Imatges de pÓgina

in the Russian annals, was derived from, the Princess Dashkof these words, "Prothe Tartars. Thus Michael Romanof mar-ceed inmediately to execution, else we are ried Eudocia, the daughter of a poor man undone." The princess, though. Panin, found at plough, when the messengers sent who happened to call at that lustaut, prowith presents, informed him of the honour posed to wait till next day, informed the conferred on his family. other conspirators, and putting on a man's dress, joined Orlof and his associates at their usual place of rendezvous It was unanimously resolved to begin instantly; and while Gregory Orlof repaired to the barracks to put the soldiers in readiness, his brother Alexey was dispatened to Peterhorf, a distance of twenty tales, to cenduct the empress to the capital. Atiwo o'clock in the morning a soldier roused the empress saying, "Your majesty has not a moment to lose, get ready and follow me." Catherine, terrified at first, soon recovered her courage, bastily disguised herself, and getting into a carriage, which on other pretexts had been detained in the neighbourhood for the purpose, arrived at Petersburgh at seven in the morning, July 9th.

Many changes and troubles followed, before the scarcely credible adventures of Peter the Great, gave Russia an existence among the powers of Europe. As his extraordinary exertions are better known than some other parts of the Russian history, we direct our attention to what more immediately marks and influences of modern times. Among the most singular events in Russian history, and indeed in any other, is the accession of Catherine II. to the throne, a woman, and a foreigner, the wife certainly of Peter III. but, by that tie only, connected with the Russian nation. Peter was, unfortunately for himself, an admirer of eminent qualities in Frederick 11. of Prussia, with whom he contracted a friendship.

The empress proceeded to the quarters of the Ismailofsky guards; though their colonel Razumofsky had not yet arrived, and, a few only of the soldiers, half dressed, appeared, she dissembled her disappointment. After a moment's silence, she said that the tzar intended that night to put

It was easily foreseen by the Prussian monarch, that the imprudence of Peter would encourage attempts against his go vernment, and he plainly expre-sed his ap-her to death, as well as her son, she had preliensions to the emperor. But so secure taken to flight as the only means of escape, was the tzar, that he intreated Frederic to and that from a confidence in their dispobe perfectly easy as to his safety, assuring sitions she threw herself into their hands. him that he was called father by the sol- The soldiers roused to indignation, swore diers; that he walked alone about Peters- they would die in her defence. As Raburgh, which afforded an opportunity to zumofsky arrived, and the meu collected any person who might be disposed to injure in greater numbers, Catherine was declared Lim; and that as he was continually doing sovereign; the voices of some who progood, he considered the divine protection a claimed her regent being overpowered by sufficient defence against every evil. As those who cried" ong live the empress." the designs of the conspirators had not es- While the empress gained the guards, Orcaped the penetration of the emperor's ad- lof was sent to bring over the artillery; hereuts, they entreated him to investigate but as the men refused to follow him withthe matter; but he was so persuaded that out an order from their general, one of the reports were groundless, that their ad- Orlof's friends informed Villebois, that her monitious gave him offence. A memoriał majesty commanded him to join her with containing the names of the conspirators his regiment at the barracks of the guards. being presented to him by one of his ser- As the general hesitated the order was revants, "What, always the old story," said peated, and Villebois went alone to the he, take your paper, and trouble me no cmpress. It was easy to perceive what more with such idle tales." While Peter was expected from him; but influenced by was thus blinded by a vain confidence, the a sense of duty or danger, he ventured to execution of the conspiracy, which_had speak of remaining obstacles, which he been fixed for the festivities of St. Peter said she should have foresten. "I have and St. Paul, the day on which it was be- not seat for yea,” replied Catherve lieved the emperor designed to arrest Ca- haughtily, "to learn what I should have therine; was hastened by an unexpected foreseen, but how you intend to act."accident."To obey your miesty," returned the confounded gener 4, going to put himself at the head of his regiment, and deliver the arsenals to the empress's friends. In two hours the cupress proceeded at the head of



Lieutenant Passick, the most incautious and violent of the conspirators, having been detected by his captain, was arrested at nine o'clock at night; but contrived to write to

