Meanwhile, Eugene was actively prosecuting the siege of Lille. Trenches were opened on the 22d, and a heavy fire was opened from eighty pieces of cannon. On the following night, an outwork, called the Chapel of St Magdalene, was stormed and taken. The second parallel was soon completed, and some farther outworks carried; and the whole battering guns having at length been mounted, a breach was effected in the salient angle of one of the horn-works, and on the same night a lodgement was effected. A vigorous sortie, on the 10th September, hardly retarded the progress of the operations, and a sap was made under the covered way. Marlborough, who visited the besiegers' lines on the 18th, however, expressed some displeasure at the slow progress of the siege; and in consequence, on the 20th, another assault was hazarded. It was most obstinately resisted, but at length the assailants overcame all opposition and bursting in, carried a demi-bastion and several adjoining works, though with a loss of two thousand men. Great as this loss was, it was not so severe as that of one officer who fell; for Eugene himself, transported with ardour, had taken part in the assault, and was seriously wounded. This grievous casualty not only gave the utmost distress to Marlborough, but immensely augmented his labours; for it threw upon him at once the direction of the siege, and the command of the covering army. Every morning at break of day he was on horseback to observe Vendome's army; and if all was quiet in front, he rode to the lines and directed the siege in person till evening, when he again returned to the camp of the covering force. By thus in a manner doubling himself, this great man succeeded in preventing any serious inconvenience being experienced even from so great a catastrophe as Eugene's wound, and he infused such vigour into the operations of the siege, that, on the 23d September, great part of the tenaillons were broken, with a large portion of the covered way. At the same time the ammunition of the garrison began to fail so much in consequence of the constant fire they had kept up for above a month, that Marshal Boufflers sent intimation to Vendome, that unless a supply of that necessary article was speedily obtained, he should be obliged to surrender.
The French generals, aware how much the fortress was straitened, were meanwhile straining every nerve to raise the siege; but such was the terror inspired by Marlborough's presence, and the skill with which his defensive measures were taken, that they did not venture to hazard an attack on the covering army. But a well-conceived project of Vendome's, for throwing a supply of powder into the fortress, in part succeeded; although many of the horsemen who carried it were cut off, some succeeded in making their way in through the Allied lines, and considerably raised the spirits of the garrison, as well as prolonged their means of defence. But meanwhile the ammunition of the besiegers was falling short, as well as that of the besieged; and as the enemy were completely masters of the communication with Brussels, no resource remained but to get it up from Ostend. A convoy was formed there accordingly by General Erle, and set out on the 27th September, consisting of seven hundred waggons, escorted by General Webb with ten thousand men. Count de la Motte instantly set out with the troops under his command from the vicinity of Ghent, and came up with the convoy in the defile of Wynandals. A sharp action ensued, and the French advanced to the attack with their wonted impetuosity. But Webb's defensive arrangements were so skilful, and the fire kept up by his troops so vigorous, that the enemy were utterly routed; and the convoy forcing its way, reached Menin on the following day, and entered the Allied camp, amidst the acclamations of the whole army, on the 30th September.
The safe arrival of this convoy gave new energy to the operations of the siege; while the recovery of Eugene relieved Marlborough of half the labour under which, to use his own words, he had been for a fortnight "rather dead than alive." Three days after the whole tenaillon was carried, and the troops established directly opposite the breaches of the ramparts. Meanwhile Vendome opened the sluices, and inundated the country to the very borders of the dyke, so as to intercept Marlborough's communication with Ostend, and prevent the arrival of stores from it. But the English general defeated this device by bringing the stores up in flat-bottomed boats from Ostend to Leffinghen, and thence conveying them in carriages, mounted on very high wheels, to the camp. Cadogan greatly distinguished himself in this difficult service. Overkirk died at this critical juncture, to the great regret of Marlborough, who could then ill spare his ardent and patriotic spirit. Meanwhile, however, the siege continued to advance, and fifty-five heavy guns thundered from the counterscarp on the breaches, while thirty-six mortars swept all the works which commanded them. Finding himself unable to withstand the assault which was now hourly expected, Boufflers, on the 22d October, beat a parley, and capitulated; having sustained, with unparalleled resolution, a siege of sixty days, of which thirty were with open trenches. Penetrated with admiration at his gallant defence, Eugene granted the French general and his brave garrison the most honourable terms. The gates were surrendered on the 23d, and the remainder of the garrison, still five thousand strong, retired into the citadel, where they prolonged their defence for six weeks more.
Thus had Marlborough the glory, in one campaign, of defeating, in pitched battle, the best general and most powerful army possessed by France, and capturing its strongest frontier fortress, the masterpiece of Vauban, under the eyes of one hundred and twenty thousand assembled from all quarters for its relief. He put the keystone at the same time into this arch of glory, by again declining the magnificent offer of the government of the Low Countries, with its appointment of sixty thousand a-year for life, a second time pressed upon him by King Charles, from an apprehension that such an offer might give umbrage to the government of Holland, or excite jealousy in the Queen's government at home.
 Coxe, III. 156. Instructions pour le Sieur Recoux. Cardonell Papers.
 "Count Piper said, 'We made war on Poland only to subsist; our design in Saxony is only to terminate the war; but for the Muscovite he shall pay les pots cassees, and we will treat the Czar in a manner which posterity will hardly believe.' I secretly wished that already he was in the heart of Muscovy. After dinner he conveyed me to headquarters, and introduced me to his Majesty. He asked me whence I came, and where I had served. I replied, and mentioned my good fortune in having served three campaigns under your Highness. He questioned me much, particularly concerning your Highness and the English troops; and you may readily believe that I delineated my hero in the most lively and natural colours. Among other particulars, he asked me if your Highness yourself led the troops to the charge. I replied, that as all the troops were animated with the same ardour for fighting, that was not necessary; but that you were every where, and always in the hottest of the action, and gave your orders with that coolness which excites general admiration. I then related to him that you had been thrown from your horse, the death of your aide-de-camp Borafield, and many other things. He took great pleasure in this recital, and made me repeat the same thing twice. I also said that your Highness always spoke of his Majesty with esteem and admiration, and ardently desired to pay you his respects. He observed, 'That is not likely, but I should be delighted to see a general of whom I have heard so much.' They intend vigorously to attack the Muscovites, and expect to dethrone the Czar, compelling him to discharge all his foreign officers, and pay several millions as an indemnity. Should he refuse such conditions, the King is resolved to exterminate the Muscovites, and make their country a desert. God grant he may persist in this decision, rather than demand the restitution, as some assert, of the Protestant churches in Silesia! The Swedes in general are modest, but do not scruple to declare themselves invincible when the King is at their head."—General Grumbkow to Marlborough, Jan. 11 and 31, 1707. Coxe, III. 159-161.
 Coxe, III. 167-169. The authenticity of this speech is placed beyond doubt by Lediard, who was then in Saxony, and gives it verbatim.
 Coxe, III. 174-182.
 "I cannot venture unless I am certain of success; for the inclinations in Holland are so strong for peace, that, if we had the least disadvantage, it would make them act very extravagant. I must own every country we have to do with, acts, in my opinion, so contrary to the general good, that it makes me quite weary of serving. The Emperor is in the wrong in almost every thing he does."—Marlborough to Godolphin, June 27, 1707; Coxe, III. 261.
 Despatches, III. 142-207.—So much were the Dutch alienated from the common cause at this time, and set on acquisitions of their own, that they beheld with undisguised satisfaction the battle of Almanza, and disasters in Spain, as likely to render the Emperor more tractable in considering their proceedings in Flanders. "The States," says Marlborough, "received the news of this fatal stroke with less concern than I expected. This blow has made so little impression in the great towns in this country, that the generality of the people have shown satisfaction at it rather then otherwise, which I attribute mainly to the aversion to the present government."—Marlborough to Godolphin, May 13, 1707. Coxe, III. 204.
 Coxe, III. 196-205.
 Marlborough's Despatches, IV. 49.
 Desp. IV. 95-101. Coxe, IV. 128-131.
 Desp. IV. 79-102. Coxe, IV. 130-132.
