Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

tress Sophia upwards of a century ago, and he adds what he calls copies textuelles of Magna Charta, the Bill of Rights, the Habeas Corpus Act, and the acts of Navigation and Settlement. These copies textuelles are not copies but translations, and such translations as might be expected from M. Charles Malo, who has the misfortune of being wholly unacquainted with the English language. It is this little defect which makes him mistake the petition of right in the reign of Charles I. for the Bill of Rights in 1689; and it is pleasant enough to see all the praises which different authors have bestowed on the latter lavished on a paraphrase of the former.

But M. Charles Malo soon attempts a more intelligible topicthe characters of our eminent public men. He finds them ready made to his hand in a publication which he does not name, but which we believe to be the Independent Whig.' We are sorry that we have not at hand the means of verifying this fact; but whencesoever they may be borrowed, they are the joint result of the lowest party malignity, and the most entire ignorance of the personages described; indeed M. Charles Malo himself suspects as much, for he introduces them with this note :

These portraits at first sight will appear to be dictated by an independent spirit; but the angry and decided tone, jokes alike gross and ill-founded, and, above all, an ill-disguised partiality, should put us on our guard against believing in the likeness which the author pretends to have caught.'-p. 87.

And yet M. Charles Malo thinks it consistent with the neutralité de son rôle' to present to his countrymen these gross, illfounded, angry, and partial daubings as the genuine portraits of the public men of England! We venture to believe, however, that M. Charles Malo has, here and there, added some touches of his own; at least we cannot conceive how any Englishman could say that Mr. Wellesley Pole and Mr. Croker play the most prominent parts in the House of Commons ;' (p. 94.) and yet, that the former gentleman owes his chief consequence to his brothers, one of whom (can this be Lord Wellesley?) isun MAGISTRAT d'un très grand mérite; and the other (meaning, we apprehend, the Duke of Wellington) un militaire fort RESPECTABLE,' (p. 95.)—that Mr. Canning's oratory is particularly deficient in flow and in brilliancy, (p. 119.)-and that il se retranche prudemment derrière une gravité lourde,' (p. 119.)—that Mr. Tierney once enjoyed such a popularity, that 'de nobles députés MM. Alcock et Favall dansèrent presque de joie en entendant les oracles qui sortaient de sa bouche; quand un seul de ses regards suffisait pour métamorphoser le plus sale district de Southwark en un lieu de fête, un théâtre de la joie;' but that—so fleeting is popularity-these very

people,

people, to show their contempt, soon after called their dogs Tierneys.'-p. 113.

He next undertakes to give his countrymen a view of the police and manners of London, and for this purpose he extracts from Mr. Colquhoun's work, and the Parliamentary Reports on the Police and Mendicity of the metropolis, all the extraordinary and often exaggerated anecdotes which they contain-God knows there is but too much vice and misery in all great towns! and, as London is by much the greatest in Europe, it may naturally happen that there is a proportionate quantity of wretchedness to be found in its streets; but we firmly believe that there is no more than its proportion. If we were to take the pains of collecting all the instances of atrocity and misery which are related of Paris in various works, and in the daily journals, we are afraid M. Charles Malo's monument would not have much superiority to boast: and what would the result be, if a free and fearless cominittee of the Chamber of Deputies could carry the light of public inquiry into the Circean styes of the Palais Royal, and the gloomy recesses of the Cité and of the fauxbourgs ?

M. Charles Malo's next chapter is on reform in parliament.— This precious essay, and a plan for a constitutional reform, though always proceeding in the first person, as I think,' 'I propose,' are copied, without any avowal on the part of M. Charles Malo, who seems to have expended all his candour in his preface, from an English pamphlet; and to this luminous piece M. Charles Malo adds, on the same authority, as a 'pièce justificative et irrécusable, a most curious document, quite unknown in France,' namely, a list of the members of the House of Commons, the places for which they sit, and the patrons who return them.

