The Memoirs of Louis XV./XVI, v7
Madame du Hausset, and of an unknown English Girl and the
software or any other related product without express permission.]
This etext was produced by David Widger
[NOTE: There is a short list of bookmarks, or pointers, at the end of the
file for those who may wish to sample the author's ideas before making an
entire meal of them. D.W.]
MEMOIRS OF LOUIS XV. AND XVI.
Being Secret Memoirs of Madame du Hausset, Lady's Maid to Madame
de Pompadour, and of an unknown English Girl and the Princess Lamballe
Editor in continuation:
I am again, for this and the following chapter, compelled to resume the
pen in my own person, and quit the more agreeable office of a transcriber
for my illustrious patroness.
I have already mentioned that the Princesse de Lamballe, on first
returning from England to France, anticipated great advantages from the
recall of the emigrants. The desertion of France by so many of the
powerful could not but be a deathblow to the prosperity of the monarchy.
There was no reason for these flights at the time they began. The
fugitives only set fire to the four quarters of the globe against their
country. It was natural enough that the servants whom they had left
behind to keep their places should take advantage of their masters'
pusillanimity, and make laws to exclude those who had, uncalled for,
resigned the sway into bolder and more active hands.
I do not mean to impeach the living for the dead; but, when we see those
bearing the lofty titles of Kings and Princesses, escaping with their
wives and families, from an only brother and sister with helpless infant
children, at the hour of danger, we cannot help wishing for a little
plebeian disinterestedness in exalted minds.
I have travelled Europe twice, and I have never seen any woman with that
indescribable charm of person, manner, and character, which distinguished
Marie Antoinette. This is in itself a distinction quite sufficient to
detach friends from its possessor through envy. Besides, she was Queen
of France, the woman of highest rank in a most capricious, restless and
libertine nation. The two Princesses placed nearest to her, and who were
the first to desert her, though both very much inferior in personal and
mental qualifications, no doubt, though not directly, may have
entertained some anticipations of her place. Such feelings are not
likely to decrease the distaste, which results from comparisons to our
own disadvantage. It is, therefore, scarcely to be wondered at, that
those nearest to the throne should be least attached to those who fill
it. How little do such persons think that the grave they are thus
insensibly digging may prove their own! In this case it only did not by
a miracle. What the effect of the royal brothers' and the nobility's
remaining in France would have been we can only conjecture. That their
departure caused, great and irreparable evils we know; and we have good
reason to think they caused the greatest. Those who abandon their houses
on fire, silently give up their claims to the devouring element. Thus
the first emigration kindled the French flame, which, though for a while
it was got under by a foreign stream, was never completely, extinguished
till subdued by its native current.
The unfortunate Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette ceased to be Sovereigns
from the period they were ignominiously dragged to their jail at the
Tuileries. From this moment they were abandoned to the vengeance of
miscreants, who were disgracing the nation with unprovoked and useless
murders. But from this moment also the zeal of the Princesses Elizabeth
and de Lamballe became redoubled. Out of one hundred individuals and
more, male and female, who had been exclusively occupied about the person
of Marie Antoinette, few, excepting this illustrious pair, and the
inestimable Clery, remained devoted to the last. The saint-like virtues
of these Princesses, malice itself has not been able to tarnish. Their
love and unalterable friendship became the shield of their unfortunate
Sovereigns, and their much injured relatives, till the dart struck their
own faithful bosoms. Princes of the earth! here is a lesson of
greatness from the great.
Scarcely had the Princesse de Lamballe been reinstated in the Pavilion of
Flora at the Tuileries, when, by the special royal command, and in Her
Majesty's presence, she wrote to most of the nobility, entreating their
return to France. She urged them, by every argument, that there was no
other means of saving them and their country from the horrors impending
over them and France, should they persevere in their pernicious absence.
In some of these letters, which I copied, there was written on the
margin, in the Queen's hand, "I am at her elbow, and repeat the necessity
of your returning, if you love your King, your religion, your Government,
and your country. Marie Antoinette. Return! Return! Return!"
Among these letters, I remember a large envelope directed to the Duchesse
de Brisac, then residing alternately at the baths of Albano and the
mineral waters at Valdagno, near Vicenza, in the Venetian States. Her
Grace was charged to deliver letters addressed to Her Majesty's royal
brothers, the Comte de Provence, and the Comte d'Artois, who were then
residing, I think, at Stra, on the Brenta, in company with Madame de
Polcatre, Diane de Polignac, and others.
A few days after, I took another envelope, addressed to the Count Dufour,
who was at Turin. It contained letters for M. and Madame de Polignac, M.
and Madame de Guiche Grammont, the King's aunts at Rome, and the two
Princesses of Piedmont, wives of His Majesty's brothers.
If, therefore, a judgment can be formed from the impressions of the Royal
Family, who certainly must have had ample information with respect to the
spirit which predominated at Paris at that period, could the nobility
have been prevailed on to have obeyed the mandates of the Queen and
prayers and invocations of the Princess, there can be no doubt that much
bloodshed would have been spared, and the page of history never have been
sullied by the atrocious names which now stand there as beacons of human
The storms were now so fearfully increasing that the King and Queen, the
Duc de Penthievre, the Count Fersen, the Princesse Elizabeth, the
Duchesse d'Orleans, and all the friends of the Princesse de Lamballe,
once more united in anxious wishes for her to quit France. Even the Pope
himself endeavoured to prevail upon Her Highness to join the royal aunts
at Rome. To all these applications she replied, "I have nothing to
reproach myself with. If my inviolable duty and unalterable attachment
to my Sovereigns, who are my relations and my friends; if love for my
dear father and for my adopted country are crimes, in the face of God and
the world I confess my guilt, and shall die happy if in such a cause!"
The Duc de Penthievre, who loved her as well as his own child, the
Duchesse d'Orleans, was too good a man, and too conscientious a Prince,
not to applaud the disinterested firmness of his beloved daughter-in-law;
yet, foreseeing and dreading the fatal consequence which must result from
so much virtue at a time when vice alone predominated, unknown to the
Princesse de Lamballe, he interested the Court of France to write to the
Court of Sardinia to entreat that the King, as head of her family, would
use his good offices in persuading the Princess to leave the scenes of
commotion, in which she was so much exposed, and return to her native
country. The King of Sardinia, her family, and her particular friend,
the Princess of Piedmont, supplicated ineffectually. The answer of Her
Highness to the King, at Turin, was as follows
"SIRE, AND MOST AUGUST COUSIN,--
"I do not recollect that any of our illustrious ancestors of the
house of Savoy, before or since the great hero Charles Emmanuel, of
immortal memory, ever dishonoured or tarnished their illustrious
names with cowardice. In leaving the Court of France at this awful
crisis, I should be the first. Can Your Majesty pardon my
presumption in differing from your royal counsel? The King, Queen,
and every member of the Royal Family of France, both from the ties
of blood and policy of States, demand our united efforts in their
defence. I cannot swerve from my determination of never quitting
them, especially at a moment when they are abandoned by every one of
their former attendants, except myself. In happier days Your
Majesty may command my obedience; but, in the present instance,
and given up as is the Court of France to their most atrocious
persecutors, I must humbly insist on being guided by my own
decision. During the most brilliant period of the reign of Marie
Antoinette, I was distinguished by the royal favour and bounty. To
abandon her in adversity, Sire, would stain my character, and that
of my illustrious family, for ages to come, with infamy and
cowardice, much more to be dreaded than the most cruel death."
Similar answers were returned to all those of her numerous friends and
relatives, who were so eager to shelter her from the dangers threatening
Her Highness and the Royal Family.
Her Highness was persuaded, however, to return once more to England,
under the pretext of completing the mission she had so successfully
began; but it is very clear that neither the King or Queen had any
serious idea of her succeeding, and that their only object was to get her
away from the theatre of disaster. Circumstances had so completely
changed for the worst, that, though Her Highness was received with great
kindness, her mission was no longer listened to. The policy of England
shrunk from encouraging twenty thousand French troops to be sent in a
body to the West Indies, and France was left to its fate. A conversation
with Mr. Burke, in which the disinclination of England to interfere was
distinctly owned, created that deep-rooted grief and apprehension in the
mind of the Queen from which Her Majesty never recovered. The Princesse
de Lamballe was the only one in her confidence. It is well known that
the King of England greatly respected the personal virtues of Their
French Majesties; but upon the point of business, both King and Ministers
were now become ambiguous and evasive. Her Highness, therefore, resolved
to return. It had already been whispered that she had left France, only
to save herself, like the rest; and she would no longer remain under so
slanderous an imputation. She felt, too, the necessity of her friendship
to her royal mistress. Though the Queen of England, by whom Her Highness
was very much esteemed, and many other persons of the first consequence
in the British nation, foreseeing the inevitable fate of the Royal
Family, and of all their faithful adherents, anxiously entreated her not
to quit England, yet she became insensible to every consideration as to
her own situation and only felt the isolated one of her august Sovereign,
her friend, and benefactress.
Editor in continuation:
Events seemed molded expressly to produce the state of feeling which
marked that disastrous day, the 20th of June, 1792. It frequently
happens that nations, like individuals, rush wildly upon the very dangers
they apprehend, and select such courses as invite what they are most
solicitous to avoid. So it was with everything preceding this dreadful
day. By a series of singular occurrences I did not witness its horrors,
though in some degree their victim. Not to detain my readers
unnecessarily, I will proceed directly to the accident which withdrew
me from the scene.
The apartment of the Princesse de Lamballe, in the Pavilion of Flora,
looked from one side upon the Pont Royal. On the day of which I speak,
a considerable quantity of combustibles had been thrown from the bridge
into one of her rooms. The Princess, in great alarm, sent instantly for
me. She desired to have my English man servant, if he were not afraid,
secreted in her room, while she herself withdrew to another part of the
palace, till the extent of the intended mischief could be ascertained.
I assured Her Highness that I was not only ready to answer for my
servant, but would myself remain with him, as he always went armed, and I
was so certain of his courage and fidelity that I could not hesitate even
to trust my life in his hands.
"For God's sake, 'mia cara'," exclaimed the Princess, "do not risk your
own safety, if you have any value for my friendship. I desire you not to
go near the Pavilion of Flora. Your servant's going is quite sufficient.
Never again let me hear such a proposition. What! after having hitherto
conducted yourself so punctually, would you, by one rash act, devote
yourself to ruin, and deprive us of your valuable services?"
I begged Her Highness would pardon the ardour of the dutiful zeal I felt
for her in the moment of danger.
"Yes, yes," continued she; "that is all very well; but this is not the
first time I have been alarmed at your too great intrepidity; and if ever
I hear of your again attempting to commit yourself so wantonly, I will
have you sent to Turin immediately, there to remain till you have
recovered your senses. I always thought English heads cool; but I
suppose your residence in France has changed the national character of
Once more, with tears in my eyes, I begged her forgiveness, and, on my
knees, implored that she would not send me away in the hour of danger.
After having so long enjoyed the honour of her confidence, I trusted she
would overlook my fault, particularly as it was the pure emanation of my
resentment at any conspiracy against one I so dearly loved; and to whom I
had been under so many obligations, that the very idea of being deprived
of such a benefactress drove me frantic.
Her Highness burst into tears. "I know your heart," exclaimed she; "but
I also know too well our situation, and it is that which makes me tremble
for the consequences which must follow your overstepping the bounds so
necessary to be observed by all of us at this horrid period." And then
she called me again her cars 'Inglesina', and graciously condescended to
embrace me, and bathed my face with her tears, in token of her
forgiveness, and bade me sit down and compose myself, and weep no more.
Scarcely was I seated, when we were both startled by deafening shouts for
the head of Madame Veto, the name they gave the poor unfortunate Queen.
An immense crowd of cannibals and hired ruffians were already in the
Tuileries, brandishing all sorts of murderous weapons, and howling for
blood! My recollections from this moment are very indistinct. I know
that in an instant the apartment was filled; that the Queen, the
Princesse Elizabeth, all the attendants, even the King, I believe,
appeared there. I myself received a wound upon my hand in warding a blow
from my face; and in the turmoil of the scene, and of the blow, I
fainted, and was conveyed by some humane person to a place of safety, in
the upper part of the palace.
Thus deprived of my senses for several hours, I was spared the agony of
witnessing the scenes of horror that succeeded. For two or three days I
remained in a state of so much exhaustion and alarm, that when the
Princess came to me I did not know her, nor even where I was.
As soon as I was sufficiently recovered, places were taken for me and
another person in one of the common diligences, by which I was conveyed
to Passy, where the Princess came to me in the greatest confusion.
