Page images
PDF
EPUB

it. Immediately on his arrival in Paris after his escape from London

'The king of England went to the convent of the Great Carmelites to see Mother Agnes; he wished particularly to see Mother Agnes, because she was the first person who spoke to him of changing his religion. He practises his devotions at the convent of the Jesuits !-- Jan. 17th, 1689.'

At such a moment, to thank the poor nun, who had persuaded him to the steps for which he was then suffering, is surely the most extraordinary proof of humility and sincerity.

We were not aware of the following attention from King William to James, and are pleased to know it.

• The Prince of Orange has sent the king of England his carriages, his horses, all his sporting equipages, and his plate. - Feb. 9th, 1689.'

The terror which William had struck into France is well pictured by a trifling incident.

• Bonfires were made all through Paris at the news of the death of the Prince of Orange, which, however, the king did not approve. But the magistrates could not restrain the people.

Note. They were not satisfied with bonfires : tables were spread in the streets, and the passengers were invited to drink, which it was not safe to refuse to do. People in their carriages, and even the first nobility, submitted, like the rest, to this folly, which became a fancy, with which the Prince of Orange, though piqued, was still more fattered: the police had great difficulty in putting an end to it.'-Nouv. Mém. Aug. 2d, 1690.

The following* passage on the subject of royal mourning is worth observing. The kings of France mourn in violet-the king of England also mourns in violet, because he still claims to be king of France. It startles us thus to see two kings of France.' We confess we are pleased with the spirit which induced James to assert (in such circumstances) this etiquette, and no less so with the magnanimity with which Louis conceded to his unbappy guest, what, Dangeau says, on another but similar occasion, 'il aurait eu de la peine à passer à un souverain heureux.'

We may here observe, that, if the history of this etiquette be correct, (as we believe it to be,) those persons who, on a late melancholy occasion, stated that our sovereign ought to mourn in violet, or purple, are in an error.

When the title and arms of France were relinquished in 1801, the reason for the coloured mourning also ceased, and the king of England should thenceforward mourn, like

* We have mislaid our reference, and there are so many details on the subject of court mournings that we have not been able to find the particular passage again;

but our quotation contains the substance of it.

an

an Englishman, in black : besides, it appears, from another passage in Dangeau, 25th Dec. 1686, that even the kings of France wore black for the loss of persons of their own family, and that violet was only a mere court or ceremonious mourning.

Our readers will forgive us for extracting the account of the end of James's life, and of the generous and impolitic conduct of Louis in acknowledging his son.

• The king went at two o'clock to St. Germain's, to see the King of England, who had expressed a wish to see him before his death.

He found the King of England better, but it is thought he cannot go on much longer. He (James) spoke to the Prince of Wales, his son, with equal piety and firmness, telling him that “ however splendid a crown appeared, the time is sure to come when it is a matter of perfect indifference; that nothing is worth loving but God, or desiring except eternity; he exhorted him never to forget his duty to his mother, and his attachment and gratitude to the King of France, from whom he had received so many favours.”

• He wishes to be buried in the church of St. Germain's, without any ceremony, and like one of the poor of the parish.'—Monday, Sept. 5th, 1701.

* The king of England yesterday requested the king to consent that he should be buried in the parish church of St. Germain, without any monument, and with only these words for his epitaph, “ Here lies James the Second, King of England.”

Nouv. Mém. Sept. 6th, 1701.' • The king went again to St. Germain's at two o'clock-he immediately saw the King of England, who, when they told him the king was there, opened his eyes for a moment and closed them immediately again. The king told him that he had come to see him to tranquillize his mind on the subject of the Prince of Wales, and that he would acknowledge him King of England and Scotland. • The king then went to the

Queen of England, to whom he made the same promise, and proposed to call in the Prince of Wales, to acquaint him with a secret so important to him. He was called in, and the king spoke to him with a kindness that seemed to go to his heart. When the prince came out of the queen's room, Lord Perth, his yovernor, asked him why he had been sent for. He answered that it was a secret which he was bound to keep. He then sat down to a table and began to write ;-Lord Perth again inquired what he was writing. I am writing, he replied, all that the King of France said to me, in order that I may read it every day, and never during my whole life for

get it.

