LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Fifty Years’ Recollections, Literary and Personal

Vol. I Contents
Chapter I.
Chapter II.
Chapter III.
Chapter IV.
Chapter V.
Chapter VI.
Chapter VII.
Chapter VIII.
Chapter IX.
Chapter X.
Vol. II Contents
Chapter I.
Chapter II.
‣ Chapter III.
Chapter IV.
Chapter V.
Chapter VI.
Chapter VII.
Chapter VIII.
Vol. III Contents
Chapter I.
Chapter II.
Chapter III.
Chapter IV.
Chapter V.
Chapter VI.
Chapter VII.
Chapter VIII.
Chapter IX.
Chapter X.
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There was an old secretary or clerk in the French department for foreign affairs, by birth an Irishman, named Madgett. He was known to Herbert Croft who died in Paris, having been one of the travellers detained there after the rupture of the treaty of Amiens. Croft was the brother of the accoucheur of the Princess Charlotte, and furnished Dr. Johnson with his “Life of Young,” in the great lexicographer’s edition of the poets or rather of their lives. Madgett was a good classical scholar. There is no doubt this personage corresponded with the disaffected in Ireland during Lord Castlereagh’s employment there, and subsequently, though for this an Irishman in those times of oppression in his own country might not be very highly censured. I heard he once sent a person named Jackson over upon a political mission. Madgett is still more remarkable as the individual, who, when Napoleon ordered a magnificent Life of the Duke of Marlborough to be compiled, was employed for that purpose, and completed a work unworthy the patron and his design. Here the tide of prejudice once ran so strong against
the Corsican son of a cobbler, as
Jew Goldsmith had it, that if it had been the Bible emanating from Napoleon, it would have been condemned. I do not think it was ever translated. Madgett, of whose correspondence I once possessed three or four letters, had some judgment in the classics. I know not if in Cambridge and Oxford his observations on one point may be deemed worthy of notice.

He is speaking of one of the ‘Odes of Horace’ which Croft thought might be cleared up by a stop; it was a stumbling block, the copulation of an infinitive and a nominative referred to one and the same verb. “I have read in some old grammarian, that it would be tackling a wolf and a lamb to drag the same cart. This blunder, if I am not mistaken, proceeds from false and absurd definitions, and consequently the erroneous principles we are impressed with from our infancy, which, as you so justly say of the modern system of punctuation might, perhaps, as well if not better be applied to our grammarians’ classification of the different parts of speech. If instead of their very unintelligible definition of the infinitive, they had represented it as a concrete term, denoting an action without any determination of the agent, they would have seen that it may be frequently employed as the subject of a preposition, that is as a substantive in what they call so improperly the nominative case, ‘in velle suum cuique est,’ is not ‘velle suum’ the same thing as ‘voluntas sua?’ ‘Scire tuum’ the same as ‘scientia tua?’ ‘Dulce et decorum est pro patriâ mori—mori patriâ est dulcis et decorum?’ In most of the modern European languages, the infinitive is often considered as
a substantive. It is more particularly so in Greek, and Horace’s great predilection for that language in his lyric poetry (Spiritum Graiæ, &c.) made him adopt such a phraseology more frequently than any of his cotemporaries. They, as well as he, always considered an infinitive as a real, or if you will, an equivalent for a substantive whether in the direct or the oblique cases. Thus
Ovid says, “ingenias dedicisse fideliter, artes emollit mores, &c.” who can deny that dedicisse is the subject of the phrase, and consequent equivalent of a substantive, or the nominative case? Must not, therefore, “collegisse pulverem Olympicum, &c.,” be considered in the same light? I have been so long, to my great regret, severed from the Greek language, that no example occurs to me just now of an infinitive and substantive employed as subjects of the same verb, but I have not the least doubt such instances are very frequent in it. That this was the case in Latin, is beyond all contestation from innumerable examples, and particularly from that which you quote so à propos—‘me nec fœmina nec puer, &c.’” He further contended that the point was not an hellenism, a licentia poetica as some supposed, and he urged his correspondent at work upon a dictionary, which I believe came to nothing in the end, to seek further authority to settle the point. This spy upon “ould Ireland,” as some call it, was therefore a man of some education.

In alluding to education, a friend of mine recently deceased, so I imagine from missing his name in the navy list, Captain Oldrey, R.N., lodged in the Rue Pigarre, in Paris, taking lessons from an eminent mathe-
matician, told me, if I would call at his lodgings some day, he would introduce me to an Hungarian, a man of extraordinary acquirements, who had travelled all over Europe, and lived in a summer-house in the garden where he resided. I went accordingly, and entering the garden, every body knows what kind of a house is called ‘garden house’ in Paris, I traversed the whole length, not more than a couple of hundred feet to a glazed room, about ten feet square. There I was introduced to M. Mentelle, who did not, like
Diogenes live in a tub it is true, but was almost as much of a philosopher. He was a handsome man, aged about thirty-four or five, well made, his complexion florid, his hair and eyes brown, with a beard which reached his breast, and became him well. He was insatiate in his thirst after knowledge, and that had placed him where I met him, for he resided free of cost, giving a lesson once a week, to buy himself food.

I entered his cell, occupied by himself and his books, nearly to repletion, together with a long box or chest, in which were several blankets, and across it a plank on which he was sitting, his feet and legs in the box for the sake of warmth, his back against the wall which received the sashes on both sides, some of which had a pane or two fractured, and mended with paper, on which I observed closely written Greek characters. Before him was a tilted board which served him for a table, and by the side of the box, an old arm chair on which several folio volumes lay open, one upon another. From the ceiling, suspended by a rusty wire, just over his primitive table, hung a piece of tin plate bent into the form of a lamp with a wick and
oil in it. A small can stood in one corner, and in another an earthen pitcher of water.

