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THE NEW YORK PUBUC LIBRARY 

Afltor, Lenai and Til den FoundAtioDt 



SYDNEY HOWARD GAY 
COLLECTION 



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MARTIN GAY *n0 MRS. WM. G. WILLCOX 



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RECOLLECTIONS 




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ITALT, 
ENGLAM) AND AMERICA, 



'WITH 



SSSAYS OJ\r VARIOUS SUBJEJCZSy 



irw 



MORALS ANB IzriglB^'^^ 



BT 



F. A. DE CHATEAUBRIAND. 



PHILADELPHIA: 
PUBLISHED BY M. CAUEY, 

NO. 121 CHESNUT-STRSKT. 

1816. 






<• 



THE NEW YORK 
PUBLIC LIBRARY 

569645 

^TOR, LENOX AND 
TILDEN FOUKDAHON8 



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A 



•<Se»* PhilUp9t Printer, CarlUle. 



CONTENTS. 



RECOLLECTIONS OF ITALY. 

Page- 

Rome and its Erwirons 17 

Visit to Mount Fesuvius • ^ • • • 41 

Fisit to Mont Blanc » « • • • 49 

RECOLLECTIONS OF ENGLAND. 

On England and the English . . 65 

English Literature. Young « • . 79 

«•••••• ShaksP£41&£ • 93 

.....•• Bej^ik . . 113 

RECOLLECTIONS OF AMERICA. 

On the Island of OfUmdlmj one oj the Azores 123 

A few words con0ming the Cataract oJ Canada 130 

Fisit to the Country of the Savages . . 132 

A Night amongiihe Savages of America . 138 
Jinecdote of k frenchman who dtvelt among the 

Savages • . • 146 
On Maokinzie^s Travels in the Interior ofJNorth 

America . • . . 148 



IV CONTENTS. 

ESSAYS ON VARIOUS SUBJECTS IN UTERATXHIE 
AND MORALS. 

Letter to M. de Fontanes upon Madame De StaeU 

Holstein^s System of Morals . • 179 

On the Poet Gilbert • . . 203 

Analysis of the work of M. De Bonald^ entitled 
" Primitive Legislation considered in the latter 
times by the light oj reason alone.'*^ 219 

Upon M. Michaud^s Poem, the Spring of a PrO' 

script • • • • . 253 

Ujpon the History of the Life of Jesus Christy by 

Father De lAgny . . , 273 

On the New Edition of Boilings works . • 286 
On the Memoirs of Louis XIV. . . • 298 
On A£m ef Letters . . . . 318 

Speech composed by M. De Chateaubriand for his 
reception as a Member oJ the Imperial Institute 
of France '^^ • . . 335 

Defence qf the Beauties ^f Christianity . 345 



1 






THE 



EDITOR'S PREFACE. 



IF the reputation of M. de Chateaubriand, already es- 
tablished by works of the greatest merit, has received a 
considerable addition from the Essay on Ancient and 
Modern Revohtions, which we have just published, his 
jRecoBectians of Italy ^ England and America^ with the 
excellent Essays on Literature and Mends that accom- 
pany them, will certainly add to it. 

Throughout this collection will be found those ener- 
:getic ideas, that fine imagination, that picturesque colour*- 
ing, those ingenious compsfflsoQs and origind turns of ex- 
pression which Impart a peculiar charm to M. de Cha- 
teaubriand^s writings. No Authcff of the nresent day 
has, like him, attained the art of connecting literature with 
morals, by a style abounding in Imagery and rich in sen- 
timenfts. iThis happy talent b displayed in every page, 
and there arc even passages, in which it is stijl more mani^ 
fest than in his greater works. 

B 



Several oT the detached Essays appeared in theJlf^r- 
cme de Fnmce^ between ,the years 1 800 and 1807. The 
Author at this time finished his Beauties qf Christianity^ 
and trusted that he had thereby erected a monument to 
flie. r:eUgioii of his forefathers. It must be acknowledged 
th^y in sevefal parts of this work» he displays a soul fully 
impressed with the perfections of Christianity. His tra-^ 
V€^ to Palestine, procured us the poem of The Martyrs^ 
and the Itinerary of that country. After his return, M. 
de Chateaubriand would perhaps liave determined to ce- 
sume his labours in tlie Mercuref had he not found the 
. spirit of that journal entirely altered, and had he not been 
disgusted by the despoti^pa of the French ruler, who wish- 
ed not only to command the writings, but even tlie con-^ 
versationand very thoughts of his subjects ; particularly 
of those who were distinguished authors. It is true that 
M. de Chateaubriand had himself praised the despot i 
but this was at a period wlien it was . still excusable to be 
mistaken as to the real character of Buonaparte. None 
of the enlightened men had penetration enough tojMro- 
phecy that the general of die expecj^tion to Egypt would 
be the future opponent to the rights of humanity^ andM. 
de Chateaubriand has the further excm^, that when the 
Statesmen and Writers of France hegjm to rival each 
other in meanness, and prostrate themseh^ at the foot of 
the throne, the Author of the Beauties qf Ckriaianiiy 
ceased to worship the unworthy idol of traiuieait gloiy, 
recovered by degrees, and silently resumed the noble at- 
titude whioli belonged to him. It was now the despot'a 
turn to humble himself before the greatest writer of his. 



Empire, and be adopted measures to draw M. de C%a<( 
teaubriand into tiie circle of hb slaves^ but iii vain. AU 
hk power was ineSbctual, when exertedto shake die firm 
and noble soul of a simple in^idual, who was no linger 
to be imposed upon by fictitious grandeur. He was in* 
duced, howevefi by dint of persuasion) tb hecomie a mem*' 
ber of the first literary body in Frsnce. It was necesaaf^ 
that he should make a public oration upon diis occasion, 
and it wzs then that he prepared the eulogium on IHxi^, 
which will be found in the present publication. His in* 
trepidity astonished the Insitute and Government. £fe 
was forbidden to deliver his oration, but be was no^ longer 
importuned for his su];^)ort, which ci^uld palpably never 
be obtained afterwards. From this period his heart, af- 
flicted by tfae misfortunes of France, and the degradation 
which literature and the arts had experienced, was doom- 
ed to s%h in sect^ ; but it experiraced consolaticHi when 
the tyrant began to lose the power of oppressmg and ru- 
ining the nation. Those, who never could have disjdayed 
the<x>urage ttf M. de Chateaubriand, thought proper to 
criticize his admirable publication in favour of the Bour- 
bons,^ as bdng a wori^ too strongly betraying the pas- 
sions of the writ^. They would perhaps have written in 
colder blood, because their eyes were then fimiiliaiized 
with the hcMTgrs which they saw incessantly renewed. 
But can the soul of a great writer remain torpid when li- 
berty dawns upon his unfortunate country ? Would Cice- 
ro and Demosthenes have remained torpid if they bad 
been called upon to expose, the one an incendiary ^s crimes, 

• Of Buonaparte and the Bourbons, 8vo. 1«14. 



l»tion ff Andwfaat were tlieae siifcg6ot9 m oomt)iiriso& widai 
the great iaterests of the wodd) which were discussed 4u- 
jog April 1814, in the capital of Fr^nee? Cold blooded 
people are often useful ; but still a single ener|[etic man, 
when fired with honest ind^nadon, can eSeqt more than 
thou^inds c^ frigid dispootion. - When the revoluticHi, 
so ardently desired by all those who possessed hearts not 
debased by slavery, was effixted, the Political Beficetum 
of M. de Chateaubriand were of a cabner nature, and boi^ 
reference only to the happkiess which France was aboiit 
to enjoy lander the sway of the Bourbons* 

That b^piness has bem^ akks, df^hort duration. l%p 
revolutionary system is re-e^^lished in Franct, and M, 
de Chateaubriand has again qukted Ms country, for the 
purpose of following his King, and devoting Im pen to 
the instruction of his unfortunate countrymen, by writings 
similar to those of which all Europe acknowledges the 
energetic mfluence. ^ 

Though M. de Chateaubrialid has gained the applause 
of all civilized nations, and though his works have been 
several times printed in his native language, as well as 
translated into almost all the languages of Europe, it is 
nevertheless a fact that in his own country a numerous 
party of calumniators have tried to overwhelm him with 
criticisms, parodies, satires and injuries. It is true that 
they have not been able to diminish his reputation as aft 
Author, but they have succeeded so far as to create in the 
public mind an uncertainty as to the rank which he ought 
to hold in literature. His imagination is too vivid, and 



fiometimes emks away hiA itasm, m tfiat he fills oeea- 
dcaiaify into extiravagant cxpres^ons, and arguments 
vAach ai^ more specious than solid. Ilis detractors dwell 
<m lussli^t imperfeclions, and itpresents diem as ccmsti- 
tudng die foundation of his writings. They do not chuse 
to see that a fiiie imag^tion is, in spite of some aberra- 
tions, infinitely superior to aB those ordinary minds, the 
productions of wMch appear \rise, because the rules of 
grammar aie observed in them, and the ideas of the day ex« 
actiymet Those authors may please, but thdrreputa* 
tion wffl not extend beyond die limits of their country 
and age. It b only by taking for tfadr models ihp su- 
perior beauties c^ M- de Chateaubriand's style, and a- 
vddifig his defe^, tiiat diey can hope toequal his repu- 
tation, and to excite, like him, die enthusiasm of all who 
possess'Cmltivated minds. 



K^^ 



RECOLLECTIONS 



oy 



HALT. 



n 



RECOLLECTIONS 



ITALY. 



ROME AND ITS ENVIRONS. 

TO HONSIXUft DX fONTANSS. 

I 

My dear friendy 

I AM jus^ arrived at Rome from Na« 
pics, and send you all my journey bas produced^ for you 
have a right to this all-^a few laurel leaves snatched from 
the tomb of Virgil, whom " tenet nunc ParthenopeJ^ I 
should long since have given you a description of this 
classic region, but various circumstances have hindered 
me, I will not leavp Rome, hpwever, without saying a 
few words about so celebrated a city. We agreed that 
I was to address you without ceremony ; and to tdl you 
at a venture whatever impressions were made upon me in 
Italy, as I formerly related to ypu what ideas I had form- 
ed, while wandering through the solitudes of the New 
World, Without further preamble, then, I will attempt 
to give you an account of the environs of Rome, that is to 
say, the adjacent country and the ruins. 

C 



18 RECOLLECTIONS Ot ITALY. 

You have read all that has been written on thb sub« 
ject, but I do not know whether travellers have given you 
a very just idea of the picture, which the Roman territory 
presents. Figure to yourself something of the desolation 
at Tyre and Babylon, as described in scripture — silence 
and solitude as vast as the noise and tumult of m6n> who 
formerly crowded together on this spot. One may almost 
fancy that the prophet's curse is still heard, when he an- 
nounced that two things should happen on a. single day, 
sterility and widowhood.^ You see here and there some 
remains of Roman roads, in places where nobody ever 
passes, and some dried-up tracks of winter torrents, which 
at a distance have themselves the appearance of Iso'ge fre- 
quented roads, but which are in reality the beds of waters, 
formerly rushing onwards with impetuosity, though they 
have now passed away like the Roman nation. It is with 
some difficulty that you discover any trees, but on every 
side you behold the ruins of aqueducts and tombs, whidi 
appear to be the forests and indigenous plants of this land 
— composed as it is of mortal dust, and the wrecks of em- 
pires. I have often thought that I beheld rich crops in a 
plain, but on approaching them, found that my eye had 
been deceived by withered grass. Under this barren her- 
bage traces of ancient culture may sometimes be discov- 
ered.- Here are no birds, no labourers, no lowbg of 
cattle, no villages. A few miserably managed farms ap* 
pear amidst tlie general nakedness of tlie country, but the 
windows and doors of the habitations are closed. No 
smoke, no noise, no inhabitant proceeds from them. A 
sort of savage, in tattered garments, pale and emaciated 
by fever, guards these melancholy dwellings, like the 
spectres who defend the entrance of abandoned castles in. 
our gbthic legends. It may be said, therefore, that no 

* Isaiah. 



KOME AND ITS EKVI&OKS. 19 

nation has dared to take possession of the country, once 
inhabited by the masters of the world, and that you see 
these plains as they were left by the ploughshare of Cin- 
cinnatus, or the last Roman team. 

It is in the midst of this uncultivated region that the 
etemarcity raises her head. Decayed as to her terrestial 
power, she appears to have resolved on proudly isolating 
herself. She has separated herself from the cities of the 
world, and like a dethroned queen, has nobly concealed 
her riiisfortunes in solitude. 

I should in vain attempt to describe the sensation ex- 
perienced, when Rome suddenly appears to your view 
amidst her inarm regna, as if raising herself from die 
sepulchre in which she had been lying. Picture to your- 
self the distress and astonishment, which the prophets ex- 
periericed, when God, in a vision, shewed them some 
city, to which he had attached the destiny of his chosen 
people.* The multitude of recollections and the crowd of 
sensations oppress you, so that your very soul is disorder- 
ed at beholding the place — for it is Rome, which has 
twice inherited the empire of the world, first as the heir to 
Saturn, and secondly to Jacob.f 

You will, perhaps, think, from my description, that 
nothing can be more frightful than the Roman environs ; 
but in this conjecture you would be egregiously mistaken. 
They possess an inconceivable grandeur, and in contem- 

• Ezekiel. 

t Montaig^ne thus describes the neighbourhood of Rome about 
tiEo centuries ago. 

<< We had at a distance, on our left, the Appennines, and the 
prospect of a country by no means pleasant, uneven and full of 
gaps, which would render it difficult to range .ti*oops in regular 
order. The country is without trees, and a considerable part of 
it sterile, open on every side, and more than ten miles in circum- 
ference. Like all other countries too of this description, it is' 
very thinly inhabited." 



/ 



520 K£C0LL£CT10KS OF ITALY. 

plating them, you would be always ready to ekclaim with 
Virgil : 

Salve^ magna fiarenB frugum^ Satumia teilus^ 
Magna virum /* 

If you view them as an economist, they will displease 
you, but if you survey them as an artist, or a poet, or a 
philosopher, you will perhaps not wish them to be alter- 
ed. The sight of a corn-field or a vineyard would not 
cause s^uch strong emotions in your mind as that of a 
country, where modem culture has not renovated the soil, 
and which may be said to nave become as purely antique 
as the ruins which cover it. 

Nothing is so beautiful as the lines of the Roman 
horizon, the gentle inclination of the plains, and the soft 
flying contour of the terminating mountains. The valleys 
often assume the form of an arena, a circus, or ^ riding- 
house. The hills are cut in terraces, as if the mighty 
hand of the Romans had moved the whole land at plea- 
sure. A peculiar vapour is spread over distant objects, 
which takes off their harshness and rounds them. The 
shadows are never black and heavy ; for there are no mass- 
es so obscure, even among the rocks and foliage, but 
that a little light may always insinuate itself. A singular 
tint and most peculiar harmony unite the earth, the sky, 
and the waters. All the surfaces unite at their extremi- 
ties by means of an insensible gradation of colours, and 
without the possibility of ascertaining the point, at which 
one ends, or another begins. You have doubtless admir- 
ed this sort of light in Claude Lorraih's landscapes. It 
appears ideal and still more beautiful than nature ; but it 
is the light of Rome, 

* Hail, happy land, producing richest fruits, 
And heroes of renown ! 



aOM£ AND ITS ENVIRONS* 21 

I cUd not omit to see t}ie V ijla Borghese, and to ad- 
mire the sun as be cast his setting beams upon the cypres- 
ses of Mount Marius or on the pines of Villa Pamphili. 
I have also often directed my way up the Tiber to enjoy 
the grand scene of departing day at Ponte Mole. The 
smamits of the Sabine mountains then appear to consist 
of lapis lazidi axKl pale gold> while their base and sides 
are enveloped in a vapour, which has a violet or purple 
tint. Sometimes beautiful clouds, like light chariots, 
borne on the wmds with inimitablef grace, make you* 
easily comprehend the appearance of the Olympian Dei- . 
ties under this mythologic sky. Sometimes ancient 
Rome seenis to have stretched into the West all the pur- 
ple of her Consuls and Caesars, and spread them under 
the last steps of the god of day. This rich decoration 
does not disappear so soon as in our climate. When 
you suppose that the tints are vanishing, they suddenly 
re-appear at some other point of the horizon. Twilight 
succeeds to twilight, and the charm of closing day is pro- 
longed. It is true that at this hour of rural repose, the 
air no ledger resounds with bticolic song ; you no long- 
er hear the " dulcia linquhnus arva^^ but the vic- 
tims of sacred immolation are still to be seen. White 
bulls and troops of half- wild horses daily descend 
to the banks of the Tiber, and quench their thirst with its 
vraters. You would fancy yourself transported to the 
times of the ancient Sabines, or to the age of the Arcadi- 
an Evander, wheiJi the Tiber was called Albula,* and 
Eneas navigated its unknown streanf. 

I will acknowledge without hesitation that the vicini- 
ty of Naples is more dazzling than that of Rome. When 
the blazing sun, or the large rcd moon rises above Ve-" 
suvius, like a body of fire shot from jts volcanic crater, 
the bay of Naples, and its banks fringed with orange- 

* Livv. 



22 RECOLLECTIONS Ol^ ITALY. 

trees, the mountains of Sorrento, the island of Capri, the 
coast of Pozzuoli, Baise, Misene, Cumes, Avemo, the 
Elysian fields, and all this Vv^an district, present to 
the view a magic spectacle, but it does not possess the 
imposing grandeur of the Roman territory. It is at least 
certain that almost every one is prodigiously attached to 
Ais celebrated region. Two thousand years have elaps- 
ed since Cicero believed himself an exile for life, and 
wrote to one of his intin^te friends : Urberriy miJiufij cole^ 
et in ista luce vive.^^* The attraction of the lovely Au- 
.sonia is still the same. Many examples are quoted of 
travellers, who came to Rome for the purpose of passing 
a few days, and remained there all their lives. Poussin 
could not resist the temptation of residing, till his death, 
ki 8( country which afforded such exquisite landscapes ; 
and at the very moment thit I pen this letter, I have the 
pleastu^ of being acquainted with M. d'Agmcourt, who 
has lived here alone for five-and-twenty years, and who 
hold$ forth fair promise that France will also have het 
Winckelman. 

Whoever occupies himself solely in the study of an- 
tiquities and the fine arts, or whoever has no other ties in 
life, should live at Rome. He will there find, for his so- 
ciet)'', a district which will nurture his reflections and take 
possession of his heart, with walks, which will always con- 
vey to him instruction. The stone, which "he treads 
upon will speak to him, and the dust, which the wind 
blows around him, will be decomposed particles of some 
great human being. Should he be unhappy— -should he 
have mmgled the ashes of those, whom he loved, with the 

• « It is at Rome that you must live my dear Rufus ; it is that 
luminary which you must inhabit." I believe th^ passage occurs 
in the first or second book of the familiar Epistles ; but as I quote 
from memory, I hope that any little mistake in this respea will 
bt overlooked. 



. &0M£ ^ND ITS ENVIRONS. 23 

ashes of the illustrious dead, what placid delight will he 
experience when he pa^sesfromthesepulclireof the Scipioo 
to die tomb of a virtuous friend, from the superb mausoleum 
of Cecilia M^tella tp the modest grave of an unfortunate 
wom^ ! He will fancy that their beloved shades find 
pleasure in wandering round these monuments, with that 
of a Cicero still lamenting his dear TuUia, or an Agrip*. 
pina still occupied with the urn of Germanicus* If he be 
achristian, how will he be able to tear himself away from 
this land, which is become his own ^ country — ^this land, 
which is become the seat of a second empire more sacred, 
and more powerfiil than the first — this land, where the 
friends, whom we have lost, sleep with saints in their 
catacombs, under the eye of the father of the faithful, ap- 
pearing as if they would be the first who awoke from 
their long sleep, and the nearest to Heaven, g 

Though Rome, when internally examined, resembles 
at present, in a great degree, the generality of European 
cities, it still preserves a peculiar character ; for no other 
city afibrds a similar mixture of architecture and ruins, 
from the Pantheon of Agrippa to the gothic walls of Be- 
lisarius, or the monuments brought from Alexandria to 
the dome erected by Michael Angelo. The beauty of 
the women is another distinguishing feature. Tliey re- 
cal by dieir gait and carriage the Clelias and Cornelias. 
You might fancy that you saw the ancient statues of Juno 
and Pallas, which had descended from their pedestals, and 
were walking round their temples. Among the Romans 
too is to be seen that tone of carnation which artists call 
the historic colour, and which they use in their paintings? 
It appears natural that men, whose ancestors played so 
conspicuous a part in the great theatre of the world, should 
have served as models for Raphael and Dominichino, 
when they represented historical personages. 



24 &XCOLL£CTIONS OI ITALT. 

Another singularity c^the city of Borne is the num« 
ber of goats, and more particularly, large oxen with mor* 
mous horns. The latter are used in teams ; and you will 
find these animals lying at the feet of the Egyptian obe- 
lisks, among the ruins of the Fdrum, ^d under the arches, 
through which they formerly passed, conducting the tri- 
umphant Roman to that Captitol which Cicero calls the 
pub&c council of the universe. 

Romanos ad temfiia Veum duxcrc triumfihot* 

With tlie usual noise of great cities is here mingled 
* the noise of waters heard on every side, as if you were 
near the fountains of Blandusia and Egeria. From the 
summit of the hills, inclosed within the boundaries of 
Rome, or at the extremity of several streets you have a 
view of the fields in perspective, which mixture of town 
and country has a very picturesque effect. In winter the 
tops of the houses are covered with herbage, not unlike the 
old thatched cottages of our peasantry. These combined 
circumstances impart to Rome a sort of rural appearance, 
and remind you that its first dictators guided the plough, 
that it owed the empire of the world to its labourers, and 
that the greatest of its poets did nut disdain to instruct the 
children of Romulus in the art of Hesiod. 

Aacrpsumque cano romanaper ofifiida carmen. 

As to the Tiber, which waters, and participates m the 
glory of this city, its destiny is altogether strange. It 
passes through a corner of Rome, as if it did not exist. 
No one deigns to cast his eyes towards it, no one speaks 
of it, no one drinks its waters, and the women do not even 
use it for washing. It steals away between the paltry 
houses which conceal it, and hastens to precipitate itself 
into the sea, ashamed of its modem appellation, Tevere. 



. ROMS AND ITS EKVIROKS. 25 

I must ndw, my dear friend, say something of the 
TUinSy which you so particulariy requested me to mention 
when I wrote to you. I have minutely exatnined them 
all, both at Rome and Naples, except the temples of Pass- 
tum, which I have not had time to visit. You are aware 
that they assume diflferent characters, according to the^ 
itcoUections attached to them. 

On a beautiful evening in July last I seated myself 
at CoUis6e, on a step of the altar dedicated to the suffer- 
ings of the Passion. The sun was setting, and poured 
fibods of gold through all the galleries, which had formerly 
been thronged with men; while, at the same time, strong sha- 
dows weifecast by the broken corridors and other ruinous 
parts, or fell on the ground in large masses from the lof- 
ty toucture. I perceived among the ruins, on the right 
of the edifice, the gardens of Caesar's palace, with 
a palm-tree, which seems to have been placed in the 
midst of this wreck, expressly for painters and poets. 
Instead of the shouts of joy which heretofore proceeded 
from the ferocious spectators in this amphitheatre, on see- 
ing Christians devoured by lions and panthers, nothing 
was now heard but the barking of dogs, which belonged 
to the hermit resident here as a guardian of the ruins. At 
the moment that the sun descended below the horizon, 
the clock in the dome of Saint Peter resounded under the 
porticoes of CoUisee. This correspondence, through 
the mediuni of religious sounds, between the two grand- 
est monuments of Pagan and Christian Rome, caused a 
lively emotion in my mind. I reflected that this modern 
edifice would fall in its turn, like the ancient one, and that 
the memorials of human industry succeed each other like 
the men, who erected them. I called to mind that the 
same Jews, who, during their first captivity, worked at 
the edifices of Egypt and Babj/lon, had also, during their 
last dispersion built this enormous structure ; that the 

D 



26 RECOLIfiCT'IOKS or ITALY. 

vaulted roofs, which now re-echoed .this Christian bdl 
were the work of a Pagan emperor, -who had been pointed 
out by prophecy as destined to complete the ^bstructiofi 
of Jerusalem. Are not these sufficiency exalted subjects 
of meditation to be inspired . by a single rain, and do you 
not think that a city, where such elects are produced at 
every step, is worthy of examination ? 

I went to Coflis^e again yesterday, the Mi of January, 
for the purpose of seeing it at another season, and in 
anot].er point of view. On my arrival I was surprised at 
not hearing the dogs, who generally appeared and 'barked 
in the superior corridors of the amphitheatre, among the 
ruins and withered herbage. I knocked at the door of 
, the hermitage, which was formed under one of die arches, 
but I received no answer— the hermit was dead. TTie 
inclemency of the season, the absence of this worthy re. 
cluse, combined with several recent and afflicting reooU 
lecticms, increased the sadness arising from^his place to 
such an extent that I almost supposed myself to be look«- 
ing at the ruins of an edifice, which I had, a few days 
before admired in a firesh and perfect state. It is thus 
that we are constantly reminded of our nothingness. Man 
searches around him for objects to convince his reason. 
He meditates on the remams of edifices and empires ; 
forgetting that he himself is a ruin still more instable, and 
that he will perish even before these. What most renders 
our life " the shadow of a shade"* is that we cannot hope 
to live long in the recollection of our friends. The heart, 
in which our image is graven, is like the object, of wMch 
it retains the features — perishable clay. I was shewn, at 
Portici, a piece of cinder taken from Vesuvius, whkh 
crumbles into dust when touched, and which preserves 
the impression, (daily diminishing) « of a female's breast 
and arm, who was buried under the ruins of Pompeifi* 

* Pindar. 



lOHK 4.ND ITS SITVI&OVS. 27 

Thoufi^ not flattering to our self-love, this is the tnieem- 
Uem of tbe tiaces Idt by our memory in the hearts of 
vamij who are 0iiy dust and ashes.^ 
^ Before I took my departure for Naples^ I passed some 
days alone at Tivdi. I traversed the ruuis in its environs, 
and psoticularly daoseof ViUa Adriana. Being overtaken 
by a shower of rain in the midst of my excursion, I took 
'ef^g^ m the hi^s of Thermes near Pecilef under a figt 
tree, whi^h had thrown down a wall by its growth. In a 
small octt^onal saboo, which was open before me, a vine 
})ad pmetrated tbi'ough fissures in tlie arched roof, while 
tt$ smoo^ and red crooked stem mounted along the waU 
lifte a $erpent* Roi^kI w^j across the arcades, the Roman 
country was seen in different points of view. Large el- 
der trees filled the deserted apartments, where some soli- 
teiy Ua^ek-tHrdd found a reoreat. The fragments of ma* 
aonry were garnished with the leaves of scok^ndra, the 
6atin verdure of which appeared like mosaic wod^ upon 
die white marble« Here and there lofty cypresses replac- 
ed the e(4umns^ which had fallen into these palaces of 
deaths The wild acanthus crept at their feet on the ruins^ 
as if nature ^bad taken pleasure in re-producing, upon 
diese mutilated chefs d^ceuvre of architecture, tlie^ oma- 
jfnent of their past beauty. The different apartments and 
the summits of the ruins were covered with pendant ver* 
dure; the wind imitated these humid garlands^ and the 
plants bent under th^ rain of Heaven^ 

WhUe I Qomtemplated this picture, a thousand con- 
fused ideas passed across my mind* At one moment I 
admired, at the next detjcsted Roman grandeur. At one 
moment I thought of the virtues, at another of the vices, 
which distinguished this lord of tlie world, who had wish- 
ed to render his garden a representation of his empire. I 
failed to mind the events, by which his suptrb villa had 

* Job^ ' f Remains of the Villa. 



28 R£COLL£CTI0HS OF ITALY. 

been destroyed. I saw it despoiled of its most beautiful 
ornaments by the successor of Adrian — I saw the bar- 
barians passing like a whirlwind, sometimes cantoning 
themselves here ; and, in order to defend themselves a- 
midst these monuments of art which they bad half destrcy- 
ed, surmounting the ^xrecian and Tuscan orders with 
gothic batdements — finally, I saw Christians bringing 
back civilization to this districty planting the vine, and 
guiding the plough into the temple of die Stoics, and the 
saloons of the Academy.* Ere long the arts revived, 
and the monsffchs employed persons to overturn what 
still remained of these gorgeous palaces, for the piHpose 
of obtaining some master-pieces of art. While these dif- 
ferent thoughts succeeded each other, an inward voice 
mixed itself with theni, and repeated to me what has been 
a hundred times written on the vanity of human affairs. 
There is indeed a double vanity in the remains of the 
ViUa Adriana : for it is known that they were only imi- 
tations of other remains* scattered through the provinces 
of theHoman empire. The real temple of Sotipis and 
Alexandria, and the real academy at Athens no longer ex- 
ist ; so that in the copies of Adrian you cffily see the ruiss 
of ruins. 

I should now, my dear friend, describe to you tiie 
temple of the Sibyl at Tivoli, and the charming temple of 
Vesta, suspended over the cascade ; but I cannot spare 
time for the purpose. I regret, too, that 1 am unable to 
depict this cascade, on which Horace has c(»iferred cele- 
brity. When there, I was in your domain, toe you are 
the inheritor of the Grecian aphelia, or the ^^ simplex 
munditiisj^^ described by the author of the Ars Poetica.; 
but I saw it in very gloomy weather, and I myself wm 
not in good spirits. I will further confess that I was in 

* Remains of tjie Villa. 



ROME AKJ) ITS ENVIROKPS. 20 

some degree annoyed by this roar of waters, though I 
have been so often charmed by it in the forests of Ameri* 
ca. I have sdH a recollection of die happiness which I 
experimoed during a night passed amidst dreary deserts, 
when my wood fire was half extinguished, my guide a- 
deep, and my hors^ grazii^ at a distance*— I have still a 
reoollecdon, I say, of the happiness wliich I experienced 
when I heard Aeiimigled melody of the winds and waters, 
as I reclined upon the earth, deep in the bosom of the 
forest. These murmurs, at one time feeble, at another 
taxxc loud, increasing and decreasing every instant, made 
me occasionally start ; and every tree was to me a sort of 
fyre,firom which the winds extracted strains conveying 
ine&ble delight. 

At the present day I perceive that I am less sensible 
to these charms of nature, and I doubt whether the cata- 
ract of Niagara would cause the same degree of admira- 
tion in my mind, which it formerly inspired. When one 
is very young. Nature is eloquent in silence, because 
there is a supers-abundance in the heart of man. All his 
futurity is before him (if my Aristarchus will allow me to 
. use this expression) he hopes to impart his sensations to 
the world, and feeds himself with a thousand chimeras ; 
but at a more advanced age, when the prospect, which we 
had before us, passes into the rear, and we are undeceiv- 
ed as to a host of illusions, then Nature, left to herself, be. 
comes colder and less eloquent. " Les jardins parlent 
peuJ*^^ To interest us at this period of life, it is necessa- 
ry that we have the additional pleasure of society, for we 
are become less satisfied with ourselves. Absolute soli- 
tude oppresses us, and we feel a want of those conversa- 
tions which are carried on, at night, in a low voice among 
fi:iends.t 

* ]La Fontaine. t Horace. 



ao R£C0it2eTioy8 or italt« 

I did not leave Tivoli without viskaflK the houfie of 
l&epoet, wbom I have just (|aoled. It &oed die V^ 
4f Mecsnas^ and thore he gieeted ^^Jlariims H vinagtai^ 
urn memorem brevis mri.^'^ The beritikage oo^ not 
have been large, for it is situated on the very ridge iA tbt 
hm ; b\at one may easily perceive Aat it pmst have been 
voy retired, and that every thing \iras conwMdioiiSy 
though on a small scale. From the orehard, wbidx wm 
HI front of the house, the Qre wradorsover an> immense 
extent of country. It conveys, in all fespects, the idea of 
a true retreat for a poet, whom fittle auffieea, and wfaoen- 
joys so much that does not bdoog to Iskmr^^^ spatio brevi 
spem longam reseces.^^i 

After sdl, it is very easy to besuchaphilosofiier as Ho- 
race was. He had a house at Rome, dsod two country 
villas, the one at Udca, the other at Tivdi. He qua&dt 
with his friends^ the wine which had been made durii^ 
the c(xisulate of TuUy. His sideboard was covered with 
plate ; and he said to the prime minister of the sovarei^Q, 
who guided the destinies of the world : ^^ I do not feel 
the wants of poverty ; and if I wish for any thing RK)re, 
you, Mecsenas, will not reliise me.'^ TIhis situated^ a 
man may very comfortably sing of Lalage, crown himself 
with short-hved lilies^ ^Ik of death while he is drinidng 
Falemian, and give bis cares to the winds. 

I observe that HcMrace, Virgil, Tibullus, and Livy aU 
died before Augustus, whose fate in this respect was the 
same as Louis XIV experienced. Our great prinee siir* 
vived his cotemporaries awhile, and was the last who de- 
scended to the grave, as if to be certain that nodiiog rew 
msuned behind him. 

• There he greeted with flowers and wine the geoiua who 
remifids us of the brevity of life. 

t Closed in a narrow space of far extended hopes. 

Horace. 



AOlfS AKO ITS £frviE6lr$* SI 

It will cknubdess be a matter ot indMferefioe to ytxa tf 
I state the house of CfltuHos to be at Tirdk above that of 
Horace, ai^ at present occupied bf monks; butyott 
wiOy peihaps, deem it more lemarkaMe that Anoslo 
composed hb ^^Jables eantifues'^^ at the same place in 
which Horace enjoyed the good things of this world. It 
has excited surprise that the author of Orlando Fiirioso, 
when living in retirement with the cardinal d'Est «t 
Tivoli, should bive fixed on France as the subject of his 
divine extra vagamsas, £md France too when in a state c^ 
demi-barbarity, while be had under his eyes the grave re- 
mains and sdemn memorials of the most serious and 
civilized nation upon earth. In other respects, the Villa 
d'Est is the only modem one which has interested me, a- 
mong the wrecks of proud habitations belonging to so 
many Emperors and Consuls. This illustrious house of 
Ferrara has had the singular good fortune of being celebrat- 
cdby thetwo greatest poets of its age, and the two men, who 
possessed the most brilliant genius, to which modern 
Italy has given birth. * 

Piacciavi gcneroae Ercolea/irole 
OmamenOf e afilendor del aecol noafro, 
IfifioHto, etc. 

It is the exclamation of a happy man, who returns 
thanks to the powerful house, which bestows favors on 
him, and of which he constitutes the delight. Tasso, 
who was linore affecting, conveys in his invocation, the 
acknowledgments of a grateful but unfortunate man ; 

Tu magnanimo Alfonao^ il qual ritogli^ etc. 

He, who avails himself of power to assist neglected 
* Boileau- 



32 mEcoLLXc^ioiis of xtast. 

talent, makes a noble \ise of it Ariofito and Hippdytd 
(t'£st have Irft, in tiie valleys of Tivdi, a reputation 
which does not yield, in point of the charm conveyed by 
it) to that of Horace and Mecsenas. But what is become 
of the protectors and the protected? At the moment 
that I write thb. letter, the house of Est is extinct, and its 
villa fallen into ruins. Such is the history of every thing 
belonging to this world. 

Unquenda telluB^ et dcmuty et filacens 
Uxor,* 

' I spent almost a whole day at this superb villa. I 
could not put a period to my admiration of the immense 
prospect, which I enjoyed from the high ground of the 
terraces. Below me were gardens, stretching to a con- 
siderable extent, and displaying great numbers of plane* 
tre^s and cypresses. Beyond these were the ruins of the 
house, which once belonged to Mecs&nas, on the borders 
of the Anio.f On the opposite hill, which is on the other 
ade of the river, is a wood of anciait olives and among 
these are the ruins of the villa once occupied by Varus. J 
A little further, to the left, rise the three mountains Mon- 
ticelli, San Francesco, and Sant Angelo, and between the 
summits of these three neighbouring mountains appears 
the azure, brow of old Socrate. In the horizon, and at the 
extremity of the Roman plains, describing a circle by the 
West and South, may be discerned the heights of Monte 
Fiascone, Rome, Civita Vecchia, Ostie, the sea, and 
Frascati, surmounted by thepmesof Tusculum. Return- 
ing in search of Tivoli towards the East, the entire cir- 

* Man must quit his estate, his house, and amiable wife, 
t Now the Teverone. 

\ The Varus, who was massacred with the legions in Ger- 
many. See ihe admirable description of Tacitus. 



KOXf AKO ITS SKVI&OKS. S3 

eutnfeicQce of thb immense prospect is terminated by 
Mount Ripoli, formerly occupied by the houses of Brutus 
and Atticus, at the foot of which is the Villa Adriaoa. 

In the midst of this picture the Teverone descends 
rapidly towards the Tiber, and the eye may .foUow its 
source to the bridge, where the mausoleum of the family 
Plotia is erected in the form of a tower. The high road 
to Rome is also visible in the plain. It was the ancient 
Tiburtine ^vay, then bordered by sepulchres; and at pre- 
sent, haystacks of a pyramidical form remind the specta* 
tor of the tombs, which they resemble in shape^ 

It would be difficult to find, in the rest of the world, i 
place more likely to beget powerful reflections. I do not 
speak of Rome, thoOgh the domes of that city are visible, 
i)y which I at once say much for a prospect : but I speak 
only of the district and its truly interesting remains. 
There you behold the house in which Mecsenas, satiated 
witli the luxuries of the world, died of a tedious complaint. 
Varus left this hill to shed his blood in the marshes of 
Germany. Cassiusand Brutus abandoned these retreats, 
in order' to overdirow their country. Under these pines 
of Frascati, Cicero pursued his studies. Adrian caused 
another Pepeus to flow at the foot of that hill, and trans- 
ported into die region the charms and recollections of the 
valley of Tempe. Towards this source of the Soltafare 
the queen of Palmyra ended her days in obscurity, and 
her city of a moment disappeared in the desert. It was 
here that king Latinus consulted the god Faunus in the. 
forest of Albunea. It was here that Hercules had his 
temple, and the Sybil dictated her oracles. Those arc . 
die mountains of the ancient 'Sabines, and the plains of 
Latium, tlie land of Saturn and Rhea, the cradle of the 
golden age, sung by all the poets. In shoO, this is the 
smiling region of which French genius alone has beenjible 

E 



M RfiCOLLECTIOK^ OF ITAI.Y. 

to describe the graces, through the pencil cf Pousdin and 
Claude Lorain. f 

I descended from the Villa d^Est about three o^clock 
in the afternoon, and crossed the Teverone over the bridge 
of Lupus, for the purpose of re-entering Tivoli by the 
Sabine gate. In parsing through the grove of olives^ 
which I before mentioned to you, I perceived a white 
chapel, dedicated^to the Madonna Quintilanea, and built 
upon the ruins of, the villa formerly belonging to Varus. 
It was Sunday— tlie door of the chapel was open, and I 
entered. I saw three altars disposed in the form of 9 
cross ; and on the middle one was a silver crucifix, before 
which burnt a lamp suspended from the roof. A solitary 
man, of most unhappy, mien, was prostrate against 9 
bench, and praying with such fervour that he did not even 
raise his eyes at the noise of my footsteps, as I approach*^ 
ed. I felt what I have a thousand times experienced (fli 
entering a church— a sort of solsM^e to the troubles of tHe 
heart, and an indescribable disgust as to eveiy thing earth* 
ty.' I sunk upon my knees at some Stance from the 
man, and^ inspired by the place, could not retrain froiQ 
uttering this praj^: 

" God of the traveller, who su&rest the pilgrim to 
adore thee in this humble asylum, built on the ruins of a 
palace oqcc occupied by a great man of this world, — mo- 
ther of affliction, who hast mercifully established thy wor. 
ship in the inheritance of this unfortunate Roman, who 
died far from his country among barbarians— there are at 
the foot of your altar, only two prostrate sinners. Grant 
this stranger, who seems to be so profoundly humbled be- 
fore your greatness, all that he*implores of you, and let 
his prayerjobfain for me the reitioval of my infirmities^; 
so that we tw^ Christians, who are unknown to each other, 
who^have never met but for one instant during our lives, 
and who are about to part and np raiore see each other 



EpH£ AN0 ITS. £KVIIlONS. • iSB 

Ko^ bdoWy may be ^onished wHen we a^n meet at the 

fpot of your throne in mutually ovving|art of our happi^ 
ness totbe intercessioa of this day^ and to tl)e miracles of 
jrpur charity.*^ 

When-I look atall the leaves, which are scattered 
over my table, I am alarmed at having trifled to such an 
extent, and hesitate as ta sending such a letter. The 
fact is that laqi aware of having said nothing to yon, and 
of haying forgotten a thousand things, which I ought to 
have said. How happens it, for instance, that i have not 
fpoken of Tusculum, and of that wonderful man, Cicero, 
whp, according to Seneca, was tlie only genius ever pro* 
duced by tl^ Roman'^iation, equal to the vastness of its 
fmpire ? " lUudingemum quod solum populus Romanus 

par imperio suo habuiu^^ My voyage to Naples, my de* 
sc^nt into the critter of Vesuvius,^ my tours to Pompeiaj* 
Capua, Caserto, Solfatara, the Lake of Avernus, and the 
grotto of the 3ibyl would interest you/ Baiae, where so 
many memorable scenes occurred, would alone deserve a 
yolume. I could fancy that I still saw Bauli, where 

. Agrippina's house stood, and where she used this sublime 
expression to^ the assassins sent by her son : ^^Fentrem 

firi.y^ The i;sie of Nisida, which served as a retreat to 

* Tb^e it only some fati^e attendant on a desceot into the 
crater of Vesuvius, but no danger^ unless indeed a person should 
he suprised by a sudden eruption ; and even in that case, if not 
blown into the air by the explosion of the matter, experience has 
pro^d that he may stiH save himself on the lava,. which Rows ve- 
ry slowly, but congeals so rapidly ihat a person can soon pass over 
h. I descended as far as one of the three small craters, formed in 
the middle of the large one, by the last eruption. The smoke, to- 
wards the side of the Torre del Annunciata was rather thick, and 
I made several abortive efforts to reach a light which was visibly 
on the other side towards Caserte. In some parts of the moun- 
tain the cinders were burning hot, two inches under the surfaced 

t Tacitus. 



34 ^ RlCOI^LSCXIOKS OF ItALt. 

Brutus, ^cr the raorder of Csesar, the bridge of Caligu- 
la, the admirable Piscina, and all those palaces, buBt in 
the sea, of which Horace speaks, well deserve' that any 
one should stop a moment Virgil has fixed or found in 
these places the beautiful fictions of his. sixth Eneid. It 
was from hence that he wrote to Augustus these modedt 
\i^ds, the 6nly lines of prose, I believe, written by this 
great man, which have reached us : " Ego vero frequeh^- 
tesa te Utteras acctpio. DeMnea qutdetn meOj si tneher-^ 
eule jam dignum auribus hab^em tuis^ libenter mitteremj 
sed tanta inehoata res ^estj up pene vkio mentis tantunf 
opusingressus mrhi videar ; cumprasertimj tit sei^j aSa 
^tsogue studkt ad id opnstntdtoqu^p&tiera impertiar.*^^ 

My pilgririiage to the tomb of Scipio Afiicanus S 
one of those from which I derived the highest satisfac- 
:tion, though I failed Iq attaining the object, for whidi I 
iindeitook k. . i had been ^d that tiie mausoleum of 
iiiis famous Roman ^11 existed, an^that even tiie vt^rd 
'^(j^mwasdistihguisliablebhit, being all that remained 
of the inscription, which was asserted to have been carv. 
ed upon it. / ^ . 

<< Un^atefullttndf thou ^kalt not Aave my 5«7t«f /** 

I vrentto Patria, the ancient Lifcmum, but did not 
find the toniKf * I wandered," hbwever, through the ruins 

♦ This fragment occurs in the Saturnalia of Macrobius, but I 
cannot point out the book, , having no immediate m^ans of refer- 
ence. , I believe, . however, that it is the first. 

t I was not only told that this tomb was in existence ; but I 
have read the circumstances above me.nti((ned in some travels, 
though I do not recollect by whom they were written* I doubt 
these statements, however, for the following reaspns : 

1st. It appears to me that Scipio, in spite of his just coin- 
plaints against Rome, loved his country too mucb to bdye wished 



10¥£ AND IT& JSNVIEONS. , ^ 

.^thf house >vhich the greatest and most atniable-ofmeti 
inhabited during his cKlle. I saw ia im^ination the con* 
qtxxor of. Hannibal walking on tiie sea-coast opposite to 
tisat^of Carthage, and consoling Mm^If for the injuatioe 
of Rome by the charms df friendship^ and the cod$ciou9- 
iVessc^cectitude. 

.' ' . " ^ • ^* ' 

that such Vi inscription sboidd be recorded on his tox&b. It is 
eontrary to all we know of the genius of the ancients. 

2dly. The inscription spoken of, is almost literally conceived 
in the terms of imprecation which Livy puts into the mbxith of 
ftcipia when he left Rome. May not this have given rise to the 
»rn>rf; . . 

ddly* Fj^lAvch l&entbna , that in: t^e neighhouthopd of Que^ 
a bronze urn was found in a marble tomb, where the ashes of 
Scipio would most probably have been deposited, and that it bore 
an inscription very different to the one now under discussion. 

The ancient Liternum, having the name Patria^ this may 
.)saTe g;iven birth to the report that tfi6 word Patria was Ihe <mly 
rdnsif4niim^ one. of ^e inscription upon the tomb. Would it not, 
in fact,b0 a very singi;lar cobcidence that the town should be cal- 
led Patria, and that the same word should also be found in this soll- 
tairy state upon the monument of Scipio— unless indeed we sup« 
j)ose the one to have been taken from the other ? ' 

It is possible, nevertheless, that authors, with whom I am un- 
ftcquainted> may-haVe spoken of this inscription in a way which 
leaves no doubt. I grant that there is even an expres^on in 
Plutarch, apparently favourable to the opinion I am combatting. 
A, man of great merit, and who is the dearer to me because he ia 
very unfortunate, visited Patria much about the same time that I . 
did. We have often conversed together about this celebrated 
place ; but I am not quite sure whether he said that he had seen 
fte rojwd'orthe word (which would solve the difiiculty) or whether 
lie only grounded his arguments on populai^ tradition. For my 
own part I never found the tomb itself, but merely saw the ruins 
of the villa, which are- of no great consequence. 
* Plutarch mentions some one to have stated that the tomb of 
Scipio was near Rom(f; but they evidently confounded the tomb 
of the Scifiioi with that^of Scipio Africanus. Livy aiBrms that 
the latter was at Liternum, and that it was surmounted by a statue, 
which a teiapest had threwn down; adding that he himself had 



38: HSCOttECTioNs or itAlV. 

• As to the modem I^ooians, Dttclos appears to hate- 
been sarcastic wfaea he calls them the Italians tfRome. 
I am of opinion that there is still among them the mate- 
rialsy requisite towards the formaticHi of no common peo- 
ple* When the Italians are closely exaitlinedy great sense^ 
courage, patience, genius, and deep traces of their ancieiA 
Planners 2xt to be discovered in them, with a kind of su-* 
perior air, and som^ noble customs, which istill partake of 
royalty. Before you ccmdemti this Opinion, which may 
appear to you singular, you must hear my reasons for it, 
^d at present I have not time to send them* 

What a number of observations I have to make upon 
Italiiin literature ! Do .you know that I never saw Couilt 
Alfieri but once in my life, and can you guess in what 
situation? I saw him put into his coflin. I was told that 
he was scarcely sx all altered; His countenance appear- 
ed to me noble and :grave ; but death had doubtless im^ 
parted some additbnal degreeof sev^i^toit. The cof; 
fin bein^ rather too short, a person bent his head over hi^ 
breast, which caused a most disagreesJbk motion on the 
part of the body. Through the kindness of one who wa§ 
very dear to Alfieri, and the politeness of a gentleman at* 
Florence, who was also the Count's friend, I am in pos- 
session of some curious particulars as to the posthumous 
works, life and opinions of this celebrated man. Most of 
the public papers in France have given vague and muti- 
lated accounts of the subject. Till I am able to commu- ' 

seen the statue. We know tqo from Seneca,. Cicero, ftttd Plinf, 
that HA other tomb, nam«?ly the family vault of the Sdptos, «i^ . 
actually in existence at otie of the gates of Rome. It has beea 
discovered during the pontificate: of Pius VI, and the inscriptions^' 
appertaining to it, were conveyed to the museum of the Vaticaft. 
Among the names of the members, coftipoiSing the family of 
Scipio, which appear upon this motUment of their consequence 
'that of Africanus i^ wanting. x 



&«H£ AKP ITS 2NVXA0KS* 39 

liicate these particuUtrs, I send you the qpitaph which Al- 
fieri made for his noUe mistress, at the same time that he . 
composed lus own* ^ 

Hie sita est 
vfy • «»••*• £ • • • • St% . • • < 

Mfm • • • COTTl* m • • 

Oenere. forma, moribus. 

I TwomparabilL animu eandore. 

Praclarissima. 

A* Victorio^ Alfbrio. 

Juxta. guem. sarcophago. tmo.^ 

Tumtdata. est^ 

Afmorutn. i:6« spatio. 

Ultra, "res. omne^ dilecta. 

Et. quasi* mortale. numine. 

Ab. ipso, constanter. habita. 

Eu observata. 

FixiU finnos^ . . menses . . . dies . . • 

Hannanw. montibus. natcL 

Obiit ... die . . . mensis ... 

Anno. Domtni. M. D. C. C.C... .f 

* Sic inscribendum me, ui opinor et opto, praemoriente ; sed 
aliter, jubente Deo, aliter inscribendum : 

QuLjtuota* earn, tarcopkago, uno, 
Conditua. erii, guamfirimum. 

t Here lies Eloisa E. St. Countess of Al, illustrious by • her 
ancestry, the graces of her person, the elegance of her manners, 
and the incomparable candour of her mind ; buried near Victor 
Alfieri and in the same ^rare ; (a)- he preferred her during twen* 
ty:»i:9^ years to every thing in the world ; and though mortal, 4he 
was constantly honoured and revered by him as if she bad been a 
divinity. She was bom at Motis, lived .... and died on 

(a) To be thus inscribed, if I die first, as. I believe and hop^ I shall ; but 
if CTod ordain it otherwise, the inscription to be thus altered, after the meu* 
tioD of Alfieri, 

Who will soon be inclosed in the same tomb with her. 



40 R£C0LL£STZONS OF ITALY. 

The simplicity of this epitaph, and particularly of 
the note which accompanies it, appears to me very af- 
fecting. 

For the present I Have fini&hed. I send you a heap o^ 
ruvn^—Ao what you like with them. In the description 
of the different objects^ of which I have treated, I do not 
think that I have omitted any remarkable circumstance^ 
unless it bethatthe Tiber is still the ^^flavus Tiberinus,** It 
b said that it acquires its muddy appearance from the rains 
which fall in the mountains, whence it descends. I have 
often, while contemplating tliis discoloured river in the 
sercnest weatiier, represented to myself a life begun 
amidst storms. It is in vain that the remainder of its 
course is passed beneatli a serener sky ; thfe stream con- 
tinues to be tainted with the waters of the tempest, which 
disturbed it at its^ source. 



< 



; 



41 



VISIT TO MOUNT VESUVIUS.* 



ON the 5 A of January, I left Naples at seven o'clock 
in the morning, and proceeded to Portici. The sun had 
chased away the clouds of night, but the head of Vesuvi« 
tis is always wrapt in mist. I began my journey up ifae 
mountain with a Cieerone^ who provided two mules, ontf 
for me and one for himself. 

The ascent was at first on a tolerably wide road, be- 
tween two plantations of vines, which were trained upon 
poplars. I soon began to feel the cold wintry air, but 
kept advancing, and at length perceived a little below the 
vapours of the middle region, the tops of some trees. 
They were the elms of the • hermitage. The miserable 
habitations of the vine-dressers were now visible on both 
^des, amidst a rich abundan<;e q{ Lachryma Christu In 
other respects, I observed a parched soil, and naked vines 
intermixed with pine-trees in the form of an umbrella,, 
some aloes in the hedge, innumerable rolling stones, and 
^ot a single bird. 

* The following ob$ervations were not intended fo'r the public 
eye, as will easily be perceived from the particular character of 
the reflections which they cdntain. ^ They were principally written 
in pencil as I ascended to the crater of the yolcano. I have not 
chosen to correct any part of this short journal, that I might not 
in any degree interfere with the truth of the narrative ; but for the 
reasons mentioned the reader'is requested to peruse it with indul- 
gence. 

F , 



42 t£coxL£CTioira or italt. 

On reaching the first levd ground of the mountain, a 
naked plain iay stretched before mp, and I had also in view 
the two summits of Vesuvius-^on the kfi; the Srnnma^ 
on the right the present mouth of the Volcano. These 
twA heads were enveloped in pale cbuds. I proceeded. On 
one side the ^mma faUs in, and on the other, I began to 
distinguish the hollows made in the cone of the volcano, 
wluch I was about to climb. The lava of 1766 and 1 769 
covered the plain, which I was crossing. It is a frightful 
smoky desert, where the lava, cast out tike dross from a 
forge^ disj^ys its wlutish sdum upon a black ground, 
exactly resembling dried moss. 

Leslving the cone of the volcano to the right and fiol* 
lowing the road on the left, I reached the foot of a hill, or 
rather a w'aU, formed of the lava, which overwhelmed 
Hefculaneum. This species erf* wall is {danted widi viiys 
on the borders of the plain, and on the opposite side is a 
deep valley, filled by a copse. The air now began to 
** bite shrewcBy.'^ 

I climbed this hiU in order to visit the hermitage 
which I perceived fipom the other side. The hearens low* 
ered ; the clouds descended and flew along the surface of^ 
the earth like grey smoke, or a^es driven before the wind. 
I begsoito he^ a murmuring sound sonong the elms of 
the hermitage. ^ 

The hermit came fisrth to receive me, and hekl the bri« 
die of my mule while I alighted. He was a tal) man with 
an open countenance and good address. He invited mft 
into his cell and placed upon the table a repast of bread, 
apples and eggs. He sat down opposite to me, rested 
both his elbows on the taUe, and calmly began to converse 
while I eat my breakfast. Tlie clouds were collected all 
round us, and no object could be distinguished through 
the windows of the hermitage. Nothing was heard vi 
this dreary abyss of vapour, but the whistling of the wind^ 



vtstt to ifoiTKT vEswras. 46 

and the distatit noise of "die fvaves, as they brdke.upcm 
the shares df Heroulaneum. There ivas somethinj; sin- 

* pdBT in the situation of this tranquil abode of Christian 
hospitality-**-a stnall ceil at the foot of a velcano and in 
the midst of a tempest. 

The Iwrmit presented to me the book in which stran* 
gers, who visit Vesuvius, are accustomed to make some 

* memorandum. In this volume I did not £nd one remark 
worthy of recollection. The Fraich indeed, with the 
good taste natural to our nation, had contented them- 
selves with mentioning the date of their journey, or pay- 
ing a compliment to the hermit for hb hospitality. It 
would seem that this volcano had no very remarkable ef- 
fect upon the visitors, which confirms me in the idea I 
some time since formed, nicely, that . grand objects and 
grand subjects are less capable of giving inrth to great 
ideas than is goierally supposed ; for their grandeur be- 
ing evideitf, all that is added, beypnd this fact, becomes 
mere repetition. Tlie '^ nascctur rk£culus mw** is true 
of all mountains. 

I left the hermitage at half past two o'clock, and con. 
tinned to ascend the hill of lava, on winch I had before 
'X>roceeded. On my left was the valley, which separated 
me from ^ Semma ; on my^right the jdain of the cone. 
Not a living creature did X see in tins horrible region but 
a poor, lean, sallow, half-naked girl, who was bending un- 
der a load of faggots, which she had cut on die mountain. 

The clouds now entirely shut out tlie view ; for the 
wind blew them upwards fi-om the black plain, of which, if 
clear, I should have commanded the prospect, and caused 
them to pass over the lava road, upon which I was pursu- 
irtg my way. I heard nothing but the sound of my 
mule's footsteps. 

' At length I quitted the hill, bending to the right, and 
re-descending into the plain of lava, which adjoins the 



44 ^ HECOLIECTIOKS OF iTALY. > 

cone of the volcano, and which Tcrossed lower dowii on 
my road to the hermitage ; but eren when in die midst 
of these calcined fragments, the mind can hardly form to 
itself an idea of the appearance wMch the district most asr 
sume, when covered with fire ^nd molten metals by an 
eruption of Vesuvius. Dante had, perhaps, seen it when 
lie describes in his Hell those showers of ever-buming 
fire, which descend slowly and in silence ^^ come di ne* 
ve in Alpe smza ventoy 

<< Arivammo ad una landa 
.Che dal suo letto ogni pianta rimove 



Lo spazzo er* un* arena arida e spessa 
Sovra tutto '1 sabbion d'un cader lento 
Pioven di fuoco dilatata, e falde. 
Come di neve in Alpe senza vento. , 



Snow was here visible in several glaces, and I sudden* 
ly discovered at intervals Portici, Capri, Ischial 'Pausili* 
pi, the sea studded withthe white sails of fishing boats, 
and the coast of the gulph of Naples, bordered with 
orange trees. It was a y levy of paradise from the infernal 
regions. 

On reaching the foot of the cone, we alighted from 
our mules. My guide gave me a long staff, and we be- 
gan to climb the huge mass of cinders. The clouds. clos* 
ed in, the fog became more dense, and increasing dark- 
"ness surrounded us. 

Behold me now at the top of Vesuvius, where I seat^ 
ed myself at the mouth of the volcano, wrote down what 
bad hitherto occurred, and prepared myself for a descent 
. into the crater* The sun appeared, from time to time,. 
through the mass of vapours, which enveloped the whole 
mountain, and concealed from me one of the most beaU- 
iiful landscapes in the world, while it doubled the horrors 



^ VISIT T6 MOUNT VESUVIUS. 45 

of the pkce I was in/ Vesuvius, thus separated by 
clouds from the enchanting country at its base, has the ap- 
pearance of bebg placed in the completest desert, and the 
sorted terror, vi^hich it inspires, is in no degree diminish^ 
ed by the spectacle c^a flourisRing city at its foot. 

I proposed to my guide that we should descend into 
the crater. He made several objections, but this was ovu 
ly to obtain a little more money; and we agreed upon a 
sum, which he received on the spot. He then took off hb 
clothes, and we walked some time on the edge of the 
ab3rss, in order to find a part which was less perpendicu- 
lar, and more commodious for our descent. The guide 
discovered one, and gave the signal for me to accompany 
him. — We plunged down. 

Fancy us at the bottom of the gulph.* I despair of 
describing the chaos, which surrounded me. Let tlie read- ^ 
er figure to himself a basin, a thousand feet in circumfer- 
ence, and three hundred high, which forms itself into the 
shape of a funnel. Its borders or interior walls are fur- 
rowed by the liquid fire, which this basin has contained, 
and vomited forth. The projecting parts of these ti^alls 
resemble those brick pillars, with which the Romans sup- 
ported their enormous masonry. Large rocks are hang- - 
-ing down in difierent parts, and their fragments mixed 
with cinders into a sort of paste, cover the bottom of the 
abyss. 

This bottom of the basin is ploughed and indented in 
various manners. Near the middle are tliree vents, or 
small mouths} recently opened, which discharged flames 
during the occupation of Naples by the French in 1798. 

Smoke proceeds from different points of the crater^ 
jespecially on the side towards la Torre del Greco r On 

* Th^re is fatigue, but very little danger attendant on a de- 
scent into the crater of Vesuvius, unless the investigator should be 
^urprise^ by a sudden eruption. 



46 BBt0Z.I.ECTIO13r6 07 ITAlY* 

the q>p(mte side, towards Caseste, I perceived flame. 
"When you plunge your hand into the cinders, you find 
diem of a burning heat, several inches under the surface. 
The general odour of the gulph b black as coal; but 
Providence, as I have often observed, can impart grace 
at his ptea^re even to objects the most honible. The 
lava, in some places, is tinged with azure, ultra-marine, 
yellow, and orange. Rocks of granite are warped and 
twisted by the action of fire, and bent to their very extre- 
mities, so that they exhibit die semblance of the leaves of 
palms and acanthus. The volcanic matter having cooled 
on the rocks over which it flowed,^ many figures are thus 
fcxmed, such as roses, girandqles, and ribbons. , The 
rocks likewise assume the forms of plants and animals, 
and imitate the various figures, which are to be seen in 
agates. I particularly observed on a blui^ rock, a 
white swan modelled in so perfect a manner that I could 
have almost sworn I beheld this beautiful bird sleeping on 
a placid lake, with its head bent under its wing, and its 
long neck stretched over its back like a roll of silk. 

<< ^d vada Meandri concinit albut olor** 

I found here that perfect silence which I have, on other 
occasions, experienced at noon in the forests of America, 
when I have lield my breath and heard nothing except 
the beating of my heart and temporal artery. It was only 
atintervals that gusts of wind, descending from the cone 
to the bottom of the crater, rusded through my clothes or 
whistled round my staff. I also heard some stones, which 
my guide kicked on one side, as he climbed through the 
cinders. A confused echo, similar to the jarring of metal 
or glass, prolonged the noise of the fall, and afterwards all 
was silent as death. Compare this gloomy sileilce \v\xh 
the dreiadful thundering din, which sliakes these very 



I 



'Visit TO MOtTNT VESUVIUS. 47 

{4aoes, when the volcano vomits fire from its entrails, and 
covers the earth with darkness. ' 

A philosoi^iical refiectioo may here be made, whicJi 
cjccites our pity for the sad state of human afiairs. What 
is it^ in £ict, but the famous revolutions of Empires, 
combined with the convulsions of nature, that changes 
the face of the earth and the ocean ? A happy circum- 
stance would it at least be, if npten would not employ 
themselves in rendering each other miserable, during the 
short time tliat they are allowed to dwell together, Ve- 
suvius has not once opened its abyss to swallow up cities, 
Mrithout its fury surprising mankind m t^ midst of blood 
and tears. What are the first s^s of civilisation a^ 
improved hutfianity, which have been found, during 
our days, under the hva of the volcano? Instruments 
of punishment and skeletons in chains !* 

Times alter, and human destinies are liable to the 
same inconstancy. " Life,'* says a Greek song, is like 
the wheels of ar chariot." 

Trochos armatoa gar oia 
JBiotos trdchci kulitheis. 

Pliny lost hi§ life from a v. ish to contemplate, at a dis- 
tance, the volcano, in the centre of which I was now tran- 
quilly seated. I saw the abyss smoking round me. I 
reflected tliat a few fathoms below me was a gulph of 
fire. — ^I reflected that the volcano might at once disgorge 
its entrails, and launch me into the air with all the rocky 
fragments by which I was surrounded. 

What Providence conducted me hither? By what 

chance did tlie tempests of the American ocean cast nie 

on the plains of Lavinia ? " Lavinaque venit littora.^'^ 

I cannot refram from returning to the agitations of this 

* 

* At Pompeia. - . 



46 RECOLLECTIONS OF ITALV. 

lite, in which St Augustine says that thmgs are full o[ 
misery, and hope devoid of liappiness. Mem plenatn 
miseria, spent beatitudinis inanem. Bom on the rocks 
of America, the first sound, ivhich struck my ear on en- 
tering the world, was th^t of the sea, and on how many 
shores have I seen the same waves bres^, tbat find me 
here again ! Who would have told me, a few years ago, 
that I should hear these wanderers moaning at the tombs 
of Scipioand Virgil, aJter they had rolled at my feet on 
&e costs of England, or the strand of Canada ? My 
name is in tlie hut of the savage of Florida, and in die 
hermit's book at Vesuvius. When shall I lay down, at 
the gate of my' fathers, the pilgrim's staff and mantle ? 

« patria ! Diviim dornua Ilium ! 

How do I envy the lot of those, who never quitted 
their native land, and have no adventures to record ! 



49 



A VISIT TO MONT BLANC. 



I HAVE seen many mountains in Europe and A* 
merica, and it has always appeared to me that in describ- 
ing these monuments of nature, writers have gone be- 
yond the truth. My last experience in diis respect hais 
not produced any change in my opinion. I have visited 
the valley of Chamouni^ rendered famoOs by the labours 
of M. de Saussure ; but I do not know whetlier the poet 
would there find the " speciosa deserti^^ which the mine- 
ralogist discovered. Be that as it may, I will simply de- 
scribe the reflections, which I made during my journey. 
My opinion, however, is of so little consequence that it 
cannot offend any one. 

I left Geneva in dull cloudy weather, and reached 
Servoz at the moment that the sky was becoming clear. 
The crest of Mont Blanc, as it is tCTmed, is not dis- 
coverable from this part of the country, but there is a dis- 
tinct view of the snow-clad ridge called the dome. The 
Montees are here passed, and the traveller enters the valley 
of Chamouni. He proceeds under the glacier of the 
Bossons, the pj^amids of which are seen through Ae firs 
and larches. M* Bourrit has compared this glacier, firom 
its whiteness, and the great extent of its chrystals, to a 
fleet under sail^ I would add in the midst of a gulph 
encircled with verdant forests. 

G 



so REC0X.LECTXOV8 QT ITALY* 

I Stopped at the village of Chwiouni, and on tlie fel^ 
lowing day went to Montanvert, which I ascended in the 
&iest weather. On reaching its summit^ which is tndy 
a stage towards the topef Mont Blanc, I discovered what 
is imprc^)6rly teraied the Sea of Ice. 

Let the Reader figure to himself a vaUey, .the whok 
of wluch is occui»ed by a river. The mountains^ near 
dtts vaUey, overhang the river i^ rocky masses, forming 
&e natural spices of Dm, Bochard, and Charmoz* Fur- 
ther on, the valley and river divide themselves into two 
branches, of which the one waters the foot of a lugh moun- 
tain, called the Col du Geant or Giant's hill, and the 
other flows past the rocks called lorasses. On the oppo- 
site side is a dedivity, which commands a prospect of 
the valley of Chamouni. This declivity, which b nearly 
vertical, is almost entirely occupied by the portion of the 
sea or lake of ice, which is called the glacier des bois^ 
Suppose.then that a severe winter has occurred. The 
river, which fills the vaUey, through all its infle^cions and 
declivities, has becsi frozen to the very bottom of its bed. 
The summits of the neighbouring mountains are loaded 
mth ice and snow wherever the granite has been of a ^ 
fbrm sufficiently horizontal to retain the congealed waters. 
Such is the lake of ice, and such its situation. It is mani- 
fest that it is not a sea, and not a lake, but a river; just 
as U'one saw the Rhine completely frozen. 

When we have descended to the lake of ice, the sur- 
face, which appeared to be smooth and entire while sur- 
veyed from the heights of Montanvert, displays a num- 
ber of points and cavities. The peaks of ice resemble 
^ craggy forms of the lofty cliifFs, which on all sides 
overhang them. They are like a relief in white marble 
to tlie neighbouring mountains. 

Let us now speak of mountains in general. There 



VISIT TO VOVT BLANC. it 

. su^ tW0 mod« of aoeing them, i?ttb and ivithout douds. 
These fi)rm the prineipal diameter of the Aips. 

When clouded, the scene is more ammaDod, bat it b 
obscure, and often so cof^scd ^t one can haidljr dis* 
ti&guis^ its featuies. The clouds dodie the rocks in a 
thousand ways. I have seen a bald crag at Servoz, a* 
cross which a cloud obliquely passed like ^ ancient 
ioga; and I could have fancied I beheld a colossal statue 
of a Hcunan. In another quarter the cuhivated parts of 
^ mountain appeared ; but a barrier of vapour obstruct* 
ed the view from my station, and bdow it black continu* 
aticxis of the rocks peeped through, imitating the Chime* 
ra,* the Sphinx, the heads of the Anubis, and various 
fornis of monsters and gods, worshipped by the Egyp* 
tians* 

When the clouds arc dispersed by the wind, the 
moun^in^^ appear to be rapidly flying behind this light 
curtain, ahernately hiding and discovering themselves^ 
At one time, a spot of verdure suddenly displayed itself 
.through the opening of a cloud, Kke an island suspended 
in the Heavena ; at another a# rock slowly disrobed itself, 
and gradually pierced through the dense vapour like a 
(dian^m. On such an occasion, 4(he melancholy travd^ 
ler h^ara only the rustUng of the wind among the pines, 
and the roaring of the torrents which fell into the ghicierB, 
mbgled at intervals with the loud fall of an avalanckfy^ 
and somctJisiea the whisde of the affirigfated marmot, 
which has seen the t&wk of the Alps sailing in the tm. 

When the ^y is itithout clouds, and die ampMtheafere 
of the mountains entirely displayed to view, one circum- 
stance is particularly deserving of notice. The summits 
of the mountains, as they tower into the lofty r^ions, pre- 
sexA to the eye a purity of delineation, a neatness of plan 

* The sudden descent of an enormous mass of snow from the 
9iountain into the valley. 



S2 SECOLLBCTIOVS OF ITALY. 

and profile^ which objeota in the phin do not possess^ 
These angular heights, under die transparent dprne of 
Heaven, resemble beautiful specimens of natural histoiy, 
such as fine trees of coral, or stalactites inclosed in a 
globe of the purest chrystal. The mountaineer aeandies 
in these elegantappearances for objects, which are femiliar 
to him ; hence the names of the Mules, the Charmoz, or 
the Chamois, and the appellations borrowed firom cdi- 
gion, t^e heights of the cross, the rock of the altar, the 
glacier of the pilgrims — simple and ardess denomina- 
tiic^s, which prove that if man be incessandy occupied in 
providing for his wants, he every where ddights to dwell 
upon subjects which o&r consolation. 

As to mountain trees, I shall only mention the pine, 
the larch, and the fir, because they constitute, as it were, 
the only decoration of the Alps. 

The pine by its shape calls to mind the beauties of 
architecture, its branches having the elegance of the pyra- 
mid, and its trunk that of the column. It resembles 
also the form of the rocks, among which it flourishes. I 
have often, upon the ridges and advanced cornices of the 
mountains, confounded it with the pointed peaks or bceU- 
ing cliffs. Beyond the hill of Balme, at the descent of 
the glacier de Trien, occurs a wood of pines, firs, and 
larches, which surpass all their congeners in point of 
beauty. Every tree in this family of giants has existed 
several ages, and the Alpin^e tribe has a kbg, which the 
guides take care to point out to travellers. It is a fir, 
which might serve as a mast for thelaigest man of war. 
The monarch alone is without a wound — while ail his , 
subjects round him are mutilated. One has lost his 
head ; another, partof his arms : a third, has been rent . 
by lightning, and a fourth blackened by the herdsman's 
fire. I particularly pbticed twins which had sprung 
fi-bm the same trunk, and towered aloft together. They 



VIWT TO MONT BLAi^C. S3 

weresdike in height, form, and age; but the one was. 
fbU of vigour, axkd the oflicr in a state of decay. They 
called to my mind ttese impressive lines of Virgil : 

<< Dottctn, Laride Thymberquej similHma proles^ 
^ In^creta auia-ygratuague fiareniibua errory 
« M nunc dura dedit vobia dUcHmina Pallat*' 

" Oh Laris and Thimber, twin sons of Daucus, and 
^o much resembling each other, that even your parents 
could not discern the difference, and felt delight in the 
mistakes which you caused ! But death has caused a 
mournful difference between you,*' 

I may add that the pine announces the solitude and 
indigence of the mountain, on which it is found. It is 
the companion of the poor Savoyard, of whose lot it par^ 
takes. Like him it grows and dies upon inaccessible 
eminences, where its posterity perpetuates it, to perish 
equally unknown. It is on the larch that the mountain 
bee gathers that firm and savoury honey, which mixes 
so agreeably with the raspberries and cream of Montau- 
bert* The gentle murmuring of the wind among the 
pines has been extolled by pastoral poets, but when the 
gale isr violent, the noise resembles that of the sea, and 
you sometimes actually think that you hear the roaring 
billows of the ocean in the middle of the Alps. The 
odour of the pine is aromatic and agreeable. To me it 
has a peculiar charm ; for I have smelt it at sea, when 
more than twenty leagues from the coast of Virginia. It 
likewise always awakens in my mind the idea of that new 
world, which was announced to me by a balmy air — of 
that fine region and those brilliant lakes, where the per- 
fume of the forest was borne to me Upon the matin 
breeze ; and as if every thing was connected in our re- 
membrance, it also calls to mind the sentiments of regret 
and hope which alternately occupied my thoughts, when, 



54 S£COLL£CTIONS OW ItAtt. 

kaning over the side of the vessel, I diou^t of that 
country which I had lost, andtiiaiedewrts(^ which I was 
about to explore. 

But to arrive finally at my peculiar opinion as to 
mountains, I will observe that as there can be no beauti- 
ful landscape without a mountamous hc»izon, so there is 
no place calculated for an £^;reeable residence, and no 
landscape which is satisfactory to the eye and'heart where 
a deficiency of space and air exists. Still the idea of 
great sublimity is attached to mountainous views^ and 
with great justice as far as regards the grandeur of ob* 
jects ; but if it be proved that this grandeur, though real 
in its effects, is not properly perceived by the senses, 
what becomes of the sublimity ? 

It is with the monuments of nature as with those of 
art* To enjoy their beauty, a person must be stationed 
at the true point of perspective. Without this the forms, 
the colouring, and the proportions entirely disappear. In 
the interior of mountains, when the object itself is almost 
touched, and the field, in which the optics move, is quite 
confined, the dimensions necessarily lose their grandeur 
— a circumstance so true that one is continually deceiv- 
ed as to the heights and distances, r appeal to travellers 
whether Mont Blanc appeared to them very lofty fi-om 
the valley of Charaounie. An immense lake in the Alps 
has often the appearance of a small pond. You fancy a few 
steps will bring you to the top of an acclivity, which you 
are three hours in climbing. A whole day hardly suffices 
to effect your escape firom a defile, the extremity of 
which you seemed at first almost to touch with your bmd^ 
This grandeur of mountains, therefore, so often dwek 
upon, has no reality, except in tiiie fatigue which it causes. 
As to the landscape, it is not much grander to the c^c 
than an ordinary one. 



.TiaXT TO KOKT BLAfTC 55 

t 

But tbese mountaite, which lose didr apparent 
grandeiir when they are too nearly approached by the 
spectator, are nevertheless^ so gigantic that they destroy 
what wonld otherwise constitute Adr ornament. Thus 
Vy contrary laws, every thing is dimimshed, both as a 
whole andin its separate parts. , If nature had made the 
tms a hundred times larger on the mountains than in the 
plains, if the rivers and cascades poured forth waters a 
hundred times more abundant, these grand woods and 
grand waters might produce most majestic effects upon 
the extended face of the earth ; but such is by no means 
the case. The frame of the picture is enlarged beyond 
all bounds, while the rivers,, the forests, the villages and 
die flocks preserve their accustomed proportions. Hence 
there is no afl^ity between the whole and the part, be- 
tween thedieatre and its decorations. The plan of the 
mountain$ being vertical^ a scale is thereby supplied, 
with which die eye examines and compares the objects 
it embraces, in spite of a wish to do odierwise, and these 
objects one by one proclaim their own pettiness when thus 
brought to the test. For example, the loftiest pines can 
hardly be distinguished from the vallies, or look only 
Uke flakes of soot dashed on the spot. The tracks of 
pluvial waters, in these black and gloomy woods, have 
the appearance of yellow parallel stripes, while Ae largest 
tc^ents and steepest cataracts resemble small streams, or 
bluish vapours. 

Those, who have discovered diamonds, topazes and 
emeralds in the glaciers, are more fortunate than I was; 
for my imagination was never able to perceive these trea- 
sures. The snow at ^e foot of the Glacier des Boisy 
mixed with the dust of the granite, seemed to me like 
ashe^ The Lake of Ice might be taken, in several quar- 
ters, for a lime or plaister pit. Its crevices were the only 
parts which afforded any prismatic colours, and when the 



5<3i RBCOLLECTIOKS OF ITAX.T. 

masses of ice rest on therocic, tfaey look like so much 
common glass. 

This white drapery of the Alps has a great inconvc* 
niencetoo, not yet mentioned. It makes every thing 
around it look black, nay it even darkens the aztire sky ; 
nor must it be supposed that the spectator is remunerated 
for this disagreeable effect by the fine contrast with theco- 
lour of the snow itself. The tint, which the neighbour* 
ing mountains cojifer upon it, is lost to a person staticmed 
at their feet. The splendour, with which the setting sui> 
gilds the summits of the Alps in Savoy, is only seen by 
the inhabitants of Lausanne. As to the traveller, who 
passes through the valley of Chamouni, it is in vain that 
he expects to witness this brilliant spectacle. He sees 
over bis head, as if through a funnel, a small portion of 
dcy which is a dmgy blue in point of colour, and unmix- 
ed with any golden or purple marks of the setting lumi- 
nary. Wretched district, upon which the sun hardly 
casts a look even at noon through its frozen barrier ! 

May I be! allowed to utter a trivial truth for the pur- 
pose of making myself better understood? Inapjunting — 
a back ground is necessary, and for this purpose a cur- 
tain is often resorted to. In nature tlie sky is the cur- 
tain of the landscape; if that be wanting in the back 
ground, every thing b confused and without effect. Now 
the mountains, when a person is too near them, obstruct 
a view of the greater part of the sky. There is not air 
enough round them ; they cast a shade upon each other, 
and interchange the darkness which perpetually prevails 
among the cavities of the rocks. To know whether 
mountain landscapes have so decisive a superiority, it is . 
only requisite to consult painters. You will see that they 
have always thrown eminences into the distance, tliereby 
ojjening to the eye a view of woods and plains. 



VISIT TO MONT BLANG. 57 

' There is only one period at which mountains appear 
with all their natural sublimity ; namely, by moon-light« 
Itisdieproperty of this twilight planet to impart only a 
dngletint without any reflection, and to increase objects 
by isolating the masses, as well as by causing that grada^^ 
tion of colours to disappear, wliich connect the difierent 
parts of a picture. Hence the more bold and decided the 
features of a rock or mountain, and the more hardness 
there is in the design, so much the more will the moon 
bring out the Hnes of shade. It is for this reason that Ro« 
man architecture, like the contour of mountains, is so 
beautiful by moon-light. 

The grandj therefore, and consequently that qpecies 
of sublimity, to which it gives birth, disappears in the in* 
terior of a mountainous country. Let us now see idae^* 
ther the ^ra^^/^ is to be found there in a more iemineo^ 
degree. * . 

