The Life of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 678 pages of information about The Life of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France.

But her magnanimity and her sincere affection for the whole people were never more manifest than now even in her first moments of indignation.  Even while writing to Madame de Polignac that she is “bathed in tears of grief and despair,” and that she can “hope for nothing good when perverseness is so busy in seeking means to chill her very soul,” she yet adds that “she shall triumph over her enemies by doing more good than ever, and that it will be easier for them to afflict her than to drive her to avenging herself on them.[13]” And she uses the same language to her sister Christine, even while expressing still more strongly her indignation at being “sacrificed to a perjured priest and a shameless intriguer.”  She demands her sister’s “pity, as one who had never deserved such injurious treatment;[14] but who had only recollected that she was the daughter of Maria Teresa—­to fulfill her mother’s exhortations, always to show herself French to the very bottom of her heart;” but she concludes by repeating the declaration that “nothing shall tempt her to any conduct unworthy of herself, and that the only revenge that she will take shall he to redouble her acts of kindness.”

It is pleasing to be able to close so odious a subject by the statement that the disgrace which the cardinal had thus brought upon himself may be supposed in some respects to have served as a lesson to him, and that his conduct in the latter days of his life was such as to do no discredit to the noble race from which he sprung.

A great part of his diocese as Bishop of Strasburg lay on the German side of the Rhine; and thither,[15] when the French Revolution began to assume the blood-thirsty character which has made it a warning to all future ages, he was fortunate to escape in safety from the fury of the assassins who ruled France.  And though he was no longer rich, his less fortunate countrymen, and especially his clerical brethren, found in him a liberal protector and supporter.[16] He even levied a body of troops to re-enforce the royalist army.  But, when the First Consul wrung from the Pope a concordat of which he disapproved, he resigned his bishopric, and shortly afterward died at Ettenheim,[17] where, had he remained but a short time longer, he, like the Duke d’Enghien, might have found that a residence in a foreign land was no protection against the ever-suspicious enmity of Bonaparte.


The King visits Cherbourg.—­Rarity of Royal Journeys.—­The Princess Christine visits the Queen—­Hostility of the Duc d’Orleans to the Queen.—­ Libels on her.—­She is called Madame Deficit.—­She has a Second Daughter, who dies.—­Ill Health of the Dauphin.—­Unskillfulness and Extravagance of Calonne’s System of Finance.—­Distress of the Kingdom.—­He assembles the Notables.—­They oppose his Plans.—­Letters of Marie Antoinette on the Subject.—­Her Ideas of the English Parliament.—­Dismissal of Calonne.—­ Character of Archbishop Lomenie de Brienne.—­Obstinacy of Necker.—­The Archbishop is appointed Minister.—­The Distress increases.—­The Notables are dissolved.—­Violent Opposition of the Parliament—­Resemblance of the French Revolution to the English Rebellion of 1642.—­Arrest of d’Espremesnil and Montsabert.

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The Life of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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