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society he thus started in was opposed bit- sense his own master, with the command terly to the court-system of Louis XIV.'s of what all accounts agree in describing as old age, and every month endeared more an easy fortune, though none of them and more among them the sparkling gen- afford any exact notion of its amount. ius, who hardly needed their encouragement Condorcet says, that on reckoning his into develop an audacity matchless as his herited means he perceived he had no wit, in libels and pasquinades all tending need of any profession. He adds, that (as to cover with ridicule the religion of the we may easily suppose) the company he great enemy of all the Chateauneufs, the kept had given him high notions on the arPère la Chaise, and the quondam friend of ticle of expenditure; and, in fine, that reNinon, Madame de Maintenon.*

solving henceforth to be a man of fashion, We think the original direction of his with literature for the occupation of his wit is pretty clearly accounted for; and mornings, he determined also to increase, also the scorn with which, on quitting the if possible, his fortune by some preliminary Jesuits, he treated his father's desire that methods, to such an extent as should enable he should turn himself to the study of juris- him to dispense with the usual gains of litprudence with a view to a place in the ma- erary employment-in other words, to exgistracy. His vanity had already soared ert his talents according to his own taste far above such views as M. Arouet's. and bent, without caring whether the results There ensued a series of domestic quarrels, might or might not pass muster with royal of which we have few distinct details, except or ecclesiastical censors, and receive or that when at length the notary turned him want accordingly the protection of the law out of doors, he was sheltered by his moth- as property. What methods he took reer's oracle Châteauneuf, and that gentle- mains in some obscurity ; that dabbling in man's liberal friends, one of whom (to the funds was one of them, all his biogracomplete the picture) was a bishop. Be- phers seem to take for granted. We have fore his rejection of the paternal counsels little doubt that this was the chief resource, had exposed him to any very serere incon- and, inoreover, that he was assisted by perveniences, the notary and the elder brother sons in high station, who sheltered their both died : and he found himself in every own disgraceful traffic in the raw material

of official knowledge by conducting it in Lord Brougham has a note on Ninon in the name of this roturier strippling. Lord which he refers to Voltaire's letter in the Mélan. Brougham seems to think that Voltaire ges Littéraires,' vol. iii. p. 246, as doing justice owed his largest accession of wealth to to some of her great qualities. We have reperused the letter. It is a gry, jocular summary of some merely commercial speculations, in Ninon's career as a wit and a strumpet. He re

which he engaged under the guidance and cites the most celebrated of her amours and the patronage of one Falconer, an English mermost indecent of her jests :—but many great chant, during the few years that he spent, qualities ! One--and but one-honest action is when still a very young man, in or near stated I-a lover having given her a casket of money to keep for him, she restored it with integri- London. Where Lord Brougham found ty. Common honesty is certainly more creditable this story we are not aware. To the old than uncommon profligacy or uncommon impu. suspicion that he profited very much by the dence-but still it hardly amounts to a 'great Mississippi bubble, he objects that Voltaire quality' even in a courtezan—at least not in a rich courtezan.

What can Lord Brougham have was not apparently resident in Paris during meant?

that insanity; but he admits that he might But Lord Brougham has made no reference to have speculated through agents: and that another article on Mademoiselle de l'Enclos wbich he had Parisian friends well skilled in such occurs in Voltaire's · Mélangos Historiques,' vol. affairs, seems the best ascertained fact in 1. p 217, &c. This is entitled, D’Abraham, et this department of his history. It is probade Ninon l'Enclos;'-—and here, after some pages of the usual mockery of the Old Testament, we ble that he continued through life as deterhave a full account of the Abbé de Châteauneufs mined a stock-jobber as his disciple Talleyown love.passages with Ninon sexagenaire--thus rand; and there were not a few occasions concluded : Voilà la vérité de cette historielte que l'Abbé de Châteauneuf, mon bon parrain, a on which Voltaire must have possessed qui je dois mon baptême, 'm'a raconté souvent means of access to government secrets both dans mon enfance, pour me former l'esprit et le in France and elsewhere, as precious for

