonry was largely innocent, both in policy and personnel in its early days; but as events proved, the real moving spirits were ruthless and unscrupulous men of blood.

    The Duc d'Orleans was not one of these latter. Though a man of little principle, and an extravagant, vain and ambitious libertine, he had no motives beyond the ousting of the King, and the establishing of a democratic monarchy with himself as that monarch. Having in addition but little intelligence, he made the ideal stalking horse for the first and most moderate stage of revolution, and a willing tool of men whom he probably scarcely knew; and who sent him to the guillotine soon after his base and ignominious role had been played.

    The Marquis de Mirabeau who succeeded him as the leading figure of the Revolution was cast in much the same role. He was a much abler man than d'Orleans, but so foul a libertine that he was shunned by all his own class, and imprisoned more than once at the instance of his own father.

    He is known to have been financed by Moses Mendelssohn, head of the Jewish Illuminati, and to have been more in the company of the Jewess Mrs. Herz than was her husband. He was not only an early figurehead in French Freemasonry in the respectable years, but introduced Illuminism into France.

    [Note: Moses Mendelssohn is the 'learned Jew' who is quoted as saying that: "Judaism is not a religion. It is a law religionized".

    To my mind, that is the same as saying that "Judaism is a political program (for World Dominion) wrapped in a cloak of religion". - jackie]

    This Illuminism was a secret revolutionary society behind freemasonry. The Illuminati penetrated into all the lodges of Grand Orient Freemasonry, and were backed and organized by cabalistic Jews.

    It is interesting to note that the Duc D'Orleans and Talleyrand were both initiated into Illuminism by Mirabeau shortly after the latter had introduced it into France, from Frankfurt, where its headquarters had been established in 1782 under Adam Weishaupt.

    In 1785 there happened a strange event, which makes it seem as though the heavenly powers themselves made a last moment attempt to warn France and Europe against these massing powers of evil:

    Lightning struck dead a messenger of the Illuminati at Ratisbon.

    The police found on the body papers dealing with plans for world revolution.

    Thereupon the Bavarian Government had the headquarters of the Illuminati searched, and much further evidence was discovered.

    French authorities were informed, but the process of paralysis was too far advanced, and no action resulted.

    By 1789 there were more than two thousand Lodges in France affiliated to the Grand Orient, the direct tool of international revolution; and their adepts numbered over 100,000.

    Thus we get Jewish Illuminism under Moses Mendelssohn and Masonic Illuminism under Weishaupt established as the inner controls of a strong secret organization covering the whole of France.

    Under the Illuminati worked Grand Orient Freemasonry, and under that again the Blue, or National, Masonry had operated until it was converted over-night into Grand Orient Masonry by Phillipe d'Orleans in 1773. Little did Egalite suspect the satanic powers that he was invoking, when he took that action, and satanic they certainly were. The name Lucifer means "Light Bearer"; and Illuminati those who were lit by that light.

    By the time the Estates General met at Versailles on 5th May, 1789, the paralysis of the executive authority by the secret organizations was complete.

    Paralysis by control of public opinion and publicity was well advanced by then also.

    This was the manner of its accomplishment.

    By 1780 d'Orleans' entire income of 800,000 livres, thanks to his reckless gambling and extravagance, was mortgaged to the moneylenders.

    In 1781, in return for accommodation, he signed papers handing over his palace, estates, and house the Palais Royal, to his creditors, with powers to form there a centre of politics, printing, pamphleteering, gambling, lectures, brothels, wine-shops, theatres, art galleries, athletics, and any other uses, which subsequently took the form of every variety of public debauchery.

    In fact, Egalite's financial masters used his name and property to install a colossal organism for publicity and corruption, which appealed to every lowest instinct in human nature; and deluged the enormous crowds so gathered with the filthy, defamatory and revolutionary output of its printing presses and debating clubs.

    As Scudder writes in A Prince of the Blood: "It gave the police more to do than all the other parts of the city."

    It is interesting to note that the general manager installed by the creditors at the Palais royal was one de Laclos, a political adventurer of alien origin, author of Liaisons Dangereuses, and other pornographic works, who was said "to study the politics of love because of his love for politics."

    This steady stream of corruption and destructive propaganda was linked with a series of systematic personal attacks of the vilest and most unscrupulous nature upon any public characters whom the Jacobins thought likely to stand in their way. This process was known as "L'infamie."

