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THE FRENCH CHARACTER DEPICTED.
hausted their active and volatile ge- cred, in consequence of what had
panies. It appeared as if Scipio lay Sometimes we see a publication sick, and the virtuous Romans passagitate the town for a week; the au- ed their hours in melancholy fears thor is sent to the bastile for a month: for the life of their protector. The the book is publicly burnt, forbidden physicians find Molé in an exhaust. to be sold, and every body has it by ed state, and prescribe a free use of heart. The police sometimes puts wine. This prescription is soon evean embargo on all MSS. ; imprisons ry where kr yn. Molé finds two censors of books, because they suf. thousand bottles of the finest Bur. fered passages to be printed which gundy sent to his house from various were offensive to the court; in fine, quarters. He at length recovers ; several printers are compelled to all Paris rejoices and rushes to his sell their fonts, and a dismal bar. benefit. Such was the public ar. renness appears in the literature of dour, that it produced him the amazFrance.
ing sum of 24,000 livres (4000 dolSometimes theatrical representa. lars). Molé gratefully receives the tions are the objects of ministerial tribute of their applause ; he was in vengeance. They forbid a particu- debt, and the benefit formed all his lar play, whose subject might be ap- fortune. How then does Molé apply plicable to the moment ; or even a his sudden wealth? An Englishman particular passage of a play, which would have purchased an annuity, the malicious actor pronounced with or perhaps have paid his debts. Moemphasis.
lé runs to the jeweller, takes its In February, 1762, in playing Tan- amount in brilliants, and gives them cred, Mad. Clairon, when she came to his mistress, who boasts that she to these verses,
wears all the honours of the public. " On depouille Tancrede, on l'exile, on volity of the nation and the indivi
Here is displayed at once the fri-
dual. All Paris is concerned for the Tout son parti se tait; qui sera son ap- minates in giving diamonds to an
and all ter
indisposition of an actor, pui? Sa gloire
impudent prostitute. Un heros qu'on opprime attendrit tous
The recently published life of les cours."
Marmontel affords the finest speci
men imaginable of the French cha. This sublime actress made such racter, and the finest picture of Pa. inflections of her voice, so noble and ris before the revolution. Rousseau, so penetrating, that all the audience in his Confessions, is a more accurecollected the event of that day, rate painter of the nation than any which was a lettre de cachet the I have met with. The French, marquis de Broglio had received. says he, “ do not smother you with His name few from mouth to mouth, protestations and professions, as says my reporter, and the represen- some people tell us they do. T'hose tation was frequently interrupted by they make are generally sincere and loud applauses, which were conti- honestly intended; but they have a nually renewed.
manner of interesting themselves in The next day the house was for your favour, which deceives you bidden to act the tragedy of Tan- much more than words. The French
manners are seductive, because they invites us to approach them. In his. have candour and simplicity in them. tories, we appear only as one who You think they do not tell you all joins the crowd to see them pass; in they intend to do for you, merely memoirs, we are like concealed that their unlook'd for beneficence spies, who pause on every little cirmay surprise you the more. The cumstance, and note every little expeople are naturally officious, kind, pression. and, whatever their enemies may It is thus that such works as Plusay to the contrary, more candid and tarch's Lives, Froissart's Chronicle, open than other nations : but then, the Memoirs of Comines and Branand that's the rub, they are more tome, Burnet's and Clarendon's His. volatile and fickle. They believe all tories of their own Times, have ever they say. They feel all they ex- allured curiosity and gratified inqui. press : but, unluckily, they believe ry. There are indeed readers who, they feel only for the moment. While when they turn over the pages of with you, they are full of you. They history, indulge in the marvellous of think of nobody else. Turn your
A visionary perfection back, and you are forgotten. All darts from their imagination, and their sympathy they transfer to their throws around a brilliant delusion. next companion, who, in like man- Their heroes are Arthurs; their ner, is thought of only while pre- heroines Unas; their statesmen sent. Nothing is fixed. A mourn- Merlins. As history is frequently ful recollection will call forth their composed, there are sufficient reatears; but the image is easily sup- sons for such a system. The most planted by a merry one, and they natural events, with such writers as will weep passionately and laugh Tacitus, Strada, and Mariana, are heartily in the course of a few mi- derived from some profound policy, nutes."
or intricate deception. The historian frequently seems ignorant of that spontaneous ardour with which the most splendid actions are performed, and discovers a regular plot
in the accidental combinations of For the Literary Magazine. fortune. Every statesman who comes
down to us as a Nestor, I doubt was COMPARISON
not the sage we believe him ; nor every general the Hannibal he seems.
