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Majesty may calculate, for the remainder of your on many generations, and those who do not read life, on her neutrality.*
will be as sensible of it as those who do. One argument answers all objections. If the Alexander. I am not quite certain that God Holy Allies agreed that Naples should be invaded approves of what my mother disapproves. While because the Neapolitans were turbulent, how we were walking half a mile over scarlet cloth to greatly more forcible is the reason when a more render him thanks for the victories of our arms powerful nation is not only more turbulent, but in Finland, he knew as well as I do that they when the same principles as those of the Neapo- were not the victories of our arms, but of our litans are in action on one side, and a fanaticism mint; and he sees the Swedish and Russian in hostility to Christianity on the other! Your orders, which Cronstadt wears upon his bosom, Majesty is head of the Greek church : bishops drawn back from by the people, as if they were and patriarchs have been massacred by the Maho- flakes of cotton from Cairo. Yet this is accordmetans. The Treaty of Jassy in 1791, and of ing to our religion, and to that of every Christian Bucharest in 1812, cede to Russia the right of church in the world ; and many Princes have protecting the Greek church; many of whose done worse in zealously serving heaven. members, priests and primates, have been con- brother Ferdinand of Spain has a sister the most demned to imprisonment without proof and religious woman upon earth, who did the other without examination. It becomes not the dignity day what puzzled me, and I cannot say even yet of your Majesty to grant any accommodation on whether it is altogether as it should be. She such outrages. You might have pardoned (which resolved to offer a silver lamp to the Virgin Mary, would have been too much) the insult offered to whose eyes by this time, the duchess piously conyour ambassador; you might have yielded to the siders, may want rather more light than they did entreaties of your allies in forbearing from the formerly. When it was brought to her palace by same steps as had been taken by Austria ; you the silversmith, he, as he held his workmanship might have permitted the aggrandisement of that in one hand, presented the other to her treasurer powerful empire ; but you cannot abandon the for payment. She herself came graciously forth church of God, placed under your especial care from her apartment, surveying her offering with and sole protection.
reverential joy, ejaculating a prayer and a laud, Alexander. Capo d'Istria ! is it you who talk and turning to the tradesman, said she entertained in this manner?
no doubt whatever that the lamp was of proper Capo d'Istria. No; it is your Majesty. weight, but that the hook by which it was to be
Alexander. I have not always found the high suspended seemed too short. He answered, that pleasure from my conquests which I was led by he had measured it, and had found it to cormy Ministers and Generals to expect. When I respond with her royal order. had purchased of old Cronstadt the entrance into “Let us see” said she “ whether it hangs as it Finland, and when I heard of its being the hap- should do before the picture." piest and best cultivated portion of the north, A chair was brought; the silversmith hung up and inhabited by not only the most industrious his lamp. As he descended, still gazing on it, but the most civilised and honest and peaceable and stopping with both hands its oscillation, the of men, I expected the compliments of the em- duchess touched his arm gently with the extrepress my mother, who, instead of them, calmly mities of two fingers, and said with religious said to 'me, "Son Alexander ! if you have done firmness, "Remove it at your peril ! it is now well, my congratulations are unnecessary; if consecrated : beware of sacrilege !" She then otherwise, they will serve you little : " and saying crossed herself before the holy Virgin, and this she left me with her blessing, to visit and implored her protection for herself, and for each comfort a young man in the hospital whose leg of her children by name, and for her brother had been amputated that morning; and I found Ferdinand, and her brother Carlos, and her her, on her return, making out an order for the brother Francesco, and her sister of Portugal, and money she should remit to his parents, until he her cousins at Naples, and her other cousins, could help them as before by his business as a living and dead, and for her poor blind sinful carpenter.