2000 men to the church of St. Mary of Casan. The archbishop of Novgorod, attended by his priests, received her at the altar, and placing the imperial crown upon her head, proclaimed her sovereign of all the Russias by the name of Catherine II. and Paul Petrovitch her successor. therine took the usual oaths, and on her arrival at the palace of Elizabeth, crowds flocked to take the oath of allegiance. The senate acknowledged her as sole empress. As the conspirators proceeded to fortify the city they met with no resistance, except from the emperor's uncle prince George, who was immediately surrounded, and put under arrest. A regiment of 1600 men, encamped at a short distance from Peters-ceut patronage of learning. This combiburgh, was induced by her partizans to nation of brilhant qualities and exploits, march to the standard of the empress. The however, ought not to shelter her vices groundless report, that the emperor in- from severe censure. It cannot be forgottended that day to put her as well as her ten that she ascended the throne over the son to death, being industriously propa-body of her dead husband, to whose assasgated, tended greatly to increase her fol-sination it is more than suspected she lowers, and before night 15,000 chosen men were at her command, and the city in to reflect on her capricious and insatiable was privy. It must ever excite abhorrence which strict order prevailed, was prepared 'icentiousness which which cost her subjects to make a formidable defence. 92,820,000 rubles,* presented them with a most pernicious example, and exposed them to the insolent tyranny of profligate favourites, and all their retainers. Justice

and humanity must be extinguished in the minds of men, before they can read the pre-history of the calamities of Poland and the Crimea, of the wars which deluged with blood the shores of the Danube and the Dnieper, and desolated the adjacent countries, without execrating the ambition, in

The character of this extraordinary wo man is not so easy to describe as her person private were fascinated with the courteousor habits. Those who approached her in and gaiety of her conversation, Her ma ness of her behaviour, and the sprightliness inspired respect; while the solidity, vigour, Ca-jestic air and decorous stateliness in public, and compass of her understanding, qualified her to govern men. which she obtained by courage and sagaThe vast empire, city, she meliorated by her laws, enlarged by her conquests, and exalted by the splendour of her court, the diffusion of knowledge, the improvement of commerce, of agriculture, and the arts, and a magnifi

The character and person of this sovereign, one of the most extraordinary and extravagant that ever sat on a throne, is thus described by Mr. A.

Beautiful in her youth, Catherine served a majestic gracefulness to the end of her life. Though of a moderate stature, as she was well proportioned aud carried her head high, she seemed tall. Her forehead was open, nose aquiline, mouth agree-justice, and perfidy of Catherine. able, chin rather long, eyes blue, with thick darkish eye brows, and auburn hair. She usually dressed in the Russian manner, and except on festivals never wore rich attire. Her form, gait, and looks, bore marks of superiority and command.

The habits of this princess were extremely regular and temperate. She rose usually at six in the morning, and after a light breakfast, transacted business with her secretary till ten, when sitting down to her toilet, she signed papers of various kinds. At eleven she went to chapel, or spent the time with her grand children the princes Alexander and Constantine. Her dinner, always ou the table about one, seldom detained her above an hour. Business then engaged her an hour or two, when she repaired to the theatre or a private concert, and, if there was not a court, spent the evening with a small party at cards, retiring, generally without supping, between ten and eleven. This order and tempérance, with equability and cheerfulness of temper, contributed to preserve her health, which was rarely affected.

ties and death of Paul, are in the recol The death of Catherine, the absurdilection of our readers.

served, that Catherine by her will, apIt will be obpointed Alexander sovereign, passing understanding she had duly appreciated. over her own son, Paul, whose weak of Alexander, has hitherto been conHer judgement on the superior talents firmed, and this prince, now reigning, is undoubtedly popular, not in Russia only, but throughout Europe. Whether he will ultimately deserve the titles of Great, must be referred to a new chapter, for which events rising in Eumaterials. rope, will probably furnish abundant

* Catherine bestowed this sum, about £42,000,000, on those persons to the number of twelve, who successively occupied the post of her gallant.

We are persuaded, that many ancient notions are still floating in the more secluded parts of Wales; and that much might be gleaned, by persons capable of obtaining the confidence of the peasantry, in the bye places. It would take some time, and require some address; but, probably, it would abun

The Welch have enjoyed greater fa-dantly repay the labour, and furnish no cilities for preserving the history of little addition to the pleasures of a sumtheir antiquities, than most other parts mer excursion. of our island. Their extreme care of their genealogies, furnished a fair medium for such authorities; not absolutely free from error, certainly, yet likely to maintain a passable degree of correctness; and affording several points of intersection, by which the tales rehearsed might be adjusted.

The Cambrian Popular Antiquities; or, an Account of some Traditions, Customs, and Superstitions of Wales; with Observations as to their Origin, &c. By Peter Roberts, A.M. 8vo. pp. 260. price 18s. Williams, London, 1815..

Mr. Roberts has rather trusted to documents thau to observations of this nature. He quotes Higden, Giraldus, Pennant, &c. good authorities, no doubt; but his own observations would have greatly enhanced their value to general, and especially to English, readers.

