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philosophie, et en même temps un esprit applicable se montre toujours, à travers l'éclat des idées générales ou des peintures éloquentes.'-p. 74.

That love of virtue which, notwithstanding bis love of paradox, is so conspicuous in his earlier works, a sentiment possessing, when connected with an ardent spirit, all the force and character of a passion,' cette passion pour la justice, cette haine éclairée du despotisme, qui ne se répand pas en vagues.déclamations, qui de mêle avec sagacité tout ce qui peut y entrainer les peuples, qui en démontre toutes les infamies et toutes les absurdités, tantót avec la raison qui juge, tantôt avec le sentiment qui s'indigue,' is accompanied in the writings of Montesquieu by moderation and wisdom rarely found in union with so large a share of native enthusiasm ; and, if he has occasionally given too free scope to sentiments which were misapplied by the spirit of a licentious and revolution, ary age, it is to be remembered that the times in which he wrote were apparently those of the profoundest tranquillity, when the establishments, to the subversion of which the authority of his name has since been made to contribute, were not only yet unshaken, but appeared to be built on foundations the most secure and immovable. He could have little imagined that in holding up to admiration the laws of ancient Greece or Rome, he was furnishing a pretence for demolishing the constitutions of modern Europe. The French revolution presents, as it were, an everlasting barrier between the times which have passed, and those which preceded it. The historical lessons with which we are furnished on this side the boundary, place us on a vantage-ground which it will be our own fault if we do not improve as far as we are capable; but, in esa, timating the conduct of those who were differently circumstanced, common candour and honesty demand that we should descend from our eminence and reduce our own experience to the level of their condition.

• Qui entreprendrait l'histoire de la vanité en France, découvrirait bientôt une grande partie des causes de la révolution que

lą France a éprouvée.' This observation, however satirical in appearance, is admirably just and profound. Frederic of Prussia is, by the sect of Mystiss before alluded to, always set up as one of the chiefs of the revolutionary conspiracy; in other words, bis own royal vanity, and the encouragement which it induced him to bestow on the vanity of others, may be considered as among the principal sources of all the mischief that can fairly be attributed to the agency of misapplied genius and talent. Le plus illustre des souverains, recherchant l'amitié d'un poéte, il y avait là de quoi exciter l'orgueil des littérateurs. They beheld in imagination the revival of those days in which the sages of Greece were invited to the courts of kings to give counsel, and to the assemblies of the


people to make laws. From that moment nothing could arrest their soaring spirit; their dominion became universal; moruls, politics, religion, all were submitted to their revision; nor was their hope frustrated; the glory and importance of the French writers went on continually increasing; and from the farthest corners of the north, messengers were sent to do them hopage and to entreat the honour of their attendance,'

Yet let us be just, proceeds our critic, por attribute to the vanity of authorship, powerful as the principle has proved, a larger portion of the general mischief than may fairly be derived from it : the infamous corruptions of the court and of the ministers, the indolent and selfish character of the sovereign (Lewis XV.) the as, cendancy of female influence, and of profligate and low intrigue, in all the affairs of state:- voilà certès des garans bien plus terribles d'une révolution que ne l'étaient des philosophes orgueilleux et imprudens; et la guerre de sept ans nous a approches de la catastrophe plus que l'Encyclopédie.'

The general characters of the work which has just been named, and of ihe principal authors who contributed their labours to its completion, follow in review; and it is observed, (we have no doubt with perfect justice,) that the ill-directed interference of the government, (which, however, had sufficient cause for alarm,) contributed in a great degree both to the imperfections, and to the mischievous tendency of the publication, "Writers who might have, given a contrary bias to many of its most pernicious articles, were perhaps deterred by the fulminated censures, while those, whose opinions might have been softened by encouragement, or changed by fattery, were provoked to decided hostility, and employed, as a weapon of vengeance, that work, of which the original design was not only harmless, but in the highest degree meritorious. Thus the Encyclopédie was converted from, what it might, and ought to have been, a splendid monument of the state of art and science at the time of its production, to a mere party engine, and one (it must be acknowledged) of no inconsiderable power and efficacy.

