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hometan priests having visited the countries on the banks of that river. Supposing the Niger really to flow through the centre of Africa, and to discharge itself any where into the Atlantic, it is reasonable to believe that some of the Mahometan colonists would long since have established themselves on the banks of that river, and penetrated to the shores of the ocean.
RECLAMATIONS FROM TUB MUSEUM OF THE LOUVRE.
^From Miss Williams s Narrative of the Events in France J
The period was now arrived when a new storm no less horrible than unforeseen brooded over Paris. It appears that the allied powers, amidst those rapid and brilliant successes, which in the year 1814 had rendered them masters of the capital, had not overlooked the chefs-d'oeuvre of art which had been wrested from their respective countries by the right of conquest.
The allied sovereigns, when they visited the Gallery of the Louvre, beheld pictures and statues once their own, and saw them noted in the preface of the catalogues, sold at the door, as the fruit of Freneh victories. The Prussians had not failed to observe that pictures which had decorated the bed-chamber of their beautiful and lamented queen were then placed in the royal apartments of the palace of St. Cloud.
There was also a statue in the Museum which was known by the name of the Ganymede of
Sans Souci. This statue was «' bronze, and of the most beautiful workmanship; it was no less perfect than the Belvidere ApolSo, and held that reputation in the north. It was erroneously called a Ganymede, the pose of the ans* leading to this mistake, but it is i Gladiator giving thanks to th* gods for a victory just obtained.
The Prussians demanded, ia 1814, the restoration of tail statue, of two pieces by Corregie, and the pictures of St. Cloud, which had been taken from the apartment of their queen.
The restitution of these objects became the subject of a most fastidious negotiation between M. Blacas and the ministers of Austria and Prussia. It bad been agreed at the peace of Paris, that routine should be touched that was tire exhibited in the Museum, tad M. Blacas wished to extend tail article to all the paintings in tat royal palaces. The negociaooa failed. Paris preserved its stataes and pictures, and the Prussian; ther regrets at not having regained the trophies stripped from their queen's apartments.
The allied armies, in 1815. again crowned the hills around Paris, and again a capitulation was asked and granted. The Provisionary Government demanded .that the Museum should remain untouched. The allied generals wrote with a pencil, on the margin of this article, non accarei, (not granted). This refusal, it appears, did not arise so much from any decision taken with respect to the Museum by the Duke of Wellington, who would not prejudge the question, but because «ause General Blucher, supported l>y the public opinion of his country, had, in his own mind, determined upon taking it. The article on the respect to be paid to public and private property was loosely worded. The Provisionary iiovemment were, perhaps, not sorry to have left room for misinterpretation, since the surrender of Paris was unavoidable. The allies assert that their respect for the monuments of the arts could never be justly applied to the retaking of objects which had at first been seized by violence.
General Blucher, immediately upon his entrance into Paris, sent a letter toM. Denon, the Director of the Museum, demanding not only the objects of the last year's negociation with M. Blacas, but what was also in the Museum. M. Denon answered, that it was an affair which must be negociated with his government, and that he would not give them up. M. Denon was arrested during the night by twenty men, and was threatened to be sent to the fortress of Graudentz in West Prussia.
From this argument there was no appeal. The objects demanded were delivered. This surrender was made in due order, and the Gladiator, the two pictures of Corregio, and some valuable pieces of the old German school, were carefully packed up by the persons employed at the Museum. This would have been but a trifling loss had not the King of Prussia taken not only what belonged to Potzdam and Berlin, but also to Cologne and Aix la Chapelle, countries on this side of the Rhine, and therefore not in his possession at that period, on the
pretext that these objects belonged to the cathedral, and the municipality of those towns.
The public mind again became tranquil; it was asserted these acts of Prussian violence had neither the assent of the Emperor of Russia, nor of the Duke of Wellington, and it was currently believed that they had condemned these measures.
