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enough of him. Mais je n'en crois rien :-it is something that a despotic potentate should wish for freedom and liberty among his people, and such a hobby-horse can but be beneficial, if only to put it into the heads of others; for as Laville, when he married, told us as an excuse,
qu'il faut faire une fin;' I say, vice versa, 'qu'il faut à toutes choses un commencement.'
• The emperor came one night since his return to Madame Berghen's, and the society was not rendered a bit more formal by his presence.
He entered into the amusements, and was very goodnatured, but did not stay long. He is always thinking of politics, and one evening at the play looked out of his adjoining box to tell Mrs. S. that the Dutch were taking the part of the French in the most glaring manner; and that if Pitt (Lord Chatham) had been alive, he would have declared against Holland six months ago.'-Ib. pp. 357, 359, 364.
The partition of Poland—that standing disgrace of European statesmen—was effected about the time of Mr. Swinburne's visit to Vienna. The whole, court' we are informed, was assembled in an antechamber, in order to proceed regularly to the chapel, and hear a grand Te Deum, composed for the oc'casion. Many of the Polish nobility repaired to Vienna, in compliance with an imperial mandate, and vied with each other in the servility with which they worshipped the Austrian usurper. An interesting anecdote, however, is related of one whom our author, with an un-English sympathy with the oppressor, terms' sulky and shy. Of the justice of this description our readers shall judge for themselves.
• All the Poles were presented to Joseph on his return from Russia that is to say, those whose property was included in his share of Poland. Most of them were dressed in the French fashion, and acquitted themselves respectfully of their homage. A few were in the Polish habit ; among the rest an old man, grave, sullen, and backward. Perceiving that he did not approach, the emperor went up to him, addressing him in a courteous manner. The Pole remained sulky and shy. Joseph asked if he amused himself at Vienna. Very little,' was the reply. · I wonder at that,' said the emperor, good-humouredly, ' for there never was such a vast number of your countrymen here as there are at this moment.' Nay,' said the Pole,' I have heard that about a hundred years ago Vienna was peopled with Poles ! *
emperor, who tells this story himself, declares he was quite confounded at this speech, and totally unable to say another word; but he was so pleased with the man's boldness and amor patria, that he felt almost inclined to shake hands with him.
Alluding to the year 1638, when John Sobieski, king of Poland, marched to the relief of Vienna, then besieged by the Turks, whom he attacked and routed, and thus not only liberated that capital, but Hungary, which had been overrun by the Ottomans.
• Madame de Salmour told me that, when she was Madame de Lubienski, she knew the king of Poland, and that he was so fond of Corregio's Magdalene, one of the forty pictures he bought of the Duke of Modena, that wherever he went, this picture accompanied him in a case, and was hung up in his apartments.'— Ib. pp. 348, 349.
From Vienna Mr. Swinburne returned through Brussels to England, and the following, respecting Wilkes and the Prince of Wales, is too tempting to be omitted. It is taken from a letter dated London, May 19th, 1785.
• We had a turtle dinner at Wilkes's yesterday. I had met him the day before on the parade, and the warmth of the weather and walk had carried off all the powder from his bald pate. He is a great complimenter, and would stand talking to me with his hat in his hand. A drummer and his son passed us, and as I was going their way, I overheard their discourse. • What a queer-looking bald fellow that was, said the boy : Don't you know him ?' replied the other ; 'tis Johnny Wilkes, and that bald head has more brains in it than all our regi. ments put together, drummers and all.' I told this to Wilkes, and it made him chuckle. He was very amusing, and told me several droll things.
• În 1783-4, the House of Commons went up every day with an address to the King, praying to remove Pitt and his ministry. The King always received them on his throne, and gave them an answer. One of these days, at the club, George Selwyn had been asking the Prince of Wales some questions, to which he did not choose to reply otherwise than by · Psbaw ! nonsense!' Not long after, as they were both leaning on the balcony looking at the speaker going to court, the prince said, I wonder what will be his majesty's most gracious answer.' 'I cannot tell,' answered George Selwyn, 'what may be the gracious answer of his present majesty,
but I can tell what will be the answer of our next gracious sovereign.' Well, what will it be?' said the prince. · Nonsense ! he replied.
