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NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW.
NEW SERIES, NO. XVII.
Art. I. - Mémoires sur la Vie privée de Marie Antoinette,
Reine de France et de Navarre ; suivis de Souvenirs et
This work was intended, in part, as a defence of the character of the late unfortunate queen of France against the calumnies that were circulated respecting her at the opening of the French revolution. Madame Campan apprehended, that the libellous pamphlets of that time had made a lasting impression upon public opinion in and out of France. On this head we are inclined to think that her fears were greatly exaggerated. Whatever may have been the weaknesses or the faults of the royal family in their days of prosperity the atrocities perpetrated upon them by the revolutionary cannibals, and the heroic virtues, which they displayed in their hour of trial, very justly and naturally excited a strong feeling in their favor. If there is now any error in the general estimate of their characters, it is not probably on the adverse side. This is more particularly true of the queen, who exhibited throughout higher qualities than the king; and, as an elegant and accomplished female, excited a deeper sentiment of interest and pity.
New Series, No. 17. 1
Since the return of the family, she has been all but cannonized in France. In England a single passage from the eloquent pen of Burke had conferred upon her, long before, a sort of rhetorical apotheosis. We shall have occasion to remark hereafter how singularly her situation, at the time when she was seen by this great orator, contrasted with the description which he has given of it. Under these circumstances a formal defence of the queen is not only unnecessary, but might be expected to operate rather injuriously than otherwise, since any detailed account of her life, however partially colored, has the effect of bringing down to the touchstone of real fact the poetical image, which reinains upon the mind after the contemplation of her unparelleled misfortunes, and of the magnanimity with which she supported them. Nevertheless, Madame Campan has executed her task with so much good taste and skill, that the effect of her work will probably be very favorable to the queen's reputation. She judiciously avoids entering into a direct refutation of any of the calumnies upon her illustrious patroness, which are now all forgotten; and contents herself with giving a simple narrative of the queen's life, from the time of her arrival at Paris, up to the terrible tenth of August, when the author was compelled to leave her. The situation of Madame Campan, as the confidential attendant of Marie Antoinette, gave her the best opportunity of collecting materials for a work of this kind ; and although she has exercised a proper discretion in drawing up her story, it contains much interesting matter, and many important historical facts before wholly unknown.
Madame Campan was the daughter of Mr Genet, for a long time principal under secretary in the department of foreign affairs; and sister to the well known citizen Genet, formerly minister plenipotentiary from the French Republic in this country. We shall extract hereafter a passage, in which she gives an account of her brother's political life, previously to his appointment to that post. The father was a person of great merit and talent, and attended carefully to the education of his children. Henrietta, the daughter, seems to have been in her childhood a very lively girl, and to have possessed a great facility at acquiring knowledge. At the age of fourteen she was already familiar with Italian and English, and excelled particularly in the art of recitation and reading. These qualities, the effect of which was heightened by an uncommon share of grace and beauty, attracted the attention of the court circle, and at the age of Gifteen Mademoiselle Genet was appointed reader to the king's sisters. She held this place at the time of the arrival of the dauphiness, upon whom she made so agreeable an impression, that she was soon after appointed her principal femme de chambre. About this time she married Mr Campan, who was the son of the queen's private secretary. Thus all her connexions and occupations eminently qualified her for the task she had undertaken.
After the tenth of August her connexion with the royal family made her an object of suspicion. She was arrested and held in confinement until the fall of Robespierre. Restored to liberty by this event, but deprived of all her former means of subsistence, she recollected the inclination which it seems she had felt in early life, for the employment of teaching young ladies, and opened a boarding school at St Germain. This institution met with great success. Among her pupils was Hortense de Beauharnais, afterwards queen of Holland. The Bonaparte family were so well satisfied with the conduct of Madame Campan, and her general reputation stood so high, that when the emperor, alter the battle of Austerlitz, erected the school at Ecouen for the education of the orphan daughters of the members of the legion of honor, she was appointed the superintendant.
She acquitted herself in this new station, as in all her former ones, with great distinction ; but her promotion proved in the end to be an injury, rather than an advantage. Upon the return of the royal family, the government with an almost inconceivable degree of impolicy, to say nothing of the injusa tice and cruelty of the measure, suppressed the school at Ecouen; and Madame Campan lost her place. It does not appear, however, that she was now straitened in her circumstances, and she retired to a pleasant country residence to pass the close of her life. Here she was soon assailed by new misfortunes.
She became the object of absurd and infamous calumnies relating to the management of her school; and her peace was still more fatally wounded by the death of her only son.
2. Journal of a Ten Months' Residence in New Zealand. By Richard A. Cruise, Esq. Captain in the 84th
Regiment of Foot. XX, WORDSWORTH's Poems
356 The Miscellaneous Poems of William Wordsworth. XXI. Law REPORTS
371 1. Reports of Cases argued and determined in the Supreme Court of the United States, February Term, 1823. By Henry Wheaton, Counsellor at Law. Vol. VIII.
2. Reports of Cases argued and determined in the Supreme Court of Judicature; and in the Court for the Trial of Impeachments and the Correction of Errors in the State of New York. By William Johnson, Counsellor at Law. Vol. XX.
3. Reports of Cases argued and determined in the Supreme Judicial Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Vol. XVII. By Dudley Atkins Tyng,
Esq. Counsellor at Law. XXII. AMERICAN ATLASES
382 1. A new American Atlas, containing Maps of the several States of the North American Union. By Henry
2. A General Atlas, containing distinct Maps of all the known Countries in the World; constructed from the
latest Authorities. Published by Fielding Lucas, Jun. XXIII. POLITICS OF ANCIENT GREECE .
390 Reflections on the Politics of Ancient Greece, translated from the German of Arnold H. L. Heeren. By
12. Westminster Review.