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THE

CABINET;

OR, MONTHLY REPORT OF

POLITE LITERATURE.

DECEMBER, 1807.

MRS. HARTLEY.

THIS lady is still living, and we are in expectation of obtaining shortly some particulars respecting her history, of which at present little is known to the public, excepting that she was remarkable for her personal charms, and was always mentioned as the beautiful MRS. HARTLEY.

She played the principal characters in tragedy for some seasons at Covent-garden, and was a considerable favourite in Jane Shore, Lady Jane Grey, and generally such parts as required an interesting person and a pleasing delivery, without demanding

much power of voice, or energetic action.

Davies thus speaks of her in his account of the Belle's Stratagem, in which Mrs. HARTLEY was the original Lady Touchwood :

“ The most severe satirist who bestows one look on Mrs. HARTLEY, must be instantly disarmed, and turn all his censure to panegyric. The calm and lovely innocence of Lady Touchwood could by nobody be so happily represented as by this actress, who is celebrated for her artless exhibition of the unhappy Shore and the beautiful Elfrida.” Life of Garrick.

VOL. II.

A NOBLE RUSSIAN.

COUNT Munich, was Prime Minister of Russia, in the reign of the Empress Anna Ivanowna, and in that of her successor Ivan; was condemned to suffer death by the Empress Elizabeth, but received a pardon on the scaffold; and, instead of being heheaded, was banished into Siberia. Count Osterman, his political rival, was to have suffered death at the same time, and in the same manner : he ascended the scaffold ; saw the axe and the executioner; committed his soul to heaven; laid his head upon the block; expected the deadly blow; was lifted up; had his eyes uncovered; and was told that the Empress had spared his life, but that he must go into banishment. One might ask, whether, in this instance, mercy wore the vizor of cruelty, or cruelty the vizor of mercy - The Countess Munich had the liberty of choosing, either to accompany her husband into a wild and dreary region in the north of Asia ; or to remain with her acquaintance and friends in Petersburgh, Without hesitation or reluctance she chose to follow her husband.

The commanding officer of the fortress where the Count was contined, was strictly enjoined to allow him no more than the mere necessaries of life: and was or, dered to indulge him in no alleviation of his sufferings. But, fortunately for Munich, the Officer had served under him in the Turkish war, and was a person of a generous and humane disposition. Moved by veneration for his General, whom he had seen performing so many gallant exploits, and conceiving himself out of the reach of information, by his great distance from the capital, he did everything in his power to soften the rigour of exile; and, among other indulgencies, permitted him the use of materials for writing, and to have some intercourse with the inhabitants of the country. The Countess found amusement, and pleasure, and relief, during many solitary years, in instructing the children of the neighbouring peasants. For this alleviation of her misfortune she was indebted to the same goodness of heart, that carried her from the gaiety of social life into the midst of a lonely desart: for had she been proud and selfish, she could not have submitted to, or been capable of, any such employment; and must 'consequently have

been deprived of the comfort which it afforded herEven the discharge of her duty to her husband, and his affectionate gratitude, could not otherwise have preserved her from pining. The Count found amusement in the exercises of a well-regulated understanding; he employed himself in writing the memoirs of his life, and in drawing plans of sieges and fortifications. · But these alleviations of their captivity were interrupted. A Russian officer passing through the country, and staying some days at the fortress, observed the liberty enjoyed by Munich, and had the singular inhumapity, on his return to St. Petersburgh, to inforın Elizabeth of all he had seen. The dispositions which led him to inform, led him also to exaggerate.

He insinuated, that the Count was plotting mischief against the Empress, or against the state: and that his plans and writings were not matter of mere amusement. Accordingly, the friend of Munich was suddenly recalled, divested of his authority, and threatened with the punishment of treasonable disobedience. But the Count, in order to exculpate his benefactor, sent all the papers he possessed, those memoirs, and those plans which were the objects of his affection, and his solace for many win-. ters of dismal solitude: he sent them with the utmost readiness to St. Petersburgh. This effort cost him grievous pang. They were burnt. But they were an oblation offered on the altar of grateful friendship; for he had the consolation of learning, that they had been the means of preserving his friend from rigorous punishment. He had not, however, the happiness of seeing him return to Siberia.

On the accession of Peter the Third he was relieved from his captivity; and, after an exile of twenty-five years, was restored to his former honours. One of the first persons he met with at Court, after his restoration, was his old enemy and rival Count Osterman, who, as was above mentioned, had been exiled at the same time, with himself, and was now also at Court, for the first time, since his recal. What, do you apprehend, were the sentiments of these two remarkable men, on this extraordinary and unexpected meeting? They had been equally ambitious; had possessed similar political abilities; had been engaged in the same pursuits; competitors for the same pre-eminence, and of course in violent opposition to each othér: they had both been disap

pointed, had suffered similar punishment, and were now, after a long period, in the same manner, and at the same instant, released. Would any remains of their old animosity still lurk in their bosoms, and still darken their hearts? Or, rather, cured of the ambition which had for. merly set them at variance, would they not regard one another with some complacency? Would they not feel as if they had met in heaven? And, despising the littleness of their former dissentions, would not the recollection unite their affections ? Such, perhaps, would have been the tendency of their feelings, if the presence of so many spectators, who beheld them with gazing curiosity, had not impressed their minds with the dread of impropriety, and so restrained their emotions. The circumstances were indeed disagreeable; and the Emperor, by whose clemency they were restored, would have shewn a delicate, instead of a whimsical generosity, if he had prevented a situation so very painful. I am indeed pere suaded by the following anecdote, that if the heart of Munich had been allowed to flow unrestrained, it would have flowed in a full stream of complacency.--Soon after his return to St. Petersburgh, the person who had so maliciously informed against the Officer who had shewn him so much attention in Siberia, sought an early.opportunity of waiting upon him, threw himself at his feet, and craved his forgiveness.

• Go,” said the old man, were my heart like yours, perhaps I might seek for revenge; but as I am out of your reach you have no reason to be afraid.” An anecdote of the same kind is related of the Emperor Adrian. After his elevation to the imperial dignity, ineeting a person who had formerly been his most inveterate enemy: “ My good friend," cried he, “ you have escaped, for I am Emperor.”

• Munich died not long after the accession of Catherine the Second : and I have heard, that though much solicited, he would never accept of any marks of her fa

“ I am an old man," he would sometimes say “ I have already suffered many misfortunes; and if I purchased a few years of life by the prostitution of my opinions, I should make but a bad exchange." He had, at the time of Peter's dethronement, given him some very spirited council: “Go forth,” said he,“ put yourself at the head of the troops you have with you, or go forth alone; address the two regiments that are marching against you: Tell them you are their sovereign, the

vour.

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