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Louis XVI and Animals

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Louis XVI and Animals

Post  Kaitlyn Lauren on Mon Jul 14, 2014 4:41 pm

Does anyone know about Louis' supposed cruelty towards animals?

I know he was an avid hunter but it was a form of exercise. I don't think he relished in the slaughter of animals. Some accounts say he could be careless while hunting though.

Apparently when people got in his way on the hunt they were accidentally whipped. Perhaps hunting was an outlet for this normally cool tempered man but I don't think he was savage or cruel.

I know he used to shoot at cats from the roofs of Versailles. But this was population control and they were often feral. It wasn't sadistic. I can't imagine he would harm an animal for fun! He detested bloodshed of people.

There is one disturbing memoir from a General Theibault. He claims that he "saw the King out one day accompanied by two men. There was a woman with a spaniel who wandered off. She called it back and on its way to her, the King struck it with the cane in his hand, breaking its back. Then he laughed." The man spoke of he and his companions' disgust.

This goes against everything we know about him! Others have assured me that this is not true and that the man never even saw the Royal family. But why fabricate something like this?! It's horrible!

Anyone know about this? I heard the General had a tendency to exaggerate and that some of the things he said were false. Revolutionary propaganda perhaps. This is quite worrisome though. Louis could be temperamental but why would he attack an innocent animal for amusement?! Especially once he saw that he had killed it.

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Re: Louis XVI and Animals

Post  Bunnies on Mon Jul 14, 2014 11:30 pm

Rule of thumb when it comes to memoirs: Lying until proven otherwise. In the 19th century it became a "fad" to publish memoirs of people who may or may not have existed, describing events that may or may not have occurred, in a manner that may or may not be accurate. It was a moneymaking scheme and it's been frustrating historians ever since. So, with that in mind, given that General Theibault's account contradicts everything else we know about Louis XVI...it's probably garbage.

On the offchance it wasn't, let's me 100% honest here. Everyone has bad days and the 18th century was just a...more violent time and things we find abhorrent today were A Day In The Life. See what you said about the cats as an example! If Louis XVI is guilty it was probably a lapse rather than anything indicative of a cruel streak. I mean, c'mon. Have you ever been grumpy and said something you didn't mean to a friend or loved one? I'd say yes: and this doesn't indicate that you're a consistently grumpy person anymore than this incident would indicate Louis XVI was a sadistic one.
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Re: Louis XVI and Animals

Post  Kaitlyn Lauren on Tue Jul 15, 2014 12:35 am

Exactly!!

I still don't think this is true even if he did have a lapse. This seems too extreme. Others are of the opinion that he had a mean streak too though and I'm not sure where they're getting this from!

It seems inconsistent with what we know. I'm sure he could be temperamental as we all can be but I don't think it extended this far...odd. This just seems to cruel to believe. Why should he take out any anger on an innocent dog?

Even if he swatted at it, he probably didn't kill it and certainly wouldn't have laughed about it!
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Re: Louis XVI and Animals

Post  Kaitlyn Lauren on Tue Jul 15, 2014 12:53 am

I just can't see why he would take it out on a dog is all. Just because he didn't "unleash" on people doesn't mean he harmed animals as a release.

I understand people snap but it doesn't make sense here. Of course, this incident wouldn't mean he was sadistic but then why laugh afterwards?

Unless this story is entirely fabricated or exaggerated. Other people have said that it is indeed false and that this man was prone to lie and never came in contact with the Royal family. I'm hoping this is the truth.
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Re: Louis XVI and Animals

Post  Bunnies on Tue Jul 15, 2014 1:53 am

Who are these "others" describing him as possessing a cruel streak? I mean, the guy wasn't as pacifistic as some of his apologists make him out to be but he wasn't precisely bathing in the blood of the peasantry either.

And yeah, honestly this guy --- he doesn't sound "legit," so to speak. I'd disregard him. There might be a grain of truth in there - maybe Louis XVI swatted at a dog once - but the exaggeration is so wild. I just...I dunno, I feel like that would've come up at some point in the Revolutionary pamphlets. "Hey, remember that time Louis XVI killed a dog and laughed about it?!?!?!?!?!!!!! Why haven't we beheaded him yesterday?!" People loved dogs even then and were fond of inventing tragic tales of dogs lamenting their masters decapitations and the like. Dog killing wouldn't fly.

