Greater opportunities for personal advancement, however, were shadowed by lingering doubts about the moral value of ambition.
She concludes by examining the still relevant and still unresolved conundrum of the relationship of individual desires to community needs, which she identifies as a defining characteristic of the modern world. In just a few easy steps below, you can become an online reviewer.
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Important Message. Price may vary. November 26, he wrote: "Tell me whether there is any possibility of going to see you entirely alone, without a servant, in case I receive the order to do so from the King Gustavus III. She expected less from her own brother, the Emperor Leopold, and it was to Stockholm above all that she turned her eyes. Gustavus ordered Fersen to go secretly to Paris, and on December 22, , he sent him a memoir and certain letters, commissioning him to deliver them to Louis XVI. He recommended, as forcibly as he could, a new attempt at flight, but with precautions suggested by the lesson of Varennes.
The following passage occurs in the letter of the Swedish King to Marie Antoinette: "I beg Your Majesty to consider seriously that violent disorders can only be cured by violent remedies, and that if moderation is a virtue in the course of ordinary life, it often becomes a vice when there is question of public matters. The King of France can re-establish his dominion only by resuming his former rights; every other remedy is illusory; anything except this would merely open the way to endless discussions which would augment the confusion instead of ending it. The King's rights were torn from him by the sword; it is by the sword that they must be reconquered.
But I refrain; I should remember that I am addressing a princess who, in the most terrible moments of her life, has shown the most intrepid courage. Fersen obtained permission from Louis XVI. He left Stockholm under an assumed name and with the passport of a Swedish courier, and reached Paris without accident, February 13, He was so adroit and prudent that no one suspected his presence.
On the very evening of his arrival he wrote in his journal: "Went to the Queen by my usual road; very few National Guards; did not see the King. He found the Queen pale with grief and with hair whitened by sorrow and emotion. It was a solemn moment.
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The storm was raging within France and beyond it. Terrible omens, snares, and dangers lay on every side. One might have said that the Tuileries were about to be swallowed up in a gulf of fire and blood. The next day Fersen saw the King. He wrote in his journal: "Tuesday, Saw the King at six in the evening. He will not go and can not, on account of the extreme vigilance. In fact, he scruples at it, having so often promised to remain, for he is an honest man He sees that force is the only resource; but, being weak, he thinks it impossible to resume all his authority Unless he were constantly encouraged, I am not sure he would not be tempted to negotiate with the rebels.
He said to me afterwards: 'That's all very well! We are by ourselves and we can talk; but nobody ever found himself in my position. I know I missed the right moment; it was the 14th of July; we ought to have gone then, and I wanted to, but how could I when Monsieur himself begged me to stay, and Marshal de Broglie, who was in command, said to me: "Yes, we can go to Metz.
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But what shall we do when we get there? I have been abandoned by everybody. Fersen had a long talk with Marie Antoinette the same day. She entered into full details about the present and especially about the past. She explained why the flight to Varennes, in which Fersen had taken such a prominent part, and which had succeeded so well so long as he directed it, had ended in failure.
The Queen described the anguish of the arrest and the return. To the project of a new effort to escape, she replied by pointing out the implacable surveillance of which she was the object, and the effervescence of popular passions, which this time would overleap all restraint if the fugitives were taken.
It would be better for the royal family to suffer together than to expose themselves to die separately. It would be better to die like princes, who abdicate majesty only with life, than as vagabonds, under a vulgar disguise.
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In spite of all this, she thinks them malicious, does not trust them, but uses them as best she can. All the ministers are traitors who betray the King. He was profoundly moved on quitting the Tuileries, but, dismal and lugubrious as his forebodings may have been, how much more sombre was the reality to prove!
What a terrible fate was reserved for the chief actors in this drama! Yet a few days, and the chivalrous Gustavus was to be assassinated. The hour of execution was approaching for Louis XVI. Fersen, likewise, was to have a most tragic end. From the moment when he bade his last adieu to the unhappy Queen, his life was but one long torment.
His disposition, already inclined to melancholy, became incurably sad. His loyal and devoted soul could not accustom itself to the thought of the calamities weighing so cruelly upon that good and beautiful sovereign of whom he said in "The Queen is the prettiest and most amiable princess that I know. He will learn the fatal tidings on the 20th.
It is horrible that she should have been alone in her last moments, with no one to speak to, or to receive her last wishes. No; without vengeance, my heart will never be content. An inveterate fatality will pursue him as it had done the unfortunate sovereign of whom he had been the chevalier.
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He will perish in a riot at Stockholm, June 20, , at the time of the obsequies of the Prince Royal. Struck down by fists and walking-sticks, his hair pulled out, his clothes torn to rags, he will be dragged about half-naked, rolled underfoot, assassinated by a maddened populace. Before rendering his last sigh, he will succeed in rising to his knees, and, joining his hands, he will utter these words from the stoning of Saint Stephen: "O my God, who callest me to Thee, I implore Thee for my tormentors, whom I pardon. One after another, Marie Antoinette lost her last chances of safety; blows as unforeseen as terrible beat down the combinations on which she had built her hopes.
Within a fortnight she was to see the two sovereigns disappear from whom she had expected succor: her brother, the Emperor Leopold, and Gustavus III.
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Leopold had not been equal to all the illusions which his sister had cherished with regard to him, but, nevertheless, he showed great interest in French affairs, and a lively desire to be useful to Louis XVI. Pacific by disposition, he had temporized at first, and adopted a conciliatory policy. Though she did not desire a war between Austria and France, the Queen had persisted in wishing for an armed congress, which would have been a compromise between peace and war, but which the National Assembly would have regarded as an intolerable humiliation.
It must not be denied, the situation was a false one. Between the true sentiments of Louis XVI. The Emperor treats the Princes like children The Princes cannot avoid suspecting that it is the influence of the Queen and her agents which thwarts their plans and causes the Emperor to behave so strangely Some trickery on the part of the Tuileries is still suspected in this country. They ought to explain themselves to each other once for all.
Is the Queen afraid lest the Count d'Artois should arrogate an authority in the realm which would diminish her own? What is she afraid of, then? She complains that she is not sufficiently respected. But you know the good heart and the uprightness of our Prince; he is incapable of the remarks attributed to him, and which have certainly been reported to the Queen with the intention of estranging them entirely. The emigration, meanwhile, increases daily, and presently there will be more Frenchmen than Germans in this region. She wrote to him, October 4, "My only consolation is in writing to you, my dear brother; I am surrounded by so many atrocities that I need all your friendship to tranquillize my mind If they re-enter France in arms, all is lost, and it will be impossible to make it believed that we are not in connivance with them.
I submit that to your better judgment Adieu, my dear brother; we love you, and my daughter has particularly charged me to embrace her good uncle. While Marie Antoinette was thus turning towards Austria for assistance, the National Assembly at Paris repelled with energy all thought of any intervention whatsoever on the part of foreign powers.
January 1, , it issued a decree of impeachment against the King's brothers, the Prince de Conde, and Calonne.
January 14, Guadet said in the tribune, while speaking of the congress: "If it is true that by delays and discouragement they wish to bring us to accept this shameful mediation, ought the National Assembly to close its eyes to such a danger? Let us all swear to die here rather than—" He was not allowed to finish. The whole assembly rose to their feet, crying: "Yes, yes; we swear it!
By a curious coincidence, this date of March 1 was precisely that on which the Emperor Leopold was to die of a dreadful malady. He was in perfect health on February 27, when he gave audience to the Turkish envoy; he was in his agony, February 28, and on March 1, he died.