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In this situation he insinuated himself into the good graces of the Canons, by whose means he procured the tonsure; on receiving full orders,“ he quitted the place of his nativity, and repaired to Ravenna," where he was introduced to the vice-legate, Monsignor Barni. Barni is described as “much oppressed with languor and listlessness. He was looking about for relief when Alberoni arrived. No one excelled him in vivacity and buffooncry, and he seemed intended by nature, what Monsignor Barni wanted.”
From the vice legate's buffoon, Alberoni became successively his steward, a canon in his Cathedral, and preceptor and pimp to his nephew, the Abbé Barni. But the immediate occasion of advancing the fortunes of the subtle and unprincipled Placentian, was his introduction to the Duke de Vendome, whose confidence he speedily obtained. When Vendome assumed the cominand of the combined French and Spanish army in the war of the Spanish Succession, he was attended by Alberoni, who, on the death of his protector, became the humble coufident of Madame d'Ursini.
We differ from Mr. Moore, in his account of the disgrace of d'Ursini. We shall give it bis own words. When Madame d'U.met Elizabeth at a little village on the road to Madrid,
• The Queen treated her with marked coolness and indifference. D’Ursini, accustomed to a tone of authority with the late consort of Philip, was not a little surprized, but ascribing her behaviour to her ignorance of the rank she occupied in the monarchy, resolved to let her know who she was; and accordingly began to animadvert on her slow manner of travelling, and the late hour at which she had arrived. The Queen angrily replied, that such language did not become a subject. D'Ursini, no wise dismayed, continued her censures, applying them next to the Queen's dress. The Queen ordered her to quit the room; on her offering to remonstrate, she called aloud for the officer in waiting, and ordered him to get ready a coach and six, and not quit d’Ursini, till she had reached the French frontier,
• In St. Simon and Duclos (Mr. M. observes in a note) the Queen behaves like a mad woman, breaks out into a fury without any apparent cause, and without the least transition or connection in the dialogue, orders the officer to carry off d’Ursini. There is no congruity in the transaction as Duclos describes it; scarcely is it reconcileable with common sense.
When Mr. M. talks of “transition and connection in the dialogue," he forgets that he is not criticising a romance or a drama, but that he is investigating an occurrence in real life. We have no doubt but that on this occasion, Alberoni was the adviser of Elizabeth ; and that she seized upon any pretence, for affecting violent anger, and executing her intentions against the crafty favourite.
We cannot follow Mr. Moore through his estimate' of the
character of Alberoni ; his observations are tolerably correct, but sufficiently trite. We notice the following as having baffled all our attempts clearly to comprehend it, and the only sense which we can suppose it to convey, is so obviously remote from truth, that we shall not waste any time in exposing it.
• When we survey the history of the world, we do not find effects at all correspond to any causes we can trace in human skill and ability, or any circumstances resulting from the exertions of man.'
Alberoni, with all his faults, with all his arrogace, his imprudence, and his precipitancy, was unquest onably, in the usual sense of the epithet, a great man.
His projects, however wild and chimerical, had by their boldness, and a certain air of grandeur which accompanied them, the merit of awakening the Spanish nation out of the lethargy into which it had sunk, and though unsuccessful in their immediate objects, might have excited a spirit calculated to produce great effects.'
He spent on his native earth, the last years of his life, which he closed in his 8915 year, June 1752.
Of a very different cast of character from the crafty and daring Alberoni, was the weak and restiess Ripperda. This family was noble, and professed the Catholic religion; which, however, he abjured in order to qualify himself for advancement in the service of his country, Holland.
• He was Colonel in the army of the States, during the war of the Succession. He employed the leisure of his military profession, in becoming acquainted with several languages. He could speak with fluency, French, Spanish, and Latin. He applied himself at the same time to the study of trade and manufactures. Towards the end of the war, he was elected Deputy for his province to the States-General. The Peace of Utrecht put an end to the long war which had ravaged Europe, but left many points of litigation among the contending powers yet unsettled. Commercial arrangements of importance remained to be adjusted between Spain and the Dutch Republic. To accomplish this, was a mission requiring some skill and address. Ripperda eagerly solicited it, and was in consequence appointed.”
