« PreviousContinue »
the struggle, all the dissension arose spirit, which, in all times of conspi. afterwards, upon the preference of racy against the state, will first rage a despotic Democracy to a govern- against the church. The vindicament of reciprocal control. The tion is general, not of the doctrines triumph of the victorious party was or professional observances of an over the principles of a British Con- establishment so totally distinct from stitution."
that which he revered as his own, At some distance, but connected but of the common principles of huwith the argument, a passage of re- man honour, assailed by the common markable beauty, and of no less dig; principles of rapine and revenge. nity and wisdom, follows :-“ All " It was with the same satisfaction I this violent cry against the nobility, found that the result of my enquiry I take to be a mere work of art. To concerning your clergy was not disbe honoured and even privileged by similar. It is no soothing news to the laws, opinions, and usages of my ears, that great bodies of men our country, has nothing to provoke are incurably corrupt. It is not horror and indignation in any man. with much credulity I listen to any, Even to be too tenacious of those when they speak evil of those whom privileges is not absolutely a crime. they are going to plunder. I rather The strong struggle in every indivi- suspect that vices are feigned, or dual to preserve possession of what exaggerated, when profit is looked he has found to belong to him, and for in their punishment. An enemy to distinguish him, is one of the se- is a bad witness, a robber is a worse. curities against injustice and despo Vices and abuses there were untism, implanted in our nature. It doubtedly in that order, and must operates as an instinct to secure be. It was an old establishment, property, and to preserve communi- and not frequently revised. But I iies in a settled state. What is there no crimes in the individuals to shock in this ? Nobility is a grace that merited confiscation of their subful ornament to the civil order. It stance ! ***** If there had been is the Corinthian capital of polished any just cause for this new religious society ! . Omnes boni nobilitati sem- persecution, the atheistic libellers, per favemus,' was the saying of a who act as trumpeters to animate wise and good man. It is indeed one the populace to plunder, do not love sign of a liberal and benevolent anybody so much as not to dwell mind to incline to it with some sort with complacence on the vices of of partial propensity. He feels no the existing clergy. This they have innobling principle in his own heart, not done. They find themselves who wishes to level all the artificial in- obliged to rake into the bistories of stitutions which have been adopted for former ages, for every instance of giving a body to opinion, and perma- oppression and persecution by that nence to fugitive existence. It is a body, or in its favour, in order to sour, malignant, and envious dispo- justify, upon every iniquitous, besition, without taste for the reality, cause very illogical, principle of or for any image of virtue, that sees retaliation, their own persecutions, with joy the uomerited fall of what and their own cruelties. After dehad long flourished in splendour and stroying all other genealogies and in honour. I do not like to see any family distinctions, they invent a thing destroyed, any void produced sort of pedigree of crimes. It is in society, any ruin on the face of the not very just in man to chastise men land.”
for the offences of their natural anThe singularly happy image of cestors; but to take the fiction of the nobles as the consummate deco- ancestry in a corporate succession, ration of the great social column, as a ground for punishing men who excited universal admiration on the have no relation to guilty acts, exfirst appearance of the Reflections, cept in names and general descripas uniting equal appositeness and tions, is a sort of refinement in injuselegance. It was at once ingenious, tice belonging to the philosophy of forcible, and true. His vindication this enlightened age." of the ruined French clergy has an It is thus among ourselves that the additional value to us, from its close, mob orators look into the history of prospective, penetration into the the Romish supremacy for the crimes of the British establishment. historical, not contemporary.
Its The fourteenth century sits for the favourite phrases of '« pampered picture of the nineteenth. The priest, haughty dignitary, proud, perpowers and assumptions of those, secuting, middling, domineering son partly ecclesiastical barons, who of the Church,” are ransacked from rode at the head of armies of their the dusty repositories of forms and own vassals, held high festivals in fashions, which died together; which their own castles, when they were belonged to the Church, extinguished storming the castles of others, and by the virtue and valour of our fausurped the fairest domains of Eu- thers, and which will never. appear rope, are oratorically quoted against in the land again, until in some fatal a generation of men, nine-tenths of stretch of a criminal toleration, in whom cannot command the salary some frenzied extravagance of conof one of the grooms of those mitred temptuous liberality, that obsolete warriors; who must make their establishment shall be placed side by way, not on prancing chargers, but side with the Church of England, on foot, through their obscure cir- the dead linked to the living, until cuit, and who, instead of moat and the living perishes by the contact, tower, battlement and barbican, feel and the papacy sits alone in all her themselves fortunate in having a ancient escutcheons and trappings, thatched cabin to shelter themselves her warlike caparison, and her spiriand their philosophy. Such is the tual pomps and vanities; the effigy honesty of identifying the most opu- of the ancient ecclesiastical tyranny lent body of Europe with a body, of the world. But until those days nine-tenths of whom have little above return, and the epoch may not be the income of a common weaver, among impossible, nor even distant and in whose estimate the thriving things, the charges of arrogance and trader of their village might appear superfluity are childishly inapplia Cresus.
