Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

Buonaparte. What is the occupation of Monsieur? N. Cook to the factory of the East India Company, Buonaparte. Are there no others?


Not any.

Buonaparte. What then is become of the two French missionaries, who long resided there?

N. I beg your pardon, these persons still reside at Canton. I had forgotten them.

Buonaparte. So I thought.


Much anxiety was displayed in questions about the Chinese. He wondered at the policy of governments in fostering ignorance and monopoly; said he thought it would be proper to pull down the holds of prejudice, suspicion, and covetousness; but observed, "I only think so-the subject is new to me - it is worth attention." He asked what the Chinese thought of the British naval power? We replied, they thought very greatly of it. "Ah, indeed," said he, " and so do I!" Respecting teas we enjoyed a hearty laugh, Buonaparte excepted. "I have been informed," said he, "that there is much imposition practised on your Company, by the Chinese, in the article of tea. That they first of all derive for themselves the virtues of the tea, dry it up, and sell it to the Company. You may not think so; but what do you know about the secrets of their trade? you are the strangers without, not within thy gates." He inquired if we had heard of the battle of Waterloo, with as much sang froid as if he had not been involved in its ruin. He praised lord Wellington-praised the courage of the conflicting armies, and intimated very intelligibly, that Wellington was the only general equal to himself. "In prudence," said he, "he is my superior." He adverted to the war in Spain, in terms of regret. He declared sir John Moore to be the bravest general the English ever had; spoke of the immense difficulties he encountered, and the glorious death he died. Buonaparte made many observations on the bravery and character of the British cavalry; ridiculed their many appendages, and assured us with great gravity, that they were by no means equal to the French. No censure was implied in this on the gallantry of the former, but against the bad management of their horses, and the generally bad constructed curb of their reins. After close questioning Non points connected with his profession as a sailor, during which he displayed a prodigious nautical science, he turned quickly round on his right heel, and addressed me, looking me full in the face as he did so. I hardly expected to escape a keen examination,

after what I had heard pass between N- and himself; yet I felt somewhat confident that there would be a falling off in his ability, when the study of the healing art should be discussed. Buonaparte commenced with inquiries (as he had done with N-) as to my name, country, education, and connexions. On learning that I was from Scotland, he paid a handsome tribute to the Scottish character, and observed to Las Cases, "Ils s'élèvent au-dessus des hommes."

He asked the name of my native town or village, on hearing which, he said to Las Cases, "C'est l'endroit où naquirent Rogerson et Halliday, fameux médecins à la cour Russe." He demanded the name of the University I attended. On telling him Edinburgh, he observed, “ Edinburgh est lá pauvreté, Edinburgh est la pauvreté." My age was also a subject of his inquiry, and being informed, he expressed great surprise at my youth, and at my being a practitioner at so early a period. And yet I have understood, that the period of activity was always marked out by him at no great advance in life. When he was asked to employ any one whom he did not sufficiently know, he was accustomed


to say, Quel age avez-vous ?" If the age of the petitioner exceeded forty, Napoleon dismissed him with this remark, "Ton adolescence est passé." Buonaparte was anxious to know, if I had heard of any advances in the science of medicine and surgery. The performance of bleeding occupied most of his attention: he wished to know whether it was most advisable to bleed in the vein or the artery, and whether the circulating fluid was best lessened by the application of the lancet, cupping-glasses, or the leech. He considered the instruments in use for opening a vein not quite suited to the purpose, and suggested hints for their improvement. I was also asked, how I should proceed in certain cases which he enumerated, and whether I thought well of vomits; blistering plasters and the pulse were next under review. The Chinese physicians were noticed by Buonaparte as remarkable in particular cases, and for feeling the pulse in every part of the human body. Throughout the whole of the conversation I had an opportunity of beholding his countenance, with which I was much prepossessed, and which I can never forget. His person was truly interesting, and he carried his figure to the best advantage. His manners were those of a gentleman, and extremely winning. Upon the whole, I think, I never saw his equal for natural shape, and perfectability of human countenance. I should conceive the latter a fine specimen of the Roman

cast, and to be a perfect model of the plastic hand of nature. In vain I looked for the “murderer,” the "monster," the "villain," the "wretch," the "assassin,” in the place, which is generally said to be an index of the mind. This rule will not hold good with respect to Buonaparte. In the face of Buonaparte you saw nothing of the interior organization — nothing in the muscles from which the peculiar character could be read: all without was interesting and engaging; but it is to be feared, all within was far from being correct. Perhaps it would hardly be fair to apply Montgomery's description of the Giant King to Buonaparte, when after speaking of the calm and awful grace of his countenance, he adds,

"But direst cruelty, by guile represt,

Lurk'd in the dark volcano of his breast;

In silence brooding, like the secret power

That springs the earthquake at the midnight hour."