A brown loaf appeared on a shelf, and a coarse thread-bare brown cloak hung on the back of the old chair. On addressing him in French, he replied in English as pure and as well pronounced as that of any native, yet I was only the second Englishmen he had seen. He had no hesitation, no foreign accent, but delivered his words with a softness which I thought our tongue incapable of expressing. His intonation was more pleasing to my ear than any I had before heard. He could converse with the same fluency in the ancient and modern Greek, the Latin, Italian, German, Sclavonic and Arabic tongues, and of some was master of the several dialects, as well as of the pure language. He could read other tongues so as to comprehend them well, and had acquired three thousand of the Chinese characters. He was an excellent mathematician, and well acquainted with the outlines of several of the sciences. He gave a lesson once a week at three francs, which he said was all he required for his support. With this, he bought at one time enough coarse ammunition bread to last him the week, that by growing stale it might not digest too fast. Three or four potatoes boiled in a can, at night, over his lamp, and a little oil twice or thrice a week were his extra luxuries. He slept five or six hours at a time, and studied much in the night. If the weather was mild, he did not lie down; if it was severe he slept in his box, covered with his blankets. He said he had thus lived the best part of twenty years, and found no ill effect from it. The luxuries of life would be welcome in a moderate degree
—he was no anchorite, but he could not, in his conscience, waste precious time when he had so much more to acquire: study was his mistress, and with that he was happy, as he had no means but by labour to obtain the good things of life. Custom had made his mode of living no inconvenience to him. He had travelled on foot over nearly all the countries in Europe, except England. He was on intimate terms with the members of the French Institute, and the principle men of science in Paris; and a curious figure he cut walking with some of them arm in arm in a soiled flannel jacket and trowsers, without stockings, through the fashionable Boulevards, as was often the case. Such a scene might startle our dandy professors of all sorts, but it was not so over the Channel—hear this chartered societies and mitred universities! He told me laughingly that some gentlemen of the Institute had supplied him with a profusion of clothing, and he wore it once or twice, but being in great want of some books, he could not resist the temptation of selling their presents that he might procure the works he wanted. Taking some of his clothes, thus presented, to sell one day, having on his shabby jacket, the shopkeeper fearing he had stolen them, handed him over to the police, and he was lodged in prison. Not liking at first to write to any friend, he remained in custody an entire week, and employed himself in instructing some of the younger prisoners in reading, but though he lived luxuriously in custody, to what he did when he was his own master, he could not bear the idea of wasting his time, and wrote to a party by whom he obtained his liberation immediately. Could he have been alone without noise,
he remarked, the prison would have been a pleasant place with a comfortable living, and the time lost in giving his weekly lesson, saved.
Captain Oldrey invited him into the dwelling-house to dine with him. He went once, but would go no more, two or three glasses of wine, which he did not dislike, set him in a fever, being opposed to his low system of diet. He was a delightful companion, a fountain of knowledge; but when he pleased, a great sophist. He told me he should like to visit England, that he had read our best writers, and wished to know what it would cost him. He thought for a hundred and fifty francs he might take a pretty long excursion, observing he had travelled over three times the superficies of England at a less cost than that. He knew it was an expensive country, but said he should molest no one, be always on foot, see the public buildings, the great works, and superficies of the land. “I should carry a few letters of introduction from learned men on whom I should call. I should sleep on the ground at night in my cloak when travelling, or in the first wood I came to. Your climate is milder than this. In the towns I should lie in the humblest inns. My fare would be bread and water, perhaps an egg or two added now and then—I think it could be done.”

“Yours is a Utopian scheme, M. Mentelle; you have read the Chevalier More, and know what I mean—it is a scheme in nubibus. You would be seen to be miserably poor, that in England is only not as great a crime as robbery. Then it is not necessary to. commit any act against the law, though they pretend no man shall be punished without a trial by his peers for any criminal
act, but that principle does not extend to poverty. Your innocent sleep by the woodside would be deemed a crime. The Juge de Paix would send you to prison for that alone, and if money were found upon you, it would aggravate the offence. He would ask why you did not get a bed, if you were an honest man. He would say you were a beggar, or were hunting game. In many cases, in which you might allege you had letters of introduction, and you showed a letter to some literary man, the justice would say he knew no such person, stare at you, tell you that you could not be honest with such a coat on your back, and if he did not imprison you, tell you to get out of the parish, or he will do so. Country magistrates in England were not men learned in the law, and paid by the state, but persons who made interest to be magistrates. Your knowledge, if displayed, would be treated as an aggravation of your offence, ‘for one who knew so much must be an idler who would not work for his bread.’ Do not come to England unless you have money, and a good coat. Intellect is of no value there, in any rank, except among highly cultivated minds. Besides, you must pay treble or quadruple the value for what you eat on the road. Do not come, I beseech you, for your learning and good intentions will not pass current, and letters to literary men or even nobles will only be effective in their localities.”

Poor Mentelle never did see England. Had he come over upon his own notion, he would have imbibed bad ideas of the country. He would hardly credit me. “Such great minds have appeared in your country—how strange!”


“True some of the greatest men the world ever saw, M. Mentelle, but they were those of whom the world there, when alive, cared little.” I promised to send him a Sanscrit work, for he was preparing to enter upon that language. I succeeded in preventing his coming over. His power of reasoning was great. He involved you in a maze, in a mode I never remember to have found any one do before. He would take up the wrong side of an argument, and almost overcome you against conviction. His manners were mild, simple, even engaging; his countenance full of expression, and placid, like some old Italian pictures of saints. I never thought his life could be a protracted one, and though he appeared vigorous and healthy, he could not, so dieted, have been strong. Nature vindicates herself. He told me that knowing Slavonic and Greek rendered the acquirement of any modern tongue an easy thing. He loved to acquire and to impart knowledge to any who would visit him, when he was inclined to rest an hour or two from his studies. He was fond of society, if those who composed it were intellectual persons. He died four or five years after my meeting with him, under forty years of age. I remember that his Greek characters were the most beautifully written I ever saw.

I was amused by an order from Louis XVIII., to transfer the bones of St. Denis, from the church-yard of St. Margaret, to the Abbey of St. Denis. The king gave three shrines for the purpose. Relics were treated so scurvily in this church at the Revolution, that somehow or another they must be made up. A few old bones, belonging to anybody, were got together for the
purpose. I had a list of the curiosities of this sort once here as well as at Rouen.

The emigrants and priests who did these things were a worn out ungrateful race to England that had sheltered them. They recollected the old animosity between the two nations, and it became again a part of their system to bring back every thing old, if possible, even to vices and superstitions. The French, under the rule of Napoleon were a different race. They remembered what it was to be ruled by the “divine will” of the Bourbons. They had obtained equal rights, a just code of laws, and a free expression of opinion, unless the latter contravened a lofty ambition. The worst of Napoleon’s domestic rule was many times better than the Bourbon best. The feudal will, the taxation, the poverty and misery of the Bourbon reign were always present in remembrance. I found these men endeavouring to restore all sorts of religious mummery. Never did men labour more to exhibit their own imbecility. They allowed no advance to the existing age. They took no lesson from the calamities their house had sustained. Ever eager to grasp at office without any knowledge of the duties, the leading men, placed in power under the princes, were deservedly the jests of the imperial officials.

Lacretelle was then living, a writer in the ‘Mercure de France,’ he had concealed himself until the fall of Robespierre. He had also written in the ‘Minerve.’ His historical characters put to shame the biographies of public men as drawn on this side of the channel. He made the whole truth his guide, and never permitted imagination to
distort his portraits. This noble and generous-spirited man died six years after I quitted Paris, and left no equal in biography behind him. Although I saw the larger part of the French marshals, so celebrated in the wars of
Napoleon, Suchet was the only one of these renowned characters I ever knew in private society. He was, perhaps, the most remarkable of them all. His conduct on the Var and the Mincio, established his fame. In Spain he was uniformly successful. Bonaparte said, if he had two or three more such commanders, he should have held Spain, for though this marshal took the shortest means to his end, he was conciliatory, impartial in his conduct, and a first rate administrator; under which last head of duty, as Governor of Arragon, he so pleased the Spaniards, by his equal dealing, that he won their good graces, and they remained tranquil under his government. He was never worsted in action. He was a little above the middle stature, stoutly made, exhibiting no military stiffness. He was affable, his features exceedingly good, bespeaking talent with firmness, his countenance indicating a remarkable character. His lank hair, dark and coarse, contrasted with his pale complexion, and the broad forehead, and dark eyes it shaded. His nose was aquiline, lips wavy, and inclined to thickness, with a short space between them and the nose. His chin was nearly as long as his forehead. His physiognomy indicated great energy. He was remarkable for attaching his soldiers to himself. He entered freely into conversation at the first moment of introduction. Told me he had been calling that morning on the Duke of Wellington, asked me what I thought of the forty thousand men I had seen reviewed
the day before, belonging to the National Guard. I observed that they resembled the troops of the line much more than any of our soldiers of a similar class. He alluded to the aptitude of the French for military service, and asked where I was stationed. I told him commanding the Place Vendôme, and he observed that the position commanded all the troops when they moved. He called the Duke of Wellington a compatriot, I remarked that I was an Englishman, the duke was Irish. He smiled observing it was all the same, a native of Alsace was a Frenchman. Suchet died at fifty-four years of age.