My companion in the palace was the widow of one of the Swiss guards, who
had been murdered on the 6th of October, in defending the Queen's
apartment at Versailles. The poor woman had been herself protected by
Her Majesty, and accompanied me by the express order of the Princesse de
Lamballe. What the Princess said to her on departing, I know not, for I
only caught the words "general insurrection," on hearing which the
afflicted woman fell into a fit. To me, Her Highness merely exclaimed,
"Do not come to Paris till you hear from me;" and immediately set off to
return to the Tuileries.
However, as usual, my courage soon got the better of my strength, and of
every consideration of personal safety. On the third day, I proposed to
the person who took care of me that we should both walk out together,
and, if there appeared no symptoms of immediate danger, it was agreed
that we might as well get into one of the common conveyances, and proceed
forthwith to Paris; for I could no longer repress my anxiety to learn
what was going on there, and the good creature who was with me was no
When we got into a diligence, I felt the dread of another severe lecture
like the last, and thought it best not to incur fresh blame by new
imprudence. I therefore told the driver to set us down on the high road
near Paris leading to the Bois de Boulogne. But before we got so far,
the woods resounded with the howling of mobs, and we heard, "Vive le roi"
vociferated, mingled with "Down with the King,"--"Down with the Queen;"
and, what was still more horrible, the two parties were in actual bloody
strife, and the ground was strewn with the bodies of dead men, lying like
It was fortunate that we were the only persons in the vehicle. The
driver, observing our extreme agitation, turned round to us. "Nay, nay,"
cried he; "do not alarm yourselves. It is only the constitutionalists
and the Jacobins fighting against each other. I wish the devil had them
It was evident, however, that, though the man was desirous of quieting
our apprehensions, he was considerably disturbed by his own; for though
he acknowledged he had a wife and children in Paris, who he hoped were
safe, still he dared not venture to proceed, but said, if we wished to be
driven back, he would take us to any place we liked, out of Paris.
Our anxiety to know what was going forward at the Tuileries was now
become intolerable; and the more so, from the necessity we felt of
restraining our feelings. At last, however, we were in some degree
relieved from this agony of reserve.
"God knows," exclaimed the driver, "what will be the consequence of all
this bloodshed! The poor King and Queen are greatly to be pitied!"
This ejaculation restored our courage, and we said he might drive us
wherever he chose out of the sight of those horrors; and it was at length
settled that he should take us to Passy. "Oh," cried he, "if you will
allow me, I will take you to my father's house there; for you seem more
dead than alive, both of you, and ought to go where you can rest in quiet
My companion, who was a German, now addressed me in that language.
"German!" exclaimed the driver on hearing her. "German! Why, I am a
German myself, and served the good King, who is much to be pitied, for
many years; and when I was wounded, the Queen, God bless her! set me up
in the world, as I was made an invalid; and I have ever since been
enabled to support my family respectably. D---- the Assembly! I shall
never be a farthing the better for them!"
"Oh," replied I, "then I suppose you are not a Jacobin?"
The driver, with a torrent of curses, then began execrating the very name
of Jacobin. This emboldened me to ask him when he had left Paris. He
replied, "Only this very morning," and added that the Assembly had shut
the gates of the Tuileries under the pretence of preventing the King and
Queen from being assassinated. "But that is all a confounded lie,"
continued he, "invented to keep out the friends of the Royal Family.
But, God knows, they are now so fallen, they have few such left to be
"I am more enraged," pursued he, "at the ingratitude of the nobility than
I am at these hordes of bloodthirsty plunderers, for we all know that the
nobility owe everything to the King. Why do they not rise en masse to
shield the Royal Family from these bloodhounds? Can they imagine they
will be spared if the King should be murdered? I have no patience with
I then asked him our fare. "Two livres is the fare, but you shall not
pay anything. I see plainly, ladies, that you are not what you assume to
"My good man," replied I, "we are not; and therefore take this louis d'or
for your trouble."
He caught my hand and pressed it to his lips, exclaiming, "I never in my
life knew a man who was faithful to his King, that God did not provide
He then took us to Passy, but advised us not to remain at the place where
we had been staying; and fortunate enough it was for us that we did not,
for the house was set on fire and plundered by a rebel mob very soon
I told the driver how much I was obliged to him for his services, and he
seemed delighted when I promised to give him proofs of my confidence in
"If," said I, "you can find out my servant whom I left in Paris, I will
give you another louis d'or." I was afraid, at first, to mention where
he was to look for him.
"If he be not dead," replied the driver, "I will find him out."
"What!" cried I, "even though he should be at the Tuileries?"
"Why, madame, I am one of the national guard. I have only to put on my
uniform to be enabled to go to any part of the palace I please. Tell me
his name, and where you think it likely he may be found, and depend upon
it I will bring him to you."
"Perhaps," continued he, "it is your husband disguised as a servant; but
no matter. Give me a clue, and I'll warrant you he shall tell you the
rest himself by this time to-morrow."
"Well, then," replied I, "he is in the Pavilion of Flora."
"What, with the Princesse de Lamballe? Oh, I would go through fire and
water for that good Princess! She has done me the honour to stand
godmother to one of my children, and allows her a pension."
I took him at his word. We changed our quarters to his father's house,
a very neat little cottage, about a quarter of a mile from the town.
He afterwards rendered me many services in going to and fro from
Passy to Paris; and, as he promised, brought me my servant.
When the poor fellow arrived, his arm was in a sling. He had been
wounded by a musket shot, received in defence of the Princess. The
history of his disaster was this:
On the night of the riot, as he was going from the Pont Royal to the
apartment of Her Highness, he detected a group of villains under her
windows. Six of them were attempting to enter by a ladder. He fired,
and two fell. While he was reloading, the others shot at him. Had he
not, in the flurry of the moment, fired both his pistols at the same
time, he thinks he should not have been wounded, but might have punished
the assailant. One of the men, he said, could have been easily taken by
the national guard, who so glaringly encouraged the escape that he could
almost swear the guard was a party concerned. The loss of blood had so
exhausted him that he could not pursue the offender himself, whom
otherwise he could have taken without any difficulty.
As the employing of my servant had only been proposed, and the sudden
interruption of my conversation with Her Highness by the riot had
prevented my ever communicating the project to him, I wondered how he got
into the business, or ascertained so soon that the apartment of the
Princess was in danger. He explained that he never had heard of its
being so; but my own coachman having left me at the palace that day,
and not hearing of me for some time, had driven home, and, fearing that
my not returning arose from something which had happened, advised him to
go to the Pont Royal and hear what he could learn, as there was a report
of many persons having been murdered and thrown over the bridge.
My man took the advice, and armed himself to be ready in case of attack.
It was between one and two o'clock after midnight when he went. The
first objects he perceived were these miscreants attempting to scale the
He told me that the Queen had been most grossly insulted; that the gates
of the Tuileries had been shut in consequence; that a small part alone
remained open to the public, who were kept at their distance by a
national ribbon, which none could pass without being instantly arrested.
This had prevented his apprising the Princess of the attempt which he had
accidentally defeated, and which he wished me to communicate to her
immediately. I did so by letter, which my good driver carried to Paris,
and delivered safe into the hands of our benefactress.
The surprise of the Princess on hearing from me, and her pleasure at my
good fortune in finding by accident such means, baffles all description.
Though she was at the time overwhelmed with the imminent dangers which
threatened her, yet she still found leisure to show her kindness to those
who were doing their best, though in vain, to serve her. The following
letter, which she sent me in reply, written amidst all the uneasiness it
describes, will speak for her more eloquently than my praises:
"I can understand your anxiety. It was well for you that you were
unconscious of the dreadful scenes which were passing around you on that
horrid day. The Princesse de Tarente, Madame de Tourzel, Madame de
Mockau, and all the other ladies of the household owed the safety of
their lives to one of the national guards having given his national
cockade to the Queen. Her Majesty placed it on her head, unperceived by
the mob. One of the gentlemen of the King's wardrobe provided the King
and the Princesse Elizabeth with the same impenetrable shield. Though
the cannibals came for murder, I could not but admire the enthusiastic
deference that was shown to this symbol of authority, which instantly
paralyzed, the daggers uplifted for our extermination.
"Merlin de Thionville was the stoic head of this party. The Princesse
Elizabeth having pointed him out to me, I ventured to address him
respecting the dangerous situation to which the Royal Family were daily
exposed. I flattered him upon his influence over the majority of the
faubourgs, to which only we could look for the extinction of these
disorders. He replied that the despotism of the Court had set a bad
example to the people; that he felt for the situation of the royal party
as individuals, but he felt much more for the safety of the French
nation, who were in still greater danger than Their Majesties had to
dread, from the Austrian faction, by which a foreign army had been
encouraged to invade the territory of France, where they were now waiting
the opportunity of annihilating French liberty forever!
"To this Her Majesty replied, 'When the deputies of the Assembly have
permitted, nay, I may say, encouraged this open violation of the King's
asylum, and, by their indifference to the safety of all those who
surround us, have sanctioned the daily insults to which we have been,
and still are, exposed, it is not to be wondered, at that all Sovereigns
should consider it their interest to make common cause with us, to crush
internal commotions, levelled, not only against the throne, and the
persons of the Sovereign and his family, but against the very principle
of monarchy itself.'
"Here the King, though much intimidated for the situation of the Queen
and his family, for whose heads the wretches were at that very moment
howling in their ears, took up the conversation.
"'These cruel facts,' said he, 'and the menacing situation you even now
witness, fully justify our not rejecting foreign aid, though God knows
how deeply I deplore the necessity of such a cruel resource! But, when
all internal measures of conciliation have been trodden under foot, and
the authorities, who ought to check it and protect us from these cruel
outrages, are only occupied in daily fomenting the discord between us and
our subjects; though a forlorn hope, what other hope is there of safety?
I foresee the drift of all these commotions, and am resigned; but what
will become of this misguided nation, when the head of it shall be
"Here the King, nearly choked by his feelings, was compelled to pause for
a moment, and he then proceeded.
"'I should not feel it any sacrifice to give up the guardianship of the
nation, could I, in so doing, insure its future tranquillity; but I
foresee that my blood, like that of one of my unhappy brother
Sovereigns,--[Charles the First, of England.]-- will only open the flood-
gates of human misery, the torrent of which, swelled with the best blood
of France, will deluge this once peaceful realm.'
"This, as well as I can recollect, is the substance of what passed at the
castle on this momentous day. Our situation was extremely doubtful, and
the noise and horrid riots were at times so boisterous, that frequently
we could not, though so near them, distinguish a word the King and Queen
said; and yet, whenever the leaders of these organized ruffians spoke or
threatened, the most respectful stillness instantly prevailed.
"I weep in silence for misfortunes, which I fear are inevitable! The
King, the Queen, the Princesse Elizabeth and myself, with many others
under this unhappy roof, have never ventured to undress or sleep in bed,
till last night. None of us any longer reside on the ground floor.
"By the very manly exertions of some of the old officers incorporated in
the national army, the awful riot I have described was overpowered, and
the mob, with difficulty, dispersed. Among these, I should particularize
Generals de Vomenil, de Mandat, and de Roederer. Principally by their
means the interior of the Tuileries was at last cleared, though partial
mobs, such as you have often witnessed, still subsist.
"I am thus particular in giving you a full account of this last
revolutionary commotion, that your prudence may still keep you at a
distance from the vortex. Continue where you are, and tell your man
servant how much I am obliged to him, and, at the same time, how much I
am grieved at his being wounded! I knew nothing of the affair but from
your letter and your faithful messenger. He is an old pensioner of mine,
and a good honest fellow. You may depend on him. Serve yourself,
through him, in communicating with me. Though he has had a limited
education, he is not wanting in intellect. Remember that honesty, in
matters of such vital import, is to be trusted before genius.
"My apartment appears like a barrack, like a bear garden, like anything
but what it was! Numbers of valuable things have been destroyed, numbers
carried off. Still, notwithstanding all the horrors of these last days,
it delights me to be able to tell you that no one in the service of the
Royal Family failed in duty at this dreadful crisis. I think we may
firmly rely on the inviolable attachment of all around us. No jealousy,
no considerations of etiquette, stood in the way of their exertions to
show themselves worthy of the situations they hold. The Queen showed the
greatest intrepidity during the whole of these trying scenes.
"At present, I can say no more. Petion, the Mayor of Paris, has just
been announced; and, I believe, he wishes for an audience of Her Majesty,
though he never made his appearance during the whole time of the riots in
the palace. Adieu, mia cara Inglesina!"
The receipt of this letter, however it might have affected me to hear
what Her Highness suffered, in common with the rest of the unfortunate
royal inmates of the Tuileries, gave me extreme pleasure from the
assurance it contained of the firmness of those nearest to the sufferers.
I was also sincerely gratified in reflecting on the probity and
disinterested fidelity of this worthy man, which contrasted him, so
strikingly and so advantageously to himself, with many persons of birth
and education, whose attachment could not stand the test of the trying
scenes of the Revolution, which made them abandon and betray, where they
had sworn an allegiance to which they were doubly bound by gratitude.