 "The treachery of Ghent, continual marching, and some letters I have received from England, (from the Queen and the Duchess,) have so vexed me, that I was yesterday in so great a fever, that the doctor would have persuaded me to have gone to Brussels; but I thank God I am now better, and by the next post I hope to answer your letters. The States have used this country so ill, that I noways doubt but all the towns in it will play us the same trick as Ghent if they have the power."—Marlborough to Godolphin, July 9, 1708. Coxe, IV. 38.
 The above description of the field of Oudenarde is mainly taken from Coxe, IV. 134-135; but the author, from personal inspection of the field, can attest its accuracy.
 Coxe, IV. 140-143.
 Marlborough to Count Piper, 15th July 1708.—Desp. IV. 115. Coxe, IV. 144-145.
 Coxe, IV. 146-151. Marlborouqh to Count Piper, 16th July 1708.—Desp. IV. 115. Duke of Berwck's Mem. II. 12.
 Marlborough a M. De Themgue, 15th July 1708.—Desp. IV. 111.
 Desp. IV. 111. Berwick himself states the prisoners at 9000.—Marlborough, II. 12. Marlborough to the Duchess, July 16, 1708.—Coxe, IV. 157.
 Marlborough to Lord Godolphin, July 16 and 19, 1708.—Coxe, IV. 158, 159.
 Conscious of the panic which prevailed in France, and aware that some brilliant enterprise was requisite to prevent the Dutch from listening to separate overtures for peace, Marlborough proposed to meet at Lille, and penetrate by the northern frontier into the heart of France. An expedition fitted out in England was to co-operate on the coast. But the design of penetrating direct into France seemed too bold even to Eugene, and, of course, encouraged strong opposition from a government so timid and vacillating as that of Holland.—Coxe, IV. 165.
 Marlborough to Godolphin, July 23, 1708.—Coxe, IV. 165.
 "I need not tell you how much I desire the nation may be at last eased of a burdensome war, by an honourable peace; and no one can judge better than yourself of the sincerity of my wishes to enjoy a little retirement at a place you have contributed in a great measure to make so desirable. I thank you for your good wishes to myself on this occasion. I dare say, Prince Eugene and I shall never differ about our laurels."—Marlborough to Mr Travers, July 30, 1708.
 Coxe, IV. 216-219.
 Marlborough to Godolphin, August 30, 1708.—Coxe, IV. 222.
 Desp. IV. 241-260.
 Desp. IV. 260-271. Marlborough to Godolphin, September 24, 1708.—Coxe, IV. 243.
 Marlborough to Godolphin, October 1, 1708.—Coxe, IV. 254.
 Desp. IV. 271, Marlborough to Godolphin, October 24, 1708.—Coxe, IV. 263, 264.
 "You will find me, my Prince, always ready to renew the patent for the government of the Low Countries, formerly sent to you, and to extend it for your life."—King Charles to Marlborough, August 8, 1708. Coxe, IV. 245.
RECOLLECTIONS OF A LOVER OF SOCIETY.
Many years ago, I was struck with the remark—that if any one would write down, from week to week, the prominent events which occurred in his time, he must make a book which many would like to read.
I took the hint; and here I give a portion of my Recollections. Not that I have ever kept a regular Journal, a matter which I now regret; but I have mingled a good deal in general life, I have seen nearly all the remarkable characters of Europe in the most stirring period of the world, and I have seen the beginning as well as the end of that most extraordinary of all national catastrophes, the French Revolution.
At all times fond of associating with my fellow men, taking a strong interest in public opinions, having strong opinions of my own, and witnessing the most singular changes in almost every form of public, of personal, and of national impressions, I have had my full share of experience in the ways of men. And I now offer it to those who would refresh their remembrances of memorable men, things, and times.
For the purpose of dealing in the fairest possible manner with my readers, I have looked into the various records of those events which might have escaped my memory. But I have not suffered them to bias opinions conceived long since, and conceived in the spirit of sincerity. Such is my design. It is given to the public with a perfect freedom from all party influence; with a total avoidance of all personality; with that calmness of retrospect which best becomes one who has no desire to share in the passions of the world; and with that wish of the French almanack-maker, which lies at the bottom of many a bulkier enterprise than mine—
"Je veux infiniment qu'on me lise."
January 1.—The nineteenth century has commenced with one of those events, which deserve to mark epochs. On this day the UNION Of Ireland with England has begun. The church bells are ringing, at this moment, in all quarters. Flags are flying on the various government establishments. A new Imperial flag is hoisted at the Tower, and I now hear the guns saluting it with their roar.
The last century was the era of Intrigue in politics, in war, in courts, in every thing. In England, the Revolution at the close of the Century before had extinguished the power of Despotism. Popery had perished under the heel of Protestantism. The Jacobite had fled from the face of the Williamite. The sword was seen no longer. But the strifes of party succeeded the struggles of Religion; and Parliament became the scene of those conflicts, which, in the century before, would have been fought in the field.
I strongly doubt which age exhibits the national character in a more elevated point of view. The war of Charles I. was a period of proud feeling. It was the last burst of Chivalry. Men of rank and fortune periled both from a sense of honour, and some of the noblest who fell on the royal side, were as fully convinced of the royal errors as the orators of Parliament; but their sense of honour urged them to the sacrifice, and they freely shed their blood for a King, whose faithlessness and folly were to be redeemed only by his martyrdom.
From the period of the Revolution, the character of the country had changed. Still bold, sensitive, and capable of sacrifice, it had grown more contemptuous of political romance, more clear-sighted as to public merits, and more fixed on substantial claims. The latter part of the seventeenth century had seen the worthless and treacherous Charles II. brought back by the nobles and gentry of the land in a national triumph. The middle of the eighteenth century saw the expulsion of the Pretender, a gallant and adventurous prince, whose only adherents were the Scottish chiefs, and whose most determined opponents were the whole multitude of England.
France had lost her Chivalric spirit nearly a hundred years before. It had died with Francis I. The wars of the League were wars of Chicane; Artifice in arms, Subtlety in steel coats. The profligacy of the courts of Louis Quatorze, and his successors, dissolved at once the morals and the mind of France. That great country exhibited, to the eye of Europe, the aspect of the most extravagant license, and the most rapid decay. There lay the great voluptuary, under the general gaze; like one of its feudal lords dying of his own debauch—lying helpless from infirmity, surrounded with useless pomp, and in the sight of luxuries which he could taste no more—until death came, and he was swept away from his place among men.
Germany was unknown even in Europe, but by the military struggles of Prussia and Austria. But the objects were trifling, and the result was more trifling still. Prussia gained Silesia, and Austria scarcely felt the loss, in an Empire extending from the Rhine to the Euxine. Then came peace, lassitude, and oblivion once more. But this languid century was to close with a tremendous explosion. A Belgian revolt was followed by a French Revolution. The wearisome continuance of the calm was broken up by a tornado, and when the surges subsided again, they exhibited many a wreck of thrones flung upon the shore.
What is to be the next great change? What inscription shall be written by the historian on the sepulchre of the coming hundred years? Will they exhibit the recovery of the power of opinion by Kings, or the mastery of its power by the People? Will Europe be a theatre of State intrigue, as of old, or a scene of Republican violence? It would require a prophet to pronounce the reality.
But I can already see symptoms of change; stern demands on the higher classes; sullen discontents in every country; an outcry for representative government throughout Europe. The example of France has not been lost upon the populace; the millions of Europe, who have seen the mob of the capital tear down the throne, will not forget the lesson. They may forget the purchase, or they may disregard the miseries of the purchase, in the pride of the possession. But we shall not have another French Revolution. We shall have no more deifications of the axe, no more baptisms in blood, no more display of that horrid and fearful ceremonial with which France, like the ancient idolators, offered her children to Moloch, and drowned the shrieks and groans of the dying in the clangour of trumpets and the acclamations of the multitude. Those scenes were too terrible to be renewed. The heart of man shrinks from liberty obtained by this dreadful violation of all its feelings. Like the legendary compacts with the Evil One, the fear of the Bond would embitter the whole intermediate indulgence; and even the populace would be startled at a supremacy, to be obtained only by means of such utter darkness, and followed by such awful retribution.
31.—A piece of intelligence has arrived to-day, which has set all the World of London in commotion. It is no less than a direct challenge to our good King. Chivalry is not yet dead, as I supposed. After expulsion from the sunny plains of Italy and Spain, it has revived among the polar snows.
