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these insatiable scholars quoting some insignificant pamphlet, which has been stifled as soon as born in our heavy atmosphere. -Every work of a higher order, whether of imagination or research, is seized with the utmost avidity, and appears in a German dress at the next Leipsic fair. In this interchange, it is true, besides the few more solid and durable commodities to which we have alluded, we also receive, like certain other islanders, many beads and baubles—some pretty enough in their way Ondines, and Sintrams, and Peter Schlemils—and some specimens of that very clever novelist, Tieck ;—but as for importing to any extent such substantial products as the work before us, those of Raumur, Wilken, and countless others in every branch of eastern, classical, antiquarian, or historical lore, our literary merchants tremble at such desperate ventures ; and limiting of course their imports to the demand, leave us in a state of seclusion from that part of the learned commonwealth of Europe which is advancing with unrivalled vigour and ability in almost every path of letters.
ART. II.-Narrative of a Residence at the Court of London.
By Richard Rush, Esq., Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States of America, from 1817
to 1825. London, 8vo. 1833. IN N these latter days, when every path of literature is so beaten,
this work has at least one primâ facie attraction—it is a novelty. We recollect no instance in modern times in which a minister accredited from one power to another has published a professed account even of his domestic and personal intercourse, much less of his political negociations; and even those of older date, Sully, Bassompierre,* &c., who have left memoirs of this kind, never dreamed of their being printed till, by the lapse of time, all personal feelings and interests should be extinguished. We thought the memoirs of that coxcomb who entitles himself Prince Puckler Muskau, were in exceeding bad taste, and violated that implied confidence under which social intercourse exists among gentlemen,
* Mr. Rush, having occasion to mention the embassies of Sully and Bassompierre in England, seems to have fallen into an error, which can hardly' be one of the press, and which is a strange one—if he had ever read the works he quotes. “Sully,' he says,
brought to England a retinue of two hundred gentlemen. Bassompierre, still earlier, speaks of an equipage of four hundred persons returning with him to France.'—p. 66. Sully’s-embassy to England was in 1603, and Bassompierre's in 1624; and Bassompierre may be said to have flourished in the generation after Sully; so that Mr. Rush's expression, still earlier,' involves an historical anachronism. Nor does it appear
that the four hundred persons mentioned by Bassompierre were all of his own retinue; on the contrary, seventy at least were priests whom the government had ordered out of England; and it seems that many other French catholics took the opportunity of accompanying the ambassador, the relations between the two nations appearing somewhat hostile.
and hospitality is extended to strangers ; but we admit that persons who rashly admit individuals into their society, without a sufficient inquiry or due caution, have themselves chiefly to blame if their confidence be abused ; and the silly vanity which is tickled by entertaining a prince must, when it has the ill luck to fall in with a Puckler Muskau, pay the forfeit of its folly. The case of a foreign minister is very different-his public character is a pledge for his private respectability—his credentials are not to the Court merely, but to society at large, and he becomes, without any other guarantee, an object of hospitality and confidence. But this, we apprehend, would cease to be the case if it were suspected that he would employ these opportunities in making books out of the dinners he had eaten, the manners he had seen, the conversations he had enjoyed, and the company into which he had been introduced.
Mr. Rush is not altogether unaware that this kind of objection may be raised; he says, in his Introduction
• The contents of the chapters may startle at first; but I trust only at first. I am as deeply sensible of the impropriety of making an ill use of the incidents of private life, as it is possible any one can be, and flatter myself that what I have said in this connexion (?) will be clear of all exception. I would otherwise burn the sheets. I would burn them, if I thought they contained a line or a word to create a moment's uneasiness in any one person whose name is mentioned.'
This sounds very plausible; yet we suspect it is founded on a fallacy. Mr. Rush is convinced of the impropriety of making an ill use of the incidents of private life. It is clearly improper to make an •ill use of anything; but we are inclined to contend that it is improper to make any use of those incidents of private life, of which you obtain the knowledge under the respect paid to your public station and the confidence reposed in
your public character. Again ; different persons may give a very different construction to the words ill use. For instance, Mr. Rush pro
ceeds to say,
In giving an account of conversations other than official, I have drawn on my notes sparingly: not that I heard things improper, had all been told; but that a thousand things pass in conversation not adapted to print, any more than intended for it. Reports, then, or narratives, given under restraints, from which I could never be free, may be found meagre; and, in such cases, I am the one to blame, desiring always to err on the side of abstinence, where indulgence would be criminal.'—p. vi.
Now some persons may suppose that it is an ill use to tell but half, or less than half the truth; which must, they may suppose, be the case if you restrain yourself to panegyric. If there be a right to praise what is good, it seems to be also a duty to censure what is wrong. Nay, Mr. Rush himself admits, that he has been obliged to practise abstinence;' and that it would have been criminal' to speak the whole truth : very likely-but this is no great compliment to the persons whose eulogy is the result of such avowed abstinence.' Mr. Rush is good-natured and discreet; but all diplomatists cannot be expected to be so: and he, by a publication, very innocent in itself, makes a precedent which might have very mischievous consequences: the amity of nations would, we fear, become very precarious, if their diplomatic missionaries were to indulge themselves in a candid criticism and an unreserved exposition of the feelings and the manners of the people they may visit, and of the personal habits, conversations, and abilities of the sovereigns, ministers, and other persons, with whom they may have had political and social intercourse. Another consideration makes all our preceding objections more serious. We cared little for the calumnies of General Pillet, or the impertinencies of Prince Puckler; writers must have a good character of their own before their estimate of the characters of others can be of any consequence; and of the persons we have just alluded to, the best that can be said was, that they were obscure and unimportant individuals. It is quite another case with a foreign minister-his station invests him with a graver authority-a kind of public sanction-under the censure of which neither nations nor individuals will be willing to lie without remonstrance or retort, or perhaps revenge.
