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we are too far off.” A very new argument against the universal infallibility of the Pope. It took, however; for my opponent mused awhile, and then said, “Troppo lontano ! La Sicilia è tanto lontana che l'Inghilterra ; e in Sicilia si credono nel Papa. — Too far off! Why Sicily is as far off as England. Yet in Sicily they believe in the Pope.” “0,” said I, “noi siamo dieci volte più lontani che la Sicilia !— We are ten times farther off than Sicily." “ Aha!” said he; and seemed quite satisfied. In this man
got well. I question much whether any of the learned reasonings of our protestant divines would have had so good an effect.
Boswell's Harangue at Bastelica. My journey over the mountains was very entertaining. I passed some immense ridges and vast woods. I was in great health and spirits, and fully able to enter into the ideas of the brave rude men whom I found in all quarters. At Bastelica, where there is a stately spirited race of people, I had a large company to attend me in the convent. I siked to see their natural frankness and ease; for why should men be afraid of their own species? They came in making an easy bow, placed themselves round the room where I was sitting, rested themselves on their muskets, and immediately entered into conversation with me. They talked very feelingly of the miseries that their country had endured, and complained that they were still but in a state of poverty. I happened at that time to have an unusual flow of spirits; and as one who finds himself amongst utter strangers in a distant country has no timidity, I harangued the men of Bastelica with great fluency. I expatiated on the bravery of the Corsicans, by which they had purchased liberty, the most valuable of all possessions, and rendered themselves glorious over all Europe. Their poverty,
I told them, might be remedied by a proper cultivation of their island, and by engaging a little in
But I bid them remember, that they were much happier in their present state than in a state of refinement and vice, and that therefore they should beware of luxury. What I said had the good fortune to touch them, and several of them repeated the same sentiments much better than I could do.
First Interview with Paoli. When I at last came within sight of Sollacaro, where Paoli was, I could not help being under considerable anxiety. My ideas of him had been greatly heightened by the conversations I had held with all sorts of people in the island, they having represented him to me as something above humanity. I had the strongest desire to see so exalted a character ; but I feared that I should be unable to give a proper account why I had presumed to trouble him with a visit, and that I should sink to nothing before him. I almost wished to go back without seeing him. These workings of sensibility employed my mind till I rode through the village and came up to the house where he was lodged. Leaving my servant with my guides, I passed through the guards, and was met by some of the General's people, who conducted me into an antechamber, where were several gentlemen in waiting. I was shown into Paoli's room. I found him alone, and was struck with his appearance. He asked me what were my commands for him. I presented him with a letter from Count Rivarola, and when he had read it I showed him my letter from Rousseau. He was polite, but very reserved. I had stood in the presence of many a prince, but I never had such a trial as in the presence of Paoli. For ten minutes we walked backwards and forwards through the room, hardly saying a word, while he looked at me, with a steadfast, keen, and penetrating eye, as if he searched my very soul.
This interview was for a while very severe upon me.
I was much relieved when his reserve wore off
, and he began to speak more. I then ventured to address him with this compliment to the Corsicans, “ Sir, I am upon my travels, and have lately visited Rome. I am come from seeing the ruins of one brave and free people: I now see the rise of another.” He received my compliment very graciously; but observed that the Corsicans had no chance of being, like the Romans, a great conquering nation, who should extend its empire over half the globe. Their situation, and the modern political systems, rendered this impossible. But, said he, Corsica may be a very happy country.
Some of the nobles who attended him came into the room, and presently we were told that dinner was served up:
The General did me the honour to place me next him. He had a table of fifteen or sixteen covers, having always a good many of the principal men of the island with him. He had an Italian cook, who had been long in France; but he chose to have a few plain substantial dishes, avoiding every kind of luxury, and drinking no foreign wine. I felt myself under some constraint in such a circle of heroes. The General talked a great deal on history and on literature. I soon perceived that he was a fine classical scholar, that his mind was enriched with a variety of knowledge, and that his conversation at meals was instructive and entertaining. Before dinner he conversed in French. He now spoke Italian, in which he is very eloquent. We retired to another room to drink coffee. My timidity wore off. I no longer anxiously thought of myself : my whole attention was employed in listening to the illustrious commander of a nation.
Great Attentions paid to Boswell. Paoli recommended me to the care of the Abbé Rostini, who had lived many years in France. Signor Colonna, the lord of the manor here, being from home, his house was assigned for me to live in. Every day I felt myself happier. Particular marks of attention were shown me as a subject of Great Britain, the report of which went
to Italy, and confirmed the conjectures that I was really an envoy. In the morning I had my chocolate served up upon a silver salver adorned with the arms of Corsica. I dined and supped constantly with the General. I was visited by all the nobility, and whenever I chose to make a little tour, I was attended by a party of guards. I begged of the General not to treat me with so much ceremony ; but he insisted upon it. One day when I rode out I was mounted on Paoli's own horse, with rich furniture of crimson velvet, with broad gold lace, and had my
guards marching along with me.
I allowed myself to indulge a momentary pride in this parade, as I was curious to experience what could really be the pleasure of state and distinction with which mankind are so strangely intoxicated. When I returned to the Continent after all this greatness, I used to joke with my acquaintance, and tell them that I could not bear to live with them, for they did not treat me with a proper respect.
Paoli's English Library. I asked Paoli if he understood English. He immediately began and spoke it, which he did tolerably well. I was diverted with his English library. It consisted of some broken volumes of the Spectator and Tatler, Pope's Essay on Man, Gulliver's Travels, a History of France in old English, and Barclay's Apology for the Quakers. I promised to send him some English books. (1)
Boswell's Corsican Dress. The ambasciadore Inglese, the English ambassador, as the good peasants and soldiers used to call me, became a great favourite among them. I got a Corsican dress made, in which I walked about with an air of true satisfaction. The General did me the honour to present me with his own pistols, made in the island, all of Corsican wood and iron, and of excellent workmanship. I had every other accoutrement. I even got one of the shells which had often sounded the alarm to liberty. I them all with great care.
Boswell's German Flute, &c. The Corsican peasants and soldiers were quite free and easy with me.
Numbers of them used to come and see me of a morning, and just go out and in as they pleased. I did every thing in my power to make them fond of the British, and bid them hope for an alliance with us. They
(1) I have sent him the works of Harrington, of Sidney, of Addison, of Trenchard, of Gordon, and of other writers in favour of liberty. I have also sent him some our best books of morality and entertainment, in particular the works of Mr. Samuel Johnson, with a complete set of the Spectator, Tatler, and Guardian ; and to the University of Corte I have sent a few of the Greek and Roman classics, of the beautiful editions of the Messieurs Foulis at Glasgow.
asked me a thousand questions about my country, all which I cheerfully answered as well as I could. One day they would needs hear me play upon my German flute. To have told my honest natural visitants, “Really, gentlemen I play very ill," and put on such airs as we do in our genteel companies, would have been highly ridiculous. I therefore immediately complied with their request.
gave them one or two Italian airs, and then some of our beautiful old Scots tunes, “Gilderoy," the “ Lass of Patie's Mill,” “ Corn riggs are bonny.” The pathetic simplicity and pastoral gaiety of the Scots music will always please those who have the genuine feelings of nature. The Corsicans were charmed with the specimens I though I may now say that they were very indifferently performed. My good friends insisted also to have an English song from me. I endeavoured to please them in this too, and was very lucky in that which occurred to me. I sung them
“ Hearts of oak are our ships,
Hearts of oak are our men. I translated it into Italian for them, and never did I see men so delighted with a song as the Corsicans were with Hearts of Oak.
“ Cuore di querco,” cried they, “bravo Inglese.” It was quite a joyous riot. I fancied myself to be a recruiting sea-officer. I fancied all my chorus of Corsicans aboard the British fleet.
Independency of Corsica. Paoli talked very highly on preserving the independency of Corsica. “ We may," said he,“ have foreign powers for our friends ; but they must be · Amici fuori di casa, Friends at arm's length.' We may make an alliance, but we will not submit ourselves to the dominion of the greatest nation in Europe. This people, who have done so much for liberty, would be hewn in pieces man by man, rather than allow Corsica to be sunk into the territories of another country. Some years ago, when a false rumour was spread that I had a design to yield up Corsica to the Emperor, a Corsican came to me, and addressed me in great agitation, — What! shall the blood of so many