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of rendering his “prose run mad” into readable English will never, even in the most competent hands, be an easy one ; but there are qualifications the want of which is not to be excused in any one who ventures to publish translations of historical works; and it will not be thought an unreasonable pretension if we say that we would absolutely require in the translator of works of that class some acquaintance, at the least, with geography and with history; some familiarity with the idiom of the foreign language, and capacity to understand the meaning of the original, whenever, as sometimes happens even to M. de Chateaubriand, the author may chance to express himself in no very affected or mysterious phraseology. With these truly moderate qualifications we regret to say that the author of the present translation does not appear to be provided ; and, as we do not like to make charges of this kind without producing authorities, we shall postpone for awhile our observations upon the work, in order to show, by a casual selection from the first hundred and fifty pages, the grounds upon which we have been compelled to adopt our conviction of the incapacity of the translator.

At page 24 we find in an account of the constitution of the Cortes these words, “The King was declared in“ violable ; the Catholic religion the only religion of the “ state ; and the constitution could not be altered except with “ the concurrence of three successive legislators." This is nonsense; but the word in the original is législatures; and thus the meaning, we should think, is sufficiently obvious. In the next page we have the following specimen of the fidelity of the translation ; the simple words “ La constitution de Cadix mécontenta tout le monde” are rendered as the constitution of Cadiz did not satisfy every one, though all submitted, &c.” A little further on we are informed that Riego, after attending a banquet,“ repaired to the theatre, where he was re“ ceived with acclamations. The audience rose and com“menced singing “the Tragala.' He was dismissed from the “ army and the Lorenzini club was closed.” audience but Riego himself who sang the Tragala : “il est reçu avec des acclamations, il se lève et entonne la Tragala ;" here is not a word about audience, and it would not have been quite so reasonable, in those days of popular agitation, to

It was not the


have dismissed the General because the audience of a theatre chose to sing the revolutionary stanzas. At

page 46 we find an account of one of the king's chaplains being sentenced to ten years of the galleys for some offence against the new order of things; but this punishment being deemed too lenient by the populace they condemned the priest to death, and carried their sentence into execution by striking him on the head with a hammer. In relating this event M. de Chateaubriand observes that the populace are apt to imagine that sovereignty consists in the exercise of mere force, “La plebe qui prend la souveraineté pour la force des bras,” and this very simple phrase the translator has tortured into a statement, that the populace, on that particular occasion, held sovereign sway by the force of arms.”

“On one side were the royal troops and on the other the “ militia and troops of the line, encamped face to face with true canicular ardour, swords drawn and matches lighted," (translation page 62); à l'ardeur de la canicule,in the heat of the dog-days, are the words of the original. “Strabo does not even record the name of Pompey,” p. 64; “Strabon estropie (mutilates) en l'écrivant jusqu'au nom de Pompée.” These blunders would be sufficient to prove our case; but there are others of so amusing a kind that we cannot resist the temptation of exposing a few of them.

The translator has chosen to represent a certain M. Cugnet de Montarlot as no less a personage than the author of the famous proclamations of the Emperor Napoleon to his troops. “Riego, who held a command in Aragon, connected himself “ with a French officer, named Cugnet de Montarlot, who had “ been prosecuted in France. He had been a lieutenant-ge“ neral in the service of Napoleon, and was the author of the “ famous proclamations of the emperor to his troops.” The author never intended to represent this gentleman in any such light; his words are “et redacteur, en qualité de lieutenantgénéral de Napoleon, de proclamations à nos soldats;" de, the indefinite article, and not des, the definite one; author of some proclamations to our soldiers, that is of proclamations to the French soldiers then invading Spain, issued with a view to seduce them from their allegiance to the Bourbons. We cannot imagine how any body could have fallen into this ludicrous



error, particularly when the very next sentence explains that Cugnet had been plotting and intriguing in our garrisons

the frontiers of the Pyrenees, and had collected some 6 deserters around him."

There is a passage about Valencia which puzzles us so much that we are almost afraid to hazard the conjecture which suggests itself to our mind as the solution of the translator's meaning; we cannot help suspecting that he mistakes the beautiful province of Valencia for some lady of great personal attractions but of terrible reputation; however, the reader shall judge for himself: “Valencia la bella is deceitful. “ Her beauty is that of Venozza and Lucretia; her intrigues “ and murders of Alexander and Borgia.” page 68. The meaning of the author is by no means so obscure, nor does it admit of the curious construction which we are inclined to put upon the words of the translator: the author intended to designate Valencia as the birthplace of Alexander Borgia and of Rosa Vanozza his mistress, before he was raised to the popedom, and the mother of the notorious Lucretia Borgia. “Valence “ la belle est trompeuse : fille des Maures elle a donné sa « beauté à Venozza et à Lucrèce, ses intrigues et ses cruautés “ à Alexandre VI. et à Borgia.” This is tolerably plain, but in the mysterious sentences of the translation we are convinced that there is far more than meets the eye.

