Imatges de pÓgina
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letters should be seen mixed up in a business so odious; and that they should often be observed sharpening the weapons against their brethren, by which they are themselves almost universally destroyed or wounded in their turn?

Unhappy men of letters, does it become you to turn informers? Did the Romans ever find a Garasse, a Chaumieux, or a Hayet, to accuse a Lucretius, a Possidonius, a Varro, or a Pliny?

How inexpressible is the meanness of being a hypocrite! how horrible is it to be a mischievous and malignant hypocrite! There were no hypocrites in ancient Rome, which reckoned us a small portion of its inpumerable subjects. There were impostors, I admit, but not religious hypocrites, which are the most profligate and cruel species of all. Why is it that we see none such in England,* and whence does it arise that there still are such in France? Philosophers, you will solve this problem with ease.

SECTION II.

This brilliant and beautiful name has been sometimes honoured, and sometimes disgraced ; like that of poet, mathematician, monk, priest, and everything dependent upon opinion.

Domitian banished the philosophers, and Lucian derided them. But what sort of philosophers and mathematicians were they whom the monster Domitian exiled ? · They were jugglers with their cups and balls; the calculators of horoscopes, fortune-tellers, miserable pedling Jews who composed philtres and talismans; gentry who had special and sovereign power over evil spirits, who evoked them from their infernal habitations, made them take possession of the bodies of men and women by certain words or signs, and dislodged them by other words or signs.

And what were the philososhers that Lucian held up to public ridicule? They were the dregs of the

Certain pettifogging societies and canting combinations for the carrying on of partial prosecution, did not exist in England in the time of Voltaire.-T.

human race. They were a set of profligate beggars incapable of applying to any useful profession or occupation; men perfectly resembling the Poor Devil', who has been described to us with so much both of truth and humour; men who are undecided whether to wear a livery, or to write the almanack of the · Annus Mirabilis, '* the marvellous year; whether to work on reviews, or on roads; whether to turn soldiers or priests; who in the mean time frequent the coffeehouses, to give their opinion upon the last new piece, upon God, upon being in general, and the various modes of being; who will then borrow your money, and immediately go away and write a libel against you in conjunction with the barrister Marchand,t or the creature called Chaudon, or the equally despicable wretch called Bonneval.

It was not from such a school that the Ciceros, the Atticuses, the Epictetuses, the Trajans, Adrians, Antonines, and Julians proceeded.

It was not such a school that formed a king of Prussia, who has composed as many philosophical treatises as he has gained battles, and who has levelled with the dust as many prejudices as enemies.

A victorious empress, at whose name the Ottomans tremble, and who so gloriously rules an empire more extensive than that of Rome, would never have been a great legislatrix, had she not been a philosopher. Every northern prince is so, and the north puts the south to absolute shame. If the confederates of Poland had only a very small share of philosophy, they would not expose their country, their estates, and their houses, to pillage; they would not drench their territory in blood; they would not obstinately and wantonly reduce themselves to being the most miserable of mankind; they would listen to the voice of their philosophic king, who has given so many noble proofs and so many admirable lessons of inoderation and prudence in vain.

* The production of an Abbé d'Etrée of the village of Etrée.

+ The barrister Marchand, author of the “ Political Testament of an Academician," an abominable libel.

The great Julian was a philosopher when he wrote to his ministers and pontiffs his exquisite letters, abounding in clemency and wisdom, which all men of judgment and feeling highly admire, even at the present day, however sincerely they may condemn his errors.

Constantine was not a philosopher when he assassinated his relations, his son and his wife, and when, reeking with the blood of his family, he swore that God had sent to him the “ Labarum” in the clouds.

It is a long bound that carries us from Constantine to Charles IX. and Henry III., kings of one of the fifty great provinces of the Roman empire. But if these kings had been philosophers, one would not have been guilty of the massacre of St. Bartholomew, and the other would not have made scandalous processions, nor have been reduced to the necessity of assassinating the duke of Guise and the cardinal his brother, and at length have been assassinated himself by a young jacobin, for the love of God and of the holy church.

