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property, peculiarity, opinion, and phrase of his idol-he places him, in every situation and act, on the loftiest pedestal : when he finds him at Fontainebleau, after the abdication, studying a book of geography and statistics, in order to learn how far he would be physically and socially comfortable at Elba, he exclaims "jamais, peut-être, il ne me parut plus grand”—as if real grandeur of mind would not then have been attended with other thoughts and occupations. The Prefect insists that he sustained his character and personal dignity, without ever allowing them to be impaired, whether at the time he was encompassed by the bayonets of Europe, or when he was yielded up unarmed to the outrages of his jailers at St. Helena. Several of the anecdotes related in these Memoirs are utterly irreconcilable with this praise ; and the reference to the scenes at St. Helena is particularly unlucky. If Sir Walter Scott is successful any where in his strictures on the personal deportment of Napoleon, it is in the history of it at St. Helena, in the five last chapters of the Life.
At Dresden, after Napoleon has pronounced some criticisms on Fabre d'Eglantine's Philinte de Moliere, which are not remarkable in any respect, his devout listener observes—“L'empereur avait raison de dire que je l'écoutais. Je trouvai tout ce qu'il disait, dans ces momens d'abandon, si riches d'ideés et d'expressions, que je mettais tous mes soins et usais de toutes les ressources de ma mémoire pour n'en rien perdre.” Napoleon was, doubtless, endowed with uncommon sagacity and force of intellect; but the maxim there is no royal road to geometry, is as true as it is trite, in its widest application: There is no intuition with regard to the sciences, the fine arts, the details of criticism, or complicated jurisprudence ;-a special study of principles, knowledge of facts, and familiarity with models, are, as to them, indispensable for sound opinions and intelligent decisions. Nevertheless, the numberless flatterers of the French emperor, in France, during his prosperity, and the many unreflecting admirers of his genius and energy elsewhere, have represented one whose education was almost altogether military, and whose life was spent in the tumult of camps and the severest toils and cares of military command and restless ambition, as a master-critic in literature, music, architecture, and the works of the pencil and chisel; as a dazzling luminary for all the savans of the Institute; a sublime philosopher, a victorious theologian, and a profound lawgiver, who instructed, astonished, and surpassed, the most experienced and erudite jurists, in the formation of codes. A splendid conqueror and a puissant ruler, might be pansophical ; the pretension cannot be admitted in critical history or impartial reviews.
Some of M. de Bausset's anecdotes prove that his hero was, occasionally, choleric, precipitate, overbearing, callous, and even grossly coarse and wittingly unjust. The treatment of M. de Nisas, as detailed in the fifteenth chapter of the second volume of the Memoirs, is a revolting instance of conscious wrong and undeserved severity. In relating such traits as this and others analogous, and making here and there general acknowledgments of a like purport, our author was not, we are sure, aware of the extent to which he invalidated his sweeping and frequent encomiums. Thus the Greeks, and the ancient heathens generally did not, perhaps, perceive how far they desecrated, displumed, and deposed their gods, by the personal annals which they compiled or invented in their theography. Even Jupiter is but a spurious divinity in the personal memoirs; and the demi-apotheosis which Homer may have designed for Achilles, is marred by the epithets, passions, and excesses, which are recorded in the Iliad." We doubt whether the wrathful warrior would have been satisfied with the poet, or Napoleon with the anecdotist, as they are respectively exhibited.
