Memoirs of The Court of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France

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9781404316560: Memoirs of The Court of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France

(The books I publish are always proof read and corrected before publishing on Kindle! David Snode)

PREFACE BY THE AUTHOR.

Louis XVI. possessed an immense crowd of confidants, advisers, and
guides; he selected them even from among the factions which attacked him.
Never, perhaps, did he make a full disclosure to any one of them, and
certainly he spoke with sincerity, to but very few. He invariably kept
the reins of all secret intrigues in his own hand; and thence, doubtless,
arose the want of cooperation and the weakness which were so conspicuous
in his measures. From these causes considerable chasms will be found in
the detailed history of the Revolution.

In order to become thoroughly acquainted with the latter years of the
reign of Louis XV., memoirs written by the Duc de Choiseul, the Duc
d'Aiguillon, the Marechal de Richelieu,

[I heard Le Marechal de Richelieu desire M. Campan, who was
librarian to the Queen, not to buy the Memoirs which would certainly
be attributed to him after his death, declaring them false by
anticipation; and adding that he was ignorant of orthography, and
had never amused himself with writing. Shortly after the death of
the Marshal, one Soulavie put forth Memoirs of the Marechal de
Richelieu.]

and the Duc de La Vauguyon, should be before us. To give us a faithful
portrait of the unfortunate reign of Louis XVI., the Marechal du Muy,
M. de Maurepas, M. de Vergennes, M. de Malesherbes, the Duc d'Orleans,
M. de La Fayette, the Abby de Vermond, the Abbe Montesquiou, Mirabeau,
the Duchesse de Polignac, and the Duchesse de Luynes should have noted
faithfully in writing all the transactions in which they took decided
parts. The secret political history of a later period has been
disseminated among a much greater number of persons; there are Ministers
who have published memoirs, but only when they had their own measures to
justify, and then they confined themselves to the vindication of their
own characters, without which powerful motive they probably would have
written nothing. In general, those nearest to the Sovereign, either by
birth or by office, have left no memoirs; and in absolute monarchies the
mainsprings of great events will be found in particulars which the most
exalted persons alone could know. Those who have had but little under
their charge find no subject in it for a book; and those who have long
borne the burden of public business conceive themselves to be forbidden
by duty, or by respect for authority, to disclose all they know. Others,
again, preserve notes, with the intention of reducing them to order when
they shall have reached the period of a happy leisure; vain illusion of
the ambitious, which they cherish, for the most part, but as a veil to
conceal from their sight the hateful image of their inevitable downfall!
and when it does at length take place, despair or chagrin deprives them
of fortitude to dwell upon the dazzling period which they never cease to
regret.

Louis XVI. meant to write his own memoirs; the manner in which his
private papers were arranged indicated this design. The Queen also had
the same intention; she long preserved a large correspondence, and a
great number of minute reports, made in the spirit and upon the event of
the moment. But after the 20th of June, 1792, she was obliged to burn
the larger portion of what she had so collected, and the remainder were
conveyed out of France.

Considering the rank and situations of the persons I have named as
capable of elucidating by their writings the history of our political
storms, it will not be imagined that I aim at placing myself on a level
with them; but I have spent half my life either with the daughters of
Louis XV. or with Marie Antoinette. I knew the characters of those
Princesses; I became privy to some extraordinary facts, the publication
of which may be interesting, and the truth of the details

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

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