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the kindred classes now so esteemed : and | hour. These seem sensible arrangements. the Patriarch of Ferney countenanced them. What good could come of meeting one night “A grand reputation,” he says in one of every week in the season to parade sketches these letters to Condorcet, “is not to be and models? Does anybody suppose that a acquired more easily than by demonstrating really fine statue or picture would gain by how the globe was constructed, or describing such a process? Does anybody doubt that a new species of bug."
at the end of the year there would be a We understand better the importance fierce and degrading clamor about stolen which Voltaire's immediate disciples attached hints ? The system of hebdomadal manifesto their Academies than the revelation of the tations and speecbifications, with the autumsame sort of feeling in Condorcet's new bio- nal interludes of provincial starring and grapher. In those days the philosophers mountebanking before women and weavers, had a serious battle to fight, and it was of will never, we hope, be emulated by our vast consequence that ihe troops should Michael Angelos, Bramantes, and Raphaels. know each other, have confidence in their The inevitable waste of time, worry of temofficers, and omit no art to inveigle follies or per, lowering of tone, craving for excitement, neutralize influences. At present, as against exacerbation of shabby grudges and coddling the great original objects of hostility, the of childish vanity, would not be atoned for battle has been fought out and won-or if by an endless chorus of newspaper applause, anything in the nature of a prejudice ecclesias- nor even by a profuser participation in the tical, aristocratical, or monarchical, still shows scientific honors of knighthood. a sign of life, there are facilities enough for as- The camaraderie of the learned bodies sailing such obstinate remnants elsewhere than was, as we bave said, a matter of serious in assemblies professedly devoted to the ad- business in the earlier period of Condorcet; vancement of scientfic researches. At all and the female society in which he and his events, it was sufficiently so in France when friends mingled, was animated by the same M. Arago wrote this Life. Here no motives spirit and conducive to the same ends. From of the class now alluded to have ever been even the more bustling whirl of fashionable life he suspected; nor, until rather recently, were soon withdrew utterly. “ I had no relish,” he any of the educated classes of Englishmen neatly says, “ for dissipation without pleasure, apparently much given to those appetites for vanity without motive, idleness without regarrulous congregation and pompous exhibi- pose. tion that have from Julius Cæsar's time to Another philosopher who had as little President Buonaparte's distinguished the turn for the tumult and glitter of the beau theatrical nation so near to us in locality and monde was by twenty years his senior, but in everything but thought, sentiment, taste, among the most intimate, and, ere long, the and manners.
We are at a loss to accouni most influential of his friends, M. Turgot. for the change so visible, and not doubling He was of a far more important family than that there is a mixture of good in almost Condorcet, but, being a third brother, hardly every novelty, we own we on the whole con- better off at the outset in point of fortune. tinue to regret this one. You hear and read Turgot was brought up at the Sorbonne, and eternal vituperation of the Royal Academy inspired all his teachers there with the conin Trafalgar Square ; but, whatever may be fidence that he would be one of the most the defects in its construction, we could wish distinguished lights of the Gallican church. to see certain great features of its practical The first performance that attracted notice system imitated by bodies which assume to beyond the walls was a Discourse on the be of statelier importance, and, unlike it, Evidences of Christianity ; it was extravareserve their chairs for Caroyes. The R. gantly lauded by the clerical party, and A.'s work each at home in his own studio; moved in a correspoding proportion the bile once a year they allow each other and all of the wise men. But, whereas Dr. Chalthe world to see what they have been doing, mers appears, after being for several years a and the Exhibition is opened with a dinner, parish minister, to have first imbibed a real to which they invite such grandees as have belief in revealed religion while preparing an acquired a reputation for what our antique article on the evidences for Sir D. Brewster's friend Sir Thomas Urquhart calls “an Encyclopædia, there seems reason to infer emacity” in the department of modern mas- that a similar course of study had ended in ter-pieces, or for being likely, in case of any very different manner
with Turgot. parliamentary caviling, to indicate a just Shortly afterward, to the confusion of his recollection of the turtle and the fraternal professors and heavy disappointment of his