    Marie Antoinette herself was one of the chief targets for this typically Jewish form of attack. No lie or abuse was too vile to level at her. More intelligent, alert, and vigorous than the weak and indolent Louis, Marie Antoinette presented a considerable obstacle to the revolution. She had, more-over, received many warnings regarding freemasonry from her sister in Austria; and no doubt was by this time more awake to its significance than when she had written to her sister some years previously:

    "I believe that as far as France is concerned, you worry too much about freemasonry. Here it is far from having the significance that it may have elsewhere in Europe. Here everything is open and one knows all. Then where could the danger be?

    One might well be worried if it were a question of a political secret society. But on the contrary the government lets it spread, and it is only that which it seems, an association the objects of which are union and charity.

    One dines, one sings, one talks, which has given the King occasion to say that people who drink and sing are not suspect of organizing plots. Nor is it a society of atheists, for we are told God is on the lips of all. They are very charitable. They bring up the children of their poor and dead members. They endow their daughters. What harm is there in all that?"

    What harm indeed if these blameless pretensions masked no darker designs? Doubtless the agents of Weishaupt and Mendelssohn reported on to them the contents of the Queen's letter; and we can imagine them shaking with laughter, and rubbing their hands in satisfaction; hands that were itching to destroy the very life of France and her Queen; and which at the appropriate hour would give the signal that would convert secret conspiracy into the "massacres of September" and the blood baths of the guillotine.

    In order to further the campaign of calumny against the Queen, an elaborate hoax was arranged at the time, when the financiers and grain speculators were deliberately creating conditions of poverty and hunger in Paris.

    A diamond necklace valued at nearly a quarter of a million was ordered at the Court jewellers in the Queen's name by an agent of the Jacobins. The unfortunate Queen knew nothing of this affair until the necklace was brought round to her for acceptance, when she naturally disclaimed anything to do with the matter, pointing out that she would consider it wrong to order such a thing when France was in so bad a financial way.

    The printing presses of the Palais Royal, however, turned full blast on to the subject; and every kind of criticism leveled at the Queen.

    A further scandal was then engineered for the presses. Some prostitute from the Palais Royal was engaged to disguise herself as the Queen; and by the forged letter the Cardinal Prince de Rohan was induced to meet the supposed Queen about midnight at the Palais Royal supposing he was being asked for advice and help by the Queen on the subject of the necklace.

    This event, needless to say, was immediately reported to the printing presses and pamphleteers, who started a further campaign containing the foulest innuendoes that could be imagined concerning the whole affair. The moving spirit behind the scene was Cagliostro, alias Joseph Balsamo, a Jew from Palermo, a doctor of the cabalistic art, and a member of the Illuminati, into which he was initiated at Frankfurt by Weishaupt in 1774.

    When the necklace had finally served its purpose, it was sent over to London, where most of the stones were retained by the Jew Eliason. Attacks of a similar nature were directed against many other decent people, who resisted the influence of the Jacobin clubs. After eight years of this work the process of paralysis by mastery of publicity was complete.

    In every respect therefore by 1789, when the financiers forced the King to summon the Estates General, the first portion of their plans for revolution (i.e. paralysis) were accomplished. It now only remained to strike the blow or series of blows, which were to rob France of her throne, her church, her constitution, her nobles, her clergy, her gentry, her bourgeoisie, her traditions, and her culture; leaving in their place, when the guillotine's work was done, citizen hewers of wood and drawers of water under an alien financial dictatorship.

    From 1789 onwards a succession of revolutionary acts were set in motion; each more violent than the one preceding it; each unmasking fresh demands and more violent and revolutionary leaders. In their turn each of these leaders, a puppet only of the real powers behind the revolution, is set aside; and his head rolls into the basket to join those of his victims of yesterday.

    Phillipe Egalite, Duc d'Orleans, was used to prepare the ground for the revolution; to protect with his name and influence the infancy of the revolutionary club; to popularize freemasonry and the Palais Royal; and to sponsor such acts as the march of the women to Versailles.

    The "women" on this occasion were mostly men in disguise. d'Orleans was under the impression that the King and Queen would be assassinated by this mob, and himself proclaimed a democratic King. The real planners of the march, however, had other schemes in view.

    One main objective was to secure the removal of the royal family to Paris, where they would be clear of protection from the army, and under the power of the Commune or Paris County Council in which the Jacobins were supreme.

    They continued to make use of Egalite right up to the time of the vote on the King's life, when he crowned his sordid career by leading the open vote in voting for the death of his cousin. His masters thereafter had no further use for his services; and he very shortly followed his cousin to the guillotine amidst the execrations of all classes.

