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himself, the laft Bampton Lecturer, acknowleges, that to fpeak of the persons in the Trinity collectively, as three Gods and three Lords, has an air of Polytheism.'-Mr. H. would have proceeded much more prudently, had he adhered to his own maxim: 'We cannot be too cautious, too reserved, or too general, in our doctrine, from the pulpit or the press, respecting the holy Trinity.'—The truth is, as Dr. Balguy has judiciously observed, “We cannot believe the truth of a proposition, unless we understand its meaning :--words not understood are no objects of faith :-many doctrines are unjustly cenfured for falfehood, when they are only void of meaning
Art. XI. The Life of Baron Frederic Trenck; containing his Ad.
ventures; his cruel and excessive Sufferings, during Ten Years Imprisonment, at the Fortress of Magdeburg, by Command of the late King of Pruffia; also, Anecdotes, Historical, Political, and Personal. Translated from the German, by Thomas Hol. croft. 12mo. 3
Vols. 125. sewed. Robinsons. 1788.
once both amiable and interesting. Prone, perhaps, to acts of the highest benevolence and kindness, yet born with appetites and paffions unknown to any other of the animal cream tion, he feels, when reftricted in the exercise of his particular propenfities (whatever the nature of those propensities may happen to be), that bis fituation is inferior to the condition of the brute. Consciousness is, in such a cafe, his greatest evil.
The Gentleman, whose Memoirs we are now to consider, is a signal and striking example of the truth of the preceding remark. Formed, both by nature and education, for great and distinguished actions, but wholly unable to fubdue or even check a turbulent and insolent spirit, he was deprived, by the hand of power, of the liberty he ardently loved :-chains and a dungeon were his doom. Thus, by imprudent conduct, did he pull down vengeance on his own head; and thus were his endow. ments and excellencies rendered useless to the world and to himself! To such a man, indeed, Consideration will probably come, as she does to moft. But alas ! The is then unable to do bim good *.
In perusing that part of our Author's narrative wbich comprehends the many years passed by him in prison, we naturally commiferate his sufferings, as men, while as citizens weareobliged to acknowlege that the sentence, by which he was subjected to them, appears not to have been wholly unjust. That Frederic the Second,
* Confideration like an angel came,
of Pruffia, a man diftinguiched by the elegance and refinement of his manners: a Monarch, who, in posselling arbitrary power, had openly attacked the political principles of the generally censured Machiavel + (though by the way we have always considered the performance in question, The Prince,' as partly ironical), and who in making this public attack was consequently defending the rights of mankind against the invasion of the despot and the tyrant-That such a man Tould wantonly and inhumanly (that is, on account of Aght and trivial offences) imprison the object of his immediate regard ; the soldier whom, as we gather from the Baron himself, he had in early life dira tinguished by particular rewards and employments; is highly improbable indeed I!. But let us attend to particular circumAtances.
The Baron in his dedication to the Ghoft of Frederic. which dedication is omitted by Mr. Holcroft in his tranflation-has the following energetic expression: I will not disguise fa&ts, nor relate untruths.- If I do, may posterity call me a liar, and the present world deem me a villain. We give him full and entire credit for his veracity in almost every essential point. It is indeed from his openness and candour that we are enabled to determine on his peculiar character, and that we are induced boldly to pronounce him in the wrong.
In the first place, then, he bad won over to himself the affection of the Princess A; and this, in the opinion of the Pruffian Monarch, was undoubtedly a capital crime: and in the second, he was charged with holding a correspondence with the Pandour Trenck, a commander in the Auftrian service, and consequently an enemy to the King. Now, as the Baron acknowleges that Frederic was led to conclude him a traitor, from
+ See the ' Anti Machiavel,' ou 'Examen du Prince de Machiavel,' of the King of Prullia: a work replete with sentiments the most liberal, manly, and just. In proof of this we beg leave to cite a single passage from it. Combien n'est point deplorable la fituation des peuples; lorsquils ont tout à craindre de l'abus du pouvoir souverain, lorique leurs biens sont en proie à l'avarice du Prince, leur liberté à ses caprices, leur repos à son ambition, leur sureté à sa perfidie, et leur vie à fes cruautés ? C'est là le tableau tragique d'un Etat où regneroit un Prince, comme Machiavel pretend le former.'
