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« The deaths of the Emperor Peter, of Prince Ivan, of the supposed Princess Tarrakanoff, of the Grand Duchess the first wife of Paul, and that of the Princess of Wirtemberg, are süll laid to the charge of the Empress. Such a series of murders, including that of a husband, of e boy, and of three young women; one of whom was a daughter in law, has not been charged on any individual, at least in the modern History of Europe; .... and to publish such stories ligkıly is no small offence."
On perusing this passage, one would imagine that Sir N. Wraxall had been the first to publish the stories which it relates, and that he had affirmed them all to be true. Yet they have been long before the public; and in order to show what he really thinks of the two first of them, namely, that of Peter the third, and of Irvan (who though born in 1740 and killed by his guards in 1764, the Edinburgh Review denominates a boy) Sir Nathaniel refers with confidence to his own account of them. He at the same time complains that his narration has been garbled into a direct accusation against the Empress.
" Whether she was guilty or innocent, I have no where given even an opinion-throughout this whole work. Yet these constitute two out of the series of murders,' which I am represented as having laid to her. charge."
Passing over the third and fourth of these charges, as being of less moment, and as affording an easy triumph to Sir N. we pass to the fifth ground of accusation, the case of the Princess of Wirtemberg. On this topic our author is so clear and explicit, that we shall quote the passage entire.
“My opinions and observations on this point are altogether favorable to the Empress, and tend to acquit her of any participation in that princess's death, even on the supposition that it was not natural; a supposition which I by no means sanction. That this illustrious and unfortunate lady was confined in the interior of Muscovy, for some asserted errors of conduct; that she there expired at the end of about eighteen months, that her body was refused to be delivered up to her parents; that no proces verbal, or authenticated account of her disorder and decease, was ever published by the court of Petersburgh or of Stutgard; that injurious reports respecting her end were circulated throughout Eurore, and obtained considerable belief even in this country: on all these points, there is no difference of opinion. They are universally admitted. Now what have I said?-After stating the suspicions entertained of poison, or other means having been resorted to, I add; “In the case of the two Emperors, Peter the third, and Irvan; as well as in the instances of the pretended Princess Tarrakanoff, and of the first Grand Duchess of Russia; the motives for her commission of a crime, by depriving them of life, are obvious. But none such appear in the instance before us.” · Sir Nathaniel proceeds to state,
“That the present King of Wirtemberg proved to George the Third, hy documents and papers the most authentic, that he had not any know
ledge of, or participation in his first wife's death, is incontestible. His Majesty, as I have stated, after a full inspection of them, became per fecily convinced of his having had no part in that dark and melancholy transaction. His Majesty's reluctance to conclude the union of the Prince of Wirtemberg with his eldest daughter, probably arose only from parental affection. And without having recourse to any supposition of violence, we may easily conceive that the decease of the first Princess might have been caused by her own situation, shut up in a Muscovite castle, deprived of her German attendants, male and female, a prey to solitude and chagrin. Such circuinstances are usually of themselves sufficient to shorten the term of human life.”
All this needs no comment; but there are some remarks of Sir Nath. connected with this subject which it would be injustice in us not to notice.
"I forbear,” says he, “ to make any comment on the manner in which both these R vs have mentioned the prosecution commenced against me, by Count Woronzow, for having inadvertently mentioned his name in a way hurtful to his feelings; a circumstance which could not have arisen from any intention to injure, or offend, which I regret, and for which, as soon as I was apprized of it, I made every becoming apology. If decency and liberality of mind did not restrain the pens of those critics or moderate their virtuous indignation, other considerations might and ought to have imposed limits on them. Are they aware, that by attempting, through the medium of the press, to influence the public mind, and to anticipate the supposed judginent of a court of criminal Law, on the matter pending, and not yet come to hearing; they are guilty of a far more heinous offence, than the one which it is falsely affected to attribute to me? For, the purity and majesty of English jurisprudence discountenances, reprobates and punishes every appeal to the passions of the multitude, as subversive of the first principles of Equity and Justice."
Passing by the Anecdote at p. 44, which shows with what facility a trivial circumstance may be made to answer a grave purpose ; and leaving unnoticed a variety of less interesting details; we come to the account of Mr. Fox and his principles. Sir Nathaniel complains that the Reviewers have unfairly selected a few detached parts of a long sentence, and by reasoning on so fallacious a basis, have accused him of an attempt to diminish Mr. Fox's claim to moral approbation. To counteract the effect which this uncandid mode of attack may have upon the minds of his readers, he cites, in full, the character he had drawn of Mr. Fox-a character which, as we shall see presently, some people think not altogether deficient in point of justice, and impartiality.
“Let it be remembered," says Sir Nath., “ that the portrait here drawn, is not Mr. Fox of Fifty, such as we remember him, residing at St. Anne's Hill, a married man, leading a domestic life, in the bosom of letters and researches of taste : but, it is Mr. Fox at thirty-two, as he
was in 1781, living in St. James's Street, and still devoted to those gratifications by which he had impaired his health, ruined his fortune, and diminished his brilliant reputation, &c.”
Now for the second set of judges. " The friends of the late Mr. Fox," say the Quarterly Reviewers, “ will alledge that Sir Nath. has been unjust to that eminent man: but we think that on this delicate subject, the opinion of Sir Nath. is not only sincere, but justified by the circumstances of Mr. For's life.”
