Page images
PDF

instance, the mastiness of a Dutch painter, and yet may be able to form a good judgment as to the skill of the artist. Of the kind, we do not think the Lay of the Last Fiddler the worst burlesque that we have ever seen. The composition is exceedingly slovenly in many places, but it has good parts; and from some specimens which he has given, we are induced to believe, that the author has also talents for serious writing. The notes are not ill executed. The following made us smile, and therefore, as we like to communicate pleasure, we lay it before our readers. It is a note accounting for the irresistible propensity which impels Scotchmen to travel in a southern direction.

“Where'er you go, by dale or hill, . . .
You'll find them journeying southward still.”

... “This is a known fact, and well worthy the attention of the learned, as philosophers have never yet, I believe, given any satisfactory explanation as to the cause from whence the emigration arlSeS. “ It will be unnecessary to notice the various hypotheses which have been framed in order to account for this seeming anomaly, as I shall without more delay, proceed to give what appears to me a very probable and satisfactory solution of this once difficult problem, which will, I hope, set things in their true light, and, by a simple mathematical illustration, render as clear as moon-day what has hitherto been enveloped in the darkest shadows of the night. - . . . . - . . " g Philosophers now seem to be pretty well agreed as to the figure of our earth being an oblate spheroid, flattest at the poles, the equatorial parts being higher than the polar regions in the proportion of 230 to 229. . . - * The following quotation from Dr. Rees’s Cyclopædia, relative to the figure and motion of the earth, will, at the same time, explain

t -

our present difficult and important question. “As the earth revolves about its axis, all its parts will endedvour to recede from the axis of motion, and the equatorial parts where the motion is greatest, will tend less towards the center than the rest, their endeavours to fly off from the axis about which they revolve, taking off part of the tendency that way, so that those parts will become lighter than such as are nearer the poles, and the polar parts will therefore press towards the center. * Granting this, it seems no longer wonderful that bodies from the north should press forward in the southerly direction,-or that Scotchmen should leave their native homes, to wander like exiles in a foreign land.” - - - - -

- - - * o

ART,

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Art. XIII. Memoirs of the Abbé Elgorth; containing his
Narrative of the last Hours of Louis XVI. By C. Sneyd
Edgeworth, 8vo. 224 pp. Hunter. 1815.

THE happy restoration of the Bourbons to the throne of France, recals our attention to the history of that ancient dynasty, and more particularly to the tragical end of the last possessor of the French throne, who fell a martyr to his own innocence. Louis the XVIth was a man of whom the French nation was not worthy, had his hands been imbrued with the blood of his people, had he led them forth to plunder and to crimes, and placed the golden chains of a military despotism upon their necks, he might still have reigned the idol of his people. But in life and in death he breathed the pure and gentle spirit of Christianity, and even on the scaffold he prayed that his blood might not be visited upon his unhappy country. We consider, the volume before us as a most interesting and authentic record of the sufferings and death of a most amiable but unfortunate monarch, and as such it cannot be read without the most lively, emotions. The letters of the Abbé Edgeworth are given both in the original French and in English, and display that feeling of real and affectionate attachment to his beloved sovereign, which animated the breast of that excellent man. The description of the last night of Louis the XVIth is given with so much genuine pathos, that we cannot forbear presenting a long extract to our

readers.

“It was now past ten o’clock, and I remained with the King till the night was far advanced : when perceiving that he was fatigued I requested him to take some repose. He complied with his accus tomed kindness, and charged me to lie down also. I went by his desire into a little closet which Clery occupied, which was separated, from the King's chamber only by a thin partition; and whilst I was" occupied by the most overwhelming, thoughts, I heard the King tranquilly giving directions for the next day, after which he lay down on his bed. . . . . . - -