Two thousand of the cable. As well might we brand Lalivings in the Church of England zarus at the gate with the heartlessare under a hundred a-year ! The ness and pride of the Sadducee, in truth is, that the declamation has his purple and fine linen, feasting nothing to do with the time. It is sumptuously within.
REMINISCENCES OF NAPOLEON BONAPARTE, AT ST HELENA.
BY A LADY.
Many of my friends have at dif- which proved to me very provoking, ferent times expressed an anxiety, as they were confidential and careless that I would commit to paper some communications, never intended for regular account of the circumstances the public eye. Indeed, during the and anecdotes which came under years 1815-16-17, the craving and my personal observation at St He. mania for anecdotes of the prisoner lena, respecting that astonishing man of St Helena were
so great, that Napoleon Bonaparte. The truth is, people seemed not to be at all scruI had refrained from doing so for se- pulous how or where they obtainveral reasons.
ed them, I remember well, that, During the two years I lived at when we landed at Portsmouth, in Longwood, and within sight of the September, 1817, and it was known Ex Emperor from morning till night, that our regiment had been two I could have written volumes of mic years in surveillance of the Ex-Emnute occurrences, which, probably, peror, persons of all ranks seemed in the eyes of thousands, would have ready to tear us in pieces for inforderived an interest from their con- mation. We had not been two hours nexion with the mighty being to there, at the Crown Hotel, before whom they related-as the few hur- several portraits of him were brought ried epistles I wrote to my sisters and by strangers for our inspection, and to my aunt Lady R- e were, by to wait our decision as to their resome unknown means, published in semblance to the original. the newspapers
a circumstance This delirium has passed away
the hero is no more-new monarchs stress on the beauty of hands in sway the different sceptres of Europe ladies, and frequently enquired of -and many chances and changes me, during our residence in St Hehave occurred in the conduct of hu- lena, respecting the hands of the man affairs, since the astonishing ladies he had not seen; and seemed events of 1815 seemed to have come to think a pretty and delicate hand like a new avatar on the world. The the ne plus ultra of beauty and genthings of those days are now quite tility. of the past, and I can with safety, Napoleon was dressed, on the day and without any doubt of propriety, of my first introduction to him, in indulge my friends with a sketch of a green coat, silk stockings, small Bonaparte, as I myself saw him. Of shoes, large square gold buckles, and course I make no allusion to party a cocked hat, with a ribbon of some or politics. The truth is, I have no order, seen through the button-hole genius that way ; besides, I con- of bis coat. sider them as away from the female The two young ladies, who were character. I shall carefully keep respectively about thirteen and fifwithin the sphere which Bonaparte teen years of age, were quite famihimself allotted to the female sex; liar with the Ex-Emperor, ran playelse I will outrage one of his fa- fully towards him, dragging me forvourite axioms, which was, ward by the hand, and saying to him, women mind their knitting,” i. e. “ This lady is the mother of the little their domestic concerns.
girl who pleased you the other day My first introduction to Bonaparte by singing Italian canzonets.” was in the Island of St Helena, at Upon this he made me a bow, which the place called the Briers, in the I returned by a low and reverential month of December, 1815, about six curtsy, feeling, at the same time, weeks after his arrival at the Island. a little confused at this sudden and
This introduction was by chance, unceremonious introduction. and through the means of two young Madame,” said he, " you have a and lively English ladies, who had sprightly little daughter; where did lately returned from a boarding, she
learn to sing Italian songs ?” school in England, daughters of the On my replying that I had taught proprietor of the Briers.
her myself," he said “Bon." He We went, by invitation, to dine at then asked me what countrywoman the Briers, where Bonaparte resided I was ? “ English.”
