Imatges de pÓgina
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PAPIST.

Yes, sir; but neither do they believe in eternal punishments.

TREASURER.

PAPIST.

Nor I either; be you damned eternally, if you please; for my own part, I do not look for that advantage.

Ah, sir; it is very hard not to be able to damn at pleasure all the heretics in the world; but the rage which the Unitarian displays for rendering everybody finally happy is not my only complaint. Know, that these monsters believe the resurrection of the body no more than the Sadducees. They say, that we are all anthropophagi, and that the particles which compose our grandfathers and great grandfathers, having been necessarily dispersed in the atmosphere, become carrots and asparagus, and that it is possible we may have devoured a portion of our ancestors.

TREASURER,

Be it so; our children will do as much by us; it is but repayment, and papists will be as much benefited as others. This is no reason for driving you from the states of his highness; and why any more so for ejecting the Unitarians ? Rise again, if you are able; it matters little whether the Unitarians rise again or no, provided they are useful during their lives.

PAPIST.

And what, sir, do you say to original sin, which they boldly deny? Are you not scandalised by their assertion, that the Pentateuch says not a word about it, that the bishop of Hippo, St. Augustin, is the first who decidedly taught this dogma, although it is evidently indicated by St. Paul?

TREASURER. Truly, if the Pentateuch does not mention it, that is not my fault. Why not add a text or two about: original sin to the Old Testament, as it is said you have added many on other subjects ? I know nothing of these subtleties; it is my business only to pay you your. stipend, when I have the money to do so.

POPULATION.

SECTION I. There were very few caterpillars in my canton last year, and we killed nearly the whole of them. God has rendered em this year more numerous than the leaves.

Is it not nearly thus with other animals, and above all with mankind? Famine, pestilence, death, and the two sister diseases which have visited us from Arabia and America, destroy the inhabitants of a province, and we are surprised at finding it abound with people an hundred years afterwards.

I admit that it is a sacred duty to people this world, and that all animals are stimulated by pleasure to fulfil this intention of the great Demi-urgos.

Why this inhabiting of the earth? and to what purpose form so many beings to devour one another, and the animal man to cut the throat of his fellow, from one end of the earth to the other? I am assured that I shall one day be in the possession of this secret, and in my character of an inquisitive man I exceedingly desire it.

It is clear that we ought to people the earth as much as we are able; even our health renders it necessary.

The wise Arabians, the robbers of the desert, in the treaties which they made with travellers, always stipulated for girls. When they conquered Spain, they imposed a tribute of girls. The country of Media pays the Turks in girls. The buccaneers brought girls from Paris to the little island of which they took possession; and it is related that at the fine spectacle with which Romulus entertained the Sabines, he stole from them three hundred girls.

I cannot conceive why the Jews, whom moreover I revere, killed everybody in Jericho, even to the girls; and why they say in the Psalms, that it will be sweet to massacre the infants at the mother's breast, without excepting even girls.

All other people, whether Tartars, Cannibals, Teưtons, or Celts, have always held girls in great request.

Owing to this happy instinct, it seems that the earth may one day be covered with animals of our own kind. Father Petau makes the inhabitants of the earth seven hundred millions, two hundred and eighty years after the deluge. It is not however at the end of the Arabian Nights that he has printed this pleasant enumeration.

I reckon at present upon our globe about nine hundred millions of contemporaries, and an equal number of each sex.

Wallace makes them a thousand millions. Am I in error, or is he? Possibly both of us; but a tenth is a small matter; the arithmetic of historians is usually much more erroneous.

I am somewhat surprised that the arithmetician Wallace, who extends the number of people at present existing to a thousand millions, should pretend in the same page, that in the year 966, after the creation, our forefathers amounted to 1610 millions.

In the first place, I wish the epoch of the creation to be clearly established ; and as, in our western world, we have no less than eighty theories of this event, there will be some difficulty to hit on the correct one.

