Obrazy na stronie

duchy of Weimar, without passing through any country at war either with Austria or Russia ; --what then could I have to dread? It seemed highly probable that all suspicion was confined to my papers; and what did these harmless papers contain ? This the reader will now see, and he may from thence judge how little cause I had to be alarmed.

The papers contained the following articles :

A certificate of the government of Revel, of my services during fifteen years.

The copy of a ukase of the senate, which granted my resignation with advancement.

The order of the court of Vienna relative to my resignation as manager of the theatre, and the continuance of my office as dramatic writer to the court, with a salary of one thousand florins a year.

A certificate from the theatre.

A letter written by count Colloredo, minister to the emperor of Germany, on the subject of an omission in the above-mentioned order, in which no specification had been inserted relative to the continuance of my salary for life. On that ar

cle I had enquired whether, in case I should live to grow old and become unable to write for the theatre, I should receive a pension; and the answer was to my satisfaction.

A note from count Saurau, the emperor of Germany's superintendant of the secret police, with another from M. de Schilling, aulic counsellor and member of the college. When I quitted Vienna, not satisfied with the honourable testimony I had obtained relative to the administration of my office, I conceived it would be prudent, in the present circumstances, to obtain an instrument, certifying farther, that during my residence in that capital I had conducted myself as became a good citizen, and that I had never given any.cause for suspicion relative to my political opinions. With this view I had made application to count de Saurau, intimating that although such a precaution might appear to be extraordinary, yet it was no less true that we lived in an extraordinary age. He had the goodness to make me easy on that head by furnishing me with the note and letter in question, and he closed the interview by assuring me, that should the least doubt arise relative to my way of thinking, justice should certainly be

A leave of absence from the theatre of Vienna, limited to the term of four months, for my journey to Russia, with a clause requiring my return to Germany in the month of October, stating that the business in which I had embarked would not admit of my remaining any longer at so great a distance.

done me.


A sealed letter, from the reigning duchess of Weimar to the grand duchess Elizabeth.

A letter and a book from M. Bertuch, counsellor of legation at Weimar for M. Storch, aulic counsellor at Petersburg:

A letter and a book from M. Bottiger, counsellor of the upper consistory at Weimar, for—* I forgot the direction.

Two bonds for 10,000 roubles.

A draft of thirty-two ducats for some manuscripts, payable at Dantzic in August.

Four short copies of verses in honour of my wife's birth-day, which happened the day after my arrest. After having passed over the sandy plains of Prussia for several days together along the banks of the Curisch Haff, and having been obliged to wait a whole day for horses at Neiden, I stole away from iny family at the latter place to a sandy hillock, where, seated under a pine-tree, I wrote some lines for my. children and myself, which we were to present to their mother, on the subject of that happy day, which

* For M. Kohlor, aulic counsellor at Petersburg.

however did not prove so happy as we had reason to expect. The stanza made for myself, shews that I already entertained a gloomy presentiment of the destiny that awaited me.

“ Would heav'n, propitious to my pray'r,

In thy dear converse let me share
That best of bliss, domestic peace,
Till life and all its wishes cease-
I'd fondly call thy distant home

My future prison and my tomb!" From these lines it is likewise evident, that my most painful apprehension was already that of not being able to leave Livonia, which, on account of the interruption of literary intercourse, might have turned out greatly to my prejudice.

A Swiss song, copied in pencil with my own hand; a kind of rondeau on the tree of liberty which had been cut down. I need only cite the last lines, in which, like the foregoing, the tree itself is addressed,

“ And may at last thy useful timber be

“ A gibbet for the whole directory!” Remarks on the extraordinary posts of Prussia.

A collection of receipts obtained from a chemist at Konigsberg.

Several loose sheets containing plans of dramatic compositions, sketches of poems, and such things ; but nothing that related in any respect to politics.

A couple of sheets of letter-press, being part of an almanack with which M. Rhode of Berlin charged me for M. Gerber, the secretary, at Revel; a matter of no consequence whatever.

The beginning of an opera.

A journal of the state of my health for some years past.

The Gotha almanack for every country, in which I had written some remarks on my travels.

A seal cut in stone, inclosed in a letter from one of my friends, who had given it me for the purpose of

having it engraved. The seal was nothing more than a coat of arms which had been lately sent from the herald's office of Petersburg, consequently not at all liable to suspicion.

A Weimar_almanack interleaved. I had imitated the idea of Franklin's, which, if I am not mistaken, had been published in the 'Berlin Journal.' This great man had scrupulously examined, and made a kind of table of all his failings, with a firm resolution by degrees to amend them. Devoting every evening to this plan of self-examination, he became wiser and better, till at length he acquired an entire control over his passions. At whatever distance I remain from my model, I at least endeavoured to execute his wise and good intentions, and I can declare with truth, that the expedient was attended with considerable success.

I can even recommend this method from my own experience to every man who has his moral improvement at heart. He will insensibly feel a kind of terror on examining his almanack; he will dread to find the leaves too full of self-reproaches, and often, very often, will check the passion ready to obtain the mastery over him, on the recollection that at night it will be necessary to put down the particulars faithfully on the paper.

All my dramatic pieces, not yet published ; 'Octavia,' Bayard,' . Jane of Montfaucon,' • Gustavus Vasa," "The Prudent Woman in the Forest,' "The Desire to shine," "The Preceptors' (a translation of my wife's), The Abbé de l'Epée,' 'The Reward of Virtue,' The Two Klingsbergs, "The Prisoner," "The New Century,' The Devil's Villa.'

Not a scene in any of these pieces could render me liable to the smallest suspicion on the score of politics or morality. I brought them with me to sell them to the theatre at Riga, as I had done on former occasions; some of them had been translated at Weimar by the chevalier du Veau, and I intended to have

offered those versions to the manager of the French playhouse at Petersburg.

Lastly, a large folio volume, the depository of all my concerns, my letters, and my little secrets for five years pašt. Of this book I must beg leave to speak a little at large, as it is alone sufficient to assert my innocence. He who has turned over the leaves of it, knows me perhaps better than I know myself. All my civil relations, all I wrote, thought or acted; all my projects are inserted therein; it contains as fol. lows:

An account of my expenses and income; the latter always noted with pro, with quare, with quid, and with quando.

A journal kept at Vienna relative to the theatre, and some farther particulars of trifling import.

An annual list of all the letters I had written or received, specifying to whom, and from whom, with their respective dates. The rough copy of letters of consequence.

In this, and the preceding articles, may be seen in an instant what persons I had corresponded with for five years past, as well as the subject of each letter; and I am convinced that not one suspected name will be found therein, nor a line of equivocal acceptation.

A journal of remarkable, though petty occurrences, which entirely related to my domestic way of life : the birth of a child, or the first cutting of its teeth ; the planting of a linden on my wife's birth-day; a sickness in the family, a day spent in an agreeable spot, the visit of a friend ;—things of such a nature formed the whole contents of the journal, which, however destitute of merit it may seem in the eye of another, proves at least beyond all dispute, that I felt no small delight in passing my time at home, and in the bosom of my family.

Notes relative to my garden at Friedenthal, of what I had myself sown, planted, and gathered therein.

[ocr errors]
« PoprzedniaDalej »