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who filled her place in after years,
additional matter, in a way to give un- | as admiration. Lady Elliot, clever, highbroken continuity to the narrative. Con- spirited, and imaginative, was not, like one sciously, or unconsciously, whilst professing merely to edit Notes from Minto Manuscripts,' Lady Minto produced a valuable memoir, when, under this title, she printed the substance of the work before us for private circulation, in 1862. It now, in its completed shape, presents a full-length and striking portrait of a remarkable member of a remarkable race. The very sarcasm levelled at the Elliots in the palmy days of Whig patronage, as The Scotch Greys,'ing their studies and pursuits.' was in some sort a recognition of their talents and energy.
To a want therefore of home sunshine, it is possible that we may in part ascribe the fact that the letters written from home deal chiefly with news, with politics, or with advice, while those addressed there by the absent sons are confined to matters affect
The two elder brothers, Gilbert and Hugh, were brought up together. From 1762 to 1764 they were under the care of a private tutor, Mr. (after Sir Robert) Liston, at Twickenham. Towards the end of 1764 they were placed in a military school near Paris, where they had Mirabeau for a schoolfellow, and David Hume, to whom they were specially commended, as a pro
(1766) they were removed to Edinburgh, where they pursued a multiplicity of studies, natural and moral philosophy, mathematics, chemistry, classics, &c., under the superintendence of Professor George Stuart, besides taking lessons in drawing, fencing and dancing. In 1768 they went to Oxford and were entered at Christ-church, which was then, as now, the college most in request for young men of family and fortune. Hugh did not keep terms enough to entitle him to a degree, and in 1770 we find him and his brother at Paris, mixing in that society which has been so happily hit off in
The Right Honourable Hugh Elliot, who concluded a distinguished career of public service as Governor of Madras, was the second son of Sir Gilbert Elliot, the third baronet, whose family was ennobled in the person of the fourth baronet of the same name in 1797.* He was one of five children-two brothers, two sisters, and him-tector and friend. At the end of two years self. He was born in 1752, but Lady Minto has been unable to discover anything material relating to him prior to 1762. The first ten years are almost a blank; the family correspondence is entirely silent as to their domestic doings. In none is there any allusion to favourite haunts, to gardens or grounds, to dependents or pets, nothing to show affection for home as a place. Strong family affection, however, has been ever the characteristic of the race.' Lady Minto delicately suggests, that, if the unsettled life of the parents, divided between London, Edinburgh, and two or three other , places, will not account for the phenom- two sentences by Sydney Smith: There enon, it is possible that the home itself may not have been of the kind to make itself remembered with unmixed pleasure. 'Sir Gilbert' (she says) was a grave, highly cultivated man, immersed in politics, and, like all fathers of his time, seems to have inspired his family with as much awe
Long prior to this creation the family had be
longed to the Scotch Noblesse de robe. The first baronet (creation of 1790) held the title of Lord Minto as a Lord of Session, and was subsequently appointed Lord Justice Clerk. The second was also appointed Lord Justice Clerk, and held the same title. The first Earl was successively viceroy of Corsica, envoy-extraordinary to Vienna, president of the Board of Control, and Governor General of Bengal. General Elliot, Lord Heathfield, was descended from a common ancestor.
used to be in Paris, under the ancient régime, a few women of brilliant talents, who violated all the common duties of life, and gave very pleasant little suppers. Among these supped and sinned Madame d'Espinay, the friend and companion of Rousseau, Diderot, Grimm, Holbach, and many other literary persons of distinction.' This was the lady who especially attracted Gilbert, and the brothers were favoured guests in the salons of Madame du Deffand, Madame Geoffrin, and the rest of the pleasant but wrong' set to which Sydney Smith alludes. Their reception by Horace Walpole, then at Paris, was characteristic: As soon as we were equipped,' writes Hugh, we
waited on Mr. Walpole, who seems to be
to his military knowledge, made valuable friends, and left the best possible impression of his disposition and accomplishments. At that time, remarks Lady Minto, his love for the profession of arms amounted to a passion, and, resolved to gratify it at all hazards, he proceeded from Vienna to Warsaw to place his sword at the disposal of Stanislaus Augustus, King of Poland, whose Court is truly described as then the most brilliant and dissipated in Europe, although his dominions were overrun by the armies of three great Powers, and both throne and monarchy were tottering to their fall. Considering the heroic efforts and terrible sacrifices of the Poles so repeatedly renewed since their cause has been utterly hopeless, it is a fair subject of speculation why they were incapable of striking a bold blow for their independence, when, although gravely threatened, it was still unshaken and entire. In September, 1772, Hugh Elliot writes to his father:
of the forced cheerfulness with which they en-