“ At five o’clock, he rose and dressed as usual. Soon afterwards he sent for me, and I attended him for near an hour in the cabinet, where he had received me the evening before. When I retired, I found an altar completely prepared in the King's apart

ment, the commissaries had executed to the letter every thing that

I had required of them: they had even done more than I had asked,
I having only demanded what was indispensable. . .
“ The King heard mass, he knelt on the ground without cushion
or desk, he then received the sacrament, after which ceremony I
left him for a short time at his prayers; he soon sent for me again,
and I found him seated near his stove, where he could scarcely
warm himself. - -
. . N n . . “ “My
VOL. IV. Nov. 1815, -

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

“ “My God,” said he, “how happy I am in the possession of my religious principles! Without them, what should I now be? But with them, how sweet death appears to me. Yes, there dwells on high an incorruptible judge, from whom I shall receive the justice refused to me on earth.” - “The sacred offices I performed at this time, prevent my relating more than a few sentences, out of many interesting conversations which the King held with me, during the last sixteen Hours of hs life; but by the little that I have told, it may be seen how much might be added, if it were consistent with my duty to say more. “Morning began to dawn, and the drums sounded in all the sections of Paris. An extraordinary movement was heard in the tower—it seemed to freeze the blood in my veins; but the King, more calm than I was, after listening to it for a moment, said to me without emotion, ‘’Tis probably the national guard beginning to assemble.” - * “ fo a short time detachments of cavalry entered the court of the Temple, and the voices of officers, and the trampling of horses, were distinctly heard. The King listened again, and said to me, with the same composure, “They seem to be approaching.’ “On taking leave of the Queen, the evening before, he had promised to see her again next day, and he wished earnestly to keep his word, but I intreated him not to put the Queen to a trial under which she must sink; he hesitated a moment, and then, with an expression of profound grief, said, ‘You are right, sir, it would kill her. I must deprive myself of this melancholy consolation, and let her indulge in hope a few moments longer. “From seven o’clock till eight, various persons came frequently under different pretences to knock at the door of the cabinet, and each time f trembled lest it should be the last. But the King, with more firmness, rose without emotion, went to the door, and quietly answered the people who thus interrupted us. I do not know who these men were, but amongst them was one of the greatest monsters that the revolution had produced; for I heard him say to his King, in a tone of mockery, I know not on what subject, “Oh! that was very well once, but you are now no longer King.” His Majesty did not reply a word, but returning to me, satisfied himself by saying, “See how these people treat me. But I know how to endure every thing.’ * . “Another time, after having answered one of the commissaries who came to interrupt us, he returned, and said with a smile, “These people see poniards and poison every where, they fear that I shall destroy myself. Alas! they little know me, to kill myself would indeed be weakness. , No! since it is necessary, I know how I ought to die.”. We heard another knock at the door—it was to be the last. It was Santerre and his crew. The King opened the door as usual. They announced to him (I could not hear in what terms,) that he must prepare for death. ‘ I am occupied,” said he, with an air of authority, * wait for me. In a few minutes I will “return 7 * o

Note by the Editor.”

* return to you.” Then having shut the door, he kneeled at my feet. “It is finished, sir,’ said he, “give me your last benediction,

and pray that it may please God to support me to the end.” He

soon arose, and leaving the cabinet, advanced towards the wretches. who were in his bed-chamber. Their countenances were embarrassed, yet their hats were not taken off, and the King perceiving it, asked for his own. Whilst Clery, bathed in tears, ran for it, the King said, “Are there amongst you any members of the Commune 2, I charge them to take care of this paper 1’ It was his will. One of

the party took it from the King. “I recommend also to the Com

mune, Clery, my valet de chambre. I can do no more than congratulate myself in having had his services. They will give him my watch and clothes; not only those I have here, but those that have been deposited at the Commune. I also desire, that in return for the attachment he has shewn me, he may be allowed to enter into the Queen's—into my wife's service:’ he used both expressions. No one answering, the King cried out in a firm tone, ‘Let us proceed,” at which words they all moved on; the King crossed the first court, formerly the garden, on foot: he turned back once or twice towards the tower, as if to bid adieu to all most dear to him on earth; and by his gestures it was plain that he was then trying to collect all his strength and firmness. At the entrance of the second court, a carriage waited, two gen-d'armes held the door: at the King’s approach one of these men entered first, and placed himself in front, the King followed and placed me by his side *; at the back i. the carriage, the other gen-d'arme jumped in last, and shut the Q0t.

