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be taken from Pontius Pilate's house; being the same that
Saviour frequently ascended to undergo examination."
I have practised myself to look at the Catholic ceremonies with temper ; but this scene was fo infinitely ridiculous, that, without any evil'intentions, I threw a whole body of pilgrims into the utmeit confternation.
• The stair-case consists of eight-and-twenty marble steps; each of which may bold about ten people abreast, and at this season of the year it is constantly crowded. The pope himself durft not mount it on his feet.-Upwards of two hundred pilgrims were at this instant ascending, to pay homage to the crucifix, on their knees, and in this attitude moving on from itep to step towards the top - Figure to yourself this group - They first appeared to me to be afflicted with the hip gout – they moved like horses with the stringhalt-I could fill have borne it all, had I not seen Abel grubbing on in the midst of them, which made me burst into such a fit of laughter, that the holy ones were thrown into such a scene of confusion as you have never wit. nessed. Suddenly recollecting the expence of plush breeches, I com. manded Abel to descend.- Enthusiasm had deafened him to every worldly confideration ;-and, what added to my chagrin was, that the pilgrims had greatly the advantage of him, ten out of eleven be. ing lans culottes—so finding all remonftrance ineffectual, I waited to see the conclusion of the ceremony.
« The holy receptacle at the top contains a fplendid crucifix, furrounded by about a dozen portable saints, which are shewn off by a Atrong light in the back ground; and it has much the appearance of a magic lantern.
As the pilgrims advance they batter their fore. heads against the upper step, more or less according to their superstition, or the weight of sin that overwhelms them ; and then, as the same method of descent, being as I have informed you, upon their knees, might possibly be more rapid, they go off at the top through two narrow passages or defiles that look like a couple of cracks in the wall; which, I suppose, are intended to answer the purpose of a weighing machine, to ascertain how much they are wasted by fasting and praying
It was evident that they had not used the same artificial means of reducing themselves, that a Newmarket jockey does, by wearing a dozen Hannel waistcoats at a time, for most of them were barely covered with the remnant of a shirt—what fasting might have done I know not, but am apt to give very little credit to the effect of their prayers.-- Indeed there was a more natural way of accounting for their leanness, as most of them had walked some hundreds of miles previous to the ceremony; and we may discover a cause for the itrange, attitude which they used on the occasion, by conjecturing, that being leg-weary, they had recourse to their knees by way of a change.
These narrow passages did well enough for a mortified taper catholic, (one or two of whom I have seen towards the conclusion of Lent, reduced to such a point that one might almost have threaded a bodkin with them) but in nowise answered the purpose of your portly well-fed protestant; fo Abel, as was easy to foresee, fuck fast in the
middle-several of them endeavoured to pull him through, till at last he was so completely wedged in that he could neither get backwards nor forwards --Finding him in this situation, the pilgrims were suddenly disarmed of sufficient strength to withstand the temptations of their old pilfering fyftem ; so one ran away with his hat, another clawed hold of his hair, and had very nearly fcalped him, supposing it to be a wig-In short, after a violent exertion, Abel effected his escape, and promised to make no more religious experiments for the present; but is persuaded that he should never have got through, had it not been for the interference of the crucifix and portable saints.'
Our only advice to the reader, with respect to this work, is, not to fit down to it after he has been regaling with Duke Humphrey, but to take it up when a good dinner and a cheasa ful glass have disposed him to be pleased with what he reads, “ he knows not why and cares not wherefore."
We observe that the author, who is so happy in the patronage of Duke Humphrey, has a numerous list of titled friends; his subscribers, except a few ladies and divines, are all nobles, baronets, and esquires.