As it appears from the paper which the purposes of this trade as Talleyrand Lord Brougham does cite that Ninon had been of old well acquainted with Madame Arouet, the himself, or any surviving Liberal but one, mother of Voltaire, we think the whole affair of ever enjoyed. There is no doubt that long no small importance to bis early history. before his fortieth year he was master of

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an estate not only abundant but splendid. omits all reference to these incidents, and After that time he seems to have acted as a Condorcet only mentions them to deplore sort of banker to many of the French no- that such a mind should have condescendbles -and even to several of the smaller Ger- ed, for obvious reasons of personal interest man potentates. When he died he left, be or convenience, to a momentary dereliction sides some landed possessions, a moneyed of the path of truth. In even the last of the capital producing a revenue of full 70001. three cases he almost instantly retracted. a-year-equal in France then to double the Even then he found time to renounce by an sum in England now at the very least. And insolent sarcasm, the Saviour, in whose sawe see no reason to suppose that any part crament he had not feared to participate. worth mentioning of this great fortune was We rather wonder that Lord Brougham did derived from the sale of those productions omit these things. They might perhaps which had been piled on or under every have afforded him some support in his views counter in Europe during half a century of as to the effect of the Jesuit education. He uniform and unrivalled popularity. might have observed that Voltaire had at

From eighteen to seventy-eight this inde- least taken in so much of its doctrine as to fatigable stock-jobber and inoney lender was be at ease whenever it suited him, in the continually before the world as a produc- practice of subscribing creeds in the nontive author ; no modern diligence ever natural sense.' equaled his-not Southey's, or Goethe's, or Voltaire is distinguished among infidels Scott's. In all these years not one can be —we mean of course among infidels at all pointed out in which he did not add some- entitled to be considered of his order in thing considerable to the anti-Christian lit- mind and accomplishment—by two circumerature of Europe. In all his voluminous stances, both of which seem pregnant with correspondence there is not one letter, not extraordinary difficulty for those who asone line, indicating the slightest pause of sert that he had really iurned his mind with doubt or hesitation in his hostility to the honest anxiety to the study of Chistianity. whole scheme of revealed religion. We He stands alone, among really eminent should be curious to know at what period men of letters,' in his uniformly maintainLord Brougham inclines to fix his turned opinion of the Bible. Many before, ing his mind with sufficient anxiety' and many more after him, have denied not to the evidences of Christianity. Did any only the inspiration of the sacred volume, man ever study those evidences with any but the reality of the most moinentous facts anxiety, and yet discover not even reason recorded in it; but Voltaire was the first for a momentary halt—a slight shade of who constantly denied its title to be considsuspicion that the system might be true? ered at all events as the most curious mon

He had other occupation for his time; ument of remote antiquity, and the reposiand Condorcet glories in avowing it. 'I tory of some of the sublimest effusions of am weary,' said Voltaire, ere his career human genius. He treated it, boy and man, was half done, ‘of hearing it eternally said as a bundle of course imbecilities. In this, that twelve men were sufficient to establish we believe, we may safely say he had no Christianity; ere I die I shall have proved predecessor. Far different was the tone that one man was sufficient to destroy it.' even of his master Bayle—the master from This was his purpose—this was his ambi- wboin he drew nineteen-twentieths of what is tion—in this cause it was that his mon called his ecclesiastical learning, and also strous vanity had been embarked at the out. how and where to get at the other twentieth; set-and in this cause he never faltered. far different was the tone even of his greatWhatever he read was read not with a est successor, Gibbon. Entirely different is view to the ascertainment of truth, but in that of every French infidel, possessing any quest of fresh ammunition for the post considerable reach of capacity, in the preswhich he had pledged his vanity-his all — ent age. to maintain.

