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ORNARENT POTIUS QUAM AUGERENT!!” (Hist. Lib. iii. c. 72.) Since you first quitted the congenial abodes of “ wicker huts,” and the delectable society of “Irish Rapparees,” did your Ladyship ever, on any occasion, blush? or, “ in the strollers' barn where you was bred,” were you ever in peril of being “burnt alive for that sweetest of female virtues," modesty ?
Your interpolating and mangling* Ladyship proceeds: “Leonardo da Vinci (says the Reviewer, who accuses me of nonsense) employed upon his supper! Our readers will doubtless feel curious to know how long this learned painter was occupied in eating his supper !!! We blush to say we really cannot satisfy them !!!” This is Lady Morgan's version-now for the correct one: « THE LENGTH OF TIME, says Lady Morgan, p. 82, Which Leonardo da Vinci employed upon his supper, IS AN ANECDOTE TOO WELL KNOWN TO DWELL UPON.' Our readers will doubtless feel curious to know how long this learned painter was occupied in eating his supper. We blush to say that we really cannot satisfy them, but HISTORY INFORMS US THAT HE WAS SEVEPAL YEARS IN PAINTING HIS GREAT MASTERPIECE of Christ's last SUPPER.” The words in small capitals, as your veracious Ladyship will perceive, are those which you omitted intentionally, for the purpose of rendering my composition as absurd and norsensical as your own. The juxta-position of the original, and of the mangled extract which appears in the®“ Letter to the Reviewers of Italy,'” will enable the public to decide between us.
I shall not stay to enlarge much on the indecency which runs through your “ Italy,” as well as its predecessor, “ France, as this is a vice of which you have often been convicted, and as you have left the case of the Reviewer, in this respect at least, exactly as you found it. The story of the pretty little housekeeper and the lecherous old governor was the least objectionable passage, I could hit upon as an example of your proneness to wanton and lascivious allusion, and the description of inflammatory situations. This, however, does not satisfy your Ladyship, and, although the whole scene would make no contemptible figure in Faublas, you abuse me because I did not produce something still more obscene and libidinous. Pardon me then, if, in my own defence, (and nothing else could have induced me), I am compelled to quote the following passage, unparalleled though it be in its audacious profligacy: “ I have occasionally seen a pretty Englishwoman, accustomed to the good, substantial, plain, brick and mortar' flirtation of a London theatre, which lasts out the season, and stands the run of the most popular piece, bored to death by the Italian respect for appearances, and sigh for the liberal licence of ihe Haymarket Opera, where the love before and behind the scenes, is equally pro bono publico, and a sentimental liaison goes on from night to night, to the reiterated airs of Don Juan, or the Libertine Destroyed.” (Italy, Vol. I. p. 96.) As you at
* As a curious instance of mangling and disingenuousness, this mendacious letterwriter represents me as describing Mr Pope's phrase, “ ductile dulness," as nonsense. I cry you mercy, Miladi ! It was not “ ductile dulness,” which I described, as non sensical, but “ ductile dulness MEANDERING !!!” She says that “ caducity" is a common word : let her produce an example from an English writer of reputation, and we'll believe her. But this is not the worst. She used " adhesion” for “ adherence,” and is so pitiably obstinate, or dull, as not to perceive the difference between
Where she got “ domesticity,” she best knows. That “ ultramontane" should have been tramontane, there can be no doubt. Some of the choicest of her rhetorical flowers have, however, been prudently omitted :- these are, “ The pis-aller of unappropriated loyalties,”-“ To hiccup away dominions,"_“ Obscurantism,”* Impudicity,"_“ Deserts dominated,”—“ Love making through philological varieties," &c. &c. &c. The dialect in which Miladi writes, is, in truth, as great a curiosity, as any thing in the British Museum-consisting of slang, scraps collected from a common-place book, misplaced and multitudinous quotations, le langage des Halles, new-coined words, and phrases intelligible neither to Christian, Pagan, nor Man. Verily
It is a pirti coloured dress
tempt, in this letter, the greater part of which is addressed to myself, to explain away the grossly indecent story about not finding in Boulogne-surmer, a Maid to represent the Virgin, and as you abuse Mr Playfair for "not consulting the Original Work," there can be little harm in my transcribing the passage on which both the Quarterly Review and Mr Playfair have founded their accusations.“ The priests of Boulogne, to their horror, could not find a single virgin, in that maritime city, to carry in procession, and were at last obliged to send a deputation into a neighbouring village, and request the loan of a Madonna, until they could get one of their own." (France, Vol. I. p. 99. 8vo. edit. London, 1818.)