The most eminent personages are OF the eminent personages in his. not so remote from the ordinary letory, there are many differing cha. vel of humanity, as the vulgar conracters. We know well how the ceive. Transcendant powers are object will appear when seen through rarely required; tolerable abilities, the coloured telescope of a prejudi. placed conspicuously, appear to ced historian. The most impartial great advantage; as a torch in a may not always be successful in his watchman's hand is little, compared delineations. 'An intelligent reader with one gleaming from the top of a frequently discovers traits before sea-girt tower. I am much more concealed. He does not perceive inclined to search for the characters these faint touches in the broad can- of eminent persons in their domesvas of the historian, but in those lit- tic privacies, than in their public tle portraits which have sometimes audiences, and would prefer the artreached posterity. He acquires more less recitals of the valet de chambre knowledge of individuals by me of Charles I, to the elegant narramoirs than by histories. In histo- tive of his apologist Hume, as I preries there is a majesty which keeps fer the tale of honest Clery, conus distant from great' men ; in me- cerning Louis XVI, to any formal moirs there is a familiarity which history,
OF MEMOIRS AND
For the Literary Magazine. enquired after, he wittily answered,
“ Ajax is dead; he has swallowed OLIVER CROMWELL.
his sponge :" alluding to a mode of
death practised by the Roman glaTHE character of Oliver long. diators, who frequently in despair exercised the historical talents of swallowed their sponges. These European writers.
Some French little anecdotes show the literary academicians have drawn it with dispositions of Augustus, whom, admirable refinement; Gregorio perhaps, like some other great Leti amused with agreeable fictions; monarchs, system alone made a Raguenet tires with dry truths; vo- tyrant. lumes on volumes have wearied Eng Politics alone compelled him to lish curiosity.
sanguinary measures. He would These writers would persuade never enquire after the authors of us that he was an artful mixture of certain papers which had been the politician and the hypocrite. A scattered in the senate, and loaded single anecdote lets us more into the him with calumnies. When Tibegenius of a man than this multipli rius wondered at his indifference, city of volumes. When with some he answered, “ You think like a select friends enjoying a convivial young man. Let them speak ill of hour, a confidential servant enters, me; I know they can do me none." and announces a body “ of the elect.” Does this conduct of Augustus indic. “ Tell them,” says he, “ we are cate him to have delighted in the seeking the Lord. These fools effusion of human blood? When think," continues he, looking under he had attained power, he showed the table, “ that I am seeking the the most amiable disposition. It is Lord, while I am only seeking the said of him, in comparing the comcorkscrew."
mencement of his reign with its close, it had been desirable that he had never been, or that he had never ceased to be emperor. Augus
tus is an eminent example of the For the Literary Magazine. force of the terrible genius of poli
WE delight to attend Augustus from amid the embarrassing affairs of government, into his domestic
For the Literary Magazine. recesses ; to see him the preceptor of his son ; to observe him at supper seated between Virgil and Horace; and to mark him, with ex LOUIS XIV merits the love of quisite wit, blot out one of his own posterity. The genius of his peotragedies. Virgil had the asthma, ple, not his own, inspired him with and Horace a fistula lachrymalis. his love of war. When this moWhen Augustus was placed between narch is deprived of that false glory them he used to say, not unpoeti- which his adulators have thrown cally, “ I am now between sighs around him, he will appear to adand tears," This lover of the vantage, placed in the softer light art aspired to become an artist; of those hours which he devoted to he wrote a tragedy called Ajax ; the society of the great men whom but had the good sense to perceive, his splendid patronage had formed. that, if born to be an emperor, he Numerous anecdotes of this mowas not born to be a poet. One narch are eternal testimonies of his day he effaced, with his sponge, intellectual powers and his fine taste. the whole tragedy. When it was He loved the conversation of Boileau
and Racine. He was not a mere For the Literary Magazine. auditor of their works; he admired them with exquisite sensibility, and CHARLES I AND LOUIS XVI. animadverted on them with just criticism, and we know that he de ICANNOT persuade myself that tected several errors. The eye that Charles I would have been a tyrant. could catch a Boileau and a Racine The Eikon Basilike, which I consi. tripping, it must be confessed, was der as the memoirs of his heart, of no ordinary quickness. Several abounds with such strokes of wisof these royal conversations have dom and humanity, that we cannot been recorded. It is honourable for easily conceive a tyrant to posthe satirical bard, that he had the sess them.
Here are some passaboldness frequently to speak his sen- ges, timents freely; and, what is still “ I cared not not to lessen myself more honourable, his majesty did in some things of my wonted preronot dislike his frankness.
gative, since I knew I could be no When Boileau read one of his loser, if I might but gain a recomepistles, in which are the fine verses pens in my subjects affections." describing the emperor Titus, “ Popular tumults are not like a
storm at sea, which yet wants not " Qui rendit de son joug l'univers its terror ; but, like an earthquake,
shaking the verie foundations of all, Qu'on n'a!la jamais voir, sans revenir then which nothing in the world heureux;
hatli more of horror.” Qui soupiroit le soir, si sa main fortunée,
“ More than the law gives me, I N'avoir par ses bienfaits signalé la would not have, and less the meanjournée,"
est subject should not."
