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COURT AND FASHIONABLE
MAGAZINE,

For JUNE, 1807.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES

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ILLUSTRIOUS LADIES.

The Eighteenth Number.

MARCHIONESS CORNWALLIS.

LOUISA, Marchioness Cornwallis, is || It is notin the ordinary details of daily life, the fourth daughter of the present Duke | the petty occurrences and vicissitudes of and Duchess of Gordon. She was born in the drawing-room and tea-table, that matter the year 1778, and married April the 17th, || of sufficient dignity can be derived to consti. 1797, to Charles, the present Marquis | tute biography.-As a public character we Cornwallis, at that time Viscount Brome. can perhaps say little more of the MarThe issue of this marriage has been four chioness, than that she usually makes one daughters.

in the train of the Court, and is more par. Her Ladyship is allied, by the different ticularly honoured by the private intimacy marriages' of her sisters, with the most and confidence of her Majesty and the illustrious families in England. Her eldest || Princesses. sister is the present Duchess of Manches She supports, moreover, her elevated ter;-another is the present Duchess of rank in a style correspondent with its Richmond, who has accompanied her hus- || dignity. Her spirit is magnificent and band to Dublin, as Viceroy of Ireland. liberal, and she has all those qualities of Of her youngest sister, Georgiana, Duchess | nobility which are so well suited to captiof Bedford, a slight biographical account vate public admiration, and justify the appeared in the Fifteenth Number of this pre-eminence which her birth and fortune Magazine, with an exquisitely engraven have bestowed. Portrait of her Grace.

In her private conduct, the character of When we consider the youth of the || this lady is peculiarly amiable-she is an Marchioness Cornwallis, it must neces- || exemplary wife, and an affectionate mother. sarily be evident to our readers, that a In person, the Marchioness is tall, graceful, quiet and domestic life of a few years, and well proportioned, and skilled in all without any but a succession of occur. those accomplishments which are suitable rences common to ladies in her rank, can | to her rank, and the ornaments of her have very little interest as a piece of bio sex. graphy,

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MEMOIRS OF CATHERINE II. EMPRESS OF RUSSIA.

SOPHIA AUGUSTA FREDERICA (afterwards families : among the most determined of his Catherine II.), was born at Stettin, May 21, enemies was the chancellor Bestucheff, who, hav. 1729. Her father, Christian Augustus of Anhalt- | ing formed the design of excluding him from the Zerbst-Dornburg (a small district in Upper | throne, occupied himself incessantly respecting Saxony), was Major-general in the Prussian the means by which it was to be effected. With. service, Commander-in-chief of the regiments of out flattering himself with his complete disinheriinfantry, and governor of the town and fortress tance, he sought to banish him to the camps and of Stetin. Her mother, a woman of talents, armies, and to place Catherine at the head of born Princess of Holstein, was the friend and || affairs. correspondent of Frederic Prince Royal of Prussia. Catherine, in the mean time, guided by a Intell gence and vivacity characterised the young shrewd and vigilant mother, insinuated herself Sophia, who was educated under the eye of her into the favour of the most considerable persons mother : her temper was corrimanding, and her of the court : ambition triumphed in her mind manners dignised; in her childish sports with her over every inferior propensity, and enabled her companions, she assumed to herself the direction to extort, by the propriety of her conduct, the and control with a spirit and firmness that ad. esteem of those whose affection she failed to conmitted of no appeal. By a lady of rank, to whom | ciliate. she was personally known at that period, she is | The health of the Empress was evidently de thus described : “ Her deportinent was good; clining; her infirmities, added to her natural her figure large for her years; her countenance, indolence, rendered her more than ever negli. to which her gaiety and courtesy gave an additional gent of the affairs of government; the remnant charm, without being beautiful, was agreeable. I of her strength and spirits was wasted in dissi. Her education had been conducted wholly by her pation. The idle tales of the irregularities of her mother, who, watching her strictly, carefully re- nephew were, in this situation, listened to by pressed that propensity to pride which she early Elizabeth with eager credulity: she seemed to discovered. She was, from her childhood, taught seek in these accounts some palliation of her to salute the ladies who visited the Princess, own excesses; while she treated the Duke with with those marks of respect which became her i indifference and coldness. years,"

1 Catherine, roused by the impending fate of the Three years after the appointment of Peter to | Empress, and intent on conciliating popular the succession, by the Empress Elizabeth, by | favour, had covered her ambition under the inask whom he had been called in Russia for the pur- of religion: her time was chiefly occupied in pose, it was determined to marry him. Sophia, | frequenting the churches, in performing the exPrincess of Anhalt Zerbst, was selected, on his | teriors of devotion, and in joining the prayers for occasion, by Elizabeth, for his consort.

