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After these various anecdotes and observations on Sheridan, we must close our report by a few remarks on his biographer. It has been often remarked that the task of writing a life has a strong tendency to inspire the narrator with partiality, and is the cause of the public being so largely supplied with biographical panegyrics: but such is certainly not the case with Dr. Watkins; who, at one time cold and at another time hostile to Mr. S., runs the risk of being suspected by the ardent friends of the orator to have undertaken the task with a view to depreciate his reputation. We can scarcely turn to a chapter in the second volume that does not contain charges not only of imprudence but of intemperance, vehemence, and inconsistency: in short, almost the only passages, in which the biographer deigns to bestow an approving epithet, are those in which Mr. S. is represented as differing from his opposition-friends, and giving (vol. ii. p. 317.) a temporary support to government. If it were not to be wished that the life of Sheridan should be written by an oppositionist, Dr. W. is evidently in the contrary extreme; being adverse to all the points for which Sheridan contended most eagerly; viz. the emancipation of the Irish Catholics, a reform in parliament, and the maintenance of peace with the French revolutionists. In his ardor for the ministerial cause, Dr. W. very good naturedly takes it for granted (vol. ii. pp. 120. 247.) that Mr. John Reeves, and other declamatory members of the loyal associations in 1793, were influenced by no private calculation, but were actually hurried by patriotic zeal into that course which so soon led them into offices under government. In several parts of the book, (such as vol. ii. p. 170.) we have much irrevalent matter; in others, (vol. ii. p. 126.) a strange obscurity in the expression: but the great faults of Dr. W. are diffuseness and want of discrimination. Instead of selecting the leading points of his subject, and rigorously excluding all subordinate matter, he has spoken more or less of almost every debate in which Sheridan took a part; so that nothing is exhibited in a forcible light, and the reader rises from the perusal without any distinct preference of one part of his speeches to another. The decorations of the volume consist of three engravings; the first, a portrait of Mr. Sheridan from a painting by sir Joshua Reynolds; and the others being portraits of his first and his second lady.

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Art. III.--Narrative of a Journey into Persia, in the Suite of the

Imperial Russian Embassy, in the year 1817. By Moritz von Kotzebue, Captain on the Staff of the Russian Army, &c. &c. &c. Translated from the German. Illustrated by Plates. 1 vol. 8vo.

[From the European Magazine.] PERSIA is one of those countries which present the most re

pulsive and discouraging obstacles to the researches of an ordinary traveller. The dreary desolation of a great part of its territory; the cloister-like and sepulchral dulness of its towns; the total seclusion of one half of the inhabitants, and the unaccommodating and intractable apathy of the other; the absence of a public press; and the want of facilities for circulating epistolary correspondence, are considerations which would repress the zeal and relax the industry of the most ardent inquirer, who could resort only to the common sources of information. When we reflect also that the nature of the climate is such, that it is often necessary to journey after sunset, and to sleep during the day, we may imagine it possible for a stranger to travel from Laristan to the borders of Armenia, without enabling himself to draw up a more circumstantial account of the country, than a topographer would be qualified to give of Oxford, after a midnight walk through that venerable city.

