Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

expence, as in the event it proved, of his own peace and happiness. The famous treaty of the Pyrenees was negotiated by Cardinal Mazarine and Don Louis de Haro in perfon. Amongst other courtiers and men of distinction St. Evremond was present during the conferences, and when the peace was figned, he wrote his sentiments upon it in a confidential letter to the Marquis de Crequi, in which he points his most acrimonious shafts of ridicule and satire against the Cardinal. The fact was, that Mazarine, swayed by interested motives, ardently wished to put an end to the war, and that the Spanish Minister, taking advantage of his impatience, had obtained far better terms than could reasonably be hoped from the debilitated and ruinous condition of the Spanish Monarchy. St. Evremond tells us that as soon as the peace was signed, Don Louis exclaimed, “ Allons, Messieurs, " allons, rendre graces à Dieu; nous etions perdus, “ L'Efpagne est fauvée.” “Que le bon homme Don 6 Louis,” continues St. Evremond,“ n'ait eu pour " but que le service de son maître, & l'utilité du pub« lic, la maxime de M. le Cardinal eft, que le Mi66 nistre doit etre moins à l'etat, que l'etat au Mi65 nistre; & dans cette pensée pour peu que Dieu “ lui donne de jours il fera son propre bien de celui " de tout le Roiaume."

This letter, which for the security and satisfaction of the writer was returned by the Marquis de Crequi to M. de St. Evremond, remained a profound secret during the life of the Cardinal. The demise of Mazarine, which happened in the yea? 1660, was immediately followed by the disgrace of M. Fouquet : in consequence of which event not only the papers of that Minister were seized, but the cabinets of his most confidential friends were examined by an order from the Crown. Unfortunately at this critical time St. Evremond happened to be on a tour to some distant province, and in order to “make assurance double sure, and take a

demise 66 heur.

bond of fate," he had, previous to his departure from Paris, deposited this letter, amongst other papers of value, with a friend, who was, as the demon of ill luck would have it, one of the confidential intimates of M. Fouquet, and thus the fatal discovery was made. St. Evremond, terrified with the idea of returning to his old apartments in the Bastile, on receiving this unwelcome intelligence, made his escape into Holland, from whence he foon passed into England, where he resided, with short intervals, the remainder of his life, which, as I have already mentioned, was extended to a very advanced age.--He died September 20, 1703, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

He has delineated his own portrait with an agreeable vanity. The resemblance must be acknowledged striking, though I will not pretend to deny that it is a flattering likeness. He describes himself as “ Un philosophe également éloigné du “ superstitieux & de l'impie. Il fe loüe de la Na“ ture; il ne se plaint point de la fortune. Il hait le crime, il souffre les fautes, il plaint le mal. « heur. Il ne s'attache point aux Ecrits les plus “ savans pour aquerir la science ; mais aux plus “ sensés pour fortifier fa, raison. En amitié plus “ constant qu'un philosophe; a l'egard de la Religion,

“ De Justice & de Charité,
“ Beaucoup plus que de Pénitenco,
“ Il compose fa Pieté :
« Mettant en Dieu fa confiance,
“ Esperant tout de sa bonté

« Dans le sein de la Providence,
" Il trouve son Repos, & fa Felicité."

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

ESS A Y XVIII.

STRICTURES en WALPOLE'S CATALOGUE of

ROYAL and NOBLE AUTHORS.

T

HERE are two extremnes equally remote

from 'justness of thinking, the Scylla and Charybdis of literature, which men of sense thould be equally solicitous to avoid. The first is a tame acquiescence in vulgar opinion, the second a vain affectation of fingularity. Of the first extreme it must be allowed, that the elegant writer upon whom I shall now take the liberty to offer a few critical remarks, has steered perfectly clear; but as to the second, I do not think him quite so successful. His “ Historic Doubts" afford an egregious instance of false refinement and affected fingularity. It is really amusing to see a writer, in the midst of all his parade of philosophical and historical scepticism, become the dupe of an impofture, by which, even that dark and credulous age in which it originated, and which was so favourable to its success, could not be long or generally deceived.—His ingenuity and acuteness only serve to fortify him in error. Mr.

Walpole

[ocr errors]

æra

Walpole appears to me to have been misled, by considering the case of Perkin Warbeck as similar to that of the late Pretender, the legitimacy of whose birth was called in ques. tion by the prevailing faction at the of the Revolution, without reflecting upon the great disparity of evidence attending the two cases; the legitimacy of the one, and the illegitimacy of the other, resting entirely upon improbable surmise and confident affertion. There are many obfervations in the volume now lying before me, which appear to me to have a considerable tincture of that fanciful and affected turn of thinking, which so rea markably predominates in the work I have already mentioned. The first article of the Catalogue may be cited as an instance.

Mr. Walpole, in contradiction to all the accounts remaining of Richard I. is unwilling to admit that celebrated Monarch to have been either a poet, or a lover of poesy; and because Roger Hoveden, the Monk, impudently and ridiculously asserts that Richard, to raise himself a name, bought and begsed verses, and drew over fingers and jesters from France, to chant panegyrics on him about the streets, Mr. Walpole thinks that no dependence is to be placed upon those accounts which represent him as deeply enamoured of the Muses, or, to uje Mr. Walpole’s own words, “ as the soft luie-loving hero of poesy.” Certainly, after the great exploits Z 2

which

+

« ПредишнаНапред »