The death and funeral of Massena—considered the first of all the marshals for his achievements, possessing a fortitude nothing could shake—took place while I was in Paris. He resided at Ruel near by, and was interred in the cemetery d’Est. A double line of gens-d’armes flanked the procession, which last was headed by above a hundred poor men and women in black cloaks, each carrying a wax light. A man mounted with a black flag preceded the funeral car and four horses. There was a coronet upon the coffin, Massena being Prince of Essling. Three men followed, bearing the heraldic decorations of the deceased upon velvet cushions. Next came the horse of the marshal dressed in crape. Then followed the late marshal’s domestics, and, lastly, the son of the deceased as chief mourner. A galaxy of great men closed the procession of the hero of Zurich and Genoa, so often “baptized in fire,” to use his master’s expression. There were the Dukes of Valmy, Dantzic, Conegliano, Treviso, Tarento, Reggio, Belluna, Ragusa, Albufera, Coigny, De Feltre,
and other names of renown that lived, and are not. There were thirty mourning coaches, and a great mass of military. The service was performed in the church of St. Thomas Aquinas, and thence the body was taken and deposited in the cemetery, drums rolling, and the music playing a funeral air. “There lies,” thought I, at that moment much struck with reflecting on the instability of human glory, “for evermore, the ‘spoiled child of victory.’ These are the last honours his old friends in arms will pay him. They too will soon make up their reckoning with time,”

I had found an excellent dining-house, but too costly, in the Trois Freres Provengaux, and returning from thence, I unexpectedly encountered Caleb Colton, just arrived from London. He was proceeding to the Rue du Bac, along the Quay Voltaire, and I turned and walked with him. His ashen countenance and sharp twinkling eyes, his hard features, and smile seldom acknowledged by the heart, all bespoke the divine of Tiverton.

“Have you dined?” said he. I replied in the affirmative.

“Where are you going? How long have you been in Paris?”

“I don’t know where I am going—been here a fortnight. Come with me, I will give you the best bottle of Beaune in the city—fell in with an old French priest—clever fellow, spoke English admirably. I don’t speak French, you know. He recommended me to a lodging at a wine merchant’s who has capital Beaune, not far off in the Rue de Bourgogne. The old priest is a fine Greek scholar, too, so we agree.”

We soon arrived at the entrance of a dark passage,
and mounting the first flight of stairs, entered a room of moderate size, the floor of which had not been touched by the frotteur for half a century, and it had a dingy alcove filled by a bed with green stuff furniture. In one corner of the room was a double barrelled fowling-piece, in another, a fishing-rod or two, on a round table in the centre, books, pens, and paper. On one chair lay a neckerchief, on another a coat, while a nest of drawers, against the wall, between the windows, bore a coffee-pot, gloves, a lack-lustre candlestick, and a dozen small articles in admired confusion. The things on one of the chairs were turned off on the floor, and I was requested to be seated. Off ran the parson without an apology, and presently returned with a bottle under each arm, and some borrowed wine glasses. “I have not dined, you have the advantage of me—no matter.” He then drew a cork, placed the bottle and glass before me, and bade me fill, he would join me in a minute or two. He next lit a spirit lamp, and just covering a couple of eggs with water, boiled them hard as stones, and eating them with a little bread and salt, said “this is dinner enough for me on a pinch.”

“Old Cambridge habits,” I observed.

“No, I don’t know that. I have dined less expensively than you, and am fully as well off.”

He now filled his glass, and got agreeable and instructive, often ingenious, sometimes more than commonly subtle. It required a thorough knowledge of the man’s two faces to comprehend him aright. He had no Parisian society except the last man it might be supposed he would assort with, the celebrated Abbé
Siéyes. Colton understood the declination of Greek verbs much better than the weak or strong points in political constitutions. Collegian and scholar, before the Abbé, he acquitted himself as the author of Lacon might be expected to do, often speaking in Latin. Siéyes was not a brilliant man, but conversed readily, was fertile in political discussions, and imagined his theories all practicable, under every variety of human perversity. The simplicity and purity of such theories was at once an obstacle to their adoption with any chance of success. Mystery and complexity in politics, as in religion, are merits with the ignorant. Faith is useless improbability. The parson soon returned to London. He had to come to take “a Pisgah view of the promised land,” and was returning to his “Egyptian bondage.”

He had ventured into the gold galleries of the Palais Royal, where he had won a few Napoleons. He played out of sheer avarice, not from the love of excitement as most gamblers do. He loved to hoard money without making interest of it, to drink wine without excess, and to be metaphysical without the desire of argumentative conquest, but rather to perplex. Reasoning admirably, he was rarely under the rule of reason in his actions, and laughed when I told him the anxieties of the rouge et noir table would soon put an end to my existence. What a suit of motley is man’s nature! I had been indebted to him, I remember, for an introduction to the celebrated walking Stewart, or John Stewart, as great an oddity as Colton himself. I never could make anything of “Stewart’s Travels to discover the source of moral motion. The “man of nature,” as he called himself, had a mind filled with a strange medley of incom-
prehensible ideas, unlicked, shapeless. His notions departed to the customary limbo of first-rate metaphysical inconclusions. He was an agreeable companion from having seen much of the world.

Catalani had now the Italian Theatre in Paris; the admired and almost worshipped Catalani. The French said “elle jouait de la voix.” Turning over some papers, thirty-five years afterwards, I found the ticket of one of the nights I neglected to go, dated May 19, 1817, signed by herself, and thus fixing a date. Attached to it, by accident, I found my ticket of admission to Pitt’s funeral. I reflected, I could not help it, on what changes have occurred since those dates—is the world amended—it is doubtful. Beranger writes:

Les jeunes gens me disent: “Tout chemine:
A petit bruit chacun lime ses fers;
La presse éclaire, et le gaz illumine,
Et la vapeur vole aplanir les mers:
Vingt ans, au plus, bon homme, attends encore,
L’œuf éclorra sous un rayon des cieux!”

I can remember thirty, forty, and more years passed away since similar hopes were born and died into the same conclusion. Who that reflects will not recognize that feeling of deluded expectation, which makes life, after all, a huge cheat.

In the Italian Boulevard, one morning with a smile on my face, I was passing the Neapolitan coffee-house, where ices were served up well-disguised as fruit. On a warm day, a gallant sea captain had taken a large solid plum into his capacious mouth, without thinking of its effect, to the no small amusement of the lookers on, as he dropped it on the table with tears in his eyes—thinking
on this incident and laughing to myself, I overtook
Lord Boringdon going, he told me, to Galignani’s, whither I was also bound. His lordship said he was staying at St. Maude, near Vincennes, and invited me over. I was on the point of going two days afterwards, when I found that his only son, by the first Lady Boringdon, a youth I knew in the home of his parents, had died from swallowing a ear of rye, which unfortunately got fixed in the æsophagus, and baffled medical aid. I never saw the father afterwards. At dinner, the same day, I met that upright nobleman, Lord William Bentinck, a sound man in judgment, but not brilliant.

