Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

dom of Valencia earlier than any body else, and prevailed upon a Jew to procure him a melon made in gold fet with the fineft ftones, with a large diamond at the top, and a fine emérald where the ftalk feemed to be broken off. This was placed on the fummit of a filver pillar in the midst of a large falver filled with peaches, and being prefented to the queen by one of the ladies of honour, procured M. Enfenada an introduction at court, where his affiduity and address enabled him to make a much quicker progress than could be imagined, to which his courteous behaviour and boundless generofity did not a ltttle contribute; fo that in a fhort space of time he became a minifter.

Thus far M. Enfenada's abilities feemed to extend with his fortune; and it was a confidence arifing from this that threw him from a height which had really made him giddy. There was at this time a minifter at the head of the Spanish councils, whofe high birth and great experience would have excufed many defects, if fuperior talents and a probity rarely feen in courts had not furpaffed the luftre derived from his quality and his employments. This very worthy, as well as able man, faw in its true light the connection between the interefts of Spain and Great Britain, which ever governed his conduct. M. Enfenada, lifted up by fuccefs, and believing in the midft of grandeur that he was ftill inconfiderable while there was yet any subject above him, ftruck into the contrary road, as much at least from neceffity, as choice: and hence arofe his intrigues with the courts of Versailles and Naples, in which he found himself baffled when

he leaft expected it, ftripped of his employments, and sent into exile notwithstanding all the efforts of his powerful protectors. But not long after the commencement of the prefent reign he was again recalled to court, where, though he no longer figures as a minifter, he is yet known to have much credit, and is with great probability at leaft, if not justice, fufpected to have no fmall hand in the late fudden changé of fyftem in that court.

Memoirs of Count Zinzendorff.

Here is no courtin Europe, or

it may be in the world, more jealous of its grandeur, than that of Vienna; and of course, the minifters in no court whatever affect greater ftate, or are at more pains to impress a very high degree of reverence and refpect upon all who have the honour to approach them. But it fometimes happens, that, even to candid obfervers, there are amazing littleneffes, vifible in these otherwife great men; and broad ftreaks of folly now and then appear through all the grave wisdom and refined policy of thefe mighty ftatefmen. They give law to great kingdoms, they decide on the fate of potent nations, they prefcribe rules even to lateft pofterity, and in the midft of all this attention to others, fo it is! that they have great and glaring foibles, uncorrected in themfelves; which naturally tarnishes that glory, and diminishes that efteem, in which they fhould feem to have placed their felicity.

Lewis count Zinzendorff is celebrated for his profound minifterial abilities, by all the memoir wri ters of the prefent age, from the fo4 tema

lemn marquis de Lamberti, down to the ingenious baron de Pollnitz. This illuftrious count was defcended from a very noble family in Auftria, and his mother was a princefs of the houfe of Holftein. He had a good perfon, ftrong natural parts, improved by a regular education, and still much more improved by long experience in a variety of great employments, which he difcharged with a deferved reputation, and rofe gradually to the elevated station of chancellor of the court, minifter for foreign affairs, and knight of the order of the Golden Fleece, in the reign of the emperor Charles the fixth. He had distinguished himself, in the conduct of many perplexed negotiations; and it was to his confummate skill in politics we stand indebted for the famous Pragmatic Sanction, that has already made fuch a noife in Europe, embarraffes it at prefent, and the confequences of which will probably reach, and may perhaps again embarrafs, ages that are ftill to come.

Baron de Pollnitz, with his ufual care and circumfpection, remarks, "That he kept the nobleft and most elegant table at Vienna. ” This, which to a common reader, it is likely, may appear no uncommon circumftance, might very probably have pleased that great minifter more than all the fine things he has faid of him befides. With all his fhining talents, and profound abilities, which had rendered him admired in fo many different courts, the count was lefs zealous of his reputation in the cabinet, than of his honour of difplaying the moft fplendid, and the most exquifite table, that perhaps was ever kept, in that or any other capital.

