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PREDICTIONS, DREAMS, WARNINGS, OMENS, JUGGLING,
SUPPOSED GHOSTS, SUPPOSED WITCHCRAFT, &c. REMARKABLE PROPHECY, RELATIVE TO THE FRENCH RE
VOLUTION From the propensity of the human mind to ascribe to itself the
power of Prophecy, and to endeavour to remove that veil with which futurity is fortunately enveloped, have principally originated the numerous predictions which are now renewed, and some of which are read with interest. There is, in particular, no want of such as relate to the great catastrophe in France. Nostrodamus has had abundance of followers. Among these, the well-known French writer, Cazotte, is eminently distinguished. His prophecy of the French revolution is much more precise and explicit than oracles of this kind in general are. It has made its appearance in a new literary publication of select works of the celebrated La Harpe. Though reason naturally excites a distrust of such visions and predictions, yet the reputation of the narrator demands some attention to the prophetic effusions which he himself heard, in the year 1788, from the lips of Cazotte.
It appears to me, says the aged Academician, as though it had happened but yesterday, and yet the circumstances took place in the year 1788. We were sitting at table, principally members of the Academy, with one of our colleagues. The company was numerous; it consisted of courtiers, men of letters, and others. We partook of a superb dinner. At the dessert, the Malvoisie and Cape wines had elevated the gaiety of the company to such a degree, that it could scarcely be restrained within any bounds. Chamfort had read to us some of his graceless and licentious tales, and yet the ladies who were present, had not, as usual, recourse to their fans. Many impious jests were launched against religion; one read passages from Voltaire's Pucelle, amidst universal plaudits; a second rose, and with a full bumper in his hand, exclaimed “ Yes, gentlemen, I am as sure that there is no God, as I am certain that Homer was a blockhead." A third admired the revolution which Voltaire had effected in the empire of the Sciences—« That great man,” cried he, gave
the tone to his age; he is read as generally in every anti-chamber, as in the superb apartments of our most illustrious men.” One of the guests related, with a hearty laugh, that his hair dresser had said to him in good earnest :-“ Look you, Sir, though I am but a poor fellow, I concern myself as little about religion, as the grandest of you gentlemen. It was the general opinion, that a political revolution would soon arrive, and that fanaticism must give way to the philosophical spirit of the times. They wished happiness to those whose age still allowed them to cherish the hope of witnessing this great work.
Only one individual of the party appeared to withhold his applause from our conversation : he merely laughed now and then at our enthusiasm. This was Cazotte, an eccentric, but amiable man.
He at length broke silence, and said, with the utmost gravity,“ Make yourselves easy, gentlemen, you will live to see this great and sublime revolution which you so anxiously desire.— Yes, I repeat, that you will live to see it." “ That may be," rejoined one of the company;
66 a man need not be a wizard to foretel any thing of that sort."
66 Agreed; but it requires more than a common head to know what is to follow. Do you know what will be the consequences of this revolution, and what will become of you all during it?" "Well, let us hear, then," said Condorcet, with a sarcastic smile. “ You, M. de Condorcet, will die in prison, and by poison, which
will take to escape the hand of the executioner. So great will be the happiness of this revolutionary æra, that people will carry their dose constantly in their pocket."
The whole table was convulsed with laughter. 66 M. Cazotte," said one of the guests, " this story which you have been telling, is not near so pleasing as your Diable Amoureux, (an uncommonly entertaining novel, by M. Cazotte.) But how do you come by prisons, poison, and executioners ?' What have these to do with reason and philosophy ?”
66 'Tis in the very name of philosophy," answered Cazotte, “ in the very name of liberty and humanity, that reason will rule in the manner I predict; it will be the express reign of reason; for to her alone will altars be erected throughout all France, and the other temples will be shut up." 6 Upon my soul,” interrupted Chamfort, bursting into a contemptuous laugh, “you, Cazotte, will not be one of the priests that will perform the worship of reason.”—“I hope not; but you, M. de Chamfort, will be one of the most worthy; for you will open your veins with a razor,
will not die till several months afterwards." -The company looked at each other, and the laughter became still louder. "You, M. de Vicq. d'Azyr, will open six veins, one after the other, in a fit of the gout, and die the same night. As for you, Messrs. Nichollai, Bailly, and Malesherbes, you will all three die on the scaffold.". 66 Thank God!” cried Rouchet, “ it appears as if the speaker was determined to wreak all his vengeance on the Academy; he has dispatched the Academicians in a terrible way, but as I am not one of their number, he will surely be merciful to me.” you too, like the others, will expire on the scaffold.”.
66 You? no;
66 We wo
must have conspired,” was now the universal cry,
to exterminate us all together.” 66 No, I have not.”
66 Are we then to be conquered by the Turks and Tartars ? and”no means; as I have already said, you will then live under the sway of reason and philosophy alone; those of whom you may expect such treatment, are nothing but philosophers, who, like yourselves, will have nothing in their mouths but reason and philosophy.”—The company now whispered each other, “ It is plain, that he is a perfect fool ; he always strives to appear eccentric in bis jokes.”
