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stantly communicated; with him I enjoyed the benefits of a free conversation on the topics of our common studies.
But it is scarcely possible for a mind endowed with any active curiosity to be long conversant with the Latin classics without aspiring to know the Greek originals whom they celebrate as their masters, and of whom they so warmly recommend the study and imitation.
Vos exemplaria Græca Nocturnâ versate manu, versate diurna. It was now that I regretted the early years which had been wasted in sickness or idleness, or mere idle reading ;" that I condemned the perverse method of our schoolmasters, who, by first teaching the mother language, might descend with so much ease and perspicuity to the origin and etymology of a derivative idiom. In the nineteeth year of my age I determined to supply this defect; and the lessons of Pavilliard again contributed to smoothe the entrance of the way, the Greek alphabet, the grammar, and the pronunciation according to the French accent. At my earnest request we presumed to open the Iliad; and I had the pleasure of beholding, though darkly and through a glass, the true image of Homer, whom I had long since adınired in an English dress. After my tutor had left me to myself, I worked my way through about half the Iliad, and afterwards interpreted alone a large portion of Xenophon and Herodotus. But my ardour, destitute of aid and emulation, was gradually cooled; and, from the barren task of searching words in a lexicon, I withdrew to the free and familiar conversation of Virgil and Tacitus. Yet in my residence at Lausanne I had laid a solid foundation, which enabled me, in a more propitious season, to prosecute the study of (recian literature.
From a blind idea of the usefulness of such abstract science, my father had been desirous, and even press
ing, that I should devote some time to the mathematics ;* nor could I refuse to comply with so reasonable
* Extract of a Letter from Mr Pavilj.IARD to
EDWARD GIBBON, Esq. Je n'ai point changé de sentimens pour Monsieur votre fils. Il vous rend compte de ses études, et je puis vous assurer qu'il ne vous dit rien qui ne soit très vrai. ploie très bien son temps, et il s'applique extrèmement, aussi a-t-il fait beaucoup de progrès. Il entend très bien le Latin, et il a lu les meilleurs auteurs que nous aions, et cela plus d'une fois : il a lu la Logique de Mr de Crousaz, et l'Essai sur l’Entendement humain de Mr Locke, dont il a fait des extraits : il a commencé le Grec, et il s'y attache : il va commencer l'algèbre, comme vous le lui ordonnez, Vous jugerez par ses lettres s'il entend le François, car je vous assure que je n'y ai fait aucune correction.
Par rapport à la religion, il n'a pas laissé échapper un seul mot, qui ait pu me faire soupçonner qu'il eut encore quelque attachement pour la religion Romaine, et quoique nous parlions souvent sur ces matières je le trouve toujours penser très juste sur toutes les questions qu'on traite. Le petit voyage que nous avons fait lui a beaucoup valu à cet égard : il a été témoin des superstitions épouvantables, qui y régnent: il en a été d'autant plus frappé qu'il ne le connoissoit pas, et qu'il ne pouvoit s'imaginer qu'elles fussent aussi grandes. Quand il n'auroit pas déjà renoncé à cette communion, il l'auroit fait indubitablement, tant elles lui ont paru excessives et déraisonnables. Je suis persuadé qu'il a embrassé le parti Protestant par raison, et qu'il y a peu de personnes qui aient plus examiné et mieux senti la force de nos preuves que lui. Je lui dois ce témoignage, et je le lui rends avec plaisir, de même que sur sa bonne conduite.
P. S. La lettre que vous avez écrit à Monsieur votre fils l'a extrèmeinent touché, parce qu'elle lui a fait voir que vous étiez mécontent de lui. Rien ne peut le mortifier davantage que cette idée. Rendez lui, je vous supplie, votre affection, il la mérite par l'attachement qu'il a pour vous.
[TRANSLATION.] I have changed in no respect my opinions concerning your
He renders you an account of his studies, and I can
a wish. During two winters I attended the private lectures of monsieur de Traytorrens, who explained the assure you that he tells you nothing which is not strictly true. He employs his time admirably, his application is extreme, and he has made a great progress. He understands Latin exceedingly well, and has read the best authors in it, and that more than once. He has also read the Logic of M. de Crousaz, and Locke's Treatise on the Human Understanding, from which he has made extracts: he has commenced the study of Greek, and closely applies to it; and he is about to commence algebra, as you have directed. You will judge by his letters of his progress in French; for I assure you that I do not correct them.
In regard to religion, he has not dropped a single word which might lead me to suspect that he retained any attachment to the Roman Catholic faith ; and although we speak often upon these matters, I find that he always thinks very justly on all the points on which we converse. The little journeys that we have made together has been of great service in this respect; he has beheld the frightful superstitions which reign where we have been travelling, which struck him the more as he knew them not, and could not imagine that they were so gross. Had he not already renounced that communion, he would then have indubitably done so, so excessive and unreasonable have they appeared to him. I am persuaded that he has embraced the Protestant side from conviction, and that few persons have more examined and better felt the force of our arguments. I owe him this testimony, and I render it with pleasure, as well as my suffrage to his good conduct generally.