relations, he announced that he had changed though he has reasons for not avowing it, his mind, and would not enter into holy la Cucouaquerie ne mene pas à la fortune.” orders. He alleged to them modest distrust To which Voltaire replies by-and-bye—“I of his own qualifications, but to intimates have been charmed with Turgot-if you said candidly—“I cannot walk through all have three or four sages like this among you, the days of my life with a mask on my face.” I tremble for l'infame." After having perHe turned to the law-in due time obtained formed his kolow at Ferney, he redoubled promotion—and for a course of years acted his zeal in the ecclesiastical direction, but vigorously with the government minority in still observed as to his cacolaquerie a pruthe parliament of Paris, and in opposition to dent reticence, which Voltaire now apprecithe refractory majority, which was headed ated and often recommended to the Parisian by one of his own elder brothers, the Presi- conclave as exemplary.“ Your friend Turdent Turgot. This conduct led to the In- got is admirable,” says he to Condorcet, tendancy of the Limousin, in which office he no man understands better how to shoot soon made himself remarkable by some ex- the arrow without showing the hand.” cellent administrative reforms, but in the We may pause for a moment to say that sequel still more so by the audacity of his in general Condorcet's letters to Voltaire, proposals and plans for sweeping changes in like all the rest of the sect, are characterized ihe whole department of taxation and inter- by a humility of submission, an extravagance nal economy. He was among the first that of adulation, worthy of the Cadis and Muftis adopted in France the new science of political of a Commander of the Faithful. But beeconomy, and he pushed its doctrines to ex- hind his back, in their epistles to each other, tremes that never found favor with Adam it is somewhat different. All alike-the Smith himself. Among the rest, he was a grave D'Alembert, the austere Turgot, and strenous church reformer-indicating more the snowy Condorcet--are in raptures when and more distinctly his opinion not only that Mademoiselle de l'Espinasse communicates all church property should be fairly taxed to them, and insists on their handing over for state purposes, but that the property to their prime patroness, whom Arago styles itself ought to be redistributed, small sees “la respectable Duchesse d'Enville," the inunited, the emoluments of great ones cut telligence she, Mademoiselle, had just redown, monastic establishments of all sortsceived from Geneva of a visit paid to Ferney got rid of, and—decent provision being made by a “ Messaline de cette ville," with some for existing lives—the general surplus con- alarming consequences. It is like the merrisidered and dealt with as at the command of ment of a set of young monks on discovering the financial minister of the crown. These a lapse of father Abbot. Again, Condorcet, suggestions were in the beginning accom- when on a tour, writes to Turgot that he panied by constant professions of Turgot's had been gratified in a country-house with sincere respect for religion and the church, the perusal of a Commentary on the Bible whose real interests were, he continually by Emilie (Mad. du Chatelet-" Venus reiterated, nearer to no man's heart than to Newton”) in ten volumes; and adds that his own. The true sentiments of the he thought he could detect here and there reformer, however, could hardly escape de- the assistance both of the “Vieus de la tection-provincial eyes are close watchers, Montagne ” and “ son jeune amant”-i. e., and of all men Turgot was the most awkward St. Lambert. To which Turgot answers in everything but the use of his pen. None that he had himself many years ago seen had less command over his countenance- · Emilie's Bible,” but that it was then in four none could less bear the trouble of affecta- / volumes. “ However,” adds he, “ there is tion in small habits and daily things. The no doubt that between le Vieux and son clergy about him soon understood the man, jeune amant Emilie was likely enough to exand they, as rural churchmen usually are, pand her dimensions." A cruel enough were too much in earnest to control their joke, when we recall the circumstances of indignation. People at a distance, even the her death in childbed, on which occasion her shrewdest of the Anti-clericals, seem to have disconsolate husband, whom Lord Brougham been taken in at first. When the Intendant calls “a respectable man” (they are all was about to visit Switzerland, D'Alembert honorable men), finding Voltaire and St. Lamgave him an introduction to Voltaire, in bert in tears together, said, “Gentlemen, you which he takes pains to assure the Patriarch best know which has the most reason to weep that he might receive him with confidence - I have at least this consolation, that I had _“You will find him an excellent Cacouac, I no hand in the misfortune.” Such were the
He says :
morals and such the taste of this philosophi- | the doctrine of the perfectibility of man, and cal school!
