Page images

ance at least, the bounds of all modera- profligacy and intrigue, were introduced tion; as nothing criminal however has for the first time at the Danish Court. Of been proved, let nothing criminal be sup- all these amusements Struensee was the posed. Of all tbis the King was a quiet indefatigable leader and the devoted parand an indifferent spectator. Christian, taker; and he unfortuuately found but too weakened both in mind and body by every many of the Danish nobility, who either species of excess, had sunk into a state of in the spirit of adulation, or from the love total apathy and imbecility. He was of indulgence, became liis associates. In quite disqualified from taking any part in most capitals these scenes of dissipation the management of public affairs ; the ad. and vice would have had a most injurious ministration therefore of the State devolved effect upon the general morality of the entirely upon the Queen, Struensee and country, and would gradually have cortheir adherents, who ruled without respon- rupted the middling and lower orders by sibility or control,

a descending contagiou. *But the primi“ Had Struensee confined biniself to tive and sturdy principles of the Danes, politics, he night perhaps have escaped aided by the purity of their vational relithe weight of general indignation which gion, withstood the infection, and instead at last overwhelmed him. His abilities of the popularity which Struensee probawere cominanding, his powers of applica- bly expected to reap from his relaxation tion great, his views enlarged, his resolu. of ancient discipline, he excited rather a tions were both rapidly taken and deci- feeling of disgust and abhorrenoe. One sively carried into effect. Many of his of the boldest of his acts was to repeal a public measures were calculated to im- very old and severe law against adaltery ; prove and to aggrandize the State, Yet this measure was considered as no less even in this department he exposed him- than holding out a reward for the commisself to much unpopularity by measures sion of the crime, and was received acequally odious and unadvised; and by cordingly with strong marks of national pone more than by banishing from court indignation. Count Bernstorf, an old and favourite “But it pleased the great moral Governor minister of the crown, a man of the most of the world soon to arrest this infatuated unimpeached integrity and character. This man in his career of crime. While Struwas a transaction which gave him (as we ensee was lulled by the indulgence of his shall find) much uneasiness during his con- passions into a fatal secarity, his enemies finement.

were active in preparing for his destrucProfligacy was the rock upon which' tion. The Queen Dowager and her Son Count Struensee split. He was generous,

were at the head of the hostile party, but open, and without hypocrisy, but his from their general want of political talent, moral principle was corrupt, and his life at they created little apprehension. They tissue of licentiousness, which the extra- were joined by some of the ancient Nobiordinary powers of his mind enabled him lity, who were indignant at seeing the for some time to reconcile with the dis- Danish Monarchy under the command of charge of his political duties. Towards a foreigner, to the exclusion of themselves the close of his administration, however, and others who had juster claims to public he seemed to have partly lost his strength rank and authority. In one plan to seize of understanding, and amidst the difficul- the persons of the Queen and the Count, ties which were increasing upon him on they were disconcerted, but shortly after, every side, to have acted without any sort. a more favourable opportunity presented of foresight or vigour. But it would have itself. They had already gained over to been a happy circumstance had the profli- their party, a sufficient number of the gacy of Struensee been confined to him. Soldiery, with whom Struensee was self alone, It was the object of his per- favourite, and all other circumstances verted ambition to corrupt the purity and were arranged with admirable dexterity to undermine the principles of the whole for the execution of their pnrpose. Accourt and capital, to reinove the laud. cordingly at the conclusion of a masked marks of right and wrong, to hold out ball, which was given at the Royal Palace, every incentive to iniquity, and to create on the 15th of January, 1772, Koller every facility for its indulgence. Upon all Banner, after the whole party had retired, points of religion and morals he was a and all was quiet, entered the Bedchamber professed scoffer, and appeared, peculiarly of Christian, and informed him that there anxious that his opinions upon these points was a conspiracy against his person and should be both disseminated and adopted. dignity, at the head of which were bis Masked balls and other kinds of foreigp wife, Count Struensee, and their associates, amusements, especially calculated to foster He urged the King to sign an order for


their immediate arrest. Christian however The first conference details the at first, whether from affection for the reception which Munter obtained Count, or from that obstinacy which is

from the Count. The description of the natural consequence of imbecility, it bears strong marks of pature, and steadily refused. Tbe Queen Dowager and Prince Frederic were then called in to

is very interesting. enforce the requisition, and at last, by

“ When he was told I was there, and means of absolute threats, they obtained

wished to speak to him, he inquired wbether his reluctant signature. Not a moment

