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in a most express
to grow duskish. Soon after our arrival at Florence, in one of the avenues of this walk we observed two men and two ladies, followed by four servants in livery. One of the men wore the insignia of the garter. We were told this was the count Albany, and that the lady next to him was the countess. We yielded the walk, and pulled off our hats. The gentleman along with them was the envoy from the king of Prussia to the court of Turin. He whispered the count, who, returning the salutation, looked very earnestly at the duke of Hamilton. We have seen them almost every evening since, either at the opera or on the public walk. His Grace does not affect to shun the avenue in which they happen to be; and as often as we pass near them, the count fixes his
eyes ive manner upon the duke, as if he meant to say-our ancestors were better acquainted.
You know, I suppose, that the count Albany is the unfortunate Charles Stuart, who left Rome sometime since on the death of his father, because the pope did not think proper to acknowledge him by the title which he claimed on that event. He now lives at Florence, on a small revenue allowed him by his brother. The countess is a beautiful woman, much beloved by those who know her, who universally describe her as lively, intelligent, and a. greeable. Educated as I was in revolution principles, and in a part of Scotland where the religion of the Stuart family, and the maxims by which they governed, are more reprobated than perhaps in any part of Great Britain, I could not behold this unfortunate person without the warmest emotion and sympathy. What must a man's feelings be, who finds himself excluded from the most brilliant situation, and noblest inheritance that this world affords, and reduced to an humiliating dependence on those, who, in the natural course of events, should have looked up to him for protection and support? What must his feelings be, when on a retrospective view he beholds a series of calamities attending his family, that is without example in the annals of the unfortunate ; calamities, of
which those they experienced after their accession to the throne of England, were only a continuation? Their misfortunes began with their royalty, adhered to them through ages, increased with the increase of their dominions, did not forsake them when dominion was no more ; and, as he has reason to dread, from his own experience, are not yet terminated. It will afford no alleviation or comfort, to recollect that part of this black list of calami. ties arose from the imprudence of his ancestors; and that many gallant men, in England, Scotland, and Ireland, have at different periods been involved in their ruin.
Our sympathy for this unfortunate person is not checked by any blame which can be thrown on himself. He surely had no share in the errors of the first Charles, the profligacy of the second, or the impolitic and bigotted attempts of James against the laws and established religion of Great Britain and Ireland ; therefore, whilst I contemplate with approbation and gratitude the conduct of those patriots who resisted and expelled that infatuated monarch, ascertained the rights of the subject, and settled the constitution of Great Britain on the firm basis of freedom on which it has stood ever since the revolution, and on which I hope it will ever stand, yet I freely acknown ledge, that I never could see the unfortunate Count Albany without sentiments of compassion, and the most lively sympathy.
I write with the more warmth, as I have heard of some of our countrymen, who, during their tours through Italy, made the humble state to which he is reduced a frequent theme of ridicule, and who, as often as they met him in public, affected to pass by with an air of sneering insult. The motive to this is as base and abject as the behaviour is unmanly; those who endeavour to make misfortune an object of ridicule, are themselves the objects of detestation. A British nobleman or gentleman has certainly no occasion to form an intimacy with the count Albany ; but while he appears under that name, and claims no other title, it is ungenerous, on every accidental meeting, not to
behave to him with the respect due to a man of high rank, and the delicacy due to a man highly unfortunate.
