Thursday, September 10, 2015

Marie Antoinette’s Missing Son


Louis-Charles – Son of Louis XVI & Marie Antoinette

During the French Revolution, the son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, known as Louis-Charles, Dauphin of France who was only eight years old had been kidnapped on August 10, 1792. He was locked up in the temple prison during the French Revolution, in Paris, an event that resulted in both his parents losing their head to the guillotine, for treachery under the first republic.

The orphaned eight year old Louis-Charles would have been the successor to the throne but he had been imprisoned. The Dauphin was said to be kept in confinement and was cruelly treated till it is said that he died in June 1795. He would be of ten years old at the time of his death and had been buried in an unmarked grave. Some rumours began circulating that the body buried did not seem to be of Louis-Charles and that he had been spirited away alive by supporters.

 There is a legend against his background that the Dauphin had been taken in secret from his dungeon and brought secretly to northern New York in the midst of a substantial population of Frenchmen who were still loyal to the monarchy. This strange story had been the topic of serious historical conjecture for several years.

French Monarchy Restored - 1814

Rev John H. Hanson, an Episcopal priest, in the middle of the 1800, wrote an account of how a particular Eleazer Williams, an Episcopal priest of the North Country who had died in 1858 could have been the lost Dauphin. William was presumed to be one of the twelve children of Thomas Williams and the grandson of Eunice Williams of Deerfield Mass and was one who had been captured by the Indians in the massacre of that village.

The offspring of William bore obvious evidence of Indian heritage while Eleazer did not. Moreover, no record was made with regards to the birth of Eleazer. Williams too had no knowledge of his own life prior to the age of twelve or thirteen and had served in the War of 1812 as a scout and spy for American forces on the northern border of New York by his own account.

After the war, he became an Episcopal missionary and was sent to the Oneida Tribe of upper New York State where he successfully converted several of the Oneida to the Episcopal faith. In 1814, hundreds of applicants came forward when the French monarchy was restored and would-be royal heirs continued to appear from all over Europe for decades thereafter.

Buried in the Basilica – June 8, 2004

Towards 1841, the reigning King of France, Prince de Joinville, the younger son of Louis Phillip, came to the United States and Williams would claimed that the Prince had presented him with a vast estate if only William would renounce his claim to the throne which he had refused to do so. The Prince had denied the story, stating that his only interest in William was as an Indian missionary.

 However in 2000, a DNA test proved beyond doubt that Louis-Charles had indeed died in prison. Philippe-Jean Pelletan was one of the doctors who had attended Louis-Charles shortly prior to this death and later performed the autopsy.

He had removed the heart which was not buried with the rest of Louis-Charles’s body. He attempted to return his heart to Louis XVIII and Charles X, both of whom did not believe it to be of their nephew. The heart was stolen by one of his students who later on his deathbed confessed and asked his wife to return it to Pelletan instead of which she sent it to the Archbishop of Paris where it remained till the Revolution of 1830. On June 8, 2004, it was buried in the Basilica and the claims of the North Country preacher named Eleazer Williams was dispelled forever.

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