M. Royer Collard, an eminent physician, was one of the most engaging of men in Paris at this time. There was enough of the polish of the old French school, to impart, in his case, great amenity of manner to the new, and blend both in his carriage and address. Turlot, of the Royal Library, another character of eminence, I met then nearly eighty years old. Many of the learned in France, lived to advanced years. It was a public object that they should be in such a position as to have no care for pressing wants, and thus be able to devote themselves to their studies. How different the feeling towards them in England. To do them justice, they did not resile from their duties, or look upon their studies in a money-light alone. They were fired with the desire of distinction. To return to Turlot, when far advanced in life, he wrote upon public instruction. He had once been tutor to an illegitimate son of Louis XV., who died early, and to whom he was so much attached, that his pupil’s death saddened the future years of his existence. His manners were those of the
old French school, though not to such a marked excess as sometimes met the stranger’s eyes in those later days. His appointment in the Royal Library was another part of that system, which I have mentioned already, of appointing literary men to situations which, not sinecures, still left them ample leisure for studies which might be of public utility.

Felix Bodin was then alive, who brought forward M. Thiers, a pleasant and accomplished little man, whom I knew, and whom two or three years afterwards, in England, I introduced to Campbell. M. Thiers had not ‘come out’ as they say of young ladies at court. The little bustling man of Aix, now the far read historian, commenced his career on the ‘Constitutionnel,’ when I forget; but it was not until 1830, that he had advanced “to be Editor of the Pilote as an Orleanist, or I believe any other” iste that looked promising. Barbe Marbois, whom I mentioned when speaking of the country, who married the daughter of the third Consul Lebrun, had now lost all influence. M. Guizot was then a busy politician, and was in office, or had only just quitted it about the time I vexed the Count de Cazes by promulgating the Concordat with Rome so unexpectedly.

It was the fashion to compare Talleyrand and Metternich, in the conversational circles, as rival politicians. About this time, the French declared for Talleyrand, because Metternich was thought to be somewhat of a Jesuit, and was enamoured of a lady possessed of every virtue that a man could wish to see in the wife of another. Husbands were unaccountably elevated to governorships in Austria, who had complaisant wives. Talleyrand, the French said, was free from all those imputations, “not
on the ground of immorality, but worse, of its bad policy.” Metternich, it was decided, would not have been so arbitrary in his measures, nor so oppresive in the provinces by his proscriptions as he was, had it not been for his master,
Francis, who was heart and soul a despot, never to be relied upon even by friends.

The royal library, at this time, was actively superintended by M. Van Praet, a personage of the most obliging manners, and the most extraordinary memory. He was an oracle at his desk, and seemed to know every book or pamphlet which the passing age had forgotten. I wanted to see the Moniteur during the revolutionary period, when it was shut out from England, and English papers from France. Highly as Pitt is praised by his friends for his acumen, it shewed little knowledge of the true state of things to make it penal, to the extent of five hundred pounds, to part with an English newspaper to a Frenchman, on the ground that our enemies would this way become acquainted with what was doing in England. A few years afterwards the Times paper kept a light cutter to procure an exchange of French papers from fishermen. Bonaparte said, that he encouraged the smuggler at a particular spot for the same end. The Moniteur of the time to which I allude, contained the debates in the Convention, on the unfortunate people who had acted as agents in raising money for the Prince of Wales in France, a tale already told, not credited, then denied and declared a take in, and that no monies were received by the prince, when the reverse was the fact. The Amsterdam bonds were at last paid without interest, every shilling was received upon them. The house of Hope and Co. was well ac-
quainted with the transaction there. The Parisian statement I sought to support by the Moniteur as far as it went, and I succeeded. I found the debates on the appeal of one of the unhappy victims. M. Van Praet, at first, thought the numbers were not extant: by a diligent search he found them, and I made extracts which I now possess. Such was the vast acquaintance of M. Van Praet with books, that when he knew what subject you were looking for, he would inform you of a list of works upon the topic you sought. His prodigious memory, supplying every deficiency with an urbanity and kindness I never saw equalled. There did not appear to be so many readers in the royal library as in the British Museum. The royal library was more regarded, as a place of reference, as it should be, not to fill the place with readers who attend to save expense at common libraries. The printed volumes are about a million. In the British Museum I imagine not above half that number. M. Van Praet had a M.S. folio, always open before him. I saw no other catalogue. You told him what you wanted, and it was quickly supplied. In attention and civility, there is nothing to complain of in the British Museum. I have never seen greater facilities, any where, but the books seem chance collections. Two out of three works I have wanted were not there at all—at least, the books it has been my lot to want. It is not costly books so much, as those which are not common that are wanted, and particularly the works of our neighbours. The French collection in the British Museum is very stinted, nor does there seem one person there, who has an extensive knowledge of the subject, or feels any deep interest
in it. This comes of filling places with persons through interest, without regard to qualifications from love of the pursuit. I found it different in Paris, all knew their business, not in their own department alone, but as to the general scope of the establishment. M. Van Praet paid the debt of nature some years ago. He knew
Sir John Bowring well, and at Brussels I found the same gentleman was well recognized at the public library. I was indebted to Sir John for a letter of introduction there.

The Garden of Plants was another delightful resource for the curious. How many spare hours I have passed sitting on the mount, and thinking over the scenes that had occurred around me. Cuvier was there, and some of the first men of science of the day, always affable and ready to impart information. Fourcroy was dead, he was once, I believe, a lecturer there. Hauy, Portal, Lacepède, and others gave lectures, and still followed their pursuits with ardour. Frenchmen after the revolution were no longer to be recognized as the men of five signs, as they were said to be before that time, by the mode of putting a query, managing a promise, and telling love stories—or demanding the hour, performing what they did not promise, expecting an answer before putting a query, and being more pleased in publishing the favours of a mistress than in receiving them. There was still much gaiety and dissipation, great light-heartedness, and sufficient vices, which the Parisians called peccadilloes. The Englishman indulging his more loose inclinations, never admitted that he sinned; he abhorred immorality, even at Madame D——s, he only went to hunt temptation.


I found a card on my table, one morning, from Le Commandeur de Sodré, Hotel Boston. I was much puzzled to know who the stranger might be. I had never heard his name before. He was well known to many English officers, and was seen occasionally at the Duke of Wellington’s.

I was at breakfast the next day, when a dark-complexioned, black-eyed, thick-set personage, in a green coat, came into my room with an air of perfect ease. He could not stay to sit—had called only to make my acquaintance, and to state that he had something particular to communicate. Would t breakfast with him à la fourchette the next day, at the Hotel de Boston just opposite. He told me he was the Commandeur de Sodré, the private Portuguese secretary of the Duke of Wellington during the Peninsular war. I agreed to meet him, and about noon the next day, mounted to his apartments. I had, in the interim, found his statement correct. He had accompanied the Duke, and lived with him from the time of the campaign opening in Portugal, to the first occupation of Paris. During breakfast, he told me he wondered I had never heard his name before, as he was so constantly with the commander-in-chief. I wondered to what all this would lead, when he entered upon the subject of the dispute between Portugal and Spain, relative to Monte Video. He alluded to the letters on the subject appearing in the “Times” on the part of Spain. He told me he wanted them answered, and put into my hands some heads for such a purpose. I remarked that they wanted strength in the arguments. The correspondence had begun by a letter signed “Philo-justitiæ,”
in the “Times,” in reply to “A Brazilian established in London.”