In the autumn of 1770 Hugh, instead of returning to Oxford with his brother, proceeded to Metz, where a camp had been formed for the instruction of the Duc de Chartres, to study military tactics; for his chosen profession was the army, and the compulsory change of destination was the first and greatest disappointment of his life. In strict keeping with the practice of this period, Scott describes Waverly as joining 'I have met with a very favourable reception his regiment a captain, the intervening here. The King's person and manner are striksteps of cornet and lieutenant being over-ingly engaging and manly. I never was 80 leapt without difficulty;' and Hugh Elliot moved with any scene as with the first aspect of expected to begin active service in the this Court. Remorse or despair get the better command of a company. So early as 1762, being then in his tenth year, he had been nominated to an ensigncy in a newly-raised regiment by the colonel, General Scott, and in accordance with the usual privilege or (more correctly speaking) traditional abuse, his time would have counted from the date of the commission, and his promotion have gone on precisely as if he had 'I could not help expressing my surprise to never been absent from his duties. It is a the King (the last time I was with him) that he curious circumstance connected with this did not raise his standard in some part of the nomination that it was denounced by kingdom, as I was sure, from my own feelings, Wilkes in the famous No. 45 of the North that he would soon have an army of volunteers, Briton.' Whether on account of the re-able at least to defend his person from danger. sulting notoriety, or from an unwonted im- He took me by the hand, and said, “Ah! mon pulse of public virtue, or some less justifiable and more occult motive, Lord Barrington, Secretary of War when Hugh proposed to join, refused to ratify the appointment, and the utmost degree of favour that could be obtained for him was the nominal rank of captain, which it was hoped would enable him to enter a foreign army with advantage. In this, too, he was disappointed; and it is strange that he and his friends should have been so imperfectly acquainted with the rules of the Austrian service as to suppose that they would or could be set aside in favour of a young foreigner, be his personal recommendations what they might. Although he failed in his main object of entering the Austrian army with rank, he had every reason to congratulate himself on his visit to Vienna, where he added largely
cher Elliot, nous ne sommes pas des Anglais". He is now reduced to the greatest distress, as his revenues are entirely in the hands of his enemies: he has hardly wherewithal to pay his household servants, much less an army.''
Leaving this degenerate monarch and devoted race to their fate, he looks about for the place where fighting was most likely to be had, which just then happened to be Moldavia, where a Russian army was confronted by the Turks; but, hostilities being deferred by the unexpected prolongation of an armistice, he took a trip to Constantinople, much to the displeasure of his father, who, naturally enough, complained of instability of purpose and want of self-control, and enjoined an immediate return to England. To this Hugh respectfully but most positively demurred. It would be, be
urged, to the lasting disgrace of his country | Janissary who escaped by the famous leap and his name if, after so many months' so- at Cairo; although Elliot does not appear journ with the Russian army, he, the only to have been mounted, for a family tradition English officer similarly situated, should adds that he crossed the river holding on to leave them on the very eve of battle; and the tail of a Cossack's horse. The most he announced the resolution, on which he flattering accounts of his conduct certainly forthwith acted, of joining the division of reached England in the best-authenticated Count Soltikoff, which was about to attack shape, but the desiderated rank in the a strongly-fortified place on the Danube, British army was withheld, and he and his promising to return to England as soon as friends naturally felt much aggrieved; for it was made clear that the desire of obey- it was not until the Duke of York became ing his father's orders, and not the desire Commander-in-Chief that the practice of of avoiding danger alone, makes him quit the field.' There are abundant indications that he brilliantly distinguished himself in this expedition, although Lady Minto confesses her inability to supply the details. Marshal Romanzow writes to the British minister at Petersburgh: —
"He [Elliot] arrives at my head-quarters just as the last negotiation was coming to an end. He learns that the war is about to recommence, and begs to be employed. Just at this time arrived letters from his father, enjoining him to return to England. Not being of the metal of that officer to whom a Marshal replied, on his asking leave of absence at the opening of a campaign, under pretence of order of recall from his parents" Honour thy father and mother, that thy days may be long in the land "*he conjured me to attach him to a corps which I believed would be soonest engaged. I sent him to Wallachia. There he learns that the Turks are in the neighbourhood of Silistria. An engagement takes place, and in the General's report to me of this affair, he tells me such wonders of Mr. Elliot, that I could not refrain from making mention of him to my Sovereign.'
promotion per saltum was suppressed; and many of our readers must remember a Scotch story of no very ancient date, of somebody asking why a child was crying, and being told, It is only the Major crying for his parraitch. A late Colonel-Commandant of the Life-Guards began his military career at Westminster School. One advantage of the system was that officers actual command and responsibility till they were less frequently placed in positions of had attained manhood and completed their general education. Another was, that distinguished merit and eminent fitness might be recognised and marked out for rapid promotion: as in the case of Wolfe, who, had he been left to rise regularly through the surbordinate grades, would never have commanded a regiment at Fontenoy or have fallen, in his thirty-third year, at the head of a victorious army before Quebec. Marlborough and Wellington are striking illustrations of the same argument.
