Desmoulins Attacks the Queen (June 1791)

This article appeared in the newspaper Revolutions of France and Brabant, under the headline: "Horrible maneuvers of the Austrians at the Tuileries Palace to bring civil war to France . . ." and discusses various rumors making the rounds that the King would soon flee France and initiate an invasion led by former aristocrats to undo the evolution. Camile Desmoulins’s reference to the "Austrian Committee" implied that Marie Antoinette was conspiring with other members of her Habsburg family who ruled in Austria.


A number of French aristocrats and malcontents are currently said to be in Barcelona, where they are working against their country's glorious revolution, and to persuade the Court Madrid to redouble precautions against French pamphlets. They are wasting their time, however, for sooner or later, liberty will come to France.

There is, however, a large amount of information being exchanged between Paris and Madrid through numerous courtiers who travel back and forth. Among those who arrived in Paris from Spain is a great Spanish lord who travels incognito, but is well known and a close watch is kept on his movements.

There is talk of two Spanish squadrons, one of which is reportedly to appear off the coast at Gascony, the other off the coast of Languedoc and Provence.

The King of Sardinia has placed troops on alert whose suspected use shall be to invade France.

The King of Naples is making preparations as if he were going to bombard Algiers. According to all reports, it would appear that the actions of these various powers are all aimed at helping the French ministry in their well-known plans of overturning the constitution and bringing about a counterrevolution.

These enemies of the State intend to create a stronghold for the final stand of a dying aristocracy.

Besides, it is known that the ambassadors of Naples, Spain, and Sardinia go to the Tuileries almost daily. They arrive at ten in the morning and leave only at midnight, or often even later. This naturally leads one to believe that there are important negotiations in progress between our court and theirs, the aim of which is certainly not to help the new regime but rather to restore the old one.

It is also certain that in the quarters of the King's wife at the Tuileries, a committee meets, made up of the Keeper of the Seals, Monsieur de Saint-Priest, and the Count of Reuss, a secret agent, but one who is well known to the Viennese court. The ambassadors of Naples, Spain, and Sardinia are also said to be summoned occasionally to this committee.

This committee could be called the "Austrian Committee," because it reportedly was there that, against the best interests of France, the decision was taken to renew the alliance with the Court of Vienna, and to try to return the Low Countries to Austrian domination.

Source: Les Révolutions de France et de Brabant, no. 18 (June 1791), 137–40.