The Court of Spain, at this time, offered a fair field for the ambition of Ripperda. Alberoni had risen from nothing, to the highest offices of the State, and it was easy to foresee from the uxorious imbecility of Philip V. and the want of judgement in his consort, that if the plans of Alberoni failed, the post of prime minister wonld be at the command of the first fortunate adventurer who could obtain the favour of the Queen.
During the short term which intervened between Philip's abdication and resumption of the royal anthority, Ripperda continued to pay court to the Queen, and on the death of Lewis, which happened but a few months after the abdication of his father, she dispatched Ripperda to Vienna, to negociate a
treaty of alliance between the Emperor of Germany and the King of Spain. This he accomplished on very disadvantageous terms, and on his return, was invested with the office of first minister of State, “received the title of Duke, and was created Grandee of Spain."
• The secret of his elevation was not discovered till afterwards. He contrived to persuade the King and Queen, particularly the latter, that, by a secret stipulation, the eldest Archduchess was to be given to her son Don Carlos. This delusion of the Queen was the sole foundation of his fortune. The moment her eyes were opened, he descended from his greatness.'
Ripperda appears to have been rather unenviably situated between Col. Stanhope, the English Ambassador, and Count Konigsegg, the Imperial Envoy. The cool sagacity of the Englishman completely baffled the flimsy policy and loquacious boasting of Ripperda; while he had to dread from Konigsegg, the disclosure of thai secret on which the continuance of his greatness depended. Of this the artful and rapacious German was perfectly aware, and the coffers of the minister and the nation could scarcely preserve his forbearance.
At length the ruin of Ripperda was determined; he received his dismission, and was confined in the state-prison of Segovia. His imprisonment was scarcely more than nominal, and to a man of a different turn of mind would have been far more delightful, than the turbulent and precarious situation which he had been compelled to abandon. But Ripperda was in despair, he imprecated vengeance on the authors of his disgrace, and in the revengeful reveries of his imagination beheld Madrid in flames,” and Spain subjected to a “foreign yoke.”
Unable to wait patiently for the termination of his captivity, he determined on attempting his escape, and effected his design by the assistance of his French servant, and of Dona Josepha Fausta Martina Ramos, a young lady of good family, residing in Segovia, with whom he had kept up an illicit intercourse. The account given of his escape appears somewhat too romantic, even for the country of romance; a cunning, but faithful servant, a centinel bribed, Dona Josepha in boy's clothes, a rope ladder, the patrole deceived, a restive mule. teer, quieted by the production of a pistol, and afterwards giving information to a Portuguese Alcayde, who is deceived by a high sounding title and the pretence of a secret missionthese, with the addition of a hair breadth escape or two, and an interesting and opportune gout with which Ripperda was afflicted, are as pretty common place materials for a novel, as any sterile scribbler could wish for.
Ripperda chose England for his asylum, but finding that after gaining all the information which he had to give, ministers
neglected him, he left England, and took up his temporary residence at the Hague. Here, after receiving a discouraging answer to an overture which he made to the Russian Government, he resolved, in consequence of the representations of a renegado in the service of the Emperor of Morocco, to turn Mohammedan, and offer himself to Muley Abdallah, the ferocious son of the yet more ferocicus Muley Ishmael.
At Mequinez, the imperial residence, Ripperda met with a distinguished reception, and after a long confinement occasioned by an awkward slip of ihe knife, while he was undergoing the initiatory rite, “ he was appointed to command the Moorish troops.” In his military capacity he was unfortunate, the Moors received a signal defeat on the plains of Ceuta, and he turned his attention to the department of finance. The same want of success which had attended Ripperda through life, pursuing him here,
• He had now every reason to expect a prompt deliverance from his earthly troubles ; when one of those revolutions, of which Morocco is frequently the theatre, gave him an opportunity of escaping from his greatness, and conveyed him to a situation of some security.'
