French Revolution, The Martyrdom of Louis XV1,
This badge probably dates from the time after the fall of Robespierre when there was a more moderate government and pro- monarchist sentiment would be more likely to be tolerated.
The legend on the obverse is his declaration to the crowd immediately before his execution.
Edgeworth (de Firmont), Abbe Henry Essex (1745-1807), priest, confessor to Louis XVI, was born in Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford, Maria Edgeworth, the writer, was a distant cousin. He was bitterly opposed to the French revolution, and in February 1791 he was chosen as confessor to Louis XVI's sister, Princess Elisabeth. She recommended him to her brother during the final days before his execution, and on 20 January 1793 Louis named Edgeworth as his confessor.
It was hoped that his obscurity might save him from persecution, but Edgeworth nevertheless made his will before setting out to attend the king, expecting to be killed afterwards. He stayed with Louis on the night of 20 January, administered communion at six o'clock the following morning, and accompanied him to the scaffold, acting as a calming influence and comparing his humiliations to those of Jesus Christ. He assisted Louis up the steps to the guillotine, before falling to his knees in a state of deep emotion while the execution took place. Legend attributes to him the famous phrase "Fils de Saint Louis, montez au ciel" though he never recollected saying it, and it was probably invented afterwards.
Later he wrote a lengthy account of the final seventeen hours of Louis's life, which remains an important historical document.
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