Quotes Against Foreign Kings

This article serves as a collection of quotes from various jurists, historians, and others — all speaking against France being ruled by a foreigner.

The Bible

While not directly tied to France, the French monarchy is based of Davidic kingship.  This passage from Deuteronomy 17 proves that the prohibition against foreign kings is not a “new” or “Jacobin” idea as the Anjouists/pseudo-legitimists claim.  On the contrary, it is the Anjouists’ understanding of the French question that is post-Jacobin.

When you have come into the land which the Lord, your God, is giving you, and have occupied it and settled in it, should you then decide to have a king over you like all the surrounding nations, you shall set that man over you as your king whom the Lord, your God, chooses. He whom you set over you as king must be your kinsman; a foreigner, who is no kin of yours, you may not set over you.

Judgment of Le Maistre

The Parlement of Paris ruled in 1593 that France could not be ruled by a foreign king:

JUDGMENT of the sitting parliament in Paris which annuls all treaties made or to be made which would call to the throne of France a foreign prince or princess, as contrary to the salic law and other fundamental times of the state.


That the fundamental laws of this kingdom be kept and the judgments given by the said court for the declaration of a Catholic and French king executed; and that it is necessary to employ the authority which has been committed to him to prevent that, under pretext of religion, be transferred in foreign hands against the laws of the kingdom; … said court declares all treaties made and to be made hereafter for the establishment of a foreign prince and princess of null effect and value, as done to the prejudice of the Salic law and other fundamental laws of the state.

Pierre de Belloy

Notice how the ruling declares a foreign king is contrary to the Salic law.  This was the exact argument of jurist Pierre de Belloy, whose writings had a clear influence on the Parlement of Paris:

Indeed, it must be considered that the reason for the law of France and other kingdoms, which the Salic law is kept, which excludes the female sex from the succession of the crown, is not only tested on the imbecility, and infirm condition of the sex, which is too often found also to the male sex: But mainly to prevent, that it does not fall in foreign hands, and that the kingdom is governed by other than by a Frenchman who is of the blood and origin [France]of his father…

[On the Salic Law. P. 85-86]


Now it is quite certain that, without a Salic law, the Crown would have been exploited by an infinite number of non-French Princes [Princes non François], by the marriages of my daughters, daughters of France, who are married in a foreign nation, often in England, Spain, in Germany, in Lorraine, in other provinces of Europe…

Claude de Seyssel

And the first specialty that I find good there is that the kingdom goes by male succession, without being able to fall into the hands of a woman, according to the law that the French call “salic”, which is a very good thing. Because, falling in a feminine line, it comes into the hands and power [it can come into power] of a man of strange nation, which is pernicious and dangerous thing: yet that which comes from such a strange nation [the one who comes from strange nation]is other food and condition and has other mores, other language and other way of living than those of the country where it comes to dominate. And if it is common to advance those of his nation, and to give them the greatest and most important authority in the handling of affairs; and more preferring them to honors and profits; yet he always has more love and confidence in them, and conforms more to their mores and conditions than to those of the country where he comes again. Whose ensuing desire and dissention between those of the country and the foreigners, and indignation against the princes, as we often saw by experience and see it every day.

[La Grand Monarchie de France (1558). (see 5th result) Claude de Seyssel]

Jacques-Bénigne Lignel Bossuet

Bossuet was the Bishop of Meaux during the reign of Louis XIV.

What need be to speak of the Most Christian House of France, which by its noble constitution is incapable of being subject to a foreign family, which is still dominant in its head, which alone in the whole universe and in every century, after seven hundred years of established kingship…

[Section 196]

André Favin

Arnulf opposed the Nobility of France, who never wished to recognise a Foreign Prince for their king; even if he is the blood of France.


Professor François Velde

Several jurists and historians of the 16th and 17th c. explained Hugues Capet’s success over Charles of Lorraine (a Carolingian, hence a better candidate a priori) in 987, by pointing out that Charles, as duke of Lorraine, was a vassal of the emperor and a foreigner; and that the letter of the law might call him to the throne as agnate, but the spirit rejected him as foreigner. This is not necessarily a correct historical analysis, but demonstrating its inaccuracy is totally beside the point. It demonstrates what writers in the 16th and 17th centuries considered to be a fundamental rule, justified by the same rationale that justifies the Salic law: the preservation of French independence. This belief that France could not be ruled by foreigners finds an early expression in the 12th c. Vie de Louis VI by Suger, who mentions the English king William II’s attempts at scheming to become French king disapprovingly, “quia nec fas nec naturales est Frances Anglis, immo Angles Francis subici” (1929 ed., p. 10-11; cited by Luchaire, vol. 2, p. 42).

To Professor Velde’s point, see the Contenant L’Histoire depuis Hugues Capet Jusques a Louis XI, which stated that the French chose Hugh Capet because he was a “natural Frenchman” who had the “air of France.”