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in his hands, no alliance however close, no convention however sacred, will be able to place bounds to his ambition.” Of the general character of his government, Mr. Harris writes thus:
“The basis of his Prussian Majesty's conduct, from the time he mounted the throne to this day, seems to have been the considering mankind in general, and particularly those over whom he was destined to reign, as beings created merely to be subservient to his will, and conducive to the carrying into execution whatever might tend to augment his power and extend his dominions. . . . . He has all along been guided by his own judgment alone, without even consulting any of his ministers or superior officers. . . . In the room of the first [religion] he has substituted superstition; in the place of the latter [morality, what is called in France sentiment ; and from hence we may in some measure account for that motley composition of barbarity and humanity which so strongly marks his character. I have seen him weep at a tragedy, known him pay as much care to a sick greyhound as a fond mother could to a favourite child; and yet the next day he has given orders for the devastating of a province, or by a wanton increase of taxes made a whole district miserable; and, what will perhaps appear still more contradictory, contribute to his own brother's death by continuing to him marks of displeasure the whole time of his last illness. Again, he is so far from being sanguinary, that he scarce even suffers a criminal to be punished capitally unless for a most notorious offence; yet the last war he gave secret orders to several of his army surgeons, rather to run the risk of a wounded soldier's dying, than by the amputation of a limb increase the number and expenses of his invalids. Thus, never losing sight of his object, he lays aside all feelings, the moment that is concerned : and, although as an individual he often appears and really is humane, benevolent, and friendly, yet the instant he acts in the royal capacity these attributes forsake him, and he carries with him desolation, misery, and persecution, wherever he goes........ His immense increase of revenue, the gigantic army he maintains, and the wonderful preponderance he bears in Europe, will, in future history, appear incredible. He found on his father's death a revenue of 13,000,000 of crowns, a treasury of 16,000,000, no debts, and an army of 50,000 men ; and, at the time, this was reckoned as the greatest effort of economy. He has now
an income of 21,000,000 of crowns, three times that sum at least in his coffers, and near 200,000 effective men. He undoubtedly owes this, in great measure, to his superior talents; yet I think we may find another cause, in the character and position of his subjects ; in general, they are poor, vain, ignorant, and destitute of principle.... Their vanity makes them think they see their own greatness in the greatness of their monarch. Their ignorance stifles in them every notion of liberty and opposition, and their want of principle makes them ready instruments to execute any orders they may receive. .... His Prussian Majesty has well known how to take advantage of this character, by keeping them at a most awful distance. They consider a word or a smile from him as a boon; and, by never rewarding them according to their merits, they are taught to believe they have no merit at all. The superior endowments nature has given him over them, and the pre-eminence which he constantly affects, makes them look up to him as a divinity, and, although they feel the rod of iron with which they are governed, yet few repine, and none venture to murmur. At those moments when he lays aside the monarch, and indulges himself in every kind of debauchery, he never suffers the instruments or partakers of these excesses to have the smallest influence over him. Some few he has rewarded ; discarded several; but left most of them in the same situation he found them.” (I, 141–144.)
The heir-presumptive to the Prussian throne had all his uncle's vices, but without a gleam of his genius. In person he was tall and robust, but without grace, and having more the air of a foot-soldier than that of a great prince; in his manners silent and reserved. Sunk to the very depths of a debauchery of the most degrading kind, he expended more than his income upon female profligates of the lowest description, and passed his life in bacchanalian revelry, in the adornment of his person," and in attention to the splendour, but not to the duties, of the parade.
Such princes were well calculated to prepare a people fitted for that out
* He kept a favourite valet de chambre, by name Espère en Dieu, constantly between Potsdam and Paris, for no other purpose than to give him the earliest information of any alteration in the fashions. I. 128.
