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OPPRESSION certainly prevents individuals from publishing the truth; but still truth continues its work in private. The individual voice may be silenced by an imperious government, but thousands of voices will be raised in favour of the apostle of truth. It is the duty of a wise man to instruct the uninformed, to propagate useful knowledge, wisdom, and virtue, and to expel error and superstition. The happiness of mankind is the end of virtue, and truth is the knowledge of the means.

There is no real boundary to human investigation, but the capacity of the human mind; whatever the mind, therefore, is able to comprehend, it ought to examine without restraint on the freedom of its inquiry. Our opinions, good or bad, are merely physical impulses, received through the medium of the senses; consequently, to insist on a man thinking as we do, is to insist on his being precisely organized as we are. Education, habit, accurate or imperfect information, and local prejudices, assist in the formation of our opinions; and when the means of conducting the understanding to its highest perfection shall be genenerally understood, freedom of inquiry will be universally allowed, and doubtless be inculcated as a duty. Which of our opinions are conformable to truth, and which are founded in error, general and continual experience alone can determine. But error is not a fault of our knowledge; it is only a mistake

of our judgment in giving assent to that which is not


Upon the character of the author of Zadig' it is unnecessary to dilate; it has taken its imperishable station. Opinions may widely differ as to the quality of its more prominent features; but all will allow its operation upon aftertimes. His life and labours form a stage in the social progress which will ever be a conspicuous era for the student of general history. His whole cry was for Reason and Toleration. Did any striking injustice arise in a nation; did Voltaire hear of any act of bigotry, and insult offered to human nature, his pen exposed the guilty to Europe! He never felt the misery of being obliged to abandon his opinion that he might procure subsistence; to subject his genius to labour which the necessity of living enforced; nor to flatter the prejudices or the passions of a patron.

Francis Marie Arouet, (who assumed the name of Voltaire,) was born at Chatenay, on the 20th of February, 1694. His father held a situation under government, and his mother was of a noble family. Young Arouet was educated at Jesuits'-college; and he was a poet when but a boy. The father imagined his son was ruined when he was told that Francis wrote poetry. He wished to make him a judge, and saw him employed on a tragedy. The young poet was for a short period sent to Holland, but soon after had permission to return to Paris; his father still, however, finding him persist in writing poetry, then forbade him his house. Caumartu, a friend of the father, pitied the fate of the youth, and took him to his house in the country; and while under the care of that well-informed man, Voltaire produced the 'Henriade' and the Age of Louis XIV.' The poet was accused of writing a satire on the late Louis XIV. and consequently was sent to the Bastile, and while in confinement he sketched his poem of the League' and corrected his tragedy of dipus. He was shortly afterwards released by the duke of Orleans, to whom he observed I thank your royal highness for having

provided me with food; but I hope you will not hereafter trouble yourself concerning my lodging.' Voltaire was now proclaimed a man of genius and a philosopher, and his numerous poetical works placed him much above his contemporaries, and seemed to secure a life of fame; but a crowd of inferior authors continually molested him. He sought refuge in England, and Brutus' was the first fruits of his journey; in which tragedy the rights of an oppressed people are displayed with power, eloquence, and precision. The French government would not suffer this play to be printed, and the republican sentiments it contained were attributed as crimes to the author. Brutus was followed by several theatrical pieces, and their success surpassed the author's hopes.

Voltaire returned to Paris; but the indiscretion with which some of his friends repeated fragments from his Maid of Orleans' was the cause of a new persecution. The keeper of the seals threatened to confine the poet in the worst dungeon, if any part of the poem made its appearance. Wearied by various persecutions, Voltaire thought it necessary to change his mode of life; and as he possessed independence, he had no more need to court patronage, solicit places, or to traffic with booksellers. He renounced all residence at Paris; and friendship still more tender, afforded him consolation, and increased his love of a country life*.

Voltaire purchased a house at Geneva, and another at Lausanne. In these two habitations he enjoyed liberty and ease, and every convenience and comfort of life were found in his two houses. In his retirement, however, he sent forth the tragedy of the 'Orphan of China,' which served to secure his friends and impose silence on his foes. He next puolished, the 'Maid of Orleans,' at which the age of Louis XIV.

It was during a temporary residence at Hsses a 1740, that Voltaire became acquainted with Frederica of russia, whom he subsequently pasquinaded for his follies and illtreatment of himself and others.

need not blush. These were followed by other works on different subjects; and in 1757, the first edition of his works was printed under his own inspection.

Voltaire formed the plan of a history, which should contain all that was most important for man to know; viz., a history of morals, arts, sciences, legislation, political government, and the effects produced thereby on the peace and happiness of nations. He chose the period from Charlemagne: he did not, however, confine himself solely to European nations, but interested and instructed the reader by an abridged retrospect of the state of the other parts of the globe. This work placed Voltaire in the class of original historians.

But our author, tranquil in his retreat at Ferney, saw the arrival of an unfortunate family, the father of which had been conducted to the wheel by fanatical judges. He learned that Calas, an infirm old man, had been accused of having hanged his young and vigorous son, in the midst of his family, and in the presence of a catholic servant; that he had been urged to commit this crime by the fear of seeing this son embrace the catholic religion; this son, who spent his life in dissipation; while another son already converted to the catholic faith, enjoyed a pension from the bounty of this father, who was far from possessing influence. Never had circumstances so concurred to banish the suspicion of a crime in the father, or to strengthen the reasons to ascribe suicide to the son. Yet a weak-minded magistrate did not hesitate to cause the whole family to be imprisoned. The unfortunate Calas was pronounced guilty, and condemned to the torture and the wheel. This miserable man died protesting his innocence. Voltaire's compassion was moved, and he interested in the cause of humanity the authorities and the advocates of Paris. In fine, the sentence was annulled, Calas was declared innocent, dishonour was removed from his memory, and the public treasury repaired the wrongs which had been done to his family. This affair, so important in its consequences, occupied

Voltaire more than three years: 'during all that time,' said he, a smile has not escaped me, for which I have not reproached myself as for a crime.' His indignation was next excited by the execution of a general for supposed misconduct in India, without proof of a single determinate crime, on the testimony of declared enemies. Yet Voltaire for a long time spoke singly against this enormity. His repeated attacks, however, triumphed over prejudice and the interests of those who are ever anxious to preserve and extend an empire. Twelve years afterwards, when Voltaire was dying, the unjust sentence was reversed. He heard the intelligence; his powers sprang back to life, and he wrote, I die content; I see the king' loves justice!'

Who that reads these details would suppose that he reads the life of a great poet, of a prolific and indefatigable writer. But his genius, incapable of inactivity, cultivated every species of literature on which it had ever exercised its powers, and even dared to essay new subjects. He published some tragedies, in which the man of letters may gratify his taste by beautiful verses, and his judgment by enlightened ideas. In the form of a dictionary, he undertook to assemble all the ideas which presented themselves to his mind on the various subjects comprised in the circle of human knowledge. After he had completed a course of literature, he produced ZADIG and several other Tales and Romances, in which he blends philosophy with interesting fable; but he has rejected those pleasing and voluptuous images which only serve to amuse the imagination or awaken gaiety.

Voltaire had long desired to revisit his country, and to enjoy his reputation with the same people who had been the witness of his first success, and too often the accomplice of his enemies; and he was partly led by the desire of witnessing the tragedy of Irene,' which he had shortly before finished. Men and women of every rank and condition, from whom his writings had drawn the tears of humanity, and who had : 1mired his genius at the theatre, were eager to behvid

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