His magnificence in this point
VOL. V.

would have been truly wonderful, if it had not been eclipfed by 'various excellencies of a fuperior kind. His fkill was fo great, that he was equally acquainted with Afiatic and Italian luxury. His olios exceeded thofe of Spain; his paftry was much more delicate than that of Naples ; his Perigord pyes were truly brought from thence; his faufages were made at Bologna; his macaroni by the grand Duke's cook : and as for his wines, no country that produced a grape of any repute, but a fample of it, for the honour of its vineyards, was to be found at his all-capacious fide-board. His kitchen was an epitome of the univerfe; for there were cooks in it of all nations; and in the adjacent numerous and fpacious apartments, were to be found rarities collected from all the quarters of the globe. He had, in order to collect these, his agents for provifion in every country; the carriages on which they were laden came quicker and more regular than the pofts, and those who were very well informed believed that the expences of his entértainments ran higher than that for fecret correfpondence, though very poffibly they might be rendered fubfervient and ufeful to each other.

In his general converfation, the count was cautious and circumfpect; in his conferences with other minifters, referved though very polite; but at his table all this ftate machinery was laid afide. There, to display his fuperior learning, he difcourfed at large, and delivered the moft curious as well as copious lectures on all his exotic and domeftic delicacies. In thefe he shewed a true fpirit of justice; no man was ever lefs a plagiary. This pillau

D

he

he had from prince Eugene, who
had it from the bafhaw of Buda;
the egg foup was made after the
mode of the marchioness de. Prie;
the Roan ducks were ftewed in
the ftile of the cardinal du Bois;
and the lampreys came ready
dreffed from a great minifter in
England. His dishes furnished him
with a kind of chronology; his water
fouchy was borrowed from marshal
d'Auverquerque's table, when he
was first in Holland; the pheafant
tourt was a discovery he made in
Spain, where he was fo lucky as to
pick up a man, who, as a purveyor,
had been in the fervice of thated
prince of bon-vivans the duke de
Vendofme but he always allowed,
that the grand fchool of cookery
was the congrefs at Soiffons, where
the political conferences indeed pro-
ved ineffectual, but the entertain-
ments of the feveral minifters were
fplendid beyond defcription. In a
word, with a true Apician elo-
quence, he generously inftructed all
the novices in good living; and, as
Solomon difcourfed of every herb,
from the cedar of Lebanon to the
hyfop on the wall; fo he began
with a champignion no bigger than
a Dutchman's waift-coat button,
and ended with wild boar, the glory
of the German forefts!

On his public days, there was an half hour, and fometimes near a whole one, when he was altogether inacceffible; and with refpect to his employment in thofe feafons, as is ever the cafe as to the privacies of prime minifters, there was a great variety of deep as well as different fpeculations. An inquifitive foreigner, however, refolved to be at the bottom, coft what it would; and by a gratification to one of his pages, which might have procured

a greater fecret, he was let into this. In order to gratify his curiofity, he was placed in a closet, between the room where the count was, and the chamber of audience, where he had the fatisfaction of beholding the following pleasant scene. The count feated in his elbow chair, gave the fignal of his being ready for the important bufinefs, when, preceded by a page, with a cloth on his arm, and a drinking-glafs, one of his principal domeftics appeared, who prefented a filver falver, with many little pieces of bread, elegantly difpofed; he was immediately follow

by the first cook, who, on another falver, had a number of fmall veffels filled with fo many different kinds of gravy. His excellency then tucking his napkin into his cravat, firft washed and gargled his mouth, and having wiped it, dipped a piece of bread into each kind of fauce, and having tasted with much deliberation, rincing his palate (to avoid confufion) after every piece, at length with inexpreffible fagacity decided as to the deftination of them all. Thefe grand inftruments of luxury, with their attendants, then were difmiffed, and the long expected minifter having fully dif cuffed this interefting affair, found himself at liberty to discharge next the duties of his political function.

