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lying-in, was violent, yet lasting and sincere; and he was recovered only by the perusal of some letters which his secretary gave to him, and by which it appeared that her affection for him was net so ardent as he had imagined ; a mortifying, but at the same time a salutary, discovery!
At Ferney, where he past the last twenty years of his life, and where he employed his large fortune in improving a barren country, Voltaire was visited by foreigners of all nations, and of all ranks. Artists, wits, philosophers, and prince, ali came to see him : his house was constantly filled with strangers, whom sometimes he avoided seeing, when he could do so with propriety; and this he did to prevent that loss of time which such interruptions occasioned. Guibert, the author of a valuable work on tactics, had remained at Ferney three days without having gained an interview with its possessor, then left the place, and addressed to him a scrap of libertine poetry, which we shall neither translate nor copy. The wit and profaneness of the verses, however, so recommended him to VItaire, that he immediately sent for Guibert, treated him with distinguished kindness, and kept him for several days a guest at Ferney.
In his treatment of his visitors, Voltaire was altogether a courtier, and quite a man of the world. Though he was denied
to some, yet to well-known or well-recommended characters I he was ever ready to shew the hospitality of his house. He
dressed to receive such guests at the entrance of his castie; and, instead of listening to the praises which they were always willing to bestow on him, he conversed with them on the eminence of their families, and the meritorious actions of their ancestors. I have heard (says the author) M. de Croi declare that, during the whole time that he passed with him, Voltaire talked on the subject of lus (de Croi's) progenitors, retailing those anecdotes which were most honourable to their characters, and which were little known : “ but what surprised me most (said M. de Croi) was the animation with which he conversed, and the air of gaiety and politeness which distinguished all that he said."
By such arts, and by a constant appeal to the most unifora and invariable principle in human nature,-self-love,- V citair gained the good-will and admiration of the vain and interested part of mankind: but such conduct appears rather to be the suggestion of finesse, than the result of benevolent feclings.
The following anecdote of Ganganelli, afterward Pope Clement the XIVth, is curious and amusing. The Baron of Gleikin, in his way to Italy, passed by Ferney, and inquired of Voltaire what he should say from him to the Pope ? --" His
Holiness (replied the philosopher) favours me with presents of medals, and of indulgencies, and even sends me his blessing: but I would rather that Ganganelli would send me the ears of the Grand Inquisitor.”-The Baron delivered the message :-“ Tell him," replied Clement nobly, “ that, as long as Ganganelli is Pope, this said Inquisitor shall have neither ears nor eyes.” --Voltaire's conversation is represented by the author as abounding equally with his writings in moral and political truths; and he says, it was impossible to be in his company without perceiving the man of genius, and of most extensive literature; that his memory supplied him with a large store of facts, of poetry, and of anecdote; and that, in drawing from this vast fund, he introduced only what was calculated to please and instruct. In him, says the writer, we were always sure of finding the most agreeable mixture of pleasantry, of useful observation, of happy allusion, and of interesting discussion.
Such is the pleasing portrait drawn of this universal genius by a friend and enthusiastic admirer, who saw nothing but transcendent excellence in his writings; and who attributed all his actions, even the most exceptionable, to pure and virtuous motives. Such accounts, however, proceeding from so partial a pen, must not be implicitly trusted: the facts which are communicated may in general' be believed: but the inferences drawn from them, and the general representations of character, must be received with caution.
Towards the end of the year 1770, D'Alembert left Paris with an intention of visiting Italy, on account of his health. He made Ferney in his way, and there he remained a month. " During the whole time,” said he, on his return, “ I have been in a state of perfect admiration; that which constantly surprised me in Voltaire's conversation was the manner, at once easy and scientific, with which he discussed the most difficult and obscure topics. I set out for Italy in search of health ; I found it at Ferney. The pleasure of living and conversing with the first philosopher of the age has deprived me of my wish of visiting Rome, to see the first' magician in Europe.” In these terms, D'Alembert always spoke of the Pope.
Voltaire was uneasy and disconcerted in large companies, which, he used to say, were collected only to see the rhinoceros. In small and select parties, he enjoyed himself; with a Rieux, a Daminaville, a D'Alembert, and his niece, he would for hourstogether talk on philosophical subjects. The constant apprehension with which he was haunted during the latter years of his life, his biographer attributes to his fear of the clergy; they, to his 0 02.
dread of a future state of existence. This alarm, in whatever cause it originated, imbittered his comforts, and destroyed his pleasures. It is certain that he received a number of anonymous letters, loading him with opprobrious names, and threatening him with severe and speedy vengeance : he believed that these letters came from the ecclesiastics in his neighbourhood; some of whom, he thought, might easily be induced to attempt his life, under the hope that they were performing an acceptable service to their Maker in delivering the world from a man whose time was occupied, and whose abilities were exerted, in dishonouring the objects of their worship. It is not impossible, however, that Voltaire might avow this to be the cause of his perpetual solicitude, while the real foundation of his anxiety night be concealed.
