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In relating the events of the year 1812, our author has another opportunity for exercising his skill, in describing the festivities and rejoicings of the French people in honour of Napoleon. In April, the young king of Rome was christened, on which occasion the fountains, we are told, flowed with wine; and M. Savary takes the opportunity of observing that Maria Louisa, both now, and at all times, looked so graceful that he had no occasion to pay the populace to secure her their applause. Almost immediately after this, Napoleon took his departure for the campaign of 1812, before which Savary received instructions which, by a strange obtuseness of vision, he seems to think neutralized all the tyranny of his master. He was still to employ all his former methods of aiding the Imperial government, but he was not to imprison when there was no occasion. He was always to see justice done, but justice herself was to receive her rule of decision from the Emperor. Passing over the memorable events of the campaign which was then commencing, we come to a transaction which gave M. Savary some foretaste of the troubles which were impending. It is remarkable that, on the very day the French army evacuated Moscow, a report was spread that Napoleon was killed. In consequence of this a disaffected party took upon themselves to break down the door of the Minister of Police, arrest him in his bedchamber, and carry him off to the prison of La Force. The affair, however, soon ended by the counter-arrest of the offending parties, and the execution of fourteen of the ringleaders. It is remarked by M. Savary, that the news of the Emperor's death produced but very little apparent sensation, and that not a thought seemed directed towards his son. Napoleon found public opinion, on his return to the capital, in a very different state from that in which it had been on former similar occasions. Every one wore an air of despondency, and even his ministers partook of the general gloom and dissatisfaction. Savary himself was closely examined by his master respecting the affair of his arrest, and the conference ended by the disbanding of the paid horse and foot guards of Paris. Soon after this the author confesses means were resorted to by the Emperor, which could not be justified according to the usual rules of right government, but adds, that he must not be judged by the two last years of his reign. A council was called to consider the alternative of peace or the continuation of the war. The Arch-Chancellor, Cambacérès, declared for the former. Talleyrand would not speak out, but recommended a negotiation. The Duke de Feltre strongly urged the necessity of war, and so agreeable did the advise appear to the Emperor, that the measure was carried almost unanimously. While describing the events of the campaign, our author takes occasion to make a few observations on Madame de Stäel, no great friend of his, and whose enmity towards him seems to have considerably affected him. He attributes all her abuse of him, in her works, to a want of knowledge
of his real character and actions, and to some offence he had given to her vanity. But she had recourse to imagination, he says, while memory would furnish him with plentiful means of retaliation. She expressed a wish, it is said, to go to America, and from thence to England; but she did not, and then complained of a persecution which she need not have suffered. She treated the Emperor badly; but, adds the author, 'she could never hurt him.' Savary was not at all blind to the real state of things in France, during Napoleon's absence; and when the latter sent for the Empress to Mentz, his Minister of Police earnestly sought permission to accompany her, that he might lay before him a faithful account of what was passing in the capital. His great object in doing this, was to persuade the instant adoption of measures likely to secure a speedy peace. The answer to the request was in the negative, and M. Savary lost the opportunity of doing what would probably have been the greatest service which the Emperor could have received from one of his ministers. After Napoleon's return, he gave the same advice; and there is a real earnestness, and approach to dignity, in the manner in which this part of the Memoirs is written, which impresses the reader with a higher opinion of the author than any other portion of his work. He advised Napoleon instantly to employ the experience and abilities of Talleyrand to meet the diplomatists of the other courts, saying that he would then have the same logic, the same morals, the same religion, wherewith to oppose them.' But the whole of this conversation is so curious that we cannot resist the temptation of transcribing the conclusion in which we, for the first time, learn that it was proposed to bribe the Duke of Wellington, by a prospect of the English throne.