The valleys of Svvitzerland create ^ first a sort of 
ecstacy ; but it must be observed that they are only found 
so agreeable by comparison. Undoubtedly the eye, when 
fatigued by wandering over sterile plains, or promonto- 
ries covered with reddish lichen, experiences great delight 
in again beholding a little verdure and vegetation. But 
in wliat does this verdure consist ? In some pitiful wil- 
lows, in some patches of oats and barley, which grow 
with difficulty, and are long in ripening, with some wild 
trees, which bear late and bitter fruit. If a vine contrives 
to vegetate in sonie spot with a Southon aspect, and care- 
fully protected from the Northern blast, this extra<x^dina- 
ry fecundity is pointed out to you as an object of admira- 
tion. If you ascend the neighbouring heights, the great 
features of tlie mountains cause the miniature of the val- 
ley to disappear. The cottages become hardly visible, 
and the cultivated parts look like so many patterns on la 

draper's card. 

H 



58 R£COLL£CTIONS QV JXAtW 

Much has been said of mountain flowers—the violet, 
^ which is gathered on tl>e borders of die glaciers, the straw- 
berry which reddens in the snow, &.c. but these are imper- 
ceptible wonders, which , produce, no effect. The orna* 
ment is too small for die colossus, to which it belongs. 

It appears that I am altogether unfortunate, for 1 have 
not been able to discover in these cottages, which have 
been rendered famous by the enchanting imaginatbn of L 
J. Rousseau, any thing but miserable huts filled with die 
ordure of cattle, and the smell of cheese and ' fermented 
milk. I found the inhabitants of them to be forlorn 
mountaineers, who considered themselves exiles, and 
longed for the luxury of. descending into the valleys. 

Small birds, flying from one frozen cliff to another, 
with liere and there a couple of ravens or a hawk, scarcely 
^ve. animation to the rocky snow-clad scenery, where a fall 
of rain is almost always the only object in motion, which 
salutes your sight. Happy is the man in this region, who 
hetf*&the ^orm announced firom some old flr by the wood^ 
pecke^. Yet this melancholy indication of life makes my 
mind feel still more sensibly the general death around me. 
The chamois, the bouquetins,. and the white rabbits are 
almost entirely, destroyed. Even marmots are becom- 
ing scarce; and the little Savoyard iis threatened with the 
lossi of his treasure. . The wild animals arc succeeded on 
die summits of the Alps by herds of catde, which regret 
that they are not allowed to enjoy the plain as well as their 
masters. Tliey have, however, when lying in the coarse 
herbage of the Caux district, the merit of enlivening the 
sceoe^and the more so because they recal to mind die de- 
scriptions, of the ancient poets. 

. Nothingremains but to spesdc of the sensations expe- 
rieoqed among mountains, and these are to me very paia- 
ful. I cannot be happy where I witness on all sides the 
most assiduous labour, and the most unheard«of toS, 



VISIT TO HOWT BLAKC. 5^ 

while an lingt-atefiil soil refuses all recompense'. T\ii 
mountaineer, who feels his misfortune, is more sincere 
than travellers. He calls the plains th^good country^ and 
does not pretend that the rocks, moistened by the sweat 
of his brow, but not thereby rendered more fertile, ate the 
most beautiful and best of God's dispensations. If lie ap- 
pears highly attached to his mountaii^, this must be jreck- 
oned among the marvellous connection, which the; AU 
ih^hty has established, between our troubles, the object 
which causes them, and the places, in which we experi- 
enced theml It is also attributable to the recollections of 
infancy, to the first sentiments of the heart, to the plea- 
sures and even tf» rigours of the paternal habitation. 
More solitary than the rest of mankind, more serious from 
a habit of enduring hardships, the mountaineer finds sup- 
port in his own sientiments. The extreme love of his 
country does not arise from any charm in the district 
which he inhabits, but fi-om the concentration of his ideas, 
and the limited extent of his wants. 

Mountains, however,, are said . to be the abode of con- 
templation. — I doubt tliis. I doubt whether any one can 
indulge in contemplation, when his walk is fatiguing, and 
when the attention he is obliged to bestow . on his steps, 
entirely occupies his mind. The lover of solitude, who 
gazed with open mouth at chimeras,* while he was climb- 
ing Montanvert, might well fall into some pits, like the 
astrologer, who pretended to read oyer head when he could 
not see his feet. 

I am well aware that poets have fixed upon valleys 
and woods as the proper places to converse with the 
Muses* For instance let us hear what Virgil says. 

^ Rura mihiet rigui filaceant in vallibun amnea^ 
^^.Flumina amcm^sylvaaque ingloriua** 

\ ' • »LdlFoiitalnt« 

I 

4- 



60 ur<;otLscTioirs -oip irALV. 

from this quotation it is evident Aat he IHced^tbe jUam^ 
**rura mihi;^^ he looked for agreeable, smitii^, oma* 
tnented valleys, ** vidBbus amnes ;^^ faewasfondof rivers, 
Jhifnina amemy^^ (not tcNrents) and forests, in wliidihe 
could pass his life without the parade of gbfty, ^^ syhms* 
que mghrius.^^ These syha are beautiful groves pf 
oaks, elms, and beeches, not melancholy woods of fir; 
for he does not say in thb passage, *^ eiingenH ramamm 
protegai utnbra^\ that he wishes to be envdoped in diidc 
shade. 

And where does he wish that ^is valley shiAbe dtq- 
ated? In a place, which w91 inspnre happy xecdIeetioBS 
and harmonious names, with traditkxis of the muses and 
'<rf history^ 

tt Stmthiu9(fm€% tt vifginikuB bacchata Lacmnia 
<< Tayg€(a I guime gelidh iHldlibu9 Hand 

^^ Oh, where are the fields, and the river Sperchias, and 
Mount Taygetas, frequented by the virgins of * Laconia ? 
Oh, who will convey me to the cool valleys of Mount 
Hoemus?'* He would have cared very little for the vaHey 
of Chamouni, the glacier of Taconay, the greater or lesser 
lorasse, the peak of Dru, and the rock of Tete-Noir. 

Nevertheless, if we are to believe Rousseau, and those 
who have adopted his errors without inheriting his elo« 
quence, when a person arrives at the summit of a moun- 
tain, he is transformed into a new man. *^On high 
mountains,'' says Jean Jacques, '^ Meditation assumes a 
grand and sublime character^ in unison with the objects 
that strike us. The mind feels an indescribable placid de« 
light, which has nothing earthly or sensual in it. It dp- 
pears to raise itself above tlie abode of mankind, leaving 
there all low and terresuial&elix^ . I douAt whedier any 



.agtekn rfthe soul eai) be 90 vi^^ 
of a knlfaened stay in sudi a situ^km." 

Would to Heaven that it wene really thus! I^w 
x^haniiing die idea of being aUe to ^lake off owcarea by 
ebiratingounidves a few feet above the plains! But un- 
fisrtnoately tbe soul (rf* man is independent of w and aku* 
a&oa. AJas.! a heart, oppressed withpam, would be no 
fesB^bcavy^ on tbe heights than in tbe vidley. AntiquUyt 
^yMch dxMild always j^e lefexred to when accuracgr of fed* 
ing b the subject of discussion, was not of Rousseau's 
OfHidon as to mountuns ; but, on the coDttary, rqxresents 
llxaftas ifae abode (i'desolaftion and sorrow. If the ipy^ 

ui£ Julia fergot his diagrin among the rocki^ ofValais^the 
husband of Eurydice fed the source of has grief upon the 
mountains of Tlu^ce. In spite of the talents possessed 
by the philosopher of Geneva, I doubt whether the yckc 
of SabtPreux^dUbeheardby so many iutm^agesas 
tbe lyre of Orpheus. CEdipus, that perfect model of 
Royal calamity, that grand epitome of all earthly evils, 
likewise sought deserted eminences. He mounted to- 

.wards Ifeaven to interrogate the Gods respecting humao 
misery. We have other examples supplied by antiqui- 
ty, and of a more beautiful as well as more sacred des^ 
criptipn. The holy writings of the inspired, who bett^ 
knew the nature of man than tbe 'profane sages, always 
describe those who are particularly unhappy, the proph^ 
and our Saviour himself, as retiring, in die day of afflic* 
tion, to the high places. The daughter of Jeptha, before 
ber dcatb» asked her father's permission to go and bewail 
bervirg^tyon the mountains of Judea. Jeremiah said 
ihat he would go to the mountains for the purpose of 
weeping and groaning. It was on the Mount of Olives 
that Cbrist drank the cup, which was $lled with all the 
afflictions and tears of mankind^ 



62 KBCOLLECTIOirS OF XTAtr. 

Itis1^or%ofobsertationtlUitin the iM6t mdabA 

pages of that writer, who stepped forward as the defender 
of filed morality, it is still not difficult to find traces of 
the spirited the age in which he lived. This supposed 
chaf^ of dur internal dispositions, accor^ng to the na-* 
lure of die place which we inhabited, Ijelonged secretly 
to the system of materialism ; which Rousseau affected to 
combat* The soul w^rs considered t6 be a sort of plants 
subject to the variadons of the atmosphere, and agitated 
or serene in conformity with this. But couW Jean Jac- 
ques himself really beHeve in this salutary influence of the 
h^her regions? Did not this unfortunate man hiofiself 
carry with him his passions and his misery to the moun* 
tains of Switzerland ? 

Ther^is only one situation, m which it is true that 
tnountams inspire an oblivbn o{ earthly troubles. This 
b when a man retires far from the world to employ his 
days in religious exercises. An anchorite, who devotes 
himself to the relief of human nature, or a holy hermk^ 
who sitently meditates on the omnipotence of God, may 
find peace and joy upon barren rocks ; but it is not the 
tranquillity of the place which passes into the soul of the 
recluse ; it is on the contrary, his soul, which diffuses se- 
ifenity through the region of storms. 

It has ever been an in^InctiVe feeling of mankind to 
adore the Eternal on high places. The nearer we are to 
Heaven, the less distance there seems to be for our pray- 
ers to pass before they reach the throne of God. The 
patriarchs sacrificed on the mountains ; and as if they 
had borrowed from their altars their idea of the J>ivinity^ 
they called him the Most High. Traditions of ihii 
nncient mode of worship remained among Christian na- 
tions ; whence our mountains, and in defatilt of them our 
hills were covered with monasteries and abbeys. From 
the centre of a corrupt city, man, who was perhaps pro- 



VISIT TO MONT fi|.ANC. 63 

ceeding to die commission of some crime, or who was 
at least in pursuit of some vwity, perceived, oil raising 
his eyes, the altars upon the neighbouring heights. The 
cross, displaying at a distance the standard of poverty to 
the ejesof luxur}, recalled to the rich ideas of affliction 
and commiseration. Our poets little understood their 
art, when they ridiculed these emblems of Mount Calvary, 
with the institutions and retreats, which bring to our 
recollection those of ihe East, the manners of the hermits 
oi the Thebaid, the miracles of our divine religion, an4 
the events of times, tlie antiquity of whicli is not effaced 
by that of Homer. 

But this belongs to another class of ideas and senti* 
ments, and bears no refb-ence to the general question, 
which we are examining. After having censured moun« 
tains, it is only just to conclude by saying something in 
their favour. I have already observed that they are 
essential to a fine landscape, and that they ought to form 
the chain in the back ground of a picture. Their hoary 
heads, their lank sides, and gigantic members, though 
hideous when contemplated, are admirable when rounded 
hy the vapour of the horizon, and coloured in a melting 
gilded light. Let us add too, if it be wished, that moun- 
tains are the source of rivers, die last asylum of liberty 
in times of despodsm, as well as an useful barrier against 
invasion, and the evils of war. All I ask is that I may 
not be compelled to admire tlie long list of rocks, quag- 
mires, crevices, holes, and contortions of the Alpine 
vallies. On this condition I will say there are mouutains, 
which I sliould visit again with much pleasure — for in- 
stance those of Greece and Judca,* 

* This letter was written prior to M. de Chateaubriand 'a 
recent Travels in the Holy Land. 



BECOLLECnONS 



07 



ENGLAND. 



IF MAN were not attached, by a sublime instmct to 
his nactive ooundy, his most natural condition in the world 
would be that of a traveller. A certain degree of restless* 
ness is for ever urgihg him beyond his own limits. He 
wi^es to see every thing, and is full of lamentations sfter 
he has seen every thing. I have traversed several regions 
of the globe, but I confess that I paid more attention to 
the desms than to mankind, among whom, after all, I 
often experience solitude. 

I sojourned only for a short pericfd among the German^, 
Spaniards, and Portuguese ; but I lived a considerable 
time in England : and as the inhabitants of that kingdom 
constitute the only people who dispute the empire of the 
Frenph,^ the least account of them becomes interesting. 

* This wps written at the time that all the continental powers, 
of Europe had been conquered by the arms of Napoleon, aad had 
acktiowled^'d bir title. 

I 



'$^ IISCOLLXCTIONS OF ENGLAVS. 

Erasmus b the most ancient travdkr, ii^ifli whoml 
9ifa acqusdnted, that speaks of the English. He states 
that, during the reign of Hrary VIII. he found London 
xnbftbited by barbarians, whose huts were full of smoke. 
A long time afterwards, Voltaire, wanting to discover a 
perfect philosopher, was of opinion that he had found 
this character among the Quakers upon the banks of ibfi, 
Thames. During his abode there the taverns were the 
places, at which the men of genius, and the friends of 
rational liberty assembled. England, however, b known 
to be the country, in which religion i^ less discussed, 
though more respected than in any other ; and where the 
idle questions, by which the tranquillity^of empires bdb- 
turbed, obtain less attention than any where else*. 

It appears to me that the secret of Englbh mianii^my 
and their way of thinking b to be sought in the origin 
of this people. Being a mixture of French and German 
blood, they form a link of the chain by which the two na- 
tions are united. Their policy, their religion, their mar- 
tial habits, their literature, arts, and national character 
appear to me a medium between the two. They seem 
to have united, in some degree, the brilliancy, grandeur, 
courage, and vivacity of the French with the simplicity, 
. calmness, good sense, and bad taste of the Germans. ; 

Inferior to us in some respects, thqr are superic»: in 
several others, particularly ii^ eveiy thmg relative to com* 
meroe and wealth. They excel us also in neatness : and 
itis remarkable that a pedple, apparently of a heavy tuip, 
should have, in their furniture, dress, md manu&cture^, 
an elegance in which we are deficient. Itniay be said 
of the En^ish that they employ in the labours of the 
hand the delicacy, which we devote to those of, the 
mind. 

The principal failing of the Englbh nation is pride : 
. which b. indeed the fault of all mankind. It prevails at 



RECOLLECTIONS OF ENGLANI5.' 6^ 

•Iferis as well as London, but modified by the French 
character, and transformed into self-love. Pride, in its' 
pure state, appertains to th^ solitary man, who is not 
obliged to make any sacrifice ; but he, who lives much 
•with his equals, is forced to dissimulate and conceal his 
pride under the softer and more varied forms of vanity. 
The passions are, in general, more sudden and determin-* 
ed among the English; more active and refined among' 
the: French. The pride of the former makes him wish 
to crush every thing at once by force ; the self-love of the' 
other slowly undermines what it wishes to destroy. In* 
England a man is hated for a vice, or an offence, but in 
France such a motive is not necessary ; for the advan- 
tages of person or of fortune, success in life, or even a 
ton mot will be sufficient. This animosity, which arises 
from a thousand disgraceful causes, is not less implaca* 
ble than the enmity fbunded on more noble motives. 
Hiere are no passions so dangerous as those^ which are 
of base origin; for they are conscious of their own base- 
ness, and are thereby rendered furious. They endeavour 
to conceal it under crimes, and to impart, from its ef- 
fects, a sort of apalling grandeur, which is wanting firom 
principle. This the French rgirolution sufficiently proved. 
Education begins early in England. Girls are sent 
to school during the tenderest years. You sometimes 
see groups of these little ones, dressed in white mantles, 
straw-hats tied under the chin with a ribband, and a basket 
on the arm which contains fruit and a book, all with 
downcast eyes, Mushing if looked at. When I have ob- 
served our Trencli female children dressed in tlicir anti- 
quated fashion, lifting up the train of their gowns, looking 
at every one with effrontery, singing love- sick airs, and 
taking lessons in declamation, I have thought with regret 
of the simplicity and modesty of the little English girls. 
A child without innocence is a flower without perfume. 



^ lt)|C01iX.ICn<>KS Of EKGZ.VIIIP.. • 

the boys dso p^s ihdu: earfiest years at school^ 
vhere they learn Greek and Latin. Those whoaie dea- 
tioed for the church, o^ a political career, go to the uni- 
versities of Caiabridge and Oxford* The first is patticu*^ 
larly devc^ied to mattiematics, in memory of Newton ; but 
the Engli^h^ gi^erally speakkigj do not hold this study in 
high estimation ; for they think it very dangerous to good 
morals when carried too far. They are of opinion ths^ the 
sciences harden the heart, deprive life of itaenehmifmeotSt 
and lead weak minds to atheism, the sure road to all . 
other crimes. On the contraiy, they maintain that the 
beHes lettres render life delightful, soften the squl, fill us^ 
with faith in the Divinity, . and thus conduce, tbroitgb.. 
the medium of religion, to the practice of all the virtues.* . 

Wlien an , Englishman attains manhood, agriculture^ 
commerce^ the-army and nayy, religion. and politic^ an^ 
the pursuit^ of life, open to. him. If he chuses to be what 
they call a gentleman farmer, he sells his com, makers a^ 
gricultural experiments, hunts foxes and shoots partridges • 
in autumn, eats fat g^ese. at Christmas, sin^ ^^ Oh the • 
roast beef of old England," grumbles about the present 
times, and boasts of the past which he thought no better 
at the moment, above all, inveighs against the minister 
and the war for raising the price of port- wine, and finally 
goes inebriated to bed, intending to lead the same life on. 
the following day. 

The army, though so brilliant during the reign of . 
Queen Anne, had fallen into a state of disrepute, . from; 
which the present war has raised it The English wm 
a long time before they thought of turjiing their pri)[i<;i- 
pal attention to their naval force. They were ambitious 
of distinguishing themselves as a continental power. It 
was a remnant of ancient ofMnior^, which held the pinr- 
suits of commerce in contempt, Tfie English have, 



like masdves, abira|rs had a^ecies of pIiysaQgiiomjr/by 
wkicfa ihey niiglil be distinguished* Indeed, tfiese tivo 
mlifmsjsixc die <snly ones in l^urope, wbicb pro(>erly 4e- - 
serv^ the appellntbn. If we had our Charlemagne, they 
had their AUred. Thek arcber§ sh^ed the renown of the 
Gallic kifwtiy ; th^ir Black Prince rivsdkd our Puguta«' 
c^ and their Marlborough our Turenne. Their revo- - 
ludons and ours keep pace with each other/ We can ' 
^st of die same glory ; bqt we must deplore die same ' 
crimes and tli^ same misfortunes^ 

' Since England is become a maritime power, $he haa 
di^kyed her peculiar g-enius in this new career. Her '' 
navy is distinguished from all others in th? world by a 
dSsciptine the most singular. The English sailor is air 
absolute slave, who is sent on board a vessel by force, 
a^ obliged to serve in spite of himsdif. Tb6 man, who 
was so independent while a labourer, appears to lose all 
the rights of freedom from the moment that he becomes 
a mariner. His superiors oppress him by a yoke th^ 
most g^ling and humiliating.^ Whence arises it that 
men of so lofty a disposition should submit to such ty-. 
rannical Ml-usage? It is one of the miracles of a free 
government. In England the name of the law is al« 
«n&ghty. WheA the law has spoken, resi^nce is at aA\ 
end. ^ 

I do not believe that we should be able, or indeed that 
we ought t6 introduce the English system into our navy. 
The French Seaman, who is frank, generous, and spkit- 
e&y wishes to approach his commander, whom he regards 
still more as his comrade than fiis captain. Moreova^i a 
state of such absolute servitude, as that of the English 

*. Tine reader wiM boar in mind, while contemplating this 
overcharged picture cFour gallant navy) that the artist) by whom 
it is painted, is naturalized in France, tho«gh not born there.— 
Editor, 



70 fliBCOtX.fi.C:TiOKei o^'Birc&AK^ 

sailor,* can otiy emanate from civil audiority ; hence it is 
to be feared ^at it ivould be despised by the French; 
for unfortunately the latter rather obpys Ae man than the 
law, and his wi^es are Inore private than public ones. 

Our naval officers have hitherto be^ better instruct- 
ed than those of England. The latter iherdy knbiv their 
manoeuvres, while ours were mathematicians^ and men of 
science in every respect. Our true character has, in ge- 
neral, been displayed in our navy, where we have appear- 
ed as warriors, and as men improved by study. As siDon 
a3 we have vesjsels, we s^all regain our birthright on the 
ocean, as well as upon land. We shall also be able to 
make further astronomical observations, ana vopges 
round the world ; but as to oar becoming a complete 
commercial nation, I believe we may renounce the idea 
at once. We do every diing by genius and inspiration ; 
but we seldom follow up our projects. A great finan- 
cier, or a great man as to commercial ienterprize may ap- 
pear among us ; but will hb son pursue the same career? 
W^lie not think of enjoying the fortune bequeathed by 
his father^ instead of augmenting it? With such a dis* 
position, no nation can become a mercantile one. Com- 
merce has always had among us an indescribable some- 
thing of the poetic and fabulous in it, sunilar to the rest 
of our manners. Our manufactures have been created by 
enchantment ; they acquired a great degree of celebrity, 
but they are now at an end. While Rome was prudent, 
she contented herself with the Muses and Jupiter, leaving 
Nephme to Carthage. This God had, after all, only tb^ 
second empire, and Jupiter hurled his thvmders on the 
ocean as well as elsewhere. 

The English clergy are learned, hospitable, and ge- 
nerous. They love their country, and exert their pow- 
erful services in support of the laws. In spite of religi- 
ous differences, they received the French emigrant clergy 



te^pi^>.S€ TICKS or H^^fGtAKpf 71 

miii trol]^ Christum charity. The univendty of Oxfqrd 
pcinted;^ ^ H^ expense, apd di^bnted gratis to oi)r po^ 
prk^^.a^iew Ijatin Testament, according to thQ Roman 
version, with these w<mis : " jpbr jhe use of the Caiho^ 
Kcc^gff exiled onMCOHftt^ their religkm.^^ Nothing 
jCQuld.be QM^iedeUca^ or a&cting. It was doubtless a 
beautiful spectacle for [^ilosophy to wi^3e$s, at the close 
of the eighteenth century, the hospitality of the English 
dorgy tDwards tiie Catholic pd^tSi .nay, further, to see 
diem allow the.public Exercise <^ this religion, and eveo 
establish some communities* Strange vicissitude of hur 
.man opinions and affabs ! The cry of " The Pope^ the 
JPope /'' caused the revolution daring the reign of Charles 
,the First; andJmiesthe Second jost his Crown for pro» 
^tecting the Catholic religion. 

They, who take fright at the very name of this faith, 
know but very little of the human mind. They consi» 
der it such as it viiasin the days of fanaticism and barba- 
rity ^ without rdlecting that, like every other institution, 
it assumes the character of the ages, through whiob it 



The EngUsh clergy are, however, not without faults. 
They are too negligent with r^tfd to their duties, and 
ioo fond of pleasure ; tliey give too many balls, and mix 
too nmch in the gaieties of life. Nothing is mc»re revolt- 
ing to a stranger than to see a young minister of religion 
awkwardly leadbg^a pretty woman down an English 
country-dance. A priest should be entirely a divine ; 
and virtue should reign around him. . He should retire 
into the mysterious recesses of the temple, appearing but 
seldom among mankind, and then only for the purpose of 
relieving the unhappy. It is by such conduct Aat the 
French clergy obtain our respect and confidence; where». 
as they would soon lose both the one and the other, if we 
saw them seated at our sides on festive occasions and fami- 



fiariisirig ifteMsdves with us ; if the;f bad all the iices ht 
the limc^, and W6tt for a hioment subjected of beit^ fctf- 
Me fragile xhttftafe Hke ourselves. 

"the English di^&play great pomp in their refigidusfes- 
^vab. They areefven begintrihgfto introduce paintings 
into theif churches; having at length discovered that reli- 
gion without worship is only the dream of a <:old eitthusi^ 
ast, and that the imagination of man is a Ssiculty which 
must be nourished as wdl as his reason. 

The emigfatioti of the French clergy has iu i great de* 
gree tended to propagate tlies^e ideas ; and ir m^y be re* 
linked that by a natural return towards the institutions of 
their forefathers, the English have, for some time, laid" 
the scene 6f their dramas and otiier literary works in Ae 
ages, during which the catholic religion prevailed among- 
them. Of late, this faith has been carried to London by 
the exiled jpTiests of France ; and appears to die EnglisSk, ' 
precisely as in thefr romances, through the medknti d^ 
noble rums and powerful recdlections. AU the woild 
crowded with aifxiety to hear the funeral oration over a 
French lady, delivered by an emigrant bishop at London 
in a stable. 

The English church has reserved for the dead the 
principal part of those honours, which the Roman reli- * 
gion awards to them. In all the great towns there aie ' 
persons, called undertakers, who manage tlie funerals. 
Sometimes you read on the signs over their shops, " Co/^ 
Jin maker to the King^^^ or ^^ Funerak performed here,^^ 
as if it was a theatrical representatibn. It is indeed true 
that representations of grief have long constituted all the 
marks of it, which are to be found among mankind, and' 
when nobody is disposed to weep over tlie remains of the 
o'cceased, tears are bought for the occasion. The last du- 
ties paid to tlie departed would, however, be of a sad 
complexion indeol, if stripped of the marks of religion ; 



MZCOLLECtlOS^ OF £NGZ.AIID#' 73^ 

for t^fipoQ has taken root at the toodb, and the tomb 
csomot evade her. It b right diat the voice of hope should 
^peak from the coffin ; it is right that the priest of the. 
fiving God should escort ^the ashes of the dead to tiieir 
bst asylum. It may be said, on such an occasion^ 
that Immc^rtality is marching at the head of death* 

The political bent of the English is well known in 
France, but most people are ignorant as to the parties, in- 
to which the parliament is divided. Besides that of the 
minister^ and the one in opposition to it, there is a thii:d, 
which may be catted The \4nglwansj at the head, of which 
19 Mr. WUbm'fcx'ce. It consists of about « hundred^ 
members, who rigidly adhere to anciept manners, particu**. 
larly in what respects religion. Thdr wives are clo^ied. 
like qudkers; they themselves afibct g^eat simplicity, 
and give a large part of thek revenue to the popr. Mr. 
Pitt Was of this sect, and it was throu^ their influence 
t^t he was elevated to, as well as maintained in the office 
of Prime Afiniste^; for by supporting one side or the 
other, they are almost sure to constitute a majority and de- 
cide the question discussed. When the affidrs of Ireland 
were debated, diey took alarm at the promises which Mr. 
Pitt made to die Catholics, and threatened to pass over 
to the opposition, upon which the minister made an able 
retreat from office, in order to preserve the friends, with 
whom he agreed on most essential points, and escape from 
the difficulties, into which circumstances had drawn him. 
Having acted thus; he was sure not to o&nd the Angli- 
cans, even if the bill passed ; and if, on the contrary, it > 
was rejected, the catholics of Ireland couU^t accu^ him 
of breaking his engagement. — It has been asked in France 
whether Mr. Pitt lost his credit with his place, but a sin- 
gle fact will be the best answc r to this question. He still 
sits in the House of Commons. When he $hall be trans- 

K 



74 RECptXiECTIONS or BKGl^yV* 

l<Med to the upper lM)tise, his political c^^ 

end. 

An oToneous opinion is entertained by the French as 

to the influence of the parQr, in England, called the c^po- 

sition, which is completely fallen in the opinion of Ac 

public. It possesses neither great talents, nor real patrir 

otism. IVIr. Fox himself is no longer of any use to it^ 

having lost all lus eloquence from age and excesses of the 

tablp* It is certain that his wounded vani^, rather than 

any other motive, induced him, for so long a time, todisr 

continue his attendance in Parliament. 

The bill, which excludes from the House of Com* 
mons every person in holy orders, has been also misinter* 
preted at Paris. It is not known that the only dbject ^ 
this measure was to expel Hc»me Tooke, a man oi geniiui^ 
-and a violent enemy of government, who had. formedy 
been in orders^ but had abandoned his cloth; who had 
also beien a supporter of power even to the extent of 
drawing upon himself an £^tack from the pen of Junius; 
and finally became a proselyte of liberty, like many others^ 

Parliament lost in Mr. Burke one of its most dis- 
tinguished members. He detested the French RevolU'* 
tion, but to do him justice, no Englishman ever moie 
sincerely loved the French as individuals, or morb ap- 
plauded their valour and their gi^nius. Though he wqs 
not rich, he had founded a school for the expatriated 
youth of our natifn, where he passed whole days in ad- 
miring tlie genius and vivacity of these children. He 
used often to ^lat^ an anecdote on the subject Haviqg 
introduced the son of an English nobleman to be educat- 
ed at this school, the young orphans proposed to play 
with him, but the lord did not chuse to join in their 
sports. '' I don't like the French,'' said he frequendy 
widi a degree of sarcasm. A litde boy, who could never. 
•&awfrom him any other answer^ said, ^* That is impos- 



^miKCOLLECTIONS 07 ENGLAND. 75 

sH^le. You have too good a heart to hate us. Should 
not your Lordship substitute your fear for your hatred ?** 
It would be right to speak here of English literature, 
and the men of letters, but they demand a separate arti- 
cle. I will, therefore, content myself, for the present, 
witfi - recording some critical decisions, which have 
fliiuch astonished me, because they are in direct contra* 
diction to our received opinions. 

Richardson is little read, being accused of insupport- 
able tediousness and lowness of style. It is said of 
Hume and Gibbon diat they have lost the genius of the 
English language, and filled their writings with a crow4 
cf Gallicisms; the former is also accused of being dull 
and immoral. Pope merely passes for an exact and- 
elegant versifier ; Johnson contends that his Essay on 
Man is only a collection of common passages rendered 
into pleasant metre. Dryden and Milton are the two 
authors, to whom the title of author is excluMvely applied. 
The Spectator is almost forgotten, and Loeke is seldom 
mentioned, being thought a feeble idsionary* None but 
professed philosophers read Bacon. Shakspeare alone 
preserves his imperial influence, which is easily account- 
ed fc»r by die following fact. 

I was one night at Covent-Garden Theatre, which 
takes its name, as is generally known, from an ancient 
convent, on the scite of which it is built. A well dressed 
man, seated himself near me, and asked soon afterwards 
V)her€ he was. Hooked at him with astonishment, and 
answered, " In Covent Garden." " A pretty garden in- 
deedP' exclaimed he, bursting into a fit of laughter, and 
presenting to me a bottle of rum. It was a sailor, who 
had accidentally passed this way as he came fi'om the 
city- just at the time the performance was comrhencing ; 
and having observed the pressure of the crowd at the 



76 . |tSCOLI.£CTXONS OF ENGLAND. 

entrance of the theatre, had paid his money, andentenfd 
the house without knowing what he was to see. 

How should the English have a theatre to be termed 
supportable, when the pit is composed of judges recen% 
arrived from Bengal, and the coast of Guinea, who do not 
even know where they are ? Shakspeare may reign eter- 
nally in such a nation. It is thought that every thing is 
Justified by saying that the follies of English tragedy are 
' faithful pictures of nature. If this were true, the most natu- 
ral situations are not those^ which produce the greatest 
effect It is natural to fear death, and yet avictim, who 
laments its approach, dries the tears before excited by 
commiseration. The human heart wishes for mott than 
it is capable of sustaining, and above all^ wishes for ob- 
jects of admiration. There is implanted in it an impulse 
towards some indescribable unknown beauty, for wkSdl 
it was perhaps created at its origin. 

A graver obsa^ation arises also from diis subject. 
Atiatidn, which has always been nearly barbarous widi 
respect to the arts, may continue to admire barbarous 
productions, without its being of any consequence ; hM 
I do not know to what point a nation, possessing ch^ 
d^oguvres in every pursuit, can resume its love of the 
monstrous, without detracting from its character. For this 
reason, the inclination to admire Shakspeare is more 
dangerous in France than England. In the latter country 
this results from ignorance- — in ours it would be the effect 
of depravity. In an enlightened age, the manners of a 
truly polished people contribute more towards good 
^ taste than is generally imagined. Bad taste, therefore, 
which has so many means of regaining its influence, 
must depend on false ideas, or a natural bias. The 
mind incessantly works on the heart, and it is difficult for 
the road, taken by the heart, to be straight, when that of 
the imagination is crooked. He, who likes defcH-mitj', is 



^jBCoiiscTioys Of )KirGi.AWO. 77 

not fiur firom Viking viqe, and be, who is insensibfe t6 
beQuty^ may easily form a false omception of virtue. 
.IMtaiate and vice almost always move together ; for the 
£>rmer is only the expression of the letter, in the same 
way as words convey our ideas to others. 

I will close this article with some brief observirtioiis 
on the soil, the atmosphere and public buildings of Engu 
land. 

The country is almost without birds, and the river^ 
are smaU, but d^e banks of these have, nevertheless, a 
plea^if^ effect from the solitude wluch prevails there. 
The verdure of the fields is of a most lively description. 
: There are few, indeed hardly any WDods ; but every per- 
son's small property being encbsed by a hedge, you 
might fancy when you take a survey from the top of a 
hill, that you were in the middle of a forest, England, 
at the first glance, resembles Britany, the heaths and 
plains beii^ surrounded with trees. As to the sl^ of 
this country, its azui« is brighter than our's, but less 
transparent. The variations of light are more strikbg 
from the multitude of clouds. In summer, when the sun 
^s at London, beyond Kensington Gardens, it some, 
times aflfords a very picturesque spectacle. The immense 
volume of coal-smoke, hanging over tlie city, represents 
those black rocks, tinged with purple, which are adopted 
in our represei>tations of Tartarus, while the ancient 
towers of Westminster Abbey, crowned with vapour, 
and reddened with the last rays of the sun, raise their 
heads above the city, the palace, and St. James's Park, 
like a great monument of death, appearing to command 
all the other handy works of man. 

Saint Paul's church is the most beautiful modem, 
and Westminster Abbey the most beautiful Gothic 
edifice in England. I shall, perhaps, speak more at 
large respecting the latter on some future occasion. I 



78 «£COttSCTXOHS Ct 2KGLAKD. 

have often, ivhen returning from my excurskms round 
London, passed belund Whitehall, through the court in 
ivhich Clmrles the First was beheaded. It is in an aban- 
doned state, and the grass grows among the stones. I 
have sometimes stopped and listened to the wind, moan- 
k^ round the statue of Charles the Second, whiph points 
ta the spQt where his father perii^ied. I never tond any 
person in this place but workmen cutting staoc^ whist- 
ling as they pursued their labours. Having asked one 
day what this statue meant, some of them could hardly 
give me any answer, and others were entirely ignorant of 
the subject. Nothing ever affixded a mc»ie just idea oi 
human events, and our litdeness. What is become of 
persons who made so much noise ? Time has tskea a 
striite, and the face of the earth has been renewed. To 
generations, then di^ded by political animosity, have 
succeeded generations indifferent to the past, but filling 
d»s present times with new animositiesi which succeeding 
generations will in their turn forget 



ENGLISH UTEBATUKE. 



I.—YOUNG. 



WH£N a writer has fcHined a new school, and is 
found, after the criticisms of half a century, to be still 
possessed of great reputation, it is important to the cause 
of literature that the reason of this success should be in- 
vestigated ; especially when it b neither ascribabk to 
greatness of genius, nor to superiority of taste, nor to the 
perfection of the art. 

A few tragic situations and a few quaint words, witli 
an indescribable, vague, and fantastic use of woods, 
heaths, winds, spectres, and tempests, account for the 
celebrity of Shakspearc. 

Young, who has nothing of this nature in his works, 
is indebted, perhaps, for a great portion of his reputation, 
to the fine picture which he displays at the opening of 
X his chief work, "The Complaint, or Night Thoughts 
on Life, Death, and Immortality.'* A minister of the 
Almighty, an aged father, who has lost his only daughter, 
wakes in the middle T)f succeeding nights to moan among 
the tombs. He associates death with time and eternity, 



80 ENGLISH literature:. 

through die ooiy gcmi mediom which man has witUb 
hknsdf — I mean sorrow. Such a picture strikes the ob« 
server at once^ and the effect is durable. 

But on advancing a Utde into these Night Thoughts, 
when the imagination, roused by the exordium of the 
poet, has created a world ci tears and reveries, you will 
find' no trace of what die author promised at the out* 
set. You behold a man, who torments himself in eveiy 
way for the purpose of producing tender and melancholy 
ideas, without arriving at any thing beyond morose philo- 
sophy. Young was pursued by the phantom df the 
world even to the recesses of the dead, said all hbdecla- 
mation upon mortality exhibits a feeling of mortified aia- 
bition. There is nothing natural in his sensibility, nothing 
ideal in hb grief. The lyre is always touched with a 
heavy hand. Young has particularly endeavoured to im- 
part a character of sadness to his meditations. Now, 
this character is derived from three sources — the scenes 
of nature, the ideas floating upon the memory, and re« 
ligious principle. 

Withregardtothescenesofnature, Young wished to 

^ avail himself of them as auxiliaries to his complaints, 
but I do not know thaf he has succeeded. He apostro* 
phizes the moon, and he talks to the stars, but the reader 
is not thereby affected. I cannot explain in what the 

„ melancholy consists, which a poet draws from a contem- 
plation of nature ; but it b certab that he finds it at every 
step. He combines his soul with the roaring of the 
wind, which imparts to him ideas of solitude. A reced- 
ing wave reminds him of life-— a fallmg leaf of man. This 
sadness is hid in every desert for the use t>f poets. It is 
the JEcho of the fable who was consumed by grief, and 
the invisible inhabitant of the mountains. 

When the mind is labouring under chagrin, the re- 
flection shquld always take the form of sentiment and 



yauNC. • M. 

imagery, but in Young tbe sentknoit, cm the cootiary, is 
traosformed into teftection and avguiMiiL Oa qpeaing 
Ae Stat Complaint I read : 

* From short (as usiial) and disturb^ repose 
I wake : how happf they, who wake no more ! 
Yet that weise fdn, if dreams ioiest the grate. 
I wake, emerging from a sea of dreams 
Tumultucms; where my wrecked desponding; thought, 
From wave to wave of &ncied misery, 
At random drove, her helm of reason lost. 
Though now restored, *tis only change of pain, 
4A bitter change)' severer for severe. 
The di^y tof> short,for .mjr distress^ an4 nighty 
Eitep in the ^^enith of her dark domain^ 
Is suAshiae to the colour of my fate/' 

Is this the language of sorrow? What is a wrecked 
desponding thought, floating from w^ve to wave of ftn- 
cied misery ? What is a night which is a sun^ compared 
with the colour of a person's fate? The only remarka- 
ble feature of this quotation is the idea that the slumber 
of the tomb may be disturbed by dreams; but^sdt- 
rectly brings to mind the expression of Hamlet: " To 
sleep — ^to dream !"^ 

Ossian awakes also at midnight to weep, but Ossian 
weeps in reality. " Lead, son of Alpin, lead tihe aged to 
his woods/ The winds begin to rise. The dark wave 
of the lake resouads. Bends there not a tree from Mora 
with its branches Bare? It bends, son of Alpin, in the 
rusding blast. My harp hangs on a blasted branch. 
The sound of its strings is mournful. Does the wind . 
touch thee, oh harp, or is it some passing ghost ? Is it 
the hand of Malvina. But bring mo the harp, son of 
Alpin, another sotig shaQ arise. My soul shall depart in 
the sound ; my fathers shall hear it in their airy hall. 
Their dim faces shall hang with joy from their cloud, and 
^ir hands receive flieir son.*' 

L 



92 SMCtXSK LXTSRATURC. 

Here we have mournful images, and poetical reverie. 
The English aflow that the prose of Ossian b as pontic ag 
verse, and possesses all the inflexions of the latterl; and 
hence a French translation of this, though a literal one, 
will be, if good, always supportable ; for that, which b 
^mple and natural in one language, possesses these que- 
ries in every language. 

It is generally thought that melancholy aUusionsr, 
taken from the winds, the moon, and the clouds, were 
unknown to the ancients ; but ^[|ere are some instances 
of them in Homer, and a beautiful one in VirgiL Enxas 
perceives the shade of Dido in the recesses of a forest, as 
(me sees J or Jimdes that one sees th^ new moon rising a^ 
midst clouds* 

" Qualem fitimo qui aurgere menae 
Aut videty aut vidcaae fiutat per nubila Umam.*^ 

Observe all the circumstances* Itisthemoon,wfaidi 
the spectator sees, or fancies that he sees crossing 
the clouds ; ccmsequently the shade of Dido is reduced 
to a very small compass, but this moon is in its first 
phasis, and what is tiiis planet at such a time ? Does not 
the shade of Dido its^ seem to vanish from (he ^^mindV 
eye V* Ossian is here traced to Virgil ; but it is Ossian 
at Napks, ^fbst^ the light is purer, and' the vapours mwe 
tranqsaient. 

Yoimg f^s therefore ignorant of, or rather has ill ex- 
pressed mdandidy, wMch feeds iteetf on the contempla- 
tion of nature, and wUch, whether soft ex majestic, fol- 
lows the natiiral course of feeling. How superior is Mil- 
ton to the author of the Night Thoughts in the nobifit^ 
of grief! Nothing is finer than his four last lines of Para- 
dise Lost:. 



roiTKc. .86 

<«The world was all before them where to chuse 
Their place of rest, and Providence their guide. 
They hand in hand, with wand'ring steps and slow, 
Through Eden took their solitary way/' 

In this passage the reader sees all the solitudes of the 
world open to our first father, all those seas which water 
unknown lands, all the forests of the habitable globe, 
and man. left alone with his sins amidst the deserts of 
creation. 

Harvey, though possessing a less elevated genius than- 
thcauthor of the Night Thoughts, has evinced a softer 
and more generous sensibility in his '^ Meditations among 
thp Tomte.'* He says of an infant, which suddenly 
died : " What did the little hasty sojourner find so for- 
bidding and disgustful in our upper world, to occasion 
its precipitate exit ? It is written, indeed, of its suffoing 
Saviour, that, when he had tasted the vinegar, mingled 
with gall, he would not drink.^ And did our new-come 
stranger bejgin to sip the cup q£ life ; but, perceiving the 
bitterness, turn away its head, , and refuse the dcanght? 
Was this the cause why the weary babe only opened its 
eyes, just looked on the light, and dien wididrew into the ' 
more inviting regions of undistiirbed repose?^* 

Dr. Beattie, a Scotch poet, has introduced the most 
lovely reverie into his Minstrel. It is when he describes 
the first effects of the Muse upon a young moimtain bard, 
who. as yet does not comprehend the genius, by which he 
is tormented. At one time the future poet goes and seats 
himself oa the borders c^ the sea during a tempest; at 
another, he quits the sports of the village that he may 
listen, first at a distance, and then mcx'e closely to the 
sound of the bagpipe. Young was, perhaps, appointed 
by nature to treat of higher subjects, but still he was not 

* Matthew, chapter 27, verse 34. 



S(4 ENGLISH LlTiBATVAS* 

» con^^lete poet. MULum, who sung Hie mkfortumts of 
primeval mail, sighed also in // Fenieroso. 

Those good ivritefs of the French nation, Who have 
known the charms of reverie, have prodigiously surpassed 
Young. Chaulieu, like Horace, has mingled thoughts 
of death with the illusions of life. The following well 
known lines are of a melancholy cast much more to be 
admired than the exaggerations of the English poet* 

" Grotto, where the murmuring stream 

Mossy bank and fiow'ret laves, 
Be of thee mj future dream, 

And of yonder limpid waves. 

Fontenay, delicious spot, 

Which my youthful life recals, 
Oh, when death shall be my lot, 

May I rest within thy walls I 

Muses who dispelled my woe. 

While the humble swain you bless*d. 
Lovely trees, that saw me grow. 

Soon youMl see me sink to rest.'* 

In like manner the inimitable La Fontaine indulged 
himself. 

« Why should my verse describe a flow*ry bank ? 

Longer the cruel Fates refuse to spin 

My golden thread of life. I shall not sleep 

Beneath a canopy of sculptured pomp ; 

But will my rest for this be more disturbed. 

Or will my slumbers less delight impart ? 

No, in the trackless desert let me lie," &c. 

It was a great poet, from wham $uch ideas emanated; 
but to pursue the comparison, there is not a page of 
Young, which can afford a passage equal to the following 



qtte of J» L Btmmtaiau ^^ White eTening appMidoed, I 
descended iroin tf» higker parts of tbe island aitd seoMd 
myself at the side of the lake in soaie letimd ptrt of the 
dteaod. Tbeit the iK»se of xht waVe^ and tt^ agkttion 
of tbt iratar fixed ftty attention, aood driving every, other 
agitation from my soul, plunged it into a delicious rave* 
tie,, in Which night often imperceptibly surprised me* 
Tbe fiux and refluz of the waves, with their eominued 
noise, but slvelling in a louder degree at intervals, un- 
c^singly struck my eyes and ears, while diey added to 
my internal emotions, and caused me to feci the pleasure 
of existoice widiout taking the pains to tliink. From 
time to time a weak and short reflection on the instability 
of human affairs, occuil:ed to me, which was supplied by 
the surface of the, waters ; . but these slight impressions 
were soon effaced by the uniforiKiity of the ccmtimied mo- 
tion which rocked my mind to r^Kxse ; and which, with- 
out any active concurrence of my soul, attached me so 
strongly to the spot, that when summ6ned away by the 
hour and a signal agreed upon, I coiild not tear myself 
from the scene without a disagreeable effort/^ 

This passage of Rousseau reminds me that one night, 
when I was lying in a cottage, during my American tra- 
vds, I heard an extraordinary son of murmur from a 
neighbouring lake. Conceiving this noise to be the fore- 
runner of a storm, I went out of the hut to survey tlie 
heavens. Never did I see a more beautiful night, or one 
in which the atmosphere was purer. ITie lake's expanse 
was tranquil, and reflected the light of the moon, which 
shone on the projecting points of the mountains, and on 
the forests of the desert. An Indian canoe was traversing 
the waves in silence. The noise, which I had heard, 
proceeded from the flood tide of tbe lake, which was be- 
ginmng, and which sounded like a sort of groaning as it 
rose among the rocks. I bad left tlie hot with an idea of 



86 nvGhxtm iiTstAXVu* 

a tetnpest«-4et any one judge of the impiession wUch tlu9 
cabnandaereDepksture must have made upon me^— it 
vas 13ce endiantment 

Youag has but ill availed Umsdtf*^ as I conodve, of 
the reveries, whidi result from such scenes; and diis' 
arose from his beii^ eminently defective in tenderness. 
For the same reason he has failed in that secondary sort 
of sadness, which arises from the sorrows of memoiy. 
Neverdoes the poet of the tombs revert widi sensibility 
to the first stage of life, when all is innocence and happi* 
ness. He is ignorant of the delights afforded by the re- 
collection of family bcidents and the paternal roof. He 
knowsnothmgof the r^ret, with which a person looks 
back at the sports and pastimes of chiUhood. He oe- 
never exclaims, like the poet of the Seasons : 

<< Welcome, kindred glooms ! 
Congenial horrors, hail ! With frequent foot, 
PleasM have I, in my cheerful mom of life, 
When nurs'd by careless solitude I liv^d, 
And sung of nature with unceasing joy, 
Pleased have I wanderM through your rough domain, 
Trod the pure virgin snows, myseff as pure/* bcfi. 

Gray in his Ode on a distant view of Eton Cdlege 
has introduced die same tenderness of recollection. 

<< Ah happy hills, ah pleasing shade. 

Ah fields beloved in vain, 
Where once my careless childhood stray*d 

A stranger yet to pdn ! 
I feel the gales tbatfrom you blow, 



My weary soul they seem to soothe, 
And redolent of joy and youth, 
To breathe a second spring." 



youifo. 87 

.As to the recollections of misfortuoe, diey am nume- 
rous in the works of Young. But why do diey appear 
to be deficient in trudi, like all the fest ? Why is the read- 
er unable to &d an interest ki die tears of the poet? , 
Gilbert, expiring in ahQSpital, and in the flower of his age^ 
finds his way to every heart, especially when he speaks of 
the friends vdio have forsaken him. 

^ At life's convmal board I sat. 

And reveird in its choicest cheer, 
Bat now l*m caird away by Fate, 

I die— and none will shed a tear. 

Farewell, ye streams and verdant glades. 

And thou, bright sun, with smile so wara^s 

Farewell, ye placid forest*shades, 

Farewell to nature's every charm ! 

Oh may you long confer delight 

, On friends I fondly deem'd so true, 

Who leave me now abandon*d quit^ 
Without one final sad adieu 1" 

Look in Virgil at the Trojan women, seated on tlie 
sea shore, and weeping while they survey the immensity 
of die ocean. 

« Cunctaque firofandutn 
Pontum a9pcctabant Jlentea.^^ 

What beautiful harmony ! How forcibly does it de- 
pict the vast solitude c^ the ocetm, and the remembrance 
of their lost country! What genuine scotow is conveyed 
by this one weeping glance over the surface of the bil- 
lows! 

M. du Pamy has combined the tender charms of me- 
mory mth another species of sentiment, His complaint 
at the tomb of Emma is full of that soft melancholy, 



88 ENGLISH &ITSRATV1B. ^ 

which characterizes the writings of Ae otAy elegiac poet 
of France. 



<( FrieodsUp^ wtlhfugkivedeecptidti kindt 
C]9a9eat)qr W^tSf^t dnm^^ from qiy mind $ 
Emma, the cbti3niivgQbi«K;tofms( lQve» 
So latel}^ call'd to bli^&ful realms above. 
Sweet gir]j how momentary was thy sway ! 
All from thy tomb now turn their eyes away 
Thy memory, like thyself^ ifl ainkmg to decay 



= ] 



The Muse or the poet, to whom we are mdebted for 
Eleonora, indulged in reverie upon the same rocks where 
Paul, resting his head upon his hand, saw the vessel sail 
away, which cojitained Virginia. The deistered Elo'isa 
revived all her sorrows and all her love by even thinking 
of Abelard. Hecollecticms are the echo o[ tlie pasabns t 
and the sounds, whrch this echo repeats, acquire, firom 
distance, a vague and melancholy character, which makes 
them more seductive than the accents of the passions 
themselves. 

It remains for me to speak of religious sadness. • Ex- 
cept Gray and Hervey, I know only one protestant writer 
(M. Necker) who infused a degree of tenderness into^$ef>^ 
timents drawn from religion. It is known that Pope wa* 
. a catholic, and that Dryden was the same at interval; 
It is believed too that Shak^are belonged tc^li)elldi«i4n 
church. A father burying his daughter by stealtib in a 
foreign land — what a beautiful subject for a christian mi* 
nister! Notwithstanding this, but few afiecting passages 
are to be found in Young's Complaint called Narcissa. 
He sheds fewer tears over the tomb of his oiily daughter 
than Bossuet over the coffin of Madame Henrielte. - • 

<t Sweet harmonist, and bcautifiil as sVeet! • • 
Andyotm^ a$ beautlM, and aoft^ y^^ < ! 

And gay as soft, and innoiD^it as gay I 



irefriiG< 19 

AM kiH7 Of ^Sl>^ m»tt iiefd) jM gMd t 
For FottttDe fond had bi^ih hor nett on high. 
lAkb birds quite txquirite of note and plamo 
Transfixed by Pate (who loves a lofty mark) 
How from the summit of the grore she fell, 
AndIeftitunharm6Didu&! All Its cfaaitkis 
£xUngiiish'd in the wonders of her socig I 
Her song still t!bvat«iin tn^ ravishM ear, 
StiM mtltfaig there, and with yohiftuoiispiiif^ 
<Oh m fdTjgbt her I) trilling thro' uy heait." 

Tbis passage, «U prejndioe apsrt, I think intokrabk, 
4Mugbh tsoneof the most beautifiil in the French ln»s* 
Iftiioaof Ypung's Nigk Thoughts by M* Le Touroeur. 
Is this the language of a &ther ? Sweet harmonist or mu«- 
dcif|% IIP Uwtiful as sweet, and young as beautifiil, and 
soft 11$ yOunfi^ and gay as soft, «id imioccnt as gay ! Isk 
Alls that the mother pf liluiytdus dqdores the loss ofhqr 
MDjWthalPiiwiutteis lamentntioDs over the body of 
Keonor? M* de Toumeur has di^bryed much taste by 
oenverting Youiif 's ^< £iitb, transfixed by Fate, ^mA« 
bvis i!^ mark^^^ into a ni(^tii|gale struck by tfaf 
fiolwkr's sholi. Itis aprodlgioias ira|)rovement, as mvy 
be instuntly peroeii^. The meiitns should always bi^ 
proyorooned to the obiect, and we ought not touse a lei^ 
ver for the purpose of raising a straw. Fate may disposf 
pfwaB^K^^cbaafea worlds elf Vate or tfeffowdown a 
gre^man, but FafeahouJd liot be employed in k'diing « 
)nrd» It is the dmm armr^ it s$ the fentherfd arrpui 
which should be used to lull nigfatingalea and pigeons. 

It is not in this way th^t Bo^et speaks of Madame 
il^tfkjtte« ^' She hais passed/' says he, '^ from momin| 
to evening like the heri^s of the field. In the momttig 
she flourished-^^-oh, With whdt elegance! You kt)ow it. 
At night we saw her withered, and those strong expres- 
sions, by whiditihg Scriytoies almgst e»»tBcrj<te &e inpAk 



Ot £NGLXSB XrXrSIATVRE. 

bility of buman affiuns, mate prcchely and literal^' v^fiM 
in this Princess. Alas, we composed her memoirs of. sA 
that we could fancy most glorious. The past and the pre- 
sent were our guarantees for the future. Such wa3 Ae 
instory, of wluch we had formed the outline, and to com- 
plete our noble project, nothing wasrequi^te but the du- 
ration of her life, which we did not think in any dangflK. 
For who couldhave supposed that years wotddbe refo«. 
ed to one of such vivacity iii her youth? By her dioA 
our plan is totally^destroyed in a moment* Behold here- 
in ^ite of her great heart, behold tfais Princess Jbtdy ao 
imidiadmnedandbelol^! See to What a state deadi tea 
ieduced her ; and even these remains, such as tfae^f aiev 
x^H soon disappear.'^ 

I should have liked to quote some pages oC iegularl^ 
supported beaiiiy from the Night Thougl^ of Yom^. 
Such art to be foimd in the Fifench trtmsfation, bot aot in 
tiie original The Nights of M. Le Toumeur, find the 
Imitation of M. Cola^deau are works in all respecb difler^ 
ient to the Eiigtish one. The latter only pdsaessea beau- 
ties scatt^ed here and there, and tardy suppUes ten irte^ 
proacbable lines togetfier. Seneca and Lucan m^ be 
sometimes traced in Young, but Job and Pascal never* 
He b not a man of sorrow~^e does not please the truly 
uAhappy. . 

' Young declaimsr in several places againtit solitude ; 
so that the habit of his soul was certainly not an inc&Uh 
i^ontd reverie.^ The saints pursued their meditatioas 

• The English reader "will probabljrnot have agreed with M- 
de Chateaubriand on several points discussed in this criticism. 
Young caA never- be said to have dislxis.ed scrfitude. L^t hifn 
sp^k for himself : ... 

..« Oh lost to virtue, lost to manly thought, 
Lost to the noble sallies of the soul, 
■'** Who think it solitude to be alone ! 
• Communion s^eet, conHaunbn larje and high V* &c. 

'Editor. 



m the* deserts, and t^ P^ttnassos of poiBto is dsaasofil»y 
mountain, Bourdaloue kitreated of the superior of Itti 
order permission to retire from the worid.- " I feeV^ 
ttvotehe, ** that my framegrows fed^, sml ajyproadicft 
towards dissolution. I have run my c6uf s^, wd thank 
Ifeaven^ I can add that I have been iaitfafulto my Odd. 
^-^-^Let me be allowed to employ the roiiainder cf my 
-days in devotion to the Almighty, and in stoiriiAg m^ 
own salvation. !bi retirement I s^l forget ^a&»^ Of 
tins world, and humble myself with' contrition i^vtry* day 
4>efore my Madcen" If J^uet, fiving amidst .^ mv^ 
mifieence of Vetsaiiks was able to differ a gen^ime and 
majestic species of sadness through hli writings, it wm 
because he found solitude in religion; because though 
hSm bod^ was in t)ie worlds hb sotri was ui a desert i be- 
cause JUs heart jbad'fbund a sanctuary in die secret reces- 
ses rftiie tafaeroad^ because, as he iHmself said of Marb 
HicKsa of AtBtria, h^ran to the altar to enjoy humble 
iqiQse with David i because he shut himsdf, as that 
Fritic^sdidyin hbonetory, where, in spite of the tumuk 
oflliQoourt, he found tiie qarmdof l^yMis, the des^of 
Saint John^ and tjbe mountaui, wUbh so often vi^ltiessed 
lliesonowsi>flesu&^^ 

Dr. Johnson, sit&t having severely oriticised YoutigHi 
Night Thoughts, finishes by comparing them to a Chinese 
garden. Fw my own part, all^ I. have wished to say is, 
diattf we impar^ally compare the literary woiics of other 
nations wkh those of France, wedudl find . an^ immense 
superiority in &vour of our own country. We always at 
ks^ equal others in strength of thought, while we are 
certakdy superior mp(»nt of taste ; and it should ever be 
remembered diat though genhis poduces the litoraryoff- 
sprii^, taste preserves it.' Taste is the good sense of 
jgenius, and without it the latter is only a silly species of 
subtimity. Butitisa^mgulararcumstaQcethatthissure 



0) BWGLX8B UTS&ATVRS. 

«itl!ri<Hif by which every thing yields the exact toile it 
0Ugfat to yield, is ftffl less frequently found than the emu* 
tlve &Oulty. Genius and wit are disseminated in about 
cqdal prepoftions/at # tmies i but thfare are only certwi 

^. nations, and among these only particular moments, at 
tiliidi taste appears in all its purity. Before and after 
0m moment, every thing £iils eifer from deficiency at 

^ excess. It is for this reason that perfect w<»^s are so 

' fare; for it is neces$ary that they aho^ild be produced in 
idie happy hours of united taste said genius. Tlusg^sit 
Ittnction, like tint of certam heavenly bodies, appetfs oniif 
to take place after the lapse of several ages, wA Aen elv 

' imu only for a moment. 



•93 



n.~SHAKSPEAIUE. 

AFTI^H having i|>Q](€n of Young, I proceed ta a 1909 
wh9 ha» swk a schism in Uter§itu|ie, who 'm idolized hy 
^ QQUftfry which gave him birth, admired thcpughout 
die North of Europe, and placed by SQOie Fr^ichpieii 
at the ^ 9f CorqeiUe and ^pine. 

1^ wai» Vdtaif ^ whp inadc France acquainted wid) 
Shak^seare. The opmion, whi^b.hie b$ $rst £^91^ of 
English trag^y, was, like most of hi$ early opinions^ 
replete with justice, ta^te, and impartiality. In a letter to 
LordBdingbroke, written about the year 1730, he ob* 
jserved : " With what pleasure did I see, while in London, 
die tragedy of Julius Caesar, which has been the delight 
of your nation for a century and a half!" On another 
occasioo he said : ^' Shakspeare created the English 
2$tagc. He had a genius abounding with vigcnrous con* 
cqption ; he was natural and sublime, but he did not 
pQ9se99 a single spark of taste, or the least knowkdgs^ of 
rules. I shall make a bold assertion, but a true one, 
whm I state that thb author spoiled the Ei^gH^ stage. 
Then^ are such beautiful scenes, such grand ^d terrible 
passages in his monstrous fiurces, which are called trage- 
dies^ that his pieces have always been performed with 
gpieat success.'^ 

Such ymt the 1^ decisions of Volt we as to $haks- 
pearei but when an attempt was made to set up this 
great genius as a model of perfectbn, when t|ie master- 
pieces of the Greek and French drama were declared in- 
iWor tohis wijtii?g»,then 4c author of Merope perceived 



94 uvGtuat tmftATUftx. 

diedaoger. He percdved that bjr d«vs^g the beAite 
of a barbarian he had misled those, ivfao ivere unabl^ 
lase Imnadf; to sepsrate Ae pare metal fiom the Aosa. 
He wished to xetKacehia steps, and attadted theidd he 
Imd worshiiqped; but it was then too late, and he in 
muo itpented that he had tipened tiie gate to m^Hoeriiy^ 
and ofM^^d^ as he himself said, m placing the monster on 
the altar. Voltaire had made England, which was then 
botlittieknown, a sort of marvellous country to supply 
l&ok with mdk heroes, opnions^ and ideas as he wanted 
Towards^ close of hb life he reproached himself with 
this false adrnkadon, of whtefa he had only availed faim« 
sdf to support his doctrines. He began to discovar its 
iamentat^ consequences, and mig^t unfortunately ex- 
chim : "£* quorum pars magna^uu^^ 

M. de la Harpe, an excellent critic, in liis analysis of 
Shakspeare's Tempest, which was translated into French 
byM. Le Toumeur, exposed to full view the gross irr6* 
gularities of Shakspeare, and avenged the cause of the 
French stage. Two modern authors, Madame ,de Stael 
Holstein and M. de Rivarol have also passed sentence on 
the great English tragic poet ; but it appears to me that 
notwithstanding so much has. been written cm this subr 
ject, several interesting remarks may yet be made. 

As to the English critics, they have seldom spoken 
the truth respecting their favourite poet. Ben Johnson, 
who was first the disciple, and then the rival of Shaks* 
jpeare, shared with him at first their good opinion. Pope 
observes that " they endeavoured to exalt the one at die 
expense of the other.** Because Ben Johnson had much 
the more learning it was said, on the one hand, that 
Shakspeare had none at all ;' and because Shakspeare had. 
much the most wit and fancy, it wa^ retorted on tite 
other that Jc^mson wanted both. * Ben Jolinson is only 



hamm^di the jaxa&at^dsy by Ins Fox and his Akhy* 

Pope displayed mqee imiartii^ty id hb ciitiGism^ 
*^ Of all English poets," says he, ^VShakspeare most be 
confessed to be the Barest and fullest subject for eriticisii]^ 
and to aflford die most wiqerous, as well as most ooiv 
^icuous instances, bodi of beauties and feuhs of s^ 
isorts.'* 

If Pope had abided by this ju^^ment, be would liav# 
deserved praise tx his moderation ; but soon afiterwardi 
he is hurried away by the prejudices of his country, an4 
extds Shakspeare above every genius ancient and noyodem* 
He goes so far^s even to excuse the lowne^ <^ aoiX)Q 
characters m the English poet by this ingenious compaf 
riscm. ^^ In these cases>" says he, " Sbakspeare's geniuf 
is like some prince of a romance in the disguise of 9 
^pherd or peasant ; a cert;ain greatness of spirit now 
and then breaks but, which manifest his higher estrsctioQ 
^d qualities."! 

* Surely at present better known by Every Man in his Hu* 
mour than any of the pieces mentioned by the author. The Fox 
isfiever performed, and the Alchymist, which Garrick reduced ta- 
a farce» under the title of the Tobacconisti for the purpose of dis^ 
playing his own iniiAitaUe powers in the character of Abel Drug* 
ger, has been also laid on the shelf^ none of our modern perform- 
ers having attempted that part except Mr. Emery. The great . 
actor of the present day, however, Mr. Kean, is about to appear 
in the character.— Editor. ' 

t M« de Chateaubriand has here been guilty of a^reatover* 
Sight, for I will not suppose that he has wilfully perverted Pope's 
meaning to support his own philippic agsdnst, our immortal bard. 
He seems to think that the above quotation was made upon trage* 
dyy whereas it was made upon comedy^ and every one must b6 
aware that strictures upon the one are very unlike tp be jiist as 
to the other. . That the reader may judge for himsdf I will quot<Sr 
the whole passage tfom Pope. <* In trBgtd^' says he^. **> nothi^ig 



M EKGL19H tITCRATVRK. 

Hieobald and Sir Thomas Hanmcr.folbvr ifi didr 
turn. Their admiration is without bounds. Tliey m 
tack Pope for having made some trifling coittetbns ki 
ttie works of the gf^t poet« The oetabratod Br. War* 
burton, who undertook the defenoe of lus fiiead, infiimis 
tis that Mr. Theobald was a pMt man, and Sir Thomas 
Hanmer a poor critic ; that he gave money to the fermer, 
and notes to the latter. Even the good sense and discri»' 
inination i^ Dr. Johnson seems to Ibrsake him when he 
ttpeaks of Shakspean^. He reproadhea Rymer and Vol^ 
tairefor living said that the English tra^ poet does not 
sufficiently preserve a verisimilitude of maoners^^Hlnt 
Shakspeare's Romans are not sufficiently Homan, and his 
kbgs not completdy royal. '* These,^' says lie, ^ are dia 
petty Cavils of petty minds. A poet overlooks the casuif 
al distinctions of country and condition, as a painter, satis^. 
fied with, the figure, neglects the drapery.'^ It is uselesa 
to descant upcxi the bad taste and fidttty of tfds criticism. 
The verisimilitude of manners, &r fiom being the drapery, 
is the leading feature of the picture itself. AU those cri^* 

was 80 sure to surprise and cause admiratidn, as the most Strang 
unexpected, and consequently most unnatural events and inci- 
dents ; the most exaggerated thoughts; the most verbose and 
bombast expressions ;: the most pompous rbimes, and thuSdering 
versificatioos. In eomtdy^ nothing was so sure to please as xattit 
buflbonerj, vile ribaldry, and unmannerly jests^of fools sad clowns. 
Yet even in these our author's wit buoys up^ and is borne above 
his subject ; his genius in those low parts is like some prince of 
a romance in the disguise of a shepherd or peasant; a certain 
greatness and spirit now and then break out, which manifest his 
higher extraction and qualities.*' Surely Pops distinctly aliude% 
io these last lines, to comedy. As an excuse for Uie iBtrD^ 
duction of low parts among those of a graver cast, he merely si^ 
that Shakspeare << writ to the people/' that << the audience was go* 
oerally composed qf the meaner sort," and that he was obliged to 
hit thie taste and humour of the times, in order to gain a subsist- 
«ncew«^EoxTo&. 



^, 1^0 inoesmtfy dwell on nature, r^ai^g the-'' ca« 
analtii^lnction of country and cofiditbn*' as prejudices 
fadksrnriy ore 13ke those pofideians who plunge states into 
ittrbarity^ by willing to annihilate social distinetions. 

I wUl xnt enter into the opinions of Rowe, Sleevens, 
Gi)don» Dennis, Peck, Ganrick, &c. Mrs. Mctfitague 
bos sispassed them all iB point of enthusiasm. Hume 
ffld Blidr? am the only persons, who keep within toferabfe 
hoimds* Sherlock has dared to say (and it required cou- 
rage even teat an Engli^man to go so far) that there is 
noAing iii Sfaak^peare, which can be called mediocrity ; 
iSkst aUhir has Wiitten is either exceHent or detestable ; that 
he never foliowed nor ev6n conceived a plan, excepting, 
pdrfaaps, di^H: of Che Merry Wives of Windsor ; but tiiat 
he often Morites a scene very wdl. Tliis critique very 
iie»ly q^proacfaes the tnilii. 

Mr. Mison, in hb Eifrida and Caractacus, has tried/ 
bat wilfaout success, to transplant the tragedy of Greece 
ipfto Cngiand* The Cato of Addison is now hardfy ever 
playeiL At the Theatres of Great Britain the audience 
is only diverted by t}ie monstrosities of Shakspeare, or the 
horrors of Otway. 

Were we contented tp speak vaguely of Shakspeare ^ 
Without delibeiiately Wjeighing the question, and witlu)iit 
redujelng crLucism to some particular points, we should 
nesrejp arrive at any prc^r explanation ; for by thus con- 
founding the age in whick he xvrote with the genius qfthe 
individmly and the dramatic art itself, every one miight 
praise or censure the father of the English Theatre af^» 
cprdmg to his indinatioB& It afqiears to us that Shaks- 
p^»*e shoukl be considered with reference to all the three 
points, wMeh I have just stated. 

First, then, as to the age in which he livedo Shaks-. 
peare cannot be very much admired* He wasvperliaps 
superior to. his cotemporarv Lope de Vega, but he can,. 



98 JEHGX'I^H ]:.lTERATtrRE« 

by no means, be compared with Gamier and Har^, idip 
at that time ^* lisped in numbers" among' us, and utterai 
tibe first accents of the French Melpomene, It has been 
ascertained too that the prdate Trissino had, ait iSat 
same period, caused regular trage^ to re-appear m 
Italy by the production of his Stq^honisba. Curi- 
ous researches have been made for the translatia»cf 
ancient author, which existed in Sh^peare's time, I 
do not find in the catalogue any other dramatic pieces 
than one caHed Jocasta,. taken from the Phoeniciws d* Eu- 
ripides the Andria and Eunuch of Tevenoe, the Me- 
nechmi of Plautus and the tragedies of Seneea. &'is 
doubtful whether Shakspeare had any knowledge of these 
versions, for he has not borrowed die foundation of hb 
plays firom these original authors, even when they were 
translated into English, but has worked upon some Eng-' 
Ush imitations of the ancient sources. For mstance/ wkh 
regard to Ronieo and Juliet, he has ndther takbn the iBlciry 
irom Giiplamo de la Corte, nor the novel of BandeUo, but 
"firom a small English poem called the Tragical HistoiT^ oF 
Romeo and Juliet. In l^ke manner, he does ndt owe the 
story of Hamlet to Saxo Grammaticus, because he did 
not understand Latin.^ It is known diat, ^fierally 
speaking, Shakspeare was an uneducated iftiterate man. 
Ife was obliged to abscond firom the country in which he 
resided, for having killed deer in a gentleman's park, and 
before he became an actor in London, took care of hor^ 
at the door of the tfaeatse, wHle the owners of them at- 
tended the representation. It is a memorable circum- 
stance that Shakspeare and Moliese were performers ; 
both these men though so higldy endowed with tnental 
• qualifications, were forced to tread the boards for the pur- 

* See Saxo Graimiiaticus from page 48 to 59. Amlethus ne 
prudemius agendo patruo susp^ctus redderetur ; stoliditatis &imu- 
latioDem amplexus, csitremum mentis vitium finxit. 



pQ9C obf^tdbmg a fiveljfaood. The one reg^ned the 
jdmnu^ art lost in the lapse of a^ ; the other brought 
:& t& perfection. Like two philosophers of antiquity tliey 
jsbared the empire of smiles and tears ; and both, perhaps, 
consoled tbem^lves for the injustice of fortune, th^ one 
in pointii^ the follies^ and the other the sorrows of man- 

As to the seccmd point, kis genius^ or natural talentSy 
Shakspeare is not less prodigious than Moliere. I do not 
knoWy indeed, that any man ever examined human na- 
ture with deeper pjenetration. Whether he treats of the 
IiassiiHis, whether he speaks of morals or policy, whether 
her defdorespr foresees the misfortunes of states he has a 
liiousand scaitiments to cite, a thousand thoughts to intro- 
duce, a thousand applications to make with regard to all 
the circumstances of life. It is with reference to genius 
that the fine isolated sceqes of Shakspeare should be con- 
ddoDedy and not merely as to their dramatic correctness. 
In tbis consists the principal error of the poets' admirers 
m ikigjbad : for if these scenes be conddered according 
to the rules of art, it would be .necessary to ascertain 
wheAes they are necessary, and whether they are properly 
coimected with the subject. The ^^ non erat his locus^^ 
occurs to the reader in every page of Shakspeare. 

Reverting, howevar, to the works of the great author 
himself, how beautiful is his third scene of the fourth act 
cfMacbedi! 

Enter Rossc. 
Mac<fuff. See, who comes here ? 

Miicoim, My countryman, but yet I know him not. . 
Mucduff. My ever welcome cousin, welcome hither I 
Mak^m^ I know him now. . Good God, betimes remove 

The means that make us strangers. 
Rot^e^ Sir, amen ! 

Macduf. Stands Scotland where it did f ^ '^ 

Ro88e, Alas, poor coiipffiiiC'^^. ^"^ *= ^ - 



100 



JINGLISH tlTBRAtVKZ* 



Almost afraid to know itself! It caimot 
Be caird our mother, but oar grave ; where nothiDgi. 
But who knows nothing, is once seen to smile 
Where sighs and groans, and shrieks that rend the air 
Are made, not mark'd ; where violent sorrow seems 
' A modem ecstacy. The dead man's knell ' > 

Is there scarce ask'd for ifhot und good men's Ibcai 
Expire before the flowers in their capa^ 
Dying or ere they sicken. 

Macduff", Oh relation 

Too nice, and yet too true ! 

Malcolm. What is the newest grief f 

llo98e. Let not your ears despise my tongue foi^ever. 

Which shall possess them wi^ the heaviest icmn€ 
That ever yet they heard. 

Your castle is surprised, your wife and babes 
Savagely slaughtered. ^ Xo relate the manner 
Where on the quarry of these murderM dttr 
To add the death of you. 



Malcolnt. 


Merciful Jheaven ! 


Macduff. 


My children too ! 


Hosse. 


Wife, children, servants, all 




fhat could be {bund. 


Macduff. 


And 1 must be.liromtbence:! 




My wife kill'd too ? 


JRoa^e. 


I have said. 


Malcolm. 


6e comforted. 


Macduff. 


tte has no children. — AH my pretty onea? 




Did you say all ?— O hell-kite, all ! 




.What, all my pretty chickens and their dam 




At one fell swoop ?*• 



What truth and energy in the description erf Scot- 
land's misfortunes ! The snaile, which is described to 
be only upon: the countenance of infants, the cries of 
anguish which no one dares to observe, the deaths so 
frequent that no one inquire^ for whom the, passing bell 



SKAKSFEARE. 101 

is tolling — does not €ach Frenchman fency that he sees 
the picture of his native land during the sway of Robes- 
pierre ? Xenophon has given almost a similar descrip. 
tion of Athens during the reign ot the thirty tyrants. 
" Athens/' observe he, ** was only one vast tomb, in- 
hsdluted by terror and silence. A k>ok, a motion, a 
thought became latal to the im£»tunate citizens. The 
countenance of the victim was studied, and the 
wretches sought there for candour and. virtue, as the 
judge endeavours to discover the marks of guilt in the 
countenance of a. culprk *;" 

Thediatogue of Rdsse and Macduff c&Ils to mind 
that of Flavins and Curiatius in Corneille, when the for- 
mer announces to the love^ of Camilla that he has been 
fixed upon to fight die Horatii. 

Curiatius^ Has Alba of three varriers made her choice I 

Flavins, She has, anU I amumiice-it. 

Curiatius, Who the three? 

Flavhta. Your brothers and yoarself. 

Curiatius. ** Who? 

FUrviua. I have said* 
You and four brothers. 

The interrogations of Macduff and Curiatius are beau- 
ties of the same order, "My children too ?'* ~" Wife, 
children,** — " My wife killed too?" — I have said • . ." 
'-^« Who the three?"—" Your brothers and yourself," 
-^Whor'*— " You and your brothars." But Shaks- 
peare's expression:— ".& has no children j^^ remains 
without a parrafleL 

The same artist, \vlio painted this picture, wrote the 
charming farewell »:ene in Romeo and Juliet. Romeo, 
who is condemned to exile, is surprised by the morning 
while tvith Juliet, to whom he is secretly anarried. 

* Xenoph* Hist.GraccLib. 2, 



1Q2 £NGLISK LIT£RAXU&2. 

Juliet. Wilt thou be gone I It is not yet near day ; 

It was the nightii^gieJe} and not the lark 

That pierc'd the fearful hollow of thine ear ; 

Nightly she singa in yon pomegranate tree. 

BeHere me, love, it was the nightingale. 
'Romee, It was the lark|the herald of the mom^ 

Nbnightiogale. Lookflovet what envious atrea^s . 

Do lace the severing clouds in yonder east ; 

Night*s candBes are hunit out, and jocund day 

Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain topa. 

I must be gone and live—or stay and die. 
.JtlUt. Yon light is not day light— I know it, I: 

It is some meteor that the sun exhales. 

To be to thee this night a torch-bearer, 

And light thee on thy way to Mantua : 

Therefore stay yet ; thou needst not to be gone. 
Borneo. Let me be ta'en, let me be put to death, 

I itfn content, so thou wilt have it so. 

I'll say yon grey is not the morning's, eye, 

'Tis but the pale reflex of Cynthia's brow ; 

Nor that is not the lark, whose notes do beat 

The vaulty heav'n so high above our heads : 

1 have more care to stay than will to go, 

Come death, and welcome— Juliet wills it so. 

How is't, my soul ?— -Let's talk— it is not dayi 
Juliet. It is, it is. Hie hence— begone— 4iway ! 

It is the lark that sings so out of tune, 

IStraining harsh discords, and unpleasing sharps. 

Oh now be gone— More lightand light it grows/' 

Hqw affecting is tihis contrast of the charms of taopx- 
ing and the last pleasures of a newly married couplie, 
with the honible catestrophe which is about to follow t It 
is of a nature still more innocent than the Grecians cai> 
boast, and less pastorsil than Amintas or l^astor Fido. 
I know c«^ one parting soene, which can bear a compa- 
rison with Romeo and Juli^. It is to be found in an In- 
dian drama, translated from die Sanscrit language; and 
even this arises from the novelty of the image, not at all 



SRAKSFCAaE. 103 

* 

frofn the interest of the situatim. Sacontala, when on the 
^int of quitting the paternal roof, fipda herself stopped : 

^ Saeontala. Ah I what isit that cliogs to the skirls of my 
robe, and detains me ? • 

Canna. It is thy adopted ehildi the little fawns Whose mouthf 
wl)en the sharp points of Cusa grass had wounded it, has been so 
often smeared hf thy hand with the healing oil of lagudi ; who has 
been so often fed by thee With a handful of Syamaka gndns, and 
now will not leave the fiyotsleps of his protectress. 

Stie. Why dost thou weepi tender fawn^ for mCf who must 
leaveour common dwelling place?— As thou wast reared by me 
when thou hadst lost thy mother, who died aooft after thy birth, so 
win my foster-father attend thee, idien we are separaled> with anx- 
ious care* Return, poor thing, retum*«we must part. 

l^SAe 6ur9t8 into tear^. 

