Abbildungen der Seite

Zimmerminn'/ Conversations with the late King (^"Prussia. 40}

7. Your Majesty wrote to me, that your respiration has been greatly in peded for these seven months.

4 K. I am asthmatic, but I have no dropsy; and yet you see how my legs are swelled.

- 'Z. Will your Majesty permit me to look a little nearer at your legs? The valet was now called in to pull off the King's boots. I knelt down and examined the King's legs, which were filled with water up to the thighs, ■ and said nothing!

* K. I have no dropsy.

* Z. Asthmas and swellings of the legs often go together, Will your Majesty permit me to feel your body?

* K. My body is distended with wind ; water there is none.

* Z. Your body is distended but not hard. May I feel your Majesty's pulse? (The pulse was full, strong, and feverilh: the King seemed to be greatly oppressed in his breast, and coughed incessantly.) Your pulse is not weak.

'K, I cannot be cured 1 tell me the truth!

* Z. You may be relieved, Sire!

* AT. What do you advise \

* Z. Nothing immediately. But when your valet has told me the history of your malady, and I have read what your Majesty's physicians have written upon it, I (hall have die honour to give my opinion.

* K. Right. My servant Schoning knows the whole.

The King then took off his hat very condescendingly, and desired me to come again at three o'clock. 'June 25, half past six. This morning the King did not fay a word about bis disorder j he was serene and goodhumoured, tho' he spit b]ood at internals ; and entertained me with converfing, on English and French literature. * K. Locke and Newton were the .1 reatest thinkers, still the French have line best knack at giving a happy turn ro av thing, v •■

* Z. No doubt, the English lan

guage is eminently fitted for speculative philosophy and the higher sciences; yet in theti parliament one Demosthenes rises out of the ashes of another in an uninterrupted series. Their language is cqualy capable of th$ calm dignity of history, and the gayer phrase os wit and humour.

K. Hume and Robertson are hisi torians of the first rank. I esteem them both.

• Z. Gibbon perhaps excels them. All the dignity, all the charms, of historic style, are united in Gibbon; his periods are melody itself, and all his thoughts have nerve and vigour.

« K. What did Gibbon write? I now epitomised the history of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. The King heard me for a long time without interrupting me, and seemed highly pleased. He then turned to our domestic literature. 'K. How goes it with sciences at Hanover?

.' Z. We have marry shrewd head* at Hanover; they are flint and stee! to each other, and sometimes emit a spark. The Hanoverians owe their progress to the instructions of Gottingen.

4 K. Gottingen has always been foremost; but no Hanoverian was cver professor there.

'Z. Weifbtrg and Meiners are of Hanover,

K. I know Meiners; he has written a good book on Switzerland.

'Z. A very good one, and with much attachment to the country; for which the thirteen cantons attempted to blow his brains out.

After a few more words on Switzerland, Haller, and other men of letters, the King wished me a good morning.

• June 26th, in the morning. The King was in very good humour, and our conversation began thus:

• K. Have you written the plan by which you mean to treat me t >

«Z. No,

Zihinlermann'/ Conversations with the late King gf Prussia.

* Z. No, Sire, but I have it in my head, and shall communicate it to your Majesty in a few words, if you please to hear me.

'K. Say what you please.

'Z. Your Majesty has great obstructions, especially in the lower intestines. These ought to be dissolved, the circulation restored, and what is superfluous, expelled. Your Majesty ought, at first, to take nothing but a mild emollient; which may be followed by a remedy more vigorous. - This is all my plan, and beyond it I know nothing.

'K. Your intention then is to cure me?

'Z. I mean to give your Majesty ease, if your patience gives me time. To being eased of a disorder is the next to being cured of it.

* K. There you are right. But what do you mean to give?

« Z. A very common, universally known, and most simple remedy, which was even used by the Greeks and Romans, the juice of the herb called Lyon's tooth (Lowen-zahn).

* K. This plant I know not.

* Z. In Spring it grows in every meadow.

* K. I should be glad to know the lion for which that tooth was made.

* Z. (Smiling) Sire, that lion shall soon be found.

* K. But are you acquainted with the effects of that plant from your own experience?

£ Z. I know it from perpetual ex.i perience.

'K. Then I will take it.

And now, said the King, in a serene, and at this moment, comic humour, adieu, my dear Sir, I shall obey all your orders.

The valet, M. Schoning, who, stood at the door, and had heard our conversation, was all amazement as I came out. Never, said he, did I know the King on any point of medicine so easy and so pliant. Never did he, in his

life, use a physician with so much civility. About four o'clock in the afternoon I saw the King again; he was very polite, and entertained me for near an hour and a half with a variety of observations, some of which I may communicate.

