Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Edmund Burke responds to Cardinal Lehmann

The Cardinal complained that some members of the SSPX did not wish to be reconciled to the principles of the French Revolution.

It is now sixteen or seventeen years since I saw the queen of France, then the dauphiness, at Versailles; and surely never lighted on this orb, which she hardly seemed to touch, a more delightful vision. I saw her just above the horizon, decorating and cheering the elevated sphere she had just begun to move in, glittering like the morning star full of life and splendor and joy. 0h, what a revolution! and what a heart must I have, to contemplate without emotion that elevation and that fall! Little did I dream, when she added titles of veneration to those of enthusiastic, distant, respectful love, that she should ever be obliged to carry the sharp antidote against disgrace concealed in that bosom; little did I dream that I should have lived to see such disasters fallen upon her, in a nation of gallant men, in a nation of men of honor, and of cavaliers! I thought ten thousand swords must have leaped from their scabbards, to avenge even a look that threatened her with insult.

But the age of chivalry is gone; that of sophisters, economists, and calculators has succeeded, and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever. Never, never more, shall we behold that generous loyalty to rank and sex, that proud submission, that dignified obedience, that subordination of the heart, which kept alive, even in servitude itself, the spirit of an exalted freedom! The unbought grace of life, the cheap defense of nations, the nurse of manly sentiment and heroic enterprise is gone. It is gone, that sensibility of principle, that chastity of honor, which felt a stain like a wound, which inspired courage whilst it mitigated ferocity, which ennobled whatever it touched, and under which vice itself lost half its evil, by losing all its grossness.

Edmund Burke - 1793

And an account of her execution

But the people took good care that Marie Antoinette should not carry this one drop of comfort to the end of her journey. The populace thronged around the car, howled, groaned, sang ribald songs, clapped their hands, and pointed their fingers in derision at Madame Veto.

The queen, however, remained calm, her gaze wandering coldly over the vast multitude; only once did her eye flash on the route. It was as she passed the Palais Royal, where Philippe Egalite, once the Duke d'Orleans, lived, and read the inscription which he had caused to be placed over the main entrance of the palace.

At noon the car reached its destination. It came to a halt at the foot of the scaffold; Marie Antoinette dismounted, and then walked slowly and with erect head up the steps.

Not once during her dreadful ride had her lips opened, not a complaint had escaped her, not a farewell had she spoken. The only adieu which she had to give on earth was a look--one long, sad look- -directed toward the Tuileries; and as she gazed at the great pile her cheeks grew paler, and a deep sigh escaped from her lips.

Then she placed her head under the guillotine,--a momentary, breathless silence followed.

Samson lifted up the pale head that had once belonged to the Queen of France, and the people greeted the sight with the cry, "Long live the republic!"

That same evening one of the officials of the republic made up an account, now preserved in the Imperial Library of Paris, and which must move even the historian himself to tears. It runs as follows:
"Cost of interments, conducted by Joly, sexton of Madelaine de la Ville l'Eveque, of persons condemned by the Tribunal of the
Committee of Safety, to wit, No. 1 . . . ." Then follow twenty-four
names and numbers, and then "No. 25. Widow Capet:

For the coffin, . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 francs.
For digging the grave,. . . . . . . . . 25 francs."

Beneath are the words, "Seen and approved by me, President of the Revolutionary Tribunal, that Joly, sexton of the Madelaine, receive the sum of two hundred and sixty-four francs from the National Treasury, Paris, llth Brumaire. Year II. of the French Republic.
Herman, President."

The interment of the Queen of France did not cost the republic more than thirty-one francs, or six American dollars.

And this is how they treated her son. So much for the principles of the French Revolution which made the civilised nation of France complicit in vile crimes.

And the Cardinal chooses to forget the death marches of the Vendee

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