Our readers may perhaps like to see a specimen of this authentic and irrécusable document, which, after having been largely distributed for the information of the populace of England, is now translated for the improvement of the statesmen and the literati of France. It states, for example, that the representation of the county of Bedford is sold (vendu) to the Duke of Bedford and Lord St. John;-that of Berkshire, and its two representatives Mr. Neville and Mr. Dundas, to Lord Craven;-that the city of Carlisle, with Sir James Graham and Mr. Curwen, is sold to the Duke of Norfolk ;-that Derby town and county, and the four members, are sold to the Duke of Devonshire;-that Dorsetshire is sold to Lord Rivers;-Herefordshire and Radnorshire to Lord Oxford;-Worcestershire, with Lord Elmsley and the Honourable Mr. Lyttelton, to Lord Foley :-these, amongst an hundred instances equally convincing, cannot but prove to England and

France,

France the immediate necessity of a parliamentary reform; which, indeed, M. Charles Malo represents as so undeniable, that it is thought, by well-informed persons, that the government itself means to introduce his system of reform, or, at least, some parts of it, into the next elections;' (p. 170.) which is not surprizing, as much of the plan is supported, he says, by the doctrines du célèbre Blackstone,' as well as by those d'un autre célèbre jurisconsulte très connu, Sir William.' (p. 152.)

The next division of M. Charles Malo's work is the 'Red Book of England-the looking-glass of John Bull. This is also a copy from some of the jacobin catchpennies of the day; in which, in a list of placemen, pensioners, and sinecurists, are included the names of not only all the public men now alive, but of several who have been long dead, of others who never had places nor pensions, and of all the bishops, deaus, and other dignitaries of the church. This valuable document is introduced to the reader by an extract of a speech of John Horne Jooke (so M. Charles Malo carefully spells the name) to the electors of Westminster, in 1796, and all the speeches of Mr. Jooke, and of such others, are quoted as 'irrécusable' evidences of the general corruption of England. How well fitted M. Charles Malo is for treating these matters, our readers will judge from hearing that Lord Ellenborough is clerk in chief to the court of King's Bench; that Sir Philip Stevens, Baron, has not been dead these fifteen years, as we supposed, but is at this hour a commissioner for executing the office of admiral of the fleet with a salary of 1,500l. per aunum; that all the official persons whose names are in the patent of the Board of Controul have 1,500l. per annum each from that department, &c. We have no doubt M. Charles Malo will say that he found all this in thre Independent Whig,' or some similar work: we only quote them as instances of the talents and information which he brings to the work of building a monument to the glory of France on the inferiority of England.

The pleasantest account, however, which he gives, is of the bishoprics. He has found in some old calendar the ratings of them in the king's books, and on this authority he sagaciously states that, in 1782, all the bishoprics of England put together only cost the government 21,000l.; but that now they occasion an expense to the government of 169,000l.-that is, an increase of 137,000l. in thirty-five years. But this (he adds) is not the only reflection which this table excites.' (p. 247.) The last observation suggests one reflection which perhaps is not amongst those to which M. Charles Malo alludes, namely, that it is hardly possible to make more mistakes in a small space than he has here contrived to assemble.

VOL. XVIII. NO. XXXV.

P

M. Charles

M. Charles Malo's next division is Miscellaneous; and here again, though he only copies or translates from English newspapers, he contrives to show that he understands English pretty much as Lady Morgan does French. Of a gross caricature of the "order of the bomb' M. Charles Malo gives us an engraving; and yet, with this engraving before his eyes, which, God knows, seems intelligible enough, he so little comprehends the filthy equivoque on which it is founded, that he assures us it is only a quiz upon the insignificant part which the bomb-vessels played in the attack on Algiers; which M. Charles Malo represents as one of the most ridiculous, ineffective, and deceptive parades that was ever made. Then follow thirty-one pages of extracts from the daily papers, full of such important information as the following:

2d Sept. There was no exchange yesterday, being the anniversary of the fire of London.

