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and marital veto, and Versailles left Paris I might have stood for the ouøpwv, Voltaire to apotheosize unassisted the old Proteus for the úvókaoros, of Plato. But the whole of literature on the old-accustomed scene incompatibility between them must not of the successes most prized by him be set down to the charge of Voltaire. It the stage. Voltaire was present in his was calm prosaic science contrasted with box, the observed of all observers, while poetic fire, fancy, and impulse. Tronhis bust was being worshipped in rhyme chin imposed respect on Voltaire — Voland crowned with laurels, and the house taire by no means equally so on Tronchin. rang with the reiterated plaudits of the “ He is six feet high,” wrote the former, Parisian public. “You are stilling me “has the skill of Æsculapius, and the with roses,” he exclaimed. All that glo- form of Apollo." Tronchin, on the other rious noise was indeed his death-knell. hand, scanned Voltaire with the keen Not only were his nerves strained beyond eye of the physician and physiologist, his strength with excitement, he had and condensed the expression of his filled his hands with work. He had un- physical, and indeed moral state, in the dertaken to aid the Academy in their few following words : — “ Bile always irDictionary of the French language : heritating, nerves always irritated, have took the letter A on his hands, and wound been, are, and will be the perennial sources himself up to his task with strong coffee. of all the ills of which he complains.” This produced a return of inflammation Tronchin, in a letter to Bonnet, compares of the bladder from which he had for- to a hurricane the terrible excitement of merly suffered, and then he gave himself Voltaire's dying moments, and declares overdoses of opium to still the pain. that it reminds him of the Furies of OresThe beginning of the end was evident. tes, and that, if anything had been wantTronchin was called in too late. Too late ing to confirm him in his principles, Volalso for the purpose were called in the taire's end would have done it. Tronchin offices of the clergy, whom the dying man was doubtless right; but his acquaintcould not satisfy that he died believ- ance, professional and personal, with ing enough to entitle his corpse to Cath- Voltaire having dated from the first olic burial.
arrival of the latter in Switzerland, he Voltaire had always expressed great could scarcely have expected composure, horror at the idea of such indignities be- resignation, and dignity on his death-bed falling his own remains as he had seen from one who had displayed those qualiinflicted on those of his actress-friend ties at no crisis of his life previously. Adrienne Lecouvreur, and which he had That unlucky letter A of the French branded soon afterwards in indignant Academy's Dictionary seems to have verse. An actor or actress dying in har- worked his over-excited brain to the last. ness (like Molière or Lecouvreur) was re Voltaire's executors had to run a race fused burial in consecrated ground as a against the ecclesiastical authorities to matter of course. A fortiori, a writer obtain for his body the decencies of insuch as Voltaire, dying unreconciled to terment at a distance from Paris. His the Church, would assuredly not be suf- ! nephew, Counsellor Mignot, happened fered to repose in consecrated ground. I to be titular abbot of Scellières, near Accordingly, Voltaire, on his death-bed, Troyes, and made pious haste to put Uninvited the offices of the clergy, and cle underground, " ere the bishop could signed voluntarily a declaration that he bar." Episcopal inhibition followed died in the Catholic religion in which he the day after the funeral. Thus the old was born, and, if he had ever given cause persifleur's last trick on the clergy was of scandal to the Church, asked pardon as complete a success as had been all his of God and of her. The clergy demanded other tricks on that order during his long a more explicit and more ample retrac-| life. tation, and the aged patient expired with-/ Our readers, who have thus far borne out having put his signature to the pre-us company in once more reviewing the scribed document. His Genevan physi-! most prominent passages of Voltaire's cian Tronchin, who had made way in strangely chequered career, may perParis, like many less skilful innovators, haps expect that we should not conclude on the strength mainly of his innovations without laying before them some general on the old medical practice, must be ac- estimate of his moral and intellectual incepted as a not unfriendly though un. Huence on his age, for good or evil. sympathetic witness of Voltaire's last mo
The moral temperament of the “ There has been no distinguished man,"
was antipathic. Tronchin' says Dr. Strauss, on whose whole personality
