« PreviousContinue »
titude, was borne along by an impetuous
Broussonnet, whose public discourses had gained him popularity, could scarcely fail of being called to some political trust in those early moments when the popular opinion guided each choice; but the first situations that he filled of this kind, must soon have made him look back with regret to the pursuit of the sciences, and the tranquil occupations of the closet. Being appointed in 1789 to the electoral body of Paris, he was required, with the other electors, to assume that species of intermediate magistracy which for an instant supplied the place of the suspended authorities; and on the very day of his coming to the townhail, he behield his friend and patron the intendant of Patis murdered before his face. He was afterwards, together with Vauvilliers, charged with the task of procuring a supply of provisions for the inetropolis; and saw himself twenty times threatened with destruction by those who were themselves preserved by the results of his solicitude, and who submitted only to the guidance of such as were interested in bringing upon them the miscries of famine.
ings, character can accomplish every thing, and knowledge almost nothing; decisions are enthusiastically made in the aggregate, which afterward each individual privately condemns in the moments of reflection; and when a deliberation is opened, no one can foresee to what issue it may be brought by the accumulated sophisms, and the propitious or wayward warmth, of successive speakers, and by the tumultuous agitations of party-spirit. M. Broussonnet attempted in vain to reclaim the contending factions by proposing conciliatory views; but his mild and insinuating manners were weapons too weak to oppose the universal frenzy.
After the events which put an end to the Legislative assembly, he retired to his Country-seat near Montpellier; where he hoped at length to enjoy, in the cultivation of his lands, that repose to which he had been a stranger from the time of his yielding to the allurements of ambition. But the moment had arrived when there was no longer any repose to be expected by whoever had been concerned in public affairs, or had attained to any degree of distinction. In consequence of the revolution of the 31st of May, which gave the preponderance to the most violent of the factions that strug gled for power, a great number of the departments revolted: their plans however were badly concerted, and by their failure completed the triumph of the oppressors. Commissioners were now sent into every part of the country, to proceed with rigour against such as had taken an energetic part in those measures: and as Broussonnet had been deputed by his fellow-countrymen (though against his will) to the committee of insurrection at Bourdeaux, and appointed. member of a convention which the insurgent depa.tments projected to assemble, he was imprisoned in the citadel of Montpellier; and would soon have had to undergo the same fate as so many other illustrious scholars and virtuous magistrates, if he had not effected his escape in an almost miraculous manner.
On this occasion he took refuge with his brother, who acted as a physician in the army of the Pyrences; and here he for a short time concealed himself, under the appearance of an inferior physician: but as he knew too well that this expedient could not give him permanent se, curity, he eagerly sought a favourable opportunity of passing the frontiers."
Discouraged by the view of so much folly and ingratitude, the affliction which had now taken possession of his spirits, was vented in his last discourses before the Agricultural Society; and from that time it might have been apprehended that he would never again be tempted to exert his knowledge and zeal for the public welfare. He had a seat however in that celebrated assembly (the Second), which, though it existed only for a few months, will leave such deep traces in the annals of France; which, at the first moment of its meeting, received almost on its knees the same constitution from which afterward it daily tore some one of the pages; which shrunk under the fall of a throne that it had sworn to support; and, in quitting the scene, appeared wantonly to multiply the chances of anarchy, to the nation for which it had undertaken to hold the reins of government. In this situation he might perceive the wide difference between the calm reasonings which are adapted for the persuasion of the solitary philosopher, and the violent arguments which alone are capable of producing effect upon a numerous body of men. In such meet
One day, on pretence of gathering herbs for the military hospital, he ascended the mountain in a slight dress to avoid suspicion, and accompanied only by some young physicians belonging to the army: he found means to escape from their sight at the turning of a valley; and after climbing the ruggedest paths, which exposed him least to the risk of being seen, as expeditiously as his strength permitted, he darted forward through one of the outlets. But fresh dangers now awaited him. Even the arrival of night did not allow him to rest, for the appearance of a French patrol would have been certain death to him; and thus he wandered among the rocks, in a freezing cold, scantily clothed, and without food, having only a little snow to quench his thirst, starting at the smallest noise, and fearing above all that some of the winding paths might lead him back toward the fatal territory which he had just left. At day-break his foot struck against some object, which proved to be a corpse; perhaps that of a wretched exile, like himself, whom dread of the executioner hurried from his native country. A second night, more terrible than the first, closed in upon him before he had discovered any inhabited place; aud it was not till after eight-and-forty hours spent in this manner, and when he was quite overcome with fatigue and want, that he met a poor man who directed and supported him to the nearest Spanish cottage. His sufferings were hardly inferior, in pursuing his journey to Madrid: on foot, without money, and almost without clothes, he offered himself as an assistant to several village-barbers, for no other reward than his victuals, but was refused.
