« PreviousContinue »
tion, of Jerusalem, of the passion, and of St. Andrew, drawn swords laid across, a dagger &c., and this awful spectacle lighted with extraordinary brilliancy.-Swear, Madame,exclaimed the prophet, in a deep and soleion tone, Swear that no matter what misfortune may occur to you, the events of this scene shall never be disclosed; he then adds in a hasty tone, Prince, proceed. The Cardinal goes, and returns bringing a large white box which they open.”—Madame continues her statement as to the box containing an immense quantity of diannonds, as to her being sworn to secresy, and commissioned to dispose of the diamonds through the agency of her husband in England.
But we are not going to fasten the Diamond Necklace on our readers, we are only dealing with the Thaumaturgic power attributed to Cagliostro, and have noticed very fully all that was alleged against him before the court that had cognizance of the accusation. No other person except Madame de la liotte attributed to him any unworthy practices or pretences; the account he gives of himself is rather turgid and self-important; but in it he utterly repudiates and ridicules the impulations of any assumption or assertion of supernatural powers. We may remark on his excessive anxiety and attectionate solicitude for his wife, who was committed to the Bastille as a suspected accomplice, and it is curious that he accounts for Madame de Cagliostro's inability to write her name, by the statement that many of the most respectable ladies of her native city, (Rome) were purposely left uninstructed in writing, in order to keep them free from the folly of inditing love-letters. This certainly does not speak well for parental confidence or female education in the Eternal city during the last century. But as to Cagliostro's staternent.--It asserted that he was forty-nine years old, and had passed his mere infancy in the city of Medina in Arabia; that he then bore the name of Acherat, and resided in the palace of the Mufti, Salahaym—That he was attended by a person of about 10 years of age named Althotas who took inost affectionate care of him, and that of three domestics one remained with him day and night. That Althotas, informed him his parents had died when he was only three months old, and by soine other expressions led him to believe that his birth place had been Malta. Ile declared that the utmost aitention was paid to his education, and that under ihe tuition of Althotas he inade rapid progress especially in Botany and Medicine, to which his own inclinations strongly tended.
That he was taught to adore the one God, to love and assist his fellow creatures, and in all places to respect the religious institutions and the laws of the country.
Cagliostro then enumerates the scenes of his early travels, ac. companied by his tutor Althotas, to Mecca, Trebisond, Egypt, Rhodes, Malta, Sicily, Naples, and his arrival at Rome in 1770. He mentions that in each of those places he experienced the utmost kindness, and enjoyed the intimacy and hospitality of most exalted personages, amongst whom he particularizes the Grand Master of Malta, Pinto, and Cardinal Ganganelli alterwards Pope Clement XIV. At Rome he married, and subsequently visited Spain, Portugal, England, Holland, Germany, Russia, and Poland. He mentions his arrival at Strasburgh, in 1750, and that there at the request of many illustrious personages, he made use of his medical acquirements, but although it was in his power to become the recipient of an immense revenue, he abstained from accepting fees, and dispensed large sums in charity to the afflicted poor; he proceeds to state that his acquaintance with the Cardinal de Rohan commenced soon after his arrival in France, and eventuated in a request to accompany
the cardinal to Paris to see the Prince de Soubise, who was afflicted with a pajuful disease, and that to such request he acceded.
Cagliostro inserts in his "Memoire” the following paragraph, which if false, must at once injure a defendant in a state prosecution, but which if true is certainly most extraordinary, and the truth or falsehood of which must have been well known to his judges.
“The public having been apprized of my arrival,such crowds, came to consult me, that during the thirty days I remained in Paris, I was occupied in seeing patients from five in the morning until nidnight.
He returned to Strasburgh and found that his medical celebrity had engendered hostility, and produced libels describing him as Anti-Christ, the wandering jew, a man of 1800 years of age, &c. Under such annoyances he formed the intention of leaving Strasburgh, but was diverted from such a course by different letters of a most complimentary character from persons "high in the Ministry of the Kingdom” wbich are copied into his "Memoire" and submitted to his judges ; consequently there can be no doubt of their authenticity,and it may be mentioned. that one is from M. de Vergennes, the minister for foreign affairs and others from the keeper of the Seals, the Marquis, de Miromenil, and from the Marquis de Segur. Could such men be imposed on by a wretched charlatan?
However, his sojourn at Strasburgh was not very prolonged, he went to Naples to see a dying friend, from thence to the south of France, and having resided a short time at Bourdeaux, arrived in Lyons in the autumn of 1784, and finally betook himself to Paris in January 1785. We now proceed to give Cagliostro's account of the magic scene previously described by Madame de la Motte.
“ The Cardinal paid me occasional visits, and I recollect that one day he proposed to introduce me to a lady named Valois de la Motte in reference to the following matter.
• The Queen,' said the Cardinal, “is plunged in deep melancholy, because some one has predicted that she is to die in her accouchement. It would afford me the greatest gratification if I could dispel that impression and restore her to her former spirits. Madame de Valois sees the Queen daily. It will confer an obligation on me, if she asks your opinion, to tell her that the Queen shall be happily deli. vered of a prince.'
I was not less disposed to oblige the Cardinal by the reflection that I might indirectly produce a salutary effect upon her majesty's health.