'30th Sept. A watch-maker, of Northampton, having been lately ealled to examine a clock which had stopped, found in it a mouse's nest which had interrupted the movements.

28th Dec. The new pantomime' of the Christmas Pie, produced last night, was successful: the plot is taken from an old nursery story. 16th Jan. The daughter of a celebrated physician has died lately of an inflammation of the bowels, caused by a plum-stone which she had swallowed.

30th Jan. The Duke of Marlborough died this morning, aged 84: his eldest son, the Marquis of Blandford, succeeds to his titles and

estates.

7th April. To-day the Lord Mayor gives his usual dinner.'

Such is the rare intelligence which M. Charles Malo preserves in his perennial pages from the too hasty fate which awaits it in the public journals.

But he also adds a few remarks on the fine arts, which are just what our readers would expect. In the last exhibition of sculpture at the Royal Academy, there were only three pieces worth looking at, or at which any body looked, and they were all three by foreigners, two by Canova and one by M. Goblet, a Frenchman,'p. 292. Mr. Chantry's group, it seems, attracted no attention. In painting, his taste is equally good. Sir Lawrence and Sir Beechy he thinks moderate (médiocres); but he assures us that Mr. Phillips is in England compared to Titian, ou account of his extreme high finish.

The only trace we can find in this whole volume, of the author's having been in England, we think it fair to give.

He says, that having gone into the pit of the Circus, he regretted to find himself in such bad company, until he was astonished and pleased to hear the persons behind him addressing one another as gentlemen and ladies. He looked round for this good company,

and

and was quite surprized to see two persons, of the lowest class, who were amusing themselves, in an interval of the entertainment, with a bottle of gin and a piece of cheese. In spite,' M. Malo adds, of the English apathy and phlegm, no, never did I laugh so heartily!'-p. 58.

We do not exactly see why the English phlegm should have impeded the Frenchman's inclination to laugh; but we readily. admit that the promiscuous use of the terms lady and gentleman is ridiculous enough: but has M. Charles Malo never heard a poissarde and a fort de la Halle address one another as monsieur and madame? and does he not know that the lowest ranks of people in France bandy these titles from one to another with the most punctilious ceremony? thus this, which is the only fruit we see of M. Charles Malo's visit to England, is one which he might have found in still greater perfection in all the blind alleys of Paris.

But our readers are tired of M. Charles Malo, and so are we. They have long since seen that he is a poor, catchpenny scribbler, who makes a book with the assistance of the last year's newspapers, a pair of scissars and a little paste. We have noticed his impudent nuiseries, for the same reason which induced us to chastise the malignity of General Pillet and Lady Morgan. We are anxious to cultivate a good understanding between France and England; they are (whenever the morals and politics of the revolution do not infect them) worthy of each other's esteem and respect; and it is the duty of the honnêtes gens of both countries to expose the prejudices, follies and falsehoods which a horde of ignorant scribblers and a nest of exasperated jacobins so industriously propagate in each country to the disparagement of the other.

ART. XIII.-Anecdotes of the Life of Richard Watson, D.D. Bishop of Landaff, written by himself at different intervals, and revised in 1814. Published by his Son, Richard Watson, LL.B. Prebendary of Landaff and Wells. 4to. 1817. THIS is an original and unblushing account of a character,

which has had no parallel in the compass of the English hierarchy. The eccentric and extravagant conduct of Bishop Watson, as a politician and as a prelate, the undisguised boldness of his conversation, and the incessant clamours of disappointment with which he deafened every company, after being advanced to the highest rank of his profession, have excited a very general and anxious curiosity for the appearance of the present work.

Many self-biographers have sought the protection of the grave, to rescue their persons at least, whatever became of their memories, from the consequences of publishing memoirs far more harmless than the present. In this instance Dr. Watson himself per

P 2

ceived

« AnteriorContinua »