of Lord Barrington-in other words, of Under all the circumstances, the refusal the North Ministry or the King to confer The sole result of Lady Minto's diligent the coveted rank, can only be accounted for inquiries and research is a passage in the on the supposition that Sir Gilbert, the fourth edition of Tooke's 'Life of Cather- father, was no longer reckoned among their ine the Second,' in which, describing the friends. Horace Walpole, writing in Febsurprise of the Russians by the Turks in ruary, 1773, mentions him as the man the campaign of 1773, he says, An Eng-whom the King most trusted next to Lord glishman named Elliot, in the service of Bute, who, nevertheless, had acted disconRussia, distinguished himself in an extraordinary manner at Giurgevo. He sprang with no less agility than boldness over the heads and sabres of the Spahis, and fell into the river, which he crossed by swimming. We must suppose that he made his spring from an elevated ground, like the
The refusal of a celebrated Irish patriot to fight a duel on the ground of the possible deprivation to his wife and daughter, gave rise to the following epigram by T Moore:
'Some men in their horror of slaughter
It got into print through the indiscretion of an Amer
tent for the last two years; " but raises a
Court of Bavaria, and he was named to that post accordingly in April, 1774. He was at Warsaw when the first intimation reached him, and he seems to have lost little time on this occasion in obeying the urgent recall of his father, for his first despatch from Munich is dated June 23rd, 1774. In a letter to Marshal Romanzow he ascribes the appointment to the favourable impression produced in England by the Marshal's praises of his gallantry, adding, Pardon me if I regret their effect, since the King has judged that they rendered me worthy of an advancement very far from ordinary in this country at my age; although I feel highly flattered by this distinction, it is with pain that I find myself compelled to let start alone two of my countrymen, who are setting out to search for you on the banks of the Danube.'
The opinion entertained of him and his new profession by his companions in arms may be collected from the tone in which he is addressed by a lively Russian Colonel and diplomatist : What, you desert the banner of Mars, and submit to the yoke of politics! But these rumours must be pure fiction. What! this Elliot, this amiable, sociable, light, gay, gallant, fine gentleman consent to be immured in cabinets! Why, it is a larceny perpetrated against society. All my ideas are confounded by it. The lively and careless Elliot is, then, about to assume the sombre and phlegmatic air of a minister. After such a phenomenon I do not despair of seeing some day or another the Pope in the uniform of an hussar!' The illustration is not a happy one, and the writer, Colonel Petersohn, who was then acting Russian chargé d'affaires in the Danubian provinces, might have known that the post of Minister neither implied nor required much gravity or solemnity. If this was so at most places and in ordinary times, it was emphatically so at Munich when Hugh Elliot became resident there. There was then (remarks Lady Minto) little or no business of any interest depending between the Courts of Munich and of London. But any lack of interest in the politcal correspondence of the British legation at Munich was amply made up by the private letters which came from or passed through it. The only difficulty in dealing with these is where to stop in our selections. In turning them over, the eye is caught by names of such celebrity or notoriety as would delight the heart of a collector of autographs; but experience obliges us to confess that less imposing personages might often have written better letters. Madame du Deffand gives us nothing so amusing as
an account, by a young English traveller, of an evening at her house, when a Salade à la Génoise was concocted, with much fun and laughter, by some of the most brilliant members of her society. Prince Potemkin's interest in Bavaria seems to have been limited to the concerns of a few pretty women. The first of a long series of letters from Dr. Mesmer opens with a trait which is more entertaining than anything that fol lows: "Un remède contre les nerfs doit fort intéresser votre nation!”'
The contents, it is added, are often purposely disguised under an involved style, initials standing for names. Thus, a correspondent, writing from Ratisbon, states that les nouvelles particulières d'ici se réduisent à peu de choses, les amours de M. de B. et de la Comtesse C. sont finis quant à l'extérieur, ils s'aiment encore, mais n'osent se le dire. Le directeur de Madile. C. la porte à renoncer à son inclination pour M. qui la demande en mariage. Elle déclare qu'elle renonce à lui, la bouche le dit, le cœur ne le pense pas ; ils s'aiment toujours, et n'en sont que plus malheureux. Les amours du gros L. et de Madame d'Y. sont finis et assez mal, car ils n'ont pu venir à l'amitié après leur rupture; ceux de N. avec R. sont plus tranquils,' etc. etc.
