Page images

attribute to him language which he unhesitatingly asserts, and undertakes to declare on oath if necessary, he never used.' We are very sorry for it, if any such misrepresentation has occurred; but we believe the author of the article on English Charity' quoted the ipsissima verba of a report sent to the New Poor Law Board by one of their assistant-commissioners. We conclude, therefore, that if our correspondent be right in taking to his own parish the case alluded to, the assistant-commissioner had-most probably owing to the hastiness of his interview with an invalid-unfortunately mistaken the purport of the communication made to him. As to the matter of fact itself, if he really was alluded to, the reverend gentleman's solemn statement is conclusive.

On No. CIX.,

p. 60.

WE are informed that the Marquess of Westmeath thinks himself entitled to complain of the passage in this page, where we had occasion to introduce an allusion to his lordship's evidence before the commissioners for inquiry into the condition of the poorer classes in Ireland. Lord Westmeath must have misunderstood the passage in question. We impugned his lordship's doctrine that a poor law can IN NO SHAPE be levied in Ireland without an atrocious violation of the rights of property'-and we put an hypothetical case in order to apply to that doctrine the logical argument called the reductio ad absurdum. We had not the remotest intention of so far overstepping our jurisdiction as to express any opinion concerning the noble marquess's private character as a landlord.

[ocr errors]


On No. CIX. p. 161, Article Life of Lord Exmouth.'

THAT excellent work, the United Service Journal,' calls our notice to the omission of the name of Lieut.-General Sir Hudson Lowe, who certainly ought to have been mentioned as the able coadjutor of the late Lord Exmouth in the deliverance of Marseilles from the threatened violences of Marshal Brune, and as having equally participated in the honourable acknowledgment of that city's gratitude. The omission was entirely accidental there is no case in which we should have been more unwilling to exhibit the slightest disrespect than in that of the worst used public servant of this age, Sir Hudson Lowe.

[ocr errors]



JUNE, 1836.

ART. I.-Correspondance privée et inédite de Louis XVIII. pendant son séjour en Angleterre. Bruxelles, 1836.

THESE letters are not introduced to the public by any preface or explanation whatsoever-not a word as to the person to whom they were addressed—nor whence they have been obtained— nor, in short, anything to attest their authenticity. We nevertheless do not hesitate to pronounce them genuine, and to acquaint the public-with what the editor chooses, we know not why, to conceal-that the person to whom they were addressed by Louis XVIII. was the Count d'Avaray, who-our readers may recollect -(Quart. Rev. vol. xxviii. p. 467) accompanied him in his lucky escape from Paris in June, 1793, and who continued attached to his person in all his subsequent vicissitudes-more on the footing of a private friend than a courtier-until 1810, when a pulmonary, complaint obliged the count to pass the winter in Madeira, where he died in the ensuing year. These letters were written during this, we believe the only, separation which had taken place between the Prince and M. d'Avaray since their exile. Being only fourteen in number, and all written within nine months to one individual, they certainly do not deserve the lofty title of The Correspondence of Louis XVIII. during his residence in England;' and being confined to the mere expression of private regard and anxiety for a sick friend—a little, and but a little, enlivened by the news of the day-they possess hardly any intrinsic importance, either historical or political-they tell no secrets-they open no views-nay, they scarcely indicate a personal interest in the great drama that was at the time acting in Europe. The cause of this extraordinary inanity probably was the prudence of the writer-though we were masters of the seas, still a packet-boat might be accidentally captured, and Louis was too discreet to expose his own dignity, or his own interests, or the safety of his friends on the continent, to the chance, however remote, of his letters being intercepted. Whatever be the cause, the correpondence is exceedingly jejune. Buonaparte might have read it at the time without getting much more insight into the public or private views of his competitor than he might have collected from the newspapers; and the only interest it can now have is from whatever little light it may throw




on the personal character of a prince whose restoration and reign afforded France the only portion of tranquillity and rational liberty which she had enjoyed since the commencement of the revolution. They will not add much to the King's literary fame, nor do they bring out any of the higher qualities of the mind, but they exhibit good temper and good sense, here and there a touch of rather delicate humour-and throughout an easy and agreeable style, with more of feeling than he is generally supposed to have possessed.

As specimens of the really familiar and confidential correspondence of kings are rare, our readers will probably thank us for presenting them with a few extracts from that of a sovereign whose latter life was so eminent and important.

'Hartwell, 9th October, 1810. 'As there is, no doubt, a constant communication between Portugal and Madeira, you will hear the news of the Peninsula direct sooner than from England. You will perhaps also have heard of the arrival of Lucien at Malta. They represent him as having escaped, but he had forty people in his suite. B. P. [Buonaparte] therefore could not have been ignorant of it; for, at least, his agents are not fools. What, then, can be the object of this movement? I cannot guess. All that I know is, that I look on M. Lucien as another Sinon. "But he had quarrelled," say they, "with his brother." Mighty fine! as if the quarrels of rogues who have the same interest ever lasted.

In the north, however, matters seem seriously perplexed, and nothing persuades me more of the probability of a war than B. P. publishing in the Moniteur that he never was on better terms with Russia. Poor Alexander! It is, indeed, high time that he should look about him. I hardly allow him a year before he will be reduced to the same extremities as his unfortunate neighbour, of whom some one said the other day that he was no longer the King of Prussia, but the Prussian King.'-p. 18.

