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by Margaret as Countess of Flanders and Hainault:* she associated her son, Guy de Dampierre, with her in the government, regardless of the claims of her elder children, the two d'Avênes. Her sway was still more tyrannical than that of her sister Jane, and was still more detested by the Flemings. She was so dark, stern, and unbending, so wholly without evidence of ordinary human feeling, that she was called by her subjects" The Black Lady". She chose to consider her children by Bouchard as illegitimate; and delighted in sowing dissension between them and the Dampierres. Her unnatural conduct brought many calamities upon her country; the jarring pretensions of her sons created factions, and fostered party feeling.
Some powerful interposition was necessary. In 1249 the Pope (Innocent III.) sent his Commissioners, the Bishop of Chalons-sur-Marne, and the Abbot of Leté, to enquire into the case of the d'Avènes. After long deliberations, these ecclesiastics decided, that although the marriage of Bouchard d'Avênes with Margaret of Flanders, was irregular for want of a dispensation, yet, as it had been solemnized with all the due rites of the Church, the children of that union were legitimate. This verdict gave position to the young men. The eldest, John D'Avênes, received from his patron, Florent, Count of Holland, the hand of his daughter Adelais (or Alix), and the King of France, Louis the IX (St. Louis,) decreed as Suzerain of Flanders, that John d'Avênes should succeed his mother as Count of Hainault; and that Flanders should be the heritage of Guy de Dampierre : a provision was also made for Baldwin d'Avènes.
In 1253, Guy and John de Dampierre attempted, at their mother's instigation, to wrest part of Zealand from the Count of Holland, whom she hated for his kindness to John d'Avênes. In a battle fought at West Kapellen, in Zealand, between the Dampierres on one side, and the Count of Holland andhis sonin-law on the other, the Flemings were defeated with an immense loss, and the two Dampierres were among the prisoners. John D'Avênes wrote to his inother, imploring her to listen to the long unheeded voice of nature, and to let the captivity of
On the death of the unfortunate Ferrand, Jane had married Thomas of Savoy (son of Thomas 1st, Count of Savoy) called Count of Flandets while his wife lived.
| She is the subject of one of T. C. Grattan's " egends of the Rhine," called the Curse of the Black Lady, in which her hatred of her first husband is ascribed (by the license of fiction) to jealousy.
her younger sons have a softening effect upon her heart. To bis earnest and tender appeal she wrote in reply, "that he was welcome to be the hangman of his two brothers, and that he might, if he chose, boil the one, roast the other, and eat them both!" It seems incredible, yet it is gravely affirmed by a respectable historian, the continuator of Matthew Paris, that this atrocious language was used by a lady of high rank, a mother, Margaret, Countess of Flanders.
After existing as the bane of her family and her country, (which she involved in a war with England) the "black lady" died in 1279, and was succeeded (as arranged) in Flanders by Gay de Dampierre, and in Hainault, by John d'Avènes. The latter left four sons, of whom John, the eldest, succeeded his father; the other three devoted themselves to the priesthood ; William became Bishop of Cambray, Bouchard, Bishop of Metz, and Guy, Bishop of Utrecht. It is to be remarked that Bouchard d'Avênes and his evil-minded wife Margaret, were direct ancestors of an amiable and beloved Queen of England, Philippa of Hainault (wife of Edward III), wlio was fourth in descent (through John d'Avènes and Adelais of Holland) from that unhappily wedded pair. *
The tragical story of Baldwin and his children surpasses in gloom even that of King Lear and his daughters : it is of the same dark cast as the old tales of Thebes and Pelops' line," whose guilt and anguish the Ancients ascribed to the decrees of inexorable Nemesis. The dramatic material begins at Baldwin's defeat and fate; but Le Rousseau has unwisely
commenced at the commencement," at the preaching of the Crusade by Foulque de Neuilly; and all the details drag their" slow length along through a period of twenty-six years : these are the transactions at Venice, the reigns of Isaac Angelus, Alexius, and Murzufle, the two sieges of Constantinople, the election of Baldwin, &c., &c., down to the execution of Bertrand de Rains, whom Le Rousseau, like ourselves, believes to have been Baldwin. It is a mere chronicle in dialogue, divided into five parts, we cannot call them acts when there is no acting; it is in prose, prosy; no striking point is made, no situation well wrought out; there is nothing
• The descent runs thus : John, eldest son of Bouchard and Margaret, was succeeded by his eldest son John, whose second son, William (heir on the death of his elder brother) was father of Queen Philippa.
of solemnity, energy, or pathos. It is impracticable (we should say) for the theatre : the spectator could not follow the thread of the narrative from scene to scene and from place to place, nor could he distinguish between all the personages, French, Flemish, Venetians, Greeks, and Bulgarians that encumber the stage. It is as difficult to be read as to be performed; the attention is worn out before the interest com
Among the dramatis personæ we have the Countess Jane, who might have been made interesting by the tempest of conflicting feelings; but she is cominonplace—the Queen of Bulgaria, without the fire that might have given force to the scene, she is tame enough, and embued with French sentimentality ; and Mary of Champagne, the wife of Baldwin, appears, towards the conclusion, merely to rave in madness, and to recognize Baldwin when her testimony is unavailing. We have ook ed all through this so-called drama in search of one scene, one passage to transcribe, but we can find none that we could think the reader would care to see.