Two months had now passed when the Gallery of the Louvre was menaced from another quarter. The King of the Belgic Provinces, now united to Holland, had published a Constitution in the modern style, that is, on free and liberal principles. It was understood that it had met with a general acceptance, for who would refuse the blessings of liberty? The acceptance, however, was not so cordial as had been generally believed. There was a numerous and respectable class of the inhabitants of those provinces who were not eager to adopt strange doctrines, or suffer them to be adopted by those under their influence.
The Catholic clergy, in that country, had displayed some energy twenty years since, when, threatened with liberal principles, they roused the faithful into insurrection against such innovations by their then lawful sovereign. The Emperor Joseph the Second, who will be ranked in the class of philosophic* princes, was studious to introduce what he deemed free and liberal principle* among his Belgian subjects. But the clergy saw in toleration the destruction of religion, and in liberal principles the subversion of the privileges of the church.
They resisted, with force of arms, those dangerous tenets,andframed for themselves a government exempt from such political heresies. A clergy who had thus put themselves into rebellion, for their good old cause, against a Catholic prince, might well hesitate in accepting the present of liberty which was now offered them by their new Protestant sovereign, the King of Holland. Like the cautious High Priest of Troy, who proclaimed his "fear of the Greeks, and those who were the bearers of gifts;" so they considered it as a duty to put themselves on their guard against this Protestant protection of the Catholic Church, and narrowly inspect whether mischief might not lurk beneath aConstitution, which was at least suspicious since it bore the name of liberal.
This was a knotty affair; it was an easier enterprize for the allies to overthrow the tyrant of the world, and deliver Europe from its bondage, than for a Protestant Prince to render himself popular to a Belgian Catholic clergy.
The English government was ■ highly interested in supporting the authority of his new Belgian Majesty. It was, in fact, a kind of common concern. The churches of those provinces had been stript of their principal ornaments, and it was believed that the restoration of the pictures from their bondage in the Museum of Paris, would be an homage rendered to the faithful and the church, and would, perhaps, soften the opposition of its ministers to the acceptance of liberty.
The public in England seemed
at that time to haTe correspond:" sentiments with the governme: and to approve the removal of tie paintings in sympathy with Ij* Belgic churches. These ra causes led the English minktr at Paris to give in a note in tfcr favour to the Congress of the fosr powers who now govern tU world, and who were here assrxbled. The arrival of M. Car <? at Paris, at this period, led tic English minister to take the ;ir-. interest for his Holiness the Pop. He represented that the peace rf Tulentino could not be the foctdation of any right, since ti-f French, after taking the objecss inquestion, had themselves brote the treaty, and 1 hat it was therefore just that the more powerfiJ sovereigns should support tat cause of the weaker, which was evidently the case with the Pope. Lord Jastlereagh furtheniiiKv represented the advantages nhscj the arts would obtain by beat cultivated at Home, and that this idea had been so strongly impressed on the French artirfc themselves, that MM. Quatremer de Quincy, Denon, David, Giraudet, and forty other artists, had signed a petitioa, before their removal, to the Directory not to displace those objects.
Those to whom the English minister's observations were knows, seemed to consider them as mairather in compliance with a feeling of national jealousy than of strict justice; and, as actions art seldom placed to the account cf the principal agents, the ardour of the English cabinet was attributed to the Under Seeretan, Mr. Hamilton, a gentleman known in the literary world by his Tr»ols in Greece and Egypt, and ighly interested in the progress if tlie aris.
liut however doubtful might lave been the right of the French ifter the treaty of Tolentino had jcen broken, this reasoning could lot be applied to the anterior :reaty made with the Prince of l\irma, which was the first treaty i n which there was any article respecting paintings.
In answer to the note of Lord Castlereagh, a note was given in by M. de Nesselrode on the part of the Emperor Alexander. In this note, the justice or the injustice of the measure was less insisted on than its expediency. It represented the painful situation in which it placed Louis XVIII. with regard to the public; .and that if the allies forbore retaking, the last year, what they deemed their property in the Museum, from their respect for the king, this motive ought to operate With double force at the present period. It was for a short time believed that the Russian note had produced some effect; but whether the Emperor Alexander relaxed in the energy of his representations, or because the Russian troops had withdrawn from the capital, this hope proved delusive.
