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gram, if it
Extract of a Letter
relative to the Death of Voltaire, and that
of Jean Jacques Rousseau. M. de Voltaire has just terminated to endure me at her side.” He was his long career amid the honours paid not allowed to be interred in Paris; to him by Parisian enthusiasm. He and the church in which he was was crowned at the Theatre Français, buried at Troyes en Champagne, has at the close of the representation of been interdicted. His punishment his Irene, a tragedy which savours was well merited by him, seeing that strongly of the chilled age when he he protested, until his latest hour, wrote it. On quitting the theatre, he against the divinity of Jesus Christ. was surrounded by the minor poets, He even composed the following epiwho demanded, on their knees, the
be so named, against honour of kissing his hands. This religion, and repeated it to his friends, excess of enthusiasm, which was very when the agonies of death were fast ridiculous, became still more absurd approaching. on his reaching the house of Mr
Adieu, mes amis, Franklin, who fell on his knees, and
Adieu, la compagnie, asked a blessing of him for his young
Dans une heure d'ici, nephew. The excruciating pains felt
anéantie, by M. de Voltaire led him to ask a
Sera ce qu'elle était une heure avant ma vie. remedy of his friend M. D. Richelieu,
I have not heard that he has as yet who laboured under the same com- had an epitaph bestowed on him, unplaint. The latter sent him opium, less the ines which have been handed the remedy to which he had himself about, and which are quite in the had recourse ; and by its abuse he was epigrammatic style, are to be considerpoisoned. In his latest moments, he ed as such. expressed a wish to consult M. Tron- De Voltaire admirez la bizarre planette : chin, of whom, however, he did not Il naquit chez Ninon, et mourut chez Villette. entertain the most favourable opinion, The latter is a young Swiss lady, of and treated him as a quack, his art as whom he was greatly enamoured, and imposture, &c. Exasperated at these whom he had married to M. de insults, M. Tronchin told him, with Villette.* much gravity, that, at the most, he Jean Jacques Rousseau has renderhad not more than two hours to live, ed his end singularly interesting by and that therefore it behoved him to the memoirs of his life, in which he see to his affairs. On this observation has made an exact avowal of all his he was desired to withdraw.
actions. These memoirs are comprised M. de Voltaire now raised himself in an octavo volume, which sells at a on his bed, with the help of his nurse most extravagant price. It is even and of his notary. The latter having said that copies have been purchased handled him somewhat roughly, re- at as high a rate as eighty livres, (more ceived a cuff, the force of which led than three guineas,) and from that to him to enter his protest against the twenty-five.
The dearness of the prognostic of the doctor. As soon as book arises from the vigilance of the he was recovered from the disorder police, and from its interest--for M. into which the awkwardness of the Rousseau has developed in it the innotary had thrown him, he said to trigue of his novel. It is as follows: himself, “ At length I am to die. His Julie is Mademoiselle de MontBe it so; but let my end be conform- morency, married to a French nobleable to my life. It is more than pro- man, whose name I have not been bable that my body will be deposited able to learn, and whom he styles in the Chantier (timber-yard) of Madame Wolmar. This unfortunate Maurapas, where the ashes of La female has been long dead ; and it is Couvreur* repose.
Forty years ago said by several persons who were acshe would not permit me to sleep with quainted with Rousseau, that from her, but she will now be constrained that time he became unsocial and mis
* A celebrated actress, denied, with all those of her profession in the Catholic states, Christian burial.
+ These details were given by M. Mercier, who was present when M. de Voltaire breathed his last.
anthropic. He acknowledges that he others, he presented to them this fehad carried on, during three months, male, saying, “I call God and my an illicit intercourse with Madame de friends to witness that I acknowledge Montmorency, the mother of his Julie; no other wife beside Mademoiselle le and that this lady, conceiving herself to Vasseur.” By this woman he had four be the only object of his homage, had children, three of whom are, agreeably confided to him the education of her to his testimony, in the foundling hosdaughter, whom he seduced: That a pital. With the destiny of the other nobleman had demanded her in mare he professes to be unacquainted. riage and that he, Rousseau, having (Here is introduced an extract from had satisfactory proofs of the probity the preface to THE CONFESSIONS," of this nobleman, had beseeched him already before the public. What folnot to entail misery on the young lows, as referring to the manner of lady and on himself. To this he con- Rousseau's death, is not so well known. sented, and retired to his country seat. A loose hint is thrown out by Madame This personage is his Milord Edouard. de Staël, in her memoirs of this exThat the Viscount de Montmorency, traordinary character, that a suspicion who is still living, * on his return was entertained of his having been from the war in Hanover, having per- taken off by poison. The particulars ceived that intrigues were carrying on
are these.) under his roof, dismissed M. Rousseau,
The mausoleum of Jean Jacques and married his daughter to the no- Rousseau is at Ermenonville, where bleman known by the name of Wole he died, in the house of his friend the
He also says, that having bee Marquis de Girardin. The cause of come desperately enamoured of Mad- his death has been disguised, by asame de Montmorency's female atten- cribing it to an attack of apoplexy. dant, his passion carried him to such He died of poison, because his mea length as to instigate him to steal a moirs had appeared before the time gold trinket belonging to her mistress, he had prescribed ; and it was the inwith a view to criminate her: That fidelity of his mistress, who had stolen having thrown out suspicions against them from him, which led him to this unfortunate girl, he caused her have recourse to poison. He is buried to be sent to prison, to the end that, in a small island formed by a lake, in as her deliverer, he might acquire cer
the centre of a sombre group of trees, tain rights over her person ; and that, in which he took particular delight. if she had not yielded to his passion, On one side of his tomb, which is a he would have had the courage to see square of six feet, surmounted by a her hanged, and to despatch himself cornucopia, M. Girardin has inscribed afterwards with a poignard: That the following lines. being in extreme distress, a doctor of Ici, sous ces ombres paisibles, the Sorbonne, whom he names, pro- Pour les restes de Jean Jacques Rousseau, posed to him to write against religion. L'amitié posa ce tombeau : This offer he accepted, and took care
Mais c'est dans tous les caurs sensibles to fulfil his engagement. He names
Que cet homme divin, qui fut tout sentiment, a dozen women of quality, still living, Doit trouver du respect l’eternal monument. from whom he received favours, at The other side of the tomb has a times and under circumstances, which musical trophy for his operatic piece, carry with them a great air of proba
VILLAGE.” Behind bility. His mistress is the daughter is a woman in tears, giving her breast of M. le Vasseur, a director of imposts to an infant, who holds in his hands at Dijon. By his persuasives she was " L'EMILE." The third side repreled to elope with him. Having sents two doves billing, as an emblem brought together, at a dinner party, of the “ Nouvelle Heloise.” Messrs Diderot, d'Alembert, and
LE DEVIN DE
new connexions grown up which you species of representation which, as an must again destroy, new influence ac- element in the composition of Parliaquired which you must dispossess of ment, I never shall cease to defend. its authority, and that in these fruit- In truth, Gentlemen, though the less attempts at unattainable purity question of Reform is made the preyou were working against the natural text of those persons, who have vexed current of human nature.
the country for some months, I verily I believe, therefore, that, contrive believe that there are very few even how you will, some such humble mo- of them who either give credit to their tives of action will find room to ope- own exaggerations, or care much about rate in the election of members of the improvements which they recomParliament. I think that it must and mend. Why, do we not see that the ought to be so, unless you mean to most violent of the Reformers of the exclude from the concerns of the na- day are aiming at seats in that assemtion all inert wealth, all inactive ta- bly, which, according to their own lent, the retired, the aged, and the in- theories, they should have left to walfirm, all who cannot face popular as- low in its own pollution, discountesemblies or engage in busy life; in nanced and unredeemed ? It is true, short, unless you have found some that if they had found their way there, expedient for disarming property of they might have endeavoured to bring influence, without (what I hope we us to a sense of our misdeeds, and to are not yet ripe for) the abolition of urge us to redeem our character by property itself.
