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Title: A View of Society and Manners in France, Switzerland, and Germany, Volume II (of 2) - With Anecdotes Relating to Some Eminent Characters
Author: Moore, John
Language: English
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FRANCE, SWITZERLAND, AND GERMANY, VOLUME II (OF 2)***


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                                    A
                                  VIEW
                                   OF
                           SOCIETY AND MANNERS
                                   IN
                          FRANCE, SWITZERLAND,
                              AND GERMANY:

                                  WITH
             ANECDOTES relating to some EMINENT CHARACTERS.

                          BY JOHN MOORE, M. D.

                                VOL. II.

          Strenua nos exercet inertia: navibus atque
          Quadrigis petimus bene vivere. Quod petis, hic est.

                                                            HOR.

                     The FOURTH EDITION, Corrected.

      LONDON: Printed for W. STRAHAN; and T. CADELL, in the Strand,
                               MDCCLXXXI.



CONTENTS OF THE SECOND VOLUME.


                             LETTER L. p. 1.

    _Conversation with a foreigner concerning the English nation._

                            LETTER LI. p. 17.

    _Inns at Frankfort.—Table d’hôte.—French.—English.—German
    women._

                           LETTER LII. p. 25.

    _Collections of paintings.—Cabinets of natural
    curiosities.—Contrast of character between the French and
    Germans, illustrated by their postillions._

                           LETTER LIII. p. 33.

    _Court of Cassel._

                           LETTER LIV. p. 41.

    _The Landgrave.—His troops.—The officers.—A brilliant action by
    Marechal Laudohn.—French comedy.—Courtiers._

                            LETTER LV. p. 51.

    _City of Cassel.—Palaces.—Academy.—Colonade.—Noble cascade at
    Wasenstein._

                           LETTER LVI. p. 61.

    _Journey from Cassel to Brunswic by Gottingen.—The reigning
    Duke of Brunswic Wolfenbuttle.—The Duchess.—Duke Ferdinand.—The
    Hereditary Prince and Princess.—Prince Leopold and his
    sister.—Duke Ferdinand’s villa._

                           LETTER LVII. p. 70.

    _The town of Brunswic.—Saved by Prince Frederic.—Academy at
    Brunswic.—Wolfenbuttle.—Saltzdahlen.—Mr. de Westphalen._

                          LETTER LVIII. p. 80.

    _German nobility fond of masquerades.—Etiquette.—Prince Leopold
    goes to Vienna, which awakens his mother’s grief for the death
    of his brothers._

                           LETTER LIX. p. 87.

    _Zell.—The Queen of Denmark.—Benevolent conduct of the Princess
    of Brunswic.—Hanover.—The troops.—The military ardour of a
    corpulent general officer.—Hernhausen._

                            LETTER LX. p. 97.

    _The violent passion for literature of a court lady at
    Brunswic.—-Field Marechal Sporken.—George II._

                           LETTER LXI. p. 107.

    _Death of the Queen of Denmark.—Magdeburg.—Brandenburg._

                          LETTER LXII. p. 116.

    _Potsdam.—Troops in private houses, not in barracks.—The
    palace.—The King’s study.—His wardrobe.—The ruling passion of
    the late King._

                          LETTER LXIII. p. 128.

    _Sans-Souci.—The collection of pictures.—The King’s taste
    criticized by a connoisseur.—The new palace._

                          LETTER LXIV. p. 133.

    _Reviews at Berlin._

                           LETTER LXV. p. 143.

    _Prussian discipline._

                          LETTER LXVI. p. 150.

    _Prussian troops remain in the same garrisons.—The effect of
    the discipline on the characters of the officers, and of the
    men.—Reflections._

                          LETTER LXVII. p. 159.

    _Sentiments of a Prussian officer on discipline.—Story of an
    English sailor._

                         LETTER LXVIII. p. 169.

    _Berlin._

                          LETTER LXIX. p. 178.

    _The Queen’s court.—French manners prevail at
    Berlin.—Matrimonial felicity._

                           LETTER LXX. p. 187.

    _Freedom of discourse at Berlin.—Some touches of the King’s
    character.—Licentious manners._

                          LETTER LXXI. p. 193.

    _The licence of the press._

                          LETTER LXXII. p. 204.

    _King of Prussia’s œconomy.—Taxes.—The army.—Singular motives
    for a murder.—An execution._

                         LETTER LXXIII. p. 214.

    _Journey to Mecklenburg Strelitz.—The reigning Duke and
    his sister.—The Duchy of Mecklenburg.—Preparations for
    entertainments at Sans-Souci._

                          LETTER LXXIV. p. 226.

    _Theatrical entertainments.—The tragedy of Oedipus._

                          LETTER LXXV. p. 235.

    _The King of Prussia.—His conversation with the D—— of H——._

                          LETTER LXXVI. p. 244.

    _The King of Prussia._

                         LETTER LXXVII. p. 257.

    _Lord Marechal.—The Hereditary Prince of Prussia._

                         LETTER LXXVIII. p. 266.

    _Difficulty of deserting from Prussian garrisons.—The King’s
    valet-de-chambre._

                          LETTER LXXIX. p. 273.

    _Manufactory of porcelain at Berlin.—Journey to
    Dresden.—Electoral court.—Museum.—Gallery of pictures._

                          LETTER LXXX. p. 282.

    _Sufferings of Dresden during last war.—Saxon troops._

                          LETTER LXXXI. p. 290.

    _Prague.—Piety of the inhabitants.—St. Nepomuc.—An Irish
    priest.—A popular commotion_.

                         LETTER LXXXII. p. 300.

    _Vienna.—The court._

                         LETTER LXXXIII. p. 310.

    _The Countess Thune.—Her character.—The advantages which the
    English may enjoy at Vienna.—Prince Kaunitz._

                         LETTER LXXXIV. p. 317.

    _A character.—Reflections on the English, French, and Germans._

                          LETTER LXXXV. p. 328.

    _An entertainment on the top of Mount Calenberg.—A convent of
    Monks.—Spiritual gallantry._

                         LETTER LXXXVI. p. 335.

    _Manners.—A lady’s distress.—An indulgent husband._

                         LETTER LXXXVII. p. 342.

    _Presburg.—A Hungarian villa._

                        LETTER LXXXVIII. p. 350.

    _The palace and gardens of Estherhasie.—The Hungarians._

                         LETTER LXXXIX. p. 359.

    _Reflections on gaming.—Effect of great wealth on indolent
    minds.—English, German, French characters.—Utility of a taste
    for letters._

                           LETTER XC. p. 373.

    _Feast of St. Stephen.—Annual ceremony in commemoration of the
    defeat of the Turks by Sobieski.—Masquerade at Schonbrun._

                           LETTER XCI. p. 382.

    _The Emperor._

                          LETTER XCII. p. 394.

    _Prince Lichtenstein.—Hunting party._

                          LETTER XCIII. p. 403.

    _Austrian army.—Peasants of Bohemia.—Reflections._

                          LETTER XCIV. p. 412.

    _Sentiments of an Austrian lady on religion._

                           LETTER XCV. p. 421.

    _Idolatry of Roman Catholics._

                          LETTER XCVI. p. 428.

    _Sentiments of foreigners on the disputes between Great Britain
    and her Colonies.—English opinions respecting foreigners.—Hints
    to a young traveller._



[Illustration]



A VIEW OF SOCIETY AND MANNERS

IN

France, Switzerland, and Germany.



[Illustration]



LETTER L.


                                                               Frankfort.

DEAR SIR,

Since my return from Darmstadt, the weather has been so very bad, that
I have passed the time mostly at home. That I may obey your injunctions
to write regularly at the stated periods, I will send you the substance
of a conversation I had within these few days with a foreigner, a man of
letters, with whom I am in a considerable degree of intimacy.

This gentleman has never been in England, but he speaks the language
a little, understands it very well, and has studied many of our best
Authors. He said, that he had found in some English books, a solidity of
reasoning, and a strength of expression, superior to any thing he had met
with elsewhere;—that the English history furnished examples of patriotism
and zeal for civil liberty, equal to what was recorded in the Greek or
Roman story;—that English poetry displayed a sublimity of thought, and a
knowledge of the human heart, which no writings, ancient or modern, could
surpass; and in philosophy it was pretty generally allowed, that the
English nation had no rival.—He then mentioned the improvements made by
Englishmen in medicine and other arts, their superiority in navigation,
commerce, and manufactures; and even hinted something in praise of a
few English statesmen. He concluded his panegyric by saying, that these
considerations had given him the highest idea of the English nation, and
had led him to cultivate the acquaintance of many Englishmen whom he had
occasionally met on their travels. But he frankly acknowledged, that his
connection with these had not contributed to support the idea he had
formed of their nation.

As I had heard sentiments of the same kind insinuated by others, I
replied at some length, observing, that if he had lived in the most
brilliant period of Roman grandeur, and had accidentally met with a few
Romans in Greece or Asia, and had formed his opinion of that illustrious
commonwealth from the conduct and conversation of these travellers,
his ideas would, in all probability, have been very different from
those which the writings of Livy, Cæsar, Cicero, and Virgil, had given
him of the Roman people:—That the manners and behaviour of the few
English he might have met abroad, so far from giving him a just view of
the character of the whole nation, very possibly had led him to false
conclusions with regard to the character of those very individuals. For
that I myself had known many young Englishmen who, after having led a
dissipated, insignificant kind of life while on their travels, and while
the natural objects of their ambition were at a distance, had changed
their conduct entirely upon their return, applied to business as eagerly
as they had formerly launched into extravagance, and had at length become
very useful members of the community.

But, continued I, throwing this consideration out of the question, the
real character of a people can only be discovered by living among them
on a familiar footing, and for a considerable time. This is necessary
before we can form a just idea of any nation; but perhaps more so
with respect to the English, than any other: for in no nation are the
education, sentiments, and pursuits of those who travel, so different
from those of the people who remain at home.

The first class is composed of a few invalids, a great many young men
raw from the university, and some idle men of fortune, void of ambition,
and incapable of application, who, every now and then, saunter through
Europe, because they know not how to employ their time at home.

The second class is made up of younger brothers, who are bred to the
army, navy, the law, and other professions;—all who follow commerce,
are employed in manufactures, or farming;—and, in one word, all who,
not being born to independent fortunes, endeavour to remedy that
inconveniency by industry, and the cultivation of their talents.

England is the only country in Europe whose inhabitants never leave it in
search of fortune. There are, moderately speaking, twenty Frenchmen in
London for every Englishman at Paris. By far the greater part of those
Frenchmen travel to get money, and almost all the English to spend it.
But we should certainly be led into great errors, by forming an idea of
the character of the French nation from that of the French fiddlers,
dancing-masters, dentists, and valet-de-chambres to be met with in
England, or other parts of Europe.

The gentleman acknowledged, that it would be unfair to decide on the
French character from that of their fiddlers and dancing-masters;
but added, that he did not perceive that the English could reasonably
complain, should foreigners form an opinion of their national character
from the men of fortune, rank, and the most liberal education of their
island.

I answered, they certainly would, because young men of high rank and
great fortune carry a set of ideas along with them from their infancy,
which very often disappoint the purposes of the best education.—— Let
a child of high rank be brought up with all the care and attention the
most judicious parents and matters can give;—let him be told, that
personal qualities alone can make him truly respectable;—that the
fortuitous circumstances of birth and fortune afford no just foundation
for esteem;—that knowledge and virtue are the true sources of honour
and happiness;—that idleness produces vice and misery;—that without
application he cannot acquire knowledge;—and that without knowledge he
will dwindle into insignificance, in spite of rank and fortune:—— Let
these things be inculcated with all the power of persuasion; let them be
illustrated by example, and insinuated by fable and allegory;—yet, do we
not daily see the effect of all this counteracted by the insinuations of
servants and base sycophants, who give an importance to far different
qualities, and preach a much more agreeable doctrine?——

They make eternal allusions in all their discourse and behaviour to the
great estate the young spark is one day to have, and the great man he
must be, independent of any effort of his own. They plainly insinuate,
if they do not directly say it, that study and application, tho’ proper
enough for hospital boys, is unnecessary, or perhaps unbecoming a man of
fashion. They talk with rapture of the hounds, hunters, and race-horses
of one great man; of the rich liveries and brilliant equipage of another;
and how much both are loved and admired for their liberality to their
servants. They tell their young master, that his rank and estate entitle
him to have finer hounds, horses, liveries and equipage than either, and
to be more liberal to his servants; and consequently a greater man in
every respect. This kind of poison, being often poured upon the young
sprouts of fortune and quality, gradually blasts the vigour of the
plants, and renders all care and cultivation ineffectual.

If we suppose that domestics of another character could be placed about
a boy of high rank, and every measure taken to inspire him with other
sentiments; he cannot stir abroad, he cannot go into company without
perceiving his own importance, and the attention that is paid to him.
His childish pranks are called spirited actions; his pert speeches are
converted into bon mots; and when reproved or punished by his parent or
master, ten to one but some obsequious intermeddler will tell him that he
has suffered great injustice.

The youth, improving all this to the purposes of indolence and vanity,
arrives at length at the comfortable persuasion, that study or
application of any kind would in him be superfluous;—that he ought only
to seek amusement, for at the blessed age of twenty-one, distinction,
deference, admiration, and all other good things will be added unto him.

A young man, on the other hand, who is born to no such expectations, has
no sycophants around him to pervert his understanding;—when he behaves
improperly, he instantly sees the marks of disapprobation on every
countenance:—He daily meets with people who inform him of his faults
without ceremony or circumlocution.—He perceives that nobody cares for
his bad humour or caprice, and very naturally concludes that he had best
correct his temper.—He finds that he is apt to be neglected in company,
and that the only remedy for this inconveniency will be the rendering
himself agreeable.—He loves affluence, distinction, and admiration, as
well as the rich and great; but becomes fully convinced that he can never
obtain even the shadow of them, otherwise than by useful and ornamental
acquirements. The truth of those precepts, which is proved by rhetoric
and syllogism to the boy of fortune, is experimentally felt by him who
has no fortune; and the difference which this makes, is infinite.

So that the son of a gentleman of moderate fortune has a probability of
knowing more of the world at the age of sixteen, and of having a juster
notion of people’s sentiments of him, than a youth of very high rank at
a much more advanced age; for it is very difficult for any person to find
out that he is despised while he continues to be flattered.

So far, therefore, from being surprised that dissipation, weakness and
ignorance, are so prevalent among those who are born to great fortunes
and high rank, we ought to be astonished to see so great a number of
men of virtue, diligence and genius among them as there is. And if the
number be proportionably greater in England than in any other country,
which I believe is the case, this must proceed from the impartial
discipline of our public schools; and the equitable treatment which boys
of the greatest rank receive from their comrades. Sometimes the natural,
manly sentiments they acquire from their school companions, serve as an
antidote against the childish, sophistical notions with which weak or
designing men endeavour to inspire them in after-life.

The nature of the British constitution contributes also to form a greater
number of men of talents among the wealthy and the great, than are to be
found in other countries; because it opens a wider field for ambition
than any other government;—and ambition excites those exertions which
produce talents.

But, continued I, you must acknowledge that it would be improper to form
a judgment of the English genius, by samples taken from men who have
greater temptations to indolence, and fewer spurs to application than
others.

My disputant still contested the point, and asserted that high birth gave
a native dignity and elevation to the mind;—that distinctions and honours
were originally introduced into families by eminent abilities and great
virtues;—that when a man of illustrious birth came into a company, or
even when his name was mentioned, this naturally raised a recollection
of the great actions and shining qualities of the eminent person who
had first acquired those honours;—that a consciousness of this must
naturally stimulate the present possessor to imitate the virtues of his
ancestors;—that his degenerating would subject him to the highest degree
of censure, as the world could not, without indignation, behold indolence
and vice adorned with the rewards of activity and virtue.

I might have disputed this assertion, that honours and titles are always
the rewards of virtue; and could have produced abundance of instances of
the opposite proposition. But I allowed that they often were so, and that
hereditary honours in a family always ought to have, and sometimes had,
the effect which he supposed: but these concessions being made in their
fullest extent, still he would do injustice to the English, by forming
a judgment of their national character from what he had observed of the
temper, manners, and genius of those Englishmen with whom he had been
acquainted in foreign countries; because three-fourths of them were, in
all probability, men of fortune, without having family or high birth
to boast of; so that they had the greatest inducements to indolence,
without possessing the motives to virtuous exertions, which influence
people of high rank.—For, though it rarely happened in other countries,
it was very common in England for men of all the various professions and
trades to accumulate very great fortunes, which, at their death, falling
to their sons, these young men, without having had a suitable education,
immediately set up for gentlemen, and run over Europe in the characters
of Milords Anglois, game, purchase pictures, mutilated statues and
mistresses, to the astonishment of all beholders: And, conscious of the
blot in their escutcheon, they think it is incumbent on them to wash it
out, and make up for the impurity of their blood, by plunging deeper
into the ocean of extravagance than is necessary for a man of hereditary
fashion.

Here our conversation ended, and the gentleman promised that he would
abide by the idea he had formed of the English nation from the works of
Milton, Locke and Newton, and the characters of Raleigh, Hambden, and
Sidney.



LETTER LI.


                                                               Frankfort.

Among the remarkable things in Frankfort the inns may be reckoned.
Two in particular, the Emperor and the Red House, for cleanliness,
conveniency, and number of apartments, are superior to any I ever saw on
the continent, and vie with our most magnificent inns in England.

At these, as at all other inns in Germany and Switzerland, there is
an ordinary, at which the strangers may dine and sup. This is called
the Table d’Hôte, from the circumstance of the landlord’s sitting at
the bottom of the table and carving the victuals. The same name for an
ordinary is still retained in France, tho’ the landlord does not sit at
the table, which was the case formerly in that country, and still is the
custom in Germany.

There are no private lodgings to be had here as in London, nor any
hôtels garnis as in Paris. Strangers therefore retain apartments at
the inn during the whole time of their residence in any of the towns.
And travellers of every denomination in this country under the rank of
sovereign princes, make no scruple of eating occasionally at the table
d’Hôte of the inn where they lodge, which custom is universally followed
by strangers from every country on the continent of Europe.

Many of our countrymen, however, who despise œconomy, and hate the
company of strangers, prefer eating in their own apartments to the table
d’Hôte, or any private table to which they may be invited.

It would be arrogance in any body to dispute the right which every
free-born Englishman has to follow his own inclination in this
particular: Yet when people wish to avoid the company of strangers,
it strikes me, that they might indulge their fancy as completely at
home as abroad; and while they continue in that humour, I cannot help
thinking that they might save themselves the inconveniency and expence of
travelling.

The manners and genius of nations, it is true, are not to be learnt at
inns; nor is the most select company to be found at public ordinaries;
yet a person of observation, and who is fond of the study of character,
will sometimes find instruction and entertainment at both. He there sees
the inhabitants of the country on a less ceremonious footing than he can
elsewhere, and hears the remarks of travellers of every degree.

The first care of a traveller certainly should be, to form an
acquaintance and some degree of intimacy with the principal people in
every place where he intends to reside;—to accept invitations to their
family parties, and attend their societies;—to entertain them at his
apartments, when that can be conveniently done, and endeavour to acquire
a just notion of their government, customs, sentiments, and manner of
living.—Those who are fond of the study of man, which, with all due
deference to the philosophers who prefer that of beasts, birds and
butterflies, is also a pardonable amusement, will mix occasionally with
all degrees of people, and, when not otherwise engaged, will not scruple
to take a seat at the table d’Hôte.

It is said that low people are sometimes to be found at these ordinaries.
This to be sure is a weighty objection; but then it should be remembered,
that it is within the bounds of possibility that men even engaged in
commerce, may have liberal minds, and may be able to give as distinct
accounts of what is worthy of observation, as if they had been as idle
as people of the highest fashion through the whole of their lives. A man
must have a very turgid idea of his own grandeur, if he cannot submit,
in a foreign country, to dine at table with a person of inferior rank;
especially as he will meet, at the same time, with others of equal, or
superior rank to himself: For all etiquette of this nature is waved even
in Germany at the tables d’Hôtes.

A knowledge of the characters of men, as they appear varied in different
situations and countries;—the study of human nature indeed in all its
forms and modifications, is highly interesting to the mind, and worthy
the attention of the greatest man. This is not to be perfectly attained
in courts and palaces. The investigator of nature must visit her in
humbler life, and put himself on a level with the men whom he wishes to
know.

It is generally found, that those who possess real greatness of mind,
never hesitate to overleap the obstacles, and despise the forms, which
may stand in the way of their acquiring this useful knowledge.

The most powerful of all arguments against entirely declining to appear
at the public table of the inn, is, that in this country it is customary
for the ladies themselves, when on a journey, to eat there; and my
partiality for the table d’Hôte may possibly be owing in some degree to
my having met, at one of them, with two of the handsomest women that I
have seen since I have been in this country, which abounds in female
beauty.

There is more expression in the countenances of French women, but the
ladies in Germany have the advantage in the fairness of their skin and
the bloom of their complexion. They have a greater resemblance to English
women than to French; yet they differ considerably from them both.—I do
not know how to give an idea of the various shades of expression, which,
if I mistake not, I can distinguish in the features of the sex in these
three countries.

A handsome French woman, besides the ease of her manner, has commonly
a look of cheerfulness and great vivacity.—She appears willing to be
acquainted with you, and seems to expect that you should address her.

The manner of an English woman is not so devoid of restraint; and a
stranger, especially if he be a foreigner, may observe a look which
borders on disdain in her countenance. Even among the loveliest
features, something of a sulky air often appears. While their beauty
allures, this in some degree checks that freedom of address which you
might use to the Frenchwoman, and interests your vanity more, by giving
the idea of the difficulties you have to conquer.

A German beauty, without the smart air of the one, or the reserve of the
other, has generally a more placid look than either.



LETTER LII.


                                                               Frankfort.

Several individuals here are fond of distinguishing themselves by their
passion for the fine arts, and strangers are informed, that it is well
worth while to visit certain private collections of paintings which are
to be seen at Frankfort.

You know I am no connoisseur; and if I were, should not take up your
time in describing them, or giving a criticism on their subject. For
though I have seen them, you have not; and nothing, in my opinion, can
be more unintelligible and tiresome to the Reader, than criticisms on
paintings which he has not seen. I shall only observe, that as all these
collections have acquired the esteem and approbation of the proprietors,
which I presume was the chief end of their creation, they are certainly
intitled to respect from every unconcerned spectator.—— One of them
in particular must be very valuable, on account of the prodigious sum
of money which the present possessor was offered for it, and which he
refused as inadequate to its worth; though the sum offered would have at
once made the gentleman easy in his circumstances, which, I am sorry to
say, is far from being the case. This anecdote cannot be doubted, for I
had it from his own mouth.

It is still more the fashion here to form cabinets of natural
curiosities. Besides the repositories of this kind, which are to be seen
at the courts of the princes, many individuals all over Germany have
Museums in their houses, and strangers cannot pay their court better,
than by requesting permission to see them. This would be an easy piece
of politeness, if the stranger were allowed to take a view, and walk
away when he thought proper. But the misfortune is, that the proprietor
attends on these occasions, and gives the history of every piece of ore,
petrifaction, fossil-wood, and monster that is in the collection. And as
this lecture is given gratis, he assumes the right of making it as long
as he pleases: so that requesting a sight of a private collection of
natural curiosities, is a more serious matter than people are aware of.

The D—— of H—— has brought himself into a scrape, out of which I imagine
it will be difficult to extricate him. Being unacquainted with the
trouble which these gentlemen give themselves on such occasions, he has
expressed an inclination to three or four virtuosi to see their cabinets.
I attended him on his first visitation yesterday. The gentleman made an
unusual exertion to please his Grace. He said, being fully convinced
of his taste for natural philosophy, in which people of his high rank
were never deficient, he would therefore take pleasure to explain every
particular in the collection with the greatest deliberation. He had kept
himself disengaged the whole forenoon on purpose, and had given orders
not to be interrupted. He then descanted on each particular in the
collection, with such minuteness and perseverance, as completely satiated
His Grace’s curiosity, and gave him such a knowledge of earths, crystals,
agates, pyrites, marcasites, petrifactions, metals, semi-metals, &c. &c.
as will, I dare swear, serve him for the rest of his life.

                                                                  Cassel.

I began this letter at Frankfort, not suspecting that our departure would
be so sudden. But as the day approached on which we had been promised the
sight of another cabinet of curiosities, I found the D——’s impatience to
be gone increase every moment. So sending our apology to the proprietors
of two or three which he had asked permission to visit, we passed one day
with Madame de Barkhause’s family, and another with Mr. Gogle’s, and then
bidding a hasty adieu to our other acquaintances at Frankfort, we set out
for this place. We slept the first night at Marburg, and on the second,
about midnight, arrived at Cassel.

As the ground is quite covered with snow, the roads bad, and the posts
long, we were obliged to take six horses for each chaise, which, after
all, in some places moved no faster than a couple of hearses. The D——
bore this with wonderful serenity, contemplating the happy evasion he
had made from the cabinets at Frankfort. A slave who had escaped from
the mines could not have shown greater satisfaction. His good humour
remained proof against all the phlegm and obstinacy of the German
postillions, of which one who has not travelled in the extremity of the
winter, and when the roads are covered with snow, through this country,
can form no idea.

The contrast of character between the French and Germans is strongly
illustrated in the behaviour of the postillions of the two countries.

A French postillion is generally either laughing, or fretting, or
singing, or swearing, all the time he is on the road. If a hill or a
bad road oblige him to go slow, he will of a sudden fall a cracking his
whip above his head for a quarter of an hour together, without rhyme
or reason; for he knows the horses cannot go a bit faster, and he does
not intend they should. All this noise and emotion, therefore, means
nothing; and proceeds entirely from that abhorrence of quiet which every
Frenchman sucks in with his mother’s milk.

A German postillion, on the contrary, drives four horses with all
possible tranquillity. He neither sings, nor frets, nor laughs: he only
smokes;—and when he comes near a narrow defile, he sounds his trumpet
to prevent any carriage from entering at the other end till he has got
through. If you call to him to go faster, he turns about, looks you in
the face, takes his pipe from his mouth, and says, Yaw, Mynher;—yaw,
yaw; and then proceeds exactly in the same pace as before. He is no way
affected whether the road be good or bad; whether it rains, or shines,
or snows:—And he seems to be totally regardless of the people whom he
drives, and equally callous to their reproach or applause. He has one
object of which he never loses sight, which is, to conduct your chaise
and the contents from one post to another, in the manner he thinks best
for himself and the horses. And unless his pipe goes out (in which case
he strikes his flint and rekindles it), he seems not to have another idea
during the whole journey.

Your best course is to let him take his own way at first, for it will
come to that at last.—All your noise and bluster are vain.

    Non vultus instantis tyranni
    Mente quatit solida, neque Auster
    Dux inquieti turbidus Adriæ,
    Nec fulminantis magna Jovis manus.



LETTER LIII.


                                                                  Cassel.

The attention and civilities which are paid to the D—— of H—— by this
court, have induced us to remain longer than we intended at our arrival.

As you seem curious to know how we pass our time, and the style of living
here, I shall give you a sketch of one day, which, with little variation,
may give you an idea of all the rest.

We generally employ the morning and forenoon in study. We go to the
palace about half an hour before dinner is served, where we find all the
officers who have been invited, assembled in a large room. The Landgrave
soon appears, and continues conversing with the company till his consort
arrives with the princess Charlotte, and such ladies as they have thought
proper to invite.

The company then walk to the dining parlour, where there are about thirty
covers every day, and the same number in a room adjoining. The doors
being left open between these apartments, the whole forms in a manner but
one company. The strangers, and such officers as are not under the rank
of colonel, dine at their Highnesses table.

The repast continues about two hours, during which the conversation is
carried on with some little appearance of constraint, and rather in a low
voice, except when either of their Highnesses speaks to any person seated
at a little distance.

After dinner the company returns to the room where they first assembled.
In this they remain till the Landgrave retires, which he usually does
within about a quarter of an hour. Soon after the company separates till
seven in the evening, when they again assemble.

The Landgrave plays constantly at Cavaniolle, a kind of lottery, where
no address or attention is requisite, and which needs hardly interrupt
conversation. It requires about a dozen players to make his party.

The Landgravine plays at Quadrille, and chooses her own party every
night.—Other card-tables are set in the adjoining rooms, for the
conveniency of any who choose to play. The gaming continues about a
couple of hours. The Landgrave then salutes her Highness on both cheeks,
and retires to his own apartments, while she and the rest of the company
go to supper. At this repast there is less formality, and of consequence
more ease and gaiety, than at dinner.

When her Highness rises from table, most part of the company attend her
up stairs to a spacious anti-chamber, where she remains conversing a few
minutes, and then retires.

These general forms are sometimes varied by a concert in the Landgrave’s
apartments. There are also certain days of Gala, which are only
distinguished by the company’s being more numerous, and better dressed,
than usual: two circumstances which do not add a vast deal to the
pleasure of the entertainment.

During the Carnival, there were two or three masquerades. On these
occasions the court assemble about six in the evening, the men being all
in Dominos, and the ladies in their usual dress, or with the addition of
a few fanciful ornaments, according to the particular taste of each.

They amuse themselves with cards and conversation till the hour of
supper. During this interval, a gentleman of the court carries a parcel
of tickets in his hat, equal to the number of men in company. These are
presented to the ladies, each of whom draws one. Tickets in the same
manner are presented to the men, who take one a-piece, which they keep
till the card-playing is finished.

The officer then calls number One, upon which the couple who are
possessed of that number come forward, and the gentleman leads the lady
into the supper-room, sits by her, and is her partner for the rest of
the evening. In the same manner every other Number is called.

After supper, all the company put on their masks. Her Highness is led
into the masquerade room. The rest follow, each lady being handed by her
partner. The Landgravine and her partner walk to the upper end of the
room.—The next couple stop at a small distance below them;—the third,
next to the second, and so on till this double file reaches from the top
to the bottom of the hall. If there are any supernumeraries, they must
retire to the sides.—From this arrangement you expect a country dance:—a
minuet however is intended—the music begins, and all the maskers on the
floor, consisting of twenty or thirty couple, walk a minuet together.
This, which is rather a confused affair, being over, every body sits
down, the Landgravine excepted, who generally dances nine or ten minuets
successively with as many different gentlemen. She then takes her seat
till the rest of the company have danced minuets, which being over, the
cotillons and country-dances begin, and continue till four or five in the
morning.

Her Highness is a very beautiful woman, graceful in her person, and of a
gay and sprightly character. She is in danger of growing corpulent, an
inconveniency not uncommon in Germany, but which she endeavours to retard
by using a great deal of exercise.

Besides the company who sup at court, the rooms were generally crowded
with masks from the town, some of whom are in fancy-dresses, and keep
themselves concealed all the time. And although those who came from the
court are known when they enter the masquerade rooms, many of them slip
out afterwards, change their dress, and return to amuse themselves,
by teasing their friends in their assumed characters, as is usual at
masquerades.

The country-dances are composed of all persons promiscuously, who incline
to join in them.—Two women of pleasure, who had come to pass the Carnival
at Cassel in the exercise of their profession, and were well known to
many of the officers, danced every masquerade night in the country-dance,
which her Highness led down; for the mask annihilates ceremony, puts
every body on a footing, and not unfrequently, while it conceals the face
most effectually, serves so much the more to discover the real character
and inclinations of the wearer.



LETTER LIV.


                                                                  Cassel.

Next to the Electors of the Empire, the Landgrave of Hesse Cassel is one
of the greatest Princes in Germany; and even of those, the electors of
Bohemia, Bavaria, Saxony, and Hanover, only are richer and more powerful
than he. His country is in general hilly, with a great deal of wood, but
interspersed with fertile vallies and corn-fields. The large subsidies
this court received from Britain during the two last wars, with what
is given in the time of peace, by way of retaining fee, have greatly
contributed to the present flourishing state of its finances.

The reigning Prince forsook the Protestant faith about twenty years ago,
and made a public profession of the Roman Catholic religion, in the
lifetime of the late Landgrave, his father. This gave great uneasiness to
the old Prince, and alarmed his subjects, who are all Protestants.

The states of the Landgraviate were assembled on this important occasion,
and such measures taken as were judged necessary to maintain the religion
and constitution of the country, against any future attempt to subvert
them. The Hereditary Prince was excluded from all share in the education
of his sons, who were put under the tuition of the Princess Mary of Great
Britain, his first wife, living at that time separate from her husband.
The eldest son, upon his father’s accession to the Landgraviate, was put
in possession of the county of Hanau; so that the inhabitants have felt
no inconveniency from the change of their Prince’s religion. And as he
himself has reaped no earthly advantage, either in point of honour or
profit, by his conversion, it is presumable, that his Highness’s hopes
are now limited to the rewards which may await him in another world.

This Prince keeps on foot 16000, men in time of peace, disciplined
according to the Prussian plan, the Landgrave himself having the rank
of Field Marshal in the Prussian army. The Prince is fond of exercising
them; but not having a house on purpose, as the Prince of Hesse Darmstadt
has, he takes that amusement when, the weather is very bad in the
dining-room of his palace, where I have frequently seen two or three
hundred of the first battalion of guards perform their manœuvres with all
possible dexterity.

The Prince of Saxe-Gotha, brother to the late Princess of Wales, has a
regiment in the Landgrave’s service, and resides at Cassel.

The person who has the chief management in military affairs, is General
Scliven, a man of an exceeding just and accurate understanding, which he
has finely cultivated by reading and reflection.

I have the happiness to be intimately acquainted with many other officers
in this service.—An open manner, and undesigning civility, distinguish
the German character; qualities which naturally banish reserve, and
inspire confidence. And what makes the conversation of these gentlemen
still more agreeable and interesting to me, is the justice they seem fond
of rendering to the bravery of the British troops with whom they served.
They always mention the names of Granby, Waldgrave, and Kingsley,
with the highest encomiums, and speak with affectionate regard of some
officers with whom they were more intimately acquainted, particularly Mr.
Keith, now at Vienna, and Colonel John Maxwell, whom they applaud as one
of the bravest and most active officers that served in the allied army;
and seem fond of mentioning instances of the amazing intrepidity of the
British grenadiers whom he commanded.

Besides those actually in the Landgrave’s service, there are some other
persons of note who reside at Cassel. I sometimes pass an afternoon with
old General Zastrow, who had the command of the garrison of Schweidnitz,
when it was surprised by the Austrian general Laudohn.

If you recollect, that important place had been taken from the Prussians
in the year 1757, by Count Nadasti. It was blockaded by the King of
Prussia in the winter of that same year, and surrendered to him in spring
1758, after one half of the garrison had fallen in defending the place.
In the year 1761, Laudohn retook it almost in sight of the Prussian
monarchy by the most brilliant coup-de-main that perhaps ever was struck.