In the second place, the Egyptians, the Chaldeans, the Persians, the Indians, and the Chinese, have all different calculations; and it is still more difficult to agree with them.

Thirdly, why, in the nine hundred and sixty-sixth year of the world, should there be more people than ihere are at present?

To explain this absurdity, we are told, that matters occurred otherwise than at present; that nature, being more vigorous, was better concocted and more prolific; and moreover that people lived longer. Why do they not add, that the sun was warmer, and the moon more beautiful ?

We are told, that in the time of Cæsar, although men had begun to greatly degenerate, the world was like an ant's nest of bipeds; but that at present it is a

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desart. Montesquieu, who always exaggerates, and who sacrifices anything to an itching desire of displaying his wit, ventures to believe, and in his Persian Letters would have others believe, that there were thirty times as many people in the world in the days of Cæsar as at present.

Wallace acknowledges, that this calculation made at random is too much; but for what reason? Because, before the days of Cæsar, the world possessed more inhabitants than during the most brilliant period of the Roman republic. He then ascends to the time of Semiramis, and if possible exaggerates more than Montesquieu.

Lastly, in conformity with the taste which is always attributed to the holy spirit for hyperbole, they fail not to instance the eleven hundred and sixty thousand men, who marched so fiercely under the standards of the great monarch Josophat, or Jehosophat, king of the province of Judah. Enough, enough, Mr. Wallace; the holy spirit cannot deceive; but its agents and copyists have badly calculated and numbered. AIL your Scotland would not furnish eleven hundred thousand men to attend your sermons, and the kingdom of Judah was not a twentieth part of Scotland. See again what St. Jerome says of this poor holy land, in which he so long resided. Have you well calculated the quantity of money the great king Jehosophat must have possessed, to pay, feed, clothe, and arm eleven hundred thousand chosen men? But thus is history written.

Mr. Wallace returns from Jehosophat to Cæsar, and concludes, that since the time of this dictator of short duration, the world has visibly decreased in the number of its inhabitants. Behold, said he, the Swiss: according to the relation of Cæsar, they amounted to three hundred and sixty-eight thousand, when they so wisely quitted their country to seek their fortunes, like the Cimbri.

I wish by this example to recal those partisans inte a little due consideration, who gift the ancients with

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such wonders in the way of generation, at the expense of the moderns. The canton of Berne alone, according to an accurate census, possesses a greater number of inhabitants than quitted the whole of Helvetia in the time of Cæsar. The human species is therefore doubled in Helvetia since that expedition.

I likewise believe, that Germany, France, and England are much better peopled now than at that time; and for this reason: I adduce the vast clearance of forests, the number of great towns built and increased during the last eight hundred years, and the number of arts which have originated in proportion. This I regard as a sufficient answer to the brazen declamation, repeated every day in books, in which truth is sacrificed to sallies, and which are rendered useless by their abundant wit.

“L'ami des Hommes' says, that in the time of Cæsar fifty-two millions of men were assigned to Spain, which Strabo observes has always been badly peopled, owing to the interior being so deficient in water

. Strabo is apparently right, and · L'ami des Hommes' erroneous.

But they scare us by asking what has become of the prodigious quantity of Huns, Alains, Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Vandals, and Lombards, who spread like a torrent over Europe in the fifth century.

I distrust these multitudes, and suspect that twenty or thirty thousand ferocious animals, more or less, were sufficient to overwhelm with fright the whole Roman empire, governed by a Pulcheria, by eunuchs, and by monks. It was enough for ten thousand barbarians to pass the Danube; for every parish rumour, or homily, to make them more numerous than the locusts in the plains of Egypt; and call them a scourge from God, in order to inspire penitence, and produce gifts of money to the convents. Fear seized all the inhabitants, and they fled in crowds, Behold precisely the fright which a wolf caused in the district of Gevanden in the year 1766.

Mandrin' the robber, at the head of fifty vaga

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