The Russian Emperor has actually published this defiance to the world, in the St Petersburg Gazette. "It is said that his majesty the Emperor, perceiving that the European powers cannot come to an accommodation, and wishing to put an end to a war which has raged eleven years, has conceived the idea of appointing a place, to which he will invite the other potentates to engage together with himself in single combat, in Lists which shall be marked out. For which purpose they shall bring with them, to act as their esquires, umpires, and heralds, their most enlightened ministers and able generals, as Thugut, Pitt, and Bernstorff. He will bring, on his part, Counts Pahlen and Kutusoff."
The first impression on the appearance of this singular document was surprise; the next, of course, was ridicule. The man must have utterly lost his senses. He has been for some months playing the most fantastic tricks in his capital: cutting off people's beards if they happen to displease his taste as a barber, cutting off coat-skirts if they offend his taste as a tailor, ordering the passers-by to pay him a kind of Oriental homage, and threatening to send every body to Siberia. Under such circumstances, the air of Russia is supposed to be unfavourable to royal longevity.
The death of a singular character occurred a few days since, a protegee of Hannah More, and, as might be expected from that lady's publishing habits, rendered sufficiently conspicuous by her pen. She was a total stranger, apparently a German by her pronunciation of English, yet carefully avoiding to speak any foreign language. She was first found taking refuge under a haystack, apparently in a state of insanity, and determined to die there. The peasantry, who occasionally brought her food, of course soon gave her a name, and, as she was evidently a gentlewoman, they called her the lady of the haystack. Hannah More, who had unquestionably some humanity, though she was rather too fond of its public exhibition, made her the heroine of a tale, and thus drew upon her considerable notice. She was prevailed on, though with some difficulty, to leave the haystack; and after a residence of a considerable period in the country, supported by subscriptions, she was removed, on its being ascertained that she was incurably insane, to an hospital in London, where, after continuing several years, she died.
Her case excited great curiosity for the time, and every effort was made in Germany to ascertain her family, and give some notice of her condition. One of the most remarkable circumstances in her insanity, was her guarded silence on the subject of her relatives. Though she rambled into all conceivable topics, she could not be induced to give the slightest clue to their names. The moment any attempt at their discovery was made, all her feelings seemed to be startled; she shrank at once, looked distressed, and became silent. Hannah More's "Tale of Woe," was therefore a well-meant effort to attract attention to an unhappy creature, who was determined to give no knowledge of herself to the world.
Lord Camelford's eccentricities are well known, but the world has given him credit for more than he deserves. He was unluckily a duellist almost by profession, and thus as dangerous to associate with as a mad bull. Yet I have heard traits of a generosity on his part as lavish as his manners are eccentric. He is, however, so well known to be alert in the use of the pistol, and to be of fiery temper, that some curious stories are told of the alarm inspired by his presence. One of those is now running the round of the Clubs.
Some days ago, his lordship, walking into a coffee-house, and taking up the evening paper, began poring over its paragraphs. A coxcomb in an adjoining box, who had frequently called to the waiter for the paper, walked over to Lord Camelford's box, and, seeing him lay down the paper for the moment while he was sipping his coffee, took it up, and walked off with it without ceremony. His lordship bore the performance without exhibiting any sign of disturbance, but waited till he saw the intruder engaged in its paragraphs. He then quietly walked over, and with all the eyes of the Coffeehouse upon him, snuffed out the fellow's candles, and walked back to his own seat. The fellow, astonished and furious, demanded the name of the person who had served him in this contemptuous manner. His lordship threw him his card. He took it—read "Lord Camelford" aloud—seemed petrified for a moment, and in the next snatched up his hat, and made but one step to the door, followed by the laugh of the whole room.
But his lordship has, like Hamlet, method in his madness. A report was lately spread that he had resolved, in case of Horne Tooke's rejection by the House as member for Old Sarum, that he would bring in his own black footman. This report he resented and denied, sending a letter to the newspapers, of which this is a fragment:—
"A report, as preposterous as unfounded, has lately found its way abroad, stating that I meditated a gross and indecent insult upon the dignity of the legislature, by using an influence which I am supposed to possess, for the purpose of introducing an improper character into the formation of its body.
"It becomes me to set the public right, by solemnly assuring them, that no such idea was ever in contemplation for one moment; and that I am at a loss to discover how the rumour originated; as, so far from being capable of harbouring a wish to add to the embarrassments of an unhappy and dejected people, it would be the pride and glory of my heart, if I had the power to place such persons in situations of responsibility, as, by their talents and integrity, might preserve our Laws and Government and Constitution."
The eccentricities of the unfortunate Emperor of Russia have come to even a more rapid end than I had expected. A courier has just arrived with the startling intelligence, that the Czar was found dead in his chamber. The whole transaction is for the moment covered with extreme obscurity; but it is to be feared that what the Frenchman, with equal cleverness and wickedness, called the Russian trial by Jury, has been acted on in this instance, and that the Russian annals have been stained with another Imperial catastrophe.
How natural and magnificent are Shakspeare's reflections on the anxieties that beset a crown—
"Oh, polished perturbation! golden care, That keeps the ports of Slumber open wide To many a watchful night: O Majesty! When thou cost pinch thy bearer, thou dost sit Like a rich armour worn in heat of day, That scalds with safety."
If Voltaire's definition be true, that swindling is the perfection of civilization, and that the more civilized, the more subtle we become, England may boast of a swindler that seems to have brought the art to its highest perfection. She is a female, not at all of the showy order, which beguiles so many understandings through the eyes—an insignificant and mean person, with an ordinary face, not at all exhibiting manners superior to her appearance, yet certainly of the most superb ambition in the art of tricking the World. Where she began her adventures first, remains to be developed by future biography. At length she appeared in the neighbourhood of Greenwich, and, representing herself there as an heiress, took a handsome house, and contrived, in the usual way, to make all the tradesmen in the neighbourhood contribute to its furnishing. By the simplicity and plausibility of her manner, she even obtained loans to the amount of some thousands, to set her household in motion, until her affairs were settled. An heiress must, of course, have a carriage; but this clever person was not content with doing things in an ordinary way, but set up three. While her house was being prepared,—which she ordered to be done by the first artists in their way, the walls being painted in fresco,—she drove down to Brighton in her travelling carriage, with four horses and two outriders. She gave an order for the furnishing of her house to the amount of L4000, and commissioned from Hatchett, the celebrated coachmaker, a first-rate chariot, with all kinds of expensive mountings and mouldings, to be ready for the Queen's birthday, when she was to be introduced at court by the wife of one of the Secretaries of State. In the interval, she drove daily through the West End, dropping her cards at the houses of persons of public name. She thus proceeded for a while triumphantly; but having, in the intoxication of her success, given the names of some persons of rank as her relatives, inquiry was made amongst them, and the relationship being of course disowned, suspicion was suddenly excited. Nothing could exceed her indignation on the subject; but the tradesmen, thus rendered only more suspicious, attempted to recover their furniture. The caption was at last made, and bailiffs were put into the house, with the expectation of apprehending the lady herself. However, she was adroit enough to discover her danger, and to her house she returned no more. Search was made after her, and it was said that she was discovered and thrown into jail. But she suddenly disappeared; and failing her own legacy, left to the unlucky people who had given her credit, a long legacy of general quarrel and mutual disappointment.
When Fox was asked whether he had any faith in Political Economy, the doctrines of which had become fashionable in his day, from the writings of Turgot and the French school, he answered—"That it was too undefined for his comprehension; that its views were either too large, or too indistinct, to give his mind the feeling of certainty."
He well might say this, when no two of the modern Political Economists agree, and when all the theories of the last age are laughed at by all the theorists of the present. In the middle of the seventeenth century Sir William Petty, one of the most acute, and also one of the most practical men of his time, pronounced that the population of England would take three hundred and sixty years to double—the fact being, that it has doubled within about a seventh part of that period. Of London he predicts, that its growth must finally stop in 1842; and that then its population must amount to half the population of England. Yet London is still growing, day by day, and yet its population scarcely exceeds a twentieth of the whole.
