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handsome face; a sly physiognomy, piercing eyes sparkling with sense, a little cloak, a calotte of satin on his white hairs, a little band almost like an Abbe's, and always wearing a handkerchief between his coat and his waistcoat.'-vol. xii. p. 18.
The following account of the courtly grief for the death of M. de Barbezieux is amusing and (in one view) not uninstructive.
Many persons lost by his death, and many ladies were quite melancholy in the saloon; but when they sat down to table and had cut the twelfth-cake the king exhibited a joy which made itself remarked and imitated; and, when he cried out, La Reine boit! he turned up his plate and rattled his fork and spoon on it; and this was soon imitated by the afflicted ladies: and this school-boy racket was often repeated,' &c. &c.
Many fine ladies, who lost much by his death, were quite melancholy in the saloon at Marly; but when they sat down to table, and had cut the cake, the king exhibited a joy which seemed to wish to be imitated; he was was not content with crying out, La Reine boit! (as if at a tavern), but he himself rattled and made the rest rattle their forks and spoons on their plates, and this strange racket was frequently repeated.'-vol. ix. p. 43.
'Madame de Montchevreuil was a tall, thin, devout, austere, and sour figure a nose without end, and long yellow teeth which she showed by a silly laugh, a face of yellow wax, in short she was a fairy moved by springs. She was the tribunal of all the women, old and young, on whose testimony they were admitted or rejected, distinguished or neglected, banished or recalled-she was the heart, the soul, the entire confidante, without question or appeal, of Mad. de Maintenon—she was above every body,' &c.-p. 122.
'Madame de Montchevreuil was a tall, thin, yellow creature, who laughed sillily, and showed hideous long teeth: she wanted only a wand to be a real witch. Without any talents, she had so captivated Mad. de Maintenon, that she only saw by her eyes: she was the watch over all the women of the court, and on her testimony depended distinction or affronts-every one trembled before her.'-vol. ii. p. 46.
We now think our readers will have but little difficulty in pronouncing the Annotator and the Duke of St. Simon to be the same; the coincidence between the passages is so great as to render it impossible that these traits can have been sketched by different pens, and there are certain little variances which a mere copyist of St. Simon would hardly have made. At all events, whether from his own hand, or by a copyist, we may venture to pronounce that the substance of the notes are St. Simon's; and we even see reason to suspect that St. Simon, in the compilation of his Memoirs, must have had a copy of Dangeau before his eyes.
We have now done with these amusing volumes; we are aware that we have given a very inadequate view of their contents, but we have said enough to enable our readers to judge whether they are likely to be amused by the work, and to put them on their guard against the prepossessions of the two editors, and against the weight which they might give to the notes, if supposed to be from another pen, than that of St. Simon; whose cynical, not to say malignant, humour, throws a suspicion over all his relations, and diminishes the pleasure excited by the vigour of his style, the extent of his information, the vivacity of his wit, the curiosity of his subjects, and the boldness of his character.
ART. XIII. Letter from Sir Robert Wilson to his Constituents in Refutation of a Charge for dispatching a false Report of a Victory to the Commander in Chief of the British Army in the Peninsula in the Year 1809; and which Charge is advanced in the Quarterly Review published in September, 1818. 8vo. pp. 32.
FOR 'OR the appearance of this pamphlet we are ourselves in some measure answerable, inasmuch as its avowed intention is to serve as a reply to a charge advanced against its gallant author in our last Number, of having enlivened a period of inaction during the Spanish war, by dispatching to head-quarters a false report of a victory gained by the corps under his command.' p. 140. In reply to this imputation, Sir Robert Wilson has thought fit to republish, with considerable enlargements, his former statement of the services of the Lusitanian Legion, in which, not content with refuting the particular aspersion to which we have referred, he has apparently made it his object to prove himself and his corps the most conspicuous and effective agents in that illustrious period of military ad
We, therefore, stand with him at present in the double relation of parties and of judges, and, as we are naturally anxious to keep these characters distinct from each other, we shall first reply to those parts of the present work in which we are personally concerned, before we resume our accustomed office as examiners of the general accuracy and importance of its claims and representations.
And here it is, in the first place, no more than the performance of that duty which we owe to the public and to Sir Robert Wilson himself, to state that we were misinformed as to the period of the war in which this undue assumption of success was said to have occurred, and no less so as to the precise terms of that statement which, apparently, gave rise to the rumour in question. The affair of Baños did not occur during a time of inactivity, and (whatever may be our difference of opinion with Sir Robert Wilson as to its import
ance) it must be admitted that it was not of a nature to 'enliven :' and instead of the words 'OF A VICTORY,' which we had used on the authority of current fame, Sir Robert's Reply convinces us that we ought to have said of an ACTION, which, though only a trivial skirmish, ending in an unaccountable rout, was described with all the pride of a victory.
We must also admit to Sir Robert Wilson that he was right in supposing that we alluded to him; and to whatever satisfaction the foregoing correction of our error can give his feelings he is fairly entitled. Our readers will probably not consider that error to have been a very serious one; but such as it is, we must, in justice to ourselves, request them to recollect that the point in question was incidental only to our argument, and that it can in no degree affect the general tenour of an Article, in which we have as yet found nothing else which we are inclined to retract or qualify. If they will do us the favour to attend to our subsequent statements, they will find Sir Robert Wilson himself affording the most ample confirmation (with the single change of action for victory) of all our observations. Before we proceed to this examination, we must, however, take notice that the gallant officer has imputed to us an insidious allusion' to himself, as having been the first to suggest that interpretation of the Treaty of Paris, which Marshal Ney advanced against the execution of the sentence pronounced on him. But the charge of insidiousness' is all which we here wish to disclaim. We were, certainly, assured, on authority which appeared to us decisive, that Sir Robert Wilson was the first to suggest that interpretation, not, indeed, to the counsel of Marshal Ney, but to Marshal Ney himself, or his confidential friends.--Nor did we mean to impute to him as a crime, a line of conduct which would have been perfectly consistent both with his avowed political predilections, and with the humane interest which he expressed for Marshal Ney and his companions in misfortune. But we were fully justified in adducing such a circumstance as proof that that could not be the natural meaning of a treaty, which, after being overlooked in cases to which it would have equally applied, was suggested at length by the acuteness of a by-stander. And, whoever was the first author of the interpretation in question, we should certainly require very forcible evidence to make us believe that it was known without being acted on, by individuals whose lives (like those of Ney aud Labedoyère) depended on its recognition.
