Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

He was, however, the greatest of all Mad. de Pompadour's favourites. Different persons view the same character in variouslights. A grave writer describes him as a petit-maître sans talens et sans instruction, qui a un peu de phosphore dans l'esprit.' But our Journalist, seeing him with her lady's eyes, ex-plains at once the cause of the favour he cnjoyed, and of his remaining so long in the three highest offices of the state, in spite of his constant failures. • Ses inaniers avec elle étoient les plus aimables du monde, respectueuses et galantes; il n'étoit pas un jour sans la voir.' Her brother and her physician thought very differently of him; they agreed with the grave writer.

« Ce n'est qu'un petit-maître, dit le docteur, et s'ib etoit plus joli, fait pour être un favori d'Henri III. Le Marquis de Mirabeau entra avec M. de la Riviere. Ce royaume, dit Mirabeau, est bien mal; il n'y a ni sentimens energiques, ni argent pour les suppléer. Il ne peut-être regenèré, dit la Riviere, que par une conquête comme à la Chine, ou par quelque' grand bouleversement interieur. Mais inalheur à ceux qui s'y trouveront ; le peuple François n'y va pas de main morte. Ces paroles me firent trembler, et je m'empressai de sortir. M. de Marigni en fit de même, sans avoir l'air d'être affecté de ce qu'on disoit. Vous avez entendu, me dit-il ; mais n'ayez pas peur; rien n'est repeté de cequi'se dit chez le docteur ; se sont d'honnêtes gens quoiqu'un peu chimeriques; ils ne savent pas s'arreter: Cependant ils sont je crois dans la bonne voie ; le malheur est qu'ils passent le but. J'écris cela en rentrant.

But the King, and the former favourites of either sex, received a very solemn warning to the same effect, in a remarkable anonymous letter sent to them mysteriously, as well as to the Police. Our Journalist has kept a copy of this piece, which is written with a force and clearness worthy of Junius, but perhaps in a more chaste style, and with less of mannevism. We conclude our extracts with the introduction of the letter, which is addressed to the King.

• Sire- This address proceeds from one who is zealous in your service. Truth is always unpalateable, especially, to princes. Habituated to Aattery, they only see objects in those colours which are pleasing to their eyes. But I have meditated and read much; and I here offer to your Majesty the result of my reflexions. You have long been living invisible in the hands of persons who had an interest in preventing you from being seen, and making you afraid to speak. All direct communication is thus cut off between the sovereign and his people. Shut up in the recesses of your palace, you become daily more like the eastern emperors ; but think, Sir, I beseech you, of their usual fate. You will probably rely on your troops; and so did they --But he wlio trusts to this resource, and makes himself only the king of the soldiers, is doomed, ere long, to see those soldiers feel their power, and abuse it.

Your finances are in the utmost disorder, and

[ocr errors]

374

mc

375 most states have owed their ruin to this cause. monwealths were maintained by the spirit of patrie all their citizens together for the general safety. . ney has become its substitute; this is now the unive you have it not. The spirit of purse-pride infects all pa mineers at court; every thing has become venal, and ah confounded. Since the dismissal of Messrs d'Argenson and 1. your ministers are without genius, and without capacity for bu You alone are blind to their inefficiency, because they bring to the work of clerks somewhat abler than themselves, and pass it tu their own. They carry on the business by experiments from day to day; bat there is nothing like a government. The army is diegusted with the changes in the military administration; and the best officers are retiring from it. A seditious spirit shows itself in the Parliaments; you betake yourself to the resource of corruption, and the remedy is worse than the mischief; it is introducing vice into the sanctuary of Justice, and infecting the noble parts of the State. Would a corrupted Parliament ever have braved the fury of the league to preserve the crown for its rightful sovereign?'

We here must close our account of this curious Journal, and of the volume to which it belongs. If, in the course of our remarks upon French intrigue in former times, we may seem to have dwelt much upon the vices of the old Government, it is only because we feel the importance to France and to England of correct notions being entertained upon the subject. There is a senseless and a profligate party in both countries, whose cfforts are, without intermission, directed to the praise of the old, and the disparagement of the new order of things, established among our neighbours. Nothing but the grossest ignorance, can obtain a hearing for such miserable folly on either side of the Channel. But it is the duty of every friend of his country, and of human improvement, to contribute his efforts towards withstanding and exposing the attempts thus made to effect a counter-revolution, which could only, if it succeeded, lead, through confusion and slaughter, to a renewal of systematic misgovernment and oppression Happily, indeed, its success now seems wholly out of the question; but the attempt would ensure vast temporary misery to France herself, and would endanger the peace of all her neighbours. How far the present, government of that country is the best of which the nature of things will admit, is another question, into which we forbear entering on this occasion. We are disposed, however, to regard it with a very favourable eye, and to give all credit to those who have of late so steadily administered it. Certainly its prodigious superiority over the former constitution is too manifest to admit of a doubt; and those who are impatient to see it still

Høre nearly resemble our own, should reflect, that ours was not ve work of contrivance, but of time; that there is an essential llifference in the present political character and habits of the two nations; and that the peaceful continuance of the existing order of things, by preparing our neighbours for a still greater share of liberty, will, in all human probability, ensure to them the possession, with the capacity of enjoying it.

Art. IV. 1. Observations on the Geology of the United States

of America. By William MacLưRE. Philadelphia, 1817.

8vo. Pp. 127. 2. An Elementary Treatise on Mineralogy and Geology. By

PARKER CLEAVELAND, Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy, and Lecturer on Chemistry and Mineralogy, in Bowdoin College. Boston, 1816. 8vo.

8vo. pp. 668.

