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ate, that in regard to industry, to bodily labour, the Dutch are unexampled. This is their true charader; and not that they have fertile imaginations,' or that they are encouragers of genius and the liberal arts. With a word or two on the subject of a Durchman's feelings; or perhaps, as we should rather say, if agreeing in opinion with this writer, his total want of them, we hall close the present article,

No people possess more of that intellectual happiness which arises from equanimity. Though it be not absolutely the superlative de. gree of felicity, yet, considering that it is less liable to interruption from the casualties incident to human nature, it is on that account a fituation far preferable to it. We fall probably find, on a due examination, that a state of tranquillity, equally exclusive of the excesses of joy or of grief, is, from the vigour and stability which it confers on the faculties, far more eligible than a condition admicting alternately of much pleasure and much pain; as the frequent vicillitudes of both cannot fail to harass and convulse the soul, and greatly disturb the economy of our whole system.'

A very extraordinary argument ! Such men, in our opinion, are little betier than machines :- for what is the value of fimple existence? Where is the dignity, the excellence of human nature, if we are thus to be loft in apathy? --if we are weakly to indulge this drowsiness; this morbific neepiness of soul?' No! - Teach us, kind Heaven! to feel another's woe," -and grant us at the same time the power, the enviable power, of alleviating it. The author farther remarks~ The Dutch are ftrict observers of the precept, which Horace, who was a com.petent judge of life, lays down as the prime rule of beatitude. Nil admirari prope res est una, fola que que poflit facere et fervare beatum. Not to admire, an art but little known, is get the only way to attain and preserve happiness.'

The poet means nor that this should be considered as a rule. On the contrary, it is evidently given by way of sarcasm. He says that not to admire,' not to be moved at any thing, is the way to be happy; or rather, not to be unhappy-for in such a fate of mind there can be nothing but a negative kind of happiness. Nil admirari is according to the doctrine of the Stoics. Horace was an Epicurean. He is continually laughing at the ftoical philosophy, and we are persuaded that he does so here ;--yet as the epiitle from which the quotation is made, is partiy ferious and parily ironical, the lines are generaily misunderitood.

We must, in conclufion, observe, that the writer of this performance, although profesiedly the encomiaft of the Hollanders, has yet set forth their several failings with a tolerable degree of fairness. We have only to regret inat by a sort of palliation, a sophistical kind of reasoning, those very failings are intended to be imposed on us as virtues.

K

On

Rev. Feb. 1789

TH!

On the nature of government among the Dutch, and theit administration of public affairs, our author expatiates with diffufive approbation; and we hope that the several members of the States will, by the mildness of their future proceedings, continue to deserve the commendation which he has beftowed on them.

A.B.
Art. VII. Original Anecdotes of Peter the Great, collected from the

Conversation of several Persons of Distinction at Petersburgh and
Moscow. By Mr. Stæhlin, Member of the Imperial Academy at
Petersburgh. 8vo. 6s. Boards. Murray. 1788.
HESE anecdotes were lightly noticed in our account

of Foreign Literature (Rev. vol. lxxiii. p. 454) on their first appearance at Leipfic, in 1785. In the preface to this English translation, we are informed that Mr. Siæblin being invited (from Dresden) to Petersburgh in 1735, to fill a feat in the Academy of Sciences, his letter of recommendation from Count Bruhl, to the Count of Lynar, the Polish envoy to Ruffia, introduced him to many persons of distinction who had served under the Czar Peter, and had been much about his perfon. These noblemen, knowing his intention of collecting anecdotes of their illustrious matter, readily encouraged him, and communicated whatever had come to their knowlege. His opportunities for twenty years, were increased by his appointment as tutor to the Great Duke, Peter Feodorowitsch, and to that of librarian, on his marriage.

The preface to this translation seems to have been begun by the translator, who quotes the above particulars from Mr. Sræblin's preface; but by a degree of inattention which appears disguftful, after the marked quotation is finished, the preface goes on, and concludes, in the person of the original collector, in, stead of being resumed by the pen that first addressed the reader.