Whether the “Times” had refused the insertion of a reply from De Sodré, I could not tell. I suspect it was so. He wanted me to justify the occupation of Monte Video by the Portuguese government. My communication went to the “Morning Chronicle,” not very conclusive in argument. Perry demanded and received twenty guineas for the insertion of each letter, about a column, or a little more. Negotiations were then pending in Paris, between the courts of Rio and Madrid. The former felt galled at the letters, in which, as far as my replications went, might not have been much relieved. I had no remuneration for my labours. I had, as I have done unfortunately too many times in my life, left the question, “What am I indebted to you?” to be put—it remains so to this hour. I consoled myself with the repetition of the true saying, as far as I have known the Portuguese. “Strip a Spaniard of his virtues, he will make a good Portuguese.”

But this was not the only subject upon which I had the honour of dealing with M. de Sodré. Sitting, on the evening of a burning day at Tortoni’s, when the concourse of persons was great, De Sodré came in, and turning to his private affairs, said, he had a MS. he wanted me to peruse. I promised to call and see it. He placed before me a goodly heap of paper.

“That,” said he, “is the private life of the Duke of Wellington, from the time I first joined him. No one knew so much of him. I was always with him in his quarters up to the treaty of Paris. I have lived in the
same tent with him. I noted down everything, and there is much here of which you little dream. I think of publishing it.”

“What will the Duke of Wellington say to that?”

“O, I don’t care! I have no more to do with him just now. There will be no more Portuguese wars where he will be concerned.”

I opened the MS. written in a difficult Portuguese hand, not easy to decipher. It would have required leisure for me to go through the whole, and even then, not having studied the language, I might be in error in many things; but I could understand enough to see that the tittle tattle of which it consisted, and one or two passages would not have reflected credit on the Duke, and have furnished the enemies of that great man with something at which to throw stones. I discovered, too, that there must have been some lurking motive for desiring such a publication. I stated frankly my opinion. The Duke was, at that moment, at the head of a large army, he was a countryman who had made his way by talent and perseverance to high honours. De Sodré had been in his confidence, and was now ready to betray it. England and the world looked upon the Duke with respect, and all Englishmen felt honoured in finding such a man in his existing position. Was it not base, or worse, to endeavour to lessen the character of a great general—none being a hero to his valet. Why did De Sodré seek to do this? Such thoughts passed rapidly through my mind after glancing at the MS. I therefore said without preface:

“M. de Sodré, why do you wish this to be published—it seems to me there are great objections to it?”


What I imagined followed.

“The Duke has used me ill. He has refused to do me a piece of service, which a single word from him would do at any moment. A sequestration has been put upon my property at Lisbon, most wrongfully. I cannot venture there to seek redress. The French ambassador at Madrid has made his brother envoy, at Lisbon, act upon that government illegally. No individual has a chance in Portugal in such a case. I fell in love with a pretty girl here in Paris, who returned my passion. Her father was a French officer, then quartered in Corsica. He might not consent to my addresses, and the girl was not quite of age. The mother, with whom she lived, did not object, but that would not do. Finding she had not too much money, I entered into a bond to secure to the mother five thousand francs per annum for life, if she would part with her daughter. I could have married her in Portugal if I chose, not in France. She agreed, and her daughter and myself set off for Lisbon, through Spain.”

They had not been many days on their journey, when the father returned from Corsica on leave, and discovered what had occurred. He immediately applied to the police for an officer to pursue his daughter, and bring her back. The officer had no authority or right to cross the Pyrennees, but he did so, perhaps secretly instructed, for it was well known who De Sodré was. There the agent applied to the Duke de Montmorency, in Madrid, who was then the French ambassador to Spain, and the Duke applied to the Spanish government, who ordered the young lady to be restored. Nor was this all, which shews the animus of the emigrant
officials of the French government towards any one connected with the English. The Duke de Montmorency, who had no right of interference at all in any point of view, wrote to Lisbon, and got the French envoy or ambassador there, to obtain a sequestration of De Sodré’s property, without the shadow of law, or justice for the act. The latter, therefore, had no resource but to return to Paris.

On his arrival, he commenced an action against the mother for breach of her agreement, and recovered back his bond and expenses. He also commenced an action against the Duke of Montmorency which was then pending; but the Duke being absent, it was not known when the suit would be concluded, so that De Sodré was compelled to remain in Paris, owing to acts which were clearly illegal. His return to Lisbon would be followed up by personal mischief, and a protracted suit there, which would end in the waste of nearly all the property he possessed, and might not terminate for years, with such influence against him.

The Duke of Wellington’s refusal to interfere, prompted De Sodré to publish the notes which, for four or five years, he had taken of what he had heard and seen around him in the Peninsular war. I determined that I would be no aid in what appeared at best a mean piece of revenge. I asked if the Duke knew of the existence of such a MS.

“Of course not.” No man of high honour, circumstanced as the ex-secretary was, would permit himself to do such an act of revenge.

“M. de Sodré,” I observed, “the moral effect of attempting to depreciate the Duke at such a moment as
the present, will fall back upon yourself. He is at the head of a hundred and fifty thousand men, potentially lord of all France, the confidant of all the sovereigns of Europe, representing England here, and crowned with hard-earned successes. He has, no doubt, his errors, as all men have, but his great actions must predominate, for they are the fruit of real talent, which is always respected. No one will credit you so much, as they will esteem him an object of your resentment, and become incredulous, even if what you relate is all true. You will be considered a betrayer of a long confidence. Have you thought of this? Charge immoralities upon the Duke, for example, you cannot do it successfully; people will say it is not with untainted hands, and that you have not, therefore, done it with a right motive. The press which attacks, must, in such respects, be pure.”

“People may call my conduct inimical. I could not marry the girl in France. After all, the Duke cannot plead my immorality in making love to one I could call my own. People in the Duke’s sphere don’t think much of these things. The Emperor of Russia, you and all Paris know, took off four ladies for his harem. Why will not the Duke say a word for me at Lisbon, he knows all done to my property is unlawful?”

“But recollect, M. de Sodré, the minister of police here will stop the publication of these papers. There is a strict censorship on all in the French language, and this must be translated to be published. Give out you are going to publish such a work, and the Duke’s friends may hear of it, and prevail upon him to aid you.”

The truth was, I did not like to hear so great a man
depreciated, if not calumniated, for things, perhaps, with which the world had nothing to do. Every true Englishman was interested in supporting the Duke’s reputation, even under the weaknesses of our common nature, when his great qualities were admitted into the balance. The publication was never heard of to this hour. I found, on coming home, that De Sodré had not misrepresented himself. The Duke I learned, too, used to make a butt of him in Spain, at table sometimes, for his rhodomontade stories.

“What is that you are saying, De Sodré: another of your humbugs?”

I was present some years after this in England, when the Duke of Wellington, and a number of officers of the Artillery and Engineers, visited the premises in which the steam-gun of Perkins was first exhibited to the professional men of the army. The Duke was struck with the tremendous effect of the shot, but had not the smallest curiosity to see how the effect was produced.

