Day of Daggers

The Day of Daggers or 'Day of Poignards' was an event during the French Revolution which occurred on 28 February 1791 when the Marquis de Lafayette arrested 400 armed aristocrats at theTuileries in Paris.

This occured after attempts were made at both Lafayette's life and the King's. On the Day of Daggers Lafayette was away attempting to quell a disturbance caused by Santerre, a Jacobin and commander of the National Guard in St.Antoine, in which Santerre and a mob of about twelve hundred marched toward Vincennes, where they began to destroy part of the parapet and the dungeons that where holding prisoners from the recently fallen Bastille, with the supposed intention of massacring the prisoners. There is also the popular belief that the real reason for this attack was because a subterranean passage linked the prison of Vincennes to the Tuileries, and the king intended to make his escape through this passage, but no real evidence supports this belief. After the stopping of the demolition, several assassination attempts were made on the general, though none were successful. Attempts were also made on the life of Lafayette's Aide-de-Camp, Auguste Masson, who also survived. The morning of the same day a chevalier of St.Louis, M. de Court de Tombelle entered the Tuileries carrying a short stiletto and several pistols. He was arrested, but since there was no proof of his intentions he was released.

At around ten o'clock of the same day several hundred armed aristocrats and enemies of the revolution concerned for the safety of Louis XVI entered the Tuileries using cards of admission that they had previously received from Duke of Villequier, first gentlemen of the chamber of the king. This was seen as an attempt by the group to help the King escape from Paris which meant Lafayette had to quickly return, disarm the crowd, and arrest many of the men. Upon Lafayette's arrival with the National Guard many of the aristocrats refused to relinquish their arms, which consisted mostly of poignards of a single form. The king then had to confirm the General's orders, which were then carried out. The disarming of the nobles was then followed by their expulsion and almost complete emigration.