My man servant was attended, and taken the greatest care of. The
Princess never missed a day in sending to inquire after his health; and,
on his recovery, the Queen herself not only graciously condescended to
see him, but, besides making him a valuable present, said many flattering
and obliging things of his bravery and disinterestedness.
I should scarcely have deemed these particulars honourable as they are to
the feelings of the illustrious personages from whom they proceeded--
worth mentioning in a work of this kind, did they not give indications of
character rarely to be met with (and, in their case, how shamefully
rewarded!), from having occurred at a crisis when their minds were
occupied in affairs of such deep importance, and amidst the appalling
dangers which hourly threatened their own existence.
Her Majesty's correspondence with foreign Courts had been so much
increased by these scenes of horror, especially her correspondence with
her relations in Italy, that, ere long, I was sent for back to Paris.
Journal of the Princess resumed and concluded:
"The insurrection of the 20th of June, and the uncertain state of the
safety of the Royal Family, menaced as it was by almost daily riots,
induced a number of well-disposed persons to prevail on General
La Fayette to leave his army and come to Paris, and there personally
remonstrate against these outrages. Had he been sincere he would have
backed the measure by appearing at the head of his army, then well-
disposed, as Cromwell did when he turned out the rogues who were seeking
the Lord through the blood of their King, and put the keys in his pocket.
Violent disorders require violent remedies. With an army and a few
pieces of cannon at the door of the Assembly, whose members were seeking
the aid of the devil, for the accomplishment of their horrors, he might,
as was done when the same scene occurred in England in 1668, by good
management; have averted the deluge of blood. But, by appearing before
the Assembly isolated, without 'voila mon droit,' which the King of
Prussia had had engraven on his cannon, he lost the opinion of all
[In this instance the general grossly committed himself, in the
opinion of every impartial observer of his conduct. He should never
have shown himself in the capital, but at the head of his army.
France, circumstanced as it was, torn by intestine commotion, was
only to be intimidated by the sight of a popular leader at the head
of his forces. Usurped authority can only be quashed by the force
of legitimate authority. La Fayette being the only individual in
France that in reality possessed such an authority, not having
availed himself at a crisis like the one in which he was called upon
to act, rendered his conduct doubtful, and all his intended
operations suspicious to both parties, whether his feelings were
really inclined to prop up the fallen kingly authority, or his
newly-acquired republican principles prompted him to become the head
of the democratical party, for no one can see into the hearts of
men; his popularity from that moment ceased to exist.]
"La Fayette came to the palace frequently, but the King would never see
him. He was obliged to return, with the additional mortification of
having been deceived in his expected support from the national guard of
Paris, whose pay had been secretly trebled by the National Assembly, in
order to secure them to itself. His own safety, therefore, required that
he should join the troops under his command. He left many persons in
whom he thought he could confide; among whom were some who came to me one
day requesting I would present them to the Queen without loss of time, as
a man condemned to be shot had confessed to his captain that there was a
plot laid to murder Her Majesty that very night.
"I hastened to the royal apartment, without mentioning the motive; but
some such catastrophe was no more than what we incessantly expected, from
the almost hourly changes of the national guard, for the real purpose of
giving easy access to all sorts of wretches to the very rooms of the
unfortunate Queen, in order to furnish opportunities for committing the
crime with impunity.
"After I had seen the Queen, the applicants were introduced, and, in my
presence, a paper was handed by them to Her Majesty. At the moment she
received it, I was obliged to leave her for the purpose of watching an
opportunity for their departure unobserved. These precautions were
necessary with regard to every person who came to us in the palace,
otherwise the jealousy of the Assembly and its emissaries and the
national guard of the interior might have been alarmed, and we should
have been placed under express and open surveillance. The confusion
created by the constant change of guard, however, stood us in good stead
in this emergency. Much passing and repassing took place unheeded in the
"When the visitors had departed, and Her Majesty at one window of the
palace, and I at another, had seen them safe over the Pont Royal, I
returned to Her Majesty. She then graciously handed me the paper which
they had presented.
"It contained an earnest supplication, signed by many thousand good
citizens, that the King and Queen would sanction the plan of sending the
Dauphin to the army of La Fayette. They pledged themselves, with the
assistance of the royalists, to rescue the Royal Family. They, urged
that if once the King could be persuaded to show himself at the head of
his army, without taking any active part, but merely for his own safety
and that of his family, everything might be accomplished with the
"The Queen exclaimed, 'What! send my child! No! never while I breathe!
[Little did this unfortunate mother think that they, who thus
pretended to interest themselves for this beautiful, angelic Prince
only a few months before, would, when she was in her horrid prison
after the butchery of her husband, have required this only comfort
to be violently torn from her maternal arms!
Little, indeed, did she think, when her maternal devotedness thus
repelled the very thought of his being trusted to myriads of sworn
defenders, how soon he would be barbarously consigned by the
infamous Assembly as the foot-stool of the inhuman savage cobbler,
Simon, to be the night-boy of the excrements of the vilest of the
works of human nature!]
Yet were I an independent Queen, or the regent of a minority, I feel that
I should be inclined to accept the offer, to place myself at the head of
the army, as my immortal mother did, who, by that step, transmitted the
crown of our ancestors to its legitimate descendants. It is the monarchy
itself which now requires to be asserted. Though D'ORLEANS is actively
engaged in attempting the dethronement of His Majesty, I do not think the
nation will submit to such a Prince, or to any other monarchical
government, if the present be decidedly destroyed.
"'All these plans, my dear Princess,' continued she, 'are mere castles in
the air. The mischief is too deeply rooted. As they have already
frantically declared for the King's abdication, any strong measure now,
incompetent as we are to assure its success, would at once arm the
advocates of republicanism to proclaim the King's dethronement.
"'The cruel observations of Petion to His Majesty, on our ever memorable
return from Varennes, have made a deeper impression than you are aware
of. When the King observed to him, "What do the French nation want?"--
"A republic," replied he. And though he has been the means of already
costing us some thousands, to crush this unnatural propensity, yet I
firmly believe that he himself is at the head of all the civil disorders
fomented for its attainment. I am the more confirmed in this opinion
from a conversation I had with the good old man, M. De Malesherbes, who
assured me the great sums we were lavishing on this man were thrown away,
for he would be certain, eventually, to betray us: and such an inference
could only have been drawn from the lips of the traitor himself. Petion
must have given Malesherbes reason to believe this. I am daily more and
more convinced it will be the case. Yet, were I to show the least energy
or activity in support of the King's authority, I should then be accused
of undermining it. All France would be up in arms against the danger of
female influence. The King would only be lessened in the general opinion
of the nation, and the kingly authority still more weakened. Calm
submission to His Majesty is, therefore, the only safe, course for both
of us, and we must wait events.'
"While Her Majesty was thus opening her heart to me, the King and
Princesse Elizabeth entered, to inform her that M. Laporte, the head of
the private police, had discovered, and caused to be arrested, some of
the wretches who had maliciously attempted to fire the palace of the
"'Set them at liberty!' exclaimed Her Majesty; 'or, to clear themselves
and their party, they will accuse us of something worse.'
"'Such, too, is my opinion, Sire,' observed I; 'for however I abhor their
intentions, I have here a letter from one of these miscreants which was
found among the combustibles. It cautions us not to inhabit the upper
part of the Pavilion. My not having paid the attention which was
expected to the letter, has aroused the malice of the writer, and caused
a second attempt to be made from the Pont Royal upon my own apartment; in
preventing which, a worthy man has been cruelly wounded in the arm.'
"'Merciful Heaven!' exclaimed the poor Queen and the Princesse Elizabeth,
I not dangerously, I hope!
"'I hope not,' added I; 'but the attempt, and its escaping unpunished,
though there were guards all around, is a proof how perilous it will be,
while we are so weak, to kindle their rancour by any show of impotent
resentment; for I have reason to believe it was to that, the want of
attention to the letter of which I speak was imputed.'
"The Queen took this opportunity, of laying before the King the above-
mentioned plan. His Majesty, seeing it in the name of La Fayette, took
up the paper, and, after he had attentively perused it, tore it in
pieces, exclaiming, 'What! has not M. La Fayette done mischief enough
yet, but must he even expose the names of so many worthy men by
committing them to paper at a critical period like this, when he is fully
aware that we are in immediate danger of being assailed by a banditti of
inhuman cannibals, who would sacrifice every individual attached to us,
if, unfortunately, such a paper should be found? I am determined to have
nothing to do with his ruinous plans. Popularity and ambition made him
the principal promoter of republicanism. Having failed of becoming a
Washington, he is mad to become a Cromwell. I have no faith in these
"I know that the Queen heartily concurred in this sentiment concerning
General La Fayette, as soon as she ascertained his real character,
and discovered that he considered nothing paramount to public notoriety.
To this he had sacrificed the interest of his country, and trampled under
foot the throne; but finding he could not succeed in forming a Republican
Government in France as he had in America, he, like many others, lost his
popularity with the demagogues, and, when too late, came to offer his
services, through me, to the Queen, to recruit a monarchy which his
vanity had undermined to gratify, his chimerical ambition. Her Majesty
certainly saw him frequently, but never again would she put herself in
the way of being betrayed by one whom she considered faithless to all."
[Thus ended the proffered services of General La Fayette, who then
took the command of the national army, served against that of the
Prince de Conde, and the Princes of his native country, and was
given up with General Bournonville, De Lameth, and others, by
General Dumourier, on the first defeat of the French, to the
Austrians, by whom they were sent to the fortress of Olmutz in
Hungary, where they remained till after the death of the wretch
Robespierre, when they were exchanged for the Duchesse d'Angouleme,
now Dauphine of France.
From the retired life led by General La Fayette on his return to
France, there can be but little doubt that he spent a great part of
his time in reflecting on the fatal errors of his former conduct, as
he did not coincide with any of the revolutionary principles which
preceded the short-lived reign of imperialism. But though Napoleon
too well knew him to be attached from principle to republicanism--
every vestige of which he had long before destroyed--to employ him
in any military capacity, still he recalled him from his hiding-
place, in order to prevent his doing mischief, as he politically
did--every other royalist whom he could bring under the banners of
Had Napoleon made use of his general knowledge of mankind in other
respects, as he politically did in France over his conquered
subjects, in respecting ancient habits, and gradually weaned them
from their natural prejudices instead of violently forcing all men
to become Frenchmen, all men would have fought for him, and not
against him. These were the weapons by which his power became
annihilated, and which, in the end, will be the destruction of all
potentates who presume to follow his fallacious plan of forming
individuals to a system instead of accommodating systems to
individuals. The fruits from Southern climes have been reared in
the North, but without their native virtue or vigour. It is more
dangerous to attack the habits of men than their religion.
The British Constitution, though a blessing to Englishmen, is very
ill-suited to nations not accustomed to the climate and its
variations. Every country has peculiarities of thought and manners
resulting from the physical influence of its sky and soil. Whenever
we lose sight of this truth, we naturally lose the affections of
those whose habits we counteract.]
Here ends the Journal of my lamented benefactress. I have continued the
history to the close of her career, and that of the Royal Family,
especially as Her Highness herself acted so important a part in many of
the scenes, which are so strongly illustrated by her conversation and
letters. It is only necessary to add that the papers which I have
arranged were received from Her Highness amidst the disasters which were
now thickening around her and her royal friends.
From the time I left Passy till my final departure from Paris for Italy,
which took place on the 2nd of August, 1792, my residence was almost
exclusively at the capital. The faithful driver, who had given such
proofs of probity, continued to be of great service, and was put in
perpetual requisition. I was daily about on the business of the Queen
and the Princess, always disguised, and most frequently as a drummerboy;
on which occasions the driver and my man servant were my companions.
My principal occupation was to hear and take down the debates of the
Assembly, and convey and receive letters from the Queen to the Princesse
de Lamballe, to and from Barnave, Bertrand de Moleville, Alexandre de
Lameth, Deport de Fertre, Duportail, Montmorin, Turbo, De Mandat, the
Duc de Brissac, etc., with whom my illustrious patronesses kept up a
continued correspondence, to which I believe all of them fell a
sacrifice; for, owing to the imprudence of the King in not removing their
communications when he removed the rest of his papers from the Tuileries,
the exposure of their connections with the Court was necessarily
consequent upon the plunder of the palace on the 10th of August, 1792.
In my masquerade visits to the Assembly, I got acquainted with an editor
of one of the papers; I think he told me his name was Duplessie. Being
pleased with the liveliness of my remarks on some of the organized
disorders, as I termed them, and with some comments I made upon the
meanness of certain disgusting speeches on the patriotic gifts, my new
acquaintance suffered me to take copies of his own shorthand remarks and
reports. By this means the Queen and the Princess had them before they
appeared in print. M. Duplessie was on other occasions of great service
to me, especially as a protector in the mobs, for my man servant and the
honest driver were so much occupied in watching the movements of the
various faubourg factions, that I was often left entirely unattended.