“Won’t your Grace walk in and see the simple means by which the balls are thus projected?”

“No, no, I only want to see the effect. These gentlemen,” pointing to the artillery officers, “will look to that part of the business.”

This was a trait, I have no doubt, in the Duke’s character. His judgment, consummate professionally, was of a centralizing nature, and the grasp of his mind limited. He had little variety of knowledge, acquired by that sort of intuition which distinguishes some men, Bonaparte, for example, who would have looked into the principle of the machinery, and have
learned it all in a moment. The Duke’s mental tendency required that he should study, with some pains, what he wished to acquire. His mind was not so universal as that of Napoleon. It was of a narrower scope, confined to his professional career, except when he applied himself to master any particular subject, which his powerful determination soon completed. He had nothing tortuous in his character or dealing, all was plain and simple, marking the great mind. His perception was clear upon what he had studied, full of sound good sense in every thing. He learned the Spanish language during his campaigns, but in speaking French, he sometimes committed ludicrous errors, and yet he had visited that country early in life. There can be no doubt that the Duke discharged the office of every great character, “mainly,” as
Milton says, “to raise the idea of man in the minds of his cotemporaries and posterity.”

Apropos of Napoleon I., I was informed by one who well remembered him, of a characteristic anecdote. When he was of an age at which most youths think only of dress and gaiety, the following dialogue, related of him, is characteristic of his mind and manner in after years. He went to a tailor’s and addressed the man of shears with the following pithy brevity:—

“Des Culottes, mon ami?”

“Yes, Monsieur! you do me great honour. I do not think there is a tailor in the town or faubourgs that will suit you better than myself. I have made for the Count de ——, for the Marshal de * * *, and for the most illustrious Effendi who lately visited us from Turkey. I had his custom (pratique). He required
culottes of a vast and truly magnificent size; all the articles from my magazine fitted his excellency to a tittle; no one else could have managed as well, he declared they were superb, grand—”

“Eh, bien! je vois que vous êtes le roi des tailleurs: mais des Culottes, mon ami, à dix heures demain, et point de verbiage!”

“Monsieur will allow me to take his measure?”

“A la bonne heure.”

“Very good, Monsieur! and of what stuff would Monsieur please to have them made, of what quality, and—”

“Ne vous ai-je pas dit, point de verbiage? Des Culottes, mon ami, demain à dix heures; et voilà tout.”

“Pardon me, Monsieur, but the colour?”

“Tenez, Monsieur. J’ai d’autres choses à faire que de m’occuper de mes Culottes. Prenez le couleur, que vous avez donné à votre ‘pratique l’Effendi,’ ou sans couleur, ou toutes les couleurs; cela m’est parfaitement égal. Mais des Culottes, à dix heures demain; pas un mot de plus; ou j’envoye chercher un autre tailleur qui a peut-être moins de ‘pratique,’ mais certainement moins de verbiage. Je ne suis pas né pour faire la guerre avec un aussi brave tailleur que toi sur les differentes modes des Culottes. Bon jour! demain à dix heures.”

Accident brought me acquainted with the individual who was despatched by Massena to Napoleon during the siege of Genoa in 1800, to give him information of his distressed situation.

“I was,” said he, “in Genoa with Massena. Thirty-five thousand Austrians blockaded us by land, and the
English by sea. The inhabitants were starving. Mutiny was ready to break forth. We had fed on the most disgusting food; and the garrison, consisting of twelve thousand men, was worn out with service and famine. Nothing could exceed the strictness of the blockade, and frequently the British ships came so close as to throw shells into the port. Infants expired from hunger, not able to draw nourishment from the dried up sources of the mother’s bosom. Massena was firm, his situation was well nigh hopeless, and were he certain of not receiving relief, would willingly spare further misery by a surrender. Courier after courier made vain attempts to pass the enemy, but both by water and land, they failed to effect a communication with
Bonaparte, to convey to him the desperate situation of the garrison. Massena one day addressed me. ‘Our lives depend on a communication with the First Consul. We can subsist a certain number of days and no longer—try your best.’ I set out, believing that to hold out even so long as the general said was impossible. ‘Tell the First Consul,’ said Massena, ‘that we have beaten and foiled our enemies in a state of famine and misery—there are nine of their colours.’ He pointed at them with an air of triumph that had an effect upon my ardent feelings I shall never forget. I caught a portion of his enthusiasm, and declared my determination to try my fortune. In the dead of a gloomy night, I succeeded in getting beyond the enemy’s lines, creeping on all fours close to a sentinel; and by a circuitous route, I ultimately reached Lausanne, where Bonaparte then was. ‘How long can he hold out?’ he asked me hastily. I told him what Massena had said, but that I
did not conceive it possible. ‘But he will,’ said the First Consul; ‘very well. By the 29 Prairial I shall have beaten the enemy, and Genoa will be free.’ At this moment, Bonaparte was at Lausanne, he had to pass the Alps by St. Bernard, the strong fortress of Bar, the Tesin, and the Po, swollen by the melting of the snows—in short, what to my mind and those of any other man, were obstacles no skill could surmount in the time. Feeling for the misery of the garrison, I ventured to say, ‘General Consul, you have heretofore made us familiar with miracles, but I fear for the truth of your prediction that Genoa will have fallen.’ He replied, ‘That is my affair, Sir, you may retire.’ I saw Massena and his attenuated garrison, scarcely captived, and then set free within the time above-named.”

My visits to the environs of Paris were early. I saw Versailles and St. Cloud unchanged, exactly as Louis XVI. had left the former, since furnished. The marble court was desolate, the noble apartments empty. The opera-house coloured purple and gold, was left as when visited by the dissipated Marie Antoinette and her weak-minded consort. Babylon was not more deserted. The marble court, looking up to the balcony, where the queen appeared with the dauphin, when La Fayette kissed her hand before the mob beneath, and hushed it into respect, looked solitary and forsaken. In the desolate, dusty, void, apartments where I trod, echo speaking from the naked walls of the immense edifice, told of the ball and supper so imprudently given there, to stimulate the guards against the Parisians, to the music of “O, Richard! O mon Roi!” all coloured with the madness that blinds before destruction.


I spent many lone hours thinking of human destinies even among the highest on that celebrated spot. One day I had walked for an hour on the terrace, the weather was sultry, the clouds portended a thunder storm and large rain drops were falling. Being near the bronze statues and water pipes, I thought the electric fluid might be attracted to them, and sought security in the deserted palace. They let me into the beautiful chapel, where leaning on the white marble balustrades which encircle the higher part, and thinking how time had swept away the arrogant founder, the most tremendous thunder I ever heard shook the palace to its foundations. The lightning, backed by clouds as black as ebony, illumined the building, and shrieks were heard along the passages. These proceeded from several terrified ladies, driven in for shelter. Some had fainted:—my reverie on the past became lost in the present. The storm soon subsided, and in an hour or two the atmosphere was perfectly serene. A faithful picture of the revolution, thought I, as I took leave of Versailles for the last time.