This is no malignant cenfure, but a gentle and genuine reprefentation of this great man's oftentation, in what he chofe to make his principal profeffion. If it was right, as poffibly many may think it, then, tho' faintly drawn, this is to be confidered as a panegyric: but if wrong, it is no libel, but barely an admonitory exhortation to thofe, who in every high ftation, may be a little tinged with this folly; and a fhort

exercise,

exercife, upon this propofition, that the fcience of eating, great as it may be, is after all no liberal science.

Authentic converfation between the king of Pruffia and the ingenious Mr. Gellert, profeffor in Belles Lettres at Leipfick; extracted from a letter, dated, Leipfick, January 27, 1761.

THE 18th of October laft, about

three o'clock in the afternoon, while profeffor Gellert was fitting in his nightgown at his defk, much out of order, he heard fome body knock at his door,-"Pray, Sir, walk in."-"Sir, your fervant, my name is Quintus Icilius, and I am extremely glad to have the pleasure of forming an acquaintance with one fo famous in the republic of let ters. I am not, however, come here in my own name only, but in that of his Pruffian majefty, who defires to see you, and has commanded me to conduct you to him." After fome excufes founded on his ill health, M. Gellert accompanied major Quintus, who introduced him into the apartment of his majesty, where the following converfation was carried on, by the king and the two literati.

has men.

King. Are you profeffor Gellert? Gellert. Yes, Sir. K. The English envoy tioned you to me as a perfon of eminent merit. From whence are you?

G. From Hanichen, near Freyberg.

K. What is the reason that we have no good German writers? Major Quintus. Your majefty has before your eyes an excellent German writer, whofe productions even

the French have judged worthy of a tranflation, and whom they call the La Fountaine of Germany.

K. This, Mr. Gellert, is, no doubt, a ftrong proof of your merit. Pray, have you read La Fountaine ?

G. Yes, Sir, but without imitat ing him. I have aimed at the merit of being original in my way.

K. Here you are in the right. But what is the reason that we have not in Germany a greater number of fuch good authors as you?

G. Your majefty feems prejudiced against the Germans. K. By no means!

G. Against the German writers at least.

K. That may be, and the truth is, I have not a very high opinion of them. Whence comes it that we find no good hiftorians among them?

G. We have, Sir, in Germany, feveral good hiftorians; among others Cramer, the continuator of Boffuet, and alfo the learned Maf

COW.

K. A German continue the Univerfal Hiftory of Boffuet! how can that be?

G. He has not only continued it, "but alfo performed this difficult task with the greatest fuccefs. One of the most eminent profeffors in your majesty's dominions has declared this continuation equal in eloquence, and fuperior in point of exactness, to Boffuet's hiftory.

K. How does it come to pafs that we have no good tranflation of Tacitus in the German language?

G. That author is extremely difficult to tranflate, and the French tranflations that have been given of him, are entirely deftitute of merit.

K. This I acknowledge. D 2

G. There

[blocks in formation]

G. I was once at Berlin, K. You ought to travel. G. Sire, I have no inclination to travelling, nor would my circumftar ces enable me to travel had I ever fo much inclination to it.

K. What kind of fickness are you troubled with? I fuppofe it is the malady of the learned.

G. Be it fo: fince your majelly does me the honour to give it that name. I could not, without the greatest vanity, have given it that appellation myself.

K. I have had this disease as well as you; and I think I can cure you. You have only to use exercise, ride every day, and take once a week a dofe of rhubarb.

G. This remedy, Sire, might

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

G. My chief knowledge, Sire, lies in ancient hiftory: I have ftudied much less that of modern times.

N

K. Which do you prefer as an epic poet, Homer or Virgil ?

G. Homer certainly, as an original genius, merits the preference. K. Virgil, however, is a more polished writer.

G. We live in an age too remote from that of Homer's to form an accurate judgment of the language and manners of that early period.. I therefore depend upon the judgment of Quintilian, who gives Homer the preference.

K. We must not, however, pay a flavifh deference to the judgment of the ancients.

G. Neither do I follow it blindly. I only adopt it when antiquity throws fuch a mist over an object as prevents my feeing it with my own eyes, and, confequently, hinders me from judging for myself.

K. You have compofed, I am

told,

« AnteriorContinuar »