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not be very great. The carriages follow each other in two lines, moving in opposite directions. The company within smile, and bow, and wave the hand, as they pass and repass their acquaintance ; and doubtless imagine, that they are the most important figures in the procession. The horses, however, seem to be quite of a different way of thinking, and to consider themselves as the chief objects of admiration, looking on the livery servants, the volantis, the lords, and the ladies, as their natural suit on all such solemn occasions.

LETTER LVII.

Naples. The greatest part of kings, whatever may be thought of them after their death, have the good fortune to be represented, at some period of their lives, generally at the beginning of their reigns, as the greatest and most virtuous of mankind. They are never compared to characters of Jess dignity than Solomon, Alexander, Cæsar, or Titus ; and the comparison usually concludes to the advantage of the living monarch. They differ in this, as in many other particulars, from those of the most distinguished genius and exalted merit among their subjects, That the fame of the latter, if any awaits them, seldom arrives at its meridian till many years after their death ; whereas the glory of the former is at its fullest splendour during their lives ; and most of them have the satisfaction of hearing all their praises with their own ears. Each particular monarch, taken separately, is, or has been, considered as a star of great lustre ; yet any number of them, taken without selection, and placed in the historical galaxy, add little to its brightness, and are often contemplated with disgust. When we have occasion to mention kings in general, the expression certainly does not awaken a recollection of the most amiable or most deserving part of the human species; and tyranny in no country is pushed so far, as to constrain men to speak of them, when we speak in general

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terms, as if they were. It would revolt the feelings, and rouse the indignation, even of slaves. Full freedom is allowed therefore on this topic; and, under the most arbi. trary government, if you choose to declaim on the imbecility, profligacy, or corruption of human nature, you may draw your illustrations from the kings of any country, provided you take them in groupes, and hint nothing to the detriment of the reigning monarch. But, when we talk of any one living sovereign, we should never allow it to escape from our memory, that he is wise, valiant, ge. nerous, and good; and we ought always to have Solomon, Alexander, Cæsar, and Titus, at our elbow, to introduce them apropos when occasion offers.

when occasion offers. We may have what opinion we please of the whole race of Bourbon ; but it would be highly indecent to deny, that the reigning kings of Spain and Naples are very great princes. As I never had the happiness of seeing the father, I can only speak of

His Neapolitan majesty seems to be about' the age of six or seven and twenty. He is a prince of great activity of body, and a good constitution; he indulges in frequent relaxations from the cares of government and the fatigue of thinking, by hunting and other exercises ; and (which ought to give a high idea of his natural talents) he never fails to acquire a very considerable degree of perfec. tion in those things to which he applies. He is very fond, like the king of Prussia, of reviewing his troops, and is perfectly master of the whole mystery of the manual exercise. I have had the honour, oftener than once, of ing him exercise the different regiments which form the garrison here: he always gave the word of command with his own royal mouth, and with a precision which seemed to astonish the whole court. This monarch is also a very excellent shot ; his uncommon success at this diversion is thought to have roused the jealousy of his most Catholic majesty, who also values himself on his skill as a marksman. The correspondence between those two great personages often relates to their favourite amusement.-A gentleman, who came lately from Madrid, told me, that the king, on some occasion, had read a letter which he had just received from his son at Naples, wherein he complained of his bad success on a shooting party, having killed no more than eighty' birds in a day: and the Spanish mo-. narch, turning to his courtiers, said, in a plaintive tone of voice; Mio filio piange di non aver' fatto piu di ottante becçacie in uno giorno, quando mi crederei l'uomo il piu felice del mondo se potesse fare quaranta,'* All who take a becoming share in the afflictions of a royal bosom, will no doubt join with me, in wishing better success to this good monarch, for the future. Fortunate would it be for mankind, if the happiness of their princes could be purchased at so easy a rate! and thrice fortunate for the generous people of Spain, if the family connexions of their monarch, often at variance with the real interest of that country, should never seduce him into a more ruinous war, than that which he now wages against the beasts of the field and the birds of the air. His Neapolitan majesty, as I am informed, possesses many other accomplishments; I particularize those only to which I have myself been a wilness. No king in Europe is supposed to understand the game of billiards better. I had the pleasure of seeing him strike the most brilliant stroke that perhaps ever was struck by a crowned head. The ball of his an. tagonist was near one of the middle pockets, and his own in such a situation, that it was absolutely necessary to make it rebound from two different parts of the cushion, before it could pocket the other. A person of less enterprise would have been contented with placing himself in a safe situation, at a small loss, and never have risked any offensive attempt against the enemy; but the difficulty and danger, instead of intimidating, seemed rather to animate the ambition of this prince. He summoned all his address; he estimated, with a mathematical eye, the angles at which the ball must fly off; and he struck it

