« PreviousContinue »
mendous and sublime sensation. It is further evident, that they produce not (continues Dr. Usher) this effect BY ANY ACTIVE POWER OF THEIR's, but merely by stripping the imagination of its sensible ideas, of the noise, the mirth, and light, that diverted its attention, leaving it to its naked state and feeling.-In short it appears, from a great variety of observations and reflected lights, that the human soul is always oppressed by obscurity and stillness, which prevents the mind from being employed on exterior objects. To avoid this sensation it is that we seek amusement and company, and that any diversion, however insipid and trifling in itself, becomes to us a pleasing relief, inerely by taking up our attention. Reason smile at the puerility of our amusements. The votaries to the pomps and vanities of the world acknowledge they will not bear examination : yet the wise and the vain find solitude alike insupportable, and alike defire the company and the pageantry they despise. Men casily bear imprisonment, poverty, sickness, and even great degrees of pain ; but the obscure despair, whose object is not known, is blacker than the grave, and more terrible than death, and to plunge from it men commit suicide. Every calamity of this life is supportable, and we suffer them by choice rather than death, until they
bring us to a pensive solitary state of mind, in which we feel the pressure of an unknown power; and then men often make the cruel choice, and seek death as a welcome release from that insupportable ennui which thus overpowers them.
The illustrious Dr. BEDDOES, on the other hand, opposes the doctrine, “ that the depressing passions, as
they have been called, are only the abstraction of the or
dinary exciting pasions.”—Universal experience, I apprehend, says he, will reject such a feale of mental affections, as this system supposes. Who can believe, says this philosopher, that in sorrow the mind is less active than in joy. K. Phil. Patience, good lady! comfort, gentle CONSTANCE! Const.
No, I defy all counsel, all redress,
and buss thee as thy wife !
Oh, that my tongue were in the thunder's mouth!
Lady, you utter madness, and not sorrow.
I am not mad, this hair I tear is mine,
for then 'tis like I should forget myself.
If I were mad, I should forget my son.
lies in his bed, walks up and down with me;
The followers of Dr. John Brown must indeed acknowledge that grief, accumulated grief, is sometimes an active passion, by raising continued images to the mind, and may destroy by excess of one continued unchangeable excitement, but grief, they observe, in general foon finks into despondency.—Lewes, upon hearing the death of ARTHUR, says,
There's now nothing in this world can make me joy.
OF THE SEDATIVE EFFECTS OF
MADEMOISELLE DE LAUNAY, afterwards Madame de STAAL, and many other persons of the household of the Duke and Duchess of MAINE *, were arrested and sent to the Bastile on the 29th of December. The
* The regent had some time before been informed of a secret correspondence of the Duke and Duchess of Maine with the court of Madrid, through the means of the Spanish ambassador, the Prince of CELLAMARE. He got intelligence, that some dispatches of great importance had been sent away by the Abbé de Porto CARERO, and concealed in a double bottom that had been made to his chaise for that purpose. It is said, that he first received this information from a woman that kept a house of pleasure, who, like many others of the same profession, was personally known to the regent, and was now employed by him as a spy. The ambassador's secretary one day excused himself for not keeping an appointment at her house, by saying, that he had been engaged with dispatches that were but just sent off by the Abbé Porto CARERO. Notice of this was immediately given to the regent : on inquiry the circumstance was confirmed; orders were sent to arrest and examine the abbé; he was stopped at Poitiers; the dispatches were taken from him, and he was permitted to proceed on his journey. After reading them, the regent ordered the ambaffador's house to be surrounded with guards, and searched. This intrigue had been chiefly managed by the Duchess of Maine. It appears, that her views principally went to diffuade the court of Spain from acceding to the quadruple alliance, to engage it to use its influence to obtain an assembly of the States in France, and to get the assembly to enforce the will of Louis XIV. and the dispositions that had been made by him in favour of his legitimated natural children,
Duke and I heard five or six monstrous bolts locked 66 behind him. * At last, the governor made his appearance again,
Duke of Maine was seized at his house at Seaux, and sent to the castle at Dourlens; and the Duchess at the Hotel de Thoulouse in Paris, and sent to Dijon.
They put me,” says Madame de STAAL, “ into
coach about seven in the evening, with three mus“ keteers. I imagined the journey would not be long, " and that they were carrying me to the Bastile. We
accordingly arrived there. They made me get out at
a small bridge, where the governor received me. As "s soon as I entered, they pushed me behind a door, as “ some of our party arrived at the same time, by whom “ they did not choose I should be seen.—Those being
put into their cages, the governor conducted me to " mine.
“ My room had only the bare walls bedaubed with - charcoal, the pastime of my predecessors. They 6 brought a straw-bottomed chair; two stones to sup“ port a faggot with which they made a fire; they very
ingeniously stuck a tallow-candle against the wall; " these conveniences being procured, the governor left