Having gone next day to the Cardinal's residence, I there found the Countess de la Motte, who, after applying to me many complimentary observations, remarked, “I know a personage at Versailles of whom it has been foretold, as well as of another lady, that they would both die in their accouchements; one is already dead, and the other awaits her confinement with most gloomy apprehensions. If you can divine the true result which we may expect, in case it is of à felicitous character, I shall go to morrow to Versailles, and make a report to the interested party, who,' added she, is the Queen.'
I replied to Madame de la Motte that predictions were ridiculous, but for her to advise the illustrious patient to address her prayers to the Eternal Being, that as her past accouchement had been happy so she might indulge a similar hope for the approaching one.
With this she was not satisfied, but insisted on having a direct opi. nion from me, so recollecting my promise to the Cardinal, I said in a very grave tone, ' Madame, you know that I have some acquirements in Medicine, I also possess some in Animal Magnetism. In such a case a young female of perfect purity is essential to our investigations, so, if you wish to ascertain the truth, commence by producing to me such a creature.' She replied, as you require a female of spotless purity, I have a niece of the most perfect innocence, and I shall bring her here to.morrow.'
I imagined that this pure being would be a child of five or six years old; I was much surprised to find, next day, at the Cardinal's, a young lady of fourteen or fifteen years of age, taller than myself. “Here," said Madame de la Motte, is the young maiden of whom I
spoke.' I could hardly keep my countenance, but I gravely accosted the young lady, 'Mademoiselle, do you firmly assert your perfect purity and innocence?' She replied with more assurance than simplicity, Certainly, Monsieur.' 'I then said, Mademoiselle, I now proceed to test your profession ; recominend yourself to God, rely upon your innocence, betake yourself behind this screen, close your eyes, and forın to yourself the wish to see the object you most desire to behold. If you are a being of purity you will see what you desire, if you are not what you profess to be you shall see-nothing.'
The young lady placed herself behind the screen, and I remained outside along with the Cardinal, who was not in state of excited enthusiasm, as pretended by Madame de la Motte, but standing beside the chimney with his hand on his mouth, lest, by an indiscreet laugh, he might disturb our awful ceremonies. I applied myself for a few moments to make some magnetic passes, and then exclaimed, • Stamp the foot of purity on the ground, and say if you see anything? •I see nothing, she replied. • Then, Mademoiselle,' I answered, striking the screen, you cannot be pure and virtuous.'. At these words the young lady, feeling piqued at their import, exclaimed that she saw the queen. I then perceived that the innocent niece had been well tutored by her aunt. But this was not all.
Anxious to see how she would play her part, I directed her to de. scribe the phantom that she beheld. She replied that the lady was enceinte and dressed in white; she described her features, which were precisely those of her Majesty. Ask of this lady,' I said, if her accouchement will be propitious.' She answered that the lady bowed her head, and that her accouchement would occur without any disastrous result. I command you,' I said finally, 'to kiss respectfully this lady's hand.' The innocent kissed her own hand and issued from the screen, perfectly satisfied to have convinced us of her purity.
Thus terminated a little comedy, equally harmless in itself as landable in its motive.-_Three or four days after, being at the Cardinal's and Madame de la Motte being present, they requested me to recommence the same kind of amusement, with a little boy of five or six years of age. I did not refuse them such a slight request, never supposing that a joke so harmless would be afterwards denounced as an act of sorcery and a sacrilegious profanation of the rites of Christianity."
In the judicial proceedings to which we have adverted, there is not an assertion except on the part of Madame de la Motte in her “Memoire," that Cagliostro pretended to any cabalistic lore or magical power. The Cardinal de Rohan in whose presence, as one of the accused, these statements were made, does not adopt or countenance one of them, neither did he contradict a syllable of Cagliostro's explanation, whilst Madame de la Motte became so enraged at his cool impassive manuer before the judges, that forgetting the presence
which she stood and her own position, she flung a candlestick in Cagliostro's face.
So far as the proceedings, respecting the necklace went, nothing could be more satisfactory to this supposed magician. He was acquitted and discharged, with full leave to publish any statements he might wish to submit to the public as to his character and reputation, and without prejudice to such proceedings as he might choose to adopt against certain functionaries of the Bastile, whom he accused of purloining his effects. But contemporaneous with the prosecution against him, there appeared numerous anonymous publications from pens of deadly hostility, imputing to him the assumption of most extraordinary characters and supernatural powers, and at that period the French public were prepared to believe the most absurd and preposterous accusations. He was represented to have stopped before a crucifix in a public place at Strasburgh, and to have remarked on the great likeness which the sculptor had chanced to make of the blessed original, whom he professed to have frequently seen. In the ridiculous and blasphemous tales published in reference to our hero there are great inconsistencies, he is represented in one anecdote as pretending to have been present at the marriage of Cana in Galilee when
The modest water saw its God and blushed.” That he drank of the "good wine” procured by the miraculous transmutation. Presently he is made to say, "be repeatedly warned Jesus Christ as to the result of his proceedings, but without effect, the man could not be induced to give up his practices, he betook himself to the sea side, associated with fishermen and such description of persons, brought on himself the anger of the authorities, and thus ensured his own destruction.” It is not probable that the rankest cheat and impostor would at one time, acknowledge having witnessed the exercise of divine power, and at another, speak of its source as an infatuated man, who could not be effectually warned against his own ruin.
One of the publications concerning Cagliostro inputed to him and his wife a participation in orgies, minutely described, of the most loathsome and diabolical obscenity, and it also remarked upon his assumption of the title of "Count” as an instance of unpardonable insolence, this production was not unreasonably conjectured to have been published under the