The case is far different with a traveller who, on entering Persia, is amply provided with letters of introduction, and with credentials which place him in immediate and familiar communication with the inhabitants. It is to such facilities that we owe the perspicuous and interesting details recorded by colonel Johnson in his journey; and to the same advantages, united with those of a resident public functionary, we are indebted for the luminous researches of sir John Malcolm, and for the picturesque and lively delineation of Persian society and manners in the volumes of Mr. Morier. These works have withdrawn the veil which intercepted from our view so ancient and renowned a nation; they have diminished, if we may so say, the idea of its remoteness and have gone far to remove that barrier of prejudice, by which, more than by the interposition of rivers and mountains, Asia has been disunited from Europe. The same observations apply to the present narrative, which is a very estimable accompaniment to the writings of our own countrymen respecting Persia. Accustomed as we have been, to judge of that kingdom on the testimony of Englishmen, it is both interesting and instructive to compare their statements with those of foreigners, who have contemplated the subject with other feelings and other views. It peculiarly concerns us to ascertain what has been said in Russia, respecting the country in question; and for this purpose, the volume before us will be of indubitable service, as it in some degree partakes of the character of an official document. Captain Kotzebue was attached as an employé to the suite of General Jermoloff, on his recent embassy to Persia, and appears to have successfully availed himself of the peculiar opportunities for observation, which such a situation af forded him. He has brought together a number of curious anecdotes relative to the leading individuals in the Persian court, and others illustrative of the general character of the people, with whom, he and his companions, appear to have been on terms of perfect friendship, and even intimacy. In his account of various interviews and visits, we trace instances of that facility which has been often remarked in the Russians, of accommodating themselves to the genius, disposition, and usages of any foreign nation among whom they happen to reside. With respect to the mission itself, it appears, from what captain Kotzebue has thought fit to disclose, to have been merely an affair of state-ceremony, a renewal of professions of amity between the two powers, and a reciprocation of good wishes, testified by the usual interchange of presents and compliments de part et d'autre. With excusable partiality, he has endeavoured to show, that the Russian ambassador was received with honours and distinctions which had never before been manifested to the representative of any sovereign upon earth; and it is not a little amusing to observe the frankness and spirit with which his English translator exposes and corrects these exaggerations.

To those of our readers who wish to study the character of the Persians, to inquire into their domestic establishments, the condition of their females, the state of education among them, and the extent of their intellectual resources, we would recommend this volume, as presenting in a small compass, a varied fund of information. The perusal is very entertaining, for the writer's mode of narrating, partakes more of the vivacity of a Frenchman, than of the sentimental dulness of a German. In adverting to a specimen, we may proceed at once to the court; and passing over the ceremonials of audience, select the following picture of the shah on his throne.

• His majesty is of a middle stature; of his face, nothing is seen but two large fine eyes; the rest is concealed by his beard, which hangs down to his knees. It is said to be the finest in Persia, and it is invoked on all occasions calling for the most sacred testi mony.

He sat upon a golden throne, richly ornamented with real stones. It was shaped like one of our old-fashioned chairs. OB the first step there was worked a bas-relief of a tiger in gold.

• His dress was of gold stuff, with the addition of a shawl. The crown increased in breadth towards the summit, and was surmounted by three diamond plumes. On his arms, where every Persian carries his Alcoran, there were two diamonds well known in Europe, surrounded by others of very large sizes. His dagger and his girdle were profusely studded with stones and pearls.

• The tent was hung with red silk, and on the right of the throne his majesty's seventeen sons stood ranged against the curtain: they were the only persons who shared the honours of the audience with us. Immediately adjoining the throne, was a handsome youth, said to be a nephew of the king, who stood in waiting near a carpet worked with genuine pearls, and upon which lay a round cushion, with tassels adorned with pearls of an enormous size. Upon this carpet stood the great kallion, which is crowded with large brilliants; and a cup, which appeared to be formed of a single stone. Immediately before the tent stood three officers, the first bearing a crown upon a cushion richly embroidered; the second, a sabre, and the third, a shield, which from the number of precious stones with which it is ornamented, formed one of the most valuable ar.

ticles of the royal treasure. From this short description, it may be seen that the value of single articles is immense; but I must confess that, upon the whole, there was no appearance of that: Asiatic magnificence which has been so highly extolled by European travellers.

"At the conclusion of the audience, the prime minister was allowed to come into the tent, where he stood next to the members of the embassy. The king, in a loud voice, said much to him in praise of the ambassador, and particularly mentioned his excellency's delicacy in rising from his seat every time that he addressed him. This convinced his majesty, that if his excellency knew how to assert his rights, he also showed much good taste in the exercise of them.

