Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

letter of a of the stof Orangen he le

“The state of our affairs in England is wretched. Please God that it may change, and that He may give us patience in the meantime.

I am expecting soon the Marchesa Bonifacio, and from her you shall have news of all. I do not know what has become of the poor Abbé Rizzini, nor have I news of the Marchese Cattaneo. 'I finish, dear brother, in embracing you with all my heart.' *

In the following letter of a much earlier date Mary Beatrice gives news to her brother of the marriage of Mary, the daughter of James, with the Prince of Orange, a marriage destined to be fatal to the House of Stuart. The letter is a proof of the good feeling of the Duchess towards the Princess who ousted her later from the throne of England.

London, November 11, 1677. * Dear Brother, -I pray you write to me as often as you can, since your letters give me great satisfaction. The most important news we have is the marriage between the Princess Mary and the Prince of Orange, which the king caused to be published in the past week, and I think they will be married in two or three days, and then depart quietly. As for me, I am very sorry to lose her since I am very fond of her, and she certainly is a princess of great merit.

* This marriage is the reason that we have not yet taken mourning for Prince Cæsar, since it is not the custom to wear black in times of joy and marriage.

I conclude, and remain
*Your most affectionate sister,

Maria.'t The following letter was written after one of those bereavements, of which the Duchess had to suffer so many in losses of infant children :

“Dear Brother, I write this with tears in my eyes for the bad news I have to tell you of the loss of my dear son, whom it pleased God to take to Himself yesterday at midday. You can imagine in what affliction I am, and as great as was the joy which I had when he was born, so great or even greater is the pang which I feel for his loss. But we must be patient. God knows what He does : let His holy will be ever accomplished. I should have been too happy if this my son had escaped. I, praised be God, am well in health, and should have been excellently well if this affliction had not arrived. This is the first time I have been able to write, having only written to the Signora Madre to-day for the first time since the birth of my child.

"Dear brother, I do not write at length the manner of the death of my son, that it may not afflict you more now, and because I do not wish to write too much at first; but you will hear from others. For to-day I finish, and remain at heart, Your most affectionate sister,

Maria.' I * Vol. ii. p. 466.. † Vol. i. p. 202. Vol. i. p. 205.

A letter in English will show what proficiency Mary of Modena had reached in the English tongue; the orthography, it will be observed, is defective, but it is not worse, with the exception of the small i's, than that of Lord Peterborough as we here find it, and that of the majority of the people of quality of the time; and the queen, moreover, wrote French and Italian with great purity, besides being familiar with Latin.

The letter from which the following portion is taken was probably addressed to Lady Hawley.

"I shall not complaine this time that i have no letters from you, for within a very little time i have had three, in one of them you reproach me that i had not writt to you in a great while, but indeed i had been 80 long without any leter from you that to revenge myself i did not writt neither. Now i see by what you writt me now that it was not of your fault so that hear after i will writt to you as often as i can tho i doubt not it will not be so often as i could wish, for if you knew the quantity of letters i have writt in England, besides Italy and Holland, i am sure you would pïtty me, tho i do think that the greatest pleasure next to that of seeing one's friends is to writt to them, which i do with great satisfaction, and am only troubled that i have not more hands, for to be able to writt to the same body as often as i have a mind for having but one hand to writt with and so many letters i am forced to devide my friends and leave som for one post and som for the next.' (Vol. i. p. 276.)

The life of this unfortunate lady has been summed up in a few sentences by the Marchesa Campana, which will, we hope, give a favourable idea of her style, and the romantic enthusiasm which led to the compilation of these documents.

'Harassed by all kinds of adversities, her virtue never gave way and never departed from the right line. Exiled, persecuted, obliged to seek an asylum in a foreign land, she excited the admiration of Louis XIV., of the court, and of France, whom she edified by the innocence of her Life and affected by the spectacle of undeserved misfortunes. As a wife she was a model of conjugal love. Before loving her husband with affection, she constrained herself to give him the love which duty imposed upon her. She loved him even in spite of the pangs of jealousy from which she was not spared. She aided him with her counsels, surrounded him with her cares in good and bad fortune. A widow at last-she wept him to the last day of her life, and would not be consoled.

'A mother devoted to her children, she had the grief to see them all, save one, taken away from her one by one by a premature death. The only one who remained became the child of exile, the consolation, and, at the same time, the anguish of his mother, who made his destiny her chief care, and regretted only for his sake the loss of grandeur. She gave him nevertheless an education suited to the heir of a mighty throne. It was for him she battled her whole life against that implacable fatality which beset the race of Stuart.

VOL. CXXXVI. NO. CCLXXVII.

• As a Christian who had imbibed from the breast of her mother the principles of a religion which elevates the soul from earth to thoughts of immortality, she drew from unmeasured confidence in God all the force she needed to endure the asperity of her fate and the injustice of men. She could feel indignation without sin, to use a biblical expression. She gladly pardoned her enemies for having robbed her of a perishable crown; for her faith promised her another of which no one could deprive her.

She was less famous than Mary Stuart, since she had not the catastrophe of a tragic end; but she had not less to endure than that heroine of persecution.

