Obrazy na stronie

of the town; and, in the evening, had a party at Park's, consisting of thirteen; where we had an elegant supper, and continued till an early hour, as social, and withal as jovial, as the most sanguine heart could wish. As usual, all was free to us; and we were not a little proud at being honoured with the unexpected company of so many gentlemen of taste and learning; but we missed the ingenious Mr Galt, who was lately removed to London, and whose absence hath left an irreparable blank in the literary society of Greenock. On the third day, (after breakfasting with Mr Whitehead, since established in the academy at Perth, we took leave of our Greenock friends, and set out: keeping along the shore for some miles, we passed through the village of Gourock; and at the Cloch, a good way farther down, took a passage across the Firth. Here our dangers, or at least what we then counted dangers, began to commence. We were within a little of being run down by a brig that was coming up the Firth, full before the gale; and were almost under her bow-sprit, when we called out, and the man at the helm, noticing us at a critical moment, put it down, and eschewed us. The swell here was prodigious; even the mariners declared they had scarcely seen the sea there so heavy at that season, and the large boat being gone over before us with a carriage, our small wherry wrought terribly. There was a lady, who crossed with us, put up many ejaculations, and often screamed out, when descending from the top of a wave; and even Mr L. declared, that he had very much ado to keep himself from growing sick, but that he had, however, effected it: the same means had certainly failed him afterwards, as you shall hear bye and bye. "We now landed on Cowal, in the shire of Argyle, I say, the Shire of Argyle, for I wish you to take notice when we get out of it. After taking some refreshment at the inn, we en

tered amongst the mountains, intending that night to reach Glendaruel, in the heart of Cowal. But, "Sic a night we took the road in, As ne'er poor sinners were abroad in."

For some time, the road kept contiguous to an inlet of the sea, stretching from the Heli-Loch; and on leaving that, in the openings of the glens, were some scenes of inexpressible beauty scenes which are common enough in Cowal, and peculiar to the Highlands of Scotland. In this district, the detached and broken hills, cloathed in mourning, or otherwise, spotted and shagged like their kindred goats, are, nevertheless, skirted below with sweet-scented birches, spreading hazels, and all the other hardy plants that have been so liberally set by the hand of nature in Scotia's glens; where they spread their simple boughs, and rear their unaffected, yet majestic tops, in defiance of the chill mountain gale, or the boisterous salt-impregnated blast from the Atlantic billows. Here and there a thicket intervenes, where the low entangling sloe-thorn is covered with its snowy robes, and far above it, the aspiring briar bends its slender stem, and nods to the blast; while the wild rose on its top opens its unsullied bosom to the genial rays of the sun; and courts a sympathetic glance from the eye of the admirer of simple na


"In some enchanting glades, a pleasant little villa appears, laid out with taste and elegance, the temporary, or constant abode of the curious and wealthy, From the top of the detached rock, or the abrupt insulated precipice, the black, rugged battlements of antient castles, fortresses of the feudal chiefs, impending frown on their now mutilated shadows in the briny deep below. These, which in former days were the scenes of blood and stratagem; where oft the intrepid M'Donalds risted for ages the more popular interest and power of the


Campbells, though countenanced and backed by royal authority; these, I say, recall to memory the days of ancient times, and naturally influence the mind of the reflecting beholder to compare them with the present. And surely the contemplation, if the balance is impartially hung, must be attended with sentiments of gratitude to that indulgent Benefactor, who controuls universal nature, and in whose hands are all the hearts of the children of men, who hath reversed the picture so much in favour of the preseat generation. Then the inhabitants of those regions held their properties, and even their lives, on tenures so precarious, that fear kept watch by night, and anxiety pined in listless incertitude during the day. Want soured the temper; and urgent necessity remonstrated to the senses, in terms too pressing to be finally resisted, on the plausibility of committing crimes from which the first ideas started with horror.

"Thus the natural bias towards justice and humanity, implanted in the human breast, was gradually overturned, and every spring of moral purity in the mind tainted and sullied. What was the consequence? ravages! murders! massacres and spoils! Then the most trivial quarrels must be determined by the sword; and hundreds, nay, thousands, were doomed to atone with their blood, for the offend ed pride, or petty animosity of relentless chiefs; and though faithful and passive to the last degree, their all was subject to every whim and caprice of their superior. How blessed, how happy the change! Now, every man sits under his birk and under his own ash tree, and none to make him afraid. Let the peasant's property be ever so mall, now it is his own; and is protected to him from violence. Let his life be of ever so small account, or utility; where is the boldest Peer that now dares attempt to take it away; or even injure his person, though ever

so despicable? And, even in this subdivision, of which I began the description, the most predominant feature is never yet mentioned; namely, the low-roofed humble cottages that crowd every shore and opening glen.