The other point is that evidence of honIt is indeed true that at three different est study supplied by his stubborn refusal to times—once when still a young man-once admit that Christianity, whether a revealed when in the meridian brightness of his or a human system, has had any beneficial course—and once again when within sight influence on the human race-ihat it has of the gates of death-Voltaire made sol- been a humanizing religion. You will emn professions of his adherence to the find no denial of this in any preceding stuChurch of Rome: but Lord Brougham | dent of classical antiquity—but in that de

partment at least Voltaire merited John-| means of an intellectual supremacy to be son's description vir paucarum literarum.' established for himself over the mind of the Neither, however, will you find any denial civilized world. How could this influence of it in any real student even of the history be created if he were to set at defiance and literature of the ages subsequent to the openly upon every ocasion the prevailing Christian era- -except only, if as a student opinion and sentiment of the world—how he inust here be excepted, Voltaire. Slen- maintained, strengthened, consolidated, der, nevertheless, as Voltaire's stock of unless by a most sedulous conciliation of classical, perhaps we might add of mediæ- that opinion and sentiment, through a thouval, learning may have been-he had sand arts-especially the affectation, in enough of both to render it very hard to performances meant to be put into the reconcile his obstinacy on this head with hands of women and young people, of some the theory that considers him as an honest sympathy and respect for what it was well man; more than enough to overwhelm all known parents and guardians, generally who attribute to him either the smallest re- speaking, still esteemed and cherished? spect for purity of morals, or the slightest It is, we repeat, impossible to point out the comprehension of the efficacy of social reg- year, aye, or the month in which he was ulations in raising or lowering the general not laboring at some directly and avowedly standard of well-being among mankind infidel work; and to say that bigotry'only and womankind. Here, however, Voltaire saw the sanie infidelity in contemporaneous has had a plentiful succession. He is the productions of a less Aagrant blazon, is in parent of that new German school (recruit- fact to say that 'bigotry' alone considered ed largely from the philosophizing Jews) these last with sufficient anxiety for the by which religious unbelief is proclaimed discovery of the truth. When Voltaire in in the same breath with systematic deprav- a tragedy introduces a scornful description ity of morals. To him, of whom we may of priests, what does it signify that, as Lord well say, as Milton does of Belial,


Brougham observes, the priests are those

of some pagan superstition? Did the inA spirit more lewd Fell not from heaven,'

tention escape any one familiar with Vol

taire's works? Did it ever elude the Parwe may trace those myriad abominations of isian parterre ? How could it, when he the modern continental press, in which the had a thousand times explained that all religion of the Gospel is boldly denounced as priests are part and parcel of the same cona tyrannical scheme for the abridgment spiracy; not less of the same brotherhood, of the natural liberty of man in the indul- because this calls himself a Druid, that a gence of every passion embraced in his Bonze, a third an Imaum, the fourth a nature, as we have that nature before us. Bishop, than soldiers are efficient members But indeed even many infidels who have of the same army for wearing, one of them not ventured to avow the Voltaire doctrine a blue uniform, a second red, another boton this score, appear to betray no scanty tle-green? But we are still more at a loss sympathy with it. From the old Italian to understand Lord Brougham's calling scoffers downwards it is curious to trace attention to passages of tragic verse in the almost perpetual combination of skepti- which Voltaire expresses the faith and feelcism and lubricity. In Bayle's Dictionary, ings of Christians, as if such things ought that grand arsenal of all learning, all wit, to have at all disturbed the judgment of the and all wickedness, it is difficult to say bigots. The 'bigots' must have been which element is the more copiously exhib- blockheads truly if ihey had considered the ited; and it is much the same with Gib- Christianity of one play as more reflective bon's History.

of the author's opinion than the Islamism We do not well understand Lord of the next in the scroll. Men of religious Brougham's meaning where he analyzes conviction were quite justified in not only and quotes this or that Poem or Essay of not attaching any value to such' patches Voltaire's, and then remarks that nothing of piety,' but rejecting them with even but Romish 'bigotry' could have detect- greater indignation than the most unblushed' infidelity lurking' in the piece. ing of his libels (since we must not say Whether glaring or lurking, it is always blasphemies) against their Saviour. there—you can never detect what does not We think most readers will agree with exist. Voltaire's ambition was to destroy us in regretting these specimens of loose Christianity-but by what means ? By phraseology; but we shall probably be