IN n a former Number, * we gave an account of a new Minera

logical Journal, published in America by Dr Bruce of New York. We hailed the appearance of this work as a proof of the attention that had been excited to this interesting branch of science, in a field so sure to yield an abundant harvest; and it was with regret that we learned, that a Journal which promised so well at its outset, had very soon been discontinued.

We have now great pleasure in introducing to the notice of our readers, two very excellent publications, which abundantly prove that the study of Mineralogy is pursued with no less eagerness and success in the United States, than it has been for some years past in most of the countries of Europe. There is not perhaps any department of science which, at the present time, merits a greater degree of attention in that great and prosperous country, from its various practical applications to some of the most important sources of national wealth and power; and the more especially that, from the limited researches already made, Nature appears to have added, in abundance, some of her most valuable mineral productions to the other internal resources which she has lavished in that part of the world.

The geological part of Mr Maclare's book was first published in the sixth volume of the American Philosophical Transactions; in the present edition there are some additions and corrections, besides two new chapters, which the author informs us iu bis Preface, are ' an attempt to apply Geology to Agriculture, in showing the probable effects the decomposition of the different classes of rocks may have on the nature and fertility of soils. It is the result of many observations made in Europe and America, and may perhaps be found more useful in the United States than in Europe, as more of the land is in a state of nature not yet changed by the industry of man.'

* Vol. xvii. p. 114.

Mr Maclure appears to be very thoroughly conversant with his subject, and to have studied with great attention the geological structure of a considerable part of Europe. He is a disciple of Werner ; but we recognise him as such, more by the descriptive language he employs, than by his theoretical opinions. His general views are much more enlarged and philosophical, than is usually met with in the geologists of that school; and, like most of those who have had opportunities of extensive observation, he has found that the theory of the Freyberg professor is of a very limited application. The following remarks in his Preface are a suflicient proof that his geological creed is not that of Werner,

In all speculations on the origin, or agents that have produced the changes on this globe, it is probable that we ought to keep within the boundaries of the probable effects resulting from the regular operations of the great laws of nature, which our experience and observation have brought within the sphere of our knowledge. When we overleap those limits, and suppose a total change in Nature's laws, we embark on the sea of uncertainty, where one conjecture is perhaps as probable as another ; for none of them can have any support, or derive any authority from the practical facts wherewith our experience has brought us acquainted.

While we acknowleuge the valuable information which this little work conveys, we cannot bestow any praise on the manner in which the materials are put together. There is a great want of method and arrangement; for, although the author has laid down a very good plan, he has not adhered to it, but has mixed up one part of his subject with another, so as to cause consider.able confusion; and, were it not for the accompanying coloured map, it would often be very difficult to comprehend his descriptions. In ritempting to give a sketch of the contents of the book, as we cannot afford the same assistance to our readers, we shall not follow the author in these deviations, but preserve the order in which it appears to have been his original intention that his observations should be set down.

Along the eastern side of the Continent of North America, there runs an extensive range of mountains, generally called the Alleghany, in a direction nearly NE. and SW. between the rivers St Lawrence and Mississippi. The most elevated parts of the range are in the North-eastern States: the White Hills

5

sea.

[ocr errors]

p. 38.

in New Hampshire appear to be the most lofty, and their height is somewhat more than 6000 feet above the level of the

The most elevated parts, as well as the greatest mass of this range, consist of primitive rocks; but, as it approaches the Hudson river, and where it traverses the State of New Jersey, these rocks decrease in height and breadth. In Pensylvania and Maryland, the primitive rocks occur sparingly, the highest parts of the range consisting of transition rocks, with some intervening valleys of secondary. In Virginia, the primitive rocks increase in breadth and in height; and they form the greatest mass, as well as the most elevated points, of the

range

of mountains in the States of North Carolina and Georgia, where it takes a more westerly direction.

Besides this great range, there is an extensive district, occupied by primitive rocks on the west side of Lake Champlain, having that Lake, and Lake George for a boundary on the east, joining the primitive rocks in Canada to the north and north-west, and following a line from the Thousand Islands in St Lawrence, running nearly pa. rallel to the Mohawk river, until it meets Lake George on the southwest. These primitive rocks run across the Mohawk at the Little Falls, and near Johnstown on the Mohawk, where they are covered by limestone ; they occupy all the mountainous country between Lake Champlain, the St Lawrence, and Lake Ontario,

* From near Kingston on Lake Ontario, to some distance below Quebec, the country is principally primitive ; and, from all the information I could collect, that great mass of continent lying to the north of the 46th degree of latitude, for a considerable distance to the west, consists mostly of the same formation : from which it is probable, that on this continent, as well as in Europe and Asia, the Northern regions are principally occupied by the primitive formation.'

Throughout the greatest part of the northern and north-eas. tern States, the sea washes the primary rocks; but at Long Island there commences an alluvial formation, which, increasing in breadth as at stretches southward, covers a great part of both the Carolinas and Georgia, and almost the whole of the two Floridas and Lower Louisiana. This vast alluvial forination is bounded on the east by the ocean, and by a line commencing at the eastern end of Long Island and passing through Philadelphia, Washington, Richmond in Virginia, Halifax in North Carolina, Columbia in South Carolina, Augusta on the Savannah, and thence to Natchez on the Mississippi. The tide water ends in all the rivers from the Mississippi to the Roanoke at the distance of from thirty to one hundred and twenty miles from the western limits of the alluvial formation; from the Roanoke to the Delaware, the tide penetrates through the alluvial, and

topped by the primitive rocks. In all the northern and east,

P. 58.

« AnteriorContinuar »