It just has a counterroyalist tone. Like, "Oh, this guy thinks he's a good King and Father to his People? LOOK HOW HE TREATS HIS DOG OH MY GOSH!!!!!"

Now, it is true that on one of his hunts a wandering peasant was accidentally trampled? to death, I think? The manner is lost on me and I'm too lazy to pull it out but I know it's commonly used as a reference to Antoinette's charity: she comforted the man as he died and ensured that his family was cared for. But that was an accident and isn't a sign of savagery in Louis XVI's character -- negligence, at worst...but it's possible the peasant himself was being negligent [oh, there I go blaming the victim.]

But this guy seems skeevy. Opinion discarded.
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Re: Louis XVI and Animals

Post  Kaitlyn Lauren on Tue Jul 15, 2014 1:43 pm

I agree entirely!!

When he accidentally caused harm he apologized and made amends. He would not have joyfully killed someone's dog!!!! Seems too crazy!

I've disregarded this story and don't believe it a bit. I have no idea where people say he was cruel....doesn't make the least bit of sense! He could be blunt and played ticks on people when he was young but that's it...nothing sadistic and certainly he wouldn't have killed a random woman's dog like this!!

So strange this man claims to have witnessed this...while also referring to other examples of Louis' carelessness and someone's quote that his gentle face was "a fortunate mask." Of course, the man who said this was the brother of Cardinal de Rohan so consider the source!!
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Re: Louis XVI and Animals

Post  Kaitlyn Lauren on Wed Jul 16, 2014 4:52 pm

I'm sure he had his moments like the rest of us but I can't see him getting any pleasure out of doing anyone harm! Why should he harm an animal for getting in his way and then laugh about it? Why would this man say he witnessed this?! :afraid: 

On a slightly related topic, on another forum, some people expressed a belief that sometimes he could be harsh to his wife. They had quarrels but I definitely don't believe he was abusive, physically or verbally. Shocked 

Louis didn't want Antoinette in politics but I don't think he was "cruel" with her either. They had normal quarrels like other couples but stood by one another and were devoted.

They're so misunderstood. I don't get why people continue to spread filth...  No 


Last edited by Kaitlyn Lauren on Thu Jul 17, 2014 1:58 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Louis XVI and Animals

Post  Bunnies on Wed Jul 16, 2014 5:37 pm

You are getting very distressed! I can almost guarantee you these memoirs are trash. Set them out of your mind. Are they available online to read - in English or French? I can see if I can root through them and evaluate their authenticity but again: probably a lie. Like, I'd stake my life on them being a lie. Maybe the author is a Republican trying to illustrate the depravity of the Royalist regime. Maybe they're writing in the period of Restoration and are reacting to the "golden" legend of the royal family -- sanctifying someone often encourages the opposition to demonize, and vice-versa.

Of course, it is worth noting that "violence towards dogs" is coming up...pretty often. What are the sources for all this?
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Re: Louis XVI and Animals

Post  Kaitlyn Lauren on Wed Jul 16, 2014 6:16 pm

I don't mean to sound distressed haha!

I just care very much for Louis and Antoinette and am disturbed by the lies and misconceptions people have of them. Perhaps that's not very scholarly and the times were different but still.

I've always admired Louis for his kindness so I hate to see that contradicted. I apologize if I sound hysterical! Wink Yes, I'm sure they're lies too. I'm just wondering how people can come up with these things and how other people can come to the conclusion that he might have been that way.

I'm sure it's Republican propaganda and weird rumors that I've never seen anywhere. Yes, Theibault's memoirs are available online. I read part of them. But I don't think he's a reliable source as we've discussed. It's just very odd to me that people come to these conclusions without much evidence and might make up seeing things. And I really wonder where some have heard of Louis doing things like this.  Suspect 

He wasn't that backward or sadistic.


Last edited by Kaitlyn Lauren on Thu Jul 17, 2014 1:55 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Louis XVI and Animals

Post  Kaitlyn Lauren on Wed Jul 16, 2014 8:38 pm

Also I think that one comment on the forum was meant to be sarcastic Wink things comes across differently in another language.

And what the man said in his memoir is crap I'm sure! He didn't provide any other witnesses and it seems too wicked to believe. And I definitely don't think Louis was harsh to his wife or that she ever feared him.

They argued, sure. Who doesn't? He didn't want her in politics. Ok.  But I don't think he ever said anything to hurt her intentionally or became physical at all! People come up with the strangest things... Razz
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