Can. ' Thy tears, my clnfd, iH suit die occasion* We shall all 
meet agam ; be firm. See the direct road before thee, and follow 
it.^^ When the big tear lurks beneath thy beautiful eye-lashes, let 
thy resoludon check its first efforts to disengage itself.— >In thy 
passage over this earth, where the paths are now high, now low, 
and the true path seldom distinguished, the traces of thy feet must 
needs be unequal ; but virtue wiU press thee right onward.'* 

PupliBhed TranHatUm^Satontaita, 

The parting ^ene of Romeo and Juliet is not pointed 
out by BandeUoy and belongs entirely to Shakspeare, 
The fifty-two ccmin^entatora on this author, instead of ac- 
quainting us with a number of useless things, should 
have employed themselves in discovering the beauties 
which 2q>pertain to this extraordinary man as his own pro- 
perty, and those which he has borrowed from others. 
Banddfo thus records the parting of the lovers in few 
wordb : 

^ A la fine, cominciando I'aurora ^ voler uscire, si l^asciaronp, 
estrettamente fibbraciarorio gti amanU, e plena di lagrime e sospiri 
sidissero adio.**» 

* Kovelfe del Bandello, Secopda Parte. 



104 ENGLISH LITXBATURE. 

<< Athst^morfaifigbeginmng to breaks the two lovers kissed 
and ckseljr embraced each oCbefy then full of tears a^d sig;hs bada- 
farewell." 



It may be remarked that Shakspeafe generally maktH 
jgcest use df conttrasts. He likes to exhibit gaiety at tlie 
i^de oi sadness, to mix diversion and the shont of joy with 
funeral pomp and the voice of sorrow. The musicians, 
summonedto the marriage of Juliet^ arrive precisely in 
timetofoQow her to the grave. Indifierent as to the 
afflictions of the bouse, they proceed to indecent pleasan* 
tiies, and discuss matters totalljr irrelevant to die fatal 
event. Who does not in this recognize a true delineatiori 
of life? Who does not feel the bitterness of the pic- 
ture ? Who has not witnessed similar scenes f These ef- 
fects ware by no means unknown to the Greeks, and se- 
veral traces of them are to be found b Euripides; but 
Shakspeare works them up to the highest ^itch of tragedy* 
Ph«dra has just expired, and the persons forming the 
chorus do not know whether they ought to enter the apart- 
ment of the princess. 

FIRST DEMI-CHORXJS. 

Filaif tl dromen e dokei fieran domoui 
■ Ausai t*ana%^an de e/iifio aston brochon. 

SECOND DEMI-CHORUS. 

Tid*ou fiareisifiropo oloi manaiy 
Totiollaftraatein ek emafihalet biou. 

« Fim DemU Chorum. Companions, what shall, wc do ? Ought 
we to enter into the palace, and assist in disengaging the qu«en 
from her narrow confines ? 

Second DemUChorua. That care belongs to her sJaves. Why 
are they not present ? Those, who. meddle with too many zJSmrs. 
have no safety in life/' 



SSA£SF£AEX« 1Q5 

: In Alcestes, Death and AppoUoitre jokers. Deafii 
wishes to seize Alcestes, while yet young, because he 
Jdoesimt like an old victim, or as Father Brumoy trans* 
lates it, a wrinkled victim. These contrasts should not 
be entirely rejected, for they .scxnetimes produce an cflfect 
bcsdering on the terrible, though a single shade of expres- 
sion, whether too strong or too weak, is suffibientto loakd 
4hem immediately low or ridiculous. 

Sbakspeare, Uke.all tragic poets, has sometimes suc- 
ceeded in displaying genuine comedy, whereas comio 
poets have never aclueved the point of writing good trage- 
dy ; a curcumstance which perhaps proves that there is 
something of a vaster nature in the genius of Melpomene 
.than in that of Thalia. Whoever paints with ^ill the 
mournful side of human natu^, .is also able to represent 
the ridiculous one ; far he who attains the greater object 
can command the lesis.* But the mind, which particular- 
ly employs itself in the delineation of pleasantries, allows 
severer ideas to escape, because the faculty of distinguish* 
ing objects infinitely minute, almost always suppo8es.tbp 
impossibility of embracing objects, which are * infinitely 
grand ; whence it must be concluded that the serious is 
the true criterion o^ human genius, and exhibits our true 
nature. ^* Mao that is bom of a woman, hath but a short 
time to live, and is full of misery.** 

There is only one comic writer, who walks at die 
side of Sophocles and Comeille--r-it is Moliere ; but it is 
remarkable that his comedies, entitled Tartufe and the 
Misanthrope, greatly approached towards tragedy fi:t>m 

'• This I conceive to be what the lawyers term a non aequitur. 
It cannot be said that aU tfagic poets. have been able to write 
comedy. Rowe, for instance, whose tragic powers are indisputa- 
ble (witness histFair Penitent and Jane Shore) completely failed 
in the Biter, which was the only comedy he ever wrote.— Editor. 



106 • *' ENGLISH LITERAtURS. 

their sentiment, and if I may be allowed the txptd^ad ' 
in such a case, from their gravity. 

The English highly esteem the comic character of 
Falst^ff, in tlie Merry Wives of Windscar. In fact it is 
well designed, though often unnatural, low, and outre. 
There are two ways of bughing at the faults of man«» 
kind. The one is first to bring forward the ridiculous 
foibles of our nature, and then to pobit out its good 
qualities. This b the mode adopted by English writers; 
it is the foundation of the humour displayed by Sterna 
and Fielding, which sometimes ends in drawii^ tears 
from the reader. The other consists in exhibitmg praise^ 
Worthy features at first, and adding in succession, 1^ <&♦ 
play of so many ridiculous follies as to make us forget the 
better qualities, and lose at last all esteem for tlie noblest 
talents and the hiighest virtues. This is the French man- 
ner—it is the comedy of Voltaire-^— it is the Mfnl mrori 
which disgraces our dramatic productions. 

The partisans of Shakspeare, who so much extol hb 
genius both in tragedy and comedy, appes^ tomeas if 
they much deceived themselves, when they boast that fis 
style is so natural. He is, I grant, natural in sendmoit 
dnd thought, but never in expressHHi, some few fine 
scenes excepted, in which he rises to his greatest faeigKt ; 
and even in these his language is oftra affected. He h^^ 
all the faults of the Italians of his dge, and is eminerSly 
defective in simplicity. His descriptions are itiilated 
und (Jistprted, frequently betraying the man of badeduca<- 
tion, wl^ is ignorant of common granimar and the exaict 
use of words, and who combines, at hazard, poetic ex- 
pressions with things of the nlost trivial nature. Is it 
not hmentable that such an enlightened nation, which 
gpve birth to critics like Pope ^nd Addison, should be in 
extacies with tlie character of the starved apothecary iu 
Borneo and Juliet ? It is &e most hideous and disgust- 



SHAESFJBARB. . ,^^ 107 

tii^ bwkaqoe ; tlKmgh I dbw 
tbnKig^k, as is the case^with all the shadows of Sfaaks. 
.pear^* .Romeo makes a reflection upon this miscrabk 
IIUI% who dings so closely to life though loaded mtfa ail 
Its miseries. , It is the same sentiment which Homer puts 
\yith so i^uch simplicity into the mouth of Achilles, while 
iatite felons of Tartarus. " I would rather be the 
^^sl^ye <^a kboiir^ on earth, and lead a lif^ of penury, 
. tli^ reign the sovereign of the land of sliades*" 

It remains to consider Shakspeare with reference to 
the dramatic art, and after having been an eulogist, I 
jri^ npw be allowed to become a cridc 

All that h^s been said in praise of Shakspeare, as a 
.dramatic author, is comprised in this passage of Dr. John- 
spa : ^^ Sh^speare has no heroes. His scenes are occu- 
pied 9nly by men, who act and speak as the reader thinks 
]ehat hesbotlld himself have spoken or acted on the occasion. 
£vm wh^re the agen<^ is supernatural, tlie dialogue is 
,]iiV<l wiAklif^* Shakspeare's plays are not. In the critical 
sa)dngQrau9 sense, eithertragedies or comedies, butcom^ 
jpositions of a distinct kind; exhibiting the real state of 
sublunary nature, which partakes of good and evil, joy 
and sormw, mingled with endless variety of proporti(m, 
fOi iaiiiimerable modes of combination ; and expressing 
abe e^ran of ib€ wcHrld, in which die loss of one is the 
.g^daof another ; in which, at the same time, the reveller 
is hastening to his wine, and the mourner burying his 
tnaoAi.ki which the matigpity of one is sometimes de- 
featsd by the fitotip of another ; and many mischiefs and 
Jbenefits ait done and Mndered widiout design." 

Such is the literary paradox of Shakspeare's admirers, 

4Uid thek whole argument tends to prove that there are no 

. diamadc rules, or that the art is not an art. When Vol. 

taire r^oached himself with having opened the gate to 

mediocrity, by too highly praising Shakspeare, he doubt- 



kssineaBrtftbtn^ thttfifbe^&ii^ all rtdefl attd netbm- 
ing to pure natorey nothing was more easy than to eqoA 
the best plays of the £ngfishnat]oiu if, in order to at^ 
tain the summit of the dramatic art, it is only vequi^te tD 
hes^ together incongriious scenes, without eonsequoioe. 
orccxmexion, totdendthebwwiththe nobk^ tomit^te 
bivlesqurwiih the pathetic, to station^ a water-carrier, near . 
amanascb and a vender of vegetables at the side* of a* 
qoeen, .who may not reasonably hope to become the ited- 
<^ Sophodes aiid Racine ? Whoever finds him^ so^- > 
atedinsDdeiy a&tos^mudi <^ menand things, if he 
wiU only talis die trouble of retracing the events of a ^- 
gk day, his conversations with the artisan or die ministec^ : 
tl|e.sddieror theprince-^if he will only cecal die objects: 
windipa^ed under his eyes, the ball mid die fiincralpro^^ 
cession, the luxury of die rich and the distress of tibe poor- 
«-%-if 1^ will da diis, I say^ he will at onceiuive consp^ied 
a drama in Shakspeare's style.' It may poftapS' be 4e&-- 
cirnt in genius, but if Shakspeare be not diseova^ in^ 
tbe piec^ as a writer, his dramatic skill vM. b& exacdy 
imitated. . r 

itis: necessary, thereficH^, to be first persuaded that 
there is an arf in composition for the ^ge or press, dint 
thb art necessarily contains its genera, ssidthat epi^^aitt^ 
has it's rules. Let no (xie say that these genera: miA rides 
are arbitrary, forthfey are the produce olF Nature b^rseig^ 
Art has only sepanited that, which Nature has confouiid^,^ 
selecting the most beautiful featuresivkhoutswervii^lNsn; 
the likeness of the great model. Bsrfection tends in no de^ 
gree tow^d^ the destruction of truth ; and it may be^said 
that Racine, with all the excellence of bi&orf, is morena- 
ttiral ihm Shakspeare, as the Betvidere Ap<^, in a& his 
grandeur of divinity, possesses^ iiiora of the hirnianvfiorm 
isind air than a coarse Egjrptian statue. 



Bc^if Shakspeare, say^hisddknders, simagalnairrdcs^ 
confounds aU die genera of the eut, and desRbrojs vi^imi* 
littidey he at leaet produces more bustle in bis »Deiies». 
«d iofusefrmbre terr«»r tisox 

I wffl'QOt exafiune to what extent this assertion is tme; 
or whether the liberty of ssqy^ or dcnng every^ iimig if 
not a natural consequence of diis multitude qf charactersk ^ 
I w3l not examine whether, in ^akspeare's plays» aU pro* . 
ceeds^mpidlf towards die catastrophe; whedier the plot: 
is savelled md unravelled with art, by incessantly pro* 
longing and forwaidsng the intore^t -excited in thq nunds 
of the audience. I will.only say that if our tragedies be 
radly deficioit as to incidents (which I by no meanaal* . 
low) it is principally ascribable to the subjects of them; 
But thb does not prove that we ought to introduce upon 
our st^ die monstrositfes Of iht man, whom Voltaire . 
ciUed a drunken smage* A single beauty: in Shakspeare - 
does not atone for his innumerable £iults. Agothic mo- 
nument may impart pleasure by its obscurit}% and even by 
the ddEcHrmity of Its proportion; but no one would think 
of chusin^ it as a model for a palace. 

It is .particularly ccmtended that Shaks^>eare is a great 
i!|s»ter in the art.of causing teai:s to flow. I da not know 
whether it 13 the fir^ of arts to make a person weep, ac» 
cordmgto the way in which that expression is. now tm- 
derstobd. Those ate genuine, tears which poetry pro- 
duce8».but it is necessarythat there should be as much 
admiration as sorrow in dvs mind of the person who sheds 
diem* When Sophodes presents to my view CE£pus co« 
vered with Uood/my heart b^ready to break; but my ear 
is struck with a geirtle. melancholy,, and niy.eyes are en* 
chanted by a spectacle transcendaiidy fine. I experience 
pleasure a^nd pain at thesame momfent. I haye before me 
a frightful trudi, and yet I feelthat it isoiily an ingenious^ 
iteitatbn of an, action, .which does not exist, perhaps ne- 



110 BirCII^B LttttAtJtMt. 

vcr.exjifttd. Hqioe fay tpirs flow t?ilii4d||^« iffoqgi, 
but it 1^ while listening to the accents ^f the Muses. 
Those daughtm of Heaven weep, also^ ^Vt .they4Q nfl^ 
^figure their divine faces by grimace. The ancients ifer 
picted even their Furies with beautiful countenancesp i^ 
par|cntly because there is a n^oral beauty in remorse* 

Wiiile discussing this important subject, Jet^me be al,- 
lowed to say a few words respecting tlie quarrel which at 
j^esent divides the literary world. Part of our men of let- 
ters admire none but foreign works, while the other part 
lean strongly to our own school. According to the formefy 
, the writers, who existed during the reign of Louis XIV^ 
had not sufficient vivacity in their style, and betrayed a 
poverty of conception. According to the others, all this 
pretended vivacity, all these efforts of the jw^sent day, to* 
wards the attainment of new ideas, are only decadence an^ 
corruption. dnepartyreject3 all rules, the other recals 
them all. 

To the former it may be observed that a9 wthor la 
lost beyond redemption if he abandons the great ino^elsi 
which can alone keep us within the delicate bounds of 
taste, and that it is erroneous to think a style possess^ of 
yivaci^ which proceeds ik/ if^nitum in exclamations mf^ 
interrogations. The second age of Latin literature. had 
the same pretensions as ours. It is pertain that Tacitus, 
3eneca, and Lucan possess a more varied style of pplour^ 
ing than Livy, Cicero and Virgil. They a&Gt]^esame 
concis^ess of ideas and brilUancy of expressipo, whicjl^ 
>ve at present endeavoiir to aJS^n. They toad j&eif de- 
scriptions; they feel a pkaswe informing fM^Mtes to tht^ 
f^ mind^s eye;" they abound in sentiment, Cot it is al-» 
ways during corrupt times that morality is most talked of. 
Ages, however, haye pas^d away, and without regard to 
the/Ap2A:^j.ofTr$9an> time, the pattfv i^ awarded to thp 
re^ of Augustus, ia which imagination and the ar(^ floO'^ 



tfSASSrE'Ai*. Ill 

fished at lirge; Iff ezsonpks were instructive, I could 
add that another cause of decay in Latin literature was 
the confusion of dialects in the Roman empire. When 
theGauIsraatift (he Senate; when within the walls of 
Rome, 'whifch was become the capital of the world, eyeiy 
jargon might he lieard from the Gothic to the Parthian, it 
may easily be supposed that all taste for the beautie3 of 
Horace and Cicert) was at an end. The similarity is 
istriking. Atleast, if it should still remain fashionable in 
Fiance to study foreign idioms, and inundate us with 
translations, our language will soon lose its florid simplici- 
ty, and those gallicisms, which constitute its genius and 
grace. 

One of theerrOTs, into which men of letters have faf- 
len, when in search of unbeaten roads, arises from the 
uncertainty which' they observed to exist as. to the princi* 
pies 6f taste. A person is a great author in one journal, 
and a miser^le scritMer in another. One calls him a 
brilliant genius, another a declaimer. Whole nations va- 
ry in opinion. Foreigners deny that Racine %vas a man of 
genius, or that his numbers are possessed of harmony ; 
and wejudge of English writers in a very diflferent way to 
the JKLnglish thcniselves. It would astonish the French 
if I were to mention what French authors are admired 
and despised in England. 

All this, however, ought not to create an uncertainty 
of opinion, and cause original principles to be abandoned, 
under a pretext of there l>eing no established standard of 
taste. There is a ^ure basis, which may always berelied 
tipon, namely, ancient literature. This remains an in- 
variable model. It is roupd those, who point Out such 
great examples, tliat we ought at once to rally, if we 
would escape barboosm. If the partisans of the old 
school go a little too far in their dislike of foreign litera- 
ture, it may be overlooked. Upon this principle it was 



tiiat 3<>ileau opposed Tasso, asserting tlot tlie age ra 
vMcti he lived, had too strong a propensity to fdU iota 
the errors of that author* 

Still by ceding ^methingto an ad^raoy, shall wt 
not imore easily bring public ojj^on badk .to good tno- 
dels ? May it now be allowed that imaipffiation and the 
arts were iodii^cd to too great an extoM in the reign of 
LouisXIV ? Was not the art ,of /towf^^* wftirt?, as it 
is now termed, almost unknown at that time ? Wlrf 
should it notbe admitted that the style of the present d^ 
has really assumed a more perfect form, that the tiber^ 
of diacussmg zrxy subject li^ brought a.gieater number 
of truths into drculaticni, that the sciences have imparted 
jtnore fimmess to the human nuad, and more precision 
to human Ueas ? I know tlu^ there is dai^^ in alkiw* 
fOg all this, said ibst if one point be yielded, it is difficd^ 
to know ^wheie to stop.; but 8till.is.it not poBsiUe that^ 
m»K by prooeeding cautiouidy between the two .Uiiey, 
and always jeaniiPg raAer towaids the.aocienttlttn.tfae 
iQQ^firn one, semy Uiate the two schocds, and ctoadbs §nm 
themthegraiusdfanew-era? JBediisas itmay, ewty 
effort to ppoduce se gitat a^nevdutiQii.will be aboftiis^ :]f 
we remain irreligious. Imagination and sentiment am 
essentially combined with religion. , A species of litera* 
ture, from which the charms oftendemess.arebanished^ 
can never be otherwise than <by, cold, and merely posses- 
sed of mediocrity.* 

* The readfiM«iIliluMre fiumdJfi tlie finregdag dissertatidn a 
co^iAdereble.portion'of genpine critifodacameD, trmigled with &» 
snujl share of the nadoiial partialities and prejudices, which M/ 
de Chateaubriand so freely ascribes to others. When Voltaire's 
earlier obaervations are against Shakspeare it is declared tbaif 
wMle young, his criticisms were <« replete with juiBiice, taste, slid 
impartiality," bat when he is not sufficiendy abusive, hk later 
attacks are preferred. Shakspeare is placed, by M. de Chateau* 
briandj below such crude authors as Gamier .and Hardy. He is 



us 



III.— BEATT11&. 

;r ;T]p[B gauus pf.SooliaocI: iias, during^ poemMjage, 
SQslained^lsalhilioiKmrl.^.lto^ Addi* 

son^ Steele^' Rtnve^ fiee^ had ekv^tedjtci .a. b%h degneci 
(tfpbefection^'i&i^ifflsdcdQbQastofnQ historians superior, 
to Hunb aod Robertson^ and of no poets more richly 
^tsd tfaattiThcmisoD and Boattie. The tatter, who nev^» 
k^ hjbxoative i d#sat; was , a mkiisiar and a professor of" 
Philo90ph7,readentatasinalltownm the north of \Scot«. 
Uddl%: ; iHeis distmguished asa po^tlby la c^raoter entirely 
novd^.and.i^ifhea: he touched Jbb fyre^ he in sonoieidegi^J 
brought liack the* toiies:of ^ aDclent. barda* . His prin;* : 
cipaU^uadla&iit vrtre;/ ia a lanall'poem 

eiyidsdliie^BdinatiGl, orthe Prdgoess! of.Geniusi.i Best-; 
tir iidsfaedto pQurtcay the eflfeo^crf* the M 
iiiDuntair(8heidi»d) And ta reiraceithe inspnatiohs ^whtehi 
hehknsdfhaddoubdess felt.; \Tfae original idea of the. 

allowed to have ^ regained the dramatic art after it had \^eh -lost 
ia the lapse of ages," but this is only for the purpose, of describe 
ing Moliere as having brought it to perfection. Racine is de- 
clared to be more natural than Shakspeare, and it is 'deemed 
literarir treason that the latter should have been elevated to the side 
t^CortieiUe. I venture^ however> to doiibf whether a coo^>efent 
judge, of ajv^' a«rfo«i, can perose the scenes,. from which M. de 
ChftteauMaiid himseif has made extracts to show their compara- 
tive skUly without giving a decisive preference to our countryman.^ 
la a^te^of ^( the mmitrontie%*^ of this «< bardaHmn*' as M. de C. 
call^ him,4ir tl^^ drunken eevojrr, if he prefers Voltaire'e express- 
aio&Mi hk own^ may the day soon arrive when Britain can boast 
of possessing another dramatic genius equal to Shakspeare! 

ESITOR. 

P 



114 £llGLISfi tiXBRATURB. 

Minstrd is charming, and most rf the ^scrq>ti€nis are 
very agreeable. The poem is written in metrical stanzas, 
like the old Scotch ballads,* a circumstance whidi adds 
to its singularity. It 13 true that the author^ like all 
foreigners, is sometimes too diffiiaei ^nd sometimes defici- 
ent in taste. Dr. Beauie Ukt& to enbq^ on common 
maxims of morality, without powMmg tteort dCgixrii^ 
them a ne^v appearance. In general, men^oflviUkntiima-^ 
gmqi|i(Sn aqd tender feelings ace xiol sufidsHtly fsofiniadk 
in theip thoughts, or forcible ikilfaeir reasoning; * .Atdent 
passions^ or great genius ai^ necessary tdrjiraards tbe. Mn^ 
c6pdim of great ideas. There is a oertmnlcahwnm of 
heart and gentfeness oF^natupe, wfaicIl4Mem wiexoebii tike 
ailb&he. " t , 

A wdork likb tlic Miii$^et caa l>ai^' -be analyzdl; 
but I will extract a few sSianzas firom tihe fiDst book of Ais^^ 
pleasing production. I would rather emplc^' myself in 
disph^ihg die beauti^ of aivauAorthan ien naeely ]iraist|i*. 
gatii% his faults. > Lwoidd rather extc^ a mrfter^tfatoiiii^^ 
Ifaser him in die reader's, onfesi. Mtweolnexv inatiustioii ia: 
bettd: conveyed by adtniralionr 1km eensCrBe ;> Sor dir 
one reyodb the presence of genius, wUilethe difier a»^ 
fees itself to a discovery of blemishes which all eyes 
cotild have perceived. It is in tlie beautiful arran^- 
mentsof Heaven that the Divinity is perceived!, and. not. 
by a few. irrepilarities of nurture. 

* The stanza ofBeattie's MinstreHs anarowed copy^^ Utedne* 
used in the Fairy Queeiu « Ir Imve endeavoutcid^'' «af$- tlie uufi 
thfOF^.^ to inutate Spenser io the measure cff laarerae^a^ia the; 
JiaxiBDoviytiamj^eity. and* variety ti^ Thiamtfa^urei 

plea»es.ih3F^ar, and seems, from its Oothic strttctureiand . ofigjmal» 
ta bear some relatibn to the sub ject and t&pirit of the fiioeoi/* 

' Editdr; 



« Ab! wli6 ciEn1^4i#nr Wd it feld xJMib 

The steepf^Mrlieti^ dcme's proud temple 9iAsit% a&r ; 

Ah 2 who oin tell hoW ttiaXiy & toul ^uUime 

Has felt the inftutthce of madigtiaftt ^tar, 

ADd irag*d with'FoTttthe sm eternal ivUr ; 

Check'd by the acoff df Aiide, bf tiity't lr6W1i, 

And Pof«rty^i ttnconqiteMKbte bar ; 

In life^slomr Tale remote faaa l^M abtie, 

Tkdn drO|itihto the irafe, niiq^tied and unknown ? 

And yet thelangqiTrof inglorious days 

Not equally oppressive is to alK 

Him, who ne'er listen'd to the voice of praise, 

The silence of neglect can Ae^er appal. 

There are, who, deaf to mad Ambition's call, 

Would shrink to he^r the obstreperous trump of Jt*ame : 

Supremely blest, if to their portion fall 

Health, competence) and peace. Nor higher aim 

Had he, whose simple tale these artless lines proclaim. 

This sapient age disclaims all classic lore ; 
Else I should here, iii cunning phrase display 
How forth Tbk I^ihstabl fared in daysof yore» 
Right glad ef heart, though homely in airay ; 
His waving locks and beard all hoary grey : 
And from his bended shoulder decent hung 
His harp, the sole companion of his way, 
Which to the whistfing wind responsive rung ; 
And ever aa he went some mci'ry lay he sung. 

Fret not tl^ielf , thou gfitterii^ cldld of l^ride, 
That a poor Villager inspires my strain ; 
With thee let l^ageant^ and Power abide : 
The gentle muses haunt the sylvan reigh ; 
Where through wild groves at eve lihe lonely swain 
Enn^tur'd roams, to gaze on nature's charms. 
They hate the fiensual, and scorn the Vain; 
The parasite their infliience never Warms, 
Nor him whose sordM told (he love of gold alarms* 



lis XKCLI$|I J.I7|;{tATUftS. 

Thou|;h richest biKes tte pea<^k's ptapt* «4ee|iy 
Yet horror screams from bis discordsmt tbrpat*. 
Rise sons of harmony and hail the mom» . ... • ^ 
While warbling larks on russet, pinions float : 
Or seek at noon the woodland scene remotef . 
Where the grey lionets carol from tiie hill. i 

O let them ne*er with artificial note^ 
< To please a tyrant strain their Uttlc bill) 
But sing wbfit Heaven inspiresi and wander whqre they noil! 

Liberal, not larish, is kind Nature's hand ; 

Nor was perfection made for man below. 

Yet all her schemes with nicest art are plann'd^ 

Good counteracting ill, and gladness woe; - 

With gold and gems if Chilian noountains glow; 

If bleak and barren Scotia's hills arise ; 

There plague and poison, lust and rapine grow : 

Here peaceful are the vales, and pure the skies, 

And freedom fires the soul, and sparkles in the eyes/' , 

To this extract I will add a few more stanza3 towacdb 
the end of the first book : 

« Oft when the winter storm had Ceas'd to rave. 
He roamed the snowy waste at even, to view 
The cloud stupendous, from th' Atlantic wave 
^ High-tow'iing, sail along the horizon blue : 
Where, midst the changeful scenery, ever new, ' ' 
Fancy a thousand wond'Tous forms descries. 
More wildly great than ever pendl drew. 
Rocks, torrents, gulfs, and shapes of giant size, 
And glittVing cliffs on eHffs, and fiery ramparts rise. 

Thence musing onward to the sounding ^h«re,. 

The lone enthusiast oft would: take his way. 

Listening, with pleasing dread, to the deejp roar 

Of the wide-welt'ring waves. Ii>, black aiTay 

When sulphurous cjouds roU'd on.the aptumnal jlay, 

Even then lie hastened fron^i the, haunt of man,. 

Along the trembling wilderness to stiay,^ 

What time the lightning's fierce career began. 

And o'eir heaven's rending arch the raltU^g Ihujoder, rn* 



Rei^oiidvetollie'siniflitlyidpeywlieiiall * 

la aprighdy dimce the tllhige yduth were ]oiti*d, - 

Edwin, of me!o^ aycr heM in thrally 

From the rudls gamtel far it^mbte reclin'd, 

SoothM with the soft notes warbling in the ^ind. 

Ah then, tJl jollity seMi'd noise and folljr, 

To the pure sbul by Fancjr's'fire refinM, 

Ah what is miith but turbulence unholy. 

When irilfa the chaarms contptf^d <tf heavenly melancholyi 

Is there a heart that music cannot melt ? '• 

Alas ! how is that rugged heart forlorn ! 

Is there, who ne'er those mystic transports felt 

Of solitude and melancholy bom ? 

He needs not woo the Muse ; he is her scorn. 

The sophist's rope of cobwebs he shall twine ; 

Mope o'er the schoolnum's peevish page ; or moumy 

And delve for life in Mammon's dirty nune ; . 

Sneak with .the scoundrel fox, or i^nmtwith gluum-ewin^ 

¥or Edwin, Fate a nohUr doom had plann*d ; 
Song was his favourite and first pursuit; ' . 
The wild harp wrang to his adVent'rous hand, 
And languished to his breath the plaintive flute. 
His infant rouse, though artless, was not mute: 
Of elegance, as yet he took no care; 
For this et time and culture is the fruit ; 
And Edwin gain-d at last this fruit so rare ; 
As in some future verse I puipose to declare.'^ 

^ It mlt;be seen from the last stanza that Beattie in- 
tended to continue this poem, and he did in fact vvrite a 
9ecoi^c«Kto sometime iErfterwards, but it is very inf^riolp 
to the first, Edwin having attained manhood, tak&s 
walks ^' of wider circuit" than before. 

^ One evening, as he fram'd the careless rhymey 
It was his chance to wander far abroad, ' 
* Ai^ ^'er a lonely eminence to elimb, 
Wi9«b heretofble his foot hAd never trod;- 
. A w^ appearM below, {^;deep retired abode< .,,.... 



US ZHCtnU t.IT»tATVRS. 

. For locks on r0ekip«r4i«ft.^riiiipefqiell> t 

Here ficorch'd with ligbUiii^« tlieie wMi Ivf Sf^lHKs 
FencM from the north and oust thii :eft^Se deU. 
Southward a mouBtMn rote wkb eaajr svellf 
Whose long long gmteft eterafti murmur made % . 
And tow*rd the western em a strevukt Mh * * 
WKere, thrcmgh ^ clilb> the ey»» remM^.Mrte^fVf * 

* WM kiUw^tnd gli^rios imres^ aiid«kksia» goldiarnqfVk 

Along this narrow inJley you mi|^bt 0ee 
The wild deer sportiug on the meailow ground^ . 
Andy here and therr, a ^olit^ry Iree, * / 
'^ ' Or moasy stone, or rock wSlh woodUl^e .nercMn^d* } . 

Oft did the cliffs ^'•Tfsr^i^; th^iOUjOd 
Of parted fragments tumbling inmi> on high $ 
And tram the summit of that craggy mound 
The perching eagle oft was heard to. 0^9 
Or on resoandiag wiags to shoot adiwart the sky. 

One cultivated spot there w»Si that spread '. 

Its fiow'ry bosom to the noon*d^ bearn^ 

Where many a rose-bud rears its. blushing head)' . . 

And herbs for food with future }>lenty teem. 

SoothM by the Hilling sound of grove and stream, 

Romantic visions, swarm on Edwin's Soul : 

Be minded not the sun^s last trembling gleans, 

Nor heard from far the twilight curfew toll ; 

When slowly on his ear these moving accents stisie." 

It is Sie voice of an aged hermit, idio, dfier having 
known the iilti^ons of the world, has biiried himself m 
iihk retreat, for the purpose of ind^lgifig in meditttian, 
and singing the praises of i^is Creator. Tins venerable 
old man instructs the young troubadour, and rbvealst^ 
him the secret of his own genms. . It is evident that this 
Mras a most happy jdea, but tl^ execution has not an- 
swered the first design of the author* The hermit apeaks 
too long, and makes very trke obsdrvatkms wStipfeg^ni 
to the grandeur and misery (rf^ humw life^ Sottae ^* 



sages are, however, ta be&und indusflccond book which 
recal the. charm created by the first. The hnt stiophea 
of it are consecrated to the memory of a friend, whom the 
poet had lost. It appears that Bcattie was often desdned 
to feel the weight of sorrows. The death of his only 
son affected him deeply ^nd withdrew him entirely from 
the so'vioe of the Moses, He stiU lived on the rocks of 
Morven, but diese rocks no longer insfHrcd his song. 
Like Ossian, after the death of Qscar/ he suspended Us 
harp oa the branches of an oak. It is said Uiat his son 
evinoed great poetical talents; perhs^ he was the young 
minstrel, whom a fiilfaer had fedii^y described, and 
whose steps he too soon ^sed to trace upon the summit 
oftiiiemountaini 






i . .- 



.../ ./ 






RECOLLECTIONS 



OF 



AMERICA. 



ON THE ISLAND OF GRAGIOZA, 

OJ^E OF THE AZORES. 



IN the sprmg of 1791 I made a voyage to Ameriod. 
Before the vt&del, ij^ch conveyed me, reached her desd* 
nation, we Vftct in want of water, as well as provisions ; 
and finding ourselves near the Azcms, resolved to touch 
there. Several priests were passengers in the same sUp ; 
they were emigrating to Baltimore, under the guidance of 
Ac superior St. • . M. N. Among these priests were 
some foreigners, particularly Mr. T. . • a young English- 
man df an excellent family, who had lately become a con- 
vert to the Roman faith. 

The history of this youth is too angular not to be re- 
corded) and will perhaps be more particularly interesting 
to the English reader. 

Mr. T. . . was the son of a Scotch woman and an 
English clergyman, who was, I believe, the rector of W. 
though I have in vain tried to find him, and may possi- 
bly have fijrgotten the right names. The son served in 
the artillery, and would no doubt have soon been distin- 
guished by his merit. He was a painter, a musician, a 
mathematician and master of several languages. He 
united with the advantages of a tall and elegant person 
the talents which are useful, and those which make iis 
court the society of their possessor. 



124 E&COLt«CTXOJf S O? AUZMICA. ' 

M. N. superior of St having vinted LondOR m 

buskifiss, I believe ia the year 1790, became acquifiated 
inrith young T. • . This monk had that warmib cS soul 
which easUy makes proselytes c^ men possesuog the vi- 
rid ima^nation by which T. • . was disti n g u idi e d> It 
was determined that the hitter shotild repair to Fario, 
send Aeredgnationcf hbconmussicn from that pface lb 
the Duke of Richmond, embrace the CaAcdic. rdigioo, 
and, aiter Altering into holy orders, acoonqpeny M. N. to 
America. The project was put in execution, aodT. •• 
in q>ite pf his mother's letters, which he could not read 
without t^os, embarked for the new woild. 

One of those chmces, which decide our destiny, cans- 
cid me to sail m the same vessel as tlua youi^ man. It 
was not long before I discovered hb good qualities^ and I 
could not cease to be atonished at Uie singular circum- 
stances, by wfaich a wealthy Englishman of good hkfb 
should have thus been thrown among a troqp of Catbotic 
priests. T. • .perceived, oa his part, that I understood 
him ; but he was afiaid of M. N. who seenoied averse to 
too great an intimacy between his disciple and myself.. 

Meanwhile we proceeded on our voyage, and had opt 

yet been able to opoi our hearts to ea(& ol^. At 

length we were one night upon deck without any qf die 

, other priests. T. . • related to me his advoitures, and we 

interchanged assurances of sincere friendship. 

T. . . was, like myself, an admirer of nature. We 
used to pass whole nights in oHiversation upon deck, when 
all were arieep on board the vessel, except die saikxB 
upon duty, when all the sails were furled, andthes^p 
rolled dully through the calm, while an immense sea ex- 
tended all around us into shade, and repeated the ma^- 
iicent illumination of the star-sprinkled sky. Our 
conversations, at such times, were perhaps n<^ quite un- 
worthy of the grand spectacle which we had before qut 
eyes ; and ideas escaped us which we schould be ash&m« 



q4 ^exp^sm^ in sociely, but which I shoidd faehafoA 
rt0 ireal s»d ivEifee down. Itwasinoneoftheaediarmipf 
nights whofi we were abcmt My leagues fix>m tiie coa^ 
of Vkgjum^ and scudding under a light breeze from the 
west^ wluch bore to us the aromatic odour of the land, 
'dutf T. • • composed fer a French Romance, an air wMch 
exhaled the very spirit ci the scene that inspired it. I 
haw preserved tUs valnable con^poskion, and Whra I 
liappen to repeat it, emoti(ms arise in my breast wladi 
few pec^Ie can comprehend. > 

Before this period, the wind having driven us consi^ 
derably to the nordi, we found ourselves under the neced- 
sily of then also taking in water, See. which we did at 
/Saint Peter's Island, on die coast of Newlbumflaiid. Dur* 
k^ the fiartmght we were onshore, T. . • and I used to 
nmbleamoi^ the mountains of this frightftil island, and 
lose ourselves amidst the fogs that perpetually prevail 
there. The sensitive imagination of my fiiend found 
Measure in the^ sombre and romantic scenes. Some- 
times, when we wandered in the midst of clouds and 
storms, listening to the roaring waves which we could not 
discern, and lost ourselves upon a bleak desolate headi, 
or gazed at the red torrent which rolled among the rocks, 
T. . . . woidd imagine himself to be die bard of Cona, and 
in his capacity of Demi-Scotchman, begin to declaim 
from Ossian, or sing to wild airs, composed upon the spot^ 
passages from that wcnrk. His music often led me back 
to ancient times — ^^ 'Twas like the memor}- of joys tjiat 
are past, pleasing and mournful to the soul. ^' lam ex- 
tremely sorry that I did not write down the notes of some 
of these extraordinaiy songs, which would have astonish- 
ed amateurs and artists. I remember that we passed a 
whole afternoon in raising four large stones, to the memo- 
ry of an unfortunate man^ in a little episode after the man- 
ner of Ossian, taken from ray Pictures of Nature^'-^idL pro. 



13M ' ZZQOttUCVlOHU OF Alflftl€A« 

dcdol^ kfiown to some men of fetters, irUch has beAi 
bjtatioyed. We thougbt oTRoussttHi, wlio amused hiiri^ 
;^ whb overturning the rocks in his i^nd, Aat hendght 
see what was under them. If we had not the genius df 
die author of Emily, we liad at least his mmplicity/ At 
other times we botanited. 

On our arrival at BaltimcM, T. ..« without biddBng 
mefineweU^and witfiODtappearikigto feel the indmacy 
which had subsisted between us, left me one morning, 
and I have never seen him since* When IietiitdtoEng^ 
land, I endeavoured to discover hisiamily, batb vaifi« 
Ihadno wish but to ascertain that he was happy, and 
take my leave; for when I knew htm I was not what i 
Bowarn. At that time I rendered him some servioeyasMi 
it is not congenial widn my di^KJiition to reminda person 
of the obfigations conferred by me vrfien rich, now that 
misfortunes haveovertakoi me. I waited upon the 1^ 
^p of Londixi, but in die registiers, wUoh he permitKd 
me to examine, I could find no clergjrmap of T.'s mmie. 
I must have mistaken the ordiography • AH 1 know is that 
he had a brother, and that two of his sisters had pboesat 
court. I hav^met with few men, whose hearts faarmcK 
uiaed more with mine tlian that ofT. He had, neverthe^ 
less an expression in his eye of some concealed Aou^t, 
which I did not like. 

On the 6th of May, about dght o^ckck in die mom- 
ii^, we dbcowred the Peak of the island bearing die 8am€^ 
myne, which is said to surpass ki height that of Tenerift. 
Soon afterwards we perceived lower land, and towardli 
noon cast anchor in a bad road, upon a rocky bottom^ 
and in forty five fathoms water. 

The island of Gracio2a, before which we lay, is com- 
posed of small hills, that swell out towards their summits, 
so as to resemble the graceful curving form of Corinthian 
vases. They were, at the period o( which I am speak- 



niE i|Xi'Aii» or GftaciesA. 1ST 

aploQ9»t odour petndisr Id ^Amicb* In the midst of 
tiwflie unAriatii^oarpetB, appc»9d qrttuiietricil divisiQiisof 
tbefieIdapfaniiodo<voloniicstoM8, ni coloiir Uack and 
wbilr, heaped one oponaoother to ifae height <^ a laaa^ 
hceast Wild%«tite8, widididr vid(tka^ litde 
foqte iga amngod U|xn the btaoic^ 
erai^madbBplet^wtrea^^ through 

tbecojuiibyv AoahbejivaaviaibfeatthelopoCaiaoiiii* 
tain, and at; itabs^ .in a nook thesed roob of tbe fittle 
toim Santa Cma« The n^bcde island, wkh dl itabays, 
eapes, oradisa and promontodesy waa reflected fiaam Oe 
wap^ GaeatnafcodTOciBsconslitttlodksezter^ 
dai|r» aodiormed a coabast, by their mokf coloiir, to 
tiiaieatocaaofapmyfaaigiogt^ and a]pp»tiiigin 

tfM«awJik6aSverliiQe, TfaepeakaCFedcIslaaidybgFaod 
GirfK2Jif9«a, inif^ raiaedits iieaddyive a man of' 

c)o|]da> «&d Ibrine^ tbe background of die pklute. A 
iSM^eaierald4odadcy<£thBfairBst ainoae supfilied die 
iBsan tii^<^ the scene, whik the numenxis sea«&iuiaiid 
^&fV crows ^9f the Azores flew scaesanaig md croaking 
rqwid our vessel aaidiehgr at uchor, or cut die surfiiee 
oftbe bi^owwi&thdrimgBcx^andfldiBtfaa sh^ofa 
sidde, augmenting around us nobe, nwdon and Uk. 

It was decided diat I dbould hndm ktterpceter with 
T.aDOtheryauiiginan, and the second oqitain. The 
boalt wiaboistodottt, and AesaUors began to nawr us to- 
vxtf^ diQ shpre^ which waa about two imlcsfrom the Mf* 
Ite 1^. not k^ before we obaervedmbiistle on the coast, 
and ^ {Hxiraoe «^smcltti<g Xhemoaoratit came 

within hail, we dfistkiguisbed in it a maxibat of monks. 
Th^addr^sedusin Bortugueae* Italian and English; 
and we r^lijo^ m these thr^e languages^ that we were 
Frendunen* Great alarm firevailed in the island. Our 
Tesadwasthe fiiat of large bulk tbatLd ever appeared 



128 R£C01.I.BCT:X01fS OJf AlCSftXCA* 

liiece, and ventured to anohor intfae dangecounraad where 
she now was. Thrnew tri^cotouitd flag bad fikewise-' 
never been seen in tbb part of the world before; and 
the inbalMtants knew not but that we might be fh>m 
iUgiers or Turns. When thejr'saw that we wcM-e 
the- human form, and understood what was said to 
us, their joy was universal* The monks invited us ]b(i» 
their pinnace, and we soon reached Santa Cruz, where we 
landed with difficulty on account of a vicdent suige Wluch 
continually beats there. 

All the inhabitants of the idandran to see us. Four 
orfiveunhappymen,iirfio had been hastily armed wilb 
pikes, formed our guard. The uniform of lus Majestf 
attracting particular notice, Ipasssed for the i mpo r l aii t 
man of die deputation. We were conducted to the Ck>- 
vemor's miserable house, where his Excellent, who was 
attired in an old green dress which had formerly been or-* 
mooiented with gold lace, gave us an audience of recep*; 
tion, and gradously permitted us to pundiase the aitic^ 
we wanted. * 

After Haas ceremony we were dismissed, and the ho^ 
nest monks conducted us to a laige hotel, wUch was neat, 
commodious and mudi more like the Governor's pdbce; 
than the one he inhabited. 

T. ... had founda Mowcdujtirymw, The broker, 
who was most^ctive for us, was a Jersey sailor, V9boBt 
vessel had been wrecked at Gracioza several years before. 
He wastiieoidy one (^ the crew who escaped deatii, a^d 
being not deficient, as to inteBigmce, he perceived that 
there was (Hily one trade in the island, that ci the moidcs. 
He resolved, therefore, to become one, listened with great 
docility to the instructions of the holy fathers, learnt For-, 
tugueze as well as a few words of Latin, and being recom* 
mended by the circumstance of his belonging to England, 
this wandering sheep was admitted into the sacred fold. 



he was ddi^tedto find any one that understood h. He 
yikSk^ wlA us* ill die island^ aiJ9 tbok'd^ to hb cbnvb^t 

BirfrGflp&dttz* appcSi^ t^ wWiouf imich exa^^ 
gehttioA, to be pc^ltfd ivith Afbtik^, aiidthe ioHowihg ^u". 
cStim^estfiteitJay sehretoconve]^ati'kle£l ofth(f igti(»^mce, 
il' whteH the^ good iktHei^ fdnMtied f!t tlib' cb^^ of tb^ * 
dghteeSfflh'denttirjr, 

We harf fttferi my^ttlbd^jf cbnducted to af sftii^ ♦ oi^i* 
ghttifi ttie* parisbthiirbh, uhder the idea that we hl«i^tt6Vd^ 
fiRSettso dtfrlbti^ ail instnimeht. THe oi^anist took his^ 
sMt with*a^trititn|:^iit aur, atid played a xAosf: muAicible 
^tecordant sort of litaiiy; tryitig'aU the timetodi^over our' 
fjiotirlitidn in* onrlooks. We apjpftured to be cSxtfeihfely' 
aiirpliaed; T....iiKJn im3diBstl^appix>adted; arid scemi* 
fjdjtist tbiirach th<* keys DVith gr^ ttspeci. The organ* 
i»tmde's%iw to hfcn, aS' if saytng^^: ♦* Take care.v Ali^ 
air oikfe' Ti. . • \ ^B^lay<^^ hitttnohjr of a celebrated' pa^i- 
iri%le1i)Niie<^tottlteiti<^'^^ IF^ii^ld be' (fificulif 

tbHifta^fc at-more attitisang sfeehe: -fhe' orgkhist' ^tnbsfl? 
fi^' td thft'eifrdi ; tHenibnfcs stood^pdiniotitlu^d tvkh paltf 
ittf IcWlfciifcd^H^^sagcii vf(A\t thfe brothers ift attehdaMctf 
ifk^i^'thb'nibfit'rSdicttlous ge&tiit^s of astdnisihmeifatttirouh^ 

IfeVm^-embatfeea bur provisions oh thdM 
HWJ'dupsdVeS rdtbrnedofi board, adcoinpanied^by the g6otf 
flWiets;\i*o took charge of oiif letters for fiuropej aritf 
Icft'ui with grcfeit protcstatioris of ftiendsMp; The vesset 
tedbettteridangert^; dutfeg the* prfeccdin^'nighf; b^' * 
Wisk gftkr frbmtKe Ea^t: We \*isftied to vteigh anchor*,' 
btft;ai5W^ expected, Icist^it: Sbdhi was the ejid-o^ont en^ 
pediti(>n. ' . 

R 



1JK> ftlicOLLBCTlOKS Or AlCimiC4f 

•^>^ vfords eancertmig the Cataract qfCanai$^ 

THIS famous cataract b the finest b the known 
world* It is formed by the river Niagara, which proceeds^ 
from Lake Erie, and throws itself into the Ontario. The 
fall is about nine miles from the latter lake. Its perpendi- 
cular height may be about two hundred feet ; but the 
cause of its violence is that, from Lake Erie to the cata- 
ract, the river constantly flows with a rapid declination for 
almost six leagues : so that, at the place of fall, it b more 
like an igipetuous sea than a river, and a hundred thou- 
sand torrents seem to be rushing towards the gaping 
gulph. The cataract is divided into two branches, and 
forms a Qurve, in the shape of a Horse-shoe, the length of 
which is about half a mile. Between the two &lls is an 
enormous rock hollowed out below, which hangs with aS 
its firs, over the chaos of the waters. The mass of the ri« - 
ver, which precipitates itself on the south side, is collected 
into the form of a large cylinder at themwoentit quits the 
brink, then rolls out in snowy whiteness, and sUnes in 
the sun with every variety of [Mri&matic cdours. That, 
which falls on the ncxthem ^de, descends in a terrific cloud 
fike a cdumn of water at the deluge. Innumerable bows 
are to be seen in the sky, curvmg and crossing over the 
abjTss, and from it proceeds a horrid roai^ which is heard 
to the distance of sixty miles around. The water, thus 
foriously falling on the rock beneath, recoils in clouds of 
whirling spray, which mount above the summits of the 
forest, and resemble the thick smc^e of a tremendous con- 
flagration. Enormous rocks, towering upwards likegi* 
gantic phantoms, 4ecorate the sublime scene. Wild wal* 
nuttrees, of a reddish' and scaly appearance, find the 
means of desolate existence upon these fossil skeletons** 
Scarcely a living animal is seen in the neighbourhood, ex- 
cept eagles, which, as they hover above the cataract in 



tH£ CATARACT «F CAITAPA. 131 

search of prey, are overpowered by the current of air, and 
f<»rced widi giddy fall to the bottom of the abyss* 

The spotted Carcajou j suspended by its long tail firom 
the extremity of a lower branch, tries to catch the frag* 
iQents of drowned carcases which are thrown ashore by 
the boiling surge^ such as those of elks and bears ; while 
rattlesnakes announce, by their baleful sound, that they are 
lurking on every side. 



VISIT 



TO THE COVKTKt Of T^S SAVAGlSc 



I TOOK my departure for the ccaintiy of the Sava« 
ges m a packet boat» whidi was to convey me from New 
York to Albany by Hudson's river. The passei^ers 
were numerous and agreeable, consisting of several wo^ 
men and some American Officers. A fresh brees^ con* 
ducted us gently towards our de$tination. , Towards the 
evening of the first day, we assembled upon deck, to 
partake of a collation of fruit and milk. The women 
seated themselves upon the benches, and the men were 
stationed at their feet. The conversation was not loi^ 
kept up. I have always remarked that whea nature^ ex- 
hibits a sublime or beautiful prospect, the spectators 
involuntarily become silent. Suddenly one of the oonu' 
pany exclaiined : " Near that place Major Andre was 
executed." My ideas instantly took another turn. A 
very pretty American lady was intreated to sing the bjJ- 
lad, which describes the story of that unfortunate young 
man. She yielded to our solicitMion ; her vok:e evident* 
ly betrayed her timidit), but it wa^ exceedingly replete 
with sweet and tender sensibility. 

The sun now set, and we were in the miifet of Icrfty 
ttiountains. Here and there huts were seen^ sU2^)end^ 



oyer iheftl^fs^p^, but ihcy soon liisappeared aInoBg lir 
ckmfe qf mii^ted whke and m^ bAie» wUch bxmzcniaSfy 
^$teA past these 4weUins$. When the aimmits of ihr 
t(Kkf gnd &F6 imreilfsc9ifteiied abore these clouds, ow 
snigbt have (&m^ them to be tsbnds floating in die oir. 
The majestic river, the tides of whidi run North anA 
$oui^') \»f oustretcbed before us. in a sirait line, indosed 
betwfite two exactly parallel banks. Suddenly 
it took a turn to ^the West, winding its golden waves 
wround a mountain wiudi overlooked the river with all 
ita plants, and had ihc appearance of a large boquei^ tkd 
at itir base With azure riband. We preserved a pit)found 
aiienoe ; ht my own part, I hardly ventured to breathe. 
Nothicg intennpted the plaintive song cf the fair passen- 
ger, except the sound (rf which we were hardly sensible) 
made by the vessel, as it glided before a light breeze 
dirou^the water. Sometimes the voice acquked an ad- 
dition^ sfw^eU when we steered near the bank, and in two 
or three places it was repeated by a slight echo. The 
andents would have imagined that the soul of Andre, at- 
tracted by d» impressive melody, fch a pleasm^ in mm', 
muring its last notes among ttie mountains. The idea 
of dus brave and unfortunate man, who was a lover and 
a poet, who ffied for his country in the flower of his age, 
regretted by his fellow citizens and honoured by the tears 
of WashingttKi, spread over this romantic scene a softer 
tilit. The Ameriban officers and I had tears in our eyes 
—I from the effect of the delicious state of mind into 
which I was plunged — ^They no doubt from the recollec- 
tion of their country's past troubles, which doubled the 
ealmniss of the prei^ient moment. They could not, with^ 
out a sort of ecstacy;^ contemplate a district, lately cover- 
/ed with, battalions in glittering arms, and resounding 
witlithe noiseof war, rtow buried' in profound tranquillity^ 



1S4 EECOttiCTIONlS^ OF AHtRICA^ 

Ughted by 'the last fires of day, decorated With all the 
jgomp of nature, animated by the soft whistle of Virginian 
nightingales^ and the cooing of wild pigeons ; while the 
^ple inhabitants were seated on the point of a rock, at 
some distance from their cottages, and quietly observed 
;Our vessel as it passed along the river beneath them. 

The tour, which I made on this occasion, was in feet 
only a prelude to a joiirney of much greater importance, 
^ plan of which I communicated, on my return, to M. 
de Msdesh^rbes, who was to have laid it before govern- 
ment I intended nothing less than to decide, by a land 
investigation, the gre^t question of a passage from the 
South sea into die Atiantic by the North. ' It is known 
that, in spite of the efforts made by Captain Cook, and 
sid)sequ€nt navigators, this point has always remained 
doubtfid. In 1786 a merchantman pretended to have en* 
tered an interior sea of N<xth America at 48 lat. N. and 
those m board asserted that all, which had been con- 
sidered as continental coast to the North of Califomidy 
was a long chain of islands extremely close to each otiier. 
On die other hand, a traveller from Hudson's Bay saw 
die sea at 72^ lat N. at the mouth of the river Ciiivre. 
It is said that a frigate arrived la^t summer, winch had 
been sentby th& British Admiralty to ascertain the truth 
orfillacy of die discovery made by the merclmntman a- 
bo^i^meirtioned, and that this frigate confirms the truth 
of Cook's reports. Be this as it may, I Wil) just state 
what was my plan* 

If government had favoured the project, I should 
have embarked for New- York. There I should have 
had two immense covered waggons made, to be drawn by 
four yoke of oxen. I should have also procured six smatt 
horses, such as those which I used on my first expedkion/ 
I should have taken with me threp European servants, and 



yiSiT TO XHC ,$AVA^£S# 135 

three savages of the FiverNatioi]^ BmsKXis operate to 
prevent theinention of spme particulars of the plan- wlucb 
it was my intenticm to follow ; the whole forms a iunall 
volume ia my possessiop, which would not be useless to 
those who explore unknown regions. Suffice it to aagr 
that I would have renounced all ideas of traversu^ the 
deserts of America, if it would have cost the simple in- 
habitants a single tear. I lAould have wished that among 
die savages, the man with a hng beard mght, long after 
my departure, be spoken pf as the friend and Benefactor 
of the human race. 

When I had made every prepsoration, I shoold have 
set out directly towards the West, proceedjAg along the 
lakes of Canada to the source of the Mississippi, which I 
should have ascertained. Then descending by the plains 
of .Upper Louisiana as £ur as the 40th degree of Northern 
Is^tude, I should have resumed my course to the West^ 
so as to have reached the coast of the South Sea a little 
above the head of the gulph of California. Following 
the coast and keeping the sea always in sight, I i^hould 
t)ext have proceeded due North, thereby turning my 
back on New Mexico. If no discovery had altered my 
line of progress,^ I should have pucsued my wzy to the 
mouth of Cook's Injet, and thence to the river Cwm in- 
72 degrees lat. N. Finally, if I Iiad no where found a 
passage, and could not double the 'most Nortiiern Cape 
of America, I should have re-entered the United States^, 
by Hudson's Bay, Labrador and Canada.. 

Such was the immense and perilous voyage^ which I 
proposed to undertake for the service of my countiy and 
Europe. I calculated that it would occuipy (^l acpid^ts 
^art) ^ye to six years. There can be ao. doubt of it$; 
utility^ I should have given an account; of. the cdiree 
kingdoms of Nature, of the people and theif.maqnersw . I 
qhouki have sketched the piimjp^ riews^ ^Ci . » 



A»to the periU of tfiejourney, they iveretm^ubtedv , 
1]^ gnsat, and^ tiiMme^ i<i4io mate diee daieulflrioto oa 4ixfl. 
subject, wiO^probaUynotbe^feposed ta tStwA aamif^ 
sfttage aa&ms. Faofie sAarm ttein8eii(i«9,^ hcy^^eiw, fd(» 
much in tfaisraapect* When Iwofi expfeaedto any dw- 
ger^ in Amerioa^ It wwahraytr local; andoMiflbd by' mf: 
ovm imprudsiioe') not* by tbe lahAilaAtB* For Bi9tsaiee«r 
when I was attbecalBraetof.Niaganiy^tbe Indiana kidto 
beii^ broken whicfa^ hod^finmerly bmo* tlRftti; I wisliedt- 
injBpite of my guidefl^ oquwcntattorig^ to d«8i»siid to ^ 
bottom of the &U by means of a rock» th&cfaggy pointEP 
oCiiFhich projected^ it was< about two fauddstd feet hig^i 
aodJ^madeilleattenipf;. Insp^eCtheiioaritig cataniotr 
addifright&l abyss which gsqped bencadi me^ my head' 
did. not swins, and L descended about forty feet^ 
fant hare tlie rock became smoodi and^ vertical ; nnr weie\ 
tbere«»y bi^er roots w^fiMures for my feet to rest upon* 
Lremainedhanging^all my length^ by my hands^ neither 
bpingable:to.reasoendnw procoedv feding my fii%en 
o|ien by degnees from the: weight of my bbdy) and oon- 
8]dm% dsadi inevitable; There are'few^meo, who have» 
iadiex^mrse of thdr lives^. passed tvi^sueh minutes as t 
exiperienced ov^ the yawning horrors of Niagio^; My 
hands at length opened and I &1U By most exiraordU* 
nary goodfortune I alighted' on the naked fock It was 
hard enough to have dashed me in pieces, and yet I did 
not ML much injiHtd; I was within half an indb of the* 
abyss, yet had not rolled into it; but' when the ookl' 
water began to penetrate! to my ^in, I perceived that I 
hid not^escaped so easily as I atfirst imagmed. I fdt in- ' 
supportabld pain in my left' arm ; I hM broken itabove 
thfi eiiJ^Wv' My guide^; i^ observed: me from^liove^- 
aod to whom t made signs, ran to look fbr some-^ savage;* 
wiio with niiK^htrDuble drew^me up l^ bifdh confer and^ 
CQrrkdmetothsiRhabitatiti06#- . 



VISIT TO THE 8AVA6SS. 137 

This was not the oidy risk I ran at Nii^ara. On 
anriiong at the cataract, I alighted and listened my horse's 
faridfe round my arm. As I leaned forwwd to lock 
down, a rattle-srake moved in the ndghbouring bushes. 
The horse tocdc fr^t, reared on his hind 1^ and ap» 
punched the edge of die precipice* I could not disen* 
gage my arm from die bridle, and the amma), with in* 
creasing alarm, drew me af^ hinu His feet were al« 
ready on the point of slipping oyer the brink of the gul^i, 
and he was kept from destruction by nothir^ but the rdns* 
My doom seemed to be fixed, when the animal, astonish- 
ed at the new danger which he all at once perceived, ma^ 
a final efibn, and- sprung len feet from the edge of die pre* 
dpice. 



S 



138 



A NIGHT 



AMOirO TK& SATAGSS OF AK^Ilie^* 



IT is a feeling, natural on the ^art of the unfortunate, 
to aim at the' illusions of happiness by the recollection c( 
past pleasures. When I feel wearjr of existence, when T 
feel my heart torn by the effects of a commerce with man* 
kind, I involvmtarily turn aside, and cast a look of regret 
Enchanting meditations! Secret and inef&ble charms df 
a soul which enjoys itself, it was amidst the immense 'de* 
scrts of America that I completely tasted you ! Every orae 
boasts of loving liberty, and hardly any one has a just 
idea of it. When I travelled among the Indian tribes of 
Canada— when I quitted the habitations of Europeans, 
and found myself, foe the first time, alone, amid^^ bound- 
leas forests, having all nature, as it were prostrate at my 
feet, a strange revolution took place in my sensations. I 
was seized'With a sort of delirium, and followed notrack,. 
but lycnt from tree to tree, and indifferently to the right or 
left, saying to myi^lf : ^^ Here there is no mukindicitjr of. 
roads, no towns, no confined houses, no Fresidaite, Re* 
publics and Kings, no laws and no human beirlgs.--«Ku- 
man beings ! Yes — some worthy savages, who care noth- 
ing abPMt me, nor I about them ; who, like myself wan- 
der wliercver inclination leads them, eat when they wisji 



A KXCST AUOtfG THE SAVACKS* I3£^ 

ily aiHi sleep wfacit liiejr please. To ascertain whether I 
was realljr in possession of my ongiDal rights, I put in 
practice a thousand acts of human will, as fancy su^estr 
td them. These proceedings highly enraged the great 
Dutchman, who accompanied me jas a guide, and who in 
bis soul believed me to be » madman. 

Released from the tyrannical yoke of society, I com* 
prehendedtfae charms of diat natural mdependence, f£d: 
suipassing all the pleasures of which civilized man can 
have an idea. I comprehended why a savage was ilnwiU* 
ing to becc^ne an European, why several £uropeans had 
becomesavages, and why the sublime discussion an the 
inefua^y of conations was so littl^ understood by most 
of our philosophers. It is incredible to what a state of lit* 
tleness nations and their highly boasted institutions were 
ceduoed in my e^res. It appeared to me that I was look- 
ing at the kingdoms of Ae earth with an inverted telescope^ 
or rather that I myself was enlarged, exalted, and contem* 
plating, with the eyes of agiant, the remains of my dege- 
nerate feUow creatures. 

Yau, who wish to write of n^mkind, transport your- 
selve& into tl^e deserts. Become for anmstant the chiit 
drai of nature~4hen, and not till then take the pen. 

Among the innumerable enjoyments, wluch I e^pe*^ 
rioiced dtiring these travels, one in particular inade a 
Ihrcly impression upon my heart^ 

* Almost all that follows is taken from the inanusGri];>iof mf 
Travels in America» which perished together with several other 
incomplete works. Among them I had begun one, Let Tablc' 
•ux de ta Mature ^ ii^ich was the history of a savage tribe in Ca- 
nada, moulded into a sort of romance. The frame, which inclose* 
ed ^ae pictured of natufe, was entirely new, and the paintings 
themselves, being strange to our climate, might have merited the 
indulgence of the reader. Some praise has been bestowed upon 
my manner of delineating nature, but if the public had seen the 
wark now mentioned, written as it was by fragments on my knee 



140 'll^COL'LEClXONS OF AHSRICA» 

' Iwasgomgtoseethecdc^tedditaiaQttrf'Nii^^ 
hadtaken my road through the Indiaiiiiatk>ns, which in- 
habit the wikte west of the America^ plantations. Mf 
guides were the sun» a pocket dompass, and die Dtltds- 
man whom I have mentioned. This man peifecttjr under^ 
stood five dialects ci the ISsron language; Our eqiBpi^ 
consBsled of twahorses, to the necks erf* whidi we fastened 
a bell at night and then allowed them to go at large in the 
ibrest. At first I was rather afraid of losing them, but my 
guide removed tUs apprehen^on by pdntihg out tiie ad- 
mirable instinct, which causes these sagacious animals ne- 
ver to wander out of sight of our fire. 

One evening, when we conceived that we had pro- 
ceeded so far as to be only about eight or nine les^ues 
from die cataract, we were just about to alight from our 
hearses, that we might prepare our hovel, and light our 
fine acc(»ding to the Indian custom. At thb moment 
we perceived a tdaze in the woods, aiid soon afterwards 
espied some savages seated on thb bank of the same 
stream, which flowed past us. We approached tiiem, 
and the Dutchman having, by my order, asked permis- 
sion ta pass the night with them, it was granted on the 
spot. Accordingly we all began our labours together. 
After having cut branches from the trees, fixed stakes in 
the ground, stripped off bark to cover our palace, and per- 
formed some other general services, each of us turned his 
attention to his own ai&irs. I fetched my saddle, which 

among the savages themselves, in the forests and on the bsuiks of 
American lakes, I presume to state that they would probably have 

• found matter more deserving their notice. Of all this work* only 
a few detached leaves remain in my possession, and among them 

'is the Night, which I now insert. I was destined to lose by the 
revolution fortune, parents, friends, and whiatisnevcs'tober^gaiii* 
ed when once lost, the detail of reflectiohs as they naturaUy arose 
during my travels. Our thoughts are periiaps the only property 
to be called really our 6wa--even these were taken from inae. 



A NIGHT AMONG TH£ SAVAGfift* 141 

SuiitUyiy. served as my pil^w duiing the whole journey. 
The guide atteoded to our horaes» and with regard to Ms 
prepacationa for the nig^, be was not so delicate as my* 
aclf» and gmierally avmled himself of some old trunk of 
a tnoe for hte bed. Our work being finished, we seated 
ownadLves in a circk, with our legs crossed like tailors. 
In llie pentre rfus was an immense fire, at which we {we- 
{nand oar'maize for sttiqper# I had a bottle of brandy 
loo, which not a Istde mcreased the gay s|>irits of die sa- 
vages* They produced in return some 1^ of bear, and 
we made a loyal repast. 

The party was composed of two women with infants 

M tlie bniast, mid three warriors. Two of the btter 

might be abmit forty to forty^^five years of age, though 

their $^pc»red to be much older ; the third was a young 

man. - 

The convo'sation soon became general, that isyto say, 
by some brdken expresiuons on my part, and by many 
gesturies, an expressive kind of language, which the In- 
dim tribes comi»^nd with astonishing readiness, and 
which I learnt among &em. llie young nian alone pre- 
served an obstinate silence, keeping his eyes sted&sdy 
fixed on me. In spite of die black, red, and blue streaks, 
with which he w^ disfigured, and die further mutilation 
of havu]^ no ears, it was easy to perceive the noble and 
senile expression which animated his count^ance. 
How favorably did I thkik of him for not liking me ! He 
appeared 'to be mentally reading the histcny of all the 
calamities, with which Europeans had overtiurthened his 
country. 

The two little children, which were entirely naked, 
had fallen asleep at our feet, before the fire. The women 
took them gendy in their arms, and laid them upon skins, 
with that maternal care which it was delicious to observe 
among these pretended savages. The conversation at 



I43i^ E£C0j;.Z.B€TIO£rS Of AMBAICA. 

kfigth died away by degrees^ and each person wv3l to 
rest in the place which he had hitiberto occupied. 

I was, however, an exception^ beiqg^ unatde to closfif 
my eyes. Hearing the deep breatlung of nqr compa^ 
nions en all ^des, I raised my kiad, and resting on my 
elbow, contemplated, by the red light of the esqtirkig fine, 
the sleeping Incfians stretched around me. 1 acknow* 
ledge that I found it difEcult to refrain from tears. Good 
3foung man I How affecting did thy repose i^ppear to me! 
Thou, who didst seem so fc^in^y aUve to. the misfor* 
tunes of thy country, wert of too loily and superior a dis- 
position to su^ect a stranger of evil intentioa;. Euro- 
peans, what a lesson is this for us! These savages, whom 
Ave have pursued with fire and sword, whoih cmr iava« 
rice has not even left in possession of ashovdfiiUof earth 
to cover their dead bodies on all this vast continenthereto* 
fore their patrimony — ^these very savages received their 
enemy in their hospitable huts, shared with ham their, oil-, 
serable repast, and their couch to whkh remo^^se was a 
strangep, enjoying close to him, the sleep of the virtuous. 
Such virtue^ are as much above our coaveational one% as 
the souls of these uncultivated people are superior to those 
of man in a state of society. 

The moon viras bright^ Heated by my ideas I rose 
and took a seat at some distance, upon the root of a tsee 
which crept along the side of the rivulet. It was one of 
those American nights, which the pencil of Diaix never 
will be a|;>le to pourtray, and wluch I have remfemb^Gfid.a 
hundred times with delight , 

The moon had reached the highest point of the Hea* 
vens, and a thousand stars glittered in the great disar ex^ 
panse. At one time the queen of night reposed upon a 
^roop of clouds, which resembled the sumnK|t of lofty 
mountains crowned with snow. By slow degrees these 
clouds stretched themselves out, assuming the a|^arance 
of waving transparent zones of white satin^ or ttansfOTmi* . 



1 VZCBT AMOUC f HE SAVAGES. 143 

iti^thems^Ives into li^t frodiy flakes, of whici) countLess 
numbers wandered through the blue plains erf* the firma- 
ment At ahother time the aerial vault appeared as if 
transformed into the sea shore, where horizontal beds^ 
and parallel ridges might ht discovered, apparently form- 
ed by the rcgiriar Hnx and reflux of the tide. A gust ot" 
wind then di^)er8ed the clouds^ and they formed them- 
sdves into large masses of dazzling whiteness so soft to 
the eye that one almost seemed to feel their defifcate elas^ 
tidty. The landscape around me was not less enchant- 
ing; The cerulean velvety ligKt of the moon silently 
spread over the foresl^ and at intervals descended among 
the tree^ irradiatirig in some degree even the deepest 
thickets. The btt>ok, which flowed at my feet, hiding 
itself now an^ then under the umbrageous oaks, sallows 
and jsrugar-trces, and re-appearing a little further off, all 
l»*iSiant from the constellations of the nighty resembled an 
azure riband studded with diamonds, and transversely 
marked with black lines. On the other side of the stream, 
in a large .natural meadow, the clear light of the moon 
shone without motion on the turf, extending like a cur- 
tain over it. At one moment the birch-trees, which were 
scattered here and there through the SaVanna, were, by 
Ac caprice ttf the brecze> confounded with the soil on 
which they grewi and enveloped in a sort of grey gauze ; 
at another ihey ceased to retain this chalky appearance/ 
and buried themselves in obscurity, forming, as it were, 
islands t^ floating shade upon a motionless sea of ligkt. 
Silence and repose prevailed throughout the scene, ex- 
c^t when a few leaves fell here and there, or a sudden 
gust of wind swept past, accompanied occasionally by 
the dismal note of the owl. At a distance and at inter- 
vials too I heard the solenm sound of the cataract at Ni- 
agara, vdiich, in the calmness of night, was lengthened out 
frpm one desert to another, and expired an^ong the soli- . 
tary forests.' 



U4 KJ^COLLECXIOKS Of AHEBJOJi. 

The astonishing gnandexurofthis pictiue and the me*. 
' lancholy, which it inspired, are not to he expitssed by 
human language. The most beautiful nights in Ewjope 
can convey no idea of it. In vwi does the Iniaguiadon 
try to roam at l^ge amidst our cultivated plains, for 
every wliere the habitations of mankind oppose its wish ; 
but in this deserted region the soul delists to bury and 
lose itself amidst boundless forerts— it loves to wander, 
by the light of the stars, on the borders of immense lakes, 
to hover on the roaring gulph of terrific cataracts, to £dl 
with the mighty, mass of waters, to mix and confound 
itself, as it were, with the wild sublimities of Nature. 

lliese enjoyments are too exqui»te« Such is our 
weakness that excess of pleasure becomes painful, as if 
nature were afi-aid of our forgetting that we are men. 
Absorbed in my existence, or rather wandering entirely 
from myself, having no distinct sentiment or idea, but an 
ine&ble indescribable sensation, resembling the mental 
happiness which we are told that we shall feel in anbther 
world, I was suddenly recalled to the one which I inha- 
bit. I fdt iU, and was con\dnced that I must indulge 
my reverie no further. I now returned to our Ajouppa^ 
and lying down near the savages, soon sunk into pro- 
found sleep. 

On awaking in the morning, I found my companions 
ready for departure. My guide had saddled our horses ; 
the warriors ymt armed, and the women busy in collect- 
ing their baggage which consisted of skins, miaize, and 
smoakedbear. I arose, and taking fi*om my portman^ 
teau some powder and ball, and a box made of red wood,^ 
distributed these among my associates of the night, who 
appeared to be pleased with my generosity. We then 
separated, not without signs of mutual regard and regret, 
each touching his forehead and breast, according to the 
cusjtom of these children of nature, which appeared to me 



A NIG9T AMdKa THE 8AVAG£S. 145 

very superiOT to the ceremonies practised by us^ Even 
to die young Indian, who cordially took the hand which I 
offered, we all parted with hearts full of each other. Out 
friends pursued their way to the North, being directed by 
the mosses, and we to the West under the guidance rf 
my compass. The warriors departed first, the women 
followed, carrying the baggage and infants on their backs, 
suspended in furs. The little creatures locked back at 
us and smiled. My eyes for a long time followed this 
affecting and maternal spectacle, till at length the group 
oitirely disappeared afnong'the ffickets. 

Benevolent savages, who so hospitably enterta^i^ me, 
and whom I doubtless shall never again behold, let me be 
here penmtted to pay the tribute of my gratitude. May 
you long enjoy your precious independence in those de- 
lightful solitudes, where my wishes for your happiness 
will ever follow you. What comer, my friends, of your 
immense deserts, do you at present inhabit ? Are you still 
together, and always happy ? Do you sometimes talk 
about the stranger of the forest? Do you picture to 
yourselves the kind of country which he inhabits? Do 
you utter wishes for his happiness, while you redkie upon 
the banks of your sditary rivers? Generous family I 
His lot is much changed since the night he passed with 
you ; but it is at least a consolation to him, while perse« 
cuted by his countrymen beyond the seas, that his name 
is, in some unknown wilderness at th^ other extremity of 
the world, still pronounced wkh tender reqpUection bjr 
the poor Indians; 



;. 



146 



ANECDOTE 

0/ a Fnenchman^ whp dwelt c^nmg the SSxhi^s. 



PHILIP DE COCQ, who was bom in a littkt vil- 
lage of Pitou, went to Canada in his infancy, serired there 
as a soldier, at the age of twenty^ years, during the war of 
1754, and after the battle of Quebec retired to the country 
of die Fivi: Nations, where, having married an Indian 
woman, be renounced die customs of his nadve land tb 
adopt the manners of the savages. When I was triavel* 
ling tlut)ugh the wilds of America^ I was not a little sur- 
prised to hear that I had a countryman established as 
k resident, at some distance in the woods. I visited liim 
with eagerness, and found him employed in pointing 
. sinne stakes at the door of his hut. He cast a look to-, 
waids me, which was cold enough, and c(»itioued his 
.work ; but the moment I addressed him in French, he 
Marled at the recollection of his country, and tlie big tear 
jstood in his eye. These well-known accents suddenly 
roused, in the heart of the old man, all the sensations of 
his infancy. In y^uth we little f^q;ret the pl^sures of our 
first years; but die further we advance into life the more 
interesting to us becomes the recoUection of them ; {<sc 
tlien every one of our days supplies a sad subject for 
comparison. Philip intreated me^to enter his dwdling. 



ANECDOTE. 147 

and I fidlowed him. He had considerable difficulty in 
expressing what he meant. I saw him labour to regaiq 
the ancient ideas of civilized man, and I watched him 
most closely. For instance, I had an oppc^unity of ob- 
serving that there were twoJkinds of relative things abso- 
lutely ^aced from hb mind, viz. that of any superfluity 
being proper, and that of annoying others without an ab« 
solutp necessity for it. I did not chuse to put my grand 
question, till after some hours of conversation had restor- 
ed to him a sufficiency of words and ideas. At last I 
said to him : " Philip, are you hjqipy ?" He knew not 
^t first how to reply. — " Happy,'* said he, reflecting— 
" happy ! Yes ; but happy only since I became a sa- 
vage. — '^ And how do you pass your life?" asked I.— 
He laughed.—*^ I understand yoii," continued I. " You 
think such a question unworthy of an ansvirer. But 
should you n6t like to resume your former mode of living, 
and return to your country?*^—" My country !. France! 
If I. werb not so old, I should like to see it again."—* ^ 
•* And jrou would not remain there ?" added I. — ^Thfc 
motion of Philip's head answered my .question sufficient- 
ly. ** But what induced you,*' continued I, " to be- 
come whai you call a savage ?" — *^ I don't know," said 
he,—" inistlnct.^* This expression put an end to my 
doubts and questions. I rcmained two days with Philip, 
in order to observe him, and never saw him swerve for a 
single moment from the assertion he had made. His 
soul, free from the conflict of social passions, appeared to 
me, in the language of the savages with whom he dwelt, 
Calm as the field of battle after the warriors had smoked 
together the cdlumet of peace. 



Hs 



ON MACKENZIE'S TRAVELS 

In the interior x)/ North America* 



THE general interest, with * which travek are read, 
may perhaps be caused by the inconstancy and satiety of 
the human heart. Tired of die society with which we 
live, and of the vexations wluch surround us, we like 
to lose otrrselves in the contemplation of distant countries, 
^ and among unknown nations. If the people, described 
to us, are happier than ourselves, their happiness diverts 
us I tf hiore unfortunate, their afflictions are consolatory' 
to us. But the interest, attached to ihe recital of travels, 
is every day diminishing in proportion to thp increase of 
travellers. A philosophical spirit has caused the wonders 
of the desert to disappear, 

« The magic woods have lost their former charm," 

as Fontanes 9ays. 

When the first Frenchman, who investigated the 
shores of Canada, spoke of . lakes similar to sesta i calsir 
racts which fall from Heaven,, and foists the depth of 
which could not be explored, the mind was much more 
strongly moved than when an English merchant, or a 
modern Savant tells you Aat he has penetrated to the 



: MACKZTSfZlZ^i ^ XMAVMIS. 149; 

pacific Ocean, and that the fidl cf Niagara is only a*htin- 
dred and forty-four feet in depth. / 

What we gain in knowledge, by such information, 
we lose in Gentiment Geometrical truths have destroy* 
ed. certain truths of the imagination, which are more im- 
portant to morality than is supposed. Who were the 
first travellers of antiquity? The legislators, poets, and 
h^oes — Jacob, Lycurgus, Pythagoras, Homer, Hercules, 
Alexander. The ^^ dies peregrinaHonis^^ are mentioned 
ia Genesis. At that time every thing was prodigious 
without ceasing to be real, and the hopes of these exlated 
loen burst forth in the exclamation of ^> Terra ignbta ! 
Terra nrnp^sa .'•'* 

We naturally dislike to be coniin^ within bounds, 
and I could almost say that the gbbe is becondc too small 
tof man since he has sailed round it« If the night be 
more favourable than the day to inspiration and vast con* 
cepti^ns, it is because it conceals all limits, and assunies 
the a^^earance of immensity. The French and English 
travellers seem, like the warriors of those two nations, to 
hsive shai:ed the empire of the earth and ocean. The 
lattf^r have no one, whom they can oj^o^e to Tavemier, 
Chardin, Parennin, and Charlevoix, nor can thQr boast 
erf* ai^ great . work like the ** Lettres Edifiantes ;'^ but 
the former, in their turn, possess no Anson, Byron, Cook, 
or Vancouver. The French travellers have done more 
than those of the rival nation towards making us ac- 
quainted with the manners and customs of foreign coun- 
trki{H-4ioon t^cto^moreseognamt ; but the English have 
been more useful as to the progress df universal geogra- 
i[^«<««en pcmto patheii,t in mari passus est. They 
shape with the Spaniards and Portuguese the honour of. 

* Oh land unkno^m^ oh lanti of vast extent \ 
t Odyssey. 



U^ fifCCZtXECTZOKS OF AMZniQA. 

having added new seas and new continents to the g^obe, 
and of having fixed the limits of the^artb. 

The prodigies of navigation are perhaps those^ which 
afford the highest idea of hnnlan genius. The reader 
ambles, and is full of adnnirati(m when he sees Colnmbus 
plunging into the solitudes of an unknown ocean, Vasco 
de Gama doublhig the cape of Tempests, Magellan eni. 
erging firom a vast ocean to enter one vaster still, and 
Cook flying from one pok to the other, bouncfed on ijl 
^des by the shores Of the globe, and unable to find more 
seas for his vessels. 

What a beautiful spectacle does this navigator sSatd^ 
when seeking unknown lands, not to o{)press the inhabit 
tants, but to succour and enlighten them ; bearing tt; 
poor savages the requisites of life ; swearing, on didr 
charming banks, to maintain concord and anxity wiA 
, these simple children of nature ; sowing amiOhg tby 
regions the firuits of amildir climate, axld thus imitating 
Firovidence, who foresaw thefaU apd the wants of man t 

Death having not permitted Ciaptaln Cook to 60m« 
plete his important discoveries, Captiun Vancouver wis 
appdnted by the British Government to visit aU the A- 
merican coast from California to Cook's Ri^er or Inkf^ 
as it is sometimes csdied, and td remove all doubts, Whidi 
mightyet remain concerning a passage to the NorA West 
Of the New WoHd. White this able x>fficer fi^UedF his 
mission with equd intdligenee and courage,, anotheir £i^- 
lish traveller, taking his departure firom Upper Gtmada^ 
proceeded across deserts and through fitfests to the Nordl 
Sea and PacijBk: Ocean. 

Mr. Mackenzie, of whose travels I am about t6 
^ak, ndther pretends tothe honour of being ansGienttfic 
man, nor a writer. He was simply carryii^ on a traffic 
with the Indians in fiirs, and mod^t^y gives his account 
to the public as only the journal of his expedition. Some- 



hackekzxe's teavels. 151 

times^ hovevcr, he interrupts the thread ef his narrative 
tQ describe a scene of nature or the manners of the sa* 
vsiges ; but he r^ver possesses the art of turning to his ad- 
vaiptagfc those little occurrences which are so interesting 
in the imt^ls of oumnissioodries. The reader is scarce- 
ly iitformed who wcre;&e companions of the author's fit? 
tigues. No tr^n^fKHt is exhibited on discovering th^ 
bcean^ which was the wished-for object of his enterprizCi 
no scenes df tenderness at his return. In a word, tbe 
reader is never embarked in the canoe with the traveller, 
and never partakes of his fears, his hopes and his 
perils. 

Another great &ult is discoverable in this work. It 
is unfortunate that a simple journal should be deficient in 
metho4 arid perspicuity,, but Mr. Mackenzie manages 
his s^ibject ia a confused way. He never states where 
Fort Chepewyan is, from which he first sets out; what 
discoyeries had^ been ma^e in the regions he was about to 
visit^ bef(»:e he undeitook to explore them; whether the« 
pl^ce, at wliich he stops near the enti^ance of the Frozen 
Sea, was a bay, or merely aa expansion of the river, as 
one is led to suppose. How.can the traveller too be oer-. 
tain that this gneat river of the West, which he call^ Ta« 
coutche Tesse is the river of Columbia, since he did not 
go dpwn to its mcnith ? How.happens itti^tpart of the 
couise of this river, which he did not visit, is neveitheksd 
marked upon his map ? &c^&c. 

In ipite of these immeious defe^, the merit of Mr* 
Mackenzie'^ journal is very great, but it requiir 23 com* 
meiitarie5,;at oiie timeito ^vean idea of tbedeserts which 
the traveller is crossing, and impart a little s^t to the 
meagre drynras of his nan»dvet at another to e^^plaia some 
point of geography left in an. obscure state i^ tiie author. 
These oimssions I will attempt to supply^ 



15r2 RECOLLECTIONS OF AllIltXCA'' 

Spain, England, and France owe all their American 
possessions to three Italians, Columbus, Cabot, and Vc- 
razani. The genius of Italy, buried under its ruins, like 
the giants under the mountains which they had p3ed upon 
each other, appears now and then to awake, for the pur- 
pose of astonishing the world. It was about the yehr 
1523 that France employed Verazani to go in quest of 
new discoveries. This navigator examined more than 
600 leagues of die North American coast, but he found- 
ed no colonies. 

Jatnes Cartier, his successor, visited all the country 
called Kanata by the savages, that is to say, the mass of 
huts.* He ascended the great river, which received from 
him the name of St. Lawrence, and advanced as far as tibe 
islapd oi Montreal J which was then QsUikd Ifochelaga. \ 

In 1540 "M. de Roberval obtained the viceroyalty jof 
Canada. He transported several families duther, with Bis 
' brother, whom Francis I. distinguished by the appella- 
tion tXHarmibaVs gen (Tarme^ on account of his brave- 
ry ; but being shipwrecked in 1540, ** with them sunk,'' 
said Charlevoix, *' all the hopes which had been conceiv- 
ed of forming an establishment in America, no one dur- 
ing to flatter himself with the idea of bemg more skilful or 
fortunate than these two brave men»*^ 

The disturbance, which soon aflerwards be^enm 
J'rance, and continued fifty years, prevented the attention 
of government to any events at a distance. The gienius 
qf Henry IV. haying stifled civil discord, tne project of 
fQundir\g a colony in Canada was resumed with ardour* 
The Marquis de la Roche embarked in 1598 to try bis 
,fortun^ again, but his expedition had a disastrous end. M. 
.Chauvin succeeded to his projects and mi^fortunesp asd 

* The Spaniards had certainly discovered Qanada before James 
Cartier and Vcrazani. There are some who assert that the name 
nf Canada is derived from two Spanish words Acca nuda. 



UACK%UZlt^S TKAVZLSm ^ 153 

bady^CmnmodoredeCatte, beiqg employed pDthe 
sinne entaipri^ce about the year 1603, confided the £reo 
lion of it to Samuel de Champelain, whose namie brmgs to 
<Hir recollection the founder of Quebec, and the father of 
French xxdonies in North America. 

From this time the Jesuits were entrusted with the 
care of continuing the discoveries in the bterior of tbe Ca- 
nadian fcxests. Then began those famous misskms, 
which extended the Froich Empire from the borders of 
the Atlantic, and the icy re^n of Hudson's Bay, to the 
shores of the^ulph of Mexico. Fathers Biart aodd Ene- 
mond Masse traversed the whole of Nova Scotia ; Father 
Joseph penetrated to Lake Nipiving ; Fathers Brdbtsux 
and Daniel visited the magnificent deserts of the Hurons, ^ 
between the lake (^ that name, Lake Michighan, and 
Lake Erie ; while Father de Lamberville caused Lake 
Ontario, and the five cantons of the Iroquois to be |uK>wn. 
Attractedby the hope of martyrdom, and the recital of 
the suffisrings which their companions had endured^ other 
labourers in the evangelical vineyard arrived firom all parts, 
and spread themselves into every dreary region. ^* They 
were sent,'* says the historian of New France, " and thqr 
went with joy. They accomplished the promise of the 
Saviour oif mankind, by making his gospel known 
throughout the world.'' 

The discovery of the Ohio and the Mississippi in tlie 
West of Lake Superior, the Lake of the Woods in the 
North West of the River Bourbon, and the interior coaat 
of James Bay in the North, was the result of these i^pos* 
tolic travels. The Missionaries bad even a knowledge of 
fhose S0cky Jkhuntamsj* which Mr. Mackenzie crossed 
on his way to die Pacific Ocean, and ci the great Hver 
' flowing to the We^, that is to say, the Columbia. — If any 

* They called tjiis chaiath^ mountsdn of llrillUnt Stones. 

■ u 



154 stc^LLse^i^ir« #r AMtttKA* 

bnt should Wish to convince himsdf Ihat I aivUM Mljr 
what istrae, k wiU be sufficient to €art ail iqre over tfie all* ^ 
feioitduarts oi the Jesuits. 

AU ^ great disco veiries, thercfisiie, in ife itileiior of 
Nordi America, were made or pointed oiitiviieii the fingib 
Viik became masters of Canada* By ^ving new names 
to llie lakes, mountains, rivers and streams, or by corrupt^ 
ingfhe ^d French names, tiiey have only dopwngeo^* 
{>hy^o disorder. It is not even suftciently |irbved that 
Ae brfitudes and Wgitudes,^wlnch tiiey have given to cer- 
tainphKies, are more exact thm those fixed by our leam^ 
Hd missionaries.^ 

in cifderto ferm a emreet idea of the point from 
whadh^. MadLOfizie todc hb ^pafture, and of his gem^ 
i^ coikHe, it is perhaps essential to observe (toe fdlowiiig 
)paftici:i3ars. 

The French ihis«omirtes and die ratiltftelte tttRiu^ 
Canada had*pirsh(^<9ieirdii5covcries as fartis 'LakeO^ 
htpie, or Otiinipigon to die west, adnd as ^or as Lake Asi^ 
fiibouls or Lac des Cristinaux to the North. Thk firtt 
«f these appears to be the one called by Mr. Mackenzie 
the Slave Lakcf 

The Anglo-Canadian Company, wbidi 4:arries oh die 
trade m furs, has established a factory at ^oitX!hepew- 
yan:( or Chepawayan, on a lake called the Lake of il^ 
Mount^s, which communicates widi die Slave Lake by 
a river. 

'^Mr. At-row^thisat preieift the moKt celebr^ed 'geogft- 
pfaer in j^glsoid. If any one will take his great map ^ tl«B Vait- 
b& Sti^s, and com^e it wMi Imley's last .maps, he wfll AHlva 
•pfodil^otts ffifllBliseQDe* pailieiifaily in that part iirMeh fiss between 
the )ake$ of Canada and Ohio. The c^^ru of the MissioiMuiesi 
th the contrary, much resemble Inile)r*s m^ps. 

t The f rench maps place it in latitnde S^ N. and the English 
in S3. 

4 M"* 40^ tat K.aod 10« so' bog. W. meikfiaa of Gteenwkh^ 



. Fn^^$|£^v€|^< proceedaa rivQT whMi flows te 
thie M^rthy an4 wlMch Mr. Mackaizjie. 4e9^;Qate6 b^ lof 
Qwn qame. The. river Mackenzie i^ iato tb^ Pobur $«9 
^69"* 14'Nirtblal^dPiUid US'" v((est kM^p|i«fei me- 
ndiaa Qf Gk^epwiob* Tb^ disQov^ of tbas river ^ if9 
iiav|g^tiQp.tot|K90ft|»(iii Qoew fSQ tfae otjoetof liA^ 
M^ckeozt^^ irjs^ travail. 

Hekft Fon Cbep^wyan on <^ ^ of |iwe I7a9v 
sip4 rebunqc} thither cs) the 12tbof Sf|>tc;aiber In Uie iiame 
jrear.* De left ita 4Bepn4time on th^ lOtb^ dT Q^lolater 
179^ op a iM|w i;x{N^ilion», dii^t»i|g bis oqufae tq <^ 
West HeQr^K9fie4 Ihel^aktc^of the M^nt^i^ ari4 9r 
amended a liver called Quiigijahi oT; i^e^oe {tif«f » \ii#ucli 
tikes il» aoui^ miim Kocky Mountain^ A gn^t river 
4e«cen4s bcgrond ^i^ mpimtaofis, ^p4, ^o^ifs to the wett 
whei^ H k)aei^ i^tf in the P^pifiQ Qe^an. U isk caU^e^ 
TaeiilrtQhe-Tesfie mr Colij^hia^ 

Q[1ie pa W^ ^qm Peace Rfver tp ^^t qf Coli;(n449f 
«ndthefi«itiQroftiavigi^iwinthe lattier)at 1^98$ tp tjbe 
yQwit where Ml'. Mai^eniKie abandpqed Ins ^9^^fx^ ^ere 
|he4iscH>verie^wlnch resulted from Mr. Mackenzie's se- 
<;ond enteqpruje. After an absence of eleven months he 
Tettyned ^Ae place of hi^ dg[)9rture. 

It i^ust be ob^erv^ that as Peac^ Rive^ PfPcrais 
from theRocly Mountains to thrgw itself into 99 anp 
c^theLak^oftbeMoMntains;. ai; the Lake of the Moun* 
tms Qommunicates with Slave Lake by a river which 
bears tlua letter name; and as Slave Lake, in its turn, 
pours Us watery into the Northern Qceaii by the river 
Mackensif, itfoUawsthatthe Peace, Slave and Mackei^* 
sue rivecs w^ infitf^t only c»ie, which proceeds from the 
Rocky Mountains in t^ west, and preei^itates itself into 
the Polar Ocean*, Let us now take our dqiarture wkh 
th^ traveler, and descend the river Mackenzie in compa- 
ny wMhlum. 



156 aSCOIiLBCTIOKS OF AHBRICA. 

He crosses tbe Lake rf the Mountains, enters Slavs 
Ifiver, which brii^ him to the lake of the same name, 
Coasts along the ncnth bank of the lake, and finely disco- 
vers Mackenzie river. From the bike to thb point the 
country on the north side is low and covefcd ivith fdestt; 
ontiieSouth it is mem elevated but also vary woody.. 
We hare observe many ttees thrown down and blackened 
by file in die midst of which yoiing poplars appear, hav- 
ingrisentfaere since the conflagration. It is worthy of 
remaik that when a forest cf firs and birches is ccHisntned 
by fire, poplars appear instead of them, though there was 
pieviously no tree of this gaius inthe space laid open by 
the devouring element. 

The naturalist will perhaps contest the accuracy of 
this observation on the port of Mr. 'Maokdfizie ; for m 
Europe every thing, which deranges our systems, is treat* 
ed as ignorance, or the wandering of imagination ; but m 
philosopher can deny and no artist can depict the beau^' 
of the streams which water the New Wcn-ld. Let the 
reader represent to himself an imniense river, flows^ 
through tfie d)ickest forests — ^let him figure to hiftisdf sA 
iJtii^ accidental circumstances connected with the trees 
upon its banks. The American oaks, fidlmg fitHn old 
age, bathe their hoary heads in die stream ; the planes of 
the West bend towards the wave with the black squimds 
and white ermines, whicli are climbing up dieir trunks, 
or spordng among their branches ; die Canadian syca- 
mores join in the group ; the Virginian popls^s grow m a 
solitary manner, or lengthen themselves out into a nuyv* 
ing avenue. Sometimes a river ruslung firom the depdis 
of a desert, forms a magnificent junction with another 
river as it crosses some noble forest. At other times a 
roaring cataract covers the side of a mountain with its 
a2ure veil. The banks seem to fly, to bend, to oilarge, 
to diminish. Here are towering rocks which overhang. 



mXCS£NZX£*S tKAVttS* 157 . 

tl\e stream^ ifaere groups of young trees, ihe to^ oF which 
are flattened fike the plain that gave them birth. On all 
^des murmurs are heard, which it would be difficult to . 
define. Tb^ proceed from frogs which low like bulls* 
^nd £rom otfaeiis which live in the trunks of old willows.t « 
The repesrted cry of the latter alternately resemfc^ the 
tinkling of a bell' such as hai^ about the neck of sheep, 
and the barkbg of a dog4 The traveller, agreeably de- 
carved in these wild regims, fiincies that he is approach* 
iqg ^ cottage of a labourer, and that he hears the distant 
motioB of a flock. 

Uarmoiiuous warblings swell upon the breese, and fill 
the woods, as if the Hamadryads joined in universal obo- 
ms ; but the concert soon grows weaker, wd gradually 
dies away wiong the cedars and the rushes, so that you 
can luucdly sc^, at the moosient the sounds diminish into 
silence, whether they still exists or are only continued by> 
iifta^ation* 

Mr. MackenEie, continuing to descend the river, ar« 
rived ere loi^ at the coiuxtry inhabited by the savages call^ 
ed Indian Slaves. They informed him that he would 
find lower down, on the banks of the same stt«am, another 
trtt)e ccdled Hare Indians; and stiU lower, as he approach* 
ed the sea, the eaquimaux. 

<< During oiHr short stay witib these pepide, tKey amus- 
ed IIS with dancing, whidi diey accompanied with their 
vcMces. They leap about and throw themselves into va* 
nous antic pc^iures. The womai sxk&x dieir arms td 
hang, 9l& without the power of motion.*' 

t Tree-frog. 

i ^* Thc^y deposit their young io the stumps of decayed ireeti^ 
They do not croak like the frogs in Europe, but during the night 
bark like dogs." Le Pcre du Terffej Histoire Natur. des An- 
gles. Tom. ill, No. 317. 



158 KBGOtllCTXOKS C^f A1ISK](€A* 

The iQjRfsaiiddaneesorstnri^htwahray^ 
thing m them, which is mdancho^ or voluptuous* 
•« Some play the flute," says the father du Tcrtre, " others 
ong, and form a kind of muuc which ha& to them much 
flweetness.^' According to Lucretius, attempts were mad^ 
to iniitate the singing of birds by the human vmce, kx^ 
before poetry, accompanied by the lyre, Charmed the ears 
^maidcind* 

At i^iuida$ 9vhm v^rrt imHariet ^e 

Sometimes you see a poor Indian^ whose body is quite 
bent by excesjsive labour and b^^ie, and a hunter, wiiose 
appearance breathes a spirit of cheerfulness. When thcjr 
chnqe to^jether, you are strudc with an astooishiiig con* 
trast; the former becoiQes at once straight and batanoes 
himself with unexpected ease ; the bittef aings the most 
melancholy airs* The youi^ femsde appears as if she 
wished to imitate die graceful undulations of the Urohes 
in her desert, and the youth the plabtive murmurs which 
creep through their lu'anches. 

When these dances take place on the margin of a 
river, and in the recesses of a forest, where unkopwa 
echoes for the first time repeat the sound of the humn 
Voice; and where the bear of the desert looks irom th^ 
heights of some rock at these pastimes of savage man, we 
cannot but acknowledge that there b somethiiig grand in 
the very rudeness of die picture ; we cannot but be af* 
fected when we reflect upon the destiny of this dnid of 
nature, which is bom unknowato the wfvUli danoes te 
a moment in the valleys through which it will neyor pass 
again, and soon reposes in Ae grave, under the moss of 
th^se deserts which has xuA even pceaerved the iqc^jmssion 
of ks footsteps. ^^ Fmsen quasi n^ esiesu^' 



M acxik^bH travels. 159 

. Fassihg under some sterile mountains, tbe traveUet 
steered to land and climbed jdie steep rocks with one of 
his £nd»n faiHiters. Four cliams of mountains form tbe 
grand divisions df North America, 

The first pxxreeds from Mexico^ and is oply a prOf 
loDgation of , the Andes^ which cross the Isthmus of Par 
nama. It stretches from South to North dong the great 
South Sea, aiwuys indining towards Cook's Iidet. Mr«^ 
Mackenzie calls. thil ridge die Rocky Mountains, and 
passed them hetwaen die souree of Peace rifer and the 
river CduiiiUa, wheie it fidh into ihe Pacific Ocean. 

Hie second cham begins at ^Apabches^ on the 
£aslefn tKiidcrs of die Mississippi, extends to the North* 
Eiast under tfie name of die Alkgomts^ the Btue Mouh^ 
Utins, and ^Lfmrel Mountmnt^ passbg behind the Flo* 
ri!das, Vii^gifuft and New Ehgland, through die interior 
^Nova l^otia to^ gulph of St Lawrence. It divides 
diei^aters which fttt into the Atlantic, from those which 
swefr the Miississippi, ^ OhiO| and the lakes of Lower 
Canada. 

\t is probable that this chain fisrnierljr extended to die 
Atlantic, and served as a barrier to it, in^e same way as 
^fir^ fidge istiH boi^ders on die Indian Ocean. The an* 
cietit contihent of Ameiica, dierefore, apparently began at 
these mountmns ; fbr ihe three diflferent levd tracts 6f 
country, so regufakly niairk«S,'fix>m the plains of Pennsyl* 
vania to th^ ^ttvttnnsths of Florida, indicate th^ft the part 
in que^on Ws^ cbvered vA&i water, and afterwso'dd left 
b^aie at ^tflferent 'periods. 

Oppo^te the %ank ^ die gulph of St. Lawrence 
(where, as Iliave said, ^ second dmih termmates) rise§, 
on the East of Lsftnudbf, a thii4 ridge almost as long 
as the ^two fimner. It c^iLtends at fifst on the South- East 
^idi^Outa^msy feram^ the douMe source of the rivers 
wMch precipitate tij^Wttrfvte faitb Hudson's Bay, and 



1(10 RECOilBCTtOK^ Gf AUZUICA. 

ibfCfBt which pay the tribute of thdr waters to the gulph 
of St Lawrence ; then tmrning to the North- West, and 
stretching along the Nordiem coast of Ldce Supmor, it 
arrives at Lake St. Anne, where it takes the shape oia 
fork, to the North- West and South- West 

Its Southern arm passes to tlie South of great lake 
Oumpic^ between Uie marshes which fised the river Al- 
bany to James Bay and the fouatains, from wUch the 
Mississippi receives its floods destined to £dl into ^ 
gulph of Mexico. 

Its Northern arm touches on Swan's lake and the &Qr 
tory of Osnabur^; then crossing the riyer Seveni^ 
reaches Port Nekon river, passing to the N<ulh of Lake 
OuinifHC. It finally unites with the fourth chain of maom- 
tarns. « . 

This is of less extent than any of the sAiko. It be* 
giris at die borders of the river SaskatMmney stretches to 
the North-Elast between the rivers £rlan apdChnrchMI, 
then extends .Northward to latitude 57, where it is divid- 
ed into two branches^ <^ which the one, continuing its 
Northern direction, reaches the coast of the Frpzea Sea ; 
wh^e the other, running to the West, meets with Macken- 
zie river. The eternal snow, with vrfiich diese naouiMains 
axe crowned, feeds, on the me hand, die rivers, which &D 
into Hudson's Bay, and on the odier, diDse i^iich are 
swollowed by the Northern oeean» 

It wasone of the mountiuns of this last chain whieli 
Mr. Mackenzie wanted to climb with his attendant. 
Those, who have only seen the Alps. and Fyrsnees^ caa 
form no idea ctf these hyperborean solitudes, these deso-^ 
late regions where stitinge animals are wand^iiig on iu»» 
known mountains, as was the case after the gena^l dc- 
hige. Rara per igm^os errant qnimcdiamontes^^^ Qottds, 
or rather humid fogs, incessandy hang on the summits of 
these dbmal elevations. Rocks, which are beaten with 



JfAOXZMaXS's TftAV£XB« 161 

perpetual ratns^ pierce with their fahckened cn^thnHig^ 
the whitish vnpour^ resembling in thdr foaos and immo* 
bilitjr pbantooK, \riiich ape gsidng at eadi other in iHght* 
ful sileoce { 

Between these mountains^ deep vallies of granite are 
perceptible, clothed in moss and wsrteied with torrents. 
Stinted fir$, of the i^)ecies called by the English spniq^^ 
and small ponds of bradcish w^er, fiir from varying the 
monotony of the scene, augment its uniformity and Roo- 
miness. These regions resound with the extraordimuy 
cry of the bird, which inhabits the North. Beautiful 
swans that'smm on these wild waters, and clusters of 
respberry bushes growing under the shdter of somerodt:, 
ieem as tfdiehered there to console the travdler, and to 
remind him of that Providence, whidi knows how to 
spread grac^ and perfumes even through the most deso* 
late country. Butitisat the borders of the ocean that the 
scene is beheld in all its horrors. On one side extend vast 
fields of ice, against which Inreak the discoloured waves, 
and no sail is ever beheld upon them ; on die otiier rises 
a district, mountainous, barren, and calculated to inspire 
the most mdmicholy ideas. Along die coast nothing is 
to be seen but a sad succe^ion of dreaiy bays and stormy 
promontoHes. At ni^t the traveller takes lefugein some 
cldrt of a rock, driving from it the sea eagle, that flies 
away with clamcxrous shrieks. All night he listens with 
- ^rror to the roarkig of the winds re-echoed in his cavern, 
anci the cracking of the ice upon the shore. Mr. Mac- 
kenzie aiTived at the coast of the Frozen Ocean cm the 
12th July, 1789, or rather at a bay of ice idiere he ob- 
served whales, and perceived a flux and reflux of tide; 
He landed on an iidand, the latitude of vt^ich he fixed at 
69<> 14' N. This was the boundary of his first expedi<- 
tion. The ice, want of provisicms, and the depresskin o 
splits exhibited by his people, did not allow him to de^ 

X 



1^ aBCQ2.LBCU0K« OP illlXKiCA. 

9C«d as far as thesea^ idikh 1VU doubtk^ Oily at i a^ 
(fisltfioe from him. For a long time the spn had nercr 
set to tbeejr^ of the traveller, but appeared ^ and ea: 
lai^d, as it mournfully moved through the Iroxeil •€&- 
pause. 

Miserable tbty 
Who, keve entangled in the gatfiViag ice. 
Take their kist look of the descending aim ! 
While, full of death, and fierce with tenfold fraat, 
The long, long night, incuinheht o'er their hekdy 
Falls horrible. 

On quitting the bay to K-ascend the river, andretual 
to Fort CSftt)&eit)ym, Mr. Mackenzie passed Ibuv In^&n 
establishments, which appeared to have 'tmn iQGendy uu 
habited* 

^' We &en landed,'' says the traveller, ^ vpm a 
small round island which possessed somewhat of a sa^ 
cred dmracter. On "Aic top ctf it seemed to be a place of 
sepulture, fi^m the numerous graves which we observed 
&ere« We found the frame oi a small canoe, with varir 
Qus dishes, troughs and other utensils, whidi had been 
the living property of thasi^ who could now us^ ^ami ne 
more, and f<^^ the ordinaty aecompanimeitts of their last 
abodes." 

Mf« Mackenzie o^n s|)eaks of the rdi^oii ef thest 
nations, and their veneratiQn for the tomb. Tl^ unfor- 
tunate savage blesses God in these icy regionsi and de- 
duces from his own misery the bop^ of anodipr life,^hife 
pivi^zed man, in a mild climate and surroundi^d by all the 
gifts of Providence, denies his Creator. 

Thus we have seen the inhabitants of these cou^toi^, 
da^cmg at the source of the river which our traveller hs^ 
traced^ and we now fin^ their tombs near the sea, at the 



VW^&^ot tfaja same river-^a striking emblem of the 
cxHtfse of 9ur years, from tlie fountains of joy in which w^ 
are plunged during infancy, to the ocean of eternity which 
9w^ows us. The$e Indian cemeteries, scattered among 
ibc American forests, are in fact j^ades, or small inclo- 
suies^^lcared of the wood that grew ppon them* The 
laite of tbem is entirely covered with mounds of a coni- 
oalficflrm; while carcases . of buffaloes and elks, burie^ 
among the herbage, are here and tbcv^ intermingjied with 
human skeletons. I have sometimes seen in these places 
$ sditary pdican, perched upon the whitened moss-cover- 
ed bones, resembling, in its sil^ce and pensive attitude, 
some old savage, weeping and meditating over the remains 
of his fellow creatures. The people, who carry on a com- 
merce in furs, avaS themselves of the land thus half clear- 
ed by death, to sow there, as they p^tss, different sorts of 
gram. The traveller all at once finds these colonies of 
European vegetables, with their foreign air, their foreign 
dress, and their don^estic haUts, in the midst of tliosc 
wild plants which are natives of this distant climate. They 
often emigrate over the hills, and extend through the 
woods, according to the inclinations which they brought 
fromi their indigenous soil. It was thus that exiled fami- 
lies preferred, in the desert, those situations whicli recaU 
led ^he idea of their country. 

On the 12th of September, 1789, after an absence of 
a hiindred and two <(kgrs, Mr« Mackenzie again arrived 
at FfiTt Chipewyan* — ^Three years after his lir^t wndertak- 
i&gy. he left this Fort a second time, crossed the Lake of 
libe HiU^wd reached Peace River. He pursued his 
way upon this stream for twenty days, and arrived on the 
first of September 1792 at a place, where he prq^oscd to 
build a liouse and pass tlie winter. He employed all 
the cold season in carrying on a commerce with tlie Indi- 
ans, and making prq^arationa for bis expedition. 



164 a£COLt2CTIONs' OF AlCERMA. 

" On the 20th of April the river was yet covered 
with ice, the plains were delightftiK the trees were bud- 
ding and many plants in blossom." 

That, which is called in North America the ^twj^ 
thaw^ affords to the eye of the Emopean a spectacle not 
less magnificent than, extraordinary. During the first 
fortnight of April, the clouds, which till then came rapid- 
ly fix)m the North-West, gradually cease their course in 
Ihe Heavens, and float for some time, as if uncertain 
what direction to take. The colonist leaves his hut, and 
goes over his cultivated land to examine the desert Sud- 
denly he exclaims: ^^ There comes the South-East 
breeze !" At this instant a luke-warm air is felt plajring 
on the hands and &ce, while the ctouds hc^m to return 
slowly towards the North. Every thmg in the vsAey 
and woods undergoes a complete change. Tlie mossy 
point of the rocks first display themselves, amidst the uni- 
form whiteness of hoar frost; then appear the firs; and 
among them fiirward shrubs, which are now hung with 
festoons of flowers, instead of the firozen chrystals of late 
pendent bom their tranches. Nature gradually open» 
her veil of snow as the sun approaches. The American 
poets will, perhaps at some future day, compare her to a 
bride, who takes off her virgin robe timidly and as if with 
regret, half revealing md yet trying to conceal her charms 
from h^ husband. 

It is then that the savages, whose deserts Mr. Mac- 
kenzie was exploring, joyfully issue from their caverns. 
Like the birds of their climate, winter coUeds them to- 
gether, and s])ring disperses them. Every couple returns 
to its solitary wood, to build a new nt^t, and /sii^of re- 
novated love. 

This season, which puts all in motion through tlie 
American forests, gave our traveller the signal of departure. 
On Thursday the 9th of May, 1793, Mn Mackenzie 3et 



3&ACK£NZI£'8 TaAVELS. 165 

out ^ith six Canadians and two Indian hunters, in a canoe 
made of bark. If hfe could, from the bcH^ers of the 
Peace River, have seen what waspasskig in Europe at 
that time, in a great civilized nation, the hut of die Esqui- 
maux would have appeared, in his estimation, preferable 
lo the palaces of kings, and sditude to a commerce with 
mankind. 

The French translator of Mr. Mackenzie's travels ob- 
serves that the companions of the English merchant were, 
with one exception, all of French origin. The French 
easily accustom themselvesto savage life, and are much be- 
loved by the Indians. When Canada fell into the hands of the 
English in 1729, the natives soon perceived the difference, 
** The Eng^ish,^' says Father Charlevoix, " during the 
short time that they were masters of the country, did not 
succeed in gaining the affections of the Indians. Ttie 
Hurons never appeared at Quebec. Other tribes which 
were nearer to this city, and several of which had, from 
taking individual offence at diflb-ent matters, openly de- 
clared agdbst uis, at the approach of the English squadron, 
likewise ^wed themselves but rarely. They had all. 
been not a little disconcerted at finding that when they 
wished to take the same liberties with the new comers, 
which the French had, without any difficuhy allowed, 
their manners had not pleased. It was still worse in a 
short time, when they were driven with blows out of the 
houses, which they had hitherto entered with the same 
freedom as Aeir own huts. They resolved, therefore, 
to withdraw ; and nothing so much attached them to 
our interest afterwards^ as this difference of manners and 
character in the two nations which had established them- 
selves there. The missionaries, who were soon aware 
of the impression made upon the Indians, availed them- 
selves of it to convert these savages to the Christian faitli, 
and attach them to the French nation." The French never 



16* ftSCOLCECf |0K$ Of AUBMC^. 

attempt to dvSize tfaem, for that would cost too t^ucb 
trouble ; they like better to become savages themselves. 
The forest can boast of no hunters who are more adrdt^ 
no warriors who are more intrepid. Tbey have been seen 
to en&re the infliction of torture with a degree of firm- 
ness that astonished even die troqubisi and unfinrtunatdy 
they have been also seen tobecomeas barbarous as tfiek tor- 
turers. Is it that the extremes of a circle meet^ asd that 
the luglhest degree of civUization, beiiig the perfection of 
the art, touches cloi^ly upon nature ? Or rather, b it not 
a sort of universal talent and pliability of manners^ that 
adapt the Frenchman to every climate and to every sphere 
of lUe t Be tins as it may, he and the Americsdi Indian 
possess the same bravefy, the same indi&ience as to life^ 
the same improvidence as to what will happen to-morrow, 
the same dislike to work, the same inclination to be 
tired of the good things which they possess, the same 
inconstancy in love, the s^bne taste fdr dancing and for 
war, (he fedgues of the chace and the pleasures of the 
feast. These similarities of dispositicm ki the f'renchman 
and Indian cailse in them a grestt inclination tow^s each 
other, and easily convert the inhabitant of jParis into the 
rambler of the Canadian woods. 

Mr. Mackenzie re-ascended the ^eace fever with ||is 
French savages, and thus describes the beauQr of nature 
around lum. 

** From the place which we quitted tlus morning, the 
West side of the river displayed a succession of the most 
beautiful Scenery I had ever beheld, llie ground rises 
at intervals to a considerable height, and stretchii^ in- 
wards to a considerable distance, at every interval or pause 
in the river, theiie is a very gentle ascending space or lawn, 
which is alternate with irrupt precipices to the summit 
of the whole, or at least as far a^ the eye could distinguish. 
Tliis magnificent theatre of nature has all the decora- 



tims wtich the tvee3 and ammds t^ tbe cwBtiy can a£S)rd 
it Groves ofpepkfs^ ineveiy shape, vs^y die scene, 
and their krtervds en e^rened with vast henls of dk$ 
a^ tMifiidoes ; the fepmcr ehooskig the steeps and up- 
hnds, the falter preferring ^plsans. At this time lint 
bnflbloes were attended mth Aeir youi^ ones, who "wett 
frisking abmit ^m, and it appeswd Unl the e& woM, 
soon exhibit Ae same enlivening circumstance. The 
whole countiy dbphyed «n exuberant verdure. The 
trees, Chat bear a blo^om, w^e advancing fast to that 
deHg^tlbl appearance^ and the velvet rind of th^ branches^ 
reflecting the oblique rays of a rising or setting sun, add- 
ed a splendid ^^y to the scene, wfaidi no expressiens 
of mkie are qualified to describe." 

These amphitheatrical spectacles are common in A- 
mer^ca., Not fbr iron) Apalackuchy mthe Floridas, the 
fandgraduallytises on leaving tbe river ChatakeheywA 
towcsrsinto the ak as it veiges to the horizon ; but it i$ 
npt an ordinary inclination, like that of a valley; it is by 
natural terraces ranged one above another, like the arti- 
ficial gardens of some mighty potentate. These terraces 
are planted with different trees, and watered by a multi- 
tude c^ fouiAams, the streams of whbh, exposed to the 
rising sun, sparUe amidst the verdure or flow with goF- 
den lustre past the mossy rocks. Blocks of granite sur- 
mount this vast structure, and are then>selves topped by 
lofty pines. When you discover this superb,chain of 
teiraces from the margin of the river, and the summit of 
the rocks which crown them enveloped in clouds, you 
Ifaink that you are beholding the columns of Nature's 
tanple, wd the magnificent steps which lead to it. 

The traveller reached the Rocky Mountains, and 
began to wind among them. Obstacles and dangers in- 
creased on all sides. Here; his people were obliged to 



168 aECOLtBCTIOKS OF AMEtXCii.. 

carry the baggage by land, in order to avoid the catarae& 
and rapids ; there they found it necessary to resdst theinw 
petuosity of the current by laboriously drawing die canoe 
ivith a cord. Mr. Mackenzie's whole passage Arou^ 
these mountains is very interesting. At one time he is 
compelled to hew down trees and cut his way uito tKe 
forest ; at another he leaps from rock to rock at the ri^ of 
his life, and receives hb companionsi one after anotfieir, 
upon his shoulders. The cord breaks-~the canoe strikes 
upon the shelves — the Canadians are discouraged, and 
refuse to go any further. It b in vain that Mr. Mac- 
kenzie wanders in the desert for the purpose of disoovct- 
ing the passage to the river in the West. Some reports 
offire arms, which he hears in dns desolate regiOB,^ ahrm 
him with the supposition that hostile savages s^pioadi. 
He climbs up a high tree, but can discern nothiiig except 
mountains covered with snow, in the midst of which m 
* some stinted birches, and below, woods extending apfta- 
rentiy ad infinitum. 

Nothing is so dreary as the appearanceof these woods, 
when surveyed from the summits of mountains^ m the 
New World. The valleys, which you have tmversed, 
and wluch you command on all sides, appear in regular 
undulations beneath you, like the billows of the ocean ^x 
ter a storm. They seem to diminish in size according 
to the distance, at which you gradually leave &em. 
Those that are nearest to you are of a reddish green tint, 
the next are slightly coloured witii azure, and the rt* 
motest form parallel belts of sky blue. 

Mr. Mackenzie descended from his tree and eridea- 
voured to find his companions. He no loiter saw die 
canoe at the bank dF the river. He fired has^n, but 
no answer was given to his signal. He went first one 
way and then another, alternately walking up and down 
the side of the river. At length lie'fouftd bis fi^iends, btit 



, kjiCZivziz^S TKATEIS. 169 

notjiii&iflft^lle tuidpiiissed fonranxl- twenty hours mex* 
iicsl^ ifaiJ^ a^ tin^smess. Soon afterwands he 
metsomesavi^; Whto ititerrogskted by the traveller, 
t^jk^^^dediatfir^ ighoramtifany Hvef in the 

Wtst, but mi old tttah tj^ taduccfl, by tlie eareises and 
J)i*Seirf^ i)f Mir. Macketiilii, tfa become^ at lengtlt, mori 
c««ithiihlcatlv4f. ^^ He kteW/^ observes Mr. M. « of i 
1^^ Hv^ tha^ fttn^ towards the inid^day sim, a branch 
iX^X^&S^^^Mi^M soUrctbffhat ivhich we were 
ikWv nd^igjitiAg, aiid said ttett there were only three sniaH 
hSeVy arid ^ ttt^ tarryii% ^Ijrces, leading to a small 
iWcr t^hich ffiscfidi^gc^ itsctf in^ 
- ^life i^m niif lm%it»e wha* were Mr. Macfccnzie^s 
tkHs^atts (]b ftefanhg tb^hap^ ititelBgenc^; He hasten- 
ed to lembaik, aocom^ied by m Ih&n> Who under* 
i6Aioi£ttdi}&s^Mttb^u^^ He soon 

qcnfted^icF6sib6 Hirer, ani$ entered ftoiotlier oi a more 
'eofttntd^ mdthV \iKch pibbttObd from a ndghbbunng 
lake. liif ci6k^ HAi laic^v dnd proceeded from one 
hB6t fo aBoffiei^, fi^oim ofie rivor tx> anotlier, trll, after being 
t^redttd ill^ ^tfoiihte^^ vatidtrs other accidentsVhe 
UMiA Mm^ orr fbe tSth of iune, fTdS, upon llhe Ta^. 
tMltB^T€sstyar C61ttm^ia, Which falls mto the Pa; 
ci&c Oeean. 

Behvem two ehaths'cf mountains lay a grand valley, 
/^haded'by fotcsts of pophvris, oedars, and birches. Under 
tliesefotiestsftihb tra^iitller desbiPied* columns of smoke, an- 
fiotihcingto lulki ^ dwellings ci the invincible savages 
wfto inhkbilrtttts region. The red and whhe clay, here 
mi there, 6ti dii steep sides o^ the mountains, conveyed 
the idea of ahcittrt: raitos. The #iyer Columbia pursues 
its Wii)dii^coui^:tfirough^thesebeaudful retreats, and on 
ilie numerous ti^tidi&, whididivid^ its streatn, lar^ huts 
wereaeeu, teilf coiv:ea1ed among the groves of pines 
^ftiere Ae natives pass their summ^s- 

Y 



170 R£COLX»£€TXONS Of AUZKICA. 

Sotoe savages haviQ^jxiade Adr afqpean^ 
bank, the traveller approached them, and* succeeded m 
tibtauxing from them valuable information* 

^^ According to their account, thb river, whose course 
is veiy extensive, runs toward the mid-day sun ; and at 
its mouth, as they had been informed, white people were 
l^uilding houses. They represented its current to be uni- 
formly strong, and that in tlvee places It was altogether im- 
passable, from the falls and rapids which poured dong be- 
tween perpendicular rocks that were much higher and 
more rugged than any we bad yet seen, and would not ad« 
mit of any passage over them. But besides the difficui* 
ties and dangers of the navigation, they added, that we 
sihouldhaveto encounter the kihabitants of the country, 
who were very numeroust'' 

This account threw Mn Macken^e into great per- 
plexity, and again discouraged his companions. He con- 
cealed his uneasiness, however, as well as he could, and 
for some time still followed the course of the waters. He 
met with other natives, who confirmed the report he had 
previously received, but who told him that if he chose to 
^t the river, and proceed direcdy to the West, he would 
airiveattlieseainafewdaysbya very easy road, which 
was well known to the savages. 

Mr. ^lackenzie immediately determined to act upon 
this svggestion. He re-ascended the river till he reached 
die ^louth of a small stream thpthad been pointed out to 
him, and leaving his canoe there, penetrated into the wood^^ 
,on the &ith of an Indian who acted as hii$ guide, and who, 
qo taking tiie slightest ofienc^, might deliver him to hps* 
tile hcHfdes, or abandon him in the midst of the deserts. 

£ach 9^dian earned on his shoulders a packs^ 
weigbiog ninety pounds, exclusive of bis gun and ammu- 
nition, the last of which was in no great qilantity. .Mr, 
Mackenzie himself earned, in addition to his arms, wdto^ 



UACitSZtE^S TfiAVEXS. 171 

ibscope, a load of provisions and trinkets i/i^eighing seven^ 
pounds. 

The necessity of enduring what they had ondertakeif, 
fatigue, and an indescribable sensation of confidence, 
which is acquired by being accustomed to dangers, soon 
removed all uneasiness from the minds of our travellers. 
After a long day ^s journey through thickets, after being 
at one dme exposed to a scorching sun, and at another 
drenched with heavy rains, they quietly fell asleep at nigl^ 
to the sound of the Indian's song. 

Mr. Mackenzie describes this song as eonsistmg of 
5oft melancholy sounds, tolerably melodious, and in some 
degree resembling church music. When a traveller 
Awakes imder a tree at midnight, in die deserts of Ameri- 
ca, and hears the distant concert of some savages, inter- 
jruptcd at intervals by long pauses and the murmur pf the 
wind through die forest, nodiing can impart to him a more 
|>erfect idea of that aerial music mentioned by Ossian, 
which dq>arted bards cause to be heard by moonlight 
on the summit of iSKiTiora. Our travellers now arrived 
at districts inhabited by Indian tribeis, whose manners 
Mr. Mackenzie describes m a manner that much aflfects 
the feelings of the reader. He saw a vi^man, who was 
almost blind, and much oppressed by age, carried alter- 
nateiy by her own parents, because her infirmities would 
&ot dlow her to walk. On another occasion, a young 
woman, widi her child, presented to him a vessel fiill of 
water, at the passage of a^iver, as Rebecca filled her pitch- 
er for the servant of Abraham at tlie wells of Nahor, dnd 
saXd to him : '* Drink, and I will draw water for thy ca- 
mels also.*' 

I myself was once among ah Indian tribe, where seve- ' 
ral of them wept at seeing a traveller, because it remmded 
them of friends, who were gone to the Lt^nd of Souk^ and 
had set out long ago upon their Travels. 



172 &ECOI.LECJIQNS or Atf^I^ICA* 

. Evpty thiBg is importfint to tbeto^irwt of fl|e 4e5«rtt 
Tbe print of a man's foot, reoeutly made, in some wil4 

#i|)ot is more interesting to hiin tkm the vestiges of anti- 
quity in the plains oif Greece. Led by the ifidics^ons of 
9 neighbouring popul^tipn, Mc. ^^kende passed 
through the yiU^of a hospit^bje people, tyhere ev^ 
but is apcompanii^ by a tomb. Leaving this place^ he 
arrived at the Salmon River, wliich discharges itsdf into 
the P^icific Ocean. A numerous tribe more pdished, 
better clad, and better accommodated as tq their dwel- 
lings, received him with cordiality. An old man fqrqed 
his way through the crowd, and claimed him \p His ^||IB« . 
A banquet was prepared to welcopae hij[n^, and he w^& 
supplied with prqvis'^ons b abundance. A youth todc a 
mantle from his own shoulders, and plaped it on lifo&t of 
Mr. Mackenzie. It is almost lUc.e a scene in Hoi^a;. Mr* 
Mackenzie passed severed day$ ampng l;lus^ tribe. ]E{e ex; . 
amined th^ cQmeteqr» wt^cl^ was only ^ gfes^ wo^ of ce- 
dars, where the dead were bu^it andvi^hiQH cpostituOed a 
leniple for the celebrs^doQ of two araifAal fesdv^s, the one 
in spring s^nd the Qther ip autumn. When h^ v^ed 
through the village, sick people wete br9ught to hiia that 
he might cure then^ zfi affecting tmitl of sf^n^fJicity Ofn 1^ 
pact of a people, amopg; whoQ[^ oiaja. i^s still dear tp man, 
and vfho perceive only one advantage ^k spuperipr r know- 
ledge — ^that of relieving the unS^nsite, . 

llie phief of the ^t^ finally appoin|ted hb. own sdn 
to accompany Mr. Mackenzie to the sea in 9, cappe m^ 
(rf cedar, which, he presented to the traveller. TTiis chief 
informed Mr. Mackenzie that ten winters p^yious ^o.the 
time at which he spoke, \yhile embarked in,. the. same 

V canoe, with forty Indians, he found on the cods! two 
vessels full of white men. It was the good 7(w&r*> 

* Captain Cook. 



I 

whose ixieitnory ^ b(s long dcHr to th? pegpl? 4w^lUng . 
on the |3Qrdfpi of *c Pfw:ific Q^eaiu 

Qfi Sjitur^ay, the? ^ July, 11793, ?t fugftt p^j|ook in *' 
the inc»i4n^, Mr. Mac)^^^ lef^ tt}^ S^lQiQn Ri^^> wA 
entered mto the arm of the aea, where this river disc^hair-! 
fgcs itself frqm s^vtml WoutJv^ It wwW be U5ek$s to 
fQJlpfir bim |n bp i^^vig^tipq of tfii^ bay, y^heft hfi pon^ 
stantl^ fpiHid ^ces pf capbtin y^|lco^ver, |Ie qbg^rved 
the latitude at 52t ?1' 33", and says; ** I now mUed up 
some yermilion in fqelted gr^^, and inscribed, in large 
characters, on the SqsQtt^ E^t fece of the rock, on which 
we had slept Isist night, this brief mexiiorial^— Alei^apder . 
Mackenzie, fi*om Canada, by l^nd, twenty siecond of July ^ 
one thousand, seven hundred and ninety three/' 

The discoverie!^ of thb traveller sup{4y us with t;\vo 
fp^at results, t}ie one impcxtant to coiniqerc^ the other 
to geography. It is thus Aat Enghnd, by the varipu^ 
reae^irchesof her enterprising inhabitants, sees befoie her 
new sources of wealth, and a new road to her ^sts^V^l^- 
ments ip the Indies and China* 

\^s to the prc^TSs in geography, which in fact ten<Js 

^, also to the advantage of contmerce, Mf. Mackenzie's 

expedition to the West is less in^rtant than th^ one to the 

NordK Captun Vancouver had sufficiently provec^ th^t 

there is no passage on the western cos^t of America, frpn^ 

Noptka sound to Cook's River. TTianks to thie laix>urs 

of Mr. Mackenzie, t>ut little remains to be (Jone in the 

Npct^ Theextremky ofRefusBay \^ situated about 

68^ lat. N. and 85^ long. W. meridian of Greenwich. 

In 1771 Mr. Heame, who went from Hudson's Bay, 

saw the sea at die mouth of the river of the Cuhu Mn^s^ 

nearly, at 69^ ht. and 110** long. Tliere are then only 

five or six d^rees of longiuide between the sea observed 

by Mr. Heame, and the sea at the extremity of Hudson's 

Bay. 



174 EBCOLLECTXONS OF AMERICA. 

In a latitude so devated, the'degreesoT longitude are 
very minute. Suppose them to be a dozen leagues 
each, and diere remain hardly more than seventy-two 
leagues to be dbcovered between the two points men«^ 
tioned. • 

In 1S5® long, at the West of the mouthi by wliich 
the rirer ofthe -Cuivre Mines discharges itself, Mr. Mac- 
kenzie discovered the sea at 69^ T lat. N. By follow- 
ing our first calculadon, therefone, we shall have ho more 
than si^ty leagues of unknown coast between the sea ob» 
served by Mr. Heame and that by Mr. Mackenzie. 

Continuing towards the West, we find Bdiring'^ 
strait. Captain Cook advanced beyond this strait to 
69^ or 70^ lat. N. and 141<> long. W. a distance of se- 
venly^two leagues, so that there are no more than 6^ of 
longitude between the Northern Ocean of Cook and that 
of Mackenzie. 

Here then is a chain of established points at which the 
sea has been perceived round the Pole on the northern 
coast of America, fcom the extremiQr of Behring's Strait 
to the extremity of Hudson's Bay. It remains only to 
travel by land through the three intervals, wMch divide 
these points, and whic^i cannot together extend beyond 
two hundred and fifty leagues. We shall dien ascertain 
that the continent of America is bounded on every side 
by the ocean, and ^t there is, at its northern extre- 
mity, a sea which is perhaps acce^ble to vessds. 

May I be allowed to make one remark ? Mr. Mac- 
kenzie has effected, for the advantage of England, what I 
undcstook and proposed to the French government. My 
project will, at all events, no longer seem chimerical. 
While others were in search of fortune and repose, I soli- 
cited the honour of bearing the French name into un- 
known seas, at the peril of my life ; of founding for my 
country a colony upon the Pacific Ocean, of wresting the 



UACKZmZlZ^S TBAV£X.S« 175 

profits, attendant on a weMxy branch of cpmnierce, from 
her rival ; and of preventing that rival's use of any new 
roads to the Indies. 

bi giving an account of Mr, Mackenzie's travels^ I 
have been justified in mingling my own observations 
with his, because the de^gn of both was the same, 
and because, at the moment that he was employed on 
his first expedition, I was also wandenng through tte 
forests of America. But he was supported in his under* 
taking ; he left behind lum happy friends and a tranquil 
country. I was not so fortunate. 



ESSAYS 



OK 



VARIOUS SUBJECTS 



IK 



UTERATUBE ^ MORALS. 



^ 



ESSAYS 

OK 

VARIOUS SUBJECTS 

IN 

MTBBATUBE ^ MORALS. 



LETTER TO M. DE FONTANES 

.UFOy MADAME DE STAEL-HOLSTEIN's SYSTEM OF 

MORALS. 

I WAITED with impatience, my dear friend* for 
die second edition of Madame de Stael's work, on litenip 
ture. As she had promised to answer your criticisms I 
wascutiousto know what a woman of her talents would 
say in ^dc;ince of fierfectUnlity. As soon as her ,work 
reached my solitude, Ihastoiedto read the preface and 
notes; butlsaw that not one of your objections was re- 
moved, she had only endeavoured to explain the woid 
upon which the whole system is founded. Alas! it 
would be very gratifying to believe that we are from age 
to age advancing progressively towards perfection, and 
that the son is always better than the father. If any thing 
could prove this excellence in the human character it 



180 ESSAYS ON VARIOUS SVBJfiCtS. 

would be to see that Madtfncde Steel hi$famddie priR* 
ciple of tbU illttsion inher own heart Yet I cannot he^ 
always entertaimng appvefaenMms tbat tfaalady wlio so 
often laments over niOTkind, in boasting of thek perftOi^ 
UUty la like those priests who do not believe m the idol 
to whom they oflSar incense at the alters. 

I will say also my dear friend, that it serais to mi? al- 
together unworthy a woman of the authors merit to \mt 
sought, by way of answer to you, to raise doubts wUh xe- 
q)ect to your political opinions. What concern have 
these pretended opinions with a dispute purely literary ?-^ 
Might one not jusdy retort her own argument fqpoo Ma- 
dame de Staeland say that she has very much the air of 
not lovmg the pissent government and rqjettipg the dajos 
of greater Eherty? Madame de Stael was too mudi* 
above these' means to have made use of diem; she oug^ 
to have left them to those who, in a spirit of philanthropyi 
prepare the road to Cayenne for certain autiiors if ever 
the good times should return. 

Now then, my dear friend, I must tell you my saode 
of dnnking upon this new course of -literaUire. But in 
combating the system I shdl pierhap^ appear to you as Mb* 
tie reasonable as my adversary. You are not igpomiA 
that my passion is to see Jesus Christ every where, as 
Madame de StaePs is to see pcrfectibi&ty, , I have the 
misfortune of believing, with Pascal, diat die christian re- 
ligion sil(»ie can explain the problem of man. You see. 
that I be^n by sheltering mysdf under a great name, in 
order that you may spare my contracted ideas, and my 
anti-philosophic superstitions. Fcxr the rest, I find my- 
self emboldened, in thinking with what indulgence you 
have already annout^ced my work. But when wUl this 
work appear ? — ^It has even now been two years in Ac 
press^— for two years the printer has been inde&tigdble ifi 
creating delays, and I have been no less inde&tigable in 



Srsf£M or HAD. DX 87A£I. 181 

correcting the miA. ' Wh^t I am g(^ng to say in tlus let- 
ter wiB thoi be taften dtmost entirely from my fiitme work 
oil the Genius tf Christianity^ or m the Moral and Poeti* 
aU Beauties of the Christian BeSgion. It 'wdll be amus^ 
ing to you to see how two minds, setting out from two 
opposite points, have sometimes arrived at the same re- 
stilts. Madame de Stael gives to philosophy what t as- 
cribe to rdi^on; 

" To begin with ancient Literature. I agree perfectly 
wkhtiie ingenious author whom you have refuted, that 
oat theatre is superior to the theatre of the ancients ; I see 
yet more clearly that this superiority arises from a more 
profound study of the human heart. But to what do we 
owe this knowledge of the passions? — ^to Christianity en- 
tkdy, in no way to philosophy. You smile, my friend, 
list^tome. If there existed in the world a religion, 
the essential qualities of which were to plant a barrier 
against the passions of men, it would necessarily augment 
the j;>lay of the passions in the Drama and the Epopoea ; 
it wiHlld be by its vtry nature much mpre fevourable to 
the developernent of character than any other religiou3 
ihstitation,which, not mingling itself with the affections 
of the soul, would only act upon us by external scenes. 
Now the Christian Religion has this advantage over the 
religions of antiitjuity ; 'tis a celestial wind which swells 
the sails of virtue, and multiplies the storms of conscience 
around vice. 

' Ainihe bases of vice and of virtue are changed among 
men, at least among Christians, since^die preaching of the 
Gospel. Among the ancients, for example, humility was 
cohsodered as baseness, and pride as a noble quality. 
Amongtis the reverse is the case; pride is the first of 
vices and humility the first of virtues. This transmutation* 
of principles alone makes a change fai the entire system of 
morals. It is not difficult to perceive that Christianity is 



482 £SS4^^ OV VARtOVS SUBXE^CTS. 

in die rig^t,— that cbristianky alqpe rests i^oo the .ftoida'- 
mental truths (^nature. Butitre^utts from jthencethat 
^ve ought to discover in the passions, tilings wUch the 
ancients did not see, yet that these new views of ibc hu- 
man heart, cannot justly be attributed to a growing per- 
fection in the genius of man* 

To us the root of all evil is vanity ; the root of all 
* good charity ; thus vicious passions are always a compo* 
sition of pride, virtuous ones st^ a composition of Jove. 
Setting out widi thfse extreme terms, there are no medi« 
um terms that cannot easily be found in tfie scale of oor 
passions. Cfaristiaaity has carried morality to such a 
length, that k htis, as it were, subjected the emotions of the 
soul to mathematical rules. 

Ishallnotenterhere, my idear friend, into an myesttl* 
gation of dramatic character^, such as those of fiither, of 
husband, &c. &c.r-nather shall I treat of each se^^mcnt 
separately ; dl this you will see in my work. JohjaOi on- 
ly observe with respect to friendship, in thinking of you, 
that Christianity has devdoped its chairos ttiost aoinenilly, 
because the one, fikethe other, consists altegetiher of cod^ 
trasts. In order for t^o pien to be perfect friends tjiey 
ought incessantly to attract and repd ea(4i od» 1^7 oQfne 
place ; they ought to possess equal p9!iver$ of gcmiss, but 
directed to diffei:qit objects ; q^xDsite opiniolis, similar 
principles ; different loves 9nd hatreds, but the $ame fond 
of sensibility; humours that cross each odier, but tastes 
that assimilate; in one wor^, great contrast cf cheiraoter, 
%vith great harmony of soul. 

In treating the subject c^ love, Madame de Staelte» 
entered upon a commentary on the story of Fhabdfa. 
Her observations are acute^ and we see by the lea&QD cf 
the scoli:^ that she perfectly understands her text. But 
if it be only in modem times that thb passion has bees 
formed from a combinati<»i of the sou! and ti\€ senses, 



and we have seen that species of love of which friendship 
forms the moral basis, is it not to Christianity that we are 
mdebted for this sentiment b&ig brought to perfection ?-7- 
is it Adt this ihilj rdigion which, tending continually to 
purify the heart, has carried spirituality even into tliose 
inclinations wHch appear die least susceptible of it? — 
how inuch has it redoubled their energy by crossing diem 
in the h^ of man. Christianity alone has given rise to 
terrible combats between the flesh and the spirit which 
are so favourable to grand dramatic effects. See in He- 
loise the most impetuous of passions struggling against 
a menacing rdigicm. Heloise loves, Heloise bums, but 
religion raises up walls of ice to check the raging fever ; 
tli^e, every warmer fedbg is exUnguiabed under insen. 
sible marble; thore^ eternalcli^tisements or rewards at- 
tend heir fall or her triumph. Dido cmly loses an ungrate- 
ful Iciver ; Helois6, alas I endures far other torments ; she 
must clKX)se between a &ithful lover and her God; ncrr 
must slie hope that the least particle of lier heart can be 
secretly devoted to the service of her Abelard. The God 
whom she sorves is a jealous God ; a God who must be pre- 
ferred b^f<x^ every other object ; a God who punishes tlie 
very shadow of a tliought, a mere dream alone addres- 
sed .to any other than himself. 

For die rest^ we cannot but feel that these cloisters, 
these vaults, diese austere manners, contrasted with un- 
fortunate love^ must at once increase its power and its 
sorrows. I lament exceedingly that Madame de Stael 
has not devdc^ed the system of the pas^ons re^ously. 
PerfectibiBty was not, at least according to my opinion, the 
nistrument which ought to have been employed to measure 
W^ness ; I would rather have i^pealed to the very er^ 
rors of my life. Obliged to give the history of dreams, I 
would have inteirc^ted my dreams, and if I had found 
that our psussbns are really mott refined than the passions 



'164 ESSAYS ON VA&XpVS StfBJCCTS. 

Q^tfae ancients I should only have concluded. tlmt fte il« 
lusion we are under is more complete. 

If the time and {dace permitted, my dear friend, t 
should have many other remarks to make on ancient li^ 
terature ; I should take the liberty of combating many qt 
Madame de Stael's literary opinions. I must, however, 
observe, that I cannot agree with her respecting the me- 
taphysics of the ancients ; their dialect was m(»^ verbose 
and less impressive than ours, but in metaphysics they 
knew quite as much as we do. Has mankind advanced 
a single step in the moral sciences ? — ^No ; it has advanc- 
ed .only in the physical ones; nay, how easy would it be 
to dispute even tlie principles of our sciences, pertainly 
Aristotle with his ten categories, which included all the 
powers of thought, knew as much as Boyle cnr Condillac 
with their idealism. But we might pass eternally from 
one system to another in these matters ; in metaphysics 
all is doubt, obscurity, and uncertainty. The reputation 
and the influence of Locke are already declining in Eng- 
land ; his doctrine, which goes to proving very clearly 
that there are no such things as innate ideas, is nothing 
less than certain, since it cannot stand against mathema* 
tical truths, which could never have passed into the soul 
through the medium of the senses. Is it smell, taste, 
feeling, hearing, seeing, which could demonstrate to Py- 
thagoras that in a rectangular triangle the square of the 
hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares made on 
the other two sides. All the arithmeticians, and all the 
geometricians will tell Madame de Stael, that the num- 
bers and the relations of the three dimensions of matter 
are pure abstractions of the thought, and that the senses, 
far from having any concern in this kind of knowledge, 
are its greatest enemies* Besides mathematicar truths, if 
I dare say it, are innate in us for this very reason, that they 
are eternal, unalterable. If then these truths be eternal, 
they can only be emanations from a fountain of truth 



which exists swnewhere ; and this fountam of truth can 
txify be God* The idea of God is then in its turn, soi in« 
nate idea in the human mind ; and our sou) which con- 
tains these eternal truths must be ah immortal essence. 

Observe, my dear Mend, this connection of things, 
and then judge how very litde Madame de Stael has ex- 
amined into th& depths of her argument. I shall be'c(Mi. 
strained here, in spite of myselfi; te pass a vary severfc 
judgmoit. This lady, anxious to invent a system, and 
imagining she perceived that Rousseau had reflected more 
profoundly than Plato, jmd Seneca more than Livy, 
thought she was in possession of all the clues to the soul, 
and to the principle of intelligence. But pedantip spirits^ 
like my^f, are not ait all satisfied with tius precipitate 
march ; they would have Imd her dive deeper into the sub^ 
ject, not have been so suparficiat. Th^ would have had 
her, in a book that treats of the most important subject in 
the wodd, the faculty of thought in man, given way less 
to imagination, to a taste for sophism, to the versatile and 
changeable fai^cy of the woman. 

You know with what we religious peopk ace charged 
by the philosophers ; — ^they say that we have not very 
strong heads, and shrug their shouldo^ with pity wha 
we talk to them of the moral sentiment ; they a$k what 
aU this proves ? — Indeed I must own to my confusion, that 
I cannot tell that mysdf, for I bare never sought to de- 
monstrate my heart to mysd^ I have kft that task to my 
friends. £><> not take any unfair advantage of tlus coor 
fisssioii, and betray me to philosophy. I must have the 
m of understanding myself, even though I do not in m- 
ality understand myself at dl. i have been toid in my 
retreat that this manner would succeed ; but it is very 
singular that all those who overwhelm us with this 
contempt for our want of orgummtaiiM, and who 
ri^gnrd our miserable ideas as tMngs habituate to (he 

A a 



iB$ £SSAY« ON YAUIOUS .SUBJECTt. 

housey* ^msdves fisrget die veiy iqiiiidadon of thbgs gqi, 
idiich they treat Thus we are ob%ed to do vkdenoe to 
ourselves, and to think, at the hazard of our lives, in coo^. 
tradicti<xi to our religious dispositions, in <^er to bring 
back t^the recolleciion of these thinkers, what they ought 
to have Aouf^t 

Is it not altogether mcredible that in. speaking of the 
degradation of Ae Roman emperors, Madame de Stael 
has neglected to point out the influence that growing 
Christianity had upon the muids of men. She has the 
air of never recollecting die religion which changed tbe 
face of the world, till she comes to the moment when th^ 
inroads of the barbarians commqiced. But long befoie 
diis epoch the cries of justice and liberty had resound^ 
du'ou^ the empire of the Caesars. And who was it that 
had uttered these cries ? — The Christians* Fatal blindr 
aess of systems i Madame de Stael aj^lies the epithet of 
the mtuhess of martynhm. to acts which Jber generoii9 
heart, on other occasions, would haveexlolled wi4i tifuia^ 
port, I speak here of young virgins who prefierred deajftt 
to the caresses of tyrants, of men refusing to sacrifice to 
idols, and sealitig with their blood, before the eyes of die 
astonished world, the dogmas of the unity of God and 
the immortality of die souL Here is, in my opkiton, true 
philosophy. 

what must have been the astonishment of the human 
race when in the midst of the most shameful -gupersdtioiis 
vJwn every tlnngy as Bossuet says, ioa$ Odd ejpapt God 
himself^hovf much must the woiUl have been as^MUsb* 
ed at such a time on a sudden to h&xt from TotuUimi 
the following Astract of die Christian JFaidi : « The God 
vAkom we adore is one oidy God who crei^d the Uni- 
verse with the Elements, the bodies, and the mimh of 
which it is composed ; — ^who by l^s woid, his reason and 

• A phrase used by Madame de Stael in her new Preface. 



«YST£M OF MAD. BB STABt* 187 

his Alinigl^ power caUed out of nothing a world to be 
the omamen]: of his greatness.— He is invisible, although 
he is every where to be seen, impalpable, although wc 
Form to ourselves rejnesentations of Wm, incomprehensi- 
ble, although obvious to all the lightsof reason.— Noth<>' 
ing can make us so well comprehend the supreme Being, 
as the impossibility of conceiving him ; his immensity at 
the same time conceals him, and discloses him to the ^es 
of mankind."^ 

And when the saime apologist dared alone speak thc^ 
language of freedom amid the dlence of the rest of the 
World, was not this philosophy. Who would not hav6 
tibougfat diat he heard the &st Brutus roused from the 
foihb, menacing the throne of Tiberius when listening to 
these fiery accents which shook the porticoes whither en- 
slaved Rome came to breathe her »ghs. ^^ I am not the 
slave of the emperor ; I have only one master, the all- 
powerful and eternal God who is also the master of Cas- 
sar.f It is for this reason that you exercise idl sorts <^ 
cruekies towards us. Ah if it were permitted to us to 
ixxiddt evil for evil, a smgle night and a few tc»ches 
#ouid suffice for our vengeance* We are but of yester- 
day, and wc dxe every where among you — ^your cities^ 
yom* idands, your fortresses, your camps, your cobnies, 
your tribes, your councils, the palace, the senate, the fo- 
rum, in all these we abound, we leave you nothing free 
<9xcept your temples." 

I nuryr be mistaken, my dear friend, but it seems to 
me that Madame de Sta'el in sketching the history of the 
philosophic mind should not have omitted such things. 
The literature of the Fathers which fills up the ages from 
Tacitus to Saim Bernard oflfered an immense career for 
reflections and observations. One of the mo^ injurious 

• Tertul, Jifiologctj Chafi, 1 
t Afiologety Chttfi. 57. 



app^Ifati^fi for example, whidi ^ peqile ooold give to 
ibe first Chrisi^ was diat oi phUoiophertJ^ Tbey call- 
ed them afeaw4tAmfe,t and forped them to atfivoe thor 
religion intheae terms: aire tous Atbeus— irag/Sttto» lo 
4he 4^iteists4 Strange fate of Christisois ! burnt under 
Nero for atheism, guillotined under Robe^fiierre for over-* 
sedulity !«^ Which of the two tyrants was in the right ?-*- 
^ Accordrng to the law oi^rfeciib^ Robespierre. 

Tfaravghout the whde of Madame de Stael's boel^, 
fiom the one end to the odier, there are nothing but the 
most singular oo^tradictions. Sometimes idie appears al^ 
roost a ehfisti^Hi, ai^ I am ready to rcjoioe in theidea ; 
but, in an instant after, philosc^hy resumes tjieasoen* 
dancy. Sometimesy iiis[»red by her natural sensibilii^ 
. wlu€h tells hpr that there is notlmig fine, nothing afot* 
iog without region, i^ suffers her soul to have its &ce 
course \ but suddq^y argutftent<rtian awakes and checks 
in an inatant the effiisippa of her souL Amdysb tfam 
tak§s the place of ^at vague iafinite in wfaic^thotti^ 
. loves tajoseitsdfy andtheunderstandii^eitesytoitstei- 
' bunaly <mj»s which fixm^ly^ went before that old sc^ of 
-truth caUed by oiar Gaulish fiiAera the Mtraib^^mm. 
^enee it results that Madsmie de Stael'a bods: appmralo 
be a sii^^ilar mixture of trudiis and orars. When d^ 
ascribes to Christiaiiity the mdittiGholy that reignb in % 
genius cf the modoms, I amendrely of her opiniim $ but 
when ^ jokis to dus cause I know not what ma^nant 
lofluenoe of the nordi, I no longer recogmae tka- Wfker 
^ii4iobefixe appeared so judiokms* Yoq see, n^^ dear 
fi^Msnd» that 1 am led on by my subjects but I procMd 
now to modo-n literature. 

' " . .-»,/, 

* St, Just A|>olD|g.*^Teit/ Apologet) he. 
t Athenogor. Legat. pro Christ.— Amob. lib. I. 
i JSuscb/lib. 4, Cap. 15. 



VYSTUC OF UJk9. J»B UtAEh. 189 

IQbe Kiigion<rf* the I]iebf€^ 
smd lightnings^ in the deserts of Hoicb and of Sinai, had 
init^jaAMstmly Ibrmidflbfe. TheOurislianf^ioii 
in r^uwg^aU thai was ^ibfiniie in that of Moses, softesi^ 
edits other features. Formed to soothe the miseries and 
relieve the wmtspf our hearts, it is easentiaUy tender and 
mehoichdy. It represents man always as a traveller who 
passes here below througha vtalley of tears and only finds 
rq)osem the tomb. The God whom itofierstoourado* 
rationistbeGodof the unfortunate; hehashimsrif been 
a sufierer ; children and weak persons are the objects of 
. hk peculiar interest, he cherishes those who weep. 

The persecutions experienced by die&st among die 
&ithful, undoubtedly increased thor diq;>osition to serious 
meditation. The invasion of the barbiurians filled up the 
measuiaeoftbetr calamities, and the human mind ree^ved 
from it an m^ression of gloom which could nevar bo 
wholly effaced. All tbe ties which attadied them to fife 
being bioken at once, God atone remained as their hc^, 
the deserts as t|ieir refugee In like maonner as at the de« 
liq;e,tnen sought to save themselves by flying to. the 
iB0Uirtain&; but these new refugees carried with them dk» 
spoils cf tile sots and civiliatian. The most solitary i^* 
eea filled with sM^orileist, who^ clothed with tbelon^ of 
the pdm^tree, devoted themselves tx> unceasing pemtenoe, 
10 ho^s of disaimingtte anger of the Deity. On every 
aide conveots were raised, wherc titioBt unfortunate bangs 
ifldiohadbewdecdvedby the world sought a retrett; 
wiierethpse soi^da who pi^ecred remainii^ in^ igwrance 
.of certain s^timentsof.^exislenoi^ rathfsr than eicposing 
themselves to seeing them cruelly betrqred, ftirnid a refuge. 
An all-prevailing melancholy was the necessary conse- 
quence of this monastic life; for melancboly is principal- 
ly engendered by a vacuity of the passions; it then most 
prevails when these passions, being without an object. 



|90 £$8JbY8 OH VAEZQVS iStfiBJSCt^. 

eonsuihe away of themselves, as must happ^ in a life of 
solitude. 

This sentiment was besides increased by the refla- 
tions wluch weit adopted in die greater jpart of the com- 
munities. In some these votaries of religion dug their 
own graves by the light of the moon, in the cemeteries of 
ifaeir convents; in others they had no bed but a coflin; 
maiiy wandered about like departed shades, over the ruin& 
of Memi^is and Babylon, accompanied by tibe lions 
whom they had tamed with the sounds of the harps of 
David. Some condemned themsdves to a perpetual si- 
lence, others repeated in an eternal canticle either the sighs 
of Job, the lamentations of Jeremiah, or the penitentiid 
hymns of the prophet king. The monasteries were built in' 
the most desert ispqts '; they were dispersed over the sum-' 
initsofLibanus, they were to be found amid the arid; 
sands of Egypt, in die deepest recesses of the forests of 
Gaul» and upon the strands of the British seas. Oh how 
melanchdy must have been the tinklings of the bells which 
amid the calm of ni^t called the vestals to prayet and 
watching, and which mingled themselves beneadi the 
vaults of the temples with the last sounds of the canticles, 
^md the feeble breaking of the distant waves. How pro- 
found must have been the meditations of the solitary who 
&bm between the bars of lus window oontdnplated the 
^Ublimeaspect of the &ea, perhaps agitated by a storm !— ^ 
a tempest amid the waves, calm in his repeat, men dashed' 
to pieces upon the rocks at the asylum of jpeacel-^mfi-^- 
nite space on the odier side the w^Us of a cell, like as the^ 
stone of the tomb alone separates eternity from life. Aff 
these different powers, misfortunes, religion, varied recol- 
lections, the manners (rf the times, even the scenes of na- 
ture, combined to make the genius of Christianity the 
genius of Melancholy itself. 



tiYsxEir or KAX>« x>E stabl* 191. 

B appears to. mevUddess Aoi to have reoourse to the 
bsffb^ans of the North to explain this character of gloo*. 
mincsswUch IMbdame de Stael finds mofe particularly 
intheUteratureof EngkudaDndof Gc^ but whicfar 
spears to me not less remarkable among the masl)er!s of 
the French, school. IN^thcr England nor Germany pro* 
4uced Pascal or Bossuet, diose two great models of me- 
hncholyin thoughts and in. sentiments. Bat Ossian, my 
d^or fijend, is not he the great fountain of the North, 
whence all the bards have intoxicated dien^dves with 
gloom, as.the ancient painted Homer under tlie likeness 
of a great river, at which all the petty^ rivers came to fill, 
tbp* UTjis^ I. confess that . this idea of Madame de St^el 
pleftses.me muob; I love to represent to myself these 
twp.b&id listen, the one ses^od. upon die summit of a. rug* 
gad mountahi ifi Scothmd, with his head bald, hb beard 
w^t with dew, the haip in his<hand dicta^g his laws 6rom 
dxp midst of Ms fogs to all the poetic tribes df Germany ; 
the.otheres^tod upon.the heights of Pindus surrounded 
bytheM|i9<cS, whohdd his .lyre, raising, his yenemble 
1m^ towards the azure heavens of Greece, and. with a- 
sceptre of laurdsiin his hand giving laws to the country 
of/TassQ and Bacine. ^^ X<^ abandon my cause- tfien^^^ 
you vniSX perhaps Jiere be ready to exclaim. Undoubted- 
ly, my friend, but I muest whiqper you the^ reason in se- 
cret, itb that Osmnwas himse^ a Christian. — Ossian a 
Chiistianl-^-Grantthatlamhappy in having convierted 
this baiFd ; and ^t in pressing him under the. banners of 
region I take; from the jige of Melancholy one of its first 
heroes. 

None but f(»«igners are still the dupes of Ossian ; all 
EnglwEidi is oonvirtced that the poems which bear the name 
of Ins are the works of Mr.Macpherson himself. I was 
for a long time deceived by this ingenious fraud ; an en- 
thusiast in Ossian, like a young man, as I was then, I was 



I9fi ftSSATS OK VAftlOTO niJBftTS. 

ddiged to pass sevecal jrears amoi^lhe literati of London 
before I could be entirefy iHidccdved. But at lengdiy 
conviction was no longer to beresisted^ and the pahees of 
Fingal vanished away from beBae me ISoe many other of 
my dreams. You know of ^ long-standing contvover* 
ay between Doctor JohnsQQ and tiie suppositious trandft* 
tar of the Cdedoman bard. Mr. Macpherson, pressed to 
Ae uttermost, never could produce the n^nuseript of ISn* 
gal> concerning wittch he told a ridieulous story tflat be 
fimnditmati old cdfer at die house of a peasant, adffing 
that the manuscript Was Written on paper in Runic eka- 
xacters. Now Johnson has clearly demonstrated diat nei- 
ther paper or the Runic Alphabet were in use in Scotland 
attheepoch fixed on by Macpherson. As to die text, 
which we see printed with some of the poems by Smifli^, 
or any that may hereafter be printed, it is wdl kix>wn thai 
these poems have been translated fixm ^ £ngfi^into 
the Cidedonian trague^ tot several of the Scotdi mourn- 
taineers have madethemsdves accomplices m the fraud of 
their Mow^country man. This it was diat deceived Doc- 
torBlair.* 

It is indeed no very imcommon thing in £ngknd for 
manuscripts to be found in this way. We have latdy 
seen a tragedy of Shakespeare ; and what is still more ex- 
traordinary ballads of the time of Chaucer were so perfect- 
ly imitated in the style, the parchinent, and the ancient 
character, that every body was deceived by the impostunL 
Many volumes were already prepared and ready fiar the 
press developing the beauties, and proving the authentic!- 
^ of these miraculous works, when theeditor was detected 

« Some English Journ'ah have asserted, and the assertion has 
been copied into the French Journals, thai the true text of Ossiss 
was at length about to appear ; but it ean^lkever be aay thinff 
more than a Scotch version made from the text of Mr. Macphar* 

son himself. r 



ST8TSM M UAJ>. Dfi 8TABL« 198^ 

cbmpcSsingand ^tfaig hhnsetf these Saxon pocfltek Tbe 
admirers ahd cdmmehtatctfs got oiit of the scrape with on- 
ly a laugh against' tK<^m, and the trouble of mdchig A 
bonfire of flieirwdrki^; but, if I am not mistiakcn the 
young man who had igivcn this extraordinary direction to 
his talents^ in despair', put an end to his own life. 

It is however certain that there are ancieiit poems, iii 
existence, which bear the name of Ossian; they are c^ 
Irish or £rse origin, the w(»rk of some monks of the thir* 
leenth century. Fingat is a giaht who makes one stC{» 
only over from Scotland to Ireland, and the heroes go to 
the I{oIy»Land to expiate the murders they have commit- 
ted- • ■'■■'. 