ascribing all social mischiefs and moral We need not go deep into Turgot's history defects to bad laws, iniquitous burdens, after 1774. Amidst the financial perplexi- absurd superstitions, and primarily and ties that surrounded the monarchy at the finally the want of a universal and of accession of Louis XVI., Maurepas, though course compulsory system of liberal educapersonally distrustful of his views and inten- tion-hardly affected to throw any longer tions, was induced to invite him into the ad- a plausible gauze-work over his cacouacministration—it was judged necessary to querie. conciliate the rising sect, and Turgot's birth
We may pause
a moment on one eloand connections were considered as pledges quent piece of 1776, because, though read at against his going into an actual revolution. that time before “an academy,” it seems never The Biographie Universelle, in mentioning to have been printed until M. Arago rethat and some similar appointments, says, covered the autograph. The subject is“this epoch marks the commencement of “Should popular errors be eradicated ?” In our hommes d'état écrirassiers :" and it was this treatise—which is perhaps by a shade or truly the commencement de la fin. Turgot, two more explicit than those he published at Minister of Marine, immediately nominated the same period—-Condorcet utterly denies Condorcet to a post in his department—an that any religious motive whatever is reinspectorship of canals—and when he requisite or can be relied on for controlling the moved by-and-bye to the ministry of Finance, moral conduct of men. the younger philosopher became “Inspecteur des Monnoies.” How soon the rashness
“If the people are often tempted to commit and gaucherie of Turgot involved Paris and crimes in order that they may procure the neceshalf France in famine, confusion, revolt, and saries of life, it is the fault of the laws; and as massacre, we need not remind our readers. bad laws are the product of errors, it would be His wildest measures had all been defended others for the correction of their natural effects.
more simple to abolish those errors than to add in journals and pamphlets by his subaltern; Error
, no doubt, may do some good: it may preand Condorcet had especially distinguished vent some crimes, but it will occasion mischiefs himself by a bitter answer to Necker's anti- greater than these. By putting nonsense into Turgot disquisition on corn-laws. The pas- the head of the people you make them stupid, and sage that, according to our philosophic biog. from stupidity to ferocity there is but a step. rapher, gave the deadliest offence was in Consider--if the motives you suggest for being the last page, where Condorcet, apologizing just make but a slight impression on the mind, for his plain words, said he had the consola
ihat will not direct the conduct-if the impres
sions be lively, they will produce enthusiasm, and tion to think they could do M. Necker no
enthusiasm for error. Now the ignorant enthuharm, and quoted a certain high functionary siast is no longer a man: he is the most terrible who published some poem, and being told of wild beasts. In fact,” adds our arithmetician, by his friends to prepare himself for sharp “ the number of criminals among the men with criticism, replied ““ Make yourselves easy as prejudices is in greater proportion to the total to the reviewers—I have got a better cook.” number of our population, than the number of This cut the Amphitryon banker was not, total of that class. I am not ignorant that, in the
criminals in the class above prejudices is to the it seems, to forgive. He succeeded Turgot actual state of Europe, the people are not, peras Minister of Finance, and Condorcet wrote haps, at all prepared for a true doctrine of morals: to his friend that he also would immediately but this degraded obtuseness is the work of social resign his inspectorship-rather than be dis- institutions and of superstitions. Men are not missed, as he candidly says he had no doubt born blockleads : they become such. By speakhe must be, on the first decent opportunity. ing reason to the people, even in the little time Whether the resignation was actually ten- | they can give to the cultivation of their intellect, dered, or accepted, we have some doubts- necessary for them to know. Even the idea of
we might easily teach them the little that it is which shall be explained by-and-bye. How the respect that they should have for the property ever that may have been, both T'urgot and of the rich is only difficult to be insinuated among he redoubled their diligence as economical them-first, because they look on riches as a sort essayists : but the Biographie Universelle of usurpation, of theft perpetrated upon them, and thinks it needless to spend many words on
unhappily this opinion is in great part true : secCondorcet's writings of this class, because, it them always consider themselves in the case of
ondly, because their excessive poverty makes says, “ We have in vain sought for a single absolute necessity—a case in which even very particular in which he does not follow the
severe moralists have been of their mind; thirdly, lead of Turgot." Like im, he started from because they are as much despised and maltreated
for being poor as they would be after having low- | Sciences obtained the long coveted honor of ered themselves by larcenies. It is merely therefore because institutions are bad that the people Française. The delay is ascribed to the an
a place among the Forty of the Academie are so commonly a little thievish upon principle.” | tipathy of Maurepas and the “ men with pre-y. 360, 361.