people, and above the rest of them, after the Capo d'Istria. Sire, let the history of the clergy and cloistered, for that artificer behind her Empress-Mother be engraven on the hearts of fifty who would remain all his life unpaid. millions, and read by as many millions as you Capo d'Istria. Ah ! that is carrying legitimacy permit to read ; yet, like novels and romances, it a trifle too far : just conquest is another thing. will interest few beyond the hour, and influence Princes have an undoubted right to the coined mostill fewer even so long; while the heroism of ney of their subjects; but plate and jewels should your Majesty must leave an indelible impression only be taxed, and not taken in the concrete. * To both speakers are attributed more wisdom and re
Alexander. My armies cannot stir in this seaflection than they possess. It is as difficult in life to show son the year ;
the Turks can march all winter. that those who are little are little, as to show that those Capo d'Istria. Let them: we shall have occuwho are great are great ; and in dialogue it is even more pation enough in preparing stores and proving so: for if all men were represented in it just as they are, the reader would throw the book aside with indifference our sincerity. We shall be compelled into the or disgust.
we are ready. Wait only until after the
Ramadan : the fierceness of the Turks will sub- empires have been lost and gained by one battle, side by fasting, and differences will arise between your own excepted. The conquest of the Ottothe European and Asiatic troops.
man will be achieved by one : twenty would not Alexander. We cannot speculate on the latter win Rhodes. He who ruined the Persians at case, and our soldiers also will fast.
Marathon was repulsed from the little rock of Capo d'Istria. Or not; as your Majesty pleases. Paros. I beg your Majesty's pardon for such an The Christian is the only religion, old or new, in offence against the dignity of diplomacy, as a which individuals and nations can dispense, by quotation of ancient history, at a time when the another’s permission, with their bounden duties : world abounds with young attachés à la légation, such are fasts, curtsies, crosses, genuflexions, pro- all braver than Miltiades, more virtuous than cessions, and other bodily functions.
Aristides, and more wise than Solon. Your Alexander. This would be a religious war; and Majesty smiles : I have heard their patrons swear Islamism may send into the field half a million of it upon their honour. combatants.
Alexander. The very thing on which such an Capo d'Istria. Then is victory ours. Devastated oath should be sworn : the altar is worthy of the provinces cannot furnish provisions to one-third of offering, and the offering of the altar. the number in one body, and they would fight Capo d'Istria. A great encounter within sight not for articles of faith but for articles of food, of Constantinople throws the most distant domiTurk against Turk, not against Greek and Russian. nions of the Sultan into your hands : Selim, the He who has the best commissariat has the Prophet, and Fate, bend before you. Precedents strongest army. Your Majesty can bring into are good for all, even for Russia : but Russia has the field as large a force as the enemy, a force great advantages which other powers have never better disciplined and better supplied : hence the had and never will have. Remember, now and main body will be more numerous; and with the for ever, she alone can play deep at every table, main body the business of the war will be effected. and stake nothing. March directly for Constantinople. All great |
KOSCIUSKO AND PONIATOWSKI. Poniatowski. A short and hasty letter, brought such to my apprehension as to make me wonder by my courier, will have expressed to you, General, whose it could be, while your services were fresh with what pleasure I obtained leave of absence for in my memory: services than which, in ages of ten days, that I might present you my affectionate heroism, no man ever rendered more pure or more homage here in Switzerland.
illustrious to his country. I do not marvel that Kosciusko. No courier can have arrived, Sir; you have lost the bloom of youth, knowing your for we hear the children at play in the street, and anxieties : but how happens it, that after such they would have been earnest to discover what exertions, such privations, such injuries, (for all sort of creature is a courier.
honours but one conferred on you, and that too, Poniatowski. I myself am no bad specimen of by the voice of your countrymen, are such) how one : I have traversed three kingdoms in five happens it, Poniatowski, that
appear more days : such a power of attraction hath Kosciusko robust than ever, and retain to the full your on Poniatowski.
