themselves in the poor, in children, in the people;
Madame d’Egmont recommends Gustavus III to plant
Dalecarlia with potatoes. On the appearance
of the engraving published for the benefit of Calas
“all France and even all Europe, hastens to
subscribe for it, the Empress of Russia giving 5,000
livres. “Agriculture, economy, reform,
philosophy,” writes Walpole, “are bon
ton, even at the court.” — President
Dupaty having drawn up a memorandum in behalf of three
innocent persons, sentenced “to be broken on
the wheel, everybody in society is talking about it;”
“idle conversation no longer prevails in society,”
says a correspondent of Gustavus III “since
it is that which forms public opinion. Words
have become actions. Every sensitive heart praises
with joy a publication inspired by humanity and which
appears full of talent because it is full of feeling.”
When Latude is released from the prison of Bicêtre
. de Luxembourg, Mme
. de Boufflers,
. de Staël dine with the grocer-woman
who “for three years and a half moved heaven
and earth " to set the prisoner free. It is
owing to the women, to their sensibility and zeal,
to a conspiracy of their sympathies, that M. de Lally
succeeds in the rehabilitation of his father.
When they take a fancy to a person they become infatuated
with him; Madame de Lauzun, very timid, goes so far
as to publicly insult a man who speaks ill of M. Necker.
— It must be borne in mind that, in this
century, the women were queens, setting the fashion,
giving the tone, leading in conversation and naturally
shaping ideas and opinions. When they take
the lead on the political field we may be sure that
the men will follow them: each one carries her
drawing room circle with her.
VI. WELL-MEANING GOVERNMENT.
Infinite, vague aspirations. — Generosity
of sentiments and of conduct. — The mildness
and good intentions of the government. — Its
blindness and optimism.
An aristocracy imbued with humanitarian and radical
maxims, courtiers hostile to the court, privileged
persons aiding in undermining privileges, presents
to us a strange spectacle in the testimony of the
time. A contemporary states that it is an accepted
principle “to change and upset everything."
High and low, in assemblages, in public places, only
reformers and opposing parties are encountered among
the privileged classes.
“In 1787, almost every prominent man of the
peerage in the Parliament declared himself in favor
of resistance. . . . I have seen at the
dinners we then attended almost every idea put forward,
which, soon afterwards, produced such startling effects."
Already in 1774, M. de Vaublanc, on his way to Metz,
finds a diligence containing an ecclesiastic and a
count, a colonel in the hussars, talking political
economy constantly. “It was the fashion
of the day. Everybody was an economist.