H́nh ảnh trang

Feb. 20. sian Finland; which is probable enough, if they obtain in Sweden, although an object of little attention on the score of profit. A remark may not be improper here, on the decided taste of the Russians for this gem, which they prefer to all others, (with the exception of a few of the nobility;) and it is surprising to see the quantity with which a Russian merchant's wife is ornamented on the greater holidays, whilst the husband appears by her side, in his beard, and the simple national garb; even her head drefs is garnished with a species of lace, made of small pearls, which has no bad effect; however, it must be acknowledged, that they are in general of the inferior kind, selected by the Arabs for the European, Turkish, and Persian markets.

The pearls of Britain were celebrated by the Romans; and Suetonius reports, that Cæsar was induced to undertake his British expedition for the sake of our pearls; and that they were so large that it was necessary to take the hand to try the weight of a single one. Mr Pennant, with much probability, supposes, that Cæsar only heard this by report; and that the chrystalline balls, in old treatises called mineral pearls, were mistaken for them. It is, however, afserted, both by Pliny and Tacitus, that Cæsar brought home a buckler made with British pearls, which he dedicated to, and hung up in the temple of Venus Genetrix.

It is said, that Sir Richard Wynne of Guydir, chamberlain to Catharine, queen of Charles II. presented her majesty with a pearl, taken in the river Conway, which is, to this day, honoured with a place in the regal crown.

In the present century, a pearl was taken in the river Ythan in Aberdeenshire, and sold to a travelling dealer in Aberdeen for a trifle, which he carried to London, where, ignorant of its value, but observing that it was of great size and beauty, he offered it to a Jew, afking, what he thought a very high price, in his own dialect, forty pund, that is L. 3:6:8. The Jew said, that was too high a price; but that he would give him 35 guineas, and no more; and anxious to secure the purchase, told down the money on the table. The astonished Aberdonian looked at the sum with surprise; but did not discover his secret; and took up the money with great satisfaction, without counting it. The writer has in his pofsefsion two pearls found in that river of considerable size; but not remarkable for their lustre or purity.

In the last century, several pearls of great value were found in the rivers of the counties of Tyronne and Donnegal in Ireland. One that weighed thirtysix carats was valued at L. 40, but being foul lost much of its value. Other single pearls were sold for L. 4, 10s. and one for L. 10. This last was sold a second time to lady Glenlealy, who put it into a necklace, and refused L. 80 for it from the duchefs of Ormond.


No mode of estimating the value of the pearl is given by authors; but it is always very great, when of a fine colour, form, and size. The Indians and Arabs talk of what they call the black water, in the splendour of pearls, which enhances their price in those countries.

End of the FIRST ORDER of gems.



Oh! what is pomp, and sublunary power!
And what is man, that boasts himself so high?
The sport of fate, the tenant of an hour,
Dust, animated dust, that breathes to die.


AMONG all the phenomena that have occurred within the period of certain history, none have tended more strongly to mark the unfortunate state of kings, than those events which have lately occurred respecting Louis XVI. of France. I do not here allude to his death; for in regard to that particular nothing extraordinary has occurred; nor ought it to excite the smallest degree of wonder :-it was quite in the train of usual events; for there is scarcely an instance on record, in which a faction, in any kingdom, acquired such power as to subvert the government, and dethrone the king, that they did not make haste to put the unfortunate monarch to death ; from a natural dread, that, if he should be allowed to live, he might, at some future period, become a center of union, to connect his friends and partizans into a compact body, having views hostile to the predominating party, and that were to be dreaded in proportion to the virtues and abilities of the prince. There was, therefore, little room to doubt of the fate of Louis from the time of his dethronement; and the late events respecting him have been only a necessary consequence of the prelude that had already been atted.


But the circumstance that strikes my mind as being extremely singular, and as tending to point out, in most striking colours, the unfortunate situa tion of royalty, is the following. Louis had been king of France for upwards of eighteen years. He was not secluded from the sight of his subjects, like those eastern monarchs who fhut themselves up in the interior parts of their palace for years together, without being seen by their subjects. The king of France was of easy accefs: he conversed freely with foreign ambassadors, ministers of state, and all who were presented at the court: he went abroad and mixed among his subjects: he afsisted at the deliberations of his privy councils and parliaments, and did other acts that were open to the inspection of all.-Yet, in spite of all this, had Louis died before the time that he was called to answer at the bar of the National Convention, the accusations that were brought against him, he would have been universally accounted a weak and insignificant monarch ;-a prince of no talents;-a being despicable almost in every respect;-a perfect sot indeed ;- -a creature who knew nothing, and valued nothing beyond the mere sensual gratification of indulging in the pleasures of the table to excefs. He would have been therefore despised, and soon forgotten, as a monarch who was unfortunate indeed, but who deserved to be so; because these misfortunes, it would have been believed, had been, in a great measure, the result of his own stupidity and brutality. To all who fall read this paper in the present day, I appeal for the justnefs of the charac


ter as here drawn, according to the general appre hension of the people in Europe, before the period here particularised.

But, by a singular fatality, as it should seem, overpowering the judgement of the ruling powers in France, it came into their minds to bring the unfortunate monarch before them, to answer in person, publicly at the bar of their afsemby, to the accusations they had raked together, for the purpose of overwhelming him with the opprobrium of guilt, by the unguarded exprefsions they hoped might drop from his own mouth on that trying occasion. But how grievously were they disappointed! and with what wonder did the astonished world behold the man whom they had contemned and despised, rise, by the sole energy of his own mind, to an exaltation far exceeding any thing they could ever have expected from any one of the human race! Taken as he was, by surprise, and led before the tribunal, without so much as even being told whither he was going, or what was the purpose intended; without. the benefit of counsel to prepare him how to act; without having had an opportunity of collecting his mind, and arranging his ideas on the subject, he was at once set before the afsembly, and commanded to answer queries which they had been preparing for many months before, with a view to insnare him. Is it pofsible to conceive an idea of a man being placed in a more trying situation! Yet Louis, with a dignity, a meeknefs, an affability; with a firm-, nefs, untinctured with petulance, or peevishnefs, answered, without hesitation or embarrassment, every

« TrướcTiếp tục »