activity and animation ? Kosciusko. Poniatowski! my brave country- Poniatowski. Hope is the source of them; the man, I embrace you heartily. Sit down, rest aroma without which our bodies are putridity, the yourself . . not upon that chair; the rushes are ether without which our souls themselves, so long cut through in the middle .. the boys and as they are here on earth, are cold and heavy girls come in when I am reading in the window vapour. If we could but have saved our Poland, or working in the garden, and play their old o! my General ! less men can rule her. Of captain these tricks.
all arts this is the easiest, and exercised by the Poniatowski. I must embrace you again, my most imbecile. The laws should rule : for courts General ! Always the same kind tender heart, the we have always in readiness a cushion, a king, and same simplicity and modesty! There is little of a crier : can any wicked wretch want more? poetry or of ingenuity in the idea that your nativity Kosciusko, Ah scoffer ! was between the Lion and the Virgin.
Poniatowski. I will ask the question then not Kosciusko. O Poniatowski! my countryman, scoffingly, but in sober sadness. I ask it in the comrade and friend ! how long it is since we met name of our country; I ask her defender and proI require a few moments to recollect your features : tector; I ask you, chief of Poland ! first of manthe voice, and the heart that gives it utterance, kind! why are you not with us? O with what is the same. I am indeed a revolutionist: I invert enthusiasm would our legions follow you! Return the order of established things. Usually the among us and command us. countenance is remembered when benefits are Kosciusko. Where is Poland ? forgotten : from defect of sight, which these Poniatowski. She rises from her ashes with new gashes have injured, your countenance was only splendour : in every battle she performs the most distinguished part .. do you sigh at hearing History hath given us no example of a man it !
whose errors are so manifold and so destructive. Kosciusko. Poniatowski! her blood flows for I confess that I have been mistaken in foretelling strangers, and her heroism is but an interlude in his downfall : I calculated from observations on the drama of Ambition. She is intoxicated from mankind in ages less effete. I could not calculate the cup of Glory, to be dismembered with the less the forces that resisted him: for I knew only the feeling of her loss. When she recovers her senses, military and financial, and this but numerically; in vain will she look around for compassion or for I knew not by whom and where and to what gratitude. Beyond a doubt I am a feeble and specific object it was to be applied. Fortunate ! visionary politician : nevertheless I will venture (if usurpers ever are) to spring up in a season of to express my opinion, that gratitude, although it rankness and rottenness, when every principle of never has been admitted among the political vitality had been extinguished in the state, either virtues, is one; that whatever is good in morals is by the pestilence of despotism or by the tempests also good in politics ; and that, by introducing it of democracy; when they who came against him opportunely and dexterously, the gravest of old from without were weaker in judginent than politicians might occasionally be disconcerted. Do himself, and when the wildest temerity was equally not let us be alarmed at the novelty: many have sure of success as the most prudent combinations presumed to recommend the observance of justice; and best measured conduct. No general versed and gratitude is nothing more than justice in a fit in war has been consulted by the principal of the of generosity, and permitting a Love or a Genius belligerents : but persons the least practised in it to carry off her scales.
have been employed as commanders in chief. The Poniatowski. We live in an age when no ex- good people of England is persuaded that to open periments of this kind are tried, and when others a campaign is as easy as to open an oyster, and to are exhausted.