• The king dismissed us very graciously, and commanded the prime minister to see that the embassy were provided with every thing which they could want. We returned as we had come, making three bows in the court, where the adjutant-general resumed his slippers, at the place where he had left them. Mahmud-Chan accompanied us home, where the ambassador justly expatiated on the noble qualities of the Shah, respecting whom, we learnt that he was also the first poet of his nation.'

We cannot dismiss Mr. Kotzebue until we have accompanied him to the tent, where the presents from his imperial master were laid out for the inspection of the king of Persia.

‘His majesty now came, and, perhaps, for the first time in his life, saw a full length reflection of his own figure.“ These mirrors,” said he,

are dearer to me than all my treasures.” Continual exclamations of Pach! pach! and Whoop! whoop! again resounded throughout the tent, whenever he touched any article. The service of cut glass pleased him exceedingly. He desired almost every article to be presented to him separately, inquired where each had been made, and always said that it pleased him more than all his treasures.

.” The ambassador observed, that the treasures of Persia were too well known in Europe to render it possible to surprise his majesty by the magnificence of the imperial present; but these articles were all the produce of Russian manufactories, with which, by these specimens, the emperor was desirous of making his majesty, acquainted. “They are far dearer to me than all my treasures!” he again exclaimed.

• He spoke with much graceful ease, and showed that he knew how to appreciate each article. He took up a beautiful goblet of cut glass, and said to his excellency,“ truly this glass is so fine that it might seduce me to drink wine!"

• The superintendant of the presents, was allowed to present every article into his own hands; an honour which is never extended to any person but the prime minister,-which affords another proof that the king is proud only when the customs of his country require that he should be so.

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VOL. XIV.

The sable furs excited his admiration to such a degree, that he doubted at first whether they were not dyed; a hesitation which created no surprise, since those worn even by the most opulent chans were reddish. When the ambassador had convinced him that the colour was natural, adding, that the emperor had selected them himself, he suddenly laid his hand on the furs, and, resting it there, said, “ I wish that my hand may happen to touch the place where that of the emperor has rested; my friendship is sincere, and lasts for ever.

'He took a pleasure in looking frequently in the mirrors, and at last said, smilingly, “ These will make me vain of my person.” He desired that the machinery of the elephant might be put in motion, and admired its mechanism. He praised the costume of the Russian ladies, and was in such good spirits, and so lively, that he sent orders to his principal officers throughout the camp, “to come and admire the presents which the great emperor had sent to his friend the great Shah;" and he commanded the minister instantly to despatch a courier to Teheran, with orders to build a saloon expressly for the reception of the presents; adding," He who shall be the first to bring intelligence of their safe arrival, shall receive a reward of one thousand tumanes; but he who disregards my commands, shall be answerable for his neglect with his head."

ART. IV.-Views of Society and Manners in the North of Ireland,

in a Series of Letters, written in the year 1818. By John Gamble, Esq. author of ' Irish Sketches,' Sarsfield,' 'Northern Irish Tales,' &c. 8vo.

[From the Gentleman's Magazine.] IN N the present age of tours and journeys, when the liberation of

the continent has opened so wild a field for investigation, Ireland seems to be sinking into provincial obscurity, and is likely to be more than ever neglected. But its claims to notice, though superseded for a time, by those of more distant countries, which have the attraction of novelty to recommend them, are not intrinsically diminished, and can never be regarded with indifference. These claims continue to be deeply felt, but they are of such a nature, that the acknowledgment of them is no gratifying duty; indeed, the very mention of Ireland conjures up a host of painful recollections and forebodings, from which the mind, rather than combat them, would willingly escape, seeking refuge from the trouble of devising a present remedy, in the passive hope that future events may, somehow or other, avert-the threatened evil. Thus, to vary the similitude, that once distracted country appears on our political horizon like a slumbering volcano, which, at any moment, in a season of seeming tranquillity, may again vomit forth its devastating fires. Impressed with an apprehension that some terrible explosion is preparing, we stand aloof, in still but unquiet

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