To say the truth it seems now wholly incredible how 
any ohe ever could have been deceived with respect to the 
true audior of Ossian^s poems. The man of the eigh- 
teenth century peeps through the thin vcH at every mo^ 
irient. I will only instance by way of example the apos^ 
trc^heof the bard to the sun. "O sun,** he says, 
" whence comest thou, whither dost thou go^ wilt thou 
not fall one day," &c. &c.* 

Madame de Stael who is so well versed in the histoiy 
.jof the hutnan understanding wiU^ that there are here so 
tnany complex ideas under mcxal, physical, and meta- 
physical relaticHiSi that they can scarcely witbotit palpable 
absurdity be ascribed to a savage. Besides thb, €bk 
most abstract ideas on time, on duration, and on eternity, 
occur at almost every page of Ossian. I hav^ lived 
among the savages of Aramca, and I have observed that 
they often talk of the times that are past, tint never of 
those that are to come. Some grains of dust at the bot- 
tom of the tomb, remain to them as a testimony of life In 

* I wrhe fvom memofjr and may be mistaken us to the exacr 
words, but I give ihesensf) and (ha^ is MdldeQit v 

Bb 



194 ES8AT8 ON.VAAIOVS SITIJECTS* 

<})e vacuum of the past) but wliat can iiidicMe to ibtsA 
existence in the vacuum of the futufCt Hus anticipatioii 
of the future, which is so familiar to us, is nevertbeieM 
one of the strongest abstractions at winch the icjeasuof man** 
kind have arrived. Happy the savage who does not know 
like us, that grief is followed by grief, and whose soul dc* 
void of reccdlection or of foresi^t does not concenter, in 
itself, by a sort of painful eternity, the past, the present 
and the future. 

But what proves incontestably that Mr. M^pbersop 
is the author of Ossian's poems,is the perfection or thf* 
beautiful ideal of morak\vldchitiffis in them. Thisder 
serves to be somewhat dwelt upon. The beautiful idegl 
is the offspring of society ; men nearly in a state of nature 
have no conception of it. They content themselves, in 
their songs, with paifiting exactiy what they see; and aa 
they live in the midst of deserts, their pictures are always 
grand and poetical ; for this reason no bad taste is to be 
found in their compositions, but then tiiey are and must 
be, monotonous, and the sentiments theyexpre^ qanae^ 
arrive at true heroism. 

The age of Homer was alre^y some way nrmoved 
from this time. Let a savage pierce a kid with his . ar- 
rows, let him cut it in pieces in the midst of the foripst^^ 
let him extend his victim upon glowing coals made from 
tiie trunk of a venerable oak, so far all is noble m this ac^ 
tion.^ But in the tent of Achilles we find basons, spits, 
knives ; one instrument more and, Homer would hav^ 
sunk into the meanness and littleness of German descrip^ 
tions, or he must have had recourse to the beautifidide^ 
by beginning to conceal. Observe tbb well;— the fol- 
lowing explanation will make all clear. 

In proportion as society, increasing in refinement, 
multiplied the Wants and the conveniences of life, the po* 
ets learnt that they must not, as before, place every thkiig 



imtM OW HAD. Dfi STA£L. 195 

kdhstike ej^es-but must veil over certain parts of the pic«- 
teiie. This first step takeil, they next saw that in doing 
80, some choice must be made, and at length that the 
Abg chosen was suscq^tible of a finer form, or a finer ef- 
Ifcct, in such, or such a position. Thus always conceal- 
ing, and always selectii^g, always retrenching and always 
adding, they found themselves by degrees deviating into 
forms which were not natural, but which were more beau- 
tiful than those of nature, and to these forms they gave 
flie hame of the Beautiful XeaL This beautiful ideal may 
flien be defined as the art of choosing and concealing. 

The beautiful ideal in morals was formed on the same 
principles as the beautiful ideal in physics, by keeping 
out of sight certain emotions of the soul ; for the soul 
has its degrading wants and its meannesses as well as the 
body. And I cannot refrain fix)m observing that man is 
of all living beings the only one who is susceptible of be- /^ 
iftg represented more perfect than he is by nature, and as 
approaching to divinity. No one would think of painting^ 
Ae beautifiil ideal of an eaglp, a lion, &c. If I dared carry 
ihy ideas to the faculty of reasonings my de^ firiend^ I 
should say, that I see in that a grand idea in the author 
of a& things, and a prod* of our immortality. 

That society wherein morals have attained with the 
greatest celerity all the developements of which they are 
capable, must the soonest attsun the beautiful ideal of 
character. Now this is what eminently distinguishes the 
societies formed in the christian religion. It is a strange 
thing and yet strictly true, that through the medium of the ^ 
Gospel, morals had arrived among our ancestors at their 
highest point of perfection, while as to every thing else 
they were absolute barbarians. 

' I ask now where Ossi'an could ha^e imbibed those 
perfect ideas of morals with which he adorns his heroes. 
It was not in his religion, since it is agreed on all hands 



^196 BSSAYS ON VAIIX0I7S StJ]IJfBCTS# 

tJiat there is no refigian among Im savages. CcMd ik te 
from nature i^f? — ^Atid how sbould the sa vagif Ossic^ 
seated upon a rock in Cakdcnua, while every thing a- 
round him was crudl, barbarous, gross and sangumaryv 
arrive so rapidly at those notions of morals whkh were 
scarcely understood by Socrates in the mostenligblraesA 
days of Greece ? — notions, which the Gospel alone reveaL* 
ed to the world, as the result of observations pursued fiair 
four thousand years upon the character of man. Madam^f 
de StaePs memory has betrayed her when i^ asserts 
jthat the Scandinavian poetry has the same characteristics 
which distinguish the poetry of the pretoided Scpteh faafi£ 
Every one knows that the ccmtrary is the fact, the fisnoor 
breathes nothing but brutality and vengeance. Mr. Mai^ 
pherson has himself been careful to point out tlus diflSat^ 
ence and to bring the warriors of Morven intocofilrqrt 
with the the warriors of Lochlin. The ode, to whidi 
Madame de Sta'el refers in a note has even b^n .ciied, 
and commented upon by Doctor Bkur, in (^posiCkm to 
the poetry of Ossian. This ode resembles ypcy mfd^ tte 
death song of the Iroquois : ^* I da not /ear death,! am 
\^ brave J why cOn I not again drink out i^ the sImUs nf 
"my enenHeSf and devour theii^heartSj^\(s?c. Infiufly 
Mr. Macpherson has been guilty of mistakes inNatoial 
History, which would alone suffice to betray die impos- 
ture: he has planted oaks where nothing but gocse ever 
grew, and made eagles scream, where nothmg was ever 
heard but the voice of the barnack^ or the whktUi^of the 
curlew. 

Mr. Macpherson was a member of the Ei^ilidb par- 

liament, be was rich, he had a very fine park among the 

. tlie mountains of Scotland where by dint of much art, an^ 

of great care^ he had succeeded in raising a few tjpees ; he 

was besides a very good Christian and A^ejiy jrcad in tl^ 



«irsT9i| Of MAD. BE 8TAS(» 197' 

Sftitei hfi tm sttnghbmountaiqsy hispark, and his re«, 

TiH6 daes not undoubtedly derogate in any way from 
tjie m^t 9CttepiQ«»s p^ii^l^ and. JVmora /.they are 
aotihe le^ truevmodel^ of ^ aort. of melancholy i^the 
dcfiert^ which b fullof char m^* : I have just procured the 
$maU ed^on which has been recently pubTished in Scol* 
kuid, and you must not frown, my dear friend,, when I telj 
you that I never gp out now without my Wet^tein^s Ho«^ 
twt in one po<^et jaiul my Glasgow edition of Ossian in 
ihcL other. Jt.resultsi however &Qm all I hav^ said that 
Madame de Siael'^ system, respecting the^ influence; of 
C^si^ upon the literature, of the north, moulders away } 
9i^ if she shall persist in believing that such a part 
81^ a3 this Sf^Qtch bard really did exisf,^ she has too 
iMiob sez^ and. reasw npt to perceive that a system whicb 
sests upc^ ii basis so disputabLa must be a t^d one* 
JFor my. part,, yop see th^t I haye^ every thing to .gain by 
^ fall ^Ossi^, and th^t in depriving the tragedies of 
Shakj^eare^ Youxig's Night Thoughts, Pope's Elois^ 
to Ab^d, and Richardson's Clarissa, of ^isgloomy. 
perJfhtiMiiJf I establish victoriously the melancholy ol 
feligiou^ ideas. AH ,d)ese authors were christians, it a» 
evoi bdieM^ that 3hak^)eare was a catholic. 
* If I were now to follow Madame de Stael into the 9f^ 
of Louis Xiy„ y^u would doubtless repix)ach me with 
lifting altpgether extravagant. I wiU confess that, oil this 
subject I, luffbour a supers^tion. almost ridigjiloui^ . I fr^ 

* Several paAMges of Ossian are evident imitationft from the 
Bible, as are others from Homer, Among the latter is that fine 
expression the Joy of Grief krueoin tetarpomestha gooio, Book 
II. Verse 211. I must observe that, in the original of Homef 
there is a cast of melancholy which has not been retained bjr say 
of hia trati8ktar4. I do not. believe, like MMame de Sta^l^ that 
th^rehas ever been -« particular Age of Melancholy ^ but I believe 
Jtbat all great geniuses have a disposition to melancholy. 



' l9$ «««5ATS OH VARIOUS $0BJXGt9# 

into a holy anger when people would coinpare the wnteiB 
of the eighteenth century with ^ose of the seventeenth ; 
even at this monient, while I write, the very idea is ready 
to drive my reastm out oj all baumb as Blaise Pascal used 
to say. I must have been terribly led away by the taknts 
of Madame de Stael, if I could have re«iained olent ia 
siicha cause. 

We have no historians she says. I ^ould havc^ 
Aou^t that Bossuet was worth something. Montesquieu 
himtelf is indebted to him for his work on the Grandeur 
indfaU of the Soman Empire^ the sublime abridgement: 
of which he found in the third part of Bossuet's Essay on 
Universal History. Herodotus, Tacitus, and Livy, are^. 
according to my ideas little in comparison with Bossuel ; 
to say this, is sufficient to "Kay tliat the Guiccardini's, th^^ 
Marianas, the Humes, the Robertsons, disappear before 
hjim. What a survey does he take of the whole earth,-^ 
he is in a thousand places at once. A patriarch imder tibe 
pelms of Thopbel, a minister at the court of Babyhm, 
a priest at Memphis, a legislator at Sparta, a citizen at A-* ~ 
thens and at Rome, he changes time and place at his wiU^ 
he passes along with the rapidity and the majesty ^f cen*. 
turies ; holding in his hand the rod of the law with an in* 
credible authoritativeness he drives Jews and Gentiles to: 
flie tomb ; he comes at last himself at the end of this con- 
voy (^generations, and marching forwards, supported by 
Isaiah and Jeremiah, utters his prophetic lamentations a** 
mid the dust and ruins of mankind. 

Without religion a man may have talents, but it is- 
almost impossible to have genius. How little appear to 
me the greater part of men of the eighteenth century wha 
instead of the infinite instrument employed by the Racines/ 
and the Bossuets as the fundamenUd note on which their 
eloquence was rested, have recourse to the scale (rf*a nar*. 
row philosophy, which subdivides the soul in|x) (fcgrocs^ 



«nd niimites, and reduces the whole universe, the Deity 
himself ineluded, to a simple subtraction from nothing. 

Every writer who refuses to believe m one only God, 
tiie author of the universe and the judge of man, whose 
immortal soul he created, banishes infinity from hl^ 
Wofks. He restrains his ideas to a circle of mud fi-om 
which he cannot free ,4^imse]f ; every thing operates 
with him by the impure means of corruption and regener- 
ation. , The vast abyss is but a litfle bituminous water| 
mountains are only petty protuberances of calcareous or 
vitrescibk stone. Those two admirable luminaries of 
heaven the one of which is extinguished when the other* 
IS lighted, for the purpose of illuminating our labours and 
our watchings, these are only two ponderous masses form- 
ed by chance, by I know not what fortuitous combina* 
tiion of matter. Thus all is disenchanted, all is laid open 
by incredulity. These people would even tell you that 
they know what man is, and if you would believe them 
thqr would explain to you whence comes thought, and 
what makes the heart palpitate at hearing the recital of a 
noble action ; so easily do they comprehend what never 
could be cmnprehended by the greatest geniuses. But' 
draw near and see in what these mighty lights of their 
philosophy consist. Look to the bottom of the tomb, ' 
contemplate that inhumed corps, that statue of ahnihila- ' 
ticMi, veiled by a shroud— this is the whole man of the ' 
Atheist. 

You have here a very long letter, my dear friend, yet * 
I have not said half what I could say upon the subject, 
I shall be called a capuchin, but you know that Diderot ' 
loved the capuchins very much. For you, in your cha- 
racter of poet, why should you be fi;ightened at a grey 
beard ; Homer long ago reconciled the Muses to it. Be 
ihi» at it may, it is time to think of drawing the epistle 
to g copj^usiiH). But since you know tbiit we papists ' 



200 StSAYS OK VARIOirS SUBJBCTt. 

have a strong passion fof making converts, I will own to 
you, in confidence, that I would give much to' see Ma- 
dam de Stael range herself tinder the banners of religion. 
This is what I would venture to say to her had I the hon- 

ourof knowing her. 

^ " You are, Madam, undoubtedly a 'woman of very 
superior talents, you have a slrong understanding, your 
imagination is sometimes full of charms, as witness what 
you say of Ermmia, disguised as a warrior ; and your 
turns of expression are often at tl>e same time brilliant 
and elevated. But notwithstanding these advantages your 
work is far from being all that it might have been made. 
The style is monotonous, it Wants rapidity and it is too 
much mingled with metaphysical' expressions. The so- 
phism of the ideas is repulsive, the erudition does not Sa- 
tisfy, and the heart is too much sacrificed to the thoughts. 
Whence arise these defects ?— from your philosophy. 
Eloquence is the quality in which your work fails the most 
c^ntially, and there is no eloquence without religion. 
. Man has so much need of an eternity of hope, that you 
' have been obliged to form one to yourself upon the earth, 
in your system of perfectibility^ to replace that infimte 
hope which you refuse to see in heaven. If you be sen- 
sible to fame return to religious idea& I am convinced 
that you have within you the germ of a much finer work 
than any you have hitherto given us. Your talents are 
'not above Ijfalfdevdoped; philosophy stifles them, andtf 
y^u remain in your opinions you will not arrive at ^ 
' hdght you might attain by following the route whidi 
• conducted Pascal, Bossuet, and Racine, to immortaKty.** 
•"'Thus would I address Madame de Stael, as far as 
glory is concerned. In adverting to the subject of hap- 
piness that my sermon might be the less repulsive, I 
would vary my manner ; I would borrow the language of 



^fiiitsts> aslmay Tvdlbe permitted to do in my qualkjr 
of a savage, and would s«y to my neophite. 

l^ You appear not to be happy, you often complain in 
your work of wanting hearts that can understand you. 
Know that diere are certain souls who seek in vain in na- 
ture souls formed to as»milate with their own, who are 
condemned by the supreme mind to a sort of eternal 
widowhood. If this be your misfortune, it b by religion 
alone that it can be curjed. The word pMbscpfu/ in the 
language of Europe, appears to me synonimous with the 
word soHtudej in the idiom of savages. How then can 
philosophy fill up the void of your days ?— can the void of 
the (lesert be filled up by a desert. 

'^ There was once a woman in the Apalachean moun* 
tains, who said : ' There are no such things as good 
genii for I am unhappy, and all the inhabitants of oiir 
huts are unhappy. I have not met widi a man, whatever 
was the air of happiness wluch he were, that was not su& 
fering under some concealed wound. The heart, the 
most serene to appearance resembled the natural weHof 
the Savannah of Alachua; the sur&ce appears calm and 
pure, but when you look to the bosom of this tranquil 
bason you perceive a large crocodile which the well che« 
.rishes in its waters.' 

^^ The woipan went to consult a fortuneteller of the 
desert of Scambra, whether there were such things as 
gooi geiui. The Sage answered her : * Reed of the river 
^who would support thee if there were not good genii ; 
^ou oughtest to believe in them for the reason alcxie that 
^tfiou art unhappy. What wouldest thou do with life if 
being without happiness, thou wert also without hope. 
Occupy thyself, fill up in secret the sditude of thy days 
by acts of beneficence ; be the polar star of the unforti||^ 
nate, spread out thy modest lustre in the shade, be witness 
to the tears that Ac w in silence, and let ^ that are miacrisi- 

Cc 



202 BSSAYS OK VAKlOVf tVMJMCTS. 

Ue torn their eyes to thee widiout bemg dMzzkA by it 
These are the sole means tif finding the happiness yoa 
want. The Great Mind has only struck ihot to render 
diee stosible to the woes of thy brethren, and. that thoa 
maye^ seek to sootlte them. If thy hearrbe libe to tiie 
well of the crocodile, it is also like those trees wluch osily 
yitldtheir bsJm toheal the wounds of others when wound* 
ed themselves by the steel.' Thus spoke the fortunetel« 
ler of the desert of Scambra, to the woman ci the Apa^- 
lachesoi mountakis, and retired again into hb cavern in 
thenwk." 

Adieu, my dear friend, I end^raoeyou, and lore y^ 
withallmyhfeart* 



soa 



ON THE POET GILBERT-* 



WHEN we see M. Gilbert poor ai^ without a naxne» 
attack tibe powerful faction of men of letters, who. iiv the 
last ceatuiy dii^tens^ £ime and fortune ;-~when vre see 
him m this unequal contest struggle almost alone agvinst 
the OfHiuons most in fashion, and the highest reputations, 
we cannot but acknowledlge in his success the ]^odigious 
empire of talent. 

A collection of Heroics^ of translations, and fugitive 
pieces, under the title of the Literary Debute announced 
M. Gilbert to the world of letters. A young man who 
seeks hb own talent, is very liable to mistake it ; the Ju- 
venal of the c%hteenth oentury deceived himself widi res* 
pect to his. The espistle fixim £loisa to Abelardj had 
revived a spedes of poetry which had been almost forgot* 
ten since the days of Ovid. TheHerdde^ a poem, pardy 
historic, partly de^ac, has this strong objection that it 
rests on declamation and common place expres^ons of 
love. The poet, making his hero speak for himself, can 
neither elevate his language to the prqper in^ired mark, 
suited to the lyre, nor descend to the familiar tcme of a 
letter. The subject of jE&isa alone permitted at once all 
Hat fuUvete of passion, and aD the art of the Muse, be- 
cause reli^on lends a pomp to langua^ without depriv- 

* He died in the year 17S0. See the remarkable account of 
his death in the HiMtorical and Literary MemairM and Aneedotea 
by Banm de Grimm, English transUtion, anno. 17S0. 



iitgitof itssimplici^. Love then assames a cbaracter 
It once sublime and formidable, when the most serious oeo 
tt^ationSi the hdy tempfe itself j the sacred aharsy the ter^ 
rMe mysteries tf reUgion aUrecai the idea of it, are aU 
associated with its recollections^* 

The history of Madame dc Gange did not present M- 
Gilbert with as powerful an engine as religion. Yet fra- 
ternal aflfection, contrasted with jealousy, might have fiir- 
nished him with some. veiy pathetic situations. InAe 
Heroide, of Dido, the poet has translated some of the 
verses of the Eoeid very happily, particularly the ms. 
ignaramaUs* 

In woe myself, I learned to weep for woe. 

I know not however whether this sentiment be in* it- 
self as just as it is amiable ; it b certain at least that thei^ 
are men whose hearts adver»ty seems to harden ; Haef 
have shed all their tears f(»r themselves. 

Nature had given M. Gilbert some fancy and modr. 
assuranee; so that he sutrceeded better in the Ode, dian 
.10 Heroics. The exordium of his Last Judgment is 
very fine. 

What benefits have all your wmgt vktues pvodttcod 
Justly you haye said, God pnntects us as a fiither 
Oppressed on all sides, cast down, you crouch 
Under the feet of the wicked whose boldness is prosperous. 

..'../ i ...;•... 

Let thijs God come then if ever he eusted ^ 
Smce virtue is the subject of misfortune 
Since the child, of sorroW calls and is not heard 
He must sleep in Heaven beneath his silent thunders. 

The sound of the trumpet virhich awakens the dead* 
from the tomb, answers alone to the qnesdon of the wick- 



OK TB£ .POET GltB^XXT. * ' 905 

cdw It would be difficirit to find a ttnm moie animitted/ 
more Ijnric. Eyeiy qpe^ knows' the lines which conclude 
dus ode. 

The Eternal has broken Us useless thunder^^* 

And of wings and a scythe for ever deprived 

Upon the world destroyed tifne stands motionless* « 

The fine expression widow of a king people^ speaking 
of Rome^ which is iit the ode addressed to Monsieur upon 
his journey to Piedmont : — the apostrophe of the impi- 
<ms to Christ in the ode upon the Jubilee: we have irre- 
trievably convicted thee of imposture oh Christ t with the 
poet's reflection in speaking again in his own character^ 
after this blasphemy: thus spoke in past times a people 
qf false sages ; — ^Thunder personified which would select 
the hesA of the bksphemer to crush it widi its power, sf 
the time erf mercy were not come ; — die people marching 
in the steps of die cross, those old warriors who to ap- 
pease the vengeance of the lord go to ofler laurels, and the 
sufferings of a body of tvfdch the tomb already possesses 
the hqy^; — all these things appear to us in the true nature 
of the ode which: 

Win^g to heaTea its andatieut flight ' 
Holds in its measurea) commerce with the gods. 

Why then should M. Gilbert, who joins boldness of 
expressian to the lyric movement, not be placed in the 
same rank with MaJherbe, Racine, and Rousseau ? — It is 
that he fiiils frequently in harmony of numbers, without 
which diere can be no real poetry. Poetic imagery and 
thoughts, cannot of themselves constitute a poet, there 
must be also harmony of versification^ a melodious com* 
bination of sounds; Ae chords of the lyre must be heard 
to vibrate. Unfortunately the secret of this divine harmony 
cannot be taught, a happy ear is the gift of nature. M. 



S06 BSSATt 'tfVf VASfOijS SV1JBCT8. 

Giltert does not understand those flanges qf tone wfdtk 
tfoks each other ^ and^ by the mixture of their aceortkf 
ofien eommwucate a hemenfy transport a deRcmts rap*' 
ture to ihe soidJ^ b some few stmpfaes he has 'some- 
^vhat seized thb harmony so necessary to thelyriac ge^ 
ntus. In speaking of the battle of Ushant he exclaims : 

Ifaite to revenfe» the dme'a anif^d 
When theie our haugbtf foes lo oft forsworn . 
Their pride, their still endumg wrongs shaU expiate. 
Too long with patience have our souls endur'd 
The servile peace which they elate 
Wkh victory imposM. 
Donlddt invokes joth hear ycm not her voiee . 
Raiset raise again the towersthat guard her shoreSf^ 
Release her porti by slavery long restrained 
From the harsh doom that bound her to obey 
At once two sovereign lords. 

>. M. Gilbert has sometimes laid down the lyre, to as- 
sume the voice of the orator. '^ There was once a conn- 
try/^ says he, in the peroration of his enloghim of L6o- 
pdd Duke ci Lorraine, ^' there was once a country in 
which the subjects had a right to judge thdr master, at 
the moment when Ftovidence calls monarchs to himsdf 
to require from them an account' of their actions. They 
assembled in a throng^aroond lus body, wUch was ex- 
posed on die side of the tomb, when one insulted the un- 
fortunate corpse by saying : My innocent fontSy were 
poisoned by thy ort£?r^«-v*- Another exclaimed : He pbm^ 
dered me oj all my property.-^ Another :' Men were m 
his eyes no more than the Jtocks that graze the fields ; 
all condemned him to become the prey of ravenous birds. 
But if he had been just, then the whole nation with hair 
dishevelled, uttering dreadful cries, assembled to depl(»ie 
their loss, and to raise for him a superb mausoleum, while 

* Longinos, ehap. 3^« 



the oi;ator$ made the temito resound with celebratiiie his 
l^torf* Well, my friend, the tinae which has el^)sed ^ncc 
die death of L6opold gives us the same privily thai 
these. people enjoyed. We have nothing to ^qj^nehend 
from the resentment* of bis son, his sceptre b broken, lui 
throne is annihUated. There are here citizens of all ranbi 
and descriptions ; some have lived under his laws, others 
have leatot from their fatftors Ae histoiy of his rdgn. 
Let them rise.-^And thou sdiade of Leopold, come forth 
from the tomb, come and receive the tribute of praise or 
of malediction which is owed to thee by this august as* 
sembly. Speak, citizens, speak, this great shade is here 
preset, £bve ye any thing whcremthto repfMck Leo^ 
paid f^^Uot one speak?— JEbtv ye any thmff^ I ask, 
rvherewiih to refiroach icoj^c*/?— Wherever I turn my 
eyes I see countenances cast down, I see vain tears flow« 
Ungrateful men ! dare you wrong your benefactor by this 
injurious silence t 3peak, I say once mcnt, Have ye 
any thing wherewith t^ reproach Leppotdf-^Md&l I un« 
deratand ye* — You have no reproaches to make, unleaff 
to heaven, that so soon cut short his days.*— Let us thea 
weep.'* 

This is not indeed the eloquence of the Bishop d 
Meaux, but if this passage had bean found in Flechier^ 
. it would long ago bave been died with honour and dis» 
tinctioa. 

In^ many passages of his works, M* Gilbert complains 
bitterly of his fate, " What folly," said a woman onc^ 
" to open our hearts to the world ; it laughs at our weak- 
nesses^ it does not believe in our virtues, it does not pity 
our sorrows/' The verses that follow, the efiiision of 9 
:|nan under misfortunes, are only remarkable for the ac: 
9eQt of truth wWch they bear. The poet shews himself 
struggling by turns against the noble thirst of fame, and 
the chagrins inseparable from the career of letters. 



ii08 ASSAYS AN VAJSJtPVS. SVBJ9CT5* 

Hearen placed iny cradle in the dust of earthi 
I blush' not at it—master of a throne 
My lowest subject had my bosom envied. 
Asham'd of owing aught to blood alone 
I had wished to be reborn^ to raise myself. 

This is truly the language of a young man who feds, 
for the first time, a generous passion for glory* But he 
i|3 soon reduced to regretting his, primitive obscurity ; he 
4raws a picture of the happiness of a fi-iend, whom he has 
quitted in the country: "Justice, peace, every thing 
smiled around Fhilen^on* Oh how should I ddigbt in 
that enchanting simplicity while expecting the return of 
qyn absent husband, assembles all the fi-uits of thpir texudsi: 
love ; while directing the yet feeble steps of the elder, ^i 
canying the youngest in her arms, she has^ps with them 
to the foot of the. path by which their father is to desiceDd*" 
Here the softened feelings . of misfortune hav^e mkigkj 
themselves with the accents of the poet, we no longer sm 
the satyrist armed with his bbotfy lines, 
, We are sorry to find M. Gilbert dweUing so oft^ 
upon hb hung^* Society, who always find indigency 
troublesome, that they may avoid being solicited to re« 
)^vc it, say that it is noble to conceal our misery. The 
man of genius struggling against adversity, is a Radiator 
who fighte for the pleasures of the world, in the ^rena of 
life ; one wishes to ^ee him die with a good grace. M. 
Gilbert was not ungrateful^ and whoeyer had the happi* 
ness of.aUeviating his sorrows received a tribute from his 
muse, how small soever might have been the boon. Ho- 
mer, who like our young poet, had felt indigence, says, 
that the smallest gj/is do mtJaU^o soothe and rejoice us. 

In the piece entitled the Complaints of the Unhappy^ 
we find a passage truly pathetic : 

Woe, woe, to those alas I who gjavc me birth ! 
Blind, bvbarous father, mother void of pitjr > 



ON. THE POBT GXlBBit. 009 

Poor^ must 3rou bring' an infant to the light * ' 
The heir to nought but your sad indigeAce ? 
Ah had jre yet but suffered my young mind 
In ignorance to remabi I then had liv'd 
In peace, tilling the earth ; but you must nurse 
' Those fires of genius that have since consumed ave.^ 

f 
The last hcprdach which our unfortunate poet ad* 
dresses to the authors of his days falls very lamentabljr 
upon the manners of the age. It b thus that we all aita 
at soaring above the rank to which nature had destined us. 
l»ed on by this univcrsar error, the honest mechanic rev 
trains his scanty portion of bread that he may give his 
<^hildren a learned education; an education which too" 
often leads them only to despise their families. Genius 
is besides very rare. Undoubtedly a man of superior 
lalents is sometimes to be found in the humbler walks of 
life, but how many estimable artisans taken from theit 
tntehanical labours would prove nothing but wretched 
authors. Society then finds itself overcharged with use* 
less citizens, who, tormented by their own self-love harass 
both the government and the people at large with their 
vain systems and idle speculations. Nothing is so dan- 
gerous as a man of moderate talents whose only occupa* 
tion is to make books. i. 

Nay, although a parent should be convinced that his 
child is hotn with a decided talent for letters is it certain 
tiiat he seeks the happiness of that child in opening to him 
this barren career ?-rOh let him recollect these Jitics of 
of the poet now in question. 



How many a hapless author, vretoheiddoom I 
Has want conducted to his unknown loBib. 



Let him thiidc of Gilbert lumself, extended upon th^ 
bed of death, breathing out his l9^ SH^^ with tbe follow- 
ing meUncholy reflection. 

Dd 



At fife's fidf biMkpiet an uiihappy giieit 

Onedaj Imyoov Boemeqnmfbifir. - . 
While o'er tte «|pot w^rt tuy sad cpvae shall 9Bst| 

No mourner e'er shall oome to drop eoe tear. 

Would not Gilbert, a simple labourer, cherished by 
h\s neighbours, beloved by his wife, dying full of years 
iurrounde^ by his children, under the fumble roof of his 
fifthers, have been much more happy than Gilbert hated 
by men, ab^tnfloned by his friends, breathing at the age of 
fhirQr^ his last sigh oh the wretched bed of an hospita^ 
deprived througt) chagrin of that reason to which alpne he 
looked for any claim to superidfrity ;~of reason, that wea^L 
compensation which heaven grants to men pf ^ept, foe 
&c sorrows to which they are subjected. 

It will doubtless be here objected against what I ssffl 
diat if Gilbert was unhappy he had no one but K'?^^ ^9 
feproachfof it* Tfue it is indeed that satire is not the 
path which leads to the acquisition of friends, and concili^ 
sOes the public esteem and bem^^ But, in ouragek 

^iis species of poetry hals been too much decried. White 
the feigning (actioi^ in literature has been prodi^ of thq 
appellations of toad-fotersy syicqphfmts^ J^h^ sneqkersp 
and the like, to all who were n»t of their own opinions, it 
h^ fegarded the least attempt at retaliation as a heinous 
cnip»e;-complainir^ of it to the echoes, wearying th^ 
ears of the sovereign with their cries, wanting all who 
4ared atta^ck the apostles of th^ new doctrine to be prose-: 
GQted as libellers :^^Ah^ my good Akmbert^i" s^d th^ 
Kmg of Ftaw, endeavouring to console this great xnan^ 
<<ifyouwere|Cii« of^iiglaad yw i»{ouW e»per«niic 
martific^ic»isofavi«ydi&nst kiod which your good 
subjects would provi^ to.exerciae your patience.'' And 
in another letter he says : " You cWge me with a com* 
mission so much the moie embarrassing, as I am neither 
a corrector of the press, nor a censor of the gazettes. As 



on must think it right that it diould ttdtba molfAedr Jtnbe( 
WifilkHit fiftddoAi in WritiAg^ men^ tnmds vkoet Hmsm in 
darknes^ and since Ae Encjcldpaedi^, w&ose a^sdcmft 
^i6diple I aiji^ deprecate dA censure, and iiisi^t that tiie 
p^s ought! to b^ entirdy free, d^it tv&y one sh6nld bt 
permitted to'write whatever ta^y be dictated by his feoft^ 
fiar mode rf thirikingi.'' 

One eair never enough adtAire all the witf the talentii, 
the irony, atid ^ good sense that rdgH throughout tbfr 
hi^is of FmUrick. Satii^ b not iiT itself a crime/ it m^ 
he very iliseftil td correct fools and rogues^ when it is res^. 
trained within due bounds : SiA si sapis. Bth it nhi^ 
be' acknowledged tliat poets tomctimes go t66&r^^ and^ 
kisReod of rtdbnle, run into calmnily. Satire sfaoiddbe 
iMFliks in which ea6h clmmpioA^ as m thiS ptethties of 
tihivaky, should aitoi determined strokes at h\i advesary^ 
but avoidBng to strike either at tiie header the he^brt 

If ever the subject could justify the satire, this un^ 
dpubtedly» was (htf calift m that chosM by M; Gttbert. 
The misfottuhes whith havt b^en b^ugll^ q)oii us by 
the vices and the opinions with vrhicHf tHe pod i^rdaches 
the eighteenth century, shew how much be was in the 
fighftosotliid tliticry 6f diariii. Ife'pif&dleted- t!ie dis*. 
iste« Wi have e^^peiidnted, aiid Verees v^h (dtmSrlf #i 
KHihd ^cbgge^ir&imiiviztdtioiitdbli^ corf« 

tAn lidthin^^ biit simph truths. ** A*^ ihwist*^tises li^^ 
abler strdigthefts- Hims^tf in Pdfife ; whd, d6tKed in thft 
ihantlfe6f^habs6^hydrr^er falsely clotKed uridfcr tH&t 
a^^umdf garb; ^dffesF t'^Ieht sM destroys vii%i(. A dkl& 
gbroiis' ihhdvafoKr, He! seeks by Ri^ cnld ^^steih tacK^ 
the Sut)feni6^Bg fiWnifie^^ anddoottiitigthe soitltd 
the satfie-fk^ as' th6 eifpMing body, #6uld aritiihilate ihiAi 
By a dotrtiie death,- Ifct this ihatetef^ <5krfie^ ftot v^fli 



aia SSSAU IDK VAmiMS.tVfir|B€t8. 

Hm a fierce and «vage ar, .a* has^ aomd of vktoc 
diira^ in his imoiiA*'' 

Itisiadeed a moat imiarkafaie tiling in hist^ 
^ attempt^ould ever be made to uimxhioeathenm a^ 
aoi^ a whole people under the name of t^rtae. Tb^ 
vrord Ubertym^ incessantly in the mouths ofifapse peopk 
who omidiedjat the feet of tiie great, land who, notsatis*: 
fied wiA die contempt of die first court in die Ungdoni, 
diose tO'Swallow huge draughts of it ftoma seconi. 
They were Jlmcaics crying out t^ama Jhmtuism ; men 
triply wieked, for tbey combisied widr d)ie vices of lie 
idieist, ths intolerance of de seietary^ and.de adf-conoek 
^the author. 

. * M; Oilbcrt was so much die. more courageous InliB 
attacks upcmpkUosopkimj beeause not spmagmy4p9Bt»^ 
iRpainted with ^lergy the vices of the great, said of tbe 
dergy, which served as an excuse to the innovation, mA 
mrMoh tfarfr alleged in jusdficatiion c^ their prk^j^; ^ 

See where vrith fiteps. enervated by sloth, 

The great ones of the land scarce know to drt^g ;* 

Along thar feeble lim^. . 

Could we escape a fearful destruction*—- From t&e 
d^s of the re^^ency, to the end ,of the reign Qf Louis 
XV,' intrigue evo^y day made. and unmade statesniesu 
Thence that cdndnual qhaqge of systems, of projects, of 
viei^s. These ephemeral ministers were followed by;;a 
crowd pf flatterers, of clerks, of actors, of nu^esses ; aQ, 
h^H^ of a mojtn^, were imager to suck the blood of. tbc 
misierable,. and were soon tramfded on by anc^er generic 
^tjion of favourites as fugitive and asAr^vacious as -the for* 
. nier. Thus, wjule the imbecility.and foUy of the govern- 
ment irxitated the minds of the f)e(^le, the moral disorders 
,of the cQuntry, reached their utmost heiglrt. The ^mwi 



iiie^no loiigper fooddMii^^ the bosom of hisfimiify;: 
aGCiistomed hidiffidf to seek iiis happiness in wdys-tlM^ 
xi^^oreindepeiidfemofo&srs. itep^edbytliemam^rfi.of 
Aeage fixMiotitheboscDin of iiatmie» he wrapped himselfupr 
M a hacA andcoU egotism, which widKml all vivtm in- 

To coaqidete our tnisfortuiiesy these sofdugto, m des>; 
iRiyii^k^ildiiBss^^u^ earth, sought also to dqxivt 
inaiiitftbetoiiesofalsetter ^^^ Jbtbis poskioo, aboe 
mthQnudst.^ the unnrerse, ha^g nothuig tofeedoti* 
"but die chagrins of a vacant and sotilary heart, wfaidi' 
jieverftltaiKidier heaub beat in unison with i% was it yer|r: 
astonishing Aat so many Fitnofaraen were ready to adze' 
die first^phaatom wi^ch preaented a new world to dieir: 
imaym^ioos. For the rest, w4s M* Oilbert the only pe& i 
9on who saw through the innov^tors^of his age fm^vnA 
Ite to be singled out as a mark agiumt; vfbkh all their 
.cries of atrocity were to be direct because he had g^yen 
so £dthfui a picture of them in Ids verses. If some severe 
strokes were aimed against that passiim of thinking and 
that geometrical r2^ wUch had seized aU France, did He 
go farther than Frederick II, whbse* words inay well be;* 
<|uoted here as a commentary upon, and oft excuse for our 
poet. 

In a dialogue of the dead^ \vhtte this royal author 
brings together Prince Eugene, General Lichtenstein, and 
die Duke of Marlborough, he draws this picture of the ^ 
Encyclopaedists. " These people," he says, " are a sect 
wiiich have arisen in our days assuming themselves to be 
philosophers. To the effirontery of Cynics they add the' 
noMe impudence of -puttrng forth all the paradoxes that' 
come into their heads : they pride diemselves upon their 
geometry, and maintain that those who have not studied 
ftis science cannot have correct ideas, consequently that 
tfey themselves alonehave the faculty of reasoning* • V 



lUgMfinkaiidabNie^ itm^nmaitmim sffMnaft jM-. 

ai^;ht not to think any timig worthy of im thyiamkmUh. 
alB0hr«iecl|iii^D8^ AstolM^yi Aaltiinjr WMUfiave 
slii&d in tho it^f^raOi b^gionifi^ fli our ovvifi tiskes^ andl^ 
VMintiiig upwards ^ibeAlugrii They ivsMhUfiam ie«^ 
teifc dl gov«MMit% maldng FiiCm » d^ 
tgfitbsgMOietritoinhaskft tegwhtof, loJb< goircmiSd «i^ 
iSirijr kygtcMMtt'mws Who shattMb^alt dM-^AA^ons; 
of Ae new government to mftnUeaiBMi taloritrtiee&t TUot 
ifpnblio woiiU nmnlM*aooMtalf ^t*oqy «d IfPOirit b^ 
^itfaoatanirtngr." ; 



It was above all things a primary objeet aihoi^g the 
literati of that time, to depreciate the great mra of thd 
seventeenth century ; to dimmish the weight of their ex- 
ample and authority. Let us again bear the King of 
Prussia on tliis subject Thus does he speak in his exa- 
mination of the Si/stem ofNature% 

^^ It is a great error to bdieve that- perfection is to \l6 
found in aiiy thing human ; the ima^nation may foniv 
siuch chimeras to itself, but they will n€v«r be reaUiiedt 
In the number of eenturies dxatAo, world has now erb^ 
dured, different nati(»is have made experiments oii all^ofts 
of governments, but not one Kas^been found that was not 
subject to some ineonveniences. Of all the pamdosetf 
which the would-be plnlosbphers of our days' niaintaft 
widi so much self-complacency^ that of decrying the gitat 
tten of the last century aj^pears to be what tb^ have th^ 
ir^ost at^heart* Mowcan- AlSr reputations lie increased' 



>y^Mggiiil"'g Jftclittiterfateig^ a-«tiisifci<te%yqe 
cftieadby Iw splendour aM gmtfieys. The foihfegaf 

evovAepe^ merit of having been fte fivsl toifiaQcnw 
Am9. a pfdnse wke Ao^ fdgn {mly a Wttii would 
ddubllessbftguU^ i({mii^ erpin how tnuy mvrt he 
expected fifom a monarch who passed nmiy fixty yepi 
efllbBfe lipi^n tfaethma.'^ 

ThispaaaagfiisfiiUawid by a magnifieent palkiigaam 
eeLouisXiV, and Fmierick. eftm mbuib tothaww 
sid4ectia^sB0ifeqpendemewHhM.d^Alemhar^ f^Oiqr 
poor oentnry,^^ he sa]a» *^ is no less kmcfttablf keofm ef 
great nen» tfaaia ef good wafk& Of Ae age oC fjoauf 
^tVj wlueli daea henew la te h^9tt» mari, 1^^ 
lemunstaua but &edfegs» and soim aot eiaa dial wSI 
ke left" The rulogium ef Lbttfe the Caeat^ • St^m the 
pea of die6ieat Fi)ed»ok,-»Ta Kiagaf Prusw Mam^ 
sag Fiench glory against Frenck latesati^ iaoae ofthoae 
precieus strokes at whkh a winter ovghfe to catek yof 



attJick^ ^ aof^th ^ m]^ b^ne bem. suap^ed of 
pamaJJKty ; but he ^uaHy m^ hia vox^e agakisi ev«Fj 
imws £kmfib&^ vih^\^ mgh%, b^ his v&pk w4 Bwc^i^ 
Without 2ffiy id^ or ^ppjjrbensibn pf 4oi«g injiwy to re* 
Ugiqi^ he ^^<|onedi to ^|iiit|i^t t^og? e9ck^4gtif@/w|))| 
Ve tl^ et??Ea| sbaiBp of tbf^f ^'dP?- 

Religion^ matron driven to, despair, 

By her own children mangled and defaced v^i* 

WeefMfig thetv waya, in her deserted temples^ 

Ixi vaia wUK vocda o£ pardon does she stisetch 

Keru'fl|a^t9war4.thQm, still reyiledy derided^ 

Her pMcepts arc forgot, her lf(ws profanedi, 

See th^et ami^ a circle of gay nymphs, 

That youthful Abbe ;-*saintly in his gari). 

In mind a sophist he directs his wit 

A gainst that God, by serving whom he lives. 



SIS' tssAira^' MP vAtioes 'ftTrB^BcT!* 

* -I46nbtlliiDktliataihore deq^^ 
{sts, than that of a priest who, considering christiamtjr . ds 
im abuser yet consents to feed on the bre^ of the althc, 
andlies atonoe to God aiid to man. But we woidd fian * 
ienjoyth^ honours of phUosof^jr without losii^ ^ riehdi 
of religion ; the first beii^ necessary to our self-love, the 
second to our manners. 

Such was the deplorable sticceas which infiddity had 
obtained^ that* it was not: uncommob to beara sernion 
m which die name of Jesus Christ .was asroided. by t&e 
preacher as a rock oh which he feared to ^liL And 
what was so ridiculous and so firtal in tUs^ name to^ 
christian oratqr f'^^Did Bossuet find that diis name dc« 
tracted from his eloquence ?-*^You preach befixe the^pdor, 
land you dare not name^ Jesus Christ !^^^befi)re the unfiv» 
tunate, and the name of their fiither must not pass.ytxir 
lips I-r^before children, and you cannot instruct diem 
that it was h$ who blessed didr innocffice. Yxni tatt: 
of morality, and you blush to name the author of that 
w:hich b preached in the gospel! luever can the a&ctiiig 
precepts of religioii be supplied by tbe ccoumon^plaoe 
maximsjof philodophy. Reli^on is a sentiment^ philo^ 
Bophy an essay of reason, and even supposing that both 
led to: practising the same virtues it would always be 
safest tor t^e di& first But a stilt strOi^er conaderadon 
is,*that all the virtues of phil6sophy are accessible ta re* 
ligion, whilemany of the reli^ous virtues are nAt acce8<^ 
sible to philosophy. Was it philosophy that estsdilished 
itself on the suminit of die Alps to xcscue the traveller ? 
— It is philQsopby that succours the slave aflliGted with 
the plague in the bagnios of Constairtinople, or that exiles 
itself in the deserts of the New Worid, to instruct and 
civilize the savages* Philosophy may carry its sacrifices 
so far as to afford assistance to the sick, but in aj^ying 
the remedy it twms away its eyes ; the heart and die- 



oil TRE BdEi aitastT* iil7 

snses is^obI^ fix siidb are the emouons of natuce. Ba4 
ifie roEgk^ host it toothes tfie mftcin, witli what tender- 
ness k cocitempiate& tiibse (fisgusting waunds^^-'it di^- 
C&fws- an iixeflB^ beauty, an immortal lak ta those dj- 
hig iiiaturies, where phillosof>hy can see nothing but the 
hi(leou$iiess of death* 'TliCFe is the same di&tence be- 
tween the* serviees that philosophy and religion render to 
hiHwan naftim as exists between dttHy and fove. 

To justify M. Gilbert for having defended christiant- 
tyy I esennot rest too Hiueh on the aijthority of the great 
king whom I have so often cited in this article/ The 
philosoj^ers themsdv*s considered him as a philosopher, 
arttf certainly he cannot he accused of harbooriag any re- 
ligious stiperstitions ; but he had a long habh of govern^ 
ing' men, and he knew that Ae mass could not be led with 
the 2rii)Straet principles oT metaphysics* In pursuing hi$ 
refutation of the St/stem cfHattiTt^ he says : *' How can 
the author pretend to maintaifr, with any fece of truth, that 
the christian religion is the cause of alt the misfortunes of 
humaiT nature. To speak with justice, he should have 
^aidy firmply, that die ambitibn and interests of mankind 
make useof thtsrcligibn as a pretence to disturb the peace 
of the world, and to sjitirfy their ownr passwms. What 
objection can seriousFy be made agtnnst the system of 
morality contained in the decalogue ?-^Did ^gospel 
contain no ether precept b^it tMs one: Do^natto-oth&fs 
rahat ytM would not that tkeyi shauMth to you^ we shoidd' 
be obHged to confess that these few words centain the 
very quintessence of aW morality. Besides, were not cha* 
rity and humanify, with the pardoR of oflbnces^ preached* 
by Jesus in his excellen* sermon on the mount ?— The 
law itself must not be confounded with the abuses of ir, 
th^ things incufcated, with the things practised.^* 

Ripened by age and experience, perh;\ps warned by 
that voice which speaks from the tomb, Frederick, to- 

Ee 



218 ESSATS on VA&IOVS STTEJECTS. 

wards the close of his^ife, had shaken off those vsun sys^. 
terns which lead to nothing but errors. Ife began to fisel 
the foundations of society tremble under him, and to dis-i 
cover the deep mine that atheism was sBently hdlowmg 
out. Religion is made more especially for those who are 
the most elevated above their fellow creatures. It is sta* 
tioned around thrones, Uke those vulnerary herbs which 
grow about, the mountains of Switzerland, there where 
falls the most terrible are likely to be encountered* 

It is probable that the two satkes of M. Gilbert,, and 
some stanzas of his odes will retain a jdace among our U^ 
^rature. This young poet, who died before his talents 
were matured, has nekher the grace and lightness of Ho« 
race, nor the beautiftd poeliy and exqpiisite taste of Boi* 
lean. He tortures his language, he se^ after iovarssoi), 
he drives on his metaphors too £m', his talents are caprii^- 
ousand his muse fanciful, but he has focciUe modes of 
expression, verses wdl con^ructed^ and 9>meUa9es the 
vem of JuvemL Thanks to the re-estaUishm^tit of our 
temples in France, we have no occasion for. new Gilberts 
to sing the woes of religion, we require poets to phaimt 
her triumphs. Aht^y some of our most dist^iDgiusfaed 
fiterati, Messrs. DeliUe, Laharpe, FontanSs, Beniaedm de 
St. Pierre, and others have conseeeated their meditaticins 
to religious subjects. A new defender, M. de.Sonald, 
has arisen, who, by the depth of his ideas mad the power 
of reascHiings, has abtmdantly justified the lofty and ^-aee- 
ing wisdom of the chri^isun institutions*^ Evoy cme 
among our youth who gives any jmunise of talent, rebims 
to Ihose sacred principles w|iich made Quintilian B9y : 
^ If thou believest, thou shak socm be instructed in te 
duties of a good and happy life." Brevis e$t m^Htutia 
vitay fionesta beataqucy si creeks. 



219 



ANALYSIS 

O^ THE WORK OF M . DE BONALD 

Entitled: " Primitive Legislatiok considered in the 
. latter times by the Rght ef reason aloney 



'* FEW men are bom with that pardcular and decided 
disposition toiv^ds one only object which vre call tal^t; 
a blessing of nature, if &vorable circumstances assist ite 
idevclopement, and permit the exercise of it; a real mis- 
fortune, a tonrfent to its possessor, if it be contradicted/' 

This passage b taken from the book we are about to 
examine* Nothing is more aflfecting than those involun- 
taiy complaints which sometimes escape from true talent 
The author oi Primitive Le^lation^ like many other ce- 
lebrated writers, seems only to have received gifts fro^i 
nature* to feel disgust at them. Like Epictetus he has 
been^ obl^d to reduce his philosophy to these maxims 
anechou kai apechouj suffer and abstahu It was in the 
obscure cottage of a German peasant, in the bosom of a 
foreign country that he composed his Theory ofPoIUmd 
and ReUgims pcfwer^ a work suppressed by the Directory 
in France ; it was in the midst of all possible privations, 
amit menaced with the>w of the proscription, that he pub* 
lished hb Observations upon Divorce j an admirable treatise, 
the latter pages of which, in particular, are a model of 
that eloquence pf thought which b so supoior to the elo- 
quence of words, and which subdues every thing, as 
Pascal says, by the ri^ht of power. In fine, it is at the 



220 BSSAYft OK VAllI'OUS SUBJECTS. 

moment when he is about to qpiit Paris, letters and lus 
genius, if I may be allowed the expression, that he gives 
us his Ftinntive Legislation ; Plato crowned his woiics 
by his IxrwSf and L^cutgusbanislKd himself firom Sparta 
after having established his. t)nfortunalely ^ we have not, 
like the Spartans, sworn to obsd*^ ^ Ia«^t)f cuir new 
legislator. But let M. de Bonald be ^tisfied; when, 
as in him, the aui^hcA^ty oT good morals is combined with 
the authority of genius, whan the s6u\ is free fhmi diose 
weaknesses, which place arms in the hands of calnmny, 
and console mectidcmy, gbs t ade s must vanish socner or 
later, and we must arrive at that position in whidi talent 
fsnoloi^r a mortification^ but a blessing. 

The judgments generally passed upon our modem 
liteifature^ appear to me somewhat exag^ecated* Some 
mistake our scientific jargon, and inflated pfaraseollogy fer 
the progress of genkis and illumkiiatim ; accc^mg to 
them language and nason have advanced much mnce 
Bossuet and Racine: — but what advance! — Others on 
the contrary find nothing that is endiH^Ue; if they are to 
be believed we have not a single, good wiiter. Is it not 
a tolerably well established truth, that there have been 
epochs in France when the state of literature was very 
much below what it is at present? Are we competent 
judges in such a cause, and cm we very jusdy appreci- 
ale those writers who live in the same time with ourselves f 
Such, or such a cotemporary author whose value we 
scarce^ feel, may be one day considered as the gloi^r of 
our age. How Ipng have the great men of Louis XlV 
foundtbeir true level ? Racine and La Bruyere wef^ al- 
most ^imknovvn while they lived. ^ We see Hollin, that 
writer full of learning and taste, balapce the merits, of 
Tl^oMcr and Bossuet aiid give us plainly to understand 
that the preference was generally given to ibft former. 
The mania of all oges has been to complain of the scarcity 



ef^ood v^rittars ^3 go«d btafcs. What thtegs liave not 
hecti written agaklst Ihiema^Sf agaiiutt the Chara&tm 
tf LxL Bmftrty agakisl the mo^ Miblilne of !Racine^ 
woHcs ? Wiio dobs ntt know thef^i^iginim bpon AtbMia? 
Oiitheod«lttnd, iet on}^ icme read llie joomtfetsf tte 
fa»t centuiV; ktliiein fiicdier itad vkaii \jx Braf^ Md 
Voltaire themsclvts said of ^ lienataiiis cf their times; 
will itbebdfevediSmt^ysptek ofthe^k^ whcan the 
coiratiy codU \mk n Fgii€1oiit a Bossiifet, a Pasc^, a 
Bcnieau, li Racine, a Moliere, a La Fdntaine, a Jean* 
Jai»)ueB RoQsseaa, a Biiibti, b Motitesiquieiii ? 

FVenoh lila^trik^ is atiout to assume ttnientif% new 
face^ mdi thk revoitttion, x^lher tbougbte, oftier vle^fH of 
men and trf 4ungs teust faai« ansen. It is ieasj to «ee 
dud: writers vritt be divided mto tiro dames ; •some v^ 
ndce it tkctr gimt ^odieaTour entirely to qok the at^idlk 
Toute^ iMters will ho^ less assiduously tndeQvoar to fol^ 
low tix»e modell^ but alwayi^ pftsentitig tiiem under a 
new J)oint of viiw. It is very prbbabk that di& i^tlcr 
wi8^»theaid) triutnph over their advcrsariesy because, 
ki u{ibolding ti^eir onto labours by great ainhorities, diey 
*will have much safer and abler guicks, dosutti^nts nfiuch 
Rtoce fertite in themselves, |:han tho«^ Ivho would rest 
upon their own talehte «doBe. 

M. de Bonald wUl contribute not a litdeto this vic- 
tory; already his ideas begin to obtain a c^irrencJy^ firag*. 
tilenis of tbem are to be traced in the ^ater jXEirt of the 
joumals and publications of the day. Tbere are certain 
sentiments and certain styles, AVbich may be almost caUed 
contagions,. and M^iich, if I may be pardoned the idea, 
tint aU minds with tbek colouring. This is, aft the same 
time, a good and an evil. An evil masmuch as it dis- 
gusts the writer whose frestiness is thus^ as it were faded, 
and whose origimlity is i^ddred vulgar ; — a good, in as 
far as it tends to circulate iisdFul truths more widfely. 



SS^ £SSA7S OK VAIt^OVS SFBJECtft^ 

' M* de Booald's new work is divided into four fa(t$. 
The first including. the prdimiaarjr discourse, treats bf 
the relations of. beings to each ptber, and the fundament^ 
principles ori^islatiom. The seoondconsidersthean- 
cteqt stale of the ^deagstical ministxy in .France. Thf 
ttvid treats of public education, and the fourth examines 
the stale of ch^^n and mahometan Europe.. 

To remount to Uie JPrinciples ofLe^^tkm^ M. de 
JBpnald b^ns by remounting to the PrincijidesofBe'mgSy 
p order to find tb^ primitive law^ the eternal example 
of human laws; for human laws are only good ot bad, 
.insuHmich as they a^oach of deviate from that diviiie 
law which flows fipom diving wisdom. JLesp rerum om- 
mum principem expre^sa naturay mlguam leges hornmum 
(Briguniurf qua suppli(no improbos officiunty ei defendimi 
et tuentur boms.* Our author traces rapidly the histoiy 
of philosopliy, which, according to him^ among the an- 
cio^, signified the iovepftvisfiom^ and among, us si^- 
'£es a search after truth. Thus the Greeks made wis- 
dom cons^t in ^e practicQ of morsdity, we make it con* 
sist in the theory. ^^ Our pbilosc^hy,'' says M. de Bo- 
n^d, ^' is empty in its thoughts, lo% in its language ; it 
combines the licentiousness of the Epicureans with the 
pride of the Stoics. It has its sceptics, its pyrrhonian% 
itsekctics; the only doctrine it has not embraced is that 
<^ {privations." 

On the cause of our errors, M. de Bonald makes the 
following profound remark: ^^ In physics we may lie ai- 
k>wed to assume particular errors, in morals we ought to 
assume general truths. It is fi-cmi having d(»ie the contra- 
ry, from having assumed truths in physics, that mankind 
believed so long in the absurd system c^ phy^cs esta- 
blished by the ancients; as it is from having assumed 
errors in the general morals of nations that so many per- 
sons, in our day§, have been wrecked/' 

• Cicero de Leg. lib. 2. 



The tfutbdr is soon led to eicamine the problem of 
iitrtate ideas* M^thout embracing ^opinion that rejects 
iEhem, or ranging hmself with^ party that adopts them, 
be bdieves that God has ^cvtn to men in general, not to 
every man in particular, a certain portion <^ jMrinet];^ 
or innate sentiments, such as the idea of a Supreme 
Bebg,of the immortaEty of the soul, add (^ the first no- 
tions of our mcoal duties, absdutdy necessary to the 
establishihent of social ordbr. HeUCe it happens, tha^ 
stiicdy speakmg, single persons may be found who have 
no kno\^ledge of tfaes^ principles, but that no society of 
men was ever, found totally ignorant of them. If ti^ be 
not the truth, ^t least we ^ust aHow that the mind ca« 
pable of reasoning thus is not one of an ordinary tex- 
ture. 

From thence M. de Bonald passes to the examliiaticm 
of another principle on which he founds aU legislation. 
Hus is, that speech was taught to man^ thai U is not an 
inttdtivequaRty m him. He recognizes three sorts of 
speech, gesticuladon, oral communication^ and writing. 
This opiilion he founds Upon reasons which appear to have 
great wei^t. First, because it is necessary to tliink of 
the words before the thought can be uttarcd. Secondly, 
because those who are born deaf, and n^v^ hear speech, 
are dumb, a proof that speech i^ a thing acquired, not in- 
tuitive. Thirdly, because, if speech he a human inven- 
tion, there are no longer any necessary truths. 

To this idea M* de Bon^d recurs very frequently : 
l)ecause, according to him, ondiis rests sdl the controver- 
sy of theists »id Stlieists with chrislitos and philosopecs* 
In feet, it must be allowed, that if we couid proi« speech 
to have been revealed, not inveaied. We should have a 
physical proof of the existence of God: God^ould not 
have given speech to man without also giving hira rules 
and laws: all ym\M, then become positive in .societ}\ 



934 ESSAYS <>«.YAEWa&SiriJ£CT8. 

TbisseeiMtaustohavebeeatlieQiMnioaQfPiato^ aj6d(tf 
the Boi»M philoaopber* Legem nep^ /kMinwoi if$s^^ 
eX'CognHatum neque sfikim uliquod cue popidrnmh 9ti 
mtenmm^ukkfamjetc. 

It. became neocasaiy ftr M. dt Booaldto devdop 
his idea more fuUy, and tUs he. ha^ done in am escdDeal 
diasertation, at the end of lus wQrk« We theve fiq$ this 
comparisGn wtttdi pne night beUeoro tianaiated frena ifte 
PAadany or from 7Atf Repub&e. ^^ That necaasaxjr and 
natural correspondeiice between tibo tly)nghhi,i apdthc 
wofda by whidi tfiey areeK^aii^ and diat neoeasi)^ of 
speech to render present to the mind its own diou^itv 
md the thoughts of others, may bercndeied sea^iofe by 
a comparison, the extreme exactness of which wmk) 
alone pore a perfect analogy between the laws of our in* 
tellectual nature, and of our j^yucaL natuve* 

^* If I am in a daik place I have no ocular viaion m 
biowledge by sight of the existence of bodks dmtase 
near me, not even of my own hadfff ; and iiod^JtU6.ia« 
ktion these beings are the same to me aa if dxsjr didflot: 
exist. But if the light isadmittedv on a sudden att the 
objects receive a relative colour, aocording to the partial* 
lar contexture of the surface. Each body is presenile, 
my eyes, I see them all, I judge the relations of form, <tf 
extent, of the distance of every object from the othef^ and 
fit)mmyself/ 

" Our understanding is this dark place where we ^ 
not perceive any idea, not even that of our own intelli- 
gence, till %vords penetrating by the sense of hearing and 
seeing, carry light into that darkness, and caH; iS I may 
say so, every idea, which answers, Jike the stars in Jofe, 
here lam. Then alone are our ideas explainedv we have 
the consciousness, the knowledge of our thou^ts, and . 
can convey k to others ; then only have wean idea of our- 
selves, have we an idea of other beings, and the rdatiof*^ 



U* 2>fi BOKAID. Sf25 

they have among diemselves and with os. As the eye 
^fistk^ishes each body by its colour, the mind distin- 
guidieseach idea by its expressions." 

Do we often find reasoning so powerful, combined 
with such vivacity of expression? The ideas answering 
ie speech like the stars ofJob^ herIk i am ; is not this 
of an order of thoughts extremely elevated, of a character 
of style veiy rare? I appeal to men t£ better talents and 
understanding ^an myself : Quantum eloquentia valeat, 
Junius credere potest. 

Yet we will venture to propose some doubts to our 
4uliio^, and submit ow obs^vations to his superior judg- 
ment. We acknowledge, like him, the principle of the 
transmission of speech, or that it has been taught to us; 
But does he not carry diis principle too far ? In ms&mg 
it the only positive proof of die existen<% of God, and of 
die fiindamentsd laws of society, does he not put the most 
important truths to the hazard, in case this sole proof 
should be diluted. The reasoning that he draws from 
the deaf and dumb, in favour of speech being taught, is 
not perhaps thoroughly conclusive. It may be said, you 
take your example in an exception, and you seek your 
proof in an imporfection of nature. Let us suppose a 
sava^ in possesion of Ms senses, but not having speech ; 
tfis man, pressed by hunger, meets in the forest witli 
some obj«:t proper to satisfy it, he utters a cry of joy at 
seeing it, or at eairying it to his .mouth. Is it not i^ossi- 
ble diat havii^ heard the cry, the sound, be it what it 
may, he retains it, and repeats it afterwards, every timi^ 
he perceives the same object, or is pressed with the ^ame 
want The cry will become the first word of his vqca- 
bulary, andtht^he will proceed on tiff lie arrives at the 
expression of j(|eas purely intellectual. 

It is certain that the idea cannot be put forth from the 
understanding without words, but it will perhaps be ad- 

F f 



"%,. 
% 



22^ ES8AVS Oil VASXtHTS SUBJECTS. 

Jiiitted, tbat man, with the permisskm of jGvod, Ug^ts^ u|kl 
himself tiiis t(X!Ch of speech, which is to illumioale the^ 
soul; that the sentiment or idea fii^t gives occasion tCK 
the expressiOD^, and that the expvessioninits.tisni.r&^n* 
ters and enlightens the mind. If tf)e anliior Awki aqr 
that millions <£ years would be requbite to • form- a Uffl^ 
giiage in this way, snid that Jean Jaques Roitsseau lamsel^ 
believed that speech was necessary for the tnveiition;of 
wofrds, we will admit this difficulty also. Bi»t M. nde. 
BcHsald must not forget that he has to do. with 11991 wIb| 
deny all tradition, and who dispose^ atvtheir pl^suie of 
the etenuty of the world. 

There is, besides, a more serbus objection. , If words 
be necessary for &e manifestation of the idea, iEuid that 
qieech enters by the senses, the soul inipiother Ufi^de6.-r 
poiled of the bodily organs, catmot have the co^soiQHi^ 
^ess of its thoughts. There will in that case be b|it, cner 
resource remaining, which is, to say that God theo^oK 
lightens with his own words, and that the soul sees its^- 
id^s in the <livinity. Tbb is to return to .the.4^«lrai . of 
JVfattebranche. 

Mbdsof deep reilecdcm will like to see how M. <]b 
Bonald unrolis the vast picture of sodai order, how he > 
follows and defines the civil, political, andrd^CHUsadiK. 
sribisteition. He proves, convincmgly, ttedt the CWstiaii: 
re%ion has con^kted man, as the supreme logtatotor- 
said in.yiddiog up tfa^ ghost : axl is FiNiSHSDi^ 

M« de Bonald gives a smgular elevation, and an im* 
mwse depth to cbristimity ; he^foUows the mysticsdm-. 
lations of die ^F^ort/ and thei Son^ and shews that the true; 
God could not be known but by the revelation, or inoar^- 
nation of bis ^^c/', as the faculty of thought in^mw is 
only manifested by speech or the incarnation erf the 
thought. Hobbes, in his Christian City, exphmedtfae 
fFcrdas the author of the legislation. Intestammfo mv^ 



Jf. X>£ BOKALP. • i227 

glt^tce scHpto VERBUM DEI cxp€ ptmituT Cnm pfo €0^ quod 
bqutmius est IknsJ sed pro eo quodde Deo et de regno 
^ks^^Sn Aocautemsensa idem sigmficant hgos Theaa* 

Our author makes an essential diflbence between the 
CQBsti^i^dn of donKstic society, or the order of a family, 
sad the pofitical consdtuticHi ; relations which) in our 
times, have been too much confounded together. Iti the 
examkiaticm of the ancient ecclesiastical ministry in 
Fftmce, he shews a profound knowledge of our history. 
He examinei^ the {Mrinciple of the sovereignty of tlie 
people, wiwh Bossuet had attacked in his fiMi notice, in 
answer to M. Jurieu. " Where every thing is independ- 
ent, says the Bishop of Meaux, there b nothing sove* 
reign^" A thundering axiom, a manner of arguing pre- 
cisely, such as the protestant ministers required, who 
prided themselves, above all things, on their reasoning 
and their logic* They complained of being crushed by 
fte eloquence of Bossuet, idid the orator immediately 
put aside eloquence ; like those christian warriors who, 
in tbe midst of a batde, seeing their adversaries without 
arms, threw their arms aside, that they might not obtain* 
too easy a victory. Bossuet passing afterwards to the 
Ittstorical proofs, and dbewing that the pretended soAai 
pom lias never existed, makes it cleal^, as he says himself, 
that there is in the. idea as much ignorance as words j 
that if the people are the severe^, they have an incon- 
testable right to change their constitution everyday, &c. 
Tbk gi:eat man whom M. de Bonald, worthy to be his 
admirer, dtes widi so much comfdacency ; this great 
man establishes also theexcel^ce of h^editary succes- 
siau " It is for the benefit of the people/' says he, 
^^ that the government sboidd feel perfectly at its ease, that 
it should be perpetuated by the same laws that perpetu- 
ate the luiman race, and should follow as it were, the march 
ofiiature/' 



22& ESSAYS orir various subjects. 

M* de Bonald reproduces to us tbb fund of good:^ 
sense, and sometimes this simple grandeur (^st}'le. l%e 
ignorance and the bad faitli into which onr age has fidieni 
vniii respect tb that of Louis XIV, is a subject of asioiiis)^ 
ment from which one recovers with difficukjr* The 
writers of this age are thought to have wholly overtogked 
the principles of ^ocisd order, and yet diere is not a t^gle 
question of importance, in political science, wUch Bossuet 
has not treated, whether in his Universal Histarffj in his 
P^Rticsy taken from the Scriptures^ cic in his controvet- 
sies with the protestants. 

For the rest, if the first and second vdumes of M. de 
Bonald^s work be liable to some objections, the same can- 
not be said of the third. The suithor there treate the' 
subject of education with a superiority of mtelkct, a force 
6f reasoning, mid a' clearsightedness that entitles him to 
the Warmest eulogium. It is, indeed, in treatmg particu- 
lar questions of morals or politics that he excels. He 
^reads over them a fertilizing moderation^ to use the 
fine expression of M.Daguesseau. I do not doubt that 
his Treatise on Education will attract the eyes <tf the great 
men m the sts^te, as his Question of Dioorce has fixed 
the attention of all men of the soundest minds in France. 

M. de Bonald's style might sometimes be more har- 
nionious and less neglected* His thoughts are always 
brilliant and happily chosen ; but, I know not whedier 
his mode of expressing them may not occasionally be 
somewhat too terse and familiar. These are, however, 
slight defects which will disappear with a little labour. 
Perhaps some better arrangement ofhismatter might also 
be desirable, and more clearness of his ideas ; great and 
elevated geniuses are apt riot to have sufficient compas- 
sion for the weakness of their readers ; 'tis a natural abuse 
of power. Farther, the distinctions he makes, appear 
irometinies too ingenious, too subtile* Like Montesquieu, 



If. ])£ BOKALD. SSt9 

heisfotid<^ supporting an important truth upon as£ght 
reason. The <iefinition of the word, the explanation c^an 
etymdofffj are things too curious and too arbitrary to be 
advanced in support of an importat principle. 

These criticisms are, however, rather o&rcd in com- 
pGance with the miserable custom which requires, diat 
critknsm i^ould always foUow in tihe train of eulogium. 
Heaven forbid that we should scrutinize with toofnice an 
eye, some trifling defects in die writings of so very superi- 
or a man as M. de Bonald. As we do not set ourselves up 
for authority, we may have permission to admire with the 
vulgar, and we will avail ouredves amply of this privilege 
in &vour df the author of Primitive Legislation. Happy 
the state that possesses such citizens ; men whom the 
injustice of fcntune cannot discourage, who will fight for 
the sake of doing good alone, though without any hope of 
conquering. 

At the very moment when I write these words, I de- 
scend one of the greatest rivers in France ; on two oppo* 
site mountains rise two towers in ruins : on the tops of 
these towers little bells are suspended which are sounded 
by the mountaineers as we pass. Thb river, these rnoun-* 
tains, these sounds, these gothic monuments, amuse for 
a mcnnent the eyes and ears of the spectators and auditors, 
but no one thinks of stopping to go where the bells mvite 
them. Thus, the men who at this day preach morals 
and religion, in vain, from the tops of their turrets give 
tlie signal to those who are led away by the torrent of the 
world. The traveller is astonished at the magnificence 
of the ruins, at die sweetness qf the sounds that issue 
from them, at the sublimity of the repoUections associated 
with them, but he does not suffer these emotions to arrest 
hb course ; at tlie first bend of the river he loses sight of 
the objects, and all is f(»^tten. 
• We may remack b history, tliat the greater part of tlie. 



^0. £S$AYS 91^' VA«(HrS WBJZCTS. 

itYoIutioiis. which have taken pkce among civjiH^ed qa- ' 
ticms, have been preened by the same opimons and 2A* : 
nouiiocdby thesamcwritmgs: Qufdest fuodJaihirumTx 
Ipsum qu^fttkurum est. Quintiiljan and |llian speak of ^ 
that. Arcbilochus whotet ventured to publish ^ shath^- ^ 
ful history of his conscience in the face of the umverse ; - 
he flonridied inGfcece befiue the reform of Sdon. : Ac^> 
cording to the report of Eschmes, Draco had c<Mnfdetfid- 
a Treatise on Education^ where tidying man fisora his 
cradle, he cmducted him step by stq) to the tomb., 
This recals to ^ mind the. eloquent Jean-Jaques Rous-^ 
seau» 

The CyropetRa ofXenophm^ a part of the RtptdfRcCf^ 
PhtOj and the first book of Ms Lawsy may also be re- 
garded as jfine treatises, more or less' proper to form the ' 
hearts of the yiouth. Seneca, and above all the judtd^ns ' 
Quintilian, placed on another theatre, in times niore re- 
sembling our own, have left excellent lessons boA to the ' 
masters and th^ scholars. Unhappily, from so many^ 
good writmgs on education, we have only borrowed the 
systematic part, precisely that which, being adapted to the * 
manners of the ancients, cannot apply to our own. That 
fatal imitation which we have carriol to excess in every 
things has been the cause of many misfortunes, m 
naturalizing among us the murders amd devastations of 
Sfp^sAs^ and of Athens. Without attaming the greatnes? 
of those celebrated cities, we have imitiated the tyrants 
who, to embellish their country, transported thither the 
tombs and the ruins of Greece. If the fury for destroying 
every thing had not been the predominant character of 
this age, why should we have had occasion to seek sys- 
tems of education amid the spoils of antiquity. Have we 
not the institutions of Christianity? That religion so ca- 
lumniated, to which we nevertheless owe the very arts by 
which we are fed, rescued our &thers from barbarian * 



darkness;' Widi isttie hand the Benedictibies guided the 
plou^ in Gaid> mfk the oAer tibey transcribed tbe 
pofaxns (f Hmifr ; and while the ^krlks of the commiini* - 
tf;. were occupied with the (idUection of aneient manun 
scripts, the poorer t^fethren ci these sdiools of piety in* 
strtiGtcd the chiidren of the pfeople, gratis, m the firstTii^^ 
dini^ts of Earning. They c^eyed this command of the' 
b^ where we &vA^^JVan deoWfH^cH^em injtwmhae^ 
€t f^ de^ffnekis cogiatus illim. 

Soon aftar app^ed tliat celebrated society which gave 
TassQ to Italy,; and Voltaire to France, and of which it 
might be truly said, that every member was a distinguidir 
ed mmi of letters* The Jesuit, a qiathe^atioian in Chi- 
na, the legislator in Paraguay, the antiquary in £gypt, 
the martyr in Canada, was in Europe the man of let* 
lers and polished manners, whose urbsmity took from * 
science that pedantry which never fails to disgust youth. 
Voltaire consulted tbe Fathers Ppr^e and Brumoy upoa* 
his tragedies : " Julius Caesar has been," said he, writii^ 
tQ M, de CideviUe, " read before ten Jesuits ; they tWnk 
of it as you do." The rivalship which was established 
for a moment between Por^ Royalj and the Societffy fore- - 
ed this l^er to watch more scrupulously over the morals :- 
established there, and the Provincial Letters completed \ 
the correction of the evil. The Jesuits were mild and 
tolerant,, seeking only to render religion amiable through ^ 
indulgence to our weaknesses, and were first led astray 
by this charitable design. Port Royal was inflexible and ^ 
severe, like the prophet king who seemed emulous to ^ 
equal the rigour of his penitence by the elevation of hb 
genius. If the most tender of all the poets was educated 
in the school of the solitaries, the most austere of all^ 
preachers sprung up in the bosom of society. Bossuet 
and Boileau inclined towards the first ; Fen61on and La > 
Fontaine towards the second ; Anacreon was^Uent before ,^ 
the Jansenists. 



232 ESSAYS 4N V&EtOtrS l&trBJ£CTS* 

Port Royd, sublime at its birth, changed at\d aker. 
ed on a sudden like those antique emblems wliich have 
only the head of an eagle : the Jesuits, on the contraiy, 
maintained their ground and improved to the last mo- 
roent of their exbtencc. The destruction of this order 
has been an irreparable injury to education and to litera- 
ture; this is now allowed on all hands. But according 
to the affecting reflexion of an historian : Quis ben^orufn 
servat memoriatn? Aut quis ullam calamitom deberi 
partam gratiatn ? aut quando fortuna nan mutam Jidem ? 

It was then under the age of Louis XI V, an age 
wliich gave birth to all the greatness of France, that the 
system of education for the two sexes arrived at its high* 
<est point of perfection. One cannot recal without admi- 
ration those times when we saw come forth from the 
christian schools, Racine, Montfaucon, Sevign6, La Fay- 
ette, Dacier ; the times when he who sung Antiope gave 
lessons to the wives, in which Fathers Hardouin and Jou- 
vanay explained sumblime antiquity ; — ^while the geniuses 
of Port Royal wrote for the higher classes of pupils, die 
great Bossuet charged himself with the catechisms of 
little children. 

Rollin soon appeared at the head of the university. 
This learned man whom, in modern times, some have 
been pleased to qualify as a college pedant^ full of absur- 
dities and prejudices, is, neverthdess, one of the first 
French writers who qpoke with encomiuni of an English 
philosopher : " I diall make great use of two modern 
authors," says he in lus Treatise on Study ; " these are 
M. de Fenelon, Archbishop of Cambray, and the Eng- 
lidiMr.Xocke, whose writings on Education are highly 
esteemed, and with good reason ; the latter has, however, 
some particular sentiments which L would not be thought 
to adopt. I know not, besides, whether he was well 
versed in the Greek tongue, and in the study of the 



If. DX B0KAL9* i^ 

fMles-Lettres : at least he does not appear to value them 
sufficiently." It is, in fact> to Mr. Locke's work that we 
must recur for the date of those systematic opinions which 
tend to make all children the heroes of romance, or of 
philosojphy. 

The Emilius, in which these opinions are unfortu* 
hately consecrated by great talents and sonietimes by an 
all-commanding eloquence, is now considered as a prac^* 
tical work. Under this point of view, there is scarcely 
an elementary book for infancy which b not to be prefer* 
red to it ; of this we seem at length to be sensible, and a 
celebrated woman* has, in these latter days, published 
precepts of education much more salutary and useful. A 
man, whose genius was ripened by the storms of the re» 
volution, has now put the finishing stroke to the overthrow 
of such principles of a false philosophy, and has com- 
pletely re-established education upon a moral and religi- 
ous basis. 

The third volume of the Primitive Legistatim is con. 
secreted to this very important subject. M. de Bo- 
nald begins by laying down as a principle that man is 
bom weak and igncx-ant, but capable of learning.— •" Very 
different,'* he says, " from the brute, man is bom perfec- 
tible, the brute perfect." 

What then should man be taught ?— Every thing that 
is good ; that is to say, every thing necessary for the pre- 
servation of his being. And what are the general means 
to be employed for this preservation ? •societj/. How is 
this term, society, to be explained whep thus appliedf — 
It is to be explained by those expressioi^ of the general 
will, called laws. Laws ate then the will whence result 
certain actions which are called our duties as members of 
society. Ekiucation, therefore^ properly speaking, is m» 
struction in the iaW3[ and duties of society. 

* Madame d& Otnltt^ 

Og 



834 E88AT8 «fl VAtt#T| «tfWWT8. 

Man ut«kr rpliglowand poUti^ v|)N>«H bclDKilii 
a domestic sacitttf, and zpiMpmi^il' Thcr? are, offb; 
sequently, two systeios to b? ibU«we4 in lediKiatiM:- 
fixfXf as (hm^stk society \% ponperfiQ], wjbich fpUovi/^s 4i^ 
child into its paternal roof; thb has for its tjad to fora| 
the inaa as a mqnber of a fequilj^ m^ to instrupt }|im in 
the elements of religion. Seccm^y , 9s it QoAc&m piAHt 
society which include those branches of e4u,Qatioii up* 
ceived by th^ ehikl in pyblic establisb«ief4s» die wd ^ 
Vhii^is to form the n\anas ameinber pf acommunity |^y 
instructing him in the relative political and r^gioas^V*: 
ifiss which that station demands* 

Education m its principle QUg^t to be e9$eii6a% ri^ 
gious. Here M. de Bonald co^nbats with great ^trengtib 
the author of £miUu9« To say tl^^^ we ought not 1^ inr 
stil any r^ligipus principles in infancy 19 oi»e of t(i(e n|Of^ 
fatal errors that phUosppby ever sdvange4. The ant^ 
dt Primitive L^isktim dtes the dreadful exaipjde ^f 
seventy «five childrex^ belQw fifi^^ years ^ age, btQu^ 
before the police in the space of five monthsi for robberies 
^d oiTences again^ good morals! The citizen ^ajpia 
BexoD, president of the tribunal of the i^rst instaooe ^ 
die department of the Seme, to whom we are indebted f», 
the knowledge of this &ct, says, in his r^ort, that fnoffi 
than half the piliMngs wh^h take place at Paris are com: 
ipined by children* 

Public estaUishments, says M. Necker in bis CbxM« 
qfJSUiigiaus Morals^ ovif^ ;dway» to secure to duldim 
elementary iivstrue;tion in iporals and religioiu Indi&r^ 
wee to this object will render those by whom such e^a^ 
blifihments are regulated one day fearfully responsible for 
die wanderings that it may be necessary to punish. Will 
not their comcieneea be terrifi^ at the reproach whiqh 
maybe made them by. a yenmg man brought before Ihe 
criminal tribunal, and ou die verge of fcceiving a rigorous 



ftnttHcet Wlutt,iiil!&ef)Cotihlbeand\twdd, if hewers 
to say : *^ I have nevi» been formed to virtue by soiy m* 
struetion; I Was devoted to tuerc^naiy occupations, I 
\raB buiiched into the worid before ahy one principle was 
iiiscniied in my hedrt, or engraved on my memory. 
Tb*y talked to me of IHxirty, of Quality , never of my 
4AtkA towards dth^, nfever of the religious authority 
whidi would have tobjec^ me to tfabsfe dutiM. I H^as 
teft ^ dl&A of nature, atid you would judge me after 
laws cdm^osed for society. It was not l^ a sfctitfenc^ df 
dtath that I dught to have been instructed in the duties 
^f life/' SugI^ 18 At terrible language which a young 
fban miglit ev^Atually hold in heanng his condemnatioii. 