finish it is a thing to be done as quickly as to Kosciusko. True, we see nothing in battle but swallow one. brute force, nothing in peace but unblushing Poniatowski. England will alter her system from perfidy. War, which gave its name to strategems, one of these two causes. Either (at the end of Fould recall them, and can not: they are shut up twenty years perhaps) the families of her aristowithin the cabinet and counter, where they never cracy will be sufficiently ed, which is the should have entered, and the wisest of them are prime motive in her undertakings; or a serious and such as would disgrace the talents of a ringdropper. earnest effort will be made against increasing
If the person to whom fortune seems to have danger, and some general of capacity will at last be given the disposal of mankind, had known any appointed to satisfy the clamours of the people, thing of our national character, he would have and to keep the government, or rather the goveraugmented the dominions of Poland, instead of nors, unshaken. But come, let us cease to specudiminishing them : if he had known as much of culate on the English, and indeed on everything policy as a peasant, he would have united with it else than onr own beloved Poland. You have Royal Prussia and Hungary, and its southern reason to shake your head, and to hold your hand boundaries would have been the Danube and the over your eyes : you have reason to complain of Dnieper. Every German province, excepting a ingratitude: but it is rather on the side of fortune fex I am about to mention, would have been than of princes, who, in good truth, owe you little. ereeted into a kingdom, under the most powerful Kosciusko. We hear many complaints of princes or the most popular of its princes, its nobles, its and of fortune : but believe me, Poniatowski, civil magistrates ; representatives would have been there never was a good or generous action that elected, standing armies would have been abolished. met with much ingratitude. Thus the existence of the governors and the pros- Poniatowski. Not Sobieski from Austria ? perity of the governed would have been his work, Kosciusko. Sobieski had his reward : God, who and that work would have been indestructible. alone was great enough, bestowed it. The erection of twenty kings in twenty minutes Poniatowski. But then his kingdom ? what would have abundantly gratified his vanity: a befell that ? and from whom? Condescending, as consideration not unimportant when we discourse you have often been, to the meanest peasant for upon crowned heads, and particularly upon heads the slightest service, grateful as I have seen you Towned recently, or indeed upon heads of any to an undistinguished soldier for moistening your kind subject to the vortexes of power. The Scan- horse's bit after a battle, do you thus speak of the dinavian Peninsula should have been strengthened ungrateful? You to whom no statues are erected, by the junction of Denmark, Mecklenburgh, and no hymns are sung in public processions; you, who Pomerania, forming a barrier against the maritime have no country! And you smile upon such force of England, and (united by confederacy with injuries and such losses ! Poland) against the systematic and unsuspected Kosciusko. My friend! I have lost nothing : I march of Muscovite aggression. No German have received no injury: I am in the midst of our kingdom should have contained much more than country day and night. Absence is not of matter: a million of inhabitants : for it was his business to the body does not make it : absence quickens our leszen both the kingly authority and the kingly love and elevates our affections : absence is the name.
invisible and incorporeal mother of ideal beauty. Were I in Poland, how many things are there upon our heads an immense column of air, but the which would disturb and perhaps exasperate me! nature of things has rendered us insensible of it Here I can think of her as of some departed soul, altogether : have we not likewise a strength and a not yet indeed clothed in light nor exempted from support against what is equally external, the breath sorrowfulness, but divested of passion, removed of worthless men? Very far is that from being from tumult, and inviting to contemplation. She much or great, which a single movement of selfis the dearer to me, because she reminds me that I esteem tosses up and scatters. Slaves make out have performed my duty toward her. Permit me of barbarians a king or emperor; the clumsiest to go on. I said that a good or generous action hand can fashion such mis-shapen images ; but the never met with much ingratitude. I do not deny high and discerning spirit spreads out its wings that ingratitude may be very general : but even if from precipices, raises itself up slowly by great we experience it from all quarters, there is yet no efforts, acquires ease, velocity, and might, by eleevidence of its weight or its intensity. We bear l vation, and suns itself in the smiles of its Creator.
MIDDLETON AND MAGLIABECHI. Magliabechi. The pleasure I have enjoyed in Magliabechi. True: I know the book : it is your conversation, sir, induces me to render you entitled Facetiæ Facetiarum. There is some wit such a service, as never yet was rendered by an and some truth in it; but the better wit is, the more Italian to a stranger.
dangerous is it; and Truth, like the Sun, coming Middleton. You have already rendered me down on us too directly, may give us a brain-sever. several such, M. Magliabechi; nor indeed can any In this country, Mr. Middleton, we have jalousies man of letters converse an hour with you, and not not only to our windows but to our breasts : we carry home with him some signal benefit.
