Imatges de pÓgina
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on a spit and caused them to be eaten by his comrades. Their expeditions were tours of thieves, and never campaigns of conquerors; thus, in all the West Indies, they were never called anything but los ladrones.' When they surprised and entered the house of a father of a

a family, they put him to the torture to discover his treasures. That sufficiently proves what we say in the article QUESTION, that torture was invented by robbers.

What rendered their exploits useless was, that they lavished in debauches, as foolish as monstrous, all that they acquired by rapine and murder. Finally, there remains nothing more of them than their name, and *scarcely that. Such were the buccaneers.

But what people in Europe have not been pirates ? The Goths, Alains, Vandals, and Huns, were they anything else? What were Rollo, who established himself in Normandy, and William Fier-a-bras, but the most able pirates ? Was not Clovis a pirate, who came from the borders of the Rhine into Gaul?

PLAGIARISM.

It is said that this word is derived from the Latin word 'plaga,' and that it signifies the condemnation to the scourge of those who sold freemen for slaves. This has nothing in common with the plagiarism of authors, who sell not men either enslaved or free. They only for a little money occasionally sell themselves.

When an author sells the thoughts of another man for his own, the larceny is called plagiarism. All the makers of dictionaries, all compilers who do nothing else than repeat backwards and forwards the opinions, the errors, the impostures, and the truths already printed, we may term plagiarists; but honest plagiarists, who arrogate not the merit of invention. tend not even to have collected from the ancients the materials which they get together; they only copy the laborious compilers of the sixteenth century. They will sell you in quarto that which already exists in folio. Call them if you please bookmakers, not au

They prethors; range them rather among second-hand dealers than plagiarists.

The true plagiarist is he who gives the works of another for his own, who inserts in his rhapsodies long passages from a good book a little modified. The enlightened reader, seeing this patch of cloth of gold upon a blanket, soon detects the bungling purloiner.

Ramsay, who after having been a presbyterian in his native Scotland, an anglican in London, then a quaker, and who finally persuaded Fénélon that he was a catholic, and even pretended a penchant for celestial love-Ramsay, I say, compiled the Travels of Cyrus, because his master made his Telemachus travel. So far he only imitated; but in these travels he copies from an old English author, who introduces a young solitary dissecting his dead goat, and arriving at a knowledge of the deity by the process, which is very much like plagiarism. On conducting Cyrus into Egypt, in describing that singular country, he employs the same expressions as Bossuet, whom he copies word for word without citing: this is plagiarism complete. · One of my friends reproached him with this one day; Ramsay replied, that he was not aware of it, and that it was not surprising he should think like Fénélon and write like Bossuet. This was making out the adage, “Proud as a Scotsman."

The most singular of all plagiarism is possibly that of Father Barre, author of a large history of Germany in ten volumes. The history of Charles XII, had just been printed, and he inserted more than two hundred pages of it in his work; making a duke of Lorraine say precisely that which was said by Charles XII.

He attributes to the emperor Arnold that which happened to the Swedish monarch.

He relates of the emperor Rodolph that which was said of king Stanislaus.

Waldemar, king of Denmark, acts precisely like Charles at Bender, &c. &c.

The most pleasant part of the story is, that a journalist, perceiving this extraordinary resemblance between the two works, failed not to impute the plagiarism to the author of the history of Charles XII., whọ had composed his work twenty years before the appearance of that of Father Barre.

It is chiefly in poetry that plagiarism is allowed to pass; and certainly of all larcenies it is that which is least dangerous to society.

PLATO.

SECTION I.

Of the Timeus of Plato and some other Things. The fathers of the church, of the first four centuries, were all Greeks and Platonists : you find not one Roman who wrote for christianity, or who had the slightest tincture of philosophy. I will here observe, by the way, that it is strange enough, the great church of Rome, which contributed in nothing to this establishment, has alone reaped all the advantage, It has been with this revolution, as with all those produced by civil wars : the first who trouble a state, always unknowingly labour for others rather than for themselves.