I enter on the subject of irregion with as much reluctance as on that of obscenity; but as I am resolved, now that your Ladyship is upon a trial, to leave no stone unturned to procure a verdict of guilty, I must even fish, for a moment, in the troubled waters of your impiety. Here are the proofs: In vol. I. p. 23, there is a passage about His Holiness building a bridge by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost !" In page 200, of the same volume, your Ladyship tells us “ How long it may please Heaven to preserve the partition of its divine grace, seems at present very doubtful." In page 249, of same volume, we meet with “ orthodox cherubim," “ angels chanting," "devils róaring,” “saints suffering,” “ martyrs squalling," and “immense black and white Christs” with their respective votaries. In Vol. II. p. 86,
formed that, from “the zeal of a Protestant minister, thanks were returned to Heaven, that, in spite of the heresy and philosophy of the age, one Jew more was roasted to the honour and glory of God!” In page 179 of the same volume, l. 15, we meet with common swearing. And, lastly, in pp. 211-212 of same volume, you blasphemously introduce a story of some vile caricature of the great miracle performed by the prophet Elijah, to confound the priests and idolaters of Baal, which excited the indignation even of your illiterate Italian servant, and which no human being that reverenced the religion of the Bible would have ever sat down deliberately to commit it to paper. Your Ladyship says, “Let me be judged by what I have written."
In mercy, I pray for you a milder sentence: I trust it will not be done unto you “ according to your works!”
Though the Episode of the Pavilion had been a lie, or, as your Ladyship tenderly phrases it, “ apocryphal, and given on insufficient authority, you still maintain, that in giving it, as a portion of true history, you would have been guilty of “no grave offence.” My notions of historical morality are liappily somewhat different from your Ladyship’s, and are likely to continue
But waving that matter, you go on to inforin us, that “the anecdote of the Pavillon de Madrid is as notorious as the existence of the Pavillon de Marsun. A notable proof of historical faith, truly! Now, Lady Morgan, let me just ask you how this anecdote can be at all " notorious,” since no mortal ever heard of it till it first embellished your Ladyship's immaculate pages. No shuffling, if you please, but answer me honestly if you canWHERE did you find it authentically recorded, that Francis I., the most generous and gallant prince of his time, considered himself absolved from his pledge by building a Pavilion-calling it Pavillon de Madrid, taking possession of this temple of Punic Faith, and then exclaiming
« Me voici à Madrid ? Your Ladyship knows as well as I do, that you cannot produce one solitary sentence, from any accredited author, corroborative of this wilful falsification of history ; and, to do you justice, you do not at
The plain upshot of the whole, then, is this, that the story, as it now stands in the dying pages of “ Italy,” came warm and fresh from your own fertile imagination, and that it abjures all relationship to dry and stubborn, facts. Whether the Pope “absolved the king of France from his oath," or whether he did not, is nothing to the point. His present Holiness (Chiaramonte) has probably done as much for many of your Ladyship’s infidel and jacobinical acquaintances of Italy; and his predecessor (Braschi) certainly did as bad a thing, when he dissolved the marriage between your Ladyship’s idol Napoleon and the woman Josephine, to make room for a young and blooming bride. The criminality
of such actions belongs as much to the religion that sanctions them, as to the individuals whom they accommodate. Meanwhile, it is apparent, that the conduct of the Pope, on this occasion, assuming your Ladyship's statement as for once correct, had nothing in the world to do with the charming little jesuitical story of the Pavillon de Madrid. The veriest novice of St Omer's would laugh at this bungling attempt to imitate the logic of that notable seminary.
The finishing blow to your Ladyship’s historical veracity yet remains to be given. In page 14, of this “ Letter," you persist in re-asserting, that “the battle of Fontenoy was nearly lost, because FORTY THOUSAND men were left beyond the reach of cannon-shot, to guard the person of the king and his AMBULATING Harem." Now, at the battle of Fontenoy, the allied army amounted to 55,000 men*, while that of the French was considerably more numerous; although we are informed that the numbers actually engaged on each side were pretty nearly equal. This fact affords us the means of determining the truth. Suppose the sum-total of the French army 80,000 men. Of these 18,000 men + were posted en échelle between Tournay, to which they had previously been laying siege, and the field of battle, to prevent the garrison from sallying out and assaulting their rear, while the allies made the attack in front: and 6000 men were also stationed to guard the bridges on the Escaut, and to keep the communications with the rear open, in the event of a reverse. Deducting the 24,000 men thus necessarily occupied, there remained 56,000 men to contend in the field, with nearly an equal number of the allies. But as the 24,000 men just mentioned had a particular, importent, and indispensable duty to perform, the 40,000 men“ left beyond the reach of cannon-shot, to guard the person of the king and his ambulating harem,” will fall to be deducted from the 56,000 men who should otherwise have engaged the allies : So that, of the French, there remained just 16,000 to fight 25,000 British, and 30,000 Hanoverian, Austrian, and Dutch troops !!! I have only farther to remark, that the determined valour displayed by the English in this battle would have rendered victory certain, had General Ingoldsby obeyed his orders, and carried the redoubt in the wood of Barri, opposite Fontenoy, which annoyed and cnfiladed the allied army on its advance. This, but for the unaccountable infatuation of Ingoldsby, might have been easily achieved, and would not only have secured the victory, but saved a great number of valuable lives. With all these disadvantages, however, they inflicted on the victors a greater loss than they themselves sustained ; retired from the field in the best possible order, the broadswords of the invincible Highlanders covering the retreat ; and made such an impression on the enemy, that a French officer remarked, “We have gained the victory, but may I never see such another!" And even Marshal Saxe, who had at one period so little hope of victory, that he sent three successive messages to the King # and the Dauphin to retire beyond the reach of danger, could not help observing to his Majesty, after the battle was over, "Sire, vous voyez à quoi tiennent les hatailles!" Lady Morgan ! I ask you, Is it within the limits of physical possibility that “ the battle of Fontenoy was nearly lost, becaUSE 40,000 men were left beyond the reach of Cannon-shot, to guard the person of the king and his ambulating harem?” For shame, Lady Morgan !