"There, now, instead of the rapine and terror that once prevailed, love and peace, growing spontaneously up together, nourish and cherish one another: while industry administers to all their wants; and sweet contentment gives full fruition in the enjoyment. Perhaps, you will suppose that I am partial to the cottagers, and exaggerate greatly in ascribing such a share of conjugal felicity, and congenial affection to that humble state. To the former, I plead guilty; but the latter, I will maintain. O my dear Sir! were you as well acquainted with the cottages and their simple inhabitants as I am, which you never will be, you would not suspect the above to be a flattering picture.Though it must be acknowledged, that in every general rule there are exceptions, and, in none, more than in the temper of man, yet, were I to decide what class of men in the nation enjoyed the greatest share of happiness without alloy, I would, without hesitation, do it in favour of the peasantry.

[ocr errors]

"I have sometimes been admitted to the company and tables of the great, and frequently to those who affect their manners: but the cottage, Sir! the cottage is my native element! No where else is there such a free and unreserved emanation of sentiment, which, however homely and ungrammatically delivered, frequently flows from a heart fraught with manly feelings and good natural endowments. There the Sabbath is strictly and conscientiously observed; and there the duties of religion are duly and devoutly performed. Believe me then, Sir, I would rather be the first man amongst the shepherds of Ettrick Forest, than the second in Edin


[blocks in formation]


Lyser. Political Discourse on Polygamy, by Theophilus Aletheus (John Lyser.) Friburg, 12mo. 1674." This writer, a Doctor of the Confessional at Angsburgh, declared himself the Apostle of Polygamy, with a zeal which cannot be conceived. He spent his life and his fortune in proving, that a plurality of wives is not only permitted; but that, in certain cases, it is even commanded. He travelled, with great inconvenience to himself, in Germany, in Denmark, in Sweden, in England, and in France, seeking the means of supporting his system. "This obstinacy, with regard to the plurality of wives," says Bayle, "is the more surprising, since a single one would have been too much for him." He was a little man, somewhat de formed, thin, pale, thoughtful, and restless. After many journies, he fixed in France, and lived at Paris in great poverty. Being very skilful at chess, he went to Versailles, in hopes of finding, by means of this game, some resources at court; but fortune being always against him, he attempted, though ill, to return to Paris on foot; the fatigue, however, increasing his malady, he died at a house on the road, in 1681. He left among his papers, a curious list of all the polyga

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

bly."-This work, written, like all those of this celebrated writer on public law, with much warinth, and in a firm and noble style, was proscribed by the superior authority in 1765. "Mandement.

Charge by the Bi

shop of Alais on the death of Louis XV. 4to. 1774."-This charge was prohibited, because the author raised his voice, with a pious boldness, against

the dissolute manners of the deceased King he paints the unhappy consequences of this dissolution, and the fatal effects arising from the luxury of the courtiers and grandees. The following is one of the passages in this charge which doubtless contributed to its suppression: "If the monarch love God, he will love his people, and will extend his beneficent regards from the throne into the heart of the provinces, whose wretched inhabitants want bread, or steep it in their tears :—we shall cease to see the provinces divided, as it were, into two classes; in the one, their spoils serving as a trophy to the pomp and luxury of a few families, whose origin and character are equally contemptible; who never think their wealth too much; whilst, in the other, thousands of families, who can scarcely, by painful labour, acquire their necessary support, seem to reproach Providence for this humiliating inequality." The charge in question is of great extent, and as we have said, contains bold observations, and strong pictures of the events of the reign of Louis XV.

"Margaret. The Mirror of the "sinful soul, by Margaret of Valois,

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

to some protestant theologians, who sought to draw her into their party; she listened to them, and composed the Mirror in question. The censure of the Sorbonne, far from making her return from this new path, inspired her only with greater interest for the protestants, who were unfortunate and persecuted. She treated them as favourably as possible, and screened them greatly from the severity of the laws; it was even at her recommendation, that her brother, Francis I. wrote to the Parliament in favour of some men of letters, who were suspected of favouring the reformed opinions. Tho' her writings were licentious, her life was pure; very different in this from the other Margaret, sister to Charles IX., and first wife to Henry IV. Such was the irregularity of her conduct, that Charles IX. on signing the contract, said: "By giving my sister Margaret to the Prince of Bearn, I give her to all the Huguenots in the kingdom."