Ih Speaking of doitiestic educfation, M. de Bohald, 
fifat c^aU, Wdiild have Us reject those English, American, 
^daot^hk jtfaetkes, i^vebted by the sj^irit of srfstem> 
ain<l stippolt^ by fa^oh. *' Light cloathing/' says Ke^ 
ft bare h€ad, a hard bed^ Sobriety, exerdse, tod privatiotis, 
tatber thati eh{oyments ; in a Wotd, almost always what 
6mt& the least, is what suits the best : hature dotsi not 
employ so much expense, so many cares to rai^ u|) & 
firdil edlice winch is only to la^ an instant, whith a breath 
may »virthrow.'^ ^ 

He Mxt recommtads the re-establishmtM of co^pord^ 
^Mi: "Which/' says he, "the government ought to 
^Onsader aa the ihrnestic education of the lower class of 
ptofit. These coip<^tions, in which religion was forti- 
us by AS practices and regulaliotis of the civil authority, 
had MIoAg other adtailtage^fc, dia^ of restraining by th6 
Mmewhat severe duties of tSie masters, a riigged youth, 
Whom netMSissity Itmoved early from the paternal roof, atid 
Whose obscurity placed them out of the reach of the po- 
Ittical power/* This is to see a great way into things, 
^d to consider, as a legislator, what so many writers hare 
only viewed as economists. 



'S96 S$8 AT 8 911 VAftlOM SVBJtttS. 

Passing; on to pafalic oddteatioo, the auiSior piwe3. 
.firstylUceQuintUiw»theiiisufficiencyQfa private educa- 
tion, and the neoes^ty of a gen^vd one. After dpeaking 
of the places where ccril^^ ought to be . estaUished, wd 
fixing the number of pupils that each cdkge oi^bt to 
^contain, Jieexamines-die great question of the maoeft* 
.Let turn spe^ for himself. '^ Education must be perpe^ 
jlualr.u^iversaly uni/brm. Jt must then be carried on by 
.a body^ for. in nothing b^it a body can we find perpetui^ 
generabiyj or unifixrmty. This body^ for it must be on- 
ly one, charged with the public education^ cannot be an 
entirely seoular body, for wiiere would be the tie tl^t 
would assure the perpetuity, and consequently the^ unifpir- 
mity. Would personal interest be this tie ? but secubrs 
would have, ormight have, &milies. They would then 
bdong more to their families than, to die state, more to 
their own children than to the chUdrcRoC others, woidd be 
m(x« attached to their own per^nsd interest th^ to ii^ 
public interest ; the love of self, which some coqi^d^ |is 
tbe universal tie, Is, and always will be die mortal enemy 
of the love of others. 

<< If the public instructors be bachel^NTs, altfaou^ 
seculars, diey can never form a body of themselves* 
. Their fortuitous aggregs^on will only be a continued suc- 
cession of individuals, entering there to e<um a livelihood, 
and quitting, it for an establishi0eat« And what fi^bo: of 
B &mily would like to consign his children to the care of 
unmarried persons whose morals ^e not guaranteed bgr 
religious discipline. If ttey are married^ how can the 
state assure to men chaiged with families, animated widi 
just ambition to acquire a fortune, and more capal^ than 
any others of resigning themselves successfully to the ae« 
quisition of it,-<^how can the state, I say^ assure to such 
men an establishment which shall restrain tbem^fieelually 
• from ever looking to one more lucrative. If, froii^ ytfftm 



of ofeodiciiiy, their wiv€s» aid d^SUmi wsc' t6 Ih^e under 
tile same rodf wiA them, ccsicbrd'b ttifpodsible ; if they 
. siK pamutt^ to lit^e sq&ratdy, ttief expenstesr mtist be iti. 
oadculable. Wefi insltilicted men wotiM not su6mit their 
minds to r^uktiona which' must follow an uniform rou» 
tine, to methods of instructbn which would seem to them 
defective. Men, desirous of acquiring wealth, or men 
overwhelmed with wafits, would think only of enriching 
•themselves. Fathers offamilies would forget their public 
cares in their dom^tic affections^ The state can only be "^ 
certain of retaining, in thdr est£d>li8hments fix* education, 
Vnten, supposing them secular^, who are not fit for arfy 
%tfier profession^ persons of no clmracter or respectability. 
Of this w^ may be eadSy convinced in calling to mind 
ibat some of tli^ most active instrument in our disor- 
ders at Paris, were that class of laic instructors atladied 
to tihe cdleges; who, in their classical icEeas saw thejbrum 
ofRpme in the assemblies of the sections, and conceited 
Hiemselves orators, charged with the destinies of the r^- 
public, when they were only brawlers swoln with pride and 
Vanity, and impatiait to rise above their situations^ It is 
essential then to have a body which caimot be dissolved ; 
a body, the members of wUch, shaH by one common re. 
gulatbn make a saorifice 6t th^personib fattiKes. But 
what other power, except iSiait of rdigion, what other en- 
gagements but those which ^ consecrates, can bind 
men to duties so austere, and induce them to n^e sacri. 
ilces so pdnfiiL" 

l^e vigorousdyiectic of diis passage will betemember- 
cdby every reader. M..de fionald xxtgc^ his vgument 
m a matmer which l^vesno place of refuge to his adver- 
«ries. The only thii^that can be urged gainst lus 
reasois&i^ ist the example of the potestant. universities ; 
but he may answer that the professors in these universities, 
i^ioui^ they are married, 9rt FriestSy or Mmsters of 



sat nsATi on iMAtttft sYijtetfl^ 

StSgiMi Ihftllir iiflifllBltitBaft tfhtfitiaA iMtidflRlibs, 
the funds and teveiiiies ^f wli^an^ ioatpttd^ofte 
gofrtrtimenl; dMatetdl, tfttt^am^diioMfrftiftthe^ 
iftslkvtiiMis, *8t dbomt ^aitttta art liftm afraid tf sdM^* 
lagtbwfthiUmilDthMi. All dda^aoteslka stttaof 
^<|MBdoo tmiicljr, and cvtn serves^ in tlie Iast:asa!f9ii$> 
I^Mofoia^itascMmig erf* our aiith^. 

M. deBonaU^ocolpying himself tfnlf witiilayiii^ 
dovm prindides, negketsio give fnrtlcular advkft to the 
Hiaattts. 11m ai^vke is to befoutid^ hc^wttvar, hi the 
mitiDgsof the good Roffiiu Tht titles alone ofhis daaf^ 
ters sitffioe tamake tins excdteat man bdoved. On ate 
mmner afexercm^auUwriiy vwnr tMim^'^''4m mak^ 
durstflue^ kwedmndjeared^ -^incameniettcei and Skfngeti ijf 
fiuni^mmtt-'^^cn iaikmg retism to i^M^en^^^M ppAr^ 
their h^wur^-^-enimkAig me ^fprnke^t^rnxmrtki aifi ^m-^- 
reues--^n rmdarihg Otofy plmi^n§i^^f^1libf9^ MISNf 
rm mid tvcrmtion'-'^^mjpietjfir^jgi^j^ 
^ ehikbm^ Under tfaislaat dik li it paa8qpifrt»MbcafiS» 
notfi^ofaftctk^iittfieadam^dtaMttit^ - 

<< Whit is a ebrisdafi mtete^.>ehai^ #ilN ^edliG^ 
tiondfyoui^ people?. HiBtedihtAfiaiiiiofeehiindslestiSr 
Christ has consigned heitlmimmbatv^tMi^ 
he has pnTolmsed mih his faloo^ fm wtiom fie has ^ieft 
hislife, whom hekd)(dbfts as In Ushatoe^ ffiid liaifessrii'^ 
I^Ie^ Whom be regai)is'asMs m^bersj as lfi^t)tf0dGmi/a& 
hb CO heirs, of whom he ^ctelimateisoittftif kl^ aMi 
priissts, who shall re^n and- serve God i^kK hkn mi hf 
him to aB mrhi^ ; ixA h» has4«>fidt^ M id^MK t&A fne* 
dous trust that «h«y hnf ^nkM tUt In^timataetfc^ 
sure of iufkK^ntife to ^tk. What ^andfeur, H^M ^i- 
ty dofts not so holiourabtft a ^omfnission add to the ftaU^'» 
^cms of th^ mister*.'' A good ihasfftr ought feapfAf 
to bima^ these wofd^ which €todmftd6 ec^flftuattjf f» 
resound inffie e^r.'i #f M%#?5, the e<«*iducf<* df W4 jiedpte. 



ftaiigfiBf lingmt opm iqi ^MUkm tiie 

(pestf f»Mdfectioiis tatlieoMtoin)riatiQn ol gnat examples. 
He.iraito^bbrMQiGie iigimyt tl^ phibsopU^ 

t/r. V •' 
11^ nmf Wftf DM be pleaaed at finding hknsdf eii«^ 
tilpteiapig.fflMfeatt«^^^ andqpbioiis widi such a-msM 
«|Mrde£6add« Weliave ouradves had ^ j|{^n^^- 
oClN^QP^:y|&firfttoallad& tU^dsmgerousiMtiia<tf 
die poesQit limesi^ ^fo body ean be mor^irtii^^ tiimi 
fl)f«i^lp4be;^dttrmaof Mitral Bktorgi, but wfiaf aii 
ai^^AeitUffy da iBie 0Dt see itt ^ present momefti, 
liMllrki.d^ni»M6r to vidtteb h ia earrieii 011^ and m tht 
opmecpa^io^^iMtikn^^ Natural 

HiMiMSblMNtyjpEa^^^a^ be, oug^ aet to be, 

i^lli^ t^a aeim <A i^uves as m. nature. M. de 
Buiiiii^ bad a a^yaiidgo contempt £ar ctes^otion, "vMch^ 
be called f^f scqffhkSng /a oft^ utscknce^ tm science 
U§e^ Iniepeiideiitfy cf the other dangers to wMch die 
sti9d3^>af <lie j^knoe exehinyeljr leads, kmmucb as di^ 
haw^aaiimnedkte rebkkm ividi the prig^} vice itf man, 
tbi^ i^berish ]^e much mj[»e tfMH te^^s <fe. Descsirtea 
b^Yed) as^ we are infermed by Ihe teamed authcx* oi his 
Wk^^^AMj^istkngerot^ t^appfy iooea^fwstly to those 
m^^e^ifdkkmomtratum which are- mimh more fiequentfy 
pfwiuced by chmce than btf imiu^ry arid experience. 

,♦ In niy Rec^lUcUom in^ England^ and in nay 9p^ ^f- C^rfe*- 



S40 £S8Ars QfK VAR;tOtrf SV8jicT9. 

. His .maumivvs, tint such s^I^eatioii accofltoms Us is* ' 
scDsibhr not to nudce use of our reason, .and exposes im 
to losing tfaeroad traced to us by ks l^t* 

I£ you would teach Natnral History to dnld^ 
out nsrrowing their hearts and Uightii^lfaeir innooeaoe, 
put into tbdr .hands M. de Luc's Commentary upoa 
Genesis, or the vmk cited by M* Rollin «n^ tbe book of 
Studiei^ entitled^ 0/ PMlosophy. Ah) whit suUiois 
jdulosqihy, how little resembling that of our digrs ; let us 
cite a. passage by chaooe. 

" What architect has taught the birds toohoose afimt 
|4aci(.for fheir nes^s, and to bu^d them upon a sotidfoon- 
' dation? What lender mother has counsdkd Aemto co- 
ver the bottom ivith soft and delieate materials, such as 
doim or cmtOQ, or if these, materials £nl^ who suggested to 
them thst ingenious charity which leads them to plu<^ 
with their beaks safficieat feathersfrom their own breiasts 
to prepaid a cpmjnodious cradle for dwr youi^?-~tsit 
for the birds, QbLpndl that you have united togelber m 
many miracles which: they cannot know ?^s it far men 
wbo.dk>n(;^t}iinkof!them?-^Is k for the curious who 
ccmtent themselves with admiring without remounting to 
you ?— Is.it not visible that your design was to recal us to 
yoQ ; by such a spectacle to render your providence and 
your infinite wisdom sensiUe to us : to fill us with cbnfi* 
dence in y oiv goodness, extended so tenderly, even to tbe 
birds, twoof which are not of more value than a fartlung.'^ 

There is perhaps but another book in the w<H'ldf the 
Studies of J^ature by M. Bemardin de St. Pierre, which 
offers pictures equally a&cting, equally reli^ous* The 
finest page of M. de Buffon does not equal the tender elo- 
quence of this christian emotion : Is it for the birds Oh 
Lord! &c.' 

A stranger was a short time since in a company where 
the son of the house, a boy of seven or eight years okf^ 



. If. DE vaKAiJ^. * S4I4 

MFastfieliicifbedfoMversatian, he v^» r cp m e nted as a 
pi^eidigy/ AgrartiMiiaewas sooni^w bovd^ die doors 
wpie opened and die Uttle doctor appesffed^ widi his arms 
iii^nd/lwbrtest uncovered) and cbtssed fike a monkey 
tba^ wasto be shewn at a fair. He entered widi a bold 
and cohfidentlur, lobkinjg;- about htm fix admiration, and 
ftlipbftuning eveiy boBy present widi has <)uestions. He 
i^s pkced upon a table in the midst of the compahf and 
ioierrogated : Urhaiismm? ^Ifebamamms/^Mioii- 
mal who has four extremities, two of which t e r mi n a t e til 
hands.^' Ate there any ^her anwuds of his cldssf 
f' Yes, the bat and the ape.'f The assembly uttered 
shouts of admiration, but the stranger turning towards us, 
said somewhat impadendy ^ ^^ If I hid a child who said 
such duhgs, in spite of his inother's tears, I should whip 
idmiSlI he kd' forgotten them/' I cannot hdp recaSlhig 
upon this occasioft the words of Henry IV . " My love,y 
saiid he one d&y to his wife, ** you weep when I Aoj^ your 
son, but It is for his good, and dte paki I give you' at pre* 
sent ifi^ spare you cme day trmch greater p^;^^ ^ 

These tittle naturalists who do "not know a sungle word 
of dieir rdigion,* or of tbei^ duties, are at the age of fifiecii " 
whdfly insupportable. Alitady men, without being men, 
you see them drag id)out their pale faces and enervated bo- 
dies, among the circles at Paiis, pronouncing their ipse 
dixit upon every thing whh the most decided tone, giv- 
ing dieiropmibhs up6n morals and upon politics, |>rd«* ^ 
flouncing on what is good and what is bad, judging the 
beauty of women, the goodness of books, the performance 
of actors and of dancers; dancing with the nK>st perfect 
admiration of themsdves, piquing themselves upon being 
already renowned for their success with the ladies, and fbr 
'the completion of diis scene of mingled absurdity and hor- 
ror, having somedmes recourse to suicide. 

»h 



24S ESSAYS CtH .V4r«I0U8 SUBJECTS^ 

Aiil timeftrewAthe children of fiormeKt^^ 
dKir fwrentsdem Ux home every Thursday &pm the col- 
Joge*. Th^y were dressed ^mply and modestly^ wjib 
-their oloathes fastened decently. They advanced with 
itiiwJ^y into the midst of the family circle^ blushing when 
they ^wete spgken to» casting down their eyes, saluting 
With jiii^awkwardand embarrassed air, but bcnoi^ring g^race 
jGrctm <heir,yery simplicity and innocence, Yet the hearts 
.<)ftljflse;.pQOT. children bounded with delight. What joy 
ftothem was a d^y thi^^ passed under the patemial roof^ 'in 
tbeiciidst of complaisance from. the servants, of the cm- 
braces of their friends^ and the secret gifts of their mothers. 
If they weiei questioned with regard to their studies, they 
did not .answer that man was a mammiferous animal placed 
,b^efn the bptjand the ape^ for they were ignorant of 
these important truths, but they repeated | what they had 
Jeaifnt fromBossuet or F6figlon, that God created man to 
love and i^ve him ^ thatman has an. immortal soul, th4t 
^he willbe rew£irded or punished in another life accordii|g 
to hb good or bad actions hqie ; that children: ought to 
r^pect their &ther and mother; all thqse truths in short, 
^tau^t by the catectusm, and which put philosojdiy to the 
blui^ This natural history of man was support by 
^sopie celelu^tted passages of Greek or Latin yerses taken 
. &om Homer or Vii^, and tt^ fine quotations from die 
jp:eat geniuses pf antiquity were in perfect unison^ with the 
.ge^itt&es, not less anci^t, of the auttunrs of Telenmchus^ 
,2oad^UttwersfdJ3ktor^. - 

'^ ' But it is time to pass op to the general view of Primi' 
.iivt Legislation. ^ The principles M. de Bonald lays down 
are: ^* That there is a supreme or general cause. This 
.Supreme Beipg is Qod. His existenpe is mqre especial- 
ly proved by the gift of Speech which man could not hav« 
discovered of himself, which must have been taught him. 
The general (^ause, or God, has produced an effect equal- 



ly general in the world ; which is man. TTiese twd terms^ 
cause and effect^ Goddnd mnrij have a^neoessary interment 
diate term, without which there could be no relations be* 
fween them. This necessary medium term ought ta b(j 
proportioned to the perfection of the cause, and die imper- 
fection of the cflect. What is the medium then ? Where 
is it ? This, says the author, is the great enigma of the 
universe. It was announced to one people, xtvta& intend- 
ed to be made known to others^ At the destined period 
it was made known ; therefore, till that time the true .reIa^ 
tions.of man with God were not known, because all be^ 
ings are only known by their relations, arid no medium 
terms or relations existed between God and- man. Thus 
a true knowledge of God and man, and their natural rela- 
tions to each other must arrive; thete must necessarily 
be good hwis, because laws are the expression of natural 
telations; civilization, therefore, must necessarily follow ^ 
the notion of a mediator, and barbarism the ignorance of 
a mentor ; civilization, consequently began among the 
Jews, and was completed among the Christians ; the Pa- 
gam were all bdrbarians.^^ . 

The sense in which the author intends the word barba* 
rians to be understood, must here be cleaiiy defined. The 
arts, according to hb ideas, do not Cimstitute a cwi&zed 
but a polished people; heattacbes the word m;t/iira<im 
only to moral anil political kws. We must feel, however* 
that tl^is definition although admirably conceived, is lia* 
ble tohianyolijections; nor can it readily be admitted 
that a Turk of this day is more duHized than an AthaMaA 
of old, because he has a cmfiisedktmdedge of a medkatot. 
Exclusive systems, which lead to great discoveries, must 
inevitably have some weak parts^ and be liable to some 
'dangers.^ 

The, three primitive terms being established, M. de 
•J^ald jipplicstbem to the social or moral worlds because 



244 ESSAYS 0k >AEIOUS SUBJECTS. 

^» 

ihesetfareetemtsindude^in dfect, the order of tbetmi* 
verse* The cause^ )he meam^ and di& efed becomeihen^ 
for society* the gooemwg power ^ the ecdesiasHcql nmis^ 
iry^ aod die subject ". Society," he says, " is rdig^w 
or polkical, domestic or jmbUc. The purely domestic 
state of religious society is cs^ed Natural ReHgkn^-^i^nt 
piU^ly domestic state of pditicai society is called a family. 
The completbn of religious society was the leadfi^ man- 
kind first to the theism or naiianaf reUgim of., the Jews, 
and finom thence to the general religion oi the Chrisdans» 
Political society was canried to perfection in £ur^, wihea 
men were led from the domestic state to the public stat4 
and when those civi&zed communities were established 
which arose out of Christianity. 

The reader must perceive that he has Here ^tted U^ 
systematic part of M. de.Bonald's work, .jind that he en^ 
ters upon a series oCprindfdeap^fcdy neir» and molt 
fiBTtile in matter. In aU particulsMr mo^fici^ODS id:90Q»^ 
ty^ the governing power wills iteexistetiee^ opiimifiati^ 
watches over its preservation ^ the m^isters oCrfeE^ofiEA 
in execi^tion of the will of this goven[Hng|K>\f9; ^sub^ 
ject is the object oS this will, and the erid at whiclKtbb Kf 
tionofthe ministers aims. The JpQwer vriUsp it must 
therefore be one ; the minister$act, ttey miftit theirfore be 
many. . . . 

. Mi de Bonaldthus ariive^ at the:ftmdai)tije^ basis ^ 
his political system.; a basis which he baft vHx^.'^Bm 
^see plainly/in the iiosdm of .God himae9£ :Wtrmfdtff^ 
iKxaording to him, or unity, of power, hAe oitly/ goi^sm/ 
ment derived frdm the e&^nce of things, andtheao^rarei^ 
ty of the Omnipotibit ovor jiature^ fyeiy po)itji$^ forip 
which deviates frdm this, carridi us more or less bdck to 
the in&ncy of nations, or the barbarism of society. . , 

Jn ttie second book of bis work, he diews th^ applica- 
tion of >tbis'principlc to theparticiilar stages c^ sOQiei|. 



ir. BE BO^Ahb/ S45 

In £iinil7 or domestic socieQr, he considers tlie difeent 
rdatkxis.betwtscnmasters and servants^ between parents 
and chUdten. In public society he dontends that the pubu 
lie poWi^ ougjbt to be like doinfesf ic power, comnutled td 
GodaIone>faidependent of ttfen;. that i^ to si^, that it 
ahoidd be tt power of uni^^ ftiase^l^ perpettial ; %r 
wilbout unity » without perpetuity, withbut beiilg m^scu- 
line, there can be no true independence. The attributes 
offtowferithestateofpeace.and war, the code bflaws arc 
etanuncSd by the author. In unison ivi&t his tiiie, he re* 
fek^ in aU these things to the £kments o/LegishHm ; he 
Steb the neccsshy of recurring (o the niost simple notions; 
when ^princijUes have been overthrown in society. 

In treating of die ecclesiastical ministry, which Allows 
thfi two bodis of prirfeiples, the author seeks to prove, by 
the fastoiy of 4itodem times, particularly by that of Fraocei^ 
lUe truth of the priteiples whieb he has advadced. '' The 
Christianlrdigiekiv'' he says, *^ ih appearii^ to the world; 
CiAedlD itscridleshephods ai3d kii^, tad thdr ho^ 
liiftgeythefir^ it iseceived, anildhmeed to the universe, that 
it came to r^ulate fimuSies atid ststtes, the jH'ivate and the 
ptddicman. 

^< Theeombelt began between idolatry and daisdant. 
tjT ; it Wafi bloody ; religion lost its most genaroos uifJe^ 
ttCf but St finally tfiumphed. Till then, confined to ftmi- 
ly or doQifistip society^ it was now mingled with state con- 
jMTfl^ it became ^ proprietcnr. To tbhe little churches of 
Ephestts and Thessabmea succeidad the great churches 
of Gaul and GermiBiyi The poKtical s^te was combined 
vratfa thejrdi^cMS^tate, or rather it was constkisted fiatu- 
laUy by it. The great monarcUesof Eurqpe were form* 
^ wnpii)tly witi) thegreat churches ; the church had its 
duef, its ministers, Us subjects or faithful ; the state had 
VjB chieif^ m ministers, jts subjects. ' Division of jurisdic« 
tijpns, hierarchy ia the Sanctions^ the nattwe of property. 



246^ £SSAYS dN VAftiotfs ^vnjicts^ 

even to its very denominations became^ by degrees alike^ 
in the religious ministry, and in the politigal ministry* 
Thechurtfi was divided into metropditans, diocesans, 
tec. : the state was divided into governments or duchies^ 
districts or counties, &c. The church had its religious 
order, charged with the education of the pec^Ie, and made 
the depositaries of science, the state had its military oideis 
devoted to the defence of relig^op; every where die state 
rose with the church, die dungeon by the side of fi^ bellg, 
the lord or the magistrate by t;he side of the priest ; the 
noble, or the defender of the state lived iq the country, the 
votary of religion in the desert. But the first order of 
things soon changed, and the political and religious state 
of the country altered together. The towns inqeased in 
number and magnitude, and the nobles came to inhabit . 
them, while at the same time the priests quitted their soli- ' 
tudes. Property was denaturalised, the mvasions of the '] 
Normans commenced, changes were ma^lein the reign* • 
ing powers, the wars of the kings gainst their vassals oc^ ^ 
casicxied a vast number of fiefs, die m(tural and exclu« 
sive property of thepditical orders, to pass into the hands 
of the clergy, while the nobles became possessed of the 
ecclesiastic^ tenths, the natural and exclusive proper^ of 
the clerical order. The duties for which they called, na* 
turally followed the property to which they were attached ; 
nobles appointed to ecclesiastical benefices, which were 
often rendered hereditary in the family; die i»-iest iaslt* 
tuted judges and raised soldiers, ot even judged and 
fought lymself; the spirit of each body was changed at 
the same time that the property was confounded. 

At length the epoch of the great religious revolution 
arrived. It was first prepared in the church by the injui 
dicious institutioi) of the mendicant orders which the court 
of Rome thought it prudent to establish in opposition %b 
a rich and corrupt clerg}*. Biit these bodies soon becatn^ 



«. W j^HAt9. 847 

in a feSnedand witty^.nation like Inxm^ bb^ecte of 8ir« 
casm to the literati.^ At the same tim^ tbat Rome eata« 
blished its militia, the state founded its bodies of the like 
description. The crusades and the usurpations of tl^ 
crown having impoverished the order of the nobles, it 
was neces^iary to have recourse to hired troops for the de- 
fence of the state. The military force, under Charles 
VII, passed over to the body of the people, or to soldiers 
who served for pay ; the jpdiciary force, under Francis I, 
passed over to the men of letters througll the venality of 
the judiciary officers. The reformation of the church, 
proceeded in the s^me course with the innovations in the 
2^te. Simple citizois took the place of magistrates con« 
stituted for exercising the political functions; simple re- 
ligionists usurped the religious fimctions from the priests. 
Luther attacked the sacerdotal order, Calvin replaced it 
in his own family. Popularism crept into the state, pres- 
byterianism into thfe church. The public ministry of the 
church passed over to the people, till they at length arro- 
gated to themselves the sovereign power, wlien the two 
parallel and corresponding dogmas of the political demo- 
cracy, the one that the religious authority resides in the 
body of the faithful, the other tliat the political sovereign- 
ty is in the assembly of the citizens, were triumphantly 
"proclaimed. 

* When the nicndicaDt orders were first established in the 
church, codid it be ssud that the Freoch wetctheti an elegant na« 
tion ? Does not the author, besides, ibrget the innumerable ser- 
vices these orders hare rendered mankind ? The first literati who 
appeared at the revival g^ letters were far from turning the men- 
dicapt orders into ridicule, for a great number of them were 
themselves of some religious order. The author seems here to 
confound the epochs ; but we allow it would have been good to 
dimitiish insensible the- mendicant orders in proportion as the man* 
ners in FrdBce became more ete^ant and reiioM- 



248 ^ ZU&AJ^ OU VAE10«S>S98JSCtS. 

firbm Ais chngftof piindplesaiH)8eaicfaai^of m^ 
Tbii nobles- abandcnied the more sublime foactioM 



0^ judges to ttmbrsoe ttie profi»8ion <^ arms alone. Milt* 
tfliy liceDtioustiess soon began to ida^ the moral ^ies^ 
women bq;an to inAuence tbe ai^Kuntments to the pubUe 
nunisby ofthephureh, luxury was introduced into the 
court and the towns, a nation of dtizens supplanted a oa- 
tion of husbandmen : wanting consequence .they wcire 
ambitious of obtaining titles; the nobles sold dnasdyes, 
at^ same tkoc that the pr(q;)erty of thedbAirch was put up 
to auction ; great names became exdncti.^ first famflieff 
of die state sunk into poverty, the clergy lost their autho* 
rity and their consideration ; philosophy, finally, ^ngw 
Ing up from this religious and political chaos, cbmidetec} 
the overthrow of the shaken monarchy . 

This very remarkaUe passage is taken fipom M. de 
Bonald's Tfywy of poUtifd and religious pamr^ wlucb 
was suppressed by the Directory, a very few copies only 
esoapios into the world Possibly soine time or otiior 
^ author may give a republication of this most importaitt 
wod:, one veiy superior to the Primtive Legislatims 
this Utter may indeed be called in some sort oidy an ab- 
stract of it. Then wiU it be known whence are derived 
many ideas in political science which have been brougl|| 
forwards by the writers of the present day, and which, 
since they have not diought proper to acknowledge the 
aoucce whence they aie derived^ have been supposed 
wholly new* 

For the rest we have found every where, and we gloiy 
in it, in the work of M. de Bonald, a confirmation of the 
literary and religious piinciples which we umounoed in 
Ae Gffnius of Christi0mtt/» He even>goes&rther in some 
respects than we had done, for wedidnotfindoursdves 
sufficiently authorized to say with him that V)e mmt at 
this day use the utmost circumspection not to be ridicuhus 



9P Speaking of mythohgy* We bdieve that a gttiius, 
wcll-dittctfcd, may yet draw many treasures fromtllit 
fruitful vine ; but we also think, snd we were peihaps 
the first to advance it, that there are more sources for 
dramatic poetry in die Cbrisdan religion, than in die 
reiigion of tlie ancients ; that the numberless conflicts of 
die pasdons necessarily resulting firom a chaste and in8eat« 
iUe refigion must compensate amply to the poet the loss 
of the«iytfaological beautks« Aldipugh we ^should oidy 
have raised a doubt upOn ao important a literary quesdoo^ 
upon a questiop decided in. favour of fable by the highest 
authorities in letters, would not this be to have obtaineda 
8ort(tfvictory.« 

M. de Bonald also condemns those tiitiid minds who, 
bom respect JbrreligiMy would wiUmgly abandon reli^on 
itself to destruction. He expresses himself in nearly the 
same terms that we have dcme : <! Even though these 
truths, so necessary to the preservation <^ social order, 
were disowned from one end of Europe to the other ; 
would it be necessary to justify ourselves to weak and 
timid mindS) to soub full of terrors, that we daned to 
raiseaoM'nerofthe veil which conceals these truths £rom 
superficial observers ?-^and could there be christians so 

' * Madame de Stael herself, io the preface to her novel of« 
Delphine, makes some concession when she allows that religious 
ideas are favourahle to the developement of genius ; yet she seems' 
to have writt^i this workfiNr the purpose of combatiDg thete same 
ideas, and to prove that there is nothing more dry and harsh thaQ 
Christianity, more tender than philosophy. It is fi>r the public to 
pronounce whether she has attained her end. At least she has 
^ven new proofs of those distinguished talents and tha^ brilliant 
imagination which we Were happy to recog:ni£e. And although 
she endimvours to give ciHtehcy to opinions which freese and 
wither the heart, we feel throughoM her work effuuons of that 
kindness of soul which no systems of pfaUosophy can extmguish, 
and of that generosity to which the unfortunate have never appeal- 
ed in vain. 

li 



3S0 BS8A7S ON VAKIOUS SUBJECTS. 

weak in their faith as to think that thejr woiild be ^ kw 
respectedi iu proportioa as they were more known«'' 

Amidst the violent criticisms which have assailed u$ 
from theveiy first steps wq ventured to take in the paths 
of literature, we must confessit b extremely flatterit^ and 
consoling to us to see at this day our humble efforts 
sanctioned by an opinion so important as that of M. dc 
Bonald. We must, however, take the liberty of saying 
to him that in the ingenious comparison whidi he draws 
between our ;ivork and hb own, he proves that he knows 
much better than ourselves how to use the weapons of 
imagination, and that if he does not employ them more 
frequently it is because he despises them. He is, not* 
withstanding any thing that may be urged to the contrary , 
the skilful architect of that temple of which we are only 
ibc unskilful deoH'ator. 

It is much to be regretted, that M , de Bonald had not 
the time and fortune necessary for making one single 
work of those upon the Theory qfPower^ upaa Dworce, 
upon Primitive Legislation vmd his several Treatises upon 
political subjects. But Providence, who disposes of us, 
has appointed M. de Bonaki to other duties, and has de- 
manded or his heart the sacrifice of his genius. This 
man, endowed with talents so superior, with a modesty 
so rare, consecrates himself, at the present moment, to 
an unfortunate family, and paternal cares make him for- 
get die path (£ glory. The eulogium pronounced in the 
Scriptures, upon tlie patriarchs, may wdl be applied to 
him : Homines divites ifi vtrtute^ pulchritudinis sttidium 
habentes ; pacificates in domibus suis. 

The genius olFM. de Bonald appears to us rather pro- 
found than elevated ; it del\ es more than it aspires. His 
mind is at once solid and acute ; his imagination is ncA 
always, like imaginations eminently jpoetic, kd away by 
an ardent sentiment or a ^and image, but it is always 



idgeniaus; and aboiinds mA happy turns ; fot this rea- 
son, we find in his writings more of calm than of motion, 
more of light than ofheat. As to his sentiments, they 
every where breathe that trpe French honour, that probity* 
which formed the predominant characteristic in the writers 
of the age of Louis XIV. We feel that these writers 
discovered truth less by the power of tlieir minds than by 
the integrity of their hearts. 

It is so seldom we have works like this to examine, 
that I trust I sliall be pardoned tlie length to which the 
present article has run. When the luminaries which fiow 
shine around our literary horizon are gradually hiding 
diemselves, and about to be extinguished, we rest with 
particular delight upon a new luminary which rises. All 
these men have grown old with glory in the republic of 
letters ; these writers, so long known, to whom we shall 
succeed, but whom we can never replace, have seen hap- 
pier days* They lived while a BufFon, a Montesquieu, 
a Voltaire still existed: Voltaire had known Boilcau, 
Boileau had seen the great Comeille expire, and Corneille, 
while a child, might have heard the last accents of Mal- 
herbe. This fine chain of French genius is broken ; the 
revolution has hollowed out an abyss, which has for ever 
separated the future from the past. No medium generation 
has been formed between the writers who are no more 
and those who are to come. One man alone holds to a 
link of each chain, and stands in the midst of this barren 
interval. He, whom friendship dares not name, btxt 
whom a celebrated author, the oracle of taste and of cri- 
ticism, has designated for his successor, will be easily re- 
cognized. In any case, if the writers of the new age, dis- 
persed by fearful storms, have not been able to nourish 
their genius at the sources of ancient authorities, if they 
have been obliged to draw from themselves ; if this be 
the case, yet have not solitude and adversity been grea': 



252 ZBSAYS OK VAIII0U8 itUBJ£CT9. 

sehoob to them ? CompaDicms alike in misfbirtunei, 
friends before they«were autfiors, masy tbejif never see re- 
vived among them thoae diameful jealousies, which have 
too often dishonoured an art so noble and consolatoiy^ 
Tbe|r .have still mticb occasion for cour^ atd union* 
The atmospKiere of letters will for a long time be stormy. 
It was letters that nourished the revolution, and they will 
be the bst asylum of revdutionary hatred. Haifa centu- 
ry will scarcely suffice to calm so much humbled vanity^ 
80 much wounded self-love. Who then can hope to see 
more serene days for the Muses ? Life is too short ; it 
resembles those courses in which the funeral games were 
celefarated among the ancients, at the end of which ap« 
poaredatomb. 

MMCkefihuffon (tUon 09onj tfe. 

" On this side,*' said Nestor to Antilochus, " the 
trunk of an oak, despoiled of its branches, rises fix)m the 
earth, two stones support it in a narrow way, it is an an- 
ti(pie tomb, and the marked boundary of your course.'' 



SBS 



UPON M- MICHAUD^S POEM, 

The spring of a Prescript. 



M. de Voltaire has said : 

Or aing your joysy or lay aside your songs. 
May we not say, with equal justioe^ 

Or sing your woes, or lay aside your songs. 

Condemned to death during die days of terror, oblig* 
ed to fly a second time, after the 18th of Fructidor, the 
author of this poem was received by some hosjutable ^^ 
ritsinthemountsunsof Jura^and found, among the pic- 
tures presented by nature, at once subjects to console hb 
mind and to pherish his regrets. 

When the hand of Providence removes us from bter. 
course with mankmd, our eyes, less distracted, fix them* 
selves naturally upon the sublime spectacles which the 
creation presents to them^ and we discover wonders, of 
which befisre we had no idea. From the bosom of our 
solitude we think upon the tempests of the world, as a 
man cast upon a desert island, from a feeling of secret 
mdanchdy, deligfats to contemplate the wpives Inpedung 
upon the sbore wherehe was wrecked. After the loss of 
our friends, if we do not sink under the weight of our 
griefs, the heart reposes upon itself* it fonqs the project of 
detaching itself firom every other sentiment, to live only 



254 JsssArs on va&xovs strBJccTS. 

upon its recollecdons. We are then less fit to nuci^ 
with society, but our sensibility is more sdive. Let him 
who is borne downbysoirowbury himself amid the deep- 
est recesses of the forest, let him wander among their 
movif^ arches, letfaim dimb mountabis, whence he may 
behold immense tracts of country, wheilice the sun may 
be seen risiog from the bosom of the ocean, hb grief ne» 
ver can stand against spectades so sublime. Not that he 
will foiget those he loved, fo then would he fisar to be 
consoled ; but the remembrance of his friends wouli^min- 
gle itself ^th the calm of ^ woods and of the heavens, 
he would still retain his grief, it would only be deprived 
of its bitterness. Happy they who love Nature, thg^ will 
find her, and her alone, a friend indie day of adverarfy^ 

These rcAeetions were suggested by the woiic which 
we are about to examine. It is not the producdon of a 
poet who seeks the pomp and the perfection of the aft, it 
is the effusion of a t:bild of misfortune, who conunuqes 
with himself, and who touches the lyre only to render the 
expression of his sorrows more harmonious ; it is a pro- 
scribed sufferer, who addresses l^is book like Ovid : ** My 
book, thou wilt go to Rome, and go without me ! Alas ! 
why is not thy master permitted to go thither himself? 
Go, but go without pomp or display, as suits the produc* 
tion of a banished poet.^ 

The work, divided into three Cantos, opens with a de- 
scription of the early fine days in the year. The author 
compares the tranquillity of die country with the terror 
which then prevailed in the towns, and paints the labou- 
rer's reception of zproscripi. 

Ah ! in those days of woe, if some lorn wretch 
A refuge sought beneath his lonely roof, 
Hit cottage door, his kind and simple heart 
Flew open to receive him, wUle the woods 
His guileless hands had planted, their dincree t 



And thelteriiig boughs tprcad ctrclingi to eoncctl 
From wlckod eyes the joyous heart he'd made. 

Bdigion, persectited in towns, finds also, in her turn, 
an asylum in the forests, although she lias lost her altars 
an<J her temples. 

Sometimes the faithful, warm*d by holy zeal, 
Assemble in the hamlet, 'mid the gloom 
Of night, to pay their homage to that Power 
By whom they Uve, who with paternal care 
Protects. them thus ; instead of sacred incenso 
Offering the flow'rs of spring, the ardent vows 
Of upright souls, while echo to the woods 
Repeats their humble prayers* Ah ! where, alas ! 
Are now thdr an^ue preabyfry, that cititSy 
Those bells that lower'd to heaTen 2— ^nonuments 
By our fore£sthers so reverM, so chesish'd. 

These verses are easy and ftqtural, the sentiments are 
mild and pious, according with the objects to which they 
form, as it were, the back-ground of the picture. Out 
churches give to our hamlets and towns a character singu- 
larly moral. The eyes of the traveller are first fixed upon 
the religious turret that encloses the bells, the sight of 
v^hich awakens in the bosom a multitude of pious senti- 
ments and recollections. It is the funeral pyramid^ be* 
neath which rest the ashes of our forefatliers ; but it is al- 
so the monument of joy, where the bell announces life to 
thefaithfuU It is there that the husband and wife ex- 
change their mutual vows, that Christians prostrate them- 
selves before the altar, the weak to entreat support firom 
their God, the guilty to implore compassion from their 
God, the innocent to sing the goodness of their God. 
Does a landscape appear naked and barren of objects, let 
but the turret of a rustic church be added, every thing in 
ah instant is animated^ is alive; the sweet ideas of the 



iSt . JI88AT8 OV VAEtOlfS SVBJtCTS. 

pastor and hb ilock» <^ db aq^om&r ^ 

for die pilgrim, of Chrif^ fiaten%»aie 

awakened m the mind, they ate sem OD ewfy sidew 

A country priest, menaced by the law which conw 
demned to death all of his class who were seenexerciskig 
thdr sacral fimcdons, yet who would not abandon l:^ 
flock» and who goes by night to comfort the labourer, 
was a picture which must natuially present itself to die 
mind of a proscribed poet. 

He wanders throogh the woods. O uleiitiug)itj 
Veil with thy £riendl7 shade his pious course I 
If he must suffer still, O God support him ! 
'Tis a united hamlet's voice entreats thee. 
And you, fidse wlsrfes dTphUosophyy 
Yet spara Us Ticttte% and protect his life ! 
Escaped from cruel chains, from di-eary dungeons, 
He preaches pardon for the wr<mgs we suffer. 
Wiping the tears which trickle down the cheeks 
Of those tiiat listen mtii delight around. 

It appears to us that this passage b full of simplicity 
and piety. Are we then much deceived in having main- 
tained that religion is fevourable to poetry, and that in re^ 
pressing our religious feelings we ^feprive ourselves^ of 
one of the most powerful mediums fcx* touchbg the heart* 

The author, concealed in his retreat, apostrophizes the 
fiiends whom he scarcely hopes ever to see agwi, 

Thou shalt be heard no more, O sweet Delile, 
Thou rival and interpreter by turns 
Of the great Mantuanbard^ 



Nor thou, who by thy stnuns could charm our woes ; 
Thou Fontanes, whose voice consol'd the tombs, 
Nor Morellet, whose strong and nervous pen 
Pleaded the sufferer's cause 'gainst tyranny ; 
Suard, who, emulous of Addison, combined 



J14£2r OF II. MiqHAUiK 357 

WithTjeandiigyD^Mirkii s0Hd reaaon, grace ; 
ioAmpSi wliQsie italfif coidd or»Qlea ea^plaiii, 
^icftf^ w](<{f^ ligB^l yjKf^ ta nwifclea ; 
Jat^eU) L^place^ ^nd virtuous Dauben^oD» 
tVko tauglit us secrets to BufTon unknown— 
Ah ! nerer shall these eyes behold you more. 

l^ese regrets are affecting, and the eulo^ums pro* 
nounced by ^e anthbr tipoh his frfehefe have the rare me- 
rit of being in unison wRh ^ puUic qiinkm ; be^es^ 
thb appears taus quite m the taste of the ancients. Is it 
iidt thus that the Latin poet, whom we have akeady citcd^ 
^i^idSreaaes his friends whom he has left at Rome f ^^ There 
is,** sa3rs Ovid, "in our native country a something 
soothing, which attracts us, which charms us, which does 
not permit us to forget it. . • .Tou hope, dear Rufinus, 
that the chagrin^ which devour me will yield to the conso- 
lations you send me in my ex3e ; begrin then, my friends, 
by bemgless amiable, that I may Kve without you with 
lesspain.^' 

Alas ! in reading the name of M. de Lahaipc, in the . 
verses of M. Michaud, who can resist being deeply a^t- 
^, %VC^yh>yf(wefewi4»gwA<«;w^^ dear 

tQ Wf i^m a lorig^, m wer-during separation, murt sr* 
If ear v^ s^gaan. No one se^ nuve clearly and luofe pain- 
fully tl|ari oursely^ thp whde ext^t of the Qm{6rtune 
wl4ch at thi$ iqouient threatens learning and reUgion. 
We have seen M. de Laharpe cast down, like He^«K^h^ 
Ify the hand of God. Nothing but th^ mcfst lively £iith, 
but tike most sacred hope, can insj^ ft lesigoation so per- 
$K^ a courage so gr^tf tfaougli|s> m etev^ited aftd aflfect- 
ing, aiiii^ the pains of ^ingeniig agOE^, amid repeat^ o^ 
perience of the suflferings of de^th. 

Poets love to psdnt the sorrows of b^nishmanit, so fer- 
tile in sad and tender sentin^nt^ They have sung Pa- 
troclus taking r^tjge uDm^ the rppf of JUhiUes, Cacbnu^ 

Kk 



1 

2S8 S88AT& Oy VARXOY/S SVBJB^TS. 

abandoMig the walb of ffidoDy lydsus sed^ 
with Adrastus, and Tetieer shdteiied in the isbnd^of 
Venus. The chorus in Iphigma in Tburis fida would 
traverse the air : ^* I would pause in my ffigfat over nj 
paternal roof, I would see once more that spot so dear fo 
my rc mc m b cancc, whefe, under the eyes of a motbir, I 
cddbrated an innocent marrkige/^ Ah who dees not «6t 
here th^dy^^ marims rcmimscihtr Argas? M^io^kftt 
|K>t recur to Ulysses wandering fiu' from hb coontiy 9 desir* 
ing, as his sole happiness, once marq to see the smoketC 
Ills own p^ace. Mercury finds him sad and dejected, mr 
the sboresof the island of Calypso, contempbtinEg, as he 
sheds tears, that sea so eternally a^tated : ' 

Pom^n tp, atrugHti derke^keto dekm ieitotu 

An admirable line, wluch Virgil has translated^ apply u^ 
it to the; exiled Trojans : 

Cunetague firofundum 
Pontumaspectabant Jlentes, 

ThisJ?^f« thrown to the end of the Une is vay fine. 
Ossian has painted widi diflbent colours, but which are 
also full of charms, a young woman dciftd fiu* from her 
country inr a foreign land. " There lovely Moina is often 
jSeen when the sun-beam darts on the rock, and all aixmnd 
h dark. There she is seen, Mdrina, but not 'Me' the 
daughters of the hffl. Her robes arc from the stranger^ 
land, and she is unknown.'' 

We may judge by the sweet^kmentaftions whichfiS! 
from the author of the poem under examination, that He 
deeply felt this maldu pm/s^ this malady i«^ch attacks 
IVenchmen, above all others, when fer from tiidr own 
country. Monimia in the midst dftiie barbarians could 
not forget the sweet f^som ofOreece. • Physicians have 



.noBU m lit Mtc'ujivvi '2S1> 

fitted thb-sadness of the scmlnd^A^ two GitcSc 

^vrofds BOstos return^ and algos griejl because it is oofy 
to be cured by r^mii^ to the paternal roof« How iii- 
^^ed could M. Michaud, who makes hb lyre ^h so 
jniraetlyy avoid infusing sensibility into a subject w]^h 
(j^€& Gresset could not sing without bdng indtedw la 
die Ode of the latter upon the Lave of our Qnmtrjf^ 
ym find this afl^ting passage : ^^ Ah if in this melanchdy 
c^ufsehe ^ould be otertaken by the is^ sleep, wiAout 
3emng again that dear cotmtry in which the sun fir^ 
ibeamcd iqxrn him, still his expiring tenderness prays that 
jbis sad remains may be deposited there. Less light 
would lie the earth of a fordgn land upon his abandbned 
manes." 

In the fnidst of the sweet consolations which his re« 
treat sffords to our exiled poet, he es^claims : 

O9 lovely days of spring, O beauteous vales 
What work of art can with your charms compare I 
Is all a Voltaire wrote worth one sole ray 
Of breaking down, or worth the smallest flow'r 
Op'd by the breath of Zephyr ? 

But doc$ not M. de Vcdtaire, whose impieties we 
hcid in as grent detestation as M. ^ichaud can do, some- 
times breathe sentiments worthy of admiration ? — Has 
tiot he too felt these sweet regrets for a lost country. ^^ I 
write to you" he says to Madame Denis, " by the side of 
my stove, with a heavy head and a sad heart, casting my 
qresover the river Sprey, because the Sprey flows into 
Ac Elbe, the Elbe into the sea, while the sea receives the 
Seine, and our house at Paris is near that river." 

It IS said that a Frenchman, obliged to fly during the 
reign of terror, bought, with a fewdeniers, a bark upon 
Ae Rhine, where he lodged himself witii a wife and two 
children. Not having any mon^ there was no bospita* 



Mty t)f Mm^ ^'^^ l^ ^^ driven from one bahk^ l» 
{MBcd ovcf without compbawng to tbe other sid^^md 
often persecolfidon boA liaidEd> he wa$ oblige to cast 
anchor in tbe midst of the river. He occopsed himpdf 
in fishily for the subsistence of his familjr, but hi9 Sdlpw- 
cieatores still dbpuled with him thejsmcoors oiBb:ed bgr 
Providence^ envyii^ him crvtndieJitUe.ftsh w^«liiiih 
thejr saw him feed his chiiditn. At night be Went on 
shore and cdlkcied a few dried (daiMss to mak^ a fire^ 
when his wifereihained in the utmdst anxiet3r till fai$ re- 
turn. This family who could Inot be reproached with 
any dung except being unfcntunate; found no^ bver this 
vast globe a spot d[ earth on which, they could tte$t their 
heads. Obliged to pursue the lives of savages in the 
midst of four great cii^iased nations, their scSe oonsobtioii 
was that in thus wandering ab6ut they were atiU in tbe 
neighbourhood of France, they could sometimes bpeathe 
the air which had passed over their counfry. 

M. Michaud wandered in this way ovo* the moyn*- 
tains whence he could discern the tops of the trees iu his 
beloved France ; but how could he pass away his time in 
a foreign land ? How were his days to be occupied? 
Was it not natural that he should visit diose rustic tombs 
where Christian souls had terminated their exile full qf 
hope and joy. This was what he 4idy and, thanks to die 
season he chose, tbe asylum pf death was changed to a 
lovely fidd covered with flowers. 

Peiliapi beneath this grave vrith flowers o'ergrowu 
A child of PhoebuB rests, to him unknown. 

Thus the fair flow*r that grows on yon lone mount 
Its sweet perfumes, its brilliant hues aloiie 
Flings tb the barren waste. Thus dazzling goldt 
Sovereign of metals, in the darkest caves 
That earth embosoms, hides its fatal charms. 



The eiid^ wcKdd {ieriu^ teve done better tor fi^Qbw 
.more elosely tbe EngHsh poet ivfaom he intends to imitate^ 
He has substi^ited the common image of gdd dei^y an- 
bowelled in the earth to that of z pearl hxidm at the hot^ 
torn oj the sea. The flower which only expands its 
colmirs to the barren wa$te ill expl^s the original turn of 
QtSkJi b9m4o b^h unsmt. 

Full nany a gem of purest ray ser^^ 
: The dark unfathomM caves of ocean bear^ 
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen 
And waste its sweetness in the desert air. 

The sight (rf these peaceful toifibs recals to the poet 
the troubled sepulchres where slept our departed kings, 
which ought not to have been opened till the consumma- 
tion (^ all things, but a particular judgment <k Provi- 
dence Occasioned them to be broke into before their tifn& 
A frightful resurrection depopulated the funereal vaults 6f 
St. Dennis ; the phantoms of our kings quitted their eter- 
ISal shade, but as if frightened at reappearing alone to the 
light, at not finding themselves, as tlie prophet says, in the 
world with all the deddy they replunged again into the se- 
pulchre. 

And now these kings exhumed by miscreatit hatids 
Have twice descended to tke darksome 4ontib. 

From these fine lines it is evident that M. Michaud 
is capable, in his poetry, of taking any tone. 

It is somewhat remarkable that some of these spectres, 
blackened* by the grave, still retained such a resemblance 
of what they were when alive that they were easily recog- 
nized. The characters of their prevailing passions, even 

* The face of Louis XIV. was turned as black as ebony. 



262 £ssATs OH VAa'Z0trs.sir9j£Cf$. 

tbe minutest tidings rfttie ideas by which :thqr had 
been principally occupied^ weie to be discovered in didr 
features. What then b that facul^ of thought^ in inan, 
wliich leaves such strong impressions on the countenafiK^e 
even in the dust of annihilation ?-^$Qce we spe^ of 
poetry let jus be permitted to bonrow the simile of ft 
poet. Milton tells us that the Divine Sfon^ after hamg 
accomplished the creation c^ die world rejoined his eter- 
nal principle, and that their route .over created matt^ was 
for a longtime discernible by a track of light; dms the 
soul returning iqito the bosom of God leayes in thr mor- 
tal body the glorious tracesof its passs^. 

M. Michaud is tu^fy to be applauded fbr. having 
made use of diose contrasts which awaken dieimaj^na- 
tion of the reader. The ancients often employed them 
in tragedy i a chorus of soldiers keeps guard at the Tro- 
jan camp on the fatal night when Rhcbsus has scarcely 
finished his course. In this critical moment do "these 
soldiers talk of combats^ do diey retrace the images ^ 
terrible surprizes ? — ^He^ what the semi*chorus says :— f 
^' Listen ! those accents are the strains of Philomel who 
in a thousand varied tones deplores her misfortunes and 
her own vengeance. The bloody shores of Simois re- 
peat her plaintive accents. I bear die s(»md of ^ pipe^ 
'tis the hour when the sbepherdsof Ida go^fiirth, cmying 
their flocks to graze in the smiling vallies. A cloud 
comes over my weary eye-lids, a sweet langour seizes all 
my senses ; sleep shed over us, by the dawn, is most de- 
licious." 

Let us frankly acknowledge that we have no such 
things iti our modem tragedies, however perfect they 
may otherwise be ; and let us be suiEciently just to con- 
fess that the barbarous Shakspeare has sometimes hit 
upon a species of sentiment so natural, yet so rare, upon 
tlfis simplicity in his imagery, Tlje chorus above-cited 



. I'ohi OF If. iricBAUD. 263 

in Euripides w31 naturally recal to the reader thedblogue 
in Borneo and Juliet : " Is it the lark that sings*^ &fc. 

But while those pastoral pictures which in softening 
terror increase pitjr, because as Fenelon says, they create a 
smk hi a heart ofanguishy are banished from the tragic 
dcene, we have transported them with much success into 
works of another kind.' The modems havis extended 
and enriched die domain of descriptive poetty. Of this 
M« Michaud himself furnishes some fine examples. 

'Oh jron tall moontam tops, yet on the vergo 
Of disappearhigi day, still ling'ring, smiles 
Upon the fiow'rs heradf had bade expand.*^ 
The river, following its majestic courses 
Reflects beneath its clear and glassy surface 
. The darl^ hues of the woods that fringe its shores. 
*S6me feeble rays of light stiU pierce amid 
T^ thickly woven foliage, and illume 
Theiofty turrets of the antique castle ; 
The sla^e reflecting these declining rays, 
The windows blazing to the dazzled sight 
At distance shew like fire. And hark, I hear 
From forth those bow'rs^ sweet songstress of the spring, 
Thy strains, which seem more mellbw to the ear 
'Mid evening's gloom ; and while the woods around 
Are.voeal made by thee, the mute Arachne 
To the low bramble and aspiring oaH 
Fastens her netted snares: meanwhile the quailj 
Like me a stranger in a foreign land. 
Pours though the listening fields her spnngy Uys. 
^Quitting his labyrinth, the imprudent rabbit 
Comes forth to meet the hunter who awaits him ; 
And the poor partridge, by the gloom encouraged, 
From answering echoes asks her wandered mate. 

This seems the proper place to advert to a reproach 
made us by M. Michaud in his preliminary discourse, 
where he combats, with no less taste than politeness, ouf 



264 ESSAYS ON VARIOUS SUHJECTS. 

opinion of descriptive poetry. "The author of the Gfe?* 
nius of Christianity ^^^ says he, "ascribes the origin of 
descriptive poetry to the Christian religion, which, m de- 
stroying the charm attached to themythotogicaljablesj has 
reduced the poets to seek the interest of their pictures iH 
their truth and exaptnessJ*^ 

The author of the poem on Spring thinks that we ar^ 
here mistaken^ But, in the first place, we have not ascrib- 
ed the origin of descriptive poetry to the Christian reli- 
gion, we have only attributed to it the developement of 
this species of poetry ; which seems to me a very different 
thing. Moreover, we have been careful not to say that 
Christianity has destroyed the charm of the mytHologi- 
cal&bles; we have endeavoured, on the contraiy, to 
prove that every thing beautiful which h to be found in 
mythology, such, for example, as the moral allegories^ may 
well be employed by a Christian poet, and that the true 
religion has only deprived the Muses of the minor, or dis- 
gusting fictions of paganism. And is the loss of ih^ phy- 
sical allegories so much to be regretted? What does it 
signify to us whether Jupiter means the aether, Juno the 
air, &c. 

But since M. de Fontanes, a critic whose judgments 
are laws, has thought that he also ought to combat our opi- 
nion upon the employment of mythology, let us be per- 
mitted to revert to the passage which hsis given occasion 
to this discussion. After showing that the ancients were 
scarcely acquainted with descriptive poetry, in the sense 
which we attach to this term; after having shown that 
neither dieir poets, their philosophers, their naturalists, nor 
their historians liave given descriptions of nature, I add : 
" We cannot suspect men endowed with the sensibility of 
the ancients to have wanted eyes to discern the beauties 
of nature, or talents to paint them. Some powerful cause 
most then have blinded their eves. Now this cause was 



po£M OF u. michaud! 265 

tl^eir mythology ; which, peopling the earth with elegant 
phantoms, took from the creation its solemnity, its gran« 
deur, its solitude, and its melancholy. It was necessary 
that Christianity should chase all this people of fauns, of 
satyrs, of nymphs, to restwe to the grottoes their silence, 
to the woods their disposition to excite meditation. The 
deserts have assumed, under our worship, a more sad, a 
more vague, a more sublime character. The domes of 
the forests are raised, the rivers have broken their petty 
urns, to pour out their waters, drawn from the summits 
of the mountains, only into the great deep, The true 
God, in being restored to his works, has given to nature 
his own immensity. 

" Sylvans and Naiads may strike the imagination 
agreeably, provided always that we are not incessantly 
presented with them. We would ndt 

Of their empire o'er the sea 
deprive the Tritons, take from Pan his flute, J 

Or snatch their scissars from the fatal sisters. 

" But what does all this leave in the soul ? What re^ 
suits from it to the heart ? What fruit can the thoughts 
derive from it ? How much more favoured is the Chris- 
tian poet, in the solitude where God walks with him ! free 
from this multitude of ridiculous deities, which surround- 
ed him on every side, the woods are filled with one im- 
mense Divinity. The gifts of wisdom and prophecy, 
the mysteries of religion, seem to reside eternally in their 
sacred recesses. Femetirate into the American forests, as 
ancient as the world itself,'' &c. &c. 

It appears to us, that the principle, as thus laid down^ 
cannot be attacked fuq^Jamentally, though some disputes 
may be admitted as tqi the details. It may pei*hapsbe 
asked,^ whethet nothing fine is to be found m the ancient 



266 2SSAYS on va&iotjs subjects* 

nSegories ? We Imve answered this queisticm in the diiip* 
Vsc where we distinguish two sorts of allegories, the marnl 
and the phi/sicaL M. de Fontanes has urged that the m^ 
cients equally knew this solitary and formiidable deity wh& 
inhabits the woods. But have we not ourselves assented 
to this, in saying, ** As to those unknown god^, whona 
the ancients placed in the deep woods and in the barmi 
deserts, they undoubtedly produced a fine e&ct, but they 
formed no part of the mythological system; the human 
mindhere recurred to fifl^i/ffl/«iKgfi(Wi. What the trem- 
bling tra\*eller adored in.passing through these solitudes 
was something unknaim^ something the name of wluch he 
could not teU, whom be called the d!vmify of the place* 
Sometimes he addressed it by the name of Pa% and fmt 
we know was the universal god. The great emotions 
which wild nature inspires have never been without exists 
ence, and the wood3 still preserve to us their formidaU^ 
deity." 

• The excdlent critic whom we have already cited, 
maintains farther, that there have been Pagan people wh^ 
were conversant with descriptive poetry^ This is un« 
doubtedly trye, and we have even availed ourselves of tl^s 
circumstance to support our opinions, since the nations to 
whom the Gods of Greece were unknown, had a glimnier^ 
ing view of that beautiful and simple nature which was 
masked by the mythological system. 

It has been objected that the moderns have outraged 
descriptive poetry. Have we said any thing to the contra- 
ry; let us be permitted to recur to our own wc^ds: 
** Perhaps it may here b^ ohjccjitd^ that the ancients were 
in the right to consider descriptive poetry as the accesso- 
ry part, not as the principal subject of the picture ; in this 
idea we concur, and think that in our days there is aigi^eat 
abuse of the descriptive. But abuse is> not the thing 
itself, and it is not the less true, that descriptive poetry, 



VOZU OF M. MICHA^UD. ^7 

such as we are accustomed to it at present, is ah addition* 
al engine in the hands of the poet ; that it has extended 
the^here of poetical imagery, without depriving us of 
painting the manners and the passions^ such as those pic- 
ttires exists for the ancients.^' 

In shbrt^ M. Michaud thinks that the species of poe* 
tiy which we caU descriptive^ such as is fixed at this day, 
has only begun to be a species sbce the last centuiy . But 
is this the essential part of the question ? Will that prove 
that descriptive poetry has emanated from the Christian 
religion alone* Is it, in fact, very certain that this species 
of poetry is properly to be considered as having had its 
rise only in the last century. Incur chapter entitfe^, 
The historic part of Descriptive Poetry among the Mo* 
def9Sf we ha^e traced the progress of this poetry ; wc 
have soen it commence with the writings of the Fathers in 
the desert; from thence spread itself into histoiy, pass 
among the romance- writers and poets of the Lower £nu 
pire, soon mingle itself with the geniUs of the Moors, and 
attain under the pencils of Ariosto and TassQ^ a species 
«f perfection too remote from the truth. Our great wii* 
ters of the age of Louis XIV. rejected thb sort of Italian 
descriptive poetry which celebrated nothing but roses^ 
clear Jbwitains and tu/ted woods. The English, in adopt* 
iag it, stripped it of its a&ctation, but carried into it ano< 
ther species of excess in overloading It widi detail* At 
length retummg into Frahce, in the last century^ it grew 
to perfection under die pens of Messrs. Delilie, St. Lam- 
bert, and Fontaine, and acquired in ^e prose of Messrs. 
de Buffi>nand Beni»din de St Pierre, a beauty unknown 
td it before. 

We do not pronounce this judgment from ourselves 
akme, for 6ur own opinion is of too litde weight, we htve 
not even like ChsLulkOfJbr the mamw^ 



268 ESSAYS OK VARIOUS SUBJECTS* 

A Utile knowleiigc and a deal of hope, 

but wc appeal to M. Michaud himsdf. Would he haw 
dispersed over his verses so many agreeabte descriptions 
erf nature, if Christianity had not disencmnbered; the woods 
ofthe ancient Dryads and the eternal Zephyrs? Hasnot 
the authw of the Poem of Spring been deluded by his 
own success? He has made a delightful use of feble m 
his Letters upon the Sentiment (ffPityy and we know that 
Pygmalion adored the statue which his own hand^ had 
formed. " Psyche," says M. Miehaud, " was <tesirous 
of seeing Love, she approached the fatal lamp and Love 
disappeared for ever. Psyche, si^ifies -the soul in the 
Greek language, and the ancients intended to prove by 
the allegory that the soul finds its most tender sentime^ 
vamsh in proportion as it seeks to penetrate the object of 
them.*' Thb explanation is ingenious ; but did the aa- 
' dents really see all thism the fable of Psyche? We l^ve 
endeavoured to prove that the charm of mystdy in those 
things which may be called the sentimental part of life is 
one of the benefits which we owe to the delicacy of cair 
stligkni. If Pagan antiquity conceived the fable of Psy- 
che, it s^pears to us that it is here a Christian who inter* 
pretsit. 

StiQ farther : Christianity > in banisMng fable fiom na- 
ture, has not only restored grandeur to the deserts, it hsB 
evenintrodueedano&er species of mythology full of 
charms for the poet, in the personification of plants. 
When the Heliotrope was always Clytia, the nmlbeny- 
tree always Thisbe, &c. the imaginatioa of the poet was 
necessarily confined ; he could hot animate' nature by any 
other fictions than the consecrated fictions, wkhout being 
guilty of impiety ; but the modem muse transfoi'ms at its 
pleasure all the plants into nyihphs without any injury to 
the angels and the celestial spirits which it may spread over 



* PO£KVpP-tf. UKBAXXL. 269 

the mountains, along the rivers, and in the forests. Un- 
doubtedly it is possible to carry this personification to ex- 
cess and M.Michaudhas reason ta ridicule the poet 
Darwin 'who in the Loves oj the PlantSi represents G«i- 
ista as nvalking tranquiUy unden the shade of arbours of 
myttle. But if the English author be one of those poets of 
^ whom Horace speaks who are condemned to, make verses^ 
Jar having dishonMred the ashes of their fathers^ that 
proves nothing as to the fundamental good, or in of the 
tlung« Let another poet, endowed with more taste and 
judgment, descinbe the Loves ofthePhntSyjihtyv^yidfct 
only pleasmg pictures. 

When in the chapters which M. Michaud attacks we 
have s^d ; ^* see in a profound calm, at the breakmgof 
dawn, all liie flowers of this valley ; immovable upon 
theit stalks they incline themsdvesin a variety of attitudes, 
and seem to look towards every pcnnt in the horizon ; 
even at this moment when to you all appears tranquil, a 
^reat mystery is in (^>eration, nature conceives, and these 
plants are so many young mothers turned towards the 
mysterious region whence they, are to imbibe fecundity. 
The sylphs have sympatlues less aerial, communications 
less invisible. The narcissus confides to the rivulet her 
virgin race, the viblf^t trusts her modest posterity to the 
cairedPthe Z^yr, a bee gadiers honey firom flower to 
flower, and without knowing it fertilizes a whcde meadow, 
a butteffly carrKs an mtire nation under her wing, a world 
descends in a drop of dew. All the Loves of the Plants, 
are not however equally tranquil, some are tempestuous, 
ttke- those :of mankind. Tempests are neoessaiy to 
' itiarry the cedar of Sinai upon inaccessible heights, while 
M the fbot of the mountmn the gentlest breeze suffices to 
establish an- intirdiange of voluptuousness among the 
' flowers. - Is'it not thustbat the breath of the passions ^« 



270 £ssitTs on vxmtovs stfif£crfi. 

tates the kingsof ^eardion dieir lfarone$p tvUleliie 
shq)herds live happUy at their feet. 

This is very imperfixt undoubtnfiy^ bttt from this 
ftiebleessay it is easy to see how much imgfat be.i!dide of 
such a subject by a skilful poet* 

It is indeed this relationship between animate s^ in^ 
animate objects^ which furnished one of the priinar}r 
sources whence was derived the ancient mythobgy. 
When man, yet wild, wandering among the woods bad 
satisfied the first wants of life, he felt anodtCTwitnt in his 
heart^thatofasupematdral power, to support his weak* 
ness. The breaking of a wave, the murmur of a ^taijr 
wind, all the noises which arise out of nature, aH the 
movements that animate thedeserts, appeared to him.asif 
combined widi this hidden cause. Quince united these 
local effects to some fi)rtunate or unfortunate cinmm* 
stances in his pursuit of the anunals on wlUeh he was «p 
pfey ; a particular colour, a new and smguhr cbject per<» 
haps struck him at that moment : thence the Manitou «f 
the Canadian, and the Fetiche of the Negro^ ^ ^ant of 
all the mythologies. •• 

Thus elementary [x*inciples of a&lse bc^rfbeiogonce 
unfolded, a va$t career was opened for human supenti* 
tbns. The affections o£ the heart Were soon changed 
into divinities more dangerous than they wei« amiidble. 
The savage who had ndsed a moDiod over die tomb of 
his fi4end, the mother who had given her darlkig in&at 
to the darth, came every year at the fall of the, lea^ the for- 
mer to shed ^s tears, the k^ttr to drop ^i<iilk over^ 
hallowed turf; bodi believed diat the absentotgeett so TC^ 
gretted, and always living in idteir remembrance^ fionjd 
not have wholly ceased to exist. It was wiifaout doubt 
frimdship weeping over a monuiQent whfch inspited tbe 
d^ma of the immortality «f<he soul, «)d pi^^chikMil ll^ 
religion of the tombs. 



But mth, at length^ quitting the {<mats^ iiarmeS lam* 
adfintoa sodet^ with his fellow-creatuees. Soon, the 
patitiide or iie fears of the pec^le raised legislators, 
heroes, af^d kings to the rank of deities. At die sausie 
time, some geniuses cherished by heaven, as an Orpheus 
te a Homer, increased the numbars that iniiabited Olym* 
fktts ; under their creative pencils, sdl ibt accidents of 
nature were transformed into cdestial spirits. These new 
gods reigned for a long tin^ aver the endianted iriia^ia- 
ticms of mankind ; Anaxagoras, Democritus, EjAcums, 
^essayed to r^ the standard against the rdigicm of 
tfieir country. But, oh sad infatuation of buihan errors ! 
Japiter was a detestable god, such an one that mbving 
atoms, an eternal matter was preferable to this deity, armed 
with thunder, and the avenger of crimes. . 

It was reserved for the Christian region to over- 
Afow the altars of all these false gods, without plui^ing 
the. people into atheism, and without destroying the 
dharms of nature. For, evep though it., were as certain 
aS: it is doubtful^ that Christianiity could i^ot furnish to 
the poet a vein of the marvellous as rich as that furnished 
by &ble,yetit is true, andta^isM. Michaud himself 
most assent, that there is a certain poetry of the soul, we 
will say almost an imaginaticm of th^ heart, of which 90 
teace can be found in mythology. The affecting beauties 
that emanate from this source, woul^ alone amply com* 
ppsate the ingenious falsehoods <X antiquity. . In the 
pictures of paganism, ev^ry thing iss a machine and a 
spring, all is externa], all is made kx the eyes ; in the 
|»etores<^ the Christian religion, all is sentiment and 
thcHight, all is internal, all is created for the soul. What 
charm of meditation, what scope fen* sensibility ! there is 
nvoreenchantment in oneof thcffiiedivinetears whichChristi- 
anity tKcites,lha0 in all the plea^g errors of mythology. 
With Our Lady of SwowSf a Mother qf PUy^ some 



Sfl2 £SSAYff OH VAjaZOUS &JnHC^B0 

dbacoxe saint, a pattoa dibit h\iisA$ the orphari and the 
nuaoabk, an audior may write si more h^-dissolving 
page than with all the gods of die Pantheon. Here in« 
deed is poetry ^ here indeed is the marveUous* But would 
you seek the marvellous still more sublime, contemjilate 
.die life sind the sorrows of Christ, a(nd remember thajt 
your God was called the Son qf Man. Wewill ventijre 
to predict, thata time will come when we cannot besuffici- 
endy astonished how it was pos^ble to pass over the ad* 
mirabk beauty of the expressions used in Christianity, 
and when we shall have difficulty to compreliend how it 
could be possible to laugh at the celestial rdi^on of rea- 
son and misfortune. 



Sft» 



HISTORY OF THE iIPE PF 
JESUS CHRIST, 

BY FATHER DS LIGHY^ 



THE History of iheiLlfe of JesU8<Chmtb.QiM^ 

last wof^s for whicdi^we ai^inchb^ 

cietyi^ neasiydll jhe.^wnUaers ;of which weit.oieii!^^^ 

guished^fortiieirlileraiyattabin^^ Father de^Ligny^ 

bom^ at Amiens in; lUO, suciivod ifae destnictioii .<f . bb 

ocdsty and prolonged tiU.1783^ .a careor wluch jConoKK^ 

^ed^ during the jnisfoctunes ^.Icouis JCI V> and tfiaiahed at 

ihcperiod (rf':die'diflasCars isf Lottb XVL Wben^^win 

tiiese btter times wei^metJn. the iv^^ imth an*^^;^ ^^ 

cfenaatic, full of JLOovd^dgi^) ii«st, Jnul iU|i<oi!3^f Mfi^ 

:th(vmainnecs.ofva manof .fikwd ;!tdni»^6tikk lrild,9f.Q|Mb 

>whohfld bem accuttaincd Ao;^cj^;«ofn^^ 99^ 

^disposed .10 beikt^ wckiA pri«»t;a Je«(lt* !)^ 

Abb6 Lerti^ also b^tpi^ to tUa oc4lT) which hai 

given so marty mar^^te^AfefAiach ; h^ va9 tli^fiieii| 

« ]|kiUi*r d« Ufj;uf »«• » J«#UH> 

Mm 



S74 ESSAYS iXH^yARMUS 8VBJ£C79. 

of Father de Ligny, and it was he who made him iaa&y 
determine to publish die history in question of the Life of 
Jesus Christ. ' " 

TIus History is/ in iact, nothing more than a commen- 
tary upon the Gospels, and it is that whidi constitutes its 
great merit in our eyes. * Father de Ligny cites tfie te^t 
of the New Testament, arid expounds every verse in two 
ways ; the one, by explaining in a moral and historical 
point of view what you have just read ; the other, by 
answerbg any objections which may be urged against 
the passage cited. The first commentary is in the page 
with the text, in the same manner as in the Bible of 
Father de Carrieres ; the second is in the form of a ndte, 
at the bottom of the page. In this manner the author 
o&rs to your view, in succession, and in didr proper 
order, thedifeent chapters of the Evangelists; and by 
thus bringing to your observation their affinity, by re- 
conciling their apparent contradictions, he developes the 
entsre life of the Redeemer of the world. 

The work of Father de Ligny was become very 
scarce, and the Typographical Society have rendered an 
essential service to.religion in reprinting a book of sudi 
eminent utility. We know of many histories 6f the^ 
of Jesus Christ, among the productions of French authors, 
but not one which combines, like th^ present, the two ad- 
vantages of being at the same time an explanation of the 
Scriptures, and a refutation of the sophisms of the day. 
The LifeX^ Jesiis Christ by Sabt Real wants grace and 
simplicity ; it is mu^eh more easy to imitate SaUust and 
tiie Cardinal de Ret^, than to acquire the style of the 
Gospel* Father Montreuil, in his Life of Jfesus Ghrisit, 

♦ The Conspiracy of the Gount de Fiesco, by Cardinal de 
Retatf, ftppeiarsto havf served as a mqd^ for the Conspiracy of 
Venice, by Saint Real. There subsists betw^ect these two woifcs 
the difference which ^ways must sub^t between the ongioal and 



revised by Father Brignon, has vpreserved, on the con- 
traiy; much of the charm of the New Testament. His 
style being a little antiquated, contributed perhaps to this 
charm; for the ancient French langu£^ and more 
especiatty that which was spoken under Louis XIII, was 
well calculated to display the energy and simplicity of the 
Scriptures. It would have been fortunate had a good 
translation of them been made at this period. Sacy was too 
latCy and the two best versions of the Bible are the Spanish 
and English versions.* The last of these, which in 
many places retains the force of the Hebrew, was made in 
the^ reign of James I ; the language in which it is tvritten 
has become a sort of sacred language for the three king* 
donis, as the Samaritan text was for the Jews ; the vene«- 
ration which the English have for the Scriptures appears 
to be augmented by it» and the antiquity of the idiom 
seems as if it increased the antiquity of the book. Finally^ 
itisinipossibledotto beawsare, that all thelustoriesof 
Jesus Christ which are not, like that of Father de Ligny^ 
a simple commentaiy upon the New Testament, are, 
g^erally ^>eaking,:bad, ai^ even dangerous works. We 
havecopiai this manner of disfiguring the Gospel from 
llie Protestants, not observing that it has liad the effect of 
turning many persons to Socinianism. Jeisus Christ is 
not a man; we ought not therefore to write his life in the; 
same manner that we would writ^ that of a ^ple legisla- ^ 
tor. We may endeavour to relate his works in the most: 
affec^g manner, but we can neyer paint him any other 
than as a human being ; -«t6 pamt his divinity is far above 

the copy, between him who writes with rapture and genius, and 
he who by dint of hard labour is enabled to imitate this rapture 
stnd this genius, with more or less tnith and happiness. 

* M. de Chateaubriand was not acqu^nted with the excellent 
German version of Luther. Editor. 



otir reack Ifoman ^ilrtu«» hare abifibdnlq; corpo^^^ in 
theiii» if ive magr be permilted the cxpKsdoiiy Winch ^ 
ii^ntbr c^ aeket biutdte virtuics df Qidsc aie wdfeepljr 
intdkctualy there is in theixi slieli ^^tUiwHi^, that 
they seem to shrink from flie matdrii^U 6xit expres- 
sions; 

K is this trutkw defica^, so refined^ of whi<^ Pascal 
si)eal:s, aip3 whidrotiF grosser cH^^aodS cannot tonch Wi&. 
cut BRiniing the pihiii* The divibity of Christ is tio 
^bere tabefdufK$, ahd csmnotpossibfy' be found any 
where btif in the gospel, where it shi^ aihdig thelneffii- 
ble safdrammts institnt^ by the Salriour, and amid die 
ifiir^des whk:h he performed. The apostles alone tvere 
sAJle to pouifray it, because Itkey Wrote imder ^butpttz^ 
lion of die Holy Spiiit. Tl^ W$re witoesses of At 
in^dnders perfbriiietf by tht^ Sbft c^A^ ; ibey )iv«d vMi 
hhti; ^mi6 partof Ms d|t^l% ^em^ncd msimpcA upo^ 
iHtit flutoredl Writing^, as ih^lfotdites «f thisbciesdst hfe& 
9tah4^efn^ih(NI/say the]^, imjArerised cm the myWeviiQiua(^ 
which Wipc^tiKe sweat frdmr his br^^ There is iieades 
^med«ng^, di^mider Ate idea^xf ptododng^^a 
ttSte aitd ti^^iire^ the whiflcrgo^ may* be tnms&nn^ 
into » mere hisltoty of lesiisChnst* In givii^ to fkc^ a 
jeertain air of someA&hg merdy humauy and strktfy. Im* 
teeied, m appealing kicessKintly to m. assumed: re^on 
wii^ is too dten nothii^ mofe dian dcplcmbte foUy^ wd 
iti^tmhg at preaching moraUtyv entiifely invested of.-fdl 
dogmas, tteprotestants have su&red eveiy th^ig Uke^x* 
^teS ek^pienee to perish fr<mi among themv 1^ eSSs^ 
we cannot cooader eidier the TUlotsons, the WUkiosX 
Vbt Goldsmiths^ or the Blairs, notwitfastandini^ thek 
merits, as great ck-aiors, mbtt e^pedially if We cbmpaNf 
them with a Basd, a Chrysostdme, an Ambrose^ a Bour- 
ddoue, or a Massillon« £v^ reUgion whidi caoi^uders 

• Pascal's Thoughts. 



,: tlfZ Of JESV:S CJTtlSf. , . 2S7 

H as a dbtjr to a^md.dogdia$» and t6 ban&b pomp from 
its \\roiBbip^ cdndemns itself to be dry and cold« We 
lAufit not presvnxk that tlie hqart of man, deprived of any 
as»stance ftom tfarimaglnaiSon) can hav^ resources with- 
ki itseU suffieient to cherish the undulations of eloquence. 
Tfafe very sentiment of eloquence is destroyed even at the 
monter^ of its bkth, if it does not find itself surrounded, 
by tlungs capable of nourishing and supporting it ; if it 
finds no images to prolong its duration^ no spectacles to 
fortify k, no; dqj^as which trai^sporting it into the region 
of mystery » prevent its l?eing disenchanted. . 

The protedt^oits boast that th^ have baa&shed gloom 
fi^nnitlie Cbfisttm reUgion ; but in the Cathpjiic worship,, 
lob and his holy tnebmeholy, the shadis of die cloisters^ 
the tears of the pendent upon I^is rock» the voice of Bo&^ 
suet delrvaring a funeral QPadon; will create more men pf 
genius, th^n aU; ^ maxiT![is of morality devoid of elo^ 
quence, as plamiand unadorned ^s t^e temple where it 

.is preached. Father de Ligny has then considered the 
subject in its proper point of.vitw, in cbnfinbg his life of 
Christ to a siinple coric^anee oiF the different Gospels. 
Who, be^des, could flatter himself with being able to 
equal the beauty of the New Testament ? Would not an 
author trhb shodd asjMre to.such preten»ons be already 

^ eondcfmned. Eveiy Evangelii^ has his particular cha- 
racter except Saint Mark, M^oseG6spel seems to be 
fiddling more than an abrid^ent of Samt Matdiew^s. 
Saint Mark tvas a disciple Of Saint Peter, and many peo- 
ple thiiik that Ke wrote under the direetionoflhis prfheeof 
theApcMtles. It is worthy of reinarkf that he hks related 
the b^vy &ult committed by Ms mraster. Thdt Jesun 
Cteist should h^ve chosofi f«r the cWef of his church prc- 
ciiiely, the only oM atnong his disdples who hfUl denied 
him, appear^ tO us at once a sublime andlnteresling m)*s* 
tery% There do we see all the spirit of Christianity; Saint 



S78 . ESSAYS 0K,VAR10irS;SUB;£Ct9. 

Peter is the Adam of the new law ; he is tbe sinful afid 
lepentant father of the new Israelites; his fttt teaches us/ 
that the Christian. religion is a reli^cn of inercy« s^d that 
Jesus Christ has established his law among.men subject 
to error, much less for the innocent than for the rq)eat^.' 

The Gospel of Saint Matthew is to be recommaided 
above all things, for the pure morality which it inculcate 
It is this Apbstle who has transmitted to us th^s grealett 
number of moral precepts in the sentiments reowded bf 
him, ^s proceeding so abundantly, from the mouth of 
Jesus Christ* 

Saint John has something more mild and tender in 
his manner. Wfc recognise m him ^^ the diseipk VfAom 
Jesus /ov^,'^ the disciple who was neat him on the mount of 
Olives, during his agony — ^a sublime distinction undoabt^. 
edly , since none but the cheri^d friend of 6ur soul is 
wordiy to be admitted to the mystery of our grie&. John 
was, besides, the only one among the Apostles who ac* 
companied the Son of Man to the cross. It was thane, 
that the Saviour bequeathed to him the care of his mo^ 
ther. ^^ Mother behold your Son; Dimple behold yout 
Mother.'^ Divine expression ! ine&hle recommendation. 
This was the well beloved disciple who slept upon the 
bosom of his mas|:er, who retained m his soul an image 
of him never to be eSTaced ; who was the first to recog* 
nise him after his resurrection ;'-— the heart of John could 
not be mistaken in the features of his divine friend^ and 
faith was ^ven to him as a reward for kindness. 

For the rest the spirit breathed throughout the whole 
of Swit John's Gospel is comprised in the maxim, iK^ch 
he went about reputing in his old age. This Apostle 
full of days and of good works, when no longer able to 
preach long sermons to the new people whom he had 
brou^t f(Hth to Jesus Christ, contented himself with 
this exhortation : " My Httk children Ime me another J^^ 



'\'tliZ OF JfESCS CHRIST. 279 

St. Jerome asserts that Saint Luke was a physician^ 
a profession ,so nd^e and so esteemed in antiquity^ and 
adds that bi$ gospel was medicine to the soul. — His lan- 
guage is pure and elevated, shewing at once a man con- 
versant with letters, and one who was well acquainted 
with the manners and the men of his time. — He begins 
. bis narrative after the manner of the ancient histcH'ians ; 
you <may fancy that it is Herodqjtus speaks : 

1. Since many have under^en to write the history 
of those things which have come to pass amongst us-^ " 

2. According to the account given by those who, from 
the beginning, were eye witnesses of them, and who have 
been ministers of the word — 

3. It seemed proper to me that I also, most excellent 
Theophilus, havit^ been, exactly iriformed of all these 
things from their commencement, should write to you in 
their order the whole history of them* 

Our ignc»raiice is such, at the present time, that there 
are perhaps spme men of letters - who will be astonished 
at learning that Saint Luke is a great writer, whose gos- 
pel breathes the true genius- of the ancient Greek and 
Hebrew languajjes— -What can be more beauuful than 
the passage which precedes the birth of Christ ? 

In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there Was a cer- 
tain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia ; his 
wife was also of the race of Aaron, and her name was 
Elisabeth— 

They were "both tighteous before God, but they had 
. no children because that Elisabethnvas barren, and they 
- were both now well stricken in years, 

Zacharias o&rs a sacrifice, ah Angel ** appears to 
him standing by the side of the altar of incense j'^^ he informs 
him that he shall have a son, that this son shall be called 
John, that he shall be the precursor of the Messiah and 
that '* be shall turn the hearts of the fathers^ to the cfdl* 



281) ESSAYS, on ViAfR10V« SUBJECTS* 

dren.''^Thfi fiame Angel goes afterwards to a virgin liv- 
ing in Israel, and says to her : " ffaU thu that art Mghfy 
favoured, the Lord w vnth lAre"— Mary goes int6 ihe , 
mountains of Judea ; she meets Elisabeth, and the infant 
wh|ch the latter carries in her womb, leaps at the voice of 
the Virgin whois aboutto bring the Saviour into the worid. 
Elisabeth, being filled on a sudden with the Holy Ghost, 
raises her voice and ca-ies aloud " Bkssed art thou among 
women: and bles^d is thtjtuit of thy womb! 

Whence am I thM ttessid that the mother of my &- 

viour comes to me? 

For when you saluted me, no sooner had your voite 
struck my ears, than my infant leaped in my womb for 

joy. . 

Mary then chants the magnificent canticle my soul, 

glorify the Lord I [ 

The Mstory of the manger and of the shepherds follow 
next; amultituA of the heavenly host wVig^, during the 
night, ^^ glory to God in heaven^ and on earth peace j good 
wM to men^^ a sentiment worthy of angels and which is 
as it were an epitome of the whole Christian religion. 

We believe ourselves to be somewhat acquainted wi& 
antiquity, and we dare affirm that we.might have searched 
a long time among the sublimest geniuses of Greece and 
Rome before we had found any thing which was at once 
sosimple and so wonderful. 

Whoever reads the gospel, with a little attention, will 
every moment discover in it admirable things, vwhfch es- 
cape us at first on account of their extreme siraplicity.*^ 
Saint Luke, for instance, in giving the genealogy of Christ 
goes back to the begitining of the world. Amved at the 
first generations and continuing to name the diflfercnt ra* 
ces he says " Cainan whkh was ofEnosy which was 'of 
Sethi which was of ^dam, which was of God T* the sim- 
ple expression ''which was of God^^ thraxm oiit'thtt^ 



Lift or jBsv« c»Rt«. 281 

witlloitt any odmmait tad widKHlt any reSexion, to relate 
Uie cireation, the origin^ the natwe, the o&d, smd the my9- 
teff of man, sqypears to as fi^ height of snbfimity* 

Mtteh prabe it doe tb^ Fathc^^ de Ltgny for having felt 
Aat he oHglA not to alter Aese thioga^ and diat he who 
<;oiild not be satisfied with these, ai^d sifmlar toudies, 
most have a yc^y false ^te, and be little aoqosdnted with 
ehristiamly. His History of Jedus Christ <^ers an addi- 
tionat proof of the Iniith of what we Imve ad v^eed in ano* 
ther i^K^, that the fineartsamong the moderns are mdebt* 
ed to Ae Catholie religion for tlie majorpart of their sue- 
'€ess. Sixty aigravings^ aftdf the ms»ters of die Itafian, 
French iOKlFlemi^sohdds^enrkh this fine work; and 
k k wordiy of remark, that i^ seekifig to add the embeK 
Hdbinientsof pictures to alife of Jesns Christ k has been 
feund that aU the ohefk^e^mfpeol modem pi^dng weife 
eomprehended in the edfeetiion*^ 

We soareely kn^w how to bestow sufficfent^ comiifien* 
dati^i upon ^ tj^pographiet^ soei^ who; in so short af 
spaqe of tiine^ have given us with tl^ truest tt^e and dis^ 
criminf^tioti works pf ^ucb g^ieral utiUt?)^* — 7^ sekM 
Sermom of j^muei and Fenohn^ fhe Lemps^ if Sigha 
Fmneis^ de Saks, gnd many o^r excellent book^, hava 
all issued from i^e same presses, and lea^e nothing ftirther 
to bedei^red as to the manner in whieh they are executed. 

The work of Father de Ligny, besides being embeU 
lished by the painter, is ri^out to receive another onuiment 
not less preoiou& M. de Bona}d has undertaken to writ^ 
a preface to it ; tlus name alcxie speaks talents^ and an en«- 
lightoied mind, and commands respect and esteem. Who 
is better calculated to treat of the laws and precepts of 
Jesus Christ, than the authcflr of Divon^e, of the work upon 

* Raphael, Michael Angelo, Oominichino, the C^raqci, Paul 
Veronese, Tidan, Leonardo-d^-Vinci, 0^rcin<h l^ofrabc, Po««* 
sin, Le Sueur, Le Brun, Rubens, fee. 

Nn 



S2fi2 assAts on VA&iotfs strsjEcts* 

Primitive JUgislation^ and of that upoD the Theory ^ 
PoUtical and BeUgious Power? 

It cannot any longer be a matter of doubt ; tfais^m^e* 
kt$ rel]g^0D|this madness of the cross^ the aj^uroaching 
fidl of which has been pronounced by superlative wisdonii^ 
is about to be regenerated with ad^ force. The palm 
of religion thrives always in proportion to the tears wluchi 
christians shed, as the verdure of the grass is renewed m 
a spot of land which has been abundantly watered* It 
was an uaworthy error to believe that the.gospel was over** 
thrown because it was no longer defended by the prospe* 
rouspartpfn^ankind* The strength of christianit|r lie$ 
in tho cottage of the poor, and its badis is as durable as the 
misery of man upon which it is built. ** The church,^ 
says Bonnet, in a passage which we might have suppos- 
ed to emanate from the tendeitiess of Pension, if it ha^ 
not a. more elevated and origbal turn, — ^^ the church is 
the daughter of the Omnipotent, but heir father, who sus^ 
tainsher from within, abandons her often to persecution 
from without ; and, after the example of Jesus Christ, ^ 
is oUiged to exclaim in her agony ; My God^ my Gad^ 
W^ hast tbou forsaken me I* her husband is the niost 
powerful as well as the most sublime and the most perfect 
^mong the sons of men^f but she has only heard his en* 
chanting vdce, she has only enjoyed his mild and engag- 
ing presence fpr a moment*! Suddenly he has taken to 
flight with a rapid course, and swifter than the fawn of a 
hmd, has ascended to the highest mountains.} Like a de* 
solate ^e the church has. done nothing but groan, and thq 

♦ fleus meus^ Oeua nieusj ui quid dereliquUti me ? 

t Sfieciosua forma firojilm Aominum. Psal. XLI V, S. 

I Amicu9 Bfionsi atttt ef autUt eum^ gaudio gaudet firoftier 
vocem Bfoomi. Joakn» iii, 29. 

$ Fuge dilecie mii et aanmUsre capre^ hinnuhfue cervcrum ««- 
f^er monies aromatum. Cant, viii, 14. * 



Z^IFE or JESVS CHRIST. 283 

song of the forsaken turtle^ is inlier mouth ; in shcurt she 
isa stranger and a wanderer upon tte earth, w)iere she i$ 
come to gadier together Ae children of God under her 
wlngSy and the world who is incessantly labouring to tear 
them from her docs not cease to cross her in her pilgrim* 

age.t , 

TUs pilgrimage may be crossed but its completion 
cannot be prevented.-— If the author of the present article 
had not be^ already persuaded of this important truth he 
must have been eonvinced of it now» by the scene passing 
before his eyes.} What is this es^traordinary power which 
leads about a hundred thousand christians upon these nj« 
ins? By What prodigy does the cross appedr again in tri- 
umph in the same ci^ where not long since it was, in hor« 
rible derbion, dragged in the mud or deluged widi Uood? 
Whence does this proscribed solemnity re-appear? Whit 
st^g of mercy has replaced so suddenly the roaring of 
cannon, and the cries of the diristianis who are thrown to 
the earth ? Is it the Others, the mothers, the brothers, the 
sisters, the children of these victims who pray for the ene* 
mies of the &ith and whom you behold upon their knees 
in every direction, at the windows of these rumed houses, 
Dr upon the heaps of stones which are yet smoking with 
the blood of the martyrs ? —The mountains, covered widi 
tnbnasteries, not less religious because they are deserted ; 
these two rivers, where the ashes of the confessors of Jesus 
Christ have so often been thrown ; alt the places consecrat- 
ed by the first steps of Christianity among the Gauls; 
tilus grotto of St. Pothin; — ^the catacombs of Irenasus 
have not beheld greater miracles than those which areef* 
fected at this moment If, in 1793, at the moment of the 

* r^or twrtuTi% audita e%t in €€mgmo9$ra. Cant, ti, IS. 
t Funeral oratiQQ of AL te Tdlier. 

I This wM written at Lyons on the 4ay of the festival of Cor* 
pus Cbr istL 



fuaUades^ofLjroQ^iRiiimthe temples were dflnoiiBhed 
fiod die priests were massacped; wfaea an ass leaded wtlfa 
tlie saqred oroaHients was )cd abwt Ae streets md die ^x-t 
ccutkxier ainediivitbbUbatcliet accompanied this wor* 
thy parade treason; ifa man had thmsaid: '^Before 
ten years ^lall have passed awajy a Prince of the Chsrch, 
an Archbishi^ of Lycms, shall cany the holy sacrament 
publicly along the same places^ aecompanied I^ a Wtk^. 
rous clergy, by youqg maidens doathed in whiter that 
the ceremony should be preceded and followed by men of 
aUs^^andofaUpro^ions^cairyii^flowerawd tordn 
es; that the misguided soldiers who had becQ armed 
against religion, should app^ur in this ficstival lo protect 
it'' — If a man had, ten years ago, hdd such language, he 
would have passed fc^ a vi^onary ; yet thb man wov(ki* 
not have told the whole truth; even on die eve of the ce» . 
rerncmy, more than ten thousand christian^ desired ta le- 
ceived)e«ealof the true faith; the prelate of this great 
commune appeared like Saint Paul, in the midst oi an 
immense crowds who demanded of him a sacrameot so 
precious in the times of trial, »nce it gives die power to 
confess the gosipel. And yet this is not all ; deacons 
have been ordained, and priests have been conseorated I 
Bo they leU us that the new pastors seek ^^oiy and for* 
tune ? Where are the benefices which await thiemi die 
honours which can recompense them for die laboiw their 
ministry exacts^ A mean alimentary pennon, soo^e hstf 
ruined presbytery, or some obscure habitadoa provided 
by die charity of the fiuthful — ^these are the sum of die 
tamptations offered them.-^Th^ must moreover expect 
to be calumniated ; they must reckon upon demmeia- 
tions, upon mortifications of every description; we may 
say more, should some powerful num withdraw his pro- 
tection one day, the next, fdiMosophism wottld extermi- 
nate the priests undtr the sword of tolerance, or open again 



LIFE OF J£SVS CHRXSt* 285 

for them the philanthropic des^ts of Guiam — Ah I when 
the children of Aaron fell with their £ices upon the earth, 
when the archbishqp, standing before the altar, stretching 
his hands towards the prostrate. Levites pronounced these 
wofds Accipejugum Domini^^thetarct of them'pcnetrat- 
cd aU hearts and filled all eyes with tears- ** They have 
accepted firom him thfe yoke, Ae yoke of Ae Lord," and 
th^ have found it so much the more light, omnes ejus kve 
in proportion as men haw endeavoured to render it heavy 
—Thus in spite of the predictions of^bese oracles of the 
age, in spite oiiht progress of the human mind^ the church 
increases and perpetuates itself, according to the oracle, 
mueb more to be relied on, of him by whom it was found- 
ed* And whatever dhall be the storms by whidi it may 
yet beasssuledit will continue to triumph against the su-^ 
peri^rligkisx^iht S9phi3ts, as it has triumphed over the 
daktoiessof the barbarians. 



286 



0U THti 

NEW EDITION QF ROLLINGS WORKS. 



THE fiiends of literature have observed for some 
time, with extreme pleasure, that Aose principles x£ 
taste wUch ought never to have been ne^ected, axe eveiy 
ivhere reviving. By degrees the systems which have 
been productive of so much eyil are abandoned ; meai 
venture to examine and combsft the unaccountable 
opinions which have been propagated respecting the lite* 
rature of die eighteenth century^ Philosophy, formerfy 
but top fruitful, seems at present menaced with sterility^ 
while religion produces every day new talents^ while k 
daily sees its disciples multipfied. 

A symptom not less unequivocal of thp return of 
men'smindstosound and rational ideas, istherqffinting 
those clasfflcal works which die ridictilous. ignorance and 
contempt of die plnlosophers had lejected. ^ RoUin, for 
instance, abounding as he does with the treasures of an- 
tiqui^, was not deemed worthy to serve asa guide to^ 
scholars of an age cf superior Ught^ the profissors of 
which themselves, had great occasion to be sent back to 
school.^ Men who had jpassed forty years of their fives 

* I must here be understood to s^i^k only of the age, as tak^ 
eollecUvely, not including somesieil whose tslents will alwajt bo 
considered as so honpur to France. Jff^ 



Eottiy's WORKS. 287 

in compowiT' conscientiously, some eSLcdIent volumes 
of instruction for youtli ; men who in tibe retirement of 
their closets lived on famiUar terms with Homer, with 
Demosthenes, with Cicero, mih Virgil ; men who were 
so ^nq)Iy and so naturally virtuous, that no one thought 
even of praising their virtues ; men of thb description were 
doomed to see a set of miserable charlatans, destitute of ta-> 
lents, of science, or of moral conduct, preferred before 
them. The potties of Arbtotle, of Horace and of Boi^ 
leau were replaced by poetics full ci ignorance, of bad 
taste, of misguided principles and mistaken decisions. 
According to die judgment of the master would be re- 
peated from the Zoilus of Quinault : *^ SoUeauy the cor* 
rect author oftnany exceBent xvorks.^* According to the 
scholar, would have been pronounced : ** JBoiieau^ loith- 
out Jircy without ftmetfy ivithouijectmdityj^ When our 
respect for good models is lost to such a degree, no one 
can be astonished at seeing the nation return to bar- 
barism* 

Happily the opinion of the age begins to take another 
ttnm. In a moment when the ancient modes of instruct 
tion ate about to be revived, the public will no doubt see 
with pleasure that a liew edition of tlie complete works of 
Rollin is in preparation. The Treatise on Study will 
first appear, and will be accompanied by observations 
and critical notes. This admirable undertaking b under 
the direction of a man who preserves the sacred depiosit of 
the traditions andthe|authorities of ages, and who will de* 
serve from posterity the tide of restorer of the School of 
BoUeau and of Bacine. 

The life of Rollin, which is to precede this edition of 
Hs works, is already printed, and is now before us. It is 
equally remarkable for the simplicity and the mild warn\th 
of the style, for the candour of the opinions, and the just* 
ncss of the ideas. We sh^l have only one subject of 



.% 



2B8 ESSAYS OSi VAEIOUS SUBJECTS. 

fcgjpet in giving to our readers some fragments of tlus 1^, 
it is that we are not permitted to name the 3rbungsa:id 
modest author to tvbom we are indebted for it. 

After speaking of the birth of RoUin and his entrance 
into the College of the Eighteen, the writer of die life 
adkls : '^ The young Rollin was a stranger to those emo- 
tions of vanity which so often accompany knovriedge 
newly acquried, and which yield in the siequd to more 
extensive acqubitions. This sweet natural di^KMition 
expanded widi his attainments, and he only appeared the 
more amiable as he became better infcMrmed. It must be 
observed that the rapid progress he made in learning, 
which was talked of in the world with a sort of astonish- 
menty redoubled the tenderness oif hb happy mother. 
Nor was she assuredly less flattered by receiving visits 
continually from persons of the highest distinction for 
their rank and birth, who came to congratulate her, ask- 
ing as a favour that the young student might be permitted 
to pass die days of vacation with their children who were 
of the same college ; that he might be the companion of 
their pleasures as he was of their exercises. 

'^ The world was then full of those pious and illustri- 
ous families where flourished the anciont manners, and 
die Christian virtues. Many of these in particular were 
included in the magistracy of \yhich they were the great 
ornament. While the young warriors sought in the 
midst of dangers to sustain the glory of their ancestors, or 
to acquire new honours, the young magistrates eng^;ed 
in another species of militia, and, subjected to a disc^line 
yet more r^;orou^, distinguished themselves by their ftti* 
gality, by serious studies, by science, by elevation of sen- 
timents. They transmitted to their sons these holy and 
irreproachable manners : they took a pleasure in being 
surrounded with virtuous children, they sometimes shared 



d«r studies and found a noble r«bxati(« intbe laboms 
^which had occupied their youth* 

^^ The two eldest sons of M. Le Pelletier then minis- 
ter, and who belonged to the same class with the young 
Rollin, found a formidabte competitor in thi^ new-comer* 
M. Le Pelletier who knew all the advantages of emulation 
sought every mbans of cherishing it. When the young 
Rdlin was emper&r^ which often happened, he sent him 
the grsltuity which %e was accustomed to give his sons ; 
and the latter, notwithstanding, tenderly loved their rival*^ 
On die days of vacation he often accompanied them home 
in their coach, or they carried htm first to his mother's 
liouse if lie dedred it, and waited there for as ioi^ a 4me 
as he wished to stay. 

** One day, Madame Rollin observed that her son, in 
gettii:^ into the carriage, took the first place without any 
ceremony. She began to reprove him severely, as being 
guilty of a great breach of propriety and good manners ; 
but the precepts, who w^ with tbem, interrupted her 
\mHd])-, representing it as a regulation made by M. JLe 
Pelletier that the youths should take their places in Urn 
carriage according to the carder in which each stood in his 
class. Hollin preserved^ to the last days cf his life, R 
tender and grateful respect for the protector of his youtili, 
whose kindnesses he thought lie could nev^ sufficiently 
acknowledge. He was the constant fi*iend of the young 
men who had been ^e companions ^ his studies^ and 
attached himself np(Ci)e and more totluer]€^i|Getable femUy 
by that amiable sentiment M^ich delights to dwell On 
the recollections of our youth, ^ extends itoelf througjh 
every stage of Bfe.'^ 

Ix appears to us that this passage is very aflk6ting ; 
we heeardie accents of a true French heart; something of 
mingled gravity and tenderness }ike the old mapBtratiBS 
and the young coUegie fi^ends of whidi our auth(»' l^c,^ 

Oo 



990 BSSAY8 OH VARXOVS SUBJECTS. 

lilt itcdUection. It b remarkable that it was only in 
France, in that countiy celebrated for the frivolity of it§ 
inhabi^nts that we saw these august families so distin- 
guished for the austerity of their manners* A Harlay, 
a De Thou, a Lamoignon, a d'Aguesseau, formed a sin^ 
gular contrast with the general character of the nation* 
Their serious habits^their rigid virtues, tHeir in(!^miptible 
opinions, seamed as it were, an expiation which they mces- 
santfy ofieredforthe lightness and inconstancy of the mass. 
They rendered to the state the most important services in 
moip than one way. That Matthew Mole who made Du- 
chesne undertake the collection of the historians of France, 
exposed hb life many times during the troubles of the 
FrcBide, as his Father Edward M0I6 had braved the fury 
<^the League, to secure the crown to Hexary IV. It was 
this same Matthew who, braver than Gustavus or M. Le 
Prince, answered, when some one would have {mvcnted 
hb exposing'himself to the rage of the pc^ulace : *' Six 
Jeet of earth vnU bring the greatest man in the world to 
reasoru*^ Thb was to act like the ancient Cato, and to 
q>eak like the ancient Comeille. 

RoUhi was an extraordinary man who might almost 
he said to possess genius by dint of science, of candour, 
and of goodness.^ It b only among the obscure titles of 
&e services rendered to childhood thiat the true dociiments 
of hb glory are to be found ; it b there that the author 
of hb life has sought those features widi which he has 
composed a picture fiill of sweetness and simplicity ; he 
delights to present to us Rollin charged with the ^uca- 
tion of youth. The tender respect which the new rector 
preserved for his ancient masters, hb love to the children 
confided to his care, and the sdicitudeshe experienced on 
their account are delightfully painted, and always with n 
manner suited to the subject ; a rare faculty indeed. 

When die author afterwards proceeds to speak of hb 



hero's works, smd enters into important ^tisc&^ttons, he 
shews a spirit embued with the good doctdnes, and a 
head capaUe of strcuig and serious ideas. As an iaslanee 
of this we will cite a passage where the principles of edu- 
cation are investigated, with the faults that have been im« 
puted to the ancient mediod of instruction. The author 
says: 

'^ More inlportant inconveniences, it has been ssudi 
are found in the course of instruction jptirstied at our um- 
versities, which calling the attention of young men inces^ 
santly to the ha:oes of the ancient republics, and to th$ 
contemplation of their virtues, cheri^es in their minds, 
maxims and thoughts contrary to the political order of 
tlie society in which they liye. Some even conceive tbe 
anardiical and revolution^ury doctrines to have issued from 
th^ cdSeges. Assuredly every thing is mortal to those 
wjiQ are already sick, and this remark is an impeaclmi^ 
of the time in which it was made. But although some 
particular examples m^ht be cited, which seem to justify 
it, wie cannot allow it valid as an objection agidnst die 
mode of instruction in tite universi^, unless on the sup- 
position that those objects were separated, which in &ct 
were always combined ; I mean to say the examples of 
heroism and the maxims proper to excite an enthusiasm 
in the religion which purifies them, and renders them 
confonnable to ordei;. Rollin however does not separate 
them, and if sometimes he £j>andons his disciple to a very 
natural admiration of brilliant mictions, he is always ready 
to restrain him within kgitimate bcnmds ; he returns to 
the charge, he examines the pagan hero by a light more 
safe and more penetrating, shovvdng in what respects he 
failed both by the excess and by the imperfections of his 
virtues. 

** With such temperate restrictions, should virtues of 
a doubtful nature, should maxims that may prove intox- 



2P1 BSSATS OH VA&XOVS SUBJECTS. 

iDtting and tcxislfMg fer reason, be always pbced befcM 
IbeeycsofyQuA; afidwhenweareoiicesureof theniiiid 
being properly regntoledi there is no reason to fear beat- 
ing; it Theft the adnubtion vvhich the heroes of antiqut** 
ty excite, is no longer dangerous, it is as fevoiirable to 
Virtue as the sttadf of those imtnitable works in which 
ifaey are celebrated; it fertilizes talents and carries on es- 
seatiaBy the great work of education. This clas^cal in- 
struction contributes towards omameatiog the whole fife^ 
by insifflinga crowd of maxims^ and by leadkig to com- 
l^ariaoos which mingle themselves with every situatiofi 
in whkh the public RMtfi may be traced, spreadk^ thus 
Mer die saost common actions, that sort of d^;t^ d- 
Ways attendant up(Ni deganoe of manners; I jritease my* 
Idf widi dunking, that m the midst of study «id of die 
rural oocupatimis wduch filled u(> the leisure hours c^oor 
Uustiious magistrates in France^ they fotuid a secret 
ehsam in Hbt cecoliection <if a Fafaricius or a Cato, who 
had been the object of their endiusiasm in thek youthful 
dir^s. In one word, tho»e-virtuous instincts whidb de^ 
fended the ancient republics against the vices of theur in^ 
adtulions and their hws, arelike an exceUent-nature which 
it%ion has finished* Not only does die repress every 
dai^erous energy, but she ennd>Ies every acticm by giv- 
mg pure motives for it, she elevates the mind by the very 
restrictions she imposes upon it to a grandeur yet moite 
heroic ; it is tiiis above all things which assures the ]X«f- 
eminence of those characters we admire in our modern 
histories." 

We m^ht here apply, as our judgment upcm the au« 
thor himself, the comi)arison whix^h follows the fine pas- 
sage above-cited; a passage no less jasdy diought than 
well written. " It is thus that in the immortal works to 
which we are always led l^ an inexhaustible attractim^ 
we see the expression of a brilliant imagination subjected 



EOixxir's waRXs. 898 

to strong and severe yttsoning^ Imt enriched by Hs very 
priyalrons, and whidi bursts out only at intervals to attest 
the grandeur of die conquest made over if. 

The test of die life of Roffin is filled widi those pet^ 
detotts which pleased Plutarch so much, and which occa«> 
sioned him to say in hb life of Alexander : ^^As the 
punters who sketch portraits sedc, above all ttungs, re- 
semblance in the features of the &ce, particidarly in die 
eyes, where shine the most sensibly the characteristics of 
the mind, let me be permitted to seek the prinoipalJfea^ 
tures in the souU that in bringing them together I may 
form living and animated portraits of the great men I 
would describe. "^ 

We think we shall confer aa obligation on the readers 
by giving, at full length, the oratcsrical effusion widi which 
the audior terminates the life. *^ Louis X VI^ struck with 
a renown so interesting, has acquitted us of what was due 
to ^ manes of Rollin ; h^ has exited his name, so diat 
hereafter it will be recorded with odiers c^ the lugfaest ce- 
lerity, in ordering a statue to be erected to him among 
Ihose of the Bossuets and the Turennes. The venerable 
past(»r of youth will descend to posterity in the midst of 
tile great men who rendered the fine age of France so iU 
lustrious* If he may not have Quailed diem, he has at 
least taught us to admire diem. Like them his writings 
tueathe aU that nature so conspicuous in the writings of 
the ancients, while bis conduct displayed those virtues 
uvUch cherish strength of mind, and even become real 
talents ; like them he will always increase in fame, and 
ij^ublic gratitude will condnudly advance his glory. 

^^In veladng the labours, and die simple events whidi 
filled up the life of Rollin, we were sometimes carried 
back to an epoch which is every day farther removed 
from u6, and painful reflec^ons have mingled themselves 
tvith our narration. We have spoke oiF the course of 



S94 ESSAYS OK TAEipirS SUBJECTS* 

Studies in France; and it is not loi^ wicelbey weie inter- 
nqpted* We have retraced tiie government and. tbe dis* 
c'^)line of the coQq^ where a happy youth was edncaled^ 
jar from tfieseducdons of society, and ^ greater part <£ 
these cdkges are Stat deserts. Wehaverecs^eddieser* 
vices rendered by that ubivenity so cddsrated and so 
venerable, its ancient honours and th^t spirit of goodfel-* 
kwship which perpetuated the fiune of the useful know- 
kdge taugitt, and of the masters by whom it was commu'^ 
nicated, and they are no more ; all have perished in the 
general wreck of every thing great and useful. The 
quarters, even, where the university of Paris iourished, 
seem as in mourning for their destruction ; die cause of 
'their celebrity goine, no longer are new inhalMtents perpe-* 
tually resortmg to them ; the population has moved into 
other places to exhH>it there samples of other n^miers; 
Where are now the strict educations wMch piqiared the 
soul to fortitude and tenderness? Where are those mo- 
dest, yet welt-informed young men^ who wited the mge- 
nuous minds of inf»cy with the solid qua&ies that grace 
and adorn the man? Where, in short, is the youth of 
France ? — ^A new generation has Succeeded* »•«!«• 

*^ Who can recount the complaints and r^oachA 
which are daily uttered against diis new race. Alas! 
they grew up almost unknown to their Miers, in the 
midst of civil discords, and they uft absolved by the pub* 
lie calamities. £ vety thing was wanting to them, instruc- 
tion, remonstrance, good example, the mild treatment of 
the paiemal roof, which disposes the child to virtuous sen- 
timents, and gives to his lipsa smile that can never be e(- 
fkced. Yet for such lospes they evince no regret, they c^ 
nolookof sadness behind diem; we see them wandering 
about the public places, and fiUing the dieatres as if ilhfsy 
were only reposing after a kmg life of toil and labour. Ru- 
ins suiround them, and th^ pass before those ruins 



Tvidiout exjpermiciBg ^ curiosity of an (»dinary travel- 
ler ; they have already forgotten tibose times of eternai me-* 
mary. 

^^ Generati(»i, new indeed, which vi^ bear a' distinct 
and singuUo' character, which separate^ the dd times from 
the times to come. It will not have to transmit those tra- 
ditions which are an honour to families, nor those deco- 
rums which aire the guarantees of public manners, nor 
those customs which forni the great bonds of isoeiet}'. 
Tbey march to an unknown goal, dragging with them our 
recollections, our decorums^ our manners, and customs; 
the old men find/diemselves stUl greater strango's in their 
eountiy in pniportxon as their. children are multiplied on 
theearth.... 

*^ At[»<esent the young man, thrown,, as by a ship- 
wreck, iqiontheentrance of hb careef, vainly contemplates 
the extent of it He produces nothing bu^ ungratified 
wishes, and projects devdd of consistence. He is depriv- 
ed of recdlection, and he has no coura^ to form hopes ; 
his heart is withered and he has never had any passions; 
as he has not filled the di&rent epochs of life, hefe^Is al- 
ways wi&in hknself somethmg imperfect which will ne- 
ver be finished. His taste, his thoughts, by an^ aiBicting 
contrast, belong at once to dll ages, without presenting 
either the charm of youth, or the grjaVity of r^ened age. 
His whole life bears the ai^)earance of one of those stor- 
my years, the progress of whidi is marked vn^ sterility^ 
and in which the course of the seasons and the order of 
nature seiem wholly inverted. In dus confusic»i the most 
dlesirable faculties are turned ag^st themselves, youth is 
a prey to the most extracndinaty gloom, or to the false 
v^weets of a wtkl and irregular im^^uuition, to a proud 
con|emiptoflife,ortoa^^^Hrfi£ference i^ich arises fi'om 
despair. One^peat disease shows itself under a thousand 
^^j^i^iit^fon^s* Even diose who have been fortunate 



296 ' 288A7S ON VABXOtTS SUBJECTS. 

enough to escape this contagk»i of the mind, confisss di 
die violence that thejr have suffis^. They have ksqied 
hastfly over the first stages, and take their seats abeady 
among the aged, whom they astonish by an anticipsrted 
maturity, but without finding any thing to compensate 
what ^y have missed in passing over their youth* 

** Perhaps some among these may be induced occa- 
sionally to visit those asylums of science wMch they were 
never permitted to enter. Then, seeing the qiacious en- 
closures, where are heard anew the sounds of classic sports 
and triumps, casting their eyes over the lofty walls where 
sdn may be read the half effaced names of some of ^ 
great men of France, they may feel bitter r^^s arise in 
their souls, accompanied by desires even more puirful 
than the regrets. They demand even now, that educa- 
tion which produces fruits for a whole life, and wl^h 
nothing can compoisate. They demand even those pains 
and chagrins of diildhood, which leave behind such ten- 
der recollections — ^recollections so sweet to a mind of 
sensibility. But th^ demand, alas, in y^ixt* After hav- 
ing consumed fifteen years, that great portion cS human 
life, in silence, and yet in the midst of the revolutions d[ 
empires, they have only survived the companions <^ their 
own age;, survived it may almost be said themselves, to 
approach that term where srrecoverable losses alone are to 
be expected. Thus they must always be consigned tb 
secret mournings which can admit of no consolation, they 
must remain exposed to the examination of anodier gene^ 
ration who encompass them like centinels, for ever crying 
to them to turn aside from the fatal path in which tibey have 
lost themselves.'' 

This passage atone will suffice to ja^ify the encomi- 
ums we have {Hx>nounced upon the life df Roilin. Here 
we find beauti^ of the highest description exftfc^sed wkh 
doquence, and some of those thoughts which never occur 



Kphi^iu^s WORKS. 397 

Imt among g^eat writers. We caanot too warmly en- 
courage the author to abandcm himself to his geiiius. Hi* 
therto.a timidity natural to true talent has made him seek 
subjects not of the most elevated kind, but he oug^t per* 
haps to endeavdfur to quit this temperate zone, which cqq^ 
fines his imagination within too narrow bounds. One ea« 
sily perceives throughout the life of Rollin, that he has 
every wher^ saorificed some of the rbhes he possesses. 
In speaking of the |fO(x/r^f^^i>/'/A^£^'i>er^if^, he con- 
demneii himself to temperance and modetatbn ; he feiff* 
ed that he should wound his modest virtues in shedding 
too grieat a lustre over them. One might say that h^ aU 
ways kept in view that law of tte ancients, which only per« 
ihitted the praises of the Gods to be sung to tlKrmfO^t 
grave, and the sweetest tones of the lyre. 



pp 



S98 



PK THE MEMOmS OF LOUIS XIV- 



FOR some time past the Journals Ijavc announced to 
XLS Works of Louis XIF. This title shocked many per- 
sons who still attach some value to precision of terms and 
decorum of language* They observed that the term 
JVorks could only be applied with propriety to an author's 
own productions, when he presents them himself to the 
public ; that this author besides must belong to the ordi- 
nary ranks of society, and that he must have written not 
merely Historical Memoirs but wodks of science or litera- 
ture ; that in any case a king is not an audior by profes- 
sion, consequently he never publishes fForks. 

It is true that, going back to antiqui^, ^e early R(k 
man emperors cultivated letters ; but these tw^(x[s were 
only simple citizens before they wereraisied to thepurj^. 
Csesar was merely the commander of a legion when be 
wrote his History of the Conquest of Gaul, and the conu 
mentaries of the captain have since contributed to the glo^ 
ry of the emperor. If the Maxims of Marcus Aur^^^ 
to this day reflect credit on his memoiy, Claudius a|id 
Nero drew upon themselves the contempt jpf the Romm 
people for having aspired to the honours <^ poets and lite- 
rati. 

In tbejliilhristian monarchies where the royal digoiljr 



pH TRJB UEKOIItS OJF tOVn XIV. 29d 

hasbeen better understood, we haveraitly seen the s6ve- 
reSgn descend into those lists where victprjr could acarc^ 
be obtained by them without some' mixture; oi degrada- 
tion, because the adversary was scarce^ ever even noble. 
Some German princes who have governed iU, or who have 
even lost their sovereignty in givii^ themselves^ up to the 
study of the sciences, excite our contempt rather than oiiiur 
admiration : Denys, the master of a school at Corinth, was 
also a king and a man of letters. A Bible is stiU to be 
seen at Vienna illustrated with notes from the band t>f 
Charlems^ne ;''but this hfionarch wrote them only for Itfs 
own use, as an effusion of hjs piety. Charles V, Francis 
I, Henry IV, Charles IX, all loved learning and patrwii- 
ed it, without ever pretending to become audtors. Somtf 
Queens of France have left behind them verse$, novels, 
memoirs; their dignity has been pardoned in &vour of 
their sex. England alone, who has afforded us many dan- 
gerous examples, enumerates several authors among her 
monarchs ; Alfred, Henry VIU and James I, really eom^ 
posed books. But the ro^o/ author^ by distmction, in 
these modern ages is the great Frederickf Has this prinee 
lost renown> or hjas he gained it by die publication of his- 
fTerh ? — ^this is a question we should answer without he« 
sitation were we only to c(xisult our own feelings* 

VI t wete at first scmiewhat consoled on opening 4be 
collection, which we are about to examine* In the first 
place the publication has no claim whatever to be calkd 
JFbrks : it is simply memoirs compiled by a fether for the 
Instruction of his son* And who ought to watch over 
the education of his children, if not a king ?— <an a tove 
for fab duties, and an admiration of virtue ever be too 
warmly inculcated upon the mind of a prmce, on whom the 
happiness of so many people depends. Full of a just 
respect fin* the memory of liibis XIV we ran over with 
somie anxiety the writings of tliis great monarch. It 



300 Z%$AY% OK VARIOVS SUBJECTS. 

would have been morttfying to lose in any degree our sd- 
nuratkm of him ; aiid it was with extreme pleasure ^ that 
we found Loiiiii XIV here such as he has descended to 
posterity, Buch as Madame de Motteville has painted him : 
** His extradf^naiy good sense, and his good kitentions," 
.flheisays/* implanted in hb mind the seeds of Universal 
science'vftich were concealed from those who did not see 
him in |jrivate. To those who did thus know him he ap- 
peared at once a profound politician in State a&irs and a 
deep Theolog^n in matters relating to tfie church; he was 
exact in cbncerhs of finance, he spoke with justness, di- 
ways took the good side in counsel, and entotd warmly 
into the affairs of individuals ; he was at the same dme the 
enemy of all intrigue and flattery, and was very severe to., 
wards the great peofile of the country whom he suspected 
of having any ambition to govern. He wa^ pleasant in 
his manners, polite and easy of access to every body, but 
with a serious and digtiificd air, which inspired die public 
with respect and fean^^ 

Such are precisely the qualities we find, and the charac- 
ter we feel in the Collection of the Thot^htsqfthig prince. 
The Works f as they jjre called, consist : 1st of Memoirs 
stfldressedto the Grand Dauphin; These begin in 1661, 
and OHiclude in 1665. — ^2ndly. Militaiy Memoirs relative 
to the years 1673 and 1678, — ^Srdly. Reflections upon the 
trade of a king.-^4thly. Instructions to Philip V.-^- 
5tMy. Eighteen letters to the same i»ince and one letter to 
Madame de Maintenon. 

We were before in possession of a CbUection of Let- 
teis of Louis XIV, and a translation by him of the Com- 
mentaries of Caesan^ It is believed that Pelisson or Ra-* 
cine overlooked the Memoirs which are just published, but 
it is certain that the original sketch of them is firom Louis 

»■■ : • 
f Voltaire denies this traftslation to be Louis t|ie Fourteenth's^ 



on THE MEMQiaS OF lOVfl^ KIVv 301 

himself.* We trace every where Iris religious, moral, and 
political principles, and the notes added with his owh hand 
to the margin of the Memoirs are not inferior to the text 
either in the style or in the thoughts. 

It is besides^ fact well attested by all writers that bou- 
is expressed- himself in a style particularly dignified: 
^^ He spoke little and weU," says Madame de Mott^viHe^ 
** There was in the words he used a force which inspired 
the heart with love or fear, according as they were wild 
or severe** — *^ He always expressed himself nobly and 
with great precision,'* says M, dc Voltaire; he would 
even have eiscdled in the graces of language if he had 
chosen to make them his study." Monchenay relates that 
he was one day reading Boiieau'si^i^f/if upon the pas- 
^^g*^ of the Rhone before Mesdames de Thiange and de 
Montespan** which he read with tones so enchanting that 
Madame de Montespan snatched the book from his hand 
exclaiming " that there was something supernatural in it, 
and that she had never heard any thing so well ddiyered." 

That neatness of thought, that nobleness in the execu- 
tion, that delicacy of ear so sensible to fine poetry, form 
at the first impression, a prejudice in favour of the style • 
of these memoirs, and would prove, if farther proof were 
requisite, that Louis XIV was very capable of writing 
them. By citing sonie passages we shall make the work 
better known to the reader. 

The king, speaking of thedififerent measures which he 

^ To judge by the style I should believe Pelisson to have had 
averf large share in this work; at least it appeal's to me that his 
phrases so symmetrical, and arranged vitb so much art are in ma-* 
ny places to be detected. Be this as it may, the Thoughts of 
Louis Xlfy arranged by a Racine or a Peitsson form a monument 
which deserves to be highly prized by the world. It is very pos- 
sible that the Memoirs might also be reviewed by Roses Marquis 
de Coye a man of coninderabk talents who was secretary to Louis* 



.30S £SSAY8 OK VARIOVS syBJ£CTS« 

pufBued at the beginning of Vis r^n, adds: '^ I must 
acknowledge that although I had reason before to be $atis«^ 
fied with my own conduct, the culogiums which xK>veltjr 
now drew upon me, gave me continual subject of uneasi* 
ness, in the fears with which I was impressed, that I did 
not merit them sufficiently. For, in short, and I am hap- 
py in an opportunity of observing diis. to you, my son^ 
praise is a very delicate thing ; it is far from an easy matter 
to restrain ourselves from being dazzled by it ; much 
light is necessary to know how to discecn truly those that 
flatter, from those that really admire us. ^ 

'^ But however obscure in this respect may be th^ 
intentions of our courtiers, there is a certain means of 
profiting by all they say to our advantage, and this means 
is no other than to e3tamine ourselves very severely widi 
reference to every word of praise bestow^ on us. For 
when we hear any praise given whidi wc are sure 
we do not deserve, we shall immediately consider it,aG> 
cording to the disposition of diose by whom it is given^ 
eithdr as a malignant reproach for some defect, which We 
shall endeavour to correct, or as a secret exhortation to 
tlie acquisition of some virtue in which we feel thsft we 
are defective.*' 

Nothing more delicate, or more disceniing, was ever 
2|aidupon the subject of flatter^s ; ^ man who could so 
justly appreciate the value of praise undoubtedly wd^ 
deserved to be praised. Tins pa^ge is particularly re*^ 
markable from a certain resemblance it bears to many of 
the precepts in Telemachus. At this illustiious period 
reason mspired the prince and the subject with the same 
language. 

The following passage, written entirely by the hand of 
Louis, is nqt one of the least fine in the Memoirs. " It is 
not only in importam negociations that prbci^s ought to 
be cautious What thsy say, the same caution ought to be 



ON TBS I»ic#xi9 w iovxy ziv. 303 

observed in the most eoimmony ih tlie most famifipr con- 
versation. This is undoubtedly a painful restraint, but 
it is absolutely necessary that persons of our condition 
should never say any thing lightly. We must by no 
means entertain the idea that a soverrign, because he has 
authority to do every thing, has also a licence to say eveiy 
thing ; ^n the Contrary, the greater, and the more respecti> 
cd be b, the more circumspect ought he to be. Tilings 
whid) would be nothing in the mouth of a private man, 
often become important in that of a prince. The least 
mark of contempt shewn by him to any individual, inflicts 
on the heart of that man an incurable wound. A man 
can console himself for any keen raillery, even for words 
6f contempt aimed at him by others, eidior in the idea 
that he shall SQon have an opportunity of returning them 
iakind, or by persuading himself that what has been said 
did not make the same impression upon others who heard 
it^ as upon himself. But he to whom the sovereign 
should have spoken in such a strain, feels the B&oat with 
so much the more impatience because he sees no hope of 
redress. It is true that he may\peak ill of the prinbe 
from whom he has received the oiFencey but he can only 
say it in secret when it will not be heard by the offendo-, 
and that takes of all the sweets of vengeance. Neitlier 
can he flatter himself that what was said %vas either not 
heard, cxr.not approved^ because he knows with wh^t apr 
plause every thing that comes from persons invested with 
authority is received.'' 

The generosity of tliese sentiments is no less affecting 
than it is admind^le. A ihonarch who could give such 
lessons to his ♦son had undoubtedly the true heart of a 
king ; he was wwthy to command a people whose first 
blessing is honour. 

The piece given in this collection entitled. On the trade 
efaKin^^ had been cited in the age of Louis XIFl " It 



304 es$at$^on; vMiiiijJB 4^ubjigts«' 

is a testimony to|ie8taity;*V sand Voltaife, ^^in&tour df 
uprightness and magnantmity* of soul." We ase sony 
tihat die Editor of die Memoirs, who, for die rest, seems 
full of candour and modesty, gave diis piece such a title ; 
On the trade of a Ku^. Louis made use of tt&espres- 
sion in the course of his RecoUectwns^ but it is not proba-^ 
bk diat he meant to employ it as. a dde ; it seems indeed 
more probable diathe would have corrected the expression 
if he couldthave foreseen that what he wrote was one day to 
be made public Royalty is not a trade^ it is a cbsncter ; 
the anointed of the Lord is not an actor who plays a part, 
he is a ma^strate who fills a funcdoo ; people do not 
practise the trade of a king as they do d^at of a mounte«> 
bank. Louis XIV, in a moment of disgust, diinking of 
nothing but the fatigdes of royalty, mig^ call k a trade^ 
and found it perhc^ a ve^ painful trade : but let us be 
.cautious not to take die word in too literal a sense. 
This would be to teach mankind that every thii^ here be- 
low is a trade^ that we in this wcnrld are all but a sort of 
emphrics, inounted on stages, to sell our mdircfaandise to 
any dupe whom we can persuade to buy it. Such a 
view qS society would lead to very fatal ccHisequences* 

Voltaire has besides cited di^ Instructiofis to FhiUp 
F, but retrenching the first articles. It is distressing to 
find this great man, so distinguished in the literary history 
of the last coitury, often acting a part little wordiy oS m 
honest njtind, and superior genius. We shall easily per- 
ceive why the histoiian of Louis XIV, omitted die articles 
alluded to. They are as follow. 

1. Never fidl in any of yoiur duties,- especially towards 
God. 

2. Preserve, always, all the purity in whidiyou were 
educated. 

3. Cause God to be honoured wherever you have any . 
power; promote his glory ; beyourself the first to. set aq 



' OK Tfi£ M£tfQIR» OF LO0I$ XIV. 305 

exaini^ ci gicoifying him, it is one of &e greatest gcx)d8 
that a king can do. 

4. Declare yourself always on the side of virtue^ a« 
gainst vice. 

Sdmt Louis, dying, exsended upon his bed of ashes 
before the ruins of Carthage, gave nearly the same advice 
to his son : *^ My son-in-law, the firi^ thing that I teach 
and command thee to observe is, that thou love God 
with all thy heart, and take care not to do any thing viiiich 
may displease him. If God should send Ihee adversity- 
receive it with submission and return him thanks for it ; 
if be give thee prosperity thank him also veiy humbly, 
for we ought not to make war witii God for the gifts 
which he bestows upon us. Cherish mildness of heart, 
^md compassion for the poor, and do not oppo^ss thy 
people wiU) too heavy taxes and sub^ies. Fly thecom- 
pany of the wicked." 

We are pleased to see two of our. greatest princes^ at 
two epochs, so remote from each crther ddiver to their sons 
tike principles of religion and justice. If ^ language 
of Joinville, and diat of Racine did not instruct us that an 
interval of four centuries separated the rd^ of &int 
Louis from that of Louis XIV we might believe the in- 
struction to be of the same age. While every thing is. con- 
standy changing in the world, it is delightful to see that 
royal bosoms guard incorruptibty the ssacred deposits of 
U'uth and virtue. 

One of the things which fasckiates us the most in 
these memohrs is, that we find Louis XIV often confes« 
sing his faults to his son. ** People'' says he, ^* attack 
the heart of a king, as they attack a strong place ; their 
first care is to seize on all the points by which it may be ap- 
proached. A clever woman applies herself ip the firet 
place to keq)ing at a distance -i^very thing w^ch )$ not 
attached to her interests ; she excites suspicion in onc^ 

Qq 



306 £SSAY$ OH VAEXOVS SUBJECT*. 

4fagtt9lm'anoaier,tiU at length she and herfrkods n«r 
pbtain a favourable hearing, and if we ue not onoitt 
fuard i^unst these practices, we must, to pl^^ 
dii^kase every one else. 

<< From themoment a woman is permitted totd^ 
with us upon a&irs of importance, it is impoauble that 
she should not makeus fall into errors. The tenderness 
we have for her gives a relish to her false r«asoini^and 
iodines us insen^bly towards the ude die takes, vfhOt 
her natural weakness making her generaUy prefier the in- 
terest excited by trifles, to mem soKd consideratioDs, oe« 
ca«ons her almost always to take the wrong side. Wo- 
men are efcxjuent in their expressions, urgent in their kk- 
freaties, obstinate In their sentiments^ and lA diis is often 
OGcasioied sdely by having taken an averdon to some 
one which they seek to gratify, or from having made sOBie 
promise, lightly, by which they are enibamosed.'' 

This page is written with singular deganee ; if dK^ 
hand of Racine is any where to be discovered it is hoe. 
But, shall we venture to say it, such a knowledge of wo- 
men proves tipat die monarch, in making his confessioBy 
was not cured oi his weakness. The ancients said of 
certaui priests of ^ Crods ; Many carry eke thyr&s^ 6§a 
fewareinspiredi and thus it is with the pasi^ by whidi 
^ Louis XiV was subdued, many affkct ii btd^fiw feelk; 
yet when i{ is truly f<^ no one can mistake the inspira- 
tbn of its language. 

For die rest, Louis KIV had in the end ieamt 6> 
knowtfac^ just value of those attadtments whidi jdeasme 
ibrms and4cstroys. He saw the tears of Madamede La 
Valliere flow, and he was obliged to support the. cries 
and reproaches of Madame de Montespan. Ttic sister 
of the celebrated Count de Lautrec, aftiandonedby Fran* 
CIS Ij did not suffer hersdf to be carried away thus by 
^ useless complaints. Tfee king having cardered the jewels, 



all THE 1CKV0I&8 or tCHirts x%y. 307 

ornameiited with emblematic devices^ with which in the 
first moments of his tenderness be had presented her, to be 
leclaimed, she sent them back mdted, and converted ifto 
bullion. " Carry these,'* said she, " to the king ; wnee* 
.he has been pleased to revoke what he gave me so liberal- 
ty^ I return his presents and return- them in masses of 
'gold. As to the devices, they are so cfeeply imfMressed 
on my thoughts, I cherish them there so tenderly, that I 
coM nxA support the i^ of any one but myself enjoying 
them, and disposing of them.''^ 

If we may believe Voltaire, the bad education which 
Louis XIV received, deprived him of the advants^es a 
prince derives from the lessons afforded by history. ITie 
want of das knowledge is not to be perceived in the me- 
moirs ; die kii^ appears on the contrary to have ample 
idfeas of modem history, and to be &r from deficioit in ac- 
quaint^ce with the histories of Greece and Rome. He 
treasons on political subjects with an astonishing sagacity ; 
he makes us feel perfectly, tn speaking of Charles It, 
king of Elngland, the vice ci those states wtuch are 
.governed by ddiberative bodies; he speaks of the disor« 
ders of ailarcfay Uke a prince who had witnessed them in 
his youth ; te knew very well what was defective in 
France, and what she could attain, what rank she ought to 
iiold among nations. ^^ Being persuaded,'* he says, 
f^ dmt the French infantry had hitherto not been very 
good, I was anxious to find out tlie means of improving 
it.'^-^And again he says elsewhere : '^ If a prince have 
but subjects he ought to ha^c cddiers ; ^ whoever 
having a state well-peopled foils to have good troops has 
nothing to reproach with it but his own idleness and want 
ofapfdication." 

We know well, in foct, that it was Loub XIV who 

• Brantome. 



308 S8f ATS Otf VASXOUS SUBJECTS. 

created our army and vibo surrounded France wiih that 
line rf strong fortresses which rendered it unattackable, 
Wc see how he regretted the time when Ms people were 
masters of the world. « Wten the title of Emperor,'^ he 
says, ** was conferred on our house, it was in possession of 
France, Ae Low Countiies, Germany^ Italy, and tfae^ 
greater part of Spain, which it had divided among several 
individuals, reserving to itself the right of supreme sovc- 
leignty over all. TTie bloody defeats of many, wfao^:ame 
boA from the north and the south, spread so widely Ae 
terror of our arms, that the whole earth seemed to trem- 
ble at the name alone of the French, and at the sound 6f 
the imperial dignity." 

These passages prove diat Louis XIV knew France 
well, and had studies its history. Had he carried his re- 
searches still farther back, he would have seen that tha^ 
Gauls, our first ancestors, had equally subdued the earth, 
in fact ; when we go beyond our boundaries, we do but 
reclaim our ancient inlieritance. The iron sword of n 
Gaul alone served as a counterpoise against the empire of 
' the world. '^^ The ne%vs arrived from the west to the 
east,^ ^ys a Wstorian, " that a hyperborean nation had 
taken a Grecian town in Italy, called Rome. " The 
name of Gaul signifies traveller ; at the first appearance 
of this powerfulrace, the Romans declared that they were 
born for the ruiri of towns and tlie destruction of the hu- 
man species. ' 

• Wherever any thing great has been effected, we see; 
our ancestors bearing a part in it. The Gauls alone were 
not silent at the sight of Alexander, before whom the 
whple earth besides, was silent. " Do you not feel my 
power," said the conqueror of Asia, to their deputies. 
" We fear only one thing,'* they replied, " that the hea- 
vens should fell on our heads.** Caesar could only 
conquer by so\ving dbseniiiuns among tbern^ and it took 



OK TH%* if fiM pm^ OF I.OUIS XXV. ^ '309 

hiin more time to subdue them^ than to subdue Pompey 
and Ae rest of the world* 

- All the most celebrated ^ces in the uiniverse have 
been subjected to our great progenitors. Not only was 
Rome taken by them, but they ravaged Greece, they oc- 
cupied Byzantium, they encamped upoii the plains' of 
Troy^ thejr took possession of the kingdom (^ Mithri- 
dates, and carrying their arms beyond Taurus, subdupd 
diose ScytMans, who had never been subdued by any 
one. *!rhe vdour of the Gauls every where decided the 
fiite of empires; Asia was rendered tributary to them ; 
the most renowned princes of this part of the world, an 
Antiochus, an Antigontis, courted these formidable war- 
riors, and kings fallen from their thrones retired under 
the shelter of thehr swords. They constituted the princi- 
pal strength of Hannibal's army ; ten thousand of them, 
alone, defended the crown of Alexander, against Fauhis 
£miliu8, when Perseus saw the empire of the.Greeks 
pass under the yoke of the Latins. At the battle of Ac- 
tium it was again the Gauls that disposed of the sceptre 
€>S the world, since they decided the vidmy by ranging 
themselves under the standard of Augustus. 

It is thus that the fate of kingdoms has appeared in 
cvtry age to be dependant on the soil of Gaul, as a land 
of fate, stamped with a mysterious signet. ' All nations of 
the eartli seem successively to have heard that voice wliidi 
said to Seditius in the middle of tlie night : ^* Go, Sedi- 
tins, say to the tribunes that the Gauls will be here to- 
morrow." 

The Memoirs of Louis XIV will increase his fame ; 
they do not display any thing mean, tliey do not reveal 
any of those shameful secrets which the human heart too 
often conceals in its deep abysses. Seen nearer, in the 
familiar scenes of his life, Louis XIV does not cease to 
be Lorn the Great; we arc delighted at being convinced 



310 ESSAYS OK VAXXOVS VIBS^t^^' 

that SO fine a ^mf had not ^emptyhead^ and iOnit ^ 
sold cocnesponded with die grsindtur of die' esietiof. 
^* Hie is a prince,^ as Boikau said/ ^'ivfaa never ^ykst. 
without dibiking; Ms most important tepUes bmiAe llr 
sovereign, jetin fab domestic life he seems to moeive tbe 
IffN rather dian to give it." This is an eulogiom itfaiek 
die memoirs coiifirm in everjpcunt of view; ^ 
^ Many diii^ ia which the magnammi^ of diis tnio« 
sarch were displayed ?9t wdi known. The ptinoe 4^ 
Cond6 told him one day that te had «»naflgaretif 
Henry IV tiedtd a slake, stock tl^mig^ widi a poignard^ 
having an inscription over it of a very odbus kkd ti>^ 
wards the reigning prince. ^^Icmt rmanmle mys^to 
^,'' 8^ Louis, ^* they did not do so much for die Slug^ 
gardKinga.^^ (Mots Fmnems.J It is sabl that in 1li« 
latter years of his life he found, under his luipkin, vdien 
he was siidng down to dinner, a billet conceived netfi^ 
in the following terms. ^' Hie king Oands erect M the 
Ptace ofFictoty and in die Place Vend6me ;* t^hen wffl 
he be seated at St. Denis." Louis took die billet, and 
throwing it ottt his head saidialoud : Ifhen it sfmUpleast . 
God. When he was near breathbg his last sigh, he or- 
dered the great Lords of his court to be suitinloned 
around him. "Gentlemen," said' he, "I entreat yofiiif 
pardon for the bad example I have set you s I return you 
thanks for the fiiendship you have always shown me ; I 
intreat you to shew the same fidelity to my grandson. 
I feel my heart melted, I see that you are no less afiected ; 
farewell, Gentlemen, sometimes think of me.**— *To his 
physician, ^ho was weeping, he said : IMyou suppost 
me immortal f — ^Madame de La Fayette, in her writingii, 

* Alluding to statues of him in both thost Plade^ at P&ris. 
Tlic Place ^of Victory. (Place des Victorrei) received its name 
Crom this statue where Louis was represented as crowned l^y. vic- 
tory. The statue was destroyed in the tt7t\rit\fXTk.^>^Tfaniiat9f, 



\ ij^^b^prinee lim tie wodKS bej^nd irithoitt d| 
iispnite oo^.tfihe greatest qfkmgSj mdwei^the most 
idimt men in ins kmgAm. Thas did not prevent the 
peoj^e^ iosuHmg the bier at lus foneral^ andfoKbGorb^ to 
migiihfiiTeDenm. Mimquid ecgm^s^nttO^ mbrMHa Uta^ 
ttjmHiia^inttrm^^mms. 

Whatreimw3 to be added to the eulo^mttft prince 
>a4io invilbed Ewopc, and raised Trance to avdi a de- 
gree itf splendor? Nothi^ but tbefidllomi^ passage^ 
taken from bia Memoii^s. V Yw ought, my son, abovE 
aB (iuBga to undaRStatnd that we cannot sha¥ too much 
respect to him who makes us repeated hy so many mit> 
Jkms Q^meni The nip^t essenttial part of true p6licy> \& 
that which teacheitxis to sorve him viidl; (he sUbmissiQA 
we pay to l^m is the fijiefil lesson we. can give to diese 
from whom submBsapn is due to us ; sxA we tranfi??e$5 
#ie laws of prudence no less th»i those of justiee^ whot 
we fail m due veneration for him, of whom we are <mly 
^ lieutenants. 

^* Though we should have arnjed all our subjects 
for the defence of his glory ;^ though we should have rab« 
ed again his altars which had been overthrown ; though 
we should have made his name known in the most re* 
mote corners of the esath, but a small part of our duty 
would be performed; we should not, without doubt, ef- 
fect that which he desiresj if we were ourselves wanting 
in submission to the yoke of his oommandme|its» Those 
actions which make the greatest ncHse, wliich shine with 
the greatest lustre^ are not always thos^ that please him 
the most ; what passes in secret in our hearts is often that 
which he observes with the greatest attention. He is in* 
finitely jealous of his glory, but he knows better than we 
do in what |t consists. He has, perhaps, (xily made us 
so great that he might be tlie more honoured by our re- 
spect, and if we fail in accomplishing his designs, he may 



312 £SSAVS Q24 VARIOUS SUBJECTS. 

abandon us to \jt mbgkd with the dust^ i/vWice he drew 
us. ' . 

^' Several of my ancestors who have been an^^ious to 
give similar counsel to their successors waited to do it till 
on the very last verge of life. I shall not fc^bw their exam- 
pie, I give it you now, my son, I shall inculcate it upon 
you whenever I find a favourable oppcutunity. For, be- 
^es that I think we cannot too early impress on the' 
minds of young people ideas of thb vast importance, it is 
probable that what tliese princes said, at squrg^t a mo>» 
ment, may have failed of efl^t from being ascribed tQ the 
danger in which they found themselves. Instead of tliis, 
ih speaking to you now, I am a^ured that die v^ur of 
my age, the disembarrassed state of my mind, aod. the 
flourishing situation of my a&ks, can never kave any 
room for what I say to be imputed dither to weakness or 
disguise." It was in 1661 that Louis gave this suhlline 
lesson to his son. 



Note by the Editor. 

The appearance of the above article gave ocOasion to 
an anonymous letter from a pretended Bearnese Cheva- 
Her, addressed to the Gazette of France^ no less elegant 
in its style, than just in its ideas. I subjom the principal 
passages of it. . 

" A criticism from the pen of M. de Chateaubriand, 
upon the memoirs published under the name of Louis 
'XIV, has been remitted to me. With these Memoirs 
I was not unacquainted ; they were compiled under the 
inspection of Louis, without being compiled by him. His 



ON THE UE1C0IR8 09 LOUIS XIV. 313 

&m&itfr conventotiotis were collected in this way, and he 
did not disapprove the foi'm into whicli they were put. 
I shall not ascribe tli^m to Pelisson, he would not have 
said of Fouquet what Louis XIV, thought of him ; and 
having had the courage to defend him at the hazard £^ 
his Ufe, he would never have lent his pen to his master, 
to asperse the friend he before praised, and thus didK>nout 
himself. The president Roses, the intimate secretary of 
Louis, appears to me to have been the sole compiler of 
these Memoirs, and the marginal note which was sup- 
posed to be the hand-writing of the king, is probably that 
of his secretary. The Duke de St. Simon, assures us 
that Roses could imitate the hand-writii^ of his master 
so well, that it was impossible not to be misled by it. Be 
^lis as it may, the Memoirs are certainly not unworthy 
of tlie name they bear. Alexander forbade any others 
but Lysippus and Apelles to represent his fixtures, lest 
th6y might be disgraced by vulgar hands. Louis XiV, 
did bettef , he never suffered himself to be seen in a situ-' 
atioR m which his could be disgraced ; all his actions 
were stamped with true dignity, he was a king even in 
the eyes of hb valet-de^chambre. In pubUc his answers 
were noble, in private 1ms familiarity was equally noble. 
Never did he suffer himself to ofl&nd any one ; he had an 
innate feeling of great things, his taste was pure, he was^ 
the first to discern the merit of Boileau, of Racine, and of 
Moliere. What occasion liad he to have his name enrolled 
among royal authors?— His great work, the only CMie in- 
contestably his, is the illustrious age which bears hif^ name. 
^^ But that M. de Chateaubriand should take oc^:a^a 
from tfie new character in which Louis has been brought 
forward to declaim against kmgs who wielded Ae jpn ;-r- 
that he should assume that a king cannot descend into the 
lists where even victory nmst be a sort of d^iradation, 
since the adversanj eqn scarcely ever be noble ;'^^i!at. he 

Rr 



3U SYSAYJ OK VA&IOir« $0XJI6TS« 

woidd hw9t an author loiim mify from ^oftfymtynKks 
of aodety ,~I eannot but find these sentumxits aoiaewhtt 
oftwive, and involving a sort of literaiy horesy* 

^^ That a man of exalted nnk ^ould nc^^t itie dur 
ties of his station to devoie himself to Uteratui^**^that he 
should be writing an ode when he oi^ht to be issuing 
\ Ofder of importance to the staite,-«««-that like the Vi- 
of whom M. de Tott speaks, he should be endeavour*- 
ing to bruig the voices of two Canary-birds to an accord 
with each other^ while Ae Russisms were penetrating mto 
the Black Sea,-~Uiese are thinp which cannot be too se- 
verely condemned, — such men ought indeed to be di$* 
carded into the middling rai&s of society, that they may 
abandon themselves to dieir frivolous pursuits, without 
tiie stirte being thereby en^gotd^ But observe that k 
is nottheir love of letters whicfa renders them unfit to be 
public fiincticHianes^ it is their want of capaci^ ; the cul- 
tivation of letters miay^ on the contraiy, make diem feel the 
inexactly whicfa the ignorant are&r firom ever suspectmg 
ia th6mselve& % was dius that Christinas ^termined to 
laftxlicale rc^alty, the duties of which she felt harself inca- 
pable of fulfilSog; but I do not know in hi^ory of aiqr 
great man who being called to the exercise of important 
functions, has not found literary attainments a powerful as^ 
^tsiH^e in the exercise of his ministry, and acquired 
through their means, that authority of esteem whiph is 
even more commanding among men than force itself. I 
would wish M. de Chateaubriand to observe, that the gi^t- 
er part of our ancient classic authors were also statesmen. 
Among the Greeks, S^hocles, Thucydides, Xend{^on« 
and Demosthenes ; among the Romans, C»sar, Cicero» 
Varro, Calo, Seneca, the two Plinys, and Tacitus,' wcie 
all the first magistrates in their country,^ I would remind 
him of a cdrious remiirk maijie by the sage Fleurj^ 
*« Among the Greeks^'' he^ys, **the mostCMsiderablc 



on TB£ KEsroifti o¥ teiris xit. SIS 

and the most noble persona fegairied the study of philodo^ 
pby and eloquence, ksrefiirctkig honour npon thesis. Py^ 
lliagoras was of the royal race, Plato d^coukd by ll^pd* 
tenud side from king Codnas, and by his mother from 
Solon. Xenophon was one of the first captains of his 
^;e, and from that time letters were held in so m^uch ho- 
nour, and became so much the distinguishing m^k cf 
persons of quality, that the name of icUaij which in Greek 
properly signifies only a private man, was applied to all 
who were ignorant and unedupaied. Among the race of 
tibe kings of Egypt, of Syiia, and of Macedonia, success 
sors to Alexander, wete' included several poets, gramma- 
rians, and philosophers. It is, indeed, very reasonable 
that in every countiy, those who have the most polished 
imnds, who are endowed with the greatest talents, who 
have fortunes that place Ihem above any care for the ne- 
cessaries of life, or who, being called t6 offices of £stmc- 
tion, are required more than any others to make them- 
selves useful to society, should devote their leisure hours 
to the sciences, should endeavour to extend then: talents 
and dieir knowledge. 

"It is very singular, that Cardinal Fleury, born in an 
obscure station, should consider learning as the peculiar 
portion of distinguished rank, while M. de Chateaubriand, 
whose name belongs to the class of ancient nobiKty, would 
spurn it to the lower classes of society. Shall we say 
that this is in him the i^emains cS prejudices imbibed in 
Us infiincy, prejudices of which the most enlarged niinds 
can scarcely ever wholly divest themselves f Or would he 
recur to the times when a country squire living in his 
gloomy mansion, despised every gentleman, who, instead 
of being a sportsman, cultivated letters. 

** The ridicule which our comic poets have endea- 
voured to excite never was general. The love of letters 



S16 Btf AYS OH VAUroUS SUBJECTS. 

has dways distinguished die duefe of the State; our liXt^ 
rature^ kideed» included in its origin some most ilhistrioos 
names. The first Troubadours were princes and knights, 
as William Duke of Aquitaine, Theobald Count of 
Champagne, Loub Duke of Orleans, Reng Comt of Pro- 
vence, and. Gaston de Foix sovereign of Beam. The 
whde house of Valois were celebrated for their love of li- 
terature and the fine arts ; this was equally the case with 
the house of Foix, and the sister of Lautrec who was of 
this family, the celebrated Countess de Chateaubriand, 
perhaps carried into her husband's family, that love of let- 
ters which has become hereditary in it Flechier pro- 
nounces the eulogium of Madam de Montausier, who, 
*^ bom of the ancient house of Chateaubriand, and become 
a widow, restraining transcendent beauty, and the prime 
of youth under the laws of an austere virtue and an exact 
modesty, sacrificed all the pleasures of life to the educa- 
ti<m of her children." She formed the he^t of that Mon- 
tausier, who was judged worthy to share with Biossuet the 
charge of educating a king. Was it for the author of the 
Genius of Christumityy to despise this distinguished 
branch of his ancestors. 

" Who among us, in reading the works of De Thou, 
of Sully, of Rochefoucault, of Malherbe, ofFgn61on, of 
Montesquieu, of Malesherbes, and of Montaigne, could 
recur to the idea that the origin of their house is lost in the 
remoteness of time. We will keep an account of what 
they have left behind to live after them, not of what their 
ancestors have done before them. I will venture to assert, 
that posterity may ver)' possibly forget the existence of a 
M. de Chaleaubriand who was counsellor to the discreet 
Charles V, and of anodier who was in the army of Henry 
IV, but that it will never forget the author of the Genius 
ofChristiamtu^ 



Oir THE M2M0X&8 0? LOUIS XIV. 317 

** I hope M. de Chateaubriand will pardon me, for 
living thus broke a lance with him, in honour of letters, 
and that he will excuse me if, in defiance of the usages of 
chivdry, I do npt raise up the vizor of my casque." 

To this Letter M* de Chateaubriand answered by the 
ftillowing Dis^ertatimtifkmMen of Letters. 



3M 



ON MEN OP LETTERS- 



THE Befmcc of the Geniw of ChrisHoniitf* has 
been ludierto the only answer I have made to all the criti- 
cisms with which die world has thought proper to honour 
jne. I have the happiness, or the misfortune, to find my 
name brought forw^ pretty crften, in polemical works^ 
in pamphlets, in satires. When the criticism is just I 
correct myself^ when it is jocose I laugh, when it is gross 
I forget it. A new antagonist has just entered the lists, 
calling himself a JSeamese ChevaUer. It is singular that 
this Chevalier reproaches me with Gothic prejudices and 
a contempt of letters. I will acknowledge h:eely that I 
cannot think of the days of chivaby with calmness and in* 
difference, and that vihen I hear of tournaments, of chal- 
lenges, of strifes, of single combats, lam ready, like Don 
Quixote, to arm myself and run about the country as a 
champion for the redress of wrongs. I come then to 
answer the challenge of my adversary. I tnight, indeed, 
refuse to exchange die stroke of a lance with him since he 
has not declared his name, nor raised the vizor of his 
casque after the first dirust ; but, in consideration of his 
havbg observed the other laws of the joust, religiously, 

* The Editor hopes that the reader will not be sorry to ind 
this Defence at the end of the present eoUection.. 



OK MSK Of LBT»ftS* S19 

by earefidlx avoidinglo idtrike at tfaei^eocfor the Aatriv I 
wiU consider inm as a loyal knight aod take up hia 

And yet nvhat is the aubject of oar quaitd. Aie we 
about to fight, as, indeed, was by do means wancoaaaon 
suMiig the fircux chevaBersy without knowing vdiy/ I 
am Ycry ready to maintain that the ladyof my heart is in* 
compacahly mone beautiful than the mistress of my ad- 
venwry ; bat how, tf by cteaoe wedhould both serve the 
aamefidr? This is in &cl the case. lam in good truth 
of the same opinioo whibAi^ JBeamese ChevaSer^orr^tliKt 
my love is directed to the aameobject, andl&e him lam 
seady toproseoule, as afdon, any one who shall dare to 
make an attadc on the Muse& 

Let US change our langui^ and come tp the fact I 
wiB venture lo say that the critic who attacks me with so 
much taste, ieamingf and politeness, but perhaps with a 
little pique, has not understood my idea* When I ob- 
ject to kings intermeddling in the strifi» of Parnassus, am 
I very much in ibit wrong. A king ought undoubtedly 
to love letters, even to cultivate them to a certain extent, 
and to protect them in his states. But is it necessary that 
he should write books ? Can tiie sovereign judge ex- 
pose himself without inconvenienGe to be judged f Is it 
good that a monarch should, like an ordin^ man, make 
the world acquainted with the exact measure of his ta- 
lents, and throw himself upon the indulgence of his sub- 
jects in a pre&ce ? It seems to me that ^ Gods ought 
not to shew themselves so unmasked lo mnkind : Ho* 
mer places a barrier of clouds at the gate <£CMyn^s. 

. As to the other expression, that M dii^Dr <»i^Af 
taken from the ordinary ranks of society^ I 2iak paixdom 
of my censor, but I did not mean to imply the sense in 
whidi he takes it. In the place where it is introduced it 
relates only to kii^ ; it can xdate only to kings* I am 



S20 X88AYS ON VARIOUS SUBJECTS* 

tiotabsuid enough to de^re that letters should be aban- 
doned exactly to the iUUerate part of society ; tfa^ do not 
belong exclusively to any particular class, they are the ie« 
source of all who thinh; they are not an attribute of rank 
but a distinction of mind. I am very well aware that 
Montaigne, Malherbe, Descartes, La Rochefoucault, 
F^nglon, Bossuet, La Bruyere, even Boileau, Montes- 
quieu and Buffon bdonged more or less to the ancient 
body of the nobility, either by the sword, or by the gown. 
I know well that a fine genius cannot dishonour an illus- 
trious name; but, since my critic will force me to say^ 
it, I think there b far less danger in cultivating die Muses 
in an obscure station, than in an elevated one. The man 
who has nothing particularly to attract observation ex- 
poses little to the danger of shipwreck ; if he do not suc- 
ceed in letters, his mania of writing will not have depriv- 
ed him of any real advantage, and his rank of author for-, 
gotten ; nothing will be added to the natural obscurity 
which attended him in another career. 

It is not the same with one who holds a distinguished 
place in the world, whether from his fortune, his dignity, 
or the recollections attached to his ancestors. Such a 
man would do well to balance for a long time before he 
enters the lists where a M would be fatal. A moment of 
vanity may destroy the happiness of his whole life. When 
we have much to lose, we ought not to write, unless 
forced into it, as it were, by our genius, and awed by the 
presence of the god : fira corda domaits. A great takm 
is a great reasm^ and we may answer to all with gl(Hy* 
But if we do not feel in ourselves this mens dhnnwr, let us 
take good heed against that itch which may seize us for 
vditing. 