The chapter in which M. de Chateaubriand describes the personages attending the congress of Verona is that in which the translator has contrived to introduce the most blunders— blunders of all sorts—in geography, history, and the meaning of some of the author's least obscure sentences. In the original a sarcastic allusion is made to the marriage of Maria Louisa with her chamberlain in the following words: “Parme envoya

l'archiduchesse d'Autriche duchesse de Parme, dite “ veuve de Napoléon, avec le comte de Neiperg, dit chambellan “ et chevalier d'honneur de l'archiduchesse.” In the translation the point is completely omitted, the words being : “ Parma sent the Austrian Arch-duchess Maria Louisa, now

Duchess of Parma, and called the widow of Napoleon. She “ was accompanied by Count Neiperg, who filled the posts of “ chamberlain and gentleman of honour to the Arch-duchess.” “The Arch-duke and Arch-duchess of Modeno came from

Calais :” almost every word in this short sentence is a blunder. In the first place it ought to be Arch-duke, duke of, &c., as it is in the original; he is only duke of Modena, but he is Arch-duke as belonging to the imperial family of Austria ; in the second place it is not Modeno but Modena of which he is duke ; and finally, they did not come from Calais but from Cataïo, a beautiful villa on the banks of the Brenta. “ The Arch-duke and Arch-duchess, together with the ViceKing and Vice-Queen, arrived with their courts :” the insertion of the two little words together with makes this passage perfectly unintelligible. They do not occur in the original; the arch-duke here designated and his lady are themselves the viceroy and vice-queen of Lombardy. The whole of this chapter abounds in mistakes of the same kind, but we fear that we have already enumerated only too many.

In another place we are told that Austria “might have “shown herself less uneasy, less inexorable, and more skilful, “ by betraying less suspicion of secret understandings:” whatever may be the intention with which the word secret is here introduced, the effect of the introduction is to show that the translator has no understanding, secret or public, of the author's meaning. By betraying less suspicion of talent, “en suspectant moins les intelligences" are the very simple words of the original.

But the most stupendous, the most incredible of his blunders remains to be told, and with this we propose to conclude our notice of the performances of the translator. In the earlier pages of the work, where M. de Chateaubriand gives a short, but eloquent, sketch of the rise and fall of the greatness of Spain, the following passage occurs: “Enfin elle tomba; sa fameuse in“ fanterie mourut à Rocroi, de la main du grand Condé; mais l'Espagne n'expira point avant qu'Anne d'Autriche n'eût mis au jour Louis XIV., qui fut l'Espagne même transportée sur le trône de France, alors que le soleil ne se couchait pas sur les terres de Charles-Quint.We must refer our readers to page 4 of the translation for proof of the incredible fact,a fact which we could hardly expect to be admitted on a bare assertion,—that the lines of this passage marked in Italics are actually rendered in the following terms: “But the down“ fall of Spain was not complete until Anne of Austria gave


TRANSPORTED TO FRANCE, before the sun had set on the dominions of Charles-Quint."!!

Those who carefully examine the present work of M. de Chateaubriand will find in it three ideas predominating apparently over all others: the first in importance, or that, at least, which seems to exercise the greatest influence over his mind, and to have chiefly contributed to the publication of these memoirs, is a desire to elevate himself above the heads of all his contemporaries in statesmanship, diplomacy, oratory and literature. Of the two other prevailing ideas it is not easy to say which lies the nearest to his heart, if indeed one be not the exact correlative of the other, and both, therefore, operating with exactly equal force upon his intellect and imagination. They are hatred of England, and subserviency to the policy of Russia.

The great object of the noble writer seems to be to vindicate to himself the authorship of the war with Spain in 1823; to represent the first idea of that outrage upon morality and the law of nations as a suggestion of his romantic mind, made at the time when he was discharging the functions of ambassador in London; to show that the negotiations which ended in the declaration of war were shaped by his genius, and conducted to their successful issue by his skilful diplomacy; and to assert his claim to the glory resulting from the duke of Angouleme's triumph over the Cortes, and the deliverance of King Ferdinand from the hands of the liberals in Cadiz. Upon this important point the world has hitherto laboured under a mistake which M. de Chateaubriand rejoices in having lived long enough to remove. His

His memory, as he very judiciously observes, if it endure at all, must outlast his life; and it is well therefore for him to have been enabled to make disclosures which will act as a defence against all attempts, posthumous or present, to deprive him of the fame arising from the authorship of the Spanish war.

“The grand question discussed at the Congress of Verona was the war with Spain. It has been said, and it is still repeated, that that war was forced upon France. This is precisely the reverse of the truth. If any one is deserving of blame in that memorable enterprise, it is the author of this narrative. M. de Villele was averse to hostilities. It is bat just

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