[ocr errors]

"Mariana. De Rege et Regis in"stitutione, libri III. ad Philippum III. Hispaniæ Regem Catholicum. Toledo, 1599, 4to."-Mariana was Jesuit, and author of a highly-esteened history of Spain. The origial edition of the present work is as are as the subsequent mutilated editions are common. What is singular, it appeared, at the time, with the privilege and high approbation of the Aing of Spain; but the court of France, which discovered in this book sediGas sentiments, injurious to the maesty and authority of kings, caused it to be condemned to the flames, by a decree of the Parliament of Paris, 8th June, 1610, and obtained the suppreson of the copies in Spain. The subsequent editions bear only a common price; they do not contain the abomisable passages which made the book he condemned. In these, the author maintains the lawfulness of murdering aking on account of religion; he adaires the detestable action of James

Clement, and fears not to name him, Gallia æternum decus. Accordingly, it is pretended, though not proved, that Ravaillac was led, by the perusal of this work, to form the detestable design which he executed against the life of Henry IV. This work was censured by the Sorbonne, and ordered to be burned by the Parliament of Paris; the superiors of the Jesuits even publicly condemned it; notwithstanding which it did great injury to their order. It was reprinted at Mayence, with the omission of the stronger passages, by Balthasar Lippius, a friend of the Jesuits, in 1605.

"The Friend of the Laws. By "Martin de Marivaux, Advocate, (pamphlet) 1775."-This work was condemned to the flames by a decree of Parliament, of 30th June, 1775, as seditious, injurious to the sovereignty of the king, and contrary to the fundamental laws of the kingdom. It was occasioned by the despotic assertions which the Chancellor Maupeon put in the mouth of the King, at the Bed of Justice, of 7th Sept. 1770. They were as follows: "We hold our crown from God only; the right of making laws belongs to us alone, independent, and undivided." The author proves, from history, that the kings of France have always held their crown only from the nation, and that the right of making laws does not belong to the monarch alone, &c. The author had sent a number of copies to the Parlia ment, that each of the members might have one for himself. This boldness excited the anger of the court.

"Maxims of French public right. "By Claude Mey, 2 vols. 4to. Am"sterdam."-This work was most strictly prohibited by the French governiment. It insists, that kings are for the people, not the people for kings; that despotism is contrary to divine right, to natural right, and even to the end of government; that in every well-regulated monarchy, the subjects enjoy the property of their


goods, and personal liberty; that the power of the sovereign is there limited by the laws; and that France is a monarchy, not a despotism. The part of this work most offensive to government is directed against lettres de ca




"Miscellanies, Historical and Critical, containing diverse pieces relating to the history of France. Am"sterdam, 1768, 2 vols. 12mo."This work seems to be the opposite of the one immediately preceding. It was suppressed 23d Nov. 1768, on the requisition of M. Pierre Perrot, Advocate General in the Chamber of Accounts. The author, says he, represents the king of France as entit ed to exercise the most rigorous despotism; he considers the laying on of taxes as a distinctive mark of the supreme majesty; he sets no bounds to this wretched resource; he wishes that the sovereign should be able to raise subsidies from the people, with out the previous necessity of registering them in the tribunals. He propo ses to exclude unmarried persons from every office and employment; he wishes that kings should be able to seize at will on the property of the church.The name of the author is not known. "Mezerai. Historical and Critical "Memoirs upon diverse points of the History of France, and other curiAL ous subjects."-This work was condemned by the Cardinal de Tencin, who was displeased with some parts of it. Mezerai was likewise the author of a well-known history of France, which contains some bold passages.He had made no secret in it of the bad character of Louis XI.; upon which, being reproached by Cardinal Mazarin, for treating a king of France so ill: "I am sorry for it, replied the author; but, as an historian, I ought to be the interpreter of truth." He shewed a strong attachment to the party of the Fronde. He gave the history of the different kinds of French imposts, with very free strictures upon

[ocr errors]

them. Colbert complained. Mezerai made an imperfect correction of his fault; but, at the same time, announced, that he had been forced to do so by authority. In consequence of these proceedings, half of his pension was taken from him. Mezerai murmured, upon which the other half was also withdrawn. His aversion for farmers general became only the stronger.— Being employed in the Dictionary of the Academy, he added, after the word Comptable, "Tout Comptable est pendable." Being obliged to omit it, he put on the margin of his manuscript, "Expunged, though true." He was supposed to be the author of a number of satires against government. This writer was born in Normandy in 1610, died at Paris, 10th July 1683.

"History of Milan, by Bernardo Carco."-The congregation of the Index prohibited the sale of this work, by a decree of the 16th March 1521, unless a certain passage in it were corrected. This passage was that which mentioned the singular indulgence granted to the Milanese in 1391, by a bull of Boniface IX., at the prayer of John Galeazzo Visconti. In this bull, the Pope says, that all the subjects of this Prince, who had not been able to come to Rome on account of the war, should be absolved from all their sins in the city of Milan, without either contrition or confession.

"Milton against Salmasius. London, 1661."-This work was burned at Paris, by the hands of the executioner; whilst, at London, the author received 10001. sterling for it. The work of Salmasius, against which it is directed, is written indeed in a turgid and often ridiculous style. I have it not by me; but it is said to begin thus: "Englishmen who toss about kings' heads like tennis balls, who play at bowls with crowns, and who use sceptres as puppets." The following is the character which Mr Peig


« PoprzedniaDalej »