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world; and the humiliations undergone by the greatest people of France to propitiate him call up a blush for human nature. It was scoffingly said of him that he gave a blandly condescending reception to his countryman the Duke of Argyll; but the duke was a mere provincial respectability beside the triumphant Comptroller-general, and he knew it. To others of his countrymen of very humble rank, Law appears to have been kind and affable. He stands entirely free from the taint of mercenary premeditation. He could have fortified himself by investments to any extent in England, and many other places, had not his faith or his allegiance bound him to his own system. When it broke he scattered everything from him, as one to whom the preservation of a mere private fortune was felt as infinitely despicable. There was perhaps something more of recklessness than of virtue in this; yet it would have been more painful to have found him in search of some little prize for himself among the ruins. While the house was falling he was often exposed to personal danger, and he gained respect by his haughty defiance of it. Once he seems to have lost his temper. A mob following his carriage with fierce cries, he stepped out and faced them, saying, "Vous êtes des canailles," and walked on. Soit," says M. Cochut, "que le mot se fût perdu dans le tumulte, soit qu'un majestueux sang-froid eut imposé à la multitude, l'Ecossais put gagner le Palais-Royal sans accident." Not so with the coachman. He, inspired with sympathetic fervour, repeated his master's scornful epithet, and the canaille, in consequence, tore him from his seat, and stamped him to death, while they broke the carriage in pieces. The Premier-President de Mesme, who beheld this little incident, acquired much fame by relating it to his brethren, thus-"Messieurs, messieurs, bonne nouvelle,


La carosse de Law est réduit en cannelle."

realities of the East, when the favourite of the caliph, who has sprung from nothing, forgets himself in his overweening pride, and abuses the royal confidence, he is at once hurled from his height of power, and sits a beggar at the corner of the marketplace, to bear the gibes and cuffs of those who used to court him. In like manner the popular conception of John Law is, that, when his meteoric flight was over, he became extinguished to sight in some jeweller's stall or petty gambling-house. But he was still a personage, carrying about him the faded lustre of a deposed prince; or, perhaps, more fitly speaking, the repute of a fallen minister, of whom it is not to be forgotten that he may rise again. As he left France his carriage was followed by another in hot pursuit. It contained, not an officer of justice, but M. Pressy, the agent of the Emperor of Russia-come to solicit the aid of the great financier for the adjustment of the pecuniary affairs of the empire; but the Ex-Comptroller-general does not appear to have encouraged the proposal. Alberoni went to Venice to meet him, and for some time he carried about in his wanderings a sort of shifting levee of ministers and petty princes. Desiring to return to Britain, Sir John Norris, who commanded the Baltic fleet, thought it due to so eminent a person to give him a passage in the admiral's own ship. The courtesy with which the Government received him created some excitement in the Opposition; and the last time when Law's name was brought conspicuously before the world, was in a debate in the House of Lords.

We had it in view to have concluded this paper with some notices of Scotsmen who have obtained great diplomatic influence in the German and northern courts about the middle of last century; but the precept of "Do unto others" has made us take into consideration the natural limits

In the fictions, and perhaps in the of a reader's patience.


THE Peace of Ryswick was signed. William of Orange, recognised sovereign of Great Britain, prepared himself, in the exercise of his office, to accredit a personal representative to the court of the Great Monarch. His choice fell on the Earl of Portland, Groom of the Stole, his très fidelle et bien-aimé cousin et conseiller.

And the choice was not injudicious. Portland, even according to the verdict of a writer by no means biassed in favour of the house of Orange, possessed all the qualities necessary to his office. "He was discreet, secret, polite to others, faithful to his master, skilful in affairs."* His six conferences with Marshal Boufflers, previous to the conclusion of peace, had already obtained for him a favourable celebrity in the French court. He had given fine horses to the marshal himself, to the Duc de Guiche, and to Pracomtal. His qualities, as we shall presently see, were those calculated to shine amongst the nation of his future residence.

