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Jean Baptiste Clery

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Jean Baptiste Clery was arguably the closest advisor during the reign of King Louis XVI. Clery's fundamental role, as Louis XVI's devoted manservant, was to assist him in the daily administration of his kingdom. Before, during, and after the trial, Clery was in the company of the King and his family throughout their imprisonment. Within the trial, I portrayed all these roles. I portrayed Clery as the King's loyal manservant who supported and attended the King. In addition to loyally serving the King, I conveyed that Clery also recorded the details of the King's life and served as an educator to the dauphin. However, due to time constraints and keeping to the context of the trial, many of Clery's roles were unable to be presented. To defend my presentation, I must present Clery's entire role and importance to both the King and his family.

Prior to the King's trial, Clery records one day of the family's activities in prison. The presentation of this information demonstrates the devout loyalty I presented in my role as Clery by showing the detailed notes that he produced. This loyalty leads to the connection that developed between Clery and the royal family. Clery begins his notes by stating that Louis wakes up at six o'clock in the morning and "usually dressed in black silk breeches and a frock-coat of the golden color." After being dressed, he read for three hours. According to Clery, Louis read an average of twelve books a week; these books included: Montesquieu, Buffon, Hume, books on travel, Tasso in Italian, Tacitus, the breviary, and the Imitation of Christ in Latin.

Around nine o' clock in the morning, Louis ate breakfast with his family, which was followed by going to Antoinette's room for most of the day. In Antoinette's room, the lessons would be taught to the children. The Dauphin would be required to learn geography in a specific method, which Louis himself had devised. In this special method, Clery recounts that countries from around the world would be cut out of maps and given to the Dauphin to correctly arrange. The Dauphin would also be mandated to recite Corneille and Racine.

The following are examples of the family's activities according to Clery. Around one o'clock, after the children's lessons, Clery would follow the family for a walk through the horse-chestnut trees. At two o'clock, they indulged in a large dinner where Clery noted that Louis enjoyed wine, Antoinette drank water, and daughter Elisabeth consumed almond milk. After dinner, the family played various games like piquet and backgammon. At four o'clock, Louis would lie down for a nap. The high point of the day occurred at seven o'clock when the family received news shouted from across the street. As the sun set, Antoinette and Elisabeth would read history books to Louis. After "story time", around nine o'clock, Clery notes that Louis would dine alone. Once supper was complete, Louis would read until midnight at which time he would retire to his bedchamber.

Clery's detailed accounts prove his involvement in the day-to-day activities of the King and his family.



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