How far Marshal Ney was a worthy object of Sir Robert Wilson's intercession we are not called on to decide. As, however, an attempt has been made to extenuate his apostasy by the supposed example of Marlborough, we are anxious, in justice to our renowned countryman, to instance some remarkable points of difference between the two cases; though we, at the same time, protest anew against that monstrous doctrine which makes the nature
of right and wrong depend on precedent. But it was not merely 'to avoid a civil war,' that Marlborough left his old master,-a motive, by the way, which might justify the dignified neutrality of Marshal Macdonald, but by no means extenuate the active cooperation of Marshal Ney with an usurper, whom he had so lately sworn to bring to Paris as his prisoner. But Marlborough had better grounds to plead, inasmuch as he left King James in consequence of a long series of attempts on the public liberty, and after having publicly and privately remonstrated against those attempts, so far as to have declared to King James himself his resolution not to fight against the Prince of Orange. Nor did Marlborough desert at the head of an army. He seceded, on the contrary, betraying no post, nor doing any thing more than withdrawing himself with some few officers;* yet whoever reads the historians of that period will find that even this was regarded as an act of very doubtful morality, and one which his warmest admirers have been considerably perplexed to defend. But, had Marlborough accepted the command of the troops which were to act against William; had he publicly, and with tears, made the strongest asseverations of fidelity to James, and issued, some few days after, a proclamation inviting his soldiers to join the invader; we still should not say that Marshal Ney was on that account less criminal, but we do not think that Churchill would have found an apologist among the Major-Generals of the last century. Surely it is among the most unhappy symptoms of the present time, that brave and high-minded men have been induced, by party-spirit or overstrained generosity, to extenuate or defend a line of conduct, from the remotest approach to which they would, in their own persons, have recoiled with abhorrence and indignation!
We wish we could have excused ourselves from pursuing the examination of Sir Robert Wilson's military details: but the claims which he has advanced are, in themselves, of a nature not to be received without inquiry and as, not content with establishing his own renown, he has, on more than one occasion, invaded the equally hard-earned fame of other officers, we are constrained to call the notice of the public to certain dates and details which, in the present animated narrative, he has, apparently, overlooked or forgotten. He has called for investigation, and he shall have it.
Sir Robert Wilson commences the narrative of his services in the Peninsula with stating that he was appointed, without any solicitation of his own, to raise a Portugueze legion, and that he subsequently refused the pay of £1000 per annum, which was offered to
*Hume, indeed, tells us, that he carried with him some troops of dragoons.' But as the contrary is stated by all contemporary historians-Burnet, Rapin, Ralph, and the author of King James's Reign in Kennet's compilation, we must impute this charge to carelessness in Hume, or to his known political bias in favour of the House of Stuart.
him by the Regency of Oporto. Now we must first beg leave to remark that there was, at that time, no regency, or government, or legal governor at Oporto. The regency was then established at Lisbon, and the Bishop of Oporto could neither have had the authority to confer, nor the means to make good, such a grant as is here spoken of. But, we would also request Sir Robert Wilson I to explain on what grounds this pay was offered. If as military pay, we happen to know that the pay of a Lieutenant-General in that service is about £300 a year;—that of a Major-General about £250;-while, we believe that we are not mistaken in asserting that Sir Robert was a Brigadier-General only. And on these particulars the public have a right to be informed, in order to appreciate duly the degrees of disinterestedness displayed by him on this
It is next stated that the corps, having been found efficient by Sir John Cradock, it moved from Oporto, within six weeks from its formation, and entered the Spanish territory to make a diversion in favour of Sir John Moore, and to save Čiudad Rodrigo and Almeida.' At what precise time the legion left Oporto, is of little consequence; but, if Sir Robert Wilson means, as is the natural construction of his words, that it entered the Spanish territory within six weeks from its formation, we have pretty good grounds for affirming that it is a point on which his memory has deceived him. His corps began its formation in September, (we believe in the early part of that month,) and it had not moved from Portugal until the latter end of December, which is nearer four months than six weeks from the time of its being formed. But, let us examine, by the same test of those dates which are almost uniformly omitted in Sir Robert's Letter, how far he could, under the circumstances of the case, produce the effects to which he lays claim. Sir John Moore, it is well known, commenced his retreat from Sahagun on the 244th of December: he reached Benevente on the 27th of the same month, and Coruña on the 10th of January. Sir Robert Wilson was still in Portugal at the first of these periods, and did not reach Ciudad Rodrigo till within two or three days of the last of these dates; and we will ask any person, however moderately versed in military affairs, whether it is possible that, by entering the Spanish territory at this time, he could have made a diversion in favour of Sir J. Moore'?
But Sir Robert Wilson proceeds to state that
'the protection of the fortresses and the important and extensive line of country between the Agueda and the Tormes, became then the objects of the service in which he resolved to engage, which undertaking appeared so hazardous to people in authority at a distance, that he was enjoined to quit his corps, and provide for his own safety.'-And thus,