The horrors of the Tuileries, both by night and day, were now grown
appallingly beyond description. Almost unendurable as they had been
before, they were aggravated by the insults of the national guard to
every passenger to and from the palace. I was myself in so much peril,
that the Princess thought it necessary to procure a trusty person, of
tried courage, to see me through the throngs, with a large bandbox of all
sorts of fashionable millinery, as the mode of ingress and egress least
liable to excite suspicion.
Thus equipped, and guarded by my cicisbeo, I one day found myself, on
entering the Tuileries, in the midst of an immense mob of regular trained
rioters, who, seeing me go towards the palace, directed their attention
entirely to me. They took me for some one belonging to the Queen's
milliner, Madame Bertin, who, they said, was fattening upon the public
misery, through the Queen's extravagance. The poor Queen herself they
called by names so opprobious that decency will not suffer me to repeat
With a volley of oaths, pressing upon us, they bore us to another part
of the garden, for the purpose of compelling us to behold six or eight of
the most infamous outcasts, amusing themselves, in a state of exposure,
with their accursed hands and arms tinged with blood up to the elbows.
The spot they had chosen for this exhibition of their filthy persons was
immediately before the windows of the apartments of the Queen and the
ladies of the Court. Here they paraded up and down, to the great
entertainment of a throng of savage rebels, by whom they were applauded
and encouraged with shouts of "Bis! bis!" signifying in English," Again!
The demoniac interest excited by this scene withdrew the attention of
those who were enjoying it from me, and gave me the opportunity of
escaping unperceived, merely with the loss of my bandbox. Of that the
infuriated mob made themselves masters; and the hats, caps, bonnets, and
other articles of female attire, were placed on the parts of their
degraded carcases, which, for the honour of human nature, should have
Overcome with agony at these insults, I burst from the garden in a flood
of tears. On passing the gate, I was accosted by a person who exclaimed
in a tone of great kindness, "Qu'as tu, ma bonne? qu'est ce qui vous
afflige?" Knowing the risk I should run in representing the real cause of
my concern, I immediately thought of ascribing it to the loss of the
property of which I had been plundered. I told him I was a poor
milliner, and had been robbed of everything I possessed in the world by
the mob. "Come back with me," said he, "and I will have it restored to
you." I knew it was of no avail, but policy stimulated me to comply; and
I returned with him into the garden toward the palace.
What should I have felt, had I been aware, when this man came up, that I
was accosted by the villain Danton! The person who was with me knew him,
but dared not speak, and watched a chance of escaping in the crowd for
fear of being discovered. When I looked round and found myself alone,
I said I had lost my brother in the confusion, which added to my grief.
"Oh, never mind," said Danton; "take hold of my arm; no one shall molest
you. We will look for your brother, and try to recover your things;" and
on we went together: I, weeping, I may truly say, for my life, stopped at
every step, while he related my doleful story to all whose curiosity was
excited by my grief.
On my appearing arm in arm with Danton before the windows of the Queen's
apartments, we were observed by Her Majesty and the Princesses. Their
consternation and perplexity, as well as alarm for my safety, may readily
be conceived. A signal from the window instantly apprised me that I
might enter the palace, to which my return had been for some time
Finding it could no longer be of any service to carry on the farce of
seeking my pretended brother, I begged to be escorted out of the mob to
the apartments of the Princesse de Lamballe.
"Oh," said Danton, "certainly! and if you had only told the people that
you were going to that good Princess, I am sure your things would not
have been taken from you. But," added he, "are you perfectly certain
they were not for that detestable Marie Antoinette?"
"Oh!" I replied, "quite, quite certain!" All this while the mob was at
"Then," said he, "I will not leave you till you are safe in the
apartments of the Princesse de Lamballe, and I will myself make known to
her your loss: she is so good," continued he, "that I am convinced she
will make you just compensation."
I then told him how much I should be obliged by his doing so, as I had
been commissioned to deliver the things, and if I was made to pay for
them, the loss would be more serious than I could bear.
"Bah! bah!" exclaimed he. "Laissez moi faire! Laissez moi faire!"
When he came to the inner door, which I pretended to know nothing about,
he told the gentleman of the chamber his name, and said he wished to see
Her Highness came in a few minutes, and from her looks and visible
agitation at the sight of Danton, I feared she would have betrayed both
herself and me. However, while he was making a long preamble, I made
signs, from which she inferred that all was safe.
When Danton had finished telling her the story, she calmly said to me,
"Do you recollect, child, the things you have been robbed of?"
I replied that, if I had pen and ink, I could even set down the prices.
"Oh, well, then, child, come in," said Her Highness, "and we will see
what is to be done!"
"There!" exclaimed Danton; "Did I not tell you this before?" Then,
giving me a hearty squeeze of the hand, he departed, and thus terminated
the millinery speculation, which, I have no doubt, cost Her Highness a
As soon as he was gone, the Princess said, "For Heaven's sake, tell me
the whole of this affair candidly; for the Queen has been in the greatest
agitation at the bare idea of your knowing Danton, ever since we first
saw you walking with him! He is one of our moat inveterate enemies."
I said that if they had but witnessed one half of the scenes that I saw,
I was sure their feelings would have been shocked beyond description.
"We did not see all, but we heard too much for the ears of our sex."
I then related the particulars of our meeting to Her Highness, who
observed, "This accident, however unpleasant, may still turn out to our
advantage. This fellow believes you to be a marchande de modes, and the
circumstance of his having accompanied you to my apartment will enable
you, in future, to pass to and from the Pavilion unmolested by the
With tears of joy in her eyes for my safety, she could not, however, help
laughing when I told her the farce I kept up respecting the loss of my
brother, and my bandbox with the millinery, for which I was also soon
congratulated most graciously by Her Majesty, who much applauded my
spirit and presence of mind, and condescended, immediately, to entrust me
with letters of the greatest importance, for some of the most
distinguished members of the Assembly, with which I left the palace in
triumph, but taking care to be ready with a proper story of my losses.
When I passed the guard-room, I was pitied by the very wretches, who,
perhaps, had already shared in the spoils; and who would have butchered
me, no doubt, into the bargain, could they have penetrated the real
object of my mission. They asked me if I had been paid for the loss I
sustained. I told them I had not, but I was promised that it should be
"Settled!" said one of the wretches. "Get the money as soon as you can.
Do not trust to promises of its being settled. They will all be settled
The next day, on going to the palace, I found the Princesse de Lamballe
in the greatest agitation, from the accounts the Court had just received
of the murder of a man belonging to Arthur Dillon, and of the massacres
"The horrid prints, pamphlets, and caricatures," cried she, "daily
exhibited under the very windows of the Tuileries, against His Majesty,
the Queen, the Austrian party, and the Coblentz party, the constant
thwarting of every plan, and these last horrors at Nantes, have so
overwhelmed the King that he is nearly become a mere automaton. Daily
and nightly execrations are howled in his ears. Look at our boasted
deliverers! The poor Queen, her children, and all of us belonging to the
palace, are in danger of our lives at merely being seen; while they by
whom we have been so long buoyed up with hope are quarrelling amongst
themselves for the honour and etiquette of precedency, leaving us to the
fury of a race of cannibals, who know no mercy, and will have destroyed
us long before their disputes of etiquette can be settled."
The utterance of Her Highness while saying this was rendered almost
inarticulate by her tears.
"What support against internal disorganization," continued she, "is to be
expected from so disorganized a body as the present army of different
nations, having all different interests?"
I said there was no doubt that the Prussian army was on its march, and
would soon be joined by that of the Princes and of Austria.
"You speak as you wish, mia cara Inglesina, but it is all to no purpose.
Would to God they had never been applied to, never been called upon to
interfere. Oh, that Her Majesty could have been persuaded to listen to
Dumourier and some other of the members, instead of relying on succours
which, I fear, will never enter Paris in our lifetime! No army can
subdue a nation; especially a nation frenzied by the recent recovery of
its freedom and independence from the shackles of a corrupt and weak
administration. The King is too good; the Queen has no equal as to
heart; but they have both been most grossly betrayed. The royalists on
one side, the constitutionalists on the other, will be the victims of the
Jacobins, for they are the most powerful, they are the most united, they
possess the most talent, and they act in a body, and not merely for the
time being. Believe me, my dear, their plans are too well grounded to be
defeated, as every one framed by the fallacious constitutionalists and
mad-headed royalists has been; and so they will ever be while they
continue to form two separate interests. From the very first moment when
these two bodies were worked upon separately, I told the Queen that, till
they were united for the same object, the monarchy would be unsafe, and
at the mercy of the Jacobins, who, from hatred to both parties, would
overthrow it themselves to rule despotically over those whom they no
longer respected or feared, but whom they hated, as considering them both
equally their former oppressors.
"May the All-seeing Power," continued Her Highness, "grant, for the good
of this shattered State, that I may be mistaken, and that my predictions
may prove different in the result; but of this I see no hope, unless in
the strength of our own internal resources. God knows how powerful they
might prove could they be united at this moment! But from the anarchy
and division kept up between them, I see no prospect of their being
brought to bear, except in a general overthrow of this, as you have
justly observed, organized system of disorders, from which at some future
period we may obtain a solid, systematic order of government. Would
Charles the Second ever have reigned after the murder of his father had
England been torn to pieces by different factions? No! It was the union
of the body of the nation for its internal tranquillity, the amalgamation
of parties against domestic faction, which gave vigour to the arm of
power, and enabled the nation to check foreign interference abroad, while
it annihilated anarchy at home. By that means the Protector himself laid
the first stone of the Restoration. The division of a nation is the
surest harbinger of success to its invaders, the death-blow to its
Sovereign's authority, and the total destruction of that innate energy by
which alone a country can obtain the dignity of its own independence."
While Her Highness was thus pondering on the dreadful situation of
France, strengthening her arguments by those historical illustrations,
which, from the past, enabled her to look into the future, a message came
to her from Her Majesty. She left me, and, in a few minutes, returned to
her apartment, accompanied by the Queen and Her Royal Highness the
Princesse Elizabeth. I was greatly surprised at seeing these two
illustrious and august personages bathed in tears. Of course, I could
not be aware of any new motive to create any new or extraordinary
emotion; yet there was in the countenances of all of the party an
appearance different from anything I had ever witnessed in them, or any
other person before; a something which seemed to say, they no longer had
any affinity with the rest of earthly beings.
They had all been just writing to their distant friends and relations.
A fatal presentiment, alas! too soon verified, told them it was for the
Her Highness the Princesse de Lamballe now approached me.
"Her Majesty," observed the Princess, "wishes to give you a mark of her
esteem, in delivering to you, with her own hands, letters to her family,
which it is her intention to entrust to your especial care.
"On this step Her Majesty has resolved, as much to send you out of the
way of danger, as from the conviction occasioned by the firm reliance
your conduct has created in us, that you will faithfully obey the orders
you may receive, and execute our intentions with that peculiar
intelligence which the emergency of the case requires.
"But even the desirable opportunity which offers, through you, for the
accomplishment of her mission, might not have prevailed with Her Majesty
to hasten your departure, had not the wretch Danton twice inquired at the
palace for the 'little milliner,' whom he rescued and conducted safe to
the apartments of the Pavilion of Flora. This, probably, may be a matter
of no real consequence whatever; but it is our duty to avoid danger, and
it has been decided that you should, at least for a time, absent Paris.
"Per cio, mia cara Inglesina, speak now, freely and candidly: is it your
wish to return to England, or go elsewhere? For though we are all sorry
to lose you, yet it would be a source of still greater sorrow to us,
prizing your services and fidelity as we do, should any plans and
purposes of ours lead you into difficulty or embarrassment."
"Oh, mon Dieu! c'est vrai!" interrupted Her Majesty, her eyes at the
same time filled with tears.
"I should never forgive myself," continued the Princess, "if I should
prove the cause of any misfortune to you."
"Nor I!" most graciously subjoined the Queen.
"Therefore," pursued the Princess, "speak your mind without reserve."
Here my own feelings, and the sobs of the illustrious party, completely
overcame me, and I could not proceed. The Princesse de Lamballe clasped
me in her arms. "Not only letters," exclaimed she, "but my life I would
trust to the fidelity of my vera, verissima, cara Inglesina! And now,"
continued Her Highness, turning round to the Queen, "will it please Your
Majesty to give Inglesina your commands."
