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In a narrative of his life, a sketch of their history will not, I presume, be deemed an impertinent digression. It is certainly interesting, as connected with the history of manners and opinions in our European
world for the last two centuries, of which we have lived to witness the wonderful winding up. Authors, such as our Robertson, who have entered into considerable details respecting the institution, have not touched upon the subject of their history, and this may be deemed a thing wanting in our language. The present narrative, which is merely a digression, cannot aspire beyond the name of a very confined abridgment, yet I believe it will be found to include every important fact. It will not be charged, it is hoped, with any deficiency of fairness or candour. Perhaps it will not satisfy the few enthusiastic admirers who have survived the Jesuits ; less will it please those who have accustomed themselves to echo charges without evi. dence, and repeat abusive epithets without mach inquiry whether they were deserved. An error in Robertson is pointed out, which he derived from the representations of foreign writers. On the whole, this attempt, for it is nothing more, may have disclosed particulars not known to the gene
rality of English readers, and will be received as an imperfect substitute for a regular history.
With respect to the transactions in the life of Pombal, on which there hangs much mystery and obscurity, the Author does not flatter himself his work will produce entire light; but what information he could gather he has delivered fairly and impartially. Some particulars he has added to what was before the Public from sources of the highest character. He must particularly acknowledge his obligations to his friend and neighbour the late Marquis of Sligo, who, during his residence in Lisbon, made much and various inquiry. Without his communications, the present work would have been indeed very imperfect. For the opinions delivered in the course of it, either upon particular circumstances or upon the character in general, the Author must declare they are entirely his own. There he has consulted only his own mind, his own train of reflections. The opinions of Baretti are occasionally referred to, not from any high value set upon their general character, but merely from the particular circumstance that he is the only traveller I am acquainted with, who has given an account of Portugal as it struck the observer during the government of Pombal. The opinions, such as they are, were written on the spot, not long after the events to which they are applicd.
ULIUS ALBERONI was born in an obscure dwelling, at one of the extremities of the city of Placentia, March 30, 1664.
His parents were in the meanest circumstances ; bis father earned his livelihood as a gardener.
The opinion of a ruling passion, which, according to our elegant moral poet, discovers itself in the first unfoldings of the mind, and gathers strength through all the changes of life, never received so forcible an illustration as in the instance before us.
From his earliest childhood, Alberoni had one object perpetually in view. In the pursuit of this no difficulties discouraged him, no affronts or indignities repulsed him; nothing so mean to which he would not stoop ; no experiment so unpromising, which he was not prepared to try.
He first engaged the notice of a parish-priest, as a forward officious boy.—This priest took him into his service, taught him to read and write, and the rudiments of the Latin tongue.
He next received instruction from some Barnabite Friars, who were pleased with an air of quickness and docility about him.
His attention to ingratiate himself with his protectors had so good an effect, that he was appointed ringer of bells to the cathedral.
Here he came under the observation of the Canons, who, seeing him busy every where, and studious to recommend himself to every one, testified to him some degree of good-will. The wily youth was not without distinguishing eyes. He discovered those who possessed the ear of the Bishop, and took care to be most assiduous about them.
He determined to become an ecclesiastic, and by the influence of the persons who befriended him, was admitted to the minor orders. He received the tonsure, that is, had the form of a crown shaved upon his head; which denotes a person set apart for ecclesiastical functions.
His next step was to receive the order of priesthood ;- but here he found some difficulty.
Where a life of idleness invites so many to become Priests, Bishops are not willing to ordain those who are likely to become a burthen to the church. This likelihood strongly attached to