By way of caution to travellers into


The great violator of ancient cus-Wales, against mistakes on the subject toms is commerce; which by intro- of antiquities, we adduce an extract full ducing novelties, excludes what is sup- to the point. posed to have had its day; and by establishing a mixture of people, diminishes the influence of the old settlers, by the apathy and indifference of the new comers, whose ignorance is unavoidable. Wales was not the seat of British commerce; and for centuries that country was little troubled by emi-parts of Wales, to set up a tall stone on an eminence to direct the traveller, where the country is wild, and the 'road would find; and as others of a lesser size, are otherwise in snowy weather be difficult to sometimes set up for the cattle to rub themselves, it may be a prudent precaution to examine whether any pillar-like stone may have been set up for either of the purposes, before it be referred to any other.

to guard against mistakes than to give inOf these, the little I have to say is rather formation. In many instances, they are doubtless, memorials of a rude age; and of acts no longer remembered, But, as it is at this day a custom in the mountainous

grants from other parts of the island. Within the last fifty years, the reverse is true; and the consequence is, that many antient traditions are lost, many national customs are no longer practised, while old superstitions are banished-or remain in the memory of the aged, and are handed down by tradition only.

That modern manners which have thus expelled the antient, may be far preferable, shall be allowed, without dispute; but, it does not follow, that a total forgetfulness of those observed in former ages should take place. Such as were blameable, should cer

The true antiquary will be thankful for this warning; although it principally concerns the uninstructed. Nor should less care be taken to distinguish between what may be remains of (even) Druidical customs, and what must be referred to Christian principles; while these, again, must be so far distin


tainly be suppressed; such as were in-guished, as is requisite to avoid ascribing different, may be left to their fate; such to later Christianity, or Popery, what as are good, or are founded on prin- might be derived from earlier, or purer ciples susceptible of being directed to good purposes, should be countenanced or supported, or revised, or improved, as the case may be. Experience is the best guide on the necessary distinctions; and prudence is the best directress, as events and incidents occur.

Mr. R. mentions wearing black clothes during Lent, as a custom observed by a few elderly persons, formerly: we know it has lately been the high fashion in London. He observes the understood necessity for putting on some new por

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tion of dress at Easter, to omit which was unlucky-this is the remains of the custom of baptizing at Easter; to which the new dress, or rather the white garment, was a customary appendage. He says, Easter day is marked by some-sinking fast into oblivion, and, says Mr. R. “ very properly." It does not follow, that the subsequent acts of benevolence, should share the same fate.

solemn, that were it not an established fact, and in practice as prevalent as ever, it might justify unbelief, This, then, is one of those "blameable" customs, which it gives us pleasure to report is

what of better cheer, as a festival; of which lamb is considered as a proper, constituent part. This allusion to the Christian doctrine cannot be mistaken. And yet it appears, clearly, that among Christian ideas more ancient practices were intermingled: as for


"Previous to a funeral," says Mr. Pennant, it was customary, when the corpse was brought out of the house and laid upon the bier, for the next of kin, be it widow, mother, sister, or daughter, (for it must be a female), to give, over a coffin, a quantity of white loaves, in a great dish, and sometimes a cheese, with a piece of money stuck in it, to certain poor persons. After that, they presented, in the same manner, drink a little of it immediately. a cup of drink, and required the person to When that was done, they kneeled down; and the minister, if present, said the Lord's Prayer; after which, they proceeded with the corpse, and, at every cross-way between the house and the church, they laid down the bier, knelt, and again repeated the Lord's prayer; and did the same when they first entered the church-yard. It is also customary, in many places, to sing psalms on the way; by which the stillness of rural life is often broken into in a man

Druidical system.

Both Bourne and Brand have made large her finely productive of religious reflections. excursions into etymology, in order to dis-To this hour the bier' is carried by the next cover the origin of the term jule, or yule, in yule-block; and, not seeking it where it wes to be found, have had but little suc

of kin, a custom considered as the highest respect that filial piety can pay to the de ceased. Among the Welch it was reckoned fortunate, if it should rain while they were carrying him to church, that his bier might be wet with the dew of heaven."


The word yule, is originally the Welch word guy, that is. festival, the initial gin gry, being changed into y, as in yate, from gate. Hence the yule-block signifies the festival-block; as Christmas is in Welch called gwylian, that is, the festiTal (by pre-eminence); so the block is at present called biocom gaylian, or the festwal-block. It is thought essential, that this block should be large enough (begin. ning at one end) to burn during the twelve days; or at least so managed, by suffering part only to burn every day, as that it may last so long.

This is much more rational, than the fancy of some-an allusion to Julius Cesar. Mr. R. occasionally traces other appellations: but not in every instance with equal success..