"Here, then," said the Queen, "is a letter for my dear sister, the Queen
of Naples, which you must deliver into her own hands. Here is another
for my sister, the Duchess of Parma. If she should not be at Parma, you
will find her at Colorno. This is for my brother, the Archduke of Milan;
this for my sister-in-law, the Princesse Clotilde Piedmont, at Turin; and
here are four others. You will take off the envelope when you get to
Turin, and then put them into the post yourself. Do not give them to, or
send them by, any person whatsoever.
"Tell my sisters the state of Paris. Inform them of our cruel situation.
Describe the riots and convulsions you have seen. Above all, assure them
how dear they are to me, and how much I love them."
At the word love, Her Majesty threw herself on a sofa and wept bitterly.
The Princesse Elizabeth gave me a letter for her sister, and two for her
aunts, to be delivered to them, if at Rome; but if not, to be put under
cover and sent through the post at Rome to whatever place they might have
made their residence.
I had also a packet of letters to deliver for the Princesse de Lamballe
at Turin; and another for the Duc de Serbelloni at Milan.
Her Majesty and the Princesse Elizabeth not only allowed me the honour to
kiss their hands, but they, both gave me their blessing, and good wishes
for my safe return, and then left me with the Princesse de Lamballe.
Her Majesty had scarcely left the apartment of the Princess, when I
recollected she had forgotten to give me the cipher and the key for the
letters. The Princess immediately went to the Queen's apartment, and
returned with them shortly after.
"Now that we are alone," said Her Highness, "I will tell you what Her
Majesty has graciously commanded me to signify to you in her royal name.
The Queen commands me to say that you are provided for for life; and
that, on the first vacancy which may occur, she intends fixing you at
"Therefore mia cara Inglesina, take especial care what you are about, and
obey Her Majesty's wishes when you are absent, as implicitly as you have
hitherto done all her commands during your abode near her. You are not
to write to any one. No one is to be made acquainted with your route.
You are not to leave Paris in your own carriage. It will be sent after
you by your man servant, who is to join you at Chalon sur Saone.
"I have further to inform you that Her Majesty the Queen, on sending you
the cipher, has at the same time graciously condescended to add these
presents as further marks of her esteem."
Her Highness then showed me a most beautiful gold watch, chain and seals.
"These," said she, placing them with her own hands, "Her Majesty desired
me to put round your neck in testimony of her regard."
At the same time Her Highness presented me, on her own part, with a
beautiful pocketbook, the covers of which were of gold enamelled, with
the word "SOUVENIR" in diamonds on one side, and a large cipher of her
own initials on the other. The first page contained the names of the
Queen and Her Royal Highness the Princesse Elizabeth, in their own
handwriting. There was a cheque in it on a Swiss banker, at Milan, of
the name of Bonny.
Having given me these invaluable tokens, Her Highness proceeded with her
"At Chalon," continued she, "mia cara, your man servant will perhaps
bring you other letters. Take two places in the stage for yourself and
your femme de chambre, in her name, and give me the memorandum, that our
old friend, the driver, may procure the passports. You must not be seen;
for there is no doubt that Danton has given the police a full description
of your person. Now go and prepare: we shall see each other again before
Only a few minutes afterwards my man servant came to me to say that it
would be some hours before the stage would set off, and that there was a
lady in her carriage waiting for me in the Bois de Boulogne. I hastened
thither. What was my surprise on finding it was the Princess. I now saw
her for the last time!
Let me pass lightly over this sad moment. I must not, however, dismiss
the subject, without noticing the visible changes which had taken place
in the short space of a month, in the appearance of all these illustrious
Princesses. Their very complexions were no longer the same, as if grief
had changed the whole mass of their blood. The Queen, in particular,
from the month of July to the 2d of August, looked ten years older. The
other two Princesses were really worn out with fatigue, anxiety, and the
want of rest, as, during the whole month of July, they scarcely ever
slept, for fear of being murdered in their beds, and only threw
themselves on them, now and then, without undressing. The King, three or
four times in the night, would go round to their different apartments,
fearful they might be destroyed in their sleep, and ask, "Etes vous la?"
when they would answer him from within, "Nous sommes encore ici."
Indeed, if, when nature was exhausted, sleep by chance came to the relief
of their worn-out and languid frames, it was only to awaken them to fresh
horrors, which constantly threatened the convulsion by which they were
It would be uncandid in me to be silent concerning the marked difference
I found in the feelings of the two royal sisters of Her Majesty.
I had never had the honour before to execute any commissions for her
Royal Highness the Duchess of Parma, and, of course, took that city in my
way to Naples.
I did not reach Parma till after the horrors which had taken place at the
Tuileries on the 10th of August, 1792. The whole of the unfortunate
Royal Family of France were then lodged in the Temple. There was not a
feeling heart in Europe unmoved at their afflicting situation.
I arrived at Colorno, the country residence of the Duchess of Parma, just
as Her Royal Highness was going out on horseback.
I ordered my servant to inform one of the pages that I came by express
from Paris, and requested the honour to know when it would be convenient
for Her Royal Highness to allow me a private audience, as I was going,
post-haste, to Rome and Naples. Of course, I did not choose to tell my
business either to my own or Her Royal Highness's servant, being in
honour and duty bound to deliver the letter and the verbal message of her
then truly unfortunate sister in person and in privacy.
The mention of Paris I saw somewhat startled and confused her. Meantime,
she came near enough to my carriage for me to say to her in German, in
order that none of the servants, French or Italian, might understand,
that I had a letter to deliver into her own hands, without saying from
She then desired I would alight, and she soon followed me; and, after
having very graciously ordered me some refreshments, asked me from whom I
had been sent.
I delivered Her Majesty's letter. Before she opened it, she exclaimed,
"'O Dio! tutto e perduto e troppo tardi'! Oh, God! all is lost, it is
too late!" I then gave her the cipher and the key. In a few minutes I
enabled her to decipher the letter. On getting through it, she again
exclaimed, "'E tutto inutile'! it is entirely useless! I am afraid they
are all lost. I am sorry you are so situated as not to allow of your
remaining here to rest from your fatigue. Whenever you come to Parma, I
shall be glad to see you."
She then took out her pocket handkerchief, shed a few tears, and said
that, as circumstances were now so totally changed, to answer the letter
might only commit her, her sister, and myself; but that if affairs took
the turn she wished, no doubt, her sister would write again. She then
mounted her horse, and wished me a good journey; and I took leave, and
set off for Rome.
I must confess that the conduct of the Duchess of Parma appeared to me
rather cold, if not unfeeling. Perhaps she was afraid of showing too
much emotion, and wished to encourage the idea that Princesses ought not
to give way to sensibility, like common mortals.
But how different was the conduct of the Queen of Naples! She kissed the
letter: she bathed it with her tears! Scarcely could she allow herself
time to decipher it. At every sentence she exclaimed, "Oh, my dear, oh,
my adored sister! What will become of her! My brothers are now both no
more! Surely, she will soon be liberated!" Then, turning suddenly to
me, she asked with eagerness, "Do you not think she will? Oh, Marie,
Marie! why did she not fly to Vienna? Why did she not come to me
instead of writing? Tell me, for God's sake, all you know!"
I said I knew nothing further of what had taken place at Paris, having
travelled night and day, except what I had heard from the different
couriers, which I had met and stopped on my route; but I hoped to be
better informed by Sir William Hamilton, as all my letters were to be
sent from France to Turin, and thence on to Sir William at Naples; and if
I found no letters with him, I should immediately set off and return to
Turin or Milan, to be as near France as possible for my speedy return if
necessary. I ventured to add that it was my earnest prayer that all the
European Sovereigns would feel the necessity of interesting themselves
for the Royal Family of France, with whose fate the fate of monarchy
throughout Europe might be interwoven.
"Oh, God of Heaven!" cried the Queen, "all that dear family may ere now
have been murdered! Perhaps they are already numbered among the dead!
Oh, my poor, dear, beloved Marie! Oh, I shall go frantic! I must send
for General Acton."
Wringing her hands, she pulled the bell, and in a few minutes the general
came. On his entering the apartment, she flew to him like one deprived
"There!" exclaimed she. "There! Behold the fatal consequences!" showing
him the letter. "Louis XVI. is in the state of Charles the First of
England, and my sister will certainly be murdered."
"No, no, no!" exclaimed the general. "Something will be done. Calm
yourself, madame." Then turning to me, "When," said he, "did you leave
"When all was lost!" interrupted the Queen.
"Nay," cried the general; "pray let me speak. All is not lost, you will
find; have but a little patience."
"Patience!" said the Queen. "For two years I have heard of nothing else.
Nothing has been done for these unfortunate beings." She then threw
herself into a chair. "Tell him!" cried she to me, "tell him! tell him!"
I then informed the general that I had left Paris on the 2d of August,
but did not believe at the time, though the daily riots were horrible,
that such a catastrophe could have occurred so soon as eight days after.
The Queen was now quite exhausted, and General Acton rang the bell for
the lady-in-waiting, who entered accompanied by the Duchesse Curigliano
Marini, and they assisted Her Majesty to bed.
When she had retired, "Do not," said the general to me, "do not go to Sir
William's to-night. He is at Caserte. You seem too much fatigued."
"More from grief," replied I, "and reflection on the fatal consequences
that might result to the great personages I have so lately left, than
from the journey."
"Take my advice," resumed he. "You had much better go to bed and rest
yourself. You look very ill."
I did as he recommended, and went to the nearest hotel I could find. I
felt no fatigue of mind or body till I had got into bed, where I was
confined for several days with a most violent fever. During my illness I
received every attention both from the Court, and our Ambassador and Lady
Hamilton, who kindly visited me every day. The Queen of Naples I never
again saw till my return in 1793, after the murder of the Queen of
France; and I am glad I did not, for her agony would have acted anew upon
my disordered frame, and might have proved fatal.
I was certainly somewhat prepared for a difference of feeling between the
two Princesses, as the unfortunate Marie Antoinette, in the letters to
the Queen of Naples, always wrote, "To my much beloved sister, the Queen
of the two Sicilies, etc.," and to the other, merely, "To the Duchess of
Parma, etc." But I could never have dreamt of a difference so little
flattering, under such circumstances, to the Duchess of Parma.
From the moment of my departure from Paris on the 2d of August, 1792, the
tragedy hastened to its denouement. On the night of the 9th, the tocsin
was sounded, and the King and the Royal Family looked upon their fate as
sealed. Notwithstanding the personal firmness of His Majesty, he was a
coward for others. He dreaded the responsibility of ordering blood to be
shed, even in defence of his nearest and dearest interests. Petion,
however, had given the order to repel force by force to De Mandat, who
was murdered upon the steps of the Hotel de Ville. It has been generally
supposed that Petion had received a bribe for not ordering the cannon
against the Tuileries on the night of the 9th, and that De Mandat was
massacred by the agents of Petion for the purpose of extinguishing all
proof that he was only acting under the instructions of the Mayor.
I shall not undertake to judge of the propriety of the King's impression
that there was no safety from the insurgents but in the hall, and under
the protection of the Assembly. Had the members been well disposed
towards him, the event might have proved very different. But there is
one thing certain. The Queen would never have consented to this step but
to save the King and her innocent children. She would have preferred
death to the humiliation of being under obligations to her sworn enemies;
but she was overcome by the King declaring, with tears in his eyes, that
he would not quit the palace without her. The Princesses Elizabeth and
de Lamballe fell at her feet, implored Her Majesty to obey the King, and
assured her there was no alternative between instant death and refuge
from it in the Assembly. "Well," said the Queen, "if our lot be death,
let us away to receive it with the national sanction."
I need not expatiate on the succession of horrors which now overwhelmed
the royal sufferers. Their confinement at the Feuillans, and their
subsequent transfer to the Temple, are all topics sufficiently enlarged
upon by many who were actors in the scenes to which they led. The
Princesse de Lamballe was, while it was permitted, the companion of their
captivity. But the consolation of her society was considered too great
to be continued. Her fate had no doubt been predetermined; and,
unwilling to await the slow proceedings of a trial, which it was thought
politic should precede the murder of her royal mistress, it was found
necessary to detach her from the wretched inmates of the Temple, in order
to have her more completely within the control of the miscreants, who
hated her for her virtues. The expedient was resorted to of casting
suspicion upon the correspondence which Her Highness kept up with the
exterior of the prison, for the purpose of obtaining such necessaries as
were required, in consequence of the utter destitution in which the Royal
Family retired from the Tuileries. Two men, of the names of Devine and
Priquet, were bribed to create a suspicion, by their informations against
the Queen's female attendant. The first declared that on the 18th of
August, while he was on duty near the cell of the King, he saw a woman
about eleven o'clock in the day come from a room in the centre, holding
in one hand three letters, and with the other cautiously opening the door
of the right-hand chamber, whence she presently came back without the
letters and returned into the centre chamber. He further asserted that
twice, when this woman opened the door, he distinctly saw a letter half-
written, and every evidence of an eagerness to hide it from observation.