The mention of the · Discours préliminaire,' a considerable work in itself, and of very various merit,--the acknowledged performance of d’Alembert, leads to a highly interesting and able discussion respecting the modern science of metaphysics, as built on the theory of the formation of ideas. The debasing and materializing tendency of this system is finely opposed to the more noble contemplation of the nature of the soul, exemplified in the works of the older metaphysicians, -of Descartes, Pascal, Mallebranche, and Leibnitz. * The philosophy of the encyclopédistes took possession of Locke's principles, and pushed them to their extremest conse-,

quences ;

quences;' and hence, by some superficial writers, Locke himself has of late days been classed among the Conspirators.

Condillac is considered as the chief of this French school of philosophy; and, among the disciples of his sect, Bonnet has the merit of having greatly refined and improved the system, and purged it of many of its grossest errors. · His whole life,' says our author,

was agitated by the earnest endeavour to reconcile this favourite theory with his religious belief; and nothing has more effectually demonstrated the impossibility of attaining the end which he proposed to himself by the road which he has chosen to follow.'

The few remarks which we find on the literary characters of d'Alembert and Diderot are distinguished for their good sense and general utility. Of the former, after making all just ackuowledgment of his mathematical talent, it is observed that, in any other age, he would bave been contented with the reputation which that talent might obtain; but vanity, the presiding dæmon of the 18th century, was his ruin; in other words, • l'envie de se montrer universel fit de lui un littérateur assez froid.'

Vanity was also the ruin of Diderot, though not in the same way.

• Il fut doué d'une âme ardente et desordonnée. Mais c'était un feu sans aliment, et le talent dont il a donné quelques indices, n'a reçu aucune application entière.?- Un caractére tel que le sien a tout perdu en adoptant la philosophie à laquelle il s'attacha.'— Au total, Diderot fut un ecrivain funeste à la littérature comme à la morale. Il devint le modèle de ces hommes froids et vuides, qui apprirent à son école comme on pouvait se battre les flancs pour se donner de la verve dans les mots, sans avoir un foyer intérieur de pensée et de sentiment.'

-p. 141.

Helvetius is characterized as a faithful disciple of the philosophy of his age; and his work is noticed as one which owed all its celebrity to the foolish persecution which it excited. He collected his opinions at random from the conversation of all around him, and then set about reducing them into a system; but his understanding was neither comprehensive nor strong enough to accomplish the task.–Singuliers matériaux,' well may we exclaim, pour un ouvrage philosophique!'

But we may be spared the labour of minutely examining the individuals, while the characteristics of the genus are so fully delineated as in the picture before our eyes. "Ce ne sont, says our author, with reference to the portraiture of ancient philosophy which he has just presented to our contemplation :

* Ce ne sont plus des hommes sérieux, érudits, nourris de réflexion et d'étude, cherchant un point de vue général, procédant avec méthode, s'efforçant de former un système dont toutes les parties soient bien


coordonnées. Ce sont des écrivains vivant au milieu d'une société frivole, animés de son esprit, organes de ses opinions, excitant et partageant un enthousiasme qui s'appliquait à la fois aux choses les plus futiles et aux objets les plus sérieux ; jugeant de tout avec facilité, conformément à des impressions rapides et momentanées ; s'enquérant peu des questions qui avaient été autrefois débattues; dédaigneux du passé et de l'érudition; enclins à un doute léger, qui n'était point l'indécision philosophique, mais bien plutôt un parti pris d'avance de ne point croire, Enfin, le nom de philosophe ne fut jamais accordé à meilleur marché. Lorsqu'on reproche aux auteurs de cette époque d'avoir soutenu un système et des principes destructeurs, on les caloinnie sous un rapport; sous un autre, on leur donne un éloge qu'ils n'ont pas mérité. On peut combattre, avec indignation, Hobbes ou Spinosa. Ils ont un but direct, une intention marquée, ils se présentent avec des armes dans la carrière, ils offrent prise, on sait à qui l'on à affaire. Mais la philosophie du dix-huitième siècle, puisqu'on a adopté ce nom, ne pourra jamais former une doctrine textuelle; on ne pourra jamais être reçu