I found the catacombs open at that period, which have been since closed for so many years. They were the excavations formed when the stone was cut of which Paris is built. I cannot describe the impression they made on my mind. Millions of human remains, the population of Paris thrice told were there. What was the history of each individual, his passions, hopes, fears, pleasures, pains, virtues, vices, actions in life, and circumstances in death—who could tell, yet such things must have concerned them all! The selfish interests of the ecclesiastics had been made to yield to
the revolution. Dreadful fevers haunted the vicinity of the church burying places. They were shut up, and the remains of the dead removed here. I descended a stone staircase, near the Barrier d’Enfer, to the depth of sixty feet. Proceeding a short distance, ‘l’Empire de la mort’ met my sight engraved in plain letters. The relics of mortality had been thrown in promiscuously, and afterwards arranged. A million of skulls grinned in the face of the spectator, piled in rows upon either side, and others formed altars and columns. The sides of the passages were panelled with bones. Some pillars had capitals or crowns, in which were the hollows, “where eyes did once inhabit,” of the young and beautiful, of the decrepid and aged, of those who had loved and hated, and all senseless. Room after room, passage after passage were thus passed by torch-light. It was a most striking scene, sufficiently humiliating to human pride. The allied princes, who led the invading armies, descended here—did it not strike them how dear they must be to the King of Terrors at their favourite game of strewing the earth with similar remains; it was a natural site for them. The ghastliness of these gloomy abodes must have made them feel this; unless, indeed, princes are the most obdurate of mortals. There was an album kept for inscriptions and names. It was remarked that few Parisian names were found in it, it did not please the citizens. A Frenchman observed, that they only loved what was pleasing, “Ce peuple leger n’aime à voir que ce qui lui fait naître 1’idée du plaisir.” Why these chambers of death were closed up, I believe in 1819 or 1820, I have never heard explained.


Napoleon encouraged everything connected with science. There were numerous little theatres where philosophical experiments were shown, such as we have, on a larger scale, at the Polytechnic in Regent Street. It was in one of these I first saw a galvanic pendulum, which had vacillated for two years without interruption, and an automaton bugle-horn blower. I imagined a pipe through the floor communicated with the instrument, but it was not so. The figure was removed to convince me. It blew on a bugle a military call with perfect correctness at the full pitch of the instrument.

Balloons, too, were the rage. Madam Garnerin made ascents from Tivoli. I saw a man ascend on a platform of wicker work astride upon a tame stag, called Azof, which they had also taught to walk the tight rope. I met with Madam Garnerin, superintending the repair of her balloon in one of the lower halls of the Louvre. She was a pleasant, communicative woman. I had the week before been sipping wine with a friend, near an open window, on the south side of the Boulevards. The sky was perfectly clear. I saw a balloon high in the air, and attached to it below, an appendage I could not make out. I had scarcely called my friend’s attention to it, when something fell, I should imagine two or three hundred yards, and then came to the earth gradually. It was the first parachute descent I ever saw. I asked Madam Garnerin if she did not feel nervous and fearful that the parachute might not unfold, she replied not the least, and that the descent was agreeable rather than otherwise. Poor lady! she ascended one evening with fireworks, which in exploding,
set the balloon in a blaze. She was precipitated on the roof of a house in one of the streets under Montmartre, and rebounding from the elasticity of the roofing under her weight, falling from such a height, was thrown over the parapet of a high house upon the pavement in front, mangled and dead. Some persons reported that she shrieked when she came upon the roof.

How many pleasant hours, in those times, have I spent in the Louvre, where, in spite of the cross lights, the pictorial sentiment is always clear, if the colour is seen to no advantage. How often I stood, forty years ago, before Poussin’s ‘Deluge,’ and admired the adaptation of the idea to the subject, a point in which so many artist’s fail. How different from the artist who represented the Magi presenting the infant Saviour with a Dutch seventy-four. The serpent creeping up the rocks to escape the inundation, I thought was a happy accessory. The whole tone of the picture, so suited to the subject, that it seemed the exact hue of a great tragedy—like the gloom of the human mind under some calamitous pressure. I was not partial to the Luxembourg Rubens placed here, they have all too much manner. I am not skilled enough to judge the merit of this artist’s high colouring. Few of my countrymen, I observed, noticed the ‘Deluge.’ The paintings of Rubens were the fancy of nine-tenths of them. High art is not for the many, and never will be. It may vanish from the world as the standard of taste lowers, until it is past all hope of revival. The taste of the multitude must have a corresponding art, and this might not be mischievous, but that it stifles all which rises beyond the same mediocre level. Horace Vernet was
then a favourite; the French
David was an exile in Belgium—but his name belongs to perished years.

“What is the Holy Ampoule?” I said one day to a friend as we were promenading the Louvre, “the papers are filled with references to it, and lamentations about its loss.”

“Oh,” he replied, “one of those Bourbon fooleries which render priestcraft so ridiculous. The Ampoule is a sort of Holy bottle, not for wine, but oil. It was used in crowning our kings, from time immemorial. There was oil enough and to spare, though where it came from nobody could tell. At the Revolution, the Holy bottle was thrown away; fractured in short, with other miserable relics of superstition.”

“How are we to anoint the king?” became the ecclesiastical difficulty.

At Rheims, the bishops laid their heads together, because the oil should be of the right sort, some of that which had anointed a long succession from Charlemagne. At length, it was discovered, or affirmed to be so, which is all the same, that when the precious relics at Rheims were demolished, a fragment of the Holy bottle was picked up with a drop or two of oil, of the time of Charlemagne, adhering to it, by a pious antiquary of Rheims. This fragment, the oil miraculously fluid still, was placed at the disposal of the mitres to whose care the religious part of the ceremony was attached. They settled in conclave that it was a special interference of heaven that the fragment and drops had been preserved for so many years for the coronation of such a saint as Louis XVIII. of the name. They agreed after much discussion, that the
two drops of the genuine should be mingled with fresh oil, to which it would impart its traditional virtue. Then arose the question whether the added oil should be consecrated or not, or whether it did not rather derive sufficient virtue from the original particles thus introduced into it. How this was settled nobody knows. The ancestral virtue of the oil was, at all events, restored to gladden the hearts of the good citizens of Rheims, and to enable the church to shew how miracles are yet worked in its favour. How the
Emperor Napoleon managed his bedaubing, I never heard; perhaps he was contented with the pure oil of the south of his realm, instead of the miraculous drops which anointed Charlemagne. Such doings as these may be truly called the comedy of religion.

Old Mezeray has a curious passage from which it would appear we too had a hand either in that Holy bottle, or one of the same kind. He writes, “the English said this Ampoule, with the holy oil, was of lapis lazuli, and was brought by the Virgin Mary to St. Thomas of Canterbury, while he took refuge in France, and on the top was a golden eagle enriched with pearls and diamonds.”