judices,” who alleged, it seems, as their Nil sub sole novum! We find here almost ground of objection, Condorcet's refusal to in identical terms, and fully in meaning, M. write the Eloges of some academicians of Proudhon's maxim of maxims: La Propriété their own color, and the warmth with which c'est le Vol !
he had extolled all defunct Cacouacs. ImThen follows another remarkable specimen mense importance was attached to the canof his coolness and also of his logic-admire vass. He beat his rival, Bailly, only by one the calculator par excellence :
“This victory," writes D'Alembert,
delights me as much as if I had discovered “ In speaking of the establishment of false re- the quadrature of the circle." Grimm says, ligions and of their reform, it is not necessary, for
“ The science of M. de Condorcet had been showing how well facts are in accord with our sufficiently rewarded by the Academie des reasonings, that we should assume any one of Sciences. His literary claims are nothing bethem in particular to be false. It is clear that side M. Bailly's. But the government had there are at least as many false religions, minus one, as there are known religions. Now, which-recently named a man of distinguished piety soever it may be that we regard as the true one,
to the archiepiscopate, and the philosophers the history of the evil which the others have done | felt the urgency of a demonstration. Hence suffices to prove the truth of our assertion."— | this successful struggle in favor of a candiIb. 369.
date more than usually atheist.” We need
hardly observe that Baron Grimm, in his “We conclude, then, that the truth is always earlier letters, used to extol Condorcet in useful to the people, and that, if the people holds the warmest terms. by errors, it is expedient forth with to remove them. We will only state four exceptions.”
In 1783, his constant friend and supporter,
D'Alembert, died, and left him the whole of At the head of these excepted errors is- his property. In the same year died also
the aged Bishop of Lisieux—and his nephew “ įmo. La croyance d'un Dieu rémunérateur et
no doubt inherited whatever remained of the vengeur-qu'il ne faudrait pas attaquer chez un family estates in Dauphiny. Of this succespeuple dont la morale serait fondée sur une reli-sion not a word occurs in any life of Condorgion fausse, a moins que cette religion ne fût cet that we have met with ; but among other detruile"
remarks in a pamphlet “sur Condorcet,” and what substituted for that false religion ?- | homme de Loi,” it is said that “ till the Rev
published at Lausanne in 1792, by “ Chas, -" et qu’une morale fondée sur la raison scule olution was at hand, he seemed to attach as ne fut bien etablie.”—16. 382.
much consequence as any one of his class to
his titles and his fiefs.” That he had no fiefs It is known to all that Voltaire had written prior to 1783, is apparent from the whole and published in his later days some Notes course of his proceedings. on the Pensées de Pascal, intended to at- Not long afterward the volcano made a tenuate the authority of the Christian philoso- most unlooked-for eruption. The flame was pher. They appeared, however, too moder- suddenly kindled by the bright eyes of a ate in the eyes of Condorcet, who prepared young and well-born beauty, Mademoiselle a new edition of the Pensées, garnished with de Grouchy, and the Secretary, now turned copious notes of a far more audacious charac- of forty, married her in a great hurry-even, ter, and transmitted the MS. to Ferney. Vol. remarks M. Arago, without having brought taire was delighted—“You have laid open the her family to book on the weighty question head of Serapis,” he writes, " and shown us of dower. M. Arago becomes unusually the rats and the spiders.” The old man volun- animated here, and is not ashamed to place teered to have the work printed in Switzer- his hero's proceedings in favorable contrast land under his own eye—and this was done with those of Lagrange. D'Alembert heard in 1778. He died a few months afterward- from a third party at a distance that that and the gay young Count d'Artois (Charles brother sage had made " le saut perilleux,” X.) pronounced his epitaph : La France a and wrote to express some surprise at not perdu un grand homme et un grand coquin. having the intelligence from head-quarters.