The King’s army and Laudohn’s were both in the neighbourhood of
Schweidnitz. The latter could not attempt a regular siege, while he was
watched by such an enterprising enemy. But observing that the King had
moved at a greater distance than usual from the town, and knowing that
more than one half of the garrison had been drafted, he resolved on an
enterprise as bold as it was sagacious. One morning early this vigilant
commander, taking the advantage of a thick fog, marched his army to the
town, of Schweidnitz in four divisions. Scaling-ladders were applied to
the ramparts, and some of the Austrians had actually entered the town,
before they were observed by the centinels.

The garrison, being at last roused, attacked the assailants in a furious
manner.—The confusion was increased by the blowing up of a powder
magazine, which destroyed great numbers on both sides. The Governor was
taken prisoner, fighting sword in hand on the ramparts, and the town
surrendered.

This exploit established the reputation of Laudohn, while poor Zastrow,
according to the usual fate of the unfortunate, became a prey to the
calumny of the unfeeling and ungenerous. He demanded a trial by a court
martial.—The King said there was no occasion for that, as he did not
accuse him of any crime.—But he did not judge it expedient to employ him
in any command after this misfortune.

I have heard the old man relate all the particulars of that affair, and
the account he gave has been confirmed to me by officers well informed,
and unconnected with him.

A company of French comedians are lately arrived here, which forms a
new resource for the court. They remain six weeks, or two months. The
Landgrave pays them a stipulated sum for acting twice a week during that
time; and they have scarcely any emolument beside; for the inhabitants
of Cassel, who are Calvinists, shew no great passion for dramatic
entertainments.

The playhouse is neat, though small. The front gallery, with a
convenient room behind, is appropriated to the court. When the Prince
or Princess stands up, whether between the acts, or in the time of the
representation, all the audience, pit, box, and gallery, immediately
arise; and remain in a standing posture till their sovereign sit down.

Since the arrival of these players, the court has been uncommonly
brilliant, and the Gala days more frequent. Yesterday was a very splendid
one. I then observed in the drawing-room, two persons, neither of whom is
a Hessian, saluting each other with great politeness and apparent regard.
A little after, one of them touched my shoulder, and, pointing to the
other, whispered in my ear,—Prenez garde, Monsieur, de cet homme; c’est
un grand coquin.

The other within a few minutes came to me, saying, Croyez vous, Monsieur,
que vous puissiez reconnoitre un fou si je vous le montrois?—Le voilà,
added he, showing the person who had whispered me before.

I have been since told, by those who know both, that each had hit exactly
upon the other’s character.

This little trait I have mentioned merely on account of its singularity,
and to show you how very different the manners of this court, and the
sentiments of the courtiers here with regard to each other, are from
those at St. James’s.



LETTER LV.


                                                                  Cassel.

The city of Cassel is situated on the river Fulda. It consists of an old
and new town. The former is the largest and most irregular. The new town
is well built; and there, as you may believe, the nobility and officers
of the court have their houses. The streets are beautiful, but not
over-crowded with inhabitants.

Besides the large chateau in the town of Cassel, which is the Landgrave’s
winter residence, he has several villas and castles in different
parts of his dominions. Immediately without the town, there is a very
beautiful building, in which he dwells for the most part of the summer
The apartments there are neat and commodious, some of them adorned with
antique statues of considerable value.

None of the rooms are spacious enough to admit of exercising any
considerable number of the troops within their walls; but his Highness
sometimes indulges in this favourite recreation on the top of this villa,
which has a flat roof, most convenient for that purpose.

Around this are some noble parks and gardens, with a very complete
orangery. There is also a menagerie, with a considerable collection of
curious animals. I saw there a very fine lioness, which has lately lost
her husband—an elephant—three camels in fine condition, one of them
milk-white, the other two grey, and much taller than the elephant;—an
African deer, a fierce and lively animal, with a skin beautifully
spotted;—a very tall rain-deer—several leopards—a bear, and a great
variety of monkies.—The collection of birds is still more complete, a
great many of which are from the East Indies.

In the academy of arts, which is situated in the new town, are some
valuable antiques, and other curiosities, among which is a St. John in
Mosaic, done after a picture of Raphaël’s, with the following inscription
below it:

    IMAGINEM S. JOHANNES
    EX ITALIA ADVENAM
    IN RARUM RARÆ INDUSTRIÆ HUMANÆ MONUMENTUM
    HANC COLLOCARI JUSSIT
    FREDERICUS II. HASSIÆ LANDGR.
    A. M. D. CCLXV.

But this art of copying paintings in Mosaic work, I understand has of
late been brought to a much greater degree of perfection at Rome.

In the vestibule is placed the trunk of a laurel tree, with this
inscription on the wall behind it.

    QUÆ
    PER OCTO PRINCIPUM CATTORUM ÆTATIS
    IN AMÆNIS INCLYTI CASSEL.
    VIRIDARII SPATIAM FLORUIT
    LAURUS
    ALT. CIRCITER LIV. LAT. IV. PED. RHENAN.
    AD TEMPORA HEROUM
    SERENISS. DOMUS HASSIÆ
    CORONIS CINGENDA,
    SENIO, SED NON IMPROLIS, EMORTUA EST
    NE VERO TOTA PERIRET
    ARBOR APOLLINI SACRA
    TRUNCUM IN MUSEO SERVARI JUSSIT
    FREDERICUS II. H. L.
    A. M. D. CCLXIII.

They also show a sword, which was consecrated by the Pope, and sent to
one of the Princes of this family at his setting out on an expedition
to the Holy Land. What havoc this sacred weapon made among the infidels
I cannot say.—It has a very venerable appearance for a sword, and yet
seems little the worse for wear.

Near the old chateau, and a little to one side, is a colonade of small
pillars lately built, and intended as an ornament to the ancient castle,
though in a very different style of architecture. The slimness of their
form appears the more remarkable on account of their vicinity to this
Gothic structure.

Some time since, a mountebank came to Cassel, who, besides many other
wonderful feats, pretended that he could swallow and digest stones. A
Hessian officer walking before the chateau with an English gentleman, who
then happened to be at Cassel, asked him, What he thought of the fine new
colonade?—It is very fine indeed, replied the stranger; but if you wish
it to be durable, you ought to take care not to allow the mountebank to
walk this way before breakfast.

Nothing in the country of Hesse is more worthy the admiration of
travellers, than the Gothic temple and cascade at Wasenstein. There was
originally at this place an old building, which was used by the Princes
of this family as a kind of hunting-house. It is situated near the bottom
of a high mountain, and has been enlarged and improved at different
times. But the present Landgrave’s grandfather, who was a Prince of equal
taste and magnificence, formed, upon the face of the mountain opposite to
this house, a series of artificial cataracts, cascades, and various kinds
of water-works, in the noblest style that can be imagined.

The principal cascades are in the middle, and on each side are stairs
of large black stones of a flinty texture, brought from a rock at a
considerable distance. Each of these stairs consists of eight hundred
steps, leading from the bottom to the summit of the mountain; and
when the works are allowed to play, the water flowing over them forms
two continued chains of smaller cascades. At convenient distances, as
you ascend, are four platforms, with a spacious bason in each; also
grottos and caves ornamented with shell-work, statues of Naiads, and sea
divinities.—One grotto in particular, called the grotto of Neptune and
Amphitrite, is happily imagined, and well executed.

The water rushes from the summit of this mountain in various
shapes:—Sometimes in detached cascades, sometimes in large sheets
like broad crystalline mirrors; at one place, it is broken by a rock
consisting of huge stones, artificially placed for that purpose.—There
are also fountains, which eject the water in columns of five or six
inches diameter to a considerable height.

All this must have a very brilliant effect when viewed from the bottom.
This sight, however, I did not enjoy; for there has been a continued
frost ever since we have been at Cassel; and when I visited Wasenstein,
the fields were covered with snow, which did not prevent my going to the
top, though it made the ascent by the flairs exceedingly difficult.

On the highest part of the mountain, a Gothic temple is built, and upon
the top of that an obelisk, which is crowned by a colossal statue of
Hercules leaning on his club, in the attitude of the Farnese Hercules.
This figure is of copper, and thirty feet in height. There is a staircase
within the club by which a man may ascend, and have a view of the
country from a window at the top.

Wasenstein, upon the whole, is infinitely the noblest work of the kind I
ever saw. I have been allured, there is nothing equal to it in Europe. It
has not the air of a modern work, but rather conveys the idea of Roman
magnificence.

We think of leaving this within a few days for Brunswick.—I shall not
close my letter till we get to Gottingen, where we may probably stay a
short time.

P. S. The D. and I took our leave of the Court and our friends yesterday,
and actually set out from Cassel this morning; but finding the roads
entirely overflowed by the extraordinary swelling of the Fulda, we were
obliged to return. A great thaw for some days past dissolving the snow
and ice, has occasioned this swelling, and rendered the roads impassable.

After taking leave we could not appear again at court, but dined at one
of the messes with the officers.—From this party I am just returned, and
finding it uncertain when we may get to Gottingen, I send this to-night.

                                                                   Adieu.



LETTER LVI.


                                                               Brunswick.

As soon as the roads were passable, we left Cassel, and arrived, not
without difficulty and some risk, at Munden, a town situated in a vale,
where the Fulda, being joined by another river, takes the name of the
Weser.

This town seems to run some danger from inundations. The road, for a
considerable way before we entered it, and the streets nearest the river,
were still overflowed when we passed.

We went on the same night to Gottingen, an exceedingly neat and
well-built town, situated in a beautiful country. The university founded
here by George the Second has a considerable reputation. We made but a
short stay at Gottingen, and arrived about a month since at Brunswick.

The D—— of H—— had been expected here for some time, and was received
by this court with every mark of attention and regard. He was pressed
to accept of apartments within the palace, which he thought proper to
decline. We sleep every night at private lodgings, but may be said to
live at court, as we constantly dine, pass the evening, and sup there,
except two days in every week that we dine with the Hereditary Prince and
Princess at their apartments.

The family of Brunswick Wolfenbuttle derives not greater lustre from its
antiquity, from having given empresses to Germany, and from having a
younger branch on the throne of Britain, than from some living characters
now belonging to it.

The reigning Duke has that style of conversation, those manners and
dispositions, which, in an inferior station of life, would acquire him
the character of a sensible, worthy gentleman.

The Duchess is the favourite sister of the King of Prussia. She is fond
of study, and particularly addicted to metaphysical inquiries, which,
happily, have not shaken, but confirmed her belief in Christianity.

The military fame and public character of Duke Ferdinand are known to all
Europe.—In private life, he is of a ceremonious politeness, splendid in
his manner of living, attentive even to the minutiæ of his toilet, and
fond of variety and magnificence in dress.

He has lived constantly at his brother’s court since the D—— of H—— came
to Brunswick; but he generally passes the summer in the country.

The Hereditary Prince served under his uncle during the last war,
and commanded detached parties of the army with various success. His
activity, courage, and thirst of glory, were always conspicuous; but his
youthful ardour has been since mellowed by time, study, and reflection;
and if he should again appear in the field as a general, it is imagined
that he will be as much distinguished for prudence, policy, and judgment,
as he ever was for spirit and enterprize. He has at present the rank of
Lieutenant-General in the King of Prussia’s service, and the command of
the garrison at Halberstadt.

I say nothing of his Princess:—Her open cheerful character is well known
in England, and her affection for her native country is in no degree
diminished by absence.

The Prince Leopold is a very amiable young man. He seems much attached
to the D—— of H——, with whom he lives on an intimate and friendly
footing.

His sister, the Princess Augusta, is greatly beloved by every body, on
account of her obliging temper and excellent disposition.

These illustrious persons always dine and sup together, except two days
in the week, as I have already said. With them the officers of the court,
and the strangers who are invited, make a company of about twenty or
thirty at table.

In the evening the assembly is more numerous. There is a large table
for Vingt-un, the Dutchess preferring this game, because a great number
of people may be engaged in it together. The reigning Duke and Prince
Ferdinand always join in this game.

The Hereditary Princess forms a Quadrille party for herself: Her husband
never plays at all. The whole is intended merely for pastime, all kinds
of gaming being discouraged. The Dutchess in particular always puts a
very moderate stake on her cards.—A man must have very bad luck to lose
above twenty pistoles in an evening; so we are in no danger from gaming
while at this court.

One wing of the palace is occupied by the Hereditary Prince’s family.
He has at present three sons and as many daughters, all of the fair
complexion, which distinguishes every branch of the Brunswick line.

A few days ago, I accompanied Prince Leopold and the D—— of H—— on a
visit to Duke Ferdinand, who was then at his house in the country, about
six miles from this place. In that retreat he passes the greatest part of
his time. He is fond of gardening, and is now employed in laying out and
dressing the ground, in what is called the English taste.

His Serene Highness conducted the D—— round all his park, and shewed
him his plans and improvements. The greatest obstacle to the completely
beautifying this place, arises from the surface of the country being a
dead flat, and incapable of great variety.

The house is surrounded by a Fossé, and contains a great number of
apartments. The walls of every room are hung with prints, from the roof
to within two feet of the floor. Perhaps there is not so complete a
collection of framed ones in any private house or palace in the world.
While Prince Ferdinand played at Billiards with the D—— of H——, I
continued with Prince Leopold examining these prints, and could scarcely
recollect a good one that I did not find here.

His Highness said it was equally difficult and expensive to have a
collection of good paintings, and nothing could be more paltry than a bad
one: he had therefore taken the resolution to adorn his house with what
he certainly could have good of its kind; and next to fine pictures, he
thought fine prints the most amusing of all ornaments. But, added he,
with a smile, every tolerable room is now perfectly covered, and I have
lately received a reinforcement of prints from England, which will oblige
me to build new apartments to place them in, puisque je suis toujours
accoutumé à donner un poste honorable aux Anglois.

The company had been invited to breakfast; but the repast was a very
magnificent dinner, served a little earlier than usual. There was
only six persons at table; but the number of attendants might without
difficulty have served a company of thirty. The Prince, who is always
in the utmost degree polite, was on this occasion remarkably affable and
gay. He called toasts after the English custom, and began himself by
naming General Conway; he afterwards gave Sir H. Clinton, and continued
to toast some British officer as often as it came to his turn.—You
may believe it afforded me satisfaction to have had an opportunity of
observing a little of the private life of a person who has acted so
conspicuous a part on the theatre of Europe.

As he has not returned to the Prussian service, and seems to enjoy rural
amusements, and the conversation of a few friends, it is thought he will
not again take a part in public affairs, but for the rest of his life
repose, in this retreat, on the laurels he gathered in such abundance
during the last war.



LETTER LVII.


                                                               Brunswick.

The town of Brunswick is situated in a plain, on the banks of the Ocker.
The houses in general are old, but many new buildings have been erected
of late, and the city acquires fresh beauty every day.

Fortifications have been the cause of much calamity to many towns in
Germany, having served not to defend them, but rather to attract the
vengeance of enemies. For this reason, Cassel, and some other towns,
which were formerly fortified, are now dismantled. But the fortifications
at Brunswick were of great utility last war, and on one occasion they
saved the town from being pillaged, and afforded Prince Frederick,
who is now in the Prussian service, an opportunity of performing an
action, which, I imagine, gave him more joy than twenty victories. This
happened in the year 1761, soon after the battle of Kirch Denkern, when
Duke Ferdinand protected Hanover, not by conducting his army into that
country, and defending it directly, as the enemy seemed to expert, and
probably wished; but by diversion, attacking with strong detachments,
commanded by the Hereditary Prince, their magazines in Hesse, and thus
drawing their attention from Hanover to that quarter.

While the Duke lay encamped at Willhemsthall, watching the motions of
Broglio’s army, the Marechal being greatly superior in numbers, sent a
body of 20,000 men under Prince Xavier of Saxony, who took possession of
Wolfenbuttle, and soon after invested Brunswick.

Prince Ferdinand, anxious to save his native city, ventured to detach
5000 of his army, small as it was, under his nephew, Frederick, assisted
by General Luckener, with orders to harass the enemy, and endeavour to
raise the siege. The young Prince, while on his march, sent a soldier
with a letter to the Governor, which was wrapped round a bullet, and
which the soldier was to swallow in case of his being taken by the
enemy.—He had the good fortune to get safe into the town.—The letter
apprised the commander of the garrison of the Prince’s approach, and
particularised the night and hour when he expected to be at a certain
place near the town, requiring him to favour his entrance.

In the middle of the night appointed, the Prince fell suddenly on the
enemy’s cavalry, who, unsuspicious of his approach, were encamped
carelessly within a mile of the town. They were immediately dispersed,
and spread such an alarm among the infantry, that they also retreated
with considerable loss.

Early in the morning, the young Prince entered Brunswick, amidst the
acclamations of his fellow-citizens, whom he had relieved from the
horrors of a siege.—The Hereditary Prince having destroyed the French
magazines in Hesse, had been recalled by his uncle, and ordered to
attempt the relief of Brunswick. While he was advancing with all possible
speed, and had got within a few leagues of the town, he received the news
of the siege being raised. On his arrival at his father’s palace, he
found his brother Frederick at table, entertaining the French officers,
who had been taken prisoners the preceding night.

The academy of Brunswick has been new-modelled, and the plan of education
improved, by the attention, and under the patronage, of the Hereditary
Prince. Students now resort to this academy from many parts of Germany;
and there are generally some young gentlemen from Britain, who are sent
to be educated here.

Such of them as are intended for a military life, will not find so many
advantages united at any other place on the continent, as at the academy
of Brunswick. They will here be under the protection of a family partial
to the British nation;—every branch of science is taught by matters of
known abilities;—the young students will see garrison-duty regularly
performed, and may, by the interest of the Prince, obtain liberty to
attend the reviews of the Prussian troops at Magdeburg and Berlin:—They
will have few temptations to expence, in a town where they can see no
examples of extravagance,—have few opportunities of dissipation, and none
of gross debauchery.

I passed a day lately at Wolfenbuttle, which is also a fortified city,
the ancient residence of this family.—The public library here is
reckoned one of the most complete in Germany, and contains many curious
manuscripts. They showed us some letters of Luther, and other original
pieces in that reformer’s own handwriting.

Having dined with Colonel Riedesel, who commands a regiment of cavalry
in this town, I returned by Saltzdahlen. This is the only palace I ever
saw built almost entirely of wood. There are, nevertheless, some very
magnificent apartments in it, and a great gallery of pictures, some of
which are allowed by the connoisseurs to be excellent. I will not invade
the province of these gentlemen, by presuming to give my opinion of
the merits or defects of the pictures, though I have often heard those
who are as ignorant as myself, decide upon the interesting subject of
painting, in the most dogmatic manner. The terms Contour, Attitude,
Casting of Draperies, Charging, Costumé, Passion, Manner, Groupe,
Out-line, Chiaro Scuro, Harmony, and Repose, flowed from their tongues,
with a volubility that commanded the admiration of all those who could
not discover, that in the liberal use of these terms consisted all those
gentlemen’s taste and knowledge of the fine arts.

Conscious of my ignorance in the mysteries of connoisseurship, I say
nothing of the pictures, and presume only to give my opinion, that the
gallery which contains them is a very noble room, being two hundred feet
long, fifty broad, and forty high.

In this palace there is also a cabinet of china porcelain, containing,
as we were told, seven or eight thousand pieces;—and in another smaller
cabinet, we were shewn a collection of coarse plates, valuable only on
account of their having been painted after designs of Raphaël.

The country about Brunswick is agreeable. I was particularly pleased to
see some gentlemen’s seats near this town; a sight very rare in Germany,
where, if you avoid towns and courts, you may travel over a great extent
of country, without perceiving houses for any order of men between the
Prince and the Peasant.

I spent yesterday very agreeably fourteen miles from Brunswick, at the
house of Mr. de Westphalen. This gentleman attended Duke Ferdinand during
the late war in the character of his private secretary; an office which
he executed entirely to the satisfaction of that Prince, whose friendship
and confidence he still retains.

Mr. de Westphalen has written the history of those memorable campaigns,
in which his patron had the command of the allied army, and baffled all
the efforts of France in Westphalia. Though this work has been finished
long since, the publication has hitherto been delayed for political
reasons. It is to appear however at some future period, and is said to be
a masterly performance. Indeed, one would naturally suppose this from the
remarkable acuteness and sagacity of the author, who was present at the
scenes he describes, and knew the secret intentions of the General, whose
assistance he has probably had in finishing the work.



LETTER LVIII.


                                                               Brunswick.

We have had some masquerade balls here of late.—The Court do not go
in procession to these as at Cassel.—Those who chuse to attend, go
separately when they find it convenient.

There is a gallery in the masquerade room for the reigning family, where
they sometimes sit without masks, and amuse themselves by looking at the
dancers. But in general they go masked, and mix in an easy and familiar
manner with the company.

I am not surprised that the Germans, especially those of high rank, are
fond of masquerades, being so much harassed with ceremony and form, and
cramped by the distance which birth throws between people who may have
a mutual regard for each other. I imagine they are glad to seize every
opportunity of assuming the mask and domino, that they may taste the
pleasures of familiar conversation and social mirth.—— In company with
the D—— of H——, I once had the honour of dining at the house of a general
officer. His sister did the honours of the table; and on the Duke’s
expressing his surprise that he never had seen her at court, he was told
she could not possibly appear there, because she was not noble. This
lady, however, was visited at home by the Sovereign, and every family of
distinction, all of whom regretted, that the established custom of their
country deprived the court of a person whose character they valued so
highly.

The General’s rank in the army was a sufficient passport for him, but was
of no service to his sister; for this etiquette is observed very rigidly
with respect to the natives of Germany, though it is greatly relaxed to
strangers, particularly the English, who they imagine have less regard
for birth and title than any other nation.

Public diversions of every kind are now over for some time, and the Court
is at present very thin.—Duke Ferdinand resides in the country. The
Hereditary Prince went a few days since to Halberstadt, where he will
remain at least a month, to prepare the garrison, and his own regiment
in particular, for the grand reviews which are soon to take place.
Diligence in duty, and application to the disciplining of the forces,
are indispensable in this service. Without these, not all the King’s
partiality to this Prince, or his consanguinity, could secure to him his
uncle’s favour for one day, personal talents and vigorous exertion being
the sole means of acquiring and retaining the favour of this steady and
discerning monarch.

The Hereditary Princess has left Brunswick, and is gone to Zell, and will
remain during the absence of her husband with her sister the Queen of
Denmark.

The young Prince, Leopold, has also left the Court. He goes directly
to Vienna, and it is thought he intends to offer his services to the
Emperor. If proper encouragement be given, he will go entirely into the
Austrian service. In this case, he will probably, when a war happens,
find himself in opposition to his two brothers; a circumstance not much
regarded in Germany, where brothers go into different services, with as
little hesitation as into different regiments with us.

The strictest friendship has always subsisted between this young man and
his sister, who has been crying almost without intermission since he went
away.

His mother bears this with more composure, yet her uneasiness is easily
perceived. Independent of the absence of her son, she is distressed
at the idea of his going into a service, where he may be obliged to
act in opposition to her brother, for whom I find she has the greatest
affection, as well as the highest admiration.

I was not surprised to hear her speak of him as the greatest man alive;
but she extends her eulogium to the qualities of his heart, in which
she is not joined by the opinion of all the world.—She, however, dwells
particularly on this, calling him the worthiest of men, the firmest
friend, and the kindest of brothers:—and as she founds her opinion on her
own experience alone, she has the greatest reason to think as she does;
for, by every account, the King has always behaved with high regard and
undeviating tenderness to her.

The departure of Prince Leopold has revived this Princess’s affliction
for the untimely fate of two of her sons. One died in the Russian camp
at the end of the campaign of 1769, in which he had served with great
distinction as a volunteer; the other was killed in a skirmish towards
the end of the last war; having received a shot in his throat, he died of
the wound fifteen days after, much regretted by the army, who had formed
a high idea of the rising merit of this gallant youth.

He wrote a letter to his mother in the morning of the day on which he
died. In this letter he regrets, that he should be stopped so soon in
the course of honour, and laments that he had not been killed in some
memorable action, which would have saved his name from oblivion, or
in achieving something worthy of the martial spirit of his family. He
expresses satisfaction, however, that his memory would at least be dear
to some friends, and that he was certain of living in his mother’s
affections while she should exist. He then declares his gratitude to her
for all her care and tenderness, and concludes with these expressions,
which I translate as near as I can remember—I wished the Dutchess to
repeat them; but it was with difficulty, and eyes overflowing, that she
pronounced them once:—“My eyes grow dim—I can see no longer—happy to have
employed their last light in expressing my duty to my mother.”



LETTER LIX.


                                                                 Hanover.

The D—— of H—— having determined to pay his respects to the Queen of
Denmark, before he left this country, chose to make his visit while the
Hereditary Princess was with her sister.

I accompanied him to Zell, and next day waited on the Count and Countess
Dean, to let them know of the D——’s arrival, and to be informed when we
could have the honour of being presented to the Queen. They both belong
to the Princess of Brunswick’s family, and while I was at breakfast with
them, her Royal Highness entered the room, and gave me the information I
wanted.

Before dinner, I returned with the Duke to the castle, where we remained
till late in the evening. There was a concert of music between dinner
and supper, and the Queen seemed in better spirits than could have been
expected.

Zell is a small town, without trade or manufactures; the houses are old,
and of a mean appearance, yet the high courts of appeal for all the
territories of the Electoral House of Brunswick Lunenburg are held here;
the inhabitants derive their principal means of subsistence from this
circumstance.

This town was severely harassed by the French army at the beginning of
the late war, and was afterwards pillaged, in revenge for the supposed
infraction of the treaty of Closter-Seven. The Duke de Richlieu had his
head-quarters here, when Duke Ferdinand re-assembled the troops who had
been disarmed, and dispersed, immediately after that convention.

The castle is a stately building, surrounded by a moat, and strongly
fortified. It was formerly the residence of the Dukes of Zell, and was
repaired lately by order of the King of Great Britain for the reception
of his unfortunate sister. The apartments are spacious and convenient,
and now handsomely furnished.

The officers of the Court, the Queen’s maids of honour, and other
attendants, have a very genteel appearance, and retain the most
respectful attachment to their ill-fated mistress. The few days we
remained at Zell, were spent entirely at Court, where every thing seemed
to be arranged in the style of the other small German courts, and nothing
wanting to render the Queen’s situation as comfortable as circumstances
would admit. But by far her greatest consolation is the company and
conversation of her sister. Some degree of satisfaction appears in her
countenance while the Princess remains at Zell; but the moment she goes
away, the Queen, as we were informed, becomes a prey to dejection and
despondency. The Princess exerts herself to prevent this, and devotes to
her sister all the time she can spare from the duties she owes to her own
family. Unlike those who take the first pretext of breaking connections
which can no longer be of advantage, this humane Princess has displayed
even more attachment to her sister since her misfortunes, than she ever
did while the Queen was in the meridian of her prosperity.

The youth, the agreeable countenance, and obliging manners of the Queen,
have conciliated the minds of every one in this country. Though she was
in perfect health, and appeared cheerful, yet, convinced that her gaiety
was assumed, and the effect of a strong effort, I felt an impression of
melancholy, which it was not in my power to overcome all the time we
remained at Zell.

From Zell we went to Hanover, and on the evening of our arrival, had
the pleasure of hearing Handel’s Messiah performed. Some of the best
company of this place were assembled on the occasion, and we were here
made acquainted with old Field-Marshal Sporken, and other people of
distinction. Hanover is a neat, thriving and agreeable city. It has more
the air of an English town than any other I have seen in Germany, and the
English manners and customs gain ground every day among the inhabitants.
The genial influence of freedom has extended from England to this place.
Tyranny is not felt, and ease and satisfaction appear in the countenances
of the citizens.

This town is regularly fortified, and all the works are in exceeding good
order. The troops are sober and regular, and perform every essential
part of duty well, though the discipline is not so rigid as in some
other parts of Germany. Marshal Sporken, who is the head of the army,
is a man of humanity; and though the soldiers are severely punished for
real crimes, by the sentence of a court martial, he does not permit his
officers to order them to be caned for trifles. Caprice is too apt to
blend itself with this method of punishing, and men of cruel dispositions
are prone to indulge this diabolical propensity, under the pretence of
zeal for discipline.

The Hanoverian infantry are not so tall as some of the other German
troops, owing to this, that nobody is forced into the service, the
soldiers are all volunteers; whereas, in other parts of Germany, the
Prince picks the stoutest and tallest of the peasants, and obliges them
to become soldiers. It is allowed, that in action no troops can behave
better than the Hanoverians; and it is certain, that desertion is not
so frequent among them as among other German troops, which can only be
accounted for by their not being pressed into the service, and their
being more gently used when in it.

It is not the mode here at present, to lay so much stress on the tricks
of the exercise as formerly. The officers in general seem to despise
many minutiæ, which are thought of the highest importance in some other
services. It is incredible to what a ridiculous length this matter is
pushed by some.

At a certain parade, where the Sovereign himself was present, and many
officers assembled, I once saw a corpulent general-officer start
suddenly, as if he had seen something preternatural. He immediately
waddled towards the ranks with all the expedition of a terrified gander.
I could not conceive what had put his Excellency into a commotion so
little suitable to his years and habit of body. While all the spectators
were a-tiptoe to observe the issue of this phenomenon, he arrived at
the ranks, and in great wrath, which probably had been augmented by the
heat acquired in his course, he pulled off one of the soldier’s hats,
which it seems had not been properly cocked, and adjusted it to his mind.
Having regulated the military discipline in this important particular,
he returned to the Prince’s right-hand, with a strut expressive of the
highest self-approbation.

Two days after our arrival here, I walked to Hernhausen, along a
magnificent avenue, as broad, and about double the length of the
mall at St. James’s. The house itself has nothing extraordinary in
its appearance; but the gardens are as fine as gardens planned in the
Dutch taste, and formed on ground perfectly level, can be. The orangery
is reckoned equal to any in Europe. Here is a kind of rural theatre,
where plays may be acted during the fine weather. There is a spacious
amphitheatre cut out in green seats for the spectators; a stage in the
same taste, with rows of trees for side-scenes, and a great number of
arbours and summer-rooms, surrounded by lofty hedges, for the actors to
retire and dress in.

When the theatre is illuminated, which is always done when masquerades
are given, it must have a very fine effect. The groves, arbours, and
labyrinths, seem admirably calculated for all the purpose of this
amusement.

In these gardens are several large reservoirs and fountains, and on one
side, a canal above a quarter of a mile in length. I have not seen the
famous jet d’eau, as the water-works have not been played off since I
came to Hanover. On the whole, we pass our time very agreeably here. We
have dined twice with Baron de Lenth, who has the chief direction of the
affairs of this electorate, and at his house have met with the principal
inhabitants. I make one of Marshal Sporken’s party every night at Whist,
and pass most of my time in the society at his house.

The D—— of H—— having promised to meet some company at Brunswick by a
certain day, we shall set out for that place to-morrow—but have engaged
to pay another visit to Hanover before we go to Berlin.—My next therefore
will be from Brunswick, or possibly from this place after our return.



LETTER LX.


                                                                 Hanover.

We remained a week at Brunswick, and returned to this town about ten
days ago. None of the family are there at present, except the Duke and
Duchess, and the young Princess, their daughter.

The character of the Sovereign, at every court, has great influence
in forming the taste and manners of courtiers. This must operate with
increased force in the little courts of Germany, where the parties are
brought nearer to each other, and spend the most part of their time
together. The pleasure which the Duchess of Brunswick takes in study, has
made reading very fashionable among the ladies of that Court: of this her
Royal Highness gave me a curious instance the last time I had the honour
of seeing her.

A lady, whose education had been neglected in her youth, and who had
arrived at a very ripe age without perceiving any inconveniency from
the accident, had obtained, by the interest of some of her relations, a
place at the Court of Brunswick. She had not been long there, till she
perceived that the conversation in the Duchess’s apartments frequently
turned on subjects of which she was entirely ignorant, and that those
ladies had most of her Royal Highness’s ear, who were best acquainted
with books. She regretted, for the first time, the neglect of her
own education; and although she had hitherto considered that kind of
knowledge, which is derived from reading, as unbecoming a woman of
quality, yet, as it was now fashionable at Court, she resolved to study
hard, that she might get to the top of the mode as fast as possible.

She mentioned this resolution to the Duchess, desiring, at the same time,
that her Highness would lend her a book to begin. The Duchess applauded
her design, and promised to send her one of the usefullest books in her
library—it was a French and German dictionary. Some days after, her
Highness enquired how she relished the book. Infinitely, replied this
studious lady.—It is the most delightful book I ever saw.—The sentences
are all short, and easily understood, and the letters charmingly arranged
in ranks, like soldiers on the parade; whereas, in some other books which
I have seen, they are mingled together in a confused manner, like a mere
mob, so that it is no pleasure to look at them, and very difficult to
know what they mean. But I am no longer surprised, added she, at the
satisfaction your Royal Highness takes in study.

Since our return to Hanover, we have dined twice at the Palace. There
is a household established with officers and servants, and the guard
is regularly mounted, as at the time when the Electors resided here
constantly. The liveries of the pages and servants are the same with
those worn by the King’s domestic servants at St. James’s. Strangers of
distinction are entertained at the Palace in a very magnificent manner.
The first of the entertainments I saw was given to the D—— of H——, and
the other to young Prince George of Hesse Darmstadt, who arrived here a
few days since, with Prince Ernest and Prince Charles of Mecklenburg,
brothers to the Queen of Great Britain, both of whom are in the
Hanoverian service.

Most of my time is spent as formerly, at Marshal Sporken’s. The
conversation of a man of sense, who has been fifty years in the service,
and in high rank during a considerable part of that time, which led him
into an intimacy with some of the most celebrated characters of the
age, you may be sure is highly interesting. It affords me satisfaction
to be informed from such authority, of many transactions in the last
war, the common accounts of which are often different, and sometimes
contradictory. The Marshal’s observations are sensible and candid, and
his manner of converting unreserved. He served with the late Marshal
Daun in the allied army, opposed to Marshal Saxe, in the war 1741, and
has many curious anecdotes illustrating the characters of some of the
commanders who conducted the armies during that memorable period. He has
a very high opinion of Duke Ferdinand’s military character, and declares,
that of all the Generals he ever served under, that Prince seemed to
him to have the best talents for conducting an army. He says, that as
Prince Ferdinand had seldom held councils of war, or communicated to the
Generals of his army, any more of his plans than they were to execute,
it was difficult for them to form a just opinion of his capacity, while
they remained with the army immediately under his command; but that
he (Marshal Sporken) had sometimes commanded a detached army, which
obliged the Prince to be more communicative, and afforded the Marshal
the strongest proofs of the depth of his judgment. Above all things, he
admired the perspicuity of his written instructions.—— These, he said,
were always accompanied with the most accurate and minute description
of the country through which he was to march, every village, rivulet,
hollow, wood, or hill on the route, being distinctly particularised, and
the most judicious conjectures concerning the enemy’s designs added, with
directions how to act in various probable emergencies.