It is not our purpose to enter on the high question of policy involved in Portland's mission. Our attention will for the present be occupied by minor details, by the frivolities of chamberlains rather than by the intrigues of chancellors-by the Board of Green Cloth in preference to the Council Chamber. For this study we have ample materials. The curious correspondence, ably edited by Monsieur Grimblot, is a mine of history not easily exhaustible. A manuscript document now before us contains all that is necessary for our more humble task. In this document we have every event connected with the Embassy chronicled with scrupulous care. It is the official diary of Matthew Prior, the poet, who accompanied the mission as secretary.

Previously employed as secretary to the embassy in Holland, the author

of Hans Carvel had displayed diplomatic and social talents of no common order. Selected to carry home from Ryswick the original treaty of peace, his nomination to the second position in Lord Portland's embassy followed as a fit reward for the good tidings.

But Prior was not the only official follower of his excellency. The Lords Westmoreland, Anglesea, Cavendish, Hastings, Paston, Woodstock, and Raby, swelled the train, with Mr Compton, Mr Vernon, Mr Fielding, and Mr Boyle, all apparently chosen according to the canon of favour and practice, not yet entirely obsolete.


With a staff thus organised, on January the 10th, 1797-8, my Lord sett out from Lambeth about 8 in the morning, dined at Rochester, and lay at Sittenburn, was wellcomed there with Ringing of Bells and Illuminations." But before we accompany my Lord in his farther progress, we must pause for a moment to examine the royal sign-manual, credentials, and instructions with which he was provided.

His Commission, as well as Mr Prior's, was countersigned by “John Lord Sommers," his passport by Vernon, his credentials by the Duke of Shrewsbury. The latter consisted of four letters; one to King Louis,+ full of protestations of friendship and official platitudes on the blessings of peace; two of pure compliments to the Duke and Duchess of Burgundy; and a fourth, "A mon Frère le Duc d'Orleans." To the original copy of this last in the Secretary's letter-book, is appended, by the hand of Mr Secretary Vernon, the somewhat curious note, "The King writ himself to the Dutchess of Orleans."

No reason is assigned for this exception, which appears singular. On the appointment of Lord Jersey, Portland's successor, we find, drawn

*St Simon.

This letter, dated Kensington, December 30, 1697, is addressed: "A très haut, très excellent, et très puissant Prince, nostre très cher et très aimé Bon frere, cousin et ancien Allié, le Roy très Chrestien."

up in due form, his credential to the Duchess of Orleans.

The sign-manual instructions contained in a formal document were of a very general nature. The ambassador was directed with all convenient speed to repair to Paris, or such other place where the Most Christian King shall keep his court, to ask for an audience in the king's name; and "having delivered your credentialls, you shall declare to him the great satisfaction we have in seing the Warre which has afflicted Europe for so many years brought to an end." The various duties of an ambassador are then broadly laid down. Amongst them is enjoined strict attention to etiquette, and to the due assertion of dignity in all courtly ceremonies and observances.

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arms, cannons were fired, the flag hung at the castle. The ambassador was visited by the "Mayor and Jurats in their formalities." Hence he sailed for Calais on the 13th, starting at nine in the morn, and arriving in twelve hours. "Mons. de la Tour, Commandant of the Town, and the persons of most distinction here, recd. My Lord Amb". on the Peere at his landing." He was treated with the utmost attention; harangued by the echevin and magistrates; supped and lodged at the Government House. A gentleman, before supper, in talking to the English, happened to name the king Prince of Orange. The governor, it is recorded, jogged his indiscreet follower, who went out, and appeared no more either at supper or in the morning.

On the 14th the Embassy arrived at Boulogne, on the 15th at Montreuil, on the 17th at Abbeville, on the 18th at Amiens. At each place they were welcomed with honours and tokens of respect-presents of wine and squadrons of horse. At Amiens is especially noted the hospitality of Mons. de Bignon the intendant. His supper was very magnificent, the apartment where his Excellency lodged stately."