At the time this was written the public was very far from suspecting the probability of a reconciliation between Napoleon and Lucien; and still less that of an early rupture between Russia and France.

The birth of the King of Rome, so portentous to the rest of the world, is treated by him, to whose interests it seemed the most irreparable and fatal blow, with a resignation quite prophetic and almost contemptuous-


So then, we have a babe in the Napoleon family. Whether he is really the flesh and blood of the unhappy archduchess herself, or only an interloper smuggled into her bed-chamber, what care I? Many people look upon this event as highly important. I am not of that opinion, and here's my dilemma. If God has condemned us to this tyranny, B. P. can never want a successor; if, on the other hand, the divine wrath should pass away, all the babies in the world will not prevent the overthrow of the edifice of iniquity.'-p. 89.


The king seems to have looked with some degree of suspicion at the attempt of the Duke of Orleans to place himself at the head of the Spanish insurrection-an attempt which M. Sarrans and the other disappointed patriots of July now reproach to Louis Philippe as a proof that, if, as old Lafayette boasted at the Hótel de Ville, he had never borne arms against France, the merit was none of his. Louis XVIII. tells the short issue of that affair with sarcastic dryness—

"Hartwell, 5th November, 1810.

'The Duke of Orleans has been ordered off to Sicily by the Cortes; the motion was made in that monstrous assembly (monstrous I call it, because the annals of Spain can produce no instance of a cortes in which there are but three grandees) on the 28th September, and passed by a simple majority of five votes. The execution of the decree was confided to the regency. A member apprised the Duke of Orleans of what was going on, and advised him to present himself to the Cortes; he hastened thither, gave them a dreadful fright, but was not admitted, and referred back to the executive power. On his return to his residence, he found waiting for him the Governor of Cadiz, who politely kept him company till he had actually put him on board ship.'-p. 26.

We see in this and the following extract the principle which in 1823 directed his own policy with regard to the revolutionary Cortes of Spain

'Hartwell, 5th February, 1811.

They say (and as the report comes from both Paris and Cadiz I am afraid there may be some truth in it) that B. P. has a design for replacing Ferdinand on the throne of Spain, on condition of his marrying a sister of the unhappy Marie Louise. But, on the other hand, the Cortes have declared at least so I read in a Cadiz Gazette-that "they would not recognize Ferdinand if he came under the protection of a tyrant, the usurper of the throne of Louis XVIII.” So there they are standing up for the rights of a foreign sovereign, while they usurp the authority of their own. This inconsistency arises from the opinion which now seems to prevail of the sovereignty of the people, which has, it seems, a right to make what revolutions it pleases, provided they be not bloody. To what an extent does not this fatal doctrine reach? Would you believe, my friend, that the King of Sweden himself, not only defends the conduct of his uncle towards him, but even professes to regard him as the legitimate sovereign?'-p. 69.

[ocr errors]

Our readers are aware that this poor king of Sweden, Gustavus IV. whose spirit was too high for his political means or personal abilities-professed a kind of romantic friendship for the exiled Bourbons. When he in his turn became an exile, and visited England, Louis seems to have shown him as much interest and

x 2


attention as his own limited circumstances would allow; but he appears to have soon become fully aware that Gustavus's misfortunes had all been produced by the waywardness of his own character.

'Hartwell, 13th March, 1811. 'The king of Sweden leaves this to-morrow before day-light, and England by the end of next week. He goes at first to Heligoland— then to Anholt, to try to open some communication with Sweden as to his personal property, of which he has not for a long time received a penny. Thence to Russia, and thence he hopes to return into Switzerland. Poor prince! I fear that he has lost for ever that happiness of which he is really so deserving. It is not that he regrets the loss of his station; on the contrary, he talks of that with an indifference which one could not believe without having witnessed it as I have done. Quiet is what he professes to want, but surely whirling about the world is not the means of obtaining that object. Besides, though he never has made me an explicit confidence on that subject, it is easy to see that he has some domestic annoyances. I now had rather he had not come to England. A plague upon Freemasons and their worthy offspring the Illuminati-they were I believe the first cause of this poor prince's misfortunes, and ever since he has lost his throne they have done and still do him a world of mischief.'-p. 77.

There is more to the same effect, from which it is clear that Louis had discovered in their personal intercourse, that his friend was the victim not so much of a political intrigue as of a diseased imagination.

The death of his wife Mary Josephine of Savoy, in November, 1811, is the only private event of any importance which occurs during the correspondence, and his sentiments on that occasion are creditable both to his head and his heart. He attended her with affectionate anxiety, and lamented her loss with a sober, and therefore the more touching sincerity. At the end of two months he writes

'Hartwell, 7th January, 1811.

Fear nothing for my health. It has not suffered. I am already at the point where I believe I shall remain—“ no more tears-no more pangs of sorrow," but a sincere regret, a void in my life which I feel a hundred times a-day. A thought occurs to me-sad, or gay, or indifferent no matter, a recollection of something old, or an emotion at something new; I find myself saying mechanically I must tell HER this, and then I recollect my loss, the illusion vanishes, and I say to myself, the day of those soft intercourses is gone for ever. All this does not hinder my sleeping and eating, nor taking part in the conversation, nor even laughing when the occasion occurs; but the sad thought that she is gone for ever mixes itself with everything, and, like a drop of wormwood in food or drink, embitters the flavour without entirely destroying it.'-p. 48.


« PreviousContinue »