ments. two men
it has been more customary to pass judgment in Voltaire was infected by the age in which decisive and trenchant terms than Voltaire, his impressible youth was passed. The and none to whom that treatment has been roués of the Regency had in that age suc. more inappropriately, we might say, sense: ceeded the real or pretended bigots of lessly, applied. The same thing, indeed, might the last years of the Grand Monarque. be said of such treatment, as applied to any The dominant Church had silenced or really distinguished person. such there are, so to speak, monarchical souls, exterminated the religious dissidents who whose rich and manifold endowments, whose had invaded (very wholesomely to herimpulses and inclinations, all converge towards self) her monopoly of Christian teaching. some one grand all-overruling object of effort. The angel that troubled the waters was It might be a bald and shallow, but not abso- put to fight, and the Bethesda of ortholutely absurd way of writing of such men, to doxy stagnated. But out of the stagnadeal in general epithets- as noble or ignoble, tion sprang new and venomous swarms of selfish or self-sacrificing, earnest or frivolous. irreligious dissidents, whom the Church But Voltaire, in that sense, was no monarchi: had left quite out of her reckoning: All cal soul. If, indeed, the effects produced by him were pretty much in one direction, they that can be said of Voltaire is, that he were, however, the results of the complex play condensed and concentrated the irreliof powers very various, of impulses pure and gious ideas, which were bubbling up on all impure, crossing and jarring with each other sides at the opening of the eighteenth as motive forces in his mind. My name is century, into succinct and sparkling legion, Voltaire's Demon might have said, forms of expression, which had never like that of the Gadarene. In that legion, before been equalled, and have never however, there were good spirits as well as since been surpassed. As for his moral evil. Even of the latter few were exactly character, that also, it must be confessed, fitted to pass into swine, if many into cats or apes.
partook of the general laxity which dates
more especially from the Orleans ReWhat more, after all, can be said on a gency. Then was the grand débâcle of all final review of Voltaire's life and writ- that had preserved public respect for the ings, than was said long ago in his epi- titularly and ostensibly leading classes grammatic epitaph — “Ci-gît l'enfant gâté in France - of all that had preserved du monde qu'il gâta ?” It may, however, respect in those classes for the moral be worth while to examine a little more bonds which hold society together. The closely in what respects his age spoiled world of rank and fashion framed for its him, and he spoiled his age. A writer, own use a practical philosophy, which whom we have before had occasion to Voltaire rationalized and idealized for it quote, on the revolutions of his country,* in prose and verse. He became, as it has observed justly :
were, the spiritual director-general of When you see these great flaws – which it
fashionable 'Irreligion, as his youthful wore puerile to deny — in the French national teachers, the Jesuits, had been of fashcharacter, don't forget that France (at the ionable Religion in the preceding cenepochs of the Saint Bartholomew and of the tury. revocation of the Edict of Nantes) had torn But the irreligion of the age got beout her own heart and entrails by exterminat- yond Voltaire. Horace Walpole wrote ing the persons stilling the convictions of from Paris to Mr. Brand in 1765: nearly two millions of her best citizens. These are wounds which do not heal for centuries.
I assure you, you may come hither very The infliction of such wounds becomes a habit safely, and be in no danger from mirth. Laugh. in our history. The amputation first of one ing is as much out of fashion as pantins and member of the body politic, then of another, bilboquets. Good folks, they have no time to is the rule amongst us at every difficult epoch. laugh. There is God and the king to be Beware lest, after every noble part has been pulled down first : and men and women, one successively severed, nothing remains at last and all, are devoutly employed in the demolito France but an enslaved trunk. She had tion. They think me quite profane for has. severe virtues; the old régime constrained her ing any belief left. become frivolous - to
abroad The same lively writer mentions an amongst foreigners her best gifts, her most atheistic philosopher in petticoats, who solid faculties. She has retained half her exclaimed of Voltaire — “ Ne me parlezgenius, - éclat, brilliancy, mobility. But it is not with this mobile temper any nation can
pas de ce bigot-là; il est Déiste !" found its liberty.