Muley Abdallah was dethroned, and Ripperda Aed to Tetuan, where he lived in luxurious retirement. He conceived a momentary hope of again figuring on the political stage, as the minister of Theodore, King of Corsica; but even Theodore neglected him, and he fell into complete lowness of spirits ;
• His brain became affected with religious extravagancies. He fancied himself inspired to promulgate a new religion. The Jewish, the Christian, the Mahometan, were but types and forerunners of a more perfect revelation confided to him. Elias, David, St. John the Baptist, all the prophets, had foretold his coming....He died at Tetuan, towards the end of the year 1737.'
Such was the career of a man who made much noise, and created some confusion in the world ; it began in infidelity, and suitably enough terminated in fanaticism.
On the whole', we have been somewhat interested by the present work; though we cannot so far compliment Mr. Moore, as to say that we think very highly of his talents either as a historian, or as a writer. As a historian he is superficial, and although he
may have had recourse to good source of information, they have not been sufficient, nor used to the best purpose. His original observa ions are not very new, nor always very apposite: one of the most nauseous specimens is the pompous but frigid eulogy on the British House of Commons (Vol. I. p. 130.) As a writer, he is very deficient; nany parts of his book are disgraced by extreme sloveoliness; he has, too, a strange method of stringing together a number of short paragraphs, consisting of single sentences only, so as to give some of his pages the appearance of a collection of aphorisms. Yet we are disposed to think, from some passages of his work, that with due attention he may qualify himself, in course of time, to appear before the public, with more credit and more advantage to his readers.
Art. IX. The Naval, Military, and Private Practitioner's Amanuensis Me
dicus & Chirurgicus ; or a Practical Treatise on Fevers, and all those Diseases which most frequently occur in Practice ; with the Mode of Cure. Likewise on Amputation, Gunshot-Wounds, Trismus, Scalds, &c. with new and successful Methods of treating Mortification, of amputating at the Shoulder Joint, and of curing Femoral Fractures. By Ralph Cuming, M.D. R. N. Medical Superintendant of his Majesty's Naval Hospital, Antigua. 8vo. pp. 361. Price 78. Mathews
and Leigh. 1806. THIS work, which is intended to form an appendage to
the portable library of practitioners in the public service, and is also expected by its author to be generally useful to the profession, to its younger members especially, demands particular notice. A volume, containing concise and correct histories of such diseases as are most frequently the subjects of medical practice, with a perspicuous account of the most approved and successful methods of cure, is truly a desideratum. We heartily wish we could agree with Dr. Cuming, in thinking that his present work is precisely suited to supply the deficiency.
It commences with observations on fever; and, speaking of his success in treating this malady by mercurial inunctions, the doctor says, “ I do aver that I never lost a patient after using them.” p. 13. Evidence thus seriously adduced, must not be questioned; but in writing for the young, surely Dr. C. should not, without ample experience, recommend modes of treatment, which may certainly prove fatal, if used without great care and discrimination. He should also be very particular in detailing the best method of employing the remedies, and every known circumstance which affects their influence. But vague and unqualified suggestions, a confused rambling style, and basty opinions, are some of Dr. C.'s striking peculiarities. The mischievous tendency of these loose instructions is obvious.
· I am persuaded that wrapping the patient up in a sheet dipped in vinegar, would be of essential service, and that this operation should be. repeated until the vascular action is subdued. I am of opinion that the Tr. Digitalis given in pretty large doses until the pulse became affected would answer a good purpose.' P. 18. • I had almost forgotten to mention that I lately read of an instance of Hernia incarcerata being cured by digitalis." P. 79.