Further obse rvations were made to the French government by Lord Castlereagh, and some irritation excited at first by the silence which attended them; but still more by a severe note from M. Talleyrand. The dismission of a popular minister at this period hail not, it was said, contributed to increase the cordiality of the Duke of Wellington with the Tuileries.
The war of diplomacy now ceased; sentence was parsed upon the Gallery; a decree of retaliation had gone forth, and the at' tack on the Museum began.
The King gave orders to the Directors of the Museum to authenticate whatever violence might be olicrtd. The Museum was shut up. It was opined on the requisition of an English colonel, who demanded, with authority, the surrender of the objects which had belonged to the Belgic provinces. English troops were pluced on guard at the Louvre. The king ordered the gates to be opened, but that on no pretence any assistance should be given to the invaders.
A kind of Custom-house was established at the gate to examine what should be taken. Sentinels were posted along the Gallery of the Museum at every twenty steps, but this did hot entirely prevent fraud. The Belgic amateurs, aided by the English soldiery, exercised in allience their energies. The turn of the Austrians came next, who, though always slow in their operations, never swerve from their purpose. They had appeared to have limited their pretensions to the Horses of Corinth; but, encouraged by the large and liberal example of the Belgians in taking, they decided on removing the pictures which had come from Parma, such Ks the St. Jerom of Corregio, those from Milan and Modena, and the Titians from Venice. It was now that the losses of the Museum were swelled into magnitude.
The report that a strong guard of foreign troops were posted a1 night at the Louvre was, now repeated peated from mouth to mouth. The Parisians seemed ready to apostrophize the allies in the same tone of bitter irony with which Achilles addresses Agamemnon in the Iphigenia of Racine:
"Us bruit asset ttrange est arrivfc jtuqu'a
nioi, "Seigneur, je 1'ti juge trop peu digne de
It was sullenly whispered that the allies were going to takeaway some pictures of the Flemish school. A fearful apprehension, indeed, of something more dreadful, dwelt in every mind; but no one dared to express it. We were in the situation of Madame de Longueville, when she lamented the death of her brother, who had fallen in battle; but dared not inquire for her son. To be bereaved of the Greek chefsd'oeuvre, and of the Italian gchool, was an idea too full of horror to be borne; a sacrilege from which the minds of the Parisians started back aghast.
But when the direful truth was promulgated, what language I'm paint the variety and violence of passion which raged in every Frenchman's breast! Curses, louder and longer than those heaped on the head of Obadiah, were poured out on the allies by the enraged Parisians. They forgot all other miseries; the project of blowingup bridges,pillage, spoliations, massacres, war-taxes, the dismemberment of empire;— all these they wiped away "from their tablets." No longer were their heads plotting on tyranny, on liberty; they thought no more of the cession of fortresses, and the fate of the Constitutional
Chart; all principles, feefivz* hopes, and fears, were absorbr: in this one great and hufiiLi? humiliation.
Whatever has been recorded > history of the depredations of tae Goths and Vandals seemed Djl: to the public of Paris who, weighed in the balance with thev outrages of the nineteenth centnrj They were in vain reminded du: these precious objects were tispoils of the vanquished, who h*3 now become the conquerors ia their turn; despair seldom rasons. The artists tore their hair. and even the lower classes of the people partook the general indignation. In the liberal acre* which in this country is accorded to all objects of art and science, the poor had not been excluded. They too had visited these modeis of perfection, and felt that all had a right to lament the loss of « be all had been permitted to enjor.
It may be observed by thewav, that this violence of resentment this desperate fury at the remtmi of those master-pieces of art. denote the feelings of a people arrived at a very high degree of civilization. The Parisians, while, they had supported with equanimity the most signal calamities, and endured with cheerfulne*» the most cruel privations, deplored with sensibility, and goarfed almost to madness, the loss of objects which, far from being necessary to the wants of orthnan life, are only fitted to charm anil embellish its highest state of refinement.
While restitution carried on iw labours within the galleries, the four Corinthian horses,once destined to be harnessed to the Chariot