June 22, 1789: Montmorin’s Testimony in Support of Necker

  • Paul H. Beik
Part of the The Documentary History of Western Civilization book series (DHWC)


As the Barentin memoir of June 16, 1789, has shown, there was a growing conviction in court circles that the king should intervene to end the deadlock over voting in the Estates General. The action of the Third Estate’s representatives on June 17 in declaring themselves to be the National Assembly was a direct challenge to the royal authority as traditionally conceived and also an embarrassment to Necker and the moderate liberals of Anglophile persuasion, who were now threatened with a unicameral legislature instead of the two chambers for which they had been hoping as a compromise solution. June 17 endangered Necker’s position as a conciliator popular with the Third Estate. He now had to look to a royal session that would undo the Third Estate’s action, but his plan for the royal session was liberal and Anglophile in tendency, recommending two chambers and eligibility of commoners to high offices in the future and, for the present, joint deliberations of the Estates on questions of general interest. Necker’s memoir, which was the subject of important council meetings on June 19, 20, 21, and 22, has been lost. The document printed below is that of Armand Marc, comte de Montmorin de Saint-Hérem, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who supported Necker’s position in the council meetings and in this memoir to the king written just prior to the last meeting, which took place on June 22, the day before the royal session. The source is Recueil de documents, Vol. I, Part II, pp. 199–201.


Foreign Affair Compromise Solution High Office Council Meeting Estate General 
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© Paul H. Beik 1970

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  • Paul H. Beik

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