The Emperor Paul, in the beginning of his reign, was a favourite with the soldiery, whom he indulged in all possible ways, giving them money, distributing promotion lavishly among them, and always pronouncing them the bulwark of his throne. But when his brain began to give way, his first experiments were with the soldiery, and he instantly became unpopular. The former dress of the Russian soldier was remarkable alike for its neatness and its convenience. He wore large pantaloons of red cloth, the ends of which were stuffed into his boots; the boots were of flexible leather, and an excellent and easy protection for the legs and feet. He wore a jacket of red and green, with a girdle round the waist; his head was protected by a light helmet. The whole dress thus consisting of two garments, light, showy, and looking the true dress for a soldier.
Paul's evil genius, which induced him to change every thing, began with that most perilous of all things to tamper with—the army of a great military power. He ordered the Austrian costume to be adopted. Nothing could equal the general indignation. The hair must be powdered, curled, and pomatumed; a practice which the Russian, who washed his locks every day, naturally abhorred. The long tail made him the laugh of his countrymen. His boots, to which he had been accustomed from his infancy, and which form a distinctive part of the national costume, were to be taken off, and to be substituted by the tight German spatterdash and the shoe, the one pinching the leg, and the other perpetually falling off the foot, wherever the march happened to be in the wet. The consequence was, infinite discontent, and desertion to a great extent—a thing never heard of in the service before.
It may be conceived with what disdain those frivolous, yet mischievous, innovations must have been regarded by those Russian officers who had known the reality of service. Suvaroff was then in Italy with his army. One morning a large packet was brought to him by an Imperial courier. To his astonishment, and the amusement of his staff, it was but models of tails and curls. Suvaroff gave vent to a sneer, a much more fatal thing than a sarcasm, in some Russian verses, amounting to—
"Hair-powder is not gunpowder; Curls are not cannon; Tails are not bayonets."
The general's rough poetry was instantly popular; it spread through the army, it travelled back to Russia, it reached the Imperial ear; the Czar was stung by the burlesque, and Suvaroff was recalled.
Few things are more remarkable, than the slowness with which common sense acts, even in matters which should evidently be wholly under its guidance. It might appear that the mere necessities of war would dictate the equipment of the soldier; namely, that it should be light, simple, and safe, as far as is possible. Yet the equipment of the European soldier, at the commencement of the French war, seemed to be intended only to give him trouble, to encumber him, and to expose his personal safety. The Austrian soldier's dress was an absolute toilette. The Prussian, even with all the intelligence of the Great Frederic to model it, was enough to perplex a French milliner, and to occupy the wearer half the day in putting it off and on. The English uniform was modelled on the Prussian, and our unlucky soldier was compelled to employ his hours in tying his queue, powdering his hair, buttoning on his spatterdashes, and polishing his musket-barrel. The heavy dragoons all wore cocked hats, of all coverings of the head the most unprotecting and the most inconvenient. The French light troops, too, all wore cocked hats. The very colour of the royal French uniform, as well as the Austrian, was white, of all colours the most unfitted for the rough work of the bivouack, and also injurious, as shewing the immediate stain of blood.
It actually took twenty years to teach the general officers of the European armies, that men could fight without spatterdashes, that hair-powder was not heroism, and that long tails were only an imitation of the monkey; that muskets did not fire the worse for having brown barrels, and that the cuirass was a better defence for the body of the dragoon than a cloth waistcoat, however covered with embroidery. But why shall not improvement go a little farther? Why shall not the arm of the dragoon be a little protected as well as his body? A slight and simple covering of steel rings would effect the purpose, and it is an important one; for a slight wound in the arm disables him even more than a wound in the body, unless the latter wound should be mortal at once. But why, also, should not the foot soldier wear something equivalent to the cuirass? The weight might be made trifling, it might be carried at the back of his knapsack except when in actual engagement, and it would save thousands of lives; for the most dangerous wounds are in the front, and a wound in the abdomen is almost incurable. Five shillings' worth of tin-plate might protect the soldier for his lifetime; and there can be no doubt, that the consciousness of having such a protection would render troops more efficient. Of the bravery of the British there can be no doubt; but there can be just as little doubt, that every increase to the personal security of troops renders them calmer under fire, and of course fitter for obedience in the exigiencies of service. Besides, it is a public duty to the brave men in our service, not to expose them needlessly on any occasion; and they are exposed needlessly, when they are sent into the field without every protection which our skill can give. But are we demanding armour for the foot soldiers? No; the armour of the old times of Chivalry would be too heavy, and impede the activity of those movements, of which so much of military success depends. The defensive arms of the Roman soldier were simply a small light helmet, a light cuirass, and greaves, or boots bound with brass. Yet with these his average march was twenty miles a-day, carrying sixty pounds weight of provisions and baggage on his back. The weight of his sword, his two lances, and his intrenching tools and palisade, was not reckoned.
Buonaparte has made a Concordat with the Pope. The laughers have attacked him in the following epigram:—
Politique plus fin que General Eubile, Bien plus ambitieux que Louis dit le Grand. Pour etre Roi d'Egypte, il croit a l'Alkoran, Pour etre Roi de France, il croit a l'Evangile.
Our English epitaphs are often as disgraceful to the national taste, as their levity is unsuitable to the place of the dead. I am not aware whether this epitaph, by the most amiable of poets, Cowper, has been preserved among his works. It is on the tomb of a Mrs Hamilton:—
"Pause here and think—a monitory rhyme Demands one moment of thy fleeting time. Consult Life's silent clock. Thy glowing vein Seems it to say—'Health here has long to reign?'— Hast thou the vigour of thy youth? an eye That beams delight: a heart untaught to sigh? Yet fear. Youth ofttimes, healthful and at ease, Anticipates a day it never sees. And many a tomb, like Hamilton's, aloud Exclaims—Prepare thee for an early shroud!"
In the course of this year died three remarkable men, Lavater, Gilbert Wakefield, and Heberden, the famous physician. Perhaps no man of his day excited more general attention throughout Europe than John Gaspar Lavater; and this is the more remarkable, when we recollect that he was but a simple Swiss pastor at Zurich—minister of the church of St Peter. When about thirty years' old, his mind was first turned to the study of Physiognomy. He shortly after published some parts of a work on the subject, in which he broached a new theory; viz. that the countenance gave representative evidences of the powers and comparative vigour of the understanding. The subject of Physiognomy had been already treated of by the German writers; but, as Voltaire observes, the business of German philosophy is to make philosophy inaccessible; and their treatises had sunk into oblivion. Yet the science itself, if science it is to be called, is so natural, so universally, however involuntarily, practised, and frequently so useful in its practice, that its revival became instantly popular:—a large part of its popularity, however, being due to the novelty of Lavater's system, the animation of his language, and that enthusiastic confidence in his discovery, which is always amongst the most powerful means of convincing the majority of mankind. Something also is due to the happy idea of illustrating his conceptions by a great number of portraits, which added amusement to the general interest of the volumes. Passion possesses great influence in the world, and Physiognomy became the fashion. His books spread through every part of the Continent, and nothing can be more striking than the ardour with which they were received. If Switzerland is proud of his popularity, the mysticism of Germany was delighted with his mysticism; and the literary coteries of France, at whose head were all the ladies of the court, were his most vehement disciples. Nothing was read, for a considerable period, but the pages of Lavater. It has been said, that scarcely a domestic would be hired without a physiognomical examination, and reference to the pages of Lavater.
His personal conduct sustained his public popularity; his gentle manners, his general benevolence, and his eloquence in the pulpit, endeared him to the people. He was the most popular preacher in Zurich, less from his abilities, than on the softness of his voice, and the tenderness of his manner.
The objections occasionally started to his theories only increased his hold upon the national affections. For the period he was the physiognomical apostle of Switzerland. Some of his admirers went so far, as to lay his quarto on the table beside the Scriptures, and regard it as a species of Natural Revelation.
Even when the novelty lost its charm, the locality preserved his reputation. Switzerland, in those days, was the peculiar resort of all the leading personages of Europe; all travellers of distinction visited the country, and generally made some stay in its cities; and all visited Lavater. What has become of his Album, I have not heard; but its autographs must have made it invaluable to a collector of the signatures of eminent names.
