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ficing reafon, humanity, nay the Divinity itself to its phantoms; degrading the Supreme Being by the homage which it imagines it is paying him, whilft, at the fame time, it defpifes and violates, the laws he has effablished; and by its exceffes furnishing weapons to that spirit of infidelity which it occafions. We there fee the ignorance and fanaticism of a vicious clergy; the petulance of a reftlefs and ungovernable nobility; the views. rather than the virtues of perfons of every condition, flaves to barbarous customs, and juft beginning to learn the rudiments of civilization. And lastly, we there fee the fyftem of chivalry opened and illuftrated; we fee its exercises, its amufements, its precepts, its manners, which were in general in oppofition, to its morality, and especially that famous gallantry which became one of the principal fprings of fociety, and of which it is of importance to have a more exact idea.
Hiftory leaves us room to doubt of the veneration of the northern nations for the fair sex; and this fentiment, how various foever as to the degrees of its ftrength, was common to all the Celtic nations, among which a learned modern (Pelloutier) reckons the Germans, the Scandinavians, and even the Scythians, though refemblance of manners does not always prove an identity of origin. Thefe ferocious nations, whofe fenfibility in love was not near fo great as that which prevails in warm climates, paid however a kind of worship to the ladies. They faw fomething divine in them; they gave them the au thority of oracles; and the empire of beauty was ftrengthened by a religious confidence.
Whether this was the effect of that ftrength of imagination which renders women fo very fenfible of extraordinary fenfations, and fometimes perfuades them that they are inspired when they are in their reveries; or whether it was owing to that fine fagacity, which, if it is ever fo little exercised, makes them penetrate the fecrets of every heart, perceive readily and clearly the critical point in intrigues and negociations, give men advice, in an inftant, upon matters of bufinefs, and much fuperior, too, to the refult of our flow and deliberate meditations; whether it was the effect of that infinuating addrefs, with which the graces fubdue ftrength, and foftnefs triumphs over ferocity; or whether all thefe caufes combined, and joined to others which may eafily be imagined, contributed to produce this effect, certain it is that it had a very confiderable influence upon public manners, and the most daring enterprizes.
In order to deserve the object of his worship, the warrior en countered dangers, and laughed at fatigue, toils and death. The fpoils of an enemy flain by his own hands were neceflary to accompany his amorous purfuits. The ideas of love and va lour appeared infeparable, and the poet confounded them when he celebrated the actions of heroes, or roufed men to deeds of
heroifm. How often did women fet an example of that courage which they excited? How often did they partake of the toils and dangers of warlike expedition? How often did they put an end to their own lives, in order to escape from the cruelty of a victorious enemy?
When public manners have once taken deep root, there ftill remain veftiges of them, notwithstanding the changes produced by length of time and the fucceffion of ages. The inhabitants of our provinces, who were partly Gauls, and partly Germans, preferved for the fair fex the fame regard and the fame fentiments; fo that chivalry did not create a new system, it only extended, and refined the old.
War, love, and religion, it is well known, formed the bafis of this fingular inftitution. But though religious ideas, well or ill conceived, mingled with every thing human; war and love, thofe favourite paffions, which fo naturally raise and actuate the foul through the medium of the fenfes, muft, in general, have prevailed over thofe invifible objects which are prefented to the mind only, and which are to conftitute the happiness of another life. Our heroes breathed carnage inceffantly, notwithstanding all their devotion; and worfhipped the ladies with as much, nay with more fervour than their God.
To confecrate his heart and his homage to a favourite lady; to live for her exclufively; for her, to afpire after the glory of arms and of virtues; to admire her perfections, and make them the object of public admiration; to be ambitious of the title of her flave; and as a reward for fo much love, for fo many toils and dangers, to reckon himself happy, if the will but condefcend to be pleased with them; in a word, to ferve her as a kind of divinity, was one of the principal duties of every knight, and of every one who aspired to become one.