The tender, gentle, and affectionate friendship which subsisted between this philosopher and Renée de varicourt, ( Belu et Bonne,)is pourtrayed in the most pleasing colours; the amiable assiduity of a beautiful young woman of sixteen, and the parental kindness and gratitude of an infirm old man of fourscore, are finely contrasted. In her presence, Voltaire knew no uncasy passions, and seemed to be relieved from his sense of growing infirmity and actual pain. She was his guardian angel, -he her tutelary divinity. --Coffee, which exhilarates without intoxicating the spirits, was his usual beverage; and this she constantly administered.—- Woman,” he would often say on these occasions, “is the most valuable and enchanting present that man has received from the hands of nature. In our youth she contributes to our most exquisite pleasures, and in old age she is essential to our comfort, and our health.” - When, in paying her morning compliments, Mademoiselle de V.would salute him, he expressed his wonder that she could place her rosy countenance against hispallid and shrivelled skin, or, as he termed it, against a death's bead; and sometimes he would exclaim, “this is life and death embracing each other.” In no period, and in no connection of life, docs Voltaire appear so blameless and so amiable, as in his attachment and kindness to this adopted child. His age, if not her iender youth, removes all idea of impure affection; and we observe in their intimacy nothing buc mutual gratitude and good opinion, softened and increased by the difference of sci.
We have now made a sufficient selection of interesting passages from this part of the work: but we cannot conclude the article, without acknowleging that we have derived great, though not unmixed, pleasure from the perusal of the volume. Voltaire must always be considered as a man of various and original genius, and, as such, entitled to the high admiratioa
of mankind: but bis profaneness, and his indecent sarcasms on religion, have drawn on him severe and merited reprehension. As we disapprove the use of such weapons in the hands of Voltaire, so we cannot pass without censure the many expressions of regard and approbation bestowed, by his biographer, on his attempts to undermine the religion of Europe. The abilities of this writer are so respectable, as exhi. bited in the work before us, that we regret,-- what appears to be his pride and his boast,-the necessity of classing him among t. nfidel philosophes.
Art. XII. Voyage de deux François, &c. i.e. Travels of two
Frenchmen through Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Russia, and
Poland, in 1790–1792. 8vo. Five Vols. Paris. A
MONG the miscellaneous writers whom France has pro
duced since the revolution in that country, few are conspicuous for solidity of reasoning, for accuracy of information, or for excellency of composition. Yet the talent of amusing, which the French authors are universally allowed to possess in a peculiar degree, continues to operate as a powerful attraction, even in their latest literary performances. Wherever the subject offers variety, the quick discernment of a Frenchman is sure of selecting what is of general interest.— These observations we have found confirmed by the publication before us. Though intended for the use of travellers rather than for the entertainment of general readers, the latter will be pleased with the perusal of a considerable part of it, especially the third and fourth volumes. The materials contained in the work were collected by two persons, travelling together : but only one of them drew up the account which is the subject of this article, and we understand that he is M. DE BEAUJOLIN.
Most of the courts which the travellers visited are particularly described. That of Saxony is pourtrayed in the following manner:
• The court of Dreselen was formerly very brilliant ; carousals, tournaments, and feasts of every sort succeeded cach other with little interruption; now every thing is changed. Several motives have concurred to make the reigning Elector pursue a line of condoct entirely opposite to that of his predecessois. Saxony having been exhausted by a long war, and enormous debts having been contracted for the discharge of repeated contributions, the prince found himself under the necessity of embracing a system of the most rigorous economy. Princes, however, being more exposed to public observation than ther men, must expect to see unfavou
ble constructions put on their purest intentions; and thus it has fared with the Elector, whose laudable economy is termed avarice and niggardliness. One of his
brothers has no more than 120,000 livres per annum ; the other or.ir 72,000. These sums are indeed very moderate ; but we believe that an excess on the other side would be far more blameworthy. Those two princes contract few if any debts; while the brothers of Lewis XVI., with an income of upwards of 3,000,cco of livres each, greatly outran their income. The pay of the ministers of state in Saxony is also very moderate; the premier not having above 4500 ris dollar3 salary. · The Saxon ducats are extremely rare.
The Elector, it is pretended, hoards them; and when once they get into his possession, they never again enter into circulation. Whatever degree of credit this assertion may merit, we shall soon find a very excusable mie for his conduct. This prince has an only daughter; and his duninions, after his dernise, devolve to his brother. In case the Elctor should die before he has settled her for life, his intention apparently is to leave her an independent fortune, which can only be the result of his frugality. Let us recollect Lewis XV., who, towards the close of his life, was also accused of amassing treasures : that charge was true: but he left 16,000,000 to his daughters. Without such a provision, what would have been their situation at this time?
• The Elector is a man of much information. He knows screral languages, is very fond of mineralogy, and especially of m. These circumstances will be evident on only visiting his apartments, He may, however, be charged with not enco
couraging the arts, and accused of withholding from men of merit that protection to kih they are entitled from an enlightened prince. His system is neither to commend nor to find fault : the man of talents and te who is destitute of abilities receive the same treatment from all This conduct of the sovereign must destroy all emulation; and it seems unaccountable in a prince whose attainments distinguish lin from the common class.
• The Elector has a predilection for all that relates to military affairs; and he often takes the command in the encałopmenis which are annually formed: but, wh:n he happens to commit any mistake, it has been remarked that matters are previously arranged in such a manner, as to leave a possibility for casting the blame of it on sore officer. Self-love insinuates itself every where.
Mineralogy is one of those branches of science which our two travellers seem to have kept constantly in view. Of the famous mines at Freyberg in Saxony, they have furnished a tolerable description.
The account of Berlin is introduced by the following ob. servation :
• If only the extent of the town, the beauty of the streets, and the outside of the houses, were to be considered, Berlin would be the most beautiful city of Europe. Manheim, Copenhagen, and Petersburgl have indeed large streets at right angles: bat no where else do we rect with buildings of such striking exterior; nor with Euch private houses as would make a figure by the sides of the palaces of Rome. From the place called Lerondel to the gate of Oranien.