Fortunately, in the bosom of political associations there exists an association of a different nature, which aims at rendering service to them all, without taking part in their continual dissensions. The true friends of the sciences, at the same time that they yield to no class of men in feelings of patriotism, are also united among themselves by the same general ties that attach them to the great cause of humanity. The mere mention of M. Broussonnet's name, and a knowledge of his situation, were sufficient to procure im a kind reception, protection, and assistance of every sort, from all votaries of science, without distinction of coun try, religion, or political engagements. Messieurs Cavanilles and Ortega, in par
ticular, received him with open arms at Madrid; but no one displayed more ea. gerness and delicacy in serving him than sir Joseph Banks. As soon as he learnt the flight of his old friend, he immediately took every active and precautionary measure for securing to him not only a refuge but an honourable subsist ence, in case of his being still further pursued by dangers, as the turn of affairs about this time rendered possible. This kindness proved of more early utility to the subject of it, than M. Broussonnet himself could have anticipated; nor did the persecutions which the latter had stift to undergo, proceed from the quarter that he dreaded.
Spain was already the resort of nume rous French emigrants who had left their country at a previous stage of the revo lution, and the political principles of these made them averse to associate with one who had borne an active part in the innovations which they had themselves opposed. They determined therefore to get rid of him; and in consequence of their suggestions he was first banished to Xeres, and afterward embarked at Cadiz in an English vessel; which being met by two French frigates that were cruising off St. Vincent, he was compelled to take refuge at Lisbon. But even here he did not venture to land openly, lest he should incur new persecution. M. Correa de Serra, a celebrated botanist, obtained from the duke de la Foens (a prince of the blood), president of the Academy of Sciences of this city, permission to conceal him in the house of that society; and though this was still a sort of prison to him, how much he must have preferred it to that of Montpellier! He slept in the library of the academy; and there be passed his time in learning the Portuguese language, and in making valuable extracts from ancient manuscripts containing the narratives of the earliest voyages performed by that once enterprising people.
The emigrants at the court of Portugal however, by means of communica tions from those of Madrid, discovered him in this concealment. He was now subjected to the interference of the inquisition, on pretence of having been a freemason; the prince who protected him was publicly accused of jacobinisin in a pamphlet; and matters proceeded so far, that Broussonnet was glad to assume the character of physician in the train of the ambassador-extraordinary
from the United States to the emperor of Morocco. What severe reflections on human nature, and on the springs which actuate the ronchinery of nations, must have arisen in the mind of the man who thus found himself reduced to the neces⚫ sity of seeking some degree of personal safety in Morocco, for the crime of having thought that one of the most refined communities in Europe was competent to bestow on itself a rational constitution! Yet it was here that he again found happiness, in finding repose, and resuming his original studies;-and here he received intelligence of the change that took place in the political sentiments of his countrymen, and of their exertions to re-establish a regular system of government.
