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the use of prigs only, and to secure their property; they were never, therefore, more perverted than when their edge was turned against these; but that this generally happened through their want of sufficient dexterity. The character which he most valued himself upon, and which he principally honoured in others, was hypocrisy. His opinion was, that no one could carry priggism very far without it; for which reason, he said, there was little greatness to be expected in a man who acknowledged his vices, but always much to be hoped from him who professed great virtues: wherefore, though he would always shun the person whom he discovered guilty of a good action, yet he was never deterred by a good character, which was more commonly the effect of profession than of action; for which reason he himself was always very liberal of honest professions, and had as much virtue and goodness in his mouth as a saint; never in the least scrupling to swear by his honour, even to those who knew him the best; nay, though he held good-nature and modesty in the highest contempt, he constantly practised the affectation of both, and recommended this to others, whose welfare, on his own account, he wished well to. He laid down several maxims as the certain methods of attaining greatness, to which, in his own pursuit of it, he constantly adhered. As
1. Never to do more mischief to another than was necessary to the effecting his purpose; for that mischief was too precious a thing to be thrown away.
2. To know no distinction of men from affection; but to sacrifice all with equal readiness to his interest.
3. Never to communicate more of an affair than was necessary to the person who was to execute it.
4. Not to trust him who hath deceived you, nor who knows he hath been deceived by you.
5. To forgive no enemy; but to be cautious, and often dilatory, in revenge.
6. To shun poverty and distress, and to ally himself as close as possible to power and riches.
7. To maintain a constant gravity in his countenance and behaviour, and to affect wisdom on all occasions.
8. To foment eternal jealousies in his gang one of another.
9. Never to reward any one equal to his merit; but always to insinuate that the reward was above it.
10. That all men were knaves or fools, and much the greater number a composition of both.
11. That a good name, like money, must be parted with, or at least greatly risked, in order to bring the owner any advantage.
12. That virtues, like precious stones, were easily counterfeited; but the counterfeits in both cases adorned the wearer equally, and that very few had knowledge or discernment sufficient to distinguish the counterfeit jewel from the real.
13. That many men were undone by not going deep enough in roguery; as in gaming any man may be a loser who doth not play the whole game.
14. That men proclaim their own virtues, as shopkeepers expose their goods, in order to profit by them.
15. That the heart was the proper seat of hatred, and the countenance of affection and friendship.
He had many more of the same kind, all equally good with these, and which were after his decease found in his study, as the twelve excellent and celebrated rules were in that of King Charles I.; for he never promulgated them in his lifetime, not having them constantly in his mouth, as some grave persons have the rules of virtue and morality, without paying the least regard to them in their actions; whereas our hero, by a constant and steady adherence to his rules in conforming every thing he did to them, acquired at length a settled habit of walking by them, till at last he was in no danger of inadvertently going out of the way; and by these means he arrived at that degree of greatness which few have equalled; none, we may say, have exceeded: for, though it must be allowed that there have been some few heroes who have done greater mischiefs to mankind, such as those who have betrayed the liberty of their country to others, or have undermined and overpowered it themselves; or conquerors, who have impoverished, pillaged, sacked, burnt, and destroyed the countries and cities of their fellow-creatures, from no other provocation than that of glory, i. e., as the tragic poet calls it,
a privilege to kill,
A strong temptation to do bravely ill;
yet, when we see our hero, without the least assistance or pretence, setting himself at the head of a gang which he had not any shadow of right to
govern; if we view him maintaining absolute power and exercising tyranny over a lawless crew, contrary to all law but that of his own will; if we consider him setting up an open trade publicly, in defiance not only of the laws of his country but of the common sense of his countrymen; if we see him first contriving the robbery of others, and again the defrauding the very robbers of that booty which they had ventured their necks to acquire, and which, without any hazard, they might have retained; here surely he must appear admirable, and we may challenge not only the truth of history, but almost the latitude of fiction, to equal his glory.