As Mr. Stæhlin collected these detached anecdotes expressly for publication, it were to be wilhed, even though there was no intention to form a biographical narrative from them, that they had undergone some mode of arrangement; either, as near as could be, according to the order of time when they happened, that we might have traced the progress of so extraordinary a character, or to have been so classed according to their subjects, that we might have viewed the character of Peter in its various parts ; religious, political, domestic, &c. But they appear to be recorded juft as they happened to be received, with no more regard to arrangement than the materials of a jeft-book. Who for instance, after reading a narrative of the Czar's death, would expect, several pages following, to meet with circumstances atunding his birth? who indeed would not racher Baye parted altogether with the latter, which consist mostly of astrological predictions ?

Taking them however as we find them, they form an entertaining fund of materials to illustrate the character of the great personage to whom they relate. In Peter, we see a bold, vigorous, and enterprising genius, born in a rude country, bursting through the deficiencies of education, and all the decorums of state, many of which he did not know, and all of which he disregarded ; to pursue his own extensive schemes, and to gratify his private humours. Had he isued all his orders from amid the formalities of a court, and never laid aside the prince, he never could have realized his grand conceptions, nor have made ro speedy an importation of arts and civil manners into a country where they were total strangers, and have taught them to such reluctant scholars. Mr. Stæblin furnishes a particular instance of bis anxiety to know the opinion formed of him in other countries :

• The Czar was too clear-fighted not to discover the opinion entertained of himself, his government, and his new establishments, in his own dominions; but he was desirous of knowing the sentiments of foreign nations, and loft no opportunity of obtaining this information.

*N. N. Ambassador from Russia to a court of Europe, on his re. turn to Petersburgh some time before the end of the Swedish war, seot immediately to inform the Emperor of his arrival, and received directions to go to the palace about noon, at the breaking up of the council. He obeyed, and was very graciously received by the Czar, who invited him to dinner.

• Peter aked him many questions concerning the affairs, the fituation, and the government of the country in which he had resided. During the whole time they were at table, the conversation turned only on this subject. At length the Czar asked him in a friendly way, what was the opinion entertained of him abroad?

“ Sire, every one has the highest and best opinion of your Ma. jefly. The world is astonished above all at the wisdom and genius you discover in the execution of the vast designs which you have conceived, and which have spred the glory of your name to the most dife tant regions."~" Very well," replied the Czar, “ very well, that may be ; but flattery says as much of every king when he is present. My object is not to see the fair fide of things ; but to know what judgment is formed of me on the opposite side of the question. I beg you to tell it me, whatever it may be ; for I am not to learn that foreigners examine my conduct in every point of view, and speak so freely of me, that you cannot be ignorant of their opinion. In short, I wish to know if it be the same that I have often heard, and if you speak to me fincerely ?"

“ Sire,” said the ambassador, making a low bow, “ fince you order me, I will relate to you all the ill I have heard. You pass for an imperious and severe master, who treats his subjects rigorously, who is always ready to punish, and incapable of forgiving a fault."

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At these words the Czar interrupted him with a smile-“ No, my friend,” said he ; “ no, this is not all: you will not tell me what you have heard. I am represented as a cruel tyrant: this is the opinion foreign nations have formed of me; but how can they judge? They do not know the circumstances I was in at the be ginning of my reign ; how many people opposed my designs, counteracted my most useful projects, and obliged me to be severe : but I never treated any one cruelly, nor ever gave proofs of tyranny. On the contrary, I have always asked the alistance of such of my subjects as have shewn marks of intelligence and patriotism, and who, doing justice to the recitude of my intentions, have been disposed to second them; nor have I ever failed to testify my gratitude by loading them with favours.”

The public character of Peter is by this time generally known : but the chief value of these anecdotes, is where they give us scenes in his private life. The following particulars are of this class :

· The Czar, excited by natural curiosity, and his love for the sciences, took great pleasure in seeing dissections and chirurgical operations. It was him who made these arts known in Russia. He was fo fond of them, that he was informed whenever any thing of this kind was going on in the hospitals, or other places in the vicinity of his residence, and seldom failed to be present if he had time. He frequently lent his adiftance, and had acquired sufficient skill to dissect according to the rules of art, to bleed, draw teeth, and perform other operations, as well as one of the faculty. It was an occupation in which he liked to employ himself for the sake of practice ;, and he always carried about with him, besides his case of mathematical instruments, a pouch well stocked with inftruments of furgery.