I came by command ? Being answered in was lost: Koller Banner made his way in

the affirmative, he complied. He received stantly to the chamber of Struensee,

me with a sour and gloomy countenance, forced open the door, and found him asleep in the attitude of a man who was prein his bed. The Count made no resist- pared to receive many severe reproaches, ance to the order, but suffered himself to

with a silence that showed contempt. We be quietly conveyed in a coach to the Citadel. Count Brandt, having made some holding the misery of a man who, but a

were alone, and I was greatly moved, beshiew of resistance, was at last forced to few weeks ago, was the first and the most surrender himself, and was lodged in the

powerful of all the King's subjects. I same prison ; their adherents also shared a

could neither hide my feelings, nor would similar fate. Early the next morning, the

1. Good Count, said I, you see I come Queen was hurried away to Cronsburg, a

with a heart that is sensibly affected for fortress about twenty-four miles from

you: I know and feel the regard that is Copenhagen, in which she was for some

due to an unhappy inau, whom God, I am time confined. It is an extraordinary

sure, never intended to be born for such a fact, that had Struensee gone to his apart. misfortune. I sincerely wish to make my ments before the ball, he would there have visits, which I am ordered to pay you, found Count Rantzau, who was prepared agreeable and useful.--Here be quitted his to acquaint him with the whole conspiracy, affected attitude, his countenance grew which would have enabled him not only to have extricated himself from the danger thanked me for the share I took in his fate.

more serene, he gave me his hand, and by which he was surrounded, but to have re.

Our conversation, continued I, will be venged himself on its authors; circumstances

now and then disagreeable both to you and however were otherwise ordered; contrary

me; but

profess most solemnly, that I to his usnal custom he did not go to his

shall tell you even these melancholy traths, apartments, but having been detained until very late by business, he went straight to severity to you, but not without pain to

which I have to commanicate, without the ball

, where the conspirators, who had myself. I know I have no right to give discovered Count Rantzau's treacherous

you any unnecessary uneasiness, and you design, prevented their meeting. "After Count Struensee had been in bappen that accidentally in our conversa

may depend upon my sincerity. Should it close confineinent for nearly six weeks, the

tion a word should slip from me which perGovernment of the country well knowing baps may appear offensive, I declare bethe fate which must ultimately await him. forehand that it never was said with such and desirous to afford him an opportunity

a design, and I beg that in such instances of changing his infidel opinions before hie

you will overlook my precipitation. With should be called out of the world, ap

an air and a look that appeared to me not pointed Dr. Munter, the Minister of a

very favourable, he replied, 'Oh! you may German Church, in Copenhagen, to visit

say what you please,' pim in prison, and to adninister such spiritual advice and consolation as might nothing but what my great desire to con

" I shall certainly, good Count, say best be adapted to the Count's unhappy tribute towards your future happiness, as situation*.” P. vi.

much as lies in my power, shall oblige me

to. I wish to raise your attention to a The best account of these transactions serious consideration of your moral state, is to be found in Wraxall's Memoirs of the and how you stand in regard to God. You Courts of Berlin, &c. ; that which is given do not know how your fate in this world in the Annual Register of 1772, in some may be decided, and Christianity, which points is not quite correct. There is an I teach and believe, makes it my daty excellent account of his political life in a earnestly to wish for your everlasting hapsmall volume, entitled An authentic Elu- piness. Consider my visits and my comcidation of the Histories of Counts Stru- versation only iu thuis view, and I hope you Ensee and Brandt.

will not disapprove of them. I had severa!

reasons to decline the King's order which how do you think your heart would stand brings me to you; but the hope of com- affected? He answered pothing. You see forting you iu your misfortunes, and of ad- by this that the intent of our conversation vising you to avoid greater ones, was too' is of great importance to you, and deimportant for me. Do not charge me withi serves all your attention, I aim at nothing views of a meaner sort. I come not for my less, than to prepare you for eternity, that own sake, but only with an intent of being it may be a happy one. But I must exusefal to you. He then confessed twice pect that we are not both of the saine that he was fully convinced I did it for opinion, in regard to the state of man his own advantage.

after death. Yet, though you might have "If you are convinced of this, conti- persuaded yourself that there is no life to pued I with emotion, grant me then that come, and consequently neither rewards confidence, which you cannot refuse a nor punishments, I cannot belp thinking man, who is anxious for your welfare. I that there never was a time, when you shall return it with the most thankful were fully convinced of it. Your inward friendship, although you in the beginning feelings have frequeutly contradicted you. should take me for a weak and prejudiced The thought of eternity frightened you, man. I shall not be tired in this friendship, though unfortunately you had heart enough but endeavour to make it useful to you, to stifle it in its birth.-However, it will since I am your only friend upon earth, be always out of your power, to prove that and since you certainly will call upon your there is no eternity. only friend for comfort. Here he stared He heard me with attention, but he at me, as I think, with tears in his eyes, would not own that he ever had any in. and pressed me by the hand.

