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fram oppreffion, and to obtain for them the blessings of a free constitution of government. These sentiments are never so highly gratified, as when we see the virtues of private united with those of public life, and the generous efforts of the patriot fan&tified by his exemplary attention to moral and religious obligation in every part of his conduct ;-but, alas ! so inconsistent are many in their principles and practice, that their private and public characters are not only very different, but even opposite to each other. Many instances may be adduced of men, who, though licentious in their private conduct, have displayed great fortitude and integrity, as well as abilities, in their public and political capacity, who, by performing effential services to their country, and vindicating the rights of their fellow-subjects, have acquired a juft title to their gratitude. There are but too many, on the other hand, who, though itrict in the performance of private duties, are chargeable with the utmost venality and servility in their political character ; and who consider the trust reposed in them by the public as of little value, except as it enables them to gratify the mean suggestions of vanity, or the fordid views of personal and family interest. This class of men is far more numerous than the former; some of them are not ashamed to avow and vindicate, under the specious pretence of prudence, their selfish, dishonest principles, which seem to become fashionably prevalent, and, if not checked by examples of a contrary conduct, will extinguish every fpark of public spirit in the rising generation. This degeneracy of the age enhances the value of examples of disinterested patriotism ; and, when a man has deserved well of his fellow-citizens, and of mankind, by his efforts to oppose tyranny and to establish freedom, we deteft alike that malignant curiofity, which pries into the secrets of private life, in order to tarnish the luftre of a public character, and that unblushing depravity, which holds forth licentious principles and manners as the objects of applause, because they are sanctioned by the dangerous example of fome whose abilia ties were great, and whole political conduct commanded the admiration, or entitled them to the grateful affections, of their fellow- fubje&ts.
Of this depravity of sentiment, so common among a certain class of French writers, M. Manuel exbibits striking characters in the declamatory preface with which these letters are introduced : this curious performance not only inspires us with a very poor opinion of his moral principles, but convinces us of the shallowners of his judgment, and of the meanness of his abilities as a writer; it is, in short, a composition of which a school-boy ought to be ashamed, and in which an affected
pertness pertness and the most puerile conceits are obtruded, as fubftia tutes for the brilliancy of wit, and the graces of eloquence.
Though the private life of MIRABEAU was not such as ought to be oftentatioully exposed to the inspection of man. kind, it does not appear to have been marked with singular turpitude. His principles, however erroneous, were such as are but too common in those countries in which rational religion is discouraged, and Christianity disgraced by superstition : 3 his chief vice was that licentious gallantry which, in France, had long been countenanced by the example of the court and by the conduct of the nobility; among whom marriage was confi- * dered as the result of convenience, rather than of affection, and conjugal infidelity in both sexes was so common and public, that it was scarcely reckoned as a fault. Amid this general depravity of manners, it is by no means surprising that a young man of strong paffions should become addicted to those vices, which he saw were fanctioned by the practice of all around him, and by the example of his own father :-for notwithftanding the specious title of L'Ami des Hommes, which the old Marquis de Mirabeau assumed in his writings, his character is here represented as odious and detestable. He is said to have squandered away two millions of livres belonging to his wife and children; to have injured her health repeatedly in consequence of his infamous amours; and, though she had brought him an annual income of fifty thousand livres, and had been the mother of eleven children, he turned her out of his house, and confined her in a convent, because she would not sacrifice the remainder of her property to his rapacity. He forced his eldest daughter to take the veil, and was a cruel and arbitrary tyrant to the rest of his children, except one daughter, who had gained his favour by her servility to his mistress. These circumstances are solemnly asserted to be facts : but, without infisting farther on them, we must observe, that nothing could justify his excesive severity to the writer of these letters; who tells us, that his having taken his mother's part, and having written some memorials for her, which exposed the cruelty of his father's conduct, were the real causes of that resentment, for which his own youthful irregularities afforded a specious pretext.
The Count DE MIRABEAU afferts, that from obedience to paternal authority, rather than from motives of affection, he married a young lady of fortune and family, by whom he had a son ; that after this, he became embarrassed in his circumstances, in consequence of his father's violating his word, and refusing to fulfil the pecuniary engagements to which he had bound himself. This marriage was unhappy; and the Count
charges his lady with repeated infidelity to his bed : but his refentment of this injury does not seem to be so implacable as we should have supposed ; and her behaviour to him appears much more unfriendly than his conduct to her. A prosecue tion, in which he was sentenced to pay considerable damages, for having caned a young nobleman who had insulted his filter, gave his father an opportunity of obtaining an order for his being confined to a frontier garrison, and a pretence for soliciting lettres de cachet against him, in order to screen him from his creditors and profecutors. While thus a prisoner at large, he became acquainted with Madame De Monnier, who, at the age.of twenty, had been forced by her parents to marry a man of seventy, of a moft unamiable character. It is natural to fuppose that this young lady should prefer MIRABEAU to the disgusting object to whose arms she had been condemned; and that compassion for her unhappy circumstances should inspire him with affection for her:--yet he affures his father, that he ftruggled long with this passion before he yielded to it; that he wrote to his wife, who had alienated herself from him, entreated her to return, and offered to retire with her into Swita zerland, there to supply the smallness of their income by his labours as an author. This generous offer being rejected with disdain, he no longer resisted his passion for Sophia; whose husband then solicited an order from the ministry for her confinement. She fled to Dijon, where she was joined by her lover, and went with him to Amsterdam. In this city they lived for some months in great privacy, and subfifted on what the Count could earn by his pen. Their retreat was, however, discovered by the French ministry, who sent officers in purfuit of them; and the Dutch government suffered them to be arrested in Amsterdam, and carried away to France, where he was confined in the prison of Vincennes, in consequence of a lettre de cachet which his father had solicited, and the lady was Thut up in a penitentiary house; whence, after being delivered of a daughter, she was sent to the monastery of St. Clair at Gien *.
