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well as I do; and when he was put to a still harder trial, when the king showed him some lines he had just composed, and asked his opinion of them: nothing Sir, was his answer, nothing is impossible to your majesty, you wished to write bad verse, and you have succeeded. I should be sorry that the collection which forms this Museum should be broken up, as it is reputed to be the intention of government in order to restore the different monuments to the churches, they were taken from; to me it is far more interesting than any other exhibition in Paris, and I am much mistaken, if the young men of various nations, who visit the curiosities of the capital of France, do not leave this ancient monastery with impressions far more conducive to morality, than those which are made by the irregular gods and naked goddesses of Ancient Greece, at the Louvre. The next object deserving of your attention along the line we have traced, is the ancient Abbey of St. Germain des Pres, which having been originally a temple of Isis, or of Ceres, was afterwards a convent of Benedictine monks with great estatęs, and fortified for defence like an immense citadel, until the increase of Paris brought it within the walls; it is now the residence of a Traiteur, and the principle office for procuring post-horses, and a part is still applied to the purpose of a military prison; it was here in part that those shocking scenes were perpetrated in 92, which I shall not shock you with a recital of. When Henry the IVth surprized the suburbs in 1589, he went up into the steeple of the Abbey church to take a better view of the town, attended by a single monk, and declared when he got down again, that the idea of Jaques Clement, and of his knife, had haunted his imagination at finding himself alone with a monk, in so retired a place. Following the line, you leave the ancient church of St. Sulpice on the right; it is one of the handsomest in Paris, and appears to much greater advantage since the seminary has been taken down: on the left where the streets and of the Petits Bourbon meet, stood the hotel of that implacable Duchess of Montpensier, who never forgave Henry III, for having spoken contemptuously of her person. The Luxembourg, where I may now suppose you arrived, is a large and handsome palace; it was built by Mary of Medicis, in the best style of Italian architecture; it was formerly the residence of Monsieur, now Louis the XVIII; the garden which has been enlarged by a portion of what was once the garden of the Chartreux, affords a delightful walk; it appears larger than that of the Thuilleries, though not so splendid. The palace served, during the time of Robespiere, as a prison, and you may have seen in the works of Miss Williams, a very interesting account of her detention there, and of her conversation with Silevy and others, who were confined in a room adjoining hers, and her to sisters. The Directory restored it in some measure to the ori. ginal purpose, for which it was built, and resided there during their administration; it is now partly in possession of Prince Joseph, and partly assigned to the use of the conversative Senate, who sit there occasionally in a very handsome room, and to as little purpose as the tribunes do in theirs: A noble stair case leads up to their hall, and the whole of the ascent is lined with the statues of such generals as have died during the revolution. The first husband of the Empress, the Count de Beauharnois, is among the number, though he perished by the guillotine, and is placed next to the door at which the Empress enters, when she attends as usual to the opening of the sessions: such a figure must I should think, excite some strange ideas in her mind, when she passes so close to it; he was a man of fashion and quality, and lived a great deal at court, which accounts for the facility with which his widow has been able to accommodate herself to the etiquette of her new situation. She very narrowly escaped sharing the fate of her husband, and owed her safety in all probability to her personal attractions. Their son who has been lately married to the princess of Bavaria, was, fortunately for him, overlooked, but his friends to remove him still more from observation, bound him apprentice to a joiner, who was a hard master, and used frequently to chastise him; he is now regent of Italy, but might at this moment have been at work upon a table or a chair, in the Rue St. Honorie, had not his mother attracted the attention of a Corsican officer, who thought, and who thought right, that he might make his fortune by marrying her. The palace of the Luxembourg has been long famous for the valuable pictures it contains in two spacious galleries, and to those of Rubens, and of Vernet, have been lately added several distinguished productions of modern masters, and particularly of David. Those of Rubens, which are twenty-four in number, comprise the history of Mary of Medici, from her birth to her reconciliation with her son, which I believe, forms the subject of the last picture.
Had the painter continued her history, he would have found it very difficult to soften the subsequent scenes of it into anything like compliment. She was driven from court by the intrigues of him whom she had placed about the person of her son, and died at a distance from France, after passing many years in exile, and almost in want. I have heard the works of Rubens much extolled, by all who could pretend to appreciate their merit, and the execution must strike every one as admirable; but there is a mixture of allegory and history, of Paganism and Christianity,, of truth and fiction, which the understanding revolts at: there are ideas which the mind admits of in Poetry, and to which the imagination in some measure even gives a local habitation and a name, that should never enter into the composition of a picture. When Goldsmith says,
« Comfort came down the trembling wretch to raise,” he conveys an agreeable idea to the mind, but how would it be possible for a painter to express as much without violating the rules of propriety and common sense? At the flight of the holy family into Egypt, we readily admit them to have been under the peculiar guidance of Providence, but the same subject, all-sacred as it is, is rendered almost ludicrous by the representation of a great, stout, well-made, broad-shouldered angel, who walks before, and leads the ass by a halter. Mary of Medici, had a handsome face, but was clumsy in her person, nor is it possible to conceive a more unbecoming dress than the one the painter gives her: had the taste of Rubens been improved by the models of ancient times, as that of David has been, these pictures excellent as they are, would still have been more agreeable to look at. The establishment of the English Benedictines was never very considerable, and only remarkable formerly for the body of James II, which was kept unburied by these good fathers; they hoped that the time would come, when a restoration in England, might enable them to convey it with becoming pomp to the vault of Henry VII, in Westminster Abbey; their property shared the fate of other church property during the revolution, and their place of worship has been converted into an ordinary dwelling. house; the few of the fathers that remain subsist upon a small pension allowed by the government. I went into the Traiteur's who formerly kept an eating-house, at which they sometimes dined, and found one of them there: this gentleman informed me, that the Prior, who was far advanced in life, and very infirm, had caused himself to be removed to a house in the neighbourhood, from the window of which he might every day behold, their former church. He confirmed to me the report, which I had heard, of the king of Great Britain allowing the Cardinal of York a pension of 40001. a year, and his Jacobitism relented so far, as to make him allow it was a good action. I have conversed with an old Scotch gentleman upon this subject, and have seen the tears run down his cheeks in speaking of the misfortunes of the Stuarts, and of this very act of bounty, which had become necessary to the decent subsistence of the chief of the family. We have become so philosophical in these more improved times, and particularly in America, that we smile at the simplicity of those, who can be actuated by a fond attachment to the person and family of a first magistrate, and it is certain that there may exist a sentiment of patriotism, which is far more dignified: I ques:ion, however, if this last exists to the degree it ought among us, and it is melancholy to think how little there is of the first.