“It is said that one of these men was a priest in disguise; for the honour of religion I hope that this may be false. It is also said, that they had orders to assassinate the King on the smallest murmur from the people; I do not know whether this might have been their design, but it seems to me, that unless they possessed other arms than those that appeared, it would have been difficult to accomplish their purpose; for their muskets only were visible, which it would have been impossible for them to have used. These apprehended murmurs were not imaginary, a great number of people devoted to the King had resolved on tearing him from the hands of his guards, or at least on making the attempt. Two of the principal actors, young men whose names are well known, found means to inform me the night before of their intentions; and though my hopes were not sanguine, I yet did not despair of rescue, even at the foot of the scaffold. I have since heard, that the orders

[ocr errors]

* “The Abbé Edgeworth has here, with admirable modesty, omitted, what his private letter to his brother mentions, that Louis the Sixteenth thought that the attendance of his confessor had

closed when he quitted the Temple, and was equally astonished and

consoled by his accompanying him to the place of execution.

N a 2. - for

for this dreadful morning had been planned with so much art, and executed with so much precision, that of four or five hundred people, thus devoted to their prince, twenty-five only succeeded in reaching the place of rendezvous. In censequence of the measures taken befo-e day-break in all the streets of Paris, none of the rest were able to get out of their houses. “ The King finding himself seated in the carriage, where he cood neither speak to me or be spoken to without witness, kept 3 profound silence I presented him with my breviary, the only book I had with me, and he seemed to accept it with pleasure : he appeared anxious that I should point out to him the psalms that were most suited to his situation, and he recited them attentively with me. The gend’armes, without speaking, seemed astonished and confounded at the tranquil piety of their monarch, to whom they doubtless never had before approached so near. “ The procession lasted almost two hours, the streets were lined with citizens, all armed, some with pikes and some with guns, and the carriage was surrounded by a body of troops, formed of the most desperate people of Paris. As another precaution, they had placed before the horses a great number of drums intended to drown any noise or murmur in favor of the King; but how could they be heard, nobody appeared either at the doors or windows, and in the street nothing was to be seen but armed citizens. Citizens, all rushing towards the commission of a crime, which perhaps they detested in their hearts. “ The carriage proceeded thus in silence to the Place de Louis XV. and stopped in the middle of a large space that had been left round the scaffold; this space was surrounded with cannon, and beyond, an armed multitude extended as far as the eye could reach; As šoon as the King perceived that the carriage stopped, he turned and whispered to me, ‘We are arrived, if I mistake not.’ My

silence answered that we were. One of the guards came to open

the carriage door, and the gensd'armes would have jumped out, but the King stopped them, and leaning his arm on my knee, “Gentlemen,” said he, with the tone of majesty, “I recommend to you this good man, take care that after my death no insult be offered to him, I charge you to prevent it.' The two men answered not a word, the King was continuing in a louder tone, but one of them stopped him, saying, ‘Yes, yes, we will take care. Leave him to us;’—and I ought to add, that these words were spoken in a tone of voice which must have overwhelmed me, if at such a moment it had been possible for me to have thought of myself. As soon as the King had left the carriage, three guards surrounded him, and would have taken off his clothes, but he repulsed them with haughtiness: he undressed himself, untied his neckcloth, opened his shirt, and arranged it himself. The guards, whom the determined countenance of the King had for a moment disconcerted, seemed to recover their audacity. They surrounded him again, and would have seized his hands. “What are you attempting?” said the King, - - , - " " drawing

« PreviousContinue »