f Witness the remark of Frederic to the French ambassador, on the Baron's returning from a foraging party with considerable fpoil. • Ce'it le matadore de ma jeunesse.' We do not, however, perceive the force of matadore, and have little doubt but that the expression made use of by the King was matamare de ma jeunesse, i. e. The Hector : che defender of my youth. The French explain matamore by faux brave.
the misrepresentations of a man of the name of Jaschinsky, who was constantly about the Royal Person, and who had forged a letter from the aforesaid Pandour to our Author, inviting him to join his forces, declaring that he would receive him with open arms, like his friend and son.'-As this, we observe, was really the case, it is surely not a little extraordinary that Baron Trenck should attack his sovereign with vehemence and paffion : nay, that he fould in one page rail against him as the pattern of injustice, and in another vindicate him intirely from the charge. That such are the incanfiftencies exhibited in his narrative, the following passages are selected ro prove :
• It had been written from Vienna to Berlin, that the King must beware of Trenck, for that he would be at Dantzic at the time when the King was to visit his camp in Prullia. What thing more vile, what contrivance more abominable could the wickedest wretch on earth find to banish a man his country, that he might securely enjoy the property of which the other had been robbed ? That this was done, I have living witnesses in his Highness Prince Ferdinand of Brunswic, and the Berlin ministry, from whose mouths I learned this artifice of villany. It is the more necessary to establish this truth, because that no one can comprehend why the Great Frederic should have proceeded against me in a manner so cruel as, when it comes to be related, must raise the indignation of the just, and move hearts of iron to commiserate.'
• Frederic the Great, who by the breath of his power, entailed misery upon me, who gave me fufficient cause to speak truth undisguisedly, will, certainly, in his now enlightened state, behold the moderate manner in which I have justified myself, with very different eyes to what he would, had he, while on earth, perused it with all the perversity of despotic obftinacy, and clouded by the prejudices of human weakness.'
So much for the injustice and oppression of which our Author so bitterly complains, in the progress of his history. But now let us attend to his reasoning on the conduct of the King.
• I wrote to the King (Baron T. was at that time a prisoner in the fortress of Glatz), and sent him a true state of my case : fent indubitable proofs of my innocence, and supplicated justice, but received no answer.
• In this the Monarch may be justified, at least in my apprehenfion. A wicked man had maliciously and falsely accused me : Colonel Jaschinsky had made him suspect me for a traitor, and it was impoflible he should read my heart. The first a&t of injustice had been haftily committed. I had been condemned unbeard, onjudged, and the injustice that had been done me was known too late; Frederic the Great found he was not iofallible. Pardon I could not alk, for I had committed no offence *; and the King would not, probably, own, by a reverse of conduct, that he had been guilty of injustice.
* It must be remembered, that Frederic, at this time, supposed him to be in correspondence with the Austrian Trenck. Rev. Sept. 1788.
My resolution increased his obftinacy; but, in the discuffion of the cause, our power was very unequal.
· The Monarch once really loved me; he meant my punishment Mould only be temporary, and as a trial of my fidelity. That I had only been condemned to a year's imprisonment, had never been told me, and was a fact I did not learn till long after.
• Major Doo, who, as I have said, was the creature of Fouquet *, a mean and covetous man, knowing I had money, had always acted the part of a protector, as he pretended, to me, and continually cold me I was condemned for life. He perpetually turned the converSation on the great credit of his General with the King, and his own great credit with the General. For the present of a ho se, on which I rode to Glatz, he gave me the freedom of walking about the fortress; and for another, worth an hundred ducars, I rescued Enlign Reitz from death, who had been betrayed when endeavouring to effect our escape. I have been assured, that, on that very day on which I snatched his (Major D.’s) sword from his fide, defperately passed through the garrison, and leaped the walls of the rampart, he was expressly come to tell me, after some prefatory threats, that by his General's interceflion, my punishment was only to be a year's imprisonment, and that consequently I should be released in a few days.
