Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Louis XVI

Louis XVI. was born in 1754, and succeeded his grandfather twenty years later. The triumvirate were immediately dismissed, and Maurepas, an old minister of Louis XV., placed at the head of affairs. Turgot (q.v.) was made controller of the finances, Malesherbes became Chancellor, and Vergennes foreign minister. The first was overthrown by ii combination of the queen, the privileged classes,. and Necker; and the Chancellor was forced to resign even before his colleague. Necker (q.v.) succeeded to the virtual control of the finances, though being a Protestant he could not nominally hold office, but he resigned in 1781. Vergennes, the foreign minister, nominally took his place, but all his attention was devoted to the policy of revenge upon England, which he attempted to carry out by alliance with the Americans and with Spain and the maritime powers in Europe. The war was hardly successful, and its financial results were disastrous, and hastened the Revolution. During the three years of Calonne's administration (1783-1786) the deficit increased by 35 millions, and the Assembly of Notables (which he assembled early in. 1787) refused to sanction the measures by which he proposed to increase the revenue. Brienne, who hart led the opposition, took Calonne's place and tried to force through the very measures he had just opposed. The Parlement demanded the summons of the States-General; and, though Orleans. was exiled and two of the most violent members of the Parlement were arrested, this only increased its popularity, and the extreme step had to be taken of the creation of a Cour Pleniere, to which its political functions were transferred. This provoked risings in Dauphine and other provinces, and at the end of 1788 Brienne resigned, and the convocation of the States-General in the following May was promised. Necker was summoned to take the direction of affairs, and under his auspices the question of the constitution of the States-General was settled. On May 5th, 1789, they met, 578 of the 1,139deputies belonging to tneticrsctat. Their formation into a single National Assembly, which was not to separate until the national demands had been conceded, was met by an attempted coup d'etat and the dismissal of Necker, the king always being swayed by a stronger will than his own. The taking of the Bastille, the recall of Necker, and the drawing up of a constitution which reduced the royal power almost to a shadow, followed. In the early summer of 1791 the king and queen escaped from the Tuileries and attempted to reach Varennes, a town on the eastern frontier, where there was a Royalist army; but Louis was recognised by the postmaster of St. Menehould and brought back with his family to Paris. On August 10th, 1792, the monarchy was overthrown, and, after atrial by the Convention, Louis XVI. was guillotined on January 21st, 1793.