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they were of the fame form that Caftor and Pollux gave to their citizens, is put beyond all doubt, by the teftimony of Lycophron and Tzetzes; nor is it neceflary to go to the Garamantes, a people of Africa, who, as Pierius Valerian fhews, made their caps of an oftrich's egg, divided into two equal parts. Nor is this fufficient fully to determine the form of the caps ufed by the Lacedæmonians, as they appear in medals, fince Sextus Empiricus tells us, they are fometimes drawn with stars over them and in proof of this, there is a medal in the cabinet of Chriftina, Queen of Sweden, mentioned by Ezekiel Spanheim t, in which an Eagle is reprefented ftanding upon the Labyrinth of Crete (for it is a Cretan medal) with two Pilei, and a ftar over each of them; which that able Critic fhews to be the emblems of Caftor and Pollux. Spanheim's words are thefe, Gemini autem illi pilei et ftellæ, juxta nota et familiaria in Nummis antiquis fymbola, diofcouros innunt.
Sext. Emp. lib. 8. Sect. de Diis.
+ De Vet. Numis Differt. v. Edit. 2d. 4to. 475.
Lettres Familicres et autres, de Monfieur le Baron de Bielfeld. Or, Familiar and other Letters, by Baron de Bielfeld. 8vo. 2 vols. Printed for Goffe at the Hague, 1763.
HE reputation this noble Author hath acquired by his Political Inflitutions*, very naturally excited our curiofity with regard to his epiftolary correfpondence. After a very fair and candid perufal, however, of the Letters before us, we muft confefs ourfelves to have been a little difappointed in the expectations we had formed of them. The art of Letter-writing requires peculiar talents, and those, perhaps, not of the first-rate : certain it is, that profound erudition, and depth of fcience, are feldom attended with that eafy turn of fentiment, and Auency of expreffion, which are effential to epiftolary writing. Not that Baron de Bielfeld appears to be a Genius of an abstracted caft, or to be unacquainted either with the bufinefs of life, or the arts of literary amufement; his Letters, which chiefly turn on familiar and popular topics, affording the Reader many ingenious and sprightly, as well as fenfible and inftructive reflections. If they do not contain alfo fuch a variety of incident and vivacity of narration, as the Memoirs of his friend De Pollnitz, fo much information as thofe of Keyfler, or fo much entertainment as the relations of fome other Travellers, it is to be con
* See Review, Vol. XXII. page 537; and vol. XXIII. p. 73.
fidered, that our Author's sphere of action hath been more confined notwithstanding which he gives us fome agreeable narratives, as well as interefting anecdotes, of the principal occurrences and perfonages he met with in various parts of Europe.
The first of thefe Letters is dated from Hamburgh, in the. year 1738; from which place, and about which time, he entered on the career of public life; which, tho' very fortunate on the whole, was attended with fo much inconvenience, that, after a series of two and twenty years, we find him retired to the fame city, and thence dating the laft Letter in this collection, in the year 1760. During the greater part of this interval, our ingenious Author was engaged in the fervice of his Pruffian Majefty; by whom he was occafionally employed at the Courts of Hanover and London; being afterwards appointed Preceptor to Prince Ferdinand, the King's brother, and invested: with feveral other pofts of honour and profit at the court of Berlin. Our Author feems, indeed, to have long enjoyed a confiderable fare in the favour of this celebrated Monarch; by whom we find him treated with the greatest complaisance and familiarity, even at the beginning of his fervices, which commenced before his Majefty afcended the throne.
It is a flattering picture which the Baron draws of the court of this Prince, then Prince Royal, as it was kept at Rheinberg, during the life of his father. After having given a defcription of the perfons and characters of the principal people of both fexes, and particularly of the Prince and Princefs, with their ordinary manner of living, our Author proceeds to relate the adventure of a little courtly debauch, which, as it had like to have coft him very dear, and is fomething fingular in itself, we fhall tranfcribe, for the entertainment of our Readers.