M. de Bausset dwells on the simplicity of his emperor's habits and tastes; and this, because he neither drank nor ate intemperately, nor clothed himself sumptuously in common; and had not lost altogether, some of the plain and familiar practices and manners, which appertained to his early condition, to the military career, and the spirit and fashion of the age. But, in the matters most important in themselves, and for France and all Europe, he was the least simple and abstinent sovereign of his era. He indulged an insatiable thirst for power and glory, both at home and abroad ;-his ambition, and his efforts to gratify that appetite, had no bounds; and, to repeat Shakspeare's figure, "he choaked himself with ambition" at last. He grasped and amassed more riches than any contemporary monarch ;-he is scarcely matched in modern story, for prodigality of public treasure and human life, in enterprises of personal propensitythe stomach of war, with its pride, pomp, and circumstance. He took a direct, immediate, fond part, in organizing the most magnificent and ceremonious court of modern times—his regal costume could not be exceeded in costliness and glitter : his imperial expeditions were unrivalled for ostentatious display of sovereign authority and grandeur, and diversified refinement of luxury: he countenanced, if he did not exact, as extensive and ful. some a system of adulation as ever prevailed under any civilized despotism. We might appeal even to M. de Bausset's pages, for confirmation of these allegations. National annals show that there are, for national injury, worse kinds of gluttony, epicurism, vanity, affectation, hauteur, and so forth, than those which are connected with the senses, dress, and social carriage.
But it is not our plan to do more at present, than throw out a few hints to mcet our author's broad and loose estimates of mo
ral excellence. We must reserve the task of a more special and enlarged investigation of Napoleon's deserts and demerits, for the period when we shall have more of Thibaudeau's volumes in our hands, and can conclude the survey, in which we made some progress in our first and second numbers, of Sir Walter Scott's biography,-a work, which, with all its faults, is still a most valuable accession to literature and history, and distinguished by precious essences and rich beanties, that no other living writer could have imparted.
ART. XI.-Travels of the Russian Mission through Mongo
lia, to China, and residence in Peking, in the years 1820–21. By GEORGE TIMKOWSKI, with Corrections and Notes, by JULIUS VON KLAPROTH. Illustrated by Maps, Plates, &c. &c. London : 1827. 2 vols. 8vo. pp. 468 and 496.
Much of the lasting impression which the relations of Lord Macartney's embassy leave on the mind of his reader, must be ascribed, exclusively of the natural effect of clear, elegant, and able composition, to the number of persons engaged in that business, the variety of their characters, the reputation they already enjoyed, or afterwards acquired; the bustle and stir of a seavoyage; the placidity and success which finally characterized the intercourse of the English with the Chinese; the splendour of the reception the latter gave to their European guests; the picturesque, and almost romantic navigation, upon the Imperial Canal; the walks in the magnificent gardens of the Son of Heaven; and, perhaps, not less, to the interest we feel for every grand enterprise, skilfully prepared, and which proves successful, partly in consequence of the happy choice of the persons, and the means by which it was to be carried into effect. The names of Macartney, Barrow, and the two Sir George Stauntons, are now familiar to every reader. The Emperor Kien Long lives probably in the memory of every impartial European, at the head of the sovereigns of half-civilized nations. Indeed, since Cook's voyages, no expedition to a foreign and distant country, has become so popular as the one of which we speak.
Lord Amherst's embassy, though of a much more recent date, is less remembered, and, perhaps, even less generally known. There is certainly a wide difference between the blame which might be thrown on the scruples of this embassador, and those of the Russian Count Golovkin, by such as hold all sorts of ceremonies to be an idle farce, and a foolish pageantry.
goes to the court of the sovereign, who styles himself the Son of Heaven, must be prepared to be constantly under the pressure of minute ceremonies, irksome observances, and petty duties. If Europeans would, however, consider the attention, the kind treatment, and the hospitality they enjoy at the court of Peking, and compare them with the stiff, heartless, and cold manner, although very elegant and polite, with which they are at first received in the courtly circles of Europe, they would feel rather more indulgent towards the Chinese. A nation that has a voluminous code of court ceremonies, in which the bows to be received and returned, are scrupulously registered, and where the presents to be made to the representatives of the sundry crowned heads of Europe, are fixed like principles of law and rules of action, cannot be expected to relinquish, easily, the deep-rooted prejudices, which are the groundwork of such a legislation. It is strange, that the European governments who resolve to depute representatives to such a people, do not make up their minds, beforehand, in regard to these difficulties, and distinctly chalk out the limits of the condescension which they are willing to show. We could never admire the unlimited complaisance of the Dutch of old times; lucre was their impulse, and they sacrificed to it what, under no circumstance, and for no motive, ought to be disavowed or concealed, and much less forsworn, either by government or individuals. Nor feel we great pity for Mynheer Van Braam, who professed to have lost a full foot in circumference, in consequence of the diet to which the Chinese subjected him, for whole days, though they be themselves great eaters, and sit long at their tables. But there were, in the case of Lord Amherst, if the reports from which we argue, are correct, a strange awkwardness and want of tact, which must surprise us, in a nobleman bred in one of the politest courts of Europe, and known for his mild and equal temper.