pouring of wrath which soon afterwards so furiously descended upon them. In 1777 Mr. Harris was transferred from Berlin to St. Petersburg, where he remained for seven years, occupied during the greater part of that time in the most persevering endeavours to induce the Empress Catharine to give assistance, or at the least countenance, to Great Britain in the war with France which followed the recognition of the independence of our American colonies by that country. Mr. Harris was not merely unsuccessful, he was outwitted. The wily and profligate Empress flattered and fooled him “to the top of his bent,” making him believe that he was always on the eve of a success with which he was never rewarded, whilst Potemkin, a master of craft, used him as a sponge, throwing him aside when he had squeezed him dry. Still the mission was useful to Harris, and the letters in relation to it, here printed, are most valuable to us. The former gave him an insight into the very depths of diplomatic cunning, and the latter present to us an authentic portraiture of another of those tyrannies—they do not deserve to be termed governments —with which Europe was afflicted anterior to the French Revolution Amongst the artifices of diplomacy which Sir James (for he was knighted in 1779) lays open, is that spy system by which his opponents and he himself endeavoured to outwit each other. They bribed almost every one in his household to obtain a sight of his papers, or the temporary possession of his keys, and probably often succeeded; whilst he, on his part, adopted the same artifices towards them, although at first with something of the disgust of a novice. “I obtained the information of the conclusion of the treaty,” he writes, (I. 430,) “from the confidential secretary of Mons. Bedberodko. I trust I shall keep him to myself, since I have lost almost all my other informers by being outbid for them by the French and Prussians.... The increasing and avid corruption of this court is not to be conceived, and my enemies, not only because they divide the expense amongst them, but because their respective courts pour in money. upon them, have a great advantage over me. They are also much more adroit at this
dirty business than I am, who cannot help despising the person I corrupt.” His picture of “the interior of the court” of the Empress exceeds every thing that could be imagined of unrestrained licentiousness and dissipation. “It is one continued scene of intrigue, debauchery, iniquity, and corruption.” (I. 189). Entirely possessed by the most degrading passions, to the gratification of which Potemkin was the pander and thus maintained his authority over her, she changed her favourites without concealment and without shame whenever a new object pleased her eye; and yet this woman was addressed by the persons about her “as a being of a superior nature, and, as she goes near to think herself infallible, she expects to be approached with all the reverence due to a divinity " To the credit of Lord Stormont, Foreign Secretary in 1781, be it remarked, that he represented to Sir James Harris, who took his share in this disgusting adulation, and upon one occasion makes a kind of boast of his proficiency in it, that he “was not acting up to the character of an English minister in bestowing such fulsome incense on the Empress.” (I. 405). Sir James admits the truth of the accusation, and rests his defence upon the conduct of his adversaries, who had “here, too,” drawn him from his “ system and principles 1’’ After seven years’ service in Russia Sir James Harris was transferred to the Hague, where he was called at once into the active practice of that science in which experience had now made him an adept. The object of England was to maintain the Stadtholderate against a strong party who were desirous of converting the seven provinces into a pure republic. French gold and French intrigue were exerted on theside of “the Patriots,” the title assumed by the Dutch democrats, whilst Fngland and Prussia were anxious to maintain the existing institutions. The book before us contains valuable materials for a history of the struggle, in which Sir James Harris's conduct was that of an active, skilful, zealous, and not over-scrupulous, partisan. Judged by the diplomatic practice of that period, nothing could be more praiseworthy. For a long time the struggle seemed hopeless; but the gold of England and the sword of Prussia being thrown into the scale produced a sudden and complete success, which gloriously rewarded the exertions of Sir James Harris, and destroyed the party of “Patriots,”—a party whose chief claim to remembrance rests, as Lord Malmesbury seems to think, upon the invention of the phrase, “the majesty of the people.” (II. 219.) Sir James Harris's services upon this occasion were rewarded with an English peerage and some Prussian and Dutch honorary distinctions, after the receipt of which he returned to England, and, forsaking for a time the foreign line, gave his ancient friends the Whigs the benefit of his prudence and discretion—virtues which at that time “the party’’ seems especially to have needed. And this brings us to what will perhaps be regarded by many persons as the most directly interesting, if not the most valuable, parts of the book: 1. Sir James Harris's account of his interviews with the Prince of Wales in 1785, respecting his debts, his notion of his father’s “ hatred '' towards him, and his wild scheme for going abroad; and, 2. a diary, by Lord Malmesbury, of transactions respecting a proposed coalition between Pitt and Fox, with a view to stop the progress of revolutionary principles in 1793. The domestic interest of these papers would well excuse our dwelling upon them ; but we cannot do more than direct attention to the first, which, we will add, as the volumes have neither lindex nor Table of Contents, may be found in vol. II. p. 121 and p. 126. The Diary admits us into the secrets of the Whigs in 1793. The proposed coalition was suggested by Pitt, and was anxiously desired by all but the extreme section of the Whigs. “Mr. Fox’s coach,” to use Burke's phrase, “stopped the way.” That great idol of “the party” and the Empress Catharine declared with his accustomed fervour, that “it was so damned right a thing that it must be done;” and yet, by his general conduct and violent speeches in favour of France, he so thwarted it that Pitt erther changed his mind, or was commanded by the King to withdraw the proposal. Fox's violent and rancorous opposition, and his leaning to