But, whether tempted by vanity, or betrayed by original feebleness of intellect, the harmless physiognomist at length suffered himself to announce doctrines equally hazardous to the Religion, and the Policy, of the Canton. The habits of the times were latitudinarian in religion, and revolutionary in politics. Some unlucky opinions, uttered in the folly of the hour, brought Lavater under the charge of a leaning to Rome in the one, and to France in the other; he bore up for a while against both. But the invasion of Switzerland by the French armies, suddenly made him a vigorous denouncer of Republican ambition, and he was soon to be its victim. In the storming of Zurich by Moreau, he was severely wounded in the streets; and though he was rescued, and his wounds were healed, he never recovered the injury. He languished, though in full possession of his intellectual powers, until he died.
What his theology was, can scarcely be defined; but if he had not adopted Physiognomy as the study of his life, his temperament might have excited him to try the effect of a new Religion. He was said to have believed in the continuance of the power of working miracles, and to have equally believed in the modern power of exorcists. Fortunately his talent was turned to a harmless pursuit; and he amused, without bewildering, the minds of men.
The grand principle of his physiognomical system is, that human character is to be looked for, not as is usually supposed, in the movable features and lines of the face, but in its solid structure. And he also imagined that the degree of intellectual acuteness is to be ascertained by the same indications. But his theory in the former instance is but feebly supported by fact; for it is by the movements of the features that the passions are most distinctly displayed: and in the latter, his theory is constantly contradicted by facts, for many of the most powerful minds that the world has ever seen have been masked under heavy countenances.
Perhaps the true limit of the Science is to be discovered by the knowledge of its use. Every man is more or less a physiognomist. It is of obvious importance for us to have some knowledge of the passions and propensities of our fellow men; for these constitute the instruments of human association, and form the dangers or advantages of human intercourse. Thus, a countenance of ill temper or of habitual guile, of daring violence or of brutish profligacy, warns the spectator at once. But the knowledge of intellectual capacity is comparatively unimportant to us as either a guide or a protection, and it is therefore not given, but left to be ascertained by its practical operation.
Phrenology has since taken up the challenge which Physiognomy once gave to mankind:—equally ingenious and equally fantastic, equally offering a semblance of truth, and equally incapable of leading us beyond the simple observation which strikes the eye. A well-formed head will probably contain a well-formed brain; and a well-formed brain will probably be the fittest for the operations of the intellect. But beyond this, Phrenology has not gone, and probably will never go. The attempts to define the faculties by their position in the structure of the bone or the brain, have been so perpetually contradicted by fact; its prognostics of capacity have been so perpetually defeated; and its mistakes of character have been so constantly thrown into burlesque by the precipitancy and presumption of its advocates—that common sense has abandoned it altogether; it has by common consent been abandoned to enthusiasts; and to assert its right to the name of a Science, would now hazard the title of its advocate to rationality.
The life of Gilbert Wakefield is one among the many instances of vigorous learning and strong intellect, made a source of misery to their possessor by a want of common prudence. His whole life might be characterized in three words—courage, caprice, and misfortune. After having attained a Cambridge fellowship, acquired distinction in classical criticism, and entered into the Church, he suddenly began to entertain notions hostile to the liturgy, and became classical tutor of the dissenting academy of Warrington. For ten years he laboured in this obscure vocation, or with private pupils, now chiefly turning his classical studies to the illustration of the New Testament. At the end of this period, he became classical tutor of the dissenting College in Hackney. But even Dissent could not tolerate his opinions; for a volume which he published, tending to lower the value of public worship, gave offence, and speedily dissolved the connexion. His classical knowledge was now brought into more active use, and he published Annotations on the Greek tragedies, and editions of some of the Roman poets. Unfortunately, the popular follies on the subject of the French Revolution tempted him to try his pen as a Pamphleteer; and a letter written in reply to the Bishop of Llandaff, rendered him liable to a prosecution: he was found guilty, and sentenced to an imprisonment of two years in Dorchester jail. This imprisonment was unfortunately fatal; for whether from his confinement, or the vexation of mind which must be the natural consequence, his liberation found him exhausted in strength, though still the same bold and indefatigable being which he had been through the whole course of his wayward life. Still he had many friends, and between the spirit of party, and the more honourable spirit of personal regard, the large subscription of L5000 was raised for his family. But his career was now rapidly drawing to a close. He had been but a few months relieved from his prison, when his constitution sank under an attack of typhus, and he died in his forty-sixth year, at an age which in other men is scarcely more than the commencement of their maturity—is actually the most vigorous period of all their powers; and in an undecayed frame gives the securest promise of longevity. With all his eccentricities, and he had many, he had the reputation of being an amiable man.
Heberden was at the head of English Medicine in his day. He was a man of vigorous understanding and accomplished knowledge. He began life as a scholar, entering Cambridge, where he obtained a fellowship. Adopting physic as his profession, he continued in Cambridge for ten years; until the usual ambition of country practitioners to be known in the metropolis, urged him to try his fortunes in London.
The example of this able, and ultimately successful man, is not without its value, as an encouragement to perseverance under the most discouraging obstacles, when they happen to come in the way of individuals of sound scholarship and substantial strength of mind. Heberden lingered in London without success for some years; and at length, conceiving that his ill-fortune was beyond remedy, had formed his resolution to return to the country.
At this period some lucky chance changed his purpose. He became known; rapidly rose into practice, and assumed the rank due to his ability. Similar circumstances had occurred in the career of the celebrated Edmund Burke, who was at two different periods on the point of leaving England for America, in despair of distinction at home. The late Lord Eldon had even given up his chambers in London, and announced his intention of commencing as a country practitioner of the law; when, at the suggestion of a legal friend, he made the experiment of "trying another term." Business suddenly flowed in upon him, and the disheartened barrister was soon floated on to the highest dignities of his profession. Even the illustrious Wellington himself is said, at one time, to have entertained serious thoughts of directing himself to a civil career, and to have been prevented only by the difficulty of finding an immediate employment. The delay gave room for the fortunate change in his prospects, which soon made him the first officer in Europe.
Heberden wrote a great variety of Tracts on his own science; suffered no improvement in medicine, or public topic connected with general health, to escape him; cultivated his original scholarship to the last; enjoyed the friendship of the scientific world throughout his career; and enjoyed life itself to an unusual duration, dying in his ninety-first year.
The anxieties of Europe are, for a while, at least, at an end. The preliminaries of peace with France were signed on October the 1st, and yesterday the 9th, Lauriston, first aide-de-camp to Bonaparte, arrived in town. The populace were all civility to him so were the ministers. The French ambassador, Otto, immediately took him to Downing Street, where he was complimented by Lord Hawkesbury. Lauriston is a general in the Republican service, with a handsome figure, which, covered with lace, and the showy decorations of his rank, quite enchanted the multitude of gazers.
At the peace of 1782, the pleasantry of George Selwyn, on the arrival of the French ambassador, a remarkably little man, was, "That France had sent them the preliminaries of peace, by the preliminaries of an ambassador." Whatever may be the fate of the present preliminaries, the jest will not apply to the present envoy, who looks the soldier, and would evidently make a dashing hussar. His progress through the streets was, from the first, followed by acclamation. But at length it became a kind of triumph. The zeal of the rabble, (probably under good guidance, for the French employes comprehend those little arrangements perfectly,) determined on drawing the carriage. The harness was taken off, the horses enjoyed a sinecure, the coachman sat in uneasy idleness on his box, and the crowd tugged away in their best style. The procession slowly moved through the principal streets of the West End, till it reached the Foreign Office. After a pause there, for the delivery of his credentials, Lauriston went to the Admiralty, where St Vincent, the first lord, (albeit no lover of Frenchmen,) received the stranger with a good-humoured shake of the hand, and, on parting with him, made a little speech to the mob, recommending it to them "to take care and not overset the carriage."
In the evening London was illuminated, and looked as brilliant as lights and transparencies could make it. An odd incident during the day, however, showed of what tetchy materials a great populace is made. Otto, the French resident, in preparing his house for the illumination, had hung in its front a characteristic motto, in coloured lamps, consisting of the three words—"France, Concord, England." A party of sailors, who had rambled through the streets to see the preparations for the night, could not bring their tongues to relish this juxtaposition; which they read as if it were, "France conquered England." The mob gathered, and were of the same opinion. Jack began to talk loud, and to speak of the motto as a national insult. Fortunately, however, before the matter could proceed to breaking windows, or perhaps worse, some of the envoy's servants informed their master of the equivocal nature of his motto. The obnoxious word was changed accordingly, and the illumination in the evening (which was most splendid,) displayed the motto—"France—Peace—England."