The second informant, Priquet, swore that, while on duty as morning
sentinel on the gallery between the two towers, he saw, through the
window of the central chamber, a woman writing with great earnestness and
alarm during the whole time he was on guard.
All the ladies were immediately summoned before the authorities. The
hour of the separation between the Princess and her royal friend accorded
with the solemnity of the circumstance. It was nearly midnight when they
were torn asunder, and they never met again.
The examinations were all separate. That of the Princesse de Lamballe
was as follows
Q. Your name?
A. Marie-Therese-Louise de Savoy, Bourbon Lamballe.
Q. What do you know of the events which occurred on the 10th of August?
Q. Where did you pass that day?
A. As a relative I followed the King to the National Assembly.
Q. Were you in bed on the nights of the 9th and 10th?
Q. Where were you then?
A. In my apartments, at the chateau.
Q. Did you not go to the apartments of the King in the course of that
A. Finding there was a likelihood of a commotion, went thither towards
one in the morning.
Q. You were aware, then, that the people had arisen?
A. I learnt it from hearing the tocsin.
Q. Did you see the Swiss and National Guards, who passed the night on
A. I was at the window, but saw neither.
Q. Was the King in his apartment when you went thither?
A. There were a great number of persons in the room, but not the King.
Q. Did you know of the Mayor of Paris being at the Tuileries?
A. I heard he was there.
Q. At what hour did the King go to the National Assembly?
Q. Did he not, before he went, review the troops? Do you know the oath
he made them swear?
A. I never heard of any oath.
Q. Have you any knowledge of cannon being mounted and pointed in the
Q. Have you ever seen Messrs. Mandat and d'Affry in the chateau?
Q. Do you know the secret doors of the Tuileries?
A. I know of no such doors.
Q. Have you not, since you have been in the Temple, received and written
letters, which you sought to send away secretly?
A. I have never received or written any letters, excepting such as have
been delivered to the municipal officer.
Q. Do you know anything of an article of furniture which is making for
Q. Have you not recently received some devotional books?
Q. What are the books which you have at the Temple?
A. I have none.
Q. Do you know anything of a barred staircase?
Q. What general officers did you see at the Tuileries, on the nights of
the 9th and 10th?
A. I saw no general officers, I only saw M. Roederer.
For thirteen hours was Her Highness, with her female companions in
misfortune, exposed to these absurd forms, and to the gaze of insulting
and malignant curiosity. At length, about the middle of the day, they
were told that it was decreed that they should be detained till further
orders, leaving them the choice of prisons, between that of la Force and
of la Salpetriere.
Her Highness immediately decided on the former. It was at first
determined that she should be separated from Madame de Tourzel, but
humanity so far prevailed as to permit the consolation of her society,
with that of others of her friends and fellow-sufferers, and for a moment
the Princess enjoyed the only comfort left to her, that of exchanging
sympathy with her partners in affliction. But the cell to which she was
doomed proved her last habitation upon earth.
On the 1st of September the Marseillois began their murderous operations.
Three hundred persons in two days massacred upwards of a thousand defence
less prisoners, confined under the pretext of malpractices against the
State, or rather devotedness to the royal cause. The spirit which
produced the massacres of the prisons at Paris extended them through the
principal towns and cities all over France.
Even the universal interest felt for the Princesse de Lamballe was of no
avail against this frenzy. I remember once (as if it were from a
presentiment of what was to occur) the King observing to her, "I never
knew any but fools and sycophants who could keep themselves clear from
the lash of public censure. How is it, then, that you, my dear Princess,
who are neither, contrive to steer your bark on this dangerous coast
without running against the rocks on which so many good vessels like your
own have been dashed to pieces?" "Oh, Sire," replied Her Highness, "my
time is not yet come--I am not dead yet!" Too soon, and too horribly, her
hour did come!
The butchery of the prisons was now commenced. The Duc de Penthievre set
every engine in operation to save his beloved daughter-in-law. He sent
for Manuel, who was then Procureur of Paris. The Duke declared that half
his fortune should be Manuel's if he could but save the Princesse de
Lamballe and the ladies who were in the same prison with her from the
general massacre. Manuel promised the Duke that he would instantly set
about removing them all from the reach of the blood-hunters. He began
with those whose removal was least likely to attract attention, leaving
the Princesse de Lamballe, from motives of policy, to the last.
Meanwhile, other messengers had been dispatched to different quarters for
fear of failure with Manuel. It was discovered by one of these that the
atrocious tribunal,--[Thibaudeau, Hebert, Simonier, etc.]-- who sat in
mock judgment upon the tenants of these gloomy abodes, after satiating
themselves with every studied insult they could devise, were to pronounce
the word "libre!" It was naturally presumed that the predestined
victims, on hearing this tempting sound, and seeing the doors at the same
moment set open by the clerks of the infamous court, would dart off in
exultation, and, fancying themselves liberated, rush upon the knives of
the barbarians, who were outside, in waiting for their blood! Hundreds
were thus slaughtered.
To save the Princess from such a sacrifice, it was projected to prevent
her from appearing before the tribunal, and a belief was encouraged that
means would be devised to elude the necessity. The person who interested
himself for her safety contrived to convey a letter containing these
words: "Let what will happen, for God's sake do not quit your cell. You
will be spared. Adieu."
Manuel, however, who knew not of this cross arrangement, was better
informed than its projector.
He was aware it would be impossible for Her Highness to escape from
appearing before the tribunal. He had already removed her companions.
The Princesse de Tarente, the Marquise de Tourzel, her daughter, and
others, were in safety. But when, true to his promise, he went to the
Princesse de Lamballe, she would not be prevailed upon to quit her cell.
There was no time for parley. The letter prevailed, and her fate was
The massacre had begun at daybreak. The fiends had been some hours busy
in the work of death. The piercing shrieks of the dying victims brought
the Princess and her remaining companion upon their knees, in fervent
prayer for the souls of the departed. The messengers of the tribunal now
appeared. The Princess was compelled to attend the summons. She went,
accompanied by her faithful female attendant.
A glance at the seas of blood, of which she caught a glimpse upon her way
to the Court, had nearly shocked her even to sudden death. Would it had!
She staggered, but was sustained by her companion. Her courage
triumphed. She appeared before the gore-stained tribunes.
After some questions of mere form, Her Highness was commanded to swear to
be faithful to the new order of government, and to hate the King, the
Queen, and royalty.
"To the first," replied Her Highness, "I willingly submit. To the
second, how can I accede? There is nothing of which I can accuse the
Royal Family. To hate them is against my nature. They are my
Sovereigns. They are my friends and relations. I have served them for
many years, and never have I found reason for the slightest complaint."
The Princess could no longer articulate. She fell into the arms of her
attendant. The fatal signal was pronounced. She recovered, and,
crossing the court of the prison, which was bathed with the blood of
mutilated victims, involuntarily exclaimed, "Gracious Heaven! What a
sight is this!" and fell into a fit.
Nearest to her in the mob stood a mulatto, whom she had caused to be
baptized, educated, and maintained; but whom, for ill-conduct, she had
latterly excluded from her presence. This miscreant struck at her with
his halbert. The blow removed her cap. Her luxuriant hair (as if to
hide her angelic beauty from the sight of the murderers, pressing tiger-
like around to pollute that form, the virtues of which equalled its
physical perfection)--her luxuriant hair fell around and veiled her a
moment from view. An individual, to whom I was nearly allied, seeing the
miscreants somewhat staggered, sprang forward to the rescue; but the
mulatto wounded him. The Princess was lost to all feeling from the
moment the monster first struck at her. But the demons would not quit
their prey. She expired gashed with wounds.
Scarcely was the breath out of her body, when the murderers cut off her
head. One party of them fixed it, like that of the vilest traitor, on an
immense pole, and bore it in triumph all over Paris; while another
division of the outrageous cannibals were occupied in tearing her clothes
piecemeal from her mangled corpse. The beauty of that form, though
headless, mutilated and reeking with the hot blood of their foul crime--
how shall I describe it?--excited that atrocious excess of lust, which
impelled these hordes of assassins to satiate their demoniac passions
upon the remains of this virtuous angel.
This incredible crime being perpetrated, the wretches fastened ropes
round the body, arms, and legs, and dragged it naked through the streets
of Paris, till no vestige remained by which it could be distinguished as
belonging to the human species; and then left it among the hundreds of
innocent victims of that awful day, who were heaped up to putrefy in one
confused and disgusting mass.
The head was reserved for other purposes of cruelty and horror. It was
first borne to the Temple, beneath the windows of the royal prisoners.
The wretches who were hired daily to insult them in their dens of misery,
by proclaiming all the horrors vomited from the national Vesuvius, were
commissioned to redouble their howls of what had befallen the Princesse
[These horrid circumstances I had from the Chevalier Clery, who was
the only attendant allowed to assist Louis XVI. and his unhappy
family, during their last captivity; but who was banished from the
Temple as soon as his royal master was beheaded, and never permitted
to return. Clery told me all this when I met him at Pyrmont, in
Germany. He was then in attendance upon the late Comtesse de Lisle,
wife of Louie XVIII., at whose musical parties I had often the
honour of assisting, when on a visit to the beautiful Duchesse de
Guiche. On returning to Paris from Germany, on my way back into
Italy, I met the wife of Clery, and her friend M. Beaumont, both old
friends of mine, who confirmed Clery's statement, and assured me
they were all for two years in hourly expectation of being sent to
the Place de Greve for execution. The death of Robespierre saved
Madame Clery taught Marie Antoinette to play upon the harp. Madame
Beaumont was a natural daughter of Louis XV. I had often occasion
to be in their agreeable society; and, as might be expected, their
minds were stored with the most authentic anecdotes and information
upon the topics of the day.]
The Queen sprang up at the name of her friend. She heard subjoined to,
it, "la voila en triomphe," and then came shouts and laughter. She
looked out. At a distance she perceived something like a Bacchanalian
procession, and thought, as she hoped, that the Princess was coming to
her in triumph from her prison, and her heart rejoiced in the
anticipation of once more being, blessed with her society. But the King,
who had seen and heard more distinctly from his apartment, flew to that
of the Queen. That the horrid object might not escape observation, the
monsters had mounted upon each other's shoulders so as to lift the
bleeding head quite up to the prison bars. The King came just in time to
snatch Her Majesty from the, spot, and thus she was prevented from seeing
it. He took her up in his arms and carried her to a distant part of the
Temple, but the mob pursued her in her retreat, and howled the fatal
truth even at her, very door, adding that her head would be the next, the
nation would require. Her Majesty fell into violent hysterics. The
butchers of human flesh continued in the interior of the Temple, parading
the triumph of their assassination, until the shrieks of the Princesse
Elizabeth at the state in which she saw the Queen, and serious fears for
the safety of the royal prisoners, aroused the commandant to treble the
national guards and chase the barbarians to the outside, where they
remained for hours.
It now remains for me to complete my record by a few facts and
observations relating to the illustrious victims who a short time
survived the Princesse de Lamballe. I shall add to this painful
narrative some details which have been mentioned to me concerning their
remorseless persecutors, who were not long left unpursued by just and
awful retribution. Having done this, I shall dismiss the subject.
The execrable and sacrilegious modern French Pharisees, who butchered, on
the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd of September, 1792, all the prisoners at Paris, by
these massacres only gave the signal for the more diabolical machinations
which led to the destruction of the still more sacred victims of the 21st
of January, and the 16th of October, 1793, and the myriads who followed.
The King himself never had a doubt with regard to his ultimate fate.
His only wish was to make it the means of emancipation for the Queen and
Royal Family. It was his intention to appeal to the National Assembly
upon the subject, after his trial. Such also was the particular wish of
his saint-like sister, the Princesse Elizabeth, who imagined that an
appeal under such circumstances could not be resisted. But the Queen
strongly opposed the measure; and His Majesty said he should be loath,
in the last moments of his painful existence, in anything to thwart one
whom he loved so tenderly.
He had long accustomed himself, when he spoke of the Queen and royal
infants, in deference to the temper of the times, only to say, "my wife
and children." They, as he told Clery, formed a tie, and the only one
remaining, which still bound him to earth. Their last embraces, he said,
went so to his aching heart, that he could even yet feel their little
hands clinging about him, and see their streaming eyes, and hear their
agonized and broken voices. The day previous to the fatal catastrophe,
when permitted for the last time to see his family, the Princesse
Elizabeth whispered him, not for herself, but for the Queen and his
helpless innocents, to remember his intentions. He said he should not
feel himself happy if, in his last hour, he did not give them a proof of
his paternal affection, in obtaining an assurance that the sacrifice of
his life should be the guarantee of theirs. So intent was his mind upon
this purpose, said Clery to me, that when his assassins came to take him
to the slaughtering-place, he said, "I hope my death will appease the
nation, and that my innocent family, who have suffered on my account,
will now be released."