* This is not the only instance in which the Dutch government has delivered up prisoners of state on the requisition of the French miniftry. The unfortunate Mafers de la Tude, who had escaped from the Bastile, in which he was confined thirty-five years, for havieg, when a youth, offended Madame De Pompadour, fled to Amsterdam, where he was seized and given up to che instruments of Gállic tyranny. We cannot help lamenting that they who call themselves the governors of a free country, should thus betray the wretched victims of oppression, when they fee to them for protection:--but the views and actions of politicians are not always confitent either wish juftice or humanity.
In this prison, the Count De MIRABEAU languished for pearly four years; during which time his inhuman father scarcely allowed him the common necellaries of life, and abfolutely refused him those accommodations, with which his il health, occasioned by his confinement, ought to have been in. dulged. In short, it is imposible to perule bis account of his fituation without feeling the utmost compassion for him and detestation of his father, or without congratulating mankind on the subversion of that tyrannical government, which countenanced and committed such atrocities. Here he composed his excellent book Des lettres de cachet, et des prisons d'état, and wrote several smaller works, some of which do him no great honour. The Lieutenant de police, M. Le Noir, allowed him the use of books, and permitted him to correspond with Madame De Monnier, and with some other friends, on condition that all the letters should be inspected by cne of his officers, and be returned to him after they had been perused by those to whom they were addresled. After the revolution, they fell into the hands of the editor ; though by what means he has not informed us.
We have no doubt of the authenticity of these letters; for the style of MIRABEAU is not easily imitated. Most of them are addrelied to Madame De Monnier; and, however improper we may think his connection with her, we cannot help being pleased with the manly and tender affection which runs through them; though we wonder at his being so unreserved in mentioning his former amours to her, and in profesing his contempt for the sex in general. The letters to M. Le Noir and to his father are well written, and display great firmness of mind. In circumstances, which one might think would de. press the boldest spirit, he appears undismayed, and disdains to make any concessions unworthy of his character: when the mifery of his situation, aggravated by nephritic pains, and the fears of approaching blindness, forces complaints from him, there is nothing unmanly in his expreflions; and, in most of his epistles, we are astonished at his cheerfulness and vivacity. Thore in particular which he wrote to Sophia, to his father, mother, and brother, with the intent that they thould be deli-. vered to them after his death, are some of the most eloquent and affecting which we have ever seen. In short, with all his faults, MIRABEAU appears to have had many good as well as great qualities; and it is certain that his death was one of the deepest misfortunes which at that time could happen to his country. A proper selection made from his papers might have been an entertaining and interefing publication : but, from a want of diversity in the subje&is, as well as from a number of minute
details, of no importance to any except the corresponding parties, it is evident that the perusal of four volumes of private letters, however well written, muft, to many readers, prove a tedious and unpleafing task.
Art. III. Afiatic Rifearches. Vol. II. [ Article continued from the Appendix to our laf Vol. p.559.) WE
E now proceed to the seventh anniversary discourse, deliver
ed 25th Feb. 1790, by the President. The subjects of this discourse are the Chinese. Sir William Jones firit'takes a view of the boundaries of China;
. An empire,' he observes, “ of which I do not mean to align the precise limits, but which we may consider, for the purpose of this differcation, as embraced on two sides by Tartary and India, while the ocean separaies its other sides from various Afiatic illes of great importance in the commercial system of Europei annexed to that immense tract of land is the peninsula of Corea, which a vatt oval baron divides from Nifon or Japan, a celebrated and imperial ifand, bearing in arts and in arms, in advantage of situation but not in felicity of government, a pre-eminence among eastern kingdoms analogous to that of Britain among the nations of the welt. So many climates are included in so prodigious an area, that, while the principal emporium of China lies nearly under the tropick, its metropolis enjoys the temperature of Samarkand; such too is che diversity of soil in its fifieen provinces, chat, while some of them are exquisitely fertile, richly cultivated, and extremely populous, or hers are barren and rocky, dry and unfruitful, with plains as wild or mountains as rugged as any in Scythia, and chose either wholly deserted, or peopled by savage hordes, who, if they be not fill independent, have been very lately subdued by the perfidy, sather than che valour, of a monarch, who has perpetuated his own breach of faith in a Chinese poem, of which I have seen a tranliation.'
Although the term China be well known to this people, it is not the name by which they denominate their country: they call it sometimes Chúm-cuë, or the Central Kingdom; and, at other times, they distinguish it by the words Tien-hia, or What is under Heaven, meaning All that is valuable on Earth:-They describe themselves as the people of Hun, or lome other illuftrious family. As it is not the intent of this discourse to inquire into the character of the Chinese, with a view either to depress or aggrandize their fame, the President confines himfelí to the discusion of a question connected with his former discourses:-" Whence came the fingular people, who long had governed China, before they were conquered by the Tarfars?" On this head, four suppofitions have been advanced: