Extract of a Letter relative to the Death of Voltaire, and that
of Jean Jacques Rousseau.

M. de Voltaire has just terminated his long career amid the honours paid to him by Parisian enthusiasm. He was crowned at the Theatre Français, at the close of the representation of his Irene, a tragedy which savours strongly of the chilled age when he wrote it. On quitting the theatre, he was surrounded by the minor poets, who demanded, on their knees, the honour of kissing his hands. This excess of enthusiasm, which was very ridiculous, became still more absurd on his reaching the house of Mr Franklin, who fell on his knees, and asked a blessing of him for his young nephew. The excruciating pains felt by M. de Voltaire led him to ask a remedy of his friend M. D. Richelieu, who laboured under the same complaint. The latter sent him opium, the remedy to which he had himself had recourse; and by its abuse he was poisoned. In his latest moments, he expressed a wish to consult M. Tronchin, of whom, however, he did not entertain the most favourable opinion, and treated him as a quack, his art as imposture, &c. Exasperated at these insults, M. Tronchin told him, with much gravity, that, at the most, he had not more than two hours to live, and that therefore it behoved him to see to his affairs. On this observation he was desired to withdraw.

M. de Voltaire now raised himself on his bed, with the help of his nurse and of his notary. The latter having handled him somewhat roughly, received a cuff, the force of which led him to enter his protest against the prognostic of the doctor. As soon as he was recovered from the disorder into which the awkwardness of the notary had thrown him, he said to himself, "At length I am to die. Be it so; but let my end be conform able to my life. It is more than probable that my body will be deposited in the Chantier (timber-yard) of Maurapas, where the ashes of La Couvreur repose. Forty years ago she would not permit me to sleep with her, but she will now be constrained

to endure me at her side." He was
not allowed to be interred in Paris;
and the church in which he was
buried at Troyes en Champagne, has
been interdicted. His punishment
was well merited by him, seeing that
he protested, until his latest hour,
against the divinity of Jesus Christ.
He even composed the following epi-
gram, if it may be so named, against
religion, and repeated it to his friends,
when the agonies of death were fast

Adieu, mes amis,
Adieu, la compagnie,
Dans une heure d'ici,
Mon ame, anéantie,
Sera ce qu'elle était une heure avant ma vie.
I have not heard that he has as yet


an epitaph bestowed on him, unless the ines which have been handed about, and which are quite in the epigrammatic style, are to be considered as such.

De Voltaire admirez la bizarre planette:
Il naquit chez Ninon, et mourut chez Villette.

The latter is a young Swiss lady, of whom he was greatly enamoured, and whom he had married to M. de Villette.*

Jean Jacques Rousseau has rendered his end singularly interesting by the memoirs of his life, in which he has made an exact avowal of all his actions. These memoirs are comprised in an octavo volume, which sells at a most extravagant price. It is even said that copies have been purchased at as high a rate as eighty livres, (more than three guineas,) and from that to twenty-five. The dearness of the book arises from the vigilance of the police, and from its interest-for M. Rousseau has developed in it the intrigue of his novel. It is as follows: His Julie is Mademoiselle de Montmorency, married to a French nobleman, whose name I have not been able to learn, and whom he styles Madame Wolmar. This unfortunate female has been long dead; and it is said by several persons who were acquainted with Rousseau, that from that time he became unsocial and mis

* A celebrated actress, denied, with all those of her profession in the Catholic states, Christian burial.

+ These details were given by M. Mercier, who was present when M. de Voltaire breathed his last.

anthropic. He acknowledges that he had carried on, during three months, an illicit intercourse with Madame de Montmorency, the mother of his Julie; and that this lady, conceiving herself to be the only object of his homage, had confided to him the education of her daughter, whom he seduced: That a nobleman had demanded her in marriage and that he, Rousseau, having had satisfactory proofs of the probity of this nobleman, had beseeched him not to entail misery on the young lady and on himself. To this he consented, and retired to his country seat. This personage is his Milord Edouard. That the Viscount de Montmorency, who is still living,* on his return from the war in Hanover, having perceived that intrigues were carrying on under his roof, dismissed M. Rousseau, and married his daughter to the nobleman known by the name of Wolmar. He also says, that having become desperately enamoured of Madame de Montmorency's female attendant, his passion carried him to such a length as to instigate him to steal a gold trinket belonging to her mistress, with a view to criminate her: That having thrown out suspicions against this unfortunate girl, he caused her to be sent to prison, to the end that, as her deliverer, he might acquire certain rights over her person; and that, if she had not yielded to his passion, he would have had the courage to see her hanged, and to despatch himself afterwards with a poignard: That being in extreme distress, a doctor of the Sorbonne, whom he names, proposed to him to write against religion. This offer he accepted, and took care to fulfil his engagement. He names a dozen women of quality, still living, from whom he received favours, at times and under circumstances, which carry with them a great air of probability. His mistress is the daughter of M. le Vasseur, a director of imposts at Dijon. By his persuasives she was led to elope with him. Having brought together, at a dinner party, Messrs Diderot, d'Alembert, and


others, he presented to them this female, saying, "I call God and my friends to witness that I acknowledge no other wife beside Mademoiselle le Vasseur." By this woman he had four children, three of whom are, agreeably to his testimony, in the foundling hospital. With the destiny of the other he professes to be unacquainted.


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(Here is introduced an extract from the preface to THE CONFESSIONS," already before the public. What follows, as referring to the manner of Rousseau's death, is not so well known. A loose hint is thrown out by Madame de Staël, in her memoirs of this extraordinary character, that a suspicion was entertained of his having been taken off by poison.. The particulars are these.)

The mausoleum of Jean Jacques Rousseau is at Ermenonville, where he died, in the house of his friend the Marquis de Girardin. The cause of his death has been disguised, by ascribing it to an attack of apoplexy. He died of poison, because his memoirs had appeared before the time he had prescribed; and it was the infidelity of his mistress, who had stolen them from him, which led him to have recourse to poison. He is buried in a small island formed by a lake, in the centre of a sombre group of trees, in which he took particular delight. On one side of his tomb, which is a square of six feet, surmounted by a cornucopia, M. Girardin has inscribed the following lines.

Ici, sous ces ombres paisibles,
Pour les restes de Jean Jacques Rousseau,
L'amitié posa ce tombeau :

Mais c'est dans tous les cœurs sensibles
Que cet homme divin, qui fut tout sentiment,

Doit trouver du respect l'eternal monument.

The other side of the tomb has a musical trophy for his operatic piece, 66 LE DEVIN DE VILLAGE." Behind is a woman in tears, giving her breast to an infant, who holds in his hands "L'EMILE." The third side represents two doves billing, as an emblem of the " NOUVELLE HELOISE."

*This was written shortly after the death of Rousseau. D


(SCENE The Vale of Enna.)


Proser. Now come and sit around me,
And I'll divide the flowers, and give to each
What most becomes her beauty. What a vale
Is this of Enna! Every thing that comes
From the green earth, springs here more graciously,
And the blue day, methinks, smiles lovelier now
Than it was wont even in Sicily.

My spirit mounts as triumphing, and my heart,
In which the red blood hides, seems tumulted
By some delicious passion. Look, above,
Above: How nobly thro' the cloudless sky
The great Apollo goes-Jove's radiant son-
My father's son: and here, below, the bosom
Of the green earth is almost hid by flowers.
Who would be sad to-day! Come round, and cast
Each one her odorous heap from out her lap
Into one pile. Some we'll divide among us,
And, for the rest, we'll fling them to the Hours;
So may Aurora's path become more fair,

And we be blest in giving.