After inveighing against that statesman, for “ the mischief of his public conduct, and his sacrifices to ambition,” they add;
“ We say nothing of his conduct in latter times. On that subject we confess, we ourselves could scarcely write impartially. But, with regard to the transactions that Sir N. Wraxall relates, we must do him the justice to say, that we think his bias against the politics of Mr. Fox, is not only just and reasonable ; but that similar sentiments are common to the great majority of mankind.”
Attention, reader! doctors will never cease to disagree.
“ To apply," say the gentlemen of Edinburgh, not without indignation, “ to apply such language as Sir Nathaniel applies to Mr. Fox, is indeed, to libel all his eminent contemporaries, and through them, the age and nation of which they were the ornaments.”
Thus have we followed Sir N. Wraxall through most of the topics of his defence ; and we are well pleased to see, that the historian of the House of Valois has so successfully repelled the calumnies levelled against him. He speaks like an honest man, who disclaims indirect means of defending a cause, the merits of which render it sufficiently strong. When he alludes to himself to the anxiety which attended his inquiries, and the motives on which his decisions were founded, he employs the language of one, who wishes and deserves to be believed, and therefore we believe him.
Let it not, however, be supposed that our praise is to be unqualified. Successful as Sir Nathaniel has been in his general defence, there is one point, and that too of no small importance, in which he has failed; we mean the charge of sometimes sea lecting without a due regard to moral effect. Surely a man of Sir Nathaniel's good sense and experience in the world will not think it an adequate excuse to alledge that other writers have been culpable in the same way, and in a higher degree. That cause must be bad indeed, which needs an appeal, in such a case, to the example of Gibbon; and yet that example is urged in his defence. . But who could have dreamt of his present Majesty's being brought forward as party to an immodest measure? Yet
at is actually done.
« Sir John Dalrymple by express permission, nay, under the sanction of His present Majesty, has published a Collection of Letters :" one of these letters from Charles the Second to Henrietta, Duchess of Orleans, is “ exceptionable in point of delicacy;" and therefore His present Majesty gave his express permission, nay his very sanction to Sir John Dalrymple to publish this very particular and individual Letter!! 'To what miserable expedients are those driven who undertake to defend what is indefensible !
To some of the points of accusation against Sir N. it might have been as well had he-not given himself the trouble of making a serious reply-to the pleasantry of the Quarterly Review, for instance, in comparing him for incapacity and self importance to « P. P. clerk of this Parish," whose < Memoirs " furnish so much ludicrous entertainment in the works of Pope; and to the charges of plagiarism from the pages of the Annual Register and Daily Advertiser. If, as he assures us,
“Neither the praise nor the censure of his adversaries can operate beyond the moment; that their weapons are not the arrows of Trucer, but the imbecile and harmless darts of Priam, Pelum imbclle, sine ictv," wliy tire his readers with the gleanings of their fretful pages? Why imitate the knight of La Mancha, in assailing every windmill that an accidental blast may put in motion ?
The conclusion is just and good. “ However great or numerous, as I admit, may be the defects of my work, it is characterized in every page, by Loyalty to the Sovereigi, Detestation of French principles, Abhorrence of Bonaparte and all Lis fallen Jacobin gang, Attachment to the crown, and Reverence for the British Constitution.”
ART. XXI. Steps to Sense Verses, or a set of English Exercises
to be rendered into Latin Hexameters and Pentameters, for the use of Schools. London: Law and Whittaker, 1$15.
The composition of Latin verses is considered by scholars as indispensably necessary to a correct taste. The practice itself is, in most cases, most excellent ; but the abuse of it has been strenuously combated, and severely reprobated, as existing in a very mischievous degree in our greater seminaries.
The advantages resulting from versification, especially in preparing pupils for understanding and relishing the beauties of the classics, are often inestimable. And it is to facilitate the acqui. sition of this branch of knowledge that the present little per
formance has appeared. Select passages from the Latin poets are translated into the plainest and most literal English, that the pupil may render them into the language from which they are takon; as for example :
“ Averse to studies, nor devoted to any muse,
In the seventh hour is passed in the slow' walk.
And in the ninih, he wanders to the placid waters of Isis.” By means of suck an arrangement of words as this, ample assistance is afforded to the mere beginner; a due exercise is at the same time given to the mind, and when the task is finished, the pupil has the advantage of comparing his own performance with the words of the original, On looking into this little volume, we saw another advantage attending the selection. The examples are chosen from authors whose works the pupil cannot easily procure had he a desire to do so.
The usual method in schools is, for the master to select and translate more difficult passages for such of liis pupils as are the most advanced. But this practice is attended with inconveniences; to obviate which, the present series of exercises selected, as already hinted, from authors, some of them but little read in schools, is offered to the public,
ART. XXII. Short Greek Exercises on an improved plan, contain:
ing the most useful rules in Syntax; being a concise Introduction to the writing of Greek. By the Rev. J. PicQuot.
London : Law and Whittaker. 1815. pp. 108. " Aware,” says the compiler of this useful little work, “that memory should be cultivated, but not overcharged; and that the shortest formulæ are best suited to the natural indolence of the youthful mind, many have attempted to condense the most elaborate and extensive treatises into a series of short and simple axioms. These elementary works may be considered as forming a new era in the annals of education ; for at no period could there be found so many, and such easy methods of instruction, and never have the most abstruse subjects been rendered at once so familiar and instructive. Works framed on this plan have been eagerly adopted both by public and private instructors ; and it is this success which has induced the compiler of the present work to attempt, for an useful and elegant language, what had been accomplished with so much suceess for the