• When the king declared to the King of England that he would acknowledge the Prince of Wales King, all the English who were in the apartment fell on their knees, and cried God save the King! The Queen (of England) is so touched with this great action, that she can speak of nothing but her gratitude-but her sorrow for the situation of the king her husband embitters all her joy.

нн 3

[ocr errors]

' At his return from St. Germain's, the King declared what he had just done for the Prince of Wales. The Pope's nuncio remains at St. Germain's, and as soon as the old King dies, he will recognize the Prince as king.-Tuesday, 13th September, 1701.

· The poor King of England sent early this morning for the Prince of Wales, and said to him, Come near me, my child, I have not seen you since the King of France has made you king; never forget the obligations which you and we owe to him, and remember that God and religion are to be preferred to all temporal advantages :" he then fell back into an insensibility, from which no remedy could recover him; whenever he has an interval, he talks with a degree of piety and reason which edify all who hear him; indeed, it seems that he speaks with more sense than before his illness.-Wednesday, 15th Sept. 1701.

• The King of England is still worse than he was yesterday, and it is not thought that he can out-live the day. The king (of France) sent Degranges, master of the ceremonies, to prevent any ceremony; the body will be deposited at the English Benedictine Convent, and as soon as he is dead, the queen will go to Chaillot.—Thursday, 15th Sept. 1701.

• The King of England died at St. Germain's at three o'clock; he has always desired, from a sentiment of piety, to die of a Friday. Friday, 16th September, 1701.

· The king, on going abroad, went to St. Germain's to visit the new King of England, James the Third; he did not stay long with him, and then went to visit the Queen his mother.

• All the foreign ministers came as usual to the king's levee, except the English ambassador, who affects to be angry at the king's recognition of King James the Third. There is, however, nothing in that contrary to the treaty of Ryswick; there are even examples of two kings of the same country recognized at the same time; King Casimir, whom we have seen die in Paris, was, before he was King of Poland, recognized as King of Sweden, though there was another king on the throne, with whom even, we were in alliance.Thursday, 20th September, 1701.

• King William was at dinner at Loo when he heard of the death of James, and that the king had recognized the Prince of Wales: he pulled down his hat in anger, and did not open his mouth. They add, that it is thought he will immediately recall his ambassador.—Thursday, 29th October, 1701.

The two following extracts are worth quoting, the first as a pleasant instance of credulity and ignorance-the second as a melancholy and almost Theban example of fratricide.

• A ship is arrived at La Rochelle from Canada with accounts that our colonies are in want of speedy succours. The Bishop of Quebec has sent missionaries into parts which have been hitherto considered as imaginary. He reports that he has discovered a people, whose hair, both of the head and body, is like the plumage of parrots; and another of which all the men are hump-backed and the women all lame.Sept. 17th, 1690. There has been, within these few days, a shocking duel at St. Ger

main's.

[ocr errors]

main's. Two Englishmen, brothers of the Earl of Salisbury, quarrelled, fought, and severely wounded each other :-after the duel, they were reconciled, mutually asked forgiveness, sent for a priest and abjured the protestant religion in which they had been brought up ;--the eldest, who is but nineteen years old, is since dead of his wounds, the younger is still very ill of his, and only waits his recovery to throw himself into the monastery of La Trappe.—March 28th, 1691.'

These brothers were Thomas and Edward Cecil, sons of third Earl of Salisbury: the unhappy survivor did not, it would seem, retire to La Trappe, as he was himself murdered shortly after in Rome.