_“ Where were for some weeks after his arrival, un- you educated ?"_" In London.”til the house at Longwood was put • What ship did you come out in to in order and prepared for his recep
St Helena ? What regiment is your tion. I was walking with my little husband in? And what rank has he daughter (eight years of age), and in the army ?” And a variety of like the two young ladies before men- questions, as quick as possible, did tioned, in the garden before the Bonaparte make to me, and all in Briers, when Bonaparte came forth Italian. I then ventured to request from bis tent (which was pitched he would speak to me in French, as on one side of the house), accom- I was more conversant with that lan. panied by his secretary, Count Lasguage than with Italian. All this time Casas.
the two young ladies and my little Bonaparte was a little man, stout daughter were running to and fro and corpulent, of a dark olive com- around us, and chattering to the plexion, fine features, eyes of a light Great Hero, who seemed to delight bluish grey, and, when not speake much in their lively and unsophistie ing or animated, of an abstracted, cated manners. After walking some heavy countenance. But when light time in the garden, Bonaparte reed up and interested, his expression quested me to go into the house at was very fine, and the benevolence the Briers, where a pianoforte stood of his smile I never saw surpassed. open, to sing some Italian songs. He was particularly vain of a small Accordingly, we all entered the and beautiful hand, and handsome drawingroom, which was
on the little feet; as vain nearly (I dare ground floor, when my playful say) as having conquered half the little daughter, perceiving me agiuniverse. Bonaparte laid a great tated and trembling at the idea of
VOL. XXXV. NO, CCXVII.
singing before so great a personage, panied by Captain M- -y of the 530 whispered to me," Why are you Regiment (the officer at that period so much afraid, dear mamma ? he is in surveillance of Bonaparte), with only a man.”
an invitation from the Ex-Emperor The little creature bad seen him for me to dine that day with him at at the Briers a few days before with Longwood House. some young friends, and had pleased “ The Emperor," said the Countand surprised him by singing seve- ess Bertrand,“ will invite
hus. ral of 'Milico's Italian canzonets, nd on anoth day; for he makes and had accompanied herself on the it a sort of rule never to invite huspianoforte, although her little hands band and wife on the same day; so were scarcely able to reach the oc- you can, if you wish, go with me and taves; she had been always accus- the Grand Maréchal Bertrand"tomed to play and sing whenever she I then replied, “ I shall be exwas ordered or requested so to do; ceedingly happy to accept the inviand she was not old enough to com- tation, provided my husband shall prehend the prowess and renown of have no objection to it. He is not at Napoleon Bonaparte, and to judge present within; but as soon as he of the awe and agitation his name comes, I will ask if he likes me to was likely to produce, and had pro- go.” duced even on kings and queens. “ What !” exclaimed the Countess,
Behold me now seated at the are the English wives in such subpianoforte, with the Conqueror of jection, that they cannot accept an the World standing behind my chair. invitation, even from an Emperor, What an indefinable, indescribable without leave of their husbands ?” sensation! I forgot my fears in my “ Yes,” replied I; "nor can I give astonishment, and got through the an answer until mine returns.” And song of “ Ah che nel Petto," toler- at this answer she looked surprised, ably well.--"Bien,” cried Bonaparte; and rather offended. But Captain “C'est de Paisiello,” which shewed he M-y looked highly delighted, and was well acquainted with the style proud of the superior power of Eng. of the composers. “ Ah,” said he, lish over French husbands. The “ in my youth I could also perform Countess Bertrand, however, soon a little on the pianoforte.” He then resumed her charming and amiable ran over the keys of the instrument manner, and said she would remain in tolerable style, to shew that he with me until my lord and master was not boasting of what he could returned, which, as he did not do so not perform.
for some time, she was obliged to “ The Italians,” said he, “have depart. When he at length came certainly the first taste for music and home, he did not much approve of composition in the world; then the my going without him ; for how was Germans; then the Portuguese and I to return to the camp alone? But Spaniards; then the French; and, on hearing that our Colonel, Sir lastly, the English; but really I do not George Bingham, was also invited to know which of these two last have the dine at Longwood, and would bring worst taste in composition. But stay, me safe to my tent, he consented to I had nearly forgotten the Scotch. my going; and away I went to dress Yes; they have composed some myself for the occasion with no small fine airs." All this he said in French, delight. with his usual rapidity. “Madame,” I went to the Countess Bertrand's said he, "you no doubt delight in house first, and found her splendidly performing musical pieces and in arrayed; for the ladies were dressed singing ?” I bowed affirmatively. every day the same as at Paris, al“I was certain of it,” said he;" we though they dined every day at Longall delight to do what we know we wood. Bonaparte's carriage and four do well.” With this flattering speech horses came to fetch General and he made a sliding bow and depart. Countess Bertrand from Hutts Gate, ed.