How vile were means like these, to wrest money from the unfortunate! The King, after this my mad Aight, certainly was never informed of the Major's bafe cunning: he could only be told that, rather than wait a few days, I had chosen, in this desperate manner, to make my escape and go over to the enemy. Thus deceived, and strengthened in his fufpicions, muft he not imagine my desire to forsake my country and go over to the enemy was unbounded? How could he do otherwise than imprison a subject who thus endeavoured to injure him and aid his foes? Thus by the calumnies of wicked men, did my cruel destiny daily become more severe, and at length render the deceived Monarch irreconcileable and cruel.'
Thus have we brought the Reader acquainted with the circumftances which had induced, or, as we perhaps should rather fay, compelled the Northern Hero to imprison the Baron Trenck. To the petitions which were presented in bis favour, the King had uniformly answered — He must not be released.' - He is a dangerous man,' That our Author was naturally haughty and vindi&tive, he repeatedly informs us, in the course of his work. How far he might be dangerous we cannot pretend to say, but he was certainly troublesome in. no trifling degree. What, for instance, can more fully mark his irritable dilpofirion; than the fullowing passage in his dedication to the thade of Frederic ?
I had no army to defend my rights, or your M jesty knows I would have led it on. Such was no doubt his language to the Monarch when living :- and the words, your Majesty knows,' &c. confirms us in the opinion. That there is a necessity for confining the contumacious and refractory man, we have a recent example among ourselves. The Writer is much diffatisfied at not having been brought to trial for his • imaginary crimes.' It is by no means our intention to employ a single argument in favour of despotism, but in a cafe like that before us, we know not why a formal process (hould bave been inftituted again ft the offender. The King was openly insulted by one of his Officers.' Could he then, to talk in the language of the Baron himself, do otherwise than imprison such insulter +?
* Governor of the citadel of Glatz.
The severities inficted on the Baron, in the castle of Magdeburg, were certainly very great. We have some little doubt, however, whether these severities proceeded from the actual
* In corroboration of what we have advanced respecting the une happy temper of Baron T. we will state the address of General Kruscmarck to him when in prison, together with the answer which was given to it.
_" Had you curbed this fervour of yours: bad you asked pardon of the King, perhaps you would have been in very different circumftances; but he who has committed an offence in which he obstinately persists, endeavouring only to obtain freedom by feducing men from their duty, deserves no better fate." « The Philosopher will always be able to brave and despise the Tyrant.' Is this the language of reason and philofophy? Were these the proper means by which to obtain a release from imprisonment? We are really sorry to observe it, but the Baron appears in almost every action of his life to have erred from the violence of his passions. He says of his production, entitled, The Macedonian Hero- This is a poem that, by the daringness with which it is written, might, indeed, well draw down the vengeance of tyranny.'-He tells us also, in another place,- I visited Professor Gellert at Leipfic, thewed him my manuscripts, and asked his advice concerning what branch of literature he thought it was probable I might beft succeed in. He most approved my Fables and Tales, bat blamed the excessive freedom with which I spoke, in my political writings. I neglected his advice, and many ensuing calamities were the consequence.' Again, in speaking of his marriage, • Marshal Laudohn knew my mistress, and promoted the match. He and my friend Professor Gellert, both ad. vised me to take this mode of calming pasions that often inspired projects too vast, and that, seeking tranquillity, I should fly the commerce of the great.' Every incident which he has related, in fort, is a proof that he was thoroughly an untractable man. once the intention of the Court of Vienna to confine him as being insane.
+ This imprisonment, as appears by the foregoing extract, was intended to be of short duration. It was properly a military arreft; and should have been endured with the temper becoming a man.