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.
one possessed of the slightest penetration could see that it practically surrendered both points:  he advised the king to issue his edict that the number of representatives to be returned to the States-general should be twelve hundred, half of whom were to be returned by the Commons, a quarter by the clergy, and a quarter by the nobles;[19] and to postpone the decision as to the number of the chambers till the Assembly should meet, when he proposed to allow the States themselves to determine it; trusting, against all probability, that, after having thus given the Commons the power to enforce their own views, he should be able to persuade them to abandon the same in deference to his judgment.

Louis, as a matter of course, adopted his advice; and, after several different towns—­Blois, Tours, Cambrai, and Compiegne among them—­had been proposed as the place of meeting, he himself decided in favor of Versailles,[20] as that which would afford him the best hunting while the session lasted.  The queen in her heart disapproved of every one of these resolutions.  She saw that Necker had, as she had foreboded, sacrificed the king’s authority by his advice on the two first questions; and she perceived more clearly than any one the danger of fixing the States-general so near to Paris that the turbulent population of the city should be able to overawe the members.  She pressed these considerations earnestly on the king,[21] but it was characteristic of the course which she prescribed to herself from, the beginning, and from which she never swerved, that when her advice was overruled she invariably defended the course which had been taken.  Her language, when any one spoke to her either of her own opinions and wishes, or of the feelings with which the different classes of the nation regarded her, was invariably the same.  “You are not to think of me for a moment.  All that I desire of you is to take care that the respect which is due to the king shall not be weakened;[22]” and it was only her most intimate friends who knew how unwise she thought the different decisions that had been adopted, or how deep were her forebodings of evil.


The Reveillon Riot.—­Opening of the States-general.—­The Queen is insulted by the Partisans of the Duc d’Orleans.—­Discussions as to the Number of Chambers.—­Career and Character of Mirabeau.—­Necker rejects his Support.  —­He determines to revenge himself.—­Death of the Dauphin.

The meeting of the States-general, as has been already seen, was fixed for the 4th of May, 1789; and, as if it were fated that the bloody character of the period now to be inaugurated should be displayed from the very outset, the elections for the city of Paris, which were only held in the preceding week, were stained with a riot so formidable as to be commonly spoken of in the records of the time as an insurrection.[1]

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