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HOME   -   HISTORIC DOCUMENTS   -   DECLARATION OF PILLNITZ 1791

 
   


Pillnitz Castle, near Dresden, Germany
Pillnitz Castle


Declaration of Pillnitz — August 27, 1791

Prodded by the outbreak of the French Revolution on July 14, 1789, monarchists in Europe felt considerably crept out. And rightly so.

Image Above

Pillnitz Castle, near Dresden, Germany — A gift from  Augustus II the Strong to his mistress, the Countess Constantia von Cosel, back in the days when men knew how to reward a decent relationship.

© Schlösserland Sachsen



The aristocracy of France emigrated, at least the ones who could pack their bags swiftly enough, and tried to re-establish their power from abroad. One of these émigrés was the Comte of Artois, brother of the French
King Louis XVI. The latter would end up on the guillotine in 1793.

The Comte of Artois himself would become French King Charles X in 1824. But back to the Declaration of Pillnitz.

The Comte of Artois called for a meeting at Pillnitz Palace, and from August 25 to 27, 1791, he discussed with Frederick William II, king of Prussia, and  Leopold II, Holy Roman emperor, the recent political developments in European history.

The result was the Declaration of Pillnitz.

 

Significance of the Declaration of Pillnitz

By appealing to all European monarchs to help re-establishing the French monarchy, this declaration made the French Revolution a European question.

In France, this declaration was regarded as an avowal to undo the Revolution.

France declared war on Austria on April 20, 1792, thus commencing the French Revolutionary Wars with the War of the First Coalition.



Host of this conference, by the way, was
Frederick Augustus I. Pillnitz castle was his summer residence. And it made sense being friendly to the leaders of Prussia and Austria, because his Saxony was sandwiched by the two.

See map:

Map of Germany and Italy 1806
1806 Germany and Italy

 

However, Frederick Augustus I would later become one of Napoleon's most loyal allies.

 

The Declaration of Pillnitz - Text

Here is the German transcript of the Declaration of Pillnitz (Deklaration von Pillnitz or also called Pillnitzer Punktuation)


Nachdem Seine Majestät, der Kaiser, und Seine Majestät, der König von Preußen, die Wünsche und Vorstellungen von Monsieur und dem Herrn Grafen von Artois vernommen: so erklären sie vereint, daß sie die Lage, in welcher der König von Frankreich sich jetzt befindet, als einen Gegenstand eines gemeinschaftlichen Interesse für alle europäische Souverains betrachten.

Sie hoffen, daß sie sich folglich nicht weigern werden, in Verbindung mit Ihren Majestäten die kräftigsten Mittel, nach dem Verhältnisse ihrer Macht, anzuwenden, um den König von Frankreich in den Stand zu setzen, in volkommener Freiheit die Grundlagen einer monarchischen Regierung zu befestigen, die den Rechten der Souverains ebenso zuträglich sei, als dem Wohl der französischen Nation.

Alsdann und in diesem Falle sind besagte Ihre Majestäten, der Kaiser und der König von Preußen entschlossen, in wechselseitiger Uebereinstimmung, mit der nötigen Macht schnell zu agiren, um den vorgesetzen und gemeinschaftlichen Endzweck zu erreichen.

Mittlerweile werden sie ihren Truppen die dienlichen Befehle erteilen, damit sie im Stande sein mögen, sich in Aktivität zu setzen.

Pillnitz, den 27 August 1791

Unterzeichnet:
Leopold und Friedrich Wilhelm

 

 

And here is the English translation:

Their Majesties, the Emperor and the King of Prussia, having heard the wishes and proposals of Monsieur and the Count of Artois, jointly declare that they view the situation in which the King of France currently finds himself as a subject of common interest for all of Europe's sovereigns.

They hope that this interest can not fail to be recognized by the powers from whom assistance is being requested. Consequently, jointly with their respective Majesties, they will use the most efficient means in relation to their strengths to place the King of France in a position to be totally free to consolidate the bases of a monarchical government that shall be as amenable to the rights of sovereigns as it is to the well-being of the French nation.

In this case then, their said Majesties, the Emperor and the King of Prussia are resolved to act quickly, in mutual agreement, and with the forces necessary to achieve the proposed and common goal.

Meanwhile, they shall issue their troops the necessary orders to prepare them for action.

Pillnitz, August 27, 1791

Signed:

Leopold and Frederick William