"_6. That may be,” said Chamfort, “but this humourist should be more cheerful; his stories smell too strongly of the gallows. But tell me, Cazotte, when are all these things to happen?" - Scarcely six years will have elapsed, before all that I predict will be accomplished.” " That is wonderf1," at length exclaimed I, (La Harpe," and am I then to make no figure in all these scenes ?” Sir, are destined for one of their most extraordinary wonders. You will become a Christian.” The room shook with violent and universal peals of laughter. 6 Well,” cried Chamfort,“ I am easy, if we are not to be dispatched till La Harpe become a Christian. At that rare, we shall never die.'' men come off the best,”? observed the Duchess de Grammont,
as we pass for nothing at all in this revolution. I mean not to say, that we shall have no hand in it, but, it is admitted, that our
_” 6 Your sex, madam, will not, in this case, protect you; it will avail you nothing that you refrain from intermeddling; you will be treated, without distinction, like us men.” “ What say you, M. Cazotie? That must certainly be the end of the world." 66 That I know not; but this I know perfectly well, that you, Madame la Duchesse, will be conveyed in the executioner's cart, in company with many other ladies, with your hands tied behind your backs." then," said the Duchess, “ I shall be allowed a carriage covered with black cloth." 6 No, madam; ladies of still higher rank than yourself will be drawn in a cart, with their hands tied behind them." “ Ladies of higher rank? Who can they be?” 56 The Princesses of the blood royal ? Of still higher rank than
Here the company was in visible emotion; a. deep gloom overspread the countenance of the master of the house, and they felt that the joke had been carried too far.. Madame de Grammont, in order to bring back the conversation to a more agreeable tone, contented herself with observing
66 "hey will, however, let me have a confessor ?” Madam. nobody will have any : the last condemned person, to whom it will be allowed as a favour, will be he paused a moment will be the King of France.”
66 At any rate,
The host rose abruptly from the table, and his example was followed by all his guests. He went up to M. Cazotte, whom he addressed in a pathetic tone : “ Dear Cazotte,” said he, “ your gloomy fancies have lasted too long; you go too far; you might commit yourself and the whole company.” Cazotte took his hat, and was about to retire, without saying a word. Madame de Grammont, who always avoided every thing like gravity, detained him, saying, “ Dear Mr. Prophet, we have listened long enough to your prophecies concerning us; but you have not said a word about yourself.” Cazotte paused for some time; his eyes were bedimmed with tears.—5 Have you, Madam, ever read the siege of Jerusalem, by the historian Josephus." “Undoubtedly; who is there but has ? tinue, as though I had not.” “Well, then, Madam, during this siege, a man went, for seven successive days, round the ramparts of the city, in the face of the besieging Romans, and of the besieged Jews, incessantly crying, with a voice of thunder, 'Woe to thee, Jerusalem ! On the seventh day, he exclaimed, 'Woe to thee, Jerusalem ! woe to myself!' and, at the same moment, a prodigious stone, discharged by the enemy's machines, dashed him into a thousand pieces.”—After this answer, Cazotte bowed, and withdrew.
Let the reader open the history of the revolution, and he will find how, and in what day, the events announced in 1788 were accomplished in the years 1792, 3, and 4. La Harpe, as it is well known, escaped; but the atrocities of the revolution, which he looked upon as the consequence of what was denominated philosophy, niade such an impression upon him, that, in his last years, he became one of the most zealous defenders of that holy religion, which he had before so furiously attacked.
APPARITION OF MR. NAILOR. One Mr. Shaw, formerly fellow of St. John's college, and late minister of a college living, within twelve miles of Oxford, as he was sitting one night by himself, smoaking a pipe, and reading, observed somebody to open the door: he turned back, and saw one Mr. Nailor, a fellow-collegian, an intimate friend, and who had been dead five years, come into the room The gentleman came in, exactly in the same dress and manner that he used at college. Mr. Shaw was something surprised at first ; but in a little time recollecting himself, he desired him to sit down: upon wbich Mr. N. drew a chair, and sat by him; they had a conference of about an hour and a half. The chief of the particulars were these ; he told bim, that he was sent to give him warning of his death, which would be in a very short time; and, if I mistake not, he added, that his death would be sudden. He mentioned, like
wise, veterat others of St. John's, particularly the famous Auchard, who is since dead. Mr. S. asked if he could not give him another visit: he answered no, alleging, “ that his time allotted was but three days, and that he had others to see, who were at a great distance." Mr. Shaw had a great desire to inquire about his present condition, but was afraid to mention it, not knowing how it would be taken.
At last he expressed himself in this manner; “ Mr. N. how is it with you in the other world ?” he answered, with a brisk and cheerful countenance, very well.” Mr. Shaw proceeded and asked, there any of our old friends with you ?” he replied, “not one." After their discourse was over, he took his leave and went out. Mr. Shaw offered to go with him out of the room ; but he beckoned with his hand that he should stay where he was. Mr. Nailor seemed to turn into the next room, and so went off. This Mr. Shaw the next day made his will, the conference had so far affected him; and not long after, being taken with an apoplectic fit while he was reading the divine service, he fell out of the desk, and died immediately after. He was ever looked upon to be a pious man, and a good scholar; only some object, that he was inclinable to melancholy. He told this story himself to Mr. Groves, fellow of St. John's and a particular friend of his, and who lay at his house last sum
Mr. G. upon his return to Cambridge, met with one of his college who told him that Mr. Auchard was dead, who was particularly mentioned by Mr. Shaw. He kept the business secret, till, hearing of Mr. Shaw's own death, he told the whole story. He is a person far enough from inventing such a story; and he tells it in all companies without any manner of variation. We are mightily divided about it at Cambridge, some heartily embracing it, and others rejecting it as a ridiculous story, and the effect of spleen and melancholy. For my own part, I must acknowledge myself one of those who believe it, having not met with any thing yet sufficient to invalidate it. As to the little sceptical objections that are generally used upon this occasion, they seem to be very weak in themselves, and will prove of dangerous consequences if applied to matters of a more important nature.
Is the year 1707, John Needs, a Winchester scholar, foretold the deaths of Mr. Carman, chaplain to the college, Dr. Mew, Bishop of Winchester, and himself, within that year to several of his school-fellows, among others, to George Lavington. This exposed him to much raillery in the school, and he was ludicrously styled Prophet Needs. Mr. Carman