I have alluded to the enactment regarding the transmission of English newspapers into French hands, and mentioned it as penal. On the other hand, I made enquiry as to the reported forgery of assignats in this country, another notable scheme concocted here to embarrass the French finances. I found it true. Nor is this all. Accident revealed to me the name of the agent in the transaction, a Birmingham solicitor, who is but recently deceased, at a very advanced age. The
forged assignats were made by a man called
Obadiah Westwood, who was pensioned, died, and is interred at Litchfield. Thus while we were executing people here for forging or uttering forged notes to the value of twenty shillings, we were committing a crime to distress innocent people, for the loss would in no way fall on the French government. Nor is this all, the instrument of the forgery of the assignats, it was desirable should not be enabled to testify to the fact, and in order to keep him to secresy, the same Birmingham agent undertook to get Westwood to forge a Bank of England note for fifty pounds, under the pretence of showing with what ease so clumsy a note might be imitated. The thing was easily done, and taken by the unsuspecting tool to his employer. Westwood’s life was now in the power of that agent, and it was proposed to prosecute him to conviction, when the partner of the agent declared, that if so monstrous a thing were attempted, he would dissolve partnership and proclaim the facts to the whole world. Then Westwood was pensioned. I knew the principal in the affair by sight. I had seen him, the prosecutor to death of poor miserable creatures in Warwickshire on government account, and had I known the whole tale of the assignats at the time, I should have seen him with still more distaste—he died rich, and what many call “respectable.”

The political state of France, at this time, when occupied by foreign armies, it would be difficult to describe, besides that now it would be a matter of small interest. I observed on the part of the people, none of that implacable hatred, I had been led to believe they bore towards England, a notion, carefully inculcated here
keep alive the spirit which commenced with the
Duke of Brunswick’s invasion, to support the princes and obtain, in return, a portion of French territory. I saw that while tired of war, and of the harrassing effect of the conscription through the ambition of Napoleon, the French people never would be reconciled to the Bourbon rule. They viewed the princes of that house with contempt, and there was then so large a portion of the population alive, which had lived under the old regime, and remembered its inflictions, that the equal laws and social rights, introduced subsequently, were too precious to be resigned for that power in the ruler, which unlike the grasp of Napoleon for his belligerent objects would be felt in the remotest privacy of domestic life. France was too far advanced to be governed by monkery again. She had a large enlightened manufacturing population, the creation of the revolution. Purchasers of the national domains feared for their property, and all who were not immediate gainers by Napoleon, desired only peace, security from heavy conscriptions, and that even distribution of justice between man and man, which then existed. I visited the cotton manufactories, as well as those of silk and woollen, the latter at Elbæuf. Their products, much dearer than our own, were excellent in quality; and at Darnetal, in Normandy, I found the progress in some branches of the manufacture, as in dying superior to our own productions. Normandy was exceedingly well cultivated, but in most other parts of France, agriculture was much behind that province, and in some places, very primitive in the eyes of one accustomed to English neatness and economy. The vineyards were, of course, a new feature to me, and a source of great profit as
well as employment to the rural population. In both manufactures and agriculture the present state of things must be greatly in advance of that time.

The Duke de Richelieu was then minister, one of the most enlightened of the returned nobles, with much more enlarged views than any of the other emigrants. The Duke de Cazes was at the head of the police, with which the hostile armies in no way interfered. The names of Grammont and Dillon recalled individuals of the olden time, who now passed in the world little noted. Marbois, and some other political characters, who had a share in the existing government just before, were still on the scene, but many then, near the horizon of existence, had soon afterwards set for ever. On looking back at the waste and devastation caused by the attempt to force back the Bourbons on France, the treasure and lives, squandered in that unjustifiable operation, and its ultimate ill success, one is more than ever convinced that an immoral cause, no matter how speciously enveloped in the sophistry of politicians who live upon untenable precedent, is certain, in the end, to be defeated, and to bring calamity or humiliation upon those who uphold it.

Finally, I quitted France with regret. I had gone over with many of the prejudices of my countrymen. I returned without any. I was fully persuaded that France and England had much to learn from each other to mutual advantage; that we had commenced an unjust war in 1793; that it was not a war of the people, but of rulers in defence of unhallowed power, of passive obedience to kings against the people, however, that motive might latterly be disclaimed. I had no doubt that
to with all its horrors exacerbated so pressingly from without the Gallic borders, by those who lusted for slices of her territories, France gained by her revolution in better rule and freedom from the law of a single will, by the security of property to the humblest, and in those general lights of which, under the Bourbons, they had not a vestige. Despite all the restless changes of the last thirty years. there has been an invincible revulsion against the Bourbon family, inherited from past recollections, and for ever fatal to its future hopes.

I returned by Dieppe, where I was wind bound four or five days. I have spoken of meeting Spencer Smith, then on his way to Caen. There, too, I met General Arabin, after returning from a nearly morning visit to the Chateau d’Arques, full of the wars of the League. All was silent there now. No cannon projected from the shattered walls to thunder upon another League. Calm and smiling peace existed where “despair and honourable death” had strewed the ensanguined valley. The birds were singing sweetly. It was difficult to conceive that cannon making gaps there in the forces of the League, could ever have been more than a poet’s dream. A brother of Colonel Congreve, who was the rocket improver, lodged at Arques. His servant wanted me to call upon him, but I declined. General Arabin I knew as one who had long vegetated in the fashionable world. He was then in the vale of years. No one acquainted with the history of George III. and Queen Charlotte’s court, or with the Prince of Wales’s earlier years, but must remember the general, who wrote prologues and epilogues for Lord and Lady performers, and was ever at the royal parties. He told me
he hardly knew where he was going—any where for a change. At breakfast, I learned from him that the Prince Regent and he were no longer friends. Being an older General than the
Duke of Wellington, he had applied to go to Belgium, and serve under the Duke, but met a refusal, which had the Prince Regent been as fine a character as Prince Hal, would have reminded me of the treatment of Falstaff by the latter; but George IV. was no equal to Prince Hal, while the General was somewhat of a better character than Falstaff. One thing led to another, I told him I had been nearly three years in France, what I had been about, and that I was going home. He then told me he was composing his own memoirs, and the history of his intercourse with the Prince of Wales. I could discover there was much bitterness in his observations upon the Prince’s conduct towards him, and as Brummell termed it, that he had “cut the prince entirely.” The friendship of princes, he said, was no more than a figure of speech. I told him that was a lesson three thousand years old.

“Yes,” said he, “but all men hope they are exceptions to all men.” He told me he had gone closely into the princes’ character, public and private, and given many curious anecdotes of his royal highness and his brothers. He had filled a pretty thick M.S. volume, which he shewed me. If never published, and I do not recollect seeing it advertised, the work must still be in existence, perhaps in the hands of the General’s executors. The passages he read, gave no more exalted character of princely morals than was already known.

I sailed from Dieppe one evening. It came on to blow so hard after a stormy night, that the passengers
could not get into the boat to land at Brighton. I contrived to scramble into that of the Customs, in a tumbling sea, and we were hauled up through the surf which drenched us to the skin. The packet with the rest of the passengers, and my luggage, bore away for Newhaven. On approaching London, the wind blowing from that quarter, I smelled the atmosphere tainted with the coal smoke some miles distant, having been so long in a purer air. When a boy in the West of England, we could always distinguish a London letter by the same kind of odour, on putting it to the nose. I left town in a few days for Clifton, and then went into Warwickshire. I found that in my notes, on the continent, tourists had anticipated me during my absence as already stated, and I laid them by as useless. Cares now seemed at once to come upon me on the English side of the channel, from which for three years I had been free. My diurnal task, for two years, completed in Paris, I was as light-hearted as a Frenchman. Even my pillow seemed harder in England when I happened to lie sleepless. I began to glide into the sombre. Hopes seemed less bright, and pleasures more alloyed. There must be really something in our atmosphere more heavy and joy killing than in that on the continent.