Nor had he any of those flaws in his character which, though they have been commended by weak writers, have by the judicious readers been censured and despised. Such was the clemency of Alexander and Cæsar, which nature had so grossly erred in giving them, as a painter would who should dress a peasant in robes of state, or give the nose or any other feature of a Venus to a satyr. What had the destroyers of mankind, that glorious pair, one of whom came into the world to usurp the dominion and abolish the constitution of his own country; the other to conquer, enslave, and rule over the whole world, at least as much as was well known to him, and the shortness of his life would give him leave to visit; what had, I say, such as these to do with clemency. Who cannot see the absurdity and contradiction of mixing such an ingredient with those noble and great qualities I have before mentioned? Now, in Wild every thing was truly great, almost without alloy, as his imperfections (for surely some small ones he had) were only such as served to denominate him a human creature, of which kind none ever arrived at consummate excellence. Indeed, while greatness consists in power, pride, insolence, and doing mischief to mankind to speak out-while a great man and a great rogue are synonymous terms, so long shall Wild stand unrivalled on the pinnacle of GREATNESS. Nor must we omit here, as the finishing of his character, what indeed ought to be remembered on his tomb or his statue, the conformity above mentioned of his death to his life; and that Jonathan Wild the Great, after all his mighty exploits, was, what so few GREAT men can accomplish-hanged by the neck till he was dead.
194. THE PASSAGE OF THE BERESINA.
LABAUME. [EUGENE LABAUME, Colonel of Engineers in the French Army, wrote a graphic account of Bonaparte's Campaign in Russia in 1812. He was an eye-witness of the terrible scene which he describes in the following narrative:— -]
The Russians having destroyed in their flight the great bridge of Borisov, defended all the right bank of the Beresina, and occupied, with four divisions, the principal points where we could possibly attempt to pass it. During the 25th, Napoleon manoeuvred to deceive the vigilance of the enemy, and by stratagem obtained possession of the village of Studzianca, placed on an eminence that commanded the river which we wished to pass. There, in the presence of the Russians, and notwithstanding their utmost opposition, he constructed two bridges, of which the Duke of Reggio profited, to cross the Beresina; and attacking the troops which opposed his passage, he put them to flight, and pursued them without intermission to the head of the bridge of Borisov. During these operations, which took place within the 23rd and 27th of November, we passed four dreadful days, traversing many villages, among which we could only learn the names of Bohr and Kraupki, where fatigue compelled us to halt. The days were so short, that, although we made but little progress, we were obliged to march during part of the night. It was from this cause that so many unhappy wretches wandered from their regiments and were lost. Arriving very late at the encampments, where all the corps were confounded together, they could not distinguish or learn the situation of the regiments to which they belonged. After having marched the whole day, they were often compelled to wander about all night to find their officers, and rarely were they sufficiently fortunate to accomplish their object; they laid themselves down to sleep, ignorant of the hour of march, and on awaking found themselves in the power of the enemy.
As we passed the Borisov we saw the division of Parthouneaux, forming the rear-guard of the ninth corps. We then quitted the great road that led to the bridge occupied by the Russians, and turned to the right to proceed to Studzianca, where we found Napoleon; the other
troops of the ninth corps, commanded by the Duke of Belluno, arrived likewise by the same road.
The twelfth and ninth corps, and the Poles, commanded by General Dembrowski, not having been at Moscow, had so much baggage, that from Borisov to Studzianca the road was covered with carriages and waggons. The reinforcements which these troops brought us were very acceptable, yet we almost doubted whether the junction of so many men, in the centre of a vast desert, might not increase our misfortunes. Always marching in the midst of a confused mass of stragglers, with the divisions of the ninth corps, we were two hours afterwards arrested in our progress by a great crowd, and, unable to penetrate it, we were compelled to march round it. In the midst of this multitude were some paltry barns on the summit of a little hill. Seeing some chasseurs of the imperial guard encamped around it, we judged that Napoleon was there, and that we were approaching the borders of the Beresina. In fact, it was the very spot where Charles XII. crossed that river on his march to Moscow.
What a frightful picture did this multitude of men present, overwhelmed with misfortunes of every kind, and hemmed in by a morass; that very multitude which, two months before, had exultingly spread itself over half the surface of a vast empire! Our soldiers, pale, emaciated, dying with hunger and cold, having nothing to defend them from the inclemency of the season but tattered pelisses and sheep-skins half burnt, and uttering the most mournful lamentations, crowded the banks of this unfortunate river. Germans, Polanders, Italians, Spaniards, Croats, Portuguese, and French, were all mingled together, disputing among themselves, and quarrelling with each other in their different languages: finally, the officers, and even the generals, wrapt in pelisses covered with dirt and filth, confounded with the soldiers, and abusing those who pressed upon them or braved their authority, formed a scene of strange confusion, of which no painter could trace the faintest resemblance.
They whom fatigue, or ignorance of the impending danger, rendered less eager to cross the river, were endeavouring to kindle a fire and repose their wearied limbs. We had too frequently occasion to observe, in these encampments, to what a degree of brutality excess of misery would debase human nature. In one place we saw several of the soldiers fighting for a morsel of bread. If a stranger, pierced with