But the excesses which he had personally witnessed among them, had made too terrible an impression on his imagination, to allow him to confide in these first appearances of tranquillity; and accordingly, after obtaining of the directory the erasure of his name from the list of emigrants, he employed all the influence of his friends to procure his return to Morocco in the character of consul. Being subsequently driven from this post by the plague, he was appointed consul at the Canary islands; and, as if he thought he could never be far enough from his country, he finally solicited the consulship at the Cape of Good Hope. A minister who was one of his relations, and who has always felt a tender interest in the concerns of the school in which they both were pupils, was obliged to use a sort of violence, for the purpose of determining him to accept a situation in that establishment.
natural history itself, as well as merely the school of Montpellier, was indebted to the hand that brought him back wholly to their service.
It must be acknowledged that botany, which had again become the favourite pur suit of Broussonnet, had a considerable share in his motives for desiring to live abroad. During the whole period of his residence at Salee, Mogadore, Morocco, and Teneriff, he employed his leisure moments in studying the plants of those places; and the interesting observations which he frequently sent home, were well adapted to atone for his absence. But whatever importance might characterize his researches, they were still of too particular a nature. The proper post for such a man as Broussonnet, was a professor's chair; from which his genius and activity might extend the general domain of science, as much as his eloquence would diffuse a taste for it; and MONTHLY MAG, No. 198,
During the short period that he was professor at Montpellier, he succeeded, by the assistance of M. Chaptal's protection, in rendering the public garden of the school there an object of adiniration to botanists, by the order which he introduced into it, and the number of plants that he collected. His lessons attracted a great concourse of students; he had resumed his original labours on the animal kingdom; and he hoped to retrieve the loss of those, fifteen years which a single error in his conduct had nearly rendered useless to science and to his fame, when his career in both was cut short in the prime of life.
His last illness was one of those which always surprise us, however common they may be it was perhaps brought on by grief for the loss of his wife, and the sufferings of his daughter (whom he tenderly loved) in childbed; and a fall which he had received in the Pyrenees, doubtless contributed to its production. He one night sustained a slight stroke of apoplexy: but under the care of his brother, and M. Dumas his colleague, he soon recovered the use of his limbs and his senses; and even his memory, which had formerly been so prodigious. A single point of the latter failed him: he was never afterward able to pronounce or write correctly substantives and proper names, either in French or Latin; though he retained a perfect command over the rest of both these languages. Epithets and adjectives presented them selves to his mind in abundance; and he contrived to multiply them in his discourse, in such a striking manner as to make himself understood. If, for instance, he wished to speak of any parti cular person, he described his appear ance, his qualities, and his occupation; or if of a plant, he described its form and its colours. He recognised the name when pointed out to him in a book, but it never occurred to him spontaneously. His case suggests a curious question concerning the nature of memory: Whether this incomprehensible faculty is divided into different and independant depart ments, in which ideas are distributed according to grammatical classes, instead of being connected by the sensations from which the ideas themselves flow? His health continued to amend daily, 2 Y till
till the 21st of July 1807; when a coup de soleil reduced him to an incurable state, and ultimately put an end to his life after six days passed in the agitations of
An affection not uncommon in warmer climates, proceeding from exposing the head to the too powerful heat of the sun.
a convulsive lethargy. Ón opening his head, it was found that there had been a large ulcer on the surface of the left side of the brain, but which bad healed to the extent of two-thirds: this probably was the cause of his first attack, and would have healed entirely if a fresh accident had not occurred to prevent it.
SCARCE TRACTS, WITH EXTRACTS AND ANALYSES OF SCARCE BOOKS.
It is proposed in future to devote a few Pages of the Monthly Magazine to the Insertion of such Source Tracts as are of an interesting Nature, with the Use of which we may be favoured by our Correspondents; and under the same Head to introduce also the Analyses of Scarce and Curious Books.
The Hierarchie of the blessed Angels; their Names, Orders, and Offices; the Fall of Lucifer with his Angels: written by Thomas Heywood." London, 1635.
HIS is a poem in nine books, to which are attached profuse notes; so that one is at a loss to guess whether the verse was made in order to usher in the prose,or the prose to usher in the verse. The author is a sincere friend to piety and superstition he is willing to worship the Trinity and all the nine orders of angels; and to believe in devils, imps, alastors, and every other class of cacodemons. His poetic and his religious love of the marvellons are so mingled, that it may be doubted whether he abhors atheism more as the foe of imagination, or as `the foe of credulity.
