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Miscellaneous Thoughts, by Montesquieu.
Idleness ought to have been ranked our happiness to belong to one master or among the punishments of hell; and to another ; but formerly, defeat in the most people place it among the joys of field, or the reduction of a man's country, heaven.
was the lois of all that was dear to him, On friends that are tyrannical though his country, family, and friends. useful to us, my obfervation is--that love We shall never arrive at principles in has compensations which friendship has finance, because we never know more than not.
that we do fomething, and never what it Ordinary graces lose part of their beauty is we do. by being let in competition with each We do not now call a minister great, other : graces of the highelt rank acquire when he is an intelligent administrator of a brighter luftre when opposed to each the public revenue, but when he is fertile other.
in expedients to increase the revenue, and Most virtues are relative to individuals, indefatigable in their application. or to parts of the whole: such are friend- People love their grand-children better ship, love of one's country, compassion. than their children, and it is because they But justice is relative to the whole; and can estimate tolerably well the worth of when any action interferes with that, it is the latter ; but their knowledge of the vice, though ranked among the virtues. former being less perfect, they flatter
The success of most enterprises depends theinselves with vain hopes respecting upon knowing how much time is neceilary them. to their success.
The reason why fools fo often fucceed That ought never to be attempted by in their plans is, that never distrusting the laws, which can be effected by the themselves, they always persevere. customs and manners of a people.
It is worthy to be observed, that the I have remarked that, to succeed in the greater part of our pleasures are unreaworld, one must have a vacant air with sonable. a subtle head.
Old men, who have studied in youth, One's dress should be a little inferior to need only resort to the memory for pleaone's condition.
sure or use, when others are obliged to Supper destroys one half of Paris, and begin to study. dinner the other.
Merit is a confolation in every afflicI hate Versailles, because every body is tion. little and mean there ; but Paris I love, A figurative style is so far from diffifor there one finds great men.
cult, that a nation emerging from ignoIf we were content to be happy, that rance first employs the figurative and would not be difficult ; but we are am- swelling style, and afterwards acquires the bitious to be more happy than others, and simple. The difficulty of fimplicity is, that is difficult, because others appear to that it borders on the mean, although in be happier than they really are.
itself most expressive and beautiful; while Some people hate digreffions; but I there is a wide distance between a figurathink he who understands their use is like tive style and bombast. one with long arms: he has more objects There is very little vanity in feeling a within his reach.
necessity for rank or important station to Men are of two forts': those who think, attract notice. and those who amuse themselves.
The heroism that results from just A fine action is one that is beneficial morals interests few; the heroism that is to man, and whose accomplishment re- most destructive, is the admiration of the quires talent.
multitude. The common people have generally Aristotle and Horace have told us of good intentions and vicious manners. the virtues of their forefathers, and the
Histories are roinances founded on degeneracy of their own times; and aufacts.
thors, from age to age, have done the A work gives celebrity to a man's fame; but if they had spoken the truth, name, and after that, his name gives cele- men at this day would be degenerated into brity to his works.
brute animals. It is a nice point to know when to Raillery is a panegyric on the speaker's quit a company : an accurate knowledge wit, at the expence of his humanity. of the world gives a leadiness in perceiv- People whose minds are never proing it.
foundly occupied, are generally great Bravery and a love of glory are declin. talkers. ing among us: it is of little moment to Obscure people, who are ambitious of making a large fortune, are only prepar- Never did a philosopher make men more ing for the moment when they will be in perfectly feel the sweetness of virtue, and despair for their want of birth.
the dignity of their nature, than Marcus A greater number of vices are occa- Antoninus; he touches the heart, elevates fioned by our not fufficiently esteeming the mind, enlarges the soul! ourselves, than from a tuo high opinion We must read the politics of Aristotle, of our merit.
and the two republics of Plato, to have a In the whole course of my life, I never just idea of the laws and manners of the faw any persons universally despised but ancient Greeks. To look or those in such as univerfally kept bad company. their historians, is as fruitless as to look
Expe.iments make the history of ply- for French laws and customs in the history fics, and theories its fables.
of Lewis the Fourteenth's wars. Every nation and every man ought to The republic of Plato is not more chibe civilized; but every nation and man merical than that of Sparta. ought also to be free,
To judge justly of men, we must overModesty becomes every one; but look the prejudices of their times, though we should give it a place in our Our comedies begin to degenerate, beminds, we should keep it in lubjection to cause our writers are in search of the ridi. greater qualities.
culous in the passions, instead of the ridi. Be singular, if you will; but let it be culous in manners: the passions are not in the elevation of your thoughts. He ridiculous in themselves. that can distinguish himself no otherwise If I were to give the character of our than by his dreis, is a despicable creature poets, I would compare Corneille to in every country.