wards republicanism, are here set before us in a way which will surprise many persons, and prove the real extent of the difficulties against which Pitt had to contend. Two short extracts are all we can make room for. “In speaking of France and its situation, he [Fox] spoke of it too favourably and too moderately, and prepared us very evidently for the motion he made the Saturday following for acknowledging it as a Republic, and sending an ambassador there; his principles, too, bore the strongest marks of a leaning towards Republicanism, and he expressed them almost as strongly to us collectively as he had done before to me alone at St. Anne's Hill and in St.James's Square.” (II.474.) “After this meeting had broke up, and when nobody was left but [the] Duke of Portland, Lord Rawdon, and myself, Fox came in with the speech, which he had had from the Cockpit. He disapproved it highly, and, on our telling him our determination [not to move an amendment], he said he should certainly advise another line of conduct in the House of Commons; and, on my remonstrating, he with an oath declared that there was no address at this moment Pitt could frame he would not propose an amendment to and divide the House upon.” (II. 475.) The length to which our remarks upon these volumes has extended proves, and, as we hope, justifies, our sense of their importance. They are valuable materials for the history of a period full of great moral lessons. We shall be glad to see the future selections, and trust that the noble editor will not scruple to give such papers as convey “the whole truth" in reserence to the public events of his grandfather's time. Incomplete publication is pre-eminently unwise. The truth will escape; there is no hermetical sealing by which it may be kept in. We regret to find the book deformed by a good many typographical errors; toute se suite, I. 118; vox clamantes in deserto, ibid. 542; Russian instead of Prussian, II. 221 ; his instead of this, ibid. 222; Carlise, Rawder, ibid. 475; and many others." Greater care should have been taken in a work which cannot be expected to be reprinted.
* In the introductory memoir Mr. Harris's appointment to the court of Spain is antedated twelve months.
Archaeologia, or Miscellaneous Tracts relating to Antiquity, published by the Society of Antiquaries of London. Pol. XXX. pt. 2. (Continued from p 401.)
31. Letter from Jabez Allies, Esq. F.S.A. describing a remarkable Sepulchral Vase, and other Antiquities, discovered near Scarborough, and preserved in the Scarborough Museum.
The small earthen vase which was found, together with an urn, in a tumulus at Com-Boots, sour miles N.w.. of Scarborough, is a very curious relic: it is 24 inches high, 3 inches in diameter, and is perforated by 15 perpendicular openings through its sides. It appears to us that this must have been a vessel for containing incense, and that it was probably accompanied with some other apparatus for heating and volatilizing its contents; and Sir Richard Colt Hoare, we observe, has given the same appropriation to some specimens of a similar class represented in his Ancient Wiltshire. The whole line of coast from Flamborough Head to Whitby is rich in ancient remains ; particulars of the supposed British coffin formed of an oak tree, and of its contents, sound at Gristhorpe near Scarborough, and mentioned by Mr. Allies, were fully detailed and illustrated by a plate in our Magazine for 1834, Part II. p. 632.
32. The Second Patent appointing Edward Duke of Somerset Protector, temp. King Edward the Sirth. Introduced by an Historical Review of the various measures connected therewith. In a Letter from John Gough Nichols, Esq. F.S.A.
The production of this patent is a point of no small historical value, and the history of the document has been developed by Mr. Gough Nichols, with considerable critical judgment. “Of the higher class of historians, Burnet had alone acknowledged its existence, but he had formed so inadequate and incorrect an estimate of its import that his slight notice of it has not attracted the attention of any subsequent writer.” Burnet's description of the instrument appears to be at once hasty and inaccurate.
“That these letters patent originated with the Protector may be well ima
gined. He would naturally desire the confirmation of his authority by a full court of Parliament, when his former letters patent had been signed by seven councillors only besides himself.” “But there is one clause,” Mr. Nichols shews, “which seems to countervail all the rest, and which may well have been the insertion of some potent enemy, perhaps of the ex-chancellor (Wriothesley), who has signed as Earl of Southampton, or even the subtle, and presently successful, Dudley, though personally absent.” This important clause limits the duration of the Protector’s office. The former patent had delegated it to him until the King's minority should expire, on his reaching his 18th year. The present confers it during pleasure, until the royal purpose, by sign manual under the great seal, were otherwise declared. A clause so dangerous to the duration of the Protector Somerset's office, and which doubtless must have emanated from the prospective intentions of an enemy, might well arrest the final ratification of the instrument, the enrolment of which, Mr. Nichols shews, was delayed in a mysterious way, and the great seal, in all probability, never appended. Mr. Nichols has succeeded in proving to our perfect satisfaction that this curious state document was in the possession of Sir Edward Griffin, of Dingley, Northamptonshire, Attorney-general to Edward VI. whose name is among the signatures. Hence he deduces it very clearly to the hands of its present possessor. In our estimation the recovery of this valuable historical evidence is the most acceptable fact to the practical antiquary which characterizes the portion of the Transactions of the Society under our consideration.