The first book is entitled Uriel, or the Seraphim; and descants on the being of a God. Instances are given of heaven's revenge against impiety. This is one: The atheist Lucian held God's son in scorn; And, walking late, by dogs was piecemeal
the polytheists: the author's orthodoxy is
The monady, or number one, we see
Retires itself into the number one.
The second book, or tractate, is called Jophiel, or the Cherubim; and treats of the unity of the Godhead, in opposition to
Three persons in this trias we do name; But yet the godhood still one and the same: Each of the three by right a God we call ; Yet is there but one God among them all.
The third book is called Zaphkiel, or the Thrones; and describes the structure of the universe.
The fourth book is Zadehiel, or the Dominations. According to the author's own argument, or summary, it examines
What ternions and classes be
"I have read of a noble centurion in the lower part of Germany, of great opinion and estimation with the people, for his approved goodness and known honesty, who reported this discourse following:-That walking one evening through a thicket or grove, not far distant from the place in which he lived, with only one man and a boy to attend him, he saw approaching toward him a fair and goodly company of knights and gentlemen, all seeming persons of great eminence, for they were mounted on tall and brave horses, and well accommodated at all points; all which, without any salutation, in great silence past by him. In the lag of the troop, he fixed his eye with some astonishment on one, who, to his present
present imagination, had served him, and
sympathy, between the angelic hierarchy and the planetary system.
The sixth book is named Raphael, or the Powers; and describes the fall of Lucifer. The war of these angels differs from that of Miltou's. Our poet says: Shall I now tell
"The centurion, being a man of undaunted spirit, went up close to him, and demanded what he was; and whether he were the same cook who had lately served him, and whom he had seen coffined, and laid in the earth? Who answered him again, that, without any doubt or scruple, he was the self-same man. His master then asked him, what gentlemen, or rather noblemen, as appeared by their habit, were those that rid before; and to what purpose he led that empty horse in his hand? To all which he replied in order; that those horsemen were men of note and quality, naming to him divers whom he knew were deceased; and that they were now upon a voyage to the Holy Land, whither he himself was likewise bound; and that the spare horse was provided on purpose to do him service, if it so pleased him, and that he had any desire to see Jerusalem. The centurion made answer, that with great willinguess he should find in his heart to see that city, and visit the holy sepulchre, whither, if means and leisure had favoured his purpose, he long since intended a pilgrimage. The other told him, now was the time, his horse ready, no necessaries wanting, and he could not go in better company.
Of fire or light no comfortable beams,
"At these words the bold centurion
In head, breast, stomach, and in all the
But with more terror than the heart can
The taste with gall in bitterness extreme,
"The next evening, at the same hour. and in the same place, he was found by his servants and friends, who were there assembled, seeking and enquiring after him. To them be related his journey, and all he had seen in the holy city, describing punctually every monument and place of remark; which agreed with the relations of such travellers and pilgrims as had been there, and had brought certificate and assured testimony from thence. He showed unto them likewise a kerchief, which that cook his servant, or rather devil in his likeness, had given him, stained with blood; but told him, if at any time it were foul or dirty he should cast it into the fire, for that was the only way to make it clean."
The fifth book, entitled Haniel, or the
The weapons, engines, and artillery,
By the two motions of the will and mind:
Now both of these in Lucifer the devil,
Those that in Michael the arch.angel reign'd,
And his good spirits, meekly were maintain'd. The description of hell is quite as unlike that in the Paradise Lost:
In hell is grief, pain, anguish, and annoy,
Sighs and suspires, woe and unpitied moans,
The touch with snakes and toads crawling
Afflicted both within them and without them.
The seventh book, called Kamael, or the Principates; imitates some passages of Dante about the rebel angels.
The eighth book, Michael; treats of succube, incubi, alastors, and in general of "Satan's wiles and feats prestigious."
Now of those spirits whom Succube we call,