The North, too, has not been without its festivities. Alexander of Russia has been crowned with all the pomp of a successor of Catherine, and the Lord of an Empire five thousand miles long, and touching almost the Tropics, and almost the Pole. Moscow, of course, was the scene. All that barbaric pomp and European luxury could combine, was to be seen in the displays of the double coronation of the Czar and Czarina. Alexander, disdaining the royal habit of being drawn in a carriage, however gilded; or remembering that he was the monarch of a nation of horsemen, King of the Tartar world, moved in the midst of his great lords and cavalry, mounted on a fine English charger, and was received every where with boundless acclamations.
The memory of kings is seldom long-lived in despotic governments. But Paul's is already extinguished, or survives only in the rejoicing of the people to have got rid of him. His nature was not ungenerous, but his caprice had become so intolerable, that his longer life would probably have seen some desperate outbreak in the Empire.
The Czar is handsome, according to Russian ideas of beauty,—tall, and well-proportioned. The people are delighted to find themselves under his authority, and the peculiar affability of his manner to the English at Moscow, is regarded as a pledge of the reconciliation of Russia to the system of our politics and our trade.
Russia, more than any other monarchy, requires a powerful, direct, and vigilant administration. The enormous extent of her territory exposes her to perpetual abuses in her provincial governments. The barbarism of a vast portion of her population, demands the whole capacity of an enlightened Sovereign, to raise it in the rank of human nature.
To this hour the question is doubtful, whether Moscow ought not to have continued the seat of government. It is true that then Russia would probably have had no Baltic fleet. But ought she ever to have had a Baltic fleet? Ought she to have attempted a maritime superiority, with sea locked up in ice for six months of the year; a territory meant for a wilderness, and incapable of becoming anything better, in which the Russian sovereigns have condemned themselves to the life of one of their own bears, cold, wild, and comfortless? All the stoves on earth cannot make a St Petersburg winter endurable by any thing but a fish or a marmozet; while Moscow offered a glorious climate, unlimited space for a capital city, a fertile country, a fine landscape, a central position for the head of an empire, with Europe in its front, and Asia at its back.
The choice of St Petersburg has probably cramped the growth of Russian power. Even Poland has only given her a desert, a kingdom scantily cultivated, scantily peopled, discontented serfdom and a broken frontier. Yet all may be for the best. Moscow, as the head of the Empire, might have made her too powerful, and Europe might have seen a Russian Gengis Khan.
The Town is ringing with an extraordinary feat of pedestrianism; the first exploit of a young Scotchman, Barclay of Ury. He had betted L5000 that he would walk ninety miles in twenty-one and a half hours, and has won, leaving an hour and seventeen minutes to spare.
Feats of this order have a value, as showing the powers of the human frame. They would otherwise be merely vulgar gambling. But if it is of importance to know the extent of the mental powers, those of the body also have their uses; and an effeminate generation would only have to prepare themselves by the exercises of this young gentleman, to be able to dispense with post-chaises and the gout. The walker is but twenty-two years old; and he has finished his exploit without any injury to his frame, and, it may be presumed, with a considerable advantage to his finances. All the "Sporting world," as they are named, were on the ground, which was a measured mile, on the road between York and Hull; lamps were erected to light the principal performer during the night. A cottage at the road-side received him for refreshment, and change of dress, at intervals. A militia regiment, which happened to be on its march from Hull, halted and filed on either side of the road, with the gallantry of sportsmen, to give him free way; and the general interest taken in this singular performance was surprising. The only drawback was the evident activity of his frame, and his power of endurance; for after the first thirty miles the betting began to be wholly in his favour, and the spirit of speculation shrunk from that period, and long before the close no bets would be taken. From daylight, multitudes thronged to the course. All the carriages, of which such numbers pass along this communication between the two great northern towns, went to the side of the road; even the mails gave way. The affair seemed national, and if the gallant pedestrian had failed, it might have been followed by a general mourning in the Ridings.
One of the great Histrionic Dynasty, Stephen Kemble, has lately amused the Town by his performance of Falstaff. He exhibited the humours of the jovial knight with skill enough to make the audiences laugh. But he was perhaps the first actor who ever played the fat knight to the life. His remarkable corpulence qualified him to play the character without stuffing. The good-humour of his visage was fully equalled by the protuberance of his stomach; and if the "totus in se teres atque rotundus" of Horace, is the poet's definition of a good man, the actor rose to the summit of human virtue. The best prologue, since the days of Garrick, ushered in this singular performance.
"A Falstaff here to-night, by nature made, Lends to your favourite bard his pond'rous aid; No man in buckram he, no stuffing gear! No feather bed, nor e'en a pillow here! But all good honest flesh, and blood, and bone, And weighing, more or less—some thirty stone. Upon the northern coast, by chance, we caught him: And hither, in a broad-wheel'd waggon, brought him; For in a chaise the varlet ne'er could enter, And no mail-coach on such a fare would venture. Blest with unwieldiness, at least his size Will favour find in every critic's eyes; And should his humour, and his mimic art, Bear due proportion to his outer part, As once 'twas said of Macklin in the Jew, 'This is the very Falstaff Shakspeare drew.' To you, with diffidence, he bids me say, Should you approve, you may command his stay, To lie and swagger here another day. If not, to better men he'll leave his sack, And go as ballast, in a collier, back."
This French peace will not last. The parties to this unnatural wedlock are beginning to grumble already; and this, too, when the bans are still in every body's ears. The French, however, have begun the quarrel, by sending out a huge fleet, with 30,000 men on board, to St Domingo. This our minister regards as a daring exploit, which may finish by turning on Jamaica. The negroes are every where in exultation; for they cannot be made to believe that France intends any thing but a general emancipation; and that her expedition, however it be apparently against Touissaint, is sent for a general overthrow of the whites.
Long discussions have taken place between the two governments, all ending in the usual way. France protesting her honour, and England proclaiming her alarms; both amounting to so much paper wasted. But our West India squadron has been reinforced; and the First Consul has found employment for a daring soldiery, who cannot live in quiet; found offices for some hundreds of officials, the most petitioning and perplexing race of mankind; and found a topic for the Coffeehouses, which he naturally thinks much better employed in talking about St Domingo, than in criticising his proceedings at home.
Another source of grumbling between these two ill-assorted parties. At the very Marriage feast an apple of discord has been thrown in, and that apple is Switzerland. France will suffer but one republic, and that must be the World. The presumption of a little pigeon-house of Republics among the Alps insults her feelings; and all must run under the wing of the great Republican Eagle, or be grasped by her talons. An army has been ordered to march to Berne. The Swiss will probably resist, but they will certainly be beaten. Republics are sometimes powerful in attack; they are always feeble in defence. They are at best but a mob; and, while the mob can rush on, they may trample down opposition. But a mob, forced to the defensive, thinks of nothing but running away. The strength of a monarchy alone can bind men together for an effectual resistance. Switzerland will get the fraternal embrace, and be as much fettered as St Domingo.
Who are to be the heirs of General Claude Martin? The man never knew that he had a grandfather, and probably was as much in doubt about his heirs. What he was himself, nobody seems to know. But this man of obscurity has died worth half a million sterling! So much for India and her adventurers.
When a boy, he entered into the French service. By some chance or other he found himself in India; there offered himself to the Nabob of Lucknow, disciplined his troops, rose to the rank of commandant of the Rajah's troops, or some similar position, and amassed the half million. He was a splendid distributor, however, and has given away by his will six hundred thousand rupees—a sum large enough to buy any thing in France but the First Consul.
Francis, Duke of Bedford, has just died. The reports vary as to the cause. The general opinion is, that in playing rackets, or in some other rough exercise, he overstrained himself, and produced a return of a disease to which he had been for some years liable. The details of his death are too painful to be entered into. The first surgical assistance was brought down to Woburn. An operation was performed, which for some days gave hope, but it was too late. Mortification ensued, and he died, to the great regret of a large circle of personal friends; to the great loss of his party, which was Whig in the highest degree; and to the general sorrow of the country. He was a handsome man with a showy figure, and the manners, and, what was better, the spirit of a nobleman. He was magnificent in his household, and not less magnificent in his sense of duty as a landlord and country gentleman. He first established those great Agricultural Meetings by which the breed of British cattle was so greatly improved; Agriculture took the shape of a science, and the Agricultural interest, the true strength of a country, took its place among the pillars of the Empire.