K. Do you fee the Duke of York often? what do you think of him?

Z. I fee him, Sire, as often as he is in want of me; and perhaps once a week besides. He uses me with the greatest condescension. I am always at my cafe when I am with him. By his English education be has added humanity to hjs native dignity: he is a stranger to that sultan pride of the smallest German Princes, who use their physicians like slaves. He has disseminated in Hanover all the rights of humanity; in forming ourselves after him, we have acquired a gentleness of manners, of which before we were ignorant. Aristocratic stiffness, and the insolence of nobility, are vanished; though it must be owned, that his milder method was rendered more effectual, by the blunt example of his bold brother, the young mariner, William, it is much to be wished, that the sons of our king might remain amongst us, to sweep away entirely those barbarous remains ofhalf German, half Spanish manners, which still pervade every rank.

'K, It always struck me, that there was something Spanish in the Hanoverian manners, and I am pleased with the Duke for reforming them. He is very much advanced for his age, he has fense, and he has knowledge: this is saying much for a prince, for princes, \n general, have no merit at aQ. I often observed him in trifles, when he could not suspect that I noticed him; these are the moments to decide on a character; and in these 1 always sound him as I wished to find him.

'Z. The Duke of York, has the greatest affection for your Majesty,

Observations made in a Tour in Bwisserland, in 1786. 495

and, I am sure, would be glad to sa- lin* and of the conversations which crisice his life for you. then passed between them, which ha

K. I hope he will, some day or Ting been misrepresented in several

publications, are now, for the first time, given to the public in a genuine manner.

Other, make a good general.'

The King now promised me to take,

early in the morning, the lion's


In an Appendix, the Doctor gives

an account of a dangerous operation

the King underwent in 1771, at Ber

We ate informed that an English translation of this work is preparing for press.

Observations made in a Tour in Swisscrland, in 1786.
By Mons. de Lazowlki *.

I Always find in the apparent pro- serland: I was not there long enough, speiity of a country, something to multiply observations ; and as I find to confirm the truth, That general so much in books concerning it, I have prosperity follows, the circumstances the less to minute, writing as I do onbeing the fame, nearly the degree of ly for myself; but as I have observed, liberty. Alsace is better than Lor- perhaps, some detached facts, which raine, and Basic is better than Alsace, have relation to some leading inquiIt is not by the number of country ries, I mall limit myself to them, houses, which ought to be frequent, At Basle, as in the other Swiss ream! which are so, in the enviions of publics, there are sumptuary laws, and a rich city, in which the inhabitants they are kept, like other laws, exactly have'the simple and republican man- to the letter; but they are null, beners, by which I judge of the degree cause luxury employs itself upon obof its prosperity. That sign often de- jects which the laws have not foreseen, ceives in a monarchy; it proves luxu- and could not foresee. 1 have, thercry, and a great inequality of fortunes; fore, been more confirmed in the opibut the strength and the prosperity of nion, which I had formed in England, nations can only exist in the ease of the that manners were the only effective people and the culture of their lands, laws against luxury ; and it would still

It is, therefore, by other signs that I have been able to examine. It is in the apparent riches of the farm-houses, it is in their ornaments, which prove that the citizen is at his ease, and that the farm is his retreat and his pleasure; a fact which has been consirm

remain a subsidiary question to know, if luxury is not the vehicle of commerce in whatever states are supported in a great measUre by their manufactures.

\ft, Since luxury is relative to the circumstances of the times, above all

ed at Basle. It is the multitude of to the advancement of the age, pf'cir

houses of every kind which tells me that the number of citizens which can allow themselves the pleasure of the country, was great, and that the competition for becoming proprietors was

culation, of the situation, and the condition of the neighbouring nations; it is evident, that the laws ought to vary in respect to all these circumstances} for, that which was luxury two ages

great; a fact which canies With it the past, is but mediocrity at present; and idea of a mass of capitals employed. is it not a thing contrary to the spirit Much has been written 00 Swif- of a popular government to have 4

princii>l» * Euros. Mag.

4©5 Ohservatieni made In a four :H Swisserland, in '786*

principle of legislation, which tends force the means of becoming rica, te

by its nature to lead to disputes, to oblige the legislature to weigh perpetually in a balance, opinions alone, ■what may be prohibited or permitted, and to develope commotions, of which, the popular government have always a principle?

But if the republican manners recal the order of which the dissensions arc removing, then manners will be the tampan against luxury t and if they are not so, the citizens will prefer their enjoyments to the enthusiasm of the republic, and will mske every effort for preventing the introduction of new sumptuary laws. It will result then, that they will have for diese laws the fame respect as for other laws j they never alter or correct them, and then by that alone it is clear that those laws are void.

zdly, They are null, because luxury exercises itself in casts not foreseen. Thus, at Basic, if it is prohibited to wear clothes of silk, they take those in which there is a little mixture of cotton, or thread, or wool. Thus coaches are become common, though it is prohibited to have footmen behind; they open on the inside, as with the physicians at Paris; and although the population of the city does not exceed 13 to 15,000 fouls, yet they reckon more than 200 coaches, and are costly in the choice of theit horses. The ladies cannot be drest in silk, unless it be black ; but the law has foreseen nothing of the head-dresses, and nothing can be more contrary to the spirit of reformation than the parade of their heads, which they run into as much as in France; and the expence of gauzes is certainly greater in the end tuan that of laces.