In 1782, the secretary of the Academy of “For the rest,” said he, “it is no doubt the
duty of a mathematician to calculate son bon- It is stated in various accounts of our phiheur-you have, I presume, made that calcu- losopher that, liberal as he had always been, lation, and found the solution to be marriage.” his conversion to the Republic was the result Lagrange answered—“I know not whether of his personal intercourse with Mr. Thomas I have calculated ill or well, or rather I be- Paine. But that gentleman did not honor lieve I have not calculated at all, for if I had, France with his presence until the revolution I should probably have been like Leibnitz, had passed through several important stages; who by dint of reflecting never resolved. I and M. Arago, though without naming Paine, will confess to you that I have never had any is anxious to prove a much earlier date for taste for marriage; but circumstances de the final orthodoxy of his hero. Turgot died cided me to invite one of my cousins to take in 1781—and Condorcet's Life of him, care of me and all my concerns—and if I did though not published till 1786, had probably not write, it was because the thing appeared been in hand all the intervening years. to me too indifferent to be worth mentioning From the date of its appearance, however, to you.” Condorcet's marriage was a happy there could be little doubt of Condorcet's
After a little observation of the young extreme politics. M. Arago quotes and lady, even the Duchesse d'Enville said to the eulogizes many prominent passages, which, secretary, nous vous pardonnons. And no as he tells the Academy, prove that notre wonder, for Madame de Condorcet was emi- confrère's full illumination far preceded the nently an esprit fort. The Biographie des events of 1789. He dwells with particular Contemporains adorns the wedding with some zeal on the lofty denunciation of nobility in romantic details, which Arago rejects. It this performance; and we think he is quite tells us that the lady had formed a passion warranted in inferring that the Marquis, who which incurred the paternal velo—that when condemned aristocracy in 1786, had become Condorcet addressed her, though she did not in his heart an enemy of monarchy before conceal her admiration for his talents and so- 1789. Furthermore, if he did not openly ciety, she avowed her unaltered feeling-proclaim his hostility to the Crown in 1786, and that the philosopher, on his part, having or even in 1789, we hope to be pardoned for been smitten mainly with her mind, proposed suspecting that M. Arago (had it pleased that they should be united “upon a Platonic him) might have explained that circumstance understanding,” to which the fair one agreed. on sound principles of calculation. We noWe concur with M. Arago in preferring dates ticed Condorcet's share in the grand battle on this occasion to the Biographie. The between Turgot and Necker on the cornphilosopher's wedding was in 1786, and the laws, and his announcement of his intention future Madame O'Connor, whether she was to resign the office which Turgot had given the first-born or not, is mentioned as a girl him, when that minister was replaced in the between five and six years of age in 1793. Finance department by Necker in 1776.
We are approaching graver events. From the Neither in his Introductory Eloge nor elsefirst, Condorcet proclaimed himself enthusi- where does M. Arago intimate the least astically for the cause of our American colo doubt that the resignation took place accordonists; and when Franklin arrived in Paris, ingly; nor does he drop the remotest hint none welcomed him with more zeal—not that Condorcet was ever again connected even Turgot; who, however, reached a with the administration of finances. Now felicity of compliment never approached by observe—M. Arago reprints five “Memoires Condorcet in his famous Inscription :
sur les Monnoies
which were published in
1790, but he does not reprint the original Eripuit cælo fulmen sceptrumque tyrannis.* title-pages (now before us) on which the
author designates himself as “M. de ConAs that war advanced, Condorcet's lan- dorcet, Inspecteur-Général des Monnoies." guage became more and more violent, and We find him in like manner officially reas soon as the first streaks of fire appeared corded in the “ Almanac Royal ” for 1789 on the domestic horizon, he threw himself (prepared of course in 1788) as "Inspecteurwith equal force into that more interesting Général des Monnoies”—and his residence movement.
is thrice given in that volume as at the
Hôtel des Monnoies.” Another authority * The merit of this is hardly lessened by its be then, there can be no doubt that if he ever
shall be quoted presently. We suppose, ing only a singularly fortunate imitation of a line in the Cardinal de Polignac's Anti-Lucretius :- did resign the post which he owed to Turgot, Eripuitque Jovi fulmen Phæboque sagiltas.
Condorcet had found means to reconcile