VINDICATION OF MACCHIAVELLI.
FOR THE PORT FOLIO.
Among the innumerable errors, which, in despite of the Powers of Rea. son and Philosophy, continue, by a sort of spell, to cajole mankind, may be reckoned that spirit of False Criticism, so current in the Republic of Let. ters. In perfect thraldom to the enchantment of Absurdity, men have long since laid it down, as a kind of axiom, or first principle, in speaking of the character of Nicolas MACHIAVEL, to describe that celebrated writer as a Despot in Politics, and as a Deist in Religion. The very reverse is legiti. mate truth. His whole life was devoted to the discussion of topics interest. ing to Human Nature. He was an ardent friend to Civil and Religious Liberty; justly understood. He was a genuine Patriot, and a sincere Chris. tian. His last moments attested the sincerity and the purity of his princi. ples, and all his writings, liberally interpreted, are calculated either to amuse or edify his reader. We think it was sometime in the year 1772, that Joseph BARETTI, a most accomplished Scholar, the friend of BURKE, of REYNOLDS, of GOLDSMITH, and of Johnson, and a man so remarkably skilled in the genius of the language of his own country, and that of Englähd, that the Doctus utrinsque linguæ of Horace might be most pertinently
applied to him, published a fine edition of the works of our author. Mr. Baretti was a man too honest and intrepid to conceal truth and to varnish error. He was moreover, in the strong sense of the term, a citizen of the world, and had no local prejudices, or any other prejudices, which could taint his Imagination, or bias his Judgment. Our Italian Editor, therefore, with perfect propriety, describes Machiavel as a character equally to be admired for his wisdom, his probity, and his ingenuity. Instead of defaming him as a crafty Florentine, with the temper of Tiberius, the dissimulation of Domitian, and the perfidy and baseness of Casa Borgia, he is justly described as an elegant author, a good subject, and a sound politician. His writings are as valuable as they are voluminous. He was no less conspicuous for his Industry, than for his Genius; and from his hardly temperament of body, joined to the intense application of his mind, his pages are as lively and vigorous as their author. His firm, undaunted, and robust spirit, is every-where visible. He was of a studious, steadfast, and stern temper. He was adorned with all the literature of the schools, and he was animated with all the spirit of a soldier. His surprising versatility of Genius was another admirable feature of his mind. He was not only profoundly skilled in History and Politics, but in the Art of War he appears versed to a degree which would not disgrace a XENOPHON, a POLYBIUS, or a CHEVALIER FOLARD. He was not like John Locke, a mere theorist, he was a practical Politician. His opinions are derived from an intimate acquaintance with the heart of man, and his mode of politically managing that wild animal evinces at once his wisdom, his penetration, his acuteness, and his address.
In the lighter departments of Literature, he is equally meritorious. He has bequeathed us a sort of jocose novel, the story of Belphegor, or the Wedded Demon, which, whether we consider it with respect to its rich vein of invention, the gayety and drollery of the thoughts, and the perfect ele. gance of the expression, not only challenges a comparison with any tale in Boccace, but, in the opinion of a correct judge, is incomparably superior to the productions of that facetious writer.
The life of Machiavel was now studious, now sedentary, and now active. At one time you find him in the cloister of the recluse, at another in the courts of Princes. He was alternately a writer for the Press, a Se. cretary to the Republic, and an Ambassador. He fathomed all the depths of that dark abyss, the human mind; and, by a dexterous use of the extraordinary talents, with which God and Nature had endued him, he bridled the spirits of the turbulent, and detected the machinations of the crafty.
We shall no longer detain the attention of our reader from the following interesting article, written precisely in the tone of our sentiments, and furnished us by a favourite friend, whose Genius, Literature, and Knowledge of life, enable him to indite essays of the first impression, in the language of My Lord Thurlow. To our valuable correspondent we should be unjust; nay, we should be unjust to merit itself, did we not avow our pleasure in the perusal of lucubrations, which, he may be assured, are not less pleasing to the Public, than to the