Upon the whole, Marshal Sporken seemed convinced that great part of the
success of the allies, during the late war in Westphalia, was owing to
the foresight, prudence, and sagacity of their General. One memorable
event, however, which has been cited as the most striking proof of all
these, he imagined was not so much owing to any of them, as to the
personal valour of a few regiments, and the good conduct of some inferior
officers. The Marshal added, that his praises of Duke Ferdinand’s
military abilities did not proceed from private attachment, for he could
claim no share in his friendship; on the contrary, a misunderstanding had
happened between them, on account of an incident at the siege of Cassel,
the particulars of which he recapitulated, and this misunderstanding was
of a nature never to be made up.

The liberal, candid sentiments of this venerable man carry conviction,
and command esteem. He is respected by people of all ranks, and listened
to like an oracle. In the society generally to be found at the Marshal’s,
there are some nearly of his own age, who formed the private parties
of George the Second, as often as he came to visit his native country.
The memory of that monarch is greatly venerated here. I have heard
his contemporaries of this society relate a thousand little anecdotes
concerning him, which at once evinced the good disposition of the King,
and their own gratitude. From these accounts it appeared, that he was
naturally of a very sociable temper, and entirely laid aside, when at
Hanover, the state and reserve which he retained in England, living in
that familiar and confidential manner which Princes, as well as peasants,
will assume in the company of those they love, and who love them.

Not only the personal friends of that monarch speak of him with regard,
the same sentiments prevail among all ranks of people in the Electorate.
Nothing does more honour to his character, or can be a less equivocal
proof of his equity, than his having governed these subjects, over whom
he had an unlimited power, with as much justice and moderation as those
whose rights are guarded by law, and a jealous constitution.

The two visits I have made to Hanover, have confirmed the favourable
impression I had before received of the German character. One of the
most disagreeable circumstances which attend travelling is, the being
obliged to leave acquaintances after you have discovered their worth, and
acquired some degree of their friendship. As the season for the Prussian
reviews now approaches, we have already taken leave of our friends, and
are to set out to-morrow morning on our return to Brunswick, that after
remaining a few days there, we may still get to Potsdam in proper time.

I shall not leave behind me every valuable acquaintance I have acquired
since I came to Hanover.—We met, on our last arrival here, with Mr.
F——, son of Lord F——. He has been of our parties ever since, and will
accompany us to Brunswick and Potsdam.



LETTER LXI.


                                                                 Potsdam.

On returning to Brunswick, we found the Hereditary Princess had come
from Zell a few days before, having left the Queen of Denmark in perfect
health. The Princess resided with her children at Antonettenruche, a
villa a few miles from Brunswick. She invited the D—— of H——, Mr. F——,
and me, to dine with her the day before we were to set out for Potsdam.
That morning I chanced to take a very early walk in the gardens of the
palace.—The Duke of Brunswick was there.—He informed me, that an express
had arrived with news of the Queen of Denmark’s death.—They had received
accounts a few days before that she had been seized with a putrid
fever.—He said that nobody in the town or court knew of this, except his
own family, and desired that I would not mention it to the Princess, who,
he knew, would be greatly affected; for he intended to send a person,
after her company should be gone, who would inform her of this event,
with all its circumstances.

When we went, we found the Princess in some anxiety about her sister;—yet
rather elated with the accounts she had received that day by the post.
She showed us her letters.—They contained a general description of the
symptoms, and conveyed some hopes of the Queen’s recovery. Unable to
bear the idea of her sister’s death, she wrested every expression into
the most favourable sense, and the company met her wishes, by confirming
the interpretation she gave. To me, who knew the truth, this scene was
affecting and painful.

As we returned to Brunswick in the evening, we met the gentleman who
was commissioned by the Duke to impart the news of the Queen’s death to
her sister.—We supped the same night at court, and took leave of this
illustrious family.—The Duchess gave me a letter to her son, Prince
Frederick, at Berlin, which she said would secure me a good reception at
that capital.

On coming to the inn, we found a very numerous company, and the whole
house resounded with music and dancing. It is customary all over
Germany, after a marriage of citizens, to give the wedding-feast at an
inn. As there was no great chance of our being much refreshed by sleep
that night, instead of going to bed, we ordered post-horses, and left
Brunswick about three in the morning.

We arrived the same afternoon at Magdeburg. The country all the way
is perfectly level. The Duchy of Magdeburg produces fine cattle, and
a considerable quantity of corn, those parts which are not marshy,
and over-grown with wood, being very fertile. I have seen few or no
inclosures in this, or any part of Germany, except such as surround the
gardens or parks of Princes.

The King of Prussia has a seat in the diet of the empire, as Duke of
Magdeburg. The capital, which bears the same name with the duchy, is a
very considerable town, well built and strongly fortified. There are
manufactories here of cotton and linen goods, of stockings, gloves, and
tobacco; but the principal are those of woollen and silk.

The German woollen cloths are, in general, much inferior to the English
and French. The Prussian officers, however, assert, that the dark blue
cloth made here, and in other parts of the King of Prussia’s dominions,
though coarser, wears better, and has a more decent appearance when long
worn, than the finest cloth manufactured in England or France.—Thus much
is certain, that the Prussian blue is preferable to any other cloth made
in Germany.—The town of Magdeburg is happily situated for trade, having
an easy communication with Hamburg by the Elbe, and lying on the road
between Upper and Lower Germany. It is also the strongest place belonging
to his Prussian Majesty, and where his principal magazines and foundries
are established. In time of war, it is the repository of whatever he
finds necessary to place out of the reach of sudden insult.

Places where any extraordinary event has happened, even though they
should have nothing else to distinguish them, interest me more than
the most flourishing country, or finest town which has never been the
scene of any thing memorable. Fancy, awakened by the view of the former,
instantly gives shape and features to men we have never seen.—We hear
them speak, and see them act; the passions are excited, the mind amused;
the houses, the rivers, the fields around supplying the absence of the
poet and historian, and restoring with new energy the whole scene to the
mind.

While crossing the Elbe at this town with the D—— of H——, I recalled to
his memory the dreadful tragedy which was acted here by the Austrian
General Tilly, who having taken this town by storm, delivered up the
citizens, without distinction of age or sex, to the barbarity and lust
of his soldiers. Besides the general massacre, they exhibited such acts
of wanton cruelty, as disgrace human nature. We viewed with a lively
sympathy, that part of the river where three or four hundred of the
inhabitants got over and made their escape:—all that were saved out of
twenty thousand citizens!

This sad catastrophe supplied us with conversation for great part of this
day’s journey. It is unnecessary to comment on an event of this kind to a
person of the D——’s sensibility.—Proper reflections arise spontaneously
in a well-formed mind from the simple narrative.

The country is well cultivated, and fertile for about two leagues beyond
Magdeburg; afterwards it becomes more barren, and within a few leagues of
Brandenburg, it is as naked and sandy as the deserts of Arabia.

Brandenburg, from which the whole Electorate takes its name, is but a
small town, divided into Old and New by a river, which separates the
fort from both. The principal trade is carried on by some French woollen
manufacturers, whom the King has encouraged to reside at this town. The
whole number of inhabitants does not amount to more than 1500.

On entering the Prussian garrison towns, you are stopped at the gate; the
officer of the guard asks your name, whence you come, whither you are
going, and takes your answers down in writing. This is done in the French
garrisons also, but not with the same degree of form and accuracy.

When the title of Duke is given, the guard generally turns out under
arms. As for Milord, it is a title treated with very little ceremony,
either in France or Germany. It is often assumed in foreign countries
by those who have no right to it, and given to every Englishman of a
decent appearance. But Duke, in Germany, implies a Sovereign, and is more
respectable than Prince. Every son of a Duke in this country, is called
Prince, although he had as many as old King Priam.

We arrived last night at Potsdam, which important piece of news, you
will please to observe, I have taken the earliest opportunity of
communicating.



LETTER LXII.


                                                                 Potsdam.

The day after our arrival here, I waited on the Count Finkenstein, and
desired to know when the D—— of H—— and I could have the honour of being
presented to the King, requesting, at the same time, the liberty of
attending at the reviews. I was not a little surprised when this minister
told me, that I must write a letter to his Majesty, informing him of that
request, and that I should certainly receive an answer the day following.
It appeared very singular to write to so great a Prince upon an affair
of such small importance; but the Count told me this was the established
rule. So I immediately did as I was desired.

Next morning one of the court-servants called for me at the inn, and
delivered a sealed letter addressed to me, and signed by the King,
importing, that as the court would soon be at Berlin, the minister in
waiting there would let the D—— of H—— and Mr. —— know when they might be
presented, and that they were very welcome to attend at all the reviews.

In the evening we were presented to the Prince and Princess of Prussia,
who reside almost constantly at Potsdam. He is a tall, stout-made,
handsome man, of about thirty-five years of age. The Princess is of the
family of Hesse-Darmstadt, and has a great resemblance to her aunt, whom
we had seen at Carlsruhe. We have had the honour of supping with them
twice during the few days we have been at Potsdam.

The Prince and all the officers have been employed every morning in
preparing for the reviews. Yesterday, for the second time, there were
seven thousand men reviewed by the King. The Prince of Prussia’s son, a
child of six or seven years old, was present on foot with his tutor, and
unattended by any officer or servant. They mingled without any mark of
distinction among the other spectators. I mentioned my surprise at this
to the tutor. In France, said he, it would be otherwise: the Dauphin,
at the age of this child, would be carried to the review in a coach,
with a troop of musqueteers to attend him; but here, the King and Prince
are equally desirous that their successor should be brought up in a
hardy manner, and without any strong impression of his own importance.
Sentiments of that kind will come soon enough, in spite of all the pains
that can be taken to exclude them.

The troops were drawn up in one line along the summits of some hills.
From this situation they descended over very unequal and rough ground,
firing in grand divisions all the way, till they came to the plain, where
they went through various evolutions. But as we were to set out in a
little time for Berlin, where the grand reviews of that garrison are to
take place, I shall say no more on the subject of reviews till then.

Our mornings, since we came hither, have always been passed with
the troops in the field. The forenoons we have spent in looking at
every thing curious in the town. The houses are built of a fine white
free-stone, almost all of them new, and nearly of the same height. The
streets are regular and well paved, and there are some very magnificent
public buildings; so that Potsdam has every requisite to form an
agreeable town, if by that word is meant the streets, stone-walls,
and external appearance. But if a more complex idea be annexed to the
word, and if it be thought to comprehend the finishing, furniture, and
conveniencies within the houses, in that case Potsdam is a very poor town
indeed.

The King having expressed a great inclination to see this town increase,
several monied people built houses, partly to pay their court to his
Majesty, and partly because, by letting them, they found they would
receive very good interest for their money. But as the town did not
augment so quickly as he wished, his Majesty ordered several streets to
be built at once, at his own expence. This immediately sunk the value of
houses, and the first builders found they had disposed of their money
very injudiciously.

Towns generally are formed by degrees, as the inhabitants increase in
numbers; and houses are built larger and more commodious as they increase
in riches; for men’s ideas of conveniency enlarge with their wealth. But
here the matter is reversed: the houses are reared in the first place,
in hopes that their fair outsides, like the nymphs of Circe, will allure
travellers, and attract inhabitants. Hitherto their power of attraction
has not been strong; for few towns are worse inhabited than Potsdam,
though the houses are let to merchants and trades-people at very small
rents.

I was not a little surprised, while I walked through the town, to see
buff-belts, breeches and waistcoats, hanging to dry from the genteelest
looking houses, till I was informed, that each housekeeper has two or
more soldiers quartered in his house, and their apartments are, for the
most part, on the first floor, with windows to the street; which I am
told is also the case at Berlin. The King chooses that his soldiers
should be quartered with the citizens, rather than in barracks. This
ought to be a sufficient answer to those military gentlemen, who insist
on building barracks for the soldiers in Britain, upon the supposition,
that our army cannot be well disciplined without them. For it could
scarcely be expected, or wished, that the British army were under more
rigid discipline than the Prussian.

I imagine the Prussian soldiers are quartered in private houses rather
than barracks, from considerations diametrically opposite to those which
produce the same effect in England.—The British parliament have always
shown an aversion to lodging the military in barracks, and have preferred
quartering them in the citizens’ houses, that a connection and good-will
may be cultivated between the soldiers and their fellow-citizens; and
that the former may not consider themselves as a distinct body of men,
with a separate interest from the rest of the community, and whose duty
it is implicitly to obey the will of the crown at all times, and upon all
occasions.

Whereas here it may not be thought expedient, to lodge great bodies of
armed men together in barracks, lest they should, during the night, form
combinations destructive of discipline, and dangerous to government. This
cannot happen in the day-time, because then the officers are present, and
the soldiers are not allowed even to speak to each other when under arms;
and while off duty, their time is wholly filled up in cleaning their
arms, accoutrements, and clothes, and preparing for the next guard.—I
imagine these may be part, at least, of the reasons which induce the
King of Prussia to prefer quartering his men in private houses; for in
all other respects, lodging them together in barracks would be more
convenient, and more agreeable to the genius of his government.

The palace at Potsdam, or what they call the castle, is a very noble
building, with magnificent gardens adjacent. I shall not trouble you
with a description of either, only it struck me as a thing rather
uncommon in a palace, to find the study by far the finest apartment in
it. The ornaments of this are of massy silver. The writing-desk, the
embellishments of the table, and the accommodations for the books, were
all in fine taste.

The person who attended us, asked if we had any desire to see his
Majesty’s wardrobe?—On being answered in the affirmative, he conducted
us to the chamber where the monarch’s clothes are deposited; it had a
very different appearance from his library. The whole wardrobe consisted
of two blue coats, faced with red, the lining of one a little torn;—two
yellow waistcoats, a good deal soiled with Spanish snuff;—three pair of
yellow breeches, and a suit of blue velvet, embroidered with silver, for
grand occasions.

I imagined at first, that the man had got a few of the King’s old
clothes, and kept them here to amuse strangers; but, upon enquiry, I was
assured, that what I have mentioned, with two suits of uniform which he
has at Sans-Souci, form the entire wardrobe of the King of Prussia. Our
attendant said, he had never known it more complete. As for the velvet
suit, it was about ten years of age, and still enjoyed all the vigour of
youth. Indeed, if the moths spared it as much as his Majesty has done,
it may last the age of Methusalem.—In the same room, are some standards
belonging to the cavalry. Instead of the usual square flag, two or three
of these have the figures of eagles in carved silver fixed on a pole.

In the bed-chamber where the late King died, at the lower part of the
window which looks into the garden, four panes have been removed, and a
piece of glass equal in size to all the four supplies their place. We
were informed that his late Majesty’s supreme delight through life had
been to see his troops exercise, and that he had retained this passion
till his last breath. When he was confined to his room by his last
illness, he used to sit and view them through the window, which had been
framed in this manner, that he might enjoy these dying contemplations
with the greater conveniency. Becoming gradually weaker by the increasing
distemper, he could not sit, but was obliged to lie on a couch through
the day. When at any time he was uncommonly languid, they raised his
head to the window, and a sight of the men under arms was perceived to
operate like a cordial, and revive his spirits.—By frequent repetition,
however, even this cordial lost its effect.—His eyes became dim—when his
head was raised, he could no longer perceive the soldiers, and he expired.

This was feeling the ruling passion as strong in death as any man ever
felt it.



LETTER LXIII.


                                                                 Potsdam.

I have been twice or thrice at Sans-Souci, which is at a small distance
from Potsdam. The King lives constantly at the Old Palace, except when
some people of very great distinction come to reside with him for some
days. He then receives them at the New Palace, and remains there himself
during their stay.

The gallery contains a great collection of paintings, some of them
originals, highly esteemed.—The most valuable are of the Flemish
school.—Some people who pass for connoisseurs, and for aught I know may
be what they pretend, assert, that the King has not a just taste in
painting, which appears by his purchasing a great many very indifferent
pictures. Whatever may be in that, it is certain that his Majesty does
not give the least importance to the opinion of these connoisseurs;
but buys, admires, and avows his admiration of such pieces as appear
excellent in his own eyes, without regarding what they or others may
think. It has no weight with him, that the piece is said to be by
Raphaël, Guido, or Corregio. If he see no beauty in it, he says so, and
without ceremony prefers the work of a modern or obscure painter.

This is considered by many critics in painting as blasphemy, and shocks
them more than any other species of impiety. A painter and great
connoisseur whom the King had disgusted, by rejecting some pictures
of his recommending, and by purchasing others which he had condemned,
said (speaking of the King), The man imagines, because he can play
on the German flute, and has been praised by a parcel of poets and
philosophers, and has gained ten or a dozen battles, that therefore he
understands painting; but fighting battles is one thing, and a true
knowledge of painting is another, and that he will find to his cost.

A few years after the late war, the King of Prussia began to build
the new palace of Sans-Souci, which is now completely finished, and
is certainly a very noble and splendid work. The offices are at a
considerable distance, and are joined to the body of the palace by a
double colonnade, which has a very grand effect. The front of the palace
seems rather crowded, by the great number of statues which are intended
to ornament it. These are generally in groups, representing some story
from Ovid. This building has a cupola, terminated by a large crown,
supported by the three Graces. The D—— of H—— observed, that three
Prussian grenadiers would have been more suitable. On the ground-floor,
in the middle, there is a large hall, whose floor, sides, and roof, are
all of marble. It is called the grotto, and the ornaments correspond
with that name. This room can be agreeable only when the weather is
excessively hot. In Italy it would be delightful. The roof of this
hall is low, and vaulted, and supports another room in all respects of
the same dimensions, only higher. This second room is also lined with
beautiful marble. The other apartments are adorned with rich furniture
and paintings, all very showy. Many people think them gaudy.—It must be
owned, that the gilding is laid on with a very lavish hand.

Opposite to the old palace of Sans-Souci, and immediately without the
gardens, Lord Marechal has built a house, where he constantly resides.
You are well acquainted with the amiable character of this nobleman. We
waited on him soon after our arrival, and have dined with him several
times since. On the front of his house is this inscription:

    FREDERICUS II. NOBIS HÆC OTIA FECIT.

Adjoining to this house is a small garden, with a door which communicates
with the King’s garden of Sans-Souci, so that his Lordship has the full
enjoyment of these gardens. The King has also a key to my Lord’s little
garden, and frequently walks by this passage to visit him.

We set out for Berlin to-morrow. Adieu.



LETTER LXIV.


                                                                  Berlin.

We arrived here in the height of the preparation for the reviews.
Nothing was to be seen in the streets but soldiers parading, and
officers hurrying backwards and forwards. The town looked more like the
cantonment of a great army, than the capital of a kingdom in the time of
profound peace. The Court itself resembled the levee of a General in the
field—except the foreign ministers, and a few strangers, every man there
(for there were no women) was dressed in a military uniform.

Mr. Harris, the British minister, attended the D—— of H——, the day we
were presented to the King. A son of Prince Kaunitz’s, and some other
strangers, were presented at the same time. The Count Reuse, chamberlain
of the Court, named each person to his Majesty as he approached. He
conversed a considerable time with the D——, and spoke a few words
to every person who was presented.—His countenance and manner are
exceedingly animated.—He seemed that day in very high spirits, and spoke
to all his officers in an easy style, and with a kind of gay affability.
On their part, they appear before their master with an erect military
boldness, free from that cringing address which prevails in many Courts,
but would not succeed here.

The King was three days at Berlin before the reviews began, and passed
some hours every morning in the park, where there were four or five
thousand men ordered daily, not to be exercised, but simply that the
King might examine the state of each corps in particular: and it is
incredible with what accuracy and minute attention he did examine them,
the Colonel of the regiment under scrutiny walking along with him,
to answer any question, and hear his directions and remarks. By this
exactness, he not only knows the condition of the army in general, but
the appearance, degree of discipline, and strength of each regiment.

The whole number reviewed was about thirty-six or thirty-eight thousand,
consisting of the garrison of Berlin, and troops from some of the
adjacent towns and villages. This army was in the field three mornings
successively, and the operations were different each day. I shall
endeavour to give you an idea of the plan of the last day’s review, which
is freshest in my memory.

At break of day, about eight thousand men marched out of Berlin, under
the command of a general officer, and took possession of a village,
situated on a rising ground, at the distance of two or three miles. About
an hour after, the King himself joined the army, which was assembled
without the gates. He divided it into three columns. Two general officers
took the command of two of them; he himself led the third. The whole
marched by three different routes towards the village, where the former
detachment had now taken post. In the attack and defence of this village
the review consisted.

As the army advanced, they were cannonaded from the village, but could
not be supposed to suffer much, because the leader of each column
advanced with caution, taking such circuits as exposed the men very
little.

At length the three columns met on a large plain near the village, but
protected from the batteries by a rising of the ground. Here the King
formed the army into two lines. While this was doing, they were perfectly
secure; but they could not advance towards the village otherwise than
by going over the swell in the ground, and being exposed to all the
cannon of the enemy. This was to be performed, therefore, with as much
expedition as could be consistent with good order. The right wing of the
army made the attack. As soon as the signal was given, all the drums
and fifes struck up at once. The soldiers advanced with a rapid pace.
A numerous train of large field-pieces, placed at proper intervals,
advanced with equal velocity, and kept in a line with the front rank. The
rapidity with which they were charged and discharged as they advanced
was quite astonishing. When the line came within a proper distance of
the village, the soldiers began to use their firelocks. In the mean
time there was a furious cannonade, and discharge of small shot from the
village. The King was between the advancing line and the village during
the attack. When they had got very near the hedges, a new battery opened
from the village. The King gave a signal, and the first line broke,
fell into an artificial confusion, and gave back towards the second
line, which opened at several places, and closed again the moment the
retreating line had pierced through. The second line then moved to the
attack, as the former had done. This also seemed to be repulsed—a retreat
was sounded, and the whole wing began to retire. A body of cavalry then
appeared from the village, and were advancing to charge the retreating
army, but were themselves charged, and driven back, by the cavalry of the
right wing.

A body of hussars pursued also from the village, and harassed the
retreating army. These were sometimes repulsed by the soldiers, who
turned and fired on them, and sometimes by detached parties of cavalry,
which drove them away.

These various operations lasted from five in the morning till noon, when
the troops returned to Berlin.—It is hardly possible for any words of
mine to convey an adequate idea of the perfect manner in which these
evolutions were executed. The charges made by the cavalry were praised by
the King himself. I had never seen so great a body together, and had no
idea that it was possible to charge at full gallop, and keep the ranks
and distances so exactly as they did.

Upon the principle, that velocity is equal to weight, they endeavour to
compensate for the lightness of the horses by the quickness of their
motion. The hussars in the Prussian army are taught, not only to harass a
retreating army in detached parties, but to charge like heavy cavalry in
a large body. The late General Seidlitz, who had the reputation of being
the best officer of cavalry in Europe, brought the Prussian dragoons
to a wonderful degree of perfection, and it is said that he gained the
battle of Rosbach by one brisk charge. Ever since, the King of Prussia
has bestowed great attention on his cavalry. They are now habituated to
charge in large bodies, and at full speed.

The cuirassiers are the flower of the Prussian army. They are dressed in
buff coats, and wear very heavy iron breastplates, which cover all the
fore-part of the body, and have been tried by musket-shot before they are
delivered to the men.

I neglected to mention, that the infantry were ordered to shout as they
advanced to the attack on the village, and that this practice is adopted
by the Prussians in actual service. The King, as I am informed, is of
opinion, that this keeps up the spirits of the men, and prevents them
from reflecting on the danger of their situation. There are a greater
proportion of drummers in the Prussian service than in most others: a
regulation, in all probability, founded on the same principle.

The evening after the reviews, there were a concert and supper at Prince
Henry’s palace. The Queen was present, and the King’s brothers, Henry
himself, and Ferdinand, with their Princesses; also the Prince and
Princess of Prussia, Prince Frederick of Brunswick and his Princess, and
a numerous company. I here delivered to Prince Frederick the letter I
had brought from his mother, who I found had before apprized him of my
intention to go to Berlin.

The King himself was not present. He seldom appears at festivals. All his
hours, not employed in business, he spends in reading, or in the society
of a few people whom he esteems. The Hereditary Prince of Brunswick is at
present the King’s most constant companion, a choice which does not more
honour to the Prince than to the King’s discernment.

Prince Henry’s palace is one of the most magnificent buildings in Berlin.
No subject of the King of Prussia lives in a more sumptuous manner than
this Prince, who keeps a numerous establishment of servants, mostly
handsome young men, very richly dressed. The entertainment on this
occasion was remarkably splendid.



LETTER LXV.


                                                                  Berlin.

The day after the reviews, the King, attended by his nephew, the
Prince of Prussia, and the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick, set out for
Magdeburg, where there is a camp of 15,000 men. He afterwards will
proceed to Silesia, and his new acquired dominions in Poland, and is not
expected at Potsdam for six weeks at least.

His Majesty makes the same circuit twice every year.—Surely no King in
Europe can have such a thorough knowledge of his dominions and subjects
as this monarch.—His absence from Berlin has made but little relaxation
in the duty, and none in the discipline of the troops. The reviews were
scarcely over, when field-days began. There are 1500 or 2000 of the
troops belonging to this garrison, exercised in the park almost every
morning, besides those who appear on the parade for the ordinary guards.

A review, such as that which I endeavoured to describe, is undoubtedly
one of the finest shows that can be exhibited: but when a spectator of
sensibility reflects on the means by which these poor fellows are brought
to this wonderful degree of accuracy, he will pay a severe tax for
this splendid exhibition.—The Prussian discipline on a general view is
beautiful; in detail it is shocking.

When the young rustic is brought to the regiment, he is at first treated
with a degree of gentleness; he is instructed by words only how to
walk, and to hold up his head, and to carry his firelock, and he is not
punished, though he should not succeed in his earliest attempts:—they
allow his natural aukwardness and timidity to wear off by degrees:—they
seem cautious of confounding him at the beginning, or driving him to
despair, and take care not to pour all the terrors of their discipline
upon his astonished senses at once. When he has been a little
familiarised to his new state, he is taught the exercise of the firelock,
first alone, and afterwards with two or three of his companions. This is
not entrusted to a corporal or serjeant; it is the duty of a subaltern
officer. In the park at Berlin, every morning may be seen the Lieutenants
of the different regiments exercising with the greatest assiduity,
sometimes a single man, at other times three or four together; and now,
if the young recruit shows neglect or remissness, his attention is roused
by the officer’s cane, which is applied with augmenting energy, till he
has acquired the full command of his firelock.—He is taught steadiness
under arms, and the immobility of a statue;—he is informed, that all
his members are to move only at the word of command, and not at his own
pleasure;—that speaking, coughing, sneezing, are all unpardonable crimes;
and when the poor lad is accomplished to their mind, they give him to
understand, that now it is perfectly known what he can do, and therefore
the smallest deficiency will be punished with rigour. And although he
should destine every moment of his time, and all his attention, to
cleaning his arms, taking care of his clothes, and practising the manual
exercise, it is but barely possible for him to escape punishment; and
if his captain happens to be of a capricious or cruel disposition, the
ill-fated soldier loses the poor chance of that possibility.

As for the officers, they are not indeed subjected to corporal
punishment, but they are obliged to bestow as unremitting attention
on duty as the men. The subalterns are almost constantly on guard, or
exercising the recruits: the Captain knows, that he will be blamed by his
Colonel, and can expect no promotion, if his company be not as perfect
as the others: the Colonel entirely loses the King’s favour if his
regiment should fail in any particular: the General is answerable for the
discipline of the brigade, or garrison, under his immediate command. The
King will not be satisfied with the General’s report on that subject,
but must examine every thing himself; so that from his Majesty, down to
the common centinel, every individual is alert. And as the King, who
is the chief spring and primum mobile of the whole, never relaxes, the
faculties of every subordinate person are kept in constant exertion: the
consequence of which is, that the Prussian army is the best disciplined,
and the readiest for service at a minute’s warning, of any now in the
world, or perhaps that ever was in it. Other monarchs have attempted
to carry discipline to the same degree of perfection, and have begun
this plan with astonishing eagerness. But a little time and new objects
have blunted their keenness, and divided their attention. They have
then delegated the execution to a commander in chief, he to another of
inferior rank, and thus a certain degree of relaxation having once taken
place, soon pervades the whole system; but the perseverance of the King
of Prussia is without example, and is perhaps the most remarkable part of
his extraordinary character.

That degree of exertion which a man of a vigorous mind is capable of
making on some very important occasion, the King of Prussia has made
for thirty years at a stretch, without permitting pleasure, indolence,
disgust, or disappointment, to interrupt his plan for a single day.—And
he has obliged every person through the various departments of his
government to make, as far as their characters and strength could go, the
same exertions.—I leave you to judge in what manner such a man must be
served, and what he is capable of performing.



LETTER LXVI.


                                                                  Berlin.

No condition in life can be more active, and at the same time have less
variety in it, than that of a Prussian officer in the time of peace.
He is continually employed in the same occupation, and continually
occupied in the same place. There is no rotation of the troops as in the
British service. The regiments which were placed in Berlin, Magdeburg,
Schweidnitz, and the other garrisons at the conclusion of the war, remain
there still. It is dreaded, that if they were occasionally moved from one
garrison to another, the foreigners in the service, who are exceedingly
prone to desertion, might then find opportunities, which according to the
present plan they cannot: for however desirous a Prussian soldier may be
to desert, the thing is almost impossible. The moment a man is missing,
a certain number of cannons are fired, which announce the desertion to
the whole country. The peasants have a considerable reward for seizing a
deserter, and are liable to severe penalties if they harbour, or aid him
in making his escape, and parties from the garrisons are sent after him
in every direction.

As none of the soldiers are ever allowed to go without the walls of the
town, it requires great address to get over this first difficulty; and
when they have been so far fortunate, many chances remain against their
escaping through the Prussian dominions; and even when they arrive safe
in any of the neighbouring states,

    Nunc eadem fortuna viros tot casibus actos
    Insequitur.

For there they will probably be obliged to inlist again as soldiers; so
that on the whole, however unhappy they may be, it is absurd to attempt
desertion in any other way than by killing themselves, which method, as I
am told, begins to prevail.

In consequence of their remaining constantly in the same place,
conversing always with the same people, and being employed uniformly
in the same business, the Prussian officers acquire a staid, serious
appearance, exceedingly different from the gay, dissipated, degagé air
of British or French officers. Their only amusement, or relaxation from
the duties of their profession, seems to be walking on the parade, and
conversing with each other. The inferior officers, thus deprived of
opportunities of mixing in general society, and not having time for
study, can have no very extensive range of ideas. Their knowledge, it
must be confessed, is pretty much confined to that branch of tactics
in which they are so much employed; and many of them at length seem to
think, that to stand firm and steady, to march erect, to wheel to the
right and left, and to charge and discharge a firelock, if not the sole
use of human creatures, is at least the chief end of their creation.

The King, as I have been informed, has no inclination that they should
reason on a larger compass of thought, which might possibly lead them to
despise their daily employment of drilling soldiers, counting the buttons
of their coats, and examining the state of their spatter-dashes and
breeches. For as soon as men’s minds become superior to their business,
the business will not be so well performed. Some application to other
studies, and opportunities of mixing with a more general society, might
make them more agreeable men, but not better captains, lieutenants, and
adjutants.

His Majesty imagines he will always find a sufficient number of men of a
more liberal turn of mind, and more extensive notions, for officers of
great trust and separate commands, where the general must act according
to emergencies, and the light of his own understanding. He believes
also, that this general system will not deprive him of the advantage of
particular exceptions, or prevent genius from being distinguished, when
it exists in the humblest spheres of his service. As often, therefore, as
he observes any dawnings of this kind; when any officer, or even soldier,
discovers uncommon talents, or an extensive capacity, he is sure to be
advanced, and placed in a situation where his abilities may have a full
power of exertion; while those must stand still, or be moved by a very
slow gradation, who have no other merit to depend on for promotion but
assiduity alone, which, in the Prussian service, can never conduct to
that rank in the army, where other qualifications are wanted.

As to the common men, the leading idea of the Prussian discipline is to
reduce them, in many respects, to the nature of machines; that they may
have no volition of their own, but be actuated solely by that of their
officers; that they may have such a superlative dread of those officers
as annihilates all fear of the enemy; and that they may move forwards
when ordered, without deeper reasoning or more concern than the firelocks
they carry along with them.

Considering the length to which this system is carried, it were to be
wished that it could be carried still further, and that those unhappy
men, while they retained the faculties of hearing and obeying orders,
could be deprived of every other kind of feeling.

The common state of slavery in Asia, or that to which people of civil
professions in the most despotic countries are subject, is freedom
in comparison of this kind of military slavery. The former are not
continually under the eyes of their tyrants, but for long intervals of
time may enjoy life without restraint, and as their taste dictates; but
all the foreign soldiers in this service, and those of the natives, who
are suspected of any intention to desert, and consequently never allowed
furloughs, are always under the eye of somebody, who has the power, and
too often the inclination, to controul every action of their bodies, and
every desire of their hearts.

Since such a number of men all over Europe are doomed to this state
of constraint, it is much to be lamented that, from the nature of the
service, the doom should fall on the useful, industrious peasantry,
who, when uncontrolled by cruel and absurd policy, pass their days in
cheerfulness, tasting every real pleasure without the nausea of satiety,
or the stings of remorse, and perhaps, of all mankind, have the greatest
enjoyment of life. The sum-total of happiness, destroyed by removing men
from this situation into a state of misery, must be infinitely greater
than if many of the useless, wealthy, and luxurious could be translated
into the same state. This would not be annihilating happiness, but only
shifting the scene of the wretched. Such recruits would only be harassed
by the caprices of others instead of their own;—plagued with the manual
exercise, instead of being tortured by peevishness and disgust;—laid
up in consequence of running the gantlet, instead of being laid up with
the gout;—and, finally, knocked down by a cannon-ball, instead of being
killed by a fit of the apoplexy or a surfeit.



LETTER LXVII.


                                                                  Berlin.

Instead of troubling you with any more observations of my own, on the
nature of the Prussian discipline, or the principles on which it is
founded, I shall give you the substance of some conversations I have had
on that subject with a Prussian officer of character.

Walking one morning in the park, we saw a poor fellow smartly caned, for
no other reason, but because he did not return the ram-rod into his piece
with so much celerity as the rest of the platoon. I turned away with
indignation from the sight, which the officer observing, said, You think
the punishment too severe for the crime?—There was no crime, said I: the
ram-rod slipt through his fingers by accident, and it is not possible
to imagine, that the man had any intention to perform this important
motion less rapidly than his comrades. Every thing must be considered as
of importance by a soldier, replied my Prussian acquaintance, which his
officer orders him to do. In all probability, the fault was involuntary;
but it is not always possible to distinguish involuntary faults from
those that happen through negligence. To prevent any man from hoping
that his negligence will be forgiven as involuntary, all blunders are
punished, from whatever cause they happen; the consequence of which is,
that every man is more attentive and alert than he would otherwise be. I
remember, added he, that it was very usual on field-days for the dragoons
to have their hats blown off. Nobody suspected that they had bribed the
wind to play this trick; yet a general officer being put out of humour by
the frequency of the accident, gave orders to punish every man to whom
it should happen; and since that order was put in force, the hats have
been much seldomer blown off.