some self-condemning ordinance; but I would have by choice if the would not the authority of their names, choice were yet to be made I would as our associates, have more than have in the House of Commons great counterbalanced the force of their elovariety of interests, and I would have quence as our Reformers. them find their way there by a great But, Gentlemen, I am for the whole variety of rights of election; satisfied constitution. The liberty of the subthat uniformity of election would pro- ject as much depends on the mainteduce any thing but a just representa- nance of the constitutional prerogation of various interests. As to the tives of the Crown, on the acknowclose boroughs, I know that through ledgment of the legitimate power of them have found their way into the the
other House of Parliament, as it House of Commons men whose talents does in upholding that supreme power have been an honour to their kind, (for such it is in one sense of the and whose names are interwoven with word, though not in that of the Revothe history of their country. I can- lution of 1648,) the power of the not think that system altogether purse which resides in the democrativicious which has produced such cal branch of the constitution. Whatfruits. I cannot think that there ever beyond its just proportion was should be but one road into that as- gained by one part, would be gained sembly, or that no man should be at the expense of the whole; and the presumed fit for the deliberations of a balance is now, perhaps, as nearly senate, who has not had the nerves poised as human wisdom can adjust previously to face the storms of the it. I fear to touch that balance, the hustings.
disturbance of which must bring conI need not say, Gentlemen, that I fusion on the nation. am one of the last men to disparage Gentlemen, I trust there are few, the utility and dignity of popular very few, reasonable and enlightened elections. I have good cause to speak men ready to lend themselves to proof them in far different language.-- jects of confusion. But I confess I But, among numberless other consi- very much wish, that all who are not derations which endear to me the fa- ready to do so would consider the ill vours which I have received at your effect of any countenance given, pubhands, I confess it is one, that as your licly or by apparent implication, to representative I am enabled to speak those whom, in their heart and judgmy genuine sentiments on this (as I ments, they despise. I remember that think it) vital question of Parliament- most excellent and able nan, Mr ary Reform, without the imputation Wilberforce, once saying in the House of shrinking from popular canvass, or of Commons, that he “never believed of seeking shelter for myself in that an opposition really to wish mischief
to the country; that they only wished avoid the fall ? I fear they would át,
LETTERS OF A LIBERAL WHIG.
remark, and which I nevertheless feel From the neutral position which I unwilling to pass by without directing have ventured to assume, not as be- your attention to it, were it only for tween conflicting principles (on which the purpose of shewing you that it has no man ought to be neuter) but as not escaped mine. The author does between contending factions, allow me not expressly say that he is himself to pursue a little farther the line I the wise man, par excellence,” who have adopted of reflection on the con- alone pursues his path without caring, duct of both. A distinguished polic while all the rest of the party, which tical writer describes in a few words he has hitherto thought worthy of that the situation of men who, in a state denomination, are suddenly transformdistracted by party divisions, refuse ed into fools and madmen, exclaiming to go all lengths with those to whom against him for having deserted them. they generally adhere. “ Ceci m'est He only leaves this conclusion to be arrivé plus d'une fois dans ma vie.- necessarily inferred from the premises ; Des hommes avec lesquels j'avois fait and yet, after all, it is the conclusion alliance parcequ'ils avoient raison, ont at which every man who expresses an cru que j'etais engagé par cette alliance opinion differing from others must exà les soutenir même quand ils avoient pect his hearers to arrive-for, othertort. Le cas n'est pas rare en politi- wise, of what value is his opinion ? If que. Pendant quelque tems les sages he thinks himself wrong, it is not his et les insensés marchent ensemble. opinion which he expresses. If right, Il vient au moment ou les insensés it follows of necessity that he must s'elancent et crient à l'abandon quand think the others wrong-in plainer on ne les suit pas. Les sages conti- words, that to the extent at least of nuent leur route sans s'inquiéter.” the present question, he alone is “ le There is an air of modest humility in sage” the rest" les fous” and “ les this passage, which you will doubtless insensés"--civil words, no doubt, but