One thing is certain ; that the same disposition which makes men insolent to the weak, renders them slaves to the powerful; and those who are most apt to treat this unfortunate person with an ostentatious contempt at Florence, would have been his most abject flatterers at St. James's.
a country where men are permitted to speak and write without restraint on the measures of government; where almost every citizen may flatter himself with the hopes of becoming a part of the legislature ; where eloquence, popular talents, and political intrigues, lead to honours, and open a broad road to wealth and power ; men, after the first glow of youth is past, are more obedient to the loud voice of ambition than to the whispers of love. But in despotic states, and in monarchies which verge towards despotism, where the will of the prince is law; or, which amounts nearly to the same thing, where the law yields to the will of the prince; where it is dangerous to speak or write on general politics, and death or imprisonment to censure the particular measures of government; love becomes a first, instead of being a secondary object; for ambition is, generally speaking, a more powerful passion than love; and on this account women are the objects of greater attention and respect in despotic than in free countries. That species of address to women which is now called gallantry, was, if I am not mistaken, unknown to the ancient Greeks and Romans; nothing like it appears in any of Terence's comedies, where one would naturally expect to find it, if any such thing had existed when they were written. It now prevails, in some degree, in every country of Europe, but appears in different forms
according to the different characters, customs, and manners, of the various countries.
In the courts of Germany it is a formal peice of business; etiquette governs the arrows of Cupid, as well as the torch of Hymen. Mistresses are chosen from the number of quarters on their family coats of arms, as well as from the number of their personal charms; and those ladies who are well provided in the first, seldom are without lovers, however deficient they may be in the second. But though many avenues, which in England lead to power and distinction, are shut up in Germany, and the whole power of government is vested in the sovereign, yet the young nobility cannot bestow a great deal of their time in gallantry. The military profession, which in the time of peace is perfect idleness in France and England, is a very serious, unremitting employment in Germany. Men who are continually drilling soldiers, and whose fortunes and reputations depend on the expertness of the troops under their command, cannot pay a great deal of attention to the ladies.
Every French gentleman must be a soldier; but fighting is the only part of the business they go through with spirit; they cannot submit to the German precision in discipline, their souls sink under the tediousness of a campaign, and they languish for a battle from the impetuosity of their disposition, and impatience to have the matter decided one way or the other. This, with many particular exceptions, is the general style of the French noblesse; they all serve an apprenticeship to war, but gallantry is the profession they follow for life. In England, the spirit of play and of party draws the minds of the young men of fortune from love or gallantry; those who spend their evenings at a gaming-house, or in parliament, seldom think of any kind of women but such as may be had without trouble ; and, of course, women of character are less attended to than in some other coun. tries. When I was last at Paris, the marquis de F
found an English newspaper on my table ; it contained a long and particular account of a debate which had happened in both houses of parliament; he read it with great attention while I finished a letter, and then throwing down the paper, he said to me,· Mais, mon ami, pendant que vos messieurs s'amusent à jaser, comme cela dans votre chambre des pairs et votre parlement, * parbleu un etranger auroit beau jeu avec leurs femmes.'
Intrigues of gallantry, comparatively speaking, occur seldom in England; and when they do, they generally proceed from a violent passion, to which every considera- . tion of fortune and reputation is sacrificed, and the business concludes in a flight to the continent, or a divorce. They manage matters otherwise in France; you
hard. . ly ever hear of flights or divorces in that country ; a hundred new arrangements are made, and as many broken, in a week at Paris, without noise or scandal; all is conducted quietly et selon les régles; the fair sex are the universal objects of respect and adoration, and yet there is no such thing as constancy in the nation. Wit, beauty, and every accomplishment united in one woman, could not fix the volatility of a Frenchman ; the love of variety, and the vanity of new conquests, would make him abandon this phoenix for birds far less rare and estimable. The women in France, who are full of spirit and sensibility, could never endure such usage, if they were not as fickle and as fond of new conquests as their lovers.
In Italy, such levity is viewed with contempt, and constancy is, by both sexes, still classed among the virtues.
That high veneration for the fair sex which prevailed in the ages of chivalry, continued long after in the form of a sentimentalPlatonic kind of gallantry. Every man of ingenuity chose unto himself a mistress, and directly proclaimed her beauty and her cruelty in love ditties, mádrigals, and elegies, without expecting any other recom
* The French in general are apt make the same mistake with the marquis : they often speak of the house of peers and the parliament as two distinct assemblies.