'The conversation, however, continued. M. de Talleyrand, who knew the object which had been aimed at by all the preceding coalitions, was not deceived respecting the views of the present. He related to me what
he said to the Emperor: "Here is your work destroyed. Your allies, by successively abandoning you, have left you no other alternative but that of treating without loss of time, treating at their expence, and at all hazards. A bad peace cannot be so fatal to us as the continuance of a war which must be unsuccessful. Time and means to recal fortune to your side are wanting, and your enemies will not allow you a moment to breathe.
"There are, however, among them different interests, which we should endeavour to bring in conflict. Private ambitions present means, of which we might avail ourselves to prepare a diversion."
"The Emperor asked him to explain himself, and M. de Talleyrand continued : "There is in England a family which has acquired a distinction favourable to the encouragement of every kind of ambition. It is natural to suppose that it possesses ambition, or at least, that by showing a disposition to second its ambition, we may excite in it the desire of elevation; and also, that there are in England a sufficient number of adventurous men to run the chances of its fortune. At all events, such a proposition could do us no harm. On the contrary, if it were listened to, it might
bring about changes which would soon place us in a state in which we would have little to repair. Another consideration is, that your allies having failed you, you can now do nothing solid, except with new men, connected from the beginning with your system."
'The Emperor listened to M. de Talleyrand, but desired him to speak out more plainly, remarking that he was always the same, and that there was no knowing what he would be at. Thus pressed, Talleyrand mentioned the Wellesley family, and said, "look at Wellington, who may be supposed to have something in view. If he submit to live on his reputation, he will soon be forgotten. He has several examples before his eyes; and a talent such as his will not be stopped so long as there is something to be desired." -vol. iii. pp. 152, 153.
Buonaparte prepared himself, as well as he was able, for the approaching storm; and the Minister of Police observes that his former advices now appeared in their true light. He, in fact, it would seem, was the only one who remained still equally devoted; and when the Prince of the Asturias, whom it would not, at that time, have been convenient to suffer much in public, had an earnest desire to ride on horseback, M. Savary proved his professional ingenuity by contriving to have every one of the prince's saddlehorses lamed. The time was a busy one. Intrigues, diplomatic conspiracies, assemblies, and councils followed one another in quick succession. The results which followed are too well known to need any detail. It is the repeated observation of the author, that had Napoleon but had two months longer to complete his measures, his empire might have been preserved. While he was absent on the frontiers he was in continual correspondence with the Empress, whose character is on this, as well as on all occasions, most highly lauded by the author. Her firmness, diligence, and devoted attachment to Napoleon, are all declared to have been in the highest degree conspicuous, and to have deserved the admiration of all who beheld them. The catastrophe of the drama soon after followed, and the Minister of Police was without a master, and France without an Emperor.
The Memoirs of the Duke of Rovigo are an interesting piece of cotemporary history. Their author is a man who had abundant opportunities of becoming acquainted with the minutest features of the Imperial government, and he possessed that kind of shrewdness which well fitted him both for an observer, and the situation to which he was appointed. In all other respects, however, he seems to have been a man of very moderate talents, easily deceived in matters of principle, and presenting a strange composition of feeling and self-interestedness in most of his actions. His book is a good representative of the character of its author. It is shrewd, garrulous, vituperative, and complimentary by turns. It is full of anecdotes and observations, which are highly entertaining to the reader, but which give a poor opinion of the wisdom of him who employs himself in telling them. He was altogether the very man
that was likely to prove useful, and to be attached, to Napoleon. He had sufficient talent of a particular kind to merit employment; sufficient warmth of nature to become faithful in extremities; and an equal quantity of vanity to make him love glory in his master, and be delighted with every circumstance that made him seem a sharer in it.
ART. VII.—Parriana; or Notices of the Rev. Samuel Parr, LL.D. Collected from various sources, printed and manuscript, and in part written by E. H. Barker, Esq., of Thetford, Norfolk. Vol. 1. 8vo, pp. 695. London: Colburn. 1828.
