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possibly from the same eloquent pen, the same equivocal panegyric. To-day, as ten years ago, the friends of the noble author seek refuge from irksome criticism in “that gallery, in which the luxuries of modern refinement were united with the picturesque architecture of past times," and strive to forget the literary offences of a writer in calling to mind the unmatched resources and splendid hospitality of a departed ally.
The public have not this great advantage. They have not cherished recollections to console them for present disappointment; nor can they make good the deficiencies of a book by pensively dwelling upon social enjoyments in which they were never invited to participate. The Foreign Reminiscences of Lord Holland are to them the recorded and published views of a nobleman of mark; and Hollandhouse can no more interfere to disturb their judgment in the matter, than Pope's villa at Twickenham, or Dr. Johnson's happy sanctuary on Streatham-common. We regret to say, in the name of the public, that the good service which Holland-house cannot extend to the volume before us, the volume fails to perform for itself.
Had these Reminiscences been offered as the sweepings of the humblest corner of that far-famed gallery—a corner into which the attachés of secondrate ministers at second-rate courts may have crept, quite out of the atmosphere of wit and brilliant repartée, to enjoy their own peculiar drivel-we should have taken no pains to disturb or sift the worthless heap. The posthumous writings of Lord Holland, however, are not to be so superciliously
LITERARY QUALIFICATIONS. 147 neglected. The nephew of Charles James Fox had rare opportunities for inquiring into the condition of foreign countries, and for forming just estimates of their leading men. He was not without scholarship; he had travelled much, and was reputed a shrewd observer. His knowledge of the continental languages was far above the average, and his name was at all times a passport into society the most exclusive, and to the confidence of men the most renowned. The reputation of Lord Holland during his lifetime we believe to have been far beyond his merits. It continues sufficiently famous to give weight to his opinions, and authority to his statements. What his opinions and statements are with reference to some of the great doings of the last half century, the reader shall presently see.
“Recent events on the continent, we are told by the editor, have induced him at this time to give his father's book to the world. What those grave events have in common with the idle and mischievous tales now published, we are at a loss to conjecture. We should certainly have been amongst the first to welcome from the departed lord's pen great political truths, enlightened philosophical reflections, abiding and universal principles, elicited by intelligence from one stormy era of the century, to guide the faltering and to sustain the wavering through the dismal perils of another. But not the feeblest attempt is made to warn, to counsel, or inform. The Reminiscences might have been published ten years ago, or have been kept locked up at Holland-house ten years longer, for any fitness which they possess to our own practical and vigorous days. They demand but one condition, and that, unfortunately, may be found in any country, under any circumstances, at any timeto wit, a prurient fancy, eager to feast upon scandal, and an idle curiosity, willing to be gratified at any cost to its victims.
The editor's labour has been easy. “He has scrupulously abstained,” he says, “from making the slightest verbal alteration in the text or notes. The omission of four insignificant sentences is all that he has deemed necessary for the immediate publication” of Lord Holland's volume. We gather the editor's definition of “insignificant” by turning to the pages in which his handiwork is apparent, when we immediately learn that what is avowedly nothing to Henry Edward Lord Holland, may be absolutely torture to other persons. The omissions invariably occur after a woman's virtue has been blasted by an unmanly inuendo, and where it is wholly unnecessary to describe in detail the unfeeling calumny sufficiently indicated by one line of letter-press and a whole page of equally emphatic asterisks. At page 19, Marie Antoinette, the unhappy wife of Louis XVI., is, for the first time, deliberately charged with gross infidelity to her husband; and the accusation being made by the late Lord Holland, two rows of stars are suggestively added by the present. At page 64, the wife of the late Duke of York is described as the illegitimate daughter of the Queen of Prussia, her father having been one Müller, a musician. Much, no doubt, might have been added on this interesting point, for the revelation is honoured by nearly two pages of stars—a distinction reserved for a member of our own royal family.
LORD HOLLAND'S AUTHORITIES.
To do Lord Holland justice, he indicates the amount of reliance we may safely place on his facts, by candidly confessing, as often as he can, that he has no reason to believe in them himself. One of his favourite informants is “my excellent friend Dumont,” by his own admission “ a very inobservant," and by Lord Holland's experience of him, “a very credulous man.” Another is Talleyrand, whose veracity, according to Lord Holland, is unimpeachable, although “he may as much, or more than other diplomatists, suppress what is true,” and “occasionally imply” what is false. With the communications of such trustworthy authorities the volume is full ; and this is not all! Consistent in damaging every story that he tells, there is scarcely one fact revealed in the text which is not disputed or doubted by the author in a note. At page 14 Louis XVI. is accused without mercy of entertaining the idea of inviting foreign invasion of his dominions at the very moment he was proclaiming to France his sincere acceptance of the Constitution. The accusation is groundless, as the worst enemies of the King are free to confess. If Lord Holland really believed it to be just, why does he add in a note that he “has no private knowledge of the subject whatever," and that the testimony of Lafayette, and others equally wellinformed, is wholly at variance with his view of the case? At page 26 we have in the text an anecdote of Philip Egalité, upon the authority of one Admiral Payne—“my dear Payne," as he is affectionately styled by the Duke of Orleans. Lord Holland has an interest in the character of Egalité, and of all sworn enemies of authority and order, but “my dear Payne” is given up remorselessly in a note which acknowledges his reputation as a story-teller to be anything but creditable to his character for truth. Godoy, Prince of Peace, committed bigamy, Lord Holland says, though Lord Holland “will not vouch for the truth of the tale." Charles IV. of Spain is regaled with an account of his wife's infidelities, which he innocently circulates about his court; we need not circulate it further, since Lord Holland relates it at length only to describe it as “too dramatic for implicit credit."
With such candid evidence of Lord Holland's trustworthiness before us, it is hardly necessary to refute his opinions, or to dwell upon the small value of his reminiscences. He made his first short journey abroad in 1791, when he was a mere boy, and he reached Paris shortly after the death of Mirabeau, and about the time when Louis XVI. accepted the constitution. The impressions derived from what he saw and heard are the very reverse of those which the unbiassed of every party have received from history and personal observation. Marie Antoinette, as we have intimated, is branded with
momente, as have behave infamy as an adulteress, although not the slightest
whichitect ground exists for the cruel accusation. “Her amours," writes this thoughtless nobleman, “were not numerous, scandalous, or degrading, but they were amours." What does he mean? What is understood at Holland-house by an “amour” which is neither scandalous nor degrading? He tells us that a man, not her husband, “was in the Queen's boudoir, or bed-chamber, with Her Majesty, on the famous night of the 6th of October," and that “he