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Buchanan is the person naturally hinted at in the way in which Mr. Burton writes in as the author of the contents of the casket, the passages which we have just been quothaving been the first to draw public attention ing, do not occupy themselves with the kind to them. But if we suppose him morally capa: of antiquarian details, primæval, architectble of such an act, it is pretty clear that it did ural, legal, of any sort indeed, which take not come within his intellectual capacity, extensive as that was. The little domesticities up so large a space in his earlier volumes. in the letters would not suit the majestic march
We suspect that this completeness has some of his pen. In the Detection, to which he connexion with Mr. Burton's position as a appended the documents, he shows that, had he Scottish historian. We do not find it, we prepared these himself, he would certainly have do not expect it in historians of England or overdrawn them. In fact, in that philippic the France. We are not sure that we should great scholar and poet shows that, although he think it in place if we did find it. Yet, may have known politics on a large scale, he once accepting the choice which Mr. Burwas not versed in the intricacies of the human ton has made between the two possible ways heart. Everything is with him utterly and pal of treating his whole subject, they seem, in bably vile and degrading, without any redeem- his history, perfectly in place. Has not ing or mitigating eloment.
this something to do with the peculiar position of Scotland ? Scotland
in this reMr. Burton had himself just before said, in spect like Ireland, though in most points so a most remarkable passage :
unlike — is not quite a nation, and yet is
something more than a province. A counSuppose it to have been settled in conclave try in this sort of position awakens a pecuthat such a set of letters were to be forged, liar sort of patriotism, one far more extenwho was there with the genius to accomplish sive and far more susceptible than the patthe feat? Nowhere else, perhaps, has the con- riotism of either nations or provinces. We flict of the three passions, love, jealousy, and have no doubt that we have sometime or hatred, been so powerfully stamped in utterance. Other quoted the remark, but it is quite Somewhat impoverished though it may be in worth quoting twice, that an Englishman the echo of a foreign medium, we have here the reality of that which the masters of fiction have never stops to think that he is not a Scotchtried in all ages, with more or less success, to man, while the Scotchman always bears imitate. They have striven to strip great about with him the distinct remembrance events of broad, vulgar, offensive qualities, and that he is not an Englishman. Does not to excite sensations which approach to sympa- this ever-conscious feeling of nationality thy with human imperfections. And, indeed, lead a man who studies the history of his these letters stir from their very foundation the country at all to study it in a more complete sensations which tragic genius endeavours to way, to look at it in all its aspects, to make it
We cannot, in reading them, help a his business to find out all that he can touch of sympathy, or it may be compassion, about everything that concerns it? Of towards the gifted being driven in upon the torrent of relentless passions, even though the course this may be done under the guidance end to which she drifts is the breaking of the of mere provincial prejudice. But, if it is highest laws, human and divine. A touch of done in an impartial and enlightened way, tenderness towards those illustrious persons as in the case of Mr. Burton, it produces who show their participation in the frailty of our the bappiest results. We have tried Mr. common nature by imperfections as transcend- Burton on the points on which we should ent as their capacities, is one of the mysterious naturally try any Scottish writer. In the qualities of the human heart, and here it has matter of King Edward, we get out of him room for indulgence. In fact it is the shade as much as we have any right to expect; that gives impressiveness to the picture. With in the matter of Queen Mary, we have all her beauty and wit, her political ability and her countless fascinations, Mary, Queen of simply to read and admire. But these are, Scots, would not have occupied nearly the half after all, only two points out of many. of her present place in the interest of mankind The variety of subjects dealt with in Mr. had the episode of Bothwell not belonged to her Burton's book is really amazing. It is an story.
odd change of subject to pass from Queen
Mary to the Druids. But Mr. Burton's These are the kind of things which we remarks in his first volume on the way in confess that we hardly expected from the which people use the words Druid and early parts of Mr. Burton's book, highly Druidism as a mere shelter for ignorance, praiseworthy as they are in their own way. are just as good in their way as his remarks But perhaps the remarkable thing is, after on the Casket Letters, and they display exall, what we have called the completeness actly the same power of thoroughly appreof his book. As a rule, men who can write ciating evidence :
To all inquiries as to the religion from of mystery — how to account for the perverse which the inhabitants of North Britain were ingenuity which framed such a baseless system, converted when they became Christians, there and for the marvellous credulity that accepted has generally been an easy answer, Of course it as solid truth. it was from Druidism. That term has been used in history much in the same way as the In such a book as this, if we point out a names of general but undefined causes have few slips, we feel sure that the author will been used in physics — to bring out a complete simply take them as hints for its still furresult without the trouble of inquiry. It is
ther improvement. “ We do not know," thus that we have had the theories of antipathies and affinities, animal spirits, the sensorium, says Mr. Burton, “ in what sort of tongue phlogiston, and the like; and thus too have the Carthagenians (why this unusual spellbeen frequently employed such terms as elec- ing?], the rivals of Rome herself, distric currents and magnetic influences.