    Mirabeau played a similar role to that of Egalite. He had intended that the revolution should cease with the setting up of Louis as a democratic monarch with himself as chief adviser. He had no desire to see violence done to the King. On the contrary, in the last days before he died mysteriously by poison, he exerted all his efforts to get the King removed from Paris, and placed in charge of loyal generals still commanding his army.

    He was the last of the moderates and monarchists to dominate the Jacobin club of Paris; that bloodthirsty focus of revolution, which had materialized out of the secret clubs of the Orient Masons and Illuminati. It was Mirabeau's voice, loud and resonant, that kept in check the growing rage of the murderous fanatics who swarmed therein.

    There is no doubt that he perceived at last the true nature and strength of the beast, which he had worked so long and so industriously to unchain. In his last attempt to save the royal family by getting them out of Paris, he actually succeeded in shouting down all opposition in the Jacobin club. That evening he died by a sudden and violent illness; and, as the author of The Diamond Necklace writes: "Louis was not ignorant that Mirabeau had been poisoned."

    Thus, like Phillipe Egalite, and later Danton and Robes Pierre, Mirabeau too was removed from the stage when his role had been played. We are reminded of the passage in Number 15 of the Protocols of Zion: "We execute masons in such wise that none save the brotherhood can ever have a suspicion of it."

    And again: "In this way we shall proceed with those goy masons who know too much."

    As Mr E. Scudder writes in his Life of Mirabeau: "He died at a moment when the revolution might still have been checked."

    The figure of Lafayette occupies the stage on several important occasions during these first revolutionary stages. He was one of those simple freemasons, who are borne they know not wither, in a ship they have not fully explored, and by currents concerning which they are totally ignorant.

    While a popular figure with the revolutionary crowds, he very severely handled several incipient outbreaks of revolutionary violence, notably in the march of the women to Versailles, during the attack on the Tuilleries, and at the Champs de Mars. He, too, desired the establishment of a democratic monarchy, and would countenance no threat to the King even from Phillipe Egalite, whom he treated with the utmost hostility during and after the march of the women to Versailles, believing on that occasion that Egalite intended the assassination of the King, and the usurpation of the Crown.

    He evidently became an obstacle to the powers behind the revolution, and was packed off to a war against Austria, which the Assembly forced Louis to declare. Once he did dash back to Paris in an effort to save the King; but he was packed off again to the war. Mirabeau's death followed, and Louis' fate was sealed.

    The wild figures of Danton, Marat, Robes Pierre, and the fanatics of the Jacobin club now dominated the scene.

    In September of 1792 were perpetrated the terrible "September massacres"; 8,000 persons being murdered in the prisons of Paris alone, and many more over the country.

    It should be noted here, that these victims were arrested and held till the time of the massacre in the prisons by one Manuel, Procurer of the Commune. Sir Walter Scott evidently understood much concerning the influences which were at work behind the scenes. In his Life of Napoleon, Vol. 2, he writes on page 30: "The demand of the Communaute de Paris,* now the Sanhedrin of the Jacobins, was, of course, for blood." [*The Paris County Council, equivalent to the L.C.C. in London.]

    Again, on page 56 he writes: "The power of the Jacobins was irresistible in Paris, where Robes Pierre, Danton and Marat shared the high places in the synagogue."

    Writing of the Commune, Sir Walter Scott states in the same work: "The principal leaders of the Commune seem to have been foreigners."

    Some of the names of these "foreigners" are worthy of note:

    There was Chlodero de Laclos, manager of the Palais Royal, said to be of Spanish origin.

    There was Manuel, the Procurer of the Commune, already mentioned. He it was who started the attack upon royalty in the Convention, which culminated with the execution of Louis and Marie Antoinette.

    There was David the painter, a leading member of the Committee of Public Security, which "tried" the victims. His voice was always raised calling for death. Sir Walter Scott writes that this fiend used to preface his "bloody work of the day with the professional phrase, 'let us grind enough of the Red'." David it was who inaugurated the Cult of the Supreme being; and organized "the conducting of this heathen mummery, which was substituted for every external sign of rational devotion." (Sir Walter Scott, Life of Napoleon, Vol. 2.)

    There were Reubel and Gohir, two of the five "Directors," who with a Council of Elders became the government after the fall of Robes Pierre, being known as the Directoire.

