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fourth instant from Port Mahon, with advice, that Major General Stanhope designed to depart from thence the first instant with six or seven thousand men, to attempt the relief of the castle of Alicant.
Our last advices from Berlin, bearing date the twenty-seventh instant, import, that the king was gone to Linum, and the queen to Mecklenburgh; but that their majesties designed to return the next week to Oranienburgh, where a great chase of wild beasts was prepared for their diversion, and from thence they intend to proceed together to Potsdam; that the prince royal was set out for Brabant, but intended to make some short stay at Hanover. These letters also inform us, that they are advised from Obory, that the king of Sweden, being on his march towards Holkl, met General Renne with a detachment of Muscovites, who placed some regiments in ambuscade, attacked the Swedes in their rear, and putting them to fight, killed two thousand men, the king himself having his horse shot under bim.
We hear from Copenhagen, that, the ice being broke, the Sound is again open for the ships; and that they hoped his majesty would return sooner than they at first expected.
Letters from the Hague, dated May the fourth, N. S. say, that an express arrived there on the first, from Prince Eugene to his grace the Duke of Marlborough. The States are advised that the auxiliaries of Saxony were arrived on the frontiers of the United Provinces; and also, that the two regiments of Wolfenbuttel, and four thousand troops from Wertemberg, who are to serve in Flanders, are in full march thither. Letters from Flanders say, that the great convoy of ammunition and provisions, which set out from Ghent for Lisle, was safely arrived at Courtray. We hear from Paris, that the king has ordered the militia on the coasts of Normandy and Bretagne to be in readiness to march; and that the court was in apprehension of a descent, to animate the people to rise in the midst of their present hardships.
They write from Spain, that the Pope's Nuncio left Madrid the tenth of April, in order to go to Bayonne; that the Marquis de Bay was at Badajos, to observe the motions of the Portugueze: and that the Count d'Estain, with a body of five thousand men, was on his march to attack Gironne. The Duke of Anjou has deposed the Bishop of Lerida, as being a favourer of the interest of King Charles, and has summoned a convocation at Madrid, composed of the archbishops, bishops, and states of that kingdom, wherein he hopes they will come to a resolution to send for no more bulls to Rome.
N° 8. THURSDAY, APRIL 28, 1709.
Quicquid agunt homines
nostri est farrago libelli,
Juv. Sat. i. 85, 86.
Wills Coffee-house, April 26. THE play of The London Cuckolds was acted this evening before a suitable audience, who were extremely well diverted with that heap of vice and absurdity. The indignation which Eugenio, who is a gentleman of just taste, has upon occasion of seeing human nature fall so low in its delights, made him, I thought, expatiate upon the mention of this play very agreeably. Of all men living, said he, I pity players (who must be men of good understanding, to be capable of being such), that they are obliged to repeat and assume proper gestures for representing things of which their reason must
be ashamed, and which they must disdain their audience for approving. The amendment of these low gratifications is only to be made by people of condition, by encouraging the representation of the noble characters drawn by Shakespeare and others; from whence it is impossible to return without strong impressions of honour and humanity. On these occasions, distress is laid before us with all its causes and consequences, and our resentment placed according to the merit of the
afflicted. dramas of this nature more acceptable to the taste of the town, men who have genius would bend their studies to excel in them. How forcible an effect this would have on our minds, one needs no more than to observe how strongly we are touched by mere pictures. Who can see Le Brun's picture of the Battle of Porus without entering into the character of that fierce and gallant man, and being accordingly spurred to an emulation of his constancy and courage? When he is falling with his wound, his features are at the same time very terrible and languishing; and there is such a stern faintness diffused through all his look, as is apt to move a kind of horror, as well as pity, in the beholder. This, I say, is an effect wrought by mere lights and shades; consider also a representation made by words only, as in an account given by a good writer. Catiline in Sallust makes just such a figure as Porus by Le Brun. It is said of him, Catalina vero longè a suis inter hostitum cadevera repertus est : paululum etiam spirans, ferocitatemque animi, quam vivus habuerat, in vultu retinens. « Catiline was found killed, far from his own men, among the dead bodies of the enemy; he seemed still to breathe, and still retained in his face the same fierceness he had when he was living.” You have in that one sentence a lively impression of his whole life and actions. What I would insinuate from all this is, that if the painter and the historian can do thus much in colours and language, what may not be performed by an excellent poet, when the character he draws is presented by the person, the manner, the look, and the motion, of an accomplished player? If a thing painted or related can irresistibly enter our hearts, what may not be brought to pass by seeing generous things performed before our eyes ? Eugenio ended his discourse, by recommending the apt use of a theatre, as the most agreeable and easy method of making a polite and moral gentry; which would end in rendering the rest of the people regular in their behaviour, and ambitious of laudable undertakings.
St. James's Coffee-house, April 27. Letters from Naples of the ninth instant, N. S. advise, that Cardinal Grimani had ordered the regiment commanded by General Pate to march towards Final, in order to embark for Catalonia ; whither also a thousand horse are to be transported from Sardinia, besides the troops which come from the Milanese. An English man of war has taken two prizes, one a vessel of Malta, the other of Genoa; both laden with goods of the enemy. They write from Florence of the thirteenth, that his Majesty of Denmark had received a courier from the Hague, with an account of some matters relating to the treaty of
peace; upon which he declared, that he thought it necessary to hasten to his own dominions.
Letters from Switzerland inform us, that the effects of the great scarcity of corn in France were felt at Geneva; the magistrates of which city had appointed deputies to treat with the Cantons of Bern and Zurich, for leave to buy up such quantities of grain within their territories as should be thought necessary. The Protestants of Tockenburg are still in arms about the convent of St. John, and have deçlared, that they will not lay them down until they have sufficient security, from the Roman Catholicks, of living unmolested in the exercise of their religion. In the mean time, the deputies of Bern and Tockenburg have frequent conferences at Zurich with the regency of that Canton, to find out methods for quieting these disorders.
Letters from the Hague, of the third of May, advise, that the President Rouille, after his last conference with the deputies of the States, had retired to Bodegrave, five miles distant from Worden, and expected the return of a courier from France on the fourth, with new instructions, It is said, if his answer from the French Court shall not prove satisfactory, he will be desired to withdraw out of these parts. In the mean time it is also reported, that his equipage, as an ambassador on this great occasion, is actually on the march towards him. They write from Flanders, that the great convoy of provisions which set out from Ghent is safely arrived at Lisle. Those advices add, that the enemy had assembled near Tournay a considerable body of troops, drawn out of the neighbouring garrisons. Their High Mightinesses have sent orders to their Ministers at Hamburgh and Dantzic to engage the magistrates of those cities to forbid the sale of corn to the French, and to signify to them, that the Dutch merchants will buy up as much of that commodity as they can spare; the Hamburghers have accordingly contracted with the Dutch, and refused any commerce with the French on that occasion.
From my own Apartment. After the lassitude of a day, spent in the strolling manner which is usual with men of pleasure in this town, and with a head full of a million of impertinencies, which had danced round it for ten hours together, I came to my lodging, and hastened to bed. My valet de chambre knows my university trick of