coursed” (i. 197). We need not go to the It is appropriate to all these solvents of dif. Penulus. The name Hannibal alone, the ficulties, which have passed current from time heathen form of John, shows that they immemorial, and are accepted without examina- spoke something very like Hebrew. We tion, that there are no strict boundaries to their will not dispute about Picts, but we are dissphere of application. Whenever the difficulty tinctly surprised at Mr. Burton's givirg
the arises, the solvent is at hand without a question least ear to the notion that they were Teuwhether its application has limits which have been passed. What is said of old about the
tonic. “ Thursday is not from Thor, a Druids is applicable to the Celts, as distinguish word which means Thunder and was the ed from the Germans. Those who have gone name of the thundering god” (i. 233). into the causes of Druidism attribute its vast Thunder, Dunresdoeg, Donnerstag, is from power and mysterious influence to the special Thunder itself. The form Thor is distinctly proneness of the Celtic tribes to subject them- Scandinavian. Mr. Burton's remarks in selves to the influence of some priesthood, while vol. i. p. 243, on the Northern Mythology the Gothic people were shy of any intervention and its relation to other mythologies, reby human beings between themselves and the mighty deities they idolized. Yet in modern quire correction by the new light of the literature we find Druidism applied to the Comparative school
. It is odd and misGothic as readily as to the Celtic nations, and leading, though perhaps not absolutely unthat although there are full means of being true in words, to speak (iii. 17) of the acquainted with the religion of those nations, old code called the Salic Law – which is and of knowing that it was something entirely now supposed to have been intended for different from the system brought into shape the internal regulation of some part of under the name of Druidism.
Germany.” It was not Charles the Eighth Modern authors, succeeding each other, have (iii. p. 255), but Louis the Twelfth, who filled up the details of that system, and made it almost as complete as the Roman hierarchy. King of England called himself not “ Duke”
married Henry the Eighth's sister, and the We have Archdruids and simple Druids ; some set to this kind of work, some to that. We are ii. 361) but “ Lord ” of Ireland. The told of the doctrines that they taught, and es wars of the Roses cannot be said to have pecially what they thought of the immortality kept the English army at home during the of the soul. We are told of their various reign of James the Fourth (iv. 159), who arrangements for exercising the influence of came to the Crow in the year after Bosmystery on their deluded followers, and for pre-worth. We cannot make out how the serving in profound secrecy the traditions of Guises “ gave themselves out as the true their order and the sources of their influence. descendants of Charlemagne, through that Their costume, their pomp and ceremonies, are Lothaire, the founder of Lotharingia or men clothed in white, and went forth with Lorraine, whose race was superseded on the golden sickles to cut the mistletoe at the
throne of France by the dynasty of Hugh pointed hour of doom. We have their temples Capet” (iv. 247). The Weat-Frankish among us in a very distinct condition, with the Karlings are not descended from Lothar but altars on which they offered up human sacrifi- from Charles the Bald. ces, and the mystic signs which they left on the But things like these are, in a book like rock pillars which of old stood in the centres of this, mere spots on the sun. In a book their sacred groves.
which contained nothing else they might be After reading all that is thus piled up with serious. Our only regret is that we have the solemn gravity of well-founded knowledge, not space for several more extracts from on how small and futile a foundation it all various parts of Mr. Burton's volumes. In rests. When we are told of the interesting all the latter part especially, his knowledge mysteries that surround the functions of this of human nature comes out as strongly as potent priesthood, we are led to a real source his power of dealing with historical evi
dence. We recommend the book to all | Necklace, but he has given us both the story historical students, and we shall look with and the evidence at full length for the first anxiety for the remaining volumes.
