Immagini della pagina
PDF
ePub

suitable attendants; and the expense of doing so, be it great or small, we must now be contented to bear. But are we also to provide for four other families towards whom we have no such engagementsfor General and Madame Bertrand and four children, Count and Madame Montholon and two, and the worthy Las Cases and one; to say nothing of General Gourgaud and the rest of the imperial suite? If, for any objects of their own, they wish to remain in St. Helena, or if, for any objects of his, Buonaparte should persuade them to stay, it is no concern of ours, at least in a pecuniary way. Buonaparte should have a house at which he might receive their visits, and a table to which he might in turns invite them, and this house and this table should be liberally maintained: but with the daily and ordinary expenses of these other families we should have no concern; they never should be mixed with Buonaparte's accounts: and if he chooses, as he probably would, to contribute something to their housekeeping in return for the pleasure of their society, it should be no concern of ours. With a well furnished house, a carriage and horses, a table of four covers every day, as much wine as he or his guests choose to drink, and half a dozen servants, it could not be said that General Buonaparte was ill treated; and this establishment we have reason to believe might be defrayed for about £4000 per annum at the most. This arrangemeut, besides saving £8000 per annum, would bave the further advantage of dissipating the fumes of the imperial intoxication; it would bring back the general to a recollection of himself; and it would save us from the inconsistency and scandal of treating him neither quite as a general nor quite as an emperor. As long as this undefined and middle course is pursued, we shall be always liable to complaints like Montholon's and Santini's, founded on pretensions which we do not admit and which yet we tolerate.

Santini informs us that the Pole, Piontkowski, has been sent back to Europe. Our readers must be aware that endeavours have been made to excite a great deal of interest about this person, and that our government was so far imposed on as to send him out to St. Helena to join his beloved master. That poor simpleton, Warden, was enamoured with the romantic Pole,' Captain Poniatowski, an officer of the Polish troops attached to Buonaparte's person, who had a command in the little army which landed in France from Elba. (p. 204.) Santivi calls him Colonel, (p. 29,) Chef d' Escadron, (p. ix,) and Count (p. 26) Poniatowski. This is of a piece with the rest,-all false, and all designed to deceive the world by magnifying every thing which has any concern with the Great Napolione.

The name of the person alluded to is, as we stated in a former number, Piontkowski, and not Poniatowski; the latter is a noble Polish name, to which this Pole has no more pretensions than Cobbett has to call himself Percy or Howard ; but a great name was chosen to give éclat and interest to the transaction, when the detection should come, the blame of the mistake might be easily transferred to the printer.

He is not only not a Count, but it would seem from Warden's account*) not a gentleman.

He was neither a Captain, Colonel, nor Chef d'escadron; but a private soldier, or, at most, a corporal.

He was so far from being attached to the person of Buonaparte, that the latter had never heard of him until he arrived at St. Helena, and so little interest did he feel about him, that we believe he never saw him ; (Warden says he saw him once;) and it was at Buonaparte's particular request that he was sent off the island with the grooms and butler, as an infpudent intruder. .

While Buonaparte was thus teaching Santini and Montholon to emulate the fame of Mendez Pinto and George Psalmanazar, an anonymous hand was playing, in the Manuscrit venu de St. Hélène, another trick of the same game.

This work, which affects to be a summary of Buonaparte's life written by himself, has excited a considerable degree of interest in this country, and a still greater in France; the naine of the supposed writer, and the mysterious title which it bears, naturally excite curiosity; and there is besides a visible effort at imitating that sudden and tranchant style which is supposed to be characteristic of Buonaparte. But this effort is, we think, as vain as it is visible; and on an attentive perusal of the whole work we are satisfied, lst, that the ' Manuscrit' is not the production of Buonaparte, and, 2d, that it is not from St. Helena. It is, we believe, the production of Paris; and it has been published, we are satisfied, with no other view than (what we have already stated to be the general object of the Revolutionary faction) that of keeping the name, past actions, and future pretensions of Buonaparte alive in the public mind. The

Manuscrit' is neither a criticism on his character, nor an apology. It is not written for fame, for the author conceals himself-nor for profit, for we happen to know that no price was demanded for the copy: there remains then no other possible motive for its publication than that which we have assigned. It is very much the fashion with all the Revolutionists in France to affect to believe in the authenticity of the · Manuscrit.'-—If not written by the Emperor himself it is undoubtedly the production of M. de las Cases.' ---It is impossible that it should be the production of either, or that any well informed person should think so. It contains no new fact, no new argument, not even a new view of any of the subjects of which it treats; there is nothing to be found in it which a reader of the Moniteur might not have known; there are a thousand persons in France who could compose such a commentary; but we take it to be utterly impossible that Buonaparte, or Las Cases under his dictation, could have written the history of so many events, and of such an extensive and important period, without having slipped into some novelty either of fact or reasoning; nor would either of them have made a sketch of such turgid vapidity and such arrogant inanity as this production: nor do we believe that Buonaparte will be pleased with this supposed imitation of bis style; we are confident that his personal vanity is so great that he will be enraged to find so trivial a production published in his name. We rest nothing on the numerous falsehoods and misrepresentations which this Manuscrit contains, because Buonaparte would probably have written as many and as gross, but there are blunders and ana. chronisms into which he could vot have fallen for instance, a partisan writing hastily may forget the order of Buonaparte's battles and treaties, but could Buonaparte himself forget whether the battle of Jena preceded the treaty of Tilsit? In short, this work is obviously a fabrication, and we are prepared to expect, from the system which we now see in progress, that a series of similar attempts will be made to keep awake and active the hopes of the revolutionists; to make Buonaparte, though dead in law,

* Neither Poniatowski's situation or manners were such as to associate him with the suite, nor did his modesty appear to expect it.' Warden, p. 205.

vivuin volitare per ora virorum ; and to spread in France, and in Belgium, that great dogma of the revolutionists, that things cannot remain as they are. This is the chord upon which they are all strumming, and this is the cry in which they are all ready to unite. The survivors of the Mountain, or of the party of Duke Egalité, the rump of the Directory, or the tail of Buonaparte, are in this unanimous, and we shall be most happily mistaken if Europe does not soon feel the effect of this union of factions who, however discordant in their several hours of tri. umph, are now yoked together in the harness of adversity.

