In this letter, dated September 28, 1791, Marie Antoinette writes to the Austrian diplomat Florimond Claude, comte de Mercy-Argenteau, about the need for the royal family to regain the trust of the French people. The comte de Mercy-Argenteau was instrumental in arranging the 1770 marriage of the young Marie Antoinette, then Archduchess of Austria, and Louis-Auguste, the Dauphin of France. When Louis became King Louis XVI in 1774, the comte de Mercy-Argenteau assumed a prominent role in the French court, and he was a frequent recipient of letters from Marie Antoinette.
Marie Antoinette hopes to win back the good opinion of the French people in 1791.
Even as late as 1791, Marie Antoinette still hoped that the French Revolution would end peacefully and her son would be able to rule. Here she writes, "s’il faut donc suivre le système actuel, au moins pour un temps…, il est essential que nous soyons réunis à cette grande majorité qui est le peuple, et que nous lui inspirions assez de confiance pour résister aux menées des républicains…"
The next year, 1792, would bring attacks on the royal family at the Tuileries Palace, the death of the Princesse de Lamballe (Marie Antoinette's good friend) as part of the September Massacres, and the trial and death sentence of Louis XVI. Marie Antoinette was tried, convicted of treason, and beheaded in 1793.
For more information about this letter, click here.
For more information about the collection of Marie Antoinette letters to the comte de Mercy-Argenteau, click here.
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