Images de page

our coach; I feared we were discovered; but I was reassured on seeing the coachman open the door, and recognizing my aunt; she had escaped with only one of her people. In entering the coach she trod on my brother, who was still at the bottom, but he fortunately did not complain. She assured us all was tranquil, and that my father and mother would soon arrive; indeed my father arrived almost immediately afterwards, and then my mother, with the guard-du-corps which were to follow us. We again therefore set forward on our journey. Nothing particular happened to us till near the end, where we were to find a carriage to convey us on; but M. de Fersen did not know where to look for it; we were consequently obliged to wait a long time, which gave us great uneasiness, as my father went out. At last M. de Pherson returned, bringing with him the carriage; we immediately got in. M. de Fersen wished my father and mother good night, and set off in full speed. The three guarde-du-corps were Monsieurs M. de Maldan, Dumontier, and Valori; the latter travelled as courier, the others as domestics, and on horseback, and the other seated on the coach. They had changed their names; the former called himself St. Fan, the second Melchior, the other Francois. two women who had gone before us, we found at Bondé; they were in a small coach, we took them with us. The day began to dawn; nothing remarkable happened during the morning; however, at ten leagues from Paris, we encountered a man on horseback, who continually followed our coach. At Etoges we feared we were known. At four o'clock we passed the grand city of Chalons on the Marne, there we were immediately discovered; every one blessed God that they saw their king in safety, and put up prayers for his escape. The next post to Chalons, we were to find some troops on horseback to conduct the carriage to Montmedy, but on our arrival we did not find them there; we anxiously awaited them till eight o'clock, and then went on to Clermont. There we saw the troops, but all the village were in alarm, and would not let them mount their horses. An officer recognized my father, approached the coach, and whispered to him that he was betrayed. We saw there also Monsieur Charles de Damas, but he could do nothing there;


we continued our route. The night had all at once overtaken us, and in spite of the agitation and inquietude that we were in, we all slept soundly. We were awoke by a frightful jolt, and at the same time their coming to tell us that they knew not what had become of the courier that rode before the coach. We supposed by the fear they were in, that they thought he had been discovered and taken. We were now arrived at the commencement of the village of Varennes. There was scarcely a hundred houses in this place, and no accommodation for posting; of course travellers were obliged to bring their own horses to this place. We had them, but they were at the Castle, on the other side of the river, and nobody knew where to find them. The postilions said that their horses were fatigued, and could not go further. There were therefore no other means left than by walking them as well as we could. At last the courier arrived and brought with him a man whom he believed was in our confidence, but I believed a spy of La Fayette. He came to the coach dressed in a morning gown and night-cap; he threw himself nearly withinside, saying, that he knew a secret, but he would not discover it. Madame de Tournelle asked him if he was acquainted with Madame de Korff; he said, no. We could not draw from him the secret. I have never seen this man since. We at last persuaded the postilions, with great difficulty, that our horses were at the Castle. They therefore, though with great reluctance, walked their own slowly on. On our arrival at the village we were alarmed with frightful cries round our carriage of "Stop, stop." They tore our post-boys from their seats, and the next moment our carriage was completely surrounded with armed men and flambeaux. They demanded who we were? We replied, Madame Korff and family. They then took their lights, put them immediately before the face of my father, and signified to us that we must descend from our carriage. We refused, saying, that we were simple travellers, and must pass. They threatened to murder us, if we resisted, and at the same instant all their guns were turned against the We descended, and in traversing the street, saw pass us six dragoons on horse-back; but they had unfortunately no officers among them (for had there been) six well determined men would have been able to conquer all these fellows, and have saved the king.


[blocks in formation]


ACCIDENT lately threw in my way an old volume, entitled "De la Sagesse" published at Paris in 1613, by Pierre Charron Parisien; in the 19th page of which are these words: "Le vraye estude de l'homme, c'est l'homme." Now, Mr. Editor, we all remember the celebrated line of a favourite bard, in his Essay on Man, "The proper study of mankind is man." This being verbatim with the former, a question naturally arises, could two persons, writing in different ages, originate in themselves the same arrangement of words to express a like meaning? The probable inference is, they could not, and that one must have borrowed from the other. It is only barely possible, that Pope might have caught the idea and expression, without recollecting that both were copies.

Cincinnati, May 5th, 1811.