the son.

see.

My son laments, that he has not killed more than eighty birds in one day, whereas I should think myself the happiest man in the world, if I could kill forty.

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with an undaunted mind and a steady hand. It rebounded obliquely, from the opposite side-cushion, to that at the end; from which it moved in a direct line towards the middle pocket, which seemed to stand in gaping expectation to receive it. The hearts of the spectators beat thick as it rolled along; and they shewed, by the contortions of their faces and persons, how much they feared that it should move one hair-breadth in

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direction. -I must here interrupt this important narrative, to observe, that, when I talk of contortions, if you form your idea from any thing of that kind which you may have seen around an English billiard-table or bowling-green, you can have no just notion of those which were exhibited on this occasion ; your imagination must triple the force and energy of every English grimace, before it can do justice to the nervous twist of an Italian countenance.At length the royal ball reached that of the enemy, and with a single blow drove it off the plain. An universal shout of joy, triumph, and applause burst from the beholders; but,

O thoughtless mortals, ever blind to fate,

Too soon dejected, and too soon elate ! the victorious ball, pursuing the enemy too far, shared the same fatę, and was buried in the same grave, with the vanquished. This fatal and unforeseen event seemed to make a deep impression on the minds of all who were witnesses to it; and will no doubt be recorded in the annals of the present reign, and quoted by future poets and historians, as a striking instance of the instability of sublunary felicity.

It is imagined that the cabinet of this court is entirely guided by that of Spain ; which, on its part, is thought to be greatly under the influence of French counsels. The manners, as well as the politics, of France, are said to prevail at present at the court of Madrid. I do not presume to say of what nature the politics of his Neapolitan majesty are, or whether he is fond of French counsels or not; but no true-born Englishman existing can

shew a more perfect contempt of their manners than he does. In domestic life, this prince is generally allowed to be an easy master, a good-natured husband, a dutiful son, and an indulgent father.

The queen of Naples is a beautiful woman, and seems to possess the affability, good-humour, and benevolence, which distinguish, in such an amiable manner, the Austrian family.

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LETTER LVIII.

Naples. The hereditary jurisdiction of the nobles over their vassals subsists, both in the kingdom of Naples and Sicily, in the full rigour of the feudal government. The peasants therefore are poor; and it depends entirely on the personal character of the masters, whether their poverty is not the least of their grievances. If the land was leas. ed out to free farmers, whose property was perfectly se. cure, and the leases of a sufficient length to allow the tenant to reap the fruits of his own improvements, there is no manner of doubt that the estates of the nobility would produce much more. The landlord might have a higher rent paid in money, instead of being collected in kind, which subjects him to the salaries and impositions of a numerous train of stewards; and the tenants, on their parts, would be enabled to live much more comfortably, and to lay up, every year, a small pittance for their families. But the love of domineering is so predominant in the breasts of men who have been accustomed to it from their infancy, that, if the alternative were in their choice, many of them would rather submit to be themselves slaves to the caprices of an absolute prince, than become perfectly independent, on the condition of giving independ. ence to their vassals. There is reason to believe that this ungenerous spirit prevails pretty universally among the nobility all over Europe. The German barons are more shocked at the idea of their peasants becoming per

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