· The other day, at a dinner, in company with the Prince of Wales, Wilkes, being called upon for a toast, gave the King, and long life to him !'- Since when have you become so loyal, Wilkes ?' said the prince, laughing. • Ever since I have had the honor of knowing your royal highness,' said he, with a respectful bow.
· When the prince was a little boy, having been very troublesome in his father's room, and several times turned out of it by him, he returned at last, and thrusting his head into the doorway, screamed out, • Wilkes and Liberty ! -Ib. pp. 397, 399.
Our traveller did not long remain in England, but, having obtained an official appointment, he returned to France, where the revolutionary frenzy was now rapidly attaining its height. Mrs. Swinburne had remained in Paris during the temporary sojourn of her husband in England, and was so kindly regarded by the unfortunate Queen Marie Antoinette, that her son Henry
was installed among the king's pages. The following, from Mrs. Swinburne to her husband, under date of May 10th, 1789, presents a melancholy view of the once gay and light-hearted queen.
I hope you received my letter, to say Harry was arrived safe and well. Monsieur de Beauveau presented him to the Prince de Lambesc, and he was almost immediately installed among the king's pages. The education he will there receive is considered to be in every respect excellent. There is great strictness ; but, in my opinion, the elder pages
have too much power over the younger ones, who are treated fike fags at Eton. I had an audience of the queen two days ago; she is very much altered, and has lost all her brilliancy of look. She was more gracious than ever, and said, · Vous arrivez dans un mauvais moment, chere Madame Swinburne. Vous ne me trouverez point gaie; j'ai beaucoup sur le cæur.
She is very low-spirited and uneasy about her son, who, by all accounts, lies dangerously ill, and is not likely to recover. She inquired kindly after all our family, and assured me she should consider Harry as under her care, and also spoke of our business, which Madame Campan had told her was my reason for now returning to France.
• Je crains,' said she,' que dans ce moment je ne pourrai vous étre d'aucune utilité; mais si les tems deviennent meilleurs, vous savez que je n'oublie jamais mes amis.'
Apropos of that, I find it was by her desire that the Luzernes have shown us so much attention.
The whole tenor of her conversation was melancholy, but she said little about public affairs ; her child's illness seemed uppermost in her mind. The tears, which I with difficulty restrained in her presence, gushed from me as soon as I had quitted the room. She told me she should like to see me again soon, Poor thing ! hier kindness and sorrowful manner made me more interested and enthusiastic about her than ever.'--Vol. ii. pp. 78, 79.
Mr. Swinburne's letters at this period contain numerous characteristic notices of the state of public feeling in the French capital. The misgovernment of centuries was working out its natural issue, and fearful was the penalty exacted from the rulers of that day. Like our own Charles, they were utterly incapable of guaging the new power which had sprung into existence, they stood upon the precedents of a by-gone age, and madly risked the substance of royalty in a vain attempt to preserve its trappings. The subject is tempting for extracts, but our space is already pre-occupied, and we must therefore restrict ourselves to the following, in which much good sense and acute observation are mingled. It was written at the close of 1796.
What a new race is now in possession of the surface of France !But I think that in a generation or two, à quelque chose près, the
people will be just like their predecessors. It will require great efforts to re-establish an appearance even of morality, decency, and probity, which was nearly the sum-total of what existed before. At the present crisis, immorality is at its height. Education and laws well enforced may bring things back to order ; but I look upon the younger part of the generation-I mean such as were about seventeen at the beginning of the revolution—as irretrievable. Very little can be expected even from those who are now of that age. Future good citizens and men of honor can only be hoped for, from the number of those who are now ten years old.