I confess myself entirely ignorant of the physiognomical system of Drs. Gall and Spurzheim; therefore, I cannot determine if there was any propensity discoverable in the cranium of this singular man. I should imagine, however, that if the system be true, a little attention would have traced the organ of combativeness, as well as that of covetiveness; but as I must be understood to place little reliance on external observations, by means of craniological science, I abandon this idea as superficial. During our interview with Napoleon, he took a prodigious quantity of snuff, from a box made of exquisite tortoise-shell, mounted with silver medallions, with the heads of the king of Rome, Maria Louisa, and Julius Cæsar. His dress was the same as he is usually described to have worn. He had a singular aversion to red clothes. Captain Poppleton indulged him on his first arrival in the island, by putting on a dress not militaire. We began to fear, as the time drew on, that the gates of James' Town would be shut; we therefore showed symptoms of uneasiness; and had not long to experience this. Buonaparte, with his hawk's eye, understood our looks, politely wished us good evening, and retired. The party followed him to the house; the ride was countermanded, and the carriage, which had been waiting above an hour, was driven back to the stable-yard. We made great haste to the town, where we arrived in perfect safety; spent the evening with captain R, and retired for the night. My mind was so completely absorbed in reviewing the occur

rences of the day, and reflecting upon my interview with one of so rare a kind, that sleep never visited my pillow till morning. Nor were his generous followers in captivity less the object of my wonder and respect. I hope I shall be sufficiently understood: I am not about to defend the general conduct of such men; but I feel myself bound to separate the iron from the clay, and to admire that part of their conduct which displayed so much disinterested friendship, in becoming exiles from their homes and from polished society, to dwell in comparative solitude with a decayed and fallen master. The world has to boast of few examples of decided friendship, and the observation of the Roman poet is, alas! too just respecting human nature

"Nulla fides unquam miseros eligit amicos."

Human friendship is precarious-the world is full of ingratitude; but here we behold men whom we have been taught to despise, exhibiting a nobleness of soul nearly equal to any instances of gratitude upon record. How often, among us who rejoice that French principles are discarded, do we behold a contrary conduct; and when earthly comforts, grandeur, and glory, exhibit their fragility and become extinct, witness the flight of professed friends, who only followed in our train when prosperity was at its zenith! But without multiplying reflections, I have only to add to this plain narrative of facts, that we spent a Sunday in St. Helena, which was religiously observed by the people of the town. One thing I should notice as singular in the island; servants, or rather slaves, are let out to hire, like horses: this remains to be explained. In the course of the following day, we were on board: by this time, the news of our visit to the state prisoner had reached the admiral. He was highly offended, our captain having pledged himself that none of the crew should visit Longwood. No blame could, however, be attached to this worthy commander, except that he had forgotten to make us acquainted with the injunction. An arrest was at hand for N- and myself, when our ship weighed anchor, and bore us away to England's happy shores, which we reached on the 24th of April, 1816.

Banks of the Mole.

T. H.


Dean Milner and Dr. Plumptre.

WE regret that a passage in the Memoir of Dean Milner, contained in our last Number, should have given pain to a gentleman for whose talents and character we entertain the sincerest respect. In referring to other accounts of the life of that extraordinary man, we find that the same representation is there given of the state of discipline at Queen's College previous to his presidency, as that which (not being ourselves members of the university) we unhesitatingly adopted, from having frequently heard and seen it asserted without contradiction. We confess, however, that the facts contained in the following letter from the Rev. James Plumptre, the son of Dean Milner's immediate predecessor, satisfy us that we have, though most unintentionally, done some injustice to the memory of a worthy and a learned man; and we are happy in the opportunity afforded us of pointing out the error into which we have fallen, in common with all Dean Milner's biographers. So anxious indeed have we felt to correct the misrepresentation, that though the letter enabling us to do so was not received until a considerable part of the present Number was at press, we have made room for its immediate insertion, by the omission of an article or two in our review department- the printing of the latter portion of the work, in which the smaller type is used, at the same time with the former, preventing our otherwise performing an act of justice, which Mr. Plumptre will see that he has not vainly expected at our hands. We print his letter as we received it; leaving the public to decide on his recriminatory charges on the late president of Queen's, whose conduct, as the head of a college, he had an opportunity of observing which we did not enjoy.


IN your memoir of the Very Rev. Isaac Milner, D.D., F.R.S., dean of Carlisle, in your Number for October last, p. 246, you say, " In the following year, (1788) he was elected President of the College, to which, as a student, he. had been so bright an ornament, and about the same time took his degree of Doctor in Divinity. He immediately set himself vigorously to work to effectuate some reforms, which a less independent mind than his would have been deterred from attempting, by the senseless but appalling cry of innovations. Whilst a student, he had witnessed, in the


[ocr errors]
« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »