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curable of all of them is jealousy. The those of that geometrician to dercy
Friend. And suppose you had ruined vour with the English : but I have ever fome book sellers that I could name, you loved my country, though my country would have done no bad action; for they has proved to ungrateful to me. The are the pirates of literature. Authors Age of Lewis XIV. is, I thiok, my best are at perpetual war with them, and work in profe. The catalogue of celeto rob fuch is but making reprisals. brated writers, which is placed at the
Volt. This reasoning is more acute end of the last volume, made a great than bonett. Ilowever, I had to contest stir, as you well know. It was faid to with a combination of booksellers, print- be a fatire from beginning to end, and ers, hawkers, publithers, and subscribers; this because I did justice, and dared to and some of these, when vexed and be impartial. I do not retract a fyllable tormented, I have sent to the dogs, and of what I then said ; and I do declare to with them they may growl and bark for you, that, were I to undertake writing all I care for them.
my opinion concerning the merits of the About this period of my life, if my French writers of the present day, I memory serves me, I strove to become a should be as bold in the execution of member of the French Academy. I was such a work as I was at that time. I had refused admiflion into the fociety, but all been collecting materials for this work I regretted was the emoluments of it. for a length of time." It was my endea
My Temple of Taste (Temple du Goût) vour to form a well-proportioned whole - seemed to give disgult to every reader'; out of the scattered parts, and to repre
yet every body read it, and many readers seut, in proper colours and at one
Infiory of the Man with the Iron Mark, Volt.-Lefranc is a laborious writer. who died in the Ballile, as I conversed He got himself banished through his raniwith fune persons who attended upon ty of making the Court of Aids of Montbiin. With respect to the arts and scie auban a Parliament of Paris. Should evces, I had only to trace the progress he not rather have known that perfous of the wind in philofophy, in eloquence, like bimself and me ought to unite and is poetry, and in criticitin; to mark the oppofe every Piron? But his Dido, indiflieps of painting, sculpture, mulic, and ferent as the piece was, turned his head, the improvements in jewellery work, in and caused him to write a preface to it, the nanutactures of tapelery, glass, gold as nupertinent as a preface could well be; Htutis, and clocks and watches. Ifketeh- and for this he merited baniflıment, much ed, as I went on, the men of ingenuity more than for his Discourse to a Court of in all these branches. Ilearen forbid Aids. I have felt much concern for liu that I Mould hare einployed 300 pages
ever since. I heard that he had cuckin giving the lattory of Gallendi! Lite is olded a governor, and I have been told tvo fhort, and tiine too precious, to be that contributed to his exile. In truth, trilled away in tuch a namet. Do not such things as these are snuch to the think, iny trieuds, that whilft I fonietimes honour of polite literature, but they do praise my own writings, ļ with to avoid no credit to lettres de cachet. I rare speaking of their taudts, or to excuse my told Thiriot twenty times, that I was ono deficiency. To whom fhould I ac- forry I had not formed a strict connec, knowledge them, if not to my own tion with Lefranc. They fay, he is not friends, and to those who with their liap- only a man of learning, but really a good py talent of criticitin unite indulgence? citizen and a warm friend. I own to Whole hearts should I will to infpire you, that I hare read with pleaturc his with tenderness, but yours?. In these, Differtation on the Pervigilium Venetis. my contetlions, I open to you my whole He has given us some good fpccimens of inind, and I consider that iny ingenuous trantlariou. I have detended all he has nets will be looked upon as the tribute laid of the Æneid of Virgil ; he was cadue to your friendthip,
pable of feeling Virgil's beauties, ard le Friend.—Bue what hinders you now from has dared to (peak of his faulis. gwing us a lpecimen of your excellent Friend.-What do you think of Pit criticism, your opinion of the works of ron? some of the authors of the eighteenth Volt ---Piron is the author of the Metro century? This will furnith an elegant mania, and of a famous little ode. Pic digretlion, and prove an agrecable anjufc- ron had a inind to laugh at me in his
Metromania, and has succeeded in a l'olt.--I want no folicitation for that great measure, purpole. I am reads to give you an I am now going to anticipate your napartial unftudied judgment of the queftions. greater part of the authors of the present I give you my opinion of Diderot in age.
two words. He was born a poet, but Friend.-Begin then by telling us what had no licad tor metaphyfies. As fur you think of Crélullon.
Montesquieu, the character of his prinl'olt. Judge of Crélvillon by this lin- cipal work, L'Esprit des Lvir (the Spirit gle circumstance: he was twenty years of laws), may be given by a play on in writing a tragedy, which is uever now the words of the title: Esprit jar les performed
Loir (Wit ou Laws). le laboured at this Chaieaubrun obtained great reputation work during tifty years of his life. He by his Philuétetes, which is little more was persecuted, and celebrated. His than a tranllation froin the Greek, book is excellent, but of no use. D'Aleni,
Gretler, it must be acknowledged, has bert is a perfect geometrician; be maindiftinguished himself by some little pieces, tained, before the French Academy, that full of inaccuracies, hile those of 'Chau- there was na fuch thing as poetry, and beu. There is an lpilile upon Happiz he has only to write verfes and proro luis nels, which is attributed in liim-but problem. 'I have but one word to say of what is this trivial poem? This man
Desfontaines, and that is what a ma. writes about happiness like other poor giftrate faid very coldly to linn, " And devils, who inake a great pother in their what does it tignify wherler you live ?** garrets, and fing in praise of pleure and He is the Anti-C'hritt of literature. The idleners.
Marquis de Mirabeau tas written a Njad. Denys. And Tefranc, uncle, 1 Treatise upoo Population, full of ideas; beg you will not forget him.
but as to leyle!-I inutt own, I lore good
French. D'Olivet found every thing in anatomy is false, his theory of light es Cicero, as Mallebranche saw every thing roneous; he has magnetic matter run in the Supreme Being: however, I think ning in channels, a thing impullible; his extracts from Cicero are very ele- three clements to be placed in the Arca gantly translated. I do not know that bian Nights Entertainment; no ublere his Detached Thoughts will do much in rations of the courte of natnre, nu diftime to come; they are pithy, but they covery.-- This is all that is to be found in are mere common-place. They want Descartes. that precilion, that brilliancy, which it Friend. There was living in his tiine is neceflary toc masims to have, in order a Galileo, who was a real inventor. He to their making an inpreiliver on the attacked Arifiotle with geometry and memory. Cicero was diffuso; and such experimental philosophy, whiili Deicaries protivity is neceflary in popular fpeaking, only oppoled new chimeras to antiquitand addrefies to a multitude of hearers. ed reveries. We cannot form a Rochefoucault out of Volt. You are right: but this Galileo a komau advocate, an orator of Rome. did not take upon bimself to make a In detached thoughts there is a necesity world, as Descartes did; be contented for falt, figure, and laconicilin : Cicero himself with examining the universe. Voes not appear to me in his right place There was no impofition on the great in them.
vulgar, or the finall, in that. Descartes Mad. Denys.-Uncle, you have made was an egregious quack, Galileo was a no mention yet of philolopliers, ineta- great philofopher. But I promised to physicians, and Icepties.
fay fomething about Leibnitz. That said Volt.—My dear niece, there are inany Leibnitz is a pleasant kind of doctor : finall wits, without industry, who conceau le says, in his lifcellanies, that Pascal's their ignorance under the matk of Pyrr- melancholy led his reason astray at latt; houifm. Scepticism requires a cultivated and he lays it rather harlily too. And, genius. Descartes, by advancing too after all, what is there surprising in the far, found himself in the region of polli- inatter?-is it to be wondered at, if a bilities. From the eloquent Plato to the inan like Pascal, of a delicate habit of profound Leibnitz, of whom I Mall pre- body, rather diposed to melancholy, fently speak, all the metaphyliciaus ap- thould froin the effects of a bad regimen pear to me to be like those curious loic his fenfes? Such a diforder is no trarellers who have visited the feraglio of more a subjecè for humiliation and wonthe Grand Signior; they have seen eu- der, than the bead-ach, or a fever. If nachs there, and pretend to have con- the great Pascal had an attack of such a verled with them; and proceed to in- nature, he was a Samson losing his form us about the favourite su tana, strength. Have you reinarked in his whilft, in fact, the grand lignior has no works, where he lays our life is very favourite fultava at all.
thort, compared to that of a sing or Friend.--I do not like that decisive raven? Ilis nurse had told him, I suptone in which Descartes delivers his Fairy pufe, that stags live three hundred years, Tales.
and ravens nine hundred. Heliod's nurse, Volt. You are very justly displeased too, in all probability, had told him the with it: but I beg you not to find fault fa:ne thing. But our doctor had only to with bis algebra, nor his geometrical aik the question of some hunttinau, calculations, for he gave them up alto- who would have told him that the lite of gether in his works. He has built an a ttag does mi exceed twenty years. enchantell caftle, without condescending lle is highly ridiculous, too, where lie to take a fingle dimension. He was onc tells us that we are wretched. This is of the greateli geometricians of the time manin, abfolute frenzy: I hate a quack he lived in ; yet he gave up his gen- that would make me believe I am nok, metry, and even his geometrical fpirit, in order to rend bis pills. Keep your for the spirit of invention and a fyfein pilis, my friend, and let me enjoy my of romance. It is this which ought to present fate of health. But, doctor, leffen tuit in our npinion; vet, to our why do you load me with abutive larithamne, it is this to which he owes his gnise? Is it because I preserve iny health, fuccefs. It must be owned, that his and do not take your Panacea? plytics are all a title of errors; fulle This is iny opinion of Doctor Leibluws of motion, vortices, which have nitz. He labours to prove that the soul been proved imposible, are to be found is iinmaterial. I am willing to believe in his lystem, wlrich Ilaygcuis lias labour- bis is fo; hut, in truth, he give. us very ed in vain to buliter np and amend. His poor realurs to Cuntirin it. He would give Mr. Locke a Nap on the face over profe. You know that when I wrote iny cheek, because this philofopher has the History of Charles XII. I found him faid, God has fufficient power over mat- to be a common man, whilft others ter to cause it to think. The oftener I looked upon him as a hero. But Newton read Locke, the more I am desirous fuch appeared to me a man of an uncommon gentlemen as there should study hiin. It fort : all he told me carried with it such appears to me that he has done what the an appearance of truth, that my lips Emperor Augustus did, and has issued were inut, and I had no refolution to out an. edict de coercendo intra fines open them. Besides, you know what imperio. Locke bas prescribed bounds Frenchmen are; do but speak with diffito science, in order to concentrate its dence of what you offer to them, and ftrength. What is the fou!?–I cannot they take you on your word. In fact, it tell. What is matter?-Matter is I is by address that you can pass counterknow not what. But here is Doctor feit money with poiterity for good specie; Leibnitz, who has discovered that mat- aud if Newton las discovered the truth, ter is a collection of wonades: it may that truth and its discoverer merit to be be fo; but I do not comprehend what announced to his age with confidence. thefe inonades are, nor be neither. In Mhort, Newton has set out philosophy Well then, my, soul fall be a monade: just as the ought to be: he did not affect how much now I am enlightened! a stile of humour and plealantry, to lhew But, fays our doctor, I will prove to you you he kept good company; there was a that you - are immortal. Will he ? that necellity for clearnefs and method, and will be doing me a pleasure ; for I have he is clear and methodical. as great a desire to be immortal as the Friend.—Here you have given Fondoctor has : I wrote my Henriad for no tenelle a little rap on the knuckles. other purpose. But this good man thinks Volt.-Granted. Fontenelle has enhimself more sure of itpmortality from livened his Plurality of Worlds. So his doctrine, than I do from my Hen- pleasant a subject admitted of being riad. Vanitas vanitatum, et metaphyfica decked out with garlands of Aowers; vanitas!
but thoughts of a deep and serious naFriend.-What do you think of Gaf- ture are masculine beauties, which you fendi? Do you not perceive that he must cover with the drapery of Poultin. wcalens the ftrength of all his argu- The Dialogues of the Plurality of Worlds, ments?
from which no great matter of instructiou Volt.—I think so; but a greater mif- is to be derived, and which besides are chief than that is, that his arguments founded on the wretclied hypothesis of fail him. He has guessed at many things Vortices, are notwithttanding very pretwhich have been proved since his time. ty. It is an agreeable book; there is no It is not sufficient, for example, to con- depth of metaphysical learning in it, nor quer the plenut by the strength of ar- any minuteness of difquifition. When gument; Newton found it necessary to Algarotti read me his Dialogues on Light, Thew, by examining the path of comets, in I gave hin the praise he merited, of what proportion they are forced on more, having displayed an infinite degree of wit, swiftly at the height of our planets; and and clearness of thought, upon the fineit confequently are not moved by a pre- part of physics : but, at the same time, tended vortex of matter, which cannot he had not founded the matter very move flowly at one time with a planet, deeply. Wit and lively exprellions anand swiftly at another with a comet; swer well enough for such truths as we and that in the faine space. It was ne- do but skim the surface of. I have not cessary that Bradley should discover, that the least intention of saying a word tu Light, in its progress, is not stopped be- the discrcdit of the author of the Plutwixt a far and us; and, confequently, rality of Worlds, whom I look upou as that there is no matter there to effect one who has done great lionour io tlus fuch stoppage. This is truly metaplıy- world which we inhabit. I have made a fical. Gaflendi is a man who tells you public declaration to the fame purpose, linply, there is a gold-mine somewhere; in some papers which I sent to all the but these are the men who bring you the journals. Newton has the advantage, ore worked and refined into pure gold. that he has gone to the very bottom od I own to you, my friends, that I have his subje&t; and it is absolute quackery rather been an enthufalt with regard to to give out fucks a ride as this, "The Newton; but it was because I found in Elements of Newton's Philosopliy made him Something divine. I am not apt to easy to every one's Capacity," lle mul give way to enthugasm, especially in bca very weuk man indeed, wlio fupra
poses that the philosophy of Newton is not Madame du Châtelet, who knew at within the comprehention of every one.
least as much of the matter as he did, I am of opinion, that whoever has gone and who corrected many things in his through a tolerable course of study, and book. I am unwilling to dwell upon the who has been accustomed to reflect a subject of self-praise, but I will maintain little, may easily understand my book; that, with a little application, any good but if it is supposed to be a book which understanding may comprehend there any one may take up and read betwixt elements. The errors which have crept the opera and fupper-time, it is a gross into the work ought not to be imputed mistake, It is a book which inuft be to me: the edition is very fine, but I ftudied.
prefer a single truth to a hundred head My friends, it has long been the prac- and tail pieces. tice to charge me with things to which I My friends, you all know my turn of have been a perfect stranger. I could mind; you know how much I am atnever learn precisely who the Solia tached to truth; I have fometimes stretchwas who disgraced me in verse, whilst I ed virtue to the length of imprudence, was vexed and tormented in prule on and yet, by an inconceivable fatality, I account of my Newton's Elements : but have met with a great deal of ill usage. I have no doubt it is the same Sofia who I have been the reputed author of epifwas the author of that tedious and un- tles, which I certainly never wrote; and equal epistle to Roufleau. I knew who that in the verses which are said to be that was, and I was acquainted with his the composition of the daughter of a tricks. He hated Rouleau and Desfon- minister of state. It drove ine into detaines, but he withed to make a cat's fpair; I had a thousand obligations to paw of me. I never granted his pardon the minister ; I had a friendship of five for fulering me to be suspected of hav- and twenty years standing with the moing written that wretched epittle; he ther of this young lady, against whomi might have peaceably enjoyed his tem- this wicked charge has been brought : porary fuccess, and have established his her husband, whose lofs I still lainent, reputation by ineans of his cunning, but died in my arms. Through whiat frenzy, he ought not to have laid his bantling at by what folly could I have given her ofmy door. My dear friends, this world fence? upon what ground has this unjust is full of perplexity; it envies the tran- imputation been laid? did the ever write quillity of ren of retirement; the peace two lines against any person whatever? which they enjoy is matter of jealousy If innocence is to be thus injuriously for the generality of mankind, and I attacked, we must renounce verse, prose, have never lefs regretted Paris than I do and even life itself. at this moment.
Mad. Denys.—You ought to think no Friend. Your Newton's Elements, more of such calumnies, you have been potwithttanding all the malicious tricks fülly revenged. that were played you, were exceedingly Voll. I comforted myself under this well received
misfortune, by working at a corrected Volt.--Doubtless ; but their great po-' edition of Newton's Elements, which is pularity was a real injury to me.
The neither intended for the use of ladies, quack title, which fome'ignorant book- nor of the public in general. It is not fellers gave the work, was a matter that a book to be turned over like a catalogue gave me the least difquietude.
of new publications: it is a book to be Mad. Denys.-Was not that title, well contidered, and which Desfontaines Elemens de Newton, mis à la portée de can no more be a judge of than he can tout le monde, par M. de Voltaire ? of a manly action. I have just received
Volt.-It was. I begged of my friends Algarotti, and have had him unpacked. to undeceive all those who could suppote He is engraved in the front of liis book me capable of placing such a ridiculous with Madame du Châtelet : the is there title to the book. I am perfuaded this the real marchioness; Italy could not work may have its use; and I thall ef- have produced one more capable than leem it a happiness if I teach the human she was to give him advice. The little understanding to itammer forth those that I have curforily read of his book, truths, which Maupertuis has taught the
confirm learned to speak eloquently. He is the
* It is intitled, " Neevronianif10 per le preceptor of men, I have undertaken Dame;" and was translated, in 1739, by lw initruction of children only. Alga- Miss Elizabeth Carter, under the title of Toti bad the fair fex for his pupils; but “ Sir Isaac Newton's Philosophy explained MoniaLY MAG., No. 156.