where they then resided, and I ac.
companied them. I was sitting one morning in our When we arrived at Longwood, we tent at Deadwood Camp, when the found Count and Countess MonthoCountess Bertrand came in, accom- lon, Baron Gourgaud, and Count Las
Casas, and Sir George Bingham, as- Saying this he started up, and we sembled in the drawingroom. Bo- all followed bim into the drawingnaparte soon after entered, and sat room, when each of the Generals down at the chess-table, for he al- taking a chapeau-bras under his arm, ways played a game at chess before formed a circle round Bonaparte; all dinner. He asked me to play with continuing standing. Coffee was prehim, which I declined, saying I was sently brought, and the cups and a bad player. He then asked me if saucers were the most splendidly I could play at backgammon, “ You beautiful I ever beheld. Napoleon must teach me,” said he, "for I know now conversed with all around most but little of the game.” So down agreeably. I admired the china; uphe sat. I was in considerable agita- on which he took a coffee-cup and tion at the idea of giving instructions saucer to the light to point out its to the great Conqueror. But luckily, beauties,-each saucer contained a as soon as he had placed the backgam- portrait of some Egyptian Chief ; mon men, a servant entered, saying, and each cup some landscape or " Le diner de sa Majesté est servi." views of different parts of Egypt.
Madame Bertrand then whispered “ This set of china," said he, to me, “ You are to sit in the Em. given me by the city of Paris after press's seat. It has been so ordered.” my return from Egypt." I accordingly was led to it by the He afterwards made a present of Grand Maréchal Bertrand. The in- one of these beautiful coffee-cups to stant Bonaparte was seated, a servant Lady Malcolm, wife of Admiral Sir came behind him and presented him Pultney Malcolm, on her departure with a glass of wine, which he drank from St Helena. Sir Pultney had off before he began to eat. This, it shewn Bonaparte much kindness and seems, was his invariable custom. consideration. The dinner was served on superb Napoleon then requested me to gold and silver plate, and beautiful sing, and I sang a few Italian airs. china. The meat was served on the The Countess Montholon then perside-tables by several smart servants formed some little French songs, and in magnificent liveries of green and he joined in humming the tune. gold. There was a vast variety of A party of reversis was then formdishes and vegetables, cooked in the ed for him by his Generals, and I sat most delicate manner. Bonaparte ate down to a round game with the two of a number of dishes with great ap- Countesses and Sir G. Bingham. petite; he several times offered things Napoleon was now in high spirits; to me--an honour, I was told by Las he was winning at reversis, and he Casas, he never condescended to do always liked to win at cards; he beeven to queens. Napoleon talked a gan to sing merry French songs. great deal to me; his conversation About ten o'clock he retired, making was chiefly questions respecting In- a sliding bow, to his private apartdia, and the manners and dress of ments, attended by Count Las Casas. the natives there, and I must not forget to inform my female friends that he admired my dress, which consisted The second time I dined with of a silver worked muslin in stripes. Bonaparte at Longwood, the invitaHe asked me how much I gave a- tion was by chance, and from his yard for it in India. He also admi. own mouth. red, or pretended to admire, my brace- I went with my husband and little lets, which were of beautiful pearls. daughter to pay a visit to Countess Be that as it may, I believed it all, and Bertrand, who at this period had rebegan to feel tolerably conceited and moved from Hutts Gate to a house much at my ease.
built by Government for General “Your English gentlemen," said Bertrand, close to Longwood House. he, “sit an intolerable time at din. After having paid our visits to her ner-and afterwards drink for hours and to Countess Montholon, we met together, when the ladies have left Bonaparte walking in the garden them. As for me, I never allow more with General Bertrand; he walked than twenty minutes for dinner, and up to us, and talked a long time to five minutes additional for General us, and told little E-y she had a Bertrand, who is very fond of bon- Spanish countenance." bons,"
When we were about to take leave