« ForrigeFortsett »
The hymn of Orpheus thus :
ΗΡΑΚΛΕΣ οβριμοθυμε, μεγασθενες, Αλκιμο Τιταν, that is, “Ο potent,, magnanimous Hercules, mighty Titan!" This hymn is exceedingly sublime.
O high-soul'd Hercules, O mighty Titan!
Adversity and pain ! · M. De Gebelin has properly enough remarked that this hymn, addressed to a mortal being would be extravagant and absurd; but, addressing Hercules in the character of the sun, it abounds with beauty and propriety.
· The titles and the feasts of Hercules, moreover, (continues ont Author) evince that he represents the fun.
The Romans celebrated the eve of the calends of July, the laft day of June, as the feast of Hercules Musagetes, that is, the leader of the musēs. This fingular title given to a hero, who was never ima. gined to have the least commerce or connection with the muses, but which the Thebans had, nevertheless, given to Hercules long before the time of the Romans, shews how futile the general idea hitherto formed of him has been, and that he was to the Phænici. ans what Apollo was afterwards to the Greeks.
• The same conclusion may be drawn from the fable, which say: that Hercules disputed with Apollo the right of the tripod. This tripod, over which Apollo prefided, was no ordinary tripod. It was the year divided into three feasons, according to the oriental calendar, and which was thus said to march upon three feet. Thus calendars were made with three legs, which proceeded from the same center, and formed a kind of wheel. On each leg stood the account of one fea. son or four months; the like are to be seen on Runic monuments,
! This again proves that Apollo was substituted by the Greeks for the Phænician Hercules ; and from hence the primary idea of the latter funk out of remembrance,
• The falt-mentioned circumstances gave birth to a supposition that Hercules was more celebrated for science than for valour, and that he was a great Philosopher. But this mistake was pardonable on ac.. count of that obscurity in which the history of this hero was involved.
• If the Romans celebrated the feast of Hercules a little after the summer folitice, the Sabines in like manner kept it in the same month, the fifth of June. It was undoubtedly the same with other nations.
• This celebration of this Divinity appropriated to that feason, affords a new proof that the fun in his full force in the fign of Leo,was the genuine Hercules who triumphed over such formidable Beings, and whose course nothing could obstruct.'
With regard to THE FIRST LABOUR OF HERCULES, the Cono QUEST OF THE NEmean Lion, our Author obferves that the Lion tamed was an emblem of the earth cultivated, and answered to the toils of the labourer., The Ancients themselves tell us this. The tame lions that followed Rhea, says Varro in a remarkable passage, teach men that there is no foil which may not be subdued and ren. dered useful,
Thus we find the car of Rhea or Cybele drawn by lions, for the same reason. It is true, it is sometimes drawn by tigers; but the reafon our Author affigns for this is, in our opinion, puerile and unworthy of him :-He says it is to represent the different colours of the earth, more variegated than the skin of the tiger.
This firft labour, then, alludes to the first labours of the hurbandman, those rude and toiliome labours which alone can bring the earth into a state of cultivation.
Our Readers must be contented with these imperfect sketches of this learned and laborious work; as our limits will not al. low of further quotations.
AR T. II. Les Loisirs dy Chevalier D'Eon, &c.-The literary Amusements of
the Chevalier D'Eon de Beaumont, late Minister Plenipotentiary from the Court of France, on divers important Subjects during his Residence in England. 8vo. 14 Vols. Ainslerdam. .1774. Sold by Becket, &c. in London.
F the first and second of these volumes, which were pub.
lished a few years ago, we have already taken some cur. sory notice ; (See Rev. vol. xliii. p. 237.) but this large and important collection of what may be called National Materials, deserves a more ferious and more respectful attention. A man of letters, spirit, and taste, a man of political fagacity and courtly knowledge, conversant in the negociations, and the interests of Princes, even though he were disqualified for the latter by , soul too ingenuous for low intrigue, must yet
extremely entertaining, extremely interesting, and instructive in the claset.
This copious publication may therefore be considered as a kind of library of the knowledge of the modern world.
The first volume contains a description of Poland, and hifto. rical inquiries concerning the Province of Allace.
The second is a review of the kingdom of Naples and Sicily.
The third contains a chronological abridgment of the records of the Old Testament, and a compendium of Ecclefiaftical History.
The fourth consists of observations general and particular on Commerce, observations on Commerce and Navigation in general, reflections on the means of obtaining a knowledge of the situation or balance of Commerce, &c. observations on the Roads in France, on Silks, on Public Credit, &c. &c.
The fifth is a dissertation on the Laws and Commerce of Ruflia.
In the first of chefe dissertations, after describing the barbarous and deplorable situation of the Russian laws, in which a man might, without impunity, oblige his wife to put on a thift steeped in brandy, and then set fire to it, and let her perith in the flames, the Author proceeds to the happier era of Peter the Great :
Such, says he, was the fituation of Rusia when Peter the firft ascended the throne. He passed the early part of his reign in cultivating, as much as circumstances would permit, the Sciences, for which he had a natural taste. He then travelled into foreign countries, and, on his return, he found fufficient employment in the war between his own State and the Kingdoms of Sweden and Poland.
· This rupture laid him ander the neceflity of attending to military business and making soldiers, and to this he applied himself alto gether.
Well knowing that the example of a Prince is the best leffon for - his subjects, he not only attended his army in person, but went fo effe&tually about the business of regulating military discipline, that he submiited to it himself. Such regulations and such a conduct could not but produce the happiest effects. He had foon the fatis. faction of seeing emulation diffuse itself through the Nobility, and of finding himself followed by his Nobles to those wars which they had formerly left to the decision of their vaffals.