These people will soon, we understand, receive a considerable re: inforcement in the person of the Count de las Cases, who, by a series of sedulous infractions of the regulations established at St. Helena, has contrived to be sent off the island. We say contrived, because we have heard that his proceedings were all steadily directed to this very object; and when the governor offered to overlook his irregularities, and to permit him to remain with his master, he peremptorily rejected this indulgence, and insisted upon undergoing the penalty of exile from St. Helena. This, from any

other other person of the party there, would have appeared to us quite natural. General Bertrand always talked of coming home in a year. Gourgaud has mentioned two as the term of his service. M. and Madame Montholon have, we believe, espressed the same sentiments; but we are convinced that the return of Las Cases at this season is a part of the system. Buonaparte sends him as Noala did the raven from the ark, to see if the waters have subsided, and whether the time approaches when the chief of the sacred family' may descend from his rock in the midst of the waters.

Las Cases will arrive with the crown of martyrdom on his head, and a budget of Buonapartiana at his back-he will invoke all the morbid sensibility of all the enemies of all the governments of Eu, rope, in favour of unfortunate greatness and persecuted fidelity, Hearts that were not so weak as to sigh at the murder of the Duke d'Enghien, or the more obscure, but not less certain fate of Palm and Wright, will bleed for the exile of the faithful Las Cases, and the culinary privations of the Great Napoleon; and the restricting his table to twenty bottles of wine a day will excite the commiseration of those who witnessed with unmoved placidity the calumnious and cowardly persecution of the Queen of Prussia. . · We here pause.-Impressed as we are with a deep sentiment of the consistency and strength which the revolutionary party have obtained, and are hourly increasing throughout Europe, we shall not fail to recur to the subject whenever we see the press of this country called in aid of the schemes of Buonaparte, or of Buonaparte's auxiliaries, and we shall contribute our mite to the resolution of that famous problem, whether, in a free press, the force of reason and truth, and the principles of order, good morals, and true religion, are a match for the adroitness and the audacity of the philosophers of the Revolution and their disciples--the loose in morals, the factious in politics—the preachers of liberty, the practisers of despotism—the weak and the wicked, the giddy and the godless.

Art. X.-1, Report of the Secret Committee. 2. On the present State of Public Affairs. Anon. 8vo. 3. A Proposal for putting Reform to the Vote throughout the

Kingdom. By the Hermit of Marlow. 8vo. THAT was an unhappy state of society in which every citizen

was so closely interested in public affairs, that it was declared criminal by the laws for any one to be neutral in times of public comVOL. XVI. NO.XXXII.

motion.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

tnotion. The poets and philosophers, as well as the divines, have ever reckoned an exemption from cares of this kind among the first blessings to be desired by those who would live well and wisely; and truly it is no light evil to men who would fain live for posterity and for themselves in the worthiest sense, when these cares break in upon them, to interrupt their labours, and disturb the tranquillity of their meditations. The course of ordinary politics is to them like the course of the seasons, to be regarded with no greater anxiety, in sure belief that the same Providence which disposes the seasons will dispose the events of the world also in such manner that they shall work together for good. Such things require only that calm and pleasurable attention which is necessary for obtaining a competent knowledge of current history; and the violence with which party-matters are agitated, and the occasional gusts of popular passion are to them like the wind, which bloweth as it listeth. But when questions are at stake in which the great interests of mankind, or the safety, honour, and welfare of their own country are nearly concerned, it is no longer fitting that they should look on as indifferent observers. By the fundamental laws of England every man is bound to bear arms against an invading enemy; and when worse dangers than invasion are designed and threatened, it becomes the duty of all those who have any means of obtaining public attention, to stand forward, and by resisting the danger endeavour, as far as in them lies, to avert it.

It is unnecessary in this place to adduce proofs that such designs are actually existing: we have too much respect for the judicious part of our readers to employ their time upon this topic, and too little hope of the factious, to inispend our own in attempting to produce an effect upon schirrous hearts and distempered intellects. There is an admirable print among George Wither's Emblems, having for its motto, Cæcus nil luce juvatur: it represents an owl standing, in broad sunshine, with spectacles on its beak, a lighted candle on each side, and a blazing torch in each claw; and the more light there is the less is the owl able to see. No happier emblem could be conceived for a thorough-paced oppositionist of the present day

For what are lights to those who blinded be, .

Or who so blind as they that will not see?" Some of this class deny the existence of any combination for overthrowing the government, of any treasonable practices, or any seditious spirit; and they deny it in good faith: for they have so long been accustomed to the rise of inflammatory language, to argue in favour of the enemies of their country, and to wish for the success of those enemies, in pure obstinacy of party-feeling, that

.. they

« IndietroContinua »