The conceit of philosophical honnêtes
gens in France, during the eighteenth With this mobile temper, however, century — till the crash
came - was that
they could have their irreligion all to Quinet, " La Révolution," vol. i. p. 212. themselves, leaving a safe residue of su
perstition to the canaille. Thus Voltaire Ition in all countries, and for all ages. writes to D'Alembert:
England and America, first through the La raison triomphera, au moins chez les medium of Voltaire, next of Lafayette honnêtes gens; la canaille n'est pas faite
and his fellow-comrades of Washington,
set France on fire with doctrines, which
had left comparatively cool the lands Again,
where they were first conceived and proIl ne s'agit pas d'empêcher nos laquais mulgated. Locke and Newton never d'aller à la messe ou au prêche.
made the figure at home of incendiary In another place, –
innovators ; Bolingbroke, admired as a
speaker, never set the Thames on fire as Je pardonne tout, pourvu que l'infame super- a philosopher. Washington and Frankstition soit décriée comme il faut chez les hon- lin were the most sober-minded of men nêtes gens, et qu'elle soit abandonnée aux whom events ever roused into revolutionlaquais et aux servantes, comme de raison.
ists. France showed no originality but Even after the first growls of revolu- that of extravagance in her mode of aptionary thunder were audible, in June, propriating theories of Mind, and Rights 1789, we find the following entry of the of Man, which, in the lands of their oriDiary kept during his first visit to France gin, turned no one's brains, whether of by that shrewd American observer, their teachers or learners. Now how came Gouverneur Morris :
this ? May we not be warranted in say
June 11, 1789. ing that the main cause of the difference This morning I go to Reinsi. Arrive at was that England old and new possessed, eleven. Nobody yet visible. After some and France had lost, an unmutilated and time the Duchess (of Orleans) appears, and independent middle class ? tells me that she has given Madame de Chas Where such a class has made its opintellux notice of my arrival. Near twelve be, ion respected in society, and its power fore the breakfast is paraded, but as I had felt in politics, it is impossible that the eaten mine before my departure, this has no
grave realities of life, with which it is present inconvenience. After breakfast we go to mass in the chapel. In the tribune above constantly in contact, should come to be we have a bishop, an abbé, the duchess, her treated with that reckless levity and frimaids, and some of her friends. Madame de volity which marked the age of Voltaire. Chastellux is below on her knces. We are And it is not too much to say that in a amused above by a number of little tricks moral and social atmosphere more braplayed off by M. de Ségur and M. de Cor- cing Voltaire himself would have been bières with a candle, which is put into the quite a different man. That we do not pockets of different gentlemen, the bishop's speak without book is sufficiently proved among the rest, and lighted, while they are by the zeal, energy, and ability with otherwise engaged (for there is a fire in the which he threw himself into any the tribune), to the great merriment of the spec- smallest opening which presented itself
Immoderate laughter is the consequence. The Duchess preserves as much for action, whether in benevolent intergravity as she can. This scene must be
est for oppressed individuals, or in public edifying to the domestics, who are opposite to us, affairs. We have cited the cases of the and the villagers, who worship below.*
Calas, Sirvens, La Barre, and D'Etal“Ah, Monsieur !” said a Parisian hair- londe. And if it be said that Voltaire's dresser, about the same epoch- (re- of his Christian charity in those cases,
anti-christian zealotry alloyed the merit solved not to lag behind the honnêtes gens this cannot be said of his earnest and whom he curled and powdered, at least in
disinterested efforts to save Admiral the article of atheistic enlightenment)“Ah, Monsieur, je ne suis qu'un pauvre Byng. That unfortunate commander, we misérable perruquier, mais (proudly), je judicially sacrificed to political faction
scarcely need remind our readers, was ile crois pas en Dieu plus qu'un autre !!" Twice in the eighteenth century France brook a single instance of French naval
and national pride, which could not imported — first from England, afterwards from a new England - systems of triumph over England, and would have philosophy and politics which, borrowed imposed on Byng the Spartan alternative as they both were, inspired her with the of destruction or victory. He had shrunk conceit that it was hers alone to regener
from that alternative, not, it may fairly be ate the whole world of thought and ac
supposed, from want of courage ; and
Voltaire obtained and transinitted to Life of Gouverneur Morris,” by Jared Sparks, Byng, in aid of his defence, the most vol. i. p. 312.
distinct testimony from Marshal Riche
lieu, “the hero of Port-Mahon,” that by how to deal with them. He was as acting otherwise his antagonist would nearly as possible precipitated from his have uselessly sacrificed his ships and throne and driven to his dose of corrocrews. All was in vain ; a court-martial sive sublimate, by the conspiring exiscapitally convicted Byng of not having peration of Maria Theresa and the Mardone all he might have done to achieve quise de Pompadour. The imbecile arms victory. And on such a sentence, passed of France were the saving of Prussia at on such grounds, he was condemned to Rosbach and Crefeld. But Austria and be shot, as Voltaire bitterly expressed it France might have been saved their hour in “ Candide," " pour encourager les of humiliation by the wit of Voltaire. autres."
| Voltaire reigned piramount in French Voltaire gave proof of political sagacity literature and philosophy for nearly half and patriotic feeling, which might have a century; his reign opening, it may be made him an important public man in a said, at his return in 1729 from his three free country by his persistent efforts to years' exile in England, and closing with move that equally sagacious old profii- his life, “stifled with roses” by the P.gite Cardinal Tencin (with whom he had risian public in 1778. The influence which become reconciled by that strongest of he exercised during this long period is earthly motives, idem sentire de republica), well described by Dr. Strauss : to induce the government of Louis XV.,
Voltaire's historical significance has beea or rather of Madame de Pompadour, to illustrated by the observation of Goethe thai, entertain the overtures of peace made by as in families whose cxistence has been of long Frederick II., at the lowest ebb of his duration, Nature sometimes at length produc:s fortunes, when his destruction by the an individual who sums up in himself the col. combined arms of Austria, France, and lective qualities of all his ancestors, so it Russia, appeared all but inevitable.' The happens also with nations, whose collective question arose for France, as Voltaire merits (and demerits) sometimes appear eptpointedly put it (certainly without any Louis XIV. stood forth the highest figure of a
omized in one individual person. Thus in personal tenderness for his old patron- French monarch. Thus, in Voltaire, the highpersecutor), why she should aid Austria est conceivable and congenial representative to destroy an enemy whose destruction of French authorship.. We may extend the must draw after it that of the whole pre observation farther, if, instead of the French existing balance of power in Central Eu- nation only, we take into view the whole Eu:. rope. Frederick, it was said, had his pean generation on which Voltaire's influence capsule of corrosive sublimate ready in was exercised. From this point of view we the last resort. Voltaire seriously and may call Voltaire emphatically the representastrenuously dissuaded him from the sui- tive writer of the eighteenth century, as Goethe
called him, in the highest sense, the represen. cide he was avowedly meditating; but tative writer of France. The two characters the imbecility of Soubise and the victory coincide very well together, as will be seen it of Rosbach proved more effectual anti- we trace back the respective shares taken by dotes against despair. Voltaire and the several civilized European nations in the Tencin, in their well-meant and well- achievements of the last three centuries. The motived pleadings for peace on the eve great work of the sixteenth century - the of defeat and the brink of bankruptcy, Reformation — was principally performed by were contending fruitlessly with Petti- the Germans. In the transition period of the coat the Second, who then ruled supreme seventeenth, while Germany was tearing her: in France. Frederick had repulsed the self to pieces in intestine strife, Holland and advances and ignored the sovereignty politics and philosophy. At the beginning of
England were laying the foundations of modern of Pompadour : Maria Theresa, with the eighteenth, refugees from England, like more policy, if at some sacrifice of im- Lord Bolingbroke, and French visitors of Eng. perial-queenly dignity, condescended to land, like Montesquieu and Voltaire, communi. messages of friendship and esteem for cated from that country to the continent the first that royal mistress. All the foresight of sparks of that new light which soon afterwards, Voltaire and all the experienced tact especially by Voltaire's exertions, burst from of Tencin found themselves unequally France on the world, as the day-star of that cenmatched against the petty spites of the tury of universal enlightenment. If the French seraglio. Frederick was unlucky with the Parisians especially — were the chosen women-- always excepting his devoted people of this new dispensation of Reason,
Voltaire was incontestably its high-priest. sister, and natural and constant ally, Vol
