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prehend why one brain has incoherent ideas, or why the ideas of another arise in regular succession. They think themselves sages, and yet in this circumstance they rank with the fool.
• Had the fool a brighter moment, poor mortals, might he say, who neither know the cause of my misfortune nor the cure, tremble left you should be reduced to the same date with me, or even to a worse condition than mine. You are certainly of no better extracţion than Charles VI. king of France, Henry the Sixth of England, or than the emperor Venceslaus, who, in the same century, lost the faculty of reason. You have not more wit, very likely, than Blaise Pascal, James Abadie, or Jonathan Swift, who all died idiots. The laft, however, founded a hospital for us. Would you have me go and retain a place for you?
ST. PRANCIS Xaverius. It is astonishing that such a writer as Bouhours, a man of acknowledged taste and genius, should, though a Jesuit, so far depart from the dignity of manly sense and veracity, as to write the lying history of the life of this saint. It is still more astonishing, that in the enlightened age of
Lewis XIV. the age of a Bayle and a Racine, such trumpery should meet with public approbation and be read with applause. The saint, according to the good Jefuit, did many miracles. He raised eight children from the dead. He lec his crucifix fall into the sea, near the island of Baranivia, and a crab brought it to him in its claws within the space of twenty-fourhours. In a storm at sea he was present in two vessels -a hundred" and fifty leagues distant from each other, at the same time, in one of which he officiated as pilot; and this was attested by all the passen. gers, who could neither be imposed on themselves, nor have
any mo. tive for imposing on others.'
We wonder that Mr. Voltaire, after mentioning these marvellous things, should not have exclaimed with honeft Sigelius, Reverende pater, femper ita mentire et non dubitabo.
GEOGRAPHY. It is with geographical, as with moral knowledge ;, it is a difficult matter to become acquainted with the world without going into it.
• The most popular book of geography in Europe is that of Hubner. ' It is in the hands of all young people from Moscow to the source of the Rhine : and all the youth of Germany derive their information from it.
- In this book you find that Jupiter became enamoured of Europa,. precisely 1300 years before the Christian era.
In this too you are cold, that there is no such thing as either excessive heat or cold in Europe. Yet there have been certain summers, when persons have actually died through excessive heat; and in the north of Sweden and of Rusia, the cold is frequently fo in tense that the thermometer links to the lowest pitch.
• Hubner reckons about 30 millions of inhabitants in Europe ; by which he makes a mistake only of about 70 millions. He says, that, except in Russia, there is not above a league of uninhabited ground in Europe; whereas I have now before my eyes 40 leagues of moun. tains, covered with eternal Inow, over which neither man nor bird ever part,
If these representations be true, the state of geographical knowa ledge in the north of Europe must be miserable indeed. It is not, however, to be wondered at. The labour and expence of attaining to accuracy in this science are too great for private enterprize. A&ual surveys of the several parts of the world, authentic descriptions and just admeasurements, can only be effected under the patronage of princes. This has been done in China, which was surveyed by the Jesuits at the expence of the emperor Cam-hi. Through all the reft of Asia, Africa, and a great part of Europe, modern geographers have followed and retailed the errors of antiquity.
. One of the greatest advantages of geography, fays Voltaire, is, in my opinion, this. Your neighbouring gosips are continually reproaching you for not thinking as they think in St. James's street. Consider, say they, what multitudes of respectable people have been of our opinion, from Peter Lombard, to the Abbé Petit-Pied. The whole universe has embraced the truths that we profess. They prevail quite through the suburb of St. Honorius, at Chaillot, and the Lord knows where.- Now is your time to take your map of the world. Shew them all Africa, the empires of China and Japan, the Indies, Turkey and Persia, and the Russian empire, larger than the Roman. Let them run with the end of their finger over all Scandinavia, the whole north of Germany, the three kingdoms of Great Britain, the best part of the Low-Countries and of Switzerland; then make them observe in the four quarters of the globe, and that other part, immense as it is unknown, what millions of human beings there mut be, who never so much as heard of their opinions, and what prodigious numbers having heard of them, have held them in contempt or deteftation. What! my good friends, would you say, is St. James's street to be pitted against the whole universe ?
Julius Cæsar, you would tell them, who carried his empire far beyond this street, did not know one syllable of what they apprehend to be universal; and that their ancestors, to whom the same Julius Cæsar gave his ftirrap-leathers, knew no more of it than he.'
Very true! but the last manæuure would be unfair. It would be taking an ungentleman-like advantage of the poor Jacobin's igno. rance of chronology.
GLORY. • We are such fools that we have represented the Supreme Being as though he were as fond of glory as ourselves,
• Ben-Al-Betif, the worthy president of the Dervises, one day addressed them to the following purpose.—You do very well, my bre. thren, to use frequently that holy formulary of our koran, In the name of the merciful God!' for God exercisech mercy, and you learn to practise it by repeating in common the words that recommend a virtue, on which the very existence of mankind depends. But, my brethren, beware of imitating the presumptuous fpirit of those, who exprefly boast of doing things to i be glory of God. If a young soph maintains a thesis, at which a fool in fur presides, he fails not to write at the head of it, ad majorem Dei gloriam. A good musulman, if he has washed his ball, absurdly writes on his door, for the bonous and glory of God. This, however piously intended, is, in fact, im. 6
pious. What would you think of a scullion, if on emptying the Sultan's close-stool, he should say, for the konour and glory of our in." vincible Monarcb? The distance between the Sultan and the scullion, certainly bears no proportion to the distance between the Supreme Being and the Sultan.
• Wretched reptiles of the earth, what have you to do with the glory of an infinite Being? Can he poslibly be fond of glory? Can he receive glory from you? Can he enjoy it? How long, ye animals of two feet, without feathers, will ye represent God after your own image! What, because you are vain, because you love glory, must you conclude the eternal Being loves it likewise? If there were many gods, each, posibly, might be desirous of the applause of his fellows. There, and there only, could exist the glory of a God. Were we allowed to compare infinite greatness with the meanness of a human being, we should suppose that God would act upon the principles of Alexander, who would not enter the lists with any bus kings. But, you, poor creatures, what glory can you communicate to God? Cease to prophane his facred name. An Emperor, tramed O&tavius Auguftus, forbad any encomiums to be spoken of him in the public schools, that his name might not be made cheap. But you can neither extenuate nor add to the glory of the Supreme Being. Reflect on your own nothingness; be filent, and adore.
• So spake Ben-Al Betif, and the Dervises cried, glory be to God! Ben-Al-Betif has spoken well.'
We leave these observations (which breathe the true spirit of their Author) to the reflection of our difcerning Readers.
Taste. The truest taste, in every thing, is to imitate nature, with fidelity, force, and grace.
• But is not grace merely arbitrary ? Not fo, because it consists in giving an agreeable animation to the object you represent.
• As an artist forms his taste by little and little, so it is with the taste of a nation. It lies brooding in the dark for many ages, at length a faint dawn begins to fhew itself; then appears the full day, after which nothing is before us but a long twilight.'
In one observation in this article, Mr. Voltaire seems to have erred. Theocritus and Virgil, he says, had a right to speak with pleasure of shades and cool waters in their eclogues. Thomson, in his Seafons, should not have admitted the idea of them: at least, he says, that his descriptions ought to have been of a quite contrary kind.
Now were Mr. Voltaire in England during any part of that hot weather which we frequently have in our summer months, we will venture to say, that he would read with as much pleasure all we have many a time read the following delicious lines :
Thrice happy he! who on the sunless fide
Nor with less pleasure these animated verses :
Welcome, ye fhades ! ye bowery thickets hail !
