Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

and scandalous scene, which was to be imposed upon the world for a real re-union! - This plan is a new proof, what a fellow the great Boluet was; and it is worthy of notice, that his afsociate, in this clerico-military expedition, was the egregious libertine HARLAI, Archbishop of Paris, whose life and death were so scandalous, that not a single curate could be found, among the most unprincipled part of the Romith clergy, who would undertake to preach his funeral sermon.

The exiled pastors took refuge in England, Holland, and Switzerland. In England, say our authors, they were received with the generosity that so eminently characterises that nation. Towards the conclusion of the year 1685, there were above two hundred in Switzerland, and above eighty in the fingle city of Lausanne, Above two hundred and fifty retired to Holland, where the government thewed them the most benefi. cent protection, and supported them generously, by granting them pensions, or settling them in churches. Among those which settled in Holland there were, certainly, many eminently diftinguished both by extensive learning and real genius, and their mitigated Calvinism was imperceptibly attended with a softening influence on the more angular and rigid parts of the Belgic theology In the 6th

book our authors follow the general body of the French Refugees in their emigrations into Switzerland, Geneva, England, Holland, Heflia, Bremen, Saxony, Francfort, Denmark, Altona, Hamburg, Hanover, Hamelen, Zell, Brunfwick, Bareith, Anspach, and other countries. The calamities of these respectable victims excited compassion in all the nations of Europe, and their merit (for they were undoubtedly the most virtuous, sober, and industrious part of the nation) was universally acknowledged. Besides, the circumstance of their being forced and torn by favage persecution from their children, their families, friends, and posseffions, and obliged to seek an existence in strange lands, of which both the inhabitants and the language were unknown to them, could not but excite towards them the tenderest emotions of pity. Even that arch-bigot James II, seemed to feel their diftreffes ; he encouraged their settlement in England, and published a humane and gracious declaration in their favour. Could their merit and innocence receive a more signal testimony than the protection of a prince, whose attachment to the old Lady of Babylon was so filly and excessive, that he facrificed, soon after, his three kingdoms for a mass? After this, let the reader cast a look backwards on Lewis XIV. and see what a figure he makes amid ft the marks of compassion and respect thewn by all the nations of Europe to his perfecuted subjects,

The 7th and 8th books, which conclude this volume, give a circumstantial account of the wise measures of Frederic-William for the settlement of the refugees in his dominions, and for rendering this settlement reciprocally

advantageous to them and to his former subjects. The respectable exiles were not all deftitute of fortune: many, and more especially the trading part of them, found means of conveying large sums to the places of their new residence, and these were employed to the best purposes. For the details relative to this object, we refer our readers to the work before us, where their curiosity will be amply satisfied.

M.

ART. III. HISTOIRE Physique, Morale, Civile & Politique de la Ruffie Ancienne

et Moderne. j. e. A Natural, Moral, Civil and Political History of Ancient and Modern Russia. By M. LE CLERC, Knight of the Royal Order, and Member of several Academies. 410. Vol. I. of the ancient Hiftory, and Vol. II. containing the first volume of the modern History. Enriched with thirty-four Plates, well engraven. Paris, 1783.

L'EVESQUE, whose history of Russia we announced bare

ly, and commended with justice, in one of our former Reviews, got the start of M. Le Clerc, with respect to publication, but the latter comes after him with such a display of advantages peculiar to his extensive work, that he is likely to carry off the first prize of historical fame from his competitor. M. LE CLERC refided in Ruffia, as well as his rival; he lived there ten years; he studied the language of the country, and had extenfive and intimate connexions with men of quality and men of letters, which furnished him with the most favourable opportunities of collecting valuable materials for his work, and ascertaining the truth of his relations. Moreover, the reader may see, by the title of his work, that it is much more comprehensive, and consequently must be much more interesting than that of M. L'EveseQUE. It was happily imagined to enlarge the plan of this work by blending physical, moral, and political researches, with historical facts, and exhibiting the more peaceable exertions and aspects of human nature in manners, customs, laws, and religious services, which diversify the monotony of general History. If M. Le Clerc's plan is interesting, we can say, with confidence, that its execution is animated and masterly.

Thereis, perhaps, more variety in this history than in the histories we have of many other nations, whose long duration and annals yield a richer provision of materials. For except Dr. Henry's History of England (which rises fo fuperior to all modern works of the kind, by the extent of its plan and the excellence of its method, and gives us an account of men as well as of statesmen)

R 92

thers

there are few that contain a greater diverfity of obje&s than the work before us. M. Le Clerc seems to have been apprea hensive that the aridity aud uniformity which reign in the earlier parts of the Russian history, and which are only now and then diversified by astonishing scenes of frenzv and carnage, might prepossess the Public against his work; he has therefore published at the same time the ist volume of the Ancient, and the ist volume of the Modern History. In an ingenious and learned Introduction, prefixed to the filt volume of the former, he has placed some political problems, of which he thinks the Rullian history more adapted, than almost any other, to furnish the solution. The ift relates to the ind ence of climate in forming the characters of men, which, if he does not reject altogether, he reduces, at least, within very narrow bounds. The four following are thus propoled : 2d, Have particular physical constitutions a predominant and decisive influence on particular characters ? 3d, Particular characters, modified or changed by the form of government, (to which he attributes a very great influence) do they become national characters He answers in the affirmative for reasons that are not inconteftable, and from a persuasion that manners depend on education, and education on the principles and form of the government under which men live. -- 4th, What is the form of government that is moft advantageous for all people, without exception? When you see' where his book is printed, you may easily and surely guess how he answers. 5th, Is election to a vacant throne preferable to hereditary succesfion ?-No — And here the advocates for monarchy will say, that he is undoubtedly in the right. Whatever difficulties may be Started against the reasonings of our author on these curious points, the citizen, the statesman, and the prince, will find many useful hints and important lessons in the course of his observations, which they would do well to carry home with them. In solving these problems, M. LE CLERC unfolds many of the secret principles which effect flowly the revolutions and the decline of empires, and give rise to the different forms, which the fame political constitution has been observed to asa fume fucceffively in its passage from anarchy to oppreffion, from oppression to liberty, and in its return from liberty to servitude.

