Category — Louis XIV

Saturday, July 15. 1704.

Numb. 38.
[165]

I Hope, when the Readers of these Sheets expect me to make good the last Paragraph of the former Review, they do not at the same time look for an Indictment against the King of Sweden fill’d with all the long Scroul of Adverbs, that the Lawyers Croud into their Forms of Process, the Malitiouslys, Ambitiouslys, &c.

Or if they look for ill Language from me on that Head, and think I shall treat the King of Sweden with less respect than becomes me, to a Crown’d Head; such People will be equally mistaken.

I shall never forget when I mention that Prince, that I am speaking of, Charles the XIIth. King of Sweden, whose Glorious Ancestors have done such great Things for the Protestant Religion, as all the World cannot Parallel; that his Father was the general Mediator of the Peace of Riswyck: That he was the true Preserver of the Glory and Valour of his great Progenitors, that he charg’d at the Head of his Horse-Guards in the Battail of Bremen, and fir’d his Pistol in the Face of a Danish Collonel, when we was not above 16 years of Age, and gain’d the Victory by his extraordinary Courage.

I cannot forget that Carolus Gustavus the first King of this immediate Race, over-ran all Poland, drove King Cassimire quite out of his Kingdom, and being Invaded by the Dane, in a manner not much unlike the Present King of Poland’s Invading Livonia; viz. when the Swede was engag’d at a great distance with other Enemies; he quitted Poland after having ravag’d it in a dreadful manner, and in the depth of Winter, with an Army of old Iron-fac’d Swedes, as hard as the Ice they March’d on; began such a March as never was attempted in the World before; he March’d from Cracow in Poland, to Fredricksode in Holstein, and was upon the Dane before he had time to Examine, whether he flew through the Air, or march’d over Land; his very Approach frighted the Dane from the Continent, and presuming the Swede could not fly over the Sea, nor swim thro’ the Water, he took Sanctuary in the Isles of the Baltick, with his whole Army. The Swede, whom neither Winter by Land, nor want of Vessels by Sea, were capable of stopping, in the fury of his Undertaking; Assaulted the strong Frontier Town of Fredricksode, carried it Sword in hand, his Dragoons swimming thro’ the River, among the flakes of Ice, and put the Garrison to the Sword. [Read more →]

July 15, 2008   No Comments

Saturday, May 6. 1704.

Numb. 18.
[85]

OUR last ended with the Character of the profound Submission made by all the Gentry of France, to the Command of their absolute Monarch; Gentlemen who have travel’d in France too lately for History to come at the Heels of the Fact, tell us very diverting Stories of the Court of the Marshals in Cases of Personal Affronts, and the extraordinary Justice done by way of Reparation in Point of Honour, which the French call L’Amende Honorable.

I have often fancy’d there is something more of the Old Custom, which we call Lex Talionis, in this way of judging, than in any Proceedings I have read of – If I give the Reader the Particulars of some, from the many I have heard, I desire the Favour of the Censorious Part of Mankind to take this with them by the way.

I cannot satisfie my self to say any thing in Print, without either being very sure of my Authorities, or letting the World know upon what Foot, as to Credit, they are to take it. – ’Tis my Opinion, if an Historian relates a Falshood without the due Caution of telling his Reader how he had it, he pawns his own Reputation upon the Truth of it, makes himself answerable, and the Fraud becomes his own.

Wherefore, tho’ I may on the Credit of the Authors, tell the World I believe firmly the Instances I am going to give are Genuine; yet I shall always tell you when I have a Story from a Report of Gentlemen, or from a positive History. [Read more →]

May 6, 2008   No Comments

Tuesday, May 2. 1704.

Numb. 17.
[81]

THe Conquest the King of France has made over the Duelling Humour of his Subjects, is the Theme we are upon, and some Digression on that Head has been made to our English Affairs, which as it is what I shall very seldom do, I hope the Reader will excuse.

I might Enlarge here on the vulgar Errors of Behaviour, and the Mistaken Notions Men have Entertain’d by the Folly of Custom, concerning Honour, Gallantry, and Courage; but History is rather my Business, and I shall make as few Excursions as Possible.

I have met with some that will alledge, The King of France has several times broken his Oath in the matter of Duelling, and the Severity with which he Threatn’d his Subjects, has been Mitigated frequently, and in particular in the Case of Monsieur de St. A.–, who, at the Intercession of Madam de Montespan, and just at the time when his Majesty was more particularly a Captive to that Lady, was recall’d from Banishment, and admitted to his Favour. – But those who defend the King’s Honour in this Case, tell us, The King was acquainted, that this Gentleman tho’ he fled, was not Actually in the Affair. The Business in short was thus: There had been two or three Families Embroiled in the Quarrel, and in spight of all the Terror of the King’s Edict and Oath, they met in an Island of the Sein, and Fought rather a little Battail, than a Duel, for they met six or eight of a side, and two or three were kill’d, the rest shifted.

This Gentleman having so strong an Intercessor, obtain’d his Majesty’s License to come Home and take his Tryal, in Order to Convince his Majesty that he was Innocent: I won’t say but things might be subtilly manag’d, and that Powerful Lady Order’d all things in such manner, that tho’ it was too well known he was Wounded in the Action, yet before the Judges it was made very clear, that he was Innocent of all the matter. ’Twas prov’d that he advis’d the Gentleman not to meet, and refus’d to be concern’d, and several such Circumstances, by Dexterity of Management, and no body coming in to Prosecute, he was absolutely clear’d of the Fact, by the Process of the Law. [Read more →]

May 2, 2008   3 Comments

Saturday, April 29. 1704.

Numb. 16.
[77]

SUch is the Partiality of Mens Humours, that I must not Attempt to say any thing that is well of an Enemy, without a previous Assurance, that I am not going over to his Party: ’Tis something hard that a Man cannot be allow’d to own any thing that’s Honourable in the Man we fight with, tho’ he has Signaliz’d himself to all the World in the Fact, and all Men must allow it to be true.

Some reply, But tell us, then, the Criminal things he has done; as you have shewn us his bright, shew us his dark side; be Impartial, and as we see the Hero, let us see the Tyrant too.

Why really, Gentlemen, I am afraid I shall never please you that way neither; for that tho’ I pretend to speak as plain English as any-body, and too plain for some People; yet possibly when I come to it, I may not call him all the Monsters, and Barbarous Perjured Tyrants, at least in Express Terms, as some People may expect from me.

And yet I shall go near to do the World Justice as to that part of the French Affairs too, but one part must come before another, and the Reader must have Patience; he that will not, is desired to let this Paper alone, and ought indeed neither to read this nor any thing else. [Read more →]

April 29, 2008   No Comments