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acquaintance of mine, and, justly, a prodigious favourite with the men of the detachment. It seems that
poor Gunner was seized by the French soldiers, who marched him off; a measure into which he fell with much apparent complacency, which his master accounted for by the circumstance of the blue foreign uniform closely resembling that of his own battalion. Gunner, however, in a very short time, grew suspicious, investigated the garments and faces of his captors, and not approving of them, suddenly reared, bit, kicked, and plunged with so much vehemence, as forced them to let him loose; when, breaking through their ranks, he fled with the speed of a cannon-ball, instinctively found his way across the country, and reported himself present, by joining the retreating forces, among whom his owner afterwards, to his great joy, discovered his faithful charger.
I could easily extend this memorandum to a much greater length; but will abstain, both from regard to my reader's patience, and in conformity to my purpose of writing—not a treatise on any one topic, but brief and unconnected notes under various heads.
Page 39, vol. i.
“ Prince Arthur, son of Henry VIII.” Careless printing. Arthur was son of Henry VII.; but died before he was sixteen years of age ; probably much to the disadvantage of the nation. His character promised all that was desirable in morals and intellect, and his untimely death made a king of his brother Henry; a heartless and voluptuous tyrant, less like a man than a wild boar, in his passions and appetites.
* London, 1799, 2 vuls.
It is not a little amusing to reflect on the subject of causes and consequences in the progress of human affairs. Young Arthur might well have lived to sit on the British throne: had he done so, and transmitted the crown to his child, Henry VIII. would have died a younger brother, and been neither a regal defender of the church of Rome, nor the promoter of an ecclesiastical revolution. He could not, by the divorce of Catherine of Arragon, have made Anne Boleyn the mother of Queen Elizabeth, whose glorious reign would thereby have been lost to the country. Mary of Scotland would not have perished on a scaffold for conspiring against her relative, the virgin sovereign; nor Mary's son, James, through failure of direct heirs, have succeeded Elizabeth, nor been the father of a monarch destined to create a civil war, and to die as Charles I. did, &c. &c.
Page 41. “ This excellent Prince (Louis XII.), at an advanced age, married the Princess Mary, sister of Henry VIII. of France," meaning Henry VIII. of England.
Page 43. “ Francis (the first), at some mock skirmish, was wounded in the head by a burning stick; and whilst his courtiers were anxious to find out the person who had hurt their monarch, he replied nobly,
Let him alone ; I have committed a folly, and it is but right that I should suffer for it." This is all exceedingly silly writing, both on the part of the compiler of the Biographiana, and of Pasquier, the author of the statement. There is nothing whatever to praise in the conduct of Francis, who must have been a base-minded fool, had he acted otherwise. The reverse of wrong is not necessarily laudable.
Perpetual misconception prevails on points of this kind, and is most provokingly encouraged by the mawkish sentimentality of the daily press, and even by that of the magistrates. The driver of an omnibus (I suppose a sort of lusus nature, for sake of argument) delivers up to the sitting justice a purse containing two ten-pound notes, fifteen sovereigns, and four shillings and sixpence, not being able to discover the proprietor ; who shortly after makes his appearance, retrieves his wealth, (which he deserved to lose for his stupidity,) and gives a handsome reward to the finder. It would not be difficult to prove that it is a highly immoral act to do more than recompense the driver of the omnibus for his loss of time ; but it is palpably vicious and ridiculous to applaud the honesty of Mister Jacob Jolt, in the justice-room and the newspapers, and to blazon his name with the epithets worthy poor fellow, respectable individual, an honour to the working classes, and a pattern for all his brethren of the whip, &c.
In doing as he has done, said Jolt has only not shown himself to be a consummate scoundrel. He
and some millions of his race should be taught that, however it may create wonder, there is nothing to invite praise in the fact of a man not being a thief.
Pages 146, 147. “ This great man (Thuanus, or De Thou) died on the first day of November, 1582, regretted by all, but more particularly by his illustrious sovereign, Henry the Fourth, who ordered for him a more magnificent funeral than was ever made, &c.” Henry the Third was assassinated in 1589 ; and then, and not before, Henry the Fourth ascended the French throne.
Page 148. This great man” (who is stated by the compiler to have died in 1582), “in 1598, had occasion to go to Saumur.”
In page 154, appears a letter from De Thou to Casaubon, dated from Villebon, May 7th, 1612. Also, a letter from Grotius to De Thou's son, dated Paris, August 16, 1635, in which he mentions his recent misfortune in the loss of his father, and exhorts him to moderate his sorrow. The foregoing prodigious confusion of facts and dates is mainly to be attributed to the perplexity arising from the use of Arabic numerals; which, as all who are familiar with the press must be convinced, are never-failing sources of error to compositors, readers, correctors, authors, &c.
The following extract from a popular journal of the time, belongs, in some measure, to the subject of my last remark, which it serves to illustrate.
“ The Number of the Westminster Review just published, (August, 1826,) contains an exposition of various droll mistakes in the considerably improved fifteenth edition of Debrett's Peerage, of which we copy a specimen or two. Page 1158: Nathaniel Williams, second Lord Clarina, was born 29th May, 1796; married Penelope, daughter of M. R. Westropp, Esq., and by her had a daughter, born 13th March, 1797 (not quite ten months after his own birth); he had afterwards four other children, the last of whom was born in 1805 (when their father was little better than seven years old). And, his lordship died in Barbadoes, in 1810, aged thirteen years and a few months, after having been the father of five children, a lieutenant-general in the British army, and governor of a colony.
In page 965, a singular circumstance is recorded of the first Viscount O'Neill: he married a lady who died in 1722; yet, notwithstanding this little accident, she bore him a son on the 16th of March, 1746, and afterwards a daughter, of the date of whose birth, Mr. Debrett does not condescend to inform us. But the most remarkable peculiarity of all exists in the Gormanstown peerage, which (on account of being an Irish one, we suppose), “has descended in regular succession from son to father.”
The compiler of the Biographiana having, in his concluding volume, introduced many names of less eminence in the reigns of Queen Anne, George I., &c., has unaccountably devoted but one very short paragraph, page 537, vol. ii., to the memory of the celebrated Harley, Earl of Oxford ; and this merely