I think there is such a lassitude in the whole nation, such a horror of being forced to fresh exertions of any kind, that those who at present rule will find it an easy matter to prevent any serious revolution or return of monarchy. It is the nature of the French to make vigorous efforts while full of enthusiasm ; to push everything to extremes, and then to be quite tired of the struggle, and suffer their neck to be bowed again to some yoke or other ; provided, as formerly, they may amuse themselves with roaring in your ears the splendor of the court, and the glory of the monarch; or, in the present system, the liberty, indivisibility, equality, and unity of the republic.
. On most of the walls they have scratched out the finale, ou la mort, and on the Palais Bourbon, where the five hundred are to meet, there is put instead of it Humanité et Justice.
• The imbecility of all the princes is a great bar to a return to royalty, and I really think the present system will take root, if no unexpected convulsion happens. The rulers are much hated, and treated with a disrespect of language never used but in the latter days of Louis XV. They seem to be afraid of venturing out. Au reste, there is employment enough for them at home; for the finances are in a very exhausted state.
Carnot has gained ground wonderfully, by all accounts, and promises to increase in power and reputation of genius.
• The republic requires to fall into the hands of some able charioteer. At present money is so much the deity of every man's worship, and those who acquire it lavish it so profusely in the gratification of every passion, that one can form no guess when any great and good man is to make his
appearance. But if the present powers can but keep the country quiet, the vast bulk alone of the empire will settle itself into consistency and order by its own weight. Thirty-six millions of men will not long continue in an uncomfortable situation, where the force is in their own hands; and by degrees, that regularity and order necessary for the existence even of a gang of robbers must overpower anarchy and vice, or perish.
• You will laugh, perhaps, at all this political tirade ;-but I am quietly seated by my fireside, waiting for a person to go and see Mr. Boyd's house and furniture, from which I have got the seals removed ; and I put down my ideas as they arise, by way of conversation with you.
You must expect, in the course of correspondence, many variations in my opinion, because every day presents objects in a different light, and I describe them as I see them at the moment. Hereafter, perhaps, a comparative view may lead to the truth.' — Ib. pp. 165 – 168.
To the lovers of court gossip and of personal anecdote intermingled with the grave reflections of an acute and intelligent mind, these volumes will prove highly acceptable. They present a lively and graphic sketch of a state of things which has now become matter of history, but from which may be gathered the lessons of a deeper philosophy than suit either the capacity or the taste of the common herd of politicians. When will men learn to discover in the follies of princes and the corruptions of their courtiers, the seeds of those convulsions which shake the fabric of society and extinguish the happiness of a whole generation ! To the weakness and vices of rulers may be traced the ignorance and frenzy which occasionally perform such fearful tragedies, and shape out with ominous celerity the appropriate ministers of public vengeance. The reign of terror, with its Robespierres and Dantons, sprang as naturally out of the effete licentiousness of the old French monarchy, as did the military usurpation of Buonaparte from the anarchy and murders of the revolution.
Art. VI. Poems by the Lady Flora Hastings. Edited by her Sister.
Blackwood and Sons. 1841.
WORK like the one now before us seems scarcely to come within the range of criticism.
of criticism. A collection of poems composed at various periods by a high-born and accomplished lady, whose early death awakened a general sorrow ; and this collection, now presented to the world by an affectionate sister in the hope of dedicating whatever profits might be derived from
it, to the service of God in the parish where her mother's 'family have long resided,' is evidently no work upon which the critic, however honest, could pronounce a severe verdict. The hand that has written will write no more; praise or blame must be alike unheard, and a stern though wholesome exposure of faults (if such there should be) is useless to the dead, while it is worse than useless, for it is cruel, to surviving and attached relatives.
The task of the critic, however, is not solely, nor even chiefly, that of censure. His nobler, and it should be, his more congenial office, is to point out latent talent, and to claim from the world that meed of admiration for the gifted, but perhaps un