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Campo di Fiore, on the 3rd of January, 1061. Meanwhile, Borri had retired to Strasburg, where he was well received, on account of his chemical knowledge and the persecution which he had sustained. The French resident in that city, one M. Frischman, published a Latin eulogy of the Milanese adventurer. This enlightened diplomatist says, among other things, that the powerful artist in question could reduce plants into ashes, and then, by means of a bain-marie, restore the ashes to their original living state. But Strasburg being too narrow a field for Borri's genius, he proceeded in 1661 to Amsterdam. Here he set up as a physician, and was believed to have cured grave distempers, so that people of quality came from Paris in litters to seek his nostrums and advice. Sorbiere, the editor of Gassendi, the friend and correspondent of Alexander VII., Hobbes, Patin, and other distinguished persons, give some particulars of the behaviour and career of the Milanese Dulcamara. The Cavaliere was a well-made, good-looking blade, who dressed in fine French clothes, lived in a handsome house, kept several footmen, and drove out in a grand equipage. He had some knowledge of chemistry, and, what chiefly served his turn, possessed recipes for making sham metals, pearls, diamonds, and other mock stones. In medicine he confined himself to a few simple specifics and cordial waters. By a judicious combination of skill and swagger, the Cavaliere won the confidence of the burgomaster and some of the wealthy citizens of Amsterdam. He called himself Excellency, and was on the point of contracting a splendid marriage. He lined his pockets with gold, and was credited with the possession of the philosopher's stone and the universal medicine. It was even believed that he gave away handfuls of diamonds as presents. A traveller who saw the celebrated spagyric at the Hague, represents him as still adhering to his old spiritual tricks. The Cavaliere declared that no harm ever happened to him without his being forewarned by a star, which he could see when his eyes were shut. He also appears to have practised as an oculist on horses and men, and made skilful use of his knowledge of the fact that the lacrymal humours are reestablished by the vis medicatrix naturæ.
At length his reputation waned. Seeing this, he fled with a good store of jewels and cash to Hamburg, where he found Queen Christina of Denmark, who readily became his dupe and advanced him large sums of money to help his search for the philosopher's stone. But, as he himself ingenuously observes, the person of that sovereign displeasing him, he departed to Copenhagen, where he acquired much influence over King Frederic III. The favour which he enjoyed raised him up many enemies at court, and therefore on the king's death he found it necessary to quit Denmark.
He now projected a visit to Constantinople, and started for that city, favouring the Elector of Saxony with a call on the way. While travelling through Moravia an adventure befell him which will presently concern us in detail. The conspiracy of Frangipani and Nadasti had recently broken out in Hungary; and the Governor of Goldingen, through which village Borri passed, conceived that the Cavaliere, whose arrival was reported to him, might be an adherent of the plot. Accordingly he invited Borri, under pretence of showing him a civility, to lodge at his castle; when, having secured his person and learned his name, he reported the affair to Vienna. The Governor's letter was received by the Kaiser during an audience which his Majesty was granting to the Papal Nuncio, who became incidentally acquainted with the circumstances of Borri's detention. Immediately the Nuncio demanded that the Cavaliere should be detained as a heresiarch and handed over to him as a prisoner of the Holy See. The Kaiser agreed. Borri was brought to Vienna and given into the keeping of the Nuncio, by whom he was duly transmitted to Rome; the Pope's promise having been previously pledged to the Kaiser that the Cavaliere should not be put to death. He was taken to Rome and thrown into the dungeons of the Inquisition, sentenced to do public penance, and condemned to imprisonment for life. Some years afterwards the Duc d'Estrées, the French ambassador, lay dying of a disease for which his physicians could suggest no cure. Borri being called in, saved the life of the ambassador, who, in gratitude, obtained a mitigation of the doctor's captivity. Borri was transferred from the dungeons of the Holy Office to the Castle of St. Angelo, where he was leniently treated, and lodged in a handsome apartment. He was even permitted to have a laboratory, where he constantly pursued the studies and experiments of his favourite art. In the Castle of St. Angelo Borri breathed his last, aged seventy-nine, in the year 1695. There, after a lapse of more than a century, died, too, his successor and imitator, Cagliostro, whose im. postures, if they have acquired greater fame, undoubtedly belonged to a less intellectual and less lofty form of performance than those of the Cavaliere Borri.