It is matter of surprise, that in the midst of those etablishments which required such a variety of attention, this creative genias did nothing towards effecting those changes, which he found indispenfably necessary in the political department, and in the adminiftration of justice. This Monarch, who with all the qualities of the hero united the most profound policy and fagacity, though inwardly convinced, that the evils which injustice brings upon a State are much more to be dreaded than those of the most fanguinary war, saw with regret that he must wait for a proper time to realfy his Courts of
Juftice, Justice, if he would not do it at the hazard of his kingdom. After triomphing over his enemies, after enlarging his empire, after filling the world with the glory of his name and arms, this great Prince considered himself only as in the midt of his career to that immor. tality after which he aspired; and to the title of the CONQUEROR, his first ambition was to add that of LEGISLATOR,
• In 1698, he fewed his influence with the people by engaging them to adopt the cuftom, prevalent in other European nations, of beginning the year with the month of January, which, with them, had usually commenced in September. But this was an inconsiderable reform. In 1711, he fhewed both his power and his wisdom more effectually by striking at the vices of legislation.
• He conftituted a Senate, over which he presided himself, and which, in his absence, was charged with the adminiftration both of public and private business, of which an account was to be rendered at his return. Sensible that the new disposicions he wanted to make in this department of adminiftration would meet with great difficulties, instead of lessening the power of the Court of Boyards, he abo. lished it entirely, and composed a new tribunal of men of knowledge and integrity, on whom he could depend, without any, regard to rank or birth, which had been the objects of all his Predecessors.
• After the year 1714 excellent laws were established through all the departments of government, among which were several that he had either written or di&ated himself; particularly on the admini: stration of justice, on military discipline, and the education of youth.
• Whatever defects he found in the Oulogeny, whilft he was.dea -firous at once to put an end to disorder, he allowed it all its rights by premifing that the conftitution of his predecessors, or the arrets of Sovereigo Courts, which had since intervened, deserved to be attended to no farther than they were conformable to the original code published by Alexis. This was the ready way to abolish all the abuses which arbitrary power might introduce into the Courts of Justice, He declared for a new edition of the Oulogeny, in which the subsequent decisions of cases should be annexed to each article to make a more complete code, at least one that should serve as a rule, till time would permit the obvious defects to be rectified. This work was accomplished in 1720, but remained in M. S. under the title of Swodnoe Oulogenie, or the Concordance of the Laws.
• As he had too much penetration to be ignorant that the compilation of a Code, such as he wished it to be required a good deal of çime, and the alittance of men conversant in the practice of the law's to attend the execution of it, he availed himself of the interval which the dispositions he had taken allowed, to publish divers ordinances relative to the great end he proposed to accomplish.
• He inftitated the Office of Attorney General, and appointed him four Afiftants for the business of goveroment; also a certain number of subordinate officers of the same denominacion, to be settled in the several governments and even in the towns. These had orders to lodge informations of all crimes and misdemeanors that might hap. pen in their department, either contrary to the laws, or prejudicial to the State.
• He regulated the fuceeflions of families, and as he had much at heart their preservacion, he made use of the means which he had seen practised in England, to keep his Nobility in their genuine luftre and purity. He ordained that the real estates of the deceased parents should not be divided in equal portions among their children, but that they should descend to one of the fons, or, in default of fuch, to one of the daughters : leaving to the father or the mother, or the survivor of these, the right of chusing, among the boys, if there were more than one, or among the daughters, if there were no fons; him or her whom they should think proper to appoint che heir, And, if the parents died without making these dispositions, the right of seniority regulated the inheritance.
· This Ordinance had another end, which was to oblige the younger fons, or those who were not called to the facceflion, to devote themselves entirely to the military life, or to make their for, tunes by applying themselves to politics or commerce. Afterwards, by the regulation of the sale of eftates, it is faid that the younger children, or those who were excluded from succession, could not pur. chase their family ehates, till after a limited time of military service, and that those who had indolently refused to bear arms, could never be admitted.
• To perpetuate the great families, he ordained that when the last heir male should be without issue, he might convey his fortune to a person of the other sex, provided the were of the same family, but on condition that the husband should take upon him the name of the family, from which the estate descended, that it might not be extinct. We have seen fererat inftances in the branches of Golowkin, Romandanowsky, Balck, Polet, and others. There was reason to foresee that this meafure would produce the effect the great Monarch had promised himself. But that general liberty which parents had of chufing their successors indifferently, occafioned, afterwards, such confufion and cabals, that the Empress Ann was persuaded in the year 2731
to put the order of succeffion on the ancient footing. • The Ordinance which Peter I. caused to be published the 24th of December 17.14 against the corruption of the Judges, is one of those that merit the highest attention. The different Coostications made after the publication of the Oulogeny had opened to the Judges a large field for the gratification of their avarice : And this evil, lo dangerous to the State, had gained imperceptibly on all manner of bufiness, insomuch that the greatest part of it was transacted entirely by the spirit of Party, and it was well known that justice would be knocked down to the best bidder. The Prince, defrous to ftrike as the root of a custom at once so scandalous and so pernicious, forbade the Judges and all others who were in any official capacity to take the least consideration from the client on any pretext whatever : he likewise forbade the client to attempt to corrupt the Judge, and the pains and penalties on the person convicted either of giving or receiving a bribe, were death and confiscation of goods. The Judges were to content themselves with the emoluments which the Prince had been pleafed to annex to their appointments; and that none of those, who came of course and as their turn to the Judicial Offices, might excuse himself through ignorance of that regulation, it was