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of demanding a portion for his eldest daughter when the marries } are plainly of French origin.
Soon after Philip the Fair had constituted a general state of the commons of his kingdom, Edward did the same in England, by way of forming a balance against the power of the barons. For it was in this prince's reign that the House of Commons was absolutely eftablished.
« Till the fourteenth century, then, we see that the government of England resembled that of France. The national churches were perfectly the same; the same subjection to the court of Rome; the fame exactions that were still complained of, but ever paid to that avaricious court; the same quarrels, the same excommunications; the fame donations to monks; the same mixture of religious rapine; fuperftition and barbarity.
• The government of France and England having then been conducted on the fame principles for so many ages, how comes it të pass that these two governments are now become as different as those of Morocco and Venice?
• Is it not because Great Britain being an island *, the king has no occasion to keep up a large standing army, which ferves no less to awe the subject than to guard against the enemy?
• Is it not because the English are of a more folid turn, more given to reflection, and more steady in their resolutions than some other nations ?
* And was it not for this reason t, that, ever complaining of the papal yoke, they, at length, totally shook it off, while a nation of greater levity, at the same time, laughed at it, and wote it, and danced in their fetters ?
• Has not the maritime situation of their country too, their exa tensive navigation, given them a severity of manners?
• And that severity of manners, which has made their island the scene of so many tragical events, has not that likewise contributed to inspire them with a generous freedom?
The love of liberty,- is not that become their prevailing characteristic ? Has not this grown in proportion with the improvement of their wealth and their understanding? The people cannot be equally powerful, but they may be equally free. And this the Eng. lith have obtained by their firmness.
• To be free is to be dependent only on the laws. Of course the English love their laws as parents do their children, because they proceeded from themselves ; at least they believe they did.
A government such as this could not be established hastily. It had respectable powers to contend with, and consequently required time. The power of the Pope, the most formidable, because it was founded on ignorance and prejudice: the power of the crown, ever
* Mr. Voltaire says, l'Angleterre etant une isle, one of his usual inaccuracies.
+ A better reason is here given for the Reformation in England, than that lately assigned by the fame Author. See our last Appendix. ready to make encroachments, and always on that account to be guarded againft; the power of the Barons, which was an absolute anarchy; the power of the bishops, which extending as well to civil as to ecclefiaftical matters, contended for the superiority both with the Barons and the Kings.
• By degrees, the House of Commons became a barrier to these torrents, and that house does now, in fact, constitute the nation. The King, who is the head, acts only for himself, and for what is called the prerogative. The Peers afsemble in parliament only for themselves. The Bishops do no more. But the House of Commons assembles in behalf of the people, because each member is deputed by the people. Now the people are to the King, as eight millions are to a unit; to the Bishops and the Peers as eight millions are to two hundred and eight millions of free citizens are represented by the lower house.
• From this establishment, compared to which the republic of Plato is an idle reverie, and which might seem to be the invention of a Locke, a Newton, a Halley, or an Archimedes, have evils arisen shocking to humanity. The disorder of the vast machine wert near to destroy it in the time of Fairfax and of Cromwell. Fanaticism got into the grand edifice, like a devouring fire, which consumes the most beauteous buildings, that are only made of wood.
• In the time of William the Third, it was rebuilt of stone. Philosophy has destroyed fanaticism, that bane of the best regulated ftates; and it is surely probable, that a conftitution which has regu. lated the rights of the king, the nobility, and the people (a constitution, in which every individual finds his security) will last as long as any human establishment can laft: and it is equally probable that all states which have not the happiness to be founded on such principles as these, will hasten to a revolution.
Since writing the above Article, I have reperused the nineteenth book of the spirit of laws, wherein the Author exhibits a portrait of England, without naming it. I was ready to commit my own to the flames, but I considered that though it wanted the wit, the refinement, and the depth that one admires in Montesquieu, it might still be useful. It is founded on facts that are indisputable, and sometimes one is inclined to doubt the ideas of ingenuity.'
THE CERTAINTY OF History. All certainty, that is not founded on mathematical demonstration, amounts to nothing more than the highest degree of probability. There can be no other historical certainty.