Art. XXII. The History of France, from the most early Records, to
the Death of Louis XVI. The ancient Part by William Beckford, Esq. Author of a Descriptive Account of the Island of Jamaica. The modern Part by an Englih Gentleman, who has been some Time refident in Paris. 4 Vols. 8vo. 11. 45. Boards. Jordan. 1794. esides the English translations formerly publifhed of several
French historians, and the original history of France given in the Modern Universal History, the public has lately been presented with two histories of France, one written at full length by Mr. Gifford, in four volumes quarto*, the other judiciously abridged in three volumes octavo *. It might seem that these publications would be amply fufficient to supply the wants of the public on this subject. Curiosity is, however, at present so much awakened with respect to the affairs of France, that Mr. Beckford and his associate have presumed that there is ftill room for another history of that nation. The work which their joint labours have produced is, however, by no means either a complete or an uniform history. The political character of it is indeed throughout liberal; and the authors are agreed in affixing a deserved ftigma on the tyranny which, with very few exceptions, has disgraced the French monarchy from its commencement to its termination :--but the literary character of the work is very unequal. The antient part, written by Mr. Beckford, which comes down to the end of the reign of Charles VI. and fills the first two volumes and part of the
* Rev. N. S. vols, x. and xi. and vols, ii. and iii. APP. Rey. VOL.XVI.
third, third, is written with conliderable energy of thought, and with fume attention to the graces of composition : but the latter part is a dry journal of tacts, enlivened with no embellishments of Atyle.
We thall give a specimen of Mr. Beckford's manner of writing, in his review of the state of the people in France at the clots of the Carlovingian line, about the end of the tenth century:
• The people, the most numerous, as the most useful class of the community, were all, more or less, flaves, under the arbitrary dominion of the feudal barons. Subjected to the molt disgraceful iervices, opprelid by the most perlevering cruelty, and overwhelmed by the most intolerable taxes, there was icarcely any distinction left between the free man and the flave. Every lord was the unlicenced tyrant of his demesnes, which was a real prison to his subjects. With the name of freemen, they had not the liberty to dispose of their effects, either by any act during life, or by a testamentary disposition at their decease. in default of children, not domesticated in the fief, the baron became the heir of their respective properties. They were not permitted to marry without his confent, and his per million was seldom obtained but by purchase. They could not terminate a suit, once "commenced, by accommodation, left it souid deprive him of the perquisites of his court. If they obeyed not his summons in time of war, they were lialle, with their descendants, to be reduced to slavery. This precarious ftate of misery, in perpetual dread of some additional burden,-or subject, upon the most trivial pretences, to a confiscation of all their goods, induced many to make a voluntary surrender of themselves, in the expectation of experiencing less inhumanity.
• While those attached to the duties oí husbandry were thus afflicted by the iron hand of power, those resident in the towns were not in a better fituation. Living together without any civil ties, they were cruelly.subjected to the tyranny of the counts, whote castles, erected contiguously to their places of residence, kept them in constant subjection to his will. The most trilling conceflion, although purchased from their lord, was deemed a favour. They were compelled to 1upply their haughty superior and his companions, whenever he lived among them, with every kind of necessary. Their commodities, exposed to fale, were heavily taxed, or, in some places, interdicted from a public market, or so monopolized by the baron, as to cause them to be thereby prevented froin receiving any advantage from their exertions, and thus proved an effectual check upon their induitry. Even the domestics of the most potent chieftains took under their protection robbers and banditti.'
· The rise of the peerage has been a matter much disputed, its foundation having been attributed to Charlemagne, and with as little probability to Hugh Capet and Robert. Peers, as the Count of Boulainvilliers observes, were more ancient than the peerage; were coeval with the fiefs, the enjoyment of which conferred a right to execute justice in conjunction with their equals. Thus the vallals of the monarch in his court were peers one with another; so their vaffals in the courts were in the like situation with each other; and peers implied not, therefore, at that period, any fuperior dignity.
There was a distinction made between the vassals of the crown, and those of the duchy of France, although united in the person of Hugh Capet. Of the number that held immediately of the crown at the accession of that Prince, such as the Dukes of Guienne, Normandy, Burgundy, the Counts of Flanders, Thoulouse, and others, they were reduced, by the reign of Philip Augustus, to only six; the moit powerful having probably obtained a fuperiority by the gradual lapse of time ; and to these above mentioned, it seems to be generally allowed that fix of the most dignified clergy were a lociated by Lewis the Young, to afliit at the coronation of his son Philip Auguftus; and, from that period, they wer. fixed at twelve, who, contined to that number, sere considered as peers of France, with all their peculiar and local privileges.