The literary remains of Borri include several curious works. The most famous and the most rare is a collection of letters addressed to several European princes. They treat of “the great work,” of the freezing of mercury, of divers secrets, of the cosmetic art, of metals, of the soul of beasts. In the last-named, Borri maintained, in opposition to the Peripatetics, the Cartesian hypothesis, that brutes are mere machines. His arguments are full of scholastic subtleties, and among them is the definition whereby he proves the immortality of the soul, of which Joliere made so facetious an application—" that which thinks in us is the thinking being;” that is to say, "Why does man think ? Because he is endowed with the thinking faculty.”
In more recent times, the research of an Austrian antiquary-thongh Baron Hormayr deserves a higher title than that has made a highly interesting addition to Borri's literary remains. From the Imperial archives at Vienna was exhumed an account, by Borri's own hand, of his arrest at Goldingen, in Moravia, under the circumstances related above. To this recital the Cavaliere had appended a narrative of an attempt on the life of Kaiser Leopold I. by poisoned candles, of his interview with the
Kaiser and discovery of the horrid secret of the means by which he successfully combated the nefarious design.
“I must premise," writes Borri, “ that I lay under suspicion of being connected with the Hungarian malcontents, because I was undertaking a journey to Constantinople by way of Moravia and Poland. On the 10th April, I came to Goldingen on the frontiers of Silesia. The master of the hotel where I passed the night proposed to me to sup with a company which was about to be served. I agreed to this, and found that amongst the company was a certain count, the chief landed proprietor in Goldingen. The count spoke Italian and Latin with fluency, and seldom had I met with a more pleasant companion. He listened with particular pleasure to my descriptions of the journeys which I had made, and invited me to spend a few days with him at his castle. I accepted his invitation, and took care to explain to him who I was. On finding that I was a nobleman he redoubled his attentions. I suspected no harm, and enjoyed myself thoroughly in the society of the persons who frequented the castle, amongst whom was an officer in the Imperial service, a Milanese of the Dame of Scotti. As this gentleman was my fellow-countryman, his company was particularly agreeable to me. On the 23rd of April, I took break
, fast as usual with my host, who told me with much circumlocution and embarrassment that a commissioner had arrived from Vienna with orders to arrest me, and carry me to that capital on account of the suspicion under which I lay of being connected with tho Hungarian malcontents. On my inquiring how it was that the Kaiser had been so speedily informed of my name and present residence, he suggested that the information had, perhaps, been given by some stranger who had journeyed from Goldingen to Vienna. At this moment appeared the commissioner, followed by Scotti. The commissioner at once repeated to me the count's statement, adding that Captain Scotti would accompany us to Vienna on account of his speaking my language. I made no objection, thanked the count for his kind hospitality, and expressed to him my hope, that either in this world or the next he might be richly rewarded for the service he had done me. On the journey I was well treated. I asked Scotti how people could have taken into their heads that I was a partisan of the Hungarian malcontents, seeing that I knew absolutely nothing of them, their country, and their designs, and was going to Constantinople, not for political but for scientific ends. • Dear friend,' said Scotti, ' you must have powerful enemies among the higher clergy on account of this science of yours, and it seems that the Pope's Nuncio at Vienna is one of them.” “Now,' said I, • I see the cause of my arrest as clearly as in a looking-glass,' and dropped the subject. Amongst other things, Scotti observed that the Kaiser had been ill for several months, and that rumour said he had been poisoned. But,' objected I, ' his doctors would at once have remarked the fact, and would have expelled the poison from his system. For my part I do not affect the profound knowledge of those gentlemen ; but I should certainly be able under such circumstances to deal with poison.
Good God ! perhaps I am now sent for to cure my persecutor! Ah. what miserable creatures we men are ! When it comes to a question of life and death your great Kaiser is in a far worse plight than his prisoner! However,' said I to Scotti, 'you may inform the Kaiser that if he has actually been poisoned I undertake to cure him, and that I am incapable of taking revenge for the insult done me in putting me under arrest.'