ISID, We are not so cold in climate or in genius, as to have no affection either for shade or water, nor any relih for the description of those objects,
Nec tam a:versus Equos Tyria Sol jungit ab urbe. When Mr. Voltaire affects to place Corneille above our divine Shakespeare, we feel no indignation at such a preposterous preferençe;, we do not even charge the critic with a total want of taste and judgment, in the works of genius. We know the innocent vanity which attends the amor patriæ, and forgive him while (if we may apply the following line in an idea different from what was originally intended)
• He holds his farthing candle to the sun.' GOVERNMENT. A view of the English government. It is ca. sious to observe the progress by which governments are etablihed. I Thall not here speak of Tamerlane, because I know not precisely the mystery of government in the Mogal's dominions; but we may see it more clearly in the administration of England. Belide, I thal! find a greater pleasure in examining the latter, than I should in the former administration ; because in England you have men, in India chiefly flaves.
• Ánd first, for the Norman bastard, who took it into his head to make himself king of England. No doubt he had as much right to it as St, Lewis had afterwards to grand Cairo; but St. Lewis onluckily neglected to get a title to grand Cairo made out in the court of Rome; whereas William took care to have his claim made law. ful and even facred, by obtaining from Pope Alexander II. an arret confirming his divine right, without so much as hearing the defence of the adversary, and by the fole virtue of these words, whatjeever fbou shalt bind on earth, the same shall be bound in heaven. His competitor Harold, the legal monarch, being thus bound by an arret issued from heaven, William ftrengthened his cause by a more powerful argument, which was the battle of Hastings. Thus he reigned by virtue of the same power which had etablithed Pepin and Clovis in France, the Goths and the Lombards in Italy, the Vilgoths, and after them the Arabs in Spain, the Vandals in Africa, and, in short, all the monarchs in the world, in their turns.
• It must be owned that William had as much right as the Saxons or the Danes, who had likewise as much right as the Romans before them. And the title of these heroes was equal at least to that of highwaymen, or, if you please, to that of polecats in a poultry. yard.
.6 All these reat men, were such arrant robbers on the highway, that, from Romulus to the Buccaneers, the spolia opima were the
principal object. Plunder and pillage, beef and mutton were the game. So that the names of soldier and robber were frequently Synonimous.
• This William, then, is established a king by divine right, and William Rufus, who usurped the crown against che right of his eldest brother, is a king likewise, by the fame divine right, and Henry the third, ufurper after him, might equally plead the fame.
• The Norman barons, who, at their own expence, had concurred in the invasion of England, wanted a recompence. It was necessary that they fhould have it, and that they should be conftituted the first Officers of the crown. The finest demesnes were given up to them. It is clear that William would much rather have kept the lands himself, and have made body.guards of his Norman lords; but it would have been risquing too much. He was obliged to share them *.
• As to the Anglo-Saxon lords, they could not kill them all, nor yet reduce all of them to a state of slavery. They left them the dignity of manorial lords. And thus things were held in an equal balance till the first quarrel.
• But what became of the rest of the nation ? Nothing more than what has happened to all the people in Europe, a state of vartalage.
In short, after the folly of the Crusades, the ruined princes sold their liberties to the peasants, who had acquired a little money by labour and commerce, towns were enfranchised, the commons had their privileges, and the rights of mankind sprung from anarchy itself.
• The Barons, throughout, were at variance both with their prince and with each other. Every thing wore the aspect of a civil war. Yet from this dismal chaos arose a ray of light, which, however feeble, served as a guide to the people, and made their circumstances something less deplorable.
• The kings of England having dominions in France, it is no wonder if many establishments in the state resembled the French.
• The English court of chancery was in imitation of the council of ftate, over which the chancellor of France presided.
• The court of king's-bench was erected on the model of the par. liament instituted by Philip the fair.
• The common-pleas were the same with the jurisdiction of the chatelet.
• The court of exchequer resembled that of the generals of the knances, which, in France, is become the court of aids.
• The maxim that crown-lands are unalienable was evidently in imitation of the French government.
• The right of the king of England to have his ransom paid by his subjects, in case of his being made a prisoner of war; his right
.. And fome of them were not contented with their flares, which naturally occafioned many future jealoulies and divisions. The name of a village in Somersetihire, remains a curious monument of this discontent. It is called Norton-mal-Reward.