By a sort of fashion, the leading country gentlemen always began public life as Whigs. And although the Bedford family had gone through every form of politics, from the days of their founder, Russell, under Henry the VIII., and especially in the person of the Duke of Bedford's unpopular, but able, grandfather, the Duke espoused the party of Fox with the devotion of an enthusiast.
He was thus brought into some unfortunate collisions with the bolder spirits and more practised talents of the Treasury Bench; and though, from his position in the House of Lords, secure from direct attack by the great leaders of Government, he was struck by many a shaft which he had neither the power to repel nor to return.
An unlucky piece of hardihood, in attacking the royal grant of a pension of three thousand a year to the greatest writer, philosopher, and politician of the age, Edmund Burke, provoked a rejoinder, which must have put any man to the torture. Burke's pamphlet in defence of his pension, was much less a defence than an assault. He broke into the enemy's camp at once, and "swept all there with huge two-handed sway." He traced the history of the Bedford opulence up to its origin, which he loftily pronounced to be personal sycophancy and public spoil—the plunder of the Abbeys, obtained by subserviency to a Tyrant. The eloquence of this terrible castigation unhappily embalmed the scorn. And so long as the works of this great man are read, and they will be read so long as the language endures, the honours of Francis Duke of Bedford will go down dismantled to posterity.
But his private character was amiable, and the closing hours of his career were manly. On its being announced to him that an operation was necessary, he asked only for "two hours delay to settle his affairs;" and he occupied those two hours in writing to his brothers, and to some friends. He then offered to submit to be bound, if the operators should think it necessary; but they replied, "that they relied fully on his Grace's firmness of mind." He bore the trial with remarkable fortitude. But the disorder took an unfavourable turn, and on the third day he expired.
The retirement of Pitt from the Ministry, has given his successor, Addington, the honour of making the peace. But the services of the great Master are not eclipsed by the fortunes of the follower. Addington is universally regarded as the shadow of Pitt; moving only as he moves; existing by his existence; and exhibiting merely in outline his reality. Every one believes that Pitt must return to power; and those who are inclined to think sulkily of all ministers, look upon the whole as an intrigue, to save Pitt's honour to the Irish Roman Catholics, and yet preserve his power. Those rumours have received additional strength from a grand dinner given the other day in the city, on his birthday, at which his friends mustered in great force, and his name was toasted with the most lavish panegyric. Among the rest, a song, said to be by George Rose, of whose claims to the laurel no one had ever heard before—was received with great applause. Some of its stanzas were sufficiently applicable.
"No Jacobin rites in our fetes shall prevail, Ours the true feast of reason, the soul's social flow; Here we cherish the friend, while the patriot we hail, As true to his country—as stern to her foe. Impress'd with his worth, We indulge in our mirth, And bright shines the planet that ruled at his birth. Round the orbit of Britain, oh, long may it move, Like the satellite circling the splendours of Jove!
"To the name of a Pitt, in the day of the past, Her rank 'mid the nations our country may trace; Though his statue may moulder, his memory will last, The great and the good live again in their race; Ere to time's distant day, Our marble convey The fame that now blooms, and will know no decay, Our fathers' example our breasts shall inspire And we'll honour the Son as they honour'd the Sire."
The public doubts of the peace are at length settled. A note has been sent from the Foreign Office to the Lord Mayor, announcing that the definitive treaty had been finally settled at Amiens, on the 27th of March, by the plenipotentiaries of England, France, Spain, and the Batavian Republic. The treaty, as it transpires, is the source of general cavil. It leaves to France all her conquests, while England restores every thing except Ceylon and Trinidad; the one a Dutch colony, and the other a Spanish; both powers having been our Allies at the commencement of the war. The Cape is to be given back to the Dutch; but Malta, the principal bone of contention, is to be garrisoned by a Neapolitan force, until a Maltese garrison can be raised, and the island is then to be declared independent, under the guarantee of all the great powers of Europe. The French government affected to display great reluctance to conclude even this treaty, which has thus taken six months of negotiation since the exchange of preliminaries. At one time, orders were sent for the Channel fleet to put to sea. Yet there can be no question that France desired this Peace, whether as a resting time for a fresh attack, or from the mere exhaustion of war. She had already gained every object that she could hope to obtain by arms in her present condition, and her natural policy was to secure what she had thus attained. The two grand prizes of her ambition, Egypt and the command of the Mediterranean, had been boldly aimed at, but she had lost both, and both were now evidently hopeless. Some of those straws, too, had been thrown up, which, if they show nothing else, show the direction of the wind; and there were evident signs in the almost royal pomp of the First Consul, in the appointments of officers of state for ten years, and the constituting the Consulate an office for life; in the preparations for the return of the emigrants, and in the superb receptions at the Tuilleries—that Bonaparte already contemplated the last days of the republic. To what new shape of power his ambition looks is yet only in conjecture. But he is ambitious, daring, and unscrupulous—the idol of the army, and the wonder of the people. He may shrink, like Caesar, from the diadem, or he may assume, like Cromwell, the power of a king, without the name; but the field is open before him, and France can offer no competition.
Darwin, the author of the "Botanic Garden," has just died at the age of seventy-one. His death will leave a chasm, though one not incapable of being filled up, in our didactic poetry. His "Loves of the Plants" was a new idea, thrown into agreeable verse; and a new idea is always popular. For a while his poem obtained great celebrity: but Nature alone is permanent; and after the first surprise wore off, the quaintness of his inventions, and the minute artifice of his poetic machinery, repelled the public taste. The Linnaean system, partly indecent, and partly ridiculous, was felt to be wholly unfitted for the blazonry of versification; and his poem, the labour of years, sank into obscurity as rapidly as it had risen into distinction. It is now wholly unread, and almost wholly forgotten; yet it contains bold passages, and exhibits from time to time happiness of epithet, and harmony of language. Its subject degrades the poem; its casual allusions constitute its merit. Vegetable loves must be an absurdity in any language; but Darwin's mind was furnished with variety of knowledge, and he lavished it on his subject with Oriental profusion. He had eloquence, but he wanted feeling; knowledge, but he wanted taste; and invention, but he wanted nature. The want of any one of the three would have been dangerous to his fame as a poet, but his deficiency in the three together left him to drop into remediless oblivion.
A curious attempt hast just shown the popular opinion of ministerial honesty. The Attorney-General has prosecuted, and brought to conviction, a fellow in some low trade, who, hearing that Mr Addington was prime minister, and thinking of course that a prime minister could do all things, sent an actual offer of L2000 to him for a place in the Customs, on which he happened to set his heart. Unluckily for the applicant, he was a century too late. However those matters might have been managed a hundred years ago, less tangible means than money now rule the world. Besides, no man who knew any thing of Addington, ever attached a suspicion of the kind to him. Erskine made a speech in the defence, the best that could be made on such a subject, but not the most flattering to the vanity of his client. It was that he was a blockhead, and had no idea of the absurdity that he was committing. Among other instances of his ignorance, he said, that when he saw the subpoena served upon him, he thought that it was the appointment to his place. But even his idiotism could not save him, and the affair ended in his being sentenced to three months' imprisonment, and L100 fine.
Christie, the auctioneer, the other day, gave a happy specimen of the eloquence of the hammer. He is at the head of his trade, and sells all the remarkable things. On this occasion the Pigot diamond had come into his hands. It is a very fine brilliant, but objected to by the connoisseurs as not having sufficient depth. It was valued at L40,000. But at this sale the auctioneer could not raise its price above L9500, or guineas. He then appealed to his audience, a crowd of the fair and fashionable,—
"How unfortunate," said he, "is it, for the owners of this incomparable production, that they should have brought it into the market in a country so famed for female beauty as England! Here the charms of the sex require no such additions; here the eyes of the ladies sparkle with brilliancy which outvies all the gems of the East. In other countries this incomparable stone would be sought as a necessary aid; here it can be valued only as a splendid superfluity." The room rang with applause.
