Doomed Louis XVI's last words no longer for sale

6th June 2006, Comments 0 comments

LONDON, June 6, 2006 (AFP) - Christie's auction house said Tuesday it has withdrawn from sale a manuscript purportedly recording King Louis XV1 of France's last words before his beheading at the guillotine in 1793.

LONDON, June 6, 2006 (AFP) - Christie's auction house said Tuesday it has withdrawn from sale a manuscript purportedly recording King Louis XV1 of France's last words before his beheading at the guillotine in 1793.

It was to have been sold at auction on Wednesday.

"We had additional information regarding the (manuscript's) provenance and we thought the best thing to do was to withdraw it in order to investigate further," a spokesman at Christie's told AFP.

Christie's describes the document attributed to Charles Henri Sanson, the chief executioner of Paris during the French revolution, as the "most authoritative contemporary account" of the king's execution on January 21, 1793.

A month later, on February 20, Sanson wrote an account of the king's last words which he sent to the revolutionary newspaper 'Thermometre du jour', in order to the "exact truth of what occurred."

He recounts that the king arrived at the place of execution in a horse and carriage, mounted the scaffold where he reluctantly offered his hands to be tied and asked if the drums would continue beating.

The king then turned to the crowd and exclaimed: "People, I die innocent."

Louis then utters his last words: "Gentlemen, I am innocent of everything of which I am accused. I wish that my blood may be able to cement the happiness of the French."

According to Christie's, the manuscript is believed to have passed through several generations of a private European family before resurfacing.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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