Nor be,tho* strongly urg'd, the name in haste 
Of honest man, which now you bear, kdd down 

While that of wretched author is embraced 
Giv*n by a sordid printer's voice alone. 



«fN MBV OP lETTnt'S* S^^l 

•If I should catch some Duguesclin i%ining, without 
ihe consent of Apollo, some wretched poem, I should 
lexchim: "Sir Bertrand change your pen for the iron 
sword of the good C(Mistable, When you shall be on 
4he breach remember to invoke, like your ancestor, Our 
tjady of GuescUn. This is not the muse who sings 
towns taken, but who inspires the soul to take them.^' 

On the contrary, if a member of one of those families 
who make a figure in our history were to come before the 
world in an Essay full of strength, of fire, of solidity, do 
not fear that I should attempt to check and discourage 
)tim. 'Although his opinions should be directly in op* 
positionto my own, though his book should wbura} ndt 
only my mind but my heart, I should see nothing but 
the talent displayed ; I^ould be sensible to nothing hxtt 
ifae merit of Ae work; I shoukl gladly take the young 
writer by the hand and introduce lum in his new career ; 
my experience should point out to him the rock on which 
iie might. split, aiid like a good brother in arms I should 
fejoice at his success. 

I hope that the Ckevalwr who attacks me will ap* 
provfe thei^ sentiments ; but that is not sufficient, I will 
not leave him in any tloubt with respect to my modes of 
thinking on the subject of letters and of those who cultir 
vate them. This will lead me into a discussion df some 
extent ; may die interest which th^ subject involves ob* 
tain my pardon for being diffuse. 

Ah, how could I calumniate letters ! — I must be un» 
grateful indeed since they have formed the charm of my 
life. I have bad my nriisfortunes like others ; for we may 
say of ehagrins amongst manku^ what Luck'etius says of 
the torch of life: 

QuaH curaoreey vitai lampada tradunt^ 

BGt I have always found in study noble reasons which 
• - Ss 



/ 

aSe ESSArS OV VAII0U6 SirtjCCTS. 

.enabled me fsakoAf to support my troi:A>fcs* OAeti, 
aeatod by the aide of a road in Germaiqry not knowii^ 
what waa next to become my lot, I have forgot n^ troi»- 
ble$,4md the authors of my troubles, m tfainlong over 
some i^;ieeahlc cUmera viHbicb the compassioQatensi»e5 
pttaeiHed to my fancy. I .carried my manuscript ivkh 
ae^ as my sole wealth, in wandering over the deaerta of 
the New- World; and more than once the pictures q£ na« 
ture traced in an indian hut have consoled me a);thedoor 
of a cottage in Westphalia, when entrance wasroftsd 
tne. 

Nothing can so eflectually disupate the troubles^ 
|he heart as study^ nothing can so well restote to perfix:t 
concord the harmonic of the souL . When, fatigued 
with the storms of the world, we take^noft^ in tfaesanctu^ 
ary oi the Muses, we fed that we breathe a more tranquil 
air, and the spirits are socm calmed by its benign influx 
ence, - Cicero had witnessed the calamities of hb coimtry i 
be bid seen in Rome die executicmer seated w^ ^ 
victim who, by a fortunate chance alone had escaped lu$ 
Bword^ and enjoying the. same consideration as ^tvic^ 
tim, — ^he had seen the hand that was bathed widi tbe 
blood of the citizens, and that which had been<mlynused 
for their defence pressed with equsd cordially ;-— he had 
seen viftue become a subject of scandal in the days of 
guilt, as guilt is an object oi horror in the days oi virtue ; 
— ^hehad seen the d^nerate iRomans pervert the Ian* 
guagf? of Scipio to excuse their degeneracy, calling, resolu- 

^ tion obstinacy, generosity foHy, courage imprudence, and 
seeking an interested motive for honoumble actions that 
they might not have the sweet sensatbn of esteeming 
^mething ;— he had scm his friends by degrees grow 
cold to him, their hearts repel the warm effusicms of his 

own^ his pahis ce^se to be theirs, their opinions become 
estranged from his» ^ carried away, or broke by the 



/ air Bi:£if of zzrtZKt. SSS 

Wheeled Fortune, be Wds left bjrthtai in 9 prclbQiid so«. 
iitude« Tothese pains so great^ so difficult to be borne 
wett added domestic chagrins : *' My daughter nemain* - 
ed to mej^ he \mtes to Suipitius^ *^ ^t ws£s a^constant 
6uppc»t, me to which I could alv^ay^ have tecdur^T 
^ charni of her sodiety made me almost forget tny 
troubles; but the inghtfbl wbifiid which I have reoeived 
in losh^l^ hSTy uncloses again all those I had thought 
iiealed. I am driven from iny house, and from die 
Foruni. 

And what did Cicero do itl a situation sd lamentable? 

•«^e had recourse to study. ** I havcf reconciled myself 

- ivith rtiy books/* says he to Vaato, ** they invite me to a 

tenewal of our anciait intercourse; theyteU me thatyoU 

have been wii^ than me in never having forsaken them.'* 

The Muses, who permit us to chuse our society, are 
above all a powerful resource in times of political chagrin* 
When fatigued with living in the midst of the Tigelli- 
misses, and the Narcisisusses, they transport us into the 
society of the CatoiS and the Fabricii. For what con- 
cerns the pains of the heart, though study cannot indeed 
testore to us the friends whose loss we deplore, it softens 
l9ie chagrins occasioned by the separation, in mining 
dierecoUfiction of them with all the purest sentiments of ^ 
life, with all die mo^t i^ublime images of nature. 

Let us now examine the accusations urged against 
men of letters^ most of which appear to me unfounded ; 
mediocrity often consoles itself by cdumny. It is urged 
that men of letters are nbifitfqr the transaction ofbusi^ 
ness» Strange idea! that the genius, requisite to pro- 
. duce the spirit of the hu)s was deficient to conduct the 
office of a minister. What? cannot those who sound so 
ably the depths of the human heart unravel the intrigues 
arising from the passions around them? The more we 
know men, the less s^e we to be considered capable of 



f 

goirenani^ tbem ?«---But tbia is 
lieQoe GontB^cts. The tira gpc^tot statesraen of a^ 
^ty, DeiDostbeiiefi^ and itUl more Cicem,; y/asnua^qf 
letters in tbe most rigid smae of, Ae tanu >femr, po^ 
liaps did a finer iitemy genitaa than Gaesar exis^ and it 
appears that this deaoendantof Aacluaearaiid Veqwui^ 
dec9tDod tolerably weU how to Gondnet business. We 
may cite in England Sir Thomas More, Lords ClaRSB^ 
dcKiy Bacon and Bolingjbn^e; in France MM. do hu 
Hqntal, Lamdgnon, d'Aguesaeais, Midesheribes, andtiss 
greater parfepf those first nunistersrwliot havebdeafiir^ 
oished by the churdu Nothing.could posuade me tfaik 
Bossuet's was not a head capaUe of cQaductii^;a ksigf* 
domp nor that the severe md judidoiis Boileau* would not 
liave made an excellent administaator. 

Judgment and good sense are the^ two qusfities^oeoefr' 
sary above all others to a statesman,, said it.is to. be »&•- 
inarkad that they are also diose which oug^tto predo^ 
minateinalilberaryfaeadwdlorgamsed; Faneyanditmu 
lotion, ai^ not, as people are too apt to suppose,, tfie 
proper bases of. true tdent, it is good sense, i repeat it, 
good sense, with a happy turn of expresdon, Evaey 
wor^ of imagination, must be short-lived if the ideas- 
are deficient in.a certain, lexical precisim binding tfaeW' 
in a connected chain, and ^viag the reader the pleasuie 
of reason even in the midst of trifling. Cast yonrreyes 
oyo: the most celdt)i]Eited works in our liter^tuse; afters 
strict examination you will find that this supediKity is de^ 
rived from a latent gpod sense, fipom admirable reasoAr 
ing ; those are as it were the draletqn of the erfifice. 
Whatever is felse initselfy finishes by displeasing; mao 
has within him a native princifde of upightness wlsch 
cannot be ofTended with impunity. ThaicC' comes it 
that Ae wcmtJLs of the sophists can never obtain more disin 
a transient success; they shine at first with a false IttstiP^ 
and are soon lost In oblivion^ 



liiie^lJtoiwIiNli vm mm txmjntnjg,, ttspaterife man gf 

%iaay[ c^p^t^t^ hunt teen coaiftiibdsdBti^tfi^^ 
imlms^it.. The fiil^trolasa^^ it9t,miab|Mfe becaose^^ 

^pliasii^s ai»dtl«»ia aii em^Qet^ feiMi^ ntade bjria^ 
^fnAc. it w poeci^df in' tiis t¥Bro'quaJitie» which) ihaye 
la^Rtioii^, jqdg^nrat out gmd sensie, lil^t thdr wodis' 
^m defioies^ You^ wtti g^erKapa .find! io^ tiiete fladie»Qf 
jjpmi^ €» iinif;iaatil»H: a evtW' fcttowled^, momror les^ 
of the ilmdip, a habil 1110B&: or Visb fomitd of a»aajiq| 
viQidsy and timung peupds^. but nivev wiU^ jtou &d a 
at|»k£ Gf good sense. 

These wi4tem have-not stmii^ to bring. £ba4}i'aiii2feft 
i$bich: thqr have a moment beforei oonoeived*^ Wfaeti 
3fQU tinid;: tibej 2tm aboat tatafcath^ right pc^^, an- evil 
dqiDQii: interpose^' and kads tfaein. astfaj; ; 4^^ chsAge 
their course instandy^iaiKlpassing^ by g^ieat beautiestwitf* 
mt percdvini^ them,; thej^ nnngle tc^ether indiscramiAitb- 
ly under the mftuenoeofcbanoe alone, without oiconon^ 
and without judgment^ tiv^ffTwe^ thesuwjf^ the j^cdse^f 
the severe;, we know not whsittbey aim at proving; to- 
Wands what point their march.is d^recpted, what truths they 
ii^ean^ta-enfixce. I witL psadjls! agpee that* sncb minds 
^m mkijfimy w^ fit to amduc^ pub|i<: bui^ines^ but I 
i^iaU asierabethe b}ame to nafureif not' to l^tersr, above 
aU things I should be camful not to confound^suohiunfbiv 
tunate authors, with meo^of real senium. 

But if the first literary taleiots may be capad>Ie of filing 
with ig^iy tibe first placest in.ther country, Heaven forbid 
ti^at I shcMild^ i3eQommendtathaiieverto.a^ire to 1})os& 
places. The greater part of laen of highrl^irth might 
' CQiidiict the puUic ministry as wellras. th^ would; but 
uo^one could, replaice the fine works of which posterity 
WQUl^ be deprivedr by their devoting, themselves to othfir 



3M SteATS •A VJWkOVS fJlMjMTU^ 

ana. li it siot now much mare for our advi^^ and 
for ImciwnflinXBAf^ create 
pmis wmderSf than that he ahould have filled, even wUfa 
the highest dhtinctioni the pbceactf LuovdsandCcdbert; 
I msh that men of taknts understood better their lu^^ 
destiny ; that they knew how to set a more just vahie 
upon tihe gifts they have received firom Heaven. It is 
not confierring a bvour on them to invest them with 
Ae great offices of state, it is they vtbo in accepting. 
Ibtse offices make an hnportant sacrifice to the country^ 
and confer an essential &vour upm it* 

Let odiers expose themselves to storms, t counsd ^ 
lovers of study to contemplate them firom tl«e shoire, 
^* The sea-shoi€ shall become a place df rqiose for the: 
ahepherds,*' says the scriptures: erit Jimieks moofisrc^ 
pties pastorum. Let us hear, fiurther^ Ae Romm orator^ 
** I esteem die days that you pass at, Tusculum, my dear 
Varro, as niuchasthe whole duration <tf fife, and I would 
Willingly renounce aU the riches ofthe earth to obuon the 
liberQr of cpnstandy spendii^ my time so ddidously. • • • 
I imitate it at least, as much as lies in n^ power, and I 
seek my repose widi true satxsfiiction in my beloved stu* 
dies. • • .If the great have judged that, in fiivour of these 
studies, my attentkm to puUic affairs' may be dispensed 
With, in^iy should I not choose so sweet an occupation.*' 

In acareer fcmign to their manners and habits, men 
of letters will find nothing but die ills of ambition, they 
will experience none of its pleasures. More delicate than 
odmr men, how must that delicacy be wounded a hun- 
dred times in the day. What horrible things must they 
havetodevour; withwhat aset of people must they be 
obliged to live, and even to smile upon them. Alwajrs a 
mark for the jealousies which true talents never liasil to ex- 
eite, they must be incessantly exposed to calumnies said 
denunciations of every kind: T3iey will find even in the 



ftaiikfless» the simplicity, the dtevatiqn of their characters 
deaigeroiss rocks on which they may be wrecked ; thdr vir* 
tues will do more harm than their vices, their genius itself 
^plunge them into snares, which ordinary men would 
avoid. Happy if they findsbme&vourableopportunity for 
returning into soUtudebefore death, or exile, interposes, to 
{>unish them for having sacrificed their talents to the ingra^^ 
dtude dp courts* 

I know not whether I ought here to advert to certain 
jokes whfeh tte world has been in the habit of applybg to 
men of letters even from tfie days of Horace* He who 
has ceM>rated LalagS and Lydia rdates, that he direwhis 
buckler before him, on the fields of PhiUipi ; but the able 
CcHirtier boastSf and hb verses have been taken too Uteral- 
Iy« Thus mtich, however, is certain, that he speaks of 
^tfa tviA a charm so engaging with a turn of such mild' 
and sveet phik)sophy, that we could with difficulty per- 
suade ourselves he had any fears c^ it : 

. £bett,:fttgiLces^ Postbumey PosU^Uttie, 
LabuDtarftnoi! 

Be dus as it may with respect to the voluptuous solita* 
ry of Tibur, Xeooplnm and Csesar, two eminent literary 
goiiuses, were ^eat Captains ; £schylus performed prodi^ 
^sof v^our at Salamis ; Socrates yielded the prize of va* 
k>ur only to Alcibiades ; Tibullu^ was distinguished in 
the l^ions of MesiKda : Petroniusand Senecasireccjdbrated 
for the firmness they shewed in death. In modern timea 
Dante lived in the midst of battles, and Tasso was one of 
the bravest amoQg the knights. Our ancient Malherbe, 
atseventy-threeyc^arsof age, wanted to have fought the 
murderer of his son. Subdued as he W£& by time, he 
^vent to the siege of Rochejle expressly to obtam from 
Louis :^II peonission to summon the chevalier de Pilei 



338 BssAY^ eH VARtaus fiirsj^Ts. 

10 single coRirbat. . La RodK^ToneauIt had made war upon 
kingSi From timeiminetnorial oorcAoers t)f die engi* 
neers and of die ArtHIeiy , so tirave at the <:annon*s moi^, 
have cultivated letters, most oT them with success, soim 
wifli renown. It is well known that the Breton &»!«*• 
Fois wottld fiot pass over ai^ reflection cast upon him ; 
and ^notfa^ Breton, di^ingulshed io our days as the first 
grenadier of our armies occupied himself afl his life with 
Klerary reseaardies* Finally, tibe men of letteiB who have 
bee»eut<4riBOurTevcflirtidnhave all^plaji^ed the iit- 
^oeft courage andfesdution at ^ mbmeni ^ death. If 
k be permitted to judge by (xaeaelf, I should say with ^ 
iranktiess natural to thc'descendaats of the ^ient Ckits^ 
soldier, traveler, prosciibed, shipwrecked, I fievdr focmd 
^t the love iif letters attached me imeteddtiably tol^ 
io obey the decrees of region aMIionoiur, it ^ilfices to 
be a Cfanstkn and a Ftencbm^n. 

Men of letters, it is &rther said, have always %Mercd 
people in power ; and, according totbe vidsdtudes of for- 
tune, have come forth ahemately to cdebrate wtue or to 
eulogize crimes ; to o&r incense to die oppressor and die 
oppressed. Lucan said to Nero,j5peaking of theproscr^- 
tions, and of Ae civil war : 

But if our fates severely have^4ecreed 

No way but this for Nero to succeed ; 

If only thus our heroes can be Gods 

And earth must pay ifor their divine abodes ; 

If heav'n could not^he Thunderer obtain 

Till Giant's wars made room for , 

'Tis justy ye Gods, nor ought we i 

Opprest with death tho' dire Pharsalia groan 

Tho' Ladan blood the Punic ghosts Atone, 

Tbo' Pompey's hapless sons renew the war, 

And Munda view the slaughter^ fleets from far^ 

Tho* meagre famine in Perusia reign 

Tho* Mutina with battles fill the plain, 



,„ — ^^ 

er obtain ^ 

Jove to reign V 

i to complain, j 



OH MEN' Of LETTBBl. 329 

Tbo' Lenca*8 iale, and wide An^racia's bay 

Record the rage of Actium's fatal day, 

^ho* servile hands are arm'dto man the fieet, 

And on Sicilian seas the navies meet. 

All crimes, all horrors, we with joy regard 

Since thou, oh Cxsar, art the great reward. 

Zucan*8 PAaradiiay Book L 

In all this I have nothing to say by way of excuse tot 
the men of letters; I bow my head with shame and con- 
fusion, acknowledging like the physician in Macbeth, 
ttiat this disease is beyond my practice. 

Therein the patient 
Must Minister unto himself. 

Yet may not something be said in extenuation of this 
degradation ; it is indeed a poor argument that I am go- 
ing to oflfer, but it is drawn from the very nature of tl)e 
human heart. Shew me in the revolutions of empires, in 
those unfaai^y times when a whole people, like a corpse, 
shew no signs of life, — shew me I say any entire class of 
men Mdbo remain unshaken, ever faithful to their honour, 
and who have not yielded to the force of events, to the 
weariness of suffering; — if such a class can be shewn, 
then will I pass sentence on the men of letters. But if 
you cannot find me this order of generous citizens, no 
longer let so heavy an accusation fsdl exclusively upon 
the favourites of the Muses; mourn over human nature 
at large. The only difference which subsists between the 
writer and the ordinary man is that tlie turpitude of the 
first is known, and that the baseness of the latter is, fi'om 
his insignificance, concealed. Happy, in effect, in such 
times of slavery, is the ordinary man who may be mean 
. with security, who may with impunity grovel in the mire, 
certain that his incapacity will preserve him from being 






310 ES9ATS 9V V^af^UJl 9V«JtCTS« 

handed down to posterity, that his mqmness wilt never l^ 
known beyond the present moment. 

It remains for me to speak of literary renown; it 
marches in equal pace with that of kings. and heroes, 
tlomer and Alexander, Virgil and Caesar,, equally occu- 
py the voice erf Fame. Let us say more, the glory of the 
Muses is the only one in which nothing accessary has 
any sliare. A part of the renown, acquired in arms> may 
be reflected on the soldiers, may be ascribed to fortune ; 
AohiUes conquered the Trojans by thr assistance c^ tibe 
Greeks ; but Homer composed the Iliad unassisted by 
any one, and but for him we should not know of the ex- 
istence of Achilles. For the rest I am so &r from hold- 
ing letters in the contempt impnted to me, that I would 
not easily yield up the feeble portion of renown which 
they seem to promise ta my humble eiforts. I cannot 
refMroach myself with any one having ever been impor- 
tuned by my pretensions; but, since it must be confes- 
sed, I am not insensible to die applauses of my fellow- 
countrymen, and I should be wanting m the just pridtf 
due to my country, if I considered as nothing the honour 
of having added one to the number of French names held 
iu esteem among foreign nations. 

I here conclude this apology for m(7i of letters. I 
hope that the Becrtiese Chevalier will be satisfied with 
my sentiments ; Heaven grant that he may be so with 
my style; for, between ourselves, I suspect him to be 
somewhat more conversant in literature than entirely suits 
with a Chevalier of the old times. If I must say all I 
think, it appears to me tliat in attacking my opinions he 
has only been defending his own cause. Hb example- 
will pro^ e, in case it be necessary, that a man who has 
enjoyed a high distinction in the political orders, and in 
tlie first classes of society, may still be eminent for his 
learmng; a discerning and elegant critic, a ^Titer full (if 



- -OH KEH ^t IStTERfi. SSI 

amenity^ and a poet full of talents. These Ch^aliers bf 
Beam have always courted the Muses, and we have tioi 
forgotten a ccsrtain iSbvry who, besides that he fought 
ik^t amiss f when he quitted his fair GabrieQe lamented 
their separadon in terse^ Since, however, my antago- 
nist does not chuse to discover himself, I will avoid men- 
tiooing any name ; I wouid only have him understarid 
that I have recognized his colours. 

The men of letters, whom I have endeavoured to res- 
cue from the contempt of the ignorant must, in their turn 
excuse me, if l finish by addressing a few words of ad- 
vice to them, in which I am ready, myself, to take an 
ample share. Would we force calumny to be silent, and 
attract the esteem even of our enemies, let us lay aside 
that pride and those immoderate pretensions which ren- 
dered our class so insupportable in the last century. 
Let us be moderate in our opinions ; indulgent in our 
criticisms; sincere admirers of whatever deserves to he 
admired. Full of respect for what is noble in our art, let 
us never debase our character ; let us not complain of 
destiny, he who complains draws contempt upon him- 
self; let the muses alone, not the public, know whether 
we are rich or poor ; the secret of our indigence ought 
to be kept the most carefully of any of our secrets ; let 
the unfortunate be sure to find a support in us, we are 
the natural defenders of all supplicants ; our noblest right 
is that of drying the tears occasioned by sorrow, and 
drawing tears down the cheeks of prosperity : Dolor ipse 
disertumfeceraU Let us never prostitute our talents to 
power ; but let us not, on the other band, ever rail against 
it ; he who condemns with bitterness is very likely to 
applaud without discernment ; there is but one step be- 
tween complaint and adulation. In short, for the sake 
of our own glory and for that of our works, we cannot 
too much attach ourselves to virtue; it is the beau- 



S32 BssAts on vAEzairs subjects. 

ty of Ac sentiments which creates beauty of styk. 
When the soul is efcvaied the words fall from on high, 
and nobleness of expression will always follow nobleness 
of thought. Horace and the Stagyrite do not teach the 
whole of the art : there are delicacies and mysteries of 
language winch can only be communicated to the writer 
by die probity of his own heart, and which can never be 
ttiu^t by the preoepts of rhetoric. 



333 



SPEECH 

COMPOSED B7 li. BE CHATEAUBRIAKD 

jF&r his reception as a Member of the Imperial Institute 
of France.^ 



WHEN Milton published his Para£se Lost not a 
single voice was raised in the three kingdoms, of Great 
Britain, to praise a work which, notwithstanding that it 
abounds with defects, is one of the grandest efforts ever 
produced by the human mind. The English Homer 
died forgotten, and his cotemporaries left to posterity the 
charge of immortaIi2ing him who had sung the Garden 
of £den« 

* M. de Chateaubriand was elected a member of the Institute 
in France, in the year 1811, in the place of M. Chenier, a poet 
well known for the part he took in the French revolution. Ac- 
cording to custom the recipient was to pronounce the eulogium of 
his predecessor ; but the friends of M. Chenier knowing how much 
the memory of the deceased had to fear from the eloquence of 
M. de Chateaubriand, insisted that the speech of the latter should 
be communicated to the Institute before it was delivered. It was 
found, on examination, to be little honourable to M* Chenier, and 
M. de Chateaubriand was not admitted. His speech, however, 
though never pubU8|ied was copied by all Paris. 

i^atc by the Editor. 



894 JKI^SAYS ON VARIOUS SUBJECTS. 

Is this one of those instances of great literary in- 
justice which are afforded by almost all ages ? — No I-^- 
Scarcely breathing from the civil wars the English coul^ 
]x>t resolve to celebrate the memory of a man who bad 
distingubhed himself so much in the days of calamity by 
the ardour of his opinions. " What shall we reserve," 
said they, ^^ for him who devotes himself to the safety of 
the state, if we lavish honours upon the ashes dt a citizen 
who can, at the most, expect from us only a generous 
ibrbearance. Posterity will do justice to the works of 
Milton, but for us, we owe a lesson to our sons. We 
ought to teach them, by our silence, that talents are ar 
£ital present when united with violent passions, and that 
we had far better condemn ourselves to obscurityi than 
acquire fame through the misfortunes of our country." 

Slha31 1, Gentlemen, imitate this memorable example, 
or speak to you of the character and works of M. Che- 
nier? — To reconcile your customs and your opinions, t 
think I ought to take a middle course between absolute 
silence, and too close an examination. But whatever may 
be my words, no gall shall be mingled with diem ; if you 
find in me the frankness of my countryman Duclos, I 
hope I shall prove to you that I have also his moderation. 

It would be curious, without doubt, to see what a 
man in my situation, with my opinions, my principles, 
could say of him to whose post I am tlus day raised ; it 
would be interesting to examine the uifiuence of Devolu- 
tions upon literary attainmentis, to show how systems may 
kad talents astray, seducing them into deceitful pa^ 
which seem to lead to renown, but terminate in oblivion* 
If Milton, in spite of his political errors, has left worte 
that posterity admire, it is that Milton, vtdthout forsi&if^ 
his errors, retired from a society which was retiring firorti 
him, to seek in religion the only resource for soothing his 
misfortunes, and to render it the source of his glory. 



$F£^CR «f M« OX cnArnAVMttAvn^ SSS 

Deprived f^the fight of Heaven, be acated himself a new 
earth, a new sun, and quitted, as it were, Ae world, in 
which he had experienced nothing but crimes and cal^ 
mities* He sealed in die bowers of Eden ^9t primitiTe 
innocence, that holy felicity which reigned in the tents* of 
Jacob and Racbael, and he placed in hell the torments, ^ 
I^ssijoos, the remorse of those men in whose fury he bad 
been a sharer. 

Unhappily the works of M. Chenier, aldiough they 
display the germ of eminent talent, do not shine with dio 
same simplicity, with the same sublime majesty. This 
author distinguished himself by a mind purely classical ; 
no one was better acquainted with the principles of anci* 
ent and modern literature. The drama, eloquence, histo- 
ry, criticism, satire* all were embraced by him, but his 
writings bear the impression of the disastrous times in 
which they received their birth. I found myself then. 
Gentlemen, obliged either to be silent, or to enter iitfo 
political discussions. 

There are some persons who would make of literature 
an abstract science, and insulate it in the midst of human 
affairs. Such will perhaps say to me : ** Why keep si- 
lence? Consider M. Chenier only, with regard to his li- 
terary character ;'— that is to say. Gentlemen, tliat I mu5* 
trespass upon your patience and upon my own, to repeat 
to you those common place things which are to be found 
every where, and which you know even better than my- 
self. Other times, other manners. — Heirs of a long series 
of peaceable years;, our forefathers might resign them- 
selves to questions purely academic, which did not so 
much prove their talents as their happiness. But we, die 
unfortunate remains of a vast shipwreck, we want the 
means of tasting a calm so perfect ; our ideas and our 
minds have taken a different course ; the man has in us 
superseded the academician ; in depriving letters of all 



oS6 &SSAYS Olf VARIOUS SUBJECTS. 

that rendered the pursuit of them easy, we no longer oon<> 
template them but through our powerful recollections, 
and tlic experience of our adversity. What? after a re- 
volution which has made us run through the events of 
many ages hi a few years, shall a writer be precluded en- 
tering on all moral considerations ; shall he be forbidden 
to examine the serious side of objects ; shall he pass a 
frivolous life in agitating grammatical niceties and rules 
of taste, in dissecting trifibg literary periods and phrases ; 
shall he grow grey, bound in the swathes of his infancy ; 
ishall he not show at the close of his days a countenance 
furrowed by those long labours, those grave thoughts, 
often by tliose masculine griefs which add to the greatness 
of man. What important cares shafl then have whitened 
his hair? — ^the miserable anxieties of self-love, and the 
puerile sports of wit and £incy. 

Certainly, gentlemen, this would be to treat us with 
a strange degree of contempt ; for my own part, I cannot 
demean myself, nor reduce myself to a state of childhood, 
at an age of vigour and reason ; I cannot confine mysdf 
in the naifoW circle that th&y would draw around an au- 
thor. If, for example, I would pronounce the eulp^um 
of the man of letter j^ of the man cf superic»r mind wh«> 
jH^sides in this assembly,^ think you diat I could be ^<xu 
tented simply to praise in him that light ingenious French 
spirit, which he received from his mother, and of which 
he presents among us the most engaging model ? —No 
undoubtedly ; — I should decorate with all its lustre, the 
great name which he bears ; I should cite tlie Duke de 
BoufSers, who made the Austrians raise the sic^ of 
Genoa ; I should speak of the marshal, father of that 
warrior, who disputed the ramparts of Lille with the 
enemies of France, and consoled by that memorable de^ 

• M. de Bottfflersr 



SP££CH OF M. BE QHATSAUBRIAND^ 337 

fence, the old age of a great king. It was of this com- 
panioh of Turentie that Madame de Maintenon said, 
the heart was in him the last thing that died. Nor should 
I omit to remount toLouis de BoufBers, called the Robust^ 
who shewed in the fight the vigour and courage of Her- 
cules. Thus should I find at the two extremities of this 
military family, strength and grace, the Knight and the 
Troubqdonr. The French are reputed to be the descend- 
ants of Hector; I should rather believe them the off- 
spring of Achilles, since, like that hero, they are equally 
skiiful with the lyre, and with the sword. 

If, gentlemen, I would entertain you with tlie cele- 
brated poet who sung nature so enchantingly,* think you 
that I could cqnfine myself to remarking the admirable 
flexibility of a talent which knows how to render with 
equal success, the regular beauties of Virgil, and the in- 
correct beauties of Milton ?-^Ui|doubtedly not. I 
^ould also disfday this celebrated poet as resolving not to 
separate Mmself from his unfortunate countrymen, but 
fc^owing them with his lyre to foreign shores, consoling 
them by singing their griefs. Illustrious exile! in the 
midstcrfFacro^ydof unknown exiles, to the number of 
wWch I myself added ; it is true that his age, his infirmi- 
ties, his talents, his glory, could not shelter him fi:om per- 
secution ; fain woul^ they have made him sing verses un- 
worthy of Ws name,-^his muse could only sing the fright- 
ful immortality of crim.e, the consoling immortality of 
virtue. 

If, finally, gentlemen, I would speak to you of a friend 
very dear to my heart,t if one of those friends who, ac- 
conning to Cicero, render prosperity rhore brilliant, and 
lighten adversity ; I should undoubtedly speak of the 
noble Jiarmony of his verses, which, formed on the 

* M. I'ATibe Sicard. 

t M. de Fontanes, tlTen Grand Master of the Unircrsity, 

Uu 



5Sft ISSAVS 6N t'AlttOtfS SVBjECtS* 

great lAMleh, are nevertheless distinguished by al6fie 
perfectly original ; I dk>iild speak with eulogy, tH M^ 
pdrior talents whieh never knew a feeHng of ^vy ; €f ta- 
lents rejoicing no less in the success of others than in his 
cm n ; of those talents whidi for ten yaars have Mt every 
honour attained by me with that profound and lively jt^r 
known only to the most amiaUe character^ and to the 
wannest friendship ;-^all this t should Celebrate, but I 
could hot omit the political part of my friend's life, I 
should paint him at the head of one of the first bodies in 
the state, delivering speeches which arc models of gran- 
deur, of moderation, and of amCnity. I should represent 
him a» sacrificing the sweet intercourse with the Muses; 
to occupations which have no charm but the hqpc of 
training up, to the state, children capable of followk^ 
the glorious steps of their ancestors, while they av<^ 
dieir errors- 

In speaking then of the persons of talent, who com« 
;^se ftis assembly, I could never forbear considering 
them under their moral and social relations* The ax ia 
distinguished by a refined, delicate, and sagacious mind, 
by an urbanity veiy rare in tliese times, and still more 
by the most honourable respect for modem opinions ; 
another, under the frost of age, has found the fire of youth 
in pleading the cause of th^ unfortunate. This latter, 
an elegant historian, arid a pleasing •poet, receives added 
claims t<? our respect from the r^olfection oi a father and 
son mutilated in the service of their country ; that son, 
giving hearing to the deaf, and speech to the dumb, re- 
cals to our mind the wonders of evangelical w(H^p, to 
which he has consecrated himself.* Are there not 
many among you, gentlemen, who can relate to the heir 
ofChencellord'Aguesseaq, how much the name of his ant. 

* M. I'Abbe Sicard. 



SP«(CH «7 M. B£ CHAT^AUBKIAND. 339 

cestor was in former times the subject of admiration in 
tbb society. 

I pass on to the nursling of the nine sisters, and I 
perceive tlie venerable author of <£dipus, in the solitude 
of Sophocles.^ How much ought we to love these chil- 
dreh of Rielpomene who have rendered the misfortunes 
of our fathers so interesting to us. Every French heart 
shuddered at the presage of the death of Henry IV ; the 
tragic muse has re-established these preuQQchcvaliers sp 
basely betrayed by history. 

From our modern Euripides descending to the su(> 
cessors of Anacreon, I pause at the recollection pf that 
amiable man, who, like the poet of Theqs, after fifteen lus- 
tra, revised the songs which his muse had produced at fif* 
teen years. I will even go, gentlemen, as far as the stormy 
seas, formerly guarded by the giant Adraixjastgr, whose 
waves were appeased by th^ charming names of Eleonora 
and Virginia,! to exalt your hmt.-^Ttki ridmt cegugr^ 
ponti. 

Alas ! too many persons of talent among you, have 
been strai^rs and wanderers on the earth. Has not 
poetry sung the art of Neptune in the rnost harmonious 
verses ; that fatal art which transports us to foreign shores. 
Shall not French eloquence, after having defended the 
state and the altar, retire, as to its source, into the country 
of Ambrose and of Chrysostom. 

Why can I npt include all tlie members ot this acade- 
my in a picture where flattery has not embellished the 
colours. For if it be true,, that envy sometimes obscures 
the estimable qualities which adorn men of lett^s, it is 
even mgre true that this class of men have commonly dis- 
tinguished themselves by a hatred of oppression, by devo- 
tbn to friendship^ and by fidelity under misfortunes* 

• M. Duels, 
t The Chevalier de Parny and M. Bemardin de St.Pierr^ 



340 ESSAYS OK VARIOUS SUBJECTS. 

It is thus, gentlemen, that I please myself with con- 
sidering a subject under all its forms, and that I tove a- 
bove all things to give importance to letters, by applying^ 
them to the highest objects of philosophy and morals. 
Feeling thb independence of mind, I must abstain from 
examining works on which it is impossible for me to 
touch without irritating the passions. If I were to speak 
of the tragedy of Charles IX, could labstain from reveng- 
ing the memory of the Cardinal of Lorraine, and discus- 
sing the lesson given to kings. Caius Gracchus, Henry 
VIII, and Fenelon, would offer me in many re^pects^ his- 
torical facts equally altered, for the purpose of supporting 
the same dofetrines. If I turn to the satires, I find men im- 
molated, who now hold the first rank in this assembly ; 
y€t these satires are written in an easy and elegant style^ 
which reminds us agreeably of the school of Voltaire; 
and I should h^ve so much the more pleasure in praising 
them, since I myself could not escape the malice of the 
author. 

But let us turn away from the works which will give 
occasion to painful recriminations. I would iK>t cloud 
over the memory of one who was your colleague, and of 
whom many here are still the admirers and the friends. 
He will owe to that religion which appeared to him. $a 
meati, in the writings of its defenders, the peace which I 
sincerely wish him to the tomb. 

But even here, Gendemen, may I not be so unfortu- 
nate as to find myself among dangerous rocks. In paying 
to the ashes of M. Chenier the tribute of respect claimed 
by all the dead, I should fear the meeting in my progress 
with the shades of many others celebrated in a very dif- 
fererit way. If interpretations little generous, should im* 
pute this involuntary emulation to me as a crime, I must 
take refuse at the feet of those expiatory altars which a 



SPEECH OF H. BE CHATEAyBRIAlTO. 341 

powerful monarch is rsusing to the manes of injured dy- 
nasties* 

Oh how happy would it have been for M. Chenier if 
he had avoided all particip^ion in the public calamities 
which fell at length upon his own head. He has known» 
like me, what it is to lose, among popular commotions, a 
brother tenderly beloved. What would our unfortunate 
brothers have said, if called on the same day by the so*> 
vereign disposer gf all things before his tribunal they had 
met at so awful a moment ? — Would they not have said : 
" Cease your intestine wars, return to sentiments of love 
and peace; death istrikes all parties equally ,^ ^d your 
cruel dissensicmshave cost us youth and life." 

If my predecessor could hear these words, Uttie consol- 
ing to his shade, he would be sensible to the homage which 
I render to Us brother, for he was naturally ^nerous. 
It was indeed this very generosity which attached him to- 
wards novelties, very seductive without doubt, since 
they promised to inspire us all with the virtues of a Fa- 
bricius ; but soon disappointed in his expectations, his 
temper became soured, his talents were perverted. Trans- 
ported from amidst the tumultuary scenes of faction to 
the solitsoy life of a poet, how could he resign himself 
wholly to those ai&ct^nate sentiments, which constitute 
the great charm of that life. Happy had it been, if he 
had never seen any other heaven than the fine heaven of 
Greece where he was bwu, — ^if he had never contempla- 
ted any other ruins than those of Sparta and Athens. 
^ I might perhaps then have met with him in that beauti- 
ful country, and we might have sworn eternal friendship 
to each other on the banks of the Permessus. Or, since it 
was his destiny to return to the fields of his ancestors, why 
did he not fgllow me into the deserts whither I was dri- 
ven by our tempests^ The silence of the forests would 
have calmed tljiat troubled soul, and the huts of Ae sa- 



34£ M9AY8 ON.VAHIOVS SU9J£CTS. 

vage9 nugfat have reconciled him to the palaces of king^. 
—Vain wishes !-^M. Chenier remained upon the theatre 
of his agitations and his gifts. Attacked while yet young 
with a mortal disease, you saw him, gentlemen, decline 
slowly towards the tomb, and quit for ever.. .J have never 
heard any account of his last moments. 

We who have lived amid the troubles of revolutions^ 
cm none of us escape the attention of history. Who can 
flatter himself widi remaining unspotted in a time of deli^ 
riUm when no one retained the full use of his reason. Let 
us then exercise the utmost indulgence towards each 
other ; let us excuse what we cannot approve. Such is 
the weakness of human nature, that talents, that genius^ 
<hat virtue itself are sometimes the occasion oS ow over- 
stepping the bounds of duty. M. Chenier adored Hbqr- 
ty ; can that be imputed to lum as a crime* The Cheua- 
Jicrs themselves, if they could quit their tombs, would 
fdk)w the superior light of our age, we should see an iU 
lustrious alliance formed between man and liberty, as un- 
der the race of Valois, the gothic battlemmts crowned 
with infinite grace, our monuments built accc»rding to the 
orders borrowed from Greece. Is not liberty the greatest 
good of man, the most urgent want of cnan. ^ It inflames 
genius^ it elevates the lieart, it is as necessary to the friend 
of the Muses as the air which he breathes. The arts 
may, to a certain point, Uve in dependence, because they 
make use of a language peculiar to themselves, wlucb is 
not understood by the multitude ; but letters, wUch speak 
an universal language, languish aad die jin eh^s. 

How will pages worthy of history ever be traeed^ if 
the writer be interdicted every magnanimous sentinwat, 
every forcible and elevated thought. Liberty is so natu- 
rally the friend cf the sciences and of letters, that they fly 
with her when she is banished from among any people ; 
it is you, gentlemen, whom she charges to write her annals. 



SHK%«» «» U. ** «» ATJIAtlftAJAItP. Ma 

td ttvttkge her mi her eiiemkd, and to trtatsmit her nan* 
add worsl^to ^terity. 

That my idea may not be mistaken by any, I hm 
declans Aat I spc^k of that liberty whidi b the child of 
oitiei*, and produced by the laws, not ot liiat daughter of 
HteJitiousncss, who is the mother tf daveiy. The-aa* 
thor of the tragedy of thartes IX, was not to be con- 
demned for o£Eerin^ up his incense to die first of thm 
deities, but for bdievit^.that the rights ^ oon^s are in- 
compatible with a monaf chicdd government. A French- 
man was always free at the foot of the throne ; it b in hb 
Opinions diat he places that freedom, which others place 
in dteir laws* Liberty b to him a sentiment rather than a 
principle, he is a citizen by instinct, and a subject by 
choice. If the writer, whose loss you lament, had made 
this distinction, he would not have embraced with equal 
love tlie liberty which creates and that which destroys. 

Here, gentlemen, I conclude the task which the cui- 
toms of the academy have delegated to me. On the point 
of terminating this address, I am struck with an idea 
which afflicts me deeply. It is not long since M. Che- 
nier delivered some opinions, which he proposed to pub- 
lish, upon my works, and it b to my lot that it falls at this 
moment to judge my judge<. I say it in all the sincerity 
of my heart, I had rather be still exposed to the sliafts of 
satire, and live at peace in some solitude, than remind yoa 
by my presence here of the rapid succession of men upon 
the earth ; of the sudden appearance of that death which 
overthrows all our projects and all our hopes, which car- 
ries us off in a moment, and sometimes consigns the care 
of our memory to men whose principles and sentiments are 
directly in opposition to our own. 

This tribunal is a sort of field of batde, wher^ talents 
by turn shine and vanish. What variety of genius has 
passed over it; a Comeille, a Racine, a Boileau, a La 



S44 BSSAYS ON VARIOUS SUBJECTS. 

Bniyere, a Bos6uet« a Fgnelon, a Vdtaire, a BuffoD, a 
Montesquieu ? Who may not be alarmed) gentlemen^ 
at the Idea that he is about to form a link in this august 
chain ? C^jxessed with the weight of these immortal 
nam^s^ not having the powers hecessaiy to make myself 
recognized as a lawful heir^ I -will endeavour at least to 
prove my descent by my 3entiments. When my turn 
shall arrive to yield my place to the orator who is to deli- 
ver his oration over my tomb, he may treat my works with 
severity, but h^ shall be obliged to say, that I loved my 
"Country passionately, that I would have suffered a thou*, 
sand ills rather than have cost her a single tear, th^t I 
would, without hesitation, have sacrificed my life in sup- 
fcn of these noble sentiments, the only ones which caH 
give value to life and dignity to death. 



»»tritcM it ^KRistiAKttr. 3i5 



DEFENCE 



• 



OF ITHfi BEAUTIES Of CHRISTIANXTY. 



The only noble answer, perhaps, that can be given 
by an author when attacked, is silence. It is at least the 
surest way of gaining credit in the pi^blic opinion. 

If a work be really good, it cannot be affected by pen- 
^ure ; if it be bad, it cannot be justified by apologies. 

Convinced of these truths, the author of the Spirit of 
ChrisHamty determined not to take any notice of the ani- 
madversions of critics, and till the piresent moment he has 
adhered to this resolution. He has borne praises without 
pride, and insults without discouragement : the former 
arc often lavished upon mediocrity, and the latter upon 
merit. He has with perfect indifference beheld certain 
critics proceed front abuse to calumny, either beCaiise 
they ascribed the author's si^enpe to contempt, or beCaUSfe 
they could not forgive him after their affronts had beeft 
offered to him iri vain. 

Methinks I hear the reader ask : why then does the 
author now break silence ? . Why has he deviated from 
the rule which ht laid down for himself? To thes6 
questions I reply : Because it is obvious, that undet the 
pretext of attacking the author, there now lurks a design 
to annihilate that little benefit .which the work may be 
calculated to produce. Because it is neither hfe own 
person nor his own talent, real or reputed, that the author 
is about to defend, but the book itself; and this book ht 
will defend not as lifefari/j but as a religious work. 

Xx 



34^ £SSAYS Oy VAXX^US SVBJEC.TSr 

Tht Beauties of Christianity hnvthetn received bjr 
the public with some indu]|gence. At this sy mpt6m of a 
change b opinion, the spirit of sophistry took the ^larm ; 
she conadered it as prophetic of the approaching terbiina- 
tion of her too long reign. She had recourse to all her 
weapons, she took e¥ery disguise, and even astisumed the 
doak of religion, to blast a work written in behalf of reli- 
gkm herself. 

Under these circumstances, the author deems it his 
dutytokeep silence no longer. The same spirit which 
prompted him to write his book, now impels him to step 
forth'in its defence. It is pretty evident that the critics, 
to whom he alludes in , this defence^ were not honest iri 
their animadversions ; they pretended ip misconceive the 
object of the work ; tliey loudly accused it of being pro- 
iane ; they took good care not to perceive that the author 
treated of the grandeur, the beauty, the poetry of the 
Christian religion, merely because it had been the iashion 
for half a century to insist on its meanness, absurdity^and 
barbarism. When he has explained the reasons which 
induced him to undertdce the work, when he has.specifi- 
ed the class of readers to whom it is particularly address- 
ed, he hopes that his intentions and the object of his la- 
hours will cease to be mistaken. The author, in his own 
q^inion, cannot give a stronger proof of his devodonto 
the cause which he has e^oused, than in addressing this 
reply to the critics, in spite of the repugnance which he 
has always fdt for controversies of the kind. 

It has in the first place been ai>ked, whether the author 
had a right to compose such a work. This is either a 
serious question or a sneer. If it be serious, the critic 
proves that he is not much conversant with his subject. 

Needs any one be told that in diificuh times everyr 
Christian is a priest and confessor of Jesus Christ ?* 

* S. Nicron, Dial. c. Lucif. 



DEFENCE OF CHRIfiTIANITr. '34t 

Most of the apologies for the Christian religion have been 
written by laymen. Were Aristides, St. Justin, Minu- 
cius Felix, Arnobius, and Lactantius, priests ? It is pro* 
bable that St. Prosper never embraced the ecclesiastical 
profession, and yet he defended the faith againt tlie errors 
of the semi-pelagians ; the church daily quotes his works 
in support of her doctrines. When Nestorius circulated 
hb hd'esy, he wa3 combated by Eusebius, afterwards 
bishop of Dorylasum, but who was at the time an advo- 
cate. Origeh had not yet taken orders when he expound- 
ed the Scriptures in Palestine, at th^ solicitation of the 
prelates of that province themselves. Demetrius, bishop 
of Alexandria, who was jealous of Origen, complained of 
these discourses as an innovation. Alexander, bishop c^ 
Jerusalem, and Theocritus of Cesarsea, replied,/^ that it 
was an ancient and general custom in the church, fct 
bishops to make use indii&criminately of persons possess^ 
ing piety and some talent for speaking.'* All ages have 
afforded similar examples. When Pascal undertook his 
sublime apology for Christianity'; when La Bruyere 
wrote with such eloquence against Free-thinkers ; when 
' Leibnitz defended the principal tenets of the faith ; when 
Newton wrote the explanation of one of the sacred books ; 
when Montesquieu composed those exquisite chapters of 
his Spirit of the Laws^ defending the religion of the Gos- 
pel, did any one ever think of asking whether th^y wtue 
priests ? Even poets have raised their voices in conjimc<- 
tion with these po]»rerfal apologists, and the son of Racine 
has, in harmonious verses, defended that religion which 
inspired the author of Athaliah. 

But if it ever b^oved laymen to take in hand this sa- 
cred cause, it must be by that species of apology which 
the author of the Beautih of Christianity has adopted — a 
kind of defence, which the mode of attack imperiously 
required, and wjtnch, considering the spirit of the age, was 



S4S Ess^r^ o|i vABiout 8tr1|jicT^ 

perhaps the only one that could be expected to be attend^ 
ed with any success. $uch an apology xould not in £ict 
be undertaken by any but a layman. An ecclesiastic 
could not, without a manifest violation of prc^riety, havf 
considered religion in its merely human relations, and have 
read so many calumnious satires, impious libels and ob- 
scurq novels, for the purpose of refuting thenu 

In truth, the critics who have advanced this objection, 
are fully aware how frivolous it is, but they hoped in their 
piK^uitous way to prevent the good eflfects that might re*^ 
suit from the book. They wished to raise doubts respect** 
ing the competency of tb& author, in order to divide the 
public opinion, and to alarm those simple minds whicb 
suffer themselves to be imposed upon by t|ie apparem 
honesty of criticism. Let these timid conscioice^ tak,e 
<^our^ge ; or rather, let them fairly examine before they 
yield to alarm, whether the scrupulous critics, who ac» 
cuse tlie author of laying violent hands on tk? censor^ 
who evince such extraordidary tenderness, sueh anxious 
solicitude for religion, be not men notorious for tt^k* 
contempt or their neglect of it. 

The second objection alleged against the Sj/fir^t^ 
Christianity^ has the same purpose as the preceding, but 
it is more dangerous, inasi^uch as it tends to bewildei; the 
ideas, to involve what is pcrfectiy clear in obscurity, and 
in particular to mislead the reader with regard to the real 
object of the book. 

The same critics, with their wonted zeal fior the inters 
ests of religion, observe—-^' It is highly improper to treat 
of religion under merely human relations, or to ocmsider 
its literary and poetic beauties. This is infiicting a 
wound on rdigion herself; it is a debasement of her dig^- 
nity, a removal of the veil of the sanctuary, a profanation 
of the sacred ark, &c.^ Why did not the author confine 
himself to theological arguments ? why Iws he not em- 



]^(>yed that rigid lo^iQi which introduces none but soum) 
ide?i3. into the beads of <:hildren, which confirms the Chris- 
tian m the faith, edi&es the {>rie$t» and satisfies the 
jcacher." 

This objection may be said to be the only one ad- 
duced by the critics ; it forms the ground- work of all 
Ihei^ censures^ whether they treat of the mbject^ the plan 
or xHxt^tails of the work. They never will enter into 
the spirit of the author, so that he might justly say-*-" You 
would suppose that the critic had sworn not to compre- 
hend the state of the question, w taunderiitand any one of 
the passages which he g^ttacks."* 

The whole force of the argument, as tq the latter pait 
of the dejection, r^cdves itself to this— '^ 1^ autht^" has 
undertaken to consider Christianity ia its relations to 
poetry, the fine arts, eloquence and Uteruture, he has moi^ 
oyer attempted to shew all the obligation^ which m^inkind 
owe tQ religion^ m ^ moral, civile and political point of 
view. Such being his plan, he has not produced a thech 
lo^cal work ; he has not defended wliat he never ^ign- . 
ed to defend ; he has not addressed read^s to whom he 
never Intended tQ address bimisdtf; he js tberefate guiltj^ 
of having dcme precisely what he meant tQ da^' 

But, supposing that the author h^ accomplished hi^ 
object, ought he to have sought that object ? 

This brings us back to the first part of the objection, 
so often repeated, that religion mqst not be considered with 
rel^onto merely human, moral and political beauties^ 
that is lessening its dignity. Sec. &c^ 

The tu&or wll endeavour to elucidate tWs principal 
point of the question in the succeeding paragraphs. 

I. In the first place, he has not attacked^ but defended; 
he has not challenged, but accepted a challenge. This 
changes at once the state of the question and mvalidates tl^e 

* Montesqiiieu's Defin.ce of t fie Sfiirit jof tht Lani>9. 



356 ESSAVS* ON VaKIOUS SUBJfECTS. 

censure. The author ha^ not officiously taken upon him^ 
self to extol a religion^ hated, despised, and overwhdmed 
with ridicule by sophists. The Beauties of Ckristianify 
would certably have been a very unseasonable work in 
the age of Louis XIV ; and the critic, who observes that 
Massillon would not have published such an apology, has 
pronounced an incontestible truth. Never would die 
author have thought of writing his book, had there not 
existed poems, novels, works of every kind, in which 
Christianity is held up to the derision of the readers. 
But since these poems, these novels, these works exist, it 
is necessary to vindicate religion against the sarcasms of 
impiety; since it has been so generally said and written^ 
that Christianity is barbarotis^ ridiculous^ and an enemy t^^ 
the arts andgeniusj itis of essential importance to demon* 
strate that it is none of these ; and that what is represented 
as little, mean, destitute of taste, beauty and feeling, by 
the pen of scandal, may appear grand, noble, simple, 4m« 
ihatic, and divine, ui^l^ the pen of a religious writer. 

11. If it be not permitted to defend religion with re- 
ference to its human beauty ; if we ought hot to use our 
endeavours to prevent ridicule being attadhi^ to its sub* 
lime instituti<His ; will not one side of this rdigich always 
remain unprotected. Against this side wiU all attacks 
be directed ; here you will be surprised wiihout defence 
and ultimately perish. Had not this already nearly hap- 
pened? Wasit not by means of ridicule and burlesque, 
that M. de Voltaire was enabled to shake the vety fotoda^ 
tions of the faith ? Would you answer licentious stories 
and absurdities with theological arguments and syllo* 
gisms ? Will formal argumentation prevent a frivolous 
age from being seduced by pointed verses, or kept l^ack 
from the altars by the fear of ridicule? Do you not 
know that with the French nation a 6on maty an impious 
witticismj felix culpa, have more influence than volumes 



of sound reasoniqg and metajdiiy^cs ? Persuade youth 
that an honest xnsui may be a christian without being a 
fool; erase from their minds the idea that none but capu« 
chins and simpletons can believe in religion, and your 
cause will soon be gained. It will then be the time, in 
order to secure your victory, to resort to theologitd rea- 
sonings ; but begin with nuiking them read what you 
write. What you first stand in need of is a religious 
work that shall be what b termed popular. Would you 
^conduct your patiedt in one angle excursion to the top 
of a steep mountain, when he is scarcely able to ci^wl, 
shew him at every step varied and pleasing objects ; allow 
lum to stop and gather the flowers that present themselves 
by the way, tillproceedmg from one resting-place to ano- 
tl^r, he will at last reach the summit. 

III. The authoi; has not written his apology exclusive- 
ly for ^holarsj for christians^ for priests^ for doctors* ; he 
has written mcne particularly for persons of literary pur^ 
^uits and for the ivorld. This has already been observed 
above, and may be inferred from the two preceding^para- 
graphs. .You do not set out from this point, if you con- 
siantly pretend to mistake the class of readers to whom 
thespiritof Christianity is especially addressed, and it is 
evident that you do not rightly comprehend the work» 
It was composed to be read by the most incredulous of 
literary men, by the gayest of the youthful votaries of 
fashion, with the same facility as the first turns over the 
leaves of an impious book, and the second, those of a 
dangerous novel. " Would you then,'* exclaimed these 
well-intended zealots in behalf of religion, " would you 
then make religion a fashionable thing?*' Would to 

* And yet it is not genuine Chriatians, nor the Doctors of the 
Sorbonne, but the philosophers, as we have already observed, 
that are so scrupulous in regard to the work. This ouglit not to 
be forgotten. 



li52 tJiSAYS ON VAftlOVS SUIJECTS. 

God that this divine religion were the fashion, considering 
fashion taken in tlits sense, as signifying the opinion of 
tlie world ! This indeed might perhaps^ to a certain de-* 
gree, encourage private hypocrisy, but it is certain, on 
the other band, that public morals would be gainers by it. 
The rich man would no longer exert his self-love to cor« 
nipt die poor, the master to pervert his servant, the fadier 
to give lessons in atheism to his children ; the practice of 
the forms of religion would lead to a belief in its doctrines, 
and with piety, the age of ihorab and of virtue would re- 
turn. 

IV. M. de Voltake, when he attacked Christianity, 
was too wen acquaint with the human mind, not to en- 
deavour to Secure what is termed the opinion of the uoorld ^r 
accordingly he elated all his talents to make impiety a 
kind of bort tort. He accomplished his purpose, by roi- 
dering rdigbn ridiculous in the ^yes of firiyolous persons* 
It is this ridicule that the author of the Beauties of Ckris" 
tianity has attempted to wipe away ; this is the wxk d[ 
all his labours ; the object which should never be lost 
sight of, by those who would form an impartial judgmoit 
of his work. But has the author wiped away this ridi« 
cule ? That is not the question. You should ask : hi^ 
he exerted all his ef&xts to counteract it ? Givefakn 
credit for what he has attempted, not ioc what he hiaa. 
actually accomplished. Permitte diviscatra. He de- 
fends no part of his book but the idea which constitutes 
its ground- work. To consider christiani^^ in its rdatioos 
with human society ;. to shew what changes it has pro«* 
duced in the reason and the passions of man ; how it has 
civilized the Gothic nations; how it has modified the 
^ genius of the arts and of letters ; how it has directed the 
spirit and manners of the people of modem times ; in a 
word, to devclppe all the excellencies of this religion, in its 
relations poetical, moral, political, historical, &e. will d- 



OEISENCE OF CH&I5TIANITY. 353 

tt^ys appear to die author one of the finest subjects for a 
work that can possibly be imagined. As to the manner 
*in which he has execut)ed his work^ that he leaves others 
to determine. 

V« But this is not the place for affecting a modesty^ 
which is always suspicious in modern authors, and which 
deceives i\obody. The cause is too great, the interest 
too important not to authorise us to rise superior to all 
considerations of human delicacy and respect. Now, if 
the author counts the number of suf&ages, and compares 
their weight, he cannot persuade himself that he has to- 
tally failed m the object of his book. Take an impipus 
picture, place it beside a religious pi^ce, composed on 
the same subject and borrowed from the Beauties of 
Christianity ; and you may venture to assert that the lat- 
ter, imperfect as it may be^ will weaken tlie dangerous 
e&ctsof the former. Such is the power of unadorned 
truth, when put in competition with the most brilliant 
falsehood ! M. de Voltaire, for example, has frequently 
diverted himself at the expense of the religious. Beside 
one of his caricatures place the part relative to the mission^ 
that in which the orders of Hospitallers are represented 
relieving the traveller in the deserts, the chapter in which 
the monks are seen devotipg themselves to the attendance 
on the infected, or accompanying the criminal to the 
scaffold : what irony will not be disarmed, what smile 
will not be converted into tears ? In answer to tliQ 
charges of ignorance preferred against the religion of 
Christians, adduce the immense labours of those pious 
men who preserved the manuscripts of antiquity, and the 
works qf Bossuet and Fenelon in reply to the accusations 
of bad taste and barbarism. With the caricatures of 
s&ints and angels, contrast the sublime effects of Christi- 
anity on the dramatic dei^rtment of poetry, on eloquence 
and tb^ fint aits ; and say whether the improasion of ricKw 

Yy 



354 ESSAtS ON VARIOUS SUBJECTS* 

cule will long be abk to nuuntain Its ground. Hadtbe^uthor 
done nothing more than to set at ease the vanity of people 
of the world ; had. his only success consisted in presenting 
to the view, of an incredulous age, a series of reli^ous 
pictures without disgusting that age, still he would think 
that he had not been wholly unserviceable to the cause of 
religion. 

VL Pressed by this truth which tfiey have too much 
sense not to be sensible of, and which is, perhaps, the se* 
cret cause of their alarm, the critics have recourse to ano- 
ther subterfuge. " Who," say thqr, " denies that Chris- 
tianity, like every oilier religion, has poetical and m«2d 
beauties; that its ceremonies are poii^ous,.&c." Who 
denies this? — why you, yourselves, who but just now 
made sacred things the butt of your ridicuk ; you, who 
finding it impossible to reject Convincing evidences, have 
no other resource than to assert, that nobody Jias attack^ 
what the autlior defends. You now acknowledge. that 
there are many excellent points i^ the monastic institu* 
tions. You are affected at the Qiention df the Mcuiks c^ - 
St. Bernard, the Missionaries of Paraguay and die Sisters 
of Charity. You admit that religious ideas are necess^ 
for dramatic effects, tliat the morality of the gospel, at the 
same time that it opposes a barrier to the passions, pun* 
fies their flame and increases their energy. You allow 
that Christianity has jjresetved the arts and sciences from, 
the inundation of the barbarians, and that this alone has 
transmitted down to your time the language and the works 
of Greece and Rome ; that it has founded your colkgea, 
built or embellished your cities, attempered the despo^ 
tism of your governments, drawn up your civil codes, 
mitigated your criminal laws, polished modem Europe, 
and even brought it into cultivation. Pid you. admit all 
Ihis^beforethcpu^blicationofa work which is doubtkss 



DEFENCE OF CrfRISTIAWITY. 355 

very ittiperfect, but which has, tievertheless, collected all 
these important truths into one single point of view ? 

VII, The tender solicitude of the critics for the purity 
of religion: has already been remarked : it was, therefore, 
but natural to expect that they would protest against the 
two episodes which the author has introduced into his 
work. This scruple of the critics springs from the grand 
dejection which they have urged against the whole work ; 
and it is destroyed by the general answer that has just 
been given to this objection. Once more the author re- 
peats, that he had to combat impious poems and novels 
with religious poems and novels ^ he grasped the same 
arms to whicli he saw his enemy have recourse : this was 
a natural and necessary consequence of the species of 
apology which l>e had adopted. He strove to furnish 
example combined with precept. In the theoretical part 
of his work) he asserted that religion embellishes our ext 
iscence, corrects without extinguishing the passions, and 
throws an extraordinary interest over all subjects in which 
it idempl6yed» He said that its doctrine and its wwship 
blend, in a wonderful manner, with the emotions of the 
heart and the scenery of nature ; finally, tliat it is the only 
resource in the great misfbrtunes of life. It was hot 
suificient to advance all these positions, it was necessary 
also that they shotxld be demonstrated. This the author 
has attempted to do in the two episodes of his wc«rk. 
Thcjse episodes were, moreover, a bait to allure that class 
of readers for which the work is especially designed. 
Was then the author so bad a judge of the human heart, 
when he laid this innocent snare for unbelievers j and is 
it not probable that many a reader would never have 
opened the Beauties of Ckristianify had he not looked 
into the work of R^a6 and Atala ? 

Sai che la corre il mondo ove piu vers! 

Delle sue dolcezze 11 lusingher Parnasso, 

£ che '1 verso, condito in molli versi, 

1 piu schivi alletando, ha persuasp. 



356 £SS4YS OK VARlOtrS SUBJECTS. 

VIII. All that an impartial critic, who is willing ta 
enter into the spirit of the work, has a right to export of 
the author, is, that these episodes should have an obvious 
tendency to excite a love of religion and to demonstrate 
its utility. Now he would ask, is not the necessity of 
monastic institutions shewn in certain disasters of life, and 
those in particular which are the most af&ictive ? b not 
the power of a religion tliat alone can heal the wcrunds 
which all the balsams of the world are unable to cure, 
irrefragably proved in the History of Ren6 ? The author 
there combats, besides, the mania peculiar to the young 
people of the present day, that mania which leads directly 
tosoicide. It was J. J. Rousseau who first introduced 
among us these reveries so vicious and so baneful. By 
secluding himiself from society, and indulging himself in 
his fanciful dreams, he has led numbos of youth to ima- 
gine that there is something romantic in thus casting 
themselves into die uncertain ocean c^ life. Gothe's 
Werther has since develq>ed this germ of poison. The 
author of the Beauties ofdmstiamtyy being obliged to 
introduce into his apology some pictures for the imagina- 
tion, was solicitous to denounce this hew species of vice, 
and delineate the fatal c(»isequences resulting from the 
l<ive of solitude carried to exoess. The convents former^ 
ly afforded retreats for those contemplative minds whoni 
Nature imperiously calls to meditation. They found in 
the society of their Maker wherewith to fill the void 
which they felt in their hearts, and often to6 an occasion 
to practice rare and sublime vktues. But since the de- 
struction of monasteries and tlie progress of infidelity^ 
we must expect to see a species of recluses spring up a» 
mongst us (as has been the case in England) who iare at 
once the slaves of passion and philosophers, who, incapa- 
ble alike of renouncing the vices of the age, and of loving 
that age, will take the hatred of their fellow-men for ele- 



0£F£KC£ OF CURISTIANITV. S57 

valioh and genius, will renounce every duty, divine and 
human, will cherish in their retirement the v^nest chime* 
rad and plunge deeper and deeper into a sui^ly misanthro- 
py, leading either to madness or to the grave. 

In order to produce a stronger aversion for thesie 
criminal reveries, the author thought it right to take the 
punishment of Rene ficom that circle of calamities, not 
relating so much to him, individually, as to the whole 
family of man^ and which the ancients ascribed to fatality* 
He could have chosen die subject of Phaedra, had it not 
been treated by Racine; he had, tlierefore, nothing left 
but that of Europa and Thyestes* among the Greeks, or 
of Amnon and Tamarf among the Hebrews ; and though 
Ais subject has likewise been introduced upon the stajge,t 
it is less known than the former. Perhaps too it is tlie 
more applicable to the chars^ter which the author wishes 
to pourtray. In factj the foolish reveries of Ren6 began 
tte evil, and his extravagances completed it. By the 
former, he led astray the imagination of a feeble woman ; 
by the latter, he caused the unhappy creature to unite her 
fate with his. Tfai^ unhappiness ^ows out of the sub- 
ject, and punislxment is the consequence of guilt. 

It only remained to sanctify by Christianity an event 
which was, at the same time, borrowed from pagan and 
sacred antiquity. Even in this respect, the author had 
not every thbg to do ; fcM: he found die story, almost na- 
turalized as a christian one, in an old ballad by Pelerin, 
which the peasantry still sing in ^veral parts of the 
country.} It is not by the maxims scattered through a 

* Sen. in Atr. pt Th. See also Canace and Macareus, and 
Caune and Byblis in Ovid's Metamorphoses and the Heroides. 
I rejected, as too abominable, the subject of Myrra, which recurs 
in that of Lot and his daughters. 

t 2 Sam. Xin. 

f In the Abufar of M. Ducis. 

$ C'est le Chevalier des Landes, 
Malheureux chevalier, &c. 



$5ft ESSAYS OV VARIOSrS SUBJECTS. 

tvorky but by the strei^h of the impression vfaich the 
ivork leaves on the miody that a person ou^t to judge of 
its morality. The sort of mys^ous hornx*, which pre- 
vails in the episodes of Jten6, closes md saddem the 
heari without exciting any criminal emotion. It should 
not escape observation, that Amelia dies h^|>y ^idctii^e^y 
ivhile Rene dies miserable; so that the per^n who is 
really culpable undergoes punishment which his too fee- 
ble victim, delivering her wounded soul into the hands of 
him who restored the sick man upon his bed, feels inefia- 
ble delight arise even amidst the afflictions of her bosom. 
In other respects, the discourse of Jfather Souel leave&na 
doubt as to the moral and religious object of the story of 
Rene. 

IX. With respect to Atala, so many commemshave 
been made, that reference to them all is out of the ^ues- 
lion. I will content myself with observing, that the 
critics, who liave most severely censured ibis, history^ tove 
uniformly acknowledged, that it rendered the dimtian 
reRgion attractive^ and this is enough for the author^ II 
is in vain that they object to particular descriptions. It 
appears to be no less true that the public has not been 
displeased widi the old missionary, complete priest as he 
is, and that the description of our religious ceremonies, 
in the Indian episode, has given satisfaction. It was 
Atala who announced^ and wJbo perhaps caused the Beau- 
ties of Christianity to be read. This savage, awoke 
christian ideas in a certain class of mankind, and thought 
to that class the religlpn of Father Auhry> from the de- 
serts into which it had been baaished. 

X. This idea of calling ^ imagination to the aid of 
religious principles is not new. Have we not had in our 
days the Count de Valmont, or the Wanderings of Ima- 
gination ? Has not Father Marin at least attempted to in- 
sinuate the truths of Christianity into the minds of ,the 



2)£»2SpC£ fif CHBf STJAHITlr. 359 

inc^edalous by disgiikdisg thefn under the veil of fiction ?* 
At a still more early period Peter Camus, bishop of 
Bdiley^ a prehte remarkable for the austerity of his man- 
neiB, wrote a vast number <rf pious romances! to oppose 
the influence of the romances issued by d'Urfie. Moreover, 
St» Francis himself advised him to undertake this species 
of apol(^y, in pity to mankind, and hoping to call them 
back into the paths of Religion, by representing her in a 
dress known to them. In like manner Paul says : " To 
the weak became I as weak that I might gain the vveak.^^4^ 
Do those that condemn the author, wish him to have 
been more scrupulous than Father Marin, Pieifre Camus, 
Saint Francis de Sales, Hciiodorus,} bishop of Trica, 
Amyot,|| Grand Abitoner of Franoe, or than another fa- 
mous prdate, who in giving lessons of virtue to a prince — 
yes, and a Christian prince did not scruple to represent 
tbe4umult of the passions with equal truth and energy ? 
It is true that Faidigt and Gueudeville reproached Fene- 
lon with having depicted the loves of Eucharis, but their 
criticisms are forgotten. Teleniachus is become a classic 
]>ook for children, and no one now lays it to the charge 
of the archbishop of Cambray, that he wished to cure the 

* We have ten pious romances from Ms pen, scattered abroad. 
Their titles are Adelaide of Vltzburi, or the Pious Pensioner ; 
Virginia', or the Christian Virgin ; Bai'on Van He$den, or the 
Republic of the Incredulous ; Farfalla> or the Converted Actress^ 
&c. 

t Dorothea, Alcina, Daphnis, liyacinthus, &c. 

f i Corinthians, chafp. 9, verse 32. 

§ Author of Theagenes and Chariclea. It is known that the 
ridiculous story, reported by Nicephorus concerning this romancci 
is entirely destitute of truth» Socrates, Phocius and other authors 
do not say a word^ about the pretended deposition of the bishop of 
Trica. 

II Translator of Theagenes and Cl^ariclea; as weil as of Daph* 
nis apd Chloe. 



360 ESSAVS ok VARXOtrs SUBJ£&TS« 

passions by a too wanii display of them ; nor are St 
Augustin and St Jerome any longer re^^'oadied with hav* 
in^ pourtrayed their own weakness and the charms of 
love in such vivid colours. 

XL But have these censors, (who doubtless know 
every thing, from the lofly tcnfe in which they pass sen-* 
tence on the author) really convinced themselves that thb 
mode of defending religion, of rendermg it soft and im- 
pressive, and of adorning it with the charmi of poetry, 
was so very extraordinary a proceeding ? ". Who will 
dare to assert, exclaimed St. Augustin, ^^ that truth is to 
Yemain disarmed against falsehood, and that the enemies 
of our faith are to have the liberty of frightening the faith- 
ful by hard words, and gratifying them by agreeable re- 
citals, while the Catholics are only allowed to write with 
a coldness of style which makes their readers M asleep ? 
It was a severe disciple of Port Royal who translated this 
passage of St. Augustin, for it was Pascal himself, and 
he added to it that there are two things inihe truths of 
our religion ^* a divine beauty which renders them amia- 
ble, and a sacred majesty which renders them venerable."* 
To demonstrate that rigorous examples are not always 
those which should be employed in matters of religion^ 
he further statesf that the heart has its reasons ivhich 
reason knows nothing about. The great Arnauld, j: chief 
of a most austere school of Christianity, attacks the aca- 
demician of Blois, who also pretended that we ought not 
to avail ourselves of human eloquence to prove the truths 
of religion. Ramsay; in his life of Fenelon, speakkig of 
the treatise on the existence of a Grod, by that illu^ous 
prelate, says M. de Cambray knew that ^e defect of 

• Provincial Letters, L. II. 
t Reflections of Pascal, chap. 58, p. I TO. 
t In a little treatise, entitled Reflections on the eloquence of 
preachers. 



QSFXirCE OF dHRISTIANITY. Sfil 

most anlbdievers was not in their heads but in their hearts, 
and that consequently it became requisite every where to 
inculcate sentiments, which tended to touch, to interest, 
and takepossession of the heart^r* Raymond de Sebonde 
has left a wcx-k, written soon afterwards, with thq same 
views as the Beauties of Christianity. Montaigne under* 
lock the defence of this author against those who assert 
that Christians are wrong in wbhmg to support their faith 
by human argument^t ^' It is faith al(me," adds Mon* 
taigne, ^* which vividly and certainly comprehends the 
high mysteries of our religion. But we are not to infer 
from this truth, that it is otherwise than a most praise- 
worthy and excellent attempt to combine with the service 
of our faith the natural and human means which God has 
granted us. There is no occupation and nb undertaking 
more worthy of Christian man than to aim, by all his 
studies and reflections, at embeilvshing, extending, and 
amplifying the truth of his creed.} 

The authcx* would never end if he were to quote all the 
vn'iters, who have been of his opinion as to the necessity of 
rendering religion attractive, and all the books, m which 
imagination, the fine arts, and poetry have been employed 
as the means of arriving at this object. Ah entire re« 
ligious order, remarkable for its piety, its amenity of man- 
ners, and knowledge of the world, was occupied during 
several ages with this sole idea. No species of eloquence 
can be interdicted by that wisdom which opens the mouths 
of thp dumb, and loosens the tongues of little infants. 

A letter of St. Jerome ha^ descended to us, in which 
that father justifies himself for having employed Pagan 
erudition to defend the doctrine of Christianity. Would 
St. Ambrose have caused St. Augustin to become a 

* History of the Life of Fenelon. 

t Montaigne's Essays^ v. 4, Book 3, chap. 13. 

} Montaigne's Essays, Vol. 4, Book 3, chap. 13. 



363 tSSATS on TAHZOt/S svijtcts. 

member of our church, if he had not etnpIo;^ed all the 
charms of elocution ? ^* Augustin, still quite enchanted 
ivith profane eloquence/' says Rollin, ** otily looked in 
Ac sermons of St. Ambrose for the beauties of preachmg, 
not for solidity of doctrine, but it was not in his power td 
separate them.'^ And was it not upon the wings of ima- 
gination that St. Augustin, in his turn, was lifted up to 
the city of God ? This father has no difficulty in assert- 
ing that we ought to borrow the eloquence of the Pagans, 
leaving them their falsehoods, as Israel carried away the 
gold of the Egyptians without touching their idolsj for 
the purpose of embellishing the holy ait.* It was a truth 
unanimously recognized by the fatliers that it is rig^itto 
call imagination in aid of religious ideas ; nay, these holy 
men even went so fur as to think that God had availed 
himself of the poetic philosophy of Plato, to lead the Im* 
man mind into a belief of Christianity. 

XII. There is an historic fact, which incontestibly 
proves the strange blunders of the critics, who have 
thought the author guilty of innovation, as to the manner 
in which he has defended Christianity. When Julian, 
surrounded by his sophists, attacked religion with the 
weapons of ridicule, as has been done in our days ; when 
he foibade the Galileans to teach or even learn ^<d Belles- 
Lettres^^ when he despoiled the altars of Christ, hoping 
thereby to shake the belief of the priests, or at least reduce 
them to a degraded state of poverty ; several of the faith- 
ful raised their voices to repel the sarcasms of impiet)^ 
and to defend the beauty of the Christian religion. Appol- 
lonariusthe elder, according to the historian Socrates, 
rendered all the books of Moses into verse, and composed 
tragedies as well as comedies from other parts of scripture. 

♦ De Doctr. chz. lib. l.n.7. 

t We are still in possession of Julian's Edict. Jul. p. 2, Vid. 
Greg. Naz.or 3 cap. 4. Amm. lib. 2d* 



D£»NCX OF CHRXSTIAHtTT. 363 

Appollonaiius the younger, wrote dialogues in imitatioa 
of Plato, conveying, in this form, the morality of the 
Evangelists, and the precepts of the Apostles. That fe- 
flicr of the church too, Gregory of Nazianza, sumamed 
by the distinguished appellation of the theologian^ com- 
bated the sophists with the weapons of poetry. He com- 
posed a tragedy on the death of Jesus Christ, which has 
descended to us. He explained in metre the doctrine 
and even the mysteries of the Christian religion.* The 
historian of his life positively affirms that this illustrious 
saint only used bis poetic talent to defend Christianity a* 
gainst tte derision of the impious,! and this is also the 
opinion of the sage Fleury. ** Saint Gregor}," says he, 
" wished to give those, who were fond of poetry and mu- 
sic, useful subjects for their diversion, and not to leave 
the Pagans the advantage of believing that they were the 
only people who could succeed in the belles-lettres. 

This species of poetic apology for religion has been 
continued, almost without interruption, from the time of 
Sulian to our own. It gave a new impulse to the revival 
of letters. Sannazarius wrote his poem de partie Fir- 
ginisy and Vida his Ckristiad^ or Life of Christ.j: Bu* 
chanan gave to the public his tragedies of Jephtha> and 
Saint John the Baptist. The Jerusalem Delivered, the 
Paradise Lost, Polyeuctes, Esther and Athalia have since 
abundantly demonstrated the beauties of religion. Bos- 
auet in the second chapter of his preface, entitled De 
Qrandiloquentia et suavitate Psabnoruntj Fleury, in his 

* The Abbe de BUlf has collected a hundred and forty-seven 
poems by this father, to whom St. Jerome and Suidas attribute 
more than thirty thousand sacred lines. 

t Naz. vit. p. 12. 

} From which this line, on the last 4g^h of Christ, has been 
attained : 

Syfiremamqnr aurarh fionem eofiutj cxfiiravU. 



S64 SSSATS ON VARIOUS SITBJECTS. 

Treatise on Sacred Poetry, Rolling in lus chapter on the 
Eloquence of Writing, and Lowtii, in his exoellent work 
De sacra poesi Hebraarum^ have ail found pleasure in 
admiring tiie grace and magnificence of rdigbn. But 
why should I quote so many examples, when any cxie's 
good sense will pomt out to him the truth of what I ad- 
vance. Though attempts have been made to jurove reli- 
gion ridiculous, it is quite easy to shew that it is beauti- 
ful. But to go higher stiU than I have yet done, God 
himself caused hb worship to be announced by divine 
poets. In order to pourtray the charms of wedlock, he 
used the mellifluous tones of the royal jx'ophet's hxr^. 
Are we then now incapaUe of describmg her beauty, 
who came from Lebancxi,^ who looketh firom the^top of 
Shenir and Hermcm,t who looketh forth as the monung,{ 
who is as£iir as the Moon,§ and whose stature is like to 
a palm-tree ^ The new Jerusalem, which St. John saw 
jd^cending out of Heaven fix>m God, was of radiant 
splendour, '^ her light was like unto a stone most preci- 

ous."ir 

Sing nations of the Earth ! Jerusalem 
Rises with renovated greater pomp.* 

Yes, let us fearlessly mg the praises of this sublime 
religion. Let us defend it agamst derision ; let us im- 
part their full weight to its beauties, as in the time of 
Julian, and when similar insults are offered to our altars, 
let us employ against the modem sophists the same sort 
of apology which Gregory and the Appollinarii used a- 
gainst Maximus and Libanius. 

* Come with me from Lebanon, my.spouse, Solomon*» Song^ 
chap. 4, ver. 8. 

t Idid. ibid. \ Solomon's Song, chap. 6, ver. 10. 

§ Ihid. ibid. \\ Solomon's Song^, chap. 7, ver. 7. 

t Revelations, chap. 21, rer. 11. * Athalia. 

FiNia 



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