Thus instructed and accompanied, Lord Portland proceeded on his jour ney. On the 11th he arrived at Dover at about four in the afternoon. Here he was received with due solemnity; bells were rung, soldiers stood at

At length, passing Creyle and Lusarche, where he met the carriage of his former colleague Boufflers, and stopping at St Dennis, where he dined and saw the treasure, Portland arrived at Paris, and took up his abode in a hotel forced on his acceptance by the Count d'Auvergne. The ambassador returned the civility in a princely manner. Finding the house "too little, my Lord ordered the building a great dining Room, which joyned the house and gave into the Gardens." This was completed in three weeks. In the course of the evening the ambassador was visited by the Marshal de Boufflers and the Duke de Gramont. It was his first practical lesson in etiquette : he acquitted himself with much success. My Lord went to receive them in the vestibule, or part of the hall nearest the door. Thence he conducted them to the great apartment above stairs, giving them the hand, letting them pass first through the doors and take a seat before himself.

At the conclusion of the interview he conducted them back to their coach. By the code of ambassadors these honours were paid only to princes, ministers of state, and to dukes, peers, and mareschals of France, and to none other. Monsieur de Mesme, President au Mortier, who had formerly been acquainted with my Lord in Holland, was not entitled to the same privileges. Some days after my Lord's arrival, he sent word that he had a mind to wait upon his excellency. His excellency answered that he was sorry his character precluded his giving the hand in his own house. The president yielded the point, and paid my Lord a visit, his excellency taking the hand, the door, and the chair, sitting. The same gradation of ceremonial was observed in the reception of Monsieur de Harlay, although he had held the post of ambassador-plenipotentiary at the peace. All envoys were similarly treated, as also were Messieurs Bonneuil and Sainctot, Entroducteurs to the ambassadors, though they vainly insisted on a higher scale. The observances are thus described by Prior: "The way of this Reception is in his Chamber, going only to the Door: he gives them a chair below his own; conducts them into his antechamber; but the gentlemen receive them as they come out of their coach, and reconduct them to it."

of Lorraine, and

some discourse on more general heads," with Torsi and the Count Verjus de Crecy, the diplomatists separated with mutual civilities.

"His Excely dined this day the 23d in privat with ye Dutchesse of Portsmouth."

It would be tedious and unnecessary to record the names of all those who interchanged visits with the inhabitants of the Hôtel d'Auvergne. They were in constant communication with Beauvilliers, Pontchartrain, Pomponne, Torsi, Valentinois, Guiche, Clarembauet, and "Rockleur," with foreign envoys, and "several others of the French quality in France." A contemporary writer remarks on the sensation created by the arrival of the British ambassador. He appeared, we are told, with a personal splendour, a politeness, an air of the world and of courts, a gallantry and grace which surprised; besides this, with much dignity, even pride, but with discernment and a judgment which risked nothing. The French, who run after novelty, a good welcome, good cheer, and magnificence, were charmed with him. He courted them, but with discernment, and as a man who understood the French court, and who only desired good and distinguished company. With this testimony of the fastidious St Simon, we may safely omit mention of any but royal visitors, or those whose peculiarities or position may demand especial notice.

These minor matters disposed of, Mr Prior, on the 23d, went by my Lord's order to Versailles, to announce the arrival of the Embassy to the Marquis de Torsi, sécrétaire d'état pour les affaires étrangères. Mr Prior was directed to acquaint the minister that, the ambassador's coaches and equipages having met with some delay, on account of the frost on the river Seine, his excellency was desirous to pay his duty privately to his Most Christian Majesty. He accordingly begged the favour of the Marquis de Torsi to procure him a private audience. Monsieur de Torsi answered with much respect for Lord Portland, and promised to mention the subject to the king the same evening. After some apologies on the part of Mr Prior, for being in undress, and not in mourning for the Duchess-Dowager

On the 25th the ambassador had a private audience of the king, and of the members of the royal family. In the evening he dined with Monsieur de Torsi, meeting the Archbishop of Rheims.