    The terms "Directors" and "Elders" are, of course, characteristically Jewish.

    One other observation should be made here; it is that this important work by Sir Walter Scott in 9 volumes, revealing so much of the real truth, is practically unknown, is never reprinted with his other works, and is almost unobtainable.

    Those familiar with Jewish technique will appreciate the full significance of this fact; and the added importance it lends to Sir Walter Scott's evidence regarding the powers behind the French Revolution.

    To return to the scene in Paris. Robes Pierre now remains alone, and apparently master of the scenes; but this again was only appearance. Let us turn to the Life of Robes Pierre, by one G. Renier, who writes as though Jewish secrets were at his disposal. He writes:

    "From April to July 1794 (the fall of Robes Pierre) the terror was at its height. It was never the dictatorship of a single man, least of all Robes Pierre. Some 20 men (the Committees of Public Safety and of General Security) shared the power."

    To quote Mr. Renier again: "On the 28th July, 1794," "Robes Pierre made a long speech before the Convention . . . a philippic against ultra-terrorists... uttering vague general accusations.

    'I dare not name them at this moment and in this place. I cannot bring myself entirely to tear asunder the veil that covers this profound mystery of iniquity. But I can affirm most positively that among the authors of this plot are the agents of that system of corruption and extravagance, the most powerful of all the means invented by foreigners for the undoing of the Republic; I mean the impure apostles of atheism, and the immorality that is at its base'."

    Mr Renier continues with all a Jew's satisfaction: "Had he not spoken these words he might still have triumphed!"

    In this smug sentence Mr Renier unwittingly dots the i's and crosses the t's, which Robes Pierre had left uncompleted. Robes Pierre's allusion to the "corrupting and secret foreigners" was getting altogether too near the mark; a little more and the full truth would be out.

    At 2 a.m. that night Robes Pierre was shot in the jaw and early on the following day dragged to the guillotine.

    Again let us recall Protocol 15: "In this way we shall proceed with goy masons who know too much."

    Note: In a somewhat similar manner Abraham Lincoln was shot and killed by the Jew Booth on the evening of his pronouncement to his cabinet that he intended in future to finance U.S. loans on a debt free basis similar to the debt free money known as "Greenbacks," with which he had financed the Civil War.

  2. #2

    Abbé de Firmont, the Irish priest who stood by King Louis XVI at his execution

    Abbé de Firmont, the Irish priest who stood by King Louis XVI at his execution

    Part of Longford’s famous Edgeworth family, he was loyal to French Royalty to his death

    the Abbé de Firmont gives King Louis XVI the last rites. A witness heard Henry roar out, “Son of St Louis, ascend to heaven”. And then he melted into the crowd.

    Paris, 1793. King louis xvi of france did not say a word as the carriage set off towards his place of execution. Nor did the abbé de firmont, the irish padre, who sat opposite him. Instead they sat in “a profound silence” while outside they listened to the growing clamour.

    Every street, alleyway and rooftop was crammed with babbling, chanting, hissing soldiers and citizens, many armed with pikes and bayonets, others with lances, scythes and muskets. Added to the racket was the beat of 60 drummers, who marched ahead of the King’s carriage, fulfilling the wishes of the revolutionary government to drown out any voices that might be raised in support of the condemned monarch. The King began to mumble some psalms aloud as the nightmare journey wore on.

    At length the carriage reached the place de Louis XV (today known as the place de la Concorde), the fabulous public square that the king’s grandfather had commissioned less than four decades earlier. When the crowds parted to reveal a large elevated scaffold surrounded by cannons, the king turned to his clergyman and whispered, “we are arrived, if i mistake not”.

    Watching the King untie his neckcloth and advance towards the scaffold, the Abbé de Firmont was understandably overwhelmed with emotion. As well as everything else, he was assuredly wondering if he was likely to be hauled into the guillotine the moment his majesty was no more.

    It was all a far cry from the rectory in Co Longford where the Abbé was born in 1745. Christened Henry Essex Edgeworth, he descended from an Englishman who had settled in ireland during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, ultimately taking ownership of a large chunk of Longford. The family estate was centred around Mostrim where Henry’s inventive cousin Richard Lovell Edgeworth did so much to improve the area that the town tenants’ association insisted the town be renamed Edgeworthstown in his honour in 1935.