time, and, it is fair to add, in a very readable form. Indeed his tale has all the interest of a romance which is too strange not to be true. We could wish he had been con
tent to use Mr. Carlyle's materials without From the Saturday Review. being so fond, both in the text and the THE DIAMOND NECKLACE. *
headings of chapters, of imitating his style,
which, however striking, is - or at least HISTORICAL criticism, las it is now un
was originally – even in its author an affecderstood, may almost be called the creation tation, and in his imitators becomes simply of the present century, and in the hands of intolerable. When Mr. Vizetelly allow's German writers it has done wonders in the himself to write naturally, his English is rehabilitation of injured characters and the simple and clear enough; and this makes reversal of unrighteous judgments. This us regret the more that it should be dishas perhaps especially been the case as re- figured by so many lapses into Carlylese, gards what were once considered, in the and by the occasional introduction of such worst and most exclusive sense, the “ dark questionable grammar as
a person who ages,” but which are now restored to their lived in the same house that she did, and proper place in common estimation as an whom she knew was a native of that place." important stage in the social and moral ed. These are minor blemishes in what is really ucation of modern Europe. One result,
a good book on the whole. The most origihowever, of the discovery of this new sci- nal portion of it is the summing up of the ence has been to foster a kind of monomania evidence at the end, to which we shall bave for whitewashing soiled reputations, which to refer again presently, and especially the of course implies blackening a good many
exhaustive analysis and refutation of M. that were previously thought spotless; and Louis Blanc's adverse argumente. To the thus we are gravely bidden to respect in concluding words no reader will be likely Richard III. a bright example of the animus to refuse his assent: “ Time, that rights paternus in an uncle, and in Henry VIII. a all things, is at last doing Marie-Antoinette model husband, though of somewhat frigid justice; and she whom patriotism accused, temperament. Even in these extreme cases and demagogism condemned, humanity (we there is usually, though not always, some should rather have said justice] has well force in the appeal against the traditional nigh absolved." The actual story of the verdict. Neither Richard nor Henry, for necklace may be told in very few words ; instance, are so black as they have often that it should ever bave received the interbeen painted; bụt there is still every rea- pretation which darkened the last years, son for believing that the former murdered and was long suffered to stain the memory, his nepbews, and no sort of doubt that the of the unfortunate Queen, can only be exlatter divorced and decapitated his wives plained by the critical state of affairs at the in a way hardly consistent with a high period, and the intense bitterness of party standard of marital excellence. On the spirit. There are none of whom it may be other hand, Mr. Lewes has entirely failed said, with greater truth, Delicta majorum to convince us that Nero was not the immerilus lues, than of Louis XVI. and his “monster” contemporary historians repre unhappy consort. The following passage sent him. The battle is still raging over shows how well the soil was prepared for the grave, or rather the casket, of Mary the seeds of calumny so artfully sown by the Stuart. Very different is the case of real culprit in the plot, whose superlative Marie-Antoinette which is brought before knavery elevated her for the time into a us in these volumes. Few prominent per- beroine, and has secured for the name of an sonages in history have been so cruelly and unscrupulous and abandoned woman, who so persistently assailed, and fewer still have knew no motive but the grossest selfishness, won so complete a posthumous triumph.
and no aim but the gratification of her amMr. Vizetelly has not added much to the bition or her lust, an historical connexion substance of what is contained in the fourth with the outbreak of the French Revoluvolume of Mr. Carlyle's Miscellaneous Es- tion:says on the too famous story of the Diamond
From the day she became Queen, to the very * The Story of the Diamond Necklace. By Henry hour of her death, and even after the grave had Vizetelly, 2 vols. London: Tinsley Brothers, 1867. I closed over her headless corse, the unhappy
Marie-Antoinette was fated to be the victim of themselves on a fifth floor in Paris. Here
very far from being " ashamed to beg,” con-
them through. But even the Cardinal's lavish generosity was insufficient to keep
her exchequer supplied, and accordingly The Countess de la Motte was the eldest she bit upon the ingenious device of at daughter of Jacques de Saint-Remi de once enriching herself and still further Valois, an illegitimate descendant of Henry captivating her lover, whose great ambition II. of France, " high and puissant lord and it was to recover the good graces of the knight,” and titular heir of many broad do- Court, by means of the diamond necklace. mains, but in actual life a beggar, who, af- This necklace, containing 629 rare diater six months' imprisonment for debt, died monds, had been ordered by Louis XV. of in a ward of the Hôtel Dieu at Paris. the Court jewellers, Böhmer and Bassengo, Jeanne, the future Countess, and her for Madame du Barry ; but the King died younger sister, were turned out by their before it was paid for, and thenceforward mother to beg in the streets; and it may it was a terrible incumbrance to the jewelliterally be said of her that from this time lers, who vainly tried to dispose of it, first to the end of her life her face was her for- to Marie-Antoinette, and then to various tune, being, according to the description European sovereigns, and were meanwhile Mr. Carlyle is so fond of quoting, “ not unable themselves to pay the debts conbeautiful, but with a certain piquancy." tracted for the purchase of the diamonds. The children attracted the benevolent no. The Countess having completely deceived tice of the Marchioness de Boulainvilliers, the Cardinal, by a series of forged letters, who