I then mentioned a fact which appeared to me still more extraordinary.
A hussar, at the last review, had fallen from his horse at full gallop,
and was so much bruised, that it was found necessary to carry him to
the hospital; and I had been assured, that as soon as the man should be
perfectly recovered, he would certainly be punished for having fallen.
Now, continued I, though a man may be a little careless about his hat,
it cannot be imagined, that this hussar was not seriously inclined to
keep his seat; for by falling, he might have broke his neck, or have
been trod to death: Or, even if you choose to suppose, that he did not
ride with all the attention he ought, yet, as he received one severe
punishment by the fall, it would be cruel to inflict another. I have
nothing to oppose to the solidity of your argument, replied the Prussian,
but that General Seidlitz, who was the best officer of cavalry in the
world, first introduced this piece of cruelty, since which it is certain,
that the men have not fallen so often. The King imagines, continued
the Prussian, that discipline is the soul of an army; that men in the
different nations of Europe are, in those qualities which are thought
necessary for a soldier, nearly on a par; that in two armies of equal
numbers, the degrees of discipline will determine how far one is superior
to the other. His great object, therefore, is to keep his own army at the
highest possible degree of perfection in this essential point. If that
could be done by gentle means, undoubtedly he would prefer them.—He is
not naturally of a cruel disposition.—His general conduct to officers
of rank proves this.—Finding that the hopes of promotion, and a sense of
honour, are sufficient motives to prompt them to their duty, he never
has had recourse, except in cases of treachery, to any higher punishment
than dismissing them. In some remarkable instances, he has displayed
more mildness than is usual in any other service. Some of his Generals
have allowed towns of the greatest importance to be taken by surprise;
others have lost intire armies; yet he never was influenced by popular
clamour, or by the ruinous condition of his own affairs in consequence of
those losses, to put any of the unfortunate generals to death. And when
any of them have been suspended for a certain time, or declared, by the
decree of a court-martial, incapable of a military command under him, he
has never aggravated the sentence by any opprobrious commentary, but has
rather alleviated it by some clause or message, which spared the honour
of the condemned general.

The common soldiers cannot be kept to their duty by mild treatment.
Severe and immediate corporal punishment is found absolutely
necessary.—Not to use it at all, or to use it in a degree incapable of
producing the full effect, would be weakness. Soldiers are sometimes
punished for slips, which perhaps all their attention cannot prevent;
because, though it is impossible to ascertain, that any particular man
could have avoided them, yet experience has taught, that, by punishing
every blunder, fewer are committed on the whole. This sufficiently
justifies the practice of what you call cruelty, but which is in reality
salutary discipline; for an individual suffering unjustly is not so great
an evil in an army, as the permitting negligence to pass unpunished. To
allow ten guilty men to escape, rather than risk the punishment of one
innocent person, may be a good maxim in morality, or in civil government,
but the reverse will be found preferable in military discipline.

When the Prussian had finished his discourse, I said, You seem to neglect
all those incitements which are supposed to influence the minds of
soldiers; the love of glory, the love of country, you count as nothing.
You address yourself to no passion but one.—Fear is the only instrument
by which you compel your common men to deeds of intrepidity.—Never mind
the instrument, replied the Prussian, but look to the effect.

I am convinced, answered I, that British soldiers, with that degree of
discipline which subsists in our army, which is not near so rigid as
yours, animated by their native courage, and the interest which even the
common men take in all their country’s quarrels, are at least equal to
any other troops.

I hope, said he, the experiment will not be made soon, for I esteem your
nation, and should be sorry to see your troops opposed to ours in the
field: but till they are, you cannot be sure of the justness of your
assertion. The advantages you gained over the French in the late war
rather makes for my argument, because the French army is more remiss in
the article of discipline than yours.

I then returned to my old ground, the cruelty of harassing and tormenting
men without intermission; and asserted, that the advantages arising
from such excessive severity, even though they should be as great as he
represented, could not form a sufficient reason for rendering the lives
of so many men miserable.

I do not know that they are miserable, replied he—When men are but
indifferently fed, forced to perform very hard duty, certain of being
severely punished for the smallest faults, and sometimes even for their
misfortunes, can you doubt, said I, that these men are miserable?—They do
not seem miserable, replied he, they bear it very well.—— And would you,
added I, have the less remorse in tormenting men, because they have the
strength of mind to bear it well?

I then told him a story I had heard of an English sailor, who was tried
for a robbery he had committed on the highway. While his doom was
pronouncing, he raised a piece of rolled tobacco to his mouth, and held
it between his teeth till he heard the sentence of death passed on him.
He then bit off a piece of the tobacco, and began to chew it with great
unconcern. Sirrah, said the judge, piqued at the man’s indifference,
do you know that you are to be hanged in a very short time?—So I hear,
said the sailor, squirting a little tobacco juice from his mouth.—Do you
know, rejoined the judge, where you will go when you die?—I cannot tell
indeed, an’t please your honour, said the sailor.—Why, then, cried the
judge, with a tremendous voice, I will tell you: You will go to hell, you
villain, and there be burnt to all eternity.—If I should, replied the
sailor, with perfect tranquillity, I hope, my Lord, I shall be able to
bear it.



LETTER LXVIII.


                                                                  Berlin.

Berlin is certainly one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. The
streets are built in a very regular manner, and of a commodious breadth.
In the new town they are perfectly straight. Frederick-street is reckoned
two English miles and a half, or a French league, in length. Others which
go off at right angles from that, are a mile, or a mile and a half long.

Some people assert, that Berlin covers as much ground as Paris. These are
not Frenchmen, as you will readily believe; neither am I of that opinion,
but it certainly approaches much nearer to Paris in size than in number
of inhabitants; Berlin is undoubtedly more than half the size of Paris,
yet I am convinced it does not contain above a fifth of the inhabitants.

There are a few very magnificent buildings in this town. The rest are
neat houses, built of a fine white free-stone, generally one, or at
most two stories high. Here, as at Potsdam, the finishing within does
not correspond with the elegance of the outside, and the soldiers are
quartered on the ground-floor in rooms looking to the street. The
principal edifices are the King’s palace, and that of Prince Henry. Both
of these are very magnificent. The arsenal, which is a noble structure,
is built in the form of a square. We were informed, that at present it
contains arms for 200,000 men. I am convinced this is no exaggeration.

The new Roman Catholic church is by far the most elegant place of worship
in the city. The King allows the free exercise of every religion over
all his dominions. He thinks the smallest controul over men’s consciences
highly unjust. He even has the delicacy not to influence them by his
example, and offends no religion, by giving a preference to any one in
particular.

On the front of the opera-house, which is a very beautiful structure, is
this inscription:

    FREDERICUS REX, APOLLINI ET MUSIS.

After observing the inscriptions and ornaments of the palaces and other
public buildings, the new method of decorating the churches, the number
of Mercuries, Apollos, Minervas, and Cupids, that are to be met with in
this country, a stranger might be led to suspect, that the Christian
religion was exploded from the Prussian dominions, and old Jupiter and
his family restored to their ancient honours.

There is an equestrian statue of William, the Great Elector, on the
new bridge over the Spree. This is highly esteemed as a piece of fine
workmanship.—In the corner of one of the squares, is a statue of Marshal
Schwerin. He is represented holding the ensign with which he advanced
at the famous battle of Prague.—Perceiving his troops on the point of
giving way, he seized this from the officer’s hands whose duty it was
to carry it, and marched towards the enemy, calling out, Let all but
cowards follow me. The troops, ashamed to abandon their general, charged
once more, and turned the fortune of the day.—But the brave old Marshal
was killed, in the eighty-fourth year of his age.—Do not you think the
trouble of living so long was amply repaid by such a death?

Instead of saints or crucifixes, the King intends, that the churches
of Berlin shall be ornamented with the portraits of men who have been
useful to the state. Those of the Marshals Schwerin, Keith, Winterfield,
and some others, are already placed in the great Lutheran church.

The society into which strangers may be admitted in this capital, is not
various or extensive. The Prussian officers of the higher ranks, whose
time is not entirely engrossed, like that of their inferiors, by the
duties of their profession, live mostly with their own families, or with
each other. Exclusive of other reasons which might determine them to
this, it is understood, that the King does not approve of their forming
intimacies with foreign ministers, or with strangers.

The D—— of H—— followed the King to Magdeburg to see the reviews there,
and has since made a tour as far as Leipsic, with two English gentlemen.
My connection with him, and the letter I brought from the Duchess of
Brunswick, have procured me invitations, which I should otherwise have
had but a small chance of receiving. I passed a day lately at a very
pleasant villa, about six miles from Berlin, belonging to the King’s
brother, Prince Ferdinand. He is married to a sister of the Princess
of Hesse Cassel’s. The Princess of Prussia was there at the same time,
and Prince Frederick of Brunswick, with his Princess, who is remarkably
pretty. I have the honour of supping sometimes with Prince Frederick, who
lives constantly at Berlin. To the spirit and vivacity common to all his
family, he adds a taste for poetry, and has composed some dramatic pieces
in the French language, which have been represented on a little theatre
in his own house, and in private societies at Berlin.—There has been a
continued round of feasting all the last week.

The Princess of Prussia gave a breakfast at a garden in the Park, to
which a large company was invited. There was dancing, which continued
all the forenoon. Upon all these occasions, I saw none of that state and
ceremony of which the Germans are accused. Those of the highest rank
behaved with the greatest ease and affability to every person present,
and joined in the country-dances, without observing any form or etiquette.


The minister, Count Finkenstein, gave a great dinner and ball, on account
of the marriage of one of his sons. The Count Reuse, and some others,
have also given entertainments; but the chief and permanent society is
to be found at the houses of the foreign ministers who reside here. I
have been introduced to all of them by Mr. Harris, his Majesty’s envoy
extraordinary, who lives here in a style which does honour to his
country and himself.

We have received very great civilities also from Baron Van Swieten,
minister from, the Court of Vienna, a man of wit and erudition. He is
son to the celebrated physician, whose works are so highly esteemed all
over Europe. There are two or three general officers who are pretty often
at the houses of these ministers, and entertain strangers occasionally
at home.—Besides those I have named, there are very few of the King of
Prussia’s servants who have any connection with the strangers that come
to Berlin. I have had the happiness of forming an acquaintance here with
two very agreeable French gentlemen, the Marquis de Laval, son of the
Duke of that name, and the Comte de Clermont, grandson of that Mons.
de Saint Hillaire, whose arm was carried off by the same bullet which
killed Marshal Turenne. You remember the sentiment which St. Hillaire
expressed to his son, who lamented his wound—A sentiment which proved,
that his magnanimity was equal to that of the hero whom he so greatly
preferred to himself.

                                                                   Adieu.



LETTER LXIX.


                                                                  Berlin.

When we arrived here first, the Queen lived at Mont Bijou, a small palace
just without the gates. Her Majesty had a public day twice a week while
she remained there; but she has lately removed to Shoenhausen, another
palace, situated two leagues from Berlin, where she passes the summer.
Here she has a public day only once a week. The Princes, the nobility,
the foreign ministers, and strangers, generally attend on these occasions
at five in the evening. After her Majesty has walked round the circle,
and spoke a few words to every one, she sits down to cards. There is a
table for the Queen, and one for each of the Princesses, all of whom
choose their own parties. The rest of the company present themselves
for a few minutes at each of these card-tables, after which the duty of
the day is over, and they walk in the garden, or form parties at cards
in the other apartments, as they think proper, and return to Berlin when
it begins to grow dark. On some particular nights, her Majesty invites
a considerable number of the company to supper, who then remain till
midnight.

The Queen’s Court resembles the other Courts of Europe; whereas that at
Sans-Souci is upon quite a new plan. No strangers are received there,
nor any other persons, except such as have real business with the King.
There his Majesty is employed in his affairs from morning till evening,
and spends the hours he destines for relaxation in the company of two or
three men of letters, and a few officers, who dine with him daily.—When
he has business with any of his servants, or with the foreign ministers,
which cannot be executed by letter, they attend him at Sans-Souci, and
come away as soon as that business is transacted.

Those assemblies at Shoenhausen are the only established amusement for
the ladies of quality at Berlin during the summer; but you have frequent
opportunities of meeting with the court ladies at the houses of the
foreign ministers.

The French manners and turn of thinking certainly prevail very little
among the Prussian officers; but the ladies of the court of Berlin have
more the air of French women, than those of any court I have seen.
Mademoiselle de Hartfield, first lady of honour to the Queen, with an
infinite deal of wit, has all the ease and elegance which distinguish the
ladies of the Court of Versailles.

His Majesty very seldom appears at the Queen’s court, or at any place
where women form part of the assembly. When he inclines to unbend, his
amusements are of a nature in which they can take no share. I once said
to a lady of this Court, that it was a pity his Majesty did not love
women.—Considering his time of life, said she, we could dispense with his
love, but it is hard that he cannot endure us.

Notwithstanding this humour of the King’s, the ladies here are by
no means neglected by the men in general. Many of the married women
particularly, have avowed admirers, who attend them on all occasions,
are invited with them to all entertainments, sit next them at table, and
whom the master or mistress of the feast takes care to place in the same
party with them at cards. When a lady is not provided with an attendant
of this kind, her husband, as well as herself, is generally a little out
of countenance, and both seem rather in an aukward situation, till this
necessary concomitant be found.

A misfortune of a very serious nature happened lately to a certain
gentleman here; instead of expressing concern about him or his wife (for
he was a married man), every body sympathized, in the tenderest manner,
with another lady, between whom and this unfortunate gentleman the most
intimate connection was thought to subsist: they said she was one of the
worthiest women in the world, and of such delicate feelings, that her
health might be injured by the impression the gentleman’s misfortune
would make upon her mind—Being surprised that no mention was made of his
wife all this time, I asked if she might not also be in some measure
affected by her husband’s disaster?—I was told, that she was otherwise
occupied, and that any thing which could happen to her husband was of
little or no importance to her, I then enquired if she and her husband
lived on bad terms; I was informed, that, on the contrary, they were on
the best footing in the world, for that he was much attached to another
woman—(the very lady they so greatly lamented) and that his wife was
entirely devoted to another man; so the account between them being
perfectly balanced, they lived free of all domestic debates, in a state
of mutual neglect, and engrossed with separate passions.

In this country, when both parties are willing, and when there are no
children, a divorce may be obtained with very little trouble or expence;
we are frequently in companies, where a lady, her present, and former
husband are at table, and all parties behave in the most polite and
friendly manner to each other.

I have heard of one gentleman, who having lived in a state of domestic
jarring with his wife, got her persuaded to concur with him in applying
for a divorce.—This was soon obtained.—He then married another woman,
with whom he was violently in love, and expected, as usual, eternal
happiness. After marriage, however, this passion cooled rather sooner
than common, and within a few months he became the professed admirer
of his first wife. He now saw a thousand charms in her person and
conversation, which had entirely escaped his notice, while the bonds
of wedlock subsisted. He also discovered that certain peculiarities in
her manner, which he had formerly thought exceedingly aukward, were in
reality graceful. He expressed his remorse for his former blindness in
the most pathetic terms: the lady was softened, and at length gave the
most perfect marks of forgiveness; and it was universally thought, that
he thus contrived to live in adultery with the very woman to whom he had
been lawfully married.

Here jealousy is held in equal contempt and detestation, and scandal is
very little known. People seem so fully occupied with their own private
affairs, that they seldom trouble their heads about the business of
their neighbours. If, in the course of conversation, an intimacy of
a particular kind is hinted at between people of different sexes, it
is mentioned accidentally as a fact of no importance, and without the
smallest blame or ill-natured reflection on either of the parties. One
reason of this may be, that there is scarce such a thing (I am assured)
as an old maid in his Prussian Majesty’s dominions.

The most fashionable walk in Berlin, is in the middle of one of the
principal streets.—Before the houses on each side there is a causeway,
and between these two causeways are fine gravel walks, planted with
lime-trees.—Tents are pitched under these, and ice, lemonade, and other
refreshments sold. The bands of music belonging to the regiments practise
here in the summer.—The Company generally are in the greatest number in
the evening, and often walk till it is very late.

      ——Nunc et campus, et areæ
    Lenesque sub noctem susurri,
    Composita repetantur hora.



LETTER LXX.


                                                                  Berlin.

Nothing surprised me more, when I first came to Berlin, than the freedom
with which the people spoke of the measures of government, and the
conduct of the King. I have heard political topics, and others which I
should have thought still more ticklish, discussed here with as little
ceremony as at a London coffee-house. The same freedom appears in the
booksellers’ shops, where literary productions of all kinds are sold
openly. The pamphlet lately published on the division of Poland, wherein
the King is very roughly treated, is to be had without difficulty, as
well as other performances, which attack some of the most conspicuous
characters with all the bitterness of satire.

A government, supported by an army of 180,000 men, may safely disregard
the criticisms of a few speculative politicians, and the pen of the
satirist. While his Majesty retains the power of disposing of the lives
and properties of his subjects as his wisdom shall direct, he allows them
the most perfect freedom to amuse themselves with as many remarks or
jokes on his conduct as they please.

The mind of this monarch is infinitely superior to that gossiping
disposition, by which the despicable race of whisperers and retailers of
scandal thrive at some courts. Convinced that the same perfidy, which
can betray a real conversation, may invent a false one, he listens to
no little, malicious tales of what has passed in private companies, or
during the hours of convivial mirth. Any person who should attempt to
repeat anecdotes of this kind to him, would be driven from his presence
with disgrace. He treats with equal contempt all anonymous letters, and
every kind of injurious information, when the informer declines appearing
openly in support of his assertions.

This great Prince is so perfectly devoid of suspicion and personal fear,
that he resides at Sans-Souci without any guard whatever. An orderly
serjeant, or corporal only, attends there in the day-time to carry
occasional orders to the garrison at Potsdam, whither he always returns
in the evening. In this house, where the King sleeps every night, there
are not above ten or a dozen persons, the servants included. When you
recollect that Sans-Souci is a solitary mansion, about half a league from
Potsdam, where all the guards are shut up, and therefore could be of no
manner of use, in case of any attempt on the King’s person during the
night; when you consider that he, who lies thus defenceless and exposed,
is a despotic monarch, who governs by the dictates of his own will and
understanding, without minding the ill-humour or discontent of any man,
or any set of men, and who, no doubt, has many inveterate enemies, you
must confess, that all these circumstances argue great magnanimity.

Berlin, though not a fortified, is certainly a very military town. When
all the soldiers of the garrison are present, they amount to 30,000.
In their general conduct they are quiet, and the police of the town is
pretty well regulated. Yet there are some kinds of irregularities which
prevail in the highest degree. Public courtezans are more numerous here
than in any town in Europe, in proportion to the number of inhabitants.
They appear openly at the windows in the day-time, beckon to passengers
as they walk in the streets, and ply for employment in any way they
please, without disturbance from the magistrate.

It seems to be a received opinion here, that the peace and happiness of
the community are not interrupted by this species of licentiousness; or
perhaps it is believed, that an attempt to restrain it would be attended
with consequences worse than the thing itself. Therefore nobody is
allowed to molest or abuse those who have chosen this for a trade, and as
little attention is paid to customers, who frequent the chambers of those
ladies, as if they stept into any other house or shop, to purchase any
other commodity.

Another species of debauchery is said to prevail in this capital.—I
imagine, however, that what is related on that nauseous subject is
greatly exaggerated.

The better kind of citizens and manufacturers live entirely among those
of their own rank, and without affecting the manners of the courtiers, or
stooping to the mean debauchery of the commonalty, maintain the decency,
plainness, and honesty of the German character.

His Prussian Majesty has applied his attention to no object with so much
zeal, and so little success, as to the establishing of commerce in his
dominions. All his efforts, in order to this, have been rendered abortive
by injudicious taxes, by monopolies, and other restrictions. Commerce,
like the wild commoners of the air and the forest, when confined or
shackled, immediately droops and dwindles, or, being alarmed, like Love,

    “—— —— —— at sight of human ties,
    Spreads its light wings, and in a moment flies.”



LETTER LXXI.


                                                                  Berlin.

I thank you, Sir, for the poem and pamphlets you sent me by ——. I own I
do not think the former a very capital performance; yet am not surprised
at the great run it has had. For though it had contained still a smaller
proportion of wit, it would have been a good deal relished on account of
the malignity and personal abuse with which it abounds.


The English nation have always had a great appetite for political
writings; but those who cater for them have of late served up such messes
of mere politics, as seem at length to have turned their stomachs.
A little wit or personal satire is now found necessary to make even
a newspaper go down. The first is not always at the command of the
caterer: he therefore uses the other in its place, which answers his
purpose as well.

I never had any delight in contemplating or exposing the dark side of
human nature; but there are some shades so obvious, that you cannot open
your eyes without observing them. The satisfaction that many people enjoy
in reading libels, wherein private characters are traduced, is of that
number. If to be abused in pamphlets and news-papers is considered as
adversity, the truth of Rochefoucault’s maxim is uncontrovertible:—Dans
l’adversité de nos meilleurs amis, nous trouvons toujours quelquechose
qui ne nous déplait pas.

The common scribblers of the age have turned to their own account this
malevolent disposition, which they perceive to be so prevalent among
men.—Like the people who provide bulls and other animals to be baited by
dogs for the amusement of the spectators, these gentlemen turn out a few
characters every week to be mangled and torn in the most cruel manner in
the public news-papers.

It is the savage taste of those who pay for these amusements, which keeps
them in use. The writers of scurrilous books in London often bear no
more malice to the individuals they abuse, than the people at Paris and
Vienna, who provide the other horrid amusement, bear to the boars, bulls,
and other animals which they expose to the fury of dogs.

As for the scribblers, they seldom have any knowledge of the persons
whose characters they attack. It is far from being impossible, that the
author of the severe verses you sent me, has no more acquaintance with
the lords and gentlemen against whom he writes with such bitterness,
than the weaver who wove their pocket-handkerchiefs. The motive for the
fabrication of the one as well as the other commodity most probably was
daily bread, and this poetaster has preferred satire to panegyric, merely
because he knew the first was most to the taste of his customers.

I remember once to have been in a certain bookseller’s shop, when a
letter was delivered to him, inclosing a paper, which, after he had
thrown his eyes over it, he presented to me, telling me it was a
character of Lord S——, which he intended to insert in a certain work then
publishing.—I fancy, added he, it will do pretty well; the author is a
sharp blade, I assure you;—none of my boys carry such an edge, or cut so
deep, as that little gladiator.

I found this a most bitter invective against the above-mentioned
nobleman, written with all the inveteracy of malice and personal enmity,
branding him as a prodigy of sensuality, and accusing him of every
villanous disposition and propensity that ever tainted the most corrupt
heart.

This, said I, is a much more harmless production than is intended. The
violence of this poison will prove its own antidote. The most voracious
stomach for slander and defamation will not be able to bear such a dose,
but must reject it with disgust. Every reader of common understanding
will clearly perceive, that all this abuse has been dictated by malice
and personal resentment.

Then, replied the bookseller, every reader of common understanding will
clearly perceive what does not exist; for the writer of that paper, to my
certain knowledge, never had the smallest intercourse or connection with
Lord S——; never bore him any ill-will, and has not the most distant wish
to injure that noble Lord; as a proof of which, added he, taking another
paper out of his drawer, here is a character of the same nobleman,
written by the same author, which is to appear about a week after the
publication of the former, by way of answer to it.

This second paper was a continued eulogium on Lord S—— from beginning
to end, in which the candid author, having compared him to some of the
greatest and most celebrated men, and having collected many of the
brightest flowers, with which Plutarch has adorned his worthies, he
forms them into one large wreath, which he very seriously binds round
the English nobleman’s brow, concluding with this observation. That as
his Lordship resembled them in their virtues, so like them he had been
distinguished by the most virulent attacks of envy and malice, which was
a tax that had always been paid for superior talents.

How comes my Lord S——, said I to the bookseller, to be selected from his
brethren of the peerage, and distinguished so remarkably by the obloquy
and the praise of your ingenious friend?

Because, replied he, that nobleman is at the head of an active
department, and is one of those vigorous and decisive characters, which
never fail to create a number of enemies and of friends. His enemies
are delighted to see him abused, and it is expected, that his friends
will be charmed to hear him praised; and, between the two, my friend’s
productions will find a brisk sale, and I hope to make a tolerable job
of his Lordship; which, let me tell you, cannot be done with every man
of rank.—Lord, Sir! there are some of them of such mawkish, water-gruel
characters, as to interest no mortal. There is ——, a man of such high
rank and such a known name, that I thought something might have been made
of him:—And so I employed my little Drawcansir for and against him, and
two very pretty pamphlets he produced;—but just as I was going to send
them to the press, I happened to shew them to a friend of mine, who is
an admirable judge in these matters.—These pamphlets, says he, are very
well wrote; but they’ll never pay the printing. The person who is the
subject of them is of such a cold, tame, civil, cautious disposition,
and has balanced so exactly through the whole of his life, that he has
never obliged or disobliged any one. He has neither friend nor foe in the
world:—Every body says, he is a good enough sort of a man; but were he to
break his neck to-night, no human creature would feel either sorrow or
satisfaction at the event, and a satire or panegyric on his grandmother
would be as much read as those written on him.

In faith, sir, concluded the Bookseller, I took the hint, and so the
pamphlets never appeared.

Though I was a good deal entertained with my friend the Bookseller’s
reasoning, yet I could not help feeling indignation at the literary
bravo, who lived in this infamous manner, by wounding and murdering, or
at least attempting to murder, people’s reputations. And those are not
entirely free from blame, who detesting the writer, take pleasure in the
writings. He has very possibly the plea of necessitous circumstances to
urge in alleviation of his wickedness:—but the pleasure they take seems
to proceed from a pure, disinterested fondness of seeing others abused.
Many of those who cry shame on the licentiousness of the press, and
exclaim against the injustice and cruelty of tearing private characters
to pieces in public papers, have the most virulent of these productions
served up every morning as regularly as their toast and butter. If
they would forego the pleasure of reading the most malicious of those
compositions, the evil they complain of would cease directly.

But it is ridiculous, and seems ungrateful, for people to affect an
appearance of indignation against those who provide for them one of the
greatest enjoyments of their lives. To chuckle over scandal all the
forenoon with every mark of pleasure, and decry it in the evening with
affected anger, is as preposterous as it would be in a judge, first to
seduce a poor wench to fornication, and then punish her for the sin.

You may possibly retort upon me, by putting me in mind of the admiration
I expressed of the style of certain celebrated letters, wherein some
eminent characters are dissected, and tortured with the scientific skill
of an anatomist, and the refined cruelty of an inquisitor. I answer, that
I admired the wit and genius, but not the disposition displayed in those
letters.

Malice, when introduced by genius and wit, is often tolerated on account
of the respect due to the introducers; but when the wretch comes alone,
or is accompanied by dulness, which often happens, she will be expelled
with infamy from all good company.



LETTER LXXII.


                                                                  Berlin.

The Prussian army at present, according to my information, consists of
180,000 men. If twenty, or even thirty thousand are deducted from this
account, on the supposition that it is exaggerated, still the remainder
will be very great; and the expence of such an establishment in time
of peace, seems to many almost incompatible with the King of Prussia’s
resources. Although the revenues of this monarch are much greater than
is generally imagined, yet the armies he has supported, and continues to
support; the palace he has built, and other expensive undertakings which
he has completed, are not such proofs of the greatness of his revenue,
as of the prudence with which it has been managed. Many other Princes
have greater revenues, which, like water spilt on uncultivated land, and
assisting the growth of useless weeds, are dissipated without taste or
magnificence on the trumpery of a court and their dependents. Perhaps
it was never known what miracles, œconomy, and assiduity through all
the departments of government could perform, till this monarch made it
apparent.

In the King of Prussia’s dominions, there are none of those polls which
enrich individuals at the expence of the public; places suited to the
abilities and the luxury of the great, where the salary is large, because
the application and talents requisite are small. If those who hold the
most lucrative places in this court, can support a becoming dignity by
the emoluments of their office, and lay up a very moderate provision for
their families, it is the utmost they ever expect.

All commodities are highly taxed in the Prussian dominions. At Berlin,
though money is a great deal scarcer than at London or Paris, a stranger
will find very little difference in the ordinary expence of living.
There are no means by which his revenue can be augmented, which this
King has not tried. He has taxed even the vanity of his subjects, and
drawn considerable supplies since the beginning of his reign from that
plentiful source. The rage which the Germans, above all men, have for
titles, prompts many of the wealthy citizens to purchase that of some
office about court; and although the King employs no person void of
abilities, he never scruples to permit this kind of traffic. The title,
however, is literally all that is sold, for with regard to the real
business of the office, the purchaser has as little connection with it
after the bargain as before. Though his Majesty scarcely ever consults
with any body, he has more nominal privy-counsellors than any King in
Christendom.

The taxes in general are invariably fixed; but methods are found of
drawing contributions from the proprietors of the very great estates,
which do not affect the smaller landlords, or the rest of the subjects.
The spirit of the government is not favourable to great and independent
Lords. But both the great and the small landlords are prevented from
squeezing or oppressing the peasants. As the soldiery are drawn from
them, care is taken that they shall not be deprived of the chief source
of health and vigour, and there is no peasantry in Europe better fed than
the Prussian.

The army is chiefly composed of provincial regiments. The whole Prussian
dominions being divided into circles or cantons; in each of these, one
or more regiments, in proportion to the size and populousness of the
division, have been originally raised, and from it the recruits continue
to be taken; and each particular regiment is always quartered, in the
time of peace, near the canton from which its recruits are drawn.

Whatever number of sons a peasant may have, they are all liable to
be taken into the service except one, who is left to assist in the
management of the farm. The rest wear badges from their childhood, to
mark that they are destined to be soldiers, and ready to serve when the
state requires them. If a peasant has only one son, he is not forced into
the service, except he has the misfortune to be uncommonly stout and
well-made. The King, however, endeavours to save his own peasantry, and
draw as many recruits as he can from other countries:—For this purpose,
there are Prussian officers employed at Hamburgh, Frankfort, and other
free towns of Germany. I have seen them also at Neufchatel, and at places
near French garrisons, attempting to inlist men, and pick up deserters.
The recruits procured in this manner, remain continually with the
regiments in which they are placed; but the native Prussians have every
year eight or nine months of furlough, during which they return to their
fathers’ or brothers’ houses, and work at the business of the farm, or
gain their livelihood in any other way they please. Here is at once an
immense saving in the expence of the army, and a great gain to the state
from the labour of so many men.

From this it appears, that the Prussian army is neither more nor less
than a standing militia, embodied for two or three months every year, and
then dispersed to their usual labours as farmers.

I think this decides our old dispute on the subject of standing armies
and militia. I expert therefore that you will, by the return of post,
fairly and candidly acknowledge that I was in the right, and that all
your arguments to prove, that a militia could not be depended on in
the time of actual service, are built on false principles, and that my
opinion was just and well-founded.

Before closing this letter, I will inform you of a very singular
incident, the circumstances of which I relate, not so much with a design
to illustrate the character or sentiments of the vulgar of this place in
particular, as to furnish you with a curious fact in the history of human
nature in general.

I went a few days since with Mr. F—— to see a man executed for the
murder of a child.—His motives for this horrid deed were much more
extraordinary than the action itself. He had accompanied some of his
companions to the house of a fellow, who assumed the character of a
fortune-teller, and having disobliged him, by expressing a contempt of
his art, the fellow, out of revenge, prophesied, that this man should die
on a scaffold.—This seemed to make little impression at the time, but
afterwards recurred often to this unhappy creature’s memory, and became
every day more troublesome to his imagination. At length the idea haunted
his mind so incessantly, that he was rendered perfectly miserable, and
could no longer endure life.

He would have put himself to death with his own hands, had he not
been deterred by the notion, that God Almighty never forgave suicide;
though, upon repentance, he is very ready to pardon every other crime.
He resolved, therefore, to commit murder, that he might be deprived of
life by the hands of justice; and mingling a sentiment of benevolence
with the cruelty of his intention, he reflected, that if he murdered
a grown person, he might possibly send a soul to hell. To avoid this,
he determined to murder a child, who could not have committed any sin
which deserved damnation, but dying in innocence, would go immediately
to Heaven. In consequence of these ideas, he actually murdered an infant
of his master’s, for whom he had always shewn an uncommon degree of
fondness. Such was the strange account which this infatuated creature
gave on his trial;—and thus the random prophecy proved, as in many other
cases, the cause of its own completion.

He was executed about two miles from Berlin. As soon as he ascended
the scaffold, he took off his coat and waistcoat;—his shirt was rolled
down below his shoulders;—his night-cap was pulled over his eyes;—he
was placed on his knees, and the executioner with a single stroke of a
broad sword severed his head from his body.—It was the first time this
executioner had performed:—there were two others of the same trade on
the scaffold, who exhibited an instance of insensibility more shocking
than the execution.—While the man’s head rolled on the scaffold, and the
arteries of the trunk poured out their blood, those men, with the gayest
air you can imagine, shook their brother by the hand, wished him joy,
and clapped him on the back, congratulating him on the dexterous and
effectual manner in which he had performed his office.



LETTER LXXIII.


                                                                  Berlin.

The D—— of H—— having expressed an inclination to visit the court of
Mecklenburg Strelitz, I accompanied him thither soon after his return
from Magdeburg and Leipsic. The weather being sultry, his Grace thought
that travelling in the night would be most agreeable. We did not set out
therefore till about six or seven in the evening. The first post-house
is four German miles from Berlin; but as great part of the road is
through a large wood, and the night became very dark, the postillions
lost their way. In a short time we were perfectly bewildered, and
without the smallest notion which direction we should follow. After many
ineffectual attempts to find out the path, we thought it would be most
prudent to unyoke the horses, and allow them to graze around, while we
slept in the chaise till daybreak. This plan was literally followed: as
soon as the servants, by the light of the rising sun, had discovered the
path, we proceeded by Oranienburg and Seidneek to Reinsburg, which is a
magnificent castle belonging to Prince Henry of Prussia.

The gardens here are very extensive, and have been highly improved and
ornamented by this Prince, who has a good taste, and a magnificent turn
of mind.

When we arrived at the town of New Strelitz, we were informed that
the court was at Brandenburg. The Ducal residence was formerly at Old
Strelitz; but the palace there, with all the magnificent furniture and
effects, was burnt to ashes about fifty years ago. The fire having broke
out in the night-time, the family themselves had a very narrow escape.

A new palace has been since built at the distance of two English miles
from where the former stood, but in a much more agreeable situation,
being placed on a gentle eminence near a fine lake; and the town of New
Strelitz has gradually arisen in the neighbourhood.