Michael Angelo; Racine to Raphael; I once had the curiosity to keep an ac- Marat to Correggio; La Fontaine to count of the number of times I heard a Titian; Despreaux to Dominichino ; Creftory repeated, that never deserved to have billon to Guerchino ; Voltaire to Guido; been related ; during three weeks that it Fontenelle to Bernini; and La Motte to occupied the polite world, I heard it told Rembrant. two hundred and twenty-five times, which I have feldom given my opinion of any I thought quite fufficient.
authors but thote I admire, having as Modesty is a species of fund that feldom as possible read any authors but brings its owner great interest.
the best. I visited the galleys, and law no one Fanaticism will find reasons to justify a unhappy face ; here, I see many unhappy bad action, that an honest man could not faces, whose owners are seeking to be find. happy in the pursuit of blue ribbands.
Priests are the sycophants of princes This is a fine laying of Seneca---- Sic when they cannot be their masters. præfentibus utaris vlluptati'us, ut futuris The English esteem but two things non naceas. Enjoy the prejent bour, wealth and merit. so as not to injure those tpat follow.” The English are too much employed to
There is an error which pervades the be polished. whole of the Greek philosophy; its phy. The pride of ordinary people is quite fics, morals, and inetaphysics, were in- as well founded as that betrayed by the correct for want of the distinction between Cardinal de Polignac one day that I dined positive and relative qualities. Thus with him. He took the hand of the Duke Aristotle falls into mistakes, Ipeaking of d'Elbeuf, heir of the house of Lorraine ; the heat and the cold; and Plato and So- and when the prince had retired, he gave crates, of the beautiful, the good, the me his hand. When he gave me his hand, great, and the perfect. It is a great dif. it was a mark of his inperiority; when covery, that there are no positive quali. he took the hand of the prince, it was an ties. The terms beautiful, good, great, expression of his elteem. It is in the same &c. are attributes of objects relative only spirit that princes are familiar with their to the beings that contemplate then. This inferiors : th-se think it a proof of their principle is a sponge to wipe away almost regard; it is connected with no idea but every prejudice.
The dialogues of Plato of their condescensiun. are a tifrue of sophisins, wove through ig- I contets my partiality for the ancients. norance of this principle. Malebranche I am ready to lay with Pliny---- You are committed a thousand miltakos truin the going to Athens, once the residence of the lume caute.
( 137 ) Extracts from the Port Folio of a Man of Letters. VOLTAIRE AND HIS BOOKSELLER. bookseller's edition was long fold before WE have had several anecdotes of
the imposition was detected, while the auVoltaire's duplicity, in certain thor's own work was little attended to. transactions with his booktellers. The following one is not well known; but au
The DEVIL ON TWO STICKS. thentic. It is a curious instance of that
The Gil Blas of Le Sage is a very sureciprocal imposition which is sometimes perior composition to his Devil on two practised by certain authors and book- Sticks, as the English translator calls Le fellers; and in which it has happened, Diable Boiteux, or the Lame Devil. that the public becomes the dupe of both; This last work however had an honour it does, however, great honour to our paid to it, of a very peculiar kind. Du author's ingenuity. Voltaire having ac
Radier tells us, that the first edition went cidentally feen, when at Brusselles, in a off with astonishing success, and the seDutch newspaper, the name of Van Du- cond was bought with equal eagerness. ren, a bookfeller at the Hague, he deter. Two noblemen, at the same moment, enmined to send him, as a gratuitous pre; tering the bookseller's shop, to purchase sent, the manufcript of that political a copy, found only one unfold. “Both of work, “ The Anti- Machiavel.”. Shortly them claimed it; and they disputed it fo afterwards he went to his bookfeller, and warmly, that at length they drew their very earnestly begged to have this MS. re- swords; blood would have been thed, had turned to him. As this was refused, he offered for it two thousand florins. Notwith- the rival purchasers might be quieted!
not the bookseller borrowed a copy, that standing this liberal offer, and the repeated interference of persons of the first respectability, who interested themselves The ENMITY of GENIUS. for Voltaire, the Dutchman was inflexible. No enemy is so terrible as a man of Voltaire then expressed a with only to genius. The memoirs of Philip de Comake some essential corrections. But mines are well known. The cause of his these Van Duren would only allow to be enmity to the Duke of Burgundy in thefe dor.e in his shop, and upon his desk. memoirs has been di'covered by the miThough irritated at the harshness of such nute researchers of anecdote. De Comines behaviour, Voltaire was obliged to agree was born a subject of the Duke of Bur. to this proposal. Having at length the gundy, and had been a favourite with MS. in hand, while the bookseller con- that prince, for seven years. Afterwards cluded he was correcting it, he erased De Comines attached himself to the whatever he thought proper, and filled up Duke’s great enemy, the King of France. the gaping chasms with any nonsense that He was induced to this by the following occurred. At length, Van Duren disco- circumstance: One day, returning from vers the trick; he inatches the MS. from hunting, with the Duke, (then Count de the author's hands in this mutilated Charolois,) in familiar jocularity, he fat fiate. He threatens to print it with all its himself down before the prince, and ordered imperfections: but perceiving that this him to pull off his boots. This the count would serve no purpose, he consigns it to did, and laughed, but in return, for his one of his Paternoster-Row authors; one princely amusement, dathed the boot on of those repairers of bad works, though Coinines's nose, which bled. From that they cannot themselves build ; lardooner's time he was mortified in the court of Burof 'meagreness. This writer heals the gundy by the nickname of the booted head lacerations, as skilfully as he can. Two Comines felt a rankling wound in his Anti-Machiavels appear at the same time; mind. He went cver to the King of one by Voltaire, and the other by Van France, and amply exhaled his bile Duren. But the publication of Voltaire against the Duke of Burgundy in those was by no means to successful as the one memoirs, which give to posterity a most by Van Duren; for it was got up in unfavourable likeness of that prince, great haste. Van Duren's edition was ele- whom he ever censures for presunīption, egant, and its chief materials drawn from obstinacy, pride, and cruelty. This Duke Amelot de la Houssaie's commentary on of Burgundy, however, had but one great the Prince of Machiavel; and by an arti- vice, that of ambition; but he had many fice (employed not seldom) the title-page virtues. A man of the world will not was to contrived as to make them appear think that the impertinence of Comines to proceed from the pen of Voltaire. The was chastised with great severity; but, MONTHLY MAG. No, XLII.
it was unfortunate for the duke that Co. How shall I relate the sequel! When they mines was a inan of genius! If we are brought their works as certificates to be well versed in the history of the tiines, we compared with the inscription, not one thall often discover, that the writers of was to be found, but what was contami. memoirs have some secret poilon in their nated by vice, jaundic'd with party, corheart. Many, like him, have had the rupted by immorality, or vitiated with boot dashed on their nose. Perfonal ran- malice! lo that 'he pen is now to change bour wonderfully enlivens our style. Me. its former habitation, and be consigned moirs are often dictated by its erceft for ever to the cave ot oblivion. M. fpirit, and then histories are composed from memoirs ! And where is TRUTH?
DR, STACKHOUSE. Not in histories and memoirs !
Soon after Dr. Stackhouse had published his History of the Bible, dining
with a party of friends, they rallied AN EXTRACT FROM A SPANISH MA- him npon the miracles, particularly upon NUSCRIPT:-(Communicated.)
that of Jonal and the whale. To one of them, laying,
Surely, Doctor, that In a romantic spot on the confines of
ought to have been omitted,” Stack. Spain there has been discovered a tomb of house replied, “ Hush, hush, all these venerable appearance, adorned with em- things have their popular ule, and we bler tical sculpture, repretenting giants can by no means do without them; the destroyed, magicians imprisoned, and
fect thould not have been omitted, even coats of mail lying ufeless, but the most had the text vouched for Jonah's having ftriking figure in the groupe, is Satire swallowed the whale." trampling cn Vice, laughing at Folly,
(Communicated.) and pointing to the following inscription : “ Within rests the friend and servant of
ORIGINAL LETTER from Archdeacon the ableft satirist, ever registered in the chro
BLACKBURNE to Dr. FLEMING. nicles of fame, Miguel Cervantes. 6. This friend made his first adpearance in
DEAR SIR, 9th July, 1771. Spain, towards the beginning of the seven
Surely I am highly obliged to you for teenth century, yet he may exist to the end communicating the anecdote from North of time. He was the constant companion of Britain, though I cannot fee the narrowhis master, the chcerer of his life, 'the dif- ness of the systematics in that part of the peller of his gloom, the sharer of his fame*. world without pain of mind. A certain He differed from all mankind; they improve worthy divine, of our denoinination, who as they grow taller; his fame increased as he has been a diligent obferver of men and got shorter! On the decease of his employer times, remarked to me, the other day, he was deposited in this tomb, nor will he that, about eighteen years ago, we were again appear until a master can be found in a fair way of carrying theological imequal to his fornier... Though an absolute flave, yet he was never disgraced in the fup- lince that time we were going back with
provements to a very hopeful crisis; but that port of vice, the degradation of virtue, or the malice of party; never once did his effu. a rapidity which leemed to threaten some. fions coft modesty a blush, or innocence a tear! thing very like the bonds of Popery. He never ridiculed or rais'd a laugh at re
I could with there might be a coligion or morality, yet he was always em- operation of both ends of the ifland, in ployed to unmaik the hypocrite. Satire the great work of delivering Christianity was his forte, and with his moveirents like the from its unnatural assuments i as that circles of a magician's wand he could produce can hardly be brought about in this age, a sort of talisman against vice and folly. He let us wish, that both may have success ridiculed general errors, but never descended in their leveral attempts. One may then to personality. - To sum up all he was a hope they would meet at the same time ; bee, diftilling honey from the most noxious weeds, and pottefred of a fting to preserve his and, by the blessing of God, unite to sweets from the attacks of the warp.”