admit but little light to either, and we live the Magliabechi. Your life is in danger, Mr. Mid- more comfortably for so doing. If we changed this dleton.
custom, we must change almost every other; all Middleton. How! impossible ! I offend no one, the parts of our polity having been gradually in public or in private : I converse with you only: drawn closer and closer, until at last they form an I avoid all others, and, above all, the busy-bodies inseparable mass of religion, laws, and usages. of literature and politics. I court no lady: I never For instance, we condemn as a dangerous error go to the palace : I enjoy no favours : I solicit no the doctrine of Galileo, that the earth moves about distinctions: I am neither poet nor painter. the sun ; but we condemn rather the danger than Surely then I, if anyone, should be exempt from the error of asserting it. malignity and revenge.
Middleton. Pardon my interruption. When I Magliabechi. To remove suspense, I must in- see the doctors of your church insisting on a form you that your letters are opened, and your demonstrable falsehood, have I not reason to writings read by the police. The servant whom believe that they would maintain others less you dismissed for robbery has denounced you. demonstrable, and more profitable ? All questions
Middleton. Was it not enough for him to be of politics, of morals, and of religion, ought to be permitted to plunder me with impunity ? does he discussed : but principally should it be examined expect a reward for this villany? will his word whether our eternal happiness depends on any or his oath be taken ?
speculative point whatever; and secondly, whether Magliabechi. Gently, Mr. Middleton. He ex- those speculative points on which various nations pects no reward: he received it when he was allowed insist as necessary to it, are well or ill founded. to rob you. He came recommended to you as an I would rather be condemned for believing that to honest servant, by several noble families. He kill an ibis is a sin, than for thinking that to kill robbed them all; and a portion of what he stole a man is not. Yet the former opinion is ridiculed was restored to them by the police, on condition by all modern nations; while the murder of men that they should render to the Government a by thousands is no crime, provided they be flourmutual service when called upon.
ishing and happy, or will probably soon become Middleton. Incredible baseness! Can you smile so ; for then they may cause discontent in other at it, M. Magliabechi ! Can you have any commu- countries, and indeed are likely to excite the most nication with these wretches, these nobles, as you turbulence when they sit down together the most call them, this servant, this police !
quietly. Magliabechi. My opinion was demanded by my Magliabechi. Let us rather keep within the superiors, upon some remarks of yours on the tenets of our church. religion of our country.
Middleton. Some of them are important, some Middleton. I protest, sir, I copied them in great are not ; and some appeared so in one age of the measure from the Latin work of a learned church, which were cast aside in another. German.*
ledge where it was less likely to be detected, he might
have added that the whole idea and much of the substance * Perhaps he may also have cast a glance on Les Con- of his Letter from Rome was taken from a passage in formités des Cérémonies modernes avec les Anciennes, of Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy. All the remainder may Jean de Croi : and, although he was less likely to acknow-l be found in Josiah Stopford's Pagano-Papismus.
Magliabechi. Pray which were they?
our affections chastened, our desires moderated, Middleton. She now worships the blessed Virgin our enjoyments enlarged by this intercourse with Mary: anciently she condemned the Collyridians, the Deity? And are not men the better, as cerfor doing it, and called them heretics. Was she tainly they are the happier, for a belief that he infallible then? or is she now? Infants were interferes in their concerns? They are persuaded formerly admitted by her to the Eucharist, and that there is something conditional between them, she declared that they could not be saved without and that, if they labour under the commission of it: she now decrees that the doctrine is false. crimes, their voice will be inaudible as the voice Formerly it was her belief that, before the destruc- of one under the nightmare. tion of the world, Christ should reign upon earth Middleton. I wished to demonstrate that we 8 thousand years, and the saints under him : at often treat God in the same manner as we should present she has no mind that either of them should treat some doating or some passionate old man : we be so near her. Although there are many things feign, we flatter, we sing, we cry, we gesticulate. wherein much may be said on both sides, yet it is Magliabechi. Worship him in your own manonly on one side in any question that the same ner, according to the sense he has given you; and thing can be said.