If gallantry prevailed in civil fociety, the Troubadours contributed not a little to the enlargement of its empire, and the fame of its triumphs. There was fcarce a man who did not devote himself to the worship of the ladies, fome from fentiment, fome from oftentation, and many from intereft; for it was the road to fortune, and the ladies, fond of that incense which was to immortalize their charms, did not fail to favour the poet who paid them adoration.
But love, in the days of chivalry, was far from being such as the cenfors of modern times and modern manners figure it to have been. Though hiftory were filent concerning the irregu larity and licentioufnefs of manners, the works of the Troubadours would furnish a multitude of inconteftible proofs. Amidst a few examples of gallantry, under the reftraints of decency and duty, we find a thousand inftances of debauchery and libertinism; we see the fenfes fubdue the heart, conjugal fide
lity violated in the most impudent manner; in a word, the fame vices that prevail at prefent, lefs difguifed under decent appearances. But there are feveral of our modern fatirifts, who extol former times, though more deferving of their cenfure, and draw a frightful picture of the irregularities of their cotemporaries: fo natural is it to exaggerate ancient virtues, or even to suppose their existence, in order to have an opportunity of cen furing the vices of the prefent times with more severity!
Let us obferve a due medium, and without being unjust, through indulgence to the dead, or acrimonious severity to the living, let us commend what is laudable in the one, and acknowledge what is blamable in the other. The courage, the courtely, the honour, the gallantry of our ancestors were fullied with many grofs vices, infeparable from such a state of society; in the midst of our refined vices, there are still many excellent virtues, which the cultivation of reafon and of manners will ever produce. A prejudice which should render us infenfible of the advantages we enjoy, would be equally mean and pernicious; the knowledge that may be derived from our Troubadours, in regard to the manners of former times, may ferve to remove it. [To be concluded in our next Appendix.]
Les Droits des trois puiffances Allièes fur plufieurs Provinces de la Republique de Pologne, &c.-The Claims of the three powerful Allies to feveral Provinces of the Republick of Poland. The Reflections of a Polish Gentleman upon the Letters Patent, and Pretenfions of those three Powers; with an introductory Difcourfe by the Editor. 2 Vols. 8vo. Londres, 1774.
HE Author of the Remarks upon the Declarations of the Courts of Vienna, Petersburgh, and Berlin, fpeaks aloud to the whole world, and tells every potentate, That the cause of Poland is the cause of all nations.' And we believe, or at leaft are inclined to hope, that every honeft mind will join iffue in judgment with the above-cited Author, upon fo liberal a comment.
Europe enters fo far into the intereft of Poland, as to compaffionate the miferies of the people, and to admire the fortitude of the king; but natural fympathy muft yield to political meannefs; each nation, placing a watch upon her particular dominion, hugs herself in that partial fecurity, and is not to be roused at the loud call of Nature, or by the eloquence of heroic virtue, to relieve a fuffering people, or to restore an injured monarch.
All Europe execrates the unprincely conduct of the three mighty plunderers: every Chriftian power (as they call themfelves) beholds the giant's warring against the pigmy, yet not one of the many has spirit to lift up a stone against the Goliahs
of the North; but on fuch inhuman fupineness the Chriftian is obfervable only in their patience.
The King of Poland is the real hero of the prefent age; he is truly magnanimous! He ftands alone, unaffifted by any ally; oppofing himself to the ungrateful, rebellious spirit of his own fubjects, and refifting a moft powerful banditti; not to gratify the ambition of extending empire, but to fecure to his people their native rights, and to defend the honour of his nation, in maintaining his own imperial-dignity. He, unlike the fans fouci hero, aims not to destroy, but to preserve mankind. Yet, wonderful to relate! this magnanimous prince has hitherto found no friendships from the relation he bears to the most Chriftian, the most Catholick, and other moft illuftrious princes; who, forgetting their majefty in their fordid nefs, fuffered public virtue, the moft refplendent jewel on every crown, alone to 4parkle on the turban.