After a short stay at Strelitz, we proceeded to New Brandenburg, which is
some leagues farther north, and within a small distance of the Baltic. We
arrived there in the morning of the third day after we had left Berlin.
When the Chamberlain of the Court was informed of the D—— of H——’s
arrival, we received an invitation to dinner, and a coach and equipage
were ordered to attend his Grace.

The reigning Duke of Mecklenburg Strelitz is unmarried, as well as the
Princess, his sister, who lives constantly with him. They are both of a
darker complexion than the Queen of Great Britain, and neither of them so
tall; nor have they much external resemblance of her Majesty, except in
the affability of their manner. The Duke is beloved by his subjects, on
account of the humanity and benevolence of his disposition, which seem to
be characteristic of the whole family.—After dinner there was a concert
of music, and card-playing till supper.

The whole country of Mecklenburg was for many centuries under the
government of one Prince. In the year 1592, on the death of the
Sovereign, it was divided between his two sons. The eldest retaining the
Duchy of Mecklenburg Schwerin, which is considerably the largest share;
the younger obtained the Duchy of Mecklenburg Strelitz. This last branch
became extinct in the year 1695, and Duke Frederic William, of the eldest
branch, laid claim to the inheritance of the Duchy of Strelitz. But he
was opposed by Adolphus Frederic, his father’s younger brother, and the
contest was settled by compromise between the parties in 1701. The right
of primogeniture, and the lineal succession, were then established in
both houses, and this final agreement was ratified by the Emperor.

The country here is not a sandy flat, as around Berlin; but the soil
becomes gradually better as you move from that city, and around New
Brandenburg it is remarkably fertile. Though the southern border of this
Duchy is flat, sandy and barren, yet all the northern part is of a rich
verdure, finely diversified with hills, meadows, woods, and several
beautiful lakes from four to ten miles in length. The country yields
plenty of corn, hemp, flax, excellent pasture for numerous flocks of
sheep, and a good breed of horses.—New Brandenburg is a neat and thriving
town, very agreeably situated. The inhabitants carry on a considerable
trade in hops, which grow in great abundance all around.

This country, which seems to be happy in its prince and other
particulars, cannot rank among its blessings the neighbourhood of so
great and warlike a monarch as the King of Prussia. In the course of
the late war, both the Mecklenburgs suffered very severely from this
circumstance. The Russians and Austrians, who pillaged the middle
Mark of Brandenburg, did not ascertain with nicety where the King of
Prussia’s dominions ended, and the Duke of Strelitz’s began; but as often
as there was any thing valuable to carry away, plundered both without
distinction. And when that Monarch himself was driven to extremity, and
obliged to use every means of recruiting his army, the Mecklenburghers
were cajoled and seduced by every art into the Prussian service; and
when these methods failed, they were, as it is said, taken by force.
Even at present, whenever the Prussian recruiting officers know of a
strong well-looking peasant belonging to the Duchy of Mecklenburg,
they use every means they can devise to seduce him into their master’s
service.—Complaints are frequently made of these practices to his
Prussian Majesty, and redress will be given when it shall please the Lord.

The second day after our arrival, we spent the forenoon in viewing every
thing worthy of notice in the town, and dined again at court, where there
was a more numerous company than had been the first day. After dinner we
accompanied his Highness and the Princess to an assembly in the town,
and returned to sup at the court. During supper there was a concert of
vocal and instrumental music.

Having received every mark of polite attention from this Prince, we took
leave of him and the Princess, and left the town early next morning, and
returned by Old Strelitz, which is not in such a flourishing condition,
or situated in so fine a country, as New Brandenburg. While British
subjects pass through this country, they will naturally reflect with
gratitude and veneration on the character of a Princess whose virtues are
an ornament to the British throne, and whose amiable manners and prudent
conduct have united the affections of a people divided by party, and
irreconcilable in sentiment on almost every other subject.

On our return to Berlin, I found a letter from Lord Marechal, informing
me, that the King was expected at Potsdam within a very few days;
that great preparations were making for the reception of the Princess
of Hesse and the Duchess of Wurtemberg, who were then both at Berlin,
and were to pay a visit to the King at Sans-Souci; that they would be
accompanied by the Princess Amelia, the King’s unmarried sister, and his
two sisters-in-law, for all of whom apartments were preparing at the
new palace, where his majesty also was to reside all the time that his
illustrious guests should remain. My Lord added, that the celebrated Le
Kain, and a company of French comedians, were already arrived, and also
a company of Italian actors and singers for the opera; and that both
companies were to perform at the theatre within the palace; that a great
concourse of company was expected at Potsdam on the occasion; that most
of the apartments in the town were already bespoke, and, as he imagined
we should incline to be there, he had engaged lodgings for us.

The Duke was extremely pleased with this obliging behaviour of Lord
Marechal. I afterwards spoke to Mr. Harris on this subject, and enquired
if he intended to be at Potsdam on the occasion? He told me, that as the
plays, operas, and other entertainments, were to be given in the palace,
nobody could attend them except those who had particular invitations;
that neither he nor any of the foreign ministers had been, or, as he
understood, were to be invited, nor did he hear that any strangers were
expected;—and that he imagined it would be unbecoming the D—— of H—— to
be at Potsdam at that time, except he could with propriety attend the
entertainments at Sans-Souci.

His Grace, on hearing this account, determined to remain here; but some
days after, I received a letter from Count Finkenstein, acquainting
me, that he had orders to invite the D—— of H—— and me to attend
the entertainments to be given at Sans-Souci. This afforded us great
satisfaction, not so much on account of the public entertainments, as
because it will give us opportunities, which we could not otherwise have,
of seeing the King of Prussia, and probably in an easier way than at
Berlin. As for the usual amusements and splendor of courts, his Grace
displays more coolness about them than one would naturally imagine,
considering the manner in which he is received, his time of life, and his
personal appearance.

          ——namque ipsa decoram
    Cæsariem nato genitrix, lumenque juventæ
    Purpureum, & lætos oculis afflarat honores.

Since our return from Mecklenburg, we have passed our time almost
constantly with Mr. Harris, who accompanied the Duke yesterday on his
last visit to Shoenhausen; for we shall probably not return to this place
from Potsdam. Mr. F—— set out a few days ago for Frankfort on the Maine;
his easy humour, and original turn of thought, make his absence felt with
pain by all who have tasted the pleasure of his conversation.

                                                                   Adieu.



LETTER LXXIV.


                                                                 Potsdam.

We have been here about a fortnight. His Majesty arrived at the new
palace of Sans-Souci about the same time that we came to Potsdam. The
Princess Amelia, who is mistress of the ceremonies, was there to receive
him. The company I formerly mentioned are all lodged in the palace, I
will give you a short sketch of what has passed.

There has been a theatrical entertainment every second or third day.
His Grace and I attend at Sans-Souci on these days only. We drive from
Potsdam about five in the evening. The company assemble in one of the
apartments of the palace about that time, and walk to the playhouse
a little before six. The theatre is very well contrived for the
accommodation of a small audience. There are neither boxes nor pit; but
semicircular benches in the front of the stage. The foremost bench is
upon the floor; the others rise gradually behind, that all the spectators
may see equally well.

A few minutes after the company are placed, the Royal Family arrive.
The Princess Amelia is led in by Prince Frederick of Brunswick, and the
Princess of Hesse by the King. The Duchess of Wurtemberg, and the other
Princesses, are led in after; they, and the ladies their attendants,
sit in the first rows. The King generally seats himself in the third or
fourth. The piece then begins, and is usually finished about nine, after
which all the company return to the large apartment, where the King
remains conversing in a familiar manner till supper is ready. He then
retires, and goes to bed at ten.

Those whom the Princess Amelia orders to be invited, stay to supper; and
there is generally a pretty numerous company.—We have been at this repast
three or four times, and usually get to our lodgings at Potsdam about
midnight.

Hitherto there have been no comedies acted, and I understand there are to
be none, because Le Kain never acts in comedy; and for another reason,
which is equivalent to a thousand,—his Majesty loves tragedy better.

Le Kain has already appeared in some of his principal characters.—You
need not doubt of his exerting all his powers before such an audience.—I
might have said, such an auditor. The King seemed pleased with his
acting, and of consequence the courtiers were in raptures, and vied with
each other who should praise him most.

The tragedy of Oedipus is his Majesty’s favourite piece. This has been
represented twice, and he seemed to enjoy it very much on both occasions;
particularly when the following speech against priests was pronounced:

      Tandis que par vos soins vous pouvez tout apprendre,
    Quel besoin que le Ciel ici se fasse entendre?
    Ces Dieux, dont le pontife a promis le secours,
    Dans leus temples, Seigneur, n’habitent pas toujours;
    On ne voit point leur bras si prodigue en miracles;
    Ces antres, ces trépieds, qui rendent leurs oracles,
    Ces organes d’airain que nos mains ont formés,
    Toujours d’un souffle pur ne sont point animés.
    Ne nous endormons point sur la foi de leurs prêtres;
    Au pied du sanctuaire il est souvent des traîtres,
    Qui nous asservissant sous un pouvoir sacré,
    Font parler les destins, les font taire à leur gré.
    Voyez, examinez, avec un soin extrême,
    Philoctète, Phorbas, & Jocaste elle-même.
    Ne nous fions qu’à nous, voyons tout par nos yeux,
    Ce sont là nos trépieds, nos oracles, nos Dieux.

And afterwards, when Jocasta pours forth another tirade of the same kind,
which terminates with these lines:

    Nos Prêtres ne sont point ce qu’un vain peuple pense;
    Notre crédulité fait toute leur science.

I happened to sit next to the Abbé Bastiani, and, while the actress spoke
this, the king started up, coughed, and laughed, with very significant
gestures, to the ecclesiastic.

But though these passages, and some others, seem at first sight to be
severe against priests, the tragedy of Oedipus, upon the whole, does them
great honour. For all that is said against them, turns out to be unjust,
and it appears that the oracle, which had been treated in such severe
terms, was true, and that the high priest had acted throughout like an
honest and virtuous man. It surprises me, therefore, that Voltaire should
have taken the plot of his play from the Greek tragedy on this subject,
which has constrained him, like Balaam the son of Barak, to do honour
to those whom he would have been better pleased to have cursed.—And the
King on his part (if I may presume to say it) could not have pitched upon
a tragedy less à-propos, if his intention was to turn the clergy into
ridicule.

I have no objection to this piece, on account of the honour done to the
clergy; because I cannot help forming an opinion of men from my own
experience: And I have known so many good men of that profession, that I
should respect it on their account, exclusive of other reasons.

But I own I have the misfortune not to follow this great monarch, and
many other respectable critics, in their admiration of the tragedy
of Oedipus.—The fable, in my poor opinion, is too horrible.—The
circumstance of Oedipus being married to his mother, and having children
by her, is highly disgusting; and the idea it gives of Providence and
the conduct of the gods, cannot have a good effect on the mind. Nothing
could be more unjust, than that Heaven should send a plague among the
inhabitants of Thebes, and pour such vengeance on poor Oedipus and
Jocasta, for crimes of which it knew them to be innocent. We cannot help
admitting the justice of Oedipus’s reproaches against the gods, when he
says,

      Le voilà donc rempli cet oracle exécrable,
    Dont ma crainte a pressé l’effet inévitable:
    Et je me vois enfin, par un mélange affreux,
    Inceste, & parricide, & pourtant vertueux.
    Miserable vertu, nom stérile & funeste,
    Toi par qui j’ai réglé des jours que je déteste,
    A mon noir ascendant tu n’as pû resister:
    Je tombais dans le piége, en voulant l’éviter.
    Un dieu plus fort que moi m’entraînait vers le crime;
    Sous mes pas fugitifs il creusait un abîme;
    Et j’etais, malgré moi, dans mon aveuglement,
    D’un pouvoir inconnu l’esclave & l’instrument.
    Voilà tous mes forfaits, je n’en connais point d’autres.
    Impitoyables dieux, mes crimes sont les vôtres,
    Et vous m’en punissez.…

We must suspect, however, that Jocasta has mistaken in the opinion she
utters in the concluding lines of the tragedy.

      Prêtres, & vous Thébains, qui futes mes sujets,
    Honorez mon bucher, & songez à jamais,
    Qu’au milieu des horreurs du destin qui m’opprime,
    J’ai fait rougir les dieux, qui m’ont forcée au crime.

For those, who could force innocent people to commit criminal actions,
and then punish them on that account, were not capable of blushing for
any thing. A French tragedy and Italian opera are represented at this
theatre alternately; the King attends the latter as punctually as the
former, and displays in his countenance that extreme sensibility to
music, which forms part of his character. I imagine this Prince would
succeed better in any thing than in simulation, if he should ever think
it worth his while to attempt that part of hypocrisy,—his features are
so expressive of his feelings, that the first would be constantly in
danger of betraying the other. When there is no representation at the
theatre, his Majesty has a private concert in his own apartment, where
he himself performs on the German flute, in which instrument he has
attained the highest degree of excellence.—To these concerts no stranger
is admitted.



LETTER LXXV.


                                                                 Potsdam.

When we first arrived here, there was nothing I was so eager to see as
the Prussian troops at their exercise; but the reviews at Berlin have
completely satiated my curiosity. And though the gardens of the palace
are just opposite to the windows of our inn, I hardly ever go to look
at the guards, who are paraded there every forenoon.—A few days ago,
however, I happened to take a very early walk about a mile out of town,
and seeing some soldiers under arms, in a field at a small distance from
the road, I went towards them. An officer on horseback, whom I took to be
the Major, for he gave the word of command, was uncommonly active, and
often rode among the ranks to reprimand, or instruct, the common men.
When I came nearer, I was much surprised to find that this was the king
himself. He had his sword drawn, and continued to exercise the corps for
an hour after. He made them wheel, march, form the square, and fire by
divisions, and in platoons, observing all their motions with infinite
attention; and, on account of some blunder, put two officers of the
Prince of Prussia’s regiment in arrest.—In short, he seemed to exert
himself with all the spirit of a young officer, eager to attract the
notice of his General by uncommon alertness.

I expressed my surprise to an officer present, that the King was not
willing to take some repose, particularly from that kind of employment
of which he had had so very much of late, and that he could take so much
pains with a mere handful of men immediately after he had come from
exercising whole armies.

This gentleman told me, that, on this particular day, the King had been
trying some new evolutions; but though this had not been the case, he
might very possibly have been in the field:—for his maxim was, that his
troops should display as much briskness on a common field-day as if
they were to engage in battle; and therefore it was never known when
he intended to be present, or when not;—that as for repose, he took it
between ten at night and four in the morning, and his other hours were
all devoted to action, either of body or mind, or both; and that the
exercise he had just taken, was probably by way of relaxation after three
hours previous labour in his cabinet.

The more I see and hear of this extraordinary man, the more am I
astonished. He reconciles qualities which I used to think incompatible. I
once was of opinion, that the mind, which stoops to very small objects,
is incapable of embracing great ones;—I am now convinced, that he is an
exception; for while few objects are too great for his genius, none seem
too small for his attention.

I once thought that a man of much vivacity was not capable of entering
into the detail of business:—I now see that he, who is certainly a man of
wit, can continue methodically the necessary routine of business, with
the patience and perseverance of the greatest dunce that ever drudged in
a compting-house.

Since my last, we have seen the Italians perform; but neither the plays
nor the operas, nor any part of the entertainments, interest me half so
much, or could draw me so assiduously to Sans-Souci, as the opportunity
this attendance gives of seeing the King. Other monarchs acquire
importance from their station; this Prince gives importance to his.
The traveller in other countries has a wish to see the King, because he
admires the kingdom:—here the object of curiosity is reversed:—and let
us suppose the palaces, and the towns, and the country, and the army of
Prussia ever so fine, yet our chief interest in them will arise from
their belonging to Frederic the Second;—the man, who, without an ally but
Britain, repelled the united force of Austria, France, Russia, and Sweden.

Count Nesselrode, talking with me on this subject, had an expression
equally lively and just: C’est dans l’adversité qu’il brille, lorsqu’il
est bien comprimé il a un ressort irrésistible.

The evening of the day on which I had seen the King in the field, I was
at Sans-Souci; for I wish to neglect no opportunity of being present
where this monarch is. I like to stand near him, to hear him speak, and
to observe his movements, attitudes, and most indifferent actions. He
always behaves with particular affability to the D—— of H——. One evening,
before the play began, his Grace and I were standing accidentally with
Count Finkenstein, in a room adjoining to the great apartment where the
company were. The King entered alone, when he was not expected, and
immediately began a conversation with the D——.

He asked several questions relating to the British constitution;
particularly at what age a peer could take his seat in parliament?—When
the Duke replied, At twenty-one.—It is evident from that, said the King,
that the English Patricians acquire the necessary talents for legislation
much sooner than those of ancient Rome, who were not admitted into the
Senate till the age of forty.

He then enquired about the state of Lord Chatham’s health, and expressed
high esteem for the character of that minister.—He asked me, if I had
received letters by the last post, and if they mentioned any thing of the
affairs in America?—He said, there were accounts from Holland, that the
English troops had been driven from Boston, and that the Americans were
in possession of that place.—— I told him, our letters informed us, that
the army had left Boston to make an attack with more effect elsewhere.

He smiled, and said—If you will not allow the retreat to have been an
affair of necessity, you will at least admit, that it was _tout-à-fait à
propos_.

He said he heard that some British officers had gone into the American
service, and mentioned Colonel Lee, whom he had seen at his Court.
He observed, that it was a difficult thing to govern men by force at
such a distance;—that if the Americans should be beat (which appeared
a little problematical), still it would be next to impossible to
continue to draw from them a revenue by taxation;—that if we intended
conciliation with America, some of our measures were too rough; and if we
intended its subjection, they were too gentle. He concluded by saying,
Enfin, Messieurs, je ne comprends pas ces choses là; je n’ai point de
colonie:—j’espère que vous vous tirerez bien d’affaire, mais elle me
parôit un peu épineuse.—— Having said this, he walked into the Princess’s
apartment, to lead her to the playhouse, while we joined the company
already assembled there.—The tragedy of Mahomet was performed, which, in
my opinion, is the finest of all Voltaire’s dramatic pieces, and that in
which Le Kain appears to the greatest advantage.



LETTER LXXVI.


                                                                 Potsdam.

You express such an earnest desire to be made acquainted with every thing
which regards the King of Prussia, that I am in danger of lengthening my
descriptions with a tedious minuteness. Yet I will risk it, rather than
give you reason to complain that I have not gratified your curiosity as
fully as is in my power.

Do not imagine, however, that I presume to draw a complete portrait of
this monarch. That must be the work of much abler painters, who have seen
him in a more familiar manner, and whose colours can give an expression
worthy of the original. I shall only attempt to give a faithful sketch of
such features as I was able to seize during the transient views I myself
had, or which I have learnt from those who have passed with him many of
the hours which he dedicates to free conversation, and the pleasures of
the table.

The King of Prussia is below the middle size, well made, and remarkably
active for his time of life. He has become hardy by exercise and a
laborious life; for his constitution originally seems to have been none
of the strongest. His look announces spirit and penetration. He has
fine blue eyes; and, in my opinion, his countenance upon the whole is
agreeable. Some who have seen him are of a different opinion. All who
judge from his portraits only, must be so; for although I have seen many
which have a little resemblance of him, and some which have a great deal,
yet none of them do him justice. His features acquire a wonderful degree
of animation while he converses.—This is entirely lost upon canvas.

He stoops considerably, and inclines his head almost constantly to one
side.

His tone of voice is the cleared and most agreeable in conversation I
ever heard.

He speaks a great deal; yet those who hear him, regret that he does not
speak a great deal more. His observations are always lively, very often
just, and few men possess the talent of repartee in greater perfection.

He hardly ever varies his dress, which consists of a blue coat, lined
and faced with red, and a yellow waistcoat and breeches. He always wears
boots, with hussar tops, which fall in wrinkles about his ancles, and are
oftener of a dark brown than a black colour.

His hat would be thought extravagantly large in England, though it is of
the size commonly used by the Prussian officers of cavalry. He generally
wears one of the large side corners over his forehead and eyes, and the
front cock at one side.

He wears his hair cued behind, and dressed with a single buckle on each
side. From their being very carelessly put up and unequally powdered, we
may naturally conclude, that the friseur has been greatly hurried in the
execution of his office.

He uses a very large gold snuff-box, the lid ornamented with diamonds,
and takes an immoderate quantity of Spanish snuff, the marks of which
very often appear on his waistcoat and breeches. These are also liable to
be soiled by the paws of two or three Italian greyhounds, which he often
caresses.

He dresses as soon as he gets up in the morning. This takes up but a few
minutes, and serves for the whole day.—You have often heard that the
King of Prussia’s hours, from four or five in the morning, till ten at
night, are all dedicated methodically to particular occupations, either
of business or amusement. This is certainly true, and the arrangement has
not sustained such an interruption for many years, as since the present
company came to Potsdam.

Some who pretend to more than common penetration assert, that at present
they can perceive marks of uneasiness in his countenance, and seem
convinced, that there will not be such another company at Sans-Souci
during this reign.

All business with the King is transacted by letters. Every petition or
proposal must be made in this form, which is adhered to so invariably,
as I have been assured, that if any of his Generals wished to promote a
cadet to the rank of an ensign, he would not venture to make his proposal
in any other manner, even though he had daily opportunities of conversing
with his Majesty.

The meanest of his subjects may apply to him in writing, and are sure of
an answer. His first business every morning is the perusing the papers
addressed to him. A single word wrote with his pencil in the margin,
indicates the answer to be given, which is afterwards made out in form
by his secretaries.—This method affords the King time to deliberate on
the justice and propriety of every demand, and prevents the possibility
of his being surprised into a promise, which it might be inconvenient to
perform.

He sits down to dinner precisely at noon. Of late he allows more time
to this repast than formerly. It is generally after three before he
leaves the company. Eight or nine of his officers are commonly invited
to dine with him. Since our coming to Potsdam, Count Nesselrode, and the
Abbé Bastiani, two men of letters, were the only company, besides the
officers, who dined with the King, while he lived in his usual way at the
Old Palace of Sans-Souci; and those two were then of his party almost
every day. The Count has now left this Court; the Abbé has an apartment
in the Palace. He is an Italian by birth, a man of wit, and an excellent
companion.

At table, the King likes that every person should appear to be on a
footing, and that the conversation should be carried on with perfect
freedom. The thing, by the way, is impossible. That confidential
unrestrained flow of the heart, which takes place in a society of
equals, is a pleasure which a despotic Prince can never taste. However,
his Majesty desires that it may be so, and they make the best of it they
can.

At one of these meetings, when the King was in a gay humour, he said to
Bastiani,—When you shall obtain the tiara, which your exemplary piety
must one day procure you, how will you receive me when I arrive at Rome
to pay my duty to your Holiness?—I will immediately give orders, replied
the Abbé, with great readiness, Qu’on fasse entrer l’aigle noir,—qu’il me
couvre de ses ailes, mais—qu’il m’épargne de son bec.

Nobody says more lively things in conversation than the King himself.
Many of his bons mots are repeated here, I shall only mention one, which
is at once an instance of his wit, and greatness of mind, in rendering
justice to the merit of a man who has caused him more vexation than
perhaps any other person alive.—When the King of Prussia had a personal
meeting some years since with the Emperor; they always dined together,
a certain number of their principal officers being with them. One day,
General Laudohn was going to place himself at the bottom of the table,
when the King, who was at the head, called to him, Venez, je vous en
prie, Monsieur Laudohn, placez vous ici. J’aime infiniment mieux vous
avoir de mon cotè que vis-à-vis.

Though all the cordiality of friendship, and the full charms of
unreserved society, cannot exist where the fortune of every other
individual depends on the will of one of the company; yet the King
endeavours to put every one as much at his ease as the nature of the case
will admit, and I have heard of his bearing some very severe retorts
with perfect good humour. He has too much wit himself, and is too fond
of it in others, to repel its attacks with any other weapons than those
which it furnishes. None but the most absurd of dunces could attempt to
rally, without being able to allow of raillery; and only the meanest of
souls would think of revenging the liberties taken with a companion by
the power of a King.

A very striking instance of the freedom which may be used with him
occurred a little before the late reviews, and what makes it more
remarkable, it happened, not during the gaiety of the table, but on the
very scene of military strictness.

Two regiments were in the field. That of General —— was one of them. This
officer is fond of company, and passes more of his time in the society
of strangers, and with the foreign ministers, than most others in the
Prussian service.—Something, it is probable, had chagrined the King that
morning. While the regiment advanced in a line, he said to the General,
who stood near him, Votre regiment n’est pas aligné, Monsieur ——, et ce
n’est pas surprenant, vous jouez tant aux cartes. The General called out
instantly with a loud voice to the regiment, Alte! and they immediately
stopped: then, turning to the King, he said, Il n’est pas question, Sire,
de mes cartes—Mais, ayez la bonté de regarder si ce regiment n’est pas
aligné.—The regiment was in a very straight line, and the King moved away
without speaking, and seemingly displeased, not with the General, but
with himself.—This manly officer never had reason afterwards to believe
that the King had taken his freedom amiss.

I have already said, that it is absolutely impossible for any man to
enjoy an office in the King of Prussia’s service without performing the
duty of it. He is himself active and assiduous, and he makes it a point
that all his ministers and servants shall be so too. But to those who
know their business, and perform it exactly, he is an easy and equitable
master.

A gentleman, who has been many years about his person, and is now one of
his aid-de-camps, assured me of this:—The King understands what ought
to be done: and his servants are never exposed to the ridiculous or
contradictory orders of ignorance, or the mortifications of caprice.

His favourites, of whatever kind, never were able to acquire influence
over him in any thing regarding business. Nobody ever knew better how
to discriminate the merit of those who serve him in the important
departments of state, from theirs who contribute to his amusement. A
man who performs the duty of his office with alertness and fidelity,
has nothing to apprehend from the King’s being fond of the company and
conversion of his enemy. Let the one be regaled at the King’s table every
day, while the other never receives a single invitation; yet the real
merit of both is known:—and if his adversary should ever try to turn the
King’s favour to the purposes of private hatred or malice, the attempt
will be repelled with disdain, and the evil he intended to another, will
fall on himself.



LETTER LXXVII.


                                                                 Potsdam.

On the days when there is no public court at Sans-Souci, we generally
dine with Lord Marechal, who is always happy to see the D—— of H——, and
is of great service to all British subjects while they remain here or at
Berlin. Exclusive of other reasons he may have for esteeming the Duke,
his Lordship evidently displays a kind of partiality for his Grace, as
the first man in point of rank belonging to his country. This appears
in a thousand instances; for with very liberal sentiments, and a most
benevolent heart, this venerable nobleman still retains a few Caledonian
prejudices.

He asked one day of the D——, If he reckoned himself a Scotchman? Most
certainly I do, replied his Grace. By so doing you lie under a mistake,
said my Lord; for I can assure you, and I am convinced the best lawyers
in England will do the same, that you have a much juster claim to all the
privileges belonging to your English title of B——n, though some of them,
I fear, are still disputed.

It is to be hoped, said the D——, that the House of Peers will not always
refuse to do my family justice; on a thorough examination of the case,
I still flatter myself they will grant me those privileges, which have
been, for no valid reasons, refused my ancestors. But in the mean time,
why will your Lordship, more cruel than the Peers, deny my birth-right as
a Scotchman?

Because your birth gives you no such right, replied the Earl; for you
in reality are but a North Briton:—unless your Grace can prove that you
were born before the Union. But, continued he, with an air of triumph,
I am a real Scotchman:—adding a little after, with a sigh, and in a
plaintive accent—and almost the only one in the world—All the Scots of my
acquaintance are now dead.

The good old Earl is infinitely fond of talking of his country, and of
the days of former years. When I make any enquiry about the King of
Prussia, or concerning Spain or Italy, in which countries he resided so
long, he answers with a kind of complaisant brevity, and immediately
turns the discourse back to Scotland, to which his heart seems
wonderfully attached.

In the time of dinner, one of his servants, a stout highlander, generally
entertains the company by playing on the bagpipe. I have observed, that
these North Britons (to abide by Lord Marechal’s distinction) who are
the most zealous for the interest and honour of their country, and who
value themselves on being born north of the Tweed, are particularly, if
not exclusively, fond of this instrument. You will, at least, allow that
your gallant friend, Lord E——n, is no exception to this observation;
and perhaps you will admit, that it requires a considerable degree of
patriotism, or _amor Caledoniæ_ to have a great relish for the melody of
a bagpipe.

I called on Lord Marechal one afternoon, just as the King had left him;
for the monarch, without any form or previous notice, sometimes walks
through the garden, and pays a short visit to his old friend, to whom he
has an unalterable attachment, both from personal regard, and on account
of the high estimation in which he holds the memory of his brother
Marechal Keith.

Another day I was with the Earl, when the Princesses of Prussia and
Hesse, with Prince Frederic of Brunswic, all entered and demanded coffee,
which my Lord immediately ordered, with the addition of a couple of
melons; telling the Princesses, he knew they would not stay long enough
with a man of eighty, to give time for preparing a better repast.—Thus
favoured by the monarch and the Princes, you will not doubt that the old
Earl’s friendship is cultivated by the rest of the court.

The Hereditary Prince of Prussia lives in a small house in the town of
Potsdam. His appointments do not admit of that degree of magnificence,
which might be expected in the Heir of the crown;—but he displays a
spirit of hospitality far more obliging than magnificence; and doubly
meritorious, considering the very moderate revenue allowed him. We
generally sup there two or three times a week.

This Prince is not often of the King’s parties, nor is it imagined
that he enjoys a great share of his uncle’s favour. In what degree he
possesses the talents of a general is not known, as he was too young to
have any command during the late war. But he certainly has a very just
understanding, which has been improved by study. He has taken some pains
to acquire the English language, to which he was induced by an admiration
of several English authors, whose works he had read in French and
German. He is now able to read English prose with tolerable facility, and
has been of late studying Shakespear, having actually read two or three
of his plays.

I took the liberty to observe, that as Shakespear’s genius had traced
every labyrinth, and penetrated into every recess of the human heart,
his sentiments could not fail to please his Royal Highness; but, as his
language was uncommonly bold and figurative, and full of allusions to
national customs, and the manners of our island two centuries ago, the
English themselves, who had not made a particular study of his works, did
not always comprehend their full energy. I added, that to transfuse the
soul of Shakespear into a translation, was impossible; and to taste all
his beauties in the original, required such a knowledge of the English
manners and language as few foreigners, even after a long residence in
the capital, could attain.

The Prince said, he was aware of all this; yet he was determined to
struggle hard for some acquaintance with an author so much admired by
the English nation; that though he should never be able to taste all his
excellencies, he was convinced he should understand enough to recompence
him for his trouble; that he had already studied some detached parts,
which he thought superior to any thing he had ever met with in the works
of any other Poet. His Royal Highness attends to military business with
as much assiduity as most officers of the same rank in the army; for in
the Prussian service, no degree of eminence in the article of birth can
excuse a remission in the duties of that profession. He is much esteemed
by the army, and considered as an exceeding good officer. To the
frankness of a soldier he joins the integrity of a German, and is beloved
by the public in general, on account of his good-nature, affability, and
humane turn of mind.



LETTER LXXVIII.


                                                                 Potsdam.

I am afraid you will think the anecdotes and conversation which I
sometimes send you are rather tedious. Your curiosity about certain
characters has led me into this practice; for I choose to give you
opportunities of forming an opinion of your own, rather than to trouble
you with mine. My opinion might very probably be erroneous; the accounts
I give of what I have seen or heard are always true. And, notwithstanding
that the actions and conversations I relate, may be apparently of small
importance, still as the persons in some measure describe themselves, an
understanding like yours will be able from thence to draw juster ideas of
character than I could have given.

In a former letter I mentioned the great difficulty of deserting from a
Prussian garrison, and of what importance it is thought to prevent it. An
incident which happened a few days since, will give you a stronger idea
of this than any general account.

Two soldiers of the Prince of Prussia’s regiment got over the walls in
the night-time, with an intention to desert; but unluckily for them, this
town stands on a peninsula formed by the river, and the neck of land is
guarded in such a manner that it is almost impossible to pass that way
without permission. These men could not swim, and they durst not present
themselves at any of the ferries, because the boatmen are forbid, under
the severest penalties, to connive at the escape of any deserters,
and strictly ordered to assist in apprehending them. A reward is also
offered, as a greater inducement to this piece of service.

All these circumstances being known in the garrison, it was imagined
that, as none of the peasants would in all probability venture to
harbour them, they were still skulking in the fields among the standing
corn. On this supposition, parties of men were employed for three days
successively in traversing the fields, and beating the bushes, as if
they had been in chace of a hare. Great numbers of the officers of this
regiment, some of the highest rank, rode about for three or four hours
every day, all employed in the same manner. But not finding the men, they
were at last convinced that they had by some means or other got out of
the peninsula, and all further search was given up as unnecessary.

On the morning of the fourth day, these two unfortunate men came and
surrendered to the guard at one of the gates. Finding it impracticable
to effect their escape, and not daring to enter a house, they were at
length compelled by hunger and fatigue to deliver themselves up.

Before I close this letter, I will give you an account of an adventure
of an affecting nature, which happened in the King’s family, at the time
when all these researches were made for the two deserters.

The King’s principal valet-de chambre was a man considerably respected.
Having constant opportunities of being about the King’s person, and
having enjoyed his approbation for several years, people of the
first rank paid him some degree of attention. He was liked by his
acquaintances, as I have been told, on account of his personal qualities,
and had accumulated a little fortune by the perquisites of his office. He
had built a house near that of my Lord Marechal, and kept a coach for the
use of his mistress.

It was this man’s misfortune to disoblige the King, probably by some
neglect of duty; or it might possibly be something worse:—I never could
hear exactly how this had happened:—But while the Princesses were at the
New Palace, the King had blamed him in very sharp terms; and not being
satisfied with the excuses the man made, he told him, that, as soon as
the company was gone, he should be taken care of.

When the Princesses went to Berlin, his Majesty returned to his old
palace at Sans-Souci; and the day after, he sent for an officer of his
guards, and ordered him to conduct this man to Potsdam, and place him in
the quality of a drummer in the first regiment of foot-guards.

The poor man endeavoured to pacify his master by prayers and entreaties,
but without success.—He then said to the officer, that there were some
things in his room which he wished to put in order before he went, and
desired that he might be allowed a little time for that purpose. The
officer readily assented, and as soon as this desperate man had entered
his own apartment, he seized a pistol, which he had prepared from the
time the King had threatened him, and immediately shot himself through
the head. The report of the pistol alarmed the King and the officer.—They
both went into the room, and found the poor creature expiring.

Though the King certainly had no idea that his valet would shoot himself;
and though, it is most probable, he would not have allowed him to remain
long in the situation to which, in a fit of resentment, he had condemned
him;—yet there is something exceedingly harsh in dashing a man at once
from a situation of ease and respect, into a sphere of life so very
different.—Such an order was more becoming the fury of an intemperate
despot, than the dignity of so great and so wise a monarch as the King of
Prussia.