ward impressions of immortality, or had " I found him moved, and endeavoured been afraid of it. Perhaps he might have to make use of this advantageous moment. been--but he did not recollect it. He If you wish to receive that comfort, said owned that the thought, that he should I, which, in my opinion, I can promise soon entirely cease to be, was disagreeable you as the only true one, do not cherisha to him; it frightened him, he wished to that unhappy thought of dying like a live, even if it were with less happiness philosophical hero; for I doubt whether than he now enjoyed in his prison. But, you will be able to keep it up to the end. he added, he did not find the thought of I am afraid your courage will leave you at total annihilation so terrible as he had Jast, though perhaps you may force your found it was to many, who entertained the self to show it outwardly. Firmness and same sentiments with him. tranquillity of mind, on the near approach “I continued : You cannot deny the posof death, is certainly the effect only of a sibility of a future life, for there is at least good conscience. In all my adversities,' as much probability for it as there is answered he, • I have shewn firmness of against it. I believe I could evince from mind, and agreeably to this character, I mere reason, that eternity is to the highest bope I shall die not like an hypocrite.' degree probable, and that this degree of. Hypocrisy, said I, in such moments, would probability in such cases amounts almost be still worse than an affected firmness, to certainty*. But sappose it was only though even this is a kind of hypocrisy. probable, which you must agree to, it is In case of death, do not trust to your even then a matter of great importance former resolation, and do not compare to you, for you to know what may peryour former adversities, which were perbaps happen to you hereafter.

In case haps nothing but sickness and distress, you had to fear an unhappy life, you with that fate which is now ready to fall should prepare yourself against it, or upon you. But perhaps yon entertain make it at least tolerable. some hopes of saving yonr life?- No!' “ He agreed to this, but added, “You will said be, ' I flatter myself with no hopes at hardly make me believe that there is a all.' But you do not see death near you, future life, and through you perhaps may consaid I ; you do not know the time when vince my understanding by reasons which you shall leave this world? Perhaps it is I cannot overthrow, my heart however will at some months distance. But, (here I not yield to the conviction. My opinion, took him by the hand) my dear Count, which is opposite to yoor's, is strongly suppose I was ordered to tell you that woven into my sentiments; I have so many you were to die to-day or to-morrow, arguments in tavour of it; 1 bave made so would not yoor courage fail? 'I do not know,' said he. But, continued I, if your courage should leave you, and it was then * " This is admirably enlarged upon in too late to look out for comfort and hope, Butler’s Analogy, vol.i. p. 1." REMEMBRANCER, No. 69.

3 Z

many observations from anatomy and phy. At the conclusion of this confesic, which confirm it, that I think it will be rence, Munter, instead of directly impossible for me to renounce my princin obviating these errors, endeavours to ples. This however I promise, that I will

make an impression on his heart by not wilfully oppose your endeavours to en. lighten me, but rather wish, as far as it lies informing bim of a fact which was in my power, to concur with you. I will calculated to awaken a feeling of not dissemble, but honestly tell you of remorse, what I am convinced, and what not. I

" I had observed that he really was very will deal with you openly; this is my cha

uneasy about some of his actions, and I racter, and my friends can bear witness to thought

proper to increase bis uneasiness. it.' In our inquiries, I desired him to guard I suppose my readers know how much he against his careless way of thinking, to

was to be blamed for his conduct towards which, in my opinion, he had been hitherto Count Bernstorf, I acquainted him, addicted, and which had thrown

him into therefore, opon taking my leave of him, this depth of misery. He answered:

with his death. He called out with an “ " I do not deny my having lived in- emotion of heart : * What! is he dead?' considerately in the world, and I feel now

and seemed to shudder. Yes, said I, he is, the conseqnences of it.'

His wisdom, religion, and piety, have pre" I trust in your promise, added I, that served him the character of a great man to you will deal with me honestly. If you the last ; and it is generally believed, that do not, you will impose upon me, though the grief of his last years had hastened his perhaps but for a few days. But you cer

death. When I spoke this, I looked at tainly cannot deceive the Supreme Being, him with an air which he seemed to underand your own conscience. It would give stand, for he blushed.” P. 12. me the highest pleasure if my intentions should succeed. But besides the assist- The same impression he renews ance of God, you must do all the rest your. at the next conference, by remindself. I can only guide you, and it is your ing him of the deep affliction which own interest to mind your welfare, and he had caused his parents, and how you are obliged to employ all the time much it was his duty " to procure which is left you upon this business." them that only comfort which was P. 3. Dr. Munter then proceeds to ob- about his future state.” He appears

left them, not to remain in anxiety tain from him a statement of his already to have succeeded partly in system of religion--from which we this respect: though he had not find that he is a disciple of material- been able to convince his underism, considering man as a single standing by arguments respecting substance or a mere machine—in- the existence of the soul. ferring from thence that there was