    Richard was also an inventor of no mean skill, creating the prototype of the caterpillar track system used by present-day bulldozers, tanks and tractors. He also produced an early form of telegraph, a velocipede cycle, a “perambulator” to measure land, a turnip cutter and various sailing carriages. Richard’s daughter Maria Edgeworth would become one of the most successful novelists in the world in the early 1800s.

    Henry Edgeworth’s branch of the family were also unconventional. Robert Edgeworth, his father, had taken up residence in the rectory at Mostrim when appointed to look after the local protestant community. However, following a meeting with a French Bishop, the reverend Edgeworth became unexpectedly enamoured of the Roman Catholic cause and converted. Given that it was not all that long since the government in Dublin had been considering a bill that advocated the castration of all popish priests in Ireland, Robert was clearly aware that his conversion would not go down well with the protestant establishment.

    And so it was that Henry’s family relocated to France when he was just four years old. They settled amongst a community of Irish exiles in Toulouse where henry was educated at the Jesuit college. He later studied in Paris at the Séminaire des Trente-trois and, after further studies at both the Collège de Navarre and the Sorbonne, he was ordained a priest. At this juncture, he dropped the name “Edgeworth” in favour of “de Firmont”, a nod to a beloved hill called fairymount near his childhood home in Longford.

    The Abbé de Firmont resided in les missions etrangères (foreign missions) at 483 rue du bac, Paris, from where he initially made his mark amongst the “lower orders” and the “poor savoyards”, an immigrant community from the impoverished alpine territory of Savoy. Plaugued by poor health since childhood, he was eventually compelled to accept his doctor’s advice to restrict his ministering to the more upmarket homes of Irish and English exiles in Paris.

    Nonetheless, the diligence of this humble, modest man caught the attention of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in Ireland. In may 1789, the right rev Dr Francis Moylan, Bishop of Cork, invited him to return home and take up an unspecified irish Bishopric. Declining the offer, Henry explained, “Thirty-eight years absence have broke the very ties of blood with some of my relations and weakened them with all. The \[English\] language itself sounds odd in my ears for want of use.”

    The ink was barely dry on Henry’s reply when almost a thousand disgruntled Parisians famously stormed the Bastille on July 14th, 1789, setting in motion the epochal events of the French Revolution. While the republicans were gearing up to lopping off aristocratic heads, Henry held tight in Paris. In 1791, he was appointed confessor to Princess Elisabeth, the king’s youngest sister. A staunch and deeply religious conservative, Elisabeth was effectively under house arrest at the Tuileries palace in Paris at this time, along with Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette and other Royals.

    “Though a foreigner, and very little worthy to be distinguished by the Princess, i soon became her friend,” wrote Henry. The Longford-born priest rapidly formed a bond with the incarcerated members of the House of Bourbon, who evidently valued his serene but spirited countenance.

    On January 17th, 1793, the National Convention – the French Government of the time – condemned Louis XVI to die. The King immediately requested Henry be by his side when the end came, as Henry explained in a letter to a friend in London:

    “Almighty God has baffled my measures, and ties me to this land of horrors by chains I have not the liberty to shake off. The case is this: The wretched master [the King] charges me not to quit this country, as I am the priest whom he intends to prepare him for death. And should the iniquity of the Nation commit this last act of cruelty, i must also prepare myself for death, as I am convinced the popular rage will not allow me to survive an hour after the tragic scene; but I am resigned. Could my life save him I would willingly lay it down, and I should not die in vain.

    Three days later, Henry was summoned to the temple prison to attend to the King on the eve of his execution. He stayed with him throughout the night and they said mass together at the break of dawn with the sounds of Paris echoing around them – “the beating of the générale, the rattle of arms, the tramp of horses, the movement of cannon”.

    At 9am, they embarked on the hour-long carriage journey to the place of execution. As he very slowly approached the scaffold, Louis lent on Henry’s arm for support. Addressing the enormous crowd, he declared his innocence, and urged forgiveness for those who had sentenced him to die, but the noise was such that few could have heard him. The Abbé de Firmont had an unenviably close view as the guillotine came down and sliced through the back of the king’s skull into his jaw. A witness heard henry roar out, “Son of St Louis, ascend to heaven”. And then he melted into the crowd.

    Being privy to the last words of a despised monarch was a perilous position to find oneself in, not least in revolutionary France. As Henry later recalled, “All eyes were fixed on me, as you may suppose; but as soon as I reached the first line, to my surprise, no resistance was made.” his escape was made easier by the fact that priest’s robes had been prohibited by law so he was dressed as an ordinary citizen. “I was absolutely lost in the crowd, and no more noticed than if I had been a simple spectator of a scene which forever will dishonour France.”

