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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
An Account of Corsica
By James Boswell (1740–1795)
 
HAVING said so much of the genius and character of the Corsicans, I must beg leave to present my readers with a very distinguished Corsican character, that of Signor Clemente de’ Paoli, brother of the General.  1
  This gentleman is the eldest son of the old General Giacinto Paoli. He is about fifty years of age, of a middle size and dark complexion; his eyes are quick and piercing, and he has something in the form of his mouth which renders his appearance very particular. His understanding is of the first rate, and he has by no means suffered it to lie neglected. He was married, and has an only daughter, the wife of Signor Barbaggi, one of the first men in the island.  2
  For these many years past, Signor Clemente, being in a state of widowhood, has resided at Rostino, from whence the family of Paoli comes. He lives there in a very retired manner. He is of a saturnine disposition, and his notions of religion are rather gloomy and severe. He spends his whole time in study, except what he passes at his devotions. These generally take up six or eight hours every day; during all which time he is in church, and before the altar, in a fixed posture, with his hands and eyes lifted up to heaven with solemn fervor.  3
  He prescribes to himself an abstemious, rigid course of life, as if he had taken the vows of some of the religious orders. He is much with the Franciscans, who have a convent at Rostino. He wears the common coarse dress of the country, and it is difficult to distinguish him from one of the lowest of the people.  4
  When he is in company he seldom speaks, and except upon important occasions, never goes into public, or even to visit his brother at Corte. When danger calls, however, he is the first to appear in the defense of his country. He is then foremost in the ranks, and exposes himself to the hottest action; for religious fear is perfectly consistent with the greatest bravery, according to the famous line of the pious Racine,—
  “I fear my God, and know no other fear.”
  5
  In the beginning of an engagement he is generally calm; and will frequently offer up a prayer to heaven for the person at whom he is going to fire; saying he is sorry to be under the necessity of depriving him of life, but that he is an enemy to Corsica, and Providence has sent him in his way in order that he may be prevented from doing any further mischief; that he hopes God will pardon his crimes and take him to Himself. After he has seen two or three of his countrymen fall at his side, the case alters. His eyes flame with grief and indignation, and he becomes like one furious, dealing vengeance everywhere around him. His authority in the council is not less than his valor in the field. His strength of judgment and extent of knowledge, joined to the singular sanctity of his character, give him great weight in all the public consultations; and his influence is of considerable service to his brother the General.  6
 
 
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