adopted them, and made them inmates as from the Queen - the work of one of her own bome. The younger girl soon Rètaux de Villette, another of her admirers after died, but Jeanne, after being some - into the belief that Marie-Antoinette was years at school, was apprenticed to a man- ready to take him into favour, at last tua-maker in Paris; and being obliged from arranged the bold stroke of a midnight ill-health to throw up her engagement, was meeting in the gardens of Versailles besubsequently sent to board in a convent, in tween the Queen and the Cardinal, the order to place her beyond the reach of the Queen being personated on the occasion by Marquis's improper attentions. Not long a Parisian courtesan, Mademoiselle d'Oliva, afterwards she fell in at Bar-sur-Aube with or Leguaz, who appears to have been strikCount de la Motte, whom she married after ingly like her in face. The next thing was a short flirtation, neither of them having to persuade the Cardinal and the jewellers anything but their wits to live upon ; and that the Queen - who had never seen her, to make the most of that somewhat precari- but with whom she professed to be on terms ous means of livelihood, they established 1 of the closest intimacy — wished to purchase the necklace privately, making the Cardi- | thing of the facts, do we find the slightest aceunal her agent for the purpose. They ea- sation against the Queen with regard to the gerly caught the bait, and in February, 1785, Diamond Necklace. No one has stated that the Cardinal having obtained the necklace she was ever seen either with the Necklace itfrom the jewellers on presenting a forged self
, or any of the loose diamonds composing order signed“ Marie-Antoinette de France,” with the Court, neither Besenval nor De Lauhanded it over to the Countess for Her zun, both on terms of closest intimacy with, Majesty. Madame de la Motte of course and both, to some extent, detractors of the lost no time in disposing of the diamonds for Qneen, has stated that Madame de la Motte her own advantage, and the jewellers, after was ever once seen in the Queen's company, many vain attempts to extract payment but all who have made allusion to her, like from her or from the Cardinal, at length Lacretelle, Besenval, and Madame Campan, brought the affair before the notice of the have stated precisely the reverse.
If she was Queen, and the bubble burst. On the 15th in almost daily communication with the Queen, of August, the feast of the Assumption, been constantly seen by some of the inferior
as she pretended was the case, she must have Cardinal de Rohan was arrested in full
servants; her friend the gate-keeper of Little pontificals, when preparing to celebrate Trianon, for instance, or the valet de chambre, mass in the Royal chapel at Versailles, and Deselos, who, when the Queen had perished by a few days later the Countess and her ac- the guillotine, and there was no longer any mocomplices were also lodged in the Bastile. tive for preserving silence, would have talked The Cardinal was finally acquitted, though of the affair for talking's sake. banished from the precincts of the Court. The Countess was condemned to be whip- And if there is no evidence, neither is there ped, branded, and imprisoned for life; but in
any assignable motive for the Queen's desirthe following year she escaped to England, ing to obtain the necklace :where she was killed at the age of thirtyfour, in August, 1791, by falling from a window two stories high from which she
It was certainly not for the purpose of wearhad jumped out to avoid the bailiffs who ing it, for no one ever pretended to have seen it had come to seize her for debt; not how- on her person. It was not with the object of ever before she had left abundant materials, pecuniary difficulty, for the De la Moites had
selling it piecemeal, to stave off some pressing in her autobiography and her lying “ Mé- the whole of the proceeds ; and in none of the moires Justificatifs," to sustain for long contradictory statements made by them did afterwards the odious and baseless calum- they ever pretend they were selling the dianies against the Queen which she had so monds on the Queen's behalf. The statement sedulously propagated on her trial and the Count made to the jewellers was, that he throughout her subsequent career.
inherited the diamonds from his mother; then For the fate of her husband and the other their joint statement was, that they sold them minor characters in this extraordinary
on behalf of the Cardinal; their final statement drama we must refer our readers to Mr. from the Queen, the wage in fact for the dis
that they were a present to the Countess Vizetelly's pages, which will well repay a honourable service which she so unblushingly perusal." His summing up of the evidence, asserts she rendered to Marie-Antoinette. Supboth negative and positive, which excul- posing the Queen to bave had some motive for pates Marie-Antoinette from any complicity possessing the Neckla e which we cannot pene. whatever with the scandalous intrigue in trate, would she have purchased it through which she was represented as bearing so such a doubtful pair of agencies as the Countess prominent a part, is admirable. One de la Motte and the Cardinal de Rohan ?
pas. sage we must extract, on the force of the negative argument. After showing that the On the other hand there is direct evidence Countess must have been able to offer some of the Countess de la Motte having herself shadow of proof of her alleged intimacy disposed of far the greater part of the diawith the Queen, if it really existed, and monds; while at least seventeen of her own that through all the revolutionary period statements on her trial are contradicted, some evidence against the Queeh would either by herself or by independent testisurely have been forthcoming, he pro- mony.
We cannot follow the author ceeds:
through his detailed examination of M.
Louis Blanc's counter-assertions, but no And yet not a scintilla of evidence, true or
doubt will exist among those who study the false, against the Queen has come to light. In evidence here presented to them as to the none of the memoirs of the time, written by verdict of history on this strange episode in those who had opportunities of knowing some- the life of Marie-Antoinette.