I conversed with a person who had been at Sans-Souci immediately
after this melancholy event.—He said the King seemed to be very much
affected.—If he felt it as he ought, he was an object of compassion; if
he did not, he was still more so, for nothing can be a greater misfortune
to a man than to want humanity.



LETTER LXXIX.


                                                                 Dresden.

I believe I neglected to mention in any of my letters from Berlin, that
when I visited the manufactory of porcelain, I was so much struck with
the beauty of some of it, that I ordered a small box for you. But as I
take it to be a matter of indifference, whether you sip your tea out of
the china you have already, or this, you may send it as a present to the
female you love and esteem most. If by this direction it should not go
straight from you to Miss ——, pray let me know to whom you send it. The
factor at Hamburgh will give you notice when he ships it off.

I did not imagine that this manufactory had arrived at such a degree
of perfection as it has in several places in Germany, particularly at
Brunswic and Berlin. The parcel I have ordered for you, is thought equal
to the finest made at Dresden.

The day we left Potsdam we dined with good Lord Marechal, who took leave
of the D——, with an emotion which at once marked his regard for his G——,
and his fears that he should never see him again.

If I were strongly in a humour for description, our journey through
the most beautiful and most fertile part of Germany, would afford me a
fair opportunity. I not only could ring over the whole chimes of woods,
meadows, rivers, and mountains, rich crops of grain, flax, tobacco, and
hops; I might animate the landscapes with a copious breed of horses,
black cattle, sheep, wild boars, and venison, and vary the description
with the marble, precious stones, and mines of lead, copper, iron, and
silver, which Saxony contains within its bowels. I might expatiate on the
fine china ware, and fine women, that abound in this country, formed of
the finest clay in Germany, et très joliment travaillées;—but I am long
since tired of description, and therefore beg leave to convey you at once
from Potsdam to Dresden.

Having been presented to the Elector and Electress by Mr. Osborn, the
British minister here, we had the honour of dining with them the same
day. The Electress is young, tall, well-made, and lively.—We were
afterwards presented to the Electress Dowager, and to the Princess
Elizabeth, the Elector’s aunt, to the Princess, his sister, and to his
three brothers, the eldest of whom has lost the use of his legs, and is
moved about the room in a chair with wheels.

The court was numerous and splendid. In the evening there was
card-playing for about two hours. The D—— of H—— was of the Electress’s
party, while I played two rubbers at whist with one of the Princesses,
against the Electress Dowager and the Princess Elizabeth.—I have never
seen deep gaming at any of the German courts.—What has approached nearest
to it, has been at masquerades, or where the Sovereign was not present.

Dresden, though not one of the largest, is certainly one of the most
agreeable cities in Germany, whether we consider its situation, the
magnificence of its palaces, or the beauty and conveniency of the houses
and streets. This city is built on both sides of the Elbe, which is of
a considerable breadth here. The magnificent and commodious manner in
which the two opposite parts of the town are joined, adds greatly to its
beauty.

There is an equestrian statue of King Augustus, in a kind of open place
or square, between the old city and the new. The workmanship is but
indifferent; however, I was desired by our Cicerone to admire this very
much, because—it was made by a common smith. I begged to be excused,
telling him that I could not admire it, had it been made by Michael
Angelo.

Few Princes in Europe are so magnificently lodged as the Elector of
Saxony. The Palace and Museum have been often described.—The last was
begun by the Elector Augustus, and still retains the name of the Green
Room, though it now consists of several apartments, all painted green,
in imitation of the first. I will not enumerate the prodigious number of
curiosities, natural and artificial, to be seen there. Some of the last
are curious, only because they are invisible to the human eye. Of this
number, is a cherry stone, upon which, by the help of a microscope, above
a hundred faces may be distinguished. Undoubtedly these little mechanical
whims display the labour, perseverance, and minute attention of the
workman; but I cannot think they are proofs of the wisdom of those who
could employ artists to so little purpose. Let the astonishing minutiæ
of nature be admired through microscopes; but surely nothing is a proper
work for the hands of man, which cannot be seen by the unaided human eye.

A work of the jeweller Dinglinger, which represents the celebration of
the Mogul’s birth-day, is much admired. The Mogul sitting on his throne,
his grandees and guards, with a great many elephants, are all exhibited
upon a table about an ell square. This work employed Dinglinger, and
some assistants, above ten years. Do not you think this was leaving so
ingenious an artist a little too long in the Mogul’s service?

A simple list of every thing valuable and curious in this Museum, would
exceed the bounds of one of my longest letters; I shall therefore pass
them all over in silence, except the story of the prophet Jonah, which
it would be impious to omit. The ship, the whale, the prophet, and the
sea-shore, are all represented in pearl; but the sea and rocks are in a
different kind of stone, though, in my opinion, there was no occasion to
vary the materials; for surely there is as great a difference between a
prophet and a whale, as between a whale and a rock. So that if the first
two could be represented with the same materials, I do not think it was
worth while to change the composition for the third.

The gallery of pictures is highly esteemed. To enumerate the particular
merits of each, would fill many volumes, and requires a far greater
knowledge of painting than I can pretend to. The most valuable pieces
are by Corregio and Rubens. There are three or four by the former, and
of his most capital works; and a very considerable number by the latter.
The strength and expression of this great artist’s pencil, the natural
glow of his colouring, and the fertility of his fancy deserve the highest
encomiums. Yet one cannot help regretting, that he had so violent a
passion for fat women. That kind of nature which he had seen early in
life in his own country, had laid such hold of his imagination, that it
could not be eradicated by all the elegant models he afterwards studied
in Italy. Some of his female figures in this gallery are so much of the
Dutch make, and so fat, that it is rather oppressive to look at them in
this very hot weather.

In the Museum, within the Palace, there is a most complete collection of
prints, from the commencement of the art of engraving till the present
time.



LETTER LXXX.


                                                                 Dresden.

Nothing seems clearer to me, than that a fortified town should have no
palaces within it, and no suburbs without. As the city of Dresden has
both, it would have been well for the inhabitants, during the last war,
that the town had been entirely without fortifications. In the year 1756,
when the King of Prussia thought it expedient to invade Saxony, he made
himself master of this city, and kept peaceable possession of it till
1758, when Marechal Daun, after the battle of Hochkirchen, threatened to
besiege it. The Prussian General Schmettau began his defence by burning
part of the suburbs. The Saxons and Austrians exclaimed at this measure,
and Daun threatened to make the governor answerable, in his own person,
for such desperate proceedings. Count Schmettau was totally regardless of
their exclamations and threats, and seemed attentive only to the orders
of the King his master. He gave Marechal Daun to understand, that the
remaining suburbs would share the fate of those already destroyed, if
he persisted in attacking the town. The King appearing soon after, the
Austrians retreated into Bohemia.

The inhabitants of Dresden, and all Saxony, were now in a very dismal
situation, and found their hardships increase in proportion to the
success of their friends and allies; for whatever exactions were raised
in the King of Prussia’s dominions by the Austrians and Russians, the
like were imposed by way of retaliation on the miserable Saxons. A people
must be in a deplorable state indeed, when the success of their enemies
is the most fortunate thing which can befal them.

In 1759, after the dreadful battle of Cunersdorf, near Frankfort on the
Oder, the King of Prussia being necessitated to repair the slaughter of
that day, withdrew the Prussian garrison from Dresden, which then fell
into the hands of the Imperialists. But the calamities of this city did
not end here; for his Prussian Majesty having deceived Marechal Daun by
a very masterly feint, while he seemed to bend his course for Silesia,
he wheeled suddenly about, and threatened Dresden, which Marechal Daun
had abandoned, in the full conviction, that the King had marched to the
relief of Schweidnitz. While the Austrians hurried on by forced marches
into Silesia, the King attacked Dresden, which was resolutely defended by
General Macquire.

Every possible effort was made to reduce this city before Count Daun
should return to its relief;—and the wretched citizens were exposed
to a continued cannonade and bombardment. This perhaps was justifiable
by the laws of war, as long as there were hopes that the town might be
brought to surrender by such means.—But the enemies of his Prussian
Majesty assert, that the bombardment was continued, and churches, fine
buildings, and whole streets laid in ashes, even after Marechal Daun’s
return; and when these vindictive proceedings could only tend to the ruin
and destruction of private people, without contributing in the smallest
degree to the reducing the town, or being of any use to the public cause.

Many of these houses still lie in rubbish; but the inhabitants are
gradually rebuilding, and probably all the ruined streets will be
repaired before a new war breaks out in Germany. While they rebuild
the houses, I cannot help thinking it would be fortunate for the
proprietors, that they were allowed to destroy the fortifications, which
perhaps might be placed with more advantage around some towns on the
frontiers.

The curious manufactory of porcelain suffered considerably by the
Prussian bombardment. The Elector has a complete collection of the
finest pieces, from the first attempts made here in this elegant work,
to the latest improvements. This, independent of the beauty of many of
the pieces, is a matter of real curiosity, as it marks the progress of
ingenuity and invention.

Our morning-walk is in the gardens of the late Count Bruhl, situated
on the high banks of the Elbe. Nothing can be imagined more delightful
than the view from a lofty terrace in these gardens. The Count’s
magnificent house is now stript of many of its greatest ornaments. The
fine collection of paintings has been sold to the Empress of Russia
for 150,000 rix-dollars. The library, which is in the garden, is two
hundred and twenty feet long. I am not certain, whether it was absolutely
necessary to have so large a room for containing this nobleman’s books;
but it must have required one of that size at least for his wardrobe, if
the account that is given of it be just. They tell us, that the Count
had at least three hundred different suits of clothes; each of these had
a duplicate, as he always shifted his clothes after dinner, and did not
choose that his dress should appear different in the afternoon from what
it had been in the morning. A painting of each suit, with the particular
cane and snuff-box belonging to it, was very accurately drawn in a large
book, which was presented to his Excellency every morning by his Valet de
Chambre, that he might fix upon the dress in which he wished to appear
for the day. This minister was accused of having accumulated a great
fortune. The reverse of this, however, is true. His house and gardens
belong now to the Elector.

The Saxon troops make a very fine appearance. The men in general are
handsome and well made. Neither they nor their officers are so very
upright and stiff in their manners, as the Prussians. Having been so
long accustomed to these last, this difference struck me very strongly
at first sight. The uniform of the guards is red and yellow; that of the
marching regiments white. The soldiers, during the summer, wear only
waistcoats, even when they mount guard; and always appear extremely
neat and clean. The serjeants, besides their other arms, have a large
pistol. This is so commodiously fastened to the left side, that it gives
no trouble. The band of music belonging to the Saxon guards is the most
complete and the finest I ever saw.

I do not expect to receive any accounts from you till we arrive at
Vienna; but I shall probably write again from Prague, for which place we
intend to set out to-morrow.



LETTER LXXXI.


                                                                  Prague.

Bohemia, though by no means so fertile, or so fine a country as Saxony,
does not deserve the bad character which some travellers have given it.
I thought many places very beautiful, and varied with the most agreeable
rural objects.

Prague, the capital of Bohemia, stands in a hollow, surrounded on
all sides with hills. Those nearest the town, and which command it,
are comprehended within the fortifications. It is a very large town,
retaining some marks of former splendor, but many more evident symptoms
of present decay—Symptoms which naturally attend those places which once
have been the residence of royalty, and are so no more.

All the houses, with any appearance of magnificence, are old, and it is
not probable, that any new ones will be built in that style: for the
Bohemian nobility, who are in circumstances to bear such an expence, live
at Vienna, and the trade and manufactures of this town are not sufficient
to enable any of the mercantile people to build fine houses.

In whatever degree this city may have dwindled in wealth and
magnificence, the piety of the inhabitants certainly flourishes as
much as ever. I do not recollect to have seen so many glaring marks of
devotion in any place. The corners of the streets, bridges, and public
buildings, are all ornamented with crucifixes, images of the Virgin
of all sizes and complexions, and statues of Saints of every country,
condition, age, and sex. People are to be seen on their knees before
these statues in every part of this city, but particularly on the
large bridge over the Moldaw, where there is the greatest concourse of
passengers. This bridge is so profusely adorned with the statues of
Saints, that crossing over it, you have a row of them on each side, like
two ranks of musketeers.

Travellers, especially such as arrive directly from Berlin, must be
astonished at the people’s devotion in this city, in a particular manner
at the vehemence with which it is expressed by those who exhibit before
the saints upon the bridge.

Not contented with kneeling, I saw some prostrate themselves on their
faces, kissing the earth; and others, who offered their petitions to
these saints with such earnestness and fervour, that, if their hearts had
not been of stone, they must have paid more attention to the petitioners
than they seemed to do.

There is one saint who has more votaries than all the rest put
together—Saint Nepomuc, I think they call him:—As my acquaintance with
saints is not extensive, I never heard of him till I came hither, but his
reputation is very great in this town. This saint, it seems, was ordered
by some cruel tyrant, to be thrown over a bridge, and his neck was broke
by the fall, and he is supposed to retain a particular affection for
bridges ever since; an effect something different from what was to have
been expected from the cause; however, the people here are persuaded,
that so it happened to Saint Nepomuc; and to put the fact beyond
controversy, he is at this moment the tutelar saint of bridges;—almost
all those in Bohemia are dedicated to him. He has also the reputation of
excelling every saint in heaven in the cure of barrenness in women.—How
his character for this was established, I did not enquire.

It is a melancholy reflection, that the wealthy are more careless about
religious duties than the indigent, and that poverty and piety are so
often linked together. I often observed, when we stopped at any town or
village, which had symptoms of great poverty, that the inhabitants seemed
also unusually devout.

It would appear, that hope is a more powerful sentiment in the human
breast than gratitude, since those who ought to feel the greatest
thankfulness to Heaven display the least.

We found an acquaintance at Prague when we least expected it; for as the
D—— of H—— and I stood talking in the streets, a priest, who belongs to a
seminary of learning in this town, overheard us; upon which he stopped,
and after looking at us very earnestly for some time, he at length came
up, and addressed us in these words:—I do assure you now, I am an
Irishman too. This easy kind of introduction soon produced a degree of
intimacy; I asked how he knew so readily that we were Irish? Am I not
after hearing you speak English, my dear? replied the honest priest, for
he really was a very honest obliging fellow, and the most useful and
entertaining Cicerone we could have had at Prague.

After having visited the royal apartments, they shewed us the window in
the secretary of state’s office, from whence three noblemen were thrown
in the year 1618. This was rather a violent mode of turning out the
people in power; but it is probable the party in opposition had tried
gentler means in vain.

As one great use of history is to furnish lessons and examples, by which
posterity in all ages may profit, I do not think it would be amiss to
remind your friends in administration of this adventure, that they may
move off quietly before their opponents take desperate measures. For it
has been observed, that the enemies of tottering statesmen are much more
active than their friends, who, when things come to the last push, are
apt to stand aloof,

    Like people viewing, at a distance,
    Three men thrown out of a casement,
    Who never stir to their assistance,
    But just afford them their amazement.

In case however a similar outrage should be threatened in England, it is
to be hoped that Apollo (as he was wont of old when any of his friends
were in danger) will interpose with a cloud, and save the Minister; for,
in the present scarcity of wit and good humour, it would be a thousand
pities to lose a man so much distinguished for both, at one desperate
throw.

We walked over the heights from which the Prussians attempted to carry
the town, immediately after the defeat of Prince Charles of Lorraine and
Count Brown. The bombardment of this town was a more defensible measure
than that of Dresden; for while the army within were under the dejection
natural after the loss of a battle, and unprepared for a siege, it might
be supposed, that the confusion and terror produced by the bombardment,
joined to the vast consumption of provisions by such a numerous garrison,
would induce the besieged to surrender. But although the King’s humanity
has not been called in question for his conduct here, I have heard many
military men censure him for want of prudence, particularly on account
of his desperate attempt at Kolin, when, leaving the half of his army
to continue the blockade of Prague, he marched with little more than
thirty thousand men, and attacked an army of double that number, strongly
situated, and commanded by one of the ablest generals of the age.

After all, it is more than probable, that the King had very good reasons
for his conduct. But as the attempt was unsuccessful, and as the sad
reverse of the Prussian affairs may be dated from that epoch, the voice
of censure has been very loud in blaming an action, which would have been
exalted to the skies had it been crowned with success. If Hannibal had by
any accident been defeated at Cannæ, it is very possible, that historians
would have found out many reasons why he should not have fought that
battle, and would have endeavoured to prove, that his former victories
had been gained by chance, and that he was a mere ignoramus in the art of
war.

Adieu, my good friend; I wish you good luck in all your undertakings,
that you may continue to be reckoned by the world, a man of prudence.



LETTER LXXXII.


                                                                  Vienna.

On arriving at Vienna, the postillions drive directly to the
Custom-house, where the baggage undergoes a very severe scrutiny, which
neither fair words nor money can mitigate. As nothing contraband was
found among our baggage, it was all carried directly to our lodgings,
except our books, which were retained to be examined at leisure, and were
not restored to us till some time after. The Empress has given strict
orders, that no books of impiety, lewdness, or immorality, shall be
allowed to enter her dominions, or be circulated among her subject; and
Mahomet himself dares as soon appear publicly at Vienna as any one of
them.

Unfortunately for us, Sir Robert Keith is lately gone to England, and
is not expected back for several months. We have reason to regret the
absence of so agreeable and so worthy a man; but every advantage we could
have received from him as a minister, has been supplied by his secretary,
Mr. Ernest, who has introduced us to the Count Degenfelt, ambassador from
the States-General. This gentleman furnished us with a list of the visits
proper to be made, and had the politeness to attend the D—— of H—— on
this grand tour.

The first day we waited on Prince Kaunitz, we were invited to dine, and
found a very numerous company at his house, many of whom, as I afterwards
understood, had been prepossessed in our favour, by the polite and
obliging letters which the Baron de Swieten had written from Berlin.

Some of the principal families are at their seats in the country, which
we should have more reason to regret, were it not for the politeness
and hospitality of the Count and Countess Thune, at whose house, or that
of their sister the Countess Walstein, there is an agreeable party every
evening; among whom is the Viscount de Laval, brother to the Marquis,
whom I had the honour of knowing at Berlin. The Viscount has been as far
north as Petersburg, and intends to make the tour of Italy before he
returns to France.

The city of Vienna, properly so called, is not of very great extent;
nor can it be enlarged, being limited by a strong fortification. This
town is very populous: It is thought to contain above seventy thousand
inhabitants. The streets in general are narrow, and the houses built
high. Some of the public buildings and palaces are magnificent; but they
appear externally to no great advantage, on account of the narrowness of
the streets. The chief are the Imperial Palace, the Library and Museum,
the palaces of the Princes Lichtenstein, Eugene, and some others, which I
know you will excuse me from enumerating or describing.

There is no great danger that Vienna will ever again be subjected to
the inconveniencies of a siege. Yet, in case the thing should happen, a
measure has been taken, which will prevent the necessity of destroying
the suburbs: No houses without the walls are allowed to be built nearer
to the glacis than six hundred yards; so that there is a circular field
of six hundred paces broad all around the town, which, exclusive of the
advantage above mentioned, has a very beautiful and salutary effect.
Beyond the plain, the suburbs are built.—They form a very extensive and
magnificent town of an irregularly circular form, containing within its
bosom a spacious field, which has for its centre the original town of
Vienna.

These magnificent suburbs, and the town together, are said to contain
above three hundred thousand inhabitants; yet the former are not near
so populous, in proportion to their size, as the town; because many
houses of the suburbs have extensive gardens belonging to them, and many
families, who live during the winter within the fortifications, pass the
summer months in the suburbs.

Monsieur de Breteuil, the French ambassador, lives there at present.
The Duke and I dined at his house a few days ago. This gentleman was
attached to the Duc de Choiseul, and had been appointed ambassador to
this court, in which character he was about to set out from Paris, when
that minister was dismissed by the late King of France; upon which M.
de Breteuil, instead of Vienna, was sent to Naples. But since the new
King’s accession, he has been established at the court for which he was
originally intended. He is a man of talents, and not calculated for a
situation in which talents have little or no room for exertion.

About a week after our arrival at Vienna, we had the honour of being
presented to the Emperor. The Count Degenfeldt accompanied us to the
palace between nine and ten in the morning. After walking a few minutes
in an adjoining room, we were conducted into that where the Emperor was
alone. His manner is affable, easy, and gracefully plain.

The same forenoon we drove to Schonbrun, a palace about a league from
Vienna, where the Empress resides at present. I had no small curiosity to
see the celebrated Maria Theresa, whose fortunes have interested Europe
for so many years. Her magnanimity in supporting the calamities to which
the early part of her life was exposed, and the moderation with which
she has borne prosperity, have secured to her universal approbation. She
also was alone when we were presented. She conversed for some time with
the D—— of H—— in an easy and cheerful manner, and behaved to all with an
affable dignity. She now possesses but small remains of that beauty for
which she was distinguished in her youth; but her countenance indicates
benevolence and good-humour. I had often heard of the scrupulous
etiquette of the Imperial court, but have found every thing directly
opposite to that account.

Prince Kaunitz having seen a young English gentleman scarcely fourteen
years of age, whom the D—— of H—— patronizes, and who has accompanied us
on this tour, the Prince desired that he also might be presented to the
Emperor and Empress, which was accordingly done, and they both received
him in the most gracious manner. I mention this circumstance as a strong
proof how far they are superior at this court to trifling punctilios,
and how greatly they have relaxed in ceremony since the accession of the
Lorrain family.

Two or three days after this, we were presented, at a full court, to the
two unmarried Arch-Duchesses, their sister the Princess Albert of Saxony,
and the Princess of Modena, who is married to the Emperor’s brother. The
last couple are lately arrived from Milan on a visit to the Empress.

The Imperial family are uncommonly well-looking, and have a very strong
resemblance to each other. They are all of a fair complexion, with
large blue eyes, and some of them, particularly the Arch-duke, are
distinguished by the thick lip so long remarked in the Austrian family.
The beautiful Queen of France is the handsomest of this family, only
because she is the youngest; some people think that her sister the
Princess Albert has still the advantage.

One of the unmarried Arch-duchesses, who formerly was thought the most
beautiful, has suffered considerably by the small-pox.—A lady of the
court told me, that, as soon as this princess understood what her disease
was, she called for a looking-glass, and with unaffected pleasantry
took leave of those features she had often heard praised, and which she
believed would be greatly changed before she should see them again. The
diminution which the small-pox has made in the beauty of this Princess,
has not in the smallest degree impaired her good-humour, or the essential
part of her character, which by every account is perfectly amiable.

When the King of Prussia saw his army defeated at Cunersdorf, after
he had written to the Queen that he was sure of victory; or when any
of those monarchs, of whom history gives examples, were dashed from
their thrones to a state of dependence or captivity, unquestionably it
required great strength of mind to bear such cruel reverses of fortune;
but perhaps it requires more in a woman, whose beauty is admired by one
half of the human race, and envied by the other, to support its loss with
equanimity in all the pride of youth.—If those veteran beauties, who
never had any thing but their faces to give them importance, whom we see
still withering on the stalk, and repining that they cannot retain the
bloom of May in the frost of December, had met with such an accident, it
would probably have killed them at once, and saved them many years of
despised existence.



LETTER LXXXIII.


                                                                  Vienna.

I never passed my time more agreeably than since I came to Vienna.
There is not such a constant round of amusements as to fill up a man’s
time without any plan or occupation of his own; and yet there is enough
to satisfy any mind not perfectly vacant and dependent on external
objects.—We dine abroad two or three times a week. We sometimes see a
little play, but never any deep gaming.—At the Countess Thune’s, where
I generally pass the evening, there is no play of any kind.—The society
there literally form a conversazione.

I dare say, you will be at a loss to imagine how a mixed company,
sometimes pretty numerous, can pass several hours every evening, merely
in conversing, especially when you are told that the conversation is not
always split into parties and tête-à-têtes; but is very often general.
You will suspect there must be many melancholy pauses, which, after a
certain length, are prolonged, from the reluctance of people to be the
first breakers of a very solemn silence; or you may think that sometimes
there will be so many tongues moving at once, that nothing can be heard
distinctly; and you may possibly figure to yourself the lady of the house
at other times endeavouring, by formal observations on the weather, or
politics, to keep alive a conversation which is just expiring in all the
yawnings of death.


Nothing of this kind, however, happens. The Countess has the art of
entertaining a company, and of making them entertain one another, more
than any person I ever knew. With a great deal of wit, and a perfect
knowledge of the world, she possesses the most disinterested heart.
She is the first to discover the good qualities of her friends, and the
last who sees their foibles. One of her greatest pleasures is to remove
prejudices from amongst her acquaintances, and to promote friendships.
She has an everlasting flow of spirits, which she manages with such
address as to delight the gay, without displeasing the dejected. I
never knew any body have such a number of friends, and so much generous
friendship to bestow on each: She is daily making new ones, without
allowing her regard for the old to diminish. She has formed a little
system of happiness at her own house, herself being the centre of
attraction and union. Nobody is under the least necessity of remaining
a moment in this society after being tired.—They may retire when they
please.—No more notice is taken of the entries or exits of any person who
has been once received, than of a fly’s coming in or going out of the
room.—There is not the shadow of restraint.—If you go every night, you
are always treated with equal kindness; and if you stay away for a month,
you are received on your return with the same cheerfulness as if you had
been there every evening.

The English who come to this place are in a particular manner obliged
to this family, not only for the polite reception they generally meet
with, but also for the opportunities this affords them of forming an
acquaintance with the principal people at Vienna. And I imagine there
is no city in Europe where a young gentleman, after his university
education is finished, can pass a year with so great advantage; because,
if properly recommended, he may mix, on an easy footing, with people
of rank, and have opportunities of improving by the conversation of
sensible men and accomplished women. In no capital could he see fewer
examples, or have fewer opportunities of deep gaming, open profligacy,
or gross debauchery. He may learn to pass his time agreeably, independent
of a continued round of amusements.—He may be gradually led to enjoy
rational conversation, and at length acquire the blessed faculty of being
satisfied with moderate pleasures.

To the politeness of the Countess Thune, and the recommendation of the
Baron Swieten, I am indebted for the agreeable footing I am on with
Prince Kaunitz, who at present lives at Laxenberg, a pleasant village
about ten miles from Vienna, where there is a small palace and very
extensive park, belonging to the Imperial family.

Prince Kaunitz has lately built a house there, and lives in a style
equally hospitable and magnificent. He is not to be seen before dinner
by any but people on business; but he always has a pretty large company
at dinner, and still greater numbers from Vienna pass their evenings at
Laxenberg; not unfrequently the Emperor himself makes one of the company.
This minister has enjoyed the favour of the Empress for many years. He
was her envoy at the treaty of Aix la Chapelle in 1748, and has been of
her cabinet council ever since. At present he is minister for all foreign
affairs, and is supposed to have greater influence with her than any
other person.

He is certainly a man of knowledge, genius, and fidelity, and the
affairs of this court have prospered greatly under his management. His
friends are very much attached to him, and he shews great discernment in
discovering, and employing men of talents. He is the friend and patron
of Mons. de Swieten. It is supposed that he advised and negociated the
French alliance, yet he has always had a strong partiality in favour of
the British nation.—He has some singularities; but as they do not affect
any essential part of his character, they need not be mentioned.



LETTER LXXXIV.


                                                                  Vienna.

I had the pleasure of yours by the last post, wherein you inform me
that our acquaintance C—— talks of setting out for Vienna very soon. As
nothing is so tiresome as the company of one who is continually tired of
himself, I should be alarmed at your information, were I not absolutely
certain that his stay here will be very short, come when he will.

C—— called at my lodgings one morning the summer before I had left
London.—I had remained in town merely because I had no particular
business elsewhere;—but he assured me, that the town was a desert;—that
it was shameful to be seen in the streets;—that all the world was a
Brighthelmstone.—So I allowed him to conduct me to that place, where we
had remained only a few days, when he told me, that none of the people
he cared for were there; and as I had nothing particular to detain me,
he begged as a favour that I would accompany him to Tunbridge.—We went
accordingly, and to my great satisfaction I there found Mr. N——’s family.
C—— remained pretty quiet for about four days;—he yawned a good deal
on the fifth;—and on the sixth, I thought he would have dislocated his
jaws. As he perceived I was pleased with the place, and would take none
of his hints about leaving it, he at last pretended that he had received
a letter which made it absolutely necessary for him to set out for
London:—and away he went.

I staid three weeks at Tunbridge.—On my return to town, I understood that
C—— had taken a genteel furnished house for the summer, in Yorkshire,
where he had already passed a week, having previously engaged a female
friend to go along with him.—He left word in town, that he was not to be
expected till the meeting of parliament. Though I never imagined that
he would remain quite so long, yet I was a little surprised to see him
enter my room two days after I had received this account.—He told me, he
was quite disgusted with his house, and more so with his companion:—and
besides, he had taken a violent fancy to go to Paris, which you know,
added he, is the most delightful place in the world, especially in
summer; for the company never think of rambling about the country like
our giddy fools in England, but remain together in the capital as
sensible people ought to do.

He then proposed that we should pack up a few things,—take post,—pass
over,—and spend a couple of months at Paris. Finding I did not relish
the proposal, he wrote an apology to the lady in Yorkshire, with an
inclosed bank bill, and set out next day by himself. I heard no more of
him for six weeks, but at the end of that time happening to be at Bath, I
saw my friend C—— enter the pump-room.—’Egad, said he, you were wise to
stay at home:—Paris is become the most insipid place on earth:—I could
not support it above ten days.—But having heard a good deal of Holland,
I even took a jaunt to Amsterdam, which, between friends, I found very
little more amusing than Paris; two days after my arrival, finding an
English ship just ready to sail, I thought it would be a pity to let the
opportunity slip. So I ordered my trunk aboard.—We had a disagreeable
passage:—However, I arrived safe a few days ago at Harwich. After this
sketch of poor C——’s turn of mind, you see, I have no reason to fear his
remaining long with us, if he should come.

Foreigners assert that the English have more of this restless disposition
than any other people in Europe.

Il faut que votre ville de Londres soit un triste séjour.—I asked the
person who made this remark to me, wherefore he thought so?—Parceque,
answered he, tous vos jeunes gens que je vois en France s’ennuyent à
la mort.—But, said I, there are a great many of your countrymen in
London.—Assurément, answered he, with polite insolence, cela fait une
différence.

Our climate is accused of producing this ennuy. If I rightly remember, I
formerly hinted some reasons against this opinion, and of late I begin to
suspect that the excessive wealth of certain individuals, and the state
of society in our capital, are the sole causes of our having a greater
share of that malady among us than our neighbours. The common people of
England know nothing of it:—neither do the industrious of any rank,
whether their object be wealth, knowledge, or fame. But in England there
is a greater number than in any other country, of young men, who come to
the possession of great fortunes before they have acquired any fixed and
determined taste, which may serve as a resource and occupation through
life.

When a youth has acquired a habit of application, a thirst of
knowledge, or of fame, the most ample fortune which can fall to him
afterwards, cannot always destroy dispositions and passions already
formed—Particularly if the passion be ambition, which generally gives
such energy to the mind, and occasions such continued exertions as
sufficiently ward off lassitude and tædium; for wealth cannot lull, or
pleasure enervate, a mind strongly inspired by that active principle.
Such therefore are out of the present question. But when a full and
uncontrolled command of money comes first, and every object of pleasure
is placed within the reach of the unambitious, all other pursuits are too
frequently despised; and every taste or accomplishment which could inform
or strengthen the mind, and fill up the tedious intervals of life, is
neglected.

A young man in this situation is prone to excess, he seldom waits
the natural returns of appetite of any kind;—his sensibility is
blunted by too frequent enjoyment;—what is desired to-day, is lothed
to-morrow;—every thing at a distance, which bears the name of pleasure,
is an object of desire;—when present, it becomes an object of
indifference, if not of disgust.—The agitations of gaming are tried to
prevent the horrid stagnation of indolence:—All amusements lose their
relish, and serve to increase the languor they were meant to expel.

As age advances, caprice, peevishness, and tædium augment:—The scene is
often changed; but the same fretful piece is constantly acted till the
curtain is dropt, or is pulled down by the impatient actor himself before
the natural end of the drama.

Does not all this happen in France and Germany?—Doubtless; but not so
often as in England, for the reasons already mentioned. In France, a
very small proportion of young men have the uncontrolled possession of
great fortunes. They have not the means of gratifying every desire, and
indulging every caprice. Instead of spending their time in clubs or
taverns, with people of their own age, the greater part of the young
nobility pass their evenings with some private family, or in those
societies of both sexes to which they have the entrée. There the decorum
due to such company restrains of course the vivacity and wantonness of
their behaviour and conversation; and adventures occur which interest and
amuse, without being followed by the nausea, languor, and remorse, which
often succeed nights spent at the gaming-table, or the licentiousness of
tavern suppers.

Nothing has a better influence on the temper, disposition, and manners
of a young person, than living much in the company of those whom he
respects. Exclusive of the improvement he may receive from their
conversation, he is habituated to self-denial, and must relinquish many
indulgencies which lead to indolence and languor.

The young French nobility, even although they should have no great share
of ambition, no love of study, no particular turn for any of those higher
accomplishments which enable men to pass the hours of life independent
of other amusements; yet they contrive to keep tædium at a distance
by efforts of a different kind, by a species of activity peculiar to
themselves; they perceive very early in life, the absolute necessity
of pleasing. This sentiment pervades their general conduct, and goes a
great way in the formation of their real character. They are attentive
and obliging to all, and particularly endeavour to acquire and retain
the friendship of those who can assist their fortunes; and they have a
relish for life, because it is not always in their power to anticipate
enjoyment, nor can they cloy their appetites by satiety. Even the most
dissipated among them are unacquainted with the unbounded freedom of a
tavern life, where all the freaks of a whimsical mind, and a capricious
taste, may be indulged without hesitation, and which, after long
indulgence, renders every other kind of society insupportable.

With regard to the Germans, there are very few men of great independent
fortunes among them. The little princes, by whom the riches of the
country are engrossed, have, I suspect, their own difficulties to get
through life with any tolerable degree of satisfaction. As for their
younger brothers and the middling gentry, they go into the army, and
are subjected to the rigorous and unremitting attentions of military
discipline. This, of consequence, forms a character, in many respects
different from that of the English or French gentleman.

But I have not yet mentioned the circumstance, which, of all others,
perhaps contributes the most to render London the triste séjour which
foreigners often find it; I mean the establishment of clubs, from which
that part of the community are excluded who have the greatest power to
soothe the cares, and enliven the pleasures of life.



LETTER LXXXV.


                                                                  Vienna.

We had an invitation lately from Mons. de Breteuil to dine on the top of
Mount Calenberg, a very high mountain in the neighbourhood of this city.
Common coaches or chariots cannot be dragged up; but having driven to
the bottom, we found chaises of a particular construction, calculated
for such expeditions. These had been ordered by the Ambassador for
the accommodation of the company, and in them we were carried to the
summit, where there is a convent of Monks, from which two landscapes
of very opposite natures appear. The one consists of a series of wild
mountains; the other, of the town, suburbs, and environs of Vienna, with
the various branches of the Danube flowing through a rich champaign of
boundless extent.

