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150 notes

In our day, now that more subtle study and a more refined taste have reduced the art of pleasing to a system, there prevails in modern manners a servile and deceptive conformity; so that one would think every mind had been cast in the same mould. Politeness requires this thing; decorum that; ceremony has its forms, and fashion its laws, and these we must always follow, never the promptings of our own nature.

—Jean-Jacques Rousseau, A Discourse on the Moral Effects of the Arts and Sciences

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34 notes


I have never known anyone whose character was more contradicted by outward appearances than the King … he is good and tender-hearted; you can never speak to him of disasters or accidents to people without seeing a look of compassion come over his face, yet his tone is brusque, his replies are often hard, his manner unfeeling and in taking decisions he is firm and courageous.

—Journal, Abbé de Véri
[translation: Vincent Cronin, Louis and Antoinette]

I have never known anyone whose character was more contradicted by outward appearances than the King … he is good and tender-hearted; you can never speak to him of disasters or accidents to people without seeing a look of compassion come over his face, yet his tone is brusque, his replies are often hard, his manner unfeeling and in taking decisions he is firm and courageous.

—Journal, Abbé de Véri

[translation: Vincent Cronin, Louis and Antoinette]

Filed under louis xvi french history 18th century royalty quotes

21 notes


One of the most remarkable features of the King’s character, and the nature of his mind, was that his natural timidity, and the difficulty which he generally felt in expressing himself, were never perceptible, when religion, the relief of the people, or the welfare of the French, were the subjects in question; he would then speak with a facility and an energy, which astonished new ministers in particular, who almost invariably came at first to the council possessed with the generally received opinion that the King had a very limited intellect.

—Bertrand-Molleville, Memoirs
[image: (C) RMN-Grand Palais (Château de Versailles) / Droits réservés]

One of the most remarkable features of the King’s character, and the nature of his mind, was that his natural timidity, and the difficulty which he generally felt in expressing himself, were never perceptible, when religion, the relief of the people, or the welfare of the French, were the subjects in question; he would then speak with a facility and an energy, which astonished new ministers in particular, who almost invariably came at first to the council possessed with the generally received opinion that the King had a very limited intellect.

—Bertrand-Molleville, Memoirs

[image: (C) RMN-Grand Palais (Château de Versailles) / Droits réservés]

Filed under louis xvi french history 18th century royalty quotes

28 notes


[The duc de Berry, future Louis XVI] had to study certain passages in Fenelon’s Aventures de Telemaque and re-write them in his own words. One passage concerns the esteem a King should have for farmers. Fenelon begins: ‘Clamp taxes, fines and even if necessary other rigorous penalties on those who neglect their fields …’ but Berry, in rewriting it, strikes a more positive note: ‘The condition of the farm workers must be honored as one of the most useful to the State…’ Only later and incidentally does he mention taxes and fines: Fenelon’s ‘rigorous penalties’ he omits altogether.

—Louis and Antoinette by Vincent Cronin
[image: A portrait of the duc de Berry, or Louis XVI, by Jean Martial Fredou. 1760. (C) Château de Versailles, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Christophe Fouin]

[The duc de Berry, future Louis XVI] had to study certain passages in Fenelon’s Aventures de Telemaque and re-write them in his own words. One passage concerns the esteem a King should have for farmers. Fenelon begins: ‘Clamp taxes, fines and even if necessary other rigorous penalties on those who neglect their fields …’ but Berry, in rewriting it, strikes a more positive note: ‘The condition of the farm workers must be honored as one of the most useful to the State…’ Only later and incidentally does he mention taxes and fines: Fenelon’s ‘rigorous penalties’ he omits altogether.

Louis and Antoinette by Vincent Cronin

[image: A portrait of the duc de Berry, or Louis XVI, by Jean Martial Fredou. 1760. (C) Château de Versailles, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Christophe Fouin]

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25 notes

In the understandable grief that overwhelms me, which I share with all of the realm, I nevertheless have duties to fulfill. I am the king and this one word covers a great many obligations, but I am only twenty years old. I do not think I have acquired all the knowledge necessary for my position.
an excerpt from a letter sent by Louis XVI to Maurepas after the death of Louis XV, in which he asked the former minister of the late king to return to court

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76 notes


The day when we bade good-bye to our nurses, we also bade good-bye to childish things, and were handed over to tutors and governesses to be moulded into the most approved patterns of deportment. We were supposed never to question anything, but merely to become clever automata …
It was always the same; we were not educated, for ourselves, but merely to live in the eyes of the world; our young lives were sacrificed to position, and we were not supposed to possess any individuality or display any emotion.

—Archduchess Louise of Austria, ‘My Own Story.’
[image: Louise of Austria dressed as Marie Antoinette, via Internet Archive Book Images]

The day when we bade good-bye to our nurses, we also bade good-bye to childish things, and were handed over to tutors and governesses to be moulded into the most approved patterns of deportment. We were supposed never to question anything, but merely to become clever automata …

It was always the same; we were not educated, for ourselves, but merely to live in the eyes of the world; our young lives were sacrificed to position, and we were not supposed to possess any individuality or display any emotion.

—Archduchess Louise of Austria, ‘My Own Story.’

[image: Louise of Austria dressed as Marie Antoinette, via Internet Archive Book Images]

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