The political and confidential correspondence of Lewis the Sixteenth. With observations on each letter
Authors of source text
- is translation of
- Correspondance politique et confidentielle inédite de Louis XVI, avec ses frères, et plusieurs personnes célèbres, pendant les dernières années de son règne, et jusqu'a sa mort
- has paratext
- The political and confidential correspondence of Lewis the Sixteenth. With observations on each letter paratext
Williams bought the French manuscript of these letters, which seemed to have been assembled in order to defend the memory of Louis XVI. Williams translated only the king's letters, not the additional documents which had already been published elsewhere, and to each letter she added a commentary. Her goal was to reveal Louis' weakness of character and to point out his many political mistakes. The work met with much indignation. Doubts about the authenticity of the material arose and did serious damage to Williams' literary reputation. In the 1820s it was revealed that the so-called originals were in fact forgeries. See Paul Hague, Helen Maria Williams, p. 120.