à citer un écrivain, pour prouver que cette philosophie avait un projet certain et des principes reconnus. Tous ces littérateurs n'avaient aucun accord entr'eux. Ils avaient même si peu l'idée d'un resultat quelconque, qu'à les prendre chacun en particulier, il n'en est pas un qui ne se soit contredit sans cesse. Leur vanité, leur amour du succès les empêchait plus encore que le genre

de leurs études, de former une secte. Nul ne se sentait ni respect, ni déférence pour un autre; nul ne se serait avoué à lui-méme son infériorité. Ce zèle pour la vérité, cet enthousiasme pour le génie, tous ces sentimens désinteressés qui font les sectes et les partis, n'étaient plus de ce tems-là. Quelle différence entre Voltaire trafiquant de louanges avec tous les écrivains de son siècle, et un vénérable philosophe environné de disciples avides de ses paroles et admirateurs de ses vertus, régnant sur eux par le pouvoir du discours et de l'exemple !—p. 153.

We must pass over some excellent observations on the historical and antiquarian writers, and on the degree and manner in which they were severally infected by the prevailing tendency of the age, in order to devote the little space which is left us to him who was, in many respects, the most extraordinary of all the men of genius whom the eighteenth century produced. If any one of them possessed an influence peculiarly his own—if any one followed an impulse originating exclusively in himself, that honour is undoubtedly due to Rousseau.

• Tandis que les autres recevaient toutes les influences de la société, participaient aux mæurs et aux opinions répandues dans le public, s'efforçaient de lui plaire en se conformant à son esprit; Rousseau ressentit tous ces effets d'une autre manière. Leur action s'exerçait sur lui, comme un poids qui l'oppressait sans l'entraîner. Son talent, au milieu de telles circonstances, en contracta quelque chose de plus individuel, et conséquemment de plus profond et plus persuasif. Aussi sa gloire


a-t-elle été plus grande et plus flatteuse. Les autres sont parvenus à plaire; Rousseau a excité l'enthousiasme.'-p. 167.

The dangers of Rousseau's philosophy are appreciated with equal force and justice. The vanity of other authors was all from without: that by which Rousseau was actuated, deriving no nourishment from abroad, sought its aliment in his own soul, where it perpetually corroded his happiness. Tout dans la société blesse de telles caractères, ils ne savent se soumettre à rien, pas même à la force des choses. La nécessité non seulement les afflige, mais les humilie.' Thus, living in a state of voluntary banishment from society, and almost from human nature itself, it happens that, even with the purest professions, and, perhaps, intentions, he has done more harm to the world than almost any other that can be named,

que, tout en ressentant avec enthousiasme l'amour de la vertu et de la justice, tout en voulant y exciter les autres, il a ébranlé ce qui sert de base à la vertu et à la justice, le sentiment du devoir. C'est là, à ce qu'il nous paraît, le vice de sa philosophie.'

The sense of mcral obligation was, in fact, that to which he was individually a stranger; and it is only the natural consequence of his peculiar situation acting on his peculiar character, that bis system of morality is as little practicable as would be a system of politics invented by one who had always lived in a state of savage independence. The one would have no idea, froin experience, of the necessity of sacrificing a portion of his natural prerogatives for the tranquil enjoyment of the remainder : nor could the other admit the expediency of confining our seutiments and affections within certain prescribed limits, beyond which they not only tend to the injury and oppression of others, but re-act with double violence on the unhappy being who has irregularly indulged them.

« Il voulut faire marcher l'homme à la vertu, non par respect pour les devoirs, mais par un élan libre et passionné: une telle route est mal sûre, il en est peu qui ne s'y égarent. C'est une chose particulière aux tems civilisés que ces caractéres nourris d'illusions, qui, en s'isolant des circonstances réelles, vivent dans les sentimens les plus sublimes, Leur tête est exaltée, ils ressentent avec une merveilleuse vivacité la passion du bien; leur imagination ne voit rien que de pur, ne connait rien de mauvais. Mais ils ont dédaigné les voies tracées, n'ont point regardé le devoir comme sacré, et ils marchent d'erreurs en erreurs sans même les appercevoir. Comme en eux-mêmes ils éprouvent les mouvemens les plus vertueux, avec une force extrême, ils ne peuvent se croire coupables. Les sentimens leur paraissent avoir plus de réalité que les actions. Rousseau, au milieu de sa vie impure, se croyait le plus vertueux des hommes ; il voulait se presenter devant le tribunal de Dieu ses livres à la main, et pensait qu'on trouverait dans leurs pages de quoi compenser toutes ses fautes,

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