But Mr. Rush not only gives details of private life, but about half the volume is occupied by the relation of his public negociations. This may at first sight appear to be a mere question of official propriety between him and his own government, but we think that, in truth, the interest of all nations, and the very character of diplomacy itself, are implicated in this precedent. Mr. Rush says,
• In publishing negociations which I conducted for my country, and other official communications, it is proper I should say that I violate no duty. It is known to be as well the practice as the principle of the government of the United States, to publish such documents for general information: and, in fact, I publish nothing that has not heretofore had publicity in this manner, though piece-meal, and at detached intervals. Even the European rule sanctions the publication of negociations when no longer pending, and this is the case with all I present. I have only given them in connecting links, and under forms somewhat different.'
vii. viii. Now here again we fear that Mr. Rush is in a double error-a mistake in fact, and a fallacy in principle. When negociations are over, governments are indeed at liberty to publish all the docu
ments, and without any breach of faith ; for the documents, as the word imports, are written and exchanged for that very purpose; but this rule has never, that we know of, been applied to mere conversations and interlocutory discussions, which prepare and facilitate more formal proceedings, but which no party could safely permit the other to report from his own, probably partial and certainly imperfect, recollections. To his own court, a minister very properly reports, as accurately as he can, such conversations- but they are not for the public. This is so well understood, that when anything passes at interviews which it is thought important to record, it is always reduced to writing, that each party may at least be the expositor of his own meaning, and not dependent on the memory of his antagonist. Now Mr. Rush does not restrict himself to giving such documents.' Indeed, he gives hardly one—but he gives us the private or extra-official conversations and discussions, the result of which was the documents which Mr. Rush confounds with these verbal explanations. Mr. Rush is therefore wrong, both when he calls conversations documents,' and when, because documents may be published, he persuades himself that conversations are in the same predicament. But Mr. Rush is in a still graver error as to the general principle. He seems to think that if such documents may be published, he has a right to publish them. No such thing! The State has such a right, but not the servant of the State, without the express permission of the head of the government.
In all a minister's negociations, whether verbal or documentary, he can acquire no personal right-no right to publish or otherwise employ the papers he may have collected, or the information he may have obtained, for any purpose of his own ; the whole belongs to the State, and he has no more right to make any use of them than a lawyer would have to turn something which he has found among his client's title-deeds to his own private advantage.
We have thought it necessary to make these general observations, because we see in this publication the precedent of a departure from international forms and established principles, which might lead to great inconvenience; and as we have observed that American statesmen of the new school have too frequently shown a disposition to relieve themselves from what Mr. Rush would call · European rules,' we feel it necessary to protest against the deviation ; and we do so as much in the interest of the diplomacy of the United States as our own; for we are satisfied that all nations will be, in the long run, equally benefited by an adherence to the jus et consuetudines gentium which a long and general experience has consecrated for mutual respectability and advantage. But having thus registered our dissent from the principle of Mr.
Rush's publication, both as regards private and public interests, we hasten to state that we have little or no complaint to make as to his details. Those that relate to private life are, he admits,
meagre, and those of a public nature somewhat obsolete. He appears to be a good-natured and kind-hearted man, and we have no doubt was a faithful public servant; but his book is, as he himself seems to have suspected, rather trivial. It certainly does not strike us as the production of a superior intellect-his views do not seem to be very wide, nor his observations very deep; -he appears to be somewhat credulous—and rather too easily amused with objects because they were new. But great allowances are to be made for an American who visits for the first time-not merely Europe—but that celebrated and once glorious country whose language he speaks-whose blood he shareswhose spirit he inherits—whose long line of triumphs in arms and arts, previous to the so-recent separation, he considers, and justly, as his own—and which, however their peculiar interests may differ, he can never regard but as the elder branch of the noble family to which he is proud to belong.. And it certainly is not for us to complain of those parts of his work which may perhaps be most open to criticism.
may smile at some of the things which excite his admiration, and at some of the terms in which he expresses it, but on the whole the spirit with which he visits the land of his fathers is so good—so fraternal, that we should little deserve the favourable opinion which he is willing to entertain and to spread of us, if we did not make light of trivial errors, inevitable by a stranger, and acknowledge with frankness and cordiality our substantial obligations to him for some entertainment and a good deal of kindness.
Yet it is not easy to make satisfactory extracts from his work. His style is not piquant-nor does he deal in anecdotes : to go in special search of errors or ridicules-which, after all, are not many-would be ungrateful and unfair; and his description of English manners and society would, when most correct, be least amusing to an English reader. We confess that our chief entertainment in the book was, that it gives some insight into American
When something which appears to us a very ordinary matter excites the notice of Mr. Rush, we immediately conclude that it is something which either does not exist in America, or is contrary to American usages. We therefore cannot help considering that his portrait of ourselves affords, by reflection as it were, some sketches of America by the same hand ;-and as no one can doubt that the gentleman selected to be envoy to England was in the highest grade, both of manners and talents, we shall have in his observations a kind of standard of comparison between