Mr. Klaproth, (the well-known orientalist,) who has furnished some notes and additions to the French translation of Mr. Timkowski's Travels, gives in an appendix to one of the chapters of the first volume, a rapid and satisfactory sketch of the political negotiations which existed between Russia and China, for more than a century, down to a very recent time. As neighbouring empires, it is not astonishing, that differences have occasionally arisen between them. But the ill-success of the Russian negotiators, at one of the most memorable epochs in the history of these political relations, is anything but disgraceful to the government from which they held their instructions, or to their country.
The first altercation arose from an unjust act of the Mantchoos. In 1689, they seized the fort Albazin, which the Russians had built upon the left bank of the Amour. The circumstances of that epoch, obliged Peter the Great to sign the disad. vantageous treaty of Nertchinsk. It was in that year, it will be remembered, that this reaHy great monarch took the whole sovereign authority over his already vast empire, into his own hands. With the fatuity and arrogance natural to ignorance, the Chinese considered from that day, the Russian Emperor as a tributary prince of the Celestial Empire : Khanghi, though a prince highly endowed, boasted of having humbled the Russians, on no other ground than because they had not assisted the Eleuths, nor prevented him from conquering Tibet (in 1720.) In that year, ambassadors from the great regenerator of Russia, appeared at Peking. Under the reign of Young-ching, the sagacious and inflexible successor of Khanghi, the question of the frontiers was at last settled. Ambassadors of Young-ching, arrived at the court of the Empress, Anne Iwanowa, in 1733. Mr. Klaproth passes over this deputation in silence. But a little work which chance brought to our knowledge, supplies us with some curious and very characteristic details respecting those Chinese diplomatists :
“ The Chinese, as to their persons, are very like their pictures of them. The day they had their audience, (which was in the morning,) there was a ball at court; when it was begun, they were brought into the room, with their interpreter; they seemed to observe every thing with an eye of curious, rather than ignorant people. Her Majesty, (the Ėmpress,) asked the first of them, (for there are three,) which they thought the prettiest woman there. He said: “It would be difficult in a starlight night, to say which was the brightest star; but observe ing she expected him to say which he thought so, he bowed to the Princess Elizabeth, (afterwards Empress, by the deposition of Ivan VI.): Among such a number of fine women, he thought her the handsomest ; and if she had not quite so large eyes, nobody could see her, and live.' Thus every country has its beauty; for our taste, she has remarkably fine eyes.' Her Majesty asked him, of all things they saw, that differed from their own customs, what appeared the most extraordinary !--He answered : “Seeing a woman on the throne.”
Soon after this, they were brought to a masquerade at court; and were asked, if it did not appear odd to them? They answered, 'no; for all was masquerade to them. They were introduced to all the foreign ministers, and told from what princes they came. When they came to Mr. R., they said: “They knew the English natives, for there were several of them in their country;' and called him 'brother. Not long ago, as he and I were walking in the garden of the summer palace, they were brought to see the garden. When we met them, they embraced him; and one of them opened a little purse, that hung by his side, and gave me a bit of black stuff, that looked like Japan earth, but it is essence of Bohea tea. They told Mr. R., they thought that the English had been wiser than to suffer their wives to come out, and be at liberty; but they were glad they had seen me, as they had never seen an English woman before, and as they knew I had love and courage to come so far from my own country for any man upon earth."*
In 1743, the Emperor Kien-Long solicited a Russian mission. The discontent about the neglect which the omission of this attention created in the court of Peking, was increased by some
Letters from a lady who resided some years in Russia, to her friends in England, with historical notes. London : 1777. 1 vol. 12mo. VOL. III.--NO. 5.