"It is thus, Madam, our days pass away in ease and tranquillity, occafionally heightened by every pleasure capable of gra tifying a rational mind. We eat like Kings, drink wine like the nectar of the Gods, and have the mufic of the fpheres to accompany our repafts; thefe, with delightful excurfions into the woods and gardens, parties on the water, the cultivation of letters and the polite arts, all confpire to make this enchanted palace a terreftrial paradife. But as there is no perfect felicity in human life, the pleafures I have enjoyed at Rheinfberg, have been greatly allayed by the pain of a late accident, which, with your Ladyfhip's leave, I will relate to you. But, to anticipate the catastrophe, I must acquaint you, that you will foon fee me at Hamburgh, with two cuts in my forehead, a black eye, and a cheek disfigured with all the colours of the rainbow. All these
pretty acquifitions. I made at a late bacchanalian party; on which you will probably fay, they are the very natural attendants.
"About a fortnight ago, the Prince Royal being in a very good humour at dinner, the fpirit of the company were agreeably excited by his extraordinary vivacity. The Champaign went brifkly round, and his Highness feemed pleafed with his fuccefs; accordingly, on rifing from table, he intimated his defign of taking up the ball again in the evening, where we then left it. In confequence of which, as I went out from the concert, he ordered me to go to the Princess's apartments, where, as foon as she had done play, we fhould renew the party, and keep it up till every man might find his way home without a candle, by the light of Champaign. I took this challenge in jest; knowing that matches of this kind feldom come to any thing when prepared for fo long beforehand. The Princefs, however, gave me to understand, that his Highness was really in earnest, and that I should be fairly caught. In effect alfo, I foon found how it was like to be, having hardly fat down to table, before the Prince put round feveral toafts, which it was impoffible to think of refufing. This fkirmish was fucceeded by a discharge of bons mots, and repartees, between the Prince and the company; at which the graveft perfonages prefent could not forbear laughing in fhort, our mirth became general; the Ladies themfelves partaking of it as well as we. In about two hours, fome of us began to reflect, that it was impoffible to pour wine conftantly into a cafk, without letting it fometimes out. Neceffity had no law; nor could the prefence of the Princefs Royal herself prevent us from going out to breathe a little fresh air. This, however, had fuch an effect on me, that when I returned into the faloon, I began to find myself not a little difordered. I determined, therefore, to mix with my wine a fufficient quantity of water; of which there had stood a large decanter before me. During my abfence, however, the Princefs, who fat oppofite, had artfully changed the water for a clear, transparent white wine; fo that, having loft the diftinction of tafte, I poured it profufely into my glafs, and became quite intoxicated by endeavouring to drink myfelf fober. To compleat my downfal, the Prince Royal infifted on my fitting next his Highness, when taking the opportunity to fay a number of flattering things, and to extend my views as far into futurity as my feeble optics would let me, he plied me with bumper after bumper, till I could, indeed, hardly fee any thing prefent. At the fame time, the rest of the company were, most of them, equally affected by the nectar, that flowed in fuch plenty on this occafion. One of the Ladies in particular, who was pregnant, found herself under the neceffity of taking an abrupt leave for a fhort interval. This
action was esteemed fo admirable and heroic, that all the company joined in paying her the due compliments for it, on her return. Never, perhaps, was woman fo much applauded for fuch an expedition. At length, whether by accident or design, the Princess Royal broke a drinking glass. This fignal was enough for our impetuofity, and appeared an example worthy of imitation. In an inftant our glaffes flew against the fides of the faloon; and the china, luftres, mirrours, &c. were all broken into ten thousand pieces: the Prince, in the midst of this general deftruction, calmly looking about him, and, like the man of fortitude in Horace, hearing the mighty crafh, and smiling at the ruins. Tumult, however, fucceeding to mirth, his Highnefs very prudently withdrew, and, by the affiftance of his Pages, reached his apartment. The Princefs alfo difappeared at the