%dly, In short, it is impossible to place bounds to the enjoyments of a rich people. It is not luxury which corrupts, but riches. It is these which give consideration and distinction, and nevertheless, the principle «f a popular government it 10 rc-tc

affuring to every one the fruits of theif industry and their property, and in preventing idleness; without giving in employments and abuses the means of subsisting by doing nothing. This exists admirably at Basle; and at the fame time they would destroy the principle by sumptuary laws ; for they would limit enjoyments, tho' men labour only to enjoy; thus, besides the examples which I have given, it is clear, that if the law prohibits to have more thin four dishes at dinner, it can place no bounds to the choice; and if furniture is not magnificent, they can have pictures of the highest price; from all which it appears, that the laws can place no real barriers against luxury.

Manners alone are the true obstacles to it; here I can only develope the ideas which I have acquired elsewhere —but it is true, that at Basle, they are still simple and mild, but they move towards the level of their riches, and of the rest of Europe. Prostitutes are known, and kept there under different pretexts: such a fact is something.

But that which I have seen, heard, and observed in general, at Basle, with the most pleasure, is the action and reciprocal re-action ofletters'on the dt me cratical manners. The youth are educated at the university : of whatever state the parents may be, their children are well instructed; because, bving a part of the sovereignty, and eligible to be a part of the government, it is necessary they sliould be instructed, and instruction in literature comprizes the Greek and Latin authors. Those authors ha-* ving their minds animated by the influence of republican education, ev«« to enthusiasm, it results, that this continued reading gives a new force to the love of liberty; a new intention of the sentiment of their superiority M other people; and, in a word* tiMt enthusiasm which reason does not always justify, but which enchains and subdues men who are even in a difrer

ent situation.

[merged small][ocr errors]

This education produces another effect, it gives the taste for letters, for retirement, and for employment; and thence it still serves, perhaps, more to further the republican spirit than by its first efFecti It removes subjects of dissipation; it renders home agreeable, and maintains that simplicity of manners—that manly and nervous turn of mind, which knows how to appreciate the good, and to avoid the trifles of life: and it is this simplicity of manners, this love of retirement, this contentment with home, this inntility of dissipation, which nukes, properly Jpeaking, the foul of a republic more still, in my eyes, than knowledge; if it was possible to separate them.

The study of letters in a republic perpetuates, therefore, the love of its liberty; it produces, it is the cause of manners analogous and necessary to such a state i and by an admirable reaction, these manners, in their turn; give a new taste for letters Where they are cultivated, not by necessity of occupation only, but as an agteedble relaxation : and if this happy habit, this turn of mind, is not always that which we should call amiable, it renders men simple ahd mild, and their minds become mote in unison with the form of government which they love;

This had been proved to me during my residence in England; and every man who wonld read with some attention the works which are published there, •His recognize the pencil and the turn of the ancients.

What I have said is confirmed by facts, which are so extraordinary in France, tljstt they will be thought incredible. We hare seen the third magistrate, (the treasurer) who is a baker; who still fells bread, and who amuses himself with the study of the Greek and L.itin poets. A butcher also, has been named to us", Who sthrs not to go to a fair for buying cattle, without a Greek poet in his pocket. It is" a spectacle interesting enough, that there exists such a taste, and two examples

Vol.. VII. No 42. 3

of it prove more than any thing I could fay. It seems, by the spirit of laws at Basle, that they would establish in favour of the citizens, at the time when the republic was formed, a fort of general and perpetual entail, of which the effect ought to be the fame as that of common entails. Not only none are citizens; except the descendants of those who formed the republics but it is impossible to inhabit Basle without permission; and to become si proprietor of" laud within the extent of the Canton. That none can become a citizen, appears to me simple, in a democratical government: it would render the sovereignty communicative j and with the jealous; interested, and •ver-selfiih spirit of that kind of government, I do conceive it j but am slot able to conceive, how an individual, when he has obtained permission to reside, has nut that of becoming a proprietor. It is to remove competi-. tors—-it is, as it were, a monopoly of the citizens against themselves; it is to contract the line of extending the principles of competition and of industry j—arid; in One word, it is to destroy the most certain effects of a free' government. But it is true; that ass ter a long habitation; permission is obtained of buying a house; but besides its beislg necessary to depend on thai favour of the great council, it is only In exception to ths general prohibition; of buying. I note particularly this law, because its effect is striking. An arnent of land in the districts least fought for id the interior of the city, costs only 3000 livtes, and about 10,000 in the other quarters; and this ib a city, free, rich, and manufacturing, is little to pay for building ground. Estates' in the country are sold at 25 to 30 years purchase; and it should be remarked, that they would not bfe so deaf if they were not prevented from purchasing in Alsace by the effect of our ruinous forms; and, secondly, that in the Cantons, where they pay neither thifcal cor the hun

« ZurückWeiter »