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classed with the worst of the bigots when | seventy years of age he invented and propawe say that Lord Brougham seems to us gated against an innocent girl of sevento give Voltaire a great deal too much teen-whose only offence had been that the credit for his conduct in the famous cases attractions of her acting in some old play of Calas and de la Barrcma conduct which deferred the production on the Parisian indeed has been extolled in very unmea- stage of his own 'Lois de Minos.' Not a sured terms by many who regard his gen- word of the enforced completeness of the eral character much as we ourselves have al- jealous old tyrant's retraction-not a word ways done. We are not so absurd as to ques- of the shout of scorn that reached his ears tion that Voltaire would have heard the details from even his own most steadfast partisans of such atrocious injustice as that in the Ca- in the capital. las case with sincere indignation, in what- His Lordship rivals Condorcet in the ever part of the world it might have been lenity with which he dismisses Voltaire's perpetrated ; but it is impossible not to conduct in relation to the King of Prussia. consider his pertinacious zeal and dili- We hear enough of Frederick's offences, gence in the matter as having been prin- which were worthy of all contempt as well cipally stimulated by the fact that the bar- as wonder: but the Patriarch gets off as barity was, instigated by his own elected if he had merely been the innocent victim enemies, the French Clergy. He saw the of the despot's caprice.-- The King,' says opportunity of carrying the sentiments of Lord Brougham,' claims the whole blame.' all mankind with him against them—and It seems to us that the more you load the he seized it and used it with matchless en- King with the blame of the separation, the ergy, adroitness, and success. In the af- more abominably shabby is the figure that fair of La Barre his personal interest—not Voltaire makes, when one turns over the merely that of his vanity as pledged to the large portion of his writings occupied in ruin of the clerical influence, but that of one shape or another with the King. Volhis own immediate safety-was directly taire, says his Lordship, had given Fredercompromised. The shocking cruelty ofick no cause of offence—he had only served which La Barre was the victim had been and praised and extolled him—his dismissal invoked in the name of outraged religion; was wanton in the highest degree: Voland one of the assigned proofs of the un- taire would have continued at Berlin all his fortunate youth's infidelity was that he days but for this odious outbreak of the bad Voltaire's works in his chamber. tyrannical temper. Very well—and what The patriarch was bitterly twitted with did Voltaire do after he left Prussia ? Did these particulars by his own friends the he not immediately commence a series of Encylopédistes, when, at a later period, satirical writings, in every possible shape of he refused to give them any assistance in prose and verse, by which the King was the affair of M. de Morangiés.

held up to universal odium, scorn, nay, Lord Brougham admits that Voltaire horror—the materials all supplied by what was guilty of many meannesses-he espe- Voltaire had observed of Frederick's concially notices the levity with which he duct and manners from day to day, from communicated his most obnoxious writings night to night, during the residence in to all that approached him, and the astound- Berlin and Potsdam—the period when Voling solemnity with which he constantly taire had been not only worshipping him to denied his concern in these writings, when his face with unwearied adulation, but reprethey got into circulation, and threatened to senting him in every book and every letter he bring him into trouble. There was hardly wrote as the model of every virtue, as well a year in his life that he did not subject as of universal genius ?* Did erer vituper himself to this sort of humiliation. The ation recoil so dreadfully upon its author ? eternal succession of dirty petty personal Nor was any possible creeping paltriness quarrels that kept him all his days in hot omitted. Can any man contemplate withwater is mentioned—and his reckless vin- out blushing the various readings in Voldictiveness is alluded to, condemned, and taire's earlier Epitres, &c., &c., to and lamented. But Lord Brougham does not about his ' Achille-Homère :'-every high go into any one of these affairs so as to give wrought panegyric, every delicate complihis uninformed reader the very slightest notion of the, in truth, unparalleled base- about the usual Ferney nickname for Frederiek

* Lord Brougham has a mysterious little note ness of which Voltaire was capable. Not Luc. We infer that his Lordship has not penea word of the infamous calumny which at trated the shocking meaning of the Patriarch.


