Hi, I’m new to this board and absolutley amazed by this wonderful program. Since English isn’t my mother tongue I do apologize for any linguistic errors in advance.
I was having a discussion with a pal about Jefferson’s view on the french revolution and especially the assassination of King Louis XVI. I was quoting Michael Davis, who wrote in “For Altar and Throne – The Rising the Vendée” about how Jefferson were not at all sympathethic about the beheading of the king, quoting from C.C. O’Briens: “The Long Affair: Thomas Jefferson and the French Revolution”. Since I have no direct access to the source other than Google Books preview, he seems to make this point solely on the Adam & Eve letter by Jefferson and is acknowledging the fact that Jefferson reconsidered his stance on the revolution in France after the diplomatic mission by Genet. So my colleague accidently stumbled upon a quote from Kühnelt-Leddihn’s “Konservativismus als Weltsicht” (no translation available I guess) about how Jefferson has become a keen opposer on the treatment of the king and has actually had a portrait of Louis XVI in one of his mansions.
Of course knowing that this is a very specific kind of question I was hoping if somebody can provide me with any kind of source on this statement, since obviously Kühnelt-Leddhin doesn’t believe in providing sources. Then again I’m also very interested in further details on Jefferson’s position on the French Revolution.
I am not certain if Jefferson had King Louis’s portrait. It would seem unlikely, but he, like most Americans, was shocked by the Terror and recoiled at the radical transformation taking place in France. Like Tom Paine, Jefferson supported the early phases of the Revolution but could not countenance the execution of the king or the complete and violent destruction of French society.
Jefferson thought that the queen was a bad influence on the king, who was himself a good man. In fact, he used that phrasing. Later in life, he looked back upon the French Revolution’s early days with regret that the leading French figures had not stopped with the radical reforms of the monarchy that Louis XVI had willingly, even eagerly, granted.