the restoration of Elizabeth. Ignorant of the · Brought up under the eye of a sensible mother, || views of Panin for her interest, of which he had at no great distance from the court of Frederic, imprudently neglected to inform her, she had, for the seat of the sciences and arts, Catherine had, the last few days, employed herself in drawing up to a strong and comprehensive mind, added ex: l ihe form of the proclamation by which Peter was tensive knowledge, and a facility of expressing to be appointed to the sovereign power, with the herself, in several languages, with elegance and oath to be taken by the troops. Priding herself grace. With an excelleni heart and some under on the elegance of her style and composition, and standing, the education of Peter had been wholly anticipating the admiration which her performneglected; deficient in those graces and accom- lance would excite, she chose not to sacrifice her plishments, and in that cultivation of mind, which labours. And the Duke having sent his chanso eminently distinguished his wife, he felt her berlain to consult with her in this dilemma, she superiority and blushed, while she repined at the returned an abrupt reply, importing, that he would fate which had united her to a man so little worthy do well to conform to the established custom. of her, and so ill suited to contribute to her happi- || At the moment Peter received this answer, the ness or improvement. Their mutual disgust, death of Elizabeth was announced, who expired, which daily increased, became at length but too after a tedious illness and severe sufferings, on visible to the court.

Christmas-day, 1761. This event was scarcely Peter had, from the moment of his arrival, known, when the courtiers crowded around the been beheld with distrust by the principal Russian heir, to whom the importance of the moment

gave a temporary firmness. Having addressed ed with benefits, and destined by Peter as an inwith dignity the venal herd, and received the strument in his views. Seduced by the hope of oaths of the officers of his guard, he mounted on reward, or intimidated by the fear of consequences, horseback, and rode through the streets of Peters- he was, without difficulty, rendered subservient burg, distributing money among the populace. ! to the wishes of his master, who hesitated only The soldiers, Aocking about him, exclaiming, while he should choose a successor. “ If thou take care ot'us, we will serve thee with Il The hopes of Catherine received daily accession the same fidelity with which we served the good | from the imprudence of her husband, whose deEmpress, thy predecessor.” The shouts of the signs against her, though known but in part, empeople mingled with their acclamations, nor did boldened her to dare every thing for their prevenany symptoms of discontent manifest themselves lion. Dismissed to Peterhoft, she passed her upon the occasion. The satisfaction of Peter was days in one of its most retired apartments, where apparent on his delivery from the severe con she meditated the dethronement of Peter : her straint in which he had so long been held, but evenings were devoted to the company of an adhe betrayed no signs of indecent joy.

herent, converted by her favour into an intrepid Such, on the accession of Peter to the imperial

conspirator. crown, was the temper of the people. In the To secure a part of the troops, the Princess proclamation which announced this event to the Dashkoff, under pretence of paying her compliempire. no mention was made of Catherine or her ! ments to some officers of her acquaintance, visited son, an omission which to some appeared to pre the barracks. It was there she was met by Orloff, sage the overthrow of the lineal succession : when a mutual explanation took place. The neither was there any preparation for the coro- || Princess, flattering herself with having gained nation at Moscow; a solemnity, rendered by its Orloff to her party, suspected not his connection usage and antiquity, highly impressive to the | with Catherine, or even that he was known to Russians. Blinded by his infatuation for the her: to her fancied acquisition, the brothers of King of Prussia, Peter, while yet lottering on the Orloff, with many others long prepared by bim throne, inconsiderately proposed to quit the king for the purpose, were joined. dom, and, for the gratification of an interview The succession, and the methods by which the with Frederic, to repair to Germany.

| place of the fallen Prince should be supplied, be• In the midst of his feasts and wailike prepara came no less a subject of disputation. Catherine tions, the Czar had not been unmindful of the aspired to the vacant throne, and was supported Countess of Voronizoff, whose ascendancy over in her pretensions by Orloff and the Princess. him daily increased : this woman, aspiring in her That she should be permitted to govern under the, temper, but of mean talents, aimed, under the title of Regent, was proposed by Panin, while that tutorage of an ambitious father, to raise herself | of Eniperor should devolve on her son. to the imperial throne. By alternate carcesses, Peter remained yet unsuspicious of all that was forwardness, and flattery, she induced her lover to

passing: lulled into a fatal security, he had in the renew the promise, made when he was Grand.

morning ordered the arrest of an officer, who, Duke, of endowing her with the privileges, and faithful to his interest, had the preceding evening placing her in the seat of Catherine. Led by her hastened to inform him of what was on foot. He vanity to boast of this engagement, she found in had, with his mistress, his favourites, and the woher imprudence her disappointment and ruin. men of the court, set out from Oranienbaum, in Her present influence, with the future prospects a calash, for Peterhoff, to be present on the fesof which she dared to vaunt, roused the partisans Il rival of the ensuing day. of the Empress, with whom the enemies of her I During these transactions, Catherine, at the husband united their force. Peter, not less weak | head of her army, had halted at a small public. and vain, authorised, by his conduct, the hoast house by the road side, eight versts from Petersof liis mistress; he no longer affected to conceal burg; under this humble shelter she reposed for his projects against his wife, which involved in soine hours on the cloaks of the officers. Gre, them a declaration of the illegitimacy of her son. || gory Orloff, at break of day, with a few volunTo cover his conduct with a pretence of justice, | teers, had reconnoiired the environs of Peterhoff: and to secure universal consent, he believed he finding there only some peasants, armed with had only to produce testimonies of the infidelities scythes, who had collected the preceding evening, of the Empress. The Countess, apprised by her he dispersed them by blows with the flat of his father of the first amour of Catherine with Solti-l sabre, compelling them to join in the cry of koff, had not failed to convey her intelligence to “ Long live the Empress.” the Czar, who, upon this information, grounded 1 Peter, informed of her hostile approach, ordered his proofs. Soltikoff, recalled from Hamburg, a horse to be prepared, with the design of escapwhere he had been appointed minister, was load-ling, alone and disguised, towards the frontiers of

