Page images
PDF
EPUB

he was employed in the discharge of those duties which raised him to immortality.

It is not on the exploits of Alexander, or Charles XII, that you ought to dwell with your pupil those princes who have devastated the earth. Discourse with him, and that often, of such princes as have protected commerce, enlarged the sphere of knowledge-in short, of such kings as have been really useful to their people, and not of those on whom history has been too lavish of praise.

You are acquainted with the best authors, and the proper methods of instruction; and you appear to me to have benefited from your studies, and the first lessons

of youth: you possess knowledge. Endeavour to do só for my son as much as was done for yourself; but do

not be too eager to enjoy the fruits of your labours, or fear proceeding too slowly; and, be convinced that

your pupil understands your preceding lessons before to you widen the limits of instruction Never dissemble

with him, or suffer him to appear more learned than e he really is: it is shameful for a prince to possess only

superficial knowledge, and his preceptor should spare

him that disgrace. 2 Pretend to study with your pupil, and thus excite

his emulation by awakening his vanity. This method is sometimes successful, and is honourable to the master, while it is delightful to the pupil.

Speak to him, sometimes, and ever with respect, of God, his attributes, and his worship. Prove to him that the authority of kings proceeds from God, and that, unless he believes in the power of the master of kings, he will soon become the victim of those men who believe

in nothing, despise authority, and imagine themselves to be the equal of kings.

Let him be taught, from his earliest years, that religion is worthy of all his homage, and all his admiration; that incredulity and false philosophy undermine imperceptibly the throne, and that the altar is the rampart of religious kings.

In an age so enlightened as our own, your pupil must be sufficiently versed in the knowledge of experimental philosophy, to be able to appreciate useful discoveries. It would be very humiliating for him not to know how to discuss certain subjects, which, in that case, would only serve to discover his ignorance. “When he had given his measure,” to use an expression of Montaigne, “ he would be only a king in name.”

While your young pupil is acquiring the art of governing, let some rays of light be reflected on him from the mirror of truth; above all, be careful to im• press those truths which may remind him, that he is placed above other men only to render them happy. Remember to teach him that, when every thing is in our power, we must be extremely sober in the use of our authority. Laws are the pillars of the throne; if they be violated, the people think themselves absolved from their engagements. Civil wars have taught us, that it is almost always those who govern who have caused, by their errors, the effusion of human blood. The just king is the good one.

Teach your pupil that vices and excesses dishonour those who ought; one day, to be cited only as models of imitation.

Display to him the charms of meekness, goodness,

and moderation. Repress the impetuous feelings of bis nature: never be the slave of his caprice, and seek the friendship of your pupil, not by a dangerous complaisance, but by rational confidence, by the pure caresses of affection and well-directed affability.

Do not superfluously fatigue his memory, but let every moment of his existence be occupied. Let alternate labour and recreation fill up the moments which are passed with you. Use all your efforts to lead him to wish to see you, to be with you, and to regret your absence.

I had transcribed for the use of my son, the late dauphin, a great number of ideas upon education; some errors, borrowed from modern philosophy, had glided themselves into my work: experience has taught me better. I think I have sent you a copy of my treatise; make a choice from it, but beware of all those erroneous principles which are the offspring of novelty, of the spirit of the age, and of the poison of incredulity.

Far be from him all those works, or that philosophy, which pretends to judge God, his worship, his church, and his divine law. The passions will one day but too powerfully incline your pupil to shake off the yoke of religion; and flatterers will avail themselves of that moment. Teach him to respect holy things; and unveil before him false philosophy.

I should have many things" to say to you, which my tenderness for my son would dictate, and my wish to form his heart and mind; but I fear taking too sententious a tone, and having the air of giving laws to his preceptor. I have perfect confidence, Sir, that my letter will sometimes be consulted by you; but I do not desire that it should be the only rule of your conduct. I must see you from time to time: come and see me with your pupil. Amidst the griefs that rend my soul, my consolation is in my son; and I observe, with complacency, the progress he daily makes, and which he owes to your care and your friendship*.

BRITANNIA'S PRAISE.

" Oh, happy shepherds! who, secure from fear,
On open downs preserve your fleecy care;
Oh, happy fields! unknown to noise and strife,
The kind rewarder of industrious life." Anon.

O BLEST Britannia! on thy favour'd isle,
The mildest suns, the softest seasons smile;
Not long the breath of winter chills thy plains,
Or fervid summer melts thy toiling swains,
Ere genial spring the mellow'd soil unbinds,
Ere lib'ral autumn glads thy lab'ring hinds.

Calm are thy seasons, fruitful is thy soil,
Yet much to art is due, and manual toil.
Thy herds and flocks a thousand meads adorn,
Oaks clothe thy hills, thy valleys golden corn;

* To these counsels, which wear the forms of unaffected philanthropy and enlarged benevolence, we have not added the observations of their editor, Helen Maria Williams, a female who often loses herself amidst the wilderness of politics, in which she delights. We could have wished to have the correspondence of the unfortunate Lewis XVI. without such erroneous accompaniments.

Adown thy dales meand'ring currents glide,
Whose silver waves reflect thy various pride; .
And farms and cottages, on ev'ry hand,
Pour forth their rural groups to dress the fertile land.

........

.......... Around my natal soil I see,
The bless'd effects of peaceful industry;
And thine, fair Freedom! thine the gen'rous hand
That guards, improves, and dignises the land.
If thou but smile, fair Ceres' jocund train
Spread o'er the trembling swamp, th’unfertile plain;
Or, spend on wilds, or frowning heaths, the day,
While seasons rise, and gradual roll away:
At length subdu'd and tam'd th' obdurate soil,
Abundant harvests crown their various toil.
Pomona decks their trees with flow'ry gems,
With gold and rubies load the burden'd stems;
Or, vegetation's humbler powers expand
A painted carpet o'er the smiling land.
Hence population, in the arms of peace
Reclining, sees the social train increase;
Sees farms and cottages innumerous rise,
With recent churches pointing to the skies;
And Commerce, proudly bids her gay canals
Pierce through the hills, and shine alone the dales;
While o'er her streams the waving pennants fly,
And wealthy cities meet th' astonished eye.

........

Whose are yon roofs that rise beside the hill?
Whose humble names these decent mansions fill?

« PreviousContinue »