THE excessive subtlety of the connexion between the mind and body, has baffled the investigation of the inquisitive philosopher, and while we constantly feel it, we must regret that we cannot understand it. It is not my intention to delve into this unfathomable subject, to build conjectures, which must sink as fast as the imagination can raise them; but to endeavour to illustrate a part of this branch of science, which has not hitherto been considered with a sufficient degree of accuracy.

It is now universally admitted that impressions of external objects are conveyed to the mind through the agency of nerves, whose vibrations serve as the organ of communication. This principle laid down as general, confessedly operates with regard to four of the five senses which we possess, but the sense of see. ing, being more complicated than the rest, has been excluded from its proper class, and supposed to be governed, like a solitary, isolated outcast, by rules of its own. The hypotheses which

have been framed to form a reasonable elucidation of this operation of nature, are various and in some degree inconsistent. Since, however, the discovery of the different degrees of refrangibility, which the rays of light possess, all curiosity upon the subject seems to be extinguished. Philosophers having demonstrated, by proofs numerous and irresistible, that the convexity of the chrystalline humour of the eye, is such as to form a complete image upon the retina, seem to have considered themselves as having reached the ne plus ultra of discovery. They content themselves with having a piece of glass in a convex form to represent the chrystalline humour, and something behind it, at a proper distance, on which the image may be formed, and rest perfectly satisfied with this proof of the truth of their conclusions. But admitting that a coloured image is formed upon the retina of the eye, we are entirely at a loss to trace the process by which the faculty of vision is enabled to produce impressions upon the mind. It is at this stage of demonstration, that wild and fanciful hypotheses are framed; that disputants, losing sight of the ultimatum of their search, perplex themselves and their disciples with silly and trifling questions. Such, for example, is the dispute about the object's appearing inverted. The combating this latter doubt, some, who style themselves philosophers, still more visionary than the former, assert that we look along the rays of light, and thus see the object in its upright form. Others, to involve the subject still more in obscurity, have raised a question still less entitled to the name of dispute than the former, to wit, whether the mind contemplates the object or the image. The absurdity of supposing that the mind contemplates the object is at once established by reflecting, that a stream of light is continually pouring into the eye, and the mind cannot possibly have any power to run counter to this stream of rays and fasten upon the object, to judge of its dimensions and colour. Nor is it less absurd, to say that the mind contemplates the image; for if this were the case, there must be some principal of vision, behind the retina, with whose existence and nature we are unacquainted; perhaps something in the form of a little eye behind the retina, of which there is another one, and so on ad infinitum. This principle of vision is not formally acknowledged by any of the

advocates of the theory, but without it they must fall, and with it they cannot stand. For if we admit its existence, we must divide man into three parts, mind, body, and this non-descript, upon the utter absurdity of which, there needs no farther comment.

I will now state my own opinion on the subject, which, by giving uniformity to nature, rescues her from the imputation of irregularity, which the advocates of either of the above systems would cast upon her. Human nature is gifted with five senses, The impressions which we receive through the medium of four of them, are communicated by means of nerves, which are extremely attenuated, and susceptible of the slightest vibrations. The probability that the same method is used in the formation of a channel, by which the ideas derived from the powers of vision are conveyed to the mind, is founded upon the actual discovery of the nerves, whose vibrations excite in us the sensations of hearing, tasting, smelling, and feeling, and heightened by observing the uniformity of nature. If we possess only five senses, and can distinctly trace the process by which four of them operate, does it not amount to a high degree of certainty, that the fifth is not a solitary exception to this general law. And besides, if the objections, that have been mentioned, overthrow every fanciful theory that has been framed on the subject, the circumstances of being left destitute of every reasonable hypothesis, tends to corroborate our opinion. I suppose, that the rays of light infringing upon the retina of the eye, excite vibrations in those delicate nerves, which communicate from it to the common censorium, and that according to the strength of these vibrations, is the perception of colour. For example, the red rays when separated from the rest, retain a greater quantity of heat, than others; from this circumstance and from the phenomenon of their being less refrangible than those of any other colour, they probably contain a greater quantity of matter. Rays of light in passing through a prism, are deflected from their course, and by admitting that they possess different degrees of momentum (owing to the difference in their quantity of matter, all moving with an equal degree of velocity) the circumstance of refrangibility is at once made plain. For those rays which have the greatest degree of momentum (which are the red ones) must be

« PrécédentContinuer »