On Christmas-eve, a bunch of misseltoe is suspended from the ceiling, and each man bringing a woman under the misseltoe, salutes her, and wishes her a merry Christ mas and happy new year. "In France also, the younger country fellows about new-year's-tide, in every village, give the wish of good fortune at the inhabitants doors, with this exclamation, Au qui! l'an ney; that is, To the misseltoe! the New Year" meaning, probably, hail, or come, to the misseltoe; it is the new year; the beginning of which, as it has been served, is very nearly marked by the falling of the berries of that plant. Both of these customs belong evidently to the

That funerals should be scenes of riot and intemperance, either before or after, the interment, seems to be so contrary to human feelings on occasions so

After that the corpse has been brought read, it is the custom, in some parts of into the church, and the lesson has been North Wales, that a psalm is sung, and the clergyman being at the altar, while the Psalm is singing, those who attend the funeral asfriends of the deceased, approach bracket (which is provided for the purpose) the altar in succession, and lay on a small an offering of money, according to the wealth of the offerer, and the respect for the deceased. This offering has been con sidered, as originally intended to pay for maszes for the soul of the deceased; but, I believe, it was originally an offering for the support of the clergyman, as the custom is lot, that I have been able to learn, known

England; and the clergy of the ancient British church were supported chiefly by voluntary offerings on the public occasions. In other respects, the funeral is conducted

generally as in England; but when the service is over, the friends who have attended it, do in many places, kneel down at the grave, and say the Lord's prayer before they depart from it, and for several succeeding Sundays they repair to the grave, and do the same. In many parts, especially in South Wales, the friends of the deceased take much and laudable pains to deck the grave with flowers. A bordering of slates or stones, is nicely run around it, and the top bound in by stones, laid with taste, in a tesselated manner, which has an ornamental effect, whilst it remains a monument of a pious affection, gratified in paying its last tribute to a beloved or revered object.

This, with other instances of voluntary offerings from the people to the church, should be combined and argued, by those who oppose the remuneration due to the clergy, in the form of tythes. It would be to their purpose, to shew-that the Greek church, which may very plausibly be supposed to have retained many apostolic maxims, knows nothing of tythes;-that other Eastern churches collect no tythes; and that, as in this instance," the clergy of the ancient British church was supported chiefly by voluntary offerings ;"-to which, we conclude, however, glebe lands must be added.

The only trace of it, I believe, remain now in Wales, Ireland, and Scotland, the Western parts of Europe; and however, their existence, as inconsistent with pure religion, may be lamented, as evidence of the truth of the Mosaic history they are va luble, and not less so as evidences of the traditional reference of these natious to their Oriental origin. I have enlarged

somewhat on this subject, as no one else, that I know of, has considered these wells of Canaan in the same light; I now come to those of Wales of the same kind.


There are in North Wales, several wells which have been celebrated for the superstitious rites attached to them, and as affording remarkable instances of the effects of imaginatien on the physical state of the human frame; St. Thecla's at Llandegla, St. Elian's at Llanelian, St Dwynwen's in Anglesey, and St. Wenefrede's at Holywell in Flintshire.

* Compare Vol. I. New Series LITERARY PANORAMA, PP. 675. 677.

The well of St. Thecla must have once enjoyed a high degree of celebrity for cures of epilepsy, as the disorder itself is known still by the name of Clef Tegla, that is Thecla's, or Tegla's disorder, as supposed to be cured by her influence. This well is at Llaudegia in Denbighshire; nearly The ceremony used there was as follows:—— half way between Wrexham and Ruthin.

Mr. Roberts being a clergyman, finds among the superstitions of Wales, sundry resemblances to those hinted at in Holy Writ. He might have extended this much further; and as we have lately seen that Ireland maintains its regard for wells,* we shall enable our readers to compare them with the notions cur

rent in Wales, on the same subject: pre-about a hundred years ago; and is, as I This account was given of the ceremony mising, that Mr. R. finds in the Endor have lately been informed, not yet wholly of Scripture, where the sorceress dwelt, abolished. That its origin is more aucici 1 a place of similar superstition. His rea- than the commencement of Christianity, sons for being thus particular deserve the offering of a cock, or hen, strongly innotice. dicated, as these birds were beld sacred, and accordingly offered in sacrifice. In an old Wesh account of saint's-days, I find the following notice annexed to the name of Cynddilig, a Welsh saint. "This saint's day is kept in the parish of Rhystud, where, from mid-day to mid-night on the eve of the winter kalends (first of November), the offering of a cock, as a preservative against kind of offering seems to have been made the hooping-cough is permitted," This in various cases of disease; and some years ago in digging up the under part of the

"Patients in epilepsy washed in the well, and having made an offering of a few thrice repeated the Lord's prayer. The pence, walked thrice around the well; and ceremony never began till after sunset. If the patient was a male, he offered also a cock; if female, she offered a hen. This fowl was carried in a basket, first round the well, and then into the churchyard. where the ceremony was repeated (probably of going around, it thrice, saying the Lord's prayer each time.) The patient then entered into the church, and got under the communion-table, where, putting 2 Bible under his head, and being covered with a carpet or cloth, he rested till break of day; and then, having made an offering of sixpence, and leaving the fowl in the church, he departed. If the fowl died, the it, and the cure to be effected." disorder was supposed to be transferred to

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