.“ On complait dans leur armée au dela de cinquante-cinq mille combattans.” Voltaire.
† " Le Roi laissa devant Tournay environ dix-huit mille hommes, qui etaient postés en echelle jusqu'au champ de battaille ; six mille pour garder les ponts sur l'Escaut, et les communications." Voltaire.
The King of France was so far from being “ beyond the reach of cannon-shot," that his station, and that of his son, was“ precisément a l'entrée du champ de battaille ;" and, at one period of the battle, a regiment of French infantry, being broken by one of the English charges, the fugitives nearly overwhelmed him.
$ As might have been expected, the author of the “ Letter" before us feels some. what annoyed by the pointed charge of falsification, returned on herself, which she
A word or two of that virtuous and much-calumniated Lady, Madame D'Albany, and I have done. The statement contained in the July number of the Edinburgh Magazine was this : “ It is universally known in Italy, that Alfieri's connection with the Countess of Albany was just of that simple and convenient sort which generally obtains in the land of Cicisbeos and « Cavalieri Şerventi.” Now, the facts of the case, as stated by Alfieri himself, are as follow : That ten years before the death of the unfortunate Charles Edward (whom Lady Morgan, with her usual propensity to blunder, has (Vol. II. p. 112) strangely confounded with his father, who, during the Insurrection of 1745, had been proclaimed, at Perth and Edinburgh, by the title of “ James the Third,”) Victor Alfieri publicly professed himself the lover of his wife, the Countess of Albany ; that his passion was graciously returned by this kind and accommodating lady; that the connection excited so much scandal at Rome, where she then resided, as to render the interference of Cardinal D’York necessary, to effect a separation between the Countess and her cicisbeo, or lover, or what you will; that Alfieri continued to live occasionally with her, at a distance from her husband, (as, for example, in Alsace and in Paris), till the period of his death in 1788; that after this event, he spent the remainder of his life in her society; that she was never his wife; and, finally, that Alfieri was of a most profligate and amorous disposition. An extract or two from the Memoirs of Alfieri, written by himself, will set these facts in the clearest light. In Vol. II. p. 118. English Translation, there is the following passage, which, I apprehend, needs no commentary: “I intend not here to become the apologist of the mode of life led by the married women in general in Rome: I will only say, that the conduct of my esteemed friend (the Countess) was in this respect RATHER within, than beyond the usual manners of the country.” A little farther he adds, “Scarcely had her brother-in-law (Cardinal D’York)returned to Rome, than he informed my friend, * through the medium of her confes
had so unceremoniously, and without a shadow of proof, preferred against Mr Eustace, when in his grave, and “his ear no longer alive either to praise or censure." And what is her answer? Why, “ she refers to the numerous memoirs of the reign of Louis XV." as her authorities, and then copies the titles of some French' books, which she had probably borrowed for the occasion from Messrs Treüttel and Wurtz: but not a single sentence quoted from one of them that bears on the point at issue ! A friend assures me, that this story is no new coinage of Miladi's brain; and that he had met with it in some of her novels. On this subject I cannot pronounce an opi. nion, never having read any of Lady Morgan's fictions, except those that occur in her “ France" and “ Italy.” Having thus failed to prove the fact she so doggedly asserts, she indemnifies herself (for she must be raking into the recesses of scandal, and gathering stories of mistresses) by telling us that Louis XV. was a sau dog ; and particularly that he had two sisters successively as mistresses ; that, during Lent, his conscience, aided by his confessor, became somewhat embarrassed on this score; and that, to set all to rights with heaven and his own mind, he at last agreed to have one of them poisoned ; which humane act was accordingly performed by the holy hands of Cardinal Fleury. She obviously chuckles and gloats over this horrid and incredible story, singing-risum tcncatis ?-1o Pacan in token of victory! “Should the Reviewer," she adds, “ in the loyal Edinburgh Magazine, startle at such royal anecdotes as these, I must refer him to the pleasantest of all works, written by the best of all Tories, the Stuart-loving Evelyn-there are stories of Royal Harems, stationary and ambulatory, to make his hair stand on end !” How this memorable sally is to prove, that “ 40,000 men were left beyond the reach of cannon shot,” to guard the king and his mistresses, I cannot presume to determine ; only I should suppose, that English bullets and Highland broadswords, both of which were pretty effective on that day, would have a little discomposed the nerves of the frail ones who constituted “ the ambuluting harem," unless they happened to experience the truth of Lord Byron's position,
