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a little employed to find out the cause: for the threats and the savage looks of the banditti were
sonal defects--the courtiers of Alexander the Benevolent adopt a more delightful flattery-an humble emulation of his virtues.
Claud. 4. Cons. Hon.
NOTE BY THE EDITOR OF THE FLOWERS OF LITERATURE.
It is curious to observe, that when a man attempts to eulogize a sovereign prioce, there are few persons wbo will allow him to act from the honest motives of impartiality; but the poem from which we have made the above extracts may now be said to contain the sentiments, not only of the people of Eng. land, but of the greatest part of Europe, respecting a potentate who seems destined to be its preserver. It happened that this poem was published in London a few days before the news arrived of the battle of Austerlitz, and this circumstance gave occasion to one of the London reviewers* to observe, that the emperor Alexander is a character not without his shades. The ground of complaint is, that he insisted that the Russian army, at the above-mentioned battle, should be commanded by a grand duke. This is at least the complaint of a Jacobin, and is much less to the purpose than if it were to be said, that
* In the Literary Journal for November 1806.
still in his remembrance, and gave him no room to doubt but that, however delayed by confinement
Buonaparte had degraded himself by appointing his brother, a renegado naval captain, to be generalissimo of the French army in Silesia. It is, however, a pleasure to know that it is not only in England that the character of the emperor Alexander is justly appreciated by those who are most capable of judging of it; and we shall quote the words of the celebrated Kotze. bue on this subject: he can never be suspected of partiality to the Russian government.
“Alexander also;" says he--("I do not mean the wonderful traveller of old, who traversed the whole known world in an im. mense company, and afterwards wanted build a bridge upwards to the moon; I mean the benignant genius of Russia, to whom, if the inhabitants of the moon knew him, they would willingly make a bridge downwards)-Alexander also travelled, this year, through his German provinces: not indeed, like me, pluck flowers;" but, as he well might, to gather fruits which were beginning to ripen in the sunshine of his goodness. I will not call it mere attachment, but the warmth of passion, which is felt in Eastland and Livonia towards this benevolent sovereign. I relate nothing but what I myself saw. Every eye sparkles, every countenance is unclouded, every tongue is loosed, on the bare mention of his name. He was only a few days in Revel, and yet tears of regret were shed on his departure; and if any thing could still more strongly testify the feeling that glowed in every breast, it was the proposition of the good procurator-general Von Kiesemann, and the unbounded applause with which it was received and carried, “ that the anniversary of Alexander's entrance into that toin should be celebrated by a public dinner for the poor.” These are the genuine honours which the heart alone can confer upon princes. Let Alexander's quiet, beneficent jour. ney through these provinces, be compared with the triand other means of oppression, the gloomy fate that seemed to await him was not the less certain.
umplant procession of many a disturber of ihe world, whose insolence and haughtiness are excelled by nothing but the flattery of a slavish and abject people. Let the favourite of fortune continue to erect his triumphal arches and pyramids: the poor and distressed, who find relief from the bounty of Alexander, will bless with cheerful hearts him who rules by love, for ages after those monuments will have crumbled into dust.
“ If Alexander would procure himself the highest gratification, he should, as the Oriental princes did formerly, mix in disguise with his people: what moments would then await him! Blessed be the mother who bore him : blessed also be the great man, once his instructor, now his friend, who sowed such seeds in such a soil! It will be guessed that I am speaking of La Harpe.
« In order to hasten some hours earlier into the arms of his parent, Alexander left his retinue, and threw himself into the light and half-covered carriage of his field-marshal,
I saw him arrive thus at Jewe like a common traveller, and unaccompanied by any extraordinary attendance except the love of his people. In the same manner, after a short stay, and notwithstanding the near approach of night, he resumed his journey through desert woods, with the soothing consciousness that public affection would sufficiently protect his useful lie. One of the postillions, who by an accident bruke his leg, he provided for with humane and even paternal tenderness. He did not depart from the spot till the surgeon, who lived. at a disiance, arrived, and the suserer was placed properly under his care.
That he gave him the requis.te pecuniary relief, was little from an emperor; but that, not confining himself to this, he continued as long as was necessary his personal assistance (which the great universally think themselves privileged
It was about the eleventh hour of the night, when his thoughts were occupied by reflections on his for
to dispense with), is an admirable feature in the character of a ruler over thirty millions of men.
“ For a long time the press has resounded the praises, and enlarged on the excellencies, of the new constitutions given by the nobility of Eastland and Livonia to their peasants. In this point, as far as regards the amiable disposition of the em. peror on the subject, 1 perfectly agree; but on the perform. ance of his intentions, I believe, in the first instance at least, too much has been said. I will not presume to offer a decisive opinion on this matter; the constitutions are already in the hands of every one, for him to form his own judgment of then. Thus much, however, I cannot conceal: when I left Livonia, the imperial commissioners who were empowered to make known the new regulations, had already begun the execution of this duty; but many peasants, particularly those who had good masters, shewed very little gratitude on the occasion, and begged to be left in their old state. This circum. stance indeed can scarcely be held to decide the real merit of the plan in question; for an aversion to relinquish old institutions will often make us blind to our real interest. The peasants also had anticipated too much in expecting that the emperor would set them entirely free; nay, they think in fact that this is already the case; but the commissioners, in the number of whom are their masters, have hitherto preserved tranquillity among them. Hence, however, arise misunderstandings, that prove how carefully we ought to proceed in enlightening a blind and infatuated people.
“The peasants, who, under their former intolerable oppression, were allowed to lodge their complaints with the government, are in future to have for this purpose three judicial courts; the members of all of which, however, are to be taken from among the nobility alone: from the highest of these courts
Jorn condition, that the entrance of Jerome was announced by a low whisper from the adjoining vault. Jerome approached with a shade of concern visibly marked on his countenance. • I am sorry to be the messenger of bad news,” said he;
your fate is at last determined upon.” The frame of our hero, at these words, shook with violent emotion. For some time he dared not enquire the extent of his fears; he read it too plainly in the sympathising features of
there is no appeal. However upright and noble-minded this class may be, it is surely not right for a whole division of the empire to be thus cut off, as it were, from the monarch. Every access to the throne is debarred them, and they must consequently be entirely at the mercy of their masters. If ever an unjust esprit de corps should influence the possessors of this power (from the present generation indeed this is not to be feared), what would then become of the poor Eastlanders?
It is true, every lord has erected on his manor a court for the peasants, under the direction of a judge chosen by themselves from their own number: but he himself chooses the president of this court, which leaves his influence over his vassals unimpaired, for they will hence never venture to pronounce any sentence displeasing to him. It is exactly as if a prince should fill the benches of his tribunals with courtiers, and place one of his lords in waiting at their head. However, as I before observed, this constitution is not yet confirmed, and it would be premature now to say more upon it. Were it possible to ensure in the posterity of the present nobility-a continuation of the sentiments which now prevail, it would have been fruitless to deliver au opinion, on the subject; for, with pleasure I mention it, these are such, as can lead us to apprehend very few abuses.