We have to return our best thanks to Mr. Barker for this amusing octavo. It presents the richest display the public have had for a long while, of the coxcombry and pomposity of the small fry of literature, and, although not certainly written by the brightest wits of the age, contains numerous passages, the comic effect of which it is quite impossible to resist. We request, therefore, that our readers will not be terrified by the title of the volume-as we ourselves very nearly were when we found we had again got into contact with the everlasting Doctor, of whom the trumpet of gossip has brayed so long and so vociferously, and inflicted on us already so many blasts of unparalleled emptiness. The subject, we can assure them, has assumed, in Mr. Barker's hands, a freshness of interest that is altogether surprising-and to be accounted for only by the magic power of genius, and the original and sui generis style in which it is sure to treat even the most hackneyed topics to which it deigns to direct its attention.
It is not, in fact, Dr. Parr alone that we have here. The representation Mr. Barker has given of him is rather a dramatic than a historical one-the great scholar being introduced to us in the midst of a crowd of attendant luminaries, not a few of whom are, fortunately, as entertaining personages as one could well desire to meet with. It is these subordinate characters, indeed, we confess, that are our greatest favorites throughout the piece. The humours of the Doctor himself are, to our taste, rather solemn and elaborate-and, besides, have now been described so often, that they have lost whatever attractiveness they at any time possessed; but those of the other dramatis persone to whom we allude, besides being now presented to us for the first time, have in general the merit of being perfectly natural, and are often as superlatively ridiculous as those of Shakspeare's fools themselves. The book in this way, which would have been a dull enough one had it been occupied solely with Dr. Parr, has been actually rendered very exhilarating reading upon the whole, simply by the accommodating kindness of the other very good-natured gentlemen who have consented to exhibit themselves for our gratification in its pages.
They, and the Doctor together, make a very passable farce of it indeed.
The scheme or plot, of the production, is a sufficiently simple one. Dr. Parr, while alive, seems to have possessed a peculiar attraction for the ninnies of the literary world-who, accordingly, found their way to him from all quarters as naturally as so many crows to their carrion. These worthy persons were in the habit of repaying the Doctor for his solid pudding,' by abundance of empty praise'; and he appears to have swallowed the one commodity at least as greedily as they could possibly have done the other. Nay, so highly delighted was he with their boisterous paeans that, not satisfied with dispensing to them in return his good cheer and Greek quotations, he was actually wont almost to echo their own adulation, and if they insinuated to him, by many a stare and gape of admiration, that he was something more than man, to thunder out to them in reply that, for mere men, they might rest assured they themselves were among the most extraordinary productions of the age. Now the work before us, in so far as it bears any relation to its title page, (for a great deal of it is merely about things in general,') consists of a series of gospels by these faithful disciples, touching themselves and their defunct deity, in which all the particulars of the intercourse between the parties are chronicled with the most unreserving simplicity, and the mysteries of the Hatton idolatry laid open to the gaze of the profane, with the most unaccountable disregard that can be of all the feelings and rules of conduct in reference to such matters that have been sanctioned by the practice of preceding ages. Each individual narrator gives us his own part of the performance, and is sure, at all events, to tell us enough about himself, whatever else may form the burthen of his memorabilia. Indeed, this habit of frank communication respecting themselves and their own concerns, is one of the most remarkable points of character about Mr. Barker and his associates-nor will those of our readers who have ever looked into any of the publications of the great Doctor, at whose feet they used to worship, be much at a loss to account for the origin of the propensity. Dr. Parr never thought he could entertain his readers better than by treating them to some oracular expression of his own feeling or opinions, or some anecdote, no matter how insignificant, about his private history or habits; and he seems to have bequeathed his egotism to his surviving followers who figure in the present volume, each of whom evidently imagines himself to be an object of the very first magnitude in the eye of the public, and is accordingly as pompously loquacious in the enumeration of his various personalities, as if he were describing to us the eighth wonder of the world.
Let us listen, in the first place, to the style in which Mr. Barker himself descants upon his own intellectual character, in the preface to the volume. If he had been one of a superior order of