    Despite the imminent dangers, he refused to leave Paris, reasoning that there were others who depended on him, not least his mother and sister. He had also vowed never to desert Princess Elisabeth, who was still being held prisoner in the temple tower. However, Elisabeth was guillotined during the reign of terror and, shortly after his mother’s death in august 1796, Henry reluctantly took a ship to England. He spent three months in London, during which he was widely feted for his courage and close proximity to such monumental events.

    In 1797, Prime Minister Pitt offered him a pension, which he proudly refused. He was also invited to take up the presidency of the royal college of St Patrick in Maynooth, Co Kildare. The college had been officially established by an act of the parliament of Ireland in 1795 as a seminary “for the better education of persons professing the popish or Roman Catholic religion”. Its first president was Dr Thomas Hussey, formerly chaplain to the Spanish Ambassador in London. Henry was actively considering a return to Ireland to take up the Maynooth presidency when he received a letter from the Count of Provence, Louis XVI’s younger brother.

    Calling himself Louis XVIII, the count was now head of the French Royalists. He had established his exiled court at Blankenburg in the Duchy of Brunswick (now part of the German state of Saxony-Anhalt), to which he now invited Henry to become his chaplain. Henry immediately sailed back to Europe and reunited with the Royal family.

    In his absence, the Maynooth presidency passed to fr Peter Flood, a fellow Longford native. Prior to the revolution, fr Flood had been superior of the Irish Collège des Lombards in Paris, an imposing four-storey building in the 5th arrondissement that has served as the centre culturel Irlandais since 2002. Fr Flood narrowly avoided being murdered during the September massacres of 1792, after which all six of the Irish Colleges in France were closed by the revolutionary government. Indeed, the ecclesiastical college in Maynooth was established in direct response to such closures.

    Such dramatic events had caused fr Flood to age prematurely and he looked considerably older than his 50 years when he initially returned to Ireland to be parish priest of Henry’s home town of Edgeworthstown. He would hold the Maynooth presidency from 1798 until his death in 1803.

    Meanwhile, Henry found himself on the move once more in 1797 when Louis XVIII was obliged to relocate his court to the Russian town of Mittau (now Jelgava in Latvia). Three years later, Henry was sent to St Petersburg where he so impressed Tsar Paul that the Emperor “bowed himself to the humblest posture at the Abbé’s feet” and then awarded him an annual pension of 500 ducats.

    However, the Tsar himself was unable to resist the rapidly accelerating power of Napoleon Bonaparte. Shortly before his assassination in 1801, Tsar Paul acceded to pressure from Napoleon and withdrew his support from Louis XVIII. The impoverished Bourbon King was compelled to move south to a palace near Warsaw, where his court remained for the next four years before returning north to Mittau.

    Despite the blessing of the new Tsar, Alexander I, the French Royals were in desperate financial straits, having sold off most of their jewellery and furniture. The King himself was riddled with gout, his Queen clad in rags. Henry, who remained by their side throughout, was so destitute that he reluctantly accepted Pitt’s earlier offer of a pension.

    In February 1807, Napoleon’s army invaded Russia and the gaol in Mittau began to fill up with French prisoners of war. That spring, the 62-year-old Abbé de Firmont was summoned to the gaol to attend to some French soldiers who had taken ill. It transpired they had typhus, which the Irishman contracted. When word of his illness reached Princess Marie-Thérèse, Louis XVI’s only surviving child, she raced to his bedside to be with a man she described as her “beloved and revered invalid, her more than friend, who had left kindred and country for her family ... Nothing can prevent me from nursing the abbé edgeworth myself.”

    Henry died on may 22nd, 1807 and was buried at the sepulchral chapel in Jelgava. Sometime later, his brother ussher Edgeworth received a missive in Longford that contained a copy of the epitaph written in latin by Louis XVIII, hailing Henry as “an eye to the blind, a staff to the lame, a father to the poor, and a consoler of the afflicted … an example of virtue and an assuager of misfortune.”

    The King, who moved to Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, England, later that same year, would go on to reign as King of France from Napoleon’s fall in 1814 until his death in 1824.

    Extracted from the irish diaspora: Tales of emigration, exile and imperialism by turtle bunbury (thames & hudson)

    Abbé de firmont, the irish priest who stood by king louis ...é-de-firmont-the-irish...26 vii 2021.

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