Although the absence of his equipage deferred the public entry of the Embassy, Portland lost no time in discharging the duties of his position. He was fully occupied by constant audiences of the king, and other principal personages of the state. His leisure moments were agreeably employed in seeing the sights, and occasionally hunting the wolf, with the Dauphin and the Count of Armagnac.

But although the reception he experienced at the hands of the Dauphin

and of Monsieur was eminently flattering, Portland did not entirely escape mortification. On one occasion, while already booted to hunt with the Dauphin, King James expressed his intention of attending the meet. Portland was instantly informed of the fact, and requested to postpone his hunting to another occasion.

As a mighty huntsman, Portland was naturally desirous to enjoy his favourite diversion with the king's own stag-hounds. He had informed his own sovereign of these wishes, and, surprised at receiving no invitation, openly expressed them with a view to their reaching the ears of the Duke de la Rochefoucauld, the royal huntsman. Tired of waiting, he at length accosted the grand huntsman, and, rallying him, frankly stated his desire. The latter answered dryly, that indeed he had the honour to be grand huntsman, but that he had not the direction of the hunts; that the King of England had the disposal of the pack, and that until the start he never knew whether his Majesty would attend.+


But nevertheless Portland's intercourse excited considerable jealousy on the part of his fellow-ambassadors, "and particularly him of Portugal." They took notice that my Lord before his entry visited the Princes of the Blood, conducted to those visits by an Introduc". Their cavil was, that these Princes would not return my Lord's privat visit till my Lord had payed them his Visit of Ceremony So that my Lord, for two visits payed them, and both by the Introduct, would have but one returned, which might be aledged for the Future, and took from him yt equality wch Ambassad's pretend to have with Princes."

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One circumstance, however, that occurred before the great entry, cannot be passed over in silence; we allude to the affront put upon Dr Wickart, Dean of Winchester, and chaplain to the Embassy. He was arrested while at dinner with a friend. This proceeding is attributed


by the journals § of the period to the extraordinary zeal of the French to prevent the new converts from hearing any sermons that might confirm 'em in their First Religion." Dr Wickart was accused of having given the communion to one Descombs. The charge was, however, disproved, and the chaplain liberated, but the ambassador was by no means satisfied with so scant a reparation for the violation of his rights.

At length arrived the coaches and equipage so long expected. "Mr Prior, on Friday the 6th of March, was desired to wait on the Princes and Princesses of the Blood at "Marley," to invite them to send their coaches for his entry, intended for Sunday. The Princes were dressed before Mr Prior came to them. The Princesses received him at their toilet. "Mr Prior payed ye compliments to the Duke de Maine in the great Hall, excusing it for that he heard his Highness was going a-hunting, and that he feared to miss him. The Duke said on the contrary he took the freedom very kindly, and that he should rather go back to his lodgings to receive one who came from ye English Embassy. He bid Mr Prior pay his compliments to my Lord very particularly." This urbanity appears strange in the pupil of Madame de Maintenon, who steadily refused to receive the ambassador of William.

Everything in the British Embassy now gave way to the approaching entry. Notification was made to the King (who approved the day), to all the Royal Family, and to the Princes and Princesses of the Blood, who visit the Ambassador, and, receiving his visit, give him the hand in their own house. These send their coaches. The privileged number consisted of the Prince and Princess of Condé, the Duke and Duchess of Bourbon, the Princess Dowager, Prince, and Princess of Conti, the Duke and Duchess of Maine, and the Comte de Toulouse. None of the ministers send their coaches except Mons. de Torsi, who receives the same compli

* Letter to William, Paris, March 1, 1698. Grimblot, vol. i. p. 185. + St Simon, vol. ii. p. 108. Edit. 1829. Grimblot. Grimblot, vol. i. MS.

§ Monthly Mercury, April 1693.

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