The Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford — Volume 4 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,055 pages of information about The Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford — Volume 4.

(752) M. Bailly, the learned astronomer.  He was president of the first National Assembly, and in July 1789, appointed mayor of Paris; in which situation he gave great offence to the people, in July 1791, by ordering martial law to be proclaimed against a mob which had assembled in the Champ de Mars to frame an address, recommending the deposition of Louis.  For this step, which was approved of by the Assembly, he was arrested, tried, condemned, and put to death on the 11th of November 1793.  The details of this event are horrible.  “The weather,” says M. Thiers, “was cold and rainy, Conducted on foot, he manifested the utmost composure amidst the insults of a barbarous populace, whom he had fed while he +was mayor.  On reaching the foot of the scaffold, one of the wretches cried out, that the field of’ the federation ought not to be polluted by his blood.  The people instantly rushed upon the guillotine, bore it off, and erected it again upon a dunghill on the bank of the Seine, and opposite to the spot where Bailly had passed his life and composed his invaluable works.  This operation lasted some hours:  meanwhile, he was compelled to walk several times round the Champ de Mars, bareheaded, and with his hands pinioned behind him.  Some pelted him with mud, others kicked and struck him with sticks.  He fell exhausted.  They lifted him up again.  ‘Thou tremblest!’ said a soldier to him.  ‘My friend,’ replied the old man, ‘it is cold.’  At length he was delivered over to the executioner; and another illustrious scholar, and one of the most virtuous of men, was then taken from it.”  Vol. iii. p. 207-E.

(753) See post, p. 484.-E.

(754) Mr. Gifford was of Walpole’s opinion, and has, in consequence, accorded to " The Charming-man” a prominent situation in the Baviad:—­

“See snivilling Jerningham at fifty weep O’er love-lorn oxen and deserted sheep.”

To the poem here alluded to, and which was entitled “Peace, Ignominy, and Destruction,” the satirist thus alludes:-"I thought I understood something of faces; but I must read my Lavater over again I find.  That a gentleman, with the physionomie \2d’un mouton qui r`eve,’ should suddenly start up a new Tyrtaeus, and pour a dreadful note, through a cracked war-trump, amazes me:  well, fronti nulla fides shall henceforth be my motto’ In a note to the Pursuits of Literature, Mr. Mathias directs the attention of Jerningham to the following beautiful lines in Dryden’s Epistle to Mr. Julien, Secretary of the Muses:—­

“All his care
Is to be thought a Poet fine and fair;
Small beer and gruel are his meat and drink,
The diet he prescribes himself to think;
Rhyme next his heart he takes at morning peep,
Some love-epistles at the hour of sleep;
And when his passion has been bubbling long,
The scum at last boils Up into a song.” —­E.

Letter 372 To The Miss Berrys.  Berkeley Square, March 5, 1791. (page 483)

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The Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford — Volume 4 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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