We shall not follow our Author Atep by step in the Ancient History of Russia, which contains the reigns of its fitt fovereigns, whose portraits, engraven by eminent art.ft., and accompanied with medals, ftruck, indeed, in af er times, enrich the first volume. We hall

give, however, some specimens of the instruction that is to be met with in this volume, and which will render it acceptable to the more inquisitive part of our Daders.

Such Readers will find, among other things worthy of notice, a curious account of the peculiar character and genius of the Sclavonian and Russian languages, of the Russian nobility, of the ancient state of literature, arts, and population in that country, together with an historical summary of the customs, Superstitious practices, and morals of all the conquered or triburary provinces. In this account the Reader will oblerve the Striking resemblance between the customs, religious worship, and inanner of living of the Tchoutchis, Tartars, Kamschatra dales, Greenlanders, and Esquimaux; as also between the tem. perature, animals and minerals of America and Asia. It is natural to conclude from thence, that the two continents were formerly one, which notion their present distance from each other seems to favour, as the northern coast of Asia is, at most, but about seven leagues diftant, says our Author, from the north-west coast of America. The extent of the Ruffian empire towards the eastern part of Asia has been represented by M. L'EVESQUE, as much greater than it appears to be in our Author's account of it; and we incline to the opinion of the latter, whose reicarches with respea to this object seem to have been made with capacity and attention. We know of no preceding writer, who has given such an accurate and circumstantial ttate of the power and resources of this empire, the annual revenues and expenditure of each province, and of every thing that relaies to the internal situation and economy of this immenle territory.

The ninth century is the æra of Rusia, as a sovereign power ; and M. Le CLERC exhibits a well sketched view of the political state of Europe and Asia at that period. His account of the origin of the Ruflian empire is clear and distinct. The Ruflians are supposed to have been a colony of the Huns, who settled on the borders of the Borgfthenes, where they built the town of Kiff; and our Author is both learned and ingenious in the pr ot of this fact. It was upon the ruins of a republican state that they founded their sovereignty. This ftate was formed by the S-lay nians, whose origin our Author does not pretend to investigate, though M. L'Eyesque has taken great pains in this research, and by an ingen ous comparison of the Sclavonian language with the Latin, makes them to descend from the ancient inhabitants of Latium. Whatever there may be in this fanciful hypothesis, it is observed by our Author, that a body of Sclavonians festled at Novogoroda grew powerful by their commerce, subdued leveral of the neighbouring provinces who became their tributaries, and encloted their territory within the Lakes Ladoga, Onegi, Prips, and Berlin Ozero. They maintained here an independent lovereignty under a form partly aristocratical, and partly democratical, lo far

dowa thor

[ocr errors]

down as the year 862. It was at this period that their Conful (an officer of great authority in the government) engaged his fellow-citizens (among whom the intoxication and abuse of liberty had produced intestine discords, and the calamities from without that often attend them) to call to their assistance the Varaigue Ruffians from Ingria, to keep their enemies in awe, and to restore order and a regular administration of justice among themselves. What causes had reduced the Sclavonians to this critical step, we do not learn; but we learn that they Joft their liberty, and that Rurik, Cinaf, and Trouver, the Ruflian auxiliaries, became first their protectors by choice, and afterwards their masters by force. The first of the three survived his two brothers, and joining their portions of territory to his own, formed a state, limited by the four lakes above mentioned. His arbitrary measures made the Sclavonians revolt; but this insurrection only riveted their chains. His yoke became fo heavy, that even the Varaigues, who had followed him, could no longer bear to be either the accomplices of his barbarity, or the subjects of a chief so intractable and despotic. They therefore withdrew to Kiof, where they trained to arms the Russians of that district, subdued the Kozars, and made conquests in Poland.

Rurik, nevertheless, lived several years at Novogorod after this revolution, and died in peace in the year 879. His despotic system was carried on by Oleg, whom he left guardian to his son Igor, who was an infant. Oleg was a man of a bold and enterprising genius, and had recourse to perfidy, where force was wanting to execute his purposes. He extended his domination on all sides by force of arms. Having made himself malter of Kiof by a perfidious stratagem, he subdued several of the neighbouring nations; and at this period the Sclavonians and Varaigues being confounded in one mass with the Kiovians, they all assumed the general denomination of Ruffians.

The expeditions of Oleg, and his successor Igor, against the eastern empire, are surprizing for this age. We do not wonder to fee (warms of barbarians rushing on to rapine with a disorderly violence, through plundered provinces; but we cannot contemplate, without surprize, an army of 80,000 men, in 2000 boats, failing along the Dnieper to the Euxine fea, pafring the seven cataracts which obftruct its navigation, in order to conquer Constantinople and its Emperor. The two loveregns who successively filled the throne after Igor, were a mother and her son. The latter, who was a fierce warrior, and made several conquefts, weakened the empire by dividing it am ng his three sons. It was, however, it-united in the year 98%, under the scepter of Wolodomir, who embraced Chriftianity, and abolilhed the idolatry of the Sclavonians. Our Au

« AnteriorContinuar »