" I will studie to satisfie my parthe king was enchanted, and made liament and my people ; but I will the poet repeat them thrice. At never, for fear or flatterie, gratifie that moment, perhaps, he proposed anie faction, how potent soever; for Titus for his model ; such was the this were to nourish the disease, and force of poetry! The next day he oppress the bodie.” gave orders for war; such was the “The sens of the injuries don unto power of habit! When the satirist, my subjects, is as sharp as those don for the first time after the death of to myself. My afflictions griev mee Racine, visited the king, Louis re not more, then this doth, that I am ceived him with affection. He sym- afflicted by those, whose prosperitie pathised in the loss; and added, in I earnestly desire, and whose seducpulling out his watch, “Remember, tion I heartily deplore. Yet I had Boileau, I have an hour for you rather suffer all the miseries of life, every week.”
and die many deaths, then shameWhen one day confined to his fully to desert, or dishonourably to chamber, he sent for Racine. The betrai my own just rights and sove. poet read with grace; and the king reigntie.' asked him to take up some book. “I know the sharp and necessaA life of Plutarch was proposed. rie tyrannie of my destroiers will The king objected, because of its sufficiently confute the calumnies of old French. “ Will your majesty tyrannie against mee." permit me to try a life?” said Ra. “ It is verie strange, that maricine. The king consented. Our ners can finde no other means to appoet took down a volume of Amiot, peas the storm themselves have and turned his obselete language in- raised, but by drowning their pilot.” to a beautiful style. Louis was in The following anecdote proves raptures; he rose, and embraced that, even in prosperity, he would the poet.
not suffer his people to be insulted by the language of despotism. These
lines were in a manuscript play of ignorance of the multitude, who Massinger:
know not either how to govern
others or themselves. Monies? We'll raise supplies what ways
we please, And force you to subscribe to blanks, in
which We'll mulct you as we shall think fit.
For the Literary Magazine. The Cæsars In Rome were wise, acknowledging no
ON THE INCONSISTENCIES OF laws, But what their swords did ratify.
OF some extraordinary minds it Sir Henry Herbert says, “ I have has been said, that their knowledge entered this here, for ever to bee re- is attained by that sublime concepmembered by my son, and those that tion, which surveys at one glance cast their eyes on it, in honour of the species, and becomes, as it were king Charles, my master, who, read- by intuition, familiar with the india inge over the play at Newmarket, set vidual. A Shakespeare has cerhis marke upon the place with his tainly given the most forcible lanowne hande, and thes words, guage and descriptions to characters
and situations, which never passed * This is too insolent, and to bee under his eye. Such prodigies in changed."
nature we admire ; but who dare
imitate? We gain our knowledge The eloquent Eikon Basilike by the slow accession of many facts ; strongly indicates that the inclina- these we combine ; and, thus comtions of Charles were remote from bined, they form what we call extyranny. He was, indeed, firmly perience. Rochefoucault, when he persuaded that a king had just pow. composed his Maxims, had ever ers, of which it was as necessary to some particular circumstance or be careful as of the just rights of particular individual before him. his people. Such was his conviction, When he observed, that “ It disthat he preferred death to what he plays a great poverty of mind to deemed ignominy.
have only one kind of genius,” he Louis XVI, in a conversation drew this reflection from anecdotes about Rousseau, once said, that he of Boileau and Racine. wished it were possible to annihi It was a happy thought of Amelot late “ Emilius;" because, in that de la Houssaie to give an edition of book, the author attacks religion, these Maxims, illustrated by examdisturbs the security of society, and ples or anecdotes drawn from his. the just subordination of citizens ; it tory. Had the author given us all can only tend to render men unhap- the cases which suggested his Max. py. But the Social Contract has al. ims, the work would have been infiso a most dangerous tendency, ob- nitely more valuable and intelligible served a courtier. « As for that,” than it is. Houssaie has enforced he replied, “ it is very different. some of these reflections in the folIt only attacks the authority of sove. lowing manner : reigns; that is a subject proper to Rochefoucault observes, “ In jea. discuss. There is much to be said ; lousy there is less love than selfthere is room for controversy.” love." Houssaie illustrates this by
Charles I lost his head because an anecdote taken from Tacitus. he was tenacious of his rights, and “ Witness Rhadamistus, who threw Louis XVI because he was ever his beloved wife into a river, that prompt to yield them to his subjects. she might not fall into the hands of A striking proof this of the mad another.” VOL, V. NO. XXVIII.