• The first historian who spoke of the grandeur and population of the Chinese empire was not believed, nor could he make himself to be believed. The Portuguese who visited that vast empire many ages afterwards, gave some probability to the account. It is now certain ; that is, it has that certainty which arises from the unanimous disposition of a thousand eye-witnesses of different nations, whose testimony no one disputes.
• If only two or three historians had recorded that adventure of Charles the Twelfth, who, obstinately determined to stay in one of the cåkles of the Sultan his benefactor, in spite of him; and with
only only his domestic servants, fought against an army of Janisaries and Tartars, I should suspend my judgment. But after speaking with many eye-witnesses, and never hearing the matter called in queition, I had the greatest reason to believe it. Because, after all, if it was neither a very wise nor a very comnon action, it was not unnatural, nor, with that hero, out of character.
• What is contrary to the ordinary course of nature ought not to be believed, at least not unless it be attested by men who are apparently under the influence of a divine inspiration, the evideece of which inspiration cannot be doubted. For this reason, under the article Certainty, in the dictionary of the Encyclopedia, there seems to be a paradox. There it is said, that if all the people in Paris should affirm that they had seen a person raised from the dead, there would be as much reason to believe it, as there would be if all Paris fhould affirm that the French had gained the battle of Fontenoy. Now it is certain that the testimony of all Paris, on a matter which is in itself improbable, could not be equal to the testimony of all Paris in a case where no Probability was wanting. Behold here the first principles of found logic. Such a dictionary ought to be consecrated to truth alone.'
The UNCERTAINTY OF HISTORY. “ We have divided the æra of time into the historical and the fabulous. But the historical zra itself wants likewise the distinctions of truth and fable. I speak not of those fables received and acknowledged as such. There is no doubt, for inftance, arising on the prodigies with which Livy has in. terlarded his history, but on the facts that are received, doubts may arise.
• It must be considered, that the Roman republic was five hundred years without historians, and that Livy himself laments the loss of the annals of the pontifs, and of other monuments that almott all perished in the burning of Rome. Pleraque interiere. It is genesally acknowledged, that in the first three centuries the art of writing was very uncommon. Ruræ per eadem Tempora Litere. One mai reasonably doubt therefore concerning any relations of facts which are contrary to the common order of nature, and to human conciogencies.
• Is it probable that Romulus, the grandson of a Sabine King, could be under a necessity of carrying off by force the Sabine women for a supply of wives! Is the story of Lucretia at all probable? Can one fo easily believe, on the faith of Livy, the story of Porfenna's pannic flight, or of Scavola's burning his hand?
Is the story of Regulus inclosed in a tub fluck through with Rails more credible? Would not his cotemporary, Polybius, have mentioned it, if there had been any truth in it. He does not say a fyllable about it. One may presume, therefore, that it was invented a long time afterwards, in order to render the Carthaginians odious.
• If you consult the dictionary of Moreri, he affures you, that this story of Regulus is recorded by Livy, though that decade in which Livy might have spoken of it, is loft
. There is nothing for it but Freinsheim's supplement. It is pleasant enough, however, to observe that the Author of the dictionary, while he quotes a German of the
Seventeenth century, seriously believes that he is quoting a Roman of the Auguftan age. But the uncertainties of history would fill volumes without number.'
ON THE STYLE AND MANNER OF HISTORY. "So much has been said on this subject, that little remains to be said now. It is well known that the style and manner of Livy, the dignity, and eloquence of bis pen, are perfectly consistent with the grandeur of the Roman republic; that Tacitus had a better hand for the portrait of a tyrant, Polybius for the discipline of war, and Dionysius of Hali. carnaffus for the elucidation of antiquities.
• But while we form ourselves on the model of these great masters in general, our talk is heavier than theirs. Modern bistorians are required to be more circumftantial in their details, to have their facts better established, their dates of greater precision; authorities are expected for what they affert, and likewise an attention to customs, laws, manners, commerce, finance, agriculture, and population. It is now with hiftory, as with natural philosophy and the mathematics. The materials are immensely enlarged, and the more easy it is to make a collection of gazestes, the more difficult it is to write a hiftory.
• Daniel thought himself an historian, when he transcribed inc dates and narrative of a battle which you could make nothing of. He should have described the people, their laws, manners and customs, and the causes of revolutions in these several circumstances. Might not the people say to him, and with very great propriety, It is noi the history of Lewis the large, we want : it is our own? You tell us on the authority of an old chronicle, written the Lord knows when, or by what means, that, when Lewis the eighth was in a dechining state of health, his physicians ordered his poor carcase to be put to bed to a fine young girl, and that the pious, good king refused this vile, wicked regimen. Ah, Daniel! Had you forgot the Italian proverb? Donna ignuda manda l'Uomo sotto la Terra". You fhould have been better acquainted with natural and political history.
• The history of a country, little known, should not be on the fame model with that of your own,
• If you write the history of France, it is not necesary that you should describe the course of the Seine and the Loire ; but if you write the conquests of the Portuguese in Aha, the topography of the country is requisite. You muft lead your Reader by the hand along the African coast, along the Coasts of Perlia and India. It is expected that you thould instruct him in the manners, laws and customs of those countries which are new to the Europeans.
• We have twenty histories of the establishment of the Portuguese in the Indies; but not one of them acquaints us with the different governments of those countries, their religions, their antiquities, the Bramins, the disciples of St. John, and the Banians. It is true, they have preserved the letters of Xaverius and his successors. They have given us histories of India, written at Paris after thote miwiona. ories, who were unacquainted with the language of the Bramins. We have been told a hundred times that the Indians worship the devil.
* Ahaked woman will put a man to bed under ground. PSY. App. Vol. xlvii.
• The chaplains of the trading companies go off with this prejd. dice, and when they find on the coast of Coromandel symbolicat figures, they fail not to represent them as portraits of the devil. They confider themselves as in his dominions, and prepare to fight him on his own ground. They do not recollect that we Europeans worship a devil there whose name is mammon, and that we go fix thousand leagues from our own country to pay our devotions to him, and fill our pockets.
As to those who are hired servants to a bookseller in St. James's Street, and who are ordered by their master to write a hiftory of Japan, or Canada, or the Canary Islands, or, poffibly, the memoirs of some capuchin, to those. I have nothing to say. . But if you, my good historiographer, will tell us no more thas that one barbarous prince succeeded another on the banks of the Uxus, or the Jaxertes, of what utility can your history be to the publici
· These rules are well known, but the art of writing history well, will always be very rare. We know that the style should be grare, pure, various and pleasing. In thort, it is with historical writing, as with all other works of genius, there are many rules, but very few real artists.'
On the INFLUENCE WHICH THE PASSIONS OF THE MOTHER HATE ON THE FOETUS. 'l am now of opinion, that the strong paflions of pregnant women have a prodigious effect on the embryo, and I believe I fhall always be of the same opinion. I have my reasons from what I have seen. Had I no other authority for this opinion than the teftimony of those historians who relate the case of Mary Stuart, and her fon james the first, lfhould suspend my judgment, because this happened two hundred years ago, and because the impression made on James may be imputed to other causes than the imagination of Mary, The royal aflaffins, at the head of whom was her hufband, entered, sword in hand into the room where she was at supper with her lorer, and killed him before her eyes. . This sudden troke affected her fætus, and James the first, with a great deal of courage, had always an involuntary tremor upon him when sword was drawn out of the scabbard. But this influence on his nerves might have another cause.
• Of the following I was an eye-witness. A tramper, with : dancing dog, which he had dressed in something of a red cap, went into the court-yard of a woman who was pregnant. She cried out immediately that the animal should be taken away. She told us that her child would bear the marks of it. She wept, and would not be comforted. This is the second time, said the, that the like misfor. fortune has happened to me. My first child bears the marks of a fright which I received. It is the weakness of my frame; I am senfible that this misfortune will be repeated. She had too much reason for what she said. She was brought to bed of a child which resembled the figure that had frighted her. The cap, in particular, was plainly visible, and the poor infant lived two days.
• In the time of Malebranche, no one doubted of the circumstance he relates of a woman, who having seen a malefactor broke on the wheel, was delivered of a child bruised in the same parts with the