Married for motives of state in spite of her religious aspirations, having passed through rude trials before arriving at the throne, having been raised to its summit to be thence precipitated without recall, she knew the grief of having to survive almost the whole of her family, and had to endure fresh afflictions in her widowhood. She had a court, but of unreal, borrowed, and precarious splendour; she was a queen without a sceptre, without a country, without a kingdom. The very title which was lavished on her in France only recalled too vividly the sad reality of the one she had lost in England. She had a son, calumniated from his cradle, saved by chance in his flight amid a thousand dangers; but she lived long enough to see a price set upon this cherished head, and the most illustrious partisans of his cause exposed to persecution and oppression, imprisoned, stripped of their fortune or of their life, or forced to partake with her of the bread of the stranger.' (Vol. i. pp. 8–9.)

Among other curious documents in these volumes, we may cite the papal briefs, addressed by Innocent XI. to the Duke and Duchess of York in 1697 (vol. i. pp. 302–304), advising the former to moderate the excess of his zeal in the cause of the Catholic Church, as additional proof that his unconstitutional errors were always disapproved of at Rome. Additional evidence is also to be found here of the adroit way in which the Prince of Orange contrived to attach both the Pope and the Emperor of Germany to his interests, always making professions of entire devotion to James II., until the moment arrived when he could take his place. The French alliance was, indeed, as prejudicial to the interests of James II. at the Vatican and Vienna as it was in England. But we imagine that the most novel portion of these documents will be contained in the future volumes.

racies and demame track. Mons Helps for

Art. III.-1. Thoughts upon Government. By ARTHUR

HELPS. London: 1872. 2. Des Formes de Gouvernement et des Lois qui les régissent.

Par M. HIPPOLYTE Passy, Membre de l'Institut. "Paris :

1870. ESSAYS and treatises without end have been written on the

forms of political government. One of the latest and best of these productions is the volume by M. Hippolyte Passy, which we have placed at the head of this article; for the learned author seeks not only to classify the innumerable forms which the governments of different countries have assumed-all of them, even when they bear the same name, being infinitely various and dissimilar—but he endeavours to trace out the causes of this dissimilarity. The book merits an attentive perusal. But we are grateful to Mr. Arthur Helps for not having followed in the same track. Monarchies and republics-aristocracies and democracies-afford an interminable subject of philosophical discussion; but when all is said, these distinctions do not solve the problems of civil government, which are common to all alike. Strange as it may appear, infinitely more has been written about the form of government than about its substance. The reason is that the forms assumed by the exercise of power are the tilting ground of politics. It is chiefly with reference to them that parties are constituted and party warfare carried on. In Mr. Helps' • Thoughts upon Government' the reader will seek in vain for any trace of what are commonly called 'politics. He speaks of civil government as a science and as an art. He considers its functions as not merely embracing peace and war, the administration of justice and the regulations of police, but the whole material and moral welfare of the community, as far as that depends on the action of the State: and he inquires how these vast and delicate functions can best be carried on. Like everything that proceeds from the pen of Mr. Helps, this volume is written with extreme purity of style and a candid thoughtfulness which win the confidence of the reader. He brings to the consideration of these questions a certain amount of official experience, acquired not in the contentious atmosphere of the House of Commons, but in those serener departments of government in which the greater part of the business of the nation is silently performed by men whose names are scarcely known out of Downing Street. And he discusses the subject from a point of view which is alike new and instructive

to the majority of readers. With the exception of Sir Henry Taylor's Statesman,' to which this volume may in some respects be compared, we hardly know another book in which the real mechanism of administrative government is examined with equal nicety and discernment.

To anyone who will take the trouble to reflect on the subject it will become apparent that the common and universal functions of civil government, under whatever form of political government men may be living, far surpass in magnitude and importance those functions which fall within the proper sphere of political discussion. For these functions of civil government embrace and provide for all the interests a man has as a member of society, and all the general interests of the community. Although the proper discharge of these functions is the result of a highly artificial mechanism, the perfection it has attained in a well-ordered State is shown by nothing so much

fes by their action being unperceived. Like the circulation of · the blood and the other unconscious functions of animal life, ; they go on as it were spontaneously; not until some derangement

pccurs do we estimate the importance of each portion of this - complicated machine. The more a nation advances in civilisa

tion and culture, the more various and numerous do these functions become; until nine-tenths of them are regarded as necessaries, indispensable to social life, and absolutely due from the State to the community, although perhaps not a hundred years ago a great many of them were unthought of. Let us hastily recapitulate the most obvious of these public duties.

The basis of them all is, of course, the collection, distribution, and audit of the public revenue, on which we shall have something more to say presently. Armed with the purse of the nation, the first duty of the State is to provide the material means for the defence of the country by sea and land, and for

the maintenance of order at home. The second (if it be : second), to establish and maintain the authority of the law, by

courts of justice and means of punishment for the repression of crime and for the protection of the rights of property and of personal freedom. These three departments of revenue, defence, and law are the pillars of the edifice; to which may be added the Church, but that, as it exists in this country on a basis of - independent endowment, can hardly be included within the · sphere of civil government. Without a due provision for these essential wants of society, no State can be said to exist at all. They are to be found, though with less perfection, even among barbarous nations.

But if we turn to a community like that of Britain, we shall

« ForrigeFortsett »