Poland. But, uniformly weak and irresolute, he || to afford a presuinplion; at least it appears propresently after gave orders for dismantling the || bable that, respecting so horrible a service, her little fortress at Oranienbaum, as a mark of sub partisans would, from decency, forbear to consult mission to the victorious Empress, whose mercy her : on a subject so delicate, and of so difficult and pardon he implored, in a letter, full of hu. || decision, to lean to the side of candour is the miliation and abasement. He assured her, that | undoubted part of the historian. The victim of he would resign undisputed, the Imperial crown; || his weakness rather than of his vices, it is imthat he asked only a pension, and liberty to retire l possible not to contemplate the fate of Peter with tn Holstein. To this address no answer was the sincerest cominiseration. vouchisafed; the compassion of Catharine, it is By the death of the Einperor Joseph II. Russia not improbable, was stitted by contempt for the I was left to contend alone with the Ottomans, and pusillanimity of her husband.

Catherine began to perceive that her victories - The unhappy Peter, after his submission, was were ruinous; while too proud to sue for peace conducted to a litile imperial retreat at Ropsacha, of which she felt the necessity, her armies cun. where, in a retirement known only to che chiefs tinued their conquests. Great Britain, which had of the conspiracy, and the soldiers who formed | incired the Turks 10 declare war against Russia, his guard, he had remained six days. On the now proposed to itself an advantage in being the seventh, Alexius Orloff, with an officer, came mediator of an accommodation. Catherine, on with news of his speedy deliverance, and asked this occasion, maintained the same character of permission to dine with him. Wine glasses and haughty independence which she had supported brandy were, according to the custom of the through the war; and, though determined on country, brought before the dinner; while the concluding a peace with the Turks, managed to officer amused the Czar with conversation, his obtain the most advantageous conditions. Mr. companion filled the glasses, infusing into that Fawkner, the British minister, felt her power, and designed for Peter, a poisunous mixture. The was baffled by her address. Czar waving without distrust swallowed the potion, During this negociation, a traveller, connected was presently seizeil with the most cruel pangs: | both by blood and friendship with the illustrious on pretence of relieving his sufferings, his per- | leader of the opposition party in the British Pare fidious guests offered himn a secund glass, which liament, appeared in Petersburg. The Empress he rejected with reproaches : on his calling aloud seized this opportunity of shewing a marked disfor milk, the remorseless assassins again prof. | respect to the Butish minister. To ihe traveller fered him poison, which they importuned him to 1 she gave, in the presence of his country man, the swallow. A French valet-de-chambre, attached place of honour on her right hand; and, on the to his master, now rushed in, into whose arms arrangement of the peace, her presents to the rePeter threw himself. “ It was not enough, then," || lation of Mr. Fox, of whom, as an orator and a said he in a faint tone of voice, “to prevent me | stalesman, she expressecher admiration, exceeded from reigning in Sweden, and to deprive me of in number and value those conferred upon the the Russian crown-I must also be put to ll ambassador. death!" The valet presuming to intercede for Catherine, greatly interested in the French his master, the ruffians forced from the room a Revolution, appeared full oi apprehension, lest witness so dangerous, and continued their out. || its principles should find tlieir way into Russia, rages to the unfortunate victim. In the midst || and subvert the sentiments on which her authoof the tumult, the younger of the Princes of Ba- | rity was established. The ambassador of France ratinsky entered, and joined the assassins. Peter I quitted Petersburg; Catherine, while she eenhad been thrown to the ground by Orloff, who, sured his opinions, did justice to his talents, lo kneeling on his breast, grasped firmly his throat. his virtues, and to the amenity of his manners. The dying monarch, with the strength of despe. “ I am an aristocrai," said she lo him on his ration, struggled with the monster who held him taking leave," for I must carry on my business." down, when a napkin, thrown round his neck by The bust of her favourite Voltaire was degraded, the assistant ruffians, put an end, by suffocation,

nor was that of the English patriot suffered 10 to liis resistance and his life.

keep iis place. The French in her dominions Various circumstances combined to produce were compelled, like Hannibal, to swear im. this catastrophe; the murmurs of the populace, mortal hatred against the new republic; and to the uncertain fidelity of the troops, the difficulty take an oath of allegiance to the pretender to the of disposing of a captive so important, added to French monarchy. It is yet a curious fact, that the hopes and projects which, during his life, the son of Count Esterhazy, an emigrant, used, would not fail to agitate his friends and adherents. at the desire of Catherine, to sing the French Of her innocence of this atrocious act, the gene- \ patriotic sungs al the Herinitage; which some. ral conduct and character of the Empress seems | times resounded with the Carmagnole and Caira.

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