If Louis the just, the thirteenth monarch of that name, had been a philosopher, he would not have permitted the virtuous de Thou and the innocent marshal de Marillac to have been dragged to the scaffold; he would not have suffered his mother to perish with hunger at Cologne; and his reign would not have been an uninterrupted succession of intestine discords and calamities.

Compare with those princes, thus ignorant, superstitious, cruel, and enslaved by their own passions or those of their ministers, such a man as Montaigne, or Charron, or the chancellor de l'Hospital, or the historian de Thou, or la Mothe Le Vayer, or a Locke, a Shaftesbury, a Sidney, or a Herbert; and say whether you would rather be governed by those sovereigns or by these sages.

When I speak of philosophers. I do not mean the coarse and brutal cynics who appear desirous of being apes of Diogenes, but the men who imitate Plato and Cicero.

As for you, voluptuous courtiers, and you also, men of petty minds, invested with a petty employment

which confers on you a petty authority in a petty country, who uniformly exclaim against and abuse philosophy, proceed as long as you please with your invective railing. I consider you as the Nomentanuses inveighing against Horace; and the Cotins attempting to cry down Boileau.

SECTION III. The stiff lutheran, the savage calvinist, the proud Anglican high churchman, the fanatical jansenist, the jesuit always aiming at dominion, even in exile and at the very gallows, the sorbonnist who deems himself one of the fathers of a council ; these, and some imbecile beings under their respective guidance, inveigh incessantly, and bitterly against philosophy. They are all different species of the canine race, snarting and howling in their peculiar ways against a beautiful horse that is pasturing in a verdant meadow, and who never enters into contest with them about any of the carrion Carcasés upon which they feed, and for which they are perpetually fighting with one another,

They every day produce from the press their trash of philosophic theology, their philosophico-theological dictionaries; their old and battered arguments, as common as the streets, which they denominate “ demonstrations ;” and their ten thousand times repeated and ridiculous assertions which they call“ lemmas," and

corollaries;" as fal coiners cover a lead crown with a plating of silver.

They perceive that they are despised by all persons of reflection, and that they can no longer deceive any but a few weak old women. This state is far more humiliating and mortifying than even being expelled from France and Spain and Naples. Everything can be supported except contempt. We are told, that when the devil was conquered by Raphael (as it is clearly proved he was) that haughty compound of body and spirit at first easily consoled himself with the idea of the chances of war. But when he understood that Raphael laughed at him, he roundly swore that he would never forgive him. Accordingly, the jesuits

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never forgave Pascal; accordingly, Jurieu went on calumniating Bayle even to the grave; and just in the same manner all the Tartuffes, all the hypocrites, in Molière's time, inveighed against that author to his dying day.

In their rage they resort to calumnies, as in their folly they publish arguments.

One of the most determined slanderers, as well as one of the most contemptible reasoners that we have among us, is an ex-jesuit of the name of Paulian, who published a theologico-philosophical rhapsody in the city of Avignon, formerly a papal city, and perhaps destined to be so again. This person accuses the authors of the Encyclopedia of having said,

“ That as man is by his nature open only to the pleasures of the senses, these pleasures are consequently the sole objects of his desires.

“ That man in himself has neither vice nor virtue, ither good nor bad morals, neither justice nor injustice.

“That the pleasures of the senses produce all the virtues.

“ That in order to be happy, men must extinguish remorse, &c."

In what articles of the Encyclopedia, of which five new editions have lately commenced, are these horrible positions to be found? You are bound actually to produce them. Have you carried the insolence of your pride and the madness of your character to such an extent, as to imagine that you will be believed on your bare word ? These ridiculous absurdities

may

be found perhaps in the works of your own casuists, or those of the Porter of the Chartreux, but they are certainly not to be found in the articles of the Encyclopedia composed by M. Diderot, M. d'Alembert, the chevalier Jaucourt, or M. de Voltaire. You have never seen them in the articles of the count de Tressan, nor in those of Messrs. Blondel, Boucher-d'Argis, Marmontel, Venel, Tronchin, d'Aubenton, d'Argen

This article was printed when the king of France was in pos, session.of the city of Avignon--See the article Avignon.

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