Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

Your readers will judge, whether this edition is not precisely in St. John's manner: yet it is marked as doubtful in our publick version, by being printed in Italicks, because it is not extant in all copies.

There is a yet more decisive instance, as I think, of such rewriting, in verses 12, 13, and 14.

FIRST EDITION. I write unto you little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.

I write unto you young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one.

I write unto you fathers, because ye have known Him who is from the beginning.

SECOND EDITION. I have written unto you little children, because ye have known the Father.

I have written unto you young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.

I have written unto you fathers, because ye have known Him who is from the beginning.

On this passage I beg leave to make a few remarks.

1. I think it impossible any writer should designedly insert two passages, one following the other, of the same ideas, and so perfectly correspondente in any edition of his works, published by himself.

2. I cannot bring myself to think, that any copier would dare to add two sentences to the words of an inspired writer. This would be a crime committed on set purpose.

3. Though it is much more edzy to omit two sentences, than to insert one fresh sentence; yet I am extremely unwilling to impute such gross negligence to the Christian transcribers.

4. No writer of taste or feeling, having described the young men as being strong, and having the word of God abiding in them, could expunge these ideas: but (as our foregoing instance consisted of an addition which strengthened the sentiment) these ideas appear to be added, with a design to complete the passage. Į leave this argument to the feelings of all who are judges of composition.

5. I must observe, that the copies do not agree in offering the same reading Some omit the second address to fathers; and none has preserved the natural order of the parties addressed. If we begin with the children, we must place the young men second, and the fathers last. If we begin vith the fathers, we must place the children last; whereas it stands in our copies, 1. children ; 2. fathers; 3. young men: an order for which no reason can be assigned, but totally subversive of the order of nature. Your critical readers will judge of the arrangement I have offered, and of other minor variations.

You will not understand me, sir, as pleading for any change of sentiment in the apostle: I have only considered words. Those who do not think every word that flowed from a sacred writer's pen was inspired, will find no difficulty in giving a fair consideration to my hypothesis. It appears to me to be well calculated for solving some of those perplexities which have embarrassed the learned. You will also perceive, that I conclude that we have in our present copies, transcripts of both editions. Now there is no harm in having this duplication : and I hope there is nothing dishonourable in my mode of accounting for it. It surely needs no apology for supposing

that an ancient copyist, meeting with a copy of each edition, inserted them both in one copy, from which association our present copies are descend. ants. It is impossible to conjecture over what extent of country either edition might prevail; but the first edition was, in all probability, the most generally dispersed.

In my next, I propose to to inquire what effect this view of the subject would have on the contested text of the heavenly witnesses; and I am, &c.

FIDELIS.

Suppose the passage were completed by combining the two editions thus :

I have written to you little children, because ye have known the Father, and your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.

I have written to you young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.

I have written to you fathers, because ye have known Him that is from the beginning

Love not the world, &c.

Biographical Notice on the Marquis de Pombal, formerly Secretary of State, and

Prime Minister of Portugal. DON SEBASTIAN JOSEPH CARVALLO MELHO, so well known by the title of marquis de Pombal, was born in 1699, of a noble Portuguese family, of the second rank. Eminently gifted with advantages of person, he married in the early part of his life, a Portuguese lady, of birth superiour to his own, and this ill sorted union embittered his days. He, however, attempted, by means of his new connexions, to make his way at court; but all his endeavours proved at that time fruitless. Disappointed in his ambitious hopes, he shut himself up in his country residence; and, to avoid, as much as possible, the intolerable company of his lady, he gave limself up entirely to study. The laws of his country, and the laws of nations as publickly avowed in Europe, were the principal objects of his researches ; and from that kind of study, he contracted a diffuse and pedantick manner of writing, which was afterwards conspicuous in all his productions.

After several years of political seclusion, Carvalio saw at last the long wished-for prospect opening to his view; he had been a widower for some time, when, in 1745, he was sent to Vienna, on a secret mission. He was then forty-six years of age; but neither his time of life, nor his diplomatick occupations, prevented him from paying his addresses to a young countess of the Daun family, whom he married shortly afterwards. This marriage was the principal cause of his fortune. The court of Vienna, where his lady's family was highly considered, interested itself powerfully in favour of Carvallo, and at the death of John V. king of Portugal, in 1750, king Joseph, his successour, appointed him secretary for foreign affairs. In this situation he remained five years, without any marked preeminence over his colleagues; but, a calamitous circumstance soon_gave him an opportunity of displaying the superiour powers of his mind. Every one knows, that in 1755, Lisbon was visited by an earthquake, which laid the whole city in ruins. In that awful situation, the king, his ministers, and his courtiers, unmanned by terrour, were incapable of any resolution, and vented their fears, in womanish superstitions. Meantime, fires had broken

out in many places among the ruins, and numerous banditti were ransacking the desolated city, as their lawful prey. Carvallo alone, undismayed in the general consternation, gathered some soldiers, and at their head, perambulated the ruins. He stopped the progress' of the flames ; punished the banditti on the spot; and, with the utmost presence of mind, and the greatest activity, established regulations which saved the remnants of

The king recovered at last from his panick, and appreciating the courage of Pombal, from the extent of his own fears, considered him as a being of a superiour order; and this minister's ascendency over his weak mind, was thus established for ever.

Pombal abused this ascendency but too much. He kept his master in a state of almost degrading subserviency; while he was himself surrounded with all the outward pomp and trappings of absolute power, to dazzle the eyes of the gaping multitude. He obtained a body of horse guards, under pretence of his personal protection. Wherever he went, his coach was preceded by eight or ten horsemen, with drawn sabres, making way for him; and a smaller number followed it. But the object he had most at' heart, was that of humiliating the high Portuguese nobility. There was an absolutely exclusive distinction established in Portugal, between seven or eight families of that class, and the rest of the nobility. They boasted of being free from all blots ; such as intermarriages with Moors, Jews, and negroes, judgments of the inquisition, &c. To preserve this purity spotless, they intermarried among each other only. M. Pombal attempted to annihilate this distinction, so humiliating to the rest of the nobility. It was a customary thing for him, to make use of the king's authority, to further his own designs; and he had recourse to it in this undertaking. He forbad, in the name of his majesty, such and such marriages, which he knew were in contemplation, between members of these exclusive families; he thus forced them to stoop to the second class for connexions, which answered the double purpose of lowering their pride, and of elevating that class to which he himself belonged.

Before Pombal's administration, the Portuguese noblemen made it a constant practice to set at defiance even the most sacred laws; but he soon curbed their licentious spirits, by the most inflexible restrictions ; they murmured, but they trembled, and obeyed-Even the continuation of their titles depended on the king's will, and consequently on the minister's whim. By the custom of Portugal, the son of a deceased nobleman cannot assume his father's title, till it is confirmed to him by the king. This confirmation Pombal often withheld for eight or ten years. By such means he reduced them to the blindest submission, though accompanied with the most inveterate hatred. It was, especially, on his birth day, that he received from them those unanimous testimonies of seeming obsequiousness, which he well knew how to appreciate. This was a day of triumph for his pride, and for his malignity. He then beheld collected in his palace, the most illustrious, and the proudest grandees, of Portugal. In that crowd of suitors, he took a secret pleasure in remarking such a one, whose father he had brought to the block; such another, whose brother lay at that very moment in a dungeon, by his orders, &c.

This unlimited power extended even over the ministers, who seemed to share with him, in a certain degree, the king's confidence. The marquis of Pombal was nominally minister of the interiour only ; but, in fact, he presided likewise over all the other departments. His colleagues, decorated with empty titles, did nothing but through him, as they sometimes were forced to own. M. Pombal often kept them in ignorance of the

business of their own offices. Every thing went through his hands; and he entered into the minutest details. A note was once brought to him for signature, containing only a permit for a traveller to take post horses. He found fault with the style, and dictated another. He was indefatigable in the labours of his office; busy from the dawn of day, he never had fixed hours for his meals ; he usually dined very late, and ate most voraciously ; for which he was visited by frequent indigestions. After dinner he used to take a ride in a coach, with a monk, a relation of his, who was said to be a man of uncommon stupidity. This man was his sole company; and that ride was his only recreation. He soon afterwards returned to his closet, where he remained occupied till late at night. He had two secretaries to write under him. They were mere machines, without any understanding, without eyes. He had trained them himself, and they were constantly at his disposal. One of them was a German, whom he had brought from Vienna He made him at first his footman, then his porter, and lastly, his secretary. These two poor scribes were often so overloaded with business, that both were ill at the same time.

Notwithstanding his excesses in living, and his laborious life, the marquis de Pombal enjoyed a state of health so robust, that he indulged the strong hope of a long career. At the age of seventy-seven, shortly before his disgrace, be used to talk about finishing the rebuilding of Lisbon, and even of building a palace for the king ; as if he had been in the vigour of youth. Excessively attached to life and to honours, he was no less addicted to the love of money. He even committed the most shocking vexations to gratify his rapacity. He often confiscated the property of those whom he sacrificed to his ambition or to his resentment. Born to a small fortune, he had accumulated about 15,000l. a year; an immense revenue for Portugal. He had built on his estate of Oeyras, the finest mansion in the country; but that magnificent residence displayed no taste, because he was himself deficient in that respect; and he had employed only Por. tuguese artists. For the same reasons, Lisbon, which he has raised from its ruins, is far from gratifying the eyes of connoisseurs. Monstrous defects are strikingly obvious in the finest quarters of the town; and above all, in that famous square Prazo del Comerçao, where he has placed a monument to the late king.

This capital, however, in its restored state, evinces in a striking manner, the power, and the activity, of the marquis de Pombal. The other parts of the country, also, were gradually assuming a new face under his admi. nistration. He used to say, that “ he couid not do every thing at once; and that time only could show the advantages to be derived from his operations.” For instance, lie was the protector of the useful, and even of the fine arts, so far as his judgment, none of the surest in that respect, could direct him. He had established woollen manufactures; he had attempted to form architects, and sculptors, in Portugal. After the expulsion of the Jesuits, which was in a great measure his work, he went to visit the university of Coimbra, over which they had exerted a great influence. Here he made many reforms; among others, he established several Italian professors, who had the reputation of being learned men. The Jesuits were not the only religious order that he persecuted. He never disguised his aversion for monks, in general ; and he gradually undermined the power of the inquisition. It was, perhaps, with a view to further these designs, that he allowed the dangerous works of Voltaire, and those of Rousseau, to be translated into the Portuguese language ; but, on the other hand, he exerted all his power to prevent the introduction of maxims, or of i deas,

which might have stood in contradiction to his despotick principles. Never, for instance, would he allow the post to arrive in Lisbon more than once a week, although the Spanish mail was received twice at Badajoz, the frontier town. For the same reason, he never permitted the establishment of a Portuguese gazette. He feared, above all things, that the people should conceive a liking for arguing on politicks. He wished them to be ignorant of whatever was passing in the rest of Europe ; and that no news from Portugal should transpire but through him, as its channel. Among his commercial regulations some were of real advantage to the country. Thus he succeeded in drawing a considerable benefit from the smuggling trade, which has always subsisted between Spain and Portugal; because he had the good sense to lessen the duties, while the Spanish government was following principles directly opposite.

This leads us to examine the conduct of the marquis de Pombal in his relations with foreign courts. In this branch of administration, this man, in other respects so haughty, and so overbearing, assumed a new character, and conscious, perhaps, of the weakness of his country, had recourse to duplicity, and to deceit. Indeed, he considered the most sacred engage. ments as a mere matter of form; fit only to gain time, as the Spanish minister, Grimaldi, experienced to his great vexation, in 1776. A dispute had taken place between the two courts, respecting the limits of their respective colonies in South America. Things had been carried to such a length, that a European war seemed to be the natural consequence. In these circumstances, the marquis de Pombal affected the most earnest and most sincere wishes for an amicable settlement. He called upon the courts of London and of Versailles for their mediation. He even insisted that the matters in dispute should be entirely referred to those two powers; and that Spain and Portugal should abide by their decision. “ People talk so much about your Family Compact,” he used to say to the French ambassadour, “it is represented as a most formidable league against all other nations. You see I do not consider it as such. I trust entirely to you. I put myself into your liands.” In short, he had succeeded, in making the courts of Madrid, London, and Versailles, adopt his plan for negotiation. A congress had been actually appointed, to meet at Paris, when news arrived that the Portuguese troops had advanced on Rio Grande, and taken forcible possession of the territory in dispute. Pombal, availing himself of the contempt in which his nation was held by the Spaniards, had prepared much better means of defence than he was supposed to possess. He had, without being noticed, raised the army to 40,000 men. Tlie fortresses were amply provided with every necessary, and experienced officers had been received into the Portuguese service. The marquis de Pombal was, however, well aware of the inferiority of his country compared to Spain ; but he relied on the assistance of England, on the difficulty of maintaining an enemy's army in Portugal, on the nature of the country, intersected by large rivers, and by ridges of mountains, &c. However, the death of the king, and the dismissal of the minister, soon put an end to all warlike preparations.

The marquis de Pombal had, for a long time, apprehended that event. The king's health was precarious; and he knew the general batred he had incurred. To guard against impending danger, he had sought all the means of embroiling the affairs of the kingdom in such a manner, as to make his assistance necessary to the new sovereign, to guide her steps in a maze whose intricacies were known to him alone; and his plan was ntar succeeding. Hardly had king Joseph paid the last tribute, when the young queen, her present majesty, went to consult her mother, as to what line of conduct

« VorigeDoorgaan »