ment, erased and supplanted by a fierce observed to M. du Chatelet that St. Lamburst of hatred, or a savage sneer of disgustbert had only served him as he (Voltaire) -all the original eulogy, as he shortsight- had served M. de Richelieu, -'one nail,' edly fancied, for ever cancelled and annulo said the bereft lover to the respectable and led—but all raked up and renewed by the honorable husband-'one nail will drive blind zeal of his own chosen disciples in out another.' Condorcet eulogizes her as their enthusiastic determination that the supérieure à tous les préjugés, et n'ayant world should


la faiblesse de cacher combien elle les

dédaignait.' As to the punctiliousness -lose no drop of the immortal man !

of the Henaults and Deffands,'—the liaison There is one small subject on which it of Louis XV. with his Pompadour was not equally amazed and amused us to find more openly blazoned to the world than was Lord Brougham taking up the cudgels for during a long succession of years that of the Voltaire. After a lively but imperfect ac

President Henault with Madame du Def count of his long retirement at the chateau fand-whose whole previous and subseof Cirey-lively, for it is Lord Brougham's; quent history (down to old age and blindmost imperfect, because he has neglected ness) was as respects these matters a duthe best authorities ;-we have the follow- plicate of Madame du Chatelet's. Lord ing paragraph on the nature of the attach- Brougham has had good opportunities of ment' between Voltaire and Madame du observing French Society; but when he Chatelet :

says that the strongest argument for the

Platonic purity of the attachment is the Many conjectures have, of course, been rigor with which French society forbids raised, as at the time much scandal was circu- all such demonstrations of intimacy belated. There seems upon the whole no suffi- tween guilty lovers, as were implied in Volcient reason to question its having been Pla- taire's domestication at Cirey, we must ask tonic. The conduct of the husband, a respectable and honorable man, the character of the whether Lord Brougham considers of no lady herself, but above all the open manner in importance what was the universal opinion which their intimacy was avowed, and the of French society as to the particular case constant recognition of it hy persons so respect. here in question ? Who ever heard of able as the Argentals and Argensons, so punc- any doubt on the subject among the French tilious as the Deffands and the Henaults, seem

society at the time ?-where did Lord to justily this conclusion. It is well known that, boih in former times and in our own,

Brougham find any trace of conjectures ?' the laws of French society are exceedingly He mentions various appellations for the rigorous, not indeed to the exclusion of the lady that occur in Voltaire's letters—but realities, but to the saving of the appearances he omits one—Venus-Newton.' It is

- Les convenances avant tout” is the rule. plain, in short, that granting the rule of It is never permitted, where a grave suspicion society to have been what Lord Brougham exists of a criminal intercourse, that the slight states, Voltaire and Madame du Chatelet est appearance of intimacy should be seen in public between the parties.

Voltaire's letters claimed an exception—and that their claim to all his correspondents, in which he speaks was allowed. In English society also we of Emily 10 some, of Madame la Marquis to have had and still have some very strict others, of Chatelet-Newton to others, giving rules : yet Lord Brougham knows that the her remembrances to them, and himself invit influence of party can now and then overing them 10 the chateau-all seems wholly ride the severest of them in what calls itself inconsistent with the rules of social intercourse the highest life of London. observed by our neighbors, on the supposition of her having been his mistress.'

Lord Brougham has this note at p. 80 : Can Lord Brougham be serious? The Marquis du Chatelet was an elderly nobody letter 10 Madame du Deffand, announcing the

· An expression which occurs in Voltaire's -the tame stupid appendage of an imperi- Marchioness's death, seems strange. Though ous voluptuous young blue-stocking and it clearly proves nothing, yet it was an extrafury, who never condescended to the slight- ordinary thing to say at such a moment. He est affectation of regard for him, or for any asks to be allowed to weep with her for one of the vulgar duties and virtues of her sex.

qui avec ses faiblesses avait un ame respecThe respectability of the husband and table."-(Cor. Gen., iii. 365.) In all probathe character of the lady' were such that which Madame du D. might have heard him

bility this referred to her violent temper, of Voltaire, on discovering that he had been complain, as he certainly suffered much under supplanted in her fancy by St. Lambert, it.


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