To win and keep a position of such emi. taire's not less constant friend, Wilhel-nence -- of such predominance over a whole mine - or rather his wayward misogynic! age - not only intellectual gifts and favoura. temper never would allow him to learn ble external circunstances were requisite, but
also and especially there was requisite length good in the main, and a careful, juof life. Neither Louis XIV. in France, nor dicious manager of his means, did for a Frederick the Great in Germany, would have time, while its power was fresh and novel, been in a position to set their stamp each on act with a restraining, even elevating efhis own age, had the former died at the epoch fect on a fickle, false-natured husband of the peace of Nimeguen, or the latter at it was true that in the early days of KitKollin or Hochkirch. As little could Goethe i have been recognized as the Prince of German ty's married life she announced to the poets, had he been summoned from life just entranced Sukie, that she had little else after the production of “Goetz” and “Wer. left to wish for, that she had married not ther" - had he not, in his own person, during a mere man but an angel. three generations, lived through the youth, Such statements, and the sight of Kitmaturity, and old age of German poetry. Vol; ty receiving her and a selection from taire was an after-birth of the classical period their neighbours in all the dignity of a of French poetry ; but he himself opened the house of her own era of enlightenment-literature in the eigh. furnished lodging, kept up on no higher
though it was but a trenth century, and shared in all its conquests or more secure wages than those of a till they culminated and closed on the opening of the French Revolution era. The latter journeyman house-painter — more than years of Louis XIV. were those of Voltaire's reconciled Sukie to the grievous blank in childhood and early youth ; his first years of the watchmaker's house, and to the manhood were spent under the regency of worse gap in her life which she would be Philip of Orleans; his maturity and decline compelled to face when Will Mayne extended over the long reign of Louis XV. : sought in a larger town than Cranthorpe and he hailed, as an octogenarian, the dawn of the elbow-room which he was forever Louis XVI., which pro:nised a brighter day. asking, but which he could not get in As a river carries down with it from the mountains and plains through which it flows contri- Cranthorpe, because of the jealousies of butions from every soil and culture to the end foremen, and of natives of the place. of its course, so traces might be recognized Kitty would adorn a larger town and through life in Voltaire of the impressions that higher sphere into which Will Mayne received by him in the different periods, espe- might lead her; and Sukie at a humble cially the earlier, of his chequered career. distance would hear of Kitty's exaltation
and rejoice in it.
Of Miles and his wife Sukie saw no
more, and heard little or nothing. Even From The Sunday Magazine.
in Cranthorpe there were not only nice gradations of rank, but entirely different sets in all ranks. Miles had resented
the manner in which his family had takFAMILY," ETC.
en his marriage more bitterly than strict justice warranted. He did not come
back to his father's house, or bring his MOTHERLESS.
wife there. Sukie, who was far too For a few months after Kitty Cope be- much occupied to go almost anywhere came Kitty Mayne, it did seem as if except to Kitty's, met neither Miles nor Sukie's troublesome suspicions of Will Sal in any other quarter except by casual Mayne and his motives, had been with encounters, which all concerned could out foundation, and that she had been easily prevent from becoming closer or guilty of that fearfulness and unbelief of more particular. which she had accused herself. So far The entire estrangement was rather a from being sorry to find herself in the result of circumstances, and of the nawrong, Sukie could not rejoice enough. tures concerned in the circumstances, Whatever had actuated Will Mayne in than of a deliberate intention on Sukie's his pursuit of Kitty — whether what was part to have nothing more to do with pretentious and aspiring in the man him- Miles. Indeed, however it might affect self had been really caught by an un- old Miles in the ice-bound seclusion of doubted refinement in Kitty, to the influ- his muddled ambition and reticence, or ence of which young Miles was impervi- Kitty in the expanding glory of her latelyous ; whether Will Mayne had married Hledged matronly honours, it wounded with a hope of old Miles Cope, the most Sukie's tender heart many a time to unworldly of men, having laid up money, think that she was cut off from a brother, while yet he was content to make the - an only brother, a younger brother,– best of an erroneous calculation ; whether whom she had made much of, and rethe sincere love of a woman guileless and garded as one of the lights of the house,