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Ten Years' Exile Memoirs of That Interesting Period of the Life of the Baroness De Stael-Holstein   By: (1766-1817)

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TEN YEARS' EXILE;

Or

Memoirs of That Interesting Period of the Life of the Baroness De Stael Holstein,

Written by Herself, during the Years 1810, 1811, 1812, and 1813, and Now First Published from the Original Manuscript, by Her Son.

Translated from the French

London: Printed for Treuttel and Wurtz, Treuttel Jun. and Richter, Foreign Booksellers to his Royal Highness Prince Leopold of Saxe Coberg, 30, Soho Square.

1821

Howlett & Brimmer, Printers, 10, Filth Street, Soho Square.

PREFACE BY THE EDITOR (Augustus, Baron de Stael Holstein.)

The production which is now submitted to the reader, is not a complete work, and ought not to be criticized as such. It consists of Fragments of her Memoirs, which my mother had intended to complete at her leisure, and which would have probably undergone alterations, of the nature of which I am ignorant, if a longer life had been allowed her to revise and finish them.

This reflection was sufficient to make me examine most scrupulously if I was authorized to give them publicity. The fear of any sort of responsibility cannot be present to the mind, when our dearest affections are in question; but the heart is agitated by a painful anxiety when we are left to guess at those wishes, the declaration of which would have been a sacred and invariable rule. Nevertheless, after having seriously reflected on what duty required of me, I am satisfied that I have fulfilled my mother's intentions, in engaging to leave out in this edition of her works, no production susceptible of being printed. My fidelity in adhering to this engagement gives me the right of disavowing beforehand, all which at any future period, persons might pretend to add to this collection, which, I repeat, contains every thing, of which my mother had not formally forbid the publication.

( Les Oeuvres completes de Madame la Baronne de Stael, publiees par son Fils. Precedees d'une notice sur le caractere et les ecrits de Madame de Stael, par Madame Necker de Saussure. Paris, 17 vols. 8vo. and 17 vols. in 12mo.)

The title of TEN YEARS' EXILE, is that of which the authoress herself made choice; I have deemed it proper to retain it, although the work, being unfinished, comprises only a period of seven years. The narrative begins in 1800, two years previous to my mother's first exile, and stops at 1804, after the death of M. Necker. It recommences in 1810, and breaks off abruptly at her arrival in Sweden, in the autumn of 1812. Between the first and second part of these Memoirs there is therefore an interval of nearly six years. An explanation of this will be found in a faithful statement of the manner in which they were composed.

I will not anticipate my mother's narrative of the persecution to which she was subjected during the imperial government: that persecution, equally mean and cruel, forms the subject of the present publication, the interest of which I should only weaken. It will be sufficient for me to remind the reader, that after having exiled her from Paris, and subsequently sent her out of France, after having suppressed her work on Germany with the most arbitrary caprice, and made it impossible for her to publish anything, even on subjects wholly unconnected with politics; that government went so far as to make her almost a prisoner in her own residence, to forbid her all kind of travelling, and to deprive her of the pleasures of society and the consolations of friendship. It was while she was in this situation that my mother began her Memoirs, and one may readily conceive what must have been at that time the disposition of her mind.

During the composition of the work, the hope of one day giving it to the world scarcely presented itself in the most distant futurity. Europe was still bent to that degree under the yoke of Napoleon, that no independent voice could make itself be heard: on the Continent the press was completely chained, and the most rigorous measures excluded every work printed in England... Continue reading book >>




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