The table for dinner was covered in a field near the convent, under
the shade of some trees.—Every delicacy of the season was served up.——
Madame de Matignon, a very beautiful and sprightly lady, daughter of
M. de Breteuil, did the honours.—Some of the finest women of Vienna,
her companions, were of the company; and the whole entertainment was
conducted with equal taste and gaiety.

During the dessert, some of the Fathers came and presented the company
with baskets of fruit and sallad from their garden.—The Ambassador
invited them to sit, and the ladies pledged them in tokay. Mons. de
Breteuil had previously obtained permission for the ladies to enter the
convent;—— which they accordingly did, as soon as they rose from table,
attended by all the company.

You will readily believe, that the appearance of so many handsome women
would be particularly interesting to a community which had never before
beheld a female within their walls.—This indeed was sufficiently evident,
in spite of the gravity and mortified looks of the Fathers.

One lady of a gay disposition laid hold of a little scourge which hung
at one of the Fathers’ belts, and desired he would make her a present of
it, for she wished to use it when she returned home, having, as she said,
been a great sinner.—— The Father, with great gallantry, begged she would
spare her own fair skin, assuring her that he would give himself a hearty
flogging on her account that very evening;—and to prove how much he was
in earnest, fell directly on his knees before a little altar, and began
to whip his own shoulders with great earnestness, declaring, that when
the ladies should retire, he would lay it with the same violence on his
naked body; for he was determined she should be as free from sin as she
was on the day of her birth.

This melted the heart of the lady.—She begged the Father might take
no more of her faults upon his shoulders.—— She now assured him that
her slips had been very venial, and that she was convinced what he had
already done would clear her as completely as if he should whip himself
to the bone.

There is something so ludicrous in all this, that you may naturally
suspect the representation I have given, proceeds from invention rather
than memory. I assure you, however, in downright earnest, that the scene
passed nearly as described; and to prevent farther mischief, I put the
scourge, which the zealous Father had made use of, in my pocket.

On my return to Vienna, I called the same evening at the Countess
Walstein’s, and soon after the Emperor came there. Somebody had already
mentioned to him the pious gallantry of the Father at the top of Mount
Calenberg.—He asked for a sight of the whip, which he understood I had
brought away:—I had it still in my pocket, and immediately showed it
him.—— He laughed very heartily at the warmth of the Father’s zeal, which
he supposed had been augmented by the Ambassador’s tokay.

You have often heard of the unceremonious and easy manner in which this
great Prince lives with his subjects. Report cannot exaggerate on this
head. The Countess Walstein had no expectations of his visiting her
that evening.—— When the servant named the Emperor before he entered, I
started up, and was going to retire.—The Countess desired me to remain,
for nothing was more disagreeable to him than that any company should
be disturbed on his entering.—The ladies kept their seats, some of them
knotting all the time he remained. The men continued standing while he
stood, and when he was seated, most part of them sat down also.—The
Emperor put Count Mahoni, the Spanish ambassador, in mind of his gout,
and made him sit, while himself remained standing.

This monarch converses with all the ease and affability of a private
gentleman, and gradually seduces others to talk with the same ease to
him. He is surely much happier in this noble condescension, and must
acquire a more perfect knowledge of mankind, than if he kept himself
aloof from his subjects, continually wrapt up in his own importance and
the Imperial fur.



LETTER LXXXVI.


                                                                  Vienna.

The manners of this court are considerably altered since Lady Mary
Wortley Montague was here, particularly since the accession of the
present Empress, whose understanding and affability have abridged many of
the irksome ceremonials formerly in use. Her son’s philosophical turn of
mind, and the amiable and conciliating characters of her whole family,
have no doubt tended to put society in general upon a more easy and
agreeable footing.

People of different ranks now do business together with ease, and
meet at public places without any of those ridiculous disputes about
precedency, of which the ingenious English lady has given such lively
descriptions.—Yet trifling punctilios are not so completely banished, as
I imagine, the Emperor could wish, he himself being the least punctilious
person in his dominions:—for there is certainly still a greater
separation than good sense would direct, between the various classes
of the subjects.—The sentiments of a people change very gradually, and
it takes a course of years before reason, or even the example of the
Sovereign, can overcome old customs and prejudices.

The higher, or ancient families, keep themselves as distinct from the
inferior, or newly-created nobility, as these do from the citizens: So
that it is very difficult for the inferior classes to be in society, or
to have their families much connected with those of the superior ranks.
And what is of more importance in a political sense, there are certain
places of high trust in the government, which cannot be occupied by any
but the higher order of nobility.

Would you not think it disadvantageous for a government to keep a law
in force which enacts, that the offices in the state which require the
greatest abilities, should be filled from that class of the community
in which there is the least chance of finding them?—Perhaps the usage
above mentioned is nearly equivalent to such a law. As for the peasants,
who are entirely out of the question, they are, in many parts of the
Emperor’s dominions, in a state of perfect slavery, and almost totally
dependent on the proprietors of the land.

The ideas relative to dress seem to have entirely changed since Lady
Mary’s time, and if the dress of the ladies be still as absurd, it is
at least not so singular; for they, like the rest of Europe, have now
adopted the Parisian modes.

The present race of Austrian ladies can differ in nothing more than they
do in looks from their grandmothers, who, if any of them were still
alive, may be as beautiful at this day as they were when she wrote; for
time itself could hardly improve that ugliness, which, according to her,
was in full bloom sixty years ago. I have not as yet enquired what method
the parents have devised to remedy this inconveniency; but nothing is
more certain than that it is remedied very effectually, for at present
there is no scarcity of female beauty at the court of Vienna.

This being the case, it is natural to imagine that gallantry must now
be more prevalent than when her ladyship was here. But exclusive of
any real difference, which may have happened in the sentiments of the
ladies themselves, they are obliged to observe an uncommon degree of
circumspection in that particular, as nothing is more heinous in the eyes
of her Imperial Apostolic Majesty. She seems to think that the ladies of
her court, like the wife of Cæsar, should not only be free from guilt,
but, what is still more difficult, free from suspicion, and strongly
marks by her manner, that she is but too well informed when any piece of
scandal circulates to the prejudice of any of them.

With regard to what Lady Mary calls sub-marriages, and of which she
has given such a curious account, I do not imagine they are common at
present, in all the latitude of her description. But it is not uncommon
for married ladies here to avow the greatest degree of friendship and
attachment to men who are not their husbands, and to live with them in
great intimacy, without hurting their reputation, or being suspected,
even by their own sex, of having deviated from the laws of modesty.

One evening at the Count Thune’s, when there was a pretty numerous
company, I observed one lady uncommonly sad, and enquired of her
intimate friend who happened to be there also, if she knew the cause of
this sadness?—I do, replied she; Mr. de ——, whom she loves very tenderly,
ought to have been here a month ago; and last night she received a letter
from him, informing her that he cannot be at Vienna for a month to come.
But pray, said I, does your friend’s husband know of this violent passion
she has for Mr. de ——? Yes, yes, answered she, he knows it, and enters
with the most tender sympathy into her affliction; he does all that can
be expected from an affectionate husband to comfort and soothe his wife,
assuring her that her love will wear away with time. But she always
declares that she has no hopes of this, because she feels it augment
every day.—Mais, au fond, continued the lady, cela lui fait bien de la
peine, parceque malheureusement il aime sa femme à la folie. Et sa femme,
qui est la meilleure créature du monde, plaint infiniment son pauvre
mari; car elle a beaucoup d’amitié et d’estime pour lui;—mais elle ne
scauroit se défaire de cette malheureuse passion pour Mons. de ——.

I was not in the least surprised that a disappointment of this nature
should affect a woman a little; but I own it did astonish me that she
should appear in public, on such an occasion, in all the ostentation
of sorrow, like a young widow vain of her weeds. Here this passion
was lamented by her friends as a misfortune: In England, if I rightly
remember, such misfortunes are generally imputed to people as crimes.



LETTER LXXXVII.


                                                                Presburg.

The Viscount de Laval having proposed to me lately to make a short tour
with him into Hungary, I very readily consented, and we arrived at this
town yesterday morning.

Presburg, which is the capital of Lower Hungary, like Vienna, has suburbs
more magnificent than itself. In this city the States of Hungary hold
their assemblies, and in the cathedral church the Sovereign is crowned.

The present Empress took refuge here when the Elector of Bavaria was
declared Emperor at Prague, when she was abandoned by her allies, and
when France had planned her destruction. Her own magnanimity, the
generous friendship of Great Britain, and the courage of her Hungarian
subjects, at length restored her fortunes, and secured to her family the
splendid situation they now hold in Europe.

What politician in 1741 could have thought that in the course of a few
years the Empress would be in strict alliance with France, and one of
her daughters seated on the throne of that kingdom?—Should a soothsayer
of Boston prophesy, that John Hancock, or his son, will, sometime hence,
demand in marriage a daughter of England,—pray, do not lay an uncommon
odds, that the thing will not happen.

Mons. de Laval and I walked up this morning to the castle, which is a
noble Gothic building, of a square form, with a tower at each corner. The
regalia of Hungary, consisting of the crown and sceptre of St. Stephen,
the first king, are deposited here. These are carefully secured by
seven locks, the keys of which are kept by the same number of Hungarian
noblemen. No Prince is held by the populace as legally their Sovereign
till he be crowned with the diadem of King Stephen; and they have a
notion that the fate of their nation depends on this crown’s remaining in
their possession. It has therefore been always removed in times of danger
to places of the greatest safety.

The Turks, aware of the influence of such a prejudice in the minds of
the vulgar, have, it is said, made frequent attempts to seize this
Palladium.—The fate of Hungary seems now to be pretty much decided;
so that exclusive of the value they put upon the crown, as a relic of
considerable antiquity, the Hungarians need not be solicitous whether it
remains in this castle or in the Imperial palace at Vienna.

By the constitution of Hungary, the crown is still held to be elective.
This point is not disputed. All that is insisted on is, that the heir of
the House of Austria shall be elected as often as a vacancy happens.

The castle of Presburg is the usual residence of Prince Albert of Saxony,
who married one of the Arch-duchesses, a very beautiful and accomplished
Princess. As M. de Laval and I entered one of the rooms, we observed them
at a window. We immediately started back, and withdrew, being in riding
frocks and boots. Mons. de Laval had seen their Highnesses a few days
before at Schonbrun, and thought they had been there still. The Princess
sent a polite message after us by a servant, who had orders to conduct
us through every apartment of the castle; she herself stept into another
room, that we might see that which she left.

All the Princesses of the Austrian family are distinguished by an
attentive and obliging politeness, which is the more remarkable, as those
who live much at courts often acquire a species of politeness which is by
no means obliging. The splendor and distinctions of a court frequently
inspire an overweening vanity, and have a peculiar tendency to shake
the steadiness of the female understanding. Court ladies in general,
but particularly such as submit to be abject sycophants to Queens and
Princesses, are apt to render themselves ridiculous by the arrogant
airs they assume to the rest of the world, and while they usurp the
importance of royalty, fill the breasts of all who know them with as much
detestation as is consistent with contempt.

The view from this citadel is very extensive, commanding the vast and
fertile plains of Hungary.

Having dined at the inn, and regaled ourselves, at no great expence,
with tokay, we went to visit a villa at the distance of four miles from
Presburg, belonging to a Hungarian nobleman. This house is delightfully
situated,—the gardens laid out a little too methodically; but the
park, and fields around, where less art has been used, display a vast
luxuriancy of natural beauties.—While wandering over these, we entered
a little wood in a very retired place; as we advanced into this, we saw
a venerable looking old man with a long beard, who, stretching out his
hand, seemed to invite us to an hermitage which we observed hard by.

The Viscount, impatient to cultivate the acquaintance of a person of
such an hospitable appearance, ran before me toward him; when he got
up to him, he stopped short, as if surprised, and then, to my utter
astonishment, he raised his foot with every mark of indignation, and
gave the poor old hermit a violent kick.

I do not remember that I was ever more shocked in my life; I was at the
same time quite confounded at an action so unworthy in itself, and so
incompatible with the character of Mons. de Laval.—I was soon reconciled,
however, to the treatment the old fellow had received, when I discovered
that this venerable personage was not the honest man we took him for, but
a downright impostor, made of painted wood, and dressed in the robes of a
hermit to deceive passengers.

Over the door was an inscription from Horace—

    Odi profanum vulgus,

On the inside of the door—

    Fata volentes ducunt, nolentes trahunt.

And in another part, within the hermitage—

    Omnes eodem cogimur: omnium
    Versatur urna, serius ocius,
    Sors exitura, et nos in æternum
    Exilium impositura Cymbæ.

There were also several inscriptions taken from Cicero, in favour of
the soul’s immortality, which I am sorry I neglected to transcribe.—We
returned in the evening to this place, and are to set out to-morrow for
Prince Estherhasie’s.



LETTER LXXXVIII.


                                                                  Vienna.

Having left Presburg, we travelled eight posts across a very fertile
country to the palace of Estherhasie, the residence of the Prince of that
name. He is the first in rank of the Hungarian nobility, and one of the
most magnificent subjects in Europe. He has body-guards of his own, all
genteel-looking men, richly dressed in the Hungarian manner.

The palace is a noble building, lately finished, and situated near a fine
lake. The apartments are equally grand and commodious: the furniture
more splendid than almost any thing I have seen in royal palaces. In the
Prince’s own apartment there are some curious musical clocks, and one in
the shape of a bird, which whistles a tune every hour.

Just by the palace, there is a theatre for operas, and other dramatic
entertainments, and in the gardens, a large room with commodious
apartments for masquerades and balls.

At no great distance, there is another theatre expressly built for
puppet-shows. This is much larger and more commodious than most
provincial playhouses, and I am bold to assert, is the most splendid that
has as yet been reared in Europe for that species of actors. We regretted
that we could not have the pleasure of seeing them perform; for they have
the reputation of being the best comedians in Hungary.

We had the curiosity to peep behind the curtain, and saw Kings, Emperors,
Turks, and Christians, all ranged very sociably together.—King Solomon
was observed in a corner in a very suspicious tête-à-tête with the Queen
of Sheba.

Amongst other curiosities, there is in the garden a wooden house, built
upon wheels. It contains a room with a table, chairs, a looking-glass,
chimney, and fire-place. There are also closets, with many necessary
accommodations.—The Prince sometimes entertains twelve people in this
vehicle, all of whom may easily sit round the table, and the whole
company may thus take an airing together along the walks of the garden,
and many parts of the park, which are as level as a bowling-green. The
machine, when thus loaded, is easily drawn by six or eight horses.

Prince Estherhasie having heard of M. de Laval’s being in the garden,
sent us an invitation to the opera, which was to be performed that
evening; but as we had brought with us no dress proper for such an
occasion, we were forced to decline this obliging invitation.—The Prince
afterwards sent a carriage, in which we drove round the garden and parks.
These are of vast extent, and beautiful beyond description; arbours,
fountains, walks, woods, hills, and valleys, being thrown together in
a charming confusion.—If you will look over Ariosto’s description of
the gardens in Alcina’s inchanted island, you will have an idea of the
romantic fields of Estherhasie, which are also inhabited by the same kind
of animals.

    Tra le purpuree rose e i bianchi gigli,
    Cha tepid aura freschi ognora serba,
    Sicuri si vedean lepri e conigli:
    E cervi con la fronte alta e superba,
    Senza temer che alcun li uccida o pigli,
    Pascono, e stansi ruminando l’erba:
    E Saltan daini e capri snelli e destri,
    Che sono in copia in quei luoghi campestri.

M. de Laval was in raptures with the gardens of Estherhasie. In the
height of his admiration, I asked him how they stood in his opinion,
compared with those of Versailles?

Ah, Parbleu! Monsieur, answered he, Versailles étoit fait exprès pour
n’être comparé à rien.—He acknowledged, however, without difficulty,
that, except France, no other country he had seen was so beautiful as
this.

Having wandered here many hours, we returned to the inn, where a servant
waited with Prince Estherhasie’s compliments, and a basket containing two
bottles of Tokay, and the same quantity of Champaign and of Old Hock. We
lamented very sincerely, that we could not have the honour of waiting on
this very magnificent Prince, and thanking him personally for so much
politeness.

A company of Italian singers and actors were then at the inn, and
preparing for the opera. Great preparations were making for the
entertainment of the Empress and all the Court, who are soon to make a
visit of several days to Estherhasie. Though the Imperial family, and
many of the nobility, are to lodge in the palace, yet every corner of
this large and commodious inn is already bespoke for the company which
are invited upon that occasion.

Hungary is a very cheap country, the land being infinitely fertile,
and in some places producing the most esteemed grape in Europe. It is
beautiful with lakes, the windings of the Danube, and many streams which
flow into that fine river. In the woods of Hungary are bred a race of
horses, the most active, hardy, and spirited, for their size, in the
world. These have been found very useful in war, and the hussars, or
light dragoons of the Austrian army, are mounted on them.

The men in Hungary are remarkably handsome, and well-shaped. Their
appearance is improved by their dress, which you know is peculiar, and
very becoming.

Lady M. W. Montague asserts, that the Hungarian women are far more
beautiful than the Austrian. For my part, I think of women, as M. de
Laval does of Versailles;—that they are not to be compared with any
thing,—not even with one another. And therefore, without presuming to
take a comparative view of their beauty, it may be remarked in general,
that where the men are handsome and well-made, it is natural to suppose,
that the women will possess the same advantages; for parents generally
bestow as much attention to the making of their daughters as of their
sons. In confirmation of which doctrine, I can assure you, that I have
seen as handsome women, as men, in Hungary, and one of the prettiest
women, in my opinion, at present at the Court of Vienna, is a Hungarian.

None of the Empress’s subjects are taxed so gently, or enjoy so many
privileges as the Hungarians. This is partly owing to the grateful
remembrance she has of their loyalty and attachment in the days of her
distress. But although this sentiment were not so strong in her breast
as it really is, there are political reasons for continuing to them the
same exemptions and privileges; for nothing can be more dangerous than
disobliging the inhabitants of a frontier country, which borders on an
inveterate enemy.—Nor could any thing please the Turks more, than to find
the hearts of the Hungarians alienated from the house of Austria.

I found this country, and the company of M. de Laval, so very agreeable,
that I should have been happy to have extended our excursion farther;
but he is obliged to set out soon for Chamberry to pay his duty to the
Comte d’Artois, who is expected there to wait on his future spouse,
the Princess of Savoy. We therefore returned by the direct road from
Estherhasie to Vienna.



LETTER LXXXIX.


                                                                  Vienna.

So the fate of poor —— is finally decided, and he now finds, that to
be ruined is not a matter of so much indifference as he once imagined.
I neither see the possibility of his extricating himself from his
present difficulties, nor in what manner he will be able to support
them. Accustomed to every luxuriant indulgence, how can he bear the
inconveniencies of poverty?—Dissipated and inattentive from his
childhood, how can he make any exertion for himself?—His good-humour,
genteel figure, and pliant disposition, made him well received by
all.—While he formed no expectations from their friendship, his company
seemed particularly acceptable to some who are at present in power:
Whether it will be equally so now, when he has nothing else to depend
on, is to be tried. And I really think it as well for him that it be
tried now, as five or six years hence.

This calamity has been long foreseen.—There seemed to be almost a
necessity that it should happen sooner or later; for he had neither
caution, plan, nor object in his gaming.—He continued it from habit
alone. Of all mankind, he was the least covetous of excessive wealth;
and exclusive of gaming, he always lived within his income, not from a
desire of saving money, but merely because he had no taste for great
expence.—How often have we seen him lose immense sums to those who could
never have paid the half, had he happened to win it; and to some of whom
he had lent the money which enabled them to stake against him?

There are many careless young men of great fortunes, who game in the same
style, and from no other motives than those of our unhappy friend.—What
is the consequence?—The money circulates for a while among them, but
remains finally with persons of a very different character.—I shall not
suppose that any of the very fortunate gamesters we have been acquainted
with, have used those means to correct fortune which are generally
reckoned fraudulent. I am fully persuaded, they are seldomer practised in
the clubs in London, than in any other gaming societies in the world.—Let
all slight of hand, and every species of downright sharping, be put out
of the question; but still we may suppose, that among a great number
of careless inattentive people of fortune, a few wary, cool and shrewd
men are mingled, who know how to conceal real caution and design under
apparent inattention and gaiety of manner;—who have a perfect command
of themselves, push their luck when fortune smiles, and refrain when she
changes her disposition;—who have calculated the chances, and understand
every game where judgment is required.

If there are such men, is not the probability of winning infinitely in
their favour?—Does it not amount to almost as great a certainty, as if
they had actually loaded the dice or packed the cards?—I know you live in
the habit of intimacy with some who answer to the above description; and
I have heard you say, that however fortunate they may have been, you were
fully convinced that nothing can be fairer than their manner of playing.
I accuse them of taking no other advantages than those above mentioned;
but I appeal to your own experience,—pray recollect, and I am greatly
mistaken, if you will not find, that by far the greater part of those
who have made fortunes by play, and have kept them when made, are men of
cool, cautious, shrewd, and selfish characters.

If any of these very fortunate people were brought to a trial, and
examined by what means they had accumulated such sums, while so many
others had entirely lost, or greatly impaired their fortunes (if the
word esprit be allowed to imply that artful superiority which belongs to
their characters), they might answer in the words of the wife of Concini
Marechal d’Ancre, when she was asked what charm she had made use of to
fascinate the mind of the Queen?—De l’ascendant, she replied, qu’un
esprit superieur a toujours sur des esprits foibles.—Certainly there can
be no greater weakness, than for a man of independent fortune to game
in such a manner as to risk losing it, for the chance of doubling or
tripling his income: because the additional happiness arising from any
supposable addition of wealth, can never be within a thousand degrees so
great, as the misery which would be the consequence of his being stripped
of his original fortune.

This consideration alone, one would imagine, might be sufficient to deter
any reasonable man from a conduct so weak and absurd: yet there are other
considerations which give much additional weight to the argument;—the
dismal effects which the continued practice of gaming has sometimes
been observed to produce in the disposition of the mind, and the most
essential parts of the character, destroying every idea of œconomy,
engrossing the whole time, undermining the best principles, perverting
the qualities of the heart, rendering men callous to the ruin of
acquaintances, and partakers, with a savage insensibility, in the spoils
of their unwary friends.

The peculiar instances with which you and I are acquainted, where the
long-continued habit of deep play has had no such effects, are proofs of
the rooted honour and integrity of certain individuals, and may serve as
exceptions to a general rule, but cannot be urged as arguments against
the usual tendency of gaming. If men of fortune and character adopted
the practice of gaming upon any principle of reasoning, there might be
a greater probability of their being reasoned out of it: but most of
them begin to game, not with any view or fixed plan of increasing their
wealth, but merely as a fashionable amusement, or perhaps by way of
showing the liberality of their spirit, and their contempt for money.

I would not be very positive, that some of them have not mistaken for
admiration that surprise which is expressed when any person has lost an
immense sum. And this mistake may have given them less repugnance to the
idea of becoming the objects of admiration in the same day. Afterwards
endeavouring to win back what they had so idly lost, the habit has
grown by degrees, and at length has become their sole resource from the
weariness which those born to great fortunes, and who have not early
in life acquired some faculty of amusing themselves, are more prone to
fall into than others. Men born to no such expectations, whatever their
natural dispositions may be, are continually roused from indolence by
avocations which admit of no delay. The pursuit of that independence, for
which almost every human bosom sighs, and whose value is unknown only
to those who have always possessed it, is thought a necessary, and is
often sound, an agreeable employment to the generality of mankind. This,
with the other duties of life, is sufficient to engross their time and
thoughts, and guard them from _the pains and penalties of idleness_.

As the pursuit of wealth is superfluous in men of rank and fortune, so it
would be unbecoming their situation. Being deprived of this, which is so
great an object and resource to the rest of mankind, they stand in more
need of something to supply its place. I know of nothing which can so
completely, and with so much propriety, have this effect, as a taste for
letters and love of science. I therefore think these are more essentially
necessary to the happiness of people of high rank and great fortune, than
to those in confined circumstances.

If independence be desired with universal ardour by mankind, the road
of science is neither the most certain, nor the shortest way to attain
it. But those who are already in possession of this, have infinite need
of the other to teach them to enjoy their independence with dignity and
satisfaction, and to prevent the gifts of fortune from becoming sources
of misery instead of happiness. If they are ambitious, the cultivation
of letters, by adorning their minds, and enlarging their faculties, will
facilitate their plans, and render them more fit for the high situations
to which they aspire. If they are devoid of ambition, they have still
more occasion for some of the pursuits of science, as resources against
the languor of retired or inactive life.—Quod si non hic tantus fructus
ostenderetur, et si ex his studiis delectatio sola peteretur; tamen,
ut opinor, hanc animi remissionem, humanissimam ac liberalissimam
judicaretis.

This love of letters considered merely as an amusement, and to fill up
agreeably the vacant hours of life, I believe to be more essentially
necessary to men of great fortune than to those who have none;—to men
without ambition, than to those who are animated by that active passion;
and to the generality of Englishmen more than to the natives of either
Germany or France.—The Germans require very little variety. They can
bear the languid uniformity of life always with patience, and often with
satisfaction. They display an equanimity under disgust that is quite
astonishing.—The French, though not so celebrated for patience, are of
all mankind the least liable to despondence. Public affairs, so apt to
disturb the repose of many worshipful citizens of London, never give a
Frenchman uneasiness. If the arms of France are successful, he rejoices
with all his heart;—if they are unfortunate, he laughs at the commanders
with all his soul. If his mistress is kind, he celebrates her goodness
and commends her taste;—if she is cruel, he derides her folly in the
arms of another.

No people ever were so fond of amusement, and so easily amused. It seems
to be the chief object of their lives, and they contrive to draw it
from a thousand sources, in which no other people ever thought it could
be found. I do not know where I met with the following lines; they are
natural and easy, and seem expressive of the conduct and sentiments of
the whole French nation.

    M’amuser n’importe comment,
    Fait toute ma philosophie.
    Je crois ne perdre aucun moment
    Hors le moment où je m’ennuie;
    Et je tiens ma tâche finie,
    Pourvu qu’ainsi tout doucement;
    Je me defasse de la vie.

Our countrymen who have applied to letters, have prosecuted every branch
of science as successfully as any of their neighbours. But those of
them who study mere amusement, independent of literature of any kind,
certainly have not been so happy in their researches as the French. Many
things which entertain the latter, seem frivolous and insipid to the
former. The English view objects through a darker medium. Less touched
than their neighbours with the gaieties, they are more affected by the
vexations of life, under which they are too ready to despond. They feel
their spirits flag with the repetition of scenes which at first were
thought agreeable. This stagnation of animal spirits, from whatever cause
it arises, becomes itself a cause of desperate resolutions, and debating
habits.

A man of fortune, therefore, who can acquire such a relish for science,
as will make him rank its pursuits among his amusements; has thereby
made an acquisition of more importance to his happiness, than if he
had acquired another estate equal in value to his first. I am almost
convinced, that a taste of this kind is the only thing which can render
a man of fortune (especially if his fortune be very large) tolerably
independent and easy through life. Whichsoever of the roads of science
he loves to follow, his curiosity will continually be kept awake. An
inexhaustible variety of interesting objects will open to his view,—his
mind will be replenished with ideas,—and even when the pursuits of
ambition become insipid, he will still have antidotes against tædium, and
(other things being supposed equal) the best chance of passing agreeably
through life, that the uncertainty of human events allows to man.



LETTER XC.


                                                                  Vienna.

In your last, you show such a passion for anecdote, and seem so desirous
of my insisting on manners and characters, that I fear you will not be
pleased with my last long epistle upon a subject entirely remote from
what you demand. But you must remember that you were warned from the
beginning of this correspondence, that I would retain the privilege of
digressing as often as I pleased, and that my letters should frequently
treat of what I thought, as well as what I saw. However, this shall
consist entirely of sights.

The first I shall mention was exhibited soon after our arrival at Vienna.
This was the feast of St. Stephen, at which the Emperor dined in public
with the knights.

He was at the head of the table; his brother and brother-in-law next him,
and the other knights sat according to seniority. The Arch-duchesses,
with some of the principal ladies of the court, were at a balcony within
the hall to see this ceremony.—The Emperor and all the knights were
dressed in the robes of the order. The Hungarian guards, with their
sabres drawn, surrounded the table.

The honour of serving the Emperor at this solemnity belongs entirely to
the Hungarians. When he called for drink, a Hungarian nobleman poured
a little of the wine into a cup and tasted it; he afterwards filled
another, which he presented with one knee touching the ground. The
Emperor often smiled upon this nobleman as he went through the ceremony,
and seemed to indicate by the whole of his behaviour, that he considered
such submissive bendings of one man to another, as greatly misplaced, and
that he suffered this mummery merely in compliance with ancient custom.

There was great crowding to see this feast, and it was not without
difficulty I got admission; though, after all, there was nothing to be
seen but some well-dressed men, who ate an exceeding good dinner with
tolerable appetite.

Since the feast of St. Stephen, we have been witnesses to the annual
ceremony in commemoration of the defeat of the Turkish army, and the
raising the siege of Vienna by John Sobieski king of Poland. The Imperial
family and the principal nobility of both sexes walked in solemn
procession, and heard mass at the church of St. Stephen on this occasion.
In the middle of the street, leading from the palace to the church, a
platform was raised, upon which the company, who formed the procession,
walked.—The streets were lined with the Imperial guards, and the windows
and tops of the houses were crowded with spectators.—The D—— of H—— and I
found a very good situation at a window with the Venetian ambassador.

This ceremony would have been too fatiguing for the Empress:—She
therefore did not attend:—The Emperor, the Arch-dukes and Duchesses, with
all the nobility, did. A prodigious train of bishops, priests, and monks
followed; and a numerous band of music played as they went along.

As this is a day of rejoicing, the richest and gayest dresses are thought
the most expressive of the pious gratitude becoming such an occasion.
The ladies displayed their devotion in the most brilliant manner. Their
minds, however, were not so much exalted by heavenly contemplations, as
to be above taking notice of their earthly acquaintances at the windows,
whom they regaled with smiles and nods as they walked along.

Next day the Imperial family dined in public, and many people went to see
them. I was not of the number, though nobody can more sincerely wish them
the enjoyment of all the comforts of life. I know not on what principle
the Royal Family in France, and other countries in Europe, have adopted
the custom of eating in public. They cannot imagine, that the seeing them
chew and swallow their victuals can create a vast deal of admiration in
the beholders. It would certainly be taken for granted, that they could
perform these necessary functions, although a cloud of witnesses were
not admitted to confirm the fact. If these exhibitions are designed for
the entertainment of the subjects, a thousand could be thought of more
amusing to them; for however interesting the part of an actor at a feast
may be, that of a spectator is surely one of the most insipid that can be
imagined.

But the same evening there was a grand masquerade at Schonbrun, which
was more generally amusing.—Four thousand tickets were distributed on
this occasion.—A large party of dragoons were placed along the road from
Vienna, to keep the coaches in a regular line, and to prevent confusion.
The principal rooms of this magnificent palace were thrown open for the
reception of the company.—In three large halls on the ground-floor,
tables were covered with a cold collation of all kinds of fowls, ham, and
confections, with pine-apples and every sort of fruit. These, with Old
Hock, Champagne, and other kinds of wine, were served with readiness and
profusion to all who asked for them.

At the end of the large dining-room, there was a raised seat for the
Empress, and some ladies who attended her. Here a grand Ballet was danced
by the Arch-duke, the Arch-duchesses, the Princess of Modena, and some
of the chief nobility, to the number of twenty-four. The dancers, both
male and female, were dressed in white silk, flounced with pink-coloured
ribands, and enriched with a vast profusion of diamonds.

This ballet was performed three times at proper intervals. Those who had
seen it once, passed into the gallery, and other apartments, giving way
to a new set of spectators. In the garden, on a rising ground opposite
to the palace windows, a temporary fabric was erected in the form of
a large and magnificent temple. This was illuminated by an incredible
number of lamps, and gave the appearance of a very extraordinary piece of
architecture, which continued flaming through the whole night, and had
a very fine effect, viewed from Vienna, and other places at a greater
distance.

The Emperor mixed with the company without ceremony or distinction,
taking no part himself but as a spectator. He was conversing in the
middle of the hall, in the most familiar manner, with an English
gentleman, without observing, that the third ballet was going to be
danced, when the master of the ceremonies whispered him in the ear.—The
Emperor, seizing the Englishman by the arm, said, Allons, Monsieur, on
nous chasse—il faut se retirer; and immediately walked into another room,
to give place to others who had not yet seen the dance.

This very splendid entertainment was given to the Arch-duke, and the
Princess of Modena, whose usual residence is at Milan.—The Empress, thus
surrounded by her offspring, appeared cheerful and happy.—She seemed to
enjoy the vivacity, and sympathize with the gaiety, of the company.—She
is greatly beloved by her own children, and by her subjects in general,
whom she also considers as her children in a greater degree than is usual
for sovereigns.

It is an error to imagine, that great devotion has a tendency to sour the
temper: Though it must be acknowledged, that it has not always the power
of sweetening the very austere trunks on which it is sometimes grafted;
but in a character naturally benevolent, every good disposition will be
strengthened and animated by real piety. Of this I have seen a thousand
instances, and I believe her Imperial Majesty affords one.



LETTER XCI.


                                                                  Vienna.

The Emperor is of a middle size, well made, and of a fair complexion.
He has a considerable resemblance to his sister, the Queen of France,
which, in my opinion, is saying a great deal in favour of his looks.—Till
I saw something of his usual behaviour, I did not think it possible for
a person in such an elevated situation, to put every body with whom he
conversed upon so easy a footing.

His manner, as I have often mentioned, is affable, obliging, and
perfectly free from the reserved and lofty deportment assumed by some on
account of high birth. Whoever has the honour to be in company with him,
so far from being checked by such despicable pride, has need to be on
his guard, not to adopt such a degree of familiarity as, whatever the
condescension of the one might permit, would be highly improper in the
other to use.

He is regular in his way of life, moderate in his pleasures, steady in
his plans, and diligent in business. He is fond of his army, and inclines
that the soldiers should have every comfort and necessary consistent with
their situation. He is certainly an œconomist, and lavishes very little
money on useless pomp, mistresses, or favourites; and it is, I suppose,
on no better foundation than this, that his enemies accuse him of avarice.

I cannot help regarding œconomy as one of the most useful qualities in
a Prince. Liberality, even when pushed to an imprudent length, may, in
a private person, proceed from a kind of greatness of mind, because
his fortune is in every sense his own, and he can injure nobody but
himself by lavishing it away.—He knows that when it is gone, nobody will
reimburse him for his extravagance.—He seems therefore to have taken the
resolution to submit to the inconveniency of future poverty, rather than
renounce the present happiness of acting with a magnificent liberality,
and bestowing on others more than he can afford.