The Author of the Claims of the three powerful Allies, now under our review, prepares the mind of his reader with a text extracted from the 2d Vol. of Syftême fociale, upon la Politique eft la Morale des Nations. "The great object of eaftern policy, fays this writer, is to enforce an obedience to the laws; that the law of nature is equally to be observed with the statute or civil law, as eflential to the good order of every community: the object of external policy is to affert and maintain the law of nature in all nations, to preferve fuch a balance of power, that no individual might infringe the great rule of equity, encroach upon the interchangeable rights of every citizen, or violate those moral duties, equally appointed for the mutual advantage of all degrees of people."
The preface explains the Author's defign of laying before the world the pretenfions of thefe mighty powers to the kingdom of Poland, that all mankind may form their own judgment upon a proceeding fo arrogant, and fo vain-glorious, that the univerfe has not furn:fhed, nor perhaps ever will furnish, an example of fimilar pride and injustice.
He defends the caufe of the Polanders with temper and moderation; his candour will appear in the manner of ftating the cafe, and leaving his readers to determine upon the queftion. • Have not the Polanders great reafon to complain of the harfh treatment they have received from the three crowns? Have these three powers the claims, in juftice, which they pretend to have upon Poland? Thefe queftions are fairly ftated: we will not decide upon them; but we will prefame to take upon us the defence of the oppreffed, and fhew that the ftrength of the argument is in their favour.'
He then endeavours to fhake the pride of thefe imperial tyrants, by reminding them of a fubordination to an inferior duty, which monarchs are not apprised of, or at least seem un
willing to acknowledge fenfations fo humiliating and fo dependent. If,' fays our author, thefe potentates who have given fo much caufe of complaint from the Poles, imagine they are accountable for their actions only at the tribunal of God, and their own confcience, they deceive themselves. They owe to their fubjects; they owe to every cotemporary prince; they owe to their particular fucceffors, thofe exemplary virtues which characterize the great King; and, amongst thefe attributes, justice and good faith bold not the lowest rank.'
Having thus impreffed the mind with fome reflections very appofite to his defign, he then prefents us with the claims of the crown of Hungary and Bohemia upon fome provinces of Poland. On difplaying the futile pretenfions of these powers, the curious reader may find amufement in the many historical anecdotes of these northern countries, naturally arifing from the subject: our Author goes back very far in the tranfactions of thefe countries to afcertain the original partition, and thence proves himself a man of reading and patience. He produces vouchers for the many conceffions from the different powers, in copies from the original letters to Popes; from charters, ftatutes, donations, &c. and we fuppofe they are genuine, from their autography; as they are prefented to us in Latin, the language in which they were moft undoubtedly written.
He then proceeds to fhew us a fine oppofition of light and fhade, in explaining the manœuvres of the court of Ruffia, and the counter-conduct of the republic of Poland. Here you have the old picture once more exhibited,-a mighty prince eftablishing an inferior monarch in dominion, on principles of juftice, affection, humanity, good neighbourhood, and other motives ftill more amiable and important; then, without the leaft remorse, he brings the whole artillery of Deceit to overthrow the goodly ftructure he had fo lately raised, and therein proves that affectations are not to be confided in, but that real virtue is the only foundation for princes to build upon.
Then follow the claims of the king of Pruffia, as marquis of Brandenburg, upon feveral diftricts in the kingdom of Poland. Our Author looks far into the hiftory of Germany, to difcover the right Poland has to those poffeffions which the Pruffian monarch prefumes to difpute; he authenticates his hiftorical records by copies from original charters, conventions, fubfequent confirmations, &c. which are transcribed in Latin, as were the former vouchers...
In his reflections upon the unheard of proceedings of thefe larrons imperiales, he finds occafion to fay, that the destruction of Poland ought to give the alarm to every nation, and make them tremble. He prophetically continues, for a time will come when the fetters now forging in the cabinet of Potzdam, (which, allured by the fpecious and deceitful bait of augmenting