The "First French Emperor of Constantinople” has been unfortunate in France : Nepomucene Lemercier essayed a tragedy on the same subject, and the representation was attempted at two theatres in Paris, but it proved wholly unsuccessful. We have not seen or read it; but Le Rousseau speaks of it very disparagingly in the preface to his “Baldwin :" if Lemercier's drama be more effete than Le Rousseau's, it must, indeed, be a “Curiosity of Literature.”
Arr. III.-SUICIDE; ITS MOTIVES AND
MYSTERIES. Recherches sur les Opinions et la Législation en matière de
Mort Volantaire Pendent le Moyen Age. Par M. H. Bourquelot. Paris : 1840.
Few events ever caused so much astonishment and dismay as the suicide of John Sadleir-his extensive engagements in vast concerns, bis position in society, his intelligence, influence, and reputed fortune, made such an event, of all events, the most unlooked for. The details which throw light on the dreadful catastrophe are as astounding as the act itself. The most cautious never dreamed that the apparent favorite of fortune, whose name was considered a guarantee for the success of any project, would involve establishments, undertakings, and a host of individuals, in irretrievable ruin. In almost every suicide, however abhorrent the act, there is something to elicit a touch of sympathy—“the scowl of an unpitying world,” may have driven a youthful aspirant to desperation-broken vows may have bereft a trusting husband of self-control, or a sudden bereavement quite upset reason-but in Sadleir's case, we can trace no higher feeling than an inordinate thirst of gain, which stopped at nothing for its gratification. The attempt of his friends to procure a verdict of insanity, utterly failed—the intense agony of his letters, and his expressions of remorse, which were brought forward to prove it, -and which could not indeed be read without pity-are in truth an evidence of his sanity, with all the consequences of his frauds, at length staring him in the face—the ruin of so many, some among them his own personal friends—could any but a madman have expressed himself butin terms of the greatest agony and remorse, in the contemplation of his guilty career, and its guilty termination, we can well conceive that his passionate anguish for the wrongs which he had inflicted, was the only source of consolation remaining for those to whom he was dear. Dr. Prichard in his Treatise on Disorders of the Nervous System, observes that “disappointments in the pursuit of wealth, in this country, where commercial enterprises engage so many individuals in hazardous pursuits, are among the most frequent causes of insanity;" but here is a much more startling result, and the speculator may well pause over the course which, step by step, led to such a fatal conclusion and wide-spread ruin
and may well call to mind the words of holy writ, “he who maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent, for they who will be rich, fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.'
Great difference of opinion exists among high medical authorities on the question, whether the mere act of self-destruction is in itself a proof of insanity. Men of great celebrity in the profession have taken the negative side of the question, while others of equal weight take a different view. Juries are almost always on the side of the latter ; the law, as it now stands, naturally gives a bias to the feelings of those who sit in judgment. Compassion for the survivors makes then catch at every incident which can be construed into insanity, and avail themselves of every doubt which can be thrown on the adequacy of the motive, to account for the act.
It is little more than three and thirty years since, when by custom strong as law, the body of the suicide was treated with marked indignity; it was not admitted into consecrated ground, but was buried at the meeting of cross roads, and a stake was run through the body. Near Boston, in Lincolnshire, a very ancient hawthorn tree is still pointed out; it is a tradition in the neighbourhood, that it sprung from the stake driven through the body of a man who had destroyed himself more than a hundred years since. The unconsecrated grave is duly strewn with the blossoms which are shed over it like pitying tears. Reasons have been assigned for the rude interment of suicides in former days; where cross roads met, a crucifix was generally erected, that the pious wayfarer from every direction might offer up his devotions at the holy shrine ; and the dead who were excluded from consecrated ground, were laid where they might rest under the shadow of the cross. The stake was run through the body, to prevent its rising to haunt the scenes of its former troubles. A person of the name of Griffiths was the last who was buried in this way, for in the same year, 1823, the legislature interfered to put a stop to the barbarous mode of interment. A law was passed, which enacted, that " for the future it should not be lawful for every coroner having authority to hold inquests, to issue any warrant, or other process for directing the remains of persons against whom a verdict of felo de se should have been had, to be interred in any public highway, but that directions should be given for the