P.S. The letter which you have addressed to Mr Gibbon has extremely affected him, because he perceives by it that you åre not satisfied with him. Nothing can mortify him more than this notion. Restore him, 1 beseech you, to your affection, which he merits by his attachment to you.
From Mr PavilliARD to EDWARD Gibbon, Esq.
Janvier 12, 1757. Vous avez souhaité que Monsieur votre fils s'appliquât à l'algèbre; le goût qu'il a pour les belles lettres lui faisoit elements of algebra and geometry as far as the conic sections of the marquis de l'Hôpital, and appeared satisappréhender que l'algèbre ne nuisât à ses études favorites; je lui ai persuadé qu'il ne se faisoit pas une juste idée de cette partie des mathématiques; l'obéissance qu'il vous doit, jointe à mes raisons, l'ont déterminé à en faire un cours. Je ne croiois pas qu'avec cette répugnance il y fit de grands progrès; je me suis trompé : il fait bien tout ce qu'il fait; il est exact à ses leçons; il s'applique à lire avant sa lefun, et il repasse avec soin, de manière qu'il avance beaucoup, et plus que je ne serois attendu: il est charmé d'avoir commencé, et je pense qu'il fera un petit cours de géométrie, ce qui en tout ne lui prendre que sept à huit mois. Pendant qu'il fait ses leçons, il ne s'est point relaché sur ses autres études ; il avance beaucoup dans le Grec, et il a presque lu la moitié de l'Iliade d'Homère ; je lui fais régulièrement des leçons sur cet auteur : il a aussi fini les historiens Latins; il en est à présent aux Poëtes; et il a lu entière ment Plaute et Terence, et bientôt il aura fini Lucrèce. Au reste, il ne lit pas ces auteurs à la légère, il veut s'éclaircir sur tout; de façon qu'avec le génie qu'il a, l'excellente mé. moire et l'application, il ira loin dans les sciences.
J'ai eu l'honneur de vous dire ci-devant, que malgré ses études il voyoit compagnie; je puis vous le dire encore aujourdhui.
January 12, 1757. You have desired that your son should apply to algebra; the taste which he had for the belles lettres led him to apprehend that algebra would impede his favourite pursuit; but I have persuaded him that he has not formed a just idea of this branch of the mathematics; and the obedience which he owes to you, joined by these representations, has induced him to commence a course of studies as suggested. I thought that owing to this repugnance he would make hut little progress; but I was deceived, as he has accomplished everything very well that he has undertaken. He applies himself to reading before his lesson, which he attends to with care; so that he advances quickly, and succeeds better than I had expected. He is pleased at having comfied with my diligence and improvement. * But as my childish propensity for numbers and calculations was totally extinct, I was content to receive the passive im. pression of my professor's lectures, without any active exercise of my own powers. As soon as I understood the principles, I relinquished for ever the pursuit of the mathematics; nor can I lament that I desisted before my mind was hardened by the habit of rigid
menced; and I think he shall take a short course of geometry, which will not occupy him more than seven or eight months. During these lessons he relaxes not his other studies : he makes a great progress in Greek, and has read almost half of the Iliad of Homer, in which author I regularly gave him instructions; he has also finished the Latin historians, and is at present engaged with the poets, having entirely read Plautus and Terence; and he will soon have finished Lucretius. Neither has he studied these authors superficially; he is anxious to be clearly informed on all points, and that in such a manner, that with the genius which he possesses, united to application and an excellent memory, he will penetrate deeply into the sciences.
I had the honour to inform you before that, notwithstanding his studies, Mr Gibbon saw company; and I have now to repeat the same thing.
* Journal, January 1757.) I began to study algebra under M. de Traytorrens, went through the elements of algebra and geometry, and the three first books of the marquis de l'Hôpital's Conic Sections. I also read Tibullus, Catullus, Propertius, Horace, (with Dacier's and Torrentius's notes,) Virgil, Ovid's Epistles, with Meziriac's Cominentary, the Ars Amandi, and the Elegies ; likewise the Augustus and Tiberius of Suetonius, and a Latin Translation of Dion Cassius, from the death of Julius Cæsar to the death of Augustus. I also continued my correspondence begun last year with M. Allamand of Bex, and the professor Breitinger of Zurich; and opened a new one with the professor Gesner of Gottingen.
N. B. Last year and this, I read St John's Gospel, with part of Xenophon's Cyropædia, the Diad, and Herodotus : but, upon the whole, I rather neglected my Greek.