The ruffians answered, "The nation, always magnanimous, only seeks to
punish the guilty. You may be assured your family will be respected."
Events have proved how well they kept their word.
It was to fulfil the intention of recommending his family to the people
with his dying breath that he commenced his address upon the scaffold,
when Santerre ordered the drums to drown his last accents, and the axe
The Princesse Elizabeth, and perhaps others of the royal prisoners, hoped
he would have been reprieved, till Herbert, that real 'Pere du chene',
with a smile upon his countenance, came triumphantly to announce to the
disconsolate family that Louis was no more!
Perhaps there never was a King more misrepresented and less understood,
especially by the immediate age in which he lived, than Louis XVI. He
was the victim of natural timidity, increased by the horror of bloodshed,
which the exigencies of the times rendered indispensable to his safety.
He appeared weak in intellect, when he was only so from circumstances.
An overwrought anxiety to be just made him hesitate about the mode of
overcoming the abuses, until its procrastination had destroyed the object
of his wishes. He had courage sufficient, as well as decision, where
others were not menaced and the danger was confined to himself; but,
where his family or his people were involved, he was utterly unfit to
give direction. The want of self-sufficiency in his own faculties have
been his, and his throne's, ruin. He consulted those who caused him to
swerve from the path his own better reason had dictated, and, in seeking
the best course, he often chose the worst.
The same fatal timidity which pervaded his character extended to his
manners. From being merely awkward, he at last became uncouth; but from
the natural goodness of his heart, the nearest to him soon lost sight of
his ungentleness from the rectitude of his intentions, and, to parody the
poet, saw his deportment in his feelings.
Previous to the Revolution, Louis XVI. was generally considered gentle
and affable, though never polished. But the numberless outrages suffered
by his Queen, his family, his friends, and himself, especially towards
the close of his career, soured him to an air of rudeness, utterly
foreign to his nature and to his intention.
It must not be forgotten that he lived in a time of unprecedented
difficulty. He was a lamb governing tigers. So far as his own personal
bearing is concerned, who is there among his predecessors, that, replaced
upon the throne, would have resisted the vicissitudes brought about by
internal discord, rebellion, and riot, like himself? What said he when
one of the heterogeneous, plebeian, revolutionary assemblies not only
insulted him, but added to the insult a laugh? "If you think you can
govern better, I am ready to resign," was the mild but firm reply of
How glorious would have been the triumph for the most civilized nation in
the centre of Europe had the insulter taken him at his word. When the
experimentalists did attempt to govern, we all know, and have too
severely felt, the consequences. Yet this unfortunate monarch has been
represented to the world as imbecile, and taxed with wanting character,
firmness, and fortitude, because he has been vanquished! The despot-
conqueror has been vanquished since!
His acquirements were considerable. His memory was remarkably retentive
and well-stored,--a quality, I should infer from all I have observed,
common to most Sovereigns. By the multiplicity of persons they are in
the habit of seeing, and the vast variety of objects continually passing
through their minds, this faculty is kept in perpetual exercise.
But the circumstance which probably injured Louis XVI. more than any
other was his familiarity with the locksmith, Gamin. Innocent as was the
motive whence it arose, this low connection lessened him more with the
whole nation than if he had been the most vicious of Princes. How
careful Sovereigns ought to be, with respect to the attention they bestow
on men in humble life; especially those whose principles may have been
demoralized by the meanness of the associations consequent upon their
occupation, and whose low origin may have denied them opportunities of
This observation map even be extended to the liberal arts. It does not
follow because a monarch is fond of these that he should so far forget
himself as to make their professors his boon companions. He loses ground
whenever he places his inferiors on a level with himself. Men are
estimated from the deference they pay to their own stations in society.
The great Frederic of Prussia used to sap, "I must show myself a King,
because my trade is royalty."
It was only in destitution and anguish that the real character of Louis
developed itself. He was firm and patient, utterly regardless of
himself, but wrung to the heart for others, not even excepting his
deluded murderers. Nothing could swerve him from his trust in Heaven,
and he left a glorious example of how far religion can triumph over every
calamity and every insult this world has power to inflict.
There was a national guard, who, at the time of the imprisonment of the
Royal Family, was looked upon as the most violent of Jacobins, and the
sworn enemy of royalty. On that account the sanguinary agents of the
self-created Assembly employed him to frequent the Temple. His special
commission was to stimulate the King and Royal Family by every possible
argument to self-destruction.
But this man was a friend in disguise. He undertook the hateful office
merely to render every service in his power, and convey regular
information of the plots of the Assembly against those whom he was
deputed to persecute. The better to deceive his companions, he would
read aloud to the Royal Family all the debates of the regicides, which
those who were with him encouraged, believing it meant to torture and
insult, when the real motive was to prepare them to meet every
accusation, by communicating to them each charge as it occurred. So
thoroughly were the Assembly deceived, that the friendly guard was
allowed free access to the apartments, in order to facilitate, as was
imagined, his wish to agonize and annoy. By this means, he was enabled
to caution the illustrious prisoners never to betray any emotion at what
he read, and to rely upon his doing his best to soften the rigour of
The individual of whom I speak communicated these circumstances to me
himself. He declared, also, that the Duc d'Orleans came frequently to
the Temple during the imprisonment of Louis XVI., but, always in
disguise; and never, till within a few days after the murder of the poor
King, did he disclose himself. On that occasion he had bribed the men
who were accustomed to light the fires, to admit him in their stead to
the apartment of the Princesse Elizabeth. He found her on her knees, in
fervent prayer for the departed soul of her beloved brother. He
performed this office, totally unperceived by this predestined victim;
but his courage was subdued by her piety. He dared not extend the
stratagem to the apartment of the Queen. On leaving the angelic
Princess, he was so overcome by remorse that he: requested my informant
to give him a glass of water, saying, "that woman has unmanned me." It
was by this circumstance he was discovered.
The Queen was immediately apprised by the good man of the occurrence.
"Gracious God!" exclaimed Her Majesty, "I thought once or twice that I
had seen him at our miserable dinner hours, occupied with the other
jailers at the outside door. I even mentioned the circumstance to
Elizabeth, and she replied, "I also have observed a man resembling
D'ORLEANS, but it cannot be he, for the man I noticed had a wooden leg."
"That was the very disguise he was discovered in this morning, when
preparing, or pretending to prepare, the fire in the Princesse
Elizabeth's apartment," replied the national guard.
"Merciful Heaven!" said the Queen, "is he not yet satisfied? Must he
even satiate his barbarous brutality with being an eye-witness of the
horrid state into which he has thrown us? Save me," continued Her
Majesty, "oh, save me from contaminating my feeble sight, which is almost
exhausted, nearly parched up for the loss of my dear husband, by looking
on him!--Oh, death! come, come and release me from such a sight!"
"Luckily," observed the guard to me, "it was the hour of the general jail
dinner, and we were alone; otherwise, I should infallibly have been
discovered, as my tears fell faster than those of the Queen, for really
hers seemed to be nearly exhausted: However," pursued he, "that D'ORLEANS
did see the Queen, and that the Queen saw him, I am very sure. From what
passed between them in the month of July, 1793, she was hurried off from
the Temple to the common prison, to take her trial." This circumstance
combined, with other motives, to make the Assembly hasten the Duke's
trial soon after, who had been sent with his young son to Marseilles,
there being no doubt that he wished to rescue the Queen, so as to have
her in his own power.
On the 16th of October, Her Majesty was beheaded. Her death was
consistent with her life. She met her fate like a Christian, but still
like a Queen.
Perhaps, had Marie Antoinette been uncontrolled in the exercise of her
judgment, she would have shown a spirit in emergency better adapted to
wrestle with the times than had been discovered by His Majesty. Certain
it is she was generally esteemed the most proper to be consulted of the
two. From the imperfect idea which many of the persons in office
entertained of the King's capacity, few of them ever made any
communication of importance but to the Queen. Her Majesty never kept a
single circumstance from her husband's knowledge, and scarcely decided on
the smallest trifle without his consent; but so thorough was his
confidence in the correctness of her judgment that he seldom, if ever,
opposed her decisions. The Princesse de Lamballe used to say, "Though
Marie Antoinette is not a woman of great or uncommon talents, yet her
long practical knowledge gave her an insight into matters of moment which
she turned to advantage with so much coolness and address amid
difficulties, that I am convinced she only wanted free scope to have
shone in the history of Princes as a great Queen. Her natural tendencies
were perfectly domestic. Had she been kept in countenance by the manners
of the times, or favoured earlier by circumstances, she would have sought
her only pleasures in the family circle, and, far from Court intrigue,
have become the model of her sex and age."
It is by no means to be wondered at that, in her peculiar situation,
surrounded by a thoughtless and dissipated Court, long denied the natural
ties so necessary to such a heart, in the heyday of youth and beauty, and
possessing an animated and lively spirit, she should have given way in
the earlier part of her career to gaiety, and been pleased with a round
of amusement. The sincere friendship which she afterwards formed for the
Duchesse de Polignac encouraged this predilection. The plot to destroy
her had already been formed, and her enemies were too sharp-sighted and
adroit not to profit and take advantage of the opportunities afforded by
this weakness. The miscreant had murdered her character long, long
before they assailed her person.
The charge against her of extravagance has been already refuted. Her
private palace was furnished from the State lumber rooms, and what was
purchased, paid for out of her savings. As for her favourites, she never
had but two, and these were no supernumerary expense or encumbrance to
Perhaps it would have been better had she been more thoroughly directed
by the Princesse de Lamballe. She was perfectly conscious of her good
qualities, but De Polignac dazzled and humoured her love of amusement and
display of splendour. Though this favourite was the image of her royal
mistress in her amiable characteristics, the resemblance unfortunately
extended to her weaknesses. This was not the case with the Princesse de
Lamballe; she possessed steadiness, and was governed by the cool
foresight of her father-in-law, the Duc de Penthievre, which both the
other friends wanted.
The unshaken attachment of the Princesse de Lamballe to the Queen,
notwithstanding the slight at which she at one time had reason to feel
piqued, is one of the strongest evidences against the slanderers of Her
Majesty. The moral conduct of the Princess has never been called in
question. Amid the millions of infamous falsehoods invented to vilify
and degrade every other individual connected with the Court, no
imputation, from the moment of her arrival in France, up to the fatal one
of her massacre, ever tarnished her character. To her opinion, then, the
most prejudiced might look with confidence. Certainly no one had a
greater opportunity of knowing the real character of Marie Antoinette.
She was an eye-witness to her conduct during the most brilliant and
luxurious portion of her reign; she saw her from the meridian of her
magnificence down to her dejection to the depths of unparalleled misery.
If the unfortunate Queen had ever been guilty of the slightest of those
glaring vices of which she was so generally accused, the Princess must
have been aware of them; and it was not in her nature to have remained
the friend and advocate, even unto death, of one capable of depravity.
Yet not a breath of discord ever arose between them on that score.
Virtue and vice can never harmonize; and even had policy kept Her
Highness from avowing a change of sentiments, it never could have
continued her enthusiasm, which was augmented, and not diminished, by the
fall of her royal friend. An attachment which holds through every
vicissitude must be deeply rooted from conviction of the integrity of its
The friendship that subsisted between this illustrious pair is an
everlasting monument that honours their sex. The Queen used to say of
her, that she was the only woman she had ever known without gall.
"Like the blessed land of Ireland," observed Her Majesty, "exempt from
the reptiles elsewhere so dangerous to mankind, so was she freed by
Providence from the venom by which the finest form in others is
empoisoned. No envy, no ambition, no desire, but to contribute to the
welfare and happiness of her fellow creatures--and yet, with all these
estimable virtues, these angelic qualities, she is doomed, from her
virtuous attachment to our persons, to sink under the weight of that
affliction, which, sooner or later, must bury us all in one common ruin--
a ruin which is threatening hourly."
These presentiments of the awful result of impending storms were mutual.
From frequent conversations with the Princesse de Lamballe, from the
evidence of her letters and her private papers, and from many remarks
which have been repeated to me personally by Her Highness, and from
persons in her confidence, there is abundant evidence of the forebodings
she constantly had of her own and the Queen's untimely end.
[A very remarkable circumstance was related to me when I was at
Vienna, after this horrid murder. The Princess of Lobkowitz, sister
to the Princesse de Lamballe, received a box, with an anonymous
letter, telling her to conceal the box carefully till further
notice. After the riots had subsided a little in France, she was
apprised that the box contained all, or the greater part, of the
jewels belonging to the Princess, and had been taken from the
Tuileries on the 10th of August.
It is supposed that the jewels had been packed by the Princess in
anticipation of her doom, and forwarded to her sister through her
agency or desire.]