“On the morning of the 28th of April we arrived in Vienna, and proceeded to an hotel where a room was assigned me. I was still under arrest, and the soldier who guarded me and brought my meals knew me by no other name than "Herr Arrestant.' On the same afternoon Scotti appeared, and told me that he had been received in audience by the Kaiser to present his report on my business, and that his Majesty intended to call me to his presence in order to consult me on the state of his health. My interview would probably take place at night, as the Kaiser did not wish the Nuncio, at whose complaint I had been arrested, to get scent of the matter, or that it should be spoken of in Vienna. Scotti confirmed what he had previously said about my powerful enemies, adding that the Emperor was sorry to see me accused of heresy, and to find himself compelled to secure my person.
• My dear Scotti,' said I, “if my conscience had charged me with any such crime, neither you nor the Kaiser would ever have been able to apprehend me. My good conscience and my zeal for lightening the sufferings of humanity enable me to support my confinement with calm and indifference. For the Saviour's example so fills my spirit, that I should count myself far happier than your Kaiser were I condemned to death on the cross by the high Catholic priests, who, in hatred and ignorance, leave their Jewish rivals far behind. Happy would be the hour in which I could hear the sentence! and what consolation for me to be reconciled to my Lord by dying on the cross !'
“ • Let me,' said I to Scotti, hang a little on this sweet thought. You, as a soldier, have no susceptibility for such flights. Your enthusiasm carries you no further than your horse's back, whence you may cut men down for your country's sake. Follow your vocation; you are paid for it. God alone, and no Kaiser, can reward me. The good which I do to mankind flows from my love of God. See, my young friend, this is what a heretic tells you, and only because you are wanting in knowledge of men.
Consider well, and judge not your fellow-men and your friends by their words, but compare their professions with their deeds, so as to discover whether they act up to their professions. Let me assure you that the worst of men gather in princes' courts. They think in one way, act in another, and speak in another, for without such elasticity of character they could seldom attain to high clerical or lay charges. And remember that God has not made man for this world but for another. This one is not ours, and for this reason it is all the same to me whether I am in Vienna, Constantinople, or Rome. I shall be persecuted whereever I am, but on such persecution I smile, for I know a higher Being,
a Being who suffers me to be persecuted because he loves me,—loves me, perhaps, better than you and your Kaiser.'
“So agitated was Scotti that he fell upon my neck and wept, entreating permission to remain with me a while. I lay down and had slept well for some hours when Scotti awoke me. He said that a servant bad come to conduct me to court; adding, that he himself was charged to follow, for the surveillance of my person.
" At eight in the evening we came to the Imperial palace. Scotti retired, and the servant conducted me through the apartments to an ante-chamber, whence I was led by a chamberlain into the Kaiser's sittingroom, As I entered he said in Italian, “His Majesty sits there.' I approached with a profound obeisance, when the following dialogue and transactions ensued :
" Kaiser. Are you the Cavaliere Borri?-a Milanese, if I mistake not ? “ Borri. Humble servant, your Majesty.
“K. I am sorry to see you a prisoner, but for the moment you are no longer so.
“B. Unless I had been a prisoner I should not have had the good fortune to see your Majesty.
“K. I have heard much good of your scientific knowledge, but I am told that in another respect you are a very dangerous man.
“B. Your Majesty has doubtless heard all this, for persecution always follows praise, especially in courts.
“K. How have you come to mix yourself up with religion ? That is the affair of the clergy.
"B. Religion is man's greatest pleasure upon earth. How can we find comfort amidst all the pains and sorrows of life unless through religion ?
“K. You are a Catholic ?
“K. I am told that you have several times changed your religion, and have founded a new one.
“B. My enemies were driven to say this, else they had not been able to bring me here ; and your Majesty must know that my enemies are also your own.
“ K. What do you mean?
“B. Merely that those who have brought me here know neither religion nor humanity: such people cannot possibly be your Majesty's friends, for they are God's foes.
“Here the chamberlain observed — The inspiration is already in his brain !'
“B. Will your Majesty allow me to inquire who this man is who speaks so presumptuously of inspiration ?
“K. My chamberlain. But you need not trouble yourself about him ; he always will be putting in his capricious remarks.
“ “ B. Naturally, else he were no courtier. He is certainly not inspired by religion ; that I read in his eyes. Still less by truth; that I see by his