Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Louis XV´s speech about the king´s power

Louis XV of France

This year we are going to start commenting on historical documents and the blog will have a section with original texts related to the contents we´ll study. The first one is an extract of a speech King Louis XV of France gave before the parlement of Paris in 1766:  

In my person alone lies that sovereign power whose very nature is the spirit of counsel, justice and reason. From me alone the courts receive their existence and authority. The fullness of this authority, which they exercise in my name only, remains permanently vested in me, and its use can never be turned against me. Legislative power is mine alone, without subordination or division. It is by my sole authority that the officers of my courts effect not the creation of the law, but its registration, promulgation and execution, and that they have the right to remonstrance, as is the duty of good and faithful counsellors. Public order in its entirety emanates from me. I am its supreme guardian. My people are one with me, and the rights and interests of the nation – which some dare to make into a body separate from the monarch – are of necessity united with my own and rest entirely in my hands.
Louis XV´s speech before the parlement of Paris, 1766

Source: FURET, François, Revolutionary France, 1770-1880, Blackwell Publishing, 2004

Could you explain the relation of this speech with what we have studied this week? Do you think Louis XV´s power was as he described it?


Laura Meco said...

I think that his power was as he described it because he was an absolute Monarch, who had all the power and who imposed his authority over his subjects. There's only one thing which I'm not sure if it's true. He said that the officiers of his courts had the right to remostrance, I don't think so, because as he had all the power, they couldn't complain about anything.
I don't know if my answer is right. Is it right?
See you Paqui!

Paqui Pérez Fons said...

Hello Laura,

Louis XV said that his officers had the right to remonstrance, because this was one of their duties as counsellors: they had to advice the king and tell him if he was right or wrong. But, do you think his power was as absolute as he described it? Review your notes. Could the king act always by himself?

Louis XV inherited the kingdom of France from his great-grandfather Louis XIV. Think about what we studied about him.

See you tomorrow.

Laura Meco said...

Paqui! Thanks for explaining me my mistake. Ok so, now I understand that his power was not as he described it. He needed the help of some institutions such as the Parliament, and other people such as the intendans. See you

Paqui Pérez Fons said...

Hello Laura,

Remember that the theory of Absolute Monarchy was that the king held all the powers and he was untouchable, because his power was considered to be derived from God. But in practice the kings´power was limited by some institutions, such as the Parliaments. This is why kings avoided to call the Parliaments and tried to keep the powerful people of their kingdoms (nobles and clergy) controlled. In his speech Louis XV was trying to reaffirm his authority over all his subjects (he was trying to remind them the theory, although he knew that the practice was different). I hope you´ve understood now. See you on Thursday.