let those who cannot exercise that sense, rely Magliabechi. This is specious, and delivered upon those who can. Be convinced, Mr. Middletemperately.
ton, that you never will supplant the received Middleton. Saint Augustin is esteemed among ideas of God: be no less convinced that the sum the infallible.
of your labours in this field will be to leave the Magliabechi. Certainly; and with justice. ground loose beneath you, and that he who comes
Middleton. He declares that the dead, even after you will sink. In sickness, in our last parsaints, are ignorant what the living do; even their ticularly, we all are poor wretches : we are nearly own children ; for the souls of the dead, he says, all laid on a level by it: the dry-rot of the mind interfere not in the affairs of the living. *
supervenes, and loosens whatever was fixed in it, Magliabechi. This is strong; but divines can except religion. Would you be so inhuman as reconcile it with religion.
to tell a friend in this condition not to be comMiddleton. What can they not?
forted ? Would you prove to him that the crucifix, Magliabechi. I will tell you what they can not : which his wandering eye finds at last its restingand it is this on which I began our conversa- ing-place, is of the same material as his bedpost ? tion.
Suppose a belief in the efficacy of prayer to be a Among your other works I find a manuscript on belief altogether irrational . . you may: I never the inefficacy of prayer. I defended you to my can . . suppose it to be insanity itself, would you, superiors, by remarking that Cicero had asserted meeting a young man who had wandered over things incredible to himself, merely for the sake of many countries in search of a father, until his argument, and had probably written them before intellects are deranged, and who, in the fulness he had fixed in his mind the personages to whom of his heart, addresses an utter stranger as the they should be attributed in his dialogues ; that, lost parent, clings to him, kisses him, sobs upon in short, they were brought forward for no other his breast, and finds comfort only by repeating purpose than discussion and explosion. This father! father! would you, Mr. Middleton, say to impiety was forgiven. But every man in Italy has this affectionate fond creature, go home, sit quiet, a favourite saint, for whose honour he deems it be silent ! and persuade him that his father is lost meritorious to draw (I had almost said the sword) to him? the stiletto.
Middleton. God forbid. Middleton. It would be safer to attempt drag- Magliabechi. You have done it: do it no more. ging God from his throne, than to split a spangle The madman has not heard you; and the father on their petticoats, or to puff a grain of powder will pardon you when you meet. from their wigs: this I know. Nothing in my Middleton. Far be it from my wishes and from writings is intended to wound the jealousy of the my thoughts to unhinge those portals through Italians. Truth, like the juice of the poppy, in which we must enter to the performance of our small quantities, calms men; in larger, heats and social duties : but I am sensible of no irreligion, irritates them, and is attended by fatal conse- I acknowledge no sorrow or regret, in having quences in its excess. For which reason, with attempted to demonstrate that God is totally and plain ground before me, I would not expatiate far removed from our passions and infirmities,
largely; and I often made an argument, that and that whatever seems fit to him, will never ! offered itself , give way altogether and leave room
seem unfit in consequence of our entreaties. I for inferences. My treatise on prayer was not to would inculcate entire resignation to the divine be published in my lifetime.
decrees, acquiescence in the divine wisdom, conMagliabechi. And why at any time? Supposing fidence in the divine benevolence. There is someprayer to be totally inefficacious in the object, is thing of frail humanity, something of its very not the mind exalted, the heart purified, are not decrepitude, in our ideas of God: we are foolish
* Nesciunt mortui, etiam sancti, quid agant vivi, etiam and ignorant in the same manner, and almost to eorum filii; quia animæ mortuorum rebus viventium non the same degree, as those painters are, who append intersunt. De curâ pro Mortuis.
a grey beard to his chin, draw wrinkles across his