fame moment. As to myself, not finding a fingle footman humane enough to direct my reeling fteps, and preferve my tottering figure in equilibrio, I got to the edge of the great ftaircafe, and fairly rolled down from the top to the bottom; where I lay fome time without fenfe or motion. There alfo I might poffibly have expired, had not an old house-maid come by chance that way, and in the dark stumbled over me; upon which, taking me for the great fhock dog of the place, fhe gave me a hearty curfe, and at the fame time a violent kick in the belly: but finding afterwards that I was a man, and what was more, a young Courtier, fhe began to have fome compaffion, and called out for affiftance; when my fervants coming up, they carried me home to bed. A Surgeon was then fent for, who bled me, dreffed my wounds, and thus brought me a little to myfelf. The next morning they talked of a contufion, and of a fracture, and of my fubmitting to the trepane: of this, however, I am quit, with only the apprehenfions, and a fortnight's confinement to my bed: during which time the Prince hath been so kind as to vifit me every day, and to contribute every thing in his power to my
"The next morning the whole court was in a whimsical diftrefs; neither the Prince, nor any of his Gentlemen, could raise their heads off the pillow; the Princefs being obliged to dine alone. For my part, I fuffered very confiderably from the hurt I received; and have had fufficient leifure to moralize on my adventure. At prefent, however, I adopt in part the Italian proverb, Passato il pericolo, gabato il fanto, and laugh among the reft at my own misfortune. This evening's work will not be foon forgotten at Rheinfberg, where fuch bacchanalian exploits are but rare. The Prince Royal is by no means a drinker. He facrifices as yet only to Apollo and the Muses; tho' there may come a time when he shall erect as many altars to Mars,"
Our noble Author hath lived to fee this prediction fulfilled, and even to suffer himself much more froin the martial expeditions of the King, than from the bacchanalian exploits of the Prince.
There was fomething extremely fingular, and even favage, according to our Author, in the character and difpofition of the late King of Pruffia; of which he gives us fome remarkable inftances, in his extreme contempt for the fciences, and the unaccountable antipathies he fometimes took against persons and things, without reafon, and without measure. It was in confequence of this extraordinary difpofition that, we are told, fo great a difagreement fubfifted between this Monarch and King George the fecond of England; that a duel was actually projected to be fought by these two Princes; in imitation of the Emperor Charles the fifth and Francis the first. Nay, our Author tells us, he hath been affured, that King George had actually made choice of Brigadier Sutton for his Second, and the King of Pruffia of Colonel Derfchau: that the rendezvous was to be in the county of Hildesheim; his Britannic Majefty being then at Hanover, and his Pruffian Majefty at Saltzdahl near Brunfwick. It was here Baron de Borck, who had been the Pruffian Minifter at London, but was difgracefully fent home by the English court, found his Mafter at his arrival, in fo violent a rage, that he did not think proper directly to oppose his fcheme; but pretended to approve the defign of the duel, offering himself to carry the challenge. On entering the King's apartment, however, about an hour afterwards, he took the Jiberty to addrefs his Majefty in the following terms.
I must acknowlege, Sire, if I may be permitted to say fo much, as from a Gentleman to a Gentleman, that your quarrel with the King of England can by no means be decided without a duel; but your Majefty would do well to confider, that you are but juft recovered of a very dangerous illness, that you are ftill extremely weak: now, if by any accident your Majefty fhould have a relapfe of your diforder the night before the combat, or be taken ill again juft at the time of action, what might not the world fay? and what a fubject of triumph would that be to the King of England? How may not fuch an accident be mifreprefented and what odious reflections may, from fuch a circumftance, be caft on your courage? Your Majefty certainly will think it prudent, therefore, to defer this encounter at least for a fortnight, or till fuch time as you have better recovered your health," The King, it is faid, being prevailed on, tho' with difficulty, by these reasons, did not fend the challenge; by which delay the Ministers on both sides gained time, the animo