Our readers will easily judge, from the specimens we have given, that these Memoirs contain the most ample illustration of the personal character of Louis XIV.; and it is indeed to this circumstance that we are chiefly indebted for the first of these works, and altogether indebted for the second. Madame de Genlis thinks that this minute history of the life of the monarch does him honour, she has accordingly published it with eulogistic commentaries and notes; and we own that we meet, with pleasure, a great number of anecdotes like the following, which are creditable to the justice and good nature of Louis, to whose character, in these points, it seems that justice is not generally done.

After the council the king called the good old Montchevreuil into his closet, and said every thing that was kind and the most proper to alleviate his sorrow for the loss of his wife. He concluded by saying, Don't look upon me as your master or your benefactor, but as your best friend, and in that character consult me upon all that can interest you or your family.”—31st Oct. 1699.

• The king transacted business with M. de Pontchartrain this evening as usual, and he made a promotion in the gallies.—Only one gally was vacant, and M. de Pontchartrain in enumerating to the king those officers who might be selected for this appointment, dwelt upon of the Chevalier de Froulé. The king said to him, "I perceive that you interest yourself for M. de Froulé, and he deserves it; but there are others older than he who deserve it as well—they have no interest, and I am, therefore, bound to take care of them ;” and he gave the place to the next in seniority--15th Dec. 1699.'

"The play is at a prodigious rate,-the king having heard that the servant who keeps the accounts of the play had paid out of his own pocket, a mistake which had been discovered in the counters, sent for him, praised his conduct, and repaid him his money.-12th June, 1698.

• The Marquis De Coigny died on Sunday morning after a tedious illness—he had no place, but the king allowed him a pension, and during his very long illness the king had the charity to send him assistance in secret.-1st Dec. 1699.

“This morning in council, the king condemned himself in a law-suit which he had with the Prince of Carignan; the sum in question was

нн4

the name

[ocr errors]

as much as 200,000 livres : the matter was not without difficulty, but in all doubtful cases the king generally decides against himself.--28th December, 1699.

M. Lémontey, on the other hand, evidently belongs to the revolutionary or Buonapartean school, which took or made occasions to depreciate the character of Louis even while the Usurper was, like the frog in the fable, bursting himself to imitate his magnificence: and, as Lémontey saw in Dangeau but too many topics of accusation against Louis, he has diligently extracted every thing of that nature which Madame de Genlis had omitted, and appended to it a dissertation on the adıninistration of that monarch, which he need hardly have told us was written at a period when his family appeared exiled from his throne for ever. M. Lémontey mentions this fact as a guarantee for his impartiality; but we own that we see it in quite another light; and we think that those who read this tedious dissertation, will agree that the spirit of the production is

ectly consistent with its date. We do not, however, intend to enter here into the litigated question of the character of Louis; as we shall probably have occasion very soon to bring that discussion distinctly before our readers. At present we must confine ourselves to Dangeau and his editors.

We are sorry, sincerely sorry, to be obliged to charge Madame de Genlis with at least as much unfairness in the pursuit of her panegyric, as M. Lémontey has exhibited in his dissertation, and with this serious aggravation, that Lémontey only misrepresents and mistates in his own character, while Madame de Genlis commits her offences under the name of Dangeau.

Madame de Genlis pledges herself that she read over every syllable of this vast collection, and that she re-read all the memoirs of the time to enable her to explain obscurities, and avoid tautologies, and she adds. I am certain of not having omitted, in my abridgment, one line of the original which can be regretted.'-Dis. Prél. p.32. Now upon this we have to say—first, that Madame de Genlis has re-read all the Memoirs to little purpose, or at least with little benefit to us; for her explanations are scanty and trite, and the natural dryness of Dangeau's narrative is made still more so by the absence of notes which should convey some of that information which is only to be found in contemporaneous memoirs. We have ourselves read a good deal in this line of French literature, and yet we own that we should have been very grateful to Madame de Genlis if she had occasionally assisted our memory with such illustrations as her recent and purposed perusal of the Memoirs must have afforded. This, however, is but a minor cause of complaintthe two next are more serious,—Notwithstanding her pledge that she had not omitted one interesting line of the original, M. Lémon

tey

« PreviousContinue »