“ That after being fir'd at once or twice,
The ear becomes more Irish and less nice." * This is the invariable epithet applied to the Countess by Allieri in his Memoira,
sor, that it was indispensable my ussiduities should cease, and that it had been agreed on between him and HER HUSBAND not any longer to tolerate my visits.” As I cannot quote the whole book, I shall only produce one pássage more, the villanous hypocrisy displayed in which must excite the lively indignation of every generous mind, capable of sympathising with fallen greatness, of commiserating the unfortunate, or of feeling a sense of shame at the dishonour and ignominy heaped on “ the last branch of the royal house of Stewart :" " In February 1788, my friend received information from Rome of the death of her husband. I was an eye-witness to the SURPRISE (a very agreeable surprise !) and Grief which she testified on this occasion, and which was neither feigned nor exaggerated : ('credat Judæus !') never could dissimulation find entrance into a heart so noble and pure as her's !” In the very next sentence, however, we are told that her husband had “ thoroughly disgusted her, by his harsh and brutal manners !” Now here is the identical apology offered by your Ladyship for the conduct of this same Madame D'Albany; although I have yet to learn, that, either by the laws of Heaven or man, adultery can be justified by such a plea. But, as if this were not enough, you proceed to say, that this was "the only woman whose 'aurea catena' could bind that VAGRANT heart in eternal fetters." Oh, your Ladyship is a smooth, gentle, and liberal reprover of vice. Hear what the reviewer of Alfieri's life says of " that vagrant heart !”. “ The morality of Alfieri seems to have been at least as relaxed as that of the degenerate nobles, whom in all other things he professed to reprobate and despise. He confesses, without the slightest appearance of contrition, that his general intercourse with women was profligate in the extreme ; and has detailed the particulars of three several intrigues with married women, (one in Italy, one in England, and one at the Hague), without once appearing to imagine that they could require any apology or expiation. On the contrary, while recording the deplorable consequences of one of them, he observes, with great composure, that it was distressing to him to contemplate a degradation of which he had, 'Though INNOCENTLY,' been the cause. neral arrogance of his manners, too, and the occasional brutality of his conduct towards his inferiors, are far from giving us an amiable impression of his general character ; nor have we been able to find, in the whole of these confessions, a single trait of kindness of heart, or generous philanthropy, to place in the balance against so many indications of selfishness and violence." (Edinburgh Review, No. 30. p. 294.) AND THIS WAS THE LOVER OF MADAME D'ALBANY * !!!
nor is there the smallest hint or insinuation, that the connection between them was ever sanctioned or legitimated by the ceremony of marriage : a proof of which is, that the Abbé Caluso, the intimate friend of Alfieri, when describing, in his letter to Madame D'Albany, the last moments of her lover, employs the same language as his deceased friend had formerly used, and not a syllable escapes from his pen that could justify even the very qualified language of Mr Forsyth, who describes the Piedmontese tragic poet as the “ reputed husband of the woman whose sterility" had extinguished an ancient and a royal line.
It seems I was wrong in assigning the “Opera” as the locality of her Ladyship's téte-à-tête with the “ only legitimate Queen." The error is not a formidable one, and the passage I alluded to, from memory, is as follows: “ It was my good fortune frequently to occupy the place next to Madame D'Albany, (who habitually sits at the head of a very court-like circle), and to enjoy her most pleasant conversation, which, besides being replete with acute and humorous observations, sometimes turned on Al. fieri"!!! It is added : “ She knows how to laugh, and at whom right well!” (Italy, Vol. II. pp. 113, 114.) Her husband felt that to his cost. But Lady D'Albany, contends the letter-writer, must be a very chaste and venerable woman, since she is regularly visited by Lord Burghersh, and by her own nephew and niece, to say nothing of sundry other individuals of inferior note. Very likely. Lady Ha. milton, in her glory, was visited by crowned hcads, and by some of the best and bravest men of her day ; but still she was Lady Hamilton, ci-devant opera-singer, next mistress and then wife of Sir William Hamilton, and, lastly, mistress of Lord