Here-This rose

(This one half-blown) shall be my Maia's portion, For that, like it, her blush is beautiful:

And this deep violet, almost as blue

As Pallas' eye, or thine, Lycimnia,

I'll give to thee, for like thyself it wears

Its sweetness, never obtruding. For this lily,
Where can it hang but at Cyane's breast?
And yet 'twill wither on so white a bed,
If flowers have sense for envy :-It shall lie
Amongst thy raven tresses, Cytheris,
Like one star on the bosom of the night.
The cowslip and the yellow primrose-they
Are gone, my sad Leontia, to their graves,
And April hath wept o'er them, and the voice
Of March hath sung, even before their deaths,
The dirge of those young children of the year.-
But here is heart's-ease for your woes.
And now,
The honey-suckle flower I give to thee,
And love it for my sake, my own Cyane :
It hangs upon the stem it loves, as thou
Hast clung to me thro' every joy and sorrow;

It flourishes with its guardian's growth, as thou dost ;
And if the woodman's axe should droop the tree,
The woodbine too must perish.-Hark! what sound-
Do ye see aught?


Behold, behold, Proserpina!

How hoary clouds from out the earth arise,

And wing their way towards the skies,

As they would veil the burning blush of day.
And, look, upon a rolling car,

Some fearful being from afar

part?-Nothing. I have no sort of objection to doing, as Parliament has often done in such cases, (supposing always the case to be proved;) to disfranchising the borough, and rendering it incapable of abusing its franchise in future. But, though I have no objection to doing this, I will not do it on the principle of speculative improvement. I do it on the principle of specific punishment for an offence. And I will take good care that no inference shall be drawn from my consent in this specific case, as to any sweeping concurrence in a scheme of general alteration.

Nay, I should think it highly disingenuous to suffer the Radical Reformers to imagine that they had gained a single step towards the admission of their theory by any such instance of particular animadversion on proved misconduct. I consent to such disfranchisement; but I do so, not with a view of furthering the radical system, but rather of thwarting it. I am glad to wipe out any blot in the present system, because I mean the present system to stand. I will take away a franchise, because it has been practically abused, not because I am at all disposed to inquire into the origin or to discuss the utility of all such franchises, any more than I mean to inquire, Gentlemen, into your titles to your estates. Disfranchising Grampound, (if that is to be so,) I mean to save Old Sarum.

Now, Sir, I hope I deal fairly with the Radical Reformers, more fairly than those who would suffer it to be supposed that the disfranchisement of Grampound is to be the beginning of a system of Reform: while they know, and I hope mean as well as I do, not to Reform (in the sense of change) but to preserve the Constitution. I would not delude the Reformers, if I could; and I know it would be quite useless to attempt a delusion upon persons quite as sagacious in their generation as any moderate Reformers or Anti-reformers of us all. They know full well that the Whigs have no more notion than I have of parting with the close boroughs. Not they, indeed. A large, and perhaps the larger part of them, are in their hands. Why, in the assembly to which you send me, Gentlemen, some of those who sit on the same side with me, represent, to be sure, less popular places than Liver


pool-but on the bench immediately over against me, I descry scarce any other sort of representatives than members for close, or, if you will, for rotten boroughs. To suppose, therefore, that our political opponents have any thoughts of getting rid of the close boroughs, would be a gross delusion; and, I have no doubt, they will be quite as fair and open with the Reformers on this point as I am.

And why, gentlemen, is it that I am satisfied with a system which, it is said, no man can support who is not in love with corruption? Is it that I, more than any other man, am afraid to face a popular election? To the last question you can give the answer. To the former I will answer for myself. I do verily believe, as I have already said, that a complete and perfect democratical representation, such as the Reformers aim at, cannot exist as part of a mixed government. It may exist, and, for ought I know or care, may exist beneficially as a whole. But I am not sent to Parliament to inquire into the question whether a democracy or a monarchy be the best. My lot is cast under the British Monarchy. Under that I have lived, under that I have seen my country flourish, under that I have seen it enjoy as great a share of prosperity, of happiness, and of glory, as I believe any modification of human society to be capable of bestowing; and I am not prepared to sacrifice or to hazard the fruit of centuries of experience, of centuries of struggles, and of more than one century of liberty as perfect as ever blessed any country upon the earth, for visionary schemes of ideal perfectibility, or doubtful experiments even of possible improvement.