33. Extracts from Letters from William Roots, Esq. of Kingston-onThames, to W. R. Hamilton, V. P. &c. dated Dec. 20, 1843, and Jan. 13, 1844, respecting some relics of remote times jound in the bed of the River Thames between Kingston and Hampton Court.
We are happy to observe in this communication very strong presumptive evidence to shew the locality where Caesar really passed the Thames, as related in his Commentaries; and this corroboration of the opinion of some of our most eminent antiquaries is just now the more desirable, as a recent, and evidently venturesome, dabbler in the early history of Britain has not scrupled to affirm that Caesar’s own account of the matter was not to be credited, and that he had mistaken the Medway for the Thames; and, the better to support this hypothetical and gratuitous absurdity, the Trinovantes have been removed by the same hand from Middlesex into Kent. An able refutation of this unfounded hypothesis will be found in another place." We therefore waste no time upon it, but pass to the facts detailed by Mr. Roots, who says, “It has long been a favourite impression with me that, in accordance with the opinion of Horsley on the subject, though many writers were opposed to him, this was the spot (i. e. immediately above Kingston) at which Julius Caesar effected his passage across the Thames (b. c. 54) against the troops of Cassivelaunus: the distance from the Kentish coast, stated at eighty Roman miles, very well acords with this locality; and the great number of instruments of a warlike nature almost invariably found on the Middlesex side of the river, seem to point to the result of a well-contested conflict on that bank. It is clear too that many of the brass weapons found (and they, as may be imagined, are chiefly of that metal) seem to bear the character of what Pliny describes as as caldarium, that is, cast, and not beaten ; and this, I am told, is generally supposed to be a mark of Roman, as distinguished from barbarian fabric. Though Caesar might also have crossed, or attempted to cross, the Thames with a part of his army somewhat higher up the river, or at the “Coway Stakes,' near Chertsey, I think it is still more probable that this spot immediately above Kingston was the principal scene of the conflict on that occasion. It was early known as the old “Moreford,' or great ford of the river, and was the most likely spot to be designated at the time by the author of the Commentaries by the words, “Uno omnino loco, quð flumen pedibus, atque hoc aegrè transiri potest.' (lib. v.) I shall only trouble you further with a list and short description of the articles herewith sent. “No. 1. An iron hatchet head, very perfect and sound : the surface coated with rust, but the metal quite uninjured.
* Gent. Mag. for June, 1844, p. 600.
It was found near Surbiton, on the Middlesex side of the river, seven feet under ground, and resting in blue clay nearly two feet deep ; it lay within a few feet of the brass missile hatchets. “No. 2. Two missile hatchets, or hatchet heads, in cast brass. Some of the more recent representations of similar instruments are given in the plates 74 and 75 illustrating the volume of antiquities forming part of the Encylopédie Méthodique; and, as illustrative of the purposes to which it may be supposed they were applied, reference is made in the accompanying text, p. 32, to a passage in one of the Epistles of Sidonius, the date of which must have been about the middle of the fifth century. (See Epist. 20, lib. 4.) In describing the arms and armour borne by the young Sigimer and his barbaric followers, Sidonius says they were armed, “lanceis uncatis, missilibusque securibus dextrae refertae ;’ i. e. with spears fitted with hooks, and missile hatchets in their right hands. Some of these missile hatchetheads were also furnished with a ring or hole, by which they were suspended to the warrior's person, and serving also to recover them when thrown at an enemy; but there can be no doubt that these weapons are of a much earlier date than that of Sidonius or Sigimer. “No. 3. A brass sword blade, still very sharp at the edges and point, and requiring to be handled with caution. There are four small holes at the handle end. The length of the blade itself is fourteen inches three-eighths; its greatest width one inch and a half. The part let into the handle is two inches and a half long. “No. 4. Two iron spear-heads much corroded: one of them is ten inches long, the other eleven inches and a half long. “No. 5. A brass brooch, found in the same locality, about 18 inches in the blue clay; the spring of the tongue is as perfect as when new.” Such an accumulation of ancient military weapons, at a spot so likely to have been in Caesar's line of march when he forded the Thames, according to the statement recorded in his Commentaries, is in our view sufficient to set the long doubtful opinions of antiquaries as to the precise locality of the transaction at rest.
34. Letter from Albert Way, Esq. Director S.A. accompanying the copy of an Indenture of Lease from the Earl of Bedford to Sir William Cecill, of a portion of pasture in Covent Garden. .