still very properly expressions of his that very abuse and misrepresentation true meaning. Thus, it is rather a are instruments of no potency in their false modesty that leaves to be raised hands when opposed to similar weapons by implication, a construction which in the grasp of their antagonists. The necessarily follows from every man's world, which looks upon the parties declaring that such, or such, is his in and out of place with the same particular opinion. Still, in the pre- eyes that it contemplates two prizesent refined" state of society, it is far fighters on a stage, feels naturally inbetter that hard words should be dignant when that which, in point of avoided in every discussion; and there. situation, has a great and overwhelmfore it is to be regretted that the wri- ing advantage, condescends, in additer above quoted did not add to the tion, to resort to the same instruments humility for which he is so conspicu- of annoyance which the other employs ous, a little forbearance, and substi- as his only means of defence and retute some milder epithets, by which to sistance. It is like a combat between characterise 'the fault of those who two swordsmen, of whom one is cased choose to proceed farther than he does in complete armour, while the other is in the road to which he had, up to a naked. But I have a stronger objeccertain point, journeyed with them. tion to urge against this method of Of all shapes in which intemperance of ministerial warfare. In the hands of thought or language displays itself, opposition, exaggeration and mis-statethe most odious is that which it as- ment, ridicule and calumny, are so far sumes when employed by men to the recognised instruments of party whom the world (whether justly or purposes as to have lost at least half unjustly) will always affix the stigma their effect, even with the multitude ; of political apostacy, when it hears and no man~I will not say no man of them reviling and insulting their for- sense only—but nobody whatever mer partizans and associates. I en- now thinks the worse of a minister's tertain all possible indulgence for any talents because the Edinburgh Review honest change of opinions, and all calls him incapable, or more highly of possible respect for the honest account his opponents because the same journal of such change; but the very con- represents that certain improvements sciousness of being subject to such in political knowledge, which are open mutability, ought to make all men to all the world, have by some unaccautious and moderate in their expres- countable fatality remained as exclusions regarding the opinions of others; sively their own property as if they and more especially, those who are not had been sealed up, and the use of only theoretically but experimentally them prohibited to every one else. But acquainted with this infirmity of hu- it is otherwise, when these sameengines man nature. Of the various grada- of fraud and contrivance are employed tions, therefore, of criminality, to under the broad imposing, cover of which the vice of exaggeration is official or semi-official gravity. The subject, the highest and most enor- Whig, bespattered with government mous is the exaggeration of renegades dirt, becomes at once, in the eyes of and apostates which terms, in their half the world, the identical monster popular sense, I take to include all they would represent him to be; and men who have publicly altered their as, unfortunately, there now exists a political creed, or separated themselves third party in the state, incomparably from their political associates. Next inore dangerous and more hostile to to that in flagitiousness, is the exaggera- the existence of both Whigs and tion of men in power, which I consider Tories, than either of those can be to as incomparably less excuseable than the other; and who are restrained, by that of Whigs and Reformers; both as no one scruple of honour or policy, by it is more mischievous in its effects, no one motive which can actuate the and as there is less temptation to the mind of a gentleman, and by no one commission of it. The party in principle that is seated in the breast of power, when once firinly seated, have a patriot, by whom the old and reguthe command of innumerable engines, lar opposition, so long as they retain and methods of self-support, infinitely the smallest portion of popular favour more efficient than the abuse and mis- or esteem, are beyond all comparison representation of their less fortunate more hated than the warmest and most rivals ; besides, that to the fair and violent among the supporters of gowell-judging part of the community, vernment, the consequence is, that,