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WOMEN POLITICALLY GREAT.
MARY of Scotland was as remarkable for her beauty and her crimes, as for the possession of a crown. Throughout life, she was completely the creature of passion, and her utter shamelessness in the matter of modesty is notorious. Few lives, perhaps, were spent in such a circle of depravity. She caused the murder of her husband, because he avenged himself upon a musician, who was her gallant ; and she completed the measure of her enormities, by marrying her husband's assassin!
KATHERINE II., Empress of Russia, occupies a distinguished place in the list of female monarchs; but in public life, the grasping ambition of this woman was restrained by no feelings of justice or compunction, and her private character remains quite indefensible. She indulged all the natural passions to the most unlimited and shameless extent. The name of Katherine of Russia is a name
CHRISTINA of Sweden has been unaccountably held up as a grand model, and the great
prodigy of her sex. Unfeminine in the extreme, this princess never displayed, as she perhaps never felt, any inclination for the employments or society of her own sex ; she occupied herself with such amusements as required strength and activity ; and on one occasion, having dismissed her female attendants, she laid aside the garb as well as manners of her sex:--" I would become a man,” said this virago; “yet I do not love men because they are men, but because they are not women.”
Her learning, like Elizabeth's, was pedantic, though it does not appear that she knew enough to make even a lady a pedant. Formed naturally with the romantic turn of mind so common to her sex, she chose rather, in contempt of nature, to direct her studies to disputes about the nature of ideas, vortexes, and such unavailing speculations. All her pretended philosophy seems only to have had this effect on her,--that she had far less self-knowledge than the generality of her sex : never was she known to admit or approve of what happened to disaccord with her own views or inclinations.
Her caprice was unbounded. After abdi
cating her throne, she expressed a fervent hope never to revisit her native country; but she found herself discontented, and probably disregarded in a private station, for she was now a female Sampson with her hair shorn : she was therefore again desirous to have reassumed the reins of government ; but this was not permitted; for, among her other caprices, she had renounced her religion.
Christina was mean and vindictive: by the murder of a faithful servant, she at length drew on herself the general hatred of her cotemporaries. We have but to add, (what requires no confirmation) that this famous personage, female we can scarce call her,--was far from being religiously strict in her life and morals. The historians of that day,-nay, the very writers of her own court, made no scruple to arrange and publish accounts of the royal intrigues.
may add to our list of queens the two consorts of Napoleon, whose names have attracted much attention from being mixed up so frequently with the great events of modern
nent as a female sovereign. Her beauty, like that of Mary, seems to have been in her day unrivalled ; and perhaps it was this excellence, together with the extravagancies of her life, which have equally contributed to hand down her name to posterity. Although a woman more than commonly attractive and accomplished, she was also one of great vice and wickedness. She passed a life abandonedly voluptuous, -as false to her numerous lovers in succession, as she was to the dignity of her sex and crown.
SEMIRAMIS is another of the stars of antiquity. With excessive ambition and love of power, she prevailed upon her infatuated husband to invest her with the sovereignty for the space of five days,—an interregnum which she commenced by putting him to death. History accuses her of extreme licentiousness of conduct; she selected her favourites in succession from the flow
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