overcome all obstructions; which at preHere the inisription ended :—fome fent seem to be occalioned chiefly by a would-be wits, and fool-hardy traveliers,
fpirit of diffipation, and inattention, in on reading this enigma, broke open the all ranks. Half a dozen Hollises at Edin. tomb, and found a worn-down old pen !
burgh, and another half dozen at Lonthey were of course much disappointed; but don, would loon make the opponents as soon as it was understood, that the pen servant and fellow-labourer,
fhake. I am, Sir, your much obliged of Cervantes had been found, all the mo. hern authors came in shoals to claim it.
[The WALPOLIANA will be continued in the * Vide the conclufion of Don Quixuite. heick momber. ]
ORIGINAL POETRY. THE DEVIL IN BAN: AN IDYLL. His poke, I got away; but you, poor Lurian! Originally written in German, by JOHANN
He caught by the tail, and held against his
grinjitone, HEINRICH Voss,
Till you had sworn not to come near him
more. SLOWER, my goat, no panting; we shall You limp'd and jiffled for a long while after; reach
And when old Death met the bowed, hobThe Bloxberg* foon enough. By the seven stars bling imp, It yet must want an hour and more of mid- He'd lift your tail, and grinning alk" How
night. Fly higher, fool! aiready twice you've finged Your beard with shooting stars; and 'tis fo Sad is the memory of those evil days, damp
While with the keys of heaven and of hell Here o'er the desart shores of the Red Sea, The pope did as he pleas'd. It was provoking, That from my shaggy hide and both my horns Even to a devil, to see those orthodox The dew-drops drizzle. Hark! what howls Jump into heaven for aping monks' grimaces, below?
While worthy heathens, and bold heretics,
Shower'd into hell by scores! It is no wonder Boohoo!
Some honest merry imp should Nink, at times,
Far.from the eternal fires and howl of souls, That voice is for an owl's too loud,
To make a pother in the pious world But too low for a devil's, suren
By noises, ghostly hauntings, and poffeffions. PULIX
But since, at length, an angel of the light Boohoo!
Flung into the abyss the keys, and by degrees
Th' eternal bonfires Nacken- all's só till, What, my heart's brother, Pulix? You look, That e'en the priests grow doubtful if we are poor fellow,
living. Like Belzebub's own grand-mother laid a bleaching
Whose tail's in a cleft-stick has no such doubt. In fumes of brimstone and vulcanic rays. Feebly, indeed, but still the pope bears sway ; One almost hears within your shrivella skin And would be popelings, arm'd with BirmThe dry bones clatter. Who could wedge ingham keys,
Yet rouse us from the dead repose we seek. Into the palm-tree so?
But tell me, friend, how comes this double
chin? The Bristol parsonst,
You look as seek as any ftabled stallion, Dabs at exorcism, who might shame Tobias With eyelets, by the fat felh squeez'd toBut what's your name?
You seem half-brother to some rosy dean. What, know you not poor Lurian, Full in whose face fierce Luther Alung his No marvel! from a girl, who was poffefs’d, . ink-stand?
An Abyssinian bishop drove me: hence Hence this pitch-plaster covers my left eye. Came our acquaintance first, and next our
friendship. Luriań, meseems once else you got a fcar. And now I dwell the cloister *, sweep the ailes, While yet the pope ru!'d uudisturbid at Rome, Cover the kitchen embers, and at night Satan sent us together to that blacksmith, Shut up the cells of monks. For this, their Who on his wall had drawn the arch-devil's picture,
Feeds me at noon, and lets me steal at eve And us'd to pince at it with glowing tongs. Down to the cellar with them. What's that We knock'd, and ask'd for house-room; but nose for?
the christian Held on the key-hole a becross’d, bebleft, Lurian, my faithful friend, these forty days Besprinkled bag of holy fackcloth, given him I've only tafted grasshoppers and honey, By Saint Nepomucene, and caught us in it; A Itarveling lizard, and some scorpions : Then Aung us on his anvil, and with hammer, I fhould have caught an aguc on these fands, Swingeingly heavy, so belabour'd us,
Did not a fimoom cheer me now and then. That had we not dwindled ourselves to feas,
LURIAN. And hopp'd about the creases of the fack, Poor fiend! we'll see what fare the butler's He must have done for us. When he untied foresight
Has kewer'd into my knapsack. When thou * Bloxberg is a mountain where witches
art cheer'd, hold their fabbath.
+ In the original, Pater Gaffner, of himilar * At Diarbekr, Niebubr heard a very simiftlebrity