Having heard that Mrs. Borst, the wife of a Dutch merchant, with whom he was well acquainted, was ill of a dropsy, and that she would not consent to be tapped, which was the only means of cure left, he went to see her, prevailed on her to submit to the operation, and performed it himself with a great deal of dexterity.

The following day his patient grew better; but tapping haying been too long deferred, she died a few days after, as the phyficians bad predicted, and the Czar attended at her funeral, which was conducted with much pomp.

• He once exercised his dexterity with laughable circumstances, on the wife of one of his valets-de-chambre, who was a little given to gallantry, and whose hosband wished to be revenged.

Perceiving the husband, whose name was Balboiarof, fitting in the anti-chamber with a sad and peosive countenance, he aked him what was the cause of his sorrow ? _“ Nothing, Sire,” answered, Balboiarof, “ except that my wife refuses to have a tooth drawn which gives her the most agonising pain.”-“Let me speak to her,” replied the Czar, “ and I warrant I'll cure her.”

He was immediately conducted by the husband to the apartment of the fupposed fick person, and made her fit down that he might examine her mouth, although the protested that nothing ailed her. This is the mischief," laid the husband; "the always pretends

not to suffer when we wish to give her ease, and renews her lamentations as soon as the physician is gone."--" Well, well,” said the Czar, “The shall not suffer long. Do you hold her head and arms.”—Then taking out a tooth instrument, he drew, in spite of her cries, the tooth which he judged to be the cause of her complaint, with admirable address and promptitude.

• Hearing a few days after, from some of the Empress's houshold, that nothing had really been the matter with the woman, and that it was only a trick of her husband, he sent for him, and, after having made him confess the whole, chastised bim severely with his own hands."

The following anecdote is added, as the sequel of the above ftory of the tapping for the dropsy :

When the Dutch merchant's wife, whom the Czar had tapped with so much skill, was buried, the monarch was present at the funeral ceremony, confounded with the greatest part of the merchants and sea-faring people, of the same nation, then at Petersburgh. After the burial, he returned with the company to sup at the house of the deceased, according to the custom of the country.

When the guests had drank rather largely, and it was the turn of one of the youngest at table to give his toast, he kept the cup by him for a moment while he deviled a compliment proper to drink to the health of the Czar. Then taking up the cup, filled to the brim, he rose, gave the lid to a man advanced in years fitting befide him, and turning towards the Emperor, cried out, “ Long live my lord Peter the Great, and my lady, the Empress, his wife.

This compliment displeasing him who held the lid, he rose suddenly—“ Are you mad, young man ?” said he, taking up the cup; " is this the way to speak ? let me give the coast, as you know nothing of the matter.”' He then turned towards the Czar, and bowe ing with a serious and formal air, drank his health thus-“ Long live your Majesty my lord the Emperor Peter, and her Excellency my lady the Empress, your spouse.'

The company could not refrain laughing; and the Czar, much diverted with the ridiculous solemnity of the good Dutchman, anSwered graciously, “ Bravo, my friend, I thank you."

Surgery, however, was but one of his profefions; all the world knows he was a soldier and a sailor, bụt he was also a blacksmith.

• Peter the Great, desirous of forming useful establishments in his dominions, and of encouraging those already existing, visited the different workshops and manufactories with much asliduity. Among others that he visited frequently, were the forges of Muller at Istia, on the road to Kalouga, at ninety werlts distance from Moscow. He once passed a whole month there, during which time he drank chaly beate waters; and after having given due attention to the affairs of the state, which he never neglected, he amused himself noc only with seeing and examining every thing in the most minute manner, but also with putting his hand to the work, and learning the business of a blacksmith. He succeeded so well, that one of the last days of this excursion he forged alone eighteen poods of iron (the pood is equal to forty pounds), and put his own particular mark

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