One of the heroes of Junius has just died; the veteran Wellbore Ellis, Lord Mendip. This man's whole life was spent in public employments. He was the son of an Irish bishop, whose brother—such were the curious qualities of the time—took orders in the Popish Church, followed the Pretender, and died a Popish bishop. Young Ellis, after an education at Westminster and Oxford, was brought into parliament under the Pelhams, who made him a lord of the Admiralty. Under the Newcastle administration which followed, he was appointed to the lucrative post of Irish vice-treasurer, which he held undisturbed through all the struggles of the Cabinet till the Grenville administration, when he was raised still higher, and became Secretary at War.
The Grenvilles fell; the Marquis of Rockingham brought in his friends and Ellis was superseded in his Irish office by Colonel Barre. For five unlucky years he continued in that Limbo of patriots, exclusion from place. At length, the Premiership of Lord North recalled him. He again obtained the Vice-treasurership, and in the final distress of that unpopular administration, was for a short time raised even to the Colonial Secretaryship. But North was driven from power, and all his adherents fell along with him. Rockingham, the North and Fox coalition, and Pitt, exhibited a succession of premierships, which ended in the exclusion of the whole Whig principle, in all its shapes and shades, for twenty years. Ellis was now growing old; he was rich; he had been a public man for upwards of forty years; he had been fiercely abused by the opposition writers while he continued in office, and fiercely attacked by the government writers when in opposition. He had thus his full share of all that public life furnishes to its subjects, and he seemed inclined to spend the remainder of his days in quiet. But the French Revolution came. Startled at the ruin with which its progress threatened all property, he joined that portion of the Whigs which allied itself with the great Minister. The Duke of Portland entered the cabinet, and Wellbore Ellis was raised to the peerage. There his career, not unworthily, closed; and his remaining years were given to private society, to books, of which he had a celebrated collection, and to the recollections of the Classics, of which he possessed an early mastery. He was an acute and accomplished man. The fiery indignation of Junius rather threw a light than inflicted an injury on his character. That first of political satirists spared none; and the universal nature of his attacks made men receive them, as they receive a heavy shower, falling on all alike, and drenching the whole multitude together.
Bonaparte has taken the first step to a throne: he has established nobility. The Republic having abolished all titles, a peerage was, for a while, impossible. But he has formed a military Caste, which, without hazarding his popularity with the Parisians, increases his popularity with the troops, and has all the advantages of a noblesse, with all the dependency of its members on the head of the State. He has named this Institution the Legion of Honour. It is to consist of several classes, the first comprehending the great officers of state, generals who have distinguished themselves, and ancient men of science. It has sixteen Cohorts, with palaces allotted to them in Paris and the provinces, for the headquarters of the cohorts. Grants of land are also proposed for the support of these officers and their residences, with distributions and pensions for the lower ranks of the soldiery, to whom the "croix d'honneur" is given.
Thus the old reign of titles, orders, crosses, and an established Class of society, has begun once more; a large portion of the most influential personages of France are thus bound to the head of the government, the hopes of every man, however humble in soldiership or in science, are pointed to the attainment of this public honour, as well as personal provision, and the general purchase of power is virtually declared, with the general consent of this versatile nation.
Ten thousand pounds have just been voted to Jenner, for his discovery of the vaccine inoculation. The liberality of parliament was never more rationally employed. The history of the man, and the discovery, have been long before the public. But the most curious circumstance of the whole is, that the facts of the disease, and the remedy, should have remained for any one to discover in the nineteenth century. They were known to the peasantry of Gloucestershire probably from the first days of cow milking. That the most disfiguring of all diseases, in every country of Europe and Asia, and the most pestilential in a large portion of the globe, could be arrested by a disease from the udders of a cow, seems never to have entered into human thoughts, though the fact that those who had the vaccine disease never suffered from the smallpox, was known to the country physicians.
But Jenner's chief merit was his fortunate conjecture, that the infection might be propagated from one human subject to another. This was the greatest medical discovery since that of the Circulation of the Blood.
IT'S ALL FOR THE BEST.
"It's all for the best, you may depend upon it," said Frank Trevelyan, addressing his companion, Vernon Wycherley, as those two young men were pursuing a beaten track across one of those wild wastes that form so prevalent a feature in most of the mining districts of Cornwall.
"All for the best, indeed?" repeated Vernon interrogatively. "Can it be all for the best to have a whole batch of poems I've been racking my brains about for the last year and a half—and which even you yourself, hard as you are to please, admitted were worthy of praise—to have all these, not only rejected by every publisher I offered them to, but to be actually returned with a recommendation to give up all idea of ever offering them to public notice?"
"But which convinces me still more that matters have turned out for the best; and that if your poetical effusions had been published, they would have brought you far more ridicule than praise," thought Frank. But at the same time, not wishing to hurt his companion's feelings, he said—"Yet, probably, when you have again revised the manuscripts, and bestowed some of your masterly finishing touches here and there, you will, after all, congratulate yourself upon the source of your present disappointment."
"That's an impossibility—an utter impossibility," returned Vernon Wycherley—"for were I to look through them a hundred times, I should never alter a word.——But stay—Look! look!—what is that I see? Two ladies on horseback, I declare! who could have anticipated meeting with such an occurrence in so outlandish a place?"
The place was by no means undeserving of the remark, being devoid of any kind of vegetation, except some straggling heath and a few patches of stunted gorse, which here and there sprung up amidst the rugged spar-stones that, intermixed with rude crags of granite, were thickly scattered over this wide waste, which, throughout its vast extent, afforded as perfect a picture of sterility as can be well conceived. With this brief outline of the scenery, we must next attempt to describe the parties who were wandering over it.
Frank Trevelyan was about two-and-twenty. In figure he was rather below the middle height, and being slightly made and with the proportions of a tall man, he looked much less than he actually was. His features were not handsome, but he possessed what in a man is far more important—a highly intelligent and intellectual cast of countenance. He wore his hair, which was light and curly, cut very close, and incipient whiskers adorned the outline of his lower jaw. He was dressed in a gray tweed wrapper, with trousers of the Brougham pattern, and he sported a hat—black, but whether beaver or gossamer we are uninformed—high in the crown, but very narrow in the brim, bearing altogether no very remote resemblance to an inverted flower-pot.
His companion was about the same age, but the latter had made so much better use of his growing years, as to have shot up to something more than six feet in height; yet his figure, though slender, exhibited no appearance of weakness. His features were passably good—the nose perhaps rather too projecting; but his teeth were unexceptionable. He had a clear complexion, with a good fresh colour in his cheeks, which were still covered with the down of youth, but without imparting the slightest appearance of effeminacy. A foraging-cap of gray woven horse-hair, with a preposterous shade projecting out in front, covered his head; a loose blouse enveloped the upper, whilst checkered inexpressibles enclosed the lower man. Unlike his companion, he wore his hair, which was rather dark, very long, both at the sides and behind; and the rudiments of mustaches were perceptible upon his upper lip; but whether they were to be allowed to attain a more luxuriant maturity, or their brief existence was to be prematurely cut short by the destroying razor, was, at the time we speak of, involved in doubt, that being a subject which, though it engrossed much of his thoughts, the proprietor had hitherto been unable to make up his mind upon. Each of our two heroes bore a light kind of knapsack upon his back; their general appearance marked them to be gentlemen, whilst their attire and accoutrements denoted they were pursuing a pedestrian tour.
But softly! the ladies approach. See how elegantly they canter their steeds over the only smooth piece of turf our travellers had met with throughout the whole extent of gloomy commons they had that morning traversed.
"Ay, that's right! Pull up in time, my lovely ones, ere you get amongst the rascally mole-hills; and then you'll not only ride the safer, but afford us at the same time a chance of obtaining a view of your pretty faces," thought friend Frank; whilst similar thoughts, although perhaps arranged in more elegant terms, were passing through the mind of his companion. But if the curiosity of the two pedestrians was great, their admiration proved far greater when the objects which excited those feelings, on a nearer approach, proved to be two as lovely young women as the most fastidious admirer of beauty could wish to gaze upon. One of them, indeed, displayed such matchless charms to the youthful poet's eyes, as at the very first glance to form to his excited fancy the beau-ideal of perfect loveliness.