The first impression, we can well believe, left on the uninitiated reader, is that 'the letters of the alphabet have taken to disorderly courses.' But Lady Minto goes on to say, that after a careful examination, order rises out of chaos, and something like a vision of the social life of the Bavarian Court dawns upon the mind. It pretended to be a Versailles in miniature, and boasted of a Montespan in the person of a Madame de Torring-Seefeld. The scene of the chief pleasures of the Court was Nymphen burg, a country palace of the Elector's which Pöllnitz describes in his letters as a lieu enchanté; gardens, waters, woods, hunting-grounds, diversified its delights. Three times a week during the summer the Electress held a court there, when tables for play were prepared in the galleries, while, for those who preferred them, gilded gondolas floated on the lake, and pony phaetons driven by a "cavalier” were at the orders of the ladies who chose a moonlight drive through the woods. These moonlight drives must have been almost as pleasant as the game called Scampativos, played at Le Petit Trianon. The party were divided into couples by the queen, or a lady chosen by lot, who gave the signal by clapping her hands and calling out Scam pativos, when the couples were to vanish in different directions for a quarter of an
hour, at the end of which they re-assembled, | and any couple that had run against or crossed the track of another paid forfeit.
No one was better qualified to shine in scenes and pastimes of this kind than our It was idle for Elliot to draw logical or young minister, then in his twenty-third metaphysician's distinctions. Distinguons, year; but he does not appear to have been as Lady Minto suggests, is easily said; much attracted by them, and he certainly but under certain circumstances it reoffers a plausible excuse for his want of gal- quires a strong head and a subtle wit to do lantry when he writes: There is not one it.' Delta, though wanting in neither, was good-looking woman in this place-by not to be put off with (what Sir Peter Teagood fortune, for I should be in great dan-zle would call) noble sentiments. She reger of learning to talk en Pastor Fido; plied: "Vous êtes vraiment singulier! such is the style of this country.' If Hell bien éloignée de vous taxer d'impolitesse, has no fury like a woman scorned,' there bade fair to be abundance of first-rate furies in Munich the day after Elliot's presentation; for Mr. Liston, who did duty as secretary in an unofficial capacity, in a letter describing the ceremony, speaks of the 'barefaced advances' and masculine attacks' to which his chief was exposed, adding, What I admire the most is that he has contrived not to make enemies of those he has refused- -a point which is surely not to be managed without difficulty.' It may be inferred from a subsequent letter that the difficulty was not entirely overcome: He (Elliot) has indeed too much good sense, and is much too well bred to discover the least symptoms of dispprobation to the person concerned; but it is difficult to reject the addresses of almost every woman in the place without giving offence to some, and his dislike to the society in eral is betrayed by a constant preference of English ideas, and English things.'
Some forty years since a handsome and accomplished Englishman became so much the rage of Paris, that when, from a wound in a desperate duel, he appeared with his arm in a sling and the sleeve of his coat tied with ribbons, the ladies came out with sleeves tied in the same manner, à la C The Bavarian maids of honour paid a still higher compliment to Elliot. They sent to his tailor for an old court coat of his, with the avowed intention of dividing the velvet and embroidery amongst themselves. One of these corresponded with him under the pseudonyme of Delta, and succeeded so far in getting the better of his indifference as to drive him into a proffer of friendship and a laboured attempt to prove its great superiority to love. But where lives or ever lived the young and passionate woman who would not agree with Moore's Laura : —
Oh, never! she cried, could I think of enshrining
An image whose looks are so joyous and dim;
votre lettre et la belle franchise qui y règne m'a fait beaucoup de plaisir; du reste, j'oubliais de vous faire des remerciments des conseils que vous me donnez. Je les trouve grands et beaux, et vous avez raison; mais on s'ennuie parfois avec toutes ces combinaisons. Excusez si je vous dis que vos réflexions sont une suite de votre depart." At all events, if she was to take up philosophy, she wished to hear him philosophise. "Que je voudrais vous entendre discourir; quelles réflexions! quelle variété! et tout cela avec Liston, votre chien et les champs pour les seuls auditeurs."
Her letters, always lively and amusing, were mostly addressed to him at Ratisbon, whither he had retired, on leave, to economise and philosophise. His philosophy, principally exhibited in railing against the roguery and falsehood of mankind and womankind, elicits a brace of maxims worthy of Rochefoucauld or Vauvenargues from the biographer: While a young man does not pay his debts, all men are rogues to him; while he makes love to twenty women, the faithlessness of the sex will be his favourite theme.'
It was in the second year of his first mission that Elliot's military ardour broke out in a manner that, but for an opportune check, would have abruptly cut short his diplomatic career before it had commenced in right earnest. In July or August, 1775, he expressed to Lord Suffolk, the Secretary of State in charge of the foreign department, an earnest desire to join the army in America as a volunteer. Lord Suffolk's answer was kind and considerate.
hinting that the time might arrive when such an example might be of essential service, his Lordship adds: but at this moment I should not act with the regard I feel
you if I did not dissuade you from quitting the walk you are in, in which you do so well, and are so likely to be advanced.' Sir Gilbert showed no sympathy with a. chivalrous feeling, which he terms Quixotic,