I am, therefore, for the House of Commons as a part and not as the whole of the Government. And, as a part of the Government, I hold it to be frantic to suppose, that from the election of members of Parliament you can altogether exclude, by any contrivance, even if it were desireable to do so, the influence of property, rank, talents, family connexion, and whatever else, in the Radical language of the day, is considered as intimidation or corruption. I believe, that if a reform to the extent of that demanded by the Radical Reformers were granted, you would, before an annual election came round, find that there were


new connexions grown up which you must again destroy, new influence acquired which you must dispossess of its authority, and that in these fruitless attempts at unattainable purity you were working against the natural current of human nature.

I believe, therefore, that, contrive how you will, some such humble motives of action will find room to operate in the election of members of Parliament. I think that it must and ought to be so, unless you mean to exclude from the concerns of the nation all inert wealth, all inactive talent, the retired, the aged, and the infirm, all who cannot face popular as semblies or engage in busy life; in short, unless you have found some expedient for disarming property of influence, without (what I hope we are not yet ripe for) the abolition of property itself.

I would have by choice-if the choice were yet to be made-I would have in the House of Commons great variety of interests, and I would have them find their way there by a great variety of rights of election; satisfied that uniformity of election would produce any thing but a just representation of various interests. As to the close boroughs, I know that through them have found their way into the House of Commons men whose talents have been an honour to their kind, and whose names are interwoven with the history of their country. I cannot think that system altogether vicious which has produced such fruits. I cannot think that there should be but one road into that assembly, or that no man should be presumed fit for the deliberations of a senate, who has not had the nerves previously to face the storms of the hustings.

I need not say, Gentlemen, that I am one of the last men to disparage the utility and dignity of popular elections. I have good cause to speak of them in far different language.But, among numberless other considerations which endear to me the favours which I have received at your hands, I confess it is one, that as your representative I am enabled to speak my genuine sentiments on this (as I think it) vital question of Parliamentary Reform, without the imputation of shrinking from popular canvass, or of seeking shelter for myself in that

species of representation which, as an element in the composition of Parliament, I never shall cease to defend.

In truth, Gentlemen, though the question of Reform is made the pretext of those persons, who have vexed the country for some months, I verily believe that there are very few even of them who either give credit to their own exaggerations, or care much about the improvements which they recommend. Why, do we not see that the most violent of the Reformers of the day are aiming at seats in that assembly, which, according to their own theories, they should have left to wallow in its own pollution, discountenanced and unredeemed? It is true, that if they had found their way there, they might have endeavoured to bring us to a sense of our misdeeds, and to urge us to redeem our character by some self-condemning ordinance; but would not the authority of their names, as our associates, have more than counterbalanced the force of their eloquence as our Reformers.

But, Gentlemen, I am for the whole constitution. The liberty of the subject as much depends on the maintenance of the constitutional prerogatives of the Crown, on the acknowledgment of the legitimate power of the other House of Parliament, as it does in upholding that supreme power (for such it is in one sense of the word, though not in that of the Revolution of 1648,) the power of the purse which resides in the democratical branch of the constitution. Whatever beyond its just proportion was gained by one part, would be gained at the expense of the whole; and the balance is now, perhaps, as nearly poised as human wisdom can adjust it. I fear to touch that balance, the disturbance of which must bring confusion on the nation.

Gentlemen, I trust there are few, very few, reasonable and enlightened men ready to lend themselves to projects of confusion. But I confess I very much wish, that all who are not ready to do so would consider the ill effect of any countenance given, publicly or by apparent implication, to those whom, in their heart and judgments, they despise. I remember that most excellent and able man, Mr Wilberforce, once saying in the House of Commons, that he "never believed an opposition really to wish mischief

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