The school of Alexandria, founded by one named Mark, to whom succeeded Athenagorus, Clement, and Origen, was the centre of the christian philosophy, Plato was regarded by all the Greeks of Alexandria as the master of wisdom, the interpreter of the divinity, If the first christians had not embraced the dogmas of Plato, they would never have had any philosophers, any man of mind in their party. I set aside inspiration and grace, which are above all philosophy, and speak only of the ordinary course of human events.

It is said, that it was principally in the Timeus of Plato that the Greek fathers were instructed. This Timeus passes

for the most sublime work of all ancient philosophy. It is almost the only one which Dacier has not translated, and I think the reason is, because he did not understand it, and that he feared to discover to clear sighted readers the face of this Greek divinity, who is only adored because he is veiled.

Plato, in this fine dialogue, commences by introducing an Egyptian priest, who teaches Solon the ancient history of the city of Athens, which was preserved faithfully for nine thousand years in the archives of Egypt.

Athens, says the priest, was once the finest city of Greece, and the most renowned in the world for the arts of war and peace: she alone resisted the warriors of the famous island Atlantides, who came in innumerable vessels to subjugaté a great part of Europe and Asia. Athens had the glory of freeing so many vanquished people, and of preserving Egypt from the servitude which menaced us. But after this illustrious victory and service rendered to mankind, a frightful earthquake in twenty-four hours swallowed the territory of Athens, and all the great island of Atlantides. This island is now only a vast sea, which the ruins of this ancient world and the slime mixed with its waters rénder unnavigable.

This is what the priest relates to Solon; and such is the manner in which Plato prepares to explain to us subsequently, the formation of the soul, the operations of the word, and his trinity. It is not physically impossible, that there might be an island Atlantides, which has not existed for nine thousand years, and which perished by an earthquake, like Herculaneum and so many other cities; but our priest, in adding that the sea which washes Mount Atlas is inaccessible to vesu. sels, renders the history a little suspicious.

It may be after all, that since Solon—that is to say, in the course of three thousand years—vessels have dispersed the slime of the ancient island Atlantides and rendered the sea navigable; but it is still surprising, that he should prepare by this island to speak of the “Word.”

Perhaps in telling this priest's or old woman's story, Plato wished to insinuate something contrary to the vicissitudes which have so often changed the face of the globe. Perhaps he would merely say, what Pythagorus and Timeus of Locris have said so long before him,

and what our eyes tell us every day=that everything in nature perishes and is renewed. The history of Deucalion and Pyrrha, the fall of Phaeton, are fables; but inundations and conflagrations are truths.

Plato departs from his imaginary island, to speak of things which the best of philosophers of our days would not disavow. “That which is produced has necessarily a cause, an author. It is difficult to discover the author of this world; and when he is found, it is dangerous to speak of him to the people."

Nothing is more true, even now, than that if a sage, in passing by our Lady of Loretto, said to another sage, his friend, that our Lady of Loretto, with her little black face, governs not the entire universe, and a good woman overheard these words, and related them to other good women of the March of Ancona, the sage would be stoned like Orpheus. This is precisely the situation in which the first christians were believed to be, who spoke not well of Cybele and Diana, which alone should attach them to Plato. The unintelligible things which he afterwards treats of, ought not to disgust us with him,

I will not reproach Plato with saying, in his Timeus, that the world is an animal;' for he no doubt understands, that the elements in motion animate the world ; and he means not, by animal, a dog or a man, who walks, feels, eats, sleeps, and engenders. An author should always be explained in the most favourable sense; and it is not whilst we accuse people, or when we denounce their books, that it is right to interpret malignantly and poison all their words ; nor is it thus that I shall treat Plato.

According to him, there is a kind of trinity which is the soul of matter. These are his words : “ From the indivisible substance, always similar to itself, and the divisible substance, a third substance is composed, which partakes of the same and of others.”

Afterwards came the Pythagorean number, which ren. ders the thing still more unintelligible, and consequently more respectable. What ammunition for people commencing a paper war!

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