In the third conference, Munter no morality in actions further than finds him more disposed to receive as they affected society, and conse

the doctrine of the immortality of quently, that there was no such the soul, by the perusal of Jerusathing as punishment after this life. lem's Meditations (a book for which Here we cannot but observe, by the Mr. Rennell substitutes Pascal's way, how the infidel contradicts

Thoughts). Still the Count persehimself, while he denies the doctrine of future punishments; for at He cannot, however, but acknow

veres in his system of materialism, the very moment when he is dis- ledge, wben pressed with the fact, claiming this doctrine, he confesses that our organs are only instruthat man is “ punished in this ments, which imply an agent to world for bis transgressions," and that he was not " happy himself

le « Count Bernstorf was minister of during the time of his greatest State in Denmark since the year 1750. prosperity—thus effectually assert. Struensee got this great and beloved miing the prevalence of that fact which nister dismissed, by a letter of the king's

, revelation only carries on to its per- pension of 6000 crowns; he retired to

dated September the 15th, 1770, with a fection by extending it to a future Hamburgh, where be died the 18th of state,

February, 1772. T."

make use of them (a fact strikingly vered that side where the wounds of his illustrated by Bishop Butler in his conscience smarted most. He was not by Analogy); but the shame of sa.

far so much grieved at thinking that he

had offended God, and made himself misecrificing his own opinion, is still an obstacle to his conviction of the with him. This sensation of his I laid

rable, as that he had ruined his friends truth. Munter, very judiciously, hold on, and endeavoured to support and still has recourse to his heart, as the to increase it. I hoped his pain might by means of overcoming the difficulty. degrees become more universal, and ex" He was sensible of this, but it seemed

tend itself over his other crimes. to be a hard matter for him to own be was

I had scarcely began to touch him in the wrong. Nevertheless, it was neces

on this side, when he burst into tears, and sary he should make this confession before owned that he found himself in this reI could proceed any farther. I undertook spect very culpable, and was absolutely at therefore to prove, that the manner in

a loss to say any thing in his defence. which his opinion had taken its origin, and

« Suppose thien, continued I, you bad had interested his heart so much, tended to reproach yourself only with being the neither to his credit nor to his advantage.

cause of all the misfortunes your friends I looked upon this as the best means to

now labour under, it must even then be expel one slame by another. He inter

very difficult or rather impossible to acrupted me very seldom during the time I

count for it before God. was speaking, but heard with much atten

" " I acknowledge this,' said he, and tion, and owned that I had exactly pointed therefore shall say nothing to excuse myont the way which bad led him to his opi- self before God, and I hope he will not nion. After a short panse on both sides, demand this of me.

I trust in my repentduring which he seemed to be in a deep God wil forgive me on account of this

ance and his mercy. Do not you think bieditation, he called out : ' Oh! I hope now, and wish for immortality.' I guessed philosophical repentance ? directly that the reading of Jerusalem had

“According to my notions of repentbrought him so far, and he soon afterwards ance, I can give you no hopes. I know said himself-It is impossible not to be

but one way to receive God's pardon, and brought over by that book.'” P. 17.

this is not by a philosoplıical but by a

Christian repentance. I cannot yet proThe doctrine of a future life being pow conceded, the next object of ** This view of Munter is quite corattention was, altogether to remove rect, and worthy of attention. All atthat false ease, by which the Count tempts to eradicate confirmed infidelity had hitherto been supported, by by abstract argument alone will be fruitrectifying his notions of morality. less. A sceptic has seldom any objection His acknowledgment of a future nature, the immateriality, the immortality,

to enter into discussions respecting the life bad already prepared the way of the soul, or such sort of subjects, as they for enlightening him on this head; give him ample scope for the display of his for when Munter was proceeding sophistry and ingenuity; and even if by to shew the insufficiency of even his an able opponent he should be utterly deown standard of morality, the good feated, he is still as far removed from con

viction as ever. His pride, the very eneof society, he unexpectedly an. swered, pointing at the “ Medita. my whom it is our object to subdue, is

flattered and increased by the contest. If tions" which he had read, that he infidelity proceeds nltimately from corrupnow found it “ by far better and tion of the heart, the heart must be the surer to derive the motives of our object of our attack, otherwise the under. actions from God, and to consider standing, influenced as it always is in such Him as observing them.” The heart cases by the passions, will never have free however is still Munter's point play, nor come to an unbiassed determi

nation. Some good feeling, which yet d'oppui, and he is not satisfied until remains, must be awakened and brought he has fully established his influence into action. Such was the course pursued there.

by Munter in the case before us. He “In the mean time, I begged of the touched the heart of Struensee upon one Coupt to reflect how immoral his actions of the few good points which yet remained had been, even according to his former bis affection for his friends and we see principles of morality. I had now disco- tbe beneficial result.”

3 z 2

« PreviousContinue »