There was no friend of the Queen to whom the King showed any deference,
or rather anything like the deference he paid to the Princesse de
Lamballe. When the Duchesse de Polignac, the Comtesse Diane de Polignac,
the Comte d'Artois, the Duchesse de Guiche, her husband, the present Duc
de Grammont, the Prince of Hesse-Darmstadt, etc., fled from Paris, he and
the Queen, as if they had foreseen the awful catastrophe which was to
destroy her so horribly, entreated her to leave the Court, and take
refuge in Italy. So also did her father-in-law, the Duc de Penthievre;
but all in vain. She saw her friend deprived of De Polignac, and all
those near and dear to her heart, and became deaf to every solicitation.
Could such constancy, which looked death in its worst form in the face
unshrinking, have existed without great and estimable qualities in its
The brother-in-law of the Princesse de Lamballe, the Duc d'Orleans, was
her declared enemy merely from her attachment to the Queen. These three
great victims have been persecuted to the tomb, which had no sooner
closed over the last than the hand of Heaven fell upon their destroyer.
That Louis XVI. was not the friend of this member of his family can
excite no surprise, but must rather challenge admiration. He had been
seduced by his artful and designing regicide companions to expend
millions to undermine the throne, and shake it to pieces under the feet
of his relative, his Sovereign, the friend of his earliest youth, who was
aware of the treason, and who held the thunderbolt, but would not crush
him. But they have been foiled in their hope of building a throne for
him upon the ruin they had made, and placed an age where they flattered
him he would find a diadem.
The Prince de Conti told me at Barcelona that the Duchesse d'Orleans had
assured him that, even had the Duc d'Orleans survived, he never could
have attained, his object. The immense sums he had lavished upon the
horde of his revolutionary satellites had, previous to his death, thrown
him into embarrassment. The avarice of his party increased as his
resources diminished. The evil, as evil generally does, would have
wrought its own punishment in either way. He must have lived suspected
and miserable, had he not died. But his reckless character did not
desert him at the scaffold. It is said that before he arrived at the
Place de Greve he ate a very rich ragout, and drank a bottle of
champagne, and left the world as he had gone through it.
The supernumerary, the uncalled-for martyr, the last of the four devoted
royal sufferers, was beheaded the following spring. For this murder
there could not have been the shadow of a pretext. The virtues of this
victim were sufficient to redeem the name of Elizabeth
[The eighteen years' imprisonment and final murder of Mary, Queen of
Scots, by Elizabeth of England, is enough to stigmatize her forever,
independently of the many other acts of tyranny which stain her
memory. The dethronement by Elizabeth of Russia of the innocent
Prince Ivan, her near relation, while yet in the cradle, gives the
Northern Empress a claim to a similar character to the British
from the stain with which the two of England and Russia, who had already
borne it, had clouded its immortality. She had never, in any way,
interfered in political events. Malice itself had never whispered a
circumstance to her dispraise. After this wanton assassination, it is
scarcely to be expected that the innocent and candid looks and streaming
azure eyes of that angelic infant, the Dauphin, though raised in humble
supplication to his brutal assassins, with an eloquence which would have
disarmed the savage tiger, could have won wretches so much more pitiless
than the most ferocious beasts of the wilderness, or saved him from their
slow but sure poison, whose breath was worse than the upas tree to all
who came within its influence.
The Duchesse d'Angouleme, the only survivor of these wretched captives,
is a living proof of the baleful influence of that contaminated prison,
the infectious tomb of the royal martyrs. That once lovely countenance,
which, with the goodness and amiableness of her royal father, whose
mildness hung on her lips like the milk and honey of human kindness,
blended the dignity, grace, elegance, and innocent vivacity, which were
the acknowledged characteristics of her beautiful mother, lost for some
time all traces of its original attractions. The lines of deep-seated
sorrow are not easily obliterated. If the sanguinary republic had not
wished to obtain by exchange the Generals La Fayette, Bournonville,
Lameth, etc., whom Dumourier had treacherously consigned into the hands
of Austria, there is little: doubt but that, from the prison in which she
was so long doomed to vegetate only to make life a burthen, she would
have been sent to share the fate of her murdered family.
How can the Parisians complain that they found her Royal Highness, on her
return to France, by no means what they required in a Princess? Can it
be wondered at that her marked grief should be visible when amidst the
murderers of her family? It should rather be a wonder that she can at
all bear the scenes in which she moves, and not abhor the very name of
Paris, when every step must remind her of some out rage to herself, or
those most dear to her, or of some beloved relative or friend destroyed!
Her return can only be accounted for by the spell of that all-powerful
'amor patriae', which sometimes prevails over every other influence.
Before I dismiss this subject, it may not be uninteresting to my readers
to receive some desultory anecdotes that I have heard concerning one or
two of the leading monsters, by whom the horrors upon which I have
expatiated were occasioned.
David, the famous painter, was a member of the sanguinary tribunal which
condemned the King. On this account he has been banished from France
since the restoration.
If any one deserved this severity, it was David. It was at the expense
of the Court of Louis XVI. that this ungrateful being was sent to Rome,
to perfect himself in his sublime art. His studies finished, he was
pensioned from the same patrons, and upheld as an artist by the special
protection of every member of the Royal Family.
And yet this man, if he may be dignified by the name, had the baseness to
say in the hearing of the unfortunate Louis XVI., when on trial, "Well!
when are we to have his head dressed, a la guillotine."
At another time, being deputed to visit the Temple, as one of the
committee of public safety, as he held out his snuff-box before the
Princesse Elizabeth, she, conceiving he meant to offer it, took a pinch.
The monster, observing what she had done, darting a look of contempt at
her, instantly threw away the snuff, and dashed the box to pieces on the
Robespierre had a confidential physician, who attended him almost to the
period when he ascended the scaffold, and who was very often obliged,
'malgre-lui', to dine tete-a-tete with this monopolizer of human flesh
and blood. One day he happened to be with him, after a very
extraordinary number had been executed, and amongst the rest, some of the
physician's most intimate acquaintances.
The unwilling guest was naturally very downcast, and ill at ease, and
could not dissemble his anguish. He tried to stammer out excuses and get
away from the table.
Robespierre, perceiving his distress, interrogated him as to the cause.
The physician, putting his hand to his head, discovered his reluctance to
Robespierre took him by the hand, assured him he had nothing to fear, and
added, "Come, doctor, you, as a professional man, must be well informed
as to the sentiments of the major part of the Parisians respecting me.
I entreat you, my dear friend, frankly to avow their opinion. It may
perhaps serve me for the future, as a guide for governing them."
The physician answered, "I can no longer resist the impulse of nature.
I know I shall thereby oppose myself to your power, but I must tell you,
you are generally abhorred,--considered the Attila, the Sylla, of the
age,--the two-footed plague, that, walks about to fill peaceful abodes
with miseries and family mournings. The myriads you are daily sending to
the slaughter at the Place de Greve, who have, committed no crime, the
carts of a certain description, you have ordered daily to bear a stated
number to be sacrificed, directing they should be taken from the prisons,
and, if enough are not in the prisons, seized, indiscriminately in the
streets, that no place in the deadly vehicle may be left unoccupied, and
all this without a trial, without even an accusation, and without any
sanction but your own mandate--these things call the public curse upon
you, which is not the less bitter for not being audible."
"Ah!" said Robespierre, laughing. "This puts me in mind of a story told
of the cruelty and tyranny, of Pope Sixtus the Fifth, who, having one
night, after he had enjoyed himself at a Bacchanalian supper, when heated
with wine, by way of a 'bonne bouche', ordered the first man that should
come through the gate of the 'Strada del popolo' at Rome to be
immediately hanged. Every person at this drunken conclave--nay, all
Rome--considered the Pope a tyrant, the most cruel of tyrants, till it
was made known and proved, after his death, that the wretch so executed
had murdered his father and mother ten years previously. I know whom I
send to the Place de Greve. All who go there are guilty, though they may
not seem so. Go on, what else have you heard?"
"Why, that you have so terrified all descriptions of persons, that they
fear even your very breath, and look upon you as worse than the plague;
and I should not be surprised, if you persist in this course of conduct,
if something serious to yourself should be the consequence, and that ere
Not the least extraordinary part of the story is that this dialogue
between the devil and the doctor took place but a very, few hours
previous to Robespierre's being denounced by Tallien and Carriere to
the national convention, as a conspirator against the republican cause.
In defending himself from being arrested by the guard, he attempted to
shoot himself, but the ball missed, broke the monster's jaw-bone only,
and nearly impeded his speaking.
Singularly enough, it was this physician who was sent for to assist and
dress his wounds. Robespierre replied to the doctor's observations,
laughing, and in the following language:
"Oh, poor devils! they do not know their own interest. But my plan of
exterminating the evil will soon teach them. This is the only thing for
the good of the nation; for, before you can reform a thousand Frenchmen,
you must first lop off half a million of these vagabonds, and, if God
spare my life, in a few months there will be so many the less to breed
internal commotions, and disturb the general peace of Europe.
[When Bonaparte was contriving the Consulship for life, and, in the
Irish way, forced the Italian Republic to volunteer an offer of the
Consulship of Italy, by a deputation to him at Paris, I happened to
be there. Many Italians, besides the deputies, went on the
occasion, and, among them, we had the good fortune to meet the Abbe
Fortis, the celebrated naturalist, a gentleman of first-rate
abilities, who had travelled three-fourths of the globe in
mineralogical research. The Abbe chanced one day to be in company
with my husband, who was an old acquaintance of his, where many of
the chopfallen deputies, like themselves, true lovers of their
country, could not help declaring their indignation at its degraded
state, and reprobating Bonaparte for rendering it so ridiculous in
the face of Europe and the world. The Abbe Fords, with the voice of
a Stentor, and spreading his gigantic form, which exceeded six feet
in height, exclaimed: "This would not have been the case had that
just and wise man Robespierre lived but a little longer."
Every one present was struck with horror at the observation.
Noticing the effect of his words, the Abbe resumed:
"I knew well I should frighten you in showing any partiality for
that bloody monopoliser of human heads. But you do not know the
perfidy of the French nation so well as I do. I have lived among
them many years. France is the sink of human deception. A Frenchman
will deceive his father, wife, and child; for deception is his
element. Robespierre knew this, and acted upon it, as you shall
The Abbe then related to us the story I have detailed above,
verbatim, as he had it from the son of Esculapius, who himself
confirmed it afterwards in a conversation with the Abbe in our
Having completed his anecdote, "Well," said the Abbe, "was I not
right in my opinion of this great philosopher and foreseer of evils,
when I observed that had be but lived a few months longer, there
would have been so many less in the world to disturb its
The same physician observed that from the immense number of executions
during the sanguinary reign of that monster, the Place de Greve became so
complete a swamp of human blood that it would scarcely hold the
scaffolding of the instrument of death, which, in consequence, was
obliged to be continually moved from one side of the square to the other.
Many of the soldiers and officers, who were obliged to attend these
horrible executions, had constantly their half-boots and stockings filled
with the blood of the poor sufferers; and as, whenever there was any
national festival to be given, it generally followed one of the most
sanguinary of these massacres, the public places, the theatres
especially, all bore the tracks of blood throughout the saloons and
The infamous Carrier, who was the execrable agent of his still more
execrable employer, Robespierre, was left afterwards to join Tallien in a
conspiracy against him, merely to save himself; but did not long survive
his atrocious crimes or his perfidy.
It is impossible to calculate the vast number of private assassinations
committed in the dead of the night, by order of this cannibal, on persons
of every rank and description.
My task is now ended. Nothing remains for me but the reflections which
these sad and shocking remembrances cannot fail to awaken in all minds,
and especially in mine. Is it not astonishing that, in an age so
refined, so free from the enormous and flagitious crimes which were the
common stains of barbarous centuries, and at an epoch peculiarly
enlightened by liberal views, the French nation, by all deemed the most
polished since the Christian era, should have given an example of such
wanton, brutal, and coarse depravity to the world, under pretences
altogether chimerical, and, after unprecedented bloodshed and horror,
ended at the point where it began!
The organized system of plunder and anarchy, exercised under different
forms more or less sanguinary, produced no permanent result beyond an
incontestible proof that the versatility of the French nation, and its
puny suppleness of character, utterly incapacitate it for that energetic
enterprise without which there can be no hope of permanent emancipation
from national slavery. It is my unalterable conviction that the French
will never know how to enjoy an independent and free Constitution.
The tree of liberty unavoidably in all nations has been sprinkled with
human blood; but, when bathed by innocent victims, like the foul weed,
though it spring up, it rots in its infancy, and becomes loathsome and
infectious. Such has been the case in France; and the result justifies
the Italian satire:
"Un albero senza fruta
Baretta senza testa
Governo che non resta."
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