This is not the case with a Prince.—What he squanders is not his own,
but the public money.—He knows that his pomp and splendour will be kept
up, and that his subjects, not he, are to feel the inconveniencies of
his prodigality. When I hear, therefore, that a King has given great
sums of money to any particular person; from the sums given, the person
who receives it, the motive for the gift, and other circumstances, I can
judge whether it is well or ill disposed of; but in either case, it
cannot be called generosity.

The virtue of generosity consists in a man’s depriving himself of
something for the sake of another. There can be no generosity in
giving to John what James must replace the next moment. What is called
generosity in Kings, very often consists in bestowing that money on
the idle part of their subjects which they have squeezed from the
industrious. I have heard a parcel of fiddlers and opera dancers praise a
Prince for his noble and generous behaviour to them, while men near his
person of useful talents and real worth were distressed for bread.—The
Emperor certainly has none of that kind of generosity.

His usual dress (the only one indeed in which I ever saw him, except at
the feast of the Knights of St. Stephen) is a plain uniform of white
faced with red.—When he goes to Laxenberg, Schonbrun, and other places
near Vienna, he generally drives two horses in an open chaise, with a
servant behind, and no other attendant of any kind.—He very seldom allows
the guard to turn out as he passes through the gate.—Nobody ever had
a stronger disposition to judicious inquiry.—He is fond of conversing
with ingenious people.—When he hears of any person, of whatever rank
or country, being distinguished for any particular talent, he is eager
to converse with him, and turns the conversation to the subject on
which that person is thought to excel, drawing from him all the useful
information he can. Of all the means of knowledge, this is perhaps the
most powerful, and the most proper that can be used by one whose more
necessary occupations do not leave him much time for study.

He seems to be of opinion, that the vanity and ignorance of many Princes
are frequently owing to the forms in which they are intrenched, and to
their being deprived of the advantages which the rest of mankind enjoy
from a free comparison and exchange of sentiment. He is convinced, that
unless a King can contrive to live in some societies on a footing of
equality, and can weigh his own merit, without throwing his guards and
pomp into the scale, it will be difficult for him to know either the
world or himself.

One evening at the Countess Walstein’s, the conversation leading that
way, the Emperor enumerated some remarkable and ludicrous instances of
the inconveniencies of etiquette, which had occurred at a certain court.
One person present hinted at the effectual means his Majesty had used
to banish every inconveniency of that kind from the Court of Vienna. To
which he replied, It would be hard indeed, if, because I have the ill
fortune to be an Emperor, I should be deprived of the pleasures of social
life, which are so much to my taste. All the grimace and parade to which
people in my situation are accustomed from their cradle, have not made
me so vain, as to imagine that I am in any essential quality superior
to other men; and if I had any tendency to such an opinion, the surest
way to get rid of it, is the method I take, of mixing in society, where
I have daily occasions of finding myself inferior in talents to those I
meet with. Conscious of this, it would afford me no enjoyment to assume
airs of a superiority which I feel does not exist. I endeavour therefore
to please, and to be pleased; and as much as the inconveniency of my
situation will permit, to enjoy the blessings of society like other men,
convinced that the man who is secluded from those, and raises himself
above friendship, is also raised above happiness, and deprived of the
means of acquiring knowledge.

This kind of language is not uncommon with poor philosophers; but I
imagine it is rarely held by Princes, and the inferences to be drawn from
it more rarely put in practice.

A few days after this, there was an exhibition of fire-works on the
Prater. This is a large park, planted with wood, and surrounded by the
Danube, over which there is a wooden bridge. No carriages being allowed
to pass, the company leave their coaches at one end, and walk. There is
a narrow path railed off on one side of the bridge. Many people very
injudiciously took this path, to which there is an easy entrance at
one end, but the exit is difficult at the other; for only one person
can go out at a time. The path therefore was very soon choaked up; the
unfortunate passengers crept on at a snail’s pace, and in the most
straitened and disagreeable manner imaginable; whilst those who had
kept the wide path in the middle of the bridge, like the fortunate and
wealthy in their journey through life, moved along at their ease, totally
regardless of the wretched circumstances of their fellow-passengers.

Some few of the prisoners in the narrow passage, who were of a small
size, and uncommon address, crawled under the rail, and got into the
broad walk in the middle; but all who were tall, and of a larger make,
were obliged to remain and submit to their fate. An Englishman, who
had been at the Countess Walstein’s when the Emperor expressed himself
as above mentioned, was of the last class. The Emperor, as he passed,
seeing that those of a small size extricated themselves, while the
Englishman remained fixed in a very aukward situation, called out, Ah,
Monsieur! Je vous ai bien annoncé combien il est incommode d’être trop
_grand_.—A present vous devez être bien de mon avis;—Mais comme je ne
puis rien faire pour vous soulager, je vous recommende à Saint George.

There are people who, having heard of the Emperor’s uncommon affability,
and of his total contempt of pomp and parade, of which the bulk of
mankind are so much enamoured, have asserted, that the whole is
affectation. But if the whole tenor of any person’s words and actions is
to be considered as affectation, I do not know by what means we are to
get at the bottom of his real character. Yet, people who have a violent
taste for any particular thing, are extremely ready to believe, that
those who have not the same taste are affected.

I do not remember that I ever told you, that our friend R——, who loves
his bottle above all things, and who, I believe, esteems you above all
men, let me into a part of your character of which I never had the
smallest suspicion.

One day after dinner, when a couple of bottles had awakened his
friendship, and laid open his heart, he took it into his head to
enumerate your good qualities, and concluded the list, by saying, that
you were no milk-sop.—I know what that expression imports in the mouth
of R——. I therefore stared, and said, I had seldom seen you drink above
three glasses at a time in my life.—Nor I, said he; but take my word for
it, he is too honest a fellow not to love good wine, and I am certain his
sobriety is all affectation.



LETTER XCII.


                                                                  Vienna.

I returned very lately from Prince Lichtenstein’s house at Felberg in
Austria, where I passed a few days very agreeably. The Lichtenstein
family is one of the first in this country, whether considered in point
of antiquity, wealth or dignity. This Prince, besides his lands in
Austria, has considerable estates in Bohemia, Moravia, and that part of
Silesia which belongs to the Empress. Like Prince Estherhasie, he has
body-guards in his own pay.—I believe no other subjects in Europe retain
this distinction.

Felberg is a fine old mansion, about forty miles from Vienna. The
apartments are large, convenient, and furnished in the magnificent style
which prevails in the noblemen’s houses of this country. The company
consisted of the Prince and Princess, the Count Degenfeldt and his Lady,
a very accomplished woman; the D—— of H——, Mr. M——, an English officer,
another English gentleman, and myself. Our entertainment was in every
respect splendid, particularly in the article of attendants. Some of the
Austrian nobility carry this point of magnificence to a height, which
could scarcely be supported by the best estates in England, where one
footman is more expensive than four in this country.

The day after our arrival, breakfast was served to the company separately
in their own apartments, as is the custom here. We afterwards set out
for another villa belonging to this Prince, at six miles distance, where
he intended to give the D—— the amusement of hunting. The Princess,
the Countess Degenfeldt, the D——, and Captain M——, were in one coach;
the Prince, the Count, and I, in another; the two young Princes, with
their governor and the young English gentleman, in a third, with a great
retinue on horseback.

As the day was well advanced when we arrived, I imagined the hunting
would begin immediately:—But every thing is done with method and good
order in this country, and it was judged proper to dine in the first
place. This in due time being concluded, I thought the men would have
proceeded directly to the scene of action, leaving the ladies till their
return.—But here I found myself again mistaken:—The ladies were to assist
in the whole of this expedition. But as there was a necessity to traverse
a large wood, into which coaches could not enter, vehicles of a more
commodious construction were prepared. I forget what name is given to
these carriages. They are of the form of benches, with stuffed seats,
upon which six or eight people may place themselves one behind the other.
They are drawn by four horses, and slide over the ground like a sledge,
passing along paths and trackless ways, over which no wheel-carriage
could be drawn.


After being conveyed in this manner across the wood, and a considerable
way beyond it, we came to a very large open field, in which there were
several little circular inclosures of trees and underwood at wide
intervals from each other.—This hunting had hitherto been attended with
very little fatigue; for we had been carried the whole way in coaches, or
on the sledges, which are still easier than any coach. In short, we had
been perfectly passive since breakfast, except during the time of dinner.

But when we arrived at this large plain, I was informed, that the hunting
would commence within a very short time. I then expected we should have
some violent exercise after so much inactivity, and began to fear that
the ladies might be over-fatigued, when, lo! the Prince’s servants began
to arrange some portable chairs at a small distance from one of the
thickets above mentioned. The Princess, Countess, and the rest of the
company took their places; and when every body was seated, they assured
me that the hunting was just going to begin.

I own, my curiosity was now excited in a very uncommon degree; and I was
filled with impatience to see the issue of a hunting, which had been
conducted in a style so different from any idea I had of that diversion.
While I sat lost in conjecture, I perceived, at a great distance, a long
line of people moving towards the little wood, near which the company
was seated. As they walked along, they gradually formed the segment
of a circle, whose centre was this wood. I understood that these were
peasants, with their wives and children, who, walking forward in this
manner, rouse the game, which naturally take shelter in the thicket of
trees and bushes. As soon as this happened, the peasants rushed in at
the side opposite to that where our company had taken post, beat out the
game, and then the massacre began.

Each person was provided with a fusil, and many more were at hand loaded
for immediate use. The servants were employed in charging as fast as the
pieces were fired off: So that an uninterrupted shooting was kept up, as
long as the game continued flying or running out of the wood—The Prince
hardly ever missed.—He himself killed above thirty partridges, a few
pheasants, and three hares.

At the beginning of this scene, I was a good deal surprised to see a
servant hand a fusil to the Princess, who with great coolness, and
without rising from her seat, took aim at a partridge, which immediately
fell to the ground. With the same ease, she killed ten or twelve
partridges and pheasants, at about double the number of shots.—The
execution done by the rest of the company was by no means considerable.

Though I had not heard of it before, I now understood, that shooting is
not an uncommon amusement with the German ladies: And it is probable,
their attention to the delicacy of the fair sex, has induced the hardy
Germans to render this diversion so little fatiguing.

The company afterwards walked to other little inclosures of planting,
where some game was driven out and killed as before.—The following day,
the Prince conducted us to another of his seats, where there is a very
fine open wood, full of deer of every kind, some of them the largest I
ever saw. There is also a great number of wild boars, one of which, by
the Prince’s permission, the D—— of H—— killed.

Nothing could surpass the politeness and magnificence with which the
company were entertained during the whole of their stay. The Princess is
a woman of an amiable character, and a good understanding; educates her
children, and manages her affairs with the utmost prudence and propriety.

This family, and many of the nobility, who have hitherto been at their
country-seats, are now about to return to Vienna. The family of Monsieur
and Madame de Pergen have been here for some time. This lady is an
intimate friend of the Countess Thune; and nearly the same company, who
form her society, now assemble twice a week at the house of Madame de
Pergen, who rivals the Countess in good sense and many accomplishments,
and, without raising jealousy or ill-will, divides with her the esteem of
the best company of this place. The agreeable footing on which society is
established here, and the number of respectable people with whom we are
acquainted, fills me with regret at the thoughts of leaving Vienna; but
the D—— of H—— inclines to pass the winter in Italy. Indeed, if he did
not, he would be obliged to delay the journey a whole year, or submit to
the inconveniencies of travelling in the summer months, which, in so hot
a climate, is rather to be avoided.



LETTER XCIII.


                                                                  Vienna.

I have not said any thing of the Austrian army, having some suspicion
that I rather over-dosed you with military details from Berlin, where the
subject of my letters was continually before my eyes. But the Emperor
has very few of his troops in garrison at Vienna. They make a fine
appearance, and the army in general are more judiciously clothed, than
any other I have seen.

Instead of coats with long skirts, their uniform is a short jacket of
white cloth, with waistcoat and breeches of the same, and each soldier
has a surtout of coarse gray cloth, which he wears in cold or rainy
weather. This he rolls up in a very small bulk when the weather is good,
and it is little or no incumbrance on a march. They have short boots for
shoes; and, in place of hats, they wear caps of very stout leather, with
a brass front, which usually stands up, but which may be let down upon
occasion, to prevent their eyes from being incommoded by the sun.

Except a very few Hungarians who do duty within the palace, there are
no troops in the Austrian service with increased pay, and exclusive
privileges, under the denomination of body-guards; the marching regiments
on the ordinary establishment, form the garrison of Vienna, and perform
the duty of guards by rotation.

The insolence of the Prætorian bands at Rome, so often terrible to their
masters; the frequent insurrections of the Janissaries at Constantinople,
and the revolutions effected by the Russian guards, at Petersburgh,
sufficiently point out the danger of such an institution. These examples
may have influenced the Austrian government to renounce a system which
seems to render certain regiments less useful, and more dangerous, than
the rest of the army.

The Austrian army is calculated at considerably above two hundred
thousand; and, it is imagined, that there never was a greater number of
excellent officers in the service than at present; so that in case of a
war with Prussia, the two powers will be more equally matched than ever.
It would be unfortunate for this Court if it should break out at present,
for there are some commotions among the peasants in Bohemia, which
occasion a general disquiet, and by which some individuals have sustained
great losses. One nobleman of the first rank has had his house, and all
the furniture, burnt to the ground, together with some large out-houses
near his castle.

These excesses, according to some, proceed from mere wantonness, and
love of mischief, in the people. Others assert, that they are excited by
the tyranny of the lords, which has driven those poor men to despair.
Whichsoever of these accounts is true, it seems evident to me, that
it would be much better for the lords, as well as the peasants, that
the latter, instead of being bond-men, were in a state of freedom. At
present, they pay their rent by working a certain number of days in the
week for their masters, and maintain themselves and families by labouring
the other days on their own account. You will readily believe, that more
real business will be done in one day when they work for themselves, than
in two days labour for their lords. This occasions ill-humour and blows
on the part of the master, and hatred and revolt on that of the peasants.

If the estates in Bohemia were let to free-men at a reasonable rent,
freedom and property would excite a spirit of industry among these
indolent people. They would then work every day with cheerfulness and
good-will, and I am convinced the landlords revenues would increase
daily. In consequence of this, the peasants would, in all probability,
continue as much attached to the ground from choice, as they are at
present from necessity.—Do we not see families in Great Britain remain
for many generations on gentlemen’s estates, though the master has the
privilege of changing his tenant, and the tenant his master, at the end
of every lease?

In almost every country in Europe, except England, the inhabitants are
confined by some barrier or other, to the situation in which they are
born. The total want of education necessarily obliges the greater part to
gain their livelihood by bodily labour. National opinions prevent others
from ever rising above the level of their birth, however sublime their
genius, or however great their acquired knowledge. But in our island
the door of science, and consequently the road to ambition, is open to
almost every individual. Even in the most remote villages some degree of
education is bestowed on the poorest inhabitants.

This may be of little or no importance to ninety-nine in a hundred; and
if the small number who, by improving this pittance of knowledge, raise
themselves above the state in which they were born, very few arrive at
any degree of eminence; the reason of which is, that great genius is a
quality very sparingly dealt out to mankind. Though it must be allowed,
that much the greater part of the inhabitants of the same country and
climate are born with nearly the same natural abilities; and that the
degrees of education, and other opportunities of improvement, gradually
form all the difference which appears among them in after-life; yet I
cannot, with Helvetius, believe that genius is entirely the work of
education.

I am fully convinced, that Nature is continually producing some
individuals in every nation of a finer organization, with an infinitely
greater aptitude for science of every kind, and whose minds are capable
of a more sublime and extensive range of thought, than is attainable
by the common run of mankind with any possible degree of culture. This
natural superiority is what I call genius. Wherever a considerable share
of this is lodged, a little cultivation will be sufficient, but some is
absolutely requisite to make it appear.

When it does exist in the minds of peasants in Russia, Poland, and some
parts of Germany, it remains dormant from neglect, or is smothered by
oppression. But in Great Britain, the degree of education which is now
universal, small as it is, will be sufficient to rouse, animate, and
bring into action the fire of extraordinary genius, the seeds of which
impartial Nature is as apt to place in the infant breast of a peasant as
of a prince. The chance of great and distinguished men springing up in a
country, is therefore not to be calculated by the number of inhabitants,
but by the number whose minds receive that degree of cultivation
necessary to call forth their latent powers.

On the supposition, that one kingdom contains eight millions of
inhabitants, and another triple the number, many more men of original
genius, and great eminence in every art and science, may, from the
circumstances above mentioned, be expected to appear in the first than
in the second. In Great Britain, for example, almost all the natives
may be included in the calculation; but in the other countries which I
have mentioned, the peasantry, who form the most numerous class, must be
struck out.



LETTER XCIV.


                                                                  Vienna.

Whether it is owing to the example of the Empress, or to what other
cause, I shall not take upon me to decide; but there certainly appears
a warmer and more general attachment to religion in Vienna, than in
any other great town in Germany: There is also a greater appearance
of satisfaction and happiness here than in many other cities, where
religious impressions are more feeble and, less prevalent: It is not
improbable, that the latter may be a consequence of the former.

Irreligion and scepticism, exclusive of the bad effects they may have
on the morals or future destiny of men, impair even their temporal
happiness, by obscuring those hopes, which, in some situations, are
their only consolation. In whatever superior point of view those men may
consider themselves, who deride the opinions which their fellow-citizens
hold sacred, this vanity is often overbalanced by the irksome doubts
which obtrude on their minds. Uncertainty with respect to the most
interesting of all subjects, or a fixed persuasion of annihilation, are
equally insupportable to the greater part of mankind, who sooner or later
endeavour to put in a claim for that bright reversion, which religion has
promised to believers. If the idea of annihilation has been supported
without pain by a few philosophers, it is the utmost that can be said;
such a state of mind can never be a source of satisfaction or pleasure.
People of great sensibility seldom endure it long; their fond desire
of immortality overturns every fabric which scepticism had attempted to
raise in their minds; they cannot abide by a doctrine which plucks from
the heart a deeply-rooted hope, tears asunder all those ties of humanity,
affection, friendship, and love, which it has been the business of their
lives to bind, and which they expect will be eternal. Since sensibility
renders the heart averse to scepticism, and inclinable to devotion, we
may naturally expect to find women more devout than men; very few of that
delicate sex have been able to look with stedfast eyes on a prospect,
which terminates in a dismal blank; and those few, who have had that
degree of philosophical fortitude, have not been the most amiable of the
sex.

None of my female acquaintance at Vienna are in this uncomfortable
state of mind, but many of them have embroidered some fanciful piece
of superstition of their own upon the extensive ground which the Roman
Catholic faith affords. In a lady’s house a few days ago I happened to
take up a book which lay upon the table,—a small picture of the Virgin
Mary on vellum fell from between the leaves; under the figure of the
Virgin there was an inscription, which I translate literally:

“This is presented by —— —— to her dearest friend —— ——, in token of the
sincerest regard and affection; begging that as often as she beholds this
figure of the blessed Virgin, she may mix a sentiment of affection for
her absent friend, with the emotions of gratitude and adoration she feels
for the Mother of Jesus.”

The lady informed me, that it was usual for intimate friends to send such
presents to each other when they were about to separate, and when there
was a probability of their being long asunder.

There seems to be something exceedingly tender and pathetic in blending
friendship with religious sentiments, and thus by a kind of consecration
endeavouring to preserve the former from the effects of time and
absence.—The perusal of this inscription recalled to my memory certain
connections I have at home, the impetuosity of which recollection
affected me beyond expression.

I remarked in this lady’s house another beautiful picture of the
Virgin, ornamented with a rich frame, and a silk curtain to preserve it
from dust; I observed that she never looked at it but with an air of
veneration and love, nor passed it when uncovered by the curtain without
a gentle bending of the knee.—She told me, that this picture had been
long in the family, and had been always held in the highest esteem, for
that both her mother and she owed some of the most fortunate events of
their lives to the protection of the blessed Virgin, and she seemed not
intirely free from a persuasion that the attention of the Virgin was
in some degree retained by the good offices of this identical picture.
She declared that the confidence she had in the Virgin’s goodness and
protection, was one of the greatest comforts she had in life—that to
_her_ she could, without restraint, open her heart, and pour out her
whole soul under every affliction, and she never failed to find herself
comforted and relieved by such effusions.

I observed, that devout Protestants found the same consolation in
addressing the Almighty.

She said—She could not comprehend how that could be—for that God the
Father was so great and awful, that her veneration was mixed with such
a degree of dread as confounded all her ideas when she attempted to
approach him; but the blessed Mary was of so mild, so condescending,
and compassionate a character, that she could address her with more
confidence.

She said, she knew it was her duty to adore the Creator of the universe,
and she fulfilled it to the best of her power, but she could not divest
herself of a certain degree of restraint in her devotions to him, or
even to her Saviour; but the blessed Mary being herself a woman, and
acquainted with all the weakness and delicacies of the sex, she could to
_her_ open her heart with a degree of freedom which it was not possible
for her to use to any of the Persons of the Holy Trinity.—Regardez sa
physionomie, added she, pointing to the picture,—mon Dieu, qu’elle est
douce, qu’elle est gracieuse!

These sentiments, however contrary to the Protestant tenets, and the
maxims of philosophy, are not unnatural to the human heart.—Voltaire
says, that man has always shewn an inclination to create God after his
own image; this lady formed an idea of the blessed Virgin from the
representation of the painter, as well as from the account given of her
in the Evangelists; and her religion allowing the Mother of Christ to be
an object of worship, she naturally turned the ardor of her devotion to
her whose power she imagined was sufficient to protect her votaries here,
and procure them paradise hereafter, and whose character she thought in
some particulars sympathised with her own.

Some zealous Protestants may possibly be shocked at this lady’s
theological notions; however, as in other respects she is a woman of an
excellent character, and observes the moral precepts of Christianity
with as much attention as if her creed had been purified by Luther, and
doubly refined by Calvin, it is hoped they will not think it too great
an extension of charity to suppose that her speculative errors may be
forgiven.



LETTER XCV.


                                                                  Vienna.

The preference which is given by individuals in Roman Catholic countries
to particular Saints, proceeds sometimes from a supposed connection
between the characters of the Saints and the votaries; men expect the
greatest favour and indulgence from those who most resemble themselves,
and naturally admire others for the qualities which they value most in
their own character.

A French Officer of dragoons, being at Rome, went to view the famous
statue of Moses by Michael Angelo; the artist has conveyed into this
master-piece, in the opinion of some, all the dignity which a human form
and human features are capable of receiving; he has endeavoured to give
this statue a countenance worthy of the great legislator of the Jews,
the favourite of Heaven, who had conversed face to face with the Deity.
The officer happened to be acquainted with the history of Moses, but he
laid no great stress on any of these circumstances—he admired him much
more on account of one adventure in which he imagined Moses had acquitted
himself like a man of spirit, and as he himself would have done—Voilà qui
est terrible! voilà qui est sublime! cried he at sight of the statue—and
after a little pause he added, on voit là un drôle qui a donné des coups
de bâton en son tems, et qui a tué son homme.

The crucifixes, and statues, and pictures, of Saints, with which Popish
churches are filled, were no doubt intended to awaken devotion when it
became drowsy, and to excite in the mind gratitude and veneration for
the holy persons they represent; but it cannot be denied that the gross
imaginations of the generality of mankind are exceedingly prone to forget
the originals, and transfer their adoration to the senseless figures
which they behold, and before which they kneel. So that whatever was the
original design, and whatever effects those statues and pictures have
on the minds of calm, sensible Roman Catholics, it is certain that they
often are the objects of as complete idolatry as ever was practised in
Athens or Rome, before the statues of Jupiter or Apollo.

On what other principle do such multitudes flock from all the Roman
Catholic countries in Europe to the shrine of our Lady at Loretto? Any
statue of the Virgin would serve as effectually as that to recall her
to the memory, and people may adore her as devoutly in their own parish
churches, as in the chapel at Loretto.—The pilgrims therefore must be
persuaded that there is some divine influence or intelligence in the
statue which is kept there; that it has a consciousness of all the
trouble they have taken, and the inconveniencies to which they have been
exposed, by long journies, for the sole purpose of kneeling before it in
preference to all other images.

It was probably on account of this tendency of the human mind, that
the Jews were forbid to make unto themselves any graven image. This
indeed seems to have been the only method of securing that superstitious
people from idolatry; and notwithstanding the peremptory tenor of the
commandment, neither the zeal nor remonstrances of their judges and
prophets could always prevent their making idols, nor hinder their
worshipping them wherever they found them ready made.

Statues and pictures of Saints which have been long in particular
families, are generally kept with great care and attention; the
proprietors often have the same kind of attachment to them that the
ancient heathens had to their Dii Penates.—They are considered as
tutelary and domestic divinities, from whom the family expect protection.
When a series of unfortunate events happens in a family, it sometimes
creates a suspicion that the family statues have lost their influence.
This also is a very ancient sentiment; Suetonius informs us, that the
fleet of Augustus having been dispersed by a storm, and many of the ships
lost, the Emperor gave orders that the statue of Neptune should not be
carried in procession with those of the other Gods, from an opinion that
the God of the Sea was unwilling or unable to protect his navy, and in
either case he deemed him not worthy of any public mark of distinction.

The genuine tenets of the Roman Catholic church certainly do not
authorise any of the superstitions above mentioned, which are generally
confined to the credulous and illiterate in the lower ranks of life.—Yet
instances are sometimes to be met with in a higher sphere: a Frenchman
in a creditable way of life had a small figure of our Saviour on the
Cross, of very curious workmanship; he offered it for sale to an English
gentleman of my acquaintance; after expatiating on the excellency of
the workmanship, he told him that he had long kept this crucifix with
the most pious care, that he had always addressed it in his private
devotion, and that in return he had expected some degree of protection
and favour; instead of which he had of late been remarkably unfortunate;
that all the tickets he had in the lottery had proved blanks; and having
had a great share in the cargo of a ship coming from the West-Indies,
he had recommended it in the most fervent manner in his prayers to the
crucifix, and that he might give no offence, by any appearance of want of
faith, he had not insured the goods—notwithstanding all which the vessel
had been shipwrecked, and the cargo totally lost, though the sailors, in
whose preservation he had no concern, had been all saved—Enfin, Monsieur,
cried he, with an accent of indignation mingled with regret, and raising
his shoulders above his ears, Enfin, Monsieur, il m’a manqué, et je vends
mon Christ.

Happy for Christians of every denomination, could they abide by the
plain, rational, benevolent precepts of the Christian religion, rejecting
all the conceits of superstition, which never fail to deform its original
beauty, and to corrupt its intrinsic purity!



LETTER XCVI.


                                                                  Vienna.

Our disputes with the colonies have been a prevailing topic of
conversation wherever we have been since we left England. The warmth
with which this subject is handled increases every day.—At present the
inhabitants of the continent seem as impatient as those of Great Britain,
for news from the other side of the Atlantic, but with this difference,
that here they are all of one mind:—all praying for success to the
Americans, and rejoicing in every piece of bad fortune which happens to
our army.

That the French should be pleased with commotions which must distress
and weaken Great Britain, and may transfer to them an equal right to
every advantage we gained by the last war, is not surprising; but why the
inhabitants of every other country should take part against England, and
become partizans of America, is not so apparent.

I should forgive them, and even join in sentiment with them, as far as
my regard for the honour and happiness of my country would permit, if
this proceeded from an attachment to liberty, and a generous partiality
for men who repel oppression, and struggle for independency.—But this is
not the case.—Those who can reap no possible advantage from the revolt
of America; those who have not an idea of civil liberty, and would even
be sorry to see it established in their own country; those who have no
other knowledge of the dispute, than that it is ruining England; all join
as allies to the Americans, not from love to them, but evidently from
dislike to us.

When I first observed this hostile disposition, I thought it might
proceed from their being offended at that preference which the English
give to their own country and countrymen, above all others: but this
conceit we have in common with every other nation on the globe, all of
whom cherish the same favourable opinion of themselves. It assuredly
prevails in France in an eminent degree.—There is hardly one sceptic or
unbeliever in the whole nation.—It is the universal creed, that France
is the finest country in the world; the French the most ingenious and
most amiable people, excelling in all the arts of peace and war; and that
Paris is the capital of politeness, and the center of learning, genius,
and taste.

This satisfaction at the misfortunes of Great Britain cannot therefore
arise from a cause which is applicable to every other country. It may,
indeed, in some measure, proceed from envy of the riches, and jealousy
of the power of the English nation; but, I believe, still more from our
taking no trouble to conciliate the affections of foreigners, and to
diminish that envy and ill-will which great prosperity often creates.
The French, though perhaps the vainest people on earth of their own
advantages, have some degree of consideration for the feelings and
self-love of their neighbours. A Frenchman endeavours to draw from
them an acknowledgment of the superiority of his country, by making an
elogium on whatever is excellent in theirs. But we are apt to build our
panegyric of Old England, on the ruin and wretchedness of all other
countries.—Italy is too hot, the inns miserable, and the whole country
swarms with monks and other vermin.—In France, the people are slaves
and coxcombs, the music execrable;—they boil their meat to rags, and
there is no porter, and very little strong ale, in the country.—In
Germany, some of their Princes have little more to spend than an English
gentleman:—They use stoves instead of grates:—They eat sour crout, and
speak High Dutch.—The Danes and Swedes are reminded, that they are
rather at too great a distance from the equator; and many sly hints are
given concerning the inconveniencies of a cold climate.—Of all things, I
should think it most prudent to be silent on this last topic, as so many
paltry states will take precedency of Old England, whenever it is the
established etiquette that rank shall be determined by climate.

But this consideration has no effect on my honest friend John Bull.
When he is in a choleric humour, he will not spare his best friends and
nearest neighbours, even when he has most need of their assistance,
and when those at a distance seem to have plotted his ruin.—If his own
sister Peg should show a disposition to forget old squabbles, to live in
friendship with her brother, and should declare that all who renounced
his friendship were her enemies, and resolve to conquer by his side, or
if that should fail, to die hard along with him—No! d—n ye, says John,
none of your coaxing:—You be d—d! you are farther North than I—Keep your
distance.—And so he falls a pelting Peg with her own snow-balls; and then
turning from her, he attacks Lewis Baboon, Lord Strut, Lord Peter, and
dashes their soup maigre, olio’s, and maccaroni, full in their teeth.

But to drop allegory; the universal satisfaction which appears all over
Europe, at the idea of England’s being stript of her colonies, certainly
does not intirely originate from political sentiments; but in a great
degree from that reserve which keeps Englishmen from cultivating the
friendship of foreigners; that pride which hinders them from stooping
to humour prejudices; that indifference which makes them disregard the
approbation of others, and betray the contempt they are too ready to
entertain for customs or sentiments different from their own.

These are things not easily forgiven, and for which no superiority of
genius, magnanimity, or integrity, can compensate. The same causes which
have made foreigners take part against us in the dispute with America,
induce those of them who are rich, and can spend their revenues out of
their own country, to prefer France to England for that purpose. The
difference between London and Paris in point of climate is very small.
The winter amusements of the former are more magnificent; and perhaps
every conveniency, and most of the luxuries of life are to be found there
in greater perfection. During the summer months, by superior skill
in agriculture and a better taste in gardening, England displays such
scenes of cultivation, of verdure and fertility, as no country on earth
can equal. To these are added the blessings of liberty; yet few or no
foreigners reside in England, except those she maintains entirely at her
own expence; all the wealthy, after a short visit to London, returning to
spend their fortunes at Paris.

Exclusive of pecuniary advantages, it flatters the natural vanity of
the French to find their society preferred to that of all other people,
and particularly to that of their proud rivals.—Let them enjoy this
advantage; let them draw to their capital the idle, the dissipated, and
the effeminate of every country in Europe:—but for heaven’s sake, do you
and your friends in parliament fall on some measure to prevent them from
engaging the affections of our industrious brethren of America.

Such an event would be attended with severe consequences to Great
Britain, and probably to America. There are, however, so many repelling
points in the American and French characters, that I cannot imagine the
adhesion between them could be of long duration, should it take place.

You may naturally suppose, from some things in this letter, that the
people here are in a particular manner inveterate against England, in her
dispute with America. But in reality this is not the case: for although
in general they favour America, I have not seen so much moderation on
that question any where as at Vienna. The Emperor, when some person asked
which side he favoured, replied very ingeniously, Je suis par métier
royaliste.

I wish those of our countrymen, who by your account seem to be carrying
their zeal for America too far, would remember qu’ils font par naisance
Anglois.

Just as I was concluding the above I received yours, informing me that
your young friend was in a short time to set out on the usual tour
through Europe. I shall take another opportunity of writing to him on the
subject you desire, at present I must confine myself to the few following
hints.

I hope he will always remember that virtue and good sense are not
confined to any particular place, and that one end of travelling is
to free the mind from vulgar prejudices—he ought therefore to form
connections, and live on a social footing with the inhabitants of the
different countries through which he passes; let him at least seem
pleased while he remains among them; this is the most effectual method of
making them pleased with him, and of his accomplishing every object he
can have in visiting their country.

There are instances of Englishmen, who, while on their travels, shock
foreigners by an ostentatious preference of England to all the rest of
the world, and ridicule the manners, customs, and opinions of every other
nation, yet on their return to their own country, immediately assume
foreign manners, and continue during the remainder of their lives to
express the highest contempt for every thing that is English.—— I hope he
will entirely avoid such perverse and ridiculous affectation.

The taste for letters which he has acquired at the university, I dare say
will not be diminished on classic ground, or his mind be diverted, by a
frivolous enthusiasm for music, or any other passion, from the manly
studies and pursuits which become an English gentleman.

As he regards the confidence of his friends, the preservation of his
character, and the tranquillity of his mind, let no example, however
high, lead him into the practice of deep play. By avoiding gaming he will
secure one kind of independence, and at the same time keep possession
of another, by continuing the habit of study, till the acquisition of
knowledge has become one of his most pleasing amusements.—Unlike those
wretched mortals, who, to drag through the dreary hours of life, are
continually obliged to have recourse to the assistance of others, this
fortunate turn of mind will add to his own happiness, while it renders
him more useful to, and less dependent on, society.

The preceding sermon, if you think proper, you may deliver to the young
traveller, with my best wishes.

Having delayed our journey several weeks longer than was intended,
merely from a reluctance of leaving a place which we have found so very
agreeable, we have at length determined to set out for Italy—and are
to go by the Duchies of Stiria and Carinthia, which is a shorter route
than that by the Tirol. As the time we are to remain at Vienna will be
entirely employed in the necessary arrangements for the journey, and the
painful ceremony of taking leave of friends, you will not hear again from
me till we arrive at Venice.—Mean while, I am, &c.



      *      *      *      *      *      *



Transcriber’s note:

Evident printing errors have been changed, but otherwise the
original (and antiquated) spelling has been preserved, in both
English and French.





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