• That there was not any general assembly of the nation under the latter Princes of the Carlovingian line, or the first of the Capetian monarchy, in which refided a legislative authority, extending over the community at large, is proved by the state of the feudal government above described, and by the collection of the laws of France. The last Capitulary, digested by Monsieur Baluze, was at the close of the reign of Charles the Simple ; and the first Ordonnance of the kings, which appears to have extended to the whole kingdom, was in the reign of Philip Augotlus; so that, in the space of two hundred and seventy years, no new law was added to the statutary code of the Gallic monarchy.
· The asfize courts of the early Princes of the third race were the same as those held by their vassals, the jurisdiction of which extended only within their own demesies, and were called together, at stated times, with peculiar pomp and ceremony, the lower class of barons feldom holding theirs but when expressly required by their vassals. Women who inherited a fief, were likewise competent to hold their courts. Three or four persons were sufficient to lic in judgment; and when a baron could not affemble a proper number, it was customary to borrow the vassals of a neighbouring lord.
• With the feudal law was introduced the right of primogeniture; a custom entirely unknown under the princes of the first race, in which the fons divided equally amongst them the inheritance of their fathers. When fiefs became hereditary, seniority was fully established, as well in the crown as the fief, which was in itself confidered as no more than a great fief. Surnames, also, became in use about the same time: the nobles derived them from their territories, the lower orders from the places of their births, and not unfrequently from either personal advantages or defects.
• The revenues of the princes arose from nearly the same source, the produce of their own demesnes; the perquisites of their courts of justice ; some small rights upon their vassals, as upon the marriage of his eldest son, or daughter; and the ta es upon the Jews, who were deemed the property of the lord within whose lands they refided.
• Manners, as may be easily supposed in this undetermined state of government, were still barbarous. Without any check upon
their natural ferocity, the barons exercised the most unjustiñable acts of tyranny: the people, poor and contemptible, were sunk, as were Rr2
their despots, in the most profound ignorance : few of the nobles could eber read or write: there were no titles to poffesfions bus usage, no authentic deeds of marriage but tradition; hence, wbat was entrusted to memory was soon loft. The want therefore of records, occafioned those perpetual disputes relative to succession, and to the degrees of kindred : a circumstance of which the clergy availed themselves. All arts, but those of war, were held in contempt. Surrounded by his vassals and dependents, the powerful baron, when not employed in some predatory inroad upon the lands of his neighbour, commonly resided at his country seat, where military exercises, and the sports of the field, were his only cccupations. Without arts, sciences, commerce, they even lived without the most flight connexion with neighbouring provinces; a fingular instance of which is preserved, among others, in the collection of Dom Bouquet. An abbot of Cluny in Burgundy, being requested to remove his monks to Saint Maur des Fossés near Paris, excused himíelf from undertaking so long a journey into a strange and unknown land. If any person travelled from one part of the kingdom to the other, he was obliged to acknowledge himself within a year and a day the vaffal of the lord in whose territory he had settled, or be subject to heavy penalties; and the wretched inhabitants of the maritime provinces, who fought protection from the Normans by flying into the interior parts of the country, renounced one tyrant for another, by being immediately reduced to a state of servitude.'
The work is incorrectly printed, and the engravings cannot be styled excellent.
ART. XXIII. Plutarch's Treatise upon the Distinction between a Friend
and Flatierer: With Remarks. By Thomas Northmore, Esq. M. A. F. S. A. 8vo. pp. 132. 45. Boards. Payne. 1793, F writings so richly stored with the treasures of history and
philosophy as those of Plutarch, it is much to be regretted that an entire English version, adapted to the improved taste of the present times, has not appeared. The task has, indeed, been in part executed with ability and judgment in Langhorne's translation of Plutarch's Lives: but much yet remains to be done with respect to those miscellaneous pieces commonly known under the title of his Morals. One of the most pleafing of the pieces is here presented to the public in a dress which does much credit to the translator's judgment and taste. Mr. N. has been very attentive to correctness of version, and has only allowed himself such a degree of freedom of interpretation, as was requisite for the sake of idiomatic propriety and harmonious arrangement. The difference between an elegant and a rude exhibition of the fame sentiments, every reader, who has cultivated a taite for the graces of composition, will perceive from comparing the two following versions of the same 'passage; the former from the transation by various hands published in 1694; the latter by